Monthly Archives: July 2016

THE LAST STAND OF HUMAN DECENCY

How many of you believe that Fox News host Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her whatever,” when she grilled Donald Trump during an early Republican debate. Do you further “like people that weren’t captured,” in reference to John McCain’s hellish 6 years as a POW in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” during the Viet-Nam war. Do you believe that Rafael Cruz (Sen. Ted Cruz’s father) was complicit with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Speaking of Ted Cruz, do you believe that calling him “Lyin’ Ted” is appropriate or that maliciously maligning his wife on Twitter was the decent thing to do. Do you agree that we should torture captured terrorists “just for the fun of it.” Do you further believe that an American born Judge will be biased against Trump because of the Judge’s Spanish heritage, when ruling on the law suit against that swindle known as Trump University, which is now defunct. As defunct as Trump’s four casino fiascos in Atlantic City that also went belly up, leaving all the investors except Trump, holding the financial bag, as the case wended its way through bankruptcy court. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

If any of you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you’re definitely a Trump supporter. There are millions of you out there. Welcome to 2016 America, where common human decency has taken a leave of absence among the American electorate. In another time, when at least some vestiges of human decorum were still evident in the American psyche, any one of the above statements would have been a disqualifier when seeking the office of the presidency. But not this year. Instead the media has been lapping up each of Trump’s brutish pronouncements, like a thirsty puppy lapping up it’s water. Trump’s candidacy only took hold because of the tons and tons of free media exposure of his uncivil bloviating comments. And it will likely play out this way right up until election day. If this wasn’t troubling enough, lets take a look of some of the characters jumping on the Trump bandwagon.

David Duke may not be a household name, but he does have a distinct claim to fame. He used to be the Grand Master of the Ku Klux Klan, before he resigned some years ago to run for the Senate on the Republican ticket in Louisiana. He came within an eyelash of winning that election; and upon his loss he went into “talk radio.” From that vantage point, he has had the freedom of speech to not only daily castigate blacks and Jews, but all people considered as “foreigners.” Last week he announced that he would once again run for the Senate in Louisiana as a Republican. He stated that Trump’s candidacy gave him the inspiration to take this course of action. He was lavish in his praise of Trump’s run for the White House. Earlier in the campaign when Duke was out and about praising Trump, The Donald was asked by the media if he would dis-avow David Duke’s support. It took Trump two days of hemming and hawing before he finally choked out an “Okay, I dis-avow.” But that hasn’t stopped the current leadership of the KKK from formally endorsing Trump as “their kind of guy.” Also coming to Cleveland last week to protect Trump from any possible harm was an outfit called Bikers of America, which is basically a collection of motorcycle gang thugs, who also consider Trump to be their kind of guy.

Trump supporters will tell you that while The Donald may have numerous and serious flaws, it’s still better having him in the Oval Office instead of Hilary Clinton. And there is no question that Hilary has run up voluminous political baggage over the last 30 years or so. The worst being sending and receiving classified government e-mails on an unprotected server in her own home. This type of action was especially reckless in that she had presidential aspirations when the servers were set up. One could call it felony stupidity. But on the other hand, if stupidity was a felony, they couldn’t build jails fast enough to house all the inmates. My sense is that she will have to publicly deal with both the e-mail and the Benghazi fiascos if she has any hope of winning the election. She needs to point out that none of the e-mails on her server compromised U.S. security, and that the lax response to the Benghazi crises was more the result of the CIA station chief’s failure to request immediate help and support. If she can’t do that she’s finished politically.

So there you have it. The two most unpopular and disgraced people in public life have somehow made off with their party’s nomination for the presidency. One of them will be entering the Oval Office come next January. It’s somewhat understandable when one watches the mindless chanting and banner waving at the two political conventions. As if nirvana will prevail if their candidate wins the election. As if, everyday, when we get up in the morning, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp, and we’ll all go tip-toeing through the tulips in carefree abandonment, with bliss and joy in our hearts.

Dream on America. Because the reality is that 2016 may be the year that human decency in America finally expires, and what’s left in its place is a swampy wasteland.

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Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE SUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT

When Shakespeare wrote the “Winter of Our Discontent” in 1594, he was talking about the travails of Richard III, and the royal family’s various crises at that time. Pretty small potatoes compared to to the world’s summer of discontent here in 2016 because of recent events.  Events that have shook the planet to its very foundation, and have made it appear that civilization as we know it is unraveling at a rapid rate. The latest episode being the killing of three Louisiana cops by a deranged former Marine seeking revenge for the police shooting of a non-threatening black man at a traffic stop in Baton Rouge for no good apparent reason. Preceded by the assassination of five Dallas cops and the wounding of six more, by another unhinged lone wolf. This time, in apparent retribution for another cop killing of another apparently non-threatening black man at another traffic stop, this time in Minnesota. All this while an Islamic Jihadist went berserk on the French Riviera and murdered at least 84 people and injured dozens more that were watching a fireworks display in Nice celebrating Bastille Day. Further preceded by another Jihadist nut-job that killed 50 patrons of a gay bar in Florida, all in praise of Allah. Another tragedy flying just below the radar further took place this past weekend when the military tried to overthrow Turkey’s dictator, Recep Erdogan, who is slowly turning Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic state, not unlike the way the Ayatollahs transformed Iran after the Shah was overthrown. The coup attempt failed because Erdogan pleaded for an outpouring of religious fundamentalists into the streets of Istanbul, in protest. It worked and now there is wholesale retribution against those that attempted this coup. Just what the world needed. And all this before the hottest month of summer, August, has yet too begin.

Lets start with the police killings of what appear to be innocent black men. I wrote previously that these, apparently unjustified cop shootings of black men, are more likely the result of poor training at police academies rather than racist bigotry on the part of individual police officers. A mindset of shoot first and ask questions afterward. Knowing what a tinder box race relations are in this country at the present, I think its incumbent that a re-training program for all police be instituted across the land. Training that would focus on alternative solutions when dealing with non-leathal situations, other than blowing an individuals brains out. While police shootings of any individual, black or white, is indeed an unspeakable tragedy, especially when the situation that involves the police is non-life threatening, the fact remains that far more black men die at the hands of black criminals, rather than from any police action. If black lives truly matter, then a full court press against black gangs, drug dealers and other assorted low-life criminals should be a top priority. As well as establishing “enterprise zones” in black ghettos, that would offer decent paying jobs to unemployed young black people, affording them an opportunity to escape rat-infested slums once and for all. A concept originally put forth in the 1980s by Jack Kemp, a Republican who was also known as a “bleeding heart conservative.”

The fight against Islamic Jihadism also needs an all-court press to once and for all destroy all remnants of this terrorism wherever it may exist. A fight that unfortunately neither the United States nor Western Europe seems prepared to engage in. Whether it’s ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, the Taliban, or any other cut-throat terrorist organization, the ultimate goal of the Western world should be their total annihilation. But as I’ve pointed out before, just as the mighty Roman Empire, when at the zenith of their power, grew fat and lazy, and no longer had the will to fight the barbarians at their gates, so has the western world today become complacent regarding today’s barbarians. The Roman Empire over a period of centuries, eventually fell to the terrorists of those days, and Europe entered a long era known as the dark ages. Today’s barbarians, the Islamic Jihadists, know that if they stay the course, the same fate awaits western civilization. Just as the barbarians in the Roman’s time, today’s Jihadists play the long game. They’ve got all the time in the world to establish their “caliphate.” They know that the West won’t be brought to its knees overnight; it may, in fact, take hundreds of years. No problem, as long as they keep chipping away at Western resolve through prolific murder and sabotage.

When the evil of Nazism threatened the civilized world the the 20th century, the U.S. and Briton went into full war mode. Enormous sacrifices war made in blood and treasure. The U.S. sustained a great loss of lives on European battlefields and in the Pacific. On the home front, there were basic rationing and chronic shortages of food staples such as bread, flour, sugar, and dairy products. Fruits and vegetables were virtually non-existent in American food stores. Consumer products such as kitchen appliances or car tires were off the market as every factory was retooled for the war effort. (This at a time when tires barely lasted for 5000 miles.) While the American public was not happy about this state of affairs, they understood it was necessary to totally defeat the twin evils of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Think today’s westerners would be willing to endure similar sacrifices to totally destroy Islamic-Jihadists all over the globe. What a laugh. They wouldn’t even be willing to sacrifice acquiring the latest version of the I-Phone when it hits the markets. Meanwhile the terrorists keep playing the long game.

If you find all this troubling, plenty of diversion for your entertainment is coming this week in the form of the freak show known as the Republican Convention. Featuring maestro Donald Trump and his merry band of clowns. Soon to be followed by the Democratic Convention circus featuring Snow White, or, as she’s better known, Hillary Clinton, and her band of sycophants.

 

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Redstone Arsenal, NASA, Black Lives Matter, Recent Cop Killings, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

UNIVERSAL IMPERATIVES

Toward the end of 1963, more than 50 years ago, I was a civilian working for the U.S.Army and assigned to perform an audit of the U.S.Army Material Command located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. I had just returned from a 3 year stint working overseas in Europe, also with the Army, (which I’ve previously written about) so coming to Huntsville, after I had lived in Paris for three years, was quite a shock. But Huntsville was considered quite progressive for the Deep South at the time. Besides the Army having a major presence, NASA’s Marshall Space Center was also located at Redstone Arsenal, which seemed like a small city unto itself. At least a couple of thousand personal worked at the Arsenal, many of whom were engineers or other technicians that were employed by both NASA and the Army. Many of these people had relocated from the North, which supposedly gave Huntsville its more progressive tinge.

Nevertheless,  Jim Crow segregation and racist laws were strictly enforced throughout Huntsville, which, after all, was still part of Alabama. I remember having what seemed endless arguments and discussions with local people employed by the Army in the same offices that I performed my work duties. I tried, repeatedly, to point out the sheer folly and stupidity of racism and segregation but it seemed as if I could never make a dent in their way of thinking. Their argument always came down to the same point of view. They didn’t need some Northern Yankee coming into their state and telling them how they should live their lives. It was all a matter of “states rights.” The moral injustice of Jim Crow seemed to never enter their psyches. At the time, Huntsville had one movie theater with an orchestra and balcony sections conveniently segregated. The orchestra was for whites only while blacks were confined to the balcony. I remember going to the movies one night, and to my surprise, two daring young black men came in and sat down in the orchestra, in the row in front of me. Next to them were seated two elderly white women who became shocked and chatted endlessly about this effrontery to Southern customs. Finally they quieted down and we all watched the movie in silence. This may have been the first act of willful desegregation throughout Alabama, if not the entire South.

It wasn’t long after that race riots erupted throughout most major U.S. cities, with entire city sections being set on fire and burnt to the ground. The huge turmoil and protest movements of the 1960s did have the effect of causing the Jim Crow walls of segregation to come tumbling to the ground, as well as enfranchising may blacks with the right to vote for the first time. But after all the protests, all the marches, and all the burnings, blacks for the most part, still remained confined to inner-city ghettos, where many still live today. Ghettos that are infested with crime, drugs, prostitution and gangs that are in a perpetual war with rival gangs. Not the most hospitable environment for promoting peace and tranquility. The 1960s were also a time of universal tragedy with the loss to America of  three of its most promising leaders. I remember discussing with friends about how the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were a blow that no civilized society could hope to recover from. Given the nature of the leadership the U.S. has endured since then, I believe I was right on the money.

So here we are 50 years later with a large potion of the black population, along with the growing Latino populace, still confined to those same inner-city slums. With an almost steady procession of white police shootings of what appears to be unarmed and non-threatening young black men for no good reason. While race is undoubtably a factor in these shootings, I believe poor police training is the primary cause. Too many cops are too trigger happy, with an attitude of shoot first and ask questions later. This comes from a lack of decent training from when these shooters were learning to become cops in their police academies. It certainly seems to be at play in the deaths of two non-threatening black men these past weeks. Which was culminated by an attack by a black assassin that gunned down 11 Dallas policemen, 5 of whom died, that were protecting peaceful protests of the previous shootings of black men. Followed by more protests by the Black Lives Matter group, of white police gunning down black men. But if black lives matter, as they do, how about addressing black on black crime in the inner cities that takes many more black lives than cops do. Does it appear that life in the U.S. at this juncture, seems to be coming apart at the seams, at least regarding race relations.

But perhaps I’ve been looking at this all wrong. Perhaps it’s a universal imperative that civilizations are meant to rise and then fall, in order to keep the universe in a certain balance. Scientists postulate that there was an abundance of water on Mars some 3.6 billion years ago. They further postulate that where there was water, there also had to be life. So perhaps Mars, at some point, some hundreds of millions or billions of years ago, had a thriving civilization, and eventually did themselves in through their own folly. Now, all that is left is dust. Perhaps the killings of the Kennedy brothers and MLK in the 1960’s was the universe’s way of telling us that civilization on Planet Earth is also on the way out.

As I’ve repeated many times before, Pogo may have been the greatest philosopher of all time when he said-“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Redstone Arsenal, NASA, Black Lives Matter, Recent Cop Killings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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