#294: Making America Great Again #4, Ban Charter Schools…and Busing.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Before the break, I said I thought at first Jordan’s idea of reinstating conscription was stupid.  Then I came around and supported it.”

JC:  “And…?

Greenie:  “Well, here’s an idea that you guys might think falls in the category of stupid.  I think we should ban charter schools.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “What’s your logic?  Something wrong with charter schools?”

Jordan:  “Supporters claim charter schools are more effective than public schools at educating students.  So what’s wrong with their argument?”

Greenie:  “My view is charter schools are band-aides, not solutions.  Charter schools are an excuse to divert money from public schools to the private sector.  Or even worse, charter schools are part of a plan toward eliminating public schools altogether.  But charter schools don’t solve any real problems.”

BandAidJC:  “Not that I disagree with you but why do you think charter schools are a band-aide?”

Greenie:  “Because charter schools address symptoms and not causes.  Let’s not be naïve, a certain percentage of public schools have real problems.  And those problems need to be fixed.”

Jordan:  “You’re saying that charter schools don’t fix the problems.  Why not?  Aren’t students better off moving from public schools to charter schools?”

Greenie:  “Some students, probably, but not all.  What about the kids who don’t go to charter schools and remain in public schools?   Many are worse off than before the other kids left…plus there’s less funding for the public schools because taxpayers must fund the charter schools.”

Bag of MoneyJC:  “We need to get more specific about the issues.  Besides we know that merely throwing money at schools does not necessarily make schools better.”

Greenie:  “You want specifics?  Start with quality of teachers.  I know we all grew up in a different era – some probably liken it to the Stone Age by today’s standards.  But think about the quality of teachers we had from first grade through high school…and especially high school.”

Diagramed SentenceJC:  “I agree that many were top-notch, especially those teaching math and English.  To think we were so motivated we used to diagram sentences for fun!”

Jordan:  “Why do you think the teachers were so good?”

Greenie:  “Party because women had fewer career opportunities than today.”

JC:  “True, but we had some great male teachers as well.”

Black School TeacherJordan:  “What about teacher pay?”

Greenie:  “Much better proportionately than pay today but still less money than the private sector.”

JC:  “What about respect?  In an earlier era, teachers seemed to be respected by almost everyone…including politicians.”

Jordan:  “Good point.    I really get frustrated with some politicians in North Carolina.  Republicans have let teacher pay lag behind the rate of inflation.  What’s even worse, when teachers marched on Raleigh recently for higher pay and more support for students, a long-term, high-profile Republican called them thugs.”

JC:  “Nice, huh?  Calling your teachers thugs.  What an a-hole.”

Greenie:  “See why I said charter schools were a band-aide?   Charter schools do nothing to address some of the fundamental problems of public education.”

WhyJordan:  “OK, I’ll be the bad guy.  Why do we need free public education?  What percent of the public thinks education should be privately provided and not publicly provided…forget who pays for it?”

JC:  “That kind of question makes my head hurt.  Jordan, you know as well as I that what made this country great was not a bunch of open land, not a bunch of resources…not even a great constitution.  None of those mattered unless you had one thing…”

122813_2140_15Education4.jpgGreenie:  “…an educated populous.  And how did the US populous become educated?  Not just an education for the elite but an education for everyone, including immigrants, many of whom arrived here illiterate. They were educated through a free public education.”

Jordan:  “So your premise is until the country sets a goal of free, quality public education for everyone…and then begins to make that happen again…we’ll not make real progress toward making America great again.  Right?”

Greenie:  “You got it.  Allowing charter schools avoids forcing society toward restoring free, quality public education for all.”

School Bus NoJC:  “While we’re throwing out ideas about education, what about banning busing?  Busing seems like a waste of time and money.”

Greenie:  “Busing is a waste.  I agree the goal should be to eliminate almost all busing.”

Jordan:  “Ok, what’s the first step in making this plan work?”

Greenie:  “Simple.  Commitment.  If people commit to free, quality, public education for all, then the problem is more than half solved.  With such a commitment, all the other issues can start to be addressed rationally.”

JC:  “What about support from politicians?”

fife-drum%201Greenie:  “Tell me how a politician is going to campaign against free, quality public education for all?  That type campaign, especially in this post-Revenge Revolution environment would be suicide.”

Jordan:  “Greenie, I really like your idea.  Simple and easy to understand.”

JC:  “You got my vote too.  And now I’m the one who needs a break.”

(Continued)

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#293 Conscription for All? Well, Yes, for All Those Younger. Some Guidelines.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

Gr092615_2031_Characters2.jpgeenie:  “Ready for another idea how to really make America great again?”

JC:  “Yep.  We could beat to death the idea of federally funded elections.  Why don’t we tackle something less controversial?”

Greenie:  “You mean like Jordan’s suggestion to bring back conscription?”

JC:  “Why not?  The alt-right crowd insists that only those who salute the flag, serve in the military and own guns are patriotic.  I’m sure the alt-right will support conscription.”

Greenie:  “Reinstating conscription should be a slam dunk.  I learned that term watching the Final Four.  Anyway, think of all the hard-liners who’ve had stellar military careers.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJordan:  “You mean like Trump, Limbaugh, Hannady, and the former right-wing truthsayer, Bill O’Reilly.”

JC:  “What a list of potential endorsers for conscription…except I don’t think any of them served in the military.”

Greenie:  “Hold on.  Trump went to military school.  If you don’t think that was tougher than being in the real military, just ask the Donald…whatever.”

Jordan:  “What’s as bad as their military experience is their education.  O’Reilly is the only one with any kind of education.  Limbaugh and Hannady aren’t even qualified to blow stuff out their you know what.”

GreFartenie:  “Jordan, pulleeeze.  Be a bit more diplomatic, will you?”

Jordan:  “Well, Limbaugh dropped out after one year at some Missouri teacher’s college and Hannady bounced around three different schools and never did graduate.”

JC:  “Alright, lets remove tongue from cheek and get serious.  What are the benefits of conscription?”

Jordan:  “First, let’s be clear.  Conscription would allow either military service or non-military service with Federal agencies approved by the Selective Service.”

Greenie:  “Just so I understand, you including women?”

JC:  “Why not?  If combat military service is not required, then why not include women?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “For now, we’ll include both men and women.”

Greenie:  “How long do you have to serve?”

Jordan:  “Two years…and then some sort of standby reserve in case there’s a crisis.  But the reserve wouldn’t require any weekend training or anything like that.”

Greenie:  “Eligibility at what age?”

Age 18Jordan:  “Eligible at 18 but must begin service by say age 26.  A person could get a deferment to attend trade school or college but would need to start by age 26.”

JC:  “What if a woman got married and had a kid…or just had a kid?  Would she still have to serve?”

Greenie:  “Now, I’ll ask, ‘Why not?’  She could always service in a non-military capacity.  Just giving some people an easy way out doesn’t seem fair.”

JC:  “Then what kind of jobs would qualify outside the military?”

US Map Lower 48Jordan:  “Federal agencies that have operations in most parts of the country.  Agencies that serve people locally or work with the states to service people locally.”

Greenie:  “You mean such as EPA, part of Interior, Education, HUD?”

Jordan:  “All those agencies work.”

JC:  “What about FEMA?”

Jordan:  “FEMA’s a good add.”

Greenie:  “Think how much more effective FEMA could be with a staff highly trained to help manage disaster relief.”

EPA LogoJordan:  “Same with EPA.  There are lots of areas where an ‘EPA corps’ as it were, could help gather data or fix an issue before it becomes difficult and costly to solve.  Just like that old commercial, ‘pay me now or pay me later.’  But later is almost always much more expensive.”

Greenie:  “Are all the jobs we’re talking about outdoorsy kind of jobs?”

Jordan:  “Not at all.  The military has lots of jobs for non-combat personnel…and many are like office jobs.”

WhiningJC:  “I can hear it now.  Some people are going to claim what we’re proposing will be taking away jobs from others.  Or worse yet, conscription will interrupt little Johnnie’s or little Susie’s career that mommy and daddy paid so much to prepare them for.  How are we going to counter that argument?”

Jordan:  “Give mommy and daddy the Bronx cheer.  Really, there’s a number key benefits that stem from conscription.  Most obvious is helping fix some of the country’s problems that kept getting put off by politics.  #2 benefit, being forced to live in a disciplined environment, at least during the ‘basic training’ period; #3, being forced to learn to work with a team.  I’m always amazed at how many young adults have never really been forced to work in a team.  Even if they end up in a non-military job, everyone who goes through some type of basic training will have a much better understanding of the value of teamwork…and an inkling of how the military works. #4 benefit…”

Number ListJC:  “…Let me try.  #4, forced diversity.  Exposure to a wide range of people and backgrounds never hurt anyone.  Maybe we, that is societal we, could become a bit more civil if we understood others’ perspectives.  Brilliant statement, huh?”

Greenie:  “We know what you meant.  This idea of conscription is starting to seem obvious but I know better.  What about exemptions from serving?  You know, exemptions for some serious medical condition…like bone spurs.  I mean is everyone going to be forced to serve or will the loopholes be large enough to drive a truck through?”

Jordan:  “Clearly, some people will be unable to serve.  But the program should start with the assumption that everyone serves and then carve out as few exemptions as possible.”

Uncle SamJC:  “You know, the time might be right to reinstitute conscription.  Since the Revenge Revolution people seem more willing to explore old and new ways of trying to solve problems.”

Greenie:  “I admit, when you first mentioned conscription, I thought, ‘that’s really a stupid idea.’  But, as I said, I’m starting to come around.  Good idea, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Glad you think so.  The idea of conscription, like the idea of federally funded elections, seems to have a foundation that’s sound and can contribute to really making America great again.  But each idea needs a lot more work on the details.  And, now, please excuse me.  I need a break.”

(Continued)

#292 Federally Funded Elections. Benefits and Framework to Start

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Jordan, that’s quite a list of ideas about how to make America great again.  We’ve got to call this project something else but let’s not spend time on that now.  Which item on the list seems like a good place to start?”

JC:  “To me the idea of Federally funded elections seems feasible.  Don’t a bunch of other countries…maybe most other countries…fund elections?  So why can’t the US?”

Jordan:  “Alright, let’s think about what has to happen to make Federal funding a reality.”

Greenie:  “For sure Congress needs to pass some type of law, then appropriate the funds.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “I’m no legal scholar…and no comments please…but it does seem as if there aren’t any real legal barriers.  Political barriers, yes, but not legal barriers.”

Greenie:  “What about the Citizens United case?  Does a law authorizing Federally funded elections trump the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United?”

Jordan:  “Any law mandating only Federal funding for Federal elections likely will be challenged in court and then head back to SCOTUS.  However, there doesn’t seem to be any glaring reason why a Federal funding law wouldn’t be upheld…thereby overriding the Citizens United ruling.  I just don’t see how such a law would affect 1st Amendment rights.  But like you, JC, I’m no Constitutional law scholar.”

House of RepsJC:  “Let’s say there’s no major legal issue.  Then how should Federal funds be allocated to the candidates?”

Greenie:  “There’s already a formula for allocation.  Maybe neither the most logical nor the most fair but one that’s clearly defined – the Electoral College.”

Jordan:  “Seems like a good place to start.  Assume that Congress allocated $10/person for federal elections.  The current US population is what 330 to 340 million?  Call it 340 million, so that means $3.4 billion is available to help fund federal elections.”

Greenie:  “Is that for presidential elections or off-year elections too?  Seems as if off-year elections should have a different number.”

JC:  “What about Senate races?  Senators are elected every six years, House members every two years.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Good points.  Try this.  Presidential elections get the full $10/head funding.  Off-year elections get $5/head allocated.”

Greenie:  “So in a presidential election, the presidential candidates would get $1.7 billion and the House and Senate candidates would split $1.7 billion, right?”

Jordan:  “For the Congressional seats, I think we need to give candidates for the Senate more money that candidates for the House.  Other than a few low-population states, Senators have to cover a lot more territory than House members.  What if we gave the Senatorial candidates 2x the House candidates?”

Math ClassJC:  “Let me try the math.  If I remember Ester’s Algebra class, that would be 200X+435X=$1,700,000,000.  Using my hand-dandy phone, x equals almost $2.7 million.  So Senate races get about $5.4 million and House races about $2.7 million.”

Greenie:  “The numbers for Senate races seem low.  Maybe Senators should get 3x.”

JC:  “Did we decide if the amount of money was for each race or each legitimate candidate?”

Greenie:  “While we’re at it, what about funding primaries?  What about 3rd-party candidates?”

Jordan:  “We didn’t decide.  Assume the $10/head is for each candidate in the general election.  So the cost is now $20/head…plus the primaries.”

Greenie:  “I know I recommended using the Electoral College but there might be an easier approach.  Candidates for the House get say $5/head for everyone in their district.  Senators would get $5/head for everyone in the state.  Presidential candidates would get $5/head for everyone in the US.”

JC:  “What about the primaries?”

Greenie:  “Give each candidate ½ the amount of the general election — $2.50/head per candidate.  Whatever the general election number is, cut it in half for the primaries.”

SignatureJC:  “3rd-party candidates?”

Greenie:  “If the candidate can get signatures for x% of the registered voters…it has to be a reasonable percentage…then the 3rd-party candidate is entitled to the same funds.”

JC:  “Isn’t this idea getting awfully expensive?  We might be pushing $10 billion, maybe more.”

Federal BudgetGreenie:  “Now, JC, I mean really.  What’s a few billion in a trillion-dollar Federal budget – a rounding error?  I agree the approach seems expensive until you begin to add up all the hidden costs with today’s approach to funding elections…and all the backroom deals connected to the funding.”

Jordan:  “Point well taken, Greenie.  Part of the selling job for this idea will be to have a credible 3rd-party estimate the current cost of elections, including all the dark money.”

JC:  “Cost aside…and I agree even though it seems like a lot of money, the amount is really a rounding error…what I like about the approach is forcing candidates to be more judicious with their spending.”

occupations_lawyerGreenie:  “Because funds will be limited, the approach will likely also force candidates to get out on the campaign trail and meet the voters.  Maybe we’ll get fewer negative ad blitzes and more time on the campaign trail.”

JC:  “You think this approach will eliminate lobbyists?”

Jordan:  “Probably not.  I don’t have a problem with lobbyists per se.  Some are actually very helpful.  What seems to set people off is how certain Congressman force lobbyists into a pay-to-play game.”

gangster-cartoon-clip-art-540pxGreenie:  “Oh, you mean like South Carolina’s Mick Mulvaney?  What chutzpah.  He bragged to a group of bankers that before he became part of the Trump Administration, he only talked to lobbyists who paid him.  Wonder if he stopped the practice when he became director of OMB and consumer protection bureau for Trump?  Pardon me — that seems like a rhetorical question.”

JC:  “I think the Revenge Revolution forced out most of the Mulvaney-like extortionists.  A new approach to funding Federal elections should keep too many new ones from popping up…at least for a while.”

Jordan:  “Alright, we seem to have the framework for Federal funding of Federal elections.  Obviously the plan needs a lot more refining, but the idea seems feasible.”

Greenie:  “Agreed.  And if you both agree, I need a break.”

(Continued)   

 

#291 Quit Whining, Already. How Do We Turn Around This Ship?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

JC:  “I agree that Paul Ryan could have set an example of leadership for generations to come.  But, what did he do?”

bully-clip-artGreenie:  “He retired from the House.  I guess you call it retired if not seeking in November 2018 qualifies as retiring.”

JC:  “Whatever you want to call it, he bailed out.  Seems like Ryan ran away from the bully Trump.  Not what you call a good example for future generations, and not what you call a good ending to your political career.”

Jordan:  “Enough of Ryan and McConnell.  I’ve got an idea.”

Greenie:  “You’ve got an idea?  JC, did you hear that?  Jordan has an idea.”

Jordan:  “Why do I hang out with you guys?  Such abuse.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “C’mon, you love it.  Now what’s the idea?”

Jordan:  “Looking in the rearview mirror­­­­ and analyzing the past with a critical eye is important, but as we’ve talked about before, it’s hard to drive very fast by always looking in the rearview mirror.”

JC:  “Tell that to some of the cable news talking heads.  A lot of them can’t stop driving fast and looking backwards at the same time.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Let’s keep in mind the past does provide some guidance to the future.  You do agree with that, don’t you, Jordan?”

Jordan:  “Very much so.  And that’s the foundation for the idea.  I think we should provide to the post-Revenge Revolution members of Congress a list of suggestions.”

JC:  “What kind of suggestions?”

Jordan:  “For lack of a better phrase, because I hate to say it, credible suggestions for really how to make America great again.”

Greenie:  “I agree with the idea, but please, we need a different slogan.  I mean, we don’t need to reincarnate the Donald.”

JC:  “You guys serious?  What makes us qualified to suggest anything to Congress?  Granted none of us is the dullest crayon in the box but what gives us special insight?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “For one, Greenie’s articles about the Revenge Revolution.  We might have more understanding about the causes of the Revenge Revolution than anyone in Congress, especially incoming members or staffers.”

Greenie:  “I vote, yes, let’s make a list of suggestions.  If nothing else making the list will be cathartic…and will make us seem smarter at parties.”

Jordan:  “JC, you, in?”

JC:  “OK.  How do you want to start?”

Greenie:  “Why not have a brainstorming session?  You know, just blurt out ideas and write them down.  We can sort the list later.”

Number List(Following is the list from the brainstorming session about how to really make America great again.  Over the coming blog entries, a number of these ideas will be discussed in more detail.)

  1. True leadership starts at the top.
  2. Congress needs to work as a unit and with independence from the Executive Branch. Not everyone in Congress will agree, nor should they agree, on every issue but Congress must function separately from the Executive Branch.
  3. Relationship building is critical. Presidents and administrations that reach out, listen and act for the good of the people are far more effective.
  4. Re-establish the independence of the judicial system. The White House and Congress need to respect the system, the law and quit trying to influence cases.
  5. Public’s confidence and other countries’ confidence in the White House will take several administrations to rebuild – probably 15-20 years.
  6. Adults with demonstrated skills should be selected as cabinet members.
  7. Time devoted in teaching civics needs to increase in grammar, middle and high schools.
  8. Conscription should be reinstituted. An alternative to military service would be a civilian corps.
  9. Widespread infrastructure programs need to be initiated – think WPA approach.
  10. Increase research and development sponsored by Federal government, with particular emphasis on pure research.
  11. Reinstitute environmental and financial regulations…judiciously. Companies and industries have proved repeatedly an in ability to manage themselves.
  12. Increase tax rates across all quintiles with the highest rate increases on upper incomes. Use part of revenue to fund infrastructure and part to help offset the negative long-term effects of Trump tax cut.
  13. Make all elections for Federal office publicly funded with no private contributions. allowed.

Jordan:  “OK, let’s take a break.  When we get back, we can clarify the wording of some of the ideas, maybe add a few others.  We also can start digging a little deeper on these ideas.”

(Continued)   

#290 How Republican Leadership in the House and Senate Failed the Country

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

Jordan:  “So, you two want my guidance whether ­­­­­­­­­articles about the Revenge Revolution should include content that is clearly not politically correct?

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “You got it.”

Jordan:  “Why not just lay out the truth? Really, what’s the downside?”

JC:  “What about the backlash from all the evangelicals?  And the screamers on Fox News?”

Jordan:  “What about them?   Since the Revenge Revolution, Fox News has become a non-entity.  As far as the hard-core Trumpsters, they are never going to change no matter the evidence against Trump.”

Greenie:  “In that same vein, I’ve never heard an evangelical openly question their religion.  OK, maybe a few question openly…but they’re rare birds.”

Jordan:  “That’s my point.  Your articles will not change the hard-core’s mind so why be concerned?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “We were trying to be more diplomatic post revolution.  Won’t laying out the bare facts open old wounds?”

Greenie:  “I think Jordan’s point a good one.  See, Jordan, I gave you a compliment.”

Jordan:  “You’ve made my day.”

Greenie:  “Seriously, we need to be straightforward.  Not vicious but no sugar-coating content.  Otherwise, key lessons from the revolution will get lost.”

JC:  “Being straightforward should make the writing much easier.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Greenie, you know better than I, but isn’t crafting an objective article oftentimes more difficult than say a pure opinion piece?”

Greenie:  “Yes, and often maddeningly so.”

JC:  “Now that we’ve agreed not to be pc in the articles, I’ve got a related topic we probably should write about.”

Greenie:  “Whadda mean ‘we’ Kemosabe?  Who’s writing these articles?”

JC:  “OK, you are…but I’ll help draft this one.  We need an article or two focusing on how the lack of Republican leadership in the House and Senate enabled Trump’s craziness.”

Jordan:  “An example is…”

JC:  “Cabinet nominees.  Most of the first round of nominees: (i) lacked any experience for the job; (ii) were intellectual lightweights; (iii) and/or were known scumbags.”

Jordan:  “Maybe this article will need to be a bit more pc.”

JC:  “Why?”

drone-manGreenie:  “Good question.  Why?  If the article is about lack of Republican leadership in the House and Senate, why hold back?  Mitch McConnell did the country a major disservice by not squashing some of the cabinet nominees.”

JC:  “Think back to the Trump transition.  Was there one…maybe two cabinet member nominees who were highly qualified or didn’t have a clear conflict?”

Jordan:  “What about General Mattis as Secretary of Defense?”

Greenie:  “Qualified, probably.  But he never should have been allowed to head DOD.  This country has a long history of civilians being head of the military.  He might have been one of the few adults in the room, but having a general at DOD set a terrible precedent.  It was like having the fox guard the henhouse.”

Jordan:  “What about Rex Tillerson?”

PutinGreenie:  “The guy had been awarded some medal by the Russians.  Look, I have no qualms about the head of ExxonMobil, or another oil company, working with the Russians.  But don’t take the guy and put him in as Secretary of State.  At State, he needs to protect American interests and not be concerned about personal or company interests.  Making him Secretary created an immediate and obvious conflict.”

JC:  “Did the Senate leadership know the Russians meddled in the election?  Of course.  McConnell had been briefed by Justice.  Even the public knew.  Yet, still no pushback by McConnell or any other Republican senator.  Why?”

Greenie:  “The list of incompetents goes on and on.  Try Ben Carson.  What did an alleged brain surgeon know about running HUD?  Maybe because he saw some HUD housing growing up in Detroit?  He might have lived in some HUD housing.  But so what?”

ScreamJC:  “DeVos to be head of Department of Education was another lightweight.  During the Senate hearings, Betsy, bless her little heart, couldn’t answer the most fundamental questions about how the education system works.”

Greenie:  “Then, of course, we have “Mr. Lie-Under-Oath” himself.  At Sessions’ confirmation hearing to be Attorney General, McConnell had to know he was lying.”

JC:  “Jordan, do you think McConnell could have stopped many or all of these nominations from going through?”

Jordan:  “Maybe not all but he could have stopped most.  McConnell could have worked behind the scenes telling Trump that nominees with an obvious conflict or no experience in the field should be changed.  He needed to make clear to Trump that without some different nominees, there would be a series of embarrassing ‘no’ votes by the Senate.”

bully-clip-artGreenie:  “But McConnell didn’t tell Trump.  So Trump took the upper hand, berated McConnell publicly and McConnell shrank like a violet.  In the process, McConnell became an enabler for Trump’s wacko behavior.”

JC:  “What about Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House?  The House doesn’t approve cabinet nominees.”

Jordan:  “True, but the House has oversight and investigative powers in many areas.”

Greenie:  “From my perspective, Ryan lost all credibility when he allowed the committee investigating Russian meddling to disband.”

JC:  “Wasn’t the decision to disband really up to the committee chairman.  What was his name…Nunes?”

sense-checkGreenie:  “The Speaker of the House appoints many of the committee chairs.  Ryan could have gotten Nunes replaced with someone willing to pursue the investigation.  It’s possible…and we need to check this for the article…it’s possible Ryan could have appointed Adam Schiff, a Democrat to lead the investigation.”

JC:  “Wouldn’t that have been suicide?  The Speaker is elected by the party in the majority.  Ryan would have lost his speakership.”

Greenie:  “True.  But if Ryan had done so, he would have set an example that what is good for the country is more important than what’s good politically.  And Ryan likely would have been remembered for generations as a hero.  Instead, like McConnell he caved and became an enabler for Trump’s wacko behavior.”

[Note: within a few days after this entry was published, Paul Ryan announced he was not going to seek re-election to the House in November 2018.] 

(Continued)

#289 Lincoln Was Correct…about Some Trump Supporters

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

Gelly:  “Greenie called and she and JC want to stop by a few minutes this morning.”

Jordan:092615_2031_Characters7.gif  “OK with me.  Anything in particular they want to talk about?”

Gelly:  “All she said was Lincoln.”

Jordan:  “You mean like Abe Lincoln or the car?”

Gelly:  “As far as I know, Lincoln as in president.”

Jordan (short time later):  “Well, well, well.  The dynamic duo has arrived.  Nice to see you guys.  And what brings you here…other than to see me, of course.”

Greenie:  “And he’s so modest.  Go ahead, JC, your idea is what prompted the visit.”

JC:  “I was helping Greenie edit her articles about the Revenge Revolution.  What seemed to need more explanation was why evangelical Christians kept supporting Trump.  Continued evangelical support caused some real frustration…and in fact anger…with more moderate voters who were trying to address the country’s real problems.”

Greenie:  “Neither of us had a reasonable answer at first about sustained support for Trump by evangelicals.  Here’s a guy whose behavior was the antithesis of what the evangelicals claimed they stood for.  Yet they kept supporting Trump.  Why?”

Trump Stormy 2Jordan:  “Evangelicals must not have thought having multiple affairs constituted adultery.  C’mon, only one of those affairs, as far as we know, was with a high-profile porn star.  What’s the issue?”

JC:  “And a couple of those affairs were only after his wife gave birth and was home with the baby.  I mean no good evangelical should be upset about that kind of behavior, right?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Jordan, see what we mean?  Repeated adultery, constant lying, publicly ridiculing people who had sacrificed a lot to work in his administration, mistreatment of women…and on and on.  Yet, the evangelicals kept supporting him.  Why?”

JC:  “Look, we understand…or at least acknowledge…that some people might have voted for Trump because they couldn’t imagine anyone who was running for president could be that inept.”

Greenie:  “But when evangelicals continued to support Trump after 12-15 months in office, we had no clue why.”

JC:  “No clue until we thought back to our days in grammar school in Illinois.  That was our ‘ah ha’ moment.”

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515Greenie:  “Good old Lincoln came to mind.  And one of his famous quotes.”

JC:  “You can fool some of the people all the time.”

Jordan:  “What about the rest of the quote?  You left out the part about fooling all the people some of the time.”

Greenie:  “Well, we really couldn’t find any time during his presidency where Trump came even marginally close to fooling all the people, even some of the time.  So we focused on trying to understand why he was able to fool some of the people all the time.”

JC:  “If you go back and look at the data, most all evangelicals appeared to be fooled all the time.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “But why do you think evangelicals were so easily fooled?”

Greenie:  “You want the politically incorrect answer?”

Jordan:  “Where are you headed with this?”

Greenie:  “We concluded that evangelicals, like fundamentalists in many religions, bought into a religious concept they believed to be true.”

Jordan:  “Keep talking.”

Greenie:  “Think about it.  Evangelicals view their religious beliefs as the absolute truth.  They are down two, over four.  That’s it.  We’re right.  You’re wrong.  End of discussion.”

ComplicatedJC:  “Have you ever heard evangelicals question the fundamental tenets of Christianity?”

Jordan:  “Not really.”

Greenie:  “Neither have we.  So here’s a group that buys into a concept for which there appears to be little, if any, supporting data.  Once bought in, they think this concept is the absolute truth and cannot be questioned.”

Jordan:  “Aren’t fundamentalists of other religions similar in their buy-in and absolutism?  Think of the Ultra-Orthodox Jews.”

JC:  “We agree.  But this conversation is about the US and not Israel.  In the US, evangelical Christian’s make-up a very large voting block and the Ultra-Orthodox Jews as a voting bloc are at best a rounding error.”

Greenie:  “What we have in the US is this large chunk of the population that responds like bobble heads to some religious leaders.  The religious leaders tell them what to do and they all nod their heads.  We told you this was a politically incorrect answer.”

BrainwashedJordan:  “It’s as if the group was brainwashed.”

JC:  “How else does one explain why evangelicals continued to support Trump?  Think about all the actions he took as president…forget his personal behavior.  Most of those actions were contrary to evangelicals’ supposed beliefs.  Yet, they continued to support him.”

Greenie:  “I still marvel that the vast majority of evangelicals thought Obama was not a Christian.  There was long-standing and overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Most evangelicals must have been so brainwashed they would believe anything religious leaders told them.”

fox-news-logo bJordan:  “Let’s not forget evangelicals believing the absolute truths of the religious leaders of Fox News.  OK, now how do you intend to write-up this politically incorrect analysis?”

JC:  “That’s why we’re here.”

Greenie:  “We need some guidance, please.”

(Continued)

 

#288 Crypto-Currency Sent to the Crypt

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly: “Jordan, you have a call from a guy named Willie. Want to take it or should I…”

Jordan: “…I’ll take the call. You’ve never met Willie? That’s his nickname. He’s the banker and neighbor in Charlotte.”

Gelly: “Now I know who you mean. Didn’t realize his nickname was Willie.”

Jordan (picking up phone): “Willie, thanks for calling back.”

BankerWillie: “Your voice mail said you wanted to talk about crypto-currency.”

Jordan: “Yes. Need some guidance.”

Willie: “I can help with macro issues but I’m not a technical expert.”

Jordan: “Right now not concerned with the tech side…maybe later. Really want to understand how the Federal government views…or viewed…crypto-currency. What were the perceived implications on policy decisions of crypto-currency?”

Willie: “Where do you want to start?”

Jordan: “First, is crypto-currency considered a real currency or not? From what I gather, crypto-currency is a currency, but not a currency sponsored by a government. You know, it functions like the US dollar or Euro but there’s no government behind it, right?”

Willie: “You got it right. Crypto-currency is a de facto currency created by a non-government entity.”

Abbott CostelloJordan: “In a way, the crypto-currencies remind me of the US prior to the creation of the Federal Reserve. Lots of variation in value and no one quite sure who’s in charge?”

Willie: “Wondering who’s on first is not a bad way to look at it. Crypto-currencies are like a bunch of banks issuing their own currency…except rather than issuing paper notes its digital currency. And rather than backed by gold or silver, it’s backed by what one might term vaporware.”

Jordan: “So, if a bunch of groups issue their own currency, how do you use it? What merchant is going to accept your crypto-currency? The merchant has to get someone else to accept it, otherwise he’s screwed.”

StealingWillie: “Another good question. A lot of the so-called crypto-currencies vanished early on. Some never got any momentum and some were never issued even after investor funds were taken.”

Jordan: “But a couple of the crypto-currencies made it big time. What I still don’t understand is where the value came from? You did say it was like vaporware.”

Willie: “Just thinking about it is somewhat baffling. The most popular crypto-currencies were created out of thin air. OK, the currencies were created using a complex computer algorithm…but essentially out of thin air.”

Jordan: “You mean there was no real value? Zippo…nada…nothing?”

Rabbit Out of HatWillie: “A couple of crypto-currencies were backed by some assets. One was even backed by gold, but most were backed by nothing.”

Jordan: “Who would fall for a scheme like that? Reminds me of the tulip craze in the 17th century. At least for that craze, people bought some asset, albeit a tulip.”

Willie: “Supporters of crypto-currency claimed it was no different from currency issued by governments, so-called FIAT currencies. The FIAT currencies – US dollar, for example – no longer have precious-metal backing. According to these supporters, governments just print money with no underlying value.”

TurtleneckJordan: “While true that governments might have gone off the gold standard, governments do have assets…and a way to generate revenue. Governments can collect taxes. Save one or two, crypto-currencies had no assets and none had authority to collect taxes.”

Willie: “Creators of crypto-currencies claimed value was created because only so many would ever be ‘coined.’ Since the supply of coins was finite, value was created and justified.”

Jordan: “Aside from the illogic that a finite supply of something automatically creates value, what was their view of the real purpose of crypto-currency?”

Willie: “Some will claim my opinion’s biased because I’m in the banking industry. My view crypto-currency was attractive to certain groups for two basic reason: (i) help facilitate illicit transactions, especially drugs; (ii) help avoid taxes.”

Fed Reserve LogoJordan: “Over the years you’ve dealt with the Federal Reserve. How did they view crypto-currency?”

Willie: “At first, crypto-currencies were viewed by the Fed as an annoyance, but not a major issue. Think of a crypto-currency as a mosquito or a gnat.”

Jordan: “Then the mosquito started to grow…like a mosquito on steroids.”

Willie: “You’re right. Once on steroids, the Fed began to look at crypto-currencies as a threat to its control.”

Jordan: “How so?”

Bag of MoneyWillie: “Two primary roles of the Federal Reserve are managing monetary policy and controlling the banking system. The already difficult job of managing monetary policy became much more difficult with the alternative-currency universe.”

Jordan: “So the more crypto-currencies were used instead of dollars…the more crypto-currencies became a larger percentage of the money supply…the more exaggerated the Fed’s actions needed to be to achieve the same desired policy effect. The Fed was dealing with a smaller pie, as it were.”

Wall Street SignWillie: “Most people did not fully appreciate how crypto-currencies forced the Fed’s hand. Crypto-currencies took a bigger and bigger slide out of the Fed’s monetary pie. In order to achieve the same result as before crypto-currencies, the Fed was forced to exaggerate changes in interest rates, both up and down. The exaggeration also affected Wall Street. As a result, the Fed was unhappy, Wall Street was unhappy, many investors were unhappy and the general public was unhappy.”

Jordan: “Anything else?”

Willie: “Two other critical issues. A key reason the Fed was created was to help facilitate trade. Many of the crypto-currencies fluctuated wildly in value, which created uncertainty and slowed trade.”

Jordan: “What’s the second issue?”

TaxesWillie: “Federal revenue. While the Fed is not responsible for collecting taxes, in order to manage monetary policy, the Fed needs to have a good idea of sources and uses of Federal funds.”

Jordan: “Because the flow of crypto-currencies was hard to track and therefore hard to collect taxes on that flow, forecasting Federal revenue became even more uncertain. Right?”

Willie: “You got it. From the Fed’s perspective, and a lot of other people agreed, crypto-currencies were a cancer that was restricting trade, making monetary policy more difficult to manage and reducing potential government revenue. The solution? Ban crypto-currencies. Send crypto-currencies to the crypt. Does that help explain crypto-currencies?”

Jordan: “Yes, very much so. Thanks. Willie, as always, nice to chat. Let’s get together soon.”

#287 Who Took Out the Donald…Mama Bear?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Greenie, JC and Jordan having lunch near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation continues from Entry #286.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “OK, now that we’ve solved the mystery of the creation of the universe, I have another topic.”

Jordan: “Which is?”

Greenie: “Who took out the Donald?”

JC: “We’ve already discussed that and Jordan claims it was the FBI.”

Greenie: “I know we discussed it earlier but when I started to write the articles about how the take out might have affected the Revenge Revolution, I realized we’d never discussed…or I don’t remember ever discussing…what triggered the FBI to take action.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC: “You mean what event or action by Trump caused the FBI, or whatever group was responsible, to say, ‘enough, already. He needs to go.’”

Greenie: “Well, we know it wasn’t Trump who called and said to the FBI, ‘Gee, why don’t you take me out.’ So, Jordan, was there an event that triggered the take out? You were the first person I know to call the take out. What’s your opinion?”

Jordan: “While there was a time gap between the event and the take out, my view is the event was the weekend when Sessions fired Andrew McCabe. That was sometime early spring 2018.”

JC: “Why that particular event?”

Tilted-scale-hiJordan: “Because by early 2018 it had become clear Trump was in the hands of the Russians…at least financially. They had him by the you know what.”

JC: “But a lot of people suspected Mueller already had evidence of Trump’s financial obligations to the Russians. So, why the firing of McCabe the tipping point?”

Jordan: “Until Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s business records, Trump was either in denial of what seemed obvious to the world or too naïve…”

JC: “…or more likely, too stupid to understand what was going on. After Tillerson got fired, he finally stated publicly what he’d said before. Trump was a moron.”

trump-youre-firedGreenie: “So why did Trump have Sessions fire McCabe? Firing McCabe accomplished nothing. Then Sessions got fired by Trump soon thereafter.”

JC: “Pardon me for being so blunt, but you just answered your own question — why did firing McCabe trigger the take out? Trump thought the firing would discredit McCabe.”

Greenie: “Discredit McCabe with whom? Maybe Trump’s base but at that point Trump’s base no longer counted in the real world. I must say Trump calling McCabe a liar was a bit much even for Trump. Seriously? Trump calling someone a liar and expecting the world to believe him?”

JC: “In Donnie Boy’s world the base was the only thing that mattered.”

Full HouseGreenie: “Do you guys think Trump really understood who held all the cards? In the Washington poker game, Trump didn’t have a pair of deuces and Muller had a full house, yet Trump thought he could bluff Mueller.”

Jordan: “And Muller’s full house included all the FBI agents. Just think about how crazy his behavior was. Trump dumps all over Comey and McCabe and trashes the FBI as an organization. That’s about the same level of stupidity as trying to steal a bear cub while mama bear is watching nearby, not even hiding.”

Mama BearJC: “Pissing off mama bear is not smart. And doing so never has a good outcome.”

Greenie: “So now we have Mama-Bear-FBI watching the Donald trying to steal one of her cubs…actually two, no three of her cubs – Comey, McCabe and Mueller.”

Jordan: “Still wonder why the FBI took out Trump? Actually, I do think there’s a bigger reason. Yes, the FBI was pissed about the Donald trashing the agency and also trying to steal the cubs, but the overarching reason…”

JC: “…the overarching reason was the professionals thought Trump was mentally unstable. Nobody could predict what he would do next.”

FBI LogoGreenie: “Most serious adults in the US…and worldwide…have great admiration for the FBI. I think it’s fairly well-known that when joining the agency you pledge to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ The people who I know connected with the Agency take the pledge very seriously.’ Trump’s behavior violated the pledge and effectively left them no choice.”

JC: “Still baffles me why Trump did not understand the potential consequences of his behavior. It’s not as if you had to be a genius to predict the outcome. Jordan, you predicted it and we know you’re no genius…right?”

TurtleneckJordan: “I’d like to ignore your last comment but you’re correct. Anyone with a modicum of gray matter could have seen what was going to happen when you mess with Mama-Bear FBI.”

Greenie: “Fortunately, the take out and transition were reasonably peaceful.”

Jordan: “For the peaceful transition you can thank the FBI and some of the military-trained adults who’d been in the White House. Those guys knew who to call, when to call and what to tell the remaining staff to do. Lots of good work behind the scenes.”

070715_2218_141SenseChe1.gifGreenie: “Even after the transition from Trump, the country had the Revenge Revolution. Granted a few years later but probably a lot more peaceful that it might have been.”

JC: “You know what? Even though we’ve had the Revenge Revolution and we’re looking backwards, talking about the Trump years exhausts me mentally. Why don’t we go back to discussing an easier topic?”

Greenie: “You mean an easy topic like the creation of the universe?”

Jordan: “While you guys decide on what to chat about, I’m taking a break.”

#286 Diversion: Can We Talk Evolution?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Greenie, JC and Jordan having lunch near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC

Jordan:  “Greenie, glad you could break away for lunch.  You can protect me from your buddy here.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Now, Jordan.  Yes, it’s nice to see you but when did you need protection?  Has JC been harassing poor little Jordie?”

JC:  “See, Jordan.  You’re far too sensitive…and taking yourself way too seriously.  You need to get out of Washington more often.  You’re starting to act like some of those people in Congress.”

Jordan:  “Alright guys.  Enough kvetching.  What are we going to talk about over lunch?  What about…”

Greenie:  “…excuse me but if you were going to suggest discussing progress on my articles on the Revenge Revolution, please don’t.  I need a break.”

Jordan:  “OK, then what?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “You want something far out…no pun intended.”

Jordan:  “Such as…and what pun?”

JC:  “Evolution.”

Greenie:  “Since when did you become the scientist?”

JC:  “Think about it?”

Greenie:  “Think about what, Ms. Einstein?”

JC:  “How could species evolve from a bunch of elements?  And how did the universe get started?

albert-einsteinJordan:  “Greenie, maybe Ms. Einstein is on to something.  I’ve never really bought into the Big Bang Theory.  Understand the theory but what I can’t figure out is where did the matter come from?”

JC:  “See, this might be interesting.  Where did all that stuff come from?  Nothing just doesn’t go bang.  Nothing had to be something before it went bang.”

Greenie:  “So, if you need something in order to have it go bang, then who or what provided the something?  Little green men?  ET’s friends?”

StarsJordan:  “Green is not my color.  I like ET’s friends better.  Seriously…if that’s possible with this group…I’ve always been fascinated by the number of stars.  Now after the Hubble telescope, we know there are even more billions of stars and millions, if not billions of galaxies.”

JC:  “And, if you believe in the tooth fairy, out of those billions and billions, earth is the only place where life exists.  Right.  Take another hit on that joint.”

Greenie:  “How does all this link to evolution?”

JC:  “Evolution, at least on earth, may not be so random.  What if we’re a science experiment of one of ET’s buddies?”

Jordan:  “If evolution is part of a science experiment, it explains a lot.”

Greenie:  “How?”

ETJordan:  “We know…let me rephrase that…there appear to be more than three dimensions.  We don’t know exactly how many but let’s say there are five dimensions.”

JC:  “So ET’s buddies could be operating in all five dimensions while we’re operating only in three.  And…”

Greenie:  “…Let me try.  We know time is relative.  A billion years to us might be 10 years to ET.  Like a gnat’s life is three days by our standards but maybe 100 years by gnat standards.”

Jordan:  “Keep going.”

Petri DishGreenie:  “One of ET’s buddies has this experiment.  And as part of that experiment there is a giant petri dish called earth.  ET’s buddy puts of few drops of something in the dish and things start to grow.”

JC:  “After a while some of the amoebas get bigger and eat other amoebas.  Over more time other amoebas take on different shapes and new flavors of amoebas evolve.”

Jordan:  “After who knows how long, the “generic man” amoeba evolves.”

Greenie:  “All this seems sort of weird, doesn’t it?  We’re an experiment in ET’s buddy’s petri dish.”

JC:  “Weird, yes, but have you got a better explanation?  Plus, who’s going believe this idea anyway?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Does it really matter who believes it?  Probably not.  However, more people might be closer to believing it than we think.  I find it very interesting that when you look at the core beliefs of a bunch of different religions, there always seems to be some ‘super-power’ of sorts at the top.”

JC:  “And a belief in that ‘super-power’ makes life less complicated, right?”

Jordan:  “Yes, it seems to.”

JC:  “By the way, Jordan does this mean you’ve given up religion for a petri dish?  Next time we have lunch are you going to order a BLT?”

Jordan:  “You’re funny, JC.  No, religion is still very important. At a very minimum it provides great guidelines and boundaries.  And no BLT, unless its turkey bacon.”

Greenie:  “Whew, beginning to wonder about you, too.   C’mon, you really like turkey bacon?”

(End of discussion on evolution…at least for now.)    

 

 

#285 Why Is Banning Assault Weapons a 2nd Amendment Issue?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: JC and Jordan ordering coffee at shop near Jordan’s office in Washington.

Clerk to Jordan: “Hi Bubbles, the usual?”

Jordan:  “Yes, please.  And JC, what do you want?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Grande, medium roast.”

——– Have coffee and find table —————-

JC:  “OK, you’ve got to tell me.  Where’d the name ‘Bubbles’ come from?  You leading some kind of secret life none of us know about?”

Jordan:  “Nothing that exciting.  When I started coming here regularly, I asked them to top off the coffee…since I don’t take cream.  One day when they put on the lid, some bubbles oozed out of the drink hole and onto the lid.”

Coffee cup and lidJC:  “And, so what?”

Jordan:  “That’s what I said, ‘So what?’  But apparently some customers are very picky and ask for a new lid if any bubbles ooze out.”

JC:  “So you, poking fun at those who take themselves too seriously, begin asking for bubbles, right?”

Jordan:  “And, voila, I became known as ‘Bubbles.’”

JC:  “Well, Bubbles, I think we’re going to have company.  An old friend of yours.”

Jordan:  “Hi, Sandy.  Long time, no see.  Have a seat, if you want.”

092615_2031_Characters8.gifSandy:  “Hi, Jordan.  If I recall, it’s JC, right?”

JC:  “Yes.”

Sandy:  “I really shouldn’t sit with you, Jordan.  I’m still mad at you.”

Jordan:  “For what?”

Sandy:  “Your efforts to overturn the 2nd Amendment and take away all our guns.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, Sandy, I never supported overturning the 2nd Amendment.”

AR-15Sandy:  “Sure you did.  You wanted to ban the sale of all assault weapons…and even make owning one illegal.”

JC:  “Excuse me, but you please help me understand something?”

Sandy:  “What would you like to understand?”

JC:  “How a ban on owning an assault weapon affecst rights under the 2nd Amendment?  I’m missing the link.”

Sandy:  “Because the ban was the first step toward a total ban on owning any weapons…and another major step toward a socialist state.”

JC:  “Sandy, let’s be serious, please.  No more NRA hype.  Remember there’s been a Revenge Revolution and the US political landscape is different now.”

Sandy:  “But you don’t understand.”

ComplicatedJC:  “You’re right.  I don’t understand.  The assault ban still allowed ownership of all kinds of hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols.  I’m not a hunter but why would you need an assault rifle to kill a deer?  Where’s the sport in that?  Maybe we should arm the deer.  That would make it more fun.”

Jordan:  “She’s right…well, maybe not about giving guns to the deer.  From your perspective, what was the real issue?  No civilian needs an AR-15.”

Sandy:  “Need assault rifles for protection.  That was the issue.”

Jordan:  “Protection from what?  You and I both know there’s no ad hoc civilian group, no matter how well armed, that has any chance against the military.  So really, what’s the heartache over the ban?”

School

Sandy:  “Well, you didn’t support protecting schools by arming teachers either.  Don’t you like kids?”

JC:  “Oh, Sandy, Sandy, please.  You don’t need to pretend to be a talking head on Fox or a politician who changes the subject and tries to blame someone else when he can’t answer the question.  What was the real issue?”

Jordan:  “Let’s take your comment about wanting to arm teachers…and even putting barricades around schools.”

Sandy:  “Good.  Now you’re talking some sense.”

Jordan:  “Tell me, what would either arming teachers or fortifying schools prevent?”

Sandy:  “Mass killings at schools.  Protecting our kids.  Why don’t you like kids?”

JC:  “He likes kids.  I need to understand what’s going to stop a shooter from hiding across the street from the school?  Or even sitting in the car and then shooting a bunch of kids when school lets out?”

Jordan:  “The shooter could also just fire a few rounds, blow out a window and then have a whole classroom of targets.”

JC:  “Jordan, that’s gross.”

Jordan:  “Gross, yes, but anyone with some infantry training in the military…and Sandy has more experience than I have…knows how to take out a bunch of people quickly, especially with an assault rifle.”

Sandy:  “Are you saying there’s no way to protect these school kids?”

Jordan:  “What I’m saying is a mass killing is much easier with an assault weapon.  And that’s the reason I opposed any ownership of assault weapons outside the military.”

Sandy:  “The ban won’t stop killing.”

JC:  “Oh boys.  Sandy, I think everyone agrees that the ban is not a silver bullet, as it were.  Some mass killings will continue to happen as long as there are so many guns around.”

Seat beltsSandy:  “So why have a ban on owning assault weapons?”

JC:  “To help reduce the number of killings.  Here’s a comparison.  Mandating seat belts and air bags in cars and trucks didn’t eliminate some people dying in wrecks.  But as a result of the mandate, there have been far fewer deaths.  Got it?”