Exercising the Law of Parsimony

It is a practically universally accepted fact that the Russians have been trying to interfere with democratic elections all over the world, including in the United States, where they appear to have been successful.

It is also a near universally accepted fact that human activities are contributing to rapid climate change, and endangering the planet and the human race, and that this activity is directly linked to the burning of fossil fuels.

So, do you suppose that it’s by accident that the only notable exceptions in each of these cases is a group of politically linked, right-wing individuals, who have built a news echo chamber so efficient that even facts are unable penetrate it?


ping – Ping – PING!

I don’t understand how Donald Trump’s supporters (as well as his enabling and opportunistic brethren, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell), can’t see far enough down the road to recognize that, every time they grant a wink and a nod when Trump decides to piss on a political norm, that they are giving birth to political weapons that will one day be used to defeat something they hold dear.

Blessed are the absolutists, for they shall close minds

Part of adolescence is the need to rebel and differentiate oneself from your parents. There’s a reason for that too. If humans didn’t do this naturally, then there would be far more 40 year old living in their parents basement than there already is.

The gun control movement that the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have initiated has only been succeeding where others have failed because the students don’t see this fight the same way most adults do.

And, quite honestly, the NRA wasn’t prepared to go to battle against kids.

They can’t attack shooting survivors who are still legally children without looking like compete and total assholes who don’t even value human life (I mean they don’t actually value human life, but since they are a political organization, the truth is far less important than the perception people have of them). And so they attack the student’s maturity, and their ability to form an informed opinion.

For years the NRA has encouraged America’s youth to learn how to properly use a gun. Get them young and the possibilities are endless, right? They wouldn’t be the first organization to exploit that.

Yet it seems odd that if the same children choose to argue for gun control, rather than proliferation of guns, then they’ve clearly been unduly influenced by the liberal media and their socialist agenda.


Or maybe, just maybe they’re smarter than that. Maybe they’re smart enough, and open-minded enough to know there’s more than one way to defend yourself, and that everything doesn’t have to be so black and white.

Turns out, it’s Trump who wants to come for your guns!

Earlier this week, President Trump scared the crap out of his party by not only stating that we should confiscate people’s guns, but to also do so by violating people’s right to due process while doing so.

First off, someone explain to me why the GOP and its ministers of propaganda, Fox News, haven’t completely lost their minds at the thought of someone seizing guns without due process. Can you just imagine if President Obama had openly said (and I quote) “Take the guns first, go through due process second,”? That’s right, Donald Trump came out and actually said he was for unconstitutionally seizing America’s guns, in much the same way it was rumored that Barack Obama was supposed to be doing. The hypocrisy is now set to full-on caricature levels.

Mitch McTurtle and his loyal sidekick, Ryan Speaks, are far more insidious than President Trump will ever be. They did not ascend to their positions by being stupid. For over a year now, their main goal has been to get busy behind the scenes to make as many changes as possible, to take as much advantage of all of the current White House controversies. The smokescreen of words that continue to spew from the president’s mouth have the amazing ability to obfuscate the less sensational, but far more dire, reports that their own actions might otherwise generate.

So, while his handlers are busy making hay while the sun shines, someone has to chivy our Dear Leader back in line? That task now falls to the NRA.

How powerful has the NRA become? Well, considering that immediately after President Trump made the “due process” remark, the NRA’s top people were able to demand an appointment with the leader of the free world, in his own oval office no less, and very quickly redirect his attitude toward talking about touching other people’s guns.

“Mr. President, one more time… What do we say when someone wants to talk about touching other people’s guns?”

“If it’s someone else’s gun, that’s bad touching. Touching a patriot’s guns is bad.”

You see, this is now what passes for democracy today in America. This is now what it means to be “by the people, for the people”. If you want influence in Washington, you need money and power. And despite his promises to the contrary, the power of money and “pay to play” in Washington is now far, far worse with a self-proclaimed billionaire in the Oval Office. Despite his claims that his private wealth makes him beholden to no one, on the contrary, Donald Trump has never hidden his love of money, and the access it can afford you. The swamp has only grown in the last year, as industries finally get to set their own regulations from the top down.

Very simply, a school full of children, some injured. Some dead, is an acceptable casualty in the NRA’s war with America. They have made it clear that it acceptable to threaten, and kill, Americans, in the pursuit of their dystopian vision. Which, sadly, is driven by nothing more than greed. Sales. That’s it. Quarterly dividends only need to be notable enough to justify the deaths.

Meanwhile, that same school full children have now banded together and have begun to create a powerful movement that has begun to curtail millions in gun sales already, simply by virtue of the new sales restrictions recently enacted by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Kroger’s, LL Bean, and the like. Those same amazing kids, who are only one midterm election away from being legal voters themselves, can only dream of being so powerful that they could demand a meeting with the White House, and get it on the very next day.

Search and seizure violations be damned (again, see the “due process” statement). Screw the peaceful protestors and their emotional reactions at having watched their friends get slaughtered. We should all get a “sense of humor” about the fake news awards, because the First Amendment gives too much power to the downtrodden anyway, the Second Amendment is for the patriots. So quite simply, the only viable method of protection, we should offer schools, is good old American blue steel. The gun lobby has made it clear that we need not consider any of the other methods that the Constitution offers us, such as petitioning the Government for a redress of grievances, peaceful protest, As far as they’re concerned, the second Amendment eclipses all other laws, and there is nothing more to say on the topic. We shouldn’t need to worry about our debating skills, if we can just shoot the damn snowflakes on sight.

Remember, extremists will only talk in extremes. Engaging them in debate is pointless. These kids have the right idea, go after their money instead.

The balance of logic along with nutjob-crazy, has been off kilter for some time. Only now are Americans finding out how much pull the NRA has accrued and has been hoarding. The only thing in our favor right now is that the NRA is now being forced to act in the full light of day. Since Donald Trump has made been known to parrot the last thing he heard just he gets in front of a camera, the NRA’s need to fix his gaffs is happening so often now that it’s easier to catch them coming in the back entrance of the White House to tweak our government back to they way they like it. Gone are the days when they could dead-drop the bribe, and know that the rest will take care of itself. They know longer rely on the fact that the President of the United States is unable to maintain a political position for more time than it takes a squirrel to change direction.


This post is inspired by Moms Demand Action

The Middle Way was originally started as a record of my own efforts to seek, and learn the middle way. I have been searching for that way ever since. I can no longer ignore a very strong pull I have to helping foster this debate. We must moderate the extremes, for a house divided against itself cannot stand.

One topic that I have tackled a few times, and it’s one I feel passionate about, is the topic guns in America. I believe that there is a way for us to find the middle way on guns, and I believe the time to honestly try is now! We need to make sense of guns. We need to help our children, the same children who are leading us now. They need our help.

The NRA and its extreme right-wing stance on guns has hardened in recent years. They no longer resemble the well meaning group of hunters, and safety advocates I was introduced to in my youth. They staked their battle position decades ago, and America is waking up to that fact. They have circled their wagons around the Second Amendment, even at the expense of the remaining Constitution.

The far left is just as stuck in their opinions. Guns can be a wonderful tool. They can help feed your family, and help protect themselves from real danger. However, with consideration to our country’s founding, not something we should throw out with the bath water.

We need to talk while it is in the forefront of everyone’s consciousness. Yes, American have the right to protect themselves, that is at the heart of the Second Amendment. But the very idea of needing to defend ourselves from those obsessed with the same, is absolutely nuts.

The sinister vision of every American carrying a loaded weapon, will only end in a circular firing squad. The same love that drives that need to protect, now needs to be extended to those we are told to fear.

Please pass this on. Come here with ideas. Treat each other fairly while doing it though. Remember, you can’t change a person’s beliefs, but you can help them see yours. Listen to them, so they will listen to you. Only then can we come together. This blog is a semi-public forum. While it is moderated, it is not censored. I am opening it up for this talk. Copy and paste. Post and Tweet. Share if you can. Let’s come together.

Thank you,

The Middle Way

Here goes…

I have started about two dozen posts about this latest shooting, but have published none, because the story keeps morphing. It started as the horrible tragedy that is yet another school shooting. And as the story started to emerge, it became clear that there was something different.

The idea that people had contacted the police, and the FBI on this shooter long before he acted, showed just how broken the system is. Add to that the fact that the shooter himself flat out told people that he actually aspired to be a school shooter… well, that simply shows the desensitization that we’ve all gone through.

Of course, somewhere in the middle of the whole thing, the President of the United States actually tried to make the story about him. That’s a first. But, then he made what is probably the most toothless political gesture, banning bump stocks. I mean, aside from the fact that this shooting didn’t even involve the use of bump stocks, but bump stocks aren’t even a weapon. Of course the NRA is staying quiet, so far the plan is working!

And then there are the students…

They are the reason that this story hasn’t ended, and won’t end, any time soon. They are the something different that has been needed in these stories for a long time. There have always been survivors and families who have made gun control their life’s work after events like this. So why is this different? Just ask any marketing person how difficult it is to predict when teenagers will suddenly connect with something; a fashion, some slang, a technology, or even a cause. Because once that barrier has been crossed, whatever it is will catch on in ways no one can control, or predict.

Now that the protest are beginning, we need to keep watch as the threats to young people grow. The NRA and its lackeys will not play fair (“they’re all actors!”) in their pursuit of war machines. And they will not care if their targets are minors. Some school districts are threatening suspension, while others are giving out civics credits for it.

Despite everything that the NRA and many of its financial recipients will tell you is that isn’t about “coming to get your guns”. It’s about the difference between rational (“I have a couple couple rifles and a shotgun for hunting.”), and obsessive (“Obama is a black gay Muslim socialist! I need a couple extra AR-15’s to store in my shelter with my canned goods, and my tinfoil hat!”)

And it’s about the end of all of the ridiculous excuses. There are people with mental illnesses in every country in the world, so why don’t they have mass shootings all the time. No one tells you it’s not a good time to talk about hand washing because it’s “not the time” to talk about it, because it’s insensitive for all the people who have recently died of the flu. Every one of those excuses is designed to play upon our morality. Think about that… Every tactic is made to play upon your humanity!

That’s what we are dealing with. People who will not give an inch, don’t care about bloodshed, and will use morality in the name of the immoral. Let’s see what happens when they go up against youth, optimism and the sheer force of adolescent willpower.

“What are you looking at, Butthead?!”

After a really long, and stressful day, I wanted to watch something mindless and funny. It had been a while since I’d seen Back To The Future, it fit the bill, so I kicked back and put it on. Forget about the political crap at work. Who cares about the stupid Nunes memo.

And man, Huey Lewis was the epitome of 80’s music, huh?

Anyway, so there I am, watching this inconsequentially mindless movie, taking a momentary break from reality, when I see him… Donald Trump, again.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a few years ago, Back To The Future writer, Bob Gale, confirmed that his inspiration for one of the all-time perfect movie bullies, Biff from Back To The Future, was in fact Donald Trump.

So, again, the Mango Mussolini ends up on my TV screen. But not even the real one this time. No. Instead, I get the bad caricature of Donald Trump. The overly amplified parts; the bad hair combover, the condescending attitude, the insulting of anyone, and the treating of everyone like crap.

Seriously?! why? Why? WHY?! Why would anyone vote for someone like this? I mean Jesus Christ, Trump is such a heinous person that he was easily immortalized as the ultimate high school douchebag in the movies!

“Hello, hello, anybody home? Think, Nunes, think. I gotta have time to get this retyped. Do you realize what would happen if I release the memo in your handwriting? I’ll get impeached. You wouldn’t want that to happen would you? Would you?”

No, Donald. Not at All.

Witches and Shitholes

Have you ever had one of those situations where you knew you were going to be laid off at work? And do you remember having to wait on tenterhooks day after day, until the other shoe finally dropped? And do you remember how you finally felt after they let you go? That sense of relief when it was all over, and the tension lifted?

That’s kind of how I feel now about Trump’s “shithole” comment right now.

Up until now, the White House could pretend we all keep misunderstanding what the President says. They’ve continued to assert that it’s us that have racism on the brain, since we’re the ones who hear it in every innocent, and patriotic statement that the president makes.

Not anymore! Nope, there’s no candy coating a statement like “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”, it stands on its own as a perfectly prejudiced presidential position.

Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief. No longer do we have to worry about whether or not the President of the United States is an out and out racist, it’s perfectly clear that he is. There is nothing left for the White House to obfuscate anymore, and there’s nothing left for the media to analyze either. The guy is a closed-minded prick with a dangerous agenda.

Donald Trump is an unabashed white supremacist, a braggart, crook, and a very, very scared white man who sees his views shrinking. He learned racism and hatred at the knee of his father, and he learned it well. He was sued for practicing racial segregation in his properties back in the 70’s. He felt it necessary to protect and defend other racists who marched in support of racism. His knowledge of the world is so distorted that he imagines entire continents of people that live only in huts, and beg for the white people to help them. Trump’s views are not antiquated, they can’t be antiquated if they aren’t even grounded in reality. But his views do have an audience out there, and a dangerous one at that.

And despite the White House’s statement that, “President Trump will always fight for the American people.”, you need only look at the American territory of Puerto Rico to know that’s a bold-faced lie. Currently there are millions of American citizens suffering, and dying on Donald Trump’s watch, and he doesn’t care even a little bit. He’s not only allowing it, he’s endorses it! Donald Trump blames these American citizens for having dark skin when they got hit by a natural disaster. Therefore, it’s their own fault.

So, don’t buy any more of the bullshit talking points you’re going to hear. He’s not going to “fight for all Americans”, Charlottesville and Puerto Rico should be enough to convince you of that. He’s not going to help the forgotten people of America, you need only look at the long-term effects of his tax plan to know that’s crap too.

And finally, I know that Donald Trump called the Russia probe a “witch hunt”. And I know everyone assumes what he means by that. But can you honestly tell me that he and Pence wouldn’t immediately convene an inquisition on witchcraft if they thought they could get away with it?

Love ~ Hate

Imagine you’ve spent most of your life trying to lose as many negative states of mind as you could. To reduce the size of your ego, and live by spiritual principles. And throughout that time you’ve tried to turn the other cheek, no matter what had been done to you, or why.

And then imagine that after decades of practice, you suddenly feel less accomplished, and deeper in your suffering than you ever had been before starting your journey.

And then one day wake up a sudden realization, and a fully formed plan to ruin someone else’s life. You had no conscious realization that any hate you still possessed ran that deep. Nor do you have any memory of wanting to plan, or perform such an act. But suddenly, there it was, complete and ready to go.

Would you follow through?

Would you tell another person?

Would you seek help for yourself?

Or could you accept it as a plateau in your growth?