There’s Now Wrong Way

Congratulations, it’s finally arrived: Happy List Season. As we count down to a new year and reflect back on the raging dumpster fire that was 2017, lists and predictions will be all the rage. There will lists of the lies Trump’s told; lists of Obama-era policies reversed; lists of men behaving badly, communities devastated by global warming, victims of gun violence, racial injustice, economic oppression and more.

I keep hearing I need to make a list of all the things I’m going to do in 2018, like I need a reminder or time to reflect on just how bad things have gotten in a mere 341 days, 20 hours and change. I’m already painfully aware of the problems, thanks — and no magical thinking or perfect policy proposal is going to fix what ails us. A random typo on a Banksy meme sent me the message loud and clear: “If there is now way, create one.”

The time to roll up my sleeves and get in the fight has arrived. Words matter; deeds get shit done. Nothing’s changed — our folks just got a might forgetful, is all. Remember that one time, at band camp, when our grandparents took a boat across the pond, punched a bunch of Nazis in the face, saved freedom for the rest of the planet and then came home to build stuff? Like a thriving middle class? Seems we already have our to-do list. We won’t even need a boat.

I’m no preacher, but I know “I gotta see them folks that’s gone out on the road. I got a feelin’ I got to see them. They gonna need help no preachin’ can give ’em. Hope of heaven when their lives ain’t lived? Holy Sperit when their own sperit is downcast an’ sad?” See, we forgot, is all. “Two men squat on their hams and the women and children listen.” It’s almost 2018 … I’ll listen to the women, too.

75% of us said no — and they did it anyway. Poll after poll, protest after protest (from both the far left and the far right) — and the political machine bought and paid for by “the great owners” is set to flatten the family farm again. It’s a big country, but we’ve got no place left to go — there will be no great migration west. This time I’m headed east — to D.C.

Join me? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For every action …

 

Earlier this morning on Facebook I wrote “I’d like to know where to go to reject my citizenship. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt more shame having to wear the label “American.” I lost it there for a second, after seeing Donald Trump re-tweet xenophobic claptrap from a “Britain First” puppet … polluting his feed (which the WH Press Secretary has made clear are official documents of this administration), with extreme violence, promoting racial tensions.

It took a conservative voter asking “are we supposed to pretend evil doesn’t exist?” for me to examine — rationally — WHY I was ready to grab my go-bag and head for the border (three hours and change, if I push it). I thought, “I’m not thinking clearly.” None of us are, frankly. It’s all just too, too much.

If we’re going to survive this administration (personal odds had us at  80/20 for the republic’s survival prior to that N. Korean ICBM test…) we have to STOP. And THINK. As I said in a previous essay, “ponder, even.” Go ahead … it won’t hurt … much. Of course evil exists — and I told our conservative friend, “evil is as real as a breeze on your face.” Think about that. Continue reading “For every action …”

Russia Owns Trump

Michelle Goldberg wrote an opinion for the New York Times and now it’s trending on Twitter: RUSSIA OWNS TRUMP. The headline includes the phrase, “Odds Are,” but that’s only because we live in a litigious society and everything we know can’t be classified as fact until Mueller unpacks his case in court.

But you know: “Russia Owns Trump.” You know.

Side note, I like Michelle’s original [rejected] headline better, too: “Occam’s Razor, Trump’s a Traitor.” I liked it so much, I meme’d it. Here’s the essay:

“Three months ago, The Washington Post reported that even as Donald Trump ran for president, he pursued plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The next day, The New York Times published excerpts from emails between Felix Sater, a felon with ties to Russian organized crime, and Michael Cohen, one of Donald Trump’s lawyers and Sater’s childhood friend, about the project. Sater was apparently an intermediary between Trump and Russia, and in a Nov. 3, 2015, email to Cohen, he made the strange argument that a successful deal would lead to Trump’s becoming president. Boasting that he was close enough to Vladimir Putin to let Ivanka Trump sit in the Russian president’s desk chair, Sater wrote, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Continue reading “Russia Owns Trump”

Swiftboating the Fourth Estate

You know the truth: James O’Keefe is a slime ball “journalist” who selectively doctors ambush videos to lie about … well, everything.

He’s a conservative.

The truth is, his “Project Veritas” stunt fell flat on its face before it could stumble out of the gate; the Washington Post caught O’Keefe’s stooge in a web of lies. What did she choose to lie about? Surviving teenaged sexual assault (allegedly by Roy Moore).

You can’t shock these people; you can’t shame these people: they will say anything, or condone any behavior, as long as they think they’re going to get  a piece of the pie. They want Trump’s table scraps. These are cartoon villains from a “Bargain Bin” paperback, plotting to  steal from the ‘Widows and Orphans Fund’ right before Christmas Eve … #KillTheBill #ThePresidentIsAnAsshole Continue reading “Swiftboating the Fourth Estate”

Da’alzhin.

If the Internet is correct, that’s Navajo for “asshole.” Beyond that — I can’t even. Referring to Senator Warren as “Pocahontas” is passé  for POTUS — it’s really one of the milder racial slurs we’ve come to expect from him.

What’s always striking to me is the genuineness of these awkward asides … for me, that’s the only time you see the real Trump. Stupid to the bone. Convinced he’s brilliant. Surrounded by sycophants and tyrants. These really are dark days for the republic.

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 “Logic is Overrated”

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.

Some people …

This image has been shopped around as a meme showing this “condom ad” which makes the US the “laughingstock of the world!”
 
Actually, it’s concept art from Platinum FMD — and it’s amazing. Somebody should definitely throw money at this idea to sell protection to a frantic nation. There’s also a version with Kim Jong-un …