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

 

20 Ways to Take Action in Trump-America — Part 2

[ Continued from Part 1 ]

11. Be the Better You: Recognize your strengths

Recognize your own huge strengths.

Look, you’re one of the most intelligent, most creative, most powerful and dangerous animals on this planet. Act like it!

You and the people you choose to work with can come up with ideas and goals, you can work to make them happen. You can come up with crazy guerilla actions that spark the minds and hearts of every person in America. You can RESIST.

Trump wants to build a wall? What if you built a wall around Trump’s hotels – a wall of garbage, a graffiti wall, a wall of soiled diapers, a wall of noisy protestors? What if you made it so nobody wanted to stay there?

What if you organized a demonstration out front of his hotel, with everybody carrying signs that say

>>> Поздравляю, товарищ Трампа! <<<
(Congratulations, Comrade Trump!)

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re better educated than the average conservative. (Not because my writing is so wonderfully highbrow, but because you’re, you know, READING.)

But you also probably suffer from the sort of thoughtfulness that makes you less practical, more apt to be distracted, while they’re busy taking action.

You have to be the better you, the stronger you, that you can be. Part of that is that you have to stop believing you’re a victim. You have lived in a time where you’ve had the luxury of being weak and fragile, but that time is over. If you still think you need trigger warnings and safe spaces, run home to your pillow fort, little dumpling, because you’re a dead weight, a liability, on everybody around you.

12. Be the Better You: Facts Over Feelings

Engage with the facts before you engage with your emotions.

People on the extreme right are easily subject to manipulation through levers of fear, patriotism, or religion. If you tell them a lie but couch it in patriotic terms (Support The Troops!!!), or tell them there is some plot against them, or that this is a test of faith, some significant number of them will not only leap to believe it, they will see any refuting evidence as part of a secret plot.

But you have to get the facts right before your feelings come into it. If your facts are wrong, your conclusions cannot be right, and your feelings about the thing, whatever they are, are misplaced. Worse, once you have any sort of strong feeling about something, every fact or non-fact that comes after will be assessed through the filter of that emotion.

I’ve been in many arguments online where someone misstated one or more facts, but refused to hear any countervailing evidence, even when I cited multiple sources. “No, I’m not wrong, all those sources are lies, and you only cite them because you want to destroy America. Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim, Michelle is a tranny dyke, and their kids are adopted ghetto b*tches who smoke crack in the White House.”

Paranoid-afraid and angry, nothing I said could get through to them. They didn’t want to hear it.

The thing is, the bit about “getting your facts right before your feelings come into it” applies just as much to people on the left.

Oh, but you’re not subject to emotional manipulation, right? You don’t feel that sort of fear or anger, you don’t experience that knee-jerk patriotic fervor.

Yeah, hold off on the smug certainty, Reason Boy. You are every bit as easy to manipulate, every bit as resistant to counter-arguments. It’s just that your levers are different.

For lefties, one of the biggest levers is compassion. Tell them something is an attack on minorities, the homeless, transgenders, women, or hell, pit bulls, and they will buy into it with their weight in diamonds.

I’ve gotten into discussions with liberals that just left me gasping. Say ANYTHING they don’t already believe, disagree with a single point of a leftist compassion argument, and they will attack you in a howling mob, name-calling like it was the world Ad Hominem finals and they were going for the gold. “Why do you HAAAATE the poor homeless?? Why do you HAAAATE the poor pitbulls?? OMG, you’re HITLER!!”

Speaking of which, if someone states a fact, even if it is/was Hitler, the important thing for a REASONING BEING is the fact, not the identity of the speaker. No amount of name-calling changes the facts. It only blinds you to things you just might need to hear.

Never doubt that there are people out there who profit from working you. Here’s something I figured out some years back:

Under the lash of strong emotions,
human beings become less intelligent.

Angry? Stupid. Afraid? Stupid. Infatuated? REALLY stupid. Yeah, you.

And the less intelligent you are, the more you miss of what “they” are doing. Keeping you dumbed down, unable to think clearly or make plans to resist, is a blue chip investment for anyone who wants to run things.

Oh, you think they wouldn’t do that? That’s just a conspiracy theory? That nobody is that dishonest, that wicked, that organized? You keep believing that, kid — your simple faith and trust is just cute as hell.

But here in the real world, we have fellow citizens who have overthrown COUNTRIES with just such tools. Selling you a deadly long-term poison or getting you to vote for their guy over your guy is small change in comparison.

13. Be the Better You: Get and Stay Fit

How will you feel someday if your granddaughter is drowning in a pool and you’re the only person there who might save her, but you don’t know how to swim? Riiiight.

This is not just about swimming. It’s about physical strength, about cardiovascular fitness, about the sort of vibrant health that makes you not just stronger but smarter as well.

This is always overlooked in political activism, but it’s damned important.

The thing is, it’s not just yourself you have to be strong for – it’s for all those people you love. Think about that the next time someone tries to tell you you’re fragile and weak and helpless.

Remember those pictures you used to see of the guy holding out his pants in front, showing how much weight he lost? Facebook no longer allows such pictures to be posted. The image of fitness, rather than an inspiration and a goal, is now some sort of horrific attack. Because OMG FAT SHAMING!!! To which I say: Bloodyhelljeezusgoddamshit!

By contrast, I had a 60-year-old friend stagger through a quarter-mile of snow carrying a bloody 80-pound dog. The thing is, it was MY dog. They’d gone for a hike in a snowy park, and the dog ripped open his chest and belly on a hidden metal stake. Because my friend was in good shape, I got another 6 good years with my beloved four-legger.

I suggest we all remember the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.”

This is not just about physical strength, either. It’s about mental toughness as well. And again, not just for you. For your granddaughter. For your neighbors. For everybody around you threatened by this ugly new situation.

Make a conscious decision to be tougher. You don’t have to be a victim. You can be a warrior, a knight in defense of all things good.

14. Strategy One: Strategy Itself

From Wikipedia: “STRATEGY is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.”

“Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources).”

Here’s why I mention it: A lot of people on the right are ex-military. Who do you think trains in effectively mobilizing limited resources to achieve goals under conditions of uncertainty? Riiiight.

The left, meanwhile, untrained, even unaware, of the concept of strategy, attacks every issue as if nothing was connected to anything else.

Most of us on the left remain convinced simple honesty and good will will win out in every situation. But here’s the thing: It won’t. You have black neighbors who have lived in simple honesty and good will every goddam day of their lives, and they still have to be afraid – in their own country, their own hometown, their own neighborhood – that they or their kids will be shot down.

To bring home to you the importance of strategy, here’s another ‘magic’ metaphor:

Picture yourself on stage in a contest with 20 professional stage magicians. People skilled in misdirection, sleight of hand, expert manipulation of cards, polished handling of the audience. First off, do you even know any magic tricks? Say you know one lame-ass trick, something that wows the 6-year-old nieces and nephews … how do you think you’ll do against the pros? They won’t even laugh at you. They will IGNORE you. If they notice you at all, they’ll be embarrassed for you.

As for the people we’re facing, they are equally advanced professionals. They have experts in advertising, in business, in emotional manipulation, in military and political tactics. They have multi-billion-dollar corporations on their team. They get together in groups and plan out years-long strategies to control the military, the media, international trade, state and local offices, hell, even your local cops. They also have money, vaults full of it.

If you persist as a hopeful amateur, ganged up with other hopeful amateurs to pursue the Issue of the Day, they will eat you a-fucking-live. You have to stop thinking each issue is a separate issue, that each election is a separate election, that each battle is the main battle and nothing of the future matters.

You have to stop REacting and start PROacting, thinking in decades rather than days or  weeks. Get together with others, decide what sort of future you want – 10 years from now, 25 years from now, 100 years from now – and start working on THAT.

Because you can bet your ass THEY have such plans.

15. Strategy Two: Decide Who You Are

Are you a Bible-believing Christian first, a Constitution-cherishing American second? In other words, are you a Christian-American rather than an American Christian? It’s an important question, and one which Christians in America frequently – in my view – get wrong.

Likewise, are you a first and foremost a feminist-American, a black-American, an LBGT-American, a transgender-American?

Fine, fight your little fight. But prepare to lose.

There is a sociocultural and governmental substrate on top of which Black Lives Matter and feminism and all this other stuff takes place.

Picture us playing tennis in a huge indoor enclosure with dozens of separate courts. You’re over there fighting your battle, I’m over here fighting mine, a dozen other games are going on elsewhere. But meanwhile, the building itself is under threat by a developer who wants to raze it and build condos.

How much does it profit you, how much does it profit any of us, to concentrate exclusively on our individual games? Without the building, there is no game.

In this moment, we’re not feminists. We’re not Black Lives Matter activists. We’re not defending the rights of the poor Muslims, or spilling out our hearts over homeless kitties.

What we’re defending today, right here and now, is the very ground on which all these campaigns are conducted. The ground on which they CAN BE conducted with any chance of success.

And news flash, kids, we just lost one hella big battle. Maybe even the war.

This bit here and now, THIS part, is going to be the heyday of big banks, of international corporations, of oil companies, of mercenaries, of secret overseas bank accounts, of tax avoidance, of surveillance, of openly flouting American law and custom and decency. If you thought it was bad before, with the GOP now in control of America, the barn door is open and the horses are loose.

We people of compassion and kindness – and hell, believers in democracy – have to be just as real. Don’t go imagining that airy-fairy happy shit is just going to automatically happen while you sit back and mellow out. You have to take the world in your hands and MAKE good things happen.

16. Strategy Three: Plan For Dogs in the Manger and False Flags

Do you know that first phrase? —A dog doesn’t eat hay, but he can lie in the feed trough and keep all the other animals away from it, snapping and snarling, protecting his turf, so that the animals who do eat hay can’t get to it. Ha-ha, funny, right? But not to THEM.

So you’re out on the lines with Occupy Wall Street, holding up your sign and feeling good about what you’re doing. If only that damned drum circle would stop, you could actually make your points with the news camera. But the drum circle doesn’t stop, hour after hour, day after day, until you can’t hear yourself think.

But what are you going to say? It’s a public space, right? And everybody has a right to protest in their own way.

Dog in the manger: A thousand dollars says one or more of the people on the drum circle were FBI plants. One or more of the other sorts of activists there to scream and wave signs –Indians! Marijuana activists! – were FBI plants. By the second day, sincere others would show up and the FBI guys could step back and watch the confused, milling free-for-all.

Eventually even the news media – the few who showed up – would be unable to see any point to the whole thing. Dog in the manger: The FBI people weren’t there with any message, but they could keep the Occupy movement from getting their message out.

False flag: Say you’re out in front of City Hall, peacefully demonstrating for more funding for the local library, and someone carrying a ‘Fund Our Library Now!’ poster throws a Molotov cocktail through the window into the mayor’s office and then runs off and vanishes. Who do you think will get blamed? You and your whole group. Hello media shitstorm, bye-bye library funding.

Think stuff like that doesn’t happen? Ha-bloody-ha.

And if you don’t believe someone would do something like that, ask yourself this: Why would they NOT? Because they’re good and honest? Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Expect this stuff. In every major protest movement, especially those that look like they have some chance of success, some of the people around you are going to be government agents. If you don’t believe that, bless your simple little heart, and I hope you have a grownup taking care of you.

But whether it’s FBI agents infiltrating the movement or just plain idiots squealing “No, no, this is all about ME and MY issue!”, there are going to be counter-forces WITHIN your movement. Accidentally or deliberately, they will obstruct, distract, confuse and misinform you and others.

Find a way to deal with it. Press on.

17. Strategy Four: Venn Your Enemies

There really are enemies out there.

But not everybody who fails to agree with you on every single point is simply an enemy.

You know Venn diagrams? – those overlapping circles that show shared and unshared areas?

The Venn diagram comparing religious convictions of me and Johnny Christboy would show very little overlap. His ardent Christianity and my ardent atheism would be mutually exclusive. But the diagram of our political convictions would probably overlap quite a bit.

Well, if he was a conservative Christian of the nutty vicious sort, the overlap would be small. But if he was one of those generous, loving religious people, the shared area of his circle and mine would take up most of them.

After crossing paths with some online feminists of the craziest, meanest goddam sort, I realized I could never call myself a feminist. But our Venn diagrams regarding the rights of women, their safety and choice and equality, would overlap almost completely. The non-overlapping parts would be those bits where they insisted we live in Rape Culture, that every problem in the world is because of men, that women have NO advantages over men, and that if you disagree with any of those points, it’s because you hate women.

(Fair warning: If you think you need to start a war here over this last paragraph, you might as well fuck off now and save yourself the effort.)

I disliked former President Nixon with a deep passion over the Vietnam War, but I give him props for his environmental achievements. And I would have worked with him, gladly, on environmental issues.

I think John McCain is a complete fool for giving us the stinking dumpster fire which is  Sarah Palin, but I’m behind him 100 percent in the investigation of Russian hacking of our election. (If he’s not just doing it to shut down any real investigation, that is.)

The point here is that you can work with people on one subject while disagreeing with them on another. That you shouldn’t tune out anybody completely and forever. You may find you someday need them.

The point is also: Stop attacking allies. Focus on your samenesses and common goals – the large area of overlap – rather than your differences.

18. Strategy Five: Get Personal

The real stuff happens offline. The real stuff happens in person.

I used to go to City Council meetings. At every meeting, on every issue, someone would get up and say something they wanted councilmembers to hear. Their heartfelt conclusions about the issue. How it would affect them. Why they thought it was good, or bad. And in not one of those meetings did I get the feeling that input affected the councilmembers’ decisions.

They’d made up their minds BEFORE the meeting, in discussions with friends and cronies, people they met on the golf course, or in the course of their daily business. A lot of that stuff wasn’t even issue-specific – it was a mass of people around them CREATING A REALITY. “This town has to grow!” “We need law and order!” “If we don’t get that new golf course approved, that new casino approved, that new ski resort approved, tourism will dry up and we’ll all be out of jobs!”

You have to help create that reality. Turn off the computer, get out of your chair, and go to the city or county legislative meetings. Shake hands. Smile. Compliment.

Meet your elected officials personally. Meet the local cops. Meet the people at City Hall, and the County Offices. Make friends with them. Invite them for a hike, or for lunch. Ask them to MC your Boy Scout barbecue. Express an interest in their families, and their health. Care about them. But also, show them your life, help them know you as a person. And talk to them about the issues you care about.

(One question *I* would like to ask every state and local cop, and every member of the military, is “If you were given an order to fire on unarmed American civilians, would you do it?” Not only is it something I would like to know, I think it’s something THEY need to know, well in advance of such an order.)

Bear in mind they’re all human. If you’re in their faces carping at them every day, they’re not going to take that well. The goal is friendly influence. If you can get them sounding YOU out about issues, you’ll know they respect your input.

Two more things.

First: Infiltrate. Don’t assume every person working in City Hall, or the Governor’s office, is in full agreement with everything that gets done there. Hell, Donald Trump’s White House is going to be riddled with people he would consider traitors, but who are actually patriots. If you know any of these people, if you can meet them, let them know you’d like to help them in any way you can – such as getting word out without attribution.

Second: Make a point of meeting your local investigative news reporters. Find the guy or gal who’s been there 30 years and make friends. Invite them to the park for a barbecue, treat them to sushi or a shot of single malt. Give them whatever information you have on local subjects, but also feel them out about what they know. Gain their trust and never, never betray it.

19. Prepare For The Worst

“It’s not what happens, it’s how you react to it.” ~ Jim Rohn

This is an especially bad time to have Trump at the helm. Even aside from the crap he and the GOP are going to pull – and it’s going to be bad – there are forces in the world that don’t augur well for civilization itself, even more than for the United States of America.

Climate change. Peak oil. Overpopulation. Water shortages. Superbugs. Extinctions.

Just when we need good leaders, we have the worst. And we have a media already extremely comfortable with manipulating rather than informing viewers.

We’re going to have to take care of each other. That old lady next door. The nephew who needs money for college. That black neighbor who just moved in. The woman down the hall whose boyfriend beats her. The neighborhood itself, against the drug dealers and thugs.

We’re also going to have to go to the mattresses with the takers and liars.

Imagine if, rather than coming after your Social Security and health insurance, they tried to pass a law that would take guns away from 50 million Americans. Here’s the mindset they’d meet up with: “Yeah, you fuckers are about to learn some whole new lessons in respect.”

The fact is, most members of Congress would never even consider such a law. Because they know that violence would follow, and not a little bit of it. Somewhere out there is someone who would just kill them.

The demographic of retired people, those of us on SS or Medicare, all the vulnerables and the people who care about them, are going to have to figure out where and how to draw our own line.

Speaking of which …

20. Carry a Goddam Flag / Buy a Fucking Gun

Carry a goddam flag. Stop ceding the image of patriotism to the right wing freaks.

Get EVERYONE on your team, at every protest action, to carry American flags. If you’re a military veteran, wear something conspicuous to show that.

Look, we’re not pot-smoking hippies selling peace and love. We’re Americans, and we’re faced with, at the very least, a chute full of crap flowing our way. At worst, we’re facing the end of the American experiment of democracy.

Carry a flag, carry two flags, and wave them like your life depended on it. Because it just might.

Buy a fucking gun. Buy a lot of fucking guns.

Okay, sure, you “don’t like” guns. Fine. But visualize the difference between the Black Rock protestors and the gunny types that took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

The unarmed protestors at Black Rock got police dogs, paramilitary cops, armored vehicles, water cannons and other “non-lethal” weapons fired at them.

The Malheur occupiers were openly breaking federal law, but authorities treated them like it was prom night and they were a bunch of Disney princesses. Hell, the bastards drew down on federal officials with assault rifles, and most of them just walked away.

And did you notice when things changed at Black Rock? When the cops stood down and a truce was declared? THE DAY AFTER veterans showed up and joined in. Why? Because you can shoot water cannons at a bunch of lame-ass Indians in winter, but you don’t dare do that to military veterans. Because 1) it would be really bad publicity, but 2) you don’t screw around with men you already know are willing to go to war.

If you think violence never solved anything, remind yourself of who occupies North America today. Hint: It’s not hundreds of tribes of Native Americans. It’s the descendants of people who were capable of advanced forms of violence.

If every Jew in pre-WWII Germany had a rifle or handgun and the will to use it, you think things would have gotten to the point they did? No way. But take note of how that particular part of history actually was ended – through the assistance of people who were equipped, trained and willing to meet violence and guns with even greater violence, even bigger guns.

There are more of us than there are of them. Really consider that fact.

If guns are legal in your jurisdiction, buy one, get your open carry permit or whatever, and carry the goddam thing to every public event. Learn to use it. Take a firearms safety course. Become a regular at the local firing range. Organize with friends for target practice. Do it.

The alternative is to practice bending over until you can grab your ankles quickly and efficiently when so ordered.

(And yes, if you have kids in the house, don’t be an idiot with the guns. Take every necessary precaution.)

.

Continue for a short list of Postcripts.

 

Trump’s America: How We Got Here

Trump 4At this point in American history, the Democratic Party is a lot like a henpecked husband. Kicked out of the house, he stands on the sidewalk with his meager possessions strewn around him, wondering what just happened, and why. Meanwhile, the GOP is the spiteful wife, eagerly, viciously, turning the kids against him, telling anyone who will listen what a miserable bastard he is, and planning how to take for herself the house, the car, everything they once owned together. The point isn’t just to get all the stuff, it’s to leave him with nothing, to destroy him in every possible way.

Obviously, this didn’t happen overnight. It built up over years.

Here’s how I think we got here.

Just FYI, my observational baseline stretches back to John F. Kennedy. At a fairly early age, I was kicked awake politically by three events. The first was the Cuban Missile Crisis, the standoff over nuclear weapons that had us practicing duck and cover drills under our elementary school desks. The second was the space race with the Soviets, and the grand vision, dear to my science-fiction-loving heart, of Americans going to the moon. The third was the assassination of JFK, announced in mid-afternoon shortly before Thanksgiving break by my sixth grade teacher.

If you’re younger than me, that probably all sounds like ancient history. Dry facts stuffed away in the past that have no bearing on today. But we doddering older people experience it as MEMORY – real events that have had an effect on our lives and the lives of others.

In my memory, at least, it pretty much started with Nixon. Whatever you might think about presidential politics, in the modern era it MOSTLY proceeded with honesty and honor, with some large amount of respect for the powers, limitations and image of the office. But whatever good Nixon did, and there was a lot of it – opening relations with China, establishing the EPA, traveling the world to meet with foreign leaders – was overshadowed publicly by his actions in Watergate, where he oversaw the coverup of GOP operatives breaking into Democratic Party headquarters. Never admitting any wrongdoing, Nixon resigned rather than be impeached. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had resigned earlier amid allegations of bribery, tax evasion and money laundering during his term as governor of Maryland. The two of them had a hostile relationship with the news media for most of Nixon’s term, resulting in an almost paranoid presidency that placed a high value on secrecy and loyalty to Nixon, rather than to the nation.

Note I used the word “publicly” in the previous paragraph. What none of us knew until later was that Nixon started his first presidential campaign – against departing president Lyndon Johnson, and his chosen successor Hubert Humphrey – with an act of pure treason.

In late 1968, Nixon knew there was a pending breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks. Johnson would announce a halt to bombing in North Vietnam and Vietnam and the U.S. would negotiate further agreements in the cooler atmosphere of a cease-fire. That action would bolster the positive image of the Democratic team, possibly cementing a win for Humphrey.

To prevent such a result, Nixon dispatched an aide to talk to the South Vietnamese ambassador, telling him to withdraw from the peace talks until after the election, as he would get a better deal from Nixon. Note that this is not mere conjecture – there were actual tapes detailing the acts of Nixon and others. Nixon not only committed treason in order to win the White House, he deliberately prolonged the war, resulting in further deaths of American troops on the ground in Vietnam.

Nixon actually campaigned with the argument that the Johnson war policy was in shambles because they couldn’t even get the South Vietnamese to the negotiating table. Once in office, he escalated the war with military intervention in Laos and Cambodia, with the loss of an additional 22,000 American lives – quite apart from the lives of the Laotians, Cambodians and Vietnamese caught up in the new offensives – before finally settling for a peace agreement in 1973 that was within our grasp in 1968.

Something especially enraging to me personally, Nixon also oversaw the 1970 murder of four unarmed war protestors, college students, at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard. The National Guard fired 67 rounds into a crowd of unarmed Americans, killing four, wounding nine, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The dead were Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20; Allison B. Krause; age 19; William Knox Schroeder; age 19; and Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20.

So:

Point One: Nixon the secretive, calculating traitor, blessed with callous disregard for human lives. A Republican.

Point Two: Another Republican President, Ronald Reagan, a man famous – and popular – for his homespun, non-intellectual approach to matters of state. Also a man who was, arguably, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

And again, Reagan did a lot of good. Pushing a massive military buildup in the U.S., he helped along the collapse of the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War. But he also helped destroy unions, famously firing more than 11,000 air traffic controllers striking for better wages, better equipment and fewer stress-filled hours. He backed a constitutional amendment favoring prayer in public schools. He kicked off the War on Drugs and ignored the AIDS epidemic.

He also oversaw the criminal covert sale of arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, with the proceeds used to fund the human-rights-abusing Contra rebels fighting against the democratically elected Nicaraguan government. Funding the rebels had not only been specifically outlawed by Congress, it violated international law and breached treaties with Nicaragua. Though Reagan himself emerged squeaky clean from this arguably treasonous act, the scandal resulted in 14 indictments and 11 convictions of members of his staff.

Point Three: George W. Bush, Republican. I have described Bush privately many times as being just about bright enough to run a tire store, and watching him over his presidency, I was continuously amazed that Republicans saw him as an extremely intelligent man who never told a lie, never made a mistake, and whose worst problem as a president was that he was soundly hated by “libruls.”

This rich, privileged frat boy took more vacation time in his first year than any president in history, taking off the entire month of August, 2001, all the while U.S. intelligence agencies were trying to interest him in a report titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”

Shortly after, he presided over the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history. I watched the video of him freezing into immobility in a classroom of second-graders after getting the whispered word, “America is under attack.” His empty face showed not decision and strength, but a profound inability to process what was happening.

He and his team lied America into a second war, with Iraq, on ginned-up evidence, resulting in the deaths of more than 4,000 American men and women, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dead and displaced Iraqis. Also not to mention the huge price tag – estimated at a trillion dollars or more – entirely unbudgeted, of the Iraq War.

Yes, the Iraq War was backed by Congress, but it was a Congress lacking vital information – in fact, operating solely on lies supplied to them by the White House – and forced into a pro-war stance through fears of appearing weak after America was attacked. Lying us into war, the Bush administration was guilty of treason in spirit if not in letter of the law.

Hell, he played golf while we lost an American city, New Orleans, and applauded the limp-dick response – “Heckuva job, Brownie!” – that left 1,833 dead, and 30,000 people trapped in the New Orleans Superdome for five hellish days without water, food or working toilets.

One of the things I especially disliked about Bush was the empty-headed posturing, best illustrated by the “Mission Accomplished” dog and pony show on the USS Abraham Lincoln in May, 2003. Returning from combat operations in the Persian Gulf, the ship was actually held offshore so Bush could make his overly theatrical and expensive stunt of landing in a jet fighter, while a gaudy banner prepared by White House staff was hung as a backdrop to his speech.

My conservative friends, even knowing the facts of the Iraq War, and having seen clearly his administration’s failed rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina, still see him as likeable, intelligent, honest and capable. At worst, they see him as having been taken advantage of by Dick Cheney, or failed by appointees. Any argument about the facts of Bush’s presidency always seem to include “Well, but Clinton, but Obama, but Hillary!”

There has been a progression of betrayal and incompetence in Republican presidencies, probably with the disinclusion of Bush Senior, but GOP White Houses have shown a callous disregard for law, for American ideals, and for American lives, with their right-wing constituency fed a steady diet of false arguments, obfuscations, justifications and outright lies – including insanely vicious attacks on liberal rivals – to keep them firmly on the side of the Right. If you can make your opponent look like a traitor in public, you can actually BE a traitor in private, and less-educated, progressively less rational voters will still love you.

In the mere 10-year reign of Fox News and associated right-wing bum boys such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly, the news media itself has come under attack, being indelibly and probably permanently branded as lying, slanted and untrustworthy. The media has responded by cozying up to the name-callers, moving inexorably rightward, swallowing and rebroadcasting party line attacks on Obama and Hillary Clinton. The result is that, in fact, the news media IS untrustworthy and slanted.

Meanwhile, in a perfect storm of diminished national attention span and a rapid-fire volley of quick-hit memes and catch-phrases on social media, transparently false accusations and half-truths gain ground over actual facts and research.

One huge mistake made on the left is the belief that the instigators of all this stuff are stupid. You’re stupid, they’re stupid, that’s stupid. When in fact, the people pushing it are brilliant at achieving their goal, which is not factuality or truthfulness, but the sparking of strong emotions – fear, hate and paranoia – among their contituents.

Point Four: Republican traitors in Congress. It’s no secret that GOP now values party loyalty over service to their country, working for Obama’s eight years to oppose EVERY SINGLE ACT of the President, no matter what his intent, no matter whether it would benefit American citizens or not. (Hell, they and their voting base are PRAISING Vladimir Putin, after proven interference in this American election!)

Enter the showman, Trump. He’s not Point Five, he’s the QED, the end result of all this.

Like the clumsy magician he was, we could SEE what he was doing, but his main audience, half of America, childlike and unhappy, ready for any distraction from the faked-up horror show which was Obama, saw only the magic. Trump dropped a drape over their already blinded eyes and pulled their emotional levers – “Make America Great Again,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Deport Muslims,” “Build a Wall,” “Bring Back the Jobs,” “Dismantle Obamacare” – and they eagerly applauded and voted.

This was not ALL the doing of the Right. I blame the Left for

1) Swallowing the lies about Hillary – Benghazi, the emails, dishonesty, Wall Street insider, the image of the vicious bitch who would stop at nothing to grab the reins of power, and who has left a trail of dead bodies in her wake.

2) Being stupidly perfectionistic, expecting miracles and settling for nothing less. And yes, if you voted for Bernie or Jill Stein, if you sat out the election in smug protest, if you were one of those who said in your whiny little voice “Well, I’d rather vote for Donald Trump than Hillary!,” this is definitely your fault. You helped it happen, and Trump is YOUR president, you ignorant little self-involved twit.

(There is a third large factor, but it’s not only something quite a bit more difficult to explain, it’s something most of us on the left would flat-out deny. Because there’s no way WE could be wrong about our basic beliefs and goals, right? Whatever, it’s not something I’m going to get into, because I’m sure few would even listen, much less agree about it.)

In the end, I don’t see any way back from this mess. We have a White House soon to be occupied by someone who probably qualifies as a textbook narcissist — literally mentally ill — of no great intelligence, we have a permanently broken trust in media, and we have a tradition of greed and treason at the uppermost levels of government with which those on the Right are wholly comfortable.

Worse, we on the Left keep foolishly HOPING that this or that will save us. Oh, the Electoral College will save us! Oh, the recounts will save us! Oh, Hillary will fight this! Oh, we can do this or that to oppose Trump! We’ll start a petition! We’ll write letters! We’ll win in the end!

Nope. We lost. And I think the roots of that loss go even deeper than I’ve covered here.

The current great hope is that Congress will impeach Trump pretty much as soon as he enters office. But again, nope. I tend to doubt that will happen.

Even if they despise him, he’s a known quantity, a man willing to make deals, to give them pretty much anything and everything they want, as long as he feels he comes out on top. Whereas simple-minded little Bush was a Humvee that could only occasionally be driven here and there by the Right, Donald Trump is a Star Trek transporter that can beam them anywhere. Lacking anything ordinary Americans might recognize as a conscience, lacking any sense of honesty or fair play or American ideals, lacking any desire even to be publicly consistent, he will go anywhere without fear or concern for long-term effects. And the media will let him.

Once they get a handle on how to flatter and appease him, he will be a right-wing dream machine of bills, Supreme Court nominees, corporate favoritism and military buildup. He will dismantle everything Obama has done, he will finally destroy the middle class, even blithely breaking the law to achieve whatever goals his flighty little head sets on. Better yet, he will look away in boredom while they party in right wing ecstasy.

So yeah, we’re screwed. Things look bleak as hell. To me, it looks like civilization itself is on the line.

The ONE hopeful thing I see coming out of this is the situation’s utter hopelessness.

I HOPE Americans will finally understand that we live in a real world, with real-world consequences for our actions, and that the choice before us is utter ruin (and I’m talking Mad Max-level nastiness) or some sort of muscley response – minus the pissy little whiners – that will get us rising up and forcing real change.

I don’t expect it. But I do hope for it.

Petition the Veep: Stop Evil-lution in Schools!

COE 235Ooh, sign me up!

A petition addressed to VP-elect Mike Pence asks for (drum roll, clash of cymbals!) …

A NATIONWIDE MORATORIUM ON THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION IN SCHOOLS

(A “moratorium.” Just until we can figure out, you know, whether it’s really true or not.)

They’re looking for (drum roll again, even louder clash of cymbals)

>>> OMG!! ONE THOUSAND SIGNATURES!!! <<<

—You know, a stunning tidal wave of deep passionate concern from Americans.

Some absolutely verbatim excerpts from the petition:

It is obvious to us that Evolutionism-Darwinism is an anti-Christian atheistic dogma masquerading as science. According to renown (sic) philosopher of science, Professor Michael Ruse blah blah blah blah.

Evolutionists, indeed, themselves speak about their “theory” blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah “the scientific equivalent of the Holy Grail.”

Blah blah blah denying the work of a divine creator in the natural order blah blah blah sweeping theological contention blah blah blah!!!

Blah blah blah blah the Neo-Darwinian paradigm is on the verge of collapse blah blah!!

Blah blah blah! Blah blah its flawed historical narrative of origins which includes telling students that humans are walking sarcopterygian fish! Blah blah blah!!

It ends with:

We therefore urge you to persuade President Trump to issue an executive order imposing a nationwide indefinite moratorium on the teaching of evolution in public schools. For it to be effective, this order should clearly state that it supersedes the decisions of state and district boards of education regarding the science curriculum. Those schools that don’t comply with it should be completely denied federal funding and aid by the Department of Education, just as it is proposed that cities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens ought to be denied assistance. We hope that you will act upon this very urgent matter and uphold truth and the American way of life we hold so dear.

(Yeah, one peep out of you freedom-hating bastards and we’ll jerk your funding so fast your head will spin! But hey, no pressure. We’re all about that “equal exposure and then letting the kids decide for themselves.”)

I’m seeing an opportunity in the comments section.

 

Well … Wow.

President Trump, with A GOP Senate and House, in Washington DC.

Yes, I’m joking about the game of Clue, and what looks like the murder of America.

I suppose I should feel worse, but … I already think civilization is coming to an end. I thought it would be in about 2030, but it looks like things are speeding up. One wonders if those women who ask the police for protection from abusive husbands feel one small moment of satisfaction — “See? I TOLD them he’d come here and kill me!” — in their last terrified minutes.

I’ve already seen people blaming this on Hillary, but I don’t. Hillary was a fantastic candidate suffering from too many lies and smears. She was America’s pit bull puppy, languishing in the animal shelter not for anything she’d done, but because of idiot public perception.

Thank you, Mrs. Clinton, for taking this on. I’m sorry WE let YOU down, and I wish you all the best in the future. Ditto to President Obama and his family in the coming years.

The real blame lies on those people who voted for Donald Trump. Not Hillary, not Democrats, not anything or anybody else. (And I kinda don’t even blame them. They’re reacting pretty much as I expect.)

With two small exceptions.

Bear in mind that I voted for Ralph Nader back in 2000. I defended that choice for years, but I finally realized I — and a lot of people like me — really had handed the White House to that little weasel George W. Bush — whom I have described as “a 110-volt man in a 220-volt office,” and “just about bright enough to run a tire store.” (I don’t think even that highly of Trump.)

But to all those people who voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, yes, thank you for adding the phrase “President Donald Trump” to the national dialogue. Donald is YOUR president, YOUR accomplishment, and I hope you’ll be happy with what you’ve done.

And the news media. You failed us, you miserable bastards. You can’t ever get back the respect and trust you threw away, and oh-my-god, now what?

With Donald in the White House, and a GOP-controlled Congress, we can look for a lot more fracking and fracking side-effects. No action on climate change. The final victory of corporatism over democracy. The faster and further loss of esteem from the rest of the world. An end to public lands, and science education.

A conservative Supreme Court will mean saying bye-bye to same-sex marriage, to women’s reproductive rights, to ObamaCare and maybe even Social Security and Medicare. Not to mention an end to separation of church and state, and probably all pretense of democracy. —But at least we’ll all have plenty of guns, right?

I’m expecting a slow-rolling wave of shock over the next four years, as Trump voters — some of them, not all — realize what they’ve done, and what it’s doing to us. Right now, they must be celebrating big-time (I’m already seeing some crowing from the Jesusians), and I wish them the best during this brief moment of victory.

OWN this moment, Trumpsters. But also own everything that comes after. I don’t think it’s going to be anything like what you wanted, but you bought it. Now you get to unwrap this bitch and try to figure out where the batteries go and how the thing works.

Elsewhere: I’m imagining a great deal of fear right now in the LBGT community, among American Muslims, possibly among Latinos, and probably even among seniors.

To the limits of my poor ability, I’ve got your back. We all have a common enemy — not Trump, but the stupidity behind him, the willful ignorance that made him president — and I like to think we’ll face it together.

Ha — Beta Culture is looking better than ever.

Surprise! —Trump Supporter Dishonesty

I saw this on Facebook.

Hillary FBI meme

I replied to it:

1) Nobody is “rigging” an election. If that were possible, don’t you think the Democrats would CONTROL Congress? (Also, “the fix” is not in for the Clintons. If the fix was in, they never would have impeached Bill Clinton.)

2) The FBI is not “reopening an investigation into Clinton.” The messages were neither sent by nor received by Clinton, did not appear on any computers used by Clinton, did not involve Clinton, and contained no classified info

About every 3 days during this election cycle, a new “story” has appeared, trumpeting >>> THIS IS IT!!! THE SMOKING GUN THAT WILL BRING HILLARY CLINTON DOWN!!!! <<<

… and NOT ONE of those stories has turned out to be anything other than smears and innuendo. Hateful lies.

Listen carefully: The GOP hates Hillary Clinton with a blinding passion. During the 25 or so years they’ve been after her, they have controlled the Senate, the House, the White House or all three for some substantial portion of the time. She’s been accused of everything from murder to selling off American parks to the Russians.

IF IF IF there was anything they could have nailed her on — hell, jaywalking, a simple parking ticket — SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN INDICTED.

The fact that she hasn’t even been charged with anything in all those years, with all those breathless stories about her supposed crimes, is just about rock-solid proof that there have been precisely zero illegal acts.

You’re letting people lie to you — over and over and OVER. Doesn’t that bother you?

Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president. She’s going to beat Donald Trump by a wide margin BECAUSE MORE AMERICANS ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR HER.

Including me. I will be so glad when this election is over and Hillary Clinton is president.

The replies were … typical. Here’s one, by the woman who posted the pic:

LOL was the only response I could muster knowing that when you’re that far gone, there’s no helping you anyway.. But I still find a bit of humor in it.

1. I think he’s a troll.

2. “he” might not even be a he.

3. Only a Hillary supporter has enough time in a working man’s day to write a big long essay like that… On Facebook… On someone’s Facebook who they don’t even know or are friends with. I guess he’s trying to get her in office so his welfare check doesn’t get cut off.

4. I’m not stating my political stance either way, and I’m not here for a debate. I simply found a bit of humor here and decided to share it..So, my most serious question… What kind of person takes a meme so.. seriously!

I wrote a reply:

First, regarding the “big long essay”: I’m a professional writer and editor, and this “big long essay” took very little time.

Second, regarding writing during a “working man’s day”: This was on a Saturday, my day off. I worked on my house, climbing under it and repairing some insulation. I also installed a towel rack in the bathroom and did laundry. Went out to eat. And still had time to write this “big long essay.”

Third, my “welfare check”: I’m 64 years old and have been working — often in blue collar jobs — since I was about 16. Still waiting on that big, sweet welfare check.

Next, that big long essay “on someone’s Facebook who they don’t even know or are friends with.” Besides the fact that it showed up on my own Facebook wall, making it fair game for a reply … lies are lies, and you have to fight them wherever you find them. Otherwise you and everybody you know will have to live in the world they create.

Finally, I don’t get the bit about me being a troll, or “he might not even be a he.” That’s some serious Way Out Of Left Field shit.

A bit later, I added,

Take note that my reply contained facts and solid political analysis, but that all the responses contained nothing but personal attacks. Not one of you made any attempt to refute my reply. Instead you went straight for the insults. Which sort of implies you’re not able to argue with any of it, right?

I came back later to see if there were any replies. My reply had been deleted. I wrote:

I notice you’ve learned to delete replies that embarrass you.

Came back later and that had been deleted too.

Donald Trump & The Adaptive Limit

dead endI’ve recently been toying with the idea that each of us has an “adaptive limit.”

The adaptive limit is that point at which growth and change becomes impossible.

Some people are flexible and adaptable for almost their entire lives. They’re the ones who can take on new ideas, new thoughts, new viewpoints, and not get bent out of shape by them. They can hear arguments that don’t agree with their own and calmly consider them. They can be creative, they can change and grow.

Others have a lower adaptive limit. For these people, new or contrary ideas, new conditions, literally cause a stress reaction. The way they avoid that stress — which might be mere discomfort, or might rise into fear that can verge on panic — is to avoid the new idea or situation.

The adaptive limit can change within one’s lifetime. Education — the gaining of new knowledge or skills — can raise it. Conditions that enhance personal empowerment, such as better diet and physical fitness, can raise it. But various other kinds of of stress — illness, injury, aging, emotional trauma, the death of a loved one, fear, even simple poverty — can lower it, temporarily or permanently.

Those who reach or approach their adaptive limit become less able, sometimes unable, to think about new things. They simply reject them. All they can handle is simple, or simplistic, concepts.

That rejection, by the way, can range from simple refusal to think about a thing to violence — an attempt to destroy the new thing, or the person who embodies it.

The thing is, reaching one’s adaptive limit is probably not something you can hold against a person. For instance, I don’t think people voting for Trump are necessarily evil or stupid. It may be (probably is) that they’ve reached their adaptive limits, and simply can’t think about contrary new ideas. They’ve grown comfortable in that Fox News / Teabagger cradle, and can’t even imagine leaving.

One of the things this means is that calling them stupid or evil is actually counterproductive. It stresses them more and causes them to react with even greater stubborn (or even violent) adherence to whatever position they hold.

Another thing is that if you WANT to lower someone’s adaptive limit — in order to make them easier to control or manipulate, for instance — you just need to scare them, to keep them scared and paranoid. You end up with a bunch of people who are neither creative nor thoughtful. People who will take no chances and who, when in doubt, will default to obedience to traditional leaders or beliefs. Willing drones, in other words.

.

Side Note 1: Nothing I’ve said above implies that you have to enable whatever sort of destructive effect an adaptive limit victim visits on you. You have to stop them, but it’s because of the destruction rather than because you don’t understand their plight.

Side Note 2: Also by the way, I don’t think Donald Trump’s problem is a low adaptive limit. It’s more that, as a child of vast privilege, he’s grown up with stunted empathy and conscience. In short, he’s a rich asshole.

The Hillary Campaign. No, the OTHER Hillary Campaign.

HitleryAs a lifelong wordsmith, I notice the nuances of language — how the words are used, and the sometimes hidden implications behind them.

So I think you should read this:

The Great American Brainwash: Half a Billion Dollars to Turn the Public against Hillary

For some years now, I’ve watched this thing happening out in full public view, wave after wave of attacks on Hillary Clinton. I figured out eventually that there was something deliberate behind it. I didn’t know who, exactly, was doing it, but I had no doubt there was some one person or conservative group operating a coordinated campaign to — metaphorically — assassinate her.

There were no solid claims to wrongdoing, it was more of a whisper campaign. Accusation after accusation, most of them baseless. But it never stopped, never let up.

And I saw the effects. People I knew very well — even Democrats! — were repeating that Hillary was untrustworthy, deceitful, slick, calculating, over-ambitious, cold. Facts supporting those evaluations were thin on the ground, but it didn’t really seem to matter. Once you believed the STORY, you could link her to ANYTHING. Benghazi, emails, selling U.S. uranium to the Russians, murder, laughing about getting a rapist off. No claim was too absurd, no link too remote. She was Killary, Shrillery, Hitlery. The vicious bitch she was, that was something people just KNEW.

Except *I* didn’t know it. For a while I kept digging for the factual grounding on each new claim, but once I figured out the facts didn’t matter, that the thing wasn’t really even about facts, I flipped around and automatically discounted every new claim and story UNLESS there was some sound corroborative evidence. Which there never was.

The whole thing was like … well, like the girl you might have known in junior high school that everybody said was a stinking slut, but you knew her personally and knew she wasn’t anything like that. But you couldn’t get anyone to actually listen to you, because the very act of defending her made YOU smell bad.

My view of Hillary Clinton is based on quite a number of things, but ONE of those things is the fact that this vicious whisper campaign exists. The second I notice a multi-million-dollar ad campaign, that’s the second I start to trust the product less. The product of “Hillary Clinton — Cold, Calculating, Murderous Bitch” is just not something I’m willing to buy.

In the deepest part of me, I know I can’t trust a product sold through lies and emotional manipulation. If you’re manipulating people with flummery and falsehood, if you’re trying to manipulate ME with fear and rage and paranoia, you are SO not someone I want to listen to.

One last thing I’ve said many times:

Fact 1: The GOP hates Hillary Clinton with a blinding passion.

Fact 2: In the years Hillary has been in the crosshairs, the GOP has controlled the White House or Congress or BOTH for some large fraction of that time.

Fact 3: IF IF IF Hillary had done something illegal — even arguably illegal — she would have been arrested and indicted so fast it would make the Roadrunner’s head spin. Even if the charges were flimsy, she WOULD HAVE BEEN charged. And we all know it.

Fact 4: If she hasn’t been charged with something, with anything, it’s not because the fix is in. Read Fact 2 again — the GOP would have pounced on her like a pit bull on a Christmas ham. —It’s because THERE’S NOTHING THERE.

That goes for all the non-criminal accusations. You think she got those four men killed in Benghazi? Well, you’re wrong, for many reasons. You think she conveyed classified information via email? Wrong again. You think she laughed when she got a rapist off early in her legal career? No. Sold uranium to the Russians? Uh-uh. Had her license to practice law taken away? Nope.

What she is, is this: She’s a woman who’s just about to break through the highest glass ceiling. A lot of people don’t like that, not for any reason of fact, but because she’s a woman who’s just about to break through the highest glass ceiling.

But I happen to like that.

I like it quite a lot.

The fact that she’s qualified, WAY qualified, that doesn’t hurt either.

I’m not voting for her because she’s less horrible than Donald Trump. I’m voting for her because she’s good all on her own.

We Are SO F*cking Doomed

Jesus LightSaw this pic on Facebook, with the caption

do you see jesus? type “amen” if you see him

How many typed “amen”? I didn’t go through and inspect every single response, but in the looking I did do — the most recent several hundred responses — every person typed “amen” or something even more goddy.

As of 9:45 p.m. today, the post got 125,177 comments, 310,000 likes, and almost 13,000 shares.

Oh, and Donald Trump just won the primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. It wasn’t even close.

Gah.

On the plus side, I think Hillary is going to crush him. The comedic dynamic of the GOP primary is that the “joke” candidate is kicking the asses of the “serious” candidates. The GOP built this monster, and if he runs amuck and destroys the whole party — while they tear out their hair and scream to the heavens “What have I done!!?” — that’s fine with me.

But still … that he’s getting votes at all is a testament to the utter gullibility of some of you Earth people.

Hey, come to think of it, that light in the clouds looks a lot like Donald Trump! Someone alert Fox News!

Free College? I’m In!

I heard a guy in Subway a couple of years back loudly ranting about public schools. He finished with “They want us to pay to educate other people’s kids! That’s how you destroy a country. That’s how you bring down America.”
 
He was talking about PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
 
I had this brief happy vision of a giant Monty Python thumb coming down from the ceiling and just crushing him into jelly. Silly ninny. Those young people — other people’s kids — are the ones who will eventually shoulder the load of making the world work. Not just doing all the physical and mental labor, but learning about the world, understanding it, and making decisions about it. They will be tomorrow’s movers and shakers and VOTERS. Tomorrow’s doctors and inventors and scientists and, hell, DMV workers.
 
Having them educated — as opposed to ignorant and helpless — is a damned good thing. Having them educated a LOT is a double-damned good thing. That part of my taxes that goes toward education — as opposed to, say, military spending or giving tax breaks to big corporations — oh boy am I happy about that.
 
This business about free college that’s come up lately — I see people reacting to it as if it’s some monstrous idea proposed by people who hate America. But I can’t help but think that investing in the minds of the people who will someday soon run the country and some significant portion of the world, that would be a good thing.
 
Yes, somebody has to pay for it. But no, it’s not the sort of point-of-a-gun robbery some people are making it out to be. Education is not an Xbox or a Ford that starts to lose value the day you take it home. It’s not you paying for your neighbor’s above-ground pool. It’s an INVESTMENT IN THE WORLD, one that pays off and pays off and pays off, over and over, for all the time to come.
 
I’d rather live in — and grow old in — a society filled with as many educated people as possible.
 
So: Free college? Yeah, count me as a supporter.