Category Archives: Politics

Just Do It!

Published by:

This piece was originally posted on February 19, 2014 – by Gregory Franklyn but bears repeating.

Why is it that we cannot seen to grasp that neither raising taxes, nor cutting spending is necessary to attack the deficit. More people paying taxes would have the same effect without raising taxes OR cutting spending. But we continue to follow big businesses who are arranging the law to allow the off-shoring of the very jobs that would provide the required tax revenue to reduce it.

Cut benefits to the people who need it most and give those benefits to the people who need it least, punishes people who are not exceptional in their ability to sell things. It creates an elite that honors only one thing. If you’re not a member of that club, you’re not welcome in this country. But do they consider that without those people who are not exceptional at selling things, there is no client base. There is no one to BUY the things they are selling.

Marianne Williamson did a talk on money about 25 years ago that has stayed with me ever since. She compared the economy to a being with a circulatory system. Her theory made me WANT to pay my bills. She said that NOT paying those bills, stops the circulation. Economies NEED circulation to thrive. My little section of the economy gets shut down when I fail to pay those bills.

There are benefits to circulation too. I have what, I guess, would be called “Loyalty Cards” for a number of stores that I shop in regularly. The coffee shop, for example. I get a free cup of coffee for every 8 that I buy. At the grocery store I get a discount when I reach a certain level of purchases. I can get those benefits because my money is circulating. These businesses know what Marianne Williamson was taking about. The health of our economy comes from it’s circulatory system.

On Wall Street money circulates, sure, but it is also being stockpiled. The money mantra is “He with the most money at the end, Wins!” Every one of those dollars that are not circulating, are cutting off the circulation to some part of our economy, weakening it in important ways. That circumvention of the optimum circulatory patterns, over 30 or so years, has brought us to the brink of collapse. Right now there is TOO much of our overall economy that is NOT in circulation causing parts of the whole to become diseased. The result is that more and more people in the economy are not participating because the circulatory system has been disrupted by stockpiling of money in fewer and fewer places.

Food Stamps/EBT cards are a good example of what CAN be done right now to increase circulation in the places in the economy where circulation has been all but cut off. EBT Cards stimulate the economy because those dollars are never stockpiled. They are spent immediately, right now, out of a sense of necessity. Every EBT Dollar spent in today’s economy stimulates over $1.50 in economic activity. If more people have more money to circulate, the entire economy benefits, including the wealthiest. They now have more customers with money to spend.

Extending Unemployment benefits is another thing we can do right now. People who collect unemployment benefits are not lazy. They have unemployment insurance BECAUSE they worked, until their jobs ware TAKEN away. We do not pay unemployment benefits to people who didn’t hold a job. Calling people on unemployment lazy, simply isn’t true. It’s mean spirited name calling.

If all of the jobs that have been off-shored to cheaper labor markets in the last 30 years had stayed in the US, we wouldn’t have a deficit problem. We probably wouldn’t be 37th in Health Care and 17th in education, either. Our thirst for extreme wealth for the 1% has led us down the path to solid mediocrity. We, in the US, are exceptional only in our ability to militarily dominate and our ability to see ourselves as exceptional when we clearly are not.

Now, Don’t get me wrong here. I do understand what’s at the core of Conservative Republicans’ argument against Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and even Obamacare. They see it as socialism and, as such, Anti-American. They fear that the more Socialism there is, the less freedom and independence their fellow Countrymen will have, and that strikes at the very soul of what America is supposed to be about,,, to them.

But, like anything of value, when taken to the extreme, becomes destructive. Take smoking for example. If you trace the history of tobacco you learn that Native Americans used tobacco as medicine. Tobacco? Medicine you say? Whatever for? Believe it or not, Tobacco, when used sparingly is excellent tonic for respiratory conditions. Yes, it helps you breathe better if you’re sick, and is NOT the least bit destructive when used as medicine. In fact it HELPS in maintain good health.

Freedom is another example. Follow freedom out to it ‘s logical end and what do you have? Anarchy! In order for freedom and independence to be a good thing, it must be balanced with the reality that there are things that individuals cannot do on their own, and that there are things that we have to share because there are more than one of us.  That, dear reader, is socialism. It’s joining together to do things that we cannot do on our own.

Medicine is an example. Back in the day, when a chicken had real value to a Doctor who could use it for eggs or a chicken dinner, it was reasonable for a sick person to offer it as payment for services rendered and Doctors considered it a fair deal. Medicine is a whole other beast now. That won’t work because it’s no longer a fair deal. The cost of medical care has so dramatically outpaced people’s ability to pay for it, that it’s no longer something that most people can afford to do on their own.

So, anyway, we’ve been in this economic situation before. We fixed it last time! Last summer I drove up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon to get out of the house and maybe have a cup of coffee. It’s a beautiful drive, up to a beautiful place, that now sustains itself on it’s own, and if you get the chance to see it, you should take it. My point about Timberline Lodge, though, is that it is a perfect example of HOW we fixed this problem last time we had it.

We fixed it by building things,,, BIG things like Timberline Lodge, like the Hoover Dam, like the Interstate Highway System, all of which are PUBLIC Works projects. Things we did together to stimulate economic growth, and it worked! After a while, it wasn’t necessary for the government to fund public works projects of that size and magnitude because the economic “Pump”, our fiscal Circulatory System, had been primed by these projects and was now flowing properly on its own. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Once you prime the pump, a certain amount of inertia keeps it flowing on it’s own.

We put unemployed people to work and paid them a living wage, so they had money to buy things. As a direct result, other people began forming companies, that hired more workers, to make things for these new wage earners to buy. It ‘s not rocket science. EVERYONE benefits when more people have more money. Beings thrive when circulation is flowing properly. When it’s pooled up in one location, other parts of the whole become wither and too often die.

What that did for us benefited every segment of society in America. Our economy grew, rich people got richer, poor people got subsistence, and there was an explosion in the amount of people in between the two. The tax base grew to its biggest point and we were not in a constant state of complaining about not having enough money to fund programs that really needed it. Like support for medical care which we could no longer afford on our own.

Right now, our infrastructure is crumbling. Bridges and roads are in critical need of repair. Sewer and water systems are crumbling. Our power grid, after all this time, is still not able to withstand a significant wind or snow storm, which happens EVERY year! We have lots of work that needs to be done and lots of people out there looking for work. What is it that is so difficult about this equation?

We already know it works because we proved it ourselves by actually doing it! Our current situation is a perfect example of what good a government can do for its people. All we lack at this point, is the political will to JUST DO IT!

 

Much Love,

Gregory

 

What we Don’t Know

Published by:

February 24, 2017 – by Gregory Franklyn

“Toby, the sheer VOLUME of what I know that you don’t, could stop a team of Oxen” – VP John Hoynes in The West Wing

I’m still in denial! If you’ve been haunting these pages you’ve heard me talk about how nervous the whole concept of computerized voting makes me. The fact that nearly all of the companies that produce them are owned by Republicans. The Fact that I can print something from my cell phone, over WiFi or Bluetooth, to my printer, yet a computer voting machine can’t print the information I just put into it, even through a wire. Not to mention the Kloppenburg case in Wisconsin where the Democrat had won a Judgeship until a Republican elections official “Found” 14,000 votes, most of which were Republican, that handed the election to the Republican (and that’s just the one we know about). It all gives me pause. The fact is that there actually IS some room for doubt.

I cannot bring myself to believe that this election was real. I simply do not accept that 45 is legitimately The President of The United States. I admit it. I’m in denial. But there’s something else to consider, here. There clearly WAS some outside interference in this election aside from my nervousness. Even 45 was shocked by the outcome. And, the outside interference WAS slanted in favor of 45’s Campaign. That much we know.

The Russians HAD hacked the DNC AND the RNC, but only released information that would be detrimental to the Democratic Candidate, who, incidentally, won the popular vote by a margin equal to the population of Chicago. Let’s keep in mind that most voting in the United States is done by computer and that the Russians are known to have hacked the computers of the RNC and the DNC to help 45 and we don’t know the extent or reach of the hacking that took place. We don’t know!

What we are learning now, is that there were open lines of communication between the Russian version of the CIA and the 45 Campaign during the Campaign and we don’t know what the nature of that communication might have been. But we DO know that 45 publicly encouraged the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email. We also know that 45 is inordinately friendly towards Vladimir Putin. We know that there are a Russian Spy Ship and a few Russian Fighter Jets just out of reach off the east coast of the United States and that 45 doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

We know that the White House is doing everything they can to stop investigations into the nature of the communications between the Russians and 45’s Campaign. Going so far as to encourage FBI, CIA Officials, as well as Senate and House representatives, this week, to go on record stating that there’s no story there. “Nothing to see here, folks.”

We DON’T know what financial ties 45 might have with Russia because he steadfastly refuses to release his tax returns. 45 claims to be under the impression that he can’t release them because they are currently under audit. However there is no evidence to suggest that they ARE under audit, number one. And, number two; there is no reason, from a legal perspective, that would prevent him from releasing them whether they were under audit or not.

We also know that 45 has chosen Senator Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department and that Sessions is quite chummy with 45. Interestingly enough, Jeff Sessions will also be the person in charge of deciding whether or not to indict people when the nature of those communications become known, IF there should be a problem with the content of those communications.

We know that cabinet positions are being filled with unqualified people who have expressed disdain for the missions of the departments they will head. We know that Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon told us at CPAC this year that these people were chosen to “Deconstruct” the Departments they head. So, their qualifications to head those departments are irrelevant anyway because they were chosen for their eagerness to “Deconstruct” them.

It appears that the 45 Regime is attempting to shake the foundations of Government. To CHANGE the form and shape of the Government of the United States. But what, can we surmise, might be the goal of changing the shape and form of the Government? Forming, and shaping it into what?

Well, let’s have a look at that. Who is 45 and what is he about? He’s a businessman. Arguably a somewhat successful one, but we don’t actually know. We do know that he inherited a bunch of money and has taken part in a huge amount of land development, which, despite several failures, appears to still be there. Of course we don’t actually KNOW this because we don’t know his actual worth because he won’t tell us. So we CAN surmise that he is secretive in his dealings.

We know that he regularly contracted companies to perform work for his developments and then refused to pay them. So he has been known to cheat people to get ahead. We don’t have to wear out Google to find instances where 45 has told you something that is not true. In fact, people whose job it is to check such things report that 45 tells you 3 things that are NOT true for every one thing he says that actually IS true. 75% of the things that 45 says are simply not true, and they are VERIFIABLY not true. So we can say that 45 is a prevaricator of “Alternative Facts”. More commonly known as a liar!

Now, in a business setting, the boss is always right. That’s the environment that 45 comes from. You do what the boss says or you get fired. Sometimes you get fired even if you DO do as the Boss Says. The boss is in charge, full stop.

It’s not like that in a Representative Democratic Republic like the United States. Here you have balancing authorities. In this case, the Supreme Court and the Congress. In this form of Government, the Boss ISN’T always right, and you DON’T always have to do what the boss says.

UNLESS,,,,

You change the form and shape of the Government so that the Boss is always right and you have to do what the Boss says or get the !@#$ out. I believe that’s what we’re seeing happen here. The 45 Regime is attempting to change the form and shape of the Government.

Now, back to the election. I CAN accept that maybe a third of the voting population of the United States might want a “Boss” to run the Government. THIS specific Boss? Um, I’m an American and I know quite a few other Americans and I know that some of us are just plain Bat!@#$ CRAZY, some of us are acutely  uneducated, but so many more of us are loving souls, so many more of us are intelligent, educated, some of us are highly sophisticated, but MOST of us, across that spectrum, realize that we are privileged and we embody a strong desire, that is pretty deeply rooted in our collective psyche, to be good people and to be of some help.

I, obviously, am having a great deal of trouble reconciling that with a nation wanting to be represented by a secretive, lying, cheating, foul mouthed businessman. It just doesn’t make any sense! It didn’t even make any sense to 45 on election night. You saw him, he couldn’t believe it either. I think we didn’t believe it because it’s truly Unbelievable. I’m not talking about the kind of “Unbelievable” like the unbelievable prices during the annual “Toyotathon” or the “Sign & Drive” event. I’m talking about the kind of Unbelievable, like it didn’t really happen. I believe that as time progresses, we are going to find out that we’ve been played, hoodwinked, bamboozled. We’re going to learn the truth about what happened to us in 2016.

Maybe I’m NOT in denial after all, and those of you who know me personally will be able to recognize that I have very few joys in life that I find more delicious than being able to say, “I told you so”.

Much Love,

Gregory

We are Trump

Published by:

January 16, 2017 – by Gregory Franklyn

You will very rarely hear me use the term “America” when referring to The United States of America. There’s a reason for that. In reality, (not the type of reality that President Elect Donald Trump comes to us from, but the quantifiable reality that exists before it’s stars get fed a bunch of alcohol and are pitted against one another, and before the resulting entertainment gets turned over video editors) in reality, the US is not America, it’s a PART of the American continent . America refers to a continent located in the western hemisphere which includes South America, Mexico, The US and Canada.

But isn’t it just like us to claim the whole thing and refer to ourselves as if we’re the only country represented by the term? In sort of a nationalistic egocentric braggadocio? And, isn’t that just the kind of thing that Donald Trump would try to sell you? I mean, right now, Trump is taking credit for companies that are NOT moving certain parts of their manufacturing operations to foreign countries, as if he had something to do with it; as if they were actually going to move the operations to begin with.

“Make America Great Again”, he says. Kick all the Mexicans out of America! Um, Mexico is located on America! How are we supposed to transport an entire country to another continent?

But it goes far beyond just claiming that we are “America”. How about our claim of being #1. I guess we COULD say that if the measure of the #1 country in the world is by military size and weight alone. But what about education, we’re not #1. Health care? We’re #37! Infant Mortality, Nope! Happiness? Nope. Wages? #13. Economy? China and probably a few others. I admit that there WAS a time when we were #1, but aside from Military Strength, that’s no longer true.

I’m not trying to denigrate my own country, but we DO have some things to work out, and they are pretty deeply rooted in our cultural inability to accept reality. Just like Donald Trump. Here’s an example of what I mean. “American Cheese”. It’s a little thing that points to a much larger issue, but American Cheese is not cheese and it’s not American. It’s a product developed in The US and it’s,, it’s,,, OK, I don’t know WHAT it is, but it’s NOT cheese. You will notice that on your little pack of American “Cheese” slices, you will not find the word “Cheese”.

There’s a reason for that. It ISN’T cheese. It does not contain enough dairy products to legally be referred to as cheese. There are dairy derivatives in it, but the term used on the package is something like “Processed Cheese Food Product” or something. You will, however, find a glass of milk, and a round of cheese with a wedge cut out of it to give the IMPRESSION that what you’re buying is a dairy product. It’s even displayed next to actual cheese in your grocery store. It’s deceptive, and it’s just like something Donald Trump would try to sell you. While I’m thinking about it, Trump is kind of cheesy and kind of has the color and consistency of Kraft Singles,,, OMG, I’ve just made an argument for Donald Trump being “Processed Cheese Food Product”!

How about “The Patriot Act” I wrote about that in 2011. Here’s what I said:

“‘The Patriot Act’ is another good example of what I mean. This particular package of laws circumvents huge swaths of the civil rights granted to citizens of the US by The US Constitution. It is to say that denying and/or violating Constitutional rights is, in some way,  “Patriotic”. Of course that’s absurd, but it IS very American to refer to it like that. That’s how we roll! I think we should be legally compelled to stop referring to the act as “The Patriot Act” because it does not contain at least 36% acts of patriotism.” – Gregory Franklyn

We call ourselves “The Land of the Free” while we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country in the world. We maintain a prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba where we have incarcerated over 100 people for over a decade without so much as charging them with a crime, let alone due process of law. We say our police forces “Serve and Protect” while stopping citizens from exercising their right to protest and assemble, and brutalizing, and sometimes even killing, unarmed citizens for such heinous crimes as driving, walking or standing while black, and showing up to peaceful protests dressed and equipped for war. In all fairness, I guess, TECHNICALLY, it’s not an out-n-out LIE. They didn’t exactly specify WHOM they are sworn to serve and protect.

My point this morning is that we, the citizens of The United States of America are living in a state of delusion about ourselves, just like Donald Trump is. It is often said that “We have the government we deserve” and due to the similarities between what we say we are, who we’ve elected and HOW we’ve elected him, when you think about it, he’s perfect for the job. We have become, after all, Donald Trump, and we are in denial about it. Just like him! Yes, we have some issues to work. Not the least of which is that denial is not a river in Egypt at all. It’s the state of our current affairs.

Much Love,

Gregory

Post Truth

Published by:

Post Truth

12/18/16 – By Gregory Franklyn

On November 9th we, here in the US, woke up to a new world whether we realized it or not. This new world is dramatically different than the world we lived in just two days before. In this new world, many things we have known to be true, are no longer so. Truth, for example. Truth is not that same thing it was last week. This week it is being described as “Post Truth” meaning, I guess, “Beyond Truth” or “After Truth”, and I admit some confusion about it. However, Donald Trump is a practitioner of “Post Truth” according to political analysts and pundits on TV.

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump says things that do NOT dovetail with reality as we know it, on a 3 to 1 basis. He has actually been clocked by, among others, Politifact.com. Whose job it is to fact-check what politicians and prominent people say. He clocks in at around 3 things that are NOT true to every 1 thing he says that IS. So, Roughly 75% of what Donald Trump says is based in some other reality.

This reminds me of the Bush/Cheney Regime. One of the principles guiding that Regime was that you can create your own reality by occurring in the world as if your viewpoint was accepted fact, regardless of whether it matches anyone else’s reality or not. In a sense, you can materialize your own reality into manifestation by force of will, or your use of language.

But this Conservative Republican ideal is nothing new. It goes back as far as Richard Nixon, that I know of. You’ll remember that Nixon resigned from the Presidency in shame for having broken a substantial handful of laws, including illegal wiretapping, bribery and burglary. As time passed, he was approached by British Journalist David Frost to do a series of interviews and he agreed to do it. President Nixon, in one of those interviews, absolutely blew the world’s mind when he admitted that he believed that, “If the President does it, it’s NOT illegal!” This was Nixon’s “Post Truth” in that he was willing into existence the concept that the Presidency IS the Law, rather than subject to it. You’ll be seeing more of this as the Trump Administration slowly materializes.

There are a couple of things that are going on here. 1st is the war going on between sophistication and Down Home Folksiness. Intelligence is seen as threatening/untrustworthy to people who feel like they don’t have it. The election pointed this out pretty clearly in 2016. When looking at voting precincts, those in urban areas went for Hillary and precincts in rural areas went for Trump. It has been like that in the last several elections. People in urban areas have more access to the types of things that would enhance intelligence and sophistication like higher education institutions, arts galleries, music venues, Libraries, museums, live theater, opera, orchestras and ballet. Some rural areas also have some of these amenities, but not all of them and not to the extent found in more urban settings.

Donald Trump is in the anti-intelligence demographic. He has publicly professed his love for the Uneducated. Here’s a quote from a speech in Nevada during the election:

“We won the evangelicals,” Trump said. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”

That was a dog whistle to people who disdain education, who mistrust it. People who believe that sophistication is just people thinking they’re better than everyone else. That’s a complaint I get a lot in my life because I speak English as if I had paid attention in class. I was under the impression that I was SUPPOSED to pay attention in class, and now I guess I’m on an ego trip because I did? I know there are a lot of people in the US who are not white who will recognize that statement and it’s a tragedy.

Rather than support people who are educated, many want to bring them down to a less educated level for a variety of reasons. Some of it is ego. Isaac Asimov once said:

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

It isn’t, of course, but that should not be the measure of the value of a person. It is, however, a measure of a person’s worth when it is used as a weapon, rather than an inspiration. This very common idea is part of the cornucopia of reasons we are facing 4-8 years of Donald Trump. He is seem as a “Regular Guy” despite being a member of a special class of Americans who exist in a world to which precious few ever get admitted. His “Regular Guy” image is based on his use of language and it is an illusion.

This is all part of a conglomerated monolith of “Post Truth”. One of the most powerful individuals pushing “Post Truth” is a Conservative Operative named Frank Luntz. Luntz is a linguist that conults for the Republican Party. He helps them change the language used in politics to create a new reality based on a vision of the United States favored by republicans.

For example, when you hear ANY Republican talk about business, they always use the same word preceding it, and I mean ALWAYS! They use “Small Business” as if it were one word. That creates the illusion that they are talking about Bob & Alice’s Tavern, or the Maple Leaf Cafe. Those are small businesses. They are actually talking about “Big Business”, the multinational corporations that run the world right now. And, their use of it is SO consistent that even MSNBC and CNN routinely use it now.

Another good example is what is ecologically happening to the planet right now, and this is an especially slick one. The Scientific Community refers to is as Global Warming. Republicans only use that term when they are denying it’s existence. “Just look outside we are experiencing the coldest winter temperatures ever recorded this year. Where is this “Global Warming” you speak of?” But when they are talking about it as something that DOES exist you will hear them use the term “Climate Change”, which sounds a lot less like what is actually happening than the more accurate term used by scientists. This is all “Post Truth” and we, in the US, are DEEP in it. If you hear enough people say it enough times, you can make people believe it’s true, even though it is clearly NOT. Most of these language changes can be traced back to Frank Luntz.

Aaron Sorkin, in his TV series “The NewsRoom” had a couple of his characters arguing about what’s true in TV journalism. Will McAvoy, the anchor of the News Program the show is about, said:

“People get to choose their own facts, now!”

That’s the territory of “Post Truth” where we are, now.

Conservatives aren’t the only ones who do it though. Liberals and progressives no longer use the term, “Illegal Aliens” to describe people who enter the country illegally. The new term is “Undocumented Workers”. See what just happened. The question of legality, just vanished. Entry into the US without proper documentation is no longer a matter of what is LEGAL. Poof, It’s gone. Now we’re having a different discussion. The end result of these changes in our use of language is that we are creating New lies to cover up the truth as we had previously come to know it.

This is has all been growing slowly into our use of language for a long time. Since about the time of the Nixon Administration where we began to let politicians change the language we use to describe issues we face, based on their own political world view. In its earlier incarnation, we called it “California Speak”. Now, we are living in a New Reality where we have moved beyond truth into something else. WHAT that “Something Else” will be, will eventually be decided by whomever wins the fight to inject into our common use of language, the terms that we use to describe it. Like “Post Truth” for example.

I leave you with this little sound byte most commonly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln:

“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Much Love,

Gregory

Moral Character

Published by:

October 2011 – By Gregory Franklyn

The first Presidential Race I can remember was JFK v Richard Nixon. I was no more than knee-high to a grasshopper at the time and my primary motivation for campaigning for JFK was that he was much better looking than Nixon. Looking back, I was absolutely right about my choice albeit for the wrong reasons. I’ve carefully observed every Presidential Election since.

But, this primary season was the thrill ride of a political lifetime. Almost every Tuesday I was glued to the TV, channel flipping between MSNBC and CNN, and my fingernails are shorter than they have EVER been. What is striking to me as I look back at the whole process is how Democrats are, philosophically, more unified than I’ve ever known us to be.

One by one our candidates pushed for their particular flavor of universal health care, an end to the war in Iraq, an economic policy that could rescue American families from slavery 2.0, filing “No Child Left Behind” where it belonged in the first place, addressing Global Warming in a meaningful way and repairing what’s left of the tattered image of the US on the world stage.

You have to admit, being that unified in purpose is pretty rare for the Democratic Party. So my big question as the dust settles on the first phase of this election is, Why are we so divided? I’d like to have a go at that question and my answer is simple. Hillary Clinton.

The choices we had as Democrats this primary season wasn’t about policy at all. Barrack and Hillary are on the same page on almost EVERYTHING! This primary was about personality and character and the differences there are absolutely polar. Our choice was between hope and faith on one hand and pragmatism on the other! The fact that the contest came down to the very last voter is somewhat disturbing to me.

I blame Hillary for division in the party because she is a lightening rod for drawing fire. I don’t see it as having anything to do with her gender either. This woman is smart! Way smarter than me. By comparison, her cocktail napkin is a LITTLE smarter than me, but she’s a “take-no-prisoners” kind of leader.

I believe we don’t have universal health care right now because Hillary is a “Fighter” and fighters either win or lose, that’s what a fight is! But fighting doesn’t solve problems. I would hope that a man or woman as smart as Hillary would be able to see that. Barrack was able to see that a LONG time ago and he has built a movement that recognizes that dismissing opposition out of hand is what brought us here.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has changed America for the better. She’s right about the fact that women have waited too long for a real chance at the White House. So have African Americans! I sincerely hope that this uniquely American experience has settled the question of race and gender in leadership once and for all.

I believe that we made the right choice out of the options we were given because what the US needs most at this point in history is faith in our character as a nation. We need that even more than universal health care, more than education reform, more than,,,go down the list. All of that will naturally follow once we heal our minds, hearts and souls from the sickness of greed that has drawn us off course.

We once had pride in our moral judgment because our judgment was deeply rooted in strong moral values. We have lost that over the last four decades of leadership because our leadership has abandoned the moral compass that brought this unlikely experiment in Democracy from a fledgling handful of disgruntled English countrymen, to the greatest power on the planet in a little over 200 years.

Barrack and Michele Obama have shown us the character needed to lead this nation back to itself. They are leading us to a place where we respect that we are not perfect, we are not always right, and we are a much better people than we appear to ourselves AND the rest of the world. We are risk-taking pioneers who dream of a better world and set out to create it with our courage and our strength. We are a morally strong and resilient people who have, only momentarily, lost our way and this IS our moment in history to break out that map and get back on course. There are those who will say that we have gone to far to turn back now. To them, Barrack, Michele, Hillary and I say “Yes, We Can!”

Much Love,

Gregory

Language Matters

Published by:

July 7, 2015 – by Gregory Franklyn

Republican pollster Frank Luntz entertains a largely conservative Mississippi business crowd in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008, with politically incorrect jokes about John McCain's age and speaking style. However, he told the largely McCain-friendly audience that he does not see at this point any way GOP presidential candidate could win, noting McCain has failed to connect with young voters and that, "Stevie Wonder reads a teleprompter better than John McCain." (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Republican pollster Frank Luntz

In 2010 the Republican Party was able to do a pretty convincing sweep of local governments across the country, in addition to taking over the House of Representatives. They were able to do that through a maze of deceptive changes to the language we use in debating issues facing us in our civic lives. A perfect example of what I mean is the new term the Republican Party has been able to interject into our daily language. When you say words like, “Rich People”, “The Elite”, “The 1%” or “The Wealthy” you are using words that accurately describe to whom you are referring. Because our economy is in the midst of a serious problem, accurate words are carrying a negative connotation.

So, if you, like the Republican Party, have an agenda that is unpopular, you have to figure out new words to use to soften or distract attention from that unpopularity. In our national discourse, we’ve taken the bait!

You will never hear a Republican say the words Rich or Wealthy. They will universally use “Job Creators” in its place. Job Creators refers to Rich People! It’s not an accurate descriptor either. Rich People do not create jobs. Consumers do. Rich people only hire people when they absolutely HAVE to, and then, only at the lowest rate possible. Wages and benefits, for most companies big or small, are their biggest expense. The interests of corporations is to do the most possible with the fewest amount of people that have to be paid wages and benefits. Corporations resist hiring more people whenever possible. They, rather, train what employees they already have, to work harder and smarter so that they don’t have to pay additional people. The only time a company or corporation hires new employees is when the demand for their products or services outpaces their ability to provide them. Thus, the only way to create jobs is to create enough demand so as to require companies to hire more people. No consumers = No Jobs!

A weak middle class is an economic downward spiral. If there isn’t enough money flowing through the economy, demand is reduced and companies lay-off employees. Which, in turn reduces even further the amount of money that is flowing through the economy, which leads to further cutbacks and so on. Add to that, the money flowing through Wall Street that doesn’t produce a product or service. Like Derivatives, for example. That money is being horded, so it’s not flowing through the economy. I don’t think that Republicans and Rich People understand how large economies work.

When big corporations pay CEOs and Industry leaders huge fortunes whether they succeed or fail, that money has to come from consumers. The more money spent on CEOs, the less is available to hire workers. The less money workers have, the less they can spend. The less workers can spend, the less demand there is for the products and services provided.

Another thing Republicans do to manipulate your thoughts with language is to distract your attention from the people who are not paying their fair share of taxes (Big Businesses) and focus your attention on the guy who owns the hardware store or bar/restaurant over there on the corner. In my neighborhood, it’s Alice, who owns Bob and Alice’s about a half a block down the street from me. Bob is gone now and Alice, who is the most beautiful little sweetheart of a woman you’d ever want to meet, is selling the bar so she can retire. When it comes to taxes on business, Republicans will ALWAYS, without exception, use language to try and get you to think of your neighborhood’s “Bob and Alice’s” instead of the people you are actually talking about. You will never, ever, hear a Republican talk about business taxes without using the term “Small Business” as if the two words are actually one. Conversley, you will never hear them utter the word combination “Big Business”, which is what they are actually referring to. The idea behind that is to manipulate you into thinking about the Alice and not the Exxon-Mobiles, Bain Capitals, Halibutrons and Koch Industries whenever the subject of “Business” comes up.

The truth is that the small businesses Republicans want you to think about will not be effected by the White House’s Tax plan. The taxes proposed on businesses only refer to the PROFITS the company makes, not it’s gross. Even THEN, we’re only talking about the profits that EXCEED $250,000, not the Gross $250,000. You’d have to be at least a regional franchise or a high ticket retailer to profit enough to be impacted in any way. By an overwhelming margin, businesses that have only 1 location, like the ones Republicans want you to think about, would never be affected. They profit more in the range of $80,000 to $200,000, that would put them below the bar.

Republicans make no secret about advocating for less regulation on businesses. Without proper supervision, businesses tend to pollute the natural environment with toxic waste. It’s a byproduct of doing business for most. Global Warming is one of the results of not enough supervision so it’s an inconvenient truth that gets in the way of business.

Which brings us to another language trick Republicans are using; You will never hear a Republican say the words “Global Warming” because Global Warming accurately describes what is actually taking place. They have changed the term to “Climate Change” based on a belief that it sounds much less like what it actually is. So, they pay some “Experts”, who are available for purchase, to say it’s a hoax, to give it the veneer of even less credibility as a problem we need to address! Yet another language trick used by Republicans is “Job Killing” used as an adjective which is attached to anything they don’t fancy. Like for instance, anything suggested by the President or anything that might involve the Growth of Government.

Conservatives know that voters are generally concerned that so many of us are unemployed so they need some language to attach to anything that might involve you getting a job created by your tax dollars. So, they simply attach the “Job Killing” tag on to any such thing that might rise to the surface.

Republicans have a vested interest in the failure of Government in general. Which would explain their resistance to infrastructure repair. They know we need it. They know it will be more expensive the longer we kick the can down the road. But if they support it, the Government will have to do it. That will certainly stimulate growth in the economy and put more people back to work and that would be disastrous to their core principle that “Big Government is not the solution, It’s the problem.” It will also throw a wrench into the Republican viewpoint that Barack Obama is a failure as a President and that Government can do no good thing.

What puzzles me most about this is that Republicans, in their obsessive compulsion to destroy Barack Obama, tend to forget that the Government of the United States doesn’t have a “Department of Construction”. The money that will be used to repair and update our infrastructure is going to have to be given to private sector businesses that do construction work. Wouldn’t that HELP the very people they represent?

Republicans apply the “Job Killing” adjective to Obama Care too. That gets pretty deep and reaches pretty far into the territory of illusionary language. First of all, the actual name of the bill they are referring to is “The Affordable Care Act”! Republicans have successfully changed the words we use for it to “Obama Care” as a pejorative term; an insult! Even Democrats are using it now. It also serves to distract the attention from what the law actually does. It makes Health Care more affordable. By changing the name to “Obama Care”, not only do they denigrate what it is by using what they intended to be a condescending remark, it also removes the word “Affordable” from the discussion, which is the whole intent of the bill to begin with. This particular trick has been SO effective that most people familiar with term “Obama Care” do not recognize that the term refers to the Affordable Care Act. Which gives the late night comedy/talk show circuit some good material to illustrate how illiterate so many American voters are.

Secondly, the bill doesn’t kill jobs. The Government doesn’t have a “Department of Medical Insurance”! There will be something like 30 Million new customers for private sector insurance companies and HMOs. How are they going to be able to handle such an influx of customers without hiring more workers is beyond my understanding. How are Doctors, Nurses and Health Industry Administrators going to be able to handle all the new people who are now going to have access to preventive care alone. These are all private sector jobs!

Everyone, by now, has noticed that lower voter turnouts tend to favor Republican candidates more than Democratic ones. Republicans tend to vote more consistently even though there are fewer of them. Less than 30% of American Voters consider themselves Republicans. About 60% consider themselves Democratic or Independent and the rest are voters for other 3rd Parties like Pacific Green, Socialist and Constitution.

Newly elected Republican State Governments like Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and so on, have been passing laws since the 2010 Republican Sweep, to protect “The Sanctity of the Vote”! Despite scant little evidence that voter fraud accounts for an entire one, one hundredth of one percent of the votes cast anywhere in the country, they imagine that voter fraud is rampant and that voter fraud changes the outcomes of elections. I fear electronic voting machines a lot more than I fear your grand father rigging the vote. A computer that can’t print out the information you just put into it??? The effect, and intent, of these laws is to reduce the amount of people who vote in elections, which, as I mentioned, tends to favor Republican Candidates.

But these new laws themselves tend to surgically eliminate precise voting demographics, like college students, from being able to vote. By disallowing College Identification that they all have, in favor of types of identification that fewer of them have, they are able to keep them from voting. Like Driver Licenses and ID cards issued by the State where they attend college, for example. Which is not, ordinarily, the State where they live. Those types of ID cost money to students who are notoriously short on cash for a variety of legitimate reasons. It’s an intentional roadblock, a poll tax. College students tend to vote Democratic.

Another demographic category is race. People of a non-white race have less of a tendency to own property, drive a car, or have bills in their own names. Also, for a cornucopia of legitimate reasons. These voters are less likely to have the only types of ID that these new laws require. Thereby limiting their participation in elections based on a desire to protect a The Sanctity of a Vote that is not under attack. But, it does limit the amount of voters who tend to vote for Democrats. While I‘m on the subject, when did “The Democratic Party” become “The Democrat Party”?. (OK, I actually know this one. It was changed by the Republican Party as a dig against Democrats around 2000 when Bush was appointed President.) You will not find any Republican references to the Democratic Party after that election. They universally call us “The Democrat Party” now.

Where did all of these language changes come from? Well, I’m glad you asked because I happen to know this one too. His name is Frank Luntz and he’s a Republican operative and author who specializes in linguistics. His main business is language consulting with political campaigns and the marketing of products and services. To give you an idea of what this guy is thinking, here’s a few quotes:

A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth!” (I’m pretty sure you can tell that one of his clients is FOX Views)

How I say it, has as much of an impact on what people think, as what I say.”

I have seen how effective language, attached to policies that are mainstream and delivered by people who are passionate and effective, can change the course of history.” – Frank Luntz

With the able assistance of one Mr. Frank Luntz, the Republican Party has succeeded in changing the language of the national discourse to favor their own world view and we, you and I, have bought into the premise by using that language as they direct us to. Here’s another example of what I mean. Everybody knows that Republicans are fiscally responsible. We also know that Democrats tax and spend, right? According to quantifiable record, neither of those statements has been true since the Administration of Richard Nixon. But it DOES illustrate the well known communication technique that if you can get enough influential people with a microphone to say it enough times it will take on a truth of its own, completely divorced from reality.

Frank Luntz comes from the industry that brought you the Michelin Tire Commercial with the Baby sitting in the center of a tire with the tag line, “Because so much is riding on your tires” and the people who brought you “Choosy Mothers Choose Jiff”. I find both commercials offensive in that they insinuate that you don’t love your children unless you buy those specific products. Both manipulate what you already feel at a gut level to motivate you to take the specific actions that the advertisers direct you to take. And, now, Frank Luntz is selling you The Republican Party!

The way NOT to buy into the hype, is to practice care in the words you use. If you want what you are referring to to be accurate, use accurate terms regardless of whether others do or not. Push back against the tide of these language changes. Use the words you know to be true regardless of what Frank Luntz or the Republican Party tell you to do. Frank Luntz in not your boss, OR your English teacher!

Much Love,

Gregory

Getting Elemental

Published by:

June 15, 2012

When things get a little out of hand in my life, as I’m sure things do in yours, I have a tendency to “Get Elemental”, as I call it. Another way of putting it is in a concept a wise young friend of mine said to me in my youth. “When you shake a tree vigorously, some of the leaves will fall off. The ones that remain are the ones that really matter to the tree”. While watching the Republican Party absolutely and positively lose their frigging minds like they are right now, I have a tendency to want to get elemental about what a Republican is,,, or more like, what a Republican SHOULD be.

A definition, if you will, to try and figure out what has gone all cattywampus. (I’ll give you a moment to look that up.)

Republicans are conservative. Let’s examine that term for a moment. Dictionary.Com defines the word thus:

“Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc. or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change”. The World English Dictionary says: “Favoring the preservation of existing customs, values etc., and opposing innovation”.

I don’t find any of those things threatening. I think “Opposing Innovation” to be a bit sluggish if you have a vision of something better, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the viewpoint. That doesn’t mean that Republicans favor standing still for all eternity. It means that they favor change in slow incremental steps that preserve what we have, while gently and carefully reaching for what we imagine we could have. A sense of building on what exists as a foundation, to make the big picture more, or better. I find no fault with that reasoning.

But that’s not what Conservatism is today. Here’s a few quotes from a few famous Republicans from decades ago:

“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?” — President Ronald Reagan, June 1985

When I first read that quote it was in an article in Rolling Stone Magazine that was brought to my attention earlier this year by a co-worker who was surfing the net. I was truly shocked when I got to the part where the person quoted was identified. I thought it was a democrat or a progressive, like President Obama or Senator Bernie Sanders or something. A few years ago I read another quote that shocked me as well. Here’s what I read and I had the same reaction when learning who said it:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.“ — President Dwight Eisenhower, 1961

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. — President Abraham Lincoln

In all fairness, Lincoln, though a Republican, was considered a liberal. In his day, the attitudes of the two political Parties were reversed. Democrats were thought of as the stodgy business oriented folks and Republicans were the wild radical bleeding hearts on the political landscape of the United States.

My point here is to draw a comparison between the Conservatism of the first half of the last century and what a frightening and deranged thing Republican Ideology  have morphed into, today. The Republican Conservative mindset used to have some sort of integrity, some deep thought and introspection about what could make the United States a stronger, more powerful force in the world that carried with it a sense of moral character.

Contrast those quotes with what passes for Conservatism today:

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term President.”– Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture….I\’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist. — Radio and Television Spokes-model Glen Beck

“Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans; The House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.“ — Republican Political Operative Grover Norquist 2102

Of course, these aren’t the deepest thoughts or loftiest ideals that Conservative Republicans hold today and you and I both know it. But, they ARE indicative of what the Republican Party has been reduced to by money and radical fear of change. In the 2012 election, they have chosen as their champion, a compulsive liar with a demonstrated lack of moral compass. Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney has been accurately described as a “Well Oiled Weather Vane” by members of his own Party.

Republicans appear to have given up all hope of developing an attractive message or any sense of moral character that might attract voters to a vision of the future. They have instead become angry bullies bent on destroying anything that isn’t Republican, including the very country they claim to love.

2 years ago they created a fiscal crisis by refusing to allow the debt ceiling to be raised as it has traditionally been done, for as long as we can remember, in order to stimulate the economy into some meaningful form of recovery from the worst financial disaster in our lifetimes. As a direct result, for the first time in our history, the world’s faith in our ability to govern ourselves appropriately was called into question and our nation’s credit rating was damaged. That is not principled behavior. That’s juvenile schoolyard bullying!

I believe that Conservatism and what used to be the Republican Party is a much needed “Check and Balance” of the more esoteric excesses of liberalism. But, at present, that balance is dysfunctional as the Republican Party races radically and irresponsibly further and further to the right, causing the political landscape to change so rapidly and so dramatically that these quotes from Republicans as recently as 1985 (the Reagan Quote) now sound like the radical socialism they are accusing Democrats of.

We are in trouble in the United States as I write this and I am clear that blame and accountability can be assigned for it. It is only our fear that prevents us from recognizing that the Republican Party has most certainly lost their frigging minds and are terrorizing the citizenry of the United States and damaging our good name across the globe. Blame can also be assigned to the media for not calling a lie a lie, and for not exercising a sense of duty to the American People, to tell the truth, because of their fear of retribution from their employers; Conservative Republicans, nearly to a person. They have slowly and carefully orchestrated the infiltration of conservative political action into the Supreme Court of the United States to the point where over 100 years of Constitutional Law has recently been ignored in order to allow elections to be sold to the highest bidders; also Conservative Republicans nearly to a person!

Though to a lesser degree, the Democratic Party is not blameless either. Beholden to the same financial interests for their very electoral survival, they have, in a large part, abdicated their own integrity and responsibility to the American People to stand for the truth they know. This is not principled behavior either. It is cowardice.

The good people of the United States ARE better than this and we deserve better from our leaders. It is clearly up to us, you and I, to restore the principled behavior, that guides our own lives, back upward into the political landscape of our country because it will certainly not come trickling down from above!

Much Love,

Gregory

What’s Old is New Again

Published by:

May 23, 2012 – by Gregory Franklyn

I’m thinking about the assassination of President John Fitzjerald Kennedy tonight for a couple of reasons. One is probably due to recently watching Oliver Stone’s JFK in which Lead actor Kevin Costner, as Louisiana District Attorney Jim Garrison, tries to prove that the Kennedy Assassination was a conspiracy by the Mafia, the CIA, The FBI and some high ranking military officials. I was 11, well, closer to 12, when the Assassination took place. I was in Grade School in a one room rural school house near Memphis Michigan when we got the news.

I wasn’t old enough to understand the intricacies of a conspiracy but I was old enough to know who the President was and that he was generally well liked everywhere in my, admittedly small, world at the time. I remember seeing Walter Kronkite on TV announcing that the President was dead and seeing footage of what was happening in Dallas. The entire nation was glued to these primitive boxes for the next 4 days through the swearing in of Vice President Lyndon Johnson standing next to a weeping Jacqueline Kennedy, still wearing the blood stained dress from tragic assassination earlier that day, to the funeral procession with the finicky rider-less horse and John Jr., then about 3 or 4 years old, stepping forward saluting the passing casket.

I was also old enough to understand how no one seemed to believe the lone gunman and the magic bullet stories we were being told. Even on November 22, 1963 reporters were commenting on things that didn’t make sense. Things that seemed odd. Something was clearly going wrong and our thirst for information was being frustrated by what seemed like clashes between law enforcement agencies trying to take control of the investigation and messing up the crime scene to the degree that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who might have been responsible for the killing of President John F Kennedy. So much so that 50 years later, we are still asking questions because what we do know still doesn ‘t make sense.

A few days later we watched as Lee Harvey Oswald was led through the underground garage at the Dallas Police department and was suddenly shot dead right there on TV by Jack Ruby, a local strip club owner and a man well know to the police. It was then that we learned that Oswald had been interrogated for several hours there at the Dallas Police Department by competing agencies and not one of them emerged from these interrogations with so much as a single sentence written down about what was said. Reports of the interrogation were later filed, but at the time, the whole thing looked kind of fishy. There were even more questions about normal procedures not being followed and the resulting mess being confusing enough that nothing could ever be conclusively proven.

This was 1963 and the 60s were just getting started. The decade had LOTS more in store to think about for a young teenager like me. Not quite 2 years later Malcolm X was murdered in a theater in Manhattan while fulfilling a speaking engagement. Again, standard crime scene procedures were not followed, confusion reigned in the hours and minutes after the shooting and police allowed the crime scene to be compromised enough that nothing could ever be proven about who was responsible. Three men were eventually convicted of the murder, but all three, now out of prison, continue to maintain their innocence.

There was more to come in the radically turbulent 60s. Later that year, the Watts riots erupted in Los Angeles bringing long simmering tensions between police and African-Americans to a head ignited by a single traffic stop of a man suspected of driving while under the influence. The next year a similar riot erupted in Detroit, again a long simmering race-centered tension had existed for decades between police and African-Americans. This time, it was ignited by police raiding a nightclub in the inner-city.

Which brings us to 1968. The pace of violence was accelerating and the preceding decade’s frustrations were coming to a head. Dr Martin Luther King was killed on a hotel balcony in Memphis Tennessee while fulfilling speaking engagements in favor of a sanitation worker’s strike for safety and wage issues. For the third time in the decade, police allowed the crime scene to be compromised to the point that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who was responsible for the murder. In this instance, there were fewer irregularities than in the previous two assassinations. There were questions, but if there was a conspiracy, the conspirators were getting better at covering it up. Again, the story was a lone gunman, this time James Earl Ray, a fugitive.

Shortly thereafter, Robert Kennedy, brother of slain President John F Kennedy, was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while running for President. Once again, police allowed the crime scene to become so compromised that nothing could ever be conclusively proven about who was responsible for the shooting. And, once again the official story focused on a single lone gunman, in this case a young Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan. Several witnesses in the room where the shooting took place reported hearing a series of gunshots, one describing it as “A hail of gunfire”. Again, the sanity of anyone who disagreed with the lone gunman theory was called into question by authorities and the media.

A few months after that, Riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago erupted as Chicago Police began brutalizing thousands of protesters from all over the country who had gathered to voice their opposition to the war in Viet Nam. Senator Hubert Humphrey was nominated and favored Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war, which the nation had grown generally weary of.

Another reason why I ‘m thinking about these events tonight is because of the Occupy Movement we are witnessing today and the fact that we are still fighting about the same things we were frustrated about 50 years ago. War, both at home and abroad, and equality!

There are a number of things that these 4 men had in common. Not the least of which was opposition to war. Remember that it was not quite 2 years before all of this violence began that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his “Military Industrial Complex” speech as he was leaving office. I think these things are all closely tied together, one following the other in a manner that doesn’t feel organic to me. It is also why I continue to believe that a Coup de Etate of the United States took place during that decade. A prominent theme in the Oliver Stone movie that got me thinking about all this.

All 4 of these men where hugely influential, hugely powerful and had the attention of most of the nation. They were all simultaneously coming to the realization that humanity in general, and the people of the United States in particular, had more in common with one another than we had, things that divided us. They all espoused a kinder gentler nation that cared for it’s more vulnerable members and worked tirelessly for a more equal and balanced playing field that could provide opportunity for everyone, not just the wealthiest and most powerful among us. And, yes, I guess you might call it a little more socialist than the Darwinist ideals held by most Republicans.

They were all, also, deeply hated and feared by the Republican Party of their day because of it. Not so much for who they were, but more because of what they were beginning to accomplish in the hearts and minds of most Americans. It was a threat to the   Survival of the Fittest theology of rugged individualists, admired and imitated by Conservatives.

The parallels between these 4 heroes and President Barack Obama are striking to me tonight as I tie all these things together in my mind. I’ve always liked the President as a person despite my criticism of some of his inaction at critical moments. I trust him despite my frustration with him at times because it’s clear to me that he’s a smart guy with a good heart and a vision that I can appreciate. I appreciate him for the same reasons I appreciated John, Robert, Malcolm and Martin in my teens. Beneath that cool, calm, disciplined, intelligent and poised exterior, beats the heart of a hippy like me!

Republicans clearly HATE and FEAR this man. They hate and fear him even more than they love their own country and it’s because they see him working to awaken a spirit in us that they believed they had nearly extinguished altogether. The spirit of peace and fair-play that I have always believed is integral to what it means to Americans to be an American.

I’ll tell my little microcosmic story about that spirit again. In 1993 we, here in Portland, were threatened by a major flood. The downtown area was in real danger of flooding from the unusual rising of the Willamette River. The last time we were threatened by this perfect storm of precipitation and runoff from snow melting on the mountains around us was 60 years ago and it wiped out an entire town that has since been annexed into the north of Portland.

Then Mayor Vera Katz went on TV at about 8:00AM to ask for people to come downtown and help fill sandbags to guard against large scale flooding of the downtown area that was expected. About 5 hours later she was back on TV asking the good people of Portland to stay home because city workers were overwhelmed with well meaning volunteers who had responded to her call for help.

That, dear reader, is what Americans feel about what it means to be an American. We have been given a LOT as a nation and we have never been shy about the realization that much is expected of us. We have an inherited drive to be of help because we know that when we come together in a spirit of love and fair-play, we ALL benefit from it. It is a concept of governance that I don ‘t believe Republicans understand.

It feels like the 60s to me today as I watch Occupiers all over the world stand up for justice, for truth and for a common future that includes everyone and benefits everyone. My own spirit is lifted when I see these brave men and women occupying their cities and countries all over the world in the face of the brutality they face from the power structure that intends to maintain a Status Quo that favors and respects wealth and power over people. I am in hopes that that fire, that spirit, that drive, doesn’t get squashed again like it did when we took a good run at it last time. Go forward proudly my brothers and sisters. You are on the right side of history!

Much Love,

Gregory

If it Matters to Oregonians

Published by:

September 29, 2011 – by Gregory Franklyn

Am I the only one who is noticing how fossil fuel company advertising on TV has changed? In the past most advertising for fossil fuel producers focused on how their product is better for your car, or costs less, or has additives that the other guy’s fuel doesn’t. You still see such ads, but a lot fewer of them. Now what you’re seeing most is commercials trying to convince you that the product is safe for the environment and has so many wonderful benefits for the quality of your life as well as the economy. To hear them talk about it you’d think fossil fuels are the best possible energy option for the future.

EnergyTomorrow.org is one you see several times a day if you watch more than an hour of TV. The beautiful woman with the soothing voice is reminding you that if you have a 401K retirement account, you own interest in oil companies. She also presents modern technology for offshore drilling as both safe and environmentally sound. Plus, since they can now drill in several locations from a single off-shore platform, fossil fuel drilling is now even more appealing to the eye.

She welcomes you to visit the propaganda site paid for by fossil fuel producers for more information about how responsible producers have become over the years. Except, of course, the Gulf Oil Disaster last summer and the oil tanker spill in Sweden a few months ago, and the other one in San Francisco about the same time, to name a few. You won’t be reading about those at Energytomorrow.org.

Exxon-Mobile’s fracking commercials are another. Fraking, for those of you who may still be unfamiliar with the term, is not deviant sexual practice as much as it may sound like one, but a method of extracting natural gas from rock formations underground. The kind of procedure that has been known to cause the water coming out of nearby kitchen faucets to literally burst into flames!

The other type of advertizing you’re seeing a lot more of these days is financial services and insurance ads. Sam Waterston, Jack McCoy from Law & Order, is telling you how TD Ameritrade can help you retire like a king. That cute and snarky little talking baby makes investing with E*Trade seem like child’s play. And, of course, Fidelity’s flashing arrow on that magical green line directing you to your wildest dreams makes the idea of a secure future seem inevitable. All that advertising costs money,,, LOTS of it!

The reason why I mention this is because all of this affects what you see on the evening news, read in a newspaper or magazine and hear on your car radio.

WHAT? What on earth does any of those advertisements have to do with the content of the evening news?

I’m glad you asked. Years ago here in Portland, there was a scandal about the corporation that owns Fred Meyer stores. They’re a big deal here in Portland. Probably the biggest retailer in the region. In other parts of the country you would know these stores as Kroger Foods. Well, it turns out that Fred Meyer is the biggest advertiser in our local newspaper called “The Oregonian”. The Oregonian didn’t report on the scandal, but it broke anyway,,, In the Washington Post! The advertising slogan for The Oregonian was, and still is, “If it matters to Oregon, you’ll find it in The Oregonian”. I began seeing bumper-stickers on cars here in Portland that read, “If it matters to Oregon, You’ll find it in the Washington Post!” Cute joke, but it isn’t really very funny when you think about it.

The point is that advertisers are what drives the news. No advertisers = No News. If the news is an embarrassment or potential business hazard to advertisers, news gets altered or under reported. If it’s good for business, it gets high profile features or over reporting.

A good example is your morning news shows. They’re usually 1 and a half to 3 hours long and along with weather, top stories and traffic reports you will have at least one person whose entire job it is to broadcast live segments from local businesses trying to make the most mundane little boutique sound interesting.

These segments are what are called “loss leaders” and they are done to try and show businesses of all types how much their bottom line can benefit from advertizing on that particular TV Station. The exposure gets them noticed, gets them more business and likely inspires them to do more of it. The first one’s free! The bigger the advertiser, the less likely there will be anything on the news that may adversely affect whatever business they may be involved in.

TV stations live and operate in the same economic world that you do. Things are tight for them too! That’s why many of their staff are actually interns who work for that station for free for an entire year and what they get for it is experience and an item on their resume that they hope will one day turn into an actual paying job in television. It rarely does, but hope springs eternal. I did it for a radio station in Arizona right after I graduated from Broadcasting school. It didn’t take me a year to figure out what was going on, though. It took about a month.

Producing a half hour of television is a lot of work even at the local level. Staffing, even with interns is pretty thin. TV stations rely on pre-packaged video segments that companies and the government send them for free to help fill up all that time they have set aside to sell advertising for. They welcome those free segments with open arms because they take up air time, are usually somewhat interesting, and cost them nothing! You can identify those segments by noticing that there are none of the local reporters or personalities you know who appear in them. They may provide a voice over here and there at most, but that’s it.

The point is that local stations don’t have the time, staff, or money to produce enough segments on their own to fill 3 hours of airtime every morning. It gets even worse when they’re in a “Helicopter War” with a competing station. Helicopters are EXPENSIVE and that money has to come from somewhere. It comes from cutbacks to staff.

Why are you seeing so many advertisements about trading on the stock market, commodities and foreign currencies? The most powerful businesses on earth are investment banking concerns. The idea behind all those ads is to entice more an more people to make the bulk of their income from investing. Which, of course, benefits these firms more than any other businesses.

As manufacturing is more and more being shipped offshore where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are weak or non existent, it makes sense to migrate one’s income to something else. Like investing! Investment banking firms would like nothing more that to have the bulk of the US economy to be an investment economy, providing funding for foreign businesses to make things that will be purchased by the investment class.

The more people who become wealthy investors the lower wages for the remaining working people will become. In an investment economy, as opposed to a manufacturing one, the jobs that will remain in the US are the ones that cannot be migrated to other countries. Businesses like restaurants, lodging, farming, entertainment, grocery stores, retail shops and medicine. With the exception of medicine, all of the jobs in the remaining service industry are traditionally lower paying positions. Basically service jobs satisfying or supporting the needs of the wealthy investor class. Which is why I’m not impressed with statistics about job creation. It would take 3-4 minimum wage jobs to equal one good paying manufacturing job. More jobs don’t mean much to an economy if they do not pay wages that allow disposable income. Service industry jobs generally do not.

Which brings me back to Fossil Fuel Producers who spend BILLIONS of dollars every year  advertising on nearly every one of those 500 channels available to you on your cable system and producing those fill pieces for local stations all over the country. That is a significant chunk of that $4 for every gallon of gas you put in your car to get to work. It also reduces your exposure to news about such things as global warming and the destruction of rainforests in South America. And, because of the video segments they hand out for free, you’re likely to see a lot more stories questioning science principles regarding how bad these things really are. That’s the state of television journalism today. It’s about money and there really isn’t time or resources for anything else!

It also reduces your exposure to things like the occupation of Wall Street that has been going on in New York for nearly two weeks now? Did you know that that protest has sparked similar local protests in well over two dozen cities in America? How about the XL Pipeline protest at the White House a few weeks ago. Did you know there were over a thousand protesters in front of the White House decrying the destructive impact of a “Tar Sands Pipeline” running across the heartland of your country? How much coverage do you think these actions would get if the protesters were “Tea-Baggers” railing against taxing corporate America?

If I were to say, “Benton Harbor Michigan”, to you right now, what would that bring to mind? If I told you that over 17 states so far this year alone, have enacted voting regulations that would make it more difficult, and often impossible, for low income or marginalized populations, like minorities, to cast a vote in an election, would that surprise you?

If it matters to Oregon, I’ll find it on the War and Peace Report at Democracy Now, Indy-Media.org or maybe MSNBC or in The Nation Magazine. I won’t find it on the evening news and I certainly won’t find it on EnergyTomorrow.org or FOX Views!

 

Much Love,

Gregory

 

Sarah Who?

Published by:

8/31/2008 By Gregory Franklyn

The dust hasn’t even settled on a remarkable DNC mini-series in Denver when John McCain set off his media distraction bomb. I was at work when a client came rushing in to announce that John McCain had selected Freshman Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential Running mate. Sarah Who? McCain s bomb worked!

The mainstream media has spent precious little airtime working over what happened this week in Denver because every one of their reporters and commentators are frantically busy trying to figure out who Sarah Palin is and why John McCain might think she could be a good Vice President.

McCain told us, “Once you get to know her, you’re going to love her!” I’m at a loss for how he would know that, given the fact that he had only met her once before signing her up as the person that will be a 72 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States. I’ve already seen a video clip, recorded about a week ago, of this strikingly beautiful woman asking, “Exactly what does a Vice President do?”, and I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that quote was taken out of some specifically relevant context! Otherwise, I think I’m going to need a bit more than a Bourbon and Coke!

My theme today is going to be about prayer! Sarah Palin is a very conservative Republican Freshmen Governor from Alaska. What little credentials she has, politically, include being a sports reporter for a local station, a school board member, the mayor of a small town, and then a little bit shy of 2 years as Governor. Oh Yeah, she came in second in a pretty significant beauty pageant in Alaska!

It appears that Alaska is in love with this woman and she has a reputation as a reformer. She’s an evangelical Christian, a mother of 5, a dramatically anti-abortion crusader, a card-carrying member of the NRA, likes hunting and fishing, wants Christian Creationism taught in science class, and, it would appear, has shown little interest in foreign affairs.

One commentator on FOX News says she has plenty of International Political experience because she is Governor of Alaska, right there just a stone’s throw away from Russia! I m not kidding, he actually said that out loud! While trying to imagine what this striking lapse in judgment on John McCain s part is intended to accomplish, I can only guess that he wants Hillary Clinton’s disaffected voters to come to the Republican Ticket and to soothe the troubled waters of the radical Christian right.

If that’s the case, he’s going to need those prayer groups. I just don’t see died-in-the-wool Clinton feminists flocking to the Republican tent over this particular choice. However, the fundamental Christians will like her because she’s all about each and every one of their hot button issues that have relatively little impact on the problems discussed around the kitchen table every night.

Or, perhaps this is a feeble, last ditch “Hail Mary Play” to get the Christian Right vote and the woman vote in one fell swoop! The Republican Party is going to need those Fundamental Christians for more than a vote, come November, they’re going to need some serious prayer group action as well!

If, and I’m going on record as hoping this NEVER happens, John McCain were to win this election and the unthinkable should happen to him while in office, Sarah Palin would become the leader of the free world! Let that sink in for a minute.

Let Us Pray,

Gregory