Certainly, Gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect; their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs,—and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.
But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightenedconscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure,—no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
I can’t speak to why the Liberal Democratic party allowed Jeremy Corbyn to run their party. I wouldn’t have, but then I’m not a Lib-Dem. They suggest that Bernie Sanders is too liberal and we should toss him out in favor of Joe Biden. I know why Joe Biden is winning, and I will vote for him in the general if he secures the nomination.
Since they had the temerity to offer suggestions to NPR as to what the US should do to fix our politics, I have some pointed observations to offer them in response. If the Lib-Dems wanted to stand a chance in the last election, they should have come out 100% against Brexit. They should have said “we aren’t leaving, and we aren’t holding another election. We are going to do what David Cameron should have done in the first place and are simply going to say NO. No Brexit because it is suicidal and probably racist to think that we should leave the European Union.” They should have said that, and left the subject at that.
The original Brexit vote was tainted by interference from outside of of the UK. Tainted by the interference of Vladimir Putin. The referendum results can just be set aside for this reason, and no other vote needs to be held on the subject.
I have some bad news for the Lib-Dems, the Tories and Biden supporters all three. There is no past to return to. Not for Britain and their Brexit dreams, and not for the Democratic party hoping to just bury the last four years in more Obama/Biden platitudes.
The United Kingdom is done for. I know this because it isn’t UKexit that Britain screams for, but Brexit. Northern Ireland and Scotland will likely leave the UK because of Britain’s folly. Ireland isn’t going to leave the European Union in any real sense, because it is a separate island, and one county on that island is part of the UK. Scotland will do their best to seperate themselves from the suicidal behavior of their brethren in Britain, hoping against hope that they will see what kind of hell leaving the EU will inflict on them. I think their hopes are in vain. I think Scotland will have to re-erect Hadrian’s wall to keep the Brits out, once they start to suffer.
Joe Biden represents a similar desire in Americans. He represents a return to normality in the minds of the people who are voting for him, in the same way that a renewed British empire attracts a questionable majority of Britain. Joe Biden represents a return to the days of Barack Obama, the days before we knew our friends and relatives were raging xenophobes willing to destroy our country to make themselves feel safe. Those days are over, and they aren’t coming back.
Elizabeth Warren was angling to put herself in the position where Joe Biden forced himself onto the stage. Elizabeth Warren had already moderated her healthcare plan so as to distinguish herself from the hardline stance that Bernie Sanders insists on, to his own political detriment. Elizabeth Warren represents the future. New ideas, new plans, a fresh approach to old problems. She would have made more moves toward moderation if Joe Biden not decided to take over the moderate wing of the Democratic party. Joe Biden, who pushed the woman out of the way so that he could appeal for a return to the good old days.
The Republicans have tried to recapture the days of Ronald Reagan with every single presidential candidate they have offered since Reagan left office, including the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) The OHM who stole one of Reagan’s soundbytes, make America great again. It isn’t a Trump tagline, it is a Reagan tagline, and Trump is a poor man’s idea of who and what Ronald Reagan was. They’re wrong, as stupid people are wrong about so many things, but that’s what they think Trump is.
The Democrats cannot erase Trump or the suicidal and openly criminal behavior of the Republican Party leadership. Not with Joe Biden, not with anybody. Trump will always be the forty-fifth president of the United States. As much as I would like to think we could pull an Akhenaten with him, even the ancient Egyptians couldn’t completely remove the pharaoh they wanted to forget. They didn’t have the internet to contend with, or half of the country bent on preserving the memory of the last four years in the hopes of continuing the trend of xenophobia and sociopathy that the OHM embodies.
Biden will fail to live up to the memory of what the Obama years were, because we can’t turn back the clock to 2008. We can’t unring the bell that the OHM rang, summoning the ghost of the Confederate South to his side. If we’re lucky the best he can do is delay the confrontation with them for another four to eight years. In the end, we will have to face down those demons and my kindly Uncle Joe isn’t going to have it in him to do that job.
Elizabeth Warren could do that job. She has attacked Trump in the past, and she has scored points on him that Joe Biden has not. After her losses on Super Tuesday, I don’t know if she can pull out a win now. But she deserves the right to take on Trump and prove that she can win against him. That women can win against the naked misogyny that is Donald John Trump. I hope she gets that chance.
The whole point of the cartoon, as edited above, is that Republican politics is still mired in 1800’s mentality. That the structures that politics are limited to amount to a covered wagon instead of a starship. Parties being in control of the political system is a large part of that problem. Getting past the 1800’s thinking of Republicans is the first stumbling block to fixing the shit we live in.
Just FYI, the dank meme above was originally a cartoon indicting the harnessing of the internet to FCC regulations.
I don’t think that was the problem with lumping the internet under FCC title II. Those regulations could have been updated if we had a working political system. Updating regulations is preferable to selling ourselves to information resellers, making us all nothing more than targets for marketing more stuff, stuff that most of us can’t afford. Net neutrality is going to have to come at the expense of ending the internet of the wild west, where any fraudster is capable of dreaming up a pyramid scheme that encompasses millions if not billions of people.
Editor’s note. Weirdly, the member that posted the image thinks he’s defending Stormtrumpers with that image. Indicting liberals. Every time I turn around I am surprised by the rock-hard political stupidity of the average American. If there is a political group that worships at the altar of money and power, that group is the Republican party and their Orange Hate-Monkey president. How that re-edited image could possibly be seen as indicting liberalism is beyond me.
The Republican Party … was literally shattered into fragments, and we had no fewer than five Republican Presidential candidates in the field. In the place of two great parties arrayed against each other in a fair and open contest … the country was overrun with personal factions. These, having few higher motives for the selection of their candidates or stronger incentives to action than individual preferences or antipathies, moved the bitter waters of political agitation to their lowest depths.
President Martin Van Buren, writing about the election of 1824.
His book is a free Kindle book. Read the whole thing.
This should be the question that every pundit asks every Republican who won an office in the election on November 6, 2018, since every one of them swore fealty to King Trump in order to win their elections. The question should be asked every time they hold a presser. It should be asked every time they are seen in public. It should be asked in front of their wives. Their children. Their families. Everyone needs to have the blatant corruption at the heart of every Republican victory last night spelled out in the most graphic, disgusting terms possible. Trump can get away with the shit he says every day? Ask that fucking question every fucking day until they crack.
“what does Trump’s cock taste like, Mr. Senator? Mr. Representative? Mr. Secretary?”
Maybe, just maybe, they’ll fucking wake up then. But I doubt it.
In the meantime. The weasel will try to squirm out of harm’s way. The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) has already signaled that he’ll play ball with the Democrats. Nothing doing. Not unless he turns states evidence on all his Russian contacts, fires all his children, divests from all his businesses. And when I say divest I mean sell every one of his properties to the highest bidder with all proceeds going to pay off the design and construction professionals he’s screwed over the last forty years. He has to agree to replace his entire cabinet with people who will not attempt to undermine their departments. Essentially he has to agree to congressional oversight of everything in the presidential administration, and he loses control of the military. He has to rubber-stamp everything the congress sends to him and he has to tell all his supporters how much they’ll love it.
Oh, and he also will have to insist on IRS prosecutions for the entire DeVos family.
If. If he does all of that, he can stay president for two more years. No running for re-election either. Take your pension, sit down and shut up after January 20th, 2021. If he doesn’t go for all of that, the anal probes start moving in on January 20th, 2019. Or he could just quit now and take his chances. It’s all up to him now. Let’s see which way the weasel runs.
…I spoke too soon post-election. Ann Coulter and the Joey Goebbels of AM radio, Rush Limbaugh, scared the OHM into demanding congress do his bidding instead of trying to do something that made sense, like bow to the will of the majority of US citizens. He said (paraphrasing)
Build my wall with your money since Mexico won’t pay for it!
Unsurprisingly the answer from Nancy Pelosi and her majority of the House has been no. Also unsurprisingly, the art school turtle,
The standoff cannot last, and the OHM will not be getting money for his wall from the Democratically lead house. They know what kind of thief he is already. If the shutdown doesn’t end in less than a month, I predict impeachment hearings will begin to be discussed seriously. The only thing standing in the way of the government reopening is the idiot sitting in the White House not doing the job he was elected to do.
The government stayed shut down from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019. 35 days. For more than a month, there was no United States government. Let that sink in. There was no capacity to do anything that required the federal government to operate for almost the entire month of January, 2019. The president turned the government back on at that point. The house passed some meaningless legislation so that the OHM could save face, and he grudgingly allowed the United States to continue to exist, until he changes his mind again.
…and the outrage rolled on through the year of 2019. Trump’s new flunky, AG William Barr, ensured that the Mueller investigation ended. AG Barr then lied about what was in the report, and refused to re-characterize his assessment of the report even after Bobby-Three-Sticks testified before the House. Mueller said in very precise terms (paraphrasing)
Weirdly, people keep telling me Mueller didn’t find anything. That isn’t what I heard in his testimony. What I heard him say was he found a lot of stuff. He just couldn’t prove any of it as a prosecutor tasked with building a case against Donald J. Trump, because that guy is the president and a president has to be impeached. That is the prosecutorial remedy for bad presidents.
On January 14, 2020, the new P.M. of the United Kingdom (soon to be just the Kingdom of England and Wales once again. After Brexit that is. AB? –ed.) the infamous Bojo is also on his knees sucking Donald Trump’s cock. I wonder if he has an opinion about the flavor? The BBC reports that Bojo wants to Replace Iran nuclear plan with ‘Trump deal’. That’s rich. Like there will be a Trump deal with Iran short of full-out war. Yeah, that will happen.
I’m watching the case being put before the Senate as I write this (January 22, 2019, 6:30 pm) I decided to move this article forward to the date of the impeachment trial in the Senate while watching the endless arguments yesterday (01/21/2020) over the rules that the Senate would follow during the trial. I have now updated the article with links to some of the OHM articles I’ve written since the 2018 elections. Time to get busy watching this rare political event unfold.
…but make no mistake. If the Senate acquits the OHM without calling witnesses, every Republican Senator who votes to acquit will have taken their turn at sucking the President’s cock. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
More importantly, every one of them will be investigated by the next president who takes control of the office, and that investigation could very well be conducted by foreign governments interested in seeking favor with the president of the United States. They should probably think pretty hard about acquitting the OHM. You never know who the next person who holds an office might be. Just ask Barack Obama if he’s happy about his current predicament. Ask him if he thinks the future turned out the way he wanted.
I edited and moved this article forward for the first day of impeachment prosecution arguments (day three according to C-SPAN) because I wrote this article after the Democratic midterm victories thinking that we would see a change in President Trump’s behavior. Would see him modulate after the drubbing he suffered in that election. Once again, I was wrong. Against all the evidence of history, the Republicans and their president have continued on their merry way pretending that they haven’t got anything to worry about.
The government shutdown also derailed my train of thought and I forgot about this article until I went back over the year’s articles trying to decide what I would use to anchor this first day of testimony that so many of us have been waiting for, for over a year. Finally that day has come. Not that it will amount to much.
I just watched the Senate be convened as a court to render impartial justice on the subject of the impeachment of Donald John Trump as the president of the United States. Not only has the House impeached the Orange Hate-Monkey, they have delivered that indictment to the Senate in order for it to be heard as a legal argument against the president.
What happens now is on the shoulders of Mitch McConnell and the Republican-controlled Senate. They will reconvene next Tuesday as a court to begin the deliberations of the articles of impeachment. If they fail to do justice to our country and our laws, this Senate will be judged harshly by future historians on this fact. McConnell, who has promised to walk in lock-step with the the White House on seeing the president acquitted of all charges, should think long and hard on what his history in the Senate will ultimately mean.
Will he be remembered for allowing this menace to the safety of the world, to the financial security of the United States, to continue in office? Or will he do the right thing and see him removed and barred from seeking a second term in office? Only time can tell.
What can be said, without argument, is that this action by the House is three years late in execution. Part of the blame for this is that the Senate allowed McConnell to hijack it’s authority so as to insure that the Supreme Court would be stacked with justices that he felt were loyal to his brand of conservatism. He should have been punished for his intransigence, and ejected from the Senate. But he wasn’t. Because party loyalty and the naked exercise of power mean more to today’s political actors than honesty and due diligence. This action set the stage that made getting a Republican elected in 2016 a must-do event that every Republican was determined to support. This gave us President Trump.
The other part of the blame rests on the 2016 House of Representatives lead by Paul Ryan, the one-time Republican nominee for Vice President. He should have seen that the President-elect was unsuited for his job, and made plans to have him impeached on January 21st, 2017. But again, just like McConnell, party loyalty and power kept him from doing his job even though the evidence of Trump’s incompetence was irrefutable at the time. His decision made flipping the House of Representatives into Democratic control essential to see the Presidency of Donald Trump brought to heel, if not to an end.
So here we are. January 16th, 2020. Mere weeks away from the first primary votes for the November 3rd general election, and we don’t even know if the sitting president can run for office again. We don’t know how many of his administration officers are also guilty of crimes, and thereby barred from taking his place on the ballot. And all of this harm is lying at the feet of the Republican party and it’s officers, people who allowed party to mean more than country.
…and this is why I’m not the guy you want canvassing. Or maybe I am. I wouldn’t put up with treatment like this. Call the cops, the guy is a raving lunatic and he’s going to get someone killed. Hopefully he’ll only get himself killed, but even then he should be restrained and medicated until we find out what is wrong with him and everyone like him.
This is what we are going to have to do if we want to silence these arrogant assholes. Make them understand, as a group, that we will put them in a rubber room and pipe in elevator music all day long if they don’t cool their shit. Just go all Ministry of Truth on their asses.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
He might as well have named Donald J. Trump, the description fits so well. A hat/tip to Justin Amish and the Washington Post for publishing his opinion piece today. It motivated me to go look up Washington’s farewell address just to verify that was the language in the document.
Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.
I’m writing you concerning your dereliction of duty, and what I see as your one chance to save yourselves from the coming storm that is rising against Donald Trump and the Republican party that he has remade in his image. Your one chance to save yourselves from the fate that awaits both him and his accomplices in the high crimes and misdemeanors that he will soon be accused of. His accomplice in the Senate, Mitch McConnell will also be charged, and the Senators are in a position to either be charged with him, or to finally do the right thing by the citizens of the state of Texas whom they claim to represent.
In 2010, Mitch McConnell informed Republican contributors that he intended to not do his job for the next two years in order to make Barack Obama a one term president. When President Obama was reelected in 2012, Mitch McConnell proceeded to not do his job, and to encourage his fellow Senators to not do their jobs, including both of you, for the next four years, for the entire time that Senator Cruz had been in office. As a result of his and your efforts to derail the US government under Barack Obama, the migrant crisis on the Southern border was never adequately addressed. Because of his and your negligence, the opioid epidemic was never addressed at all. Because of his and your negligence, the student debt crisis has continued to spiral into a catastrophe. Because of his and your negligence, thousands and millions of Americans, thousands of Texans, have suffered and died without adequate healthcare. Continue to suffer and die to this very day. Not satisfied to see them suffer and die at the current rates, your caucus in the Senate has attempted to throw more people off of the ACA at the behest of your corporate and wealthy funders. Because of his and your negligence, the impacts of climate change have never been acknowledged and no attempts to offset CO2 emissions have even been begun at the federal level.
I could continue this litany of negligence, disrespect and outright lies on his and your parts, but I would be here all day writing this if I was to attempt to enumerate every single issue that McConnell is derelict in dealing with. His encouragement to you to be derelict in your official duties to serve and protect the constitution of the United States, and through that document the people you represent. I don’t consider any of you to be worth that kind of time. All three of you are generally beneath my notice, past experience being a good educator. I have written to all of you in years past, taking you to task for things you said and did both before and after you entered office. I know you are wholly owned by your corporate donors and wealthy benefactors. I know that none of you care about the suffering of average Texans. I know that none of you care about anything but being re-elected and being able to continue to take sweet campaign contributions from dark money sources. Therein lies the heart of your problem. I will spell this dilemma out for you.
You will lose your next elections. All of you. It’s true, I won’t and never have voted for any of you. So there is no need to try to prove to me that you aren’t the things I describe above. I know that I will get no return correspondence that will address any of the points that I make in this letter. You will dismiss this letter, as you have all the other letters I have sent you, as being from someone who does not represent the majority of Texans. Your current problem is larger than me, larger than Austin where I live, a place on the map that won’t vote for you either.
Austin, a city you Republicans have sought to punish for our unwillingness to support your previous pro-corporate agendas, along with most of the metropolitan areas across the state of Texas. We will not swear allegiance to you and your corporate owners, we see ourselves as citizens of the city we live in, not the state of Texas that our cities are unable to escape the control of. Your governor and the Republican controlled Texas legislature have all shown how much disdain they hold city dwellers in by forcing us to abandon rules that we deemed necessary for city life. Forcing us to abide by the whims of your corporate masters. We do not forget your disregard for our desire to go our own way, make our own rules. But your problem only starts in the cities that will not vote for you.
The average Texan will not support your leadership’s current white supremacist agenda. The targeting of racial and religious minorities. The demands that the US establish a legal preference for the christian religion and its god. These are all contrary to the constitution of the United States and all of the founding documents that have come down to us modified through the ages. It is there in black and white for anyone to discover. The racism that lies at the center of the Confederacy that your schools lie to our children about. The Jim Crow laws that your white supremacist forebears forced the federal government to accept in violation of the spirit of the fourteenth amendment. All of it, there for anyone to stumble across if they simply have the curiosity to go look.
Your problem is that all of Texas can see that you serve Mitch McConnell and Republican corporate funders. You do not serve the state of Texas, the state you were sent to Washington DC to represent. This can be seen in your willingness to watch Texans suffer and die without healthcare, as I mentioned previously. No, you don’t serve Texas; you serve Mitch McConnell, a man who violated his oath of office most recently in 2015 by not at least holding a vote for or against Merrick Garland, an act that was required by law, by the very constitution you swore to uphold. Mitch McConnell who is personally profiting from his wife’s job in the cabinet, also in violation of the constitution. You serve this man, and this man is not worthy of being a member of the Senate.
Mitch McConnell serves Donald Trump. Not the office of the president, an office that has sat essentially vacant since Barack Obama left office three years ago. No, he serves the man Donald Trump, a man who has never obeyed the law, a man who lied when he took his oath of office and even now openly conspires with our enemies in an attempt to retain political power. He serves Donald Trump, a man who is doing his dead level best to start a war with Iran that isn’t necessary. Donald Trump, the man that is starving and killing climate refugees on our Southern border in an attempt to prove that we in the US are even more heartless than the MS-13 gang members that he scares his voting block with. Donald Trump, and through him Mitch McConnell, wants to be more cruel than the gang members that are killing these people in the places they escaped from.
Now, all of this might not be a problem for you if only you could control the press like dictators do in places that Donald Trump loves. Places like Russia and North Korea. But this isn’t one of those poor, information starved places. This is the United States, where anyone can get on the internet almost anywhere and find out what the truth is by simply looking for it. By reading a newspaper or going to a library or just turning on their TV sets. And they are finding out about the things that I describe above. They know of your negligence. They know of your dereliction of duty. They, the majority of Texans who can and will vote, will not be voting for you in 2020 or 2024 because they will have a choice other than you to vote for. You may not be worried about this. You may think you have a fix in that will make sure you appear to win your elections anyway. The people who know what I know? Those people will not be fooled by your chicanery.
You have one chance and one chance only now to save your hides and your good standing, if not your offices. Begin hearings today to have Mitch McConnell removed from the Senate. Join with the leadership of the House of Representatives in their attempts to find out just how much criminality that Donald Trump has conducted under the guise of being president of the United States. Call for impeachment hearings for Donald Trump, a man who was never worthy of the office of the President in the first place based on his own rhetoric and his own lawless business practices. Do these things and we will not be forced to convict you along with your leadership when we finally take power from you again. The choice is yours. The writing is on the wall for anyone to see now. Choose.
As a libertarian I used to believe some pretty crazy things. I believed that a dollar was something you worked for, for one. A dollar is a debt instrument that every business in the United States is required to accept as payment. It is not a measure of hours worked or effort expended. You don’t work for dollars, you have to have dollars to pay for the things you need or want. You trade effort or hours for dollars if you are a working stiff in the modern age. If you have dollars you make the dollars work for you to create more dollars. This is a subtle but important distinction, one that anyone who desires excessive wealth should take to heart.
Similarly I believed, and most libertarians still believe, that freedom of speech meant you had to listen to every idea equally. Give every idea equal weight. This crazy notion is not limited to just fringe political groups, it has been embraced by a very large portion of conservatives and Republicans, and even American liberals don’t understand some of the finer points of what the first amendment, freedom of speech, means.
The problem with continuing to listen to bad ideas is that each successive generation receives those ideas as if they are all of equal value. This position is obviously false. Some ideas are incorrect. The world is not flat, it is visibly curved to any observer who cares to study the subject. The Earth, her moon, the other planets and their moons, etc. all move in mathematically predictable ways around the sun. We do not have to prove to each successive generation of human beings that the Earth is not the center of the universe. We need simply show how we know the Earth is round, the sun the center of a solar system, for them to grasp the math involved with these correct observations. These are factually demonstrable truths that do not have to be viewed equally with the Ptolemaic system, requiring each successive generation of human beings to determine which finding is the correct one. Learn a little math, do a few observations, yep, that confirms the heliocentric model. Onto the next thing we have to learn.
Not all truths are as obvious as the basic findings of astronomy, and even those findings are not universally embraced by all modern humans. There are a few disturbed people out there who still think the world is flat, and we don’t let those people run NASA for a reason. That reason? Because their denial of science disqualifies them from leading a scientific agency. They fail the test of expertise, another demonstrable truth.
There are things that experts know that the layman does not. I know things about CAD systems and architectural detailing that would bore the pants off of anyone who isn’t enamored of building systems and the illustration of same. That expertise qualified me to hold a high-paying job in the architectural field once upon a time. It had real value; and expertise, all expertise, is demonstrated through that value. If you plant lima beans for a living, and you do it successfully for long enough, you become an expert on lima beans. But that doesn’t make you an expert on rocket ships.
Which brings us to another truth. Expertise is limited in scope, and the farther outside your expertise you venture, the more likely you are to be wrong in your beliefs. This is the Dunning-Kruger effect in a nutshell. Everyone believes they know more about subjects that they are not experts in than they actually do. This is why a brain surgeon isn’t a good candidate to run a poverty program. The fact that Ben Carson successfully navigated a hierarchy as complicated as working in a hospital presents is probably the only reason he still has his cabinet position. He knows how to keep his mouth shut when he needs to. When he has a job to do and isn’t campaigning. He knows the value of expertise and he doesn’t visibly contradict the experts around him who know things about the department of Housing and Urban Development.
When the Republican party formed back in 1854, the value of expertise was understood. With little else to distract the population in the way of entertainment, politicians and pundits would debate for hours in front of huge crowds, working and reworking the issues of the day. Abraham Lincoln was an expert at navigating the treacherous terrain to be found between openly advocating for the abolition of slavery, and allowing slavery to encroach into the Northern states that hated slaves and slavery for what it did to the lives of average men. Hated slavery for the degrading poverty and dearth of industry in the South that slavery imposed on the economy of the South. The Lincoln-Douglas debates featured his abilities to master the subject, a success that eventually snagged him the nomination of the Republican party and through their growing influence, the presidency of the United States.
He then expertly managed to conduct the the office of the presidency, successfully, while maintaining a war with half of the original republic, and at the same time engineering the largest change in civil society, the abolition of slavery, that the United States had seen in its short 75 years of existence. Had he survived his time in office, had he not been felled by Southern hands and succeeded by a Southern sympathizer, many of the problems that we wrestle with today would never have manifested in the first place. That was the master politician that Abraham Lincoln was. That was the kind of organization that the Republican party was when it was progressive and liberal and on the right side of history.
From Lincoln to the Orange Hate-Monkey in 150 years. That is what the Republican party gained from not understanding that there were real, actual truths underneath all the political posturing. That science and expertise have real, demonstrable value. GIGO or Garbage In, Garbage Out has taken its toll on the GOP and rendered it the political organ of a would-be fascist. A would-be fascist whose political supporters want to enact a racial cleansing on the United States. The party that ended slavery has become the party of the inheritors of slavery’s stolen wealth. The irony is almost rich enough to laugh at, if the fate of the world didn’t hang in the balance, and it does currently hang in the balance.
It hangs in the balance because Vladimir Putin did work to get Donald Trump elected as president. He worked to get Britain to embrace Brexit, and his troll farm is still actively attempting to subvert political processes in the United States and all across the world. He is seeking inroads to power wherever he can find them, and right now the internet is his tool of choice. All information on the internet is now suspect. Nothing can be taken for granted. Every platform, every system, every piece of information technology can now be possibly subverted by criminal actors attempting undermine the great advances that have been made in the world, and they are doing this with the technology we, the West, invented.
On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake?
Make no mistake, we have made great strides toward improving equality across the world. In between the war profiteering and other boondoggles embarked on by the powers that be in Washington DC, the technology we created has moved out of the United States and improved the lives of people everywhere. So much so that poverty in the world is the lowest that it has been at any point so far in history. But the spreading of information and equality through technological systems has opened the doors for misinformation and distraction to be spread in the same way, through the same mechanisms.
Political bias, racial bias, religious bias. All these things still exist, and all these things are corruptions of the truth. They are weaknesses that the power-hungry can exploit in order to gain more power. That is what Vladimir Putin has done in Russia by re-establishing the Russian Orthodox church. He gives ethnic Russians a thing to believe in now that the dictatorships that liberated the Russian people from Czarist rule have fallen. He foments friction at the edges of his political empire, his fake republic, and exploits the resulting distrust by seizing land belonging to neighboring nations, by re-asserting old Soviet alliances. His neighbors fear him, which is what he wants, and his old foes are confused, fighting among themselves. All by his design.
The first thing we need to do, if we want to oppose this new criminal oligarchy founded by Vladimir Putin and embodied in his paid-for stooge in the White House, is to know who it is we are fighting, why we are fighting them and how we intend to win this fight. The first casualty of this information war has to be the ability to promote falsities as truths. If we can’t even determine what is true and what is false, then we have already lost the war.
If we believe what we are told by others with no need to verify what is true, we are sheep lead to slaughter. Subjectivity is the enemy. The people we are fighting are liars. Charlatans. Confidence artists. People who say things we want to believe but which are not demonstrably true.
Many people cite this quote, few understand it. To be eternally vigilant is to practice due diligence as often as required when it comes to the things you believe as well as the things you are told. What is due diligence? Caveat Emptor. The two states of mind are interchangeable. Healthy caution and skepticism. If you want to be at liberty, if you want to maintain liberty, then you must be skeptical of all things that are not immediately apparent.
As an example. Freedom of speech is not free. You cannot say whatever springs to your mind and expect to suffer no consequences. This is what most people think freedom of speech means. Speech without consequences. All speech has a cost, in that you may be held accountable for the results of the words you speak. This is why you are punished for causing a panic by yelling fire! when there is no fire. It is not the speech that is punished, it is the result of the speech. The cause of the harm was speech if anyone was harmed in the resultant panic. No harm, no foul, as the adage goes.
But how do you assess harm? Is all harm readily apparent? If you are not harmed by a person’s speech, but your neighbor is, should you care? What if your neighbor is a different race? A different religion? A member of a different political party? Insert Niemöller’s law here.
That way lies death. So harm, even delayed, indirect harm, should be guarded against. And that, dear reader, is the quandary. As I noted on my last article about Alex Jones, deplatforming is not censoring a person’s speech. All these people claiming they have been censored by social media have their own websites. They have just as much access to consumers as any other individual in the system has. They simply do not have a megaphone through which to spread their lies. We are fighting an information war here, and the first thing that has to go is information which is demonstrably false.
Kicking ethics violators off of Twitter and Facebook is not censoring them, it is applying objective rules to subjective life. This is necessarily a messy business, but then bad people do exist. Bad ideas do exist. Stupid people do exist, and they don’t know the difference between a good idea and a bad idea. This requires things like rules of order (Robert’s Rules) parliamentary procedures, etcetera. Objective ethical standards have to be in place and they have to be enforced so that ideas can be properly tested and debated. You cannot call for harming another person and not expect the platform from which you speak to be taken away. That is simply good information hygiene. Any platform which doesn’t distinguish between good (correct) and bad (incorrect) information is a platform which is doomed to be dominated by the most ruthless, because it is the ruthless people who have no boundaries. Ruthless people do not worry about harming others to get their way. Lies. Fraud. These are but tools in the hands of the ruthless. Does deplatforming cause them harm? Only if they subjectively deem that their lies bring them power. In that case they don’t need a platform, they need a therapist.
Any platform created to be all inclusive (Spreely.com, Minds.com, etcetera) will be dominated by the most hateful. There is no way to avoid this scenario if you do not set hard ethical lines which cannot be crossed. I hope these platform providers enjoy taking orders from fascists. Fascists that will tell them what and how to think; which is what fascists do and why fascists (like Nazis) shouldn’t be given a platform in the first place. It is a quandary, but it isn’t an unsolvable problem.
I’m still on Facebook, for now. They at least acknowledge the existence of incorrect information and harmful social interaction. I’m not happy with providing a platform for ideas designed to kill me. I won’t spend time on a social platform that allows them space to spread their lies. Consequently those who voice views about political purity, religious purity, racial purity, promote the lie that life is a zero sum game that requires I harm others to win, these kinds of people and beliefs are not welcome anywhere that I am expected to be. I would ban these people myself. I do block and report these people when I’m given the tools to do so.
Authority might be necessary, but authority need not lead to authoritarianism. The difference between allowing Donald Trump to take office because existing mechanisms put him in position to assume that office, and not allowing Caudillo Trump to violate the law in the name of his whims or his stormtrumper’s whims is exactly how that ethical hair is split.
They’re also not conservative. They’re regressive!
I hate the term regressive. It’s like the internet just found this word yesterday and they’ve all got to use it to refer to everything that seems backwards to them.
The people that Stonekettle’s article describe are conservative. Conservative, as in, wanting to go back to the time when minorities and women knew their place. Go back to the 1950’s, if not all the way back to the 1850’s.
Conservatives value tradition, and American tradition is racism. We practically invented chattel slavery. Well, the English and the Spanish invented it, but we perfected it. …and chattel slavery worked so well in the US because you knew who the slaves were by the color of their skin. De facto racism.
It is possible to make the argument that the Christianists who control what is left of the GOP are the social equivalent of Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale, and so are even worse than conservative. That what their aims amount to is taking us back in time, actually regressing society. I just don’t like the term regressive. It is applied way, way too liberally these days.
Take a perfectly good word and twist it until it becomes meaningless. My personal favourite, right now, is “literally”.
I literally won’t use the word literally because people think I mean actually. Actually being my most favorite word ever, actually. Literally and actually are antonyms. Try convincing the average American of this if you dare.
I’ve had the phrase “regressive liberal” thrown at me repeatedly. As if regressive liberal isn’t an oxymoron on its face, actually and literally.
you know that, as a man, your use of actually is literally dangerous, right?
This was assembled from comments to this article on Facebook.