Monday, November 20, 2017

Three types of dumb

I think there are three types of dumb:  IQ, Ego, Ideology.

Half the people in the world are average or below average IQ.  That's kind of by definition.  Their lack of IQ is not necessarily harmful, and anyone can become loving and wise, which is much more important than IQ, but that will probably keep them from careers in advanced science.

Then, there is Ego Dumb. An example is on the golf course, if I have a shot from the rough that has to carry over 200 yards to clear water to reach a green, what part of my brain will make that decision?  My ego says that I did it once ten years ago, and of course I can do it now.  But the chances of pulling that shot off are about one in fifty. So, trying that shot is dumb.  When we let our ego make the decision, I call that Ego Dumb.

Then there is Ideology Dumb.  I am clearly a practitioner of Ideology Dumb throughout my adult life.  I have been avidly liberal, avidly conservative, and am now back on the liberal side.  This time, of course, I think I am just being objective, but it is very hard to escape ideological bubbles and their dogmas.

So, what kind of dumb are politicians?  So many of them are Ideology Dumb, locked inside an ideological bubble that always reflects back to them the Truth of their ideological beliefs.

What kind of dumb is Trump?  I think he is mostly Ego Dumb.  He actually thinks he knows more than anyone else about pretty much everything.  And, as he has demonstrated over and over, he knows almost nothing about almost everything - except how to get attention.  One of his ex-professors at Wharton said:
 
 “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  Dr. Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure.  Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything."


Sounds familiar about the man who said that he doesn't need diplomats because he is the only one who counts?  Put that three wood in the bag, Mr President, and lay up with a short iron!



 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Republicans today

I used to be a Republican.  No more.

  • Republicans today defend pedophiles - Roy Moore running for Senate in Alabama.
  • Republicans today (the Republican president) defends anything that Vladimir Putin wants to do in the world.
  • Republicans today (the Republican president) obstruct justice by firing the head of the FBI (Comey) for investigating Russian interference in the presidential election. With barely a peep from the rest of the Republicans today.
  • Republicans today do whatever they can to divert attention from Special Council Mueller's investigation of Republican interference in our election.
  • Republicans today do nothing to stop the Russians from continued interference in our political processes and upcoming elections.
  • Republicans today allow the Republican president to violate the bribery and emoluments clauses of the constitution without impeaching him.
  • Republicans today cater to the "alt-right" which is essentially the new code name for white supremacists.
  • Republicans today (the Republican President) says there are good people on both sides of the Charlottesville KKK neo-Nazi and other white supremacists rally that killed a counter-protester.
  • Republicans today have abandoned any sense of dignity, character, or decency out of fear of this same avid and violent "alt-right" "base".
  • Republicans today withdraw from any form of moral leadership or championing of human rights in the world.
  • Republicans today have no sense of the American vision of this country being a "shining light on a hill" as an aspiration for other countries to follow.
Republicans today are what Ronald Reagan and William F Buckley would have fought, mocked, disdained, and defeated in their days.


Republicans today are why I am not a Republican today.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

"Conspiracy against the United States"

This week a 12 count indictment was brought against Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort and his colleague, Rick Gates under the charge of  "conspiracy against the United States".  I need to let that sink in - aiding a hostile foreign power to attack American Democracy.


Time Magazine's Molly Ball writes:



"Manafort, the court filings charged, laundered tens of millions of dollars and evaded taxes while serving as an unregistered bagman for the political operation of the Russian-aligned Ukrainian strongman Viktor Yanukovych. And then he went to work for Trump"


In addition, a former foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, was flipped and I apparently testifying about Russian contacts during the campaign - did he wear a wire?


It has long been reported that Trump, after his many bankruptcies, could no longer borrow money from American banks and turned to money laundering Russian mafia and oligarchy money through his real estate and golf courses.  I think it is safe to expect that Mr Trump swallowed very hard when he found out that investigator Mueller is charging Manafort with money laundering and tax evasion - a sign that he is likely to be investigating Mr Trump himself for the same crimes.


One terrible thing that has happened to our country is that Russia used a very sophisticated disinformation, social media agitation, fake news campaign to disrupt American democracy for the purpose of shaking American's trust in the news, in the political system, in democracy itself, and in each other.  Putin has succeeded wildly.  (Except he has been exposed by the buffoon he put into the presidency who too simple to know how to keep all of this below the radar - he only operates way, way above the radar - the fool)


The more terrible thing happening to our country is that Russia is still doing it.  They flood the media landscape with as much incendiary garbage as possible, inflaming all sides against each other.


Divide and conquer.  Russia is doing just that.


The only defense is for Americans to become sophisticated in their filtering of news.  A good place to start is snopes.com or fact checker by Glenn Kessler.


There is a lot that the social media giants can do to root out the actual fake news, the Russian bots, and the Russian active measures to disinform and inflame Americans, but ultimately it requires us to be sophisticated in what we are willing to believe. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Trump demonstrates his subservience to Putin

Donald Trump once again demonstrates his subservience to Putin by refusing to implement the Russian sanctions passed overwhelmingly by both Houses of Congress as a response to Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

There are very few things that Donald Trump actually cares about, but top on his lists is making sure that Putin, Russia, and the Russian oligarchy are treated very nicely.  This is actually pretty good evidence that Trump and Russia conspired to make Trump president, and now it is time for quid pro quo - payoff.

There are more than one grounds for impeachment of this strange presidential choice, and conspiracy with a hostile foreign power is one of them. Strange that this man, who keeps telling us all how intelligent he is, periodically does Putin's bidding.

He is the biggest witness against himself. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Repbulicans to severely limit 401(K)s!

The Republicans are about to severely limit 401(K) contributions.  This is another attack on the Middle Class by the Republicans.  401(K)s are how the working classes save for retirement. 


What is the noble reason the Reps are giving for this assault?  To make way for their treasured tax cuts that they keep promising.  One thing we can be assured of – the tax cuts will go almost all to the very wealthy, for example, elimination of estate taxes for the upper 1% - to be offset by increased taxes on the Middle Class.  Their justifying mantras about helping the middle class and creating jobs is just nonsense.  It’s about paying off the Plutocracy, who control the Republican Party.  Gullible voters believe them, unfortunately.

 

So a double assault on the Middle Class – limit 401(K) savings and increase taxes. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I'm from the government and I'm here to help....

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”.  This is a line that Ronald Reagan used to say to conservative audiences that always got a predictable laugh.  It seems to be a matter of conservative dogma that the government is bloated, incompetent, and mediocre at best. 

What nonsense!!!!

I live in Sonoma, California.  We are living through the worst fire storm in state history, perhaps the greatest disaster in California history.  An astonishing and mind numbing catastrophe.

And the government?  Spectacular!! Every branch of government responding to this chaos is performing way beyond my ability to express my gratitude, wonder, and awe.  Fire fighters, law enforcement, city managers and their staffs, council members and their staffs, OES, FEMA...  To a man and to a woman they are working 12 – 20 hours a day.  They know what they are doing.  They are doing it with great care and excellence.

I cannot express how overwhelmed I am by the courage and caring of these public servants.

So, where does that put our glorious president and his Republican enablers?  They are carrying out decades long desires to destroy the government.  The Republican President, the Republican Congress, and the Cabinet are destroying the EPA, HHS, the State Department, DEA, just about every government agency that they can.  This means they are – Stupid? Evil? Clueless?  No, just locked into a dogma that they can’t see beyond.

Dogma make you stupid.  I know.  I have been dogmatically liberal and dogmatically conservative, and I have been able to articualately argue the dogmas on both sides all my life.  And each dogma is both right and wrong.  The only way out is to pay attention and reevaluate as often as possible.

Government is NOT the problem.  Government IS very helpful.  Thank God.


“I am from the government, and I am here to help you”  - YES YOU ARE ---- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Las Vegas Massacre

B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R guns don’t kill!! B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R - 50 down -  B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R -  100 down -  B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R  - people kill, not guns!! - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – people will kill with knives!! - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – 200 down - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – people will kill with trucks!! B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – 300 down - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – it’s not the guns!  B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – 400 down - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – it’s it’s its… PEOPLE WHO KILL!!! - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R – 500 down – 600 down – 59 dead – but we are always supposed to remember that guns don’t kill, people do, and you know – knives, trucks, rocks, but NOT GUNS, NO SIR, GUNS DO NOT KILLLLLLLLLLL  - B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R B-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R

Once this country accepted the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook, the argument was over.  Gun fanatics will never, never, never, never, never, never let there be any, any, any sensible gun control.  This unimaginable slaughter MAY delay the Republicans removing restrictions on silencers (hurts the ears, don't ya know?) And our wonderful, manly man president removed the checks for the mentally ill to get guns (it was just the manly thing to do, I guess?)

Nothing will change.  The gun fanatics will continue to advance the sales of the gun manufacturers and think they are being good Americans - you know, Real Americans, Manly Men, bang bang....

I wish I could recommend a solution, but I don't see one.