Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
New Mexico's Democratic senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall just helped Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promise of having a massive military buildup by voting for a whopping $82 billion increase in war spending, to $716 billion. As Adam Johnson of media watchdog FAIR points out, the $82 billion increase alone would pay for college for every kid in America with $12 billion leftover.
As I noted recently, Democrats help Trump get things through congress quite often with key votes. Of the Democrats who have been secretly voting with Trump, these two fall about in the middle of the pack.
I say they do it "secretly" because in Heinrich's and Udall's case they do. The media in New Mexico doesn't keep track of these things and neither do the voters of New Mexico. Heinrich and Udall are fully aware of that and know they can vote Republican with no consequences, so yes, they do it secretly. They never mention their Republican votes themselves, of course.
Heinrich and Udall vote with Trump whenever it has to do with filling the pockets of the Democrats' billionaire donors, who keep track of how their money is spent and are therefore very aware of how Heinrich and Udall vote and very happy with it, judging by how much money these guys rake in from corporate America.
Neither do Heinrich and Udall, especially Heinrich, use their position to build popular support for any legislation or any other thing that would change the vastly unequal economic status quo in which the rich gobble up a bigger and bigger share of wealth and income every year.
Helping average Americans is supposedly, or used to be, a Democrat's job. Today's Democrats are basically Republicans who are in favor of gay marriage and abortion. When it comes to economic matters they're against us, and with Wall Street, 100%.
Monday, June 18, 2018
While Democrats are in power their base excuses things like Obama's record deportations and his workplace raids where kids came home from school to learn their parents were deported that morning. And this, what we're talking about now, was happening. No complaints.
Pardon me, America, but while you're telling me what happens to immigrants is bad, you, with your bombs are blowing up whole families, destroying entire countries and economies. You, America, are literally tearing families apart limb for limb.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Soon after the 2016 election Democrats started talking about a "blue wave," that would sweep them into congressional majorities in 2018, but polls are showing their dream is in trouble.
How can that be? I mean, they're running against Donald Trump!
After Trump won in 2016 and Republicans gained complete power in congress, Democrats decided to make the 2018 election about Trump instead of about policies that would improve the lives of average Americans, i.e. the working class, us. They also began to actively undermine Democratic candidates who promoted policies to help the working class. They did both because they want to keep taking boatloads of money from corporations.
That's explanation enough for why Democrats aren't appealing to voters. It also could be that Americans are, like the world at large, relieved to know there's a good possibility for peace on the Korean peninsula, which would never have happened under Hillary Clinton. Americans might also be glad that the US war on Syria, which Hillary started as secretary of state and which as a candidate she promised to escalate, appears to be winding down.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
That's a funny take on Americans' idea that they're better than everyone else, but most of the criticism of the "deal" DPRK leader Kim Jung Un and US president Donald Trump signed is that the DPRK didn't give up anything, or that Trump didn't exact any concessions about human rights.
There are two ways to look at that criticism. First, given the existing conditions, it's unrealistic to expect immediate, concrete results from something like this overnight. There was no such expectation after president Richard Nixon visited China, another communist country we hadn't had relations with for a long time.
Second, the DPRK isn’t bombing 7 countries while its preaching about human rights. Neither the US government nor its citizens have any standing to talk about human rights to anyone. The DPRK doesn’t have 35,000 troops on the US border, it doesn’t conduct military exercises off US coast, it hasn’t levied sanctions on anyone, it hasn’t dropped nuclear bombs on anyone. The US is the aggressor. Americans should be asking why they don't even think about giving up their global warmongering and their non stop interference in the internal affairs of countries all over the world. Unfortunately, Americans, exceptional though they think they are, aren't able to see themselves as others see them.
Monday, June 11, 2018
Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump meeting face to face has global, and historic, implications, especially symbolically. Most of the world grew up watching the US being a pretentious bully in a situation like this. This undercuts much of what US foreign policy is based on. For the rest of the world this is indeed historic.
This could also be what saves the DPRK. And legitimizes what they've learned about running a managed economy. Even if it's only that the DPRK suddenly is seen as a real place, the very idea of Socialism just got another boost and is further legitimized.
Also, it's officially better now that Trump beat Hillary. Besides calling off the cold war she and the establishment started with Russia, but this Korea thing has more global significance.
Some Americans are bitter about this. Americans are used to thinking their personal interests are the world's interests. Americans are more concerned about who's wrestling who tonight and what celebrity said what. And then there are the ones who think partisan politics aren't just a version of that and everybody else is stupid. Americans never seen the world except through their own eyes. Try telling one that and you'll see what I mean.
Trump's 2016 election was a big middle finger to the establishment, and Democrats and the elites they serve haven't learned that lesson and are headed for defeat in 2020, Joe Wulfsohn argues in The Federalist, pointing to the cases of entertainment celebrities Robert DeNiro, Samantha Bee and Bill Maher, who all caused rumpuses in social media and the media in the past week with things they said about Trump or his family.
"Outspoken liberals in Hollywood aren’t the only people who have failed to recognize their own errors in 2016. Democrats continue to push identity politics instead of advocating an agenda that unites all Americans. And the mainstream media allows their disdain for the president to taint its reporting on a constant basis.
What none of them took away from Trump’s shocking victory was how out-of-touch they all were with average Americans."
Political consultant Joe Monahan reports that all the New Mexico Democrats who campaigned by bashing Trump lost in last week's Democratic primaries.
"LOSERS--The Trump bashers. Congressional candidate Martinez, auditor hopeful Bill McCamley and land commissioner hopeful Garrett VeneKlasen spent much of their campaigns bashing Trump. But Deb Haaland was more restrained, Auditor candidate Brian Colón did not lay a glove on Trump and Stephanie Garcia Richard also held back. They all won. Trump is easy pickings, perhaps too easy, and voters picked candidates who were offering more. That could hold a lesson for the Dems in November."
To achieve any political power the working class must unite. There's no other way. Things happen -- like economic catastrophes -- that cause the working class to unite, to realize that what they have in common far outweighs their relatively trivial differences, but people aren't coming to that conclusion on their own yet.
It's extremely difficult to see yourself as you see others. Your ego doesn't like that. It interferes with it's most important task, keeping you thinking that you're OK. OK means being reasonably assured that you are going to continue to exist, and you means the person you see yourself to be, not how I see you, and vice verse.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Police in Albuquerque and Los Lunas are receiving training that helps them overcome psychological barriers to killing people, the kind of training some think is behind the rise in killings by police.
Seminars are scheduled for Los Lunas police in July and Albuquerque police in December for courses taught by Calibre Press, an Illinois company run by an ex cop.
The ex cop/owner of Calibre Press, Jim Glennon, tells cops they are warriors fighting evil. In one of his training manuals, obtained by Unicorn Riot, he lists Bible versus that justify killing people.
Albuquerque's police are under federal court supervision since the Obama justice department noticed they were blowing away substantially more people than average. At the time, it was suggested in the media and blogosphere that police training might be the problem and it was reported that during their training new recruits were told things like "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6."
I haven't sat in on any police training sessions and can't say if Calibre Press uses that kind of language in it's classes, and the leaked manual doesn't come out specifically and say things like that, but "better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" seems to encapsulate their philosophy. The manual is here. Unicorn Riot's story has a good synopsis of it. The Calibre Press web site (where you'll find their training schedule) also promotes that line of thinking.
One of Glennon's instructors, a retired military officer named Dave Grossman, has coined a term "killology" and has a web site by that name in which he espouses what you could call a shoot first, ask questions later policing philosophy.
Glennon and Grossman base a lot of what they say on the idea that when police panic, they can't think clearly, and that's how the "bad outcomes" happen. That's all well and good, but that's not really the gist of the training.
Like a lot of Calibre Press's training, Grossman uses language like this:
"If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed."It sounds more to me like they're trying to alter police officers' perception of themselves to that of someone who is justified to kill people and train police how to give themselves permission to kill.
Here's an instance I found where they appear to contradict standard police training. One of the headings in the leaked manual is; "The problem with the 7-yard line center and Mass." A quick google search for "7-yard line center and mass" brought up, among other hits, a manual at the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training for training on a firing range. It refers to a 7-yeard line, apparently the distance from the subject where the police officer is supposed to stop and yell, "This is the police." Here are the two screen shots.
|Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training|
I don't know what the the problem is with identifying yourself as the police. Albuquerque and Los Lunas police are about to find out.
They back up a lot of what they say with psychobabble, i.e. amateur psychology, the kind of psychology you read in self help books, the kind that permeates society, actually. We all know a little Freudian and Behavioral or Jungian psychology and demonstrate it when we say things like 'So and so has Mommy issues (Freud),' or, 'We are the products of our environment' (Jung).
Grossman and Glenon haven't done any actual research that I can see. They basically just start with their own political and moral positions and reinforce them as best they can with psychobabble, anecdotes, press reports and slogans, which is what we all do. In this case though, our money is being spent on junk science that causes police to be more violent and kill more innocent people.
It never occurs to them to look for the causes of violence. To them it's just "evil." This is the conservative position. It can't allow that our environment has anything to do with how we act or we'd have to spend tax money to change our environment. It's how conservatives can say, 'We don't need jobs, education, playgrounds, we just need people to stop sinning.'
Glennon and Grossman do actually cite articles that point to a connection between violence and watching violence of TV -- in other words, it's the environment -- but when it comes time to shoot someone, it's because they are an evil wolf, not a human.
Thursday, June 7, 2018
I was looking for some pictures on the external hard drive and came across these two.
Man and his Demons and Wizards
I spent a lot of time playing around with this on one of my first photo/image editing programs. I lug my old diesel powered Dell around because it runs that program but so far I've just lugged it around.