Logic is Overrated

“It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma.”

Words matter. Someone gave the president a masterfully intricate, hand-crafted collection of the best words available, all intended to promote a fallacy of relevance: argumentum ad baculum, or the “might makes right” fallacy. And just like that, Donald’s words shouldn’t matter — but they still do, because he’s POTUS.

Yes, it’s ironic that Donald Trump chose a “fallacy of relevance” to defend his failing presidency, but the consequences could be catastrophic. If you go look, you’ll see that pretty much every knife in Donald’s drawer is a fallacy of relevance, including the genetic fallacy, ad hominem, ad populum, or ad misericordiam (literally an “argument from pity”). Poor Donald. This job is HARD.

There is nothing new or particularly surprising here — conservatives have always responded to the “strict father” (do as I say) model of governance. ‘I don’t care if you love me or not, there are rules in my house. I’m sorry your brothers just opened up a six inch laceration across your scalp — it was an accident — now say you love them. We’re a family. Say it.’

Wait, what? You didn’t hear that? Well, the transcript is available for the media, pundits and others to discuss ad nauseum; I’ve done many a deep-dive into the language deployed to destabilize our democracy. But yeah — this speech was designed to put Charlottesville in the rear view mirror. ‘Families squabble. Get over it and get past it, because the men and women sitting in front of me might just lose a limb or their lives if you don’t.’ Seriously — it’s all there if you just look. Continue reading

Is This It?

Is this it? Because it feels like this is it. Here’s why I say “words matter”: you either read “it” as “holy crap, there’s a madman in the White House and we’re all gonna diiiiiiiie” or “Americans did build a wall — 20,000 souls strong — to keep hate out of Boston.” #BostonStrong

 We ARE stronger together and yes, we can build a future to believe in. But first we have to stop fighting with each other or looking at past decisions with regret. I’m looking at you, Trump voters. Put on some Bill Clinton rally songs if it’ll help lift the darkness which has been clouding rational thought lately. Don’t stop believing in tomorrow — yesterday’s gone — the only question is what will you do with today?

 I’ve used the parable of the blind men many times — to remind myself how many different perspectives of the same reality are not only possible, but to be expected. This is large and flat and must be a fan. No, it’s round and long and must be a rope. Well this is it — we’ve been rocked backwards and our eyes are finally open. The real problem is there’s an elephant in the House — and the Senate. We need to get it out before we can deal with the mess.

Demanding Republicans denounce Trump with the same fervor they will white supremacy, however, is a fool’s errand. They want their tax cuts — and we need Donald’s signature on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that my pal Al, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, helped craft.

Donald took a step back and saw “both sides,” which he and a disturbingly large number of your fellow citizens believe is rational. False equivalence is nothing new with these people; “… more people get killed by cars than guns, so … um … geez, I should probably stop talking now, huh?” Nobody wants to find a cure for Donald’s Twitter Tourette’s more than the GOP leadership — but I think “it” is good for America at the moment.

It probably took someone as vile as Donald Trump pretending to represent American values, to finally remind us all what they really are.

 You’re welcome.

All The President’s Men

… are jumping off a sinking ship of state. Now it’s time for the title match — Pence v. Trump: Christianity or Chaos? Which will rule America?

Imagine for a moment — the showdown coming up at Camp David. Trump’s convinced Pence is working behind the scenes, consolidating support on the Hill for a Pence presidency. Pence’s convinced Trump is a temperamental jackass of a boss who also might be mentally deranged.

TRUMP: You’re fired.

PENCE: Says who? I serve at the pleasure of the president, Donald, but I don’t believe you’re the president anymore — I am.

TRUMP: You can’t do that, I fired you first.

PENCE: Ha! You “fired” your White House business council after all the CEOs walked, you giant hypocrite.

TRUMP: They weren’t loyal. They were weak, they were all very weak business people. No wonder America is a disaster!

PENCE: … YOU were the one who brought them to the White House you raging imbecile … they are all strong, capable business leaders with vibrant dynamic corporations who believe that supporting Nazis is …

TRUMP: NO — they didn’t agree with me, so that just means they were wrong. So sad. I feel bad for anyone with stock in those companies, believe me — it would be a shame if anything were to happen to their portfolios.

PENCE: Like the way you tanked Amazon stock when The Washington Post wrote an unflattering editorial?

TRUMP: It’s all about reforming the tax code. Pathetic Mitch and pretty boy Ryan know I’ll sign anything they send me. It’s time to get us some!

PENCE: I own a pen, too, Donald.

TRUMP: Damn.

 

Whistle Blower

On Twitter I said, “Waiting to learn which dogwhistle #PresidentBannon will have @POTUS blow next is killing me. C’mon, @realDonaldTrump, fail #ResignInDisgrace

While it’s amusing to needle the president and your conservative pals about the bloated, sick white nationalist scumbag behind Trump’s throne — what’s happening to families and neighbors as a result is tragic. We’ve always known the “R” in Republican stands for regressive — and President Bannon has dragged us all the way back to the Civil War … and it’s tearing families apart, again.

What follows is a public letter written by the father of one of those alt right, neo-nazi terrorists who invaded Charlottesville.

“My name is Pearce Tefft, and I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local news stories over the last several months.

“On Friday night, my son traveled to Charlottesville, Va., and was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists, who allegedly went on to kill a person.

“I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.

“I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.

“Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family’s heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now.

“Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.

“His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview.

“He once joked, “The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven.”

“Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all.”

Remember, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts w/o wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.” — Dr. Martin Luther King

The father’s original letter posted here.

“Justice” for all …

There’s no shortage of opinion online. This is mine. I want to focus on the positive for just a moment: most of the planet agrees Nazis are evil. There really wasn’t all that much equivocation on the point, save from those who allow their personal politics to trump personal morality. From their perspective, all the so-called baby-killing, Marxist-loving, tree-hugging liberal hippies are the ones without a moral compass. There is no middle ground in America — the entire country has become a no-man’s land. Unfortunately, it is not demilitarized.

Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia noted with justifiable alarm that the militia members who invaded his commonwealth were better armed than the state’s police. Every other day comes a new threat of armed insurrection if, and only if we can believe Donald Trump when he said, “We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution.”

This president has major legal issues waiting on his newly refurbished “dump” of a doorstep. His supporters say they’ll quash this legal dilemma and Trump’s possible removal from office with bullets (or, if unavailable, an automobile). There wasn’t much ambiguity in the statement Trump’s staff insisted he read — but the subtext was chilling. While he’s in charge, anyone resisting hatred and bigotry is every bit as suspect as the Nazi preaching hate, anti-government militias clutching their phallic blankets, or your basic, everyday, garden-variety bigot. Trump will pull out all the stops to make sure that citizens on the streets remain orderly — and obey.

“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.” ‘Punch a Nazi in the face? Go to jail — I promise you — I’m going to give you the best justice … so much justice you wouldn’t believe.’ It’s a pretty carefully crafted bit of intimidation for any American still brave enough to take to the streets of their city and bar the gates against intolerance, isn’t it? “Anyone,” perhaps “from many sides,” is liable to be arrested.

On delivering justice: “We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear” sounds good. Seems clear he’s going to throw federal money and resources at local police departments (who needs another surplus tank?), further militarizing the force. Add to this toxic stew of “policy,” Trump telling cops “we’d like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice.”

Maybe it’s me. Maybe the president of the United States didn’t just say, ‘when the KKK comes KKKalling, you’d better be on your best behavior — or else!’ I believe he did. He read that statement as if he’d survived months of beatings inside the Hanoi Hilton and was dragged in front of the cameras. He couldn’t help himself, either — setting aside the small issue of standing up to Nazis and bigots — leading his remarks with an informercial starring Donald Trump’s imagined greatness at presidenting.

He buried the lede. He did it on purpose. And the official White House reaction to Charlottesville is clear: we will spare no expense to maintain order on the streets. When the Klan and the armed militia arrive in your city … don’t get your panties in a twist or Trump’s troops might have to deliver some good old-fashioned “justice” to your face — and it won’t “be too nice.” You’ve been warned.

You’re welcome.

Vigilance

My grandfather has crossed my mind several times over these recent days — this was his Civil Defense helmet.
Please also enjoy “Helmet,” by The Bobs (1987), from their LP, “My, I’m Large”: “If they would only try just once to wear a helmet, the world would soon be a better place. Come try my helmet on, nothing can do you harm.”


https://youtu.be/8E_w6L1hStc
#Armageddon #Resist

Sound and Fury

There’s really not much to say about Trump’s saber rattling save this: I hate it when I’m right. A week or so ago I wrote that Kim Jong-un was a “more reliable actor” on the international stage — the problem would be Hair Hitler’s hair-trigger temper. Today’s bluster carries as much weight as his transgender ban for military personnel. None. Nada. Zip. Bupkis.

If you want to do something other than live today as though it might be your last (and shouldn’t we always?), remind your Senators and Representative to remind the president and the cabinet and the joint chiefs — that a nuclear strike as retaliation for taunting, might be just a tad aggressive.