Monday, March 30, 2015

Losing Faith

To the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in this room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness. --Richard Clarke

According to a 2012 Pew Research Center Study, "A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation (32%), compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older (9%). And young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives." Now why do you suppose the children of the 1980s and 1990s would be less religious, and less likely to join local social organizations like Rotary Clubs, less likely to describe themselves as Democrats or Republicans, etc.?

Let's review what has happened since Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election. We have had (1) a dramatic politicalization of religious faiths with socially conservative faiths by their leadership, (2) American governments supporting repressive regimes with disastrous results over and over again, (3) the impeachment of a president for lying about an extramarital affair, (4) the largest intelligence failure since 1941, (5) losing track of the guy who lead the first large-scale successful attack on American soil since 1812 to fight a war on false pretenses, (6) an ineffective torture regime condoned by high officials, (7) child molestation scandals in the Catholic Church and Penn State that was covered up for decades, (8) colleges cannot keep students from committing sexual violence against each other and don't want to look into it, (10) the largest financial collapse since 1929 based on self-deceptive fraud, (11) a whole branch of the federal government that cannot function without super majorities for one party or another (Congress), (12) another branch of the federal government that has become wholly politicized (the Judiciary), (13) greed has consumed sports --professional and amateur-- to exploit players at the expense of their health and well-being, (14) fraudsters have increasingly turned to religious people to run their scams to live lives of luxury on the backs of the faithful, (15) the police have become militarized, (16) while the military have become disconnected from society, props to cheer for at sporting events but otherwise ignored, (17) privacy has been eroded with nothing to show for it. And none of these failings have been called to account at the top. All the while social mobility has all but dried up, and economic inequality has exploded.

Richard Clarke was on to something. But it is not just the intelligence community that has failed us in the last 35 years. Governmental leaders at all levels have failed us. Financial leaders have failed us. Higher education has failed us. Organized religions have failed us.

So-called millennials are rightly increasingly skeptical of all institutions that hold power in society. But the solution is not to become even more cynical and disengaged. Instead, children of the 1980s and 1990s need to organize to demand accountability and change from every institution that has betrayed the public trust. Apathy merely consigns us further down this road. For the good of the Republic, energy needs to be channeled into remaking these institution through laws, rules, and regulations that reign in human frailties that have evidentially overwhelmed them. Clearly, relying on the good intentions of the people in power has lead to disastrous results.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Life in the slow line

There are times such as these when time appears to pass realitivily slowly. It seems or be a endless game of waiting for the next big thing. 

Something will turn up soon. The election is in November. The biggest Snowden bombshell will break any day now. Whenever Glenzilla decides the moment is right. Next game will determine the playoffs. And so it goes. 

Perhaps I have become even more impatient of late, but I am having trouble  waiting any longer for anything. How about you?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Constitutional personhood

Most conservatives balk at the notion of the "living constitution." And most liberals detest the idea of corporate personhood. Yet if a corporation can be alive enough to be "person," and a corporation is created via a legal document signed and filed by one or more people, then why isn't the constitution similarly a person capable of evolving? Since a corporation does not to file amended articles of incorporation to change its business focus, why should additional amendments to broad articles and amendments to the constitution be necessary?

Likewise, if the constitution's words and meanings are capable of changing as society's standards change, then why can't a corporation have changing principles that drive it? For example, Apple changed from a computer maker that also sells software to run on its machines, to a company that sells music,  ring tones, movies, apps, services, software, phones, tablets, music players, as well as laptops and desktops. 

Both sides a bit wrong on both issues. The constitution is alive in some respects and corporations are limited beings with limited rights. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Snap back to reality

While reading this amazing article in the Deseret News about the impact of the fight on Utah's Capitol Hill over Medicaid expansion, this portion of Eminem's "Loose Yourself" starting playing in my head:

All the pain inside amplified by the fact
That I can't get by with my 9 to 5
And I can't provide the right type of life for my family
Cuz man, these *** damn food stamps don't buy diapers
And it's no movie, there's no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life

There are 130,000 Utahns who cannot afford healthcare who could see a doctor and get real treatment if the powers that be step up and do the right thing. Sadly, there are those in the legislature that would rather pass a message bill. Who are they trying to speak to? Caucus goers who select delegates to the GOP convention. But the message they send to those 130,000 people is that they are mere pawns in a political game.

"It's not hypothetical for me," said Stacy Davis-Stanford, a 28-year-old who was on top of her game in a social work career before a car accident in 2010 triggered a life-changing neurological disorder. She now spends most of her time either in bed from intense pain or in a wheelchair because she doesn't have the strength to stand.
Davis-Stanford believes the right doctors could help her walk, but she can't afford to pay a visit and only gets medical care in an emergency. "I went from being at the top of my career . . . to being fed and bathed," she said. "I still offer a lot to the world, but that is a big difference."
The Salt Lake Community College student and small-business owner is disgruntled with how long it has taken Utah lawmakers to make a decision that envelops her physical, emotional and mental well-being.
. . . .
"When they do not recognize how gravely important this is, it makes me sick," Davis-Stanford said. She's accumulated more than $200,000 in medical bills she cannot pay and is putting off tests that could lead to a firm diagnosis and possible treatment that could potentially restore her once-vibrant life.

It is not Stacy's fault that she got in a car crash. She is not to blame for being unable to afford it. So why do those seeing to become Govenor want to deny this social worker from being able to contribute to society? Why should communities have told bake sales so that someone can get an organ transplant or chemotherapy?

It is immoral and wrong, especially when our federal tax dollars are already paying for these 130,000 to get healthcare, so long as the legislature stopping trying to cut off its nose to spite it's face.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Several prominent Republicans, such as Ari Fleicher (president Bush's Bagdad Bob) and Sen. John Cornyn (TX) immediately presumed that Obama had practically given the Iranians a warhead when they learned a tentative peace deal had been reached in negotiations Iran had with Russia, China, GB, France, Germany and the US. Perhaps this was because Obama had caved so often to negotiations with Republicans, but was the most likely reason was they believe Obama is not quite a "true American" and it not looking out for our national interests. This extreme rhetoric is not borne from differing views of foreign policy and negotiations, but rather the true genesis of the birther movement. 

The perceived otherness of Obama by these Republicans vying for Tea Party approval is the same otherness these white conservatives see all around them: billboards, radio stations, and tv stations in Spanish, interracial and gay marriage, salsa outselling ketchup for a decade, and more. Soon, the will have to share their place in the sun with these others and this loss of privilege is frightening. And apparently maddening. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

It wasn't a ruse

As a follow up to a post I wrote this summer, it is mine to admit I was wrong. My theory that Obama was using Summers and Yellen was shot down by the Summers trial balloon being burst by Democratic Senators on the Finance Committee and Yellen's nomination shows that Larry was always their first choice and Janet was always their backup. 

Makes one wonder whether Susan Rice was their first choice for Secretary of State and John Kerry was their second choice also. And it also leads me to question other times a seemingly big loss was couched up to Obama's skills at 3-D chess. Sometimes I wonder if administration is playing the wrong game. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Grinch who stole Congress

To me, the ultra conservatives who are hell-bent on defunding and repealing Obamacare are akin to the Grinch who couldn't stand the thought of Christmas arriving. Both essentially said "I must find some way to keep this coming."

Except while the Grinch was worried about the noise you hear from all the children playing with their toys, Tea Partiers worry that the American people will actually like the Affordable Care Act and as a result the welfare state be irrevocably expanded. 

But just like in Dr. Suess's story, Sen. Cruz and his allies did not stop Obamacare from coming yesterday. It came without national parks or cancer research, or Headstart, any host of things that have been stooped or closed thanks to their intransigence.

Sadly I don't see the last part of the story being the same. I don't think the Tea Party's hearts will grow to size two sizes some day.