The War on Reputations

There’s a new Civil War in progress and nobody’s winning. This Civil War is all about destroying the reputations of political partys, politicians, news media, government institutions, and ordinary people who have found themselves in extraordinary situations.

This is a many-sided war with battles being fought over the reputations of participants. In politics, it’s about Republicans vs Democrats and who will bend the government to their will while it loots USA national treasure for its party.

Outside of national politics, it’s about the reputations of celebrities, businesses and their leaders, and the burgeoning growth of internet personalities. The destroyers attack the reputations of famous people, the reputations of historical events, and the reputations of religion, morality, and financial institutions. And they especially attack the reputations of hard work, civility, deferred gratification, and common decency.

The weaponization of social media is the suitcase bomb of the 90s. The tools of social media allow everyone to become a potential bomb maker and everyone else a potential bomb thrower. In the hands of irresponsible people, the innocent-and-imperfect are attacked with weapons in which there is no defense. There is no defense from the lies that are told or the misrepresentations of the truth. It is scorched earth warfare.

The War on Reputations is an ugly war. It is anarchy on the internet. A “hater” chooses a target and launches his/her hate bomb. Others pick up the same material and fashion it for their own purpose. When government or businesses attempt to stop the bombmakers, other haters attack those same governments and those same businesses and accuse them of denying free speech or being fascist, communist, anti-this, or a sympathizer for that.

The only way to win this war is either not to play the game (a la War Games) or become totalitarian and control the content. For humankind, it appears that controlling the content is the only viable option. Self-control is preferred but “from the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

Just as newspapers and magazines controlled the content of their publications, the ISPs may be required to control the content in their e-publications.

Accusations and mudslinging will need an outside force to control them. And that is exactly what many fear.

The legislation that controls the content of the US internet will be foreboding at best; but to live with a free market of smearing, sneering, and fleering seems impossible. To give every person access to social media bomblets and permit the desecration of the innocent-and-imperfect seems too permissive. Not everyone is an adult and not everyone is equal. We should recognize that.

The War on Reputations could use a few Rules of Social Media Warfare and violations of those rules should likely become Social Media War Crimes with attendant consequences. Perhaps a new Geneva Convention is needed to craft those rules.

Any takers?

The Passing of Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh died the other day. He was excoriated by the liberal press and revered by the conservative press.

Some say he defined the modern Republican Party with his views about women (Feminazis), Gays, liberals, female sexual freedom, and the dirty, sinful, socialism of the Democrats versus the shining Republicans on the hill. You know them, the ones who live Christian lives as examples for the rest of us to follow.

Rush Limbaugh was at the crest of societal change in America and he didn’t like any part of it. He told millions of viewers every day , in mocking self-righteous tones, of the hypocrisy between what liberals and Democrats say and what they do. The disaffected and suspicious-of-change Conservatives listened to his radio program every day to hear more examples of outrageous behaviors on the part of liberals who believed in improving humanity through others but not through themselves.

He was funny and he poked the bear with outrageous quotes and comparisons.

But something changed in Rush Limbaugh in the early 2000’s. He was no longer funny. He became mean. I don’t know if he realized he was losing his war on the culture changes in America or if he started to throw himself into propaganda for ratings and money.But change he did. He became the voice of right-wing ideology, obtained a following, and fueled partisan politics in ways no one had previously had done.

Connecting the dots between conservatives who lived by self-actuating,nuclear family, individual rights and biblical memes, with a solid Republican, fiscally responsible, minimal government, and political perspective, Rush Limbaugh developed a cult. He fed the cult and the cult echo-chamber replied.

Becoming more mean, Rush began to denigrate people by name rather than by poking fun at their ideology. He created a monster that hides under YOUR bed or in the dark corners ready to take YOUR soul if you let it. He taught people to fear Hilary because she was a feminazi, fear Obama because he was angry and black, fear gays because they want you to accept their biblical perversions, and fear sexual freedom for the collapse of shameful behaviors in Society. This is who Rush Limbaugh became for the past 15 years.

But now, Rush is dead. So,too, is the old society that Rush tried to salvage from the forge that was creating a new American mettle. The new American mettle? Women became competitors to men, even among truckdrivers, construction workers, bank CEOs, Wall Street financiers, scientists, plumbers, elcetricians, politicians, and engineers. Gays are competitors to straight men and are accepted in society without being considered biblically perverted. American blacks of both sexes are now competitors to white men and have broken more ceilings and become a larger part of society than ever in American history. And sexual freedom is found everywhere. Even among the gun-toting, single white female moms living in the Bible Belt working in sex chat rooms.

Rush Limbaugh found, identified, and held up for our inspection, the societal changes that were occurring around us. No longer isolated by two oceans, America was becoming part of the global community whether Rush Limbaugh wanted it or not. And now, America has changed and it knows it has changed. It cannot return to the paternalistic People of The Book Christian ideology that it once exemplified.

The death of Rush Limbaugh, the expulsion of Donald Trump, and the new American mettle, each heralds a greater American future.

I mourn the loss of my enemy. I mourn the passing of my past. The King is dead. Long live the king.

Student Loan Forgiveness Yikes or not?

“Biden argues that the government shouldn’t forgive debt for people who went to “Harvard and Yale and Penn” — and he’s also indicated that he believes Congress should make changes through legislation, which would make them harder to undo.”

Well, President Biden and I agree on that point.

In my view if you are smart enough to go to college then you are smart enough to pay your debts. Even if you dropped out.

Biden wants a limitation of $10,000 and the uber-liberals like Sanders, Warren, and Schumer want to make it $50,000! Yikes! What is wrong with them? This sucking up to the college vote, well, it just sucks!

I wish this buying of American votes would go away but it is not likely to happen.

And in any event, isn’t this loan forgiveness simply a way to replace the money that banks loaned out and are now at risk of default?

The latest student loan debt statistics for 2020 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become for borrowers across all demographics and age groups. There are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans. The average student loan debt for members of the Class of 2018 is $29,200, a 2% increase from the prior year, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

That’s a lot of moolah coolah.

Send a note to all your congressman to stop college loan forgiveness.

Participatory Democracy

Well, you are about to see the conclusion of six weeks of effort to impeach a President.

What did you do to participate in YOUR democracy? If you did nothing, then it’s not your democracy, is it?

If you read the memes and watched the news, you did the same thing that every person in the world did. You became an informed and silent citizen whose opinion was never counted…whose voice was never heard.

This is a participatory democracy. You get what you put into it. If you put nothing in, then you get whatever comes out from other people’s participation.

Perhaps you will remember four years from now that the Democrats exaggerate everything and the Republicans do nothing. Doesn’t matter whether its a pandemic or a budget or voter ID or whatever. If you don’t participate, you get the dregs of every democracy in the world: the worst candidates, the worst policies for people, the worst outcomes, and the worst legislatures, judges, and executives.

Every policy and every law and every outcome is because someone with a voice speaks for it or against it. When your voice is not heard, nobody cares about you. Why should they if you don’t speak up in a participatory democracy?

You can write your Congressman, you can send letters to the editor. You can inform others. You can comment on this blog. You can go to Washington. You can march in the street. Heck, you can even storm the Capitol.

I hope you choose to participate in the future. If you want a world for your children, and your grandchildren, that keeps them safe and allows them to succeed, you need to do something about it.

Participate. With Respect. With Honor. With American principles in mind.

Lend your voice. Be gracious when you lose. Be grateful when you win. This is the best American most of us can ever be.

An Executive President

I don’t know how this presidency will conclude but I’m really happy that Biden acts like an executive and governs like one. He builds things up instead of blowing things up.

Now, the real question is: Can Biden avoid introducing new ways to spend Treasury money?

Sadly, I think not.

College Loan forgiveness? Yikes! This implies that we have college graduates who cannot figure out how to pay back their loans!

Say it ain’t so.

Adoption in the USA

If you don’t know anything about adoption, then you may wish to read the Wikipedia article on adoption in the US.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoption_in_the_United_States

Because of changes in adoption over the last few decades – changes that include open adoption, gay adoption, international adoptions and trans-racial (racial transformation) adoptions, and a focus on moving children out of the foster care system into adoptive families – adoption has had a large impact on the basic unit of society and the family.[15]

Adoption research scholars have reported seven core issues to consistently be associated with the unnatural processes of adoption. Problems with loss, grief, rejection, guilt and shame, identity, intimacy, and control uniquely affect each member of the adoption triad. It is important to be mindful of the realities of adoptions as they permanently impact those involved.[16]

Of interest to me is this:

No sooner were US adoptions made secretive with original birth records sealed, than those adopted began to seek reform. Jean Paton, author of Breaking Silence and founder of Orphan Voyage in 1954, is regarded as the mother of adoption reform and reunification efforts. Jean Paton mentored adoptee Judith Land, “Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child” during her adoption search. Florence Fisher organized The ALMA Society (Adoptees Liberation Movement Association) in 1972, Emma May Vilardi created International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR) in 1975, Lee Campbell and other birthmothers joined the fight for Open Records forming Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) in 1976, and by the spring of 1979 representatives of 32 organizations from 33 states, Canada and Mexico gathered together in DC to establish the American Adoption Congress (AAC). The Triadoption Library began keeping records in 1978 showing 52 search/support/reform organizations, by 1985 there were over 550 worldwide.[33]

Adoption Reform encompasses family preservation, adoptees’ access to original birth certificates, birth and adoptive families having direct access to each other (open adoption) and all related records (open records).

…and this…

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980; 113th Congress) passed the United States House of Representatives on July 23, 2014.[38] It is a bill that would address federal adoption incentives and would amend the Social Security Act (SSA) to require the state plan for foster care and adoption assistance to demonstrate that the state agency has developed policies and procedures for identifying, documenting in agency records, and determining appropriate services with respect to, any child or youth over whom the state agency has responsibility for placement, care, or supervision who the state has reasonable cause to believe is, or is at risk of being, a victim of sex trafficking or a severe form of trafficking in persons.[39][40] The bill H.R. 4980 passed the Senate on September 9, 2014, and President Obama signed it into law on September 29.[41]

If you have read my three postings about abortion, foster care, and adoption, I applaud you. Too many people have opinions on all three of these and those opinions are not rooted in an understanding of the issue. Thanks for reading me.

Comments welcome.

Robert Kennedy and today

“Some men see things as they are and ask, “”Why?”” I dream things that never were and ask, “”Why not?””

Some days I wake up and ask myself “Why don’t Republicans imagine a better world for people on earth?”

They appear to imagine a world that is better for them but not better for everyone. Is this true or am I missing something?

Would the Kennedy brothers be labled Socialists if they were leading the Democrat Party today? Somebody hated the Kennedys enough to kill them. What about President Johnson? Would his support of black lives in the ’60s through integration, equal opportunity, and government support programs be considered anti-Trump or anti-Republican if it occurred today?

Aren’t you curious why the marches today are the same as the ones in the 60s? Police violence, Police brutality.

Today’s marches are to end police violence and police brutality. Do you see that the root cause of these marches is a history of police violence in neighborhoods or do you see the violence as being necessary in crime- and drug-infested neighborhoods?

Do you see that the lack of government involvement in treating the neighborhood infestation through public health measures is an issue or do you see that people just need better morals, make better choices, and the crime and drug infestations will decrease as a result?

Do you blame the infected patient for his fever, vomiting, and sickness or should you treat the cause and make a sick person healthier? Would you do the same for sections of a city or should you simply contain the infection within its boundaries?

If the Kennedys and LBJ were alive today would they be considered LEFTISTS and SOCIALISTS by the Republican Party?

Does the Republcian Party see things as they could be and say WHY NOT? Or do they see it the same way as it was in the 60s?

And how are Black neighborhoods different than Chinese, Muslim, Hispanic, Hmong, and other ethnic neighborhoods?

So many questions and so few answers.

President Trump’s Rushmore Speech

If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a great speech and except for one swipe at Democrat mayors, it reflects the American character of exceptionalism.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-south-dakotas-2020-mount-rushmore-fireworks-celebration-keystone-south-dakota/

I am thankful I did not see him deliver the speech. It would have ruined it for me. I would have focused on his hubris and his poor character as a human being. He will never measure up to the presidential legacies of those who were carved into the rock behind him. But he did have this one great speech.

After President Trump’s praise of our Founding Fathers, he went on to say:

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.

Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.

The President goes on to say:

“One of their political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.  This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.  We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.  (Applause.)

In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.  If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.  It’s not going to happen to us.  (Applause.)

There is a lot of truth in these statements… And a bit of irony that the President fires everyone perceived as disloyal to him while embracing the concept of tolerance for opposing viewpoints.

“Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains.  The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”

The President goes on to remind everyone about our national heroes.

In all of the bad things we can say about this President, there is this one good speech about America; there is the calling out of a new fascism that seeks to tear the American Dream into shreds and replace it with an American Nightmare. An American Nightmare to scare the innocent, frighten the ignorant, and horrify the rational and reasonable citizens of America.

We are not now and never have been anything but exceptional.

Our country has abandoned its racist past and its misogynist culture.

It has defeated Nazis, Communists, and a variety of totalitarian dictators.

While the embers of these firestorms still glow, the fires have been extinguished. We must continue to be vigilant so they do not re-kindle into a conflagration once again.

While my disdain for President Trump remains high, he will be replaced one day and America will move forward once again to remove the yoke of misery off the shoulders of its citizens and off the world.

It is our legacy and our future as a nation.

Believe in America’s history, believe in its future.

What now?

Now that everyone has had their thirty-days of emotional response to:

(Choose one or more)

a) police brutality

b) the Confederacy that was defeated 150 years ago

c) slavery that was legal and existed in America from 1492 until Juneteenth 1865

d) the lack of government tools to deal with public mental health

e) wearing face masks

f) monument and property destruction

f) all of the above

..perhaps we can go back to being adults again. Hopefully, better adults this time around.

Politicians and social leaders took up the causes of protesters AND tolerated the protest misbehaviors for the most part. While plenty of people decried the violence, the protesters who respected the laws (and the traditional American convention of social protest) were not tarred and feathered with the Anarchists.

Even the rantings of the President of the United States to gin up an authoritarian response were ignored by local politicians. Thank God.

So here we are cleaning up the destruction of property, the leavings of human garbage, the bruising of community relationships, and the re-examination of law-and-order in our political infrastructure.

What happens next?

Will we change our meme as a nation?

Will the restraint demonstrated by local authorities continue?

Will battle lines be re-drawn?

Will we finally defeat our past?

Do Blacks Need More Help to Succeed at Life?

So this morning I’m watching TV and I see a black woman lamenting that black financial consultants at Morgan Stanley were not given enough help and mentoring to succeed in the firm.

Isn’t that amazing? College-educated. Hired into a traditionally white male occupation. In a formerly white male company. But it is not enough.

Black financial consultants need more help in order to be successful.

Really? Are we going to have the argument that equal opportunity is not enough and that, for some unknown reason, blacks must have more help to enjoy equal outcomes?

Sheesh. In competition there are winners and losers. Perhaps she lost because people gave up on her. Perhaps her skill set is not good enough to be top tier. Even white people competing with white people lose. Join the club of hundreds of thousands of white people who fail to make top tier. It happens every day.

Now I see NetFlix is shifting $100 million to black-owned banks to support black communities.

And billionaire Robert Smith proposes all big companies donate 2% of their annual profits to black-owned businesses. “Dear Mr. Smith, perhaps black-owned businesses should make money the old-fashioned way….”

Native Americans in the US must be pissed at the largesse that is handed out to blacks in America. I’m wondering if they should protest and seek equal outcomes for Native Americans in the same manner as Black Americans have received. Native Americans were kicked off their lands and subjugated for more years than black Americans. But who is getting all the attention?

Is this madness ever going to end?