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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 46 – What Republic*nts Want America To Be – And Why

Greetings and Salutations;

There are some places on the Net where rational, reasonable, insult free, discussion of difficult subjects can happen. I seek these out, because I find the rest both tedious and annoying.

Well, in one of these sites, an interesting discussion arose about the problem of how the Republic*nts demonize liberals and seem to have goals antithetical to the promise of America. I have extracted a few of the comments here:

The wise woman whose page it is, gave us this original post:

TRUE CONFESSIONS: Last night on the news, Medhi Hassan, played a clip of that nutcase preacher in middle TN. The preacher was screaming that he didn’t want any democrats in his church. That they were evil and to get out. He didn’t want them there. It was breathtaking. It was breathtaking. The hatred was stunning.

(The “preacher” being mentioned here is a real piece of work by the name of Greg Locke. He claims to be “Christian” but his Fruits belie that claim. Here are some bits of information about this psycho. Christians Cannot vote Democratic; Demons told him there are Witches in his church; Maybe a LITTLE adultery!. )

Today I get an old college acquaintance that thinks Dems are responsible for the baby formula shortage. Sure. And then another acquaintance finds PBS a dangerous channel. And others on the same thread think it’s a socialist channel.

I pride myself on speaking the truth. The Truth. Andrew Vachss taught me that. He taught me that Truth is Truth no matter who tries to tear it down. Imagine thinking that PBS is socialist. Why? Because it operates on subsidies and our monetary gifts? Radio Free Europe – anyone remember that stuff? Whereas if GE is paying for the ads then you will be told what they want you to hear. Does anyone get that? Or are you so naive that you would believe Monsanto? GE? Tesla? Really? Then I suggest you wake up.

I speak because I am getting tired of hate and liars, but mainly, I’m tired of people that don’t know the difference. That don’t have a large enough understanding of the arc of history and what trouble we are really in. They think PBS is the issue? God help us all.

You can take the truth and bend it all you want, but there’s always gonna be someone like me that will tell you that PBS is offering you Truth. That Biden is trying to fix 4 years of truly incomprhensible damage. That when women are forced to have children they don’t want, that’s the devil’s handmaiden. All this suffering and all this hate and somehow the libruls are doing it to you? I’m huring you? I mean – I really don’t know how to help you. But it’s really getting to where I don’t care to.

Well, needless to say, this post generated a great deal of discussion…mostly in agreement, and with short comments about how others have seen the same, sad changes in people they were friends or family with. One thoughtful fellow asked the following question (Which I think is very much the correct one to ask)

What saddens me is that the people of whom you speak are our peers. We are the generation that claimed that LOVE is the answer, the generation that united to end a war, the generation that wanted to save the world. Now, a huge percentage of that generation wants to take us to a 1950s that they know never existed, an era of hatred and repression. What happened to us?

This is the question I want to address with this essay.

What happened to us? here are a few things that have changed since the 1950s – which, because I was born in 1955 is the decade I use as a benchmark. Here are some factors, in no particular order.

After around 100 years of continued oppression of people of color after Lincoln supposedly “Freed” them, and gave them the same rights enjoyed by the white community, The people of color realized they would never have true equality unless they took steps to create some trouble. “Good Trouble”. SO, they ratcheted up the resistance, and demands for equal treatment. They took the steps of marching in protests, and taking the beatings given them by the white cops and racists. In spite of some truly horrible actions (easily documented with a Net Search), they stood up, proudly, in resistance…and they persisted. People like John Lewis would NOT take “NO” for an answer. Through the 1960s, organizations such as MOVE and the Black Panthers were formed, as, a more militant branch of the push for that equality they have been promised.

The Beat Generation of the 1950s spawned the Hippy Generation of the 1960s and 1970s. The Beat Generation expressed their rebellion against the rigid social rules by embracing (for the time) unconventional dress; a “Cool” attitude; and a love for artistic output that rattled the cages of the older generation. Perhaps the best known poet of the time was Allen Ginsberg Although Jack Kerouac is a close second. Ginsberg’s poem HOWL was such a departure from acceptable writing it generated an obscenity trial. This did result in a massive victory for free speech, which was good…but also planted the roots of some of the most foul speech being spread that one could imagine.

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, 1969

The Hippy Generation was an interesting mix of free speech, free love, drug experimentation, another revolution in music, theatre and other art forms, and the glorification of “Do your own thing”…NOT “Do what society/your parents/your boss/your pastor expects you do do” This fueled conflict between the older and younger generations, of course.

The Vietnam War that we were embroiled in during the 1960s and early 1970s brought more change to reality. It was the first war that was routinely televised. I remember sitting down to dinner, and at times the evening news would be on the radio, which provided the daily body count to go with our dinners. The images, some of which are so horrifying that they left us with nightmares for decades, were all over the television. In black and white, or color, they had the impact of a sledgehammer slamming into one’s head.

Nick Ut/The Associated Press

Even today, with barely an effort, the image of that little girl, running down the road, naked, after being burned by a napalm attack is as clear to me today as it was when I first saw it.

Eddie Adams, Associated Press – BBC News

The image of the Viet Cong soldier, just as brigadier general Nguyễn Ngọc Loan,pulled the trigger of his .38 pistol, turning brain to mush is another unforgettable image.

The growth of technology started to get legs in the 1960s, and the computers began to move from huge machines filling a vast room, needing huge air conditioners to keep cool, that cost $millions to acquire and run, to the watches and smart devices that are an integral part of our life now; that can be purchased for under $50, and in most cases have more computing power than what passed for a Super Computer up into the early 1980s.

Although, common sense said that a Catholic would never be elected to the Presidency, John Kennedy won the office. Unlike people’s beliefs, the Pope did NOT control what he said, did or thought, although even then, we had the folks that believed he was still an undercover agent for the Vatican.

In the past 30 years, the impact of humanity on the Earth itself is finally being felt. We have crapped where we eat so much that the ocean is so polluted with plastic that it will take decades, if not hundreds of years of focused work to clean it up. We are seeing species going extinct at an increased rate; We are near the end of Fossil Fuels as a viable energy source; We are seeing water and air so polluted that it is not uncommon to see signs telling us not to swim in it, or, days when a warning to stay inside, and avoid breathing the outside air on a continual basis. even 50 years ago, while things were bad, they tended to be in isolated spots. Now, though, it is affected the world from pole to pole.

All of these examples, and more that I have not mentioned, have one thing in common. They all either undermining the “Normal World” the older generation lived in, which would make that generation feel as if their “Place in the world is being eroded away”. And, THAT is a significant part of the answer to the question asked above – “What happened to us”.

Add to the above changes, and the feelings of helplessness that it can generate in a person, the fact that over the past 40 years, the educational system in America has been undergoing serious changes. While there were a few positive changes, the negative issues are the controlling factors here.

There has been a huge number of rounds of questioning the quality of education. Usually it is administrators and politicians doing this. Since they are the ones with power, they come up with a scheme to “Improve education”. Since a vast majority of these people have never set foot in a classroom as a teacher, they are working from a theoretical model which simply does not exist in reality. Therefore, while their designs may look really appealing, they often end up being disasters when pushed onto the teachers to take to the classroom. Often there are great, general ideas, but no plans for implementation. It is a vanishingly small percentage of these plans which include input from any number of experienced teachers.

Over this time period, the goal of education has changed. The politician, occasionally pushed by parents, love to wave the flag of trying to make sure the kids have a great education, and, that incompetent teachers and poorly performing schools are eliminated, have created cycle after cycle of evaluation tests that a supposed to figure out what schools and teachers are doing the best job of educating the students. Then, the politicians love to take the results of those tests, and close schools (but rarely move the funding from those schools to shore up other schools) Alas, this is a complicated issue, that really needs another essay…but here is an interesting article discussing the issues of closing underfunded schools The most worrisome aspect of this change? Education has moved away from ensuring competency of a student in the subjects being taught, and, towards teaching the answers to the tests that will put the best light on the schools and teachers.

One of the skills that is lacking in schools is teaching basic, critical thinking skills. As a part of this, students must be given the tools to do research properly and to ascertain the difference between nonsense, and valid information. Right now, it is rarely taught below college level. I think it should be included in the curriculum from the first grade on. I realize that differing subjects require slight variations in the techniques, but mostly that is not that the basic techniques change, but, there are different things that must be studied and included in evaluating a given subject. Understanding this, and making sure that one knows what these factors are, is part of the process of critical thinking.

I have seen, over my life, an evolution in parents that adds to the problem. This is a lack of interest in supporting education, from schools, to being involved with one’s kids in getting homework done, and making sure that they actually understand what they are studying. So, we see such things as parents pushing to be in control of what is taught in the classroom, administrators who are not willing to support their teachers because of fear of political repercussions, and, often, a huge increase in the level of bureaucracy in schools. Very often I have seen a widespread contempt for intelligence and extensive education.

All of these factors have created a generation or three of citizens who are looking around, and seeing themselves replaced at the top of the pyramid. They fear losing their power and prestige. In many cases they fear that the people replacing them at the top of the pyramid will treat them, as they have treated others lower down the pyramid. As a part of that, they are continually impacted by events beyond their control. The Pandemic; inflation; climate change; the changes in society caused by the various groups now demanding to be treated with the same respect that they have been accustomed to. Women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, for example, all have been pushed underground and told they were unworthy of real equality for a trainload of invalid reasons. Now, that is no longer acceptable, and the patience of those people has run out…so, as with the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, they are engaging in “Good Trouble” and will no longer take “no” for an answer.

What happened to us is that with the loss of the solid training in positive character traits and tolerance, such more primal programming – such as the hatred of, and fear of “The Other” and a turning to violence to solve problems instead of rational discussion and compromise, has taken over. The fears I mentioned above, and the contempt for education have primed millions of Americans to be targets for any smooth talking grifter who talks a good game, yet fulfills none of their promises. Who feeds on the fears and hates of the followers, to inflame their emotions, and push them to very dark places. This, I believe, is why we have gotten into the state that America is in now.

To answer my question in the title…I believe that the Republic*nts want to take America back to a mythical time when they were the top of the pyramid, and their privilege allowed them to use women and people of color as chattel, without consequences. Where their masculinity would be confirmed by their being the sole breadwinner in the family. A world created by the Andy Griffith Show…which many of them appear to believe is a documentary and not a sit-com. They want to retain their power, and prestige and appear to NOT understand that those are not a zero-sum game. Simply because someone else gains power and prestige does not mean that they will have less power or prestige. They want to be in control of everything in their lives…and this goal is totally destroyed by the many forces I touched on above that are out of their control.

I believe the answer to the question “How can we fix this” is contained above in my description of the various issues. We must each work to combat and stand up to, any signs of the above, negative traits. When we see Lies…we should present the truth. When we see racism, or hate speech or inappropriate jokes about women or men, we should give feedback that sort of thing is neither acceptable, or funny. We must work to show them that their way of life is self-destructive not only on a personal level, but on the level of the society itself. We really must offer them an alternative that will help them heal, and realize that the options we present them can improve their lives and in some ways give them more power and respect than their ways did. On the political front, We must work to get as many folks as we can, who agree with us, to the polls, to vote for candidates that can get America on a path to a positive place. Frankly, these days this means vote Blue, not Red. even in the 2020 election, better than 40% of the eligible voters did not end up at the polls casting a vote. This is better than it has been, but, still is an embarrassment that we must work to change.

God Help Us ALL.

Be safe, get vaccinated and boosted; wear your mask; wash your hands more; and stay away from crowds.

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rescue Is Me…

Sometimes a painfully true and well written reality shows up on Facebook. Here is one I just found.

  • Rescue is so hard.
  • It’s never ending.
  • Rescue is constant poop and litter boxes.
  • Rescue is taking a picture of the poop to share with rescue friends when you are proud of a solid turd, or even surprised at what they pooped out.
  • Rescue is heart breaking… seeing what these animals have gone through.. The pain, the suffering, How unloved they were..
  • Rescue is having to look at a companion animal that has been abused, and making the painfully difficult decision of whether it is better for the animal to be given Peaceful Release, or, to find the resources to help it heal, and give it a chance.
  • Rescue Is knowing we can’t save them all and still losing sleep over it.
  • Rescue is getting so annoyed with people and their excuses as to why they “HAVE TO” get rid of their pet “they love so much.” Example, they shed too much, I just had a baby, I’m going to have a baby, I just don’t have time, needs more exercise.. and on and on.
  • Rescue is seeing an animal hit by a car, and without hesitation, scooping it up to see if it’s savable or if we need to help it cross.
  • Rescue is constantly trying to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and feeling like your talking to a wall.
  • Rescue is doing everything you can to protect the ones in your care and then you get parvo (in dogs), or FIV (In cats)..
  • Rescue is saving 10 dogs or cats from your local shelter to find out when you left 12 more which were owner surrenders.
  • Rescue is just trying to go to the store and pulling over to check a box or bag you see to make sure there aren’t any animals in there.
  • Rescue is sitting with a birthing mom for hours and hours comforting her, letting her know this will never happen again.
  • Rescue is mourning those you couldn’t save but tried so hard.
  • Rescue is trying to not get shit on you, but it always happens anyways.
  • Rescue costs so much… from vet bills, to gas to the vet, has to save the animal, the supplies while the animals are in your care, the electricity it takes to run the shelter, the water to continue to clean and wash items, and much more.
  • Rescue is always asking for donations because you run on donations but truly use so much of your personal money too.
  • Rescue is begging people to keep their animals restrained and inside, to only find the animal run over a few days later.
  • Rescue is finding a starving companion animal at one’s house, that has been dumped by the “humans” that had it…because it was sick; pregnant; they were bored with it; etc. and, taking it in to try and save it, to find it a good home where it will be loved and treated as it should be.
  • Rescue is feeling as if one is trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, as the flood of betrayed animals is so constant and large.
  • Rescue is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

(But then you have times like this…)

  • Rescue is a dog or cat, reaching for you, saying thank you.
  • Rescue is saving a litter of 10 and fixing the parents.
  • Rescue is knowing you are the new beginning that they so deserve.
  • Rescue is adopting an animal to a family and seeing them fall in love.
  • Rescue is saving an animal knowing they will never live that life again.
  • Rescue is repairing all the broken bones and watching the animal walk again.
  • Rescue is saving a feral dog or cat and getting that first tail wag or head bump on your hand.
  • Rescue is taking that owner surrender because the owner is dying and promising that you will find someone to love that animal almost as much as they did.
  • Rescue is teaching our children to be the change in responsible pet ownership.
  • Rescue is that first look from the animal when they know they are safe.
  • Rescue is when you say 5 but you meant 10.
  • Rescue is when you have a partner and they had no idea what they were getting into but they roll with the punches.

  • Rescue is all of this and more.
  • Rescue isn’t for everyone, but it Is for me.
  • It is me.

Rescue Is Me.

I keep telling people…Companion Animals are sentient beings, a living creature that should become a member of one’s family. They are not an end table, or chair that is simply discarded when one is tired of it.

Also, cats and dogs should not be allowed to roam freely. Dogs should have a fenced in yard, and be trained to respect the boundaries. Cats should be inside only, or given restricted access, with a catio. I wrote about why one’s companion animals should not be free roaming a while ago. HERE are my Words. Before anyone thinks “Well this will not happen to MY pet”…the reality is that free roaming cats have a life expectancy of three to five years…while an inside only cat can live for 12 to 18 years. Here is some information on the hazards they face outdoors. It appears that these numbers apply to dogs, also.

God Help Us All

Be safe…get vaccinated and boosted, practice social distancing, wear your mask…the life you save may well be your friend or family member.

Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 45 – What will the Future bring?

Greetings and Salutations!

Here we are, a few months from the mid-term elections that may well determine whether Democracy survives in America, or we, as a society, continue on the path of fascist authoritarianism that was run down by the previous administration.

There are some out there in the country who are frustrated by the slow progress of Merrick Garland in indicting insurrectionists from Jan 6, 2021. They also have bought into the lie that the Republicants are guaranteed to win control of the Government again in November. I disagree with both of these points of view, for several reasons, including the fact that I cling to an optimistic point of view of the world. Since I was an IT consultant for close to 40 years, I own the fact that I have somewhat unbridled optimism…However, I also consider that to be a strength, not a failure. After all, it keeps us going even when the path seems overwhelmingly difficult.

One factor that is slowing the process is that the DOJ is dealing with the largest number of cases it has ever had flooded upon it. They are moving through them, building the evidence, and obtaining convictions. While I think that the sentences being handed out are, in too many cases far too light, I also see every one of the indicted, tried or sentenced as possible sources of evidence that can build an air-tight case against the powerful. The wheels of Justice grind exceedingly slowly, but, they grind exceedingly fine… There are a lot of very powerful people in Congress, who are blatantly guilty of encouraging and supporting the insurrection, who have yet to be charged or suffer any other consequences of their Seditionist acts. This is frustrating for everyone who believes they are guilty, and has brought too many to believe that these powerful people will avoid consequences entirely. While that is possible, I look at it this way. In order to get them convicted of their crimes, the DOJ has got to present a case that is so overwhelming that even the passel of Right-Wing judges put into the court system by the previous administration and any partisan juries involved will have to find them guilty. Merrick Garland and the DOJ are building those cases, collecting evidence from every lower level insurrectionist that has been indicted and convicted.

Another factor in the timing of these cases is the coming mid-term elections. It is quite possible that indictments of some powerful people are being held up because of them. The voting public has a painfully short memory span, and so, were the actions taken now, it is quite possible that they would be “old news” and nearly forgotten by the time the elections roll around. I would rather see the actions taken in the mid-summer, so they are on-going, or, at least, fresh in people’s minds when November rolls around.

As for the results of the mid-term elections…It is quite possible that the Federal Government will turn Red in the Fall. However, if that happens it will not be the win of the Republicants, but the loss of the Democrats. IF the Democrats and independents get out and vote Blue as they did in 2020, then, we will see the Republicants progress further along the path to a minority party with less power. That is why I urge everyone who reads and follows politics to get over the petty squabbles within the party, to cling to optimism that keeps us going to the polls, even if we think our votes might not count, and to push any, remaining, sane Republicants to do the right thing.

Remember Elizabeth Warren’s example, that upset Moscow Mitch so much? “Persist! Resist!”. The bottom line is that the ONLY way our Democracy can survive is with an engaged citizenry…citizens who at least take enough interest in their country to go out and vote. If we, as a part of the Blue Tide, do not do this, we WILL end up living in a fascist, authoritarian, state. If that comes to pass, even the Reds who wanted it will be horrified…because they will be subjected to the same abuses that the Blue side will be. However, by that point in time, it will be far too late to do anything about it. There are some big-talkers who blather on about “Civil War” and an armed insurrection to overthrow the government…foolishly referring to the Declaration of Independence as a basis of their words (MTG, I am looking at you!) However, I do not believe that there are ANY significant number of citizens left who would actually engage in this action.

Look, for example, at Jan 6. There were weapons there, brought along by insurrectionists…yet never even taken out of their vehicles. Look at the Gravy Militia members, playing soldier, who supposedly staged boats across the Potomac River, loaded with “heavy weapons”, to be called in when the assault began. What happened to those guys? They were a handful of children, playing at rebellion, and it went nowhere. Had these groups, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of Cultists who stormed the Capitol been more willing to stand up for what they believed in, perhaps the government would have been in serious danger. What they did was certainly a danger, and a direct attack on Democracy…but, it was doomed to failure because of lack of dedication. This, by the way, should not be laughed off and ignored. This time, it was a failure. With a more focused, trained, and dedicated group of fanatics, the next time it might well succeed.

So, what can we expect for the future? I think everyone would like to know that! However, if we do nothing, then, the future of America is bleak, indeed. As such, I urge anyone reading this to stay optimistic. Go to the Polls and vote Blue. Help more, similarly minded people get their vote recorded. Take time to contact your elected representatives, and let them know how they are doing, and what you support.

Finally…never forget. Remember #45 and the Republicants he has drawn into his cult of personality. Remember what happened to the Country and our Society under his administration. As yourself, “Is this the country I want to live in?” and if the answer is “NO”, then, work as diligently as you can to ensure that America will get back onto a positive path; the road to be the “Shining City on the Hill” that politicians from the past have spoken of.

God Help Us All!

Be safe; wear your mask; Social Distance; get your vaccinations!

Bee Man Dave

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Mankind’s Inhumanity to Mankind

Greetings and Salutations;

I was just involved in a short discussion on Facebook, that left me with kind of a sad feeling about Americans. The issue at hand was whether a 15 year old murderer should continue to receive education until the age of 18. This is the continuing saga of a school shooting in Michigan some time ago. The details of the situation are here It was an ugly crime, and there is no doubt in my mind that the parents and the son should be wards of the state for a long time to come. There was a fairly lengthy thread discussing this issue, of course, but, here is what happened when I contributed to it:

CR (Original Comment): He hasn’t been convicted yet, so the presumption of innocence is in place. Once he’s convicted as an adult, all his special privileges (like education) should stop.

Dave Mundt: CR: Education is hardly a “special privilege”. It is a vital part of ensuring that a prisoner can successfully rehabilitate, and/or re-enter society as a productive citizen. Denying education will ensure that they are unlikely to be anything but a burden on society.

WB: Dave Mundt … And giving him an education doesn’t take away from the fact that he is and will continue to be a burden to society. He doesn’t deserve any sympathy let alone an education by the very society that he has harmed.

Dave Mundt: WB: So, you are saying he is not human? And therefore does not deserve the rights accorded to ALL citizens? How human is he then? 5/8ths? 1/2? Or can we just treat him like a cow, kill him, and harvest his organs for use in real humans?

WB: Dave Mundt: … I along with most people here feel we can just forget about him. And sure why not, that’s a great idea.

Dave Mundt: WB: That tells me a lot about you.

WB: Dave Mundt: … And your response does the same.

Why was this interaction kind of disconcerting? Well, the attitude that a person imprisoned for a crime like this is no longer a human being, and therefore forfeits any of the privileges associated with that status demonstrates what soulless people inhabit this country. To dismiss a 15 year old boy like this shows a lack of mindfulness that is kind of horrifying. He was failed by his parents, and taught some very sick, twisted attitudes by them. However, at that age, it is quite possible that with work, and education, that he can come to understand what he did, and why it was so bad…and perhaps…can be rehabilitated. I am sure, though, that if the hateful attitudes exemplified by the above, short, interaction, control his future, he will become more and more of a danger to society.

We, in America, are in a very dark place still, and this story demonstrates it. We must, as a society, become more mindful of what is controlling our thoughts and actions…and choose a more positive path. If we do not, then our society is lost.

God Help Us All

Be safe..social distance, wear the mask, get vaccinated!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2022

Greetings and Salutations.

This Image has become the Iconic representation of the Holocaust.

I did not want today to slip away without some observations on the past, and today. The Holocaust was an obscenity, perpetuated by a fascist, totalitarian dictator on a part of the society for no reason other than prejudice and hate. There have been a number of similar such attempts at genocide through the History of the world, but, this one ranks very close to Number One. The above image comes from a report, written by a Nazi officer, that was supposed to demonstrate what a success the Final Solution was. What it ended up doing was being a major piece of evidence at the Nuremburg Trials, and a number of other trials and tribunals. This resulted in the author, and quite a few other Nazi leaders being hung in the early 1950s. Here is a link to a more detailed article on this report, including many more pictures. While not comfortable reading, it is important and deserves attention.

The events of the Holocaust were not just the madness of the mob taking over, and spreading through the military. Rather it was a cold-blooded plan hatched by a group of leaders and intellectuals, who all bought into the idea that the Jews were the root of all Evil in the world, and the only way to eliminate that Evil was to eliminate the Jews…a “Final Solution”. Evidence of this keeps coming to light. Here is an article about a four page letter the Simon Wiesenthal Center received a few years ago. This letter, from Adolph Hitler, is, perhaps the seed that grew the Holocaust. The article looks at the letter, and the following events that culminated in the murder of millions. Again, not an easy read, but a necessary one.

It is also important to remember that these events only happened about 80 years ago…while there are almost no survivors of the Camps around any longer, there are a LOT of people whose parents or grandparents were Survivors. Did these offspring ever hear the truth about what happened to their parents or grandparents? A few, I am sure, did. However, how many of those older folks took their trauma to the grave with them…unshared and unexpressed. That is truly a heavy burden to carry alone, through one’s life. However, even if this burden was not shared, I KNOW it influenced the way the later generation was reared, and changed their views of reality. I know this because my father was of German heritage and old enough in World War 2 that, while he was not in the military, he either was one of the many German-Americans, or was close to others, who were swept up and confined in internment camps for no other reason than they had German heritage. This affected his view of the world for the rest of his life, and he ended up teaching me some lessons from that hardship that stick with me today. It was also something he would not talk about in any detail…but after years of gathering comments he made to us, siblings, and looking at his attitudes and history, I put this together. I only wish I could have had a chance to talk with him about it…

Well, I do digress at times…back to the point at hand. WHY did I mention in the opening not only looking at history, but looking at today also? A worrisome thing that happened to the Republicant Party during the previous administration is that I saw a huge growth in the attitude that Democrats were the cause of all troubles in America, and the best way to fix the problems was to get rid of them. I heard far too many members of the Party (Hereafter labeled “Cultists” to cut down on typing), even call, very seriously, for Repulicants to kill Democrats – To wipe them out (a “Final Solution” again). Politicians in Red states around the country are making a strong effort to kill any political power the Democrats might aspire to gain by carefully gerrymandering the districts to ensure that a vast majority of voters in ALL of them are Republicant. A Political “Final Solution.” To add to these actions, look at the times during the previous administration when large groups of Neo-Nazis showed up on our streets. They were not only marching and chanting…but engaging in violence, and murder in the process. Look at the hate-filled rhetoric that dominated the Right-Wing media for that entire administration…rhetoric that was not only designed to inflame emotions, but, was little more than blatant lies. Perhaps the most direct example of the dangers I am pointing out was the Jan 6, 2021 insurrection, where a mob of supporters, inflamed and egged on by the YEARS of lies by the president, his administration, and media toadies, attacked and breached the Capitol, in an attempt to kill lawmakers, halt the process of certifying the election results, and, re-install #45 as their fascist dictator for life.

I have to admit that I watched the events of January 6 in amazement. I really did not believe that AMERICANS were so stupid and gullible as to be hypnotized into such a fantasy world that these actions would seem reasonable and “patriotic”. However, I am also aware that the members of a Cult are, to a great extent, brainwashed to the extent that independent, skeptical thought is impossible. It showed me yet again the level of mind control that these Cultists have put themselves under. At one time, I thought that poor Education was the problem. However, now I understand it is, alas, not answer. In the second article I posted the link to, the authors point out that it was college educated men who sat in that meeting to create the Final Solution, and enthusiastically supported it, and worked to make it more efficient. For that matter, In today’s world, I know a number of quite intelligent, well educated people that have been sucked into the Cult of Personality, and as such dismiss any information that does not match the reality their Dear Leader has pushed on them as lies, and “Fake News” (Ever noticed that we never had “Fake News” until we had a Fake President?)

One factor in education that has been missing from the educational system in America for decades is the teaching of Skeptical Thinking, and “Library Skills”. I got a little bit of it from school, when I was in the earlier grades, as I was taught that I should not take any claim at face value; that I had to find at least three, independent sources that agreed on a fact before I should accept it as a valid truth. Luckily, I had some fairly strict teachers who were very focused on teaching these skills, and graded research papers and the like with that focus. In conjunction with that, of course, is the ability to FIND information. Now, I have to admit that I am older than dirt, so when I learned these skills, they were focused on how to sift through the tens of thousands of cards in a card catalog, to find relevant references. However, those same skills are even more vital today, when interacting with the search engines on the Internet. I am continually amazed when I can find information with a search or two, that others have spent days searching for. I am, however aware of the fact that I am very good at that sort of thing…so it really should not be that huge a surprise. That having been said…over the decades since I was in elementary and high schools, the focus of schools has shifted quite a bit, and mostly to the detriment of the students. As I have hinted, the whole idea of skeptical thinking has slipped from being a central concept, to being a fringe skill that most teachers do not even think about. There is a much greater emphasis on “teaching to the test”. Perhaps most worrying aspect of the change in society is the push to move away from teaching students that education and intellectual ability are great things to have and goals to aspire to, to more of a desperate race to keep the test scores up, and teach the kids that they just have to remember the data they learn long enough to achieve that goal. This teaches them contempt for intellect and education, which is a strong factor in bringing us to the state we are in now. Can anyone believe that an informed, skeptical population that is motivated to fact check claims by others, would have created the insurrection, or the increase in hate crimes, and other truly deplorable actions that are commonplace today? I submit that while these events might still happen, they would not be as strong or prevalent as they are today.

This, already somewhat lengthy, article would be a small book if I were to explore more of the parallels between the events in Nazi Germany in the 1940s, and recent developments in America. However, a few searches on the Net will likely bring up thousands of thoughtful and detailed discussions of this reality. The question I face is “What can we do to stop moving down this path?” I suggest that some of the following are actions that we, as a society can take that will move America back to a much more positive, inclusive, path.

  • We must be mindful of the goal we want to achieve…and be true to that goal. As with Sen Warren, we must “Resist, and Persist” in our focus on changing our reality – putting aside the hate and contempt, and moving to a more inclusive, accepting world. Part of that mindfulness is being aware of the problem and remembering that it took a long time to get here, and it will be a difficult path that will take time, to get back to a better place.
  • It is very easy to get overwhelmed with the flood of problems we face. My way of dealing with this feeling of taking on an impossible task is to focus on ONE thing. I try to get a good understanding of that problem and come up with a workable solution to change or eliminate it.
  • Patience…perhaps one of the most difficult requirements. We, in America have grown several generations of adults who have re-enforced and grown the attitude that “immediate gratification takes too long”. I see signs of this in the many people complaining that #45 and his minions have not already been tried and locked up someplace for the rest of their lives. Progress is being made there, but it is like mowing a 100 acre field with an 18″ push mower…it takes time.
  • We must look at how public schools are being run. Teachers should, in the earlier grades, and up through high school, be encouraged to make skeptical thinking and research skills an integral part of their curriculum.
  • We must turn the focus back to ensuring that students are given a good, broad education, and are not taught the minimum amount to get through a test. HERE, by the way, is an essay I wrote a bit ago on the state of education in America and related topics. As a part of this, I have been a long-term advocate of intelligent use of the computer in the class room. Computer Assisted Instruction can have many benefits, including allowing students to learn at their own pace, and freeing up teachers to focus on particular students who are hitting roadblocks, to help them solve these issues.
  • There is an uproar these days as regards public schools and parents wanting “more control” over what their children are taught there. This needs to go away. Public schools are not there to teach children what the parents want. They are there to teach children the skills and knowledge that SOCIETY needs them to have. As such, I think that if parents are upset about what their kids are learning in public schools, they need to take the option that has been around for the entire existence of the country – take their kids out of public schools, and either home school them, or enroll them in private schools.
  • We must find a way to break the control the very large school systems (and states) have over the content of textbooks used in the classroom. Over the past decades, we have seen some truly offensive whitewashing of history going on, and re-writes of events that rival even the most fantastical novels for the delusions they present. Here, for example is an essay I wrote on the control that Texas wields over the content of textbooks used all over the country, and, why that is a dangerous thing. The situation has not changed any appreciable amount since I wrote this essay, alas.
  • We have to address the concept of “Free Speech”. There seem to be too many Americans who believe that means “Unlimited Speech”, a concept that even the Supreme Court has said does not exist. Limiting speech is a dangerous path to follow, and I do not take it lightly. I think back to the 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up. The flood of conspiracy loonies, and insurrectionist-wannabes out there we see today was still there, but their “speech” was limited by access. Art Bell, for example, used to broadcast on high-powered AM radio station based in Nevada. He had an audience, but his influence was limited. He had a dedicated following, some of which were truly sucked into the world of conspiracy theories, and believed his broadcasts to be the truth incarnate. While his show did end up being picked up by other stations around America, they were few in number, and he was not a powerful influencer in the world. Let us now look at Steve Bannon, the founder of Infowars. He was, up to the point the Internet really grew to the point of being useful, doing other things. He moved to Breitbart News, and Infowars, and started pushing Right-Wing lies, and conspiracy theories across the Net. this gave him such a huge platform so quickly that he is now a major influence in pushing propaganda out to the Cultists. In the long run, the influence of people like him will wain, as more and more people are educated to understand his lies and scams. However, I suggest that it would be a good thing for some controlling entities – I suggest the content hosting companies, implement requirements that there be some pressure on people like Bannon to produce truth, not lies, and to be temperate in their language. Bannon, for example, has a life-time ban from Twitter because he advocating killing Dr. Fauci, and other Liberals. Right now, anyone can post any speech, no matter how inflammatory, or hateful, without serious fear of repercussions. I have become convinced that this is not good for society as a whole, and we must find a way to deal with it.
  • I believe that the current system of laying out congressional districts is so flawed as to be impossible to correct. As such, I suggest that ALL states set up a non-partisan committee that reflects the demographics of the state, and allow them to audit and make small corrections to maps generated by one of the MANY existing programs designed to take demographic data and produce far more evenly distributed maps. The massively distorted shapes of some districts should go away, and a smoother, more bubble-like pattern emerge. In some ways, I would really like it if ALL districts were swing districts. Now, they are created to be so partisan that the politicians are choosing their voters…the voters are not able to choose their representatives. This whole issue is TERRIBLE for Democracy, as it makes it impossible, and moves the society to a fascist state.
  • We must, as a society address the baked in racism, and the continued oppression of people of color that it produces. This is a tough thing to do, as it requires people to change, and the older we are, the more difficult it can be for us to change habits, or attitudes. I struggle with this, and have to be mindful of my words and actions, more or less constantly, to not allow the early programming of my mind to cause difficulties.
  • More of us have to realize the peril climate change is presenting to the entire world. It is too late to avoid many of the effects, but we still have a chance, if we work together, to keep the situation from going down the tubes completely. Yet, there is huge resistance on the part of some of our society to do anything to move to improve the situation. It is as if these people believe if they ignore the problem it will go away. It will not, and it might well end up killing our grandchildren or a couple more generations down the line.
  • The Republicant party has become so corrupted by #45 and his Cultists that the only salvation is for the remaining, few, sane Republicants to break away, form a new party and start working for the good of the country and not the good of their rich buddies.
  • We must all push our Federal Representatives to pass legislation that makes voting easier and does NOT disenfranchise many Americans simply because they might not vote the way the Party might want them to.
  • We must increase our activism in the political arena. This does not have to be difficult or time consuming. Basically, each of us should make the effort to understand what each candidate supports and look at their record and history to determine if they are truthful. More importantly, we must get to the polls for every election…NOT just the exciting ones, like the Presidential contest. The other elections are, perhaps, more important, as they affect us far more directly than the President and federal level government ever could. Finally, we must convince others, who are apathetic or unsure about voting, to get to the polls. If necessary, help them get registered, and get to the polls.

This is, alas, far from a comprehensive list, but it is a start, and I think that these are some important issues that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Americans are capable of amazing feats when they put their mind to it…As an example, There is THIS. However, unless we decide to stand up and say “ENOUGH”, we will end up in a place that is far too reminiscent of the 1940s and Nazi Germany.

Whether you agree with my conclusion above, or not…consider this…Is the world of the Fascist Dictatorship and abuses of the Nazi regime what you would like to live under? Or that you would like your loved ones to live under? Do not lie to yourself and say “I would be OK”, or “It can’t happen here”. You and your loved ones would not be OK…y’all would likely end up a target, either because something you say or do gets the attention of governmental Security Services, or someone you have annoyed lies to the government about you. As for the latter opinion, well, back in the 1930s, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book that clearly demonstrated that it COULD happen here…and if you take time to read it, you will see a lot of worrying parallels between the events in the book and today’s society. Why, I ask, should we even give this world a chance to take over, when it is much easier and better to push America to be the Golden City on the Hill that others have suggested?

Pleasant dreams.

God help us all. Be safe, get vaccinated, wear your mask, social distance, and wash your hands properly.

Bee Man Dave

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About CRT, Part 1

Greetings and Salutations;

There is much controversy today over “CRT” – which is an acronym for “Critical Race Theory“. In short, it is a focus on how racism has infiltrated and shaped American thought and law from day one. It has never been taught except in Law School, as a post-graduate course. Perhaps later on I shall go into some more depth on this, and, how nutty the Republicants are.

In this essay, though, I want to focus on one example of why it is vital that it become more widely taught. This idea came to me as I was reading a posting detailing the following story of an event that happened during the second world war, in 1943. The post was by a fellow named Christopher Williams, and was apparently published July 17, 2020 

In 1943 black American soldiers faced off with white American Military police during World War II on British soil. Yes you read correctly black American soldiers had to fight their own white American soldiers, while in England, where they were fighting for the world.🤦🏽♂️

Why? Because the English town of Bamber Bridge in Lancashire was not segregated so they treated the black soldiers like all other races, aka blacks were free to eat, drink anywhere, BUT back in America segregation of blacks and whites still existed. So essentially the American army went to someone else’s country and demanded they adopted America’s racist practices🤨

The folks in Lancashire were like hell no we like the black soldiers in fact during that time the American created Jitterbug dance was popular and the British women were eager to learn it from the black soldiers. The fondness for the black American soldiers was also supported by those famous essays written by George Orwell who stated that the black American soldiers had the best manners of all the American troops.

So when the American Military police found out that their own black American soldiers were drinking at the same pubs as white people they went in to arrest them. The people in the town got mad about the treatment of the black soldiers and decided to then turn their pubs into “BLACKS ONLY DRINKING PUBS” the very opposite of what was taking place in America with their WHITES ONLY businesses.

Of course this pissed off the American military so guns went blazing, and when word spread back at camp that black soldiers had been shot, scores of men formed a crowd, some carrying rifles and by midnight more American military police arrived with a machine gun-equipped vehicle, so the black soldiers had no choice but to get rifles from British stores while others barricaded themselves back on base, so now it was American white soldiers versus American black soldiers. Several soldiers died including 17 black American soldiers.

Back in America the battle was hushed up because they didn’t want the country to find out that they were fighting their own soldiers which would anger the black population and weaken the moral in the country.

You may read about the ill treatment of black American soldiers by their own army in the book FORGOTTEN.

What I have quoted here is just a part of the story. A lengthier discussion of the event is available HERE. I assure you it is well worth reading. For greater details on the battle itself, and its aftermath, read This Article.

One may ask…”Why am I discussing this?” As I mentioned above, this is a perfect example of why CRT should be a vital part of our curriculum planning from day one. I went through nearly 18 years of education, from elementary school through college, and not ONCE did I hear a word about this event. Not once did I hear of the Tulsa Massacre. Not once did I hear of the vast flood of inventions and innovations that people of color have given us through the years. At most, all I heard about was George Washington Carver, and his work with Peanuts. On the other hand I did hear through much of that educational period, way too much about how the White Man came to a country filled with resources and uncivilized savages, and thanks to Manifest Destiny, was able to move across it, and “civilize” it. This white-washing of history is, as I have come to understand over the years since school, a pile of crap. It not only denigrates the cultures of other ethnic groups, it attempts to absolve white America from the stain of Slavery, and, totally ignore the amazing benefits we were given by them.

The Republicants are making all kinds of claims about how CRT is designed to make white people hate themselves, or be ashamed to be white. They are screaming that it is saying everyone is racist (And THAT cannot be true, because they have black friends, and have not lynched ANYONE). This view DOES have some merit….if one is presented with the reality of one’s own racism, and how it controls our actions and thoughts. My view of CRT is rather different though. My understanding is that, while there is no question that generations of whites have engaged in some pretty horrific racist attitudes and acts, we should not hate ourselves, or be ashamed of ourselves for them. In this case, the Sins of the father are on the father, and do not stain for generations. That having been said, It is up to each of us to be reflective and mindful; To understand how the racism we all carry within us does or does not control our actions. As This Essay (and many others found online) discuss, racism is deeply rooted in our psyche, and for what were, very good reasons. However, simply because we have the roots of racism in our heads, it does not make us racist. It depends on how much control they have over our thoughts and actions. CRT exists as a topic of study to ensure that we will be mindful of this nearly hidden reality of racism, and will be able to move beyond it, and ensure that it holds no control over us.

As such, I strongly support all of us looking objectively at CRT, learning from it, and using that knowledge to address the continuing problems of racism in America. I believe that those who so vocally oppose this are specifically the ones that need to come to understand it the most. They are, I suspect, either trying to ignore or minimize their racism, and yet, allowing it to control their minds, or they are full-blown, prideful racists who would turn America into a Lily-White country in a heart beat, and have no more regard for people of color than they would a cockroach.

God Help Us All! Be Safe, wear your mask, get vaccinated, wash your hands, social distance.

Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 44 – Where Liberals Are At

Greetings and Salutations!

Yesterday was election day for many states, focusing on local races, up to the Governor. Much has been made of this start of the 2022 election cycle, as many analysts have opined that the results of these elections will predict the future of the Democratic Party in 2022. As the dust clears, it has proven to be a mixed bag.

For example, one of the “Bellweather states”, Virginia, flipped the governorship from Democratic to Republicant. This has caused a wave of pessimism about the Senate and House races in 2022, with many commentators saying this means it is a sure thing that Democrats will lose control of Congress in 2022. More on that later…however, I do want to say a few things about the Virginia race.

It was fairly clear early on that Youngkin, the Republicant was going to take the seat. Why? Well, his staff all took to heart the old saying that “All politics are local”. He dressed in casual clothes and wore a fleece jacket. He talked about making elections secure; about allowing parents a say in how schools were run, lowering taxes and other issues that resonated with the folks of Virginia. McAliffe, on the other hand, dressed in “power suit” type clothing, slacks and a more formal shirt. He also focused far too much on making the election a National issue. He rarely talked about local issues, but continually beat the drum that Youngkin was a #45 clone, and would implement the ex-president’s policies if he got power. Another difference is that Youngkin was careful to distance himself from #45, to the point of pushing off his desire to come to Virginia, and campaign for him. Youngkin is, without a doubt, a #45 cultist, as his earlier words demonstrate clearly. However he is smart enough to realize that whatever #45 touches, dies. McAliffe had both President Biden, AND President Obama come into the state to campaign for him. Youngkin took the appearance of these as an opportunity to remind Virginians that the Democrats have failed to do anything significant.

In spite of the fact that Youngkin’s campaign was shot through with lies, there were no attempts that I saw on the part of the Democrats to shoot it down by demonstrating that these lies had nothing to do with reality. It was a massive failure of communications and manipulation on the part of the Democrats. The Republicants are masters of lies, though, and so, the end result was a disappointment, but not a surprise.

On the positive side In other races around the country, Democrats either hung onto their seats, or, in a few cases flipped a seat blue. While that is good, the reality is that many of these races were far too close for comfort. As an afterthought to yesterday’s elections, I have sent the following comments to Sen Schumer and President Biden. Will they get attention? Who knows…but, at least I am not apathetic enough to allow them to think they are on the correct path…

Sir;
You are an experienced politician, so I am sure you can look at the Virginia governor’s race and see immediately why the Democrat lost. This could be a trend, unless YOU and the other leaders change your ways.

I suggest that you push the DNC to be as vocal about Democratic successes as the Republicants are with their disrespect and tearing down of the Party.

Make it clear enough that a three-year-old child can understand that the problem is not the Democrats, but, rather the obstructionism of the Republicants. After the past dozen years or so, it is clear that the Cultists worshiping at the altar of #45 are functioning on about that level.

While the voting rights bill and the infrastructure bill are filled with good things, they are not being sold to the general public. Urge the voices of the party to get onto the propaganda outlets, and more moderate media sources, and explain, in clear and simple terms, how the provisions of each bill will help the viewers. Make it PERSONAL and concrete for them, so they will feel motivated to overcome inertia and dislike for some policies of the Party to vote FOR Democrats, instead of not at all, or against them.

Do not be shy about calling out the lies the Republicants and their foreign supporters are spreading about the election process, the schools, and a broad variety of other facets of society. Be strong in calling them lies and showing WHY they are lies.

I know we prefer to play nice, but this is not politics as usual. This next few election cycles are a battle for our entire form of government, and the hard-won rights of the citizens. If we play nice, we WILL end up in a Fascist Dictatorship. History has many examples of this, and should be a warning against allowing it to happen again, not an instruction book to ease the process.

Respectfully
D. Mundt”

Now then…before I close, I want to address what we, as individuals, can do to demonstrate to the pundits that they are not as insightful as they think they are. Some of the options are listed in the above missive to the President. Beyond that, we have got to remember that, as I said above, this is not just politics as normal. It is, in a very real way, a question of what government we will have for the coming decades. If we do nothing, I feel safe in guaranteeing that we will be living in a Fascist Dictatorship; that women will be back to the roll of chattel; that the media as a vital part of our society will become a solid, propaganda arm of the Government; and, that we will not have to worry about voting any longer, as our “representatives” will be choosen by the Republicants in charge…not the public. If you think I am being a “chicken Little”, I suggest you look up the you-tube videos of January 6th, and watch them again. It CAN happen here.

Now then..here are some concrete actions we can take to defeat the Republicants in coming elections.

  • Make sure we understand the platforms of each party, and be ready and willing to point out the differences in conversation.
  • VOTE…in every election, from Dog Catcher up to President. Until the fascist aspects of the Republicants are cleaned from the party, I suggest voting Blue, or, if there is NOT a Democratic Alternative, leave that vote blank, or if possible, write in a Democratic alternative.
  • Use available tools (easily found with Google), to contact the President, and your Congressional representatives. let them know when they are doing a good job…let them know when they are doing a bad job…Share your views of where the country is going, and ways you think the path will be cleared a bit.
  • Be active, locally. Find out if you have neighbors who are inclined to vote Blue, but, are not able to because of transportation issues, or registration issues. Find a way to help them overcome these brick walls, and get them to the polls.
  • Push your state legislators to vote against or repeal voter suppression laws. For example, there are many states that are banning mail-in voting, based on the lie of wide-spread fraud. Push for those laws to be kept off the books, and work to get mail-in balloting available to all around the state.
  • If so inclined, run for local office. The best way to change an organization is from the inside. By holding a seat in a legislative body, one can make connections and build allies that will help improve the path we are on.
  • I was just reminded of another vital difference we need to utilize. Town Halls! Look at the number of times Republicants hold them, and compare them with the Democrats. There is QUITE a difference there. So…another useful thing we can do is push our candidates to hold town hall meetings…gather the data the people present…make sure it is integrated into the platform. In addition, remember to notify the media that the candidate is holding these…and invite them to come and report on them. Get the truth out there!

Very few of us can do all these things…as that would be a full-time job… However, all of us can do one or two of these items. Never believe your voice and vote are not important. If they were NOT important, why do the Republicants work so hard to keep the vote from happening, and to silence the voices?

It is only an active, informed group of citizens that can keep Democracy alive. We have, alas, failed to be that group, and as such have set it up for the extremists in the Republicant party to take over. This, by the way, is not the first time I have addressed this issue… Remember..they are a minority…just a very loud one. If we stand together, then, we CAN help Democracy in America survive and flourish. If we do nothing…well, I am reminded of E. Burke’s wise observation: “All that is required for Evil to succeed is for people of good will to do nothing”. So..let us choose to do SOMETHING…and prove the pundits wrong.

God Help Us All; be Safe..wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands well, and get the vaccination!

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethical Journalism?

Greetings and Salutations.

There are so many folks who are disrespecting journalists and media these days, it is truly horrifying. While some media deserves it, being nothing more than propaganda outlets for a particular agenda, many of the news sources are struggling to present the news in an objective fashion, excavate the truth from the obfuscation, and present analysis that is fair.

For anyone who is wondering how their media stacks up to these goals, I suggest that you use this set of guidelines from the XXXXX.

“Preamble:

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.

The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.

Seek Truth and Report It

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.

Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.

Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.

Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.

Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.

Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.

Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.

Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.

Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.

Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.

Label advocacy and commentary.

Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.

Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

Minimize Harm

Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:
Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.

Recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.

Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.

Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.


Act Independently

The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

Journalists should:

Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.

Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.

Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.

Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

Be Accountable and Transparent

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.


Journalists should:

Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.

Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.

Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.

Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.

If the news source you are using does not meet these standards, it would be a wise thing to find one that does.

A poster sized, PDF version of this set of guidelines is here…

God Help Us All. Be safe, wear your mask, social distance and get vaccinated

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Misc, Observations, Politics, Something Good This Way Comes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 43 – Smoke and Mirrors

Greetings and Salutations;

I ran across the following article by Heather Cox Richardson, and thought it important enough to give wider spread to. It reminds us that our Democracy is still in a very fragile state, and if we are not very, very careful, Evil may triumph. Do we REALLY want to live in a Fascist State? Here is a link to Ms. Richardson’s observations on Facebook. Here is a link to her collected observations on SubStack. This latter site is pay-walled, but they have a free subscription option. Ms. Richardson’s opinions are very insightful, and worth following.

“October 25, 2021 (Monday)

“Caravans” of migrants to our southern border are once again headline news on the Fox News Channel, but while these anti-immigrant stories divert attention from news that those on the right would like to bury, as usual, they also establish a larger pattern. Whipping up fears of immigration is standard for authoritarians trying to convince followers to support the loss of civil liberties in order to promote law and order. One of those who rose to power with just such an argument is Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a figure those on the right are championing these days.

Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson broadcast from Hungary appreciatively earlier this year, presenting Orbán’s government, which has systematically dismantled democracy, as enviable. The American Conservative Union is planning to have its 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Hungary, as well.This backstory gave disturbing context to today’s news from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO is a government agency within the legislative branch (most of the ones you’re used to hearing about are in the executive branch) that audits, investigates, and issues reports for Congress. Known as the congressional watchdog, the GAO tries to cut through spin to do honest, thorough, and nonpartisan evaluations of government issues.

Today, the GAO reported that actions of the Trump administration had undermined U.S. goals in the Northern Triangle countries that are currently driving immigration to the southern border. Since 2008, the U.S. has funded development projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to promote economic development, provide security, and combat corruption. This investment was designed, in part, to slow the movement of immigrants escaping the violence and economic dislocation of the region to the U.S. border. In March 2019, the Trump administration abruptly halted promised money, and that freeze continued until June 2020. Today’s GAO report documented how that suspension hurt 92 of the 114 projects underway under the control of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and 65 of the 168 projects operating under the State Department.Migration to the border soared, right before the 2020 election. While Trump Republicans were trying to convince white American voters that immigrants threatened them, another story today suggests the real goals of the Trump machine.

The Guardian revealed that several members of the secretive Council on National Policy (CNP) claim that they were the ones behind the 2017 tax cuts on corporations and wealthy Americans. Wealthy right-wing Christian activists organized the CNP in 1981 to push the country toward religious and libertarian policies. Also today, the Washington Post Magazine ran a long story about CNP, calling it “the most unusual, least understood conservative organization in the nation’s capital.” CNP is registered as a charity, but it is essentially a central planning center for right-wing activists across the country. Washington Post reporter Robert O’Harrow, Jr., explained how CNP members, who initially opposed Trump, swung behind him when he promised to combat abortion. Members of CNP are a who’s who of wealthy conservative figures, including Leonard Leo, a leading light of the Federalist Society, which advocates for a conservative judicial system; Steve Bannon, a key Trump adviser; David Bossie, who headed the group Citizens United and who was Trump’s deputy campaign manager; and Kellyanne Conway, a White House adviser. Their goal, they say, is to create a moral America.

So, it appears, the fearmongering about immigrants helped to give power to a secret group of wealthy Americans who lobbied for huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.The stories about CNP suggest its members have focused on keeping emotions high and Trump in power. The CNP was instrumental in opposing business closures and mask mandates to combat the coronavirus. A number of members, including Cleta Mitchell—the lawyer who was on the phone with Trump during his infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to switch the state into the Trump column although Biden had won it—and Ginni Thomas, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, backed “Stop the Steal” efforts.Their efforts, we have increasing evidence, were promoted by Facebook, the giant social media company.

Starting last Friday, 17 different news outlets have been publishing the “Facebook Papers” based on internal company documents provided to Congress and the press by whistleblower Frances Haugen. The stories allege that Facebook prioritized profits over truth and safety, deliberately amplifying right-wing voices and dividing the country. Facebook denies the allegations. Reports of migrant caravans might well be attempts to divert attention from the service of the Republicans to the wealthy, as well as from the story of January 6, which is becoming clearer as information continues to come out.

Today, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol interviewed Steve Bannon associate Dustin Stockton. Stockton was one of the organizers of the Women for America First rally on January 6 that got taken over by the unpermitted Stop the Steal rally which led to the attack on the Capitol. According to a piece by Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien in ProPublica last June, Stockton was so concerned about the Stop the Steal people that he urged Amy Kremer, another leader of the Women for America First rally, to contact her associate Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in the days before January 6 to warn him things were getting out of hand. The committee has subpoenaed Kremer to testify on October 29. There are signs that Kremer or an associate might have been a source for yesterday’s Rolling Stone article, suggesting that someone from Women for America First is willing to cooperate with the committee.

The Rolling Stone article, which provided names of lawmakers allegedly involved in planning the January 6 rally, refocused attention on the fact that it was Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) who was speaking at length as the mob broke into the building. His speech delayed the evacuation of the House chamber for 15 minutes, so that the House members were still present when the mob, including Ashli Babbitt, tried to get at them. A police officer shot and killed Babbitt as she broke through the doors. Last night’s Rolling Stone story also identified Republican Lauren Boebert (CO) as a participant in planning meetings for the events of January 6. Today she said in a carefully worded statement: “I had no role in the planning or execution of any event that took place at the Capitol or anywhere in Washington, DC on January 6.”Today, once again, President Joe Biden refused to claim executive privilege to prevent the January 6 committee from seeing documents Trump wants to hide. Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress continue to try to move the country forward, hammering out their infrastructure measure. They hope to have it finished before President Biden leaves for meetings with European leaders later this week

What will the future bring? I wish I knew, but right now, it does not seem like the next few years are going to be smooth sailing. I can only urge everyone reading this to vote Blue in ALL elections…from Local to Federal. I urge you to be enough of an activist to push for voting rights for all, and, when elections happen work to make sure that the people who find it difficult or impossible to get to the polls have an option to get there to cast a vote. If at all possible, write the President, and your Congressional Representatives, letting them know when you approve of, or dislike, their actions.

God Help Us All. Be Safe, Wear your mask, Social Distance and get the vaccination.

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 42

Greetings and Salutations.

I ran across the following essay on Facebook, and thought it would be an excellent addition to the commentary here.

From “American Horror Story”

“Dear Republicans,
I’ve been wondering the last several days if there was literally anything that your party could do before you finally stopped and said to yourself, ‘this is just too far from me, I am leaving the party? Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace, George Will, David Frum and a who’s who of former star Republicans got to that point. So what does it take before you abandon all the lies and the cognitive dissonance but more importantly, the insanity that has spread like the Delta strain within your party?

Jesse Benton

You probably did not hear about this since Fox does not have any interest in reporting facts but Jesse Benton got indicted the other day, again. Don’t remember him? Let me help. Jesse Benton was pardoned by Trump after he was convicted in another scheme to bribe a notable official in Iowa to get his endorsement for Ron Paul. You probably don’t remember that either. So Trump pardoned him for that because cheating in elections has become common practice for you all these days and you obviously no longer care about the rule of law since you were all so conspicuously silent about Trump pardoning so many of his cronies. Yet you were so very loud when Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. So you are only outraged when Democrats do something you don’t like but when your guy does it, that’s okay.

How does that hypocrisy feel coursing through your veins? Do you remember the nauseating nattering you all were doing when you were saying, ‘the Russia hoax’? Pepperidge Farms remembers. The thing about that was that you all said that there was ‘no collusion.’ Well I guess we have come to the point where you all no longer care about the definition of words anymore huh?There was oodles of collusion with Russians. Jesse Benton was a campaign advisor first for Ron Paul, then he went to help Rand Paul and then he ran Mitch McConnell’s campaign so he’s kind of a big deal Republican operative.

What Jesse got indicted for the other day was for laundering money for a Russian oligarch into the Trump campaign. It’s almost as if the Russians wanted to get Trump elected. Wonder why that was? Oh that’s right, Trump said Russia is our friend now and that he has a personal relationship with Putin even before the campaign. I guess that is why he wanted to meet with him privately without even State Department officials present which had never happened before because he was making a deal and stuff. Then he said nobody was tougher on Russian than him. I dunno, seems like Hillary was awful tough on Putin but somehow Putin wanted to get someone even harder on him because that makes sense doesn’t it?

So why did Trump say that Putin didn’t pay bounties for American soldiers to the Taliban when every single intelligence agency had the verifiable proof that Putin had paid those bounties? Was he trying to protect Putin for helping him win his election?That didn’t seem fishy to at least 75 million of you and to the 83 million of us who voted for Biden, we’re wondering what the hell happened to you all because you used to be Ronald-Reagan-tough on Russia but not anymore. Why the ginormous flip-flop with you guys? Is it the enemy of your enemy is your friend? With Democrats being your enemy and the enemy of Russia? You don’t have to answer, the rest of the country knows that the hypocrisy that courses through your veins is equaled only by the dishonesty and treason. Another thing that you all missed the other day was the revelation that inside the White House, officials confirmed that Smartmatic was not owned by or have anything to do with Venezuela or machines that tallied ballots in foreign countries. That was just something Sydney Powell and Rudy Giuliani thought you all were dumb enough to believe and guess what? You did. Did you ever stop and think about why Mark Twain said, ‘it’s easier to fool a fool than convince them they were fooled?

That’s rather important because it appears now that the only elections that you think are legitimate are the ones you win. Apparently you have forgotten that there’s many millions more Democrats than there are Republicans but you all get all pissy when Trump lost the popular vote, twice but something something ‘election fraud.’ Well the news this morning is that even the Cyber Ninjas ‘audit’ found that Joe actually won, so how about you all call off all those bills you’re trying to pass to make it harder for black people to vote because you’re not racists? I know that’s pissing into a hurricane but now that you all have become ‘fiscal hawks’ again after adding more to the national debt in history, we are now on the precipice of you all doing something completely asinine by playing debt-ceiling roulette where you all try to inflict even more damage on the country simply to ‘own the libs.’ My friends think I am completely insane to think maybe some of you might read this and come to the realization that you all have become a cancer on our Republic and maybe they’re right. So I ask again, what would your party have to do for you to abandon it like so many other notable Republicans have?

Because at this point, you are behaving like a death cult bent on destroying our democracy because you cannot adjust your ideology enough to start winning elections. Right now your elected leaders are trying to suicide our Republic by playing a dangerous game of brinksmanship with the full faith and credit of the United States which will have consequences that your grandchildren will be dealing with. Every single time Trump needed the debt ceiling raised, Democrats voted to raise it unanimously but now that Joe is in the White House, you all want to have a hissy fit about it like you did repealing Obamacare 73 times. I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we sure wish you all would start acting like responsible citizens instead of petulant children.”- Thomas Clay Jr

I could not have put it better myself.

More articles by Mr. Clay And here is his Facebook exposure

God Help Us All! Wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands…and GET VACCINATED (The number of dead as of today has just passed 700,000).

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Cosmology, Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Vaccinations | Tagged | Leave a comment

FaceBook has no “Community Standards”

Greetings and Salutations;

I just got put in FB Jail for a week, because I apparently hurt someone’s feelings. Here is the comment I was responding to:

Ginnie Stokley Gorsin NS…so Americans get the vaccine because unvaxed Americans are the real pandemic…BUT…we shall ignore the millions of untested and unvaxed illegals pouring across our open borders bringing a multitude of diseases to be distributed across the country….THIS, CNN followers, is the democratic narrative…learn it, live it, LOVE IT! 😡

And here is what I replied to this comment:

Dave Mundt Ginnie Stokley Gorsin Bless your heart. You had best walk away from FB for a while. Your racism is showing, and it proves how ugly you really are.

Was my comment fairly blunt? Of course it was. Did it go beyond community standards? I, obviously, do not think so, when Ms. Gorsin’s comment is not dinged, and comments like this are allowed:

Polk Danny: SS: actually violent crime against children in Chicago beats out covid and nothing done about it.WATCHED COLLEGE FOOTBALL ALL WEEKEND, NO MASK, WATCHED NFL, NO MASK, WATCHED MLB, NO MASK.SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, THE POPULATION THAT FIGHTS THE VIRUS BETTER THAN ANYONE HAS TO WEAR A MASK TO SCHOOL BUT NOT THE FIFTY THOUSAND AND MORE AT A STADIUM??? FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or:

Kris Tina: Kateryna Svezhevska: , I have a few choice words for you but your IQ isn’t up to par for that. So I won’t waste my time getting down in the gutter with you. I’ll let you stay there alone

So…for the 6th time since Jan, 2020, I will be prevented from posting to FB for a period. I have tried contesting the charge, but, that is like spitting into the wind…not at all successful.

God Help Us All! Be safe…wear your mask, social distance, get vaccinated!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The insanity over Covid continues.

Greetings and Salutations.

I happened to run across a Cultist that spewed nonsense about Covid…The fact that this is happening a year and a half or more into the serious pandemic from Covid boggles the mind. So, while this person is either a flake or a Conspiracy Loony (but I repeat myself), I took a few minutes to address her foolishness. I thought I would post the comment any my reply here for historical interest.

Teresa McClelland Jeffries I know several who has died after getting the shot, got major heart problems, one had to be air lifted to a major hospital, one lady can’t walk anymore. Vaccinated are spreading the virus as bad if not worse than anyone. You take a dangerous shot but still have to social distance and wear masks. Why take the dangerous shot that is untested, untried and unapproved and causes major adverse side effects. Where are all these that have died of covid??? Wouldn’t the funeral homes be overrun with dead bodies? Wouldn’t the cemeteries be full to overflowing??? The numbers and facts just done line up. The lying media and demoncrats have brainwashed you.

Dave Mundt Teresa McClelland Jeffries Ok…I think you are beyond help, but, I will take a shot.

1) As for your claims of death and injury…you need to provide citations from reliable sources proving your claim. Otherwise it has no validity.

https://www.reuters.com/…/fact-check-3150-people-were…

It is true that some younger folks getting the vaccine have experienced issues with an enlarged heart. HOWEVER…this was easily treated and in a short time, went away.

2) While it is POSSIBLE for the vaccinated to become infected and spread the virus…your comment lacks merit as it ignores many factors.

a) Vaccinated people are FAR less likely to become infected. Current reports are that an unvaccinated person is 17 times more likely to get an infection.

b) The duration of any infection will be very short, and, much less serious than with an unvaccinated person. For example, 90% to 100% of the people in hospital ICUs, requiring much care, ventilators, and ended up dead are the unvaccinated.

c) While the Delta virus does produce the same amount of viral DNA in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s noses, a recent study found that about 40% of the virus was already dead in vaccinated people..

All these factors mean that it is many times more likely that an infected, unvaccinated host will spread the virus to many more hosts than the vaccinated host.

3) You opinion about the vaccines being untested and unapproved is simply wrong. Initially, before the FDA issued the emergency use license, there had been studies with upwards of 30,000 people done. Since then, close to a billion people have been vaccinated, with positive results, and almost no problems.Also, a week or two ago, the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine complete approval for use. The only reason it was delayed by several months was the typical bureaucratic sloth. The other vaccines are on the verge of being authorized for general use by America, and in some cases have ALREADY been authorized by other countries.

4) Nothing is perfectly safe. However, the issues that arise from a vaccine shot are well understood now, and easily treated. If you think the vaccine is dangerous, you expose a severe lack of understanding about the vaccine, AND the reality of Covid.

5) Where are all those who have died of Covid? Well all over the place, if you must know. Many hospitals had five or more freezer trailers that they were using to store the dead in until the mortuaries were able to deal with them. The mortuaries were stacked up to the ceiling with the dead. As for where are they buried…again…all over the place. Burial grounds have a huge amount of unused space. In addition, many of the dead were cremated, and their ashes returned to their family, in small urns…so a bunch of them are sitting on the living room table or a shelf.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdpSgEQKVNE

6) I realize you are a Cultist, and so will blow off this truth…but, when it happens to you…remember this post

To see this kind of ignorance and denial today is kind of horrifying. Alas, this is NOT all that uncommon on Facebook….

God Help Us All

Be safe. Get vaccinated; wear your mask; Social distance; Wash your hands.

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Fighting the Civil War! How This Reflects and Affects us today

Greetings and Salutations;
FB is a grand source of interesting interactions that are worth considering, even if I disagree with the person making the points. Today’s topic is the Civil War, and how its echoes and emotions influence, and reflect, today’s world. I have excerpted the most relevant interactions here, but the entire discussion is located here. I also want to point out that I am a native Tennessean, born and reared in Knoxville, so I have far too much experience with the topics I discuss in this essay.


The Original Post that fueled this discussion was this comment:
DM: Some Southerners bemoan the removal of prominently displayed statues of their ‘heroes.’ How would they feel if those statues were Lincoln, Grant and Sherman, the victors of the Civil War? Every day they would walk by those who defeated them and, during Reconstruction, made their lives miserable. Descendants of former slaves had to face that indignity on a daily basis if they lived in towns were Confederate statues occupied public spaces. Put these statues in museums or destroy them altogether.


Although located here, my comment was made after quite a few posts were added, many of which were focused on defending the statues in question, and saying that it was “destroying history” to remove them.

Dave Mundt:
let me remind everyone here that these statues were not erected until decades after the Civil War. They were created and placed during the Jim Crow era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were not created as art or to commemorate a hero, so much as to tower over the public square, and remind the people of color who walked by them every day that not only were their en-slavers still around, but, many of them held significant positions of power. They were a tool of intimidation to keep these people of color from getting “Uppity”.
Their removal is not canceling history, or destroying items of artistic worth. It is a concrete way of society saying “we will not tolerate oppression of other citizens”.
I see that the government is trying to find people to take these statues. I would love to have one, so I could paint the face with clown makeup, drape the horse with amusing cloth, and attach flags that say “Losers” and “Traitors” to the figure.

DM:
Dave Mundt:
Thank you, Dave, for giving perspective to this issue…

HBW:
DM:
– As a matter of fact there is a gigantic equestrian statue of a Civil War Criminal and architect Native American Genocide in NYC that Southerners and First Peoples have to walk past daily if they live in that part of BYC. How about we take Sherman’s statue down too? Sauce fir the goose is sauce for the gander. As for the memorial statues erected to the Confederate who were never returned home to their loved ones for burial, I am fine with these being placed in cemeteries where the lucky identified Confederate dead are buried. No other explanation needed.

DM:
HBW
: Generally, I would be fine with that… Put up put up generic soldier statues at cemeteries and statues to the peacemakers. Fine with me. Except maybe WWII heroes … all very deserving. Truth is, as we know (even though I am not a veteran), war is an ugly affair…tragic at every level but especially for the lower ranks and the civilians who suffer. We should avoid it and avoid aggrandizing it.

Dave Mundt:
HBW:
The major difference is that Sherman, in his military actions, was fighting to preserve the Union. He was not trying to destroy it. Were his methods questionable? perhaps. However, Southerners SHOULD be reminded of the treason and insurrection they engaged in during the civil war.
As for his treatment of First Peoples…yea…that was wrong, and driven by both his own prejudices, and the pressure from the railroads to provide safety for their construction over the land.
It is possible for a person to do both good and evil in their day. Their reputation is based on which one took up the majority of their energies.
As for memorials to the confederate fallen. I am of two minds about that. I think that an appropriately worded plaque would be Ok…as long as nothing on it honors their deeds in any way.

HBW:
Dave Mundt:
— The ends do not justify the means. A war crime is a war crime. Rape and murder of non-combatants was definitely beyond the pale during the Civil War as were kidnapping and forced labor of women and children. As for genocide of the First Peoples, well nothing justifies genocide. Many of those who rebelled against what they believed was the tyranny of the Northern states had given decades of civil and military duty to the US prior to the Civil War, and then took oaths of allegiance after the war and continued to serve their communities and the nation. You cannot excuse the Union war criminals while at the same time continuing to demand that Southerners be perpetually blamed and shunned for what you see as treason. That attitude is precisely why the Unionists are seen as such hypocrites by many people.

DM:
HBW:
Well, I likely fall into that category of not having family here until after WWI. Nonetheless, since I live here and worked here, it would be impossible for me not to be aware of the war’s impact, especially since it is still so alive in the minds and hearts of so many Southerners. Under those circumstances, I feel entitled to have opinions re such issues…especially since when I first got here I was called a carpetbagger, interloper, Yankee and damned Yankee. We have two children born in Nashville and now two grandsons also born here. I can’t remember her exact age but I’ll never forget my young daughter asking me “Daddy, what’s a Yankee?” I also will never forget my son one day, as we were working outside, asking, almost in a whisper, “Dad, do you know about the Holocaust?” War, everywhere and always, is an unimaginable horror… in fact, there likely are not words strong enough or descriptive enough to give wars its due. The existence of any one of us is a longshot miracle. I exist because of war being that my grandmother, as a young teenage girl, fled Turkish soldiers during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. I was taught about the 1915 Genocide at a very young age by my grandfather who was a tough-as-nails “never forget” kind of man. Between my grandparents AND a surviving great-grandmother, I could actually hear and touch that history. Yet, in college, I befriended a Turkish exchange student at Michigan State, once spent an afternoon with a group of Turkish students at Syracuse, was tour guide to a couple of Turkish business people visiting Nashville and even dated a second generation Turkish woman in Albany. True, my grandparents might have risen from their graves to strangle me had they known but my dad was wise. On the subject of Turks he said to me “How far to you want to go back? All the way to Adam and Eve?” So, you move on as Armenians, as Americans, as hu
mans.

HBW:
DM:
— I would be just fine with the generic soldier statues — Union as well as Confederate being placed in appropriate cemeteries instead of remaining on courthouse squares or along public medians. BTW — Did you know that most of the Union statues are placed facing South while the Southern ones are mostly placed facing North? Looks to me like neither side has forgotten or forgiven judged on these placements. As for statues of prominent men, that is a thornier issue. There are people who want Andrew Jackson’s statue taken down in NOLA even though he saved the city from British Invasion in 1815. But he was also another slave owner and “Indian Hater.” And what about all those slave- owning “Founding Fathers” who fought for and helped establish this country? Are we going to dump them in the dustbin of history over one issue— which was legal at the time? And when you get to the Civil War figures, what about the Union generals who continued to own slaves until the War ended, like Grant? And then you have war criminal Sherman. Just who should go, and who should stay — and who should decide?

HBW:
DM:
— I am only 3 generations removed from my family members who suffered through the Civil War. My family lost not one but several homes burned to the ground by invading soldiers. My ancestor of that generation was a POW died as a result. He is the only one of his generation not buried with the family and whose gravesite is unknown still. My great grandmother was made a homeless orphan as a result of that war. Her aunt was raped by Yankee soldiers and drowned herself rather than live with the shame. As a result of that war, many family members lost their land, their homes and their property. And remember, wonen at that time had no place in the public sphere abd could not vote or own property independently if married, except under a few special circumstances. I am very aware of how messy and awful war is, and of how mutable history can be for the survivors and their descendants. But despite the atrocities committed against my ancestors, both my grandfather and father volunteered to fight in WWI and WWII. They are not the exception. The Southern states still continue to have a higher percentage of the population enlist in the military than states in other sections of the country. I really believe that the nation would have healed more quickly had Lincoln not been assassinated.

DM:
HBW
: I am so very sorry that your family experienced all those terrible events. books, movies, even documentaries cannot portray such horrors realistically enough so that others have to carry it with them for their lives and, also, pass that pain —and the ramifications of lost property—along to future generations. It certainly brings truth to William Faulkner’s line, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Again, sorry for the woes that befell your family.

HBW:
DM:
– Thank you for recognizing our loss. But just think, my family’s experience was multiplied by the thousands throughout the South. Things were even worse in Georgia with Sherman’s scorched earth policy. And all of this was taking place when attacks on civilians by US troops were supposed to be totally forbidden. In fact most European countries frowned on attacks against civilians even back then. One thing that really disgusts me are self-righteous people whose ancestors were not even here for the civil war who think they have the right to pass judgment about an event their family wasn’t affected by at all. Also, most European countries did participate either directly or indirectly in human trafficking during the time slave trading was legal by their countries.

DM:
HBW
: Like I said. War is ugly and maybe we should only ever honor the peacemakers. History is messy messy…just like people.

HBW:
DM:
– I am sorry for what your family endured in 1915. I was reared by my grandparents, so my experience of family attitudes about the Civil War is one generation closer to that conflict than even many Southerners. And while the majority of my ancestors on my father’s side fought fir the Confederacy, I actually have a great grandfather on my mother’s side who was from Ohio, and who remained in NOLA after the war and married into my mother’s family. Some of her family were more recent immigrants to the US having arrived here in the 1840s. My grandfather whose mother was orphaned by the war related stories of that time that she personally saw and events she lived. I can understand how you may feel entitaled to have an opinion since you feel impacted by the attitudes of those around you regarding perceived “outsiders.” I am sure that was very unpleasant for you. I have friends who were born in the North. For the most part we do not speak about what is known in the south as “the War.” And I readily admit that I avoid those people who want me to feel ashamed of my ancestors who fought for the Confederacy or who owned slaves regardless of where they were born. There are always at least two sides to every conflict. One side’s freedom fighter is the other side’s rebel.

Dave Mundt:
HBW:
Let me clarify…your post(s) makes me believe that you are an apologist for the Confederate cause. The placement of these heroic statues has nothing to do with the unreturned, Confederate, dead. It has everything to do with oppression.
Here, in Knoxville, for example, we have what I consider to be an appropriate marker for this purpose. It is a simple, fairly short obelisk, that has a comment on the order of “in this cemetery lie the remains of unknown Confederate soldiers, killed in the civil war”. That is all the memorial needed.


DM:
Dave Mundt:
Thanks for the article Dave.

HBW:
Not exactly true of all of these statues Dave Mundt:. Many were erected within 5- 15 years after 1865. The reason it took so long for the South to erect them is because it was left impoverished by 5 years of war on its territory and 12 years of exploitive “Reconstruction” enforced by an army of occupation. These kinds of memorial statues were erected more quickly in the North because those communities were not impoverished by the Civil War. BTW most of these statues were created in Northern foundries and quarries. The figures were virtually the same, only the accessories they carried and the initials on the belt buckles were different — US for the Yankee statues and CS for the Confederate statues.

Dave Mundt:
HBW:
Madam; I believe your view of history is lacking. However, I grant that I spoke poorly, and was unclear in my implication that EVERY statue was a product of Jim Crow.

HBW:
Dave Mundt:
— I can assure you that my view of history is not lacking. I am not looking at it through lenses provided by partisan Union apologists. My view is informed by reading first hand accounts in periodicals of the day and paying attention to accounts written by or oral history recordings made by people who were actually INVOLVED and living in the time following the Civil War. So many of the Confederate dead were never returned to their families for burial. Prevented from being able to express personal loss and grief at gravesites, many southerners, particularly the widows, turned to creating public memorials to their lost but much- mourned dead. It took decades of teas and bake sales to raise the money needed to buy those memorial statues from the Northern companies that marketed them to the South as well as the north.


DM:
HISTORIC ART vs PROPAGANDA Yes, remove from public spaces. Yes, put in a museum…maybe. But I also have no problem with destroying some of them. I hate to sound like a book-burner or the Taliban exploding statues of gods other than their own. However, I view these statues less as art and more as propaganda and as such I don’t think they need to be or should necessarily be preserved for their artistic value or even as for historical or cultural significance. I could almost accept statues to unnamed Confederate soldiers at a cemetery…again with some markers placing everything in context. But I see little reason to save, house or maintain statues (especially those of the big bulky hulking sort) of Confederate generals and politicians — so handsome, brave and proud of their treachery and defense of slavery.


DM:
GS:
Yes and there might be several solutions that work. I can accept that they go at a moderate pace to deal with these.

GS:
DM: You have a point. My first thought was to leave them and add large teaching markers, but that does not solve the issue of the pain a black person feels just seeing them in public. Whatever the answer we need to deliberate carefully so we arrive at the right solution.


ORM:
when i can put a statue of someone’s daughter’s rapist in their front yard then i will be OK with murderers like nathan bedford forrest having a place in our capital. he shot Americans in the back. he murdered soldiers who surrendered. we know that history. we will never cancel that. but i’m not for celebrating it.
and i doubt that if i put a rapists’ statue in your daughters’ front yard that she will be ok with “that’s history!”

HBW:
Northerners did this all the time — put statues of those who raped and killed Southern women — black as well as white— or who sanctioned such war crimes by advocating total war against non-combatants in the Civil War in public places and even in the nation’s capital. I suggest you familiarize yourself with Sherman’s tactics approved by Lincoln, and with Sherman’s letters to his wife advocating the extermination of a “ certain class of Southner” with which she agreed.

DM:
I am in Tennessee and have seen a lot of this state and a number of other Southern states. I have seen many memorials in cemeteries with generic (I hate that term, maybe “unnamed” or “unknown”) soldiers which, sort of, I can accept. However, I have yet to come across a town square with a statue of Grant or Sherman or even Lincoln posing as mighty war heroes. Every Southerner (White Southerner) to take this as an affront. However, Blacks living in large and small towns all over the South are frequently confronted with statues Confederate soldiers, generals and politicians in public squares, public parks and at battle markers etc. This is also an affront to them (and others).

DM:
HBW:
You certainly know your history…I am not sure what name to use for you…can/should I call you Hamilton? My paternal Armenian and maternal Sicilian grandparents did not arrive in America till right after WWI … so, technically, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I was raised in suburban Detroit, lived in Albany NY for 10 years and also, for less time, in Kansas, California, Ohio and briefly in Chicago. I will tell you this as a fact, beyond the Mason-Dixon line, there are many people …smart, schooled people, who don’t know and don’t care who won the Civil War. (At least, maybe, up until recent times). I moved to Nashville in 1984 and married a young lady from Knoxville in 1987. So not only am I am Yankee, I’m a damn Yankee. I enjoy history and have similar discussions as this with several of my in-laws. Nashville was cosmopolitan then and is much much more so now. Reconstruction was a terrible time…Lincoln, as you know, wanted to be much more magnanimous to the defeated South (“…malice toward none…”). Might have been nice for Booth not to have assassinated him. In any case, slavery was a repulsive institution used to create wealth on the backs of free workers, who were breed and sold for profit. Men like Jefferson Davis and Lee and the rest went to war to defend that institution. As such, they sure do not deserve statues in prominent public spaces. I suppose you are free to erect a statue to such a person on your front lawn like that jibone did on I-65. But if that is who you wish to honor, you shouldn’t be surprised at what conclusions, justified or not, people draw about you.

Dave Mundt:
DM:
For what it is worth, I was in my teens before I realized “DamnYankee” was two words.

HBW:
DM:
– You have to go up north to find statues of Lincoln, Grant or Sherman because those are not heroes to the average native white southerner. But if you look at maps, you will find lots of towns, counties and parishes in southern states named for northern figures during Reconstruction. In Louisiana there’s really Cameron, Lincoln and Grant parishes — all named during Reconstruction. If having to walk by a statue is an affront, imagine having to live your life in a place that was renamed for your victorious opponents? And before you protest, what’s the difference? Are only black peoples entitled to feel affronted? And again, the CSA lasted only 5 years. Many Southerners had been very loyal o the USA. Generations of their families had fought and died to establish and maintain the US. Many like Lee were very conflicted, but as was common in the 19th century felt a greater loyalty to their state, which they believed to be just as sovereign as the US. Davis had actually served in the US government. Lee and dozens of CSA officers had graduated from West Point and had fought in the US Army. Many of them, in fact most took the loyalty oath and had tgeir citizenship and right to vote restored. Many including Lee, Forrest, Beauregard and others openly advocated for civil rights and voting rights fir former slaves. Many like Beauregard worked on civil projects as well to improve access to education for all. Beauregard worked improve the NOLA sewerage system to make NOLA a more healthy place for everyone to live. He also helped create the street car public transportation system that made travel around the city available to everyone, although blacks and whites sat in separate sections of each car. It is very unfair to try to judge 19th century people by 20th or 21st century standards.

I did not address her point about judging people by 21st century standards, but, it lacks merit, as there was a percentage of Southerners that knew that Slavery was an Evil that should not happen, and were abolitionists

HBW:
Dave Mundt:-
Your little laughing emoticon is inappropriate, sexist, rude, crude, tasteless and just deplorable. Rape is never funny. Being burned out of your home is not funny. Being murdered is not funny.

Dave Mundt:
HBW:
I apologize for being offensive, but look at it from my point. You are pushing a viewpoint that is trying to make a band of traitors into heroes. Mourn your lost ancestors of the day, but it would be wise to adjust your reason for mourning from “They were great heroes foully murdered by the Killers from the North”, to “They were terribly misguided in their support for a truly awful form of oppression, and fought and died to defend the indefensible. Their deaths were useless and a waste of life”. Also, the Civil War was 150+ years ago. Is it not time to do as Don suggests, and let go of the hate, and move on. Clinging to hate like that is like drinking poison and expecting one’s enemy to die. It taints every interaction, and can destroy the chances of reconciliation, and working together to build a better world.




Some Conclusions:

The attitudes expressed by Ms. HBW are far too prevalent still, and are that stumbling block that keeps us from truly healing the wounds left by the Civil War. Today, all across the Nation, the Republicants are pushing legislation that would, in essence, cancel history. They are using the straw man of Critical Race Theory, to ban any attempts to teach the history of the people of color in America. They are banning books which honestly tell the story of people of color and their experience with the systemic racism that permeates American society and law. There are many folks that simply deny any of this happened, and refuse to hear any other truth. One of the reasons I quoted the lengthy conversation with HBW was that her posts are a classic example of this narrow thinking. Focusing on the mythic “Gentile Southern Society” and ignoring the foundation it is built on is unwise. It is like looking at the beauty of a diamond in one’s hand, and ignoring the fact it is a Blood Diamond. The product of death and oppression.

Now…how can we push America to become a better, more tolerant, caring society? I suggest that the Americans with clear vision that are left MUST work together to stand against the racist and foolish laws being passed. We must work to ensure that the WHOLE history of the country is taught, not just the part that makes white people look like the knight in shining armor, rescuing the country from the evil savage. I fear that, in most cases, the adults of today are a lost cause. As Ms. HBW demonstrates with her strong devotion to the Confederacy, fueled by the anger over what happened that she clings to as if it were yesterday, most of the adults are so tied up with their own prejudices and fears that they are not going to change. Perhaps, some will…but that will be the exception, not the rule. I rather think that folks like Ms. HBW will argue the point until the end of time, as she has done here, and will not budge an inch from her misguided and very narrowly focused beliefs.

However, we can educate the children to be better and wiser citizens, by ensuring they see not only the successes but the failures of American society. There is always room for improvement, but, until we see there is a problem we cannot even contemplate the idea of improving. I have to say that I am a perfect example of this. When I was growing up, here in East Tennessee, I was taught the nonsense about the Civil War that most Southerners are taught. I knew no different, so, to me, it was the truth. I thought it was OK to use “the N word”, to look down on people of color, and to make jokes and such that explicitly painted people of color as being less intelligent, with classic food choices and the like.
However, because my Parents were very educated, and tolerant people, they made a major difference, calling me out when I would make an inappropriate remark, and forcing me to confront what was the basis I was using to justify it. That, along with some excellent teachers, both in public school and church, brought me to understand that I was totally wrong in the way I viewed others. In time, I grew and matured, to the point where, I believe, I am accepting of all, and respectful of all, without considering their skin tone. Now, their mind and beliefs are another matter…but that has nothing to do with appearance!
One of the pivotal moments for me came in the early 1970s. I was listening to an interview, I believe on NPR, with the assistant director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Turns out that he was a reformed Skin-Head. What had moved him to become a leader in the major organization fighting antisemitism? He told the story about several years before, when he was at a Skin-Head rally, and taking full part in it. He was there with several friends, and at a break, had a thought that puzzled him. He asked his friends “Let us say we get rid of all the mud people and jews..what will we do THEN?” Their reply “Don’t worry…we will find SOMEONE to hate!”. This rattled him enough that he realized the dark path he was on, and changed his life. The realization that it was not an aspect of another that made them the enemy, but, simply the hate in his own heart and the hearts of his compatriots rubbed his nose in the foolishness and wrongness of it. He, luckily, changed… The realization he had, while not new to me, was certainly a tool that re-enforced my increasingly tolerant, and accepting view of reality.

God Help Us All
Be Safe! Wear Your Mask; Social distance; get vaccinated…Delta is coming!

Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 41: Protests at the Olympics

Greetings and Salutations;
In spite of the continuing pandemic, and Japan’s poor vaccination numbers, the International Olympic Committee has decided to go ahead and allow the Games to go on. They are, I know, impatient, because they were supposed to happen in 2020…but the world was in lock down then.
As often happens, there is a lengthy discussion going on in Facebook about the athletes that will be competing in the Games, focusing on the question of what should happen to them if they dare protest at any point in the games. Of course, the original post, as follows, was placed by a Politician, And, of course a Republicant, so opinions tended to be heavily against any speaking out. The Republicants do not deal well with anyone who does not toe their line, of course.
I did post a couple of comments, of course, but this is one interaction that I thought I would quote. It sort of sums up, for me, the difference between the two parties.

Here is the Original Post from the thread.

LCH:
I am offended that anyone would fail to respect our country’s flag and National Anthem! Everyone has the right to protest, but not on my dime! I will not support any company that advertises during this time!

Dave Mundt: LCH: It would be better to ask yourself “Why are they protesting?”. The moments where Olympians take a stance are few and far between, and, it is not a casual moment for them. It is ALWAYS only after a lot of soul-searching and questioning.
I disagree that a protest is disrespect for country or flag. What it is depends on what one focuses on. I focus on the reality that they are responding to a failure of the society to live up to its promises.
Do you think that their actions are a shock to other countries, and cause those countries to have a lesser opinion of America? If so, you are ignoring reality. The other countries of the world see the flaws in America very clearly…and do not change their opinions because of a person’s protest. What WILL change their minds is America facing its issues, and removing the power they have over us…if we work diligently to become the “shining city on the hill” that is our ideal.

If interested, here is a link to the entire diatribe.

As I touched on before, I support the actions of the Olympians. They are using a huge, bully pulpit to focus society on a major failing that should be addressed. Every time, it has been a failure of society that has been ignored or swept under the rug for decades, and as such is an internal rot that is destroying society.

Be Safe…get vaccinated, wear your mask, social distance…

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave.

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 40 – Another Cultist speaks up.

Greetings and Salutations….

Of course, the Biden administration has been under constant attack by the Right-Wing since Jan 20. Alas, unlike the previous administration, IT does not deserve all the crap that is being thrown at it. More on that later.

However, I was just engaged in an interesting dialogue that demonstrates, again, the cultist nature of the Republicants these days, and their willingness to believe lies over truth. I quote it below, with annotations.

JCA:
JW-L: you are entitled to your opinion. I happen to believe the current President is hurting my family and destroying our country. Guess we just have to disagree

KW:
JCA: just curious. In what way, in four months, has the current president hurt you and your family?

Dave Mundt:
KW:
I am betting you will not get an answer from Ms. ALba. I NEVER do when I ask them direct questions about their claims.

KW:
Dave Mundt:
I’m sure she has no answer. And destroying our country? Had she seen footage from January 6th?

JCA:
KW: did you see the footage from last summer?? Really? The open border concept- how is that going for you? Do you like the price of gas, groceries. How about foreign policy going down the toilet. Iran nuclear plan for one. Reengagement with the WHO which is dominated by China Sided with teachers unions over needs of families and especially women shall I go on?

Dave Mundt:
JCA: Well, an actual reply…one that is filled with questionable views, but a response. Let me take a shot at them.

  1. Are you talking about the BLM Protests? I assume so. This fails as an example for two major reasons.
  2. a) Were any of your family injured in the protests?
  3. b) They were, in general very peaceful. The reports from the cops showed that a vast majority of the violence and destruction was caused by Right-Wing infilltrators, who had nothing to do with BLM.
  4. And…as a bonus…the BLM Protests were against cops killing unarmed people of color. They were not an attempted coup and overthrow of the Constitution and government.
  5. The “Open Border” concept you talk about is nothing but a Republicant Lie, boiled up how of whole cloth, in a vain attempt to smear the current administration. From Day ONE, Pres. Biden has said “Do not come”. Did you miss VP Harris, speaking in Guatemala, and saying “Do Not Come”. There has been no movement towards open borders, no personnel cuts in Border patrol or ICE, no removal of barriers.
  6. The price of fuel recently has been affected by the terrible freeze in Texas that shut down refineries and pumping platforms. The hack of the Colonial Pipeline also had a huge effect on fuel availability, and price. Of course the cost of fuel ALWAYS leaps up around national holidays, as the Oil industry pumps up its profits.
  7. As for Grocery costs. In case you have not noticed, the previous administration slapped tariffs on many food imports. Add to that the reality of the pandemic that is burning through the world, causing farm workers to not be able to pick crops, and the supply drops. Under capitalism what happens when supplies get low and demand is high? Prices go up.
  8. Your comments about foreign policy simply demonstrate your lack of knowledge and your following the Right-Wing lies. Since Pres. Biden has taken office, America’s respect in the world has risen by leaps and bounds.
  9. As for the Iran Nuke agreement. #45 pulling out of that agreement simply meant that Iran would have nuclear weapons in 5 years, instead of 15. This is documented on line in reliable sources.
  10. Your comment about WHO is simply sad. It is not dominated by China, and it has done huge amounts of good in the world.
  11. Your comment about teachers unions is sketchy. Pres. Biden’s goal was to get schools reopened in his first 100 days. As a matter of fact he got blowback against that from the unions. the goal has since been modified. As was the original idea, schools should reopen at a pace that keeps both students and staff safe. This will be much easier since the Covid vaccines have been approved for use in younger kids.

However, the bottom line is that with your rant, you STILL did not answer Ms. Wright’s question – how have you or your family been DIRECTLY harmed by this administration. I will give you half a point for the increased costs being painful and a challenge, but, the rest of your comment loses you about 1000 points. Also, What do you believe President Biden has done to raise prices? Do you believe he controls private industry?

This, to me, is proof positive that the right wing conspiracy channels on Cable are propaganda outlets, spreading lies to support an agenda. It is a major reason I support adding the Fairness Doctrine to the LAW, making it far stronger than an FCC Regulation. It also speaks loudly about the state of mind of the Right-Wingers out there and the attitudes they have taken on over the past decade or so. This level of delusion and hate started when President Obama was elected, and has simply gotten more extreme over the years.

Now, How would I “fix” this? If I had the power, I would require all Americans to re-take some civics classes, since the ones they had did not stick with too many of them. I would require that people who express views based on lies as being the truth be required, at the bare minimum to pass a course in skeptical thinking, and at worst, be required to be deprogrammed and THEN sent to Skeptical Thinking class. In a more realistic vein though, I simply work to get as many liberals and Democrats to vote Blue as possible. If we can take solid control of the government, legislation can be run through that will deal with a bunch of these issues.

God Help Us All

Be Safe, social distance, wear your mask, get the vaccination shots.

Bee Man Dave.

Addendum.

The person skating on thin ice here, JCA, simply would not let go of her delusions. She just added the following comments (which include my reply) to the thread.

JCA:
Dave Mundt: peaceful!? You are really out there if you believe that!

JCA:
KW:
always goes back to Trump. You are never going to see the truth. Have a good day. I can’t deal with this and you

JCA:
Dave Mundt: have a good and blissful day. As they say ignorance is bliss

Dave Mundt:
JCA:
Bless your heart.. Let me explain something to you. The news is based on spectacle, to a huge extent. SO…the cameras go to where the excitment is, and bypass the hundreds of thousands of people who are marching in protest, peacefully. Now media outlets with a strong agenda, such as Fox Not-The-News, OANN and NewsMax will spin the images to make their viewers believe the violence is all over the place. in reality it is often a tiny area within a much broader protest.
I see you did not notice or are ignoring the links that I have provided in my reply to back up my opinions. Hard t argue with evidence, I know.
Bottom line is that your casual dismissal of us, and your claims that “Ignorance is bliss” simply demonstrate the lack of substance your comments have, and are more projections of your own issues on us

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Covid 19 Thoughts, Part 05 – Mistakes from the past haunt us.

Greetings and Salutations.

Today, an very interesting article came to my attention. One of the major conflicts during the Covid-19 pandemic has been the subject of Masks. For some time, the scientific community was very divided about urging the population in general to wear a mask when in the company of others. There were some valid points on both sides, and the arguments were certainly impassioned! The down side to this process has been two fold. First off, it has allowed the politicians to turn mask wearing into a political issue. In these days of extremist positions, this has caused quite a divide between (in general), the Liberal community – who tend to wear the mask, and the Conservative community – which actively refuses to wear the mask.

As it turns out, much of the argument stems from some sloppy science done more than 50 years ago. The article, linked below, discusses at length, the issues, and their history. It is rather long, alas, but, it is worth reading…

The Teeny Tiny Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill

God help us all.

Be safe…wear the mask, get the vaccine, wash hands and social distance!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, General Thoughts, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

To Laugh, or To Cry…THAT is the question.

Greetings and Salutations;

As I was poking around on Facebook today, I ran across a thread about the ongoing Covid vaccinations. The Original Post was a question “Have you gotten one or both Vaccination jabs?” Well, the following thread, consisting of several hundred replies, seemed to shake out into three, basic, themes. There were the people who said “YES” and mentioned which vaccination they had gotten. There were the ones who said “Not yet…but I am getting it scheduled, or have not because I cannot find a place to get it done” The third category is the one I am going to address here. Those are the people who said “No, and I am not getting it for <reasons>”.

  • Some of the folks said they were not getting it because they did not believe in vaccines of ANY sort. Many of these folks say that they are very healthy, that they eat a healthy diet, and have not had any problems with the flu before. Others are convinced that the vaccines are filled with terrible, foul chemicals, parts of ground up, aborted babies, or something that will give them the disease.
  • These days, we have a LOT of people who seem to be refusing to get vaccinated because it is political thing. Apparently they believe that the politicians on the other side of the aisle are engaged in some sort of nefarious plot, and are using lies about how bad Covid is in order to push a Communist/Socialist agenda.
  • Some of the folks say they are not going to get the vaccination because they do not know what is in it, or, that it has been rushed out, and nobody knows about what effects it will have.
  • Some folks refused to get it because “They have heard” that many people die from it.
  • Some folks refuse to get it because it is a plot by Bill Gates to implant a microchip that will allow him to track them, and control their mind.

In the real world, NONE of these have any truth to them. They are the product of shadowy sources, conspiracy loony websites, and random rumors started on the Net – in SOME cases by Satirical Web Sites, whose humor goes over the head of the listeners and causes them to believe these are real things. I want to address them in reverse order…because I find the last one to be the most amazingly funny of the group.

So…What about that claim? These are the points I usually make to the people making these claims.

  • I ask them “what makes you believe that your life is so interesting that anyone, much less the government, is interested in tracking you?”
  • I point out that they already are carrying the perfect tracking device. Their smartphone allows them to be located within a circle about 60 feet across at worst, and with a foot or two of their location most of the time. I also point out that it provides more services in that it can be activated remotely to transmit sound and video without any indication it is happening.
  • I may point out that mind control is not a trivial thing. To work it would require significant power, and electrodes implanted throughout the brain. The Microchip they are talking about is a passive device. It is an RFID chip which only activates when hit with a specific frequency of radio waves. It uses the energy from those radio wave to wake up and broadcast a very short message…typically a long number. It has NO electrodes and sits under the skin. Also, if it were injected into the muscle, as vaccines are, it would fail to work at all, because the radio waves could not penetrate the flesh to get to it.
  • As for being included as part of the vaccination process. That is UNLIKELY to happen….Why? Well, the syringe and needle used for vaccinations is very different from that one used for the microchip. HERE is an image that compares the two. Anyone else notice a slight difference in the two? And, no, microchips do not come small enough to fit through the vaccination needle.

  • Do people die from a vaccine shot? Yes, but so rarely one is more likely to be hit by a golden meteor than for this to happen. As of this date, there is ONE vaccine that may have had issues. There was apparently an issue with blood clots in women. One woman did die from the clots. However, the remaining 6 were treated and recovered with no problems. The vaccinations with this version were halted for a while, as treating the clots should not be done with the usual medicines, and the government wanted to have time to get the information out to all medical facilities…so if they did see this problem they would understand what to screen for, and how to treat it. This, by the way was out of over 7 million doses of the vaccine given…. Overall, there have been a few thousand people who have died after receiving any of the vaccines available. Autopsies, though, showed no connection to the vaccination. All the people who died were either quite old (increasing the probability they would die at some point), or had unknown, underlying conditions that kicked in randomly. While each of these deaths is a personal tragedy for the person and their family and friends, they are a nearly invisible number compared to the 200 million doses of the vaccines that have been administered as of today.
  • I derive some amusement from the people complaining about the vaccines being ‘rushed out’, and that they do not know what is in them. For the former, I point out that Corona viruses have been around for a long time, and research on the best vaccines against them has been going on for at least 20 years. The Covid-19 vaccines we have today are simply the results of that research. It was possible to get them online quickly specifically because of those decades of research and development that has kept a large number of very intelligent and talented people busy for all these years. As for the complaint that they do not know what is in them…I usually ask “You eat Chicken McNuggets, hot dogs and bologna, and you are worried because you do not know what ingredients are in the vaccines?” As for long-term effects…this simply shows that they have no idea of how vaccinations work. The long-term effects of these vaccines are to ensure that the body is programmed to produce enough antibodies to wipe out any trace of Covid-19 when one is exposed to it. They will not affect one’s genetic structure, cause horn or tentacle growth (although that does sound kind of cool), or leave a person in a fragile state.
  • The political reason seems totally nuts to me. The reality is that Covid is real and JUST as bad as advertised…it is not a hoax or some plan to gain political points. The 565,000+ dead citizens and the millions left damaged and disabled by the after effects of the disease should make that clear.
  • Finally, the anti-vaxxers. These people are the classic example of the ignorant, prejudiced and unwilling to learn that have managed to slither through the American School system. Their arguments, as touched on above, are nonsense and driven by a gullible acceptance of the spews on Conspiracy Loony Web Sites and Media Outlets. What is worse, they cling to the lies they embraced, and refuse to consider or explore alternatives. It is, perhaps, some of the worst examples of intellectual dishonesty one can find. Oh yes…the points I mentioned upstream that are a few of their excuses are totally without merit. Not one is true now, and, for that matter either have never been true, or have not been true for 40 years or more.

A major reason I am so hard on the anti-vaxxers is that their decision to refrain from vaccinations do not just affect themselves. They refuse to let their children be vaccinated, thereby providing a fertile field for some really nasty diseases. Shucks, for that matter…I just interacted with a women who was looking for a kitten to take home, but did not want it Vaccinated. She lives in Florida, by the by, where there are a LOT of rabid animals who do bite humans and cats. Here is a page showing the statistics. Well, back to the point…another issue with the anti-vaxxers is that when they are infected, they not only are an unnecessary burden on the health care system, but, perhaps more importantly…The Only way a virus can mutate and become more virulent is to infect a host and grow. Until it gets into the cell of a living host, it is nothing more than an inert bundle of genetic material. SO, by providing hosts, the anti-vaxxers are likely to produce the mutation that will ensure that the current vaccines are no longer effective. The same process happens every year with the flu. It moves through an unvaccinated or poorly vaccinated population, evolving into a form that requires us to get a booster shot every year.

What can we do to address these issues? In the short term….If YOU are reluctant to get the vaccination…talk to your doctor. Do what he or she suggests. If you cannot trust your doctor, who can you trust? In the long term, we really need to address the educational system in America. This pandemic has brought to the forefront the reality that too many citizens do not have the tools, provided by a good education, to critically evaluate the flood of information the Net provides, sifting out the valid from the invalid data that sprays out of our screens. One down side of the Net is that the goofiest and least valid theories can LOOK as if they have equal footing with a peer-reviewed, long-term study from Mayo Clinic! The tools of skeptical thinking, and library skills taught by a good school system will allow the reader to find evidence to either support or disprove the data they are getting. Sadly, there are a lot of other changes that need to happen in America, many of which have been uncovered by the awful administration of the 45th president. However, those are a topic for other posts

God Help Us All!

GET your vaccination, Wear your mask, social distance and be careful out there.

Beemandave

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Covid 19 Thoughts, Part 04, Anti-Vaxxers? WTF?

Greetings and Salutations!

Covid-19 Virus

Today is April 13th, 2021. The Covid pandemic has been a wildfire raging around the world for over 12 months now. While there are some successes, in that we already have four, very effective vaccines that are finally being rolled out in significant numbers, the crisis is not over by a long shot. Not only are there too many countries in the world that have yet to see their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, but here in America we have a dishearteningly large number of citizens who, for various reasons are refusing to get the vaccination, or, for that matter, take the tiny precautions to keep from getting, or spreading the virus, such as wearing a mask, extra and more complete hand washing, social distancing and the like.

That having been said, I am focusing on one issue here…that is the problem of vaccinations in America. I just dropped into a thread on Facebook, from a local page, where a large percentage of the people were railing against getting One of the vaccines we have available. I wrote the following comment to address their concerns, although I am rather sure that most of them will neither read it, nor believe it if they DO read it. However, if I can open the eyes of even one person, then I shall look upon the commentary as a success. Here, then, follows my argument as to why getting the vaccination jab is vital, and far better than the alternatives:

I got my second Pfizer jab over two weeks ago. Since I had covid in 2020, my first shot made me sick as a dog for two weeks. The second one I barely noticed. I did have a bit of fatigue, and a couple of smallish headaches in the week following, but that was it.
I STRONGLY recommend to everyone that if you can get the jab…get it. It does not matter if it is the two shot versions, such a Pfizer or Moderna, or the one and done, J&J jab. While there is much publicity when someone has a bad reaction, a lot of press does not mean there is actual danger there. Right now tens of millions of people have been vaccinated, and the number of people who have had serious issues is in the very low thousands. The reality is that you are many times more likely to be injured or killed in a car crash on your way to get the shot than you are to suffer injury from the vaccination itself.


Remember…the news media tends to focus close attention on whatever event will get them the most viewers…ignoring the entire picture. So, it is very easy to believe that the dangers are greater than they really are. Let me give you a specific example. Last Summer there were the VERY VISIBLE protests by BLM over the George Floyd murder. From the news coverage, one would think that all of Minneapolis/St. Paul was being burned to the ground. However, as this link shows, it was a tiny part of the city, and a very small number of buildings actually damaged.
yet, these events caused weapons sales to skyrocket in America, caused many to call for preemptive strikes to deal with a coming race war, and a general feeling of fear and hate that is still with us today.


NOT getting the vaccine is, in my opinion, a very selfish act. Why? Because…with out it, a person remains vulnerable to catching Covid, and distributing it to family and friends. The person who gets it up front might not die from it, or, for that matter, even feel ill…but they could kill or maim friends and family all around them.


Another reason is that Covid mutates, and is becoming better at infecting others. The ONLY time it can mutate like that, though, is when it enters a host and starts reproducing. The host’s immune system might knock out the weaker strains of the virus and allow only the stronger versions to survive. That is why we are now seeing spikes from a new version of Covid, that is better at infecting people, and as such is striking far more folks of a younger age.


Finally, there is the reality that while “only” a few percent of people that get Covid die…a huge percentage (I have seen estimates as high as 70%) of the people who get it and survive are left with permanent organ damage that will impact the length of their lives – shortening their life, increase the probability that they will be hit with other diseases, and, that they will end up needing far more, expensive, hospital care than they would have. And that, folks, is the BEST case. There are reports of significant numbers of folks who continue to suffer symptoms of Covid for months, and perhaps years after having had it – the so-called “Long Haulers”. There are reports of people who have had such damage from Covid that they have been permanently disabled because of the damage done to their bodies and brains.


Are these chances YOU are willing to take? Are these chances you are willing to inflict on your aging parents, grandparents or friends? Are these chances that you are willing to inflict on the members of your family that might be immune compromised? Remember, as of today, over 567,000 Citizens have died of this virus, and we have a long way to go before it is under control. Many of these people also were skeptical that Covid 19 was anything other than a bad flu, or, a hoax. There have been multiple reports of people saying, up to the moment of death, that they did not believe the virus was real.

I got the jab as soon as I possibly could because my answer to the previous questions was a resounding “no“. I hope that all who read this, who are still holding out for a “safer” vaccination, or believe that they are so healthy that they will NEVER get it, will seriously consider what I have said…understand that Covid does not care what you think, want or believe or how strong you think your immune system and healthy your life is. It WILL infect you if given the chance. It is becoming more and more likely every day that EVERY citizen is a target and there is no guard against it. I suggest a better course of action is to face your fears. Do not let them control your actions. Do the SMART thing and get the vaccination, if not for yourself, for the people you care for. The worst of the reactions to the vaccine, as reported so far is still orders of magnitude less difficult than dealing with getting Covid and all the ramifications that means..

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Automation in today’s world! The Tsunami is coming…Our lifeboat may be the UBI

First off, I am going to link to a general overview of the advancement of automation in the world. When watching this Video, I suggest you pay attention to the factory floor in particular. Count the number of skilled and semi-skilled human workers you see…and then remember…this can and will spread throughout the world. Why? Because people are expensive, far from trouble free, and often unreliable. There is a much larger profit margin when machines do the work.
An overview of automation in industry

3d printing small, inexpensive homes.

In my first example, I am looking at the technology of 3d printing, which has leapt forwards in the past decade. In the 1990s, these printers were toys, expensive toys with limited abilities. Today, though, we see printers that are very affordable, that can produce items on demand that are surface ready to be used. The size of the printers has scaled up by huge amounts too. Today, it is possible to have a giant printer installed on your job site, and over the period of a day or two, print, out of concrete, the shell of a complete house. While this is still very new technology, it is already in use in a number of places. The result of this innovation? We go from a crew of a dozen or more skilled workers to one person at a computer screen. While it is true that this is still very new technology, it is already in use in a number of places. The costs are tiny, compared to conventional construction, also, as pointed out in the linked article. Here is an example of the growth of the industry.

Note, too, that, the same sort of automation is taking over the job of bricklayers and masons. The current bricklaying robots do a far faster and equally good job as the most skilled humans…and for a pittance of the cost.
The Bricklaying robot at work.

As another example…I had to have some blood tests done the other day. The lab has upgraded since the last time I was there, and, instead of talking with one or more office workers to get logged in, and update my insurance information, I stood at a touch screen on a pedestal, with a built in scanner, and tapped answers out to a series of questions. Upon being prompted, I placed my insurance cards under the scanner, and new images were captured and stored in their computers. I did notice that there were at least two fewer people in the office there, and I wondered…where did they go?

One final example…in many fast food restaurants, when one walks in, instead of several people behind the counter, taking orders, there is ONE person. Scattered around the entryway are a number of touch pads similar to the one I used at the Lab. We, the consumer, have to go tap in our order on these pads, then, the one person behind the counter does their single job…collects payment for the order. However, the work of automation is not limited to simply collecting orders. Already there is a thriving market for robots that will actually prepare the food. Here, for example, is a promotional video for a robot that takes batter at one end, and, spits out perfectly cooked doughnuts at the other! It is not just doughnuts, either.

Here is an article about “Flippy the Robot”, a machine that cooks hamburgers!

While all these technological advances are spectacular, and will change life, hopefully for the better, it is an undeniable issue that these and many other inroads to human-based tasks will cause many workers to be out of a job. What do we do about this? Do we ignore it, and let them starve, to eliminate the excess population? Or, do we take a lesson from the Preamble of the Constitution, where the Founding Fathers made it crystal clear that a responsibility of society is to ensure the welfare of all citizens. I do not mean by this that they should be on Government aid for their lives, but, rather, that it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that every citizen is protected from some level of economic or food-related disaster. Because of this interpretation, I have come to the understanding that it is past time to implement a Universal Basic Income for Citizens. The details are fuzzy still, but, in general, it should be enough cash to ensure that every person receiving it is above the Poverty Line.

Now…how do we pay for this? I suggest there are several major sources of funding that are untapped at the moment.

  1. By implementing automation, every manufacturer sees a significant jump in profits. Right now, a majority of those monies tend to go to the owners and upper level management of the companies. It is, in a very real sense, a windfall profit. I suggest that these profits should be taxed and collected by the government as partial funding for the UBI.
  2. The Republicant administrations are famous for coming in and giving huge tax benefits to the very rich. This allows them to hoard money, and avoid paying a more equitable share of the expenses of the country. As an example, I point out the Occupier of the Oval Office from the previous administration. Over the past decade or so, his tax lawyers have used focused loopholes and shenanigans that were not really illegal, but were certainly shady, to ensure that this man, who claimed to be a multi-billionaire, paid either no taxes or a pittance. In two years of his administration he paid only around $750/year in taxes. This, in spite of income up in the millions. when I was working, I would pull in $20,000 a year…and have to write a check to the government for $2,000 of that off the top. Is that equitable? Or is it a perfect example of the powerful getting a free ride because of their influence? I am inclined to go with the free ride explanation. So, I strongly support the idea of rescinding the tax cuts for the very rich, and closing many of the loopholes currently used to avoid paying taxes. Even by doing this, the very rich will will still have more money than most of us can imagine, and their lifestyles will not suffer greatly.
  3. I would look at the Social Security funding. IF the UBI were to replace Social Security, then, those funds could be added to the funding for it. I suspect, from my conversations with many folks, that if this change were to happen, it would be a significant increase in income from current Social Security amounts.
  4. I would seriously look at military funding. Right now, America spends as much as the sum total of the next 10 countries on the descending list of expenditures. Are we truly safer for this huge expenditure? Are the funds being spent in an appropriate manner, and is there oversight and auditing? I suggest that the answers to these questions is a resounding “no”. America has been the policeman of the world for decades. While I think that is a valuable service, I do NOT think that we should be the major player here. I support both cutting back on the funding of the military as well as better oversight, AND, a closer relationship to the UN, so, we can let THEM be the policeman of the world.

Will these happen in a rational fashion? I expect not. I suspect that we, as a society, will let the sttus quo rumble along, until there are so many desperate, poverty stricken people who used to have a decent quality of life, that we see a “French Revolution” break out against the very rich. This would be a bad thing, and an unnecessary thing…so I hope that cooler heads will prevail.

God Help Us All!

Be Safe, wear your mask, wash your hands well, practice social distancing…and get your vaccination shots.

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, General, General Thoughts, Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting through the Ashes, part 39 – Economics

Greetings and Salutations;

I was just involved in an interesting discussion about taxes and thought I would expand a bit on my opinions here. A major issue in America is the income/wealth gap between the richest and poorest citizens. This is a topic that brings up much discussion when it arises, as the obvious solution is to lower that gap size. I address this in more detail later on in this essay. As such, I am going to address the question “Does great wealth/income disparity help or hurt society?” and, how can we fix the problem.

I argue that a wealth gap does hurt society as a whole. When it reaches a certain point, it no longer is an incentive for increased production, nor, does it reflect accurately, the contribution that the very wealthy make to society. I point you to this article as an interesting discussion of the issue.


I maintain that in today’s society, the economic leverage that the very rich have (and here I am including corporations, although they are a separate issue), allows them to exploit the workers. They are able to undercut the systems that workers fought for over the decades, such as unions, fair hiring practices, and regulations on work. This ends up with workers that are underpaid, but desperate to keep their job because the effects of losing that job are far greater than the enforced poverty and abuse they endure. It can result in employees forced to work in hazardous conditions. Is this erosion of compensation, benefits, and protection good for society, though? I maintain it is not. While it may result in far greater profits reaped by the rich, the money ends up tucked away in investments and offshore accounts, where it ceases to help society as a whole, and benefits ONLY the rich. These actions have the long term effect of damaging worker morale, causing productivity loss, and a degradation of their quality of life…It leads to the dystopian view presented by the situation of the Eloi and the Moorlocks in H. G. Well’s precautionary tale “The Time Machine”.


In the late 1800s/early 1900s as the Industrial Revolution was spinning up, we had such figures as J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, the Rockefellers, and the like, who were either “Robber Barons” or “Captains of Industry” depending on one’s point of view. They lived lives of unimaginable luxury. Carnegie, for example had so much money he was able to build and fund libraries and schools all across the United States. And yet, during that time, the wealth gap was in the vicinity of 70 times from the lower to the higher economic class. Today, it is up in the vicinity of 400 times…and, frankly, I see damn few of these current robber barons using their fortunes to improve America. Here is an interesting examination of that time in America.

Since that period, though, the wealth of the country has undergone a large shift, leaving the Middle Class behind, and losing ground. More and more of this tier of society are finding themselves slipping into poverty and going from some level of economic security, to living from paycheck to paycheck, and having to decide which bills get paid this month. Today, for example, there is not one state in the Union where a single person, holding a minimum wage job, can afford safe, secure housing. More and more it takes both partners in a relationship working full time to have sufficient income to have any level of economic security. Here is a more detailed look at how the wealth in America has migrated since 1900 and how it is affecting society. It is, alas, not a pretty picture. However, it does, fairly clearly, point out the negative impacts of an increasing wealth gap on society, and, how the money flow has changed in the past 120 years or so.

In the Bible, there is a saying “To them that much has been given, Of them much will be required”. This is not a concept that was created new by those writers, either. It has been around, perhaps, as long as homo sapiens has walked the Earth. If we go back to near prehistoric times, there is a tradition that the best hunters would share their kills with the entire tribe…and NOT keep all of the riches to themselves. This same attitude persists in some cultures today, thousands of years later. The end result is that the tribe, as a whole, prospers. No small group is hoarding wealth, nor are any in danger of dying from starvation… So, yes, I do think that the very rich should carry the lion’s share of the burden of keeping America a great place to live.


I remind us that up to the Reagan Administration, we had tax rates of up to 90%, and far fewer loopholes than exist today. There were two major features of that period of American history. 1) Most Americans had a level of financial security that allowed one person, working a 9 to 5 job, to own a home, and support a family, and STILL have money for luxuries, vacations and the like. 2) America’s growth in the area of industrialization and technology boomed and brought us to a point where we were the world’s leader in those fields. Granted there were issues galore to deal with, but, from an economic standpoint, America was in a very positive place for MOST citizens. Reagan’s “reforms” of the tax code though, cut the rates for the rich, made little changes for the rest of us, and left America slipping onto a slick, downhill slide that has resulted in economic problems of amazing magnitude.

So…how can we fix the problems? Do we become a “Communist State”, where the government owns everything, and doles out wealth on an “as needed” basis? Well, no…This rapidly becomes a dystopian nightmare, as history has shown us time and time again. The people in charge, having no serious limits to their power, ALWAYS pump money and power to their friends, and ignore the needs of the country as a whole. There are several other somewhat similar forms of government, that all boil down to a dictatorship with a few in charge of the power and wealth, and the rest being dependent on their largesse. The end result of this path is almost inevitably an armed revolution that brings a bloodbath, and overthrows the existing rulers, only to allow equally bad rulers to take their place. I point out the Russian Revolution against the Tzar, The French Revolution, and the the Cultural Revolution in China as three examples of this sort of failure. I, though, have come to appreciate and support the idea of Democratic Socialism, such as advocated by Bernie Sanders all these years. Here is a somewhat idealized goal of this form of government, laid out for our edification and education. While this link does lay out the ultimate goal, it is not terribly far off. I have seen a number of employee-owned businesses in my life, and, in general, they are far better for the workers than the more typical, pure capitalistic model. They create far fewer very rich folks, but, they do ensure that all workers are adequately compensated. In addition, they tend to improve productivity, because we ALL will work harder to make something we have skin in a success, than some job that is just a paycheck to us.

For me, the question is this: “How much money does one person need?”. Just off the top of my head, if someone were to write me a check for, say, $5 million, free and clear, it would not only take care of my wife and my needs for the rest of our lives, but, it would provide me with resources to improve the world in many ways. That sounds like a lot of money, I know…but, it is less than 6 minutes from the Military’s budget. It is less than Jeff Bezos is compensated in half an hour. It is about what Bill Gates increases his fortune at over a 4.3 hour period. It is somewhat less than Devos collects in 10 Days or less. And, I am talking about a one-time payment here. Just putting it in the bank would generate nearly enough income to take care of many of the bills. So how much money does one person NEED? I certainly understand that wants far outstrip needs. I might WANT $1 billion. but, would I NEED it?

Would this change fix all the problems of society? Of course not. No one is claiming that. But, those that have great wealth shouldering more of the costs of society will ensure that the vast income gap present today will shrink a bit, and fewer Americans will end up in economic insecurity. Even if tax rates on the very rich were raised to 50%, and many of the loopholes were closed, they would still have the resources at hand to ensure that their family would not have to work for several generations out from today. Add to that increased compensation for most Americans, and prosperity could return to some extent. As a part of these changes, though, I also support a Universal Basic Income, to be paid to all Americans, and to be paid for by increased tax revenues. I believe this is a vital part of an equitable society because automation is expanding into new fields, and as such, we are going to see far fewer jobs in the fairly near future. I have written a short essay on the effects of Automation, and why the UBI is a vital part of dealing with it. What will those people whose jobs disappear because software can do them more cheaply do to keep the wolf from the door? I have written another essay on automation and how it is affecting reality in a greater and greater way, so will not repeat that here. Sufficient to say, there are very few jobs that will be left that robots cannot perform more cheaply, and quicker than humans. I am not arguing that these changes are all bad. These changes can result in a more hassle free, and quicker experience. However, the question remains…what happened to the people that are no longer working? Are they forced on to welfare now? Are they living with relatives and scraping by as Uber or DoorDash drivers? Would their lives be improved with a UBI, and would they find it easier to walk away from work that exploits them? I maintain the answer to these questions is a solid Yes.

There are equitable ways to address the issues of wealth inequities in America. However, they face formidable opposition, based not on logic, or, rational thought, but, alas, rather such factors as ignorance, greed, and the indoctrination against the changes via massive propaganda campaigns. In spite of this, I remain firmly convinced that, without some significant changes in American Society to deal with the wealth gap, the future is dark. I do not want America to add another revolution, such as I touched on before, to the pages of history. They are always a bloody, unfair, and wasteful way to implement change. Rather I would like to see wisdom and compromise used to evolve us to a society that is more fair for all citizens…. In discussing these issues in social media, I run into a fair number of people who maintain that the Government has no call to engage in any of these actions…as it has no responsibility for its citizens. I find this premise specious, for several reasons.

  1. In the Constitution, the very root of this country and its laws, the founding fathers wrote this preamble..
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Note, especially, the phrase “Promote the General Welfare”. This, in my view does not mean be a nanny state and put everyone on Federal Aid. Rather, it means to me that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that All citizens are protected from such poverty and need that it endangers their lives.
  2. There are some very valid arguments about certain responsibilities the Government has to its citizens…and these go far beyond being a military power, or a colonial power. Here is a well put discussion of three of those responsibilities.
  3. The words of the Preamble to the Constitution also call for the government to ensure that all citizens are equally treated by society and the law. Obviously this ideal has NEVER been reached in the area of ethic relations, or, for that matter in terms of economic stability and security. Perhaps it is past time that we, citizens, pick up that “Good Trouble” that generations past have raised, and push America forwards towards what it should be…not what it is.

Because of the attempts of the fascists to destroy America during the previous administration, the damage that administration did to both the economy and America’s standing in the world, the terrible costs of the Pandemic that struck the world in 2020, and the rise in extremism (which I have written about elsewhere) in America, we are in a very fragile moment in our history. The question right now is this: “What will we do about it?” Will we accept the status quo as the only possible path? Will we work to push America back to a path closer to what the Founding Fathers envisioned? Will we shrug our shoulders at the toll economic disaster and disease is taking on our citizens, even as it increases in coming years? Or will will work to elect Federal and local administrators that will take the Preamble of the Constitution to heart, and actually change our path to a more positive one?

A very wise man said “All that is required for Evil to succeed is for people of good will to do nothing”. If we do nothing, I weep for the future of America.

Pleasant Dreams.

God Help Us All!

Be Safe, wear your mask, wash hands properly, practice social distancing!

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Cosmology, Ethics, Family, Food, General Thoughts, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment