fascism (56)

Dunning-Kruger Death Cult...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

In a speech 40 years ago to a group of conservative preachers, Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich said, “Now many of our Christians have what I call the ‘goo-goo syndrome.’ Good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now.

“As a matter of fact,” he continued, “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Weyrich’s idea continues to animate the GOP today. In dismissing a Democratic push for reforms, including vote-by-mail, same-day registration, and early voting to assist state-run elections in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump opined, “They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

Starting with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in 1968, through Weyrich’s candid acknowledgment in 1980, to Donald Trump’s numerous rants, the GOP has consistently stood against reasonable voter registration laws and fair and equitable access to the polls — because they know they lose in a battle of ideas.

Wake up, folks: the campaign against democracy continues

Bill Dwyer, Oak Park, and River Forest Letters to the Editor, Opinion: Wednesday Journal
November 18, 2020, Updated February 11, 2021

The modern "gang of Putin" is Paul Weyrich's wet dream. There is a through-line from Barry Goldwater to Weyrich, Weyrich to Nixon, Nixon to Reagan, Reagan to Orange Satan. Goldwater got some disingenuous ads against him, painting him as crazy enough to start a thermonuclear war. Lyndon Baines Johnson won 486 electoral votes to Goldwater's 52. It was then Goldwater, years before Watergate, coined "you've got to hunt where the ducks are." The ducks were the disaffected southern Dixiecrats in deep depression because Civil Rights and Voting Rights from the US Constitution were being extended to African Americans. When you have privilege, equal justice seems like persecution. Privilege is a kind of willful blindness. For white supremacist power, party insiders weren't, and aren't, willing to remove the scales.

Former President George W. Bush indict(ed) the January 6, 2021, attempted coup in his remarks at the 20-year anniversary observance of 9/11. Bush, however, appointed federal judges during his tenure in a nod to Goldwater, Weyrich, and Nixon's "Southern Strategy." George W. Bush signed the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act when it was a bipartisan affair: it is now seen as existential for Democrats, and disposable for Republicans. The 2000 election was controversial: Bush won the electoral college and lost the popular vote, the second Republican presidential candidate to do so in this century. His party's nominees have lost the popular vote in seven out of eight presidential elections, and, by their admission, they are demographically shrinking. Bush's defense attorneys in Florida were Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, three of five judges appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. The Patriot Act was seen as government overreach into civil liberties and birthed a lot of blogs on the left as mainstream media ignored it for access journalism. We're reeling from the expense of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, one too long in duration, and the other added via obfuscation. He may not have been as extreme as we currently see his party exhibiting, but he did inadvertently till the soil of institutional doubt.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "I Have A Dream," August 28, 1963

"The Wages of Whiteness" a book by David R. Roediger I use to juxtapose the check America is still trying to cash with African Americans without sufficient funds. The wage of this whiteness was supposed to have sufficiency in perpetuity. All it needed were pariahs that they could blame for any societal faux pas: the economy and welfare were the faults of "young bucks," and "welfare queens," not oligarchs and tax cheats. We were patriotic and resolute until Iran-Contra occurred, flooding weapons to the Contras, and drugs to Compton. Culture wars were always the right's "whitewashed sepulchers," dead tombs with the façade of rose-covered balconies, and rainbow farts out of unicorns. The pariah label was extended to all BIPOC, and karma is making them the majority by 2042. The check for the balance of supremacy is draining inexorably from the church bank account of the whitewashed sepulcher.

Texas is a laboratory for instigating "The Handmaid's Tale." Second Amendment rights trumps (pun intended) bodily autonomy. South Dakota's governor always looks high, giving the middle finger to masks and Lakota sacred grounds on the 4th of July during the alpha phase of the pandemic, and Florida's governor has the well-earned nickname "Death Santis" that will stick in his bid for re-election, and higher office. A heat map of COVID hotspots in California is almost an exact replica of the electoral areas that started the California recall. You can replicate that map in red states versus blue states. The entire party has devolved into a Dunning-Kruger death cult.

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments, Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Cornell University

Abstract

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

After Watergate, the right deliberately designed an echo chamber to tell itself everything they wanted to hear: good, not bad, propaganda not history, fiction, not reality. Karl Rove told reporter Ron Suskind: "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'" There is a district in Texas that every two years, consciously reelects Louie Gohmert to the US House of Representatives, the "disparage my asparagus" former judge, and lawyer. Nonplussed initially, Former Attorney General Eric Holder responded with the sickest burn a year later in 2014: "good luck with your asparagus."

North Carolina US Republican Representative Madison Cawthorne crashed a school board meeting in Henderson, NC to troll Governor Roy Cooper about masks. Key point: he wasn't there. Couple that with his abysmal grades the one year he attended college, at this point, I cannot take him, or the rest of his party seriously. I may not have been a fan of Ronald Reagan, but Reaganism stood for something; Trumpism is sadistic Seinfeld. They're all white grievance minstrels, performance artists, professional trolls, and nihilists. "Owning the libs" is all they live for. The asylum inmates running for office currently are mean-girl teenagers running on the population, and likes of their Instagram and Twitter accounts. Their platform is an empty wagon: making a lot of noise, and doing nothing.

"Idiocracy" did not take 500 years of political Entropy: it just took the desperation of a party that sees its power waning, and is clinging to power at all cost, even if that wage paid is the republic.

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
― Bertrand Russell

 

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De Facto Secession...

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How We Got Here: A timeline of the removal of the Lee monument, NBC12 on your side.

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Democracy, Fascism, History, Human Rights

 

Fourteenth Amendment
Section 3
No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

 

Constitution.Congress.gov/Amendment 14/Section 3

If Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment had been followed, no statue of a traitorous general would exist on Virginia's Monument Avenue to take down.

The first "Big Lie" was the lost cause narrative that made saints of sinners, heroes of traitors. The unfortunate assassination of President Lincoln left us with his Democrat (the conservative party at the time) successor, Raleigh, North Carolina native Andrew Johnson that pulled the troops protecting newly freed African Americans, gave cover to domestic terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan, and de facto inaugurated Jim Crow.

The first "Big Lie" erected totems in a fever-pitch construction project to NOT face the consequences of losing the Civil War. The "lost cause" was proffered by the Daughters of the Confederacy. The north was "aggressors" that invaded the south because of "their way of life": owning [human] chattel.

Georgia

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years, we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic.

Mississippi

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

Battlefields.org: The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States (Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia)

"Big Lies" metastasize, mutate: grow. Like the Coronavirus, if a vaccine is not discovered, if the truth does not curse the darkness of willful ignorance, it will find paths of lethality.

According to Battlefields.org, the Civil War cost an estimated 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

The 1918 Flu Pandemic cost 675,000 in the US, and 50 million worldwide.

The current once-in-a-century apocalypse is 4,619,721 worldwide, 674,515 in the US. We have blown past the Civil War. We will exceed the 1918 pandemic before Thanksgiving.

A "march" next Saturday will celebrate a mob hellbent on overturning an election as "patriots." The Capitol Police has monitored, and seen credible online traffic suggesting violence. One point: the Million Man March in 1995, led by Louis Farrakhan did not result in violence, bear spray, deaths, or police officer suicide.

The unvaccinated are the offspring of the first "Big Lie," making possible the second lie, and its afterbirth, insurrection, and likely insurgency. Lies unchallenged lead to death: Fox Propaganda pushed ivermectin - a de-wormer for horses, cattle, dogs, and ironically: sheep - over a safe vaccine that has proven itself to save lives.

The Forty-Sixth President of the United States will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 by visiting the sites of the attack in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and New York in a solemn ceremony. The loser of the 2020 election, lamenting the removal of a traitor's statue on Monument Avenue, so needy of attention that he cannot "fade away" will with his equally nauseous, narcissistic hellspawn, who couldn't stay married to the mother of his five children "comment" on an Evander Holyfield demonstration match. No one can enjoy the performance of a preening popinjay except psychopaths. "Hail to the thief."

I’ve lived 55 years in the South, and I grew up liking the Confederate flag. I haven’t flown one for many decades, but for a reason that might surprise you.

I know the South well. We lived wherever the Marine Corps stationed my father: Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas. As a child, my favorite uncle wasn’t in the military, but he did pack a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun in his trunk. He was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite my role models, as a kid, I was an inept racist. I got in trouble once in the first grade for calling a classmate the N-word. But he was Hispanic.

As I grew up and acquired the strange sensation called empathy (strange for boys anyway), I learned that for black folks the flutter of that flag felt like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And for the most prideful flag waivers, clearly, that response was the point. I mean, come on. It’s a battle flag.

What the flag symbolizes for blacks is enough reason to take it down. But there’s another reason that white southerners shouldn’t fly it. Or sport it on our state-issued license plates as some do here in North Carolina. The Confederacy – and the slavery that spawned it – was also one big con job on the Southern, white, working class. A con job funded by some of the antebellum one-per-centers continues today in a similar form.

You don’t have to be an economist to see that forcing blacks – a third of the South’s laborers – to work without pay drove down wages for everyone else. And not just in agriculture. A quarter of enslaved blacks worked in the construction, manufacturing, and lumbering trades; cutting wages even for skilled white workers.

The Confederacy was a con job on whites. And still is. By Frank Hyman

"If you're black, you were born in jail, in the North as well as the South. Stop talking about the South. [As] long as you are south of the Canadian border, you're [in the] south." Malcolm X, "The Ballot or The Bullet (Detroit Version)". Malcolm X's speech at a meeting sponsored by the Congress for Racial Equality in Detroit, Michigan, April 12, 1964.

"Big Lies" metastasize, mutate: grow. "Big Lies" cause secessions, historical, or de facto through denial of history, science, climate change, vaccines, the age of the earth, or the universe. "Big Lies" cause insurrections: 1861, and 2021. "Big Lies" is the result of cowardice in not facing who we have been in our history, and thus be surprised at where we as a nation are going. "Big Lies" drive fearful citizens in Appalachia to alcoholism, obesity, opioid addiction. Fear of an uncertain future leads to fascism in rural America, longing for the "good old days" that for people of color, never existed. "Big Lies" halt the 2020 Census to the chagrin that the demographic time bomb set when this nation needed free, and low-wage workers to practice their especially sadistic, and brutal kind of capitalism are Chaucer and Malcolm's "chickens that have come home to roost."

"Big Lies" drive out-of-work coal miners in West Virginia or Kentucky, and the ever-changing, and diversifying South to put their hopes in a reality show carnival barker, six bankruptcy, five deferments, fake bone spurs, failed fake universities, crumbling real estate empire magnate from New York City. "Big Lies" is suicidal for a republic.

If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: "A republic if you can keep it." The brevity of that response should not cause us to undervalue its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.

Perspectives on The Constitution: "A republic, if you can keep it," By Richard R. Beeman, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

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Stupidity Exhaustion...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

"Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain." Friedrich Schiller

 

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity, we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments, the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable, they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this, the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

 

One of the Republican candidates in the obtuse recall election of Gavin Newsome, Larry Elder, admitted he didn't have the temperament to be Governor: he is the frontrunner due to name recognition as a conservative talk show host. “If someone tells you who they are the first time, believe them.” Dr. Maya Angelou. This is 2016 redux: even if he loses (which, for California's sake, I hope he does), he's getting absolutely FREE publicity. Flattery and narcissism gave us four years of incompetence, greater than 600,000 dead Americans, and dysfunctional, dystopian governance. Elder isn't stupid: he has a Juris doctorate. He's apparently violent, brandishing a weapon to threaten his ex-fiancé (smart woman). He is a callous opportunist who, like his orange muse, doesn't care about the damage his decisions would have on his state if he were to win the governorship. He would copy the stupidity of Greg Abbott, trying to block voters that look like him, prohibit mask, and vaccine mandates, open beaches to offshore drilling, and revoke any environmental protections. The current exodus from California would be put on steroids.

 

We've had four years of "sweeping the forest" to manage climate change, drinking bleach, or shining flashlights up our rectums to find the COVID, and now, ivermectin instead of vaccines, deworming, instead of leeches and swamp roots, perhaps? There are fires burning acres in California, flooding in New York subways, Philly streets, and tornadoes in New Jersey. After Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida came sixteen years to the DAY, and the most consequential nation that could do something about climate change did NOTHING.

 

In other words, we have serious problems to consider that will ensure the survival of the human species and life on THIS planet. Ignoring climate change has only exacerbated its effects. We've ignored it since 1979 when the fossil fuels industry knew about the effects of their product. Their action was to hire the same law firms that obfuscated the effects of cigarette smoking. Instead of terraforming Mars, we should try terraforming Earth.

 

Neither did Texas remotely think about deputizing citizens to narc on women who might want to get a Constitutionally protected right to abortion due to incest, sexual assault, or the mother's health and zygote being compromised. "Deputizing citizens" means anyone on planet Earth getting $10,000 for suing doctors, nurses, clinics, partners, relatives, Uber drivers. "Deputizing citizens" is what this nation did to catch fugitive slaves. What if a blue state made it a crime to own a firearm? The 5-4 precedent made "the rule of law" in a nation that used to pride itself on that oxymoronic. How is this the common good? How is this E Pluribus Unum? The Republic of Texas, after midnight Tuesday, started looking like the Republic of Gilead. Flights out to relocate women should be arranged with the same urgency we evacuated Afghanistan. Athletic events, sports, tourism will take a hit. No one visited Chile during the rule of Augusto Pinochet, nor are few interested in traveling to North Korea to visit Kim Jong Un. Assholes aren't good for economies.

 

The state of Texas Republicans did not think twice about restricting voting rights for BIPOC: black, indigenous, people of color, the young, the aged, the invalid. A sign at the border on IH-10: "drive friendly, the Texas way" should likely receive an edit. They follow Florida in COVID-19 caseloads, and their hospitals are overflowing. The priority of the "family values" party is power, not babies or democracy.

 

There is exhaustion dealing with stupid people. By stupid, I do mean they fall into two camps: one is callously ambitious, saying what "plays to the crowd" for the advantage of seizing power. But like the dog that catches the car or Wil E. Coyote catches the Road Runner, they don't quite know what to do with the goal once it's attained. In other words, the chase was all that mattered. The other camp is the most terrifying: the Dunning-Kruger cultists, or people so convinced of their "greatness," so enamored with their superiority; you'd have a better chance of lecturing to a canyon; stone walls absorb more information. D-Ks cannot be rationalized with; D-Ks cannot be convinced. They will wear you down by a consistent drumbeat of drivel. It doesn't have to make sense, and that's the point!

 

Editorial boards used to exist in newspapers once read widely. They still do, but the advent of social media diminished their powers. Editors would peruse your words for grammar, diction, paragraph length, and LOGIC. It was an honor to be published in "letters to the editor" and a means to build up your writer's clips in the old school.

 

Social media has no editorial board, except for AI that applies moribund rules that make absolutely no sense (case-in-point: the septuagenarian Twitter adolescent that got his privileges revoked after so much damage and misinformation DROPPED 73% when his accounts were revoked). The more outrageous, the more misspelled it was; it didn't matter as long as it goes "viral," which wasn't a thing before the medium.

 

An entire party has emerged from the comment section of Facebook posts. "Owning the libs" is the only organizing ethos. Conservative intellectuals like Bill Krystal, Mike Lofgren, and George Will left the party that did not get better with the advent of Sarah Palin. A race-to-the-bottom led to the Chief Executive of incompetence and the governors of Texas and Florida cloning his ghoulish body count. They are speaking to the Dunning-Kruger, mask fighting, vaccine, and science-denying crowd. They are racing for the brass ring of dumbed down. Their orange, sandaled Golden Calf spoke to the Dunning-Kruger crowd because he IS them.

 

Trolls, like gremlins, should not be fed after midnight. That, unfortunately, happened in Texas. They have awakened a sleeping giant of women voters.

 

The 2018 tsunami continues in 2022, 2024, and perhaps, saves a republic.

 

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Timeline source: Key Media Solutions: "The Reverse Evolution of Social Media Platforms"

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics, Star Trek

 

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell’s 1984, Neil’s Postman’s essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

“It’s unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” –CNN

 

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media so that they can serve our highest goals.

 

“A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

 

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness, Neil Postman, Penguin Random House

The "corrosive effects of television" Dr. Postman's polemic critiqued was [ironically], CNN, launched June 1, 1980, on a television executive's "big idea."

 

Movies like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Star Wars became cult classics because as long as customers were buying tickets and popcorn, theater owners would play the show for months, and in the case of the two mentioned, each over a year. Ted Turner's "big idea" was inspired by the creation of HBO: Home Box Office. It was the single, and only cable entertainment that expanded Hollywood's earning power, as measured by Nielsen ratings. It was unique as most television stations ended their day's programming at midnight, and so did HBO, initially. Mission creep extended their air time to twenty-four hours. "Saturday Night Live" -- essentially, an improv show was crafted for night owls, as it tiptoed past that demarcation point, by design. Ted would develop a 24-hour news service of "infotainment." The Nielsen altar gods needed satisfaction and a gimmick.

 

I always thought infotainment was coined by actor, and filmmaker Mario Van Peeples, but its origin was as a pejorative: "soft" news, versus hard, serious news. At a joint conference in the UK for media academicians, the infotainers put on comedy skits from 1980 - 1990 in their gatherings. The madness became a method as it's obviously been copied on either of the cable news outlets that cloned themselves on Ted Turner's model. We evolved from a nation that went from President Richard Nixon winning forty-nine out of fifty states, thereby becoming the first Republican to sweep the south with his "Law and Order" shtick post-Kent State and the violence at the Democratic National Convention, to the reality that he would be impeached in the House, and likely convicted in the Senate by members of his party due to the Watergate break-ins. It was the sober digestion of information from ABC, CBS, NBC -- noncable, pre-infotainment outlets, by an "informed citizenry" regarding the culpability of a criminal president, a president that many had voted for.

Star Trek: Enterprise premiered on September 26, 2001. Due to its unfortunate timing fifteen days after 9/11, and theme of a hopeful future, as well as the former CBS president Les Moonves' stated aversion to science fiction, ended after four seasons. His helm at CBS imploded with a sex scandal thanks to #MeToo movement accountability.

"24": I've only seen two episodes, and my casual observation is Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer reasonably kept audiences on edge. The show entered the national zeitgeist in 2001: In a post-Vietnam, post-9/11 world, we needed some heroes, Tom Clancy novels were the water cooler conversation rage, Sly Stallone in Rocky version 17, or Rambo; Arnold Schwarzenegger in just about anything: we were itching for some ass to kick. Dennis Haysbert introduced the idea of an African American president before Barack Obama appeared on the scene, then all of a sudden, it wasn't a good idea beyond fantasy and Nielsen ratings. The show ran from 2001 - 2010. Liz Cheney is lionized for upholding The Constitution since the January 6, 2021 insurrection, but her dad fantasized he was a character on 24, Jack Bauer maybe, or Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy novels. In our discernment between reality and fantasy, we were collectively "jacked." The intersection between information and entertainment might have impacted her dad's decisions that led to launching a 20-year war in Afghanistan, prior to which the Taliban offered Osama Bin Laden (but war makes more money than justice); lying about, or "sexing up" intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, destabilizing that nation birthing ISIS, and the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo. Lawmakers on both sides profit mightily from world instability, not world peace. But we live in reality, not a cartoon.

What South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is doing, what Texas Governor Greg Abbot is doing, what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is doing, what Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was doing, the lamentations of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey-post her lifting mask orders and encouraging "common sense," is the multigenerational poisoning of "whiteness," where, in a self-fictitious story, every move you make works out; every conclusion is Pollyannaish with white picket fences: the "good guys" (you) always "win" at the end of a bloodless cartoon, roll credits. This alternative, fact-free non-reality isn't five-dimensional chess: it's a societal dissociative disorder. It's the aftermath of centuries of lying to one's selves and preferring the lie over the truth. Pollyannaish vision is why after 20 years and trillions of dollars, we're shocked that our efforts in Afghanistan, or Iraq didn't work, that "when they stand up, we'll stand down" was always an empty slogan. Not facing the realities of a deadly pandemic, and its to-be-announced future Greek letter variants because of "free dumb" is figuratively, and literally a "no-brainer."

Apocalypse: It's a great title to a movie, story, supervillain, or blog post. It literally means "to uncover," or "to reveal." Biblical tradition translates and assigns it to the entire last book of the sacred text. Barbara Rossing tried to reclaim the negative interpretation of doom-and-gloom from evangelicals in her 2005 book "The Rapture Exposed." She saw this interpretation as dangerous, and lending to the United States engaging in risky international actions that could lead to Mutually Assured Destruction, or totally ignore climate change as a problem that will be solved only by the Second Coming. Fatalism like this led to our actions in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Pollyannaish viewpoints like this "kick the can down the road" to the next presidential administration, trillions of dollars wasted on corruption in Kabul that could have been invested in roads, education; universal healthcare in the US. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is an example of the peril of someone in power taking our continued existence for granted, and that "their side" will be the ones to survive. Not many former Secretaries of State have ever been called "doomsday clowns."

All Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, LGBTQ Americans, Women, immigrants are being affected by the anti-democratic efforts of Republican legislatures to either pick the voters they want to be counted or if elections don't quite go their way, THROW out the results! Dr. King referred to that as "interposition, and nullification." The reason Democrats pass symbolic bills in the House named for John Lewis, or the "For the People Act" is because they KNOW they will die in the Senate. The filibuster has been adjusted, carved out, flipped, manipulated for less than our ability to call ourselves a federal republic than for billionaire Oligarchs' tax cuts. Both parties are invested in the "status quo." It is ghoulish. It needs to change, our leadership needs to change, or our continuance as a country, as a human species, is in serious question.

I hope this post is a revelation, and with its act of uncovering and facing reality, we take different actions. I'm sure that was the whole intent of Dr. Neil Postman's warnings of simply cable; before social media proliferated; before phone apps were invented, before our news outlets consolidated, and morphed into self-deluding echo chambers kowtowing to Nielsen ratings, before politicians became craven liars in stark evidence of insurrection, and would rather rule over a smoldering ruin of feces than serve in an actual democracy. Our nation and the world deserve better.

Our nation and the world get better when "we the people" demand better.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale": Don't let the bastards grind you down. Demonstrate. Protest. Vote.

 

 

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Critical Thinking...

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Damien G Jackaman, Facebook

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987.

 

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

 

The Foundation For Critical Thinking: Defining Critical Thinking

 

Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, is charged with two counts of foreign murder of a United States national in the slaying of his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter. He is accused of shooting them with a spearfishing gun on Monday in Rosarito — a beach community 30 minutes south of Tijuana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

 

Coleman runs the Lovewater Surf Co., a surfing school based in Santa Barbara, and is an alumnus of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, according to the company’s website.

 

Coleman told FBI agents he killed his children by shooting a spear into their chests, explaining that he had been “enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories” and “believed he was saving the world from monsters,” according to an affidavit in support of the complaint.

 

Santa Barbara surfer dad ‘enlightened by QAnon’ to kill his kids, feds say, Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune

 

Then, there was this: A fraternity brother sent me a Messenger video: "The Vaccine Itself is Dangerous! Please listen." The word vaccine was spelled with "V (o_9) cc," or an emoji. That makes it legit, right?

 

My response: "I’ve had the vaccine, and so has my family. I’m not magnetic, I don’t have a chip inside of me (except Sun Chip Garden Salsa). As a doctoral student, I have to take and pass EIGHT safely classes annually, specifically now centered on COVID-19 to work in my research facility. I’m not going to listen to this brother, respectfully."

 

His qualifier for the videographer? She was a young lady he met in passing, whom he found to be very attractive. "No sir I'm not taking anyone's word and I'm not taking anyone's vaccine, my brother from another mother. And, if your job requires it, I think they're infringing on your civil liberties. But I say this again my brother, know exactly what you have put in your body."

 

I pointed out he didn't know the ingredients of what he eats in a restaurant. He retorted he did, and it was a fellow frat that revealed his recipe secrets. He, of course, left out the fact that there are other restaurants ON THE PLANET he's probably patronized, and every chef in every restaurant is not going to be that forthcoming.

 

Me: "Do you have a stop sign or a speed limit on your street? Ever heard of 'no shirt, no shoes, no service?' How did those things NOT violate your 'civil liberties?' The only people I encounter that know nothing about civil liberties, or civics are libertarians. Fun fact: there aren’t any countries that follow libertarian philosophy. There might be a good reason why."

 

That was the end of it. I blocked him. I guess I'll see him at the convention (maybe).

 

From medical professionals being threatened by parents that somehow think "freedom" (rhymes with "free dumb") is more important than keeping their kids from being intubated or dying, to my fraternity brother accepting info from a pretty passing face, as a nation, we're bereft not only in civics but critical thinking. We're at the end of a fifty-year campaign of gaslighting that started with the 1971 Powell memo. Summarized excellently by Thom Hartmann, it's a corporate reaction to Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," DDT, and avoiding environmental catastrophe, leading to cigarettes-not-causing-lung-cancer disinformation, continued with fossil fuel industry obfuscations on climate change since the 1970s; launched 10 years later by Ronald Reagan with his famous "government is the problem" inauguration speech, culminating in the current "American Carnage" we're all living through. We've gotten used to lying to ourselves: our nation's full history with all its brutality, mistakes, scars, and being lied to. We're all primed to likely take advice from a pretty stranger passing in a stairwell that you might want to date or a social media post that conforms and confirms your internal biases.

 

The abject stupidity of this moment is by design; it does not lead to a stable republic.

 

"One of the things taken out of the curriculum was civics," Zappa went on to explain. "Civics was a class that used to be required before you could graduate from high school. You were taught what was in the U.S. Constitution. And after all the student rebellions in the Sixties, civics was banished from the student curriculum and was replaced by something called social studies. Here we live in a country that has a fabulous constitution and all these guarantees, a contract between the citizens and the government – nobody knows what's in it. And so, if you don't know what your rights are, how can you stand up for them? And furthermore, if you don't know what's in the document, how can you care if someone is shredding it?"

 

"Notes From the Dangerous Kitchen," a review and a quote from Frank Zappa, Critics at Large

 

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Reckoning, or Ragnarok...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

I read Mary Trump's book "Too Much, and Never Enough," feeling a chill when in the epilogue she predicted: "my uncle is going to get a lot of people killed." Realize, when those words were typed on presumably her laptop, she, and all of us were not wearing masks, washing hands, or standing six feet from each other in public places. Our garden-variety doomsday centered on mushroom clouds, and nuclear codes. I have preordered "Reckoning."

 

The fetishization of guns in America, the violence in popular entertainment, online and streaming, the rationalization of every gory and gruesome mass killing has left the public numb, and conditioned to death on a massive scale. It is no wonder we're so nonchalant about the Coronavirus: "they probably had to die of something" -- this is systemic sadism.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas looked so nonplussed at the lectern as he tried to explain to his constituents that he had been wrong to sign an anti-mask executive order, that he was beyond just "owning the libs." With the Delta variant, and Delta plus up to bat in South Korea, conditions on the ground had decisively changed. The fact that they were shouting the latest conspiracy theories gleaned from the Internet shouldn't have surprised him: he was the source of their original gaslighting. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey admitted the unvaccinated are making the pandemic more prolonged, and worse, without a shred of guilt at her previous anti-mask stance, or irony. Leave it to Death Santis to double-down, despite falling poll numbers. His go-to stance: attack Biden, pivot to brown migrants on the border; hope for racism. He's really using that Harvard law degree.

 

You can't have reparations without a reckoning.

 

According to Jacqueline Battalora, MD, JD, in "Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today," white people became an official thing in America in 1681. Dr. Gerald Horne makes similar points in his book "Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow." Prior to this legislative fiat, Europeans knew each other by their home nations, in essence, their tribes. The European continent was soaked in the blood, not of Moors, but other Europeans. America organized American society as "us," and "them," the civilized, and the savages, the "correct" ethos to enslave the kidnapped, and genocide the native. It's the perfect crime that has turned a profit for a small family of the wealthy for four centuries, the "vast sucking sound," to coin a phrase from Ross Perot. All they have to do is keep us at each other's throats. We now have the pejorative “RINOs,” and “DINOs,” when an earlier descriptor labeled such politicians “moderates.” There were litmus tests of loyalty to tribes driven by cults of personality, but tribesmen didn't make laws, moderates did. It’s how things got done, or euphemistically “how the sausage got made.”

 

We need to teach beyond the poetry of "Manifest Destiny," that the expansion and founding of the United States were for a created class: American oligarchs. They initially just didn't want to pay taxes to their benefactor, England. Thomas Paine clarified and made the reasons to break away from Europe profound, and noble, but his progressive ideas like equal education for men, and women, a progressive income tax, welfare for the poor, and the canard that could unravel the budding dominant world economy: he opposed slavery. It's probably why you haven't heard a thing about him.

 

Without a reckoning, there can be no healing, no atonement, or reconciliation. Without a reckoning of January 6, there can be no justice, and the "rule of law" is meaningless. Without a reckoning, the attempted coup was practice for the next. There can be no reckoning without accurate history. Eighteen states have passed interposition, and nullification laws to keep black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) from exercising the voting franchise, in addition to overturning elections whose outcomes they don't like. If Republicans don't want to be called fascists, they should stop acting like them.

 

A reckoning will enable the next reconstruction since the first one after the Civil War was interrupted by white supremacy; the second - 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, 1968 Fair Housing Act - by a relentless, fifty-year right-wing backlash. History told right tends to make readers uncomfortable, but information can and should change the reader or student for the better. Showing our flaws, and blemishes should make us strive to do better, not hide our past that can easily be sourced within a few clicks, our hypocrisy laid bare.

 

The future is mist and mystery. It doesn't exist, except for the decisions we make today. One of those is what the fictional Vulcans of Star Trek called O'thia: reality-truth. For us to build the future, we have to reckon with our past, our real past, where we’re not always the heroes of a mythologized story we’ve gaslighted over four centuries.

 

Reckoning: the action or process of calculating or estimating something; the moment of truth.

Ragnarok: the final destruction of the world in the conflict between the Aesir and the powers of Hel led by Loki, the god of lies and chaos — also called Twilight of the Gods.

 

Without true reckoning, there is only Ragnarok.

 

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Smokestacks, and Psychopaths...

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Image credit: Daily Kos

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

In the south, you'll see some lummox proudly spewing black smoke from the back of his pickup truck (it invariably is always "his/he/him"), tricked out with dual black smokestack pipes to "own the libs," spew smoke in the air and cause environmental bleeding heart tears over caring about climate change. Indeed, "the cruelty is the point." Smoky seems to miss the point he's still on the same planet he's ruining. I'm down for him shooting his own foot: that would generate first a gasp as his talus explodes through his boot, then a guffaw. I will call 911 and tie you a tourniquet.

 

For a political party whose membership skews older, it might be surprising that the spirit that most animates Republican politics today is best described with a phrase from the world of video games: “Owning the libs."

 

Gamers borrowed the term from the nascent world of 1990s computer hacking, using it to describe their conquered opponents: “owned.” To “own the libs” does not require victory so much as a commitment to infuriating, flummoxing, or otherwise distressing liberals with one’s awesomely uncompromising conservatism. And its pop-cultural roots and clipped snarkiness are perfectly aligned with a party that sees pouring fuel on the culture wars’ fire as its best shot at surviving an era of Democratic control.

 

How ‘Owning the Libs’ Became the GOP’s Core Belief, Derek Robertson, Politico

 

Tennessee wants to halt vaccines - not just COVID, but everything! They fired the health commissioner because she was doing her job during a pandemic that's killed almost as many Americans as the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic. Florida governor Death Santis is selling merch "Don't Fauci My Florida" after a beachside condo imploded from decaying (say it with me now: "infrastructure"), and he's second in US COVID numbers for the Delta variant. Luckily, Disney is streaming Loki because I think the Mouse may have to shut down again. "Kids get long haul COVID too." Someone needs to Fauci Death Santis' brain.

 

Fox Propaganda is pushing vaccine hesitancy as likely every anchor and crew member is fully vaccinated and following COVID protocols. Meanwhile, they are purposely sowing doubts about the efficacy of a vaccine people are fighting in the streets for overseas. This, of course, follows a Russian disinformation campaign that every opinion pundit at the Ministry of Pravda on New York's Avenue of the Americas seems to be parroting. "America's newsroom" has a Russian accent.

 

The conclusion of the Kerner Commission was we were "two Americas": one black, one white; separate, and unequal.

 

We are two Americas still: one vaccinated, one unvaccinated as a Delta variant spreads in mostly red states. For the most part, African Americans are showing social conservative values: they tend to get vaccines (most, not all), and when I'm in the store, I still see us all wearing masks. The cynical, dark calculus is, as more get sick and die (apparently, red-state republicans are cannon fodder on the altar of Moloch), the economy will falter. The party in power always gets the blame, for good or ill. This is 2022 and 2024, not because the criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party has any "ideas": it is the political equivalent of a binky for colicky, psychotic children; it is power for power's sake.

 

The presidency of George W. Bush may have been the high point of the modern Christian right’s influence in America. White evangelicals were the largest religious faction in the country. “They had a president who claimed to be one of their own, he had a testimony, talked in evangelical terms,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute and author of the 2016 book “The End of White Christian America.”

 

Back then, much of the public sided with the religious right on the key culture war issue of gay marriage. “In 2004, if you had said, ‘We’re the majority, we oppose gay rights, we oppose marriage equality, and the majority of Americans is with us,’ that would have been true,” Jones told me. Youthful megachurches were thriving. It was common for conservatives to gloat that they were going to outbreed the left.

 

But the evangelicals who thought they were about to take over America were destined for disappointment. On Thursday, P.R.R.I. released startling new polling data showing just how much ground the religious right has lost. P.R.R.I.’s 2020 Census of American Religion, based on a survey of nearly half a million people, shows a precipitous decline in the share of the population identifying as white evangelical, from 23 percent in 2006 to 14.5 percent last year. (As a category, “white evangelicals” isn’t a perfect proxy for the religious right, but the overlap is substantial.) In 2020, as in every year since 2013, the largest religious group in the United States was the religiously unaffiliated.

 

In addition to shrinking as a share of the population, white evangelicals were also the oldest religious group in the United States, with a median age of 56. “It’s not just that they are dying off, but it is that they’re losing younger members,” Jones told me. As the group has become older and smaller, Jones said, “a real visceral sense of loss of cultural dominance” has set in.

 

I was frightened by the religious right in its triumphant phase. But it turns out that the movement is just as dangerous in decline. Maybe more so. It didn’t take long for the cocky optimism of Generation Joshua to give way to the nihilism of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. If they can’t own the country, they’re ready to defile it.

 

The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It, Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

 

The orangutan increased his margins with African Americans and Hispanic voters, surprisingly. Members of my family voted - insanely - in 2016 and 2020 for him. I don't tend to support racists who deny rental property to blacks in New York, say the Exonerated Five should still be in jail after DNA evidence, and a confession acquitted them, and over two dozen women accusing him of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault are all lying.

 

I'll give you a Mulligan for 2016. You believed the public fiction by reality TV he was a business genius (he isn't even as evidence shows, a "stable genius"). It was for "family values," so that might mean you're bizarrely against abortion and same-sex marriage. It's like television: if you don't like the channel, you have other options, and if you're against abortion (and not a woman) or gay marriage (and not LGBT), don't practice either. Problem solved. You probably believed in cooties as a kid.

 

After four years of lies, covfefe, mangled/slurred sentences, guttural cursing, saying President Obama SPIED on him, Olympic-level obfuscation, children in cages, white supremacists in Charlottesville, fawning obsequiousness to every dictator from Putin to Kim Jong Un he could find under a rock, the unanswered murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi; rubber bullets and teargas against mostly peaceful protestors (1st Amendment - look it up), haphazardly constructed border wall boondoggles like his six bankrupt businesses, tax cuts for no-one-that-looked-like-YOU, and you STILL voted for him after what is now after "I Alone Can Fix" January 6, 2021, is shaping up to have been an attempted coup, that says a lot more about you than it does about me.

 

I'm going to have to put some real estate between us for my own mental health.

 

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Coups, Crackpots, and Psychopaths...

He nailed it.

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

Coups

 

There is a strong Trump following in the military, and retired generals on the crazy train, making moot all the protestations about Bill Clinton being a "draft dodger." Mango Mussolini has five deferments from fake bone spurs. Most of the retired generals are part of the Vietnam era, when they, returning from the theater were spat on and called "baby killers," they resented rich kids dodging service, yet they support one because of the coming preponderance of Melanin in America's future: a future the old farts will never live to see. Most of those retired generals aren't BIPOC (black, indigenous people of color). Many of the terrorists from January 6, 2021, are being arrested, but the jewel will be getting the seditionists that helped the insurrection getting taxpayer dollars. The seditionists in Congress don't want a bipartisan commission because criminals don't want a crime investigated in which they participated. They will also - on cue - complain a special committee comprised completely of Democrats is grossly partisan.

 

Any coup unpunished, whitewashed, or ignored becomes a rehearsal. The global economy would pivot on a dime if we suddenly became a failed state.

 

Crackpots

 

The highest-rated show on Fox Propaganda (AI inserts this automatically on my phone) used the legal excuse that "no one should take Tucker Carlson seriously." Greg Abbott, after dozens of his constituents died this past winter, passed laws to let psychopaths open carry, and is continuing the grift of building the wall. Meanwhile, temperatures in the west are soaring to dangerous levels, and brownout is inevitable. Greater than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit without air conditioning is as deadly as freezing without central heating. He'd rather ban Critical Race Theory in K - 12 schools (where it's not taught unless kindergarteners are lawyers), and solve voter fraud (which doesn't exist). But hey, we passed Juneteenth: we just can't teach where it comes from, or what it meant to ex-slaves, their descendants, and America. We managed to protect the Affordable Care Act, but Moscow Mitch has promised to "Merrick Garland" any Biden nominee if he gains the majority in 2022. It's why they're blocking votes and making it harder. It's an admission of political impotence in [a[ Democratic Republic: in a fair fight, they know they would lose.

 

The modern Republican Party died at the 2016 National Convention when they accepted a nonprofessional politician, a gameshow reality host playing the role of "billionaire" (only Cy Vance truly knows) as their bizarre nominee.  They are now the party of conspiracists, domestic terrorists, insurrectionists, and QAnon. He plugged into an anti-democratic strain in the party that was tired of listening to talking points from conservative think tanks, and preferred ranting word salad from Archie Bunker, the racist dad brainwashed right along with them, and their shared hatred of the one-and-only African American president in 232 years of the federal republic. The former GOP have wined and dined racists winked and nodded at "states rights" Dixiecrats since Reagan's initial campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Entropy works in physics and politics: eventually, genteel racism was going to metastasize into a full-on fascist. It's only natural the "grand old party" seeing no fortune in attracting, or being beholden to people of color became the "gang of Putin." They thus needed no stinking platform in 2020. After decades of running on Reagan's "aw shucks" populism, white ethnic nationalism is far more appealing. "Deconstructing the administrative state" means installing a dictator after destroying democracy.

 

Psychopaths

 

"Chief Executive" references one of the many roles in the US Constitution for an American president. It became convoluted with "Chief Executive Officer" during the Reagan years.

 

Three years into the new century, and two past 9/11, a documentary called "The Corporation" aired on screens and quickly went to video, which you can watch at the link.

 

Synopsis

 

One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy, and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today’s dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled, or absorbed into some new order. In this complex, exhaustive, and highly entertaining documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director of the influential and inventive Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, teams up with co-director Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan to examine the far-reaching repercussions of the corporation’s increasing preeminence.

 

Based on Bakan’s book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns, and pundits on a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporation’s inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts, and possible futures. The Corporation charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

 

Case studies, anecdotes, and true confessions reveal behind-the-scenes tensions and influences in several corporate and anti-corporate dramas.  Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical, computer, tire, manufacturing, public relations, branding, advertising, and undercover marketing. In addition, a Nobel-prize-winning economist, the first management guru, a corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians, and thinkers are also interviewed.

 

*****

 

In the book "The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success," Kevin Dutton explains that there are jobs that can attract literal psychopaths - and also jobs that are least likely to do so.

 

So what jobs are most attractive to psychopaths? Here's the list, originally published online by Eric Barker: 1. CEO, 2. Lawyer, 3. Media (Television/Radio), 4. Salesperson, 5. Surgeon, 6. Journalist, 7. Police officer, 8. Clergy person, 9. Chef, 10. Civil servant.

 

And for those looking to potentially avoid working with the least number of psychopaths, here's the list of occupations with the lowest rates of psychopathy: 1. Care aide, 2. Nurse, 3. Therapist, 4. Craftsperson, 5. Beautician/Stylist, 6. Charity worker, 7. Teacher, 8. Creative artist, 9. Doctor, 10. Accountant.

 

The premise of The Corporation is if the corporation is a person, what kind of person is it? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, the only "type" of person this can be is a psychopath.

 

So, why do we want a psychopath to have the nuclear codes? A care aide sounds more species-extending, and a lot more stable than fake billionaire gameshow hosts.

Juneteenth is my sister and my late father's 96 birthday. I will take a break next week in celebration and remembrance.

 

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Un-Democracy...

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PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/mccarthy/

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

Even presidents who don’t believe in history need a historian to rely on. When asked, in 2014, by a delegation of students and history teachers for his chosen chronicler of Russia’s past, Vladimir Putin came up with a single name: Ivan Ilyin.

 

Ilyin is a figure who might have been easily lost to history were it not for the posthumous patronage of Russia’s leader. Putin first drew attention to him – Ilyin was a philosopher, not a historian, a Russian who died in exile in Switzerland in 1954 – when he organized the repatriation of Ilyin’s remains for reburial in Moscow in 2005. Ilyin’s personal papers, held in a library in Michigan, were also brought “home” at the president’s request. New editions of Ilyin’s dense books of political philosophy became popular in Kremlin circles – and all of Russia’s civil servants reportedly received a collection of his essays in 2014. And when Putin explained Russia’s need to combat the expansion of the European Union and laid out the argument to invade Ukraine, it was Ilyin’s arguments on which the president [relied].

 

Timothy Snyder begins his pattern-making deconstruction of recent Russian history – which by design, he argues, is indistinguishable from recent British and American history – with a comprehensive account of Putin’s reverence for the work of Ilyin. Like much of Snyder’s analysis in this un-ignorable book, the framing offers both a disturbing and persuasive insight.

 

Ilyin, an early critic of Bolshevism, had been expelled by the Soviets in 1922. In Germany, where he wrote favorably of the rise of Hitler and the example of Mussolini, he developed ideas for Russian fascism, which could counter the effects of the 1917 revolution. As a thread through his nationalist rhetoric, he proposed a lost “Russian spirit”, which in its essence reflected a Christian God’s original creation before the fall and drew on a strongly masculine “pure” sexual energy (he had been psychoanalyzed by Freud). A new Russian nation should be established, Ilyin argued, to defend and promote that ineffable spirit against all external threats – not only communism but also individualism. To achieve that end, Ilyin outlined a “simulacrum” of democracy in which the Russian people would speak “naturally” with one voice, dependent on a leader who was cast as a “redeemer” for returning true Russian culture to its people. (My insert: Make Russia Great Again?) Elections would be “rituals” designed to endorse that power, periodically “uniting the nation in a gesture of subjugation.”

 

The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder review – chilling and un-ignorable, Tim Adams. The Guardian

 

Black Wall Street was razed in 1921, the bombing by air dramatized in the sequel to Watchmen on HBO. Rosewood was massacred in 1923. The steamroller of violence began in 1919 after "The Great War," we know as World War I as African American soldiers returned from the war and filled factory jobs that whites found themselves competing for. The struggle for resources fosters violence. Standardized testing, De Jure redlining, and structural racism are all bloodless coups of violence. It is Pontius Pilate washing his hands before the crucifixion, but the aims and the ends are absolutely congruent.

 

In our country, one of the two major parties is actively practicing un-democracy: they are obviously not interested in "bipartisanship," except as a political cudgel on the democrats; there are 47 states logging hundreds of legislative maneuvers to make it harder for black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) to VOTE. Armed "poll watchers" can intimidate, film, potential voters. This precedent is ominous now that you don't need a permit, or training to "open carry" in Texas: just a brain, no matter the state (or, damage) of an individual mind, and a functioning trigger finger. The ongoing, dystopian Arizona "fraud-it" is as much a template as January 6, 2021. If not challenged, we will see both again. In a two-party system, both have to accept that if your party lost the election, it's your job to come with better arguments the next time. Now, the equivalent of a tantrum is being constructed, modeled after the commander of covfefe Pablum, just one where votes are suppressed, gallows might be built, bullets likely fly, and blood from BIPOC bodies runs red.

 

“Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day,” Gladys Sicknick said in a statement provided to POLITICO. “I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward.”

 

“Putting politics aside, wouldn’t they want to know the truth of what happened on January 6? If not, they do not deserve to have the jobs they were elected to do,” she added.

 

Among the Republican senators who agreed to meet with the group, according to a source with knowledge of the schedule: Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Susan Collins (Maine), Roger Marshall (Kansas), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

 

Mother of deceased Capitol Police officer presses GOP senators to back Jan. 6 commission, Melanie Zanona, Nicholas Wu, Politico

 

The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch's attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy's career: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

 

Overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.

 

"Have You No Sense of Decency?" The United States Senate, June 9, 1954

 

These Senate Republicans blocked the January 6 commission bill using the antebellum filibuster.

 

Decency? I would say, that is a no.

 

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It's Funny, Until It Isn't...

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What Charlie Chaplin Got Right About Satirizing Hitler. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

The Great Dictator—Charlie Chaplin’s masterful satire of Adolf Hitler—began filming in September 1939, right at the start of World War II. By the time it was released in 1940, the Axis had been formed, and Nazis were already occupying much of France. The threat was not at all abstract: critic Michael Wood notes that the movie premiered that December, in London, amid German air raids. The following December, of 1941, would yield its own devastating threats from the air—this time on American soil, which would clarify for Americans the realness of this war by bringing it home.

 

It was, in other words, a strange moment to be making a comedy about Adolf Hitler—even a satire holding him to account, and even one in which Chaplin himself, who was at that point one of the most famous movie stars in the world, famous for playing the ambling, lovable Little Tramp, took on the role of Hitler. In 1940, Germany and the US had yet to become enemies; feathers, it was worried, would be ruffled by a movie like this. But Chaplin was already unwittingly bound up in the era’s iconographies of evil. His likeness, the Little Tramp, with that curt mustache and oddly compact face of his, had already become a visual reference for cartoonists lampooning Hitler in the press. And he was already on the Nazis’ radar: the 1934 Nazi volume The Jews Are Looking At You referred to him as "a disgusting Jewish acrobat." Chaplin wasn’t Jewish. But he was frequently rumored to be. And when he visited Berlin in 1931, he was mobbed by German fans, proving that his popularity could surpass even the growing ideological boundaries of a nascent Nazi Germany—hence their hatred. Vanity Fair

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

TV producers described how they smoothed out President Donald Trump's rough edges in The Apprentice, helping mold the image that lifted the serially bankrupt businessman to the presidency.

 

"I don't think any of us could have known what this would become," Katherine Walker, a producer on five seasons of the NBC reality show told The New Yorker for its January 7 edition. "But Donald would not be President had it not been for that show."

 

The Apprentice was first aired in 2004 and presented Trump as the ultra-successful real estate deal-maker who would choose from a cast of candidates competing for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump's catchphrase on the show was, "You're fired," which he would deliver pointing at that week's unsuccessful candidate.

 

Editor Jonathan Braun told the publication that Trump would fire contestants on the show on a whim, forcing editors to "reverse engineer" programs to make Trump's decisions seem coherent.

 

Working With Trump 'Was Like Making the Court Jester the King' Says 'Apprentice' Producer, Tom Porter, Newsweek</p>

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Tom Phillip's opinion piece in Newsweek is probably cathartic, except to the six million Jews who died in concentration camps, along with Gypsies, the LGBT, scientists his incompetent clown show managed to efficiently slaughter.

 

Kevin McCarthy, Moscow Mitch, nor the PFKAR (pronounced "PFF-car": the Party Formally Known As Republicans) are interested AT ALL in democracy, nor are their constituents. Squish and Turtle are trying to scuttle the 1/6/21 investigation, styled on 9/11 (that wasn't great either), styled on the boondoggle Benghazi Commission, styled on the Watergate Commission, styled on the Kerner Commission, styled on the Pearl Harbor Commission: a commission is for fact-finding, and in the fact-free environment of PFKAR, that's Kryptonite. Neither of them wants to answer questions that might lead to some of their members being criminally indicted for treason, as insurrection is covered in the US Constitution.

 

Mary Caitlyn wrote on her blog, "The Swamp" the fourteen points of fascism as a warning in 2018. Peter Wehner states it quite plainly in The Atlantic: The GOP Is a Grave Threat to American Democracy. Jeet Heer stated this observation in The New Republic in 2016: they are NOT interested in democracy! How many times must the obvious be stated? WTF are cyber ninjas? The only other option in the modern is authoritarian fascism, and a return to a Medieval caste system of lords and serfs, which negates the reason for the American Revolution, or the "democratic experiment." They're enthralled, bedeviled, bewitched by a disgraced, banned-on-social-media-septuagenarian blogger who is days from criminal indictments in several cases, in several states! I breathlessly await the alternative facts spin on fascist QAnon propaganda outlets! Indictments lead to arrest warrants, his "mini-me" Death DeSantis can't block his extradition, and a few toothless wonders armed-to-the-teeth (ironic: they could have invested their money in better dental care) will volunteer to protect Dumbo Gambino in Mar-a-Sicko while he fires up his private jet for the getaway, forgetting the poor rubes putting their lives on the line for his sorry ass. "Winning."

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to all the rocket scientists and professors in the last episode of “Bullwinkle.”

 

Another senator wants to raise taxes on everyone under the age of 67. He, of course, is 68. Yet a third stands up to demand, “We’ve got to get the government out of government!” The Pottsylvanian spies decide their weapon is unnecessary: Congress is already ignorant, corrupt, and feckless. (I wonder if this is where Reagan got his zinger and the GQP's raison d'etre?)

 

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire, Beth Daniels, Smithsonian Magazine

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Adenoid Hynkel was a spoof of Adolf Hitler by Chaplin. Ronald Reagan went from Bedtime for Bonzo to the Oval Office. Dumbo Gambino went from a spoof of himself as a successful real estate mogul to the cause of mass deaths by negligence, the cheerleader for a modern insurrection against the government he was elected to lead, and the current instigator of a brewing domestic terrorism insurgency that will tear the republic to shreds.

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Daniel Ziblatt, a political science professor at Harvard and the co-author of How Democracies Die, told Intelligencer, “I think it’s pretty clear that there was a somewhat serious effort to steal this election. It’s not going to succeed. In that sense, the acute normative crisis has passed. It doesn’t mean our checks and balances have worked.” He pointed to what he described as “a chronic slow-burning problem” within the American electorate, the “radicalization” within the Republican Party. “One can’t have a democracy [in a two-party system] where one of the two parties is not fully committed to democratic norms.” Ziblatt described the current situation as an escalation of constitutional hardball, where political actors “sniff out weakness in constitutional structure,” violating long-standing norms if not technically the law. He pointed to the Trump-led effort in 2020 to have Republican-controlled state legislatures pick their own electors to throw victory to the president, regardless of how their states voted.

 

Is Trump’s Coup a ‘Dress Rehearsal?’ Ben Jacobs, The New Yorker, December 27, 2020

 

Trumpery (noun): 1. something without use or value; rubbish; trash; worthless stuff. 2. nonsense; twaddle: His usual conversation is pure trumpery. 3. Archaic: worthless finery. Dictionary.com, see also: Merriam-Webster

 

It's funny...until it isn't!

 

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The Monster They Made...

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

It's the kind of floor speech that sets up a presidential run in 2024 when no one in her party has any illusions: the blogger in Florida will be in too much legal and financial trouble to actually run for his old "executive time" job, plus, he'll be two years shy of eighty. It's what Rafael Edward Cruz trolled the insurrectionists about. It's what inspired Toy-Story-Woody Josh Howley's raised fist broadcast around the world. Both salivate to ride this dragon. A Cheney has put herself in the way of their ambitions.

She sounds principled. Noble. Statesmanlike. It's also superfluous bullshit. Don't get me wrong: she's right. Anyone sane seeing the January 6, 2021 insurrection can't call it anything but that, unless that's ultimately their goal. But the environment she finds herself in stems from her and her father's previous actions. They sowed the seeds that germinated the Tea Party, that metastasized into the Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," Alt-Right, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, that through Fox Propaganda and its many clones in right-wing talk shtick culminating in a modern attempt to overthrow our federal republic.

On September 16, 2001, Vice President Cheney appeared on NBC's Meet the Press and talked about what it will take to deal with the terrorism threat: "…We have to work the dark side if you will. Spend time in the shadows of the intelligence world," Cheney said. "A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion …."

 

PBS Frontline: The Dark Side

 

David Corn rightly points out that Liz Cheney, and her dad, Dark Lord of the Sith, paved the way to the big lie. It's why congressmen compare the January 6, 2021 insurrection to rowdy tourists (typically, tourists who smear feces and urinate in halls are jettisoned from the park). She, her dad, and many obfuscating republicans that lied us into the "weapons of mass destruction" that weren't in Iraq brought us to this point.

 

The right had a hissy fit when Janet Napolitano warned about right-wing violence in 2009. So did Daryl Johnson, an intelligence analyst at DHS. The "chickens came home to roost" on January 6, 2021, and the current Attorney General Merrick Garland and DHS Secretary Mayorkas are warning the same thing in 2021, specifically by name: white supremacy.

 

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debates are being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. So you can be sure that each candidate will deliver an effusive homage to Reagan and then explain why he or she is Reagan’s one true heir.

 

(The first GOP presidential debates were in Cleveland, and even there, Reagan was invoked by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Lindsey Graham.)

 

But no matter how much the candidates talk about Reagan, you can be sure that none of these extremely important things about him will come up. And maybe that’s appropriate — since if Reagan stood for anything as president, it was creating a completely fictionalized version of the past.

 

1. Reagan launched his 1980 general election campaign with a speech lauding “states’ rights” outside Philadelphia, Mississippi — the site of the notorious “Mississippi Burning” murder of three civil rights workers in 1964.

 

James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were abducted and killed in Mississippi by the local Ku Klux Klan in June 1964 — a case that garnered enormous national attention because, as Schwerner’s widow said, he and Goodman were white.

 

On August 3, 1980, Reagan traveled to the Neshoba County Fair, which a prominent state Republican had recommended as the place to find “George Wallace-inclined voters.” There — within walking distance of the earthen dam where the murderers of the three civil rights workers had surreptitiously buried them just 16 years before — Reagan delivered a speech including these lines:

 

I know that in speaking to this crowd, that I’m speaking to what has to be about 90 percent Democrat. I just meant by party affiliation. I didn’t mean how you feel now. I was a Democrat most of my life myself. …

I believe in states’ rights. … And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment. …

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT RONALD REAGAN YOU WON’T HEAR AT THE REAGAN LIBRARY GOP DEBATE, Jon Schwartz, The Intercept

 

As columnist William Raspberry wrote upon Reagan’s death, his endorsement of “states’ rights” — the same phrase white Southerners had used for decades to justify Jim Crow segregation — was “bitter symbolism for black Americans” and “an important bouquet in [GOP] courtship” of Dixiecrats.

 

*****

 

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821. Wikipedia

 

Shelley's most pressing and obvious message is that science and technology can go too far. The ending is plain and simple; every person that Victor Frankenstein had cared about met a tragic end, including himself. This shows that we as beings in society should believe in the sanctity of human life. Minori Cohan, Shelley’s warnings in Frankenstein

 

[Ironic] that a Russian criminal hacker group calls itself Dark Side Leaks that pretty much shut down the eastern seaboard from New York to Alabama. Sadly, the people who hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic emerged to meme ridicule, making the Ransomware attack worse than it needed to be.

 

The Republican Party that Liz Cheney wants to lead doesn't exist if it ever did. She voted more for the previous resident's agenda than against it, according to 538. She voted no on HR1: The For the People Act with the typical republican-speak against expanding the franchise to voters that probably wouldn't think twice about not voting for her or her party. Elise Stefanik was far less a sycophant, but fealty to a demagogue gets you a promotion from a dear leader out of power, for whatever that's worth.

 

For the moment, she and a lot of sane-sounding republicans that oppose open fascism are still on the "dark side." They don't want to expand the voting franchise; they are appalled at the thought of turning off the spigot of dark money, aren't the least bit interested in raising the minimum wage to a living wage, could care less to have universal healthcare like most European nations. There is no interest in Liz's party for the LGBTQ, which includes her sister and her partner because they, without intervention, can't have more white babies that might grow up to vote republican (if they don't, they'll just block them like black and brown communities). There is no racism in their suburban cul de sacs. For god's sake, a woman can't have agency on when she gets pregnant, or if she wants to become a mother, because the only function of Liz Cheney's gender in her party, according to the late, great George Carlin is broodmare of the state.

 

Prometheus in Greek mythology is a Titan. His name means "fore thinker." In lore, he's credited with creating mortals and against the will of the gods, giving us fire. The punishment for this affront by Zeus was the creation of Pandora. Meeting Epimetheus (hindsight), he fell in love with her, despite Prometheus' warnings. She is famous for the box unleashing evils, hard work, and disease on the face of the earth. Source: Britannica

 

For these fifteen minutes of fame, Liz Cheney sounds rational, majestic: presidential. Her vast connections to traditional republican powerbrokers will make the lives of Dumbo Gambino and the jellyfish-chin-in-a-suit-who-wants-to-be-Speaker a living hell. Her father, Lord Vader, is deathly silent, and that's scary (for them, and likely us).

 

To ascend and become our first female Chief Executive, she would have to admit her role in the monster she and her father helped create. That would take something heretofore unseen in republican politicians, traditional, or QAnon: hindsight.

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Munchausen Oligarchy....

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Image source: Facebook meme

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

Munchausen Syndrome was named after a German cavalry officer Baron von Munchausen (1720-1797), a man who traveled widely and was known for his dramatic but untruthful stories. In 1951 Richard Asher described a pattern of self-abuse, where individuals fabricated histories of illness. These fabrications most often led to complex medical investigations, hospitalizations, and needless surgery. Remembering Baron von Munchausen and his mythical tales, Asher named this condition Munchausen Syndrome.

 

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, often referred to as MSbP, is a term coined by pediatrician Professor Roy Meadow in 1977. The term refers to the circumstance where the child is the subject of the fabrication of an illness by the parent. It was thought that the parent 'with MSbP' was motivated by trying to gain attention from medical professionals by inducing or fabricating the sickness in their child. In Meadow's first article, he explored two case studies of children admitted to hospital with illnesses thought to be fabricated or induced by their carers: 'These two [parents] flourished there [in the hospital] as if they belonged, and thrived on the attention that staff gave to them.... In these cases, it was as if the parents were using the children to get themselves into the sheltered environment of a children's ward surrounded by friendly staff' (Meadow 1977: 344-345).

 

A new name for Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Defining fabricated or induced illness by carers, Ellen Fish, Leah Bromfield, and Daryl Higgins

 

The "Republican Party" is a name. It has no "principles" it lives by. It exists, to paraphrase Steve Schmidt, for the accumulation, acquisition, and maintenance of power for power's sake.

 

Where the "Republican Party" is was eventually going to metastasize. Entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to political systems, and philosophies.

 

Cutting the corporate tax rate from 70% to 28% sounds great: if you're in the industry, or on the receiving end of corporate largess from lobbyists. To say that Social Security is insolvent doesn't begin to address the real problem: a theft in plain sight occurred, and reparations - not just slavery in the 1860s, but 1980s reparations - have yet to be paid.

 

“For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people–one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s,” says Thom Hartmann. Taiwan’s single-payer system enabled the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down its economy, resulting in just seven deaths, while in the United States more than 350,000 have died.

 

Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current “sickness for profit” system. Modern attempts to create some kind of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn–including Obamacare, which Hartmann regards as basically a sellout to the health insurance industry.

 

There is a simple solution: Medicare for all. Thom Hartmann, The Hidden History of Healthcare, Penguin Books

 

A large part of why we don't have universal healthcare in the United States is that "those people" (black, brown, LGBT, women who delay or forego marriage) would get it. Like the filibuster, it's a relic of slavery. It's remarkable in its longevity.

 

Everything about the "Republican Party" can largely be explained by sadomasochism, and Munchausen by proxy to feed oligarchy, their true, and only constituency. They claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism and spend like drunken sailors. They harm the body politic, then promptly blame it for the dysfunction they've caused. Politicians at their basic level are caregivers to the republic. It's why we constantly recover from the lunacy of previous republican administrations during democratic administrations, then go right back to the lunacy after the change in administrations AS IF they're capable of doing anything different than their previous debacles. They revel in a dysfunctional government, they cheer for dystopia and Armageddon. "Government is not the solution to our problem: government IS the problem" became a Reagan mantra, lazy politics, and intellectual bankruptcy. Why not goose the racist inclinations of your constituents, instead of leading them to help you solve problems, and actually earn your pay? For the crumbs from a chipped table between the Rich Man and Lazarus, they are willing to put hundreds of thousands of people to death, to gaslight about taking a vaccine to ameliorate a pandemic, to sacrifice Fox Propaganda viewers on the altar of Moloch so the economy can fail, and they can return to power, not because they have any novel ideas: It just makes them feel better.

 

They've been running this con for forty years. I have witnessed it and knew it would reach a saturation point: that it could not be sustained, as no lie, big or small can. They are desperately trying to patch the dam with fingers, hire QAnon "cyber ninjas" to audit Arizona ballots (already audited three times), to dwell in the "created realities" realm of Karl Rove. You can call it "religious freedom," the "silent majority," but it legitimizes their personal bigotry against whole groups for things they have no control over, nor they would change about themselves if they could. They can't gain their votes, so, they block their votes.

 

The Whig Party: The Whig Party was a political party formed in 1834 by opponents of President Andrew Jackson and his Jacksonian Democrats. Led by Henry Clay, the name “Whigs” was derived from the English antimonarchist party and was an attempt to portray Jackson as "King Andrew." The Whigs were one of the two major political parties in the United States from the late 1830s through the early 1850s. While Jacksonian Democrats painted Whigs as the party of the aristocracy, they managed to win support from diverse economic groups and elect two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The other two Whig presidents, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore gained office as Vice Presidents next in the line of succession. History.com

 

The Know-Nothing Party: Know-Nothing party, by name of American Party, U.S. political party that flourished in the 1850s. It was an outgrowth of the strong anti-immigrant and especially anti-Roman Catholic sentiment that started to manifest itself during the 1840s. A rising tide of immigrants, primarily Germans in the Midwest and Irish in the East, seemed to pose a threat to the economic and political security of native-born Protestant Americans. In 1849 the secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner formed in New York City, and soon after lodges formed in nearly every other major American city. Britannica.com

 

Neither of these parties exists in the United States.

 

Implosions are ugly, but like Entropy and blowing out gaslights, they are inexorable.

 

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Image Source: Good Reads

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Propaganda

 

Tucker Carlson appears to be made of Teflon. Fox News's top-rated host has been repeatedly accused of anti-immigrant and racist comments, which have cost his political opinion show many of its major advertisers. Yet Carlson endures in his prime-time slot.

 

Carlson even attacked his own network's chief news anchor on the air, with no real consequences. That anchor, Shepard Smith, quit mid-contract shortly after Carlson went after him.

 

Now comes the claim that you can't expect to literally believe the words that come out of Carlson's mouth. And that assertion is not coming from Carlson's critics. It's being made by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York and by Fox News's own lawyers in defending Carlson against accusations of slander. It worked, by the way.

 

You Literally Can't Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say Fox's Lawyers, David Folkenflik, NPR

 

Attorney Sidney Powell is defending herself from a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit using the same tactic successfully deployed by Tucker Carlson's Fox News show last year.

 

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Powell for a series of statements claiming that the company was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election for President Joe Biden.

 

Powell's attorneys have said in a court filing that no reasonable person would have believed her allegations as fact and therefore she can't have defamed Dominion. This approach was successfully argued by lawyers representing Fox News in a 2020 defamation case.

 

"[I]n light of all the circumstances surrounding the statements, their context, and the availability of the facts on which the statements were based, it was clear to reasonable persons that Powell's claims were her opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern," Powell's lawyers wrote.

 

"Those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions—or the awaited resolution of the matter by the courts before making up their minds."

 

Sidney Powell Uses Same Defamation Defense as Tucker Carlson's Fox News Show, Darragh Roche, Newsweek

 

“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it's like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”

 

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."

 

Both quotes by Carl Sagan in, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark."

 

Fox knows the pandemic is real, as does Tucker Carlson. Like most other functional news outlets, he's probably getting a PCR test: polymerase chain reaction as well as temperature tests each time he comes to the building and set. Likely, his audience knows it's real as well. They might know one, or two people who have had it or perished from it.

 

But the lie is more intoxicating than truth.

 

Barack Obama is a talented, superficially charming politician that can retail politic and kiss babies credibly with anyone. As a graduate of Columbia and Harvard, a constitutional scholar, he was never this rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted-socialist Fox Propaganda and right-wing talk radio made him out to be. He said a speech in 2004 that put him on the political map. The economy was in a tailspin in 2008 due to the moribund philosophy of "trickle-down economics," which is more like a vacuum sucking up money from the lower classes to the 0.01%. The 46th president chimed the death knell to the moribundity.

 

The mother of lies was the "mama grizzly" from Alaska, saying the rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted socialist "palled around with terrorists." A public display of affection with his wife became a "terrorist fist bump." This was reductio ad absurdum on steroids.

 

After losing with her running mate, she glommed onto the "death panels" myth by former NY lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey's objections to Section 1233 of HR 3200: the Affordable Care Act. The recently-departed Rush Limbaugh, along with Laura Ingram, and Sean Hannity parroted the claims because that's what a propaganda echo chamber does. Add to this Orwellian programming trio, the irascible Newton Gingrich, who turned conciliatory political protocol into blood sport. They have killed more grandparents this pandemic than the aspect of affordable healthcare to all Americans from a black president.

 

The lie metastasized with birtherism: the notion that Barack Hussein Obama (emphasis always on the middle name) wasn't born in America. Newsflash: he was, despite the desperate attempts to decertify Hawaii as the reluctant 50th state. However, neither John McCain (Panama Canal) nor Raphael Edward Cruz, Jr. (Canada) was born on American soil. They are both American citizens because at least one parent - in McCain's case both parents, were American citizens, so the argument that Stanley Ann Dunham could not confer the same status to her son had he been born in another country is feckless, racist, and moot. He was the living, breathing symbol of the change coming to the US.

 

The Tea Party reflected back to the beginnings of this republic with the Boston Tea Party: "taxation without representation" the battle cry and apparent raison d'etre for the existence of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. All of them have one thing in common: a preponderance of Melanin, and fewer senators than Wyoming.

 

T.E.A.: taxed enough already, the modern battle cry for people not willing yet to admit their angst with the Affordable Care Act had little to do with socialism, or death panels, hence the pejorative "Obamacare," because hanging him in effigy, and witch doctor placards were the last remnants of "wink and nod" genteel, subtle racial politics. The Tea Party "Freedom" Caucus (Orwellian as it sounds) swept into power in the 2010 midterms, despite Obama's pleading with his following to vote in the same numbers as the 2008 presidential election. As history demanded, the opposition party took the House in 2010, helped by GOP Chair Michael Steele, jettisoned immediately after his token role was fulfilled. Moscow Mitch started his reign of terror with the 2014 midterms. Post Mr. Steele's quixotic effort to engage more African Americans in the party, they went for the nasal-pronouncing Reince Priebus, soon-to-be in a distinguished succession of former White House Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Steele has since redeemed himself with The Lincoln Project.

 

An unlikely union occurred between a carnival barker, and a master spy, the latter master to the former: Dumbo Gambino pimped by Dr. Evil; the Ku Klutz Klan owned by the KGB. Neither of them planned for him to win against his more qualified, consequential opponent, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, so they had no plan for success, even for nefarious goals. It is why the last four years of Keystone Cop politics, chaotic, semi-form hand gestures; mumbled diction, misspelled tweets, hamberders, covfefe, and Page Six sensationalism ended in the current pandemic Zoom kerfuffle we're all in.

 

"Palling around with terrorists"; "terrorist fist bump"; "death panels"; "birtherism"; the T.E.A. Party; "Freedom" Caucus: no challenges, not a single reset, no "this is not our party." There were speed bumps that led to the biggest lie, even bigger than the Big Lie of stolen elections, and a January 6, 2021 insurrection: an alternative reality known as QAnon, that despite evidence to the contrary, the lie has its audience in sway because the truth requires responsibility.

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

 

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Good Reads

 

Even with the current revelations that QAnon is a guy and his dad in the Philippines, the 2020 platform that wasn't, the lie has primacy over facts, which is imperative if you want to run something based on facts, like science in the lab, or a democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whipsawed, Gobsmacked...

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Image source: Duke University Office of Institutional Equity

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": It was kind of whiplash, you know, because there was a great deal of relief and joy, jubilation really, at the guilty verdict that came down in the Derek Chauvin trial. And then just that quickly, people were kind of whipsawed back into this grieving mode. The Eleventh Hour, Brian Williams, transcript

 

*****

 

 

In 1961, author James Baldwin was asked by a radio host about being Black in America. He said:

 

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one's work. And part of the rage is this: It isn't only what is happening to you. But it's what's happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance. Now, since this is so, it's a great temptation to simplify the issues under the illusion that if you simplify them enough, people will recognize them. I think this illusion is very dangerous because, in fact, it isn't the way it works. A complex thing can't be made simple. You simply have to try to deal with it in all its complexity and hope to get that complexity across.

 

"To Be In A Rage, Almost All The Time" - NPR, June 1, 2020, at the nascent beginnings of the George Floyd protests.

 

 

I wept at the verdict Tuesday. Seeing George Floyd's murderer led out in handcuffs was cathartic, saddening, and angering. This was not justice: it was accountability.

 

Justice would be George Floyd alive. Justice would be George tucking Gianna in at night. Justice would be Gianna riding his giant shoulders again. Justice would be George walking Gianna down the aisle. Justice would be George being called "Paw-Paw" by his grandchildren from Gianna if she were to choose to be a mother. Before "liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Thomas Jefferson penned the requisite of "life."

 

This pandemic has revealed our "American exceptionalism" is a farce - a joke. This "exceptionalism" had the United States with the highest death and infection rates in the world. This "exceptionalism" has a caste system, parallel to the Indian Varnas, and more brutal than the German Nazis, that is cutting off our noses to spite our own faces.

 

In the book "Castes: The Origins of Our Discontents," by Isabel Wilkerson, she says in an NPR interview: "caste is the granting or withholding of respect, status, honor, attention, privileges, resources, the benefit of the doubt, and human kindness to someone on the basis of their perceived rank or standing in the hierarchy." Racism and casteism do overlap, she writes, noting that "what some people call racism could be seen as merely one manifestation of the degree to which we have internalized the larger American caste system." -NPR

 

Also in her book is Leon Lederman.

Leon M. Lederman

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988

Born: 15 July 1922, New York, NY, USA

Died: 3 October 2018, Rexburg, ID, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL, USA

Prize motivation: "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino."

Prize share: 1/3

Leon M. Lederman – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2021. Thu. 22 Apr 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1988/lederman/facts/>

 

Dr. Lederman, Isabel Wilkerson writes, died having sold his Nobel Prize medal for $765,000 to pay his medical bills in the richest country in the world. A Nobel laureate died in a nursing home, in "exceptional America." That fact gobsmacked me.

 

Dr. Lederman's demise is the result of the exceptionalism that allowed six Klansmen and three American Nazi Party members to be acquitted of all charges in the Greensboro Massacre, the crime evidence on tape.

 

Just like Rodney King's beating. Just like Eric Garner's public lynching for selling loose cigarettes in NYC, the first black man to say "I can't breath" recorded. Tamir Rice only had seconds to play with a toy gun before he was summarily executed. Just like George Floyd.

 

We held our breaths because we've all been down this road before. Guilty on all counts, and the same forces that freed Klansmen, Nazis, and rogue cops started harping that the sequestered jury was somehow "bullied" because they looked at the evidence, and reached a verdict. It feels wrong to them because the jury wasn't in a southern courtroom, or Semi Valley: because the jury wasn't "all-white," making a mockery of the term "jury of one's peers."

We didn't get to breathe for George before losing Daunte Wright, Ma'Khia Bryant. This state terror feels mechanistic, steampunk: programmed. This timeline of death is psychotic and persistent. Like the Coronavirus, its only function is to exist, to thrive, even though its complete migration throughout the body politic causes eventually, according to Merriam-Webster: “[T]he irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by a permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity: the end of life.” Apoptosis can apply to nation-states. Rome and England are tourist destinations now.

Racism is a moribund concept. It's the ultimate narcissism, the mother of all "isms" when you're supremely confident your "in" group has discovered and propagated the perfect gaslighting shtick over people of color, women, LGBT, immigrants. The only way the façade continues is that it must relentlessly be reinforced by state-sanctioned violence.

It is state-sanctioned violence to steal land inhabited by First Nation people already here, then put them on "reservations," segregated from the political machinations of power.

It is state-sanctioned violence to kidnap Africans for uncompensated labor, hold them in bondage for centuries, segregate them in government housing projects ("ghettos"), refuse to discuss reparations, redline homeownership, give white GIs home loans, and scholarships for college after WWII, and complain the problem with the African diaspora is they're "lazy."

It is state-sanctioned violence that forty-four transgender or gender-nonconforming citizens were killed in 2020.

It is state-sanctioned violence that the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill had one lone nay vote from the same raised-fist "Mr. Woody" senator that helped incite an insurrection.

State-sanctioned violence has a boomerang effect: it is karmic. It is why we performed so badly in a once-in-a-century pandemic. It is why their mortality rates are high, their opiate addiction is a crisis, and their birth rates are low. They are not being replaced. The very machinations put in place to publicly lynch, put Orwellian boots-to-face, or "knees on necks" on society's "least of these" eventually affects someone even narcissists might care about.

Like smokestacks on pickup trucks to "own the libs," as if they breathe some other atmosphere on another planet, this state-sanctioned violence caused the bankruptcy and eventual death of a physics Nobel laureate. This is the epitome of madness.

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time."

You can't possibly imagine how enraged I feel most of the time.

 

 

 

 

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Traitors and Patriots...

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Image source: AZ Quotes

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics

 

Though hundreds of C.E.O.s signed on to defending voting rights in principle, many notable omissions did not, like the C.E.O. of Walmart, Warren Buffet signed as citizen, not head of Berkshire Hathaway; Coca-Cola and Delta felt they had said all that needed to be said, and JP Morgan Chase, who has a history of its initial fortunes on slavery, also declined.

 

*****

 

 

Sunday, my wife and I took a "sanity ride" to a park in High Point. It's an exercise we've settled into during the pandemic. We didn't leave the car, just driving around, just looking at kids and parents at what appeared to be a baseball game. On leaving High Point, we were followed by the police for several miles, likely running my plates through dispatch. I purposely drove five miles below the posted speed limit. The lights went on anyway. I pulled over to a building, my license and insurance ready, hands on the dash. By the time the masked police officer came to get my effects, he said my tags had expired. Running my plates, he probably saw I had no priors, so he advised me to pay for the tags, and bring evidence to the judge in High Point. The ticket would disappear, problem solved.

 

Expired tags were ironically the same reason Daunte Wright was stopped in Minnesota, on the same Sunday. We're both black men. The difference is, Daunte is no longer alive.

 

*****

 

Ulysses S. Grant was a Republican. During the Civil War, the slaveholding south were Democrats. That flipped with the FDR New Deal; the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, and 1968 Fair Housing Act. He and Abraham Lincoln would be aghast at the conspiratorial nuthouse their party in the 21st Century has become.

 

We are still a country with two factions: traitors and patriots.

 

President Joe Biden has largely given up on trying to negotiate anything with Republicans. There’s a good reason for this: the GOP is no longer a legitimate political party.

 

One of the most comprehensive and well-respected surveys of political parties worldwide is called the Global Party Survey and came out of work done at Harvard in the US and Sydney University in Australia. The researchers note: “Drawing on survey data gathered from 1,861 party and election experts, the study uses 21 core items to estimate key ideological values, issue positions, and populist rhetoric for 1,127 parties in 170 countries.”

 

What they found was that the Democratic Party in the US is fairly solidly within the norms for political parties in fully developed countries around the world. It resembles normal and legitimate parties in Canada and most of Western Europe.

 

The Republican party, however, both behaves and is ideologically most similar to Hungary’s Fidesz party, Turkey’s AKP party, and Poland’s PiS party.

 

All three are, essentially, fascist parties.

 

Like the Nazis & Fascists, the Republican Party Must Be Purged, The Hartmann Report

 

I would say four.

The traitors' ancestors brought my ancestors to this country against their will to work as uncompensated labor. The traitors' ancestors wrote "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and a mathematical loophole for holding kidnapped humans in bondage. The traitors are their descendants, shouting "all lives matter" while black lives obviously don't make a kind of duplicitous, hypocritical "sense."

The traitors believed the pandemic was a hoax, delaying our actions resulting in more deaths than necessary. The traitors believe masks are an assault on "liberty and freedom." That "liberty and freedom" apparently cancels the deaths of 578,726 Americans. That somehow opening with only 195 million doses given, 76.7 million fully vaccinated amounts to 23.4%: we need 70-80% to achieve "liberty."

The traitors are pushing the election "Big Lie," not unlike the "Lost Cause" narrative that amounts to superfluous bullshit: if you hold your nose, and compare it side-by-side, it's the same lie that caused the Civil War, inaugurated Jim Crow and domestic terrorism on people that didn't ask to be brought here. The traitors are passing laws to shorten early election times, close more precincts that stifle the voices of BIPOC, the young, the queer because they haven't had a platform since the 1980s that appeals to these groups. The traitors are trying to tank Kristen Clarke's nomination to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department like they did Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because someone fighting for the Civil Right to cast a vote might thwart the plans to block the votes of people who won't vote for them. The traitors don't want a 9-11-style commission to investigate and hold accountable traitors in an insurrection, guaranteeing the tactic will happen again if an election - local or national - is lost. The traitors are more motivated about Antifa (short for antifascist) than the fascists that scaled walls 100 days ago powered on this big lie, given voice by their fallen orange god who daily performed nauseating fellatio on Vladimir Putin, according to Michael Cohen, for a vanity tower in Moscow.

 

A spoken word artist I admire is Rudy Francisco, encapsulating my angst in the apropos "Adrenaline Rush." Being a person of color in America is an extreme "sport" at a traffic stop.

 

I will get my car inspected, update my registration with the state, and show proof to the magistrate in High Point. Even with inspection and registration in hand, I will be cautious, nervous, and driving five miles below the posted speed limit there and back. Wish me luck.

 

My wife and I made it home, as Rudy's mic drops at the end of his piece "this time."

 

Daunte sadly didn't.

 

 

 

 

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What They Meant...

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Image Source: 100 photos, Time.com, Emmett Till

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Democratic Republic, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

100 photos, Time: In August 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he stopped at Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. There he encountered Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. Whether Till really flirted with Bryant or whistled at her isn’t known. But what happened four days later is. Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, seized the 14-year-old from his great-uncle’s house. The pair then beat Till, shot him, and strung barbed wire and a 75-pound metal fan around his neck, and dumped the lifeless body in the Tallahatchie River. A white jury quickly acquitted the men, with one juror saying it had taken so long only because they had to break to drink some pop. When Till’s mother Mamie came to identify her son, she told the funeral director, “Let the people see what I’ve seen.” She brought him home to Chicago and insisted on an open casket. Tens of thousands filed past Till’s remains, but it was the publication of the searing funeral image in Jet, with a stoic Mamie gazing at her murdered child’s ravaged body, that forced the world to reckon with the brutality of American racism. For almost a century, African Americans were lynched with regularity and impunity. Now, thanks to a mother’s determination to expose the barbarousness of the crime, the public could no longer pretend to ignore what they couldn’t see.

 

I am a child of "forced bussing," emphasized by the dominant culture of North Carolina in 1971, when 1954's Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education Decision, and "all deliberate speed" reached my municipality. I remember being nine years old, riding on buses at zero-dark-thirty in the morning to Rural Hall Elementary for the fourth grade, a limited experiment in federally-mandated diversity. I traveled to was in what was then, the rich, white suburbs. Every time my friends and I got off buses, we were miles from our homes.

 

We generally stayed in clicks: black youths on one side of the cafeteria, white youths on the other. In the evenings, I remember watching local and national news where high school students brought chains, bats, and knives. I recall waiting for our powder keg to explode.

 

Then, we played a game of football during recess. I don't know what "did it" for the girls, but boys covered in sweat, mud, and scrapes develop bonds that are hard to ignore. Thankfully, the powder keg never went off.

 

From Rural Hall, we were bussed back to East Winston-Salem at Fairview Elementary for fifth, and sixth grade. On to Mineral Springs Middle School for seventh, and eighth grade. Atkins, Carver, Hanes, and Paisley - traditionally, African American High Schools that reliably fed HBCUs - were "demoted" to ninth/tenth grade high schools, so that every student in the city would have the "benefit" of diplomas from the traditionally white high schools of North, East, Mount Tabor, and West.

 

The good news: most of the fourth graders that aged through this forced diversity got used to seeing people other than themselves. Star Trek was in syndication, and we were inspired by the vision of a future that at least our descendants would have their acts together, and learn like we did to live together post-warp drive, or football.

 

The not-so-good news: There were quite a few interracial couples, which I had never seen before. Quite a few "Christian" Academies sprung up to sidestep what their parents saw as ungodly miscegenation. I haven't kept contact with my former classmates from Rural Hall Elementary, Mineral Springs Middle School, Atkins High School, and North Forsyth High School. I can't help but imagine that many of them on the other side of the cafeteria before our mud-soaked football games have returned to the other side, donned red hats, and QAnon paraphernalia.

 

There was a list of Emmett Tills before Emmett Till. The brutality visited upon his teenage body compared modernly to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. There are literally hundreds more. Many, like the Emmett Tills before Emmett Till, are unknown, unheard of: unlisted.

 

The times they want to return to wasn't so much the president named Eisenhower versus Obama; white picket fences in Levittown's, or affordable healthcare: "great again" is the ability to reign terror, and murder on an entire community - black, brown, LGBT, women, with absolute impunity. They made that QUITE clear on January 6, 2021.

 

Every significant group that has had knees on their necks, oppressed by the dominant group since Plymouth Rock took inspiration from the efforts that started post-1865, to this present political darkness. It will continue until E Pluribus Unum isn't just a quaint Latin phrase. We cannot be a democratic republic, AND a nihilistic, fascist dictatorship.

 

Their "great again" wish is that Mother Till hadn't opened that casket.

 

We are NOT going back! Black lives, and democracy, matter.

 

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Splitting Babies, Washing Hands...

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Pop Culture Guy: Foghorn Leghorn

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics

 

To split the baby is a reference to a story in the Old Testament in Kings 3:5-14, regarding a decision of Solomon that shows his wisdom when given a difficult task. Solomon as king was often asked to judge between people with difficult problems, and his solutions were accounted as very wise. The term is often used to describe an unreasonable solution that may be used as a way to find an underlying truth.

 

In Kings, two women approach Solomon, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby. In fact, one woman has smothered her own child in her sleep and has taken the child of another woman with whom she shares a home. Upon waking, the mother of the living baby finds she is holding the dead child, who she knows is not hers. Since she cannot convince the mother of the dead child to give her back her child, they go to Solomon for judgment.

 

Solomon’s solution is fairly unique. He hears both sides, which are identical, and decides that the best course is to cut the baby in half so both mothers will have a share. To do this, however, means to kill the child. The mother who has already lost a child is happy with the solution, but the real mother cries out and begs Solomon to let the other woman raise her child alive.

 

When the real mother protests the solution and is willing to give up her rights as a mother to preserve the life of her child, Solomon hands the baby to her.

 

What does It Mean to "Split the Baby"? Tricia Christensen, Wise Geek

 

What did it mean? Pontius Pilate was the Roman procurator (governor) of Judaea living in Jerusalem during the trial of Jesus. According to the story, he washed his hands to indicate that he believed Jesus was innocent of any capital crime - if he was killed - it wasn't on him.

 

A famous idiom from Matthew 27:24

 

The prosecution put on a clinic in the Well of the Senate in their closing remarks. Every avenue to derail the trial on "procedure," or "constitutional norms" was deftly batted away. It helps when the prosecution is playing seven-dimensional chess, and the defense team of Foggy Foghorn Leghorn, and Rage Elmer Fudd, is playing jacks.

 

The former Party of Lincoln has ridden this Kraken before the Orange Orangutan. Roger Ailes and talk radio proto Karl Rove, "created their own reality" in a Rush Limbaugh, cigar-chomping, racist ranting clones (because you don't need talent if you get a raging crowd buying your product), against the libs, Feminazis, and cooties. For forty-one years, from Reagan to Orange Satan, they have gaslighted their constituents, blamed every convenient "other" they could label and shoveled money uphill like a Hoover vacuum to their one percent benefactors. They have no intention of getting off this bucking steer in the right-wing rodeo, otherwise, like rodeo clowns, they might get skewered by the bull.

 

I don't expect there to be enough votes to convict him. It will be just shy of sixty-seven. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. The arcane rules of the Senate even after the off possibility of getting to sixty-seven, then have to take a simple majority vote to remove him from running again for office. He will be fatter, four years older, more insane, and publicly incontinent in 2024 (he wears Adult Depends now). Entropy can save us, or his criminal trials for state crimes in New York, and Georgia can put him in a wardrobe matching his fake, and grotesque spray tan. Cruz and Holley are salivating at this possibility.

 

They are splitting the baby: forty or so white republicans, and their mascot, Tim Scott, will vote again to acquit a criminal. Not because they're no longer the "party of law, and order." Not because the Party of Reagan was any greater: he started his campaign BLOCKS away from the death site of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner; he spoke openly about Welfare Queens, Young Bucks, and African Monkeys. Doofus Gambino is the end of Entropy: over a long period of time, any system goes from order to chaos. Forty-plus one poodle is looking forward to the next midterm, the next election, the next voter suppression, and now added to the quiver: the next insurrection, Like see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys, they will ignore it, and use it as a tool if they lose future elections.

 

The Neo-Confederates are self-immolating, and not for some noble protest, but to maintain power at the expense of the republic. They are the party whose defense will relitigate "WHATABOUTISM" with Antifa (anti-fascists), Benghazi (might as well), and Black Lives Matter (because they don't). Foggy Fog, and Rage Elmer will unimpressively rest today. Gaslighting and created realities will blow them up to the high crest peak of BS mountain. Rage will then observe the Sabbath at sundown.

 

They are the party of white nationalists. They are the party screaming the N-word at Capital Police during the insurrection. They are the party of smeared feces and urinated Capitol halls. They have become the party of Camp Auschwitz T-Shirts: Work Brings Freedom. They are the party of the Battle Ensign of Robert E. Lee (NEVER call it the Confederate Flag) flying at the Capitol, something not accomplished during the Civil War. They are the party of Ukraine and Georgia election interference "perfect" phone calls. They are the party that would sacrifice their own sycophant Vice President Mike Pence and executes the first and only female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. They are the party of Vice President of the treasonous Confederacy, Alexander M. Stephens, and the "Cornerstone Speech":

 

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." Cornerstone Speech

 

They have not wavered from this mentality. It's been taught over and over, father to son, mother to daughter. The first gaslighting being the "lost cause" narrative lie, metastasizing to the inherited inferiority narrative shoveled at all of us, the proto version of birtherism, stolen from Orly Taitz. This "alternative fact" was amplified by a failed businessman, a faux billionaire that [probably] had Russian prostitutes urinate in a bed of the black president and first lady he hated with every fiber of his dark soul, that knows no love.

 

Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals left any allegiance they ever had to brown-skinned, Palestinian prophets, and voted for this Antichrist.

 

They, therefore, cannot be called Republicans any longer: they are fascists.

 

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The Lethality of Magical Thinking...

 

 

Echo and Narcissus

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

"The human understanding is no dry light, but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one would.' For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes. Therefore, he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding." Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

 

-----

 

The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.

 

Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. States in which our presidential candidates used to win, such as New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida, are increasingly voting Democratic. We are losing in too many places.

 

It has reached the point where in the past six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 211 for the Republican. During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to Democrats’ 113.

 

Our job as Republicans is to champion private growth so people will not turn to the government in the first place. But we must make sure that the government works for those truly in need, helping them so they can quickly get back on their feet. We should be driven by reform, eliminating, and fixing what is broken, while making sure the government’s safety net is a trampoline, not a trap.

 

The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hardworking people who want to become hardworking middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America.

 

America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans are able to grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction.

 

In 1980, exit polls tell us that the electorate was 88 percent white. In 2012, it was 72 percent white. Hispanics made up 7 percent of the electorate in 2000, 8 percent in 2004, 9 percent in 2008, and 10 percent in 2012. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2050, whites will be 47 percent of the country while Hispanics will grow to 29 percent and Asians to 9 percent.

 

If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them and show our sincerity.

 

Excerpts: "Growth, and Opportunity Project" (popularly, the GOP Autopsy, 2012)

 

Magical thinking is the belief that one's ideas, thoughts, wishes, or actions can influence the course of events in the physical world. It is something people all over the globe engage in, and many religious and folk rituals center around it. While magical thinking can be a very normal human response, and there are aspects of it that can have psychological benefits, it can also be counterproductive at times and even be a sign of a mental health concern.

 

Very Well Mind: Magical Thinking Benefits and Concerns, Lisa Fritscher, Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD

 

The "Growth and Opportunity Project" looked at the prospects of the Republican Party being viable even with the changing demographics that are inevitable. It's a quick read, and quite logically laid out. It's a calming alternative to what the party has become.

 

From Grand Old Party to Growth and Opportunity Project, to Gang of Putin, insurrection and Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene. The GOP is starting to look more like Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane with Riddler, and Joker. This is not just acceptance of violence against opponents they should debate with better ideas. This isn't a "bug" for the Republican Party: violence is becoming a feature, a feature of fascists.

 

Kevin McCarthy can retire. He'll never be Speaker of the House, except if they overthrow the republic, and we become The Republic of Gilead in "The Handmaid's Tale." John Boehner couldn't control the "Freedom" Caucus - and they were SANER! What does he think "talking to" Taylor-Greene will do? Oh yes. From the link above, she's removing all the homicidal, anti-Semitic, controversial calls to assassinate Speaker Pelosi. Like I said, never Speaker.

 

Echo and Narcissus is the fable from which we derive the word narcissist. He dies pining for his own reflection, in love with himself, or at least his reflection; starving to death, the Nymph Echo saying the only thing she could say: his last word before expiring: "farewell." McCarthy literally "kissed the ring" of the loser narcissist of the 2020 election. The same he blamed for the insurrection, then a week later recanted. It's like he's never read the Growth and Opportunity Project, or like his president, used it as toilet paper on a golden throne. The entire party is too proud to change, but narcissistically blames "others," and stares at itself in the mirror, finding no flaws. The fat lady has sung; Echo is warming up.

 

The U.S. Capitol is both a crime scene and a toxic work environment. Democrats think Boebert and Greene might try to kill them. They're buying Kevlar to go to work.

 

Magical thinking leads to conspiracy theorizing. Insane asylums manage magical thinking, republics require informed citizens with a firm tether to facts, science, and reality. It creates a world of "us and them," saints and sinners, Batman and Jokers, protectors of the unborn against satanic pedophiles using concealed carry sidearms. Once one side makes "others" of their political opposites, they are of no more consequence than beetles on sidewalks joggers squish absentmindedly. Once your opponents in your mind aren't even human, you can justify anything to rid yourselves of them - even insurrection, or murder.

 

And insurrection without consequences is a dress rehearsal. Fascism is incremental.

 

Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion that have overrun the world.

 

–François-Marie Arouet ‘Voltaire’ (d. 1778), ‘Questions sur les miracles’ (1765)

 

"History rarely repeats itself, but its echoes never go away." Tariq Ali

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Truthiness, to Truth Decay...

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Image Source: Wikipedia link below

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidencelogicintellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.

The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.

American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness

Roger Ailes was very explicit as to why he wanted, and created Fox News: he wanted a news outlet friendly to conservative interests in the wake of Watergate, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I don't think we realize how astonishing that was, and that we've mythologized those times as "halcyon days" of yore.

Richard Nixon ran on "law and order," and the fear of violence in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He subtly stoked white grievance, the so-called "Southern Strategy," infamously described by political operative Lee Atwater. It worked. He rode to power in 1968, and a landslide forty-nine out of fifty state win in 1972, where he became the first Republican to sweep the south.

Nixon didn't need the plumbers to break into the DNC headquarters Watergate building, but there's evidence he used government resources instructing them to do so. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was accepting "bags of money" at the White House - as he did as governor of Maryland - to do political "favors" on Capitol Hill. For all intents and purposes, that is bribery. Nowadays, they attach lawyers to it, and call it lobbying.

The Justice Department was in a conundrum: if they indict the sitting president for an illegal break-in, they have to indict the sitting Vice President for usury. Plus, that pesky thing called The Constitution said if removed from office, the next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then, as now, a Democrat. The "memo" came out, without legal standing, or precedence, that you "cannot indict a sitting president."

We did not have cable television, cell phones, or social media apps. Every single American, presumably many who voted for Nixon's landslide victory, got the same information from three television outlets: ABC, CBS, and NBC news. Telegrams, letters, phone calls, letters to the editor in local newspapers and polls showed the country's mood had turned against Nixon, plus his promise to get us out of the Vietnam War turned out to be a boondoggle: many families were welcoming their loved ones home in body bags in a war it clearly looked like we weren't going to win. Altruism and fealty to The Constitution had nothing to do with republicans then, or now. The party talked Agnew into leaving on a lesser charge to get Gerald Ford - a congressman from Ohio, with no association to Nixon, or Agnew - in as Vice President. Then, the Republicans could keep power at the Executive Branch if an Impeachment in the House led to a conviction in the Senate, and forced removal.

 

The speed of a sprinter, a thrown fastball, the luminescence of a distant star, or the Hawking's Radiation of a Black Hole is demonstrable, measurable facts. They are not subject to opinions, "alternative facts," quackery, or spin. On the one hand, first, second, and third place is determinable. The speed of a Rookie fastball pitched from a mound can be logged; the astrophysical properties of distant objects can be studied because there is an agreement on what IS true and what is false in sports and physics.

“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it's like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”

"The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change."

“The whole idea of a democratic application of skepticism is that everyone should have the essential tools to effectively and constructively evaluate claims to knowledge.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, also Brain Pickings: Science, and Democracy

The premiere of Stephen Colbert's witty and insightful show probably had a lot to do with the "truthiness" on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That was demonstrably a lie. Yet, time and comparison to our current tweet-addicted sociopath make memories fail, as even George W. Bush now can pay respects to John Lewis: he was one of three living presidents to do so. The current occupant is too racist, devoted to his base, and fantasy to do so.

Ted Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and like President Obama, an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He's taken to Twitter to spread baseless conspiracy theories, and promote a right-wing social media app, Parler, financed by Rebecca Mercer, who like her billionaire hedge fund father, funds right-wing causes around the globe. It also shows his disdain for the people in Texas that are his constituents: he thinks they're fools, and probably wants to run for president again on the gravy train of lunacy Orange Satan built. The Republican Party genuinely fear their own base. They've stoked them every time a Democrat ascends to the presidency that the great purge of "coming to take your guns" is around the corner, any minute now. There were more guns sold during the Obama administration than the current imbecilic nightmare. I assume gun industry sales will improve apace.

The irony is, Parler is a completely enclosed silo. Part of the perverse joy of social media by sociopaths is "owning the libs," a badge of honor after frustrating arguments back and forth on a platform that you get blocked. Similar I'm sure, to throwing pollutants in the air from smokestacks on trucks, thinking oneself immune from the effects on Earth-Two. There are few "libs" on Parler to own. It also shows the tech company's regard for the intelligence of conservatives is limited, but they can see an opportunity, like most snake oil salesmen and conmen, to make a fast buck off gullible marks.

You cannot measure a sporting achievement without a knowledge of the rules, and adherence to them to make a judgment on performance.

You cannot have a STEM field without knowing the foundations of its knowledge, what is, and is not possible, and adherence to The Scientific Method to make an evaluation of the outcome of an experiment, and the world.

You cannot have a Democratic Republic with truth decay. To list them together is an oxymoron. Unless your ultimate goal is a fascist state.

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The Next Authoritarian...

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Macska Moksha Press: Anti-war & anti-authoritarian quotations, Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics

 

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.” Frank Herbert

 

No less than "created realities" Karl Rove and "the room where it happened," and knock off Yosemite Sam, John Bolton, have said it's time to throw in the towel. Twitter has flagged his gaslighting and will have to decide if a lame-duck lunatic is beneficial to its bottom-line. Unlike Bolton, I don't think the GOP (gang of Putin) is "coddling" him.

 

I think they completely understand their audience.

 

Mike Pompeo is a West Point Graduate and Harvard-trained lawyer. He knows the State Department is supposed to coordinate the transition, and magical thinking announced to his boss's rabid followers only delays the inevitable. He plans to run for president one day, and he's trying to "ride the dragon" the right-wing has created over 40 years. 70 million Americans are the byproducts of 40 years of hate radio, Alex Jones, dark Internet sites, and Fox propaganda. They all decided to despite evidence, in the words of Tom Nichols, vote for the sociopath. That for all intents and purposes is their "base."

 

Reagan is a paper saint: he started the birth of this dragon in Philadelphia, Mississippi, blocks from where Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found. The "wink-and-nod" to white supremacy had begun. It metastasized in four decades to a racist bullhorn after the nation's first and only black president.

 

Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham used the pushed-on-the-bench Amy Coney Barrett to secure their positions in the Senate, where they do absolutely NOTHING, except hold on to power for mostly their rich constituents, and the poor white rubes that think they hate the demographics shift as racially as they do. They are cynically playing this game because of the close races that should not be close in Georgia for control of the Senate. The miracles of Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock, both poised to oust incumbent Republican senators, will cement Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight as a blueprint that should be replicated nationally, that is if the democrats want to have power going-forward. She will win the governorship in 2022. However, the House lost 10 seats, and Georgia is in a runoff that shouldn't have been this close in a pandemic where the leader of their party is woefully inept and WAY out over his skis. But competence isn't necessary for authoritarians.

 

Authoritarianism, the principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law, and they usually cannot be replaced by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections. The freedom to create opposition political parties or other alternative political groupings with which to compete for power with the ruling group is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.

 

Source: Britannica.com/authoritarianism

 

What Republicans should worry about is a more serious run of failure. Republican presidents — Donald Trump and George W. Bush — have now spent almost all of their last nine consecutive years below 50% approval. Add George H.W. Bush’s final year, and that makes 10 of the last 13 Republican presidential years, with the only significant exception coming in the period after the Sept. 11 attacks (we can’t know for sure, but it seems likely that George W. Bush was heading underwater by then).

 

In other words: Whether or not Republicans have a popularity problem, they certainly seem to have a governing problem, one that at this point could be symbolized by Trump’s utter inability to deal with the pandemic or by the party’s years-long attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without having any alternative to offer. Of course, it is perhaps just the luck of events that dealt Republican presidents five of the last five recessions. And the Iraq War. And the coronavirus. But my suggestion to the party, if it has lost the presidency, is to spend some time trying to figure out why its presidents seem to have such a tough time in office.

 

Why Can’t Republicans Win the Popular Vote? Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg News

 

When you cannot win a popular vote, you probably won't want people voting. This is why I don't think we can afford to relax, even after this Herculean effort.

 

There are the runoff elections in Georgia's Senate race that will decide if Mitch McConnell maintains his majority leadership, or Chuck Schumer finally assumes it. It will decide if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can get their agenda done, or this is a unique one-off due to the pandemic. It will decide how LONG we're suffering from the pandemic long after 45 is fighting subpoenas for his taxes, business practices, and trying to stay out of prison. I doubt his running for president in 2024. There are too many ambitious republicans that want to ride the dragon Kraken he's summoned. They don't necessarily NEED him for that, and they are hopelessly dependent (and afraid) of their base. There's an off-year election in 2021, where the Koch brothers or local citizens can decide local seats. There will be a midterm in 2022, where Kevin McCarthy is already eyeing the Speakership for himself. We don't get a break because authoritarianism and fascism will never take a break.

 

The next authoritarian will likely, not be a buffoon.

 

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