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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Want To Appeal To Millennials And Win Elections Going Forward? Here's How

As anyone with one eye and half-sense can observe, the Left got its ass handed to it in the 2014 elections. We deserved it, too. We completely capitulated our Progressive and Liberal ideals. We deserted the President and his policies, going so far as to distance ourselves from him before the election. We ignored the warnings that Millennials don't want to hear the din of petty political battles. We failed to see that the recent victories we had won happened because we moved Left, not Right. Despite that, the Democratic Old Guard felt that they just had to yank the reins at the last moment and they drove us right over the cliff. 

Thanks, assholes. Thanks for nothing. And one more thing:  You're fired!


What we should do next is radically different than what we've done heretofore: We should not jump into the fray until 3 months before the election. 

Pick your jaw up off the floor, stop laughing, then STFD and STFU; it's class time, and here's the main point you need to remember, and I'm going to help you 'get it':  Millennials have short attention spans. Don't worry that I just said that, they've already forgotten it.  (Kidding, Millennials! I actually love ya. Seriously, I do. Some of you more than others, and...OK, this isn't the forum for that. nm)

This is the part that so many people are going to have trouble with, thinking that "branding" requires constant, in-your-face advertising: We're going to let the GOP kill themselves with their own ads. There's going to be a giant sucking sound of silence from our side. Until we're ready. Then we're going to play our game, not their game.

We'll start the general election run up on 1 August for the November elections. Just 3 months and a smidge more. Prior to that, yes, we'll have to do a primary. But then we're going to sit on our hands except for some occasional ads, "occasional" being our mantra. 

This is how our ads will be formatted:

First, we'll hire some smart, but smartass, actress or actor - I'm thinking someone like Justin Long, here - who's cool and confident without being smarmy about it. She and/or he will need to be a Millennial, but a well-respected one. They'll be on a big stage (only one spokesperson per ad - we want these ads to be minimalist) with an enormous screen behind him playing the competition's campaign ad. He'll casually ask if you've heard the latest thing the Right's Brightest Light Du Jour has said, then turn to the screen where the sound from the video already playing will come up with the candidate in question saying whatever asshat batshitcrazy thing they're noted for saying. Then, he'll turn back to the camera and say something like, "And they want me to vote for her?", then shake his head and walk off while the camera zooms slowly in to the opponent's rabid expression frozen on the big screen. 

Besides a regular spokesman like the aforementioned, have a rotating series of TED-quality spokespeople - well-known, actual-experts in their fields - challenge opposition candidates' spoken or written words, as well as to elucidate our own points. They could challenge one sentence or at most one paragraph per ad, with more commentary available on YouTube and the campaign's website. Let actual climate scientists challenge the climate deniers positions. Let gay veterans and gay celebrities challenge anti-LGBT or anti-marriage equality candidates and positions. Let actual economists challenge economic bullshit. Professor Robert Reich could be a superstar in that area.

Experts could make short points, dozens or even hundreds of them. Impress young voters with the depth and breadth of Progressive knowledge rather than beat them over the head with the same blunt instrument over and over. Use a white board with certain points; again, Professor Reich is the master of this. Bill Nye is another one who is highly respected, easy to follow, and highly telegenic. 

Each 15- or 30-second expert ad can be followed up by a slightly longer version - but don't rehash the same material boringly - in an online video posted to YouTube and our own websites, with links to peer-reviewed scientific articles, and generally-agreed assessments of things like economics. 

The ads should be short when it can be done effectively. Run lots of them, each intelligently and rationally challenging the opposition's positions and candidates, or bringing new Left ideas to their minds. Use humor. Let me say that again: U-S-E  H-U-M-O-R-!  Climate denier bullshit? Let a bunch of young climate scientists make a rebuttal, then drop their pants and moon the competition (we'll blur their heinies :)  ).  Be brainy, the brainier the better. Use smiles, not frowns. Never yell. Be normal. 

Try to not repeat them often. This is another reason to make lots of them. When someone sees on TV one they really love, make them go look for it. When they do, they're no longer on TV - unless it's a Smart TV - they're on the internet where they're likely to share the information and video they found. 

"Luke, use the...viral videos!" I'm pretty sure Obi Wan would've said that...

They should NEVER be attack ads. They should NEVER sink to the level that the GOP will sink to, even if we think we're losing. They MUST appear sane, level-headed, fair, and they must be memorable in the slew of hot shit that flies during an election. 

And this process - which will work - needs to be repeated throughout the Left's campaigns. We need to show solidarity, something the Right excels at. Also, each ad must end with an appeal to action. ("Will you stop pretending everything's fine and join us so that we can fix this?" or something better said)

We're going after young voters. Hell, we're going after 10-year-olds because one day soon, just 2 Presidential election cycles away, they will vote. We're not going after old voters. Those folks are already decided, for the most part, and probably tune out political ads...the moment they keep them from enjoying 'Matlock' and 'Golden Girls' reruns. ;)  (Fair disclosure: I'm 56, 3 days older than dirt!)

We've got to stop letting the same people throw the same wrenches into the processes. We've got to evolve, and that will never happen if we keep reverting to 'business as usual' by letting the Nelly Handwringers in the bunch run around screaming "The internet gave me herpes!", then go negative and fuck it all up. 

As for campaign money, think about it this way: Why spend your hard-begged lucre funds buying ad time when, if your ads are sufficiently brainy and viral, people will go find the ads, not the other way around. Use the hottest young Progressives and Liberals to make the points and make kids - young voters and young future voters - want to see them. Make them a game: "To see if your thoughts match ours, go to our website and follow the breadcrumbs!", then leave a trail of clues that will take them to other websites that illuminate our talking points. Educate them, it's what they want, anyway. Millennials grew up with technology like no one before them, and we need to use that to hold their attention. We also need to stop pretending that we have them figured out...and then use 1970s tactics to prove that we don't. Or even 1990s tactics, for that matter. 

It's a paradigm shift and disruptive technique. Disruption of the cycle of "Oh shit, we just handed another midterm election to the Grand Oligarch's Party" is what we need, going forward.

We need to start playing the long game and stop this series of losses to a party and political philosophy that I've heard declared dead at least a dozen times in my lifetime alone. They win because they found a method and they've stuck to it. 

But the difference between our method and theirs is that ours will play well to youth and intelligence, whereas theirs plays down to people they think are beneath them and whom they believe to be too stupid to see through the bullshit.  

In 'Two Gentlemen of Verona', William Shakespeare beautifully said, "Come. Go with us. We'll guide thee to our house and show thee the rich treasures we have got, which, with ourselves, are all at thy dispose". In our day, humanity is our "rich treasures", and our house is the Earth. Some of us believe that the best way to grow our treasures is to share them with others, but other people think that it's better to hoard them and set themselves apart.

Let's show Millennials that we believe democracy to be a mathematical process involving addition and multiplication. They'll figure out, with a little nudge from a new campaign philosophy, that the Republicans believe it to be a process of subtraction and division. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Who's responsible for the US's massive debt? You and I!

Why does the President always get blamed for the economy, but Republicans in Congress get a pass?

To take one statistic that President Obama is often cited for by his critics, long-term unemployment. Those numbers have risen because of things like Baby Boomers leaving the workforce to retire, among other positive signs. The influence of retiring Boomers on the economy and statistics like jobs numbers will continue as the wave of Boomers grows, and peaks. Whoever is President in that period should see that number rise, and that's a positive sign that the economy is strong enough that they feel confident enough to retire rather than stay working. 

So when his critics - say everyone at Fock Snooze or the rest of the Conservative talking heads - cite these numbers, they should - but they don't - discuss why the numbers have changed. It's disingenuous to suggest they're something they're not.

As for the rising debt, what other course would  he have taken? It's entirely incorrect to use the family budget comparison that people like Paul Ryan employ - families can't print new money as needed nor are family budgets comprised of billions of line items; the complexity difference should suggest that anyone using the comparison really does not understand the complexity of the Federal economy - but that's often cited by budget conservatives as reason to cut the budget. 

Neither a family nor a nation can cut its way out of debt. The only hope is to raise income. For the family, that means a new revenue stream - someone else working or someone bringing in more money. But for a government, that means helping citizens make more money so tax revenues will rise proportionately, which in turn are used to pay down the debt.

But, just like FDR used debt to rebuild our economy following the Great Depression, had we not incurred new debt, our economy would have flatlined because in order to make money available to lenders - banks - to lend to businesses to finance new ventures or expansions in order to grow the economy, the US had to borrow it from abroad. At that point, new money can be made available - printed or made electronically utile - for workers who then spend it and it recycles throughout the economy, including a portion of which goes to pay down the debt.

This is also one of the reasons that being tied to a gold standard is like having an albatross around one's neck. If you only have a specific amount in the treasury, you can only print notes or make electronic funds available in that amount. A gold standard note - or even a treasury note for that matter - is a check. A gold standard bill is owned by the government, whereas a treasury note is owned by the central bank. So the more money you must print as both your population and economy grow, the less each note is worth because just like your own checking account, if you have checks and have to split the money in your account evenly between them - just as each $1 note is worth the same as every other - then the notes - or checks - become worth less the more you have to write or print. Simple math. But being able to borrow new money - incur debt - allows the government to add money to the treasury as needed to insure that everyone has money available to them. Yes, wealth still accumulates, but with a gold standard, we would have long ago run into the situation wherein the wealthy would own everything and the poor would own nothing because, eventually, the wealthy would have ended up with ALL of the limited gold-backed notes. The problem of continuing down that road is self-evident. It's not even up for discussion, and that's why even fiscal conservatives only mention it - the few who actually understand it, that is - when the rabble get fired up about it by some radio dittomonger. 

No President creates jobs. None. He doesn't own the companies that actually create them. All he can do is to make enough money available that banks feel comfortable enough to lower interest rates - following the Fed's lead - and making massive amounts of money available to investors so that they feel comfortable enough to borrow. 

That money has been available for several years now. But what has happened is that multinationals have used the opportunity to move either their headquarters or their operations offshore to increase their bottom lines while putting Americans out of work, and they're doing it on American taxpayers' dimes. Or trillion-dollar notes, as the case actually is. The President can't stop that. Congress must. And both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have refused to allow legislation to pass that will prevent American taxpayers' money from being used abroad. 

Add to that that Conservative media like Fock Snooze and others have used the opportunity to fearmonger rather than unite the republic. 

The debt has grown because people think that jobs aren't coming back. They are. 

The debt has grown because people think that the government - meaning the President because they give the real problem, Republicans in Congress, a pass - isn't doing enough, so it has to continue to borrow money to make more and more of it available - which it is in unprecedented measure - in order to create new jobs. The jobs are there. What's not there is an honest media which will put partisanship aside and tell the truth.

The debt has grown because American corporations have used American taxpayers' money to fund their overseas expansions and tax evasion.

The debt has grown because Americans have been duped into thinking that the economy is too complex for them to understand unless the false equivalence of a family budget is used, and they can't make sense of it because you can't explain a complex system of that order using an example that doesn't fit.

The debt has grown because Americans have been lied to for so long, so deeply, and so broadly that they think that the guilty parties are innocent, and the innocent parties are guilty. 

The debt has grown because Americans demand cheap goods from abroad. We want to shop at Walmart and Kmart and Target and dollar stores, and we want cheap goods, and the only way to secure those things is if you have enough money in your account to make your currency worth more than that of the person from whom you're buying things.

The debt has grown because we demand that it grow.

Who's responsible for the debt growing? You and I.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sorry To Have To Tell You, But If You Can't Afford Kids, You Probably Shouldn't Have So Many

Someone said that if rats are placed in cramped quarters with limited resources, they'll start having babies, and that humans do the same thing. I generally agree, but I would point out that one major difference between humans and rats is that rats don't know how babies get made.

The problem began with cramming the poor into tiny spaces, but personal responsibility comes into play at some juncture. In a generation or two, you can no longer say that the poor don't grasp that if they are confined to their tiny existences, but they have more and more kids, their already meager resources will be spread thinner and thinner. 

I do believe that it's the responsibility of the rich to help the poor, but the poor can't completely exculpate themselves from making their situations worse by continuing to point the finger at others and say, "They did it!" In fact, this is what most of us are saying right now about the other side and how they treat the President. 

If I grow up in a one-parent household with three kids on a no-kid income and see the results of having to do that, it doesn't make me seem very responsible - or bright - to do the same thing myself.

I grew up poor. I've spent my entire life working for every single thing that I have. And I've made my own mistakes along the way, but repeating those that I watched my family make wasn't among them, for the most part, because I can learn from others' mistakes, too.

Just because you want 3 kids doesn't mean that you should have 3 kids if you can't afford to pay for them. I see this in my own community; some redneck living in a trailer whose walls you can see daylight through, with an $8000 four-wheeler in the front yard, beer cans everywhere, $12,000 worth of guns (this is not a joke; I know this family!) a beer can permanently - it seems - attached to their hands any time they're not at work - and that includes the ones 13 and older - and 6 kids, 5 of whom you and I support.

We live on an already-overcrowded planet whose resources we're using up at an unsustainable rate. You can bet the farm that the UHNWIs have already planned for natural (or unnatural, since we're causing it) population decline in the age of global warming, something which they publicly deny because they're invested in it, but which root-cause investments they're quietly but quickly divesting themselves of in order to grab a slice of the growing green economy. They're also planning for it, buying homes and properties in cooler, wetter climates at higher latitudes and altitudes (I beat them to it!), laughing all the way to the bank at people whose Fock Snooze-deluded priorities are keeping them behind in the stagnating fossil fuel/global warming-denial economies. 

They want the poor to turn on themselves and eat their own. The sooner, the better...for the wealthy. The sooner the poor are out of the picture, the sooner they won't be using resources that will then be available not just for a century, but because of the lowered demand, maybe for another millennium, giving the much, much smaller - and far wealthier - surviving population the chance to adapt to the new normal, a paradigm wherein automation and machine autonomy coupled with artificial intelligence will make labor obsolete. 

All that will happen on the backs of the poor. The more kids the poor have, the poorer they will remain, the more malleable they will be. They'll require money they have to borrow from the wealthy to buy food produced, transported, and sold by the wealthy. They'll need fuel for transportation and heating that they'll have to purchase from the wealthy. And they'll be killing each other to get it because there will be X number of people but only 1/2X resources to go around.

So, at some point, personal responsibility has to come home to roost with the poor, and they have to quit pointing the finger of blame at everyone else for the continuation of their poverty. It only takes one generation to fix it. Just one. Some guys will just have to face the fact that their family's line ends with them; that's the new normal. They're going to have to learn to adopt the same notion that Europeans and many Asians have had to adopt long ago, as well as many Americans: It takes a village to raise a child. And that means, 'even if it's not mine.'

I know what it's like to be poor. I also know what it's like to pull myself out of poverty using my own personal resources - determination, perspiration, and inspiration - because I had no others to fall back on. Poverty isn't a condition of race; it's a condition of the lack of money and opportunity, and poor Latinos, Asians, Whites, Blacks, and Native Americans all suffer it equally; it affects communities only as it affects individuals in a collective manner.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Luckier Than Most: 67 People Own More Wealth Than the Bottom 3.5 BILLION Earthlings

"The 67 People As Wealthy As The World's Poorest 3.5 Billion" - link to Forbes article


67 people own more wealth than half the planet's population. 

Imagine what the average quality of life would be if that wealth were more equally distributed.

No one needs even ONE billion dollars. But if our system had a cap so that a person had to divest his wealth after hitting that, or even better, restructure the cost of his goods or services and increase the rate he paid his workers, then equality would be more even.

There will come a day when humans are no longer required to work. When that day comes, and it's approaching far faster than most people think - it won't happen in my lifetime, but it might in some of yours - then humans will by necessity have to be taken care of. 

To achieve that goal, there are two probable routes. One is to allow the status quo to remain, and see the rise of an Elysium type world where the UHNWIs ( link to Wikipedia UHNWI article ) own everything and the poor get the scraps of what's left over, having to fight for it in a Hunger Games world, or worse. 


But the other route is more Star Trekesque: A world where people are freed from the drudgery of a 9-5 or even worse, a hot, hazardous job of rote work monotony that takes its toll on the collective human psyche, erasing creativity and dulling the senses. 

Imagine a world where people are free to pursue intellectual goals that benefit humankind. There will always be those who scoff, but just a hundred years ago, the assembly line wasn't created, computer technology didn't exist, and women didn't have the right to vote (and still don't in some places). 

Reality will probably play out somewhere between the two, but what might drive us as a race will be the climate change that we ourselves have set into motion. We may need every human who can to work on solving the problem while our automation builds, farms, and does the menial work now done by...well, in the US...immigrants. 

I'd rather see a world closer to Star Trek than Elysium. But the 67 billionaires I cited earlier will fight that tooth and nail, as will other UHNWIs.

I count myself luckier than most, but I'll still fight for better. For everyone.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Moovz.com: Yet another gay site that excludes many rural gays

Yet another gay site that elides the fact that 18% of the population of the US resides in rural areas. Go through their city list for Georgia and you'll find NOTHING in rural northeast Georgia.

Having lived in large cities - Atlanta, NYC, Munich, Seoul, Houston, Portland - much of my life, I know that they're magnets for gays from the most remote of areas who often want to connect with the people they love back home: Their friends who also use the same site. But, sites like Moovz don't seem to wish to have those people participate, or if they do, they have to choose a random city an hour or more away, and often have to choose between random cities, none of which make any sort of geographic sense because of the distance, and therefore get lost to their friends and acquaintances who give up looking for them online.

I'm sure the folks behind these sites would say that they reach some high percentage of the population, but think about this for a moment: The ones left out in the cold because of this behavior are the ones ALWAYS left out in the cold. They're the same people, over and over, who basically get a hand held up indicating to them that they don't matter on these sites.

I've heard from some that I've written to about it - one being one of the Top 3 gay sites...you know, the one with the orange themed background - whose responses are so hilariously off-topic that even a cursory glance shows that they didn't bother to read your request. Or, like that same orange-themed site, will have some bizarro geographics (check out Georgia's geographic breakout on it when you need a good laugh - overlapping areas using terms created by a state tourism department which NO ONE actually uses. One city will be in one named area, and the next over will be in a different one, but then the one past that city will be in the same area as the first city..?!?!)

Occasionally you'll get a response from other users like, "Well move then!", but they completely fail to grasp that your career is often tied to the area you live in. There aren't many farms in the middle of cities. There are no mines in the middle of cities in the US that I know of. Timber isn't cut for lumber or fiber in many cities. So, the very people who bring you your food, your mined minerals (to create things like the gadgets this very technology operate on), and the building materials that built the buildings you reside in are wholly forgotten. Again. And again. And again. Ad nauseum.

OK, if you launch with a non-inclusive list, that's fixable. That orange-themed site added a few towns...after years of requesting them, although they have one town in Georgia - Fitzgerald - listed as being in the Atlanta metro area when in reality it's 175 miles away, so they're listening, just not very well. And they're clearly too distracted to simply google it.

On almost any gay site, there is a gulf of philosophical difference between rural and urban gays, and without a doubt, the majority of that can be laid right in the laps of our urban-residing brethren. It would be nice to have a fabric of unity that stretches from coast to coast, but you can't achieve that if you have giant holes of exclusion in the very areas where the products that sustain you come from. True, there is animosity going both directions, but I remember a time when rural gays looked for support from their urban peers, and got nothing, despite the fact that rural gays showed up at Prides all across the republic - and yes, I'm aware that Prides are usually civic ventures. But the support comes from the community, as far out as it reaches. Now though, with our online lives becoming increasingly important to us, the support that rural gays showed is not only not reciprocated, it's shunned by virtue of exclusion from participating in any community-oriented - and I mean the rural communities in which we live - sort of way. If I don't have the tool to round up a group of my local gays readily available, then it will be difficult to get them together at all.

The old Gay.com used to do a stellar job of giving everyone - urban, suburban, exurban, or rural - a chance, a place, and a tool that might act as...pardon the Tolkienism..."One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them".

Every time I hear of a new gay site launch, I hope it will give us that chance. It seems like Moovz isn't that site, but I won't rule it out. Yet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel Fabricated A Conversation Between Obama and Netanyahu, and Had The Temerity To Post It As Fact

In response to Israel posting a fabricated transcript of what they claimed that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about, today:

Nice going, +Israel. It's not enough that we send you over $15M per day, but you also spy on us and now you just make up shit out of thin air?

You'd better be goddamned glad that you've already got so many on your side, because if I was President, I'd park a few guided missile ships off your coast and obliterate your military facilities. Yeah, you have Iron Dome, but we could shoot until you run out of rounds, then keep shooting until it literally would be David vs Goliath because the only damned weapon you'd have left would be a slingshot!

I know that Hebrew is your official language, but you might google the English word 'ingrate'.

Assholes!

If The Garbageman Has To Pass A Test, Why Don't Politicians?

I have an idea for what will likely be an unpopular proposal, but I believe it's time that we have a minimum intelligence or experience level to hold government office.

I propose tests that every person desiring to hold elected office must pass. Not one warped by a state like Texas or Mississippi or Idaho (Fuck Idaho!) ;), but one wherein a body of learned academics have put their minds together to figure out what a person in a particular office - from dogcatcher to President - should logically be expected to know before they can even get their name on the ballot. 

I suggest things like - the first here will be the unpopular part - economics, the US Constitution, math, science, US and world history, geography, current events, and any other area deemed important for any person holding office to know. 

No more mythology-based illogic. No more Paul Ryan whackadoodle, trickle-down economics. No more 'a woman's body has a way of shutting those things down'. 

A little learning goes a long way, as does the intelligence with which to yield it. We need to stop venerating average (George W Bush), stupid (John Boehner, 'Jersey Shore', Rick Scott), and plain evil (Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Fox News), and start advocating for people, ideas, and programs that raise the bar. That doesn't mean that we should make the average person a second-class citizen; it just means that by electing those who're smarter than the rest of us, the rest of us might want to pull a little harder.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Tip of the Shitberg

The Israelis are certainly part of the problem, but they're the tip of the shitberg. The larger, unseen bulk of the turd is the great assembly of brainwashed, propagandized deluded ones - like I and others were in the past because of our collective guilt over the historical plight of the Jews - who serve as Israel's apologists.

Israel has already done the heavy lifting to get others to do their work for them. Now, they use dog whistles to fire up the apologists into a sound-deadening wall of deaf ears who can't step back away from the trees long enough to see that there's a forest.

"I agree with you, killing children is a horrible thing, but when ________ fires rockets into our population, what are we to do?"

Sound familiar? It's one of their propagandist talking points. And they can fill in the blank with whatever group it is that opposes them.

There's plenty of blame to go around on both sides, but tracing the problem's origins back should provide clarity on who's doing what to whom...but for those who refuse to admit it, even the truth won't change their minds.

This tiny knot of religious ignorance is going to bring the world to World War III, and may be the only thing the Book of Lies might ever got right.

I'm bAAaaack!

Yep, I'll be posting again on here because I feel the need to get some thoughts on electrons.

I'm coming in right in the middle of the Ukrainian crisis, after Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot down by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and during the current crisis in Gaza following hundreds of Gazan deaths at the hands of the Israelis.

But, here it is, for what it is. If you're in my G+ circles, I apologize if you get notifications on there for things I post in both places.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why The Estate Tax Must Approach 100% (I'd settle for 95%) - Do The Math!

This is what I've been talking about both on my blog and on Google+ the last few years, that if we don't do something about this soon, it will be too late - permanently. Here's why:

Let's say that, as a starting point or tipping point, where we go from sustainable inheritance to unsustainable inheritance, that inherited wealth accounts for, oh, 20% of the wealth of the republic. This isn't just cash or paper investments, it's real property like homes, land, and buildings.  So, if that 20% is passed on, curated and managed, and passed on again, it should have doubled over the life of it's first heir. Now it's worth 40% of the wealth of the republic. That is to say, people who didn't work for it now own 4 out of every 10 dollars worth of anything. 

The cycle repeats, the 40% is passed on, it's curated and managed, and passed on again, having doubled over the life of the heir. Now they own 80% of everything. 

Follow me? Now, do it again. What's left for anyone else? By that point, the poor and middle-class will have had to sell everything they own just to survive. Now they're renters, probably from the same people they work for. From whom they also buy groceries - from the stores the people who essentially own them also own. 

THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT!

If you don't think so, you're delusional. 

At best, we would indeed see a landed gentry like in Europe who never work again, who outright own politicians so that laws are never considered which favor anyone but them and their ability to accumulate wealth. Old European money is so far removed from the day-to-day affairs and worries that they don't bother with whatever affects the commoners. They do as they please, the cops don't bother them because they really can't in most cases unless the person really screws up and his crime goes public, and their money pile grows larger and larger. 

When I lived in Germany, my German boyfriend and I would be out and about and I'd ask him about some place that looked very nice, expensive, and old, and he would say that it belonged to some wealthy family, but despite the fact that they'd lived in the same mansion for a couple hundred years, no one knew anything about them. Later, I found that to be true in more than just Germany. People don't know, and know that they shouldn't go around asking.

That will happen here. In fact, it already has in wealthy enclaves. It will get worse as the already-elitist monied youth grow older, feel even more entitled, buy power, get richer, and feel superior even more so than today. 

If we don't end it now, we're screwed. Do the math for yourself. It could happen still in my lifetime, much less the lifetimes of younger people like Millennials.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The US Constitution, the Founding Fathers, Homosexuality, and Religion

Homosexuality is as old as mankind, or even older. Religion is not.

The Founding Fathers, well-educated and well-travelled men, would have been very aware of homosexuality, but yet they make no mention of banning or outlawing it in the Constitution.

But the Constitution does say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" thereby limiting the power of religion by 'making no law respecting establishment of it' (my paraphrase).

The point is that the Founding Fathers were so unconcerned with homosexuality that they didn't even mention it, but they were so worried about theocracy that they placed a caveat in the First Amendment.

I'd say that pretty well delineates where the Founding Fathers' concerns were.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Our LGBT kindred in Russia, after the Winter Olympics in Sochi


I know it's been a while since I blogged, but I've been very very busy. However, here's something I think we need to be aware of.



If you're truly committed to helping LGBT Russians, you may want to consider how many you'll be able to take in after the Winter Olympics are over. 

Yep, that's what I said, take in. Vlad tipped his hand before the Olympics by supporting legislation outlawing homosexuality in Russia, and between the police and the hate groups, the LGBT community there very well may see a pogrom of epic proportions executed against them. 

I spent 14 years in special operations intelligence with a focus on the Soviet Union. I speak Russian. I've been to Russia. They hate gays and lesbians! They merely dislike Jews, but they hateLGBT people. 

Russia is huge. There are already prisons scattered throughout central Russia and Siberia that would take very little to be turned into prison labor - or extermination - camps. Basically, modern day concentration camps or gulags. Russians have a history of dealing harshly with those who oppose authority or who go against the grain. 

This is a pot that I've watched simmer since I was a soldier and it was still the USSR. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and "democratization" - as such as it exists there - have kept the focus off LGBT issues and the real hatred a-bubble right under the surface. It took very little for it to boil over, though.

Post-Sochi, the best these folks can hope for is for Putin to denounce violence against gays. Putin is well respected among the Russians and they'll pay a certain amount of attention to his demands, but that's only if he requires this. Frankly, he probably won't. 

When Adolf Hitler began his persecution of homosexuals, Jews, and foreigners, he began with gays. All of those he sought to suppress needed to flee the country as even hiding would do no good once the pervasive cloud of Naziism took hold. Other nations reached out to Jews and foreigners, but then, as now, no one reached out to gays (or lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered).

If others won't, who will? Will we be the new Germans, those who turn aside when they see their neighbors oppressed, or will we step up and say 'not only no, but HELL NO? 

Electronic activism won't do a damned thing for the LGBT community in Russia after the Olympics, if things should go sideways; the Russians don't give a damn what people do on Facebook and Vlad damn sure doesn't care. 

There may soon come a time when we - WE - will be called upon to open our wallets and our homes and not merely our gadgets. There may come a time when WE become the partisans who find it necessary to create an Underground Railroad for our sisters and brothers in Russia. Will we? Will we step up and say 'count me in', or will we scroll past that TowleRoad item and look for a slightly less disturbing article?

Well, I'll go on the record here, and now:  Count ME in! My home and my resources will be open to help. I hope that a peaceful solution can be achieved, but I give it almost zero chance.

Be vigilant, because when it starts, it will go like wildfire. One thing about having so many former military members, as Russia does, is that they know how to assault an objective and overwhelm it. They're actively organizing, even now, so they're already ready to attack. 

The Soviets kicked off invasions of both Poland and Czechoslovakia with single-word radio transmissions. My point is, violence against our brothers and sisters could happen at any time, like a lightning strike.

Let's not let the worst happen.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Why I Don't Trust Homophobes

In other words, "Thanks, faggot, for the math. Have an apple. No, not that one. Eat this one." - My guess as to what British authorities said to Alan Turing before his death by poisoned apple. Link to the Towleroad post found here.

If you think that this mindset is gone, you're delusional to the point of needing clinical assistance. Christians today know better than to say things like Phil Robertson recently uttered, unless they're in a setting of fellow bigots, homophobes, and misogynists, which he thought he was. I'd wager that he has no regrets about what he said, only to whom he said it.

Recall, also, that recent polls have shown that people claim not to harbor homophobic attitudes in a general or public setting, but will admit in private that they don't really care much for gays or what might happen to them. 

Now, combine those two things and you get a sense of what could happen and I will even go so far as to say what will happen unless a disruptive movement comes along and changes the projected course of our future history. I believe that there will be a gay holocaust, or homocaust as I've dubbed it. Look at the places today where bias and hate have sway: Sub-Saharan Africa, where a gay genocide is already underway, funded by American Fundamentalist/Dominionist/Evangelical/Extremist Christians; there's Russia where a coverup of the national homophobic zeitgeist is being carried out, at least until the Winter Olympics are over, then you can bet that there will be deaths; and right here in the US of A, where people like Phil Robertson not only exist, but they're cheered on and funded by their redneck and other hick supporters who think that he was just expressing his First Amendment rights. Which rights, many of them no doubt hold, include 'Matthew Sheparding' a few of us. And by "a few", I mean 'all'.

If you've ever visited a concentration camp and spent time reading or listening to the accompanying guides, the common thread among them is that the first internees didn't see it coming. They thought, oh, it can't happen here!  Uh huh. Visit Dachau, and as  you enter the camp and are passing through the museum on your way to the yard beyond, look carefully at the photos of the gorgeous German - not Jewish - young men who were used by the Nazis for "medical" experiments, most of whom are dead in the photos. They weren't Jewish:  They were gay.

If you think it can't happen here...  Well, I hope you're right, but I believe you're wrong.
(Also, read Sinclair Lewis's 'It Can't Happen Here', published in 1935)

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Fallacy In Conservative Logic, As Simple As Can Be

When conservatives start in on you about what they claim they have to pay for things you use, ask them if they have toll booths at the end of their driveways to pay a per-use fare for driving on public roads. If they fly, ask them if they had to go through yet another gated entry system than the rest of us who pool our resources so that whoever needs a public service, regardless that others who also pay for it don't use it, has it available when needed.

You pay for things that they use that you don't. They never mention those things. Sit for a moment and think of all the public things that are available to us as individuals, and consider those things which you or your family don't personally use. You're paying for things that others use, that you don't. We do that because we share the burden.

But you can bet your butt that anytime one of the constipated has to pay a penny for someone else's use, they're indignant to the point of secession, sedition, and...silliness.

I'm proud to say that I pitch in for others' use, because I know that others are pitching in for mine! It's this very thing that makes us a republic - that is to say, a form of government where we refuse to allow the mob to trample the individual - instead of a mob-rule pure democracy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Not Wealth Redistribution; It's Wealth Redistribution Redistribution: Get It Right!

The US needs to raise taxes on the highest income groups. We need to realize that "trickle down" economics are a failed proposition.

Wealth sympathizers will say that the ultra-wealthy deserve what they have, but it bears remembering that most of the people employed in the factories and businesses owned by these individuals earn below-living wages, and often must draw public assistance in order to survive. We all have to pitch in, and thereby tighten our own belts, in order for the ultra-wealthy to remain ultra-wealthy. This must end.

I have no problem with wealth. What I have a problem with is earning that wealth by paying employees a sub-standard wage and pocketing the difference while forcing EVERYONE ELSE to pitch in enough so that their employees can simply live.

What we need isn't wealth redistribution, it's wealth redistribution redistribution. That is, this is taking the wealth STOLEN from the paychecks of employees due to below-living wages and putting it back in those paychecks relieving EVERYONE ELSE from the necessity of doing for the needy what the greedy - the ultra-wealthy - won't.

Stop allowing the ultra-wealthy - and their syncophants - to portray forcing them to pay living wages as wealth redistribution. It's not. It's wealth redistribution redistribution. Get it right!