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Free Speech, Consequences, and America

Since the news is full of reporting of, and commentary about, the lawsuit by Dominion Voting Machines against Fox News for defamation of character, this question was posted to Facebook a day or so ago:

Should news organizations have free speech protections from tort claims if they knowingly distort facts?

This produced a lengthy and thoughtful analysis of the problem, which I will quote. Note that my reply follows, but, I have interspersed some remarks into the comment by BL:

BL: We need to have a lot of latitude in protection for free speech. Certainly, offensive speech should not be restricted. In fact, it is offensive speech that has the most need to be protected. Obscene content is another matter, but only the most extreme content should be restricted. Also, it must be obvious that political speech should not be restricted. It also must be quite protected. Expressions such as art and performance art and entertainment must be protected. So what should not qualify as free speech? (This is a difficult issue to clarify, especially as regards obscene content. Justice Stewart Potter, in a 1964 case, said “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.” HERE is a more detailed discussion of the issue… Because obscene content is rather subjective, restricting it is a very narrow and uncertain path to follow)

Speech and expression which is dangerous or that fundamentally interferes. Examples are speech related to inciting or organizing criminal activity and expression which impedes vital actions risking health, safety, or basic government processes such as courts, and legislatures. Intentional lies which cause harm or create risk also should not qualify as free speech. (The SCOTUS agrees with this definition, and, has ruled, in addition, that “Fighting Words” are not covered either)

I don’t think Fox News has any responsibility for inciting the Jan 6th violence or inciting the next possible coup attempt based on broadcasts I’ve seen. Yes, I’m very much offended that Fox News seems to love the idea of the USA becoming an authoritarian dictatorship, but I would not want to see such speech blocked. My hope would be that Americans would wake up and stop watching Fox.

On the other hand, it sure seems like Fox News lied a lot about Dominion. Because Dominion is a major maker of voting equipment in the world and the world looks to the USA as an example of democracy (or did at least) Dominion suffered real harm. It does seem like $1.6B is reasonable.

The Fox News sources are horrible about this election fraud issue. Even a high school newspaper should be expected to do a better job checking sources. “We found a crazy person that talked to another crazy person and decided to put them on the air” is a poor defense. That’s especially true when the lies are repeated over and over again. (This is very true. Recent evidence uncovered shows that Sidney Powell got her “evidence” of voter fraud and a stolen election from a single source, who, states that she has “had the strangest dreams since I was a little girl….I was internally decapitated, and yet, I live….The Wind tells me I’m a ghost, but I don’t believe it.” HERE is an article delving further into this chaotic fantasy world.)

If it’s supposed to be entertainment similar to SNL then Fox News should have included the source details. I think a good argument could have been made for protected free speech satire if Fox News had broadcast that the only supporting evidence was a person who dreamed and/or heard voices in the wind. If they ran that kind of clip over and over again I would agree that it should be protected speech just like SNL satire is protected.” (Satire and humor is, indeed protected speech. However, Fox has, from day one, presented itself as a valid news source, practicing Journalism. I address this in greater detail below)

My observations and reply are as follows: While it is certainly tempting to reply “no” to the original question, I think that “yes” is preferable (and it does pain me to say that. Mr. BL. makes some very valid points in his thoughtful comment. I do have a slightly different viewpoint on the part played by Fox in the events of Jan 6. So, let us dive into it.

  1. The first issue that comes to mind is the answer to this question: “What standards should a NEWS organization be held to?” There is an excellent Wikipedia essay that addresses what minimum standards should apply. As long as I have been aware of the issue, I have held to the standard that an organization that calls itself a “News Organization” should adhere to some basic standards of accuracy, ethics, objectivity, truthfulness and honesty. Now, in the very small amounts of time that Fox actually reports the news, they do come fairly close to the standards laid out in the article I linked to. However, even then, their reporting often lacks objectivity.
  2. The rest of their broadcast time is filled with commentators and analysts, who, even if they claim to be journalists, are so far away from those standards that even the James Webb telescope could not find them. They are NOT Journalists, but rather propagandists pushing a very Right-Wing view of reality. This view depends purely on emotional reactions, outrage, and anger. It rarely has any actual evidence included to support their claims. Another piece of evidence as to their true nature is the fact that here, in America, a Federal judge has ruled that anyone who listens to Tucker Carlson should have to understand he never sticks to the truth, and is purely entertainment. This, by the way, is made an even stronger case because the lawyers from Fox agreed with and supported the judge’s ruling.
  3. As for Fox’s role in the Insurrection of Jan 6, I agree, in general, that none of the on air personalities at Fox called for an attack on the Capitol. At least, so far, there is no evidence of this happening. However, in its role as the propaganda outlet of the Republican Party, the organization amplified the false claims of a stolen election spewed by #45, and pushed the idea that that Democrats had engaged in underhanded actions to take the election away from #45. This pushing lies continued through 2020, and, even continues today. This unquestioning broadcast ensured that the cultists in the insurrection movement were continually bombarded with the same lies, programming them to take up arms on the 6th. This supported four years of #45 pushing the idea that the voting systems in America were broken, and the only way he could lose the 2020 election was if serious fraud went on, keeping this Big Lie fresh in their minds, and continually blinding them to alternative, more truthful realities. HERE is a discussion about these false claims made by Fox Anchors, and, the half-hearted job done, when called on the lies, to deny them. HERE is a fairly objective analysis of the lies, and possible motivations for Fox’s actions as 2020 came to a close.

Should this expose Fox to criminal and civil penalties, though? My interpretation is that Fox has, without question, engaged in disseminating lies to push an agenda as well as “Fighting Words” to escalate the possibility of violence; They have failed to live up to the journalistic standards that should be at least the minimum levels of honesty, accuracy and ethical behavior to be treated as a news organization; They have failed to engage in even the most rudimentary fact checking, as well as deliberately NOT offered any push back on the lies they were spewing. In my view this makes the organization an unindicted co-conspirator in the events of Jan 6th. I doubt that they would be subject to criminal prosecution, because they are in the grey shadow of that line, and that would be a very difficult case to win. I think, though, that a civil case could be brought against them and would have an excellent chance of success, based on current information.
I will say that I would like to see some sort of punishment dealt out for their support of lies over truth. Whether that is loss of their broadcast license, or fines imposed by the FCC does not matter that much to me…

God Help Us All!

Be safe; wear your mask; wash your hands; social distance; and get vaccinated.


  1. Fox filled their broadcast streams with images of #45, making those insane claims about voter fraud, etc. This was, at least until the very last moments of the administration broadcast without any fact checking or analysis. And, of course, while it appears from current evidence that many of the on-air personalities did not believe for a moment the claims were true, they would, day after day, push these same lies, supporting #45’s claims, and demonizing Democrats. This demonstrates, again, they are propagandists, and not journalists. This also means that their words cannot be trusted.
  2. Fox may not have caused the insurrection, but their actions clearly supported the speech that led to it, and, what is possibly worse, have left a significant number of citizens with the belief that the existing election systems are not to be trusted. I shall not discuss how wrong this attitude is here, as it is trivial to use Google to find discussions, backed up with solid evidence debunking those claims. My current feeling is that they might not have help light the fires of insurrection that shook our country two years ago, but they sure did bring gasoline to it. This continues today, with the company pushing the lie that the events of Jan 6th were not an insurrection, and, doing their best to attempt to produce evidence that undercuts what many American’s saw on that terrible day.

Now then…should they be free to broadcast blatant lies? Per my previous comments, my belief is “yes, but not without consequences”. I would like to see the FCC pull their broadcast license, at the very least. I kind of regret that the FCC has no power to regulate streaming content, but, that is reality right now. I would like to see regulations put in place that require a so-called News Organization to adhere to basic, journalistic standards when reporting the news, AND, clearly label commentary and opinion when they broadcast it. I believe that the country as a whole has been injured by their actions, in that the destruction of trust in the election system is a huge step towards allowing a fascist state to take over control. As such, if it were possible, I would like to see them sanctioned…and perhaps shut down. However, I also want that to NOT happen until the Dominion lawsuit has finished up, and, the penalties have been paid

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

Train Wrecks and Regulations!

Creator: Gene J. Puskar | Credit: AP
Copyright: Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Greetings and Salutations…

I was poking around on the Social Media site Quora, and ran across an interesting question. It proved to be interesting enough that I thought I would add an essay here discussing it.

The Post’s article is very carefully written. Having read through it, I have to disagree with their evaluation that the regulation changes by the #45 administration would not have had an effect on the derailment. The Post carefully states that none of the changes they found “CAUSED” the derailment. Their wording seems to me to be saying that they are looking for a single cause for the disaster. I look at the fact checking in the article, and I agree that there was not ONE cause of the accident. However, I see several issues that, together, did cause the accident.

In reading the article, though, I see how it does point up some issues that the general, Republican opposition to regulation HAVE caused. Some of these are:

  • The definition of a “toxic train” is lacking merit. It requires, far more tankers of the chemicals to be in the train before extra safety precautions would kick in. I am of the opinion that if there are ANY tankers carrying toxic or flammable materials in the train, it should kick in the stringent regulations. Right now, though, the regulations define ” a “high-hazard flammable unit train” (HHFUT) as a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling speeds at greater than 30 mph.” from THIS Federal document. The New Palestine train, by the way, had 20 tankers filled with flammable liquids, and was traveling at a speed of 47 MPH.
  • This article does not address the problem, but from THIS article there were three heat sensors along the 30 mile stretch of track before the derailment. As the article shows, each one showed what should have been a worrisome increase in bearing temperature. It looks to me that there are two problems here. First off, putting sensors up to 20 miles apart seems unwise, considering how rapidly a failing bearing can destroy itself. Perhaps units every five miles would be a more sane option. Secondly, the second sensor showed a distinct upwards trend in bearing temperature. This should have triggered concerns for the crew. In addition, the temperature that did trigger the warning, at the third sensor, was far too high. By that point in time, the bearing was self-destructing, and friction was increasing rapidly… The NTSB has released a preliminary report, HERE, that discusses aspects of the derailment, too.

Creator: Gene J. Puskar | Credit: AP
Copyright: Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
  • The presence of the Ethylene oxide is discounted in the article, because it is not directly connected to the derailment. However, looking at the disaster a whole, it magnified the damage done and long-term effects by an order of magnitude, at least. As such, the presence of the toxic, flammable mixture should not be ignored. Of course, the Governor’s decision to set the spilled chemical on fire should be scrutinized tool. Covering the area with clouds of rather toxic smoke seems like a bad idea to me.
  • The Safety Audits of routes used for carrying hazardous chemicals were halted in the #45 administration. This is not listed as a proximate cause of the derailment, but, heavily traveled routes take a huge pounding constantly, and, it only takes one section of uninspected railway to trigger an event like this.
  • The article reports the previous administration had changed the allowed time for a train to sit, without line pressure, from four hours to 24 hours. This may or may not have been a factor in the derailment. Apparently Canada regulations allow a 24 hour delay, and, in cases were the train car is being worked on, that can extend to 80 hours. However, this train did have a purely pneumatic braking system, which is less safe than the Electronic system being proposed. For example, the New Palestine train was over 9000 feet long – with 149 cars in it. When the engineer applied the brakes on that train, it took upwards of
  • Because of the poor regulations dealing with the amount of toxic chemicals allowed in a train, there were no electronic brakes in use. IF this regulation change had not happened, there would likely have been such brakes on much of the train…which would have made a huge difference in the derailment. This change is especially important with the rather longer trains rolling today. This Article talks about how pneumatic brakes work on trains, and is useful to read. In short, for a train as long as the New Palestine train, it could take nearly 30 seconds for the last car in the train to start applying its brakes. The car with the bad bearing was the 23d car, which means that if it derailed due to bearing failure, there would be the weight of over 100 fully loaded cars pushing on it,and getting dragged off the track with it. Even the fact that there was a second engine module part way down the train that would have provided braking, that is still a LOT of weight trying to push the cars ahead down the track.
  • There is one more issue that has been in the news recently, but was not addressed in any of the sources I have linked to. That is the issue of how the railroad companies treat their employees. The companies tend to require lengthy shifts without respite from their workers, and, refuse to give them, for example paid sick days. This can cause fatigue issues, and, folks coming in to work when they are ill. Working the railroad is demanding, hard work, and rather dangerous, still. So, any issues that impact the ability of the workers to be at the top of their game can cause pretty nasty problems. As it is early times yet, the physical state of the engineer and other workers on the train has not been released. However, I will say that from all I have read, they did perform well in this emergency, following the protocols on how to deal with the problem.

My conclusion is that, while the facts in the article are correct, as far as they go, I do not agree with the conclusions that the article comes to. Deregulation is never a good thing for citizens, and this collection of issues (which could have been dealt with by either proper regulations, or the enforcement of existing regulations), came together to create the disaster that is impacting New Palestine.

So, what could be done to cut down on the chances of this happening again?

  1. The railroad companies should be required to start a program to retrofit all rolling stock with the electronic braking system.
  2. The requirements for defining a Hazardous transport train should, as I noted above, be tightened up to define ANY train with even one car transporting flammable/hazardous chemicals as a Hazardous Transport.
  3. the criteria for warning for a failing bearing should be upgraded. Instead of a simple temperature measurement, the temperature trend should be included in the evaluation. If several sensors in a row show increasing temperatures, an alarm should sound, even if the overall temperature has not reached the currently defined danger point.
  4. There should be requirements for many more sensors for detecting overheating bearings. There should be a lot more of them spaced much closer together.
  5. The workers should have their work environment changed to be less stressful, and exhausting, and, they should have the flexibility to deal with physical issues without being required to drag into work.

The railroads can certainly afford some or all of these changes. For example, last year (2022), their profits were $700 billion. This is, by half a billion dollars a record profit for them. Did they spend any of that money on fixing any of the issues I have talked about above? No, they did not. They spent a chunk of it on stock buy backs, thereby enriching their stockholders.

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

“Wants” and “Needs”…and how we have lost sight of the difference.

Greetings and Salutations;

It is odd and interesting, how comments one makes on Social Media come back to haunt us sometimes, months or years after they were posted. The old saying is “The Internet never forgets. This has been proven true time and time again! About a year ago, a Frenchman posted a question about American Political factions….and I spoke to it…. Here is the original question and my response.

EB: Hello Dudes. What mean socialism in USA ? a sort of Communism ? We have an another meaning in France 🇫🇷. [1y]

Dave Mundt: EB: Not so much communism, it is Democratic Socialism. Its focus is to ensure that ALL Americans have an equal chance at a good life. This includes a Universal living wage, universal healthcare, better quality schools, and taxing the people that can both afford it without noticing the difference (and who mostly use all the loopholes built into the tax code to avoid paying taxes at all. (1y)

And here, a year later, someone found this post of mine, and felt moved to comment on it. I thought his observation was an interesting starting point for another (long overdue) blog essay, so, dove into it.

Dave Mundt: CP: I hear you, but, history shows us that is not a likely path that would be followed. THis table gives tax rates from 2021 to 1862. Note that as recently as 1985 the top tax rate was 50%. In 1970, the top tax rate was 70%. Only a few years earlier, in 1962, the top tax rate was 90%. In spite of these tax rates, we have seen continual, huge growth in commercial and industrial enterprises; We have seen at least some improvements in the financial situation of most Americans; We had amazing science programs funded by public and private funds; and the number of millionaires has grown steadily. [On the down side, this growth has increased the wealth gap to a huge amount, and, has eroded the Middle Class down to a shadow of its former self. This is bringing us a boat-load of OTHER problems that will require attention sooner than later]

It is my observation that people will continue to acquire money, no matter how much they have, or how much they have to pay in taxes. In modern days, I point out the billionaires, such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the like. In spite of having such wealth that they can throw money away as if it was used toilet paper, they continue to acquire more and more wealth. Some, I will say, have reached a level of mindfulness that they are using a goodly chunk of their assets to quietly fund projects that help many of the more economically challenged folks (Bill Gates, for example). Others use their amazing wealth for recreational purposes that benefit almost no one (Elon Musk, for example, with his rocket trip to near space). In times past, though, some of these ultra rich had a much more progressive attitude towards their wealth. Look, for example, at the Robber Barons of the 1800s and early 1900s. Henry Ford paid the workers at his factory far more than they could get anywhere else. A couple of reasons for this were that he knew that someone had to buy his cars…and if the many people he employed were not paid enough to buy a car, that was the loss of a HUGE market. Also, he understood that the least costly way to run a business is to build a competent team that was loyal to the company. Continual turnover because of poor wages was a terrible expense, because hiring new people, and getting them trained ate a lot of time (impacting productivity), cost significant amounts of money (because, again, productivity would slump because the new workers did not know how to do the job), and workers that hated the company can cause productivity to grind to a halt. He took these actions in spite of the fact that they certainly cut down on his personal fortune by a fair chunk of cash.

As another example, Andrew Carnegie took the millions he retained, built and supplied books for, thousands of libraries and Universities around the country. Why did he do this? A major reason was that he understood that a well educated working class cut costs by huge amounts, when bringing in workers and training them. Also, he realized that a well educated population could find creative solutions to problems in his manufacturing process that could eliminate the roadblocks and jump productivity.

When I discuss the issue of amazing wealth with people, one of the questions I always ask is this: “how much money does a person NEED?” In both the cases I laid out above, it is likely that these owners (and the thousands of other “Captains of Industry” flourishing in America who made similar decisions) ended up with some percentage LESS money in their bank account than they might have. Yet, in spite of this, they lived lives of privilege, and luxury that would amaze us, even today. As a continuation of my original question…I go on to make this point, and ask another question: “Let us say that tax rates are high enough that, for example, a billionaire is forced to purchase a yacht that is 200 feet long, instead of 250 feet long. Or, can only purchase 10 opulant houses in different areas of the world, instead of 15 houses. Are these limitations truly causing their lives to be unpleasant?” My immediate reaction is “no, because, I find it difficult, at the very least, to believe that their life would be BETTER if they could have the 15 houses, or bigger boat” They may WANT a larger boat, or more houses, but do they NEED them?

One of the first lessons I recall my parents teaching me was that there are “Wants” and “Needs” that we will have in our lives. They taught me that not only is the gap between them fairly large, but, when push comes to shove, “Wants” are a luxury that we likely will not miss if they are not part of our life. However, if our “Needs” are not met, it can have serious consequences for our lives.

However, over the past half century or so, I believe the difference between the two concepts has been lost. The roots of this evolution of language and attitude were planted in the social upheaval caused by the Hippies in the 1960s. The two concepts flew closer when, in 1986, during a commencement address at the University of California, Berkeley School of Business, given by Ivan Boesky, he commented on the beneficial side of greed. Considering that subsequently, he went to prison for insider trading, perhaps the wrong lesson came from his remarks. Today, alas, too many people do not seem to understand that there is a difference between the concepts of “Want” and “Need” ..leading us to the situation where if a person WANTS something, then, by definition they NEED that thing. This change in attitude has brought society to the point where many Americans are drowning in debt, because they WANTED something, and got it…without considering if they NEEDED that thing. This same problem has affected the richest of the rich in America also. Harking back to my earlier examples…too many of the very rich believe that because they WANT that bigger boat, or those 15 mansions, they, by definition, NEED these things. It even affects their fortune building. Because they WANT to have the label of the richest person in the world, they mistake that for NEEDING to be the richest person in the world. What, I wonder does having that title actually bring to their life? Does it mean they are better people? Do they get joy from it? I submit that the title changes nothing except that they may see their name in the media a few times…and even that will vanish at the drop of a hat.

What are some of the effects on society of this erosion of meaning I have been discussing? I submit there are several, all of which are negative forces that stress our ability as a society to move in a positive direction, and, create a world for our citizens that is truly a good place for them to live.

  1. As I mentioned before, too many Americans end up with possessions that are useless to them, and add huge amounts to their debt load, because they do not understand or support our two concepts. One of my habits is to tour through local thrift shops off and on. It is amazing to me to see the very expensive items that have been donated…items that have obviously NEVER been touched after they were purchased. I have found a number of books, for example, that still had uncut pages, and might well have been unopened before I got them.
  2. The tendency of the very rich to hoard wealth takes it out of circulation, meaning that it can no longer boost the fortunes of citizens. I read an analysis some time ago, I believe in Forbes, but it could have been another money-oriented magazine, that made the point that the average dollar passes through 10 hands when it is spent. Each time that dollar changes hands it tends to improve the life it touches.
  3. Hoarding wealth is responsible for today’s huge wealth gap in America. As of 2018, according to this report from Pew Research, The wealth gap between the poorest Americans and the wealthiest Americans was over 500%. In comparison, by the by, the wealth gap of the Robber Barons was in the vicinity of 70%. Why is this bad? A couple of things spring to mind. First off, when the Middle Class (who is losing ground badly) sees the Upper economic class making gains by leaps and bounds, it generates frustration, resentment, and anger in the Middle economic class. Secondly, it can cause a drop in productivity that hurts everyone.
  4. Another issue with conspicuous consumption as practiced by the very wealthy is it causes more and more people to look at the money being spend, and ask themselves the question “How would that money have changed the life of the economically challenged in America?” A perfect example of this is Elon Musk’s recent rocket ride to the edge of space. That little trip likely cost a billion dollars or more. What did it produce? Some photo-ops for a few, very rich folks. Would that money have been a better investment if it had been used to provide low-cost housing; food support; lowered health care costs and the like for the majority of citizens? I submit that it would have done far more good by being used that way, instead of for a joyride by a guy with more money than sense.
  5. The “Greed is good” attitude has radically altered American business..and not in good ways. It is, I believe, part of the abysmally poor compensation that most American workers receive. Again, if the money were to be used to add to the worker’s paycheck, it would have far more positive impact than it does sitting in a Swiss bank somewhere.
  6. As a part of the previous point, the role of the worker in business has been changed radically. A few decades ago, a highly skilled worker was considered to be a huge asset to a company, and as such, the company would take steps to make sure they were well compensated, and had perks. Now, alas, in most places, management looks upon the workers as a liability and cost to the company. They tend to be more likely to mistreat their employees, and, almost to a one, look at them as standard cogs in the machine of business. As a standard cog, if it has problems it can be pulled from its position, and replaced with a new cog, in very short order. Management has little or no clue about how a given worker understands their job, and the surrounding hubbub and chaos that is typical of a business. This often means that they lose out on hearing changes that could make their company far more efficient and productive. It also means that swapping cogs out does not restore productivity immediately, but, rather it causes more chaos, confusion, and a huge loss in productivity for some time until that new worker gets up to speed.

Taking all these factors into consideration, what changes would I suggest to improve the situation?

  1. Management should get its mindset about employees back to a more positive place. Treat them as people…not cogs…and remember that without them, there is NO money coming in.
  2. Society should address the wealth gap, more than likely through increased tax rates on the very rich, and a revamping of the tax code to remove the special loopholes that various industries have bribed politicians to include.
  3. We, as a society, should work to help build the Middle economic class back up to strong levels. When one looks at America’s history, it is clear that the times of the greatest productivity and advances came when the Middle Class was very strong.
  4. A stronger Middle class would also strengthen the economy…creating a much more healthy flow of capital through it. That should be promoted and encouraged through attitude and legislation.
  5. As a part of improving society, and helping the Middle and Lower economic classes thrive and improve, Universal Health care should be implemented post haste. After all, out of the 34 most industrialized countries in the world, all but one have implemented Universal Health care, and found it to be a great benefit to society in general, both from an economic and access standpoint. Do I need to spell out what that ONE hold-out is?
  6. A program of a Universal, Basic Income should be implemented and written into law. This has many benefits and almost no down-sides. A UBI would, for example, remove food and shelter insecurity from most, if not all, Americans. It would cut the ties of fear that keep workers at a company that is exploiting them…giving them the freedom to not only move to a different job, with no serious consequences, but, would allow them the option of working fewer hours, in order to get the education necessary to move up the employment ladder.

Now, I am sure that there will be a subset of citizens who abuse these changes. However, I do not see that as a deal-breaker, for these reasons:
a) The number of people that would do this is a small percentage of the total population of the country. MOST people derive great benefits in holding down a job that provides a feeling of usefulness, and satisfaction…and will tend to seek out those jobs.
b) My wife worked for Department of Human Services for 30 years. She saw a wide variety of people getting aid. A significant number of those were working poor, or kept from working because of the very real pressures of poverty. If these folks are given the opportunity to lift themselves up, they WILL do this..and become productive members of society.

Be Safe. Wear your mask, get vaccinated, wash hands well, and social distance!

God help Us All!

Bee Man Dave

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

Sifting through the Ashes, pert 48 – a Recap, of sorts

Greetings and salutations;

As the year ends, and the election cycle has pretty much finished up, I thought I would post a comment to remind us, once again, why the Republicans have lost their way, and must be turned unto a minority party in the Federal Government, until they get past this focus on Fascism and “Party over Country” that they are engulfed in. This started with Newt Gingridge and his truly hate filled mind that cause Democrats to go from loyal opposition to “enemies of the Constitution and country”. It was culminated in the previous administration as personified by the grifter that occupied the oval office, not by a majority vote, but by careful manipulation of the Electoral College. The following is, sadly enough, a long read, but it is a mostly comprehensive list of the things that he did in his time in office. If this is the future the Republicans want us to have…it seems to me that any person who loves the society we live in, imperfect as it is, should be horrified, and work to keep this sort of future from happening.

  • He incited an insurrection against the government,
  • Mismanaged a pandemic that killed a million Americans,
  • Separated children from their families [at the Southern border},
  • Lost those children in the bureaucracy,
  • Tear-gassed peaceful protesters on Lafayette Square so he could hold a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church,
  • Tried to block all Muslims from entering the country,
  • Got impeached [for pressuring Ukraine and obstruction of Congress. For more details look here],
  • Got impeached again [for inciting the Insurrection on Jan…More details here],
  • Had the worst jobs record of any president in modern history,
  • Pressured Ukraine to dig dirt on Joe Biden, fired the FBI director for investigating his ties to Russia,
  • Bragged about firing the FBI director on TV,
  • Took Vladimir Putin’s word over the US intelligence community,
  • Diverted military funding to build his wall,
  • Caused the longest government shutdown in US history,
  • Called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate,”
  • Lied nearly 30,000 times,
  • Banned transgender people from serving in the military,
  • Ejected reporters from the White House briefing room who asked tough questions,
  • Vetoed the defense funding bill because it renamed military bases named for Confederate soldiers,
  • Refused to release his tax returns,
  • Increased the national debt by nearly $8 trillion,
  • Had three of the highest annual trade deficits in U.S. history,
  • Called veterans and soldiers who died in combat losers and suckers,
  • Coddled the leader of Saudi Arabia after he ordered the execution and dismembering of a US-based journalist,
  • Refused to concede the 2020 election,
  • Hired his unqualified daughter and son-in-law to work in the White House,
  • Walked out of an interview with Lesley Stahl,
  • Called neo-Nazis “very fine people,”
  • Suggested that people should inject bleach into their bodies to fight COVID,
  • Abandoned our allies the Kurds to Turkey,
  • Pushed through massive tax cuts for the wealthiest but balked at helping working Americans,
  • Incited anti-lockdown protestors in several states at the height of the pandemic,
  • Withdrew the US from the Paris climate accords,
  • Withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear deal,
  • Withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed to block China’s advances,
  • Insulted his own Cabinet members on Twitter,
  • Pushed the leader of Montenegro out of the way during a photo op,
  • Failed to reiterate US commitment to defending NATO allies,
  • Called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries,
  • Called the city of Baltimore the “worst in the nation,”
  • Claimed that he single handedly brought back the phrase “Merry Christmas” even though it hadn’t gone anywhere,
  • Forced his Cabinet members to praise him publicly like some cult leader,
  • Believed he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,
  • Berated and belittled his hand-picked Attorney General when he recused himself from the Russia probe,
  • Suggested the US should buy Greenland,
  • Colluded with Mitch McConnell to push through federal judges and two Supreme Court justices after supporting efforts to prevent his predecessor from appointing judges,
  • Repeatedly called the media “enemies of the people,”
  • Claimed that if we tested fewer people for COVID we’d have fewer cases,
  • Violated the emoluments clause,
  • Thought that Nambia was a country,
  • Told Bob Woodward in private that the coronavirus was a big deal but then downplayed it in public,
  • Called his exceedingly faithful vice president a “p—y” for following the Constitution,
  • Nearly got us into a war with Iran after threatening them by tweet,
  • Nominated a corrupt head of the EPA,
  • Nominated a corrupt head of HHS,
  • Nominated a corrupt head of the Interior Department,
  • Nominated a corrupt head of the USDA,
  • Praised dictators and authoritarians around the world while criticizing allies,
  • Refused to allow the presidential transition to begin,
  • Insulted war hero John McCain – even after his death,
  • Spent an obscene amount of time playing golf after criticizing Barack Obama for playing (far less) golf while president,
  • Falsely claimed that he won the 2016 popular vote,
  • Talled the Muslim mayor of London a “stone cold loser,”
  • Falsely claimed that he turned down being Time’s Man of the Year,
  • Considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller on several occasions,
  • Mocked wearing face masks to guard against transmitting COVID,
  • Locked Congress out of its constitutional duty to confirm Cabinet officials by hiring acting ones,
  • Used a racist dog whistle by calling COVID the “China virus,”
  • Hired and associated with numerous shady figures that were eventually convicted of federal offenses including his campaign manager and national security adviser,
  • Pardoned several of his shady associates,
  • Gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two congressman who amplified his batshit crazy conspiracy theories,
  • Got into telephone fight with the leader of Australia(!),
  • Had a Secretary of State who called him a moron,
  • Forced his press secretary to claim without merit that his was the largest inauguration crowd in history,
  • Botched the COVID vaccine rollout,
  • Tweeted so much dangerous propaganda that Twitter eventually banned him,
  • Charged the Secret Service jacked-up rates at his properties,
  • Constantly interrupted Joe Biden in their first presidential debate,
  • Claimed that COVID would “magically” disappear,
  • Called a U.S. Senator “Pocahontas,”
  • Used his Twitter account to blast Nordstrom when it stopped selling Ivanka’s merchandise,
  • Opened up millions of pristine federal lands to development and drilling,
  • Got into a losing tariff war with China that forced US taxpayers to bail out farmers,
  • Claimed that his losing tariff war was a win for the US,
  • Ignored or didn’t even take part in daily intelligence briefings,
  • Blew off honoring American war dead in France because it was raining,
  • Redesigned Air Force One to look like the Trump Shuttle,
  • Got played by Kim Jung Un and his “love letters,”
  • Threatened to go after social media companies in clear violation of the Constitution,
  • Botched the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,
  • Threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans when he finally visited them,
  • Pressured the governor and secretary of state of Georgia to “find” him votes,
  • Thought that the Virgin islands had a President,
  • Drew on a map with a Sharpie to justify his inaccurate tweet that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane,
  • Allowed White House staff to use personal email accounts for official businesses after blasting Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing,
  • Rolled back regulations that protected the public from mercury and asbestos,
  • Pushed regulators to waste time studying snake-oil remedies for COVID,
  • Rolled back regulations that stopped coal companies from dumping waste into rivers,
  • Held blatant campaign rallies at the White House,
  • Tried to take away millions of Americans’ health insurance because the law was named for a Black man,
  • Refused to attend his successors’ inauguration,
  • Nominated the worst Education Secretary in history,
  • Jhreatened judges who didn’t do what he wanted,
  • Attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, [for telling the truth about Covid]
  • Promised that Mexico would pay for the wall (it didn’t),
  • Allowed political hacks to overrule government scientists on major reports on climate change and other issues,
  • Struggled navigating a ramp after claiming his opponent was feeble,
  • Called an African-American Congresswoman “low IQ,”
  • Threatened to withhold federal aid from states and cities with Democratic leaders,
  • Went ahead with rallies filled with maskless supporters in the middle of a pandemic,
  • Claimed that legitimate investigations of his wrongdoing were “witch hunts,”
  • Seemed to demonstrate a belief that there were airports during the American Revolution,
  • Demanded “total loyalty” from the FBI director,
  • Praised a conspiracy theory that Democrats are Satanic pedophiles,
  • Completely gutted the Voice of America,
  • Placed a political hack in charge of the Postal Service [whose job was to destroy its effiecieny, allowing it to be privatized],
  • Claimed without evidence that the Obama administration bugged Trump Tower,
  • Suggested that the US should allow more people from places like Norway into the country [Just a BIT Racist, eh?]
  • Suggested that COVID wasn’t that bad because he recovered with the help of top government doctors and treatments not available to the public, o
  • Oerturned energy conservation standards that even industry supported,
  • Feduced the number of refugees the US accepts,
  • Insulted various members of Congress and the media with infantile nicknames,
  • Gave Rush Limbaugh a Presidential medal of Freedom at the State of the Union address,
  • Named as head of federal personnel a 29-year old who’d previously been fired from the White House for allegations of financial improprieties,
  • Eliminated the White House office of pandemic response,
  • Used soldiers as campaign props,
  • Fired any advisor who made the mistake of disagreeing with him,
  • Demanded the Pentagon throw him a Soviet-style military parade [which never happened, in spite of contiuing pressure]
  • Hired a shit ton of white nationalists,
  • Politicized the civil service,
  • Did absolutely nothing after Russia hacked the U.S. government,
  • Falsely said the Boy Scouts called him to say his bizarre Jamboree speech was the best speech ever given to the Scouts,
  • Claimed that Black people would overrun the suburbs if Biden won,
  • insulted reporters of color, insulted women reporters, insulted women reporters of color,
  • Suggested he was fine with China’s oppression of the Uighurs,
  • Attacked the Supreme Court when it ruled against him,
  • Summoned Pennsylvania state legislative leaders to the White House to pressure them to overturn the election,
  • Spent countless hours every day watching Fox News,
  • Refused to allow his administration to comply with Congressional subpoenas,
  • Hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer [when he was clearly deterioated to the point of incompetence],
  • Tried to punish Amazon because the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post wrote negative stories about him,
  • Acted as if the Attorney General of the United States was his personal attorney,
  • Attempted to get the federal government to defend him in a libel lawsuit from a women who accused him of sexual assault,
  • Held private meetings with Vladimir Putin without staff present,
  • Didn’t disclose his private meetings with Vladimir Putin so that the US had to find out via Russian media,
  • Stopped holding press briefings for months at a time,
  • “ordered” US companies to leave China even though he has no such power,
  • Led a political party that couldn’t even be bothered to draft a policy platform,
  • Claimed preposterously that Article II of the Constitution gave him absolute powers, [this, of course was nonsense. Here is a more detailed discussion of the Article and the powers given]
  • Tried to pressure the U.K. to hold the British Open at his golf course,
  • Suggested that the government nuke hurricanes,
  • Suggested that wind turbines cause cancer,
  • Said that he had a special aptitude for science,
  • Fired the head of election cyber security after he said that the 2020 election was secure,
  • Blurted out classified information to Russian officials,
  • Tried to force the G7 to hold their meeting at his failing golf resort in Florida,
  • Fired the acting attorney general when she refused to go along with his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban,
  • Hired Stephen Miller [who has clearly white spremacist, Nazi leanings],
  • Openly discussed national security issues in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago where everyone could hear them,
  • Interfered with plans to relocate the FBI because a new development there might compete with his hotel,
  • Abandoned Iraqi refugees who’d helped the U.S. during the war,
  • Tried to get Russia back into the G7,
  • Held a COVID super spreader event in the Rose Garden,
  • Seemed to believe that Frederick Douglass is still alive,
  • Lost 60 election fraud cases in court including before judges he had nominated,
  • Falsely claimed that factories were reopening when they weren’t,
  • Shamelessly exploited terror attacks in Europe to justify his anti-immigrant policies,
  • Still hasn’t come up with a healthcare plan,
  • Still hasn’t come up with an infrastructure plan despite repeated “Infrastructure Weeks,”
  • Forced Secret Service agents to drive him around Walter Reed while contagious with COVID,
  • Told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,”
  • Fucked up the Census,
  • Withdrew the U.S. from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic,
  • Did so few of his duties that his press staff were forced to state on his daily schedule “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings,”
  • Allowed his staff to repeatedly violate the Hatch Act,
  • Seemed not to know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican,
  • Stood before sacred CIA wall of heroes and bragged about his election win,
  • Constantly claimed he was treated worse than any president which presumably includes four that were assassinated and his predecessor whose legitimacy and birthplace were challenged by a racist reality TV show star named Donald Trump,
  • Claimed Andrew Jackson could’ve stopped the Civil War even though he died 16 years before it happened,
  • Said that any opinion poll showing him behind was fake,
  • Claimed that other countries laughed at us before he became president when several world leaders were literally laughing at him,
  • Claimed that the military was out of ammunition before he became President,
  • Created a commission to whitewash American history,
  • Retweeted anti-Islam videos from one of the most racist people in Britain,
  • Claimed ludicrously that the Pulse nightclub shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone there had a gun even though there was an armed security guard there,
  • Hired a senior staffer who cited the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre as a reason to ban Muslims,
  • Had a press secretary who claimed that Nazi Germany never used chemical weapons even though every sane human being knows they used gas to kill millions of Jews and others,
  • Bilked the Secret Service for higher than market rates when they had to stay at Trump properties,
  • Apparently sold pardons on his way out of the White House [Circumstantual evidence only, but suspicious],
  • Stripped protective status from 59,000 Haitians,
  • Falsely claimed Biden wanted to defund the police,
  • Said that the head of the CDC didn’t know what he was talking about [as regard the Pandemic] ,
  • Tried to rescind protection from DREAMers,
  • Gave himself an A+ for his handling of the pandemic,
  • Tried to start a boycott of Goodyear tires due to an Internet hoax [this is true, as this story explains],
  • Said U.S. rates of COVID would be lower if you didn’t count blue states,
  • Deported U.S. veterans who served their country but were undocumented,
  • Claimed he did more for African Americans than any president since Lincoln,
  • Touted a “super-duper” secret “hydrosonic” missile which may or may not be a new “hypersonic” missile or may not exist at all,
  • Retweeted a gif calling Biden a pedophile [this scurrolous lie by him is documented here],
  • Forced through security clearances for his family,
  • Suggested that police officers should rough up suspects,
  • Suggested that Biden was on performance-enhancing drugs,
  • Tried to stop transgender students from being able to use school bathrooms in line with their gender,
  • Suggested the US not accept COVID patients from a cruise ship because it would make US numbers look higher,
  • Nominated a climate change skeptic to chair the committee advising the White House on environmental policy,
  • Retweeted a video doctored to look like Biden had played a song called “Fuck tha Police” at a campaign event,
  • Hugged a disturbingly large number of U.S. flags,
  • Accused Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his State of the Union address,
  • Claimed that the FBI failed to capture the Parkland school shooter because they were “spending too much time” on Russia,
  • Mocked the testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault,
  • Obsessed over low-flow toilets [Athough, considering recent reports about the truly terrible odors Rudy produces when using the toilet, this might be understandable],
  • Ordered the rerelease of more COVID vaccines when there weren’t any to release,
  • Called for the construction of a bizarre garden of heroes with statutes of famous dead Americans as well as at least one Canadian (Alex Trebek) [this is hilarious…and true. Here is more information],
  • hijacked Washington’s July 4th celebrations to give a partisan speech,
  • Took advice from the MyPillow guy [Mike Lindell, who is, at best a Consipracy Loony],
  • Claimed that migrants seeking a better life in the US were dangerous caravans of drug dealers and rapists,
  • Said nothing when Vladimir Putin poisoned a leading opposition figure,
  • Never seemed to heed the advice of his wife’s “Be Best” campaign,
  • Falsely claimed that mail-in voting is fraudulent,
  • Announced a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Syria which not only handed Russia and ISIS a win but also prompted his defense secretary to resign in protest,
  • Insulted the leader of Canada,
  • insulted the leader of France,
  • insulted the leader of Britain [Including walking right in front of the Queen….],
  • Insulted the leader of Germany,
  • Insulted the leader of Sweden (Sweden!!),
  • Falsely claimed credit for getting NATO members to increase their share of dues,
  • Blew off two Asia summits even though they were held virtually,
  • Continued lying about spending lots of time at Ground Zero with 9/11 responders,
  • Said that the Japanese would sit back and watch their “Sony televisions” if the US were ever attacked,
  • Left a NATO summit early in a huff,
  • Stared directly into an eclipse even though everyone over the age of 5 knows not to do that,
  • Called himself a very stable genius despite significant evidence to the contrary,
  • Refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and kept his promise.
  • He took many classified & top secret documents with him when he left the White House, many of which have not been recovered & may have been compromised.

Still with me? I hope so, although it was kind of a horrifying list to go through. I saw a tweet from #45 saying “why have previous presidents not been investigated like he is now?” I think this list might be a hint. Even Nixon looks like an angel compare to this grifter.

And what is the focuse of the Republican party right now, that they have squeaked through a slight majority in the House? Hunter Biden’s Laptip!!! In spite of the fact that Hunter has been investiaged by the FBI and other law agencies, and found to have committed no crimes…although perhaps some of his activities verged on unethical, instead of building a governing agenda that will impove the economy, reform tax laws to address the obscene wealth gap in America, and make the middle class grow again, they want to burn political capital and energy chasing after delusions.

There are still sane Republicans out there…but the party as a whole has become a cult, and as such is a clear and present danger to Democracy in America. Vote blue and keep democracy strong.

God Help Us Alll

Be safe…wear your mask, get vaccinated and boosted, social distance, and wash your hands!

Bee Man Dave

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

“Many Drops Can Turn A Mill…”

Greetings and Salutations;

Yesterday, for reasons yet unknown, a young man entered a bar, armed with several guns and started shooting. Several patrons, who had gathered for some fellowship and an adult beverage are dead…their lives snuffed out in a moment. Several more are seriously wounded. The killer was arrested, after patrons at the bar stood up to him, disarmed him, and detained him. The police are investigating the situation, to try and find out what triggered this wanton destruction, however, no results have been released as of yet.

There is, of course, much speculation about this…and right now the majority of it is presenting this action as a hate crime, as the bar in question was an LGBTQ+ establishment. Add to this fact, the reality that in the past six years, most Republic*nt legislatures have implemented laws trying to push society back to the bad old days when anything but Puritan Heterosexuality was a crime, AND there has been a huge increase in the level of hate speech against the community, it does make a great deal of sense that this might well be a controlling factor.

A friend of mine, on Facebook, posted the following questions and comments:

How many years will we ( people of a like mind and spirit) keep saying prayers that things will get better when yet another atrocity that is fueled by fear, hatred or just pure evil …happens? Will it ever end? Does forgiveness actually matter? Does being mad actually help? Outrage…? This is why I absolutely loathe any Abrahamic based religion..and I am sure others too and their fucked up dogmas and creed that people use as a crutch to be inhumane and nasty. I am sure it would be something else if there was no religion (John [Lennon] was so correct) but the human species with exceptions of course, is just fucking destructive- to themselves and others. Said my peace..this is not a debate. I don’t mind comments but don’t expect to shit stir. It will get you nothing.

I had to say that this post brought up some very valid and important issues…so…I decided to work through it, and see if I could address some of the points. Here is my reply – expanded a bit in some places.

I hear you…and I have to say that you make some very valid points. As a matter of fact, this does bring to mind some observations, so, here they are, in no particular order…

1) People are terribly complex things. Even after a lifetime of trying to figure out how NTs think, it is often a mystery to me. I have seen some people that seem to be the personification of Evil Incarnate. There is an aura of icy cold that accompanies them when they enter a room. I have seen some people who are so kind, helpful, and positive that being in their presence is like sitting next to a warm fire on a cold, winter’s night. I am sorry to say that I have been cynical enough for so long that I tend be suspicious of folks like that up front. In that spectrum between the light and dark extremes, fall the majority of people. Everyone has light and dark facets to them, and sometimes it can be very disappointing when one runs across an unexpected dark facet. However, most people have a majority of light facets. More on this later.

2) As for the “how long” question…the short answer is “as long as it takes”. HOWEVER…as is written in the Book of James, “Faith, without works, is dead”. I have come to the understanding that simply praying that a particular evil will end is not enough. We are called to be good stewards of the Earth and all that is in it. In this particular case, I interpret this calling to mean that when we see the actions of Evil in the world, it is up to us to stand up and do something about it. So…from that point of view, I submit that when we pray, we should not pray that, for example, the senseless murders of the LGBTQ+ community should end. Rather, we should pray for the strength to stand with them, and become a force in the world to change the causes of this hatred. I have written a blog essay or two about the concept of “The Other“, which delves into some of the factors that might be causing these senseless attacks. If anyone is interested in reading these, go to My Blog and read the essays. Sadly enough, I do not believe there will ever be a time when acts of hate never happen…but, I do believe that by changing some aspects of society, we can make them become the rare exception…instead of the common occurrence they seem to be now.

3) About Forgiveness. Yes…Forgiveness, while another complicated topic, does make a difference. Clinging to hate for another because of their actions is like swallowing poison, and expecting one’s enemy to die. Forgiveness is not for the offender…it is for the injured party. By forgiving the offender, one is refusing to give them power over one’s mind, emotions and life. Without that forgiveness, the offender will have a rent free space in one’s mind for the rest of one’s life…

4) Your comment about dogma is, alas, painfully true. Far too many who wrap themselves in the shroud of “Christian”, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They cherry pick bits and pieces of the Scriptures and other spiritual writings to justify their very human agenda. They pervert and sully the message in those writings with their actions, so the message becomes a twisted, hateful Evil…not at all positive or loving. Karma comes to these people…although it can be a frustratingly slow process. In the mean time, I believe the best course of action is to distance oneself from them. They are toxic and bring nothing positive to one’s life so allowing them access is a very negative action of self-destruction.

So…what can we do to combat these problems? Mindful self examination usually answers that question for most people. We, as a species, do have ancient programming that is mostly positive. Nature has provided us with these basic rules because the tribe is vital for survival, and without a basic sense of altruism, ethics, helpfulness, boundaries and the like, the tribe is doomed to extinction.

In today’s world, we should take that ancient knowledge and use it to guide our decisions. We should be mindful of how we live, how it impacts the Earth, how it impacts others, and whether our decisions keep us on a positive path or deflect us to a more negative, self-destructive path. On a broader scope, we should be constantly aware of where we are at, and willing to take action to bring positive moments to others. This can be as simple as holding a door open for someone, and giving them a smile, or a pleasant word, to buying their coffee at Starbucks, or remembering to reach out to them on a regular basis, so they know that they are not deserted in the world. On a broader basis, we should support the community by, if nothing else, voting for the candidates that will do the most good for the largest number of people. Also, reaching out to our elected representatives on all levels of government to give them feedback on the quality of their work, and the needs of the community. A very wise man whose video blog I follow, puts it this way: “Do what you can; where you can; for as long as you can”.

Will following these suggestions I have made make the world a perfect place? Of course not. But what they will do is move it in a better direction, for us, and for the people in our community network. That, as it propagates through the population, might well make a mighty change in reality. A single drop of water can do very little. However, enough of them, together can erase a mountain of stone; they can turn a mill, grinding flour to keep a community well fed; or nourish a vast land so its bounty may seem endless.

God Help Us All

Be safe; get vaccinated/boosted; wear masks; wash hands; social distance.

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, Family, Hive and Colony care, Humanity, Improving Life, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil, Vaccinations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What will the future bring?

Greetings and Salutations!

It has been a bit since I had time to update this blog, but it is well past time to do it. In a discussion thread on Facebook, the question arose…what will we do if #45 is elected to the Presidency again? A few days ago, he announced he was going to run for the office again – something that was not a surprise to anyone with two brain cells to rub together! His legal situation is shaky, to say the least, and he has already posted a comment that he believes the investigations that will lead to his indictment are purely a political ploy to silence him. This is, of course a delusional lie, as the investigations have been going on since March or so of 2021, and are simply working their way up the pyramid towards the upper echelons of the Republic*nt party that were instrumental in planning and invoking the Insurrection of Jan 6, 2021.

I cannot say for sure that #45 would not end up occupying the Oval Office again. That, though is such a horrible outcome to the next couple of years, it should cause chills to run up one’s spine. However, I do have a strong feeling that his life as a politician and dictator-wannabe is fading. As such, in my answer in the FB thread, I had the following observations. Now I may have expanded on them a bit here, as it is a complicated subject. However, here we go:

  • 1) While his cult is still sucked up to him, there are many indicators that big chunks of the Republic*nt party are walking away from him. Without a majority of the Republic*nts supporting and voting for him, the cult is simply too small to take the office. There have been a number of leaders who have openly supported the governor of Florida, DeSantis, for example. While he is almost as bad as #45, he is certainly smart enough to realize he cannot play the dictator game and win at it. In addition, there are a fair number of Republic*nts who are more moderate, and not so deeply in the cult that they are not aware of the damage done to the country by #45’s actions. As such, I can see two or three possible paths. At best, #45 will fail to get the nomination, but run as an independent..splitting the Republic*nt vote and ensuring a massive loss. At worst, DeSantis will run, #45 will slink away, defeated, and the Cult will boycott the election…again causing a massive loss for the Right. It is also possible that for either candidate, a significant number of the moderates in the Party will simply refuse to vote.
  • 2) His actions over the 4 years of his administration, and the actions of HIS SCOTUS are likely to ensure that the independents and Democrats are more likely to come out for a Presidential election in large numbers. It happened in 2020 after all. The damage to the reputation of the country in the world, and the economic damage may even motivate some Republic*nts to hold their nose and vote for the Democratic option…although I do not expect that, and am not banking on it.
  • 3) Look at the results of the recent mid-term election cycle. The Republic*nts (and, much to their shame, much of the media) were fully convinced that the Democratic Party would lose many seats in Congress. The estimate by the Right Wing was 30-40 House seats and several Senate seats would flip Red. However, there is a fairly good chance that the Senate will not only remain blue, but thanks to a seat or two flipping, Manchin and Sinema’s fifth column actions will become less of a problem. In the House, the Republic*nts only have a small majority. This will make a LOT of the big plans to impeach Pres Biden and hold huge investigations much more of a challenge, both to do and to succeed at.
  • 4) The Midterms demonstrated that the younger folks of the current generation are MUCH more politically savvy and active than previous generations. We have the first fellow of that age group elected after all…and while the numbers of voters from the group was still way too small, it was rather larger than previous generations. In addition, these youth are very aware of the dangers to their society and the planet as a whole left to them by our generation and older. They are not happy about losing basic rights, and they realize that they are the ones who will suffer because of climate change. Many of the youth too young to vote this year will be of age in 2024, and I suspect they will be a strong voice. I am pretty sure that #45, and a lot of other rather ancient politicians will be the targets of their ire.

On a broader view, it is vital that we continue the process of making sure the Republic*nts are a minority party in the government. We have two more years to move this plan forwards, and we must use the time wisely. A few things we should focus on are:

  1. We must work to register as many like-minded people as possible.
  2. We must create some infrastructure to ensure that these folks can vote, either by transporting them to the polls, or pushing through legislation to enable and expand mail in voting.
  3. We must work as diligently to present the truth and the reality of how voting Democratic can help everyone as the Republic*nts work to spread lies and destroy confidence in the system.
  4. We must continue the process of flipping Red seats at ALL levels of government, from towns to the Federal Government.
  5. I think it would be a good thing to find and support Blue candidates even in solidly Red areas. Without a Blue alternative to vote for, then the solidly Red areas can smugly continue on, believing they have 100% support from all citizens. I know that the probability of winning is very, very low…but having a choice is also vital.
  6. We must spend a little time looking at the laws being passed, and giving our elected representatives feedback on how they are doing. Even if one is solidly Blue, in a sea of Red (as I am), contacting the Republic*nts holding power and getting our opposition to an action in the record is important…as mentioned in item #5.

I believe America dodged a bullet in the 2020 election, but, there are more election cycles on the way. Our democracy is still fragile and has many blatant enemies who would love to do nothing less that replace it with a fascist dictatorship…with THEM in the ruling class, of course. there are two aphorisms that are in the forefront of my mind at the moment…both said by very wise men:

“All that is required for Evil to win is for people of good will to do nothing” and “I have observed that Evil will win…unless Good is very, very careful”.

As Sen Warren did on the Floor of the Senate – “Resist! Persist!” lest our legacy be the destruction of the ideal our forefathers created!

God Help Us All.

Be safe, wash your hands well, get vaccinated and boosted, wear your mask!

Bee Man Dave

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

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 47 – Election Time Again!

October is ticking away, and in a couple of weeks, it will be Election Day again. This will be an interesting one, and may be a harbinger of things to come. The Mid-Term election is often taken as a snapshot of how people view the efforts of the current administration. This was likely true some time ago, but, I am not entirely sure that this still holds true. For the past years, it has been quite typical that the control of the Congress has flipped parties from the one in power, to the one out of power. Alas this does not seem like the result of rational and objective evaluation, but rather, a more emotion driven response. Almost like a small child, who says he hates one parent because they are responsible for his life not being perfect, and glorifies the other parent…and then flips again after a bit. Another huge factor in this flip is the apathy of the voters. Too many voters in America are ONLY interested in the Presidential election…which leads to the turnout being low.

Too many citizens have the idea that their vote does not matter, so they do not bother to vote. Or, like one of my relatives (who is young, and as many of us did, is going through an anarchistic phase), they lump every politician into a bucket of being corporate pawns, who ignore everything but the size of the bribes—sorry—donations they get from lobbyists – and as such refuse to vote, or vote for a third party that might get 5% of the total vote, if they are lucky. Another cause of this worrisome apathy is the view of many voters that the mid-term elections are really just a waste of time. They simply do not seem to understand that, while the President is a power in the government, those Congressmen that get elected (or re-elected) in the mid-terms are, arguably, just as powerful, or perhaps more powerful, than the President. Congress is the branch of government where laws are created, or killed. The President can urge for a particular bill/law to be created and passed by Congress, but persuasion is his only tool. Now, I should say that along with the factors I mentioned, the focused efforts over the past decades by the Republic*nt party to control voting populations, and disenfranchise voters has been far too successful.

As a result of this apathy on the part of the voters, It is possible for a party that represents a minority of Americans to take power and control the entire country. There are a number of examples of how this apathy can allow a minority party to achieve its goal of total control. A very strong example of this is the 2016 election. I will not re-hash the many issues that affected the voters in that election, as there are huge amounts of analysis on the Net that give detailed explanations of what happened. While 61% of the registered voters did vote…that number is not quite as representative as one might think. As this study shows, a large majority of the voters who showed up at the poles were whites, and, this majority was rather larger than in previous years. The percentages for various other ethnic groups either dropped quite a bit, or, stayed at the typical low level. Had the various ethnic groups NOT been blocked out of the election, the results might have been very different. Why did we see this change? In short, I believe the tactics of fear and hate that #45 and the Republic*nt party used motivated many whites who had not voted either at all, or for a long time, to come out and cast a vote for #45. There were a number of old, white folks who had never voted in their lives that voted in that election…

Politics in America affects the rest of the world. I recall a comment by a Canadian quite some years about, where they said “we are like a mouse, living next to a sleeping elephant. The elephant may be friendly, but, we are still nervous every time it stirs” One way that the previous administration affected the world was to erode America’s leadership role. The rest of the world discovered very quickly that the level of trust they had in America was misplaced, and so countries, such as Germany, stepped back from working with America, and openly said that they were going to find their own way. I am not at all happy with the idea of America being the top of the pyramid…I would much rather see a community of equals. However, It would have been a far better path had it been a natural evolution that involved trust and communication between all parties. That, though, the other countries of the world realized was not going to happen. This could have been avoided if the millions of voters who did not vote Blue, had made the pragmatic decision to vote Sec. Clinton in as President.

Now, then, what is the path out of this mess we are in. My view is that the 2020 election was a great start. Not only did it put a person in the Oval Office who actually cared about the country and all citizens, but, an experienced person who could negotiate the swamp of politics, and, in general, avoid the dangers. The subsequent events of Jan 6th went a long way towards showing the entire country what could become of us without action. Our Democracy is still very fragile and not safe at all…but…we have a chance to heal it. This, though will take work, and here are a few things I believe must happen.

  • Those of us, both democratic, and independent, must come out in November and vote Blue. Even if the candidate is not our first choice…it is more important to flip seats in Congress from Red to Blue, and maintain the seats the democrats hold than it is to find the perfect candidate. As a wise person said…”do not let perfection be the enemy of the good”. And this trend has got to be focused on every level of government, from Congress down to the mayor of your town.
  • It is too late to do anything about unregistered voters for this election. However, we must work diligently to get registered voters to the polls. Help out when you can, with what you can, for as long as you can.
  • In the coming months, help folks get over the roadblocks to registration and voting that the Republic*nts have built.
  • The redistricting that went on in 2020 was blatantly partisan, and designed to allow politicians to choose their voters…not voters choose their representative. THrough legal challenges, we really need to get this changed. There are far better ways now to draw districts, using computers, that will eliminate gerrymandering. For America to have free and fair elections, changing to this method is, I believe, vital.
  • Support Blue candidates whenever possible, however you can. Whether by monetary contributions, volunteer work, or a presence on Social Media – debunking lies and spin, every little bit helps.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this process will be developing the patience to see it through. America is like a super-tanker. It can change its path, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of ocean to do it. The process of getting America back onto a positive track is not going to be done in months…it will take years of continual work, and many, small victories. One strength of the Republic*nts is that they understand this process very well. If one looks into history, going back to Richard Nixon, we can find the roots of the fascist ideals that the Party clings to today. We cannot be distracted by petty, family squabbles, or such loyalty to OUR desired candidate that we refuse to vote for anyone else. Individually, we will continue to lose and Democracy will continue to be eroded away, leaving us living in a fascist theocracy…and that is not where I want my young relatives to live.

Oh yes, I mentioned Gerrymandering previously. Before I finish up, I wanted to show y’all this example! Here is a truly egregious example of creating a district where the politician chooses the voters…not vice-versa… There are quite a few similar districts around the country. My first question is “How can anyone think that a representative can truly be in touch with their constituents when the district is shaped like this?” I argue that they likely are not…and rarely show up throughout the district, until just before the election to put them back in their cushy job.

God Help Us All!

Be Safe! Wear your mask; wash your hands; social distance; get vaccinated and boosted.

Bee Man Dave

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

The “Hello Boomer” generation

Photo by rayul on Unsplash

I was poking around on Facebook this morning, catching my breath after dealing with some chores, and I ran across an interesting post that discussed Sensitivity Training. A somewhat lengthy thread replying to the post got into the tendency of today’s youth to dismiss comments by those of us who are older with a somewhat contemptuous “Ok, Boomer”. Being part of the tail end of that generation, I thought I would explore this a bit.

As for the “Ok, Boomer” syndrome…that is nothing new. America has had a cult of Youth since before my time. Anyone over a certain age is considered to be a waste of space. I refer you to the Hippy culture of the 1960s…”Don’t trust anyone over the age of 30″. Look at the quiet prejudice exhibited by companies who find ways to refuse to hire anyone older than 40 (and the tech companies who halve that age). Look at the tendency of parents through the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s, to treat their children as small adults…and allow them to make their own decisions, without any guidance.

Having survived both ends of that age spectrum (so far), I know that youth has a lot of positives…energy, a flexible mind, a willingness to experiment. However, they also have so little experience in life that they are often arrogant and lack empathy for others. I am reminded here of the saying from MY youth “Hire the young, while they still know everything!” I have said before that children, when they are born, are a nearly blanks slate. That slate is filled, over time, with the rules they live by. Now, if the parents do not make an effort to write rules that help these kids become tolerant, empathetic, helpful, and good citizens…that slate will be filled by other sources. These include the way children treat each other, movies, video games, and television. Think about it. are the latter sources of rules really going to provide the best rules to live by? I argue they do not. When I was very young, and forced into socialization by attending public schools, I learned early on that a vast majority of children can be little monsters. They never have the social rules that adults have, and so act without thinking of consequences. They look upon anything that is not exactly like them to be “The Other“, and as such tend to abuse that person or thing. I have been doing cat rescue for many years, and I cannot tell you the number of times we have collected cats that kids were shooting at with BB guns, throwing rocks at, or abusing in other fashions.

I believe this Worship of Youth is a terrible weakness in America, and one that we are paying for now. I have always admired the way other cultures, such as Indigenous People in America, and the Japanese, for example, respect their elders and honor them. Age brings experience, and experience brings wisdom. For example, when I warn a young person to keep their knives sharp, so they will be less dangerous, I am doing so because I have used dull knives…and have the scars to prove it. Youth may believe they will be safe, because they are strong, and capable, and a dull knife just requires a little bit more effort… Am I saying that parents should be “Helicopter Parents” – hovering over their kids, and micromanaging their every action? Of course not. What I am saying that parents should do is take on the task of giving their children positive values, such as I have mentioned above. They should teach them to be honest and responsible…and that actions have consequences. By doing this, the children are more likely to become the sort of good, upright citizens that we wish America had more of.

That having been said, I do realize that as many folks age, they become set in their ways, and unwilling to accept change…and can develop other bad habits. I do not think that the pronouncements of the old should be taken as gospel truth. However, I am reminded of that exhortation from the Bible – “Do unto others as ye would have done to you”. The youth who are being contemptuous of their elders will find soon enough that they are on the receiving end of that contempt…and how will they feel THEN???

God Help Us All!

Be safe…wear your mask, social distance, get vaccinated and boosted, and practice good sanitation!

Bee Man Dave

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

WHAT? Forgive Student LOANS???

Greetings and Salutations;

The Biden Administration is pushing ahead and making significant advances in undoing the madness of the proceeding administration, and, dealing some some serious issues facing citizens.

One of the long-term issues that has been the subject of discussion for decades is the problem of student loans, taken out to allow a person to obtain a college degree. This program, created some 60 years ago, in 1958, was originally designed to provide low-interest loans to the less affluent, allowing them to go to University, and get a degree. This, at least in theory, would give them a big hand up to improve their earning potential, and subsequently, move them into the upper, middle class society (at least!). Well, this premise has been under attack ever since then, and these days is truly broken. As I see it, there are two, major changes to society and government that turned it from a blessing to a curse. The first of these was the continual push by the Republicants to remove or weaken the regulations governing these loans. This ongoing campaign caused a huge number of very predatory lenders to dive into the marketplace, and hard-sell the students their products. This also caused the interest rates on these loans to skyrocket, often without the recipients understanding what this meant, or, for that matter, even really realizing it was happening. The second change was to the higher education system itself. As always happens, the money flowing to the students attracted the capitalists, who followed their basic rule of life – to get as much of that money with as little cost and effort as possible. In order to do this, many “For Profit” “Colleges” were set up, and staffed with sales folks focused on selling their product to as many students as was possible. too often, this hard sell included out an out lies about how valuable a degree from their college would make a person; about how there were guaranteed jobs for the college’s graduates; and about the heightened earning potential that one of their graduates would have. The reality was far different. These colleges often jacked up the prices of classes and needed materials – causing students to have to increase the loan debt they were carrying; Too often the level of instruction was obviously inferior to what the students had been promised.

An easy example of this was the infamous “Trump University”, where students were given the impression that #45 would be doing a lot of the actual education they were receiving…but when they got there, often they were taught by near incompetents, who MIGHT have graduated from Trump U, and, the closest they might get to #45 himself was a short video tape played in class…or some overpriced books, supposedly written by him.

This resulted in a person ending up with $10s of thousands in debt, with a painfully high interest rate, being handed a diploma that was not worth the fake parchment it was printed on. They would take this education they received out into the world…to find doors slammed in their faces time and time again. Very often, when they did manage to get a job in their field, they would find out very quickly that their education was useless…it did NOTHING to give them the tools they needed to be competent.

While it was not directly a part of the above issues, for many years, the employment situation in the society was a buyer’s market. There was such a flood of “qualified applicants” for a given job that not only was it amazingly difficult to get and hold a job, but, management had the power to push the salaries and benefits way down, and treat the workers as if they were garden slaves. Management knew it would be easy to replace any worker with any of a dozen or more that were looking for work. These problems left the workers insecure, and making a LOT less money at their job than they had been promised, or even had anticipated. As a result, loan payments were delayed, and the usurious interest amounts piled up.

Today, we have around 42 million citizens who have significantly large student loans that they are struggling to pay off. Just today, I heard an article on NPR, where a student who had been paying on their loan for 20 years was still struggling…and as a matter of fact, owed MORE than the original amount they had borrowed! This is just the latest example of this issue…over the years I have heard interviews with a dozen or more students in the same boat.

For some time now, there has been a ground-swell of support for the government to simply write off the balances of the long-term loans to people, and, to extend that to the private lenders who are profiting hugely off these loans. As of today, the Biden Administration has taken the first, major step towards that goal. The government is forgiving up to $20,000 of any student loan they have outstanding…and now that the dam has cracked, it would not be a huge surprise to see the entire amount written off in the near future. The original post is this:

Charlotte Clymer 

Today, President Biden announced student loan debt relief that will include up to $20,000 erased for Pell Grant recipients, $10,000 for everyone else making under $125k annually ($250k for married couples who file taxes jointly), and extending the moratorium on payments through December 31st.

There’s going to be a lot of discussion on whether this is enough, but one argument I keep seeing against student loan debt relief comes from people who have already paid off their student loans or taxpayers who never had to take out any loans but whose taxes would go to pay off others’ loans and believe it’s unfair to them that those who are still in crushing debt will see some relief.

I acknowledge that resentment, and while we’re on the subject of unfairness, I have some thoughts to offer for your consideration.

I think it’s unfair that most children in poverty in this country will never receive the benefits of a quality early childhood education, either because they can’t afford it or don’t have access to it, leaving them with a development disadvantage compared to their peers. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that that most children in this country don’t have access to tutoring outside of school, meaning that, with each passing year, they fall further behind their peers whose families can afford tutoring. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that there are millions of families who have to move constantly because of unsteady employment, and their children don’t receive the advantages of living in communities longterm and building a support system with teachers and peers that support their development. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that there are children living in abusive homes and children who lack living essentials and children who can’t afford school supplies but are expected to compete with their peers who don’t have these problems, year after year. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that the quality of a child’s public school education is significantly based on the zip code in which they live, and that children from poorly funded public schools are expected to compete with children from wealthy zip codes. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that many children stop asking their parents for help with homework because by third grade, they’ve learned, on their own, that their parents are unequipped to help them and they’ve realized, by that age, that asking their parents for help makes their parents feel bad. So, they stop asking for help. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that there are millions of young people who are told to study for college admission standardized tests like the SAT and ACT but must do so without benefit of a prep program and must compete with young people who have access to all types of prep programs and tutoring because their parents can afford it. I was one of them.

I think it’s unfair that a young person is expected to compete for admission to an elite university against a young person who is likelier to be admitted solely because their parent attended that university, too.

I think it’s unfair that even if a young person has done everything right—good grades, good behavior, plenty of extracurriculars, etc.—she may still be denied admission because a lesser deserving young person has a parent who can buy a building on campus and claims that spot.

I think it’s unfair that extracurricular items that set apart young people on college applications are far more accessible to young people whose parents can afford their participation.

I think it’s unfair that, from their very first day of school, children with disabilities are at a distinct disadvantage across the board when it comes to competing for college admission because their schools and communities don’t want to invest in disability access, putting up nearly insurmountable hurdles for the vast majority of young people with disabilities.

I think it’s unfair that white children, regardless of class, receive all sorts of unearned advantages in the education system that make it easier to compete and that, from day one, children of color, particularly Black children, are targeted by implicit biases in schools, and I say that as someone who was once a white child in poverty.

I think it’s unfair that when I graduated from high school, my father apologetically handed me a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond he had scraped enough money together to buy in the first year after I was born and said that was the best he could do to help me pay for school, and I think it’s unfair that I felt the need to comfort him because I, too, knew it was the best he could do and that it was a hell of a lot more than other young people got from their parents.

I think it’s unfair that, like millions of young people in this country, I knew that my best shot at being able to pay for college was joining the military and earning G.I. Bill benefits, and as grateful as I am for those benefits, there isn’t a month that goes by that I haven’t thought of how fucked up it is that any young person would need to literally pledge their lives for the benefit of disastrous foreign policy decisions made by politicians whose children will never have to do the same.

I think it’s unfair that Arlington National Cemetery is filled with the graves of young people who joined the military to pay for college and avoid crushing debt and were killed in needless wars and never got to see the life ahead of them, let alone use those benefits they had earned.

I think it’s unfair that military recruiters disproportionately visit schools where they know families are far more likely to be unable to pay for a college education, and as much as I am proud to have served my country in uniform, I think this practice is predatory and disgusting.

I think it’s unfair that politicians go into impoverished and middle class communities and talk about how “college isn’t for everyone” and promote the benefits of learning a trade and I agree with that sentiment, but I notice they never seem to go into affluent communities and encourage their children to forego college and learn a trade.

I think it’s unfair that any politician with children in private schools would have the audacity to tell the parents of children in public schools what they should and shouldn’t do to achieve a better life.

I think it’s unfair that established professionals in any field would communicate to young people that they’re more likely to get internships in that field if they attend certain elite colleges that require crushing student loans to attend and this is somehow seen by anyone as appropriate.

I think it’s unfair that there are countless stories of young people who take out enormous loans to attend a good college and get a good job after graduation and make their loan payments on time and, somehow, wound up paying far more than what was lent to them because of predatory interest rates.

I think it’s unfair that many of the older people who downplay the crushing student loan debt faced by young people are the same ones who had to pay a fraction of today’s tuition for the same degree they once earned. Same for housing. Same for health care. Same for childcare.

I think it’s unfair that many of those in this country with extraordinary privilege are all-too-happy to pit middle class families against working class families against impoverished families and distract us from the fact that the system in which we all live only really works for them. And I think it’s unfair that this is by design.

Listen, I don’t think it’s particularly radical for any reasonable adult to concede that this whole damn system is unfair from the moment a child is born in this country.

So, when I see someone complain that they paid off their crushing student loan debt, so others should have to do the same, all I can think is:

Why would you want others to needlessly suffer just because you had to needlessly suffer?

I don’t have all the answers. I understand that alleviating this unfair system is complex and requires good faith and concessions from everyone in order to reach a fair compromise, and I don’t pretend to know exactly how we should go about that.

But I do think concessions should start at the top with people whose lives have benefited the most from this system.

And now that I’ve used a ladder that was passed down to me, I fully intend to make sure everyone else can climb it, too.

I think that’s more than fair.

Original essay can be found here — please do subscribe and support my writing:

Of course, this has caused much consternation among some folks, who feel that, since they paid off THEIR loans successfully, no one should get such a wind-fall. I just was involved in a discussion thread about this on FaceBook, and, thought I would quote it, both to see the original comment, and (among others) my explanation of why I think that student loan forgiveness is an action whose time has come:

RNC: I read it [The Above Post], and I’m still outraged. Use that money, then, to improve schools, provide meals, provide school enrichment classes and tutoring. What about support to veterans who are homeless or suffer from emotional/psychiatric issues? Use the money for that. What about the folks who couldn’t afford or perhaps didn’t want to go to college? I have plenty of relatives and friends who were blue collar workers. They will be taxed for this forgiveness – nothing is free. I could go on and on.

How about the schools forgive some of that debt, or, lower the cost of college, since that cost is outrageous? I was divorced after 20 years, with no child support or alimony. I managed to get my kids thru college by working 60+ hours per week…and receiving a loan in their names. I paid off that debt, again by working 60+ hours per week.

I have 2 stepchildren whose father saved for YEARS, to pay for their college. They took out student loans for grad school – after much counseling from us about earning potential and financial responsibility.

I’m over the handouts – live up to your potential, honor your debts and your other responsibilities…

Not personal to you, Cathy [original Poster], of course, just very bothered.

PD: You are correct in that all of these issues need to be addressed. My personal feelings are that if the church as a whole (and I’m included in this) did what God calls us to do then a majority of these programs wouldn’t need to exist. The problem with the school system is predatory lending from lending institutions and for-profit universities such as the University of Phoenix and even ITT Technical College. These same students would have to co-sign for a car but can sign for 10s of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, many public schools have gotten rid of non-collegiate tracks and have been pushing students towards college, no matter their goals or ability level. That along with the extremely inflated costs of colligate courses. The system as a whole is a dumpster fire. Once again, not trying to argue against the points that you raised because there is validity and reason for outrage there. Just trying to point out the issues with the education system.

RNC: PD: I agree with you about that. In some ways, like the housing debacle. Everyone “deserves” a house, so lenders made loans available to those who could not afford them. My issue is forgiving all this debt – on top of all the other handouts people think are needed. We need restraint and better management across the board.

Being reasonable about expectations is needed also. Maybe a student doesn’t need to go to that high cost college, go to a public university (even tho they’re expensive too). Also, high schools are leaning tech course loads again – or at least they are in our area. That’s a plus for those kids.

Thank you for a reasonable response. That doesn’t happen often and I appreciate the conversation!

DD: RNC: There is no rational reason we can’t do both. Well, except that we as a nation refuse to pay for it. Which is really the whole problem with education in general.

PD: Thats great to hear about the tech courses and tracks. I taught in Ga for 10 years and was so frustrated at the decline of tech programs and tracks.

And yes thank you for the dialogue!

BAS: RNC: this is personal. We’re currently qualified for income based repayment, which is a really helpful program that just got better. There was a brief window where mere politics would have made our payment skyrocket to more than double our mortgage payment monthly. Just based on who is sitting in the White House office. It was that close last year.

We were told my spouse would make enough money to pay off loans incurred in grad school, but churches are struggling to make budgets so suggested pastoral income is just that, suggested. We work so hard to secure his income and have no guarantees. Meanwhile this affects every decision of our lives – our housing, our family plans, my own career…

I’m really lucky my parents and good scholarships were able to help me through undergrad, but more and more careers are requiring masters level degrees. Even with this forgiveness we won’t be out from under this debt. It merely gives us breathing room. We’re lucky because we have familial support if things get bad, but what if things get bad for all at once (like 2020) and we can’t get help? The last few years would have been exponentially harder if loan payments had not been paused while everything else around us gets more and more expensive.

I’m sorry you had to work so hard to put your kids through school. You should not have been raked over the coals to make it happen. This student loan debt issue is one that will affect our country long term, as so many people are being forced to make big, life long decisions based on their debt.

DCM: RNC: I hear you. You raise some excellent points about issues that we, as a society, need to address.

As for Student Loans….I was lucky. My father was a professor at the University of Tennessee, so got a huge break in tuition for us kids. Also, I was in University in the late 1970s, when it was possible to get a degree for a few thousand dollars. (the range in American universities today STARTS at $10,000 for a basic degree, and can go up to over ten times that for very specialized programs)

Today, though, for a variety of reasons, many of which are touched on earlier in this thread, I am continually hearing of folks who have been paying off their student loans for a decade or two…yet STILL owe as much as they originally borrowed. They made the best decision they could at the time, and still were sucked in by predatory lenders, who were allowed to loan money at usurious rates thanks to the lax regulations from the Feds (And WHICH party is continually trying to remove regulations???)

Some of the problem lies with the truly terrible economic situations that have been smacking the United states since the economic crash of 2008/2009…That crashed, caused by unbridled greed and weak regulation of the financial industry, has left our economy as fragile as a delicate, blown glass sculpture.

One other point to consider. even if every penny of the student loans still outstanding was forgiven, that is around $1.75 trillion. That seems to be a huge number…but consider this…every year, just the large corporations in America pay zero taxes thanks to $12 billion in tax breaks. Also, the previous administration gave the richest people in America a PERMANENT $1 trillion dollar tax break. Even if nothing else affected the economy, removing those two perks would pay off the entire amount in under 15 years.

However, let us look at the individuals who would receive this loan forgiveness. HOW would that affect their lives? Would they, for example, simply squirrel the money away in stocks/bonds/savings? That, after all is often what happens when the very rich get breaks like this. No, they would not. That money would simply end up doing what it is supposed to do. They would, typically spend it to support their families. They would purchase homes. They would purchase consumer goods. They would increase insurance coverage. And, perhaps, some of it would end up in savings, to act as a pad when the inevitable disasters life brings strike. A vast majority of it, though, would end up back in circulation…helping not only the forgiveness recipients, but the whole chain of vendors and service providers that they would pay. The economic impact of this would be huge…and while it would not turn the streets to gold, nor cause milk and honey to flow through them, it would cause some of the fragility of America’s economy to heal, causing it to become stronger and more robust.

In closing….while what you did was an amazing feat, and a huge sacrifice, are you happy and proud that you spent a huge chunk of your life having to work 60+ hours a week, to pay for your children’s education? Was that better than, say, working 40 hours, and having time to enjoy their growth and maturing to be adults…and learning that it is possible to have an adult relationship with them? Was it better than knowing that the huge amounts you were paying out were going into the pockets of the very rich, few, who were running the scam? These are people who would likely have you arrested if you showed up at their gated estates, hat in hand, looking for work.

I submit that life is more than just working oneself to death to make enough money to survive, and to help one’s kids…and in the process making the very rich even more obscenely wealthy. So, in the interests of treating the citizens fairly, I support loan forgiveness, and, a change in tax laws to ensure that the uber-rich end up paying a much larger chunk of the costs of having this society than they do now. “To them that much has been given; of them, much will be required”

It is my observation that, in most cases, the opinions about loan forgiveness are based not on rational consideration, but, on an emotional, knee jerk. To me, it makes no sense to saddle anyone with a debt that they may never be able to get out from under, debt they incurred because of lies, smoke and mirrors. All this does is stick generation after generation in an abusive situation, cutting down by a huge amount on the potential benefits to society that being freed of this debit would provide, and leaving them in despair. In a way, it is no different than having lunch with a friend, and squashing their idea of finding a way out of an abusive relationship because YOU did or are surviving in one. There are at least 24 countries in the world that provide free or very low cost access to higher why is it that, America, supposedly the richest country in the world, cannot do this? To me, there are no good reasons for this failure.

God Help Us All

Be Safe…wear the mask, social distance and GET VACCINATED!

Bee Man Dave

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

Guns In The House! Guns In The House! Part 02

Greetings and Salutations.

Victims from Uvalde, from CBC.CA

We are just a little time past the weekend of 2022/06/04-05, where America saw 13 mass shootings, killing 19 people and injuring 70. This, right on the heels of the shooting at Uvalde that killed 19 students and two teachers. Here is an article about that weekend, and here is a discussion of the latter event.

I have written, in the past about this issue, discussing the Red Flags that all such killers leave in their trail, and how they could be used to help keep this violence from happening. I have proposed some changes to gun laws that might address some of the shootings, both deliberate and accidental, that plague America.

A day or so ago, I was listening to NPR, and heard a somewhat chilling article on what has happened to the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives over the years. Actions by Congress, and, yes, MOSTLY by Republic*nts, has nearly destroyed the ability of the BATFE to enforce the gun laws on the books now. Here is the article I was listening to. I strongly urge everyone reading this to take time to listen to it… I must admit that I had no idea that the situation with the agency charged with enforcing the gun laws in America was so bad.

I suggest that if we truly want to address the issue of the misuse of guns in America, it is past time to provide BATFE with adequate funding to allow them to enforce the laws we have now. The other issues I mention in the above links, and, my contention that we have got to address the culture of violence we have nurtured for decades are vital, but will take decades to change the situation. The budget issues could be changed in a year or less. The actions taken to cut the BATFE down to a joke were taken by “representatives” who receive huge donations from the weapons industry…In other places, this would be called blatant bribes. As such, once again, I urge everyone reading this to contact your Representatives and President to urge them to remove the “Citizens United” laws from the books. These are nothing more that license for the industries to bribe politicians to get their way, and should have no part in American Government.

God Help Us All!

Be safe, get vaccinated, wear your mask, social distance, wash hands, and be cautious

Bee Man Dave

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

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

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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 distance, wear the mask, get vaccinated!

Bee Man Dave

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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…

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.

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 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.


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