Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hypocrisy in its Finest Hour

I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn't born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To "Get over it."
To accept this...
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
Them. The people who voted for him.
The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that they never forget.
And they will hear me.
They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
They will know that I know who they are.
They will know that I know what they are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I've tolerated all I can.
Now it's their turn to tolerate ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day
forward is now Trump's fault just as much as they thought it was Obama's.
I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give."
Author unknown. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

There Was Once a Man Who Scammed the Entire Nation

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a face as he and his wife Melania and members of their family leave the stage at his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Morgan
You may now kiss my ass; for I very successfully scampaigned the entire nation, from “the idiots in Iowa” to the “Mexicans that rape our women”.

Yeah, OK!  You did indeed; and much, much more.

You know?  Most human beings view the world with extraordinarily limited information with which to define our own perspectives – sound bites from television media outlets, written media outlets, and even blogs, etc.

We assimilate that information with a very thick set of rose-colored, hegemonic lenses; taking shallow, narrow-minded clips here and there, based solely upon the views we are most comfortable with; those views being embedded by decades of influence, indifference, and socio-economic backgrounds.  We then repeat that information, not as it is in reality, but how we wish that information to be viewed.

Sadly, it’s a very negative human trait.  I am human, therefore, I do the same.  Although I desperately try to avoid that pitfall, I do it just like you and every other human being.

We embody yet another human trait that has the ability to create dire consequences; that which is imprinted onto our very DNA – to belong to a group for the safety the numbers provide.
Almost all animals behave in this manner; humans have been doing so since before we were even humans.

That ever present psychological need has served us well in survival mode.  It is such a powerful character trait, it’s literally imbedded in our DNA.  Psychologists have often referred to it as the need to belong and it’s referenced in “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, as important as shelter and food.  It offers comfort, protection, commonality, and safety.

Virtually every human experiences this need for group association.  Yet; most are not even aware it exists.

Yep!  You’ve got yourself some good ol’ team spirit going on right in that skull of yours every day of your life; indeed, every minute of your life, and it is quite literally impossible to ignore.

Think doubt it; when we were kids, we cheered for our elementary school and jeered the others.  The same character trait follows us throughout our entire life: we obsessively cheer for our high school; our college; the sports teams of our choice; the community, state and nation in which we live.  And if anyone attempts to “harm” or “berate” that team, our reactions are most often harsh and sometimes, even violent.

Sadly in my own hegemonic perspective, the forty-fifth President of the United States, Donald Trump; a stranger than strange human being; a man with an extraordinarily frightening ability to become a world-class despot; has been elected by “your team” (please note; I did not say OUR team, for  I am seriously jeering someone else’s team at this moment, and for very good reason).

For the second time in under twenty years, our president elect won by a majority Electoral votes, but lost the popular vote; this time, by drastic numbers – losing the popular vote by almost three million votes.

Although it may bother some, this, in and of itself, is nowhere near as disturbing as the end results.

Someone else’s “team” has accomplished something more startling and worrisome than anything I’ve ever witnessed in 65 years of politics; electing a despotic, narcissistic, racist, demagogue to the office of President of the United States; the man the Electors are scheduled to cast their votes for by the end of the day on December 19, 2016. And, if they do so, as in the past, simply rubber-stamping the Republican Party’s selection, they do indeed need to be dismantled, for they will continue to be as useless a lips on a chicken.

Despite what many think, the Electors are NOT required to support the partisan’s choices. In fact, doing so defies the very purpose the Founding Fathers were thinking when they created the Electoral College.
“What?” you ask.  The Electors must vote their party’s choice”.

Sorry – that’s a myth, and a very common misunderstanding of their purpose.  The common myth that Electors MUST vote for the party’s choice is inaccurate as hell.  Remember this as you read beyond the fact that the Electoral College system was developed by the Founding Fathers before partisan politics had even been considered; more than a decade before the first political parties even existed.

Fact; the Electoral College was developed by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, before the Constitution, of which the Electoral College process is a part, was even ratified in 1788.

And, for further destruction of the myth; the first political parties didn’t even begin to sprout their ugly twigs until 1796 when the “Federalist Party”, given birth by Alexander Hamilton and the “Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party” birthed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, began their first journey into partisan politics.

The reason for the Electors?

Many; but the primary concern of the Founding Fathers, who actually believed voting for the nation’s politicians was too important for commoners like you and me, AND given what the new nation had just experienced, the American Revolution, they were extremely concerned that foreign influence in future elections could return the nation to the distasteful habits of one-time Mother England.  So; they developed the Electoral College to ensure that, in the event any foreign influence interfered with our elections, the Electors could override the effort.

Well, goddamn!! Does that sound familiar or what????

This is the easiest description to read, otherwise I’d send you to the “.gov page” and you’d be there for a week, just trying to find the information about the topic.

5. Electors must vote for the candidate who wins their state.

In theory, this is true. In practice, however, electors may vote for whomever they please, and on rare occasions, they do. In a tight election, such behavior might deny either candidate a majority of the electoral vote and throw the election into the House of Representatives.
For generations, pollsters have found that a clear majority of Americans support direct election of the president. The longer we cling to the electoral college, the longer we’ll have presidential campaigns that leave large numbers of voters feeling left out, along with a system that distorts the public’s preferences.

So, you and I aren’t the only ones who have a bit of distaste for the process, but in light of recent events, IF they follow their instructions as provided by those incredibly wise men almost exactly 240 years ago, we will avoid catastrophe.

Remember that little thing called “The Supremacy Clause and the Doctrine of Preemption”?

You should, if you don’t; it’s the very focal point of many outrageous “uprisings” including the recent events at a wildlife refuge in Oregon by a bunch of nut cases by the name of Bundy and the other event, fomented by the same people who tried to create a shootout with Federal authorities north of Las Vegas.

In essence, the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of the land.  And the Electoral College is part of that very U.S. Constitution.  So; the states can write all the laws they wish, but if they are in contradiction to the Constitution, those laws are the same lips on a chicken.  And, the Electors cannot be punished for doing what the Constitution tells them to do.

In reality, they have another option – to refuse to allow the worst demagogue in the history of our nation into the office and take it to the House of Representatives as is required by the U.S. Constitution, if we’re to preserve what the nation’s Founding Fathers created and prevent precisely what they feared.

Although some states, heavily influenced by early modern partisanship, have enacted “laws” insisting that Electors behave as they’re told, not as they’re supposed to behave, those laws have exactly zero impact legally.  The specific political parties can certainly remove them, but; why would they do such a thing and openly oppose the very Constitution they’ve vowed to protect?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know; they already do it all the time.

Now, let me make it perfectly clear, my team is neither Republican nor Democrat; I’m a partisan outcast, registered as a “non-affiliated” voter in my state, or most commonly referred to as “independent”.

I do this for two very important reasons (at least important to me): the parties are NOT giving us qualified candidates who have the needs of US citizens in mind; and I firmly believe partisan politics, in its current state, is antithetical to democracy.

I’ll vote Democrat, Republican, Green party, Purple Party, or Independent.  But definitely NOT the “orange-man party.”

So, keep all this in mind as you read, for I guarantee you, that your first inclination, had I not forewarned you, would be saying “this is just another old Democrat fart pissing and moaning about the loss of the election to the Republicans.”

Sorry, another myth.

I know this for certain, for I’ve already engaged in conversation with many “conservatives” on various Websites since the election, trying to debate the catastrophic results this is going to present us with.

And, without exception, that is precisely what every one of those with whom I “spoke” said, along with volumes of juvenile expletives, long before they even bothered to question my reasons for not accepting the results of this “election.”

The truth of it is, neither Clinton, nor Trump could care less about my needs, or yours.  Neither of them could care less about the nation’s needs.

Rather; Hillary Clinton was looking for a chance to create a second Clinton legacy and hell, probably even another Clinton Presidential Library, while Donald Trump is looking to use the Oval office to advance his already massive financial empire.

Make no mistake about the validity, and the horrific consequences we need to be prepared for as a result, of the latter portion of that statement.

The nuts and bolts of this post.

The recent information we’re now receiving about Trump, post-election, is the same issues and behaviors I was concerned about from the beginning and throughout his “campaign”, many of which violate the Constitution and Federal laws.  Below are problems I saw then and see now, and why they are problems:

President Elect Trump is determined to continue growing his financial power while he is in the Oval Office
This not only violates the law, it is unconstitutional for an individual to use their political position to further their personal worth/wealth.  Trump’s sole attention must be devoted to governing the nation.
Trump insists that the presidency is a part-time job and, in his own words, he will continue producing his absurdly silly reality show
While he may not be required to (and it may even be virtually impossible due to the expanse of his empire) divest in order to remain impartial and impervious to outside influences, he certainly needs to create more distance than he seems intent upon doing.  I don’t believe for a second that this man will leave running the business in the hands of his children, not even his highly intelligent and seemingly capable daughter (yep, that one, the one he would like to date).  Trump is far too narcissistic to allow anyone but Donald to run his business empire.
Trump has immense worldwide financial holdings that can and WILL present security issues
Maintaining financial ties to foreign interests is a direct conflict of interest and raises serious security issues for the US, for a president can easily make global decisions based solely upon those foreign interests.  There are already issues arising before he even takes office.  A recent hint of an article being prepared by Newsweek gives us a terrifying glimpse at this reality.  Turkish business connections are already attempting to turn the screws on the US to turn over the Turkish Imam, or lose the “Trump Tower” business connections in that country.  And Turkey is “an ally”.  Imagine what a nation such as China, where much of his, and his daughter’s, clothing products are made.  And Russia, who has very strong connections with Exxon oil tycoon Rex Tillerson.  I am certain Putin will use that to his advantage and if you aren’t, you aren’t wearing rose-colored lenses, you’re wearing total blackout-blinders
Before he’s even been inaugurated, he’s disrupting US relationships with foreign governments, all of which are stunned at his behavior.
Though it’s nothing unusual for President Elects to receive congratulatory phone calls, Trump is aggressively pursuing personal agenda with foreign nations via those and other calls.  His entire campaign was filled with negative remarks about China, and Trump would have the ability as President to start trade wars.  This, he has all but sworn to do with China.  If he lives up to his promise, he will indeed begin a trade war by substantially increasing tariffs on imported goods.  The really frightening concern about trade wars, is trade wars are notorious for turning into military conflicts, and here we have Trump calling for Japan and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons before he starts those trade wars
He is an extreme bigot, racist, and misogynist, which includes a little known federal law suit by a woman who says she was raped by Donald Trump and Jeffery Epstein. The woman, who is keeping her name private to avoid reprisals from Trump supporters, is quite believable and has been attempting to file this complaint long before Trump began his presidential campaign, so no team can claim this is a ploy to keep him out of the Oval Office
Speaking of reprisals; reminiscent of the Joseph McCarthy era’s “blacklisting”, Donald Trump continues to ask for the names of those who oppose him, scientists and those who work to seek solutions to global climate change
His extreme id (that’s “id”, not ID complex gives us insight into a man who has a serious mental imbalance as he incessantly launches petty, juvenile attacks against people with whom he disagrees including; senator John McCain; parents of fallen war hero Human Khan; and his never-ending “twitter” tirades.
He’s filling his cabinet with so many generals, one would think he was assembling a military (is he?), one of which, his choice for Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, will be in violation of Federal Law: 10 U.S. Code § 113 – Secretary of Defense the moment Trump and his cabinet take office.  I see nothing wrong with Mattis, or any of the other generals, in fact they all seem to be outstanding individuals, but there is also a danger Trump is too self-indulging to even think about, and that is; what the hell will happen if all these generals become disenchanted with Trumps governing?  A coup is NOT impossible in this country
His actions will threaten the financial stability of the nation.  His behavior so closely resembles the behavior of the likes of Joseph McCarthy, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, one must consider the serious ramifications of a Trump White House.  Will this megalomaniac behave as a President?  Will he even behave as a rational human being?  From the things I’ve read, and witnessed Trump himself do and say, I am certain the answer to those questions is a resounding NO!

These and his endless, oddly disconnected rants and comments go far beyond unacceptable behavior; they defy all acceptable norms of adulthood, much less presidential decorum.  They range from the most absurd statements I’ve heard a sane, mature adult make “I know more about ISIS than the generals do” and “I get my foreign intelligence from watching the news” to offensive and degrading remarks that give us a glance into his true abhorrent self and his attitude towards others; in particular women.

Oh yeah, and the Mexican-Americans, the African-Americans, the stupid people in Iowa, the Scots, hell, even the rest of our team America.

Muslims? No doubt about his bigotry there. In fact; for all you Christians, I don’t think Trump is particularly religious, so don’t be too smug about not being singled out just yet!!!

I suppose, in a very odd twist, we are indeed all on one team in this circumstance, for one thing’s for certain, he abhors virtually everyone other than himself, the one person he really loves.

Now, here teammate (or not).  If you can read these quotes and still have a desire to see this man in the White House, I say you have a serious “id” issue yourself.  These range from utterly childish fabrications (such as the first one below), to senseless ramblings similar to those of a rambling ninety-year old with Alzheimer’s.

At a November 2015 rally, for example, Donald Trump stated that he watched the Twin Towers come down in Jersey City, NJ, and that thousands of Muslims there cheered what was occurring:

“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations,” he told the crowd. “They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down.”

During a March 2006 appearance on “The View” with his daughter Ivanka, Donald Trump was asked how he would react if Playboy magazine were to ever feature Ivanka’s picture on its cover. Mr. Trump responded:

“I don’t think Ivanka would do that inside the magazine. Although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.”

At a December 2015 rally in Charleston, South Carolina, just a few days after the San Bernardino shooting, Trump told thousands of supporters:

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

In his book, Trump: The Art of the Comeback,” Donald Trump pontificated on women:

“Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”

In April 2015, after Baltimore erupted in protests regarding Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, Donald Trump took to Twitter blaming President Obama for the violence there.

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

In a 1991 interview with Esquire, Donald Trump suggested that sexy girlfriends are the antidotes to bad press:

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

During his candidacy announcement speech in June 2015, Donald Trump first proposed the idea of building a wall along America’s southern border, adding that, due to his real estate experience, he was uniquely qualified for the job:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

On October 28, 2012, he tweeted this about Grammy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Bette Midler:

“While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.”

In his 1990 book, “Trump: Surviving at the Top,” Donald Trump addressed his dating track record:

“I’ve never had any trouble in bed, but if I’d had affairs with half the starlets and female athletes the newspapers linked me with, I’d have no time to breathe.”

In February 2016, while delivering a victory speech following the Nevada caucuses, Donald Trump proclaimed his love for the various demographics that led him to victory:

As part of that list, he exclaimed, “I love the poorly educated.”

During a July 2015 campaign event at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Donald Trump took on Senator John McCain’s reputation as a war hero:

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump explained, shocking the event’s moderator. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

In his 2004 book, “Trump: How to Get Rich,” Donald Trump wrote:

“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

In an August 2015 interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump commented on supermodel Heidi Klum, who had just turned 42:

“Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”

During the CNN GOP debate in September 2015, moderator Jake Tapper asked Dr. Ben Carson if he believes that vaccines can cause autism. He does not. When the question was asked of Donald Trump, however, he responded:

“I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump–I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me. … [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”

On May 8, 2013, Donald Trump took to Twitter to explain his superiority to “the haters,” writing:

“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”

In a May 2012 interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump addressed his Twitter feud with Cher by saying:

“Cher is somewhat of a loser. She’s lonely. She’s unhappy. She’s very miserable. And her sound-enhanced and computer-enhanced music doesn’t do it for me.””I’ve watched her over the years. I knew her a little bit. And you know, she reminds me of Rosie with slightly more talent, not much more talent, but slightly more talent.”

In his June 2015 candidacy announcement speech, Donald Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters:

“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say China, in a trade deal? I beat China all the time. All the time.”

During an August 2015 CNN interview, shortly after the Fox News GOP debate, Donald Trump said of moderator Megyn Kelly:

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her… wherever.”

During his candidacy announcement speech in June 2015, Donald Trump first proposed the idea of building a wall along America’s southern border, adding that, due to his real estate experience, he was uniquely qualified for the job:

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

I will be first in line to say that virtually NO presidency has been problem-free, but this presidency in the planning stages is rife with immaturity, mental instability, racism, extreme exceptionalism, off the wall and incredibly lame remarks that should make anyone wonder about his thought processes, and worst of all, highly concerning comparabilities to other despotic regimes, both historical and current; regimes the United States should be opposing and preventing, not creating within our own borders – borders that this despot wants to wall off.

And this, an update as of Dec 14, From the "Hamilton Electors" (a rapidly growing group of dissenting Electors attempting to fulfill their Constitutional responsibility as was intended) in an open letter the all 538 Electors:

He has threatened the freedom of speech by condoning violence at public events, and suggesting criminal penalties and even revocation of citizenship to punish political expression;

He has threatened the freedom of press by vowing to revoke First Amendment protections for journalists;

He has threatened the freedom of religion by proposing to bar entry to the country and force the registration of members of certain faiths;

He has entangled himself with foreign interests through his personal business dealings, and refused to provide records of his taxes, which could allay suspicions;

He has indicated a willingness to condone torture, in contravention of the Constitution and our international treaties, which carry the force of law;

He is uncomfortably close to the regime of Russia, which has interfered in the election;

He has shown reckless disregard for diplomacy, communicating impulsively, in public forums, regarding matters of national security, and allowing personal emotions to interfere with reasoned judgment, calling into question his fitness as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the nuclear capabilities of the United States;

He has, unlike every previous Commander-in-Chief, never served in any public position, whether elected or appointed, civilian or military, thereby bringing no experience or proven judgment on behalf of The People, or evidence of a character suited to high office.

Keith Olberman’s worries are absolutely valid, if the White House doesn’t release what they know about the “e-mail hacks” to the Electors – the very people who, if they behave as intended this time, can prevent Trump’s dismantling of our Constitution.

As you can see, these are not one of those one source “fake news” as many extremists childishly claim if any story is in disagreement with their perspective. This is one story after another and another and another, all of which add up to a despot who just hamstrung the political process in the U.S. as many Americans went to the polls, either asleep, or in their version of wonderland.  The various reports are gleaned from following the patterns of behavior, comments, and the total disregard for reality, truth and stability by a very unstable person.

If trump is not stopped, Congress will be willing participants in a change to the world none of the planet’s occupants, including you and me, will like.

The economic warfare Trump WILL inflict upon China, will most surely result in a China/Russia alliance, at which time, a trade war will not exist, for neither will most of the planet.

As an independent, I couldn’t care less about partisan politics.

Yet; I would personally be perfectly satisfied if another Republican is selected by the House of Representatives; ANYONE other than Trump, using the Oval Office as a stage for his megalomania and the expansion of the Trump empire; all while he sells the rest of the nation down the river.

For those of you who voted to end rule by corporate billionaires, you should look at who you elected and who he’s selecting for his cabinet positions. You may have had utopian dreams of releasing us from demagoguery, but this election has only saddled us all with a nightmare instead; a nightmare that is Demagoguery Hell.

And we’ll be damned lucky if we awake from that nightmare.

A note to the curious; I have supplied an unusual volume of links for reference, the purpose of which is to give those non-teammates a little more comfort in their wariness of “fake news”.  But, I’m betting that even that won’t prevent most.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Much ado about the Panama Papers lately.

Much ado about it if you're Vladimir Putin, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, Petro Poroshenko, Lionel Messi and Ian Cameron, etc.

See anything conspicuous missing?

I did.  The first time I read the breaking news - not one US official, or citizen named anywhere.  "Curious;" I thought.  I even began to suspect a cover-up, but I was dead wrong and this is why:

I had forgotten that, for the very rich and the corporations in the US, it is perfectly legal to rob our nation of taxes.  Completely legal, and very common for them to take advantage of GOP supported trade agreements which provide these tax havens.

This particular arrangement with Panama is relatively new - five years ago, a majority of our puke-inducing, rage-generating elected officials passed the Trade Promotion Act with Panama (TPA), making it perfectly legal for our US corporations and our very wealthy to hide money in that country.

The law was effective in 2012.

Five years ago, a few of our politicians were vociferously opposed to the act, but unfortunately, the majority, mostly the GOP (what a surprise) were in favor.

In the Panama FTA House vote, 234 Republicans and 66 Democrats voted for, and six Republicans and 123 Democrats voted against the measure; in the Senate’s 77-22 vote, the “no” votes all came from Democrats, plus independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).  CNS News, October 13, 2011

In their now routine obfuscation modes, some news outlets outright claim she supported TPA and some will, of course, opine in the opposite direction.  However; it's very difficult to imagine a trade agreement becoming law without the US Secretary of State having a major roll in its framing and passage.  And strong evidence supports this.  The following is Hillary Clinton's comment on the passage of TPA:

The Free Trade Agreements passed by Congress tonight will make it easier for American companies to sell their products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will create jobs here at home. The Obama Administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world and these agreements are an example of that commitment. 
The stakes are not just economic. South Korea, Colombia and Panama are three important partners in strategically vital regions. With the passage of these agreements, America has delivered for our friends and allies. I want to thank Presidents Lee, Santos and Martinelli for their patience and willingness to partner with the Obama Administration as these agreements moved through Congress. 
But our work is not yet done. We will not be content until these agreements are fully implemented so that American exporters can reap the benefits as soon as possible."  DipNote US Department of State Official Blog

In typical two-faced politician history, Clinton made many comments opposing this agreement, then pulled the old 180 out of her bag of tricks, making the above statement.  However; in true fashion, Bernie Sanders held true to his values.

Certainly, there is no such animal as a perfect politician and I'm sure, somewhere, there is an apparent conflict in Bernie Sanders' voting record, but when I look at a politician's record, I look for a big trend, not a few blips here and there, and the variations in trends are substantial between Clinton and Sanders.  Especially; after Ms. Clinton assumed her roll as Secretary of State.

I can understand why a person's perspective may change a bit when assuming a new roll; it's often necessary to do so in order to perform the responsibilities of that new roll.

However; performing responsibilities and selling the nation out are not one in the same!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Problem With "RIGHTS"

The siege at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is coming to an end.  We knew it would, just as all such actions end, sooner or later.

And; despite the claims of the Bundy Bunch that they were coming to protest in peace, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 55, was shot and killed, leaving behind 11 children and who knows how many grand children, brothers, sisters, wife, etc......

Despite their claims of peaceful protest, they came with an arsenal of firearms and, purportedly, explosives.

Despite their claims of peaceful negotiations, they threatened two communities with violence; repeatedly threatened and goaded law enforcement officers into violent confrontation and harassed citizens of the surrounding communities; people who neither invited, nor wanted the "peaceful" group in their towns or business.

In an era of utter obsession with firearms and personal rights in the United States, peace is not at the top of the list of objectives with groups such as those who illegally seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  In fact, peace is not even a remote possibility, for firearms do not represent peace, rather they literally exude violence.  The very existence of firearms is for violent action, or reaction.

The L.A. Times reports, and we've all read and/or heard the comments from Bundy and others of the group insist that; "the occupiers’ principle concerns—upholding the Constitution, protecting the rights of individuals and crushing socialism."

However; the same uninvited, "law-abiding and peaceful" group, according to multiple sources including the L.A. Times noted:
"The charges filed Wednesday detail activists' behavior in the media and the behavior reported to the FBI by federal employees who said they endured threats from the protesters in town before the occupation. 
One employee with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, a prime target of the protesters, said Ritzheimer, an anti-Muslim activist who led an armed protest at a mosque last May, and another man accosted her in a grocery store for wearing a BLM shirt.
“When she turned around, the second individual shouted ‘you're BLM, you're BLM,’ at her,” FBI Special Agent Katherine Armstrong wrote in the affidavit. 
“That person further stated to [the BLM employee] that they know what car she drives and would follow her home. He also stated he was going to burn [her] house down.
Then activists began targeting her, she said. A vehicle matching one she saw Ritzheimer and the other man driving began to appear parked in front of her home and in front of her workplace, she said. 
A week later, a white truck with a Confederate flag sticker in the rear window tailgated her and flashed its lights, the affidavit says."
When groups of people use intimidation, fear and force to declare their rights over the rights of all others, such as the Bundy Bunch; how are we to discern between them and the likes of the Taliban, ISIS, or any other terrorist group?  As far as I'm concerned, there is very little to differentiate them.

It's beyond me what connection the BLM and Socialism have, but what is abundantly clear is that peace was of no concern for the Bundy Bunch.  In fact; I dare say they were hoping for a violent outcome.  That was as evident in Oregon as it was in Bunkerville, Nevada.

There's a problem with so many people declaring their "rights" in such vociferous, confrontational and violent manners.  "Rights" are not what one group forces upon others.  Rather; rights are what all respect and allow others to observe without impeding upon one another.

Without creating an endless "Hammurabi's Code" defining everything for everyone, I believe the Founders of this nation expected the future citizens of this nation to respect one another's rights without having to precisely define them.

And therein lies the quandary.  We, in the United States, Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc.. have become so obsessed with "our" rights, we can neither see, nor respect the rights of others.

How do we insist upon the nation being "Christian" without trampling the rights of those of the Muslim Faith, or of no faith?  How can we insist upon marriage as being between male and female only without discounting the rights of those of the LBGT Community among us?

How can we be a nation of peace when the first thing we think of using for "peaceful protest" are firearms?

Many, including The Bundy Bunch are infamous for this lack of respect for the rights of all.  One cannot consider public land open for their own financial gain, for public land is precisely what it implies - it is land owned by the government (the government you and I elect) to protect, for public access and enjoyment, against those who would use (and abuse) for their personal financial gain.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is over and what did it accomplish?  Just as with the Bundy Ranch standoff, absolutely nothing, for Cliven Bundy still owes you and I a very hefty bill for grazing on our public land.

Nothing gained, except this time, it cost a man his life who seemed to want to die in some self-fancied martyrdom during a "peaceful protest." A protest to ensure his personal rights over the rights of the entire nation to maintain public land.

And that, my friend, is the problem with rights.