Dear America: We Are Living Through World War III And Don’t Even Know It

Anyone who thinks it takes bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every single war they ever wage going forward. Right now, that would be us — still thinking that Donald Trump is anything other than a literal weapon, fully loaded and pointed directly at our heads.

If Russia wanted to (hell, a bunch of countries could probably do this — Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel), they could shut down our electric grid today — and leave us in the dark, disconnected from the internet and social media and our lives. We’d sue for peace in a heartbeat. That’s a whole war waged — successfully — without a single shot being fired.

We know for a fact (it’s in the Mueller Report and it’s part of the reason he eats prison dinner every night) that Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska (oligarch & “Pal O’ Putin”) proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that that polling data was processed inside the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) then weaponized — and returned to those states (PA/WI/MI especially) in the form of highly personalized Facebook ads that showed up (especially) on the FB pages of African American voters.

The point of the exercise is voter suppression — the use of propaganda to dissuade a voter from voting. Every voter dissuaded from doing their duty as a citizen (think ANY of these voters vote Republican?) is as good as a vote for their opponent. The fact that such activities aren’t already massively illegal is a testament to how much Republican corruption we’ve already normalized and how deeply institutional racism runs.

Like the skilled cold warrior he is, Putin knows how to make big plays in the secret realm that, strangely, never get any attention.

I’m not the first or only person to see us living in a second Pearl Harbor — in the hour or so before 7:15 when the Japanese Imperial Navy arrived and started attacking us. That however is a painfully ironic description of where we are. Putin & Russia have attacked us from the worst possible direction — from within.

Being unable to beat us economically or technologically — or even ideologically (since Putin’s only ideology is greed, power & corruption), Putin, calling on his mad intelligence officer skills, has declared war on us in the only way available to him — via espionage: info war, cyber war.

We don’t know yet the full extent to which our very perceptions of election 2016 were colored by propaganda, misinformation and disinformation originating from outside the country (Russia but also Saudi Arabia, Israel and who knows where else). How much Hillary Hatred was actually Russia?

As its first act of open war on us, Vlad Putin took the truth out back and busted a cap in its head.

It’s incumbent on us — if we want our Democracy back — to finally see the war that’s been declared on us in secret for the war that it is. More important? We need to see all the Fifth Columnists & outright TRAITORS who’ve thrown in with our enemies — because they saw that as a cynical pathway to permanent power.

I’m talking to YOU, Moscow Mitch McConnell.

That’s the other painful irony — it isn’t just enemies from without who’ve declared war on us, there’s an enemy within. The Extreme Christian Right and its money — Kochs, Mercers et al — saw that the demographics were going to mean an eventual end to their hold on this country. They declared cultural & political war on the majority — and, using gerrymandering & voter suppression, have done everything they can to install permanent minority rule — THEY being the minority.

That, too is undeclared war. It doesn’t make it any less real — or its effects any more painful and permanent.

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Donald Trump Is The American Caligula… That’s Not A Good Thing

Not A Revelation: Donald Trump thinks he’s King… or, in German — “Kaiser” — the Germanification of the name “Caesar”.

But Donald Trump is such an incompetent, that he can’t even get being a “Caesar” right. He’s gone and modeled himself after another Roman emperor — Caligula.

We keep reaching for the words to describe our times — times that are increasingly indescribable. The word Michelle Goldberg used today is perfect (until the Trumpanistas surpass it): “Debauched”. We live in Debauched Times because the man occupying the White House is a modern, Adderall-huffing, bloated orange Caligula.

Donald Trump has destroyed every bit of common decency we ever associated with ourselves. While the real Caligula probably wasn’t anywhere near as insane as the Caligula in our imaginations (his enemies wrote the histories), the more we experience Donald Trump and his myriad debaucheries, the more we have to look at Caligula and ask “Okay, but what if he really was that bad?”

In addition to killing everyone he feared (including the men who put him in power), Caligula declared himself a god. He replaced the heads on the statues of gods all around Rome with his own head. Most famously, Caligula wanted to make his horse consul. Between and around all that, Caligula epitomized debauchery in every form. If it felt good to him, he did it.

Or, as Caligula himself put it: “Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody.”

That sounds almost painfully like “I alone can fix it”.

Just as Caligula debauched (and debased) an already debaucheded Roman society, so too is Donald Trump taking our worst instincts and feeding them Trumpian steroids. We stand by, watching (disapproving — horrified even), but, in fact, doing nothing to stop it while the debauchery continues unabated. We have blown past moments of what should have been end-of-the-line absurdity — images that previously would have defined a presidency and ended it on the spot —

Instead, these images have become shards in a massive mosaic that, if you look at it one way, looks exactly like Donald Trump. But, if you turn your head and look at it slightly askew? You see the deeper problem within: Massive, systemic, foundational REPUBLICAN corruption.

This shouldn’t be a revelation (though it apparently is — and that’s horrifying): Our problem isn’t Donald Trump, it’s the whole damned Republican Party. It’s the 1% trying desperately to make minority rule (by them) a permanent fixture of American political and social life. They have already hijacked the judiciary (that would be Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland or any Obama judicial appointment a hearing then cramming every doctrinaire conservative shithead into the openings deliberately left behind). They’ve already used two stolen SCOTUS seats to make political gerrymandering a permanent fixture — thus putting the legislative branch in their clutches forever.

Democrats may win the overwhelming majority of the votes but gerrymandering dilutes those votes down to where a handful of Republicans can beat them. With the legislative branch permanently in their hands, the executive is easy — especially when concurrently you’ve been remaking the presidency as a side show Caesar-ship. Just not the right Casear…

Conservatism Is A Disease – It Says So Right In Its Name…

Though the word “liberal” has a long history, it’s too malleable, too easily redirected in the current vernacular where words have been unmoored from their meanings. That’s what LYING does. I prefer the word “PROGRESSIVE” to describe my politics because, in a culture where getting people to read a goddamned tweet is a challenge, billboarding your meaning is just plain more efficient communication.

We don’t have to guess what progressive politics want to accomplish: PROGRESS.

By the same token, we don’t have to guess what “CONSERVATIVE” politics want to accomplish. It’s right there in the name: conservative politics want to conserve WHAT IS or, more often — what WAS. Conservatives want to live in the past. They want to resist change — progress — any & every way they can. Progress is their kryptonite.

Why?

Well,m who ARE conservatives in America (and most of Europe)? They’re white people who want to CONSERVE the white world they came from. Our multi-ethnic, multi-racial world (where women have an equal say) is completely antithetical to them. They want to shove all the toothpaste back into the tube. As if anyone could.

But this is really the world conservatism wants to drag us back to — an empty toothpaste tube — recognizable but empty with absolutely no future (except perhaps as garbage). In order to accomplish this end — regress — conservatives need to step in progress’s path. Being a minority position — an increasingly minority position — conservatism has resorted to outright treason (on top of gerrymandering and voter suppression) to maintain its weakening grip on power. When electoral politics no longer work for you, what else are ya gonna do?

Conservatism — once the supposed bastion for lovers of the Rule Of Law — is now where liars and con men go to piss on the Rule Of Law instead. The Rule Of Law, conservatives now see is a roadmap to their own extinction. So — like a virus, conservatism now seeks to infect America — like a virus — bent on turning us into it. Conservatives will now try to shove their DNA back into America like toothpaste that will never ever get back into the tube.

It’s all well and good for the toothpaste. Our problem is we’re the tube.

America Has A ‘Body Image’ Problem: Why Gerrymandering Is Our DYSMORPHIA

What does America ‘look like’?

Imagine us sweeping into a dressing room for a fitting.  How shall we ‘dress’ going forward (through the door of the next election — there, that’s the whole metaphor)?

Turns out we have the whole world’s attention as we twirl in the mirror.  They all see us how they see us — like friends and rivals, each with a history and an attitude toward us.  Can’t do much about that right now.  History is history.

But, as we twirl, we catch our own reflection.  And what we see staring back… It confounds us.  We know what we are in our heads.  Why doesn’t our body look like it?

Welcome to Gerrymandering.

Quick example (drawn from Lawrence Wright’s wonderful piece in the New Yorker from a few months back about the effects of gerrymandering on Texas).  Austin, Texas has a largely progressive voter population.  And yet — of the SEVEN voting districts into which Austin has been carved, as of the time Wright was writing, only ONE was represented by a Democrat.  The rest of Austin’s six — predominantly progressive — districts were represented by conservatives (and in several districts, ARCH conservatives).

The (intended) result — A MAJORITY  Progressive voting population is represented as a MINORITY Conservative population — the Will of the People has been completely CIRCUMVENTED.  The intended result isn’t just an electoral win for the MINORITY candidate but the creation of a Juggernaut of electoral invincibility that will keep the conservative white, Christian minority in power over a progressive, diverse majority.  In heavily gerrymandered districts all over the country, Democrats must, in essence, generate at least twice the voter turnout just to achieve ‘parity’ that overcomes the distorting effect of the gerrymandering.

Because that’s what gerrymandering does (aside from circumvent the will of the people) — it creates a distortion — exactly like dysmorphia — to take root in our brains.  The News Media — glomming onto the numbers (like it was our weight expressed down to the atom) — doesn’t see or acknowledge the context that gerrymandering presents, that the numbers, without that context, tell, in fact, a very false narrative about a district that doesn’t exist.

If you’ve ever experienced body dysmorphia — or know someone who has — a dysmorphic’s body image does not match reality.  They desperately need a meal but their dysmorphic mind says ‘Go on a diet’.  The diet could kill them.

That is us — America.  A progressive-by-nature country (that’s what diversity does — it’s why diversity COMES in the first place because progressive places welcome while regressive places turn away) being run by arch conservative people NOT because the progressive population ‘wants’ to be governed that way but because the arch conservative people figured out how to HOLD ONTO POWER despite the fact that they were no longer the majority entitled to hold onto power.

And they did that through GERRYMANDERING.

When America looks in the mirror, it sees THIS —

It sees diversity.  It sees every color in the rainbow and every variation on the theme of being human.  It sees America staring back at it.

When Conservative America look in that same mirror, this apparently is what it sees staring back —

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City

THEY look like that, yes.  They do.  And they’re proud of it.  But it’s not what WE look like.  It’s not what America looks like.

When we start to get healthy again — soon, I hope — we’ll see it.