Developing the Environment

Let's Make America Great Again

Let’s Make America Great Again

Facebook keeps prompting me with, “What’s on your mind, Yvonne?” What’s on my mind? After all the blustery posturing, the news of the Singapore Summit leaves me skeptical. Especially suspicious is the aligning of the two principal personalities. What’s on my mind is all of this is simply a fantastic drama with us as the players being used as pawns. We have no significance except to aide in the playing out of the drama and entertainment – a bit of showmanship to prove who is the greater master.

Recent news (circa May 17, 2018) has me concerned. The likelihood of a nuclear war started because two egomaniacal personalities wanted to show the other who wears the larger boots.

This week the on-again, off-again summit regarding denuclearization was on and actually happened. The pair met quasi privately in Singapore. Some argue that all the posturing was simply a game of chicken. That’s a dangerous game to play when it comes to human lives.

Now that the first dance has happened, what will be the actual next steps remains to be seen. There were promises made and understandings reached. The trouble is, both of these men are notorious for being unreliable with regard to treaties and pacts. Their loyalty is to their own selves and their own egos with regard to who sees them as the most powerful. Praise today only becomes grounds for termination within three days later.

Still, there has been some groundwork completed in regard to actual communication between the two countries after more than 60 years of ostracism and hate. It still looks like an alliance that’s being formed in anticipation of World War III, the Armageddon, wherein the entire globe will be annihilated. Unfortunately, it appears the U.S. will be a type of Holocaust Germany this time around. And we’ll be taking lessons from Leader Kim on how to rule the populace.

Yesterday (June 13) had a flurry of citizen journalists who were sharing summaries of the Summit from various sources. According to Jim Julian,

I just read the summary of the Singapore Summit on CNN and on Fox News. Were there two different summits? It would seem so reading this coverage.

All Americans MUST have multiple news sources and compare or risk being manipulated and misinformed.. As I’ve said before. I have three different news apps on my iPhone: CNN, Fox and BBC … three different worlds.

Wise deduction.

Perhaps I’m being overly pessimistic. A recent conversation illuminated the sensibleness of the bravado of our leader and how it is strategically wise. The words will need to be pondered and (you know me by now) researched in order to learn more.

Meanwhile, it would be wise to learn about disaster recovery and strategies to use in cases of attack and active shooter.

It’s unfortunate that our space program seems to have come to a halt. It would be good to have an escape hatch when the “big red button” is actually pushed.

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Terrorism: Domestic and Foreign

Gunman in need of a target.

Gunman in need of a target.

According to the history, this post was started on 2017/08/23. I remember this endeavor. Collecting the links to make the point of how conditions are devolving became overwhelming and I simply abandoned the effort. The hopeful thought was someone else would become cognizant of the issues, motivated by the circumstances, and act upon them before my feeble efforts at screaming “Stop it” were read, let alone heard. That wasn’t the case. Here we are nearly a year later. Here we are with so much more death and devastation.

Youth who are barely over the age of 16 years have become organized. They are speaking out. They have the organization and funding to plan and execute protests not only in Washington, D.C. but across the nation. Their voices are being heard. They are demanding that Congress stop using PAC dollars to maintain the status quo. They are saying ‘our lives matter’ – just as Black lives, and Brown lives, and Yellow lives, and the rest of the spectrum. All lives matter.

Even as I prepared to write a post regarding ethics, my attention was drawn the the number of times I’ve written about assaults in just this space. It was painful to relive those posts. It was even more painful to realize we use these instances as cocktail and coffee hour conversation. We suck our cheeks, cluck our tongues, feel good about the fact that we had a superficial exchange about the latest news, and then return to our normal activities, content with the belief that we’ve done our part for being socially aware and involved.

We have reached a point when it’s time to peaceably take action. It’s time to urge immediate action to preserve our Constitutional values and rights. It’s time to urge Congress to unite in protecting its citizens and population from the looming war that threatens us domestically, in every city nationwide as well as the foreign threat against the nation and the peace and safety we deserve to enjoy.

We should not awake before hearing the news report and wonder whether we are about to suffer a nuclear attack from some foreign country. Nor should we awake wondering when someone in our neighborhood (or even those who have crossed state borders to our neighborhood) who has the intent and armaments to attack and destroy our lives and desecrate our homes has done so. We should not be forced to live in fear for our lives and safety at every turn. Like a person living in a domestic violence setting, this is unhealthy. Anything could prove to be the tipping point that leads to the explosion – and our destruction.

In many ways, we’ve been told how inconsequential we are compared with the gratification of the president’s ego. His grandeur, not the welfare of this nation, is paramount for the attention devoted to sitting in the Oval Office. The power that seat represents is what drives the hourly tweets and inappropriate communication that emanates from the place. Those who serve the man, reflect his principles because he has set the standard and now leads by example.

Since August 11, I’ve been consumed with journalism about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia and posting coverage of not only those events but also related incidents. Enough. Depressing and disturbing as they are, the curated content is posted here.

August 12
Protesters in Charlottesville, VA turned violent as counter protesters reacted. The demonstration, in the early hours of California time, erupted into breaking newsworthy publicity. Three hours later, a car rammed through a crowd of counter protesters. One has been killed.

There was silence from the White House, yet the mayor of Charlottesville decried the situation and the cause of it.

It was FLOTUS who finally spoke out against the violence via a tweet.

It’s now an hour later. There’s been an announcement that of those in the counter protester injuries, one has died. The President (who during his campaign encouraged acts of violence and disorder while promising impunity for such acts) has remained silent.

Another breaking news announcement hit the airwaves a few minutes ago. The President was supposed to finally speak about the Charlottesville situation.

In reality, he had no intention to speak nor do anything about the situation except to do a PR one-minute acknowledgement of it. His first priority was recognition of the VA, which was essentially more his proclamation than addressing the violence and disarray in Virginia.

These protests against removal of the Robert E. Lee statue have been ongoing (at least since May of this year). Today’s activities took the protests to a higher pitch.

In a response to that incident, the observation was made that:
Leader inaction has consequences. You know, they were only following the campaign rhetoric and examples of the President. What’s wrong with that?

Things kept spiraling:
An account of the activities in Charlottesville that takes in many of the perspectives involved. It sounds like the domestic beginning of WWIII.

While China along with both North and South Korea looked on and worried:
In yet other news, China is urging Trump (for the second time since April) to use more restraint in his language and actions toward North Korea. Apparently there have been more than three warnings from China about the bullying stance coming from the new President up to this week.

Meanwhile, back in the States and as the events continued to escalate, I wondered, Is Virginia an open carry state? Apparently Charlottesville is an open carry city. Some of the alt-right protesters are carrying rifles. But we should take note that several days after this “rally,” it was reported that not all of the members of the crowd were Charlottesville residents. Protesters and rally attendees came from as far away as Portland, Oregon and other states in order to raise their voices and create the tumult. Their actions had absolutely nothing to do with rights and interests that pertain to their own homes and property.

August 13:
In sharp contrast to Charlottesville, VA, there were repercussions in Dresden, Germany when an American Tourist Punched For Giving Nazi Salute In Germany on the same day. Where’s the American enforcement of hate crime laws? In fact, it was time to look up the United States definition of “hate crime” as defined by the FBI.

* * *

Enough. I can’t endure this anymore. We cannot afford to endure this anymore. Time for us to join the youth as mentors and co-organizers. These acts of violence are not coming from immigrants; they’re homegrown in a toxic garden that’s being constantly fertilized. Time for all of us to lift our voices in protest to our current circumstances and take affirmative action.

How Many Times?

How many times have I talked about this issue? Here are some representative posts:

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Onset of the Second Year

Let's Make America Great Again

Let’s Make America Great Again

Here it is January 3, 2018 and the beginning of the second year of the 45th U.S. Presidential administration.

The headlines throughout the first brought shock, amazement, outrage, disappointment, fear. They incited resistance by some followed by affirmative action by others who had more power and resources. The defenders of the Reich (oh, I mean regime) did their best to make excuses for the unacceptable or disparage representations of what was blatantly put before a world audience by the model. But the slow progress to our journey into darkness continues.

What are we being told when traditional journalists who broadcast their researched editorial opinions that are negative toward the President find themselves removed from their positions?
Fortunately, the phrase “fake news” is now considered a punch line for satirical monologues and comedy acts. But it appears the new McCarthy Era is going through birthing pains to resume its place in our society.

This morning’s reportage of the schoolyard taunts between the leader of the U.S. and the leader of North Korea about whose button is bigger again makes us wonder how far in the future is the reality of nuclear war because two narcissists want to implicitly compare their genitals via amount of power they have.

The smoke issued from the White House in the form of threats this year (and a type of bombastic display) are numerous. Merely attempting to locate the link regarding the firing of a CBS news anchor revealed this list of related searches:

  • colbert on trump
  • trump threatens media
  • trump threatens venezuela
  • trump threatens paul ryan
  • donald trump threatens pope
  • colbert late show trump
  • trump threatens nuclear war
  • trump threatens north korea

There may be some specter of hope for positive change on the horizon. In the process of confirming which administration is currently in charge of our country, some interesting headlines tumbled into my search results, headlines that urge reflection and consideration. What those headlines suggest is altogether more positive than the negative emotions created in the past. They imply that the time for accountability has arrived. They suggest the time for more assertiveness by the republic has arrived. (Think, “When in the course of events . . .”)

Those research headlines said:

There are probably a lot more that are similar; these were sufficient.

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Hispanic Migration Circa 2006

[November 25, 2017]

Barriers to immigration

Barriers to immigration

The current rhetoric against allowing immigration into the United States from our southern border cites the negative attributes of undocumented (and therefore, illegal) immigrants. How those conclusions were reached when first pronounced in 2015 should have been called into question. But the immediate (and ongoing) reaction was polar. They were either completely accepted as near gospel or they caused so much outrage and revulsion that there was a major distraction and omission. Few voices were raised that asked, “Where did you get the statistics to support that?”

Quite interestingly, a study was conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center that resulted in a report called “Survey of Mexican Migrants, Part Three: The Economic Transition to America.” It was compiled during July 2004 to January 2005 by soliciting responses from a total of 4,836 individual at Mexican consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Raleigh, and Fresno. The respondents were applying for an identity card and it is believed most lacked authorization to work in the United States. (There are presently 51 Mexican Consulates in the entire United States.)

In the original attack on Hispanic migrants, one of the assertions was “. . . they’re taking our jobs, . . .” According to the report, “The vast majority of undocumented migrants from Mexico were gainfully employed before they left for the United States. Thus, failure to find work at home does not seem to be the primary reason that the estimated 6.3 million undocumented migrants from Mexico have come to the U.S.” If this was the case, we need to ascertain the real reason for seeking employment in the United States. Perhaps we have something that is not available or is in small quantity in Mexico.

At the time of the study, migrants were concentrated in a handful of industries, those being agriculture, hospitality, construction, and manufacturing. However, the characteristics of the migrants and the nature of the demand for them began to change. Two such changes that were noted were:

“The more recently arrived and younger migrants from Mexico are better educated than their predecessors, less likely to be farm workers, and more likely to have a background in other industries, such as commerce and sales.

“Also, they increasingly come from a greater variety of regions in Mexico and make homes in new Mexican-migrant settlement areas, such as New York and Raleigh, . . .”

Suffice it to say, there will be an argument about these migrant settlement areas. Undoubtedly the argument will be that the population is deteriorating the areas and causing blight. However, given the findings of the Pew report, those types of conditions are highly unlikely for people who see themselves as upwardly mobile.

And Then There Are the Dreamers

Earlier this year an announcement was made with regard to the requirements for allowing immigrants into the United States. They now must pass incredibly stringent requirements with regard to language proficiency, amount of education already attained, and more. We need to ask ourselves whether we would be accepted into another country if it held similar immigration standards. These conditions are to be applied to all immigrants.

Just an aside: There were no exceptions mentioned when it came to considering those who seek asylum, whether from Mexico or any other country.

Putting these issues aside, let us consider the status of the Dreamers. They are young Mexicans who were brought to the United States as infants or were born here. They are not criminals nor any of the other adjectives applied in broad brush strokes to Mexicans. They are undocumented. They are among those covered by DACA. They are focused on being the best of breed and proving themselves to be so in many respects. They are not taking jobs from anyone. They are competing for existing jobs and striving to prove themselves worthy of a position in the company where they desire to work. But their tenure is challenged by revisions to the immigration policies of the United States and suspension of DACA.

There was mixed reaction to DACA (formally, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) when it was implemented in 2012. It should be noted that it was not an act but a program. It was implemented through an announcement, not made law by Presidential Executive Order. According to Wikipedia, a group of states sued to enjoin the implementation of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). Legal opinions regarding DACA are divided. Truthfully, I was among those opposed to it for many reasons, principally because of the drain on American resources and what appeared to be a scheme being used to make illegal entry acceptable for reasons of compassion (don’t harm innocent small children and infants). Having read the 2006 articles that document the positive impact of the population, my opinion is changed.

The challenging situation is the theory that fueled introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE) as it modifies the previous points-based system for legal residency as it accords a higher number of points “to people who are highly skilled.” Regarding the immigration system prior to August 2, 2017, Senator Cotton (co-author of the RAISE Act) said “For some people, they may think that’s a symbol of America’s virtue and generosity. I think it’s a symbol we’re not committed to working-class Americans. We need to change that.”.

The status of DACA, however, is that it was suspended. A Memorandum on Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was issued in September 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security. Both DAPA and DACA will be wound down, according to the Memorandum. Adjudication (review) of applications will be done on a case-by-case basis. No new requests and applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed after September 5, 2017 will be rejected.

The Generalizations cf. Realities

Generalizations tend to get us into trouble when we use them to speak of large groups and assign attributes to them. Rhetoric that foments suspicion, divisiveness, and hate does nothing for creating a healthy environment for mutual support and growth.

It would be prudent to consider those who comprise the population of this country as people who have valuable skills and talents that can be used for improvement. The 2005 statistics show that just the narrow segment of Mexican immigrants are a desirable group of people who can and already are involved in making this an even better country. That’s just one segment. There are many others that offer similar benefits.

It may not have been part of the original installation but it still [Statute of Liberty poem] makes a statement about what our land represents to those who choose to come here as well as what the represent in terms of seeking renewed opportunities they’re willing to strive to earn.

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Preserving a Right

A request to sign a petition from Brigade + Causes hit my mailbox yesterday that raised my eyebrows. “Sign the petition to #fireColbert” read the subject line. The opening of the petition says: “Stephen Colbert finally took it too far with a disgustingly lewd anti-Trump rant on The Late Show on CBS.”

The author of the petition was sufficiently offended by Colbert’s monologue from last week that the author initiated the movement. In fact, he closed his appeal by saying, “This is certainly within Colbert’s right to free speech, but the networks should strive for a higher level of decency. This isn’t comedy. It’s just disgusting and offensive.” Apparently the FCC was also alarmed at the language used in the monologue.

However, we need to ask ourselves in what way did the Colbert monologue in question substantially differ from the many antics of #45 during his campaign. We also need to recognize that Colbert is in the entertainment business and relies on [Nielsen] ratings in order to keep his show on the air. Similarly, during the campaign, #45 was in several industries (including entertainment) and heavily relies (even now) on outlandish behavior for the sake of garnering ratings and attention. So where’s the difference? We also need to take into consideration that #45 was never called to task for any of his campaign behavior and was never penalized in any way. In fact, he was applauded. It’s difficult to understand why, in a post-Carlin’s “7 dirty words” environment that Colbert (or CBS for that matter) should suffer even a penalty.

Now, to be sure, it’s no secret that Colbert is not a fan of the 45th President. It’s safe to say there’s little evidence that he has ever had favorable feelings about #45.

It says a lot about what still remains of American freedoms that Colbert can express his political opinions during his monologue without being censored or have his way of life threatened. It’s called freedom of speech. True, there were objectionable words used in the body of the monologue but the blue language was bleeped from the speech. Even Colbert’s mouth was blurred when he pronounced certain words so that they could not be discerned and cause offense. Those were the instances when it went into territory not covered by Carlin’s “7 dirty words” but at least the freedom to express those feelings was in place.

Other TV hosts have also lampooned the First Family in this last week. It doesn’t appear any of those hosts are being called to task for doing their jobs while simultaneously pushing their audiences to engage in critical thinking or else express what their audiences fear to say aloud.

Likewise, the petition’s author has the freedom to express his distaste for the language – the language, mind you, not the thoughts and feelings owned by the speaker.

So, rather than endorse a return to Woodrow Wilson standards and suppression of one of our precious foundation rights, free speech, I will not sign that petition. Let us, without resorting to expletives and bullying, discuss and debate the policies of #45 and come up with solutions.

It appears both Colbert and the petition author have come up with a very meaningful topic for discussion as well as some meaningful tangents.

Initial Talk with Congress

Many are talking about the new President’s address to Congress on February 28. No, it didn’t mark the completion of 100 days. No, it wasn’t a State of the Nation (per se). It was just the newly-elected President talking to Congress.

Perhaps the event was in remembrance of Washington when he went over to Congress to ask his friends about how to do something and they ran him out because, with a great deal of effort and redrafting of the organizing documents, there are three separate and distinct parts of our government. Each acts separately in order to keep checks and balances and so that the government doesn’t become a dictatorship – each part echoing what the other says and sometimes in unison.

Which identity

Which identity

Nevertheless, the President went to Congress to talk with them. It wasn’t in order to get their advice about anything. It was a new, toned down campaign speech that reiterated what’s been said over the last two years. But this speech added a little more to the campaign rhetoric.

Although the tone was drastically different from what we’ve been hearing during the combative and corrosive campaign there was something different. Yes, there was the signature blaming and faulting to indicate and rally more supporters because things are such a mess. But the rambling, train of thought diatribe that is typical of this President wasn’t presented.

Actually, the speech was a bit unsettling. It wasn’t because of the rhetoric. It was because it seemed to be a repeat of another address to Congress from the past. It was as though it was written from a template. The language (except for the blaming) was not the typical content from this President. The tone, ah yes, the tone and the organization (yes, there was organization) of the thoughts and message were a different voice. Someone wrote this speech for the President. That isn’t surprising given the fact that his attention needs to be on many issues and he desperately needs to focus, keenly focus, on the matters of State. So having a speech writer create this message would not be a surprise.

Still, the message followed a distinct pattern. It was as though the template had little boxes that prompted the writer to “insert issue here” and then flow on to flush out some details. Then another box prompted “insert issue here” in a new section.

It was very formulaic, all the way down to pointing out selected examples of day-to-day citizens who were sprinkled into the audience in order to create a positive charisma and build the supporter base. Wasn’t that the tactic Obama used in many (if not all) of his speeches?

On a positive note, the President appears to finally be listening to someone on his staff about the image he’s presenting to the public. He’s getting coaching from someone about staying on point. He’s being urged to use a script more often so that the logic of what he’s saying is more obvious. The meandering trains of thought that go off point just aren’t winning any credibility for him. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t seem to be listening to his advisers too often. He still does things without a script and he’s very fast with that Executive Order ink pen.

The content of the speech is what most are hashing out in these days that followed the template presentation. Many of the matters that are the subject of the Executive Orders were included in the speech. There were (to be expected) claims of vast improvements over the last administration (which buried the country into the worst situation in history, we were told). Government contracts will be closely scrutinized and only approved when the fees are as bare-bone low as things can possibly be cut. (I’m not certain what that means in terms of quality of end product.) Government contracts for defense spending will be increased while government jobs hiring will be frozen. In fact, he seemed to indicate that there are superfluous government jobs and those will be cut. (You know, perhaps that‘s the reason why the Department of Labor Jobs Update alerts (OPA) stopped arriving after January 25.)

Back to the content of the speech and what people are saying about it. Traditional news coverage noted that the President sounded much more “presedential” in this speech. Another media source made mention that he is learning fast [about not rambling].

The staffers were quite pleased with the performance. That’s the other hallmark of this President. Everything seems to be targeted at getting TV ratings and reality show headlines. Although the speech was nearly a 180 change in tone and style, those who have been alienated by the man’s demeanor, attitude, and rantings are not so easily swayed and brought into the fold. Congressional GOP members are still uneasy. DNC members are still unimpressed. And late night talk show comedians are still having a field day. Why not? They’re essentially being spoon fed new nettles and needles every hour of the day. Maybe that’s why Jimmy Kimmel said enough of Donald Trump for tonight and hosted a Trump-free show. To that, I can only say, Amen.

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