It’s time to deny service to Mississippi

I hate MississippiTim Cook, CEO of Apple, is gay. According to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, some people are allowed to decline him service.

Mississippi’s governor signed far-reaching legislation allowing individuals and institutions with religious objections to deny services to gay couples…

The measure signed by Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs on marriage and gender.

Source: Anti-Gay Laws Bring Backlash in Mississippi and North Carolina

Apparently, Mississippi didn’t learn about civil rights and non-discrimination from Dr. Martin Luther King, so maybe it’s time for Tim Cook to teach them a lesson.

Let’s face it- Citizens United says corporations are people too- and have a right to buy elections, and by the same standard, they should be able to decline to serve an entire state if it wishes to discriminate.

My proposal is that Apple shut down all their Apple stores in Mississippi, tomorrow. Then, shut off access to the entire state to the iTunes store, to iCloud, to Apple Maps and any and all programs on residents’ iPhones.

I would hope that Google joins in- and sets up a geofence and denies service to the entire state. No Google. No Google Maps. No Android updates.

Throw in Facebook. Geofence the entire state. If you are in Mississippi, you’re off Facebook. Just like that.

I would think that if these three companies cut off all services within the state- Mississippi would cease to exist- but, for good measure- Ebay, and PayPal can join in too. All of these companies have believed in and supported diversity. Microsoft can jump in too- although who really uses Bing?

Since we don’t have legislators or leaders who do anything without the almighty dollar directing them- maybe, just maybe, teaching the people of Mississippi a lesson not to elect bigots, racists and haters to office will send a message to all of these holier than thou misanthropes a lesson.

Enough people died in Mississippi to end segregation in the sixties. Supposedly, we moved forward- to where we no longer judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

America has no place for bigots like Phil Bryant.

Which of our corporate chieftains will have the fortitude to step up and stop this hate from spreading?

You’re fired

Uncle Sam saying You're FiredTo the Republican senators who refuse to do their job and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland, you’re fired.

Typically, people who refuse to do the job they are supposed to do- get fired, at least in the private sector. In the public sector- not so much.

Right now, more than ever, we need to take a look at who should be fired for not doing their job- and I’m going to start at the top.

President Obama- you promised hope and change. Yet, the same assholes that destroyed the global economy just before you came into office- haven’t been prosecuted, or even slapped on the wrist. While the income gap continues to grow, you bailed out the banks, insurance companies, and scam artists who had packaged mortgages, lied about them, built a Ponzi scheme, collapsed it- and robbed the American people blind. Need a refresher- go watch “The Wolf of Wall Street” and even better- “The Big Short.” I know Elliot Spitzer liked hookers, but he seemed to be the only guy out there who would have held anyone accountable. Your boy Eric Holder- our former Attorney General- used to be a part of the cartel that came up with MERS and robosigning of documents that were the keys to most American’s largest investment- their home/mortgage/deed- and that mess is still going to drag on for years.

Richard Cordray, who is the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should probably be fired as well. Not, because he hasn’t tried to do his job, but because he’s not been effective. Interest rates are still low for rich people and corporations- and almost usurious for those at the bottom. The fact that credit cards can still charge over 20% and be open accounts, while the prime is near zero, says you failed Rich. Go home to Ohio and run for governor.

Speaking of governor- John Kasich, who was elected by the people to be governor of Ohio- and has spent the last year, prancing around the country pretending to be presidential material and actually costing the taxpayers money to keep him safe and secure- while not doing his job- you’re fired too. How many jobs can the common man have where you can get paid by one, while not doing it?

On the local front, it should be obvious to someone that Wright State University should be hit with a blow torch. Start with the president who has to hire lobbyists and consultants with huge paychecks to go talk to the people he works for (hint- they are in Columbus- not on your board of trustees). Zero controls or checks and balances have brought one scandal after another. And here again, getting fired doesn’t mean you lose your job, unlike in the private sector. Provost Sundaram Narayanan got the axe, but because of tenure, is still employed. Go figure.

We’ve seen one departure from the board of trustees, Nina Joshi resigned, without having to take any flak for the questionable benefits her firm, UES, may have received from the H1B visa scam. Other trustees are pretending that they haven’t done anything wrong either- like the president of the board who voted on his own son’s hiring by the university to a questionable specially created position. Seriously, we need to go to Japan and learn about honoring the company ideals- so these cretins would feel shame and do seppuku on themselves. Maybe WSU athletic director Bob Grant, can join them all- since after firing the men’s basketball team coach for lack of “fan engagement”- I bet the Nutter Center would sell out to watch these people line up- and disembowel themselves- since apparently, winning games and graduating your players isn’t enough. BTW- when the successful women’s coach left right after firing of the men’s coach- it probably had more to do with his not wanting to work for a ruthless athletic director.

And while we’re on the subject of firing in higher Ed- you all know my position about Sinclair’s expansion into Warren, Greene, and Preble counties– without taxation. Fire President Steven Johnson and bring in someone who understands who pays for his subsidies.

Moving on, there are oh so many more opportunities to fire people in Dayton. Nan Whaley, Shelley Dickstein and Aaron Sorrell- that hole where the Dayton Daily News building used to be? You’re fired. How about letting the Community Blood center tear down that beautiful block of buildings just south of the Blood Center? Another empty lot, great. I was just in Cincinnati on Friday night- and why is it that the hottest parts of downtown still have all the old buildings? hmmmm….

The Dayton Board of Education sort of fired Superintendent Lori Ward by not renewing her contract, or that of Treasurer Craig Jones. Both are still drawing a paycheck, but no replacements are in sight- and in the meantime, the company that they hired to staff the district with substitute teachers may be breaking the law by not treating long-term subs more like employees- and playing musical chairs with sub spots. The reality is, DPS was short 30 teachers this year, hello? Isn’t that job number one- have a teacher in the classroom?

To all the local taxing jurisdictions of Montgomery County. As a small business owner, can I tell you the idea of trying to track and pay all of your individual income taxes is a ridiculous burden, and that we now have an area, Austin Landing, where depending on how many floors your building has, actually dictates who pays income tax or not. Seriously- all of you- FIRED. We need to come up with a taxation strategy that is fair, universal, and easy to report- like a statewide income tax- that’s redistributed to the locals. One taxing authority, one tax rate. Less paperwork, fewer penalties and let’s get on with business. Oh, yeah- and if you are a little podunk government like Beavercreek township, or Moraine etc. you don’t get any of the money back- because you shouldn’t exist. We need to implement some kind of limits on what qualifies as a jurisdiction worthy of taxpayer support based on a ratio of people to governors. We don’t need to support 26 police chiefs, or 24 Chief Building Inspectors, or 28 city managers. It’s time to do what the big banks have done, the hospitals have done, the insurance companies have done, the grocery stores have done- and consolidate. All you straphangers living off the stupid jurisdictional boundaries created by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785- you’re fired too.

Who would you fire? I’m sure I’m going to make someones list (don’t worry- I’ve been fired before).

The “Human Rights violations in Cuba”?

I’m sick of hearing sanctimonious comments about the United States lecturing Cuba on basic human rights.

Cuba has 11.7 million residents.

We have 2.2 million incarcerated- mostly, poor, black or in need of proper mental health care.

We have abject poverty, higher infant mortality, the highest per capita murder rate, no national health care – the list goes on.

We’re a third world nation now.

It’s time we stopped “solving the world’s problems” and started solving our own.

Communism isn’t the enemy. Castro isn’t the enemy.

Unbridled capitalism has failed us in every way.

We’ve got the best government money can buy- and frankly, it’s not worth a crap.

Kudos to President Obama for fixing this farce left over from the fear-mongering of the 1960s.

Now, if Congress would actually do their job and vote on a supreme court nominee. Or do we have to buy them too now?

 

The Schooler Murder. Where did he get a gun?

Reverend William Schooler was killed by his mentally ill brother, Daniel Schooler in Dayton Ohio on Feb 18, 2016 with a gunGive or take, this is what I wrote on Facebook on Sunday night. I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about this.

I’ve know Reverend Schooler for at least 25 years.
He was gunned down by his mentally ill brother in his church on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
I can’t think of a sadder story.
Schooler was one of the more pragmatic and practical of the Black Ministers- and one who cared more about the people in this community- and especially kids- than most of the others.
I don’t know how many high school sporting events I ended up sitting next to him- and he’d put his arm around my shoulder and say, “Now, listen to me David…” as if I had any other choice.
I didn’t always agree with him, and I don’t think that the school board made the right decision picking him over 8 others- including my ex- who would have been awesome on the board- but, I know that his heart was always in the right place.
I can’t fathom what drove his brother to do this.
The hell he’ll have to live through when he realizes what he’s done…
and how this is going to affect his family- forever.
I don’t believe in heaven- or hell, but I know Bill did. And I know he’s happy to meet his maker- and to be free of the earthly constraints of his spirit.
Our community has lost a big heart- and a good man.
And it’s going to take me a long time to stop feeling a sense of loss, due to this needless shooting.

The first reports in the Dayton Daily news had Bill’s name, but, for some reason, it took them until evening to realize he was a former school board member, a teacher, a principal, a decorated Vietnam Veteran. The institutional knowledge base of the local “if it bleeds, it leads” news departments is deplorably thin. But, this was the kind of story that makes the front page. They love a good tragedy.
How many things had Bill done over the years in this community that didn’t make the front page that made a bigger impact? We’ll be reading about this for a while.

Schooler, and when you said “Schooler” everyone knew who you were talking about, was a master people person. He’d share connections, insights, and counsel with almost anyone who sought his help. I first met him in 1993 when I was running for mayor. He was helping Mark Donelson, who was the husband of Sherie McLin then, who was running for commission along with Reverend William Augman. Dean Lovelace was in that race, and pulled out to move into a special election to fill the seat that Mark Henry vacated mid-term. The incumbents were Tony Capizzi and Dick Zimmer.

The West Side was foreign to me then. Between Donelson and Schooler, I got my first hints of how it worked, didn’t work, the ministers, the projects. I remember riding to events with Donelson where he would detour and take me through parts of town that I didn’t feel that safe in. Mark, who was known as “Hollywood” and Schooler knew everyone. I saw Yuma Place, Arlington Courts, Hilltop, The Bass – with the windows open, and rolling slow. That we had a housing project with the nickname “Gangster Courts” almost seemed sickly romantic- as if there was some kind of glamour to it. I was young, dumb, naive, innocent and blind to how rough some parts of town were. They opened my eyes. All these years later, some of these places are gone, and have parks on them. I go there and hang green basketball nets. I don’t fear my city anymore, some of that comes directly from Schooler.

I never met Bill’s brother Daniel. I did meet Mark Donelson’s brother, Ron Ragland (It’s been a long time, I hope I’ve got his name correct) many times. He was murdered in a domestic dispute years ago, still a young man.

There is a common denominator here, black men dying by gun violence. Or as my friend, artist James Pate calls his series on the subject, “Kin Killing Kin”– there is no mistake about the abbreviation KKK for this story- it’s no longer the Klan killing off our black community, it’s the community killing itself.

All this twisted path to come down to this:

Court records show Daniel Schooler has a troubled and violent past. In 2001, he was charged with felonious assault with a firearm specification and carrying a concealed weapon, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records.

Source: Pastor-slaying suspect described as ill, violent

There were other assaults, there were other instances where Daniel Schooler beat people, did time in prison, and the judge even questioned his mental state then:

“Court documents note Schooler “may be mentally ill and in need of treatment.” He was sentenced to five years of probation.

I’ve made my stands on the 2nd Amendment pretty clear over the years. I believe in the whole amendment, not partial interpretations.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

To me, this means, as part of an organization, that meets regularly, and has been fully trained in the proper and safe use of arms, may keep them- in an armory, that is guarded and manned, 24-7 by members of said militia. Being a “strict constructionist,” (thank you Judge Scalia for that esteemed BS)  I also believe that the ownership of arms is limited to the type of firepower that was available at the time of the writing- which means slow to load, single shot, limited accuracy. The right of the people to keep and bear arms- does not include TOW missiles, Claymore mines or nuclear arms- which means, that the right to own a semi-automatic pistol isn’t legitimized anymore by this insane idea that owning weapons makes us some kind of special.

The only thing special about arms ownership in America, is that you are much more likely to die by a gun than in any other civilized, industrialized country in the world. Need proof? Look no further than Bill Schooler, a man of the cloth, a teacher, a decorated veteran.

There will be a trial, unless Dan Schooler either kills himself in jail, or someone else does it for him. We’ll find out thatmentally unstable. He may get sent off to a forensic psych ward, or to prison for the rest of his miserable life. None of this will bring back his brother. We’ll be throwing a lot of good money after bad, trying to make an example out of Daniel, trying to get our ounce of flesh, to do the eye-for-an-eye thing- where everyone will end up blind.

None of that matters.

The only thing that matters is how did he get the gun? Where did he get the gun? Who’s gun was it? And, that’s the person who should be standing trial.

But, sadly, that too is just smoke and mirrors. We’ve done this to ourselves. One gun, one bullet, one fucked up interpretation of twenty seven words, written long ago, by people who we’ve somehow deified, who had no clue of the carnage that would become our county in the name of  “security of a free State” in which there is no true protection from these acts of senseless violence that have taken a good man away from us for no good reason.

Schooler, if you can hear me, I will not forget you.

The cost of stupid

There used to be a time when facts presented without empirical evidence weren’t called facts. Now, we’re inundated with unsubstantiated statements that are shared and talked about – without paying any attention to the source, validity, or even common sense.

It’s a world gone mad.

Or it’s just entropy on steroids.

The arguments against gun control in this country make no sense. People actually believe you are safer if everyone had a gun. Seriously.

People believe that our health care system is the best in the world, yet every other industrialized country with universal health care has better medical outcomes and longer life expectancy.

The costs of a college education have skyrocketed in the last 25 years, while a motivated individual with a computer and an internet connection can self teach almost anything. Pay for college graduates has stagnated or dropped.

We believe our “Democracy” and “Democratic system” to be the model of government- yet, it’s become clearly evident that “pay to play” is the de facto standard- and legislation is bought and sold like a commodity. I remember being taught about the inefficiencies of doing business in countries like Russia when bribes were the norm- as if that never happened here (and I believed that).

America still proudly proclaims itself the “land of the free” when facts say we imprison more of our population than anywhere else. Sure, we don’t run Gulags or Concentration Camps, but, why is it that our prisons are filled with poor minorities. Also, we seem to have a serious problem with killing people without judge or jury in the name of justice. Isn’t that what happens in third world banana republics? Not at Walmart in Beavercreek?

There was a time in history when insanely bright people were respected and consulted. Leaders were chosen for their integrity, intelligence, and track record. Now, it’s more like a popularity contest where your Q-score counts almost as much as your bankroll. Climate change scientists are routinely called heretics by people with zero scientific training.

Speaking of scores, we’ve been going round and round with what testing tool is appropriate to judge student achievement on something we now call the “common core.” There is a different educational strategy coming out daily. Hell, I even have one or two of my own. Yet, when you look at the evidence, one factor determines educational outcomes in the United States more than any other- poverty. Yet, fixing that one would require a shift in wealth distribution- and that just isn’t “the American way.” We continue with the fallacy that poor kids have a chance to make it in the NBA, or become a rapper- when the odds are way better that they get shot, imprisoned or become just another poor family.

When we talk about selecting our next president, we don’t even realize that the system doesn’t provide for a way for a single office holder to really change anything in our system- he needs a whole network of elected helpers to make things happen. So even if we elect Trump or Sanders- neither, will have the votes to make the changes they promise. The system was designed that way. It hasn’t changed, even with all the corrupting influences.

And of course, this post is full of unsubstantiated statements presented as facts- because, well, you know, the academic rigor it would take to find, evaluate and cite would take too long, and I’m intellectually lazy.

But, you know I’m right. Right?

Our future rests in the hands of people who believe that if they saw it on Facebook- it must be true.

The costs of ignorance are high. It affects us in so many different ways. Fundamentally, our democracy relies on an educated and informed electorate, yet we now know that’s been tossed out the window. What else is left?

More and more, George Orwell had it right in both “Animal Farm” and “1984”- and we’ve done nothing to stop it. Both of these books were required reading for me in high school. I wonder if they are still being taught- or only to rich kids?

When we look at the cost of incarceration, of social systems to support our underclass, of the checks and balances like Title IX or Equal Opportunity lending, or quotas and all the systems put in place to shore up a house of cards built on trust in government and our economy and our social structures- there is only one real investment that fixes so much of it- smarter constituents.

Only when we have an enlightened electorate will we see the change that makes sense, that is definable, substantiated, and effective. Fixing our education system has to be our first priority if we ever hope to tackle the rest.

 

 

 

Republicans making sense…

If you listen to the “debates” of those who want to be our president, you hear a lot of banter. You hear a lot of he said/she said. You hear things that are pulled out of their rear ends for shock and awe and front-page headlines. Very rarely, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, do you hear a case being presented for solutions that challenge the way we think or should think about issues.

I had a hard time accepting Arnold Schwarzenegger as a serious candidate for governor of California for all the wrong reasons. Just having a high Q-score should not a candidate make, but read this post he had on Facebook- and see if it makes sense to you. He reframes the discussion of renewable energy, dependence on fossil fuels in a way that even a moron should understand, and for that, he deserves a gold star.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.

December 7 · Public I see your questions. Each and every time I post on my Facebook page or tweet about my crusade for a clean energy future, I see them. There are always a few of you, asking why we should care about the temperature rising, or questioning the science of climate change. I want you to know that I hear you. Even those of you who say renewable energy is a conspiracy. Even those who say climate change is a hoax.

Even those of you who use four letter words.
I’ve heard all of your questions, and now I have three questions for you.
Let’s put climate change aside for a minute. In fact, let’s assume you’re right.
First – do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution? That’s more than murders, suicides, and car accidents – combined.
Every day, 19,000 people die from pollution from fossil fuels. Do you accept those deaths? Do you accept that children all over the world have to grow up breathing with inhalers?
Now, my second question: do you believe coal and oil will be the fuels of the future?
Besides the fact that fossil fuels destroy our lungs, everyone agrees that eventually they will run out. What’s your plan then?
I, personally, want a plan. I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged. That’s exactly what is going to happen to fossil fuels.
A clean energy future is a wise investment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong, or lying. Either way, I wouldn’t take their investment advice.
Renewable energy is great for the economy, and you don’t have to take my word for it. California has some of the most revolutionary environmental laws in the United States, we get 40% of our power from renewables, and we are 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the country. We were an early-adopter of a clean energy future.
Our economy has not suffered. In fact, our economy in California is growing faster than the U.S. economy. We lead the nation in manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, entertainment, high tech, biotech, and, of course, green tech.
I have a final question, and it will take some imagination.
There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.
I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.
I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice – who would ever want to breathe those fumes?
This is the choice the world is making right now.
To use one of the four-letter words all of you commenters love, I don’t give a damn if you believe in climate change. I couldn’t care less if you’re concerned about temperatures rising or melting glaciers. It doesn’t matter to me which of us is right about the science.
I just hope that you’ll join me in opening Door Number Two, to a smarter, cleaner, healthier, more profitable energy future.

Source: I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.

I got the lead on this from subscribing to Seth Godin’s blog. I find it a nice daily reminder that there are other intelligent people out there questioning the status quo.

Now, does my “Walk to work tax credit” sound sensible to you?

 

Banking inequity

I have a contract sitting around somewhere for a home equity loan with Gem Savings from around 1990. It was one page, letter sized, in large type- and was all I needed to sign to get an equity loan on my house.

Now that document would run 8 pages of micro-type and include things like an arbitration clause, denying me the right to use the justice system to settle any grievances.

Later I signed one of those really long contracts to refinance my house with a bank. They changed the terms at the last minute, after jerking me around for weeks. Then, promptly sold the loan off to some mortgage servicing company, and then it’s been transferred time and time again- all without proper recording of title and lien transfer at the County Building.

If you or I sold a property and didn’t record the transaction, it wouldn’t be considered valid.

My small business, a sole proprietorship, recently teamed with another small business to do a large deal- $130,000, with a very small margin. When I went to deposit $90K, they wanted to hold my money for a week- despite being told well in advance this deal was coming. The banker even tried to warn me that this could be fraud. I had promised the vendor I’d pay by wire transfer- and was told by the bank it’d be $25 to wire money out. They didn’t tell me there was a $13 fee to have it wired into my account.

I’ve even had them putting holds on rent checks that are certified. Apparently, “Certified checks are easy to forge” which is why the hold according to my bank. WTF good is a certified check then? I do work for a credit union- which pays with certified checks- even those get a hold.

It’s getting harder and harder to run a small business, and banks behaving badly is just one more obstacle for small business to overcome. When I was a youngster in business school, you were advised to have counsel of a lawyer, accountant and a banker. Since the deregulation/consolidation of banking in this country, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find any banker with actual lending authority anymore.

The last one I encountered was at Eaton National Bank- which once it got absorbed by LCNB ceased to be what it was. I’m experimenting with Wright Patt Credit Union now- which is one of the few credit unions that can do business lending. It’s becoming apparent that small business really is better off with a credit union instead of a bank, but I’m not sure if this applies to start-ups (I’ve been in business for 25 years).

One of the problems is that small business can’t buy the politicians’ ears the way big business can. When was the last time you heard of a tax break for small businesses? A program to help small businesses grow- that wasn’t driven by big business financial tricks (like quick write-offs of capital expenses)?

What could change if small businesses were given tax credits rewarding them for each full-time employee, length of employment, and growth in payroll that were redeemable for low-interest loans and access to working capital? What incentives could we offer to encourage the big banks to take small business seriously?

Small business powers most of our job growth, but, there are no small banks left to work with them. It’s time to solve this problem.

Terrorism is the only protest left

For the last 2 days, the world has been focused on the terrorist attacks in Paris. Much like lots of Donald Trump campaign trail rhetoric, terrorism is focused on triggering media coverage, not actual effectiveness.

In the grand scheme of things, the downing of the Russian airliner out of Sharm El-Sheikh, where 135 people died, was a more effective campaign- about the same number of deaths 135, with a lot less casualties of terrorists. Same goes for 9/11- 20 men lost, 3000+ victims. Yet, Paris will dominate headlines because of where it is, and because Europeans died.

Every day in the United States, hundreds of people die from heroin overdoses, drunk driving, distracted driving, lung cancer caused by smoking, and we’re used to it. But the moment someone yells “allahu akbar” while killing people- we’re up in arms and condemn an entire religion making up about 23% of the world’s population.

What we refuse to understand about terrorism, and fail to acknowledge is that it is the last resort of those who feel powerless. The fight for attention, for a voice, is more easily gained by bullets and bombs than by words and peaceful demonstration. The days of Gandhi and King are over.

Those who are willing to die for a cause will never stop, as long as their deaths prove to be effective at gaining the world’s attention. That their message gets lost in the media noise isn’t an accident, it’s the very reason they continue. At some point, we need to stop pointing fingers and figure out what the real cause of radicalized Islam is, and what causes it.

Now, the mythology of American Supremacy has to be examined. There are plenty of Jim Bobs and Billy Bobs in America who believe that what happened in Paris couldn’t happen here. That the “good guys with guns” would take out the “bad guys with guns.” This philosophy, this pipe dream, is why we also continue to spend more than the rest of the world on maintaining a military that is so grossly mismatched to any kind of conflict that no nation would willingly think of a conventional war with us. Nuclear power, submarines, aircraft carriers aren’t ever going to be used again as in World War II and yet we cling to that fantasy.

So do the Billy-Bobs- who think their concealed carry 40 caliber 9 shot automatic is going to take on 4 guys with a plan, the advantage of surprise and superior firepower. It’s why we equip our cops with AR-15’s now- because you lose that fight every time. To quote a t-shirt that I owned when I was 19- with a picture of an M-16 on it- “Why waltz when you can rock-n-roll” comparing the three shot burst setting to full auto.

Mismatches cause two things- overconfidence and helplessness. This applies to military might, and to income inequity (which are often intertwined, but that interrelationship is often ignored). Throughout history, whenever the gap is too big between parties, be they nation states or even between 2 people- things implode. There is a good reason we talk about the balance of nature. Balance is the key to averting disasters that can be controlled by man.

Terrorism tilts the balance to the underdogs, conventional war, to the mighty. With all of our investment in winning wars, we believe we are preventing them, when in fact, we’re just asking for it.

If we want to stop terrorism, the first thing to do is to stop exporting weapons. Only a fool hands a gun to his enemies or untrusted ally- and expects it not to be turned against him. The military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us against, has made trillions off these wars that can’t be won, that never end, and guarantee a world where terrorism is the only game left.

The other part we have to do, is to stop thinking we have a birthright of freedom to share across the globe. Our own people are, despite “a standard of living” that we consider superior, drowning in debt, poverty, and a frustration brewing at home that the deck is stacked against us as well. Inequality is something that never lasts. Equilibrium is and always will be, a force to be reckoned with.

To understand jihadists, look at the numbers that we overlook, the death tolls in our attempts at regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq- 224,000. U.S. military deaths- 4,491 from 2003 to 2014.  In Afghanistan, 2,372 U.S. deaths, compared to 106,000–170,000 for the Afghans that we were “freeing.”
The fact that we can clearly count our casualties and not those of our opponents should tell you something.

When the odds are this mismatched, there is no choice but terrorism. Call it a cost of war, call it a last resort, but, understand that it won’t go away as long as the deck is stacked on one side’s favor.

What happened in Paris sucks. What happened on 9/11 sucks. But, what we did to Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam before that- wasn’t exactly how you help a country out. War is never the answer, it’s the result of failed statesmanship, it’s the result of failed policy, it’s the result of shortsightedness.

It’s time to step back and re-evaluate our extension of military power, our exporting of the weapons of war, and our policies of trying to pick other countries’ leaders.

We wouldn’t tolerate it here if we thought another country dictated who our leaders were, would we?

Legislating morality vs. moral legislation

In a state where recreational pot for adults is fine, we have a high school football team being punished for sexting. Juveniles playing modern-day spin the bottle are facing possible felony charges for making and distributing child pornography. Colorado isn’t exactly a state known for puritanical tyranny like nearby Utah- where Applebee’s can’t be called a “bar and grill”- but some people can have “sister wives.”

In Ohio, a bunch of holier than thou legislators,  are trying to legislate laws to make legal abortion impossible. We just passed a law to “ban monopolies” aimed at a private pot cartel, but not at the casinos that wrote themselves into the constitution without a peep of protest from the Statehouse. Now, all of a sudden, everyone from used car dealers and dentists to hairdressers and morticians may be under new scrutiny caused by passage of Issue 2.

Smoking pot in this state, even for medical reasons is still illegal, and while we’re facing an epidemic of heroin deaths, our solution is still prison instead of health care.

Our “sex offender” laws create an underclass of people, who are no longer free to live where they want, without notices being sent to all the neighbors. Normal employment, basic rights- all out the window- even if your crime was being in love – with someone younger than you, or having had nude photos on a computer of someone who appears to be too young.

Never mind the huge number of African American males being imprisoned for being poor.

I read “The Scarlet Letter” in high school and thought that those days were long over. We’d had the “sexual revolution” in the 1960s- and Roe vs. Wade had settled the abortion issue. Pornography- hard core, had come out of the closet with Larry Flynt and his raunchy “Hustler”- which no longer made any secrets of what a certain part of a women’s anatomy looked like.

The fascination with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and celebrity sex tapes is able to captivate the country, yet we still seem to think that our politicians don’t have sex, or if they do, it’s only in the missionary position, with the lights off, with their legal spouse of the opposite sex.

We impeached a sitting president for a blow job, spending months investigating this most personal act, between consenting adults. Yet, when the Wall Street wizards destroyed the global economy- we didn’t put a single one of them on the scaffold, or force them to wear a scarlet letter. Fuck the world economy and you get a pass, fuck an intern and it’s all over.

To bring this into local perspective, the City of Dayton has given up on basic city services- leaf collection, street sweeping, snow plowing, parks and recreation, and even effective policing.

But, we handed $3.5 million to Stuart Lichter of IRG to pillage the Emery/UPS building- and create zero value, without a peep. We’ve bought 3 buildings for half a million each- that have zero public use. We’ve allowed CityWide Development to buy a few more- including this gem of a piece of shit for the same. All without a single cry of immoral uses of the public trust. $2 million went into the hole in the ground on Ludlow- $5 million into the failed Wayne Avenue Kroger- and no trials, no witch hunts, no question of impropriety. We’re handing out $75K checks left and right for office remodels to “help businesses relocate in downtown Dayton” while our property taxes are being hiked indiscriminately and capriciously.

The latest levy- issue 13, was heavily backed by the health care cartel in Dayton, which isn’t subject to the property tax in the first place. And while they scream about low government reimbursement rates for services- any kind of questioning their illegal ad hoc pricing structure goes ignored.

It’s time to stop legislating against sex, race, orientation, and poverty- and start putting laws in place that guarantee equal and fair treatment for all. From corporate welfare disguised as “economic development” to tax breaks for the wealthy and the protected classes (hospital networks) it’s time that no more breaks be given unless they are equally available to all who meet fair and published standards- i.e., no tax breaks for companies that have employees who are eligible for public assistance or that pay their executives more than 20x their median payroll. No incentives for individual companies or industries that may have supported or contributed to political campaigns. Look at the donors to Mayor Whaley’s campaign chest- and see that the Sinclair Supporters bought her election for her.

It’s time to stop criminalizing human behavior- like sex and sexual health, addiction and orientation- and get back to criminalizing criminal behavior like grand theft, racketeering, union busting, labor exploitation and violent behavior that are all much more important than two or twenty teens sexting.

What passes for “news” these days is often just glorified gossip. Actually committing a crime isn’t even necessary anymore- if you’ve been following the pathetic case of a local basketball star who is being punished for being accused of a crime- not for actually committing one.

Which leads me to wonder, how much longer will my ability to publish this blog still be protected?

Read these words carefully-

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

And start looking at our society with a more observant eye.

 

 

Grandstanding congressmen and CEO pay

Chafetz vs Planned Parenthood

Obviously, bombs are a cost no object endeavor- while birth control. needs tight oversight.

Reading an editorial about the Planned Parenthood inquisition, I saw a mention that a member of Congress had questioned the pay of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards- a whopping $520,000.

I thought to myself of the companies that have federal contracts, GSA schedules- who promise to do work for the people of the United States at the lowest cost possible. Companies like General Dynamics- who are so far over budget on the F35 program– and yet, keep getting funded. The CEO of General Dynamics, Phebe N. Novakovic, who also happens to be a woman- made $19 million last year. No inquisition there.

From the only news source that carried this in depth- Al Jazeera, read the exchange:

“Your compensation in 2009 was $353,000. Is that correct?” House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, began. “Congratulations, it was,” Chaffetz continued when Richards said she didn’t have the exact figures. He went on to note that Richards’ salary had risen to $520,000 since then…

“I would like to register my opposition and objection to the chairman beating up on a woman, on our witness today for making a good salary,” said Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. “In the entire time I’ve been in Congress, I’ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary… I find it discriminatory and inappropriate.”…

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member of the committee, said in a fiery rebuttal that it was particularly hypocritical for Republicans to place Planned Parenthood under a microscope and take Richards to task over her salary when they had never taken an interest in the hefty compensations of executives at big banks, drug companies and defense contractors, who had all engaged in law-breaking.

“Last month, Lockheed Martin was fined millions of dollars for using taxpayer funds to lobby Congress to maintain its hold on a multi-billion dollar Pentagon contract. Lockheed’s CEO received a stunning $33 million last year,” Cummings railed.  “Ms. Richards, do you know if there has been any investigation or any effort  — any — to eliminate Lockheed’s federal funding?”

“It sounds like there hasn’t been,” Richards answered.

“You got it, of course there wasn’t!” Cummings said. “These are huge companies that are actually guilty of breaking the law and their CEOs make millions of dollars — Republicans never criticize the salaries of their CEOs or they never try to strip their federal funding, their government subsidies or their tax breaks.”

Source: House GOP ‘beats up’ on Planned Parenthood president — and her salary

The Wall Street bankers made millions, while being bailed out. The program to save the homes of Americans from foreclosure- actually put more money in the hands of bankers than in the hands of the people being bailed out.

If Congress really cared about reeling in government spending- why not put a simple cap on executive salary for any company that receives significant income from the government. Any medical organization accepting funding for medicare/medicaid, a cap. Any defense contractor- a cap. Any bank that is guaranteed by the federal reserve- and has the ability to create money- a cap. Any company where employees depend on federal programs to make ends meet- a cap.

What the cap should be isn’t something random- set by the boards of directors- but based on a ratio of the total payroll of U.S. employees. You want to make more- don’t do business with the people of the United States- or accept our assistance.

Obviously, if the pay of the CEO of Planned Parenthood is relevant to the cost to our country of a government shutdown- this is important stuff.