Overwhelmed and Out of Sorts

aka Divisiveness and Feeble Optimism

March 1, 2018

I started writing many articles for February. I wanted to write about the major failing of Facebook in the election of 2016.

I wanted to write about the Republican Party especially in light of the annual gathering of conservatives at CPAC recently.

Mainly I had to write because I am concerned down to my toes about the future.

The cause of my foreboding is best described by one word – divisiveness.

Its action continues to erode the balance and attitudes in this country.

Indeed, dividedness is ratcheting up several notches due to whichever side of any issue you are on from the NRA to Russia.

Every day brings new crises from political (think Jared Kushner), to international (think Jared Kushner) to the military (think North Korea but we have to keep in mind the Mideast Iran, Israel, Saudia Arabia. But let us not forget the firecracker – Syria).

However, as I was plummeting deeper into my malaise I found a few articles that shed a ray of hope.

The determination of a few people gave rise to feeble optimism. This ship of state can be turned around. Grassroots movements are energizing people. Democratic Senators are disavowing money from the rich, grassroots Black Power and Black Lives Matter movements are now succeeding in the political realm.

The Moral Compass. Good Evil Wrong Right Google Images
The Moral Compass.      Good Evil Wrong Right

PART ONE

The Game:

The scariest new game in town is the one from researchers at the University of Washington. They figured out how to synthesize photorealistic lip synching using completely unrelated audio.

To demonstrate the power of their project they transformed the lip movements and gestures of former President Barack Obama in various speeches throughout his political career.

This ability to alter what you think you are seeing drives to the core of what divisiveness will be able to cause.

The old saying “believe only 25% of what you hear and 50% of what you see” has flown out the window.

In addition to bots destroying reality or making up a ‘fake reality’, we now must question what we see just as severely. The above information by Aric Jenkins, July 2017, in Time.com “Future Tech” section.

The Numbers: 

In the US:

The top 1% Control 35% of the Wealth

The top 10% Control 75% of the Wealth

The top 29% Control 87% of the Wealth

When I look at the $1.5 trillion given to the already rich I see that all Americans are funding the GOP campaign coffers for the next 10 years! (Please tuck this away for just a few minutes.)

The “Trickle Down Theory” invented by Ronald Reagan and copied to a lesser extent by George W. Bush does not increase the spending by the wealthy nor does it improve the health or wealth of those that support the wealthy by paying our taxes.

The greatest heist perpetrated on the American people occurred in 2018.

The Political Odds

While so much is currently being made of the statehouse seats being wrested from the Republican ledger by Democrats the fact remains that so many seats will have to be won in order to overturn the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

Primaries start as early as May 1st.

Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats. With so many seasoned Republicans leaving or retiring I bet that more Trump leaning candidates will be nominated for these seats rather than moderate Republicans who would pledge to work ‘across the aisle’ to promote a bipartisan agenda.

While Democrats have been making headlines with their fundraising efforts the fact remains that the rich and wealthy corporations control the elections.

The top 100 donors to political campaigns give almost as much as 4.75 MILLION  of all the other donors combined (those who give $200 or less). If the non-profits were included the mega-donors would tip the scale even further (non-profits don’t have to indicate who the recipients of their donations are).

The campaign finance landscape has slid so far to the ultra-rich as to make the efforts of all the rest an exercise in futility. ‘Big Money Breaks Out’, by Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico.

I have included two links that you might find interesting.

The first is to an organization that tracks who is giving to your campaign (if you are an office seeker).

The second is to an organization that anyone can use to pinpoint where the money is coming from.

aristotle.com   

follow the money

This last link is a blow by blow account of companies that donated to Trump’s inauguration and 63 federal contractors who received ‘rewards’ in return.

open secrets.org

An article in Fault Lines titled “The Places That Will Decide the 2018 Midterm Elections” by Ronal Brownstein, CNN is a stunning eye-opener. He spells out the analysis that shows just how difficult it will be for Democrats to wrest control of the House from the Republicans.

I did not delve into the gory details of these topics or I would become so depressed I would not be able to get to the uplifting part of this article.

I have provided links to each site I used to glean information.

INTERMISSION: ROCK MY WORLD

I found an interview with Steve Bannon that is extremely interesting. THE Steve Bannon? The same. I have railed against him in numerous posts (I suspect that most of them have disappeared.)

Yes indeed, he made two major points that I am in agreement with him.

First is the rising power and threat of China. I will spend more time on this in another post but it is one of Trump’s biggest, if not the biggest blunder. When he canceled TPP he gave that part of the world to China. Now he has to start clawing it back.

The bigger issue for this post is Bannon’s acknowledgment of the power of the women’s movement.

He has gone so far as to travel to New York to witness in person the Second Women’s March. What started out as #MeToo has grown in #TimesUp movement.

In an interview with Ben Schreckinger of GQ, he said “The TimesUp Movement is much more fundamental and actually many steps above #MeToo.

“It’s basically going against 10,000 years of recorded history.

That’s the power of it.

You see here something that’s in a very early raw stage, but I’ve never seen such potential power in something.”

The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA
The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA

PART TWO

The Upside

The arrogance and attitude of Trump will be a cause of his downfall.

While his antics cannot be part of a campaign plan, the instances he creates can certainly be used to create daily headlines for comparison of leadership and moral standards.

Trump is still Trump.

He will continue to aggravate those people who don’t subscribe to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.

Hopefully, this will be an ever-increasing number as the midterms elections close in.

Women

I was astonished at the number of college-educated white women that voted for Trump in 2016. That same demographic also voted for Roy Moore in his Senate race. Interesting but ancient history.

The #MeToo movement has dethroned a large and growing number of white men in positions of power that abused their power and privilege.

They have been called to task.

That movement has matured into #TimesUp. A movement that provides support and legal fees for women that have been assaulted.

This groundswell must continue to grow and assert the power that Steve Bannon knows it possesses.

The Young

The young people came alive after the Parkland Valentine’s Day Massacre.

It can continue its disruption of the status quo and bring fresh, committed voters to its cause.

It can grow beyond gun control and control of the election process by the 1% and corporations. Blood Money must be taken out of circulation.  

Across this country, so many young people have decided to make their opinions known. March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, will be the clarion call for this movement to demonstrate the strength of their resolve.

In Texas, a school superintendent threatened to suspend students protesting for stricter gun laws.   

Just this morning, Representative John Lewis stated that he has great hopes for these movements of women and young people who can regenerate a movement. They can regenerate the landscape as after a forest fire. The new shoots begin to develop as soon as the heat dissipates. The heat is on, what happens next will decide the future.

Usually, the changes demanded by people following gun violence or sexual assault tend to dissolve the more time elapses. This year portends to be different.

Populist Movement

The last key to this regeneration is the populist movement that is reigniting the winds of change throughout the south. Due to the maturing of Black Lives Matter and the Black Power movements, strong black mayors were elected. An example is Chokwe Antar Lumumba who is mayor of Jackson Mississippi. He was elected mayor by 93 percent of the vote and pledged to make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet.”

Another example is the incumbent mayor of Birmingham Alabama, 36-year-old Randall Woodfin. He was a city prosecutor and school board member who defeated an old-style politico by winning 58 percent of the vote.

These and other progressive leaders are pushing corporate money out of politics, backing a $15 per hour minimum wage and Medicare for All programs that will benefit all Americans. Progressive Populism by Jim Hightower

Women on the move, youth up in arms and populist movements to unseat stagnation of the current political parties, they will rise up to overcome the retrograde policies and actions of the current administration.

If these grassroots movements find effective national leaders such as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Maria Cantwell and Bernie Sanders there is hope of the movements coalescing and maturing into a force to unseat Republican strangleholds.

If they can stir into action the voices of a disaffected public and be the counterpoint to massive corporations and the 1% sea change will come. A true and lasting movement will be formed.

“American’s faith in government is at an all-time low with 90 percent believing the government is working for the benefit of a special few interests” according to Jake Johson staff writer for Common DreamsMore in-depth views of the progressive movement.

The progressive movement I am discussing has been defined by Mike Lux author of “The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be“. Wiley, 2009

The Progressives that ended slavery, gave women and minorities and the poor their rights, created the National Park system, made dramatic improvements to clean water and air, brought about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.”

In short the programs that made America a beacon on a hill for other countries to emulate and a country where all citizens have the hope of a better future.

America did not become great because of pollution, denying civil rights, demeaning segments of the population and erecting barriers to stop people from coming in.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

The featured image above was made by Andrew Krueger a Duluth MN photographer. I have reached out to Andrew to ask if he will permit me to use his images on my blogs. His work is AMAZING. He made the image on Brighton Beach, Duluth MN on February 27, 2018.

Happiness is an inside job. Don't assign anyone else that much powerover your life. Post to Facebook March 2018

ice fishing with the Duluth MN skyline as backgroup Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN
What better way to spend a winter in Duluth MN that ice fishing with the Duluth skyline as a backdrop. You can even see the High Bridge connecting Duluth MN and Superior WI. Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN
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