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.

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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.

This Is That Point In The Movie Where The Villains Decide To Go All Out…

No writer could have written what we’re still living through and gotten away with it. No one would have bought it — way too unbelievable. Yet here we are.

Perversely, the villains in this piece operate by the exact same rules by which a Bond Villain operates — power & money cos why not? With Vlad Putin, throw in a heavy dose of Russian nationalism and old fashioned Crusader-thinking.

With Donald Trump, it’s all greed. Greed and a sociopathological personality desperate for daddy-love that he can never have.

With Mike Pence, it’s the power lust of the religious charlatan. He can never be a primary villain. He’s too empty.

With Mitch McConnell, it’s power & money but more than that? It’s the Revenge Of The Nerd. Same goes with Stephen Miller. Mitch is a “man” insecure in his manhood (for shits n giggles, shout “SODOMY” right in Mitch’s face and see how he reacts). You know he was picked on relentlessly in every schoolyard he ever sat in — unfortunately. Most people deal with it through therapy or alcohol. Moscow Mitch had the Constitution at his disposal — and he disposed with it.

Back during the 2016 Republican Convention (it was reported FFS!), current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting of the Republican muckety-mucks and said (this is his direct quote): “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.”

Instead of responding, “If you really think that, we should call the FBI right this second!”, then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan “…immediately responded: ‘This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”. That is literally what he said.

The Republican hierarchy KNEW. They might not have known all, but they knew some. If they knew ANY, they were obligated to pick up the phone and report it. As we’re learning though — too slowly for our own collective good — is that lots of these Republicans were in Mitch’s boat — they’d already been bought out themselves by the Russians.

When Russia gives you money, it comes with strings. When Russia gives you an aluminum factory and hundreds of millions of dollars, it comes with ropes.

Just like Donald Trump will never pivot, neither will the Republican Party. They can’t now. They committed to Mitch McConnell’s plan (imagined not by him but by the Koch-Mercer money behind him) to install permanent minority rule in America first by j=hijacking the judiciary. Can you say “Merrick Garland”?

If The Rule Of Law is going to be truly viable again then there can be no exceptions to it. Any Republican who even suspected what his co-partiests were up to was legally obligated to report it. They didn’t and we have to ask “why?” Whose interests were they protecting — when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution’s?

I fear, Republicans having nowhere to go but prison, that this ending will indeed be like one of those Bond movies where it takes 80 shots at the villain to finally kill him. It already feels that way, doesn’t it? The bombshells going off every day — the reveals of staggering corruption and debauched greed — that never result in the bad guys even breaking stride — it really does feel like bullets bouncing off a bad guy’s magical force field of pure evil.

It’s wired into our culture that just before it’s too late, a white knight rides to the rescue. We’ve convinced ourselves that the good guys ultimately win in the end. That’s all ooga-booga we made up.

Here in Real Life, truly anything can happen. Get too sucked into “normalcy” and you become the frog who gets boiled to death. The reason Uber Villains go for broke in the end is because something inside them suspects — if they can just outlast the good guy — they’ll triumph. It will be up to We The People to stop them. Because we’re the Good Guy.

I’m old enough to remember when speaking or writing in these terms would have been hyperbole on steroids. But then, I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t write this story and get away with it.

Private Prisons Are As Flat Out Stupid As For Profit Healthcare

There’s a reason no other industrialized country has profit incentive buried inside its healthcare system — it’s stupid!

A corporation has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. It could never see patients as anything other than a commodity — something directly impacting its bottom line performance. The more money a corporation can save on patients that it can return to its stockholders in the form of dividends, the better — from the shareholder’s point of view (and therefore from the corporation’s point of view). Profit incentive is why America doesn’t have a health CARE system, it has a health INSURANCE system. The first question we ask anyone needing help isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How’re ya gonna pay for this, Sparky?”

Not the same thing.

Profit incentive alters the focus AWAY from health care and TOWARD profit. How shocking…

Privatizing prisons is equally blockheaded. It’s further proof that in the entire history of the world, greed has never made anyone smarter. Never mind bullshit about “efficiencies”, it’s all entirely beside the point. The penal system cannot be detached from the justice system. The penal system must SERVE the justice system.

And the penal system should be focused as much as possible on helping those inside its walls to break the cycle that put them there. When prisons are part of the justice system, at least that’s a possibility. It’s not when prisons are in the business of being in business.

The ideal should be that we have no prisons because no one ever commits crimes warranting such punishment. That’s never going to happen, of course. But, if it could happen, it would put companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA — which California just banned, I’m pleased to say!) out of business. Keep in mind — CCA makes money only when there are prisoners in its prisons. The more prisoners in its prisons, the more money it makes. It’s therefore in CCA’s interest to either see crime rise (so long as its prosecuted) or for more things to be criminalized (creating more criminals).

One of the staunchest foes of marijuana legalization? Yup — the private prison industry who profits from having pot smokers doing hard time.

We should have killed the idea of private prisons at first whiff. We didn’t. I’ll bet greed was in the room at the time…

Dear American News Media: Never Mind What The Democrats Are Doing To Prep For Trump In 2020, What Are YOU Doing?

I’ll answer my own question (it’s why I asked): NADA.

The overwhelming bulk (the perfect word) of the American News Media is happily zooming down the same idiotic, Democracy-destroying path THIS election as they did in 2016. Despite whole mountain ranges of evidence, most of our MSM still refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility for their piss poor 2016 performance.

They still think Donald Trump is just a “different” kind of president.

On their talking head panels, the MSM Talking Heads worry themselves sick about how the Democratic nominee will handle Trump’s bully-in-the-schoolyard tactics. If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton stood up to it. The MSM, on the other hand, not so much.

Trump’s campaign should have been over the instant “Mexicans are rapists” tumbled from his bloated, orange lie hole. How in hell’s name did Trump’s campaign survive that? It wasn’t because Mexicans accepted it — or Democrats. It was because the MSM accepted it. Donald Trump moved past it — and so did they. They stopped asking Trump about it which, to him, meant they’d accepted it as part of “the deal”. That was just who Trump was — a, you know, “different” sort of presidential candidate.

The correct answer remains: “No, he’s not a ‘different’ sort of presidential candidate (there’s no such thing), he’s a RACIST, BIGOTED kind of candidate”.

Since 2016, has the American press gotten better? No — they still ask out loud if Donald Trump is a racist. Like it’s a question.

It isn’t, of course. Which bring me to my next giant bone in need of picking — because it’s another way the press is repeating its past mistakes to our collective detriment. The nature of storytelling is simple. Every scene should add information. Each following scene then builds on the new information — and adds new information of its own. Voila! Storytelling!

The whole mechanism breaks down however when you don’t add the new information to the mix — you kinda toss it aside — and keep returning to Square One as if the new information never existed. It’s a bit like a flat earther seeing irrefutable proof that the world is round — and agreeing with it — then going back to the flat earth way of seeing things as if the proof never existed.

In point of fact, our Main Stream Media has been so damnably lazy about covering Trump, it’s enough to make one a conspiracy theorist. The Truth about who Donald Trump really is is not a mystery. When Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS testified before Congress (one of the earlier hearings where the Republicans were trying to undermine the integrity of ‘The Steele Dossier’), he described Fusions process. Fusion had been hired first b6y the Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. The Beacon’s owners liked them some Jeb Bush.

Step one, Simpson testified, due diligence. Fusion got its hands on every book, magazine article, radio interview, TV show — everything they could — finding it online, in book and video stores — even at the public library. All publicly available material. What Fusion found in that publicly available material that ANYONE (any member of the press could have found themselves) convinced them that Trump had been part of numerous criminal enterprises involving his Atlantic City casinos and the Russian mob.

That was why Fusion GPS hired Chris Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia Desk. His deep background on Russia and Russians was unmatched.

Just wondering: Has anyone in the MSM done even the same due diligence since then?

Has the MSM fully embraced the idea that without Russia, Donald Trump wouldn’t be POTUS? If they haven’t they’re going to have a helluva time making sense of what Russia does in 2020.

To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope for the MSM. I’m not even sure their hearts are all in the right place. I know that with too many of them, their heads are right up their asses.

Dear Conservatives — Your Problem Is: No One (Except YOU) Wants To Conserve What YOU Want To Conserve

Want to know what a conservative wants? Look no further than their name: “CONSERVATIVE”. Conservatives want to “conserve“.

Now — ask the next logical question — “WHAT do conservatives want to CONSERVE?”

Do conservatives want to conserve the future? Of course not — you can’t conserve what doesn’t exist. Do conservatives want to conserve the present? That’s a little closer to the mark.

Yes — conservatives want to conserve what “is” — because what “is” still reflects a large measure of what “was” — and “what was” is exactly what conservatives want to conserve: WHAT WAS.

Now — ask the NEXT logical question: “What was it in the past that conservatives want to conserve?”

In America, it’s the quaint notion that America was ever a white person’s country. Yes, white people may have been the country’s political founders — but even as they crafted the country’s foundational documents, the truth about the country they were founding sat in a cultural blind spot. White men saw only their contributions, ignoring the considerable contributions coming from every other part of America’s already diverse and diversifying population.

Remember — aside from America’s native peoples — who were wiped out more by the Europeans pathogens than anything else — the real estate on which America sits belonged to no other “tribe”. By contrast, the real estate that became France or Spain or England had gone through a millennium at least of tribes slowly evolving from, say, Gauls or Visagoths or Celts into French people, Germans & British.

Just because you control the history doesn’t mean you control the Truth.

Conservative (Christian) thinking insisted that since slavery was “in the bible” it must be morally okay. What they really meant was paying fair wages to the people picking their cotton or cutting down their sugar cane would make profitability really hard. What those conservatives wanted to conserve in this case was as much money as possible.

In this instance, what conservatives wanted to “conserve” was their greedy hold on their part of America’s economy. And we made that deal. We gave slavery and slavers outsized political control over people who hated the idea of slavery.

That’s conservatism’s real problem. They’re a minority proposition in America. When more Americans vote, they vote Democratic. They vote for more progressive candidates & policies. They vote for progress & NOT conservatism.

That’s why Republicans work so hard to minimize Democracy. That’s why they suppress votes and demand voter ID laws. If Republicans thought the great mass of Americans would vote FOR them, they’d make walk-up voting as normal as breathing. But that’s not the case — so they don’t.

Moscow Mitch McConnell — whose whole mandate was to install permanent minority rule — has raised conservative corruption to a high art. Refusing to even give Merrick Garland a hearing wasn’t just another example of Mitch being a clever, cynical politician (which he absolutely is), it was Mitch asserting that only conservative goals matter — the harm done to who and what we are being utterly irrelevant.

The more “sane” conservatives will insist that conservatives don’t want to stop progress, they just want to “slow it down”.

The technical term for that is “bullshit”. Conservatives don’t want to slow America’s future down — they want to stop it dead in its tracks and reverse it. Conservatives want to live in a “golden past” that only ever existed in their own racist, misogynist, bigoted, ignorant minds.

So — the next time a conservative sits a little straighter while insisting they want what’s best for America? Be sure to laugh long and loudly at them. The America THEY think is best looks a hell of a lot like your average Antebellum cotton plantation.

Slavery epitomizes conservative values. That is what conservatives REALLY want to conserve.