Intrusive Intruders

Given the events in America over the last two to three weeks with our January 6 Select Committee Hearings—another one today unexpectedly announced late yesterday—the Supreme Court’s extreme radical decisions into every American’s intimate privacy as well as disregard for public safety on so many levels, and finally their decision about public praying on a football field’s 50-yard line on public property at a public school’s campus, i.e. favoring one religion over others, thus violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause… I thought Gary Numan’s song and lyrics below, from either side of the arguments, was terribly appropriate for this unprecedented time in U.S. government history. After reading and listening to his song, you might agree:

I could listen to you scream
Pretty music to my ears
I could listen to it all day
If you want me to

I could talk about my world
How you brought about ruin
I could talk about your greed
If you want me to

I could look into evil
See a heart just like mine
I could throw away reason
If you want me to

I could walk into darkness
Find the hole you crawled into
I will be the intruder
If you want me to

You can whisper your Lord’s prayer
And pretend that it matters
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?
You can hide in the shadows
And pretend I won’t find you
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?

I could listen to more lies
About promises you kept
Will you walk on water
Like you said you would?

I could make you my prisoner
But you were dead man talking
When you burned the oceans
Like you said you would

You can beg for God’s mercy
And pretend that He hears you
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?
You can drown in your sorrow
And pretend you were helpless
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?

This was always your one life
I won’t pretend that it matters
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?
This was always your one home
I won’t pretend that I’ll miss you
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?

Share your thoughts and opinions below if you’d like, about Numan’s song or whatever else. I certainly have many of my own, but will reserve them, for now, unless otherwise required. Such dark days in this country now and ahead for the foreseeable future. Why are Originalists forcing us back to the 17th and 18th-centuries!? 🤦‍♂️

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A New Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to Lord Trump
of the United Republicans of America,
and to the MAGA for which He leads,
one horde, under Trump, indivisible or death,
in captivity or banishment,
and mob-justice for all.”

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Now the previous Pledge of Allegiance, changed in 1954 by Republican President Eisenhower to include under God, is the pledge most of us Americans are familiar with today and memorized all through our elementary and middle school grades. Many may not know, however, that the Pledge of Allegiance went through another change in 1923 from the original pledge written by socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931).

After watching sworn testimony today by loyal, Conservative, life-long(?) Republicans who finally remembered late, late in tRump’s four-year term—too late really—their sworn oaths they vowed to uphold which includes the Constitution and its Laws, its legal, checked-and-rechecked and hence accurate elections representing our democracy in action, the eerie thought crossed my mind that the 68-year old Pledge of Allegiance might already be changed by and within the deluded tRump allies and supporters!

Admittedly, I have no proof of this claim as many loyal tRump-lawyers are testifying to the same in the seven (or more) January 6 Select Committee Hearings. Furthermore, with this blog-post I hope you found the humor in my political satire. 😁

Or in the bigger picture is it political satire? 🥺

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Trias Politica! Not One Office or Leader!

Over the last two days or so my 82-year old Mom has been watching a steady dose of C-SPAN television. In the days leading up to these last two I have had to shut myself up in my bedroom when she ventures over to the FOXNews Channel. To me it is appalling the propaganda crap they peddle. She knows clearly how I feel about their blatant disinformation schemes. Therefore, maybe out of compassion, she feels bad about forcing her son into his room for hours as if being disciplined in time-out. 😄 Thus, I’m guessing the recent C-SPAN viewing.

This morning she was catching C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Open Phones, Part 2. The topic was Should Mike Pence be considered not only a hero, but also a 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate. Nearly every single caller Greta Brawner took from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—and it was some 15-16 total callers—never really called-in with their answers to those questions about Pence. They all simply wanted to vent their personal frustrations about the January 6 Committee Hearings and how atrocious life has currently become for average Americans since mid-February 2022. No surprise, the show descended into furious callers trashing either Dems or Repubs or Biden, Pence, and Trump. It is also worthy to note that all the callers sounded like they were 50–79 years of age, mostly on the elderly end of that age group.

The subject of what Mike Pence is today, what he was Jan. 4–6, 2021, and what he might be in the 2024 Elections was none of my concern or inkling of interest. What Kathleen Parker, columnist at The Washington Post opines about Pence is precisely what I personally think about his 3-days of doing his vowed Constitutional duty to protect our democratic elections compared to his dereliction of some 1,457-days of NOT doing that duty.

No, what utterly appalled and astonished me about every single caller, of all three various parties, and what they were bemoaning and ranting on and on about was how ALL of them kept singling out one man, one party, or one office one branch as the sole cause of this nation’s current Constitutional threats and socioeconomic problems, mostly inflation, skyrocketed gas prices, and a stolen 2020 election.

People, elderly callers—granted most of them from the Southern states with Kentucky, California, and Maryland being outside of the Deep South—and anyone else who passed high school History & Social Studies (with state and federal government included), I have one simple question for your very simple minds:

When did our nation’s governmental system change from a Trias Politica model with Equal Separation of Powers… and into a Dictatorship ruled by One Man or Office!? When!?

For all Americans and non-Americans abroad, please, please, PLEASE read this definition of what it means to have a Trias Politica model consisting of Equal Separation of Powers with Checks and Balances on all three branches as advocated by French Renaissance philosopher Baron de Montesquieu and later ironed out by James Madison’s Federalist Papers then our six (6) Core Founding Fathers. Taken from the Bill of Rights Institute in Arlington, VA, it states:

In our system of separated powers, each branch of government is not only given a finite amount of power and authority but arrives at it through entirely different modes of election. Madison theorized that as it is the Constitution that grants each branch its power, honorable ambition that ultimately serves the highest interests of the people could work to maintain the separation. In other words, since Congress is not dependent on the presidency or the courts for either its authority or its election to office, members will jealously guard its power from encroachments by the other two branches and vice versa. For Madison, this organization of powers answered the great challenge of framing a limited government of separated powers: “first enabl[ing] the government to control the governed…and in the next place, obling[ing] it to control itself”.

James Madison, Federalist No. 51, 1788
from the Bill of Rights Institute

Now, what does the above, precisely articulated definition by Madison and Montesquieu implicitly spell out as well? Simple really. It means that if there are three branches of government with equal limited authority and responsibilities as well as commissioned to safeguard against abuse of authority or dereliction of their responsibilities, then no one branch is completely responsible for said abuses or dereliction. Nor do those three branches have the total authority or Carte Blanche to change its direction (popular or not) or its outcomes. In other words, since 1788 the successes or failures of the U.S. government has been and is ultimately shared by all three branches. There’s more.

Given the functions of the active legislative and executive branches with regard to publicly needed policies and laws or their refinements, and their intentions and outcomes, the legislative and executive bear more instant responsibility for the failures or successes, while the judicial branch merely checks, monitors, oversees, etc, on the sideline, if you will, the Constitutionality of enacted laws, orders, and policies. But never, in our 230+ years of governing history has our federal or 51-state governments been lead by a dictator, or one man! Never. To imply such an accusation or explicitly state such a rant is an erroneous, categorically wrong statement and is not based upon anything in our standing Constitution, Bill of Rights, or the 27 Amendments. Period.

The POTUS can never be fully blamed for America’s ills, nor can he or she be hoisted as the sole hero of our country’s glories and victories. He/She must have bipartisan help and support from both chambers of Congress, approval (or silence) from the Supreme Court, and more importantly… the general help and support of a good majority of the American people. Without those four components, no one man or President can accomplish great things. Furthermore, no one man or President can be entirely blamed for dismal disastrous outcomes either. As the great Benjamin Franklin once exclaimed during the birthing of our nation and its eventual Constitution:

“We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

benjamin franklin, philadelphia continental congress – 1776

Sadly, however, it has become glaringly obvious that America’s general population over the last 4-5 decades has been seriously deficient and undermined in learning and applying their civic educations. Rarely do I ever hear an average ordinary American—particularly in my home state of Texas—speaking, writing rants on social-media, or calling in on C-SPAN to show off their cunning expert knowledge about our Constitution and Trias Politica model as engineered by our Core Founding Fathers. Nine times out of ten they’re blabbering about what they know little or nothing about. It quickly becomes obvious when they all single out one office or one man.

This detrimental, lethal deficiency of civic education over the last 4-5 decades culminated on January 6th, 2021 with the seditious attack and coup on the Capitol, members of Congress, and democracy itself took place. It is appalling to listen to and read. It is incredibly dangerous to the survival of our Constitutional democratic Republic. Not only is this ignorance by too many ordinary (moderate?) Americans a ticking time-bomb, but when a Cult of Personality (dictator) uses that unfettered, emblazoned ignorance and channels it into continuous disinformation, lies, mob-rule or mafia-rule by its cult leader, followed by insurrection(?)… then Judge Michael Luttig’s stern warning about Trump, his allies, and his fanatical ignorant supporters as ‘a very real, clear and present danger‘ only scratches the surface of what precisely has been and is at risk. It is…

The dismantling, destruction, and total loss of our country’s democracy, maybe forever if ordinary Americans don’t get better educated and wise up fast to cultish subversions by the “one man” and his fanatical allies and supporters. Texas is likely too far gone by now due to multiple decades of apathy and shitty K-12 educations here.

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Living Madison’s Nightmare

Sunday, April 24th, I caught an exceptional interview on a global, international news-station that I found utterly resounding and spot-on with America’s recent dumbing-down of internet consumers. The interviewee was Johnathan Haidt, an American social psychologist, author, and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University Stern School of Business. Haidt also wrote an exceptional article on this subject for The Atlantic Magazine which I found poignantly true called, Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid: It’s not just a phase. He examines the uncanny similarity of an ancient Jewish biblical story with what James Madison, in 1786-1787 in Federalist No. 10, feared most about our Republic Democracy’s vulnerable, fragile Achilles’ Heel:

The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. […]

Babel is a metaphor for what some forms of social media have done to nearly all of the groups and institutions most important to the country’s future—and to us as a people.

jonathan haidt – The atlantic, april 2022

Jonathan Haidt further explains, the top five behemoth ‘Social-media companies [at the time] brought web-connected Americans into enhanced virality by 2009 to 2012 and deep into Madison’s nightmare.’ Madison’s prophetic knowledge of human nature was:

…the innate human proclivity toward “faction,” by which he meant our tendency to divide ourselves into teams or parties that are so inflamed with “mutual animosity” that they are “much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.”

jonathan haidt – the atlantic, april 2022

I have written a few blog-posts about this very topic and how it is a mystery to me, that ordinary internet-browsers seem to contract all too often Critical-thinking Amnesia once they get on social-media sites or the sensationalizing tabloid-news platforms known for conspiracy-theories and ill-repute, let alone spreading blatant misinformation. Suddenly their ability to think independently, question opinions or claimed facts or ideologies, or to do necessary fact-checking… just vanishes! Is it because we all desire confirmation bias? Are we afraid of what the real facts will be, challenging our tiny comfort-zones? Where did our U.S role-models and 1776 motto of E Pluribis Unum go?

A quick list of those posts before I continue to The Atlantic’s link to Jonathan Haidt’s article…

In a November 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Haidt wrote another equally exceptional article with Tobias Rose-Stockwell called The Dark Psychology of Social Networks: Why it feels like everything is going haywire. There is a link from the first Haidt webpage to this one with Rose-Stockwell. I highly recommend both articles, in any order.

But gradually, social-media users became more comfortable sharing intimate details of their lives with strangers and corporations. As I wrote in a 2019 Atlantic article with Tobias Rose-Stockwell, they became more adept at putting on performances and managing their personal brand—activities that might impress others but that do not deepen friendships in the way that a private phone conversation will.

Once social-media platforms had trained users to spend more time performing and less time connecting, the stage was set for the major transformation, which began in 2009: the intensification of viral dynamics.

jonathan haidt – the atlantic, april 2022

So here’s the link to Jonathan Haidt’s Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid. When you’ve read it, or both articles, feel free to share your own thoughts, point-of-view, or questions to startup a discussion. Hopefully a discussion of how we can better manage these private social-internet platforms without violating our Constitution’s First Amendment of free-speech—that is…while simultaneously upholding (in the public sectors) the legal accountability and any criminal/civic Accessory charges upon the (free-)speaker or writer. These are called Speech Crimes. After all, it is the latter case that most Americans forget or are ignorant of their own Constitutional laws.

A free-speaker, under our said comprehensive, federal Constitution, must be held responsible for what she/he publicly proclaims. Otherwise, defamation, threats, inciting violence, or obscenities can (and often do) run rampant without consequences. This is, in my opinion, a large untreated cancer that exacerbates our current U.S. sociopolitical stupidity, as Haidt puts it, and fuels our sinking into factions and severe polarization of which Haidt alludes and eerily James Madison foretold.

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

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America’s Corporate Shame-List

My fellow bloggers and any visiting this blog-post, whether American citizens or not, this is a list of the U.S. corporations still doing business in Russia despite the dire need for unified, complete and extensive embargos and sanctions against Putin’s Russia and the obvious war crimes he and the Russian military, under his orders, have committed and are committing daily since February 24, 2022. This exhaustive list compiled by Yale University’s School of Management gives all the American company names that have 1) withdrawn from Russia halting all operations, 2) suspended operations temporarily, 3) scaled back operations while continuing other operations there, 4) buying time postponing future development and/or investments while continuing substantive operations, and 5) defying all demands to exit or implement any reductions.

If you have any moral sense of WHY the sanctions, embargos, and restrictions upon the entire infrastructure and economy of Russia and Putin are not only a must, but the West must also be totally unified in these measures so as to quickly bleed-out and bankrupt Putin’s war machine in Ukraine! This has to include ordinary Americans at home and being acutely cognizant of what we purchase in stores or online or support directly and indirectly with these companies. The list of Category 3, 4, and 5 international corporations is disturbing, and shamefully large. I beg you, let us Americans boycott these American corporations by not giving them one cent of our money, our time, or speak positively of their despicable business in Russia until they do the right thing: STOP, and fast.

To save page-space and time, I am listing here only the well-known American companies in Categories #3, #4, and #5, the ones with seemingly no moral compass. Please go to Yale University’s School of Management (here) for the entire list and detailed descriptions of each category:

Category Three – Scaled Back

  • Bacardi (rum, liquors)
  • Bosch
  • Carlsberg Group (beer)
  • Dow Chemical
  • GE (General Electric)
  • Goldman Sachs
  • HSBC (banking)
  • ING NV (banking)
  • JP Morgan
  • Michelin Tire
  • Pepsi
  • Whirlpool

Category Four – Buying Time

  • ADM Labs (livestock feeds)
  • Barilla (pastas)
  • BASF SE (chemicals)
  • Bayer (aspirin)
  • Cargill (foods)
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Focus Brands – Cinnabon
  • General Mills
  • Halliburton
  • Hilton (lodging)
  • Hyatt (lodging)
  • Intercontinental Hotels
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kellogg
  • Kraft Heinz – JBS
  • Marriott
  • Mars (candy)
  • Merck
  • Mondelez – Nabisco
  • Nestle
  • Pfizer (pharma)
  • Philip Morris (cigarettes & tobacco)
  • Pirelli (tires)
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Siemens USA
  • Subway (food)
  • Yum Brands (fast foods, e.g. KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and WingStreet to name only four)

Category Five – Defying All Demands

  • AstraZeneca (pharma)
  • ASUS (computers)
  • Ball Corporation (home & kitchen products)
  • Emerson Electric
  • Emirates Airlines
  • International Paper
  • Koch Industries
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Renault USA (automotive)
  • SC Johnson (household goods)
  • Young Living (marketing)

Please, let’s do everything we can right now to pressure these corporations and their CEO’s and top executives to take not only the moral high-road, but the humane course as well. Let us be unrelenting until they relent and join a world of civilized, peace-loving humanity.

Let’s choke and strangle Putin and his top-brass so they can no longer wage War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity! Then, when it has completely stopped in Ukraine and they’ve returned to Moscow, help bring Vladimir Putin to the Haag’s International Court of Justice as a war criminal. This will only happen if America, NATO, the EU, and G7, and all other allies complete this to the very end firmly unified, including all ordinary American consumers.

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