Dave Stancliff AS IT STANDS blogarama.com

Thursday, July 28, 2016

'Chillin' in a polarized country: Hop off the Hate Train

Good Day World!

I refuse to take a ride on one of the many current rhetoric trains traveling across this troubled nation like harbingers of doom. 

Millions of Americans are angrily divided. Hate, like a deadly fog has crept across America this election year. 

People are bleeding blue, and red. There is no in between. Some end up dead.


You can step out of the train station, and go for a nice long walk outside. You'll need to take long, deep breaths, and to open your eyes to the skies above.

Hint: you can be anywhere - from the concrete jungle to a tiny cell; it doesn't matter as long as you let your imagination swell.

"Chillin" in a polarized society is only possible if you are prepared to take the less-traveled road towards internal peace.

Unplug. Turn off. Disconnect all digital devices. Refresh yourself with your own thoughts, and in conversations with others. 

Everyone around you is worried. Fear makes too many good people fumble in this fast-paced society. The home of the free... and the wealthy 1% ers. 

Money is the root of all evil. I know that sounds trite...but I think it's right. Too many worship on the altar of greed, losing their humanity.

Don't hop on the first train that pulls on your emotions. You can easily end up going in the wrong direction.
Stay true to walking, and you'll always be grounded.

My wish for you today...is peace in this polarized society we live in.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How To Make Politicians Tell The Truth All The Time

                                    Good Day World!

I've figured out how to get politicians to tell the truth!

It's not going to be easy, but if you're like me, your sick and tired of the lies that routinely spew from politician's lips.

They get elected by saying whatever they think the crowd wants to hear, then go about their own agenda after being elected.

But how can we stop that? How can we get our elected officials to always tell the truth? I've thought about this for a long time, and the answer is simple and would be effective.

Before speaking publicly a politician must first take a standard polygraph test. They'll be asked questions on the content of their speech.

This will be mandatory or they won't be allowed to speak.

Experts administering the test will be hired by a government agency called the Department of Facts (DOF). 

"Proponents will say the test is about 90 percent accurate and  critics will say it's about 70 percent accurate," according to Frank Horvath of the American Polygraph Association.

In addition, the politician must sign a disclaimer that they won't go off script and slip in some lies, or they'll be duckwalked out of politics by the average citizen.

Once the politicians speech has been vetted for accuracy - the promise signed - then  he/she can give their speech with the endorsement of DOF, and the audience will know there's a pretty good chance they're telling the truth.

Nothing is perfect, of course. There's super liars who may fool the test. Even they will not be safe. The first time they get caught lying about anything they claimed...the game's over.

After awhile - with an effort like this - the liars will eventually be culled from public offices. 

Sound good?

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blooming Bromance: Putin and Trump in a tree...k..i..s..s..i..n..g

Good Day World!

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin's bromance is really becoming awkward lately.

Republican and Democratic members of congress are concerned about the implications. 

For example:

When Trump looks into Putin's eyes there's adoration for his strongman tactics.

When Republican senator, John McCain, stared into Putin's eyes he saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.

The word is Russia is doing what it can to help elect Trump.

Why experts Are Sure Russians Hacked the DNC Emails

The Russians gave the emails they found to Wikileaks, who released it at the perfect moment to hurt the Democratic party.

Trump has embraced Putin almost from the start of his campaign. He's said that Putin is a "world leader he would get along with very well."

Their relationship is rooted in their similar outlooks, personas, and in some cases, overlapping policy goals. 

For example:

During the Republican convention Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian.

When Trump called for not-supporting certain NATO allies recently, Putin break-danced down the halls of the Kremlin!

All Putin has to do now is convince the Donald to get on a horse, with no shirt on, and to wave a flag featuring anti-NATO slogans.

Stay tuned on that. I think this is a serious bromance that may threaten Trump's marriage with his Slovenian wife Melania.

Here's what we know:

* Someone hacked into the DNC servers and stole emails that were unfavorable to Clinton and released them two days before the Democratic convention.

* What top U.S. technologists know for sure is that at least two groups of hackers were willing to take a major risk - and make a substantial investment - to access the DNC's network.

* Who is behind the attacks remains unclear-and, unfortunately, a satisfying answer isn't likely to come soon. 

If it does happen to be the Russians, the hard part will be proving who they gave the emails to.

Read Why Putin is pro-Trump

Meanwhile, the world will be watching as Putin and Trump's bromance continues to blossom.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Presidential Election 2016: Why Am I Not Hearing About Fighting Poverty in America?

Good Day World!

Quick! When was the last time you heard about solid proposals to fight poverty during this election year?

I'm waiting.
(Photo via The Borgan Project)

I know. It's not a very sexy subject

When you have a demagogue talking about marginalizing minorities in America and how hopeless the country is without his help...the subject of poverty is submerged in the barrage of hateful rhetoric.

We need to address poverty in this nation with positive programs and support from the entire American public. It's time to stop demonizing the poor.

Helping Americans should be a bipartisan subject. But it isn't, much to all of our shame. This election cycle is all about finger-pointing and lies. Seems like addressing poverty doesn't get votes in this new rude era of politics. 

When I hear some politicians saying this is the land of opportunity and if you work hard there's no reason you should be poor; it tells me how out of touch they are with reality.

The human spirit is indomitable. When I read the following article, I realized there's always hope if people work together in a common cause for the communal good.

Fighting for Seats at the Table: A Poor People's Movement in a Rustbelt Town

I hope this program (Think Tank) inspires more communities to take a pro-active approach to poverty and not another band aid approach, which has been the case for far too long.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Case of the Mistaken Strippers: It Was All Good

Good Day World!

Wanna hear about something funny?

True story.

One night a group of ten women were celebrating the 50th birthday of one of their number. The were all having a great time and making lots of noise.

A neighbor, irked at how loud the celebration was, called the cops. The cops came.

Then the real fun started.

The cops knocked on the door of the apartment. One of the "tipsy women" answered and opened the door wide, encouraging both of them to come inside.

Once inside, they were greeted with cheers. Screechs of animal delight broke out and they took turns posing for pictures with the two male officers.

As you may have guessed, the women thought the cops were fake cops who were going to perform a strip tease!

Seems like the cops took it all in stride, and being professionals they knew they needed something for the police report, so they asked the birthday girl for her phone number.

That got the rest of the women laughing so hard it sucked the air right out of the room! Some even hugged the remarkably tolerant cops.

Try to imagine, if you can, some of the conversations. 

The women finally agreed to turn the music down when they looked outside the window and saw the police cruiser parked outside.

There was no indication that anyone was ticketed.

This incident didn't happen in the USA. It occurred in Mainz, Germany.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day of the Demogogue: Will America Become a Banana Republic?

Good Day World!

When Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention he made one thing clear - there will be order, and only HE can make it happen.

He mentioned the word "order" throughout his testosterone-fueled address to the audience. He mentioned the word freedom once during his 75 minute rant.

He said he would only tell the truth. By the end of his speech he had lied about numerous points.

The die has been cast. The Party of Trump intends to push a nationalist agenda that doesn't have room for minorities. Look no further than the NAZI party to understand what's happening here.

Racists have found room in the political arena this year and are appealing to a lot of fearful and angry people. All limits on rhetoric have been lifted, and it's scary.

In the toxic atmosphere created by Trump, it's okay to run for political offices even if you were an ex-Grand Wizard for the Klu Klux Klan.

Enter David Duke, now a convicted felon, having pleaded guilty in 2002 to bilking his supporters and cheating on his taxes. He's running for a senate office in Louisiana.

And why not? If Trump can get away with bilking people (think six bankrupties and Trump University), and cheating on his taxes and still get the Republican nomination for president, Duke should be electable too under the current seismic societal shift.

The polls tell us Trump supporters are mostly angry old under-educated white men. His followers are motivated by fear. Trump thrives on that emotion.

Like Adolf Hitler, Trump uses fear like a hammer, then massages it into the national consciousness like a diabolical masseuse.

Don't worry. Don't think. Just vote for the Donald. The message really resonates when he talks about the "good old days,"  which were also the bad old days for every minority in the nation.

We have entered the era of a new demogogue. The Republican convention was consumed by a vigilante rage, complete with mock prosecutors, show trials, and chanting mobs.

The picture presented to the world has been of America, as a banana republic.

What has happened to our country? Our descent into political chaos has been rapid and perplexing.

Is there enough hate and fear to take the USA down the path to it's own destruction? Let's hope not. Only time will tell now.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Be Happy: Don't Talk About Politics and Religion

Good Day World!

"I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." –Mark Twain

The old saying about not talking about politics and religion in polite company really resonates today.

Both are stressful subjects and not conducive to pleasent small talk. There's just too much bad news in the world and people need to unwind.

No, this is not a "Miss Manners" moment, just something I found to be true.

Writing about the two subjects is another thing. If someone reads a controversial opinion piece I wrote dealing with either subject it's their choice.

That eliminates the confrontation part and allows for the processing of the piece. An opinion can be formed unchallenged.

But when you are in a group of people - especially if there's drinking going on - steer away from politics and religion. Talk about anything else.

In case you haven't noticed the country is more divided than ever when it comes to politics. Whether you fall on the left or the right it doesn't matter. Politics are poison.

As for religion, it's always been controversial. Each religion believes it's the one true way to God. Unless your a minister, you're not going to convert people to your beliefs, so skip the sermons.

Just Be Happy for what you have, and who you are.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump's Going Change (wink! wink!) Now That He's Officially The GOP's Banner Boy

Good Day World!

How many 70-year olds do you know that have suddenly undergone complete life transformations; going from bombastic to civil in the course of one year?

I'm waiting.

Apparently, so is the Republican party. I listened to Bob Dole being interviewed yesterday and one thing struck me: he acknowledged that Trump has some major problems but is backing him anyway.

Dole didn't want Trump originally. His first pick was Jeb Bush. Then he shifted over to Marco Rubio. Finally, left with no other choice, Dole got in line with the rest who grudgingly support Trump.

Dole said it was a binary choice. A lot of other Republicans have said exactly the same thing. Trump won the primary, so they have to back him no matter what.

"Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd & thunder'd; 
Storm'd shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of death, Into the mouth of hell rode the six hundred."

From The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It doesn't mean these reluctent supporters enjoy riding the Trump train. To the contrary, nearly every one of them is hoping that Trump transforms into presidential material before November.

What amazes me is that some people actually think the bombastic carnival barker who has been insulting people and groups all of his life is going to change now that he's officially the poster boy for the Republican party.

This is Trump's ultimate con.

The idea that he's going to change is either wishful, or delusional. Take your pick. Donald Trump is the most reviled GOP candidate that ever pushed his way through the primary process.

Meanwhile, many Republicans are hunkering down and trying not to be seen with Trump anywhere. These conflicted supporters are trying to protect the Republican brand, but the brand has changed into The Party of Trump.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP Platform 'Most Anti-LBGT Agenda Ever Adopted'

Good Day World!

It's not easy being a LGBT Republican.

The Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization representing LGBT conservatives, are really pissed off with the newly adopted Republican platform.

They went so far as to run a full page ad about the most "anti-LGBT platform the Republican party has ever had" according to Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo.

By adopting a stance that goes against current laws - like legal gay marriage - the Republican party is putting up new barriers to uniting Americans.

The GOP, as it stands right now, is duckwalking behind a bigot, racist, liar, con man, and woman hater who thinks the only good woman is a "10."

Donald Trump has fragmented the Republican party, sliced and diced any common sense there might have been there, and reduced it to a laughingstock for generations to come.

When historians look back at this election, and read the GOP's platform, they're going to shake their heads in disbelief at the message of intolerance and hate that further inflamed a nation.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Decline of Journalism: Reality Politics For Entertainment and Profit

Good Day World!

I use to be proud of being a journalist.

As an editor, and publisher of newspapers, I always strived for balanced reporting. And the truth.

But when I look at the state of journalism today, I feel like my best friend died. What I see is "reality journalism." A hybrid between reality television (all media), and politics.

In this presidential election, the relationship in which the party leads and the media follows seem to have been reversed. Enter Donald Trump.

Or so says Harvard political scientist Thomas Patterson, who conducted a recent study of the precaucus, preprimary political coverage in eight major newspapers, cable stations and TV networks.

In their coverage of Trump, Patterson found, the media not only loosened the bonds of party control; they cut them altogether. As Patterson put it, "Trump is arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee."

Excerpt from "How the Media Overthrew Party Politics"

What happened was the media took a minor candidate, whose only claim to massive coverage was name recognition from reality TV and his wild life, and made him a presidential contender.

Just how lopsided was the free coverage for Trump? He got 34 percent of all the GOP preprimary coverage, nearly twice as much as the next guy, Jeb Bush.

"It is no coincidence, I think, that Trump arose from reality TV and its forebears, print and television gossip, and that he has strode onto the political scene as a gremlin, basically wrecking traditional politics the way reality shows for a time attempted to wreck traditional shows. Television, especially, likes him. Networks like that he is a loose cannon, which is the very best sort of weaponry for an entertainment based on outrageousness. Whereas every other candidate is more or less predictable, Trump is wholly unpredictable." - Truthout

The mainstream media's promotion of Trump for higher ratings may turn out to be a watershed moment for politics. Reality TV meets politics and the results signal the end of civilization as we know it.

The Republican National Convention is full of controversy and is more of a tribute to Trump, his family, and friends than about selecting a candidate for the presidency. 

I'm disgusted, and disillusioned. Journalists have created a monster, and we're all going to pay if Trump is elected.

Time for me to walk on down the road...