Some millennials are attracted to socialism because…

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… they grew up under helicopter parenting. They grew up under the delusion that someone, something — even if mom and/or dad failed at this — should provide protection. The expectation is that paternal government should take care of them.

For those on the left, when “mom” failed to secure the White House in 2016, this held the traumatic equivalency of witnessing one’s parent or parents being shot in front of them. Of course, those on the right saw the cheered ascendancy of the last macho, stern “dad” enter the White House, still believing in the illusion that a few welts on the ass will cure all of our troubles.

In either case, these deceived Americans cling to the belief, despite so much evidence to the contrary in the 21st century, that government should not only attend to all social ills (positively or negatively), but that it is still capable of attending to all social ills.

In addition, millennials are unaware of the distinctions between centralized and decentralized capitalism. Millennials were not around when the last neighborhood grocery stores and independent hardware stores disappeared in the ’60s and ’70s (save for some neighborhoods in major urban areas), when the last vestiges of the decentralized capitalism mentality from earlier times finally faded, when corporations turned from being stewards of their hometowns to focusing solely on profit maximization.

All changes in the zeitgeist that came at the expense of society’s welfare, of ensuring a level playing field.

And thanks to that profit maximization mentality, present and future generations of Americans will lose their sense of self responsibility, of looking out for others in their neighborhoods and communities, of knowing the dignity that comes with substantive achievement, and substantive failures— not achievement manufactured in a bubble to protect “self esteem.”

They will never be provided a chance to find their place under the sun. From here on out, the focus will increasingly be about survival, about the continued unfolding of the Shitty Society, of completing the formation of the Wasteland of the Free.

And so, the individual’s reliance on social media to “create themselves” or “find themselves” will remain. When that flavor enhancer loses its saltiness, they’ll increasingly turn to the use of legal and illegal drugs, of alcohol, of virtual reality games, of adrenaline-pumping extreme sports, of travel, of anything that feeds their narcissism, that provides escapism.

And the last vestiges of American society will disappear with this surge in misdirected motion disguised as effort.

All that will remain is senseless American patriotic jingoism, a paper-thin veneer to convince us we still have a country.

Until that veneer rips in two….

A Reformation Program for the Federal Government

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Few Americans need more proof of our seriously dysfunctional Federal government. The latest Gallup poll reported Congress has an approval rating of 19 percent as of January (and likely lower by now). The president? His weekly average has been hovering around 37 percent.

We need a rectification.

The very next Constitutional amendment we need is not a balanced-budget amendment (somehow we all intuitively understand that Congress and presidential administrations would utilize creative accounting to arrive at a balanced budget, whether we truly had one or not). The next Constitutional amendment we need should include the following reformations:

  • Senate: A two-term limit enacted, four years each term. Half of the Senate would be elected/re-elected at the midway point of the remaining Senators’ terms, thus Senate elections would occur every two years. The rotation would split any given state’s delegation to the U.S. Senate.
  • House of Representatives: A two-term limit enacted, four years each term. Half of the House would be elected/re-elected at the midway point of the remaining House members, thus House elections would occur every two years.
  • Presidential campaign: Elimination of the electoral college, with only the popular vote deciding. No more gaming the system utilizing swing states.
  • Supreme Court: Direct election of Supreme Court justices, two-term limits, four years each term. Justice campaigns are not allowed to run on political party platforms.
  • Lobbying: After their service, members of Congress and their staff should be permanently banned from accepting lobbying or career positions with firms in industries over which the Congressional member formerly legislated.
  • Congressional districts: Gerrymandering must be halted, with congressional districts based on counties, parishes, townships and other established borders ­– not arbitrary borders. Readjustments are allowed along recognized borders only when population shifts require them.
  • Campaign donations: Since a working legal definition of “good” versus “bad” political organizations is all but impossible to establish, all organizations — profit or non-profit — should be banned from donating to campaigns, or work using indirect support of campaigns; only individuals should be allowed to donate to campaigns, $1,000 maximum per individual per year.

So as not to infringe on free speech, organizations — political or otherwise — would have to be allowed to independently promote their agendas. This, obviously, continues to favor organizations backed by large amounts of funding (e.g., Super PACs) but if you have a better idea, I’m listening.

This reformation of our national electoral system will not eliminate all dysfunction in central government, but would go far in creating a Federal government better positioned to respond to Americans’ needs.

This is not the first time such reformations to our Constitution have been suggested:

The second feature (of the proposed Constitution) I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office….— Thomas Jefferson, in a December 20, 1787 letter to James Madison.

The political party of Jefferson, the Democrat-Republicans, desired to shorten ‘the Senatorial term, and devising a process for the responsibility of judges, more practical than that of impeachment’. — Thomas Jefferson, in a January 13, 1813 letter to John Melish

It suffices for us, if the moral and physical condition of our own citizens qualifies them to select the able and good for the direction of their government, with a recurrence of elections at such short periods as will enable them to displace an unfaithful servant before the mischief he mediates may be irremediable. — Thomas Jefferson, in an October 28, 1813 letter to John Adams

The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our constitution from a co-ordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet, and they are too well versed in English law to forget the maxim, ‘boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem’ (a tongue-in-cheek statement that translates, ‘a good judge establishes enlarged jurisdictions’)… Having found, from experience, that impeachment (of justices) is an impracticable thing, a mere scare-crow, they consider themselves secure for life… A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but the independence (from) the will of the nation is a solecism (incorrect behavior), at least in a republican government. — Thomas Jefferson, in a December 25, 1820 letter to Thomas Ritchie. Parenthetical statements are the author’s.

Some 200+ years later we, as a nation, need to reopen this debate.

Racism, Sexism and the Consuming Society

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When we build a society around a hyper-competitive form of centralized economics, generation after generation is indoctrinated with the idea that life is a zero-sum game. When one takes, another must lose.

Thus, we must live in a world of absolute scarcity.

All comers are in competition with me.

I must have a “better” address. I must have a “better” vehicle, a “better” job, “better” clothes, “better” memberships.

When I Jones my neighbors, I must be “winning.”

The comparisons are nearby, at arm’s length. The human brain more readily comprehends that which is local, not that which is distantly removed.

Yet, our world becomes increasingly globalized, and the negative effects of that globalization is what causes our lives to sink into oblivion. Continue reading

The Emotionally Immature Shall Rule

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In our contemporary existence, we live in the shadows of monolithic institutions, particularly political and economic institutions. We feel small, insignificant – outraged, perhaps, but nevertheless with a sinking feeling we are simply yelling at the walls that surround those institutions.

It was never supposed to be this way. Humans existed long before heavily centralized institutions came into view. And when more than one individual gathered, so did society. Government and the economy emerged only when we humans needed a) an impartial third party to sort out disputes between us and b) to create mutually agreeable arrangements by which we could meet our needs.

But as history moved forward, political and economic institutions grew, and eventually displaced the individual and society. Political institutions have always been problematic, since they attract the emotionally immature individual who desires power: Power attracts attention.

Economic institutions became problematic more recently in human history, when the industrial revolutions of the 19th century took a formerly decentralized form of capitalism and made it heavily centralized. The economic institutions that emerged also attracted the emotionally immature individual who desires power since, as we know, power attracts attention.

So now we have a bunch of emotionally immature individuals running the world. Here’s the background on this assertion.

Continue reading

Freedom

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The one who meets his needs, but rises above his wants, has found freedom.

Syria’s Chemical Attack, and Fake News

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Every time the drums of war are pounded, young American men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces are marched off to risk life, limb and mind, not for the security of the U.S., but for a multinational corporation to secure a new market and more profits.

 

Now that news of a chemical weapons attack has splattered across the U.S. media, the fake news [1] war is on. Western media is pushing, hard, the story that Assad’s Syrian air force dropped chemical-weapon bombs. The Assad regime and Russia are pushing the story that Syrian air force bombs accidentally detonated a Syrian rebel group’s chemical-weapon stockpile.

And now, CNN is reporting that witnesses “saw chemical bombs dropped from the air.” And these civilian witnesses would know what a chemical bomb looks like, studying it carefully as it hurtled towards them, rather than fleeing for their lives, how?

The truth is not known, but will it be known?

 

Deja vu…

 

…all over again.

 

And the Syrian civil war has been overflowing with fake news from the start, when Syria was targeted for the “democratization” process.

Continue reading

Turkey’s Crackdown on a Free Press, Free Speech and Asli Erdogan

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During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, a Trump supporter (background here) was photographed wearing a t-shirt that read: “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”

Perhaps the t-shirt’s message was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but the message landed with a dull thud. Free speech and a free press are pillars of the U.S. Bill of Rights, even if those freedoms are abused by certain quarters. There is little room to joke about such matters.

And such matters as a free press become more poignant in light of international attacks on a free press, particularly in Turkey.

There, in the wake of a coup attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, mass arrests of journalists have been undertaken, media outlets closed, and many other civil and military purges undertaken.

To humanize the situation in Turkey, simply follow the stories (here and here) of Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan (no relation to the Turkish president).

Continue reading

You Didn’t See That Trump Voter Coming.

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This place has changed for good
Your economic theory said it would
It’s hard for us to understand
We can’t give up our jobs the way we should

“We Work the Black Seam” – Sting

__________

You didn’t see him. He blindsided you. You didn’t catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of your eye. You couldn’t feel his presence every time you traveled past the shadowlands of the Rust Belt, or through those rural counties you had to tolerate while you drove to some place where the sun still shines. You couldn’t hear his heavy breathing, seething at the realities that were descending upon his disintegrating existence.

You didn’t notice that Trump voter, that 50-year-old former tool-and-die maker with 25 years of experience.

That 50-something tool-and-die maker knows how to cut metal to a thousandth of an inch, knows how to set up a job blindfolded. His job was taken over by some kid who is the victim of a dysfunctional education system, willing to take half the salary; little matter his inexperience cut productivity of the position in half.

Or more likely, that tool-and-die maker saw his job shipped overseas, all in the name of free trade and globalization. The tool-and-die makers in Southeast Asia work for a fifth of what that American tool-and-die maker earned. Why should that American keep his job, unless he’s willing to accept a fifth of what he made last year?

You were hoping that tool-and-die maker would simply drop into a deep crevice somewhere, and he was supposed to accept life in that crevice, because that was the way of “free trade,” of “globalization.”

In fact, “free trade” has little to do with the trade of goods, and more to do with American corporations finding overseas sources of the lowest-cost labor. But the tool-and-die maker hears the phrase “free trade,” and his hatred of this misnomer grows, exponentially.

Continue reading