Monday, August 7, 2017

on russian meddling--on trump's integrity

russians meddle in elections when they can. so have we. so do we.

even as an unapologetic liberal, i can say with all factual historical honesty, that, shit, the US has been meddling in elections under the table (and quite occasionally above the table) for the better part of the past 7 decades (if not more), and it has almost always worked in our own national interest. so, like trump said a few months ago, let's not pretend that the US is pure, and that russia's meddling in our election is some aberration. please. all nations have national interests. and all powerful nations have national interests that extend well beyond their boundaries. we have national interests. russia has national interests. you want to believe russia is some evil beast and the US is some innocent waif, keep dreaming.

so to democrats:
until you really want to fix the problem, you need to let the "russian meddling" story go. it's obvious you care more about political points than the meddling per se.

so to republicans:
to ignore russian meddling is pretty much treasonous, which makes you worse than the democrats, so time to put the flag pins back on and get some smart people on fighting and fixing this.

that said? the two problems i have with trump are these:

1) while he serves his own interests perfectly, he has absolutely zero ethical integrity when it comes to public service.
2) while he is an arguably successful businessman and imposing manager, he is not a leader.

yes. he won the election. the system we built and signed up for (and haven't had the motivation to change yet) worked as designed. love him or hate him, it's trumps turn on watch for the next few years. if you salute the flag and keep your feet planted here (rather than pack your shit and run off to some european socialist utopia) you really need to respect it. american democracy and the american republic is a messy business, but in the long run, despite its bumps and bruises along the way, points mostly toward justice, as much as the humans within it will allow.

as i learned my first week of boot camp when i was 17, you salute the rank, not the man. if i met trump today i'd salute him and give him respect. if i meet him 10 years from now, i'm slicing his tires and keying his car. that's what it means to love america and the constitution, and at the same time have the balls to fight for what's right and punish those (donald trump) who've spent a lifetime hurting people while helping no one but himself.

but let's get back to exactly how trump proves to us that he has no ethical integrity...

follow me... if he had lost the election, everything about his history confirms, that for pretty much all of 2017 so far, he would have been the standard bearer of complaining about this “america first” russian meddling that hillary arranged and obama did nothing about. (because in actuality, she did, and he didn't).

in contrast:

  • the bush presidents, both of them, agree with their policies or not, had integrity. mad integrity.
  • carter, had probably the most integrity of any president of the last century.
  • rand paul, crazy man, but steadfast integrity.
  • romney lost the election because he had zero integrity. he was all pander.
  • cruz, rubio... already lost causes. maybe had integrity, but already sold out.
  • sorry to say, as of 2008, so did mccain.

i mean, you can like bush43 or hate him, for leading us into wars that cost us trillions, but you can't deny the guy had integrity. he didn't pander. he had beliefs and he stuck with them no matter what, and couldn't care less about what people said about him. crazy thick skin.

but... like romney, trump has zero integrity. actually, trump has 100% integrity to himself, and only appears to serve the nation when any particular decision that benefits himself first.

as for if he'd lost the election. whoa... he'd be on that russian meddling shit just like birtherism. just like he was prior to the election. even the electoral college was a bad thing to trump--til he won. even hillary was a criminal going to jail (and maybe she should) until he won. "hey we don't care about that anymore now do we" -trump.

but now, russian hacking is a non issue, it's fake news. why? not because it’s fake. but because trump won.

even though the US meddles--the fact that russia meddles is still something we need to fight against. and we're not fighting it. because to trump, it's a non issue because it benefitted him.

the cancer that trump infects america with, is that to him--our president and head of state--there are no longer any objective rights/wrongs beyond whatever benefits him personally. no more morals. no more ethics. only winning. and by that he means, trump winning. not the middle class. not coal miners who've been part of a dying industry for a few decades now. not carrier inc. no one but trump and anyone who can help him.

the president should serve the nation, even if decisions pull against himself personally. if that doesn't bother you at all, and you still support trump even knowing that he's actually not "america first", well, that's certainly your right. but if you disagree, then maybe answer me this. in all of trump’s accomplishments over the past 7 months. name one that benefitted the country and happened to work *against* him personally.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

on voter ID laws

a perfect strike in politics is when you can do something that benefits yourself, hurts your opponent, and wrap that action completely within a banner of plausibility that you're doing it for a perfectly logical reason that is fair to all.

requiring an ID to verify identity, eligibility, and defend against fraud is an airtight logical idea; and i can't believe that any rational person would argue any different... ...conceptually.

that said, i think we all know that's not the issue. the fact that the gop targets money toward jurisdictions where voter ID laws will create the most impactful demographic voter suppression is well-documented. most of the time by sloppy republicans who *themselves* stupidly admit it on the record. seen it many times from different sources over the years. highly googleable.


  • republicans need to stop pretending this isn't actually a two-dimensional problem.
  • republicans need to stop pretending that there aren't hundreds of thousands of otherwise eligible citizens in a situation where obtaining a gov't ID is very difficult, too expensive, or in some cases nearly impossible.
  • republicans need to stop pretending that they're not secretly ok with this, while outwardly waving the banner of "you need to show ID, because we're fighting fraud".


why is it that republican proposed legislation is most often not much more than "we require ID now; tough".

you want to get *everyone* on-board with voter ID laws? here's how:

if we really care about liberty and justice for all, then the proposed legislation would look a lot more like "we require ID now; here's what you can use, here's how to get it, and here's where to turn if you get stuck".

i would hope that even "small government" conservatives would admit that there can't be many government services more valuable to spend tax dollars on than one that knocks down government-imposed barriers to participation. maybe some are doing this; i hope so.

Friday, May 12, 2017

on trump

please. my liberal friends. get past it. the electoral college works the way it should. we didn't elect a public servant this time. stop pretending he will act as such.

if you wanna play the daily news cycle "gotcha" game, president trump will give you more than you can handle, and you'll drown in it, and the right doesn't care.

here's what happened... to punish the professionally lobby-bought politician motivated by whoever lines their pockets the most, we elected a CEO. that's right--we wanted to see what happens when gov't by the people and for the people is run like a business. these first 5 months are just a taste. objectively defined ethical right and wrong are out, teamwork and loyalty are in.

of course director james comey had to go. if you pull the wagon against the president, you have to go. does that make trump a kim jong-un dictator? no. (close, but no)

look, i've been in the corporate world for almost 30 years. if you pull against the boss, you're gone, and you *should* be gone. the pro-business right wingers know this, because a lot of them are business owners who tightrope through life on nothing more than their ideas and grit and have others' livelihoods on their shoulders. they stick their necks out more than liberals do. try to understand them for a second.

but, ok, look, what we're going to learn from this presidency is that, while government can learn a lot--and i mean A LOT--from business when it comes to cost-effectiveness, what business will never understand (nor should it) is that government needs to protect the level playing field and infrastructure of our. entire. society. and act in the best interest of the PEOPLE. and this basic thought is something business is simply *not* designed to do, let alone understand.

business will NEVER act in the best interest of everyone. it ONLY acts in the best interest of the market and in trumps case, the winners. for example, if you read stories of chemical companies in west virginia dumping poison in rivers then using incorporation to shield themselves personally, going out of business to escape liability, then reforming as a NEW company with new poison to dump, you're smart enough to know that business will never act in the best interest of the environment as long as competitors are saving money by not doing so.

i don't blame trump for lying. all. the. time. i don't blame trump for saying whatever he wants to in order to gain the most in any given situation. anyone who's followed how he works knows that this is in his DNA. he has no foundational principles, no ethics, and no integrity. his objective is to win or create the perception of winning. this is what creates the highest gain for a businessman who is driven to gain the most in the shortest amount of time, for himself and investors and stockholders, then let bankruptcy laws (and the taxpayers) clean up the mess left after private profits have been captured. this is smart business, folks. this is what happens when we elect a CEO to run gov't like a business.

in 4 (or 8) years we will learn, and then of course, thankfully, the american political pendulum will swing toward a younger bernie clone. and we will remember the lessons we learn from the trump presidency for a long time. 20 years at least, until thanks to our education system we will forget history and let the pendulum have at it again.

bottom line, whether you're on the right or on the left, i'm going to do my american duty to ask you to THANK the other side for their strength. because i've spent a good amount of time in countries where ONE political party gains too much power for too many decades, and it never ends up well. (i'm lookin at you mexico).

the extreme of the left is european socialism (bad), the extreme of the right is fascist dictatorship (not good), the extreme of libertarianism is anarchism (which while attractive while pulling on a bong in a dorm, fails a few steps into the game). in the end, keep voting, keep acting, keep caring, and america will be fine.

i am a wildly social liberal, wildly fiscal conservative, and if you're like me there is no party for us. maybe time to step up(?)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

on STEM versus STEAM

artists are sneaky.

education in the STEM fields has for the past few years increased as a national priority. apparently we're not teaching enough science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in schools, from K-12, and not enough bachelors degrees in STEM fields are coming out of our universities. the problem is both the immediate needs of our job market, and the strategic long term productivity and innovation of our economy.

so... STEM gets a lot of attention. you know who that seems to bother? the artists.

are the arts important? of course they are.
when you build something, is design just as important as the engineering? of course it is.

the reason why it's STEM and not STEAM is not because the "hard" sciences are better than the arts, rather it simply comes down to supply versus demand.  the US imports a few dozen thousand foreign nationals every year, and most of them aren't artists.  they're engineers, scientists, math whizzes, and technology people.  they're not art history majors, sociologists, or those who do work in comparative literature.

  • STEM is important because our country creates more B.A. graduates than it needs.
  • STEM is important because jobs in the sciences and engineering should go to americans first, and there is a perennial shortage.

why do artists get butthurt when STEM initiatives don't include the "A"?

you really want to help arts education? fight for it on its own merits. everyone knows that the education that goes into what to do, why we're doing it, what it looks like, and how it functions is at least as important as the education that goes into the details of how it's built.

arts are important on their own. quit lumping it in where it doesn't belong.