Reno politics for the humane

I am in the process of creating a Reno area chapter of Our Revolution, a national group spun of from Bernie Sanders’ campaign and dedicated to the goal of inserting sane progressive ideas into American politics for the sake of creating a civic discourse that focuses on the humane treatment of all human beings affected by the politics of the United States of America. I have told the Our Revolution people that the immediate goal of our local group is to bring people together to talk about how we can do what is necessary to make our community a better place to live for all who live here. My hope is that the conversation will lead to a properly balanced discourse that will consider how decisions made concerning the future of our community actually affect people and then establish guidelines for decision making that put humane treatment of all at the center of the decision-making process.

I hope many will think it worth their time to attend an initial meeting of a group that is not yet a group but one that I hope will come into being.

I have applied for affiliation with the national Our Revolution group.

If you are interested in talking about what the group should be about and do, get in touch. My e-mail address is lafer@unr.edu and my phone number is 775-343-6888.

Please!

Repeat, Trump is a symptom an our history is the cause of our present illness

Trump didn’t just suddenly arrive.  The journey that brought him to the White House is our history and, as Ms. Summers so aptly states, we are not going to get better unless we confront what has been bad about us.  The piece was published today in the Reno Gazette-Journal

ONE VIEW

ELSPETH SUMMERS

Trump serves as a figurehead of our country’s subconscious. His image shows us how rotted we remain despite what we tell ourselves to cope. His image has shown us issues where we haven’t made a whole lot of actual healing or progress. He is a man with unlimited privilege doing everything our country has always done, but now only more obvious.

You see, disease cannot be cured if the disease remains unknown. Our traumas cannot be confronted, integrated or transformed if they are repressed. Our world and country cannot change if we live in the comfort of oblivion and apathy. Trump has been a wake call. He has shown us evil still exists as very real entities everywhere. He has called them out of the shadows into the light.

Donate to Red Cross. It is only because we are stupid that we need to do so.

In response to a request for donations to an organization that funds programs for children suffering from cancer.  These children in need suffer enough that they should not have to suffer more if adequate funding is not available.  If we, as a very wealthy nation, cannot through government fund programs that are essential to the people’s health and welfare, then we are a just not a very good society.

The writer of the message to which I am responding said something to the effect that we need to take our minds off of other things so that we can do what is right by kids suffering from cancer.  As with so many other nasty aspects of life in this world, the problem resides in an economy–taxation is a factor of economy–that really does not properly serve the people.  The stupidity factor resides in the fact that we are dependent on charity in matters that a humane society would fund through its government because charity may not, is often not enough, to take care of what needs to be taken care of, if we care enough to be adequately humane.

Actually, many of those other things have direct relevance to this particular cause. People shouldn’t have to go begging for funding for programs that help people. A society of true good will would use the power of the vote to insure that all good and essential causes received the monies they needed to do ESSENTIAL work. Right now, there are so many good causes asking for money that people are forced to choose between clean air and cancer research when deciding how to donate. Now we have the tragedy of Harvey and the Red Cross is asking for donations. Why the hell should emergency needs be dependent on people who are taxed to pay for programs that serve the needs of citizens being asked to donate in order for people affected by the flood to receive what they need and deserve? It should be a no brainer that serving public needs is the primary responsibility of government and if government does not have the financial resources to adequately provide what is needed, then government needs to more adequately funded. We live in a stupid society and keep it stupid by not admitting to how stupid it is and why. We are wealthy enough as a nation to at least fund the basics and the health and welfare of the people is rock bottom basic.

Hurricane Force Hypocrisy

I was going to write something like this but Jennifer Rubin is far more capable than I.  Governor Abbott, will you go for private remedies for the disaster your state is experiencing?  Will you allow free market principles to steer your decision making as you lead your state through the rebuilding process?  I don’t mind, but aren’t you concerned about me, that taxpayer who has to help foot the bills for clean-up in a place where I do not live?  If you see something different about this situation that makes it right to go against so many of the things in which you and your party believe, explain to me the distinctions.

Jennifer Rubin article in Washington Post today

Good sense is radical in our capitalist world

 

Discussion with members of our local government concerning their deliberations regarding how to deal with homeless people in a region where economic good is terribly bad for those who are not members of the right caste.  My note to them says this:

Avoiding the “radical” solutions only causes the cycle to continue-when things are bad, poor hit hardest. When things are good, poor hit again. Deal with this piece of reality and maybe we can get somewhere, to a lasting solution that does not cause the displacement and increased discomfort of those who have little and are being made to live with even less. Radical solutions might be actually be the common sense solutions and they are related to the way we “do business.” There is no law of nature the says that prosperity must bring with it harm to some. Rent control, if fully understand, is anti-American when American is equated with capitalism. But a humane community would think human lives first, before profit. And that humane society would not let people suffer from economic change-change would be adequately controlled so as to do no harm. That innovation in the form of creating labor saving means for production and services necessitates putting some out of work and out of income is not an act of a god. It is an economic model that has a good degree of cruelty built into it. So, do something to bring about income security in the wake of economic change–maybe fewer hours at full pay so as to create jobs for all able to work, innovation allowing for more leisure time for all, the cost being less money in the hands of the investor class. And there is everything sensible about a living wage. If one works full time, no matter what the job, he or she should be able to live decently on the money earned. I think we all know what is and is not a decent life. Radical, in my mind is sensible and because those who make policy do not see sense in humanizing society by making the economy work for ALL, the real solutions never are discussed.

Boycotting to silence is a reaction worthy of consideration

As I think this through and think about the comment that have been made, I am asking myself how it could be that I might be somewhat supportive of the idea that Breitbart should not be put out of business.  My concern is certainly with issues of freedom of speech and I do worry about how boycotting with the hope of shuttering one outlet, detestable as it is, is meant to, ultimately, silence particular voices.  I have, I come to realize, appreciated Breitbart being there because it allows me to know about a way of thinking about which I should know and, if Breitbart ceases to exist, so will my opportunity to gain insight into a movement that affecting the politics of the society.  Without Breitbart, what would I have known about Bannon, for example, and wasn’t it a good thing that I knew early on what he and those like him were up to?  I can say I vehemently disagree with pretty much every idea expressed through Breitbart but I wouldn’t have known that some, too many, of course, subscribed to ideologies such as those that are of the alt-right.

I think too of how when communism was thought by some old-time alt-righters to be an ideology that needed to be outlawed, a good many good people suffered terrible consequences.  McCarthyism was about banning ideas a certain contingent of the American population found to be obnoxious and, yes, hurtful to their values.

Careful what we decide to silence and how we go about silencing them.  Boycotts are an acceptable tool for expressing displeasure but it should be used with real care in cases where the goal is to silence whose ideas cause displeasure.

What to do about hate and speech?

Two quotations from the article linked:

HR and Employees known to be associated with hate groups

The First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech apply only to the government, not to private employers. Private-sector employers do not have to allow employees to voice beliefs other workers may find offensive. But government employers may not be able to fire employees who participated in protests.

 

Offsite protests may be one more step removed, but if pictures of an employee’s participation in white nationalist rallies are circulating the office, for example, that could lead to tensions and problems in the workplace in violation of the policy. And if a white nationalist is a manager and an employee files an equal employment opportunity claim based on the manager’s treatment of him or her, defending the claim may prove difficult.

 

 

Okay, beyond law, per se, is right action in a democratic nation that upholds and should continue to uphold freedom of speech.  That private sector employees are not protected does not mean that employers should have the right to fire people because of their beliefs or what they say in public.  To support the right of employers to do so could apply to Hobby Lobby seeing a video of an employee at a pro-choice rally and firing them because their views go against the beliefs of the employer who finds pro- choice supporters to be ungodly and vile human beings.  Judgement of who is vile enough in their beliefs and in speech used to express those beliefs should be left up to whom?  Good law is based in principle and application of the law, to be principled, needs to be applied consistently, disputes about to whom or what a law applies settled through reference to the principles in which a law is based.

 

As I said, I have been reading a lot of material regarding how to deal with those who participated in the Charlottesville ugliness and I have thought a lot about the consequences of the various remedies being discussed for dealing with the problem of hatred and hate groups.  This is not the first time in recent history that this nation has had to face the question of how to deal with speech that is hateful.  We wouldn’t have had to have this conversation again if we were able to understand that what people say is only as harmful as the response they provoke.  We do not believe that some others are capable of understanding what wrong with such ideas and fear that they will be swayed by the speech.  We also worry about the emotional harm that comes with being a target of hate speech.  I think that we need a robust conversation about how to deal with such and I do know that at the university where I worked the response to a student being offended by a statement by another led to requests from administrators for curtailment of speech.  The better way to have dealt with things would have been to trust faculty to be able to do with the bad what needs to be done, deal with it in such a way that the problem is rectified and not just buried.