Un toast à l’humanité: A Toast To Brave Men! and Women!

toast-of-the-week-black-friday-1101326-TwoByOneUn toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the jurors and prosecutors who decided to execute a twenty one year old for crimes against humanity.  “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” but here on earth we can decide who can live and who can die. Who must be punished and who must be acquitted.  Death is the only justice for the evil and it only takes eleven good men and a prosecutor bent on political gain to decide who lives and who dies.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!   Here’s to all the righteous men who want to decide who can be married and who cannot be married.   Let’s not have a world where people who care for each other can choose who they can love.  Government and politicians know more about love and compassion and it is up to them to tell us what love is sanctioned by God and what love is evil.

JACK-23549-Chicago-Concert-Poster_rvsd-P-72dpi1-805x1024Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the brave men that want to send others to fight in the name of liberty and justice and the American way of life.  Let’s keep killing all those bastards who defame America or who don’t want Democracy.  The world will be better off with less of those evil people who don’t believe in Mom, God and the American way of life.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all those Americans who think voting and politics is a waste of time.  Kudo’s to those who are smart enough to realize that Monday night football and American Idol are much more important than who is elected Senator or President.  Let us never forget that all it takes are enough people who don’t care and we can all go back to the good old days.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all those Americans who are simply apathetic about what happens to other people.  Why give a damn if it does not affect your life or money?  Let’s only think about our own team and our own friends and our own family and the hell with all those other losers and deadbeats.   Let the downtrodden take care of themselves.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the religious people who are against other religions.  The world has too many religions as it is and we all know that our religion is the only right one.  Let’s persecute and denigrate other religions.  Let’s abhor those who are less sacred then we are. They have no right to contradict what we believe in or the God we know is ours alone.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the greedy people in the world who put profits before compassion.   Money is their God.  Money is their only God.  Greed is good.  Greed knows who the true and only true God is.  The rest are fools since they worship false Gods like kindness and love.  Jesus was misguided when he threw the moneylenders out of the temple.  We need to rectify his mistake.  God is Greed and Greed is God.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the men who put race before humanity.  Race is the only thing that counts.  You must be true to your race.  Blood is thicker than water.  People who are not true to their race are cowards.  My race is and always will be better than your race.  Your race is so inferior to my race that it needs to be persecuted and denigrated.  Kudo’s to the race baiters and race haters for theirs is the Kingdom of Hell.

Jimmy CarterUn toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the people that believe that welfare, social security, Medicare and Obama Care are socialist plots to undermine the government of the United States of America.  Surely they are the only ones with eyes who can see that poverty and need are traits of people who have no discipline or honor.  Good people do not rely on the government for handouts; they simply pull themselves up to heaven by their own boot straps.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!   Here’s to all the people who can go to bed tonight secure in their gated communities that they will not be robbed or raped by the dregs of humanity.  Once we can wall ourselves in from other humans, we can forget about crime and poverty and concentrate on the really important things in life like golf and pickle ball.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to all the people in the world who don’t inconvenience the rest of us with problems and issues that we don’t really care about.  The world will be a better place when they all die with a stake through their hearts and stop pestering the rest of us about poverty and education and health care and jobs.

Un toast à vous tous braves hommes!  Here’s to those people who think nothing will ever change and that in a dog eat dog world, you simply take care of yourself.  Nothing any of us can do will make a difference. Nothing any of us can do will ever change anything.  So why bother.  Let the dead take care of themselves and we can take care of ourselves.  Good guys finish last.

Un toast à vous tous de braves hommes. Un toast à vous tous les politiciens. Un toast à vous tous, hommes religieux. Un toast à vous tous, hommes patriotiques. Un toast à vous tous les hommes qui ne se soucient que de vous-mêmes. Un toast en enfer pour ceux d’entre vous qui me rencontrer là-bas.

Time for Questions: 

Do you really give a damn? If so, what do you give a damn about?

Life is just beginning.

What if it isn’t’?

Bigots, Liars and Right Wing Radio Talk Show Hosts

There is a perfidious odoriferous evil in this country that is labeled as Radio Talk Show Hosts.”  This panoply of would be patriots and dispensers of sage wisdom includes such infamous names as Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly and most infamous of all Rush Limbaugh.  Each of these commentators is supported by millions of naive and gullible people, who listen, believe and follow the guidance and supposed advice of these slick Goebbels like hucksters.  goebbelsHucksters who purport to share truth, knowledge and insight on the everyday happenings of politics and society.  Only in America, with our First Amendment rights would such liars and hypocrites be tolerated.  Ironically, these slanderers are 100 percent supportive of the Second Amendment but have mixed tolerance for the First Amendment.  They love the First Amendment when it protects their right to lie, exaggerate, falsify and spread vicious innuendos (Obama is not an American, Obama is not a Christian, Autism is a fraud, etc.), but they hate it when it supports the rights of others to speak out against injustice and deception.

Let me digress for a moment.  You might be thinking:  “John is labeling and using pejorative terminology to describe these people whom he obviously does not respect, how is this any different from what he is accusing them of doing?”  Good question.  Here is the simple answer.  I am not getting paid or making any money from what I am telling you.  Read this if you want to or not.  It’s not going to put any money in my pocket.  Rush Limbaugh’s annual salary is seventy million dollars.  These radio talk show hosts are making millions of dollars by sowing rancor, discord and disillusionment.  Furthermore I condemn their behavior and I hope to show the key principles that we should all follow when engaged in public discourse of any type.  Principles that I believe would return civility and respect to our government and airwaves.

If the ranting’s of these vicious individuals were strictly entertainment and was recognized as such, I would have no problem.  However, when lies are mistaken for truth, when innuendoes are mistaken for facts and when hyperbole substitutes for civility, we all have a problem.  Too many of these radio talk show hosts are listened to and trusted by millions of Americans.  They use the same tools of propaganda developed by the Nazis to spread “big lies” which are believed by their listeners.  What should a listener be asking and expecting of those who are highly paid to dispense such advice and information?  I think there are three principles which should be in the forefront of any audience’s mind when tuning into a radio talk show host or for that matter any so-called expert or talking head.   Failure to follow these principles results in misinformation, misdirection and all too often a general miscarriage of justice.

  1. Search for facts and truth
  2. Civility and respect for the opposition
  3. Win-win and the Golden Mean.

Before we begin to look at these three principles, just a few of the type of vitriolic and extremist comments made by these talk show hosts will serve to illustrate my points about degrading, hyperbolic and vicious speech.

“The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully.  I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican party as the anti-Obamacare party.” – Ann Coulter

“If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable? … We are born that way. We don’t choose it. So shouldn’t it be acceptable, excuse — this is according to the way the left thinks about things.” – Rush Limbaugh

“My main point remains true, It is an over diagnosed medical condition. In my readings, there is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism.” – Michael Savage

“The government is full of vampires, and they are trying to suck the lifeblood out of the economy.” – Glenn Beck

Sean Hannity claimed that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren “advocated compulsory abortion” and sterilization.  PolitiFact had previously rated a similar claim — made months earlier by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — “pants on fire” false. 

Barbara Espinoza took to her website and boldly admits that she called the president a “monkey,” and then defends the racist statement by noting that, “Unless there has been a takeover of America and free speech is no longer allowed and I can be put to death for making a remark, I refuse to take the fifth.”

Finally, a comment by Ed Schultz that pretty much sums up much of the rhetoric used by the right wing talk show pundits.

“There’s something very ugly and dangerous going on in this country,” Schultz said. “Right wing talk show hosts seem to be amping up racist and reckless rhetoric like never before … the level of racist and violent rhetoric on hard-right wing radio today is off the charts.”

A brief caveat before we look at the three principles I am advocating for public and civil discourse.  I have omitted any recognition of extreme, incendiary, racist or outrageous comments on the part of “left” wing talk show hosts, such as Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Thom Hartmann and others (See List of progressive talk radio hosts in the United States).  I readily admit my bias is liberal and progressive.  I also admit that I am frequently entertained by the comments of Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and other liberals.  I find them less violent, less inflammatory, less racist and less reactionary than any of the right wing commentators I have noted.  Nevertheless, the rules I am going to discuss apply to them as well.  Whether or not they are right wing or left wing commentators, these principles should apply.  I believe “We the People” should hold commentators to the same standards of dialogue and discourse regardless of political persuasion.  Whether or not you are right leaning or left leaning, let us all expect that people who are paid to elucidate and illuminate the rest of the country, will and must be conservative and cautionary with their rhetoric.

Search for facts and truth:

The first principle for honest discourse is a search for Truth based on facts.  True, facts can be elusive.  For instance, what is the height of Mt. Everest?  What is the population of New York City?  Who is the richest woman in the world?  What movie star is the most popular?  Facts change since the world is not a static entity.  Many things that were once facts are now in the dust bin of antiquity.  The search for truth is a process that relies on facts to confirm decisions that are then judged to be true or false.  For instance, a trial revolves around evidence that either supports a verdict of guilty or not guilty.  The elusiveness of truth is well illustrated by the famous Rashomon story wherein a robber, a bridegroom, a bride and an innocent bystander all give widely differing versions of an alleged rape and murder.  The famous lawyer Clarence Darrow once said that “there is nothing as unreliable as an eye witness.”  Dr. W. E. Deming, the noted quality expert often said that there is nothing in life that can be determined with 100 percent accuracy.  He noted that “it all depends on how you measure something and that all measurement relies on a process.”  One process will reveal one set of metrics or “facts” and another process will reveal another set of metrics and facts.

If facts are indeterminate and truth must be based on facts, is there any truth in the world?  The answer is that truth exists if we think of it as a “range of possibilities.”  For instance, was Jodi Arias guilty or innocent?  The probability is high that she is guilty but not a 100 percent certainty.  Jurors are warned that they must be certain of their verdict beyond a “Reasonable” doubt.  But what is reasonable to one person might be wild conjecture to another.  Can we depend on a written confession?   How many innocent people have been coerced into “false” confessions?  Can we depend on anyone telling the truth?  Confessions often depend on how much the person has to gain or lose by “telling the truth.”  Workers in many organizations quickly learn whether telling the truth is a valued asset or a major liability.

Thus, the search for truth must be an ongoing pursuit.   Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize winner in physics said that the highest obligation of a scientist is to prove they are wrong.  The search for truth in science is a series of successive approximations.  We learn more, we accumulate more facts, we find more reliable and valid data and our theories of reality become stronger or they are jettisoned in favor of new paradigms that better fit the facts.

Imagine then, if talk show hosts treated the “Truth” as a pursuit of knowledge and not as an absolute reality that belonged to one party or one individual.

Civility and respect for the opposition:

The second principle for civil discourse is Civility.  Unfortunately, every day brings new instances of incivility and a culture of narcissism and self-absorption.  In many cases, we see rampant greed and a total disregard for the welfare of others.   In the worst cases, we see school shootings, murders for money, road rage resulting in violent encounters and a hostile culture where few people feel safe at night on any major city street in the USA.  Do I attribute this to talk show hosts?  Did incivility come first and lead to the selection of such commentators as Michael Savage and Ann Coulter or did the latter talk show hosts contribute to the wide spread increase of disrespect and hostility in our culture?   My guess is it’s a two way street.  There are no doubt many other major factors. However, when you look at the number of people that are tuned into these talk show hosts, you cannot deny the impact that their vitriol and hate has had on those who look to them for advice and inspiration.

I spent over three years regularly listening to the so called “Patriot” radio station when I lived in Minnesota.  Daily diatribes by people like Mike Medved and Hugh Hewitt each trying to outdo Mike Savage in terms of gross invective and vile comments about the presidents, liberals, gays, democrats, college professors, college educated people, women, minorities, disabled and even elderly.  Day after day, hour after hour of endless demeaning, hateful and malicious comments made about anyone who they did not deem sufficiently patriotic by their narrow definition of patriotism.  Time and again I was reminded of Samuel Johnson’s comment that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Civility is defined as: “Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.”    Civility does not exist in talk radio.  Most of these talk show hosts are abject cowards.  They hide behind their microphones and distance from others to insult and demean those whom they want to attack.  They are bullies of the worst kind, since they will not even come out to face their opponents.   These bigots want to equate patriotism with military service and heroism with serving on the front lines, but look at the record for most of the top bigots.

  • Mike Savage, did not serve
  • Sean Hannity, did not serve
  • Rush Limbaugh, did not serve
  • Bill O’Reilly, did not serve
  • Michael Medved, did not serve
  • Glen Beck, did not serve

I won’t even mention Ann Coulter (Cornell University) or Laura Ingraham (Dartmouth) both of whom are Ivy League graduates and never served a day in their life except as high paid business or legal consultants.

The more cowardly these phony patriots are the more they fly the flags of patriotism, jingoism, chauvinism, racism, xenophobia and intolerance.  Ralph W. Sockman once noted that “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority.  The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”  These pitiful excuses for humanity neither demonstrate tolerance or courage.  Indeed, they demonstrate the exact opposite.  They are intolerant when they feel they are in the majority and then attack those who are weaker and more defenseless.  When in the minority, they are silent cowards who hide behind the First Amendment, the American Flag and hollow calls to their servile brand of patriotism.

Let the American people start judging politicians, TV hosts and Radio Talk show hosts by their civility and respect for their opponents.  Americans who value respect, politeness and civility need to tune out anyone, right or left who has no respect for others, unless of course, the others have demonstrated time and time again that they have no respect for those who disagree with them.

Win-Win and the Golden Mean

My third principle for civil discourse concerns the Golden Mean and the concept of win-win.  The Golden Mean was a principle first noted by the ancient Greeks to denote the idea that moderation was the guiding principle of a successful and happy State and human existence.

 In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.  For example, courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_mean_(philosophy)

The win-win concept first became popular with Steven Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.”  Other writers such as Alfie Cohn and Edward De Bono also wrote about the power of the concept and its unique position to make allies out of former enemies.  In a win-win scenario, would be antagonists move from an adversarial negotiation to a problem-solving mode in which the goal is to find an outcome or outcomes that are highly desirable to both parties.  Win-win theory stresses the importance of a joint decision that supersedes even compromise.  Unlike compromise, wherein everyone sacrifices to attain a mutual decision, in win-win, the parties seek to avoid decisions that are less than optimal for either party.  Compromise is always a fallback position but win-lose is not admissible in the set of desired outcomes.

Now imagine for a minute, a group of Republicans and Democrats, or a group of pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates or a group of conservatives and a group of liberals all sitting down to a win-win scenario.  Instead of bargaining, fighting, positioning, game playing and slimy tricks to get better position, the participants sit down in a spirit of cooperation and good will.  Each one knowing that the principle of the Golden Mean entails finding an optimum solution that lies somewhere between the two extremes or perhaps even in a different frame.  Now you can imagine what the Founding Fathers were able to do and why the documents that this country were built on are so magnificent.  As Abraham Lincoln said:

“The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good.  Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.”

Conclusion:

I am talking about “EVIL” people here.  The Nazis were evil.  Why, because they sowed hatred, intolerance, injustice, contempt, racism, genocide, murder and destruction.  They used the machinery of democracy to establish a reign of terror like the world had never seen before or since.  Many Americans have asked “Could it happen here.”  Goring said:

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

The Nazis laughed as they led Germany into destruction and as their propaganda machine convinced millions of innocent Germans that they were protecting Aryan supremacy and the German way of life.  Millions of Americans are being led down the a similar road of hatred and intolerance by these Nazis style commentators who call themselves Radio Talk Show hosts.  Hitler said: “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.”  Himmler said: “The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love; only for their fear.”  Talk shows feed on the fear and cruelty that they not only exacerbate but they also create.

In my 67 years on this earth, I have been to Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Catholic, Unitarian, Baptist, Methodist and several non-denominational churches.  I have attended over 30 Jesuit Retreats at Demontreville Retreat Center in Minnesota.  I do not claim to be a great Christian.  I do not claim to turn the other cheek as often as I should.  I do not claim to help my fellow man as often as needed.  What I do claim is that in not one of these houses of worship, have I ever seen Jesus portrayed as a racist or a sower of hatred and intolerance.  In the famous parable of the adulterous woman, Jesus said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  In Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan, he said “Who is the neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “And why beholds thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in thy own eye?”  Over and over again, Jesus preached love and forgiveness.  Where does Jesus say “Go and preach hate?”  “Go and preach intolerance.”  “Go and preach bigotry.”

Time for Questions:

Has fear blinded too many Americans to the symptoms of bigotry and intolerance and incivility that are symptomatic of many Talk Show Hosts?  Are you going to church on Sunday and applauding Rush Limbaugh on Monday?  Are you silent in the face of hypocrisy, racism, sexism and homophobia?  Do you take a stand on your principles whether you are Christian, Catholic, Muslim or Jewish?  Are you following principle of love and forgiveness or an “Eye for an Eye?”  What can we do to abolish the pervasive malice, hostility and meanness that are symptomatic of Radio Talk Shows today?

Life is just beginning.

 

Evolution in Reverse:  From Homo Sapiens to Trump Deplorables.

Dancing Racists-2I ponder at a quote by the author Stephen King in which he notes that Donald Trump will never get elected but “he has certainly exposed the ugly underbelly of conservatives in America today.”  I think about this comment because (by recent polls) Trump has a large percentage of voters in his camp who qualify for the “Deplorables” label than Clinton so recently used.  Ironic that the King of Insult and Slander now says “anyone who makes such comments about Americans is not fit to be president.”  The truth is that anyone who fits into this underbelly or “deplorables” category is not fit to be an American.  They share nothing in common with the values that our Founding Fathers had for this country.

This “underbelly” that King refers to and that Hillary calls “Deplorables” is a group of racist, xenophobic, sexist, ignorant bigots who belong to such fringe groups as the Tea Party, KKK, Aryan Brotherhood and Sons of the Confederacy.  Many who do not belong to these groups simply espouse racist and bigoted ideologies hiding in the sanctuary of their own homes. These are largely uninformed and uneducated people attracted to the glamour and promises that Trump seems to hold out.  Vote for Trump and you can be great again.  No more mortgages!  No more taxes!  No more government telling you what to do or not to do!  No more immigrants taking your job and standard of living away!  Be able to tell it like it is and don’t worry about political correctness!

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts.  Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike.  And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.”White supremacist Groups See Trump Bump – 12-10-15

Racists+not+oc_0826f0_4310362Today, we now know (thanks to Trump) that we have at least ten million US citizens who think that Donald Trump could deliver on such promises as noted above.  This latter fact simply astounds the rest of us (180,000,000) registered voters who would sooner drown ourselves than see Donald Trump as president.  The majority of US voters know that Trump is a buffoon and a bigot playing on the heart strings and delusions of a minority of people who have no clue what the USA stands for or what our Founding Fathers envisioned for this country.

We_want_white_tenantsI am not worried about Trump.  King is right. He will never be elected.  I am worried about the disillusioned and hapless people who are supporting him.  These people are the real threat to America not Donald Trump.  Cast out by an economic system that rewards the most competitive, the Trump supporters are the least competitive and most hard hit by the recent economic recession.  Statistics tell us that Trump’s supporters make up a large segment of the population who are unemployed and unemployable.  I should say unemployable at a wage sufficient to support a family.  Just like in Germany during the recession, it was this same type of people who were most attracted to Hitler.  They were the unemployed, uneducated and people who felt life had been unfair to them.  When Hitler came to power, they became his willing disciples and minions.  The parallels between the hate and xenophobia espoused by both Hitler and Trump would be uncanny, if not for the fact that it is and always will be predictable.  The formula to create such hate and bigotry has been the same for four thousand years.

Here is the formula:  Lack of education + lack of economic opportunities + a notable minority population + one hate filled leader = Prejudice, Discrimination and Violence.  

neo nazisLeaders throughout history have used the above formula to incite their followers to acts of hatred which have taken such forms as the inquisition, pogroms, mass deportations, genocide and the Holocaust.  It has always been the same formula and it has always worked.  The hapless, ignorant and hopeless are lured by the sirens of revenge and retribution to take action against a targeted minority group who are portrayed as having stolen their hopes and dreams.  The solution is to eradicate the despicable group and thereby restore the future that was stolen from the hapless and ignorant.

Listen to the V for Vendetta “Revolution” speech:  Speech

Protest At Ground Zero

NEW YORK – JULY 4: Shirley Phelps-Roper holds up signs as she joins fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church, from Topeka, Kansas, as they protest across the street from Ground Zero July 4, 2004 in New York City. The church members believe that because of homosexuals and America’s rebelious and immoral conducts, God has brought on acts of terrorism as a way of punishing society. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)

I often listen to right-wing religious fundamentalists and one of their favorite refrains is “The end is near.”  In their minds, the just will be rewarded with a life of happiness and prosperity.  The unjust (anyone who does not subscribe to their particular religious orientation) will be condemned and punished to a life of pain and hell fire.  Many of these fundamentalists deny the concept of evolution in favor of what they call “Intelligent Design.”  This is a creed that subscribes to a literal interpretation of the Bible in which an all-powerful God created the world in 7 days.  No primordial soup, no dinosaurs, no Homo sapiens predecessors.  Adam was created by God and Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs.

It is interesting that after about two hundred years of science proving the Theory of Evolution that we seem to have more people than ever before who endorse the idea of “Intelligent Design.”  Darwin’s theories suggest that more intelligent people would have a better chance of surviving, hence propagating even more intelligent people as the gene pool favors those with a higher I.Q.  However, when we look at Trump and his supporters, this concept does not seem to be working.  The number of people who support Trump is simply astounding.  Could we be de-evolving?  Could we be regressing mentally?  Will the dumb inherit the earth?

paineOne would have thought that most of the Neanderthals who succumb more easily to bigotry and hatred would be on the decline.  Instead, in the last few years throughout much of the world, it seems as though the fanatics, racists, and bigots are on the incline.  Witness the rise of ISIS and its supporters all over the world.  What is happening?  Was Darwin wrong?  Is the world witnessing a devolution instead of an evolution?  Donald Trump and his followers seem to be evidence that not all of the population has been evolving according to Darwin’s Laws.  A sizable portion of US citizens seem to be going from intelligent thinking rationale Homo sapiens to stupid unthinking racist bigoted Homo rednecks.  Where will this end and what will we do with these Neanderthals?

Listen to Charlie Chaplin’s “Great Dictator” speech:   Speech

hitler and trumpMost of the US is supportive of the idea of destroying foreign Muslim terrorists.  But what of domestic right-wing terrorists?    What about the home grown nutcases, terrorists, Nazis and extremists in the USA?  If we assume that the KKK, racists and sexists in the USA are of the same ilk and just as dangerous to liberty and freedom as Islamic terrorists, then when do we wage war on our domestic terrorists?  When will we enlist the Army, National Guard, police and other liberty protectors to jail and wipe out these home grown extremists?  Should we allow American Neo-Nazis the right of free speech and the right to vote, when we lost nearly a half a million citizens in a war to save the world from the Nazis and Japanese warlords only seventy years ago?

homophobesWhy are we tolerating groups wearing swastikas, Nazi armbands and Hitler slogans?  Groups parading around against immigrants.  Groups who make a mockery of the values that this country was built on.  This tolerance is a disgrace to the Founding Fathers.  It is a disgrace to the Union soldiers who fought for the freedom and equality of African Americans.  It is a disgrace and affront to the soldiers that lost their lives fighting the Fascists.  It is a disgrace to the people in this country who are first and second generation Americans.  Finally, it is a disgrace to all people who believe in the idea of “liberty and justice for all” which is a part of the Pledge of Allegiance to our country.

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace.  We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”  — Samuel Adams

As patriotic citizens, we need to stop applying double standards.  We need to treat domestic enemies as ruthlessly as we do foreign enemies.  We need to stop tolerating extremists in this country just as we despise extremists in other countries.  Goldwater was wrong.  Extremism is not a virtue.  Extremism of any sort is an evil insidious disease that if left untreated will spread and infect an entire nation.  We need to speak out against extremists, whether left, right, foreign or domestic.  There can be no room for extremists in a country based on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. There are many who forget that freedom for oneself is based on freedom for all.  Anyone who would take away freedom from others has no right to freedom for themselves.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” — Abraham Lincoln

I want to remind some of you of a recent history in the USA.  It was a time between about 1950 and 1990 when smokers had rights and non-smokers had no rights.  Smokers could light up wherever they wanted to from offices to parks to restaurants to hospital waiting rooms.  If you were a nonsmoker, smokers could blow smoke in your face, put the ashes out in your car and throw their butts wherever they wanted to.  Nonsmokers had no rights to challenge this behavior.  Smokers were simply executing their constitutional rights to pollute the air and help the rest of us develop pulmonary lung conditions.

Well, the times finally changed.  The large corporations that tried so hard to make smoking glamorous and dispute the idea that cigarettes were a major contributing cause of lung cancer, finally succumbed to a combination of lawsuits, anti-smoking campaigns and citizen awareness.  Non-smokers have rights to.  The right to clean air and the right not to have to be around people who indiscriminately smoke.  In what was a long battle against smokers, smokers finally became the “bad” guys and non-smokers are now the good guys.

What does this have to do with Neanderthals?  About a week ago, a disgruntled smoker was asked to put his cigarette out in a Waffle House restaurant.  He pulled out a 9-mm handgun and shot the waitress to death.  An aberration?  An anomaly?  A freak occurrence?  I think not.  Rather, we have an example of an individual who believed his right to do whatever he wanted to, whenever he wanted to “TRUMPS” the rights of the rest of us.  This is the same behavior that is exhibited by racists, sexists, bigots and right-wing fundamentalists.  They are all infected with the idea that their beliefs and ideology are so important that those of us who do not subscribe to their nut case philosophies have no rights.  In the worst of cases, such as the Waffle House, they believe that we have no right to live.  This must change.  How you might well ask can it change?  How do we erase bigotry and hatred?

Waffle House Customer Shoots and Kills Waitress over No-Smoking Policy

against racismThe only way it will change is for good people to speak out.  Speak out against racism.  Speak out against sexism.  Speak out against homophobia.  Speak out against intolerance.  Speak out against injustice and discrimination.  You don’t know what to say?  It’s simple.  WWJD?  A meme that I see on a lot of t-shirts provides one reply that all Christians should endorse.  If you are not a Christian, simply practice the Golden Rule or some other rule that shows respect and love for others who are not like you.  That’s what Jesus, Gandhi, King and many other great leaders would do.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

BTY:  I still like to smoke a pipe or a cigar once in a while.  I do not smoke where others will be subjected to the smoke or smell.  My father and sister were both heavy smokers and both died from lung cancer. My father was 60 when he died after two lung operations and my sister was 58 when she died.  I stopped smoking regularly when I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous lung condition about 9 years ago.  Hoping a very infrequent pipe or cigar will not kill me before I get run over crossing the street.

Time for Questions:

Why do you think so many people seem to hate others?  What causes intolerance and bigotry?  Do you have friends who are bigots, sexists, racists?  What do you do about their attitudes?  Do you challenge their ideas or do you simply ignore them?  When should we challenge bigots and extremists?

Life is just beginning.

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”  — James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” — Joseph de Maistre

 

 

Irony, Paradox and Serendipity or why a Donkey knew best!

Once upon a time, back when animals could talk and people did not rule the world, there was a donkey named Isaiah.  Isaiah was the wisest animal in the land.  He knew everything about life and death.  All of the animals, even the owls came to Isaiah when they had a question they could not answer or when they had a key decision to make.  The most intelligent people in the world would also come to Isaiah when they had a problem they could not figure out.   Isaiah was not only  intelligent but he was kind as well.  Now that might seem like a paradox to some.  Can we be intelligent and also kind?  Were not managers at Enron the “smartest men in the room?”  Maybe, but Enron’s senior management would hardly seem to qualify as kind when you consider the damage they did to the lives of their employees.   In truth, it often seems that the greatest paradoxes of all time, involve the harm done by “highly intelligent people.”  The world is full of examples of smart people who do great harm because they care little for the feelings or welfare of others. Fortunately for the world, Isaiah was not this kind of creature.  He was the epitome of wisdom because he combined intelligence with feelings and empathy for others.

No matter what the problem, Isaiah would always consider the potential damage and impact on others of his decisions and choices.  Whenever he reasoned out a problem, the morals and ethics of the problem were just as important to Isaiah as the solutions.  A solution which caused damage to anyone was not seen as a good solution.   Many of the people and animals were skeptical that Isaiah could always find a win-win solution but somehow Isaiah always did.  Most people find that the key decisions they make result in ironic outcomes that they would not have been able to predict.  This was not the case with Isaiah’s solutions.  His outcomes were never ironic.  Isaiah seemed to have the ability (like Merlin) to foresee the future.  Within the unlimited possibilities of various time-lines that the future laid out, Isaiah could always find the optimal path.

Once when one of the animals asked Isaiah how he managed to construct such robust solutions, he attributed his ability to serendipity.  According to Isaiah, his ideas were often happy accidents which surprised him with their elegance and simplicity.  But how could serendipity be the answer when his batting average was 100 percent.  Thus, another paradox, how could serendipitous decision-making result in outcomes that are always beneficial?   Luck may favor the prepared mind but even luck has its limits.  Isaiah’s abilities seemed to be more of the miraculous nature than of a serendipitous nature.  If so, this is truly ironic, since Isaiah did not believe in ghosts, gods, angels or miracles.

However, as with all good things, they must eventually come to an end.  Isaiah grew old in years and tired in body if not sometimes in spirit.  He had less energy for solving the problems of the world and gradually the animals and humans stopped coming to him for solutions.  The various species retreated further and further from each other.  Humans started building houses and walls and fences to keep themselves in and animals out.  Ironically, the further they went from each other, the more they mistrusted each other. Fear led to mistrust, mistrust led to suspicion.  The once harmonious relationship that existed between animals and humans dissolved in a mist of animosity and betrayal.

Friends started killing and eating friends and inexorably neither side could trust the other side.  Excuses for killing others became the norm and a human declared a theory called “Survival of the Fittest.”  Within this theory, might became right, power made the rules and the “fittest” could dominate those deemed as less fit.  Whole species were seen as suitable for consumption or slavery by other species.  Everyone was a commodity.  Anyone with no commercial value went to the bottom of the economic pie.  Human Resources became the norm in business and English Majors, History Majors, Art Majors and Philosophy Majors were paid less than high school dropouts.  Those who were loyal to the economic engines of society were given status and high paying jobs.

Sadly, Isaiah saw all this, but could find no solutions to the problems or trends.  Eventually, though he lived for many hundreds of years, people just regarded him as that “dumb old donkey” who did not say much.  As time passed, most people and animals even forgot that Isaiah had a brain or could speak.  Isaiah did not feel the need to disabuse anyone of their conceptions and so he just kept to himself.  At the age of 5887 years Isaiah died.  His body was sent to a glue factory to be processed.  He left no legacy of writings, nor any erudite body of knowledge, nor any great poetry nor any glorious music to be remembered by.  Just another old donkey that croaked, so who cares!

Some, if they had known Isaiah might have chided him for not posting his ideas and thoughts on Facebook or YouTube.  At least that way, he might have achieved some measure of fame if not fortune.  Ironically, or paradoxically, or serendipitously, (choose one), it never occurred to Isaiah to become Internet or Google savvy or famous or rich.  History may someday rediscover his genius and perhaps he will yet be remembered in homage to his major contributions to world peace for thousands of years.  Stranger things than that have happened of late on the Internet.

By the way, it is generally believed or was at least “once upon a time” that Isaiah (and not Euripides or Aeschylus or Sophocles) was the Father of Irony, Paradox and Serendipity and that these concepts were widely used by him in his conversations and discussions with other humans and animals. Thus, while the words today bear an etymology that derives from Greek vocabulary, their usage in practice and ideology must be attributed to Isaiah the Donkey.

Time for Questions:

Can you give me an example of irony or serendipity or paradox in your life?  What do ideas matter anyway or do they?  What if everyone was a philosophy major?  What would happen if more people practiced kindness instead of hate?  What value do animals have?  Are they just commodities?  What if we were all vegetarians?  Would it make any difference to the world?

Life is just beginning. 

How Can We Find the Truth?

Let us all agree with the universal bit of wisdom that the truth will set us free.  If we accept this axiom, then the problem becomes how do we find the truth?  What is the process or road or path or algorithm or method that we can use to find this elusive ineffable quality of life?  Anyone who has searched for the truth knows that there are many obstacles to finding it.  If you think Odysseus had a rough journey on his voyage home, it is nothing compared to the voyage you will take if you seek to find the truth.  The route to the truth is strewn with more pitfalls, dangers, villains, liars, thieves, and hazards than any other path in the entire universe.  If you take up this journey, you will find mirage after mirage of illusions, hallucinations, phantasmagoria, apparitions, fantasy, and chimeras all screaming that they are the truth.  The truth if it exists at all will be cloaked in a web of deceit and pretense.  The Internet will have ten million sites where you can find the truth.  Religious experts, psychologists, economists, historians, forensic scientists and lawyers will all tell you that they know the truth.  Every huckster and expert and authority will offer to sell you the truth for no money down.  You can buy the truth with cash, labor or your soul.  All you have to do is believe.  Believe in someone.  Who to believe in is the real question?

“The internet is full of crap.  For every piece of reputable information you’ll find countless rumors, misinformation, and downright falsehoods.  Separating truth from fiction is equal parts a mental battle and diligent research.”  — Thorin Klosowski

Most of us want a simple solution to a simple problem.  Unfortunately, most of our problems are not simple and most solutions end up being quite complex.  When we start looking for the truth (I am not talking about inner truths here. That is another process.), we soon find that our truth has more facets than the Hope Diamond.  Most truths are like a kaleidoscope.  They are not only quite multifaceted but they keep changing.  Depending on when, where and how we look at a truth, it will seem to be very different.  Let me give you an example.

I have always been fascinated with Lawrence of Arabia ever since seeing the movie with Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif.  When I was young, he represented a perfect example of a shining hero.  T. E. Lawrence was ethical, brave, intelligent, charismatic and someone who would stand up for the underdog.  He was everything I could ever hope or aspire to be.  As I became older and read more about Lawrence, I found that many other people did not share my opinion of him.  I found some who called the movie version of his life, a complete fantasy.  To others, he was a closet homosexual who exaggerated his exploits and his role in the Arab revolt.

“Lawrence suffered greatly as a result of the conflicts and contradictions in his nature. He craved fame, yet he hid himself and hated public ‘lights’; he was timid and feared his fame, fearing above all that others would realize his desire for it. This and his love of self-aggrandizement made him write things which had little to do with the reality of Revolt. I think, he was by nature inclined to exaggeration too; and as far as I could understand from John Mack’ s psycho-analysis, this was due to the inferiority complex which Lawrence always felt since he was a young boy, and which started when he learned that he was an illegitimate son and that his parents had never married.” —- T. E. Lawrence: true and false (an Arab view) — Lucy Ladikoff

So now I had a dilemma?  Who was the real Lawrence of Arabia?  Was he a hero or a charlatan?  I decided to read as much as I could about him in order to answer this question and to find the truth.  I found over a dozen books about Lawrence written by an assortment of writers.  Some of these authors did not think much of Lawrence.  Some idolized him.  One or two tried to present the Arab perspective.  I read through each of these books searching for the truth about Lawrence.

I highly recommend this process for anyone who is searching for the truth.  I used this same process about two years ago when I was researching the issue of immigration in the United States.  I read over a dozen books on immigration.  Some were pro, some were con and some tried to be factual.  I have written three blogs summarizing my findings on this issue.

I must warn you though that if you want to replicate my process for finding the truth you will encounter the following problems.  First, the number of books or papers on any given subject is beyond most of our abilities to read in a lifetime.  Second, the veracity and credibility of any particular expert is difficult to determine.  Third, every expert will have his/her own set of biases.  For example, relatives of Lawrence loved him.  His superiors were more skeptical about him and Arab authors wanted to tone down his role and build up their own role in the revolt.  How do you know who to believe or even if belief is the real issue?  Perhaps, truth is like the kaleidoscope and all perspectives have some value.  Truth may simply be a matter of perspective and where you are standing in the universe.

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”  — Friedrich Nietzsche

My friend Dick says “what is the point.”  It seems that no truth can be found in history or science or anywhere else.  To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, it is “all futile, nothing but futile.”  Why bother?  Furthermore, our search for the truth is complicated by the fact that new evidence and concepts and theories will continually emerge.  Each new concept will change our idea of the truth.  Given this logic, you have the foundation for little but skepticism concerning the value or ideal of truth.  Why bother?

I can only answer this latter question with the same reply that Mallory gave when asked why he bothered to climb a mountain.  “Because it is there!”  Perhaps this response seems like a cheap trick or an evasion.  No doubt anyone of a logical nature would like a more profound or at least erudite answer.  I promised a method for searching for the truth.  I have suggested a method.  The problem is that I cannot guarantee that my method will help you to find the truth.  I wish I knew of some other method that would render a better result with less effort.

There are other strategies for finding the truth that are much simpler but they are also much more dangerous.  You can trust an authority.  You can rely on someone else’s opinion.  You can try to find a simple answer in a book.  Each of these methods is problematic and to some extent irresponsible.  Too many of us have been taught to trust the experts or that simple answers to complex problems actually exist.  No doubt, there are times when it is necessary to trust others.  However, there are many times when you must think for yourself and make up your own mind.

I find the best solution is to regard each expert as a single data point in a universe of data points.  I try to look at as many data points as I have time to.  If a pattern starts to emerge from my perusal of a number of data points, I might suspect that I am looking at some version of the truth.  An inquiring mind should always regard such truths with a high degree of skepticism.  The truth you find today may turn out to be tomorrow’s lie.  Remember the unsinkable Titanic.  “The ship that even God could not sink.”  Truth is a lot like the Titanic.  It only takes one iceberg to send it to the bottom of the sea.

Time for Questions:

How do you find the truth?  How effective has your method been?  How do you know when you are being conned?  Who do you trust to tell you the truth?  Why?  What truths are you still searching for?  Why?

Life is just beginning.

“When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.”  — Anais Nin

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans: Why They Were Once a Great Party but are Now the Party of Hate, Bigotry and Greed – AKA Donald Trump– Part 2

Last week, I started this blog about the degeneration of the Republican Party into a squabble of groups who do little justice to the values that made this country great.  I characterized these groups as follows:

  • Uneducated White Male Voters
  • Bigoted Voters
  • Greedy Voters
  • Fearful Voters
  • Religious fundamentalist Voters

These groups are relatively new to Republicanism and many of them albeit attracted to the messages of the Traditional Republicans actually have little understanding of the Traditional Republican values.   You may well ask:  “What attracted them to the Republican Party?”  I will attempt to answer this question.  I will also describe the above five groups in more detail.

There were forces both pushing and pulling these voters towards the Republican Party that started as far back as 1950.  The pulling forces included the attractive messages that they would hear from the Traditional Republicans.  “You too can be rich.”  “Trickle-down economics.”  “Say no to Big Government.”  “No new taxes.”  “Pro-Life.”  “Keep America safe.”  “We protect your rights.”  These messages were very compelling and attracted voters for a variety of reasons.  First of all, these messages built on the core Republican Values that I described in Part 1.  Second, they were taken to extremes by the new marketing techniques that infused politics in the latter half of the twentieth century.  Thus, the “Golden Mean” that I noted in Part 1 was sacrificed on the altar of marketing and political expediency to reflect messages that seemed “too good to be true and suspiciously unambiguous.”

Vote Republican and you too can live like the rich!

Pushing Forces:

The Pushing Forces include the following changes taking place in US society:

  • Demographic changes
  • Ethnographic changes
  • Economic changes
  • Religious changes

Each of these forces contributed in many ways to the movement of a large contingent of voters away from the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party.  We will take each one of these forces individually and see how it has contributed to the popularity of the Republican Party.

Demographic Changes include the aging of the USA population.  It is a well-known fact that as people get older they get more conservative.  The values of conservatism, safety, law enforcement, traditional roles for marriage, relationships and the role of women in society are all powerful forces that have propelled voters to the core value of Conservatism that is well established in the Republican Party.  Liberals (who fell in favor) were seen as wanting to change too many of the “normal” institutions in the USA.  Traditional Religious voters as well as older voters are generally inclined to support the status quo.  The problem  for many was:  “how do we hold onto a status quo that is changing right before our eyes?”

“The population is also expected to become much older.  By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are projected to be aged 65 and over, compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970.”   —  Census.gov

Ethnographic Changes in the USA population include the influx of many groups into the country who hold values that are seen as “foreign” to traditional USA values.  It is one thing for new groups who are Christian to enter the country, but over the past fifty years or so, we have had a much more diverse array of ethnic groups from countries where Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism are the dominant religions.  Many of these religions are poorly understood in the US and the practitioners are sometimes seen as promoting anti-US values.  One example is the fear that many people in this country have for Sharia Law and the belief that Muslims want to overthrow the US Justice System and replace it with Sharia Law.

Partly responsible for a growing intolerance in the USA has been the fact that projections show that “White” people will become a minority in the USA in thirty years.  This gradual erosion of the White majority means that White people must accept a more diverse society in which White morals and values will be one among several other sets of morality and not always the dominant one.  This is hard for many people to take as Whites have always been in the power seat in this country.

“The nation’s demographics are on a clear trajectory: White people are dying faster than they are being born, which means they are on target to become a minority in the United States in 30 years.”  —  Whites projected to become a US minority

Economic Changes in the US economy started to noticeably impact the standard of living for many voters following WW II.  At first it was imperceptible.  There had always been changes in the economy with ups and downs, recessions and the Great Depression following WW I.  However, after WW II, we had a respite from anything that could be called “Global Economics.”  With the demise of Germany and Japan and the economic hardships facing Great Britain, France and several other European countries, we had the economic ball field to ourselves.  The USA economic boom was reflected in a period of rising incomes and relative prosperity.

1280px-US_productivity_and_real_wagesThe attached chart shows that while USA productivity has continued to increase since 1945, real earnings have been either static or on the decline since the mid nineteen seventies.  Whereas, we once had the playing field to ourselves, by the early 70’s the competition from other countries, particularly Japan, was beginning to erode the economic advantage we once had.  By the late 80’s, wages in the USA were being impacted by the growth of industry in countries where wage rates were much lower.  Foreign competition and increased levels of quality goods from other countries helped to erode the market dominance of traditional USA companies.

These economic changes have fallen particularly hard on voters in the USA who worked in what might be called “transitional” industries.  Agriculture transitioned to manufacturing during the mid-twentieth century.  Manufacturing transitioned to service beginning in the seventies.  Finally, service jobs have become increasingly high tech requiring computer skills and often advanced education and training.  People in the “Blue Collar” industries cannot be trained fast enough to fill the jobs needed in the new industries.

The recession in 2008 saw a loss of nearly 9,000, 000 jobs in the USA.  Economists like to refer to these job losses as “creative destruction” or as an “economic correction.”  The problem is that if you are the worker who does not have the skills to transition to a new job and you have a family to support, terms such as “Correction” do not help you to feed your family.

displaced-workers-3Recent statistics show that most of the jobs lost in the “Great Recession” have been regained. However, many of these new jobs are in lower paying industries or have gone to new workers with new skills in the labor force.  The number of underemployed or unemployed people in the USA remains high and a source of major discontent.  Our US system of reeducating workers is poor and in need of major overall.

The Republican Party and its messages have attracted many of these economically struggling voters to their party.  The Republican values of hard work, individual responsibility and economic self-sufficiency resonate well with a group bitter over their economic hardships and who view too many others as getting a free ride.

Religious Changes may just be the single most powerful force pushing many voters and citizens into the Republican Party.  Since 1900, the country has become increasingly secular and to some extent even non-religious.  The following comment is from “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore:”

“According to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research, more than 40 percent of Americans “say” they go to church weekly.  As it turns out, however, less than 20 percent are actually in church.  In other words, more than 80 percent of Americans are finding more fulfilling things to do on weekends.”

Many of the more conservative religions and branches of religions that may have splintered off from their mainstream congregations have migrated towards the Republican Party.  Again, the conservative family oriented values of the Republican Party have attracted many religious fundamentalists who oppose gay marriage, women clergy, abortion and creating a pluralistic culture where non-Christian religions are free to worship and practice their faiths.  These religious fundamentalists see the secular changes coming to our country as evil and anti-scripture.  They have organized many groups in efforts to resist these changes.  This is from the mission statement of one of these groups:

“The Christian Coalition is committed to representing the pro-family agenda and educating Americans on the critical issues facing our society. Whether it is the fight to end Partial Birth Abortion or efforts to improve education or lower the family’s tax burden, the Christian Coalition stands ready and able to work for you.”

Pulling Forces:

The Pulling Forces are the messages that voters hear from the Republican Party and which reflect its traditional core values.  However, as they play out in the media, these messages are largely nuances and alterations of the traditional core Republican values.  The messages have now gone through a process of “Madison avenue marketing” to make them more alluring and seductive to their intended audience.  It should come as no surprise that various voters are attracted to various messages.  Some of course may be attracted to all of the Republican messages.  Let us now look at each of the individual voting groups that I labeled above to see how the Pulling Forces (Traditional Republican Values) and the resulting messages have attracted each group.

Uneducated White Male Voters:

stupid republicanThis group is largely but not exclusively White Male and under educated.  They are generally blue collar workers and many of them had their jobs displaced by the rise of Global Economics with offshoring and outsourcing of their work.  New technologies and robotics have also taken many of the jobs that these group once did.  They have been attracted by several Republican messages.  From gun control to the value of free enterprise, these low educated voters have bought into the idea that a Liberal Government is out to take their rights away and make it harder for them to earn a living.  Many of them can rightfully blame the government (both Republicans and Democrats) for using their jobs to stoke the fires of Globalization.

This group is attracted to the rhetoric common among Republicans for restraints on immigration and decreased government regulations.  This group believes that if the USA government was not so big they would be much better off. They blame liberals for the laws promoting a Global economy and do not understand that education can help them.  They often are willing to vote against any kind of education bill.  Many of them were marginal students who were ill served by the education establishment in the past.  They are no supporters of teachers, universities or increased funding for education.   The Republican messages have amplified this anti-education theme to the point that Republicans are now deemed anti-science and anti-education and anti-immigration.  It is also very easy for this group to buy into the myth that immigrants have stolen their jobs.  They are lured by the type of messages that Trump has sent out castigating immigrants and particularly Muslims and Mexicans.

Bigoted Voters:

ignoranceThis group is not only uninformed but they are also misinformed.  They have already made up their minds on the basis of limited and misleading information.  They are biased, prejudiced and xenophobic.  The Republicans have had a bag of dirty tricks which probably grew out of Nixon’s escapades in the 70’s and have continued through such political shenanigans as the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry, the manipulations in Florida with the voting ballots and the Karl Rove fiasco in Ohio.  This group is ready prey for the type of propaganda tricks that the Republican Party now use to lie, distort the truth and defame their opponents.

The Republicans seem to have thrown away any concept of ethics or morality when it comes to political elections.  A squadron of Republican Talk show hosts from Mike Savage to Ann Coulter keep spewing out lies, misinformation, innuendos and calumnies against opponents whom they have no qualms about personally attacking.  I would guess that many if not most of the “urban myths” that often dot the Internet have their genesis in some Republican think tank.

Some other recent examples include the “Birther” movement in which President Obama was alleged to have been born in another country and the messages sent out decrying his support of Islamic terrorists because Obama himself is alleged to be a Muslim.  Those Ignorant Voters who subscribe to these lies and innuendos come to believe so strongly in them that there is no changing their minds.

Greedy Voters:

greedy republicansThe USA has become increasingly materialistic.  Evidence of this can be seen in new traditions like Black Friday, Designer Lifestyles, Reality Shows and the narcissistic values that seem to be replacing traditional moral and ethical values in the USA.  A large contingent of students today are not concerned about how their chosen careers will help their country.  They are more concerned with how much money they can make when they graduate.  Greed has been on the increase in this country for many years now.  Republicans (always the party of the rich) were well positioned to capitalize on a bloc of voters who do not want to share their wealth.  Oaths for no new taxes.  Oaths to roll back taxes.  Oaths to block reforms in Welfare and oaths to block the creation of a more equitable health care system for citizens have become ubiquitous in the Republican Party.

“We were fed this lie that hard work and dedication will payoff.  That’s not true.  There are millions of Americans who bust their asses working tons of overtime or two or more jobs just to get by – just to survive.”  — Trickle-Down Economics, Greed and the Republican Party are Destroying American Values

Fearful Voters:

gated community with watch signA large number of US citizens today are afraid.  They are afraid of crime.  They are afraid of immigrants.  They are afraid of minorities and they are basically afraid of change.  The Republican messages have helped to drive this fear even further into the psyche of people in this country.  Everywhere you go today there are gated communities, security systems, concealed carry permits and people afraid to leave the perceived safety of their feudal like communities.

Part of this fear has come from the aging of the population.  As people get older, they get more concerned for safety and security.  Part of the fear has come from constantly reading about “crime in the streets.”  The news over reports and over emphasizes instances of crime and violence on a 24/7 daily basis.  Finally, a large part of this fear comes from constantly hearing messages about the imminent attack of terrorists and others who are supposedly jealous of our lifestyle and want to destroy our country.

“In a Pew Research Center poll conducted in September, 75 percent of registered voters surveyed said that “terrorism” was “very important” for their vote in the congressional elections. Also last month, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that 57 percent of Americans surveyed thought Obama has been too soft on ISIL.”  — Republican ISIL fearmongering amplifies extremists’ message, experts say.

Religious Fundamentalist Voters:

911 Never Forget the Dangers of Religous ExtremismpsdThese religious extremists are attracted to the family and religious values messages constantly being sent by the Republican Party.  Anti-gay, pro-family, pro-god in the schools, anti-abortion, anti-women’s liberation messages are a theme of most Republican politicians today.  The dramatic changes facing religion in the USA since 1900 has seen a decline in the traditional role of church and pulpit in family life.  The increased number of working women, gay couples, divorces and abortions have fueled a desire on many conservatives to return to what they saw as the “good old days.”  This actually means the good old days for white middle or white upper class heterosexual males.  Not so good for women, minorities, disabled and poor people.

This group of voters believes less in a strict separation between church and state than that which was proscribed by our Founding Fathers.  They would put GOD back in the schools and in some cases declare the USA a “Christian Nation.”  There are many of these voters who have little or no tolerance for anyone outside their own religions.  These so called Christians are characterized by a strong proclivity to support capital punishment, war as a first resort for political persuasion and the Ten Commandments as a foundation for a morality for all citizens.  They seldom think of peace or diplomacy as a means of resolving disputes between nations.  They do not see the hypocrisy between their contradictory messages of pro-life and pro-capital punishment.   Furthermore, they are generally extremely literal and particularly narrow in their selection of Bible verses to support.

See the following short video for further evidence of what I mean.

Martin Sheen Burns a Hypo-Christian

Whither Goes the Republican Party?

trump-building-a-wallWhere should the Republican Party go?  A party that has endorsed the immoral in its political campaigning.  A party that fosters fear and war mongering.  A party that is against immigrants.  A party that is intolerant towards minorities.  A party that minimizes the role of women in society.  A party that discriminates against gay people.  A party that will not treat disabled people as respectable members of society.  A party that does not believe in the value of science or education.   A party that fosters a contradictory and out of date set of moral codes (The Ten Commandments) as a foundation for our nation’s morality (My spouse disagrees with me on this, but there is ample evidence of the hypocrisy inherent in the Ten Commandments. Who observes the Sabbath and foregoes work on Sundays?).  A party that has no compassion for the poor and underprivileged who may not have the ability to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps.”

Time for Questions: 

Where should the Republican Party Go?  You tell me please.

Life is just beginning.

“But my revulsion at the Republicans doesn’t begin and end with Iraq and Benghazi. It’s spread to many other issues over the years. Frankly, the GOP increasingly looks like a party in the grip of some form of hyper-partisan madness that takes self-destructive delight in alienating everyone who isn’t a far-right ideologue. What else can explain the up-is-down, black-is-white, counterintuitive perversity of the stances Republicans increasingly take in response to national news and trends?”  — I’m not a Democrat. I’m an anti-Republican.

Consider:

 

 

Republicans:  Why They Were Once a Great Party but are Now the Party of Hate, Bigotry and Greed – AKA Donald Trump– Part 1

dumb-republicansToday the Republicans have become the party of Dumb and Dumber.  The likes of Palin, Bachmann, Inhofe and Sessions are not so mute testimony to the fools that now dominate the Republican Party.  Add Donald Trump to the hand and you have a five ace hand of losers.  Every day, we read of some new evidence that shows how bigoted, hypocritical and vile the core beliefs of the Republican Party have become.  The leadership of the Republican Party seems to have no integrity.  Half of them spend their time trying to explain the inane and dangerous comments spewed out daily by their party nominee. A candidate so devoid of any character or morality that many in his own party are trying to dissociate themselves from him.  What is left of the party leadership are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  There is no longer any true leadership in the party. Trump and his supporters are destroying what once was a grand old Party.  The party of Lincoln, which stood for freedom and equality has now become a party of fear, greed, intolerance and hatred.

Today, the Republicans even hate themselves.  They are now trying to destroy their star candidate for the 2016 Presidential elections.  A gross Neanderthal who equates money with character and morality named Donald Trump has upstaged the Party’s chosen one to rally the extremists who have now come to dominate the Republican Party.  The grand old Party which once attracted many progressives who believed in the power of the individual over the power of the state now is controlled by a clique or power structure which has no connection to the traditional core Republican values. (I will say more about these values in this blog)

“Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.”  – Steve Peoples and Emily Swanson  

In addition to those who I would call the traditionalists, the Republican Party has attracted a large contingency of supporters that we can divide into the following five blocs:

  • Bigoted Voters
    republican messages
  • Uneducated White Male Voters
  • Greedy Voters
  • Fearful Voters
  • Religious fundamentalist Voters

I will say more about each of these in Part 2 of this blog.   Suffice, it to say for now, that the voters in these five blocs have now taken over the Republican Party (I will also explain in Part 2 how and why this happened.)  Just like the Nazis took over Germany, the traditionalists in the Republican Party made a pact with the devil and the devil has now tinfoilhatrush3come to collect his dues.  The Traditionalists know that the candidacy of Trump will destroy the party.  There are indeed a large contingent of voters who will support Trump but by and large, the people in the USA are not so stupid or ignorant that Trump will be elected.  Mark my words on that!  Trump, who hates women, minorities, immigrants and anyone with a brain, will go down in defeat in the biggest landslide in history for our next Democratic president and he will take the entire Republican Party with him.  The stalwart traditionalists in the Republican Party understand this and that is why every day we see headlines like:

The Republican Party Tries to Take Out Its Front-Runner

“Trump has proven highly successful in manhandling a parade of bland Republican politicians. To him, Carson and Fiorina present different challenges because they both possess the outsider status that elevates them over Republican officials who have to deal with reality of some sort, and they symbolize demographic groups that are some of the biggest stumbling blocks for Republicans. The party wants to show the world that it has a black friend and a lady friend.”  — The National Memo

Returning to the concept of traditional core Republican values, you may well be wondering what they are.  The first core Republican value is freedom from intrusive government interventions.  The traditional Republican is not so much against big government as they are against a government that might try to dominate the will of the individual with the will of the state.  Hence, traditional Republicans hate the idea of gun control, federal regulations, government red tape, and government watchdog agencies.  However, they are not against “Big Military” since the military is seen as protecting those very values that Republicans cherish most.

“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”  — Barnhill, John Basil (1914)

A second core Republican value is the right to earn and keep as much money as possible.  “You earned it; it is yours to spend.”  This is a value that still resonates with much of our society.  The idea being that if I work hard, I should be entitled to spend my money anyway I chose.  What Republicans and many people in the USA hate most is the thought of working hard to earn a pot of money and then having that money taken away by a government agency to distribute to some unnamed “others.”

“That government is best which governs least;” — Henry David Thoreau

A third core Republican value is the value of a capitalistic economic system.  This value overlaps to some extent the two named values above but I believe it is a distinct value of its own.  In the USA, we are and have been a country strongly against communism and to some extent socialism.  The values of these two economic systems are seen to be in direct contradiction to the value of free enterprise and a capitalist economy.

“A market economy based on private property, buttressed by the rule of law, is truly the best environment for mankind. People will work harder and with ingenuity if they know they have earned rewards from that labor. When the rewards are given to them for nothing, there is frustration and despair. Capitalism benefits more people than any other economic system. To work for oneself and reap the rewards is a basic human aspiration.” –Sally Julian, Writer of ‘The Case for Capitalism’

The fourth core Republican Party is a conservative approach to adopting new laws or changes to the US Constitution.  Traditional Republicans have long resisted change to the US Constitution as well as new laws that they see as infringing on the rights and dictates of the US Constitution.  Hence, the Republicans have resisted many changes in the Constitution which were intended to create a more equitable society for women, minorities, disabled and those below the poverty line in this country.

Part of this resistance lies in the belief that a government cannot and should not dictate how people chose to live their own lives.  If you want to be a racist, that is your right.  If you do not want to hire women and minorities and the disabled that is also your right.  This core value has resulted in a fundamental contention between those who say that the constitution must be changed to reflect new times and new circumstances and those who do not want to see changes that might infringe on rights or responsibilities prescribed in the US Constitution.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”  — Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 27, 1856

The fifth core Republican value lies in the doctrine of fiscal conservatism (There are other important Republican values but I think these five are the most important).   Fiscal conservatism finds its roots in the theory of scarcity.  Money and time are both scare commodities and must be carefully managed.  Trends like cheap credit, government bailouts, deficit spending are anathema to a fiscal conservative.  A fiscal conservative wants a flat tax, balanced budget and strict guidelines for loans and government spending: “Thou shalt not run budget deficits.”  “Thou shalt not spend more money than thou maketh.”

Its-not-Obamas-faultI must confess, that I am not critical of these five core values.  I have long ago learned the value of juxtaposing opposite viewpoints so as to provide a clearer roadmap to truth and progress.  Every “ism” needs a counter “ism” and a system where the two opposing viewpoints can debate each other and Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” needs a democracy.  Capitalism must be balanced against socialism.  Liberalism must be balanced against conservatism.  Individualism must be balanced against collectivism.  One of the strengths of the United States has been its ability to allow opposing viewpoints and to strive to find a consensus among dissenting political perspectives.  Sadly, of late the constructive dissent of old has given way to a practice of destructive warfare between the two dominant political parties that has put the good of each party over the good of the country.

However, to return to the theme of this blog, the dumbing down of the Republican Party, the majority of the Republican Party now no longer seems to understand or care about these five core values.  Instead, the narrow-mindedness and shear obstructionism of the five voting blocs that I noted above have taken precedence over political compromise and searching for 1193-20120917-NoSmartPeoplethe Golden Mean.  The “Stupid Voters” are hijacked by the anti-intellectualism that has always characterized much of the political right.  The “Ignorant Voters” already believe that voting-republican1they know the truth and there is no persuading them otherwise.  The “Greedy Voters” want to keep as much of their wealth as they can and have no concern for the poor or needy.  The “Fearful Voters” are worried about crime, immigrants, health care, growing old and losing what they have already worked hard to obtain.  The last of the five Republican blocs, the “Religious Fundamentalist Voters” are worried that their biblical Christian God will be taken out of the USA and replaced by an obscure assortment of new Gods from various religions that are confusing and esoteric.

The Traditionalist Republicans (many of whom I know and hope still tolerate my views enough to call me a friend) are aghast at this assortment of new Republicans and their extreme uninformed viewpoints.  The Traditionalists could reach across the aisle and talk to their Democratic counterparts.  The Traditionalists realized the need for dialogue, discussion and compromise.  Furthermore, the Traditionalists also appealed to many independent voters (Which I am and remain to this day).  They appealed to us because we while we could ally ourselves with Democrats over many social issue, we could also see the value in the economic policies and positions often adhered to by the Traditionalist Republicans.

I can see the value in all five of the core Republican values I described above.  God Forbid, I would ever live in a country that totally extirpated even one of these core values.  Nevertheless, while I am for a balanced budget and against deficit spending, I can see making some concessions to Keynesian economics during times such as the most recent recession.  I am also for less government intrusion in our lives.  However, unlike Perry who could not name even three government agencies he would abolish, I can name ten I would abolish tomorrow if I were able to.  I am also against government bailouts.  I did not think GM should have been bailed out although I could concede with the value of hindsight that it may have been the right thing to do at the time.  And while I am against big government, I can and am equally critical of big unions.  Nevertheless, in my USA, unions and government would still have a place at the table.  I would like to paraphrase a part of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Let the Golden Mean ring from the hallowed halls of Congress!

Let the Golden Mean ring from the esteemed corridors of the US Senate!

But not only that; let the Golden Mean ring from the benches of the Supreme Court of the USA!

Let the Golden Mean ring from State Capitals in the east to State Capitals in the west!

Let the Golden Mean ring from every school and university of America.  From every village, city, town and hamlet in this great country, let the Golden Mean ring.

In my blog next week, I will explore how the Republican Party let stupidity, ignorance, fear, greed and intolerance come to dominate its political agenda.  If you are a Republican, you might not like what you are going to hear.  However, if you are a Republican, perhaps the truth that I have to tell could help you to understand what you must do to restore the Republican Party to its rightful place in the US political system.

Time for Questions:

Are you a Republican? What did you find that you disagreed with in my blog today?  What did you agree with?  Which of the Republican voting blocs are you in? Why?  Do you think the Republicans will take the next presidency?  Why or why not?  If you are a Democrat, what did you like or dislike about this blog? Why?  What do you think I should have added?

Life is just beginning. 

Republicanism is the guiding political philosophy of the United States. It has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding.[1] It stresses liberty and “unalienable” rights as central values, making people sovereign as a whole, rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption.  Wikipedia

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