Sunday, August 26, 2018

An Asterisk for the Maverick

Senator John McCain will go down in history as a true American hero. One cannot imagine the horrors of being held captive by a hostile enemy for five years. His military record and most aspects of his Senate career are worthy of praise and respect. He truly gave his life for this nation. Honor and accolades are pouring out from leaders across the world and we want to uplift and support his family in this difficult time for them.

Criticism in time of death is a delicate and sensitive matter. The only way to approach it is to be truthful. There will always be an asterisk attached to the legacy of Senator McCain because of the most egregious political decision of his laudable career. Selecting Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign reshaped American politics, gave rise to the Tea Party/Birther/Alternative Fact crowd, and provided a platform for the new era of destructive politics.

It was obvious that she was not qualified to be placed with that level of trust and responsibility. The venal and racist lies that she spewed out damaged our body politic, divided our country, and marginalized any fact based criticism from large media companies. She stood on stage after stage and repeated falsehoods about President Obama and she demonstrated a complete lack of basic knowledge of civic institutions. You can draw a direct line from her sophomoric, immature, racist propaganda to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. Sadly, Senator McCain's legacy is tarnished by that.

It's clear that he tried to distance himself from the beast he unleashed. His former campaign manager Steve Schmidt has been trying to back peddle from that decision at least five times a day on MSNBC. It is telling that he is one of 45's most vocal critics. But you have to wonder if the political repentance is due to the collective shunning of his so-called establishment politics by 45's supporters which left him and his counterparts with less of an influence in Republican politics. Perhaps he should have learned to speak Russian...that might have gained him a foothold in 45's circle of advisers (gangsters).

But this is about Senator McCain who was the candidate and could have rejected such a ridiculous and thick headed running mate. He chose not to do that and his legacy is stained because of that. By using his thumbs down vote against repealing the ACA he was able to metaphorically give the middle finger to 45 and his ilk. It was a grand gesture of atonement and signaled some aspect of recognition of his boneheaded decision to run with Gov. Palin.

Again, criticism in the time of death is delicate. Senator McCain has done more for this nation than just about any other towering figure from his generation. 45's ugly, divisive, and dirty style of politics is coming under intense scrutiny. Let's hope that the retrograde political genie that Senator McCain unleashed in 2008 will be placed back in the racist bottle where it belongs.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Saboteur in Chief

Seek and destroy is the underlying theme of everything 45 is doing. No need to over analyze what’s going on, it is right in front of your face. Conservatives have been railing against the tyranny of the Federal Government for decades. A fundamental tenant of their orthodoxy has been, and continues to be, that the government is the enemy. Therefore, it must be destroyed and 45 is the perfect empty vessel to make it happen.

What’s his policy for education? Arm teachers with guns. His economic policy? Pull out of sensitive trade agreements, start trade wars with allies, and roil global financial institutions. Healthcare policy? Restrict access for poor people and torpedo the market for everyone else. Environmental policy? Pull out of a major global agreements and remove protections that actually contribute to cleaner air/water. Foreign affairs? Abandon historical allies, abdicate control to the military, and cozy up to dictators. What’s his policy on Race? Well…we’ve known that one for decades.

This is not to say that Conservatives are the only folks who have had issues with Uncle Sam. African Americans have been wary of government intrusion for generations. 45’s disdain for the FBI is not that different from what the Panthers and others were saying in the 60’s. The problem is that his sabotaging of fundamental governmental institutions is threatening to end this grand old democratic experiment. That’s not hyperbole.

You cannot govern from a position of anger, ignorance, and vanity. 45 personifies all of the poorest qualities of the sick underbelly of like minded bigots. The difference is that he has the keys to wealth, power, and weaponry. He is now the most dangerous man on the planet. I’d like to be optimistic and hopeful during these dark times. But it’s not easy.

How will this end? Not pretty. The United States of America faces the prospect of a sitting President being charged with laundering Russian money. Our only hope is that it comes before he finishes the job he was sent there to do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

False Choices...

It's official. Fox News & MSNBC are two sides of the same coin. Both networks traffic in political mendacity and offer little in intelligent discussion. Every editorial angle is labeled with the false choice of the tired "liberal versus conservative" paradigm. Fox News thrives and secures it's resources by feeding on the vapid minds of racists. Yes I said it. Racists. Their demographically shrinking audience, for the most part, gets titillated by any racially motivated vitriol belched out by T-Rump.

Why? Because MSNBC amplifies Fox News and all the other conservative entities that kneel to the alter of ALEC and the NRA. If you watch MSNBC for more than eight minutes you will see one of their commentators, and it doesn't matter which one, "react" to something that was said on Fox News...or at a T-Rump rally...or at CPAC, and on and on...

MSNBC thrives on giving voice to the witless. Some of the goofy shit being said by conservatives is chilling, not amusing. I don't think the smiling condescension, that exudes from many of the MSNBC hosts, is helping to find solutions to this nation's problems. 

MSNBC needs a makeover. Reactionary media is dependent on the status quo. Conflict is good for corporate coffers. When elections are "perceived" to be close the purchase of campaign ads increases. So it's financially expedient to rely on polls that project tight races even when the polls are suspect. When the election ends, the drumbeat for the next election begins!

I admit, I watch MSNBC but I'd like to see less emphasis on conflict and more focus on new ideas, fresh perspectives, and real problem solvers. I don't care about political leanings...I care about the future of this nation!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wakanda was Real!!

Black Panther continues to break box office records and inspire legions of people around the world. The movie successfully blended comic book action with a political/social awareness that very few movies have been able to achieve. However, the concept of Wakanda, a secret advanced city within the continent of Africa, should not be dismissed as a made up fantasy that can only be found in a work of fiction. Truth be told...Wakanda was real and it's real name is Timbuktu! It is historically tragic that Timbuktu has been relegated to the construct that it was a backward, non-influential, outpost where one is "banished" to. Generations of colonial scholars have been successful in perpetrating a massive disinformation campaign to minimize it's real place in the development of human civilization. Racism was, and is, their motive because any acknowledgement that Timbuktu's cultural, academic, and scientific influence on Western civilization undercuts the dangerous and venal philosophy that continues to state that  historical African societies had no influence on modern civilization. Nothing could be further from the truth! The evidence of Timbuktu's rightful place in history can be found very easily. The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu is an excellent documentary on Youtube that tries to correct the mis-education about this important city. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer is a great companion piece because it details the harrowing attempt to save precious manuscripts and texts that predate ALL Western scholarly texts. I encourage you to get "woke" about the real significance of Timbuktu. Once you understand this you will see that Wakanda was a very real place!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Now What?

The criminal ineptness of our current president is not surprising. He suffers from a lack of intellectual curiosity, believes in an evil racial world view, and has surrounded himself with incompetent elitist buffoons. Our beloved country is shedding a political snakeskin of plutocracy, malfeasance, and greed that is resetting the internecine alignments of allies and foes alike. He is so bad that even republicans are holding their nose when they sit next to him because he stinks of stoopidness (sic) and most likely too much Old Spice. The Citizens United Case, decided by the Supreme Court in 2010, declared that restricting the use of campaign finance funds was a violation of free speech, or something like that. This began the long painful road that T-RUMP (tee-rump) traveled towards his dangerous destination of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Dark money from secret sources (Russia, Saudi Arabia, The NRA, etc) flowed by the millions into the campaign coffers of the soulless GOP. To be fair I am sure that the other side had it's hand out too. Secret campaign donations, craven rightist media whores, and a truth bending political strategy led to Sarah Palin, the Tea Party (remember them), and ultimately T-Rump. Oh I forgot, the putrid political cocktail was not complete until a jigger of racism was added. Now what? How will this end? I would like to see the Special Counsel create a prime time reality show for the next several months and go "behind the scenes" as he pursues the final results for Manafort and the rest of the corrupt group. We would see scenes of Mueller working intensely with his staff juxtaposed with softer scenes of Mueller visiting black barber shops getting advice on next moves from a few brothas. I would LOVE to see that! The most relevant stories of the past few weeks have been about the possible/probable financial connections between the NRA, Russia, and the GOP. One could surmise that the GOP's silence and interference in the many Russia investigations is related to that. This might be the investigatory caulk that seals in the details of this sordid point in our history. Keep your eye on this aspect and wait for the ultimate reveal by Summer. For now we will have to put up with T-Rump's shenanigans and brace ourselves for the long term impact of his flailing presidency. He is beyond grace and will deserve any criminal fall out from his dumb ass acts.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Degrees of Shittiness

The final week of the 2016 Presidential Election is upon us and our choice is shit. That's right, shit. Lesser degrees of shit to be sure, but shit nonetheless. A lot of words come to mind when I think of the possibility of Donald Trump becoming President of the United states. Buffoon, Racist, Anarchist, Dumb, and Jerk are a few that exist capitalized in my head. To be fair, his views are not that far off from dozens of previous fools who have occupied that office. But his vision of America is not my vision of America. The past horrors of American style racism have now gone from technicolor to viral due to the sleazy campaign of this enormous ignoramus. Secretary Clinton is just a hair less shitty than Trump. Her sleaziness would've remained on the down low had it not been for Wikileaks and her ridiculous email shenanigans. I am supposed to believe that a former First Lady, United States Senator, and Secretary of State does not know what classified means. I read the FBI notes and for her to say, allegedly under oath, that she was not sure of the levels of classification means that she is either grossly incompetent or a high class liar. The latter is most likely the case. So what are we to do? Sensible people, and people who truly care for this country, have no legitimate choice in this farce. We need a collective political shower to wash off some of the grime that these two have thrown at us for the last eighteen months. Sitting at home and not voting is not an option. Too many people from the lands of my ancestors have died trying to make sure that I have the right to cast my ballot. So having excoriated a lady who literally hates Weiner I guess I have to roll with the H. By default. I know what some will say. I am enabling the political shenanigans to continue if I validate this bullshit with my vote. And that is true. Holding my nose and choosing donkey shit over elephant shit is not the most logical thing to do. But logic has no place in our current political system. All I know is that the candidate who is supported by Nazis is not someone I want to see in office. Sometimes America gets the President it deserves and by casting my vote with H I know exactly what I'm getting, and deserve.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Invisible Mirror

Digital cameras, webcams, and smartphones have changed the way we interact with each other. We now take instant photos of our food and post them for the world to see. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are must have apps which are used for daily recording of our lives. You can literally view someone's entire day from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed. Everything is on camera.

But hit the pause button for now and think about the implications. We've become so accustomed to putting ourselves on camera that we've become numb to when the camera is out of our control. What do I mean you ask? Well, if you've shopped in a store, bought coffee in a Starbucks, or pumped gas today then you were on camera. Parking lots have cameras. ATMs have cameras. Workplaces have cameras. Churches have cameras. Crowds are observed on camera at sporting events. In a growing number of cities streets and intersections have cameras that capture images of pedestrians and vehicles. And last but not least, Google has used satellites to film where you are currently sitting right now. If you use Google+ they are inside your home too.

 We have become conditioned to being observed, willingly or not. Webcams are being hacked and digital pirates can watch you whenever they want (so put that away) and you wouldn't even know. The apps I mentioned before require you to give up your rights to control your smartphone camera or tablet camera (read the permissions carefully the next time you download an app). While you never want to promote conspiracy theories or dwell in the land of paranoia, you should take a moment and become more aware of the little bites of privacy that you willingly give away.

One of the best Sci-Fi movies of all time (ok, I'm not a big Sci-Fi fan) is THX 1138, the classic by George Lucas from 1971. The movie shows the extreme boundaries of constant surveillance and was prescient in it's exploration of today's pharmaceutical drug culture. Visually stunning, it holds up today and you should check it out when you have time. And there is a really cool scene filmed in a BART tunnel that was under construction!

I'm not immune to the good aspects of instant video and I use my camera all the time. But its ok to be cautious and unplug the camera from time to time. Big Brother may not be focused on you yet, but the infrastructure is being built and the switch could be flipped soon.