Categories
Politics

Super Tuesday 2020

It is super Tuesday across the country in an election which for the first time in my life will have major ramifications. And you know what? For the first time in over a decade I did not vote.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my whole mindset about being an American has changed. I went from writing a paper in Japan explaining how America was the best country in the world, and actually failing the class because I refused to change the topic as the request of the professor, to not even voting. How could this be?

Well, in short I used to think that at the end of the day we were all Americans and on the same team. I voted for Barack Obama because I believed at minimum each citizen should have healthcare. I liked his speeches about inclusiveness and raising each other up. The Republicans on the other hand were the warmongers always looking to start a war. They just wanted to help the 1% by cutting benefits which I didn’t think was right.

Then Hillary happened. She rigged the election against Bernie Sanders, stood by her cheating husband in the interest of power and seemed so condescending. There were a few straws which broke the camels back. The first was a call from a sniveling Democratic fundraiser who said “If I could just get’cha to get out your credit card.” I hung up on him. The second was listening to my buddy at the State Department about her handling of Bengazi. He told me the information about an attack was there but she did nothing nor did she apologize after the fact. The third was how she did not apologize or take any responsibility of losing to Trump. That election was not just about her, it was about all of the Democrats but you wouldn’t know it by listening to her. She didn’t apologize or take any responsibility for that either.

As for Trump, I don’t care about his personal affairs but I don’t like many of his policies such as alienating just about all of our allies, not caring for the planet and him calling his long time business partners such as Michael Cohen rats and so on. These were people that served him and his interests for decades. They call him out for his wrongdoing and he calls them rats? Not very Presidential.

I remain completely amazed at the spell he has cast among his supporters. He truly can do no wrong in their eyes. Now, I understand and even like a few of his policies but the way that everyone supports him without question, and even with his many, many faults is downright scary. They are truly under his spell.

I try to understand them but cannot help but come to the conclusion that this is the fault of the media. You have Fox News spewing propaganda and CNN plays both sides of the fence for profit. You have Rush Limbaugh, who has spouted hatred for years now receiving the Medal of Freedom? What has happened to the America I once knew?

As for the Democratic candidates there are none I can support. I’m now invested in the stock market and as the sole supporter of my family need it to do well. Sanders and socialism is no good for that. I’m not even inherently against socialism having lived in France, Spain and even communist Vietnam. I’m for helping but then I realized I don’t like the government to be the one setting the rules. I asked myself a simple question and that was do I like dealing with the government? The answer is a hard NO. I don’t like taxes, I don’t like going to the DMV, I don’t like going through immigration, I don’t like anything where I have to go to a government office. I’ve learned that if I ask myself this question sincerely, I’d rather have less government than more of it. Government is awash in corruption. I used to vote for more taxes for schools, infrastructure, giving more money to whoever really. Then after a decade of voting for such things I learned that the government just asks for more money. No thank you.

I cannot support Sanders because I don’t want the government taking more of my money. I cannot support Biden because he is a bit creepy, and he installed his son on the board of some Ukrainian company to make millions. This is not honest, it is corrupt is what it is. A government official should not use his position to help family members. That is what Trump does so is Biden really much different?

In the long term, I think a bit more socialism would be in the best interest for the country. The playing field is completely unfair with all the wealth going straight to the top. But again, I’ve realized we are no longer on the same team but a collection of individuals looking out for ourselves. So, OK, I’ll play this game. I’m not in the 1% but I know how to look after my own nest egg and socialism in the short term is no good for my finances.

I’ll roll with whichever way the tide is moving and my vote doesn’t really matter anyway. Decades of gerrymandering have seen to this.

All I care about on this day of March 3rd, 2020 is the economy and how the stock market performs. Sadly to say that is probably Trump but I certainly will not vote for him. Instead I’ll just watch all the Red Hats trounce the Democrats because the Left has gone too far. My firefighting buddy put it best when he said “We’ve become a nation of sissies.” With the Left you get gender neutral this and non-binary that. You get federal funds supporting poor choices and a nanny state trying to take care of a sick population. Just take a look at the state of San Francisco these days and you’ll see where those extreme left policies lead. To spell it out you get people getting high in broad daylight, pooping in the street and aggressively panhandling for money. You get crime and hundreds of cars broken into a day all while the leadership does nothing. All this nonsense going on in San Francisco has slowly started to turn me into a *gasp* Conservative.

The only thing that keeps me hanging on to the left is my experience overseas. We are all human beings who all live on planet Earth. There should be more inclusiveness, more open borders and more caring for those who cannot care for themselves. Unfortunately with the Trump crowd we’re moving in the opposite direction.

So, I’ve opted to sit out. We’re not on the same team and I’ll play the “everyone for themselves” game as far as politics go. This is the day where we’re supposed to be proud of our institution and freedom to vote. Well, any other day everyone else is the competition for the most part. Trump will most likely win and continue to tear down our norms and institutions while providing a lot of red meat to his base along the way. Again, some of the meat I like such as keeping that stock market high. But there is also an undercurrent against immigrants and if you read this blog you’d know I’m very tied to Japan. There is no way I’d take my family to a state such as Alabama or Tennessee these days. Did I say many “countrymen” were now competition? With the backlash against immigrants they are wavering close to being an actual enemy instead of merely competition. Or maybe it is just the news and their propaganda which makes me think these things.

Either way, I’m watching from the sidelines and will take action to support my family and local community. I will not however be participating in any voting for which way America will go on the overall.

Categories
Journal Politics Random

Journal Entry 11.19.19

It is 12:35 PM on Tuesday November 19th, 2019. The weather is overcast with gray clouds, the temperature a cool 62 degrees and a strong wind blows through the trees. It is this type of weather that lets me know we are in autumn.

There are a number of thoughts running through my head so this post will be jumping all over the place.

Early morning when the rest of the household is still asleep is my favorite time. The stars still shine up above and at this type of year Orion is reliably overhead letting me know yet another year has passed. I enjoy the stillness of the early morning; it is when I can hear my inner voice with clarity and it brings me my best ideas and the confidence to make changes in my life.

In the early morning the day is brimming with opportunity. It is after all the first day of the rest of my life. Then as sure as the sun rises my mind goes on autopilot as it becomes bogged down with the various tasks and work I need to do. I feel as though I could almost checkout mentally and my fingers would still type, my feet still move, meetings could still be run and reports still processed. My tasks would still be accomplished whether or not I’m present mentally.

My mindset about the USA.

The age of Trump has completely changed my outlook and feeling of what it means to be an American. I’m 42 now and a viewpoint doesn’t change easily but the disaster that is Trump has also been a disaster for my feelings about the USA. For my entire life I had thought we were all on the same team. Sure we had our differences but at the end of the day we all wanted what was best for each other. Now, I unequivocally understand that I was completely wrong. The true purpose and DNA of America is for individual profit at all costs. This has been clearly shown by Republicans blockage of universal healthcare, their disdain for the environment, and the anger and hatred they spew daily on the Fox News channel.

I’m sorely disappointed in all of this. I was under the illusion that at the highest levels, all Americans were a team. How stupid I was. I thank the Republicans for clearly showing me that we are not on the same team. I’ll never make that mistake again for as long as I live. And with that, I’ll release all patriotism, the part of myself that was proud to identify as American, and (try) to release the crushing disappointment in my countrymen who support Trump. They are more enemies now than a countryman.

I still think that at the local level we can work together and do what is best for the community. But for those that support Trump, again, they are more akin to an enemy than a countryman given what Trump has tried to do. Perhaps the environment will change in the 2020 election but as for my own thoughts, I now completely understand that the underlying structure of America is personal profit with the ultra rich pulling the strings. Everyone below is simply a pawn in this global game.

Random thought about BMW and Lexus owners

BMW and Lexus owners are for the most part assholes. I’ve said this before and it hasn’t changed. I’d say that 80% of the time they drive aggressively and as though they are entitled. Any why shouldn’t they? We are in America aren’t we? Money rules and all the peasants who do not drive a BMW or Lexus should get off the road. I swear that those driving Lamborghinis, Jaguars and McLarens are more courteous! It is as though the BMW and Lexus owners have a need to show they are better than others by being rude to them on the road, whereas those that drive the Uber expensive cars are secure in their wealth. For those that drive a BMW or Lexus, you’ve already started off on the wrong foot with me and I expect you will be an asshole until you prove otherwise.

The Nintendo Switch

I got my own Switch a while back and love it. It allows me to play Fortnite with my son and is a great way to bond with him. The Switch has also given me a large dose of nostalgia with classic Genesis games. When I play them I can catch a flicker of my teenage mindset, my thoughts and feelings, when I played Genesis games as a kid. It is only a flicker but I really enjoy those very brief flashes of long ago.

CO2 Levels

My mom got me an air quality detector I had long wanted. It all started with the fires that are occurring with greater frequency here in California. I found an app called IQAir Visual that was really fantastic in letting me know how the air quality was outside. They also make detectors but at $260 I couldn’t just buy one. My mom got me one as an early Christmas present and I’m glad she did! The surprise was not in the air quality as the readings were as expected but instead the CO2 levels which I had never thought of.

I work in my shed which in industrial lingo is a “confined space.” From my days at Grainger I know confined spaces are dangerous but never thought of my own shed as being confined or dangerous. With my new sensor however I quickly learned that the CO2 levels were terrible!! The reason is because I usually kept the windows and door closed but of course I still had to breathe. Therefore, the amount of oxygen in my shed quickly lowered while CO2 from my breathe quickly elevated. I’ve been working in this shed for two years and all the while been breathing awful air!

This was absolutely astounding to me. Here I am, thinking I’m relatively smart and have my life under control only to learn that I’ve been really hurting my health by breathing poor air and was completely oblivious about it for such a long time. It made me think about all the other things we do not know yet affect us greatly. We have chemicals that surround us with my favorite example being that of lead in gasoline. It was everywhere, permeating everyone and not until the 60s that a scientist called it out (and was attacked by other scientists!). What else surrounds us, permeates us that we do not realize and may never realize? The greatest example I can think of at the moment is dark matter. We have no idea what it is yet it is all around. Going further we could even get philosophical and perhaps all of life is just an illusion, yet just like CO2, without a sensor we are blissfully unaware.

Well, it is now 1:42 and I have some more tasks to accomplish today.

Categories
Politics

Authority!

At 42 years of age my understanding of authority has evolved and I wanted to get these thoughts down.

When you’re a kid there are people you just have to obey without question. This would include: your parents, teachers, priests, adults and now that I think about it, just about everyone except other kids. We are programmed to bow to authority from a very young age. This programming changes somewhat as we grow older. We realize we don’t need to obey everyone anymore but many ‘authority figures’ still hold much power over adults whether they consciously accept it or not.

In my line of work I deal with people who hold positions of authority in large, well-known companies. In the business world these relationships are mostly cordial but there are times when the ‘authority’ aspect starts to creep in to negotiations. These take the form of something like this.

“I work for so and so famous company, I’ve done it for decades, negotiations like these are done in my sleep and due to all of my incredible experience I know what I’m doing and you will need to do this because I am the expert!”

When I was younger this might have been intimidating and I would have been unsure of myself. This approach might work with a lot of adults but with 13 years of experience and having a lifetime of learning, world travels and other character building activities, this type of power play doesn’t have much of an effect on me anymore. I simply state my case with plenty of numbers to back it up, in a nice, cordial way. I offer to help where I can while putting a stake in the ground to let them know I’m not budging and have the data to show why.

I’m going through this type of interaction this week and it made me think about other parts of life where people put on a stance of authority in the belief it will make a person acquiesce to their will. It make me think about the nature of authority as well. The truth is spelled out beautifully by a Game of Thrones quote.

“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow

Lord Varys

This is true in the philosophical sense and on the scale of society as a whole but not so for the individual.

Let’s back up and talk about childhood again. When you’re a kid everyone is an authority figure except kids the same age. Everyone holds power over you. You live with your parents and they feed, clothe and shelter you. They are the foundation of the power structure, the providers and protectors in a world you know very little about. You have to go to school everyday and must do what they say as well otherwise they can kick you out. If they kick you out then you’re in trouble with the parents. Even older kids are authority figures because they have more life experience and are physically stronger. They can make you do something and if you don’t could make your life very difficult.

As adults we start to question ‘authority,’ yet this programming is very hard to undo and ‘authority’ still very much retains influence over the majority of adults.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Religious leaders – Adults for the most part will still do what their religious leaders tell them to. It is as though their common sense is checked at the door when they enter a church. Here they are, fully grown thinking adults worshiping some unseen, unknown “God” because religious leaders told them too since birth. God is the ultimate authority and these religious folk are the representatives of God. The laypeople need guidance and you must get that through the priest! Don’t think you can just do it on your own, you need to be at church, tithe 10% of your salary and don’t mess up or you could be excommunicated aka not allowed to talk to God anymore. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? That is because it is ridiculous. And it is absolutely depressing how many adults (albeit older adults) still believe in this nonsense.
  2. Political Leaders – This has changed in the past decade. Political leaders held much more authority before but it depends on which ‘team’ you’re on now. People will more fiercely obey the leaders of their own team while ridiculing everything about the leaders of the other team. This is evident in having a con-man like Trump in the Presidency. He could beat up a woman in the oval office and his supporters would probably say how it was totally acceptable to do so and pull out an example from the Old Testament. I bet if he told his followers to boycott flower shops because flowers are for Liberals that half his base probably would!
    But on a more sinister note, just look at every time America goes to war. The reasoning doesn’t really matter, it is the authority figures that said we have to go to war so a large portion of Americans will be all for it. Hell, ask any American on the street if they are in favor of bombing (insert made up foreign sounding country) and a good amount would enthusiastically agree!
  3. Doctors – In the past, most people would follow the advice of the doctors and this still holds true. However, with the vast corruption of money and profits into the profession we’re seeing a backlash. The most visible form of this backlash is in the anti-vaccine movement. Authority figures (aka doctors) are telling people they must take vaccines. The anti-vaccine crowd sees it all as corporate greed and like religious folk entering a church, check their common sense and thinking capabilities at the door. They are smart now because they went on The Internet and read some stuff! Just like Republicans went on Fox News and learned some news!!! These are the C students from high school ladies and gentlemen.
  4. Police – You still need to do what a police officer commands you to do because he/she can put you in jail or even shoot and kill you. But what is different as an adult and understanding how the world works realizes that the police department is not an ultimate authority as many think. Police departments are held accountable by political leaders. I just read a story of how the vice squad on Sullivant Ave. in Columbus, Ohio was disbanded after an officer shot a prostitute. As it turned out he was using his position for sex by threatening to arrest the prostitute if she didn’t have sex for free with him.
    As an adult I see that police do not have absolute power and the individual police person is just a human with a very difficult and necessary job that really isn’t making much money. Police are a vital part of any functioning society but again, their authority isn’t absolute.
  5. Priests – The priest used to be he top authority figure in the community I grew up in. Nobody questioned the priest and if they did, they did so quietly. Now that I’m 42 I am very disappointing that adults before me gave the priests such unquestioning power. I’m now the same age as many priests and there is something wrong with all of them. They are aberrations of men, something that should be done away with. There are so many different churches, so many religious leaders and the majority of humanity follows them like sheep. They can even abuse kids and the sheep will cover it up all the while still going to church on a weekly basis. These are adults who not only have bent to authority but are completely broken by it. We could compare them to Trump supporters. Trump supporters will support him no matter what he does. Religious folks will support their church and priests even if they molest children, start wars, and cling to ancient beliefs even when science has proven otherwise.

Getting back to the quote about power residing where men believe it resides, this is absolutely true for society as a whole. As an individual however, I have to follow the rules or someone could come arrest me and even put me to death. However, if the majority of society decides to strip authority from an institution this can be done but might involve some bloodshed as humans in power do not like to lose control. If all of California were to rise up and want to leave the USA Trump would probably send in the military and take out the leaders.

But when we take a look at what authority inherently is, we see that it is all just a state of mind. More often than not, other humans hold authority over us because we have allowed them to do so. In my own small world I’ll deal with many others who will be wearing their business suits, put on a business face and talk to me in a stern voice all with the intention of trying to make me believe they have authority over me. They do this to gain some advantage in upcoming negotiations. It doesn’t work anymore.

Categories
Bay Area Politics

Monday Night Football at Hooters

It is 3:42 AM and I didn’t get a good nights sleep due to the food and cola I drank at Hooters last night.

The time has come for my friend Sadao to leave the USA. He has been in Pacifica for 27 years but due to family matters must now go live in Japan. Twenty seven years is a very long time. I was only 15 years old, a freshman in high school, when he moved to this town! But everything changes with time and nothing remains the same.

It is not a permanent goodbye as many of us are in Japan every year and so will see him again. But we felt it right to have a goodbye dinner at his favorite restaurant Hooters and were very lucky to get a table as it was Monday night and that meant the football crowd was there.

It was a surreal experience for me as I had not been in an environment like that before. Yes, I remember how Ohio State games are although I’ve only been to two in about twenty years. But to go out on a Monday night and be surrounded by a sea of people in ’49ers jerseys, eating, drinking and yelling was something I’m not used to and found very strange.

Obesity was everywhere. And they ate, drank, and then ate and drank some more all while staring at the screens yelling at it. It made me think that perhaps the Republicans had a point not wanting to offer universal healthcare to Americans as it probably would bankrupt the finances. The crowd was fat, very fat and they continued to eat and drink throughout the night. I imagine at least half the people in the crowd are taking pills so they can continue to eat and drink, especially on Monday nights.

There were also tattoos everywhere, even on the serving girls. The girls wear very short shorts and most had fake eyelashes along with a large amount of makeup to change their appearance. Now let’s step back and take a look at this scene as it would appear to someone, perhaps a foreigner, that has never been to Monday night football before.

You step into the restaurant that is packed to the brim by people wearing the same type of uniform. They are obese yet continue to eat and drink massive amounts of food and beer. They are all staring at one of the ubiquitous TV screens while yelling at least half of the time. They are surrounded by women in scantily clad uniforms and have so changed their appearance by facial modification that they would look very different after a shower.

The team which they cheer is called the San Francisco ’49ers but they no longer are part of the city of San Francisco. In fact, they are the Santa Clara 49ers which is a good 40 minute drive south. So these people, wear the uniforms of a team to which they do not belong, often with names on the back that aren’t theirs, and that play in a different city. In their minds, if this team wins then they win. If the player whose jersey they wear does well, then they do well! By supporting other men demonstrating the ideal image of manliness – playing a rough game – it makes the viewers also feel manly. By simply being a supporter of very macho men, they too can feel macho, although most in that crowd probably couldn’t run to the next block.

None of this makes any sense to me. Here we live in a world where very pressing issues determine life and death, but a game, a game where you have to move a ball over a line, is more important to the majority of the population. This game is also one that ends up crippling the bodies of many who play it.

My friend John also noticed the crowd and said “You know how much we’ve advanced since Roman times and the coliseum? Zero.” It is true.

It would seem that sports as well as religion is the opiate of the masses. When I was in 8th grade my teacher said that in Roman times sports heroes were held in higher regard that war heroes. She said it in such a way as to make me believe times were different now. Nope, a person that plays a game with a ball very well (and those that act too) is held in higher regard that those that actually contribute something to society such as doctors and police.

When I see such a crowd I no longer believe in democracy. Our government is always harping on democracy but given the rise of Trump and a populace that values sports over global life and death issues makes me no longer believe in it. The truth is that the masses are not smart enough to make good decisions. Unfortunately concentrating power in the hands of a few doesn’t work either as people are easily corrupted. They value power and money above all else. The only alternative is to turn to the imagination and religion which promises people rewards in the afterlife if they just do good things now. Seems kind of like a trick by the rich and powerful over the less bright. “No you don’t need money and power, leave that all to me. What you need is to have whatever the equivalent of money and power is in the next life so long as you aren’t too greedy in this life.”

Give the masses religion and sports. It gives them something to do, gives them an identity as well as answers. Make politics like sports too, entertainment and will make the masses feel smart as well. Maybe we should have jerseys for politicians that the masses could wear? I’m being sarcastic but in times like these nothing is too absurd that it couldn’t possibly happen. There is the MAGA hat after all. Perhaps a full uniform is the logical next step.

Categories
Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 12.15.2018

It is 2:55 AM on Saturday December 15th, 2018.  I’m still trying to get into the Christmas mood but it is hampered by a couple of things.  The first is probably the news and the dire picture it paints about the state of the world.  First and foremost we have a complete idiot of a President along with his gold digging, nude picture publishing, cheated on with porn stars wife.  Trump and Melania are both a disgrace but what is worse is that half of America voted Trump into office.  

It is not just a simple mistake that is going to correct itself when Trump leaves office.  What millions of people voting for someone like him means is that our society is a complete mess.  In a few short words we are a Jerry Springer society and America is finally getting exactly what it deserves for a President.  America is a business, not so much a country.  The overriding ties that bind society together is the chance to make money and purchase things, everything else such as patriotism, religion, and so in is nothing more than veneer.

The monkeys have been let loose in the White House and boy are they causing an incredible amount of damage for the future of the USA.  It plays out slowly with each episode seemingly getting worse than the last.  If you’re reading this in the far future and wonder how we could be so idiotic this is the fault of the Republican party who have been willing to burn down not only the USA but also the planet just so they could have power.  

Yes, the planet is heating up and the Republicans want to hasten the process.  Yes the President cheated on his third wife with porn stars and the Republicans, who claim to be religious, look the other way (hypocrites).  The wife of the President wears coats that say “I really don’t care, do you?” when visiting children in cages on the border.  This is all so surreal but real it is.  Our leaders have become a farce.  

The only saving grace seems to be states such as California who are driving ahead without the nonsense from the federal government.  Innovation continues, the drive towards renewable energy continues, things still look relatively bright so long as we go our own way with a stiff arm to the White House and their stupid policies.  

So yes, that hampers my Christmas spirit.  There is also the pressure from work which puts a little damper on things.  It is pretty much self imposed as things look pretty good but there are a lot of expectations.  

Also, Christmas, which I used to celebrate as the birth of Jesus, has completely changed.  I am no longer a Christian but most of the people I grew up with are.  One of them posted a rant about Christmas and why are people celebrating if not for the birth of Jesus?  I had to set him straight in that the birth year of Jesus is unknown, the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol, and the Winter Solstice has been a major event (where light begins to triumph over darkness) for millennia.  It was the Christians who co-opted the pagan celebrations (and not just Christmas!) for their own use.  

Christianity to me now looks so very strange.  We live in a modern, technological and scientific era but a good part of humanity cannot break free of the superstition and traditions that are based on a “hearsay of a hearsay of some non-event.”

But I’m still fine with calling it Christmas, not because I believe in the story about the magical birth of some kid in a stable to a virgin – sound so strange to any rationally thinking person doesn’t it? – but rather that Christianity is a major part of human history and it is a part of who I am since I was raised in that faith. 

Anyway, I need to force some Christmas spirit upon myself.  The trick this year would be to completely shut out the news and nonsense and focus on the positive aspects of life.  I cannot control the news or what occurs out there in the world but I can control what I pay attention to and how I want my mindset to be.  Time to get working on it.