Uncivilized…

Reuters is reporting that The National Embarrassment says separating families at the border and stealing children deters illegal immigration.  I’d have to guess that’s true.  The people running for their lives were looking for a civilized place where they might be able to survive.  Trump has shown the world that the United States is NOT a civilized place any more…

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Still holding hope for a ‘Blue Wave’?  Is it true that Democrats don’t get out the vote or is it MORE true that Republicans cheat so shamefully, completely, and sadly, successfully that it isn’t possible for enough Democrats to vote?  I’d say it’s the second one.  Case in point?  In Georgia, a man named Brian Kemp is the Secretary of State AND the Republican nominee for Governor.  He’s using his office as Secretary of State to suppress opposition votes in every way he can – legal and otherwise.  It’s an obvious conflict of interest but his supporters will just say it was smart.  I find myself thinking about JFK’s warning: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”…

It’s Up To Women…

Oh, white men are scared, huh?  SOME white men, perhaps.  Most know that false charges of reported sexual abuse are less common – somewhere in the neighborhood of two to eight percent.  I suspect most of those claims are connected to someone trying to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody cases.  Conservatives, of course, have a different number.  The number THEY use is 41%.  Ooh, scary.  Of course, even using that false number, it STILL means that 59% of claims are true.

But the pretending-to-be-scared white men – and women – rallied around the 41% number to get the Kavanaugh “win.”  You heard the cons in social media, wringing their hands and crying out, “What about our sons and brothers?”  Fair enough.

But what about your daughters?

If 41% of the time a charge is false, 59% of the time it’s true.  (It’s called ‘Math.’  100-41=59, see?)  According to conservatives, though, when some lying woman makes a claim, the correct course of action is to ask the guy if he did it.  When he says no, the next step is to try to figure out how the lying bitch put herself into such a vulnerable position in the first place.  I’m sure the position is going to lead to more open and honest discourse in conservative households across the land…

It’s going to be interesting to see how women respond to being portrayed as deceivers who lie for the sheer thrill of trashing defenseless men.  After all, we KNOW that women are inveterate liars.  The Bible tells us so!  Therefore, it’s best – apparently – to disregard the 60% of women who are being truthful in defense of the 40% of men who are being falsely accused, right?

If this doesn’t galvanize women to action, I suspect nothing will.  Hey, maybe they really DO like being cat-called while walking down the street, being judged first and foremost on their looks, and having men whip out their junk and wave it in their faces.  Who knew?  (Apparently, Harvey Weinstein and Brett Kavanaugh…)

We’ve got an “election” coming up.  More than any other voting bloc, I’m watching women.  Will women turn out in record numbers?  I suspect that even some conservative women realize their contrived support of Kavanaugh undermined the credibility of ALL women claiming sexual abuse – including their own and their own children – for the sake of a political “win.”  So do they go into a voting booth shouting “MAGA!” and then secretly vote for the Democrat?

See, I hold that actions speak louder than words.  Marching in the streets and knitting pussy hats is all well and good but if women don’t come out in force and vote their best interests, the energy behind the marches becomes little more than bluster.  I fear that the subtext to NOT coming out is, “Yeah, we ARE what you say we are.”

Men, to be sure, are going to come out and vote their “teams.”  You can count on conservative men – and some women – voting Republican to ensure the conservative misogyny retains it’s “rightful” place.  Progressive and Democratic men are less predictable.  I, for one, will be voting with the Democrats in the interests of women but the truth is, I’m white and male.  I’ll be okay, even in the conservative hell hole.  Left leaning men may or may not be fired up to go to the polls.  So, like it or not, it’s down to you women.  And isn’t that the way?  Men make a mess and leave it for women to clean up…

I’ll tell you this: fair or not – and LIKE it or not – this next election isn’t about a “blue wave” or a “red wave.”  It’s clearly about a pink wave…

The Kavanaugh Rubicon…

Historians tend to say that Rome transformed from a Republic to an empire when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his armies.  There’s a specific date – January 10, 49.  But it’s not like Rome changed overnight, the result of one action.  Technically, it didn’t even “fall” on January 10.  That’s just a solid date to represent the change from an historical point of view.  There were many things before the 10th that led up to the crossing of the river and it took awhile AFTER the 10th for Rome to become an official empire.

In the same way, it’s possible October 6, 2018 will be noted by future historians as the day the curtain came down on the American Republic.  Like Rome, there have been many events that have led up to that date – it’s been a slow-moving coup.  And it seems foolish to imply that everything is different on October 7.  It will take time.  But in the future, October 6 seems like a nice, central date upon which to pin the end of the United States of America, the Republic and the beginning of the American Empire – the official empire, anyway…

The thing is, this once-great nation was set up to operate on good faith.  Good faith refers to honesty or sincerity of intention.  Really, in one way of thinking, once one party – the Republicans – decided to operate only on bad faith, the country was doomed.  Our founders didn’t include any mechanism in the Constitution to correct for pure bad faith from one party or the other.  Hell, they didn’t even anticipate “parties”…

I’ll tell you the truth.  Even as I’ve seen this train wreck coming, I’ve had difficulty truly believing the Republicans would actually destroy the country just to get their misguided way.  But really, conservatives have hated the United States almost since the day it was born.  They’ve been trying to undermine and disempower the Constitution going all the way back to Jefferson.  It seems they’ve finally accomplished the mission with this most recent abomination.  As of October 6, 2018,  Schlitz Kavanaugh is a member of the Sour Cream Court.  Barring what the Republicans call “2nd Amendment Solutions”, the Court promises to be an unbalanced, unhinged pseudo-institution for years, perhaps decades to come.

I have a new salutation: may you reap as you sow.  I offer it, now, to conservatives.  Their bad faith and overt corruption has finally brought this once-great nation low.  For the vast majority of us, the future is not bright.  I see you in your MAGA hats but  Trump and the Republicans haven’t made America great.  They’ve made it history.

Nice work…

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As a sidebar – the textbook kind, not the judicial kind – it might be a bit of fun to consider the possible permutations of how the future might play out on this land mass.  Of course, there are a LOT of variables but generally speaking, I see five, possibly four new nations replacing the one taking up space now.  This will be Hawaii’s chance to regain independence and Alaska is so far removed, I’m pretty sure they’ll either go it alone or go back to Russian control so the rest refers to the contiguous United States.

In the West, California will lead the way towards a nation that spreads east from the Pacific Ocean to include the Colorado River basin.  We need the water.  I think Oregon and maybe Washington State will go along willingly.  The rest?  Hey, California is a large, strong economy.  I think we’ll be able to field an army large enough to take and hold what we need…

I see the same happening in the Northeastern states.  The original northern colonies may well band together.  They, too, will enjoy enough economic power to defend themselves and with the failure of the American government, who’s going to stop them?  I could see them reaching across to the Dakotas.  Pennsylvania brings plenty of oil but with the find in North Dakota, it seems it would be prudent to get what they can while they can…

The South will, of course, finally be able to say they won a war they lost but have continued to “fight” for 153 years.  The Confederacy will rise again.  Talk about dedication to being wrong-headed!  They’ll still have to do it without their slaves so their future seems best described by the words ‘desperation’ and ‘poverty’…

The question for me is, will Texas go along with the larger South?  I don’t think so.  I think they’ll go back and get the territory that once was a larger Texas.  That included parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and even Wyoming.  This, of course, will set up border skirmishes between California and Texas over the Colorado River water…

That leaves the flyover states.  Where will they end up?  Who cares?  Maybe they’ll end up representing the tattered remnants of the once-great United States.  More likely they’ll be absorbed – like it or not – by the nations developing around them.  They won’t enjoy the economic power to protect themselves so they’ll be pushed around for awhile before being controlled by one power or another.  Who knows, maybe Canada will take them…

Yeah, I know.  Talking about how the continent breaks up politically is pretty far-out stuff.  To be clear, I’m not saying this is how it happens for sure.  I’m just “noodling.”  It’s possible the map remains unchanged.  But when Rome fell, new countries formed out of the once Roman Empire.  When the Soviet Union broke up, new countries formed where once the Soviet Union had reigned supreme.  I don’t see any reason for the area that once comprised the United States of America to be any different…

Ford v. Kavanaugh…

I believe her.  Dr. Ford seemed nervous but she said she was terrified so…that fit.  She didn’t know every detail and she said so – and even apologized for the fact.  But she remembered relevant bits – and she remembered the attack.  The laughter of her assailants, she said, was seared into her memory.  She asked for the FBI to look into the matter specifically to help her nail down some of the details.

Him?  At stages, three different words popped into my mind about him: combative, evasive, and arrogant.  He argued.  He interrupted.  He hurled invective – at the woman, Senator Klobuchar, who was questioning him.  He knew each Senator had only five minutes.  When he was asked a question, he filibustered.  He rambled on as long as possible about things that were not relevant, never answering the question.  Hell, he might have read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ to the same effect.

I thought the GOP had a good line of attack when they kept hammering on the question of why Senator Feinstein held the information so long before making it public.  Honestly, it was a good point and quite effective – until Feinstein took the floor and stated flatly that she never released the information.  Feinstein reminded people that Dr. Ford had, in fact, told her story to a select number of people.  Perhaps, the suggestion was made, one of them leaked the story to the press at the eleventh hour – when it became clear that Kavanaugh was a shoo-in.  Perhaps it was a last ditch effort to stop a depraved individual from ascending to the highest court in this once-great nation.

That would be exactly the kind of thing the FBI might discover had they reopened the background check.  Who leaked the information?  The GOP was quick to point out that the FBI doesn’t reach conclusions.  In fact, they pointed it out over and over.  Apparently, they were hoping people wouldn’t realize that the FBI doesn’t need to reach conclusions in order to provide corroboration.  Kavanaugh attempted to portray himself as a sainted soul who has always and only attempted to live saintly.  If an FBI background check discovers he was a hard-partying animal who often got blind drunk, it’s not a conclusion – but it DOES give the lie to Kavanaugh’s faulty portrayal of himself.

The Democrats asked Kavanaugh repeatedly if he would agree to have the FBI investigate the charges.  He whined about how this “false” charge had ruined his life.  The Democrats pointed out, rightly, that an independent third party investigation could help him clear his name.  He deferred.  He dodged.  He evaded.  When they asked about investigation, he answered about hearings.  Finally, Senator Harris said, “I’ll take that as a no”.  It’s perfectly reasonable under those circumstances for observers to conclude that he didn’t expect such an inquiry would, in fact, clear his name so much as lend credence to Dr. Ford’s account…

Nobody knows what happened in that room except the three people who were in it – and one of them, Mark Judge, was not even invited to speak.  Wait, not invited?  Strike that.  It should have read: went into hiding.  As the only other person in that room, he should have been questioned.  Apparently, the GOP and Kavanaugh couldn’t take that risk…

I’ll tell you this:  I thought Dr. Ford acted exactly the way a person would act if she was telling the truth.  Conversely, I thought Judge Kavanaugh (and the GOP, actually) acted exactly the way a person would act if she was telling the truth.

But I expect that the GOP is going to debase and dishonor themselves further – if such a thing is possible – and We, the people will be stuck with yet another substandard conservative on the Supreme Court…

 

The Right Thing…

I saw an article in the Guardian – most likely a paid PR piece – that wanted everyone to know that Jeff Bezos, of Amazon infamy, is apparently giving $2 Billion dollars to fight homelessness.  Oh, yay!  At least, that was my first reaction.  A split-second later, I decided that Bezos probably deserved some credit for the act.  A split-second after that, I realized that Bezos could do a LOT more to alleviate suffering if he would just pay the workers who do the work that produces all that beautiful lucre he hoards and doles out for credit a living wage.

They’re HIS employees.  THEIR work has created the wealth for which he takes all the credit – and rewards.  Pay the workers a fair wage and get them off of MY tax roles.  I don’t mind helping people who need help.  But I really don’t want to subsidize rich people who already have so much they don’t even know what to do with the money…but they KNOW, for sure, that if they have anything to say about it, they aren’t paying a living wage…

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Speaking of rich, self-serving scoundrels serving their own agendas and lying about it all the while, I’m sick of Facebook.  They’ve been telling the same story in response to scandal after scandal and it never changes.  “Oh,” they say, “we were slow to respond.  That’s on us.  We’ll do better in the future.”  This from a company that used the slogan ‘Move fast and break things.’

I think it’s time we stop waiting for the company to voluntarily do the right thing and go with a bit of regulation…

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I hope Rosenstein doesn’t resign…

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I believe Dr. Ford.  Trump says he stands by Kavanaugh.  Trump says Kavanaugh is a good man.  Based on the criminal elements Don Donald has completely surrounded himself with, Trump’s endorsement should be a warning, not a comfort.

For those keeping score, the list of Supreme Court Justice seats obtained through foul deeds is Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and soon, Brett Kavanaugh…

…because conservatives don’t like “activist judges”…

Nike, Fear, and Revolution…

It’s common for the conservatives to get the early crowing so I’ve learned to wait a beat.  The most recent faux-row has the cons all up in arms in protest of a black man protesting unarmed people of color being gunned down by police.  So, they burn their shoes.  My guess is, these are shoes no longer worn or perhaps picked up at the local thrift store.  Nike’s stock plunged – initially.  That’s the early crowing.  But then?  Nike’s stock has reached an all time high.  Sure, certain conservatives think people of color should just take their shootings  with a “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” attitude but it looks to me like Nike got it right…

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Wow, President Snowflake sure did get upset by Bob Woodward’s new book, ‘Fear’, didn’t he?  Anything that paints him in a less-than A+ light (which means “anything true”) really upsets the guy.  He seems to have spent his entire privileged, protected life using the money his daddy gave him to whine and throw tantrums to get his way.  It seems he’s been convinced that this behavior “works” because, through most of his life, it has worked.  It looked like it might be working on the US as well – for a terrifying while.  But the cracks are forming…

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I had occasion to see a video of an interview with Russell Brand by the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman.  The clip I saw is about 10 minutes long and it’s a couple of years old but it’s a fascinating conversation.  Here’s a link.  Basically, Brand takes the position that the overall system has become so corrupt and out of balance that the inevitable result will be revolution.  I think history makes a strong case in support of that position.  Then he says he doesn’t vote, not just because of his conclusion but in an effort to speed the result along.  I think he should vote – for two reasons:

One, it’s the system we have.  I feel a little silly even taking this position.  I honestly believe that as long as electorates are forced to use electronic or computerized voting systems, we’re living in pseudo-democracies and the masses are NOT doing the “electing.”  We MUST use paper ballots so that the votes can be counted and recounted if necessary.  If the corrupt officials insist on the machines – and they do – then we use absentee ballots.  But we vote.  When we discover the systems are corrupt, we work to improve the systems from within – even if we believe we can’t win.  Because…

Two, revolutions are messy and unpredictable.  Oh, did I say “messy”?  I meant destructive and deadly.  Wreckage and ruin, death and destruction; these are the kinds of things people should be trying to avoid.  But they’re part and parcel to revolution.

Sure, wipe everything away and start again – this time better!  But will it be?  Look back through history.  Revolutions don’t always go the way the revolutionaries think they’re going to.  Remember the White Bolsheviks?  They teamed up with the Red Bolsheviks in the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mold, then got wiped out by the Red Bolsheviks after the Tsar was gone.  Whoops.  What, too “foreign”?  Okay, a little closer to home, then.

The American Revolution would not have succeeded without help from the French.  Frenchmen were with us every step of the way.  They not only saw but participated in making the American Revolution play out the way the founders hoped it would: we formed a new democratic Republic and moved on (for a time) in the best interests of the masses.  Then the French, applying the model the Americans had just successfully used, tried their own revolution.  Their results were…different.

Having watched and participated in the American Revolution, they nevertheless couldn’t steer their own revolution dependably.  THEIR revolution became so bloody, history knows at least a portion of that time as “The Terror.”  THEIR revolution led to Napoleon and over a decade of war and death.

I’ll tell you this: It’s one thing to say one believes that revolution is inevitable.  It’s an entirely different thing to call it desirable…

Dems and Devils…

Somewhere along the way, I realized there was a difference between a Democrat and a Progressive.  There’s not supposed to be but there it is – clear to anyone who cares to take a look.  The Democratic Party moved right, leaving Progressives behind.  Why?  The usual suspects: greed, money, power…

At turns I’ve felt isolated in my understanding but from time to time something happens to remind me that I’m not alone.  Recently, it was the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  This morning, it’s this piece in the Guardian by David Sirota.  It’s a good read.  He lays out the disconnect between Democratic rhetoric and Democratic actions quite well.  He makes a point I’ve made many times: “…liberal America’s pattern of electing corporate Democrats – rather than progressives – has been a big part of the problem that led to Trump and that continues to make America’s economic and political system a neo-feudal dystopia.”

The piece gave me hope because I realized while I was reading it that Progressives are doing to the Democratic Party what Libertarians did to the GOP – only saner.  The Libertarian Party has existed since 1971 but they were mostly – and correctly – dismissed as far-right, no-practical-application extremists.  They couldn’t get any traction with the mainstream conservatives.  So, they eventually packed up their far-right, no-practical-application “ideas” and registered as Republicans.  They ran as Republicans.  Eventually, they took over the Republican Party and Republicans have appeared cruel and insane ever since.

But the Progressives these days seem to have co-opted the idea (thank you, Bernie) and are running as Democrats, hopefully moving the party in the right – I guess I should say the correct direction.  It will take time but maybe not as much time as it took for the Libertarians to deconstruct the Republican Party.  Hope springs eternal, I guess…

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We’ve all heard of the Seven Deadly Sins but do you know what they actually are?  These days, it’s important to know because they’re living in the White House.  All of them.  They are Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth.  Trump hits every one of them with perfect precision.  Every time he opens his mouth (or his Twitter feed) he reinforces his fealty to at least one of them.

If I were a religious man, I would be concerned about the anti-Christ.  According to Revelations 13:5, the anti-Christ will be allowed to exercise power for 42 months.  That’s three and a half years.  (Then things get ugly.)  Trump took power in January, 2017.  That puts the end of his reign at July, 2020.  I’m just sayin’…