Own Best Interests (2019Sep19)

Sunday, September 15, 2019                                            5:09 PM

Own Best Interests   (2019Sep19)

Decades ago, we had already settled the argument over right and wrong with such things as Social Security, Immigration, and De-segregation. And as for Human Rights, America wasn’t just for them, we were pretenders to the Champion of Human Rights.

Somehow, we’ve devolved from that point, through the Reagan Right-turn, into a Capitalist Autocracy where these ‘settled’ issues had now the old one-two: both amnesiac re-booting of Hate as a ‘new idea’, and questioning whether problems such as racism and sexual assault even exist. (Hint: they do.)

If (1) we’re the richest country on Earth and (2) we have only a handful of citizens hoarding the majority of that wealth—then the proof that these fuckers run the show is in the fact that they just got a tax break—from an ineptly unfit joke of a ‘president’ and a confessedly-corrupt Republican Party.

Conversely, you could try explaining why a few thousand Americans own every. fucking. thing.—and that’s as it should be. But don’t try that with me. I was born at night, but…

People warned about all this stuff. Sure. But money eventually wore down individuals who had ‘pieces’ of the responsibility, until all responsibility was gone. Mass media being controlled by corporations—especially news, and that which dresses in ‘news’, such as FOXnews, eliminated the foundation of free speech—a shared reality.

People warned about the environment—especially the impact of petroleum combustion on the atmosphere—for over a century. And you will still find rich people who claim that Climate Change is a hoax—but no poor people.

People warned about opening the floodgates to campaign financing—and industry-lobbyists having more influence than voters. But we let it go, and now a drooling idiot sits in charge of the Free World.

What frustrates about Donald Trump the most isn’t the bullshit he does—it’s the traitorous Republican-majority Senate that refuses to say ‘boo’ about any of it. These are the same prissy-pantses who still pretend to have a fainting spell whenever they mention Bill Clinton getting blown in the White House—the same jack-asses who fought for decades against Healthcare reform and are still mad that they lost that fight.

You could pooh-pooh Socialism all you wanted, back in the day. The news didn’t report on the systemic racism and sexism—and a younger Capitalism still had plenty of room for growth. The digital age had barely gotten started. But now—now you’ve got low wages, student debt, income inequality, national debt, and a recent middle-class tax increase—socialism doesn’t sound so much like poison these days.

Let’s face it—nobody’s getting rich in America. The malls are all ghost towns and if you want to start a new retail business, you have to go through Mr. Bezos’ little shop. You can make your own demos today, but the age of the rich rock star has passed. China and India are cranking out new everything, including entrepreneurs—and they have the hunger. Plus, they can get rich without coming here, now—so there’s that.

Strangely enough, Capitalism is a luxury we can no longer afford. Money is costing us. Wealth concentrated in the hands of the few (with those few fixated on the status quo) paralyzes our ability to adapt to new information, to adapt to change.

And this is what’s so toxic about blind USA-boosting. We chant USA! USA!,  and threaten to flatten anyone who disses America. But that pride is misplaced—it should be pride in what our fathers and mothers and forebears did. We have done nothing to be proud of since we fell spellbound into the GOP’s siren song of an ‘established America’ that required no change, no maintenance—and certainly no re-thinking.

Hence, the increasing popularity of Socialism—when the rich are the problem, just take their money in wealth-taxes. But it’s not that simple. America is a car doing 80 on the interstate—fixing it on the fly is dangerous and difficult.

All of this, however, is nothing compared to the problem of forming a more-perfect union, using democracy, when the wealthy few have taken the truth hostage (along with all the communications/entertainment industry) and they are busily spreading false propaganda to citizen-voters who have little enough education to start with. These voters then proudly vote against their own best interests.

That is a problem so titanic that Trump’s ‘presidency’ is merely one symptom of it.

The Humane Thing (2019Aug20)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019                                       8:37 PM

The Humane Thing   (2019Aug20)

Technology creates a world that requires sensible, responsible behavior. Humanity cannot be confined to sensible, responsible behavior. Thus it follows that we humans will misuse technology until we do something that cannot be reversed—and we all die.

It used to be theory. Now, it is staring us in the face. The Russians have created some kind of radioactive cloud (not for the first time) and the glaciers are melting in days, rather than years. Earth’s major coastal cities could be underwater in as little as five years. Heat waves and droughts are decimating global food production. Habitats are vanishing.

The question arises: What’s wrong with humanity? Why can’t we be confined to sensible, responsible behavior?

Well, for one thing, you can’t control reproduction. Anything we might do to regulate motherhood would make us less than human. But, more importantly, humans thrive under struggle and sicken under civilized luxury. Humans, like other animals, have their issues with captivity. And what is civilization but a set of rules repressing animal urges, a cage of communal behavior?

Civilized societies will never be able to defend themselves against harsh societies that keep humans on their more-animal level of hunger and violence. Which is why I always advocate world charity—if we let others starve, we’re just breeding terrorists that hate and resent our security and comfort.

But charity isn’t enough—education and public health maintenance are what lift a society into development. And it’s hard to teach children to be thinking persons when their parents have raised them to be ‘survivors’ of a dangerous environment.

Besides, human don’t even have the sense to share their wealth with their neighbors. One need not visit a third-world country. Go to New York City, go to a million-dollar-a-year luxury apartment—then step outside, to the hell-hole that has you tripping over homeless bodies.

We talk about being ‘humane’—that’s a stupid word—it’s not human behavior, it’s what human’s rarely do.

And males—being born of women and then turning up their noses at females, dead certain they’re stronger and smarter. Have you ever heard anything so stupid? Humanity is so suicidally mindless that it’s hard to believe we can be so smart as individual units.

Fun (2019Aug03)

Saturday, August 03, 2019                                                12:31 PM

Fun   (2019Aug03)

When I was sixteen, and my friends all laughed at me for taking stuff too seriously, I understood. Life is for living, nothing was ever achieved by worrying, etc., and so forth—I understand.

But we’re all in our sixties, now. I’ve got two subsequent generations that I feel a responsibility towards. Not to mention—I’ve had a very full life, lots of adventures, lots of ups and downs. If I was anxious to loosen up and have a little fun, I should have gotten to it by now—and I think I have.

Plus, our planet is on a hot plate. And our democracy is led by the kind of evil incarnate that usually requires a military dictatorship. And I’m old, I’m sick, and I’m in a lot of pain.

So, my response to all the ‘chill out’s, the ‘be cool, brah’s, and the ‘lighten up’s, is as follows: “Eat a bag of dicks.”

Besides, if you have matured to the point that you feel the intensity of intention and the passion of character—you know that I’ve been having ‘rad’-est possible life, all along….

Better Than All Y’all (2019Aug01)

Thursday, August 01, 2019                                               1:12 PM

Better Than All Y’all   (2019Aug01)

Obama committed political suicide to give all of us the Affordable Care  Act. The Republicans lied so monstrously about the ‘dangers’ of the ACA that you would have thought ‘affordable health care’ was a nuclear device. They lied about Obama not reviving the economy (when they had totaled it), about the ‘risks’ of health care—even about where Obama had been born.

Now Trump is running on Obama’s recovered economy, while Trump’s only contribution has been Destabilization: shutdowns, tariff wars, border closings, etc.

The Democrats turned tail after the ACA was signed, abandoning support for Obama. Their voters followed suit, bringing us the GOP Congress we’ve suffered under, since long before Obama’s term ended—even before his reelection.

Now, with Trump’s impeachment and imprisonment our nation’s top priority, the Democrats have found a way to chew up air-time, distracting us from this entirely present problem, by talking about an election that’s over a year away.

Obama gave us Obamacare—he had damned little support from Democrats before or after. And he had a rabidly partisan Congress barring any of the rest of his agenda, for the six years of his office remaining. Of course, the Republicans are still blocking any immigration legislation that might ease their favorite crisis.

But to see the Democrats go on stage last night and start singing from the GOP hymnal made me realize that these people are, with some exceptions, only barely more ethical than Trump is.

You could vote for Warren. Or you could accept that democracy, in a nation of idiots, is worse than a dice throw.

And, P. S.—all that fear-mongering about death-panels & national bankruptcy that would attend the ACA—you don’t hear that anymore, do you? In fact, you hear Dems and Reps alike talking about how we make it better, don’t you? That’s because Obama gave the American people what they needed, as best he could.

And you Democrats are cowards, at best. And you Voters—given a choice between HRC and the racist, sexist pig, in your infinite wisdom, picked the pig.

You don’t need the opposite of the pig, you need the next nearest to Obama. And that would be Warren.

They Hate Trump’s Country (2019Jul20)

Saturday, July 20, 2019                                            1:08 PM

Mandatory Credit: Photo by J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock (10337288m) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, . Washington, USA – 15 Jul 2019

They Hate Trump’s Country   (2019Jul20)

The funniest thing about Trump is when he forgets what a nightmare, bull in a china shop, foul-mouthed bully he’s been, and starts talking about someone else being a ‘disgrace’. This is where the limits of Trumpism start to show through.

Trump is so clearly unconcerned with anyone other than Trump, so quick to condemn others and excuse or deny his own wrongs, that he really should stay away from the more ethics-oriented insults and stick with straight belligerence.

This is a symptom of narcissism—Trump slams anyone who doesn’t observe ‘decorum’, while insisting that decorum doesn’t apply to him. That’s how he can curse, then call others foul-mouthed; he can lie and call others liars; he can joke at will (especially ‘after the fact’) but no one else gets any poetic license, nor any other escape from their exact syntax. It’s fair, ‘cause it’s unfair—get it?

Don’t confuse State & Religion, or Facts & Faith. Don’t confuse teachers with salespeople. A teacher teaches what they know—a salesperson tells you want they want you to think.

That is why someone such as Senator E. Warren can seem so earnest in her public speaking—and Trump equally so. They are both working very hard—at two different jobs.

Trump recently said of four Congresswomen, “they hate our country”. The use of the possessive ‘our’ is mad/genius. Trump lives in his own sick fantasy-world—and in that world, perhaps these ladies truly are enemies of his country.

Out here, in reality, they are vital components of our democracy—as indicated by the fact that all four were elected by the people in their districts. If Trump is under the delusion that those in Congress never criticize the Administration, he should crack a book.

If, however, his point is that women of color should never find the temerity to raise their voices in the direction of his fat white ass—that then, is a bigot of an orange color—as the saying goes. And that is clearly what that demented old cracker meant by his tweets and ‘comments’ at his nazi-rallies.

The Republicans stand behind this nightmare-of-an-ethics-quiz, because they share a delusion that ethics is embarrassing in their field—a sign of naiveté. They take their cue from Wall Street, where laughing at Justice is chapter and verse of their hierarchical tribalism.

The Democrats boldly commit hari-kari in the name of ethics, just to remind people that there is such a thing—look at Al Franken. But career suicide is a limited and unwieldly weapon—I don’t think the Dems get the credit they deserve.

Al Gore didn’t tear us apart for two years over his lost election—and HRC certainly had ammunition to go to court with, were she so self-involved—but she didn’t, either. By their acts ye shall know them.

Compare that to Republicans: the president, the cabinet, and the speaker of the senate (and his wife, in the cabinet)—a bunch of bald-faced scofflaws and scum, of which there never was such a collection of skin-crawling depravity and corruption. They are appalling—nothing else can be said of them.

Except that, for them (if not their country) those four Congresswomen should certainly be seen as their enemies—he’s got that much right.

Recent music:

Recent Poem & Illustration:

The True Nature of Art (2019Jul06)

Saturday, July 06, 2019                                            7:46 AM

The True Nature of Art   (2019Jul06)

I’ve had a life-long struggle to understand the true nature of Art. In one way, I see art as an intuitive action being spurred by a sense of passion or grandeur. I’ve practiced ‘outsider’ or ‘neo-folk’ art all my life, with a few exceptions.

I see my quandary more clearly nowadays—native art and ‘artifice’ are as different as night and day. To grow beyond native impulse requires artifice—the grand painters and great composers of old were all accomplished in their craft. Their emotional manipulations were so effective that art, today, is an important investment—whether talking Disney copyrights, Prince’s catalog, or original Van Goghs.

I use the terms ‘artifice’ and ‘emotional manipulation’ because folk art is far more the candid expression of the maker’s feelings, through use of wood, paint, sound, etc.—whereas, serious artists recollect such impulses, whilst considering how to evince feeling from the audience, resonant with that experience or impulse.

Put simply, a folk artist is all heart, flailing at his opponent, while a pro is dancing about, considering where to place the next jab. One obsesses, the other succeeds.

Which calls to mind the category of ‘craft’—in craft, the maker’s love is for the process—the carver’s chair or the potter’s vase, while beautiful, are not works of pure art. Thus craftworks do not shout of love—they proclaim only the personality of the lover.

And I felt this limitation often—while drawing a picture or attempting a poem—that certain labors of love show the love—and some only show the labor.

Conservative Talk (2019Jul03)

Wednesday, July 03, 2019                                                12:10 AM

Conservative Talk   (2019Jul03)

This Fourth, Trump is having a Commie-style Phallus Parade down the middle of DC—and nothing would be sweeter than that it should include “Impeach!” signs and chants, all through the crowd. Maybe we could get some of that “Good people on both sides” action going? I kid—but seriously, Trump is a traitor to his Oath of Office.

Trump, like an abusive father, is nauseatingly cloying when he puts on his good-person mask and pretends to true, human feelings. In a way, Trump’s ‘celebratory’ speeches are his own personal ‘shit-eating grin’.

He’ll talk about ‘great things’ in a way that makes obvious he’s focusing on himself, as he expounds on said ‘greatness’—and on his comfort, knowing that reality continues to conform to his bratty little whims—at least, on FOXNews, and in the Senate.

The RNC just proclaimed it collected more Trump re-election campaign donation money, from more people, than any Democrat candidate. The Mad Media, still eager to parrot Trump’s tweets and lies, couldn’t wait to break the story.

But I take a longer view. I’m content to wait until it’s exposed as bullshit ‘accounting’, possibly even an illegal conspiracy to launder foreign cash through domestic citizens (you know, like they’ve done in several elections, including 2016).

And who can blame them?—in a world this wired, a Conservative has little purchase on reality. To some extent, a modern Conservative supports Armageddon as their endgame—it’s the only result that won’t exclude them, making them obsolete; won’t blame them for a climate disaster; and won’t ask them to modify their ideas of who deserves respect.

But let’s be honest—once desperation reaches such extremes, only extremists hang on. And extremists make an extremely loyal voter-base, especially if they’re kept just as poor and miserable as possible. Catch-22 doesn’t confine itself to the military.

I Vote Maybe (2019Jun17)

Monday, June 17, 2019                                            9:47 PM

I Vote Maybe   (2019Jun17)

Our governments wait until things go wrong, then, argue over what to do. I’d like a lot less telling me what I’m not cleared to know—and a lot more telling me what the hell they’re doing to earn their salaries and, more importantly, my vote.

How come I’m in my sixties and my government is still without any solutions for any number of problems which presented themselves when I was a young schoolboy, decades ago? That’s not government—that’s a protection racket.

I hear reports of studies showing that our government responds not to voters, but to lobbyists and contributors (as if you can find daylight between those two things). This seems to have evinced no shame, nor reaction of any kind, from elected officials.

This disconnect between our vote and our influence is as disabling as a lack of democracy itself. Elections cannot be PR battles, with one side fighting truth with lies—or, worse yet, both sides inventing their realities.

Elections have to go back to policy promises, and whether or not they are kept. Otherwise, we can just skip the popularity contest and let the fat cats have their way—that philosophy has been marching us all toward perdition since the 1980s. Why stop now?

Can we really be in the 21st century, when humanity is in danger of global habitat collapse, just from our peace-time activities, and we have a crazed con-man for president—and he thinks the world is still small enough to take an extra war or two. When do I wake up? Is all mankind’s genius to be laid in the laps of drooling troglodytes?

Garden of Eden (2019Jun03)

Monday, June 03, 2019                                            1:12 PM

Garden of Eden   (2019Jun03)

I think about the birth of civilization: hunter/gatherers finally figure out how to plant seeds in a single spot, then grab all the grain and store it all in clay structures that prevented rot and pilfering by vermin. This surplus of food creates leisure. It creates theft. It creates military struggle and political power.

All during that time, there were surely those who mourned the loss of simplicity—the loss of the world as a garden to be walked through. They no doubt had jokes: “Food doesn’t taste the same if you don’t find it yourself”, and so forth. I would have either been one of those people, or envied their independence from the establishment.

The natives and early settlers in North America were aware of black ooze that stood on the ground in some places. Nothing ever grew there and sometimes it even burned. Had they known that certain men planned to pump this gunk from the earth and spread it all over the ground, they woulda probly kilt the guy.

Yet only thirty years or so would pass before the popularity of the automobile allows city streets to lose their carpet of horse dung—making petroleum seem very much an agent of cleanliness. It would be another fifty years before the smog and acid rain made their presence felt—and Joni complained about the cement coatings—when petroleum would return to villain status.

When I wrote code in the Eighties, it was a nerd thing. It had to be explained to everyone because it was very demanding and intellectually challenging. There were even two levels of competency—clerical training showed one how to use a running data-entry program. Managerial training included knowing how to turn the machines on and start the programs running.

When the graphic interface (Windows and mice) debuted, I thought it was crazy—but I didn’t realize that it’s most important use was hiding the technical stuff from the average user. I’m sure the hardware nerds felt the same way about me—buying my breadboard pre-chipped and soldered and wrapped in a metal case called a PC.

The weirdest part of all this development was that all those nerds with all that dusty algebra and chemistry and physics in their heads—they were required for the creation of today’s ‘e-verse-net-web’—but now they are the Joseph Henry’s.

Joe Henry was America’s first great nerd. His work with electromagnetic induction paralleled Michael Faraday’s. It’s a historical factoid that Henry’s work in Albany, NY and Faraday’s work in London were so neck-and-neck that, while Henry’s notes show an earlier discovery, Faraday’s published paper, weeks later, makes him the hero to this day.

Henry didn’t care. I mean, he cared, of course he cared—but looking like he did was not the thing, back then. Anyhow, he kept working. But he was never quick to publish or patent—he was an idealist (at least publicly). Joseph Henry was the first to use electricity to make a bell ring across the room. He demonstrated his switches and wiring publicly, and to fellow scientists, including one Sam Morse—he even leant him equipment samples.

Morse never returned those samples—they were used as the guts for Mr. Morse’s famous Telegraph. And Morse definitely filed a patent. He wasn’t the only one. Another guy, O’Reilly, sued Morse, claiming the invention for himself. Joseph Henry rather muddled things, when called to testify on Morse’s behalf—he was more interested in pointing out his own contributions to Morse’s work (which were, truly, most of it) and explaining that he was too busy being a scientist to be filing patents or be a businessman.

Thus ended scientific naiveté in America—Joseph Henry became the head of the Smithsonian and, upon his death, had the most well-attended funeral in Washington D.C. He was a respected professor and experimenter, beloved by many—but all the profits went to less idealist men, men who saw no need to include the creator in their financial plans.

My point being that science in America is always accepted grudgingly and with derision. Acceptance is always followed by scientists being marginalized, greedy men swooping up the profits, and Americans becoming addicted to some new convenience for which they don’t even know who to thank.

Think of the perfidy—the sheer stupidity! A group of the world’s most brilliant physicists and engineers design and build the first atomic bomb. Then they hand it over to someone as bullheaded and ignorant as a politician. Smarter people than scientists might have seen this as an unsafe experiment to conduct upon our species.

When Visual Basic first hit the shelves, business-guys started coming up to me saying, yeah, I code, too. Ok, bub—yeah, you code. There was a magazine article around that time—it said it was okay that these people were coding in ignorance because, if it wasn’t right, it wouldn’t compile. O, good—nothing to worry about, then….

Businesses are so used to doing this that the first thing they ask a scientist employee to sign is a release of all ownership of any intellectual property or patents their work produces. The second thing is an NDA—so they can’t discuss being ripped off so egregiously amongst themselves.

We are not the species that stopped using petroleum as soon as we realized its dangers—we are the species that kept using petroleum right up until it killed us all. It is amazing that we lasted this long.

Can you imagine living in a world full of technology, full of pollution and toxic waste, with near-Earth orbits crowded full of satellites and space stations—and voting for some slob who tries to pass off his ignorance as an ‘opinion’? Must we finally admit that people haven’t enough self-control to fine-tune and perfect the technoscape they’ve created? Is Capitalism really the problem—or is Capitalism just the expression of human violence in ritualized form?

I’m still waiting for the Disney ending—when we are saved from ourselves by a brilliant team of scientists. But I’m afraid we’re doomed by our insistence on someone else being brilliant.


More Damning or More Embarrassing? (2019Apr22)

Monday, April 22, 2019                                          2:44 PM

More Damning or More Embarrassing?   (2019Apr22)

As the damage gets worse, we begin to see more clearly how the enemy operates. We have the media, which makes a game, a contest, and a skit premise of every reported factoid (of which there are shamelessly few). For-profit ‘news’ is not designed to do what serious people do—sit and have a think. And, by never doing that, they create the illusion of a world where everything is a game show and the only enemy is silence.

Then we have the Republicans, who have determined that America = Cash—and everything else is meant to maintain the existing elite and a status quo that inexorably slips through their fingers. The Republicans don’t just eschew ethics—they openly deride ethics as the mark of a pencil-necked weakling.

Unfortunately, we also have the Democrats, who have the upper hand now only because of the horror-show the Republicans have become. Nearly twenty have declared for a presidential race that’s a year-and-a-half away—when many of them should be too actively busy with an overdue impeachment to think about anything else. Senator Warren came out and basically said if we don’t impeach, we condone—we become complicit and Trump becomes what America stands for. I have to agree.

I bought the Mueller e-book transcript for $2.99 and read chunks of both volumes—it is unpleasant reading. If I were Trump, I would find the entire report extremely embarrassing—getting off due to a combination of ignorance of the law, laughable incompetence, and outright disregard for his orders.

Luckily Trump doesn’t feel shame like humans do—I believe he’s already tweeted that the report is ‘all lies’. Since the report undoubtedly includes Trump’s written responses to questions, this is one of many instances where Trump inadvertently condemns something he’s a part of—just part of that crazy charm he has. What a rascal.

But, aside from all that embarrassingly air-headed hijinks surrounding Trump’s efforts at Obstruction, there’s also Volume One, which reads (and I’ll paraphrase) as follows: “Trump-guy 1 did criminal act. Trump-guy 2 acted as enemy agent. Trump-guy 3 lied to a bank. Trump-guy 4 is a fucking traitor for money. Etc.” –or something to that effect. You get the idea. But Trump didn’t.

Apparently, Trump had no idea that everyone on his campaign squad was a traitor or an embezzler. When he found out, he did his best to use Presidential powers to shield his buddies from justice. Plus, he was working the Trump Tower Russia deal the whole time—and lying about it.

So, case closed. Or, not really, because there are fourteen on-going investigations, thirteen of them secret, about which we don’t even have any dirt. I seriously doubt that those cases will ameliorate what is already public condemnation, in black and white, from the redacted Report. So, case closed, on the face of it. For any Democrat to argue now that there is a political upside to letting Trump finish his term unimpeached—well, given recent events, I’d guess he’s being paid by Putin, too.

Watch Your TV Show (2019Mar24)

Sunday, March 24, 2019                                          6:35 PM

Watch Your TV Show   (2019Mar24)

There’s a running cliché among today’s politicians: ‘We can’t get anything done if we don’t get elected (or re-elected) first’. They devote huge amounts of time to fund-raising phone calls. They basically have to buy in to the popularity-contest aspect of politics—and tell themselves that Election itself is axiomatic.

If, however, we remember that everyone is replaceable, we can imagine a candidate that cares more about what he or she stands for, and plans for, than whether or not they get elected. Wouldn’t it be funny if a candidate won on the issues alone—sans PR wave, sans stadium rallies and hat sales?

How, you may ask, would they rebut attack-ads without any media budget? They wouldn’t. They would tell reporters it wasn’t true (or was true) and hope that people saw a smear-job when one was aired. They would use the Internet and Facebook to make public statements and forward policies, for free. Voters would say to themselves, “At least this person isn’t wasting millions on worthless commercials”.

Would they lose? Sure. They already have been losing—although, on that score, I’d have to say our third-party candidates are all one-trick ponies, equally unprepared to address the problem of modern democratic self-governance. But the real question is: Would they always lose?

Can people learn to look at the results after elections, instead of focusing on the empty campaign rhetoric before elections? Why even have campaigns, when everyone knows that rule one is: ‘Say anything—no one expects you to follow through’?

I have to laugh when I see pundits on cable discussing what the voters will be sensitive to, or averse to, from Democratic candidates. This after half the country didn’t vote, a quarter voted for a pervert, and slightly more than a quarter voted for HRC, who ‘lost’ anyway! How can anyone look at Trump and, with a straight face, say that any Democrat is too far in the other direction? Or, for that matter, how can any democracy led by Trump claim any judgement at all in its voters?

Voters? More like little children, being lied to and led down the primrose path to destruction. America’s success has made its people lazy and ignorant—and America’s rich and powerful are corrupting that success into a sleazy money pit we’ll all be screaming to emigrate from, soon enough. Go on, go back to watching your TV show. What do you care?

Entitled To (2019Mar14)

Thursday, March 14, 2019                                                3:30 PM

Entitled To   (2019Mar14)

If I harbor bigotry deep in my secret self, I need to remember that I am no better or worse than those whom I condescend to. Whatever disdain I have for others, I had better be prepared to feel that same disdain for myself, at some point. If I feel entitled to impose on others, it is only a matter of time when I’ll find myself being imposed upon against my wishes, or even my consent.

In other words, if I find myself a Trump supporter, cheering on his willful ignorance and code-word hatreds, I must be prepared for him to be impeached, for he, and his family and friends, to all go to prison, and for Democrats to take control of political power for the next year or two.

But do not fret. The Republicans survived Nixon, Iran-Contra, opposition to Women’s Lib, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and most other humanitarian memes, Dubya’s ‘Whoops’ War, the 2008 Financial Disaster, and Nazis in Charlottesville. People will forgive Republicans anything—they save their bitterness for Democrats’ failings.

Pussy-Grabber himself will ultimately fade from our daily lives—only to be replaced by even more insidious evils and more unconscionable elitism. The world moves ever forward, in its good—and its bad.

The only thing that really excites me is the possibility of someone who can make voters support a positive change—against all the partisan lie-mongering and media over-dramatization and late-night comedians’ glib dismissals—to fire the minds of all voters, at least enough to get them to show at the polls every year for the next ten years—‘appointment politics’.

Not like Trump—not with crowd-pleasing, simple-minded shit from a bull—but with algorithmic goals meant to better everyone, in spite of all news-items and conversational currency bouncing from day to day. Plans for workable and enforceable transparency in government, plans to rein in corporate entitlement—and replace with workable regulation and enforceable compliance—particularly in Finance and Petroleum. Maybe even a National Board of Science that can settle down some of this pesky, flat-earther-level, willful ignorance. I don’t know…. psychotherapy for the Trumps? There’s a lot of good waiting to be done—waiting for the greedy status quo to take their hands off our throats.

Taken Advantage Of (2019Mar11)

Monday, March 11, 2019                                        2:50 AM

Taken Advantage Of   (2019Mar11)

Notice how the media and the Republicans are already poisoning the well of the Democrats’ field of 2020 presidential candidates? They show poll figures that purport to overwhelming support of the ‘moderates’, Biden or Booker. They ‘explain’ that the country is afraid of going too far left.

I call bullshit. First of all, any constituency that can vote in Trump has lost all credibility in terms of judgement or moderation. Secondly, if the Dems roll back the recent Tax Bribes to the Rich, they can spend trillions on infrastructure and social services like health care—and it won’t be very much different, economically (except for a few moping billionaires and CEOs).

I kid, of course. The trouble with Democrats is that they will actually take responsibility for the national budget—and roll back those new tax-cuts without spending as much in the left-ish direction. And the Republicans will have no trouble depicting any plans to pay for liberal programs as an attack on Capitalism. (It’s ridiculously easy to be the bad guy.)

But let’s discuss it. AOC suggests taxing billionaires on their net worth. I can hear the wheezing laughter of old white men in their leather club chairs—yet consider this: 99% of the people in this country live on their net paycheck. Their salaries virtually are their families’ net worth—and they certainly get taxed on it.

There is nothing that says Capitalism is required to be unfair. Why should the super-rich’s assets remain undisturbed just because they have more than anyone else? In a way, this is actually stupid. So why do we laugh at AOC’s notion? Not because she’s wrong—but because the rich make the rules in this democracy.

It’s bad enough the fat cats have all the power of money. Why do we insist on voting only fat cats into all the authority of elected office, as well? Do we like being taken advantage of? Is that it?

Day After Women’s Day (2019Mar10)

Sunday, March 10, 2019                                          5:29 PM

Day After Women’s Day   (2019Mar10)

I been thinking about how many ways women have had to fight. They had to fight to wear pants. To smoke a cigar. To own property. To inherit property. To have a job. To vote. To walk alone in public. To have a bank account. To get fathers to financially support their own deserted children. To get this job-women-can’t-do; to get that job-women-can’t-do; to get the other job-women-can’t-do.

You’d think men would be embarrassed by their terror at the thought of female agency. You’d think men would have the sense to include women in their ruling over the earth—two heads always being better than one—and a heterosexual pair being among the most deadly powerful examples of that aphorism. But men are people—and that means we are fucking idiots.

Look at the current Congressional Hearings on changing the military’s code with respect to male superior officers who use that code to get away with rape, etc. Now, if you’ve seen even one tenth the amount of action movies I have, you know how the U. S. military invariably emphasizes its Honor, especially during training and indoctrination.

So where is the honor in sexual assault? How can any soldier commit it? How can any of the others abide it? So, is the ‘Honor’ stuff bullshit—or is it poor training and indoctrination?

And how can we trust these animals to protect us—when they don’t even protect their own? It’s just common sense. But you watch that hearing and you’ll see an ocean of minutiae and a phalanx of obstructors ready to explain why you’re wrong to worry—but that’s just par for their course, isn’t it?

And, No, I am not bashing the military—I’m bashing the corrupt government mismanagement of our military. When the military was told to go diverse, they went diverse—they are not the problem. They just need a strong voice giving them orders—orders manifestly based on human dignity.

And wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we had such a thing in our government, as well? Wouldn’t it be incredible to have leaders who told big business and the banks to wait and see, to have leaders who told refugees: the more the merrier, to have leaders who told us what we needed to hear, trusting us to understand the difference between a scary problem and the person who points the way out.

A leader like that might finally give women their last victory: agency over their own bodies. Ooooo…Scary! Maybe next International Women’s Day….

God Loves You (2019Mar10)

Sunday, March 10, 2019                                          1:44 PM

God Loves You   (2019Mar10)

The God that you believe in loves you dearly and has infinite mercy. But there is an important problem here on Earth that only you can fix. I’ve never discussed your God before, because I don’t pretend to know anything about God. But there are tons of people who will tell you about God until they’re blue in the face—as if they knew more than you or I.

There are biblical scholars that know more about the bible or the torah or the quran, but that doesn’t make them God experts. The plain fact is that no one is a God expert. Also, no one has returned from the after-life with a clear description—so no one can lay claim to After-Life expertise, either.

We can know only what our senses tell our brains. God and the after-life, by their very definition, have no evidence—so they are unknowable. You can have faith in God, but you cannot know God. Therefore, everyone and anyone who talks with ‘authority’ about God’s will—is fooling themselves or (far more likely) fooling you.

We face the unfortunate evidence that what attracts many to ministries is the ‘authority’ vested in them by ‘Godliness’—used by religious leaders the world over, to prey upon innocence, inveigling others into sex and terrorism.

How can I stop them? How can we? Aside from having ‘god’s backing’, religions are also performing the vast majority of our charity-work, helping the homeless and feeding the hungry every day.

I just wish I could tell everyone that, by and large, your priest or preacher is just a human being, trying to make their way through this life, fighting with the same demons that attack us, subject to the same weaknesses.

They do not love you. Only God loves you—and it is in God alone you should put your faith. Your own conscience is not inferior to anyone else’s–don’t let others define Goodness, for goodness’ sake. You were born knowing.

Come Off It Already (2019Mar03)

Sunday, March 03, 2019                                          7:18 PM

Come Off It Already   (2019Mar03)

The list of the confessed, the convicted, the security-risks, and the nefarious connections among Trump’s campaign inner circle, paired with Trump’s well-documented history as a litigious scofflaw and a bigot—all make it outlandishly desperate that Republicans based their rebuttal of Cohen’s testimony on simply calling him a liar—a crime he has already confessed to committing at the president’s behest.

This is the point where the old strategy of ‘deny everything’ begins to jump the shark—where they must split the hairs of Cohen’s dishonesty while pretending Cohen wasn’t acting as Trump’s professional liar. It also raises the bar for insulting the public’s intelligence.

Still, the media have decided that nothing is insulting to the public’s intelligence, if only it’s sensational in its stupidity. There was a time when both the media and the Republican party would have conceded the obvious by now—if not long before now.

Yet they speak of a possibility of a veto against Trump’s spurious ‘emergency’, rather than being well into the impeachment proceedings. I wondered why, but then I knew: the crowded cast of characters, the countless crimes, the uncountable lies, the complications of foreign involvement and probable treasonous activity, the interference of Russian agents and Republican efforts to social-engineer Hillary’s public condemnation—there is more plot to Trump’s  ‘presidential’ crime than there is in all the seasons of ‘Thrones’.

Hassan Minaj’s “Patriot Act” just did an episode on Trump’s Cabinet’s attack on Civil Liberties. Trump is not alone in his efforts to dismantle our democracy and end our freedoms. And hate must be a strong motivator—we can only hope that the following Administration will work nearly as hard to undo all the damage. Sadly, they will have a much harder job rebuilding than was Trump & Co.’s job of just torching everything they could reach.

Worse, the vile horror that is Trump distracts us from an equally threatening situation—a Democratic party that is only slightly less flawed than the drooling pigs presently seated at the table. We are tempted to assume that the opposite of Trump is Good—but just because the Democrats oppose Trump doesn’t mean they’re offering a coherent vision of America’s future.

Green Deal?—Fine. But you don’t get genius-points for finally recognizing scientific findings from the last half-century of warnings. Fighting climate change will be more about diplomacy than technology—global cooperation and unity will be vital. Simply accepting the overdue reality is an abysmally small first step.

And what’s with this crowded field of candidates for 2020—is this a frickin’ Dickens novel? If the Democratic Party is an organized group, don’t they feel as if deciding on a platform, and choosing the best among them to represent it, would be an excellent demonstration of their ability to unite and organize the nation? Or do all politicians simply start campaigning these days, as soon as the fundraising potential appears?

If all those war-chests got passed down to the remaining candidates, as each drop-out left the race—then one could make the case that this was something other than the monetization of politics. But that is not what happens. Whoever raises the money, keeps the money—if I’m not mistaken. And suddenly we’re polling the dollars spent, instead of the voters’ minds.

We had tough restrictions on money in campaigns for centuries—should we be worried that the Citizens United decision was immediately followed by the election of a historically total scumbag to the presidency?

I dunno. It’s dawning on me that, whoever wins, you and I will lose—until people start getting mad about dishonesty again, like they used to.

Trump is Not President (2019Feb18)

Monday, February 18, 2019                                             6:26 PM

Trump is Not President   (2019Feb18)

Trump is not being a president. He usurped the office through a massive con, but he has never understood the job and he has never done the job. While holding the office, he has attacked our nation, its government, and its people—but he has never served one day as the President of the United States. And that is because he isn’t just unfit—he’s incapable of understanding the office.

I am tired of people pretending that this is just a different way of doing things—‘different’ and ‘wrong’ are not synonymous. I’m tired of this whole disgraceful farce.

The voters are careless and uninformed—but you’d never know it from the zeal they bring to any shouting match regarding the day’s issues. They’re not much for reasonable discussion—but, boy-howdy, don’t they love to argue.

The media have gone from a public service to a transmitter of mental disease. I’m sick of these nattering nabobs of news—no better than Bozo the Clown at keeping the public informed.—pretending that the distractions of each individual day are the equivalent of information, pretending that they’re objective, pretending that disgraceful criminal is just ‘45’, no different from the 44 preceding statesmen who actually held the office and did the job.

The elected officials are 90% craven opportunists, with a leavening of idealists who suffer the inexorable failure of decency in the face of overwhelming hypocrisy. Politicians, judges, detectives—these folks are not geniuses—recent evidence indicates that we can’t even describe these people as honest, by and large.

Traditions of hate and superstition are joined by our natural impulse towards selfishness and procrastination. While our world fills up with science, invention, and technology, it fails to reject old problems. Injustices remain institutionalized, science only complicates the issues. And the only progress we really need to make, is to become a mature society—something more reasonable than a mob.

Until then, we are at the mercy of the worst of us, including the present POTUS. I’m starting to think that Democracy fails in most countries because it is flawed—I think the USA ran for two centuries on responsibility, not democracy. Politics isn’t the same as statesmanship. Ruling isn’t at all the same as governing. And, most of all, money and value are not the same thing.

We Can’t Have It Both Ways (2019Feb06)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019                                       9:52 PM

We Can’t Have It Both Ways   (2019Feb06)

Here’s the thing about people: In Vincent Van Gogh’s time, people lacked the wit to appreciate his art. We think of this today as a factoid that adds value to the tremendous worth of each painting. But in Van Gogh’s life, it meant that everyone thought they were a better judge of painting than he was. And this included respected, professional art-critics.

They were wrong.

Everyone who resented hippies throughout the sixties believed that they were being patriotic Americans. Today, we know about the Pentagon Papers—we know that the Viet Nam debacle was a hideous case of our government not being patriotic to us. We know that, while the hippies wrongheadedly berated returning veterans, the anti-war protests helped curtail the number of veterans who never returned—and increased the number of young men who would never become veterans.

They were confused.

Capitalism has made America great. It has done its job a little too well. We now have billionaires living mere yards from the poor—and so cleverly are our cities designed that no billionaire is significantly disturbed by the suffering of everyone around them. Of course, in rural areas, wealth requires fencing and guards. Only in crowded cities can the wealthy rely upon the zeitgeist to protect them from everyone else.

They aren’t scared.

People think that whatever society has been doing for a couple of years, is the way things have always been and will always be. People assume disaster will not strike, but they will confine themselves in straitjackets to avoid taking a risk. People can design five-stage Mars landers and then turn around and stub their toes.

Intelligence flits in and out, but dumb animality is the steady pulse behind all mentation.

I’ll tell you how I know that I’m right and the Trumpsters are deluded: I’m not getting any satisfaction out of this. This isn’t fun for me. I am not riotously celebrating the return of incivility. I’m simply resisting out of survival instinct. Reporters ask those glassy-eyed rednecks, on line for a rally, “Why do you believe Trump?” They invariably focus long enough to smirk, “I don’t really believe him, I just like his style.”

All they know for sure is that Trump will never correct their grammar or their addition—Trump will never tell them that they should read a book. Here in the 21st century, a guy like that is priceless. He won’t ask you to memorize your Social Security number, he won’t ticket you for parking in the handicapped zone, and he doesn’t give a damn if there’s Human Growth Hormone in your kids’ milk.

I began to write computer programs in the eighties—an early adopter who’s woefully behind the present. One striking memory that stays with me was the day I realized that a single typo, anywhere in the code, made the whole thing garbage. There is no mistake so small that a computer will ignore it.

People, OTOH, don’t like to ‘sweat the small stuff’. Historically, that has been human wisdom. That’s why it struck me—and stuck with me—to realize that could never apply to computers. That is their terror.

The monstrosity of two blips on an air-traffic-controller’s screen, meeting, then ceasing. If you’re not watching the screen closely, you won’t even see it happen—but your awareness, or lack of it, changes nothing about the two jetliners carrying hundreds of people, exploding into tragedy.

Trump and his ilk are sales hacks—they will never stoop so low as to sweat the small stuff—and we admire such bravado. But there is a choice we are all pretending we don’t have to make: we can concern ourselves with the small stuff and have a futuristic, global civilization—or—we can go on with the sloppy thinking and science-denying of the freakin middle ages.

We can’t have it both ways.

When your computer tells you that coastal cities will all flood in ten years, you can just buy a new computer. When disaster arrives, we can go back to caves. Or die out completely. Either way, the last 10,000 years will have been flushed down the toilet. But, hey, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Government Is Not the Same As Business (2019Feb06)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019                                       5:58 AM

Government Is Not the Same As Business   (2019Feb06)

I have a new ‘guess’ about the mystery of the divided country. Conservatives, Trumpsters, whatever: I bet if you asked a Liberal if they accepted that there’s plenty of corruption in business, they would agree. In business, wheels are greased and corners are cut, because it’s people that are doing the transactions—and people are human.

Liberals are not so naïve as to imagine that businesses don’t do whatever they can get away with—in some sense, that’s the nature of Capitalism. (And listen as hard as you can, you won’t hear any Liberals calling for an end to Capitalism. Liberals want social programs, not Social-ism.)

But Liberals (and one would hope, Conservatives) see government as distinct from business. Government is not the same as Business. Government is not the same as Business. I’d type it again if I thought it would help.

Democratic Government is intended to support and protect all of its citizens equally. It is not a for-profit ‘outfit’—that’s why they take taxes. And Government, like business, is performed by people—those same, imperfect humans. So, there is corruption in Government, too—and ignorance.

Government, however, without its standards of equality and justice, is like a business without money—it has zero value. The recent shutdown displayed peoples’ understanding that their civil service was about more than their salaries. The elected Government showed little of that.

Democracy is about consensus. In a business meeting, an alpha-bully who flim-flams his way into overbearing all others present—that person is a valuable salesperson in some corporations. But putting that psycho in charge of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—it sets the whole idea of consensus on its head.

I think there is something else, too, something we all have to absorb. The 21st century is full of traffic, weapons, toxins, and misinformation. Don’t hate Liberals if we take to the electronics and the science a little quicker than you—but don’t kid yourself that only nerds need to know this stuff, either.

Trump is dumb as a sack of rocks—and most of those Republican yahoos in Congress aren’t far behind him. If you like Trump because he’s dumping on science and intelligence—you’re in for a rude awakening. Look around you. It’s the F-ing future.

Profound Debasement (2019Feb04)

Monday, February 04, 2019                                             6:24 AM

Profound Debasement   (2019Feb04)

I can’t defend the racism of Virginia’s governor, nor do I wish to. But I will say that the timing of this ‘discovery’ of an 80’s yearbook photo is particularly auspicious, considering that racism in a governor, if sufficiently ballyhooed about, helps mask treason and corruption in a president—for several news-cycles, it seems.

It makes me wonder if, among the Republicans’ many cynicisms, there is a list of available dirt that they keep on Democrats—not to bring them to justice, but just to release, as a diversion and for the appearance of parity, whenever their own corruption becomes too massive to overlook.

The fact that the Democrats are human is unfortunate—it’s so easy for Republicans to equate human failings with their own profound debasement. My advice to Democrats is to run lean—Republicans make more hay from an unofficial email server than Democrats could from 1st-degree murder—so keep it tight.

First and foremost, decide between yourselves who can best carry forward the Democratic agenda—don’t have thirty candidates for president—that just makes you look sloppy. Have all those people out there, and in media—sure—but have them all pulling for a certain goal, not an amorphous concept.

Secondly, begin impeachment proceedings. What are you waiting for? Another secret meeting between Trump and his Kremlin puppetmaster? Trump has crossed lines in several directions—high crimes and misdemeanors that Republicans would like to ignore (like emoluments and campaign violations) that do not require waiting for Mueller’s final indictment. Trump has flooded the system with his sludge—start clearing the backwash now.

Yeah, yeah, the Virginia governor is a racist—oh my stars and garters—and right there in the heart of the old confederacy—can you believe it?! Yes, I can believe it—and I don’t care. The media can whore for eyeballs all day long—but that makes it too mindless to keep its perspective.

People always say, ‘write your congressperson’, but in this case we should start writing our network and cable news-CEOs, telling them to get off the dime. It’s time they found a way to sell their sensationalism without endangering our democracy. Besides, I should think they’d feel shame at being such a tool for people like Trump. It’s embarrassing.

Spoiled Brat Of A President (2019Jan24)

Thursday, January 24, 2019                                              9:16 PM

Spoiled Brat Of A President   (2019Jan24)

The same logic that allowed Citizens United to equate money with speech could just as well equate money with firearms. And while Americans have the right to bear arms, they do not have the right to discharge them at will—not, that is, until “Citizens United v. FEC” (2010).

Beyond the ethical solipsism of the wealthy deciding that cash is free speech, there is the obvious, but unaddressed, issue of fairness. How can it be fair that the rich have more ‘speech’ than the poor? Is this not the very definition of disenfranchisement from a democracy, based on wealth?

It has occurred to me lately that the rich are getting way too big for their britches. Their incurable greed-lust can’t be turned off, even after it has accomplished whatever object it may have begun towards. Hence income-inequality.

In a rational society, the wealthy would take care to maintain their surroundings—both the landscape and the human resources. Today’s wealthy go mindlessly forward—acquire, acquire. They don’t do maintenance—and they’re too cheap to hire someone else to do it. No, they get at the government and make it stop serving the people, just to count coup—it’s heedless monomania these fat cats suffer from.

This is how all the empires fell. Things got too good. People took too much for granted. Greed and Self, gnawing away at a grand phenomenon that had grown strong through adversity. Success breeds spoiled children. America’s success has bred a spoiled brat of a president.

Happy MLK Day (2019Jan21)

Monday, January 21, 2019                                                5:04 PM

Happy MLK Day   (2019Jan21)

Martin Luther King Day makes my heart hurt, as a whitey. People that looked like I do came to this place and murdered virtually everyone here. Then they kidnapped Africans and held them in slavery for centuries. We had our bloodiest war fighting each other, ending slavery. But that didn’t end the mistreatment and indignities visited upon African-Americans. It continues to this very moment—in, to name just one example, the fact that some states choose to ignore Martin Luther King Day.

I am too short-tempered to be a follower of the Rev. Dr. King—but anyone can be awed by his courage. I have spent a lifetime regretting my ethnicity—I would prefer not to be associated with white people. I know that sounds racist—but I can’t even hear the term without cringing. I never thought of myself as a color—nor anyone else. The fact that it can bring the ignorant to violence and crime, through a cultural lore of hatred, has always frustrated me.

The thing I always liked most about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches was when he included me in his dream—he understood that hatred was a threat to friend and foe alike. He saw that white people cripple themselves and their children with hatred, beyond what it does to the intentionally persecuted.

I also loved King’s clear thinking—he didn’t lecture us on what was right—he confronted us with what was true. And his lessons, and those of his inspiration, Gandhi, teach us about more than bigotry. They teach us that whatever blurs our sight of the truth is a greater threat than a comfort.

Uncle Sam, Get Yer Gun (2019Jan21)

Monday, January 21, 2019                                                2:41 PM

Uncle Sam, Get Yer Gun   (2019Jan21)

Trump is an enemy of the United States of America. Trump is an ally of Russia—or wherever might takes the place of right. Trump has shut down our government over a lie. There is no national security emergency at the southern border—and the humanitarian emergency there is of Trump’s own making.

Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators don’t have the moral fiber to impeach him for lying (and general unfitness). They don’t even have the wits to override Trump’s veto on the shutdown.

So, which is worse? We have a president with a vacuum at his moral center—and a Senate without a single vertebra between them. The Media persists in framing the shutdown as two sides arguing—but the reality is that, while we all play politics, Trump is fighting a civil war.

People have already died (including children)—and as our crippled government hobbles along, many more will become victims of Trump’s attack upon our homeland.

My initial concern was over the erosion of our ethics and ideals—but with the shutdown, it becomes clear that Trump is an actual physical threat—not just to those seeking asylum here, but to the citizenry. Trump isn’t just outrageous anymore—he’s not just an embarrassment. Trump is an enemy of the state.

I Blame Wolf (2019Jan18)

Friday, January 18, 2019                                          6:59 PM

I Blame Wolf   (2019Jan18)

News-media producers are coming up against an uncomfortable truth—their origin was in Public Service for a reason. The early TV journalists were very direct in exercising their First Amendment rights—to better inform the public. That was their job—you didn’t have to sponsor them and, more importantly, you didn’t have to watch them. They were there to inform whoever cared enough to want to learn.

That is a public service. News-media as profitable entertainment? Not even close. Quite the contrary. By seeking larger audiences, news-shows ‘dumb down’ the reporting—and the discussion. They force a bubble of stupidity over our national discourse. And that is just one of the ways in which journalism-for-profit is a threat to this country.

But don’t go tarring print journalism with the same brush—those old papers have never been get-rich-quick professions—only those with the calling go through what real journalists do. It’s an insult to them even to mention digital News-media in the same category.

It all goes back to Wolf and the CNN gang on that Baghdad hotel balcony, streaming us real-time war-porn for us to watch on our couches, eating chips and ice cream. Was that a part of the digital revolution? Yeah. Was it a journalism coup? No. War correspondents have risked their lives before—on the line, with the soldiers they’re covering. War correspondents have never before sat themselves down in a bombing-target zone and babbled into a microphone like cocktail party guests. No.

So, for two weeks or so, CNN was a profitable business. The problem was nobody needs twenty-four news unless there’s a war going on. And the rest, if not journalism, is certainly history. Literally.

Trump could never have gotten this far, unscathed, if we weren’t locked into this cable-news/social-media battle royale of ignorance and sensationalism. A criminal traitor scumbag became president of the united states. We can only wait and hope for impeachment. It would almost be a relief to blame it all on Trump and the Russians. But that’s leaving out the show-biz.

Dear Turner Classic Movies: (2019Jan15)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019                                                10:34 PM

Dear Turner Classic Movies:   (2019Jan15)

Being a disabled half-a-shut-in, I’ve spent more of my life watching your channel than is natural or healthy—and I am grateful for it. Like many of your viewers, I’m fascinated with the breadth of cinema, the depth of history, and the complexity of a century-plus of moving-picture artistry.

One of the great charms of movies is the caught-in-amber historicity of the figures-of-speech from distant decades. The Runyonesque dialogs, the gangster patter, the particular speech of Americans during WWII—many different accents and expressions are jewelry-settings of distant times and lost neighborhoods. It is an essential part of each movie.

My hearing is so good that I often (i.e. always) use the closed-captioning while watching TV. And here is where I find the one annoying thing about TCM—the CC’s are typed by a young person with no ear for chronological jargon, without any experienced supervision. On some movies, typos and mis-hearings abound with every other screen of dialogue.

I recognize the expense of closed-captioning subtitles is prohibitive. However, with so much energy directed towards the restoration and preservation of the movies’ images—it seems wrong to attach, eternally, a faulty transcription of what is being said.

And it wouldn’t hurt to add music-titles and foreign-phrase-translations—though I suppose that’s extra. Anyway, in a perfect world, right?

A big fan,

Xper Dunn

American Snowflake (2019Jan12)

Saturday, January 12, 2019                                               1:27 PM

American Snowflake   (2019Jan12)

Sexism

Racism

Religious Extremism

Demonizing journalism

Scoffing at the Law

Dishonesty

We have seen the celebration of all the above faults under a Trump administration. We have endured ridicule for being overly precious about our ethics and our sense of fairness. We hear our Media give the White Nationalists every exposure and legitimacy—as if they were simply another ‘side’ of the story. We see our Supreme Court packed with predators.

Now we can say: yes, it does matter. Not only do the above failings mark a person as ignorant and without conscience. These failings now present themselves as backdoors for America’s enemies.

Where we once tolerated bigots, mashers, and white-collar criminals—in the spirit of inclusion—we now see that we can’t afford the risk to our national security on anti-American sentiments. In a global society, rife with YouTube recruitment and state-run hacker-co-ops, Americans must be fully American.

When we see racist or sexist Facebook posts, we must assume the poster to be treasonous, probably Russian. When some bible-neck puts Jesus before our Constitution, we must assume they are a mole from some primitive theocracy, like Saudi Arabia. And when someone shuts down the entire government for no clear reason at all—that man is a traitor. He should be tried and hung, while we still have our flag flying.

Stray Thoughts (2019Jan10)

Thursday, January 10, 2019                                              1:15 PM

Stray Thoughts   (2019Jan10)

We are not the top. We are not the end. We are children without experience or context. This universe was near-infinitely ancient, prior to the appearance of the first strand of DNA that allowed the first mite of scum to reproduce. Life was less-infinitely ancient, prior to the appearance of recorded civilization—which, itself, lasted tens of thousands of years before the appearance of our ‘planetarily-carcinogenic’ addiction to fossil-fuel technology.

Yet we go on preparing ourselves to be literally boiled in our own waste. Worse—not even ourselves, but our grandchildren. We will all die in air-conditioned comfort—our heirs will be slowly tortured to death on a poisoned planet.

If it is a tragedy to be without wisdom, how much greater the tragedy, when we have wisdom and refuse to acknowledge it?

People debate the existence of extra-terrestrial life—like much media, this is infantile fodder for debating the obvious—a convenient Rorschach-card of a conversation topic. Of course there is life out there. There are only three real questions.

One: Is astronomical distance an impenetrable barrier? If so, ‘life’ is a parochial affair, insulated from us and from each other by distances that defy comprehension.  Two: If ET’s could visit Earth, would they want to? And Three: If ET’s visited Earth, would they deign to communicate with humanity?

Outside of these three questions, debate is not just useless—it is an excuse to use UFOs as an analogy for xenophobia.

Humanity tends to conflate its present knowledge-base for the entirety of knowledge. We can laugh at ancient people who made this mistake—but we should remember not to make jokes of ourselves.

I miss the pre-Internet days—people like me (bookworms) were a thing. If anyone wanted to know how to spell a word, or how to calculate a percentage, or whether Bach came before Beethoven, or how to test the pool for pH levels—someone would say, “Ask Chris.” It was nice—being the know-it-all. It made up, a little, for being a nerd.

Back then, information wasn’t everywhere—you had to know where to look (which is still true, but not as literally). My name got passed around, just like a good car-mechanic’s, or a reliable pot-dealer’s. Of course, no one considered it my profession—because this was back when information was still ‘free’. People considered asking-me-a-question payment enough for the answer.

When I got carried away and started spouting more information than they wanted to hear, they’d say, “Stop. I don’t want to hear it.” And they’d walk away. I was the information-source—they’d turn me off, if they didn’t like the information. Nothing surprising there.

But they wouldn’t contradict me. They didn’t curate my information to suit their personal preferences—like trolls do now. Don’t take trolls personally, by the way—they are simply young people, glorying in the freedom to deny reality and social mores and common sense. It’s like a drug—taking away the constraints of gravity, for as long as one can stay at the keyboard.

But most of all, back when information still mattered, a madman like our current president—and the Senate goons supporting him—would have been justifiably laughed out-of-office. Hearings would have been unnecessary.

Somehow, the Right has taken ‘two sides to every story’ (which makes sense) and twisted it into ‘legitimacy for the self-serving side of a story’ (which is the opposite of sense). It sounds a lot like religion—something the secular do well to avoid in their business and government practices—hence the wise division between Church and State.

The Right has embraced the fact that propaganda works on a sizable percent of the governed—just as Fascists did in the Nineteen-Thirties—and chosen to abuse that knowledge, using today’s communications tools, rather than running “The More You Know” PSAs or some other, less malignant, more helpful, interaction with the people of the nation.

The most religion-like aspect of Trump-supporters is their eagerness to reject science, fact, evidence, and truth. This is where the tide of madness has risen highest. And the commercial media must share the indictment of their success—since the sensationalism-value of bat-shit-crazy gathers eyeballs better than a severed head rolling down the street, and executives are too greedy to factor in mental health concerns (or concerns for mass hysteria, come to that).

This eagerness to contradict school-book facts and sober science, though—we should probably take a look at where that comes from. We used to be one bad harvest from animals—we’ve evolved (like it or not) to live a simple life.

Yes we are clever apes, no doubt. But are we, as a species, adept enough to use the rules-of-the-road, our remote controls, our ATM cards, our on-line bill-paying, and our Twitter app? Police Blotters worldwide say no, not all of us, not every day. And that’s just the bare bones of modern life-skills.

If a Masters Degree becomes the default educational ‘job requirement’—where it used to be only for the unusually scholarly or dedicated—does that mean we are asking too much of ourselves, as a group? The trouble with Progress-as-defined-by-Capitalism is that we are hostages to it.

Progress doesn’t serve us—it conscripts us. And should we fall out of step, we get ripped to shreds by the cleverer apes, the greedier apes. Progress-as-defined–by-Liberals is less savage—we see a future where the robots take our jobs, yes, but we still get paid. Silly, I know—to a Capitalist. Those people can’t just take the Win and turn to a better way—and that’s going to bite us all in the ass.

The world is changing faster as technology explodes from yesterday’s successes to a thousand-times more successes tomorrow. But, as tech becomes more powerful, its failures become more dangerous. In fact, we should just pay everybody a nice salary, with benefits—and change our paradigm to shepherding our technology along safe pathways.

That is our new job, as a civilization. We have all earned a permanent retirement from hard labor—nobody does any large-scale farming or large-scale manufacturing by hand anymore. Our job now is to co-exist with each other, and maintain the global machinery of our economy, without a profit motive to screw things up.

If you still use the phrase ‘earning a living’, as if you were splitting fence-rails with Honest Abe, you’ve never seen a Dilbert cartoon. If you are more concerned with other peoples’ behavior than you are with examining yourself, you should be in politics (I’m not saying you’ll be good at—but your kind seem happy there).

And, yes, obviously, the underserved are far more eager to give up the current paradigm than the rich and powerful—and the rich and powerful are so damned selfish, they’d blow it all up in a war, rather than share any of it. So there’s that. I keep saying—it’s all about mental health.

Capitalism isolates people—discouraging cooperation—prioritizing individual ownership over use or fairness. As a nineteenth- and twentieth-century engine for change, Capitalism did its job. But its job is over. All done. But do we celebrate? No. It’s funny.

Mostly Democrats (2019Jan06)

Sunday, January 06, 2019                                        2:36 PM

Mostly Democrats   (2019Jan06)

If those who choose a career in civil service are mostly Democrats, as Trump suggests, that would be a stunning indictment of Republicans. Is the GOP completely devoid of interest in serving the people, except for elected or appointed positions of power and privilege? Does their party exist solely to disrupt and obfuscate our federal government?

Better question: Do the Republicans promote ‘smaller government’ because it is the road to ‘no government’? When has our government ever made a positive difference in peoples’ lives, while the Republicans weren’t fighting tooth and nail to hold back the changes?

Do the Republicans stand for anything other than evangelical fanaticism, wealth, and pop-guns-for-the-home? Their devotion to ignorance makes them natural recruits for authoritarian extremism. They don’t even represent the Conservatives anymore (whom I despised—but at least they clung, however tenuously, to coherency).

I think the Republican Party has embraced Corruption. After all, business is business—and the wealthy puppeteers behind the party see the U. S. Government as just another player—to be targeted for takeover. Most Americans are so money-crazy they’d express little alarm over the idea—but that’s because they fail to recognize the vital differences between business and democratic government.

For decades, the Republicans have claimed that government is too inept to be trusted, while pretending they were worthy of trust. Republicans have claimed that we can’t afford social programs, or even infrastructure, but slip billions to their rich buddies under the table. They are so blatantly dishonest and hypocritical that I’m awed by the dysfunction of it all—people actual fall for their bullshit!

Faith is a wonderful thing. But humanity is eternally plagued by those who would abuse the faith of others, without conscience or scruple. Trump is such, as is McConnell, Ryan, Cruz, Graham, Justice Thomas and that new fratboy Justice—all of them men without honor—in many ways, men without reason.

I’m on the side of the Congresswoman who wants to impeach the motherfucking pussy-grabber. (Pardon the raw language—I wanted to quote equal obscenity from both sides.)

It will take the next Democratic president years to undo all the damage and de-staffing of Trump’s conflagration of everything American. She or he will be lucky if, by the end of their first term, they’ve gotten us back to where Obama left us.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving on. The decapitation-traffic-accident of Trump’s presidency has put them all on notice—America has closed up shop. Look elsewhere for strength, justice, or decency.

Republicans Are Waiting For Christmas (2018Dec17)

Xmas 2018 Play List

Monday, December 17, 2018                                           12:34 PM

Republicans Are Waiting For Christmas   (2018Dec17)

What did Trump call his alleged felonies? ‘popcorn stuff’? ‘chicken feed’? ‘smock and mirrors’? Well—I guess that ‘lock her up’ guff is only one-way. (Or is it only one-gender?)

The Border Patrol Gestapo failed to save a 7-year-old refugee girl in distress—then excused their neglect by saying “she shouldn’t have been taken on a long trip without adequate food and water”. Turns out, the poor child had sepsis—something outside the assumptions of the prejudiced and, therefore, missed at the time.

Are we done yet? Can we admit that, annoying as they may be, those intelligent, educated people gave us a feeling of security and stability that no circus clown or reality-TV star can offer? When can the media go back to dismissing fools without giving them air-time? When can we all agree that this presidency is our lowest, most embarrassing moment for democracy—the day we found out it had its weaknesses?

The trouble being: democratic voters are not supposed to be selfish and uninterested—and candidates for democratically-elected office are not supposed to be poll-driven. They are supposed to lead us through the unpleasant but necessary solutions to injustice—not beg corporate lobbyists for money, and then conspire in corruption.

And let me point out, to all those who still support the concepts of ‘alternate news’ and ‘alternate facts’: if the country were blind to the truth, all this time, it could hardly have maintained its economy and military, such as they are.

That is to say, I have beef with our economic model and our current economic laws and policies—but no matter how I feel about it, America has the most stable, yet most robust economy (per capita) of any nation in the world. I think its paradigm is obsolete and its zeitgeist is cold-blooded, but it’s still doing it better than any other country.

Now, I hear you contradicting—but let me say this. Russia has a warlord economy. Or it could be updated—call it a mobster economy. It doesn’t respond to market pressure—or, rather, when it does, it is not an organic response, but imposed. And China—well, China has billions of people and half the world’s real estate. Even pre-industrial China had enough land and labor to compete in world markets—not that they ever wanted to, until recently.

If (to put it another way) all of China was run like New York State, the size and power of their economy would outshine all others, like the daylight the stars. But it has more to do with intent than with the specific laws and rules.

When America first rebelled, its new government had a very ‘we inmates are in charge of the asylum now’ feel to it. And the American culture matched that, with brash openness and a willingness to try new things that seemed very incautious to Old-World-ers.

Frontier living showed Americans the importance of mutual support and community—crooks were dealt with harshly, but honest businesses were points of pride for growing towns and counties. This attitude of a rising tide lifting all boats was not homogeneous or unanimous—but it was prevalent.

Europe’s, and the rest of the world’s, cultures evolved from the starting point of survival of families and tribes—and even at their most sophisticated, family ties and insular clubs remained the foci. American settlers struck out in large groups—and their survival was based on the good of the group, from the beginning of the first voyage.

But it is not so much the size of the larger coherency—it is the fact that even the least member had a job, an importance, on which everyone relied—and the reciprocal respect that came with that was the seed of individual liberty, as a cultural concept, rather than a broadsheet debate.

It is only now, centuries later, that elitism begins to creep back into America. Our goal-oriented ancestors would be mortified: People saying ‘I don’t care if Trump lies—I still support him’; Senators saying ‘I don’t care if Trump broke the law—I still support him’; Lawyers saying ‘Yes, I was dirty—but I had no concept of dirty until I worked for Trump’.

Unearned respect—this is something America never gave, until now. America has always been quick to knock down its idols—at the first sign of weakness. Now, they’ve raised an idol whose super-power is weakness: dishonesty, criminality—even treason. And greed. And lechery.

But the ones who are really getting away with murder are the Senate—the Republican-held Senate that denied Merrick Garland his due and then, for spite, gave it instead to a drunken frat-boy rapist. The GOP-majority Senate that has ‘pretended’ to investigate Trump for two years, found nothing, and made no comment on the eight indicted members of Trump’s circle who have already pled guilty, or been convicted.

These Senators believe in elitism—otherwise, they would feel shame.

Happy Holidays !

Emotional Difficulty   (2018Nov30)

 

 

Friday, November 30, 2018                                              12:59 AM

Emotional Difficulty   (2018Nov30)

Do you use civilization, or do you participate in it? Civilization, like life itself, is not something we asked for, but something we have thrust upon us with the implied understanding that its pros outnumber its cons. And, as with life, that depends on who you talk to, after the fact—not that the dead are ‘questionnaired’, regularly, but if you could, I mean.

I’ve been thinking about how each year’s (or make it month’s) round of new science research, new real-world lab and tech developments, new enhanced coding in the cyberscape—all exciting, many awe-inspiring—are also, most of the time, a scythe wiping away employment, skill-sets, and their attendant sub-cultures.

When science makes convenient alternatives to human workers, it also erases their way of life. If you read an O. Henry story or Damon Runyon story today, you’d need a glossary for all the occupations and pastimes that have been swept away with the cyber era. And good riddance to some of those cultural norms and social iniquities—although I’d venture, at this point, that they are not gone, but hidden in new ways.

No, the evil abides—but the jobs and the salaries and benefits and, most importantly, the easy pace of life back then—those things are all gone. When I first began office work, in the early 70s, I began with a normal, manual typewriter, until later, when I used an IBM Selectric II. All the bookkeeping was done by hand in green-paper ledger books, using an adding machine.

Now, when we went to calculators, and soon after, PCs, we only stopped using the one adding machine. When the new mini-computer system came in, we only stopped using two Selectric typewriters. When faxes came out we only stopped seeing that one messenger-guy that stopped in once or twice a day on his round of clients. And when our computer-based work-style stopped us using traditional stationary supplies and equipment, the big, lovely-smelling, tradition-heavy stationary store in Mid-Town only lost one business account.

If you’ve ever seen “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” in its film incarnation, you might remember the scenes in that movie—surreally infinite ranks of typists and accountants, using the same typewriters and adding machines. But those scenes are puny compared to the actual hidden army of such people who made up a sizeable percentage of the people needed to run a big firm (up until that time).

The street-messenger army virtually disappeared in the same fiscal year that fax-machine sales exploded. Today’s messenger delivers only physical objects and legal documents—and nowadays, he or she hasn’t the leisure of strolling around Manhattan on foot.

You can’t imagine the unlimited amount of petty jobs that had been presented to a new Twentieth Century—the bigger businesses got, the bigger the crowd required to do all the millions of details. And amongst that milling mob, there was also exchange of ideas and emotions. We often call early Twentieth Century America a ‘melting pot’ (as if all the disparate ethnicities actually combined) when, really, it was a ‘mixing bowl’. The crowds of people going to and from factories and mines—the same people seeking out gathering spots for recreation—that’s where the cohesion came from, IMHO. That’s what made Central Park so fascinating and popular.

For awhile, the more machines appeared, the more jobs were created—factory jobs, repair jobs, retail jobs, office jobs, packing and shipping jobs—a rising tide, in commerce, used to lift all boats. Nowadays, in case you missed it, the job market has no connection to the economy—half of us could drop dead and the rich wouldn’t even notice. There is a dangerous disconnect.

Simultaneously, virtually every aspect of our parents’ way of life has disappeared. I don’t mean that in a political way. I mean that in the sociological, archeological sense. The milk-man, public school, trusted bank, security blanket America is gone—and without judging the ups and downs of that, I would merely observe that it is emotionally difficult to watch the world disappear, right or wrong, good or bad.

Clarity of Vision   (2018Nov13)

IronMan

Excelsior !

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018                                           7:23 PM

Clarity of Vision   (2018Nov13)

One of our best States burnt up this past week-end. Climate Change is the kind of thing that takes a cooperative effort to respond to—and humanity has become too comfortable in a global culture of Capitalist competition. Our society’s every axiom tells us not to cooperate—and so we are doomed.

Or so I have heard people say. I think people have an urge to cooperate so strong that it can shoulder past the establishment’s limits. But it is much more difficult to recruit soldiers to a love-in of international cooperation than to say, a desert shoot-em-up that promises to bring all your gamer fantasies to life.

It’s always harder to build something than it is to tear something down. We have a fantastic planet. If we recognize that our present careless rapaciousness must inevitably destroy the entire eco-sphere—then we have a new mission on Earth.

We no longer need defend against alien invaders. We no longer need to vie for wealth, possessions, or power. We can be satisfied with the simple goal of leaving a viable planet for our grandchildren to start families in. Sounds easy, right? But we’ve been fucking off for way too long, as people do.

And we’re still stuck here—at the point of acceptance. Yes, you simple poopy-heads—we’re all gonna die from greenhouse gasses and ocean acidification and habitat destruction. Did you think the world was too big for us to make an impact? Well, it was—but that was two centuries ago.

Our leaders, our most powerful and prominent businesspeople, even our most pious ministers—are all in agreement: Don’t pay any attention to California burning—or Texas or Florida flooding—or thousands of Puerto Rican hurricane victims lost—blame it on God and keep laughing off the scientists—all the scientists.

The rest of the world sees it better—you have a few countries (sadly including the USA right now) too dis-informed to join Europe and the rest, all of whom are eager to get to work on climate-change solutions. Just another thing in which America has lost its preeminence—our clarity of vision.

Can we talk about the President? We’ve had presidents I didn’t like, presidents I got furious at—but never a president who made me ashamed. Trump makes me ashamed for him, for the government, for the country, and for myself (for being naïve enough to think this couldn’t happen). I’m ashamed of the entire Senate, because they have the power and the responsibility to react to Trump’s unfitness—and do nothing, and even say nothing. The whole farce is shameful. The Republicans have ceased to be a political party—they have lost all legitimacy. ‘Nuf said.

Excelsior !

Trump’s Senate, However, Is Just Straight-Up Crooks & Pervs  (2018Oct28)

20120930XD-GooglImages-WllmBlake-DeathOnAPaleHorse

Sunday, October 28, 2018                                       8:02 AM

Trump’s Senate, However, Is Just Straight-Up Crooks & Pervs  (2018Oct28)

We now have proof (if any further were wanted) that Trump’s ‘base’ are people who fail to understand the spirit behind America’s Founding Documents. It makes me sad to see these indoctrinated, but not educated, people worry the scraps of propaganda that the Right has fed them—self-righteous for the hell-of-it people, veins in their foreheads and finger-pointing like mad—more sure of their sureness than of their reasons.

Trump has taught them that words are meaningless—only bombs and guns have any real effect. He is wrong, mores the pity, but that is what he has taught them. He has also taught them that if they are pompous enough, it’s okay to disrespect women, gays, African-Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, Educators—you name it. Hate’s the new Love in Trumpland.

Trump’s Congressional Republicans, however, are just straight-up crooks and pervs—I couldn’t tell you how much understanding of American principles they have to bury down deep inside every day to continue as they are doing. It hardly matters. If these people had ethics, Trump would have made their heads explode long before now.

The Republicans’ constituencies are a marvel: They voted for Trump in 2016, yes—but they’ve been voting for these withered trolls as Senators and Representatives for decades. They vote this way in spite of clear proof that they are voting against their best interests—and voting in favor of blatant untruths and greed.

But I must add a caveat: If a person is smart enough to vote against the Republicans, but too lazy or stupid to do so, that’s actually worse. Democracy only works if you’re not a lazy sack of shit.

Clown Prince of Murder   (2018Oct21)

Jamal-Khashoggi-15390870_10154765309794844_4714301979347099637_n

Sunday, October 21, 2018                                       2:30 PM

Clown Prince of Murder   (2018Oct21)

I know—that title sounds like an old Angela Lansbury TV episode. But I feel it encapsulates both the horror and the farce of the present scandal. The murder of the journalist Khashoggi is his own fault—he should have known better than to set foot on the sovereign soil of the Saudi embassy.

But it serves to remind us of the Saudi culture—which strains mightily to contort its obsolescence into the 21st century mainstream—and which we turn a blind eye to, in hopes of one-hundred-billion dollars in arms sales.

This Crowny Prince liar starts with “Nope—didn’t happen” and ends, today, with “Yeah—dead—killed him—not my fault”. In his country, he can get away with that BS—and because our media reports even his lies, he may believe that we swallow it over here, too.

Personally, I can’t help thinking of the ‘Tom Cruise Paradox’: “If the captain gave orders that Santiago wasn’t to be touched—and the captain’s orders were always followed—then, why was Santiago in danger?” You know? I mean, these are the top aides to a guy who has people slaughtered and dismembered if they talk out of turn. Are we really supposed to believe that they acted autonomously? Ridiculous.

And everybody knows—has known—the truth for about a week now—well, since the day after the murder—whenever that was. And we’ve all known this Prince guy was lying—and that Trump was pretending to believe his obvious lie. And Americans aren’t worried about bone-saws. No, we’re just too greedy to let go of that sweet arms-deal money.

And all of it overlooks the questions of: Why any country needs a hunert-billion in arms?—or why the world, as a whole, needs a hunert-billion in arms?—or why the hell the manufacture of a hunert-billion in arms is a staple of the U.S. economy? And I’m sure some geek can spout the party line, about how fear and distrust force mankind to live this way—but I don’t buy it.

The people with the money and power want everything to stay just the way it is. The fact that it is impossible does not faze them. Holding back the tide of time is their main function—it’s how they maintain balance atop the pyramid, by keeping it from shaking too hard.

They smear change as disruption. They praise head-in-the-sand ignorance as security. According to scientists, these entitled farts are going to kill us all in about twenty years—by keeping us from doing what’s necessary, just because it’s too ‘expensive’. As if that word will maintain its meaning, once we all start frying.

And what they really fear is losing their death-grip on the status quo. Imagine the globe on an emergency footing, with all kinds of barriers and costs tossed aside in aid of the present crisis, with massive R&D projects focused on completely ‘non-profit’ aims. Heavens, the economic instability—survival isn’t worth it.

As we consume the natural bounty of the globe, we suppose that our comfort is part of our survival. That was the old way—comfort was the pinnacle. Now we see that health is the true pinnacle—that comfort without challenge leads to boredom and obesity—and is fatal in large doses. That is true for the Earth and for our bodies and for our societies—and we are running out of time to learn that.

But so what? Right? He’s the friggin’ Clown Prince of Sadly Arabia. What is it? MBS? Is that Mucho Bull S**t? I think it may be. Fuck that asshole.

Mr. Khashoggi –soldier of truth–may you rest in peace.

Why Fascism?   (2018Oct08)

musoTrump

Monday, October 08, 2018                                               7:43 PM

Why Fascism?   (2018Oct08)

Conservatives want to hold us back and freeze the future—they want everything to stay cozy and familiar. The faster and more disruptive the global rate of change becomes, the more dangerous Conservatism becomes to our country. Rather than embracing change (an American tradition, ironically) Conservatives want to go backwards, revisiting all the old issues they lost on, in the sixties and seventies.

But they know they lost—they know that they have to ‘hide’ their bigotry and sexism behind denials and rationales—so they double down. White supremacy is not suddenly rearing its ugly head because racism and misogyny have become popular again—no. These people are afraid of the future.

They fear the future because they are predominately uneducated, and conditioned to react negatively to adult-education and job-training. They fear the future because it’s harder to lie in a world with Google, it’s harder to exclude in a world with Facebook, and it’s harder to price-gouge rural folks who have Amazon (especially Prime).

Modern media and the Internet make it easier for them to spread rumors and conspiracy—but the same online-connection can give you the truth on multiple other websites. They can lead you to water, but they can’t make you stop drinking. The Fascists are shouting and angry—because they are peeing themselves with fear. Cowards and bullies always bluster to hide their terror—so, if someone invites you to join their hate club—tell them to grow a pair and embrace the future.

Unsupportable   (2018Oct04)

StatuOLibrty_06

Thursday, October 04, 2018                                             10:55 PM

Unsupportable   (2018Oct04)

So I heard Dr. Ford’s testimony (and Kavanaugh’s rant) then I heard Trump at a rally. He apparently remembered that Dr. Ford testified her most searing memory was the laughter of the predatory, drunken boys that roughed her up—so Trump thought it would be nice to get an entire stadium full of people to laugh at Dr. Ford’s pain.

This dishonorable, deceitful pile of crap has never had any business in the White House—and he provides daily proof of this fact. The Republican leaders who back him are equally without honor, or any sense of what honor might be.

When I saw the flood of women inundating Washington D.C. today—each and every one, by their presence, announcing, “I have been physically disrespected by a man, or group of men”, many of them arriving from Maine—and Alaska —then I thought back to Trump’s disgraceful strutting the night before—I felt rage.

Do these entitled, precious pigs think that they are invisible? Do they think we don’t see them? It’s easy to fill a stadium with bored knuckleheads—did he have any Nobel scientists there—at his rally? There were a couple of Americans who just won the Chemistry Nobel (along with a Brit). They might have enjoyed a dinner at the White House. Trump is not wise, but he is slick—he would expect, if two people created life in a lab, they probably wouldn’t want to hang with a tasteless ignoramus.

A real president would have given those Nobelists a public nod. Real presidents have always done so in the past—with good reason, as any thinking person would explain. But under Trump we don’t suffer mere incompetence—we suffer a total denial of moral awareness. The only ethics Trump is familiar with are the mouthings he’s learned are required of someone pretending innocence.

We must accept it—that surprisingly large percentage—millions of Americans who cannot be trusted to use a toilet correctly, forget about them using their brains, or their mouths. These people consider themselves the other party—they say there are two sides to things. But nobody else has to hide behind that BS. Why is that? When I go to the store, I pay my money—me and the cashier are on the same side. Someone has to explain to me how Public Service became so nebulous that it can have ethical quandaries over whether or not women shouldn’t get raped on the regular. How did these puss-bags ever get near a position of responsibility?

I know, I know—it’s a democracy. Sure. With no voters—except the nut-bars and the worried parents.

But still—Trump. He disgusts me. —And that army of sexually-traumatized women marching around Washington—it haunts me. There’s a T.S. Eliot line (which he stole from Dante) :

Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street…

(from “The Waste Land”)

I believe that a woman who is betrayed by a male friend or relative, or stranger—sees her previous life, her previous world, destroyed. She must evermore live in the new world—where men are predators without shame or conscience—where she is never again as safe as she was.

Women have the strength to endure these things—and to fight back—as today’s demonstrations proved. But, why the fuck should they have to? Do we really live in a country where more men are okay with this shit than are sickened by it? This has been a very disappointing and disheartening three years—the bottom ever recedes.

Having these farcically corrupt and hypocritical people be the leaders of our government—is proof that what makes a good campaigner does not make a good states-person. It’s unsupportable.

foundingDoc_02

Increasing Intensity   (2018Sep04)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018                                          12:45 AM

Increasing Intensity   (2018Sep04)

I’m always tempted to use the phrase ‘tsunami of bullsxxt’ when I think of the Republican party now. Mueller (and some helpful States’ Attorneys-General) are having success in uncovering a lot of corruption—and a lot of interaction—illegal interaction—with Russia (meaning Putin & Co.)—perpetrated by most of Trump’s entire ‘campaign cabinet’.

And now the Trump business and the Trump charitable foundation, and Eric, Ivanka, and Don Jr., are all looking down the barrel of tax-fraud and campaign-finance violations, especially surrounding the Inaugural Committee. Over $100 Million dollars in contributions (some contributed illegally by foreign entities—some stolen since). Cohen, for one, confessed to stealing some—but it appears unlikely his was the only wet beak.

Then there are the first two Congressmen to endorse Trump as a candidate—both facing indictments alleging corruption. This sect of the Republican Party is no Cub Scout Den—these folks have a very elastic understanding of ‘all men being created equal’, not to mention ‘public service’.

Now, when a floral horseshoe of charges, either convicted or confessed by a number of his circle, hangs around Trump’s neck—we are witnessing the unraveling of this manufactured ‘counter-culture’ of alternate-truth and non-facts and conspiracy theories like grains of sand. His so-called ‘base’ is about to be pushed back under the rocks it crawled out from—by the unison outrage of people who don’t yearn for an imagined past nearly as much as they do for a better tomorrow.

I use the word ‘tomorrow’ advisedly. I’m not talking about some ‘future’. We saw how quickly the Putin gang and the Alt-Right gang networked themselves into a de facto traitor-in-the-White-House—and with a host of avid cultists ready to excuse his every evil. If we are lucky enough to get a Blue Wave, we must use it to match their effectiveness—even if the truth is rarely as exciting as the dramatic lie, we must sell the truth with the same fervor as they hawk their ‘story’.

There was a time when we had sent astronauts to the Moon, long ago—and new Personal Computers were becoming something little children were playing with. Say the Eighties or thereabouts—when we started to think of ourselves as living in the future—‘George Jetson had nothing on us’.

And, of course, as in all transitional phases, we threw out a lot of babies with our old bathwater. The Sixties assassinations (highlighting public service and civil disobedience) were scarred over some—and the recent resignation of Nixon had soured many of us on the whole Authority thing. Not that we were surprised, really—no—but it was discomfiting to have it all spelled out and proved on tape.

Then Carter proved, in a way, that being a selfless, honest leader made easy prey for the jackals. And to twist the knife, the Republicans gave us a movie star—then overlooked Iran-Contra and his failing mental health, to christen him the ultra-Republican. And that is certainly true—flash over substance has been their business model, ever since Eisenhower left—and Reagan certainly personifies that credo.

The decades of hypocrisy—both in stealing oil from developing countries, and in defying the science behind the environmentalist movement, had made us ashamed of our American lifestyle—even though we (had we been asked) would have wanted things otherwise. The Ultra-Wealthy had a stake in the status quo—but the obstinance with which they shoved ethics aside to pursue profit has made the world what it is.

The hurricane season is something recent Republican presidents have not done well with—and that season is now upon us. When FEMA left Puerto Rico last year, they claimed great success and a very low mortality figure—double digits, I believe. But last week, Puerto Rico revised their mortality figures for Maria and concluded that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the loss of electricity and clear roads and medical treatment—and drinking water!

I can’t understand why no one much cares about this in Washington DC. Tomorrow may be an unusually strong hurricane near the mouth of the Mississippi—and it seems that ‘unusually strong’ will ironically be ‘the usual’ for several years to come. So we have a president (oh how I hate that goon having that title) who did a lousy job on last year’s storms—and—he won’t even admit why the storms have increased energy every year.

I will never understand a person being so loosely tied to reality that they would deny it for purely political purposes. Trump knows as well as I do that Climate Change is real—there are pictures. And if he doesn’t believe the photos, he’s the president—he can fly a rocket up to the ISS and look at the polar ice caps himself—or, better yet, send Eric (that poor kid is better off where he can’t be subpoenaed).

With so much electronic interconnectivity, with so many environmental challenges, with so much new science and technology, and with so much income inequality—this is a bad time to decide we should follow luddites and anti-intellectuals. It is an even more dire time to be allow Inclusion and Peaceful Coexistence to be threatened by retrograde Nazis. What Trump did to children at our southern border was a Crime Against Humanity—whatever party you support, you should realize that the whole rest of the world sees it that way—because it was.

We really do live in the future now—but, instead of dazzling us with bottomless charity and industrial miracles of recovery and renovation, I suspect this year’s hurricane season will be, sadly, just as bad as last year’s, or possibly worse. And I mourn in advance the dead which Trump’s incompetence and bigotry will cause.

Unwelcome, Even On Twitter   (2018Sep02)

Sunday, September 02, 2018                                            6:22 AM

Unwelcome, Even On Twitter   (2018Sep02)

Trump was not invited to McCain’s funeral. He would not have been welcome.

Trump’s disrespect and rudeness to McCain bothered McCain much less than Trump’s incomprehension of what made this country great—something McCain had fought for and risked his life for and had paid for in torn flesh and broken bone.

McCain’s daughter was well within her rights to point out Trump’s idiocy in calling for America to be made ‘great again’—since Trump had never done a thing to serve his country (and still hasn’t—quite the contrary, in the minds of most).

Trump’s tweeting out “MAGA” soon after daughter McCain’s elegiac comment—is a perfect example of the childish self-absorption that our president suffers from. God forbid that overgrown brat should sit there and take it like a man!

This MAGA business has been a symbol all along—a rallying flag for anti-intellectualism. Anyone who respected and loved America would never say such a thing. Only someone with a self-serving agenda (and a tin ear for surreptitious treason) would ever say we should “Make America great Again”.

Only a businessman who saw the crash of 2008 as a great defeat to America could say ‘MAGA’—thus revealing total ignorance of what makes America truly great. Hey, Trump—here’s a hint: you recently swore to protect, preserve, and defend it—but you forgot to read it.

foundingDoc_02

We Must Judge For Ourselves   (2018Aug31)

TrumpPutin

Friday, August 31, 2018                                           11:57 PM

We Must Judge For Ourselves   (2018Aug31)

There are so many convictions, indictments, confessions, and plea-deal-cooperating witnesses that I feel secure in pointing out (to anyone who doesn’t get their cues exclusively from ‘alt-news’ sources) that I was right about Trump—insofar as it was a mistake to elect him. As far as whether Trump is the mastermind of this corrupt insurgency of betrayal—or simple its witless front-man—that is still an open question.

I think it progressed, from simple high-stakes, white-collar, international money-laundering (And, really, who doesn’t engage in that?), to collusion with Russian operatives and their American stooges. At no point was Trump prepared to become our president—there is doubt as to whether he ever wanted to be president, as opposed to the fun of running for president. So far, his incompetence has led to thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico, thousands of children being traumatized at our border, and an increase in hate groups, and in their activity.

Our national reputation is in shreds—our president is, in a word, laughable. His ignorance, whether calculated, real, or a combination of the two, may play well with his willfully-blind base, but that crap don’t fly, overseas. And I really think the worst of it is the hyper-partisan unwillingness of our Republican Congress to observe the finer points of politics (ethics, say, or occasional honesty). That deranged septuagenarian in the Oval is not acting alone—nor is he invulnerable to Congressional oversight.

In fact, the Republicans’ obvious discomfort at accommodating their pet gorilla makes the presidency that much more a laughingstock—while showing us that Republicans are, in truth, without a platform, except to beat the Democrats (and the majority of voters) and make their super-rich donors happy. They inspire their followers with a burning resentment that blinds them to facts, and they point out a target—whether it’s immigrants, African Americans, liberals, women, gays, or overly-honest public figures.

The extent of this new media-network supporting the alternate reality of these truly-disturbed people is immense. The only defense against it is truth and logic—but they are so much less entertaining than conspiracy-theories and personality-assassinations. Plus, the assholes such as InfoWars host watsisname are always so full of outrage and indignation—it must be sincere, right? We really are so basic—people, I mean—just shout real loud and everyone turns to listen. If only there were a process, between hearing and believing, where people judged for themselves….

 

O, and, apropos of nothing, here are some brief thoughts from earlier in the month:

Friday, August 10, 2018                                           4:09 PM

Trump attacks the NFL protests because the humility of the act horrifies him. He won’t bend the knee—even to the rule of law—his ego won’t let him.

 

Friday, August 24, 2018                                           2:34 PM

Abortion is a practical issue so intimate that we feel emboldened to make of it an issue of morality. Morality is just a debate tactic, however, as history shows.

The Eighteenth Amendment banned alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933, when it was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment. That thirteen-year period forced virtually every American to participate in the sub rosa criminality of the underworld. It did not change human nature, it merely complicated it.

But we did not learn from this episode. Drugs remain criminalized. The harm to society has been so obvious that any reasonable person would have long since changed drug abuse from a Crime to a Health Issue. As with so many societal ills, our impulse to punish wrong blinds us to the potential of helping those who have been led there.

Those who wish to ‘re-criminalize’ abortion must admit that their motive, far from saving hypothetical infants, is merely to punish. We know that abortions were performed, back while it was still a crime. We know that, for some young women, an unplanned child is a foregone tragedy for both. We know that many of such women will attempt to terminate. Forcing them to do so as an outlaw serves no purpose.

Morality cuts both ways—it is not exclusive to evangelists.

Symptoms of Hate   (2018Aug07)

 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018                                       2:11 AM

Symptoms of Hate   (2018Aug07)

It’s so weird that hatred is having a ‘comeback’ around the world—and in the United States, which has historically moved forward on this front—slowly enough, surely—but never before backward. I hope this ‘blue wave’ thing materializes—not because I’m a Democrat, but because it will show that most of us are not on board with this new ‘fad’.

I think the gleeful braggadocio of their chanting and rallying for Trump shows that they are as shocked as we were—when ignorance and attitude won out over substance. These neighbors of ours knew that their day had past—that no one in America was going to play the racism game in public anymore, because the fight was over. Obama’s two terms proved that.

They couldn’t believe their luck—no one ever expected the White Nationalists, the Republicans, and Russia to pull a popular criminal out of their collective ass and make him POTUS. He announced his candidacy with hate speech—if you remember (I think the news showed it a few times). And then he won the Electoral College—suddenly, someone as supposedly disgraceful in his ideas as they were—had gotten the biggest validation a person can get. And ‘Leader of the Free World’, no less.

So of course the hate clubs are not only revived—they see a lot of press attention—and there’s no such thing as bad press, when you have a bad president. (If it’s bad, it’s fake.) Now young people are reportedly being indoctrinated into hate online—hate in many flavors, fear in countless conspiracy theories—it’s an explosion of self-loathing.

Everyone knows that bullies are acting out because they are themselves being mistreated at home or elsewhere—that’s what makes all bullies cowards. It has also been pointed out that many of the most hysterically anti-gay Republicans, Conservatives, and Evangelists are often found, in time, to be confused gay people—taught to hate what they are—and driven slightly loony thereby.

Well, Hate is no different. It’s as obvious as if they had it written on their faces. People who insist on division and prejudice (of any kind) can only be so extremely exercised over this viewpoint—because they are full of self-loathing and need to insure that at-least-someone is beneath them. They have so many people in their lives that make them feel inadequate (or at least it seems so to them) they suspect that they may be just the least-worthwhile person, ever.

And, while it is nice and convenient to hate the Haters—just as it is to hate criminals—there is more to it than the end-result: a racist, an anti-Semite, a misogynist, an elitist, a criminal—or some horrific combo of all the above. If someone taught these people to hate from a very young age, then they also taught them that people can be hated without being met—they taught them that everybody is supposed to judge everybody else. You can’t teach children to ‘hate a group’ or ‘disrespect women’—and expect their minds to stop there. And those other, unintended lessons will mess with a kid’s head, I’d be willing to bet.

In closing, I would point out: People who are taught to love their neighbor without condition or exclusion—virtually never switch to a life of hate and bigotry. Conversely, many people who are raised in a culture of prejudice have grown to reject that tradition and embrace love. Trump or no Trump, racism has had its heyday—and will continue to fade away, occasional road-bumps notwithstanding.

Not for nothing: ‘Zero Tolerance’ is just a ‘spin’-onym for Intolerance.

 

Improv – Story Told (2018Jul25)

 

Improv – Virgin Press (2018Jul31)

 

Improv – Story Story Night (2018Aug03)

 

ttfn.

Things Change—And Stay That Way   (2018Aug05)

phil-word-3

Sunday, August 05, 2018                                         3:32 PM

Things Change—And Stay That Way   (2018Aug05)

New tools used to be the goal, not the threat. Population used to be the goal, not the threat. All-you-can-eat used to be the goal, not the threat.

We used to herald new inventions—concrete, steel, steam, civil engineering, cars & lightbulbs—now, we fear the AI singularity, the Higgs-Boson reaction, the super-flu, the stealth-nuke, the EMP apocalypse—and, what’s more, we find our old inventions are toxic—and we must restrain ourselves, or choke on our own waste.

We have already crossed the red-lines of prevention for global climate disruption. Now, we need to begin to ameliorate the damage and cut back our carbon emissions even more harshly than we would have had to, decades ago. Yet the wealthy and empowered continue to neglect this threat—because its solution requires not competition, but cooperation.

We used to treasure a bumper-crop of babies. Past nations would often call upon its females to reproduce profusely, for the good of the country. (And if that isn’t chauvinist enough, just remember that male children were the hoped-for result—to replace all the young men lost in some recent war, usually.) In a sense, I’d call the Baby Boom of post-WWII America the most prolific effusion of spontaneous nesting, post-war, the world has ever seen.

Now, we have an inflated global population that can only be sustained by the global economic machine that makes it possible. As feral human tribes, humans required acres of land per person for a sustainable diet. Later agricultural techniques would lower that land-per-person ratio. Only modern agricultural technologies and powered systems of transportation and storage make it possible for huge metro-areas to concentrate people by the millions.

If there were a catastrophic interruption of the global economic machine—say a war, perhaps—it would be game over for all the city people. Without a regular influx of food and water—without waste removal—even if the electricity stayed on and the elevators kept working—it wouldn’t matter.

But don’t worry—I’m not advocating population-control—only crazy people think they can do stuff like that. What I’m saying is, the global economic machine needs to be carefully adjusted.

We obviously need major changes in our social structure, now that we are all connected on the internet. Controlling access to the internet is self-limiting, because people’s productivity corresponds to their internet access.

But an open internet is an invitation to disaster—bad actors can tear the whole thing down, if not countervened by ‘good’ actors. I use the word ‘good’ advisedly.

Humans evolved with an instinct to eat as much as we can—because food used to be harder to get to. There’s even an interesting book or two about how early civilizations had different staples, which influenced their development based on their amounts-of-protein and the amount-of-work-to-get-the-food. Early mankind lived a video game called Get The Food. We never had full tanks, back then—except on rare occasions.

We still have holidays. We still try to celebrate by consuming with gusto—but it’s not the same, if a full belly is our nominal status 24-7-52. Human ingenuity has gotten itself tangled up with human nature. Our urges and instincts come from a very different lifestyle—long, long ago. For just one or two centuries, we’ve been playing with our new toys.

Uranium, Petroleum, Plastics, Combustion, and Explosives—they comprise our modern world, with all its blessings and miracles. While we hypnotize ourselves with I-Pads, I think we are avoiding facing the real issue.

We don’t need to hunt anymore. We don’t need to fight anymore. We don’t need to get sick anymore, practically (i.e., relatively). Our lives got soft. It’s good—I’m not knocking it. In fact, as a disabled person, I have a vested interest in a soft, secure civilization.

We need to be raised to function in our society. That involves a lot of teaching by example and correction—we need to learn to wait for the walk light, learn not to lick the sidewalk gum, learn to look at a tiger in a cage at the zoo, instead of running for our lives.

All of this goes against our instincts. So when people say ‘you can’t change human nature’—I don’t buy it. That’s all society does—constrain instinct. And it is long past time society recognized the present threat—we cannot throw out community, just because the wealthy spit out words like socialism or communism.

It wasn’t just our democratic government that held capitalism in check—it had behind it a sense of community. That bond came of the need to work together—which characterized all successful settlements in history. Go back far enough and there’s a point in history where being outcast from a community was virtually a death sentence. Even today, being unpopular in one’s community can be very uncomfortable, even if you don’t know most of them.

The hyper-capitalist fascism we face today is illustrated by two things: (1) Trump’s recent Intolerance Policy that kidnapped children without even keeping lists of contact info—and—(2) Trump’s quote from the other day—that “if gas costs more—people will drive less—and that will be safer”.

If we’re electing people who’ll just sit in Congress and do nothing—while that level of insanity is perpetrated—mustn’t we be electing the wrong people? This era has taken the community out of politics and turned the whole thing into a game show. It has placed politics at a remove from our actual lives. People are being pandered to, with hate speech, and they are lapping it up. What gives?

There’s a lot of atheists out there—I’ve been one since I was eleven. I think it is important to recognize the sense of community and morality that religion helped to channel—it strengthened communities. If we no longer concern ourselves with the religious minutia, and the repressive authoritarianism and misogyny, we should still seek to maintain that communal bond—because it is what makes normal the lack of anarchy.

Rule-breakers, like our current Prez, invite the anarchy. All the quick-buck grabbers are inviting the anarchy. We Americans are so fixed on our freedom—what the hell’s it worth, if it’s the freedom of falling off a cliff? Empathy and community are the only bedrock for society—when money ceases to be a part of that balance, and becomes opposed to it—money becomes a threat. We all used to want the money. Now the people with all the money are trying to kill us all—without meaning to, of course. But does that matter?

phil-word-2

The President Is A Loser   (2018Aug03)

TP_Dome_03

Friday, August 03, 2018                                           5:20 PM

The President Is A Loser   (2018Aug03)

For those of us who weren’t fault-finding with intense scrutiny (though god knows there were plenty of those) President Obama’s eight years were rather legendary. His financial recovery efforts worked phenomenally—his Affordable Care Act passage was heroic. Oddly, those who would benefit the most were its most ardent opponents—and many Republican voters are now on record as supporting the ACA, but dead-set against ‘Obamacare’.

People will say that Obama didn’t stand tough enough—as if Bush-43 hadn’t already ‘toughed’ us into bankruptcy. All I can say is—he was tough enough to kill Bin Laden—and it’s a lot easier to defend a legacy as first black president who-didn’t-start-a-war, than as first black president who did.

My point, if I have one, is that Obama did a great job—and Hillary was the front runner in the last election because she promised more of the same. It wasn’t until the dog-whistling, lying Republicans teamed up with the lethal Russian GRU that people started chanting ‘Lock her up’ (as if they knew how their own damned emails worked).

Trump must concede the truth of Russian election meddling, because it is laid out in several indictments, literally step-by-step. But Trump and his Republican cadre can never admit that Trump’s election to office was the Russian’s victory—and a blow against the United States. Can you blame them?

Trump’s frighteningly-large number of followers—are people who cherish the United States’ traditional failings, and are uncomfortable with our historic, constitutional ideals. They wish to roll us all back to a less perfect union. Any change for the better is something they’ll embrace for themselves, but denounce for anyone else—their idea of a community is focused on the fence around it, not the heart at its center.

The founding fathers feared party and partisanship would quickly subvert the American Experiment into corruption and elitism. Scholars have questioned the dangers of our current two-party system—but, in the end, it seemed so perfect, like Yin and Yang. Conservatives and Progressives—one to hold on to the wisdom of the past and one to reach for the promise of the future—how, indeed, could we fail to have two parties?

But there’s trouble in this Eden—what if the Conservatives are not really conservative? What if they have had their paradigms swept away by a society and a culture changing at ‘ludicrous speed’? Have they been warped, even crushed, by the illogic of Conservatism in an age of vanishing industries, vanishing storefronts, even vanishing wires?

And what about Social Media and Conservatives? Has Conservatism been a false front for Elitism, all along? Does the transparency of a YouTube-world make it impossible for elitists to maintain their fictions of benign objectivity?

Hey, wouldn’t it be better to release a doctored video of Planned Parenthood doctors, trying to make women’s health care seem like a criminal enterprise? That’s conservative, right? When did they first jail Margaret Sanger? 1916, I think. The Conservatives of that time could arrest the woman. Those of our day are reduced to lying about her—so, that’s progress, I guess?

Anyway, Trump is a liar—to himself more than anyone else. Can you imagine the lack of self-awareness that allows him to think of himself as our president—without feeling any shame at all? Can you imagine being one of his supporting Republicans—pretending Trump is fit, Trump is innocent, Trump is sincere? When they know in their hearts that good people don’t have to lie that much. Yes, we are the victims—but we should thank heaven we aren’t the perpetrators.

StatuOLibrty_04

I’m Back Again   (2018Jul31)

20180731XD-Impeachments_01

Tuesday, July 31, 2018                                             6:48 PM

I’m Back Again   (2018Jul31)

Family and friends advised me to take a step away from the cable news-shows and give myself a break—after I wrote my last, deliriously-frustrated rant-post. I don’t post to blog every day—I try to post as seldom as possible (excepting the exceedingly rare inspiration for an up-beat subject). My political-backseat-driving is an obsession that even I have grown tired of.

As an example, I decided in May that I would try to post the word ‘Impeach’ on my Facebook Wall, every day. I knew I wouldn’t reach anyone besides my own friends and relatives, but I felt that Facebook, being at least nominally a Public Forum, made me responsible to treat it as such, inasmuch as a private nobody like myself was able.

Here are my almost-daily posts from that day to today—you’ll see that my style of posting evolved over time. In virtually all of these FB posts, I was constrained to just a line or two of characters—because I kept all of them short enough to allow the new-ish Facebook meme-background-style (it turns off, if you keep typing/editing your FB-update past a certain number of characters).

These are not meant to be wise or hilarious or great writing of any kind—they are simply the way I broke up the monotony of the task I had set myself. I hope (and I’m fairly sure of that hope, lately) that someday soon, that word ‘Impeach’ will be on everyone’s mind, every day:

Chris Dunn updated his status.

 20180731XD-Impeachments_02

20 May 2018 14:13 :

Impeach   –  (pass it on)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (Yes, there ARE two sides:  good vs. evil.)

23 May 2018 13:27 :

Impeach !

Impeach !  (GOP = Band of Traitors)

Impeach !  (We don’t look good in swastikas)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (President? More like Putin’s puppet)

Impeach !  (It’s enough already)

Impeach the PO(TU)S !

Impeach !  (grant a Pardon to the voters for being so gullible)

Impeach !  (His lawyers are sure he’ll commit perjury)

Impeach !  (Claims ALL the power, NONE of the responsibility)

Impeach !  (mental illness is not a political platform)

Impeach !  (I’m not wrong…)

Impeach !  (how long does ‘unfortunate’ remain acceptable in a president?)

Impeach !

Impeach !  (Or at least ask Putin to send someone else)

10 June 2018 01:05 :

[People keep talking about ‘what Trump said’, as if someday it’s going to be right, or true, or wise–but I believe that life is too short to waste that kind of time. So, instead, I have my own one-word statement which, as far as I can tell, is the only thing left to say: “Impeach!”]

10 June 2018 14:14 :

Impeach !  (he’s unfit, dishonest, and he’s got a screw loose)

Impeach !  (He’s not a president–he’s a wanna-be strongman)

Impeach !  (Nice try–woulda been nice–shoulda studied?)

15 June 2018 17:28 :

Impeach !  (Could be YOUR kids, next–how would that be?)

Impeach !  (The president is a criminal)

Impeach !  (You STILL think he’s a Good Guy?)

Impeach !  (Unfit is one thing, Monstrous quite another)

Impeach !  (I miss being proud I’m American)

Impeach !  (because, Yes–we do fuckin Care)

Impeach !  (Who needs a compulsive liar?)

Impeach ! (Or maybe a crooked, perv bully DOES represent US?)

Impeach !  (make the world a better place)

Impeach !  (Muslim Ban is Un-American)

30 June 2018 15:27 :

Impeach !  (I’m so tired of all this winning)

Impeach !  (or just keep on lyin’ to me, baby)

Impeach !  (he said ‘elite’, I think he meant ‘illiterate’)

Impeach !  (then, news-media can stop being his baby-monitor)

4 July 2018 11:24 :

Impeach !  (or shove an M-80 up his ass–I don’t care anymore)

Impeach !  (or explain why you side with a criminal)

Impeach !  (before the kidnapped, crying children are Yours)

Impeach !  (Congress, UR famous 4 doin 0, but now, 4 doin Wrong!)

Impeach !  (Lock him up—and free Reality Leigh Winner!)

Impeach !  (irresponsible + president = disaster)

11 July 2018 13:57 :

Impeach !  (he breaks his oath of office every damn day)

Impeach !  (Let Putin have him)

Impeach !  (go ahead, wait til after today’s secret meeting with Putin)

Impeach !  (at this point, claiming ‘innocence’ is confessing to blindness)

Impeach ! Impeach ! Impeach !

Impeach the Traitor !

Impeach !  (next time, let’s go with a public servant instead of a monster)

Impeach the Traitor!  (he’s created a ‘safe space’ for stupidity and racism)

Impeach !  We need a Real president

Impeach !  (We don’t need no ‘useful idiot’)

Impeach ! (Yes, I’m repeating–but at least I’m not repeating lies)

Impeach !  (He can tweet us into war, but he can’t tweet us back out)

Impeach !  (The Liar edited his Summit transcript–and the video!)

Impeach !  (He won’t correct the WH transcript or video of the Summit–unwelcome reality bites)

Impeach !  (The Racist decided to keep over 900 of the kidnapped children–that’s over 2 in 10)

Impeach !  (In today’s speech, the Idiot ridiculed the press for paying too close attention to everything he says)

Impeach the Traitor !  –  (or be one yourselves)

Impeach !  (while we wait for decency to return, indecency is redecorating the house)

Impeach !  (Let’s not be led around by our Dick)

 

Now, that last one—I actually posted today. After I posted it, I thought to myself, ‘It would have been better to say “(Let’s stop being led around by our Dick)” .’ but that just goes to show. I spend too much time thinking of public statements to make against Trump—and too little time remembering that my media platform (that is, my personal FB page) is only nominally a public forum—it isn’t really seen by the public, it is only available to be seen.

So I have added a Quixotic element to my online activity—I’ve been tilting at the windmills of my Facebook friends-circle, while the real monster is far away elsewhere, untouched by my efforts, no matter how I phrase them.

This past weekend has been a restful step back from all the political/media chaos—that stuff deserves far less room inside my head. It’s all so childish and not-smart—these politicians really expect a lot of ‘cover’ from a dark suit and a red tie.

Sure, it looks professional—but at some point, those expensive suits morph from lamb’s-clothing into exclamation-points of corruption. Part of the ‘suit’ image is the expectation of knowledgeability—and when the words coming out of their mouths are so bereft of intelligence, they expose themselves as being ‘empty suits’.

That is just one item from the long list of things that beggars my belief—how can people go on taking this stuff seriously? Our president is mentally unstable, compulsively dishonest, and has the mind-set of a career criminal (though not necessarily a successful one). Trump approaches governing as a megalomaniacal CEO would—he approaches the Justice Dept. the same way a criminal does. He blames the cops, he claims he was framed, he claims the other guy did it, he claims he wasn’t there—and even if he was, it’s not a crime to be part of a crime.

I knew that son-of-a-bitch was a criminal when he wouldn’t let go of the birther BS—before he even declared. I have watched in traumatized puzzlement as the stupidest people in this country ran to the voting booths—and the supposedly more-intelligent people sat at home, or voted for Berny, or even joined the cattle—voting for Trump despite their glimmers of consciousness. And don’t tell me ‘She won the popular’—yes, she did—but that psychotic moron should have been outvoted by a landslide.

It’s been a long series of disappointments—finally realizing that the Congress is so partisan, it wouldn’t impeach Trump no matter the madness and danger. I’m still waiting for sanity to be restored. And I am doing my best to hang on to what’s left of my own.

20180731XD-Impeachments_03

Should We Meet Again   (2018Jul24)

WH_demos

Tuesday, July 24, 2018                                             3:23 AM

Should We Meet Again   (2018Jul24)

Our president is lacking in some key areas. He’s without experience, without education, without fitness, without aptitude, and generally without understanding of the meaning of the presidency. He’s without honor, without honesty, without ethics, without morality, without impulse-control, without responsibility, and deeply neurotic.

Furthermore, he can’t spell, can’t admit to a mistake, can’t apologize, can’t empathize, can’t be faithful, can’t be trusted, and, for the most part, can’t be understood—in tweets or while speaking. All he’s got is that big fat mouth of his and the big mobs of embittered scum who enjoy his live hate-fests. (Let’s not call them Klan rallies—Yet.)

Now we have proof that the Republican whores in Congress will ignore all of the above, and continue to chow down on their sh*t-sandwich and call it filet mignon, as long as they get tax-breaks for the rich, and deregulation for the environment-rapers and the greedy, soulless bankers.

Those insubstantial excuses for men (and some confused women) will never admit that a public servant should serve one term, and let the results do the campaigning for anything more than one term. Hell, they even go to court to get unmonitored campaign funding, a rollback of the Voter Rights act, and race-based gerrymandering. They don’t even pretend to believe in democracy.

So, the president’s a traitorous con-man, the Republican party is a bunch of corrupt weasels, the Democratic party is just embarrassing (and just different corruption waiting its turn, really). Damn, I used to be proud of this country—even though I knew there was some corruption and some hatred—I still thought my principles were shared by a significant part of the country.

But no more Mr. Proud Patriot. This place is a shithole now.

Babies get locked in cages.

Industries are encouraged to go back to dumping shit wherever.

Medals of Honor, and the bereaved families of the recipients, aren’t worth a damn anymore.

Every effort to avoid WWIII, since WWII, has been discarded as ‘unprofitable business’ by the big ‘deal-maker’ who never wore a uniform.

There’s no mystery to why Putin wanted to help Trump become president. There’s no mystery to why the Republicans keep pretending he’s not dangerous, refusing to impeach in spite of unhinged episodes on the daily. And that jumpy, can’t-stay-long-enough-to-look-you-in-the-eye Press Secretary—how do you figure she rationalizes her little daily tap-dances, huh? There’s not even a mystery as to why people voted for him—people are fucking stupid as hell.

Media, you can stop now. You’ve made your pile off of helping flush us all down the shitter—and the mystery is gone, the spark has dimmed. There are no more surprises. Yes, Trump will do and say this or that—but we already know. He’ll be lying. He’ll be doing something un-American, cruel, and unproductive. He’s a liar and a traitor. What else can we expect? The sideshow has become a repulsive banality that won’t even get clicks anymore—so fuck along off.

The Republicans aren’t threatening the American way anymore—they’ve strangled it. They’ve killed our country, what most of us believed was our country. If I ever meet a person who votes Republican, ever again, I’m just gonna haul off and belt’em—fuckin’ deplorables. Do they deserve a random punch in the face, out of the blue? Maybe not, but I didn’t deserve theirs, either.

TrumpPutin

Bulls**t Walking   (2018Jul23)

Jeannine

Monday, July 23, 2018                                             1:29 PM

Bulls**t Walking   (2018Jul23)

The Earth’s surface is lush with a profusion of life—not as lush, not as profuse as a century ago, but still. If some wildlife is endangered, it’s not in my backyard’s biome, so why should I care? The Earth attempts to provide oxygenated, non-toxic atmosphere and drinkable fresh water—and so what if we sprinkle in a few toxins or carcinogens or hormones? It’s still good—you’re still breathing, aren’t you? Don’t be a wuss—it’s all good until we literally start to choke—and die of thirst—then will be plenty of time to deal with all this.

Money talks, BS walks. The Money says ‘full steam ahead’—and if that turns our atmosphere literally to steam, so be it. Money does a lot of stuff these days. It entertains you. Twenty-four hour news, websites tailored to your paranoia—are you not entertained? Ain’t it dramatic?

Money has a close, personal friendship with Carbon Dioxide. Maybe you’ve heard?—CO2, the by-product of Power and Energy. Well, that’s the ‘story’—actually, it’s the by-product of burning fuel. There are other ways to acquire Power and Energy—but Money made its first million with CO2, so we’re gonna call everything else ‘alternative energy’, just so no one forgets how inferior it is to petroleum. Hey, shut up—Money does the talking here.

Money is kind enough to govern us, as well. You didn’t think all those Republicans in both Houses of Congress just naturally turned out to be faithless whores, did you? No, no—Money pays them to be this way—the same Money that broadcasts all the rationales, that voters must swallow, to vote for those whores.

The truth is that Money is killing us, but it still speaks loud enough to keep us from hating it. It’s funny—originally, money was a great invention—portable assets, liquid assets—it was the first ‘internet’, in its way. But no invention of humanity has ever evaded our worst impulses, or our worst representatives—hell, we’re lucky we’re not all radioactive already. Money has become a weapon—and it’s pointed straight at our whole planet. So tote that barge and lift that bale—‘cause you don’t want to be poor when the grass starts burning.

20180723XD_WY_Sulphur_Fire

Republicans: How Embarrassing!   (2018Jul22)

Sunday, July 22, 2018                                              2:46 PM

Republicans: How Embarrassing!   (2018Jul22)

I see similarities between the McCarthy Red-Scare era and the Amoral Republican era. You’d expect it to be called the ‘Trump era’, I know—but it’s more accurately described as the Amoral Republican era. It began with Reagan’s shameless pandering to the rich and his marginalizing of the low-income population.

The bankruptcy of the Soviets, which we all hail as our victory in the Cold War, led to a revolt won by the Russian people—and the independence of the satellite states was a simple fact forced by that bankruptcy.

The US failed to secure their nuclear arsenal—which outlived the state that built it—and those nukes sit, still today, littered about the globe and under the sea. The US failed to provide a ‘Marshall plan’, after we finished slapping each other on the back for defeating the Soviets without the use of American lives lost. We turned our backs on the people who did the dying for us—and that led to Al-Qeada, Boko Haram, and ISIS.

Then came 9/11—which had many heroes and martyrs amongst the common men and women, of uncommon bravery— ever since which the Republicans have used the tragedy. They used it to lionize an inept President and his mistaken wars. They used it to lionize an elitist, bigoted mayor who just happened to hold office while real New Yorkers did all the hero-ing.

The Republicans have used 9/11 to promote cowardice and Islamophobia, panic and inhumanity. They’ve revived racism, in a country that seemed only years ago, to be headed in the proper direction. And they have done all this out of obedience to their paymasters—they laugh at the phrase ‘public service’.

Everyone knows one can’t do the people any good if you don’t get elected—and thus it follows that nothing you do to get elected can be wrong. This part of their amorality is the part that is opposite from the McCarthy era—McCarthy’s amoral egotism was exposed by the televising of the HUAC hearings—and by Edward R. Murrow’s reporting.

Today’s Republicans have hacked mass-media—and hijacked all of it as a megaphone for their misinformation campaign. They did the impossible—convincing Americans to worry about a great female candidate with no real scandals (but endless imagined ones) and not to worry about a blatantly, embarrassingly unfit male candidate. Even more embarrassing—the Russians were helping them the whole time. How’s that for an endorsement?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a do-over election? Too late—y’all had yer chance—and now Putin’s in charge. Ha- ha! The Republicans are doing a great job—a perfect impersonation of the band on the deck of the Titanic.

Olio   (2018Jul20)

Thursday, July 19, 2018                                           1:32 PM

Olio   (2018Jul20)

 

My darling, my sweetest one!

Water-cool joy flows through

My body, turned to aether,

Quintessence of love

And like a drug, it soothes me.

 

My ever-loved, my only star!

Fire consumes my chest,

Which bellows with yearning,

Throat parched with a longing

Only your kiss can slake.

 

====

Don’t tell me both sides hate.

What I feel is outrage—righteous wrath against enemies of the United States of America (even if they live next door).

I bridle at the hate, the destruction, the loss of hard-won yardage towards a more perfect union—I can’t deal with ignorance so sweeping as to equal treason, against a nation dedicated to enlightened humanity.

What you’re feeling is hate—what I’m feeling is outrage.

There’s a difference.

 

====

Friday, July 20, 2018                                                3:58 PM

I can’t imagine what Trump supporters must be going through—now that there is clear proof and common knowledge of the con they’ve fallen for. Lied to by dishonest Republican leaders, stirred up by an army of Russian spies, tricked into voting for a sorry excuse of a man—a man who made them laugh when he said, “You’re fired!” on TV—these people will eventually be furious. I just hope they’ve learned enough to redirect their anger in the proper direction.

People didn’t see the harm in reality TV. It was cheaper than hiring writers and actors—it was silly and raw—what could be the harm, right? The harm is that their ‘reality’ was and is heavily edited, to tell whatever story the producers decided to show. Producers knew that bad behavior attracts more attention—thus, bad behavior was promoted as ‘reality’ and still is.

Young people who watch TV are taught that idiocy and selfishness are the standard of behavior—so of course they see nothing wrong with a selfish idiot running for president. Especially one of their favorite stars. If they’d grown up watching The West Wing instead of Big Brother, this never could’ve happened.

But imagine the naked shame—of all that full-throated support of a crook who conned them—of all the lies they swallowed like scripture—of thinking they knew better than the pencil-necked geeks. I’d hate to be a Trump-supporter right now. Or that lone woman who sat behind Trump at rallies with the ‘Women for Trump” sign—or that lone man with the “Blacks for Trump” sign (so sad that neither could find enough people to justify the plurals).

Be gentle with them all, bless their hearts.

This nightmare will end.

The Russia-publicans   (2018Jul18)

WH_demos

Wednesday, July 18, 2018                                                7:21 PM

The Russia-publicans   (2018Jul18)

I’m disappointed that no one publicly asks why the agendas of Russia and the Republicans were so conveniently aligned during the 2016 election. Personally, I believe it has to do with Russia becoming a gangster-state with a mob boss for a leader, concerned with nothing but money and power. The Republicans are of the same mind, but feel hindered by having to pose as public servants.

The Republicans can’t overtly threaten their voters—they have to settle for disinformation campaigns that only do violence to the national consciousness. The Russian people have been at this longer—they know their leaders lie to them. They know this because it is against the law to question what they are told.

It’s not that Republicans are inherently bad (though that’s true enough for most of the elected Republicans) it is only that Republicans are the party of the rich. Cutting taxes and blocking regulations has always been their battle cry. (Ah, remember the days—Republicans used to tie themselves in knots to deny their link to wealth.)

Recent studies suggest a link between personality-type and political party. Thus, when I call Republicans the party of the rich, that would include those who are rich, those who are approaching rich, and those who dream of becoming rich—but use magical thinking to get there. The Republican party also attracts those who dislike change and those who avoid making waves.

As near as I can see, that makes about half the country. Elections, until recently, were not forgone conclusions in any race. However, if you have a charismatic candidate with a spoiled, pervy, quasi-criminal life-style, the Republican’s 50% drops down to 30-40%—which, sadly due to the Electoral College, is enough to win by.

I digress, but with a purpose—there is a syntactical quandary here. Whenever I lambast the Republicans, I can expect some Republican voter to take offense at my aspersions—as if I specifically meant him or her. Likewise, when I reach out to Republican voters, I cede undeserved humanity, even humanitarianism, to Republican politicians who have left their consciences far, far behind.

In the past, Democrats and Republicans went head-to-head—arguing the issues, not the candidate that represented their point of view. What could be said of the candidate (barring scandal—which used to matter) could be said of his or her voters.

But today we have Republican politicians and Republican voters—two entirely separate groups. If we try to damn the politicians, the voters take offense. If we try to tell the voters that they’re being duped (and, admittedly, it is bizarre) by both the Republican Party and the Russians—they get on their high horse and tell us that they are just as smart as we are. And contradicting them, at that point, is a waste of breath.

The fact is the Republican party, by being the party of the rich, has become the instrument of the rich—huge corporations and fabulously wealthy donors govern Republicans far more than Republicans govern the country. Money is all that matters to that power base—just as it is with Putin’s empire. So, the lack of connection to The People, and the obsessive greed, make Republicans and Russian Oligarchs a natural alliance.

And this is where the panic sets in—our very way of life is threatened, yet the threat stems from the dull wits of the next-door neighbor who hated Obama. We can’t make ourselves intelligent—and we have not made any provisions for the hurt feelings of slow people in a world under constant acceleration. Our Free Speech becomes a weapon on the Internet—and Trump has knee-capped America’s digital counter-intelligence forces (while waving the Space Cadet Force at us with his other hand).

This disgusting turncoat should have been impeached already. Continuing to give him the respect due to a serious president has gone past the point of farcical hypocrisy, into the area of ‘clear and present danger’. Thus, Trump and his family and goons are no longer the problem—he has given them ammunition for a hundred impeachments. The Republicans are the problem, here at the end, just as their unprincipled tactics created the opening for this era of mindless, hate-filled disgrace to our history.

The only thing more dangerous to our children’s futures than Climate Change—is being too stupid to worry about Climate Change, or the people it will kill. In a world where that is beside the point, you know something is terribly wrong.

Impeach !

Politics Free-Stylin   (2018Jul17)

WH_demos

Tuesday, July 17, 2018                                             2:05 PM

Politics Free-Stylin   (2018Jul17)

Usually I worry—I’m careful to be clear, calm, and correct in my statements. However, that puts me in a minority of one—so today I’m taking a day off. The following may not be journalism, but it is certainly how I feel.

Trump is a man without a country—an odd thing for our president to be. But money has no national allegiance, so the fact that Trump has no love for this country is understandable. He wasn’t interested in serving in the armed forces, he was frequently encouraged to enter politics, but always replied that he was too busy having fun and making money—basically, Trump never gave a shit about this government (or law and order) except for how he could circumvent the IRS, zoning boards, or charges of fraud.

But racism gets Trump excited with hopes of gaining approval from his late, KKK-marching, emotionally-distant father. There’s a cruel streak to it (well, when is racism not cruel?) as when he advocated bringing back the death penalty for the young black men tagged ‘Central Park Five’ by the press. When those five were acquitted of wrongdoing, Trump refused to accept a verdict that contradicted his obsession.

President Huckster won’t play by the rules—the rules are for experienced politicians, not for our special little boy—he won’t be a politician. He’ll be king—yes, king has a much nicer ring to it—and it has that age-old advantage of offering cover to an incompetent egotist—“I’m not wrong—you’re wrong. Off with their heads!”

Trump is a grotesque monster. He has re-branded Intolerance as ‘zero tolerance’. His family backs him up because he has raised them in fear—in fear of being cast out of Trump’s good graces at his slightest whim—and taught to fear non-super-wealth as the grinding poverty Trump so gleefully enforces on any non-whites he comes across.

If you think you’re thinking for yourself, that the media isn’t cramming their presumptions down our throats—then why is the word ‘impeachment’ so seldom heard, during the term of our worst ever president? They talked about it non-stop whenever any other president put a foot wrong. And why do we assume that the Republicans in power in Congress will ignore that remedy, no matter how criminal their chief asshole’s behavior is?

We are being taught by the Russians, and the Republicans, that our votes don’t matter—and they promote this lie because votes are the only thing that do matter—votes are the only thing that can veto the plutocrats who sit atop this country, feeding like hogs on the decomposition of American ideals.

So please—next November, vote like your country depends on it.

Half-Assing the Presidency   (2018Jul16)

TimeCover_refugeeBaby

Monday, July 16, 2018                                             11:02 AM

Half-Assing the Presidency   (2018Jul16)

When Trump’s cheerleaders say he does things differently, I cannot argue—however, that seems to put an unwarranted shine upon doing things poorly, incompletely, and without any sense of responsibility. Today’s New York Times Arts-Section reports that Trump’s administration has failed to award Presidential Medals for the Arts (or Sciences) thus far, creating yet another gap in the traditions of the White House. This is the same First Family that would have spaced out on the Easter Egg Roll last year, if the Easter Egg manufacturer hadn’t chivied them about their missing pre-order for the special wooden eggs.

The same article points out that Trump has an ‘awkward relationship with the arts’. He can hardly be called a patron (though, if you’re talking over-sized portraits of himself, his fraudulent charity might be interested). Collectible art has become its own investment-sector among the wealthy, but even so, Trump’s base precludes any public support of culture on his part, even if he had the wit to appreciate it. Culture, like science, is way off-brand for this administration.

Trump has no use for diplomacy or, for that matter, any function of the State Department. Even after replacing the top brass, Trump still has no use for the FBI. He gets uncomfortable with all the intelligence services, because they have this theory about the election. Also, they expect him to read this special morning briefing, every morning—and Trump doesn’t like to read—so he doesn’t read it.

Let me preface my next comment with some personal history—when I was little, my dad was fresh from serving as a Marine in Korea. He and my mom had five children, little money, and few prospects. But they sure knew how to work—my parents worked so hard, they worked nearly as hard as their parents had to, during the Great Depression. My parents were good parents—some of my friends’ parents’ behavior made that quite clear (other people’s families are like other planets—and some of them are cold and deadly).

Having said that: when we were very young, my father had the draconian and megalomaniac tendencies of the man who would become a self-made millionaire. He mellowed with time, but back then he could be strict, unreasonable, quick to take offense, and even quicker to lose his temper—a violent prima donna.

Having come this far, I still hesitate to say that Trump reminds me of my dad—it’s not fair to my dad, who was capable of both feeling shame, and seeing reason (eventually). All I’m really saying is: I’m familiar with the psychosis that inhabits the Oval today—I’m familiar with those shell-shocked, bug-eyed kids of his, too. I know when a man is substituting bluster for confidence—and when a man is more comfortable lying than allowing for imperfection.

But I hate to suggest an equivalence—my dad was no coward, no spoiled brat, and several-times-less of a bigot—and he worked his ass off, not just bossing people, but real working. His early parenting style, poverty-stricken and straight from boot camp, traumatized me more than my siblings—and he got better as time went on, slowly but surely. Still, this left me with a horror of people who insist on Authority taking precedence, even over Reason.

Which brings us back to Trump. At first, I felt fortunate—if he was without the slightest experience or in-depth knowledge of government, Trump would definitely do less damage than a real politician could, to forward his fascist deformation of America. Sadly, it turns out, the real politicians won’t behave so outrageously—but they’ll be outrageously silent in the face of Trump doing it. It’s tragic to learn just how shallow their lip-service to public service really is.

Trump’s agenda is two-fold: spoil anything Obama, and pander to the rich, especially himself. He doesn’t know from President—he just wanted to win a contest and purge his racist temper-tantrum. The greatest danger we face now is his growing awareness of and addiction to the immense destructive power of his office. Most people would be embarrassed to be torturing thousands of children and babies—and admitting that they started those internments without any plans to undo their violence. That would give most people pause. Not this clown.

Finally, to anyone who might suggest that Trump’s recent meetings with Kim and Putin are his ‘diplomacy’, let’s make a list of all the things those ill-advised coffee-klatches accomplished:

 

 

 

 

Ask Me Why   (2018Jul13)

LINCOLN BY GARDNER

Abraham Lincoln, is shown November 8, 1863. Lincoln sat for 33 photographers and 127 portraits, 37 of them by Gardner – “Mr. Lincoln’s Cameraman”. (AP Photo/Alexander Gardner)

Friday, July 13, 2018                                                12:30 PM

Ask Me Why   (2018Jul13)

We never dwell on the root of the issue. Why did Putin want Trump to win and Hillary to lose? For the same reason I wanted the opposite: because Hillary would have been a strong, competent leader—and Trump would threaten our values and, ultimately, our way of life. Hillary would have been a strong adversary of Putin’s, whereas Trump makes a ‘useful idiot’.

But it goes deeper than that—it’s not just Trump. We saw yesterday, at Strzok’s Congressional Circus and Sideshow, the Republicans—unwilling to give up their presidential election ‘win’, unable to admit that everyone who voted for Trump was duped, and pretending they don’t own the immortal shame of having supported a foreign agent as America’s chief executive.

In pursuit of this misguided delirium, the Republicans remain silent as Trump pulls one boner after another—flouting the law to ban Muslims and to  cancel DACA, flubbing Puerto Rican disaster relief—killing thousands, instituting ‘zero-tolerance’ (which sounds better than ‘full nazi’) as an excuse to torture thousands of children—and break their parents’ hearts (as if those poor folks don’t have enough troubles).

Being against immigration—which made our nation great. Being against science—which made our nation great. Being against free trade—which made our nation great. The Republicans are entirely in the thrall of big business and the super-wealthy—they wait upon the pleasure of the enemies of the People.

The cognitive dissonance yesterday, at that joke of a hearing, was deafening: the Republicans, censuring the FBI hero for his personal comments about what a horror-show a Trump presidency would be—as if it were a crime to see the approaching fiasco for what it was—a criminal encroachment upon the American political system. And, jeez, that mess was corrupt enough before these neo-traitors made their move.

Impeach !

StatuOLibrty_03

Ethics have No Promotional Budget   (2018Jul11)

Photo Mar 28, 12 17 26 PM

Wednesday, July 11, 2018                                                5:07 PM

Ethics have No Promotional Budget   (2018Jul11)

Lies are funded—partisanship spends most of its time fund-raising—lobbyists get paid the big bucks—and sensationalism sells. If anything is coming at you from a screen right now, the odds are high that it’s trying to sell you something. The games and movies, too—but those things are their own product—they try to sell you more by showing you pieces of the whole entertainment experience, and reminding you where to go to pay the money.

The other shows include advertising– trying to sell you something—as ‘brief’ interruptions—and they try to appeal to us strongly enough that we’ll endure the interruptions. Here’s where it gets convoluted—a televised (or streamed) news-show with sponsors should be bending over backwards to convince the sponsors of the professional and journalistic ethics of their shows.

One might blithely assume that the sponsors would be afraid to be associated with a new organization that couldn’t be trusted. This, sadly, is not the case. More often, the sponsors are only concerned with the numbers of eyeballs—and, to that end, the shows tend to hunt for sensationalism, violence, and conflict.

Which reminds me: Initially, public broadcasts were required to be, at least in part, providing a community service. That’s why the first TV news broadcasts were scrupulously journalistic.

Edward R. Murrow once famously said, “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” In his era, TV-news reporters seemed to be taking on the mantel of the printed press—becoming champions of the people’s right to know the facts. (I identify with Murrow—he died of chain-smoking—up there in Pawling, in 1965.)

Then the nature of ‘show business’ soon brought that sort of idealism to a close. It’s lucky that journalism wasn’t named ‘the news business’, or papers would be just as worthless as the video-whores.

And, truth to tell, the papers are not the ethical ivory-towers they once purported to be, if they ever where—the printed word, having ceded the field to the digital, can no longer referee in squabbles of note. The papers, too, have shifted towards partisanship—or appeared to, where reason and common sense makes one side feel obligated to oppose the other side as an evil, rather than a difference of opinion.

My point is: greed, fear, and ignorance have limitless backing—everybody wants a piece of that pie. Fairness and justice go begging.

StatuOLibrty_05

 

 

 

War On Our Enemies   (2018Jul10)

wwII_07

Tuesday, July 10, 2018                                             12:40 AM

War On Our Enemies   (2018Jul10)

There are armies of highly-paid lobbyists swarming all over Washington, D.C.—their only object: to subvert the will of the people in any way that will profit the industry that sent them there, be they Monsanto, Mobil, NRA, Pfizer, et. al. That makes them, QED, enemies of Democracy. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are a plethora of media outlets, radio, TV, in print, and online, which propagate misinformation in the guise of journalism or political opinion—these greedy rumor-mongers aren’t really ‘Big Evil’, they’re miserable grubs who see an easy buck—bilking the gullible. The Big Evil that results from their greasy scam is collateral damage, the toxic scum that this industry dumps into our clear water of discourse—the parasites that engage in it are only amoral pigs, not masterminds. In most cases, their ‘sponsors’ aren’t buying airtime for ads—they’re simply using these traitors as useful idiots. We must fight these enemies of Democracy: Limbaugh, Hannity, the entire Fox media, that asshat on InfoWars —for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are entitled, self-obsessed billionaires who bypass the lobbies (or more likely supplement them) by dumping money on some craven pol who thinks he or she is ‘swimming with the sharks’ on the road to power and position. The pols must overlook the quasi-criminal nature of such as Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and Foster Friess, before they can accept the backing of people who think money equals wisdom (what is it about being rich that makes people so stupid?). We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

There are check-cashing businesses and loan cos. and banks and investment firms—all of whom long ago grew dissatisfied with merely using our money to invest in stable businesses, and splitting the interest earned—oh, no, no, don’t be ridiculous. No, a banker is a god—don’t you know? Some even see themselves as ‘masters of the universe’. The vertiginous mania of greed, as you can see, clearly makes them numb to the fact that such a label allows no plural. These people have computers now—their incessant drive, to separate us from our money, makes them dangerous in many new ways. The recent scandals at Wells Fargo, LIBOR, and Morgan-Chase show that customer-service has morphed into predatory behavior—joining advertising as a fellow ‘industry the world could easily live without’.

Our obsession with Capitalism has made it impossible for anyone to work in the banking industry and not suffer a psychotic delusion: that handling large amounts of money makes their skin glow and their shit stop stinking. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.

We all know who are enemies are. Even controlling the media doesn’t allow them to hide the simple truth—though it allows them to pile on so much bullshit that the truth is fairly obscured—still, if you look close, there it is. One Netflix comic has a line now: “They said, ‘the immigrants and single women are taking all the jobs’—yeah, right—the people with no money and no power are taking all the money.”

There is a group in America today that agrees with statements that are manifestly false—because they are couched in hate-mongering and finger-pointing. Those people, unfortunately, comprise a good 30%-35% of voters. The con-men will always get their votes, because they don’t listen to the words—they watch for the entitlement and the wink towards propriety. “Political correctness—bah!” There‘s their policy statement.

Somehow, the conservatives have conflated being tough with being dishonest (and that sounds like the reasoning of a criminal—not for nothing). I guess they got pushed into a corner—when we told them that petroleum-burning was going to kill us all. I mean, if I was filthy rich from gasoline, I’d have an argument or two, too. But I’d have to be a special kind of dick-head to keep doing it, even after the global flooding started, decades later.

Make no mistake—our own worst enemies are our apathy and inertia. I get it—the world may be in danger, but not today. Right? Sadly, our only ammunition is political involvement—running for office is like volunteering to be a political aircraft-carrier, volunteering is like the infantry—and votes, of course, are our bullets. Without the votes, we get slaughtered—and not just politically. Shit’s getting serious, dude.

wwII_08

The United States of Problems   (2018Jul08)

20120630XD-Googl-WakeUpAmerica

Sunday, July 08, 2018                                              3:36 PM

The United States of Problems   (2018Jul08)

T’would seem the poisons we use to kill the bad bugs and plants are sometimes killing the good bugs and plants—the necessary bugs and plants—just as the antibiotics we use to save ourselves from bad bacteria are sometimes killing the good bacteria—the bacteria necessary for digestion. Our desperate need to fight evil—to save ourselves and our livelihoods—becomes a driving force. And that Force whispers to us, “The collateral damage is an unavoidable cost. Eat it!”

Everyone recognizes this situation—the paradoxical prison of high-tech civilization. Everyone knows that Climate Disruption is driven by humanity’s energy consumption—and everyone knows that we would suffer and die without the energy consumption.

But mere facts are only the beginning. We each choose our personal perspectives on those facts. The lowest perspective is a popular one: denial, dishonesty, ‘bargaining’ with logic—only the slack-jawed fail to see the self-destructive nature of that approach. The middling perspective is more mature, but still rather conservative: let’s compromise, let’s be bi-partisan, let’s move forward together. Problem: both perspectives dominate the social discourse—and both perspectives lead to inexorable extinction.

The most intelligent perspective on humanity’s tech/survival crisis is to examine our culture and commerce with fresh eyes—to make lots of changes that would all be non-starters in present popular opinion. It is sad that intelligence has gone so out of favor with Americans today—because intelligence is all that’s needed to transform a social-media full of trash-talk and dick-pics into a social-media that coordinates efforts to help each other.

Other nations have found out how strong the web is, when people feel oppressed. Well, America isn’t anywhere near that level of savagery—but we don’t need to riot in the streets. Uber was a bloodless revolution, as was Amazon, AirBnB, Google, EBay, and Etsy—but all these early paradigm-shifts had one limiting factor. They made money—in fact, they mostly made one guy rich. And many of us would consider their cultural disruption to take a back-seat to that one important result: rich! Americans think the Internet is only good for making people rich—but that’s only a small part of it.

Intelligent organization via the web can give super-powers to any endeavor popular enough to support crowd-involvement. Money only limits the choices, in that paradigm. And since our ‘Democracy’ seems to be slightly hacked, right now, maybe this would be a good time for community-minded folks to start uniting into more powerful forces. It’s in our country’s name, y’all.

People talk about how united we were during the Second World War—everyone pulling together to win the war. Well, Congress (such as it is) is not going to declare war—but if you think we’re not presently in a war for survival, well, you haven’t been paying attention to the nuclear arms and the hurricanes and floods and habitat-loss and mass violence and floods of refugees. And you certainly haven’t noticed the soulless, greedy bastards who make money from delaying public awareness of the dangers we face, right now.

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None Of That Matters   (2018Jul06)

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Friday, July 06, 2018                                                          3:25 PM

None Of That Matters   (2018Jul06)

I’d say: here’s a list of the music I’ve been listening to, lately—and list all the composers and bands and soloists that I listen to nowadays. I’d say: here’s a list of the books I’ve been reading, lately—and list all the books and authors that I’ve recently read. I’d say: here’s a list of the videos I’ve been posting to YouTube, lately—and list all the baby pictures and baby videos and piano recordings that I’ve recently worked with. I’d say: here’s a list of the music manuscripts I’ve been sight-reading, lately—and list all the books and composers and pieces that I’ve recently played or practiced. I’d say: here’s a list of the essays I’ve been writing, lately—and list all the titles that I’ve recently posted on my blog. But all of that would take forever—and who would want to read lists, anyway?

I’d talk about my vertigo, my intentional tremors, my migraines, my fatigue and shortness of breath, my precipitous weight-loss, my chronic muscle spasms, my intestinal difficulties, my emphysema, my transplant scars, my heart arrhythmia, and my lack of focus or short-term memory. Then I’d list all the anti-depressants, anti-diuretics, stomach-acid suppressors, anti-rejection drugs, OTC analgesics, nicotine patches, and corticosteroid inhalers which I take, to try and make it all bearable each day.

I’d talk about my wonderful family: my lovely Bear, my studious Boo-Boo, my Punkin (and her Hubby and her Princess), my late parents and grandparents, my siblings, my nieces, my nephews, and my in-laws. I’d talk about how lucky I am to have so many people, and so much love, in my life.

I’d even talked about the strange series of circumstances that led to my having more wealth and comfort than I ever dreamed of—in spite of being on disability for half my life. I’d talk about the seven colleges I enjoyed attending but never bothered to earn a degree from. If someone were foolish enough to ask, I’d even wax nostalgic about my old career as a computer coder and systems manager.

I’d talk about the history of the Universe, of our planet, of humanity, of civilization, of science, of art and music, of literature, of Europe, and especially American history—because, up until last election, I was very proud to live in what I considered the greatest country on Earth. I’d talk about the history of human rights, of freedom and democracy.

But none of that matters anymore—because I’ve turned into a sick old man who gripes about the crooks running our government and destroying our values and traditions (and our planet). That’s all I talk about any more. I’d like to change the subject—but I lie awake every night, I stew every day, obsessing over these horrendous traitors who somehow got the reins of a country they don’t deserve to live in, much less govern.

A Republican Will Look You In the Eye   (2018Jul6)

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Friday, July 06, 2018                                                2:14 AM

A Republican Will Look You In the Eye   (2018Jul6)

Capitalism, commodification, monetization—all lovely stuff, and anyone that thinks up a new way to ‘package’ a need, gets to be a Baller—cool, how exciting.

Except for lobbyists, who corrupt our legislators and bedevil our laws, all in the name of profit; for extremists and hypocrites, who conflate our politics with their oh-so-profitable zealotry, and hold the line against legislation that might really enforce equality and fairness; for arms-makers, who are the richest pigs on earth (mostly because they’ve sold death for so long, they can pretend it’s a basic necessity); for investors who refuse to connect their personal profit with the ubiquitous inhumanity of banks, industries, and the overly entitled.

It’s true that changing this nation-turned-crackhouse back into a halfway-decent home is a seemingly impossible task. The only thing that stopped them before was politicians—politicians who got votes by promising to protect you from these greedy, soulless bastards. Somehow, in the eighties, people starting talking about the economy—about how everyone’s lifestyle hinged on a healthy economy, so it was bad to yell at the rich people.

I saw that for the bullshit it was, back when everyone else was talking about how cool Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas were in “Wall Street”. But I was, and am, in a tiny minority of people. For over thirty years, wages have frozen, benefits and profit-sharing are history, work hours are longer, and work environments have become ever more dehumanizing.

When big industries lie to us now, we don’t laugh in their faces anymore—we actually listen to them, as if they had no profit-motive for every word, deed, or decision. We don’t even laugh at a clown like Trump—he has a whole TV news channel dedicated to spreading his ignorance and lies. And at least 30% of us are bitter and ignorant enough to hear what we want to hear, even when it’s so false, it contradicts logic. Thank you, Fox News—and Fuck you—very much.

A Republican will look you in the eye and tell you the $15/hour is just too much money to pay some people—that making the minimum wage $15/hour would only hurt business. Poor business—it might get an owie.

Let’s ignore the fact that that’s total bullshit—let’s just consider the fact that a politician (who presumably needs votes to keep the job) is publicly stating that paying a living wage, across the country, is no concern of the government—and that if it is, the businesses are more important anyway, so go fish.

A Republican will describe their big new bill as a ‘tax cut’, instead of the embezzlement it truly represents. A Republican will tell you they oppose abortion for ethical reasons—which would be easier to believe if they didn’t scoff at the ethical considerations of any other plank on their platform. A Republican will tell you that Trump has done nothing wrong—and is doing a great job. A Republican has nothing to say, however, when thousands of children are kidnapped, and are stilled being held in ‘detention centers’, denied reunification with the parent they were torn from, weeks, sometimes months ago.

A Republican will tell you that only 46 Puerto Ricans died from last year’s disaster—and that relief was provided, and all is well. A Republican will tell you that it was right to hold up Obama’s SCOTUS nomination, but it would be wrong to hold up Trump’s.

(Oh, and they’ll also tell you Trump is Not a racist). Though, if that is the case, then I have been using that word wrong all these years.

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We’re Being Betrayed   (2018Jun29)

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Friday, June 29, 2018                                                         6:30 PM

We’re Being Betrayed   (2018Jun29)

Thousands of Puerto Ricans died after last year’s hurricane—due to racially-motivated neglect—and then, Trump lied about it.

Thousands of children were kidnapped and emotionally tortured (and are still being held) by Trump—and then, he lied about it.

I get that people knew Trump was a sexual predator, a fraud, and a liar—and voted for him anyway—fine. But those thousands are still dead forever. And those thousands of children are still traumatized for life.

So why is Congress still waiting on Mueller to begin impeachment proceedings? Even if Putin had never come up—there are more than enough reasons to impeach Trump, right now.

He has disgraced himself—and in so doing, disgraced this whole nation. By standing with him, the Republicans in Congress have equally disgracefully chosen partisanship that smacks of treason—and certainly of betrayal of those whom they purport to represent.

The benighted boobs who see a hero in our National Disgrace are a far larger, multi-generational disgrace—of zealotry, hypocrisy, and self-delusion—people who desperately grasp for pride and respect, without any matching drive to earn such—or deserve such. They shout out their ignorance, entitlement, and bigotry for months—then pounce on a raised voice from the ‘libertards’ (i.e., anyone who disagrees) as monstrous incivility. It is to laugh at. It is a disgrace.

But, no—it’s just business as usual. Trump isn’t even taking heat for the five dead journalists—again, pretending he never called the press an ‘enemy of the people’ nor incited people against the press. No, Trump is busy picking just the right ‘new’ Supreme—one who will keep misogyny and corporate greed alive—and all the rich white men go ‘doo do-doo doo doo do-doo-do-do-do…’

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Trump’s Hate Is Our Shame   (2018Jun28)

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Thursday, June 28, 2018                                          4:50 PM

Trump’s Hate Is Our Shame   (2018Jun28)

I don’t know where the stupidity comes from. People rail against immigration, now, after it has been a pride and a blessing (even a necessity) for the two-centuries-plus of our history. Yes, there are bad actors amongst the immigrants—but not nearly as many, proportionately, as we already have among us (i.e. you and me)—there’s even evidence that large immigrant influxes have lowered the crime rate of the neighborhoods they enter.

There’s really only one excuse—9/11 happened, we became professional cowards, and suddenly ‘securing the southern border’ became an issue of national security—where it never before had been, not since the War with Mexico (1848), anyway. Nobody sees the beauty and the horror of what’s happening—the United States, Mexico, and Canada have no military at our borders—we’ve never had, and we’ve never needed them—and now, conservative fear-mongering is trying to destroy that.

We are all neighbors. But the United States of America seems dead-set on becoming that asshole neighbor that nobody else can stand.

Ball-less Wonders   (2018Jun22)

Friday, June 22, 2018                                               3:51 PM

Ball-less Wonders   (2018Jun22)

Evidence indicates the Federal Government’s policy is to refuse to re-unite the parents and children they’ve separated so far—when parents call to ask for information about their children, they are told, “That’s what you get for trying to sneak into our country.” This is the bully that you all should have been afraid of—here he is in all his glory.

The pit in my stomach today—is the other-shoe-dropping of the pit in my stomach I felt the night they elected this overgrown brat. Back then, I didn’t have anything specific to point to. But I do now.

Trump has ensured that, even if these kids ever see their parents again, they will have been fully traumatized for life by his little ‘political ploy’—thousands of children—thousands. Our president doesn’t really care—do U? Yeah, I kinda fuckin do. I am watching my country—my greatest pride—being transformed into my deepest shame.

When will the Republicans reclaim their manhoods? (Yes, I’m ignoring any Republic female senators or congresswomen—just as they ignore their own gender. And, go ahead, tell me all about how much respect they get from their peers—I’m listening….)

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We Are Immigrants   (2018Jun19)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018                                            1:43 AM

We Are Immigrants   (2018Jun19)

This whole country is nothing but immigrants and their descendants. That used to be a given. That used to be seen as the gift it is. People used to flock to where Lady Liberty said, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

If America has become too crowded and too popular to remain a golden door to the world’s asylum-seekers—fine. But we can at least show sympathy and kindness towards those who have crossed a desert, hoping to share the comfort and freedom we enjoy, only to be turned away.

The horror of what the border patrol has been ordered to do—tearing children, even infants, away from their parents—with no reassurance of, or information about, any future re-unifications of those families—makes me wonder what kind of people the patrolers are—that they haven’t rebelled at these asinine and inhumane orders.

But we know who is giving them orders—a corrupt and unconstitutional Administration that ignores the stricture against ‘cruel and unusual punishment’—not just for criminals, but for innocents, for asylum-seekers, for babies, for christ-sake. I am sickened—but somewhat more sickened by the realization that Trump wants us to feel sickened. He thinks he’s baiting the snowflakes—by emulating Hitler as near as makes no never-mind—this is Trump, ‘winning’. Can you imagine?

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And he really thinks that by repeating and repeating that the Democrats made this travesty happen—he’ll actually get people to believe it. The Democrats, that have had no influence for a-year-and-a-half before this celebration of cruelty broke out? Right, them—sure they did.

Again, the insane meanness of this traumatizing policy is overwhelming enough—but that it is a purposeful political ploy by our game-show president makes it exponentially more ghoulish. Can someone please wake the president from his feverish waking-nightmare—smack him across the face or something? And if he’s fully conscious—can we all just look around for that last ounce of dignity left in the United States—and impeach this motherfucker already? It’s not just this one policy I’m sick of.

Cowards—all of you. Afraid the immigrants are gonna get something that should go to you?—losers. Have you seen these immigrants? They kinda look like fucking People to me. You want to see a national security threat? Look to the douchebag in the Oval. There’s your enemy of the state.

But if you’re too dense to understand that—then the state I’m worrying about has already, de facto, ceased to exist—so fuck it all. You know, we really are all, ultimately, from somewhere else. The only thing that makes us E Pluribus Unum (from many, One) is our shared fidelity to the Constitution—and all that implies.

Trump doesn’t know a human right from a nightlight—he’s never seen a letter of the law that he didn’t try to use against its spirit—he’s a clear and present danger to the United States of America we all knew and loved. He represents a last, lost hope for all the bigots that got mad when Obama was president—but those crazy morons will tear the whole place down, if we let them.

And I gotta say—Democrats—I gotta see more fight in you folks! The Republicans are disgracing themselves at historic levels, probably hoping the FoxNews wall-of-lies will keep from tumbling down, until they have a chance to cash out. But you Democrats are missing every trick on the table—these goons are supporting the unsupportable; you should be in their faces, every day—a lot of this is unconstitutional; why aren’t you hammering on the anti-American Administration? Are you really gonna sit on your hands until the bad man goes away? Then don’t expect a blue wave. It’s called politics, dammit.

The Republicans better hope it stays ‘just politics’. With the right guidance, someone could have a couple million bleeding-heart protestors making a Woodstock on the West Texas-Mexico border. Those kids shouldn’t be left alone with just Trump, Sessions, and their goons.

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No Kidding   (2018Jun16)

Saturday, June 16, 2018                                           5:09 PM

No Kidding   (2018Jun16)

Just a couple of things. Trump said he wished he could be a dictator, like Kim Jong Un, and Steve Doucey of FoxNews (Why are they still legal?) responded with a shit-eating grin (as if to say, “Well, who wouldn’t?”—anal speaks to anal). Later, a real reporter asked him to confirm what he had said, and Trump said, “I’m kidding.” Then he proceeded to make his unfortunate remark the reporter’s fault—you know, for taking the POTUS seriously and, I guess, not having any sense of humor about human rights abuses.

But then, when asked about the families being ripped apart at the border, Trump said, “Oh, that’s a Democrat bill—they have to work that out.” And I felt it was heartbreakingly unfortunate that no one in the crowd said anything like, “Mr. President, you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about—and you don’t make any sense.” See, it’s times like these that the entire crowd should be laughing in his face—the guy is hilarious, except when he’s ‘kidding’.

Besides, I don’t think ‘kidding around’ is part of the job de-fuckin-scription. Can we please impeach this criminal?

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Free Speech vs. Dishonesty   (2018Jun12)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018                                            5:02 PM

Free Speech vs. Dishonesty   (2018Jun12)

Let’s review: Voting is a freedom—we are free to vote for our leaders—but voting is also a responsibility—we are expected to think like adults and vote for the best person to fill each office. Faith is a freedom—we are free to worship however we please—but Americans have a responsibility not to inject their personal faith into our public services and laws. Free Speech is protected by the Constitution—but Americans have the responsibility to be able to tell the difference between an opinion—and a big fat lie.

We cannot protect Free Speech from those who willfully abuse it to spread false information, such as Fox News. Did you know Fox News is banned in Great Britain? They are not such purists about Free Speech over there—and they were able to prove to the court’s satisfaction that Fox News did a disservice to any Viewer foolish enough to mistake it for Journalism.

As the domestic news continues—an endless river of dishonesty, whatabout-ism, hateful and stupid tweets, idiotic foreign policy, the dismantling and disrespecting of virtually every aspect of America’s institutions and policies, the blank-faced, empty-headed stupidity of a 70-year-old egotist who will actually tell you, “I’m very smart.”—I just don’t know what to say.

Americans—you have a responsibility to see all the way through this bullshit—to face up to the fact that that flabby bastard is lying to you—to everybody—that’s what he’s good at—that’s how he tricked you into voting for the worst (but most ‘popular’) candidate we’ve ever seen. Half his campaign staff have pled guilty—and he still calls it a ‘witch-hunt’—does that sound like an honest man to you?

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Oh, I Hope So   (2018Jun06)

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018                                               6:42 PM

Oh, I Hope So   (2018Jun06)

Some people are born with impressively large and powerful bodies. Some people are born with sharp and powerful minds. Some are even born with both. My first reaction has always been to envy such people—but I have learned to turn away from envy, or try to.

They have their roll of the dice, I have my mine—we are all somewhere on the human spectrum. And those placed at the high end can have difficulties and sorrows equal to those placed at the low end—just as we in the middle have the troubles of those in the middle.

We should admire such people honestly—after all, if we could be Adonises or geniuses, we wouldn’t say no—but we should save our respect for people whose wisdom is tempered by love.

‘Tough guys’ like to laugh at the ‘Boy Scouts’ of the world—and, in honesty, there is nothing so ridiculous as a failed Boy Scout. I have played the part—and, while I wasn’t laughing, everyone else surely was. But real character is nothing to laugh at. It has a strength that cuts through the ‘tough guys’ like butter. It has the ability to demand the respect of strangers—who won’t even necessarily know why—they’ll only know that they’re witnessing power.

People, whether lazy or ambitious, will usually scruple to put themselves in danger—people of character have no such qualms—you have to put them down to stop them. When you threaten people of character, you only confirm their decision that you must be opposed.

In the early days of the Revolution, the American colonies would seem to have been a target-rich environment for character—how else could a rabble have improvised such an unlikely military victory—and followed up, not with a new tyranny, but with the embryo of a global empire based on Liberty and Democracy? I fear that today’s America does not lend itself nearly so well to building persons of character—but I hope to be proved wrong. By my son, by my daughter, by my granddaughter, by all my nieces and nephews, and by their whole generations—oh, I hope so.

 

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Question: Why not grant clemency to ALL non-violent first-time drug-offenders unfairly sentenced to life in prison—who have already served two decades of their sentences? Why on earth stop at the celebrity’s grandma (bless her heart)?

Question: If the only thing that stops a bad man with a gun, is a good man with a gun, should all good men with guns head for the border-facilities where HSA is keeping all those children in cages?

Question: Paul Ryan—how long does ‘unfortunate’ remain acceptable in a sitting president?

 

XperDunn plays Piano
June 4th, 2018

Improv – with the Hand-Maid – Part 1

 

Selections from Musick’s Hand-Maid – Part 2

 

Improv – with the Hand-Maid – Part 3

 

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And God Laughed   (2018Jun04)

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Monday, June 04, 2018                                            12:13 PM

And God Laughed   (2018Jun04)

The SCOTUS ruled in favor of the pious baker who cringed at making a same-sex couple their wedding cake. SCOTUS opined that all lower courts, and the civil rights group that brought the suit, were too derisive and dismissive of the man’s faith. By reaffirming simultaneously, paradoxically, the rights of gay people to be respected and treated equally, they avoided making any lasting legal statement—other than urging people to ‘get along’ without bothering the courts. Only people with iron-clad tenure would castigate the people for requesting SCOTUS do their jobs—nice work if you can get it.

We must ask if deciding a ruling, based on disrespect of a man’s faith, is somehow different from deciding a ruling based on respect for a faith? Serious practitioners of American law insist on the separation of Church and State.

In the eyes of one who shares his beliefs, the baker’s faith is dignified and profound. In the eyes of one who does not share that faith, it is an unfounded, albeit popular, delusion—a hallucination that only the baker can see. To ask Americans to show more respect for a man’s faith than for the rule of law—even when they don’t share it—seems to gnaw at the roots of ‘separation of Church and State’.

I support good manners as much as the next guy. When my late Grandma Dunn used to use the epithet ‘darkies’, I eventually chose to stop correcting her—because it simply confused her—and there were no African-Americans in our dining room to be offended in the first place. My commitment to the family of man did not require me to badger Grandma about the way the past had shaped her thinking.

I not only avoid being rude to the faithful, whenever possible—I even feel it is cruel to purposely remove someone’s belief, if it makes them feel happy and safe. But that is just good manners.

I don’t even want see religion go away entirely—for some people it is a great comfort. Ah, but the sharks are always circling—religion, as rationale for anti-social or hateful action, ranges from ISIS—to a bi-curious middle-schooler being bullied in the hallway.

As with the Trump-era claims of ‘reverse racism’ (Ha!), SCOTUS’s claim that the religious zealot was subjected to undue derision—ignoring the fact that it’s the same faith that once brought you the auto-da-fé—appears to take issue with ‘separation of Church and State’, under the guise of ‘rudeness’. Rust never sleeps.

Rachel Maddow and Me   (2018Jun02)

Saturday, June 02, 2018                                           3:27 AM

Rachel Maddow and Me   (2018Jun02)

Wouldn’t you love to see me on Rachel Maddow? There’d be the guest-who-makes-sense and Rachel, the host—then me, and the Trump-apologizer. It doesn’t need to be me, specifically—just anyone off the street with a scintilla of decency and a good set of lungs.

See, everyone else there is constrained—Rachel is a journalist, which bars her from expressing herself beyond the facts—the other guest will have a media reputation to protect, not to mention a commentator-circuit rice bowl that must be respected. Those people are not free to speak their minds.

I think it would offer great relief to the entire nation, if someone like me was sitting next to a bloviating Giuliani, or a drawling Conway, and could turn to them and say how I really feel about their torture of the Constitution and common sense. The media pretends they are trapped into reading out Trump’s daily tweets, no matter how ugly or ignorant—and politely begging to disagree with the downright criminal inhumanity spewed from the mouths of these Trump-zombies. The political-news shows don’t need to be so maddeningly obtuse in their format.

All they have to do is add one more seat at the dais—the ‘laypersons viewpoint’ person—someone who can just walk on for one show and walk away afterwards, opinion given, no strings attached. All of this insanity would be so much easier to digest if a normal person had a chance to respond to the face of, in real-time, these professional haters and skeeves. Even if it’s just to, say, call one of them a POS, and walk off set—even just that would help a great deal in suppressing this ‘amnesty-on-bullshit’ Trump’s got going.

We could do something like it at press conferences, too—have some pompous ass give a mealy-mouthed half-true answer to a simple question, then turn to the designated ‘laypersons viewpoint’ person—and ask him or her what they thought of the spokesperson’s response. In this way, we could begin to leaven all the bullshit, with frequent instances of regular folks calling bullshit.

Everyman-Reactions are a time-honored component of broadcast news—there’s nothing unprofessional about taking the pulse of the ‘man on the street’. But in the present media environment, we need those truth-tellers right on the spot, every time the people who are eroding our society open their yaps.

You’re thinking, ‘What about the yahoos?”—right? That’s the beauty of it—if a real Trump-supporter ends up in the everyman slot, it’ll still work out—because there’s nothing more embarrassing and futile than two idiots trying to agree with one another.

Zero Tolerance   (2018May29)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018                                            2:51 PM

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Foot-sore, traumatized, asylum-seeking youngsters—and their penniless, defenseless, desperate parent(s) trying to find a better world, a better life, for their beloved children—these are the people for whom POS Trump has zero tolerance. And this is the beauty of that POS—by enraging all decent Americans past the point of any patience whatsoever, he tricks us into saying we have zero tolerance for him. He prods us to become as ugly towards him as he is towards us.

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The POS has taken the GOP’s tactic of obfuscation—the claim of ‘alternative views’—to its logical extreme: that ‘good vs. evil’ is simply two different viewpoints. He must lie on a daily basis to do so, but by lying, he makes the case that ‘he knows we are, but what is he?’—and, due to the childish nature of such discourse, it forces all mature citizens to balk at a retort. We are not prepared for a president who is willing to take advantage of the fact that the POTUS can moon the world, stick his fingers in his ears, and bray ‘Nyah! Nyah!’ on national television—and no one can do anything about it.

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Prior to the current POS, all POTUSes were responsible, reasonable men who knew the difference between doing business and serving the public—not perfect men, surely no, but still with consciences of accountability. The only prior POTUS who, like Trump, felt that ‘if the President does it, it’s not illegal’, was forced to resign in disgrace. And even Nixon had the dignity to drop the pretense, when the writing appeared on the wall—he didn’t force his country to endure the shame of a criminal trial against his administration.

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Meanwhile, I just saw news footage of lines of dead-eyed, defeated refugees being herded thru barb-wired enclosures by heavily armed and armored guards. They trudged in what seemed an endless, tortuous process which, in my mind, is the way third-world countries let refugees know they are  not welcome. And in that line I saw a woman, about my daughter’s age and height (but much scrawnier) with a baby in her arms, about my granddaughter’s age.

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They did not look like they were about to enter the Land of the Free—they looked like they were being herded into a prison. They did not look like they were being cared for in any way—though they certainly appeared frightened, tired, and thirsty. Is this America? Is it right for our POS to take our nation’s great strength and power—and use it to bully the entire world, including his own country, his own government, his own family? How did this asshole abrogate the glory of the USA unto his sick, evil (tiny) hands? I have zero tolerance for POS Trump, or the GOP goons who maintain his ‘legitimacy’ in the face of mountains of evidence of unfitness.

But we can expect nothing more from a party that long-ago adopted unfitness as a political tactic, rather than a disqualifier.

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1,500 Missing—Presumed Dead   (2018May26)

Saturday, May 26, 2018                                           12:02 PM

1,500 Missing—Presumed Dead   (2018May26)

The explanations, excuses, and counter-accusations keep coming—almost as fast as the reports of foreign dealings and criminal activities drift into a mountain range of malfeasance. Let’s face it—Trump’s a helluva tap-dancer—but he’s also obviously a crook, a liar, and a treasonously bad president.

The saddest part is that Trump doesn’t really matter—he’s just a foil for the morally-bankrupt Republican Party, which insults us by pretending there’s nothing wrong with Trump—and uses the Trump distraction to swiftly advance their fascist-leaning, de-humanizing vision of White Nationalism. Far worse than Trump’s ignorant opacity—is Republican leadership’s scheming pretense of sharing his delusions.

And the Republicans themselves—mere puppets of the super-wealthy—slaves to the big-dollar donors—are conspiring to make businesses not just equal to citizens—but superior to them. If an employer can keep you working, shorn of your constitutional rights, given barely enough to eat, doing whatever he says to do—then you, my friend, are not an employee—there’s another word for what they have made you. I think you know what it is.

The Nazis’ excuse was “I was only following orders.” The American fascists’ excuse is always “I need this job—I should let my family go hungry?” They are both narrow-minded excuses for failing to look past the immediate and the singular. Americans will tell you that they’d give their lives to defend their freedoms—but find one who will give up his job for them. Americans are full of knee-jerk sentiments: ‘Live free or die’, etc. But find yourself just one of these hot-house ‘patriots’ who will actually inconvenience themselves for the good of others.

The Federal government has ripped 1,500 children away from their parents (in the name of national security, no less) and then proceeded to misplace them. Really? How do we know they’re not buried in a mass grave somewhere? Are we just gonna watch CNN until the ‘child found’ episode comes on? Or are we gonna find out what happened to that ‘Children’s Crusade’ of missing minors, ourselves?

Impeach!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018                                       9:19 PM

Iran and North Korea have nuclear programs and missile programs—and, as some talking-head just reminded me, North Korea has developed missiles that could reach the United States. This is a sobering thought, as the 24-hour cable news show intended. I certainly hope the rest of the world can convince these two countries to stop wasting their riches pursuing WMDs.

Nukes certainly don’t give the superpowers anything but troubles. And, realistically, say either one of those nations were to lob a nuke at the USA—what possible scenario leaves the aggressor-nation as anything other than a smoking crater? We have thousands of those things—and when terrorists plane-bombed the twin towers, we went to war with two countries for almost twenty years. You do the math—I’d say they were in for return-fire.

Nuking the U.S. is an old pipe-dream that the Soviets started—even Dr. Evil, from the Austin Powers movies, would find it a rusty concept. We are the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon. We’ve been developing nukes since 1945. That’s quite a game of ‘catch-up’ ball those little countries are trying to play. And what’s the endgame—a radioactive Western Hemisphere? Is that the ‘safer’ future these countries are working towards?

How stupid are these people?

How stupid are we?

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018                                                       7:04 PM

 

Don’t let me wake up regretting yesterday

Don’t let me go to sleep fearing tomorrow

Let me live each day

Let me dress and eat and work and rest

Let my friends and family be near

Don’t let me be separated from life

By the artifacts of greed

 

I’m wondering today: if the ozone layer and the Van Allen Belt are evolved as part of our biosphere or if they are a chance occurence of our solar system? When we damage them, are we simply messing with a random artifact, or are we cracking the protective shell of the living Earth? Not that it matters—if we are foolish enough to heedlessly destroy our planetary radiation-shielding, we will die, either way. It is only the poetic aspect of the question that interests me.

The Ethically Vacant Administration   (2018May10)

Thursday, May 10, 2018                                          2:08 PM

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We are closing in on the first anniversary of Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, Jr. turning in his resignation. You may remember he quit over Trump’s refusal to divest his businesses and Trump’s refusal to disclose ethics waivers issued for White House staff.

I would say that Trump has vindicated Shaub’s decision by neglecting to fill the vacant post. (Trump did appoint the OGE’s counsel as acting director—but that person has issued one single press release in 2018—which I take as a sign of ‘agency hibernation’.) Trump has still not divested in full. And the Ethics Waivers issue took care of itself—most Trump staffers with questionable backgrounds have since resigned, been fired, have confessed to the FBI, or are currently under investigation.

The few ‘Ethics-Waivee’s who remain, such as KellyAnn Conway, have become caricatures of credibility—character actors in the tragic farce of today’s White House. Trump brought in Giuliani to be a fresh face of falsehood on the media stage—but Rudy seems to have ejaculated prematurely, outdoing KellyAnn’s two-years-of-hyperbole in a single weekend round of talk-shows.

I had naively hoped that General Flynn’s exposure as an Oligarch-gopher and Putin-plant within the National Security Council would be laid at Trump’s feet. I had hoped the same about Manafort and Gates. And about Stone and Papadopolis. Now, they are even trying to question whether Cohen’s activities were ‘in any way connected’ to the president. Gee, I donno!

We must eventually reach a point where his mouthpieces will be claiming that Trump’s mouth or Trump’s hands may have been involved, but not his heart and soul. And somehow, that not only makes Trump innocent of any reality—but makes the crimes themselves minor misdeeds that don’t deserve media discussion. It all works out very neatly—don’t you see?

Childish Giuliani   (2018May07)

Monday, May 07, 2018                                            2:27 PM

Childish Giuliani   (2018May07)

We already have a president who speaks in baby-talk—do we really need to give national attention to his latest henchman? Trump won the Electoral College, so we’re stuck with his ravings—but Giuliani has no mandate other than Trump’s retainer. And here is where the media becomes part of the problem.

Isn’t Giuliani entertaining? Are you not entertained? Plus, Giuliani’s random quotes sometimes seem as if they might place the president in greater legal jeopardy, rather than extricating him from his many scandals. Oh, how exciting!

But what value is found in the pompous pronouncements of a beady-eyed gas-bag? Are we better informed? No. Is he speaking freely about the truth, or is Giuliani just shot-gunning the public with carefully-curated, out-of-context agit-prop? Well, everyone is laughing at him—so, maybe, the later.

My main outrage is over his twisting the Justice Department’s investigation into something that ‘bad guys’ are trying to ‘do’ to Trump. Now, he may be a lawyer—but we don’t need to pass the bar to understand what it would mean for a president to take the Fifth. It would mean that Trump has something to hide—something incriminating.

His goon-squad also tries to make the investigation into some sort of ‘invasion of privacy’—as if people who break the law have the right to get away with it, rather than be searched by the FBI. Well, a president should have known that the office required more than a little invasion of privacy, above and beyond even what normal citizens must deal with. To think that ends—that the line for the president’s ‘fishbowl’ ends—at criminal investigation—well, like so many things with this president—that’s just silly.

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