Category Archives: politics
Is Clownfish TV run by bigoted Republicans?
Clownfish TV is a YouTube channel hosted by a couple who call themselves Kneon and Geeky Sparkles. And they are extremely prolific, often putting out three or four videos a day, so clearly they make a living out of this, it’s not just their hobby.
The description of their channel:
Hosted by Kneon and Geeky Sparkles, Clownfish TV is an independent, opinionated news and commentary channel that covers Pop Culture from a consumer’s point of view. We talk about Gaming, Comics, Anime, TV, Movies, Animation and more. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of our guests, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. Clownfish TV is an unofficial news source and has no connection to any company that we may cover.
They also say directly on their own website:
Clownfish TV is an independent, opinionated pop culture news site. We strive to be apolitical, balanced and based, and are fans who cover media for other fans. We talk about video games, comic books, anime, animation, movies, television, tabletop games and more.
You’d think that would make them trustworthy. However, look at some of the titles of their videos:
Media Worried a TikTok Ban Would Turn Young Voters Against Biden.
Is that really an issue? I haven’t heard of President Biden wanting to ban TikTok. Republicans have been pushing for it.
Silicon Valley Bank Collapses. Wokeness Blamed.
The commentary below the video says:
Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, and some on the right are blaming DEI, ESG, and ‘wokeness’ for that collapse. Leftwing media outlets deny this is the case, of course, but it is getting harder to deny that hiring people based on anything other than meritocracy may have disastrous financial consequences.
It’s always a red flag to me when someone uses “woke” as an insult against liberals. To me, that’s as bad as using the N-word as a racist attack. And here are more examples:
STAR WOKE: The High Republic REWRITES Star Wars History for Current Year
M&M’s Go Woke.
Disney is ‘WOKE’ as Coke? Disney’s REIMAGINE TOMORROW Employee ‘Anti-Racism’ Docs Leaked!
WWE ‘Woke’ Wrestler CANCELLED Days After Debut?!
Coke to Be Less ‘WOKE?’
Shopify SLAMS “Woke” Culture?! Shopify CEO Says Company is APOLITICAL!
Disney SLAMMED for its ‘Wokeness’ by Disney World Customer in Orlando Sentinel?!
They even have recently targeted NPR for attack. NPR is known for not being owned by a corporation pushing a right-wing agenda like FOX News is notorious for.
NPR Reports NPR is in Deep, Deep Sh*t.
NPR is in deep sh*t. Their revenue is drying up and they had to slash 10% of their staff and cancel a bunch of podcasts. They’re going to ramp up calls for donations, but who has the money to bankroll them now? They’d better not try to shake down gamers, as their reporters spent years demonizing them.
So far, I have NEVER seen them attack FOX News, or any other media outlet known to be leaning to the right.
So no, these people do NOT seem apolitical to me.
And consider this:
As the culture evolves, people who benefitted from the old ways invariably see themselves as victims of change. The world used to fit them like a glove, but it no longer does. Increasingly, they find themselves in unfamiliar situations that feel unfair or even unsafe. Their concerns used to take center stage, but now they must compete with the formerly invisible concerns of others.
But even as we accept the reality of George’s privileged-white-male distress, we need to hold on to the understanding that the less privileged citizens of Pleasantville are distressed in an entirely different way. (Margaret Atwood is supposed to have summed up the gender power-differential like this: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”)
George deserves compassion, but his until-recently-ideal housewife Betty Parker (and the other characters assigned subservient roles) deserves justice. George and Betty’s claims are not equivalent, and if we treat them the same way, we do Betty an injustice.
Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere: the rich feel “punished” by taxes; whites believe they are the real victims of racism; employers’ religious freedom is threatened when they can’t deny contraception to their employees; English-speakers resent bilingualism — it goes on and on.
While I certainly appreciate the hosts’ slamming corporations like Disney for being WAY TOO BIG, I find their using political slurs in their videos to be offensive. Their eagerness to defend Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling, who is known to be a transphobe, is also disturbing. As rich and influential as she is, she needs no one else to defend her. The massive royalties she made off her books, the movies based on those books, and other aspects of the franchise she started means she is set for life. Meanwhile, transgender people have been MURDERED around the world (along with other LGBT people, and racial minorities…..and women…..and atheists and other dissenters from dominant forms of religious bigotry), but do they even MENTION that? Nope! Doesn’t seem to concern them in the slightest. And assuming the drawings representing them are accurate, they are clearly white people and thus they may be completely blinded by their own white privilege.
So I reject them!
Wahid Azal Repeats his Lies and Makes More Excuses
About three years ago, I blocked in disgust Wahid Azal’s main account on reddit after discovering what a totally despicable liar and traitor he was against r/exbahai. Links to all the stories and evidence about his treachery can be found here:
And in a recent post, he doubles down on his bullshit, thus showing he has absolutely NO sense of ethics whatsoever. To put it bluntly, he is indeed EVIL. Recently, he blocked me in return, no doubt to stop me from seeing more of his lies, but I learned to get around that barrier to see what he’s been doing.
He said the following:
Like all other bahai lists online, exbahai is an echo chamber with an agenda tasked with gatekeeping and stymieing real opposition. There you have outright cyberbasijis rubbing shoulders with the BIA, like that recent arrival who was exposed here who is so transparent about what they are it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. But whenever they and their transparently gratuitous talking points are pushed back against, this is what they always do: block. Yet note that over the past 4 years traffic to that subreddit has seriously come to a halt and it isn’t what it used to be. People are wisening up to the fact that not all is what it seems with exbahai. But when you appoint an imbecile, child groomer-pedo and head case like Gomer as a moderator, that is what you should expect. Also after u/investigator919 said what they said about the Woman, Life, Freedom Revolution in Iran, that list literally put a nail into its own coffin because there is no way they can talk that down or walk back an exbahai moderator’s outright parroting of IR government lines regarding what happened and is happening in Iran. This is why u/investigator919 was brought back as u/SuccessfulCorner2512 who is pretending now to be an exbahai hailing from an aristocratic Iranian bahai family when it is obvious who this person actually is.
But that shouldn’t deter you. Just get another ID and go back over there and give em hell. I’m still there and whenever I don’t have anything better to do I have been commenting there for over 2 years now with an ID they won’t even expect. Been doing the same with r/bahai as well. In this age of hybrid warfare, there are no rules; and, morally speaking, no one is obliged to actually respect and abide by what the corporate American Tech Beast and its rules say. If you can find ways to f*ck with their heads and sh*t on them, by all means do so! This is a war after all. My rules are the Bayan and my own completion of it. Period, full-stop, and not American capitalism’s rules and the rules of its assorted minions who are the ultimate Enemy. No one ever won a war by abiding by their enemy’s rules which is also what Krishna tells Arjuna in the Baghavad-Gita during the battle scene. As I said to you privately, this is what the Qalandari Left-Hand Path is really all about: only abiding by the divine rules but never the rules of man! Again, note the story of Khidr and Moses in the Quran.
So let’s dissect these statements. shall we?
Like all other bahai lists online, exbahai is an echo chamber with an agenda tasked with gatekeeping and stymieing real opposition.
Azal claims the only real opposition to the Baha’i Faith is him. This is not possible at all because he is a Bayani and it was the Bab who started the disruptions in Persia (AKA Iran) that Baha’u’llah would decades later take advantage of to form his own Baha’i community out of the ashes of the failed Babi community. In order to really defeat the Baha’i Faith, you must discredit BOTH the Bab and Baha’u’llah! And that is something I can do…..because I am an ATHEIST!
There you have outright cyberbasijis rubbing shoulders with the BIA, like that recent arrival who was exposed here who is so transparent about what they are it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
I wonder who he was referring to. And what the hell is a “cyberbasiji”? His making up terms like that to insult people is just stupid.
But whenever they and their transparently gratuitous talking points are pushed back against, this is what they always do: block.
No, he gets banned from places like r/exbahai for being dishonest, disruptive and verbally abusive. Trolling, basically. That’s really all he does.
Yet note that over the past 4 years traffic to that subreddit has seriously come to a halt and it isn’t what it used to be. People are wisening up to the fact that not all is what it seems with exbahai.
He is just making that up. r/exbahai is doing quite well considering how few members it has. We do a lot of good there. I moderate that place, so I see what goes on there. Speaking of which:
But when you appoint an imbecile, child groomer-pedo and head case like Gomer as a moderator, that is what you should expect.
“Gomer” is the nickname he invented for me. And there is no proof whatsoever that I have ever molested or groomed a child. He says that about me because he knows I am better at discrediting the Baha’i Faith than he is, as noted before. I have written against pedophiles several times, as well as against teachers who sexually abuse their own students, like Mary Kay Latourneau, may she be damned!
Also after u/investigator919 said what they said about the Woman, Life, Freedom Revolution in Iran, that list literally put a nail into its own coffin because there is no way they can talk that down or walk back an exbahai moderator’s outright parroting of IR government lines regarding what happened and is happening in Iran.
He is referring to this:
Where investigator919 said this:
She wasn’t beaten to death. That was the lie that triggered the protests. The CT-Scans clearly show a prior brain surgery. However, since the average Joe can’t make a distinction between brain surgery and a blow to the head, everyone went with the narrative that she was killed because that’s what they wanted to believe. I had to fact-check the CT-Scan images myself through one of our relatives who is a doctor because I had no idea what the CT-Scan of her head was showing.
This is how the media fools you. And yes, the “so called” supreme leader (I don’t consider him my leader) wasn’t lying in this case and in similar protests. Every time there is any form of protest in Iran it is hijacked by ISRAEL / SAUDI / US / MEK media channels. I was surfing twitter for the past two weeks and there were so many lies being propagated by their media channels and being re-twitted and established as fact that it made me sick. Three examples:
-Tweet: <So and so district of Tehran has been overtaken by protesters.> Me: You idiots I live here there is no protest in this district and there never was.
-Tweet: <shows movie captioned: “innocent protester killed by police.”> Few hours later the complete movie is tweeted by another account that shows the so called dead protester getting up and walking away.
Tweet: <Iranian security forces open fire on peaceful people that had gathered to pray in the city of Zahedan killing twenty.> I immediately thought to myself this doesn’t make sense. Why would someone do this? Then even after a separatist group posted a video and claimed responsibility for inciting the violence, thousands of twitter accounts were still retweeting the initial fake narrative for days.
The whole goal is so called regime change. At the end of the day no one cares for Mahsa Amini or any other woman in Iran (if they did we wouldn’t have been sanctioned by western governments to the dark-ages). Just a few days ago nearly 30 Shia women were killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan. No one batted an eye. In fact those bombings and killings of innocent women happen on a daily basis in Afghanistan, Yemen, and also Palestine. But no one cares. No one gives a shit. What made Mahsa Amini different? What makes Iran so special? Regime change in Iran. Toppling a government that opposes the west and refuses to bow to it.
The Iranian government is neither the angel that it portrays itself and neither the devil that is portrayed by the west. It’s like every other government with its shortcomings and also good points. But if you want to measure the level of savageness of a government by counting the number of people it has killed, then I’m sure it’s no where near the top of the list where the US / Israel / Saudi and a bunch of other western countries stand.
What’s ironic about Wahid’s demonization of investigator919 is that Baha’is in reddit do the same thing to him and for the same reason: he is a Shia Muslim who lives in Iran. But if you look carefully, he is NOT merely parroting the claims of the Iranian government.
And yes, the “so called” supreme leader (I don’t consider him my leader) wasn’t lying in this case and in similar protests.
The Iranian government is neither the angel that it portrays itself and neither the devil that is portrayed by the west. It’s like every other government with its shortcomings and also good points.
He may have blind spots with regards to Shia teachings, but he does show critical thinking in this case.
There was an exchange of messages between him and me that read as follows.
I’ve been so ANGRY about Iran and about Islam these past couple of weeks that I wasn’t sure I could even discuss the matter with you without coming across as rude and even a bit bigoted. Thanks for not humiliating me in public.
No need to apologize. I don’t blame you for being angry. The media and cyberspace these days is filled with truths, half-truths, and outright lies. No one knows what to believe anymore.
This is why u/investigator919 was brought back as u/SuccessfulCorner2512 who is pretending now to be an exbahai hailing from an aristocratic Iranian bahai family when it is obvious who this person actually is.
Another completely made up claim. I can usually tell when someone like Wahid Azal or DavidBinOwen is using sockpuppets to infiltrate subreddits they have been banned from (which is a clear violation of reddit rules). They have a distinctive writing style and means of expression that they cannot change, which proves they are incompetent. So is Wahid saying that investigator919 is better at faking a personality than he is? LOL!
See what happened between those two here:
The difference in expressions between investigator919 and SuccessfulCorner2512 is light years apart. So why did Azal claim they are the same person? Because that is what pathological liars do, even if it makes them look STUPID!
But that shouldn’t deter you. Just get another ID and go back over there and give em hell. I’m still there and whenever I don’t have anything better to do I have been commenting there for over 2 years now with an ID they won’t even expect. Been doing the same with r/bahai as well.
So here we see Azal clearly admitting to violating reddit rules and encouraging such violations from others! That should get him banned permanently from reddit, and I mean ALL his accounts, FOREVER!
In this age of hybrid warfare, there are no rules; and, morally speaking, no one is obliged to actually respect and abide by what the corporate American Tech Beast and its rules say. If you can find ways to f*ck with their heads and sh*t on them, by all means do so! This is a war after all. My rules are the Bayan and my own completion of it. Period, full-stop, and not American capitalism’s rules and the rules of its assorted minions who are the ultimate Enemy. No one ever won a war by abiding by their enemy’s rules which is also what Krishna tells Arjuna in the Baghavad-Gita during the battle scene. As I said to you privately, this is what the Qalandari Left-Hand Path is really all about: only abiding by the divine rules but never the rules of man! Again, note the story of Khidr and Moses in the Quran.
This is the “ends justify the means” fallacy. Joseph Stalin made himself the supreme lawmaker in the Soviet Union for decades and killed MILLIONS of his own people simply to enforce his will on them. Mao Zedong killed millions of his own Chinese people. Pol Pot is said to have killed ONE-THIRD of the Cambodian people in the same way! And I have no doubt if Wahid Azal ever gains political power anywhere, he will also exterminate people. After all, in war you kill people en masse on a regular basis … and didn’t he call what he does a war? Why protest against the tyranny of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the hypocrisy of the Haifan Baha’i leadership when he is indeed no better than them?
And Wahid Azal’s own insanity make me think the Bab was just as crazy and dangerous. No wonder he was killed in 1850!
And for the record, my rejection of the Baha’i Faith in 2004-2005 had nothing to do with the Bab. But I hate the Bab’s legacy NOW……because of WAHID AZAL! May he be DAMNED forever!
A “Unitarian Baha’i” comes across as an idiot, again!
Look at this:
Various ex-Baha’is gave interesting comments, but then trident765 came along and had to ruin the party by posting bullshit. Keep in mind that as a Unitarian Universalist, I fully support the Unitarian Baha’i faction as the only credible version of the Baha’i Faith in existence. So what did trident say?
I was born into the mainstream Baha’i Faith but now consider myself a Unitarian Baha’i.
For me, my conversion happened after reading A Lost History of the Baha’i Faith and discovering that in the early 20th century Muhammad Ali’s followers had basically exactly the same criticisms of the mainstream Baha’i Faith as me. Up until then, I thought people like Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi would be on my side. But after seeing that people just like me existed during their lifetimes, and that because of their views they were hated, slandered, and excommunicated by Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi, I realized that Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi would hate me. Abdul Baha’s and especially Shoghi Effendi’s writings seemed to indicate that it was people’s job to just obey authority no matter what, and if you disagree with authority, then even if you are right you are wrong by virtue of disagreeing. In my opinion this is an extremely toxic thing to make people think, and it will eventually just lead to authority leading their followers off a cliff.
At one point I almost stopped believing in Baha’u’llah altogether, but I just saw no reason to, because Baha’u’llah never really said the kinds of authoritarian stuff that Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi said.
I myself have a copy of that book and helped promote it on Amazon, despite attempts by Baha’i fanatics to interfere.
I REALLY wish trident wasn’t a Unitarian Baha’i, because he is staunchly anti-liberal and I think of the Unitarian Baha’i movement as being much like the liberal religion of Unitarian Universalism, certainly more than the Haifan Baha’is are! In case you needed a reminder:
I cannot understand how he can say he opposes authoritarian systems, including in religion and also attacks others as worshipping a god of liberalism when actual liberalism is about opposing authoritarianism in all forms. He is seriously delusional!
Indeed, Baha’u’llah himself had a strictly authoritarian bent to his writings. Here’s a perfect example from the Kitab-i-Aqdas:
Consider the pettiness of men’s minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
So therefore the claim by trident:
Baha’u’llah never really said the kinds of authoritarian stuff that Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi said.
is an outright LIE!!!
I will no longer log into Twitter.
The acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk began on April 14, 2022, and concluded on October 27, 2022. Business magnate Elon Musk began buying shares of American social media company Twitter, Inc. in January 2022, eventually becoming the company’s largest shareholder in April with a 9.1 percent ownership stake. Twitter then invited Musk to join its board of directors, which Musk at first accepted before subsequently declining. On April 14, he made an unsolicited offer to purchase the company for $43 billion, to which Twitter responded with a “poison pill” strategy to resist a hostile takeover. On April 25, Twitter’s board of directors unanimously accepted Musk’s buyout offer of $44 billion, with the company set to be taken private. Musk stated that he planned to introduce new features to the platform, make its algorithms open-sourced, combat spambot accounts, and promote free speech.
Musk announced his intention to terminate the agreement in July, asserting that Twitter had breached their agreement by refusing to crack down on spambot accounts. The company filed a lawsuit against Musk in the Delaware Court of Chancery shortly thereafter, with a trial scheduled for the week of October 17. Weeks before the trial was set to begin, Musk reversed course, announcing that he would move forward with the acquisition. The deal was closed on October 27, with Musk immediately becoming Twitter’s new owner and CEO. He also fired several top executives, including previous CEO Parag Agrawal. Musk has since proposed several reforms to Twitter, including the creation of a “content moderation council” to handle free speech, and laid off half of the company’s workforce.
Reception to the buyout has been mixed, with criticism over fears of a potential rise in misinformation, disinformation, harassment, and hate speech on the platform. Right-wing conservatives and Republicans have largely praised the purchase, while left-wing liberals, Democrats, and former and present Twitter employees have voiced concerns about Musk’s intentions.
To me, this is yet another example of an ultra-rich wanna-be tyrant using his wealth to gain power for himself. The Koch brothers did it for decades through their political activities, Donald Trump did it by running for and winning the Presidency and now Musk has done it by taking over Twitter to remake it according to his desires. Keep in mind that Donald Trump used Twitter for years as his main means of communicating with his followers, until he was banned shortly after he was removed from the Presidency by the 2020 election. Could this be Musk’s way of getting Trump back on Twitter?
This is my Twitter account:
The older I get, the more I hate capitalism and the corrupt personalities it produces, including Musk and Trump. Don’t get me wrong……in a Communist state those two would probably be high ranking members of the Communist Party. It is authoritarianism that is the problem and overthrowing a corrupt economic and political system alone will never work if it ends up replaced with another one later. Look at Russia, both from 1917 to 1950 and then from 1991 to the present day. Or read George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.
As the Who would have said: “The people got fooled again!”
You can talk about promoting freedom all you want, but if the only freedom you want is for those like you, THAT is actually privilege…..and that is not acceptable in a truly free society. It’s sad that most Americans still don’t understand that. Maybe because they were never taught the difference.
We really should have a society like this…..not just in America, but EVERYWHERE!
Yes, the Road to Serfdom is Indeed Paved by “Conservatives”, you Libertarian Idiot!
Look at this op-ed piece:
The parts of the article itself will be in red and my responses will be in blue.
The Road to Serfdom is Paved by Conservatives
By Veronique de Rugy
For the last ten years I have been baffled as I watched the conservative movement devolve into a weird wing of progressivism—especially on economic issues. While once at least paying lip service to limited government, fiscal prudence, and personal responsibility, conservatives now ignore the size of government and fiscal responsibility. They increasingly call for a larger child tax credit, a universal basic income, and paid leave arranged and ensured by the federal government. Many conservatives now also proudly embrace tariffs, hyperactive antitrust, and industrial policy (often justified, of course, as necessary to ‘fight’ China).
Note the loaded rhetoric. The author is clearly writing from a strictly Libertarian point of view, which is the form of idiocy on the far right that is no better than Communism was on the far left.
Conservatives – or at least the more politically active ones – are reverting to their 1920s selves (See Matt Continetti’s book, The Right: The 100 year war for American Conservatism.) I failed to see this reversion occurring, in part because I moved to the United States in 1999 and was until recently fairly ignorant of the history of the conservative movement- and how the last forty years were more an exception than the rule.
And you are still ignorant about the real nature of conservatism, in all its insidious forms throughout the world. The only real goal of conservatism is: to maintain the status quo because it benefits the already powerful at the expense (often literally) of the powerless. Thus in the Soviet Union of the late 1980s, hard-line Communists opposed to the reform efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev were the conservatives in their state. Thinking it is always about “limited government, fiscal prudence, and personal responsibility” means you are delusional; at least two of those are actually LIBERAL concepts that American conservatives stole from liberals in the past! Why? Because the first and the third were spelled out in the Bill of Rights and the second is just common sense.
I fear that this recent trend is just the beginning. It won’t be long before the conservatives’ platform is a full-on version of big government, big business, and big unions. It’s depressing.
Seeing the real truth about it hurts, doesn’t it? Feeling outright SCAMMED yet?
It is hard not to wonder if the liberty movement is now failing to follow in the footsteps of Hayek, Friedman, and other great 20th-century champions of freedom. It’s important now to recognize that on most fronts the challenges faced by the first- and second-generation members of the Mont Pelerin Society were, if anything, greater than what we champions of freedom face today. After all, people in 1947 – or even in 1987 – could not, as we can today, point to the actual collapse of the socialist states as evidence of the dangers of collectivism. And yet Hayek and his peers left us a world that was more accepting of free trade and free-market economics, even if these liberal policies were not the default position.
If you are so worried about “collectivism”, why not help us tear down capitalism, in which an economy is dominated by collective entities known as CORPORATIONS?! Corporations can be just as oppressive as governments in how they treat their workers. The original purpose of Communism was to overthrow the capitalists and allow the workers to run the economy themselves via a democratic socialist state. But then Joseph Stalin ruined everything when he took the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and made it a dictatorship of himself alone and turned against the proletariat! He even killed a great many Communists who opposed him, since they were true to the original vision of Karl Marx.
Perhaps a more optimistic way to view the current situation is to be inspired by those who fought for a more classical liberal world at a time when things looked particularly grim. Rather than despair, get energized by the challenge. But this raises the question of what is the best way not merely to preserve the flame of freedom but to spread it. What the next steps are, I do not know. I am open to your suggestions. The private sector continues to deliver innovation, growth, and widespread prosperity. But as of today, few people are willing to acknowledge that it is the free-market system that allows these wonderful things to happen, and that while of course imperfect (often because impaired by government interventions), any alternatives would be much worse.
We tried the classical liberal approach with the Articles of Confederation in the early 1780s and it was a complete FAILURE!
The Articles of Confederation and the beating down of Libertarianism on YouTube
That absurd rhetoric sounds like the sheep in Animal Farm bleating out “Free market good, government bad, free market good, government bad”. A realistic approach allows for a variety of solutions based on the needs of the people at various times.
How do you fight the battle of ideas when so many people distrust the institutions that host those of us who produce and apply these ideas? I have spent most of my professional life producing work to show that arguments for government interventions are bunk. For instance, in this new paper with Chuck Blahous, he and I take on the new conservative recommendation that Social Security be used to provide paid-leave benefits. We show, again, all the ways that this is a terrible idea. Of course, I believe that work such as this is important, since these are serious propositions introduced in Congress and supported by a fairly large number of conservatives. But is there a better way?
Yes, there is…..stop being delusional and deal strictly with reality. Government intervention was absolutely necessary to get Americans out of the Great Depression. Without Social Security, millions of older people in the decades following that period would be impoverished, even starving. Only an idiot ignores such lessons and uses false rhetoric to argue otherwise.
In this new paper, Gary Leff and I argue that next time legislators are tempted to bail out airlines ostensibly to ensure that they will be ready when the economy reopens, the public should remember the actual, depressing results of the most recent such bailout. But Congress won’t change its response unless we change the incentives politicians face during the next emergency. How do we do that? After all these years, I still don’t know.
Of course, you don’t. Because even an ideologue like you should be able to figure out that allowing massive businesses to fail in a struggling economy is what makes that economy even worse. Hence the bailouts.
Maybe it is more effective to offer a vision of what a libertarian world looks like. This is what Aaron Powell does in this edited volume. I recommend it. I think this approach describes also a lot of the work of former EconLog blogger Bryan Caplan. He inspires by offering a vision of what a world would look like without government subsidies to higher ed, a world with largely open borders, and a world with radically fewer restrictions on home building.
If libertarian ideas never worked in the past, why bring them up yet again? One definition of insanity is trying the same solution repeatedly and hoping for a different result.
The Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Index offers such a vision, because it is a concrete way to illustrate what countries with less economic freedom look like compared to those with more freedom. The 2022 Economic Freedom of the World Report was released earlier today; all countries have declined in economic freedom, thanks to over the top pandemic responses, but the U.S. has actually declined even more relative to other countries. The U.S. rating fell by twice the amount of the average reduction worldwide. The U.S. is at its lowest level of economic freedom in four decades.
Those “over the top pandemic responses” saved millions of lives, but I guess allowing a “free market” to make more $$$$$$$ for those already rich is more important to you, eh? And that rating system must be bullshit, since I actually don’t see much of a loss of economic freedom around here. Is America anywhere near socialism yet? Obviously NOT!
The bottom line is that while I am usually an optimist, I find myself increasingly worried and wondering what we did wrong and what to do next.
What you did wrong: kept promoting Libertarian bullshit. What to do next: abandon it forever.
A Useless Police Department
On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers, and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Earlier that day, Ramos had shot his grandmother in the forehead, severely wounding her. After firing shots outside the school for approximately five minutes, he entered Robb Elementary School, armed with an AR-15 style rifle, through an open side entrance door, without encountering armed resistance. Ramos locked himself inside a classroom, in which he killed all of the shooting’s victims, and remained there for about one hour before being killed by a United States Border Patrol BORTAC tactical team. It is the third-deadliest American school shooting, after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and the deadliest ever in Texas history.
Law enforcement officials were criticized for their actions in response to the shooting.
Law enforcement officials were criticized for their actions in response to the shooting.
That’s putting it mildly.
Check out this Facebook post from 2018:
After the massacre at the school, people found that post and slammed it with tons of angry comments. And as a result:
Uvalde Police Department limited who can comment on this post.
So they are indeed cowards!
I actually have a ton of respect for police officers who are willing to do their jobs to protect and serve. I have even depicted them positively in my Plotagon made series, the Debbie and Carrie Show.
But I have also featured bad cops and how terrible they can be.
And that is it should always be: praise the good, criticize the bad. Sadly, those who say “Blue lives matter” in response to “Black lives matter” clearly want cops to be above criticism and are racist. And America is supposed to be a free country?
Conservatives among Unitarian Universalists Still Feel Like Victims
Last week I posted this in a Reddit Unitarian Universalist group:
Several days later, this comment was posted there:
Unfortunately we no longer offer better. It is much, much worse at UU. If you are the slightest bit center politically (or worse, right), you will be cast aside. And this is an organization that is supposed to be about faith. It is really a liberal political organization now.
Really? So when has the UUA NOT been a political organization? If we want to make a better society, why not be political?
I looked at this person’s history in reddit and found these:
Everything you said was spot on. Our congregation and another one we followed were the most racist spaces I have ever encountered and I have lived in the South for the last 20 years. Everyone is judged by their race, not their words, thoughts, or actions. Heinous behavior is condoned, as long as the offender is a “social justice warrior, fighting on the side of truth.” If you are not a left leaning liberal (ideally white and well off), you will never feel welcome. That is evident by the current membership and minorities like myself that have left and now have no place of worship.
I don’t go to congregation on Sunday to discuss whatever MSNBC or Mother Jones are currently discussing. UU is now a political organization and should be striped of its tax exempt status.
I know almost everyone in here (the extreme minority that is left and active in UU) disagrees with the author. I left the church for most of these reasons. When we started, it as an open, welcoming place where all were tolerated and welcomed with open arms. In 2016 when Donald Trump was elected and the UUA assembly debacles that followed, we no longer felt welcome.
I am a conservative (not republican), Asian, non Christian. The tone of the entire organization has shifted more and more left and privileged as time goes on. Look at the UUA Facebook page, it is ridiculous and followers have decreased over the last few years. It’s sad when most posts have no comments. The UUA is increasingly catering to a minority of their members, many of whom do not actively attend the organization anymore.
When a person of color does show up (myself included), it was ridiculous. Our opinions were not valued because they were our opinions, but simply because of the color of our skin. In trying to be more inclusive, the organization became more racist. No non white person (this is literally all rich white UU members seem to do these days) wants to get in a room and watch rich white people flog themselves all day and apologize for transgressions that may or may not have ever happened. It is tiresome and has nothing to do with fellowship. It just makes those members feel better.
I would love to return to a pre 2016 organization or one who actually follows the tenants that we are supposed to. Everyone is welcome, what a joke. The only people that are welcome are rich white liberals.
There may be hope in individual congregations, but my family (everyone else left as well) will never return as long as the UUA at large is committed to spending more time on political matters than ones of faith.
So you have left the UUs because they are too political. But I wonder if you would have a problem with evangelical Christians in religious organizations being hard-core conservatives, even supporters of Donald Trump and his racism?
No, because you are a conservative yourself! No doubt, if you had your way, there would be NO religious organizations at all representing the left, liberalism, and progressive values at all. RIGHT?!
Liberals like me have been demonized in the media and by Republicans for decades. You just don’t like it when we start to fight back!
So I moved to stop the bullshit. I didn’t delete the offensive comment, but…..
I didn’t post this to start a political fight here, and I won’t allow one here now. This thread will be locked.
Anti-Conservative Rants in Reddit
I sometimes think that as a whole, the users in Reddit are WAY smarter than most people. Here are two powerful comments I have just noticed that seem to illustrate that.
Fun… ok no, sad fact:
When slavery was abolished, I feel like a lot of people think it came with asterisks next to the amendment.
But it didn’t .
When slavery was abolished, it instantly made every black person equal to whites under the law.
Same rules applied to white and black people. Owning land. Owning a business. Eating anywhere they liked. This was the intended goal. It’s what those in congress voted and passed and celebrated. Equality.
But the southern states saw the loopholes, and within a few months, enacted the Jim Crow laws, separate but equal pretty damn fast.
The federal government made black people equal.
No caveats no restrictions in the amendment.
Then the states took that right away from them.
On another sad fun fact,
FDR was set to push a new bill of rights, an employee bill of rights.
His speech is something that hits so relevant today. His wants for all citizens and his reasoning as applied to the constitution was something you just don’t get from any politician today.
A snapshot of his speech;
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
The more you learn of the past, the more you realize that progress could have happened sooner but evil prevailed in the name of “country and patriotism”.
Good place to remind folks that conservatism is about hierarchy and a de facto underclass.
Conservatism (big C) has always had one goal and little c “general” conservatism is a myth. Conservatism has the related goals of maintaining a de facto aristocracy that inherits political power and pushing outsiders down to enforce an under class. In support of that is a morality based on a person’s inherent status as good or bad – not their actions. The thing that determines if someone is good or bad is whether they inhabit the aristocracy.
Another way, Conservatives – those who wish to maintain a class system – assign moral value to people and not actions. Those not in the aristocracy are immoral and therefore deserve punishment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agzNANfNlTs its a ret con
Part of this is posted a lot: https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/21/liberals-against-progressives/#comment-729288 I like the concept of Conservatism vs. anything else.
A Bush speech writer takes the assertion for granted: It’s all about the upper class vs. democracy. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/why-do-democracies-fail/530949/ “Democracy fails when the Elites are overly shorn of power.”
Read here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conservatism/ and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism#History and see that all of the major thought leaders in Conservatism have always opposed one specific change (democracy at the expense of aristocratic power). At some point non-Conservative intellectuals and/or lying Conservatives tried to apply the arguments of conservatism to generalized “change.”
The philosophic definition of something should include criticism. The Stanford page (despite taking pains to justify small c conservatism) includes criticisms. Involving those we can conclude generalized conservatism (small c) is a myth at best and a Trojan Horse at worst.
Incase you don’t want to read the David Frum piece here is a highlight that democracy only exists at the leisure of the elite represented by Conservatism.
The most crucial variable predicting the success of a democratic transition is the self-confidence of the incumbent elites. If they feel able to compete under democratic conditions, they will accept democracy. If they do not, they will not. And the single thing that most accurately predicts elite self-confidence, as Ziblatt marshals powerful statistical and electoral evidence to argue, is the ability to build an effective, competitive conservative political party before the transition to democracy occurs.
Conservatism, manifest as a political party is simply the effort of the Elites to maintain their privileged status. One prior attempt at rebuttal blocked me when we got to: why is it that specifically Conservative parties align with the interests of the Elite?
There is a key difference between conservatives and others that is often overlooked. For liberals, actions are good, bad, moral, etc and people are judged based on their actions. For Conservatives, people are good, bad, moral, etc and the status of the person is what dictates how an action is viewed.
In the world view of the actual Conservative leadership – those with true wealth or political power – , the aristocracy is moral by definition and the working class is immoral by definition and deserving of punishment for that immorality. This is where the laws don’t apply trope comes from or all you’ll often see “rules for thee and not for me.” The aristocracy doesn’t need laws since they are inherently moral. Consider the divinely ordained king: he can do no wrong because he is king, because he is king at God’s behest. The anti-poor aristocratic elite still feel that way.
This is also why people can be wealthy and looked down on: if Bill Gates tries to help the poor or improve worker rights too much he is working against the aristocracy.
If we extend analysis to the voter base: conservative voters view other conservative voters as moral and good by the state of being labeled conservative because they adhere to status morality and social classes. It’s the ultimate virtue signaling. They signal to each other that they are inherently moral. It’s why voter base conservatives think “so what” whenever any of these assholes do nasty anti democratic things. It’s why Christians seem to ignore Christ.
While a non-conservative would see a fair or moral or immoral action and judge the person undertaking the action, a conservative sees a fair or good person and applies the fair status to the action. To the conservative, a conservative who did something illegal or something that would be bad on the part of someone else – must have been doing good. Simply because they can’t do bad.
To them Donald Trump is inherently a good person as a member of the aristocracy. The conservative isn’t lying or being a hypocrite or even being “unfair” because – and this is key – for conservatives past actions have no bearing on current actions and current actions have no bearing on future actions so long as the aristocracy is being protected. Lindsey Graham is “good” so he says to delay SCOTUS confirmations that is good. When he says to move forward: that is good.
To reiterate: All that matters to conservatives is the intrinsic moral state of the actor (and the intrinsic moral state that matters is being part of the aristocracy). Obama was intrinsically immoral and therefore any action on his part was “bad.” Going further – Trump, or the media rebranding we call Mitt Romney, or Moscow Mitch are all intrinsically moral and therefore they can’t do “bad” things. The one bad thing they can do is betray the class system.
The consequences of the central goal of conservatism and the corresponding actor state morality are the simple political goals to do nothing when problems arise and to dismantle labor & consumer protections. The non-aristocratic are immoral, inherently deserve punishment, and certainly don’t deserve help. They want the working class to get fucked by global warming. They want people to die from COVID19. Etc.
Montage of McConnell laughing at suffering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTqMGDocbVM&ab_channel=HuffPost
OH LOOK, months after I first wrote this it turns out to be validated by conservatives themselves: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/16/trump-appointee-demanded-herd-immunity-strategy-446408
Why do the conservative voters seem to vote against their own interest? Why does /selfawarewolves and /leopardsatemyface happen? They simply think they are higher on the social ladder than they really are and want to punish those below them for the immorality.
Absolutely everything Conservatives say and do makes sense when applying the above. This is powerful because you can now predict with good specificity what a conservative political actor will do.
We still need to address more familiar definitions of conservatism (small c) which are a weird mash-up including personal responsibility and incremental change. Neither of those makes sense applied to policy issues. The only opposed change that really matters is the destruction of the aristocracy in favor of democracy. For some reason the arguments were white washed into a general “opposition to change.”
This year a few women can vote, next year a few more, until in 100 years all women can vote?
This year a few kids can stop working in mines, next year a few more…
We should test the waters of COVID relief by sending a 1200 dollar check to 500 families. If that goes well we’ll do 1500 families next month.
But it’s all in when they want to separate migrant families to punish them. It’s all in when they want to invade the Middle East for literal generations.
The incremental change argument is asinine. It’s propaganda to avoid concessions to labor.
The personal responsibility argument falls apart with the whole “keep government out of my medicare thing.” Personal responsibility just means “I deserve free things, but people more poor than me don’t.”
And for good measure I found video and sources interesting on an overlapping topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vymeTZkiKD0
Some links incase anyone doubts that the contemporary American voter base was purposefully machined and manipulated into its mangle of abortion, guns, war, and “fiscal responsibility.” What does fiscal responsibility even mean? Who describes themselves as fiscally irresponsible?
Here is Atwater talking behind the scenes. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy/
a little academic abstract to lend weight to conservatives at the time not caring about abortion. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-policy-history/article/abs/gops-abortion-strategy-why-prochoice-republicans-became-prolife-in-the-1970s/C7EC0E0C0F5FF1F4488AA47C787DEC01
They were casting about for something to rile a voter base up and abortion didn’t do it. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/02/05/race-not-abortion-was-founding-issue-religious-right/A5rnmClvuAU7EaThaNLAnK/story.html
The role religion played entwined with institutionalized racism. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2017/03/27/pastors-not-politicians-turned-dixie-republican/?sh=31e33816695f
Likely the best: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133
Just a couple of brilliant statements I noticed. And they deserve a wider audience.
Thom Hartmann exposes the delusions of Republicans, once and for all!
Thom Hartmann is a liberal radio commentator, but he is clearly also a brilliant writer. Here is a piece he wrote about a month ago:
Why the “Reagan Revolution” Scheme to Gut America’s Middle Class is Coming to an End
The signal was in Biden’s speech, but entirely missed by the press
As we stand on the edge of the end of the Reagan Revolution, an end signaled by one particular phrase in President Biden‘s speech last Thursday night (which I’ll get to in a minute), its really important that Americans understand the backstory.
Reagan and his conservative buddies intentionally gutted the American middle class, but they did so not just out of greed but also with what they thought was a good and noble justification.
As I lay out in more granular detail in my new book The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, back in the early 1950s conservative thinker Russell Kirk proposed a startling hypothesis that would fundamentally change our nation and the world.
The American middle-class at that time was growing more rapidly than any middle-class had ever grown in the history of the world, in terms of the number of people in the middle class, the income of those people, and the overall wealth that those people were accumulating. The Middle class was growing in wealth and income back then, in fact, faster than were the top 1%.
Kirk postulated in 1951 that if the middle-class got too wealthy, we would see an absolute collapse of our nation’s social order, producing chaos, riots and possibly even the end of the republic.
The first chapter of his 1951 book, The Conservative Mind, is devoted to Edmund Burke, the British conservative who Thomas Paine visited for two weeks in 1787 on his way to get arrested in the French revolution. Paine was so outraged by Burke’s arguments that he wrote an entire book rebutting them titled The Rights Of Man.
Burke was defending, among other things, Britain’s restrictions on who could vote or participate in politics based on wealth and land ownership, as well as the British maximum wage.
Burke and his contemporaries in the late 1700s believed that if working-class people made too much money, they would challenge the social order and collapse the British form of government. So Parliament passed a law making it illegal for employers to pay people over a certain amount, so as to keep wage earners right at the edge of poverty throughout their lives. (For the outcome of this policy, read pretty much any Dickens novel.)
Picking up on this, Kirk’s followers argued that if the American middle-class got too rich there would be similarly dire consequences. Young people would cease to respect their elders, women would stop respecting (and depending on) their husbands, and minorities would begin making outrageous demands and set the country on fire.
When Kirk laid this out in 1951, only a few conservative intellectuals took him seriously. People like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater were electrified by his writings and line of thinking, but Republicans like then-President Dwight Eisenhower said, of people like Kirk and his rich buddies, “Their numbers are negligible and they are stupid.“
And then came the 1960s.
In 1961, the birth control pill was legalized and by 1964 was in widespread use; this helped kick off the modern-day Women’s Liberation Movement, as women, now in control of their reproductive capacity, demanded equality in politics and the workplace. Bra burning became a thing, at least in pop culture lore.
By 1967, young people on college campuses we’re also in revolt; the object of their scorn was an illegal war in Vietnam that President Johnson had lied us into. Along with national protest, draft card burning was also a thing.
And throughout that decade African Americans were increasingly demanding an end to police violence and an expansion of Civil Rights. In response to several brutal and well-publicized instances of police violence against Black people in the late 1960s, riots broke out and several of our cities were on fire.
These three movements all hitting America at the same time got the attention of conservatives and Republicans who had previously ignored or even ridiculed Kirk back in the 1950s. Suddenly, he seemed like a prophet.
The Republican/Conservative “solution” to the “crisis” these three movements represented was put into place in 1981: the explicit goal of the so-called Reagan Revolution was to take the middle class down a peg and end the protests and social instability.
Their plan was to declare war on labor unions so wages could slide back down again, end free college all across the nation so students would be in fear rather than willing to protest, and increase the penalties Nixon had already put on drugs so they could use those laws against hippy antiwar protesters and Black people.
As Nixon‘s right hand man, John Ehrlichman, told reporter Dan Baum: “You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. Do you understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.“
While it looks from the outside like the singular mission of the Reagan Revolution was simply to help rich people and giant corporations get richer and bigger, the ideologues driving the movement actually believed they were helping to restore safety and stability to the United States, both politically and economically.
The middle class was out of control, they believed, and something had to be done. Looking back at the “solutions” England used around the time of the American Revolution and advocated by Edmund Burke and other conservative thinkers throughout history, they saw a solution to the crisis…that also had the pleasant side effect of helping their biggest donors and thus boosting their political fortunes.
Reagan massively cut taxes on rich people and raised taxes on working-class people 11 times. He put a tax on Social Security income, tips income, and unemployment income, for example, all of which had previously been tax-free but were exclusively needed and used by middle-class people. At the same time, he cut the top tax bracket for billionaires from 74% to 25%.
He declared war on labor unions, crushed PATCO in less than a week, and over the next decade the result of his war on labor was that union membership went from about a third of the American workforce when he came into office to around 10% at the end of the Reagan/Bush presidencies. It’s at 6% of the private workforce now.
He and Bush also husbanded the moribund 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT, which let Clinton help create the WTO) and NAFTA, which Clinton signed and thus opened a floodgate for American companies to move manufacturing overseas, leaving American workers underemployed while radically cutting corporate labor costs and union membership.
And, sure enough, Reagan’s doubling-down on the War on Drugs was successful in shattering Black communities.
His War on Labor cut average inflation adjusted minimum and median wages by more over a couple of decades than anybody had seen since the Republican Great Depression.
And his War on Colleges jacked up the cost of education so high that an entire generation is today so saddled with more than $1.5 trillion in student debt that many aren’t willing to jeopardize it all by “acting up” on campuses.
The key to selling all this to the American people was the idea that the US shouldn’t protect the rights of workers, subsidize education, or enforce Civil Rights laws because, they said, government itself is a remote, dangerous and incompetent power that can legally use guns to enforce its will.
As Reagan told us in his first inaugural, government was not the solution to our problems, but instead was the problem itself.
He ridiculed the formerly-noble idea of service to one’s country and joked that there were really no good people left in government because if they were smart or competent they’d be working in the private sector for a lot more money.
He told us that the nine most frightening words in the English language were, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, billionaires associated with the Republicans built a massive infrastructure of think tanks and media outlets to promote and amplify the message. It so completely swept America that by the 1990s even President Bill Clinton was saying things like, “The era of big government is over,” and “This is the end of welfare as we know it.” Limbaugh, Hannity and other right-wing talkers were getting millions a year in subsidies from groups like the Heritage Foundation.
Which brings us to President Joe Biden’s speech.
Probably the most important thing he said in that speech was almost completely ignored by the mainstream American press. It certainly didn’t make a single headline, anywhere.
Yet President Biden said something that Presidents Clinton and Obama were absolutely unwilling to say, so deeply ingrained was the Reagan orthodoxy about the dangers of “big government” during their presidencies.
President Biden said, “We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. We, the people.“
This was an all-out declaration of war on the underlying premise of the Reagan Revolution. And a full-throated embrace of the first three words of the Constitution.
In March, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the “mysterious cycle in human events.” He correctly identified the end of the Republican orthodoxy cycle of the 1920s, embodied in the presidencies of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, of deregulation, privatization and tax cuts.
(Warren Harding in 1920 successfully ran for president on two slogans. The first was “A return to normalcy,” which meant dropping Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s 90% tax bracket down to 25%, something Harding did in his first few years in office. The second was, “Less government in business, more business in government.” In other words, deregulate and privatize. These actions, of course, brought us the Great Crash and what was known for a generation as the Republican Great Depression.)
Americans are now watching, for the third time in just 30 years, a Democratic president clean up the economic and social debris of a prior Republican presidency.
They’re starting to figure out that crushing the middle-class didn’t produce prosperity and stability, but instead destroyed tens of millions of people’s lives and dreams.
And they’re seeing the hollowness of the Republican’s promises as we all watch, aghast, as the GOP scrambles to mobilize the last remnants of its white racist base, at the same time waging an all-out war on the ability of Black, young and working-class people to vote.
President Biden’s speech was the beginning of the end for the Republicans, although it appears only a few of them realize it. (Marco Rubio is apparently one of those who’ve figured it out: he’s now supporting Amazon workers who want to unionize in Alabama!)
Let’s hope the damage the GOP has done over the last 40 years isn’t so severe that America can’t be brought back from the brink of chaos and desperation.
Hopefully, it’s a new day in America.
Kirk postulated in 1951 that if the middle-class got too wealthy, we would see an absolute collapse of our nation’s social order, producing chaos, riots and possibly even the end of the republic.
Burke and his contemporaries in the late 1700s believed that if working-class people made too much money, they would challenge the social order and collapse the British form of government. So Parliament passed a law making it illegal for employers to pay people over a certain amount, so as to keep wage earners right at the edge of poverty throughout their lives. (For the outcome of this policy, read pretty much any Dickens novel.)
What’s infuriating about this is…..
Their plan was to declare war on labor unions so wages could slide back down again, end free college all across the nation so students would be in fear rather than willing to protest, and increase the penalties Nixon had already put on drugs so they could use those laws against hippy antiwar protesters and Black people.
While it looks from the outside like the singular mission of the Reagan Revolution was simply to help rich people and giant corporations get richer and bigger, the ideologues driving the movement actually believed they were helping to restore safety and stability to the United States, both politically and economically.
That is EXACTLY the kind of attitude fascists in Europe had before World War II!
I should point out that we Americans went through a FOUR YEAR LONG CIVIL WAR in which over a million Americans on both sides were killed and entire cities were devastated, and yet the American republic not only did not fall, it came out STRONGER because we no longer had that slavery issue dividing us!
The entire premise of the conservative movements in both the United Kingdom and the United States was based on so many damned lies and delusions that I think we would be totally justified in CRUSHING IT COMPLETELY, just as we crushed the Confederacy in 1865! Instead, we tolerate it because we have forgotten our true principles.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Conservatism by its very nature DENIES that! It must be considered UNAMERICAN!!!
Racists should be consistent in their bigotry
I always assumed that most racists rejected and looked down on ALL members of minorities, without exception. But that appears to not be the case sometimes.
Take a look at this discussion:
“expat Shaun Cromber voted Leave but said he did not believe Brexit would end his Spanish lifestyle. He said: “Yes I voted out, but I didn’t realise it would come to this.”
So he voted for the UK to leave the EU, but then did not immediately leave the EU to return to the UK? Seriously???
This is literally the classic leave voter. Yeah we voted leave but didn’t think anything negative would actually happen.
‘Get those dirty Italian and Spanish foreigners out of the UK….but oh let me stay in their country so I can enjoy their lifestyle’.
Then the discussion went beyond the issue of Brexit.
I spent most of the past decade working (legally) in China. You wouldn’t believe the number of American “expats” I met there “teaching” English on tourist & business visas. For most I didn’t care about their status…except the ones who ranted on about “illegals” back home. I took great pleasure in discussing & highlighting their illegal status. Most didn’t get the irony of their situation due to exceptionalism.
Note: I was an economic migrant. I had a choice of being unemployed/redundant back home or move to China.
A Trump supporter’s husband was deported in 2017 and she says that Trump was only supposed to deport “bad” people and not illegal immigrants like her husband. She Trump made a mistake, but still has her support.
and then they interviewed other Karens from the same town. Apparnetly the genetleman deported had lived in the town for 20 + years, raised a family there, OWNED THE ONLY MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN TOWN, was loved by all the people there……
Interview after interview these white folks said they LOVED TRUMP and still supported his push to get rid of illegals, but they wanted him to make an exception for their illegal.
Just like every other thing and republicans…..they are filled with hate and anger until their policies affect themselves…..then they have an epiphany, say something akin to “I didn’t think the leopards would eat my face” and then keep on hating the next day.* (* explained at bottom)
Hate is their fuel. Just like old people’s medicine is for the robots that are going to take over and kill us all.
*: I just made a comment about 30 minutes ago about Republicans who protest outside abortion clinics. I’ve read countless interviews with abortion clinic nurses and providers who repeatedly state that many of the same women that protest wind up in their clinic receiving their services, but ALWAYS say something along these lines, “Well, you see, my situation is special. I wasn’t a whore like all the other girls that come here.”
And then after being treated with kindness and compassion, the abortion protestor is seen outside the very clinic they received an abortion at less than a week afterwards, yelling hateful things to the people that treated them with kindness. Just another example of someone who can’t fathom life outside of their own little minds until they are thrust into the same situation. Then, instead of it changing their viewpoint and becoming a better person, they think they’re the exception and go on right back to hating.
I listened to an NPR interview a couple months ago (up to 6 months ago I’d say, so I may get some details wrong) where the host did a segment on one gentleman. He was from Mexico, but his family got him US citizenship when he was a child and moved him up here. I think they said he joined the Navy for a time before getting out and joining Border Patrol. He was a distinguished border patrol agent, got several awards and a fair amount of recognition over his 10+ year career.He talked about how he didn’t always agree with who he was tasked with deporting, but it was the law and how things worked and he left it at that. I was honestly kind of pissed with how he could view someone in such similar circumstances as himself, but because their family didn’t do their due diligence, they deserved to have everything taken from them in an instant. Him and his wife both voted for Trump, despite him being an immigrant.And then they talked about how he was called into his supervisors office one day where he was met with a couple other federal agents. He was informed that his US birth certificate was actually a forgery and completely fake, and he had been illegally living and working in the US for a few decades. He was ordered to turn in his badge, his gun, and then told that he would need to fight it in the courts. Y’know, just like all the people he had arrested over the years. He had no idea, his parents/grandparents had lied to him since he was a boy.Him and his wife were very upset, obviously, and got legal help. During the interview he had mentioned that they had been fighting in the courts for a couple years already, but they had just submitted their final appeal, likely in vain. They couldn’t believe that he, a distinguished federal employee and veteran, couldn’t be granted any sort of leniency to try and prevent him from being deported, or that Trump had enacted such tough immigration laws and had basically abandoned them when they felt they needed him.The whole interview, like I said, pissed me off because I honestly felt the guy was getting what he deserved. He broke the rules, just like he said all those people he had apprehended over the years, and they needed to suffer the consequences. But once the shoe was on his foot, and he was the one being deported, all of a sudden it’s “this isn’t fair, this isn’t right, this isn’t just,” blah blah blah.The most astounding part? I’m pretty sure they both said they (the guy and his wife) had or were going to vote for Trump again in 2020, and… Just, I don’t get people. The Republican Party and those who follow it are the epitome of “rules for thee, not for me,” and this guy was acting like he was unjustly being targeted when he was literally guilty of everything they said he had done.
And Trump himself is responsible for Melania’s parents.
I watched an episode of that show Ghosted on MTV. There was a white girl who had been ghosted by her black friend. She couldn’t figure out why. It turns out she was a Trump supporter and would post all kinds of hateful stuff on FB. When they found her former friend the ghoster was like you really don’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be friends with you?
There was the case of a German Army officer who had to deal with a Swedish diplomat (Sweden was neutral in World War II) who eventually revealed he was Jewish. The German officer said, “You are a good Jew. I wouldn’t consider you my enemy.”
That German was still a Hitler supporter to the end, of course.
there was this saying that every German had their “good Jew”. You know, that one Jew who wasn’t like the others, all the others were terrible, but that one Jew they knew, he wasn’t like that.
It’s always easier to hate a big abstract group of people than the people you actually know.
There’s a very important corollary this that I want to note; despite what they claim, they don’t actually believe that abortion is wrong. They just believe that the wrong kind of people are getting abortions.
This is prevalent in Conservative attitudes to literally everything. It’s all about hierarchies, and making sure that the right kind of people are at the top of those hierarchies. Everything is acceptable, when the right people are doing it.
This reminds me of this earlier blog entry:
The Dumbest Kind of Trump Supporter
And the cases of Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond come to mind as well. Both had relationships and even children with black women……and both were racists and championed racist policies. BOTH WERE HYPOCRITES!
And that’s why I have always said:
I believe in consistent standards of right and wrong and so I see no point in ever excusing something that is wrong because the wrongdoer is otherwise a friendly or nice guy. That’s how corruption sets in.
And corruption is the only thing Conservatives in ANY society seem to do. People enable that nonsense because it seems they only want to be good to a certain point and when that point is reached and ethical consistency starts to make their lives a bit less convenient for them (but beneficial for people that are different from them), they embrace corruption instead. And so they might as well not be good at all.
My list for the Ten Worst Presidents of the United States
Here’s a list, based entirely on my opinions; feel free to disagree and make your own.
Donald Trump (for reasons too many to list)
George W. Bush (for starting the totally needless war against Iraq in 2003)
Andrew Jackson (for being a racist who expelled entire Native American tribes to the west)
James Buchanan (for doing nothing to prevent the southern states from setting up the Confederacy)
Herbert Hoover (for doing nothing to end the Great Depression)
Ronald Reagan (for the Iran-Contra scandal, his “Reaganomics” scam and removing the Fairness Doctrine)
Richard Nixon (for Watergate and for his “southern strategy” of making the Republican Party appealing to southern white racists)
Rutherford B. Hayes (for benefiting from an election stolen from the Democrats and ending Reconstruction without reforming the South enough to make it fair to blacks)
Warren G. Harding (for appointing corrupt people to high positions that caused a lot of scandals)
Woodrow Wilson (a racist who endorsed the Ku Klux Klan propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” and led the USA into World War I after being re-elected in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war”. So, he lied!)
Joe Walsh, ex-Republican, anti-Trump, but still conservative
It’s no secret that as a progressive/liberal/leftist I bitterly despise most conservatives, seeing nearly all of them as hypocrites who deserve no respect at all. But there is one that I have noticed recently on Twitter that challenges that perception quite well and so he may indeed be the exception that brings redemption to conservatism as a philosophy. He is Joe Walsh.
But before I actually talk about him, read this first:
When a bad guy turns good. This usually makes for a good plot, for three reasons:
- It lets the writer reintroduce the villain as a “darker, edgier” hero.
- It reinforces a desired notion of the inherent goodness within people.
- It prevents the Worthy Opponent from falling victim to What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.
There are also various in-story motivations for the bad guy to make the turn:
- An encounter with an All-Loving Hero or gaining a Morality Pet.
- Discovering that Being Evil Sucks or possibly that Good Feels Good.
- An Enemy Mine situation leading to Fire Forged Friendship or The Power of Love in the form of Deliver Us from Evil or Love Redeems changing their priorities. Conversely Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal makes them rethink their loyalties.
- Realizing that they are a Noble Demon.
- A Heel Realization, if they had never considered their actions evil or wrong in the first place.
- They become friends with a hero after fighting them.
- A case of Even Evil Has Standards, if one villain becomes a good guy to stop another villain from doing something so horrible that they just cannot allow it.
Now on to our actual subject:
William Joseph Walsh (born December 27, 1961) is an American politician, conservative talk radio host, former social worker, and former 2020 Republican presidential candidate who served one term in the United States House of Representatives representing Illinois’s 8th congressional district.
Born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area, Walsh began his career as a social worker providing education and job skills training to students in low income areas, gradually becoming more politically active. Walsh had unsuccessfully campaigned for Congress in 1996 and the Illinois House of Representatives in 1998, but was elected to the U.S. House in 2010, defeating three-term incumbent Melissa Bean. Though he received little Republican Party support in his bid against Bean, he was popular with the Tea Party movement. In the 1990s, he identified as a moderate Republican, but he later became a conservative and a Tea Party activist.
During his time in Congress, Walsh was criticized for his often personal attacks against members of the Democratic Party and, specifically, President Barack Obama. He accused the president of abandoning the U.S.–Israel alliance and bankrupting the country. Walsh maintained a no-compromise approach to legislating that included rejecting any tax increases. He consistently voted against raising the federal debt ceiling and authored a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Walsh rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and supported tougher border control. Later, during his presidential campaign, Walsh expressed regret for some of the comments and stances he made during his time in Congress.
As a result of redistricting following the 2010 United States Census, Walsh’s district was redrawn by the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly in 2012. While he initially planned to run in the newly drawn 14th district against fellow Republican Representative Randy Hultgren, he eventually decided to run in the remapped 8th district against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth. Walsh was defeated by Duckworth in the general election on November 6, 2012. After leaving office, Walsh began hosting a talk radio show. Though initially a strong supporter of Donald Trump, Walsh became increasingly critical of the president and, on August 25, 2019, he announced his presidential campaign. He dropped out of the race on February 7, 2020, after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus, and subsequently left the party. He later endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who won the election.
Say whatever else you will about this guy, but he is not (anymore, at least) a liar. He just doesn’t seem to be a backstabber like so many others I could refer to.
His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/WalshFreedom
And here are some of his actual recent tweets:
I’m going to be watching him over the next few months, at least. And maybe listening to him too.
If he really wants to make a difference soon, I think he should join the Libertarian Party and build it up to overthrow the corrupted Republicans.
Rush Scumbaugh is dead
Read this story:
Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio titan, has died of lung cancer at age 70
Considering all the terrible things Limbaugh said and promoted, and his demonization of liberals, I can only think of one thing in reference to his death:
I mean I don’t believe in hell because there is no evidence it exists, but people like Limbaugh make me wish he could be sent there!
Understanding Marginal Tax Rates
Increasing numbers of American billionaires have appeared since the Republicans began cutting taxes for the rich, first under President Reagan, then under Bush Jr (Bush Sr condemned this as “voodoo economics” even before Reagan’s time) and finally under Trump. And it’s time we ended that crap forever! The proliferation of billionaires is not a sign of economic prosperity, but distress, since the members of the working class have not increased their buying power in the same time. That would only happen if their wages went up, but economic conservatives tend to oppose that and thus the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. A person CANNOT make a living at such a wage!
It is a moral and logical imperative that we raise marginal tax rates on the wealthy to properly fund the government and prevent economic tyranny from those same rich people.
Imagine such a tax policy in place. If we have a tax rate of 0% for people who make up to $50,000 per year, a rate of 30% on those who make up to $100,000 per year, 50% for those who make up to $1,000,000 per year, and finally 90% for those who make above $1,000,000 per year, here’s what the results would look like.
First example is a person with annual wages of $90,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then 30% on the remaining $40,000, so he would pay $12,000 in tax, resulting in his keeping $78,000.
Second example is someone with annual wages of $800,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax) and then 50% of the remaining $700,000 ($350,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $435,000.
Finally, you have someone who makes $100,000,000 per year. His tax rates would be nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax), 50% of the next $900,000 ($450,000 in tax) and finally 90% of $99,000,000 ($89,100,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $10,435,000. He would still be rich!
The ONLY ethical reason to lower taxes on ANY people is if those tax rates were so high that they were keeping people in poverty. That only applies to the working class.
As I noted a long time ago:
Two Reasons for Public Ignorance
We delude ourselves into thinking that if having a million dollars is good, having ten million must be better, so we strive for that while never thinking of anyone who considers himself lucky to even have $100,000. Or never gets even close to having that much.
Greed is a vice and we must do everything we can to condemn it and prevent people from getting away with it.
Obama bashing, Libertarian style
Tax hikes on the wealthy are to punish GREED, not success. There’s nothing wrong with making enough money to live comfortably on, but if you make enough to become a BILLIONAIRE, you become more of a parasite than a contributor to the economy.
And hearing that so many of these rich people have become even RICHER even in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (throwing millions of workers into unemployment) makes me want to go after them!
Incidentally, Wayne Allyn Root, the guy who wrote that cynical hit piece I quoted in the blog entry about President Obama, was later disowned by most of the other Libertarians because of his racism and his constant lying. He is now a Republican and ally of Donald Trump. If I were God, I’d send that bastard to hell!
And here is a cartoon that also explains how marginal taxes work:
The New York Post vs. a Right-wing Extremist in Congress
Read this Wikipedia entry:
The New York Post (sometimes abbreviated as NY Post) is a conservative-leaning daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.
It was established in 1801 by Federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and became a respected broadsheet in the 19th century under the name New York Evening Post. In 1976, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million. Since 1993, the Post has been owned by News Corporation and its successor, News Corp, which had owned it previously from 1976 to 1988. Its distribution ranked 4th in the US in 2019.
Keep in mind that this tabloid is thus owned by the same company that owns FOX News, which is notorious for its obvious right-wing biases. And yet it seems that even they are becoming fed up with extremism among Republicans in the wake of Donald Trump about to leave the Presidency.
Now read THIS:
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and husband racked up arrests in home district
Rep. Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting freshman Republican Colorado congresswoman who ran on a law-and-order platform, has had several dust-ups with police, starting as a teenager.
The 34-year-old lawmaker, who beat her district’s very conservative Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary upset last June, has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.
And her track record of thumbing her nose at law continued this week after she tussled with Capitol Police officers over her refusal to walk through newly installed House metal detectors.
“I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC, and within the Capitol complex,” she tweeted in defiance, while calling the detectors “another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.”
While the lawmaker was eventually allowed to enter the House chambers, she is facing growing questions about her role in assisting the deadly riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6. Just hours before the violence, she tweeted, “today is 1776.” In the days leading up to the unrest, Boebert made a spectacle of her intention to remain armed in the Capitol, earning another rebuke from local law enforcement.
Back in June 2015, Boebert was cuffed for disorderly conduct at a Country Music festival near Grand Junction, Colo., after police said she attempted to interfere in the arrest of minors busted for underage drinking and encouraged the accused to run off. Boebert said the revelers had not been read their Miranda Rights and that the arrest was illegal.
“Lauren continued yelling and causing the underage drinkers to become unruly,” an arresting officer said in a statement at the time. “Lauren said multiple times that she had friends at Fox News and that the illegal arrest would be national news.” At the time, Boebert was running Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo. The story was first reported by Colorado Newsline.
Boebert subsequently missed two court appearances and was arrested again in December 2015. The charge was dismissed.
A year later, in September 2016, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a ditch, police said. When she failed to show up for court a month later, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked on Feb. 13, 2017. She ultimately pled guilty to the unsafe vehicle charge and paid $123.50 in fines and court costs. The careless driving charge was dismissed. The incident was first surfaced by the Colorado Times Recorder.
“It’s certainly of concern that on a couple of occasions she apparently failed to appear for court,” Tom Silverman, a Democrat and former president of Colorado Municipal Judges Association, told The Post. “I was disappointed when she was elected.”
Colin Wilhelm, a Colorado defense attorney and Democrat who plans to challenge Boebert in 2022, agreed: “It’s concerning when you claim to be a member of ‘back the blue’ and yet are so anti-authority when they are trying to do their job.”
In September 2010, Boebert was arrested after a neighbor, Michele Soet, accused Boebert’s two pit bulls of attacking Soet’s dog. Soet’s dog narrowly escaped injury after jumping into a van. The future legislator pled guilty to a single count of “dog at large,” paying a $75 fine.
Boebert’s future husband Jayson also had brushes with law enforcement. In January 2004 he was arrested after allegedly exposing his penis to two women at a bowling alley, according to an arrest affidavit. Lauren Boebert (then aged 17 and known as Lauren Opal Roberts) was also there. Jayson Boebert pled guilty to public indecency and lewd exposure, earning himself four days in jail and two years probation.
In February 2004, he was booked on a domestic violence charge, against Lauren Boebert. He “did unlawfully strike, shove or kick … and subjected her to physical contact,” a spokesman for the Garfield Associate County Court clerk told The Post. They had been dating at the time.
Jayson Boebert ultimately served seven days in jail. The busts were first unearthed by Colorado blogger Anne Landman.
Lauren Boebert took her revenge in May 2004 during an altercation with Jayson at his home in which she scratched his face and chest and trashed his residence, according to a police report. She was slapped with third-degree assault, criminal mischief and underage drinking charges. A rep for the Garfield County Combined Court said they could not reveal any information about the case’s final disposition.
The Boeberts married in 2005, and have four children.
Jayson Boebert did not respond to a request for comment from The Post. In a statement, Rep. Boebert’s chief of staff Jeff Small called the arrests “a retread of a failed personal attack by the Democrats from the last campaign.”
“Attacking her family, trying to criminalize a $100 traffic fine or a dismissed case, and vilifying ordinary business transactions is exactly what people hate about politics.” he said.
Why the hell is such a hypocritical lunatic in Congress?!
This is what the Republican Party has totally degenerated into because of Donald Trump rising to become its leader! Biden replacing him as President is clearly not enough; we must oppose and defeat right-wing extremism in Congress too! Rep. Boebert and others like her must be voted out in 2022!
Even worse than Michelle Bachmann!
Read this disturbing report:
Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’ll file impeachment articles against Joe Biden on his first day in office
Newly elected Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has said she would be filing articles of impeachment against incoming president, Joe Biden, for alleged “abuse of power” on his first day at the Oval Office.
Representative Greene announced her plan on Twitter after the Democrat-controlled House passed the threshold to impeach president Donald Trump on charges of inciting insurrection. While 10 Republicans voted to support the impeachment article, congresswoman Greene was amongst the 197 House representatives, who defended the president.
“On January 21, 2021, I’ll be filing Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden for abuse of power,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtags, “#ImpeachBiden,” #QuidProJoe” and “BidenCrimeFamilly.”
Ms Greene, in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, said, “On behalf of the American people, we have to make sure that our leaders are held accountable. We cannot have a President of the United States that is willing to abuse the power of the presidency and be easily bought off by foreign governments, Chinese energy companies, Ukrainian energy companies.”
“I can’t imagine people in this country being so fearful of the future of a Biden presidency that they may be willing to commit violence like they did in the Capitol here in Washington, DC,” she continued. “The American people need hope, they need to know that there are Republicans in Congress who are willing to stand up and fight for them regardless of being in a minority, regardless of having all odds against us.”
The QAnon supporting congresswoman on Wednesday backed president Trump in the House in an attempt to minimise his role in the Capitol violence, while launching an attack on Democrats for supporting the Black Live Matter protest last year.
“He has held over 600 rallies in the last four years and none of them included assaulting police, destroying businesses or burning down cities,” she said. “Democrats have spent all this time endorsing and enabling violent riots that left billions in property damage and 47 dead.”
Before her speech, congressman Jason Crow denounced Ms Greene and those sharing her political view, as “depraved” and “dangerous”.
“There are, unfortunately, a handful of members of Congress — and Ms Taylor Green is just one of them — who are morally bankrupt,” Mr Crow told CNN. “They are depraved, and they’re frankly dangerous individuals.”
It seems like the height of absurdity to try to impeach someone who hasn’t even committed any offenses as President. And her rhetoric seems like baseless hyperbole.
The U. S. Constitution says this about the issue of impeachment:
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Rep. Greene could also be impeached and indeed:
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
And I think Greene should be expelled, because:
QAnon congresswoman is really trying to get someone killed with her latest incitement
Ten days after joining Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues building the case for her removal from the House of Representatives. In the wake of the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump trying to keep Congress from formalizing his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, Greene tweeted out another incitement to violence.
“These Democrats are the enemies to the American people who are leading the impeachment witch hunt against President Trump,” Greene tweeted Wednesday. “AGAIN!”
Then, ominously, “They will be held accountable.”
Enemies to the American people who will be held accountable, huh? That sounds like a call to violence from a member of Congress who described Jan. 6 as a “1776 moment.” When you have spent months trying to overturn an election and then compared the day on which a violent attack on the Capitol was planned to the American Revolution, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt on “enemies of the people” who “will be held accountable.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and she’s reveling in it. She’s positioning herself as some kind of brave freedom fighter, but she’s standing on the sidelines, in a position of privilege, egging others on to do her dirty work. She’s joined Trump in spending months working to convince his followers that the election was stolen—every single fact to the contrary—and now she’s trying to use that belief to get people killed. To get elected Democrats killed in a larger coup attempt.
She needs to go before (more) people are killed, not after.
Most Republicans are Conservative, but this person is a right-wing extremist, the sort that can incite a civil war to overthrow our Constitutional democracy. She must go!
Donald Trump is banned from social media!
As much as I usually hate censorship, it is telling that Twitter, which was the platform most infamous for hosting Donald Trump’s political rants over the years, finally grew a spine and shut him down for good!
Twitter bans President Trump permanently
Twitter has suspended President Trump from its platform, the company said Friday evening.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said.
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
Twitter’s decision followed two tweets by Trump Friday afternoon that would end up being his last. The tweets violated the company’s policy against glorification of violence, Twitter said, and “these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”
The first tweet was about Trump’s supporters.
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
The second indicated Trump did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter said the tweet concerning inauguration could be viewed as a further statement that the election was not legitimate. It also said that the tweet could be interpreted as Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not be attending.
Trump’s other statement about American patriots suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” Twitter said.
Twitter’s ban specifically addresses “the @realDonaldTrump account,” not Trump personally.
Twitter will enforce its policy against ban evasions to ensure that Trump does not circumvent his personal account’s suspension, the company told CNN.
“If it is clear that another account is being used for the purposes of evading a ban, it is also subject to suspension,” Twitter said in a statement. “For government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts but will take action to limit their use. However, these accounts will be transitioned over to the new administration in due course and will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary to alleviate real-world harm.”
Twitter’s policy would also prohibit Trump from directing a third party to operate a Twitter account on his behalf.
Trump sought to test Twitter’s ban evasion policy at roughly 8:30 pm ET Friday evening, when he or someone acting on his behalf published four tweets from the @POTUS account.
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me,” Trump tweeted.
The tweets disappeared almost instantly.
Twitter told CNN that the Trump campaign’s account has also been permanently banned. Before @TeamTrump was suspended, it had been seen sharing the same four-tweet thread that Trump had attempted to post from the @POTUS account.
After Twitter permanently banned the Trump campaign’s account, Mike Hahn, the campaign’s social media director, objected.
“We copied and pasted a White House pool report,” Hahn tweeted.
Earlier in the evening, a White House pool report was distributed that contained the exact language that Trump had attempted to share from the @POTUS Twitter account.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to CNN that what prompted @TeamTrump’s ban was its attempt to share the same language Trump tried to tweet earlier.
Hahn argued it is nonsensical for journalists to be allowed to share Trump’s words but that the Trump campaign is not.
“A serious question that needs to be asked by journalists: If you post exactly what the president said will you be suspended as well? Because that is all we did,” Hahn said.
Asked whether it saw a difference between journalists reporting Trump’s words and the Trump campaign repeating Trump’s words, Twitter told CNN that there was a distinction.
“There’s a difference between someone reporting on the President, and someone attempting to allow their account to be used by the president to essentially get around the ban,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Civil rights leaders who have long criticized tech platforms for spreading hate speech and division welcomed Twitter’s decision.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it an “excellent step.”
“A fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol,” Greenblatt said. “President Trump incited the violent riots at the Capitol using social media & paid the price.”
Eric Naing, a spokesman for Muslim Advocates, said Twitter “is showing real leadership.”
“As Twitter notes, letting Trump continue to post tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos for his white nationalist supporters risks ‘further incitement of violence,'” Naing said. “Now it is up to Facebook and Google/YouTube to follow Twitter’s lead.
Keep in mind that Trump was banned from a private company’s property. He will not and should not face jail time or any other legal punishment for merely exercising his right to free speech.
Nevertheless, he does belong in prison for his blatant acts of corruption and abuse he is known for and should stand trial for these things once he finally leaves office on January 20.
The Myth of American Innocence
Read this story:
Unlearning the myth of American innocence
When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world doesby Suzy Hansen
My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.
When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.
For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.
Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.
I grew up in Wall, a town located by the Jersey Shore, two hours’ drive from New York. Much of it was a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin’ Donuts. There was no centre, no Main Street, as there was in most of the pleasant beach towns nearby, no tiny old movie theatre or architecture suggesting some sort of history or memory.
Most of my friends’ parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, except for the rare father who worked in “the City”, and a handful of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who had little memory of their European origins, and my extended family ran an inexpensive public golf course, where I worked as a hot-dog girl in the summers. The politics I heard about as a kid had to do with taxes and immigrants, and not much else. Bill Clinton was not popular in my house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)
We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.
We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.
I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying in the Iran-Contra hearings; the scarred, evil-seeming face of Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega; the movie-like footage, all flashes of light, of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Gulf war. Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.
And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.
By the time I got to high school, I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough). Religion, politics, race – they washed over me like troubled things that obviously meant something to someone somewhere, but that had no relationship to me, to Wall, to America. I certainly had no idea that most people in the world felt those connections deeply. History – America’s history, the world’s history – would slip in and out of my consciousness with no resonance whatsoever.
Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however – those things, on some unconscious level, I must have known. They were expressed in the fear of Asbury Park, which was black; in the resentment of the towns of Marlboro and Deal, which were known as Jewish; in the way Hispanics seemed exotic. Much of the Jersey Shore was segregated as if it were still the 1950s, and so prejudice was expressed through fear of anything outside Wall, anything outside the tiny white world in which we lived. If there was something that saved us from being outwardly racist, it was that in small towns such as Wall, especially for girls, it was important to be nice, or good – this pressure tempered tendencies toward overt cruelty when we were young.
I was lucky that I had a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, an older brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, and a father who spent his evenings studying obscure golf antiques, lost in the pleasures of the past. In these days of the 1%, I am nostalgic for Wall’s middle-class modesty and its sea-salt Jersey Shore air. But as a teenager, I knew that the only thing that could rescue me from the Wall of fear was a good college.
I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania. The lack of interest in the wider world that I had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the children were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the business school students were told that they were “the smartest people in the country”, or so I had heard. (Donald Trump Jr was there then, too.) In the late 1990s, everyone at Penn wanted to be an investment banker, and many would go on to help bring down the world economy a decade later. But they were more educated than I was; in American literature class, they had even heard of William Faulkner.
When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of going to Penn solely to find a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and the boys at Penn made fun of the Camaros we drove in high school. Class in America was not something we understood in any structural or intellectual way; class was a constellation of a million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and the insult, loss or acquisition of any of them could transform one’s future entirely.
In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world.
Still, I cannot remember any of us being conscious of foreign events during my four years of college. There were wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldn’t keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq – nope.
I knew “Saddam Hussein”, which had the same evil resonance as “communism”. I remember the movie Wag the Dog, a satire in which American politicians start a fake war with foreign “terrorists” to distract the electorate during a domestic scandal – which at the time was what many accused Clinton of doing when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I never thought about Afghanistan. What country was in Wag the Dog? Albania. There was a typical American callousness in our reaction to the country they chose for the movie, an indifference that said, Some bumblefuck country, it doesn’t matter which one they choose.
I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.
But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?
It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:
But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.
And this one:
All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.
And this one:
White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.
I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.
I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.
Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.”
Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.
In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.
In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.
When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldn’t believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldn’t conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed America’s race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.
In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?
My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.
American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.
In my first few months in Istanbul, I lived a formless kind of existence, days dissolving into the nights. I had no office to go to, no job to keep, and I was 30 years old, an age at which people either choose to grow up or remain stuck in the exploratory, idle phase of late-late youth. Starting all over again in a foreign country – making friends, learning a new language, trying to find your way through a city – meant almost certainly choosing the latter. I spent many nights out until the wee hours – such as the evening I drank beer with a young Turkish man named Emre, who had attended college with a friend of mine from the US.
A friend had told me that Emre was one of the most brilliant people he had ever met. As the evening passed, I was gaining a lot from his analysis of Turkish politics, especially when I asked him whether he voted for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and he spat back, outraged, “Did you vote for George W Bush?” Until that point I had not realised the two might be equivalent.
Then, three beers in, Emre mentioned that the US had planned the September 11 attacks. I had heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Turkey; for example, when the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself had done it; they believed it even in cases where Turkish civilians had died. In other words, the idea was that rightwing forces, such as the military, bombed neutral targets, or even rightwing targets, so they could then blame it on the leftwing groups, such as the PKK. To Turks, bombing one’s own country seemed like a real possibility.
“Come on, you don’t believe that,” I said.
“Why not?” he snapped. “I do.”
“But it’s a conspiracy theory.”
He laughed. “Americans always dismiss these things as conspiracy theories. It’s the rest of the world who have had to deal with your conspiracies.”
I ignored him. “I guess I have faith in American journalism,” I said. “Someone else would have figured this out if it were true.”
He smiled. “I’m sorry, there’s no way they didn’t have something to do with it. And now this war?” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “It’s impossible that the United States couldn’t stop such a thing, and impossible that the Muslims could pull it off.”
Some weeks later, a bomb went off in the Istanbul neighborhood of Güngören. A second bomb exploded out of a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. No one knew who did it. All that week, Turks debated: was it al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or maybe: the deep state?
The deep state – a system of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outside of the law, sometimes at the behest of the official military – was a whole other story. Turks explained that the deep state had been formed during the cold war as a way of countering communism, and then mutated into a force for destroying all threats to the Turkish state. The power that some Turks attributed to this entity sometimes strained credulity. But the point was that Turks had been living for years with the idea that some secret force controlled the fate of their nation.
In fact, elements of the deep state were rumoured to have had ties to the CIA during the cold war, and though that too smacked of a conspiracy theory, this was the reality that Turkish people lived in. The sheer number of international interventions the US launched in those decades is astonishing, especially those during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There were the successful assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961; General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, also in 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There were the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There were the much hoped-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, of course, US-sponsored, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks believed that the US at least encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Turkey, though I could find little about these events in any conventional histories anywhere.
But what I could see was that the effects of such meddling were comparable to those of September 11 – just as huge, life-changing and disruptive to the country and to people’s lives. Perhaps Emre did not believe that September 11 was a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience – his reality – taught him that very rarely were any of these surreally monumental events easily explainable. I did not think Emre’s theory about the attacks was plausible. But I began to wonder whether there was much difference between a foreigner’s paranoia that the Americans planned September 11 and the Americans’ paranoia that the whole world should pay for September 11 with an endless global war on terror.
The next time a Turk told me she believed the US had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with some regularity; this time it was from a young student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University), I repeated my claim about believing in the integrity of American journalism. She replied, a bit sheepishly, “Well, right, we can’t trust our journalism. We can’t take that for granted.”
The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?
I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?
American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.
By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.
Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldn’t know it – even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.
I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey – the liberal ones – were indeed questioning what “Turkishness” meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatürk, Turkey’s first president; about the supposed evil of the Armenians and the Kurds and the Arabs; about the fragility of their borders and the rapaciousness of all outsiders; and about the historic and eternal goodness of the Turkish republic.
“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”
“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”
It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.
During that night of conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as foreigners often did, that I was a spy. The information that I was collecting as a journalist, Emre said, was really being used for something else. As an American emissary in the wider world, writing about foreigners, governments, economies partaking in some larger system and scheme of things, I was an agent somehow. Emre lived in the American world as a foreigner, as someone less powerful, as someone for whom one newspaper article could mean war, or one misplaced opinion could mean an intervention by the International Monetary Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my lack of generosity could be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but would be taken for truth by the newspapers and magazines I wrote for, thus shaping perceptions of Turkey for ever.
Years later, an American journalist told me he loved working for a major newspaper because the White House read it, because he could “influence policy”. Emre had told me how likely it was I would screw this up. He was saying to me: first, spy, do no harm.
American innocence was a lie from the very beginning.
White Americans need to grow up!
Indeed, the entire history of the USA, can be summed up as follows:
WHITE people from Europe came to North America, displaced RED people from lands they had lived on for thousands of years, captured and brought from Africa BLACK people to be our slaves, conquered more land from BROWN people in the southwest, and finally fought not one, not two, but three wars against YELLOW people on the other side of the world.
There are other matters to consider that most American don’t usually think about, but they are no less true.
The simple fact that Cuba’s Communist government did not collapse soon after the ones in eastern Europe did totally discredited the political narrative that the USA has made about Cuba since the 1960s: that Communism is by nature oppressive and when given the chance all people will embrace democracy and capitalism. The reason this is false: Cuba never had democracy, but before the 1960s was ruled by dictators that were friendly to the USA because they were also pro-capitalist! CAPITALISM DOES NOT PROMOTE DEMOCRACY! And the trade embargo forced on Cuba actually enabled Fidel Castro to demonize the USA as a bully and hypocrite for decades, keeping him in power.
Indeed, throughout the Cold War period (late 1940s to late 1980s) we Americans were NOT fighting for freedom and democracy against Communism but for capitalism, which led us to do some really despicable things to other countries (Iran in 1953, Chile in 1973, Vietnam in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s, among other examples). The notion that capitalism promotes freedom is one of the biggest lies ever invented; A corporation in a capitalist economy actually operates like a dictatorship, with the workers taking orders from their superiors and having no say in who their corporate executives are or what they do.
Remember when Hitler referred to the Holocaust as the “final solution”? Because the Nazis has been discriminating against Jews for years and most Jews remained in Germany.
Once you start down the path of dehumanizing anyone, you make it easier to kill them eventually. It could also happen in America against any despised minority, such as Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
There are two “problems” with my argument above about the Holocaust. One, we tend to demonize Hitler, calling him a monster rather than a man. Second, we think very highly of ourselves and our country and think we would never been so horrible.
But he wasn’t a monster, he was a human product of his time and culture, just as most of us are. And we HAVE committed acts of genocide and outright conquest! We actually put Native American tribes by the thousands into concentration camps called “reservations”. We even did the same to Japanese-Americans during World War II, even while fighting Hitler! We did not exterminate them….but we could have!
The Gulf War of 1990-1991 was notable for two things that I did not even consider when it was happening but are clear to me now.
- The dispute between Saddam Hussein and the government of Kuwait that led to the invasion of Kuwait was absolutely NONE of the United States’ business, period. It should have been kept a local matter.
- There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack Saudi Arabia or any other country.
So why did we launch Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, put Iraq under economic sanctions and no-fly zones for over a decade and then finally finish off Saddam in the Iraq War starting in 2003? I have not the foggiest idea. Everything I was told before about why we went to war both times was shown over time to be……lies.
When we attacked Iraq in 2003, we claimed it was because it had weapons of mass destruction. But we seemed to ignore just how much smaller and weaker Iraq always was compared to us Americans. The whole point of a small and weak country developing such weapons would be to deter attacks by its enemies. So in essence, even if the claim was true, we would have been attacking Iraq for trying to prevent its being attacked! Bush Jr was not just a liar, but a pathetic bully too!
People who consider the Japanese during World War II as horribly evil for what they did to their neighbors and to Americans never consider two things:
- The Japanese were isolationists for much of their history and rarely attacked anyone else before the 20th Century.
- They were finally forced to open up to the rest of the world by….the United States, which wanted to trade with them.
And when Japan looked at the rest of the world, including the United States, what did they see? Imperialism everywhere! So of course they thought they had just as much right to wage war on others as the Europeans and Americans were doing themselves.
WE made Japan what it became in that war! As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around.
I was born in 1969, raised in a family of Republicans and came of age when Ronald Reagan was still President, but I am now so hard-core liberal that some might call me a socialist. Why? Because the more I look at how America and much of the world has been run since the 1980s, the more I see white, rich and “Christian” people screwing with the rest of the world to profit themselves while keeping poor white Christians sedated with bogus issues like “religious freedom” and you can’t do that and sincerely claim to promote freedom and justice for all. And if you are not doing that, you are a DAMNED PARASITE!
Conservatism itself has never been an honest, ethical, or productive ideology. All Donald Trump really did was tear off the phony rhetoric and show the people what is at the actual core of right-wing political ideas. To be a conservative in the USA, you must believe at least one of the following:
- That whites deserve more social power than non-whites.
- That men deserve more social power than women.
- That Christians deserve more social power than non-Christians.
- That straights deserve more social power than gays/lesbians.
- That cis-gender people deserve more social power than trans-gender people.
- That the rich deserve more social power than the poor.
That’s it. If you truly believe in “liberty and justice for ALL”, then you CANNOT be a conservative!Conservatism is not so much a distinct political philosophy as it is an attitude based on the already powerful doing whatever they can via social engineering to keep their power. For example, in the last days of the Soviet Union, hard-line Communists were the conservatives of that society. In the late 1770s, conservatives in the American colonies were called “Loyalists” because they opposed the American Revolution and professed loyalty to the British King. In the early 19th Century, they supported slavery and in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they opposed equal rights for racial minorities. In religions, they support traditional dogmas and morals, even at the expense of objective truth and justice.Conservatives are backstabbers of every democracy, every scientific advancement and every movement to make equality a genuine thing in real life. We must find a way someday to destroy it completely and forever!
Conservative political philosophy is based on three standards that were the norm centuries ago:
- Obedience to religious authorities.
- Every person or family fending for themselves.
- The majority ruling as an upper class over minorities, regardless of merit.
Under those standards it was common for people to starve, to become homeless, and to be treated with contempt for either being a lesser being or failing to obey unrealistic rules.
Liberals have an absolute standard of justice that rejects all these standards. The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were LIBERAL documents. We have been generally moving in a more liberal direction ever since 1787. But conservatives constantly lie to the people to justify their hijacking our government so they can try to restore the older standards that benefit them.
I am a white, cis-gendered male of Protestant background and a natural born American citizen, so I have several reasons to feel privileged and thus vote for conservatives that claim to represent MY interests. Then I remember that I am also a member of the working class and all those other issues mean NOTHING. If you are poor, what does being of a certain race, gender, or anything else matter? Only an idiot thinks otherwise.
I abandoned the myth of American innocence in college when I was about age 20. And I didn’t need to go to a foreign country to see the truth about America either.
Media Bias is a Thing NOW, Not Before the 1980s
Thomas Jefferson was a perfect embodiment of both sides of American Politics
Thomas Jefferson is known as one of America’s Founding Fathers. He helped write the Declaration of Independence in 1776, served in many positions in government, and finally was the third President of the United States.
Reference to him was made on this blog earlier here: The Louisiana “Purchase”
Note that this was a deal made between two white leaders, Thomas Jefferson (himself a slaveowner and rapist of at least one of his slaves) and Napoleon (a military dictator who would later wage war on a massive scale across Europe, just as Adolph Hitler would over a century later). The various Native American tribes who lived in the vast regions north of New Orleans were never consulted about the purchase and would most likely not have agreed to it had they been informed of it. What the hell was France doing even claiming so much land to begin with???
After his wife died, Jefferson began having sex with one of his slaves, perhaps justified in his mind by her also being a half-sister to his wife, but despite having several children with her, he never did the honorable thing by freeing and marrying her. So technically, he raped her.
And yet Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
ALL men? Weren’t the slaves he owned men? Weren’t the Native Americans whose land that he bought from France also men? Of course they were!
Since the USA was founded, liberals in American politics have sought to make our laws and policies live up to Jefferson’s idealistic WORDS, while conservatives have repeatedly made America reflect Jefferson’s DEEDS, making the USA a nation of hypocrites. Perhaps that explains why we have been so cursed over the centuries, so tolerant of bigotry. Among other things, we saw fit to elect to the Presidency an increasingly corrupt and bigoted line of men (Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr, and finally Trump) that have made us look dishonorable before the world. And Jefferson started the trend. Perhaps we should someday end it by tearing down his legacy completely and try to build a new order without reference to him at all. One with absolutely NO room for conservatives and the bigotries that motivate them from start to finish. One in which only “good” and “godly” people would ever be able to rule America.
A Powerful Statement about Authoritarians
By Martin Mycielski, Committee for the Defence of Democracy (#KOD) resistance movement. All rights reserved.
What to expect?
- They will come to power with a campaign based on fear, scaremongering and distorting the truth. Nevertheless, their victory will be achieved through a democratic electoral process. But beware, as this will be their argument every time you question the legitimacy of their actions. They will claim a mandate from the People to change the system. Remember – gaining power through a democratic system does not give them permission to cross legal boundaries and undermine said democracy.
- They will divide and rule. Their strength lies in unity, in one voice and one ideology, and so should yours. They will call their supporters Patriots, the only “true Americans”. You will be labelled as traitors, enemies of the state, unpatriotic, the corrupt elite, the old regime trying to regain power. Their supporters will be the “People”, the “sovereign” who chose their leaders. Don’t let them divide you – remember you’re one People, one Nation, with one common good.
- Through convoluted laws and threats they will try to control mainstream media and limit press freedom. They will ban critical press from their briefings, calling them “liars”, “fake news”. They will brand those media as “unpatriotic”, acting against the People (see point 2). Fight for every media outlet, every journalist that is being banned, censored, sacked or labelled an “enemy of the state” – there’s no hope for freedom where there is no free press.
- They will create chaos, maintain a constant sense of conflict and danger. It will be their argument to enact new authoritarian laws, each one further limiting your freedoms and civil liberties. They will disguise them as being for your protection, for the good of the People. See through the chaos, the fake danger, expose it before you wake up in a totalitarian, fascist state.
- They will distort the truth, deny facts and blatantly lie. They will try to make you forget what facts are, sedate your need to find the truth. They will feed “post-truths” and “alternative facts”, replace knowledge and logic with emotions and fiction. Always think critically, fact-check and point out the truth, fight ignorance with facts.
- They will incite and then leak fake, superficial “scandals”. They will smear opposition with trivial accusations, blowing them out of proportion and then feeding the flame. This is just smokescreen for the legal steps they will be taking towards totalitarianism. See through superficial topics in mainstream media (see point 3) and focus on what they are actually doing.
- They will propose shocking laws to provoke your outrage. You will focus your efforts on fighting them, so they will seemingly back off, giving you a false sense of victory. In the meantime they will push through less “flashy” legislation, slowly dismantling democracy (see points 4 and 6). Focus your fight on what really matters.
- When invading your liberal sensibilities they will focus on what hurts the most – women and minorities. They will act as if democracy was majority rule without respect for the minority. They will paint foreigners and immigrants as potential threats. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities will become enemies to the order and security they are supposedly providing. They will challenge women’s social status, undermine gender equality and interfere with reproductive rights (see point 7). But it means they are aware of the threat women and minorities pose to their rule, so make it your strength. Women and minorities should fight the hardest, reminding the majority what true democracy is about.
- They will try to take control of the judiciary. They will assault your highest court. They need to remove the checks and balances to be able to push through unconstitutional legislation. Controlling the judiciary they can also threat anyone that defies them with prosecution, including the press (see point 3). Preserve the independence of your courts at all cost, they are your safety valve, the safeguard of the rule of law and the democratic system.
- They will try to limit freedom of assembly, calling it a necessity for your security. They will enact laws prioritizing state events and rallies, or those of a certain type or ideology. If they can choose who can demonstrate legally, they have a legal basis to forcefully disperse or prosecute the rest. Oppose any legislation attempting to interfere with freedom of assembly, for whatever reason.
- They will distort the language, coin new terms and labels, repeat shocking phrases until you accept them as normal and subconsciously associate them with whom they like. A “thief”, “liar” or “traitor” will automatically mean the opposition, while a “patriot” or a “true American” will mean their follower (see point 2). Their slogans will have double meaning, giving strength to their supporters and instilling angst in their opponents. Fight changes in language in the public sphere, remind and preserve the true meaning of words.
- They will take over your national symbols, associate them with their regime, remake them into attributes of their power. They want you to forget that your flag, your anthem and your symbols belong to you, the People, to everyone equally. Don’t let them be hijacked. Use and expose them in your fight as much as they do. Show your national symbols with pride, let them give you strength, not associate you with the tyranny they brought onto your country.
- They will try to rewrite history to suit their needs and use the education system to support their agenda. They will smear any historical or living figure who wouldn’t approve of their actions, or distort their image to make you think they would. They will place emphasis on historical education in schools, feeding young minds with the “only correct” version of history and philosophy. They will raise a new generation of voters on their ideology, backing it with a distorted interpretation of history and view of the world. Guard the education of your children, teach them critical thinking, ensure their open-mindedness and protect your real history and heritage.
- They will alienate foreign allies and partners, convincing you that don’t need them. They won’t care for the rest of the world, with their focus on “making your country great again”. While ruining your economy to fulfil their populist promises, they will omit the fact that you’re part of a bigger world whose development depends on cooperation, on sharing and on trade. Don’t let them build walls promising you security instead of bridges giving you prosperity.
- They will eventually manipulate the electoral system. They might say it’s to correct flaws, to make it more fair, more similar to the rest of the world, or just to make it better. Don’t believe it. They wouldn’t be messing with it at all if it wasn’t to benefit them in some way. Oppose any changes to electoral law that an authoritarian regime wants to enact – rest assured it’s only to help them remain in power longer.
And above all, be strong, fight, endure, and remember you’re on the good side of history.
EVERY authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist regime in history eventually failed, thanks to the PEOPLE.
- Win elections on fear & populist promises
- Reclaim power for the People from the “elites”
- Place cronies in positions of highest power regardless of their competence
- Purge highest positions in key government institutions
- Brush off any critical press as “fake”, “corrupt”, “acting against the People”
- Bluntly lie to the People
- Ban press from parliament/congress/White House or selectively limit their access
- Limit press freedom & quietly take control of mainstream media
- Label opposition & protesters as “traitors”, “elites trying to reclaim power”
- Limit freedom of assembly
- Fix highest court to be able to bypass Constitution “for the good of the people”
- Limit minority & women’s rights
- Ruin the economy to fulfil your populist promises in the short term
- Alienate international partners and allies, “making your country great again”
- Quietly fix electoral law under the disguise of making it better
- Start over, until there’s nothing left…
– With love, your Eastern European friends.
6 RULES for survival under an authoritarian regime
Don’t stay indifferent. It WILL concern you eventually. It will concern your family, your friends. Voice your objection IMMEDIATELY. Show them you care. RESIST.
They thrive on FEAR & IGNORANCE. Expose their scaremongering, show flaws in their arguments. Raise awareness, EDUCATE people around you. They will try to distort FACTS, rewrite history. DON’T LET THEM.
Organize protest movements, mobilize civil society. They’re well organized, so should you be. FLOOD THE STREETS. They WILL back off when they see your numbers. They depend on you – the PEOPLE.
Don’t let them DIVIDE you into different classes of citizens, “true Americans”, “patriots” vs “traitors”, “enemies of the state”. You’re ALL citizens, ONE nation, despite different beliefs and ideology. Make your diversity your STRENGTH. Stay TOGETHER for a common goal – survival of your country, of freedom and democracy.
Don’t give up, don’t get tired, and don’t try to wait it out. Don’t hope it will pass. It WON’T. They will manipulate the people, control the media to sway public opinion, fix the electoral system and STAY FOR GOOD.
If you don’t get them to back off or to step down, you better make goddamn SURE that when the next elections come, and if there’s still any democracy left, NO ONE will vote for the same bastard(s) again!
What if your neighbor, friend or relative supports the authoritarian regime?
7 RULES on approaching political opponents close to you
Don’t look down on them, don’t patronize them, even if you know what they’re saying has no factual basis or you find it offensive. Don’t preach, ask questions. Try to understand them, where they are coming from, what their problems are and why they see solutions to them in the regime. Treat them as people, as equals. They believe what they’re saying is true and they might have valid reasons for their support.
Don’t get emotional, don’t get provoked into heated arguments. Fight the other side’s emotions with your calm, logical approach. The angrier they get, the calmer you should be. They’ll calm down eventually.
Focus on what you have in common. Do you live in the same neighborhood? Do you work in the same company or sector? The smaller the community, the easier it is. Give examples, like “we all need to get this done for all of us, if we don’t cooperate neither of us will have it”.
Use their language, don’t treat it as inferior or below you – don’t seem patronizing (see rule 1). If they curse, curse with them. If they approach you with humor, don’t get angry or uptight about it, reply with humor. Show them you’re actually not that different (see rule 3). As long as you communicate on two different planes, you will never meet.
Don’t block their news sources, don’t turn away from their leaders and authority figures. Treat them as an insight to their worldview and tactics. Use them to your advantage, to better prepare for their arguments. Whenever you don’t agree with something or detect a lie, voice it calmly, expose it with factual arguments.
Pinpoint the practical, negative effects of their side’s actions, ones that affect them directly. Find examples of how they, their families, children or friends will be personally impacted by their policies, or how it will affect your shared community.
If all else fails, don’t turn away, don’t abandon your friends and family, don’t shun your neighbors. Remember – an authoritarian wants to divide you to control you. So invite them over to your BBQ, crack open a beer, and who knows, maybe they’ll realize you’re not so different after all.
With love, your Eastern European friends.
We must DESTROY the Republican Party!
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020, followed immediately by the so-called President Donald Trump and the Senate dictator Bitch McConArtist conspiring to replace her before the 2020 election, has illustrated to all that the Republican Party is run by absolute hypocrites and tyrants and is therefore a threat to the liberty of most Americans and the integrity of the nation as a whole. It must be completely defeated and put out of business forever! Remember that the Senate dictator refused to allow President Barack Obama to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in an election year, 2016, arguing that it should fall to the next President to decide such an issue. That was clearly a bullshit political maneuver that should have gotten the Senate dictator arrested and imprisoned for sedition. And if Joe Biden becomes the next President and the Democrats win a majority in the Senate next year, the former Senate dictator should be expelled outright from that body and locked up for the rest of his life! And there should be NO ONE in the future having the absolute power over the Senate that McConArtist has now!
I am painfully aware that the Democratic Party as a whole is too corrupt and conservative to do what really needs to be done to make America an more ethical society, but unless and until the Republican Party is completely pushed out of the political mainstream forever, reforming the Democrats won’t succeed. Republicans have been playing hardball with us since the 1980s, so we need to play CANNONBALL right back at them to make it clear to the American people that the Republicans can never be trusted again to lead the nation! We must break the Republicans, first on a federal level and then in most of the individual states. We just have to figure out how.
Trump supporters = Nazis-lite
The question was posed, “Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?” A lady answered it this way:
You all don’t get it. I live in Trump country, where racists are still common. It was never about what he does. He’s just something to rally around and hate liberals, that’s it, period.He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it.The fact that people act like it’s anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.If you keep getting caught up in “why do they not realize this problem” and “how can they still back Trump after this scandal,” then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It’s defeat liberals, that’s pretty much it. Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they’ll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they’re not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it’s irrelevant. Defeat the liberals is the only relevant thing. Trust me; I know firsthand what I’m talking about. That’s why they just laugh at it all because you all don’t even realize they truly don’t care about whatever the conversation is about. It’s just a side mission story that doesn’t matter anyway. That’s all just trivial details – the economy, health care, whatever. Destroy liberals. Look at the issue with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that’s about. It’s about exposing fear. They’re playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.You’ve got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that’s what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I’m not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that’s what proves they’re strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they’re in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that’s an obvious sign of weakness.
Kindness = weakness.
Honesty = weakness.
Compromise = weakness.
They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn’t hate weakness as much as they do. Just like the Nazis in Germany! They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species (think European Jews before the Holocaust), and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it’s that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority. Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.From a Facebook post
You couldn’t reason with the Nazis; they had to be defeated in a war that killed over 60 million people. And we may have to go to war here too.
The Bell Curve of Morality
In some previous blog entries, I described my concept of Spiritual Orientation. But it occurred to me later that I was assuming that most of my readers have a morality similar to my own. But that does not explain so much of human behavior throughout history.
Take a look at this illustration:
Strictly speaking, there is no designation of “good” or “evil” here, though obviously good people would be mainly in the top three levels, while evil people would be in the lowest three. I myself would be in the Pluralistic level, even while knowing that I should be even higher. Imagine what our world would be like if the vast majority of humanity were in the Transcendent level!
Here are other versions of that concept:
These versions imply that anyone can reach the uppermost level, though sheer effort of will. I think that is a better way of expressing the matter.
Another concept I find helpful is the Bell Curve, which is described here:
A bell curve is a common type of distribution for a variable, also known as the normal distribution. The term “bell curve” originates from the fact that the graph used to depict a normal distribution consists of a symmetrical bell-shaped curve.
The highest point on the curve, or the top of the bell, represents the most probable event in a series of data (its mean, mode, and median in this case), while all other possible occurrences are symmetrically distributed around the mean, creating a downward-sloping curve on each side of the peak. The width of the bell curve is described by its standard deviation.
I have made my own version of a Bell Curve to represent my view of humanity and their moral values, or lack thereof:
As the illustration shows, only a minority of people are truly good and very rarely do we find anyone that is extremely good. As far as I can tell, the only people I know to be truly Godly would be Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame and the musical Copus family of 2002 new age fame. Rogers was universally loved even by people who were not as good as him because his spirit was so incredibly pure. And no, that had nothing to do with his religion, though there is no doubt his Spiritual Orientation was Christian. (Shocking fact: He was ordained a Presbyterian minister before going into television.)
Conversely, evil people are rare also and there are very few that are so evil that they have no sense of morals at all. That would apply to serial murderers like Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy. Likewise, some dictators like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot were Satanic.
The vast majority of people have NEUTRAL morality (not to be confused with having a neutral Spiritual Orientation, though they are related). They do not have a strong internal motivation to be good or evil, but simply conform to the standards of their prevailing culture for social purposes. That’s why when you have a government that is run by evil people, the people in general appear evil too. To change the people, you must change the government, which is why the tyrannies of Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan had to be overthrown at the end of World War II. And also why we must be vigilant at preventing an evil leader from rising to power in the first place. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, TRUMP SUPPORTERS! I consider you and your leader to be evil or at best neutral. There is nothing good about you degenerate hypocrites!
Donald Trump MUST be defeated this year!
I have discovered a YouTube channel dedicated to Republicans who once supported Donald Trump for President……and now oppose him because of his lies, bigotries, and failures.
Here are some videos of these people:
I just have two questions for those people.
- What the hell did you think Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again” meant when it was unveiled in 2015? Wasn’t it obvious that it was White Nationalist dog-whistling, implying that America stopped being great just because a black man (actually, a half-white man) became President in 2008? By making Trump your nominee in 2016, you made your party the RACIST Party!
- Did you really think that someone with absolutely NO political experience or even any public service at all would serve well as our President? That never made any sense at all! Hillary Clinton may have been far from perfect, but she was way better than Trump for any number of reasons anyone could name. But you voted for the one who mirrored your own ignorance at the time and believed that a woman was not fit to be President, period!
You failed this country in 2016, both as Republicans and as Americans in general. Instead of starting a populist revolution, like Bernie Sanders promised, you elected the ultimate ELITIST into power! And we must NEVER tolerate that again. And the only sure way to prevent such a tragedy from repeating itself……is to completely dismantle the Republican Party and push its Conservative ideology, with its racist, sexist, Christian supremacist and plutocratic views, out of mainstream American politics……..
Joseph Massad, a left wing extremist and bigoted hatemonger!
I thought Wahid Azal and his Bayani cultists were alone in their insane extremism and conspiracy theories, but now I see where Azal actually got some of his absurdities from. Introducing…..
Is Joe Biden a sex offender?
Read this story:
Evidence emerges for sex-assault allegation against Biden
Over the last week, new reporting has provided corroborating evidence for a decades-old allegation of sexual assault against former Vice President Joe Biden, a charge that has been denied by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign.
Timeline of the allegations
In March, former Biden congressional staffer Tara Reade told podcaster Katie Halper that in the spring or summer of 1993 that the then-senator from Delaware had cornered her in a private hallway when she was delivering a duffel bag. Reade alleges that Biden began kissing her, propositioned and reached under her skirt and began touching her.
The Biden campaign has denied the allegations.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director, said in a statement to the New York Times earlier this month. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
The Associated Press contacted 21 former Biden staffers, none of whom said they remembered any complaints filed by Reade, who was a 29-year-old staff assistant at the time. Reade said that after complaining, her duties were scaled back and she was eventually told she wasn’t a good fit before being given a month to find another job. Reade said that she filed a written complaint at the time with a Senate personnel office, which could be with the rest of Biden’s senatorial papers at the University of Delaware. The university has said that an archive related to the former vice president “will remain closed to the public until two years after Mr. Biden retires from public life.”
Last year, Reade said in multiple interviews that Biden had touched her shoulders and played with her hair but did not mention assault.
On Monday, Business Insider published a story from veteran investigative reporter Rich McHugh that included an on-the-record interview with two women who said that Reade had told them about the incident in the mid-’90s.
“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s former neighbor, said. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”
“I don’t remember all the details,” added LaCasse, who said she was a Democrat who still supported Biden. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”
Another woman, Lorraine Sanchez, told McHugh that she recalled Reade complaining to her in the mid-’90s that her former boss in Washington, D.C., had sexually harassed her and that she had been fired for raising concerns. Sanchez and Reade worked together in the office of a California state senator.
In March 2019, former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores alleged that Biden had kissed and touched her inappropriately in 2014. In response to Flores’s allegation, Biden said it “was never my intention” to make Flores or another woman feel uncomfortable.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” he said in the statement. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
He added that he did not recall the alleged interaction with Flores, but said, “We have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences.”
Shortly after those allegations were made, a half dozen other women spoke up to say that Biden had made remarks or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, although none alleged assault. One was Reade, who told a local California newspaper that Biden had inappropriately touched her and made her uncomfortable. She did not raise an accusation of assault. In 2019 interviews with the Washington Post, Reade said that Biden “touched her neck and shoulders but did not mention the alleged assault or suggest there was more to the story.”
On April 9, Reade filed a report with the Washington, D.C., police accusing Biden of sexual assault. She said she did not mention the assault at the time because she was scared of retribution, and though she twice voted for the Obama-Biden presidential ticket, she said she doesn’t plan to cast a vote for president in November. Reade has had her credibility questioned due to positive comments she wrote about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an April 12 story on the allegations, the New York Times talked to a number of staffers who said they had not heard of the incident and said it was out of character for Biden. However, two former interns told the Times that they “recalled that she abruptly stopped supervising them in April, before the end of their internship,” which echoes Reade’s claim that her duties were scaled back.
The mother’s call
Last week, the Intercept published an August 11, 1993, call to Larry King’s CNN show. Although not identified at the time, the caller was Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, who Reade says she told about the alleged assault at the time it occurred.
“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” said the caller, who was identified as a woman living in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where Altimus resided at the time. “My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
King replied, “In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?”
“That’s true,” said the caller.
Congressional records list Reade’s last month of employment as August 1993.
It is possible that Biden does indeed have some personal boundary issues, but so do lots of other men, including Donald Trump, he who said he wanted to grab a woman by her “pussy”. That did not stop Trump from getting elected in 2016, however. So why throw similar accusations at Biden? And more to the point, why NOW?
Since this incident was said to occurred in 1993, the proper time to bring it forward would have been in 2008, when Barack Obama had just chosen Joe Biden as his running mate. Then Obama could have dropped Biden and chosen someone else to be the next Vice-President, increasing the chances of Obama winning later. But not a peep about the matter came out…..until THIS year, when Biden is running for President against a man who is KNOWN to be a pervert. Could this be a desperate last ditch effort by Republicans to ensure the reelection of Trump?
Democrats have a problem I call “moral puritanism”, which one would have expected Republicans to have had with their conservative ideology. But clearly morality is no longer an issue if Republicans are willing to elect to the Presidency a twice divorced serial adulterer with scandalous business practices and NO political experience at all. As long as Trump can ramrod the right-wing agenda through the Congress and the Supreme Court, Republicans can overlook moral issues. By contrast, Democrats are often willing to turn on their own politicians for similar issues, which is why Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of sexual misconduct. In hindsight, I think THAT WAS A CRITICAL MISTAKE. Franken should have kept his seat in the U S Senate and faced the voters in the next election.
By making similar allegations at Joe Biden, Republicans hope Biden can be discredited enough to force the Democratic Party to reject him and choose another candidate, who might turn out to be weaker. Biden won the primaries because the rank and file Democratic voters consider him the strongest candidate; they themselves would be less likely to support wholeheartedly anyone else, and the centrist non-partisan voter even less so.
We hit absolute rock bottom with Donald Trump and even if the allegations against Biden are true, he is still better than Trump. After Biden purges the Presidency of Trump’s filth, we can then elect an even better person as Biden’s successor, and ultimately raise up an entire generation of young men who will know better than to violate the bodily autonomy of women. It’s too late for older men like Franken, Trump, and Biden who were raised with different standards and we need to be realistic about that. As long as Democrats and Republicans are NOT on an even playing field, this bloodletting among Democrats must end! We can move forward only by ensuring that Republicans and fellow Democrats can’t make political issues out of private behavior.
The Coronavirus and Republican Death Panels
Read this shocking story:
GOP Congressman: Lawmakers Must “Put On Our Big Boy and Big Girl Pants” and Let Americans DieAccording to Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, between dying of the coronavirus and a recession, dying “is the lesser of two evils.”
Even as the novel coronavirus continues to kill an incomprehensible number of people, many a policymaker, business leader, and president alike want to know one thing: How soon can we get people back to work and everyday life, and can it be sooner than whenever you’re going to tell me because honestly that doesn’t really work for my schedule or the economic platform I was hoping to run for reelection on. While Donald Trump wants to “reopen” the country as soon as possible, actually knowledgable person Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the government is “not there yet” when it comes to having measures in place that could conceivably allow some businesses to safely reopen, like significantly expanded testing capacities and the ability to trace every individual who has been infected.
Also urging caution are a number of Democratic governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, California’s Gavin Newsom, and their counterparts in Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, and Connecticut, who have said that many other conditions will have to be met before relaxing restrictions, including the ability of hospitals to handle a spike in patients; a reduction in the exposure of vulnerable groups; a plan for businesses, schools, and other groups to implement social distancing measures; and a plan to reimpose restrictions if infections begin to rise again. And while we would absolutely hate to draw some sort of distinction between the approach of the two political parties, it would appear that whereas Democrats are urging vigilance, science, and an emphasis on preserving human life, the general take of Republicans might be summed up as: Screw it, some people are going to have to take one for the team. You’ve had a good run, but them’s the breaks.
On Tuesday, that take was summed up by Indiana congressman Trey Hollingsworth, who told a radio-show host that it’s Congress’s job to sit Americans down and explain to them that dying in a pandemic isn’t as bad as the havoc said pandemic is wreaking on the economy. “We are going to have to look Americans in the eye and say, ‘We are making the best decisions for the most Americans possible,’” Hollingsworth told WIBC. “And the answer to that is unequivocally to get Americans back to work, to get Americans back to their businesses.”
Asked by host Tony Katz how he will respond to the critics who will inevitably say he’s anti-science and is going to get people killed, Hollingsworth—who strangely did not mention which of his family members he’d be willing to let the virus knock off for the greater good—replied: “It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say, ‘This is the lesser of these two evils. And it is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these evils, and we intend to move forward in that direction.’ That is our responsibility, and to abdicate that is to insult the Americans that voted us into office.” Sure, some might argue that the bigger insult is to suggest that people should be willing to die to save the economy—which won’t be in a great place if infections and deaths start surging again as a result of relaxed restrictions—but potato, potahto.
Hollingsworth—whose parents must have had a sixth sense that he’d give this interview one day when they named him Trey—is of course far from the only member of the Grand Old Party making such proclamations. In March, White House National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow said in an interview that “The cure can’t be worse than the disease, and we’re gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs” because the “economic cost to individuals is just too great.” Later in the month, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick claimed on live television that “lots of grandparents” are willing to “take a chance” on their survival for the good of the economy, saying “Those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.” After all, it’s like the founding fathers said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and sorry if you’re over 70 or have asthma but I refuse to spend another Saturday not strolling the aisles of Bob’s Big Lots followed by a dine-in experience at the Cheesecake Factory, you selfish pricks.”
Bankruptcy and unemployment are lesser evils than DEATH, you bastard? Absolutely not so. If you are bankrupt, unemployed, or even homeless, you can reverse these problems. But you cannot rise yourself from the dead. And even sacrificing your lives would make sense if we were being invaded by an enemy army, instead of an extremely contagious virus. The best way to combat the virus is to stay home and avoid contact with people. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth(less) is actually a TRAITOR!
We need to start auditing our politicians, because I suspect most of them, especially the Republican ones, own stock in corporations that are losing money in this present crisis. So……they want others to sacrifice their very lives so they can continue to make profits?! We should make it illegal for state and federal representatives to own stock in such corporations, to end the obvious conflicts of interests that result from them owning some of the very private companies the government is supposed to regulate on behalf of the people.
I can’t wait for November to come! #voteoutallrepublicans
“Diplomatic immunity” must be abolished everywhere
Read this story:
Equatorial Guinea argues luxury Paris mansion was part of embassy when raided
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea argued on Monday that a luxury mansion in central Paris used by the son of the country’s president was protected by diplomatic immunity when it was raided by French authorities in 2012.
The case at the International Court of Justice is seen as a test for the limits of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which shields government officials from prosecution abroad.
Equatorial Guinea launched the case in 2016 after the residence of Teodorin Obiang on the grand Avenue Foch was raided as part of a corruption investigation that resulted in a conviction for embezzlement, confirmed last week.
The conviction came after a collection of 25 supercars he owned, including a Ferrari Enzo and a Bugatti Veyron, were confiscated by the Geneva prosecutor’s office under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly 27 million Swiss francs ($27 million) at auction in September.
Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.
A representative for Equatorial Guinea told the court’s judges on Monday that the luxury apartment, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, had been bought by the African nation in 2011 and was part of its embassy.
“France has refused to recognize the diplomatic pretext of the building under the false pretence it belongs to the private domain”, ambassador Carmelo Nvono Nca, Equatorial Guinea’s agent, told the judges.
In coming days France will present its side before the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states. A ruling is expected later this year.
In earlier hearings the French argued Equatorial Guinea was attempting to shield Obiang, known for posting pictures of his glamorous lifestyle on Instagram, by retroactively adding his opulent 101-room home to its diplomatic mission.
Police raided Obiang’s residence as part of a corruption investigation, eventually seizing 100 million euros worth of assets including paintings by Renoir and Degas and another fleet of luxury vehicles.
Obiang was convicted last week by a French court of embezzlement of public funds and ordered to pay a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine.
Diplomatic immunity in any case is a concept by which officials representing a country are allowed to openly violate the laws of another country while living there. It is a form of disrespect for the second country’s government and the people there that are subject to those laws. A basic standard of ethics and justice is that NO ONE should be above the law.
And this is not about some young idiot that didn’t know that he was doing wrong.
Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.
Being 50 myself, I know damn well if I were not the son of a ruler who has been in power for far too long, there would be no question of me being imprisoned for my crimes. This case angers me too!
I hope the International Court of Justice rejects this appeal and ultimately abolishes the concept of diplomatic immunity completely. And also that the people of Equatorial Guinea themselves rise up and force their corrupt leader into retirement, and also prevent his son from ever ruling. Sheesh!