The alt-right are the real snowflakes.

conservativesnowflakes

The alt-right loves to gaslight those of us who don’t support Trump by calling us snowflakes, but they’re the real snowflakes because they are so afraid of everything. And I mean everything.  Even progress.  Especially progress!

In spite of all the recent ugly developments that seem so ominous and seem to indicate  impending fascism, I actually think that, as a society, we are moving toward more inclusion, tolerance and rationality than ever before.  In the midst of all the chaos and strife we are currently facing, I keep hearing stories that give me hope and encouragement.

This seems to be starting at the grass-roots level.  Many local politicians, even in some red states, are turning more to the left than they ever have before, perhaps as pushback against the Trump regime, or maybe they would have done so anyway.  What they are rejecting is Trump’s anti-environment, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-minority, anti-American agenda and enacting drastic changes at the local level unlike anything we have seen before.    There are also more people than ever demanding things like Medicare for All, consumer and environmental protections, and other things that actually help average people, not the oligarchs on top.

Obama was hated for several reasons, none of which are based on reason or critical thinking.   The most obvious reason he was hated was because he was black.  The fact a black man could become president hit white supremacists and neo-Nazis where it hurts the most, because their whiteness is their sole identity and reason for being.   It was also during the Obama administration that gay marriage was legalized, there was a real attempt to provide healthcare to a majority of Americans (even if it fell far short of accomplishing that), and new environmental regulations were put into place to help slow down climate change.

Perhaps most telling of all, local governments are removing statues and monuments honoring the Confederacy at a dizzying rate.

These are all signs of progress, signs that we are still moving forward, even if the obstacles are greater. The vast majority of Americans welcome progress.   Unfortunately, about one-third of Americans feel threatened by it — whether it’s racial equality, environmental protections, healthcare as a human right, or the recognition that groups they label “other” have the same civil rights they do.   They are pushing back — and demanding we go backwards with them without question.   They not only want to undo everything Obama did, they also want to undo all the progress and positive changes we have made since the Civil Rights movement or even earlier.  The removal of Confederate monuments is sounding the alarm bell that backwards values are being abandoned for good, and that is making them react in rage.

Why? Because they’re scared to death of change.  They are kicking and flailing in opposition like 2 year olds having temper tantrums.   They know that in spite of the setback of Trump being president, as a nation we are still moving forward and leaving their ideas and values behind, and they are terrified!

I also think that as a nation we are engaged in a spiritual war, and the greatest evil we are facing — the evil that brought us to this point and made someone like Donald Trump president — is narcissism.   In order to heal, we must recognize that painful truth and find a way to reject this perverted “value” that has eroded trust and caused so much suffering, and replace it with humility and love.

I see more and more people waking up and realizing our collective narcissism (which greed, hatred, and intolerance arises from) must be eradicated and we must begin to care about each other again.

That truth is intolerable to many of Trump’s base, and that’s another reason so many of them are lashing out in hatred and threatening civil war.    Their rage hides their terror.  The truth threatens their misguided belief systems.   They are the real snowflakes.

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There is no such thing as “white pride.”

This viral Facebook post explains why.

whitepride

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Trump goes off the rails with hate that leaves us aghast

I’d add my own rant, but these four rants pretty much say everything I feel.  Donald Trump aids and abets domestic terrorists and supports Nazis.   There’s no prettier way to say it and besides, we need to call this what it is.    What he is doing is evil, un-American, and totally unacceptable.  How is he still president?

THE SHINBONE STAR

Yes, this GIF has been used on this site before, but can’t have too much of a good thing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 45th president of the United States went off the rails today in a vintage Trump racist diatribe that shook America to its core. Shinbone Star staff members quickly reacted to the latest outrage from the 45th president.

The sound and the fury

By ANNE-MARIE

I have to admit, I’m shaken. I worked in journalism for 36 years, and never, ever have I seen a spectacle to equal 45’s behavior at his Trump Tower press conference today.

The contempt, the hatred in the man’s eyes and in his voice and demeanor. The pure fury when he realized that the press was not going to play his little game, not this time or ever again.

The avowed purpose of the press conference was to pat himself on the back for…

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Holding onto anger.

holdingontoanger

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Why the Fairness Doctrine needs to return.

Just-the-Facts-Maam

I’m old enough to remember the days when the news was simply the news and the  various networks and other outlets didn’t differ much or at all in what they reported, only slightly in style.   Reporters were mostly emotionally detached and broadcasted the events of the day without much partisan opinion or editorializing.  When they did, an opposing viewpoint would always be presented.     Sure, mainstream news back then could be boring and dry.  Opinion is  based on emotion, and an emotional, sensationalized delivery of the news is more enticing and sells better than the reciting of facts.   Old-school reporters and anchors were well respected even though they never were considered celebrities.

Until the 1980s, American mainstream news was for the most part “fair and balanced,” with only actual facts delivered or both sides given airtime when an issue was politically controversial.   Sure, there were always tabloids that were more sensationalized or opinionated, but they weren’t taken very seriously by most people and even they didn’t usually descend into telling outright lies.   Highly partisan journalism was relegated to op-ed pieces, guest spots, and letters sections.    Opinions were clearly stated as such. There was good investigative journalism like 60 Minutes or Hard Copy if you liked a little more intrigue and excitement in your news, but it was still based on facts, not opinion and pure emotion.

Today, it’s very hard to find an American mainstream news outlet that isn’t partisan.   To do so, you almost have to rely on foreign news outlets like the BBC or public radio (which Trump has marked for elimination in his budget).   On the left, the most famous examples are MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times (the last being somewhat more centrist and less politically partisan than the others); on the right, there is Fox News, Breitbart News (which has become almost mainstream due to its enormous popularity) and many of the tabloid daily papers, both on- and offline.   Now we have Trump TV, an actual propaganda channel owned by the far-right Sinclair Broadcasting that veers dangerously close to state TV like they have in Russia or North Korea.

News outlets are not required to let you know if what they are reporting are facts or opinion, and it’s been this way for thirty years.   The problem has gotten so bad that Fox News can report outright lies — such as the Seth Rich story and denial of climate change — as facts.   On the left, the problem hasn’t gotten quite that bad (yet), but I have noticed the loaded and leading questions posed to right-wing politicians and guests, and a lot of liberal editorializing and opinions without opposing opinions providing a leavening agent.

Newscasters are now celebrities.  Market share and popularity has eclipsed factual, ethical reporting and responsible journalism.  Opinionated pundits (much like our president) rely on the force of their personalities over honesty and public service.   In so doing, they have won rabid followers and have influenced politics itself,  regardless of facts.   I’m not trying to be biased, but it seems this problem is especially prevalent on right-wing radio and on Fox News, where reactionary pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly need not stick with facts at all.  They can tell outright lies and spend the rest of their time building loyalty and vilifying “the other side” using name-calling and demonizing those with different views (that’s how “liberal” got to be a dirty word and “feminazi” Hillary Clinton got to be so vilified by conservatives), emotional rhetoric, and outright propaganda.   The problem exists on the left too, but not to the same degree as on the right.   In general, the mainstream news in 2017 is more entertainment than anything else, and yet people on both sides of the political spectrum take it more to heart than ever.

The problem seems to have started in 1987, with Reagan’s elimination of a little-known FCC policy called The Fairness Doctrine.  According to Wikipedia, The Fairness Doctrine, which was made into law in 1947, did the following:

It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The demise of this FCC rule has been considered by some to be a contributing factor for the rising level of party polarization in the United States.

The Fairness Doctrine was the reason why the news prior to 1987 seemed less compelling and more “boring” than it does today.   Sticking with facts or giving both sides equal time just didn’t sell as well, and networks wanted to make as much money as they could. The easiest way to do that was to turn the news into entertainment (“infotainment”) and appeal to pure emotion and their own greed instead of education and public service.  Removing the Fairness Doctrine allowed them to market the news the same way a new product or sitcom could be marketed, and not have to bother with presenting opposing viewpoints.   After all, a Ford commercial didn’t have to also present the advantages of buying a Chevrolet, so why should the news have give both sides a voice?

At first, the law’s removal seemed innocuous enough, even harmless.  No one really gave much thought to the way it could lead to democracy itself becoming endangered.   No one seriously considered how  such a little thing could lead to the dumbing-down of the population so they would no longer know how to think critically or consider any point of view outside their comfort zone.   Wasn’t it a good thing for everyone if the news could be made more exciting and entertaining to its consumers, while at the same time making the owners and sponsors more profitable?   It was a win-win, right?

Not by a long shot.   The dangers of removing the Fairness Doctrine were insidious.  Over time, the lines between facts and opinions (and later, outright lies and facts) became increasingly blurred, so that by 2017, most people no longer trust the mainstream media or can tell for certain what are facts and what’s fake news.  Such a distinction — where people know what’s real and what isn’t — is vital to retain a democratic system where an unethical or even dangerous “cult of personality” cannot arise easily or at all.    Another major problem was the way it led to the political polarization we see today.   Being required to present opposing opinions in reporting kept people from drifting to either the very far left or the very far right.  It may seem like a small thing, but it was the Reagan-era removal of this little FCC law that started us down the slippery slope to fake news and political propaganda reported as fact, which in turn led to the political extremism and hatred that divides our nation.

The removal of the Fairness Doctrine is only one example of how dangerously out of control deregulation has become.   It’s time for the FCC to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.  It might be the most important way the divisions between us can be bridged and our  democracy be saved.

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Listen up, fake Christians and white nationalists.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags during a rally at the statehouse in Columbia

The Bible you claim to love so much has a lot to say about racism and the kind of deplorable behavior shown in Charlottesville, Virginia this morning.   Maybe it’s time to admit you’ve been wrong about this, and a lot of other things.

racismbible

And that’s just for starters.

You are no better than ISIS terrorists.  They think they’re right too.

 

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Trump’s personality disorder brings out the worst in everyone.

manbaby

I think it’s pretty safe to say Donald Trump has a very malignant case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and appears to fit all of its psychiatric criteria.    Unfortunately, he’s only the tip of the iceberg, merely a symptom of America’s soul-sickness.

Trump has surrounded himself with a staff of other Dark Triad or Cluster B personality-disordered types.   Congress and the Senate are also populated by people who appear to have no conscience or empathy, and only feel entitled to take from others to enrich themselves.    Many of them appear to have antisocial or psychopathic personalities.

Narcissists like Trump become codependent and simpering in the hands of psychopaths, because of their emotional neediness.   Vladimir Putin appears to using him to achieve his own nefarious ends of world domination or at least the destruction of western democracy. Trump, being a narcissist and therefore far more emotionally fragile than Putin, doesn’t realize he’s only being used and exploited.

I could go for pages speculating about the psychology of Trump, his enablers, and those who are using him for their own ends (and many have), and I feel pretty confident saying that almost his entire administration is made up of sociopathic and codependent types, the latter of which have mostly already left or been fired (Reince Preibus and Sean Spicer seemed more codependent to me than personality-disordered themselves).

I don’t see any obvious Borderlines in the Trump administration, although Trump himself appears to have a few Borderline or Histrionic traits.    As far as I can tell, Trump is the only obvious case of NPD.   The rest seem more like people with ASPD or psychopathy to me, seemingly emotionless and willing to use and enable Trump for their own ends.

How Trump brings out the worst in everyone.

Authoritarianism and racism are highly correlated with antisocial and narcissistic personalities, and we saw the worst of society become violent at the KKK rally and protest in Charlottesville, Virginia today.    The undercurrent of hatred in this country runs deep, and our election of a black president in 2008 and 2012 did nothing to quell it — if anything, the hatred and racism that were always lurking beneath the surface became even deeper and more toxic than at any time since the Jim Crow days.

America is a sick country and only a sick country would elect a malignant narcissist for its president and psychopathic or antisocial people for high political positions.    Trump isn’t the problem, since the problem would still be there whether or not he was president.   He is the ugly symptom, and is now bringing all the darkness out in the open.   We are finally seeing how deep this cancer runs and hoping against hope it hasn’t reached Stage Four.

In some ways this is a good thing, since now we can see exactly how sick our nation has become and how deep and dark the divisions between us really are.   But Trump also has a way of bringing out the worst traits in everyone he comes in contact with, even indirectly — in his administration, in his supporters, in his enemies, and in his opponents.  Even though I’ve never met the man, whenever he’s on TV I feel as if all the oxygen has been sucked out the room.  He’s everywhere.  You can’t get away from him.

Trump enables his cabinet members and sycophants in their lack of empathy, lack of conscience, and crass greed and selfishness.  They use him for their own ends and they know he will never call them out if they just keep on flattering him and giving him the praise he wants.

Trump brings out the worst in his staff.   He causes drama and chaos whenever his bottomless need for admiration and approval isn’t met — he will attack, devalue or discard whoever he believes isn’t giving him the approval he craves, even those who could benefit him.     He always has a scapegoat, always — even among those who have been loyal to him, like Mitch McConnell or Jeff Sessions.   Never in my life have I seen a White House so filled with drama and discord.   Even the Nixon administration at the height of Watergate seemed like a sanctuary of sanity in comparison.  Trump brings out the very worst in his staff, while anyone with a semblance of a conscience or a soul left has already resigned or been fired.

Trump brings out the worst in his supporters.  He enables them to display their authoritarianism, racism, hatred, and ignorance — even to the point of violence, as we see happening today in Charlottesville.   On social media, the rhetoric of his supporters has become increasingly hate-filled and ugly, to the point of threatening non-supporters with terrorism and even civil war against them.    Trump appears complicit in all this, and acts  as if it isn’t happening.

Trump brings out the worst in his non-supporters.   Many people are suffering from PTSD or even C-PTSD that has been retriggered by his constant gaslighting, projection, threats,  need for revenge, and denial of the truth.   Depression, despair, feelings of dissociation and unreality, and dread are problems for many Americans right now, and therapists even have a name for it:  Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder (TTSD).   Anger is also being triggered in his non-supporters, though not in quite the same way as in his supporters.   Righteous anger differs from hatred, and it may be the only good thing he’s bringing about.   He’s forcing his opponents to expose the truth about what has happened in our country over the past few decades and demanding that we change course — drastically, if necessary.

I was involved in a discussion on Twitter about Trump’s fragile ego, and we agreed that he seems to be a collapsed narcissist, who knows it’s only a matter of time before the whole house of cards comes toppling down and he’s exposed, even to many of his supporters, as the criminal and fraud he really is.   As he grows more desperate, he increases the volume on his endless demands for admiration and approval, holding more hatred-enabling rallies and even threatening nuclear war over a perceived insult from North Korea’s equally unhinged leader.   That’s how bottomless Trump’s emotional void is:  that he would be willing to send millions of people to their deaths — even the entire planet — just to save his fragile ego.  It doesn’t help that many far-right religious leaders are stroking his ego even more by telling him he’s been anointed by God.

We can never begin to think of what he’s doing is normal, because it’s anything but.

trump_2

That’s the sound of your soul being sucked into oblivion. 

****

Further reading:

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency.

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What is crown shyness?

crown_shyness

“Crown shyness” is a real term that means the pattern a canopy of trees make against the sky.   They seem to avoid touching, which is responsible for the pattern.

One theory is this is due to branches rubbing against each other and then breaking off, leaving the jigsaw-puzzle like patterns.  Another theory is that the growing tips are sensitive to levels of light, and stop growing as they near the branch tips of other trees.

They’re better at maintaining good boundaries than humans are!

I never noticed tcrown shyness before, but now I’ll be looking for it whenever I walk in a forest or under a grove of tall trees.

crown_shyness2

Photos not taken by me.  Credit: unknown.

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Fundies: I Hope This Breaks Your Hard Hearts

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Flee from Christian Fundamentalism

A training manual rests on a shelf in the library of my church. It claims there is no such thing as poverty in the United States.  Evidence point?  People defined as poor in the United States own and use cellular telephones and other modern conveniences. People who own such things cannot possibly be classified as poor. Therefore, no authentic poor people live in the United States. True Biblical poverty exists only in foreign countries, and it looks like this photograph:

Poverty in Africa

This training manual was prepared and published by The Heritage Foundation, apparently for use in American churches. Some person unknown to me brought this despicable, God-hating training manual into my United Methodist Church and sneaked it onto a library shelf. Best I can tell from flipping through this training manual, it is designed for adult Sunday school teachers so they can teach the members of their Sunday school classes…

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The Frightening Close Relationship between Christian Nationalism and President Donald J. Trump

AMEN!

Also please read this article from ThinkProgress:  Why Christian Nationalists Love Trump 

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Flee from Christian Fundamentalism

Trump

Why do so many American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals support Donald J. Trump and his Presidency—even though the man shows few signs of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and shows numerous signs of being a compulsive liar and immoral reprobate? There is a very good and highly detailed answer to this question. Author Jack Jenkins has begun laying it out in spades with a new article in a planned series at ThinkProgress. Basically, it has little to do with any sort of traditional faith in Jesus Christ per se and more to do with being spiritually deceived by an evil American theopolitical movement called ChristianNationalism.

Christian Nationalism has its deepest roots in three recent, man-made, heretical philosophies known as Christian Reconstructionism, Dominionism, and Theonomy—all being approximately synonymous with each other. Basically, these three philosophies call for turning the United States into a Christian dictatorship—based on Old…

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