Encore of Revival: America, February 19, 2018

No one likes to read about school shootings. I was in high school when a student shot himself in the head, right in the hallway, Vinnie Garofalo, February 1998. I remember when a college classmate told our student body the reports from his former classmates at Columbine. “They’re dead,” she told him. “They’re all dead.” Now, the Editor needs to write about it and Americans need to read about it, yet again.

The Florida shooting is complicated, it always is. This one has a story behind the shooter that seems more personal than other times. No one claims his story is any alibi. Many heroes were made, both victim and living. One libriarian, Diana Haneski, was inspired by her friend’s heroism from Sandy Hook and protected 55 students by locking them in a media room. An assistant coach, Aaron Feis, protected three girls by shielding them with his own body, he did not survive.

Tragedy strikes. We reflect and ask why. Then we second guess ourselves and wish that we would have loved each other more and sooner. We go home. We cry ourselves to sleep. Then we wake up the next day and prepare to march for action. So, let’s talk action.

Emma Gonzales is right, in a sense even the minds of gun owners. To the gun owners, the NRA has been largely useless. They aren’t effective at protecting gun owner rights, only at rallying people up. At Columbine and with Michael Moore, the NRA’s reaction was generally useless. Rather than helping the nation navigate through the challenges, they just acted insensitive. The NRA’s Twitter account hasn’t posted since Valentine’s Day, when the Florida shooting happened, not even sympathy to the families. This seems to have been a “silencer” for the NRA. Politicians who receive money from that over-spiced “nothing burger” organization should be ashamed.

As for action, since we act like we’re ready for a candid conversation, let’s take off the gloves. Before you decide to click “next”, finish the next two paragraphs.

Why are we in deadlock about guns? As strong—and correct—of an argument as Emma Gonzales makes, there is another strong point that must be included in our united path forward. It’s the “elephant” in the living room, the reason we can’t finish the debate, which no one wants to so much as even mention. The dirty, politically incorrect, and inconclusive—mind you—little secret about why guns remain widely available on the market has three big beans: Russia, China, and ISIS. The wide-availability of guns in America is the only reason those countries—ISIS is a country—have not already invaded and killed millions of Americans—just as their governments have killed millions of their own people who aren’t allowed to possess guns. That’s our excuse that keeps us in deadlock over the gun debate—a deadlock that killed 17 people last Valentine’s Day.

The problem is not the Second Amendment itself, but that we only enforce half of it. We need the rest of the Second Amendment—the Militia army of civilians—a high school class with accommodation for handicapped and learning disabled, different standards for different gender, and it would be a requirement for every student in order to graduate and in order to vote in elections. The high school Militia course would teach self-discipline, readiness, hand-to-gun combat, safety in every situation, gun handling and discharge, emergency response, teamwork, and, like all military training, self-respect and self-sacrifice for others. If Nikolas Cruz had been required to graduate high school before he could buy a gun, he wouldn’t have been able to. If he had been required to get the mentoring a high school Militia class would have provided, he wouldn’t have wanted to.

That idea has been presented before by many people before. But, we don’t hear about it from the NRA. We didn’t want to have such a candid discussion about applying the whole of the Constitution—which would keep us safe from enemies, both foreign and domestic, if we would simply obey it to the full. We were too distracted with other news. So, since those other news items that we bicker about were worth the lives of 17 students, let’s take a review of the news items atop headlines in the days before the Valentine’s Day Massacre…

The Obama portraits, while acceptable, are intended to draw attention. The Smithsonian has more expressive art of Ford and HW Bush, more radical than the Michelle interpretation. Contrary to folk wisdom, the woman in the painting does resemble Michelle in those rare moments when she drops that goofy, fake smile for her natural “serious” face. It’s not that strange, as strange as it seems. But, the hue of the leaves in Obama’s piece and the street-art worthy style of Michelle evince an intent to use the presidential portraits as an opportunity to make some kind of statement. Whether that is right or wrong is up for debate, but they are trying to make a statement.

As for the leaves, to claim that they are marijuana is to claim either that the artist is botanically inept or that oneself is. The leaf in the picture more resembles the Ohio State “buckeye leaf”, which has been confused by the botanically inept in the past.

Michael Flynn was pursued by Obama’s leftover administration as retribution for endorsing Trump. It is said one should never hire friends. Hiring Flynn was a mistake, not because Flynn wasn’t up to the job of fighting in the wolf den—which he apparently wasn’t—but because it promoted him from being a target to being an easy target. In the end, however, Michael Flynn will learn just as Sarah Palin did, after being tossed to the wolves. And, the hostile takeover of Flynn’s life will be an alarm in itself to call out the folks to find out just what in the world was going on in the Obama administration that allowed this to happen. Flynn will come back to haunt the Democrats and bureaucrats.

George Soros has been dumping money into local DA elections that would normally elect Republicans. His candidates have been winning. Democrats and their voters who don’t stand against Soros will lose all credibility when next time they complain about the Koch brothers. While many Republican voters will be alarmed—and probably roused to a wrath those DAs will not want to face—the more interesting effect will be their tendency to self-destruct. People artificially propped into power rarely last, especially when they come from different stock.

…But, there’s nothing like a school shooting to put our priorities about the news in perspective.

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Encore of Revival: America, February 12, 2018

The budget deal in Congress declares two myths, one from time travel budgeting, the other from silence. When the “experts” project a deficit based on the current spending plan, 1. none of the money has been spent yet and 2. none of the spending tax money has come in yet. They aren’t only counting chickens before they hatch, they already have them buttered on the Christmas dinner table.

The spending projection assumes the previous year’s tax income. If tax rates drop, so does the projected income drop, proportionately. There is some “trickle down” account for the assumption that consumers may spend more and employers hire more since they have the funds not taxed, but they don’t consider synergy. They don’t use AI simulations to project the slew of companies who haven’t announced—but will anyway do—investment within the market. New companies will be capable of coming into being which weren’t able to without the new financial ecosystem. Those aren’t accounted for because they can’t be predicted. The forecast we have is based not on synergistic outcomes—AKA reality—but on comparing last years results against this year’s new methods—AKA time travel.

The second myth comes from silence, namely renegotiating trade agreements. Adjustments making the US market part of a two-way street will also bring new revenue sources—rather than a one-way street that screws the US economy into the ground. These are part of separate agreements already promised, already underway, but largely unfinished and unreported. Budget forecast about those factors are simply silent.

The budget forecast isn’t any accurate prediction of the future, but a kind of comparison for number geeks in black-tie offices. What actually happens is never known until it happens.

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Encore of Revival: America, February 5, 2018

Machines are trying to take over. They aren’t winning. And, they aren’t mechanical machines made of steel and iron alloys—or in GM’s case also aluminum. These are machines of “big money”. Some of them are political, some of them are from the entertainment industry, others are in the business world.

Ultimately, the machines run round and round by creating problems, then solving them.

Nestle has been taking water from Springhill in Osceola County, Michigan for nearly two decades. Locals have battled with the water-relocating giant almost as long; the State often comes to Nestle’s defense. We’ll see how much longer that lasts. The current battle seems to include no third-party scientific research, only claims by locals that water levels are lowering vs claims by Nestle that Nestle isn’t hurting anything and that local water costs would rise without Nestle—which is at the same time accused of causing the water shortage in the first place. It’s almost a self-inditing argument in Nestle’s defense. Now, Nestle wants to take more water.

Then, there’s Uma. Perhaps “Kill Bill” should have been renamed to include something about a guy named “Harvey”, at least if the title reflected the emotions of “what the movie advertisements called a ‘roaring rampage of revenge'” from what happened on set and behind the scenes. To this point, Symphony has not focused on Weinstein stories because, so far, they didn’t seem to include news. Uma’s story in the New York Times, however, introduces the video of her injury during a stunt she was intimidated into doing. After 15 years, she finally got her hands on the video. Uma just might mark the beginning of Vol. 2 in brining down scandal-filled Hollywood.

Then, there’s the machine that’s after Trump. According to the president, it’s a disgrace, people should be ashamed, and Congress will do what Congress will do, which is fine. Bias against Trump is “yuge”. In one man-on-the-street video by Campus Reform, people react negatively to State of the Union comments—until they realize they were made by Obama. Democrats and the mainstream media can’t halt the assault against Trump as long as that widespread bias against Trump exists in such a large segment of the voting population. But, that bias is driving the anti-Trump machine to uncover more and more dirt—not on Trump, but dirt—on Democrats.

While Nestle seems to solve problems it causes, the Left caused the problems it’s solving. As for Hollywood, the movies describe it best.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 29, 2018

The biggest problem with analyzing Trump’s next move is speculation. Talk is talk, nothing more. America seems to be obsessed with talk far before action can confirm, acquit, deny, indite, prove, or disprove. We don’t know what Trump will sign into law on Immigration until he signs it. But, he seems to be wise to America’s priorities where talk and action are concerned. Once again, he plays the rhetoric-obsessed section of society like a harp. He makes an offer, he sends a Tweet, he proposes a bill, and everyone gets up and sings in concert.

Take the removal of Taiwan’s “ROC” flag from the US government website as an expanded example. By not having any flag there, the flag can’t be wrong. The original ROC flag has the symbol of the KMT-Nationalist party in the upper corner—the same party that lost both the presidency and the legislature for the first time in history during the last general election. Many have called for the flag to change. So, removing the flag from the website could mean that the US no longer supports the KMT-Nationalists. If Taiwan were to declare independence from the mainland, the US government wouldn’t have the “wrong” flag on the website, nor if China were to attempt an invasion. While China may be thrilled and Taiwan may be angry, much more was involved by replacing the flag with pure white. Maybe “surrender” was the message, though it remains unclear to whom the word would be directed, even if that was the direction. What does remain clear is that the US government website is more important than anything else.

Once again, this time in the international sphere, the Trump administration won the war of words, this time without using any. What will happen, however, always remains yet to be seen until it happens.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 22, 2018

The Russianewsgategate scandal is turning out even better for Republicans than was first anticipated. GOP members pretend to not be as excited and more surprised than they actually are—and they are also pretending to be quite angry, aghast, and indignant. In truth, Republicans finally found a way to go after some long-neglected corruption since they now have the socio-political wherewithal without starting a cycle of post-election political persecution.

Corruption is abundant. Even Amazon faces backlash after a suspicious settlement while contractors pass the buck. The biggest scandal of all: the lie that government shuts-down during a so-called “government shutdown”. Some entitlements may be interrupted, but that’s about all. A true shutdown of the government only exists in the most radical Conservatives’ wildest dreams.

The tradition of panic over a rumored government shutdown dates back to the Clinton era when Bill vetoed the budget. Before then, no one dared touch a spending bill as it made way through the murky aisleways of Washington. It has since remained a threat politicians dangle over each other’s heads in attempt to hold the American people captive to their petty partisan playbook. That myth, also, is being exposed.

Then there is immigration. Sanctuary cities are making themselves unpopular with flyover country. Administrative action to merely enforce existing law should soon be heard by the Supreme Court where Justice Kennedy will once again rule in favor of Justice Kennedy being the deciding swing vote who takes orders from no political party. Remember, Supreme Court justices always vote for the supremacy of the Supreme Court. The best guess is that his ruling will be half-and-half, mixed with a few doses of seemingly off-topic “surprise”.

The American people are being played once again, from confronting corruption to budgets and bills. Washington could do much more, it’s just waiting for the people to get all excited first. But, the Democrats may have overplayed their hand this time.

The premise behind Republican support for amnesty and programs like DACA was to gain votes by gaining new voters. The memo leaked from the Center for American Progress rallies the call that DACA is ‘critical’ to Democrats’ ‘future electoral success’. That basically suggests that Americans don’t support Democrats—that Democrats don’t serve their current voters.

Republicans spoke the same way during the Bush years; Jeb has piped in just to make sure the world knows that the Bush family still thinks that way. But, today’s Republicans are starting to step away from all that rotgut and even push back on the “shutdown” threats.

Democrat politicians are now known to believe that a permanent class of voters dependent on government handouts is necessary to their future. DACA held a flickering hope of offering that. But, by shutting down the government to save DACA, the Democrats have alienated current voters dependent on those handouts. Their chances in 2018 look to be turning downward. It almost seems as if the Democratic party is self-destructing on purpose. And, that raises deeper questions.

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