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Liar’s Poker

Barack Obama got us out of the Great Recession. He increased jobs, got the economy on track, defended civil rights for all Americans, and reportedly became the most admired President in US history.

Republicans didn’t like that; they wanted change. They voted in a candidate who ran on a platform of equal-opportunity hate for the full laundry list of target groups, promising to un-do all the achievements of the Obama administration.

That man won, and the world sees him now installing officials who are fiercely dedicated to do even more than the president-elect promised.

Most Republicans say they didn’t and still don’t believe he would actually do that, while Democrats took him at his word and treated his candidacy and platform accordingly.

So now we have the result that those who voted for the president-elect are the ones who believed he was a liar, and those “thin-skinned” others who voted against him are the ones who believed him.

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Election Hindsight 2016

from my Facebook post …

Hindsight is always a cheap currency, but I think I should have seen this coming. It came to me while packing boxes of surplus household goods for donation to charity; go figure.

The new American “REDS” – populism, authoritarianism, threats to the established Constitution, promises of arrests and purges, and pogroms against minorities – what’s not to like here? Republicans will rush to assure us that nothing of the kind is going to happen, and let’s hope they’re right. But it’s a resurgent American phenomenon, which we have not seen since the McCarthy era. It bears watching, with sharp hawk eyes, by those of us on the left and right who still care what happens. Give us strength to get through this.

u-s-flag-color

 

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Trump One Last Time

Let’s talk about Donald Trump one last time.

Maybe you’re undecided. Maybe you don’t care for the Trump demeanor and attitude, or some of what he says about others. Perhaps the programs he’s come up with aren’t quite your cup of tea. Perhaps you read the 2016 Republican Party Platform and found it too draconian for your taste. You told yourself, “He won’t be able to do that; it’s just words.”

Perhaps you “hate Hillary.” Perhaps you say “I never voted Republican in my life and I don’t plan to start now.” Never mind that this is no longer the Grand Old Party or “The Big Tent.” You thought you were supporting Republican ideals all these last twenty or so years, but you weren’t. They no longer exist.

You might say with some honesty that you don’t hate women, you don’t hate people because of their skin color or religion, you don’t hate gays or immigrants per se … because you’re not a hater.

You might say that just because the KKK supports Trump, A Trump vote doesn’t necessarily support racism. Wrong. If you voted for racism, you support it. Racists are never innocents. There’s just no way around that fact.

A vote for Trump IS support for racism and all the other “-isms” he promises America.

Anyone who votes for Trump is deliberately supporting a radical change in our national attitudes toward democracy, freedom and equality, no matter what they say, no matter what alibis and rationalizations they offer.

If you should still be thinking of voting for Trump, I beg you to consider this:

Our parents taught us to never bring shame upon the family name. If you vote for Trump, friends and family who knew better may have a hard time forgiving you. If at some future turn of events in a Trump presidency, you regret your decision, it’s too late.

It’d only be fair to ask: if you did it once, how do we know you wouldn’t ever do it again?

~~ If you liked this article, please feel free copy and paste it into email or social media with credit and page URL.

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“Around the corner” in the Mideast?

We had a Facebook discussion yesterday on the mistakes of 9/11, who “started it,” and whether it’s going to go on forever. Here was my prognosis:

I think, in some very unpredictable future, the Mideastern people themselves will get sick and tired of being pushed around, raped, murdered, incinerated and told what to do on pain of death by every warlord in the region (and by some foreign powers). At that time, they will, somehow, have to forge a better way that works for everyone instead of dividing and fighting. I call that “democracy” but they can call it anything they want. Democracy cannot be imposed, forced, rushed, or peddled like snake oil. It has to be chosen freely, and that is one thing no foreign power can do for a people. They have to do it themselves.

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“The Media”

[Gallup.com] “WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four in 10 Americans say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. This ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012. Prior to 2004, slight majorities of Americans said they trusted the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio.”

Trusted the mass media is an oxymoron:

“The media” is a catch-all term which includes an unholy gamut from NYT, WaPo and WSJ all the way down into the subterranean morass of People magazine, rightwingnews.com and National Enquirer. This means nothing, however, to people who think “vetting” is a recreational activity for cats and dogs, never fact-check, and believe everything they read.

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Phoenix or Bust

I gave up my Bay Area apartment and now live full-time in my home in Phoenix. The house is full of Bekins Boxes. I’ve been on the go 24/7 since June 3. This is the only post for July 2016, unavoidably a record low.

First, a note to my phone caller who left a message on my machine while I was out of town. You were interested in asking the owner of summitlake.com a question, but forgot to say what it was. (The domain is not for sale.) You forgot to leave your name. You asked me to please return your call, but for some reason the call terminated without leaving the number. Your message was polite and courteous. I probably would have called you back, out of curiosity, as you sounded like you are about the same age as me.  You evidently did not find the Write Us links on this site, so you resourcefully found a phone from a lookup service. I have updated the contact instructions in the WELCOME header on this HOME page. Sorry, there is no way to contact summitlake.com without using the security forms.

It is hotter than billy in Phoenix. The pool requires a lot of maintenance in the summer. There are a thousand and one other things to do – the joys of home ownership! Out of a piece count of 131 Bekins cartons, I have about a hundred to go, and I’m not going to kill myself deciding where things go, or by setting a deadline, All I ask is a carton a day.

As we swing into August, I have several new photos from Swan and other friends waiting to be published, and one or two of my own. Regular readers, if there are any, will have noticed I do not do “political” posts as much as I used to, and most of those are here on the HOME page (rather than in a Department). We are either preaching to the choir these days, or pleading to deaf ears.

Enjoy the summer heat. We will have to suck it up and get used to increasingly wild temperature swings. I am looking forward to October here; October and May are the two months where the weather in Phoenix is generally the equal of any paradise in the world.

Adios until the next time, Amigos.

 

 

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GMO Foods

Facebook today, on the rebuttal proposition that we do not have a right to know what’s in our food and how it’s produced.

Bernie on GMO

Correct, no scientifically vetted evidence has been produced that GMO foods are harmful, or will prove to be over a long period of time, but as an argument against GMO labeling this is a red herring.

Some of the arguments below [other comment posts] could have come straight from ConAgra or Monsanto. The comment below that “every natural food we eat is genetically engineered through millennia of selective breeding” fails to acknowledge how many results of natural cross-breeding, cross-pollination and radiation-induced genetic modification don’t make the evolutionary cut. Most of nature’s experiments went the way of the Ford Pinto than survived.

Consumers have a right to expect to be informed where their food comes from, how it is grown and fertilized, and if it is GMO should that be a concern to them. The industry rebuttal is that it is none of our business, that “we know what’s best for you,” and “we’ll decide what you need to know because printing a label is SO expensive and competitively disadvantageous.”

I don’t particularly spend time reading labels at the market because the huge issue for me – at this time – is the industry’s astoundingly resolute stance that where our food comes from and under what conditions it is produced is “proprietary.” I support food labeling laws but IMHO the only thing these folks listen to is profits. Buy the brands and foods that you trust and boycott the rest, as individuals, if not in some more organized fashion.

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On Guns and Hydrogen bombs

More hot topics: my challenge to Facebook readers

Some months ago I offered a challenge on these hallowed pages: we have a right to own a rifle or a pistol. So why doesn’t the Second also afford us the right to own a rotary cannon or a hydrogen bomb? How do you draw the line? What is the principle?

No one responded. Anyone’s first response would be, “Alex, that’s just common sense. No individual should own a hydrogen bomb.” But that doesn’t tell us how we can KNOW that, how we can draw the line. Is an M-1 semi-auto rifle OK? A Ruger? An H&K? Everyone says the AR-15 is suitable for “self defense.”. What about 50 caliber machine guns? What about fully functional M-61 tanks? What is the line between personal self-defense and battlefield atomic warhead mortars? What is the principle? If we don’t like where this seems to be leading, i.e. that there IS a line, all the more reason we should think about it.

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Orlando: Terrorism and Media Confusion

I share the sorrow, outrage and concern of the nation on the infamous event of this week. It was not the first, and will not be the last. It is said to be the largest lone-wolf massacre to which propaganda from so-called ISIS  has been linked, but it was not the largest. We won’t forget the Oklahoma City bombing, a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, nor the Twin Towers attack on 9/11/2001. Unsurprisingly, the nature of terrorism and the Orlando terrorist has been a subject of great speculation on Facebook this week. The killer could have turned to professional help and counseling, but he chose to turn against the world’s innocents instead. Our thoughts:

Media confusion: “Did Islamic State claim responsibility for latest attacks too soon?”
 
Re: “I’m wondering now if this was not really a terror thing but a combination of things played out by a truly troubled soul who just happened to be a Muslim and he adopted that mantra.
Me:
His ex-wife said he turned mean and crazy after -> becoming radicalized by personal contacts and “Islamic State” content on the web. A nut case may have more than one reason for turning killer.
It was a terror thing. The other things killed no one.

All good points you raise, but yes, people need to understand that it really was a terror thing. The other factors, known or conjectured, include: religious conflicts, sexual identity issues, psychotic behavior including wife beating and verbal abuse, and probable rejection issues at Plunge and on the gay dating sites for all of his obvious psych issues.

I’m asking your help in stressing that none of these “other things” in any way ameliorate, mitigate, dilute or minimize the terrorism aspect, as has been so often implied in media coverage. They do not change the fact that he murdered forty-nine people. As I said, the non-violent psychological aspects of his many problems did not harm anyone. And I know you already know that. No, it is not simple, but when you rank the laundry list by impact, as callous as this sounds, only one of them affects the country. He turned killer.
What I see on the media suggests the problem is that people tend to confuse and intermix the crime and the motivation. In criminal court, the crime is the crime, unless there are applicable and predefined special cases like insanity. Motivation is sometimes but not always considered in determining the severity of the sentence if there is a conviction. Societally, I think that’s a good way to look at it too.
A much simpler case, something that happens somewhere every day: a person has way too much to drink and is verbally rude and abusive at a party. People say, “That’s the liquor talking.” Trust me, it’s not.
More on media confusion: “Did Islamic State claim responsibility for latest attacks too soon?” We need to STOP glorifying the terrorist by sanctioning some question of “who was responsible” for an act of terrorism or claimed to be. The individual committing it is responsible. Instead of leaving open the notion that lone wolf terrorists are superheroes making a statement for God or Allah (which they are not), we need to start presenting them to the public as the highly screwed up mental cases they really were.
As I think more about the “claiming responsibility thing” I see it as presumptuous, and even preposterous. I have never been a fan of “shaming,” but perhaps this is a case where it’s appropriate.

Go out in a blaze of gunfire, see your every dirty little secret splashed across front pages, your family hurt and disgraced by you. See whatever dignity and tortured conflicts you had publicly ignored, deprecated and even trivialized, for you chose to turn into the worst animal of all. Whether a crazed so-called “Islamic” terrorist, or those Ku Klux Klan creatures who firebombed the church in Birmingham in 1964, murdering nine innocent and defenseless little girls, you are a terrorist who decided to take down the innocent as you turned away from the human race.
~~ Alex, June 15, 2016

 

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The Sanders Legacy

I probably spend too much time on Facebook. I also put huge blocks of my retirement hours into Perl projects, and yes, I’m still writing my book. Readers rarely respond to posts here, in part because the anti-spam interface makes it a pain. On my Facebook page, a good post will usually get a few “Likes,” sometimes maybe a dozen. I got 53 “Likes” on a New York Times post on another issue. This one on Bernie is well on the way., so I thought I’d get off my butt and share it. The rather snide NYT article is “What Is Sanders’ Endgame?” and you can read it there. My reply follows.

“At the end of the day, is his ethos greater than his ego?” There was no call for this small-minded NYT conclusion. Sanders has been a game-changer from the beginning. He forced [almost] all the other candidates of both parties to either address or pay lip service to important national issues they’d rather ignore. If he cashed in his chips tonight and retired to a remote cabin to contemplate his long decades serving the public, he has already made more of a difference than many presidents-elect. Bernie has raised our expectations.

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What Employee Attitudes Reveal About Shopping Experience

 

from my Facebook post March 31, 2016

I have worked, briefly, at establishments where morale is low, and you can see it in the faces, slow movements and attitudes of the employees. Once you work in the same conditions yourself, you’ll never denigrate the employee. I blame the workplace, and the buck stops at the employer. I worked retail for 11 years. By just walking into a store and observing, I can be prepared to get no better treatment than the employees I see by just looking around. We are not just getting what the marketplace supports with bare-subsistence wages, we are also getting the employer’s attitude toward running its shop. I take that as nature’s way of telling me to shop elsewhere.

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On Politics and Change

I occasionally post some “keeper” comments on Facebook, where they get swallowed up in the 18-hour Facebook Hole. I’m going to start sharing some of those here. “… some are capable of questioning their values or loyalties and making changes as necessary, and some on doing what they always did – and getting what they always got.” Read the full text in Commentary.

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Robert Reich and The Establishment

The 2016 Presidential campaign has captured public involvement and commentary more so than any previous election year I can remember, possibly excepting the Goldwater vs. Johnson election year of 1964.

Election Fever has spread to Facebook too, of course. A friend “Shared” an editorial essay by UC Berkeley political economist Robert Reich, which I’d say is recommended reading regardless of your preferred political party. I’d go further: our vote is often ignored and in some cases actually goes to the candidate your vote was meant to keep out, and it’s entirely legal. The system is rigged.

Read the full article in Commentary.

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