Category Archives: News

The Politics of People Dying

When Stephen Paddock massacred people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, both the left and the right showed their ugly side.

On the left, people joked that because the victims were attending a country music festival, they were probably Donald Trump supporters so their deaths were somehow deserved. This basically puts politics ahead of people’s lives, essentially undermining the left’s whole argument that they care about people.

They don’t. The left (and the right) only cares about being the ones in power making choices that others must follow. That’s essentially the process of making laws, but when you place people’s lives as somehow less important than politics, you’re revealing your true self as someone just as uncaring, selfish, and despicable as the other side you rally so much against.

On the right, people were not so strangely quiet on the nature of the gunman. If the gunman had been a Mexican or Muslim, you can be sure people on the right would be quick to claim that the border wall along Mexico could have stopped the disaster or that banning Muslims from the country would have prevented the massacre.

But when the gunman turned out to be an old white man, how come the people on the right didn’t clamor to deport old white man from this country or blame old white men for all the problems currently affecting society?

The reason the right didn’t suddenly demonize old white men is because old white men make up much of the right wing in politics. If they focused on old white men, they would essentially be demonizing themselves, and blaming themselves is the last thing they want to do when it’s so much easier to blame groups of people who are weaker than they are.

It’s always easy to support laws that negatively affect the lives of other people. That’s why so many right wing conservatives have no problems deporting Mexicans or Muslims from this country. As long as other people suffer, the right wing conservatives don’t mind because they benefit from the misery of others.

But right wing conservatives will never pass laws that would cause themselves to suffer, even if their group is to blame (old white man in the case of the Las Vegas shooter). Conservatives only want to pass laws to make others suffer, and that’s the basis of their entire beliefs. Make others suffer so we can live a good life.

The Las Vegas massacre, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, and the Charleston church shooting were all done by white men, yet nobody has suggested we ban white men from this country for the safety of the public.

Both sides are not innocent in their reaction to the latest mass shooting in Las Vegas, but with the right wing conservatives in power, it’s up to them to craft a reasonable response to protect the safety of everyone, not just their own group that largely consists of white people.

If conservatives were truly interested in protecting the public, their propensity to blame ethnic groups should also demonize white men. Since that hasn’t happened (and never will), you can expect that conservatives (and liberals) simply want their way at the expense of everyone else who doesn’t subscribe to their beliefs.

That means the bulk of Americans are simply selfish people who are quick to blame others for problems and slow to take responsibility for problems they’ve created for others.

This is why democracies die. When people are more interested in perpetuating their own beliefs rather than crafting a coherent, rational response that benefits everyone, you can be certain this country will always be far less than its cherished ideas.

The problem is never just the right or the left, but the people currently in charge. When people finally demand equality just like historical documents like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights claims this country represents, then the world has a chance to become a better place.

Until then, expect people on both sides to put human lives as less important then ideology, and that’s the biggest tragedy that the Las Vegas shooting has created after the deaths of so many innocent people.

Donald Trump Goes Overseas

If the title of this blog post sounds like a Dr. Seuss children’s book title, you’re right. Donald Trump is heading to the Middle East for his first overseas trip as President and he’s not happy about it. The reason is simple.

Donald Trump wants to be in control. When he’s in his own hotels or resorts, he’s totally in control because his staff knows what foods he likes and he knows what to expect from living on his own properties.

Now when he goes overseas, he must stay in a strange hotel, eat unfamiliar foods, and follow a rigid schedule that he didn’t  create. No wonder Donald Trump prefers that others fly to meet him rather than him flying to meet other foreign leaders.

In the comfort of his own world, Donald Trump can control everything from the food and sleeping accommodations to the schedule. When Donald Trump goes overseas, all of those familiar landmarks disappear. Imagine taking a little kid’s security blanket away from him and forcing him to stay in a strange home, eating unfamiliar foods, and following a schedule that forces him to be somewhere at all times. That’s a complete loss of freedom and that’s why Donald Trump has shied away from overseas traveling.

So what can we expect from any overseas trip taken by Donald Trump? First, expect a lot of rudeness, arrogance, and disrespect to other cultures and world leaders. Donald Trump knows what he likes and what others will give him will be something he doesn’t like.

Give an immature kid something they don’t like and what will happen? They’ll eventually throw a temper tantrum and misbehave. All we have to do is look at the pictures of Donald Trump’s face as he meets various world leaders to see how much he dislikes being out of control of his own life.

Besides acting immature and throwing temper tantrums, we can also expect Donald Trump to say something inconsiderate at best, or downright rude at worse. That’s because Donald Trump has no problems saying what’s on his mind because he’s used to people accepting that.

In the sanctuary of the Trump Towers, Donald Trump gets his way all the time. In the unfamiliar setting of a foreign country, Donald Trump will never get his way all the time and that’s going to make him uncomfortable. When Donald Trump gets uncomfortable, he’s going to act out with the wrong choice of words or with the wrong choice of action.

Donald Trump doesn’t know how to behave in public because he’s never had to do so in his entire life. What would happen if you brought an unruly infant to a church service? Would that toddler stay quiet so others could enjoy the service? Or would that toddler scream, cry, throw things, and whine until he gets what he wants?

What do you think will happen when Donald Trump goes overseas? Whatever does happen, chances are good it’s going to be memorable in one form or another.

This is history in the making. What’s more enjoyable than watching the slow-motion train wreck of Donald Trump going overseas is watching Donald Trump’s supporters (Fox News) try to emphasize only the positive elements of this trip while completing ignoring the negative aspects.

The next few days should be amusing for everyone except for Donald Trump. If his behavior doesn’t mimic a spoiled brat, then we can truly say Donald Trump has grown into the presidency. But chances are, we’ll never have to say that because it won’t happen. You can thank Donald Trump for that.

Free Speech Means Tolerance

The University of California Berkeley has long been known to be a liberal hotspot along with much of the San Francisco area. Sadly, recent events reveal that liberals can be as intolerant of opposing ideas as conservatives.

First, right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak at the campus in an event not officially sanctioned by the university, but allowed. Unfortunately, protesters caused $100,000 worth of damage to the campus and forced Milo to cancel his talk.

Now whether you agree with Milo or not, he has the right to speak his mind and others have a right to listen to him. Everybody has a right to protest but nobody has a right to cause physical damage to property or other people. Free speech is essentially about listening to others because if we refuse to listen to others, we can never talk and compromise and find ways to work together.

This same pattern of intolerance repeated itself when right-wing commentator Ann Coulter planned to speak at the University of California Berkeley, and the university canceled her appearance under the excuse of safety issues.

How sad is it when free speech can not be protected no matter whether it’s from the right or left? Free speech is not dangerous. Violence based on the ideas of the right or left is dangerous.

Everyone has the right to free speech. Even hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan can say whatever they want. The danger of blocking free speech from others is that it simply galvanizes them into hardening their stances against the opposition.

Imagine if the University of California Berkeley allowed Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter to speak while protesters peacefully demonstrated outside? Now people could hear what these people had to say and challenge them with questions.

Most likely any questions would fail to change anyone’s mind but the act of allowing a conversation to occur is the cornerstone of democracy. No matter who you are, you will never agree 100% with anyone. However, you have no right to stop someone else from expressing their views peacefully, and by allowing others to speak, you can question their ideas and engage in a civil conversation.

Communication is essential and you never want to deny anyone the right to speak, even if their ideas are totally contrary to what you believe. The first step to tolerance is accepting that others hold opinions that you may not. The second step to tolerance is being strong enough to let others speak their mind while challenging or protesting their ideas if you choose.

Hate speech is protected simply because you never want a single authority to define what type of speech should be banned. The moment you allow one authority to define what’s right and what’s wrong, you’re headed down the path to authoritarian control, and that’s never a good step for any country to take.

Vote for Laws That Only Hurt Others

It’s impossible to use logic and reason when discussing politics or religion unless both sides are willing to use logic and reason. As soon as one side resorts to dogma, then all conversation shuts down.

One huge reason why the world is constantly screwed up is because of the way people vote. Generally most people vote like this:

  • If the law hurts me, then it’s bad.
  • If the law hurts others, who cares?

The problem with voting and making decisions this way is that it’s selfish and ultimately self-defeating. If you support laws that hurt others, those same hurtful, unfair laws could eventually turn around and hurt you too.

That’s why organizations like the ACLU protest for the rights of Ku Klux Klan members to march in public. It’s not that the ACLU supports the KKK’s message or beliefs, but that the ACLU supports the right for anyone to freely express their opinion without being restricted by law.

If KKK members are free to march in public, those rights also extend to everyone else as well. Thus laws that can help enemies can also help you. Of course, the opposite holds true as well. if you support laws that only hurt others, those same laws can be used to hurt you.

How many Jews voted for Hitler? It’s highly unlikely that absolutely zero Jews voted for Hitler and far more likely that at least some Jews voted for Hitler because they liked his message about the economy and ignored his message of anti-Semitism. This is little different than what recently occurred in Indiana when Helen Beristain voted for Donald Trump even though she is married to an undocumented immigrant.

Helen’s logic was that Trump’s immigration stance would only hurt other people, not her. Then the government turned around and deported her husband.

The lesson is clear. If you support the rights of others, even your enemies, then you’re protecting your own rights. Likewise if you support laws that hurt others, those same laws can be used to hurt you.

A huge majority of people vote for candidates who they think will pass laws that only hurt others. Trump supporters want stricter laws that hurt Mexicans, Muslims, and gays, completely ignoring the fact that those stricter laws can hurt them too. The general way of thinking is that it’s okay to pass draconian laws that make others suffer just as long as they don’t bother me.

That type of thinking is selfish and shameful, yet far too common. For anyone to think so selfishly is simply an indication of who they really are, and it’s definitely not highlighting them as a decent person.

Anyone who wants laws that hurt others because they think those laws won’t hurt them is ultimately evil. If that’s the way you think too, then you’re part of the problem too.

To get people to pass laws that are fair is an impossible task because most people are selfish and foolish. This is the reason why more people prefer talking to their dogs and cats than to most members of the human race.

To read more about the woman who supported Donald Trump and then had her husband deported, click here.

The “Safety” of the Latest Donald Trump Travel Ban

President Trump signed an executive order Friday night to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from six predominantly Muslim nations out for three months.

Supposedly this is to make the country safer. Unless, of course, you question how can a travel ban make this country safer when it only lasts 120 days? That’s like locking your front door four hours every night but leaving it unlocked the rest of the time. Will putting a temporary ban make this country safer? Is 120 days a long enough time period for this country to come up with a more rigorous vetting process?

Even more puzzling is that this travel ban doesn’t target the countries where the 9/11 terrorists actually came from, specifically Saudi Arabia (fifteen hijackers), United Arab Emirates (two hijackers), Lebanon (one hijacker) and Egypt (one hijacker). If we’re really interested in making this country safer, why not target the countries where the terrorists are actually coming from? After all, Osama bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia and Richard Reid (the attempted shoe bomber terrorist) was from England, so to really keep this country safe, let’s ban people from Saudi Arabia and England as well.

Then again, the last year hasn’t brought any terrorist attacks from Muslims against Americans, but Jewish centers are facing real threats from fellow Americans right now. Rather than enact a travel ban to protect us against potential threats, shouldn’t we be spending time confronting actual threats to Jewish centers?

Of course, that requires using logic and that’s in serious short supply among the Trump Administration. After all, Trump garnered the support of white nationalists who dislike Jews so it’s likely the biggest threat to Jewish-Americans comes from the people who support Donald Trump in the first place.

So if we really want to make this country safe, Donald Trump should enact a ban against white nationalists currently living in America. That would go a long way towards making this country safe and would have the added bonus of deporting Donald Trump himself out of the White House and out of the country.

You know, for security reasons until we can figure this whole vetting process out.

Donald Trump Just Wants to Be Liked

Whether you like or hate Donald Trump, you have to admit that his actions have gotten him into the White House. Yet you have to wonder why Donald Trump behaves the way he does.

He always wants his way, he doesn’t listen to others, and he always thinks he’s right. If you spotted this blustery behavior in a child, you might wonder why a person would act like this and one possible reason is that it’s a way to cover up low self-esteem.

Bullies are often easily intimidated. Because they’re essentially cowards, they overcompensate by acting far tougher than they feel. More importantly, bullies act tough to others because they’re afraid.

They’re not afraid of others so much as they’re afraid that others will see them for who they really are. So they hide behind a false front that puts up a tough exterior right away as a shield. Of course, such a shield not only blocks out threats, but also blocks out love.

Essentially, Donald Trump, like all people, wants to be liked.

There are many ways to be liked, but if you have low self-esteem, you’ll be extremely sensitive to any sort of criticism. (Sound familiar with his constant Tweeting?) You’ll also pretend to be the opposite of how you really feel. Someone with low-self-esteem needs the adoration of others like a drug addict needs cocaine. People with low self-esteem need constant approval from others, but it’s never enough. They need more and they need it all the time.

Someone who holds such a low opinion of himself must continue to draw attention to himself through emotional outbursts and outrageous actions because these give him attention in the same way that a crying baby tossing toys around a living room can attract the attention of the parents.

Notice that Donald Trump feels particularly hurt when he finds people may not like him? Why boast that his inauguration was the most attended in history when it clearly was not due to photographic evidence? Imagine how he feels when he sees more people protesting against him. Even worse, Donald Trump craved attention so he naturally craved approval from Hollywood when he was a reality TV star in “The Apprentice.”

Now most of the Hollywood crowd has turned against him and will never forgive his actions again. No matter what happens to his Presidency, Donald Trump will never be welcomed into the majority of Hollywood circles ever again, and that fact alone must particularly hurt someone like Donald Trump.

Given the fact that he’s already shut himself off from Hollywood and many world leaders, who else can Donald Trump turn to for unending approval? His base of white nationalists.

Expect Donald Trump to perform more outrageous acts like a screaming toddler throwing a tantrum for approval. As Donald Trump’s circle of friends gets smaller and smaller, he’ll get wilder and wilder, pandering to the only people who still like him: neo-Nazis, white supremacists and racists, and angry bigots. Not surprisingly, this group of people don’t embrace facts or care about history. All they care about is themselves, their imagined enemies and threats to their existence, and their own selfishness — exactly the same way Donald Trump feels.

Donald Trump must continue seeking approval from right-wing extremists because they’re the only ones who like him while the rest of the world shuns him.

For someone who only wanted to be liked, having a large percentage of the world actively and visibly protest against you must be the ultimate fear of anyone with low self-esteem. Most people who hold low opinions of themselves only have to deal with a handful of people who don’t like them. Donald Trump has to live in the fish bowl transparent bubble of the whole world, and a growing percentage of the world does not like him.

For someone with low self-esteem, being President isn’t a dream job. It’s Donald Trump’s biggest nightmare.

Celebrating the Death of a Dictator (By Ignoring the Fall of Another Dictator)

When Fidel Castro died, Cuban Americans celebrated. In Miami, Cuban-Americans chanted “The tyrant is dead.”

There’s no question that Fidel Castro was a dictator and no question that he overthrew another government to become Cuba’s dictator. However, if you do a little research into history, you’ll realize many Cuban Americans’ parents lived in Cuba under another dictator named Fulgencio Batista.

According to Wikipedia, Batista ran for president in 1952. Facing certain electoral defeat, he led a military coup.

With financial and military support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike.

He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and his policies helped widen the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70% of the arable land. Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

Batista essentially was a dictator who exploited Cuba at the expense of the common people. So when you see Cuban Americans dancing in the street to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro, the big question is did the parents of these Cuban Americans also celebrate the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista since he was also a dictator? If not, why not?

If the goal is to free Cuba of a dictator, then how come the American government seemingly supported Batista, who was a dictator? Did they support him because he was friendly to American financial interests and ignore his oppressive regime against his own people? If so, then how come American newspapers don’t report this information as part of the story covering Cuban-Americans celebrating the death of Fidel Castro?

By just taking a little time to research history, you can suddenly see that the hatred for Fidel Castro isn’t just because he was a dictator but likely because he wasn’t friendly to the financial interests of the people profiting off the exploitation of the common people regardless of whether a dictator was running Cuba or not.

There’s no question that Batista was a dictator just like Fidel Castro was a dictator. So why is Fidel Castro hated and Fulgencio Batista is not? Could it be that financial interests are more important than democracy and the well-being of the common people?

To read a Wall Street Journal article about Castro’s death that conveniently ignores any question about Batista’s equally repressive dictatorship over Cuba, click here.

Stop Comparing Donald Trump to Hitler

After Donald Trump announced he wanted to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, do a mass deportation of all illegal immigrants, and ban Muslims from entering the United States, many people started comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler. Strangely, many Rabbis have come out to say that making comparisons of Trump to Hitler is wrong because it diminishes the real tragedy of the Holocaust and the six million Jews who died.

When you read the arguments against comparing Trump to Hitler, you realize that these rabbis aren’t defending Trump so much as they’re protecting the memory of the Holocaust. These rabbis argue that Trump is different from Hitler because Hitler committed genocide against the Jews while Trump has simply talked about deporting illegal immigrants and banning Muslims.

So these rabbis are correct in saying that Trump is not Hitler because Trump has not yet rounded up masses of people and exterminated them in concentration camps. Then again in the early days before he came into power, Adolf Hitler didn’t do that either. Hitler only committed mass atrocities against people once he became the leader of Germany while Trump has not yet had the chance to become the leader of the United States.

With that in mind, the arguments against comparing Trump to Hitler could also be used to defend Hitler in his younger days from Hitler after he came to power. After all, before he became Chancellor of Germany, Hitler also didn’t round up Jews and exterminate them. He simply blamed all of Germany’s problems on Jews and encouraged violence against them.

The main argument rabbis are using to avoid comparing Trump to Hitler is that Hitler committed atrocities but Trump has not. So if Trump is not Hitler in his later days, perhaps it’s more accurate to compare Trump to Hitler during Hitler’s early days.

In the early days, Hitler blamed a group of people (Jews) for all the problems of the nation. Today, Trump blames two groups of people (Mexicans and Muslims) for all the problems of the nation.

In the early days, Hitler said he would make the country great again by making it a stronger world military power. Today, Trump says he will make the country great again by making it a stronger world military power.

In the early days, Hitler roused people’s emotions by promising simple solutions (take over more land) to complex problems (the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles). Today, Trump rouses people’s emotions by promising  promising simple solutions (build a wall) to complex problems (illegal immigration).

So in many ways, Trump is not the Hitler who committed atrocities and genocide, but perhaps Trump really is much closer to the Hitler of the early days before he committed atrocities and genocide.

Maybe the comparison of Trump to Hitler isn’t to diminish the Holocaust but to warn people that Trump is so close to Hitler during his early days that if we allow Trump to go unchecked, he could turn into the Hitler of the later days because he’s already so close to Hitler during the early days.

If the arguments of rabbis defending Trump from comparisons of Hitler are valid, then those same arguments could have been equally valid in defending Hitler during the early days. After all, Hitler in the early 1930’s hadn’t killed any Jews yet; he simply advocated blaming them for everything.

So if these rabbis dismissing Trump comparisons to Hitler were around in Germany during the 1930’s, would they have advocated people to stop comparing Hitler in his early days with Hitler in his later days?

The main reason people are comparing Trump to Hitler is to warn people that Trump is too closely following Hitler’s actions before Hitler committed atrocities. The point is to keep Trump out of office so he won’t have a chance to commit atrocities like Hitler did.

Perhaps Trump won’t commit atrocities like Hitler did, but do you really want to take that chance, knowing that Trump is far too similar to Hitler in Hitler’s early days?

Comparing Trump to Hitler isn’t meant to diminish the Holocaust in any way. It’s meant to warn people that there’s a new person capable of creating a new horror to the world because he’s closely following Hitler in the early days.

It’s fine for rabbis to say that Trump isn’t Hitler because there was only one Hitler and there will never be another Hitler. However, there can be people who may be similar to Hitler (or possibly even worse), supported by rabid followers who believe in violence to solving problems. Do you want to take a chance on putting someone like that in power?

Trump is not Hitler. He could be even worse. If that happens, people could then compare Hitler to Donald Trump.

It Can’t Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis once wrote a novel about a fascist dictator taking over the United States. The novel, called “It Can’t Happen Here,” shows how easily Americans could be swayed to support a fascist dictator since it’s always easier to blame others for a nation’s problems rather than take an honest, objective look at the problem and find solutions using brains instead of military might.

But not using the military to force nations other nations to work for our benefit isn’t what many extremists want. After all, they prefer being a bully rather than thinking and cooperating because thinking and cooperating takes too long when it’s easier just to beat somebody up instead.

If Sinclair Lewis’ novel can’t convince that it can happen here, perhaps you’d like to read the story of an American teacher who created a fascist movement in his classroom during the 60’s when many American students were already fed up with the government.

These students willingly went along with their teacher, even to the point of turning on each other. Each day, the teacher created new rules that made the students’ lives tougher and harsher, yet because the change was so gradual, the students went along with it.

Finally when the experiment went too far, the teacher stopped it, but his exercise proved his point that it’s far too easy for people to support fascism than you might think. After all, if people willingly spend money supporting Kim Kardashian, it makes fascism look good in comparison.

To read how a California teacher convinced his class to embrace fascism, click here. Then you can use this story as a warning to others. The only problem is that it will only warn people willing to think, and those are the people in the minority of any nation.

Religious Freedom vs. Discrimination

Indiana’s governor Mike Pence recently signed a bill (in privacy away from the scrutiny of the media) that protects the right of individuals for religious freedom. That’s great news because that means the Taliban, al-Qaida, and ISIS can now move to Indiana, force everyone to submit to Sharia law, and have full and complete protection from government intrusion under this new religious freedom law.

Perhaps we can even get Boko Haram involved so they can move to Indiana, kidnap hundreds of schoolgirls, sell them into sex slavery while forcing others to become the sex slaves of Boko Haram fighters all under the protection of religious freedom. After all, we wouldn’t want to think Indiana discriminates against Boka Haram because all they want to do is practice their form of religion free from government intrusion.

With the Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram taking over Indiana by shooting men, kidnapping women, and recruiting young children to join their ranks, Indiana’s governor Mike Pence should be more than pleased that he’s allowing religious freedom to protect these groups from government interference. After all, why should the government control what people can say or do when historically religions have been doing that for years?

Perhaps the Mormons can move to Indiana too and start practicing bigamy, which the United States government had earlier forced the Mormons to stop practicing. That’s definitely a clear case of government intrusion into the lives of people who just want religious freedom.

The Ku Klux Klan also practiced their own twisted form of Christianity to justify terrorizing blacks in the South. The burning cross is merely a symbol of Christianity so the KKK should be free to burn crosses on everyone’s lawns in the name of religious freedom.

With so many groups currently banned from practicing their full beliefs until now, Indiana will soon become a religious mecca of complete freedom from government interference. Maybe when the government admits they have no right to interfere with religious freedom, we can even make it legal for the Jehovah Witnesses to visit Mike Pence in Indiana. After a long session talking to a Jehovah Witness, even Mike Pence might want to think twice about granting religious freedom to others without government oversight whatsoever.