The Gloves, They Go Boom!

Don’t worry if you don’t understand that title. If the majority of people could understand it, chances are Donald Trump wouldn’t be President.

Or maybe he would. Who knows.

Anyway, this post is about Donald Trump as POTUS, President Of The United States. It’s been about a week as I write this. If you’re reading this before the end of January 2017, you’re one of my Patreon supporters. I plan on republishing it on our Politics blog at the end of February 2017 with additional comments, if any.

The timeline for this post starts back in January 2016. I was having lunch with some friends and was asked if I thought Trump had a chance at the Presidency. I was asked because my company, NextStage Evolution, has correctly predicted electoral outcomes and their margins since 2004.

My real concern, I said, was that at some point Trump would realize he really could win and would start putting serious effort into it.

So why did he win? Campaign effort aside, Trump won for the same reason Obama won back in 2008; he’s radically different from everything else out there so he’s got to be better than anything else out there.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama was a young black guy going for an historically white man’s office. He made statements (not sure if I’d qualify them as promises) about hope, prosperity and American values.

Back in 2008, the United States was on the brink of collapse because of the Eight Years of Idiocy it’d just gone through. We were in the eighth year of a war that was suppose to last only six weeks, any common folk who’d made investments witnessed them crash and burn while those who did the crashing and burning were rewarded because things weren’t worse (brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?), our homes were either worthless or too expensive to keep and there were no jobs to be had because companies had moved everything overseas.

Heck, the US military had outsourced packaging MREs for the battlefront!

So now Trump’s in office. Because he’s different from everything else out there. As a nation, we tried one kind of different (Obama) and didn’t get the immediate fix we wanted so let’s go for another kind of different (Trump) and see if that works.

Trump and his policies scare me.

But then I have to wonder, maybe that’s the point? Anybody remember The Tick? A great line from The Tick is “And isn’t sanity really just a one-trick pony, anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick, rational thinking. But when you’re good and crazy, ooh ooh ooh, the sky’s the limit.”

Now put yourself in North Korea’s shoes, in ISIS’ shoes, in Putin’s shoes, in the EU’s shoes, China’s, Mexico’s, take your pick, designer or off the shelf, it doesn’t matter.

The US’s got The Tick in office. You can’t predict what this guy’s going to do. He doesn’t play the game the way everybody else does. And he’s got the biggest ball on the court.

Screw that, he owns the court! And his ball’s not only big, it’s bigger than you, all your players and all your balls and courts put together.

Maybe the Electoral College got it right?

I mean, the gloves, they go boom, right?

I’ll be posting this to the Politics blog at the end of February 2017.

If we’re still here.

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Why #Hillary Won’t Be Getting Our Vote – And No One Else Will, Either

On Wednesday, 7 Jan 2016, I tweeted about some #Hillary campaigners who blew it big time with us.

These were two young people (early 20s, I’d guess). They came to the door, asked for Susan, she wasn’t home, I said that, they said “Thank you”, turned around and walked away.

I said, “That’s it? I’m a guy so my opinion doesn’t matter? My vote doesn’t count?”

The literally shook their heads as if the concept of campaigning to a man was unknown to them, as if they had to shake loose existing ideas to make room for “Man is interested” in their crania.

After a moment’s hesitation and fugue, one said, “Oh, would you like to vote for Hillary Clinton?”

I waved them away, disgusted, shaking my head in disbelief at their lack of training and closed the door.

These people were not prepped and/or trained well, and if they’re what #Hillary is sending around on the eve of the NH Primary, me thinks her camp is in trouble nationally.

But Today (Saturday, 9 Jan 2016)…

A tall, thin, white-haired, mature looking fellow came to our door, #Hillary paraphernalia bedecking his jacket like a tribal chief’s regalia, and asked for Susan.

She was in the living room, sitting on the couch, watching Selma (and if there’s not irony in that, there’s not irony anywhere), and called out “Not interested.”

He took some flyers out of a notebook he was carrying. “Could I leave you these to give to her?”

No, thank you. Not interested.

“Well, then I’ll just leave them in your door,” and he proceeded to ram them into our doorjamb.

I said, “No, please don’t. We’re not interested.”

He looked down at me and said, “I came to see Susan.”

She got up off the couch, walked to the door and said, “We are not interested. I am not interested. You didn’t do what we asked, you belligerent mucus, why should we have any interest in doing what you ask?”

Okay, I edited her response a bit.

But she did close the door in his face. Which was probably lucky for him. This is the woman that horses and other assorted large livestock fear. She doesn’t tolerate much from anything or anybody.

But again, doesn’t anybody train these people on how to negotiate a yes? Or at least leave people with a willingness to talk with a follow-up campaigner walking up the drive?

What we really want to know is…

I also tweeted about a #Trump supporter who didn’t have enough sense to get his nose out of his phone and his body out of the road, running the risk of personal injury and traffic problems.

These folks were merely the latest. What we really want to know is, are the campaigners this year worse than in previous years? It seems so. It definitely seems nobody is training these people properly. Are the stakes that high this year and nobody told us? Or if this is how you go about telling us, is it possible you’re not campaigning for the names on your armbands?

Now that would make sense.

But Back to Susan…

She printed the following out. It’s up on our front door. And I can already hear the doorbell ringing again…

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Back in the Day

Back in the day, all weapons, armaments, and explosives were very hard to come by and protected from mass distribution by treaties which banned the proliferation of arms. To a large extent those treaties are now ignored. It would seem that gun-runners are now having a field day as the wild west is evidenced on all continents. Even the entertainment culture appears to include violence and lawlessness as a raison d’etre and includes scenes of carnage like those depicted in Paris, France mid-November.

Back in the day, all weapons carried identification information such as the manufacturer’s name, production serial numbers, and date of manufacture. The same controls applied to the ammunition used in the weapons. Special licensing and other restrictions were imposed so that the distribution of killing machines was under strict control. Nowadays such controls are so fraught with loopholes and dispensations that the so-called rights of manufacturers to produce and sell is called a freedom to be religiously upheld and cherished. The same arguement is trotted out by gun owners and their cohorts as if possession were a security blanket. So weapons and ammunition are easily available to the mentally challenged, criminals, the careless and those who harbour religious fanaticism.

Those jurisdictions, which introduce and legislate tough controls over possession, storage and/or use of weapons, receive brickbats from every quarter. The police forces, world wide, are facing an impossible task of trying to uphold laws which are easily circumvented. While one state manages to curtail and control some sales, a neighbouring state may have an open season on sales. Proliferation is so rife that the forces of law and order are fighting an uphill battle in order to stem the tide. Police often find themselves out-gunned and under siege. Who would want to be an officer of the law under such conditions?

How often have we heard that “Enough is enough.” I would go much further and aver that enough is more than enough, much more. The damage is done and it’s time for a new anti-violence regime to be heard loud and clear. If a car manufacturer produced a vehicle which killed people there would be all hell to pay; just ask GMC or VW. Let’s apply the same logic to those who manufacture arms and ammo. It is now possible to identify weapons from codes built into their firing mechanisms. Using modern technology ammunition could also be coded so that identification is safeguarded. In this way the illegal acquisition of armaments could be traced at each stage back to source and if laws are enforced, remedies would be handed down to make the perpetrators face justice.

Realising that some political goodwill would be required to bring such a regime about, the naysayers will gripe about amendment rights, freedoms, hunting, sports, and the plethora of usual excuses. It is long past time for the political class to grow some cohones if not spinal tissue and do what is not only politically right but morally defensible.
Scenes such as those from Paris will be repeated unless we show leadership and international cooperation in order to curtail the international proliferation of arms and bring the perpetrators to justice.

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Sanity Once More

It’s getting to be a habit, a very welcome habit to my tired eyes and ears. The announcement that the US is not only talking to Iran but has actually joined an international partnership to reach a deal which limits the proliferation of nuclear weapons, is a joy to all who value peace, tact, and diplomacy. The announcement follows on the heels of an opening dialogue with Cuba leading to a partial normalization of relations there, too. The trifecta is complete with the announcement from the Hillary Clinton campaign that all Americans should be automatically registered to vote on attaining the age of eighteen and that she will push for such registration. Other progressive actions seem to be surfacing to the benefit of the citizenry and to the relief of minorities. Although there is a long way to go, such moves are so welcome that sanity is seen to emerge.

Elected representatives quickly forget that all of the accusations levelled at Iran can and should equally be levelled at the US. They say Iran can’t be trusted but the Iranians remember how the US was instrumental in usurping Iran’s democratically elected government and installing the Shah, a terrorist puppet regime, in its place. They say Iran is a sponsor of international terrorism by supplying arms and support to some of Israel’s neighbours. Is the US conscience clear in every Central and South American nation on the same topic? The US considers it appropriate to tap into the communications of nations on every continent. The latest known victims are Brazil and Germany. Republican and Democrat spokemen alike castigate Iran for actions that the US has repeatedly modelled. The good news is that Iran has risen above the US paranoia and their people rejoice in the outcome.

When Israel acts as the aggressor, creates apartheid conditions and destroys homes and infrastructure in Gaza, they are praised in the US as freedom fighters. They receive funding and armaments from the parent source and do not discriminate in how those arms are used. On several occasions the UN security council has condemned Israel as war criminals and for crimes against humanity. Yet those resolutions do not see the light of day because the US exercises its veto. Despite three years of negotiations (culminating in the day old agreement to limit Iranian nukes) there is not a peep about putting the same screws to the Israeli stockpile. The hypocrisy continues. When will Russia, China and the US trust each other enough to really show leadership in nuclear disarmament?

The thawing of relations with Cuba has been dealt with elsewhere but the third item regarding voter registration requires an airing. The governor of Wisconsin recently announced his running for president in the 2016 election. Part of his platform was a boast that his state now requires government issued photo ID in order to vote. By so doing he has effectively cut the voter rolls for those who can’t obtain a government issued photo ID. A Student card is not good enough. Neither is utility bills, shopping cards, and any of the other myriad ways usually accepted as proof of identity. He is not alone in imposing such restrictions. It is a measure of insanity to make voter registration and ID difficult in a democracy. That is why Hillary Clinton’s announcement was so welcome. If enacted it would cut across the voter registration and ID fiasco and bring a standard requirement to all states for every election.

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Are Mass Shootings Trending?

To call the most recent tragedy in South Carolina a hate crime – as some media types have done – or to treat it with inward looking labels of intolerance, man’s inhumanity to man, racial bigotry, severe prejudice, class bias, etc., is to cover the ordeal with soft soap and furnish a snow job. The mass shootings that have made startling headlines not just in the USA but around the globe all seem to be aimed at those who can’t fight back; church-goers, school children, students, all unarmed and unprepared for gun violence. It follows that the perpetrators are not just mentally unstable and lacking human decency but the lowest in the ranks of cowards.

A similar class of cowards is being recruited by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Given that they are armed with American weapons granted to Iraqi forces and then abandoned, it would seem that a new wild west scene is being opened up with some delight in the Middle East. The question arises as to how the ISIL recruits are to be treated when they are eventually brought to justice. Those same recruits are labelled terrorists and guilty of public beheadings (to mention but one international crime).

As in the original wild west, law enforcement – using brave souls, the rule of law and posses – eventually brought some order to the west. Would the “eye for and eye” old testament justice suit in the Middle East? Why are those perps who resort to gun violence against the unarmed in churches and schools not labelled homeland terrorists? Are they not every bit as guilty of terrorism and crimes against humanity as their ISIL brethern? Semantics? Perhaps. The children of Sandy Hook and the congregation at the Emanuel church felt terrorised!

It is variously reported that the perps are recruited via internet sites such as KKK, Aryan brotherhood, etc. and that there are some 800 such hate groups plying their poisonous doctrine world wide via those sites. Are they not all offering a route to terrorism? Free speech mantras are one thing but such freedoms surely carry some responsibility and accountability to recognise that not all free speech is good or welcome. So much is known to law enforcement entities about those groups at federal, state and local levels that it should be a no-brainer to shut them down permanently. Just as ISIL is treated by the international community, so too should like remedies be levied against our homegrown terrorists.

The ranks of cowardice also extend to the legislative branches of government. To make armaments available to the mentally unstable and registered felons sans background checks and to offer the nonsensical audacity that the availability is a right is to invite chickens to come home to roost.

In the 1950s and 60s, the UK was forced to face up to racial profiling and prejudice. The national conversations that followed brought stringent laws to bear on all cases of discrimination in the workplace and in rentals and sales of properties: People of colour were offered the same rights in public as their local born citizens. Perhaps a similar round of conversations is long past due in the home of the brave.