Saturday, November 19, 2016

Confirmation Bias Still Alive & Well



I had a few words with my oldest daughter this morning about confirmation bias. She is almost 17 and in just over a year she will be eligible to vote. She should start making efforts to understand the world around her so she can make informed decisions and forge a realistic worldview. I don't know how much she understood what I was talking about, but it never hurts to plant the seeds that may be watered by someone else (friend, teacher, significant other, etc) in the future. 

I've sort of been shocked by what has been happening in the media and with people's reaction to it since the election. I guess old habits are hard to break. The same people that didn't have a clue that Hillary Clinton was not a shoe in for president are now telling everyone that Roe v Wade is done, gays and lesbians have to go back in the closet, and anyone with skin that isn't white are going to be booted out of the country. Nonsense. At no point will I say that people shouldn't be concerned about what a Trump presidency may bring, but in my opinion, not a whole lot more than they should have been worried about Obama or Bush before him. We have a system in place and we don't elect kings.

Remember those guys, Bush and Obama? You know, Bush was going to over turn Roe v Wade too, along with calling for martial law so he could remain president past his eight years. Remember when Obama was going to take all of the guns away and call for martial law so he could remain president past his eight years? I 'member.



This post isn't about Trump or the presidential race though, it's about searching for information and news. With "team politics" so prevalent in our culture, we have created a sense that it's a reality TV show or a ball game. That the winners and losers being heralded or vilified means more than the actual results. It's entertainment and when people look at news as entertainment (and entertainment as news) that opens the door for profiteers and for information manipulation. We saw it all through the presidential campaigns with Bernie v Hillary and then Trump v Hillary. It was almost as if (or they actually are) each website or news organization was a propaganda site for one candidate or another. 


I used to be a FOX News guy. Why? Because they talked about what I wanted to hear in the way I wanted it talked about. I eventually popped that bubble, but most people don't and never will. Most people are going to seek out news and information that fits in with their worldview. Honesty and truth become secondary to their bias. They stay safe from critical analysis in the bubble. That leads people into a fog in which they are walking through life with a false sense of reality and if they are only surrounded by folks that are doing the same thing, there is no possibility of a different point of view sneaking in to challenge them. If we only talk to conservatives, only watch conservative news or visit conservative websites, how can you possibly get a sense of what is happening on the liberal side or in the real world that occupies the middle? Works vice versa too. Just as an example to think about....do you think people in North Korea or Iran know who we are as a people? Do you think they have an honest grasp on what our nation is about and more importantly, what the people of this nation are about? You know they don't. Why? Because they are spoon fed one version of information and events and that's going to shape their worldview. The world they are shown isn't presented in a way that allows them to make a fair determination on how they should feel or think.



I kind of figured that people would be a little  more willing to "let the cake bake" after the election results, but no, we have rioting, anger, and a proliferation of misinformation flying around. How can this happen so fast? Wikileaks showed the folly of the Democrats nomination process and exposed the media's complicity in defeating Bernie Sanders. Bernie was saying the same thing Trump was about Clinton but the reporting and following up on that was nearly non-existent. The media fixated on Trump's personality and not nearly enough on the substance (or lack thereof) of his rhetoric. They dropped the ball on investigating both of these candidates enough at the policy level and focused on the entertainment value instead. Was it any wonder that all the polls from establishment media showed Hillary waltzing to victory and the few that tried to maintain balance in their sampling were proven to be more accurate? Remember the Duke lacrosse team rape case and how the media convicted those young men in the court of public opinion on a rape that didn't happen?  If you want something to be true, you will find a way to make it so. Social media is ripe with disinformation and outright lies and again, if you want something to be true, you will only be confirming your bias by not getting an opposing view. I do confirmation bias with a couple of things.....musicians I enjoy and sports teams I love. In real life, I'm not about to let the left or right wings get their hooks in me ever again. I cull information from a lot of sources. On TV, I look to CNN and FOX and then go to YouTube to hear what Reason TV and Al Jazeera are reporting on. I use the internet extensively. I'm as apt to check out Breitbart as much as I am Daily Kos and I frequent CNN and FOX on the net as well. Real Clear Politics offers a lot of editorial information from a host of news services and I also rely on the Wall St Journal and the New York Times. There are other great places to grab information with sites like IFL Science and Investors Business Daily. 

Then, there is gut check time and that can be difficult. I have to try to sort through the information and make sense of it, all while trying to check my bias on a topic. It'd be easy to just click FOX or CNN and allow my mind to be made up in easy and short fashion, but that's not who I want to be. I want more raw info and less manipulated info. I'm finding the truth in evaluation is difficult so all I can do is weight the information I receive against the past, about what I already know, and with more than a healthy dose of skepticism. If I had been a bit more skeptical of the propaganda we were being fed post 9/11/2001, perhaps I wouldn't have been so gung ho about supporting an invasion of Iraq that was built on media manipulation and outright fallacy. I still lament not seeing through that.

I would love to be more optimistic and trusting, but I have to have good reason to be. As a born pessimist it's hard for me to be optimistic in general, but I really am trying and part of that trying is the want to see results before I condemn or celebrate. I did that with the new Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, so surely I can be patient enough to see what the new government will bring. I also want to be able to trust the news, but we are not living in that reality.  

In the end, I suppose my point is that we just don't seem to be learning fast enough. It does seem that more people than ever are waking up to how the news media must be seen with a skeptical eye, but it's not happening fast enough for me as I see friends, co-workers, etc sliding right back to buying every media narrative floated since the election. According to Gallup an all-time low number of people trust mainstream news to portray information accurately. That number is 32%. Unreal, yet we still see people who say they are skeptical going "all in" with every headline. Another important part of all this is that as of 2012, six corporations own 90% of the media. In 1983, it was 50 companies. An incredible centralizing of information distribution. That's quite a bit of power in the hands of the few and it's ripe for manipulation and exploitation.  



I'd ask anyone interested in trying to strip away their confirmation to do it a little at a time. When I stopped believing in organized religion, I took the advice of Julia Sweeney and just took off my "god glasses" for a little while every day. I tried to see the world through a prism that didn't include a personal god that cared about the things that religion says that god cares about. For every couple of Breitbart articles or Mother Jones articles you read, why not visit the other site and read on the same topic? Why not go to CNN and FOX and listen to their take and then find a commentary on You Tube to get a differing opinion. Do so without your ideological glasses on. Be intellectually honest with yourself and try to determine where the facts are and what that means to you and your worldview. You may come right back to the same conclusions you already hold, but at the least, you will have challenged yourself to be open to different ideas, and maybe more importantly, to understand the view point of others. Understanding each other as people and not as opponents is a big deal for me and the more people that can be brought out of their confirmation bias, the better in my opinion. 

Until next time.....


























Friday, October 28, 2016

The Worst Thing I've Ever Written!



I'm about to write something that is going to be unsettling for a few of my friends. It probably should be, because in all honesty, it's a little unsettling for me. This "election" has been a shit storm. A real horror show. I abhor the two major party candidates and just like the last election, I'm voting for Gary Johnson....hell, maybe not at all. It's strange thinking that a Gore vs Bush race would be awesome right now. A welcome sight almost! That's how bad these candidates are. With that....


I've come to this conclusion....as much as I don't want to see President Trump, I want to see President Clinton less. 

I don't know what kind of instability that may create, and even as a father of two teenage girls, I don't want to see the corruption win. Clinton is a scoundrel that has allowed the DNC and establishment media to cook her primary and then the general election. How any Bernie Sanders supporter can vote for her after the games that were played before and during the Democratic primary is baffling. I guess the same way Obama supporters are voting for her after the things she said and implied about him in 2008. That's not even my point. The GOP tried to openly screw Trump, so it's not like both parties were not trying to manipulate the outcome of the primary and basically tell a large portion of their voters that their votes were not meaningful. The establishment didn't want it, so they did or tried to "fix" the results.

I'm just tired of some stuff. I have been for years, but it's come to a head during this election cycle. I'm the guy that loved the early versions of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. They got overran by the political parties, but at their birth and infancy, those movements reflected an anger and resentment towards the establishment that I couldn't help but be proud to see. 

I'm tired though. I've had enough. I'm tired of Soros. I'm tired of the Koch's. I'm tired of the Clintons. I'm tired of the Bush family, and I'm tired of Romney. I'm tired of Rush Limbaugh. I'm tired of Mitch McConnell. I'm tired of people like Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan telling me that their values are everyone's values. I'm tired of having to watch the same tired assed people run this country like it's their personal playground of wealth and power accumulation. As if they are entitled to it. I'm tired of the establishment media manipulating stories and headlines to create public opinion, instead of actually reporting. I'm tired of seeing corporate America fucking the American worker. I'm tired of hearing about us pouring money into countries that hate us. I'm tired of money disappearing by the millions (billions?) unaccounted for. I'm tired of Bill O'Reilly. I'm tired of Hannity. I'm tired of Chris Matthews. I'm tired of hearing about congressmen and senators sending "dick pics" to underage girls and/or molesting children. I'm tired of us being so cavalier about our place on the planet to the point where people in our government laugh at assassinating the leader of another nation. I'm tired of being the UN's lap dog and being the police force for the world. I'm tired of our imperialistic neocon foreign policy that has created a less safe world. I'm tired of young Americans having to die for a foreign policy that is in the best interest of Halliburton and major mulit-national corporations. I'm tired of us droning civilians and creating situations where more dangerous terror groups arise from the smoke and rubble. I'm tired of being told that single payer healthcare is "socialist". I'm tired of being told "Obamacare" is working. I'm tired of watching political leaders pushing morality through legislation. I'm tired of seeing politicians cater to the wealthy, to Wall Street, to major corporations that are slowly monopolizing our culture and society. I'm tired of seeing both parties manipulate the rules to keep them in power and marginalize the lives of the average citizen. I'm tired of everything having a damn dollar sign on it. Mainly, I'm just tired of being tired of stuff. 

That's not an endorsement of Trump. I'm not voting for that foul chucklehead. No how, no way. I realize that he may do absolutely NOTHING about any of the above. That's not why I'm where I am at with this. I'm ready to see this BS with our two parties and media come to a head. I want both parties to eat their heads as they try to figure out "what went wrong". It's time for things to change.....and not with some marketing slogan.....but in a tangible way that we can see and feel. I'm ready to see some establishment burn for a change. Hillary Clinton is the face of political corruption and no matter how foul Donald Trump is, it shakes me that we are going to reward that corruption. Either way, we can't go back. We have decided who we are and it's hard to say we are a "decent" people. 

I want to see the corruption, arrogance, and entitlement lose. So, there is my "endorsement" of a Hillary loss. Will that happen? I don't know. If you know me or have read this blog over the years, you know I'm not a big fan of establishment. Establishment gets fat. Establishment gets complacent. Establishment gets hungry for more and more and doesn't care if others get less and less. Establishment wants to control how you think and feel. Establishment wants to limit your options while seemingly giving you more. Selecting from a hundred pieces of shit is still having to select shit.

Just to make this perfectly clear, I am NOT endorsing a vote for Donald Trump. This is my feeling and not meant to be something that should cause others to rethink their position. I'm not writing this for influence, I'm just being honest about the conclusion I came to a few days ago. It was rattling around in my head for awhile.....but I'm settled on it now.

Here is an analogy (in italics below) that I hope will explain why I want Hillary to lose and how I'm not rooting for a Trump win. If anything....I'd rather see most people vote for anyone other than a Democrat or Republican. That too will bring change. We pay lip service to that sort of change though. To many people rooting for their team over the good of their country. It's time for things to change and there is one person of all the people running that isn't going to change anything and that person is Hillary Clinton. If the best reason to vote for her is because she doesn't have a dick, well, that says quite a bit.

I walk up on Gary Johnson, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. I'm carrying a bucket of water.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are on fire and Gary Johnson is thirsty. I give the bucket of water to Gary Johnson to quench his thirst. If I also happen to have to piss, I would piss on Trump.

















Saturday, October 1, 2016

If You Are Not Listening To Sturgill Simpson, What Are You Doing With Your Life?


It took me awhile, but I've finally caught on. I've lauded the work of Shooter Jennings on this blog quite a bit. His brand of music is authentic, catchy, and has staying power. There is another artist that has caught my attention lately and he shares a lot of traits with Shooter that I find appealing in a musician. His name is Sturgill Simpson. He's a Kentuckian and is best defined as a country artist, if you want to lay a genre on him. He's more than that though. From song to song, he can wiggle free of genre and bring a wide spectrum of influence into his work. 

Simpson has become very popular despite not getting radio play or support from the Nashville establishment, which he clearly doesn't want or need. In 2014 he won big at the Americana Music Awards grabbing the top prize for "Emerging Artist", "Artist of the Year" and "Song of the Year". In 2015 he was nominated for a Grammy for his album "Metamodern Sounds In Country Music". He plays to sold out shows all over the country and his latest album "A Sailors Guide To Earth" hit number one on the country charts despite getting very little mainstream radio play.

The guy isn't afraid to ruffle any feathers either. He took ACM to task for bumping Merle Haggard from the magazine just before his (Haggard's) death. 


Sturgill Simpson & Merle Haggard


Simpson is a different kind of artist. He draws on the influences of his youth and teenage years, like most artists, but he isn't afraid of his own eclecticism. He openly talks about the influence that Merle Haggard, Keith Whitley, and Willie Nelson have had on his music, but in the same breath, he'll include Pink Floyd, Nirvana or any number of artists that you may not immediately catch in his music. In other words, he doesn't like to be pinned down as a musician that is falling back on his influences from a boxed in genre, but he expands his music by letting the variety shine through in a blatantly unapologetic manner. I've found his music to have such depth that I can listen to it over and over without growing weary of it or doing song skipping. There always seems to be something there that I didn't catch on a previous listen. His music speaks to me in a way that The Beatles, The Replacements, and Shooter Jennings have. I hold his artistry in that high esteem. 

Simpson has a draw for both country and rock fans. He drifts into the area of psychedelia at times, both lyrically and musically, and his interest in Buddhism is weaved in and out of quite a bit of his music. He doesn't preach it, but he just lays it out it there to let you know who he is. He is probably the first country artist to ever sing about ego death and the benefits of taking DMT and mushrooms to get a look at the world that steps outside of our day to day perceptions. 

This guy is the real deal and I wouldn't be taking time out of my Saturday if I didn't want to try to turn a couple more people on to him, in hopes his music has the same impact on them as it has me. 

If you want to get a really good look and listen, I'll start you out right here with his performance at Farm Aid on September 17th. A rousing performance with the Dap Kings backing him up on horns and featuring some passionate guitar work from Sturgill. Just a kick ass performance....



I'd recommend anyone that is interested in finding out more about Sturgill's music to start with songs from the "Metamodern Soungs In Country Music" album and if it strikes you right, move on from there. His first album "High Top Mountain" is solid, but not quite as polished or immediately satisfying as a genre busting piece of music like "Metamodern..." and "Sailors Guide To Earth" are. That's certainly not a knock on it at all. It has its' own charm and merit and is probably the most overtly country of his three albums. On each album he moves effortlessly between country, folk, psychedelia, and pop and does so without taking huge leaps. I hope someone finds out about the greatness of Sturgill Simpson from this blog, but if not, at least I got to spend an hour writing about an artist I believe is very important to modern music and is sure to continue making music that will stand the test of time. 

"Turtles All The Way Down"
This is probably his most accessible song musically, but lyrically it captured the attention of a lot of music lovers that see modern country music as shallow and devoid of any lyrical depth. Simpson defies that in a refreshing manner with the subject matter he speaks to here. 



"Life Of Sin"
This is a fun romp of a song that easily appeals to country sensibilities but has the backbone of a rockabilly tune. 



"Oh Sarah"
This tune kind of plods along on the initial listen. Very pretty and not flashy, but it takes a turn that many of his songs take and the second half just sucks you in. The band starts picking up the tempo and Sturgill gets to show off his amazing voice and passion. 


Joe Rogan and Marc Maron have featured him on their podcasts. You can check those out at the links below! 







Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hillary or The Donald: Getting Just What We Deserve



Have we ever had two worse candidates for the presidency running at the same time? Sometimes, I feel like this is some sort of nightmare or a cosmic joke and I'm going to wake up from it and see two half-way normal people running (ie, Jim Webb, Elizabeth Warren, Rand Paul, John Kasich, or hell....even Jeb Bush). The votes are almost in and for better and probably worse Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are going to be fighting it out for the title of "most powerful person on the planet". Yeah, exactly....let that shit sink in for a few minutes. 

The political climate is such that it has given rise to a quasi-fascist like Trump. I understand the allure and I outlined it in my last entry, entitled "The Trump Thing". We gave rise to this man. It's largely our fault. We have given over the reigns of our republic to the political and financial elite and they have shaped a country where the difference between the have and have nots is increasing by the year. The power has been taken from the people and given to the corporation, which our bought and sold Supreme Court backed up with their decision that says corporations are people and can make huge political donations to PAC's, basically buying power within our government. That power is used to  help elect politicians that will create favorable legislation to the wealthiest among us. Hillary is a glowing example of this sort of Main Street vs Wall Street disconnect rank and file voters display. We have allowed our country to be taken from us because we have been duped into becoming a narcissistic and distracted population. Social media, wedge issues, reality TV, opinion programming disguised as hard news, and the death of investigative journalism have crippled the average American and in concert, the United States as we formerly knew it. We fight for or over the wrong shit and we fight with each other as though we are enemies. We are manufactured enemies, but again, we did this. We kept voting for these two parties and fought tooth and nail to defend them against our own best interests and against the best interest of a nation we all say we love. We let it happen. We watched it happen with glee and pride! All of this distraction has finally led us to two candidates that should have most of us horrified, if not very concerned.




Donald Trump is a billionaire. He is also a political fraud and chameleon. He's already backing down from some of the blustering promises he has been making over the past year. He has suddenly "evolved" on issues like immigration just in the past few weeks. He has had many success' in business and he has had some failures. Anyone that puts themselves on the line in the business world is bound to slip now and again. Part of his rallying cry is how the mainstream, establishment politicians have sold out the American worker and you know, that's true. What he doesn't seem as anxious to scream from the roof tops is that he has taken advantage of the sell out. He has donated large sums of money to both parties over the years (including to the Clintons) because it was to his advantage. That's the way our system works. If you want something done, you go buy it. Our vote only allows us to choose which party or person we want to benefit the most from the purchasing power. Trump should be a lot of things that rank and file Republicans hate. They hated Bill Clinton for a myriad of reasons, including his womanizing. Remember, he cheated on his wife and therefore his character couldn't be trusted. Trump has done the same thing. Remember, Bill Clinton was involved in shady insider business deals that had huge financial windfalls for him personally and politically. Trump has taken advantage of his fathers fortune and political connections to get deals worked with huge tax breaks that not just anyone would be privy to. Remember when Donald Trump was a "left wing plant" that was running so the presidency would be given to Hillary? What happened to that bit of paranoid thinking? The same people that hated what Clinton was about are now willing to let those things go or even worse, make excuses for them in regards to Trump. They are slaves to the party. It's their identity. It's their team. Country be damned.....you gotta win, right? Throw personal integrity and character out the door. Just win baby. 

Trump exhibits fascist tendencies and at best he can be considered a quasi-fascist. He is now capitalizing politically on what he has been capitalizing on financially. Demonizing trade deals and companies that have shifted jobs out of country, even though, again, after taking advantage of them himself. He is openly isolationist and nationalistic which taps into the distrust/dislike of foreigners that so many on the right grumble about, but have now been given the green light to scream about out in the open. He doesn't do anything to temper the anger, resentment and hatred that is being poured out. American policy means more than human rights to Trump and his supporters. He has gone so far as to say he would order the military to break the law by using torture to procure information and to kill the families of known terrorists. Both are illegal, but he said the military will do it because he will order it. All you have to do is use Google and you can find much more on the views he holds that are consistent with authoritarianism and/or fascism. He has also been inconsistent on abortion, on conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as on other issues. He demonizes his perceived rivals and fellow Americans, based on appearance or stereotypes. This isn't an honorable man in any sense of the word. I get it, we all want a strong leader and we know we have problems with jobs, illegal immigration, terrorism, etc....but do we really want to overreact and go to the far right to fix those things? It's a road to less personal liberty, not more. It certainly isn't a road to greatness. I don't compare Trump to Hitler as a person or leader, but the nationalism and authoritarianism in a comparison of their rhetoric can't be ignored. "Make America Great Again" may be a slogan, but perhaps we can settle for "Make America Admirable Again"? 





That moves me on to Hillary Clinton. I believe this woman to be a fraud and a charlatan of the highest order that is basically using entitlement to bully her way to the nomination. She is purely a political animal and can probably be trusted less than Donald Trump when her words are taken into consideration. Trump doesn't hide what he is, Hillary has, does, and will. She wants the presidency and will say and do anything to get it. Her career is built off of her husbands rise to power in both Arkansas and in Washington DC. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, but looking the other way in the face of humiliation, excuse making, and outright deception when it comes to some of the more unseemly pieces of her husbands political and personal life makes her out to be merely and opportunist and an enabler. She likely didn't stick with Bill because of any obligation to the sanctity of marriage or for Chelsea, but to keep her own political career intact.

Hillary is weak on her position that she knows how to get Americans back to work. She supported NAFTA, which her husband signed into law (and was supported by people like Rush Limbaugh for crying out loud, so as you can see, the elites knew the advantage of this "deal"),  and she has rattled off rhetoric about putting people out of work who are employed by the fossil fuel industry and then took it back a week later when confronted by a voter. She obviously doesn't even understand the people that she believes to be her constituency. She and her husband have been huge proponents of Wall Street. She is status quo on banking and in fact her husband pushed the banking industry to be more resourceful in giving horrible loans to people so they could buy houses, which eventually caused the great mortgage collapse and sent our economy into a depression/recession that we will NEVER recover from. She benefits from current campaign finance laws more than any other candidate and may well receive more money from PAC's than any candidate ever. How can she protect us from the predators on Wall Street if she is taking money from them? They are not giving her money to reverse the current trends. She has stated that she has voted for "barriers" to keep illegals out, but now is using Trump's rhetoric on the subject against him. She has been against same sex marriage and now she's for it. She is as much of a neocon as Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney when it comes to our use of the military. The Huffington Post (a noted liberal website) has called her "the candidate of Wall Street. Even more dangerous though, is that she is the candidate of the military industrial complex" and went on to say that her foreign policy experience basically stems from supporting every war demanded by the CIA and military. 




I am obviously of the opinion that neither of these people are fit to be president. We are supposed to be a beacon of light to the rest of the world. We are becoming a laughing stock. This democratic republic was designed to be a great experiment and we, the people, should maintain control over its affairs and leadership. We have ceded that control to the political and financial elite. We have no one to blame but ourselves. During the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, the crowds were chanting "the whole world is watching" when the police and national guard were brutally dispersing protesters, basically interrupting the people's right to assemble and use free speech. My fear is that in August of 2016, the chants will be "the whole world is laughing". This is far from a laughing matter, but we have finally gotten what we deserve. Our leadership is finally reflecting who we are as a people and a culture. The will of the people is speaking and of course I accept it. Just don't expect me to get along and go along like a trained monkey. I will vote FOR a candidate that doesn't have a record of lying. That doesn't have a record of manipulating the system for personal gain. I will vote for a person of some character and integrity or I will not vote at all. If there is nothing else I have as an American, I have my vote. I won't bend over and give it up like a whore on spring break nickel night in Tijuana. 





















Sunday, March 13, 2016

The "Trump" Thing.....


It's past time to believe that Trump doesn't have a chance to be the Republican nominee for president. In fact, it's MUCH more likely than not that he will win the delegates to become face of the GOP in November. How do I feel about that? A little bit "weirded" out by it, but mostly, I'm on board with his being the nominee. The GOP and frankly, the country has it coming. It's what we want. It's what we deserve. 

Look, we can't have a hateful, angry, and deceiptful political climate that is allowed to flourish in Washington DC and act like we (the voters, the American people) are not the biggest part of the problem. We refuse to wake up. Well, some of us have. You can read back about 5 years through this blog and know that I've been preaching on how much trouble we are in for awhile. It's our fault. How? Because we have treated our political parties like they are teams we root for. The country is just a big game and the Republicans and Democrats are the teams. We love our team so much we become apologists. We hate the other team so much that we demonize the people in it, regardless if its' supporters, candidates, or "leaders" seem to want to do things that may be in the nations best interest. We punish those that may want to help, by demonizing them simply because they don't wear the same color we do. To be able to hold our people in office to a standard, we should be that standard. Instead, we watched Honey Boo Boo, the Dumb Fuck Dynasty, Real Housewives, and Survivor until we ruined any sense of decency, dignity, or respectability. People have absolutely no respect for anyone else (especially those that disagree with us) when it comes to listening to an opinion. We have killed off debate. We have killed off being open to new ideas.

The only way I could be happier with what is happening with the political climate this year is if Sanders becomes the Democrat nominee. These two parties need an enema, and we need to take a look at who we are and what we expect our leaders to be going forward. What we have right now, is what we want. A loud mouthed, alpha male bully and a two-faced, elitist criminal. An enema for the parties? Hell, what we really need is total collapse. 

Trump has risen because there is a growing segment of our population that is tired of the people they vote for not doing what they say they are going to do or at best, not even trying. Any Republican that cares or votes regularly should be angry about the lies they have been told by their candidates for the last 20 years. Ideally, conservatives should support the individual liberties of the citizens. They should not support our military being used for nation building. They should not be OK with healthcare, war, and education being insanely "for profit" enterprises for major corporations. A real conservative would demand that the leadership attack the size of government, including the role government can play in controlling our everyday lives. A real conservative would demand that federal programs (and even a non-federal entity like the Federal Reserve) be audited and investigated  from time to time to eliminate fraud, waste, and the misuse of tax payer money. Not to mention the Fed controlling our money, but not being accountable for it. Stop trying to get involved in everyone's bedrooms and personal lives. Stop stifling civil rights. Stop trying to push the nation towards theocracy and using a 2,000 year old book as a template for foreign policy. Those are the things that conservatives should be thinking about. The so-called conservative leaders that people keep voting for are definitely NOT conservative. They are social fascists that spend more time trying to retain power and strip rights from others than they do dealing with the collapse of our healthcare, economy, and educational system.  

The hate heaped on Bill Clinton, and I remember it well, pale's in comparison to what happened to George W Bush and Barack Obama. The outright hatefulness of our nation has been on display for 24 years and we are now paying the price. We believe it's our duty to shout down the opposition. We now believe it's our right to take away the rights of others if we disagree. The mealy mouthed politician that says one thing and does another is the norm, not the exception. The weak way congress has approached problems, by tacking on lines to bills that have nothing to do with the subject so they can make some fat cat somewhere happy, has caused delay in action and most of the time it causes inaction or at the very least a weak stab at working out a problem. 

Which, now leads me to "The Donald". He is everything that the hard core GOP voter wants, but for some reason, they hate him. They say he's not a conservative. Well, as I outlined above, there are not many conservatives left, or at least they now call themselves libertarian (as this writer is prone to do) and the people who THINK they are conservatives are going ape shit crazy hating Donald Trump. Why? He is offering everything they want and he's doing it in a way that should be right up their alley, yet they back the establishment. The very people, like Cruz, Romney, McCain, Graham, Bush, and Rubio, who have paid lip service to conservatism are the ones they will support to the death. They are the haters of Obama who will pull out all the stops to tell you how socialist Obama is or how he is coming after their guns....or how his wife is really a man, or how he is really a Muslim. The same kind of shit they vomit on Obama is in essence the same kind of stuff they are spewing at Trump. THEY are the hateful ones. THEY are the ones that want to stifle freedom. It's team politics, the nation be damned.



Who is Trump and how do his views line up with the modern conservatives? 

Trump has a strong view on Mexican immigration and wants to fund the building of a wall by imposing a tax on imported goods from Mexico.  Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

Trump is firmly and without apology a supporter of no changes to the 2nd amendment (gun ownership). Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

Trump wants to pour more money into the military and says he will destroy ISIS. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants to defund Planned Parenthood and is anti-abortion. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants a firm debt limit. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants to destroy the trade deficit (which has been overseen and brought on by both parties for decades, killing middle class manufacturing jobs) and make it smart economically for manufacturers to being jobs back to the US. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants to teach citizenship to school children and encourage competition between schools to gain students. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants to either cut into the EPA's budget or eliminate it. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He wants to kill Obamacare and allow health care savings accounts. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want?

He says he is a Christian and by the accounts of his family and friends, he doesn't drink or smoke. Or do cocaine. Isn't that what the so called conservatives SAY they want out of a leader?

Do you get the picture? Now, you can say "Well, some of the issues he has changed on and I don't trust that he's a real conservative." OK, so what in the past 20 or 24 years have you seen that leads you to believe that any of those things have been worked towards by the status quo politicians you keep voting for that are bought and sold by major multi-national corporations and special interests? Basically, people want to keep rooting for their team and even though Trump says all the things they should be wanting to hear, they can't let go of the status quo. They can't stop hating the opposition or being apologists for their own team long enough to see they are really being duped and taken for granted.

Do not take ANY of this as some sort of endorsement of Donald Trump. My reasons for wanting him to win are not that I necessarily believe what he says (although I have agreements in areas like trade and the scope of government), but it's about repairing our system. I am a supporter of Gary Johnson and will remain a voter for the Libertarian Party until I have a reason to move in another direction. The only mainstream candidate I would truly consider would be John Kasich, although I have a soft spot for what Bernie is trying to do. He is trying to open a dialogue about our damaged educational and healthcare systems. A dialogue that we need to be adults about and need to start considering if the richest nation in the world should be sliding into the teens and twenties when talking about rankings world-wide in those two areas. It's a disgrace and he will talk about it on a wildly different level, even if his grandest plans are not attainable at this point in time. 

If someone was serious about helping this country, they would want Trump to win and for the GOP to unravel. The Dems need it too, but the topic front and center right now, is the GOP. Trumps voters are attracted to him for what is probably a myriad of reasons, but one of the chief components, in my opinion, is his alpha male leadership quality. He's not spitting out a bunch of mealy mouthed rhetoric, designed to protect his words from being parsed by voters or the media. He is stating things plainly and directly. He's not asking the "tribe" to pitch in and help, he's telling you his going to take care of the problems. He is direct, assertive and without apology and that makes him seem like a very strong man that can be relied upon. Our country is at a crossroads. Many of our citizens are concerned about the future. They are scared of what is happening and uncertain about the future or about what can be done. Trump has tapped into that. In some ways, much like Ross Perot did in 1992. Many Republicans were fed up with George Bush and Perot gave them a simple speaking, direct alternative. Perot spoke like a man that would take charge and lead the nation and many Republican voters left him and some left the party for good, helping Bill Clinton win a 2nd term and turning the nation 50/50 on presidential politics. Trump is running that same game, but it's at a volume of 11. 


The GOP needs to burn. It needs to splinter. The established leadership has gotten too comfortable, just like the Democrats have and it's ruined our nation, divided us as a people, and aided in making us a large group of narcissistic "me" monkeys that have little regard for anything other than their own instant satisfaction. Our ego, as a nation, is out of control. We no longer want to "Walk softly, but carry a big stick" as Theodore Roosevelt viewed our role in the world. We want a big cannon and we want to dare someone to look at us wrong so we can flex our nuts and impose our will. The past two weeks have been epic. I love seeing the party I once voted for and supported coming unhinged. They left me and many others behind. They are showing out to be who the Democrats said they were; cheating, manipulating, do nothings. All of this open talk of changing the rules before the convention (which is perfectly legal, up to one day before it begins, due to the rules drawn up by party establishment), actual collusion between the other candidates, and the mocking of his voters are only going to strengthen the resolve of those supporters and I believe it's going to bring him new supporters. He is making some heads explode and for better or worse, that's not a bad thing. The GOP establishment has been exposed, not by Trump, but by themselves. They have come out of the shadows to pull their monkeyshines and there is no way that the more astute and honest GOP voter can feel good about it. These are people that are going to punish status quo politicians and there are actually new people coming out to vote. The GOP turnout and registration rates are sky rocketing above the Democrats and it's largely due to Trump.  

We need a new system. The two party thing is broken and it may have corrupted and damaged our nation to the point of no return. We need political revolution and I hope it's close for the sake of future generations on this planet. I believe Ross Perot was conception. The Tea Party/Occupy Wall Street movements were the heartbeat and now Trump is the kicking baby. Let the party splinter and hopefully the establishment can go their own way and the true conservative party will be born that is motivated by moving the nation and the citizens forward will embrace libertarians and Republocrats. 

A vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for the status quo. It may hurt, but it's past time to break this thing and then allow for some real leadership to emerge. The wolves on the right have shown themselves. Run them off and then hopefully we can get to work on the Democrats! The worst thing that happens is that Trump gets stone walled by both parties and is a lame duck right after he is sworn in. You have to believe the two parties, if not the GOP only, would have to evaluate what is expected of them from the voters going forward to the next election cycle. Wouldn't it be nice to have 3, 4, or even 5 parties? Wouldn't it be great to be able to find a group that aligns to your beliefs and has to stay beholden to the voter instead of big money interests? Currently, each party knows it has a monopoly on big money contributors and that they are only one election cycle from power. There is little reason to do anything that works against the interests of those that fund their campaigns or to do anything that would limit their time in office. The status quo isn't working. It's time for change. Real, tangible change.