The Unlamented Death of Reaganism

Last night the first public hearing of the 1/6 House Select Committee was live across most of the internet and cable entertainment services in the United States. They’ve been working quietly in the background since that day, the day we almost lost our republic to insurrectionists at the instigation of then President Donald Trump.

Quietly investigating the events that lead directly to the second impeachment of Donald Trump in an attempt to uncover exactly how we got to the point where the supporters of the President could attack the Legislature of the United States while screaming for the death of the Vice President because of his required role in certifying the Presidency of Joe Biden.

The election had been held. The votes had been counted, the lawsuits dismissed, the lies about the election exposed. There was nothing left to do but rubberstamp the certified results in the traditional manner before handing the administration of the United States government over to the next President. An event that has occurred more than 40 times since the creation of this country back in 1776.

But not this time. No, this time the President wasn’t going to allow his own defeat to be recorded. Not that he wasn’t defeated, that had already been determined democratically and judicially. He wasn’t going to allow the defeat to be recorded officially so as to turn defeat into… what? It couldn’t be victory because there wouldn’t be a United States after he retained power in defiance of the rules and of the votes of 81,282,916 people. So what did he hope to achieve beyond the destruction of the norms that had governed the lives of Americans since March 4, 1797 when the first president of the United States voluntarily surrendered the office?

It is ironical that these events mark the logical end of Reaganism. Reaganism that was re-invented into neo-liberalism and then rebranded into compassionate conservatism and finally zombified in the form of the prosperity gospel and Trumpismo. Reaganism kept animated by the dedicated effort of Roger Ailes’ FOX news and political activists determined to see Reagan’s grand compromise with Evangelicals and their joint takeover of the Republican party brought to its ultimate… victory?

Trump rode into office mouthing phrases utilized by Reagan. He promoted the ideals of Reagan, whether or not he lived up to those ideals of wealth and morality. He delivered on his and Reagan’s promises to the Evangelicals who backed both of them, creating a Supreme Court that was pre-rigged to overturn Roe v. Wade, the cornerstone of hatred that modern Evangelical America was founded on.

With FOX news and Rush Limbaugh smoothing over every excess of Trump’s criminal reign for four years. With the apologetics of Christianists well versed in twisting ancient texts to suit modern agendas. Through two impeachments. With the transparent puppeteering of Trump by Vladimir Putin ignored. With Trump’s love affair with Putin’s strongman tactics. It all came to the only end that could possibly have been in store for it given his complete inability to have a private thought unexpressed. What end? The near-destruction of the United States as we have all known it, before he was finally forced out of office.

…Of course the Republicans who profited from Trump’s reign refused to acknowledge the damage that had been done. Of course FOX news doesn’t admit that there was anything wrong with the Presidency of Donald Trump and instead spends every single moment of its air time deriding the performance of the sitting President.

That would be Joe Biden, for those who are still in denial out there. Joe Biden, the second coming of Barack Obama.

Make no mistake, this is what Republicans hate most about Joe Biden. That he represents the triumph of a black man who successfully ran the country for eight years, and was the only President since LBJ to reverse the decline of the fortunes of the American people. Reverse the decline through a single act of legislation that he guided through a nearly comatose Senate.

So FOX news talks endlessly about the flagging economy that none of their vaunted heroes have ever been able to fix, let alone understand; leaving out the part where Joe Biden orchestrated the ending of the COVID pandemic, the cause of the economic woes, through the rollout of vaccines that Donald Trump couldn’t get delivered and that his supporters still won’t take.

FOX news talks about the ignoble ending of the Afghanistan war, blaming it on Joe Biden when it was their golden boy, Donald Trump, who set us on the course to be kicked out of Afghanistan by the Taliban that we had defeated twenty years earlier. If there is a stain on America then they put it there by first electing the guy who restarted American imperialism, Ronald Reagan, and then continued to agitate for a more expansive American agenda for more than forty years in the face of changing climates, vanishing resources and more militant opposition in those places that we took our resources from.

FOX and the American conservatism that it gives voice to have pushed us all to the edge of destruction. No matter how you slice and dice the evidence this is the only conclusion that can be drawn, which is why they have all decided that the evidence is the problem and must therefore be ignored.

If FOX and American conservatism are to be believed, then the 1/6 investigation is a witch hunt that has found actual witches. For the first time in history. They won’t talk about the Committee’s findings, only that the Committee shouldn’t exist and that the Republicans who sacrificed their careers to see the investigation carried out should be drummed out of office. The findings are real though, despite the denials. The facts speak for themselves; which is a good thing, considering the climate.

Fox News’ choice to NOT cover the January 6th Committee hearings is the first ethical decision they’ve ever demonstrated.

Given that they’re seditious coconspirators, it would be a conflict of interest.

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Who has cable anymore? A show of hands? Exactly. FOX news may be the most popular news channel on American cable systems, but almost no one watches cable news anymore. Most of us get our news from (shudder) the internet. What FOX is, what MSNBC and CNN are, are dinosaurs. They are the vestiges of a once powerful opinion manufacturing machine that has largely gone to dust.

They long for the good old days when they could change history with their influence. Now they are transparently what they always have been, political reflection machines that serve only to ramp up the beliefs of the minority of the population who still watch them.

PBS News HourFull January 6th Hearings (Playlist)C-SPAN (YouTube Playlist)

I watched the hearings on YouTube like most people did. It’s true that the feed was NBC’s, and even older dinosaur than MSNBC, but what I saw is what anyone who watched saw, the opening salvo of a months-long series of hearings that will lay out the coup attempt by Trump and his co-conspirators, facts that those of us who pay attention to politics already know the gist of.

What FOX will be doing is trying to hold the attention of their viewers, not just for hours or days but for months, desperate to distract their viewers from the truth airing everywhere outside the conservosphere. MSNBC will simply be embroidering on the facts revealed in the hearings. CNN will reduce the facts to easily digestible chunks so that even the unwilling will have to concede to their existence. Which of these jobs would you rather have?

The results of all of this redundantly expensive noise will be determined outside of the reach of any one political entity; which is the way it should be. The one true thing that Vice President Mike Pence will probably ever say in his lifetime, a thought repeated in the 1/6 evidence on that first night of public hearings, bears repeating here:

There is no idea more unAmerican than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.

twitter/Mike Pence

…and by extrapolation, what the will of the population is should not be the decision of one man or even one political entity but should be readily established by the voices of the people themselves, directly. Eighty million people voted for Joe Biden, therefore Joe Biden should be President not Donald Trump.

Donald Trump still can’t accept this fact almost two years later and is still trying to enact a coup to have himself re-instated as President, as if that is even a thing that can be done. FOX is happy to beat the drum in support of Donald Trump; thereby signing its own death warrant, which is the punishment for treason.

Sedition. Treason. Easy words to say, hard accusations to prove.

He doesn’t mean talking in front of the committee when he asks for equal time. There is an open invitation for him to come to the committee and testify out there right now. The Chair of the committee extended this invitation from the beginning of the investigation. All Donald Trump has to do to be allowed to speak is comply with the requirements of the law. First he has to submit documentation for review, and he doesn’t have documentation on anything. Then he’d have to show up and not lie about established facts, a thing he doesn’t know how to do.

As his fan club has protested for years, requiring him to testify under oath is entrapment; except I don’t think they understand what this objection means. What they are saying is that he is not sane. If he was sane he could and world stop lying about established facts. His supporters know this when they say the word entrapment. If he was sane he would be able to stop himself from lying. He can’t, and so he isn’t.

Trump’s lying in front of the panel is exactly what is needed right now. Having him appear and face judgement would be the best for everyone concerned. If he could be made to appear and accept responsibility and our judgement. That is the crucial point of this juncture in time. Can he and his followers be made to accept responsibility for their actions and our judgement of them?

If we could compel him to appear he would do one of two things. He would transparently lie just as he always has and then dare us to act against him, the former President, in full view of his supporters. His supporters who will then probably start another insurrection. At least it would be in the open then.

Either he would lie or he would do the thing that all his betters do. He would plead the fifth just as he has done in past depositions (otherwise known as the “I can’t recall” defense) and that would leave us right where we are now. The place we don’t want to be. But we would still have the evidence of his evasion under questioning. This is why he blusters for equal time but will not avail himself of the opportunity to sit before the committee.

He doesn’t want to sit before the committee, he wants to run the committee. He wants a committee of his own. This potentiality is not as farfetched as most people might think. He could have his own committee if Republicans take the House and appoint him Speaker after the midterms. Anyone can be made Speaker of the House, although traditionally only sitting members have been appointed to this job. Think about that for a few minutes. Speaker Donald Trump. Have a puke bucket handy before you do.

I prefer not to think of the bastard at all. This was an easy thing to do before half the nation became members of his personality cult. All of this behavior around him is not what sanity looks like. It’s not just him, it’s his followers and others too. It started before him and it will continue after him. It may be the death of the human race if we don’t find a way to defeat it.

Climate change denial. Gun violence. Antivax. Trumpismo. All of these groups have the same thing in common, denial of the facts in evidence. Denial of the facts despite the rising levels of certainty stacked against this denial. Now either we figure out a way around this blockade so that the things needing doing get done, or we all die. We all die through climate disaster or nuclear holocaust or maybe even both simultaneously.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

You say you know he knows? That his lies are conscious? That all of this crap we’ve been through for six years was his idea of of a money making scheme? It’s possible, maybe even probable. We can’t say what he knows, despite what most people think. We can say what the facts are, and we can say that he was informed. We can’t say that he knows or that anyone similarly afflicted with this kind of dysphoria (?) knows. What we can say is that it is common and that a significant portion of the population can be influenced by others who have it. That people who are afflicted should not be trusted in positions of authority for the very reasons being laid out before us by the January 6th Committee today.

He was informed of the known facts and refused to accept them. Call it megalomania, call it willful ignorance. Call it Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Call it whatever you like but it still means he’s not sane and cannot be trusted to do anything of importance at any time after this. He needs keepers not access to the nuclear codes. He and his followers.

This is about much more than his freedom or our need to see Donald Trump punished. This is about all of our futures. I’ll happily call him nuts and fit him and his lunatic followers into straightjackets if that would get us past this crisis that we’ve been stuck on and in for most of my life. I doubt that will address the problem though.

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the era of big government is over

Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union Address

Two years into his first term as President, Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Reaganism and the birth of his version of neoliberalism. His time in office saw the destruction of the public sphere that started under Reagan continue unabated through his two terms and through the two terms of George W. Bush, along with a heightened reliance on military strength as our way of demonstrating our will to the world’s people and governments.

The deregulation of industry. The abandonment of the poor and infirm. The triumph of greed. All of these trends have continued unabated since the day that Ronald Reagan won the White House and imposed his vision of America on us and the rest of the world. They have continued and now brought us to this crisis point in our civilization.

The environment is changing before our very eyes. The seas rise, the land sinks. Crops die in the field from intemperate weather and wars break out across the globe as the populations of the various nations realize that their governments do not care if they starve to death or not. Their caring may not even be the problem since there may not be enough food to feed everyone in the very near future. Is this the end? Only we can decide that.

Make no mistake though, Reagan is as much a product of the corporation’s desire to avoid paying for the impending climate disaster that they helped to create as he was a creation of the Christianists of the Religious Right who wanted to inflict their religion on the rest of us; and all of them are to blame for creating the environment that people like Donald Trump thrive in. They made his kind of lawless greed possible. They are to blame for all of this.

History will record that FOX died the same death as the Reagan Republicanism it was founded to promote. It was never more than an organ of that political movement and so will not survive its ultimate demise. A death that has been a long time coming but that we are watching play out around us right now.

What will replace Reagan Republicanism will be determined by those people who act on the politics of this moment whether they follow the news or not; and the truth of Trump’s crimes are there for anyone with the eyes to see them. All they have to do is open their eyes and look. So is the inflation brought on by a reigniting economy. So is the lingering pandemic. So is the war in Ukraine. So is the climate crisis that possibly has a hand in bringing all of these things to a head at the same time. What one thing will voters take to the polls in November to decide the next course this country will head on? Will it be just one thing?

We are barreling towards the November midterm election as I type this. Donald Trump and the Democrats who are trying to prosecute him want the election to be about Trump. The environmentalists want it to be about climate. The talking heads on FOX news want it to be about the economy. No one wants to think about the pandemic or the war, but they are out there influencing opinions anyway.

If you are blind enough to believe that Republicans ne Conservatives have answers for anything that the future might bring after everything we’ve been through over the last four if not forty years, then you’ll vote for Republicans and get violent when your side loses again. The rest of us will stick with the only sane group out there, moderate Democrats. How long can the center hold though? Hopefully long enough to see the next political philosophy rise, one that isn’t yet another zombified version of Reagan Republicanism.

Featured image of Ronald Reagan and Roger Ailes found here: highlandscurrent.org

Postscript

As I sit here watching the eighth Committee hearing on the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, I think to myself “I’d happily vote for Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger.” Unfortunately none of the Republicans who represent Texas are any more sane than their traitorous President is. Not either of the Texas Senators. Not the Governor, Lt. Governor or Attorney General. All of them are either traitors along with their President, or they are as insane as the former President. I look forward to the inquest where we determine which one of those facts are true.

Reaganism is dead, despite the best efforts of FOX News and Republicans who think they know who Reagan was and what he stood for. Reagan himself would decry their actions on January 6th, 2021, even though the perpetrators thought that they were acting to preserve Reagan’s shining city on a hill when they attacked the Capitol.

The people who talk about all the good that Donald Trump did as President, even as they detail his criminal acts in the White House, must be referring to the one legislative act that he succeeded at getting passed; tax cuts for the wealthy that mirrored Reagan’s signature achievement. Or maybe they refer to Donald Trump declaring foreign enemies in China and the Middle East, just like Reagan did with the USSR. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Donald Trump let a pandemic run rampant through the population just like Ronald Reagan did with the AIDs pandemic. No matter how you slice it, Donald Trump was a mirror image of Ronald Reagan even if that image was seen through a mirror, darkly.

We are well and truly rid of Reagan worship now. Let it be known forevermore as Trumpismo and let it all die with Trump’s last treasonous act, whether we have seen that last act already or if that final act of treason is still yet to come.

Not a Democrat

Joe Manchin is not a Democrat. He was elected to the Senate on the Democratic ticket, but he’s not a Democrat or in favor of democracy.

I’ve always said this, Bret, if I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for and I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t,” Manchin, a key centrist, told host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.

nbcnews.com

He talks to FOX news to make this announcement, where it will get to the people he wants to signal to. Republicans. If he was a Democrat he would have talked to media outlets that don’t explicitly serve Trumpists. He wants the Trumpists to know that he’s one of them, a little winking aside to those people he wants to keep on his side.

FOX trumpets that it is the most-watched network on cable television. Who has cable television anymore? Rachel Maddow is leaving MSNBC, not because she has changed her mind about the veracity of the message she delivers, but because she thinks she can reach more people somewhere else. Cable television is dead. Old media. Cable network measurements are like noting the dimensions of dinosaur bones. Important for history, but not really relevant to the here and now.

Joe Manchin is just another one of those dinosaurs. Outdated. Ready for the museum. Only relevant because of the fiction that is party control of the United States Senate. The ossified controls that were placed on that legislative body back in the day when communication across the country took weeks or months have grown constricting and self-defeating in an age where we can know in minutes what the population thinks about any given subject. We just need our paid representatives to do the thing we want, or explain to us why they aren’t doing it. Majority and Minority party leadership in the Senate is as meaningless as the Filibuster, which was a mistake back when Aaron Burr committed it by eliminating the ability to move the prior question. Only now do we understand just how destructive these rules are.

Joe Manchin is against securing the vote for everyone. He doesn’t want the federal government to set down minimal guidelines that guarantee the vote for everyone. The vote is the only way we can effectively communicate with our paid representatives in government other than by bribing them with campaign contributions. He panders to the wealthy who control our government, rather than stand up for the people who should control our government through the vote.

Joe Manchin is against everything the Democrats currently stand for aside from keeping the government functioning. He voted for the extension to the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling shouldn’t even be a thing because it only serves the fiction that the spending of the federal government can be controlled by threatening to guillotine the entire economy through a default on bonds. This is not an effective way to govern, and yet that is what we have been reduced to since the days when Newt Gingrich threw a wrench in the legislative works and did everything he could to keep Bill Clinton from being an effective President.

Joe Manchin wants to keep the government functioning to do…? What? Nothing the Democrats want to do. Consequently Joe Manchin is not a Democrat and thusly the Democrats do not control the Senate, have not controlled the Senate at any point since the 2020 election. Case closed. In 2022 we should send a clear message and put enough Democrats into legislative office that we can get the legislation that we want passed and presented to the President for his signature. That is the only way forward in the short term.

Daily Pandemic Deception, Foiled

Facebook – Stonekettle

All news outlets should follow NPR’s lead. There is no other way to counter the harm that Donald Trump’s bullshit is doing to the country other than to shut him off at the source. Don’t air the coronavirus briefings live. Edit out his misleading bullshit, then air the medical people talking about real stuff later. Save the parsing of Trump’s bullshit for people who want to explain what he says to the people who actually listen to and believe his bullshit when he speaks. His Stormtrumpers.

Save the Stormtrumpers? Sometimes it is best to let nature take its course; and letting the stupid people who believe Donald Trump die from their stupidity might be the only way to save democracy in the United States. This is a problem that they created. It is fitting that they pay the price for their own stupidity. Pay the price for relying on a single news source and never bothering to fact-check anything they hear.

FOX news is the common denominator. It is no wonder that FOX news is now worried about being punished for misleading the public at the beginning of the pandemic. Ya think? Maybe they should have thought a little harder about it earlier. Like in January, when it would have made a difference.

Trump was watching FOX before he stumbled into the presidency, and he’s still watching FOX as a replacement for all his daily briefings before he goes out and repeats the same shit he heard on FOX, shit that they say because he wants them to say it, tells them to say it. The problem for both Republicans in general and their president in particular is that they get their information from a source that makes shit up. Once you realize this simple fact, it becomes plainly obvious that we cannot allow anything like FOX news to continue to exist.

Either your information service contains real, factual information, or it can’t be allowed to continue. If the creator’s intent is to mislead, then the content should be squelched somehow. At the very least it shouldn’t be piped into every American’s home through an infrastructure paid for and maintained by public funds. If they go out and make themselves victims on purpose, there is little we can do to protect them from themselves.

Then this happened:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has come under fire from far-right and ultra-conservative groups supporting Trump for what they perceive as efforts to undermine the president on the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports.

thedailybeast.com

…and this is precisely why the party of Trump and it’s supporters must be driven out of power. It is our duty as good citizens to see them pushed as far away as possible from the levers of control. The promoters of science and public health are targeted by the people who just want to pretend that everything is normal.

The lines have been drawn. The separation between the sides could not be starker than they are right now. Either you want authoritarian, Christianist, capitalism under Donald Trump, or you want humanist values to win the day. Either you want a future where the rich rule like kings, or you want a future where everyone should be given some minimal assurance that their life has value in the system. Choose.

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Postscript

Here’s how to not be mislead. Let Stonekettle Station translate Trump’s gibberish for you, then fact-check the parts you still aren’t clear on.

Here is the Stonekettle Station pandemic digest from March 29th. The one where Trump accuses nurses of lying to make Trump look bad.

Wednesday’s Trump dump.

The short-lived nightly coronavirus bullshit festival finally came to an end, but not before Trump killed more than a few of his followers by misleading them about what was a healthy response to coronavirus infection. This is why I blame Donald Trump for every coronavirus death in the United States. The buck stops at the resolute desk, and he was sitting behind the desk when something could have been done to limit the damage. Instead of doing that job, Trump made the damage worse so he gets the blame for all of it.

Questions & Closing

Both impeachment cases have been presented, both the prosecution and defense. Now we will find out what the mood of the senate is towards the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) and his bullshit.

C-SPANU.S. Senate: Impeachment Trial (Day 9) – January 29, 2020

Prayer starts at 12:00 minutes into the video. First question is read at 15:45. Two hours in (the point where I started watching live) there is little doubt what the Texas Senators think. All of the Republican questions have been rather ham-handed gotcha questions that they can’t possibly think will advance the debate on the question before the Senate. The question of whether or not the charges brought against the president deserved to be given a proper hearing.

3:30 pm. Javelins and president Trump’s support of Ukraine. If the characterization by the president’s defense is accurate, then Donald Trump can’t be said to be working in the interest of Vladimir Putin. Putin would not want the OHM to sell the Ukrainians lethal weapons. That means that OHM and his defense are either dumb enough to think there was a server that Crowdstrike sent to be hidden in Ukraine, and that this was done somehow in relation to Vice President Biden and his son hunter. They are either that dumb, or they think that their audience is dumb enough to believe that fantasy could be true, and so sell that as a diversion. The depth of idiocy/ delusion this reveals almost beggars the imagination.

The OHM either believes the QAnon conspiracy fantasy, or he likes pretending he believes it in order to cover his desire to throw mud at Joe Biden. Wow. Just wow.

6:30 pm. What we learn from people who call in to the C-SPAN line, generally, is that the supporters of Donald Trump have very little understanding of the facts in this case. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that the tuned away from FOX news long enough to listen to themselves talk on C-SPAN.

Clearly the talking point they’ve picked up is that the house failed to do a proper investigation. Anyone, ANYONE who is really paying attention knows that the OHM prevented a proper investigation. That is the truth about that specific point of inquiry. Every person who puts the blame on the House is either an idiot, is uninformed, or is lying. It has to be one of those three things. A minimal level of pushback by the talking head who listens and nods would reveal which one of the three mental states the callers are in. Too bad he doesn’t do that more often.


I didn’t even watch the second day of questions and answers. I meant to come back and catalog the first day of questions and answers, but by the time I had my phone working (that article is still in progress) and finished my World of Warcraft raids for the week (priorities) the Senate Republicans were too busy sucking Donald Trump’s cock (right there in public) to be able to do anything but pay attention to the job in front of them.

No witnesses. Nothing more on the subject of the most corrupt president in US history will be entertained by the Senate that is lead by his morally bankrupt Republican party. Closing arguments were heard this morning. I may or may not watch any of the continuing charade. Here, however, are the closing arguments of the House managers who have so valiantly lead the fight against the corruption embodied by the OHM.

C-SPANRep. Adam Schiff Closing Argument – Feb 3, 2020

So I moved this post up to Monday, February 3rd from Thursday, January 29th. The final vote will be on Wednesday. I’ve already started writing on that article. What has happened to this country since 2016 is unacceptable. It has to stop, and we have to stop it because no one else will.

It has been 3 years, 14 days, 7 hours and 35 minutes since Donald Trump should have been removed from office.

Trump isn’t Nixon and he’s not going to be held to account by Republicans. He’s going to weasel out, as he always does. As the rich and privileged and powerful always do. You knew it. You said so, right here, on my Facebook page, in my Twitter timeline. You knew. So did I. So did we all. Of course, we foolishly let ourselves hope it would be different, sure we did. We got excited there for a minute. Maybe this time Susan Collins and Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski would actually stand up and … well, yeah, like I said, foolish.

Stonekettle Station – Stalking Horse

Rebutting Thought-Ending Conservatism – Part One: Slavery

For Sandra Bland

When I posted this image to my Facebook wall, I hadn’t expected any real pushback. I mean, the facts of how dark skinned humans came to be slaves and lower class in America, and how they are still mostly poor in America, are incontrovertible. Nevertheless, my own family pushed back, people who should know better than to argue facts or history with me. They all know how much I read (or they should) and they all know that I have a tick that won’t allow me to simply ignore stupidity when I hear it.

…and still, the first comment I got was all lives matter, a stubborn refusal to see the world as it really is, a willfully ignorant insistence of falseness being truth that continued for the entire dialog under the image. The replies that I got were boilerplate. They were talking points that could be repeated (and have been repeated to me endlessly) by any FOX watching conservative; and so consequently this little exercise bears going through just this one time. Just to expose the talking points for what they are, so as to illustrate just how wrong they are.

All lives matter is a thought-ending phrase. It doesn’t actually mean anything in and of itself, which is why people repeat it after hearing that black people object to being targeted as they have been throughout US history.

(changed to a link rather than lamely trying to compile a list. -ed.)

The people who say all lives matter simply want the person they are speaking at to shut up. Here’s Felonious Monk from the Nightly Show (Larry Wilmore) explaining how this works:

vimeo.comTHE NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE ALL WORDS MATTER – FELONIOUS MUNK

(Stormtrumpers did get the Nightly Show canceled. You did manage to get one thing done in Trump’s first year. The Nightly Show videos have been moved on Comedy Central, yet again. They don’t provide embed codes for the segments in a way that is useable. You try clicking that banner at the end of the video in this link: ALL WORDS MATTER. Do you even see the banner? -ed.)

If I break my leg, I do not want the doctor telling me “all legs should be healed.” I want the doctor to fix my leg.

Felonious Munk

Language is our evolutionary prerogative. It is the air I breathe. I will not be shut down, belittled or pushed aside; and the people who, rightly, want to stop being targeted by police officers where they live simply because of the color of their skin will not be shut down either. Insisting there is no problem to be corrected makes you the target, and Stormtrumpers should remember what happened when they made everyone else the target of their anger in 2016. That payback is coming. You can be sure of this if of nothing else.

Here’s the first long comment from that attempt at a Facebook dialog I want to quote:

Democrats enslaved the black man Republicans freed them (Lincoln being the first Republican President). Democrats are now trying to enslave the country. As long as there are ignorant people in this country to vote democrat, there will always be slavery. On another note. 90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own. Your president has caused more chaos in this country and ya’ll still voted that piece of shit back in and want people to believe that it’s the Republicans fault. When people learn to work for there own and not sit at home and feed off the working man they might have a different view of whats happening in this country.

Now, this comment comes from a relative, an in-law. One who knows that I am disabled. This is the kind of love and understanding that is common across Texas, not just in the men who are married to one of your sisters. They are certain that people who don’t want to work are just lazy, as if laziness were not a survival trait. As if they aren’t equally as lazy on any given day, willing to let their wives and family do the housework while they get fat on their recliners drinking beer and watching football. Writing is about the only work I’m capable of doing these days, and I can only do that sporadically between bouts of vertigo. The people like this relative who tell me to get a job are speaking in code. Unluckily for these hateful types, I understand their code because I was one of them once. Get a job is code for crawling away somewhere and dying out of sight. Out of sight is out of mind. They, to borrow a phrase, simply want me to starve to death and decrease the surplus population. They are Scrooges, manufacturing the chains they will wear for the rest of eternity, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Also note the logical disconnect in saying that Democrats, led by a black man, favor enslaving that same black man and everyone else in the U.S., a black man who we elevated to the office of the president. A president that he loving calls a piece of shit even though Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes (more on this in a bit) This insistence that Democrats favor slavery is a non-sequitur, it doesn’t follow any logical reasoning, and yet nearly all conservatives and Republicans in general believe this kind of crap without even asking why they believe it. It is essential to their mental makeup that they project their own hatreds onto others, in a pretty typical psychological fashion.

White men enslaved the black man long before there was such a thing as the Democratic party. Slavery itself predates every record that has ever been kept by any society, and it was more frequently the next tribe over from yours who were enslaved rather than a group that was distinctly different looking. It was far more likely to be your neighbors than it was that your tribe had the chance to conquer peoples in a far away place and enslave them. Only expansive civilizations like the city-states of old could muster that kind of might. Rome took slaves from every part of the known world, most of them not being of any different color skin than their own. No, it took enterprising Europeans to hit upon enslaving a specific group of people who looked different than everyone around them, making those people easy to spot as slaves without having to think about the problem too hard.

Black slavery worked well in the early American colonies and across most of Europe because black people could be seen as slaves at a glance. The otherness of appearance made it easy to keep those people in their lessor place of status. You didn’t have to keep records of whether or not this or that black person was a slave (although they did anyway) because if you looked different, you were property and not a person. This disconnect, this racism, continues to the present day in the structures and beliefs of the people in the formerly slave holding states, and in the major cities all across the U.S. Most people simply don’t make the connection that darkness, even darkness of skin, is routinely chalked up to something malign.

Have you never noticed the prevalent fear of the dark? I’ve had many people insist that this is not the same as racism, but it is based on exactly the same mental structures. Just like sinister means left-handed as well as being threatening, darkness implies threat or differentness, and this is across all peoples everywhere. And it manifests in people looking down on those around them whose skin is darker than theirs is. It manifests in trying to force left-handed people to become right-handed, or killing the left-handed outright for their threatening nature. Killing those who look or act different because they scare you. Xenophobia, as someone with more education would refer to it. Xenophobia is rampant in the world today.

Slavery runs rampant in the Bible and was widespread throughout the world prior to the enlightenment, and it was those enlightened liberal thinkers that ushered in the end of slavery as well as many other laudable achievements of the time (things like the germ theory of medicine) and conservatives of the time (today’s Republicans) fought tooth and nail against the notion that slavery was bad. Because conservatives favor tradition, and slavery was a cherished institution.

So slavery predates the modern Republican hatred for Democrats. The Democrats in the 1800’s were pro-slavery, that much is true. Democrats were a predominantly conservative party at that time; conservative being the generic label for people who favor the status quo, people who don’t want to change.

The party that opposed the Democrats in 1852 was referred to as the Whigs. The Whig party disintegrated in 1854 over the question of slavery in the form of the Kansas-Nebraska act. I’m sure you all remember that from your Kansas history. No? Well, that’s okay. The Kansas-Nebraska act made it possible for states to decide if they wanted to be slave or free states at their time of admission, making the broad expansion of slavery across the American continent a thing to be feared by abolitionists everywhere. The Whigs really didn’t have a purpose for existing in the first place other than to be opposed to the policies of Andrew Jackson, and he’d been dead for quite awhile at that point. The Democratic party as it existed then had been formed by Andrew Jackson and his supporters. The party of slavery is a fitting label to hang on his legacy of murder and genocide.

(Suggested reading: Jacksonland)

Progressives of the time were abolitionist and they joined forces with Northerners who didn’t want the South to be able to bring their slaves into non-slaveholding states. This further injury to the sensibilities of abolitionists was the net result of the Dred Scott decision; this Supreme Court decision made it possible for slave-owning Southerners to live wherever they liked and keep their slaves in whatever state they lived in whether that state was a free state or a slave state. If the repeal of the Missouri compromise wasn’t enough to solidify an anti-slavery movement, then having to compete with slaves for work in your own free state was a thought far too loathsome to contemplate.

The formerly progressive Whigs and the progressives from the other political factions in 1856 joined together to create what became known as the Republican party. This is important, so take note of this fact. Republicans were the progressives and liberals of the time. Republicans were progressives and liberals when they were formed in 1856. They were the people who favored change, and they nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860, a presidential candidate who successfully stood astride the two warring factions (pro-slavery/anti-slavery) and managed to pull a victory out of the contested election of 1860 by promising to leave historically slave states alone and promising to preserve the union. Northern conservatives, people who wanted to preserve their non-black, non-slaveholding states, also sided with the progressives in handing the Republicans and Lincoln this victory.

(Suggested reading: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)

Progressives freed the slaves. Not conservatives. Conservatives were pro-slavery in 1860. The progressive Republican party elected Abraham Lincoln. Just as progressive Republicans lead by Teddy Roosevelt broke up the monopolies and cleaned up the corporate mess that the country was mired in back in 1900.

(Suggested reading: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)

Parties are not static creatures. They live and breath and change. The Democrats eventually changed, although it took time for the conservative/liberal polls to shift. The Democrats aligned themselves, one might even suggest anchored themselves, in the unquestionable white supremacy of the Andrew Jackson years. They stuck with white supremacy through the Civil War and reconstruction. Stuck with it through Jim Crow. They clung to their white majorities and their white working-class voter base through World War I and looked the other way during the red summer. But they weren’t the only ones who looked the other way. There was mass denial of the racism of that year, across the political landscape.

The Democrats held their white majorities through the Depression and World War II. It helped that Republicans had been bought by that time. Bought by the corporations that they had fought in the 1900’s. So the anti-monopolists were tamed. Republicans looked the other way as the poor starved through the depression, or shrugged their shoulders and pretended there was nothing to be done. So the progressives started to shift from the Republican party. They started to put their allegiance with the Democrats and their support of unions. Unions that just happened to be in alignment with the concerns of the white, working-class voter that dominated the landscape of the time. Aligned themselves with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his hair-brained scheme to short-circuit the malfunctioning international gold standard and end the Great Depression.

(Suggested reading: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World)

After LBJ’s betrayal of White Southerners by pushing through the Civil Rights Act, the majority of white voters in the South migrated to the Republican party, a party that they had hated until explicitly invited to join the party by Richard Nixon. At the same time minorities made a political shift and started supporting their historic enemies, the Democrats. It was at this point that the parties functionally changed political orientations, the Republicans harkening back to the past, becoming predominantly conservative, and the Democrats became liberal. These trends remain in place today.

Look around any Republican gathering, Trump’s never-ending Hitler-esque political rallies for example, and notice that the audience is predominantly white. Now look at Democratic gatherings, a the offices recently filled with women and people of color, and you should notice a pretty stark contrast. This is what Reince Priebus tried to warn Republicans about when he chaired the Republican National Committee. That future he warned ya’ll about? That future is now.

The last point to refute in the long (previously quoted) comment is this one:

90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own.

Murder is always predominantly committed by people who look like the victim, not just black murder. This is because murder is generally committed by people the victim knows, and those people will generally be people who look like them. Their own family members are quite frequently the perpetrators, for the exact same reason. Look it up. White on white crime far exceeds any other created racial grouping. So this pointing out of black on black crime as being indicative of something sinister? That is just more racism being exposed by someone who can’t seem to figure out he’s a racist.

Here’s the next comment that I want to refute:

The black man sold the black man to the white man. You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country. You can not deny the democrats crashed the housing market. You can not deny that what is really wrong is only wrong for Republicans not democrats. You can not deny that hilary clinton killed 4 good men in Bengozie. You can deny obama has devided this country. You can not deny obama has spent 10 trillion dollars while saying Bush spent 4 and should never have done that. Liberals (democrats) are moochers and free loaders, you can not deny that. I know plenty of democrats that are in denial because they are secretly ashamed of them selves because they are so used to the way they are they can’t change. A person can look at history and see what ever makes them selves feel good but that doesn’t mean they are right. If there were no Republicans to work and support liberals (democrats)? How would liberals (democrats) live then.

Assuming that my antagonist was serious and not attempting to be humorous. That’s a large assumption, I know. But, assuming he’s serious, I’ll take these points one at a time:

The black man sold the black man to the white man.

White men sell white men to black men. Probably yesterday, even. Slavery still goes on, especially sex slavery. Ask your president about sex slavery. He met a few sex slaves while hanging out with his buddy Jeffrey Epstein. You’ll be finding out the truth of this in the near future. In any case, the simple fact that people sell people proves about as much as selling your time to someone else for money proves. Everyone is a mercenary, some of us are just better paid than others. Knowing that selling people crosses a line that will get you killed for your trouble, that alters the calculation from “how much can I get for selling my child” to “how much does that third job pay?” the latter being the preferable moral decision we are looking for as a society.

You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country.

Obama wasn’t a dictator. He wasn’t even an aggressive president like W. or Bill or Bush the first or Reagan. He was definitely better than Tricky Dick, who was probably the most aggressive person to hold the Office of President in my lifetime before Trump cheated his way into office. Trump wants to be a dictator, just like his heroes are dictators. Trump puts all other presidents to shame being single-handedly the worst president ever to hold office on the first day that he was in office, and has gotten worse every day since that day. I find it hard to imagine how he could be worse, until the next time I wake up and read the news and think well, that’s how he could be worse. Tomorrow will be no different than it was today.

As I said previously, Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes. The only reason to propose that he was not is that his skin is black or because he was a Democrat. Being a black Democrat makes hatred for him a double feature. Not only were his policies the policies of Republicans watered down, just like Bill Clinton’s were, but he had the unmitigated gall not to march to the military drumbeat that every president since Reagan has adopted.

But poverty? Poverty has gotten markedly worse under every president since Ronald Reagan. Obama was no exception to this fact, largely because he didn’t change the trickle-down bullshit that Reagan forced through congress in the 80’s. The economic bullshit that has been adopted by every president after Reagan just like the focus on the military was adopted by every president after Reagan. Trickle-down economics was rightly termed voodoo economics by Bush the first, but he was just as willing to practice that voodoo if it got him elected. When he dared raise taxes to balance the budget, he was forced out of office by the wealthy elites who wanted to punish him for raising their taxes to pay for services that they didn’t solely benefit from.

( Suggested reading: #MAGA: The Myth of Bootstraps)

Poverty has gotten worse under Trump, just as it did under Obama. (40% of Americans are poor) His rewards to the wealthy have stoked a fire that will shortly have the economy overheating and tanking (yield curve inversion) and who knows what the effects of his writing his own personal loopholes into the tax code will be. Everyone should be channelling every dime they have through a series of shell companies now, just like President Trump does (He’s smart. Just ask him) That’s how you get to keep all of your money and then sue people because they didn’t give you more money.

The poor are still the economic slaves of the wealthy. That inequity has yet to be addressed. That is what the current liberal/progressive movement wishes to fix, one goal among many.

I’m not going to make this long, long article longer still longer by belaboring the last few misconceptions that were voiced in that quote. The image and the article were and are about the Black Lives Matter movement, and slavery. I’ll just run through a few more refutation links for clarity’s sake (and I might need them later myself)

( Suggested reading: Caveat Emptor)

There have always been conservatives and liberals, even though they didn’t always use the same names. There have always been adherents to tradition and people unafraid of experimentation, people ready to adopt new rules to cover new realities. Conservatives are the former, liberals are the latter.

Since the vast majority of young people are liberal by definition (they themselves representing change to the status quo, the status quo being their parents) and since the vast majority of young people are not lazy shirkers, his broad dismissal of liberals as worthless lacks even the basic merit that I try to give every argument offered. He’s condemning his own children and their children with one fell sweep of his opinion. They will probably discard him when he becomes a burden in old age, just as easily as they will discard his dismissal when they hear it now.

Rampant militarism is the hallmark of a dictator. The kind of person Trump loves and wants to be. So Obama? Not a dictator. The black lives matter movement is not a threat to you unless you are a White Supremacist/White Nationalist. That’s it, in a nutshell. Don’t believe me?

Black Lives Matter protest in Wichita changed to cookout with police

There is your answer.

Every. Single. Point. Every point that was offered has now been shown to be wrong. All of them. If I wasn’t related to the commeter that I was quoting from by marriage, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this novelette. I substantiate my arguments with checkable facts and links to articles that reinforce my arguments. Facts which are irrefutable. Follow those links and understand the arguments, then if you, dear reader, still disagree with me feel free to offer a verifiable argument of your own.

John Legend | TED2016 “Redemption Song”

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Postscript

This one sat on the edit pile since I copied the comments to the blog in expectation of writing this now completed article. That was back in the summer of 2016 as the Facebook link to the original meme posting on my Facebook wall should illustrate. I went ahead and advanced this article in time to it’s publish date (January 31, 2020 why 4:04?) so that it will at least briefly appear on the front page of the blog. I agonized over outing my in-laws for their blatant racism for all the years in-between 2016 and now. Now, with the Trump impeachment soon to be history and Trump (probably) crowing about victory on Tuesday at the SOTU, I wanted this article out. If there is a civil war, this is it. Here. Now. At the polls in November. We will fight and we will win, or we will die trying.

Contrary to former RL friend’s comments, the contrapositive of this yard sign are not false unless you want to craft them as false statements. That is, all the contrapositives other than the line about kindness, which cannot be everything. Kindness is only kindness, but it goes a long way.

News Addiction

If you are depressed stop wallowing in the outrage culture. Think happy thoughts, you’ll feel better.

That was the gist of the suggestion offered to a friend who posted the image featured in yesterday’s article Depression. As if depression is something you can turn off, like a switch. It isn’t like that.

I do follow the news closely these days, as does my friend. I was a news hound for decades before Meniere’s took my joie de vivre. I was active in the Travis County Libertarian Party, taking a hands-on role in as much local politics as I could handle while still holding down a full-time architecture job. I listened to news and radio talk shows constantly while working on whatever architecture project was in front of me that day so as to keep informed of whatever the current trends were. It was crucial to know what was happening if you wanted to have a hand in changing it. I switched to podcasts for my news well before most other people even knew that podcasts existed. I read newspapers and news sites. I immersed myself in the political realities of Austin, of Texas, of the United States, and did my best to be the positive change that I thought the world needed. Just as every good citizen of the world should do.

But then I got sick, and I didn’t get better. I didn’t have a livelihood any longer and I couldn’t look forward to finding one again, probably ever. The constant stream of information about what was going on in the world became a distraction from what it was that I needed to deal with. The barrage of things that I couldn’t change externally just drove home how helpless I was to even be able to alter what was happening in my own body.

That was what was important. Figuring out what was wrong with me. Finding ways to cope with the new reality of my disabilities. I didn’t have time to spend on informing myself about things that weren’t directly impacting my health until I found a way to stabilize my own internal situation.

So I quit the news

I quit listening in 2006-ish. I just quit, cold turkey. I’m not saying that I didn’t know what was happening in the world, I simply quit seeking out that information. There is no way to stay completely uninformed (a perfect idiot) so long as there are people who tell you things they think you want to hear. But I put science, medical and skeptical podcasts at the top of my queue starting at about that time and stopped even listening to news feeds that didn’t include other information that I might personally find useful.

I only started back listening to the news directly, for news content, when all the hatred for Barack Obama made me decide to find out what all the fuss was about. That was when I realized that the news culture had split into two camps that couldn’t even agree on basic facts. While I hadn’t been paying attention, FOX had lead conservatives and Republicans down a dark alley that lead to a thousand foot cliff and then expected all those lemmings following them to walk off the cliff in blind subservience.

In determining what the facts were I came to realize just how poor my understanding of the world was prior to that point, and just how poorly the average American, the average human, understands anything that isn’t forced into their stream of consciousness. I stopped seeing Rachel Maddow as someone who brought up questionable narratives about accepted truths and instead saw her as the accomplished storyteller that the current crop of news consumers clearly see her as today.

However, It’s going to take an American version of the Extinction Rebellion protests that have been taking place in London and New York to also take place in everytown, USA to wake the average FOX news watcher up to the requirement that we do something about climate change. I’m not even certain that anything short of re-education will make them understand just how scandalous their behavior and the behavior of their leaders are.

The Extinction Rebellion Returns | Jonathan Pie | 9 October 2019

But I remain hopeful, for the time being.

After all, the Wife was telling me “they won’t impeach Trump” just two weeks ago. Now Rachel Maddow has said it is a foregone conclusion that they will impeach him. I have to agree with Rachel. I don’t see any way for them to not impeach him given the crimes he has committed that we know of, to say nothing of the crimes we suspect him of but still don’t have the proof to convict him of. The sticking point remains the Senate and Trump’s co-conspirator, Moscow Mitch McConnell.

I’m reserving judgement until after the power hand-off that should occur in 2020-2021, impeachment or no impeachment. We’ll see just how bad things really are at that point. To draw this circular argument to a close and tie it in with the title, I quit listening to the news precisely because I felt that my health was suffering from spending so much time obsessing about what was going on in the world and what the proper solution to the problems were. I’m glad I stopped paying attention then. The solutions that I would have embraced back then are completely different than the ones I would embrace today. 180 degrees different.

https://ranthonysteele.com/2015/03/a-big-bowl-of-crow/

So I improved my health by breaking the news addiction. I’ll break it again if I feel that following the news is negatively impacting my health. So long as the authoritarians that back the Orange Hate-Monkey lose power, I’m pretty sanguine with whatever else happens along with it. Which means, my depression isn’t based on my news consumption. But I do appreciate the suggestion.

Wildly expanded from Facebook comments.

We Are Being Ukrained by the Orange Hate-Monkey

I blocked a stealth Stormtrumper on the Stonekettle Station Facebook group today. I’m pretty sure he was airlocked pretty quickly after he posted the following,

Jesus man, the mother in law is listening to Fox news, and since she can’t hear it’s loud. It’s all boxes of ballots being found and counted, the election was over Tuesday, why are these crooked Democrats that would steal an election any way they could still counting votes, Hillary this and Hillary that, poor Matt Whitaker, a man with integrity the liberals are vilifying because of the Steele dossier and how the FISA courts got duped not once, but 4 times by information Hillary colluded with the Russians to get! Oh yeah, and hammering a female MSNBC anchor ( didn’t hear who) that hates Trump and blah, blah, blaaaah…

It’s no big news that I blocked a Stormtrumper. I do that pretty much every day these days. But this one snuck into Jim’s group, which was no easy thing to do. I wasn’t even sure that he was a Stormtrumper at first. There are several ways that statement could be read. I mean, is he quoting his mother-in-law? Are those his words? Hard to say. So I replied to him.

“FOX should be shut down and fined. It’s owners indicted. There should be laws against what FOX and conservative outlets are actively doing. Deceiving the public. Committing fraud. Propagandizing. How to craft rules about this, though. That is the problem. How to write laws that can’t be used to silence valid opinion pieces while stopping the deception. It’s not as easy as you might think.”

The Stormtrumper outed themselves, at this point. They immediately followed up with objections about freedom of speech, to which I replied, “There is no first amendment protection for fraud. There is no first amendment protection for speech which endangers life or property. There is no first amendment protection for lying, misinforming or otherwise distracting the public with more noise and smoke than anyone can see or hear through. This is what is being done to us. This is what was done to the people of the Ukraine. This is a tried and true playbook we are seeing here. How to regulate it out of existence is the only question remaining.”

His response?

“I don’t like Trump, but he IS President…do you want him and his minions to have the power to brand their opponents as “fake news” and use the power of the govt to silence them?”

I never said anything about giving the power to inhibit freedom of speech to the president. I never even argued that this is a power that should be exercised solely by the government. This is the exact same argument as the gun argument as framed by gunnuts. No limitations or there is no freedom. This is transparently false. There can be and are limitations on your ability to lay down destruction among your neighbors. You can’t own nukes. You can’t own tanks or fighter planes. There are a lot of limitations on firepower out there, and there can be sensible limitations on speech (a point I later embroidered on here) Does Trump tell you that you can’t drive a car, just because licensing is required?” Obviously not. There are other, more subtle ways of creating outgroups to persecute. One of those ways is fabricating evidence and then citing it as proof. Dick Cheney and his “yellow cake” propaganda, as one example. 

That incident remains a prosecutable fabrication and yet no one is willing to prosecute him for it. The Orange Hate-Monkey is simply doing what Cheney did (more haphazardly) and remains unpunished for doing. It is time to start enforcing limitations that exist. It’s time to start prosecuting the powerful for their excesses. It’s time to write libel laws that work in this country. 

BTW, that last thing is what the OHM fears most. That’s why he spoke about it, to take that threat off the table. Who would presume to echo something he said and be serious about it? And yet he would be the first, most obvious target of libel laws. For him it would be slander law. You have to write to be prosecuted for libel. Come to think of it, a good portion of his tweets are demonstrably libelous. Who has he not slandered/libeled over the course of his life? Lying can be and is a crime, for normal, everyday people. It simply depends on the circumstance surrounding why you lie and to whom.

The laws are not enforced by the president, and the president should not be given the power to enforce laws. The Justice department prosecutes and the FBI investigates and neither of them is directly under the control of the president. This is how it should be. Believing the president is the sole enforcer of law in the country also discounts the thousands of police departments, prosecutors, etcetera, departments of law enforcement and prosecution all across the nation that do the real work of law enforcement.

Any fraud is a crime and fraud is not limited to lying under oath. The limitations exist, if you disagree with this observation you simply aren’t interested in seeing these limitations enforced. Imagine what might have happened if the first time the Orange Hate-Monkey lead the chant “lock her up!” he was arrested and fined for slander and incitement to riot? If Ted Cruz could be similarly charged for falsely accusing Beto O’Rourke of crimes? There is no such thing as an absolute freedom of speech. Speech which carries no consequences.

…and at that point I blocked him, because the argument had gotten circular as it does so frequently with Stormtrumpers and Christianists. I have little doubt left that Trump is a Russian stooge these days. He’s been using the same tactics to control the media and what they pay attention to as the tactics that are/were being used in Ukraine by Putin. He isn’t smart enough to come up with this tactic on his own.

Olga Yurkova TED2018 Inside the fight against Russia’s fake news empire

White Nationalism Comes Out

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Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday lamented the demographic changes in America from immigration ― including the arrival of legal immigrants. “In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” she complained on “The Ingraham Angle.”

yahoo.com

Yep. I imagine that indigenous peoples all over the world lament this fact regularly. Damn white people messing up the world for everybody else. They do seem pretty cheeky, now that I think about it.

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There is a reason I will never voluntarily identify as white. The reason? Because I don’t think of myself as white no matter what people think looking at me. Nazis and White Supremacists can celebrate their light skin color. Have a great time with that. I’ll be standing over here with the rest of the human race just being the mutt that I am, thanks.

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

It is the easiest thing in the world to belittle the weak, and the Texas Democratic party has been almost catatonic since J.J. Jake Pickle and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Democratic force fell by the wayside. Texas Democrats had a brief resurgence in the 80’s and 90’s with Ann Richards as governor and with the Clinton’s in the White House; but truthfully, the Texas Democratic party of old died with Jake Pickle at about the turn of the century.

Which is probably a good thing, because the way the Democrats used to do business is mirrored in the way that the Texas Republicans currently do business. Gerrymandering. Stuffing ballot boxes. The outright purchase of votes and candidates by the wealthy class.

Media pundits know who holds the power now. It’s evident in every broadcast you listen to, every telecast you watch or any article you read. Oh, sure, they pay lip service to the notion that the Democrats are due for a comeback; but the corporate media, the corporation, that most feudal of all still existing human social structures, they make their money ass-kissing the powerful, just as their forebears did to kings and sultans, czars and sheiks. They ass-kiss the Republican party because the Republican party has shown their willingness to engage in a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence by letting a known money launderer and populist dictator wannabe take the reigns of power in the US.

As an example, here is the darling of the liberal press, NPR’s weekly politics podcast, talking about the first in the country primaries in Texas this Tuesday,

MARCH 7, 2018 Takeaways From Texas, As Midterms Kick Off

Even a casual listener of that podcast and the one that follows it can’t help but notice that the only voices heard aside from the hosts are conservative leaders. They even play the entire Ted Cruz ad, as if I haven’t heard it several times already on other liberal news organizations, as well as an interview with Ted Cruz! Free advertising and free airtime for the sitting Senator from Canada, er, Texas. Do we hear anything from his opponent in this race, Beto O’Rourke, aside from their making fun of his showing and his name, yucking it up right along with that son of a dominionist Cruz?

No, of course not. He’s never going to have any power, in their eyes. He’s just not pulling the interest of the news consumers, that skewed demographic that sits at home watching FOX news as if this was still the 1990’s or something. One might think the media would have learned a thing or two from the mess they made of the 2016 races, following the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) around like little puppies afraid they’ll miss the next tidbit of tasty gossip. All the while certain that their free advertising for this dangerously jingoist, nationalist, uninformed conspiracy fantasist wouldn’t help earn him the White House all on its own. Never consciously realizing that their dismissal of the favorite, a savvy, political insider who had been hounded by the press for nearly 40 years would end up creating a vacuum that something had to fill.

No, they just go on blithely doing the mindless reporting that they always do, looking to see what will get them the most viewer or listener numbers. Never really asking if these were the stories they should have spent their precious time talking and writing about. And so the numbers stack up in the conservative column, and the people follow the media who follow the assumed power, none of them ever asking if that leadership is a judas goat or not.

Let me break this down for you, the layman who doesn’t live and breath politics like I do. Republican primary turnout in Texas is high because in Texas you can only vote in one primary for one party. So if you are interested in selecting the leadership of your county or state (cities are generally non-partisan races by design)  you will go and vote in the primary of the party you think will carry statewide offices. And that party in Texas has been the Republican party. Democrats last won statewide office in 1994, the longest dry spell in recent US history. Only a fool votes in a primary for a party that will not control the state after the next election, or so the average voter thinks.

Ted Cruz was essentially unchallenged in his primary race, so Ted Cruz got every vote of every Texan who voted in the Republican primary unless they took the time to not vote for him. And since most Texans voted Republican he got more votes than the Democratic candidates did. Does this mean anything in the grand scheme of things? Only that most people want to be on the winning side in an election and will change their stances on subjects after the fact just to prove how right they always were.

If Texas had jungle primaries like California does, you would see something you’ve never seen in Texas before, cross-party voting on the primary ballot. You would see a lot less racism and persecution of the transgendered and homosexuals, because there would no target demographic that would vote on issues that arcane without partisan primary grandstanding. If Texas had districts that weren’t gerrymandered to a fraction of a percentage point on average party turn-out (like Pennsylvania) but were instead drawn by a non-partisan commission, you might see people voting for the other party just to get a change of government in their district. But we don’t have those things, and so the self-fulfilling prophecy of Republican victory is underscored by pundits who aren’t interested in how the opposition is hobbled in Texas, they just want to congratulate the victors no matter how rigged the races are at the outset.

Back in LBJ’s day, the Democrats did all this stuff too. It’s hard for them to criticize the Republicans for doing things that they did, that they will do again if we let them. The trick is to inform your leadership that you want a level playing field before you send them to office. That you want maximal voter turnout, sensible districting, wide-open primaries and real discussion of issues. Good luck on getting the media to stop following the easy story, the quick click reward. In the meantime you could just stop believing that pundits know what the future holds anymore than you do yourself right now. Then you might at least stop fulfilling the prophecies that they keep making.

The Blue Wave was real, and then it wasn’t, in the course of about a week. Stranger still, the made-up national story arc seemed to influence in-state coverage as well. Even though Democratic turnout was better than in any midterm primary since 2002, and more than than double 2014, commentators have consistently described the night as at least a mild disappointment, where the Democrats “fell short” of a goal that had been imagined for them.

The thing is, the way the state goes on the electoral college map doesn’t mean very much at all for the way Texas is governed. And while it’s possible that the party jumps back to life with the shock of winning one or two statewide elections — that there will be a proof of concept, and then everyone suddenly gets serious — it’s more likely that things change slowly, over an extended period of time, and that small gains and positive signs feed bigger gambits. What’s most important in the long run is the overall composition and strength of the Texas Democratic Party at the local and state level.

In that light, the fact that Democratic turnout doubled in urban counties while Republican turnout stayed essentially flat is significant. There are quite a few winnable legislative districts around those cities. The whole ballgame for the party is getting people to vote and to make a habit of voting. Trump is helping them do that — the trick now is to get it to stick, which it most certainly did not after the elections of 2006 and 2008.

Christopher Hooks – Texas Observer – The All-or-Nothing ‘Turning Texas Blue’ Narrative Needs to Be Retired

The interview with Christopher Hooks on the Texas Standard today spells out exactly what I’m talking about. The media, focused on national races and their outcomes, never even considers the fact that the truism all politics is local holds sway even in places as large as Texas.

Texas Standard, Is It Time To Stop Talking About ‘Turning Texas Blue’?

Progressives are making inroads in Texas, and there isn’t a damn thing that Republicans and conservatives can do about it. For Democrats to win they have to offer real improvement on what the Republicans are doing now. Funding schools. Improving safety. Protecting the environment and moving Texas into the the next century. Listening to the OHM and his canuck croney Cruz talk, you would think that there aren’t fields of windmills in West Texas providing essential electricity to the grid. That solar wasn’t the future and that the emergence of electric cars in the cities isn’t a thing that is happening. You would think that Texas lives and dies by coal, which was never true, and that we’re still in the wildcat days of the oil boom in Texas, which we aren’t.

It’s time to put the conservatives where they belong, in the past with their fear of the transgendered and the homosexual. Their need for their religion to be front and center in everything they do. We cannot afford to be side-tracked into meaningless crusades against the different and the strange. There is real work being left undone because of their fear-mongering and immigrant hating. Time to roll up the sleeves and get back to work. 

The Fourth Estate

Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of Trump voters got their news about the election from Fox News (in distant second place was CNN at 8 percent, and the rest mainly from social media).

Clinton voters got 18 percent of their political news from CNN, 9 percent from MSNBC, 5 percent from the New York Times, and only 3 percent from Fox (the rest from an assortment of networks, local news, radio, and social media).

Fox News – especially Trump surrogate Sean Hannity – delivered a steady stream of pro-Trump infomercials. If America still has the “fairness rule” that used to require media to be truly fair and balanced, Fox would be out of business.

What do you think?

Robert Reich, January 19, 2017

I think we need to destroy political machines wherever they are, whatever they are. Political machines are a barrier to democracy because they supplant the will of the people for their agendas, which the leadership of the machine thinks is important.

News reporting should simply be held to a truthful/useful standard (which FOX would also fail) because any other standard introduces a bias that is unnecessary. There are not just two sides to political arguments and this is true across the board.  It is long past time we started dismantling the machines that have grown up around the framework that was established with the constitution; machines that no longer serve the purpose they were established for.  Machines like party primaries. Party-favoriting rules in legislatures. Party-backed campaigns.

There are new ways and new machines that we need to build so that we can introduce the vast majority of the US population to actual governmental involvement. The old machines are only going to get in the way.

Journalism needs to be governed by a professional organization empowered to police their ranks in much the same way that the AMA licenses Doctors, the AIA governs the practice of Architecture. State bars govern the practice of law. This has been my opinion for a very, very long time. There is no organization which can establish truth standards in reporting that organizations can be held to if they want to qualify as legitimate news outlets, and there really needs to be.  This has never been clearer in history than it is right now.

How journalists go about governing themselves is a question I’d like to see journalists discuss. What will work? What won’t work? What kind of standards would they be able to establish and enforce? Should be an interesting discussion.

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