Category Archives: Needs and Government

Partners – We Need Each Other

Created August 6, 2021

Good-natured rivalries are a constructive force for the betterment of all concerned. Unsportsmanlike vicious bitter feuds bring down all concerned.

The state of play at the moment between the two U.S. political parties is at the worst extreme observed in my lifetime. That can’t be a good thing. A house divided against itself, cannot stand. Who said that? Abraham Lincoln, one of the country’s first Republican party presidents, and one of the greatest of all of our presidents.

In this post I am setting out to document that the two political parties form a natural complementariness. That would not be the case with any two political parties. If, for an extreme example, our two parties happened to be Communism and Fascism, they would not complement one another nor work hand in glove together, because oil and water do not mix.

On the other hand, Republicans and Democrats names both mean almost the same thing: Res Publica in Latin means “public affair” and is usually taken to be a synonym for “commonwealth” (generally defined as “an independent community founded for the public good” and used as a synonym for “republic”); and Demokratia in Greek means “the people rule”.

However, Democracy specifies that the people call the shots, whereas a Republic exists for the public good but does not require that all the people together constitute the rulership.

This is not a fine point, it is the whole basis for the dynamic between the two parties.

The Democratic party takes the position that people should be able to reach decisions together by majority voting. That The People can be trusted to reach the right decisions.

The Republican party takes the position that The People are not always wise, they can be swayed by persuasion to make horribly wrong decisions, and must be protected by wiser heads.

No one can deny that there is truth and value in both of these opposed positions.

Especially today, when social media exposes how rampant madness is.

And social media probably adds to the madness.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guardians – the wiser heads – in the republic? That is the key to the success or failure of a republic – the people trusted to make the decisions. Solomon, Socrates, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, FDR, Walter Cronkite… we’re probably all in good hands. Most human beings who come to mind are not quite as rock solid.

The Founders were aiming for something optimized by combining Democracy and Republic, checks and balances everywhere. The U.S. Constitution they created established the principle that the power to rule comes from the people who invest that power in their chosen representatives in the U.S. system, a representative democracy and a democratic republic.

The Constitution didn’t mention political parties, and George Washington quit 20 years down the pike when political parties erupted on their own in 1796.

Yet our two parties, balanced as they are around a question of responsibility – can the public be trusted to have total responsibility, and if not, what is the proper interaction between the public and government itself, to achieve the optimal results? – have spontaneously evolved and their respective ideologies are extremely similar. If we had to have parties, these two are the perfect ones, on the face of it.

And one is conservative (in most cases) while the other is more progressive (in most cases). The Republicans coming from a place of getting people to stand on their own two feet, where the Democrats sympathize more with those who have fallen off their feet. The balance between these opposing Goods is where the greatest Good lies.

We need a degree of conservatism more than we ever needed it before, simply because we have been printing money to the extent that many economists fear a hyperinflation that could lose the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and have global economic effects possibly worse than the Great Depression.

Both parties have been taking advantage of the printing money alternative, and so we are under-representing the conservative ideal. It would be good to see us able to balance the budget and pay down debt. Both sides have good creative ideas and it’s a shame that filibuster prevents or delays debate which could lead to synthesis that is satisfying to both sides and to most citizens. At least let’s modify filibuster to require debate aimed at such synthesis, even if we retain the 60% supermajority requirement to pass a bill.

Let’s get back to using each other’s complementary skills and viewpoints to reach even better decisions and creative ideas than ever before.

The other party are not bogeymen. They are us, Americans, with very slight differences in point of view which are valuable, because they cause us to think, and the combination of two viewpoints causes a synthesis that is more perfect than either of the two original viewpoints.

Although the Founders did not visualize this taking place as two parties, they definitely foresaw that debate was going to be the modus operandi for the infant democratic republic. So let’s debate! The more we debate in a cooperative manner the quicker we shall unearth creative solutions for win/win. It makes no sense to delay debating, it is delaying the creative process the Founders invented.

We can carry on the work of America by simply ratcheting up the cooperation and winding down the rancor. Please give it a chance.

We can all act like children some of the time. Let’s not let ourselves do that all the time.

Two Sides to Every Story

To set us off on the right foot, let’s begin by acknowledging the good that has been done by the rival party. Here is a compilation of my subjective top ten accomplishments of Republican and Democratic presidents over the past 30 years. I left out many others worthy of inclusion in a longer article, and provided a bibliography for serious students. Because I set out to help bring us all together, please let’s not get into knocking any of my specific choices below, that wouldn’t do any good. The main reason I put these lists below together is simply to demonstrate that regardless of party, we have in general chosen well, that our recent presidents have all strived to do the best job they could, and that nothing irreparable has been done to damage the U.S.A. or to prove that our system is no longer functioning.

Bill Clinton (Democrat)

  1. Presided over longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history
  2. Unemployment dropped from 7% to 4%
  3. Poverty rate dropped from 15.1% to 11.3%
  4. Federal investment in education and training doubled, 3000% increase in educational technology funding, Internet-connected schools increased from 35% to 95%
  5. Largest crime bill in U.S. history caused crime rates to decline for eight years in a row and in 2000 were at their lowest levels since 1973
  6. Made approximately 300 free trade deals
  7. Helped end the war in Bosnia
  8. Helped negotiate the Oslo Accords between PLO and Israel
  9. Reduced the deficit for the first time since Truman was president, and reduced inflation
  10. Led the fight to pass GATT which lowered tariffs on manufactured goods by more than one third

George W. Bush (Republican)

  1. Withdrew from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, ending the Mutual Assured Destruction era
  2. $1 trillion tax cut
  3. Established Homeland Security
  4. Targeted Osama Lin Laden for 9/11 and sent troops to Afghanistan breeding grounds for similar events in future
  5. Took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to prevent more than half of America’s mortgages from going under
  6. Signed No Child Left Behind Act
  7. Signed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia
  8. Instituted new penalties for corporate fraud while proposing other reforms to “demand corporate responsibility and integrity without stifling innovation and growth”
  9. Department of Justice guideline prohibiting racial profiling in federal law enforcement
  10. Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes tax credits for wind and other alternative energy, identified ocean energy as a renewable technology

Barack Obama (Democrat)

  1. Signed into law the largest annual increase in research and development funding in America’s history
  2. Ended the 2008 recession: his last three years in office saw annual average growth of 2.3% in U.S. Gross Domestic product (GDP)
  3. International Climate Change Agreement
  4. Modernized the auto industry, raised fuel efficiency standards, and lowered carbon emissions
  5. Reformed health care
  6. Regulated the big banks
  7. Eliminated bin Laden threat and withdrew troops from Iraq
  8. Put 10 million people back to work
  9. Established a new cybersecurity office, appointed a cybersecurity czar, ordered first nationwide cybersecurity assessment
  10. World’s largest free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Donald Trump (Republican)

  1. Abraham Accords: the 2020 Agreement among Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain encouraged similar pacts with Morocco and Sudan
  2. Space Force: recognized that a new branch of the military is now a necessity
  3. More efficiency in striking down terrorists: continued the use of missiles and drones to kill key terrorists without putting Americans in harm’s way
  4. Historic peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan
  5. Degrees of improvement in relations with most difficult countries such as Russia and North Korea
  6. Called out China’s currency manipulation, product dumping, industrial espionage, and lack of trade reciprocity
  7. Contributed $483 million to the development of Moderna, $456 million to the development of the J&J vaccine, and up to $1.2 billion to the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine through Operation Warp Speed
  8. His first three years in office (before pandemic) saw average U.S. GDP annual growth of 2.5%
  9. Record highs in the Dow Jones Industrial Average
  10. Prior to pandemic, achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years

Joe Biden (Democrat)

  1. Quadrupled the level of vaccinations per week
  2. Most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history
  3. Rejoined the World Health Organization
  4. Rejoined Paris Climate Agreement
  5. Bolstered U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and other cutting-edge technologies
  6. Provided a comprehensive plan for Covid relief and support
  7. Proposed an Immigration bill that provides a path to citizenship and protects Dreamers
  8. Brought troops home from Afghanistan
  9. Restored relationships with allies
  10. Gave fair warning to Russia and China regarding cybercrime and aggression

Interestingly, most of the Joe Biden accomplishments listed above were drawn from Fox News’ Leslie Marshall’s March 11, 2021 opinion column. The full bibliography of sources for this presidential review is included below.

We’re not as far apart as it seems. Sometimes we get good ideas from each other. Let’s stop the silly squabbling and “put the Beatles back together”.

Best to all,

Bill

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton#:~:text=Clinton%20presided%20over%20the%20longest,for%20national%20health%20care%20reform.

https://clintonwhitehouse1.archives.gov/White_House/Accomplishments/html/accomp-plain.html

https://learnodo-newtonic.com/bill-clinton-accomplishments

https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/achievement/index.html

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/george-w-bush-event-timeline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Barack_Obama#:~:text=Obama’s%20first%2Dterm%20actions%20addressed,US%20military%20presence%20in%20Iraq.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/barack-obama/

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchapril-2012/obamas-top-50-accomplishments/

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/30/fact-sheet-celebrating-president-obamas-top-10-actions-advance

https://www.good.is/articles/obamas-achievements-in-office

https://www.thebalance.com/what-has-obama-done-11-major-accomplishments-3306158

https://time.com/4616866/barack-obama-administration-look-back-history-achievements/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/04/06/the-fragile-legacy-of-barack-obama/

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/obama-biggest-achievements-213487/

https://ramonahouston.com/blog/the-244-accomplishments-of-president-barak-obama/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/09/no-pfizers-apparent-vaccine-success-is-not-function-trumps-operation-warp-speed/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45827430

https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-biggest-accomplishments-and-failures-heading-into-2020-2019-12

https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/2021/01/trumps-top-10-accomplishments-of-2020-opinion.html

https://capaction.medium.com/what-has-joe-done-for-me-lately-biden-administration-accomplishments-98c71f9ce2d8

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/990305593/100-days-how-biden-has-fared-so-far-on-his-promises

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/biden-top-10-achievements-leslie-marshall

https://www.politifact.com/article/2021/apr/26/evaluating-president-joe-bidens-first-100-days-off/

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/news/2021/05/06/499245/first-100-days-analyzing-biden-administrations-foreign-policy-successes-opportunities-next-year/

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/biden-s-track-two-big-achievements-here-s-how-it-n1272343

https://capaction.medium.com/what-has-joe-done-for-me-lately-biden-administration-accomplishments-98c71f9ce2d8

https://khn.org/news/article/evaluating-president-joe-bidens-first-100-days-in-office/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/28/politics/president-biden-first-100-days/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-first-50-days-president-have-been-historic-success-2021-3

How Can We Get the United States Back to Normal?

Created July 30, 2021

“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”

–Ronald Reagan

The world is waiting to see how this unprecedented drama comes out. Billions of people had high hopes that America would lead the world to a fair break democracy for all. Now it’s looking like the whole idea of democracy is failing and the brutal bosses are restoring their clutches on the whole planet. The tyrants who used to wear masks as monarchies now wear different masks but they still get their way, one way or the other. They buy it, or threaten, or kill, but nothing stands in their way. Apparently not even the legal government of the USA. Because that legal government is no longer one thing, it’s two things:

  1. People who truly believe in what America is all about.
  2. People who only care about themselves and are betting on the Republican party, led by a splinter arm, to take over the country and maybe one day the world by using perfectly legal means, through their cleverness in gaming those legal rules.

It’s my best estimate based on studying survey results from Pew, Gallup, Dynata and others, that at least 86% of Americans do not back this splinter sub-party within the Republican party, we back America, democracy, equality, freedom, justice, truth, science, and perennial human values.

However, some of the 86% are loyal to the Republican party, it is deeply ingrained, all joining-group phenomena build upon the primal human need to belong, and simply out of loyalty these people have been giving their support to the individuals who are driving this bus.

The tools the drivers are using were not in the U.S. Constitution, but introduced a long time ago by politicians anyway, and now filibuster and gerrymandering are treated as American as applesauce. Filibuster being in place, it stops legislation which could otherwise depose both of these tools. In the next midterm elections coming up soon, prognosticators believe that the Republican party, although a minority, will take possibly permanent or at least multi-decade control of the U.S.A.

We have already seen how, at a time which was premature for a successful coup d’etat (voter restriction laws not yet in place, gerrymandering potentials not yet fully exploited), Trump attempted to remain president and got dangerously close to doing it, and retains his freedom to continue to translate the Trump-Republican sub-party ideas for popular allegiance. How much harder will such people fight to keep their control later on if they manage to ever lose an election again despite the use of false stories through all the media, filibuster, gerrymandering, State level voter rights restrictions, sponsored militias (possible but not proven yet), infiltrated police departments and armed services, and local intimidation.

How can we get back to being the beacon for righteousness for the world? It is not by standing helplessly by and allowing it to continue to be driven by a very small minority that prove by their actions they don’t care at all that they are breaching their oaths of office:

“I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.””

The Constitution contains the 15th Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The people who have proposed voting restrictions, blatantly designed to disenfranchise minority voters, have clearly breached their solemn oaths. All of these conspirators in a coup d’etat plot, anyone who stayed in a room where words were heard conveying this plan to sufficiently game the system and pack the courts and use every foul means available to gain and retain absolute power over a free people despite knowing themselves to be a minority, are traitors to the American Dream.

“Seditious Conspiracy” has already been mentioned by prosecutors in the cases against Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Florida 3%ers who are known to have coordinated their insurgency at the Capitol. We have to open our minds to wider consideration of such charges as investigators continue to trace the causes of the insurrection, from low places to high.

In this citizen’s opinion, they are traitors, guilty of treason; this is not intended as hyperbole. The indications of treason, to me, are disseminating false information in the media, undermining Americans’ self-belief and the world’s belief in us and in our elections, our Constitution, and our vaccines, causing large scale deaths and encouraging authoritarian foreign governments to escalate cyberattacks on the U.S. and other threats to the security of the world. We ought to overcome our hesitation to call a spade a spade and a traitor a traitor. If this is not treason, nothing is treason. They have lowered our chances to lead the world to democracy. Severely lowered them. They are not only traitors to the U.S.A., they are traitors to the human race.

If evidence is found sufficient for legal action, alleged conspirators ought to be removed at least temporarily from Federal and State office until the court decides what outcome is right and proper on a person-by-person basis. In Congress, these suspended lawmakers must be replaced by someone in the Republican party who has not disseminated false information or in any other way evidenced failure to keep their oath of office.

We should welcome people who have been acting solely out of loyalty, when they rediscover where their true loyalty lies, to the true America, the bastion for freedom and truth, for telling it like it is, for brotherhood and sisterhood, for practical idealism, for working together and reaching the best decisions under majority rule as the major principle that makes all the rest possible.

 

 

After the true conspirators have been weeded out and it is once again possible to function under the U.S. Constitution without filibuster, gerrymandering, or any other loopholes that can be gamed by traitorous actors, we can decide together how to refine the Constitution itself so as to ensure majority rule prevails, such as by elimination of the Electoral College (or by means of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact), and by some adjustment to the equality of States in the Senate. Both of these Constitutional rules are evidence that our Founders were worried that unbounded democracy could lead to bad outcomes, given the fact that most people at the time lacked education (still true today). So they built in rules to provide a cushion: the Electoral College and States’ equality in the Senate. However they did not fully visualize how those cushions could undermine the entire structure of the World’s Greatest Most Daring Experiment. In this century two presidential elections were won (by George W. Bush and Donald Trump) despite the popular vote going the other way (that also happened three other times in U.S. history). In 1776 the difference in population between the most and least populous States was only 12 to 1; today it is more than 62 to 1. A person in California’s vote is worth only 1/62nd of a person in Wyoming in terms of Senate voting. If the Founders had been even more clairvoyant than they were, there might have been codicils to adjust for the uneven growth of the nation.

So many great heroes gave their lives to give us this, the greatest and realistically ONLY hope in the world for a fairer society on this planet. In a short time we have managed to smear ourselves with the excrement of falsity, fascism, paralysis, racism, sheer lunacy, hate, violence, power madness, unmitigated greed, abject stupidity, and a taste level that even P.T. Barnum would sneer at. We can rebound as quickly as we plummeted. We lost every battle in WWII for years but in the end our victory with our allies was inevitable. We are supposed to win. It’s in the cards, in the heavens, in the script. Good triumphs over Evil. Always preceded by a dramatic rise in Evil which seems to be winning and the odds of success seem miniscule. Here we are again.

OVER THE TOP! (What Americans and allies said in WWI before leaving their trenches to face almost certain death. But we won. And we will win this one too. It is our Mission.)

That these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

–Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

 

Best to all,

Bill

A July 4th Message from the Father of our Country

Created July 2, 2021

For at least two decades from July 4, 1776, George Washington was the most trusted person in the United States of America.

The Walter Cronkite of his times.

He served as President when, to him, the job was a burden rather than a prize. As you will hear from his words.

He was the glue of authenticity and integrity that gave our country its chance to build a foundation that would last.

For two decades, he made parties unnecessary, because all differences could be resolved in him.

And then, when the party divisions arose with their bitterness and hate, he stood down and would not accept another term as President. He was 64. Average life expectancy for an American male was 36.

In departing, he was sure to warn us about the forces that were arising to counter the most innovative governmental structure in history.

We now find ourselves at a time in which the trajectory of the party story has arced over in its ballistic orbit to what could be the end of our Noble Experiment.

Things that were never part of the original USA plan such as parties, filibuster, gerrymandering, and anti-voting laws, are positioned to bring an end to majority rule. Filibuster has already technically ruined the majority rule principle which is the very essence of Democracy which gives each of us as individuals the sense of freedom we so cherish. A vote that is truly equal to the vote of every other person. With no gotchas that modify or pervert straight majority voting.

Both Hamilton and Madison spoke out strongly against requiring a supermajority to pass laws – which is what the filibuster is, requiring a 60% supermajority. Hamilton called the supermajority concept “poison” and said that it “goes against the fundamental principle of free government”, by allowing the minority to frustrate and tyrannize the majority. We certainly see this today if we observe without bias. And Madison agreed.

Only plutocratic power mongers would dream up these hacks in the first place. We innocently let them in and their festering has now reached the place where they turn the USA into the Orwellian dystopia.

If we let them.

Asleep at the switch our heroes and protectors of today have forgotten the referendum, which the Founders gave us.

It may be the only way left to us to stop the REAL STEAL.

In this post, I will read you some excerpts from George Washington’s final address, his last guidance to the children of the country he helped create and lead through its fragile infancy. I’ll also provide the link to the full going away letter he left for all of us, which is read annually to both houses of Congress.

I hope it revitalizes your true loyalty to our true bedrock principles, and helps bring the unity we need now more than we have ever needed it before.

Washington begins by humbly and diffidently explaining why he will not accept another term in office:

Transcript of President George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Later in his address he warns of the dangers of the political parties just then sprouting up in America:

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Washington also warns us against forming permanent grudges against specific nations:

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

To me, the humility, authenticity, and kindness of the Father of our Nation comes through loud and clear in these his last words of advice, to us his children, endowed to carry on the idealism of the Founders. This is what a true U.S. President sounds like.

Let his spirit re-inspire us to our original Mission and Values, and help us return to unity with forgiveness and a renewed dedication to work together for the good us all of us.

What you feel when you read these words of George Washington… you are feeling what it is to Be An American.

This American Noble Experiment is worth preserving!

Commemorating and honoring that Beacon for The World,

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY 2021!

My best wishes to all,

Bill

 

What’s a Non-Trump Republican to Do?

Created June 25, 2021

The latest (May 17-19) Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 53% of Republicans still believe the 2020 election was stolen, down from 68% in a January 28 poll. The stolen election belief appears to be dropping about a percentage point a week. A straight-line extrapolation suggests that pollsters may soon find that the majority of Republican voters no longer believe the election was stolen.

Many of those who “changed beliefs” in the 17-week period may actually never have truly believed, but their party loyalty caused them to adopt that stance. Making a more accurate projection requires being able to make an accurate estimate of how many of the original 68% were actually loyalty driven rather than true believers. Why? Because beliefs are extremely hard and slow to change, whereas postures may be easily changed overnight.

Assuming for the sake of argument that two-thirds of the original 68% were loyalty believers and a third true believers. If that were the case, all other things being equal (which they never are), about 30 weeks from now (mid-December 2021) the percent of Republicans who say they still believe the 2020 election was stolen may be down to 23%, where it could remain for a long time.

But I would bet against it going down that far that fast, especially given the mid-term elections coming up. Those upcoming elections are the main reason the party is clinging so desperately to what almost everyone else sees as a big lie. And why the Grand Old Party is doing what it can to interfere with Democrats voting in those elections, despite the obvious risks of driving away support from all but the most fanatical Republican core.

This is all so sad.

Saddest of all for the remaining Republicans who are aghast at the behavior of their party but who feel impotent to do anything to save the party.

Psychiatrists might tend to explain the current official actions of the party as an attempt to rationalize the recent past and remove the black eye that Trump gave the GOP in the eyes of most of humanity.

But as a parent, if you heard your son or daughter saying things that were untrue and non-credible as a way of covering their ass for something they had done, what would you say to them?

Most parents would say, “If you keep doing that, no one will believe or respect you, and people will avoid you. You better fess up as soon as possible, people will forgive and respect you for doing that, and in the end you will gain much more by confession than you would gain by trying to keep up pretenses forever.”

It’s not too late for “normal” Republicans to raise their hands. That’s the best thing for the party, for Americans, and for the world.

The downside scenario for clearheaded Republicans is for the party to be split into two parties, which could happen if, for example, that 53% stat above for any reason gets locked in and doesn’t change at all for the rest of the year. Eventually the other 47% is going to have to start thinking about the long term, and some will bail and become independents (this has begun). Natural leaders will step up and it could cause party fission.

A new party might call itself the Independent Party. Or it could call itself The Center, implying the mental freedom of a Moderate without religious attachment to either progressive or conservative knee-jerks. How it positioned itself would drive how big it became.

But it wouldn’t matter. The remnant parties would find it very hard to make their way against the Democrat party because of relative sizes. The story would become one of backroom attempts to re-form coalition between the pieces of the GOP. That is what the Republican party is headed toward if it continues to use duplicity and guile in such utterly obvious ways. The fessing up scenario is the only way out.

Let’s say you are a non-Trump Republican and want to do something about this, what is there for you to do about it? Create a movement. Call it anything you want, Republicans For Reality, or whatever.

But do it soon. Contact all the people you know (even non-Republicans can help, if you let them), license use of lists and compile the contact information for as many Republican officials and voters as you can, send out frequent eblasts of posts written by members of the movement. Raise money and run public service advertising.

Focus on the immediate future not on the past. Focus on what should be done, not on what should not be done. Don’t condemn anyone, get past all that, be the beacon of reason that will magnetize other Republicans to take off the Halloween masks and get down to the work of cooperation with all Americans and like-minded people everywhere to solve the pressing problems we all face together, which I won’t list here again as I know everybody knows the list already.

The one thing I advise above all else: if you really love the Republican party and want to see it rise again in public esteem (including self-esteem), if you want to see the Grand Old Party of Lincoln be able to attract new members from all social classes, stop the attempts to restrict voting rights. The blowback on that issue will sharply reverse recent trends of the party attracting lower-income people and minorities, and will turn off the many older people in the party who need the vote by mail option. A betrayal takes decades to heal, or centuries, or millennia. Restriction of voting rights is a betrayal of the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Republicans loyal to American Principles, Arise!

Love to all,

Bill

They Who Do Not Trust Enough, Shall Not Be Trusted

Created June 18, 2021

Trust levels have been going down for a long time. Distrust in the US government began dropping in 1958 and as we all know, today roughly one in six Americans (half to two thirds of Republicans, essentially) don’t trust the 2020 election.

It’s not just the government. People don’t trust the media, advertising, corporations in general, other people in general, they don’t trust themselves, the Universe or God.

It’s not 100%. There are probably over two billion people on the planet today who are still generally trusting. Unfortunately, most of them are probably little children.

In 1971, the first edition of Handbook of Children and The Media by Dorothy and Jerome Singer told the world that heavy viewers of television news are more likely to distrust the next stranger they met. In today’s agitprop circus of openly biased “news” channels and foulmouthed, vicious, people-cancelling social media, the distrust creation by media has gone way through the roof.

The original quote was “He who does not trust enough, shall not be trusted.” “They” has recently become used in the LBGTQIA+ community to replace “he” and “she”. The quote comes from Lao Tzu’s great work the Tao Te Ching, which also says:

If you open yourself to the Tao,
the Tao will eagerly welcome you.
If you open yourself to virtue,
virtue will become a part of you.
If you open yourself to loss,
the lost are glad to see you.

“When you do not trust people,
people will become untrustworthy.”

Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu Chapter 23, translated by JH McDonald

All religions at their core contain the notion that one must be open and trusting. Islam for example is centered around the idea of surrendering to God, trusting and having faith that God will take care of you. Hillel’s and Jesus’s Golden Rule includes trust among other ways you wish to be treated by others, therefore you must start by trusting them. Hinduism and Buddhism at their deepest levels teach that that next stranger you meet is you.

However, religion is another thing that most people don’t trust any more.

Even science is not trusted by an enormous minority!

Now that we have slid this far down the rabbit hole we don’t even trust that there is only one reality that exists, and partisan groups (and every user of the Internet) are allowed to make up their own realities.

Trust and fear are related. The more we fear, the less we trust. If we are rooted in a confidence that there is a benevolence behind the universe, fear drops away, and trust becomes possible; this is the state of mind in which one is open to receiving guidance from above, and Flow state occurs freely.

Very few of us are in that small group of which I am a member.

The advice I give in connection with trust is to have fearless respect for everyone. Respect and Kindness is the mode that elicits trust and cooperation toward common goals. In today’s environment that mode requires fearlessness, fatalistic acceptance of whatever may come from right action.

What if we can’t break out of our current mass headspace? It doesn’t look so promising for the good guys (“guys” used to cover all infinite variations of gender and sexual orientation).

Let’s face it, Trump has a lot to do with where we are on the planet right now. He may turn out to be one individual who has had almost as much effect on history as Jesus, but in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, for a group of professional politicians and like-minded behind the scenes power brokers, Trump is an addictive drug they cannot give up for fear that they will lose power.

It would be far better if the junkie could gather the self-discipline required to give up the drug, but we still don’t know how to get most junkies to do that.

If the half of the registered Republicans in the US who still lean that way do not come out of the coma and agree to trust the US government and its elections, there is no reason to believe that the rest of the world will trust the USA the way it did, ever again. People have long memories, and scars go deeper than the eye can see. The sooner we pull ourselves up out of the muck the quicker we will recover the trust of the world.

Nor would running Trump again work to make the minority party what it used to be (it can only rise again through positive creativity). Most of the population doesn’t want that and they are not just going to lay down and allow a coup d’etat by 23 coercive State governments that are supposed to be representing their populations. The first thing that will happen if the restrictive voting laws are passed in those States is that Freedom Busses will be used, with Federal Marshalls, to bring minorities to the voting places and protect them from intimidation and make sure they can vote. There is no way that the chanters of the mantra “Stop The Steal” can pull off their own steal.

It’s reasonable for those whose power is slipping away to fear disempowerment. But the way to solve that is not authoritarian, dictatorial rule by force, or creation of domestic violent terrorist groups, where the many are ruled by the few – that is pushing the history clock too far back and will not be accepted. If we continue to go that way, we will have revolutions and a return to feudalism.

The thing we need the most today is clarity of thinking and feeling. We can’t go on living in dream worlds. We need each other. If we can cooperate in the spirit of rules-based international cooperation we will create something pretty close to utopia in our lifetimes.

Who cares if China gets to have the largest economy if our people are happier and more creative? What are the real values? Bragging rights for size of economy, or quality of life? Besides, if we bring back manufacturing and increase R&D, we can probably maintain all the economic leverage we will ever need.

Clarity. Note that many billionaires who have pledged to give away at least half their wealth want to give it apparently to anyone except the US government. Where’s the clarity in that?

United we stand, divided we fall.

May the Center Hold.

Bless you all,

Bill

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.