Fighting Covid

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 Look we are in a fight, but the enemy is not liberal Americans, nor is it conservative Americans  it is not even China.  The “enemy” is a disease that is transmitted by a virus. It is killing Americans and costing our economy dearly.  If we can manage to get it under control we can re open businesses and schools.  As we develop treatments and eventually a vaccine then we can start living more normal lives.

I know we as Americans can do this.  We can look at other countries that have been able to keep transmission down and reopen somewhat if not fully. 

But to do this we need to work together and our best weapons are knowledge and pragmatism. These are both things I truly believe our country has used well in the past and we need to look inside ourselves and find again.  We will learn from this and I am actually helpful we will get out the other side and figure out not only how to survive this but build a more resilient economy and society so that the next pandemic or other disaster won’t take such a toll.

A Madman has spoken….

Ignore no more!

Uncle Sam Ignoring Someone Taking a KneeI am angry, some of that anger is on me and most on our country and leadership.  It is sickening that we have allowed our fellow Americans to be oppressed by police and other institutions!  The fact that this happens because of race makes this worse, because how disturbingly obvious it has been. 

I don’t support violence in protests but let’s get real; Colin Kaepernick came up with a peaceful respectful and poetic way to protest this issue of oppression. But rather than being heard he paid a high professional price. He could have backed down and not paid the price but he chose the braver / stronger path.  And what was the reaction to this protest? Football players were told a game is not the place to do this. Translation: “yeah you can protest peacefully but do it where people don’t see or hear you…”.  so the problem isn’t the lack peaceful protests, but rather trying to sweep this under the rug. Saddest of all, this systemic racism should have been a top priory without any protests. We couldn’t even be bothered to make real change even when it was brought to our attention.

Think of all the sickening videos you’ve seen and know these are just the incidents caught on camera. How many offenders have gone to jail? It’s insane most haven’t even lost their jobs.  Police need to be held accountable for injuries and deaths period.  And the many, many good people in the police force need to help make this happen.

And yes we need to look at funding priorities. It’s not about defunding police but rather about funding a better infrastructure to invest in public safety, lowering crime and better outcomes.

It is time for us all to wake up and demand change and make it happen. If we do then Americans can stand proudly and work together on challenges facing all of us.

A Madman has spoken ….

Truth’s Value

and the Profitability of Lies

Should we Defend the Truth? No!. The truth isn’t something that needs defending, in fact it would be more likely we need to protect ourselves from the truth…

Truth simply exists, it does not care about us, or even right and wrong.  We can choose to value it and use it.  Or we can choose to ignore it, or deceive others about it.  But in the long run making decisions while ignoring it or deceiving can be very costly.  

We all have a view of how we want the world to work. We want our view to be correct, we find people who share the same view convincing ourselves we know the truth. If you are comfortable with the truth and feel it agrees with your world view…. Well I hate to tell you you probably don’t know the full truth yet.  The truth is sometimes simple but not always…. 

Nut knowing the truth and making decisions based on it can pay off not only for you but those around you.  Great examples of this are the many scientific discoveries that have led to improvements in our lifespan, made us more mobile and life easier in so many ways.  Those discoveries took time and effort. So yes truth is valuable but takes hard work.  Fortunately, that hard work often returns shared profits for both the truth seeker as well as many others.

Of course there are other ways of profiting…  Deception can be incredibly profitable and much easier.    However unlike truth profiting from lies almost always comes at the expense of someone else.  In the long run lies tend to fall apart but sadly event when they do the cost of the lies often hits a different set of people not always those who profited from he lie.

A troubling example is the tobacco industry.  For years tobacco companies profited by deceiving the public, executives made large bonuses, research companies made money to create disinformation, PR firms got their share.  The people that paid most dearly were smokers, community health care, children of dying parents, ….  Eventually the lie was exposed and yes companies paid dollars, but that was borne by who?  Did the execs pay back their bonuses?  Did they go to jail?  No with was the investors at the time that paid, most of which had nothing to do wright the lie.

We always have many truth and lies to navigate. I am hopeful we will choose the path of valuing truth and figure out how to reduce the profitability of lies….

A Madman has spoken, or has he?….

Papers Please! : How did we get here?

As a kid I always enjoyed a good spy thriller.  A strong recurring scene in the Soviet Union where people traveling had to show their “papers”.  At the time highlighting in USA we were free to travel on our own.

This really hit me as Real ID rolls out and suddenly somewhere along the way I realize the USA is now becoming a place where you also need to show your “papers” to travel. How did we get here? 

Back in the day you’d buy a plane ticket and if you wanted you could just give it to someone else.  The Airlines discovered they could be more profitable by making tickets non transferrable and checking you were the person on the ticket.  And better yet they’d offer customers perks for using their airline repeatedly.  I’m not implying sinister intent this is just good business.  But then 9/11 happened and the TSA was formed.  And to protect us our IDs are being checked. At the same time we became more fearful of immigration and some areas even passed laws where police could check immigration status for anyone they suspected was here illegally. 

But are really safer because of this?  Or have we silently given up part of what made America a beacon of freedom?

And if the government followed business’ lead on IDing people, what does that say for our digital lives ahead? 

A nostalgic Madman Has Spoken…

Go Team USA!

Politcal fighting is never the answer

We Americans love our teams.  But sadly our political teams don’t love us…. But this shouldn’t be a surprise, political parties are simply groups of people that strategize and organize to win elections.  Each of the parties in the US have shifting priorities and platforms meant to maximize voting.  Unfortunately in this shuffle they lose sight of actually working in the interest of the country.  So when members of congress always voting ion party lines they ares simply always putting party first and country second…

A recent counter example to this is Mitt Romney.  Voting for Trump to be guilty for an article of impeachment was certainly contrary to party.  And is already costing him politically, so whether you agree with his decision it was one motivated by what he believe was correct rather than falling in line with what is “best for his party”.  Sp please realize it was a brave and very patriotic vote.  So an a bright example of someone putting their country before their party.  Sadly there seems to be fewer and fewer examples of this….

It is not too hard to figure out which members of our congress are putting party first, many give it away just listening to them.  And if not that then you can look at how many vote in lock step with their party…

But we have the power to put a stop to this.  We can do simple things like unfriending, unfollowing, not retweeting party line voters on social media.   And where we see our representatives / senators willing to vote for country rather than party going out of our way to follow, friend and retweet them.  It is easy and may seem trivial but politicians will notice  who gets ignored and who gets attention.

Even more powerful in the next primary not give our vote to party tools that are in congress today.  While ideally you’d have a choice of someone who puts country ahead of party you don’t have to vote for anyone else.  Simply not voting for a person at all and not giving that person your endorsement is powerful.   Think of your vote as a donation to them, since it is.  Believe me if a sitting Senator or representative see’s their vote drop by a few percentage points even if they win will pay attention 🙂 

Here is a link to one of the most telling votes in the Senate, where they tabled calling witnesses.  https://www.senate.gov – roll_call_vote  you can decide which of those Senators really worthy of your vote.

A Madman has spoken….

Abuse of Power: Truth and Consequences for Voters

Ok there is a very good chance just reading the first three words in the title gave you a jolt of partisan fervor, at least it would me.  Today we have a big problem where defining abuse of power is, why it’s important and even truth itself have been made to seem partisan.  They are not and we need to wake up to the fact they are important to all Americans.

I am proud that Americans have historically fought against Abuse of Power.  Our laws define various roles granted, either by election or by appointment, important powers to run our country.  These powers are given to individuals in order to protect our laws and act in the best interest of our country.  It is an incredibly important oath / contract.  But people have flaws and make mistakes… So fighting Abuses of Power is how we protect our country against corruption that can and will occur.  

One way abuse can happen, in when someone oversteps the power that is granted them. This is protected by having multiple people involved in making, executing and verifying those actions, basically it’s the core reason we have multiple branches of government.

Another form of abuse is when someone uses their granted power within its bounds but not in the interest of the citizens as intended.  This could be for personal gain or more dangerously to further their power. Worse usually these type of abuses are covered by half-truths or outright lies.

Abuse can also occur when someone decides not to use their granted powers…  A quick example, a police officer has the power to give a speeding ticket to drivers, if a officer decides to not give a ticket to say someone dropping a $100 on the ground, well they are corrupt and Abusing their Power…   Turning your back on your powers is an ugly way to damage the country and was you are sworn to protect.  One power that many fail is to inform the public of the truth without spinning information to fit a political narrative.

As an American I have been proud that our country has had relatively low corruption in our government, but we seem to be taking a jaded and partisan view of this which rankles my American soul.  As citizens we have to make it clear we expect oaths to our constitution and country to be honored. Not holding ALL our government officials to this standard is leading us into more corruption.  Failing to value that standard is simply unAmerican and unpatriotic.  

But an important twist, our constitution also grants power to each citizen… We all have a power to vote.  It is an abuse of our power not to vote and not to inform our vote with the truth.  Truth is often boring confusing and doesn’t fit into simple narratives.  The problem is scandal and partisanship sells but the truth does not care about what sells.  Electing and governing without caring about the truth well in the end truth will always bear out… People guided by truth will flourish those that don’t will flounder.  It is our responsibility to cut through the BS and vote for people who value and speak truth and who won’t accept Abusing Power…

A Madman has spoken….

Yes, Lets End Ballot Control :)

California has passed law making it a requirement for primary candidates for governor or president of the USA must show their tax returns to the public to get on the state’s ballot.  If you’re aware of the law it is highly likely you fit into one of three camps 

  1. You think this is the end of democracy as we know it and it should be thrown out 
  2. You think this is a great idea and will force president Trump to finally publish his returns
  3. You think this is a worthless exercise and we have better things to do

Ok I might have missed some nuance here 🙂

But as madman i find the arguments and furor pretty fun.  To be clear i’m very ambivalent at best about the law itself.  I think it is incredibly unreasonable for the public not to see how candidates make money as a very basic way to make corruption transparent.  But at the same time my hackles go up when ballot controls are used as a tool…

The basic argument against the law is that it is unconstitutional because states cannot put addition requirements for candidates beyond what the constitution specifies.  It also states the law itself was politically motivated attack on Trump.  

The latter, in my opinion is true.  If you don’t think this is an attack or rebuke of president Trump’s lack of providing tax returns well, share what you’re smoking…  But just because it is a rebuke / attack is really meaningless in determining if it is good and valid law.  Plenty of good laws have been created because someone did something that needed rebuking or attacking.  In fact it is likely the start of most good, and bad laws…

The first part of the argument is a hoot.  The courts have held in the past that states can’t restrict access based on things outside the candidate’s control.  But things in their control such as obtaining signatures, filling fees, party registration and being selected by a party have all been allowed…

So the argument is really saying states can only use the constitution as a guide even for things clearly in the control of the candidates…  

If that’s true then all states should have ballots for both primaries and general election that include anyone who requests that can show they are a natural born US citizen that is 35 years or older and has resided at least 14 years in the US.  This might make for a pretty unwieldy ballot, but i like it!  Of course it would remove parties from the ballot equation…

A Madman has spoken….  🙂 

Enough! : Do Something For America

Enough!  As Americans we have had enough of inaction and partisan stupidity it is simply time to act.  When it comes to gun violence in America today we clearly have a problem and there are no easy solutions!  But not doing anything is stupid and using it as a political football is morally bankrupt. We can do something real.

Mitch, Donald and Nancy, no more excuses and finger pointing, the three of you need to sit in a room and come out and pass legislation all three of you support. And it must do something about the problem.  There has been enough talk that some of the points are clear.  For example we already know extending background checks is needed, a boost in mental health care.  Other provisions should be considered, in action has already cost lives.

And as we have seen we need to point out where speech can have consequences, we need direct talk and hold out examples where it goes too far.  Like inaction words can kill.

When you walk out with that legislation and message to America it better not have any stupid other topics in it.  It has to be clear you worked together on this issue and not some idiotic political trade.  You all need to support the other party and do something right by Americans!!!

An American has Spoken….

Border Emergency! Yes its real.

There is an incredible emergency at our border!  Our border patrol  is being overwhelmed by desperate families are crossing over the border to find us officials to turn themselves in.  While they are hoping to be accepted as refugees, most will not be…

Most are coming from Central America, so they had to first cross the southern border of Mexico, then travel and additional couple thousand miles.  I know this is shocking but these refugees aren’t likely aware of or considering the specifics of our immigration policies.  They simply see the dangers of travel and the uncertainly of migrating as being the best choice for their children.  

So yes we need to do something about this, but rather than spending billions on the border perhaps pending millions working with Mexico and Canada to create refugee centers in southern Mexico would be a more effective way to handle the emergency…

These centers would be allow refugees to find out if they qualify for status in the US and/or Canada before spending their resources traveling across Mexico.  And the centers would be a place for other NGOs to find refugees possibly giving them more options.  This would reduce the border crossings and yield a better result for the refugees.   Oh and it would mean we wouldn’t have to spend as much, or rather i should say borrow a much money…  But hey our kids and grandkids can pay those bills!  

A Madman has spoken….

Breakdown US Senate Integrity : Vote your conscious not your party!

It is amazing how out of touch our Senators are right now.  They have a relatively simple job, they have to look at and review what they know of Brett Kavanaugh and decide if they think he should be a supreme court justice.  This is a political appointment so of course the two parties are playing politics.  But at the end of the day they need to each individually decide if this person is the right person to be on the court.  It is not about handing on party or the other a loss or victory…

I of course have opinions, I’m a political madman its what I do…

I reviewed the transcripts of the testimony and caught some on the radio, some on you tube.  And I have to admit my American heart was crushed by listening to a sitting American Federal Judge lie under oath to Senators.  And over the stupidest crap, just to avoid “embarrassment” of being a crass and drunken high school kid.  And he did it to color and avoid the obvious problem that given teenage antics with alcohol he probably cannot account for all his actions.  So he lied to avoid consequences.  It reminds me of when Bill Clinton was being interviewed many years ago…  

Yeah when you’re in a hearing, under oath you get asked hard questions, but you have a responsibility to answer those question with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth just like the easy questions.  In the end Clinton was impeached for this type of BS.  And I know I’m tired of this attitude that some people are above the truth and wondering if any senators can stop playing politics long enough to call I out.

So they have to decide not on guilt or innocence but whether they can say yeah I want this guy representing every Americans rights and protection the integrity of our courts.

A Madman has spoken…