CORRUPTOCRACY

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
Mark Twain.  Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, 1897

The degree to which these words were true when Twain first penned them is debatable but it is indisputable that they have become very close to describing what is now the norm in our government.

Quoting the Atlantic (September 9, 2014). “Congressional wealth comes from many different places, but one thing links it together:  These lawmakers, unlike most of their constituents, do not draw their income from a paycheck.”

Before starting this blog entry I spent a considerable amount of online time researching the subject of wealth accumulation and corruption at the Federal level.  The sources were far too numerous to cite in this space but one stands out as a must read; CFR 2635.702, “Use of public office for private gain.”

I came to the point of writing on this subject when asking myself one simple question, “why is our President so roundly hated?”  I did not understand why he is routinely charged with being racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and treasonous while not exhibiting signs of successfully acting on any of those traits?

The Washington establishment, both sides of the aisle, are united in their effort to end his presidency and ride him out of town on a rail, which to me is an overreaction to that which should properly be resolved by the next election.

I can understand a measure of antipathy towards Trump coming from the Democrats but when it comes from those whose party loyalty should make them his allies it is obvious that the reason for such hatred has a different source.

The answer is actually simple, Donald J. Trump has dedicated himself to “draining the swamp,” to cleaning up corruption in government, and this is an unpardonable sin in the eyes of those who have for so long created and profited from the system he is attempting to to tear down.

In other times it might be expected that all patriotic Americans would embrace a president who is working to restore the country to being the Democratic Republic it was designed to be.  But fully half the nation is sold on the vitriol pouring from the main stream media and does not understand (or care) how far the progenitors of the corruptocracy have moved this nation from the rule of law.

Unless you are profiting from the corruptocracy you should be outraged by the fact that so many of our elected and appointed officials are perverting their positions of trust to enrich themselves, their families and associates, and you should be supporting the efforts of the president to end this practice.

As to Donald Trump, I truly believe that if he found a cure for cancer the headlines would read, “Actions by this President have caused thousands of oncologists to lose their jobs.”

 

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A TRUE EXISTENTIAL THREAT

Lately we hear politicians and would-be presidential candidates describing climate change as an existential threat, a global crisis that has the potential to end life on earth if we do not alter nearly every aspect of how we live on this planet.  While the discussions and the heated arguments proceed ad infinitum I hear no mention of a very real existential threat that is lurking and growing in the wings.
At breakfast a few days ago the BW casually asked, “where are the birds?”
     I replied, “out looking for insects.”
     “What’s wrong with our insects?” she asked.
“We don’t have any,” I answered.
A simple but unexplained fact is that insect populations are disappearing all over the globe.  In this area of the Gulf Coast we used to have swarms of love bugs (Plecia Neartica), so many that you would often have to drive with the windshield washer and wipers running as you passed through a cloud of the little critters.  Mosquitoes, unlamented in their passing, are gone as are the fireflies, cicadas and almost every other local species that comes to mind.  The fire ants and termites are so far unaffected but bees are numbered among the missing and cleaning dead bugs off the windshield and grill is a thing of the past.
Do a quick search of the web and you will quickly get a sense of the enormity of this phenomena.  Insects are among our chief pollinators and many crops are dependent upon them.  The insects are the first visible link in a chain that leads all the way to this planet’s current dominant species, you and me.  Instead of worrying about carbon dioxide, a problem that could be mitigated by simply planting more trees, it might behoove our politicians and leading scientists to switch focus to the disappearance of the bugs and how they might very well be the canaries in our collective mines.
Many politicos on the right scream that those on the left want to turn the US of A into Venezuela.  I don’t want to come across as chicken little but what if ignoring the problem of vanishing insects allows a domino effect that leads to the Earth becoming Mars?
At some point along the way we will be wishing that the mosquitoes were back.

 

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WE NEED MORE ADULTS

The adults are disappearing from our culture.  While people are still going through the aging process, as we always have, an increasing number of us seem not to make the transition from virtual childhood to being functioning adults
I have come to the belief that there are powerful forces, primarily in government and in the entertainment media, purposefully guiding this phenomena.
Prior to the 1960’s the nuclear family, a dad, a mom and some number of children, was the ideal.  Government did what it could to foster and protect this arrangement.  The entertainment industry of the time avoided content that was overly opposed to family values and any depiction of violence was rare and was usually punished.
Today we not only have far more freedom of expression, we seem to have gained far more freedom from responsibility.
We welcome gratuitous violence and sexual license into our homes and then vehemently deny that such content can have any effect on our conduct or on that of our children.  We also allow our government to further destroy the nuclear family through regulations that make it more profitable for persons in need to not be in an intact marriage.
Our government and the entertainment media at large have realized an advantage in keeping the greater part of our population nurtured (through handouts) and constantly entertained.
Their power, wealth and ability to control are directly proportional to the creation of low functioning adults and facilitated by the dissolution of the nuclear family.
What we are creating is a generation of “adults” who are not only easier to control but to a great degree not capable of recognizing that they are being manipulated.
This is not a new approach to controlling the Masses.  Remember, the Emperor Nero famously observed that the way to control a population was to give them “bread and circuses.”
The circle closes once again and the empire crumbles.

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COMING HOME

This space exists like a hole in the monitor’s screen, wanting to be filled.  Time was when it was a natural daily function to sit before the keyboard and record the thoughts of the day, hoping to stumble upon those that might be of interest to others out there in the digi-verse.  Coming home to that position, after four years of virtual isolation from the friendly folks in the world of WordPress, is proving to be more difficult than I would have imagined.

A similar situation exists in creative writing.  I had been publishing a new novel every year or so but that also ceased about four years ago.  2019 saw the first effort in reversing the trend of mental stagnation when I managed to produce a volume of free verse titled “Thought and After Thought.”

Below is a selection from that book:
…………………………………………………………………………….

FAREWELL BETELGEUSE

Our dying planet, circling a dead sun
Left no room for nostalgia
No hope for remediation

We fled, as many as could,
Aboard vessels spawned of desperation,
Fleeing certain death for possible survival.

Seeking refuge we crossed a star strewn galaxy
And fell to earth.

How different this new world,
So green and blue and hospitable.

The inhabitants shrank back in awe
As we made our home on their mountaintops.

We, the remnants of a once proud race,
Eternity’s outcasts, entropic waste,
Cast our lot upon the cosmic sea.

Exceeding all hope for mere existence
We found not only safe haven,
We are now the new pantheon.
BY: Rick Fontes
Copyright 2019, published by LULU.com
Available at Amazon and other fine booksellers.

 

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OZYMANDIAS TIMES TWO

The famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley presents a bleak view of past glory.  Lesser known is that this work resulted from a contest, as did his wife’s classic horror tale, “Frankenstein.”  Reprinted below are both Shelley’s version and that of Horace Smith.  While Shelley’s has greater appeal for its poetic form, I think that Smith’s rendition has more value due to the lesson it presents, a cautionary tale of the all too common fate of empire.  Please read and judge for yourself.

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REALITY IS NOT… REAL

During a recent information overload I began to question the basis for defining reality.  Researching various descriptions of the term led to exacerbating the original condition but it also provided for a fascinating foray into something most of us take for granted, the existence of reality.

What is real?  To pull an apolitical example of the conundrum from our current political landscape, consider the dichotomy presented by the President of the USA.

Here is a man loved by half of the country, hated by the other half.  Without regard to which side you are on, your feelings are likely to be strong.  Half see him as an angel with a slightly rusted halo, sacrificing an affluent, pampered lifestyle in his effort to make this country a better place for all its citizens.  The other half view him as a villain, a misogynistic, homophobic bigot who only sought office to personally grow his already too large bank account.

Each side believes in their truth, each side acts on their truth.  But the “truths” are mutually exclusive and therefore cannot both be true.  Both cannot be reality.

An ancient reality points to the persistence of belief.  Heliocentrism, that the sun revolves around the earth, was an accepted reality until first questioned by Philolaus in the 4th century BCE, yet it remained the accepted reality until Galileo in the 16th century CE.  This was a “reality” that required two thousand years to vanquish.

On a lighter note, there is a reality in which prayer can cause rain to fall.  In times of drought primitive societies around the globe have used prayer to bring needed rain.  The technique involved prayer, and sometimes dancing, which continued until the rain began.  We might argue cause and effect but the operational reality is that the prayer caused the rain.

A TV ad for a DNA testing company showed a man who said he had long believed himself descended from German ancestors.  He belonged to German cultural organizations, wore lederhosen, and had a large circle of friends within that community.  The testing showed that he was actually of Scots descent so he traded in the lederhosen for a kilt.  Did reality change?  What of all the people he interacted with as a descendant of Germany, did they suddenly disappear?  Perhaps only his perception changed and with minimal effect on anything else.

If reality is truth, truth reality, then what of the polygraph.  The venerable lie detector can actually only detect deliberate falsehood.  What the subject believes to be true will record as being true.  Again, perception creating reality.

There are 7.7 billion inhabitants on this planet.  I would venture a guess that something close to 100 percent of them would accept as reality that plunging a hand into boiling water would be painful.  A significantly smaller number would accept as reality the proposition that chocolate tastes good.

And now let’s turn stage right and move deep into the weeds.  Quantum physics seems to indicate that all matter, all time and all space are interwoven into a single entity, a construct that acts according to a body of law as yet undecipherable to we humans.

In this developing science objects being observed can move instantly from point to point, manifest at two or more spatial points at the same time or even move along parallel tracks at speeds that vary one from the other.  In this new universe, seemingly scripted by Lewis Carroll, all bets are off.  Perception is no longer reality because what we perceive is in constant flux, ever changing.

While the points of illustration that bolster our discussions of reality can range from the sublime to the ridiculous, the question remains, what is real?  In this progression from flat earth to quantum physics perhaps our linchpin to sanity, our systemic matrix, comes down to shared perceptions within those groups we identify with and the civility to peacefully understand, accept and work with the perceptions of others that do not quite dovetail with our own.

Thank you for the time you have invested in reading this and I value your opinion.

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WORDS MEAN THINGS

I have written in the past about the problematic aspect of definition creep, the insidious way in which the meaning of words can change over time while being used as if their original definition was still in effect.

This will be another brief foray that subject area while disguising a blatant commercial announcement of the publication of my newest book.

The book, “Thought and After Thought,” falls within the loosely interpreted genre of poetry, itself an example of definition creep, and below is an excerpt  from the book
illustrating that such things as truth and reality depend on having the very words that describe them remain constant throughout the passage of time.
———————————————————————————————————————————

TRUTH AS A MUTABLE SYSTEM

The earth was flat when it was flat,
Zeus ruled a pantheon while he existed.

Cartographers explained areas not explored,
With simple notation, “here there be tygers.”

Elusive cities of gold spurred mass migrations,
As did fountains flowing with immortality.

The ancient truths, no longer believed,
Are regarded as having never been true.

Yet in their time their was no other truth,
No alternate reality.

No matter where you are in history,
Revising history creates new truth, a new reality.


 

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Consistency in the very fabric of reality depends on constancy in the definitions of the words used to describe it.

The book is available from my publisher: http://www.lulu.com
and will soon be listed on Amazon and at other fine booksellers.

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