Day 191: Better Mousetrap

The state of modern drug testing in the workplace has barely improved since Reagan started the trend. I cannot understand why. Failed tests take a toll on the economy . At a least one plant, half of a failures are due to positive marijuana results. I’m pro-marijuana but safe work places especially when working with literal tons of metal are more important. The problem is current testing can’t tell if you are high now or were a month ago (just for thc, other chemicals fade faster). This means workers even in states where it is legal. Workers can’t enjoy the fruits of their labor without fear of being flagged. We can implant a microchip to operate as a credit card but we can’t tell when one last smoked is ridiculous. 
 Marijuana is safer than Alcohol and better for dealing with long term chronic pain than opiates. We can talk in circles all we want about mental addiction but you can be mentally addicted to any reinforced action and physical addiction that comes from alcohol, opiates, and other drugs has a far greater toll. I’m sure all physically addicted (to which there is no cure just the continuous work of recovery) would trade for a mental addiction (closer to a bad habit and can end). Studies have disproven the gateway theory. To deny the healthiest high on the grounds of tradition is bad policy. 
To those who preach sobriety, I would argue without the human desire to get high, we would not have society and civilization as we know it. The history of beer is the history of us. That being said there is virtue in moderation and a balance between states is needed. Theres no reason or need to be high in most jobs. There can be great danger. Your supervisor might be a son of a bitch but he’s the son of a bitch whose job it is to get you back to your wife and kids. He needs better tools. 
Perhaps it is a generational gap but we need 21st century solutions today because the century is going to pass us by.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 174: The Government is not a Business

Trump and his family are self described business folks. While their legacy in business is debatable, that they come from the corporate world not political becomes more obvious everyday. We don’t know yet if Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia last year but the Trump family isn’t making it easy for innocence to be considered. 
This week Donald Trump Jr. became the center of the Russian storm. After days of having his ever changing story disproven by leaks, he released the emails in question. They did not vindicate him. When asked if he would like information on Clinton gathered by Russia to aid his father, he says he would love it. He brought Kushner and Manafort to the meeting, the Russian lawyer ended up not having anything on Clinton. Leaving us in a situation where we know that the Trump campaign would have colluded but not if they did. 
Ignore the discussion of impeachment for a moment. What other implications are there? One is a revelation behind the curtain. Political operators have long been portrayed as ruthless anything goes types in movies but the real political world always had norms and bounds. I’m not saying they are knights of the round table. Yet even the Gore campaign called the FBI when someone leaked Bush’s campaign bible to them. This event shows the business world core of the Trump universe one where damning emails end in a fine and mea culpas but in politics things end differently just ask Abramoff.
The anti-left media keeps yelling Ukraine like its Benghazi (as a waste of time). A low level former staffer is not the same as a high campaign advisor and candidate’s child. Manafort did in fact lobby for pro Russia candidates in Ukraine and was unable to hide it. Whether the decision to remove support for Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion from the GOP platform came from Manafort is unknown. In the end, evidence from a foreign public investigation is not close to the same as a foreign nation stealing documents from a political opponent to aid a candidate. As Watergate taught us having your own countrymen steal documents is damning without foreign involvement. 
The emails aren’t a smoking gun for criminal proceedings but they without a doubt bolster Mueller’s investigation. One can only wonder what subpeonas will uncover.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 151: Found Them

Day 69/70/71/72: The Marx’s Brothers’ Watergate

Rep. Nunes according to sources close to Speaker Ryan will not be bringing the potato salad to the Mensa picnic. That is the one certain piece of knowledge in this week’s Trump implosion over Russia.  

Recents reports by the NYTimes revealed the intelligence about Trump team members’ communication being accidentally picked up by legal surveillance on foreign agents wasn’t just hot air but hot air blew in from the White House. Were the foreign agents Russian? We don’t know. We do know no laws were broken and this is a far cry from Trump’s claim of an Obama wiretap. 
In what is a political equivalent of the call is coming from inside the house. The investigatee has become the investigator. As humorous as Nunes actions are, they can’t be viewed as less than gravely troubling. The GOP will do anything to keep the government theirs but rule. With each day passing being more and more revelations over what Russia did during the election and what the Trump campaign knew and when, Nunes’ refusal to uncover the truth becomes more Treasonist.  
Maybe Trump wants to be removed under impeachment. He did say we would want to lose because we would be winning so much as he always does. This might be up there with the Alice’s Restaurant-Nixon theory but the president’s mind has proven unknowable. Mark Cuban claims he doesn’t have the wits to conspire. I don’t agree with him on that but I do think Trump is arrogant enough to think he could survive.
Meanwhile, the heartland still fades and status quo marches forward. Perhaps Nunes WH connect wanted to raise smoke to hide their own leadership failures in an administration three months in without a win. 

-E.C. Fiori

Day 10+ 11: True Colors

While the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday is less than the sum of fears imagined by rating machine DJT on the campaign trail and the leftists shaken by his Twitter, it still amounts to an attack on the American character. The media outlets have profiled many of the afflicted. Many generous attorneys and translators have descended on the airports to assist them.
We are birthed or for immigrants baptized by the ideals of an empire’s dissents. While many asylum seekers from the seven banned countries are low skill, their souls call them to an higher moral order: The United States. To shed the traditions of the old for the new. That calling shouldn’t be dismissed. I may especially disagree with temporary worker visas for low skill positions; I would never support immigration reform that bans all low skill immigration. Even Reagan called to welcome the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees

as Americans. He was the original Immigration hardliner.
It is no surprise that Steve Bannon is the mind behind the poorly written order. In his ascension this weekend to permanent member of Trump’s National Security Council which downgraded the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, he has become the most powerful non elected man in America. Besides the immigration order, he told the NYtimes in an interview that the press should be silent. Imagine his reaction if Axelrod told him that during his time at Breitbart. With his naval assistant experience and dreams of infrastructure, he lives as a twisted Roosevelt. Unelectable and impulsive, he opens the gates of Hell.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 9

The Serpent’s Tongue: In Praise of Kellyanne Conway

It is currently the favorite pastime of over half the nation’s voting population to condemn, scorn, laugh, and generally degrade a single woman: Kellyanne Conway. This excludes the amount of joy her many media appearances and statements have given non-U.S. citizens, but for the sake of brevity, let’s put the number at 62.5 million people.

But have we, the scornful masses, ever taken a step back and asked how she does her job? She was given the impossible task of successfully running a presidential campaign, and even worse, consistently deal with gaping logic flaws, insane scandals, and indefensible political positions. Yet she has handled her lot in life with an amazing amount of grace.

She attends not only Fox and Friends, but some of the hardest, most blatant left leaning shows, like Bill Maher. He assembles a panel with the sole directive of nuclear annihilation, and yet time and time again she returns.

That is because she is someone who does not gain satisfaction from the ideological debate, or from the foisting of a candidate she believes in. She is the kind of political operative that adores the pageantry of it all, the performance, the “pivot”.

It is these psychotic adrenaline junkies that Trump has surrounded himself with: people cut from the same orange cloth as he. Once Sean Spicer gets the boot the press will have to find a way to starve her of the thrills she seeks. The clock is ticking.

-Jack Delaney

Day 69: Carnival Life

David Brooks wrote an interesting piece regarding the ancient ritual of the Carnival.
The internet is the modern carnival, for we live in a world that no longer can afford to have non-permanent spaces in the physical world. The carnival was where the taboos of normal life can be broken for the moment. Virtual space provides the ultimate venue for the world’s largest carnival, where all users can meet on an equal ground. For the virtual world can allow one to break all material chains besides the tools needed to access the internet. Thus the CEO can be the fool and blog ironic comments about his coworkers. The 14 year old boy can use their computer knowledge to humble the biggest superstar through dismantling the virtual illusion.
The internet especially in Web 2.0 thrives on the exploitation of the taboos. Sex being the largest and most profitable example. For porn is not a realistic interpretation of sex. It is exaggerated and often experiments with fetishes that one would not mention in public, in fact porn openly celebrates all the fetishes, no matter how strange. Now with the added ability of users to upload their own content. People through virtual masks commit private acts in public to an unknown and uncontrolled audience. Thus we are the producer consumer.
There is also the dark side of the carnival, the love of both the grotesque and the mockery. The grotesque can be seen is some of the bizarre porn and the communities that praise it for its statement on the human body such as 4chan and Something Awful. Rather than deny and reject, they embrace the disturbing as a beautiful source of humor. Yet, this “respect” and desire doesn’t extend beyond the computer terminal. In the real world, those communities follow the standard rules. The same goes for the vulgarity and racism that exists within the comment section of any website. Users do not interact or accept others as people, but rather as other actors within the performance.
The internet is truly the reverse side of the world, where people can flee to to escape the pressures of everyday life. In a world that has a 24 hour business day, a new carnival was needed. One that could be anywhere in the world and be access at anytime as per needs of one’s business schedule. You can do abnormal activity as long as it is for the internet and to quote the motto of 4chan for “the lulz”.
This is the best description of both the internet and the carnival. All acts are okay as long as it is for light entertainment. Serious thought is not welcome unless as part of a larger subversion. The goal is not to end society, but to bend the rules in order to feel the release. The carnival is the valve of the pressures of conforming to the norms, not a leak in the dam. Yet as we spend more time in revelry, reality will continue to crumble.
-E.C. Fiori