Categories
society

Welcome to the Trump Years

Officially, now, Donald John Trump the First is the 45th President of the United States of America. He has 1460 days to make America great again, which means:

  • Raising 30,000 people up from poverty per day
  • Legalize and stabilize some 7500 undocumented immigrants per day
  • Rehabilitate and release some 1500 state and federal prisoners per day
  • See 17,000 undereducated individuals achieve at least a GED per day
  • Employ or improve the employment of 11,200 unemployed or underemployed persons per day
  • Repair or replace 41 bridges per day, among other infrastructure improvements needed
  • Cut the carbon emissions another 1.25% per year to reach the 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020

And so on.

It will not be an easy task, and it will be all the harder for the resistance to greatness that the Republican party loyalists in Congress cling to. They seek not to address these problems with an eye to solution, but instead to focus on limited agendas to improve the bottom lines of a few corporations.

If President Trump truly wants to make America great, he will have to stave off the legislative assassins who will gut any real reforms he might seek.

Greatness is not a measure of the stock market. It is not found on balance sheets. It is quantifiable, but only in the quantity of humans who are prosperous. And prosperous not for a day, a week, a month, a year, or a presidential term, but for their lives. For their children’s lives. And on down the road.

If President Trump does not address the measures above, and others, he will not have succeeded in making America great. He will be held to that standard by history. He can either go down as another in a line of those he would say to, “You had four years, and yet you did not succeed.”

It is a weighty task. There is much to be done. But it is doable. It has always been doable. It will take a lot of work, but any president that is willing to put in the effort can achieve great things.

So, go ahead, punk. Make America great. I dare Trump. I double-dog dare Trump. What is Trump, a chicken? Bok-bok!

Whatever happened during the 2016 election, Trump is now president. He ran to make the country great, to shed the shrouds that have weakened us. Now he must perform.

Categories
society

Maximalism

Recently navigated your definitions of words like journalist, whistleblower, imminent, and due process? The government has.

And the government will. Because words are open to interpretation. Let’s posit that last word means a type of dance where the meaning of a subject is explored through body motion. So the justices of our Supreme Court all dance in conference, and the best dancer on each case writes the opinion. Each justice has their own style, according to their philosophy of interpretative dance.

The number of political prosecutions of whistleblowers is not shocking. But entirely lamentable, but ill-conceived and dangerous. In general, the justice system has that dysfunctional tendency to follow society’s generally dysfunctional tendency toward excess. More is better, so more jailtime for any crime, betterest!

This simpleton’s view infects the whole system. The supporters in congress want indefinite detention for certain detainees and enemy combatants. They won’t call that automatic, extrajudicial life-sentencing. That’s what it is. And so on.

Thing is, it’s an easy definition. You don’t have to think about it. “Give me as much as you can give me,” that’s an easy criteria. Coming up with some other way of figuring how you’re doing is hard.

But it’s seldom the best measure. Nobody would read an essay designed to be as long as possible. Movies that push the limits of my attention see me skip over their dormant stretches in a sort of triage of film enjoyability. A long, scenic establishment shot that adds nothing? The editor should have cut it to less than five seconds. It’s a beautiful shot, but it ruins the flow, like this paragraph would if it went longer.

Maybe the Guinness Book of World Records has to answer for its crimes. Without checking, my guess is most records it tallies cover only quantities. From my childhood I recall things like tallest human (though shortest too), longest or tallest hairdo, person with the most bees on them.

The call to achieve in America tends to center around being number one. That was apparently the goal of the Easter Islanders, to be number one at carving their idols. Anecdotally a bad idea.

World’s richest person. Outperforming other stocks. The biggest toy dies with whoever wins.

Maximalism is the worst criteria for selection, other than all the others that have been tried?

This isn’t greed, though. Calling it greed would again be maximalist. And it’s defeatable. By showing better outcomes than maximalism. By showing a cultural decision not to obsess with maximality.

That speaks to looking hard at wealth, and unraveling the distance between the quantitative value of money and the qualitative value of money.

The premise is that having more money that has less qualitative value is worse. The conclusion is that many of the maximalist schemes of businesses and individuals are wholly dysfunctional not just to the masses, but to the very wealthy fools themselves. That they are engaging not just in societal harm by their facial greed, but that they are harming themselves.

Categories
unAmerican

The Political Now

Today I started to outline some of the problems I have with the so-called GOP (hereafter RP).  As I did so, I was also interested in highlighting the opposition’s problems (hereafter DP).  Then I decided, on reflection, that it would be a criticism of both parties.  But that still failed to emphasize the solutions.  So this is now less of a pure criticism and more about providing the alternative too.

Taxation

The RP position is that taxation is a form of theft.  They do not see it as funding the scaffolding of society and fail to recognize the role that the government plays in their own personal success.  Taxes should be minimal, as should the size of government.  The DP position is that taxes are there to provide for the minority cases of poverty and illness, and taxes should be expanded to fulfill those needs and others we deem necessary.

My position is that taxes should be seen as an investment in our collective future, and that our government’s parameters should be targeted to the development of our social fabric.  That means I favor taxes for things like scientific development and open source software, anything which can be leveraged by the private sector to improve work there, and anything that can be leveraged by private citizens to improve their day-to-day.

Justice

For both the DP and RP, justice is mostly a matter of punishing the individuals that break the law.  The outlook on the law differs slightly for both.  Treatment of convicted individuals is slightly harsher for the RP, while the DP tends to give a bit more recognition to the role that economics plays in crime, but the general outlook is identical.

My position is that the vast majority of crime has economic origins, and the proper development of society requires economic intervention in the forms of education and rehabilitation.

I also maintain that key reforms in the justice system are needed, including overhauling the current advocacy system of courts and the manner of interactions between law enforcement and private citizens.  These are things the RP and DP both ignore completely.

Gun Control

Long a contentious issue, the RP believes gun rights are untouchable while the DP believes that the state should have the right to restrict weapon access as much as it pleases.

My position is that guns don’t kill people, but people with guns do.  Proper stitching of the social and economic fabric eliminates the motivations for gun control, though it probably does tend to diminish the ownership, it does not urge people to disarm.

Foreign Policy

The RP position favors military intervention, while the DP position is slightly warmer toward diplomatic solutions.

My own position is that, again, economic development precludes the need to intervene militarily and minimizes the need for diplomatic intervention.  The use of foreign aid as a carrot to complement the military stick is fraught with peril, for it avoids the real, needed economic development of the areas being targeted for improved governance.

The Trend

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a trend here.  The RP position is usually one based on the idea that the individual is an island capable of behaving properly ex nihilo.  The DP position is that people need some help and are products of their environment up to the point where they are bad enough to be beyond redemption, at which point their position diminishes into the RP position.

And my position is that people are basically machines that could be functional provided the correct environmental factors (usually economic in nature).

You can extrapolate the positions from the above for welfare, immigration, corporate regulation, etc.