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To read either the rules of engagement here, or find out what happens to your data, check out these pages
For some help figuring out what is going here…Read the About Page
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.
Greetings and Salutations.
I ran across the following essay on Facebook, and thought it would be an excellent addition to the commentary here.
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?
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.
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
Greetings and Salutations;
I just got put in FB Jail for a week, because I apparently hurt someone’s feelings. Here is the comment I was responding to:
Ginnie Stokley Gorsin NS…so Americans get the vaccine because unvaxed Americans are the real pandemic…BUT…we shall ignore the millions of untested and unvaxed illegals pouring across our open borders bringing a multitude of diseases to be distributed across the country….THIS, CNN followers, is the democratic narrative…learn it, live it, LOVE IT!
And here is what I replied to this comment:
Dave Mundt Ginnie Stokley Gorsin Bless your heart. You had best walk away from FB for a while. Your racism is showing, and it proves how ugly you really are.
Was my comment fairly blunt? Of course it was. Did it go beyond community standards? I, obviously, do not think so, when Ms. Gorsin’s comment is not dinged, and comments like this are allowed:
Polk Danny: SS: actually violent crime against children in Chicago beats out covid and nothing done about it.WATCHED COLLEGE FOOTBALL ALL WEEKEND, NO MASK, WATCHED NFL, NO MASK, WATCHED MLB, NO MASK.SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, THE POPULATION THAT FIGHTS THE VIRUS BETTER THAN ANYONE HAS TO WEAR A MASK TO SCHOOL BUT NOT THE FIFTY THOUSAND AND MORE AT A STADIUM??? FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kris Tina: Kateryna Svezhevska: , I have a few choice words for you but your IQ isn’t up to par for that. So I won’t waste my time getting down in the gutter with you. I’ll let you stay there alone
So…for the 6th time since Jan, 2020, I will be prevented from posting to FB for a period. I have tried contesting the charge, but, that is like spitting into the wind…not at all successful.
God Help Us All! Be safe…wear your mask, social distance, get vaccinated!
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations.
I happened to run across a Cultist that spewed nonsense about Covid…The fact that this is happening a year and a half or more into the serious pandemic from Covid boggles the mind. So, while this person is either a flake or a Conspiracy Loony (but I repeat myself), I took a few minutes to address her foolishness. I thought I would post the comment any my reply here for historical interest.
Teresa McClelland Jeffries I know several who has died after getting the shot, got major heart problems, one had to be air lifted to a major hospital, one lady can’t walk anymore. Vaccinated are spreading the virus as bad if not worse than anyone. You take a dangerous shot but still have to social distance and wear masks. Why take the dangerous shot that is untested, untried and unapproved and causes major adverse side effects. Where are all these that have died of covid??? Wouldn’t the funeral homes be overrun with dead bodies? Wouldn’t the cemeteries be full to overflowing??? The numbers and facts just done line up. The lying media and demoncrats have brainwashed you.
1) As for your claims of death and injury…you need to provide citations from reliable sources proving your claim. Otherwise it has no validity.
It is true that some younger folks getting the vaccine have experienced issues with an enlarged heart. HOWEVER…this was easily treated and in a short time, went away.
2) While it is POSSIBLE for the vaccinated to become infected and spread the virus…your comment lacks merit as it ignores many factors.
a) Vaccinated people are FAR less likely to become infected. Current reports are that an unvaccinated person is 17 times more likely to get an infection.
b) The duration of any infection will be very short, and, much less serious than with an unvaccinated person. For example, 90% to 100% of the people in hospital ICUs, requiring much care, ventilators, and ended up dead are the unvaccinated.
c) While the Delta virus does produce the same amount of viral DNA in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s noses, a recent study found that about 40% of the virus was already dead in vaccinated people..
All these factors mean that it is many times more likely that an infected, unvaccinated host will spread the virus to many more hosts than the vaccinated host.
3) You opinion about the vaccines being untested and unapproved is simply wrong. Initially, before the FDA issued the emergency use license, there had been studies with upwards of 30,000 people done. Since then, close to a billion people have been vaccinated, with positive results, and almost no problems.Also, a week or two ago, the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine complete approval for use. The only reason it was delayed by several months was the typical bureaucratic sloth. The other vaccines are on the verge of being authorized for general use by America, and in some cases have ALREADY been authorized by other countries.
4) Nothing is perfectly safe. However, the issues that arise from a vaccine shot are well understood now, and easily treated. If you think the vaccine is dangerous, you expose a severe lack of understanding about the vaccine, AND the reality of Covid.
5) Where are all those who have died of Covid? Well all over the place, if you must know. Many hospitals had five or more freezer trailers that they were using to store the dead in until the mortuaries were able to deal with them. The mortuaries were stacked up to the ceiling with the dead. As for where are they buried…again…all over the place. Burial grounds have a huge amount of unused space. In addition, many of the dead were cremated, and their ashes returned to their family, in small urns…so a bunch of them are sitting on the living room table or a shelf.
6) I realize you are a Cultist, and so will blow off this truth…but, when it happens to you…remember this post
To see this kind of ignorance and denial today is kind of horrifying. Alas, this is NOT all that uncommon on Facebook….
God Help Us All
Be safe. Get vaccinated; wear your mask; Social distance; Wash your hands.
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
FB is a grand source of interesting interactions that are worth considering, even if I disagree with the person making the points. Today’s topic is the Civil War, and how its echoes and emotions influence, and reflect, today’s world. I have excerpted the most relevant interactions here, but the entire discussion is located here. I also want to point out that I am a native Tennessean, born and reared in Knoxville, so I have far too much experience with the topics I discuss in this essay.
The Original Post that fueled this discussion was this comment:
DM: Some Southerners bemoan the removal of prominently displayed statues of their ‘heroes.’ How would they feel if those statues were Lincoln, Grant and Sherman, the victors of the Civil War? Every day they would walk by those who defeated them and, during Reconstruction, made their lives miserable. Descendants of former slaves had to face that indignity on a daily basis if they lived in towns were Confederate statues occupied public spaces. Put these statues in museums or destroy them altogether.
Although located here, my comment was made after quite a few posts were added, many of which were focused on defending the statues in question, and saying that it was “destroying history” to remove them.
let me remind everyone here that these statues were not erected until decades after the Civil War. They were created and placed during the Jim Crow era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were not created as art or to commemorate a hero, so much as to tower over the public square, and remind the people of color who walked by them every day that not only were their en-slavers still around, but, many of them held significant positions of power. They were a tool of intimidation to keep these people of color from getting “Uppity”.
Their removal is not canceling history, or destroying items of artistic worth. It is a concrete way of society saying “we will not tolerate oppression of other citizens”.
I see that the government is trying to find people to take these statues. I would love to have one, so I could paint the face with clown makeup, drape the horse with amusing cloth, and attach flags that say “Losers” and “Traitors” to the figure.
Dave Mundt: Thank you, Dave, for giving perspective to this issue…
DM:– As a matter of fact there is a gigantic equestrian statue of a Civil War Criminal and architect Native American Genocide in NYC that Southerners and First Peoples have to walk past daily if they live in that part of BYC. How about we take Sherman’s statue down too? Sauce fir the goose is sauce for the gander. As for the memorial statues erected to the Confederate who were never returned home to their loved ones for burial, I am fine with these being placed in cemeteries where the lucky identified Confederate dead are buried. No other explanation needed.
HBW: Generally, I would be fine with that… Put up put up generic soldier statues at cemeteries and statues to the peacemakers. Fine with me. Except maybe WWII heroes … all very deserving. Truth is, as we know (even though I am not a veteran), war is an ugly affair…tragic at every level but especially for the lower ranks and the civilians who suffer. We should avoid it and avoid aggrandizing it.
HBW: The major difference is that Sherman, in his military actions, was fighting to preserve the Union. He was not trying to destroy it. Were his methods questionable? perhaps. However, Southerners SHOULD be reminded of the treason and insurrection they engaged in during the civil war.
As for his treatment of First Peoples…yea…that was wrong, and driven by both his own prejudices, and the pressure from the railroads to provide safety for their construction over the land.
It is possible for a person to do both good and evil in their day. Their reputation is based on which one took up the majority of their energies.
As for memorials to the confederate fallen. I am of two minds about that. I think that an appropriately worded plaque would be Ok…as long as nothing on it honors their deeds in any way.
Dave Mundt: — The ends do not justify the means. A war crime is a war crime. Rape and murder of non-combatants was definitely beyond the pale during the Civil War as were kidnapping and forced labor of women and children. As for genocide of the First Peoples, well nothing justifies genocide. Many of those who rebelled against what they believed was the tyranny of the Northern states had given decades of civil and military duty to the US prior to the Civil War, and then took oaths of allegiance after the war and continued to serve their communities and the nation. You cannot excuse the Union war criminals while at the same time continuing to demand that Southerners be perpetually blamed and shunned for what you see as treason. That attitude is precisely why the Unionists are seen as such hypocrites by many people.
HBW: Well, I likely fall into that category of not having family here until after WWI. Nonetheless, since I live here and worked here, it would be impossible for me not to be aware of the war’s impact, especially since it is still so alive in the minds and hearts of so many Southerners. Under those circumstances, I feel entitled to have opinions re such issues…especially since when I first got here I was called a carpetbagger, interloper, Yankee and damned Yankee. We have two children born in Nashville and now two grandsons also born here. I can’t remember her exact age but I’ll never forget my young daughter asking me “Daddy, what’s a Yankee?” I also will never forget my son one day, as we were working outside, asking, almost in a whisper, “Dad, do you know about the Holocaust?” War, everywhere and always, is an unimaginable horror… in fact, there likely are not words strong enough or descriptive enough to give wars its due. The existence of any one of us is a longshot miracle. I exist because of war being that my grandmother, as a young teenage girl, fled Turkish soldiers during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. I was taught about the 1915 Genocide at a very young age by my grandfather who was a tough-as-nails “never forget” kind of man. Between my grandparents AND a surviving great-grandmother, I could actually hear and touch that history. Yet, in college, I befriended a Turkish exchange student at Michigan State, once spent an afternoon with a group of Turkish students at Syracuse, was tour guide to a couple of Turkish business people visiting Nashville and even dated a second generation Turkish woman in Albany. True, my grandparents might have risen from their graves to strangle me had they known but my dad was wise. On the subject of Turks he said to me “How far to you want to go back? All the way to Adam and Eve?” So, you move on as Armenians, as Americans, as humans.
DM: — I would be just fine with the generic soldier statues — Union as well as Confederate being placed in appropriate cemeteries instead of remaining on courthouse squares or along public medians. BTW — Did you know that most of the Union statues are placed facing South while the Southern ones are mostly placed facing North? Looks to me like neither side has forgotten or forgiven judged on these placements. As for statues of prominent men, that is a thornier issue. There are people who want Andrew Jackson’s statue taken down in NOLA even though he saved the city from British Invasion in 1815. But he was also another slave owner and “Indian Hater.” And what about all those slave- owning “Founding Fathers” who fought for and helped establish this country? Are we going to dump them in the dustbin of history over one issue— which was legal at the time? And when you get to the Civil War figures, what about the Union generals who continued to own slaves until the War ended, like Grant? And then you have war criminal Sherman. Just who should go, and who should stay — and who should decide?
DM: — I am only 3 generations removed from my family members who suffered through the Civil War. My family lost not one but several homes burned to the ground by invading soldiers. My ancestor of that generation was a POW died as a result. He is the only one of his generation not buried with the family and whose gravesite is unknown still. My great grandmother was made a homeless orphan as a result of that war. Her aunt was raped by Yankee soldiers and drowned herself rather than live with the shame. As a result of that war, many family members lost their land, their homes and their property. And remember, wonen at that time had no place in the public sphere abd could not vote or own property independently if married, except under a few special circumstances. I am very aware of how messy and awful war is, and of how mutable history can be for the survivors and their descendants. But despite the atrocities committed against my ancestors, both my grandfather and father volunteered to fight in WWI and WWII. They are not the exception. The Southern states still continue to have a higher percentage of the population enlist in the military than states in other sections of the country. I really believe that the nation would have healed more quickly had Lincoln not been assassinated.
HBW: I am so very sorry that your family experienced all those terrible events. books, movies, even documentaries cannot portray such horrors realistically enough so that others have to carry it with them for their lives and, also, pass that pain —and the ramifications of lost property—along to future generations. It certainly brings truth to William Faulkner’s line, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Again, sorry for the woes that befell your family.
DM: – Thank you for recognizing our loss. But just think, my family’s experience was multiplied by the thousands throughout the South. Things were even worse in Georgia with Sherman’s scorched earth policy. And all of this was taking place when attacks on civilians by US troops were supposed to be totally forbidden. In fact most European countries frowned on attacks against civilians even back then. One thing that really disgusts me are self-righteous people whose ancestors were not even here for the civil war who think they have the right to pass judgment about an event their family wasn’t affected by at all. Also, most European countries did participate either directly or indirectly in human trafficking during the time slave trading was legal by their countries.
HBW: Like I said. War is ugly and maybe we should only ever honor the peacemakers. History is messy messy…just like people.
DM:– I am sorry for what your family endured in 1915. I was reared by my grandparents, so my experience of family attitudes about the Civil War is one generation closer to that conflict than even many Southerners. And while the majority of my ancestors on my father’s side fought fir the Confederacy, I actually have a great grandfather on my mother’s side who was from Ohio, and who remained in NOLA after the war and married into my mother’s family. Some of her family were more recent immigrants to the US having arrived here in the 1840s. My grandfather whose mother was orphaned by the war related stories of that time that she personally saw and events she lived. I can understand how you may feel entitaled to have an opinion since you feel impacted by the attitudes of those around you regarding perceived “outsiders.” I am sure that was very unpleasant for you. I have friends who were born in the North. For the most part we do not speak about what is known in the south as “the War.” And I readily admit that I avoid those people who want me to feel ashamed of my ancestors who fought for the Confederacy or who owned slaves regardless of where they were born. There are always at least two sides to every conflict. One side’s freedom fighter is the other side’s rebel.
HBW: Let me clarify…your post(s) makes me believe that you are an apologist for the Confederate cause. The placement of these heroic statues has nothing to do with the unreturned, Confederate, dead. It has everything to do with oppression.
Here, in Knoxville, for example, we have what I consider to be an appropriate marker for this purpose. It is a simple, fairly short obelisk, that has a comment on the order of “in this cemetery lie the remains of unknown Confederate soldiers, killed in the civil war”. That is all the memorial needed.
Dave Mundt: Thanks for the article Dave.
Not exactly true of all of these statues Dave Mundt:. Many were erected within 5- 15 years after 1865. The reason it took so long for the South to erect them is because it was left impoverished by 5 years of war on its territory and 12 years of exploitive “Reconstruction” enforced by an army of occupation. These kinds of memorial statues were erected more quickly in the North because those communities were not impoverished by the Civil War. BTW most of these statues were created in Northern foundries and quarries. The figures were virtually the same, only the accessories they carried and the initials on the belt buckles were different — US for the Yankee statues and CS for the Confederate statues.
HBW: Madam; I believe your view of history is lacking. However, I grant that I spoke poorly, and was unclear in my implication that EVERY statue was a product of Jim Crow.
Dave Mundt:— I can assure you that my view of history is not lacking. I am not looking at it through lenses provided by partisan Union apologists. My view is informed by reading first hand accounts in periodicals of the day and paying attention to accounts written by or oral history recordings made by people who were actually INVOLVED and living in the time following the Civil War. So many of the Confederate dead were never returned to their families for burial. Prevented from being able to express personal loss and grief at gravesites, many southerners, particularly the widows, turned to creating public memorials to their lost but much- mourned dead. It took decades of teas and bake sales to raise the money needed to buy those memorial statues from the Northern companies that marketed them to the South as well as the north.
HISTORIC ART vs PROPAGANDA Yes, remove from public spaces. Yes, put in a museum…maybe. But I also have no problem with destroying some of them. I hate to sound like a book-burner or the Taliban exploding statues of gods other than their own. However, I view these statues less as art and more as propaganda and as such I don’t think they need to be or should necessarily be preserved for their artistic value or even as for historical or cultural significance. I could almost accept statues to unnamed Confederate soldiers at a cemetery…again with some markers placing everything in context. But I see little reason to save, house or maintain statues (especially those of the big bulky hulking sort) of Confederate generals and politicians — so handsome, brave and proud of their treachery and defense of slavery.
GS: Yes and there might be several solutions that work. I can accept that they go at a moderate pace to deal with these.
DM: You have a point. My first thought was to leave them and add large teaching markers, but that does not solve the issue of the pain a black person feels just seeing them in public. Whatever the answer we need to deliberate carefully so we arrive at the right solution.
when i can put a statue of someone’s daughter’s rapist in their front yard then i will be OK with murderers like nathan bedford forrest having a place in our capital. he shot Americans in the back. he murdered soldiers who surrendered. we know that history. we will never cancel that. but i’m not for celebrating it.
and i doubt that if i put a rapists’ statue in your daughters’ front yard that she will be ok with “that’s history!”
Northerners did this all the time — put statues of those who raped and killed Southern women — black as well as white— or who sanctioned such war crimes by advocating total war against non-combatants in the Civil War in public places and even in the nation’s capital. I suggest you familiarize yourself with Sherman’s tactics approved by Lincoln, and with Sherman’s letters to his wife advocating the extermination of a “ certain class of Southner” with which she agreed.
I am in Tennessee and have seen a lot of this state and a number of other Southern states. I have seen many memorials in cemeteries with generic (I hate that term, maybe “unnamed” or “unknown”) soldiers which, sort of, I can accept. However, I have yet to come across a town square with a statue of Grant or Sherman or even Lincoln posing as mighty war heroes. Every Southerner (White Southerner) to take this as an affront. However, Blacks living in large and small towns all over the South are frequently confronted with statues Confederate soldiers, generals and politicians in public squares, public parks and at battle markers etc. This is also an affront to them (and others).
HBW: You certainly know your history…I am not sure what name to use for you…can/should I call you Hamilton? My paternal Armenian and maternal Sicilian grandparents did not arrive in America till right after WWI … so, technically, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I was raised in suburban Detroit, lived in Albany NY for 10 years and also, for less time, in Kansas, California, Ohio and briefly in Chicago. I will tell you this as a fact, beyond the Mason-Dixon line, there are many people …smart, schooled people, who don’t know and don’t care who won the Civil War. (At least, maybe, up until recent times). I moved to Nashville in 1984 and married a young lady from Knoxville in 1987. So not only am I am Yankee, I’m a damn Yankee. I enjoy history and have similar discussions as this with several of my in-laws. Nashville was cosmopolitan then and is much much more so now. Reconstruction was a terrible time…Lincoln, as you know, wanted to be much more magnanimous to the defeated South (“…malice toward none…”). Might have been nice for Booth not to have assassinated him. In any case, slavery was a repulsive institution used to create wealth on the backs of free workers, who were breed and sold for profit. Men like Jefferson Davis and Lee and the rest went to war to defend that institution. As such, they sure do not deserve statues in prominent public spaces. I suppose you are free to erect a statue to such a person on your front lawn like that jibone did on I-65. But if that is who you wish to honor, you shouldn’t be surprised at what conclusions, justified or not, people draw about you.
DM: For what it is worth, I was in my teens before I realized “DamnYankee” was two words.
DM: – You have to go up north to find statues of Lincoln, Grant or Sherman because those are not heroes to the average native white southerner. But if you look at maps, you will find lots of towns, counties and parishes in southern states named for northern figures during Reconstruction. In Louisiana there’s really Cameron, Lincoln and Grant parishes — all named during Reconstruction. If having to walk by a statue is an affront, imagine having to live your life in a place that was renamed for your victorious opponents? And before you protest, what’s the difference? Are only black peoples entitled to feel affronted? And again, the CSA lasted only 5 years. Many Southerners had been very loyal o the USA. Generations of their families had fought and died to establish and maintain the US. Many like Lee were very conflicted, but as was common in the 19th century felt a greater loyalty to their state, which they believed to be just as sovereign as the US. Davis had actually served in the US government. Lee and dozens of CSA officers had graduated from West Point and had fought in the US Army. Many of them, in fact most took the loyalty oath and had tgeir citizenship and right to vote restored. Many including Lee, Forrest, Beauregard and others openly advocated for civil rights and voting rights fir former slaves. Many like Beauregard worked on civil projects as well to improve access to education for all. Beauregard worked improve the NOLA sewerage system to make NOLA a more healthy place for everyone to live. He also helped create the street car public transportation system that made travel around the city available to everyone, although blacks and whites sat in separate sections of each car. It is very unfair to try to judge 19th century people by 20th or 21st century standards.
I did not address her point about judging people by 21st century standards, but, it lacks merit, as there was a percentage of Southerners that knew that Slavery was an Evil that should not happen, and were abolitionists
Dave Mundt:- Your little laughing emoticon is inappropriate, sexist, rude, crude, tasteless and just deplorable. Rape is never funny. Being burned out of your home is not funny. Being murdered is not funny.
HBW: I apologize for being offensive, but look at it from my point. You are pushing a viewpoint that is trying to make a band of traitors into heroes. Mourn your lost ancestors of the day, but it would be wise to adjust your reason for mourning from “They were great heroes foully murdered by the Killers from the North”, to “They were terribly misguided in their support for a truly awful form of oppression, and fought and died to defend the indefensible. Their deaths were useless and a waste of life”. Also, the Civil War was 150+ years ago. Is it not time to do as Don suggests, and let go of the hate, and move on. Clinging to hate like that is like drinking poison and expecting one’s enemy to die. It taints every interaction, and can destroy the chances of reconciliation, and working together to build a better world.
The attitudes expressed by Ms. HBW are far too prevalent still, and are that stumbling block that keeps us from truly healing the wounds left by the Civil War. Today, all across the Nation, the Republicants are pushing legislation that would, in essence, cancel history. They are using the straw man of Critical Race Theory, to ban any attempts to teach the history of the people of color in America. They are banning books which honestly tell the story of people of color and their experience with the systemic racism that permeates American society and law. There are many folks that simply deny any of this happened, and refuse to hear any other truth. One of the reasons I quoted the lengthy conversation with HBW was that her posts are a classic example of this narrow thinking. Focusing on the mythic “Gentile Southern Society” and ignoring the foundation it is built on is unwise. It is like looking at the beauty of a diamond in one’s hand, and ignoring the fact it is a Blood Diamond. The product of death and oppression.
Now…how can we push America to become a better, more tolerant, caring society? I suggest that the Americans with clear vision that are left MUST work together to stand against the racist and foolish laws being passed. We must work to ensure that the WHOLE history of the country is taught, not just the part that makes white people look like the knight in shining armor, rescuing the country from the evil savage. I fear that, in most cases, the adults of today are a lost cause. As Ms. HBW demonstrates with her strong devotion to the Confederacy, fueled by the anger over what happened that she clings to as if it were yesterday, most of the adults are so tied up with their own prejudices and fears that they are not going to change. Perhaps, some will…but that will be the exception, not the rule. I rather think that folks like Ms. HBW will argue the point until the end of time, as she has done here, and will not budge an inch from her misguided and very narrowly focused beliefs.
However, we can educate the children to be better and wiser citizens, by ensuring they see not only the successes but the failures of American society. There is always room for improvement, but, until we see there is a problem we cannot even contemplate the idea of improving. I have to say that I am a perfect example of this. When I was growing up, here in East Tennessee, I was taught the nonsense about the Civil War that most Southerners are taught. I knew no different, so, to me, it was the truth. I thought it was OK to use “the N word”, to look down on people of color, and to make jokes and such that explicitly painted people of color as being less intelligent, with classic food choices and the like.
However, because my Parents were very educated, and tolerant people, they made a major difference, calling me out when I would make an inappropriate remark, and forcing me to confront what was the basis I was using to justify it. That, along with some excellent teachers, both in public school and church, brought me to understand that I was totally wrong in the way I viewed others. In time, I grew and matured, to the point where, I believe, I am accepting of all, and respectful of all, without considering their skin tone. Now, their mind and beliefs are another matter…but that has nothing to do with appearance!
One of the pivotal moments for me came in the early 1970s. I was listening to an interview, I believe on NPR, with the assistant director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Turns out that he was a reformed Skin-Head. What had moved him to become a leader in the major organization fighting antisemitism? He told the story about several years before, when he was at a Skin-Head rally, and taking full part in it. He was there with several friends, and at a break, had a thought that puzzled him. He asked his friends “Let us say we get rid of all the mud people and jews..what will we do THEN?” Their reply “Don’t worry…we will find SOMEONE to hate!”. This rattled him enough that he realized the dark path he was on, and changed his life. The realization that it was not an aspect of another that made them the enemy, but, simply the hate in his own heart and the hearts of his compatriots rubbed his nose in the foolishness and wrongness of it. He, luckily, changed… The realization he had, while not new to me, was certainly a tool that re-enforced my increasingly tolerant, and accepting view of reality.
God Help Us All
Be Safe! Wear Your Mask; Social distance; get vaccinated…Delta is coming!
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
In spite of the continuing pandemic, and Japan’s poor vaccination numbers, the International Olympic Committee has decided to go ahead and allow the Games to go on. They are, I know, impatient, because they were supposed to happen in 2020…but the world was in lock down then.
As often happens, there is a lengthy discussion going on in Facebook about the athletes that will be competing in the Games, focusing on the question of what should happen to them if they dare protest at any point in the games. Of course, the original post, as follows, was placed by a Politician, And, of course a Republicant, so opinions tended to be heavily against any speaking out. The Republicants do not deal well with anyone who does not toe their line, of course.
I did post a couple of comments, of course, but this is one interaction that I thought I would quote. It sort of sums up, for me, the difference between the two parties.
I am offended that anyone would fail to respect our country’s flag and National Anthem! Everyone has the right to protest, but not on my dime! I will not support any company that advertises during this time!
Dave Mundt: LCH: It would be better to ask yourself “Why are they protesting?”. The moments where Olympians take a stance are few and far between, and, it is not a casual moment for them. It is ALWAYS only after a lot of soul-searching and questioning.
I disagree that a protest is disrespect for country or flag. What it is depends on what one focuses on. I focus on the reality that they are responding to a failure of the society to live up to its promises.
Do you think that their actions are a shock to other countries, and cause those countries to have a lesser opinion of America? If so, you are ignoring reality. The other countries of the world see the flaws in America very clearly…and do not change their opinions because of a person’s protest. What WILL change their minds is America facing its issues, and removing the power they have over us…if we work diligently to become the “shining city on the hill” that is our ideal.
If interested, here is a link to the entire diatribe.
As I touched on before, I support the actions of the Olympians. They are using a huge, bully pulpit to focus society on a major failing that should be addressed. Every time, it has been a failure of society that has been ignored or swept under the rug for decades, and as such is an internal rot that is destroying society.
Be Safe…get vaccinated, wear your mask, social distance…
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations….
Of course, the Biden administration has been under constant attack by the Right-Wing since Jan 20. Alas, unlike the previous administration, IT does not deserve all the crap that is being thrown at it. More on that later.
However, I was just engaged in an interesting dialogue that demonstrates, again, the cultist nature of the Republicants these days, and their willingness to believe lies over truth. I quote it below, with annotations.
JW-L: you are entitled to your opinion. I happen to believe the current President is hurting my family and destroying our country. Guess we just have to disagree
JCA: just curious. In what way, in four months, has the current president hurt you and your family?
KW: I am betting you will not get an answer from Ms. ALba. I NEVER do when I ask them direct questions about their claims.
Dave Mundt: I’m sure she has no answer. And destroying our country? Had she seen footage from January 6th?
KW: did you see the footage from last summer?? Really? The open border concept- how is that going for you? Do you like the price of gas, groceries. How about foreign policy going down the toilet. Iran nuclear plan for one. Reengagement with the WHO which is dominated by China Sided with teachers unions over needs of families and especially women shall I go on?
JCA: Well, an actual reply…one that is filled with questionable views, but a response. Let me take a shot at them.
However, the bottom line is that with your rant, you STILL did not answer Ms. Wright’s question – how have you or your family been DIRECTLY harmed by this administration. I will give you half a point for the increased costs being painful and a challenge, but, the rest of your comment loses you about 1000 points. Also, What do you believe President Biden has done to raise prices? Do you believe he controls private industry?
This, to me, is proof positive that the right wing conspiracy channels on Cable are propaganda outlets, spreading lies to support an agenda. It is a major reason I support adding the Fairness Doctrine to the LAW, making it far stronger than an FCC Regulation. It also speaks loudly about the state of mind of the Right-Wingers out there and the attitudes they have taken on over the past decade or so. This level of delusion and hate started when President Obama was elected, and has simply gotten more extreme over the years.
Now, How would I “fix” this? If I had the power, I would require all Americans to re-take some civics classes, since the ones they had did not stick with too many of them. I would require that people who express views based on lies as being the truth be required, at the bare minimum to pass a course in skeptical thinking, and at worst, be required to be deprogrammed and THEN sent to Skeptical Thinking class. In a more realistic vein though, I simply work to get as many liberals and Democrats to vote Blue as possible. If we can take solid control of the government, legislation can be run through that will deal with a bunch of these issues.
God Help Us All
Be Safe, social distance, wear your mask, get the vaccination shots.
Bee Man Dave.
The person skating on thin ice here, JCA, simply would not let go of her delusions. She just added the following comments (which include my reply) to the thread.
Dave Mundt: peaceful!? You are really out there if you believe that!
KW: always goes back to Trump. You are never going to see the truth. Have a good day. I can’t deal with this and you
Dave Mundt: have a good and blissful day. As they say ignorance is bliss
JCA: Bless your heart.. Let me explain something to you. The news is based on spectacle, to a huge extent. SO…the cameras go to where the excitment is, and bypass the hundreds of thousands of people who are marching in protest, peacefully. Now media outlets with a strong agenda, such as Fox Not-The-News, OANN and NewsMax will spin the images to make their viewers believe the violence is all over the place. in reality it is often a tiny area within a much broader protest.
I see you did not notice or are ignoring the links that I have provided in my reply to back up my opinions. Hard t argue with evidence, I know.
Bottom line is that your casual dismissal of us, and your claims that “Ignorance is bliss” simply demonstrate the lack of substance your comments have, and are more projections of your own issues on us
Greetings and Salutations.
Today, an very interesting article came to my attention. One of the major conflicts during the Covid-19 pandemic has been the subject of Masks. For some time, the scientific community was very divided about urging the population in general to wear a mask when in the company of others. There were some valid points on both sides, and the arguments were certainly impassioned! The down side to this process has been two fold. First off, it has allowed the politicians to turn mask wearing into a political issue. In these days of extremist positions, this has caused quite a divide between (in general), the Liberal community – who tend to wear the mask, and the Conservative community – which actively refuses to wear the mask.
As it turns out, much of the argument stems from some sloppy science done more than 50 years ago. The article, linked below, discusses at length, the issues, and their history. It is rather long, alas, but, it is worth reading…
God help us all.
Be safe…wear the mask, get the vaccine, wash hands and social distance!
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
As I was poking around on Facebook today, I ran across a thread about the ongoing Covid vaccinations. The Original Post was a question “Have you gotten one or both Vaccination jabs?” Well, the following thread, consisting of several hundred replies, seemed to shake out into three, basic, themes. There were the people who said “YES” and mentioned which vaccination they had gotten. There were the ones who said “Not yet…but I am getting it scheduled, or have not because I cannot find a place to get it done” The third category is the one I am going to address here. Those are the people who said “No, and I am not getting it for <reasons>”.
In the real world, NONE of these have any truth to them. They are the product of shadowy sources, conspiracy loony websites, and random rumors started on the Net – in SOME cases by Satirical Web Sites, whose humor goes over the head of the listeners and causes them to believe these are real things. I want to address them in reverse order…because I find the last one to be the most amazingly funny of the group.
So…What about that claim? These are the points I usually make to the people making these claims.
A major reason I am so hard on the anti-vaxxers is that their decision to refrain from vaccinations do not just affect themselves. They refuse to let their children be vaccinated, thereby providing a fertile field for some really nasty diseases. Shucks, for that matter…I just interacted with a women who was looking for a kitten to take home, but did not want it Vaccinated. She lives in Florida, by the by, where there are a LOT of rabid animals who do bite humans and cats. Here is a page showing the statistics. Well, back to the point…another issue with the anti-vaxxers is that when they are infected, they not only are an unnecessary burden on the health care system, but, perhaps more importantly…The Only way a virus can mutate and become more virulent is to infect a host and grow. Until it gets into the cell of a living host, it is nothing more than an inert bundle of genetic material. SO, by providing hosts, the anti-vaxxers are likely to produce the mutation that will ensure that the current vaccines are no longer effective. The same process happens every year with the flu. It moves through an unvaccinated or poorly vaccinated population, evolving into a form that requires us to get a booster shot every year.
What can we do to address these issues? In the short term….If YOU are reluctant to get the vaccination…talk to your doctor. Do what he or she suggests. If you cannot trust your doctor, who can you trust? In the long term, we really need to address the educational system in America. This pandemic has brought to the forefront the reality that too many citizens do not have the tools, provided by a good education, to critically evaluate the flood of information the Net provides, sifting out the valid from the invalid data that sprays out of our screens. One down side of the Net is that the goofiest and least valid theories can LOOK as if they have equal footing with a peer-reviewed, long-term study from Mayo Clinic! The tools of skeptical thinking, and library skills taught by a good school system will allow the reader to find evidence to either support or disprove the data they are getting. Sadly, there are a lot of other changes that need to happen in America, many of which have been uncovered by the awful administration of the 45th president. However, those are a topic for other posts
God Help Us All!
GET your vaccination, Wear your mask, social distance and be careful out there.
Greetings and Salutations!
Today is April 13th, 2021. The Covid pandemic has been a wildfire raging around the world for over 12 months now. While there are some successes, in that we already have four, very effective vaccines that are finally being rolled out in significant numbers, the crisis is not over by a long shot. Not only are there too many countries in the world that have yet to see their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, but here in America we have a dishearteningly large number of citizens who, for various reasons are refusing to get the vaccination, or, for that matter, take the tiny precautions to keep from getting, or spreading the virus, such as wearing a mask, extra and more complete hand washing, social distancing and the like.
That having been said, I am focusing on one issue here…that is the problem of vaccinations in America. I just dropped into a thread on Facebook, from a local page, where a large percentage of the people were railing against getting One of the vaccines we have available. I wrote the following comment to address their concerns, although I am rather sure that most of them will neither read it, nor believe it if they DO read it. However, if I can open the eyes of even one person, then I shall look upon the commentary as a success. Here, then, follows my argument as to why getting the vaccination jab is vital, and far better than the alternatives:
“I got my second Pfizer jab over two weeks ago. Since I had covid in 2020, my first shot made me sick as a dog for two weeks. The second one I barely noticed. I did have a bit of fatigue, and a couple of smallish headaches in the week following, but that was it.
I STRONGLY recommend to everyone that if you can get the jab…get it. It does not matter if it is the two shot versions, such a Pfizer or Moderna, or the one and done, J&J jab. While there is much publicity when someone has a bad reaction, a lot of press does not mean there is actual danger there. Right now tens of millions of people have been vaccinated, and the number of people who have had serious issues is in the very low thousands. The reality is that you are many times more likely to be injured or killed in a car crash on your way to get the shot than you are to suffer injury from the vaccination itself.
Remember…the news media tends to focus close attention on whatever event will get them the most viewers…ignoring the entire picture. So, it is very easy to believe that the dangers are greater than they really are. Let me give you a specific example. Last Summer there were the VERY VISIBLE protests by BLM over the George Floyd murder. From the news coverage, one would think that all of Minneapolis/St. Paul was being burned to the ground. However, as this link shows, it was a tiny part of the city, and a very small number of buildings actually damaged.
yet, these events caused weapons sales to skyrocket in America, caused many to call for preemptive strikes to deal with a coming race war, and a general feeling of fear and hate that is still with us today.
NOT getting the vaccine is, in my opinion, a very selfish act. Why? Because…with out it, a person remains vulnerable to catching Covid, and distributing it to family and friends. The person who gets it up front might not die from it, or, for that matter, even feel ill…but they could kill or maim friends and family all around them.
Another reason is that Covid mutates, and is becoming better at infecting others. The ONLY time it can mutate like that, though, is when it enters a host and starts reproducing. The host’s immune system might knock out the weaker strains of the virus and allow only the stronger versions to survive. That is why we are now seeing spikes from a new version of Covid, that is better at infecting people, and as such is striking far more folks of a younger age.
Finally, there is the reality that while “only” a few percent of people that get Covid die…a huge percentage (I have seen estimates as high as 70%) of the people who get it and survive are left with permanent organ damage that will impact the length of their lives – shortening their life, increase the probability that they will be hit with other diseases, and, that they will end up needing far more, expensive, hospital care than they would have. And that, folks, is the BEST case. There are reports of significant numbers of folks who continue to suffer symptoms of Covid for months, and perhaps years after having had it – the so-called “Long Haulers”. There are reports of people who have had such damage from Covid that they have been permanently disabled because of the damage done to their bodies and brains.
Are these chances YOU are willing to take? Are these chances you are willing to inflict on your aging parents, grandparents or friends? Are these chances that you are willing to inflict on the members of your family that might be immune compromised? Remember, as of today, over 567,000 Citizens have died of this virus, and we have a long way to go before it is under control. Many of these people also were skeptical that Covid 19 was anything other than a bad flu, or, a hoax. There have been multiple reports of people saying, up to the moment of death, that they did not believe the virus was real.
I got the jab as soon as I possibly could because my answer to the previous questions was a resounding “no“. I hope that all who read this, who are still holding out for a “safer” vaccination, or believe that they are so healthy that they will NEVER get it, will seriously consider what I have said…understand that Covid does not care what you think, want or believe or how strong you think your immune system and healthy your life is. It WILL infect you if given the chance. It is becoming more and more likely every day that EVERY citizen is a target and there is no guard against it. I suggest a better course of action is to face your fears. Do not let them control your actions. Do the SMART thing and get the vaccination, if not for yourself, for the people you care for. The worst of the reactions to the vaccine, as reported so far is still orders of magnitude less difficult than dealing with getting Covid and all the ramifications that means..”
First off, I am going to link to a general overview of the advancement of automation in the world. When watching this Video, I suggest you pay attention to the factory floor in particular. Count the number of skilled and semi-skilled human workers you see…and then remember…this can and will spread throughout the world. Why? Because people are expensive, far from trouble free, and often unreliable. There is a much larger profit margin when machines do the work.
An overview of automation in industry
In my first example, I am looking at the technology of 3d printing, which has leapt forwards in the past decade. In the 1990s, these printers were toys, expensive toys with limited abilities. Today, though, we see printers that are very affordable, that can produce items on demand that are surface ready to be used. The size of the printers has scaled up by huge amounts too. Today, it is possible to have a giant printer installed on your job site, and over the period of a day or two, print, out of concrete, the shell of a complete house. While this is still very new technology, it is already in use in a number of places. The result of this innovation? We go from a crew of a dozen or more skilled workers to one person at a computer screen. While it is true that this is still very new technology, it is already in use in a number of places. The costs are tiny, compared to conventional construction, also, as pointed out in the linked article. Here is an example of the growth of the industry.
Note, too, that, the same sort of automation is taking over the job of bricklayers and masons. The current bricklaying robots do a far faster and equally good job as the most skilled humans…and for a pittance of the cost.
The Bricklaying robot at work.
As another example…I had to have some blood tests done the other day. The lab has upgraded since the last time I was there, and, instead of talking with one or more office workers to get logged in, and update my insurance information, I stood at a touch screen on a pedestal, with a built in scanner, and tapped answers out to a series of questions. Upon being prompted, I placed my insurance cards under the scanner, and new images were captured and stored in their computers. I did notice that there were at least two fewer people in the office there, and I wondered…where did they go?
One final example…in many fast food restaurants, when one walks in, instead of several people behind the counter, taking orders, there is ONE person. Scattered around the entryway are a number of touch pads similar to the one I used at the Lab. We, the consumer, have to go tap in our order on these pads, then, the one person behind the counter does their single job…collects payment for the order. However, the work of automation is not limited to simply collecting orders. Already there is a thriving market for robots that will actually prepare the food. Here, for example, is a promotional video for a robot that takes batter at one end, and, spits out perfectly cooked doughnuts at the other! It is not just doughnuts, either.
Here is an article about “Flippy the Robot”, a machine that cooks hamburgers!
While all these technological advances are spectacular, and will change life, hopefully for the better, it is an undeniable issue that these and many other inroads to human-based tasks will cause many workers to be out of a job. What do we do about this? Do we ignore it, and let them starve, to eliminate the excess population? Or, do we take a lesson from the Preamble of the Constitution, where the Founding Fathers made it crystal clear that a responsibility of society is to ensure the welfare of all citizens. I do not mean by this that they should be on Government aid for their lives, but, rather, that it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that every citizen is protected from some level of economic or food-related disaster. Because of this interpretation, I have come to the understanding that it is past time to implement a Universal Basic Income for Citizens. The details are fuzzy still, but, in general, it should be enough cash to ensure that every person receiving it is above the Poverty Line.
Now…how do we pay for this? I suggest there are several major sources of funding that are untapped at the moment.
Will these happen in a rational fashion? I expect not. I suspect that we, as a society, will let the sttus quo rumble along, until there are so many desperate, poverty stricken people who used to have a decent quality of life, that we see a “French Revolution” break out against the very rich. This would be a bad thing, and an unnecessary thing…so I hope that cooler heads will prevail.
God Help Us All!
Be Safe, wear your mask, wash your hands well, practice social distancing…and get your vaccination shots.
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations;
I was just involved in an interesting discussion about taxes and thought I would expand a bit on my opinions here. A major issue in America is the income/wealth gap between the richest and poorest citizens. This is a topic that brings up much discussion when it arises, as the obvious solution is to lower that gap size. I address this in more detail later on in this essay. As such, I am going to address the question “Does great wealth/income disparity help or hurt society?” and, how can we fix the problem.
I argue that a wealth gap does hurt society as a whole. When it reaches a certain point, it no longer is an incentive for increased production, nor, does it reflect accurately, the contribution that the very wealthy make to society. I point you to this article as an interesting discussion of the issue.
I maintain that in today’s society, the economic leverage that the very rich have (and here I am including corporations, although they are a separate issue), allows them to exploit the workers. They are able to undercut the systems that workers fought for over the decades, such as unions, fair hiring practices, and regulations on work. This ends up with workers that are underpaid, but desperate to keep their job because the effects of losing that job are far greater than the enforced poverty and abuse they endure. It can result in employees forced to work in hazardous conditions. Is this erosion of compensation, benefits, and protection good for society, though? I maintain it is not. While it may result in far greater profits reaped by the rich, the money ends up tucked away in investments and offshore accounts, where it ceases to help society as a whole, and benefits ONLY the rich. These actions have the long term effect of damaging worker morale, causing productivity loss, and a degradation of their quality of life…It leads to the dystopian view presented by the situation of the Eloi and the Moorlocks in H. G. Well’s precautionary tale “The Time Machine”.
In the late 1800s/early 1900s as the Industrial Revolution was spinning up, we had such figures as J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, the Rockefellers, and the like, who were either “Robber Barons” or “Captains of Industry” depending on one’s point of view. They lived lives of unimaginable luxury. Carnegie, for example had so much money he was able to build and fund libraries and schools all across the United States. And yet, during that time, the wealth gap was in the vicinity of 70 times from the lower to the higher economic class. Today, it is up in the vicinity of 400 times…and, frankly, I see damn few of these current robber barons using their fortunes to improve America. Here is an interesting examination of that time in America.
Since that period, though, the wealth of the country has undergone a large shift, leaving the Middle Class behind, and losing ground. More and more of this tier of society are finding themselves slipping into poverty and going from some level of economic security, to living from paycheck to paycheck, and having to decide which bills get paid this month. Today, for example, there is not one state in the Union where a single person, holding a minimum wage job, can afford safe, secure housing. More and more it takes both partners in a relationship working full time to have sufficient income to have any level of economic security. Here is a more detailed look at how the wealth in America has migrated since 1900 and how it is affecting society. It is, alas, not a pretty picture. However, it does, fairly clearly, point out the negative impacts of an increasing wealth gap on society, and, how the money flow has changed in the past 120 years or so.
In the Bible, there is a saying “To them that much has been given, Of them much will be required”. This is not a concept that was created new by those writers, either. It has been around, perhaps, as long as homo sapiens has walked the Earth. If we go back to near prehistoric times, there is a tradition that the best hunters would share their kills with the entire tribe…and NOT keep all of the riches to themselves. This same attitude persists in some cultures today, thousands of years later. The end result is that the tribe, as a whole, prospers. No small group is hoarding wealth, nor are any in danger of dying from starvation… So, yes, I do think that the very rich should carry the lion’s share of the burden of keeping America a great place to live.
I remind us that up to the Reagan Administration, we had tax rates of up to 90%, and far fewer loopholes than exist today. There were two major features of that period of American history. 1) Most Americans had a level of financial security that allowed one person, working a 9 to 5 job, to own a home, and support a family, and STILL have money for luxuries, vacations and the like. 2) America’s growth in the area of industrialization and technology boomed and brought us to a point where we were the world’s leader in those fields. Granted there were issues galore to deal with, but, from an economic standpoint, America was in a very positive place for MOST citizens. Reagan’s “reforms” of the tax code though, cut the rates for the rich, made little changes for the rest of us, and left America slipping onto a slick, downhill slide that has resulted in economic problems of amazing magnitude.
So…how can we fix the problems? Do we become a “Communist State”, where the government owns everything, and doles out wealth on an “as needed” basis? Well, no…This rapidly becomes a dystopian nightmare, as history has shown us time and time again. The people in charge, having no serious limits to their power, ALWAYS pump money and power to their friends, and ignore the needs of the country as a whole. There are several other somewhat similar forms of government, that all boil down to a dictatorship with a few in charge of the power and wealth, and the rest being dependent on their largesse. The end result of this path is almost inevitably an armed revolution that brings a bloodbath, and overthrows the existing rulers, only to allow equally bad rulers to take their place. I point out the Russian Revolution against the Tzar, The French Revolution, and the the Cultural Revolution in China as three examples of this sort of failure. I, though, have come to appreciate and support the idea of Democratic Socialism, such as advocated by Bernie Sanders all these years. Here is a somewhat idealized goal of this form of government, laid out for our edification and education. While this link does lay out the ultimate goal, it is not terribly far off. I have seen a number of employee-owned businesses in my life, and, in general, they are far better for the workers than the more typical, pure capitalistic model. They create far fewer very rich folks, but, they do ensure that all workers are adequately compensated. In addition, they tend to improve productivity, because we ALL will work harder to make something we have skin in a success, than some job that is just a paycheck to us.
For me, the question is this: “How much money does one person need?”. Just off the top of my head, if someone were to write me a check for, say, $5 million, free and clear, it would not only take care of my wife and my needs for the rest of our lives, but, it would provide me with resources to improve the world in many ways. That sounds like a lot of money, I know…but, it is less than 6 minutes from the Military’s budget. It is less than Jeff Bezos is compensated in half an hour. It is about what Bill Gates increases his fortune at over a 4.3 hour period. It is somewhat less than Devos collects in 10 Days or less. And, I am talking about a one-time payment here. Just putting it in the bank would generate nearly enough income to take care of many of the bills. So how much money does one person NEED? I certainly understand that wants far outstrip needs. I might WANT $1 billion. but, would I NEED it?
Would this change fix all the problems of society? Of course not. No one is claiming that. But, those that have great wealth shouldering more of the costs of society will ensure that the vast income gap present today will shrink a bit, and fewer Americans will end up in economic insecurity. Even if tax rates on the very rich were raised to 50%, and many of the loopholes were closed, they would still have the resources at hand to ensure that their family would not have to work for several generations out from today. Add to that increased compensation for most Americans, and prosperity could return to some extent. As a part of these changes, though, I also support a Universal Basic Income, to be paid to all Americans, and to be paid for by increased tax revenues. I believe this is a vital part of an equitable society because automation is expanding into new fields, and as such, we are going to see far fewer jobs in the fairly near future. I have written a short essay on the effects of Automation, and why the UBI is a vital part of dealing with it. What will those people whose jobs disappear because software can do them more cheaply do to keep the wolf from the door? I have written another essay on automation and how it is affecting reality in a greater and greater way, so will not repeat that here. Sufficient to say, there are very few jobs that will be left that robots cannot perform more cheaply, and quicker than humans. I am not arguing that these changes are all bad. These changes can result in a more hassle free, and quicker experience. However, the question remains…what happened to the people that are no longer working? Are they forced on to welfare now? Are they living with relatives and scraping by as Uber or DoorDash drivers? Would their lives be improved with a UBI, and would they find it easier to walk away from work that exploits them? I maintain the answer to these questions is a solid Yes.
There are equitable ways to address the issues of wealth inequities in America. However, they face formidable opposition, based not on logic, or, rational thought, but, alas, rather such factors as ignorance, greed, and the indoctrination against the changes via massive propaganda campaigns. In spite of this, I remain firmly convinced that, without some significant changes in American Society to deal with the wealth gap, the future is dark. I do not want America to add another revolution, such as I touched on before, to the pages of history. They are always a bloody, unfair, and wasteful way to implement change. Rather I would like to see wisdom and compromise used to evolve us to a society that is more fair for all citizens…. In discussing these issues in social media, I run into a fair number of people who maintain that the Government has no call to engage in any of these actions…as it has no responsibility for its citizens. I find this premise specious, for several reasons.
Because of the attempts of the fascists to destroy America during the previous administration, the damage that administration did to both the economy and America’s standing in the world, the terrible costs of the Pandemic that struck the world in 2020, and the rise in extremism (which I have written about elsewhere) in America, we are in a very fragile moment in our history. The question right now is this: “What will we do about it?” Will we accept the status quo as the only possible path? Will we work to push America back to a path closer to what the Founding Fathers envisioned? Will we shrug our shoulders at the toll economic disaster and disease is taking on our citizens, even as it increases in coming years? Or will will work to elect Federal and local administrators that will take the Preamble of the Constitution to heart, and actually change our path to a more positive one?
A very wise man said “All that is required for Evil to succeed is for people of good will to do nothing”. If we do nothing, I weep for the future of America.
God Help Us All!
Be Safe, wear your mask, wash hands properly, practice social distancing!
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations;
If, by the by, this essay seems a bit disjointed at times, I beg your patience. It is a complicated subject and one that I am still trying to condense into a graspable format, and, perhaps, come up with some actions that we, as a nation, can take to address the problem. Now…let us dive into the cesspool and see what we find.
The events of 2020 and so far in 2021 have focused my attention on a worrisome trend in American society that, I believe, will destroy us if we do nothing about it. That is, as the title of this essay indicates, the culture of violence that has been fostered and grown in America over the past decades. I believe that it is the root cause of many of the serious issues we are facing now, and, if we, as a society, do nothing about it, this country will become unrecognizable, and will be doomed to dissolution.
The concept of a “Culture of Violence” is not a new one by any means, and there is already a vast library of papers discussing the intricacies of the issue available online. A simple Search Engine query will turn up literally millions of papers and essays discussing aspects of this worrisome problem. I, though, want to focus on my experiences and observations as I have lived in the South for the past 65 years. During this time, I have seen dramatic changes in the way that we citizens view each other, and interact with each other.
First off…what do I define as the characteristics of a Culture of Violence? And Where do these characteristics come from?
Of course, several if not all of these are inter-related, and as such build on each other. And, because humans lie to themselves ALL the time, it is quite possible that one or more of these and various other facets I have not included, are being ignored…that we are willfully blind to them.
So, what happens when we have a nation with a significant number of citizens who are driven by and controlled by the above, emotional controlling factors?
I am going to note here that the examples I have listed here not only exhibit the characteristics I spoke of earlier, but in every case they highlight the cowardice of the attackers. In the case of the mass shootings, the murderers always choose soft targets that are unlikely to have a defense against them. In addition, a very common theme of the attacks on Asian Americans is that it is nearly ALWAYS a younger, white guy who attacks an older, more vulnerable, Asian American. Often these are sneak attacks, so the target never knows what is coming until they are struck. Even the events of January 6, 2021 have aspects of this cowardly behavior. As multiple videos of the events show us, the insurrectionists that breached the Capitol did so against a small force of lightly-armed officers who did the best they could in many cased, but had no chance of holding the mob back. The officers were not only outnumbered by 4 or 5 to one, but, it appears that some of them actually were supportive of the insurrection, and so both opened the gates to allow the mob in, but took no actions to keep any damage from happening. We have recordings of that same mob rampaging through the Capitol, looking for the Vice President – with the express goal of hanging him on the pictured gallows. They were also looking for any Democrats they could find, to kidnap them, give them a Kangaroo Court hearing, and then kill them. It was only by some significant luck, and the efforts of the Capitol Police, and the other LEOs there that we did not see televised images of our elected officials being murdered.
Speaking of which, the trial of the cop who murdered Mr Floyd started last week. The events of that day when Mr. Floyd was killed and his execution was recorded and broadcast to the Net – where it will live forever – are a perfect demonstration of several of my points about a culture of violence. Mr. Floyd was stereotyped as a big, black Monster, who was putting every cop’s life there in danger. In spite of the fact that the restraint hold that chauvin used on him, that caused his death, was not legal under the department’s guidelines, it did not change his attitude at all. The striking thing about that video is the reality that looking a chauvin, he had the emotional reaction of a person killing a cockroach, not at all that of a person taking the life of another person. He showed lack of empathy, intolerance, hate, and a willingness to use deadly force well beyond any sane limits.
We have had so many examples, I could go on for page after page relating them. However, again, they are preserved in the Net, and a search engine query will bring up reading material to cover days, if not months.
So, Let us move on to considering what we can do to fix the problem, and remove the septic infection that is killing us as a society.
It is not a quick process to wipe the culture of violence out in America…it has taken decades to build to this level, and will take at least as long to eliminate. However, it is vital for us, and for the country, to do the work…to start taking those steps of this Long March.
God Help Us All
Be Safe…Wear your mask, social distance, wash early and often…and most importantly, get vaccinated.
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations.
Recently, the Right-Wing has found something far more interesting than the Pandemic, or the spike in attacks on Asians in America caused by racist rhetoric about the source of Covid-19 to get all hot and bothered over. What is this burning issue? Dr. Seuss books! Recently, the Estate, which, of course, owns all rights to the books, decided that five of the sixty plus books that Dr. Seuss created had ethnic and racial stereotypes that were hurtful to the people depicted, and, so, decided to take these books out of print. In the past week or three since this was announced there has been a firestorm of protests from the fanatics on the Right. They have been screaming “Cancel Culture”, Censorship, and claiming that the books are not that bad. Their rants rank right up there with the screams of agony over removing the monuments honoring Confederate Generals from the Public Square…and are JUST as valid.
Over the past day or two, I have dropped into a dialogue on a Thrifter’s Group on Facebook. The Original Post was by RR, who was proud of the good deal she had gotten in finding a complete set of the Dr. Seuss book. Well, the thread drifted, as can happen…starting with someone making a snide remark about the Dr. Seuss books being censored. I dropped into the conversation for a bit, because I saw some amazingly blind remarks posted, that I could not ignore. I have quoted a section of the dialogue below, as a perfect example of the sort of systemic racism that is so embedded in American Society that it is invisible to many folks. I should note that EVERY one of the people in this thread are White, middle aged and apparently doing OK economically. The level of cluelessness exhibited by many of them is an excellent example of the points I raise in the comments about systemic racism and the cultural blindness that supports it. Oh yes, and one other point, as I indicate in my comments to LM, she IS very Blonde.
I happen to have read the Dr. Seuss books in question, and, in the day did not even consider that the caricatures in the images and words would be hurtful to folks…but in the day, I was also ignorant of the history of non-white people in America. This screaming about “Cancel Culture” is, of course, sketchy at best, and is little more than deflection by the Right-Wing fanatics who do not WANT the oppression of non-white citizens to be looked at.
LD: Dr Seuss isn’t banned, just not being published anymore. Don’t spread fake news.
LD: eBay and Amazon are taking down the listings and not allowing new listings of the “out of print” Dr. Seuss books.
MB: That doesn’t mean the books are banned, it means a private business decided you can’t use their platform to sell them. Businesses make policies all the time. Wedding cakes, for example.
LT: I did not say they were banned, I was just sharing information based on my experience.
MB: why are they out of print ??? Because the estate decided they were racist ..another cancel culture hit ..
NB: yes, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the official manager of books published under the moniker Dr. Seuss, announced Tuesday that it will no longer be publishing six Dr. Seuss titles because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
NB: Have you even LOOKED at the books in question? Apparently not because they do have a number of racist, ethnic stereotypes scattered through them. Even Ted Geisel was embarrassed by them in later years.
Or are you OK with pushing racist stereotypes, and taking the control of the books away from the descendants of the man who created them?
We are also talking about 5 books out of more than 60.
LT: equals new term: Digitally Banned
LM: As I pointed out, there are racially insensitive caricatures in the five books that have been taken out of print. The family decided that, instead of editing the books to remove the images and words, and replace them with less questionable content, to stop publishing them.
Your comment demonstrates the white privilege and systemic racism that is a huge problem today.
To try and make this clearer…You are blonde. How would you feel if all you heard were blonde jokes about how stupid you were? That you could not take more than half an hour for lunch, because management knows that any longer and you would have to be retrained; that you heard people laughing about how they could tell what computer you had used to type up a document because of the white-out on the screen…and on, and on and on….
Imagine hearing that every day for your entire life? And then, the first time you said you were tired of it, someone said “Wow…people are just too sensitive these days!”
Dave Mundt these books are not “pushing” anything. I get it, but let’s stop trying to change the past and worry about the future. People need to quit being so sensitive and use their “own” heads. I’m fine with the books being discontinued or whatever but I think there is a lot more hurtful racial things going on today that are overlooked than a few sentences out of hundred year old books.
Dave Mundt: funny I’m not white privilege or have systemic racism. This is ridiculous. These are books and taken to far… this cancel culture is taken to far
Not sure how this fits into my post …
LM: How many of the 6 books have you ever read? Many folks have never even read or heard of most of the six, but suddenly they are “SO important” now that the family has decided to stop publishing them. “Cancel Culture”– has nothing to do with these books being discontinued, it is a family business decision.
I have the whole series thank you and read them to my kids. They aren’t bad books
totally understand the sensitivities that some are feeling, but if we get rid of everything, we will have nothing. It’s super easy to find anything wrong with just about everything I think it’s important to keep in mind that kids use their imagination and they are not reading into things the way that many of us do when we get older. They are children. I really don’t like that my post is turning into a political or cultural issue. I’m merely sharing my find and my love for these old finds.
LM: I am referring to the Dr. Seuss books that are no longer being published, as mentioned above,, not the great find that the OP posted.
LM: Thank you for proving my point by not addressing my entire comment.
This thread has drifted far enough. I see you are hopeless…so I pray that one day, reality will dawn on you.
Beyond that, I am done.
JA: Ok..well, tell you what. If you can find an Asian person or a person of color that will talk to you, ask THEM what they think about the stereotypes in the books, and what it says about society…Oh yes, and perhaps, about their experiences in today’s society.
You, as a white guy, have NO CLUE what these folks go through.
Dave Mundt: thanks but it already has. You are the hopeless one
If y’all do not remember the books in question, here is a link to “If I Ran The Zoo” The racist content is minimal, true enough, and, if I had a choice, I would suggest to the Estate that they simply update the few, racist images and words to reflect a more inclusive world view. However, it is their decision to keep the books intact, apparently….
That having been said…the sort of societal blindness that some of the folks in the quoted thread exhibit demonstrates very clearly the roadblocks that non-whites have to overcome to be “equal” in this society. It is up to each of us to work to see those roadblocks are removed, as quickly as possible.
God Help Us All
Be safe, wear your mask, social distance, practice sanitation, and get your vaccination shot!
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations.
Today, February 10, 2021, the Senate Trial of #3×2 started with the House Impeachment Managers presenting some very damning evidence and spirited explanations as to why #3×2 should be convicted, and banned from ever holding office in the United States again. As part of this presentation, we are seeing much new video of the event, from in the middle of it. This is, perhaps, the third or fourth cycle of the information being opened up, and every time, it becomes even more horrifying. It shows how close the coup came to succeeding. The question now is “Will 17 Republicants be convinced to vote to convict after the presentation by the Impeachment Managers?” Time will tell, I suppose, but I am not confident that they will do the right thing.
There has, of course, been much discussion online about the impeachment, and its results. The Cultists are coming out in force, of course, heartened by the fact that, at least, so far, they have suffered no consequences of their support for, and taking part in, the attempted coup of Jan. 6th. I have had to block many, many folks on FaceBook because of this, or because they are apparently out of country trolls. I have posted many replies pointing out the lies, and presenting the truth. However, most of the time I have simply flagged them with the hashtag “#FoundTheCultist“, blocked them and moved on. Sadly enough, the Republicants seem to be so fearful of losing their cushy jobs and being the target of the anger of the Insurrectionists, that they are going to be reluctant to vote to convict.
I just had a short interchange with a person in one of the Liberal Groups, I am a part of That I thought I would add to the record. I had made the following comment about the results that are very likely to come about if the cowardly Republicants fail to do the right thing and vote for the Constitution and Country, instead of their own self-interests:
Dave Mundt: BP: Perhaps the next time, when they are not so good at hiding from the insurrectionists, the sight of one or two of them hanging in front of the Capitol will remind them of the reality that they could have stopped this.
This lead to the following, short, interchange. I stand by my comments, as I am pretty sure that this dark vision COULD happen. I HOPE it does not…but we cannot know the future, alas. To see how Easily it CAN happen, though, I refer the reader to “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. This chilling map of how America could easily become a fascist state is available in other formats too. Although it was written in the 1930s, it is very relevant to the events of November, 2020 through January, 2021.
L. S-A: Dave Mundt: what are you saying?
Dave Mundt: L. S-A: To clarify. IF #3×2 is not subject to sanctions, it will increase the chances that either he, or another, smarter, fascist will work to inflame the emotions of the gullible masses, and cause yet another violent storming of the Capitol. As is coming out in the information presented by the Impeachment Managers, many of the Congressional Members were within feet of being captured by a violent crowd driven by blood lust. They likely would have been zip-cuffed, dragged out to the Gallows and hung by their neck until dead. The Republicants, if they believe they would be immune to this treatment, are lying to themselves. Look at the videos of the Insurrectionists chanting “Hang Mike Pence”. Does anyone believe the mob would have found him, dragged him out, then, cut the cuffs loose, slapped him on the back, and yelled “Just joking, Bro…”? Do the Republicants believe that the mob had a list of “Good Guys” that would not be touched? They are bigger fools for it then.
So…in conclusion. What I am saying is that if justice is not done now…This insurrection violence will happen again. When it happens again, the Congressional Members MAY not be so lucky, and so will hang. If that happens, I hope that every Republicant there, either as a last thought, or as they cower in fear again, realizes that they are the authors of their own fate…Brought on by their actions of this week.
Greetings and Salutations;
Today, #3×2’s remaining lawyers spoke at length on the Senate Floor, arguing that the Senate Trial should not happen at all. They supposedly had two major points to demonstrate why this action was illegal.
Well, The House Impeachment Managers stepped up to the podium, and presented such a powerful, well prepared explanation of exactly why the actions and words of #3×2 leading up to the attempted coup warranted this trial, the defense was shaken, and apparently was forced at the last moment, to change their strategy.
The reality that the defense has almost nothing valid to base its objections on, and, their presentation was so disorganized and convoluted that a first year law student would be failed if they presented it. All of the speeches I mention are available online, of course, as the Internet Never Forgets. There are clips and discussion of the presentations by Coster and Schoen on Youtube that are worth watching, if one has not followed the sequence of events. In short, though, what follows are some of the arguments their pitiful presentation included. By the by, my characterization is shared by even Republicants out there….
There were several other smallish points in the rambling presentations by Castor and Schoen in their attempt to get the Senate to vote NOT to allow the process to continue. However, there is not one true Premise in the list.
I do not know if it is significant, but, Castor has one major mark of infamy to his name. He is the Prosecutor who refused to indict O. J. Simpson for the murders he committed. He has also represented at least one other high-profile sexual abuse case, and, he, himself was subject to accusations (which he settled out of court).
Schoen, while in his earlier years, did do some good work in the area of Civil Rights and such, his recent history has been less than stellar. He, for example, has represented both Roger Stone, and was scheduled to represent Jeffery Epstein before his untimely death. Were I looking for a lawyer, these two cases alone would cause me to walk away from him. In addition, he is yet another person caught up in the personality Cult. He has pushed sketchy, conspiracy theories, apparently putting the success of his friends and clients above his responsibilities to the Court and the Constitution. For example, he cast doubt on the Mueller Report and its findings. Here is an article looking at the history of Castor and Shoen in the law, and in connection with #3×2
In closing, I want to add my opinion about why it is vital not only to hold this trial, but, if at all possible, pressure enough Republicant’s to vote for conviction that it will become a done deal. If we do not prosecute the Impeachment indictment, it will send an unmistakable message to any other president who is totally unable to behave in an ethical, empathetic manner that (as some commentators are calling it) they will have a “January exemption” where they can do anything they want to in the last month or so of their term without fear of consequences. This is, obviously, a direct attack on the rule of law, and the concept built into the Constitution that NO one is above the law, and malfeasance will be dealt with under the law. In addition, the lack of consequences will show any coming fascists that they can get away with ignoring the law, and overthrowing the Constitution to put them in power forever. We were lucky this time. #3×2 certainly had the desire, but he lacked the IQ or ability to implement this coup successfully. I can almost guarantee that the next fascist will not have ANY of these failings. They are likely to have the ability to inflame the masses by pandering to their hate and fear. They will also be smart enough to understand where they need to build power in order to overthrow the Constitution. No matter the outcome, we must do two things. First – Push through this Impeachment trial to the end. Secondly, every Citizen has GOT to remain vigilant, watching for the signs of such an attempt happening again. As a part of this, we must each understand what the Candidates stand for; what their record is; and then vote for the Candidate that is best for the WHOLE country…not just our little tribe.
God Help Us All (Bee safe…wear your mask, social distance…wash hands…minimize trips out)
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations.
A friend of mine posted the image to our right on Facebook today. It, upon first reading, seems nonsensical. Believers know that Christ says “Know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free”. People always talk about how important the Truth is, and how it will clarify things. Yet, this sign seems to contradict this. The conversation on Facebook explored this issue a bit, so, I thought I would quote some of it, and add my thoughts at the end.
My first comment on this image was, perhaps, too dismissive. I said “There are none so blind as those that will not see. A great sign, and most amusing…but, that is why I continually work to expand my knowledge. “TRUTH” always makes sense. If it does not make sense to me, than it is because I do not understand what I am seeing.”
My friend’s reply made some very valid points, and encouraged me to think more deeply about the meaning of the sign. If nothing else, it motivated me to the point of moving from a Short Reply on Facebook to this, somewhat lengthy examination. She said “When I see the truth in nature as a butterfly’s wings or the symmetry of a flowers petals… I am at wits end… or when I see the truth of humanity in its need to repeat itself in war and fascism I am confused…Hence in those truths I am baffled…It doesn’t make sense to me that in nature everything is so symmetrical…Why isn’t it just thrown together?And as for human nature we repeat ourselves in giving pain to ourselves and others. This truth also seems complicated.“
After reading these excellent and insightful observations I realized I was skimming the surface of the sign…and that it was worth a deeper dive. So, I thought I would, more or less, address the points she raised.
My mind is very Pattern oriented, so I noticed early on that Nature does rather like mathematical patterns…I point to the Fibonacci spiral pattern of the seeds and flowerlets of Dandelions, Sunflowers and other flowers. I point to the orbital mechanics of the planets, as they lumber along around their star…and, the fact that this same, local orbital patter which will scale up to the movement of the Galaxy around its core, and will continue on, as far as I know, to the Universe itself. In the Animal world (and I include insects here) there is the bilateral symmetry of the bodies of almost every living thing. All of these examples of non-random patterns are interpreted by different people in different ways.
For some people, this universal use of patterns is proof of Intelligent Design and a God-Creator. I have heard, so many times, the opinion expressed that the world is just too orderly for there NOT to be a God.
For other people, though, the patterns come about because there is either a physics based, or an evolutionary explanation that explains the patterns. In the world of the inanimate (mainly) the rules of physics state that any system will tend to seek the lowest energy state. This, for example is why we see a ball, thrown into the air, arc up and then down, landing on the ground, and not moving. The energy of our throw is converted to potential energy – as the ball rises up in the gravitational field of the planet, and, a small amount of heat from friction. At some point the kinetic energy of the ball is completely converted to potential energy. at that point, it stops rising, and falls to the ground. Amusingly enough, when it hits the ground the potential energy from the peak of the arc has been, again, converted to kinetic energy (and yet again, a little heat). When the ball hits the ground, let us say, on a chunk of a granite slab sticking out of the ground, essentially all the kinetic energy of the ball is transferred to the Earth…causing it to shake a bit…The ball, following the physics of Newton’s Laws, then, simply lays there. it had reached its lowest energy state. Without turning this into “The Gulag Archipelago”, this same process works on various levels of magnification, from the interaction of sub-atomic particles to, again, the Universe itself. And yes, if any of you physics majors are reading this and about to write a testy comment…I am fully aware of the fact that I am summarizing topics that fill entire libraries with a few, generalized lines… So let us move on.
Let us now, look at living creatures….for them, the Evolutionary Rules that have been developed boil down to the simple fact that Nature tends to try and use the minimal amount of energy needed to survive, and ensure survival. This leads to some pretty amazing, and apparently deliberate patterns.
In the examples of humans and other mobile creatures, the general details of symmetry are there because asymmetrical design causes much more effort to move, and can be fatal. Animals that are predators have sensory organs (Eyes, ears, heat sensors, etc) that are fairly close together on the skull, and pointed in the same direction. Binocular vision is very useful in determining distance and velocity. This also is vital for tree dwellers, as misjudging the distance to a branch can be fatal. Bats, using echo location, can tell to a fraction of an inch where their prey is located by processing the sound that bounces back from their chirps, and is collected by their ears. In humans, the same tools are available because of the location of eyes and ears on the head…although, we are nearly deaf and blind compared to other animals. IF, for example, it was vital for animals to locate prey and danger via smell, I am sure that we would see noses that are very different from what exists now. I postulate that they would be quite broad, and instead of two openings that allow airflow into a single sinus cavity, we would see two separated air channels, with many sensors in both channels.
To move on to Prey animals – They often have eyes that are widely separated, and may even be on opposite sides of the skull. They rarely work well for binocular vision. perhaps one of the most amusing examples of this evolution is the Flounder, and other flat-fish. They spend their lives laying on the floor of the ocean, watching for food. So, their eyes have ended up with both of them on ONE side of their skulls! They, and similar animals need a very broad view, because they have to find forage, but how far away it is is not that important.
Human beings are, in some ways very short-sighted. Almost all humans seem to work on the principle that reality has always been the way it has been during their lifetimes. This blinds them to the reality that the Earth has been around for billions of years – a number that is nearly impossible to grasp – and during that time the creatures on the Earth have undergone many changes…some, like reptiles, have seen relative small changes…others like warm blooded creatures have seen HUGE changes…changes so radical that were we to come face to face with an ancestor of, say, half a million years ago, we might not recognize them as “human” That, alas, gets into the concept of “The Other” which I have written about elsewhere, and is complicated enough that I am simply mentioning it in passing.
While I have avoided it so far, I am forced to examine the aspects of humanity mentioned in the above post. Alas, understanding on more than an intellectual level, of the minds of other humans is a terrible and nearly impossible task. The mind is so complex, and has so many twists and turns, that motivations, actions and attitudes can cause great puzzlement, to say the least. I have yet to truly understand much of it…although I am better at recognizing what is going on than I used to be. With the provision that anything I write here is going to only touch on the complicated workings of the human mind, I shall address some of the points brought up.
First off…I want to address the issue of inflicting pain – usually emotional – on ourselves and others. I have observed a number of factors here.
These lies erode away our self image causing many issues that make life far more difficult for us. While it varies from person to person, I have observed such things as Giving other people the ability to push our buttons and trigger an over the top emotional reaction; Laying in bed at night, staring up into the darkness, and beating ourselves up as we focus on the supposed “infinite failures” of the day; Making terrible choices in people to have relationships with; Clinging to those relationships far too long…This includes hooking up to manipulators, abusers, “Father/Mother Figures” so we can assume the role of the child we were denied in the past and the like; Putting our lives on hold in order to serve the needs and wants of others; Allowing others to make life decisions for us; Being plagued with unreasonable fears that limit our ability to truly live life to the fullest. As discussed above, though, with help, it is possible to root out the programming that causes these issues, and, that Truth will set us free from them. Realistically, it will not make their control of us vanish, nor will it wipe the programming away from our Mind’s Slate. However, this Understanding WILL allow us to control the amount this programming can control us. More often than not, when we can see we are reacting in a given way, we can decide whether those reactions are appropriate, or, divert and NOT let our actions be dictated by the programming.
The issue of war has generated libraries full of writings. Before I get too far into an examination of this ugly subject, I will say that my personal belief has two main facets. Firstly, War is a terrible idea, and should be the last, extreme measure that one is forced to engage in. I am a strong believer in diplomacy and negotiation. Secondly, I never support firing the first shot. If I am attacked, either on a personal or a national level, I will do my best to ensure that I do what is necessary to END that war. However, here, I will mainly address the issue of groups, not individuals, going to war. I am pretty sure, though, that many of the reasons conflict arises between groups will apply to individual conflicts as well!
Now then… Why DO people go to war? I have seen several excuses for taking up arms against another group.
Realistically, items 2 through 4 are little more than excuses for Colonial Overlords to take over a land. Look at the complex culture of the First Peoples in North America as a perfect example of this.
Items 1 and 5 are the genesis of so many of the hate crimes and racist actions and violence we see growing in America today. These are all very challenging issues to address, alas, and overcoming their influence will, I suspect NEVER be completely possible.
“Why do people turn to fascism?” I see several factors that contribute to this….
This is, alas, another essay were I find it difficult to suggest fixes for the problems. They are not insurmountable, but, dealing with them will be a complex and slow process. The first thing, though, that springs to mind is that we must do some serious work on the school system. I have written a couple of essays on this, here is one where I address in some detail the issues I see, and offer some changes that might help address those issues. By working to educate the students from day one, to use the tools of skeptical thinking, and research, we can in a generation or two, get a population that is far less likely to be mislead by smoke and mirrors. Secondly, as I touch on in the linked essay, we have got to start working to fight against the massive contempt that too many Americans have for intellect and education. That attitude breeds ignorance, both in adults and children. it also undercuts any efforts the educational system makes to improve the education of the youth. Thirdly, after the past four years of having insults, and denigrating phrases thrown at anyone who questions the “Dear Leader”, I strongly advocate for those people who act as domestic terrorists, like the insurrectionists who waged war against the Constitution and government on Jan 6, to be given appropriate sentences, and NOT let go, or minimized. Fourthly, there are a number of changes that I think really need to happen to the political system to help bring up the quality of life of most Americans, and, keep some of the extremist outlets of disinformation under control. There are more, of course, but these are the high-lights that would be a good start. I have talked about some of these changes in other blog essays, which should be relatively easy to find with the search engine built into the site.
To finish up, and to finally return to the sign that started all of this…It does have some truth to it…and as I mentioned early on, sometimes all we can do is look at the ideas and opinions of others with, at best, an intellectual understanding of where they are coming from. We have to be mindful, when doing this, that far too often, the attitudes and mindsets of others can be based on lies, and not factual data…the Truth. That may not make it easier to deal with them, but, at least we know what is driving them, when interacting with them.
God Help Us All! Be Safe…Wear your mask, socially distance, minimize trips and wash your hands properly.
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations;
The smoke has yet to clear over the events of the 6th of January. However, it is obscuring fewer truths. I want to address one issue that has been discussed in a number of venues over the past couple of days. That is the opinion that “The next time this happens, it will likely be a competent president doing it…and the resulting coup may well succeed. WHAT can we do to keep this from happening again?”
There are a number of changes that MUST be made to shore up our Democracy, and, I have addressed some of these in previous essays. Today, though, I want to take a moment to speak to the Democrats and Liberal/Progressives out there who sometimes are hangers-on.
The Democratic Party, which I am an outlier of, has, for decades been filled with good intentions. However, we have some MAJOR weaknesses, that the Republicans have taken advantage of through the years, to grab and maintain power. Let me take a moment to address some of these.
Be mindful of the world of politics. Do not believe anyone that tells you that your vote does not matter, or cannot create change. They are lying to you, probably because your voting is keeping their agenda from taking over. The attempted coup of last week is a Red Flag warning of what can, and likely WILL happen again if we do not remain active and work to keep America improving from year to year, and approaching that ideal of the Shining City on the Hill that has been invoked by previous Presidents. If we do NOT do this, the next coup will succeed, because the leader of it will not be the demented, incompetent fool that has been in office for the last four years.
God Help Us All. Stay safe…wear your mask, social distance, hand wash a lot!
Bee Man Dave
Greetings and Salutations;
It is 2021/01/11 as I write this essay. It has taken me a few days to begin to digest the amazing events of 2021/01/06. I am not fully there yet, but, I have some things I want to get noted down while still fresh.
As, I am sure, everyone reading this knows,. On Wednesday the 6th, the normally boring, pro-forma task assigned to Congress to read the results of the Electoral College vote, and make sure that the addition was correct was interrupted and delayed for a time. We saw an event that most Americans never thought they would see. A group of Insurgents, egged on by Republicant members of Congress, and the current Occupier of the Oval Office, packed the streets of Washington, D. C. around the Capitol, and, in short order attacked the building with evil intent. It is fairly clear, from their actions and the planning that is surfacing on Social Media, that their goals were to overthrow the current Government and Install #3 as Dictator For Life;
They also were looking for members of Congress with the intent of killing them. They not only stated this as a goal, calling anyone who stood against #3 a traitor, but they built a gallows outside the Capitol, reserved for the Vice President. HE had betrayed #3 by following the law, and refusing to throw the count of the Electoral College out and declare #3 president. Specifically, we have video of many Insurrectionists chanting “Hang Mike Pence” over and over again.
The investigation of the event is still ongoing, but, it seems to me that there were some deliberate attempts on the part of a few of the Capitol Police Force, and the administration to enable this coup. For example, the video of a Capitol Police officer calling the insurrectionists through the barriers, and apparently telling them to “go, go, go” to the building. There are images of these officers chatting with the attackers as if they were old friends. There are images of these officers taking selfies with the attackers. Perhaps the most damning fact is that, in spite of weeks of chatter on social media conspiring to plan the attack, and coordinating the insurrectionists, the security for the Capitol was woefully lacking. There were, at most, 2000 officers protecting the place…far too few to defend against 10s of thousands of attackers and supporters. The officers who did their job, and attempted to protect the legislators inside the building were overwhelmed, but did the best they could. Why, some are asking, was there not the police and national guard presence that met the BLM protests? Why did the authorities ignore the warnings from the FBI, who monitors these communications, about the high probability of violence in this attack? Why was it that the Maryland National Guard, which was assembled and ready to roll within a short time after the start of violence, was not called upon by the White House to aid in defending the Capitol? It took HOURS of trying to get through and get a request, before the Secretary of the Army finally called them in. Note that the Secretary of the Army is NOT one of the people who are supposed to take this action…but he was the only one with the good sense to do so.
In this attack, five people died. Four of them were Insurrectionists, who were shot, or died of other causes. One, was a Capitol Police Officer, who was beaten by the Seditionists with fists, and a fire extinguisher. This latter death, by the way, will ensure that every one of the Insurrectionists that face a trial will have murder added to the charges. it is the law that a death in the commission of a felony is the responsibility of everyone that is involved in that felony. However, did these Insurrectionists learn from this? No. There are videos of them saying “We will be back, and we will bring more guns next time”. This is the end result of four years of lies and conspiracy talk from #3. HE is the root of all this, and I hope will be held to account for it. He has blood on his hands.
There are so many imaged out there of events I never imagined I would ever see. Perhaps the most offensive to me is this one of the Confederate Flag carried through the Rotunda by a prideful Insurrectionist. It is a foul symbol of the Evil that was in the hearts of Americans that they would treat other humans as property, and less than equal. Even during the Civil War, that rag never made it into a Federal Building. Yet here we are, today… with this offensive cloth being paraded through the Capitol by a White Supremacist, and Insurrectionist. We must do what is necessary to ensure this never happens again.
There are a number of videos of these Insurrectionists saying that they will be back, and will bring more guns the next time. We must not think of this as an idle threat. For example, on Jan. 17th, there is a “Second Amendment Event” scheduled for D. C. To me, this sounds as if we are going to have a large number of gun nuts and extremists descending on the city. What, I wonder would keep them from repeating the events of the 6th, but with more firepower? I hope that from now on, the Washington Police meet such gatherings with at least as much firepower as they deployed for the very peaceful BLM protests in 2020. I also hope that the National Guard and Secret Service will be heavily armed and given the go for use of lethal force. Otherwise, we will see the same outcome as the 6th. I also call for a greatly increased military and police presence on the 20th, at the inauguration. I am perfectly OK with it going poorly for the Insurrectionists, leaving many dead in the streets.
I have had some folks defending their presence at this, claiming that they are innocent because they were “just there to protest”. I am trying to get my head around this…but it is difficult. EVERY #3 Cultist that was there had come to D.C. because they worship their Dear Leader, and accepted his lies that the election had been stolen from him without skepticism or fact checking. Does the fact that they did not actively engage in violence excuse them from this attempted coup? I submit that it does not. They made NO effort to leave the area and disassociate themselves from the violence when it began. Their words tell us that, had the coup succeeded, they would have celebrated their Dear Leader being installed as Dictator. While they might not be intelligent or thoughtful enough to understand what that would mean, that does not excuse them. Should they suffer the same penalties as those that smashed their way into the building, and actively engaged in destruction, theft, and searching for Congressmen and women to “arrest”? My inclination is to say no…but, I will leave this to the Judges who try their case.
In these Essays, when dealing with difficult issues, I try and end by offering some ways to help mitigate the problems, and bring America back to a path of Wisdom, and adult Leadership in the world. Right now, though, I cannot really do that. I am inclined to say that we should build a wall around Utah, or one of the other Red States in the West, collect all the rabid #3 supporters, and dump them all into the state. i realize this is difficult or impossible to do, though. A more approachable goal, I believe, would be for the FBI to continue to identify and arrest Insurrectionists who are a part of this attempted coup. They should then be charged with Sedition, and a variety of other charges, including, as I mentioned earlier, Murder. I include in this list the Senators anbd Representatives who actively engaged in Insurrection by attempting to derail the process of dealing with the electoral College Votes. As for #3, he is the instigator of these events and has spent years pouring gasoline on the fire that he lit himself. For this, he should go to prison and lose all assets for the rest of his life. I would suggest death by firing squad, but, I remain against the death penalty. Beyond this, ANY Insurrectionists arrested and proven to be part of the attempted coup, should be required to undergo deprogramming as part of their sentence. They have proven that they are part of a Cult, and as such are so brain-washed that without deprogramming, we will look forwards to years of attempts to overthrow the government.
This attempted coup was the culmination of 12 years of attacks on the foundations of American Society, by #3. His drumbeat of “Fake news” and racist birther conspiracy rants during pres. Obama’s administration and the escalating destruction of the basic structure of government, and society during his occupation of the Oval Office have watered the ground that grows white supremacy, racism, antisemitism, and violence against citizens and the government. His drumbeat of fraud in election, in spite of having NO valid evidence to support it, has fed the delusions of his Cultists. His continual rants about the media, and how they all lie constantly, and the only person that can be trusted is HIM, have resulted in a large number of Americans who are brain-washed and, as I have referred to earlier, nothing more that mindless, drone, Cult members.
It will likely take decades for the full damage done by #3 and his mad reign to be healed. However, over the next four years, along with all the other challenges of a crashed economy, and a pandemic that will not ease up, I hope that the new Administration can find time to mindfully consider changes to our legal structure to help ensure that this madness never again can take root in America again. My concern here is that the Politicians will, in a knee-jerk reaction to the events of this last week, swing the pendulum too far in the other direction…and create laws that are oppressive and draconian in and of themselves. I have discussed elsewhere changes I would like to see happen to our Election process and to the amount of time Elected officials can be in office, to bring it to a better state, so I shall not go over them again here. I am going to take up some other issues about the Government in a future post. The worst thing that we can do, though, is get distracted by the next shiny disaster, and forget the events of last week, and what caused them. If we do this, we will be doomed as a country. The reality is that the next fascist that wants to take over America will not be a blithering idiot and so will have a FAR greater chance of succeeding. Interestingly enough, Sinclair Lewis laid out the events of this political madness in a fine book he wrote in the 1930s. Titled, “It Can’t Happen Here”, it is a step by step demonstration of the reality that indeed, it CAN happen here. Its relevance to today’s political reality is chilling. If #3 and his Cultists were not so idiotic, mindlessly violent, and incompetent, we might well be seeing an ending such as Lewis showed in this book.
God Help Us All. Stay safe – Wear your mask, social distance, Wash your hands a lot.
Bee Man Dave.
Greetings and Salutations.
This is the Second collection of musings on the political situation in America. My first (somewhat lengthy) discussion is located Here.
What would I like to see changed in the political landscape of America?
First off, I am going to look at the way Voters are treated, gain access to, and cast ballots in today’s system. As I noted in the previous commentary, there are some issues…
Now then, what about the elected officials and the process of lawmaking? Note that I am focusing on the Federal Government here…as many local governments already implemented these changes. However, the proposed changes could apply to state Legislators and Governors, too.
While it is a pipe dream…I would like to see all of the above Candidates for office subject to a “Three Strikes” rule. By this, I mean, IF in their campaign, they are found to have out and out lied, making statements that directly contradicted reality, three times. They would be banned from running for office for life.
Now, I want to look at the process of electing our Representatives and President..
I have come to the opinion, finally, that the Electoral College is a relic of a bygone age, and should be bypassed. part of my motivation here is the fact that the world has changed since it was written to the point that it would be unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers. The simple fact that today, almost anyone in America can communicate with a person on the other side of the world without delay or cost would be mind boggling to them. The days when it could take months for the results of individual elections to be gathered is gone for good. In addition, almost since its creation, the Electoral College has failed to live up to the standard set by Hamilton in Federalist Papers #68. Instead of being a deliberative body of objective, wise, elders, it has been a rubber stamp for the party in control of its Electors and of a few, very important states, almost since its creation. This is why Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, in spite of winning the Popular vote, were NOT installed in the Office of President.
The idea of a President, put into office simply by the popular vote is not without problems…. It would, in theory, allow a fast-talking con man to use smoke and mirrors to gull enough voters to allow them to take the office. However, I claim that the voting public is smarter than that these days. Take the 2016 election for example. In spite of several errors on the part of the Clinton Campaign, it was only through clever manipulation of the Electoral College by the #3 staff that wiped out the 3 million vote majority Clinton had, and installed the worst person to occupy the Oval Office in the history of the country.
I see three ways of dealing with this problem.
There is the option of either a Constitutional Convention, to remove the Electoral College from the process. This course is is fraught with danger right now, because it is very likely that the Republicants will fight to pack the Convention with their extremist views. Since it is not possible to limit what a Constitutional Convention can do to the Constitution…it is most likely that the resulting document would be far from what the Founding Fathers had in mind, and would likely support a lot of views that are anathema. For example, I can see the First Amendment being re-written to put extreme limits on freedom of speech. In addition I can see not only the Separation Clause that puts a wall between Religion and Government, not only demolished, but, a replacement that makes Fundamentalist Christianity the “Official” religion. I can see the Second Amendment being re-written to allow weapons ownership with out limits. I could see the twenty-second Amendment being wiped off the books, allowing the President to be returned to office for life.
The issue of an Amendment, though, is time. It can take decades for an Amendment to be ratified, depending on its support. The reality is that the Republicants would certainly fight any such amendment, as their taking power has depended on the insulation provided by the current Electoral College system. As an example, though of the issues with an amendment, I present the case of The Equal Rights Amendment. It was first put on the path of ratification in 1923, but did not receive the necessary 38th state vote for its acceptance until January of 2020. It still is not part of the Constitution, though, because of legal questions about whether states could rescind their vote, or force a date for a given vote to become null and void.
Another way to change the influence of the Electoral College is to remove the “Winner Take All” laws implemented by many states, and allocate the Electoral College Votes in proportion to the popular vote. I have written a discussion of this elsewhere.
Finally, there are several alternative ways of allocating the Electoral College votes. Here is an interactive tool to explore how the various ways of allocating the votes changes the results. Note, that this tool assumes the districts are as they are today, and would likely change if the above redistricting steps were taken.
As for electing members of Congress…redistricting to eliminate gerrymandering is a vital part of this change. Without this, as I have mentioned before, it will continue to be truth that the candidate will choose their voters, and not, as it should be, that the voters will choose their candidate.
One change I would like to see is a change in the number of representatives. We have grown to a point that we, as a country should increase the number of Representatives elected. In 1929, when the number was locked in at 439 House members, the population of America was just under 122 million people. As of the start of 2020 the population is 331 million people. This means that there is a wide range of voters represented by each House member. This range goes from about 530,000 people, to a high of 1.05 million people. this, in my opinion, dilutes the opinions of the voters represented by a given House member. This makes it easier for this House member to ignore his or her voters…neither of which is good for the country. The objection to this is that it would make the House more unwieldy. This may be true, but, I suspect that could be overcome. I would like to see the number represented by each Member back down to about 270,000. This would require the size of the house triple to 1317. Right off the bat I do not see a serious problem with this, although it might need more thought about the side effects.
There are some folks who believe that the basic method we use for voting is sketchy, and open to fraud. In spite of these claims, mostly pushed by #3, today, the reality is that after multiple audits, recounts and cross checks, NO significant fraud has been found. The system we use has multiple safety and validity checks built into it from day one…So, while the Republicants are screaming Fraud! The reality is that the current system works very well and very securely. So, other than a greater use of mail-in ballots, I see no reasons to change the basic system.
God Help us All
Stay Safe! Wear your Mask; Socially Distance all the time; wash your hands and use sanitizer.
Bee man Dave