Offended By Trump (2018Mar11)

Sunday, March 11, 2018                                          12:53 PM

Offended By Trump   (2018Mar11)

I am offended by Trump, not because he is a criminal, a Russian mole, a nuclear threat, a racist, misogynist, or an Islamophobe, but because he does not respect our country. His patriotism is to himself and his money—period.

There is an order to civilization. In the end, it’s all about compromise—since compromise is the only alternative to strife. Trump, unfortunately, represents the forces of disorder and of strife—of ignorance and bluster.

Worse than Trump is his Congressional train of commodified Republicans—craven legislators with ‘the good of the people’ dead last on their priorities list—these are the weasels who blow with the fattest wind. They serve only themselves and, far from representing the people, serve instead those who place profit above community.

And they will pooh-pooh all of this as liberal whining—but they are either ignorant, or simply liars. Making accommodations for the underserved is simply good business. It costs less money to keep people in decent conditions than it costs to deal with all the aftereffects of extreme poverty. It is better economics to spend money on our children’s health and education than to have a generation of unhealthy, ignorant Americans. That’s not whining—that’s just common sense.

The American government, for a long time, served as a balance against the predatory aims of Capitalism—allowing the break-neck, cut-throat action of big business, without allowing it to enslave our society and rescind our human rights. We stand at a crossroads now—where either we can go on with the Hyper-Capitalistic fever-dream of those who shut their eyes to all but dollar signs, or we can start voting for candidates whose aim is to wrest our government back onto the side of the people.

The stock market is an excellent example of this blindness: when it goes up, it only makes rich people richer—but when it goes down, the poorest feel it the worst. Rich people ought to take into account the fact that they, as a group, keep shrinking down and down—and outside their mansions, the world becomes a less and less pleasant place to take a walk. I would think they’d want to have more friends—and nicer places to take walks. Maybe they live in such abject fear of change that they don’t even consider such things. Go figure.


Build and Break (2018Mar01)

Thursday, March 01, 2018                                                8:44 PM

Build and Break   (2018Mar01)

I was just re-watching “Patton”, the scene of the Nazi counter-offensive that began the Battle of the Bulge—Panzers rolling over (and also through) the farmers’ stone walls, crossing their fields. I thought of how many years spent plowing up rocks, pickings those rocks up, carrying them over to be set in the surrounding wall. I pondered the contrast between those years of honest sweat and the brief, casual destruction of that work as an infinitesimal moment in that mad, murderous conflict.

Then I related that to Trump. How easy it is for the battering-ram of his blunt ignorance to smash through what it took centuries of thought and feeling to build. Our federal government is one of the great wonders of the world—our strength as a nation, as a people, has a potential that we, as modern Americans, stubbornly refuse to commit to—but it abides.

Unfortunately, cooperation and capitalism don’t go together very well. That’s a bad thing because democracy is cooperation—and capitalism is compulsory competition, wherein cooperation becomes a ploy used against the ‘weak’.

This is also why, though we’ve often flirted with a tycoon candidate (like Ross Perot) we’ve never actually done it before. Dare I say: Now we know why? Business is important, yes—but ‘governing’ and ‘doing business’ are so different as to be, in many ways, opposing activities—and a businessman like Trump has all the wrong instincts. He’s trying to win—he’s not trying to do good.

He’s not even doing a very good job of masking his struggles against the emergence of the truth. I’ve seen people so full of guilt that they start shouting rebuttals before anyone accuses them—but their age is usually still in the single digits when they behave this way. The White House’s group effort to back up the President’s ravings sometimes goes so far as to claim that a certain comment was a ‘joke’—that’s quite a show, though we’re in no position to enjoy it, as entertainment.

But I am most bemused by the duality of, on one hand, Mueller’s very official and technical case being made concerning the administration and the president—and, on the other hand, the ongoing mountain of public knowledge that accrues to us normal folk, just reading the papers every day. Whatever Mueller finally wraps up with, the investigation’s longevity is itself an opening for this firehose of bad laws, bad relations, bad oversight, and quasi-criminal ‘presidenting’. Trump is an historically bad apple—he cannot be removed quickly enough.

Last but not least—those of you who don’t like the strategic outlook following a Trump impeachment, when Pence would take over and do God knows what—you must accept that. Trump must not be allowed to finish his term as if he were just another president—our nation’s disgrace would be that much deeper and more lingering. And I wouldn’t worry too much about a President Pence after he’s appointed via impeachment—that doesn’t sound like political capital to me.

Let’s get rid of the Putin-puppet first—we’ll worry about the weirdness of Pence later. Every day Trump stays in office adds another layer of slime to our national pride.


Friday, March 09, 2018                                                     9:09 PM

We just got resettled back into our house, after a week without power, staying at the Danbury Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel was great, especially considering the alternative—Claire, Jessy, Baby Sen, and I (Spence stayed with Nana, who’d had a great fall earlier in the week).


A Short History of Guns in America (2018Mar01)


Thursday, February 22, 2018                                           11:38 PM

A Short History of Guns in America   (2018Mar01)

If you want to get historical about it—in colonial America, firearms were a survival tool—used for hunting, and even protection from large predators, sure, but just as often required to settle differences between the colonials and the native Americans. Without discussing the ethics of the situation, the bloodshed and friction between the natives and the European colonists went on for centuries. The idea that Americans were at threat only from each other didn’t arrive until the late 1800s.

Also, the colonies weren’t all British at the time, and clashes between colonies (often sea-battles, mostly, between the Nations’ navies, over their harbors and resources) also gave reason for having a weapon close at hand. The French and Indian War (or ‘La guerre de la Conquête’) (1754-1763) was so recently over that George Washington had served in it, prior to the Revolution.

Once the United States had run off their British tyrant, there was concern that the British might return. There was concern that the French, too, might decide to abrogate our self-rule. Worst of all, new-born Americans were most concerned with their own new government becoming a monarchy, or even a tyranny, of its own. After all of their struggles, they were determined to avoid any return of the mistreatments they had suffered under British rule.

Thus the Second Amendment was an insurance policy against losing all that the war had been fought for—the colonial (now state) militias had beaten the British—and they would stay, ‘well-regulated’, as proof against anything that would again threaten Americans’ rights.

There was no question of an early American being ‘allowed’ a firearm—survival required one. It was only in the extremity of growing rebellion that the colonists were forbidden by law to stockpile powder or shot—or manufacture their own. Remember that this was a time in which it was still normal for one guy to ‘run through’ another guy over an argument—just jab a giant pin in his chest—nobody worried about flintlocks or pistols, except as military concerns.

The Second Amendment is about the militia, not the firearms. The arms were simply the equipment required by militiamen. There are other ways of looking at it—and the NRA will be happy to send you a brochure, I’m sure—but that’s the long and short of it, really.

After the Civil War, southern states enacted laws, “Black Codes”, prohibiting African-Americans from owning firearms. In the Roaring Twenties, Thompson Machine guns were outlawed. Gun rights waver in the face of fear—and little wonder—guns create a false sense of security and safety, while in reality making things more dangerous. The only person who is safe, in an armed society, is the person most willing and eager to use it.

We must treasure our traditions—nothing should impede a rural citizen’s right to go out and shoot his family’s meal—and I don’t see anything wrong with shooting ranges either. Statistics show that guns do not protect a home—on the contrary, they cause more trouble than intruders—and more often. But if we really have to, I suppose home security can stay, too—that can become a Darwin Award category, in the fullness of time. Get a Taser, some pepper-spray, and a honking big walking-stick and you can defend yourself against most people—without being convicted of manslaughter.

But beyond those special circumstances, and the normal police and official uses, the average person walks down the street with little cause to expect to be shot at. There are neighborhoods, of course—that’s society—there will always be insular communities—but going to such places is dangerous, armed or otherwise. My point is, I really don’t see the need for a gun. I’m sixty-two—it’s never occurred to me to run out and get a gun. What would I use it for?

Arming teachers is an idiotic notion—for proof, I point to the Florida State Legislature which recently enacted a law to do just that. Don’t be like Florida. Come on.