Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Robert E. Lee

16 August 2017

It isn’t General Lee that is drawing groups of protesters. What draws the white supremacists is an idea which they wrongly attribute to General Lee. Robert E. Lee considered the subjugation of African-Americans to be a moral and political evil, antithesis to the belief of your average white supremacists. But the statue was erected by other white supremacists and it is that heritage which now draws the protesters, both the white supremacists who wants to spread the idea of white domination and the counter protester who wants to spread the ideals of civil rights for all. There is no place in this enlightened age for those who still cling to racism and bigotry. It isn’t a matter of Rights to free speech, that isn’t speech – it is just hate and fear. There can be no statue for the white supremacists to venerate now just like there is no grave for Hitler.

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Over Trained?

24 July 2017

Paid and volunteer civil servants such as firefighters and police deserve respect and praise for their efforts to maintain public safety. Those that have sacrificed to save others should be memorialized to an even greater extent than they are. But here is the difficult question, how many police officers have died from using too little violence? We, sadly, regularly hear of those that have died by police action, with the most notable cases involving unarmed women and children. Maybe those officers were over-trained to pull out and fire their weapon. An action removed from the consequences maybe easier to perform but lacks morality. It is more like the action of a soldier on a battlefield than a police officer in a playground. Maybe police need to train in more non-lethal methods. We live in such a gun crazy country, it would be good to consider how to deescalate potentially deadly situations on both sides of the conflict.

Fiscally Conservative What?

26 May 2017

How exactly is it being fiscally conservative if the budget isn’t actually getting any smaller? On top of that add the eventual tax cuts which decrease revenue thereby​ increasing the debt. More defense spending (which only matters on the international stage) at the expense of lots of good and important domestic programs does not seem to put ‘America First’. For example, wouldn’t more infrastructure spending be more ‘America First’? Or how about more research spending, wouldn’t being the leader in a technology be more ‘America First’?

Of course I personally don’t advocate ‘America First’, I think that is short sighted to reduce funding of international aid programs. I’d rather increase revenue by things like eliminating investment tax loopholes. Though I’m sure there is some bloat in government spending that could be cut.

Pre-K, Full Day Kindergarten and the Studies

3 May 2017

I am told that the studies are inconclusive as to the benefits of pre-K and full day Kindergarten when examined at later grades, such as middle school. I think there is a failing in these studies, though I am no expert. My issue is how we teach to the lowest common denominator. The lack of funding for teaching to accelerated students basically means that they would, in general, be slowed down from what they could potentially achieve. We cannot ask one teacher to be an expert at teaching three or four different levels in the same classroom but without more funding there isn’t the money available to add additional educational resources in each classroom. Of course there are socioeconomic issues here as well. I don’t have a solution to school funding but I would like it if the broad consensus on the initial benefits of pre-K and full day Kindergarten were not watered down with studies showing what happens later when we underfund schools in general.

Nuclear Option

27 March 2017

Aside from the one they keep talking about related to Senate rules, there is the much more deadly version which the current administration believes needs to be enhanced rather than eliminated. This is a huge mistake. Having more nuclear weapons only increases the risk of people dying, it does not save people from nuclear attacks. MAD made sense when the state actors were rational. Now, however, if a rogue actor or group uses a nuclear weapon who would the state counter attack? Do we kill 100 million people for the actions of 1? No, that is an act of collective punishment of the level of crimes against humanity. Besides, conventional weapons can kill just as much. No, we need to move away from the nuclear option. Less nuclear weapons, not more.

A Political Post

6 November 2016

Dearest friends, family and others who may venture here,

If you have voted, thank you. If you have not voted, please do. Don’t let apathy, long lines, unpleasant people at (or in) polling places, or belief your vote doesn’t matter prevent practicing your right to vote. Voting helps strengthen our democracy and prevent radicalization of the political process. The more people who vote then the harder it is to buy an election and the less likely someone would try.

Aside from my belief in the need for everyone to practice their right to vote, I do have a preference for who people vote for. So, I apologize that the rest of this post will be partisan.

I have heard, even from people who voted Democratic in many previous elections, that Hillary cannot be trusted, has broken the law, and/or gotten people killed because. I fear some of their reaction is sexist but even for those that are not I challenge these reasons for allowing Trump to be president.

For one, while Hillary has released tens of thousands of emails and decades of tax returns, Trump has actually deleted emails he was ordered to turn over by a judge, refused to release tax returns and withheld payments to contactors and others till he he lost the case in court.

Secondly, while Hillary has not actually been indicted for any crime, and even been cleared by Republican controlled congressional investigations, Trump, and companies under his direct control, have been convicted of crimes. He has, in his own words, committed crimes including sexual harassment which by itself should disqualify him.

Third, the only leaders who support Trump are Russia’s Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un. Not what any reasonable supporter of democracy would consider leaders they would want to rule them. Leaders who have come out in support of Hillary are too numerous to mention. Even a majority of business leaders have come out in favor of Hillary citing Trump’s vast history of bankruptcies and poor investment decisions on top of his sexism, racism, bigotry, and intolerance.

Lastly, Hillary did not cause the death of an ambassador or his guards. The link related to embassy security isn’t even likely to cover a consulate location like Benghazi and, further more, the addition of another guard or two would just have meant two more deaths. Religious extremists bent on killing Americans are responsible for the deaths, as they still are today and have been since at least the 70’s.

The election of Hillary as president should be heralded as an example of progress against sexism. People should stream into the streets and fireworks should fill the sky in celebration of breaking the highest of glass ceilings. She is qualified to be president so much more than Trump that there really cannot be a comparison. So please, if you have not voted, go vote and seriously consider Hillary for president.

Emails and Servers

25 August 2016

So your saying that a bunch of people, senators and other political leaders, received emails from and sent emails to the Secretary of State’s private email server without worrying about it for many years and then they all decide, long after she was no longer in the position, to criticize her for using that very same private email server. Why, exactly, did they not have a problem with it in 2008?

I doubt Clinton set up or even knew to suggest setting up a private email server. Someone else made that suggestion. The idea would then have been checked by others for legal and technical ramifications and again no one had a problem with the plan in 2008.

Political expediency, pure and simple. It makes people like Gingrich and Guilliani, who would waste their breath on baseless accusations rather than productive policy discussion, look like untrustworthy used car salesmen. Trump by himself is a joke, the really scary people are those around Trump who either act or believe otherwise.

Advice and Consent

16 March 2016

Advice and consent are active nouns. They require action to complete. Inaction, by not allowing hearings and not allowing votes, is not the same as withholding consent. Not having hearings and not having votes is failing to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of being a senator. That is very different from withholding consent.

Mr. McConnell, I, along with a majority of the citizens of this country, demand that you fulfil your oath of office and have the Senate properly review, with hearings and vote, the candidate nominated by your President. If you cannot fulfil your obligations then you need to resign from office.

Sad Day at the Polls

15 March 2016

Today could have been, nah should have been different. A woman before me at the polls, in a rush significantly caused by delays at check in, left without pressing the last (and third) accept button on her electronic ballot. This left her ballot on the screen when I was next, showing a vote for the same person who I was to vote for. A vote that would now be, sadly, void. Not sad that the candidate didn’t get a vote but sad that her vote was to be lost after trying to vote. Sad that the vote wasn’t for the very qualified person who will be the next President, who deserved my vote and my support and who happens to be a woman.

I am glad that I will get that chance later this year to vote that woman into the oval office. But today, today I voted for a dream. Someone called him a unicorn. Fictional in his chances of winning. Rare in his ways of approaching politics.

I know he won’t be President. The vote was merely a statement of desire, that I wish more candidates were as pure of intention as he is. So a sad day but also one of future hope. A woman will be President and the world will be a better place with maybe a small shift towards people rather than money controlling elections.

China, Housing, and Refugees

9 January 2016

I’m told China has a real estate bubble that might collapse and cause a world wide recession, if it hasn’t already. So it got me wondering, just how much over-supply is there? Turns out there is number for that on the internet, and it is that there is currently more than 1 billion square meters of available housing. Yes, billion, with a B. It works out to space for over 25 million average Europeans (or only 14 million average Americans). That would be enough to house every refugee in the world, so one way to end the refugee crisis in Europe. Sadly I somehow doubt China would be so generous with their unused housing.