How Many Republicans Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb? Zero — There’s No More House – They Burned It Down

I’m not the first person to compare Donald Trump to an arsonist who sets fires then calls the Fire Department — then does everything he can to get in the Fire Department’s way when they show up to put out the flames. Incompetence is bad. Malicious incompetence is worse.

Republicans going back to Lee Atwater — one-time head of the RNC, political consultant to Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush’s campaign manager — have taken not so much a Machiavellian approach to governing as the approach Sherman took to Atlanta — he burned down the idea of government for the people by the people of the people and put up instead a strategy based on culture war against the left and outright refusal to even compromise with anyone not a Republican.

WASHINGTON – MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater are young political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo By Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

If you can measure a man by the company he keeps, measure Lee Atwater by the company he CO-FOUNDED — with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

Quick — If Lee Atwater, Paul Manafort or Roger Stone (or anyone in the Republican Party) had great ideas to sell, don’t you think they’d have sold them to us instead of always relying on cheating? The Chuck Todd’s of the world will insist that “both sides do it”. I dare anyone to point to a similar outfit that uses dirty tricks, deception & flagrant dishonesty to further Democratic Party ideals and goals. It doesn’t exist because it just isn’t how Democrats think.

Atwater wasn’t the first American political consultant to play dirty. We’ve done that since the Republic’s founding. Atwater however brought media savvy to the dirty. He made the dirty dirtier.

In his time, Atwater used racism to help elect George HW Bush (the Willie Horton ads) and the inference that House Speaker Jim Wright was gay. Atwater went after the voting rights act (cos isn’t that what Republicanism really is about?) and gave this honest answer to a journalist’s question about Atwater’s thinking (I’ve softened the language — taking out Atwater’s repeated use of “the N-word”)…

Y’all don’t quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, “N-word, n-word, n-word”. By 1968 you can’t say “n-word”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busingstates’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this”, is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N-word, n-word”. So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the backbone.”

Whatever ya say, Lee, whatever ya say… Newt Gingrich picked up the mantle when Atwater was gone — cut down at 40 by a grade 3 astrocytoma — an aggressive form of brain cancer. Gingrich turned a hose running lighter fluid onto what Atwater had started. We’re still living in the ashes.

To Atwater’s credit, when an aggressive brain cancer cut his life short, Atwater had an actual “Come To Jesus” moment. He saw (most of) the error in his ways. He realized how greed (for money and power) had skewed his values — and, in the pages of Life Magazine, Atwater repented:

“My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The 1980s were about acquiring – acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.”

That “tumor of the soul” metastasized into Donald Trump. That sound you hear are the last embers of what was our Democracy flickering out.

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It Sucks Being Hated. It Sucks More When The Reason You’re Hated Is Entirely Based On Fiction

It sucks when the thing at the end of “I hate you because…” is bullshit.

I’m a yid. A kike. A sheeny.

I grew up part of a hated community. As a kid, you ask the obvious question — “But WHY do they hate me (never mind us)?” The answer you get back isn’t satisfying — or logical. Underneath the “because you’re a Jew” — to the reasons WHY they hate your Jewness — one finds fiction.

More to the point, one finds BULLSHIT. And Magical Thinking.

Antisemitism is not alone in its bullshittiness. Lots of white people think black people are less intelligent because of their skin color. The scientific basis for this thinking is exactly zero. It ain’t reality talking, it’s ignorant, racist bullshit. Of course.

Antisemitism is slightly different because it’s not based on an obvious tribal difference. It’s based on a story.

I bet if Jesus — a Jew every day of his life — were to be resurrected, he’d be horrified in a thousand different ways. He’d be especially horrified that HE was the reason his own tribe has been threatened ever since. Jesus preached a message so simple, even a dumb atheist can see its value and go along with it: “Do Unto Others”. It doesn’t require an ounce of ooga-booga. Jesus (I’m going with The Jesus Seminar’s findings here) never advocated for a church (he was too busy advocating against the temple ffs!) or talked about being any sort of messianic playah who was part of a complex, prophesy-following make-believe. That was Paul, actually, and the early “Church Fathers” — the boys club that put the early church together.

I recommend this book by the award-winning novelist, biographer and journalist A. N. Wilson — Paul: The Mind Of Thttps://www.amazon.com/Paul-Mind-Apostle-N-Wilson/dp/0393317609he Apostle.

The Early Church was a literal construct. The New Testament did not suddenly plop down in the middle of Rome. It was put together in order to send out a message — a story. There are loads of interesting texts that didn’t make the cut (I highly recommend The Other Bible — which includes these texts). You have to ask “Why?”

Spoiler alert — because the Early Church made up its foundational mythology out of pretty much whole cloth. They invented a “Jesus” — borrowing just enough of the original to give it flavor — then manufacturing the rest from the ground up. That included the way this fictitious version of the Jesus Character died — at the end of a process started by Jews.

In the storytelling biz, that story doesn’t sell cause it smells. If you put it in a script — changing the names, of course, to protect the innocent — it would get killed by everyone who read it because it makes no sense. Even villains have to have logic. Especially villains.

The church manufactured a fiction that worked well for them. And because it worked well, they repeated it — and repeated it ad nauseum until a literal lie became, to those without the perspective or knowledge of history, a “truth”. And that false “truth” became the basis for a massive amount of unwarranted hatred.

If the Holocaust (as studies now say) caused actual genetic mutations — the emotional reactions to the experience literally altered its’ victims DNA — it’s likely strong emotional reactions caused earlier DNA alterations to those on the other side of that equation — the perps. How else to explain the seeming hard-wiring of this hatred? Maybe I’m just being paranoid about Jew hatred being universal.

How else to explain the persistent Magical Thinking that Jews use Christian babies to make matzoh or plot — together — to take over the world through the banks and media. Jews, as a rule, tend to be pretty independent in their thinking (it’s a cultural thing for lots of us). Getting a bunch of us to be that together in our thinking so we could pull such a thing off — hasn’t actually met any Jews. That’s Magical Thinking.

Magical Thinking based on rubbish — as all Magical Thinking is.

So, here’s the punchline to the joke. It sucks to be hated because of a fiction. But — are ya ready for it? Racial hatred, tribal hatred, pretty much most hatred — it’s all is based on fiction.

We need to fix our attention on the scumbags who regularly exploit that fact. I won’t point fingers here — I’d need more fingers. We all know who those scumbags are. They’re the ones who bray bullshit — because they know how well bullshit sells — and what bullshit will do as it spreads.

Having A “Normalcy Bias” Isn’t Abnormal; It Should Be…

If a presidential contender coming down an escalator announces to the world that he’s running for President because America needs a wall to keep out all the Mexican rapists — and everyone (after an initial burst of outrage) shrugs because they’re already consumed by that contender’s next outrage — somewhere inside that shrug was born their “Normalcy Bias”.  Calling Mexicans rapists went — within a sentence — from being an outrage to being… “normal”.

That’s just how Trump speaks, the MSM told us.  Racism?  No.   Poor word choice — yes.  And, just like that, the MSM had built absolute racism into its Normalcy Bias.  Racism was — IS — now completely legit.  Pussy-grabbing worked the exact same way.  A few moments of outrage tempered by the “timely” release of a Wikileaks dump — which, too, got NORMALIZED.  Shall we toss LYING onto the bonfire?

How quickly did the MSM normalized the fact that a president of the United States lied more reliably than he told the truth?  Though they knew what Trump was saying was a lie, still they continued to report each lie as if it WASN’T a lie and therefore had to be considered as possibly the truth.

Sorry, but a turd is a turd is a turd. Call it a “perfumed package” if you like or a “surprise” or even just “poo”.  It’s a turd.  It stinks.  It has to be cleaned up.  Making it “palatable” while making it “do-able” also makes it “palatable”.  Maybe it shouldn’t be.

What our MSM can’t seem to grasp is how badly THEY are being fooled every day by their own Normalcy Bias.  When, say, you know going into a (rare) press conference that the Press Secretary is going to lie to you — and then you LET HER LIE & (worse) let her GET AWAY WITH IT, you are further solidifying HER Normalcy Bias that she CAN get away with just about every time.  What’s the cost of lying?  Nothing.

Normalcy Bias is no one’s friend.   It’s comfort with what is even if “what is” is utter bullshit. Normalcy Bias is how that frog slowly gets boiled to death without ever realizing it.

What EXACTLY Do Conservatives Want To ‘Conserve’?

I’ve asked this before but haven’t gotten an answer yet… I know what Progressives want to PROGRESS toward: as much equality as possible for as many people as soon as possible.  Progressives want to progress in any we they can toward a level playing field where every American has the best possible chance to contribute as much as they possibly can to America while benefiting as much as they can.

Progressives want America to be as diverse as possible because they know that DIVERSITY is what makes America Exceptional.

Progressives want America to PROGRESS — just like it says in our name.  We want America to PROGRESS into THE FUTURE.

Okay, conservatives, we showed you ours, now show us yours:  What do Conservatives want to CONSERVE?  And how will conserving THAT get us anywhere NEAR our FUTURE?  To judge by republican policies and Trumpian attitudes, conservatives want to conserve the worst of America:  Its racism, its misogyny.  Its bigotry and willful ignorance.

Republicans want to conserve White Christian Male Culture.

Now, that’s easy for me to say — a progressive shithead but, for shits n giggles, I recommend finding a conservative friend — if you still have any — and ask them, point blank:  “Dude — what is it exactly you’re trying to conserve anyway?”  After they try to avoid answering, listen carefully.  They won’t say anything logical or even intelligible.  That’s the point.

Their simple answer is “How it WAS.”  Meaning, ‘How it was when WHITE PEOPLE ruled the world’.

The real joke of it is, White People really do believe the World is ‘far better’ when their Wonder Bread tastes and judgments rule everything and diversity is held at bay.  White People think they have a choice regarding the Future — and who ‘peoples’ it.

Shouldn’t someone tell them what happens to people in the MINORITY when the MAJORITY decides to treat them unfairly?

Oh well — Live and learn…

What Tribalism IS & ISN’T

Our illustrious, observant MSM points out a lot these days how TRIBAL we’ve all become (and how ‘it’s both sides’ fault that we HAVE become so tribal).

As I’m fond of saying on these pages here, if you start from a place of BULLSHIT, you will only ever see BULLSHIT in front of you.  And THAT is top shelf, Grade AAA BULLSHIT.

No, both sides don’t do it.  Both sides are tribal and experience tribalism but not all tribalism is created equal.

Allow me to throw down a metaphor to illustrate:  In my time I have been an ardent Lakers Fan.  During the Kobe Bryant Championship Years, my friends loved to watch the playoff games with me at my house because regardless of how entertaining (or not entertaining) the game itself might be — I was going to put on one hell of a show.  I’m passionate.  At the time, I lived and breathed Lakers.  There were Angelenos who shared my passion and Angelenos who didn’t give a shit and even Angelenos who supported that ‘other’ LA team — the Clippers (and this was during the Donald Sterling ownership days so the Clippers were easy to hate though they were perennial underdogs).

If a tragedy had befallen Los Angeles back then — an earthquake, say (we get those here) — my intense Lakers Tribalism would have been subsumed into Being An Angeleno.  My larger tribe would have taken precedence over my smaller, more local ‘allegiance’.  Logic (and survival instinct) would have dictated it.

Tribalism is natural to any sentient being who sees companionship in another sentient being.  What happens when you add a THIRD sentient being to the mix — that’s what determines how the future tribes in that grouping will play out.  Unless, of course, both sentient beings — and then their third — are all EXACTLY ALIKE.  If THAT’S the case then we’re talking less ‘a tribe’ and more ‘automatons’.  Or maybe just a ‘Tribe’ of ‘Automatons’

Republicans.

Because we live in a ‘Both Sides Do It’ media culture, the assumption is that BOTH KINDS OF ‘TRIBALISM’ ARE EXACTLY ALIKE.  But are they?  Let’s compare —

REPUBLICAN TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe: White, Christian Men principally.  The tribe’s rules & regs are designed to keep White, Christian Male Culture front and center — to keep it as THE DOMINANT CULTURE regardless of the fact that it no longer represents THE MAJORITY of the people in the culture.  In other words, Republican Tribalism seems bent on imposing ITS dying, no longer relevant, completely EXCLUSIVE culture onto the LARGER Culture.

DEMOCRATIC TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe:  Everyone Else.  White, black, brown, Asian, Native American, male, female, LGBTQ, rich, poor, American or willing-to-risk-your-life-to-BECOME-an-American.

When your ‘TRIBE’ is everyone who ISN’T WHITE, CHRISTIAN, MALE?  It means YOUR ‘tribalism’ isn’t quite the same as THE WHITE GUY’S ‘tribalism’.

If DIVERSITY is a ‘tribe’?  Include me in its numbers.  More importantly, where do I send my check so I can get my ‘Membership Card’?

 

 

If Bullshit Had A ‘Hall Of Fame’…

Bullshit comes with being Human.  We don’t know yet if Bullshit comes with being sentient; do other animals capable of conscious thought LIE to each other when necessary?  Why would we assume they didn’t?

I’m just saying — Lying and Bullshit seem so natural to us that it could be an organic outgrown of having a ‘sense of self’, an imperative to protect that ‘self’ from harm, and an impulse to alter the Truth in order to protect from harm.

Lie to a dog — about whether or not you’ll give it a treat — and you’ll see a mind grappling with bullshit.  Ever watch a Nature Program where a pack of wild dogs hunt?  It’s all about deception — that’s the nature of setting a trap:  the trapped think safety lies in one direction when it doesn’t.  It’s the creation of a legitimate fear for a bullshit reason (‘Run THIS way not THAT or you’ll get eaten).  Next thing you know — you’re eaten.

Bullshit is powerful stuff used on the fly.

It’s even MORE powerful when given time to ‘cure’ like concrete.  Just like concrete, as BULLSHIT hardens, it becomes more difficult to destroy.  After a while — if it continues to stand, it becomes foundational — a thing that’s always been so it must be true…

Today’s Featured Player – “THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION”…

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First published in Russia in 1903, the ‘Protocols’ want you to believe that a bunch of Jews got together and — having already planned World Domination — decided to get it all down in writing (bad writing).  It ain’t even a good story.

If you really want to hate another group of people, please, Anti-Semites, have a little self-respect.  Just go and hate.  Don’t try to embellish with nonsense like this — it’s ‘unbecoming’…

C’mon, Jew-Haters — if you’re really THAT into hating Jews, why would you need an excuse?  Isn’t your capacity to hate good enough for you?  You need Bullshit Reasons for hating?

Chrissakes — don’t tell me even Bigotry has been wrecked by the Age of Trump…

Drip… Drip… Drip… How Authoritarianism Works

The most frustrating arguments I have these days aren’t with Trumpanistas.  They’re with people completely on ‘our side’.

The question isn’t ‘Is Donald Trump the worst thing (aside from slavery) that ever happened to America?’  The question is why are so many ‘informed’, progressive people so reluctant to fully embrace — and act upon — a simple, empirical fact?

Why are they so reluctant when their whole way of life is threatened.  Not make believe threatened — For Real, No-Shit, No-Kidding Threatened.  The kind you look back upon afterward and ask yourself, ‘Gee, considering how clearly and obviously threatened we were, why didn’t someone do something?’  That someone would be YOU, pal — and the why is YOU NORMALIZED THE THREAT.

The steady ‘Drip-Drip-Drip’ of Normalization.  It is DEADLY.

Remember the feelings of outrage you felt over the words Donald Trump spoke about Mexicans on DAY ONE of his campaign?  He said that about human beings he didn’t know, about AMERICANS (many of them) — hard-working, patriotic Americans.

The moment we didn’t stop what was happening and insist that Donald Trump’s campaign to be POTUS end right there, right then — he had us.  It was over.  We had just ACCEPTED — and therefore NORMALIZED overt racism and bigotry.  It poked its nose into the Commonweal’s tent — saw no resistance — and so came right in and made itself at home.

When we next ACCEPTED ‘Pussy-Grabbing’ as ‘Just how this candidate talks about women‘ — we were gone, gone, gone.  Now it was more than HALF THE POPULATION whose DEBASEMENT we ACCEPTED and NORMALIZED.

Authoritarians need the mob BEHIND THEM, not opposing them for this reason and that reason.  Divide & Conquer is so basic even bad dictators usually get that one right.  Donald Trump certainly did.

Donald Trump managed to get the wishes & desires of 16% of the American population — yeah, as a percentage of the whole American Population, that’s the sum total of hard core Trumpanistas.  Throw in the fact that — with the assistance of Russia and Cynical RW White Christian Male Money — Election 2016 was fraudulent top to bottom and you get the recipe for an Authoritarian soft coup just the way the chefs drew it up.

Each little drip was bad enough.  But those drips add up.  Like now — into a whole trough FILLED with Malicious, Un-Democratic Intent.  And the ‘Coffee Maker’ looks and smells like it’s about to explode.

Fer Christ’s Sake — Can we PLEASE turn the ‘coffee maker’ off before it shorts out and burns the whole house down?