Saturday, February 17, 2018

Has the NRA shot itself in the foot?

Doesn’t that sound like an obvious quip? And yes, it has been used before in various shapes forms and fashions. Still hard to resist this title.

This theme quip appears primarily in progressive publications whenever they think the NRA has made some political blunder. And yet, here we are with the NRA still one of the most powerful lobbyists in D. C. They say they are a gun’s rights lobby and support the Second amendment. Heck I support the Second amendment, all the amendments, the Constitution and the idea of representative government. So, what is the deal here.

Honestly and they will probably throw a huge hissy fit saying all sorts of madness if they were to hear this, but they are a gun manufacturing lobby.  No one does more for the sale of guns than the NRA. They can couch it anyway they want, yet their support of the second amendment is a smoke screen for what has become their true purpose. They may have started as a gun’s right lobby. Who knows, but now their end result is the protection of the money behind making guns.

And now as with many previous articles have tried to say has happened, have we come to the point where the NRA loses a political battle? Honestly, I do not think yet, but it is getting close.

If the NRA, doesn’t retake the narrative about background checks for the mentally ill, society may finally overwhelm this issue. Obviously, the latest shooting in Florida is dominating the conversation. And the NRA posters have been strangely silent on the articles I read.

First, I hate politicizing this tragedy. Too many people are suffering unfathomable amounts of grief right now. Every time this happens the better half and I discuss how would we handle the loss of one of our children. It boggles the mind how hard is this when it happens. Second, I am not sure if mental health issues are the driver behind this tragedy, however, news articles are mentioning he did have some interactions or sessions.

So, are we ready to seriously discuss mental health in this country? I would hope so and not just for background checks. We continually ignore this problem. One of the most misunderstood problems in our country is also the least discussed. At some point, how large of a tragedy must we have to bring this into the light of day. The NRA seems to be in the way of discussing this issue by pressuring their cronies in Congress to avoid the issue when it comes to background checks for obtaining a gun license or purchasing a weapon. This is just one practical step that will not prevent all tragedies, yet possibly a few. The NRA should accept this, or they will lose the voice in Congress they have held for so long.
In letting the discussion change in Congress, the NRA will see more setbacks to their agenda as progressives finally drive their agenda home. The NRA does not want this to happen, yet continually by ignoring or preventing the background check discussion, they lose much more than they can imagine. It appears they think they are invincible. That is usually the first sign a hard fall is coming.

As an independent conservative, I do support the right for a person to own a gun. What I do not support is this madness to continue. We must address mental illness in this country. We are still using the medicines from 30-40 years ago to temporarily treat people and many times those do not work. There is a revolving door of people going through the system costing families untold grief, county governments a fortune, and creating unnecessary victims from the violence perpetuated by the sufferers of this disease.


Preventing people with a history of mental illness from obtaining a gun is just one simple act that needs to be passed yet is just a band-aid to the larger problem. More importantly we need to address mental illness from top to bottom and help families regain control of their lives and find ways for the sufferer to become productive members of society. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Pretentious left versus the alt right

I look at this statement and blindly think we could solve all our problems if we could remove these groups from American discourse. And of course, that is ignorant madness.

Both groups are made up of a core that are definable, yet they also cross over into the mainstream side of liberal and conservative body politic.

And the left also has another definable group that sometimes aligns with the pretentious left and is sometimes on its own. Progressives, as a stand-alone group, are becoming a stronger movement within the left.

So, what gives here. Is this a real battle for control of our country? Or do we have just another ideological battle of two sides. You ask either side and you will get a resounding the other side is the problem, they are clueless and are destroying American. The fight is real. How much of it is ideological and how much of it is a power struggle is the question. And it is both. And right now, the alt right is winning.

The alt right has been working harder than the pretentious left. The pretentious left tends to believe since they know everything, everyone should fall in line and go along to get along.  Their attitude towards many Americans turns these people off. It does not matter if they are right or wrong, what has come about, is people do not like being looked down upon.

There has and will be an “intellectual royalty”. A group that separates itself from the masses and holds their ideals above them. This by itself, is not a danger. Humanity needs someone to push envelopes; to take us further in our evolution as humans intellectually, culturally, scientifically, societally; yet we cannot fall into the backseat behind them. It creates mistrust and educational divides that hurt the whole of society. And this intellectual royalty needs to stay engaged with the people. Unfortunately for the general liberal this separation is causing a huge backlash and push back from the middle. This helped led to the current rise of the alt right.

The alt right plays on the anger of a disaffected group of people. And when you throw in a growing wealth gap, deteriorating education levels, mistrust of institutions, angst towards the pretentious left, then this turns into a God send for the alt right to capture the emotions of the middle or some of it and move their cause forward.

The alt right and the pretentious left have always been a negative counter balance to each other. In its ugliest form, we have right wing dictator ships. In its mildest form, we have ultra-nationalists on the outside looking to find a door way into the public discourse to spout their hate. Out of some aspects of the pretentious left, socialism and communism as philosophies were developed. In practice, they became dictatorships.

Currently the United States and Europe is seeing the rise of the alt right. They found their doorway and with social media have found new ways to engage the disaffected majority of countries. Again, the wealth gap, education gap etc… gives them the avenues to continue their march. This march does not bode well for the evolution of humanity. Yet, the pretentious left does not have a strong counter balance. Their credibility is on the wane and the pendulum shift is favoring the alt right.

I do not think a victory for the pretentious left is what we are needing. We do not need a victory for either side. The real battle is enlightening the overwhelming middle of a society, giving them the tools to be successful, education to make holistic choices that benefit the whole of society. When this has happened historically mankind moves forward.

Sometimes we get lucky and the middle gains control. An example is the turn into the 20th century. The eventual break up of the monopolies (yes, they came back), right for women to vote, the birth of the labor union movement (a sad history that workers lost lives to have a decent work life), direct election of Senators, push for more education to the general population and more.  These were hard earned victories yet shows the ability of the general population to gain when people put the whole of the country first. It was not a perfect time, yet it is one we can build a foundation to achieve even better.

The pretentious left and the alt right will never put the general population first. Their goal is to dictate how we live, who are the enemies, who is right and who is wrong, what we are doing wrong, etc… Our goal is to find within ourselves the true needs of the country and fight for a continued push forward.

Neither side is inherently evil, however, the alt right tends to find hate as a tool much more often and the pretentious left looks down upon the masses with utter contempt. Not good a look to make a good impression. 

In a perfect world, it would be nice for people to look after us and for people to define what are our values. We do not live in a perfect world; hence we must ignore the excesses from both sides and work to make ourselves educated, strong, and value based. This is how we succeed.  



Saturday, February 10, 2018

I do not blame Trump

And actually, today I won’t blame Trump for two things. First some back story as to why this post may sound more disjointed than most. Ha ha ha

Last Saturday I was actually putting together a series of thoughts as to Trump not being the problem. He is the cancerous lesion that appears when the whole body has been consumed and the cancer has come to the surface. Those ugly sores that are so bad that no sane person can look at and not become nauseous. (and if this thinking sounds familiar to you, it will become apparent later) I had multiple tabs going doing the internet research. I was blaming everyone from Nixon to Jerry Rubin. Under reflection Jerry isn’t on this radar anymore, but I caught up some reading on the Chicago 8/7. I was going deeper and further back in history.  For the moment though, Interesting times while I grew up. And Nixon isn’t the problem either, he was just those early warning signs. The kind you are suppose to take seriously and kill the cancer before it gets out of control. Nixon and Watergate were the symptoms the proctologist find when you get a colonoscopy. We managed to remove the cyst, we did not go after the cancer.

Anyway, things are seriously disjointed now. I was a researching maniac on Saturday, trying to put some effort in a post. The better half and I got busy, so I held onto everything and saved it for Sunday. I woke Sunday with a fever and thought oh crap I got the flu again. I had it earlier this year and was not in the mood to go through that again. I now pray I had the flu. The better half now has all the ammunition to say you must do what I say whenever she is in the mood. I cannot argue.

She kept telling me we needed to go to the ER. I was like, no just let me rest. I had some leftover Tamiflu so took that. At the time it sounded like a great idea. And she mentioned a few times, we need to go to the ER. I brushed it off. I figured if still real sick on Monday we could go to the doctor. Nice normal American thing to do. HA! Monday morning around 4-5 am the fever broke. I thought that was weird but felt better. I had a few hours of feeling somewhat normal. I had already let work know I wasn’t coming so I stayed in bed to rest. Sometime almost mid-morning, (time is lost on me for Monday) I got the shivers again and the fever came back. Within an hour it had gone from 97.?  to over 104.
So, we head off to the ER. At this point I was feeling so terrible and weak so fast I was ready to go. I have not been for myself since I broke my leg in the 90’s. (and I will brag, I drove myself in a truck with standard shift that day). I was not sure what was happening. We get there and of course it is busy, they take my name and insurance info and ask why I am there. I said high fever and even said how high. So, the wait begins.

I am sitting there feeling like death warmed over, just waiting. People are coming and going I do not know who is in front of me, so I do not know if I am being skipped for higher priority cases etc…

They finally call me back. I have been to the emergency room many times for other people. I am not a fan of waiting around, but what can you do.  As you may have read previously, both my Mother and Mother in law were very sick for a long time. Sometimes ER waits can be maddening. I wasn’t in triage 3 minutes when they come back in and say we are moving you to a room now. Apparently, adults aren’t supposed to have high fevers. Pretty much when they confirmed my fever, there was more movement going on around me than I expected unless I was having a heart attack (I wasn’t).  Within just minutes I had more fluid going into me and more blood being drawn out of me than before that day I would have thought possible. I still thought I had the flu. No, I had pneumonia that had gone sepsis.

I guess they had figured it out pretty quickly. My first blood tests showed my white blood cell count to be seriously elevated because based on the tests they were doing they were already trying to grow cultures as soon as possible. They came in for a lung x-ray and I’m thinking why? Cat scans were done, and I would say before two hours of being in that room, they had all they needed to diagnose and start treating. They used general anti-biotics and eventually switched over to something more specific to the cultures I was growing.

So, I began my hospital stay. Throw in a dramatic statement to the better half by the attending physician that it was good I didn’t wait any longer. This is not how he said it. I no longer have control of my life.  I must listen and obey, not her words, but……………More was done, more blood was drawn everyday and by Thursday my white cell count was in normal range. So, I am home trying to recapture what I was thinking last Saturday. Not happening well.

“Hear me, people: We have now to deal with another race-small and feeble when our fathers met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possessions is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.” 
Chief Sitting Bull 1877

“If the current polls are reliable, Nixon will be re-elected by a huge majority of Americans who feel he is not only more honest and more trustworthy than George McGovern, but also more likely to end the war in Vietnam. The polls also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the youth vote.  And that he might carry all fifty states? This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally, just lay back and say it that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes, understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose? Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?   Hunter S Thompson from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972

And then there was David D Eisenhower at the end of his term making the famous fear the military industrial complex statement. President for 8 years then decides he needs to take the high road. He beat Adlai Stevenson twice who kept trying to plan ahead and take where we were and move forward.

I am a conservative, so it is hard to agree with Democrats policy wise, yet every now and then they create some great oratory. It wouldn’t hurt the modern democrats to go back and read Mr. Stevenson. They are pretty clueless right now anyway.

I am a conservative, yet also a political radical, political junkie, and I hate politics. Not too many people you can find you agree or have common ground. Adlai Stevenson and Theodore Roosevelt are people I do have some common ground.

As I always post, we still can be the great country George McGovern alluded to in HST’s quote, we really need to reclaim this country as a representative government and not the tool the one percenters use as they please. That has always been the fight within ourselves that must be fought. Our forefathers saw this and tried hard to create a Constitution that would allow us to thrive as a people. We continually abdicate our responsibilities and now as always, we should be fighting hard to reclaim what has been given us. It is not being rich that is the problem, it is the rich running the show that is killing us and even though they do not see it, them. They need us more than they realize.

So that is why I do not blame Trump. Trump is the symptom of the cancer (greed and power) that has grown so much it is a visible ugly pus oozing from our souls. The Koch Brothers wet dream tax reform bill is now in place which is just another by product of our cancer and us not fighting for what is right.  There is more to all this, however, that was a week ago. And I don’t blame him for being sick. All on me.

This isn’t what I wanted it to be, yet I am worn out now. I am still sick, just happen to be less sick enough to be out of the hospital. The doctors say it will be days before I come close to feeling normal again. I hope all you are well and please take care of yourselves.


Cheers

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sometimes it is just difficult


I wanted to write about the state of the Mavs. Unfortunately, they suck, I still love them, but they suck. They have good players, they have really good players, yet they are missing a real center and another 3 and D to rotate in heavy minutes. They have a future, but until they fill the needs they will struggle.

Add in way too many defeats in close games and now they are out of sync, have no momentum, no energy, and frustrating themselves by letting games get out of hand then making some last ditch effort that falls short. Not a great recipe for anything, much less success.

Hopefully they find their way out of their funk, get some kind of rhythm to end the season, and then draft or find some players this offseason so they can regroup and get going. I will continue to support them, but sometimes it is just too difficult to get excited about it all right now.


Cheers

Friday, January 26, 2018

The mid-term problem for the Democrats

I always rant and rave the Democrats are clueless. Well why you ask?

Basically, most people vote their pocket book. It will always be that way.

The Democrats have not addressed the high possibility that this is the year that has a good chance for the middle class to feel better about their finances.

The lower withholding might show some increase in take home pay. The labor market is tightening and it is starting to catch up to corporations. They may start paying more due to market conditions. The current announcements of one time bonuses sounds good, yet the real trigger will be if wages increase. And can they keep up the little bit more going into paychecks before November. The answer is probably. In fact, they may get two to three years increase for the middle and working class. And their 401ks could continue to go up during this time. The lowered tax rates for corporations will help profits which will continue the Trump tax reform increase in the market which is possibly becoming a bubble.

If this keeps up till November, the corporations will push hard to make sure the economy looks good and give the credit to Trump so they can keep the Republican majority. Which is more probable than the Democrats realize.  

And if the Democrats push the Trump is bad, we are good campaign it won’t turn out well for them. They desperately need to be able to address an improving economy with a hard message that shows the faults in the results, what can happen and most important how to make the economy work better.

If you read my earlier post on a tax reform plan, you know I proposed a rise in corporate taxes with the idea the corporations can actually lower their taxes by benefitting their workers.  And now with  tightening labor markets the corporations could have gotten a double benefit by not looking like the bad guys if they play by the new rules raising wages and being able to honestly make people think they are contributing because their standard tax rate was higher. It was meant to be a win win so real wages would rise significantly. If wages rise, then people will feel better about spending and hopefully saving some too. This increases the chances for whomever implements this policy to get re elected because… ta da, pocket book issues are positively impacted while not overly benefiting corporations over workers.

Under the current plan, the Republicans could look good in November. Unfortunately, the average voter has a short memory so all the October talking points will favor the Republicans.

Long term though the middle class is shot. If true business results do not pick up and the only increased profits corporations show one to two years from now is based on the lower rate, then Wall Street will want more, the market will correct, and the people buying into the current bubble will get clobbered. And those people buying in now are the middle class. The investor class has the money to play the market both ways and they will be more attuned to true business fundamentals than the average Joe trying to maximize his 401k.

So wages hit a ceiling again, the market corrects creating more wealth gap, along side of increased inflation and rising interest rates means the middle class is squeezed again. It will be how much, not whether it will happen. By this time it is 2019 or 2020. If the donor and investor class can keep the economy afloat till November 2020, Trump gets re elected and then the house of cards completely falls again and this time Trump is in charge so all the help goes to the top 1% which even those people will feel some consolidation and only a few will be wealthy and we have a country that is both first world, yet primarily second world and decreasing.

And if you think this is a doomsday scenario, well you aren’t looking at the big picture. For Trump’s tax plan to really work, the middle class has to have enough sustained wage and wealth growth for years to come. His plan doesn’t have that built into it. The more realistic scenario is business growth doesn’t materialize and corporations cut back again slowing wage and savings growth. And these magical market numbers become realistic real fast.

And so the Democrats need to realize this scenario is probable to highly probable and they need to create ideas and policies that show they can move over the money back to the middle class in the long run, explain to them in simple quick terms the problems of the Republican plan and be ready to get into a dog fight.

Have you seen the Democrats preparing to take this approach? I haven’t, so there fore I think they are clueless. Or any approach? They have serious problems and Nationally they don’t even know it.

Obviously predicting the economy for a year or two out has some flaws, yet hopefully you can see some of this coming for yourself.

Thoughts?

And on the inflation theme, it has started to rise. One area is health care. My premiums went up enough this year that may latest paycheck was less than the last one of 2017.  Now I do not think the lowered withholding has impacted my check. I think I read it starts in February, but not sure. If true, then I may get back the difference. Unfortunately, though this means I do not have extra spending money if the lowered withholding doesn’t account for the premium increase. Can the Democrats play into this? I do not know. Yet again, are you seeing them try?

And finally I haven’t seen any themes from the Democrats. The Republicans will have one big “improving economy” theme that will destroy the Democrats.  Again… clueless

Immigration is not going to beat the Republicans and the Republicans will continue the destruction of the middle class. Think not? Please think.



Thursday, January 25, 2018

A New Year, a few new random comments

And I internet searched these comments because they sounded familiar. I got some hits

My thought: Generalizations are dangerous. I know because I use them often, yet it is coming to the point where anything corporations lobby for must be fought against all odds. Just cannot trust them at all.

I searched for “generalizations are dangerous: and got a few hits. The most prominent was a full on discussion on a blog titled Philosiblog. I did not research the blog. My point is lobbyists are out of control.

My thought: Weak leaders make war.
and
Peace is hard to keep.  or  Peace is hard to maintain.

For my search the most prominent reference was: “ War is easy, Peace is hard” There were a couple of publications that used that article or referenced the same information.

My point is that autocrats, dictators, plutocrats etc use war as a way to maintain their power instead of being real leaders.

My snarky comment is” Where there’s a will, there’s an attorney.

Internet searches found many articles on the importance of probating will. My point was you cannot even die without an attorney screwing up your life.


And finally I think Congressman Nunes attempts to protect or ingratiate himself to Trump is he is hoping to end game Paul Ryan and become speaker of the House with Trump’s help. Real second grade Machiavellian stuff if you ask me. Also completely selfish and the process will do much damage to democracy…. Just a thought you know