VOTE!

If you believe that poor people are the problem – Vote!

If you believe that immigrants are ruining this country – Vote!

If you believe that the government is evil and must be destroyed – Vote!

If you believe that America is a Christian country, and white means smarter, more powerful, richer – Vote!

If you believe that businesses can choose to not serve people they hate – Vote!

If you believe that countries that are our partners are idiots and countries run by totalitarian dictators are our new friends – Vote!

If you believe that women are less than men – Vote!

If you believe that woman’s health care is a pre-existing condition that murders babies – Vote!

If you believe it’s okay to say whatever you need to say to win and then do whatever you want afterwards – Vote!

If you believe corporations are people too – Vote!

If you believe that the Bible is the absolute word of god (even if you choose to ignore some bits) – Vote!

If you believe any relationship that’s not one man, one woman is evil and should be killed – Vote!

If you believe that healthcare is not a right – Vote!

If you believe that spending money you don’t have is okay so long as taxes are low – Vote!

If you believe it’s okay to make working peoples lives harder while you make the rich, richer – Vote!

If you believe it’s okay for politicians to profit from their decisions – Vote!

If you believe it’s okay to take from others, as long as it doesn’t effect you – Vote!

If you believe that the press are liars and politicians are honest – Vote!

If you believe global warming is a lie – Vote!

If you believe guns are a right but any gun control is wrong – Vote!

If you believe that black people are scary – Vote!

If you believe unions are bad, but weak employment laws are good – Vote!

If you believe its okay to pay a fortune for for-profit education – Vote!

And of course if you happen to think any or all the above is abhorrent – Vote!

If you are a citizen and you don’t vote, then you are the problem!

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Economics, Politics, Society and War

There is a clarity of mind that the Republicans bring, that cannot be replicated by any other political party.

Republicans understand that money is truly a fictional construct. All that matters is that the people who have more, create space between themselves and those who have less. This is the fundamental truth of every society.

“Those who have least serve those who have most.”

You must create huge gaps between us and them, and to do this you need to create categories of “them”, while creating power for the “us”

There is power in clarity of purpose. While everyone has their own personal concerns, the Republicans have focused on bigger, longer-term, more direct power.

Finding every way possible to separate people with a genetic predisposition to have more melanin in their skin from those with little, has become a primary method of creating an us vs them. And if you don’t agree then you’re clearly an evil liberal socialist who should be derided and insulted in every way possible. This model wasn’t invented in America, but it is being perfected by the Republican party of President Donald Trump.

Germany in the 1920’s and early 30’s was the most advanced culture in Europe (and probably the world), their symbolism when looked at without the hindsight of the terrible atrocities that came slightly later, were impressively modern. Art, science and design were centered globally in Germany. And then came a very focused extremely polarizing us vs them concept.

All you need to do is define the “them” and make sure they have less, and automatically you have more.

Take out morality, allow any means to justify an end, insult, imprison and totally destroy anyone who is unlike yourself.

Find a loud and controversial figurehead to take center stage, say whatever he likes, create controversy that takes the focus of the real power, allowing the real power to make real changes to social, economic, political, legal frameworks that destroy the “other”

When eventually the fake figurehead is stopped, it’s too late the real changes that were desired by the “us” are already done.

Read “the rise and fall of the Roman Empire” (or at least find a comic book version to scan). Read up on the history of the Byzantine empire, the British empire, the Spanish empire, the Third Reich, The Muslim empires. And then read the art of war, and learn how power uses strategy and tactics to win.

The United States has quickly tripped to the right, but it hasn’t fallen over fully, quite yet. But it’s still toppling slowly.

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Lack of empathy is a political tool

I’ve held and postulated the theory that many people have no empathy.

And in case you don’t understand the concept of empathy it is simply the ability to understand the feelings of others.

There is a group of people who exhibit a total lack of empathy. Here are some of the exhibited behaviors:

  • They think being gay is wrong and should be illegal.
  • They think that being dark skinned is an indication of wrongness and should be seen as less.
  • They often think that their sex is better than the “other” sex, is smarter, stronger, more powerful etc.
  • They think their religion the only religion and is perfect, others being wrong and evil.

Some people may call people with this deficiency of empathy – bigots, sexists, racists or fundamentalists.

With the recent ridiculous separation of parents and children, being endorsed by the president and his followers, I’d suggest that Republican is a better name for this lack of empathy.

It now seems to be the single defining, unifying force behind republicans.

The only time that republicans seems to understand the issues with their ideas is when they find out that a member of their kith or kin are gay, changed religion or married someone unlike themselves. If it doesn’t impact them directly they don’t see the issue. That’s the definition of a fundamental lack of empathy.

 

 

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Please or Annoy the President?

How to please Trump

  • “I’m impressed by your businesses”
  • “I’m impressed by your golfing ability”
  • “I’m impressed by how attractive, beautiful women find you”
  • “I really like the way you wear your hair and the length of your tie”
  • “I love the way you insult anyone and everyone”

How to annoy Trump

  • “I need you to think about something that doesn’t directly impact you”
  • “I need you to make a decision and stick to it”
  • “I need you to say sorry for any/all of your terrible comments/behaviors”
  • “I need you to stop being a racist/sexist/xenophobe”
  • “I need you to act with decorum befitting the role of the President”
  • “I need you to read and understand the papers you are asked to sign before you either sign them or not sign them”
  • “I need you to understand and abide by the US constitution.”

 

Today If I had the chance to speak with President Trump, I suspect he’d by rather annoyed….

 

 

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Finding Out You Are Wrong, Should Be the Best Feeling.

The human mind is a complex device, but it is not perfect. Everything we learn, we learn through a combination of comparison to previous experiences and then using learned logic techniques to extrapolate new information, which we then can use to compare to already learned information. This is not a simple process, and much of the information we learn is interpreted by filters before being made available to the comparative engines of the brain.

I’m simplifying everything of course, because this is a short blog and I’m an opinion that is based on my own experiences, comparisons and logic.

But simply this process is fraught with potential errors. It’s very easy to learn things which make no sense outside the framework you have already learned.

When you were a child you were taught many subtle things that were only designed to make your parents lives easier. They may well have not been true. Some of these you will encounter as a child and will cause you to question your earliest beliefs, but some will pass through your experience untested and will become true to you as an adult. If these are then proved to be wrong later in your life, you will have a very hard time deciding what is true.

If you believed Santa Claus was real through to your late teens, it’s very likely you would have a very hard time ever considering that he was not real. Imagine if you had received presents under the tree every year until you were 20, and had absolutely no reason to question where they came from, because no one had ever had that conversation with you. What would it take to then persuade you that it was just a story made up my marketing companies to sell more coke.

We all have our versions of Santa Claus; some believe people of a different skin color are a difference species; some believe that socialism in the form of social security or government run healthcare are inherently evil; some believe that their particular variant of religion is the only one that is “true” and everyone else is going to hell; some believe that their family and friends are superior because they all came from the same country in Europe and all became rich due to their grandparents work. And some beliefs are very subtle, but no less damaging to our ability to learn new ideas.

The basic issue is one of trying to change a “core belief”, something that was learned at a young age and has never been tested by your personal experience.

The way the brain works creates fixed pathways for specific situations that become impossible for you to think outside of.

As a species, we must continuously test core beliefs, and where we see evidence that contradicts what we inherently know to be true, we must be willing to look deeply at the evidence and question our own reticence.  It’s hard, but it’s how we become better people.

Here are some statements that cause this form of cognitive dissonance for some people:

  • The earth is round.
  • The earth revolves around the sun.
  • The moon is not a source of light, and revolves around the earth.
  • Evolution is the name of the process of random mutations providing variety that make some variants more likely to survive changing environmental conditions than others, and over very large timescales explains the variety of all life on earth.
  • Skin color is just a simple environmentally preferential variance in a subcutaneous dye found at a lower level in the skin and is not an indicator or any other attribute.
  • The universe was not created for the pleasure of one single species on one single planet out of billions, but is most probably one universe of billions in a much larger system than we can perceive.
  • Guns are dangerous, and their use should be carefully controlled.
  • Trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

At this point a lot of people’s brains may have exploded (of course since those people are unlikely to read my rant or care about my views, It’s not so much of an issue, but maybe some exploding brains (metaphorically speaking) would do the world some good)

When you challenge a core-belief and break its hold on you, you open a world of personal possibilities.

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Ignorance Is No Substitute For Knowledge

I don’t see religion as the opposite of science, but as a mechanism for very complex ideas to be considered. Over the millennia religion has helped countless people deal with the pain of loss and created comradery to help people who need assistance.

Obviously I can also think of many terrible things that have been delivered under the guise of religion. We can see today how angry, disenfranchised or ignorant people can be deformed by hate, xenophobia or fear supported by the words and deeds from some who chose to use religion to further their own personal power desires.

I am always shocked when groups who consider themselves “religious”, actively deny knowledge because it contradicts what their religion states. Given that there are many thousands of versions of religion in play today, and probably many millions that have been in play throughout human history, it strikes me as ridiculous to believe that any one version is perfect. This does not mean that I wish to ridicule the idea of religion, I do not. I see theology as an extension of philosophy, and where it is applied with care it clearly can really offer comfort and meaning to many groups. But that does not give religion a special pass, like everyone else, religious followers must work to improve humanity and the universe, and not detract from happiness and health in any way.

From a purely observational point of view, I see the idea of evolution to be entirely consistent with what we observe every day. While the time it takes for random mutations to impact a species in material ways is far too long to observe easily, it is though clear that any number of mutations that take place within each organism are clearly observable. One of the basic skills in understanding disease is to understand mutations. Viruses mutate constantly, making treatment a continual fight to deal with resilience. Cancer is now known to be (generally) a kind of cellular mutation where the bodies own defenses don’t see the mutated cells as an invader. Nearly every mutated cell in the body is of course quickly dealt with by the immune system, and it’s only the ones that by chance continue to look enough like the body’s own healthy cells that are not attacked and hence cause issues.

Birth defects caused by environmental changes (drugs, chemicals, radiation etc.) are common enough that we can see them.

Today the human race is diverse to the point that a change in the environment or the emergence of a deadly pathogen is unlikely to eradicate all humanity. It could of course, but the more diverse we are the less likely this is.

Science though has the potential to standardize the human race, in effect removing the very deep level of diversity that actually may protect us from extinction.

We are today standardizing our food, with everyone eating similar plants and animals. Since we all use the same drugs, we are eradicating specific diseases and potentially the bacteria and viruses that could impact future diseases.

Science is not perfect, and the things we change at the macro level may come back and hurt us in generations to come. Or science may actually be the only way that the human race can survive. No one knows. Today’s quality and length of human life have never been better. There are more people alive today than ever before and they are living longer, putting a new level of strain on available resources, requiring new levels of food production, causing new levels of environmental change, requiring more food to be produced in a smaller area, in a cycle that shows no end.

It’s a deeply philosophical conundrum, and maybe using the concept of an outside influence to help understand the universe we find ourselves a part of is a good thought exercise to help frame the issue.

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Hate Breeds Hate

There will always be people who hate, it’s an unavoidable symptom of the human condition. Some people, who cannot get what they want, will always blame someone else. And some of that blame will become violent. Sometimes that violence will hurt people, sometimes, innocent people. And the friends and relatives of those innocent people will, in turn, hate the people who hurt those that they loved. And with this righteous justified hate focused on the ones who hurt their loved ones, they will create reciprocal hate, and quickly the idiocy of the original hate is lost in the mealy of revenge and a whirlwind of battles where everyone loses.

It’s almost impossible to forgive the killing of a wife, husband, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, cousin or friend. So the hurting of one person can create an exponential number of new enemies’.

It takes incredible heroism, intellect and strength to break this cycle. Very few people have ever been able to do it.

Those that have ended conflict are the true heroes, and yet it’s much easier to remember those who won battles and wars, than those who stopped the next battle.

Honoring those who fought assuages some of the pain of loss, but it also galvanizes opinion in support of further conflict. Honoring those who fought, provides support for their fight, and continues the battle. This is why every government, army, politician, religious group and cause uses it.

Soldiers returning from war, more often than not, promote the value of peace and complain of the futility of the war they just fought. Those who never fought, scream for more battles.

Those who enter the armed services, and accept the orders of those who run those services, are heroes, end of story. They choose to put their lives on the line for their country and way of life. In return they expect their leaders and country to have their backs. To only send them into harms way when it is the only choice, and to provide them with the training, tools and support to do their job, and if they get hurt to do whatever it takes to care for them. Leaders have failed in the past, putting their personal wealth and that of their friends ahead of the people, and it is unacceptable! The lesson for the future is to carefully choose leadership that truly understands the critical nature of their role, and has the experience and temperament to do it well.

Many battles seem righteous in the moment, but in the cold hard light of history, the reasons for their inception seem crazy. The history of the British, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch empires is littered with battles fought to support commercial growth, to make the rich, richer. The Greek World, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire were forged in battles, generally at the cost of many lives in exchange for wealth for their leaders.

Today’s Middle Eastern wars have removed carefully placed despots who through genocide and torture kept millennia old hatred’s in chains. These puppet rulers were monsters, but they were monsters created by the Western European powers in the last few hundred years to reshape countries who they had tried for millennia to subdue. It worked, but then we forgot why we put these horrible people in power, and we removed them. And the Middle East now has to find a new balance. It is taking time, but the most horrible elements of hate, will again be controlled, hopefully this time, by the people within their own borders. It will not be pretty, but it will happen.

While if happens we cannot allow the raw hate that these murderous fools transmit to infect us. We must resist the urge to lower our morals and our ethics. We cannot allow their hate to become our hate. While they behead, and commit suicide/murder we must continue to live by our code of ethics, and with strength and good judgment we will win.

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Will there ever be another Republican Party POTUS?

Democracy is an unpleasant way of running a country, but it is the least unpleasant way ever invented.

Democracy requires that a process choose the leaders where the group with most votes get’s to win. With more than two parties it is possible for the winner to actually have less than half of the votes and still win. In the US for all practical purposes there are two main parties, and so the winner is nearly always the one who wins more votes than anyone else and actually more than half of the votes.

Of course there are nuances to the process, because the US is not a pure democracy but a system whereby each state effectively has a separate election, and the sum of those elections chooses the president. This means that a smaller state actually can have a greater influence on the result. So some weighting is placed on states to try and even out the relationship. It’s a good attempt, but it does mean that a vote in one state is not quite as valuable as a vote in another state. But it’s close enough.

The US is also a country populated with almost entirely an immigrant population. Obviously there was a native population in place hundreds of years ago, and even after centuries of genocide that population is still alive and a part of US. I think the total is just north of five million. The population of the US is now around 320 million. So the US population is around 98.5% based on immigrants. And the influx of immigrants continues today.

Today the US population is approximately 65% of western European (white) descent, 15% of Africa Descent (dark brown) and around 20% of Latin American (light brown) descent. Those are rounded up numbers from the 2010 cencus. And of all those people around 50% are men and 50% are Women. Personally I find the idea of skin color or sex being important factors in anything to be ridiculous, but they are important as they define groups who act and are treated differently.

So a representative government would be looking to understand and support the needs of all that population. And that is what one of the two parties is trying to do. But the other party seems to think it’s going to win by just supporting the needs of white men.

People its simple mathematics! If you need to win an election in a two party system you really need to aim to get over 50% of the people to support you. Well there are not enough white men in the US to make up a majority. You need to win the women vote and you really should be looking to win the brownish vote as well. Otherwise you will never win another election.

And yet instead of doing this, the grand ole party, is trying to find ways of stopping women and non-white men from voting. And the techniques are just incredible. Everything from religion, to education, to limiting womens health, to making areas where non white people live really hard to sign up for voting.

And lets just think about that, you have to register to vote! What for, you were born (or gained citizenship through a very long process,) you are registered to work (social security) why doesn’t that automatically provide the information needed to vote, it does it most sane countries. The only reason it doesn’t in the US, is a long term and persistent effort to stop young people (who tend to start off more left leaning), women(who rightly demand equality) and browner people from voting.

Slavery, Segregation and Suffragettes and not dim distant ideas. The issue for the GOP is that even though they have tried to stop it, education in the US is now good enough (despite efforts to damp it down), and communication is now good enough that most people actually can spot the self-serving bullshit.

The Republican Party is an important part of the US makeup. Society is very expensive, and sometimes you need to be tougher than any one party can be. We need the counter balance of a left and a right.

But there is absolutely no way that any of the current group of bigoted, racist, religion spouting, conspiracy theory believing children running for the GOP nomination can be seen as a viable president. Not one of them is even willing to agree that the world is more than six thousand years old, or that climate change is man influenced and potentially deadly. They believe in magic and would press the big read button to end the world if the voices in their heads said to do so. That is just not acceptable.

So the democratic candidate will win the general election. Are the choices for democrat perfect? Well of course not. But they are reasonable, and can explain a plan to help everyone do better, protect us all from disaster, and are willing to let the wheels of global democracy turn.

The GOP and their wealthy and armed supporters will continue to espouse that Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate (as was her husband, as is the current president and as was the peanut farmer). And on the off-chance that Bernie Sanders were to win the democratic nomination, you would hear the Jew quotes, the too-old, and the communist-socialist Armageddon stories surface.

But none of it will matter.

If the choice is a bible-thumping, misogynistic xenophobe with a racial superiority complex against an extension of the non-birth-certificate/Kenyan-Muslim, balanced books, no-new wars, full employment, woman supporting, health system enabling policies of President Obama I believe that the vast majority will go with the saner choice.

And so yet again the GOP heads will explode, every effort will be taken to double down on killing everything, and a fraction of what could be achieved will be. But we will move foreword, onwards and upwards.

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Somewhere

Somewhere in the world (and by the world, I mean the United States of America) there is a budding politician who believes in regulated capitalism. This person believes that there needs to be constraints on the capitalist system so that it’s preferential to hire people in America to do jobs, and that people should get a good level of education from good public schools. And low cost, high quality universities paid for by a mix of public funding, private partnership and very aggressively low cost loans.

This person believes that while we need the largest military in the world we should also be able to negotiate the best prices, and with this we can actually do a lot more with a lot less, if war profiteering was again seen as immoral and maybe even illegal.

This person believes that everyone has the same rights, and that skin color, sexual orientation or sex have absolutely no bearing on anything ever.

This person believes in free speech and doesn’t care if people disagree, their views can still be heard without restriction, and that all religious, irreligious or stupid views can be held and shared, but they cannot be used to stop anyone else living their lives as their see fit under any circumstances. Words are free, while actions cannot infringe anyone else rights.

This person believes in a baseline single payer healthcare system with private uplift insurance for those that can afford it.

This person believes that everyone has the right, and the responsibility to vote, and that every citizen would be automatically registered to vote and actively encouraged to vote. And it doesn’t matter if they have served a prison sentence, once their out they could vote.

This person believes that prisons are for violent offenders only, and the rehabilitation is more important that punishment.

This person believes that there are real long term reasons why sections of the population are trapped in low economic, social and educational ways, and that these should be addressed directly.

This person believes that the vast majority of people are decent but that there are some people who are racist and homicidal. If these happen to wear a uniform is shouldn’t change how they are dealt with. But this person also expects those who police to support each other unconditionally and respects this.

This person believes that those who join the armed forces and follow every order given are heroes. But you treat heroes with the respect they deserve, and only send them into harms was as an absolute last resort. But when they are deployed to do terrible things they must get total support from those who sent them, this includes treating them as heroes when they return with the best of support both medial and economic.

This person also believes that all drugs should be legal and controlled, alcohol, Tabaco, marijuana and even heroine. It’s the control bit that counts. Making all drug cartels, mules and dealers into a legal framework would change the world.

This person believes that all guns should be registered, insured, owned & used by licensed users (like a car).

This person believes that taxes should be lower, but to do this means taking subsidies away from the largest businesses and the richest people, and spending less but not taking from the poorest in society.

This person believes that regulated capitalism is the best known system and that businesses are the best way of generating an economy (not government spending).

This person believes in the short-term economic benefits and the long term myriad of benefits of infrastructure spending.

This person believes in spending less than you make.

This person believes that unions are a good thing, but like anything must be moderated (as must capitalism).

This person believes that while unwanted pregnancies are sad, the best way to stop them is through sex education and not laws banning abortion or contraceptives.

This person believes that the best way to deal with an enemy is through talking and economics. While the worst way is with bombs. And that the bits in-between these extremes, have to be very clever.

This person believes that immigration is a really good thing economically & socially and supports and protects aspiring immigrants.

This person believes that politicians should be paid a living wage for their work, but not for life, and not more than 3x the minimum wage.

This person believes that money should be capped in all political races.

This person believes in actions to curb future global warming.

This person believes that the minimum wage should be set as the wage needed to not receive any government subsidies (easy to calculate as an hourly rate per electoral zone).

This person has a mix of conservative and liberal views, and couldn’t get the nod from either major political party, so has no chance of every being elected in the current system. So this budding politician will be a failure.

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