Despondency

eisenhower

I’m beyond despondent and that’s why I haven’t been writing.   Watching the only country I ever knew collapse into fascism before my eyes is like watching a beloved friend or family member die a horrible, painful, death and being helpless to do anything about it.  It’s horrible.

Did anyone watch any of the Republican National Convention?  I saw clips from it and was disgusted and chilled.  It wasn’t like anything I associate with America or American values.   It was basically a glittery, drawn out version of those awful events where they go around a conference table and all Trump’s sycophants and enablers blather on about how perfect and wonderful Dear Leader is while he sits there gloating and soaking it all in.  And when Trump wasn’t being venerated, Democrats and liberals (most who want only to return to democracy and make it better) were being hatefully excoriated as villains and monsters who want to force socialism or even communism on everyone.  It was nauseating.

I don’t have the energy or motivation to write much else, but the article below I’ve posted a link to says everything I’m thinking and feeling, and is written from the perspective of someone who lived through the horrors of authoritarianism.  This may be one of the last times I can freely express how much I despise this sociopathic regime, because our First Amendment rights are being eroded in plain sight.  It’s every bit as bad (or will soon become as bad) as Nazi Germany, Assad’s Syria, Saddam’s Iraq, Pinochet’s Chile, Erdogan’s Turkey, Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, or the Taliban in Afghanistan.  At best, at BEST(!) we will become like Putin’s Russia.  I wish that were hyperbole.  I don’t think it is.

I no longer see any way civil war can be avoided.   Trump’s brownshirts and paramilitaries and ignorant cult members are itching for war.  They HATE us.  They gaslight us, dismiss our very real fears as Trump Derangement Syndrome, and constantly project their own wrongdoings onto us. We have been dehumanized, other‘d.  Peaceful protesters are now called terrorists and anarchists, but a 17 year old punk kid inspired by Trump’s “rough them up” rhetoric mowed down two protesters with a weapon of war and is being defended and protected by the Right because they think he’s a patriot.   These people aren’t going to compromise or give up their delusion that Trump is some kind of holy warrior or savior who is going to “make America great again.”   They aren’t going to suddenly grow empathy and start to care about the rights of people who aren’t just like themselves.

We have moved, as a nation, so far to the far right, that now American values such as democracy, freedom, and justice for all are now dismissed by Trump and his minions as socialism, or even communism. Communism!   We are a police state now, and it’s fast becoming normalized.

Living in America feels exactly like being trapped in an abusive marriage or inescapable family situation.   This is narcissistic abuse writ large.   But you can’t go No Contact, unless you are one of the fortunate ones who have the means to leave the country.

Yes, America has become one of those countries people want to leave.    But because of the out of control pandemic this regime refuses to do anything about because they hate scientists and experts, other countries have closed off their borders to us.   Trump got his wall, only the wall is being paid for by the rest of the world.

We must stop sugarcoating what is actually happening here.  None of this is normal.  Early in Trump’s first term, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article warning us that Trump was a new Hitlerlike figure, an authoritarian fascist, and would establish an “illiberal democracy” (a euphemism for an authoritarian state or dictatorship).  They knew because they’ve been there.   We didn’t listen.  Now it may be too late to avoid such a fate.   I think there’s a chance we can still wriggle out of this mess, but it’s up to us now.   No one is coming to save us.

Facing the ugly and horrifying truth that America is now being ruled by fascists is our only hope.

Fascism.  SAY IT.

And VOTE FOR BIDEN.

PLEASE!

We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder America Is Dying 

 

Choose wisely.

I saw this meme on Facebook.  It sums up everything I’ve been feeling about American politics lately as well as the Covid 19 situation here in America.

As a society, we Americans have made some pretty terrible choices.  We’re a supremely selfish society, bar none.   And everyone but us seems to know it.

Thinking only of one’s own comfort at the expense of our fellow human beings only winds up hurting us in the end, too.   No one wins.

moralitypolitics

This Blows

This is so well stated.

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claytoonz

cjones02062020

If there’s one point where you give up, it’s after you learn that no matter how much you fight, you’re going to lose. That’s the danger of this time.

The United States Senate is saying Trump is guilty. The House Managers proved their case. But none of it matters because they like Trump’s policies or the fact he gives them conservative judges. They’ve given us the same answer over the past three years as to why they accept his behavior, racism, sexism, stupidity, vile ugliness and failure as a decent human being.

If the Senate allows Trump to cheat in an election, does that mean we should just give up on there being a fair one in 2020? Are the results already in? Is the election just an empty practice like they are in autocratic states like Russia or the ones Saddam Hussein ran in Iraq?

The Senate has proven…

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Can this man save American democracy?

Here, right matters. The truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.
–Adam Schiff

America is anything but great again. It was great before. Not perfect by any means, but still a country other countries admired and tried to emulate. A country of unlimited opportunity others dreamed of making a new life in.

It no longer is a place the world looks up to, and in fact, leaders of advanced democracies think we’ve gone nuts. And they are right.

In three years, America has transformed into a nation riddled with hatred, racism, corrupt politicians (almost all Republicans), violence, intolerance for diversity, and worst of all, a nation standing on the precipice of fascism. If Republican senators vote to acquit Trump (even though they must know he’s guilty), democracy here is dead.  Say hello to a Russian-style, one party oligarchy where the president and his associates are above the law and cannot be held accountable, no matter what they do.   A nation with a King instead of a president, and totally at odds with what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they drew up the Constitution.

One man gives me hope. While he’s (of course) vilified by Trump and his conscienceless, corrupt cronies, Adam Schiff understands the meaning of democracy and the values that made America truly great. This may be the best speech I’ve ever seen in my life. If we survive this dark time in our history (and even if we don’t), this speech will be remembered the same way we remember the great speeches of Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy today. It will be discussed in classrooms and quoted in books far into the future.

I hope and pray this great stateman’s passionate words caused some of the Republican senators to reconsider their resolve to vote NO to Trump’s removal.

Adam Schiff is showing us what patriotism truly is. It’s not the jingoism, canned slogans, and flag worship of Trump and his supporters, but an attitude that those things are supposed to symbolize: devotion to the TRUTH. Only with the truth can there be liberty and justice for ALL.

Every American needs to watch historic moment in our history.

Bring back the fairness doctrine!

Originally posted August 17, 2017

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.

False Idol: Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump

There must be thousands of articles written about Donald Trump’s strange hold on the religious right, and the cultlike devotion so many evangelicals show toward him.   But this article from Rolling Stone, written from the perspective of someone who was raised in a Southern evangelical family that now is firmly in the Trump camp, may be the best written I’ve seen.  I also like the fact the author has given a short history of how the Christian Right came to be, even though a century ago, Christianity was much more aligned with the political Left (the “social gospel”).

False Idol:  Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump

 

Impeachment as a Struggle to Save Democracy From the Pathological Cult of Donald Trump

This important article by Paul Rosenberg addresses the pathological narcissism, psychopathy, and paranoia that’s behind Trump and his authoritarian and cruel policies — and details how he has transformed or is close to transforming every level of government to mirror his own pathology.

Impeachment is a good start to restore democracy.  At the very least, even if he is not removed, it has the potential to reveal the corrupt and pathological GOP for what it has become under Trump, thus swaying public opinion and support for Trump.  However, Democrats’ and the corporate media’s continuing failure to identify the psychological forces underpinning this pathocracy along with a desire (along with Never Trump conservatives) to “return to normal” (an impossibility) could ultimately make things even worse, even should Trump be impeached.

The complacency and silence of the American populace in the face of encroaching tyranny (compared to other countries under authoritarian threat, such as Hong Kong and Chile, where the People are demonstrating and protesting by the millions) is also pointed out as a worrying sign we might already be too far gone.

The parallels drawn to Stalin’s Russia and his takeover of Eastern Europe after WWII are chilling.

Impeachment as a Struggle to Save Democracy From the Pathological Cult of Donald Trump 

The Narcissism of Capital

I don’t agree with everything in this article (I don’t think capitalism is a bad thing if it’s kept under control with regulations and checks and balances), but I still really like the author’s comparison of capitalism with narcissism. He’s not wrong, especially in his observation that people with high levels of narcissism, even fullblown NPD, tend to be attracted to careers that reward with power and wealth.  This is why CEOs and top executives of multinational corporations, and politicians are so much more likely to have psychopathic or narcissistic traits than the “proles” (the rest of us).

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O Society

by Mawr Gorshin Infinite Ocean edited by O Society Mar 13, 2019

silhouette of statue near trump building at daytime
Photo by Carlos Herrero on Pexels.com

Introduction

Analysis of the 1944 film adaptation of Gaslight, leads to a recognition of ‘political gaslighting.’

In abusive interpersonal relationships, the abuser fabricates, denies, and distorts the truth to disorient the victim. The super-rich, as well as the politicians and the media who work for them, also do this lying and disorienting, but to the public as a whole.

We all know how emotional abuse can happen in families, school, the workplace, and online: psychological abuse on the ‘micro’ level. Now, let’s discuss it on the ‘macro’ level, how it exists on the geopolitical level, for this is, no doubt, a far greater problem.

Many parallels are seen in the comparison of narcissistic abuse and class conflict. Donald Trump is as obvious a narcissist as he is a…

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An open letter to the free World…

SOSbottle

Dear (free) World,

Trump and his immoral, corrupt regime do not speak for the vast majority of us here in America.  They have subverted democracy and made it difficult or impossible for us to have a voice, especially in the voting booths, since they have rigged the system so it seems only they can win.  Using machiavellian, underhanded tricks and machinations, with little to no transparency, they have succeeded in taking the reigns of power and now they have a huge advantage over the People.

I am so ashamed of our nation right now.  I am so sorry that our heartless and amoral leader has chosen the suffering and torture of innocents, the wanton destruction of the earth for personal and financial gain, and the constant lies he tells to paint over the truth.  I am sorry he does not value empathy, kindness, being a good neighbor to our allies, and being a good steward of the earth.  I am sorry he has aligned us with the cruelest and most inhumane dictatorships in the world, as he continues to cut off former ties with our true allies: other western democracies.  I am sorry he targets our most vulnerable citizens for abuse (the sick, poor, young people, People of Color, the disabled, LGBTQ, Muslims, Latin Americans, migrants who just want a chance at a good life, etc.) and hardworking Latin American citizens who are already here, who work hard and help our economy, while he continues to reward parasitic greedy billionaires and environment destroying corporations that do nothing but take, and take, and take from We the People.  We’re being extracted by these predators, and yet we are the ones who are gaslighted and blamed for being the takers, even when we’re working three jobs to survive.

We are sorry he has empowered the worst among us, people who are blinded by their hatred of others who don’t look or pray or act just like them, and others of very low character.  Please know most of us see what he is doing,  and we hate it as much as you do.   Our hearts are breaking that we can do so little, but we are still trying everything we can to fight back against the forces of evil.  It’s so hard and exhausting though, and we seem to have so few tools at our disposal.

To the rest of the free world, we are so very sorry.  This isn’t what America is really about.  We have been hijacked.

Please don’t give up on us.  We may need your help. Most of us are good people who wish this wasn’t happening.

Regards,

A Concerned Citizen

 

THE HEART OF DARKNESS: THE SEXUAL PREDATORS WITHIN AMERICA’S POWER ELITE

America has a seedy, sordid underbelly, and it has for a long time. Both major political parties are guilty. Power corrupts.

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Tales from the Conspiratum

John W. Whitehead, Rutherford

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom.”—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Power corrupts.

Anyone who believes differently hasn’t been paying attention.

Politics, religion, sports, government, entertainment, business, armed forces: it doesn’t matter what arena you’re talking about, they are all riddled with the kind of seedy, sleazy, decadent, dodgy, depraved, immoral, corrupt behavior that somehow gets a free pass when it involves the wealthy and powerful elite in America.

In this age of partisan politics and a deeply polarized populace, corruption—especially when it involves sexual debauchery, depravity and predatory behavior—has become the great equalizer.

Take Jeffrey Epstein…

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