Friday, May 29, 2015

Bernie Sanders

I was watching some cable talking heads the other day. The questions was asked: "Since Bernie Sanders has no chance of winning the presidency, what exactly are his goals?" The response was some mumble-jumble about income equality and monkeys with wings.

I bring this up only to mention that in May of 2007, if the same question were asked about Barack Obama, the answer would have been roughly the same. No chance, just another politician inflating his ego. Hillary has got it in the bag.

I'm just saying' . . .

Friday, May 22, 2015

You Say You Want a Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution

Well, you know We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out - Beatles

I'm not sure where my old friend Terry is these days. I do remember that he dropped The Beatles from his life when they came out with Revolution. His objection in 1968 was to the blanket rejection of revolution as a means of changing the government. Hence, the line: But when you talk about destruction. My guess is that some of the Fab Four would have changed their minds about revolution by now, if they had lived this long. 

But what about us. Once again we are being lulled into participation with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But we all know the Wall Street bought and paid for Hillary Clinton is going to get the nomination. Do we feel fortunate that the republicans remain stuck with their clown car primary circle jerk?

What about real change?

What about laws sneaking through state legislatures every day that:

-put more restrictions on a woman's right to control her own body;

-deny senior's rights to social security benefits they were forced to contribute to;

-limit individual rights and freedoms for anyone not white, straight and male;

Should I mention: 

-endless foreign wars; 

-restrictions on the right to vote; 

-fracking polluting your drinking water;

-fracking causing earthquakes;

-Baltimore, Ferguson, Detroit;

You say you want a revolution? 
I've got my pitchfork. 
How about you?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Many Americas

Where to start, where to start?

During the Baltimore riots. In the aftermath of the Baltimore police murder. Following the confrontation in urban Maryland. In the turmoil surrounding the clash in Baltimore. The events in Ferguson, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Baltimore, Detroit, Lexington etc. prompted -

A 2013 Guardian article by David Simon of "The Wire" fame resurfaced. Mr. Simon is from Baltimore. The meme from the article: "There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show."

The idea, of course, is black and white America or perhaps rich versus poor America or both. Then, while Baltimore burned, Mr. Simon blogged what was meant to be an impassioned plea for rioters to "Go Home." Unfortunately, like Wolf Blitzer, it appears Mr Simon doesn't get it; middle-aged white guys seldom do.

A few days later, also in The Guardian, a response appeared: Go Home David Simon, Without Justice in Baltimore, There Can Be No Peace. I recommend all three articles as fine exemplars of what I can only describe as dualistic thinking about race, justice and ecumenic inequality in America.

Barack Obama is famously misquoted as saying: "There aren't red States and blue States but the United States." Again, playing on the subconscious duality metaphor that permeates the human psyche.

'Two Americas' is way too simplistic. There are multiple economic classes in this country. All but one or two getting historically screwed by the present system of injustice for all.

First Class: Number one with a bullet are the Uber-Rich, the Oligarchs, the 1%. To be fair the lower end of the 1%, those who might actually have jobs, well it doesn't matter, they're all dead meat when the revolution comes. Eat the Rich!

Second Class: Doing fine with jobs paying stupid amounts of money for 'skills' that mostly are involved with creating wealth. About an equal split here between productive capitalists and Wall Street leeches. 

Third Class: Still holding on to their middle-class homes, lives, schools and families. But looking down to see where others have gone and running a bit scared that there for the grace of tax loopholes, so go they.

Fourth Class: Formerly members of the middle-class. Got their butts handed to them in the '08 economic debacle, did not get bailed out. Sinking fast but still not ready to overthrow their tormentors.

Fifth Class: Never made it to the top or the middle but definitely taking a major hit despite not having much to take away. Surviving on all those "socialist" programs the republicans keep cutting.

Sixth Class: The new poor. Never got foreclosed out of their homes, because they were always renters. Did lose jobs, never got them back, since those jobs were moved to India, Mexico and Thailand.

The Poor: always been, always will be and slipping further down the survival ladder every day.

The Really Poor: These are the citizens Simon was talking about, those living in such entrenched poverty there really is no way out. No bootstraps down here, hell no boots either.

America today is a society based on class, not opportunity, not democracy or even meritocracy. Class in America is about money. How much you got. How much you can keep. How little of it you pay in taxes. And how much of it you need to spend to keep your privleged position safe by paying protection money to the politicians.

Dear Liberal Friends: Save your ragged words about cynicism and hope for the future. You can't cash those in and that's what counts in Amerika today.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Auto Idiocy

I saw an ad the other day for a new car. Brand new car, totally redesigned or so they said. You know what they promoted for the entire commercial? The pre-programmed dashboard that will take calls on your cell phone, your twitter feed and your Facebook.

Now I give them credit, there is a button that you can push which sends the message: "I'm driving, will get back to you later." A button mind you that you still have to push while you're going 75 mph, looking at the dashboard instead of the highway where you are about to end my life.

I believe the expression I'm looking for is: WTF!

Why aren't we banning all cell phone and internet use while driving? Sorry, am I making too much sense? I've been in cars with drivers who are on the phone. I told one of them to pull over and let me out, when they laughed, I took the phone and threatened to throw it out the window.

This is not wave of the future, it's the way of death.

Sure, sure, I know. You always pull over to answer a call or take a message. You're a responsible adult and/or a lying asshat. But you know teens are not going to do that, you know because you've either attended a funeral for one of them or know someone who has. Dead kids splattered on the tarmac because they had to OMG! about Jason dumping Brittany.

Drivers need to drive, not talk on the phone, not text, not write pithy twitter comments or read their friend's Facebook updates.

Start-up steps for driving a car:
1) unlock the car door
2) sit in car
2a) [alternate - strap young child into car seat]
3) turn off your damn phone
4) start engine
5) do not buy any automobile that has on-the-road internet or phone access, when the car starts up, the internet should automatically shut down [exceptions allowed for pre-driving GPS programming and auto-porn].