Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence faced off against Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah. The debate was shrouded in anxiety over what doctors considered high risk of Covid-19 transmission, and plexiglass dividers were set up between the candidates.

What were some of the highlights?

–*When asked why the U.S. death rate from Covid-19 is higher, Vice President Mike Pence said it was far worse to imagine the deaths that could have happened in the past under the Barack Obama administration. Unfortunately, this joke has no punchline. The stupidity and ignominy speak for themselves.

–*Covid-19 is on top of people’s minds tonight. Also, it might be on on top of Mike Pence’s clothes.

–*The plexiglass dividers allow us to wipe the communist China comments off with Windex and bleach.

–*Mike Pence dodges the question and starts talking about taxes when somebody says, “Mr. Vice President, I might be having a heart attack right now. My God, can you call an ambulance!”

–*Mike Pence grants you the serenity to accept the climate change that Mike Pence will not change.

–*Pence asks Kamala Harris whether her team will stack the Supreme Court and dilute the court system’s current crop of unqualified, ideological conservative lackeys.

–*Kamala Harris has spent her career honing her skills cross-examining people who are desperately lying to keep themselves out of terrible trouble for high crimes and mischief. So, yeah … that …

–*When asked about the debate, four out of five viewers said, “Jesus, would you stop using the phrase ‘thread the needle’! Give it a rest!”

–*Pence promises to close the gender gap his ticket faces by pressing ahead with the Trump administration’s plan to grab more women by the crotch.

–*We now cut away for commercial break … Yikes! … suicide hotline ad. Not a good time. We don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

–*Pence stands solidly behind those members of American law enforcement not currently investigating multiple members of his administration.

–*Kamala Harris stands up for the future of racial justice (and probably ought not talk about her role as a prosecutor in racial justice past).

–*America is easily distracted by a fly that spent several minutes on Mike Pence’s hair. That would be frivolous of them, but if you’ve been looking at or listening to Mike Pence for any length of time, I’d say the frivolity boat has already sailed.

–*”Vote for the Fly” would be a funny hashtag, right? Sure, go back and tell your 2016 self how well “Vote for the Fly” worked out.

–*Covid-19 is no laughing matter. Remember to ask your sexual partners if they’ve had any contact with Mike Pence.

Read Full Post »

–*Donald Trump said every man, woman and child was guilty of tax fraud but him.

–*Imagine that Trump is Smoky Bear saying, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” and by that Smoky pretty much meant he’s personally not going to do anything about forest fires.

–*Trump said that 200,000 people dying of Covid-19 was not that big a deal since there are so many numbers higher than 200,000.

–*Trump interrupted the sentence, “This is Donald Trump, the current president,” because he knew the statement would reflect badly on him.

–*Trump attacked the unrest in American cities that he’s not personally causing when he promotes street violence by angry white dropouts.

–*Trump used the word “socialism” as a kind of scientific experiment to see which low IQ mice that word still bothers.

–*People who don’t know the stock market from the economy cheer contradictory arguments with much animation and blank eyes.

–*”I want freedom for myself and oppression for everybody around me” now the guiding philosophy of most Americans.

–*Biden didn’t use the word “socialism” because at this point it is synonymous with the phrase “government working correctly.”

–Trump lashes out at Biden’s son because when the children of the powerful make money it’s better that they do it with buffoonish and obvious criminality.

–“I hate both sides,” still the go-to phrase for Americans without the ability to discern, judge or engage.

Read Full Post »

Leaving The Trump Cult

While I’m not an expert on cults, I’ve spoken to ex-members of a cult in the past as a journalist. I won’t name the sect, but I did note in both cases that the spell of the cult leader was broken only when the members finally saw he was fallible. In that particular case, the leader died of old age, and when he didn’t take them all to heaven they stopped believing.

When you see so many people taking Donald Trump’s lies as their own (and start lying for him), the parallels should become clear. And the only way for them to stop being his co-dependents and stop enabling his crimes (yes, obstruction of justice and bribery are crimes) is that they have to see him fail. That means the American majority, who are not Trump supporters, if they are to win back friends and family members from the pits of depravity they are digging, must vote Trump out so his supporters can watch him lose. After that, they will be less likely to keep investing their feelings of personal pride and belonging in an abusive person–and stop feeling the need to protect an abuser they’ve wrapped their identities around.

Here’s a link from How Stuff Works about how cults work, specifically, how to leave one.

Read Full Post »

Ghost and Hemispheres Cover Vol. 2The following is an excerpt from my novel, The Ghost and the Hemispheres, Volume 2, currently available as an e-book on Amazon.com.

As the students watched TV in the University Club, for the first time, Patroclus noticed that some 95% of the content came from the United States. There was Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, two television shows about wives possessed of magical powers, but rather than using the magic to free themselves from sexual slavery, penury and exploitation, the women instead served the monetary interests of their human slaveholder husbands. All they would have had to do was snap their fingers and their masters’ heads would have popped off like champagne corks, but instead they were alienated from that head-ripping-off potential by the awesome power of ideological hegemony. There was also Bonanza, a serial that humanized and normalized the rape of the American West by white expansion and subjugation (and let us not forget the dialogue wasn’t too bad).

When he sought reading material from the Balladares Pharmacy he found Time and Cosmo and Reader’s Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. He found pictures of a woman draped over a box of Pall Mall Gold 100’s, claiming that “You make out better at both ends.” A Lipton tea ad asking him if he was feeling “fagged.” Delco “Pleasurizer” shock absorbers for a better ride. “Husband pleasing” coffee. Sugar, which “turned into energy faster than any other food.” A car called a “Swinger.” White go-go boots. Half-nude bodies used to sell aspirin, women in suggestive siren poses meant to sell Pepsi. Pills for “tired blood” and women’s anxiety. He studied the cola and beer advertisements with deep post-structuralist curiosity.

The more girls buzzed about him, trying to confuse him, get his attention, diffuse his energy, raise his sap, get his blood up, dilute his prana, etc., the more Patroclus began to read from the books that Father Cuadra suggested: Hegel, Marx, Paulo Freire, Antonio Gramsci and Chairman Mao, and then finally, the book about the Crazy Little Army—Augusto César Sandino and his war in the Segovias. That war had taken place around Patroclus’s hometown. Yet nobody up there ever talked about Sandino. It was verboten. Like other young proto-revolutionaries, Patroclus also read Che Guevara and listened to the recordings of Radio Rebelde.

Every new Marxist walks about with a different set of eyes from the ones he had before. Everywhere Patroclus now saw things differently. One day he was out with Rosemarie and she asked him, “Should I get the chocolate-covered cherries or the chocolates with nothing in them?”

“Your choice is an illusion of freedom.”

She pinched his cheek.

“Cute.”

“I’m serious. This is meaningless.”

“What are you saying, exactly, when you say this is meaningless?”

“I want to see other girls.”

She started to cry and he stood listening with a stone face, knowing he must take responsibility for the pain he had caused her, but also willing to live with it for the sake of his new conviction, which required pain if it were to be genuine—his girlfriend’s pain if necessary.

All the material wealth he saw others chasing convinced Patroclus that he somehow did not really live in the world at all—or at least that he was living in more dimensions than he was seeing. Those advertisements, those nude bodies, those TV shows made him realize that his heart and body had been colonized. That every move he made was the act of a puppet dancing on a string. As he sat in the hot, dusty railroad colonial corridors of his dorm studying his medical books, dust motes flowed sideways and down and from off the floor—in a space without gravity. Every song, every coo of every silly coquette—everything was fabricated, he realized, to hide the truth of things. A woman once raised her finger to Patroclus to argue with him after she had shortchanged him at the pharmacy. He stopped listening to her and regarded her finger. As it rose, it also fell, and went sideways at the same time. Her voice was high and low at the same time. They were speaking a script somebody else had written for them. They had divided themselves to keep the owners in power.

His life was now seen in a kaleidoscope. And the more he was at odds with reality, the more he saw proof of his other self emerging.

Read Full Post »

I read about monetary easing
And thought of a guy painting a house
Who didn’t give a shit.
He was mad at trans people
He didn’t think of the Fed and his paycheck
He was thinking about chicks with dicks and bathrooms
And he was caught in economic deflation
And the degraded value of his labor
And the asset inflation made him wiggle like a mosquito
in a spider’s web
And yet he’s not thinking of excess trading value
It’s all those dicks, he’s thinking to himself, wriggling around
In an invisible dance of dollars.
Being pushed from job to job, house to house
The dollar making him whip it out, I mean his money,
And buy more expensive
Cigarettes and beer and chicken and barbecue
While people laugh at his overalls
And tumescent paintbrush
“All those breasts and dicks,” he keeps thinking.

Read Full Post »

If you are trying to make sense of two mass shootings in a weekend and you want to see change, I applaud you, but there’s bad news ahead. As we who have been fighting this issue since Sandy Hook know, in the next few days people you know and love and respect are going to start telling you horrible lies about this issue. They are going to tell you 2.5 million people used their guns defensively last year (not true, not even possible). They are going to tell you mass shootings are often stopped by good guys with guns (not true).

They are going to say more Americans own guns now, which is why crime has dropped (household gun ownership has shrunk to a third of Americans, and if you think a shrinking number of Americans are stopping most of the nation’s crime, you have serious math and logic problems).

You are going to hear that armed Americans are the foundation of social stability because they can rise up against tyranny (an idea that, given the strength of our military, ranges from the ridiculous to the treasonous, since it suggests a single nonconformist is allowed to nullify laws and societal changes he doesn’t like).

You are going to hear that assault weapons either don’t exist or that they are the same things as six shooters. Actually, they were defined by law in the 1990s; they have higher muzzle velocity and can be easily converted to full auto with a few tweaks, something gun nuts like to laugh about on YouTube as they gaslight the rest of us and say “No such thing.”) You are going to hear that the Founding Fathers didn’t want gun restrictions. That is categorically false. The people who say otherwise learned history in a backyard from a person with anger management problems, not from actually reading history.

They will also tell you gun control laws don’t work (just because you don’t understand the way they work or don’t like the way they work doesn’t mean they don’t work).

People you love tell these lies for obvious reasons: It helps them defend their choices and behavior. Nobody wants to be told they are doing something harmful, especially if they were raised to think it was right. If they were to change, it would hurt their identity and it would hurt their parents. I have seen some people change on this issue but many people can’t because the psychological wound it would cause is too deep. But this is where we are: We call murder weapons defense weapons even though it is an insult to the concept of physics. Almost every gun fan talking point is a lie rooted in the real defense mechanism–the psychological one.

The NRA fought its war for “gun liberation” (i.e., murder weapon marketing) on the ground–in the state legislatures, places in which most people would be at a loss to name their representatives and where lobbyist bullying is greatly effective. But since Sandy Hook (and especially since the Parkland, Fla., school shooting), there is now a gun sense lobby and it has made representatives increasingly accountable to it–or at least not as totally beholden as they once were to weapons manufacturers.

If you are feeling distraught and feel like you need to do something, you can: march in any anti-gun marches you see planned near you. And give money to Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords or Sandy Hook Promise. These groups are on the front lines and have thrived despite death threats, disinformation campaigns, online bullying and harassment from the “good guys with guns.” The wheel is turning slowly, but it is turning. I have personally seen stubborn people switch sides on this issue and embrace gun sense, and that has given me a great deal of hope as these horrific news stories unravel. There is no need to think we are going to have to forever endure putting our families–our children, wives, husbands, mothers, sisters, fathers–at risk of sudden horrific death to satisfy a value system based entirely on falsehoods.

Read Full Post »

Vote Today

Voting is like preventive medicine. Spend a little time in line today and maybe you won’t have to spend the next 10 years marching.

Read Full Post »

Since forever, women have endured the calumny that they aren’t good leaders because they are too emotional, irrational, non-competitive, and weak to oversee or be equals with men in the workplace. What harm would it do if for a while we indulge the opposite conclusion: that men are too territorial, unitasking, uncooperative, combative, and prone to sexual stimulation to be leaders, to be over-represented in the workforce or be overcompensated in pay? Just for fun, what if we thought that way for a while?

Read Full Post »

Want to know a way you can help the world right now? Something you can do with very little effort? (I did it while folding my laundry.) You can call 202-224-3121 and speak with your senators and representative in Washington and tell them to oppose the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity” bills floating through Congress. These bills, if enacted, would force states with strong and effective gun laws to recognize permits from states whose laws are much weaker. It sounds like an innocuous, clinical name, “concealed carry reciprocity,” but it’s very dangerous. It allows the NRA to override and nullify local laws and rob people of the ability to make their own local safety decisions. It is the exact opposite of states’ rights. At the same time, it gives the gun lobby a way to pursue its real agenda, which is to put guns everywhere, when every study with any rigor and reproducibility says more guns equal more violent crime.
 
That’s more risk your family takes on for going to the movies, going to a concert, going to church and going to school. Soon, it could mean extra risk for New Yorkers going to Times Square, where they will have to confront less vetted or unvetted gun carriers.
 
The congressmen who introduced this measure are well funded by the NRA and know that it’s the organization’s top priority. The bills languished temporarily after the recent Las Vegas and Texas mass shootings, but they are moving forward now–this week.
 
Spokespeople in the offices of both my senator and House representative told me the same thing:
 
The best thing to do is call them! 202-224-3121. It takes very little time.

Read Full Post »

Imagine …

Imagine the evil of a man who demands blind loyalty from his followers; who preys upon their low self-esteem and insecurity, promising them pride they haven’t earned by offering them membership in a special tribal identity; who robs them of their individuality by offering them love and esteem in exchange for total deference; who deflects any questions about his competence or leadership by inventing bugaboos, weaving conspiracies and projecting his worst behavior onto his enemies and thus normalizing his behavior by claiming that it’s universal. Imagine his thorough success at this strategy is such that his followers eventually accept non-facts as fact, create their own argot that further alienates them from non-group members, turn violently on those who question the group dogma and otherwise allow their higher-brain qualities of doubt and inquiry to become neutered and destroyed.

And in other news, Charles Manson died.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »