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A Little Slight of Hand

We are nothing more than a fluttering piece of paper…

When I was in college I knew a guy named Dave who, prior to attending our school, had become one of the most renown young magicians in Canada. He once performed for a dinner/dance we had and did the old tear-the-newspaper-without-tearing-it and pour-the-milk-into-the-newspaper-cone routines. As he tore the paper up, a few pieces of paper fell to the floor. And has he reached for them, it was apparent that Dave was struggling. His trick wasn’t going as planned.

Or so it seemed.

Dave eventually pulled off the illusions to roaring applause. Later as he stood next to me in the sound booth, I leaned over and whispered, “Man I thought you going to die up there. When you dropped that paper I thought the whole thing was going to fall apart.”

He leaned back to me and said, “Tim, when you’re watching that paper falling, you’re not seeing what else I’m doing.” He gave me a wry smile and I knew that I and my classmates had been bamboozled!

When it comes to politics people, we are way to busy watching those pieces of paper.

It the last few days I have come to realize that there is, in my opinion, a better than average chance that the government may have invented social media. That Mark Zuckerberg may actually be the best weapon the Feds have ever had to control the masses.

How did I come to that solution? Follow me here…

The claim by those on either side of the party lines is that the government is trying to take something away from us. The political right would have you believe that we need to arm ourselves beyond measure to stave off the government when they come to take us away. The left, well they’d have you believe that Washington wants all women to die in dirty hospitals south of the border because they won’t fund Planned Parenthood.

Neither are true.

If the government really wanted you dead, they’d get you before you ever saw it coming. A drone or smart bomb would leave a gaping hole in the planet where you were sleeping. And if they really wanted to kill off women and their unborn babies, well there are a lot easier ways to go about it than through something so grossly obvious as abortion.

And there are literally hundreds of issues just like those two. Mass killings, taxes, emails, foreign policy, banking fraud …

The truth is all of these issues get batted around endlessly on social media and rarely, if ever, does anyone offer a solution much less find one. The government even keeps a healthy facade of having no interest in working with other so that whatever side we’ve chosen, that we blame the other.

And all the while, they merrily keep chugging along year after year, do the same thing over and over. The names and and places change, but the game always remains the same.

It’s a slight of hand that makes my buddy Dave’s milk trick, or anything ever conceived of by David Copperfield, pale in comparison.

See, by getting us, the general public, to focus our attention in the wrong place the government can pull all the shenanigans it wants. And what’s more, it does so right in front of our eyes.

While watching a show called “Brain Games” I found a remarkable gentleman named Apollo Robbins. You could call him a magician, illusionist or even a con man, but in the clip below he clearly explains what I believe the government is doing to us.

See, when we fight and bicker on sites like Facebook & Twitter, we are going at each other. We’re engaging our “Frank” as Apollo calls him with things that do not matter and that we cannot change.

We all do it. We whine, bitch, moan and complain. We call each other names and divide ourselves. We sap the very strength that made this nation great at its outset – Unity.

Consider these numbers:

  • There are 540 members in Congress (435 voting members in the House of Representatives, 100 members in the Senate, and 5 delegates)
  • There are 9 Supreme Court Justices
  • There is one President.

These 550 people decide how we live our lives on a national stage. Toss in maybe 1,500 more for state governors, lieutenant governors and various county reps and state supreme court judges and we have approximately 2,000 people running the whole show.

We get all excited and angry about the “1 percenters” or even the 1 percent of the 1 percenters”, but even they amount to more than 319,000 people out of 391.9 million people. And while their extreme wealth may grease the wheels, the 2,000 state and federal representatives still have to answer the call and make the decisions that shape our lives. They still have to take the bait. They are a mere %0.000625 of the population, and yet they are getting paid, both over and under the table, are free from any law they pass while getting free life-time health care and retirement. Personal body guards included.

For all of the bluster and bustle that goes on during campaign season of “I’m gonna do this” and “We’re gonna do that”, how much of it ever really gets done? Hell, how much of it ever gets started?

And all the while we sit at our terminals and on our smart phones and tablets, talking to friends that we have known for years, sometimes decades, calling them names, casting aspersions and frequently saying things that leave those relations irreparably damaged and changed.

We keep fighting over everything that they – the government – want us to see. All the while plucking our money, our dignity and lives out form under us, right in front of our noses.

Forget everything and focus on just one thing.

Forget the political differences.

Forget the racial differences.

Forget the religious differences.

Forget the sexual or lifestyle differences.

Forget your stance on on topics like guns, abortion and school immunizations.

Focus on just one thing – your government.

If they are not doing what you, a citizen of the United States wants done, then get up and vote them out. Or, in the unlikely circumstance that they are doing what you want, make sure you vote them back in.

Do not try to convince, coerce or influence anyone to do anything other than to vote their conscience and their values. Help them learn how to register. Drive them to the polls if you have to. But just let them make whatever decision they want to make as long as they vote.

And on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, stop trying to be right. I challenge you for a month to never respond to a socially or politically charged topic unless you have a well thought out solution to offer. Don’t challenge someone else and their solution, but rather ask questions like “How to you plan to fund that?” or “How will you implement that?”

The only other reason to respond is if the post they are making is factually wrong.

Do that and you might find that aside from weird cat GIFs and pictures of your family doing rather embarrassing stuff, social media might get awful quiet for those 30 days.

And if it does, that’s when you can almost bet some unexplained bombshell will drop because the last thing the boys and girls on Capitol Hill want are for you to start looking at them in earnest. They’ll be scared you’re starting to figure out their game. And that ever happens, they’ll likely have hell to pay … literally.


The Elephants Found The Big Shovels

It appeared after the 2012 election that the Republican Party had gotten a wake up call.

They and their team of paid pundits, aka Fox”News”, had predicted a resounding victory for their candidate Mitt Romney. They assured the American people of a blow out win that would make the Reagan-Mondale fiasco look small in comparison. At least that’s the way Fox promoted it.

They laughed.

They joked.

And then they shut up.

US-Presidential-election-mock-up1-2012I called the outcome of the election with a decided amount of accuracy. Among other things I stated that Obama would win, that he’d have a 3%-5% margin in the popular vote and that have at least 280-290 votes in the Electoral College. And when all of those came true, plus a few more, my GOP friends were astonished. How could their news station, their candidates and their constituency have been so wrong?

Well don’t look guys, ’cause its happening again.

The Grand Old Party is digging itself a hole that it may not be able to get out of.

After recovering from the shock of their 2012 loss, the Republican leadership evidently didn’t learn that they are severely out of touch – even though they paid lip service to that sentiment. They didn’t learn that the average American is not buying their rhetoric any longer.

The American people don’t believe that huge corporations running unbridled and unchecked is a good thing for them.

They don’t believe that the GOP is telling them the truth very often, if at all.

And they don’t believe that shutting down the government so the GOP can get their way is right whatsoever.

But that’s what the Republicans decided to do since they didn’t get their way with the Affordable Care Act.

Jon Stewart did a wonderful job of explaining why this is so ridiculous on The Daily Show Sept. 30, 2013.  Because I can’t get the actual video up or find a transcript, here’s a paraphrase of what he said.

The GOP protesting the Affordable Care Act is like the New York Giants, after having lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend 31-7, telling the NFL, “Look, we know we lost, but unless you give us 25 points we’re going to shut down the NFL!”

Im Just a Bill - LawRepublicans just don’t get it. They lost and they lost big. The Affordable Care Act passed the House and the Senate. President Obama signed it into law and when challenged, the Supreme Court backed it up saying that it was Constitutional.

But that wasn’t enough. So while we have an economy still reeling from the financial crash of 2008 (which came under George W. Bush’s watch) the Republicans decided to waste vote after vote – 41 in all so far – attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act law.

And now that they have no recourse left, they are willing to take some one million federal employees and toss them to the wolves without pay. They think it is perfectly fine to commit a political terrorist act and hold the entire nation hostage so they can get their way.

My son use to think that way when he was three years old. I swatted his butt and he stopped doing that. Makes you think doesn’t it?

The images and emotions of this year are being indelibly etched into the minds of Americans, especially the ones who are now out of work. And as the holiday season turns toward 2014 in a few months, the real meat of the next political cycle will begin. Unless the Democrats throw a complete loser into the race, the GOP is gearing up for another sound thrashing.

How will it go down? Probably something like this…

The GOP will open any discussion on the Affordable Care Act by saying that it is costing Americans billions of dollars. They won’t have any specific figures, and when they do one won’t match from one pundit to the next because they aren’t bright enough to check their lies before they tell them. They’ll point to Democrats as the ones who wouldn’t budge and meet their demands.

The Democrats will counter with the fact that Affordable Care Act is a law, pointing to the various members of the GOP that voted for it to make it so. They will repeatedly show that what the Republicans did was wrong, and they’ll prove it.

But all that won’t really matter because what will still be fresh in their minds of the more than one million federal employees that got laid off will be that their jobs were cut off for some extended period of time. And when the dust settles, the majority will realize it was the GOP that did it to them.

And the icing on the cake will be a slew of commercials about how the Affordable Care Act helped person after person who previously had no health care or couldn’t get it due to preexisting conditions.

At that point it won’t matter if they have a Ronald Reagan clone running. The damage will have been done.

The hole may just be far too deep.

The 2016 election just became the Democrats to win lose.

And with more than two years left before my next set of prognostications are due – which I’ve made every presidential election since Jimmy Carter and been right every year – I’m going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Hey, can someone reading this back up a dump truck full of popcorn for me.

This is gonna be good.

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