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What does it mean to be a Liberal?

Greetings and Salutations;

In the society of today, there are such levels of name calling, and hate that much of the time what a person believes is obscured by the delusions built by propaganda in front of the eyes of the beholder. For example, the title “Conservative” is currently almost a condemnation of a person. People who call themselves this are seen as room-temperature IQ, uneducated, sister-screwing mouth breathers, who are in the cult of Personality that #45 spread when in office. They are thought to be narrow-minded, hateful people who are dangerously prone to violence, and cannot be reasoned with.

Unfortunately, too many of these folks fall right into that model. However, there are still sane, rational, Conservatives out there. I am sure they are laying low because they fear the push back from their fellow conservatives if they show any signs of sanity, or disloyalty to #45. Look at what has happened to anyone on the Right who has disagreed with the cult! Liz Cheny, for example, has been banished from power, and is a target of their two-minute hate episodes. ALL the Republicans who worked with #45 but are now turning over information about his malfeasance are targets of hate and insults from him, and death threats from his more extreme cultists.

The Liberal faction in America has been labeled terrorists, pedophiles, vampyres, and traitors. They have been targets of the hate from the Right for years now. However, they, unlike the Right, have rules to live by that are far more positive. This set of standards showed up on my timeline, so I decided to collect it, and create this entry with it. I pretty much agree 100% with everything said in these points:

If you identify as conservative, fine. Libertarian, fine. But if you’d like to understand your liberal neighbors better, take a minute to read this… My feelings have nothing to do with #45, I have felt this way before him and will after he is gone! But to keep supporting this man with no morals, or class or a semblance of empathy, I can’t understand! Are you so blinded by your lifetime of brainwashing, that you will never accept an alternative to what you have been deceived into believing, I can’t accept!

Worry more about how your god is viewing your behavior, than how other people are living their “free” life!

“I’m a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. PERIOD.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. (Note, too, that Universal health care would raise taxes…but it would eliminate insurance premiums – a fact that is rarely brought up – and in every other country that has implemented this program, the amount taxes went up is far less than the amount paid in premiums…for a net gain to the citizen!)
  3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
  5. I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare. (As a part of this, I also believe strongly that the tax system must be reformed so the ultra rich pay a far larger percentage of their wealth into the pot. For example, #45 bragged about the fact that his first year as President, he paid a total of $750 in taxes. I, who was making at most, $20,000 a year, paid over $1100 in taxes most years. HE was pulling in millions of dollars in that time period…)
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. (as of today, in Tennessee, there is NO place where a person scraping by on minimum wage can rent or buy a home by themselves.)
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. (Specifically, the Constitution has, as part of the very first amendment, a wall between church and state – This topic is a whole other essay, but, in short it is simply to ensure that NO religion is promoted by the government. We live in a Constitutional Republic..NOT a Theocracy…and the Founding Fathers wanted to make that clear.
  8. I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you.
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
  11. I believe some of our administrations are fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine.
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
  16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on Earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

Share or Copy & paste if you want.

God Help Us All

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

Bee Man Dave

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

Some Thoughts on Labor Day!

Greetings and Salutations…

In these waining few minutes of Labor Day, I found I had a few things on my mind about it. For a lot of years, I did not have a great deal of respect for Labor Unions. I was seeing too much corruption, to many dirty tricks, and too many fiddly and silly rules.

Well, over time, my attitudes have changed 180 degrees. I came to understand that the Labor Unions that had generated contempt were ones where criminals were in charge, and were using the Labor Union to enrich themselves with dues extortion, excessive contract concessions from businesses, and sweet-heart deals. I also learned that these Unions were very few in number, and their actions exaggerated. I learned that much of the negative press about Labor Unions came less from their actions, and more from the lies and spin put forth by management – who hated the workers having access to the power to make it impossible to exploit them.

This is not the first time I have examined the issue of Unions in America, and what their actions have changed…HERE is another essay, for example. So, I am simply going to provide a list of a number of changes to the business world that Unions have pushed through. While reading the following list, keep in mind that these changes were not to enrich the leaders of the Union, nor to be a good deal for business. Rather they were designed to make the lives of the workers who are the heart of a business better and safer.

  1. Weekends without work
  2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
  3. Paid vacation
  4. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  5. Sick leave
  6. Social Security
  7. Minimum wage
  8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII – prohibits employer discrimination
  9. 8-hour work day
  10. Overtime pay
  11. Child labor laws
  12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
  13. 40-hour work week
  14. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
  15. Unemployment insurance
  16. Pensions
  17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
  18. Employer health care insurance
  19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
  20. Wrongful termination laws
  21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  22. Whistleblower protection laws
  23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
  24. Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
  25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
  26. Sexual harassment laws
  27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  28. Holiday pay
  29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
  30. Privacy rights
  31. Pregnancy and parental leave
  32. Military leave
  33. The right to strike
  34. Public education for children
  35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
  36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States

Ronald Reagan did many things to attempt to destroy Unions, and break the hold they had on businesses. His actions were despicable, and did nothing but hurt the working class. Today, we are finally seeing a growth in interest in Unions…and they are flexing their muscles. While life is imperfect, I support this effort, as I believe the evidence shows that the good a strong Union does far outweighs any evil it might do.

There is much work to do to get the USA back on the path of supporting ALL Citizens, not just the very wealthy. For example…the minimum wage is still about $7.50/hour. This is unrealistic, as in the decades that it has slowly grown to that amount, the effects of demand and inflation show it should be closer to $25/hour. As an example…here in Tennessee, there is NO place that a minimum wage worker can afford to buy or rent a place to live. In his 1933 economic speech, FDR – Who created the FIRST Minimum/Living wage defined it as this “…by living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.” [emphasis added]” A more complete discussion of this is located HERE FDR’s Living Wage was $0.25/hour, but, because the above definition is aiming at the moving target defined by FDR, the “Living Wage” over the years has been raised a number of times.

In one other example…the Screen Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild are currently striking and have been for quite some time. Why? Technology has caused changes in how their work is created and distributed. I recently wrote a short essay about this issue and what is going on, that delves into the situation more deeply.

Over the 90 years or so since FDR implemented the Minimum Living Wage, the attitudes of management have evolved in a very negative direction. Now, it is right out in the open that management, in general, despises the workers; considers them an expense, rather than an asset; and have increased the levels of exploitation of said workers to unacceptable levels. A vast majority of workers are tired of these negative trends, and realize how vital a Union is to rolling them back. So…Unions are seeing a growth, and taking serious actions to redress the abuses. It is, in my opinion, about damn time! Management needs to be reminded that, without workers, their jobs and company would not survive. Management needs to be re-taught the lesson that a well, compensated, appreciated, and happy employee produces more, better quality stock, and will stay with the company. It is amazing to me how many managers believe that employees are simply gears in the machine, and it is a trivial problem to yank one out and slap a new one in their place. They seem to have NO idea of how productivity suffers, how long it takes for a new employee to get up to speed, and how much that costs the company.

Be safe! Wear your Mask; get your vaccination boosters; wash your hands well!

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

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

On Strike!

Greetings and Salutations!
I decided to take a moment to address the issue of the Screen Actors Guild going out on strike, joining the Writers Guild of America for the first time in 60 years. I have seen some folks posting negative comments about this…talking about how all those rich, Hollywood types were just greedy and did not deserve to make more money.

Well, for a variety of reasons, I thought I should correct a few points here, and add some explanation of what is going on.

  • A vast majority of the talent that provides each of us with some distraction and relief from the struggles of life are NOT rich and famous. Overall, the median yearly income of a member of the Screen Actors Guild is $40,000. Perhaps in the 1960s that would have been a great salary, but these days? It will not even get one into the Middle Class. According to This Link, the median salary of actors in 2022 was $5,000 – the Pandemic hit the entertainment industry very hard.
  • Work for SAG members is spotty. It is a gig economy there for a vast majority of the actors. Some of them get hooked up with shows that run for a long time…years, even. Most of them might work for a year or less, and be out of work for a couple of years.
  • There have been some huge changes in the industry over the past few years, that have worked to cut income for writers and actors. For example…Streaming services. The reality is that the industry has no way to deal with streaming, so, while actors might get a few bucks when their previous shows are broadcast on the air or via cable, they get nothing when the same show is streamed. Another new issue is the advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In less than a year, it has gone from an interesting but irrelevant toy to a major threat to actors and writers. For example…up to now, if a given show requires modifications…say, dialogue re-recorded because of background noise which caused issues with hearing the lines…the actors in the scene would be called in to create a clean recording. This, of course, was a paid gig for them. If the director discovered that a scene was simply wrong, again the actors would be called in, and paid to re-create the scene properly. With A.I. there is no need for the actors any longer. Software, which has the image of the actor, and their voice, can manipulate these to create any needed changes – an the actor does not get paid a penny. While it has not happened as of yet…it is theoretically possible to create an entirely new show using images and voices of actors, run by A.I. and not have to pay the actors a penny. All this is possible because acting is a “work for hire” product, that means the actor loses all control over their image and voice once they finish the job. They have no copyright on that work.
  • A.I. can, when given some parameters, create a script in seconds that would take weeks of work for writers to produce. Is it as good as what humans can do? On rare occasions, yes. However, A. I. has no concept of humor, or, other emotional content. So, anything it produces can be intricate, and technically correct, but, it may not have depth. I have seen a couple of attempts, and I have to say that for documentaries, it does OK. For suspense/Drama, not as well, and for Comedy it is kind of like throwing darts while blindfolded. However, these issues may not be important to the Industry…when balanced against the reality that machines work for free, leaving more money for them.
  • Actors and writers are the vital heart of the entertainment industry. However, they typically get little more than a pittance of the total earnings of a given show. The residual payments also are a challenge… HERE is an interesting article that touches on Residuals and how they work! When you read the article, remember that it focuses on the highest grossing shows broadcast…so the numbers look impressive. However, there are thousands of shows broadcast every day that are earning a fraction of this..and their residual payments are tiny.
  • Many people in the film industry not only have steady jobs, Producers/Directors/and the like, but are paid more than the talent. the majority of Film Producer salaries currently range between $62,500 to $77,500. Executive producers have a median salary of $108,000/year.

I, for one, support SAG/AFTRA and the SWG in their work action, and hope that the pressure the industry is feeling with motivate it to improve the condition of the workers. I hope anyone reading this will agree, and post comments supporting this action.

God Help Us All

Stay safe! Get vaccinated, wash hands, mask, and social distance…Covid is still with us!

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Art, Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Improving Life, Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, 50 – Feeble Deflections

Greetings and Salutations…

The level of delusion the Right Wing clings to these days is truly amazing at times. They are happy to pump out lies, and shout them from the rooftops as if they were God’s Own Truth. They are masters at ignoring any truths that might contradict their world view. They have moved from rational argument to deflection..and simply refuse to deal with anyone who is not part of the Cult as a human whose view of reality might disagree, but is worth testing with presentation of evidence, and logical argument.

Earlier today, I ran into yet another excellent example of their delusional state as I was skimming through posts on Quora, and thought I would pass it along. I have added some comments and links throughout to support the discussion.

A Cultist posted the following question: “Why do Democrats have such a hard time processing the idea that both Trump and Biden can be bad? Every time someone criticizes Biden, it’s immediately a rant on Trump. It’s almost like a mindless script. And aren’t they against whataboutisms?”

The first failure of this question is the assumption that Pres. Biden never gets any criticism. This is laughable false as it is trivial to find a number of Democrats and Independents who are not shy at letting their displeasure at how Pres. Biden is handling a given issue, or the priorities he has set, be known. In addition, while I have seen such criticisms (and have sent a couple or three myself to the White House), the ONLY time I see a “rant on #45” is when one of the cultists posts an obviously false and delusion statement of praise about him, and/or claims that the only salvation for America is for him to be re-elected.

I was thinking of addressing the foolish question myself, when I saw an answer by William Weir (Author, journalist, minister) and read through it. It is SUCH a little gem of calm rationality and abolishing the questioner with facts I did not think I could improve upon it…so, instead, I wrote this blog essay, to spread it further through the world. Rev. Weir’s reply goes like this:

“Because that is a dangerous and ridiculous narrative being pushed by right wing demagogues under the guise of being independent. Let’s review the last forty years under both Democrats and Republicans.

Gary Hart and John Edwards were both charismatic frontrunners for the presidential nomination until they had affairs with consenting adults and their careers ended. Donald Trump has admitted to cheating on each of his wives, boasted he was a sex offender and a pedophile, has been credibly accused of rape, has been found by a jury to be liable for a sexual assault, and is on track to win the Republican nomination for the third consecutive time.

Every Republican President in the last forty years has more than doubled the deficit. (Reagan actually tripled the previous record and GW Bush turned a record surplus into a record deficit more than quadruple the previous record.) Over that same time, every Democrat has cut the deficit by half or more. Trump is the only President in history to serve a full term and increase the deficit every year he was in office. Clinton is the only President in history to serve a full term and decrease the deficit every year he was in office (but Biden is so far on track to do the same). HERE is an article detailing this deficit growth. The following chart is color coded by party…

Unemployment effectively doubled under the last two Republican Presidents and was effectively cut in half by the last three Democrats. Workforce participation has fallen under the last two Republicans and risen under two of the last three Democrats. Again, very true, as the following chart shows us:

In the last sixty years domestic oil production has fallen under every Republican President except Trump while rising under every Democrat except Clinton, with the largest increase coming under Obama. While I am no fan of burning old dinosaurs, this claim is correct.

In the last fifty years, Republican Presidents have combined for 335 indictments of members of their administrations. And even if you forget Nixon and Trump the other Republicans combined for 44 indictments. Over that same time Democrats have combined for only 3. Note that this is for convictions…which does not include indictments dealt with otherwise.

So no, the two parties aren’t the same. But you were specifically talking about Trump and Biden, so let’s focus on that for a moment.

Trump set a record for the most corruption in an administration with 215 indictments of members of his administration (not counting his own indictments post-Presidency. Biden sits at zero.

Not only #45, but most Republic*nt administrations over the past few decades have far outstripped the Democrats…HERE is a more detailed exposition on this topic.

Trump set a record for the most job losses in history, the largest jump in unemployment since the Great Depression. Biden has already set a record for most jobs added to the economy in a single term (and even if you exclude the jobs he recovered that Trump lost he’s still on track to break Clinton’s record). He also saw the largest peacetime drop in unemployment, and we hit the lowest peacetime unemployment since before the Great Depression.

Trump saw the six largest point drops in the history of the Dow. Biden saw the Dow set a record for most record highs in a year. Trump was the first President in history to maintain a debt to GDP ratio over 100% for his entire term. Biden has seen the best GDP growth in forty years. And as mentioned before, while Trump increased the deficit every year, Biden has so far lowered it every year. While this is a valid point, as the following chart shows, the reality is that what party holds the Presidency does not have a HUGE effect on stock market returns in the long run.

So I think you’re confusing “whataboutism” with common sense and critical thinking skills.

So what is it that you find so bad under Biden? Is it the record oil production? The complete absence of corruption in an administration? The record low unemployment? The rising workforce participation? The record job gains? The record high wages? The record cuts to the deficit?

No one has to compare Biden to Trump to make him look good. You can do that by comparing him to almost any President in history. But what makes your question most absurd is that Trump looks bad compared to any President in history. We’re just in a peculiar time in history where we have seen one of the worst Presidents in history immediately followed by one of the best. And that juxtaposition should make anyone sane see Biden as even better than he is and Trump as even worse than he was (if that’s possible). So when you say they’re both bad, you look like a complete idiot. And only someone on the far right would be sinister enough or brainwashed enough to try to convince anyone that Biden has been bad or especially that he’s somehow on par with how bad Trump was”

Feel free to pass this along to anyone (especially Cultists!)

Be safe; Wear your Mask; Wash your hands; Social Distance – Covid is still with us!

Bee Man Dave

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Thought it was water…not gasoline!

Greetings and Salutations;

Well, this has turned into quite an exciting Sunday morning! I was poking around on FB and ran across a posting by a FB Friend of mine. It was a thoughtful poem by Mary Oliver who was an American poet. here is the Poem that was posted.

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

There were quite a number of positive comments about this poem, of course. However, there was one curmudgeon who apparently did not care for it. She posted the following analysis:

PR: Ridiculous.

That level of analysis seemed to be worth expanding, so, the page owner asked for an explanation. Of course, many people chimed in decrying the comment, and making denigrating remarks about the poster. This interested me, especially since I have seen SO many Right-Wingers and trolls who love to come in, drop an inflammatory remark, and bail out, so I thought I would add a short comment of my own!

Dave Mundt: Looked at PR‘s profile. She is a Yankee from New York, so she may think that brusque, unexplained reviews are valid. However, she claims to be college educated, so, I am a bit surprised that after 9 hours, she has not found it worthwhile to present a compelling argument to support her brush-off.

I am with Ms. Ian here…block her and move on.

Silly me, forgetting how easily people are triggered today. What happened was that I became a target of a firestorm of criticism for insulting New York residents! The following is SOME of the thread that followed my comment, edited ONLY to put my replies next to the person’s comment I am replying to.

JRM: Dave Mundt I am from New York and I take offense to your description of what a New Yorker is. It is not nice to label people without knowledge of who they are. Ms. Ian would not like this either. And what do you mean by “Yankee”?

Dave Mundt: JRM: Bless your heart. First off, a Yankee is anyone who comes from above the Mason-Dixon line.

As for my description…I have, over the past 60 years, interacted with a LOT of folks from New York. Not all of them were brusque and rude..and some even turned out to be good folks in spite of starting out on that foot. HOWEVER, NYC is a place of great energy and people always in a huge rush. It has been my experience that way too many of them tend to be as I described Ms. Roach.

LM: Dave Mundt Don’t disparage New Yorkers on her account. Brusque jerks come from everywhere!

Dave Mundt: LM: No argument there…

LR: Dave Mundt I am a New Yorker but not a yankee! I live in the south and have for the last twenty odd years! Shall I look at you profile and make unsubstantiated comments about how bigoted you are and what a maroon you are! Oh wait, I already did!

LB: LR: a maroon?? now that’s funny🤣

Dave Mundt LR: Bless your heart! You are a newbie still, and the hair trigger you exhibit shows it. Take a chill pill, and try not to be so sensitive…most of us, who were born and reared in the South, have learned to look, laugh and move on!

Dave Mundt: LB: We had a Christmas Parade some years ago here in Knoxville. Several of the local high school marching bands participated in it, of course, and each had a large banner up front, PROUDLY announcing its name and affiliation!

I about ended up rolling on the sidewalk in laughter when I saw the band coming up that, in large letters, announced that they were “The Marching Maroons”.

JRM: Dave Mundt I lived in the South and I have always been offended when “Called” a Yankee. It is not nice to call anyone anything. It is labeling. I could call you a dumb redneck but that label may not apply because I do not know you. New York City is a melting pot of a plethora of people. They represent all sorts of personalities. Your statement came from a place of ignorance.

JRM: Dave Mundt Except apparently you have not moved on. You still use a term that has been out of style since the 1800’s. Please remember, the Yankees won.

I did find it amusing that the folks getting all het up over this were, indeed, New Yorkers! I wonder what might have been said had I pointed out to them that for many in the South “DamnYankee” was still one word???

God Help Us All!

Be Safe! Wear your mask, wash hands, social distance, get vaccine updates! There is a new strain of covid flooding India right now, and it is making its way here. Unless you REALLY want to have the joy of “Pink Eye” along with the typical respiratory symptoms of Covid…kick up the precautions a bit.

Bee Man Dave

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Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 49 – Character Assassination not a new thing in our world!

Greetings and Salutations;
It came to my attention that there is a meme decrying John D. Rockefeller floating around the Net! While it seems a bit silly to me to be tearing down a very rich man who has been dead for 100 years or more, there are some questionable points made in the meme. SO…I thought I would take a minute and address them.

Sigh…A very bad picture of the man, and nothing but hateful spin or out and out lies, in the caption. No wonder the fact checkers ding this!

While he was no angel, he did have a feeling of responsibility to use his vast wealth for the good of all… As the founder of Standard Oil, he was a cold-blooded capitalist, and reaped both the rewards and costs of the decisions he made. On the rewards side…he made a fortune that, for the day, was unimaginable and lived a life of comfort because of it. On the costs side…his predatory actions towards competitors moved Congress to create the Sherman Anti-Trust laws that still provide some protection for consumers today. For further reading, here is an article on Standard Oil, and its fate

Here is a short biography of Rockefeller’s life. NOTE what he did with his money!

Now that we have some background about J. D. Rockefeller, I will address the claims made in the caption for the meme.

The Rockefellers were very influential in creating the pharmaceutical industry. HOWEVER, this is because they were rational science-base minds…and realized the benefits of allopathic medicines over the “woo” that was being used at the time – Here is a short history of medical practices in the late 1800s. Now, let us move on to a couple of articles touching on the actions by the very rich in the late 1800s, to move away from quackery to evidence based medicine that cured with actual drugs, and not the placebo effect! Here is a history of the Rockefeller Foundation and the actions it took to start this movement towards the far more successful outcomes we have today. Now, let us move on to this NIH history of the people who actually did the work to change medical practices.
Of course, since Rockefeller was a strong Capitalist, he made sure that he, and the other ultra-rich of the day had a big chunk of the Pharmaceutical Industry earnings going into their pockets.

The claim about his getting hemp banned is blatantly false. Now, Rockefeller originally supported the prohibition movement, as he saw the terrible cost that alcohol was taking on society. However, towards the end of this failed experiment, he realized how impossible it was, so influenced writing guidelines that legalized alcohol use, and set up a program for licensing and taxing it. That, by the by, is still fairly intact today, over 100 years later. In addition, I can find no valid sources that claim he worked to ban hemp production. Perhaps if he had known it could produce fuel to run automobiles, he might have tried this…however, the first, Hemp powered vehicle was not created until several years after his death.

The amazing thing about the claim he hijacked the world educational system is that there IS no “World Educational System”. Education around the world is a bunch of small groups, getting teachers together with children, to teach these children the tools necessary to survive and prosper in society. These groups have little or no connection and are rabidly independent in most cases.

He had NOTHING to do with the Federal Reserve – This article discusses the origins of that part of the government.

He had nothing to do with the funding or creation of the United Nations! It has always been funded by contributions from the countries that are members..and those monies come from taxes collected. (Ok…since Rockefeller DID pay taxes on his wealth, I suppose he DID help fund it… However, he had as much pull there as you or I would – since the taxes WE paid also funded the U.N.)

As for the Council ON Foreign Relations – this article explains what it is..and it is NOTHING that the meme implies it is – It is a think tank that tries to make sense of, and suggest ways to interact with, countries outside the United States. Americans have always had a real blind spot towards other countries. Because we are an adolescent nation, we tend to believe that EVERYONE lives the same as we do! It is both hubris, and foolishness based in a lack of knowledge of other cultures. It also has gotten us in hot water a number of times in our history…and even today, ends up causing issues with American tourists, who overstep boundaries because they do not even know they are there…and then get huffy when they are called on this.

The reality is that the Rockefellers were, for the time, Liberals, making rational, science based decisions. This gored the ox of the chiropractors, herbalists, homeopaths and other grifters out there, so much hateful, false speech was spread about their actions. This meme is typical of the sort of nonsense that the conspiracy loony/grifter fringe groups would put out to try and keep their very lucrative scams going. As I touched on in the opening to this essay, Rockefeller was not an angel…However, this sort of meme should never be spread around. Those that spread it reveal more about themselves than they do about Rockefeller!
The meme and comments in it have, by the by, been around for a LONG time. I can recall hearing some of them when I was a teenager, many decades ago. The level of spin and lies in the meme were so relevant to today’s world, though, that I was moved to create this essay! When, I wonder, will we, as a society, either grow up enough to not engage in this nonsense, or, get enough adults around that the mewling infants who scream this stuff out can be put back in their cribs for a needed nap?

God Help Us All!

Be safe! Get Vaccinated; Wear your mask in close proximity to strangers; wash your hands as if you are about to perform open heart surgery!

Bee Man Dave.

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

Free Speech, Consequences, and America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All!

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


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

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

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

Train Wrecks and Regulations!

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

Greetings and Salutations…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God help Us All!

Bee Man Dave

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

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

Greetings and salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us Alll

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

Bee Man Dave

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

“Many Drops Can Turn A Mill…”

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All

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

Bee Man Dave.

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

What will the future bring?

Greetings and Salutations!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All.

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

Bee Man Dave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All!

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

Bee Man Dave

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

The “Hello Boomer” generation

Photo by rayul on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All!

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

Bee Man Dave

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

WHAT? Forgive Student LOANS???

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte Clymer 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that’s more than fair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yes thank you for the dialogue!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All

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

Bee Man Dave

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

Greetings and Salutations.

Victims from Uvalde, from CBC.CA

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All!

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

Bee Man Dave

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

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, 1969

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

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

Nick Ut/The Associated Press

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

Eddie Adams, Associated Press – BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us ALL.

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

Bee Man Dave

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Rescue Is Me…

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

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

(But then you have times like this…)

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

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

Rescue Is Me.

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

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

God Help Us All

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

Bee Man Dave

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

Greetings and Salutations!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All!

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

Bee Man Dave

Posted in General Thoughts, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mankind’s Inhumanity to Mankind

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Help Us All

Be distance, wear the mask, get vaccinated!

Bee Man Dave

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