Hate Hillary and Donald, Then Vote Libertarian!

Wait a minute!  Let’s think about this.  Libertarians basically hate government and don’t care about social issues.  In other words they are extreme moderate Democrats.  Here is where social progressives get lulled into the nonsense:  They believe the government should not worry about our bedrooms, bathrooms, or what we smoke.  It’s an individual’s free choice.  Okay, but who prevents discrimination if governments have few powers?  Who levels the playing field and makes the game fair?  Who rights injustices?

Libertarians will tell you we don’t need any of that stuff and it will get done at the local level, right?  Kind of like voting rights and a woman’s right to choose which are losing on the local level.  Oh, and all our kids should be home schooled right?  How does that work for the poor?  Who ensures the curriculum is not some religious fantasy story?  Who fights global warming or bails out those in disaster areas?  Who builds our infrastructure? Who keeps airplanes safe?  Who builds our infrastructure?

But the best part is that they are fiscal conservatives and their candidate just told us that if we can stay within our budget, so should government.  Oh, my brain hurts.  A country’s economy is a macroeconomy, not a micoeconomy.  Deficit spending can be a very good thing.  Show me a business that does not borrow to invest in new facilities, equipment, and training and I will show you a company that you ought to unload their stock.  If you question any of this, I went into detail years ago to explain all this (The Economy), but the Home Budget Analogy for government spending is part of the walking dead.

So if you are getting excited about the Libertarians, think it through.  Who has the power now and wants to keep economic inequality growing while doing nothing about the greatest threat to our home planet, global warming?  That would be the rich and corporations, and how is smaller government going to protect you from their abuses?  It’s a disaster almost as bad as Trump.

Kabuki Dance

A sadly misused word, but there it is.  While Kabuki in Japanese culture is a performance (dance) pack with meaning and significance (“ruthlessly concise, packing meaning into a single gesture”), here in America we think of it as “connoting a lot of huffing and puffing without results”.  It is pretending to do one thing while in fact doing nothing.  We are in the middle of one of the great Kabuki dances of all time (American meaning) in our media and politics today.  And here it is:  Republicans and the punditry are pretending Donald Trump is a serious candidate that will not greatly damage this country.  The music for the dance is, “the people have chosen”.

I listened to a Republican explain how Hillary will be a giant disaster for the economy (blind to their own record) and explaining the Donald might be also and it is so hard to choose.  Now this is a giant Kabuki dance since they don’t want to face that their economic ideas have never worked.  Now let’s just review the nonsense the Donald is spewing that these folks are legitimizing:

In other words he is probably the least qualified person to lead the country and could well destroy us.  All of the above are not opinions but facts based upon what he is saying. See the links.  Yet we have Republicans who are in denial about who and what he is, and while making claims about waiting to see, see if he is going to be more presidential, or doesn’t really mean the stuff he says.  They are doing a giant kabuki dance about their principles when they have none.

Meanwhile pundits and our news media continue to report his nonsense and do not take him to task by pointing out the lies and miss-information.  They claim this is news and they are reporting what people want to know about which is a giant Kabuki dance around hiding that they no longer provide news or fact check candidates, just go for viewership.  To have access you don’t piss off the source by challenging them.

So watch the dance.  It could be our last. So if you have a friend or neighbor who is voting for Trump, it is a vote for lunacy.  Maybe an intervention is warranted. Oh, the press will tell they are just mad as hell.  Well mad in terms of insane may be accurate.

*Here is the idiot on our drought in California:

At a Friday campaign rally in Fresno, California, Donald Trump denied that the state was currently in a drought, blaming water shortages on environmentalists. “We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,” he said, adding that “there is no drought.”California is experiencing the effects of a severe, five-year drought that saw the implementation of new water conservation rules. If elected, Trump says he will lift these water-saving rules. “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” he said on Friday.

Tell ignorant conservatives that hate government anything they want to hear regardless of what science tells you.  Hey! What is more important, feeding ignorant people junk so you can get elected or worrying about our future?  You know the answer to that one.

 

Hiroshima

The President was there to memoralize the victims of the atomic bomb that was dropped there.  No apology offered, just a reflection of the mindlessness of war.  Remember Japan invaded all the nearby countries, bombed Oahu, and committed hundreds of thousands of atrocities and war crimes.  And yet Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem almost too much.  Oh, I get the calculus.  Japan was likely to hunker down and we would have had a prolonged house to house battle in Japan costing maybe hundreds of thousands of American lives.  We fire bombed Berlin and Tokyo so it was just a another escalation.  Yet it was aimed at killing a civilization not a military.  Isn’t that what Sherman did in his march to the sea in th Civil War?  Weren’t they war crimes?

I am glad that was Truman’s decision and not mine.  Japan had built a military culture based upon the belief in their superiority as a race.  They had to be stopped.  But the cost?  And it would seem we have learned very little.  Wars happen and they escalate.  People die and it changes nothing.  We do it again.  I can’t help thinking about all the lives that might of been that are not.  Life is a very precious thing.  In a way it is all we have, now, the moment.  And so many, in the flash of a light, were gone, many just kids.   

So maybe on this Memorial Day where we remember those who have fallen for this country, would it be heresy to ask if their lives were wasted?  Would it be heresy to asked if all those who died in all our wars did not die defending freedom, but in some vain attempt to surplant reason with force?  In our country’s short history we had the Revolutionary War and they did die for our freedom.  Some minor wars, then the Civil War.  Now there was a war about keeping the nation whole that ended up freeing blacks.  The cost was horrendous.  And did we learn anything.  People are still trying to use government to deny people’s rights.  

There was WWII and I see no alternative to fighting that evil called Hitler, and of course Japan.  But how many died through just military incompetence?  Did we have to take every island in the Pacific chain at great cost?  Could we not just have isolated them and starved out the Japanese?  And all the wars after that?  Korea to a status quo that allows a truly evil regime to exist.  Vietnam for nothing.  The Middle East just made things worse.  If we learned something, well then maybe these costly lessons would be the price of becoming more civilized.  But have we learned anything?  We still glorify war.

So on this memorial day maybe what we should be memorializing is not the men who died.  But the arrogance and stupidity of the human race who still thinks violence solves anything.  Maybe real service to your country, as in Vietnam, was  refusing to serve for your country. Maybe the real heroes are the ones who see us as a community and tries to serve that world community instead of dominate it.  Oh, I know.  Things are never that simple.  Turn the other cheek to ISIS?  But have we solved anything by not turning it?  Memorial Day for me is always sad.  So many lives wasted and we learned nothing.

The Me Society

There was an interesting story in the NYT about our aging mass transit system, specifically the subway in New York, the Metro in Washington, and the T in Boston.  The issue is that we have neglected them and they now need critical maintenance that will cost billions.  Why do we do that?  Why can’t we develop a long term managment and maintenance plan and fund them appropriately.  Is it something in our DNA that says we got it, it cost a lot, now lets run it into the ground.  I think I have an answer.

If you are on Facebook you know about the endless self promotion that goes on there.  Here I am in blah, blah.  Here I am next to blah blah.  Here is the food I ate at the blah blah.  The common thread is the word “I”.  Somewhere in around the the 70’s we became the nation of being about me, arriving full force in the Ronald Regan years when government became the problem and greed became good (Gordon Gecko).  Then we could not see beyond our own self gratification.  Then taxes are the problem and how can I get government to provide stuff for me that I don’t have to pay for.  As Elizabeth Warren pointed out about Donald Trump, he is a “good” businessman, he pays no taxes.  That means you and I pay for all the things like police, fire, roads, transportations system, and the government infrastructure that allows him to make millions and then dump the bill on us.

Now, the bill is coming due.  And it is not just the subways, it is infrastructure in general.  It boggles the mind that for the last 8 years we have had interest rates at near zero and yet we have not seen fit to borrow to invest in our future.  Think of the good jobs we could produce and what we could build for our children.  But do we do it?  Nope.  Nobody wants to pay taxes.  But here is a selfie of me on my new …. If you want to really see the problem, find a full length mirror.  It is right there in our reflections.

TSA and Thinking Outside the Box

Okay the TSA is a mess and lines are getting longer and longer.  So we need to get and keep more TSA inspectors, right?  I don’t think so.  Do they need to check me?  No,  Do they need to check you? Probably not.  So why don’t we rethink who and how we check people?  Why not profile people?  Why not an extended background check on Passports that would allow you an expedited check in.  I have been waved through on numerous occasions.  I didn’t need to take off my shoes. The plane arrived safely.

It is not my intent here to come up with “the solution”.  It is my intent to ask why we don’t evaluate what we do and how effective it is instead of just reacting to the results, long lines.  And you know who might be some of the best people to help with that?  TSOs*, the people who actually do this stuff. If they were more responsible for the actual system and the results, they might not be so demoralized. It is amazing to me how hard it is to get people to start thinking outside the box instead of staying within their safety zone and just throw more resources at something.

Reminds me of a great story from Stephen Covey about the difference between a leader and a manager:

You can quickly grasp the important difference between the two if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem solvers. They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.

The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies, and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.

The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!” But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.”

So far we are all thinking like managers, not leaders.

*It’s like the world of teaching.  Rarely do we let teachers be part of the solution.  What the hell do they know?  Aren’t they part of the problem?  Or maybe they are part of the solution.

Clinton and Her Private Server and Other Nonsense

A little comment on current noise:  Clinton was a bad girl.  But was she criminal?  She should not have set up a private server, not now, but back then it probably seemed like a good idea.  It tells us she is paranoid, but wouldn’t you be if you lived her life.  It also says she is surround by a bubble of advisors that insulate her from the normal life most of us live and the rules we have to follow.  Welcome to Washington or wealth. Who that is successful is not careful hand fed what they want to hear?  Did she purposely try to leak secrets or pass on classified information?  Of course not.

Now let’s turn the coin over.  Do we think Donald Trump would follow the rules?  Do we think he is not enclosed in a bubble of his handlers?  Do we not think he would decide what is important and what is not, or do we think he would follow government rules?  Give me a fucking break.  It is the news creating a narrative that will now be the news, not reporting it.  Oh and if the Donald says this show she is corrupt, what do we call buying politicians, working the system or being corrupt?

One more thing:  The Donald responded to his statement back during the housing bubble that he hoped it would burst, because he could make a killing.  He is a “businessman, we make money”.  And the crowd roared its approval.  But if they would stop and think, business is about making money, government is about the people.  One screws over the people to make a profit, the other tries to prevent the people from being screwed over.  And they want a business man to be President?

Oh, and on the Wassermann-Schultz thing, are the Democrats not tone death?  I would argue that Wassermann-Schultz has leaned toward Clinton, but that is really irrelevant at this point.  She is the face of the problem right now and for the good of the Party, she needs to go.  I would make these kinds of decisions all the time managing projects when the Project Manager wasn’t the right fit with the customer.  It is no different.  And since she screams establishment Democratic Party (against the Iran deal, supported denying protections against payday loans, etc.) she may be popular in her district but the wrong person for the future of the Party.

WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!  MSNBC is interviewing Tom (Jail Bird) Delay on Hillary’s emails.  That should be informative.  Baseball all day today, thank god.

Mindless Distractions

Mine is getting comfortable in the evening and watching mindless dramas on TV.  We all become addicted to certain shows and characters and we are deeply troubled when they take a break for two or three weeks in mid-season and wonder what we are going to do with our time (read? Your kidding right?).  I am a morning reader as at night I can read for only about 30 minutes before I am fast asleep, so I depend on my mindless pursuits.  Of course there is baseball, but when you team is behind by 8 runs, where is that mindless drama?

Okay so now we enter the genre of finales, that is the how they end the season and entice you into waiting four months to pick up the story.  Personally I record all the finales of my favorite shows and then watch them about a week or so before it starts up again to get refreshed for the new season.  Now some of the shows I really like are Blindspot, Flash, Arrow, Blacklist, Madam Secretary, 16 Monkeys, Person of Interest, Gotham, Grimm, Hawaii Five-O, Orphan Black, Elementry, Mystery (PBS), Limitless, and Beauty and the Beast.  Okay, I said mindless distractions. I would have listed Rosewood, but the sexual tension between the main characters just got tedious.  Just jump in bed will you.

Now in the genre of finales you have three kinds, blah, some closure with a hint of things to come, and a total non-closure where the main characters are left hanging in limbo.  I personally like some closure with a hint of things to come.  That would be Madam Secretary (VP nomination?), Limitless, or Gotham.  Blah, was just the end of an episode and wait for next fall for the next one (Hawaii Five-O, Elementry).  The ones that are problematic are the climatus interruptus ones.  Blindspot comes to mind where the lead character is such a jackass in the last scene that you almost don’t care.  I guess if listening instead of talking was a skill in TV dramas they wouldn’t last near as long as an hour.  On the other hand, Blacklist left me dying to find out what was going to happen next still caring about Reddington and Elizabeth.

Now there is one thing that really does piss me off and that is the cliff hanger finale that then gets cancelled.  Now there is real climatus interruptus.  How can you be so disrespectful of the viewer (granted less numerous that would have kept it going) that you just leave us out there.  So in the interest of mindless distractions, any dramatic show that gets cancelled after a cliff hanger finale must, MUST, have a two-hour finale in September to tie up loose ends and explain to us where it was going.  It would be a nice severance package for the actors and leaves viewers with less tension in their lives.  God knows we have enough with this damn election.

Random Thoughts (WTF)

In Texas according to the NYT, “Mary Lou Bruner, who claimed President Obama was a drug-addicted gay prostitute in his youth (among many other outrageous things), was defeated in the Republican primary for a seat on the State Board of Education.”  Now there are many things to consider here like why are school board elections partisan, but let’s just stick with her claim, which of course is untrue and President Obama’s childhood is an open book.  Say he was a drug-addicted gay prostitute in his youth, wouldn’t we admire him for how he has turned his life around?  Wouldn’t that say something powerful about President Obama’s character?  Oh, and as a betting man I would bet Mary Lou is a Christian with a capital “C”, so where is that redemption thing you all are so big on?  Could it be that none of it applies if you are black?

In another NYT story, “Protesters outside a rally for Donald J. Trump in Albuquerque threw rocks at police horses and lighted fires on Tuesday night, according to the police and postings on social media.”  Note that once again the news was from reported sources, not from objective reporters on the scene which is why they had to correct it for reports of the use of tear gas.  But once again, let’ assume it is true.  Is this equivalency to alleged folding chair throwing in Las Vegas?  My point here is very simple.  There certainly was a heated reaction in Las Vegas, but it does not rise to the level of the Trump folks as our media and Hillary supporters who own the airways want you to believe.  People are angry yes, but sucker punching no.  Bernie and his followers are not Trump and his followers which the media wants you to believe because it is good entertainment, and Hillary supporters want you to believe because they are terrified of Bernie.  Time to dial it back.

Then there was the headline, “Reeling From 2016 Chaos, G.O.P. Mull Over overhaul of the Primaries.”  That’s a laugh.  Remember their post-mortem after 2014?  See any changes?  And they did this before which resulted in the Donald getting a commanding lead early and not being vulnerable later in the process.  We have a problem here Huston and it is our entire primary system which the Democrats and the Republicans control, not the American people.  John Oliver had a great dissection of it last Sunday.  The prime example was that Washington State was voting yesterday, but their delegates had already been selected through the caucus system.  The vote doesn’t matter.  Go figure.

Okay, and in the last piece of news, “Millennials’ Roommates Now More Likely to be Parents Than Partners”.  And economic inequality is a sidebar to this election?  Wonder why the youth vote is not with Hillary?  Their parents like Hillary and it is their parents politics that got us here.  Okay, a way over simplified conclusion, but there is a giant kernel of truth in there.  Or could it be that grown up life in the mercantile world is just too boring?  To have or to be, that is the question.  Happy Wednesday.

The Sad State of our Media

I am still trying to figure out what really happened at the Nevada Democratic Caucus that the press loves to describe as going violent.  Maybe it did, but I am still looking for anything but he said/she said reporting about what happened there.  Certainly we can document some disturbing behavior by Sanders’ supporters in emails, but the press ran away with this one again without any real reporters reporting what really happened.

Did the Democratic caucus pass temporary rules that disenfranchised Sanders’ supporters that made it impossible to compete?  I don’t know.  Did the Democrat establishment types use the rules to really silence the minority?  I don’t know.  Did Barbara Boxer really give the crowd the finger?  I don’t know.  It is all he said/she said without any real reporting going on.  John Oliver had it best Sunday night when he indicted the whole primary process. The parties have a real problem and there needs to be major reform.

I don’t know whether Sanders’ supporters were totally out of line, or goaded into outrage by establishment behavior.  I do know that their actions afterwords involving threats and vandalism was totally out of line and should have been unconditionally rejected by Sanders.  Everyone knows an apology with a “but” in it is not an apology, but an equivocation.  But all in all it was probably blown way out of proportion by the media that loves this stuff, hence the 24/7 coverage of the Republican buffoon candidate.

The news is making the news and if don’t think that is true, see who just got nominated as the Republican candidate for President.  Their coverage is disgraceful and what they choose to cover becomes the news.  They are making the news, not reporting it.  If you doubt that, I just watched an interview with the head of the VA who made the ill advised comment about wait times and lines at Disney land.  He made a point that wait times is not the whole VA experience.  The banner underneath then completely distorted that observation.  But in increases viewership so …

Uncertainty

Republicans used to complain that one reason businesses weren’t investing their stockpiled billions was the uncertainty caused by President Obama in the market place.  It was a lame excuse as what was keeping them from investing was a lack of spending power and demand among consumers. Real wages were not growing and neither was the associated spending. But uncertainty can be a real problem and if you want real uncertainty, just wait to see what and who Donald Trump is.  He is going to raise taxes on the wealthy, or he is not (and his tax plan does not).  He is going to ban Muslims or was that just thinking out loud (suggestions).  But where you really want to be worried is in foreign affairs were his uncertainty could cause wars.

Now I could spend copious time discussing his bromance with Putin, how he thinks Japan ought to go it alone (read nuclear race in Asia), or that we can negotiate with North Korea to help them perpetuate hell on earth, but the real one you ought to think about is the Middle East.  Everyone has a solution for that one and they are all in La La Land.  As we saw in Egypt in the Arab Spring, the Middle East does not yet have the social foundations for a democratic government.  I am not a fan of that whole culture which is wedded to one religion, patriarchal social structure, and tribal affiliations whose sense of justice is retribution.   So let’s just say we go into Syria and wipe out ISIS assuming we could without massive collateral damage (nuke them till the sand glows), then what?

And that is the trillion dollar question.  Then what?  Who fills the void?  What happens next?  Did we learn anything from Baghdad?  Even when we try to fill the void with democratic institutions, and granted we did one sorry ass job of it, they still let their tribal passions overcome their rational brains.  And that is really the issue.  We have watched too many super hero movies where the good guys beat up the bad guys and then all is good.  In Syria or Iraq who fills in the void, Putin?  There are so many warring groups and disenfranchised young men ready to fill that void with more violence and revenge.  So pray tell me what is your plan after you do remove the bad guys?  Station a million troops there until hell freezes over?

We need a strategy for the long term and since George Bush got us involved in this mess, and it would seem that our strategy is to stabilize the area as best we can and hope the rest of the region will help out.  They haven’t so far but their long term viability may depend on them doing so.  Maybe that is the best we can do without spending trillions of dollars and spilling more American blood just trying to keep the two or three, or five, or ten parties apart.  As some pundits have shown us, we have tried various solutions from nation building to benign neglect and none have worked.  So be careful for what you wish for.  If we could rush in and destroy ISIS, it would be whack a mole, waiting for the next religious martyr to fill the void with his forces of righteousness.

So when the Donald offers you mindless get tough and show these people who is boss, get out your check book and kiss the economy goodbye because uncertainty will grow astronomically.