Stephen Miller Meets The Folks

(Note — We learned yesterday (the internet is still puking its guts up) that Stephen Miller has been dating Katie Waldman, Mike Pence’s new press flack. Previously, Katie was DHS spokeswoman under Kirstjen Nielsen — you know, the DHS’s glory days).

Having a daughter of dating age, I naturally wonder about the people she dates.  The most important thing any potential date needs to bring along on the date?  Respect.

I demand that anyone even friendly with my daughter – never mind romantically inclined – respect her as she respects them.  It’s not asking for much, really.

If you are capable of taking in information, you are capable of seeing that Stephen Miller is a smarmy, racist slimeball.  And that’s being kind.  It’s not a question of political affiliation, it’s just common decency. 

Ever see this bit of video – of Stephen (the VERY PRIVILEGED) high school student disrespecting his high school’s janitorial staff (who weren’t privileged like Stephen)? 

What a born racist looks like.

The man hasn’t changed since then – or grown up – he’s hardened from a baby racist into a full-fledged adult racist – with the political power now to DO something with his racism.

It is Public Knowledge that the very worst, the most inhumane and brutally cruel ideas to flow from the Trump presidency have, as their headwaters, Stephen Miller’s brain. 

Children sit in cages BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

Until yesterday, sick people were going to be kicked out of the country and sentenced to death BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

We racially profile Muslims — even instituted a Muslim Ban BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

We turned a deeply flawed immigration system into a barbaric, cruel cudgel used to beat people desperately in need of asylum and humane treatment – because they’re brown or black and probably won’t vote for Republicans BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

Our stature in the world has plunged like a bolder off a cliff – mostly because of Donald Trump – but also BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

When Katie Waldman takes Stephen Miller home to meet the folks, I’m damned curious to know – how can they possibly let that man into their home?

How can they not already have a restraining order in place to keep a certifiable monster away from their daughter?

How could they sit across a dinner table from him – watching this craven sadist interact with their own flesh, KNOWING that at the end of the night, that ghoul will want – and get – his blood meal from her?

Maybe it’s just me.

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So Many Words, So Little Communication

I haven’t so much turned into a curmudgeon as I’ve been informed into one. I confess: I’m one of those people who, though I try to keep current technologically, I keep bumping into places where either I don’t get along with tech or tech doesn’t get along with me.

Nothing fills me with more dread than someone telling me – about some app or computer program I need to use in order to get a vital good or service – that “it’s easy”.  That is a bigger lie than almost anything Donald Trump ever says.

The hell “it’s easy”. 

We’re damned clever, Americans.  We innovate like crazy.  We idiate bold, exciting technologies as easily as we breathe. But we suck at explaining ourselves.  We suck a lot at it. 

How much great, innovative technology goes unused or under-used on a regular basis just because most people don’t know how to use it?  Ever try to use a program like Photoshop without a deep, deep dive into a Dummies Guide?  Adobe’s own “how-to” videos are lovely to look at.  But try and take what they say in the video to the photo you’re trying to manipulate with their software and good luck. 

You will bump into contradictions and commands that don’t make sense or do what the video says.  Want help from Adobe after you’ve bought their product?  Get out your wallet.  And don’t count on the help being all that “helpful”.

The problem isn’t the technology.  It isn’t the genuine desire of the voice on the other end of the phone to help you.  It’s the culture in which they exist.  It strangely assumes that “you must know how to do this” so their explanation should make sense. 

No.  It doesn’t.  And if you can’t afford to pay for their expensive “help”, you’re left fuming – having spent considerable time trying to learn how to use a product that now intimidates you.

That’s what Photoshop communicated to me – I can’t use their product because I don’t have the considerable time (or money) it takes to LEARN how to use it.

But it’s not that their product is necessarily hard to use – it’s that they don’t know how to explain their product. For all the words they throw at us – they communicate not a bit.

Republicans & The Culture Of Ignorance

Republicans didn’t always used to be champions of ignorance. Funny irony? When the Republican Party was founded back in 1854 (Abraham Lincoln was among its founders), their anti-slavery mission statement spoke of their dedication to classical liberalism and real economic opportunity for all Americans not just the moneyed class.

As Heather Cox Richardson points out in her excellent To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party, after 1912, the GOP shifted away from those ideals — and started to metastasize into the hard core racist party driven by white Southern rage that it is today.

These “new-fangled” Republicans pointed squarely at their religious faith as the justification for both their racism and their backwardness — a backwardness they felt compelled to shove down everyone else’s throat. It’s not surprising. Ignorance detests knowledge because knowledge is ignorance’s kryptonite.

By the same token, ignorant people detest information because information destroys their ignorance — and they need their ignorance to justify their politics and their whole belief system. Republicans are all about Magical Thinking. That’s great when you’re a kid and regardless of whether or not Santa Claus is real, the gifts show up under the tree on Christmas morning.

Republicans like Jesse Helms happily took up the name “Know-Nothings”. Originally, the “Know-Nothings” were a group of bigoted anti-Catholic politicians whose strategy — when questioned on the subject — was to insist they “knew nothing”. That’s willful ignorance with a racist, bigoted purpose.

It’s not a coincidence that Republicans describe themselves by and large as more religious than the majority of Americans. That’s “religious” as opposed to “spiritual”. Most Republicans don’t seem to have “spiritual” in their psychological makeup. They like religion for its rules and regulations. And its exclusivity. If you don’t believe what I believe…

And, of course, what they believe is based on Magical Thinking and storytelling. Funny thing? One can be a fan of Jesus — and do unto others every day — without being a member of any church. Why, even a humble atheist can do unto others without contradicting themselves. Doing Unto Others in fact demands that you put DOWN your ignorance.

It’s simple. Republicans are conservative. Conservatives — as their name implies — want to CONSERVE. But conserve what? It ain’t the future — there’s nothing to conserve since it doesn’t exist.

The present? Sure — but only the parts of the present that still hold firmly to the past. That’s what conservatives want to conserve and what Republicans want America to be — what we WERE. For some, it’s a white man’s vision of the 1950’s that only existed in their minds. For the rest, it’s a vision of the 1850’s that’s quite real. That’s what they want to conserve.

To get there, you have to stop taking in any new information. You have to assume that whatever we knew then is still good enough for now. It’s not a coincidence that Republicans by-and-large poo-poo the need for higher education. Hell, a lot of Republicans would be down with letting kids quit school and go to work. They might as well accept their servitude early.

If not for gerrymandering, voter suppression and direct Russian interference, Donald Trump would not be POTUS. The Republicans would not have won all three branches of our govt. Russia had a lot to do with that, too.

The current Republican obstructive tactics are just more of them trying to make ignorance the norm. As the desperation in their arguments makes clear — they know that the more WE know about what they’ve been doing — the worse it will be for them.

Our ignorance is a matter of their survival.

We Got Donald Trump All Wrong; As Horrible As We Thought He’d Be? He’s Way, WAY Worse

A lot of us anticipated the bad horror movie the Trump presidency would be. It wasn’t exactly rocket science.

Trump was a fraud who was given the maximum benefit of the doubt by a press both in love with Trump’s fraudulent audacity and in fear of his retribution.  Their inability to cover this story – from Trump’s overt racism (FFS, they still want to debate whether or not he even IS a racist) to his overt treason (they still want to go along with Bill Barr’s lie that the only thing in the Mueller Report are empty pages) should be a warning to us.  We see, hear and feel our country literally shrinking.

Trump has never run anything bigger or more complex than a Mom ‘n Pop Money Laundering Shop for the Russian mob.  There’s a reason Trump keeps everything crime family close. 

Fusion GPS noticed this fact while doing their due diligence after The Washington Free Beacon hired them to do oppo research on Trump (the Free Beacon’s owner liked Jeb Bush).  Fusion’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress that what they uncovered about Trump – getting ahold of books, magazines, newspapers videos from everyplace thy could including the public library – motivated them to hire Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk.

I remember not so long ago when our constant harping about Russia got annoyed looks even from friends.  It’s hard to get one’s mind around the enormity of this crime. 

I bet the folks living at Pearl Harbor felt kinda the same way as bombs exploded all around them.  How do you get your mind around being the unfortunate place where the spear tip punctures the body?  They went to sleep at peace, woke up at war.

Even now – with a shitload of solid evidence staring at us, we STILL refuse to call Trump the traitor he is.  Our news media will give him the benefit of the doubt till there’s no more left to give.  Then they’ll wonder which Democrat is the most “electable” against him.  FFS – a bucket of vomit with a D sharpie’d onto its side could beat Donald Trump.  The problem is, it’s Russia they’re running against.  Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump never makes it past the primaries.

But Russia did make Trump the winner in 2016.  They made a lot of Republicans winners, too.  Those Republicans took a sledgehammer to the Rule Of Law.  That was my blind spot – the degree to which the whole GOP was well and truly complicit.  The Republican Party saw demographic extinction ahead of them.  They’ve had to steal the last two republican presidencies (W’s and Trump’s).  Without gerrymandering, the Republicans would lose the Congress, too.  The only co-equal branch available to them?  The judiciary.  Provided they stole it.

Which (Merrick Garland anyone?) Moscow Mitch McConnell absolutely did.  All those highly rated Obama judges held up and denied hearings, all those Trump Judges shoved down America’s throat. 

The result has been chaotic – of course.  But even chaos has advantages over what we’re being forced to endure.  I never saw children in cages coming. I never saw such blatant lying to Congress coming.  I never saw the love of depravity coming. 

I never saw the attrition coming – the way Trump’s constant lying (now compounded because EVERY Republican now lies) would wear us all down – and undermine our collective will.  Living in Trumpian times is exhausting. 

I never saw that  coming either.

Cannabis & Sports Go Together Better Than You Think

I started using cannabis to play tennis about 2 years ago. I wish I had started way sooner. I bet I would have enjoyed tennis a hell of a lot more.

I don’t mean because I’d be playing high. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that. I don’t use cannabis to get “high” anyway — at least, not in the sense that most people use the word. My writing day starts around 5 a.m. with a mug of strong, dark coffee (I’m especially fond of Trader Joe’s Cafe Pajaro blend) and my first cannabis bowl of the day — usually a blend of GG4 & Durban Poison.

The GG4 in the mix brings a lovely, wide beam of euphoria and energy. The Durban Poison brings clear, steady focus. The combination is exquisite. My next bowl moves completely into sativas — I have four or five I use as my go-to daytime strains. Presently — Durban Poison, XJ-13, Clementine and Cat Piss. In the past, Jack-the-Ripper, Alaskan Ice and Strawberry Durban Diesel have all been in the mix too.

Just as Durban Poison is a great strain for working — the focus and mental energy it produces is outstanding — it’s a great strain for sports. A good hit taken just before I step onto the court slows the ball down — slows everything down — just enough so that I can actually see the ball’s spin. My timing gets more precise. My decision-making, too. I see the whole court better. I strategize better. I seem to get across the court faster and anticipate my opponent better.

It doesn’t make me perfect (nothing could possibly do that) but it makes me more consistent — and my whole tennis experience just “feels” more fun. Playing better can have that effect.

And, of course, there’s the simple fact that cannabis just makes you feel better. I’ve no doubt that contributes to the positives.

But it isn’t feeling good that produces an improved ground stroke or serve. It’s focus.

If Brett Kavanaugh Is Still Working As A SCOTUS Judge, That Means The Rule Of Law Is NOT Working

The Rule Of Law is kinda like a soap bubble made of iron. In and of itself, it’s incredibly solid — it’s made of iron, isn’t it? But it’s still got the delicacy of a bubble. There’s no “slightly popped”. There’s popped and not popped.

The Rule Of Law is a radical notion if you think about it — it survives only by our mutual agreement to follow it. The chaos consuming us now flows directly from the fact that while some of us still do follow The Rule Of Law, one of our two political parties has revealed that they don’t (and never really did). The Rule Of Law says if you break it, you pay.

It says everyone gets treated equally by The Rule Of Law. And everyone who breaks it — they, too, will be treated exactly the same regardless of how many zeroes there are on their weekly pay stub. Brett Kavanaugh was NOT treated equally at any point during his confirmation hearing. Brett, rather, was shown extraordinary privilege.

He was allowed to perjure himself in fact — and even get belligerent about it as if HE were the one who’d been sexually assaulted. It doesn’t get more (white) privileged than that.

The Rule Of Law says if you lie, cheat or steal to achieve something, you haven’t achieved it — rather, you’ve broken the law and should be punished for it. If you broke the law, say, to become president — it means you’re not actually the president. How could you be? You didn’t meet the basic requirement of “winning an election”. Cheating does NOT equal winning — EVER.

When we finally get to do a deep, deep dive into Mitch McConnell’s actions leading up to the election (especially Moscow Mitch’s refusal to let We The People in on the secret that Moscow was putting its thumb on our election scale for Trump), we’ll have to pick apart Mitch’s real reasons for denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. That unprecedented SCOTUS seat grab was DESIGNED to steal the judiciary as a means to force permanent minority rule down the country’s throat. Was it illegal? That will depend on what we nail Mitch on.

By all rights, Merrick Garland should be sitting where Neil Gorsuch sits. We The People voted for Barack Obama — and part of why we voted for him was so he could — while still in office — choose SCOTUS judges to the liking of HIS voters. Mitch’s bullshit about wanting the American voter to get to choose — one has to wonder if Mitch knew anything about the machinations Russia was gearing up to throw at us.

Then again — in Mitch’s “defense”, he did say that if Hillary had won, he’d have refused to fill any vacancies — even if every single justice suddenly dropped dead.

The Rule Of Law says thieves — after they’re caught, prosecuted and convicted — do NOT get to keep the loot. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS seat, you don’t get to gut the “advise and consent” part of the process — lying through your teeth every step of the way — and then KEEP the SCOTUS seat. It sets a terrible precedent otherwise.

When the whole point of the exercise is destruction of the judiciary in order to install permanent minority rule? It makes the thievery extra rotten.

As we learned from the NYTimes today, the White House killed the FBI’s investigation into Deborah Ramirez’s corroborated accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. If the FBI had interviewed the 25+ witnesses and filed that report, Brett Kavanaugh would not be a SCOTUS judge today — that had to have been the GOP’s calculus.

If our highest court is tainted by corruption, it ceases to be viable. The only way to make sure it is and remains a bastion of fairness would be to expunge every bit of Trump or McConnell influence. In the end, it should be as simple as this: If Trump cheated to become POTUS — which he absolutely did — then he has no authority to “be” POTUS. Not being POTUS, he has no authority to nominate anyone for anything.

Not a single Trump nominee can stand because the man who nominated was not AUTHORIZED to do it. I know — chaos. I don’t give a shit.

The Rule Of Law is all or nothing.

When Penises Attack

Let’s get naked about penises.  They’re designed (as it were) to penetrate.  For all our peacockery about cocks, a penis is nothing more than a DNA delivery nozzle.  Glorifying a man’s pecker is as absurd as glorifying a garden hose when it’s the garden he’s “watering” that should get our respect..

Male design specs encourage “squirt’n go” behavior.  Before humans figured out that sperm were microscopic flagellates, they imagined them as tiny humans.

In other words, men (since men got to do all the “imagining”) convinced themselves that when they penetrated a woman with their penises, what they were really doing was implanting the baby that would grow inside them.  The man, they believed, delivered the product while the woman served as its incubator and temporary digs.

Our thinking hasn’t changed all that much, has it?

Our culture doesn’t just celebrate the penis, it gives it extraordinary privilege.  Where the word “no” should be an absolute, we still see grey area as if an erection suddenly gave men two votes instead of one.  Not that it matters.  Where sex is concerned, anything shy of a unanimous “yes” (and that “yes” must be allowed to be fluid) becomes an instant “no”; the sex stops right there, right then.

The male orgasm is no more a right than is penetration.  The day we make the male orgasm mandatory in male-female sex should come only after we make the female orgasm mandatory.

Fact – female sexuality does not cause pregnancy, male sexuality does.  The female orgasm is unconnected to a woman’s fertility.  The egg in her fallopian tube can be fertilized regardless of whether or not the sperm swimming toward it had to broach the powerful waves of an orgasm first.  Men are 100% responsible for impregnating a woman.  Minus sperm – and that sperm’s penile delivery system – no woman would ever get pregnant – even if she actually enjoyed the sex that made her pregnant.

Whether or not a penis gets weaponized is entirely up to the man to whom that penis belongs.  And, of course, you don’t have to be a woman to be the victim of a weaponized penis.  As I’ve blogged here previously, the man who sexually assaulted me when I was 14 knew exactly what he was doing with his penis. 

And he knew that what he was doing with his penis – and with me – was wrong.  But a weaponized penis does the thinking for its owner.  A weaponized penis wants what IT wants.  And a weaponized penis, once unloaded, becomes a whole other kind of weapon – a psychological one. 

Though I was assaulted (twice) back when I was 14, those assaults continued to ripple across my life in myriad ways up to and including a depression deep enough to tempt me to suicide myself.   

Not every man is beholden to his dick.  Of course.  That’s where the hope comes from.  Fatherhood doesn’t actually require a penis — flowing, as it does, from our brains, not our nutsacks.