Profiles In Cowardice

I was thinking about the January 6th trials and all of the protestations about unlocking iPhones and the emails of Congress critters and other officials. That’s not to mention the hubris involved in ignoring subpoenas.

As a result of losing the 2020 election, the Republican party seems to want to just tear up the Constitution and leave no “rule of law” available to the common man. I realize that there are many people in our society that are so afraid and confused all of the time that they will happily give up their freedoms for the promise of safety. I might be scared and confused but I still want the insurrectionists held accountable. All of them.

Sadly, the current Republican party is willing to make the promise of “safety” to gain total control of our society. The fact that the Republicans are actively stoking the fires of domestic terrorists to allay the fears that the Republicans created should not be ignored. Of course I suspect that the Repubs are adapting Nelson Mandela’s quote “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” to their own needs.

We all realize that no democratic government has ever been able to keep its citizens completely in the dark forever. Even in the most repressive times, the government can’t even keep its secrets safe from cyber terrorists or whistle blowers. Look at the supposed harm whistle blower Bradley Manning is alleged to have done. Millions of records of government misdeeds were released into the ether, and all of the government’s anti-terror methods in place could not prevent their release. In spite of the calls for his execution for treason, it appears that the records released were more embarrassing than damaging. The truth came out and the Republic has survived, as it will when the January 6th insurrection trials conclude.

I guess I am ruminating on the safety issue posed by the January 6th insurrection. I’m also trying to make sense of the responses that it has drawn from some of the congress people. Honestly, I can’t think of how you could be hunkered down behind a bench in the House with a mad, frothing mob trying to rip the doors off and feel comfortable that it was “ok” because “they’re our guys”. The audacity to relate the event as just “normal tourist visits“, is beyond the pale.

Did the insurrectionists have playing cards like the soldiers in Iraq did to identify the high value targets? Clearly there were targeted members of congress, but what if you bore a likeness to one of the targets? Was Mike Pence’s brother in danger because he looks like the man destined for the gallows? What a tableau that would have been, Greg Pence screaming “No, no, you want my brother” as the crowd drug him to the hangman’s noose.

Mobs are by definition uncontrolled. Have the Republicans factored that any loss of life, any collateral damage to their side is acceptable as long as they return to power? I sense that the Congressional hearings are giving us that answer. Somewhere along the way being a good American loyal to the Constitution and willing to uphold the oath taken to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution got thrown into the ashcan. Fealty to the Donald and what he represents seems to be the only consideration.

We are all aware that it’s impossible to stop a guy willing to blow himself up in the pursuit of a cause. Maybe that explains some of the Republicans reluctance to rein in the lunatic portion of their constituency. I started to say “fringe” here, but I don’t think they’re the fringe anymore. Polls indicate that lunatics or lunatic lites are running the Republican party now. Maybe some of the more reasonable Republicans have found themselves in a position of riding the tiger. Sad. Who would have ever thought that the party of Reagan would ever have to fear “God Fearing” Christians?

I’m guessing that most members of Congress feel pretty safe everyday doing their job, unless their office is near MTG. It’s the difference in the narrative of what they are willing to do, or not do for the American people to keep us safe that worries me.

I’d love to see some of these congressional pseudo-patriots stand up for what they did and tell the American people, “Yeah, I did it. I tried to overthrow the government because my guy lost. I did it and I’m glad and I’m willing to serve whatever punishment is dictated because I’m proud of what I did.” That’s where real bravery is displayed, not in some convention hall in front of frothing sycophants.

There Should Be Riots

I caught a news blurb that got stuck in the back of my brain. I kind of let it marinate there and went on about my business. My guess is that it would have died of loneliness, like most of my thoughts, but then it popped up again on CNN, and then The Daily Show. Once I saw it on The Daily Show, I knew it was legit.

As the story goes, the Donald has been telling his supporters that if he is not magically reinstalled as the rightful President (for Life) then his supporters should stop voting in the upcoming elections, “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

Being one who was able to do a fantasy in my head that involved a backroom deal between Trump and the American oligarchs to destroy the Republican party forever and just go full scale Fascist, I’m reassessing my thoughts. In poker terms, I think the Republicans are now “pot committed”. They have too much invested in the psycho wing of the party to cut them and Trump loose. No backroom deals, no fantasies, just full on let the crazies have their way if it keeps “us” in power.

In my mind, the Republicans now have at the top of their ticket a candidate that says out loud what all of them are thinking. No more double speak, no more Newspeak, just comes right out and calls a spade a spade. The current party platform loses the “47%”, “welfare mother”, “welfare Cadillac”, references to the minorities and goes ahead and calls all non-whites murders, rapists, and welfare cheats. We all remember that the Donald got the ball rolling by calling all of the Hispanic immigrants rapists and thugs at his announcement speech.

In truth, I thought the “build a wall around the country”, ban all Muslims, etc. was so over the top that the everyday Americans would quickly see through the sham of the Trumpo-Fascist theory and it would be exposed early on. Imagine my surprise to find that the neo-Republicans had found a new savior. A savior who would say mean, hateful things at the top of his voice on a daily basis criticizing the people who were not “like us”. Blaming “them” for all of the world’s shortcomings and inciting his followers to invade the Capitol to maintain his regime.

In “Trump World”, the Donald doesn’t have the time or inclination to be politically correct, he’s too busy setting up his next scam. Besides, his followers shouldn’t be required to have to translate to get his message. For most of the Donald’s followers, thinking is real hard. Considering all arguments before making a decision requires the intellect to navigate a two-step process. It appears that there are not many intellectuals at Trump rallies. If so, they are standing off to the sidelines directing the Schutzstaffel in their next moves.

I don’t think that all actions at a Trump rally are orchestrated. I suspect that some of Trumpists get caught up in the moment and their half a wit doesn’t allow them to forecast the outcome of their actions. “l’m just too dumb to know better“, seems to be a common excuse given at the insurrectionists trials.

I don’t think the same can be said for the other Trump supporters using violence to get their message across. I think Trump is calling for violence from the lectern, and the fact that the Republicans in Congress will do nothing to put an end to it says everything. The current hierarchy of the Republican party believes in winning at any cost. Even if that cost is the “Shining City On A Hill” articulated by Ronald Reagan.

This could get ugly folks. The Chicago riots in 1968 were college kids upset about segregation and the war in Vietnam, among other things. The riots of 2024 and beyond could be because some little rich kid didn’t get his way. And let me remind everyone, even “Soccer Moms” are armed to the teeth these days.

Vengeance Is Mine

There is a condition in America that needs to be addressed. It is a condition that the issuance of a “pass” or a pardon would correct. I’m talking capital punishment, or more literally, murder that is sanctioned by the state. I’m against it, and I stand with most civilized peoples of the world.

While a lot of the countries still have death penalties on their books, most have given up the practice. Of the 35 countries in the North and South American continents, 7 have the death penalty, but only 2 of them, the U.S. and St. Kitts, still execute people. Of the 49 European countries, only one country, Belarus, has the death penalty and executes. It would seem that the more secular European countries are more forgiving than their Christian cousins in the Americas. I am at a loss as to why.

We know that America always wants to be number one, and currently we’re number six on the execution hit list behind such widely regarded human rights advocates, China, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Egypt and Iraq. That list is from 2019, and, who knows, the next totalitarian president might feel the need to “Make America Great Again” by using the gas chambers. After all, if you look at what constitutes a capital offense in some countries, you could see how a President with a complete disregard for the rights of the individual might react. Some capital offenses in other countries are: homosexuality, drug trafficking, apostasy, perjury, corruption and adultery. Who knows if the next Trumpian president might let the last two slide? It will probably be a matter of “do as I say, not do as I do”. Which I guess brings me around to my point.

For a supposedly “Christian” country, we ignore the teachings of Jesus, a lot. I mean, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” made number one on the list of things that we’re not supposed to do if we expect to wind up in Heaven. There were no qualifiers to the commandment as I recall. No exceptions carved out for killing for your country, or allowing the state to punish by using the death penalty. “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, simple, straight forward, to the point. In fact, the sentiment is further reinforced in the Bible in Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.Now from that verse, it’s pretty clear to me that the Lord is saying, “Don’t worry about it, I got it”. Sure as heck works for me.

I mean we’ve experienced “Death Race 1998” when George W. Bush raced to outdo his brother Jeb in extracting vengeance for the people of their respective states. W put to death 154 prisoners for the people of Texas, while Jeb contributed 21 for Florida. W did not allow any clemency hearings during his term as governor. W declared that he was not smart enough to overrule a jury, no matter how compelling new evidence of innocence might be. I hope someday that the Bush family faces a judge with the same sense of fairness and compassion that they have exhibited to others.

The “compassionate conservative” could not even be dissuaded from his role as God’s executioner by arguments that capital punishment actually costs the state far more than keeping the prisoner locked up. How easy is that? Keep a commandment and costs down at the same time? Seems like a no-brainer to me. But then, I don’t claim to hear God talking to me.

Maybe that’s the answer. People that hear “voices” should be eliminated from making capital case decisions. Until then maybe we could just follow the written word.

Even A Blind Hog

 As my dear old Granny used to say, “even a blind hog will root an acorn every now and then”.

The “blind hog” theory can be applied to a lot of professions. I think one profession/industry that has done more disservice to the world by ignoring the tools at hand, is the automobile industry. Before you think I’ve dropped third gear, let me elaborate.

Most of the world’s ills are being rightly laid at the feet of the oil industry. Our stock market fluctuates daily due to the battle between emerging green energy and the old guard. People all over the Middle East are killing one another, and folks everywhere else are helping them do it, to get to the oil. People in South and Central America are suffering cancer rates and birth defects that are epidemic due to the oil industry pillaging their countries and not cleaning up the environment. Dirty air is everywhere, the polar caps are melting and according to most scientists, we are on the precipice of destruction. How did we get here, why did we get here?

It seems that a very self interested man, one John D. Rockefeller, was the fellow who convinced Henry Ford to abandon his efforts on an engine that ran on alcohol, and instead focus on the gasoline engine. Other car manufacturers of the period were developing electric cars, even Ford, but they all abandoned their efforts when Ford started mass producing his Model T. We’re talking early 1900’s here, 1908 to 1910.

Over a hundred years ago, the automobile industry had the capability that powers today’s Chevrolet Volt. Rather than following an environmentally safe path of electric, or even alcohol fueled vehicles, they were influenced to instead follow the path of environmental destruction we are currently on. Sadly, even the “father of electricity”, Thomas Edison, is tainted by this mess, as he worked for Rockefeller at the time.

So, how does a “hog” that is feeding at the right trough, get influenced to change to a trough that is long term less desirable? Well, I guess I should point out, “hogs” are notoriously short-sighted. Ford wanted to be the preeminent car manufacturer, and he was willing to abandon better designed, more efficient engines to please his benefactor, Rockefeller.

Rockefeller was willing to do anything to increase the demand for his product, even to the point of destroying other industries. Rockefeller went so far as to finance temperance movements to influence Congress to pass Prohibition, and thereby close all of the distilleries. Rockefeller’s ruthlessness has continued on to this day. Follow up on Chevron’s lawsuits in Ecuador and other areas in Central and South America to see their callous disregard for human life. John D. would be proud.

What does a world look like with vehicles running off of batteries recharged by alcohol burning generators? Obviously, a lot cleaner than we see now. Is the question that Americans can’t get past, “Does it really work?” Well, look at our train systems. Millions of tons of freight are moved daily by trains powered by electric motors. Can the train’s two power systems, electric motor and diesel generator, be more efficient than the truck’s one diesel engine?

According to the Department of Transportation, a truck uses a gallon of diesel to move a ton of freight 59 miles. That same gallon of diesel moves a ton of freight 202 miles on a train. That’s nearly four times as efficient. Where did we go so wrong with our transportation?

To my mind, we ignored science, were “blind” to what science told us, and then piggishly pursued the same path, even after we knew we were wrong. With the electric car revolution, it looks like the public has finally “rooted an acorn”. Even though I love my muscle cars, I love my planet more. Here’s hoping we don’t get drug off path again.