Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It’s All About the Narrative

On Monday, November 28, 2016, there was a terror event on the campus of Ohio State University.  It involved an OSU student, a young Somali immigrant, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, attacking others with his car, and then a knife.  This attack was similar to what we’ve seen in Palestinian attacks in Israel. He was engaged and killed by an OSU police officer, Alan Horujko, who reported “shots fired” as he called for assistance.  This led the OSU emergency response team to declare an active shooter event and broadcast it via social media to all the students.  Its Twitter message read, “Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.

It took about an hour from the first notification for the OSU administration to determine the only shooter was the police officer, and the student body should be notified of the all clear, but the twitter responses make a rather telling commentary on the thinking of the average student, others who followed the feed, as well as those who will use any such event to push their political narrative.

On the one hand, there were a significant number of individuals who could not fathom why the OSU team would advocate “fight” as one of the responses.  If someone has a gun how could you possibly fight them?  The concept of actively participating in their own defense appeared to be completely alien to them.
For the record, the advice advocating fight comes only if there are no other options.  You are trapped and about to be shot.  In this instance the advice is to be as violent as possible to disrupt the shooter and either disarm them or escape.

Then there were those who used the events of the day to talk about the need for everyone to have a gun and how OSU should not be a gun free zone.  @Tradecraft Ltd offered this great opinion, “Apparently colleges would prefer their innocent students to just be good little victims.

Finally, there were politicians and others from California, Virginia, and elsewhere around the world, who weighed in about how too many people have guns and that this never would have happened if we had better gun control laws.

Senator Tim Kaine, D-VA (Clinton VP candidate), found it necessary to weigh in before he had the facts (I assume) with “Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning. Praying for the injured and the entire Buckeye community

I am not a twitter user, and looking at the dialogues on this medium I am convinced my choice was a good one, for civility and respect don’t seem to be its forte. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

On the Art of Listening

If you watch the broadcast news or sports you will see neither the reporters nor the subjects listen to each other.  They are so eager to ask their questions, make their statements, or give their answers it becomes more of a dance than a conversation.  Perhaps this is why we are becoming so polarized.  We’ve been trained to speak, not to listen.
The world around us moves at sometimes frightening speed.  There is so much going on, we’ve set so many goals and tasks for ourselves the hours of the day do not seem sufficient to accomplish all we have to do.
The eastern philosophies and religions teach their followers to slow down and block the out the world for a time and to relax their minds and listen to themselves to find peace.  We can all benefit from this thought.  Isn’t this quiet, reflective, approach what prayer is?
My intent today is to listen to the world around me.  Not to judge, not to change, not to inform, but to absorb and reflect on what was, what is, and what can be.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

On the Eve of History

We have Thanksgiving behind us, the insanity of Christmas shopping before us, and the fate of the nation hangs in the peaceful transfer of power.  This December should be a memorable one.  Now, if only the Canadians would change their names to Visigoths and Huns the perspective would be complete.
For the record, I don’t seriously think the nation will collapse before January 20th or even in the next four years, but each challenge to the historical assumptions of peaceful transition calls into question the strength of the Republic of the future.  You’ve got to admire the spunk of the Green Party, for finding a fundraising opportunity in the disdain of the left for President (elect) Trump.  I think it is also telling of the DNC and their candidate.
As Democrats work through their stages of grief, it seems apparent fresh ideas are not coming from within but, as we see with this challenge to the election results, from others outside the party.  Kind of like Senator Sanders, an independent, as the only real challenger to the DNC’s preordained choice.
As an aside, for almost all of my adult life the educational industry has told us college for everyone was the key to a successful future.  We are now coming to realize how horribly wrong that idea is, but they have a very strong lobby so it probably won’t change anytime soon.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Experience, We Don’t Need No Stink’n Experience*

* Apologies to B. Traven and John Huston

It used to be, and perhaps still is, a given for any good and successful organization to have a mix of older people and youth.  The youth bring enthusiasm and energy, while the older members temper their energy with wisdom and experience.  The experienced would mentor (often informally) the young to help them understand the tasks before them and the ways those tasks were best handled.  They would pass along things that could never be found in the instructions, training, or classes the young might have had.

Now it seems even as the wisdom of the old is celebrated, it is pushed aside by the desire for instant change, even when instant change is not necessary.  We can look at almost any endeavor where the good-looking youth is pushed forward to be the boss, almost always at the cost of experience.

I read an article the other day on how journalists coming into the trade were previously not valued until they had 10 to 20 years of experience.  In the old model, college was not a prerequisite for journalism.  Now we expect college to replace those years of experience and we push the young graduates into the limelight as soon as they impress someone.  The alternative is to take someone who has influence in politics and thrust them into the spokesperson role for the network, again without a great deal of experience in the trade. 

I wonder, in either case, how much judgement they bring into the role?

Perhaps, if the current journalists were into self-inspection this would be a concern they would address, but I suspect self-inspection is not a strength of today's journalists.
Although not directly related, I recommend this post by Scott Adams, A Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Seven Stages of Political Grief (2016 version)

1.     Shock – That instant when you realize your candidate failed to do what [choose your gender-neutral pronoun] and the media had assured you was a “done deal.”

2.    Disbelief – how could this happen? The whole world is irrevocably altered and your life, the lives of your friends, and the lives of all the people at the corner deli (kosher and organic) will never be the same.

3.    Rage – Releasing a primordial scream to let the world know how outraged you are over this injustice to humanity.  (In modern society this may take the form of incessant posts on social media of all the sins, real or supposed, of the winner and why [choose your gender and race specific pronoun] will fail)  

4.    Challenge – show how the election was unfair and did not represent the true will of the average citizen.  This may include plotting how to overturn the results.

5.     Protest (AKA Riot) – Gather together to destroy property of all those who may not agree with your political views, letting the world know you stand united in your belief in the American Dream, as long as it agrees with you; and just maybe pick up a new flat screen TV in the process.

6.    Nitpick – question every decision, every choice, every statement made by the winner, and publish those statements on every social media outlet possible.

7.     Acceptance – just kidding there are only six stages.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Curiouser and Curiouser

“The Red Queen shook her head. "You may call it 'nonsense' if you like," she said, "but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Seems like only a month ago the Democratic Party, its propaganda arm ABCNNBCBS, and all 60,000,000 of its voters were up in arms about candidate Trump’s assertion the election was rigged and he would not promise to accept the election results on their face.  If I recall candidate Clinton correctly she made a big deal over this reluctance, going so far as to claim it would undermine the whole Republic.

So here we are two weeks after the election and I read how her advisors are suggesting she challenge the results in three states that would swing the balance of the election to her, and if that doesn’t work how Democratic Party electors are preparing not to follow the mandates of their states popular vote and instead “vote their conscience.

So remind me again, which party believes in the legitimacy of the electoral process?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Groupthink, or How My Group Thunk.

A friend shared this article on Facebook the other day, The Real War on Science, by John Tierney, writing in the City Journal.  Mr. Tierney also writes for the New York Times.  I thought about the piece last night and again this morning.  I was tempted to relate it to other on-going things, but decided instead to give a brief synopsis and let you read his opinion on which philosophical/political side places the biggest hurdles to the advancement of scientific knowledge.  My caveat, I may be a tad guilty of confirmation bias.
The bottom line of Mr. Tierney’s piece is the conservative right (i.e. Republicans) have not had too much impact science.  He notes the role of the government, and how whoever is in power tends to make political decisions that may shift some research, but his concern is with the impact of the progressive left (i.e. Democrats) and two particular cultural aspects the shape modern social research.  They are “Confirmation Bias” and “Groupthink.”
As Mr. Tierney describes, “the first threat is confirmation bias, the well-documented tendency of people to seek out and accept information that confirms their beliefs and prejudices. In a classic study of peer review, 75 psychologists were asked to referee a paper about the mental health of left-wing student activists. Some referees saw a version of the paper showing that the student activists’ mental health was above normal; others saw different data, showing it to be below normal.  Sure enough, the more liberal referees were more likely to recommend publishing the paper favorable to the left-wing activists. When the conclusion went the other way, they quickly found problems with its methodology.”
Mr. Tierney notes researchers attempt to eliminate confirmation bias by having people with different opinions review their work.  The problem is academia is a left-leaning institution and many fields are becoming mono-cultures where this are few, if any, opposing views.  As an example, he gives the field of sociology where Democrats outnumber Republicans at a ratio of 44 to 1.  Which leads to the next problem, when everyone in your peer group thinks as you do the group tends to believe not only are they right, what they believe must be true.  He believes this Groupthink issue is becoming so wide spread that many researchers are no longer aware of their own role in it.
I found the article to be worth reading, if only for self-reflective purposes.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

And So It Goes.

Bullying is a unique dynamic.  The experts in bullying talk about the insecurities of bullies, how we need to stand up to them, confront them, and stop them from pushing around the weaker segments of society.  As I watch the beatings of our socially conscious breasts and the outrage from the “I’m with Her” crowd I am reminded of the expert opinions on bullies.

These days we have the social bullies filling the streets in mock outrage that a candidate such as President (elect) Trump would be elected, and are distraught that despite having more popular votes their beloved choice fell far short on the required electoral vote.  Of course, both sides have their cases to make, but I suspect most of those filling the street in front of Trump tower, or blocking streets in LA did not assume so much social responsibility as to register AND vote.  If you didn’t vote, sit down and shut up.  You had your chance to participate and chose not to.  Your belief in anarchy as a solution is not going to be better than the worse day with the new President.

We have the cast of Hamilton lecturing the Vice President, and of course @realDonaldTrump had to respond.  For the record, I think we need to have the common man participate in our government, and the right to speak directly to the President or Vice President should be viewed as a good thing.  But in this case their obvious hypocrisy undermines the message.  Their choice of silence as President Obama took sides on the killing of our police, his obvious bias towards portraying blacks as the universal victim, his use of drones to remotely kill innocents as well as targets in the Middle East and Africa, or recalcitrant refusal to condemn radical Islam, even as terrorists killed Christians and members of the LGBT community means they have chosen a political side and are using their stage as a political forum.  The wonderful thing about capitalism is the public can decide for themselves if there is a price to this act. 

I would say to the cast of Hamilton, if you are to take it upon yourself to speak directly to the Vice President, you owe it to your own followers not to be so flagrantly hypocritical.  If you are only interested in your own needs then whine about that in private, but if you propose to represent a group then be prepared to represent the group well, not just to people you don’t like.  Look with open eyes at the acts of those you like, because they speak far clearer than their words.

Of course, in the exchange between @realDonaldTrump and the actor, who I believe was Brandon Victor Dixon, we see the President elect condemning the speech, saying a theater should be a “safe space.”  I think he would have been far better served in his 144 letters to speak to the booing the VP received as unnecessary, but it is always refreshing to see people like Dan Rather portray him as a bully, and reflect that bullies are quick to over react when challenged and that great presidents are almost always the opposite of the qualities he says reflect those of a bully.  Mr. Rather is himself a bit of a bully, and has used his position to publicly condemn those whose political views disagree with his own, so for me this was a rather tone deaf insertion into a twitter storm.  While I don’t know who Mr. Rather views as the great Presidents I am pretty sure you will find their ability to push around their opposition was one of the keys to their success.
This link describes the new social justice bully much better than I can.  Aristo Orginos Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millenial Social Justice 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Think It is Safe to Assume

The US will not adopt the metric system.

 Yellowstone National Park will not blow up.

 The next four years will be filled with hate and political animosity, mostly from people who claim they are pushing for social justice and acceptance, yet appear to be a lot like social bullies, to everyone else.

 Hollywood stars will not actually keep their promises to leave, and we will continue to see them on the talk shows pushing their projects while condemning the new administration.

 The people who truly believe climate change is the number 1 threat to the nation will be disappointed as car manufacturers continue to sell more super-sized SUVs than electric cars and oil production in the US increases to keep costs to the consumer down.

 The new President will continue the tradition of the last President by claiming credit for all the good stuff, while blaming the opposition for all the bad stuff.

 The DOJ and IRS, having been turned into effective political weapons by the last administration, will continue as such -- just with a different enemies list.

 A Republican Congress will make mistakes similar to the Democratic Congress of 2009-10.

 The cost of all this will continue to raise the national debt, but the Republicans won’t spend their days complaining about it and the Democrats won’t either.

 Maybe, if we are lucky, real jobs will be created so men and women who want to work can find employment at reasonable wages.

 The religious wars, which aren’t supposed to be called religious wars, will continue.

The European Union will continue to have discord from members who see that Great Britain didn’t sink into the Atlantic as forecast.

 The Democratic National Committee and the mainstream media will pick a new, more radical approach, to condemn the Trump administration.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thoughts From a Meandering Mind

If this past week has been any indication the political news for the next four years is going to be funny as heck as the media stumbles over themselves claiming villainy and evil-doing in everything President (elect) Trump and his band of deplorables do, while at the same time working to immortalize his recent opponent or whoever replaces her as the god-queen of the DNC.

Some examples I’ve seen.

Mr. Trump was criticized for not including the propagandists of DNC (also known as ABCNNBCBS) with his other dinner guests at a NYC affair.  I am not sure if they are upset at not having a good meal, or just not being the center of Mr. Trump’s world?  So, of course, they are outraged at his “lack of transparency.”  This is hysterical when coming from a media whose challenges to a President who vowed to be transparent, yet had one of the opaquest administrations since President Nixon, was so muted as to appear non-existent. 

And then there is Virginia Heffernan, writing this jewel in lennyletter.com, “Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won. She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena.”  (H/T Ann Althouse).  Ms. Althouse observes Ms. Heffernan wishes a deep dark depression on America as penance, or perhaps to coincide with her own.  Is this what modern Feminism has become?

Finally, we have Rahm Emmanuel standing up to the rumors the next administration will force sanctuary cities to abandon their protections for illegal immigrants, and actually follow the laws of the land.  He says he intends to demonstrate to the administration that a strong Democratic mayor will teach the federal government who is running the show.  I can only hope this comes to pass, for the theater it will create should be monumental.  Along that line is this picture from the blog Legal Insurrection.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

So Here We Are

As the walrus said, “The time has come to talk of other things.”  I expect that shall not happen for quite a while, if ever, but before I do I’d like to share this interesting article from the Washington Post on the decline of the Democratic Party.

Phillip Bump, writing on November 10th laid out the direction the party has moved since the historic election of 2008.  It is only funny when compared to the proclamations of the party’s propaganda arm, ABCNNBCBS and MSNBC, that a Trump election campaign might well signal the end of the opposition Republicans.  

There is an expression in political campaigning about a candidate’s “coattails,” a rather quaint term referring back to 19th century men's apparel where a child could latch on to someone's coat and get pulled along.  We saw it in this election.   Republicans were first enthused and then repulsed by the candidate, but those who stuck with Mr. Trump were pulled along while those who abandoned him were more likely to lose.

From the data in the Post, it is obvious President Obama’s personal and policy popularity has done little, or nothing, to bolster support of the Democrats among the average middle class American.  So, in terms of coattails, it appears Mr. Obama is wearing a wind breaker.  Yet the true elites within the party, (the top politicians and the rich who pay for them), do not seem to care.  This became obvious with their coronation of Ms. Clinton.  For them it seems to be more about making sure their views are the only one within the party.

After this election perhaps it is time to ask, have we seen the end of the Democratic Party?

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Monday After.

To say the past week has been interesting would be an understatement.  On the one side, we have a rather large segment of society who does not believe in the electoral process, and has set out to find their safe spaces, or to advocate for anarchy in lieu of democracy.  On the opposing side, we have an equally large segment of society who seem relieved there will not be a continuation of the Obama policies we’ve seen for the last eight years.

I expect the spinning of this election will go on for some time, with very little movement on any of the entrenched positions.  The mainstream media, like the NY Times, will continue to vilify the President elect while hiding any defects on the opposition.  Of course they will fail to understand their decline in readership or viewership as those who look for balance seek their information elsewhere.

The emotionally distraught special snowflakes will eventually reach equilibrium even if it requires remaining in college for the duration of the Trump presidency.  I suspect funding for the paid political agitators will eventually tail off, leading to a slowing of the street performances the networks of ABCNNBCBS are calling protests, and the celebrities who’ve promised to move will disappoint the hopeful real estate agents looking to cash in on home sales.

Below are some videos I’ve selected to help qualm the fears of the various generations who are upset by this election.  The first is from Blood Sweat and Tears for people of my generation.  It should remind us that everything goes around.  Just hold on for a while and we will undoubtedly return to a more liberal leadership. 
The next two are for those distraught millennials.  The first should remind them just take deep cleansing breaths and let it go.
Finally, we have a rap tune that should speak to the corruption they feel over this unfortunate (in their opinion) election.
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

You Know, I'm Just Tired.

I think I am an average citizen.  I mind my own business, I try to treat others as I would want to be treated, and I pretty much want government to mind its own business unless I need them for something.  It is that last statement that seems to be at the heart of our great polarization.  It used to be a debate, but anymore it just seems to be finger pointing,  name calling, and curling into a fetal position.

What is it we need government for, either at the local, state, federal, or global level? The left has one view, the right another, and the average citizen yet a third.  For the past 20 years we seem incapable of finding common ground.

Who I voted for is irrelevant, but if you’ve seen my Facebook profile it should be obvious it was neither of the principle candidates.  What I have seen in mainstream media and from my most liberal friends just reinforces why Mr. Trump’s election was correct and necessary.  I am going to rant for just a bit, so if you are not into reading rants this would be a good time to bail out!  Go ahead, I’ll wait.
 Still with me?  Great!  Fortunately for most of the free world, the nature of my blog is such I doubt a damn thing will come of this rant, other than I will feel better for having written it.

Bottom Line Up Front: I, and most of the nation like me, are tired of being called a misogynist, racist, homophobic,  islamophobe if we believe:  a) Hillary Clinton is a self-serving hypocrite who puts her financial well-being before the security of the United States, b) the Black Lives Matter movement is not out for the betterment of the black race, but to create an atmosphere intended to destabilize the government, and make the targeting of the police acceptable, c) the little LGBT community (less than 5% of US society,[i] but heavily involved with entertainment) is not so terribly oppressed as to need the protections of the 14th amendment, and d) we must recognize there is a radical aspect of Islam whose advocates want to destroy the Judeo-Christian societies of the west and wipe the Jewish population off the face of the earth. 

In the crush of post-election reporting we hear of students and educators so distraught they must bring in grief counselors and “safe space” management teams to cope.  We see people who just a couple of weeks ago were condemning Trump for questioning the possibility the election could be rigged, now "demanding" the electoral college not meet its constitutional mandate.  The name calling from the Democrats and their media support only reinforce for me the notion the real threat to our national survival is when one side chooses to turn a blind eye to how a republic must work.

In assessing how the media played their last “Trump Card,” the one they all piled onto when he said the system was rigged and suggested he might question the validity of the election is illustrative of the corrupt nature of modern media and the DNC.  I am convinced the media was, from the beginning, so committed to a Clinton win they tried to work with the DNC to pre-empt any kind of legitimate challenge to the vote totals by claiming such a challenge was unprecedented, when clearly it was not.  When Trump won they had no recourse but to support the political operatives rioting in the streets and claim that a fractional lead in the popular vote shows the current electoral system must be abandoned because they, in their shining cities, didn’t win.

As long as they refer to people destroying property as “protest” rather than the accurate description of riot they support the rioter’s agenda. I truly believe if the tables were turned and these were Trump supporters two things would be different.  First, you would not have the violence we are seeing, and next, whatever presence you did have would be called riots. Also, how much do we hear from the mainstream about an actual protest going on in North Dakota, where tribes of native Americans are standing against an oil pipeline?  We hear bumpkis!  Why is that?  I think it’s because no one in NYC or LA cares.  I, and most people like me, have no confidence in accurate reporting by ABCNNBCBS and MSNBC.

To the Universities, with all their Special Snowflake students and administers, who have melted since the election of Donald Trump I share the statements of others I’ve seen.  “Your very actions reinforce why the majority did not vote for your gender celebrated candidate.”  You, who bought into the agenda pushed by the DNC and the media, were so focused on putting a woman in the White House you all were willing to sell the safety of the nation and any hope of economic recovery down the river so you could sit at the feet of Ms. Clinton regardless of how corrupt she might be.  You are in love with someone who has shown over the past 30 years she wouldn’t accomplish much beyond influence peddling.  Yet, because she was a woman you are willing to sacrifice everything that binds us as a society to achieve some kind of first for the nation.  It would have been a pyretic first term as the needs of the nation were cast aside to further the illusion of a historically great woman. 

There was a video floating around by some personality, who I suppose is famous for something, where he sets off on a profanity filled rant about how the left has brought this on themselves because they have become a group unwilling to debate the issues, but rather shut down debate by name calling.  I agree with him, just without the need for profanity.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe the people who are charged with education at the college level or the media are capable of deep self-inspection -- so profanity and hate filled rants will remain the dialogue of the day for the foreseeable future.

Our one hope, and it is a very small hope, is the President and the Congress will recognize the mistakes of the Obama Democrats and work to avoid them, and the opposition will seek a middle ground in an effort to save whatever shards of the Obama legacy remain.  As I said, I am not optimistic, but the first year will show the direction the country will go.

Note:  This post was updated on 11/13/16 @ 5:17pm for corrections to grammar.  Content was not changed.

[i] http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-How-Many-People-LGBT-Apr-2011.pdf

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bummer Dude!

So, it appears all these celebrities who promised to leave if Mr. Trump was elected are now staying.  They are distraught and hate the fact their countrymen are misogynists, racists, Islamophobic, and homophobic, but gosh darn they will stay right here.  Bummer dudettes, you should follow through with your threats and teach us all a lesson.

Colin Kaepernick, you remember him don’t you?  He is so outraged over the racial oppression of blacks in this country he refuses to stand during the national anthem.  He has created a cottage industry of people who are now “taking a knee.”  Colin is so outraged he didn’t bother to vote for someone who would carry the message of equality forward.  Bummer dude, you’ve shown yourself to be a self-serving hypocrite, but fortunately you are not alone and your charade can go on.

Separating political hyperbole from reality.  This was an ugly, distasteful, mean-spirited, and did I mention ugly campaign.  The left was all condemning of how democracy would be destroyed if Mr. Trump lost and did not accept the results of the election without protest.  Yet now the tables are turned, whose supporters are in the street setting fire to stuff?  Bummer dudes and dudettes, but then hypocrisy has been your political stock in trade for some time.

Chaos within the Democratic National Committee.  Early indications are that some of the professional staffers might be just a tad upset with the handling of the primary system that saw the chairman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, HRC, Donna Brazile and the rest of the gender-specific leadership colluding to put forth a weak and corrupt candidate to face the Republicans choice.  Bummer, dudes, eight years ago and then four years ago, the Republicans went through the same thing.  That self-reflection led to a primary system that nominated a candidate who actually connected with the average citizen, even if his language offended you.  Unfortunately, I don’t see self-reflection as a strong suite for the DNC.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What Will President Obama's Legacy Be?

I awoke this morning to the sounds of the night ending.  The quiet was being replaced by the muffled cry of a lark or sparrow. The cat stretched against the blinds, and the bed protested under my shifting weight.  Alone, I opened my eyes to the darkness and tried to bring my brain to life.  What day was it?  What do I have to do?  Can I lay here just a while longer, under the warmth of the cover?  All important questions, but far too complex for this time of day so I rolled over and buried my head under the pillow, but the day continued and the inevitability of it was unavoidable, so I got up to make some coffee and feed the cats.

It has been an interesting 24 hours.  At this time yesterday I awoke to find the country had elected a Republican President, and left control of the Congress with the Republicans.  The shock to the many supporters of the Democratic candidate was palpable, as was the relief of the Republican side. The two candidates gave their expected speeches, and both were rated as excellent by those who rate such thing.  Mr. Trump’s victory speech was moderate and consolatory, while Ms. Clinton’s was perhaps her most human of the campaign.  She called for her followers to support the President, as we would hope, and urged them to continue to fight for the values she and they believed in.

Later in the day, her supporters would be found protesting and rioting in the streets, so perhaps they had not seen the speech, or chose to ignore it.

I happened to visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library last weekend during my visit to Austin, Texas.  It is an impressive structure.  Oversized, like the President, especially when I compare it to the Presidential Library in my hometown of Hyde Park.  You walk away from that library with an understanding that LBJ’s focus for his Presidency was to make life better for America’s poorest.  Through the establishment of social welfare and civil rights programs he did improve opportunity for many.  He did so in a time where US Industry dominated the world economy and we thought little about the cost of those programs.  Today, as our economic base shrinks those costs remain as “must pay” portions of our government, but they were decided on through a legitimate legislative process by a bi-partisan government.  Because he was a consummate deal maker in Congress he knew how to work with Congress and as a result his signature pieces of legislation endure.

During the campaign President Obama actively championed Ms. Clinton, urging their supporters to get out to vote.  He used all his familiar tools, he vilified Mr. Trump as unfit and unqualified, and praised Ms. Clinton for her experience.  He told the crowds he would take it as a personal affront if they did not elect Ms. Clinton to carry on his legacy.  So now that his support has failed to push her over the top, what kind of legacy will he leave?

President Obama is viewed as a great President by the media and his supporters, but from a critical analysis perspective I have to wonder why?  Will his leadership set the nation on a path as LBJ’s did or will it wither and die on the vine once he is not in the White House to push it every day?  I’ll let you decide, but here are some relevant facts.

President Johnson:  In office as President, 1,886 days.  Over 1,200 pieces of legislation turned into law.  Most notable, he pushed for “The Great Society” with bills including the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights Act.  He also pushed through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, as well as establishing National Public Broadcasting, and protecting our wilderness areas.  Unfortunately for Johnson he inherited a small conflict that he allowed to grow into a major war that saw us send 550,000 troops to the small country of South Vietnam and lose over 58,000 killed and over 211,000 wounded.  This war cost him his opportunity for a second term and has condemned him to the back shelf in liberal politics.

President Obama:  In office as President, 2,922 days (as of 20 Jan 17).  Total legislation is probably over 1,000, with his most notable achievement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed on a purely partisan basis.  He inherited 2 wars which have continued as reduced levels, but whose areas of concern have expanded to include Syria, Egypt, Libya and Northern Iraq.  His most notable achievement, PP ACA, is showing signs of collapse, and since it was a pure partisan effort it is unlikely to survive a Republican change when Mr. Trump and the Republican Congress arrive.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There's Got to Be a Morning After

The 1973 disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” had a wonderful song, sung by Maureen McGovern it was called “The Morning After.”  Today, November 9, 2016, seems a good time to recall it as America wakes up to a Tsunami like surge in the political landscape.  A change in the party of the President is normal every 8 years or so, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise, but it always seems to be to the party faithful.

The arrogance of the two political parties has always been a mystery to me, yet it is real and unmistakable, but both parties are minorities within the electoral pool.  Neither can win if only the party faithful vote for their candidates, they both need the votes of the uncommitted citizen.  In this election, perhaps more so than in the recent past, the media did everything they could to vilify President (elect) Trump, and bolster the former Secretary of State Clinton.  Despite this, they could not persuade enough disgruntled citizens to support continuation of the status quo.  Why is that?

Eight years ago, in one of my earliest blog posts, I wrote about the Democratic Party’s sweep in the election, and my hope they would learn to govern, not rule.  And Then There Was One, included President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation, and is a bit lengthy but the key takeaway was the need for balance and the threat of a growing military-industrial complex where he says, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

 Unfortunately for the nation the next seven years proved they would not govern, choosing instead to place their political goals and the goals of their lobbyists ahead of the general good of the nation.  They would claim wonderful job growth and recovery while millions of Americans went without work, or were forced to work for significantly reduced wages.  They would  condemn the bankers and stock markets publicly, while accepting millions of dollars in funds from those they condemned, as the Federal Reserve printed money for the banks giving them extremely low interest loans and decimating the average American’s savings accounts.

They unilaterally created a health care fiasco that now, on full implementation, is driving the cost of health care through the roof for the average middle class citizen while providing supplemental support for the poorest.  There are some great things in the PPACA, but it was written by the lobbyists for the Insurance Companies, and the big medical providers so who are really the beneficiaries of this legislation?   

They implemented social changes they liked, as if this were the government’s role to show the majority the political elite know what is best for all, and the wants of the minorities must take precedent over the will of the many.  They have ignored the laws of the land, and allowed by their own estimate 11,000,000 people to remain illegally in the country.  In a country where the supply of unskilled workers exceeds the demands on workers -- who suffers from this decision?  Certainly not the political and social elite.

In each subsequent election the party lost seats, yet their arrogance continued to the extreme rather than look to the center.  The President was reelected, but in the process lost the majority position in the Senate, yet retained enough control to stonewall all opposition to his agenda.  Throughout the years, his strongest party supporters railed at any challenge to his agenda, vilifying the opposition with terms like racist, homophobic, red-neck, misogynist, xenophobe, and bigot, rather than attempting to understand the why of the opposition.  I understand this approach from children and young people, I don’t understand from mature adults responsible for making life and death decisions or the adults who support them.

Finally, in what should be considered long and hard by the Democratic elite, they chose a flawed candidate based on gender and party influence rather than seek the best possible leader.  I believe almost any other choice would have easily beaten the equally flawed Republican candidate whose biggest thing going was the chance to upset the elitist apple cart.

In looking at the posts of people I know on Facebook I see very little has changed in the last 24 hours.  The people who supported Ms. Clinton are all bemoaning the future of our nation, as if they know precisely what will happen.  They are condemning the backwardness of those who would support Mr. Trump as if they are all idiots and imbeciles, and they (the democrats) are significantly smarter, better educated, and should be in a superior position to decide what is best for the country.

Meanwhile, those who supported Mr. Trump are basking in the afterglow of a victory and confident the country will dramatically change direction, and to a fair degree gloating the social and political elites got their hats handed to them by the uprising of a disgruntled (mostly) white population that has reached a breaking point where race becomes the central focus of every presidential dialogue.

The next four years will be interesting, but sadly I don’t see a significant shift in our management of the country.  The search for a middle ground will not happen, and both sides will continue to vilify the other with ad hominem attack versus a real discussion of public policy and what is best for the nation as we move deeper into the 21st Century.

BTW:  Here is a google link to information on Canada if you are considering a move.  https://www.google.com/search?q=canadian+immigration+and+citizenship&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Whether or Not, It’s the Weather

The weather this morning is gray and overcast.  It is as if it senses the mood of the nation, and has decided the sun wasn’t going to get out of bed and brighten everyone’s mood.  Rather the sun would lounge around in its night coat, and shuffle through the day in its slippers while it sipped a cup of decaffeinated Joe, that was becoming too cool, too fast.
Maybe this will all change later, after the sun has had a chance to consider the opportunities and its mood improves, but I’m guessing not!
On a related note, the social media weather experts tell me there are no hurricanes in the immediate future, but they (the meteorologists) are keeping a watchful, or hopeful, eye out for stuff that could develop if the weather changes.  I believe I’ve moved beyond the idea that weatherman/women have our best interests at heart, and think of them as just people who have a really big office pool going on who will predict the next major weather catastrophe.  It seems more like Mega Ball than actual forecasting.
As a number of political analysts have predicted; at least ½ of the nation will wake up tomorrow feeling they have been “sucker punched” by whoever wins this election.  While I would like to feel hopeful the next President will be better than the last one or two I am not holding my breath.  The forecast for the next four years is for turbulence, intransigence, favoritism, and political graft. It really doesn’t matter which candidate wins, the top 1% will get richer, the bottom 99% will not, because integrity, honesty, and fair play does not matter to the average voter, so it won’t matter to the politicians.
The day is gray, and all the leaves are brown.
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