Lawyers As Politicians

Jim Jordan is already licking his chops at the thought of becoming the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, should Republicans gain control of the House. Jordan who earned his reputation as Trump’s incessantly barking lapdog, continues yapping away at any and all intruders to the sanctity of the Trump tabernacle.  He has already stated on several national media appearances that once restored to power he plans to use his committee to investigate every conceivable, imagined opponent to the greater Trump agenda, which includes the FBI, Merrill Garland’s, Justice department, the Biden family and Hillary Clinton among others.

He is particularly outraged with the FBI for entering Mar-a-Lago with a warrant to secure the many boxes of Presidential records belonging to the National Archives that were illegally removed by Trump when he left the Whitehouse, many containing TOP SECRET information damaging to national security.  It would seem that Jordan is more interested in the process than in the crime.

Like a trial lawyer defending a guilty client, Jordan seeks a loophole by attacking the process, diverting attention away from the issue of guilt.  This should be no surprise as Jordan achieved a Law Degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where he, like every other schooled lawyer, learned this neat little trick.   His strategy is to stir up enough confusion to overwhelm the facts now fading from the short-term memory of the voting public.  He, like Trump, is well aware that it is not illegal to lie to the media or the public, and he takes full advantage of that.

This is why we need to reconsider how we make our choices regarding political candidates. Strength gained through lying is a false security.  We need honest leaders of high integrity, not false messiahs who put themselves forth as the path to salvation.  When Trump claims “I alone can fix it,” smart voters should run the other way from this narcissistic liar of record, the world champion of political lies having told a verified 30,573 lies in his four-year term as President.

Who believes his crap?  Well try for one, the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, Qanon followers, the Christian Right, Nazis and anti-Semites and a spattering of political disciples who seek fortune by identifying with his lies, whack-jobs like Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and yes, Jim Jordan.

The Great Philosophic Divide and Inflation

Conservatism is widely regarded to embody traditional values as the basis for wise government, forming the belief that looking backward is the roadmap to moving forward.  Conservatives find validation in the history of ideas fostering the American Revolution, and pursue refuge in religious morality, legal precedent and above all, the Constitution.  While Conservatives exist in all political parties today, most identify as Republicans.  So what does it mean, in its purest form, to be a Republican?

In the United States Republicanism was established as a representative form of government whereby citizens elect leaders from among themselves for a predefined term. Unlike European models of aristocracy with a permanent ruling class, a Republican form of government is a structure that ensures and protects the principles of democracy by creatinga constitution that guarantees basic civil rights that cannot be overridden by majority rule.

Chief among these principles are the concepts that natural law defines the inalienable rights of all human beings; the consent of the governed is required in all matters of self-determination; individualism is the foundation of freedom but the family is the foundation of society; and a benevolent government exists to provide for its citizens protections that cannot be provided individually .

At this point, there is little, if any, philosophical difference between conservative and liberal values as a foundation for government. The core  political differences are practical not theoretical.  Like a troubled marriage, it’s always about finances–who’s spending whose money.

Contemporary Conservatives line up behind corporations as the root of national economic strength, and embrace policies that fortify their income by the creation of a favored status and through favorable taxation policy and corporate welfare in the belief that it benefits corporate investors while trickling down to working-class wage-earners as salaries that translate to consumer spending and greater GDP.  It’s their idea of an economic perpetual motion machine, but really it’s a financial boomerang. Policies that support this approach to governance are myopic and the policy makers are self-aggrandizing, by favoring the very corporations they profit from, and who in turn finance their campaigns.  That’s the perpetual motion machine, the one that concentrates economic and political power in the hands of corporations.

When corporate profits soar while wages are stagnant, the dollar buys less and less. It’s a simple formula for inflation.  In this election year, conservative media sources have labeled it “Joe Biden’s inflation.”  In the U.S. the inflation rate is currently 8%, so why is it 10% in the U.K. and throughout most of Europe and 7% in Canada?  Clearly inflation is a global problem affecting all countries and every form of government equally.  This is not Joe Biden’s doing.

While Biden has taken measures to combat inflation, Republicans sit on the sidelines waiting for their turn to rule pending the predicted outcome of the 2022 midterms.  They have yet to propose a solution but have stated their intent is to create legislation that diminishes social security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, cutting benefits, thus guilt tripping retired seniors while diverting blame from themselves.  Where’s the trickle-down in that?

Is Arizona a Totalitarian State?

By Michael Caporale

KYIV, Sept 23 (Reuters) – “Russia launched referendums on Friday aimed at annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine…  armed groups were going into homes, and employees were threatened with the sack if they did not participate.”

This is how an election is governed in totalitarian states, leaving me to wonder, has Arizona become a totalitarian state?  Both in the Ukraine and in Arizona, armed watchers are stationed at polling places.

As I write this, Arizona is engaged in early ballot voting at designated voting centers and drop boxes. Voting there is being monitored by self-anointed watchers, stationed at drop boxes, some armed but most with cameras, all with the clear intent to intimidate voters.  How is this different than Russian methods in the Ukraine?  In one photo you can see two men hidden from recognition by balaclavas covering their faces, while sporting body packs of ammo clips.  Why is there a need to mask their identity and of what use are the ammo clips? And worse yet, this is all being done under the rule of Arizona law.

The Morality Police and Abortion

 

By now, everyone is familiar with the plight of women in Iran who suffer persecution for exposing their hair by removing their hijab. Every news channel carries coverage of the mass protests and the beatings and deaths at the hands of Iran’s Morality Police who enforce strict Sharia law, a fundamentalist religious code forming the law imposed on everyday citizens.

We do not have to look far to see similar patterns within our own country, examples of fundamentalist Christian morality forming civil law affecting  everyone.  Take Texas as the prime example, a state banning abortion but enacting Draconian enforcement by rewarding its citizens to rat on each other like WWII German neighbors ratting out Jews to Nazis.  The Texas model has spread virally to the majority of Red states enacting similar iterations into law, all with severe consequences.

I understand that you may disagree with my comparison, but I ask you to first agree that these laws are all morality laws.  If we can agree on that then we can move on to a more detailed analysis.

Sharia Law is binary.  Something is or it isn’t.  Sharia Law is black and white.  There are no greys areas

American Laws are not binary, but must be viewed through the continuum of fuzzy logic, a spectrum of greys between black and white, which constitute a whole lot of “maybes.”

The issue of abortion rests on the determination of when human life is formed vs. the right of women to determine the outcome of their own bodies.  We can all agree that women have the right to self-determination, but the rub with Christian moralists is that they see another life involved, over which the woman has physical determination.  This is a problem of fuzzy logic that needs be considered.

At some point there is within a pregnant woman’s body a fertilized egg that eventually becomes a fetus. Many understand this to be an organ of the woman, not a human being.  This is at one end of the spectrum.  At the other end of the spectrum is a fully formed baby about to be born.  We should easily agree that this is a human.  But backing down the spectrum towards the egg, there is a point at which the fetus, incapable of self-sufficiency, becomes able to live outside the mother, should that occur or be necessary, hence a conundrum of fuzzy logic exists.

However, Christian Fundamentalists, Born-Again Christians, Right Wing Conservatives and Republicans in general, all see this issue as binary.  Just like Sharia Law, it either is or it isn’t.  Therein lies the ultimate similarity.  Once the egg is fertilized, they consider it to be a human and to terminate it is murder.

All laws have a basis in an accepted morality, but some have a basis in religious beliefs that extend beyond universally accepted morality.  Sharia Law is one such example as is Texas Law.

As Americans we need to resolve the issue of abortion with common sense and avoid wading into areas of confusion that are unresolvable through compromise.  As in all other rights, there have to be limits but the area somewhere in the middle of the continuum, the area of confusion, should be a demilitarized zone.

Is it Really “Joe Biden’s Inflation?”

Is it really?  Sure, we all know it’s a clever catch phrase designed to inflict damage on the democratic party during an election year, but like most epitaphs it was born to create a perception not to define a reality.

The cause of our current inflation is widely understood to be the perfect storm of supply chain breaks brought about by the covid pandemic, the rise in the price of oil due to the war in Ukraine and crop failures due to shifting climate patterns. For the average person who easily perceives these factors, it could not be more obvious.

What is not apparent is the myriad litany of events going back a decade or more, regulatory, legislative and injunctive, that compile an intertwined history, the foundation upon which the current problems are catalyzed, events both obscure, arcane and little understood by any but those schooled in economics (and maybe not even those.)

Recent studies by the Economic Policy Institute show that 50% of inflation is the result of corporate greed.  Think about it.  Was that Joe Biden’s doing?

In 2013 American corporations, the home of millionaires and billionaires, were recording record profits while middle class Americans suffered. While productivity 1973-2013 was up 74.4% to a total of 243% and compensation for the top 1% grew 138% in that same time period.  CEOs made 296 times what an average worker made and to further sweeten their profits, employers cut health-care benefits by 20%. A more specific breakdown saw middle wages rise only 6% while lower wages dropped by 5%.  So much for trickle-down theory.

Mind you, this was all before Joe Biden.  But wait…. there was still Donald Trump to be unleashed on the American economy.

“Like his boasts about the economy, the former president deftly left out his Administration’s role in the drastic rise in prices that Americans are currently suffering from.

The increase in consumer and producer prices is due to the dramatic explosion of money and credit which took place during the Trump Administration not only in response to the scamdemic, but in the years leading up to it.  In fact, the pandemic was a convenient excuse to inject massive liquidity into a system that began to hemorrhage in September 2019.

In the early months of 2020, the markets began to implode before the unnecessary lockdowns as the air came out of the financial bubble.  This has been ignored by the financial press and Trump himself.

Before the covid hysteria, Trump had repeatedly lobbied for “cheap” money, calling for a renewal of “Quantitative Easing” (QE), reduction in interest rates, and he even spoke about “negative” rates.  The former president threatened to fire Jerome Powell, whom he had picked to head the Federal Reserve, for not reducing interest rates far enough.  Trump complained that President Obama benefitted from the Fed’s accommodative monetary policy and wanted similar treatment to keep the financial bubble going.

Trump’s fiscal policy was also highly inflationary as he ran record deficits long before covid.  His tax cuts and failure to cut government spending led to greater government borrowing, which the Fed was forced to monetize.  Trump was on pace, well before the 2020 lockdowns, to spend more money in four years than Obama spent in his two terms.  By 2019, the deficit had grown to $1 trillion dollars, up $205 billion, 26 percent from 2018.”  (The Royal Examiner)

Wall Street created a loophole almost a decade ago, to escape U.S. regulation of complex financial trades related to commodities like oil and wheat. Then the Trump administration fortified the loophole.

On Tuesday, gas prices hit a record high. Today, the March Consumer Price Index is expected to show overall inflation still running above eight percent.

Republicans are blaming inflation on Pres. Joe Biden and rising wages. Democrats blame corporate price-gougers and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin. There’s some truth in there: the war in Ukraine and pandemic-related supply-chain issues obviously caused price fluctuations.

But the massive, wholesale run-up of global commodity prices is out of step with the fundamentals of supply and demand, a growing number of analysts say. And functioning futures markets would be buffering against the volatility we’re seeing , and the inflation resulting from it.

In other words, if Putin throws a stone into the oil markets, well-regulated futures markets should smooth it out to a ripple. In a dysfunctional market, Wall Street blows it up into a tsunami. That’s why consumers are now underwater from rising prices on everything from gas to food to the rare minerals in their electronics.

On March 24, Public Citizen Energy Program Director Tyson Slocum wrote that, “The past two years have seen an extraordinary surge in commodities market volatility.” He cites “evidence of excessive [Wall Street] speculation.”

As Antonia Juhasz reported for The Guardian, oil supplies are actually at record highs, and so is trading. And, as Juhasz notes, industry analyst Phil Verleger has said shifts in fundamentals that once might have accounted for changes of a dollar or less per barrel are now leading to spikes of as much as $10 per barrel.

What isn’t widely understood is that this Wall Street speculation didn’t just happen. As regulators began crafting new rules based on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Wall Street swung into action, sleuthing out loopholes they could use to smuggle their swaps and derivatives business out of regulatory jurisdictions. They succeeded.

Their solution was so obscure, however, that even Slocum hadn’t heard of it. When I explain how it worked, he says, “Well, that’s interesting…what you’ve just described to me, that seems to be a serious problem.”

That’s what regulators under Pres. Barack Obama thought, too, when they found out about it. But one month after they proposed a rule to fix it, Trump won the presidency. His appointees blocked the fix, and there’s no indication that the Biden White House is even aware of the problem (even though the Obama administration was).”

(The Whistleblower)

Regenerating Leadership

As a card-carrying member of a democratic society I, like you, have been conditioned to regard politics as the art of negotiation, when in truth it is the art of persuasion, the end result of which is a transaction.

By Michael Caporale

Let’s take, for example, an everyday common transaction, a sale on eBay.  In order to make the sale, persuasion is necessary.  The seller makes statements regarding the item or product, which may or may not be entirely true, but which are nevertheless weighted in favor of the seller.  To bring the buyer to the brink of decision is the politic of the sale, but finality can only be accomplished through negotiation.  An offer is made, negotiated and agreed to, and the transaction is completed.  That is the difference between politics and negotiations. Politics are not negotiations, far from it.

 

Politics is kissing babies, knowing how to eat pizza in Brooklyn or a Philly-cheese steak sandwich in Philadelphia.  It’s saying the right thing to the right people and the opposite of that to another set of the right people elsewhere.  It is being everybody’s candidate and yet, nobody’s candidate.  Politicians are chameleons changing color to match their environment.  What they know and what they secretly profess are two different matters, as can be witnessed in the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding Roe v. Wade.  Of the six judges in the majority opinion, three gained office through conscious deception, embracing legal precedent as the determining factor in rendering future judgements, knowing it was contrary to their political goals and even possibly their religious beliefs, save for one true Catholic, for we can never know with certainty that the profession of religious beliefs held by hypocrites is not just another act of politics, like eating folded pizza in Brooklyn. Once the sale is made, there will be no negotiation.  Politics is a standalone. It forms those who will become the negotiators, but does not determine their actions. After all, politics is marketing just as surely as propaganda is marketing. The danger is when politics crosses over into propaganda as when news organizations take it upon themselves to market a particular brand of partisan interests without informed discretion,  The repetition of partisan lies without vetting the source, without objective investigation, is as much an act of propaganda as the source message itself. No longer is that reporting on politics but engaging in propaganda.

 

Centuries ago, before the written word, before the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran, there were but a few humans scattered around the globe, separated by distance and land mass. As distances became shorter and land mass (mountains, rivers, oceans) was overcome, these disparate peoples began living in ever closer proximity to one another, each in a defined culture. As small as their numbers were, and as bountiful as earth’s resources were, they soon realized that they were competing with one another, as individuals, for the same resources, those critical to their survival.  What began as a personal competition soon broadened into a societal problem.  It became necessary for each culture to define a set of just rules to live by, rules to govern their society by, rules that would become the basis for law. In the Western world, we can easily trace the evolution of our legal system back to the old Testament of the Bible and specifically to the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. These ten guiding “rules” are the foundation of both Jewish and Christian morality and have served as the time-tested principles for societal management in Western cultures.

 

When the competition for resources expanded to finally become inter-tribal there were no common rules, no shared values to resolve conflict.  Each culture had its own God, often many Gods.  Superstition prevailed over reason.  When war erupted, the same rules that governed individuals within a society no longer applied to warring cultures of different beliefs.  Who could say with certainty that an unseen God was more than an idea put forth to prevent and manage chaos within a culture? Why should a culture, like that of the Romans or the Greeks, the Philistines and the many other Pagan societies, societies with many Gods, agree to a hypothetical system of reward and punishment devised to manage a monotheistic culture, with an afterlife beyond confirmation.  Confirmation being impossible, those beliefs were by their very nature, rightly only suspicions, eventually transforming into superstitions, and why not?  These firmly held beliefs were all unverifiable.  After all, who had been to heaven or hell and back?  What common determinant could be used to manage undesirable behavior between cultures?  There was none. The answer was violence. War.  Might made right.  The big fish eat the little fish and so on and so on.

 

The central warring issue would always be the right to a particular territory, initially used as hunting grounds, eventually becoming agricultural land and ultimately sought for its geological resources—copper, gold, oil, uranium, cobalt, diamonds, chromium, quartz, nickel and so on.

 

To resolve this dilemma territories were defined by borders, usually determined by the separation of bodies of land by bodies of water—oceans, seas, lakes or rivers.  But often, the established borders were arbitrary, formed by some other convention or agreement.  Once borders were established further agreements were necessary between these territories—eventually cities, states, nations– to insure peace. Initially these were treaties and eventually trade agreements. Certain areas of land were better suited for growing cotton, teas, tobacco, sugar, coffee, corn and wheat while by sheer luck, others territories were discovered to have been graced with geological windfalls limited exclusively to within its borders.  Where treaties and trade agreements failed, only violence would resolve the competition for survival at the expense of one culture over another.

 

If we can understand this basic concept, that of competition for survival, resulting in violence, then we need realize that the competition for survival is not limited to just the temporal, the physical realities engendered in the right to a body of land, but it is also a competition for all human rights, a competition for basic human rights that every living human is entitled to, a competition for rights between the individuals in a society and its government to exercise those rights.  In every case, governments across the globe control the exercise of those rights. In the United States we call the exercise of those rights freedom.

 

Just as land masses and bodies of water define territories, so too cultural differences founded in religious belief define freedoms, the limitation of the rights of individuals within a society.  As a citizen of one country, as I travel through other countries my freedoms change, yet I am the same person, the same citizen of the United States.  Freedoms granted here are not honored there, yet as humans we are all equal. Governments are to blame. In every case, the foundations of those governments are rooted in the religious beliefs of that region and where multiple cultures exist, firmly held beliefs contribute to violence as the means to cultural survival.  Resolution in this manner can only be accomplished by annihilation or absorption, just look a t Native Americans as an example.

 

From this perspective we must look upon the ultimate resolution of all differences as reductionist, each culture defeating another until only one remains.  That’s a very dark future, indeed, and certainly one that we have no time for.

 

Our current circumstance requires immediate action.  Rather than competing for survival we must now realize that we actually depend on each other for survival.  The issues that plague us are common to all cultures, all nations, all religions.  We are all affected by climate change, be it floods or droughts, crop losses, extreme weather like hurricanes, tornadoes and soaring temperatures, forest fires, water shortages that affect electric dams and sources of drinking water, the warming of the oceans and the death of coral reefs, loss of glaciers and melting icecaps, the rise of the oceans and the threat to coastal shores, the extinction of certain species and the migration of others, and ultimately all this is generating an extreme competition for survival if we cannot pull together and manage it as one.

 

The recent Covid Pandemic is the best example of how we depend on each other and have shared consequences.  What started in one nation quickly spread throughout the entire globe.  Solutions were not as forthcoming.  When solutions became available, they were developed privately and monetized, but eventually gave way to government backing and after some time distributed freely within our borders.  Not so lucky were third world countries, or those seeking their own solutions and disregarding ours.  If we are to save the world, who will pay for it?  If we don’t save them. We will surely pay for it far worse, for what affects them comes back to affect us.  We have to realize that we cannot go it alone.  There are consequences to “America First” doctrine.

 

We cannot remain rooted in a competition of religious ideas to determine our mutual survival. What afterlife we believe in or by what methods we attain it, will not insure the survival of our planet. To earthly life as we know it, heavenly life is irrelevant.  When all humanity dies and it was we who brought about the death of every other species, and the planet itself, then there will be no one left to ascend to heaven from the hell we will have earned and well deserved.

 

Now is the time to understand that we are One. What affects you affects me equally.  Let’s work together on our common ground and address our mutual threats together.  We must demand that our governments conform to our needs and work together, but first we must show them how.  We must lead by example.  We must demand solutions and provide the means.  In the United States the clock is winding down and we must vote every politician out of office who does not support acting in the interest of the entire planet.  There can be no special interests except for that of Mother Earth.  Let’s establish full equality and real economic justice by weeding our government of those who oppose such ideals.  Forget about policy.  That can come later if we install leaders devoted to ideals rather than partisan solutions.  If everyone is committed to ideals then solutions are inevitable.  Remember we are One.  We must start the process of healing the planet by regeneration, that of our so-called leaders.  Yesterday’s solutions are no solution today.

 

 

 

Finding The Bottom

The weight of the garage door is extraordinarily heavy today, as Alonzo raises it to enter the evening light of a now unfamiliar world.  He returns to the darkness within and removes the small child’s bicycle that was once his daughter’s. Walking it to the curb he thinks about all that it meant to him, the care he gave it to insure safety for his daughter–the training wheels, her helmet, the small da-glow vest. The handlebar streamers he added that would fly in the wind hang lifeless from the grips.  Tomorrow another innocent child will fall victim to a senseless act of mass violence.  Given the only institutional defense offered her, to hide under her desk and wait, she watched her friends fall one by one.  More broken dreams are given over to the street.

He wonders what would compel a human being to resort to the mass murder of innocent, defenseless children?  How can any human look straight into the eyes of a small child before cavitating their skull with a single round from an AR15, then moving on, remorseless and guilt-free, repeating it over and over again until the supply of remaining victims is exhausted?

It begins with the abrogation of responsibility.  If we are to find the source of this horror, we must surely look within. It is we who are fault.  As parents we must have failed to instill compassion as the central motivating life force.  Compassion begets morality.  Morality born of religious dogma is useless in the face of the pragmatic reality of survival at any level, real or perceived, because rigid rules cannot adapt to need.  The carrot and stick approach to religious training fails in its obligation to develop compassion.  It informs children to seek reward or avoid punishment as a course of action, but fails to develop morality, not as a set of rules, but as an outgrowth of compassion.  Public schools are hog-tied by constitutional issues and are unable to implement instruction in what would be considered religious philosophy.  They are not free to develop compassion in any substantive way.  In this way, society has sacrificed the spiritual for the physical.

If dogma remains the emphasis, churches are useless.  Tedious rituals hold little interest for young, active minds. Tradition speaks only to its seniors.  It validates their life choices but offers nothing to the restless mind of an ADHD child. As attendance to Sunday services has dropped precipitously, so too has the morality of compassion.  As a society we have failed to make a transition from required church attendance to joyful attendance, from mindless obedience of rules to willing participation in meaningful actions.  It’s a structural problem.  Because spirituality is not a way of life but some abstract state of being, without defined consequences except those attached to rigid dogma, which are all theoretical and unproven, waiting for heaven or hell is a lifetime without guarantees.  To a mind without compassion,  there is only the here and now. Consequence, reward or punishment, is the function of temporal structures but gratification is instant.  Gratification is its own reward.  We have become a society self-medicating gratification as the salve for our wounds.

Furthermore, in the absence of spirituality fostered emotionally and intellectually through compassion, children are introduced to a lifelong process of desensitization.  Television programming and blockbuster movies carry most of that weight, but so does popular music.  We live in the age of the “anti-hero,” a character far more interesting than a “Dudley Do-right” and the realistic portrayal of violence has grown ever more bloody and repulsive while music carries the hateful message of one oppressed culture to the other.   While news programs shield sensitive viewers from scenes of actual violence and blood, children watch realistically simulated violence at all hours of the day and night.  More graphic than reality, it is a hyper-reality and over time becomes less and less shocking, until they are dulled to its effect and accept it as the defacto language of effective storytelling while simultaneously becoming the intuitive framework of their own story, and for many, that story has been a life of oppression without relief, and unjustified persecution.  Our systems have failed them.

Video games hasten the process. Bloody shooting galleries of war, crime and science fiction, they myelinate the neural pathways of children up to age eleven through practiced repetition, strengthening reactive connections of thought to action.   In a seemingly never-ending onslaught of victims the player develops skill and racks up points that affirm success as a mass killer.  It is a brainwashing process of desensitization through points reward, a reward of no real value except to the defenseless ego.

Now all that remains is the application of those skills to a personal cause.

All causes begin with the failure of institutions to secure and protect basic rights, constitutional or otherwise.  These are easily understood in the most intuitive way, as common sense.  The simple right to continue to live, to participate in a society with equality, to maintain freedom of choice and the right to happiness, these are but a few. No law, no document, is needed to understand these basic rights.  They are inherent in all humanity as self-evident.  We need not be taught them.

When legislators fail to act in the public interest, when police abuse their power, when the courts favor one class of people over another, then society becomes fragmented, and divided into the favored and the marginalized.  When the marginalized realize that all paths to justice have been exhausted, violence becomes the only remaining solution.  Where no solution is provided, one will be inevitably be created.  Frustration is the trigger.

It is here where a father figure is most useful in developing a sense of purpose, defining a cause.  Validation is therefore required.  It frees the conscience from reflection, tightening the gap between thought and action and affirming belief.  A developing child has only to exist to extract the passive validation a culture can offer.  It’s everywhere. On a lower level it is imbued in the music of an aggrieved culture flowing passively on car radios, mobile phones and the internet, but on another level it is propagated by media coverage of competing political factions seeking power through division and hate.  Through division, groups can be identified, terrorized, prosecuted and eliminated. We need to understand that we are allowing this to happen. We need to understand that we are one.

Today, one politician will denounce all competitors on a deeply personal level, even those within their own party, resorting to lies and name calling in an effort to influence public support.  Tomorrow, they will all join forces supporting the winner in an effort to obstruct any meaningful change that may benefit the broad range of their constituents, while sharing the spoils among their chosen class. Lies and insults mean nothing in the long term to hypocrites with no moral compass.  They all have the same goal, and for too many, the same tactics. The loner becomes the champion who propagates the pack mentality that will follow.

The loner looks outside the boundaries of convention to the power enjoyed by ruthless dictators and in the face of no meaningful progress on any single issue, foists strongman values on hapless supporters as the effective method to implement policy.  Unlike the fellow politicians and established government agencies he denounces, the loner lavishes praise on these villains as a way of creating a pragmatic illusion that might makes right.

When opponents become supporters, and lies and insults have replaced thoughtful discourse, it becomes the accepted state, sending a message far and wide to be embraced by those most likely to share these baseless values that this is normalcy.  From this effort a foundation of fanatics and zealots, kooks and conspiracy theorists is maintained. A cacophony of misplaced causes that finds institutional support in its leaders where none exists in law, dominates the media and reason and normalcy become forgotten traditional values.  Conservatism is a ruse.  In the hands of this political riff-raff it’s just a tool, a Trojan horse and a banner to follow that in the hands of hypocrites leads nowhere productive.

In this context it’s easy to understand that mass murders and the events of January 6th share the same roots.

Even today, moral clarity is being sacrificed to pragmatic action as Biden attempts to influence Saudi Arabia to ease up on the supply of oil. We are held hostage by a policy stalemate of fifty years regarding sustainable energy sources in the face of climate change.  Too little, too late, long-range wisdom was overcome by short-term greed, and we now find ourselves squeezed between to murderers who hold the financial health of our democracy in the balance.  It is we who allowed this.  Surely you must see that meaningful change is long overdue.

Our government is like a crew with each side of the boat rowing in opposite directions. Without an agreed destination, the boat just turns in circles and goes nowhere. This is important to those who wish to maintain the status quo.  They label it conservatism, but this is misdirection. It ignores the reality that all things evolve.  Like anyone suffering from a drug or alcohol dependency, a society has to reach the bottom before it can save itself.  We may well have reached that bottom.

 

The Grinch That Stole Christmas

Back in the mid 70’s as my wife and I were starting our photography business Wally Miller, a successful local businessman, invited us to his office to offer help in the form of business advice. He asked only that we bring a financial statement and of course we complied.  The business startup process was new to us and after two years we were still losing money, and there it was in plain sight on the financial statement.  Wally welcomed us warmly and after a few minutes of careful study of our financials offered this observation, “You have no bad debts.”

Naturally I took this as a compliment.  I was proud that we had no bad debts, but that is not what Wally meant.  He elaborated, “If you have no bad debts that means that your credit is too tight and that translates into lost business.” His meaning was clear.  To be successful, really successful, you have to accept reasonable losses.  It’s the very nature of business.  If you want 100% certainty there can be no risk and without risk there can be no profits.

There’s a lesson in this thinking for Joe “McFuqwad” Manchin, the tight-ass, penny-pinching Grinch ruining Christmas for every American under the cover of “fiscal responsibility.”  His staffers gave us a look into his rationale, revealing two of the real reasons behind Joe’s decision to be the big NO.

Apparently Manchin believes that giving money to the poor in the form of a child tax credit is unwise because in his view, many will spend the extra dollars on drugs.  Likewise he is opposed to paid leave, stating that people will just call in sick and then go off deer hunting.

Now let’s all agree that in a free society, there are good and bad actors.  No law can legislate what is in the hearts of men.  No law can dictate integrity or honor.  If that were the case, there would be no GOP, no Jim Jordan, no Ted Cruz, no Matt Gaetz, No Marjorie Taylor Green, no Lauren Boebert. You get my drift, but I digress.

Once you agree to recognize that the actions of individuals are beyond your control, you must the adjust your decisions and subsequent actions to affect the greatest good for the majority.  Charity benefits the worthy and unworthy alike, without discrimination.  To withhold benefits from the worthy because there will always be unworthy recipients is to succumb to the devil’s play, a game of reduction that punishes all for the few.

The Hoodless Hoodie and No-Wax Floors

 

It seems like the signs are everywhere.  Yesterday, as I potato-couched my way through a myriad of mindless “entertainment” produced by the corporate giants with their fingers on the pulse of the American viewing audience, already aware that content is determined in reaction to what their audience wants and will tolerate, my somnambular  trance was interrupted with an offering by Sketchers for a product they were touting as the “hoodless hoodie.” WHAT?  Don’t they know a garment without a hood is not a hoodie?  Or rather, do they fully expect that we, their mindless captive audience, on a brisk autumn day care not? What’s in a name?  Honestly, apparently everything.

It’s 101 marketing, plain and simple.  I was immediately harkened back to a period in time, perhaps it was the seventies, when no-wax floors were introduced. What immediately followed was a product offered as wax for no-wax floors.  What were they thinking?  Why would anyone purchase a no-wax floor only to buy another product to wax it with?  Are we really that gullible?

The resounding answer is yes.

Take the news, for example.  “News” is a label applied to a reactionary product that is fashioned to deliver a story that coincides with the beliefs of a specific viewing audience.  When stories were generated by the source it was called “spin”, but if generated by the media it is propaganda tailored to fit and sold to believers. In so doing, they did not create the audience, but captured it. It’s all about the “Benjamins.” Find the weak and gullible, herd them into a defined area and then sell them the goods they crave.  It’s too easy.  Just give it a good label.

Any news of a different persuasion is regarded as “fake news.”  Lacking accurate data, it is no more news than a hoodless garment is a hoodie, but the application of labels is the defining argument that separates us into “us” and “them.”  There is no more “We the people.”  It’s “our people” and “their people.”

Conservatism is one such label, but what does it mean?  On its most basic level it is a political philosophy that embraces traditionalism—civility and the rules of fair play, law and order, family values and above all, the Constitution.  It does not take a genius to deconstruct the actions of so-called conservatives to realize they are no more conservative than the violent mobs that support them.  They are that wax for a no-wax floor, an unnecessary and useless product sold to wax over and put a deeper gloss on what were otherwise solid principles to live and govern by. Witness the GOP reaction to the events of January 6th.

The greatest impediment to knowledge is a belief system.  Knowledge is the fuel of a democracy.  Governing by consensus lacking true knowledge is impossible.  Let’s recognize that gloss for what it is. It’s not the floor.  It’s the reflection.

Diabetes And Net Zero

 

It might be helpful to consider global warming a self-inflicted planetary disease, much as we know type-2 diabetes to be a self-inflicted human disease.  Many human diseases are self-inflicted, most by way of poor diet or lack of exercise.  Type-2 diabetes is one such disease.  The prescription for type-2 diabetes is self-management, a change in diet to eliminate the source of the problem, high levels of blood sugars. But when a professional is consulted, perhaps their personal primary practitioner or an endocrinologist, medications will be prescribed for the patient to ameliorate the potential damage of continued neglect, prescriptions like Metformin, Glipizide, Januvia, Farxiga or Jardiance.

By Michael Caporale

 

Patients are dispensed to their own supervision for a period of time and then return a few months later to have their blood monitored for changes in  A1C.  The object of this exercise is to reduce A1C levels to a minimum of 7 and preferably below.

 

Human nature is predictable and easily understood.  Deprived of all the foods that comprise an exciting diet array for a healthy person, foods high in carbohydrates like potatoes or pasta, and deserts with high levels of sugar,  the diabetic soon begins slacking off and the A1C lab reading rises.  The doctor sees this and adds another prescription to the mix to bring the lab results back down to 7 or below but the patient sees this as a means to continue to violate the prescribed diet, while remaining at 7. Each added prescription allows the patient to eat larger portions of foods high in the toxin, sugar, while maintaining a passable A1C reading without change.  In this scenario, the doctor becomes the unwitting enabler. The patient is effectively maintaining an A1C reading of net zero, neither up or down from the previous reading.

 

The effect of each prescription allows for an offset, a change in diet for the worse, and no advancement is made in the management of the disease.  Rather it is stimulated to continue at full volume.

 

It works the same way for climate change, global warming.

 

In their current national broadcast ad, Cisco brags that they expect to achieve net-zero by 2040.  Oil giants Shell and BP are less optimistic and expect to achieve net-zero by 2050.  Not only is this too late, but it misleads the public to believe that net-zero is the goal, that net-zero is the way to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is not.  It is merely a deviant system that allows for pollution to the degree it is offset by clean air measures.  In other words, their current levels of pollution will continue for twenty or thirty years until they achieve net-zero, and from that point forward there will be no change.  Quite obviously, if understood in this way, any rational person can see that climate change will be allowed to worsen to the point of no return.

 

If the COP26 Summit (the 26th Conference Of the Parties) in Glasgow, Scotland beginning Sunday, October 31st, produces any results at all, look for the qualifying language of net-zero to be inserted.  It is the tell-tale sign that treaties and agreements are under the management of the polluters and not the people or the planet slowly dying at their hands.

 

 

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