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
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
Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 5.25.2018

It is 8:48 PM on the night before my birthday.  The weather has been foggy and we’ve even had a bit of rain recently.  I feel as though I’ve been in a bit of a fog myself recently with the big change going on in my life.  Next week is my last week working for my current company and then I jump right back in to the next adventure.

I do not feel excited, scared, anxious or anything really.  I do feel as though this is the right path to take and it is time for a change.  I am looking forward to the new challenge but my feeling is as it is right before a big trip.  I do not get excited until I’m actually on the plane going to my destination and that is an apt comparison since I am rejoining the airlines.  It will be a good change and I hope to stay with that company for the rest of my working career.

In other news I made the mistake of reading news right before this post.  It was about the USA border control abusing migrant children.  I’m getting the feeling that the USA is becoming a bad country.  Something like this doesn’t happen all at once but by small changes which accumulate until we hardly recognize ourselves anymore.  Where is the compassion, where is the love?  Reading that article has people saying those parents and kids get what they deserve.  They are devoid of love, of empathy.  These are just people trying to make a better life for themselves and escape violence.  It is what anyone with courage would do if put in the same situation.

How soon they forget that America is founded on immigrants fleeing oppression, violence, famine and many other bad things.  Now that they are here and established they greedily want to slam shut the door and hold hate in their hearts.  This is not the America I know.

Furthermore, the ‘temporary’ President has gotten to the NFL and they now make players stand for the National Anthem.  On one hand they scream for freedom when it comes to carrying guns but ironically want to deprive freedom from those that wish to express an opinion and a right to protest.  Nothing says freedom and patriotism than forcing people to stand for a National Anthem.  This is the opposite of what the American character should be.  And what really baffles me are some of my own acquaintances agree with this.  These were thinking people, smart people in the past that have been hacked by propaganda, been hacked into supporting a ‘team’ in the political arena no matter what the issue may be.  They have ceased to be thinking people.

So it is with sadness that here on the night before my 41st birthday America seems to be turning to hatred, to fear, and to all the things that seem polar opposite to what is should stand for.  I can only hope that things will change.

Categories
Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 3.31.2018

It is 6:25 AM on Saturday, March 31st.

We’ve gotten some very nice weather on the coast these past two days with temperatures reaching into the 70s.  This used to be rare but seems to happen with more frequency these past couple of years.  The climate is changing and it is too bad that many in the population of the USA are not smart enough to listen to actual scientists.

So much pollution is thrown into the atmosphere and those that deny climate change must think it simply disappears out into space?  I was let down when I realized that the air in San Francisco is rarely good these days as measured by AIRNow, the EPA air quality index.  Instead it is almost always in the yellow “moderate” zone.  I can only hope that the breeze off the ocean pushes that stuff away from Pacifica and that our air remains the the green zone.  The EPA only has a sensor eleven miles away in San Francisco so there is hope that our air is better.

Unfortunately the Trump administration and Republicans do everything they can to gut the EPA and deny there is even a problem.  You would think they would have shut down the air quality monitors down by now?

I don’t want to turn negative on this post but it is hard to do when speaking about Republicans.  Therefore, the only solution is to keep things brief on the absurdity they have become.  They are no longer the party they were just 10 years ago and have become a complete circus of idiots:

The Republican Circus recently:

  1.  Trump – This is a catastrophe for America.  I will admit that he does have his moments such as clamping down on illegal immigration, (I don’t support a wall – an ugly symbol) something must be done.  I also hope by some miracle the situation in NK turns out well seeing as nothing has been done in decades.
  2.   However, the problems greatly outweigh any positive moments:
    1. a. – Russia – It seems that Republicans are willing to test the
      limits of outright treason just to keep someone with an R by their name in power.  Their Russia probe closed quickly and it is easy to find nothing when you’re looking for nothing.  They have gone as far to allow the basis of our Democracy to be corrupted by an adversary so long as they get to be in power.  What they are doing is treasonous.
    2. b. – Guns – Unlimited access to guns are more important than the lives of children.  Our leaders should be “Profiles in Courage” yet we have the exact opposite with McConnell, Ryan and the rest of the clowns.  They are bought and paid for by the NRA.  It will be very difficult when my own son starts to learn about government and I’ll just have to tell him that in order to affect change you must be a corporation with a lot of money and then you can just buy your politicians.  In other countries they call this ‘corruption,’ but in America we call it ‘lobbying.’  It is the same exact thing, you just call it something different.
    3. c. – Republicans are willing to accept pedophilia (Moore) so long as it means they win.  How absurd is that?
    4. d. – Science, reason, facts and truth no longer have a place in their party.  If you don’t agree with a fact you just call it ‘fake news,’ and move along.

Fox News is now the official mouthpiece of the Presidency.  A news channel that turned into a propaganda machine of the likes which I’ve never seen in any of the communist countries I’ve visited.  “Prom Queens and Alpha Males spewing out garbage day in and day out.  The women bare their cleavage with a huge cross right in the middle of their boobs and they are angry.  With Meghaynh (spelling?) Kelly they learned that you cannot go from being the enemy to a fun loving morning television show.  It just doesn’t work.  Also the Trump presidency and circus the Republican party has become is the direct result of 8 years of absolute hate that has come directly from Fox News.

But the news that really has gotten me recently is that one of the Fox News contributors – Laura Ingraham disparaged one of the Parkland School shooters.  Yes, a grown woman on the Republican side has gone as low as this:  she ridiculed a kid who was almost killed just by going to school.  He called for a boycott of her show and amazingly some of the advertisers actually listened.  And so she quickly apologized and it is apparent she did so for monetary reasons and to save her show, not out of actual remorse.  This is just another example of how depraved the Republican base has become.

It is difficult to read any news these days as it quickly puts me in a bad mood.  I’m to the point now where I just want to shut it all out and try to live a happy life.  America is no longer how I remember it, we’re no longer the good guys.  America is a place where money is king:  you look after number one and screw everyone else.  All of those Fourth of July parades where they throw candy at you, singing the Star Spangled Banner before games and simply being proud to be American seem empty now.  We’re no longer a nation united but one where we want to eliminate healthcare, people want as many guns as possible, truth and reason have been put in a for-profit prison and half of the nation seems to be overdosing on opioids.  We are in the midst of a downward spiral and the train is being driven by a bunch of loud mouthed idiots.

Enough of that.  Today is Saturday and I’m back into my routine of working out and going to karate.  The fighters cup is coming up and I really need to be in shape or there is a real possibility I could get knocked out now that I’m at green belt.  My fear isn’t so much of how painful the kicks can be but one of stamina.  I hadn’t been as tired as I was at the last fighters cup since high school wrestling.  My body even went into a bit of shock at the end of the day with a bunch of shaking with my body seemingly asking “What the hell did you just do to me?”  When you run out of energy and have to keep going it feels like the flu and you just want to die.  But you cannot stop because one kick to the head would send you to the ground.

Today we’ll do the kids class and then I’ll do the adult class afterwards.  I haven’t been to adult class in three weeks so the fighting portion could be a little tough today.

Well, the household is waking up and so I have to end this post and get started with the day.

Categories
Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 2.17.2018

It is 3:15 AM on Saturday morning February 17th, 2018.  I haven’t slept well all night due to the salt from the pizza and large amount of sugar in the Mountain Dew I had for dinner.  Looks like it might be best to cut back on Friday pizza night.

After tossing and turning for a couple of hours I finally decided to get up, forgo Zelda and finally get a post in.  I’ve got a bunch of random thoughts I thought I’d get down.

The first is the travesty which has become a daily occurrence in the news and in American politics.  It seems that the USA is in a downward spiral we cannot get out of, much of it due to our own error regardless of how much emphasis is put on ‘Russian bots’ and their amazing ability to influence American minds.

Back in the ’80s our parents told us not to believe everything you see on TV yet it looks like they’re absolutely convinced by anything they see on the internet.  This wonderful invention, the internet, used to be a place of wonder, learning and connection.  Now it is a marketplace where everything needs to be ‘monetized,’ the social networks are for ‘humble bragging’ and is something quite unlike what it had promised to be.  I struggle to find websites I really enjoy and that do not become monotonous and depressing.  I know they must be out there, or hopefully things might change but like the rest of America is something from which to gain money in the short term, long term consequences be damned.

It feels to me as though the soul of America is changing for the worse and is something patriotic parades and sporting events can soothe.  Now we have debates over whether athletes should be forced to stand for the pledge.  Nothing says freedom like forcing people to say an oath.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again in that the main purpose of America is to make money no matter the consequences.  If you’re not out to get rich then perhaps you’re just not a true American?  After all of my travels and learning about other cultures I prefer to think of myself as a citizen of the world;  I’ve come to find the idea of pledging yourself to one piece of land, to one culture absurd and backward thinking.  The culture that used to bind us is fraying and the Republican leadership shows no leadership at all.  There is no ‘us,’ there is make money, look out for number one but please keep up the facade of patriotism.  Take out healthcare, support the gun lobby no matter how many mass shootings we have, do whatever it takes to win even if that means letting Russia swing an election or two.

This administration is a mess, a complete circus and no matter how absurd things get we have Fox news to defend it.  The President makes payments to porn stars?  No problem, King Solomon had many concubines!  I bet Trump could bang a prostitute right there in the oval office and Fox would try to explain it away.  We’ve got a first lady who won’t even hold his hand on national TV.

However, I do not think we should hate anyone, hate is the wrong path to go down.  One of the most true lines I’ve seen on the internet recently is that Meliana has gotten what she sold herself for.  She was asked if she would be with Trump if he weren’t rich and she once responded “Do you think he would be with me if I weren’t beautiful?”  After much thought I do not hate her, nor wish her ill.  For some, marriage is a transaction and she wanted money which she got.  You cannot always have your cake and eat it too.  It was said that she “was in tears” when Donald won the election because it meant her life, the life she took on for money would disappear and she would be scrutinized.  She just wants to shop, go to swank parties and now all of that has been muted.  This all must be very hard for her and again, one should never wish another ill so I do hope she gets through all of this.

As for Donald, it looks like a reckoning is coming.  You cannot wash away all of your mistakes by simply denying or calling it ‘fake news.’  Or can you?  It seems that Republicans would abandon all, including being loyal to the good of our country in order to stay in power.  This government it seems has nobody who would fit a “profile in courage” as Kennedy wrote about so long ago.  Now, the ends justify the means and that end is to stay in power even if it meant destroying a country.  The Russian bots are working and a good portion of the American public are not smart enough to resist.

We just had another school mass shooting here in the USA and what will the governments response be?  It will be another moment of silence along with more thoughts and prayers.  The USA will continue its downward spiral and things will get worse.  The jobs of many have been relocated overseas and aren’t coming back no matter what promises are made by politicians.  Automation and the adoption of AI will exacerbate all of this.  Why?  Because of money, of short term profits.  Patriotism and doing what is the best for the country is quickly forgotten when it comes to the bottom line.  Money is king.

And so what can an individual do in all of this?  Nothing really, the tide will continue to roll in washing over the feet of those who try to stand against it.  I’ll continue to turn inward and tune out the news, trying to live a happy life.  I’ll continue to be kind to others, to try and help where I can but there is nothing that can really be done to stop this momentum.  Even one tool, one right we have as a democracy has been stripped away by gerrymandering where an individual vote really counts for nothing.  It is a waste of time to vote anymore.

Enough of that as I do not want to waste all my time on the dumpster fire that has become the national conversation. The world is a big place and I want to continue to explore, continue to learn and enjoy my life.  Yet, it is hard not to type in the website of a news outlet in the same way it is hard not to look at a car wreck.  What absurdity is happening now and equally what contortions is the Fox news network doing to explain it all away.  Everything that doesn’t fit your narrative is ‘fake news’ anyway.

As for my overall life paradigm things continue to make less and less sense.  Here we are at the height of human knowledge and science yet the masses still continue to follow religions, beliefs of people who knew little to next to nothing about the universe.  I saw many images this past Wednesday of people with ash smudges on their foreheads in the shape of an ancient torture device.  How can it be that when we have so much access to learning and knowledge that otherwise relatively intelligent people adhere to something that is just as ridiculous as worshiping Poseidon?  And they look down on the Poseidon worshipers!  Even that word, ‘worship’ irks me.  I see educated people on their knees praying to a human idea that is supposedly “all good,” when there are kids with cancer, wars and things happening that no “all good” God would allow.  You mention this and of course they have their reasons, reasons which they were taught, were programmed to believe.

And so taking a step back and looking at humanity as a whole we have the majority believing in an ancient, figment of our imagination, voting for despots who can seemingly do no wrong and who are becoming more and more isolated from each other on social networks whose only purpose seems to be to brag about ones self?  It is all very depressing.

And that, is what is running through my head in the middle of the night on a very early Saturday morning.  Zelda is also on my mind so perhaps I might spend the next hour or so exploring Hyrule.