Tag Archives: politics

With great power comes great responsibility

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please.  But as the opportunity to do what is right.
Peter Marshall

With great power comes great responsibility
-Peter Parker

Let’s be clear I do not write this to say American society has always done the right thing, understands its great responsibility, or that it has seen all of its citizens enjoyed freedom equally. However, for all its warts, this is still America, the land of the free and the last four years, especially 2020, has shone a spotlight on the selfish and irresponsible behavior of a segment of America’s leaders and a percentage of its citizenry. Leadership’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the anti-maskers who follow them is the most glaring example.  From the very beginning, President Trump downplayed the pandemic; it was clear to most that his end game was to downplay the pandemic not to keep the country calm as he claimed but an attempt to keep the stock market from falling.  The reason for this? To try and ensure his re-election bid.  As the year progressed and tens of thousands of Americans succumbed to the virus, Trump doubled down, taking no responsibility for his office’s response, openly mocking the wearing of masks, and inciting potential violence against state leaders who attempted to slow the spread of the virus as their state’s hospital systems became overwhelmed.  Many GOP Congresspeople, Senators, Governors, Mayors, etc., followed suit despite the pandemic spreading like wildfire through their respective states.  The loss of life took a back seat to their selfish serving agendas of maintaining their hold on power.  A portion of Americans blindly followed them ignored the pleading of the medical world to wear a mask.  They wrapped themselves in the American flag, shouted USA, USA, and claimed that being an American gives them the right to do as they please; this, of course, is a false belief, but even worse, it was based on the fact that refusing to wear a mask only impacts themselves, refusing to understand the obvious, it impacts anyone they come in contact with.  One could argue that the entire Covid pandemic proved a large portion of America is not ready mentally to handle the freedom it enjoys because they have put their agendas ahead of what is right.

The second most glaring example is America’s current leadership attempt to undermine democracy by casting doubts and attempting to overturn the will of the people in the 2020 Presidental election. It was Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg that said

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long.

And while we are not literally at war, we each other; let us make no mistake that the Trump administration and the GOP have spent the last four years attempting to divide Americans culminating with their actions following the election. While it simple to say America will always endure, history has shown every empire has an expiration day. As Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address America has survived all these years based on the principle, regardless of how literally it has been applied as a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  And because of this it shall not perish from the earth. It should go without saying that when Americans elect their leaders, they should expect that they will look to protect Americans and the democracy by which they were voted into the very seats of power they hold.  Seemingly that is no longer the case.  Politicians now look to protect themselves, even if that means consciously dividing the nation by sowing discontent and neglecting the very principles that this country is allegedly built on.  They have no concept that when they took their oath of office, they were bestowed with great power, and with that power come great responsibility.  They embrace the power while simultaneously discarding discard the responsibility it comes with.   But make no mistake; it is not American leaders alone who have neglected their responsibility.  The very people who vote them into their positions of power have turned a blind eye to corruption and politicians attempting to divide them and, in the case of the Presidential election, usurp the very democracy that they claim to respect so much, as long as it fits their particular view on society regardless if that view is good for the country as a whole.  These Americans have proven that the concept of the power that comes with democracy, something so many in the world do not enjoy, has escaped them.

So, where do we go from here? Will we ever be able to come together as Americans? Will we ever be able to look at both sides of the coin and understand that our side is not always right, and that is OK.  Will we ever, as people, hold our politicians accountable again.  Will our politicians ever have the backbone to put the country ahead of their agendas again?  If the lessons of the Civil War show us anything, we can overcome our differences and come together, at least to some extent, as one. But before we start to heal, we need to relearn what freedom truly means, the power that it holds, and the responsibility that comes with it

The Lessons of Star Trek

I originally posted this two years ago but considering where the Trump administration has taken this country it was worth a repost.

America today seems to be more divided than ever. Hate for anything that is different from you is at an all-time high.  The current administration stokes this fire with a message of division. The exact opposite of what has made this country great, the contributions of so many from so many different races and cultures It is done so they can enrich themselves and maintain their power.  They are skilled at tapping into your inner prejudices and making you believe they are on your side, but the truth is the only side they are on is their own.  As always, this situation can best be summed up from the lessons Star Trek continues to teach us.

1. Why the current president strategy of division among people so he may maintain his power is flawed.

The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.
– Captain Kirk

2. How unity and not division is stronger for all of us

I am pleased to see that we have differences.
May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.
-Surak of Vulcan

3. Why our current President view of himself is flawed

Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind.
-Data, to Borg Queen

4. The strategy of our current President believes in maintaining power

Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the truth, or by misleading the innocent.
-Spock and McCoy

5. How many of the innocent who voted for our current feel today

After a time, you may find that “having” is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as “wanting.” It is not logical, but it is often true.
-Spock

6. Why the thinking of many who defend the current president simply because he has an (R) after his name or are afraid of losing votes from his base is wrong

You cannot explain away a wantonly immoral act because you think it is connected to some higher purpose.
– Captain Picard

7. What the president walk-back of his statements in Russia showed us about him

It would seem that evil retreats when forcibly confronted
-Yarnek of Excalbia,

8. Why we must act as a people not as republicans or democrats

Without followers, evil cannot spread.
-Spock

9. Why we must act now both republicans, democrats, and independents

Act, and you shall have dinner; wait, and you shall be dinner.
-Gowron, Klingon proverb

Pawns for the Rich

Next time the GOP complains that 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 was awarded $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 were designed to help the mom and pop farmers.  Hmmm, not true, farm subsidies act like a regressive tax that helps high-income businesses, not poor rural farmers. Most of the money goes toward large agricultural businesses. 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.

In the mind of the GOP social programs designed to help the poor and needy in times of need equals. Pull your pants up and get a job you lazy American.

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 equals good.  Let’s meet for cocktails aboard your yacht and talk about your next campaign contribution. 

Hypocrites and snake oil salespeople who keep selling this illusion to poorest who continue to vote for them and keep them in office for some reason, possibly They are manipulated by the racial politics Trump plays. They believe the myth that only black and brown people benefit from these programs while simultaneously taking advantage of themselves.

We hate Obamacare they scream yet based on 2014 Census Bureau data, that echo other studies, 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.  These voters represent only about one-third of the electorate yet it is the same Safety-net programs they decry that are particularly beneficial for adults without a college degree as studies show the vast majority of working-age adults lifted above the poverty line by government benefits and tax credits are people lacking a college degree.

If America is ever to move forward it must stop voting based on sound bites or what a quote unquote news network tells them and get become informed about the truth of the this country’s economics and how it benefits the rich at the expense of the masses.. Otherwise we will remain just pawns the rich move around the board.

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

A Bad Beat for Trump

A Bad Beat is a poker term for a hand in which a player with very strong cards loses to an opponent who is statistically unlikely to win, but hits a lucky card (or two) and unexpectedly takes the pot. The losing player is then said to have suffered a “bad beat”.   In looking at the 2016 Presidential election some may say Hilary Clinton suffered a bad beat. But the reality is the bad beat went to Donald Trump. 

Trump who I firmly believed right up to Election Day expected to lose had mapped out with others (Roger Ailes?) how to turn this presidential run into post election BIG MONEY. But then the unthinkable happened he won. All the big money dreams derailed but worst now there would be a huge spotlight on everything crooked he was involved in. From the moment he watched as FOX NEWS, what other channel do you think he was watching, declared him the winner he went defensive. Lying and doing one over the top thing after another to distract America as he tried cover up his actions in an attempt to stay one step ahead of what he knew was coming for him, the truth and likely jail time for him, his friends and his family. 

His Shaggy defense of say it wasn’t you has kept his base at bay but his lies, deceit and attempts at cover ups haven’t protected many of his friends who, Rodger Stone aside,  when faced with prison turned on him. While slowly it has begun to drive people who originally were in his corner, mostly for their own good, away.  More and more isolated his act gets crazier and crazier and as such more dangerous for the United States. 

Hopefully we are coming to a conclusion in which Trump, however it may happen,  resigns or is impeached from a position of power he was never qualified to hold and probably really never really wanted.  After all with Trump like everything else it was just supposed to be about the money. A bad beat indeed for Donald. 

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.

Never Go Full Trump

A conversation sometime in the future between an ex presidential candidate and a campaign strategist. 

Ex Candidate (EC): Just wish I had a campaign manager like this last election

Strategist (S): Last election. Oh yeah. You went all in on that one, huh?  Really swung for the fences, huh?

EC: Thank you I just did the work. In a weird way I had to sort of just free myself up to believe it was okay to be him. 

S: To be Trump

EC: Yeah

S: To be Trumpy

EC: Yeah

S: Like the Trumpiest candidate that ever ran

EC: When I was running for President. 

S: Acting like Trump. Trying to come back from that

EC: In a weird way I had to fool my mind into believing I wasn’t the Donald. 

S: But Trump thought he was a good qualified President so you can’t afford to play Trump being a qualified candidate. Running as a guy who thinks he’s qualified but is so far from qualified, that’s tricky. Hats off for going there especially knowing how the voters are about that now

EC: About what?

S: You’re serious? You don’t know? Everybody knows you never go full Trump 

EC: What do you mean? 

S: Check it out. Richard Nixon, 37th President, look Trump, act Trump, not Trump. Established the EPA and OSHA, ended America’s involvement in the Vietnam war, opened diplomatic relations with The Peoples Republic of China. He had Watergate so crooked sho’. Not Trump. You know Jimmy Carter.’ Below average President yes. Indecisive, maybe. Gas shortages and Iranian hostage crises. But he created the Departments of Energy and Education and negotiated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. That ain’t Trump. He was a goddamn Noble Peace Prize winner. You know any Trump Noble Prize Winners? You went full Trump man. Never go full Trump. You don’t buy that? Ask Donald, 2020, Presidential Election.  Remember? Went full Trump, went home empty-handed.

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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They Don’t Really Care About Us

January 21,2009 an Barack Obama an African American took the oath of President of the United States of America and many declared the end of racism. But after watching that man, despite his grace and dignity, attacked for eight years straight. After watching that man have to prove he was an American. After watching the man who led the charge to discredit his citizenship ride a way of hate and division to the White House in 2016 and his appointment of Jeff Sessions who immediately took up the task of rolling back gains made in the battle for racial equality. After seeing case after case of police brutality go unpunished. After seeing people march through Charlottesville chanting racial epithets it’s clear racism was never over. It was simply simmering underground waiting for the right person and the right time to show itself again. Don’t misunderstand as a country we have made strides and we are clearly in a better place now but we still have a long road ahead of us and there can be no doubt that there is a segment of the population, many who wield power, that really don’t care about us.

I am the victim of police brutality, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of hate
You’re rapin’ me of my pride
Oh, for God’s sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy…
Set me free

Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, were not charged.
Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death in 2014, was not charged.

Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be

Sept. 22, 2017 Trump called on all NFL owners to “fire” all protesting players . The president also referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.”

October 31, 2017 Papa John’s CEO and founder slammed the NFL, blaming the league’s “poor leadership” on the pizza chain’s sales slump. “We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me

1967 – World champion boxer Muhammad Ali used his worldwide star power to take a stand against the Vietnam War by refusing to enlist in the military.

1968 – After winning gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith raised his fist in the air alongside his teammate and bronze medalist, John Carlos. As Smith explained to ABC Sports announcer Howard Cosell, “My raised right hand stood for the power in black America. Carlos’ raised left hand stood for the unity of black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.”

2014 – NBA teams broke dress code rules to protest police brutality, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups. The shirts referenced the last words of Eric Garner before he died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island.

Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 1963- Fire hoses and police dogs were used here today to disperse Negro students protesting racial segregation.

Selma, Ala., March 7 1965 – Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips here today to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery. At least 17 Negroes were hospitalized with injuries and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame

When these are the institutions that govern us, when black life is disposable, when black bodies are guilty before and after being proven innocent, when there is no recourse for injustice or even a belief that injustice has been done, when these institutions actively work to push inequality, we are dealing with something much more dangerous than a personal beef with blackness. – Mychal Denzel Smith the New York Times-bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

The 2016 election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box.  Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.

All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us

While most of the examples in this post were of African Americans all people of color suffer from the effects of racism and discrimination   While those in the LGBT community also deal with discrimination every day.  It’s November, election season, if you’re not registered go out and get registered.  Protest and calls for equality are nice but only when our voices are heard at the voting booths can we really make a difference to those who really don’t care about us

Lyrics in italics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us