Monday, February 19, 2018

Gun Control

It is hard to know what to say. Were I to be standing in front of a classroom of students, what could I say to them?

“We adults apparently do not care about you or your future lives. We seem to care more about the presumed rights of adult males to own automatic weapons intended solely to kill enemy forces in wartime. Although those adult males will never in fact use those automatic weapons for that purpose, they seem to feel inadequate without their automatic weapons.  And we wouldn’t want them to feel inadequate, would we? So we are exchanging your rights to full lives to accommodate the needs of these inadequate males. Poor souls. You understand, don’t you?”

And then, I might have to leave the classroom very quickly, so as to avoid being hit by blackboard erasers, or to listen to the children screaming at me. What would they be yelling about? Well, I assume they might be pissed because I was acting like a total idiot, a true enfant terrible, like most of our Congress persons, at least the ones on the payroll of the NRA.
We know the President is a true idiot, because he acts like one 75% of the time, you know, when he isn’t actually sleeping.   Apparently, we can now also conclude that the Congress persons on the payroll of the NRA are also idiots – From Wiki,
Idiot is a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτηςidiōtēs ("person lacking professional skill", "a private citizen", "individual"), from ἴδιοςidios ("private", "one's own").[1] In ancient Greece, people who were not capable of engaging in the public sphere were considered "idiotes. An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private—as opposed to public—affairs.[7] Idiocy was the natural state of ignorance into which all persons were born and its opposite, citizenship, was effected through formalized education.[7] In Athenian democracy, idiots were born and citizens were made through education”
Many of the postings on Facebook and other social media expressing the need for “gun control”, seem to evoke from the gunners in the land, the notion that we do not have a gun problem, because,
“Guns do not kill people. People kill people.”
One man even went on to describe how his gun could be placed on a table, and it would never operate on its own. Therefore, he asserted, gun control is not the issue, but rather, people control.
Yet, it we examine the globe, we can observe that, the United States is alone in the number and extent of mass shootings. In fact, all countries that have enacted serious gun control no longer have mass shootings.  Only in the US, are these shootings continuing and even increasing.  And it is not the case that Britain, or Australia, or Canada, et al, do not have at least some mentally unbalanced citizens. Folks with serious mental diseases seem to exist almost everywhere, but only in the US does that manifest itself in the form of multiple murders.  Often these atrocities take form within a school destroying our more vulnerable citizens, young students engaged in trying to learn to become citizens.   The mass shootings do not seem to occur with a crazed person armed with a single shot rifle, or pistol. No, that would be too difficult for the crazy person.  Instead, the weapon of choice seems to be that old standby, the AR-15.  The original AR-15 was manufactured by Colt and had a five round magazine. But Colt’s patent expired and other gun manufacturers began making AR-15 type semi-automatic rifles with some up to 30-round magazines.  The Orlando club shooting massacre was described as an AR-15 gun, but it was one of the many variants, the SIG Sauer MCX.
These weapons are often referred to as “assault” weapons. Why? Because that is their stated military purpose. See, they have no civilian purpose, certainly not hunting.  So, why the outcry against banning such obviously military style weapons?  All we can conclude is that their owners know no bounds to their view of the so-called Second Amendment rights to own guns. That amendment asserts:
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.
The arguments about this amendment have continued off and on for several centuries, and include arguments about the right of kings to disarm the citizens, especially citizens of a certain religious persuasion, in the days when Catholics and Protestants battled for control of the English land. It seems clear that a state militia was an important element in the early arguments about this right to bear arms, as was the right to hunt on their own lands.  Our Supreme Court decided that the individual right to bear arms was paramount and that the Second Amendment protected that right.
Still, arguments can and will continue over whether assault rifles can and should fall within this right, the Supreme Court notwithstanding. But it will take a serious Congressional debate, perhaps up to and including a debate about the need for a replacement Second Amendment. And that may not happen within my lifetime, mainly because we no longer have serious-minded persons within our Congress. 
The need for a Second Amendment debate seems clear, but it is and will continue to be impeded because our legislators are elected partly/perhaps mainly by virtue of private money from interests bent on protecting their own commercial interests.  In this case, the NRA, representing armaments manufacturers, has been able to convince (stress on “con”) its members to support their arguments that the government wants to take away their right to bear arms, any arms.  So, the NRA has multiple millions of dollars to essentially bribe Congress persons to avoid any and all serious debates on the issue of armaments control.  So, until such money is removed from the political system, this form of political bribery will continue and Congress persons will continue to be bought by private monied interests. So long as that exists, no serious gun control can occur. And as long as no serious gun control exists, continued mass shootings will continue in this country.  
We are and will be the laughing stock of the world in this respect. We are, simply, not serious people. And we will continue to value private commercial interests, over the lives of our children. Try explaining that to a classroom of students.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Taxes: The Glue of a Civilized Society

Taxes: Every quarter, we make out a check for the Feds and a check to the State of North Carolina for our quarterly income tax estimates. Then, of course, annually, we calculate our taxes due to each, and send in our tax filings for the year past.  Do we love this annual ritual? No, of course not. Do we think it is necessary, vital even? Of course we do. What’s not to hate about paying taxes? Well, for one, I regard taxes as a kind of glue of a civilized society.  It’s almost literally the thing that binds us together as civilized human beings.  What do we “buy” through our taxes? Well, things like roads and bridges, allowing us to move about in things called automobiles and trucks.  And then there’s those police forces that protect us from the ne’er-do-wells of the world.  Yes, we need quality policing to protect all of us.

Oh, and then we have one of the biggies—public education—that system republicans of the Trump stripe really hate.  Public education literally educates the vast bulk of our population. Yes, I know, the Trumpies, people like Betsy Devos have never attended a public school in their fortunate lives. But, as a result, Betsy missed something important, vital even. She missed out on an understanding of who Americans really are. Yes, in addition to learning the ABCs, and the 1,2,3’s, Betsy missed out on associating with real people, the ones who constitute America. She missed meeting and understanding what makes the vast middle class tick.  Because it is the public education system that created the middle class and it is the middle class that created America.  But Betsy doesn’t know that. She thinks it’s all the private forces in education that made us what we are. She’s wrong. But Betsy, apparently dumb as a pet rock, wants to slowly destroy our public education system and channel all that public money into private, even for-profit schools.  Again. Betsy is wrong, but we all know that.

Then we have health care. We really do seem all steamed up about health care. Heaven forfend that people should have access to quality health care. They might actually remain healthy and live long lives. And wouldn’t that be terrible.  We seem to be the only vaguely civilized nation on earth that fails to guarantee our entire population with access to quality health care.  Yeah, Trump loves those white Norwegians. He welcomes them to migrate to America. But Norwegians just laugh at this proclamation. Why would they do that, they ask? They have a profoundly better system of government that makes their lives profoundly better than they might have here. For one thing, they all have guaranteed health care. So, they laugh at his dumb idea.  

And as they laugh, Trump looks at ways to reduce the Federal commitments to providing even our elderly with quality health care. See, he can buy his own health care, so he doesn’t need Federal systems, like Medicare and Medicaid.

And within that vast arena called health care, we have or used to have an array of programs intended to enhance our systems.  Programs intended to assure a more effective distribution of health care practitioners around the country. Programs intended to deliver the numbers and quality of the many different kinds of health care practitioners needed by our population.  And within that vast arena are also programs intended to carry out research—research on human ailments at NIH, research on drugs at FDA, research on new and better ways to deliver health care.  But our bozo president doesn’t understand any of that, because he can’t read.  So, it’s no use giving him copies of reports on any of these programs, because he won’t understand any of those reports.

So, apparently, mainly because he doesn’t understand anything, he wants to zero fund a whole host of programs and agencies.  We all know, the five-time draft dodger loves his military and, especially his generals and his tanks and planes. So, he wants to give them a lot of money. But all dictators everywhere first and foremost love their military. It’s how they remain in power, or so they reckon.  It’s why he wants his parade, so his military can pass by and salute him—honor him he thinks.  He fails to understand that the Nazi’s he salutes and speaks favorably about, are the very ones are military fought to defeat, and that our military people actually despise Nazi’s and others of their ilk.  Although Trump has managed to surround himself with some generals who never knew a bad wife-beater, most generals frown on such things.  But Trump doers love blowing up things, so he wants even more money, our public tax money, for the toys used to blow things up.

But on the agencies that don’t specialize in blowing things up, our President wants to eliminate their funding. Not just, marginally reduce their funding, but eliminate it altogether.  I guess his budget choices should come as no surprise to any of us. He has been routinely appointing folks to head these agencies who seem to fundamentally disagree with the basic premise of the agency.  So, he places in charge of public education, someone who has zero experience of public education and who actively opposes public education. He puts in charge of EPA someone who does not understand climate change and who thinks the polluting industries (the Koch brothers come to mind here) are just fine and dandy for America.  Similarly, because he finds all Federal regulations burdensome, he puts people in charge of those regulations who are fundamentally opposed to their purposes.  Even St. Ronald of Reagan didn’t do that for heaven’s sake.

And then he pretends to sponsor a vast array of infrastructure development ideas, to improve our crumbling infrastructure, you know, bridges falling down, roads falling apart, and rail systems crumbling. But then he tosses out another of his wishful thinking proposals, like his Mexico Wall that Mexico will pay for. In this instance, he wants the infrastructure all restored by tossing a minor amount of Federal money at it, but then the States and locales, like Mexico, will really finance the bulk of it.

Oh, and never forget his disdain for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and its agents like the National Public Radio. Because Trump has been bought by Murdoch and the Faux News Network, he thinks PBS and all those folks are out to get him, because they try really hard to practice even-handed journalism, and he really cannot stand such broadcasting.  See, "even-handed" does not mean slavish fawning over the Drumpf, and he can't stand that. So, zero-funding it is.

And his republican colleagues and partners don’t break out in laughter at his proposals.  There are a few republicans who find his proposals absurd, but their voices seem drowned out by the chorus of approval from the Paul Ryan crowd and the 30 odd percent in the land who still approve this absurdist, masquerading as our president.  Republicans have now shifted from being conservative to being anarchists, like Paul Ryan.  They really don’t want any government, except for the shoot’m-up variety.

And so that glue that binds us together as a civilized society becomes slowly but surely undone.  And, at the same rate, our nation gradually becomes less civilized.

There is no hope for any of this, save one—VOTING. Yes, this insanity called the Trump Federal Government, is reversible, but only if rational people get out to vote. Regardless of the Republican efforts to devise ways to deny people the right to vote, it is still possible to get out, get registered, and VOTE. I would say, Vote Out the Rascals. But these people are not rascals. They are dangerous, ignorant tyrants. The entire Republican Party has gone off the rails of sanity.  They no longer deserve the support of ordinary, thinking Americans.  

So, consider our future, Americans. And do your duty as patriotic citizens. Restore our democracy.  

Bring back thoughtfulness. 

Reintroduce the Enlightenment. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Growing Funny

Retirement Home Calendar

The Contilia  Retirement Group in Essen, Germany, made what is  probably the best calendar ever with a few of their seniors.

According  to German press, 5000 calendars were printed.  And they were given out to  residents of the Senior Centre, along with relatives and staff.

The calendar models were interviewed about the project and said it was a ton of fun to dress up as their favorite actors.

The  shoot was done with professional stylists and photographers to make sure everything looked as cool as possible.

The  oldest senior involved with the calendar was 98 years OLD!


James  Bond
Wilhelm Buiting, 89


Breakfast  at Tiffany's
Marianne Brunsbach, 86

Erna Rütt, 86, and Alfred Kelbch, 81


Erwin J von der Heiden, 80

Mary  Poppins
Erna Schenk, 78

The  Seven Year Itch
Ingeborg Giolbass, 84, and Erich Endlein, 88


Blues  Brothers
Lothar Wischnewski, 76 and Margarete Schmidt, 77


Martha Bajohr, 77


Joanna Trachenberg, 81 and Horst Krischat, 78


Saturday Night Fever
Irmgard Alt, 79 and Siegfried Gallasch, 87


Dirty  Dancing
Johann Liedtke, 92 and Marianne Pape, 79


Easy  Rider
Walter Loeser, 98 and Kurt Neuhaus, 90


'Growing old' is Mandatory,
'Growing up' is Optional!!
If you haven't grown up by the time you are FIFTY

Well then you don't have to!!!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Stealing Lives

We have been watching another of our host of British mysteries, this one, The Fall. It is all about a sadist who murders young women. In the afterworld, where I actually think, I have been thinking about what someone is doing when they take another person’s life, especially a young person. What are we, after all, but a body of human experience potential? Someone who is, say, 30, has stored within 50, 60, even 70 years of potential experiences, many pleasant, even beautiful ones.  So, taking that person’s life is robbing them of those experiences. At one level, the act of murder is an act of the moment. It arguably gives the perpetrator a moment of pleasure at the act. But, it is really stealing a lifetime of experiences from the person so deprived. But the perpetrator doesn’t even think of the act in those terms—as taking away years of experiences in exchange for a single moment of . . .  of what . . . pleasure?

And then I thought, but what about acts we commit that alter a person’s life in some unpleasant way? We decide to define the world into castes, in which some folks are at the top and some are at the bottom—the throw-aways of our world. What are we doing by such an act? Well, we are forcing the folks so defined as the bottom-dwellers to a lifetime of misery, instead of a lifetime of happiness.  See we actually know that, but we mostly don’t think of our acts in such terms—stealing a person’s lifetime of happy experiences so that we can live better today. That is the actual price of our chosen path.
Similarly, when we embarked on a campaign to enslave people, we were stealing from those people their future lives, some of which would be filled with happy experiences. We stole their lives, much as if we had just killed them.

And then, today, when we smugly deride whole groups of people labeling them as desirable or undesirable, because of the color of their skin, or because they believe in a god different than our God, or because they are of a different gender, we are changing their lives in ways we cannot even predict, but ways likely to be less happy, and more stressful. So, again, we are stealing from those people, something we actually do not own, but can control—the future experiences of those other people.

But do we commit such acts of theft knowing the grotesque effects of the acts we are committing? Not likely. Mainly, we choose not to think, because thinking is difficult, and involves making choices we may not be comfortable making.

Life is but a balancing act. Life requires us to think so as to maintain a balance between good and harm. Some, perhaps many, folks prefer not to think overly much, because thinking requires mental agility, and acting on rote convictions is often more convincing and, just, easier.
So, acts of racism, or bigotry, or misogyny, or simple cruelty can become our preferred lifestyle—thereby defining our own lifetime of experiences.

Kindness could arguably also become a lifestyle. Kindness is less certain than emotional violence (racism), but it might actually spread, because an act of kindness could become contagious. Others might also begin to choose kindness rather than violence, but only those who actually think about life and the consequences of our individual acts.

Would it not be a better world, if we all tried to eliminate hate and inserted kindness instead?

Wow, what a concept . . . kindness instead of hate. What a wonderful world it might be . . .

Monday, January 22, 2018

Can We Be This Bad?

It is becoming difficult to comment intelligently on our increasingly bizarre pseudo-government headed by arguably the most incompetent CEO in the Nation, perhaps even the world.  Every day some new embarrassment occurs, generally triggered by that inept CEO, masquerading as our president.

And what is nearly as bad, it would seem that he—President Stupidhead—has unleashed every whacko and right wing fascist in the country to fill the airwaves with amazing pronouncements. The other day, I was listening to an interview with one of the many anti-abortion folks in the country. The interviewer asked whether she had any doubts about her support for Trump, given his behavior. She said something like, “well, all politicians lie, or say dumb things. I really don‘t care about those things. The only thing I care is about is his support for the anti-abortion movement.” First, he has probably paid for more than one abortion, given his sex history, so he is at best a pretend supporter of anti-abortion. But the lady’s utterance, suggested to me that, had Adolph Hitler espoused support for anti-abortion, this woman would have supported Adolph Hitler.  And the awful part is that I doubt she is actually pro-life (Hitler support aside) at all. Because, I assume that she will do nothing to actually support children once they are born. Instead, I think she is simply anti-sex. She is opposed to women enjoying sex for anything other than to produce babies, a classic evangelical stance.
And then there are the coal miners, who continue to support him because he promised to bring back coal jobs.  Now, when he fails to make coal king again, how will they rationalize their ongoing support? I imagine they will say, “well, he really has been trying, but the opposition democrats will not let him fulfill his promises. It isn’t his fault.”

And then, when his popular support drops inevitably to below, say, 20%, I assume he will go out on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, pull out a gun, shoot someone—anyone at random I assume—then claim that he is trying to defend America against the rapists and murderers allowed into the country by Obama and Hillary Clinton. And then his support will again climb above 20%.  And he will resume eating cheeseburgers in bed and watching Fox News.

Shitholes . . . I imagine all of the shitholes of the world are now marshalling their forces so as to empty their supplies of shit and mail them to Washington, DC, so that we take our place as the Number One Shithole in this poor benighted world. Yes, he will make America Great Again. We are the King of Shitholes!

And his supporters will applaud.

See, many of the commentators in our land still think that support for him will decline once . . . but once what? Everyone in America knows what he is like. We all know all the ghastly details of his awfulness. There are no important surprises left.  His supporters are like members of a religious cult, who, knowing that the cult is a scam, and that the priests are scum, continue to forge strong ties and continue yelling support, and even praying to their non-existent deities, because it is all they have.  There is nowhere for them to go, because all other avenues are closed and barricaded to them. They know everyone agrees that they are a true “basket of deplorables” and they are going to continue acting their respective parts faithfully.

Maybe we should stop calling them deplorable? But that wouldn’t help, because they don’t want forgiveness from the rest of us, or making nice. They like acting this way, supporting an awful narcissistic, sociopath who lies every time he opens his mouth, because, well, he is their narcissistic sociopath.

Will they stop voting for him, the next time around? Probably not. The only hope seems to be to seriously outvote them—like 2 or 3 to 1.  Not just beating him by 3 percentage points, but by 30 percentage points, just so there is no doubt this time around.  Oh, and then he will whine, but eventually he will go back to doing what he knows best—screwing the public out of its money.  And his kids can back to screwing the public out of its money also.

This is all fairly baffling to me. How this nation could have possibly changed so rapidly. I mean, I’ve been around for a while now.  The first presidency of which I was aware was FDR, and I have been paying attention ever since. Whether I agreed or disagreed with the person in power, or with the party in power, I still respected the fact that they seemed to be trying to better the nation. I never actually thought any of them were trying to destroy us as a country, a republic.  And yes, there were changes. I mean, Nixon??? Reagan??? How could we seriously elect such people? But neither seemed aimed at our utter destruction.

But now, we seem to have normalized bizarre behavior.  He lies; he is a serial sexual predator; he refuses to pay people who do work for him; he operates true fraudulent enterprises, without apparent penalty; he (allegedly) colludes with hostile foreign governments; he seems completely ignorant of any of the policies, programs and entities over which he rules; he makes formal pronouncements, ignorant ones at that, via Twitter, a braindead social media system. He has a cabinet that he apparently ignores. He taunts dangerous foreign powers, opening the possibility of nuclear disaster.  We could go on, but I am tiring.  All of the above are known to all of us. Yet, we continue allowing him to sit in the Oval Office as our CEO, making us the laughing stock of the world. We seemingly no longer care how idiotic we appear to everyone around the globe, from friends to foes.
And we just continue going on, making believe we can somehow survive and prosper again as a free nation.  It all makes me wonder just what the Germans thought somewhere in the 1940s.

I continue awaiting the adults to appear. Maybe we have none left. Perhaps they have all gone to bed, sucking their thumbs.

Later dudes and dudettes.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

 And so we close out another year in our now weird normality. Yeah, weird is the new normal. I guess I really do not understand America any longer. I mean, you would think, after existing here for some 83 years, I would have some reasonable understanding of this place I call home.   I used to imagine that I was pretty much one of several norms here. Now, I believe I am on the outer fringe of a new planet called Exo-Amerika.

A crap star of a crappy TV series about no-talents, in which the crap star gets to fire the no-talents on the show is now President—tell me again why anyone on this planet watched that show? And he overcame all of the relatively experienced politicians in our land to become our President?  And he daily demonstrates his incapacity for even the most minor chores of that job.   He doesn’t understand even the most trivial parts of the Presidency, mainly, I assume, because he apparently cannot read. And because he cannot read, he is abysmally ignorant.

He uses Twitter because it is a techno-vehicle designed for people who can neither read nor write. It’s almost as though Twitter was designed expressly for Donald Trump. And that seems to be his sole communications vehicle.  When he gets up in front of an audience to speak, he just babbles incoherently.

He embarrasses us almost every hour of every day, to the point where our various news and pseudo-news (Fox & Friends) people no longer know how/whether to cover him. But because he is a “reality-TV star”, he demands daily/hourly TV coverage.  It’s all he really wants, so he keeps doing and saying monumentally stupid things to get their attention.

And he won’t/can’t change, because it is who he is.  He could get worse over time, say depressed when he begins to understand that even his pseudo-News folks think he’s an idiot. Then he will likely up the ante—say bomb someplace he doesn’t like (North Korea anyone??). It’s what we have to look forward to folks. How inspiring, how uplifting.

But on the positive side, we now understand the good Christian folks out there in EvangeLand.  There is no longer any surprises there. They clearly are telling us that they have no moral or ethical principles at all. They are in love with The Donald and he is as completely amoral as anyone on the planet. So their love affair tells us everything we need to know about them.  Nothing here folks; time to move on.

Perhaps as an antidote, I have begun reading an interesting book about the evolution of the mind. It is called  From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Daniel Dennett. It is a bit of a challenge in that it is no ordinary text about evolution. The author takes issue with almost everyone. Part of the challenge of the book is that he takes issue, or sides with various “others” while in the act of explaining his theses. So far, I have not yet advanced enough to summarize his main argument (I think actually he has too many arguments for me to ever summarize). So far, I am beginning to imagine that humans are simply one of millions of entities that are slowly adapting and, in some cases disappearing over millennia. We are rocks, or moss, or fish, or bacteria, or . . . We think we are more significant than we are, because it is us.  One reviewer concludes his analysis of the book with this:

Civilisation, he reminds us, is a work in progress. It may die, returning the planet to the bacteria, or, if human sociality can transcend our current problems, it can thrive. The future is open.

So, when I think about The Donald and his minions, I am drawn back to bacteria.  Everyone is trying to survive, even if at the expense of everything else on this planet.  Whether we survive as a species may well depend on our ability to transcend. But before we can transcend, we must comprehend. And that Sherlock is our current problem.
Happy New Year Everyone.

See you in 2018 . . . hopefully.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tax Bills We Have Known

So, now, the infamous Republican Tax Bill has passed and will become law. We know President Stupidhead will sign it, because it benefits him and his family, and because he cares not one whiffle about anyone else. He does not care, nor has he ever cared.  But when Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa writes this view, we know no one in that party of kleptocrats cares:

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing… as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Many people are speculating what this disastrous tax bill will do for the future of the Republican Party.  It is said that the rich owners of the party would not allow their politicians to escape without gifting this bit of largesse to the owners, and that they would withdraw support, should the party leaders fail to obey their orders.

But what of ordinary folks? How will they respond once they see what is actually in this pile of horseshit? Well, it is said that the supporters of our disaster called a President will continue supporting anything this creature proposes. There is something of a religion about this relationship between Trump and his supporters. They ignore any and all facts.

  • He is a compleat narcissist. We don’t care.
  • He is a sexual predator. We don’t care.
  • He is a businessman. Yes, we love him for that.
  • But he is almost completely unsuccessful as a businessman. We don’t care. 
  • He knows nothing. We don’t care.
  • He has failed at his marriages. We don’t care.

And the list goes on and on. The Evangelicals love him, warts and all. They are revealed to have no ethical or moral standards at all.  

How did this happen, though? Have his supporters always lacked moral or ethical standards? Or is this like the Catholic Church scandals, where we all knew, but no one was allowed to speak of it? Bad form, don’t you know. It’s called compartmentalization.

It is said that the issue of ethics or morality is not really the point. That his supporters really just hate (take your pick):
  • ·         Government
  • ·         Democrats
  • ·         Women
  • ·         Poor people
  • ·         Gays/Lesbians
  • ·         Young people
  • ·         Old people
  • ·         Blacks (or more to the point, anyone not “white”)
  • ·         Hispanics
  • ·         Asians
  • ·         Anyone not within their church (community, neighborhood, state, whatever)

In particular, his supporters appear to think that Government really is the enemy of their particular group, and that Government gives their hard-earned tax dollars to those wastrel peasants, who are sitting at home drinking booze instead of working hard at their jobs, like they are (or like they want to be).
There is a class consciousness at work in this country, promoted, I think, by the wealthy right-wing, asserting that they, the very wealthy, are the ones who built (or sustain, or create) the Nation and that there are millions who simply sit on their asses and collect Government largesse, and that it is now time that should end.  They declare that welfare should end, government supported health care should end. Abortions should be illegal. Immigration should be stopped, except for the folks who come from (name your country).
Government should get out of their lives, except for:
  • ·         Army
  • ·         Police
  • ·         Garbage Men
  •        Well, maybe the firemen too. Wouldn’t want my estate house to burn down, would we?

So, what does that have to do with Trump and his supporters? Well, Trump basically said that Government sucks and that he would get that awful creature off their backs.  He never said how he would do that, mainly because he hasn’t a clue how to do anything.  He simply mouths crap that he thinks will draw applause.  Then he goes on to the next applause line.  He has never actually had to do anything, well aside from having sex with his various female partners, so as to produce his offspring.  Aside from those acts, someone else has always had to “DO” things for him. I still imagine someone else attending class for him, in his name. Maybe that didn’t actually happen, but it seems right to me . . . maybe the only way I can imagine him actually obtaining a college degree—well, even a high school diploma.
See, he doesn’t ever actually mean anything he says. He just says things, as I say, to draw applause.

So, when he says he wants to “make America great again”, he doesn’t know what that means. I wonder what he would say were he to be asked, “when was America last GREAT, Donald?”

But his followers seem not to notice that he doesn’t actually know how to do anything.  Perhaps they don’t care. So long as he stops whoever they see as “The Government” from operating (screwing them). And if were to be pointed out that the folks doing the screwing are actually The Donald, his banker friends, and his other monied buddies, they would yell and scream NO.  They “compartmentalize”.

Exactly how and why folks became able to so compartmentalize their thinking remains a bit of a mystery to me. Sherlock, where are you, we need you now desperately. Perhaps it is simply the thinking process of lazy people. They want simple answers, even when there are no simple answers.  I wrote a while ago about the need to achieve balance in the world. I said:
  I.       In economic matters, extremes do not work. Under Bush, we shifted dangerously in the direction of a fascist state—that is, a state in which private owners of businesses dictate government policies. The inevitable result is Enron, et al, as well as the collapsed financial system. We have been drifting in that direction for quite some time now, even under Clinton. Everyone has been so concerned with government regulation that they failed to notice that unregulated business is as dangerous as unchecked government. One gives you fascism; the other socialism. Private business interests must always be checked to assure that the public is protected. So too must government overseers. Balance in everything is the answer. But balance requires mental agility. The public has little patience—they want the world to operate on autopilot. They need to be convinced that a world in which competing interests are balanced is both an efficient world, and a world that is worthy.
2.                We need to pay for what we need. The Republican Party has been, almost as a matter of policy, fiscally irresponsible. They practice “charge and spend” politics. We will now have to pay for their profligacy. The public—the thinking public—needs to understand that we cannot continue on the course they charted and followed. Mainly the rest of the world will not allow us to continue on this course. They will simply stop buying our debt and then it will end, badly. Taxes are the way we pay for our policies.  Taxes are neither good nor bad, in the abstract. They represent the price of operating our country, or, perhaps, the glue of a civilized society.
3.             We must pursue policies that are aimed at preserving the Earth. We need to conserve. We need to pursue alternative energy policies. We need to use economic forces to create a demand for energy-efficiency and energy independence. Under Bush and Cheney, we have pursued policies promoting wasteful energy consumption, mainly because he and his advisers represent the extractive industries. We need to tax wasteful energy consumption, so as to encourage wiser use of Earth’s limited resources.
4.            We must pursue a policy of economic independence for all our citizens. During my career, I worked for seven organizations over a 45 year career. For 20 of those years, I worked for several large and small companies that contributed nothing beyond Social Security for my retirement. Bush and his republican allies have attempted on numerous occasions to threaten that reserve. If indeed we wish to get rid of Social Security, we do not need to “privatize” it. We need to pass legislation that forces every economic entity in the country to pay into a portable retirement system. TIAA-CREF comes to mind—the system used by most universities and non-profits. If the private sector would begin to live up to its responsibilities by a mandatory contribution system, we would not need Social Security. Take the system used by universities and non-profits and replicate it throughout the whole of the private sector. Do not allow companies to wriggle out by use of part-time workers. If they employ part-time workers, they still pay full retirement benefits. Otherwise, leave Social security alone.
5.                Republicans, continue in their zeal to scuttle public education. We need to begin working with the states to repair the currently deplorable state of public education. In our area of North Carolina, they seem comfortable with a dropout rate of 35%.  Think of that. We can do better. Indeed, we are losing ground to the rest of the world, and we are at risk of becoming a country of stupid people. Charter schools, especially for-profit charter schools, and worse, fake private schools that are on-line, are not an answer.
6.              We must examine carefully the structure of government. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was an absurd idea—a solution in search of a problem. Think of it. The CIA and the FBI wouldn’t communicate and were demonstrably inept, so we forced the Coast Guard, FEMA, and the rest to become one entity. An idea only a truly stupid person could embrace.  Structure is not the answer when the problem is an absence of thoughtful consideration of available evidence. 
There were a few other points that need not be repeated here. What we continue to need is watchful citizens—citizens who are willing to question both private commercial interests and public government interests. Corruption is a problem that will always be with us, so long as we have serious economic imbalances and so long as we have citizens who are basically dishonest—remember both the corrupters and the corruptees are dishonest.  Both need to be exposed and punished. It is why, by the way, that we continue to need whistle-blowers.  Transparency is key here, and we definitely do not have transparent systems in either the public or private realms (thanks again Supremes).

We all need to stand up and be counted. And that means we need to vote, regardless of the efforts by the GOP to prevent folks from voting.  If you don’t vote, you will get the government you deserve.