Big sports events coming up soon. Golf, cycling, tennis. I’ll be watching the tennis opens for sure. Serena Williams is still looking strong. The linguistic root of her name translates to “my next wife”.
You can skip the Usain – whatever his name is – section of this video and get right to the good stuff!
Lyn says she’s not jealous because I’d sooner get struck by lightning while holding the winning Powerball ticket, than to get a second look from Serena. Do you think Serena would mind hat I keep my six-pack in a party ball? Nah! She’d see the inner “me”.
I was at Legion Post 1992, Gautier-Vancleave, waiting for our annual Memorial Day observance to begin.
I picked up a program and read the following words.
Dear Lord, Lest I continue My complacent way,
Help me remember that somewhere, Somehow out there
A man died for me today. As long as there be war,
I then must ask and answer… Am I worth dying for?
The verse was attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. And it really got me. I got a tight throat and I had to blink and look around the room to avoid actually crying.
It stayed with me all day. Now I sit and digest it. Mostly, I wonder how many can truly answer that question, understanding its full meaning, in the affirmative.
I am an unapologetic political person. It is what I write most about. Today is no exception. However, I want to talk more about politics as civic engagement today. I have been harping on this quite a bit lately. More than I see failure or success of this party or that, I see a widespread failure of the average American to even engage. I’ll bet many reading this groaned as soon as I mentioned politics. Many immediately clicked off and are not reading this sentence.
And therein resides an indictment.
We hear, especially today, how those who died in battle died for “us”. Who makes up that “us”. We hear how they died for a cause. For whom does the “cause” exist? Who watches over and advances this cause while they venture out and die? Are you in that number?
I would say there is a about a 70% chance that many who read Roosevelt’s question cannot say “yes” with confidence. There is a reason for that number, I’ll get to it momentarily.
But first, let me expand the question. Because it is a lead pipe cinch that unless a fallen warrior knows you personally, he didn’t die for you. He died for the people he knew and loved, he died for his comrades fighting next to him. In some cases he died pursuing three hots and a cot.
But allowing for the ideal in every case, can you say he generally died for you?
Do you think that global warming is settled science and any discussion, or doing other than what we are told to do by our betters is grounds for insult and scorn?
Do you think we must defeat the violent, religious nut bags tearing at the fabric of all societies because we are a Christian (or whatever flavor you choose) nation?
Do you think anyone who disagrees with your favorite politician, even vehemently, is a “hater” by virtue of that disagreement?
Do you think any of the problems we have in this country are a function of race?
Do you think any of the solutions to problems we have in this country are a function of race?
Have you prevented, or by your silence, allowed the prevention of a speaker’s presence ANYWHERE, because of the views they might express?
Do you think there should be an approved code of “free speech”?
Do you avoid your civic duties like voting, reading, participating in local government functions?
Do you see snarky or trendy phrases, over reason, as good discourse?
Is shouting someone down an accomplishment?
Did you ever intentionally skate out of jury duty?
Do you believe that anyone, other than those you have contracted with, owes you anything? Even respect?
Do you refer to the representatives you vote into office as “our leaders”?
Do you think the president’s job is to “run the country”?
Is a person who supports a cause you detest, by virtue of that support, a bad singer, actor, writer, plumber or person? Are they then wrong on all other things?
An example of that last question is in this essay. There is an ocean between my worldview and that of Eleanor Roosevelt. That does not invalidate the message of the verse. It is a question worth asking ourselves.
No one is perfect. But if you can look at the questions above and say NO to all but one or two, then you can say you fit into the concept of the “us” or the “cause” a soldier has died for. Sadly, many cannot.
I’m going to call an audible here. I was going to go all radical-voter-lecture on you to address the 70% thing. But I don’t want to totally cock up your holiday. I’ll mess up your Tuesday instead.
I hope you all had a good three-day weekend and that you participated in some way in honoring our fallen troops.
My knee-jerk reaction to Zuckerburg’s speech was shock at the naivete on display. Sure, he made a lot of money when he was too young for the responsibility. But by now you would think he’d matured at least a little.
But a talking head on FOX Business turned me on to another possibility. This one actually makes more sense. It also makes Zuck’s suggestions far more cynical.
Part of his justification was “so people can innovate”. WTF? People can and are innovating right now. Is he superman because he has made innovations and others need to government to pay the “proles” money so Zuckerburg’s lessers can innovate? And what is that money for. Does Zuckerburg envision a future where one class innovates and makes multiple billions while the rest live on their government stipend (which we already know is actually worthless)?
What are they to do now that they are getting money to live on from the Almighty Governing Class? Are they to spend all day on Facebook?
Don’t answer that!
This marks Mark as the epic elitist. The fact is, with innovation moving at the breath-taking speed it is right now we have no need of government to do anything for innovators. In fact we don’t want the government’s fingers in the bowl at all. As soon as the “federales” touch Internet businesses, they WILL do what they always do. They will prop up political friends and drive out competition. This will be all in the name of making it better. The price will be that the political friends will have to run an Internet that is favorable to the political whores and their political interests. And, inevitably, the system will be made inexcusably inefficient.
If we prevent such an occurrence, I envision a future where what you presently pay for on the Internet will become more and more specialized. The present formula will give way to people who do and supply certain things in a unique way. The little guy will be able to compete with the giants. And all the technology, and automation will provide more jobs not less.
In addition to the automation becoming cheaper and more accessible over time (such things ALWAYS do), we will still have the need for fresh food, plumbing, electrical repair, cosmetics, and everything else we need today. An automated wait staff won’t change that. So to the market needs we fill already, we will add an incredible amount of jobs in the ever-growing high-tech industry.
We are already swimming in a sea of unfunded liabilities with our present entitlement programs. The I-am-better-than-everyone approach to the problem, as Zuckerburg suggests, would not only bankrupt the country, it would have only negative consequences here in the real world. Zuck, go back to your algorithms and post boosting. You are very good at it. Leave American citizens to address their own problems. That is what we are very good at, when left alone to do it.
I opened this series discussing apathy. Stupid ideas like the one we reviewed here are becoming very trendy among the political class. If we don’t wake up, as a whole, people like Zukerburg WILL define your future.
Get involved. I said in part 1 of this series, that we work. We raise kids. We have lives. Yes! Exactly! By being engaged citizens (a duty as critical as the others) we make living our lives, raising our kids and paying our billsthat much easier and more worthwhile.
Talk to your representatives. Let them know that you are now on the case. If they don’t start cutting away the government cancer we have growing on us, tell them they are committing political suicide.
Matt Jordan is the author of Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
Kindle version here!
Or just start reading for free on Kindle Unlimited!
For our first Whoopee Cushion Butt Salute I pulled this piece from commencement season 2017. It is part one of two. Enjoy!
Lunacy at Harvard
In his address at Cambridge, Mark Zuckerburg, (CEO Facebook) called for a universal wage. He likened it to a “cushion” for people lesser than himself. There are so many things wrong with this it is hard to know where to start.
Zuckerburg makes one of two things clear. As a man who knows how to grow a social network, he has learned absolutely none of the lessons this endeavor should teach. OR… he has learned them all and is ready to abuse his fellow citizens with what he knows.
First the ignorance.
I have quoted George Will on this s few times, most notably in my book, on an important social dynamic. If by some miracle, Will asks, we were to wake up and find everyone’s income,measured against purchasing power, triple overnight, would we then suddenly hear an end to the constant whining about income inequality?
The answer is, of course not. Those people who suddenly go from $30,000/year to $90,000 would decry the fact that they cannot afford the same lakefront house as those who recently only made $70,000/year. And that just isn’t fair. People are both competitive and envious. The disciplined adult will control the envy and compete to move up in the world. The lazy will eschew the work required to improve their lot in life, instead venting their envy.
What we euphemistically call government today, sees opportunity in taking from the competitive and giving to the lazy.
Before you get your panties in a wad, read the next paragraph.
This makes Zuckerburg comments doubly ignorant.
We already have the “cushion” Zuckerburg refers to. It’s called Welfare. It is supposed to be legitimate government assistance for those citizens who actually cannot do for themselves. As much as the loonies would love you to believe otherwise, there is no one – NO ONE – who would begrudge the truly incapacitated of this benefit. NO ONE.
Sadly the system is abused. Far too many people are on the dole who needn’t be. Too many could easily rise out of poverty and make something of themselves. But they are taught from an early age, in the streets, in their “churches” and in school, that it is their right to simply demand more from productive citizens rather than being productive themselves.
And it is here where Zuck appears to have learned nothing of his experience of bringing countless billions to his place of business. By having the government give EVERYONE some kind of stipend, we accomplish absolutely nothing. People will still want or need the exact same things they wanted or needed yesterday. By handing people a lump of money, the availability of what they want or need will be adversely affected.
Result, competing entities who fill these wants or needs will know that there is much more money available for meeting the wants/needs. More money than there is product to sell. Many more people will be clamoring for their products or services. As sure as night follows day, prices will immediately rise and soon stabilize at the same place, relative to income, as they were when the government first started the lunatic give-away program.
What we call “poverty” in this country would find a new place marker relative to prices, ALL OF WHICH will have risen uniformly.
Is Zuckerburg really that short-sighted? After all he has accomplished, can he really be this blind?
There are those, including myself who don’t think so. If we are right, then his comments are not just cynical. They smack of evil.
Mark Zuckerburg should stick to restricting the reach of peoples’ posts on Facebook. It’s what he is good at.
A long time ago I started talking about the price of apathy. I said that while it is understandable to want to throw your hands up in disgust or just roll with whatever the TV talking heads were telling you,* one cold fact remains.
The number one reason our lives are made more difficult every single day is that very sense of apathy. We have lives. We work. We raise kids. We pay bills. Why should we be bothered with all this socio-political bullshit?
The answer lies within the question. If we (the normal, clear-minded grownups) were to engage in our civic duties with just a fraction of the enthusiasm we pursue our hobbies and entertainment with, we’d have answerable statesmen doing our bidding.
But civics isn’t just about elections.
Strictly speaking, elections should be a one-day affair. Imbecilic early voting not withstanding, an election occurs on Election Day. Primaries and general elections do include lots of circus and empty rhetoric. But our civic duty should have us prepared to vote our conscience no matter when election days occur.
Why do you think schools stopped teaching civics in the 70’s? It was written off as boring, unnecessary. Of course, it was then replaced by Black History Month and Militant Lithuanian Lesbian Truck Driver studies. The reason given: It was what the little snowflakes wanted. Reality: It’s what was sold to the budding rubes as good citizenship. And it was dripping with revisionist history and emotionalism.
It’s a lot easier for a kid to get fired up about Thomas Jefferson getting’ nasty with a slave girl than it is to understand Jefferson’s writings on good government. Or Madison’s for that matter. Or Cicero’s.
For most students, the “studies” requiring the least attention, and tests requiring only a poorly expressed opinion, are always the fun way to go!
So now we have our third generation entering the adult world thinking that good government is the government that removes personal responsibility, “gives” us lots of stuff and makes us feel good.
All the being prologue…
It is painful for the mature adult (there are few of us left) to watch people of influence being lauded for saying the most ridiculous things. This week, Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook and self-declared peoples’ hero, declared in front of Harvard graduates, his belief that we should have a wage paid to every citizen, a “cushion” he called it, by the government.
One can safely assume in context that he refers to the federal government. For people like Zuckerburg, who don’t understand America at it’s best, local and state governments are just little league versions of the real [ecstatic sigh] federal government.
Another safe assumption might be that he was just making a play for easy headlines. A big splashy headline is free advertising for Facebook.
Shy of that, the next two possibilities are deeply disturbing.
Saudi Arabia pledges help fight Islamic extremism! Yay! Donald Trump announces $400 billion investment in Saudi Arabia and US! Yay!
These are the big sell lines coming out of the State Department and the White House as the President makes his first big overseas tour.
First, let me give the devil his due.
The stiff teleprompter reading Trump delivered in Riyadh today, while not destined to go down in oratory history was far more palatable than the pathetic apology tour his predecessor took in 2009. The phrases you’ll hear most quoted will be the “drive them out” sequences. Referring to religious, nut bag terrorists, Trump repeatedly admonished the Muslim world to drive the scum out of their mosques, towns and nations.
As good as that sounded, I’m going to take a wait-and-see attitude. The pre-departure announcement by the Saudi “royalty”* that they would help end Islamic terrorism must be taken, by a rational observer, with a pound of salt. Will the Saudi “royalty” shut down the Wahhabi madrasas from whence most Islamic lunacy springs (outside of Iran anyway)? I tend to doubt it. Saudi “royalty” has maintained it’s hold on power by allowing these little hate factories crank out their vile product. The thinking being to let the unwashed maintain their religious hate orgies, thereby keeping focus on external enemies. The spillage of actual terrorists into the world is an acceptable price.
The day Saudi “royalty” allows the gullible public to take their eye off the “death to Israel” ball is the day they start to loose their hold on power. While one can be happy to see any American president project a strong argument against Islamic terror, until religion has been driven from the center of the public square, in the stronger Islamic states like Saudi Arabia, we will remain without serious help in eradicating the more violent forms of the superstition.
$400 Billion, Huh?
This investment announcement is another wait-and-see proposition.
Did Trump simply tout the norm as a personal triumph in this proclamation? I’m taken back to the heady days of the Caterpillar deal during the transition. Clearly, there had been a deal in the works for some time. The parties were in the final dance to iron out the details when in stomps Trump. By shining light on the deal and giving it a “presidential” stature, he accelerated the inevitable then claimed credit for the whole deal. Who would deny him that without looking like a poor sport who had just been played by Donald Trump?
Countless billions of purchase and investment dollars wash back and forth across the oceans every day, with no consideration of nation or religion. These are private dollars, corporate dollars and government dollars. As was the case with Caterpillar**, did Trump look at what is known to be occurring and take the credit for it? Or is this a new development? We’ll look in on that in a month or two.
Side Note – Comey-gate
Having had plenty of time to digest the story behind the Comey firing, my position remains the same. Rod Rosenstein’s memo was perfectly legitimate. I said well before last June that Comey was a stooge and his firing amounts to absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
We’d already be nearing this same conclusion nationally if “the Donald” (tactical genius) could have refrained from his sophomoric tweeting and off-the-cuff blabbering. He undercuts his staff every time he speaks without a prompter or gets goaded into tweeting. He is polling lowest of any president at this point in his term because every day he makes it impossible for even political allies to get behind him.
If this does not change, it will be “the Donald” who will cost the Republicans their majority in a year and a half.
In fairness, it must be said the Ryan and McConnell will try their damnedest to bring about the same result. Not that things will be all that different. The Dems have been running the GOP’s congress since Ryan and McConnell took over.
* Royalty and being anointed by a god to rule is, in the modern world, a silly notion. The idea of a Saudi “royal” family attempting to evoke images of a long-surviving sacred tradition is sillier still. This is a corrupt band of siblings and cousins, all of whom would slit the others throat if they had the power to do so. Established with British blessing after WWI, these people lead Saudi Arabia much the same way Putin rules Russia. The Saudis just play more at the religious scam to stay in power.
**Boeing – there was no line entry anywhere in Boeing’s contract with the government that said “Air Force One: $4 billion.
I have not seen this level of blatant melodrama on display in DC since…well, since the Russians “interfered” with our elections. The hypocrisy run so deep and wide you could dam the Mississippi River with it. Let me school you on some facts here.
There is, amongst all the wailing and the gnashing of teeth tonight, actual talk of the impact this decision will have on the investigation into the Russian dealings with BOTH PARTIES in the run-up to the election. One hack on FOX told Bret Baier this evening that the investigation into the Russian “meddling” is the most important national security event in the history of the country.
So marks the intellectual integrity on display on Capitol Hill.
In 2016, the Russia engaged in the time-honored tradition of trying to affect a favorable outcome to elections in another country. To be certain they did even more of it in France before last Sunday. As do we. In fact, Russian “meddling” to whatever extent it occurred, was nowhere near as vitriolic, immature and ham-handed as Barry Obama’s was in trying to sway Israeli elections. Obama and fellow Dems followed this with pouting and petulance after Netanyahu won anyway. BHO spent the remainder of his term, especially the last 60 days, creating as much difficulty as he could for an ally. And we’re mad a Russia for trying to kiss up to our candidates?
Yeah, I have the throw the bullshit flag on that one.
When they were caught, they denied interfering in Israeli election and then spent the next several month explaining why they did it.
It’s called nations working in their own best interest.
Even the most half-assed nations across the globe work very hard to see a candidate they favor end up in the halls of power, especially among the stronger governments. Russia and China tend to be poor pickin’s because they are wholly corrupt, totalitarian states. What “elections” there are, aren’t worth “meddling” in.
That said, the Russian investigation will continue. It is too convenient a hiding place for congressmen who don’t want to actually engage in the peoples’ business. So, saying the firing of James Comey had anything to do with this investigation is specious and beneath consideration.
As for the firing itself…
…the new-found certainty on the part of Republicans is amusing. As is the new-found adoration the Dems have for Comey. The Republicans were starting to call for Comey to be fired back in may of ’16. But then the Clinton investigation seemed to get legs so they loved Comey. Then Comey appointed himself Attorney
General and decided the most open-and-shut case for the mishandling of government documents was un-prosecutable. The Republican hated him again. In October, Comey re-opened the investigation into what did turn out to be the most egregious aspect of the Clinton mess. Huma Abedin intentionally sent sensitive documents to her husbands computer. Once again the Republicans were in love with James Comey. What a swell guy! Then Comey, once again decided publicly that there was no crime to be prosecuted. And once again, the GOP felt like the jilted lover.
For their part the Democrats despised and celebrated Comey proportionately opposite to whatever the GOP was doing. During one of the anti-Comey moments on the Democratic see-saw, Chuck Schumer declared that James Comey no longer had the confidence of Congress or the citizens and needed to be removed. Now, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein releases an assessment , based on exactly the same reasons and the exact same incident and Chuck is pretending to be upset at Comey’s firing.
It is all such a silly show.
At least one CONSERVATIVE, through it all, maintained that Comey was a problem and needed to go, never having let go of that position. That conservative would be yours truly.
To understand why, you should read the letter sent to President Trump by his Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein. The letter explains how Comey not only worked above his pay grade in his public pronouncements of the Clinton scandal, but that he acted irrationally and against extremely important policies. Most importantly, in the process of “clearing” Hillary Clinton of criminal wrong-doing, he went on to list derogatory behavior, by her and others, for public consumption.
While a trial or eventual release of reports on the whole affair would have been damaging to whatever was left of Clinton’s reputation, it is certainly not the job of the FBI director to point that out in a public speech. The only thing we should have heard from Comey in July was that he had passed his investigation along to a Deputy Attorney General and would await the decision of the Justice Department just like everyone else.
But Comey saw too great an opportunity to gain the limelight. He simply couldn’t stay professional. He has come out with many explanations since, defending his poor performance in the summer and fall of 2016. It is this constant excuse-making that convinced DAG Rosenstein that Comey was not reliable and may at some point in the future put the integrity of the Justice Department or FBI at risk.
Rosenstein is a refreshing change after our last two self-serving, scofflaw Attorneys General.
And Trump doesn’t Help His Cause!
The creepy, near admission of some kind of guilt by Trump in his letter to Comey is, even by Trumps standards, mystifying. It also shows that Trump’s people are either blindly loyal or just as weird as he is. Either way, Trump is ill-served.
Trump tells the man he is firing how glad he is that Comey told him three times that he was not the target of investigation.
If this is true, and there is no reason to doubt it unless you view it with an anti-Trump agenda, you don’t say such things in the firing letter! Knowing the question will be asked, you take that opportunity to bend the narrative your way. Something like, “Of course this dismissal has nothing to do with an investigations. They will continue. But based on all evidence, it is ludicrous to even intimate that the President was involved with any Russian meddling. Hell, even Comey disqualified President Trump as a target of his investigation ON THREE OCCASIONS!” But you don’t invite suspicion by saying something an 8-year-old would say in that situation – and putting it in the pink slip!
This part of the affair further demonstrates one of my chief concerns about Trump. Where succeeding as a leader is a game of chess, Trump can’t seem to hold his own in a game of checkers. Those who would see him undone, nationally and internationally have an easy task laid out for them.
Timing Isn’t Always Everything
As for the “timing” of this report, Rosenstein is still very new to the job. Congress slow-walked his approval as they did many other appointees, including the DAG’s boss. And whose fault was that? Oh, yeah. Chuck Schumer! (along with lame ass GOPers like McConnell) Rosenstein was asked to look into something and make a report. He did. And it is a very straight-forward, level-headed report.
I hope no one is losing any sleep over this. My friend Tim thinks it’s the bellwether of the coming Fascist state. It’s not. That would be Obamacare/Ryancare. All the wall-to-wall breast beating and crying today is just typical Beltway bullshit.