Presidential Militias

The use of federal troops independent of state and local authorities in Portland, Oregon is disturbing. Word is that Chicago, Illinois will be next. After that, they may be coming to a neighborhood near you.

It’s bad enough that your president has manged to get para-military forces at his command. It’s worse that Americans in the employ of the federal government who have sworn an oath to the US Constitution have changed their allegiance to Trump and are complicit, if not worse.

I say that you should go all the way or not at all. If you don’t have the common sense to stop, then make Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich your role models.

If you don’t know about Himmler and Heydrich, perhaps you should read up on them. You could learn a lot–even though, in the long run, things did not work out well for them.

History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

Trump & Kaepernick

Living over the millennia, as I have, I’ve had the chance to observe many social practices, including thousands of military practices. I’ve seen all manor of uniforms, marching, salutes, and other customs. Invariably, they are expected to be followed.

Recently, there has been criticism of athletes for kneeling during your National Anthem rather than standing. Your president is one of those who criticize this practice.

The picture above is from the Whitehouse website and appears to show the Trumps during the playing of your National Anthem. The first lady has her hand over her heart and the musicians appear to be in the middle of playing something. Your president has his hands at his sides. It’s possible that he’s attempting to stand at attention. In any case, he is not rendering proper honors.

Throughout the playing of the anthem, civilians show respect by placing their right hand over their heart. Military members, unless in formation, render a salute. Veterans may either salute or place their hand over their heart–a relatively recent change.

Military members in formation stand at attention and the service member at the front–often the senior member or officer responsible for the unit–renders the salute for the entire formation. In any case, a salute is rendered from the bugle call “To the colors” (if played) or from the first note of the anthem and maintained until the bugle call to secure or the last note of the anthem is played.

If the anthem is, in fact, being played in this picture, your president is not rendering proper honors to the flag. He is not in formation with a senior rendering the salute. He is not saluting.

Perhaps, like Colin Kaepernick, he is silently protesting during the playing of the anthem.

You Goya Ivanka!

Ivanka Trump backs Goya on Twitter after liberals call for ...

Ivanka Trump recently told unemployed Americans to “find something new.” This simplistic response to a complex problem was met with astonishment and compared to Marie Antoinette’s alleged advice to “Let them eat cake.” The biggest difference is that Antoinette probably did NOT make the cake comment. Ivanka, on the other hand, actually did tell Americans to “find something new.”

Anxious to top her previous comment, Ivanka–the Special Assistant to the President for Boneheaded Advice–raised the ante. Goya’s president had angered many of its customers by calling Donald Trump “a blessing,” so Ivanka started promoting Goya. Does anyone believe that Ivanka has ever–as in not even once in her life–opened a can of Goya beans?

Since all Trumps are shielded from laws, regulations, and anything else they find inconvenient, Ivanka’s Goya promotion is a clear federal ethics violation is immaterial. After all, White House plastic surgery poster girl Kellyann Conway, violated the same ethics rules when she shilled Ivanka’s clothing brand. When the administration was confronted with Kellyann’s behavior, the only response was silence, interrupted only by the sound of crickets chirping.

The president is rumored to have told his staff that it’s no big deal and both issues could easily be corrected with the stroke of a SHARPIE.

P.S. Given Donald Trumps bromance with Russian leader-for-life Vladimir Putin, does anyone else find it unsettling that “Ivanka” is the feminine version of “Ivan,” one of, if not the most, popular first name in Russia?

Winning Is Based on Perspective

With the Coronavirus exceeding expectations–and fears–the view from Washington, DC is different from what most people see. Trump keeps telling everyone that things are great and that the only reason that the number of cases is so high is because of testing and testing should slow down. I propose a different approach.

If nature hands you a lemon–make margaritas. Increase testing. Capture every case. Roll up the numbers.

Washington could use the 3,524,895 cases and 138, 936 deaths to claim that “We’re Number One!”

Number One? We’re winning!

Open the schools and we just might declare a trifecta!

Roger Stone

Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
when first we practice to deceive.

If it’s true that people are known by the company they keep, what does that say about your president?

Commuting Roger Stone’s sentence was a most interesting move. Please notice that Trump did not pardon him, but merely commuted his sentence. Why?

If Stone had been pardoned, then he would no longer be at risk of being retried for his crimes. However, by having his sentence commuted, he will have to invoke the fifth amendment to protect himself–and coincidentally others–from incrimination.

In other words, Stone’s silence has been bought and paid for.

Putin would be proud of his protege.

Doing Nothing

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke 1729 – 1797

I observed Edmund Burke, but don’t claim to have known him. He was far too busy to commune with a long-dead philosopher. On the other hand, Mr. Burke is now also a long-dead philosopher, so he may better appreciate my position. Nevertheless, I appreciate and applaud his wisdom.

Edmund Burke is viewed as the father of modern conservatism. Given the current situation, it’s sad that most modern conservatives have no appreciation for his philosophy or his hard-learned lessons. If they were willing, they could learn a great deal from him.

I suspect their minds are closed.

Conservatives refuse to wear masks. Why? Because somebody told them to? Does this mean that when their mother told them not to run with scissors, they took offense? Would it have been better if Mom and Dr. Fauci had said, “Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with sugar on it?”

Tucker Carlson

I’ve been enjoying the interaction between Tucker Carlson and Senator Tammy Duckworth. Let’s look at the bona fides of these two . . . .

Tucker Carlson
– Grew up in a home overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
– Has a BA in history
– Tried to join the CIA, but was rejected
– Father had been head of the Voice of America and the Corporation for Public Brodcasting
– Has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arkansas and has been published in a number of magazines
– Is a conservative pundit on Fox News
– Accuses Senator Tammy Duckworth of being un-American

Tammy Duckworth
– Has a BA in Political Science, an MA in International Affairs, and a PhD in Human Services; was pursuing a second PhD in Political Science, but was mobilized with the US Army before she could complete it
– Joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in graduate school
– Commissioned as an officer in the US Army Reserve, became a helicopter pilot and was deployed to Iraq where she lost both legs in combat to a rocket propelled grenade
– Lobbied to remain in service, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Army National Guard
– Has served in numerous public service positions including as a member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate

Before either of them says a single word, who would you choose to listen to?



COVID-19 Mismath

“Dammit Jim, I’m a philosopher, not a mathematician!”*

Your political leaders are saying that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are harmless.

I don’t have a whiteboard, a chalkboard, much less a working copy of Microsoft Excel in my sewer-home. However, I do have a stick and there’s a dirt road I can reach by leaning out of my sewer, so I did some ciphering (as we used to call math).

Over the last few months, the number of new deaths to new cases has been 2.8 percent. For any politicians reading this, that means that for every 1000 new cases, 28 will die. No big deal, except that in the United States, you have had 3,022,742 cases. Politicians, either have one of your staff do the math for you, or else, just ignore it.

As a philosopher, that tells me:
1. People who do not die from the disease are, according to your political leaders, not harmed–even if their lungs don’t work properly for the rest of their (shortened) life.
2. A majority of those who die from the disease–nearly two out of three–are, according to your political leaders, not harmed either. This does not align with Betelgeuse, who said “Besides, this dead thing—-it’s creepy.”

I could cipher and write more, but I’d rather crawl back into my sewer.

Good luck. You’re going to need it.

* Apologies to Star Trek (The Original Series)