It’s All In The Way That You Say It

The right wing in America has taken over our political language. Nearly all international politics are framed in terms of the neo-con agenda, nearly all economic discussion is framed in terms of the neo-liberal agenda. Don’t be fooled by the use of the word “liberal”; the neo-lib’s economics are a conservative cornerstone.

One of the most abused term by most Liberals who have adopted neo-lib economics is the phrase “taxpayer’s money”. How many charts have we seen saying how much the average taxpayer pays to support our war machine vs. items such as food stamps? But the use of the term “taxpayer money” does not truly convey an average, instead it implies that each dollar individuals pay in taxes is like a voting share of stock in the corporation called The United States of America. Those that are in the top 5% get a bigger say because they pay significantly more than the lower-income 95%. And what about those that directly pay no federal income taxes, are their needs diminished because they “contribute” less? While you may think my assertions here are not what is meant when you use the term “taxpayer money”, in practice that is what is happening.

So, lets all adopt the phrase “Public money”. A chart that says only 2% public money is spent on welfare such as food stamps, implies that federal spending is not a corporate stock vote, but instead a reflection of our values. Did not Rabbi Jesus ask that we not forget the poor among us? Is the US a corporation or a nation by and for the people? Over time, slight alterations in framing debates, change the actual out comes; try public money on for size, you might find it a comfortable fit.

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Had Enough Yet?

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Clause 1 – A well regulated militia

This clause introduces the right for the existence of well regulated militias. It be hard to argue against the words “well regulated” means anything other than subject to laws and regulations. It clearly also means that militias that are formed outside of the laws and regulations created for militias are not covered by this amendment.

Clause 2 – being necessary to the security of a free state

This clarifies who is responsible for creating the militia and why. The states will create these militias, not the federal government. The reason was to allow states to keep their citizens safe. The underlying reason for that was that post revolutionary America was in turmoil, with numerous rebellions popping up all across the country. The Articles of Confederation did not provide for state militias, and so the federal government was responsible for putting down the rebellions. Additionally, in the chaos many slaves in the South were escaping to the North. A state level militia would allow states to enforce their slavery laws.

Clause 3 – the right of the people to keep and bear arms

Here we have the first clause of this amendment that provides the right to own and carry weapons. If it had been stated first then it would not subject to the limitations in the first two clauses. The people here are members of the citizen’s militia, regulated by the state to secure the safety of their fellow citizens.

Clause 4 – shall not be infringed

The kicker, the clause most used to emphasize that the government is powerless to regulate the ownership of weapons. But, by looking at the entire amendment, which is one sentence consisting of four clauses, each clarifying the previous clause. But what the entire sentence means is that State regulated militias manned by citizen/soldiers shall be allowed to carry weapons, and the federal government cannot outlaw state regulated militias.

Its time for the US to move into the 21st century and restrict with sensible legislation that reduces the number of guns owned. If you participated in the orgy of thoughts and prayers for the kids and teachers who died the other day, then remember that your prayers are only as good as your actions. If you don’t act, then your prayers are not answered.

There is fear in the air, and blame all around

I’m going to start this rant, and it is most certainly a rant, talking a little bit about former President Obama. And Israel. Near the end of Obama’s timer in office he allowed a UN vote to proceed that seriously reprimanded Israel for their ongoing actions of apartheid and prejudice against the Palestinian people. It was a typical “doing the right thing” but too little, too late. And now we are seeing the outcome of the decades long US propensity to turn a blind eye to Israel’s bad behavior. Israel is on the brink of war with both Syria and Iran, the US remains silent while Russia pleads publicly for restraint from all sides.
Meanwhile the US Progressives – real Progressives, not Democrats, as a party they are not Progressive – pile on the condemnations of Israel. And I would fully concur, but not when so many don’t stop with expressing their dismay with the state of Israel, they extend it to Jews. Often they bury it under the term Zionism. A word that merely means that Zionist Jews claim the land of Israel as their ancestral home. PERIOD. FULL STOP. Just as some Christians and some Muslims as well as others have twisted a tenet of their religion to justify horrible behavior, the same is true of Jews and Zionism.
But even that is not the reason behind this rant. Over the past 6 months I have seen posted almost weekly on FB a list of prominent Americans that are identified as having dual citizenship in the US and Israel. The post usually goes on to point out that these people cannot be trusted due to their dual citizenship. Amazingly, about 99% of the list are Jewish politicians. The implication is clear, and to any Jew, terrifying. Singling out people as enemies of the nation they are serving truly does echo the tactics of Nazis. And remember, the people posting this are supposedly open-minded Progressives. They stand up and salute BLM (so do I); they cheer as the LGBTQ community steps closer to equality (I cheer as well); they are proud of the #MeToo women (I am too); they get mad that the Dems don’t put it on the line for the Dreamers (I do too); they condemn Jews and I get mad.
But let me get back to the list. It is not true. Those people do not have dual citizenship. They are Jewish, and the state of Israel has what is called the Law of Return. Any Jew from anywhere can go to Israel and claim citizenship, and just like the small print on any special offer – some restrictions may apply. Numerous times I have tried to explain why the writers of the list are saying that every Jew in Congress has dual citizenship. It is because of the Law of Return. And, by perpetuating this myth over and over. More than just myself point out why this is not true, and I have yet to read once, even once. “Sorry I didn’t know that”
I find that behavior to happen so consistently that I have to regretfully inform anyone that believes such anti-semitic crap to unfriend me. And believe me, this list is only one example. Please just because Israel is a Jewish nation and most Jews support it’s right to exist does not mean we all support the way it exists. And I can say the same for the US, and that is something Progressives – real ones – would agree with me.

Nunes and the Constitutional Crises

In case you haven’t noticed the Nunes Memo is out. Somewhere some publisher is contracting with CNN and Fox or some other political “news” entity to publish it with alternating articles dissecting each paragraph from the view of the left and the right. Buy it now and form your very own worthless opinions!
If this memo was a high school exercise in encapsulating an important set of meetings into an easier to digest 4 page overview it would fail. Any document of such import is bound to simplify more complicated issues when boiled down to a few pages. However there needs to be what is called footnotes. Actual documentation of what is being asserted is not made. For instance when it states that the political origination of the Steele Dossier were not revealed to the FISA court, that statement cannot be accepted as true without providing the supporting document. Even if the document cannot be publicly released. When an assertion like that is made, and if it is not true, then the accuser is guilty of the exact same “crime”.  This possibility cannot be ignored. The same is true of those that claim the accusation is not true. In other words an unproven accusation is little more than a rumor passed around on small piece of paper in a junior high classroom. (tee hee)
And the memo is chock full of rumors and accusations aimed to dismiss the incomplete timelines and the lack of coherently connecting anything to its target, the Mueller investigation. Which is the only thing that makes any sense in the entire document, since the Mueller investigation grew from concern over the validity of Trump’s election, and has since developed nothing in that realm, regardless of the twisty pretzel logic lines Rachel Maddow puts on TV nearly daily.
The big takeaway from the Nunes (that was not even written or read by Nunes) memo is simply that even though the Constitution laid out some very simple ground rules for how courts in the US must operate, the FISA court breaks nearly every single one of those rules. Having a secret court opens the door for fraud such as the memo’s supporters claims it exposes. That is the real Constitutional Crises and it did not begin on January 20, 1017.

WAKE UP! Economics Lecture Underway!!

When somebody starts talking about economics do you gaze off into the distance wondering, if he will ever get back to discussing something more engaging like why curve ball hitters tend to reach their peak later than fast ball hitters? If that describes your take on economics then you need to pay attention. NOW!
Economics is a way to discuss policy and how it impacts each and every one of us. Like any social science (bet you snoozed through social studies in the 7th grade!) it is unequal parts science, history, guess-work, math, bull shit, and of course engaging repartee. Your economic view-point is built up from your political leanings, as well as your social priorities. So why pay attention to details, NOW? Pick a political philosophy and let the economists who adhere to that philosophy determine how the economy works. That is what people have always done why is NOW different.
The difference is simple, and it is well-known, and politicians and economists to varying degrees are pretending to tell you they have it all under control. But they don’t. Much of that is because they are comfortable with working things out the way they used to be. Others, mostly politicians, believe they get more votes when the discussion of economics centers around taxpayer money. At the Federal level, there is no such thing as taxpayer money. Until the Federal government spends money; no money exists. Once taxes are collected, no money exists. poof! gone!
Perhaps you may realize that when money only exists after government spends it, changes entirely the paradigm about how we look at economics. It is a powerful revelation and our politicians need to know NOW that we know it.

Ice Cream, Oreos, and Visions from the Future

In the Sunday Region section of today’s Boston Sunday Globe there was a “debate” about having potentially the largest pot farm in the nation in the northeast corner of MA, where I live. The location of this farm echoes into my past, and it high lights the reality of non linear time, a topic of discussion my wife and I frequently had during our recent cross-country trip. And that ain’t even why I am writing this post!

But the non linear time story is certainly worth telling. About 40 years ago, my friend’s younger brother, Mark, revealed to us that he had seen pot plants growing right off the road in the very same town where this large farm is now being planned. Mark and I drove up there to investigate and perhaps save some money 🙂 , his brother thought we were both nuts and stayed home. Of course, we never found anything and that was because Mark had glimpsed through time and what he saw was not yet there.

Back to the article in the North section of the Sunday Globe.

The person against the farm, made one point that has been made 1000 times a day for the past 50 or more years. Yup, the old anecdote about someone who noted they first got high on pot and from there soon became another victim of the opioid crises.

Usually I just let that cliché remark roll away forgotten, but today I considered it and actually thought it through. I’m thinking in retrospect it may have been the effects from my second big mug of strong Indian tea. But with all due sympathy and consideration for those caught up in the opioid crises, I realized that pot was not their gateway drug.

I am fairly certain that approximately 99.99% of all opioid addicts got there first high not from pot, but from ice cream. The other .01% got theirs from Oreo cookies. Does not, even today, the first spoonful or lick of ice cream brings a rush of joy to your brain and throughout your entire body and being. Isn’t Ice cream wonderful? Oreos are pretty close too.

Of course, I may be wrong, since I have never experienced opioids, so perhaps the comparison is weak. But don’t depressed people gouge themselves on ice cream. Could we can prevent opioid addiction by banning ice cream and Oreos? The pot ban cerainly hasn’t helped. Nonetheless, I think we can now officially take pot off the list of gateway drugs.

How would you like to be King or Queen for a Day!

With the sudden ascension of Oprah on the political stage it seems that a trip down memory lane all the way back to 2015 through 2016 is needed. I have read a few posts proclaiming that because Oprah is being talked about as a candidate in 2020 we should take it seriously. We are now in the era of the celebrity candidate, and America only trusts wealthy performers anymore. Hillary lost because she could not do a performance speech, is the noise I hear. Hillary lost because she had no answers for what troubles Americans, she had no credibility and all her so-called achievements were on paper only. Hillary lost because she was not qualified, Trump won in spite of not being qualified. Trump had answers, and most of those answers depended on him being able to deliver.

Whether he has or not is a matter of opinion.

There was also another dynamic behind Trump’s success, that could play a major part in someone like Oprah Winfrey actually running for president. The media. Les Moonves called it straight when he noted that Trump might make a horrible President, but he is great for CBS. Moonves is the Chairman of the Board at CBS. Not only did the media, all the media, not just CBS cover Trump 24/7 during the primaries but they did nothing about examining his qualifications to be President. Granted, they did not do a very good job of that on any candidate, except Sanders. Perhaps it was because of the Socialist label but Sanders was being asked for details of his proposals that could only be answered once the legislation is actually written. All others, but especially Trump, were never held accountable for their statements about policy.

Was there any interviews with other business executive that did business with him? And fellow students at college, were their memories talked about? Trump was just covered 24/7, even mildly critically at times, but still talked about. There is no doubt that the out of proportion coverage of Trump only validated in many minds his agenda. Which was tailored as only a salesman could to give the voters (customers) exactly what they wanted to hear. It was, in the end the media propped up salesman that won, not the celebrity. The media propped him up as a celebrity but people voted for who they though was a very successful businessman who spoke raw truths. The media failed to show us how unsuccessful he really was, and I am still waiting to hear from former employees. Why?

Stop blaming Trump voters being deplorable, stop blaming voters not voting, stop blaming Hillary or Bernie. In the it was our First amendment Free Press that failed.

OK Probably Hillary and the DNC are somewhat to blame, but their narcotizing blather might have been a major step backwards.