You Can’t Stop Progress

 

As I said in my last post there are many words that can be used to describe my political views: democrat, liberal, snowflake, libtard, loon, nitwit and hack. Personally, I like to think of myself as a progressive. I’m for progress. Things are going to change and I don’t see much reason to stop them.

One of the weirdest things I hear people complain about (and put on billboards) is the “war on coal.” It seems strange to me. Did people cause as much of a ruckus when cars became available? Was there a war on the horse and buggy? What about canals or railroads? Did the interstate highway system wage war on them?

I’m old enough to remember DVDs never waged war on VHS tapes. The internet never took up arms against libraries. Cellphones weren’t demonized by long distance telephone services. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, 8 tracks and CDs all moved aside peacefully when the newest technology came along.

My biggest question is who would want to be a coal miner’s daughter? That’s not a job I’ve ever heard glamorized. It’s dirty, dark and dangerous. There are cave-ins and black lung. I can’t say getting into the coal industry is something I would want my children to do even if it wasn’t a dying industry.

Even neglecting environmental or health concerns the future seems to be in renewable energy. General Electric recently announced plans to restructure their operation and focus on renewables because they weren’t making enough money with older technologies. Elon Musk is making batteries to store the energy harnessed from wind and sun in a way to compete with power plants. Clean energy employs five times more people than the fossil fuel industry with some worrying about negative ripple effects if those jobs were to disappear.

It also says something that President Trump and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry are struggling to bail out the coal industry. Fossil fuels are already on track to become fossils themselves. It sucks to lose a tradition, but this may be the best way for us to regain our energy independence.

So why all this hubbub to bring back coal? Just like with the military-industrial complex, healthcare and reality TV many very rich people stand to lose a lot of money if it goes under. It’s not about putting miners back to work; if you want to put miners back to work focus on retraining. It’s a war to make lobbyists and political contributors happy. They want to earn on their investments. 

It’s disheartening that the United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. I think we could have been a great leader. It’s nice to see states standing up and following through without the federal government, but it would have been nicer to have all of the states united.

Was there this much confusion about the hole in the Ozone Layer? I’m too young to remember if there were questions over the science or doubts about whether or not it posed a threat. Was it like climate change? I’ve always heard that the global community came together, banned the harmful chemicals and solved the problem together.

Is that true? It’s pretty hard to imagine in this day and age.

I also think about the reaction to the destruction of the rainforest. I’m not sure if that had any direct government interaction. From what I understand people began boycotting companies that supported the practice. The best way to get corporations to listen is to hit them in the wallet.

There are so many more hot-button issues that people are arguing about today. LGBT rights, racial discrimination and immigration to name a few. But I think someday these issues will be looked upon the same way as woman’s suffrage, Jim Crow and slavery. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

What should we do? We’re already doing it. Just wait. It’ll happen

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Let’s Rob a Bank

 

I’ve always wanted to rob a bank. This could be Elmore Leonard’s fault as he always made it seem like a really cool thing to do, but I’m going to blame Kathryn Bigelow’s  1991 film Point Break. Either way, somehow I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to rob a bank… and I think now’s the time.

The Republican-controlled legislature just passed the biggest tax reform bill in 30 years, and as you would expect it’s Robin Hood in reverse. The new taxes offer tax cuts to corporations who offshore jobs, end many deductions for the working class and is expected to raise the deficit by a trillion dollars. And that’s just the highlights. I’m sure there are going to be many more far-reaching effects.

I shouldn’t be too mad really. I’ll get a modest cut for a year or two before I see an increase. My student-loan interest deduction is going away, but it won’t break me. I’m not going to go hungry.

Maybe I’m just pissed off because I know a lot of people will go hungry. A lot of people are going to lose health insurance. I’m not going hungry, but I’m not so wealthy that I can donate enough to help all those needy people in my country. I don’t even like to think of people in other countries because it’s too overwhelming. I give to my church, the Salvation Army, and other charities, but it never feels like I’m doing enough.

I’m not a libertarian. I don’t have a huge problem paying taxes. I just don’t like it that my taxes are going toward dropping enormous bombs on Afghanistan and gold-flecked toilet paper for the oval office.

And I keep wondering why the United States has such bad roads, bridges and infrastructure. Aren’t we the richest nation on the planet? I know we’re the largest economy. We should have a highway system that is the envy of the world, every American should have health care, the plumbing in Flint, MI should have been replaced before it could become a problem and should be able to spew Pepsi AND we should be able to do all this stuff and still have plenty of money left over to build that stupid wall on the Mexican border.

But we don’t. People sleep on the street and go without food to buy medication so we can give enormous tax breaks to multi-millionaires who pay their workers starvation level wages so they have to rely on welfare to make ends meet. Then they cut the welfare benefits.

The money held in banks is insured by the federal government so technically I wouldn’t be stealing from Chase, PNC or any other average joes like myself. I would be stealing from the government that has just voted to steal from myself and everyone I know. In fact, they’ve voted against everyone in this country who makes less than $75,000/year. They’ve voted against everyone with a conscience.

Anyone with me? I’ll need a bit of cash to pay off my student loans, but the rest can go to UNICEF. I don’t want to be rich, I just don’t want anyone to be extremely poor.

 

 

A Few More Thoughts on Current Political Developments

Oh shit

After last week Friday, it is impossible for anyone to deny that the Trump campaign administration tried to collude with Russia.

I’m not implying Donald Trump was personally involved or is directly to blame, I haven’t seen enough evidence to make that kind of judgment yet, but I do have something I think everyone should consider.

Trump either knew his campaign chairman National Security Advisor was up to some shady business that could possibly lead to a number of charges, and either didn’t care or thought he could get away with it…

Or he had no idea Paul Manafort Michael Flynn lied to the FBI.

I’m not sure which is worse. That he knowingly hired someone who would engage in unethical behavior or that he would hire someone without knowing enough about them to be certain they wouldn’t engage in such unethical behavior.

Either way, is this the kind of guy we want having input on how we manage our tax code? For all we know he might be embezzling our taxes and social security to gild the White House and have prostitutes pee on the Obama’s old bed.

High School Dropout Thoroughly Convinced He Is Smarter Than Harvard Professor

Gadsden, AL – Robert Hodge, a busboy/dishwasher at a Denny’s in Northeastern Alabama, took to Twitter today to call former Harvard Professor and current Senator Elizabeth Warren a “stupid fucking libtard cunt that’s should get a refund on her JD degree.”

“Yeah, I let that liberal Liawatha bitch have it,” said Hodge during a smoke break during the dinner rush. “I’m just so sick of these people with educations and degrees acting like they know it all. It’s just a piece of paper ya know?”

He also took to both Twitter and Facebook to call Democrat candidates things such “DemoRats,” “Feminazis” and “Snowflakes.” He has managed to troll many opponents of current Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore by calling them “Blue-Pilled Sheeple.”

“All these coastal elites think they’re so smart,” he said. “But it’s just that they’re so brainwashed by the mainstream media. I get my news from the real media. I watch and read stuff from Breitbart, Fox News, and Infowars. Those are the only sources telling people the truth!”

Despite never attaining at High School Diploma or GED, Hodge is completely convinced he could do a better job running the country than some of our  former leaders.

“Barack Obama was nothing but a lazy, stupid ni- black guy,” he said. “Well, I shouldn’t say that. He was pretty smart for a black guy, but he’s still dumb compared to me.”

“I’m just glad we finally got a president with some sense. One who’s going to lower taxes, ban Muslims and execute queers.”

When it was pointed out that President Trump hasn’t been able to do any of these things despite his party controlling all three branches of the federal government, he shouted “Fake News” before reentering the Denny’s to clean up chocolate milk spilled by a toddler.

A Few Thoughts on Current Political Developments

Oh Shit

After last week it is nearly impossible for anyone to deny that the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia in swaying the election.

I’m not implying Donald Trump was personally involved or is directly to blame, I haven’t seen enough evidence to make that kind of judgment yet, but I do have something I think everyone should consider.

Trump either knew his campaign chairman was up to some shady business that could possibly lead to a number of charges, and either didn’t care or thought he could get away with it…

Or he had no idea Paul Manafort could be indicted on counts of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

I’m not sure which is worse. That he knowingly hired people who would engage in such unethical behavior or that he would hire someone without knowing enough about them to be certain they wouldn’t engage in such unethical behavior.

Either way, is this the kind of guy we want making lifetime judicial appointments? For all we know Neil Gorsuch could be a Russian spy, a Filipino prostitute, a transgendered person or even Ruth Bader Ginsberg in disguise!

Oh Say Can You Stand

Freedom means something different to just about everyone. For some, it might be not having a nagging wife. Others prioritize financial independence or not being incarcerated. Many folks nowadays seem to equate freedom with owning fully automatic assault rifles with unlimited ammunition or not buying health insurance.

To me, the freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment* of the United States Constitution are the most important. In my opinion, without the freedom to say your government is wrong you have no freedom.

If you couldn’t tell where I was going with this, I fully support the right of NFL players to take a knee in protest. I wouldn’t want to live in a country where I had to stand every time the national anthem was played, or I saw a flag. And I certainly wouldn’t want to have to hang a picture of the leader in my home.**

Unfortunately, this means I also support the rights of neo-Nazis and klansmen to march around with tiki torches and shout about how they hate Jews. If freedom of speech doesn’t protect speech I don’t agree with it isn’t really freedom. (Of course, it shouldn’t protect hate speech. You shouldn’t be able to tell an autidorium full of your supporters to rough up protesters, but that’s a whole other discussion.)

But while I fully support the rights of players to protest their government and sypathize with their cause, I’m not sure I agree with the method.

I hate to say that. I’d really like to see the US have an open and honest discussion about the systematic racism and oppression going on every day. But that’s not what’s happening. Kneeling hasn’t started the conversation it needed to. It’s just driven a wedge into an already divided nation.

While I find it difficult to hear the stories of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice without feeling a sense of outrage at what appears to be injustice, others dig in their heels and say these people were thugs who got what they deserved.

While I worry about the world my daughter will grow up in when I see a video of a black teenage girl pulled out of her desk at school and slammed to the floor by an adult police officer, others say, ‘well you don’t know the whole story. She must have done something to provoke that.’^

 

Yes, I see many problems with policing in this country. And I see many problems with racism in this country. While I have eyes I intend to use them. Even Stevie Wonder can see what’s happening.

But while I salute those players taking a stand (or knee) I don’t feel optimistic that it will change anything. Just like Sinead O’Conner ripping up the picture of Pope John Pall II didn’t make a damn bit of difference, I don’t see the current protests doing much good. We’re all aware of the problem, but a surprising number of people just don’t care.

I sure hope I’m wrong. I hope we can start that discussion. If there’s any way I can help I hope someone will let me know. I’d like for this to be a country worth standing up for, but at the moment; I’ll take a knee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

**Unless it was Bill Clinton. And he was nude.

^By the way, if you can give me a reason that convinces me it’s OK for a grown man to strike, slap, slam or otherwise beat on a teenage girl I will pay you all of the money and property I own. You may find it somewher near ‘reasons it’s OK to beat your wife’ or ‘good reasons to hate someone based on skin color’ or in the drawer titled ‘Things That Don’t Exist.’