23

There are currently 23 democratic hopefuls, from young and smart to mature and wise. Well, we know that old and stupid does not work, so who to choose? I must admit that I am leaning toward Bernie; however, it is still early and we have yet to hear from the field.

“Here are the 23 Democrats who have said they’re running for president”, “CNN”, “By Karl de Vries and Caroline Kelly”, “17 May 2019”. < https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/21/politics/2020-democrats-running-for-president/index.html >

In numerology, “the number 23 represents a companionable essence expressing a personal sense of freedom. 23 can be thought of as a creative, team-focused number 5 with a preference for quick diplomatic solutions to obstacles.” We shall see soon enough whether these Dems play as a team to decide who will become the one that will challenge Trump. Will they behave like ladies and gentlemen, or will they behave as the republicans did in 2016 and consume each other in vicious name calling dogfights?

“Twenty three is the lowest prime that consists of consecutive digits. Primes have been described as the “atoms” of mathematics – the building blocks of the world of numbers. An American businessman has put up a US$1m (£500,000) prize for the first mathematician to find a pattern in primes – a problem known as the Riemann hypothesis.”

Not to go all John Forbes Nash on you but 23 is a pretty freaky number, do not take my word for it, read it for yourselves.

“23 fascinating facts about the number twenty-three”, “To most, it’s just what comes between 22 and 24. Yet to surprisingly many – including the makers of a new film – it means much more.”, “The Independent”, “By Cahal Milmo and Tom Willetts”, “23 February 2007”. < https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/23-fascinating-facts-about-the-number-twenty-three-6262624.html >

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Vampires, Drama Queens, and Other Damaged People

I find most humans to be both draining and exhausting to spend time with, anything longer that two or three hours and I find myself craving solitude or a long nap; I have always been this way. People think that I am being negative, and perhaps they are right, there is much that is wrong, unjust, and in need of fixing in this world. People being the primary cause.

As a child and young adult, I had a dystopian fantasy, one in which all the people on the planet, one day just simply vanished, leaving me alone and blissfully at peace for once. This Rapture-like scenario has become a popular Sci-Fi genre trope but for me it was a recurring daydream and an effective escape, although it never progressed to the scale of maladaptive daydreaming, it was fun and for me, sanity saving.

Now that I am a senior, recovering from an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) I have even less tolerance for overly dramatic energy suckers, individuals who exist in a perpetual state of crisis, bouncing from one tragedy to the next, often of their own making, although they can never admit culpability for the situations they cause, and in which they find themselves. I cannot help or fix these individuals, these unfortunates who suffer from a debilitating personality disorder, all that I can do is to limit my exposure, and hope that they get the professional help that they so desperately need.

What surprises me the most is that there is little to no help for persons suffering from this form of narcissistic personality disorder, it largely goes unrecognized in our society, while more visible societal problems, e.g. the opioid crises receives the National spotlight and gets fully funded. Much more needs to be done to help those suffering from the silent disorders, the folks who are less visible but no less damaged. Attention needs to be paid to the invisible disorders before more harm is done. We have even allowed a notorious malignant narcissist to become President of the United States of America and that should never be allowed to happen again!

Are there no alternatives to the Republican Party?

It is baffling to me that some in the US still support the Republican Party and the Trump regime, given their inability to govern for the wellbeing of all the people and not just the wealthy few.

I have taken the liberty of compiling a four item list of the most egregious actions committed by the Trump administration with the support of the Republican Party and worse, defended by it. With a modicum of research I am confident you could find more.

Are there no viable alternatives to the GOP?

I could easily have continued but you get the gist. We can, we must do better than this! Vote in your own best interest in 2020, no one is going to do it for you.

 

I. Republican obsession with dismantling the ACA without a suitable replacement.

“Trump Administration Files Formal Request to Strike Down All of Obamacare”, “The New York Times”, “By Jan Hoffman and Abby Goodnough”, “01 May 2019”. < https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/health/unconstitutional-trump-aca.html >

 

II. Obstruction of Justice –

Read the Mueller Report Volume II, page 2. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” < https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf >

 

III. Trump’s Corrupt Cabinet and Administration

“Trump Team’s Conflicts and Scandals: An Interactive Guide”, “Bloomberg”, “By Reporters: Bill Allison, Jennifer Dlouhy, Anna Edney, Christopher Flavelle, David Kocieniewski, Caleb Melby, Zachary R. Mider, Shahien Nasiripour, Ari Natter and David Voreacos”, “14 March 2019”. < https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/trump-administration-conflicts/ >

 

IV. Draconian Immigration Policy

Separating children from their parents without keeping track of either parent or child is unconscionable as an immigration policy and yet that is exactly what the Trump Administration is guilty of doing.

“Trump Is Still Separating Families in Possible Violation of a Court Order”, “Slate”, “By MEREDITH HOFFMAN”, “04 April 2019”. < https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/trump-family-separation-border-threats-sabraw-aclu.html >

A Thought Guide to 2020

As I drift through the early stages of the 2020 election cycle, pondering my choices for the highest office in the Land, I would like to share a few initial thoughts.
 
I watched an interview on CNN with Peter Buttigieg, I was impressed with his calm and thoughtful demeanor, this is a brilliant man, and a stark contrast to the quasi-literate demagogue we currently have leading the Nation.
Were I to vote for him in 2020, assuming he wins the nomination, I would certainly have expunged the last vestiges of any lingering homophobia in my heart, perhaps that is reason enough to vote for Mayor Pete.
 
Another, more disturbing issue I have been pondering of late is our commonly held belief in our right to behave like anarchists. I freely admit to advocating for lawless behavior on occasion, “Rise Up or Die!” ~ Chris Hedges, being one of my most frequent posts. While I still believe in activism, it must be tempered by the Rule of Law – “the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.”
One cannot rationalize the destruction of property, theft, or violence because of your personal belief that you hold the moral high ground, regardless of how romantic that might sound.
For example:
One should not think (even in one’s private thoughts,)
“I’m a Jew, my people have been persecuted; therefore, I have the moral integrity to choose which laws to obey or disobey.”
“I’m an environmentalist, I protect the planet; therefore, I can trample and destroy the property of others.”
“I am a Black person, I have been oppressed; therefore, I can kill any member of Law Enforcement because they have murdered my people.”
“I am a privileged White person, I am afraid and angry because my way of life is eroding and I do not know what to do about it; therefore, I can carry out domestic acts of terrorism.”
“I am a billionaire, I have the right to amass more-more than I need or could possibly use in one lifetime.”
 
The list is long, I could go on but you get the idea.
 
What is perfectly appropriate to think and act; however, is “how I can connect with other like-minded individuals and peacefully demonstrate, march, write, or speak for the ideas and Ideals that I believe.”
 
Sure, many things in the US are wrong, and need to change, should change, and hopefully, if we work together they will change. Now is the time to do our homework, vet our candidates for the Party and persons running to lead our Nation. Now, more than ever, it is our duty to adhere to the Rule of Law.
 
Thank you for your time.

Immigration

Featured image from – Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Immigration is the issue that both Political Parties had hoped to ignore until it went away, well that did not work out, did it. Enter malignant narcissist Donald J Trump and his Right-wing ideologue and anti-immigrant mouthpiece Stephen Miller. Their response to Refugees seeking asylum along the US southern border, “Go away, we do not want you!”

Lovely, this is as inhumane as it gets.

Europe has dealt humanely with the emigrants from the Middle East wars; did the US really think that we would be spared? At some point in the near future, the refugees from civil conflict, war, or climate disruption will overwhelm our border systems with or without a stupid vanity wall.
Perhaps it would be wiser if we dealt with the root causes that are forcing these people out of their homelands instead of vilifying a group of desperate people seeking refuge.
“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” ~ Louis D. Brandeis
“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
How can someone like Trump and his republican enablers hope to enact immigration reform unilaterally when they have demonstrated a total lack of respect for our existing legal system?
“For years, both political parties have tried — and failed — to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, mindful that someday the government would reach a breaking point.
That moment has arrived. The country is now unable to provide either the necessary humanitarian relief for desperate migrants or even basic controls on the number and nature of who is entering the United States.”
“The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point”, :For years, there have been warnings that America’s immigration system was going to fail. That time may be now.”, “The New York Times”, “By Michael D. Shear, Miriam Jordan and Manny Fernandez”, “10 April 2019”. < https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/us/immigration-border-mexico.html >
There is no crisis on our southern border, it is a fabrication created in the mind of a madman.
“National emergency: Is there a crisis on the US-Mexico border?”, “BBC”, “by Micah Luxen, Jessica Lussenhop and Rajini Vaidyanathan”, “15 February 2019”. < https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44319094 >

 

Whom to vote for in 2020?

Yes, I am a Socialist, pure and unadulterated; if I were elected to Congress, I would be in favor of every Progressive initiative so far suggested.

  • Single Payer Health Care because a healthy Nation is a productive one. Check
  • Free College Tuition because our young people are our best resource and profiting off their education is criminal and uncivilized. Check
  • Basic Guaranteed Income because people who are secure are more productive. Check
  • A Green New Deal because destroying our ecosystem is not a viable long or short-term option; it is just stupid. Check

Fortunately, or not, I am not a member of Congress; I am just a little damaged guy with one vote, wondering for whom I should cast that one vote.

 

Murrumph Aeyerrrm, whom to pick? A neo-liberal Democrat retread or one of the shiny new comers? I never heard of Obama, until Oprah introduced him, and he worked out OK!

The question and the major detraction, of course, is “How to pay for it all?” Therefore, should I pick a moral pragmatist instead of a Progressive visionary to battle the Trump? Because that is the overriding criteria, whom can make DJT a one term President?

However, let me ask you this, where would we be if President Roosevelt acted pragmatically during the Great Depression of the 1930’s instead of ethically and with compassion?

The Democrats under FDR spent liberally to pull us back from the brink and still had enough money to successfully fight and win the Second World War. So excuse me if I am mildly dubious of fiscal conservatives crying poor mouth, especially when Republicans, those champions of Deficit Reduction, recently gave $1.3 – $1.9 Trillion in Tax cuts to the wealthiest families and corporations in the US without much concern for incurring hyperinflation.

The US uses a Fiat Currency.

“Fiat money is a currency without intrinsic value that has been established as money, often by government regulation. Fiat money does not have use value, and has value only because a government maintains its value, or because parties engaging in exchange agree on its value.” < Goldberg, Dror (2005). “Famous Myths of “Fiat Money””. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. 37 (5): 957–967. >

 

Whom to vote for in 2020, I still do not know.

A Social Democrat with loads of progressive ideas

OR

A retread middle of the road Democrat? Perhaps one of the newbies possessed of abundant charisma and energy but short on experience?

 

I do not know; thankfully, I have until Tuesday, March 3, 2020 to decide.

< https://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2020-presidential-primary-schedule-calendar/ >

 

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

Lunch with President Trump

If you could have lunch with the President, what would you ask him?

 

An old man finds himself in a near empty MacDonald’s restaurant, not quite sure why or how he got there. Sitting alone, in a booth at the back of the home of the Happy Meal, is a rather large golden haired man in a business suit.

Clearly recognizable as arguably the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States of America is chowing down on a Big Mac, fries, and a coke.

Seeing this as the opportunity of a lifetime, the old man cautiously approaches the larger man.

“Pardon me Mr. President, I am sorry to disturb your lunch; however, as you are an employee of the Federal Government, my government, I wonder if I could impose upon you to answer a question or two?”

Looking up from his burger, with grease, and special sauce running down the sides of his mouth and dangling from his ample double chin as the old man offered a handful of napkins and locked gaze with the coldest pair of blue eyes he has ever seen, the President said, “Thanks, what do you want to know?”

“Well, some would say that Kim Jong-un has played you like a violin, the North Korean leader received world recognition, a cessation of war Games between the US and South Korea, all without having to give anything up in return. What do you plan to do to make the world safer and fulfill your promise that the Korean peninsula will denuclearize?” The old man inquired, nervously leaning on his walking aid.

Setting down his half-eaten double-cheese burger with pickle slices and special sauce on a sesame seed bun, he irritatingly replied.

“No, no, you have that all wrong! I have made the World safer; the North Koreans have stopped there testing! No missile tests, no nuclear detonations. I have had many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” [1]

Undaunted and unconvinced, the old man continued. “I beg your pardon Mr. President but did it ever occur to you that the only reason that the North Koreans have ceased their testing, nuclear detonations, and missile firings is because they already have completed development of the weapon systems that they desired and are now simply making more and stockpiling them?

Without a response, the old man moved on to his second question.

“With the enactment of your Tax Reform Bill, America’s budget deficit has ballooned to $779 billion in 2018, as higher spending and stagnating tax revenue pushed the nation’s debt burden higher. How do you propose to offset those disturbing numbers?”

“We will cut wasteful spending and that will eventually put the nation on a sustainable fiscal footing.” The golden haired man confidently replied with hubris and bluster.

“So what you are really telling me that the $1.5 Trillion that has been gifted to large corporations and the wealthy will be paid for by the most vulnerable, by cutting their social safety net programs and you are OK with that?” The old man asked with a more acerbic tone than he would have liked.

“Well, you know, we all have to sacrifice a little to make America great again.” The President said with a diabolical grin stretching across his pouchy face.

“One more question, if you do not mind Mr. President?” Asked the old man sliding onto a seat in the booth across from the man with grease on his chin and feeling a sense of disbelief that this person occupied the highest Office in the land and yet he felt no remorse, no empathy for the agendas and actions for which he was directly responsible.

“There are over 200 children from separated, undocumented immigrant families who remain in US custody, according to what officials have said in a court filing Monday night. Most of the 245 children in custody have parents who were removed from the United States — 175 children, according to the latest government tally. How do you justify what many would call a cruel and inhumane policy?” [3]

With burger still masticating in his mouth, the blond man across the table replied between chews.

“Well, I will say this: If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come. You know, if they feel there’s separation, it’s a — it’s a terrible situation. We want to go through Congress, but the Democrats don’t want to approve anything. They’re obstructionists.

If they feel there’s separation — in many cases, they don’t come. But also, in many cases, you have really bad people coming in and using children.  They’re not their children.  They don’t even know the children.  They haven’t known the children for 20 minutes, and they grab children and they use them to come into our country. You got some really bad people out there.

We’re doing an incredible job. But the one thing I will say: The country is doing so well economically and every other way that more people want to come in than ever before. So we have to be very strong.” So said the leader of the Republican Party and President of the United States of America, the onetime beacon of the Free World.” [4]

“Thank you Mr. President for answering my inquiries. I only have one final question, why have you and your Republican supporters in Congress introduced a series of proposals that they say would replicate the existing protections but really do not. Critics contend none of them covers as many situations as the ACA does. For example, a bill unveiled by several Republican senators in August would require insurers to offer coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, but not require coverage of the conditions themselves.

I mean why lie about it; you have been trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since you were elected. Therefore, why use subterfuge to achieve your goal, why not simply do the right thing for the American people and do what you promised, give them great healthcare insurance without pre-existing conditions exclusions?” [5]

Again, the only response from the man across the table was silence as the old man searched those vacant blue eyes.

“While we are discussing the Health Care issue, why the falsehoods around ‘Medicare for all’ harming Medicare Advantage programs, it is as if you want to confuse seniors like me! This stuff is difficult enough to comprehend without the Federal Government trying to muddy things up! Just give people a fair and honest deal and perhaps you would not be so vilified.”

“No, you do not understand! The Sander’s version of ‘Medicare for All’ legislation actually abolishes Medicare and Medicare Advantage, as well as employer-provided coverage, union plans and plans people buy for themselves. Every person will be forced into a mandatory, government-run system with the phony name “Medicare for All.” Whether you want it or not. The quality of your medical care will plummet.” Railed a red faced visually perturbed Trump.

“Well, let us just go to the source and check the facts of that statement, shall we? The Sanders plan plan would create a federally administered single-payer health care program. Universal single-payer health care means comprehensive coverage for all Americans. Bernie’s plan will cover the entire continuum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary care to specialty care, including long-term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics and treatments. Patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.” [6]

You and your unified republican government have botched the sixty-five year truce that has kept the peace on the Korean peninsula and allowed North Korea to successfully develop nuclear weapons, blown-up the deficit to a new high with a tax scam that has benefited no one except the one percent, avoided taking responsibility for the most heinous treatment of innocent refugees that the civilized world has witnessed since the 1940’s. Your economic policies are a rehash of the failed trickle down economic policies from thirty years ago; they are a swindle, and a fraud. As for your international policies, you have single handedly made the world a more dangerous place. You have alienated our allies, abandoned our best hope of mitigating the damage caused by anthropogenic climate disruption, the Paris Accords. Not to mention scraped the functioning Iran Nuclear Deal for no other reason than because your predecessor negotiated it. Your unified republican government has destabilized a functioning healthcare insurance program for millions of American Citizens and cast aspersions on their best chance for a single payer system that would benefit us all. In my opinion you are an epic failure!

You would do better to choke on that Big Mac or have it clog your arteries and succumb to a heart attack.

I will be voting this November but not for any member of your Party! In addition, I believe many people will vote along with me but not for Republicans.” So concluded the old man’s soliloquy.

Like magic, the old man found himself back in his humble apartment facing another lonely, repetitive day. As for President Trump, he continued with his lunch alone, putting the recent conversation out of his mind, and assuming incorrectly that his regime would just continue doing what he wants without the repercussions that result from abuse of Executive power.

 

References:

[1] “Trump brags in tweet that he saved us from war with North Korea”, “Amid reports North Korea isn’t going along with denuclearization, Trump wants everyone to thank him for not being at war.”, “By Emily Stewart”, “03 July 2018”. < https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/3/17530456/north-korea-upgrading-nuclear-trump-war >

[2] “Deficit balloons to $779 billion in Trump’s second year”, “The Washington Post”, “By Jeff Stein”, “15 October 2018”. < https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/15/deficit-balloons-billion-trumps-second-year >

[3] “More than 200 children from separated immigrant families remain in US custody”, “CNN”, “By Catherine E. Shoichet”, “16 October 2018”. < https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/politics/separated-families-reunification-update-undocumented-immigrant/index.html >

[4] “Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure”, “IMMIGRATION”, “White House Press Briefings”, “13 October 2018”, < https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-marine-one-departure-16/ >

[5] “FACT CHECK: Who’s Right About Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions?”, “NPR”, “By Julia Rovner”, “11 October 2018”. < https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/11/656503264/fact-check-whos-right-about-protections-for-pre-existing-conditions >

  [6] “Medicare for All: Leaving No One Behind”. < https://berniesanders.com/issues/medicare-for-all/   >