Tuesday, September 24, 2019


I listen to the young lady, Greta Thunberg, and I think, wow, you got it right. You are righteously angry, and for all the right, righteous reasons. You are looking power in the eyes, and speaking truth.  But then what?  Are the people listening? Or are the people dividing themselves into their respective warring camps, and then muttering or shouting to their own, “Psshahhh, methinks she babbles on . . . she’s autistic you know. . . she knows not whereof she speaks.” And then Fox News kicks in, and the idiot malenfants of the Faux News Network begin their mindless babbling about how awful are these people.

And when it is all over, when the young lady’s prophecy about this being another species extinction begins to come true, those remaining behind will decry the industrialists who refused to cease destroying the globe. And how it is all the fault of the Koch’s (properly pronounced Cock’s) of the world.

And, in part, they will of course be right, however useless will be their mutterings at that late stage.  But, they will have also missed a larger point, and a larger group to blame for the mass extinction of humans. That larger group will be all those folks who supported by their mutterings and by their votes, the right wing climate deniers—Trump, McConnell, and the entire republican cabal.

I still observe with great frequency people who respond to criticism of Trump with, “greatest president we have ever had . . . or, God sent Donald Trump to become our president, to restore our greatness.”
And I wonder, are these folks from another planet, and so, they can neither read, nor understand English? Or, what kind of god do these folks worship who would send to earth this psychopathic narcissist to wreak such damage on the commonweal?” Really, you think Trump was sent by god??? How pathetic is your god.
But how is any of this even possible? I realize that Hitler in the 1930s rallied the German people who had been badly wounded by the ending of World War I.  The Armistice ended the shooting, but it imposed an order on Germany that left the nation’s economy and its entire wellbeing in tatters.  The ending of that Great War, almost assured the Second World War, and assured Hitler’s rise to power.  He rose by inflaming the hatreds of thousands, millions of Germans. They became solidified and unified by hatred . . . in that case hatred of the Jews, and, for reasons I fail to understand, the gypsy’s. Simply put, they hated “the other”.
But in Trump’s case, he inflames people against its own government, and, largely, against itself. There was no catastrophic ending to a war, although many might argue that point—see Vietnam. The US, under both democrats, Clinton and Obama, was moving along ok economically.  Clinton had succeeded in reducing some of the deficits created in earlier times, with four years of his term producing surpluses. Obama was slammed by the 2008 recession, and had to increase spending while revenues declined, producing large deficits.
Trump, on the other hand, campaigned on a promise to reduce the deficits, promising at one point to eliminate the entire Federal debt. Instead, his tax cuts have led to huge federal deficits, the largest in the nation’s history, especially given the absence of a war, as in Roosevelt’s term, or a recession, as in Obama’s.  Trump’s deficits promise to continue into the foreseeable future, with no ending in sight, short of some very large policy changes in terms of tax policies.  And unlike all other presidents, Trump promised to eliminate the federal DEBT—not merely the deficits, but the entire debt itself.  Instead, he may well exceed the largest deficits in our history, outdoing even Reagan, with his ignorant Laffer Curve deficits.
But it turns out that nothing Trump says or promises can be believed. He lies at an unbelievable rate. At one count, he has already lied more than 12,000 times, more than 10 lies per day of his administration.  I have begun to define his lie-predictor. How does one know Trump is lying? Well, whenever he opens his mouth, and words come tumbling out, he is lying.
So, he is a pathological liar, he is cruel—nothing else can explain his policies towards immigrant children in which he locks them up, after separating them from their families, and allows them to die in his encampments.  He cozies up to our enemies, and may well be engaging our enemies in a scheme to defraud the American people during our elections process.  He seems to be aching for a shooting war, preferably with Iran, but it is unclear that he cares where.  He seems not to understand anything he is doing, and his antagonistic actions towards climate change and environmental protections could be purposeful, a quid pro quo towards his rich industrial supporters (see Koch’s), or born of simple stupidity.  He babbles during his speeches and his press briefings, to the point that reporters no longer seem to know how much to report. He is like a drooling idiot given the right to babble-speak in large forums.
His cruelties towards immigrants seems to know no bounds, and now seems beyond the reach of the press. It is as though we now accept that such cruelty is standard American policy and beyond the purview of the of the press.  We will and do oversee the killing of children in camps operated on a for-profit basis by Trump’s core of free-wheeling money makers. Hitler anyone???
His environmental policies now seem beyond the pale. He seems to want to return us to the bad old days of the 1950s and 1960s—smog-ridden days we thought we had resolved. He wants to eliminate protections for our national parks, protections for threatened species, all in the name of industrial development by his friends.
He has refused to yield his tax returns, so the public cannot know or understand to what extent he has and continues to cheat, and continues to reap financial rewards of being president (think emoluments clause).
His cabinet and close advisers seems like a series of chapters out of the Apprentice. He hires, he fires, or they quit in disgust.  There has perhaps never been such an unstable government in our history.
And yet, whenever he is criticized publicly, social media is filled with commentary by his supporters, who continue to love him and continue to scream at his critics.  They are the problem in America. If we fail to move aggressively on climate disaster prevention, they will be the cause, because they will continue to believe in lies. He yells FAKE NEWS whenever he is criticized, but he is the core of FAKE NEWS, and his supporters are like religious zealots who subscribe to a false religion, the religion of evil. We, Americans, are becoming part of that religion of evil. To the extent that we continue to allow Trump to exist as a free agent in the destruction of our nation, we are also to blame. We can no longer just blame Trump.
If we don’t vote, or if we vote for Trump, then WE ARE TO BLAME for whatever happens to the country and to the world. If more children die, we are to blame.  If we enter a war, we are to blame.  Germany in 1939 was more than just Hitler. Germany was filled with citizens who supported the policies that led eventually to the deaths of millions of innocent people. They were as much to blame as Hitler.  We can no longer pretend that Trump is ok. Trump is NOT OK. He is an aberrant personality who we are allowing to continue to destroy our nation. We are violating the spirits of all the Americans who died in world wars to protect our Nation.  DO NOT FORGET THEM. They died so that we could live in peace.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Idiots All Around Us

We really seem to be living in the realm of idiots. Ever since WW II, we seem to have learned to love killing people.  We are raising children who have never known a period of peace.  And, it seems different than the old days of global war.  I guess, in the era of Empire, they held wars, but often called them something else.  I mean, when the Moghul Emperors were acquiring territory, they didn’t wage “war” per se. They simply marched into various places and declared themselves the new rulers. And when the Brits decided to take over India, they just declared themselves the new owners. Of course, when the Indians rebelled in 1857, the Brits termed that event the Great Indian Mutiny, although the Indians called it the First War of Independence.

Then, we entered the realm of real wars. That Civil War thing in 1861 in America was a proper WAR. Armies, separately uniformed and following different flags, engaged, killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and then declared Peace, with one side (the Official United States Government, aka The North) the official winner. But the point is, at one stage we were at a state of War, and then, suddenly we entered a state of Peace. That is, no one was killing anyone in this period.

And then we had those World Wars. In both World Wars I and II, Germany led the rush to War, by deciding to acquire territory not its own.  In both cases, official States of War were declared and Nations, not just groups of folks, joined forces and then engaged in deadly and prolonged War against one another.  In both cases, one side overwhelmed the other and official Peace declarations were announced. The Wars were over, and the sides simply stopped shooting at one another. That is, after all, the purpose of a Peace Declaration. But the official ending of War, in 1945, led to the beginning of something we called the “Cold War”.  During that Cold War, it was apparently ok to have groups shooting at one another, with no War State.  Each side, “East” (Russia, China and their protectorates) and “West” (everyone else) decided it would be ok to periodically begin shooting at one another informally.

We had one final war thing, when North Korea decided that the country should no longer be split, but that was really a part of the Cold War thing, with China egging on the North. The country of Korea had been separated after the great wars into two states.  The North decided that it didn’t like the two-state thing and invaded the South. Since we represented the South, we engaged and fought back with the South. When I say “We”, I mean a larger group than merely the US. The world formed the United Nations after the Great Wars. In Korea, the fighting was between the UN-sponsored forces, and the North, backed vaguely by China. 

 But then, the Cold War shootings began deteriorating into even less “formal” states of “War”. We seemed to drift into some permanent state of killing amongst organized gangs. Sometimes, as in Vietnam, the gangs represented a large region of the world. Again, as in Korea, the state of Vietnam had been divided after the Great War into a North and a South. Again, as in Korea, the North decided it didn’t like the separation imposed by the great powers. But rather than “invade” with formal armies, organized gangs (Viet Cong) began forming and arming and then killing throughout the South. That conflict, also a UN operation, lasted for many years. Officially, the French had attempted to retain their old Empire possession, Vietnam, but they were never too good at the War thing. So in 1954, they got properly routed by the Viet Cong (or the North) and tossed out. Enter the UN (really, the United States). We began engaging, first by arming the South, and then by introducing our own troops. So, from the early 1960s until roughly 1975, we were engaged in fighting these organized gangs, called the Viet Cong (VC) and finally the North Vietnamese themselves. Richard Nixon ran a presidential campaign on his ability to end the war (killing state) in Vietnam. Actually, all he did was expand the killing zone by bombing in countries heretofore neutral.  Then, finally, Nixon gave up in disgust. He entered a mock peace negotiation with the North, and we finally walked away with our tail between our legs, officially having lost our first “War” (except it wasn’t a real War).

One would think the World would have delighted in that ending, despite the fact of loss for the US.  Any War ending, it seems to me, is a good thing, because we stop killing people.  But that Cold War thing continued. I guess, even when we are not killing folks directly, we seem to get off on hating one another.  Just cuz. Part of the problem, apparently, in ending Wars, as in WW II, is that we seem to be in too big a hurry, and we neglect  all the sideshows of anger/hatreds that developed during or even as a result of the wars.  After WW II “ended”, the Cold War began, but the Cold War was really a direct result of the War itself. Russia and China had both engaged in the Second World War, at least theoretically on the same side as the US and much of Europe.  But those nations had been undergoing their own internal disputes/revolutions. After overthrowing their own internal ruling regimes earlier, both countries assumed a new government approach, called Communism. That system eliminated/reduced the role of the private sector, transferring all developmental powers to their governments.  So, despite our mutual opposition to the German/Japanese regimes, we were not fully aligned, such that, almost as soon as the war ended, we began opposition anew in the form of that Cold War. That “War” resulted in a number of shooting fronts.  For example, both Korea and Vietnam can be traced to that Cold War rivalry between “East” and “West”. And after those shooting matches ceased, the Soviets decided to invade Afghanistan in 1979, in order to support a communist takeover in that country, which was met by opposing anti-communist forces. The invasion of Afghanistan began in late December 1979 by troops from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union intervened in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anti-communist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978–92) and remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989. During that little conflict, we armed and supported the opposing “guerrillas”. Funny thing. Turns out, we armed what became the Taliban . . . yeah that group that instigated the 911 attacks here in the US.  So, we hold some responsibility for the current mess.

And then, right around the same time, the Shah of Iran was being challenged. Several factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah amongst certain groups within Iran, the most significant of which were US and UK support for his regime, and clashes with leftists and Islamists. By 1979, political unrest had transformed into a revolution which, on 17 January, forced him to leave Iran. Soon thereafter, the Iranian monarchy was formally abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic republic led by Ruhollah Khomeini (known in the West as Ayatollah Khomeini). And then we had an enemy in Iran.

Enemies . . . enemies everywhere. All around this poor benighted globe, we have enemies. Apparently, all it takes to forge an enemy-relationship is a different system of government.  We never seem capable of simply running different systems, without hatreds or shoot’m ups. 
But the big change that has occurred over, say, the past fifty years is the growth of what I now call organized crime gangs. We have in Latin America actual organized crime gangs of the classic cosa nostra style.  Now to be fair, Cosa Nostra required that you originate in Sicily, and that you were not allowed to have any cops in your clan.  The gangs in Latin America are very large, brutal, with killings galore. They largely make their money in the drug trade, made possible by the existence of an unlimited drug market in the USA. They wage organized crime war continuously by killing people they don’t like. They make money by selling us drugs.

And then, we have ISIS and The Taliban in the Middle East. They also make their money by killing folks wholesale, in an attempt to take over large swaths of various countries. They want territory, and love killing other folks to acquire it.  But they aren’t Nation-States. They are simply organized gangs. They don’t sell drugs, they impose religion, instead. Well, technically, some of them also sell drugs to make money.

It is not clear that these gangs are directed by a central authority, ergo, it is very difficult to restrain or defeat them. You beat down one group in one township, and several more pop up in the next township.  Afghanistan is a classic nation-state within which they can flourish. Babur was one of the earlier conquerors of Afghanistan, but throughout its history, various nations have attempted and failed to take control, including the British, the Russians, and the Americans.  But it now extends way beyond Afghanistan. The entire Middle East is afflicted with this organized gang/crime groups, all of a pseudo-religious order.

And the killing never seems to end. These groups get off on killing any way they can. And they seem not to care who they kill—innocents as easily as armed opponents.
It is by no means clear how the world can end this global killing phase. There are no Nation-States we can confront and defeat. There are simply mindless thousands, perhaps millions who are disaffected by the mindless autocracies in which they live, and decide to join gangs and kill for a living.

We await some solution. The UN seems powerless and the world’s great powers seem intent on allowing this killing to continue. No world leader seems to have the conscience required to propose ending it. All of the powers that be seem to derive their own power by having states of hatred and violence around them. They love hating and killing (see Trump and the Republican Party). Until that changes, the killing will continue.