Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kids Killing Kids:Grandparents, Guns, and Average Americans Low Intelligence

Six children this year, fledgeling as 2016 is, have
had access to their grandparents' guns and maimed
or killed another child or themselves. One grandmother
kept the gun under her pillow while she AND the
youngster slept together! What went wrong here??
Let me count the ways:

(1) Few understand the Founding Fathers' intent
with respect to the Second Amendment.
"...a well-regulated militia"...is cavalierly brushed
aside, so anyone, addlepated, careless, paranoid
though they may be, feels he or she should be
armed, often to the teeth.

(2) Since it has never been proven that there are
 geniuses residing in every home, on every block,
the low intelligence/ignorance of average Americans,
married to our current entitlement mania produces
this unholy series of sad, preventable events--
more to follow, an entirely safe bet.

(3) In a civilized society, children SHOULD be
our priority in terms of safety, at the very least.
The carelessness of these grandparents must be
punished with stiff legal penalties, such as willful
negligence, contributing to the harm of minors,
even involuntary manslaughter. But where have
these irresponsible adults been held accountable?
Usually sympathy for the tragedy allows these
idiots-yes, idiots-- to skate off without jail time.

I don't want to hear how wonderful this nation
is. Until children are protected, nurtured and
educated as they deserve, this country, and
any such others, do not get my approval in any
meaningful way.

Friday, February 5, 2016

David Brooks, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: an Error-Prone Three for Three

Feb. 5, 2016: Tonight, on PBS' News Hour with David Brooks
and Mark Shields,'ol Brooksie did it again: in analyzing last night's
occasionally bitter exchanges between Hillary and Bernie, he
stated that Wall Street was not particularly "the Bogey Man"
even after all we know about the causes of the Great
Recession of 2007-and counting (--we haven't fully recovered,
my observation).  --What?? Why did the University of Chicago
confer its baccalaureate upon this less-than rigorous "thinker"?
Brooks talked about technology and other factors which still exist,
yet we are not quite as bad off as we were, 2007-2010. --Hmmn.

Former First Lady-Senator-Sec'y. of State Clinton
still doesn't seem to possess the gravitas and  personality
one might expect from such a "distinguished" resume'.
She famously faltered when she answered Bernie's
charge re: being paid hundreds of thousands by Wall Street
and other venues for her speeches..."That's what they offered",
with a nonchalant shrug. Was her demeanor demonstrating
an attempt to mimic water rolling off a duck's back? No sale,
"Ducky"!

But Bill's Hill did enlighten us, sadly, with her own
accusation, in my book, a fair one--Bernie Sanders
voted for an act in 2002 which allowed the creation
of Credit Default Swaps, one of several exotic
financial instruments which were part and parcel of
the Great Recession. Bill's Hill neatly side-stepped
recalling the gigantic role played by President Bill
Clinton, the Southern Good 'Ol Boy (D) who happily
signed into law an act destroying Glass-Steagall,
alongside victoriously, benignly beaming Phil Gramm,
another Good 'Ol  Boy (R) from the South, this in 1999,
the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The next few years ushered
in the hedge fund unregulated irregularities, the CDOs and
the "swaps", which gave us the bubble which had to burst.

--My conclusions?

(1) David Brooks is still the ass I have pegged him as,
when, ignoring Article II, he characterized Ted Cruz
as a "formidable candidate" back in 2014. ( Since Brooks
is also Canadian-born, I understand his supporting Cruz's
right to run.) Why PBS and the New York Times both pay
him to opine utterly escapes  me, however.
(2) I can't in good or rational conscience vote for
Hillary or Bernie in 2016...of course, a resounding  NO
to Carson, Cruz, Rubio and Trump as well.  It's Christie,
Kasich or Bush;  I might just write my own damn name in
the appropriate line on my paper ballot.

David, Hillary and Bernie: three for three, all error-prone
and not in the least deserving of their prominence on the
U.S. stage.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Donald Doesn't Partake of Give and Take...

He surely can dish it out, but how he howls when similar vitriol
is served back to him. Can such a man effectively run a large,
major nation such as ours? Without one shred of objectivity,
without any ability to empathize with the exigencies of others,
almost utterly lacking in a relevantly large factual data base,
how would he lead? I can't help but apply terms like fascism,
dictatorship, oligarchy/autocracy to Mr. Trump's presentation/
manner and stated goals. "Make America Great Again":
Another slogan, devoid as it is of any cogent meaning, moves
masses of the unthinking, the largely untutored and unread. All
of them, Donald plus his devoted entourage, are a danger to
themselves and the rest of us.

--Read and heed! Except for well-functioning nuclear bombs
and an agribusiness providing the USA with the least expensive
food in the world, we are not number one in any of the leading
indicators that deem a society as great: low infant mortality
rates, real wage growth, stable jobs with benefits, investment
stability, infrastructure maintenance and expansion, high literacy
in the arts and sciences, etc. All the "patriotic", expostulatory
ego-thumping of  a Trump and others is meant to obfuscate, Oz-
like, so as to deny/hide our reality from us...while elevating the
nakedly amoral ambitious to tax-paid power positions. --Sweet!

So, how to fight phenomena like this? One disheartening example
comes from France, a nation that refused to acknowledge, for
decades, that they had lost their world-preeminent position. The
United Kingdom is another. But we can admit to what's true and
attempt to build bridges to the rest of planet Earth so as to avoid
coming to blows. (I hope we still have enough time to work out
such a survival strategy.)

No one who lacks the essential, effective qualities of give and
take can lead an enlightened charge toward peace, prosperity
and all the other characteristics that could make America better,
even truly great again; you aren't the one, Mr. Trump, neither
you nor your slogan can get it done.
  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Investor" Carl Icahn Must Have Heeded Sammy Davis Jr.

--When entertainer Davis memorably said, after some
challenge or other: "Because I can".  After the infamous
investment irregularities (criminal scandals) of the 1980s
by Boesky, Icahn and Milken, good ol' Carl must feel
time alone has washed the dirt clean out of his character
flaws...at least, image-wise, at least, forgetting that some
of us old crows out here have a long memory.

Sadly, I do not regard character change improvements
as a major phenomenon, meaning that most adults don't
change much, although some surely (-thankfully!) do.
The proof in the pudding for me and some others in
this current political/financial USA scenario is ably
demonstrated in who supports whom for president:
Carl Icahn is advising presidential candidate Trump.
(Frank Sinatra sang a song castigating moral laxity
called Anything Goes; almost all of our Laissez Faire
capitalists positively subscribe to the sentiment in the
wording of this tune, alongside Ayn Rand's "Objectivism"
here in 2016.)

Another "all for the conservatives and the rich, the rest of
you, take the crumbs falling from our tables and go" candidate
Ted Cruz, born in Canada, similarly has such an adviser,
an Anything Goes spin-clever songster, Harvard-home
ensconced Prof./Atty. Laurence Tribe.  Tribe's clients
have often been organizations and individuals who are
comfortable with the recent, highly illogical Supreme Court
decision which allows corporations the same rights/freedoms
as persons, indeed, are now "legally" regarded as persons...

But wait! The Guardian quotes Prof. Tribe on Sunday, January
10th, informing us of his "life-long" liberal credentials, noting that
he had President Obama as a law student, which is merely
proof that he taught Mr. Obama, nothing more.  Laurence
Tribe says that in our first few decades as a nation, Cruz
would not have been constitutionally qualified, as the then-
understanding of "natural born" citizen comported with
the document as originally written--this explication is currently
called "originalist" scholars' theory, contradistinct to those
termed "living constitutionalists", ergo, Tribe's "broader
interpretation"--but the U.S. Constitution has not been
overturned as of this writing; neither have these Articles,
II and V, been amended to allow any citizen to be elected
president. They still stand. What simply can't continue are
people stating with addled assurance that modern times
justify trashing the Founders' intents.

Our society is so skewed, this professor of the "Liberal"
Laissez Faire school has had heaping piles of awards
conferred upon him, supposed proofs of his utterly
incontrovertible intellectual rigor/worth...

Please, not so fast, folks, let's form our decisions/actions
with telling questions:
Because we can do a thing, should we?
Does absolutely anything go?
Is there, indeed, at last, no shame?

Friday, January 8, 2016

No, Ted, No, ABC: Professor Tribe and All Other Supposed Scholars Cannot Compete with Founding Father Madison

Earlier this week, both candidate/developer Trump and
former candidate McCain seemed to agree about Sen.
Ted Cruz's ineligibility to become president or vice president
of the United States: politically or personally motivated or
not, they are correct, much-vaunted and honored Harvard
Professor Laurence Tribe notwithstanding. He must have
conveniently forgotten Article II, Section 1., Paragraph five
of the United States Constitution, which, although short, is
quite pithy: there are three and only three requirements
to serve in our most important national position: one
regards age (35 years, the minimum), another states
14 years of residency in the USA. The one most often
debated is the sentence containing the phrase "natural born".
No man has ever been elected our president NOT
born here, not one. Prof. Larry's "broader interpretation"
of our Constitution is merely playing fast and loose with
the U.S. Constitution as currently written, seven original
articles and 27 amendments.

Is our most hallowed document which gave us this nation
no longer the highest law of the land? I say it STILL IS;
further, no act, executive order or legal consensus can
overturn any prescription/proscription therein: only Article
V's two methods, a runaway constitutional convention
(you know, like the one that formally birthed the nation,
not the Declaration of Independence, as many wrongly
suppose) OR an amendment. So far, saner heads have
prevailed and we have only enacted 17 amendments
after the Bill of Rights, the very first ten amendments.

Again, with highly colored acerbity: the Immigration
Naturalization Act of 1940  DOES NOT TRUMP
Article II, period. It is an act, which by the way does
not attempt to explicitly confer any eligibility to the
presidency on a foreign born person, naturalized citizen
or no. I challenge Tribe: How have you dared, sir??
Can you really view your intellectuosity and
scholarship as equal to President and Founder
Madison? I say a resounding NO. I see you
actually think you are a greater light than Mr.
Madison, which would cause me to fall off
my office chair with laughter if I weren't so
angry and worried.

See here, professor, no one can compete
with Madison with respect to our Constitution,
as he alone was the Founder who wrote most
of the document between May and September
in 1787 AND he also penned most of the 80+
Federalist Papers. We would not have had this
nation without about a necessary top twelve
or so of the Founders, but Madison surely
is the Founder of our Constitution just as
surely as Washington is the Father of our
Country. No rigorous scholarship can correctly
contest this.

It was patently obvious to me what the Founders
meant by "natural born"-- but  resorting to Madison
in Marbury v. Madison firmed up my understanding;
it is there, where, as you, Tribe, should know, Madison
defends a certain Mr. Smith, explaining that, yes,
around the world, parentage and/or birthplace confers
citizenship, but the firmer basis is BIRTHPLACE, and
THAT made its way into Article II. So, because the phrase
"natural born" is not attached to this polemic, you feel
entitled to some wiggle-room interpretation?

Even Alexander Hamilton, by dint of his brilliance, many
military acts of heroism, super human efforts and political
expertise, trusted by Washington, nevertheless could not
and would not have tried to bypass his constitutional ineligibility,
having been born in the Caribbean Islands. If not for Article II,
he would have had my vote over the likes of Ted Cruz,
but the law is the law, period...

Stay tuned. If this 70 year old little nobody, nothing more
than an amateur scholar, has to travel to Washington DC
with the relevant books and documents, so be it, I'll do it...
if my bankbook and my health will only permit me.

If Ted Cruz were ever to become president, flouting one
of the most singular, significant Articles in the Constitution,
what's to stop anyone from saying and acting as if the
Bill of Rights can be "broadly interpreted"? Do we need
warrants to prevent unlawful search and seizure? Hell,
it probably is OK for all these cops to fire at will, even
in the back at someone running away....

Bah and humbug to so many supposed scholars heaped
with praise. Shockley, of transistor and Nobel Laureate
fame, insisted that the gene for blue eyes is dominant,
not recessive, until shouted down by skilled biologists.
That was in the late 1960s. Later, in 1981, a "distinguished"
doctor, holder of a prestigious chair at Evanston's
Northwestern University's Medical School, claimed that
he knew HIV/Aids was strictly the plight of  homosexuals.
This opinion appeared on a front page of the Chicago
Tribune in the same year, which page I have saved
somewhere. (--Say, is THAT guy still employed
over there? Or, if having died, is he still quoted with
reverence?)

There are lesser lights like Professor Tribe, and absolute,
never to be repeated geniuses like President Madison.
Which would anybody in their right mind prefer to consult
on  this vital matter?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016: New Year, Same Fears: Earth Still Wobbling on Its Axis

Item:
North Korea claims to have produced a hydrogen bomb,
scaring the pants off one and almost all, despite the "North's"
proven track record of largely blarney-blathering. Subsequent
analysis seems to reveal (-thankfully!) that is yet another fantasy.
It is no idle dream, however, that North Korea has had hostile
intents and actions before now, so they DO bear watching,
especially in view of their political, poetically divine royalty's
leadership.

Item:
The U.S. Congress has advanced a significant step in its dislike
(a mostly republican legislators' attitude) of the Affordable Care
Act (the ACA, or Obamacare); having just passed both houses
of congress, it's on its way to Mr. Obama's desk for veto or
signing, which none of us who watch politics would imagine.
Conservative republicans making most of the triumphant noise
predict they hold enough promised votes for an override--we'll
see. There are problems with the ACA, I agree, but it took
courage and persistence to even attempt a humane solution to
the many long standing, unjust policies and practices of the
USA's insurance industry. Please, let's not throw out the whole
thing, but fix the few, yet to many, serious snafus with the act as
it is currently constituted. (The mathematicians and actuaries
must rejigger the formulas so that premiums for the healthy
are affordable --as in the act's actual name. If successful,
more young working people will decide to join rather than
pay the penalties, which are modest.)

Item:
The dreadful, disgraceful litany of irrational, unjustified violence
continues, on the part of Americans anywhere and too many
authority figures (AKA police officers). This unholy spiral
of chaos and bloodshed, upsetting and destructive disorder
should alarm EVERYONE, period. Let's get out there and
DO something! Write and meet your elected officials, take
a principled and intelligent stand, suggest solutions. As
anthropologist Margaret Mead memorably said, a few
people have always made the difference and always will.
I intend to be one of them.

New year, same fears, yet we still seem to inchoately  muddle,
wobble along.  We can do better; to survive, we MUST.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: U.S. Anti-Muslim Attacks Call for Shame: Emperor (Christian) Constantine Did Much Better--in 312 A.D. (-!)

--So shameful AND primitive many here have become. So many
calls for forbidding Muslims from entering the country coming
from our elected officials, who really should know better! The
absolutely most embarrassing moment for me came at three a.m.
this morning when I watched a PBS documentary called "From
Christ to Constantine".  After an important battle to decide
who would be the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire,
victorious Constantine created a Christianity-friendly state,
while tolerating every other religion including Paganism,
which was very strong there at the time--312 A.D. Historian
Eusebius, who knew Constantine, as well as Constantine's
many still-extant writings, confirm the tolerant and emancipated
nature of this great man, who was, yes,violent at times, imperfect,
yet a very fine intellect with a large heart.

Fast forward to 2015, soon to become 2016: too many of our
leaders do not have the wisdom and kindness of Emperor
Constantine back in 312 A.D.  I am ashamed of everyone
of you who espouse barring all Muslims from the USA...

Well, you can't. It isn't in your constitutional purview, as
immigration is a FEDERAL matter, ignoramuses! --As in,
our U.S. Congress and our President. Probably political
strutting is all this can really be, but these declamations
disturb the polity, including me. Our reputation's estimation
around the world surely has bottomed out to a new low.

In 2016, as in every past year, I will fight dangerous
errors and stupidities to the very best of my strength
and abilities. Happy New Year and Best Wishes
to all, notwithstanding all the Sturm und Drang.