What They are Saying…What Does it Mean?

Locker Room Talk and the Speech Police

I was watching yet another exchange between the forces of Trump and the forces of Clinton.  As usual for the past few weeks, they were arguing about Trump’s inappropriate talk and behavior.  The Trump supporter said something about beheadings and other awful killings perpetrated by the al_Baghdadi gang of criminals (I refuse to call them ISIS because they are NOT a political entity, merely a gang of thugs and murderers), and asked why the Democrats were so focused on being the speech police.  That made me sit up and take notice.  Speech Police.  So I started thinking on what, if anything, the fuss was really about .

Now I think that Trump’s sexually oriented comments are at best infantile, so I put things into the perspective of young boys – maybe high school freshmen and sophomores.  So, boys look at girls and make comments among themselves about the girls.  They rate them, they point out the curves (or lack thereof) and their faces.  Ok.  This has gone on since time immemorial, and probably will go on until the human race destroys itself.  Then the boys talk about what they would like to do with/to the girls.  Meh.  I think this is still normal for young high school boys and maybe they still really haven’t done anything wrong.  It’s not necessarily right to talk this way, but it’s going to  happen.  Is it cultural thing?  Too deep to get into in this post.

But now, let’s take things a bit further.  Imagine you are the parents of a young teenage girl who comes home from school in tears.  Why?  She went on an innocent date with a young man.  They had a nice time, he maybe got a quick peck on the cheek goodnight or even a kiss on the lips – nothing more.  But the next day he was bragging to his friends about”what he got” the night before.  He got nothing, but he couldn’t help but brag to his friends.  Now the young lady finds herself the subject of unwanted advances and requests for dates from all sorts of boys she doesn’t even know.   Somehow, she has earned a reputation for “putting out”.  Or, perhaps she rebuffs these advances and now has the reputation of being a teasing bitch.  Did the boy do anything wrong.  This time, the answer is yes.  He has destroyed the reputation of an innocent girl in order to make himself look like a big man with his friends.  As the girl’s parents, what would your reaction be?  Mine would be to confront the school and raise a complaint against the boy.  I would not condone this high school boy’s behavior, nor would I allow the school to downplay it.  I don’t think many parents would.

Why then, are we willing to allow a man who engages in this type of behavior – not as a high school boy but as an adult – to be President of the United States?  Did Trump actually touch women inappropriately?  Maybe, maybe not.  Certainly, the young high school boy did not, but just saying that he did caused an entire chain of events that ended up with the suffering of an innocent girl.  Women are now coming forward saying that Trump behaved sexually inappropriately.  He says that they are lying. Given all the things he has been on record as saying, can we dismiss these complaints out of hand?  Well, as they have continually said about Hillary Clinton, where there’s smoke there’s fire.  Enough is enough.  As Trump’s supporters have been keen to point out (many times), Bill Clinton was called to task.  Bill Cosby is being called to task, after constant denials. At the very least, Trump has engaged and continues to engage in behavior that would be unacceptable in a high school boy, let alone a grown man.  Donald Trump should be investigated and called to task instead of rewarded with the highest office in the land.

Truth In Advertising

Commercials.  You can’t get away from them.  Nowadays, I hate them, but when I was young, I had my favorites.  My brother and I would go through the Marky Maypo diagloue (“I want my Maypo”) and laugh.  We also had “brusha brusha busha with the new Ipana, it’s better for your tee-eeth,” Brill Cream, a little dab’l do ya,” and “Use Ajax, boom boom, the foaming cleanser.”  And who can forget “Nine out of ten doctor who smoke, smoke Kent.” But what we have today that we did not have in those days was truth in advertising.  Back then, you were not required to say anything contrary about your product in a commercial or advertisment.

Now, I have Sirius-XM satellite radio and I am not ashamed to admit that I listen to Sirius-XM channel 97, Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Roundup (Jeff Foxworth and Larry the Cable Guy).  “If you laugh hard when you hear Larry the Cable Guy growl “Get ‘er done” , yoooouuu might be a redneck.”  You can say anything you want about me for listening to this stuff, but as Larry says, “Now I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.”

Of course, there are commercials.  I remember when subscription TV came out.  Whaaahoooo!  I figured that since I was paying for the subscription there wouldn’t be any commercials, right?  Wrong.  Not only were the commercials still on the broadcast stations, which I expected, but they were also on subscription-only stations, unless you paid extra for premium stations like HBO, which I did not expect. What a bummer.  So, with this preparation, I wasn’t surprised when I heard commercials on subscription radio.

The most annoying, and simultaneous the funniest, are the ones that require truth in advertising statements.  These tend to be done as the last thing in a 30 second advertising spot spoken softly and very quickly.  For example:


Phew, that’s a mouthful.  Truth in advertising.  Imagine applying this concept to presidential campaign ads.


Phew.  Truth in advertising.  It’s a good thing.


UnPolitical Incorrectness (Or, I’ve Lost My First Amendment Rights, Haven’t I?)

I fondly remember the time in the mid 1970’s when I was working for Civil Service, and the Government launched an effort to change the wording of official documents and paperwork to eliminate gender-specific terminology.  We had fun with that one.  We sat around discussing how severe tropical storms could no longer be hurricanes, but would now be itacanes.  You could not hurry on down the street, you had to ity on down the street.  Our manager’s middle name had to be changed from Hernando to Itnando, and of course, names like Herman would need to be changed to Itperson.  We knew that him, his, her and her and her’s could be “it and its, but he and she needed special treatment.  Unfortunately the best we could do was combine the letters, and that really left us with “she” for everyone, which wouldn’t do (and no, I won’t follow this up with jokes about empowering women).  However, through our mirth we had a firm realization of what  was being done, and why.

I sure wish I could claim that what follows is original writing, but it’s just a review of what we learned in “Civics” back in grade school, something it seems is no longer taught.

The term “political correctness” has been around a long time.  It’s formal meaning is that we should be careful not to use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.  There are a lot of articles in the ether about PC (political correctness, not personal computers – although there are lots of articles about them too), and I do not want to get into a long-winded discussion, but I do want to share some thoughts, especially where the idea of political correctness brushes up against claims that PC is violating people’s rights under the first amendment.

Let’s be clear about one thing, the first amendment, which reads

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

is quite specific in saying that the protection is from Government prohibition of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly.  It it no way guarantees an audience that will listen to you or protects you from private citizens interrupting you during a speech.  That being said, Trump’s (and his supporters) claim that his free speech was violated in Chicago is just plain wrong. In preventing him from speaking people were certainly rude, but not in violation of the first amendment.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has ruled on various actions concerning violation or non-violation of the first amendment.  Some of these rulings were made during war time, others during turbulent periods in our 20th century history.  However, there are a couple of things worth noting.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the first amendment does not protect the right to speech that advocates violence that can be expected to result in imminent lawless action, or that is likely to incite or produce such action.  Thus, far from having his right to free speech violated, Trump and his supporters have publically called for violence against protestors and has encouraged such illegal action by saying that he would pay any legal costs associated with the defense of the people engaging in this illegal action.  I note that recent statements where he has said that he would not pay make him as big a lying politician as any other.

With regard, to what is called “hate speech,” the Supreme Court has generally allowed this type of speech under the first amendment, unless such speech leads to imminent violence.  Whether or not Trumps’s rhetoric has led or will lead in the future to imminent violence can be debated.  The behavior of his supports when faced with legal protest leads me to believe the answer to this question is yes, but that is my opinion, not a legal ruling.  I have read reports of school children taunting minority classmates because of their heritage and taunting the with deportation threats.  When asked about it, Trump thought it was a rude question.  In any event, Trump is certainly being a model of intolerance for our young people.

I have read reports on social media where someone has complained that he has been required to remove the American flag because other people thought it offensive.  Given the sources of these stories, I have my doubts about their veracity, but being asked to remove the American flag is what I would call politically incorrect. The Stars and Stripes is the ensign of our country.   I have a right to display the American flag.  This right is protected by the first Amendent.   You have the right to say it offends you, but that is just too bad.  People fly all sorts of flags, some of which one group or another may find offensive.  This includes the Condederate flag, which has become an issue in recent months.  According to the first amendment you can display the good old Stars and Bars, but the courts have ruled that you cannot display it on public property.  You can fly it from a pole in your yard, but if you draw a crowd of protestors who find the flag offensive, they have the same right to protest as you do to fly the flag (as long as they stay off your property).  It is all good until someone throws the first punch, or fires the first shot.  My own opinion is that the Confederate flag is in its own class, because of the history behind it, which represent a rebellion against the lawful US government by a political entity that systematically considered some people to be less than human and deserving of being other people’s private property.  I think it is much more of a political symbol than a “cultural” one, but that is my entitled opinion.  I know what my own reaction is to seeing the Nazi flag displayed, and there is a reason why that flag cannot be shown on public property.  That reason is the same that the Confederate flag should not be flown on public property.  To do so implies government sanction of the meaning that these flags represent.  And we are a government of ALL the people, for ALL the people, not just a select few.

So has anyone really been deprived of first amendment rights?  In general, I would say no.  There are some cases currently before the Supreme Court, but in the past,  the court has been very lenient (I would say liberal, but that is a bad word now) in regards to the first amendment, ruling in favor of a large number of cases where people claimed rights were violated by various local and federal government rulings.

So, do I have a right to hate speech?  Yeah, as long as I don’t encourge violence.  As a jeweler, do I have a right to refuse to sell a same-sex couple wedding rings?  This is a complex issue, but consider this.  What if I claimed my religion taught that red headed people were sinners, marked by their hair color, and that my religion prohibited any interaction with them?   Or black hair?  Or blue eyes?  Or Jews (been there done that), or (egad) Muslims.  This could end up in a situation where specific people could only shop in certain districts where they were accepted…or at least not rejected.  Walking outside of your own district could be outright dangerous.  This ghetto affect would have a devestating affect on our society in general. Yeah, this is a reach, an overstatement, but it could logically happen if we all practiced discrimination.  So is it good business, is it wise, to practice discrimination?

It’s your call, but don’t ignore the consequences of public option.  Years ago I lived in a town that had a wonderful restaurant.  It was the kind of place you went to on special occasions.  One year a couple planned to hold a wedding there.  They gave the owner a down-payment.  A couple of months before the wedding the groom was tragically killed in an auto accident.  The bride asked for her deposit to be returned given the circumstances.  The restaurant refused.  It made the local papers.  After tremendous public pressure, the owner relented and returned the deposit, but it was too late.  Within 6 months or so the restaurant went out of business.  The public refused to patronize the compassionless owner.  The owner was within his rights to keep the deposit.  After all, there was a signed contract.  But in defending his rights he prompted a legal protest reaction that closed down his business.  The suggestion I am making is that you should always consider the question, “what if everyone did this?”.  Another way to interpret this is the old saying that my right to swing my fist ends where your nose starts.  In other words, you cannot have a right the violates the rights of others.  In cases like the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the court found a way to make an accommodation that could allow both sides to feel that the rights were upheld.  That is what this country is all about.

As I said earlier, the term “politically correct” has been around for a while…actually, at least since the 1930’s when it was used by the Communist Party to determine whether or not something could be said .  As has much of our political language, over time it hyas undergone subtle changes in meaning so that it means different things to different people.  Right now, the political right is flinging it about like an insult, trying to inflame an already angry populace.  In my opinion the use of the phrase in this way makes the term devoid of any real meaning.  The best definition I can think of right now is that being politically correct means interacting with people on the basis of dignity. Can and should are not synonymous; just because I CAN do something doesn’t mean I SHOULD do it.  If you want to call a Jew a “kike”, go ahead.  You are within your first amendment rights to call someone a dirty name, as long as you don’t incite violence.  Just don’t complain when you get called one in return.   And when the name calling is done, go have a beer together,  laugh, and try to find out what it was all about.  If you are going to allow pro-Palestinian rallies on campus, you can’t disallow protestors, and you can’t disallow pro-Israeli rallies (and, of course, the protests).  What is politically incorrect is the demand that it be a one-way street. Another old American saying:  “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”

Trump is saying we have to make America great again.  I still have not heard a clear definition of what that means, beyond mass deportations, keeping out or keeping a close monitor on those of a specific religion, closing down religious houses of worship, and building a 1000 mile wall.  He talks about jobs, and he talks about keeping companies from leaving (how, by passing laws?  This is not the action of a free economy, any more than having the government involved in healthcare, but we are allowed to pick and chose our sins, right?)  Maybe we need to examine what it means for America to be great before we decide 1) are we really no longer great, and 2) If we have lost our greatness, what is the proper course of action to follow to regain our status?  What purpose is served by regaining our status as the richest country in the world, if we are only a rich country that mis-treats and dehumanizes people?  What use is security if we build a jail around and within ourselves?  I have seen countries with walls.  Those walls serve to keep people in, not keep people out.

Lindbergh said that “We can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races.” But what made American great was and is our diversity.  The waves of immigration from all countries provided, labor, intelligence and creativity that pushed our country to be the world leader that it has been.  We were once proud of being “the great melting pot.”  What has happened, that are moving towards being a nation characterized by intolerance and hatred?  People hate us and want to hurt us?  That is true, but the answer to that is not to change what it means to be Amereican.  If we give into our fear and let hatred and anger dominate us, if we give up our moral high ground, then those forces that plague us have already won.

The most important message to come out of being politically correct is that we should value our differences, not allow them to drive us apart. A true American leader will build on this message and not use our differences to divide us further, one who will  recognize that the true heritage of our country is not blood or genes, not race or creed, but the philosophy and ideas embedded in the documents that this great country was founded upon.

What does “Un-American” mean?

The other day at a Trump rally, a protestor being escorted out was asssaulted by a man whose excuse was that the protestor was not acting like an American.  I think it is necessary to examine his statement…not acting like an American.

With the 2016 presidential election full gear, we are hearing a lot, especially from GOP candidates about returning to our core American values, implying that we have somehow left them behind, that our culture and behavior have somehow become “Un-American”.  But exactly what is this distinction between American and Un-American? What actions can we really consider as being  Un-American?

There were two major Un-American activities investigations in the 20th Century.  The first began in the 1930’s with the creation of the House Committee on Un-American activities (HUAC).  The second reached an escalated level through the 1950’s with a Senate committee header by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.

During the 1930’s HUAC was created to focus was on the developing pro-Nazi activities in the US, particularly within the German-American Bund.  Here there was a mixture of pro-German sympathy and isolationism espoused by a vocal segment of the population who wanted to atvoid a war that they believed FDR was planning to bring the US into.  They held the Jews controlled the press, the banks and the entertainment industry, and that the Jews were behind the push for America to enter the European conflict.  Following the defeat of the Axis powers in WW2, HUAC turned its attention to menace of Communism.

While HUAC was doing its job, Joe McCarthy took up his own fight against the Red Menace.  Some of you may remember, or have studied, the infamous McCarthy hearings during which a large number of entertainment industry people were black listed and unable to work.

To this day, Communism is seen as the big threat to freedom.  In today’s environment we see increased activity by the radical right, as a large segment of the country is advocating toward stronger social programs.  Those who protest the radical right are seen as being Un-American.  But who is being Un-American here?  As the country (and the world) becomes more and more polarized, we need to think about what is happening.

It is my opinion that much of the problem is based on a mis-modeling of the political and economic systems that are in constant competition within the U.S.  We start witih Communism on the left and move toward the right to end in Fascism.  Since Communism has the economic means of production owned by “the people”, and Fascism has private ownership, highly capitalistic countries become associated with Fasicst tendencies.  This mistake is in the modeling of the political spectrum as a rigid left to right progression.  And while Communism and Fascism have apparently different philosophic roots, they are actually two sides of the same coin.  They are both based on repressive totalitarian governments that allow no dissent and are ruled by a single authoritarian leader or small political core of people.

In order to get a better understanding of this, we need to separate the economics from the politics, as hard as it may be.  If we image, as Hannah Arendt did in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism, the landscape as a circle, rather than a straight line, then independent from the politics, we can place a free society at the top and totalitarian societies at 180 degrees around the circle at the bottom.  In keeping with the left/right analogy, we can slide around the circumference clockwise –  to the right – toward a Fasist totalitarian society, or counter-clockwise to the left, toward a Communistic totalitarian society.  The effect is the same.  Regardless of the direction you end up with a repressive government.  The economic differences become a matter of form rather than substance.  In Communism the capital is owned by “the people”, which means party members in favor witih the ruling power.  In Fascism, the capital is own by private citizens, but only by party members who are in favor with the ruling clique.  A truly free economy can only be recognized under a free, non-repressive government.  Totalitarian regimes are repressive.  Universal individual rights do to exist.  Running through Arendt’s work like a black thread is the theme of evil…that true evil exists in the  of dehumanization of people, that thinking of identified groups of people – in Nazi Germany it was the Jews – are somehow less that human and therefore are able to be deprived of the benefits of living in a civil society.

Our American government and economics have always been mixed, with a certain amount of government regulation.  The social dynamics cause us to slide Counter-clockwise…then cause us to slide Clockwise to balance things in a basically free society.  In our current presidential campaigning, we have a strong candidate trying to move around the circle counter-clockwise towards a democratic socialistic program, and a strong authoritarian candidate pushing hard to move us clockwise.  But to get back to our subject, what can we consider un-Amerian?

With the focus on our slide down the circle towards Democratic-Socialism we are seeing more vehement reaction from those much lower on the other side of the circle.  To them, the thought of having  the government redistribute income from high earners, pay for healthcare or education is seen as a move away from the concept of a free economy.  We also hear talk about social issues such as  gay/lesbian rights and female reproductive rights.  Is this un-American?   On the other side, we see a push back towards a more uncontrolled economy, but we also hear talk about limiting women’s control over their reproductive capabilities, limiting the legal definition of marriage to what they consider proper according to a specific religious belief with no regard to what other people’s beliefs are, restricting the freedom and rights of demographic grounps that they do not like, and at times even wanting to censor reading materials.  These issues exist independent of where the economic marker is.

So while a counter-clockwise, or leftward slide will result in restrictions on economics and a control of monetary issues, which does represent a path to ultimate total control by the government, a clockwise slide, or movement down the circle to the right, begins with a restriction on individual liberty, which may end with a controlled economy.  Either way, the  government becomes an agent of the repression of civil liberties  The economic debate has been going on since the industrial revolution.  The policial debate has been going on since the founding of our country, with the debate over slavery.  African-Americans were considered somehow less than human by the slave-owners, and although slavery was officially ended in 1863, we are still feelings it’s affect today.  Given the foundation of the our country:  the words of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, I strongly believe that the restriction of individual freedoms is far more un-American than the economic changes that are being considered.  And while certain elements that are part of our history, such as the right to keep and bear arms, are being looked at, particularly by “the left” given current mass shooting events, they are far less obtrusive than the move to restrict basic rights to “undesirable” demographics.  People want to keep guns to be able to fight a repressive government should one form.  How ironic that those guns may be needed to fight the people they are working so hard to elect.

One of the most disturbing aspects of today’s environment is hearing groups such as the KKK and American Nazi party claiming rights that they would deny to others.  It is even more disturbing that a leading front-runner for the Republican Party nomination for President, Donald Trump, has not publically, loudly and without doubt condemned such activity.  In fact, when asked a question about reports that school children were taunting those of minority groups with threats of deportation, his response was that this was a rude question.  As a veteran of military service, it is clear to me that he does not represent the country that I served.

What does it mean to be un-American?  Our wonderful country was born with the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….”  To be un-American is to violate these words, to embrace the evil that some men and women are somehow less than human because they are of a different skin color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or any other characteristic the the majority is not comfortable with.  This is the evil that is once again rearing its ugly head, and it is this evil that we must fight.  The words that this country was founded upon apply to all, not just a select few.  Rights belong to individuals, not groups.   This is why we have a representative republic and not a pure democracy.  There are things that the majority cannot do to a minority.  The actions of people who peacefully protest the violation of these words and ideas which molded our American consciousness are the most American actions of all.  When our leadership prohibits peaceful protest, when our leadership does not loudly condemn and move to stop  the violation of individual rights, then the few who believes that the rights belong only to them, will find that these rights suddenly belong to no one.


Calling Shenanigans

So Ben Carson has resigned and moved on to organize the Christian voters.  However, while he has not endorsed anyone, his comments about Trump are interesting.  According to Carson, Trump’s goal is to be a successful president, and this means that he really isn’t planning to do all the horrible things he is promising to do.  What does this mean.  Is Trumnp just another lying presidential want-to-be, telling folks what he thinks they want to hear?  Does this mean he is playing the rest of us for suckers, and is no different than any other candidate he rails against?  That he would be just another president who doesn’t deliver on campaign promises?

La mia bella moglie (my beautiful wife) made an interesting observation.  She posited that he is actually very brilliant, and he having great fun deliberately being a caricature that exposes the ridiculous behavior that occurs in this country every 4 years.  He really doesn’t want to be president and was not expecting this reception he has gotten.

It will be interesting to see how things as roll out over the next few months.  Will he pull out at some point?  What would that do to the GOP race?  Will he take the nomination, and perhaps be a president no one expects…do who knows what unpredictable things?  Or is there something deeper going on?

Is he a Democratic mole, deliberately fracturing the Republican ranks so that they lose the election?    Or could he be working with Mitt Romney?  A CNN commentator pointed out that Romney’s speech could be a first step in an attempt to broker the GOP convention and emerge as the compromise candidate?  (I sure wish I could claim to have thought that one up.)

Regardless of which scenario unfolds, I do not believe that Trump is in any way qualified to hold the office that was held by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and other great American presidents.  Maybe he should appear on the Jeff and Larry Comedy Round Up.

Politcal Hoo-Haa

As we go into our presidential campaign, I cannot but register my amusement at the antics.  Trump is threatening to sue Cruz.  Candidates are calling each other liars.  One Hispanic candidate tells another that the latter cannot speak Spanish, only to receive a sharp retort in that language.  IMHO none of the Republican candidates appear what I would term “presidential.”  I can only imagine what the headlines around the world could make of this debacle, each giving their own cultural slant to the antics being displayed by our want-to-be leaders.  I imagine we are giving the world quite a laugh.

Let us look at a conversation between some of these candidates using the voices of some well-known (and sometimes annoying) characters.  We will call our politicians  P1, P2, P3, P4, etc

P1:  Liar you are I think

P2:  Meesa thinking I’m the best

P3:  P3 is ashamed of lower place finishes.  P3 will have to iron his fingers

P2:  Messa have friends of all kinds.  But messa gonna send them home.

P1:  Speak our language you do not

P3:  Speak your language I can, but first I must go bang my head into the wall

P2:  Meesa gonna sue someone.  Avada Kad…

P3:  You shall not hurt P1.

P4:  Beep-boop-beep

P5:  P4.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  I am programmed for all 69 political languages and it is Boop-beep-boop,not beep-boop-beep.

P4: Boop the beepers.

P5:  Beep the boobers

P3:  Boop-boop-bee-doop BOOP

P1:  Too much Poop here, I think.

P2:  How wude.  But messa gonna build a wall and sue someone.

P5:  I say, am I even supposed to be here?  I find this all so confusing. We should go home P4.

P4:  Boop you.

P2:  How wude.  Messa gonna boycott these debates.

P3:  I am the only true P.

P2: Meesa have friends of all types.  Rich, poor, smart, dumb, clean, dirty.  Messa love the dirty people.  But messa still gonna build a wall to keep them out.

P7:  No fair.  Not getting enough time

P8-P10.  We quit.





We Need A Political Revolution

We hear conservatives (who are not really conservatives in the sense that Goldwater and Reagan were) calling for a fallback to times and social policies that were restrictive and biased.  We hear Trump calling for us to release our anger and hatred, like a Sith Lord.  And we hear Bernie Sanders calling for a political revolution.

Sanders is right in his call for revolution, but wrong in the nature of the changes he is calling for.  Free universal health care, free college education.  How this will be done besides taxing the rich has not really been laid out and, as they as, the devil is in the details.  There are issues that will have to be solved, such as what do you do with a student who gets a free year of college then fails out due to excess partying and drug abuse.  Does that student have to pay back the cost of the year or is that just the cost of free education?  How much do we spend on healthcare for a terminally ill patient?  Do we take excessive measures to extend life as long as possible, or do we endorse euthanasia?   Who will make this decision, the family or the government?  Either answer has tremendous implications for peoples religious and ethical beliefs.  How do you decide who is rich and who is not?  I my last entry I wrote about the Alternative Minimum Tax law.  This is one piece of legislation that Congress has not taken the time to review and change.  Sanders’s revolution is not just economic, but will require a full social upheaval that is not being considered by his supporters.

Implementing these plans will further complicate an already overburdened tax code and cause massive social dislocations.  Is this the revolution we want?  This is not just big government.  This is HUGE government.

And the Republicans?  They do not want small government either.  They want the government out of the economy (somewhat), but large in the intrusion of our private lives.  They want to determine what a woman does with her own healthcare needs; they want to tell us who can get married and who can’t.

We are a capitalism driven country – sort of.  What we really have is a mixed economy, where the government imposes some regulation over business.  But wealth accumulation and distribution is not our real problem.  We do need a revolution, but it is in other areas.

The first area is privilege.  There is a line that separates aristocrats from the rest of us.  That line is one of privilege.  It is formed by money, power and celebrity.  There are hundreds of examples but the most recent one is this teenager whose lawyer built a defense around “affluenza”, the fact that this teen grew up feeling privileged and was not disciplined properly.  I do not know who is more at fault, the teen and his family or the lawyer who decided this was a valid line of defense.

In the business world this privilege extends to using corporate and personal power to influence legislation in ways that may not be in the best interest of our country in general. Companies want profit, but if they need laws passed to do it, then maybe they are not providing the most efficient and cheapest products…which is what true capitalism is supposed to do.  Government and business combined to decide direction is a deadly mix.  They need to be separated.  Lobbying should not be a career…nor should holding public office.

If we look at the public behavior of politicians, actors, athletes, wealthy business people, we see a mindset that shows lack of a sense of responsibility for their actions.  It’s not my job, it’s not my fault.  Why do these people feel they are entitled?  The Republicans talk about entitlement programs (which by the way social security and medicare are NOT), but what about the entitlement they feel?  They are entitled to a pay raise, so they vote themselves one.  They vote themselves healthcare that is unparalleled for most of the country.  They get these things at the expense of the taxpayers without our consent.

So yes, we do need a revolution – we need to erase this line of privilege. For everyone.  Nobody is above the law, regardless of your social status, fame, wealth oar governmental position.

Yes, we do need a revolution in the economy.  But giving away free education and healthcare is not the answer.  My question to our leaders is WHY these things are so expensive?  Why does a college education cost so much?  Why does healthcare cost so much?  Why aren’t our leaders looking into the causes for the high cost and work to reduce those so that education and healthcare become affordable?  There is the basis for our revolution.  And I throw this challenge out to all of our potential candidates…Trump, Sanders, Rubio, Sanders and Clinton.  Let’s find out the whys and hows and decide how to make things more affordable instead arguing over how to spend the money we have.