Busy Work (2019Nov30)

Saturday, November 30, 2019                                          5:20 PM

Busy Work   (2019Nov30)

Usually, when someone admits to a crime, we don’t spend six months holding hearings before sending it to ‘trial’ (in the Senate, no less). It only happens because the Office of the Presidency is so important. However, to hear the ferocious spin of the Republicans, one can’t help but think they’re furiously trying to convince themselves that Trump is innocent, while they admire him for doing it. I’m sure there’s an explanation for Republicans, but I’m also sure it’s a tawdry, tragic tale—and I don’t want to hear it.

The way Trump’s disdain for our country mirrors Putin’s aggression toward us is a warning in itself. A high-tech society can’t be populated by unseasoned illiterates with no respect for details, maintenance or nuance. The world is too complicated to be run by a stupid bully.

I would not want to be a political leader in 2020. Seven billion people is not something you want to piss off. Especially now that we’ve broken the thermostat. They’ll be cranky enough.

We all know that not all grown-ups are adults. It’s time for the real adults to get scared enough to involve themselves. The human race needs enlightened leadership to replace the ancient power-foci, to get us all working together, to take care of all of us as well as we do the best of us. We have grown too powerful and too numerous for any other avenue of long-term survival.

To see this oneself, to feel the urgency—it makes these media match-ups of Dems Vs. Reps seem like glaring negligence only slightly less onerous than the President’s and his coterie’s. Nunes’ behavior is unacceptable—never has anyone so publicly committed to his role as lapdog—except perhaps Barr.

So I am torn between exhorting my fellow beings to face the future like sci-fi protagonists and despairing of my fellow humans for so seriously indulging in the busy-work which we solemnly call ‘The Impeachment Hearings”. O, if only we could all agree that the jack-ass is guilty, and move on—it would give me hope for mankind.

But then, I’ve forgotten—I’ve given up on ‘hope’ in humanity—we really are so repulsive, sometimes. These days, I run on pure optimism, just because optimism is better for my mental health. I no longer kid myself that my acute interest in current events and my burning passion for ‘goodness’ are both eating away at everyone else’s mind, as they do me.

But that is the most important part, don’t you see? People can’t live on small farms anymore—we’ve souped the whole thing up. So now, through a largely uncoordinated effort, the Earth supplies food, water, clothes, and shelter to seven-billion people, instead of the two-million, tops, that could sustain themselves without tech.

I ask you to consider what it meant to be human, pre-tech, pre-population-explosion, pre-pollution. Those days are gone for good. (If we keep ourselves from savagery.) The placidity and comfort of a life that asks nothing more than a hard day’s work (and a shorter life-expectancy) is becoming impossible to find. We’re having trouble getting kids to look up from their phones.

When evil strikes, and we seek solutions—we now have to worry about changing what it means to be human—CRSPR-stuff, surveillance-states, corporate autonomy superceding the human-rights of employees and/or consumers, etc.

We must then face the fact that we have already changed some of the most fundamental things about being human: a walking pace, the problem of solitude, our vulnerability to nature and biology, and our assumption that the greatest number of people have the most force. There’s a big list, but I won’t get distracted by detail. And so we see that we enter an age where we will be deciding how to consciously ‘define’ humanity. And the big question is: Do you want the idle, greedy rich to make those future choices? Or would you rather we all had a say? That is what makes Democracy more important today than it has ever been.

A Flat Denial of the Nose on One’s Face (2019Nov27)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019                                              3:01 AM

A Flat Denial of the Nose on One’s Face   (2019Nov27)

I think what I miss most of all is the shared-reality world of pre-9/11. After the WTC attack, I clearly remember being afraid for my own country. It had nothing to do with the terrorists—I was afraid of what Americans would do.

It became clear that this was an attack by a small group of criminals, with contacts throughout the Middle East—but with no specific government behind them. They staged from Afghanistan—and were linked to the Taliban.

The Taliban were once called the Mujahideen, back when they were being invaded by the Soviet Union—and we were only too happy to arm them and train them to fight the Reds for us. We didn’t mind the Taliban’s sharply uber-orthodox form of Islam—in fact, it fit right in with our own, Cold-War-heightened support of organized faiths.

I’m sure the Soviets just wanted the real estate—but it is nonetheless true that they imposed draconian limits on religions and their clergy (when they allowed them at all). But, once they were beaten back by Afghanis with US-supplied arms, the USA promptly lost Afghanistan’s number—a major example of where a stitch in time could have saved nine.

Had we continued funding the Afghanis’ recovery and modernization, with even a tenth of the money we’d spent arming them, the Taliban would never have taken flying lessons. But that’s all milk under the dam.

What had me scared, back then, was knowing that Americans saw this (as Bin Laden had intended) as an attack from the Middle East in general—and we would not be satisfied with an unsuccessful manhunt for an individual—we needed to declare war on a major Middle Eastern nation.

This was the beginning of all the Republican’s bare-faced lying (and the backing up of each others’ bare-faced lying). Bush-43 claimed there were WMDs in Iraq. Bush claimed links between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden. Journalists started seeing inconsistencies between our shared reality, and Bush’s wish-fulfillment filter of ‘things as they are’.

Bush’s tenure would continue to tend a garden of Republican zombie-lies, which would continue, through the Obama terms, as shrewish rumor-mongering and the most thinly-veiled racism of any party ever. But that was all just warm-up for the piece de resistance –Trump’s 24-hour Lie-cycle, and the Greek chorus of Senators who hear nothing, see nothing, and say nothing.

Now, granted, the media makes it far too easy for the Republicans to play these games with the truth—and the fact that their bullshit is working on millions of Americans must, also, encourage them to think there may be some sanity to lying-as-a-long-term-plan.

But it should be clear to these people, who so blithely manipulate people themselves, that all it takes is a well-placed sound-bite or two. Suddenly, the entire country will see Trump and McConnell, et. al. as I see them: opportunists who are very clever at bending rules, but hollowed-skulled when it comes to big-picture, long-term stuff—like America.

So, I dream of a near future where Conservatives and Fat Cats once again have the decency to see a flat denial of the nose on one’s face as a bridge too far—as it used to be, and always will be for folks of common sense and goodwill.

Mental Health (2019Nov24)

Sunday, November 24, 2019                                            11:02 PM

Mental Health   (2019Nov24)

Aren’t Trump & Nunes & McConnell & Barr & Pompeo & Giuiliani (& Republicans in general) pushing a little too hard to sell their fairy tales? Are we supposed to see them as anything other than treasonous gangsters? They’re not Conservatives. Conservatives don’t pull this shit. They’re not Evangelicals. Evangelicals don’t pull this shit.

And they sure ain’t ‘businessmen’—they’re not even good at being crooks. They talk like criminals. They act like traitors.

And cable news keeps lending them the patina of legitimacy—as in: they wouldn’t keep broadcasting this creep if he was really just telling lies, would they?

I see Fox News has a new ad: “America is Watching”—and whenever I see it, I mentally add “(We’re only banned in Great Britain)”.

It took me losing my own mental health to realize just how stupid people are. Before, I simply couldn’t imagine the levels of dullness and willful ignorance on which the human race operates. Now that I accept the truth about people, I can relax.

It seems that my upset was merely a matter of expecting too much. I couldn’t understand why civilization was such a worthless, filthy mess—but I get it now—and I’m going to let go of all my stress and let the human race be what it is. I’ve only been here since 1956—and I’ll be gone soon. What do I care?

So, there you have it—I’ve just spent a lifetime in the upper one-tenth of ‘intelligence’—and it’s only lately that it occurs to me that nearly everyone else, being of less intellectual vigor, will not make sense to me—any more than I to them. Thus, when I drove myself mad with frustration over things that are ‘obvious’, it only now occurs to me they are not obvious at all.

Thank goodness, I’m one with all of you now. My brain is as rusty, rickety, and unreliable as anyone else’s. Plus, I’m old and sick. No one has any hold on my obligation. Even if one man can make a difference, I volunteer someone else, someone under sixty and healthy.

Cling to the Fantasy (2019Nov05)

Tuesday, November 05, 2019                                           1:26 PM

Cling to the Fantasy   (2019Nov05)

I was against Trump as a racist, misogynist con-man and ignoramus. That seemed a bad choice for President. But even I, who expected the worst, am surprised to find that Trump is a criminal conspirator and a traitor.

I was against the Republicans as being wholly in the pockets of the wealthy. That seemed quite un-American to me. But that is nothing compared to their willful blindness and cowardice in confronting their mistake, in siding with the traitor—and continuing, against all reason, to pretend he’s innocent of the mountain of allegations that completely obscure the rest of American politics, or, indeed, governance.

I was against the media giving Trump billions in free campaign advertising—while helping legitimize his louché insanity. For-profit journalism is trying to serve two masters, and failing. But here we are, still getting critiques and discussions over what Trump tweeted—the news as Rorschach Cards.

In America, to be fair to both sides means ignoring right and wrong; and ignoring the rigor or provenance of ‘source references’. In short, ‘fairness’ is being without any judgement or reason.

I’m a New Yorker. I saw through Trump at the get-go—we have lots of slimy con-men in New York—especially in the city. They have charisma out the butt. They talk a Great game. But if you watch closely, they only have one agenda—to separate you from your wallet.

America’s Constitution—and its legacy: Public Education, the Panama Canal, Edison, two World Wars, Fission, the UN, the Internet—the story behind all that is neither clean nor simple. America is bloody. America is complicated.

Roughly one-third of Americans care only for the bloodiness. Another one-third simply take ‘America’ for granted. We poor bastards are the one-third that stands up to the complicated nature of America—and like our fore-fathers—we apply our fucking brains to the issue at hand.

We know, from experience, to avoid self-serving rationalization. We know not to confuse the anecdotal with the statistical. We accept that Democracy means some minority (small or large) will be disappointed by every election. We cling to the fantasy that the majority of Americans will want what is best for all of America—because, why wouldn’t they?