Billionaires Like it in Black and White

In a Balkanized place like the U.S., every issue becomes  a reductivist exercise. Too often, discussions devolve into arguments.

Take Black Lives Matter. One side thinks that the aim of this group is to bring attention to blacks being killed by the police. The other side resents the attention placed on blacks and wants “all lives” recognized. The other side says this is “racist”, the counter argument is “no it’s not,” and the two sides stand on opposite sides of a chasm lobbing rocks back and forth at each other—mostly figurative, but there’s some literalism inherent in this, also.

Economic deprivation isn't a black/white issue.

Economic deprivation isn’t a black/white issue.

Except, there’s more to the story than the usual two-pronged understanding, if you dig just a little deeper. You also have to leave behind those sources that profit from their binary issue frames.

Consider another kind of analysis, Marxist in orientation about Black Lives Matter, and their funding. Why would billionaires back the cause of Black Lives Matter? As in funding to the tune of $100 million from the Ford Foundation over a six-year period to several groups and organizations occupying the vanguard in the movement.  So what kind of other associations does the foundation keep? Oh, for years they maintained close ties to US military and intelligence agencies. Frances Stonor Saunders, a historian of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), described the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in her book The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters as “conscious instruments of covert US policy, with directors and officers who were closely connected to, or even members of American intelligence.” Continue reading

Plant Power

When you begin questioning the systems that make up a country whose very foundation is a bedrock of lies and half-truths, the challenge becomes—how far do I go in disavowing falsehood? It’s easy to backtrack on a handful of things, but in a capitalist economy, most people have little choice but to sell their labor to employers and kowtow to the powers that be.

Back in August, we went out to Omaha. I wrote about Mary’s participation in the USA Triathlon National Championships held there. It was a hectic but fun six days.

Mark met us on his way back across the country.

On Saturday night, we decided to go out to dinner as a family like we’ve done countless times before. Mark’s been embracing a plant-based eating program for more than a year. I suppose we could have taken him to a steak restaurant and made him eat salad while we chowed down on top sirloin, but doing that seemed like a shitty thing to do to a son who has consistently shown up in support of his parents and their various endeavors, be it book signings or triathlons, not to mention extended-family gatherings. Plus, I like vegetables, too.

Yelp is an app that’s rarely led me astray. When I checked out vegan restaurants in Omaha, a place called Modern Love sounded pretty funky and cool. I called, made a reservation for three, and plotted the night’s plan. Continue reading

The Real Corporate Candidate

A week ago, I received an invitation to attend a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. It came from a relative on my wife’s side of the family. Apparently she figured I’d be an easy target, simply assuming I’d be supporting Clinton because of the alternative, Donald Trump.

This kind of thinking has galled me for months. The idea that we must vote for Hillary because of the specter of a Trump presidency is typical either/or thinking that I’ve been subjected to ever since I first started voting in 1980. It’s also more of the usual reasoning that you get from spineless liberals. More on that further down in the post.

Two pathologically-damaged choices for president.

Two pathologically-damaged choices for president.

I don’t run around touting faux socialists for president like some of my friends did prior to Bernie Sanders going in the tank for Mrs. Clinton. I’m also clear on Clinton’s neoliberal policies designed to further dash the hopes of working class people across the U.S., something that so-called working class advocates from Maine that I’ve written about on this blog seem to have missed. Democrats will be Democrats, however.

Oh, and do I need to do the usual kabuki dance and list all the Republican’s political peccadilloes? They should be fairly obvious, but then again, given the drivel I’m reading about “Hillary must win, no matter what,” I’m not so sure.

Hillary Clinton has long been seen as the heir apparent to an ineffective, two-term president. Mr. Hope and Change has delivered little and dashed any hopes thinking people may have had about America. What passed for change was negligible at best. Continue reading

Weather as Social Commentary

In the Northeast, the sky has forgotten how to cry (aka, rain). This year, our rainfall totals are 9 inches below normal. We’re in the midst of a significant drought in the region.

People like it to be sunny each and every day. However, farmers need rain to water their crops. Municipal water supplies that rely on rain and groundwater (basically, all of them) need rain to recharge aquifers. I’m no geologist, but being as historically dry as it is can’t be good for longterm water needs.

The weather puppets—those Tee Vee people who only want to tell you that it’s going to be sunny, each and every day—have started to hint at some “soaking” rain coming next weekend….maybe.

I shouldn’t blame the weatherman (or weatherwoman) for only wanting to say “sunny,” rather than “rain.” I’m sure they’re perfectly nice people. They’re simply one more subset of America that believes in the myth of unending progress. Why tell people something unpleasant and end up being unpopular. Just like in politics—where each side thinks their pathologically-flawed candidate is the “hope” for our future—it’s better to sugarcoat it and tell people what they want to hear. Or make it about an issue that’s not really what ails us in the moment. Continue reading

Trash It

I had a political screed ready to publish on Sunday, prior to the freak show that now serves as the template for our presidential debates. After listening incredulously to both candidates, I scheduled it to publish on Columbus Day morning—then I put it in my WordPress trash bin. Later, I pulled it out and set it to publish again, before finally deep-sixing it once and for all.

That trashed post is a product of being sick and tired of all the self-righteous posing that people that I once considered friends (and some, acquaintances) have taken to Facebook to spout about almost every day. Your moral superiority is an ugly look.

Here’s a snippet of what I had planned to post, but finally decided to delete

One thing I am positive about. I’m done reading anyone’s either/or equivocation. We’re as fucked with Hillary at the helm as we will be at with Trump. Both are pathetic excuses for a leader.

Don’t like my opinion. Well to hell with you! I’m still entitled to holding one until that right gets stripped away by whoever we end up with for our next president.

Speaking of opinions, The Baffler isn’t afraid to show you theirs. Whether you are a fan of their far left progressive takes, or not, at least they haven’t resorted to listicles (yet).

The fact that they actually still publish long-form articles by writers trumpeting autodidacticism is reason to at least consider their ideas. Not sure what that is? I touched down on the topic back in 2013. A lot of good self-learning has done me. But that’s a topic for another post I’ll probably write but not publish.

As much as I still want to like The Baffler, however, they lose me with articles like this one. I’m sorry, but promoting the idea that all we need to fix the problems facing America is come to “grips with womb-based womanhood,” as in, “let’s return to the womb,” is politically-correct nonsense.

I doubt anyone tacking an autodidactic route would offer up this kind of poppycock, straight out of woman studies 101.

Can women save us?

Can women save us?

A Lack of Words

I’m up to my elbows in outdoor projects right now. Having a house requires seasons when all your spare moments are devoted to home improvement activities.

Apparently, America is under some siege from Creepy Clowns. That’s an apt descriptor of Maine’s gubernatorial situation, as we have a clown in the Blaine House, and when he’s bullying some group or person he disagrees with, he acts like a creep, so that would make him creepy.

Obviously, I have little to write of any substance today. Actually, it’s less a case of content and more a situation of time.

Because I’ve had little time and energy to devote to fitness endeavors, I’ve been trying to swim twice weekly and today was my swim morning.

I hope to deliver something next week about a wonderful book I’ve been reading about Jeff Buckley this week. “Grace” has been in heavy rotation, too.

Happy Friday! Watch out for clowns that appear creepy.

Maine's creepy governor.

Maine’s creepy governor.

Simple. And Easy to Set Up

Technology has a tendency to over-promise, and under-deliver. Think about that for a moment.

Do you remember the phrase, “paperless society?” That was what computers at work were going to provide—a workplace where you didn’t need file cabinets and hanging folders to store/organize reams of paper and reports. Do any of you work at a place like that? I didn’t think so.

There’s a technology product called eero. eero delivers WiFi to your home. From the company’s website, they summarize their product.

eero is the world’s first home WiFi system. A set of three eeros covers the typical home. They work in perfect unison to deliver hyper-fast, super-stable WiFi to every square foot of your house. It’s simple to set up. Easy to manage. And gets better over time with new features and improved performance. Stream video, get work done, or swipe right in any room—not just next to your router. Finally, WiFi that actually works.

Immediately, you know eero is cooler than the average WiFi router and set-up—just check out the lower-case name. Why do techies hate capital letters so much?

What’s better is that having an eero (or three) is simple, gets better over time, and you’ll get work done (magically). Who wouldn’t want an eero?

The bliss of WiFi at home.

The bliss of WiFi at home.

Continue reading