Should We Redraw Our Map?

The country is “Slipping Into Darkness”……song made famous War….(the group not the conflict)……

For a couple of decades now the US has been separating itself into tribes…..and it has only gotten worse and the last election illustrates just how far this division has gone.

Of course you know I have written on the subject before, right?

https://lobotero.com/2018/05/11/tribes/

Our beloved nation is slipping further and further into ‘tribalism’…..which, in my opinion, will destroy this country and all we have made of it in the last 200+ years.

For about five decades the politics of fear have us dividing ourselves into tribes….basically it is ‘us against them’……these tribes that will destroy all we have accomplished.

People have always used fear for intimidation of the subordinates or enemies, and shepherding the tribe by the leaders. Recently, it appears that Pres. Trump has used fear by suggesting in a tweet that four minority congresswomen go back to the places they came from.

There is a longstanding history of employing the fear of “the others,” turning humans into illogical ruthless weapons, in service to an ideology. Fear is a very strong tool that can blur humans’ logic and change their behavior.

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion.

https://theconversation.com/the-politics-of-fear-how-it-manipulates-us-to-tribalism-113815

How you may ask?

All this division and tribalism is threatening the pillar of our nation…the Constitution.

“Americans have come to view the Constitution not as a statement of shared principles but as a cudgel with which to attack their enemies”  Gordon Wood…….Not a more accurate observation has been found.

The U.S. Constitution was and is imperfect. It took a civil war to establish that the principles enumerated in its Bill of Rights extended to all Americans, and the struggle to live up to those principles continues today. But focusing on the Constitution’s flaws can overshadow what it did achieve. Its revolutionary ambition was to forge, out of a diverse population, a new national identity, uniting Americans under a banner of ideas. To a remarkable extent, it succeeded.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/the-threat-of-tribalism/568342/

Maybe we should forget about Greenland and do some work on the good old US of A…..(link has an interactive map for your ease of comprehension)….

… a new way to map the diverse lands that make up the United States. Unlike a traditional classroom map, this uses counties rather than states as the building blocks for its regions. The United Regions of America map solves the problem that many states actually lie in more than one distinct region (for example: Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, California, or New York, to name a few). And since there are 3,142 counties (including areas equivalent to counties), the regional boundaries can be drawn much more precisely than with just 50 states.

https://jeremyposadas.org/regions/

If you did not like that map…then maybe this one will be more to your liking…..https://considerable.com/us-map-38-states/

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Your Country Needs You!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–01Oct19

Today is notable for couple of things……first it is International Coffee Day and I celebrate it fully.  Second today is Pres. Jimmy Carter’s birthday, 95…still works building homes for the poor, teaches Sunday school every Sunday….happy day and hope for many more.

Now we move onto more stuff…….

We all look forward to retirement…..a time when we can stop and enjoy the things around us….but for some that may not be possible.

Many Millennials do not think that they will live long enough to actually retire……

When will you retire? Will it be at the “full retirement age” of 66? Perhaps you’ll be able to retire early, at the age of 55.

Unfortunately, most millennials think they’ll be working until they die. On Twitter, the hashtag “#MillennialRetirementPlans” recently started trending, prompting a flurry of 20- and 30-somethings to proclaim their outlook on retirement. Needless to say, the results were depressing.

“Why is this on trending? We all know we’ll never be able to retire,” one person tweeted.

“Most of us will die early from the lack of a universal health care system,” another tweet stated. “The rest of us will never be able to retire from working our multiple jobs to pay off our massive student debt in an economy where wages have not kept up with inflation.”

Very few tweets show millennials with concrete retirement plans, like contributing to an employer sponsored plan like a 401(k), or an individual retirement account (IRA).

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/millennials-believe-theyll-die-before-they-retire-200829635.html

They may have a point.

Every time they ‘reform’ the Social Security system they raise the retirement age…..it was 62 now I believe it is 65 and there is talk about raising it to 70 ,,,,they say because we are all living longer….which I think is total crap.

If Millennials do not look froward to the ease of retirement then what do they have to look forward?

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

 

STOP! Racism Is The Problem!

I keep waiting for someone….anyone….to start an actual conversation on race.

So far all we have is lip service.

Some great points have been made but a truly hard look at racism has never been spoken.

We should be honest….the United States is broken and has been for a very long time.

The coming ethnic storm has some scrambling to keep things the way they are today……

Almost three decades ago when Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. penned The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (1991), the threat of American white extremism was, if not quite unimagined, profoundly underestimated. Instead, Schlesinger lays the blame for what he calls the “decomposition of America” on the rise of “tribalism,” with Afrocentrism, “multiculturalists” and “ethnocentric separatist,” who in Schlesinger’s view see “the western tradition [as] inherently racist, sexist, ‘classist,’ hegemonic; irredeemably repressive, irredeemably oppressive,” presenting a clear and present danger. In some ways, the book presages Samuel P. Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations (1996), another in a long tradition of apocalyptic treatises on the rising tide of color, although this time penned by cold war liberals who offer a more palatable version lacking the overtly racist demagoguery of previous scribes. Like Huntington, Schlesinger envisions that the threat to western, specifically American values and institutions comes from an imagined Brown Peril of teeming dark-skinned others not from those who have historically rejected them – i.e., white racial narcissists. As Sam Tanenhaus wrote in his 2017 review of the book in The Atlantic, “though its critique of the ‘politics of identity’ and the ‘tribal antagonisms’ it bred should have included a harder look at his own privileged tribe, its delusions as well as its prejudices and presumptions.”

America’s White Problem Revisited

Can we explain the reason for these extreme right wing views?

Some have tried.

New research from Belgium provides evidence that deficits in emotion understanding and emotion management are related to right-wing and prejudiced attitudes. The study has been published in the journal Emotion.

“I have a lifelong interest in political psychology and in political ideology in particular. The observation that left-wing and right-wing adherents tend to differ on so many psychological characteristics is amazing,” said study author Alain Van Hiel, a professor at the University of Ghent.

“Many scholars have investigated the cognitive basis of ideology in general, and right-wing ideological attitudes in particular. In the present study, we wanted to investigate if a similar relationship would exist for emotional abilities.”

https://www.psypost.org/2019/09/people-with-lower-emotional-intelligence-are-more-likely-to-hold-right-wing-views-study-finds-54369

I do not understand……people who pretend that the Constitution is all important set about violate the tenets set forth by our Founders…..or they violate the teachings of something they hold on to for dear life….Christianity.

America has a serious white-supremacy problem, which is helping fuel a rise in hate crimes, violence, and domestic terrorism, and it’s time for Congress to do something to combat this growing threat to our nation.

https://www.businessinsider.com/congress-white-supremacist-terrorism-violence-trump-opinion-2019-9

Divisions destroy unity.

Ignorance is NOT strength……Ignorance is slavery!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–04Sep19

We all, well most all, grew up with the values that our parents instilled into us…..for me it was patriotism and country more than anything else…..I was taught that this is a country for all and that I should work to that end…..and I have watched those values slowly erode away…..to an ugly shadow of its former self.

Erode to the point that my values are no longer the focus of the country…..

The values Americans consider “very important” are undergoing fundamental shifts, according to a new poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. However, one thing hasn’t changed from a similar survey 21 years ago: “Hard work” was at the top then (83%), and it remains at the top now (89%), per Axios. But beyond that, attitudes are shifting:

  • Patriotism: The percentage who consider it very important dropped from 70% in 1998 to 61%.
  • Religion: This dropped from 62% to 48%.
  • Having kids: Down from 59% to 43%.
  • Money: Up from 31% to 41%.
  • Community involvement: Up from 47% to 62%.
  • Age divide: Age of respondents is a big factor. For example, 79% of those older than 55 say patriotism is very important. For those 18 to 38, the figure drops to 42%, per the Hill. A similar age divide occurred in the ranking of the importance of religion.
  • A takeaway: “There’s an emerging America where issues like children, religion and patriotism are far less important,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff tells the Journal. “And in America, it’s the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country is headed.”

Fascinating how times and ideals change.

Also fascinating that the political parties are not addressing the values of the voters anymore……only what gets them votes no matter how outlandish they are.

The values of the donors are more important than those of the average voter.

Maybe you should take that under advisement when you decide where to place your vote.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

“et Certa Apud Verbis”

Military Vs Police

These days things are not quiet balanced…..for instance conservs say when cop shoots an unarmed civilian that it is not murder……mostly white pundits hold this belief…I have asked several what would the call be if it were their child and of course they go off on tangents like conservs always do so they do not have to answer the question that they are uncomfortable with.

I started thinking about this subject when I read that the ex-Blackwater operative was sentenced to life in prtison for the murder of civilians in Iraq in 2007…

A former Blackwater security contractor was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq that left 14 people dead, the AP reports. Federal judge Royce Lamberth issued the sentence after a succession of friends and relatives requested leniency for Nicholas Slatten, who was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in December. Prosecutors charged that Slatten, 35, was the first to fire shots in the September 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad. In all, 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11, were killed. The defense had argued that Slatten and other Blackwater contractors opened fire only after they saw what they mistakenly thought was a potential suicide car bomber moving quickly toward their convoy.

Like I said…this got me to thinking….do the police face less discipline than soldiers?

Well thanx to Truthdig I have an answer…….

The problem is that the US military missions, themselves, are inherently aggressive. America’s professional imperial soldiers occupy the streets and villages of several Greater Mideast locales and fan the flames of unrest, intolerance, and Islamist extremism. That military – usually through airstrikes – also kills many many civilians. And here’s the rub: that martial chauvinism abroad has come home to roost in the form of militarized police – a disproportionate number of whom are veterans – and their militarized tactics swiped from US wars and counterinsurgencies overseas.

What’s more, ironically, America’s highly lauded police face far less scrutiny – or consequences – for their behavior in impoverished, usually minority, communities than do their military counterparts. It’s a veritable perfect storm: Utilizing US military tactics – and increasingly outfitted with surplus military gear – today’s cops often treat the neighborhoods they police like occupied territory, “Indian Country,” as some have cheekily admitted. Black and brown people are shot and often killed in shocking numbers by law enforcement personnel across this country. Of course that’s always gone on, but in today’s YouTube generation the incidents are disturbingly visual, caught, as they are, on camera. Almost no cops go to jail or face much, if any, consequences for this extreme behavior, and even less for their everyday banality of abuse and harassment. Sure, it’s not all cops who act thus; but it’s far too many.

Do Police Face Less Discipline Than U.S. Soldiers?

I think the police punishments are less harsh…..I suggest that a new Code of Uniform Officers be installed in every PD across the country.  This would set the code of conduct that ALL officers should be held to in the duties for the communities they supposedly service….especially training on how to handle situations without having to draw the weapon.

Too many dead civilians, mostly minorities, it is time for society to get a grip on the spiral of violence committed by those that are paid to protect and serve.

The new police department is similar to a city army with military gear, vehicles and tactics…..but with these “improvements” things have gotten worse….

Evidence suggests the militarization of police forces leads to more civilian deaths.

And….

https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/police-man-cometh/

And…..now try this one……

https://lobotero.com/2017/02/17/coming-of-a-police-state/

Is there a good reason why the police seem to get “away with it”…….

There are major legal, institutional and social impediments to prosecuting police. Thousands of officers are involved in shootings every year, resulting in about 400 deaths annually. However, successful criminal prosecution of a police officer for killing someone in the line of duty, if no corruption is alleged, is extremely rare. Even when officers are convicted, the charges are often minimal. For example, Coleman Brackney, a Bella Vista, Oklahoma, police officer who was convicted of misdemeanor negligent homicide in 2010 after shooting an unarmed teen to death while in custody in his cruiser, went on to rejoin the police and was recently appointed chief of police in Sulphur Springs, Oklahoma.

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/11/ferguson-police-misconductdarrenwilsongrandjury.html

The police have an easier time “beating the rap” than a soldier does…and the reason is the UCMJ…..so logically it is time for a “Code” for conduct of police…a unified code…..not the mish-mash that we have today.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

 

Sunday Thoughts

Retirement!

AS a Baby Boomer I am enjoying my retirement but sadly too many Americans cannot say the same thing…..too many find themselves in poverty after retirement….we all have heard about the elderly couple that has resorted to eating cat food….right?

This is a situation that should never have happened…..originally Social Security was to help prevent this but too many cowardly presidents, both parties, have seen fit to tap the SS funds to pay for pet projects.

Retirement should NEVER mean poverty!

Vivian Majors spent her life cleaning houses while her husband, Martin, worked as a carpenter.

Their bodies broke down in their 60s. Martin now lives in a nursing home and has Parkinson’s disease. Vivian, now 71, lives on her own and ekes by on a $960 in social security, plus $50 in food stamps.

Hardened by years of physically taxing work that left her hovering around the poverty line, Majors, now retired, is girding herself for more years of financial hardship.

Social Security supposedly wiped out the scourge of old-age poverty. But inequality has widened the gap between the secure and insecure in all age groups, exposing American seniors to financial distress in ways that often go unnoticed.

According to research from the University of Massachusetts Boston, material hardship bedevils millions of Americans like Majors.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/29/retirement-shouldnt-mean-poverty

The big news of the day is the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso,,,,,,,

A suspect is in custody after a mass shooting left 20 people dead at a Texas Walmart on Saturday, the New York Times reports. Police say a gunman entered the store with an AK-47-style rifle and opened fire just before 11am, injuring 26 others and causing general panic before giving himself up to police. Officials are considering capital murder charges for the man in custody, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, and are reading an anti-immigrant manifesto to see whether the gunman wrote it—which could turn the massacre into a terrorist act or federal hate crime. “Hispanics will take control of the local and state government of my beloved Texas, changing policy to better suit their needs,” reads the manifesto, which says more Hispanics will make Texas “a Democrat stronghold.”

Over 1,000 customers and 100 employees were in the store at the time, including children holding a fundraiser, who were among those shot by the gunman, the El Paso Timesreports. “We heard shots and saw smoke,” says an eyewitness who works at McDonald’s in the store. “I saw a man on the floor full of blood.” A customer says he saw “people crying: children, old people, all in shock,” including a baby partly covered in blood. Nearby hospitals are treating the wounded, whose conditions and ages vary widely. The New York Times notes that El Paso is a mostly Hispanic city that has been flooded with thousands of Central American migrant families in recent months. “Terrible shootings in El Paso, Texas,” President Trump tweeted. “Reports are very bad, many killed.”

While the country was hearing all about this particular shooting there was more news….some mass shooting was a popular activity for the weekend…..

https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/crime–law/police-responding-active-shooting-oregon-district/dHOvgFCs726CylnDLdZQxM/

10 dead, including suspect, in Dayton, Ohio mass shooting

The sad part about this other than the loss of life is that society is so nonchalant about these attacks….it has become so commonplace that few seem to care.

I cannot wait to see what worthless reporting will do to change things.

I’m disgusted!

“Lego Ergo Sum”

The Call For “National Service” (Again)

Looks like the political “idea” of the week will national service…..Mayor Pete made news with his reiteration of his plan from a couple months ago…….https://lobotero.com/2019/04/23/petes-national-service/

More news on Mayor Pete’s plan……

Pete Buttigieg hopes to see 1 million more young people volunteer to serve their country, and not just in the military. The Democratic presidential candidate, who signed up for the Navy Reserve after college and was deployed to Afghanistan, announced a plan Wednesday to create new service corps opportunities centered on senior care, climate issues, and community health, the Washington Post reports. One year of service would entitle participants to student loan relief. Buttigieg has spoken of his military experience as transformative, especially the connections he formed with people of different backgrounds and beliefs. “You shouldn’t have to go to war in order to have that kind of experience,” he said in a statement, “which is why I am proposing a plan to create more opportunities for national service.”

There’s a demand for such opportunities, Buttigieg says. The acceptance rate is 13% for AmeriCorps, 25% for the Peace Corps, and 20% for the military, per Vox. The Democrat’s plan would immediately raise the number of available national service positions from the current 75,000 to 250,000, per Politico. The recruiting emphasis would be on students at high schools, community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and vocational schools, and anyone between 16 and 24 who isn’t in school or working. The program would be run by a chief service officer and would aim to eventually establish a pipeline for as many as 4 million high school graduates every year to enter national service. The potential cost wasn’t specified. Buttigieg said he hopes that “Where did you serve?” someday becomes as basic a question in a job interview as “Where did you go to college?” is now

Mayor Pete is not alone in his call for a national service…..Gen. McChrystal also thinks a “national service” is a stellar idea….

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal led U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan during his long military career. He was in charge of Joint Special Operations Command, the nation’s premiere military counter-terrorism force. But, quoting Abraham Lincoln, McChrystal told “CBS This Morning” Monday the greatest threat to the U.S. isn’t abroad.

“Describing what would destroy the United States, the greatest threat, he said there’d never be a foreign power who could do that. If we would die, it would be by national suicide,” McChrystal said. “I think that’s true.”

The general said people learn responsibility through experience and the ability to serve.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/retired-general-stanley-mcchrystal-advocates-for-one-year-national-service-campaign/

Back in 2008 when the idea was floated by the two presidential candidates….I was not impressed but a lot of water has rushed under that bridge…….today I see it as a way to pull this country back together from the massive divisions that are tearing it apart.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Further Reading:

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/12/national-service-not-lip-service/

https://lobotero.com/2019/04/23/petes-national-service/