Tis The Season!

It is the season of goodwill, good cheer, and time to show that extra kindness and charity to your neighbors, friends and family. It is also the time of the year when we will contribute to the profitability of the retailers and merchants of commercialism. We are only too happy to oblige and pack under the Xmas trees with all the latest gadgets, and gizmos; max out the credit cards and raid the savings accounts for another year.

This tradition started, no doubt, with the Three Wise Men showing up in Bethlehem with gold, frankincense and myrrh for baby Jesus, obviously, precious gems and spices were very cheap and easy to obtain in the year of our Lord. We never found out what happen to all the gold, however, Jesus was not materialistic and lived a life of poverty.

I am not suggesting we live a life according to Jesus, because our economic and political circumstances are entirely different in these modern times. We could not anyway, in our wildest imagination. Today, in this technological society, we can argue that the world is a better place due to advances in science, healthcare, engineering and the internet. People are living longer and have a better quality of life; they traveled extensively and free to live wherever they desire. Despite these achievements, dire economic hardships still preoccupy most of the masses.

The politicians and the dubious so called ‘job creators’ have a joint interest to keep wages low, and to work in concert to support that the wealth flows to the top 1%; the politicians to boost their re-election bid and the rich to control the politicians. It is an economic fact, that when the middle class and those on the lower socio-economic ladder have more money to spend, the economy thrives. Raising the minimum wage to at least $15 would be a win-win for businesses and government. People would have a lot more to spend so that businesses would have a greater pool of consumers; and the government would spend less to subsidize food stamps, healthcare and other services for those below the poverty line. The CEOs and Directors of these companies could demand less in their excessive compensation, which they could not spend in their lifetime.

Likewise, the Social Security crisis could easily be fixed by increasing the withholding wage base limit of $118,500, that is, the maximum wage that is subject to tax. Increasing this threshold would make the fund solvent for many more years. You would think that these fixes are a no-brainer, but politics and common sense are not interchangeable.

Looking back at 2015, we can deliberate over the resolutions we made at the start of the year. Most worthwhile goals certainly, but many of us have come up a little short. Too much sweet potato pie and turkey at Thanksgiving have blown up the diet regimen and the weight you promise to shed is now double. Your plans to seek a ‘significant other’, after years of being alone, but with careful selection and vetting, has not happened yet. You contemplate turning gay to increase your chances of finding a partner. Women are in a more desperate predicament, the demographics does not support finding an eligible partner; with most men, either incarcerated, unemployable or married, chances are slim and none. Some have found solace in the church, and an awkward, uncomfortable liaison with the charismatic pastor of the church, and an ‘undying love’, ‘tis so sweet to trust in Jesus’. Congratulations to you with a committed, and dedicated loved ones, you are more fortunate that you will ever know.

Maybe, that dream job you qualify for is never going to materialize, passed up again for the new whiz kid just out of an Ivy League school, or the hussy that seems to bend over backwards to please all her superiors or the brown noser with his head up the bosses’ ass. You conclude that some jobs are not worth the aggravation or the frustration. Take one look at Barack Obama; once debonair and confident, is now a graying, beaten man. On the other hand, Michelle seem to blossom day after day. Behind every beautiful woman is a hard-working man.

The good news you are about to retire and quite happy to do so. You have accumulated the $1.3million minimum, needed to live comfortable. Have a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

Hitler’s Play Book

America’s privileged majority is experiencing a superficial threat to their way of life, and seemingly their political influence and legacy is eroding. There is a feeling of disenfranchisement and abandonment by the élite political establishment; economic instability due to wages stagnation; fears of immigrants, and non-Christians; minorities, and foreigners, among this group of the population, that it seems their insecurities are further linked to the emerging population of other minority and ethnic groups.

The current political climate is conducive and ready for a charismatic leader using populist rhetoric to stoke the fears and hopes of a disenchanted population, even though misguided and misinformed. Populism is a doctrine that empathize with the feelings and difficulties of a particular group of citizens that feel powerless, with promises of unreasonable and unrealistic proposals, to increase appeal across the political spectrum.

Just like Hitler’s vitriolic speeches and rise to power in 1933, who blamed the Jews for Germany’s economic problems, and promised the people a new and better society, it is no coincidence that Donald J Trump speeches include with tearing up treaties and making American great again, as Hitler promised to tear up the Treaty of Versailles and make Germany great again.

Unlike Trump, Hitler was born in poor and humble circumstances and at one time was homeless in Vienna. Hitler displayed an increasingly unstable personality with a terrible temper. At times he was quite reasonable but he was always prone to sudden outbursts of rage especially when he challenged on anything. He had no real interest in women, preferring to keep away from them and even smugly rebuffed those who showed any interest in him. He strictly adhered to his Catholic upbringing about sex, believing men and women should remain celibate until marriage. Hitler had some talent as an artist but failed several time being accepted at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

The ‘war to end all wars’ began after the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated down by a young Serbian terrorist o June 28, 1914. Germany urged Austria to declare war on Serbia. Russia then mobilized against Austria. Germany mobilized against Russia. France and Britain then mobilized against Germany.

At the age of 25, after years of poverty, alone and uncertain, the young Adolf now found a sense of purpose fighting for the German Fatherland. An entire generation of young men by the millions would be wiped out. The war would also be the downfall of the old European culture of kings and noblemen.

Faced with political unrest and starvation, an economy in ruins, and mounting defeats on the battlefield, Germany generals requesting armistice negotiations with the Allies to end World War 1 in November 1918. Amid the political turmoil, on June 28, 1919, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles. Under the terms of the agreement, Germany alone forced to accept responsibility for causing the war and had to pay huge war reparations, and had to give up land to Poland and Germany.

Hitler joined The German Workers’ Party in 1919, and became its organizer and leading orator. Hitler’s ability to electrify an audience with highly emotional, sometimes hysterical speech making, appealed to the alienated and the disaffected. Hitler railed against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and political groups, especially Marxists and delivered anti-Semitic tirades, blaming the Jews for Germany’s problems. Later he changed the name to The National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or (NSDAP), called NAZI for short.

It is not likely that D Trump would become Führer of the Republican Party with dictatorial powers. In spite, of a love hate relationship, because he espouses the party’s racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiments, however, he does not have loyalty to the party, despite signing an oath, he will be most likely become an Independent candidate. With his huge bigoted following, his defection will certainly destabilize the Republican Party and hand the Presidency to Hilary Clinton. The Republican Party is making contingency plans if Trump should win the nomination. Trump has mastered the art of fear as a political weapon.

Cover-Ups: Hidden Truths.

Occasionally, or more often than not, many of us have had reasons to hide unflattering or embarrassing problems. I am not talking about the sexy sarong that women wear on the beach, loose blouses or wrap-arounds, or strategically placed accouterments, like the toupee that men wear to camouflage a balding spot, or lifts in shoes to exaggerate height. But when a government or an institution do something criminal or morally wrong, the consequences are far-reaching and have long-lasting effects on its citizens and the world. Conspiracy theories abound.

The most recent flagrant decision to cover-up an incident – the shooting of a 17 year-old teenager by Officer Jason Van Dyke of the Chicago Police Department – is so conspicuously bad and offensive, it defies rational and sound judgment. After 13 months, the video became public only after a judge’s order and a Freedom of Information Act request to release it. The video plainly conflicts with the police report, which compelled The Superintendent of Police to resign and The Mayor of Chicago’s job is tenuous at best. These tactics have always been employed by police departments throughout the country: planting and concocting evidence; lying on police reports; abuse of prisoners and even killing suspects in custody. The ‘thin blue line’ of police secrecy is finally turning red; the trust between the public and law enforcement has long been eroded.

It is hard of think of a more heinous cover-up in the history of medical ethics than the Tuskegee study of, ‘Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male’, conducted by U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 to 1972. Some 399 Black males with syphilis were treated as ‘guinea pigs’ without their consent, to determine the pathology of the disease . Even when penicillin, an effective treatment for syphilis, became available in 1947, the researchers did not offer it to them, as a result as much as 100 men died.

In 1950 a physician and epidemiologist, Dr Ernst Wynder, pointed to heavy cigarette smoking as a cause for lung cancer. Although, the tobacco industry’s own scientist already knew the link, they continue to ‘cloud the issue’.

Watergate, the most famous of all cover-ups with the disastrous consequences of bringing down a President. In June 1972, police arrested five burglars at the Watergate Hotel and Office Complex in Washington, where they were attempting to place listening devices in the office of the Democratic National Committee. It quickly became quite obvious that the burglars had links to President Richard Nixon. One of them, Bernard Barker, had a $25k check from Nixon’s campaign in his bank account. Nixon finally resigned in disgrace and pardoned by President Gerald Ford, saving him the displeasure of the first president to go to jail.

The Ford Pinto 1971, had serious design problem. When the car had been deep into its development cycle, low-speed rear-end crash testing revealed that the fuel tanks filler neck had a tendency to tear away and spill gas under the car. It would have been an extra $11 per car to fix the problem, but Ford management decided it would cost less to pay off Pinto owners whose cars caught on fire. Eventually, a man received $125 million for injuries he sustained in a burning Pinto, later reduced to $3 million, that was the beginning of the end for the car and a public relations disaster that took Ford years to recover.

For decades, the Catholic Church, both in the U.S. and other countries engaged in a systematic effort to cover up crimes by its clergy. Between 1950 and 2002, 4,392 priests were accused of sexual abuse of young boys and girls. The offending priests were shuffle from diocese to diocese to hide their transgressions. The church paid dearly for the cover-ups, U.S. dioceses have paid more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits by the victims.

The cover-up is always bigger than the crime. An effort to weave a web of deceit and elaborate lies, usually do more harm than good. Maybe, if President Clinton had admitted his affair with Monica Lewinsky and not lie under oath, he would have avoided articles of impeachment by Congress, (although the Senate did not convict him), his legacy would have been impeccable, however, even that conclusion is debatable.

Tale of Pinky The Cat

Maybe, you have seen the YouTube video of Pinky the cat. If you have not seen it, make an effort to catch the 1.09 mins of this classic video, which is really all about false advertising.

The Animal Control Officer is going through his spiel with Pinky in his embrace and giving high praises to this feline whirling dervish of energy, literally extolling the virtues of this domestic short hair ‘pet of the week’, trying to make the photo shoot as comfortable as can be, but Pinky is not up for this publicity stunt and having none of it.

First, you notice that Pinky is on a leash. Cats do not wear leashes. Cats are independent, moody, and uncontrollable, not a like a dog that would not object being lassoed, and be extremely happy about it. Pinky is definitely not a household pet and the shelter hoped for some unsuspecting, good-nature animal lover to take this beast off their hands.

Pinky is in a foul mood, I can tell because this male feline does not want to be called Pinky, I would be pissed as hell too. Pinky is not an admirable name for a really cool cat.

Pinky is now loose and desperately trying to escape. A woman stagehand realized the calamity of the moment and rendered some assistance to corral this handful of brown dynamism, by attempting to gather Pinky with a cat box, but she is no match for Pinky. Pinky snarled, grimaced and growled with great ferocity. ‘Pinky! Pinky! Pinky stop it, Settle down, Bud’, plead the officer in an attempt to relax Pinky, but Pinky is ‘fit to be tied’ – angry and agitated, and a little camera-shy.

Pinky finally circled and climbed up the officer’s right leg and snipped him on his privates, he cried out in extreme agony and bent over in excruciating pain, his manhood maimed, his pride wounded and exhausted from this cat fight. Pinky, the eight pound unenthusiastic reality TV star, has won his independence, and will probably be release back into the wild. Free at last! Free at last!

The lessons learned from this episode is perfectly clear – know your pussy. Mr. Animal Control Officer obviously did not spend any quality time getting to know Pinky, but for what reason would anyone name a male cat Pinky.

Politics 101

The Republican Presidential Primary still has everyone astonished and perplexed, so much so, that the GOP establishment is considering bringing Willard Romney out of retirement to challenge the two primary leaders, Ben Carson and Donald Trump. From pundits to the media savvy gurus, are quite bewildered. Jeb Bush, considered claimant to the Presidency, because of the family name, is languishing in the polls behind his protégé, Marco Rubio; Ted Cruz and the Carly Fiorina, as the other pretenders do not seem to have a chance against the apparent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Never in the history of a Presidential contest has two completely outsiders, who have never held an office, so much as a dog catcher, have led the race for this long in contending for the highest office in the land. Donald Trump’s skill of soaking up the spotlight with his outrageous ‘hot air’ remarks and capitalizing on the weaknesses, and marginalizing his opponents, is just genius. He controls the narrative and discerns what drive the frustrated mostly white primary voters, while the other candidates merely follow his lead. His deportation rhetoric, is like fodder for the racist wing of the Republican Party and they suck it up with glee.

In the case of Ben Carson, no one can understand his popularity. His news conferences are a disaster; his non-sensible answers to simple questions are indecipherable. The media have some doubts whether he is really running for the nomination. Except for his participation in the debates, he spends his time on a tour signing books and meeting his multitude of followers.

Ben, is under some scrutiny for trying to convince the non-believers that he lived a ‘thug life’ as a teenager, that he made attempts to stab a friend or a family member; tried to hit his mother over the head with a hammer; and saved his white friends from danger during the Detroit riots, however, these stories cannot be substantiated. If these accounts are true, the young Carson was very fortunate to escape the penal justice system reserved for Black Americans; and if these yarns are just ‘whoppers’, his assertion that becoming a Christian changed his life, is just a parable.

All candidates invoke the name of God in their quest for the leader of the free world. Yet, there is no reference of God in the ‘United States Declaration of Independence’ or in the ‘Constitution’. A few of the Founding Father had no religious affiliations such as Thomas Jefferson, was an anti-clerical Christian, who constructed the Jefferson Bible, commonly known as ‘The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth’ by excluding all of the miracles of Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels which contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and Benjamin Franklin. Others, notably Thomas Paine, who challenged institutionalized religion in the, ‘Age of Reasons’, were deists.

After listening to this crop of Republican candidates, you would believe that only a Christian can become President. According to the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof……’, so therefore a Muslim, an Atheist or a Buddhist can be President.

The founding fathers outlined a moral vision and a philosophy for the country to survive and strive; and the foundation of a free society. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence reads:

‘We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, which among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…………………….’

This has been called, ‘one of the best known sentences in the English language’, and has become a well-known statement on human rights. Over the years, the United States of American have found it difficult to live up to this ideal.

WTF….Moments

There are times when you cannot believe what you see or hear. Like observing a teenager, boy or girl, wearing their pants tuck below their buttocks, displaying their underwear to public view; not a fashion statement, I might add, but rather a faux pas and definitely not a wardrobe malfunction. This style of dressing is unsightly, unattractive and typically one would speculate about the mental stability of the person who borrowed a fashion style from prison. No one with a modicum of reasonable sensibility leaves home without looking in the mirror, or would willfully subject other people to such sartorial distaste.

Usually a visit to your local 24 hour Wal-Mart, (you may have seen on YouTube), the peculiar dressing habits of the patrons of this establishment, will confirm these spectacles. This is not to disparage the character or reputation of the good people who shop at Wal-Mart, nor do I suggest that ‘trailer trash’ and the ‘ghetto fabulous’ are the ones guilty of the lack of interest in looking respectable and decent in public, it just happens there more than other places.

As a keen observer of people’s peculiar habits, these moments of utter dismay occur when you least expect it. Many of you have cruised up to a stop sign to see a woman in the car next to you, obviously late for work putting on her makeup, teenagers texting while driving. Or a man reading a book on the steering wheel as he cruise the highway. You would not believe the antics of some people who endanger themselves and the public. These same people most often, are responsible for the back up traffic as you try to reach your destination on time and watch in amazement, the severely damaged vehicles and wonder, ‘what the hell’ happened.

Some of the really incredible moments are from television, especially prosperity televangelist, who claim to have the God-given ability to cure every disease known to man, make midgets grow, and make you wealthy, if only you will send them ‘some seed money’. ‘Behind on your credit card debt, unable to pay the mortgage, you got cancer, no problem, just sow a seed of $1,000 to the address on the screen’. It is incredible that these people would prey on and exploit the most vulnerable in our society. One renown charismatic evangelist, demanded his congregation purchased a $65 million church jet to spread the gospel, imagine landing his jet in a remote part of the world untouched by civilization.

These WTF moments happen more often than you think, and will occur more often in this new world of the LBGT and intersex people. Look out for a big surprise when your Caitlyn turns out to be a Bruce.

Debate Debacle

The Republican Presidential candidates enraged over the questions posed during the last CNBC host debate and have threatened, either to boycott future debates or changed the format. These blowhards became unhinged when the mediators questioned their inconsistent statements, their less than stellar and sometimes unethical and immoral behavior, lying and a few with questionable financial dealings and bankruptcies. Declaring one policy before a friendly audience and a complete reversal in the press is known in political jargon as a ‘flip flop’, which is par for the course among this group.

The uprising led by Ben Carson and Donald Trump, have forced the RNC (Republic National Committee) to suspend the pending debate with NBC/Telemundo, the only Spanish language debate schedule, which evidently will hurt the Republicans.

Trump’s celebrity status as a rating magnet has been a ‘cash cow’ for the Networks. The success of the first debate hosted by Fox News, in conjunction with Facebook, was watched by 24 million viewers, making it the highest-rated primary debate in television history. To put this in prospective, the audience for the debate exceeded all of this year’s NBA Finals; the finale of the Walking Dead”; and the final episode of David Letterman “Late Show”. The second GOP debate also sets a ratings record for CNN of 20 million-plus viewers.

No doubt, Trump has turned conventional presidential campaigning on its head and has generated so much free media coverage that he has not had to buy any television ads and despite being a controversial figure, is still leading in all the polls and feels that he should dictate the questions posed by the moderators or maybe get the questions before hand.

Let’s face it, this is a weak field of 15 candidates, including Jim Gilmore who has not made the stage in any of the debates. Donald Trump and Ben Carson lead the field as outsiders while the establishment candidates like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham and Ron Paul are doing so poorly in the polls, may decide to drop out. The problem with all these candidates, there are no fresh ideas to solve the country’s problems. Their positions are generally the same: pro-life; balancing the budget; eliminating public education; protecting 2nd amendment rights; and religious intervention in social issues, yet advocating smaller government, and to blame Obama.

Trump’s theme of ‘Making America Great Again’ does not specify how he will make this altruistic goal. His tax reform plan is to simplify the tax code by reducing taxes on the wealthy will not boost consumer spending, encourage savings and investment, and maximize economic growth; this can only be done through living wages and well-paid jobs. For most US workers, real wages – after inflation is taken into in account – have been flat or even falling for decades.

Ben Carson for President 2016 website, “Heal, Inspire and Revive” is even less specific than Donald Trump, most of his policies: are little more than 2 or 3 sentences with least detail. Both Carson and Trump have a tendency for making provocative and idiotic statements, which the conservative base seem to embrace.

Being self-righteous, they really do not want to discuss these inconsistencies and rather blame the liberal media bias. They would much prefer to have a debate with opening and closing statements and soft ball questions. If they are unable to handle these media questions. How will they handle difficult international disputes with Putin, China or Iraq? Debates, in this case, are political discussions in the interest of the voting public as part of a formal exchange of opinion, apparently the conservative primary voters are satisfied with religious fanatics and xenophobes.