Saturday, March 12, 2022

What Qualifications Should a Presidential Candidate Have?

To kickstart this conversation, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, electing a president is a crap shoot.

No existing science produces perfect presidents.

No number of years spent in politics can guarantee a great leader. 

That narrows the options down to charisma and luck.

We've seen the results these combined assets can have with Donald Trump and Volodimir Zelenskyy. Both were entertainers on TV before the gods of chance plucked them out and made them leaders.

The two presidencies have been dramatically opposite and world-shaking.

In Trump's case his luck, partly as a result of Putin's help, gave him the electoral college majority while still losing the popular vote by five million.

That's right. Luck. Neither Trump nor his gaggle of cronies knew what they were doing during the chaotic 2016 campaign.

But there was that charisma thing with Trump. He'd built up a base of loyal followers that tuned into his quasi-reality show The Apprentice for five years.

The character he created on the show, the ultimate deal-making businessman, was a fictional foundation for his campaign. 

By taking advantage of people's fears (immigration for example) he forged a home for conspiracy theorists and right-wing zealots who turned out in record numbers to vote.

No need to point out all the corruption that tainted the Trump regime. Or the ongoing coup attempt by Trump and his acolytes currently under investigation in Congress. 

It's safe to say the results of electing Trump was, and is still, disastrous.

On the other hand, we have Ukraine's president Zelenskyy, a comedian, who was another TV personality portraying the president of Ukraine.

His defiance and courage in the face of Putin's invasion has inspired the Ukranian people and people throughout the world. His story is ongoing. His legacy being written in real time.

Miami Herald writer Manuel Aguilera wrote a great op ed about Zelenskyy titled - The 'Zelenskyy Method' Will Affect Elections Around the World. Macron already gets it.

"We are in the era of storytelling. Ideas are overvalued, and the thin line that separates right from left is often thin and imperceptible. We need people whom we would trust in our daily lives, to whom we would leave the keys to our house without thinking twice about it," Aquilera wrote.

In both cases, Trump and Zelenskyy's electability was underestimated. Political pundits in both elections felt they lacked any substance.

That leaves us with the question, "What qualifications should a presidential candidate have?"

How can we protect ourselves from electing another Trump? What would it take to get a devoted leader like Zelenskyy? A man of the people.

Should we have a neutral vetting process for presidential wannabees? Should there be certain requirements like believing in science? Or knowledge of the Constitution? Perhaps proof of a moral compass?

Sure, wish I had the answer. What do you think?

Friday, March 11, 2022

GOP 'Crazy' Olympics Ongoing Prior to Midterms

Fair Warning!

This year's midterms will feature more crazy candidates than has been seen in modern times.

As history shows, there's always been a fair share of loons running for elective offices in this country.

But the GOP contenders in this year's primaries leading up to the midterms, are sporting a bumper crop of crazies. 

Last count was 76 MAGA morons running for county, state, and federal offices.

That's saying something.

Hyperbole you say. Well, let's consider what these right-wing candidate's goals are. That can best be assessed by the GOP Crazy Olympic Games that started right after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Here's a few quick events featured in the nationwide contest to see who's the craziest of them all:

1. The 5-minute Lie Dash - Contenders have five minutes to spew the most lies. The winner gets to kiss Trump's portly ass and bask in his endorsement of their campaign.

2. Putin Pole Vault Competition - Contenders have to prove how high they've praised Russia's murderous leader since Trump came into office. Along with Trump's endorsement the winner gets a color photo of Trump sitting on Putin's lap wearing a dog collar.

3. The Big Lie Marathon - The judges have a large database of election deniers and it's taking time to categorize their creds. The winner will get to be Trump's new official Ass Wipe (with uniform) and of course will get his backing in November.

All of this is very entertaining. But there's a dark undercurrent to my satire. A place where Democracy will be dragged down into a cesspool of fascism if these crazies take back the House and/or the Senate.

Should the worst happen, President Biden's attempts to deal with the nation's needs will be seriously hampered.

All of these crazies infecting the Republican party have no agenda, other than pleasing their master Trump.

They, and the crazies currently in Congress, plan on a revenge tour against the Democrats while setting aside the needs of the American people.

Our freedoms would disappear daily, as the cult of Trump secured it's hold over our republic. The new mottos: "Fiction over facts. Lies over truth."

Scary shit huh? 

Perhaps it's best not to try and predict the future. A lot can happen between now and the midterms.

I'll close with a request, please vote to keep these crazies out this November.

If Democrats don't turn out in big numbers and lose to the Trump/Republicans your life will take a turn for the worst. Think about it.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Memo to All Americans: We Are What We Watch

After seven decades of watching TV and going to movie theatres I consider myself an expert on visual entertainment in America.

A person doesn't need a degree to have an opinion. Experience is the best teacher. Self-examination is a good practice to have.

It's been a wild ride. I enjoy American-made movies and TV programs that are as plentiful as poppy flowers in Afghanistan.

I never really considered the overall effect on my psyche. I was vaguely aware that my tastes grew more extreme as the decades slipped by, spurred on by the authenticity offered regardless of how bloody.

To be clear. I'm not having a sudden epiphany here. I'm not trying to sell you on anything. Just sharing some thoughts.

One. We are the most violent country in the world. All you have to do is look at our entertainment industry.  When you factor in that Americans own more guns than any nation on the earth - it's a sure tell.

Two. I strongly recommend that you watch foreign movies (even if they have to have close captioning translations).

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"Everything I learned, I learned from movies."  -Audrey Hepburn

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In recent years I've been broadening my horizons by watching foreign-made films. They've opened doors to other cultures that don't thrive on blood-thirsty sensational movies.

In particular Scandinavian and European movies have deeper plots, thought-provoking characters, and generally rely less on gratuitous violence. It's still almost jolting when I see cops not carrying guns in those countries. 

It's not to say those countries don't make dramas with guns or disturbing horror movies. It's a genre that clinks to the darkest corners of nearly every country worldwide.

Lately I've been watching movies made in Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. Most of the plots have been thin, but they all have this emotive quality. Joy. Grief. Anger. Larger than life heroes. They're all magnified by complex underdogs you can't help rooting for.

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"People go to the movies instead of moving."

-Tennessee Williams

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By watching foreign movies, I've found out a lot about how people live and act in diverse societies. For the sake of transparency, I admit there was a time when you couldn't pay me to see a foreign movie.

Nothing could compare to good old American moviemaking in my mind years ago. The product always looked slicker, and I was sure our actors were the best in the world.

I guess you could say I've matured over the years (I have detractors that would debate that!). Call it what you will. By allowing myself to explore foreign movies I'm gaining a better perspective of the world I live in.

For years my attitude of American superiority was cultivated by my limited news and entertainment intake. I wasn't interested in the world outside of America's boundaries.

That I've reached a place in my life where my awareness of others is expanding, comes as a late blessing.

In summary, we are what we watch.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Accepting Reality: It's a Racist World

(Displaced Yemenis flee clashes, and face imminent risk of hunger)
Quick! Name one country in the world
that doesn't have to deal with the reality of racism?

That didn't take long did it?

There is no fairytale nation that totally accepts people of all skin tones. For that matter, there's never been a perfect society since people gathered in groups to protect themselves against wild beasts.

We see constant examples of racism here in America and across the world. Just look at the worldwide response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Most of the Ukrainian evacuees are white and the majority of countries in the world are supporting them in any way possible. From military help to humanitarian aid, the world's democracies have rallied behind the besieged nation.

Now look at what's happening in Yemen. Internal divisions and a Saudi-led military intervention have spawned an intractable political, military, and humanitarian crisis.

The tiny country on the Arabian Peninsula has been the scene of grievous civilian suffering amid a terrible war.

Yemeni's have been trying to survive constant cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages, and threats of famine for seven years, with no end in sight.

With a poverty rate of around 75 percent, Yemen has long been the Arab world's poorest country. War crimes are committed daily.

Torture, arbitrary arrests, and forced disappearances are among the many war crimes perpetrated by both sides.

Name some (any) countries that are pouring massive aid in to help the Yemeni people whose suffering is easily equal to that of the Ukrainian people's?

Didn't think so. I couldn't think of anyone responding on the same scale as in the Ukraine war.

Call it what you want. I'm calling the two very different responses to humanitarian aid a perfect example of racism.

In America we have people that try to deny they're racist while busily banning books about our racist history with slavery.

By accepting the reality that we all live in a racist world it gives us the opportunity to make changes across the globe towards a better future for all.

Special thanks to my dear friend Glenn for bringing up the subject of the Yemeni's humanitarian plight, and comparing the response to the crisis in Ukraine.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Americans Have Forgotten What the Price of Freedom Is

The camera closes in as two Ukrainians exchange vows amidst a war.

They both affirm their love for each other and make commitments to always cherish one other until they die.

The camera slowly pans out as the newlywed's kiss. You can see other soldiers in full battle gear clapping. 

The newlyweds silently grab their gear and join the rest in the fight to preserve freedom in their land.

By doing so, they also affirmed their commitment to fight for freedom, regardless of the cost.   

America. Are you watching?

Have you forgotten there's a price for the freedoms we enjoy? Millions of Americans have sacrificed their lives to preserve the republic you live in.

War comes in two guises. There's a physical war where troops, tanks, and planes are employed in open combat.

Then there's propaganda wars over people's hearts and minds. Both can result in overturning governments. Both are currently threats in Ukraine and the United States of America.

Our democracy is currently facing its biggest threat since the republic was formed. Our freedoms are looking more fragile every day because of the enemy within...

Trump, and his supporters.

Americans are watching a slow-moving coup attempt by right-wing social media platforms locked into alternate realities where Trump is still president, and the Big Lie is the perfect excuse to overthrow our government and to install an authoritarian regime.

Since the Jan. 6 insurrection very little justice has been served. Courts are easily tied into knots by Trump's lawyers.

The organizers of the assault on our Capitol are walking freely in the halls of Congress despite their participation in trying to steal the 2020 election.

The mastermind of the coup attempt, Trump, is holding fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago and is still the head of the Republican party.

Trump and his loyal minions are currently supporting Putin's invasion into a democratic country. Tucker Carlson's traitorous broadcasts are playing on endless loops on Russian state TV.

Why aren't Americans pushing back harder against the Party of Trump? Why aren't there national protests against the open coup attempt unfolding every day?

What are Americans waiting for?

The courts, you say. Keep in mind that time is the enemy in getting accountability. If the party of Trump takes back Congress in November, our freedoms are at stake.

Democracy will take a devasting blow that America may never recover from.

It's been encouraging seeing Ukrainian-Americans turn out in the streets to support their besieged democracy.

Hopefully, their example will inspire us all to fight for freedom right now by speaking truth to the lies and misinformation poisoning our nation, and by holding massive protest marches against the enemy within.

Monday, March 7, 2022

'10-4! What We Have Here is a Convoy' Comparing the Movie 'Convoy' to the Freedom Convoy

Are you old enough to remember this line from a popular song called Convoy that came out in 1975?

"10-4! What we have here is a convoy!" by C.W. McCall.

Perhaps you've seen the movie version of Convoy that came out in 1978. It starred Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young, Madge Sinclair and Franklyn Ajaye.

I'm bringing up this blast out of the past today because I want to compare another Convoy that is circling Washington DC to the original convoy protest movement.

The so-called Freedom Convoy we're witnessing today is nothing more than an opportunity for right-wing nuts to create chaos and support a treasonous past president's agenda.

Their pathetic attempt at getting attention has been partially watered down by the fact that mask mandates are disappearing across the country thanks to President Biden's handling of the pandemic.

It's almost not fair comparing the 1970's version where democracy wasn't at stake. To begin with the movie was a comedy. The current convoy fiasco is basically a comedy of errors by treasonous Trump followers.

The song and movie were about truckers avoiding police speed traps set by crooked cops. At least it was based upon a real gripe. Speed traps were as common as flies back in the 1970s.

Speed traps back then were illegal (they still are) and Americans who drove trucks or passenger cars were often snared by waiting officers looking to pad city coffers and to get bonuses.

That's why the song Convoy was an instant hit holding the #1 spot for six weeks. It was based upon a real problem, unlike the current Freedom Convoy that relies upon lies about masking and getting vaccines.

To my utter disgust the Freedom Convoy starting using the Convoy song as a rallying cry in Ottawa, Canada, and now here in the states.

In the original convoy the truckers were portrayed as patriotic heroes seeking justice against illegal speed traps and corrupt officers.

They were flying American flags and it seemed like the right thing to do when standing up for people's freedoms.

The current corrupt convoy circling Washington DC is also flying flags... with Donald Trump on them. The comparison is stark, and very real. No true patriots are involved with the Freedom Convoy.

It's more accurate to call it the Chaos Convoy seeking to undermine democracy and everything those true patriots portrayed in the movie stood for.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

A Season for Traitors: Apps and Traps for Treasonous Trumpies

What we know about the enemy within.

Trump acolytes operate in an alternate universe.

Facts fall like frozen iguanas in the Florida winter where Trump is still the president.

Alt-right media platform apps fester like boils, always ready to deliver pus-infused propaganda to eager sheep in MAGA hats.

Trump and his supporters are driven by an authoritarian ideology that preys on fearful people. These malleable minions want a leader who defies democracy and who will put the Republican party in power for perpetuity.

Except that it's not really the Republican party. It's the party of Trump. They're not conservatives.

They're traitors who are openly trying to transform our society into a slimy sect that worships an overweight ex-TV host, and twice impeached former president.

Here's something to think about, however.

Trump and his cronies across the country are facing legal traps that may end up being their tickets to permanent residences in federal prisons.

The Jan. 6 Committee will be publicly presenting all the extensive evidence they've gathered about the insurrection in a couple of months.

Then they will turn over their findings and recommendations to the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile Trump's supporters are openly working on their next coup attempt with absolute distain by suppressing minority voters with new draconian laws designed to disenfranchise them.

Orange Kool aide drinking Trumpies are so steeped in lies that the truth blinds them, scalding them like boiling water whenever it splashes in their face.

Americans once considered Benedict Arnold the biggest traitor in our history. Trump (aka Beenadick Donald) has made him look like an errant schoolboy with the depredations he's already inflicted on our democracy.

Americans should look to the Ukrainians war with Russia. They're sacrificing their lives to preserve their democracy. They realize that it's necessary to fight against totalitarian governments seeking to seize their freedoms.

The Ukrainians fight should inspire us all in the United States of America to fight Trump and his zombie army to preserve a more perfect union.

Crazy Talk: The Latest Conversations from the Lunatic Fringe in Politics

Let's get this party started. The leading conversation  today among the lunatic fringe in politics involves the former TV host and twice...