What Happened? I’ll Tell You What Happened (2017Sep12)


New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of “convenience.” (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017                                          11:07 AM

What Happened? I’ll Tell You What Happened   (2017Sep12)

Hillary Clinton’s new book, “What Happened”, has been getting a multitude of similar reviews—all of which summarize her reasoning and smugly find it lacking, for a bunch of self-assured reasons. It makes me crazy to see this reek of misogyny continuing on, as if the election were still in progress.

We all know exactly ‘What Happened’. Hillary Clinton offered the country an intelligent, reasonable choice—and we, in our collective wisdom (or lack of) chose Donald Trump—an idiot we would be hard pressed to find the equal of. It is not Hillary who has to explain herself. ‘We have met the enemy—and he is us.’

The GOP blamed Obama for eight years of struggle to recover our employment rate—forgetting that Bush made the crater Obama then crawled out of. Did Hillary fail to recognize the spasms of rage and resentment being stoked by Republicans, Alt-righters, and Russians? Did she keep her head in an environment where quiet common sense had gone out of fashion? Yes. Does her being a minority of one mean that she should have acted like a carnival barker—that she was the one making mistake after mistake? Sadly, no—that was us.

The media, especially social media, whipped us all into paroxysms of hysteria over the 2016 presidential race—and only in such a fact-free, reason-free, top-of-your-voice environment could we have been turned around enough to have voted in a TV con-man with his hand out, groping for pussy. But hey—that’s What Happened.

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Oh, I Hope So (2017Sep07)


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Thursday, September 07, 2017                                        11:33 PM

Oh, I Hope So   (2017Sep07)

I feel a tremendous sense of freedom lately—recent events have created the same sense of hyper-alertness, of being under attack—as a nation—that we felt for so long after 9/11 (the 16th anniversary of which is hard upon us). But we have recovered from the surprise ambush of ignorance—we have taken the measure of the beast now—and we see many ways to maneuver against Trump, his supporters, and his oligarch buddies over in the new Mob-run Soviet.

Instant destruction still looms, of course, but aside from the willful rush towards it, nothing is really new. So I’ve recovered from the sense of dislocated reality—I’ve got ahold of myself, and I have faith that the backlash will ultimately blow his weave right off his empty noggin.

Direct proof of Russian meddling and mischief—above and beyond the attempted hacking of voting machines, above and beyond the WikiLeaks disruptions—traced the spreading of lies through social media to Russian troll-farms pretending to be American Conservatives, posting disinformation on Twitter and Facebook—investigators can give hard data on the perpetrators now, so it can no longer be dismissed as mere rumor.

Evidence has also been found to indicate that Russian meddling very definitely saw Hillary’s defeat, and Donald’s sneaking a slim victory, as unexpectedly sweet revenge for Putin and a strategic victory for the Russian State. Of course, in spite of this solid picture that’s forming, we have an enthralled, segregated sector of Americans who still access ‘alternative news’, even as we expose ‘alternative news’ as a Russian disinformation and disruption campaign.

More importantly, we face a conundrum: Trump lies like a rug about America and the Federal Government and the elected officials. So does Russia. Are these two forces of evil coincidentally centered on the same presidential election? Or were they coordinating their lies for the promise of Russian banking loans and development deals? We’ll see, eventually, I guess. But, in the meantime, I’m satisfied that serious people are out there proving that Trump is dishonest to the point of treason—as I’ve shouted (in blog-post style) for over two years now.

And that lets me off the hook. Sure, I’ll remain a voice crying in the wilderness, blog-wise, but I’ll go back to focusing on basic principles and apparent paradoxes in current American events—now that the Trump-effect is starting to flicker and dim. I think we, as a nation, have finally hit bottom and come (partially) to our senses—beginning the long climb back up to a citizenry that would only laugh at the idea of a Trump presidency. Or, at least, I hope so.

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Can You Make Change? (2017Sep06)


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Wednesday, September 06, 2017                                              6:16 PM

Can You Make Change?   (2017Sep06)

In the Era of the Stupid President, we are all searching for answers: How did this happen? Who voted for the con-man and why? Were we tricked by the media, by Russia, or by Trump himself? How can we validate online sources and avoid ‘fake news’? Will our country survive four years of deliberate malfeasance—and, if not, why is he not impeached yet?

But I think I’ve found a central issue: How do people deal with change? And the answer is: Really badly.

As we grow older, we fight against accepting the change in ourselves. When people are presented with a new idea, they tend to fight against hearing it, to fight against accepting it, and to fight against living by it. Americans, being ‘free’, have a tendency to overdo our fight against change—we often claim our right to be wrong (even when it hurts others—which removes it from the arena of personal freedom).

And, as a nation that does poorly with change, we are the most vulnerable country in terms of future shock and disruption overload. While electronics and microbiology and nanotech and DNA-sequencing transform global culture, erasing millions of old jobs and habits, creating millions of new challenges and changes—we experience the drag of a national culture that has learned to be oblivious.

While less than a tenth of Americans (I’m guessing) are actively involved in making the future, at least half of us are so uninvolved that we don’t even vote. Our academic standings have dropped compared to the rest of the world. Our manufacturers move jobs to make a quick buck, leaving us shouting about lost jobs—while robotics inexorably replaces all manufacturing work.

Instead of growing our country with unlimited free wy-fy, we make it a commodity—guaranteeing that wy-fy will be withheld from the most desperately hard-striving half of the country. Instead of making healthcare a universal right that we can all rely on (at a sixth of what we spend now) we support the insurers and pharmacists that see healthcare only as a cold-blooded cash cow. We the People? Sounds more like We the Entrenched Business Interests to me.

People, generally, don’t change. They will follow someone they respect into a new paradigm—FDR, JFK, and Obama are a few examples. But without an idealist who also happens to have charisma, Americans are lemmings. We’re in lemming-mode right now. We need a leader. Or we need to learn to deal with change much more courageously.

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President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Harvey Fail (Among Others) (2017Sep01)


KConway

Saturday, September 02, 2017                                          1:09 AM

Harvey Fail (Among Others)   (2017Sep01)

We’re getting a broader picture of Trump every day—last week’s failure to condemn hate groups was followed by this week’s failure to achieve the proper tone at a disaster-site photo-op. His loyal Kellyanne Conway is back with her special brand of neuroti-spin. First she claimed that Climate Change was too broad a subject to focus on, while Texas was still mid-disaster—then she claimed the Trump’s tax-returns were too narrow a subject to focus on, while Americans wanted their own taxes lowered.

I suppose that’s a step up from her early work, when she would simply accuse interviewers of asking stupid questions and go on to verbally dog-paddle until her mic was turned off. Nevertheless, her footwork in the face of reality is unerring—like a little child who blurts out, “It wasn’t me!” before anyone even accuses her of something. She starts from the premise that anyone who asks her a question is a bad person—which makes it okay for her to respond with venom rather than reasoned rebuttal. But she does do a great imitation of reasoning. It’s a shame, really—she’s that close to actually making sense, while still missing it by a mile.

She used to be one of a crowd—we don’t see that crowd of apologists for Trump anymore—just the beleaguered few remain—Kellyanne and Sarah Huckabee, maybe one or two others—those whose connection to reality has never been as strong as their drive to win the PR contest. Americans, take note—those best able to win a popularity contest aren’t going to be the best at running the Administration.

But that stop in Corpus Christi was pretty chilling wasn’t it? That clown waddled around, trying to rev up his ‘audience’ for a rally—completely overlooking any mention of the deaths of Harvey’s victims, completely forgetting that it’s a good idea for the president to reassure a disaster zone that the whole country is behind them. Then he had his Phoenix rally the next day—what a schmuck.

And I think there’s a popular meme in our culture—the strong, silent male (like Gary Cooper or John Wayne, for example) that provides cover for other types of men. Some men aren’t ‘strong and silent’ because they repress their manly feelings—they’re ‘strong and silent’ because they’re cold and uncaring. Trump doesn’t look embarrassed when he’s caught in a traditional touchy-feely moment—he looks annoyed, as if wondering how long he has to pretend to be a caring human being until he can go back to his self-absorbed ego trip.

With the Trump/Russia scandal spilling over into New York State and the IRS, one gets the feeling that a tumor is growing under Trump’s façade. And with Trump still believing that he can zig-zag his way through legal troubles, just as he’s always done, ignoring the fact that the presidency is different—well, he should ask Bill Clinton about that, is all I’m saying.

I mean, look how clueless this rube is—by donating $1,000,000 of his personal fortune to Harvey victims, he makes two mistakes for the price of one. Firstly, he’s reminded everyone that he has not put his assets in a blind trust, as real presidents do—and, secondly, he’s trying to make the sun shine out of his personal ass when what he should be doing is preparing the billions in federal relief planning that he’s in charge of.

But that is something only a person who gave a shit about the Harvey victims would do.

A Lover of History (2017Aug26)


BoucherAllegoryOMusic

Saturday, August 26, 2017                                                3:30 PM

A Lover of History   (2017Aug26)

I’m not a believer, but I sing “God Bless America” just as loud as anyone else—I love this country. And I admire its greatness—its ideals, its inventions, its victories, and its opportunities. When Trump says MAGA, he simply reveals his ignorance of America’s true and enduring greatness—something he has continued to do for over 200 days now.

America is a dream dreamt by most of the rest of the world—not the land, but the culture of freedom and inclusion and opportunity—that’s America’s greatness—and ironically, it is threatened by the very con-man who ran on MAGA. Big surprise, right?

But I don’t want to discuss that blimp today. I want to talk about seeing America with open eyes—seeing that, in spite of its many achievements, there is plenty to regret in its bloody and divisive history. We are currently at war with a country that surrendered to us sixteen years ago—and at war with another group borne of the fighting—that’s some sad, stupid shit.

But America’s history is not a pretty picture. Those of us with the luxury to sit around and post online all day, with a fridge full of food and an electrified house and good roads—we tend to forget that it took over four hundred bloody, horrifying years to get here—and if we’re not mindful, it will all go down the drain.

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First, we killed off all the innocent native people, who lived here before we ‘discovered’ it. Then we set to shipping as much of the natural spoils (fur pelts, lumber, new products) as possible back to Europe. Britain and Europe sent criminals and refugees off to our country—just to remove such people from the civilized world.

Okay, that was glib—but let me just say that I still respect Americans who take pride in their pioneer and settler forebears—that process was a grueling one, demanding incredible courage and sacrifice. But it was also a bloody one—and the pioneers were, from the aboriginal viewpoint, merciless invaders.

Even when native Americans surrendered to the ‘civilized’ white people, it was always a lie—the colonists and later, the United States, would always make a binding pledge to their captives—and then turn around and break it—always. If one is proud of one’s heritage, it’s always dangerous to examine that history too closely.

Further, let me point out, the Europeans prized furs and lumber because they had denuded the European landscape of same—even without the benefit of industrial technology, human beings, like goats, can destroy an ecosystem simply by living there.

Also, the vast majority of immigrants (colonists) being criminals and refugees made for a rather anti-establishmentarian culture in the North American part of the ‘New World’. Eventually, we rebelled against the Church, the King, and wrote Founding Documents that specifically direct the citizens to keep firearms and rise up against the government again—whenever we weren’t happy with the people in charge. And people wonder why the United States has ten or twenty times the annual gunshot deaths of the rest of the world combined.

So, that’s just for starters—then we started kidnapping Africans, shipping them to America and making slaves of them. It seemed like a great idea at the time, I’m sure—but, in hindsight, it had a few problems. And slavery was the worst of it—but it was far from all of it.

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The white, English-speaking Protestants (along with the Dutch in New York) have always exuded a pompous, entitled discrimination against anyone from out of town—like Peyton Place people. They persecuted the Asian immigrants, the Irish immigrants, the Scandinavian immigrants, the Italian immigrants, the Polish immigrants, the Jewish immigrants, the Indian immigrants—I know I’m leaving a few out—Americans love their pet peeves.

Nor is this ancient history—as a child, I remember people discussing whether an Irish Catholic (John F. Kennedy—and me) could ever be elected president of the United States. But African-Americans still win—white America has, somehow, made a fetishistic art-form out of hating African-Americans.

We’re the only country with an entire region characterized by a nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of African-Americans in chains. We’ve had a hundred years of ‘the first Black this’ or ‘the first Black female that’—and you’d think Barack Obama’s two terms would put a period to all that, but no—there’s still some slots open for discriminating white people to take note of.

We even have a white nationalist movement—right now—that sees a leveled playing field as ‘reverse racism’—these are many of the same yahoos that complain that our religious-freedom-laws are an imposition on the freedom of their religion—no one has the heart to explain to these morons that that’s what it’s for.

But all the above is just human nature—we haven’t even started on how greed (aka Capitalism) has transformed our environment, our lives, and our laws—even our elections. But pollution, corruption, neglect, and community apathy are all much too complex, ingrown, and depressing for me to go into here and now.

All I’m saying is that America is neither simple nor easy, neither perfect nor perfectly evil—it is a struggle, a moral experiment, a system that bets on good against bad. It is complicated enough that sloppy-thinking, ignorant people like our president just get in the way of people of good will—the entitlement that makes them ignorant of our true character is the same entitlement that makes them a danger to the character of our nation.

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greatshakes

Practical Solutions   (2017Aug25)


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Friday, August 25, 2017                                           2:55 PM

Ah, the beauty—the delicacy and iridescence of a lawn on a dewy morn, the awesome compulsion of a baby’s grin, the warm softness in the breast upon hearing soulful, nostalgic music—these are the moments that we are deprived of during a crisis. In an emergency everything’s business—get it done or someone may be hurt—no time for dawdling. Hurry, hurry—we don’t have time for nonsense.

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But face it—9/11 is really 9/11/2001—it was sixteen years ago—I think we can stop panicking now. No one can minimize the horror of the event—and I wouldn’t even want to try. But as far as how we live our lives in 2017—I think it’s long past time we calmed down, did some yoga breathing, and took stock of how many mistakes we have made.

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First of all, that Bin-Laden bastard planned more than the plane attacks—he hoped that the US would do exactly what it did—panic, overreact, start expensive wars that would increase division and hurt our diplomatic standing in the world, while they drained our coffers and goosed our national debt. And Bush-43 gave him more than he dreamed—a near re-run of the Great Depression, and hundreds of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Besides all of that, we have this Putin bastard, who is the only world leader thuggish enough to be the first to invade sovereign territory of a neighboring country since Hitler’s defeat. Then he starts disruption campaigns against democratic countries—and I don’t think I need to remind you that democracies work badly enough without disruption.

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He scored big with a disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton so effective that even her supporters started to doubt themselves—and he got bonus points for opening the door to the most disgraceful president this country ever had the shamelessness to elect (collegiately—if it had been a majority vote, our disgrace would have been complete).

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Putin managed to cheat us out of another four years of Obama-like governance and a wily, strong opponent against him on the world stage—how that fucker must have danced when he realized he was getting to deal with Puddin-head Donny-John instead!

Of course, your internet feed may sell you a different story—a story wherein everything I’ve just said is a bunch of bull and I am a deluded snowflake. And that is the last mistake I’ll address today—all the governmental, judicial, administrative, financial mistakes will have to wait for some other time. We have made the mistake of letting ourselves become divided—the Internet’s business plan of ‘customized filtering’ has put each of us in our neat little pigeonholes for counting and sorting.

We need a focal point. And it’s not just the internet either—journalists in both print and television have been shunted into the for-profit side of printing and broadcasting. Or, it might be more straightforward to say that there is no longer any room in modern businesses for a non-profit section.

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Our present greed is too ferocious to allow such waste of business effort as to serve the public. Besides, nowadays, the whole point of owning a media empire is to become the iron fist that chokes off free speech to his or her own personal satisfaction—then lets the rest through, so you can’t tell anything’s missing.

So we have developed both the internet and the mass media in purely commercial ways so far—and they no longer serve the public, either. Plus, we have, on the one hand, made the internet increasingly important, to where our civilization might collapse without it, and on the other hand we freely admit that there’s no such thing as a secure internet—that a hacker, or group of hackers, could wreak havoc on the global community with a few buttons pushed. Now, I like online as much as the next guy—but there’s such a thing as ‘too good to be true’, too.

So, we have made a lot of mistakes lately. And even if we didn’t make those mistakes ourselves, we all still have to live with the consequences of the above mistakes. And we have to find solutions to those mistakes. But most of all, we have to start thinking, real thinking—not discussions and debates between two sides of trivial differences, but practical solutions to real problems.

You know, like grown-ups.

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Media Milquetoasts   (2017Aug24)


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Thursday, August 24, 2017                                               4:29 PM

Media Milquetoasts   (2017Aug24)

As we know, Trump has a fetish for “I know you are, but what am I?” During the campaign, Trump echoed every accusation HRC made against him: unfit, corrupt, collaborator with Russians, using charity for personal gain, etc. Every time Hillary described an aspect of Trump, he found some paper-thin rationale to throw the accusation right back in her face.

The media, instead of reporting on his fetish for “I know you are, but what am I?”, decided to run every statement he made, as if he had as much reason to say it as she did, even though he had never said anything about any of these things, until someone with a sharp mind had thought them up.

Then, after those countless PR ‘gimme’s, they had to report some facts about Trump lying. Then he, of course, called them liars and ‘fake news’—and, instead of filing a slander lawsuit against him, the media reported on his ‘fake news’ statements, as if he had as much reason to say it as they had, even though he had never said anything about any of these things, while the media had been playing for his side.

Today I felt the assholery peaking at maximum—Trump isn’t just mirroring his critics anymore—his latest psycho-reversal: explaining stupid to smart people. He and his cronies are following up his recent word-salad public statements with commentary about how it all makes a sly kind of sense, if you look at it from Trump’s point of view. Sorry, BLOTUS—‘five dimensional chess’ is just a buzzword, meaning: you’ve crawled so far up your own ass that you can’t back out.

Yet, still, the media hops onboard with the agenda-setter-in-chief—never mind the real actions and consequences happening behind the scenes of this apocalyptic presidency—let’s just keep re-tweeting him and his friends. Sure, that sounds about right…yeah, sure. Besides, real journalism has that pesky ‘work’ element to it—eh?

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