Monthly Archives: March 2017

Know Thyself, To It Be True

Politically speaking, my conscience has circumnavigated the globe. I’ve been places I am ashamed of being found in. But I am home now, and here I will stay.

Michael Savage would call me a red diaper doper baby. When he was Michael Weiner the botanist, he was one too.

It is said that if you aren’t a liberal before thirty you have no heart. And if you aren’t a conservative after 30, you have no brains. I defy this continuum. I can have both.

It has taken me far too long to make the trip I have made. I had to really wander into some strange places to really find out what my heart desired.

For as long as I can remember, I have been exposed to politics. As a very young child, maybe around 7 or 8, I was at my mother’s side unfailingly as she fought to elect candidates who would protect tenant rights in our city. We had lived in apartments in Morristown, New Jersey since the late 70s and there was a long, pitched battle to enact rent control legislation to stop unscrupulous landlords from raising rents to a degree that would force thousands of people out of the leased property they called home. All of my neighbors had lived in their apartments for decades. For almost all of them, it was their final stop-the residences were small, but our community had bonds of steel that you couldn’t put a price on. There was something special about our little development. In its defense I licked envelopes, went door-to-door with flyers and went through phone number lists to contact members of our party, which funnily enough was Republican. That may sound strange to you, that rent control was a Republican issue-but New Jersey politics, especially locally, was unusual. It was the Democratic mayor who was the crooked businessman who wanted to gentrify and profit from higher rents. We ran candidates for council and mayor, and we won more often than not because we had the numbers and we had people like my mother who was no shrinking violet when it came to things she cared about. Nobody was going to fuck with my family on her watch. She was a loyal ally and a dreaded foe.

My mother’s compadres thought I was adorable, helping my mom like I did. I was named “Co-Captain Of The Polls” by the wife of one of our candidates. That really meant something to me. Remember, I was 7 or 8. In the end, the apartment community succumbed to the greedy developers and landlords and my mother made an exodus to the south, where life is affordable. She is still fighting for her and her neighbors’ rights today. For reasons I don’t totally understand, she picked the middle of nowhere to live. I guess she just wanted the peace and quiet-she has had a tumultuous life that I can’t really get into here just yet. And that peace was about to be disturbed by a company who wanted to mine the sandy soil a mile from her little home. It’s apparently a precursor to building material. Her complaints spooked her representatives, who I’m fairly sure were on a first-name basis with my mother. The mine deal was killed, and her idyllic respite is undisturbed, until the next profiteer tries to tear lives up for the love of money. She’s in her late sixties now but she is still very much the force of nature I used to accompany as a child. I was born to a diehard social justice warrior.

So, I suppose that’s why politics is in my blood, and why today I am using my Facebook page and this blog to talk about it so damn much. It matters to me. Your dinner, however pretty, does not.

I forgot about politics for a few years after the rent wars, and again, for reasons unclear to me today developed a political conscience during elementary school. I declared I was a conservative, and I wrote a paper about it that landed me a school trip to the Capitol. I wish I could find that fucker today so I can see what my still forming brain was thinking. It’s possible that once again, I may have picked up something from my family. We were rather religious, and I’m pretty sure that we thought of ourselves as the Moral Majority. We thought Reagan was sent from God himself, even though he was terrible for the working class-but we had that peculiar white suburban affectation that we were middle class and so paid no mind while Reagan declared that government itself was the real problem in America and that it owed its least fortunate nothing. I don’t think my folks put 2+2 together and realized they would be the victims of Reagan policies.

Sound familiar?

But anyway, yes, I was a conservative at 12. Generally, conservatives think in soundbites, and perhaps its simplicity was a draw. Patriotism and power, God and money-who could argue? I never thought once that my thinking was hurtful, the way I now know that it is/was. I couldn’t vote so I couldn’t do any real damage anyway. I sure wish I could remember more about me from back then, although there were things that I am positive I have locked away on purpose from some years that are blocking me from remembering. I’m not fully functional, you see. Most of you know this about me already.

Around 14 I lost my faith. I don’t quite recall what kind of effect that had on my politics-in fact, I may have lost my taste for it during this time. Philosophy took the place of scripture, and Friedrich Nietzsche in particular was very hard on me. My life had suddenly lost meaning without a faith and a creed. I felt very small, and very misled. Far from being a superman, I was relegated to nihilism instead. And that was just best defense against showing how scared I was of everything.

I’ll pause here. I’ll tell you where I am headed, though.

You gotta pick a side and stick with it.

You have to fight the real enemy. And to do that, you have to know who you are.

And you must realize no one is above this fight. There’s no waking up from this matrix, much as you’d like to think there is.

Refusal to judge properly equals surrender.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

Maybe You Didn’t Hear Me The First Time

That’s understandable.

Very few people come to see me, unless Tucker Carlson is being an asshole. Which, I suppose suits me just fine. I often write because I have to. Most people who have written, paid or unpaid, know how this feels. Especially when you also have a mental disorder that won’t allow you to let go of something when it makes your brain cry.

Facebook has fucked my shit up, as far as the writing gig goes. I spend more posting articles and composing one-liners about things that get caught in the filter than doing any kind of “work” that I can be proud of the first 20 times I read it back to myself. My output during the campaigns of ’16 was much higher than it is now. Hell, I used to sound off three times a day.

Now, the work comes slower. I poke my head up maybe once every two weeks. It takes several days to finish a post. That’s probably OK-at least I know when I am hitting a wall instead of heedlessly blasting through it like in the good old days of steadily losing my mind. Ideas need to age sometimes before they are ready. But it’s not good for a blog to sit quiet for two weeks, either. Constant output is the linchpin of a successful blog. But I have to be honest and know that that’s not what this is. This is a vanity project, even as I attempt to snag a few more eyeballs by uploading to Facebook. It’s for me, ultimately.

Alright. Enough of that, let’s talk about what is pissing me the fuck off today.

It’s really past time that we stopped believing that Donald Trump is an intelligent creature. I tried to tell you this a month ago. But it is still very fashionable, and I assume profitable, to opine that Donald Trump knows what he is doing.

Last night, Rachel Maddow got hold of the first page of his 2005 tax returns.

For something that no one is interested in, it sure made everyone perk the fuck up. It upset the White House enough that when they were asked to verify, they tried to get in front of the story by scooping Maddow, claiming vehemently that what she had was illegally obtained and illegal to publish and that she was desperate for ratings.

These three things are not true. Typical Trump bluster, no facts and petty insults. That’s what Donald Trump does. He’s been doing it ever since he discovered Twitter.

Now, what we all saw was in itself, well…not much. I think we all expected Rachel to be shaking up a martini while chortling over a giant pile of paper that was going to finally bring this White House crashing back to earth. What we saw instead was the front and back of an 11 year old return, which as all you taxpayers know, does not say a whole lot. Concretely speaking, it said Donald Trump paid his taxes in 2005, at the appropriate rates dictated by the AMT law.

The media discussion spun in two general ways after the leak:

  1. Donald Trump leaked them himself. He did that in order to divert attention from Russia, the wiretap frenzy and the healthcare bill (the investigative journalist who was given the documents admitted that Trump could be the leaker).
  2. The fact that these documents are in the press’ hands suggests there’s more that can be leaked and that the existence of the leak asks more questions than it answers. It rekindles the debate about why, if these numbers are so innocuous, is Donald Trump so desperate for no one to see them?

It is for those of you who believe in #1 that I write today.

Shut the fuck up.

Just stop slurping all over Donald Trump’s balls giving him credit for being clever. It’s embarrassing.

Have any of you noticed how he governs? He’s a total screwup. Everything he authors or endorses turns to shit. His own advisors and appointees are wondering what his damage is. The only reason Donald Trump is overturning regulations is because the president who he will ultimately be compared to authored them.

Perhaps you should consider his online presence. Donald Trump doesn’t know how to goddamned spell and may only have about 75 words in his vocabulary, the lion’s share of which are inappropriate superlatives and the word “sad” (but he’s “got a good brain”).

If he keeps up at this rate of um, “winning”, he will be what he and other Republicans so badly wanted Barack Obama to be- a failure.

We are not dealing with “crazy like a fox”. We are talking about “dumb like a mailbox post”.

I think what has happened here is that Maddow’s reveal was so superficial (in scope and content), it sent people running for a narrative because we ate some empty TV calories. The AV Club is half-right-this leak would have looked better on the internet than on an hour long show. I can see how tempting it is to search for someone or some entity that manipulated the currently red-hot Maddow into purportedly showing what a good citizen Donald Trump was in 2005. But again, that tale is a poor substitute for what the tax return reveal could not tell. The return ultimately generates yet more questions and I get that we want some damn answers-but we are burning the messenger. It may sound counterintuitive right now, but Maddow has shown that Trump’s hand can be forced-and that he is still highly vulnerable and cannot possibly keep the secrets he is trying so desperately to keep.

Even if I am shown to be wrong-that indeed it was the fabled cunning of the wily trickster Trump once again making us look away from what his hands are really doing-then it will be full scale war between the press and Donald Trump. There’s already insurrection as it is- a cheap stunt like the one some in the media are positing that so blatantly tries to discredit one of their own will be looked at as an attack on all of them, because no organization whose job is to tell the truth is going to truck for long with anyone that sleazy.

We hope.

Kids These Days

It has come to my attention that people’s ability to take responsibility for their actions in politics has been diminished a smidge.

Please take note that I did not lose my temper or curse. However, my capacity for civility here is low on the subject I’m about to discuss. What else is new?

I want you to think back to when you were a kid. There were certain things you were told never to do by your parents. What did your immature brain think about those things? It thought, “I should do them.” The severity with which you were told not to equalled your interest in doing the bad thing. So you played with fire, crossed the train tracks, smoked, drank, did drugs, dated someone out of your age group, you did whatever it was that angered your parents the most.

Kids are little assholes.

But it’s not their fault. As I said, an immature brain makes these simple calculations without regard to actual risk.

What I worry about is political immaturity, which is utterly unacceptable as naked fascism is creeping across the landscape.

Some people are proud fascists. They love the power they have been given to be bigoted and destructive. They cheer for war. They need iron fisted-leadership like they need a heartbeat. They wield their flag, their money and their god over everyone. They are, to borrow a phrase from a petty tyrant from another era, “useful idiots”.

There’s no hope for this person. Too far gone to fix. We liberals pledge eternal vigilance against them. But they have made a resolute, mature decision, however warped and disturbed it may be.

As a political movement, we on the left scrimmage against the fascists for the attentions of weirdos called “moderates” and “undecideds”. Some of us stop in this neutral area for a while. The fucking presidential election is decided by these blinkered souls in most cases. But the middle road is one to perdition. If you don’t know your right from your left by say, 30, you aren’t paying attention. Heck, I’ll even spot you a few extra years. If you still think “both sides have valid points”, you’ve got soup for brains. You need a little more perspective.

But there’s this new type of immature voter who is popping up with more frequency. It’s the kind who have been “driven” by others to make bad voting decisions. In other words, other people, not issues or policy, caused them to cast their lot the way they did.

This is a twat’s way out of screwing up. “I voted for X because a supporter of Y was mean“, is a common variant of immature voting. Someone made you feel bad because you were naive and so you’re just gonna do the opposite of what makes sense to show them who’s the boss of you.

This is partially due to the Internet, where you can be very nasty to whomever you like, or don’t like, without facing any consequences.

I will never forget the 2016 Democratic primary because of these butthurt people. Because Hillary people were such “assholes” to Bernie people, a not-insignificant chunk of them refused to vote in the general election after Sanders was defeated.

To make a long story short, we were being assholes because we were trying to tell you something and you had a listening problem. You didn’t seem to get that politics is not an all or nothing business. You wanted everything, and you got nothing. Enough of you sat out to make a difference, or instead stupidly voted for boutique candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, and those margins by which Trump won in swing states reflect your recalcitrance. You cut your nose off to spite your face, heedless of the fact that it was going to hurt real people if we did not present a united front to the Republicans.

You fucked up and now all of us are in the suck. You all got real silent with that “Clinton is the same as Trump” shit now that you’ve treated us to an actual loss of democracy under Twitler.

I can’t goddamned find it, but I read somewheres that there were grown adults who voted for Trump because they were unnerved by liberals who were “hostile”, or some such shit.

We are hostile about a few things. That is correct. We are hostile towards hate, bigotry, homophobia, sexism, racism, and fascism to rattle off a few of our nemeses off the top of my head. Some things are non-fucking negotiable. “Oh, you’re so intolerant, you don’t believe in free speech.” you say. Si, senor. I shall repeat myself, as I have in the past: we don’t tolerate intolerance. It’s a bedrock rule of being a good fucking liberal, hell, of being a good person. If I happen to get a little cross because you get prickly about the concept of Black Lives Matter, I’m not sorry. You’re clearly not thinking the issue through and have bought into right-wing bullshit somewhere along the line and neither my fellow travelers nor I have the patience to offer you a speed degree that includes a well-rounded liberal arts core. If you think your religion gives you carte blanche to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, then do not expect us to be nice when you share or legislate your beliefs.

An instructive example of how not to “speak freely” would be the one of Milo Yiannopoulos, late of Breitbart, who tried his damndest to recast the idea of free speech as a conservative issue by using his speech to be as offensive as he could possibly be to as many groups of people as he could think of at his college lectures. He then accused “the left” of stifling free speech when students freaked out about his presence on their campuses.

Violent speech can cause a violent reaction, friends. Once again, I must repeat myself and remind people that you aren’t protected from the reactions that your speech generates. That’s not part of the deal. If you get punched in the head like Richard Spencer, it’s your bad. Say whatever you want…but be prepared for pushback. If you are a racist prick to the point of pure unadulterated stupidity like that Georgia couple, prepare for very bad things to happen because you don’t understand the limits and consequences of “speech”.

I know what you’re all working up to anyway. You will not be allowed to say ni**er and duck behind the Constitution. It’s just not going to happen for you, conservatives. If you have to ask why, you’re gonna have a bad time. Catch up. Listen instead of speaking so damn much.

Anyway, I think I have made my point without bringing up the article that made me want to reiterate these simple truths about free speech. Europe is having its own problems with the resurgence of right-wing politics too. And like us, they have immature voters.

I came across the brain droppings of a chowderheaded sophomore philosophy major in the UK’s lesser paper of record, the Telegraph. In his little column, he tries to make the case (like Milo Y. did) that the left no longer is the wing of tolerance and free speech enthusiasts and young people are becoming more receptive to conservatism because of it. He cites some figures from a British (and seriously left-wing) study about censorship that would lead one to believe that it is legion on British campuses. Though I can’t say this for sure, I get the impression that the UK has something resembling zero tolerance towards hate speech on campuses and probably other milieu as well. Europe has learned its lesson about proliferating hate. We on this side of the pond are still trying to mainstream it, and this is borne out by the fact that we gleefully elected a mean spirited, petty tyrant who keeps a grizzled white supremacist for a pet instead of the traditional dog or cat. We’re going backward in America, and fast.

But these new, unfinished minds like Charlie’s may reopen the doors to good old fashioned right wing hate in places like Britain because he’s been told he does not have to be provided a public forum to spew garbage and that makes us lefties bad. He again goes to the left wing well to argue for the right to be politically incorrect (read:be an asshole) by quoting American icon Mario Savio, a leader of the campus free speech movement in the 60s.

The fundamental mistake Charlie is making is that there is some sort of equivalency between the the left’s fight to speak and the right’s desire for the same. That is because he doesn’t really understand conservatism yet. Those regents that didn’t want activism on campuses in the 60s?

Yeah. Conservatives.

Conservatives are authoritarians. Feudalists. Fascists. Nazis. The tillers of the soil in which extreme religion grows. Dictators. Reconstituted racists. The elite who are sucking the public dry. They despise diversity and mutual aid. They want a world where it’s every man for himself-and while you compete against your neighbor for less and less, they run away with the loot.

They’re not your friends in freedom, Charlie. You may perceive that because of the pushback against their speech, but you are misunderstanding who they really are. And as soon as you find out who they really are and start speaking out about them, you will find yourself shut down once again. It’s a trap, buddy. Don’t get me wrong-lots of left wing experiments have resulted in a clampdown of basic rights-but that is the point where they ceased to be left wing.

Don’t go to the dark side for one issue, young friend. Try to think of conservatives as the Baby-Eaters. Perhaps you have been told by “the left” that you can’t say certain things because they hurt people and incite violence. Maybe that doesn’t sound fair and equitable to you.

But the Baby-Eaters will let you say them. So now you think to yourself: “The Baby-Eaters are really the group that values freedom.”

But they eat babies, Charlie.

They still eat the babies, man.

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