Monday, February 29, 2016

People and Politics: Always a Case of the Emperor's New Clothes

The old children's folktale got it right: people lie, deny, obfuscate,
procrastinate, etc. ...anything to avoid directly dealing with the
truth, especially regarding the powerful.

Take Trump (-please!) for example. Why are so few Americans
afraid to tell the truth about him AND his followers? Rarely does
a major media maven dare to say "the Donald is ignorant and so
are his supporters, period".  That simple sentence is nothing but a
sad truism--most people just aren't that bright; real perspicacity
is relatively rare. Our Founding Fathers, most of whom WERE
mind-bendingly brilliant, recognized reality, deciding, therefore,
to give us a democratic republic, NOT a direct democracy. The
Electoral College is probably a necessary filter between the
unthinkingly unaware and a disastrous dissolution, AKA
a failed state. Check Syria and The Sudans, currently merely
a few failed states I could name.

Benjamin Franklin's words have come down to us in 2016 from
1787, when he left the Constitutional Convention. He was asked
about the new form of government; tellingly, he replied,
"a republic, madam, if you can keep it".

Keeping it demands intelligence, effort, participation and study
...playing around  with an  Emperor's New Clothes' sort
of denial, defamation, degradation, demagoguery, etc. is
guaranteeing we will lose it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Another Tale of Two Pities: Chris Harris vs. "Chris" Welch

The Illinois Seventh Legislative District has a paucity of choices
for Illinois House Rep in 2016. First, there are two democrats
vying for the position, but no republican.  This is one of the
biggest problems Illinois has; republicans have mostly hoisted
the white flag in our state, with the exception of certain notorious
extremely rich right wingers, Governor Rauner included. There
ARE moderate republicans serving in Springfield: the media
ignominiously ignores them.

Second, I cannot bring myself to vote for either Chris,
for different reasons: Atty. Welch has a checkered,
expensively scandalous history helming  D209, not that
long ago. His two-term current incumbency is straight
out of Mike Madigan's playbook, his campaign lit is
full of "I feel your pain" picturesque photos. Are these
his true sentiments, or under pressure, would he abandon
the less fortunate?

Former Forest Park Commissioner Chris Harris is
consistently combative, a prominent personality feature
the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board swiftly surmised,
reluctantly backing Mr. Welch. Mr. Harris' experience
is legislatively limited to his one term on the Forest Park
Village Council. He has run for several higher offices,
attaining none of them. He demonstrably plays fast
and loose with the facts; I know so because I've
checked...often. I've had to.

I could disgustedly drone on, but one thing's sure:

I'm taking a republican ballot and writing in MY
OWN NAME. In this tale of two pities, I'm
virtually certain I could do a better job than
either Chris.

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" 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,

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 intrinsic 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.