Tag Archives: knowledge

The character and conduct of a nation’s leaders

In many of the open America protest it is not unusual to see signs saying or paraphrasing the familiar refrain:

“Give  me liberty or give me death”

But what many in this country have forgotten is liberty is not something granted to us at birth. Nor is it something that is maintained without a willingness to acquire the knowledge required to see the true character of its leaders and to use that knowledge to hold them to a standard of accountability that is high, if not higher than they would hold themselves.

It is true that even when the people have a desire to inform and educate themselves on the issues that impact their daily lives, an individual of poor character thrust into a position of leadership who lacks integrity and accountability and whose vision is only the advancement of their own selfish agenda can through lies and misinformation blind the masses to the truth and in the process withhold the very liberty they seek to maintain  

Unfortunately America today has allowed the  polarization of our country along political lines to supersede the thirst for knowledge. It has become all too easy for many of America’s so called “leaders” to manipulate the masses. To have them bend to their will wrongly believing that these leaders act in their best interest.

The open America protest is one such example. Through a campaign of misinformation and lies leadership at the highest levels has convinced them that the very measures implemented to protect them, is in fact an infringement on their liberty. They use that belief to rally around the very leaders who perpetrate the misinformation to advance their own economic and political agendas.

The dangers of not acquiring the knowledge required to identify the character of one’s leaders is not a new concept. John Adams warned us of it in 1765 when he said;

liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in van, has given them understanding and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to the most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

We should heed his words for it would be foolhardy to believe the concept of America is forever. Lest we forget that the history of world shows our country is but a baby. One that will never get the chance to fully mature unless we cast aside our differences, stop allowing the few to manipulate the many and come to value knowledge needed to educate ourselves on those would be leaders of questionable character.

Social Programs for the needy equals bad. Corporate welfare for the rich equal good

Next time you hear the GOP complaining Democrats are giving the store away with all these social programs think about this:

In 2017 oil companies like Shell and Exxon companies not hurting for cash adding everything received $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives, for a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare.

Farm subsidies are designed to help mom and pop farmers right.  Hmmm well that’s not totally true farm subsidies act like a regressive tax that helps high-income businesses, not poor rural farmers. Most of the money goes toward large agribusinesses. Between 1995 and 2017, the top 10%of recipients received 77% of the $205.4 billion doled out. The top 1% received 26% of the payments. That averages out to $1.7 million per company. Fifty people on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans received farm subsidies. On the other hand, 62% of U.S. farms did not receive any subsidies.

Social programs to help the poor and needy = bad according to the GOP. Pull your pants up and work you lazy Americans

Corporate welfare to help the richest of the rich get richer on the guise that the money will trickle down, yet somehow it never does = good to the GOP.  Let’s meet for cocktails aboard your yacht and talk about your next campaign contribution. 

The politicians are all Hypocrites and snake oil salespeople who keep selling the poorest among those who continue to vote for them and keep them in office a pack of lies and for some reason, possibly if you were to look closely at the racial politics Trump plays they believe the myth that only black and brown people benefit from these programs while simultaneously taking advantage of them of theirselves. 

We hate ObamaCare they scream yet based on 2014 Census Bureau data, that echo other studies showed that a key demographic for the GOP blue-collar whites have been among the principal beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act. 

Stop all these Safety Net programs they yell but Donald Trump won about two-thirds of whites without a college degree—the most for any Republican since Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide—and they provided almost exactly half of his total votes, even though they represented only about one-third of the electorate, according to media exit polls.  Yet Safety-net programs are particularly beneficial for adults without a college degree. “The vast majority of working-age adults lifted above the poverty line by government benefits and tax credits are people lacking a college degree. 

It’s time America to stop voting based on a sound bite or what a quote unquote news network tells you and get informed. Otherwise your just a pawn the rich move around the board to stay the rich. 

WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL

They say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and what goes around comes around. 

Ever wonder what  kind of country we would be if we all played by Donald Trump’s rules of engagement and just made stuff up about him?

Not a very good one I suspect. 

Trump’s blatant lies about President Obama are well documented here are just a few that he states WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL:

In 2011 Trump said “somebody” told him Obama might be hiding his birth certificate because it might identify him as a Muslim.  Not that this is a bad thing even if it were true but that’s a discussion for another day  

In 2014 Trump tweeted “Obama sent weapons to ISIS through Benghazi yet holding up shipments to Israel”

In 2015 Trump said “they actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does”

The clear implication in all of this was that Trump was attempting to portraying Obama as anti-Semitic WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL  

So if we as a country dropped to his level and played in the gutter using Trump’s own rules of engagement would it be wrong to say WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL:

That Trump is German and “somebody” told me he is a believer in Hitler’s master race theory

That Trump is secretly arming white militias around America

That Trump has secretly told white nationalist to prepare for a coming race war and that when it’s over America will be cleansed of it’s black and brown problem and America will be great again.

I’m just wondering because Trump has, with the help of Fox News, been given carte blanche to say whatever he wants about whoever he wants WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL to verify the validity of his statements and smears on a person’s career and character and  yet many in his base take his statements to be true. So why can’t we do the same to him? Oh yeah that really wouldn’t be American now would it?

The truth still counts for something and we should all reject statements made WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL

The End of True Debate

I went to Cardinal Spellman high school in the Bronx. In addition to being the alma matter of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor among other things it had a forensics team that competed nationwide.  My senior year I was proud to say I was President of that forensics team. For 4 years I competed on the forensics team’s cross-ex debate team.  To this day I credited my experience on that team as being a major part in the development of who I am today. The rules of cross-ex debate were simple enough if you were on the affirmative side of a debate you needed to show: 

Significance of both the problem and that the benefit must be substantial enough to merit changing state or national policies affecting millions of people. 

Inherency of the the problems cited must be inextricably connected to elements of the status quo are relatively enduring or are unique to the status quo or cannot be eliminated without reform to the status quo.

Plan that includes a concrete description of actions that will be taken to solve the problems cited in enough detail that the negative can understand and, potentially, criticize it.  And finally

Solvency – present claims and ground to prove the benefits of the plan and that is it solves the problems cited.  

If you were on the negative side of the debate you could win by proving through evidence that just one of the above was not true. 

This I learned as a teenager. Sadly in today’s highest chamber of debate, Congress, none of this is practiced. Instead the debates have devolved into a I want, you can’t have, battle based not on facts and evidence and most importantly what’s good for the country but rather special interest and if you have a (D) or a (R) after your name. Adults elected by the populous acting more like children and having temper tantrums when they can’t get their way. 

I’m thankful for the life lessons debate taught me   I just wished the majority in Congress would share in those lessons. 

America’s Dirty Little Secret – Trump’s shadow base

How was it that Donald Trump, when all the exit polls showed otherwise, was able to capture the Presidency of the United States?

How is it that Donald Trump, when polls show he has one of the lowest approval ratings of all time, able to keep GOP politicians from revolting against him?

Why is it that Donald Trump has made such little effort to expand “his base” and seemingly is unconcerned about it?

I’m here to tell you it’s because of America’s dirty little secret.  You see when we watch one of the many “campaign rallies” Trump held before the election and amazingly continues to hold after, at tax payer cost, we see what many liberals characterize as his base. Low income, poorly educated white males and females. Liberals see a stereotypical person they likely refer to as Billy Bob with a smirk and his wife sporting Make America Great Again hats, spewing hatred and fear against people of color.  It’s why Trump constantly uses the wall and cherrypicks acts of violence and other criminal activities by immigrants in his speeches. Why he throws out lines like shithole countries. Liberals summarize Billy Bob is so poorly educated that he easily fooled by Trump because Trump appeals to their greatest fear. That they are losing a grip on “their” country.

But what Trump and the GOP know is there are a number of well educated, highly compensated, extremely polished individuals who deep down harbor the very same fears. They are Trump’s shadow base. They have friends who are people of color. They’re children play with your children.  They are registered Democrats and they never ever say they like Donald Trump. In fact their social media is likely littered with posts you’ve liked denouncing Trump.  But when they get behind that voting curtain and they are all alone they’re pulling the lever for Trump.

Why? Because way more than “Billy Bob” this was their country. White men of power had a long uninterrupted run of success in this country. They were the majority, ran all the big corporations and controlled the country’s politics. But then census data projected the US will become ‘minority white’ in 2045. More and more people of color began showing up in the executive lunch room and on the country club golf courses. Then the unthinkable happened Barack Obama won the Presidency.  Not only did he win he and his family were looked at with the highest level of respect around the globe. It wasn’t so much about Obama’s politics, tough it would be naive to completely dismiss that, it was looking at a well educated, articulate man of color stand in front of the world as America’s leader. Sure there had been plenty well educated, articulate men and women of color in the spotlight before Obama but none had ever been President. Obama represented a glimpse into the future of this country and for some that was a frightening future

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t think the vast majority of white people are arming themselves and storing canned goods in preparation for the coming brown people apocalypse. In fact I’m more hopeful than ever that this country is headed in the right direction, if ever so slowly, with respect to race relations. But there are still a few dinosaurs out there who hide in plain sight fearful of the future. They’re America’s dirty little secret. They’re Trump’s shadow base and it would be best not to underestimate them again in 2020.

An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy

0FC0D456-20B3-4A48-A1A6-5C1D5BF12106.jpegThe surest way to control the narrative, to ensure that the few can control the thoughts and choices of the many through clever slogans and sound bites is to endeavor to keep the many ignorant.  An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy.  The founding fathers understood this as Thomas Jefferson stated:

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Public education has been under attack by some for many years now.  Just last week The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s initial education budget would strip $10.6 billion from federal initiatives.  Many of the cuts would disproportionately impact poorer school districts.  Something the founding fathers would be dismayed at. John Jay was quoted as saying:

“ I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of that latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people that means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”

And John Adams wrote:

 “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Turning a blind eye to the dismantling of public education is to in essence relinquish our democracy over to the few who will continue to bamboozle the masses in order to maintain their wealth and power.

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Dear American People

Dear American people

The problem with politics today is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but we have essentially given up their authority. Having divided ourselves into two parties who no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of those in power based on if they have a (R) or a (D) after their name. Individuals who. have only a casual interest in educating themselves to maintain their wealth and power.

Let us take back our government by

Informing ourselves on the issues
Educating ourselves on the options
Holding our representatives accountable

Let us retake control of the government after all it is our government

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The power of the people

The problem with American politics today
is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but the people have essentially given up their authority. Having divided itself into two parties they no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of a few who look to obtain power as long as that individual claims are to represent their party. While simultaneously taking only a casual interest in truly educating itself on the issues of the day instead the majority of them allow their opinions to be molded by cable news personalities who profit by espousing the viewpoints of the politician on the side of their preferred viewers.

Inform yourself on the issues
Educate yourself on the options
Hold your representatives accountable
Take control of the government it is after all your government

 

Education is the key

The foundation of any great democracy is the
education of its citizens. For any democracy
to flourish its people must be knowledgeable
enough to comprehend the matters of
contention which are paramount to the well
being of the masses. Without an educated
populace democracy becomes nothing more
than an illusion to be manipulated to the will of the few.

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What team are you on

There can be no doubt that we are a country divided. Sadly there can also be no doubt that much of this division is not based on an ideology by the people on what is best for the people of this country but rather what letter follows your name, (R) or (D). We have become more concerned with ensuing our “team” wins rather than educating ourselves on the issues and how it will impact us. This mentality has led to a blind allegiance to those in power. We have ceded the very government we so proudly hold dear to a few hundred individuals who profit on our ignorance. Our desire to have our “team” win means the powerful does not even need to hide their deception they do it right in front of us for as it was once said “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” The more the masses allow their minds to blinded the easier it is to manipulated them. They simply follow their “team” nodding in agreement with whatever decisions it makes. This thinking removes any sense of accountability from those in power as Albert Einstein commented “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” For any democracy to effectively govern for the good of the citizens it represents those citizens must become informed about issues that can improve their lives. In many countries around the world the government has taken away the will of its people. We seemingly have made the conscious decision to abdicate it to a small percentage of the rich and powerful depending on what letter they have behind their name. We can not continue to allow our government to be dependent on political ignorance and blind allegiance for it will surely lead to our downfall as one of the greatest experiments ever endeavored – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.