20 Ways to Take Action: Postscripts

[ Continued from Part 2 ]

Postscript I: The Bargain

You probably never consciously think about The Bargain. And it’s written into no law I know of. But it’s there, and you sort of know it. It’s that bargain we all make with the Powers That Be.

Society around us is actually a complex web of agreements and compromises – and repercussions. For instance, part of my deal with the neighbors is that I will not start up my Harley at 2 a.m. and rev the engine. In return, they will not come out at 4 a.m. and pour a gallon of molasses on my Harley. (If I had a Harley, that is.)

This web of agreements is a big part of what keeps us from a Lord of the Flies / Mad Max situation, where every one of us is an individual survivalist with only his own interests at heart, and every neighbor is an enemy we must guard against.

But The Bargain is this other thing. It’s the deal we make not with our neighbors, but with the Powers, the Big People in our lives.

Here’s our part: We will study hard, we will work hard, we will play fair. We will obey laws, pay taxes, vote and participate with honesty and compassion. We will go peacefully about our daily lives, treating each other with kindness and respect. We will not take anything we don’t deserve. We will do our small part to make the world work.

Here’s their part: They will treat us fairly, tell us the truth, deal with us in good faith. They will help us in certain ways when we really need it. They will hold back the darkness, keeping us safe from the two-legged animals who don’t observe social bargains. They will sell us products that work, and that last, and that give good value for what we pay for them. They will allow us to prosper, to raise families and make for ourselves a place in the world.

Okay, how well are some of them keeping their side of it? Let’s see:

The Catholic Church broke the bargain when it allowed generations of children to be molested.

Cops and courts and legislators broke the bargain when they endeavored to make harmless things illegal, deadly things perfectly acceptable, and the court system itself a playground for the rich, a gauntlet of fear and difficulty for the poor.

The government broke the bargain when it began to treat us all like potential terrorists, and paid off banks after they almost destroyed the economy. It broke it when it worked to convince us our best chance of getting ahead was a lottery, rather than saving and investing.

The military broke the bargain when it sent young men and women off to die protecting corporate interests rather than our freedom and safety.

Corporate CEOs broke the bargain when they began to accept hundreds of millions in annual salary, but paid their workers minimum wage. When they decided fair competition was less lucrative than lobbying Congress for sweetheart deals.

Corporations themselves broke the bargain when they began to meddle in government, lobbying for favorable treatment at the expense of voters and citizens and the environment. Corporations and rich people further broke the bargain when they stopped paying taxes.

Product designers and marketers broke the bargain when they designed products to fail, or sold us shiny garbage, or persuaded us to eat food that makes us fat and sick.

The news media broke the bargain when it began to lie and manipulate and propagandize us, leaving us defenseless against all those others. When they lazily defaulted on digging into the hard stories, instead tossing out the easy, titillating stories, the ones that provoke outrage and fear and weepy sympathy.

If YOU break The Bargain, there are consequences. They can send you to jail, or prison. They can humiliate you in public in a way that never heals. They can kill you.

But here’s the thing: If The Bargain is broken by THEM …

Why should you continue to act as if it’s still in force?

Postscript II: Freedom of Truth

When it comes to Freedom of Speech – MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS!!! – we’re all over that like a chicken on a June bug. Yes, yes, yes, you have the RIGHT to speak up. To write. To protest. To tattoo the shit out of yourself, and to walk around with the ugly crack of your ass showing.

But there’s another freedom – sort of the counterpoint to freedom of speech – that never made it into the Constitution. It never occurred to the founders to include it because they were educated men, dealing with educated men. They were self-reliant, and assumed others would look out for themselves in the same way.

But the freedom is this: The freedom not to be lied to. The Freedom of Truth.

If I tell you a lie, that’s one thing. It’s wrong, and we know it, but it affects you and I and very few other people. That lie, assuming it doesn’t violate other legal rights and responsibilities, falls within the freedom of speech.

But if the GOP tells you a lie, or FOX News tells you a lie, or Exxon-Mobil tells you a lie, that’s something else. It affects millions, possibly billions, of people. It parasitizes and manipulates them – disrupting their very understanding of reality – in favor of that small group of people who stand to profit.

And it does it, usually, via the publicly-owned broadcast spectrum. So the government essentially stands by and allows it.

You think they should have the exact same Freedom of Speech you and I have, except amplified a billion times by publicly-owned media?

If your freedom of speech includes the right to lie to one or a dozen people, but THEIR freedom of speech includes the right to lie to and manipulate 300 million of us, does that make any sort of sense?

No.

If you ever have any doubts about this, ask yourself: “Do I have a RIGHT to know what’s true and what’s not? Do I have a RIGHT to know what’s going on?”

Answer yourself, “You’re goddam right I do.”

“Do they have a right to lie to me? To keep me in the dark, believing lies and propaganda?”

“You’re goddam right they don’t. And I’m tired of this shit.”

Postscript III: Hillary Rodham Clinton

She should have been our next president.

She was brought down by the media, by that asshole in the FBI, by the lies of the right, by decades of the most vicious attacks. Allegedly, believably, she was brought down by Russian interference in our American election. She was also brought down by us.

She tried hard. She worked her ass off. She cared. And half of America shit on her. Most of us have no idea of the emotional toll something like this has on a person. But here:

Imagine you work for a company that has a big plum position coming open, and you have your heart set on winning that position. Imagine you spend two years working with that one goal in mind. Not just for the money, or the power, but because you know you can do the job better than anybody. You learn the things you need to learn, and you learn them better than anyone before you, ever. You do the things you need to do, and you do them fantastically well. All your performance evaluations are aces, your employer is incredibly impressed with you, all the people in your department respect and admire you, all the people in the industry are looking forward to working with you. But also, your company benefits like never before, climbing to the top of the entire industry.

You spend TWO YEARS caring and hoping and sweating to get that position, and everybody around you agrees you’re a shoo-in.

Okay, now imagine that three weeks before the final decision, your company is bought out by a billionaire. On the big day, the new owner announces his nephew, just out of business school, never held a job in his life, is taking over that position.

Take a second and think about how you felt when your dad died, your grandmother died, your dog died. The emotional impact of losing that position, or this election, is damned near the same. When you think about it, it might even be worse – because this was not some accidental death, it was something of a murder, and the killers are walking around out there smirking and laughing, high-fiving each other and smoking Cuban cigars.

When someone loses something they love, you don’t get in their face and tell them this is all their fault. You don’t get all grabby and selfish and demand they do something to make YOU feel better. You reach out to give THEM comfort.

Hillary is strong as hell. But she’s also human. You can’t care about something like this, really care, and just walk away when it gets snatched out of your hands at the last second, and in such an ugly way. She deserves something better in this moment than being shoved to the side and forgotten.

Send her a card. Write her a letter. Tell her how much you value her effort. Thank her for all her work, and for trying. She’s one of us, and she deserves at least this much.

Hillary Clinton
Post Office Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256

Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton
120 West 45th Street, Suite 2700
New York, NY 10036

Postscript IV: Useful Links

Trump Resistance Reference Guide

And yes, this stuff is being used on you, against you, every damned day:

Logical Fallacies

Logical Fallacies Handlist

Propaganda Techniques

Propaganda Techniques

Advertising Techniques

Persuasive Techniques

 

  • yazikus

    Send her a card. Write her a letter.

    I did do this, the day after the election. And one each to Barack & Michelle. I doubt they’ll ever see them, but some staffers will, and they will know how appreciative some of us are for the service they have done for this country.

  • See Noevo

    I may yet send her a card or write her a letter, thanking her for helping elect Donald Trump.

    • Anubis’ Nightmare

      You have a point…Perhaps I should do the same.

  • Jim Jones

    > persuaded us to eat food that makes us fat and sick.

    “Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do about It” by Larry Olmsted

    Read it. You’ll be amazed. And don’t buy fish or sea food. Seriously, until you read it.

    It is on the interwebz but a little hard to find.

    • Guthrum

      I am hearing a lot about beet root and beet powder as and excellent anti-oxident, sports drink, and lowers bp. Have you heard anything about it ?

      • Jim Jones

        No, but there are no magic foods. Also, eat the food, not the juice or powder.

    • Guthrum

      I will look at that. I try to look at the labels. I do not buy fish or shrimp that are farm raised. But I don’t live close to the coastal areas where I could get fresh seafoods. I will look for the book.

  • Anubis’ Nightmare

    I don’t like Trump. He is a jerk (… I don’t mind that, actually), and has done and said many despicable things. However, he was preferable to Crooked Hillary. He knew how to play the media, and was able to keep the attention on himself. Hillary had the Media in her pocket and had them saying whatever she wanted. She seemed to want war with Russia, and she lied about most anything (landing under sniper fire? Really?). Her opinions changed with the tide, and she deleted thousands of e-mails.
    The media made Trump look better than he was by reporting so many falsehoods that no one could take them seriously (Hey FactChecker, I’m looking at you. We have police reports saying that there were Muslims celebrating 9/11). I simply wish that were one decent choice in the entire election (Bernie was on the right track, admittedly). I hope the Left looks back at this election, and returns to their core values and sanity. For all of our sake.

    • Hank Fox

      We did have a decent choice. It was Hillary Clinton.

      Wait, Hillary had the media in her pocket, saying whatever she wanted, but Trump knew how to play the media?

      And … if Hillary had the media in her pocket, why was it ceaselessly covering those emails? Odd, huh?

      • Anubis’ Nightmare

        The media had to do their job and get revenue by reporting on what everyone else was talking about. Someone had to pay the bills, you know. However, many of the major news channels always seemed to think Hillary was amazing, and painted her as such. Did you ever see that clip of them on her plane? She was well at ease, and made it seem unlikely that they would be willing to go against her. But do not forget the one news channel (the name escapes me, though I know they had a black newscaster the night of the election) that had newscasters saying they were saddened (which can show that they were SO TOTALLY unbiased).
        The thing is, I preferred Hillary’s stances more than Trump’s. I just wish she was decent in character. Though, I forgot to mention the donations made to the Clinton foundation and her pay for speaking at major businesses and banks. My apologies.
        Looking back, I do not believe I made my views clear. I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for. I agree more with the Democratic worldview than any other, and was disappointed with the candidate last year. I hope that in 4 (perhaps 8) years, they have another Obama (one who will actually follow through on his promises of transparency) who can bring the country back to the Democratic side. First, however, they need to get rid of the SJW movement and get over the corruption in the DNC.

        • Hank Simpson

          Did you read the transcripts of her speeches to those banks? Did you look into the true stories about the Clinton Foundation?

          The facts were, she did NOTHING wrong. All of the crap tossed at her was either pure lies or WPI of rather innocent acts.

          • Anubis’ Nightmare

            So she did speak. I hate to tap into the conspiracy theorist in me, but she spoke at these places. And was paid millions. Hundreds of millions of dollars. Isn’t it the perfect cover for a bribe to simply “overpay” her for a speech?
            Why would foreign powers contribute to a Foundation that isn’t even based in their own country? Or give Clinton a $1 million birthday check?

          • Hank Simpson

            Forbes says the COMBINED worth of Hillary and Bill is $45 million. So where did those “hundreds of millions” get off to?

            Hillary is and has been one of the most viciously scrutinized people in the modern era. All of these things are KNOWN, and known to not be as you’re saying they are.

            Sorry, you’re just repeating the lies.

          • Anubis’ Nightmare

            Like “landing under sniper fire” or the corruption in the DNC?
            I admit I overstated the money they were paid. Though, I notice you never talked about the million dollar birthday check or foreign donations. At least I can admit that Trump has been rather rude and has told lies (sorry, Trump. Locker room talk is still rude. And why Zap-the-gays Pence? WHY?!).
            Wait… I found $111 million… no two sites seem to agree about their net worth unless they use another site’s stats…

          • Hank Fox

            The “landing under sniper fire” was a definite gaffe. It was also comparatively harmless, a bit of over-dramatization or storytelling. The thing is, EVERYTHING Hillary does and says is critiqued on a scale that male politicians, especially GOP ones, almost never suffer. Donald tells whoppers like this practically hourly.

            The “million dollar birthday check” — I’m still looking into that. The first fact I’ve uncovered, though, is that it was Bill’s birthday, not Hillary’s.

            Mainly, though, the Clinton Foundation doesn’t bother me. First, none of the money goes to the Clintons. Second, they are extremely highly rated as charitable foundations go — not just in the good they do worldwide, but in how little money goes to administrative costs.

          • Anubis’ Nightmare

            No, the landing under sniper fire was, regardless of her intentions, a lie. Why would she want to say that lie when everyone is already saying she is Crooked?
            Second, I am fairly certain that the Liberal media is always on Trump and how he is just horrible and immoral (though I admit that last part is more the channels like the Young Turks).
            Third, I suppose I should have specified it was Bill’s birthday. Still, why were the Clinton’s given that check?
            Concerning the Clinton Foundation, the dailywire had the following to say: ” IRS documents showed that the Foundation raised over $500 million from 2009-2012, and yet the Clinton Foundation only spent $75 million on “programmatic grants.”
            “The other $425 million was allocated as follows: more than $25 million went for travel expenses; almost $110 million for employee salaries and benefits; and $290 million for ‘other expenses,'”
            I will admit I would have more respect for Hillary had she not only not threatened the women Bill had sex with, but divorced him altogether.

          • Hank Simpson

            Ha. The Daily Wire lies to you, in this case misleading by omission of an important fact: The Clinton Foundation, unlike some other charities, doesn’t JUST give “programmatic grants” to organizations doing charity work, it also does direct charity work of its own — which, you know, costs money. I won’t bother checking their numbers, but the cited “$290 million for ‘other expenses’ ” is their way of lying by failing to tell you this.

            Politifact:
            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/sep/01/fact-checking-clinton-foundation-controversy/

            CharityWatch:
            https://www.charitywatch.org/ratings-and-metrics/bill-hillary-chelsea-clinton-foundation/478

            Fortune:
            http://fortune.com/2016/08/27/clinton-foundation-health-work/

            >> The most recent Clinton Foundation rating from another watchdog group, CharityWatch, gives the organization a solid “A.” The group says that the foundation spent 88% of its 2014 outlays directly on programs (rather than overhead) and that it only has to spend $2 to raise $100. <> … the available data indicates that the Clinton Foundation is a top-tier institution in the philanthropic world, according to CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff, who also says the foreign fundraising criticisms made about the organization could be applied to any number of international charities. <<

            ————–
            In the atheist world, there's this thing called the "Gish Gallop," where the speaker makes claim after claim in rapid succession so a critical listener has no time to refute them all. I've long thought the response to the thing is to take any ONE of the claims and refute that, showing that the speaker himself is untruthful and untrustworthy, and trust the larger audience to use THAT fact in consideration of the other claims.

            That idea informs my own views of the massive, indigestible lump of claims about Clinton. Every claim I've checked into myself has turned out to be a lie, a misrepresentation, or a worst-possible-interpretation view of a harmless act. Eventually you just throw up your hands and conclude, accurately, that attacking Clinton is both an organized political assassination effort and a cottage industry staffed by people like you who have no goal in mind other that bullying or slut-shaming the target. (This is why I don't bother to address every one of your claims.)

            Another of my own conclusions arises out of the demonstrated fact that the GOP hates Clinton with a blinding passion. In the many years Clinton has been in public life, the GOP has controlled some decisive combination of the Senate, the House and the White House. Meaning that if they could have nailed her on something, on anything, THEY WOULD HAVE. And yet Clinton has escaped indictment.

            Again, the most viciously scrutinized person — perhaps EVER in American politics — walks free not because the fix is in (disproven by Bill Clinton's impeachment trial), but because most of the claims, accusations, innuendoes, rumors and smears about her are simply false. The rest are, in the context of past and present GOP office holders and appointees — plenty of which, in every Republican administration, have gone to prison — minor.

            The woman — and this is the important part, the WOMAN — is practically a fucking saint.

          • Jim Jones
  • Bruce Kopetz

    I’ll send Hillary a thank-you card today. Thanks for the swell idea!

  • Guthrum

    You make some very good points. Of particular importance is the growth of the the government complex with military, industry, pharmceuticals, health, oil, and in recent years technology. How these can be controlled and monitored is the big question. One thing for sure: you can’t rely on the government to monitor it. Think about all that information that you give your doctor now as they enter it into a laptop. Entering tons of personal information instead of talking to patients. Where does all that info go ? What corporations and government agencies get it ? You can’t convince me it stays there in the office. Just think about this: how many groups are monitoring this discussion right now – looking for key words ?

  • Guthrum

    Clinton moved too far to the left in a desperate move to stop Sanders. The Democrat party leadership left the middle class working people. The people have left the pain stream fake news media and are going to alternative news sources.