Why Joe Biden?

Distaste or disdain for one candidate is a terrible reason to vote for their opponent. I daresay it is how we find ourselves in our current situation.

We are led by an untrustworthy, churlish, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual, out-of-his-depth President with delusions of grandeur and little regard for the history or stature of the office of President of the United States.

I believe the demonization of Hillary Clinton—some of it self-inflicted—drove many to vote for Mr. Trump, with little regard for the consequences of such actions. The nonsense of a Deep State conspiracy gripping many Americans shows how rare analytical thinking—the ability to explore all avenues of an issue and separate facts from fiction—is among many of our fellow citizens.

Minds turned to mush by years of reality TV and rationality-sapping attention deficiencies—the dumbing down of America—has robbed many of the ability to think beyond a Tweet or a meme.

We are a country where common sense is as rare as unicorns. Yet one must find reasons to vote for a candidate, not just against them. I want to detail my own reasons for voting for Joe Biden rather than against President Trump.

The government of the United States is not a business. It is not a For-Profit corporation to be run for the benefit of stockholders, the enrichment of executives, or the empowerment of the party occupying the Oval Office.

Often, a President must make decisions in the best interest of the country even when it may go against the wishes of those who voted for him, or her.

That is the difference between a candidate and a President and that is the content of character one must seek out in casting your vote. Which person is best suited to transition from candidate to statesman?

In my humble opinion, Joe Biden has demonstrated the ability to move from candidate to statesman many times over his distinguished career.

The fallacy that America needs a businessperson to lead the government is just that, a fallacy. Businesspeople are zero-sum personalities, seeking an advantage over their competitors. In domestic and international affairs, such a narrow minded approach is a recipe for disaster.

Our government exists for three limited purposes; to protect our constitutional rights, to defend us from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to ensure the fair and equitable operation of our free capitalist economic system.

The immense sophistication of the government of the United States is not something one learns on the job. One must have elements of experience, a comprehensive understanding of history, and an intuitive level of decision-making ability tempered by strong analytical skills and the courage to make difficult choices in the best interest of the country.

Most critical, is the ability to work with those of the opposite political spectrum to reach those compromises which are in the best interest of the country, and the world.

Joe Biden brings years of government experience at the highest levels to the table. He has established both relationships and credibility with foreign governments, something we have lost to the most severe degree with the current administration. Consistent reliability was never more needed than in the pandemic now gripping the world.

America should be leading the way out, not foundering in misinformation and anti-scientific voodoo driven rancor. Joe Biden is the candidate best positioned to re-establish a sense of purpose and balance during this national crisis.

And more important than anything else, Mr. Biden is unafraid to admit mistakes, learn from them, and adapt to changing times. America has always had a greatness within her, but we have not always been great. The best leaders, those who make the best Presidents, are those who listen to their opponents and adapt when they hear good ideas, no matter where or who they come from.

That is the Joe Biden I see before us. A man who understands the most terrible of personal tragedies, the satisfaction of hard work for a job well done, and the joys of accomplishing great things.

A man from modest means who has accomplished great things.

Now Mr. Biden is not perfect, but he is unfazed by changing circumstances and willing to change with them, not resist them out of some whitewashed memory of the good ‘ole days. He embraces good and necessary change with an open mind, not intransigent stubbornness.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells

Seamus Heaney

 I wish it had been Mr. Biden four years ago who faced Mr. Trump. I have little doubt the outcome would have been much different. Those who drove the political decisions back then will answer to the inquiries of history as to their culpability, but looking back is only useful if we apply the lessons to the future.

Joe Biden is the answer for the immediate future of this country, and Kamala Harris is the long-term future for change. The many controversies roiling this country; economic, health, racism, changes within criminal justice, climate change, are matters that will take time, and experience, to resolve. Placing someone like Ms. Harris in the position of Vice President, with a front-row seat to profiting from Joe Biden’s extensive experience, will offer a roadmap to future endeavors.

Why Joe Biden? Because for all the reasons I just pointed out, he is the best solution to regaining American greatness and our leadership and place of respect in the world.


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From M.A.D. to G.O.D.

An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible.

The National Intelligence Council—something I would bet most people have never heard of—is one of those rarest of governmental entities. Avoiding the taint of political bent of any sort—probably because it is so obscure—it functions as a center for long-term strategic analysis. Every four years, it produces a report projecting various potential scenarios for the future.

Their reports are, sadly, read by few people; a consequence of our ADHD-addled society lacking any ability to read and digest anything more than a grammar-deficient, emoji-laden posting about nonsense.

While the report cautions the dangers of trying to “predict” the future (something only Long Island Mediums and their ilk can do with any certainty), the council’s analysis has produced some startlingly accurate scenarios.

One of which we are now experiencing with COVID-19.

In the 2012 report, the council compiled a list of “black swans”—game-changing events that could impact the world. One of those scenarios was this.

“Severe Pandemic No one can predict which pathogen will be the next to start spreading to humans, or when or where such a development will occur. An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible. Such an outbreak could result in millions of people suffering and dying in every corner of the world in less than six months.” Global Trends 2030 Pg. XI   https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf (emphasis mine)

Why does this matter? Because this report, and information analysis by the Obama administration, led to the creation of a government entity to plan and prepare for just such a scenario.

They created a plan for subsequent administrations to build on (and rely on) in a pandemic. (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6819268/Pandemic-Playbook.pdf)

What they didn’t expect was their administration would be followed by one who was hellbent on reinventing the wheel and dismissing anything that came before them. (As a side note, they will have the new design for the wheel right after they finish building the wall.)

All of this leads up to the main point here, the critical nature of the upcoming election. We have an administration characterized by anti-science bias, fundamental disdain for critical analysis, inability to grasp complex geopolitical matters, and driven by pettiness and ego.

And this is what we might face in the years to come.

(From the latest version of the Council’s report)

“Uncertainty about the United States, an inward-looking West, and erosion of norms for conflict prevention and human rights will encourage China and Russia to check US influence. In doing so, their “gray zone” aggression and diverse forms of disruption will stay below the threshold of hot war but bring profound risks of miscalculation. Overconfidence that material strength can manage escalation will increase the risks of interstate conflict to levels not seen since the Cold War. Even if hot war is avoided, the current pattern of “international cooperation where we can get it”—such as on climate change—masks significant differences in values and interests among states and does little to curb assertions of dominance within regions. These trends are leading to a spheres of influence world.”

One of the most frightening realities is the stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world and the potential for proliferation of such technology to unstable theocracies and apocalyptic embracing non-state actors. Absent a rational and intelligence-driven administration, our ability to mitigate such risks is crippled.

There are almost 14000 nuclear warheads dispersed among the eight or nine known nuclear nations. The US and Russia hold ninety-one percent. While terrifying, this is a dramatic decrease from the mid-20th century peak of almost seventy thousand. These decreases resulted from negotiation strategies—a policy abandoned by this administration and replaced by belligerence, nationalism, and increased leaning toward isolationism.

Since the days the Soviet Union became the second nuclear power and the replacement of the first atomic weapons with the even more powerful thermonuclear ones—a weapon that is detonated by an atomic explosion—we have avoided nuclear war through a policy of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction.

We prevented all-out war by guaranteeing everybody loses. MADness indeed, but effective.

Now, the proliferation of such technology—a characteristic of technology is the newest inventions become easier to produce and distribute over time—threatens this delicate Faustian deal with the thermonuclear devil.

If the latest report is even partially accurate, the US and the world face one of the most complex and volatile moments in human history. We always held the keys to own destruction; war, forced starvation, tribalism. Each had the potential to wipe out humans.

But those things took time.

What we’ve done is reduced the time necessary to bring about our own obliteration down to the mere opening of a briefcase, the turning of a few keys, and a short countdown to Armageddon.  Who do you want to sit in the position to work to prevent such a future?

On our current track, we are moving from M.A.D to G.O.D. Mutually Assured Destruction to Guaranteeing Our Destruction.

______________________________________________________________________________

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2020 The Year of Clarity

Okay, the holiday Truce is over. We have a new year to consider. Time to look forward to better times for this country.

With 2019 finished, let’s hope 2020 becomes the year of clarity for America.

We will remember the past year as one where a significant number of Americans lived in a self-imposed delusion. Delusions that began with Mr. Trump’s election.

They credit the mere invocation of the name Trump with stimulating complex economic growth as if that is all it takes to drive the American economy.

The hostile relationship with our allies titillates his supporters and they remain unconcerned with our President’s infatuation with dictators and totalitarian governments.

They rejoice in the reduction of foreign aid as if it was solely altruistic charity, failing to comprehend even a basic understanding of complex geopolitics and the benefit inured through our influence in other countries which promotes our own interests.

Non-plussed by the undeniable and ongoing interference by Russia in our elections, they bask in a tainted and tarnished “victory” with little concern for the political consequences.

They ignore the stain of Impeachment and the open and notorious jury tampering taking place in the Senate. All rationalized by the “unfairness” of the House proceedings. A Constitutional process well established under law.

Were this the 1950s-not that I wish to return to such a period in history, but if it were—Mr. Trump and his cohorts would find themselves before the House Committee on Un-American Activities as a suspected communist collaborators and sympathizers. I dare say it would be one of the few examples where the committee was on to something.

The latest version of the defense of Mr. Trump is that they knew what they were getting; a crude, carnal, misogynistic, morally (and in some case financially) bankrupt, egotistical, self-aggrandizing carnival barker. But he promised to “drain the swamp.”

And that made it okay. Like falling off a ladder and claiming you intended to do it all along.

Nothing he does, or says, or fails to do is too egregious for their purposes. Despite the rational concerns of many of their fellow Americans–and the lessons of history–they embraced the hyper-nationalism and questionable decision making from a man who can’t even be bothered to read the Presidential Daily Briefing.

Even a briefing reduced to a Presidential Briefing for Dummies version, written at barely literate comprehension level, and containing more pictures than words. As long as he colors between the lines and matches the right numbers, the briefing is considered a success.

A man who, as the leader of the free world, sends rapid-fire tweet messages like a rabbit on crack at the grammar level of a first-grader and his supporters are okay with that. (I apologize to most first-graders and crack-addicted rabbits, Mr. Trump would fall at the lower edge of the bell curve.)

I dare say Mr. Trump has set a first for a President in that English may not be his first language. What is remains in question.

The hero worship infatuation with Mr. Trump persists despite much of the economic trends (less impressive than he would have you believe and arguably begun by his predecessor under much more trying economic conditions) and our deteriorating global position as a world leader (which he would insist has improved under his guidance) all point to a dismal future absent a quick change.

And to offer some evidence to open our eyes to clarity in 2020, there is this gem. For those of you of the conservative Christian religious ilk, some of his most ardent and willfully ignorant supporters, who see Trump as a conservative godsend, the President would have you add this to your persistent myth.

The president doesn’t secretly hold a god-like opinion of himself. He believes he is an improvement over the original. In response to an editorial in Christianity Today, Mr. Trump had this to say;

“I mean, the name of the magazine is Christianity Today, and who is doing more for Christians today? Not Jesus. He disappeared; no one knows what happened to him. But I’m out there every day protecting churches from crazy liberals.”

While Trump admitted that Jesus did do some things for Christianity in the past, Trump said he was doing more now, and it was more substantial. “I’m appointing judges to help protect religious rights,” Trump stated. “How many judges has Jesus appointed? He says something about judging people in the future, but I ain’t seen it.”

Furthermore, Trump asserted that he “saved Christmas.” “Look what I’ve done,” he said. “You can say ‘Merry Christmas’ now. In fact, if you say ‘Happy Holidays and don’t immediately make it clear you’re referring to Christmas, you go to prison. What has Jesus ever done for Christmas? Be born? He wants credit for that? Come on.”

Let’s hope 2020 is the year we see Mr. Trump for what he is; another charlatan peddling snake-oil miracles for self-enrichment. Time to take the government out of this Ponzi scheme led by a fraud and a scam artist.

Mr. Trump’s antics are not “tweaking the nose” of those trying to hold onto the power of the mythical “deep state.” Nor is he draining the swamp. What he is doing is feeding the good people of this country to the alligators of hate and bigotry, fattening them up so he can use them to assert more control over our other equal branches of government and become a replica of his idol, Mr. Putin.  

At the very least let’s release all those prisoners we sent to jail for saying “Happy Holidays.” Jesus said “Forgive thine enemies.” Donald J. (we now know what the J stands for) Trump can go one further and “set the people free.” It would be the Christian Version II thing to do

P.S. Any moment now the usual responses will start, blaming everything bad on the Clintons or President Obama and all the nefarious things they did.

Using Mr. Trump’s logic (if such reasoning can be considered logical) the fact that so many of his associates have been indicted and convicted while virtually no indictments came from the Obama administration or from investigations into the Clintons must mean they are better at pulling off scams than he is. Perhaps it is simple jealousy driving Mr. Trump. He cannot stand being beaten at his own game.

Jesus Trump does have a certain ring to it, though. I can see a historian in the future, working on his doctoral dissertation, writing, “Jesus Trump, what were they thinking?”

The Poisoning of American Discourse

Perhaps we’ve something to learn from this poem by William Blake about the cost of anger.

While vigorous and enthusiastic discourse on differing ways to accomplish things in this country have always brought great benefit, the polarization of extremes does not bode well. We can, we must, always have disparate opinions and methods of accomplishing things yet we also need remember our common goal.

The President’s biggest failure, in my opinion, lies not in what he may be trying to accomplish, but in his methods and manner. Mocking, dismissing out of hand, or ignoring differing opinions from some very intelligent and accomplished Americans who have much to offer is his biggest failure, and the greatest risk to America.

Mr. Trump would be well served to step away from Twitter, put aside his skepticism of the value of others, and listen. His failure to do that is the single best argument against his re-election. The noise of impeachment will be silenced by the politics of the Senate majority who will ignore any evidence to ensure continuity of their power. Waste no more time trying to overturn an election (absent, of course, more evidence) and focus on the next election.

This country has succeeded because of our differences, not in spite of them. The anger engendered by President Trump and many of his most virulent supporters, as well as those who stand in obtuse opposition to him, are a cancer growing on the very heart of this country.

The result of that malignancy may be the destruction of the America we all love.

A Poison Tree

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles

And it grew both day and night. 
Till it bore an apple bright. 
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine. 

And into my garden stole, 
When the night had veild the pole; 
In the morning glad I see; 
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

“People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.” G.K. Chesterton (Eugenics and other Evils)