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Fork It Over
I hope you don’t mind my asking, but are you rich? Well-to-do, maybe? How about upper middle class? If you answered yes to any of these, I have some good news for you and some bad news.

First the good news. It’s probably not news, really, just a reminder about something you may tend to forget sometimes: you’ve got plenty of money. Now, you might argue with the term “plenty,” but let’s face it — you’re not hurting. And if you own more than one residential property, you’ve certainly got plenty of room to spread out.

Which leads us to the bad news: you need to pay more taxes. Oh, I know…it’s already too much. They’re bleeding you dry as it is, even with that new tax cut, and you can barely make ends meet. Believe me, I get it. Still, I must insist. And if you’re in that “rich” category, you’ll have to pay a lot more.

Still reading? Good! And look, if you don’t believe me, ask Thomas Piketty, the French economist who’s gone deep on the subject of income inequality. Briefly put, Tom’s research shows that when people get too rich, society in general does poorly. His solution: more taxes on the rich and even more on the super-rich — for everybody’s sake.

It’s not just that our government needs the money, even though it’s not cheap to keep a First World country up and running. No, the main rationale for a high graduated income tax — like we had back in the good old 50s — is that it’s the best way to preserve and nurture the free society we are all lucky enough to live in.

If you need evidence, take a look at the current state of affairs. Taxes on the high end are much, much lower than they were in the 50s, and the gap between rich and poor has grown enormously. There are many potential problems associated with such a disparity, but the place where it seems to be showing up most is in housing. The rent, like the man said, is too damn high. Teachers, cops, firemen, and people with plain old regular jobs can no longer afford to live in the communities they work in. So much of their income is gobbled up by housing that they can’t save, and their kids have to go deep into hock to go to college. Not only is this not a sustainable system, but it builds in unhappiness and kills hope.

This ugly side effect of income inequality is among the first we see because the rich (and the well-to-do, and the upper middle class) put a lot of their free capital into real estate. And why not? It’s a time-proven method of making more money. Flip this house? Sounds fun, sounds savvy, sounds profitable. And it is for those who can afford to do it. If, however, you are a member of the middle class or lower — like most people — all you see from this phenomenon is a rise in the cost of living.

Those tax cuts the supply-siders sold to us are at the root of this problem. They launched income inequality into the stratosphere by allowing the wealthy to keep most of their money. Like most stupid humans, the wealthy went for short-term profits with their investments, not ventures that would benefit society over the long run. That’s human nature, I guess, and one reason why pure capitalism will cripple a free society if left unchecked.

That’s what taxes are for…not just money for the things we all need, but as a brake on the ravages of runaway acquisitiveness. And the more people acquire, the more we have to take from them. High taxes will make for a happy, hopeful society.

So, rich folks…for the good of all (including you), pay up. Thank you.
Semi Glossary
atheist n. An agnostic overcome by hubris.
6
There are many fine numbers, of course. 1 is at the top of many lists. Good things come in 3s, they say (though they say that about bad things, too). 21 will win at blackjack and permit you to belly up to the bar. 42 is a nice one, combining as it does two of the luckier numbers while featuring the Jackie Robinson connection. 10, 100, 1000, and 1,000,000 are members of an elite group that all hold the very first position in their categories. Their admirable simplicity, however, is thought by some to be strictly boresville.

I could go on, and even approach infinity. But why bother? Most people agree, I think, that the best number out there is 6. Duh, right? Just in case you didn’t say “duh,” allow me to summarize the evidence: even though it would be shallow to assert that physical appearance has any real importance, let’s just admit right off that 6 is the most beautiful number (with 9 a close second). It’s round (though far from being a 0) and lovely without being too heavily made-up. A wholesome, all-natural number — the kind you might bring home to meet the parents.

6 pairs well with almost any other number (although not, ironically, with 66). It has no sharp edges, no special demands, and is completely free of controversy. You would certainly have no second thoughts, for instance, about rounding up from a 6 (as you might, say, from a 5). It might be suggested that it is unpleasant to be at 6s and 7s, but think about it. Without getting too deeply into personality types (or criminal records, for that matter) which of those two numbers do you think is the real problem there?

“(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” moreover, is a very catchy and upbeat musical number. Is there anyone who doesn’t love a 6-pack, whether bottled or abdominal? What sense is more mysterious and intriguing than the 6th sense? And where would we be without the 6th Amendment? In jail, that’s where!

Numerologically speaking, 6 represents Gaia, the giver of unconditional love. It also symbolizes home and hearth, loving relationships of every kind, and deep compassion bordering on empathy. What more could you want from your favorite integer?

6 is similar, both in sound and spelling, to the word “sex.” Sex, in case you are not familiar with the concept, offers a wide range of health benefits, including enhanced cardio-vascular performance, improved higher brain function, and resistance to nail fungus. It is also thought to be the absolute best method of procreation. Six, perhaps not coincidentally, provides the same benefits. And even a bad six is better than no six at all.

The sax, widely accepted the best musical instrument, shares the same kind of affinity. You’d be crazy to shrug off these kinds of “coincidences.” Indeed, the fact that there is no such word as “sux” might even be considered conclusive proof of this theorem.

Perhaps the only blot on 6’s escutcheon is Surfside 6, the unlikely 60s TV show starring Troy Donahue as private eye “Sandy” Winfield II and Diane McBain as his yachty neighbor. To make matters worse, the show was a cheap knock-off of 77 Sunset Strip. Sadly, that kind of inter-digital stain is indelible. I only mention this unfortunate piece of trivia in the interests of fairness. Which reminds me — 6 is also the fairest number!

Wait a minute. Have I gone too far? Okay look, I’m sorry about all the bad puns and, you know, the clumsy word play. I really shouldn’t allow myself do that. I can only tell you that when I think about the pain and discomfort I may have caused others, it makes me six to my stomach.
Real Lies
Let’s just imagine that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is confirmed. That is not a sure thing by any means, but what would that leave us with?

Well, for starters, we’d have a reality TV star at the very center of our justice system. And by “reality,” of course, I mean “fake.” The only genuine part of his testimony before the Judiciary Committee was his blubbering account of the anguish he and his family have undergone. As we know, however, tears are not necessarily a marker for unjust accusation. The guilty cry, too…most often when they realize that their own acts have brought them to ruin.

The rest of Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony was not so credible. His combativeness and outrage seemed calculated to me. You can witness that same kind of heartfelt emotion any time you tune into The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Some might say that misrepresenting your true feelings in this way is the worst kind of lying, but even if you don’t agree, Brett supplied plenty of plain old factual untruth— as well as a tightly woven pattern of evasiveness.

So let’s just say he lied, repeatedly. And while he was at it, he threw in some partisan conspiracy theories to muddy the waters. That undermined his credibility even further. That’s my opinion, anyway. Compare his twitchy, angry performance with Dr. Ford’s testimony. She was obviously truthful, both in her openness and in her story’s ring of truth. She withheld nothing, while he acted like someone who’d say anything to get that seat on the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas did the same thing. Maybe he and Brett will end up sharing a locker at the High Court Gym.

Besides reality TV coming to the justice system, and the lying, and sexual assault, we’d have a judge who was willing to make a fool of himself on the world stage. He is now a truly pathetic figure. Does anyone really want to watch this show for the next 30 years?

There will no doubt be other real world plot twists in this bad TV show. Trust in the justice system will erode further. The same goes for faith in our legislative branch of government, even with Senator Flake’s public agonizing. The multiple political and cultural divisions among us will grow wider and deeper. Our democracy will be weakened.

While all this has been happening, however, there is something else going on. Have you noticed that there are a lot more angry women around than there used to be? I’m going to say, as as matter of fact, that there is more anger among women now than there has ever been. It’s everywhere: on TV, all over social media, and right there at the kitchen table.

What’s more, I don’t think it’s going away. No matter what the outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination, this anger will continue growing and solidifying and evolving. To call it the “MeToo” phenomenon doesn’t do it justice. It has the look of something very big in the making — a fundamental change in the chemistry of our society.

The hearing was a perfect window into how roles are assigned between the sexes. It was a caricature of the contrast in two styles — rage vs. accommodation — but I think the outlines of that caricature are in the throes of change. It will be a change for the better, is my guess, and it will be much more important than one seat — or two seats, or three — on the Supreme Court. No lie.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon