Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Eric Greitens Resigns - 'It's over' is not the phrase I'd use (rant)

So... Eric Greitens resigned. Before I let loose a rant about how... displeased I am about this development, I trust that I don't need to say too much about how opposed I was to him in the race for governor of Missouri. But if that's not the case, you can get the gist of my opposition to his candidacy here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

But for myself and the many others who were trying so hard to make that argument during the campaign, our candidates lost that election, and for better or worse (or worser), the people of Missouri elected Eric Greitens as Governor. And as I've said before, elections have consequences... including having to deal with the results of such a serious question, taken far too lightly.

And so, with the election over, I prepared myself for what he might do in office, and I and so many others were unsurprised to hear how he was said to have made inappropriately belligerent comments to lawmakers in his office - after all, we'd listened to the details of his phone call with John Brunner during the primary campaign. How others didn't see how inappropriate he was to be governor, I don't know, but again, we lost, he won, and I was prepared for what might come.

But what I wasn't prepared for, was how lightly that election would be taken, by those elected officials who seemed to prefer having someone else in the governor's mansion, than who the people of Missouri had so recently put there themselves.

My State Representative, Kathie Conway, who I've met a few times, and like, together with five other elected officials, shocked me by coming out on the strength of what was at that time, nothing more than salacious charges being anonymously made by an unnamed ex-husband, on behalf of his unnamed ex-wife, who didn't even know that her secretly recorded 'charges' were being recorded, or that they were going to be made public, and yet within a few days of those nothings being made public, seemingly hitching a ride on the horrendous Roy Moore, #MeToo, fad, these lawmakers called for the Governor to resign.  Rep. Conway said:
“As a former criminal investigator for a prosecuting attorney, I have an idea of what could unfold in the coming weeks. There would be a long process that will be humiliating to everyone involved,” Conway said. “There would be no privacy that can be realistically offered when the governor of a state is under investigation. All the while, our state will continue to be embarrassed on the national stage.”
Publicly asking a governor to resign, over nothing more than utterly unsubstantiated charges. As I said at the time, "...Much as I dislike Eric Greitens... I will not ignore the fact that unsubstantiated accusations and rumors against him, like any other form of 'sources say', is not a valid basis for my desiring that the will of the entire electorate, be reversed..." And yet that was what was being pursued. Mind boggling. Why?

For many, the only answer needed was because, as many spasmodic haters of Greitens (think NeverTrumpr's and their cultish 'cult!' charges) daily trumpeted, he was baaad, and there were 'secret finances' involved, and 'dark money', and he's a weasel, etc. Well... if those were the reasons, why didn't they build a case for impeachment on sound evidence for those reasons first, before taking the first convenient excuse for trying to force him from office?

And say, for you 'Conservative!'s out there, who were once so opposed to the corrupt motives behind 'Campaign Finance Reform' (which is a legislative means of abusing our rights to political free speech), are you now for that? 'Oh heavens no, just enjoying some schadenfreude!'. IOW, even though something they think is wrong on principle, and is a corrupt and corrupting 'reform', it's totes fine to promote such charges against someone you really, really, really dislike, as long as it serves your other agenda.

Way to 'Principle!' you guys! Can't you just feel the respect and credibility building for you!!!

I don't know about you, but, having been given no good reasons to believe in what appear to be a series of convenient pretexts, a great many unworthy motives come quickly unbidden to the minds of people all across the state: Greitens was for "Right to Work", and Conway wasn't; Greitens was supposedly for some 'tax cuts', that many in the establishment were not; Greitens was for cutting out 'tax credits' that were very popular with many wealthy GOP supporters. And of course Greitens was supposedly opposed to 'Planned Parenthood', which many like to publicly oppose, but surreptitiously give passes to.

Is any of that true?

Who the hell knows?!

But what everyone can see is true, is that because our lawmakers didn't begin with solid charges to remove him from office, but instead sought to bums rush him out of town on the #MeToo bandwagon... and then when that failed to work they then began drumming up other charges, which months later facts were supposedly found to somewhat support, he's resigned, leaving absolutely not one single damn good reason for anyone to suspect that either my rep, or any of the others, sought his resignation for good grounds.

We might as well take a look at how that equation works out, because I guarandamntee you there are many in positions of power, or who want to be, that have been taken close notice of it:
"Unsubstantiated salacious charges + powerful unhappy politicians with axes to grind = demand for resignation.
*If this fails to produce immediate result, dig for more, more 'severe charges' will eventually pile up [Capt Jack Sparrow wink: "Politician"]).
If I'm a little off there, I've no doubt other more interested parties are fast at work on working the kinks out for the next time someone is elected that 'those who matter', dislike. For as my Rep later retweeted from ace-investigative reporter Ashley Zavala KRCG (@ZavalaA):
MO House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty on Governor's resignation:
"The brief and deeply troubled term of Eric Greitens is a case study for why Missouri's highest elected office is no place for beginners."
Yes indeedy, for all you schmo Missourians out there who haven't been blessed by either the media or the political establishment:
No Governor's Office for you!

And don't you forget it!
As one commenter on a thread noted:
"Kathie and any other Reps and Sens will have to just understand that right now the people who like you most are Democrats. The general conservative Republicans are just not buying it. That is just a fact."
Can't you just feel the 'Conservative!' brand building credibility with 'the folks'?!

I don't like the appearances of this, and I don't like the conclusions this makes it hard to avoid coming to, and I certainly don't like the way it makes my State Rep or a number of other 'good legislators' look, and I damn sure have not a damn bit of sympathy for Eric Greitens, but because they chose to follow what looked like the 'easy path' of charges that they thought would be hot with the public at that moment, and did so, so eagerly, and because no one bothered to wait to gather evidence first and then lead with fact based charges (aren't politicians supposed to be aware of appearances?!), there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to believe that any other motives than pure opportunism and shady hidden agendas were involved, and it doesn't take a subscription to the Psychic Hotline! to see how this is going to play out in the future (a future where 'it's over' is highly unlikely to last).

Or IOW, for all my fellow Missourians out there:
Show #MeToo!


Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering Memorial Day

From my Memorial Day post seven years ago, that to properly memorialize those who've lost their lives in military service to our nation, we need to honor not only their lives lost, but also to honor what it was that they put their lives at such risk for:

American war dead, Flanders Field, Belgium
Memorial Day... it is enough to remember today those who have fallen in defence of our nation. But it's not all we can do, for them or for us, and to leave it there, I think, deprives them, and you, of an important part of what they died for. It seems to me that you can remember them even more completely if you will remember what it was that they gave their lives in defence of. If you remember why it was that their lives came to be remembered on this day, then you can in some sense repay them and also deepen your own position in your own life.

Do you remember what Memorial Day was designated for you to remember? It has changed over the years, but it began as 'Decoration Day', back in 1868, on May 30th, a day chosen because it didn't mark the anniversary of any battle - an important point - as a day to officially mark, what people had unofficially been doing across the land on their own for some while, decorating the many, many graves of those who had 'died in the late rebellion'. After WWI, when many more graves were dug, the day was changed to Memorial Day to remember all of those who have died in service of their country, in all of its wars.

But what does it mean to remember? What can it do? Remember... the members of our lives who were lost can never be re-membered... those who are gone are gone forever, but in the service of... what? Why did they give their lives? Why decorate the graves of soldiers, those who have gone before their time, lives which were violently lost... why? Family and friends will remember their fallen family and friends, they have no need of a national holiday to do that, there is no use for you who they do not know to pretend to remember those you never knew - but that is not what we pause this day to remember.

What did their untimely deaths have to do with your life here and now?

Does their death have any relevance to your life? Asking another question might put us closer to the trail, what relevance can your life have to your nation without remembering why they lost theirs?

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who gave their lives, the 'last full measure of devotion' in the service of the United States of America, but not just to their homeland - any country can do that, and they do - nothing exceptional there.

But we are an exceptional nation, and simple remembrance will not do, because simply defending their homeland is not what they did or why they did it.

Why did they do it? What did it mean?

Maybe it'll help by looking at it from the perspective of the Oath which led them into the military life which put their own lives at risk for yours,

"I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

That is what they risked and lost their lives for, was it worth it? Do you grant their lost lives a value in yours? And that is the heart of it isn't it? Does the life they lost have value in yours?

Well, if you can say the words "your life", as something you live, something which you value and have some measure of control over, then yes, their lives were lost in service of your being able to think of your life as yours, and that - that is something which should cause you a spasmed breath, one abruptly caught in your chest in reverence and awe... that another's last breath was let go as 'darkness veiled his eyes' not just so that you could draw your previous, current and next breath as you wish, but so you could do so in a state of liberty.

Now I think we're getting closer to re-membering them and memorializing their life, through yours. Let's chase that a little further.

What does it take to say 'your life'? What does it take to live your life? What must you do, absent simply having others take care of you, what must you do to live? First off, you must use your head, you must think... but just thinking isn't enough to continue living, after all, you could very well choose to think that by imagining very clearly and distinctly that your shoe would become a salmon if you declare it so, but such thinking would do nothing to advance your life. For your thinking to benefit your life, it must be productive, and to do that it must reflect reality... your life will continue on only if at least some of your ideas help you to transform the reality you face on a daily basis into those materials and conditions which benefit your life... food, shelter, etc, IOW 'nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed'.

For your life, to be lived, you must be free to think, for your thoughts to benefit your life you must see to it that they respect reality - cherish truth -  for your freedom of thought to be anything other than a mockery, you must be free to put them into action, and again, for your thoughts and your actions to be a benefit to you, rather than a mockery, you must be free to retain and use that which your thoughts and actions have produced, and what they produce is called property.

Today, for the lives we remember having been lost, to have meaning and value to us, your life must be able to be lived in the spirit which they gave their own lives up for, that of liberty; the liberty to live your life in the pursuit of happiness in your life.

Those we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion in service of the document which makes that possible, the Constitution of the United States of America, a document which outlines the ideas necessary for ensuring your ability to live your life, in liberty and pursuing happiness. They gave their life for the ideas which best reflect the reality of life and the requirements of man living in liberty so that in his life, if he applies his thoughts to actions which serve to produce the materials he needs, that will enable you to live your life and pursue the happiness you seek in life, secure in that property which you expend the actions of your life in producing.

The Constitution was designed to do just that. It was worth fighting and risking death for, because it was seen as the means to securing a life worth living for, for themselves, their families, and their posterity - you.

The Constitution, was designed with a profound understanding of human nature in mind, and was structured in such a way as to give voice to the major perspectives of life so that:
  • - the people at large, concerned in the issues of the moment, shall have a voice in the House of Representatives
  • - the states shall have a voice through those people who have lived successful will have a perspective favorable for preserving everyones property through their voice in the Senate
  • - these two perspectives shall be combined to use create legislation operating for the benefit of the people, within certain enumerated powers
  • - when both houses agree upon laws, the nation has a voice in the President as chief executive, to reject or sign legislation into law and see to it that the laws of the land are faithfully executed
  • - the law itself has a voice in the Judicial branch which is concerned that laws are applied justly to the people in whose name they were written
These branches are structured in such a way, utilizing the famous checks and balances, so as to have just enough interest in the other branches as to wish to see them function well, as well as to wish to preserve their own branches from becoming slighted and unbalanced.

The founders knew well that most states fall into ruin not under promises of harm but under promises to better the conditions of one group or another for the betterment of all. And so our system is designed to keep each branches desires to 'do good' in check, by the other branches benefit as well, and that none gains power over the others - each must see 'their point' of the other and work together, securing a state that enables you to live your life in pursuit of happiness.

But the people who ratified the constitution didn't think that the original document, which united government into balanced cooperation, was enough to secure the liberty and freedom of the governed, and so they insisted that it also specifically uphold and defend a few key rights, Rights which long experience as Englishmen... and then as Americans deprived of those rights, knew would be required to prevent a new tyrant from turning their government against their liberty 'for their own good'. They demanded the Constitution be amended to secure the peoples liberty to live their own lives, secure in their property and associations and activities which seemed to them to best hold the promise of pursuing happiness through, and that produced the Bill of Rights.

This foundation of government was and is an ordering of ideas, designed to enable each persons actions the liberty to act and secure their property without violating others rights in pursuit of the same, so that each person can have the incredible gift of being able to live their own lives as they see fit.

This is the Constitution which was, and still is, worth fighting for, and risking dying for, because it makes possible the kind of life worth living, lives in which each person might choose to pursue; and the idea of living in service to that, of making not only your own, but others lives livable... is a glorious pursuit, and those in the military who offered up their life in service of it... they are truly worth our pausing on at least one day a year, in solemn remembrance of the life they offered up to make your life a possibility.

Remember them, thank them, and with them in mind demand the liberty to live your life secured under, and securing, those laws which they gave up their life defending, do that, and you will truly be memorializing their lives and making their sacrifice worthwhile.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields, Moina Michael replied with her own poem for Memorial Day:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
 That grows on fields where valor led,
 It seems to signal to the skies
 That blood of heroes never dies.

In Flanders Fields John McCrae, 1915.
 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses, row on row
 That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
 Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 We are the Dead. Short days ago
 We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
 The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die
 We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
 In Flanders fields.
And finally, H/T to Dana Loesch, a quote from General George S. Patton:
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
On Memorial Day, we should celebrate that such men lived, and that the nation they thought worth risking their lives for, still endures. This Memorial Day, celebrate what is worth remembering.