Xenophobic Nonsense   (2017Feb07)

Tuesday, February 07, 2017                                             6:47 PM

Okay, time to slow things down. Trump’s blitzkrieg of incompetence has the overall effect of forcing us to play his game, on his timetable. He does and says so many inflammatory, imprudent, borderline-illegal things that we simple folk are spurred into instant response—there’s never time for sober discussion—his stupidity is faster than light.

And while it may seem impossible to justify ignoring Trump and his minions for even one second—I sense that pulling back from his shit-storm of non-ideas, and taking the time to laugh at him and them—and to remind ourselves that life goes on, madness in the White House be damned—is the correct course. When caught in an inane conversation with a drunk, we don’t try to win the argument—we try to move away from the drunk—and this seems the sensible course in the case of Trump’s fascist Justice League of Losers and their obsession with media-storms.

Granted, Trump’s Electoral College win is a huge blow—in spite of the majority voting against him, he holds the presidency for the next four years—and that’s a lot of power for a crazy egotist. But the sub-set of Americans identifying as Trump supporters is still, in many ways, a far more ominous threat in the long term. These people are trapped within the echo-chamber of ‘alternative’, resentful, paranoid fantasies about how the world works, outside of their town.

Where their existence was once threatened by the ubiquity of information, the rise of biased information sources has now strengthened their grip on such self-excusing delusions. Bigotry is back in fashion. As long as Trump (and their portion of the Internet) reinforces their balky refusal to open their minds, they’ll feel infinitely justified in maintaining even the craziest notions.

These people have even been convinced to vote against Health Care, for themselves and their families. Think about that. It’s not far different from offering someone a juicy steak dinner—and them punching you in the mouth, like you’d insulted their mother.

You tell them the globe is warming, sea levels are rising, untold disaster awaits—and when their boss at the oil company, or the coal mine, sez, ‘No, it isn’t’, they dutifully jeer at the scientists. Scientists! People who make a career out of sweating the details—and who, more to the point, have no dog in this race—unlike their deniers.

I’ve seen regular people—not rich business owners or anything, just regular folks—who actually oppose the Minimum Wage. The sole purpose of a minimum wage is to make it hard for employers to pay you less than you deserve. Do these people think that the rule will only apply to immigrants—and even if it did, do they hate immigrants that much? How will they feel when their own kids can’t find work that pays their rent? Minimum Wage might start to look a little more attractive then.

So, in my humble opinion, there are some tragically, self-defeatingly, self-destructively stupid people out there—and a lot of them vote. For the most part, they don’t really oppose the changes that the Left promotes—they simply fear change—and that is their only real point of agreement with their leaders, especially Trump. Imagine a 21st-century American putting billions of taxpayer dollars into a wall—a big, stupid wall. Hasn’t he read Clausewitz?

A wall can be swum around, tunneled under, and flown over—if Trump’s idea was to stop immigrants, he’s a failure—if he merely wants to inconvenience them—good work, Donald, spend away. Although it should be noted that immigrants are no strangers to inconvenience. The act of building a big wall can be seen as less of a practical exercise and more of a desire for the world to be so simple. It is a statement more than an achievement—and those familiar with Trump’s pre-presidency resume will recognize this theme.

The sad truth is that rich people raise lazy kids—and rich countries raise lazy citizens—America maintains its preeminence by constantly blending in fresh blood. And if the newcomers are not creamy white, that is beside the point—they are eager—even desperate, for a chance to make something of their lives, and their families’ lives. They work like dogs. They take everything seriously. They listen to what’s going on around them. Basically, all the stuff that you and I are too ‘over’ being Americans to bother with.

These people prevent the rest of us from drowning in our own toxins of apathy and entitlement, selfishness and irresponsibility. They recharge the battery of America and they always have—our own ancestors were part of the process. Deciding to stop now, to shut it all down, to ban travel and build a big honking wall—suicide—sheer suicide for our country and ourselves.

Don’t take my word for it—look at Europe. A lot of those countries are accepting refugees, not simply out of the goodness of their hearts, but also because their populations are becoming too small and too aged to maintain their economies. They need immigrants—and the only reason we don’t is because we’ve always had them. We’ve never known what lack of change, lack of growth is really like—stagnation is foreign to us—but not for long, if we keep up this xenophobic nonsense.

ttfn

Paul Ryan – What A Jackass   (2015Nov17)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015                       10:50 AM

I’m so mad I could spit. Obama spoke at the G20 yesterday, making several sensible points about dealing with Daesh. Among those points was his conviction that humanitarian concern for the refugees was not only a responsibility of the world’s governments, including the USA—but that caring for these helpless victims, without questions about their faiths, is what separates us from Daesh.

In response, a crowd of jackass GOP governors have announced that they will not accept refugees from Syria in their states. That they have no authority to do that is something they choose to ignore—apparently, the political effect of announcing their cowardice and prejudice is enough to satisfy their ostrich-like followers.

Then this morning Paul Ryan was on CNN talking about being ‘prudent’—about how, in the case of Syrian refugees, it is “better to be safe than sorry”. What a cowardly, un-American, xenophobic jackass. He spoke about halting the flow of refugees until we can verify that they are safe to accept into our homeland—ignoring the fact that America’s vetting of refugees is lightyears more involved than any other country’s—that it could not possibly be any more thorough. He just wants to halt the flow—and the rest is all BS excuses.

Is he really afraid of a bunch of dazed, victimized, mostly women and children refugees—or is he simply another GOP knee-jerk, anti-whatever-Obama-wants idiot? Either way, he’s no American. Not the kind of American who leaps, unarmed, to defend a train-full of people from a gun-toting terrorist. Not the kind of American that says, “Give me…the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…”. Paul Ryan is an elitist, anti-American coward.

And if he and his band of mouse-panicked elephants weren’t bad enough, we have CNN and all the other news outlets making hay out of terror, digging their heels in on the terror aspect of all this and blocking out all the defiance that real men and women feel, far more than any intimidation these thugs wish to engender. I’d rather deal with a suicide bomber than these mealy-mouthed, chicken-hearted, entitled scaredy-cats—they make me sick. And Paul Ryan—you should be ashamed of yourself, you dick.

They Make Me Tired   (2015Sep18)

Friday, September 18, 2015                                              10:37 PM

There are needy people and there are takers. A needy person could pass you on the street and you’d never even know. Takers will confront you about your having something and not sharing it—as if it was their job to decide who you should care about. A needy person suffers want—they don’t look around for someone else to take care of them. And they shouldn’t have to—in a perfect world. Takers are like bottomless pits—they’ll take what you offer without gratitude and expect more.

In a world full of caring people who want to be charitable, the needy stand in silence while the takers rush to take as much as they can. One of the reasons poverty is so hard to eradicate is the impossibility of publicly offering anything to the needy without the takers swarming in and swooping up whatever they can carry off. Places like shelters and soup kitchens only survive because they offer things of value only to the extremely desperate—takers have bigger fish to fry.

Civilization has sprung a leak. The masses of refugees trekking from Syria, Afghanistan, and environs are fleeing an area of increasing warfare and bombed-out desolation. Putin supports Assad (and Iran) because they are valuable trading partners—for arms and oil, at least—and also a little bit because Russia values any nation that’s crazy enough to join them in their struggle to maintain equity with the USA and China. I recognize that the U.S. has its share of unsavory alliances, too—where we blithely ignore world censure for geopolitical or economic reasons—but this insistence on defying the rest of the UN, refusing to abjure Assad, and thus preventing the injection of some global peace-keeping effort into the region to end the violence (and stem the flow of refugees) is looking like a dandy prequel to World War III.

We’ll stop ISIS alright—they’ll get chewed up in the crossfire if the Russians send military support to Assad while the rest of the world tries to support the non-extremist rebels. We weren’t going to be suckered into a war over Crimea—all by itself—but you add Syria—and the flooding of Europe with refugees—and tensions between Russian and the U.S. could get very strained.

And with impeccable timing, Japan’s Prime Minister and his hardliners are trying to force through a constitutional change that would allow Japan to become a military power—only to defend peace, you understand. The people of Japan are understandably upset that Shinzō Abe is setting them up to become embroiled in American-led military entanglements—but in an age of extremist violence, pacifism has its risks. I’m not sure how I’d feel—if I were Japanese.

I do know that their post-war outlawing of anything military is a tradition of which the Japanese should be as proud as we are of our Declaration of Independence. In its own way, that outlawing of war was a much higher step up the ladder of social justice than our enshrining of democracy. It would be a shame if they become followers now, instead of leaders in a new way of coexistence between nations.

But to get back to the refugees—the EU nations are seeing hard-right groups emerge in reaction to the infusion of immigrants from other cultures—they want the youth and energy their own aging populations can no longer give them, but they don’t want to trade it for tolerance or pluralism—that stuff is for sissies. And truly, even if they (and we) welcomed each and every refugee with a warm home and a good job, sending their kids to fine schools—they will still be dispossessed exiles from a war-blasted moonscape that once was their home—they will still remember dead loved ones who didn’t get out, still worry over at-risk loved ones who remain there. The only real answer is to end the fighting. Is Putin the main obstacle in the way of that—or is he just the excuse? Either way, it makes me very sad that most of our world leaders are people who just want the job—not people who know how to lead.

News-show talking heads commented today on the silence of the Republicans after Trump neglected to correct a whacko supporter who called President Obama a foreigner and a Muslim. While Democrat candidates didn’t hesitate to highlight this important difference in the two parties’ attitudes, the GOP candidates didn’t make a peep. It made me think of a bunch of schoolkids clowning around while their teacher writes on the blackboard—and when their roughhouse gets too out of hand, the teacher turns and gives them a straight look—and they all stare at the floor and shut their mouths, knowing that they’ve crossed a line of civility that grown-ups won’t tolerate. The trouble with the Republicans, like those rowdy schoolkids, is that they’ll count to ten-Mississippi and be right back at it, soon enough.

It’s the stupidity that wears me out—where to begin? 43% of Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim (although it’s a strange Muslim who goes to Christian church every Sunday). Beyond which is the fact that there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim. Even foreigners, although technically disqualified from holding the office, are not bad people by virtue of being from somewhere else. Only ignorant people think that way. Foreigners are people who live somewhere else—people—what is there not to get?

It’s strange to me—both parties have corruption and incompetence—all politicians have feet of clay—yet the Republicans consistently appear to have gone over to the dark side. When I was a kid, both parties had good policies and bad policies—nowadays the GOP seems to have become the champion of bad policies. I think it has something to do with the shifting importance of conservatism in a world that changes so fast as to make conservatism a dangerous principle. Hanging on to the past is bad business—ask any company that’s lagging behind their competition in implementing upgrades and adopting new technologies. Traditions don’t get a chance to fade away anymore—they get sandblasted away overnight. How do you champion fundamentalism while making campaign-tweets? Cognitive dissonance has become their stock in trade. They make me tired.