The Curse of Faction

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.

Inquiry into the Origin and the Course of Political Parties in the United States (1867)

Hat/tip to Facebook – Robert Reich. My Facebook share.

Caudito Trump

A Caudillo is more murderous. I’m thankful that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) isn’t a Caudillo. He’s a tiny little wannabe Caudillo. He’s a Caudito. My apologies to Spanish speakers for murdering their language.

I only bring this up because Robert Reich says that,

A dictator is on trial in his home country. Over half the jury is in his pocket, the foreman is openly coordinating with him to make sure he goes free, and despite public outcry the foreman is refusing to conduct a fair trial.

Facebook – Robert Reich

He says dictator and makes references to Banana Republics or Third World countries in this video.

Facebook – Robert Reich

The word for strongman leader, colloquially, in the language that is spoken South of the United States border, is caudillo. I have this on the good authority of Maria Hinojosa and this episode of Latino USA. If Trump was a dictator in the fashion of third world countries, countries that used to be South of our border here in the States, then he would be a Caudillo. Since he is a little short of the mark, I will from this point onward refer to him as a Caudito. The Caudito, Mr. Orange Hate-Monkey if I want to address him formally.

I thought Trump was a dictator in waiting when he first asked to be given the job of president. I still think he is a dictator in waiting, I just don’t think his mental makeup is vicious enough for him to be able to be a Stalin or a Mao. This is a good thing.

Player.FMStitcherThe Economist Asks – What makes a dictator? – Jan 17th 2020

[We] enter an age of Democracy in that you must appeal to the people. You can either do so by going to the ballot box and be elected; or, if you are a dictator, you can pretend somehow that the people really, truly love you, even though they never voted for you. But this is surely the paradox of dictatorship in the twentieth century, that even dictators ultimately wish to portray themselves as democratic figures.

Frank Dikötter

That author specifically rules out Donald Trump as a dictator because the structures of the United States government have so far kept him in check. I think the professor overestimates the fondness that Stormtrumpers feel for the United States government. I think they’d happily live under a dictatorship that governed according to the rules they felt were important enough to kill over. Things like abortion, which isn’t murder, but I digress.

The former president of Mexico, Vincite Fox, thought Donald Trump was a dictator back in 2016,

Weekend Edition – A Former Mexican President Looks At Trump And Sees A ‘Dictator’ – April 10, 2016

Just like the rest of us did. However. If Donald Trump, the OHM, really had the metal it takes to be a Stalin or a Mao, he’d have cut a bloody swath across the country already with the power that the presidency controls. Luckily for us (so far) he is too incompetent to do the job he was sent to do by his Stormtrumpers. It isn’t too late for one of them to step up and be the Stalin or the Mao, and it won’t be too late for that to happen for quite some time. Not until he is safely removed from office and cannot be brought back to power by some group or other in violation of the law of the United States.

…for now he remains Caudito Trump. But for how much longer?

Robert Reich goes on to suggest that Mitch McConnell is going to orchestrate the acquittal of his Trump card. However, Mitch McConnell isn’t in charge of the Senate during an impeachment trial. Mitch McConnell is nothing more than another senator for as long as this trial lasts. What needs to happen is for someone to point out to the actual leader of the Senate during trial, Chief Justice John Roberts, that Mitch McConnell is claiming more authority than is his due. Even the Chief Justice refers to Mitch McConnell as Leader McConnell, so the chances that pointing out his error will change his behavior is slim. But Mitch McConnell isn’t leader anything during an impeachment trial. He is senator McConnell, and the word disgraced should preface even that since he should have been removed from office already for his unwillingness to do his job properly.

…Again, someone should point these facts out to the presiding officer of the court. You can write (or call) him here.

The rest of the video is informative, as far as it goes. The yield curve inverted. That was a bad thing. Tariffs are bad for trade and the OHM loves tariffs. This is also a bad thing. The economy is weakening. Also bad. If we allow Trump to continue in office, he will drive the economy into the ditch all the while blaming everyone around him for the problems that he doesn’t know how to fix because he is a caudito. A caudillo would have executed a dozen people already and blamed them. Be thankful Trump isn’t one of those.


Anyone who doubts that Trump doesn’t want to be a dictator need only look at what he said to Representative Schiff via Twitter. Trump threatens his prosecutors. That is what that Tweet was, and no lying press secretary can change the text in the OHM’s tweets. It was a threat, and it wasn’t even the first one issued against someone who didn’t act like one of his toadies does. Jokes are funny. That was not a joke. Remove the Cadito.

It’s a Network Problem

Facebook – Robert Reich – Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?

Yes. Mark Zuckerberg is a yellow journalist. This is crucial information to understand. Mark Zuckerberg is not Facebook though, and Facebook is a valuable information resource.

Twitter on the other hand is a mud wrestling free-for-all. Twitter should just ban political accounts. More specifically, Twitter should be reserved for journalists. Bloggers. People who are reporting the news, which is theoretically anyone who has a cell phone and is present at a newsworthy event. People who hold political office should simply not be allowed to have a Twitter account. They could have a managed Twitter presence without one anyway.

Facebook should be tasked with verifying ad content. Just like any other intermediary, they should be worried about their own status and reputation enough to make sure that what happens on their platform reflects well on their reputation. If they won’t do their due diligence, then the corporation should be nationalized and/or closely regulated. They have billions to spend. They should spend it on maintaining their reputation. Otherwise, why are they allowed to exist in the first place, and why are we spending so much time on their platform?

…But breaking up a communications network is a joke. Ma Bell was broken up and that did permanently cut the cost of long distance calling. But the network reassembled itself because that is the nature of a communications network, that everyone be on the network somewhere or somehow.

You break up Twitter and then what? We already have that, it’s called Mastodon. The behavior will just go there and we still have the problem of spreading misinformation. You break up Facebook and then what? We already have dozens of variations of alternative Facebooks; and again, the behavior will just go there and still be spread. The behavior is there already, and is being spread there in a more limited capacity.

What is needed is regulation. Law. Law that holds these platforms accountable for the misdeeds conducted with their information services. Otherwise the behavior of the users will just get transferred to another platform. Fix the problem, not make it move somewhere else. Make the platforms police their own user base, or create a regulating entity that does it for them. Fine them when they fail to protect the weak from the strong. It’s either that or we let Western civilization spiral down the drain. Pick one.

More Facebook Fail

I’m going through my notifications on Facebook. A tedious task that I frequently just hit Mark All as Read in order to complete it quickly, and then I go on to the next thing on my todo list. Today there was a video notification for Robert Reich being live in amongst everything else, and it was recent, so I figured I could click on it and at least catch the end of the video. Let’s see what the link brings up when I paste it here.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/142474049098533/posts/?notif_id=1574188482955442&notif_t=notify_me_page&ref=notif
Robert Reich was live.

Well, that’s interesting. The pasted link renders out as plain text even though WordPress recognizes it as a Facebook link and gives me the default warning Embedded content from facebook.com can’t be previewed in the editor while I’m in the editor. Robert Reich leaves his videos on Facebook, so I can go to the video later using the link and have it come up as the the video I wanted to see. This is the video:

Robert Reich was live. (that is what Facebook titles these. All of them)

Robert Reich talking with Solana Rice about the fifth Democratic convention, how the slate is shaping up for the future and what the Democratic party needs to do to address the concerns of minorities into the future. A conversation that I wanted to hear but couldn’t when I first saw the notification because when I clicked on the link, I got this video instead:

Facebook

A over-dramatized video of a swimmer being investigated by killer whales (Orcas) complete with music designed to hype the terror and suspense. Will she get eaten? Won’t she? The answer is no, she won’t get eaten. Wild Orcas don’t attack people except by accident. There was one link in the comments that pointed to a story on a site named Orcazine (that spells quality journalism. A site name that excludes all other kinds of stories other than stories about Orcas. Are any of them true? You can’t know without further research) a story that purport to document one of the rare instances of an Orca mistaking a human for prey. This is an even rarer occurrence than a shark attack, which happens so rarely that you stand a better chance of being struck by lightning than you do of being attacked by a shark. So, Orca attack? Not high on the list of things to worry about.

If you want to talk about Orcas killing someone the facts are not hard to find. A trainer at Seaworld died because one of the Orcas attacked her. It can happen. Orcas are carnivores. Orcas that have been mistreated by humans over and over again, kept in cages all their lives, etcetera, can become violent. It doesn’t mean that the swimmer was in any real danger in the hyper-dramatic bullshit video.

My beef here is, the two videos have nothing to do with each other, and wouldn’t have anything to do with each other unless an Orca appeared on stage at the fifth Democratic debate and ate one of the other candidates. Now, that video might have been worth watching.

Facebook video fail. Just because I click on a link that Facebook says is a video, it doesn’t mean that any video Facebook wants to serve up to me will be something I will find interesting. When I click on a notification, I expect to see the thing the notification says is there wherever you send me, Facebook. If I don’t, I’m liable to get angry and tell a pod of Orcas that seals live at your home address. You wouldn’t want that.

Struggling = Poverty

This was the headline that the Texas Standard chose to run for this story. It’s soft-pedaling hogwash, that’s what that headline is. Forty-two Percent of Texans Are Poor is how that headline should read. That is what the coded word ‘struggle’ represents. Poverty.

Texas Standard –Despite A Booming Economy, 42 Percent Of Texans Struggle

Though the state’s economy is experiencing relatively healthy growth overall, a new report by the United Ways of Texas shines a light on the surprising number of Texans who are struggling financially. The new report, “ALICE, A Study of Hardship in Texas,” says 42 percent of all households in Texas cannot afford basic needs such as housing, food, transportation and health care.

Texas Standard, January 30, 2019

Don’t believe me? Here’s the definition of ALICE from the secondary link,

ALICE, an acronym which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.

United Ways of Texas, ALICE

Asset Limited. Poor. Poverty. Now, the federal government and most especially the state of Texas will tut-tut that and say that those people are well above the poverty line established by government. Again I say, hogwash. Federal guidelines and especially guidelines from the state of Texas will not be truthful, if by truthful you mean accurate. This goes for anything that touches on the sacred beliefs of the average American, most especially the delusion that poor Americans aren’t poor. They just aren’t wealthy yet, and they never will be wealthy. But don’t tell them that.

This is well trodden ground for me these days because I’ve spent the better part of two months arguing with an in-law about this very subject recently.

I don’t think you know what poverty is. I was born in it and raised in it. The only thing that got me out of it was hard work. I had no intention of raising my children the way I was raised, therefore they had better than I had. And I do pretty well now only because I work hard to better myself. President Trump is making it so people can work and better themselves and get off the coattails of the government. I do not understand how anybody could think putting people back to work is a bad thing. Obama on the other hand closed down factories and put millions of people out of work and on food stamps.

Facebook comment

I had to block that poor fool because he kept calling me stupid. This exercise would be me once again wasting my time, convinced I can somehow reason with someone who refuses to think. The uninformed political opinions he’s throwing around I will dig into somewhere else, have already dug into somewhere else before (Obama, Caveat Emptor) But the poverty stuff? I don’t talk about that very often (Greece, Bootstraps) However, I’m pretty sure I have a general understanding of what poverty is and what it can do to people. I’m positive I understand it better than that in-law, because poverty has been my constant companion throughout my adult life.

That in-law is better off than me, but he’s still right on the margins of poverty. He’s middle class but not comfortably so, and not likely to stay part of the middle class unless he can keep working for another twenty years. The proof is in the statistics cited above, 42% of Texans are poor. That is just under half of all Texans being poor. Half. No one who isn’t independently wealthy will stay middle class without working, and independent wealth is built up through generations of hard work. Something I know neither he nor I come from.

There was a brief period of about two years in my adult life where I wasn’t poor. And when I wasn’t poor I never struggled for anything other than struggling to keep my job so I could keep paying for things. People of means do not struggle. They see a shrink and work it out, because they can afford to pay to have someone listen to them and help them work out their problems. Having a job that generates enough money to live on is not struggling in the way that the research demonstrates. The struggling that the United Ways is highlighting comes from having too much work and not enough money. A uniquely post modern development. Gainfully employed and still starving.

I keep linking this video in the vain hope that people who think that a dollar has work value attached to it would watch and learn a few things. It’s not like it’s a long video. It’s not a huge investment in time to watch.

Politizane – Wealth Inequality in America – Nov 20, 2012

I’m sure it’s quite painful to watch if you are a conservative. Conservatives and conservative economics have created this problem. Have created it more than once. Thinking you have to work to survive, to deserve to survive, is outmoded thinking and has caused the kind of crisis we are living through today. Has caused it repeatedly down through time. Today’s system throws off enough wealth all on it’s own to eliminate poverty completely if we simply set ourselves to the task of eliminating it. And even if we do eliminate poverty we’ll still have people wanting to work, and even more people capable of doing that work, because poverty is a man-made ill. Poverty is something we created to justify ourselves and our assumed status in life.

“Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss and has thereby created a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before.”

Thomas Paine Agrarian Justice The Writings of Thomas Paine pg 331

Poverty is looked down upon as being caused by the behavior of the poor themselves. This is patently not the case, as the OTM series Busted: America’s Poverty Myths (Bootstraps, again) goes to great lengths to spell out. But that doesn’t change the beliefs of most Americans. Poor people are more hated now than they have been in generations, and this is a worldwide phenomenon, not just in America.

If you think of yourself as white and you are poor in modern America, the fact that you are poor grates on you so much that you go looking for people who suffer more than you. Having a paler skin color is seen as a sign of status, has been seen as a sign of status down through the ages. Being pale means that you don’t have to work out in the sun. You have leisure time. you can throw this assumed status around, use it to your advantage in social interactions.

Unless you are poor. If you are poor, there is no question that your paler skin doesn’t convey advantage any longer, because there are demonstrably people darker skinned than you that have more status than you. They have more status because they have the conveyor of modern status, money. This is a corruption of the natural order in the mind’s eye of a racist. And we can’t just allow the natural order to be corrupted now, can we?

This is how we get to the point where the party of Lincoln, the party of the man who lead the Union through the Civil War and destroyed the slavery based economy of the Southern Confederacy; this is how the Republican party has become the party of people who wave the stars and bars of the confederacy and demand that they be given privilege over the brown-skinned. Republicans see everyone who is darker than they are as other, outsider, illegal. They couch their arguments in law and order, just like Nixon coded it in the seventies. But Nixon was a racist, too. They don’t even know that what they are promoting is racism. The Orange Hate-Monkey’s naked attempt to create a white American royalty.

Why Is This Happening? Organizing in Trump country with George Goehl

How can Democrats win in deep red America? During the midterms, momentum behind progressive candidates in red states garnered national attention — Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia. These were no overnight successes. They were the culmination of, among many things, including the tireless efforts of grassroots organizers.

We are going to have to go out and prosthelytize to the poor, rural, white voter. We are going to have to go out and explain to them the harsh nature of the reality we are faced with. Because we cannot go where they want to go. We have to explain to them that we are losing access to good drinking water. That even the air we breath is under constant threat. Will lax regulation on businesses turn every Texas town into another West, Texas? Or will we go the way of Oklahoma and let  hydraulic fracking activate long dormant tectonic faults, triggering earthquakes?

But it is even more basic than that. Will our children and their children go hungry? Will they have access to shelter from the cold or the heat, especially given the unpredictable nature of the climate change we are creating? Will there be schools to teach the children that all of us will rely on in the future to provide every single thing we need? Things we will need paid for with money we didn’t work for that day? We didn’t have to work for, because the system itself provides a mechanism (money) that allows us to not have to work every single day in order to survive? These are real, hard questions that have to be answered today, so that we can have access to those things tomorrow. All of us, not just the 1% that currently receive all the benefits of modern society.

Or would you rather that your children starve for want of food when fortunes turn on them as it does on everyone? Sleep out in the cold because they can’t afford shelter? Rather that they die of preventable diseases because there was no profit in researching cures or vaccines? All of these things require public investment, something that you won’t learn from the worship of robber barons that pervades what passes for conservative ideology these days.

“The liberals will always do what they can to hold you back”

Conservatism is about adhering to the past, not looking beyond what our ancestors did, the rights they claimed for themselves. That is the sum total of conservatism.

Liberalism is about experimentation. Liberalism is a friend to entrepreneurs, scientists, etc. Liberalism promotes new ways of thinking and new ways of dealing with the world. That is the definition of liberalism. Look it up anywhere aside from conservapedia, and you will find that I am right on this subject.

Liberals accept that society and its inventions, things that we all inherited, belong to all of us. Because none of the living invented any of the technologies that provide the food for our tables today. We stood on the shoulders of giants and thought ourselves tall. Liberals understand that the only way to do justice to those who came before us is to see that those that come after us have what they need to thrive, just as we had what we needed to thrive.

Our rights include things like clean air and clean water. Health care is a basic human right since it takes the wealth of the entire nation to maintain the system, it has to be available to everyone, not just those who can pay.

If you want questions answered, you have to ask questions. Ask questions which are answerable. Declaring that everything you don’t understand is a plot to take the little you have to your name now is nothing more than a paranoid delusion. You can’t lose something you don’t own, and most of what we deal with today are things that don’t belong to us alone. The internet is useless without other people to talk to. You can’t tend to your own physical injuries if those injuries require expertise to remedy. If you have that expertise and try to doctor yourself, then you have a fool for a patient. It takes others to do anything meaningful in life. Spitting on the state, on government, and turning your back on progress in the name of preserving what you have now is to settle for less than you could have had, if you only have the sense to look around you with eyes that aren’t clouded by fear.

Modern farming would be impossible without federal research grants, federal subsidies, federal mandates. The ability to get a mortgage and own your own home was a federal mandate. Every single scientific endeavor survives on federal seed money. There would be no internet without it. There would be no handheld computer to read this message on without NASA. There would be no vaccination program without federal mandates. No science-based medicine without government oversight and consequently no way to know what medicines work without government involvement.

So yes, I will rely on government. So will you, even if you don’t think that’s what you are doing. Government touches everything. And in the United States, we are the government. We can pay ourselves enough that none of us need starve, and still leave room for entrepreneurs to profit off of their ideas, giving them motivation to create, to work. Contemplate that for as long as it takes to sink in.


The problem is nation-wide.

About 39 percent of Americans ages 18 to 65 experienced at least one type of material hardship last year, statistically unchanged from the 39.3 percent who suffered hardship in 2017, the nonpartisan think tank found. The study spans the first two years of the Trump administration, as well as the first year of the tax overhaul. Yet there was little progress easing the financial challenges experienced by U.S. adults last year, the Urban Institute said.

40% of U.S. families still struggling

Are We There Yet?

Facebook – Robert Reich

Can we #ImpeachTrump now? I feel like the kid trapped in the family station wagon on a long road trip. Are we there yet? It’s been two years. Can we do this already, or do there have to be mushroom clouds first?


 I swear that my head almost explodes every time I hear the man start to speak. Something about his whiney, wheedling tone just sets my teeth on edge. It’s not some high moral thing that I don’t listen to him speak. Ever. In reality I cannot listen to him speak without being driven slowly insane. A sense of self-preservation keeps me from listening to him. A sense of self-preservation born of too many times being hoodwinked by Amway charlatans, bible thumpers and snake-oil salesmen. I know their type now, having schooled myself on their untrustworthiness over 50 years of life experience.

I know an evil lying bastard now, the moment he clears his throat and starts to speak. Nothing that voice says will be truthful, so there is no point in paying attention to it.

Facebook My most-liked Facebook comment, probably because it was the day after the 2019 SOTU and people had been reminded how much they hated the OHM just the night before.

Wrong Again. Why am I Not Surprised?

On this day in 2015, Robert Reich started his status about the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) with this gloomy paragraph,

Donald Trump is leading all other Republican candidates — not just in polls but also, according to Google Trends, in Google searches. This could push Trump even higher in Google’s search rankings, and such higher rankings would in turn bring him even more support.

He went on to prophesy that the OHM could well win the presidential race based on Google’s skewing of the preferences of Americans through their use of specific algorithms to produce search results. At the time, I was completely oblivious to the structural problem in the internet’s construction, the bias that serving us more of what we wanted to see lent confirmation to the beliefs that we operate under on a day to day basis. This fact alone probably explains why I thought Hillary would win (she did win, but not where it counted) Google served me results that confirmed my bias, masquing the discontent that was felt by far more people than I ever suspected. Felt most especially in three key states that squeaked out a lead for the OHM in the Electoral College. My response three years ago was,

Donald Trump is and will always be a three time loser. In order to be this at running for President, he will have to run one more time after he loses this bid. I encourage him to stick with it. I would like to be right in a prediction for once. In the meantime Bill and Opus for President 2016.

Sadly, Bill and Opus did not win, although the brain that briefly inhabited Bill the Cat’s body did apparently get enough electoral votes to become president. The conspiracy that aliens are controlling the OHM remotely remains a distinct possibility, however, since the brain of Donald Trump has never been found after it left Bill’s head.

Looking back at my utter cluelessness as to just how ready nearly half the US voting population was, willing to watch the entire place burn rather than vote for Hillary Clinton, makes me wonder just how much of that ire is Facebook and Google’s fault? How much of my cluelessness is the fault of their algorithms and how much is my own desire to see the United States continue in some recognizable form?


HIDDEN BRAIN Voting With A Middle Finger: Two Views On The White Working Class October 15, 2018

No matter what the answer is, the America that emerges from under the OHM’s attempted dictatorship will be a different America than went into it. That much is certain. It is certain because America has already changed under the OHM’s naked propagandizing, suppression of the government’s regulatory ability, disregard for disaster relief, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum. Whether that change is for the better or the worse will be determined this November. I’ll see you all at the polls.

Amazon is IOI

Ready Player One (2011) book (2018) movie

So we’ve discovered the genesis of IOI then? Well, that’s good news.

What’s IOI? Innovative Online Industries. You know, the corporation from Ready Player One. If you haven’t read it, get the Audible version read by Wil Wheaton. It’s excellent. Don’t watch the movie of the same name; or more exactly, don’t watch the movie of the same name and expect to see the story from the book. The movie contains an entirely different narrative, with different characters and different FX sequences. The plot for the book would have been far less exciting on screen, and would have made for a much longer film. As far as video stimulation goes, the movie has excellent FX sequences, they just aren’t plot points that occur in the book. At all.

How do I know that Amazon is the corporation from Ready Player One? Well, for one thing, that cage looks like something that IOI would think was OK for workers to spend the majority of their lives in. For another, the links to the book and the movie both go to Amazon. I could point other places, but they’ll all be owned by Amazon eventually.

The Wife and I watched the film a few weeks back. I had never read the book at the time, she had read the book. We set the viewing up on purpose as a test to see who enjoyed the movie more. I’m pretty sure I won that contest. I had nothing to compare it to and so had no expectations for it to fulfill. She spent the first thirty minutes of the movie just trying to figure out where in the book the scriptwriter started the narrative at, because it certainly wasn’t anywhere in the first half of the book in spite of the fact that the first scenes have him living in the stacks, which is only in the first part of the book.

Having watched the movie I then fell asleep to Wil Wheaton’s voice in my ear for the next week or so, describing the world of Ready Player One. A world that is either a post-apocalyptic hellscape or a capitalist paradise depending on your point of view going into the book. In any case, as usual, the Hollywood version has cardboard cutouts for villains and the novel has pretty well-fleshed characters that you can believe exist somewhere. Neither tale is free of flaws, but both have their own moments of entertainment value.

Just understand that, when I envision the giant robot battle for capitalist dominance of the globe, I will now picture Jeff Bezos inside the Mechagodzilla.

Facebook

Obama: Trump is a “Symptom, Not the Cause”

I encourage you to watch this portion of Barack Obama’s speech in which he explains the rise of Donald Trump: “He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but it’s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place.” What do you think?

Robert Reich
Robert Reich Obama: Trump is a “Symptom, Not the Cause”September 8 at 3:12 PM

His ability to communicate ideas like this succinctly is one of the major reasons that I wrote Obama Best President Since Eisenhower in 2015. It was a tongue in cheek nod to the fact that Americans were treating Barack Obama as if he was just the latest in a very long string of bad presidents, and not really, objectively, the most dedicated man to hold that office in their lifetimes. This has been documented since he left office. The fact that most people remain ignorant of the state of the union, or the quality of Barack Obama’s words and actions, is the reason why we find ourselves where we are today. Wise up, America.

Facebook

NPR POLITICS PODCAST Obama Takes On Trump In First Midterm Campaign Speech September 7, 2018
NPR Fresh Air ‘How Democracies Die’ Authors Say Trump Is A Symptom Of ‘Deeper Problems’ January 22, 2018

Addendum. this was not a new thing in 2018. Here he is in 2016 stating the same obvious points he makes again two years later. Strangely, the GOP continues marching on as if they still are following someone with credibility.

facebook

The GOP was shellacked in the 2018 midterms. It will be nothing compared to the beating they are going to get in 2020. Can you say worst economy in American history along with the worst pandemic since the 1918 flu? Do I really need to spell the results of that out for you? For some of you it does appear that I do.

Stupidity is Not Funny or, Laughter is a Suicide Pact?

I’m listening to Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World on Audible right now (a hat/tip is due for the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe here) I remembered reading this commentary on the celebration of stupidity somewhere online before deciding I needed to at least read the book once. The Facebook memories for today included a paragraph or two on the subject. Ah, memory hole plugged. I knew I’d read that somewhere before.

I started that status entry with,


It is a point of pride to me that I couldn’t sit through Dumb and Dumber. I never bothered to watch Beavis and Butthead; as in, ever watch. I know one joke from that series. I remember it only because I am unable to forget it.


A family member loved the show back in the day, and he and another friend enjoyed pretending they were Beavis and Butthead and would do that skit repeatedly until I gave up and laughed. Gave up and laughed, against my better judgement.

Stupidity is not funny. Stupidity is dangerous. Ignorance gets people killed. All. The. Time. Not knowing that your pool is the most dangerous place in your yard is what kills children every year. I stood outside on the deck in my backyard waiting for my now-crawling son to fall in the pool, and after he did fall in the pool I jumped in fully clothed to pull him back out. This was the third person I had saved from drowning in my life, the only time I knew that what was about to happen would happen. I knew that the baby would explore his world. I knew he would not know what to think of this thing called water and edge and pool. I knew he would probably fall in, and I watched to see if he did. When he did I was prepared to pull him out immediately, and the scare kept him from ever going near the pool again unless we were present and teaching him to swim. He swam like a fish at two or three, I don’t remember when exactly he took to water, but he was probably swimming better than he could walk for most of his childhood.

Knowing he would fall in allowed me to save his life and turn the unknown danger into a teaching moment that he carries with him to this day. Knowledge is power.

I don’t find stupid people amusing, I find stupid people threatening, and for very good reasons. Stupid drivers get other people killed. I see it pretty much every time I drive. Stupid people on their way to painful, deadly futures in their cars, and they’ll probably take someone else with them when they do that one stupid thing that gets them killed. Stupid voters elect poor leaders. It is not for nothing that MAGA=Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, this assertion is demonstrable, repeatedly. Stupid voters elected the Orange Hate-Monkey. The OHM himself acknowledges this with his damning with faint praise comment “I love the poorly educated.” Stupid leaders destroy entire nations. The OHM and his willful ignorance, his flock of the willfully ignorant in tow, are burning this country to the ground as I type this out right now. The idiots will not know they’ve destroyed the country until it is too late to save it from them, but they might as well be covering everything in gasoline and lighting the match themselves. Destruction is just about that certain.

I will not laugh at the OHM or his followers. They aren’t funny. They are threatening my life and the lives of my children, and I won’t allow those threats to go unanswered. There will be consequences for the two years of the OHM’s rule, one way or another. The stupid who voted for him need to feel this pain themselves, like discovering you are immersed in a liquid that you didn’t know was there, and no one told you how to swim before you fell in. They need to recognize danger and avoid it in the future. How will this lesson be taught? That is a very good question.

Robert Reich, How to Prevent Future Trumps, July 1, 2018 also on Facebook

Editor’s note. Here is a link to the Facebook status that I have now radically expanded. Laughter is a Suicide Pact is a paraphrasing of Niven’s puppeteer Nessus from Ringworld. I would never have found the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe if it hadn’t been for one of the other members of the long-dead Dan Carlin forum. A fellow skeptic who, seeing how I struggled to defend myself on the Atheism is not a Belief System thread, suggested that I give that podcast a change to inform me. I have listened to every episode of the podcast now. I love the show. (another version of the Asimov meme quote)