I Made A Terrific New Friend Yesterday — My Diametric Opposite

I am not making this up. I met my diametric opposite a few days ago. We kinda it it off. By yesterday, when we parted ways, I couldn’t get him out of my head.

Come the fall, my daughter will matriculate at UC-Davis. Despite the havoc Prop 13 wreaked upon California’s educational system, our state universities remain a shining example of what public education can be. For two days, we were both plunged into the University’s culture — my daughter off with the students, me off with the parents. As this isn’t my first time at the UC Rodeo, I was familiar with the tropes. The nuggets of good, UC-Davis-specific info were massively outnumbered by well-meaning-but-generic suggestions about dealing with our freshman angst and our own.

My new friend Gary and I started chatting — just because we were sitting near each other while waiting for one of the information sessions to start. We all wore badges with our names, our student’s first name and their intended major. That way, all the parents had a way to break the ice with each other — just by reading each others’ badges.

I’m not subtle in a room. Gary saw me immediately for what I was — a progressive. Gary did a little “lawyerly” poking around. He showed me a picture of a Remington rifle he was interested in buying. It was a nice-looking rifle. Not my thing but, still, my under-reaction surprised Gary.

The subject of marijuana had come up. I forget why. It seems to come up a lot around me. Gary had recently developed type 2 diabetes. When he and I and the two other hookey-playing dads sat down for an off-campus beer, Gary and I were the only non-drinkers. I asked if he ever used cannabis instead. Gary said he almost did once (at UC-Davis — he was a very proud alum) but hadn’t since — and really couldn’t because of his work.

Gary, ya see, is a judge. A very conservative judge from a very conservative part of California. The instant I heard Gary was a judge, I was captivated. I grew up a surgeon’s son. While I thought of my dad as “dad”, other people revered my dad because of what he did — and did for them. Working as I have in show business, I’ve seen people be revered because they can memorize dialogue and act it out on cue. But, perhaps because I grew up being unimpressed, I became immune to being impressed. Gary being a judge (never mind his politics) made him a guy with a job I wanted to know more about. The perfect basis for a friendship.

Now, I hope Gary will forgive me for this. I’m about to give away his secret. He’s a profoundly decent man. His care and compassion for drug addicts — his work on their behalf to keep them out of the penal system (but with the penal system’s threat very real) makes him a hero. There’s a saying in the Talmud: “Save one life, you save the world”. I told Gary that’s what he was doing. He downplayed it. The last laugh is mine — I’m shouting it from the rooftops here.

The truth is, because Gary isn’t a doctrinaire conservative — and I’m a pragmatic progressive — we found an amazing amount of, if not common ground, then ground where structures could be built where we both could live. It’s funny how when you put politics — even differing politics — inside decent people, one hears the differences but one also sees a way to get past them. Decency is a remarkable thing, I tell ya!

Decency means you have to listen sometimes — and wait your turn to counter. You have to argue facts and not feelings. You have to stay reasoned and reasonable.

I have a confession to make. I used what my new friend Gary told me about himself against him. And he let me. The subject of Donald Trump came up. The subject of Russia came up. The subject of Robert Mueller and The Mueller Report came up.

Gary said he hadn’t read the report, didn’t intend to, and thought it was a waste of time. That’s when I played dirty. I talked to my new friend Gary as the compassionate, law-abiding judge I knew he was — there was video, news reporting — testimonials from drug addicts who’d been saved from their own demons. Gary is especially fond of his time in drug court. He’s put more than a few demons to the sword there.

I put Robert Mueller into Gary’s courtroom,. Was Mueller a “good witness”? Purple Heart War Hero… Second longest-serving FBI Director… a man who’d spent his whole career as a public servant — whose reputation even now remains sterling. I asked — if the evidence presented in the 488 page Mueller Report was evidence presented in HIS courtroom, how would Gary feel about it?

I told you — Gary is a very decent man. He did not disagree that AG Bill Barr misrepresented Robert Mueller and his work product. The more we talked about the subject, the quieter Gary became. I don’t argue feelings. I argue facts (and I can back up everything with receipts if needed because I’ve learned the hard way — it sucks being humiliated by someone who does bring proof that they know whereof they speak). But feelings are part of the equation and depending on how intense those feelings are, the facts can easily get de-contextualized. A fact out of context is a statistic waiting to be abused.

Gary and I talked about the 2nd amendment too. We talked about how it’s worded. We talked about guns and gun culture. Though it pains me to say it, i don’t see how we’d ever make America a giant gun-free zone. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work toward it. My bet is the more women flood the political system, the tighter gun restrictions will be because mothers hate the thought of anyone’s baby getting shot.

Guns will be a series of conversations we’ll have over time, I bet. I believe we will have those conversations. And though we won’t see eye-to-eye, I believe we’ll begin to see ways to bridge the chasm. Decency, I believe, will make the chasm harder to maintain. I hope that Gary’s decency was a reflection of my own. Having someone listen to you — really listen — changes things.

I bonded with Gary. I found a compadre (and a partner in crime). I found someone whose world fascinates me — as my world fascinates him. I doubt we’ll ever have the same war stories.

As someone who rages against political opponents like a fool shrieking into the void, I found it incredibly satisfying to listen. To ask questions. To understand the perspective that made another person who they are.

I guess that’s what happened. I looked inside the heart of another person — and saw them beneath what they thought.

I can’t say for sure if this new friendship will endure. I want it to. I already come away from it enriched by it.

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Male Thinking Explained (Warning: You Won’t Like It)

They may come for my Male Card for writing this — screw em! The time has come to man up about how men “man up”: it’s all in our minds.

No woman would ever speak the words “I alone can fix it” because every woman knows that’s utter bullshit. No one can fix anything alone. No one can do anything alone (except wander across a wilderness). Women know this biologically. They know they can’t bear a child and raise a child by themselves. Both mother and baby will surely die. Part of the maternal instinct is knowing — you’ll need at least one other person to survive. More support equals better chances of survival. More support still and both mother and baby can thrive.

It’s a very female instinct to think it takes a village to raise a child. That instinct is borne of deep-seated knowledge. Trust it. It speaks a core Truth.

Now, here’s the thing — that needing a village thing? It’s the diametric opposite to how men think. How men think starts with our biology, too. Yes, we’re all about our dicks, we men, but we’re all about our dicks because we’re really all about our sperm. Our biologic imperative (aside from eating, shitting and dying) is to reproduce. It’s hard-wired into the genome. How we reproduce is to put our sperm in proximity to a female’s egg. Insertion helps. A big dick assumes more efficient delivery of sperm to egg. In our minds, it probably assumes more better sperm too.

We’re the Wolf in the Red Riding Hood story, already in bed, dressed up as Grandma — even though, strangely, Grandma’s got her penis in her hand… “What a big penis you have, Grandma.” “The better to impregnate you with, sweetheart.”

At the very core of male thinking is that imperative — how do I put my sperm someplace else? Once placed, of course, the male is free to move on. In essence, nothing ties him to whatever comes of him coming. If he was a sociopathic asshole — like, say, Donald Trump — he could pick & choose what of his “leavings” gets to go full term. Kinda like now.

I really, REALLY hate to say this but just like Donald Trump epitomizes Republicanism (sociopathic, hypocritical, corrupt-to-the-core, utterly lacking in principles or integrity, committed only to gaining & holding power even if it means committing treason), he also epitomizes being male. In a blown way out of proportion (well, it’s Trump, isn’t it) but not as much as you think kind of way. “I alone can fix it” is not uniquely Trumpian — as Trumpian as it is.

The cocksmanship? C’mon, boys — we all know what that’s like. We all wish, down deep, we could be that instantly attractive. No one really wants to work for their supper. Everyone wants to be indulged — especially that way.

What’s more? Donald Trump epitomizes the male “Squirt-n-Go” dynamic. Of course it applies sexually. Bottom Line Donald — he’s a rapist. The ultimate squirt-n-Go-er. His sperm isn’t just conquest, it’s brutality. It’s fully weaponized sperm. But Trump doesn’t just Squirt-n-Go with his toxic seed. He does it with bullshit, too.

Trump spews bullshit with the same ease he spews semen. He can swing his dick in your face without taking it out of his pants — though he loves to pull it out — despite its tiny size.

That Truth about men is already public knowledge: Men lie about their size.

Now you know why.

Want To Know What “The Precipice” Looks Like For American Democracy? We’re There… How’s The View?

The Supreme Court just refused to rule on political gerrymandering — EVER — in essence legalizing minority rule in America. Meanwhile — stunning tragedy occurs daily on our Southern border — by design. And also meanwhile, a Russian intelligence asset occupies the White House while his whole political party stands by — because they, too, are, it turns out, Russian intelligence assets.

Some of us have been screaming about the death of American Democracy for so long now, we’ve merged into the background noise. Even those of us who saw Trump’s craven criminality, his duplicity, his deceptions — and even his outright treachery — from the beginning are shocked by how much worse TrumpWorld has been.

Let’s nail that down — TrumpWorld has been exponentially worse than even the worst worst case scenario.

The thing we didn’t count on — the lurking iceberg, it turns out — hasn’t been Donald Trump’s treasonous relationship with Russia, it’s been the Republican Party’s deeply cynical play — to USE Trump’s relationship with Russia (and their own) as a means to force permanent minority rule down the country’s unwilling throat. Republicans can’t ever seem to get the “rapiness” out of their system.

We live inside a false narrative — that Donald Trump won an election. He didn’t. If anyone won in 2016, it was Russia. Take Russia completely out of the Trump equation and Trump doesn’t even survive the primary process. Betcha there’s evidence aplenty that Russian efforts and active measures also were employed against Trump’s republican foes. Russia owns us. Not entirely. Saudi Arabia also owns a piece of us now. As does the UAE… and Israel.

Our values, our institutions, our norms — lots of it is gone already. We’ve normalized lying and deception and fraud. A flagrantly criminal administration openly obstructs investigations into its own flagrant criminality — while the MSM watches, muttering to itself that it can’t be witnessing a crime — cause crimes don’t get witnessed.

So — the SCOTUS won’t stand up for American Democracy. The Republican Party certainly won’t do it (it’s counter-intuitive for them). And the Main Stream News Media won’t or can’t do it because they’re too addicted to “both sides do it” journalism, false narrative manufacturing and navel gazing to meet their Constitutional responsibility as the final check on power. The Democratic Party wants to do the right thing but has a historical tendency to dither.

That leaves US, fellow Americans. The survival of the greatest experiment in human self-government will fall to US. Here’s the joke. The overwhelming majority of us WANT this experiment to continue. We want it to be better. We want it to serve waaaaaaaay more people — both Americans and people who want to be Americans. And we want the experiment to reach, benefit, and draw in every American and every person who comes to America, seeking their fortune and future.

No one else can make that happen except us. The more of us that show up in 2020, the better our chances of continuing the experiment. That doesn’t mean chase white men around, begging for their vote. It means chasing the 50% who don’t vote — but need to.

That’s the challenge facing us. There IS a way out of this. It won’t be easy, won’t be fun, won’t be clean, won’t be without lots of bloodletting. But, we have no choice.

The alternative is republicanism, authoritarianism and — say it with me — “permanent minority rule”.

The majority needs to put their foot down hard.

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.

Our News Media’s Big Problem – They Don’t Know How To Connect Dots

I have two kids.  When they were little, they both delighted in connect-the-dots books.  They thrilled to the concept that — as they drew (their pencil being guided by the numbers) — a picture would emerge.  And all THEY had to do: connect the dots.

Cute_Elephant_connect_dots

That same concept works in and for storytelling.  Half the fun of listening to a story is anticipating where we think it’s going to go.  Based on the dots already connected for us (by the storyteller), we can anticipate how the dots ahead of us might connect.  We’re also hoping for a plot twist that will completely screw with what we anticipated.  Then the dots will connect a different way.

But — the point is — they’ll still connect.

If the dots don’t connect — there’s no story.  So — in stories, as in life, the dots must (and do) connect.  Just like in the connect-the-dot books.

What can possibly explain our Main Stream Media’s inability to do that simple, basic thing?

We sit in the middle of the biggest connect-the-dots puzzle ever imagined.  It’s massive, stretching in all sorts of directions.  It’s a picture — we can see it already (those of us who can imagine a picture from more than a few hundred feet up) of Massive Corruption — here, in the United States, in Europe, in the Middle east and in Asia.  Even Australia’s contributed — contributing a racist murderer to New Zealand.  Only Antarctica seems free of political corruption; maybe the scientists who’ve worked there know differently.

What we’ve already eyewitnessed ourselves is staggering in its audacity and criminality. Those of us who see crime for what it is, have always seen crime.  Those who easily normalize crime (“He’s a different kind of president”) see normalcy.  The only reason they see normalcy is because they cannot connect dots.

There is nothing normal about these here times. Anyone who accepts this as normal has either surrendered (and needs to stop or just get the hell out of everyone else’s way) or is part of the criminal class — and they need to cut it the hell out — and get the hell out of everyone else’s way.  There has been a steady stream of clear-cut EVIDENCE that Donald Trump has an “unnatural” relationship with not only Vladimir Putin but a whole host of authoritarian monsters.

There are no coincidences — those are dots connecting.

Of course, it’s hard to see the picture the dots are forming when you obsess on the relationship between two dots.  Problem is — while THOSE TWO dots may not connect directly, they’re still part of the same picture.  If you don’t see THAT fact — you’re going to miss what the picture looks like.  Hell, you’ll probably think they’re TWO DIFFERENT PICTURES. And that, of course, is completely wrong.

Welcome to America’s Main Stream News Media.

Back when Fusion GPS first got hired by the REPUBLICAN Washington Free Beacon (Jeb Bush supporters) to compile oppo research on Donald Trump, they started by doing their “due diligence”.  When he testified before Congress on August 22, 2017, Fusion’s founding partner Glenn Simpson (formerly of the Wall Street Journal — not exactly a liberal rag) explained Fusion’s process.  They got ahold of every piece of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material they could on Donald J Trump.

They got books.  They got magazine articles.  They listened to Trump on radio shows and watched him on TV shows. They bought stuff from Amazon and borrowed it from the public library.  Simpson testified that Fusion got its hands on every existing bit of info (available to anyone) that even hinted at Trump.  And what they found there, said Simpson, convinced them that Donald Trump had a long, clear criminal history — and that history had a long, clear relationship with Russian mobsters.

Simpson and Fusion GPS knew — Russian mobsters equals the Russian government.  You don’t get to be a Russian oligarch (a mobster) without having one particular friend in Moscow: Vlad Putin.  Putin’s a spy by nature and training.  He thinks like a spy and acts like one. He’s always looking for an in — a way to control you and make you his.  If Donald Trump had secrets about Russian mobsters for whom he’d been laundering money — he had secrets about himself and Vladimir Putin.

Understand — the Donald dot does not connect directly to the Vladimir Putin dot. But they do most definitely connect.

They are very definitely part of the same picture.

Oh — before I forget — IF anyone in the Main Stream Media happens to read this — that picture at the top of the post?

It’s an elephant.

 

Every Day, I Feel More & More Hopeful; Here’s Why…

I’ll own it straight up: between a mood stabilizer & copious amounts of THC (we’re talking “COPIOUS”), I walk around most days in a state of perpetual bliss. But I do not, for two seconds, ever forget that I live in a shithole of a world. I live in the most fucked up times imaginable.

I live during World War Three.

Yeah — WWIII — I have a sneaking suspicion that, once the smoke has cleared, we’ll realize this whole experience has been a cyber war (or an disinformation war — same difference) being waged on us principally by Russia (but with “assists” from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and probably Israel, too).

What we thought was “just how life is” will turn out to be Historic. Historical. History On The Hoof. Lucky us.

But, just as things swing to the negative, they can’t stay there. Everything cycles. Nothing remains stagnant. Not for long in the great scheme of things. The swing back in the other direction is already a happening deal. The intensity of the swing back in our direction will be in direction relation to the swing in that direction.

Caveat — we don’t know yet how massive the swing was in “THAT” direction. We think it was bad. We have no idea how bad. We were swinging wildly toward outright authoritarianism. The Republican party has completely surrendered whatever ideals it had to just plain holding on to power for power’s sake.

Well — no power, no money — I imagine they saw it as a package deal. They weren’t wrong.

But the same reason the Republicans & conservatives felt compelled to cheat & even commit treason to hold onto power is the reason I feel hopeful: Demographics.

Republicans & conservatives fear America’s shifting demographics. While they tell themselves that THEY are American Exceptionalism, they’re dead wrong. America IS exceptional because of its diversity. Such diversity from so many cultures in one place — that never happened before on a grand scale (it did before in places like, say Baghdad from 800 – 1100 when, being an open city, ideas from all over flourished). Rome benefited from getting influences from its far-flung colonies. Growing diversity means extinction to a party of White Christian Men.

If not “extinction” then Zero Political Power. Ah! There’s the rub!

It comes down to political power. Who has it — and who’s acquiring it? The Culture of Old Christian White Men had it — and Everyone Else In America is in the process of acquiring it. That’s what’s happening all around us. Being as women and people of color make up a lot of that “Everyone Else” who’s been out of power, that spells the worst news imaginable for Old Christian White Men.

Trumpism is Republicanism is Conservatism. I’ve said here before and will say again. I KNOW what Progressives want — it’s right in our name: we want PROGRESS. We want people to “progress”. We want the most people to do the best they possibly can — and believe that will bring the most prosperity and happiness to the widest possible part of our population. It won’t be cheap. But investing in people almost always returns handsomely on that investment. It’s greed & conservatism that wants to gaze at the cash in its pocket — and screw the people.

Conservatism — as it’s name says — wants to “conserve”. Not what will be — but WHAT WAS. In the past. When White Christian Men were the alpha dogs and everyone else was their bitch. Conservatives want to conserve THAT. If I’m wrong, please correct me. What ARE conservatives trying to “conserve” if not the past?

The last election wasn’t “The Blue Wave”. It was the Blue Wave’s leading edge. Having tasted political power, more and more women and POC will step forward, run for office or just vote. The more Americans vote, the more progressive we are. Because we’re so diverse.

Even if the republicans “could” stifle the Mueller Report (they can’t), the numbers are completely against them. Women are already outraged at conservatism’s treatment of them. Just wait till the Jeffrey Epstein story really catches fire — and the Big Names he’s been protecting start getting aired.

Wanna see outrage & moral indignation?

I am hopeful BECAUSE so many women are so outraged. I am hopeful BECAUSE of their oral indignation.

I am hopeful because FINALLY America’s women — and our people of color — OUR DIVERSITY — are coming center stage and TAKING the political power they should have been given long, long ago.

America Is Still Dealing With Its ‘Original Sin’: We Screwed Up On Slavery

If you really think about it — and you don’t have to think too hard — an awful lot of our current debate about racism in this country is as old as the Republic itself.  When the Founders of this Republic sat down to hash out what this country was and what it wasn’t, what they wanted it to be — and not be — they got bamboozled by the pro-slavery faction.

The fact that the Founders of this country couldn’t/wouldn’t outlaw slavery within our borders was a staggering mistake.  We fought a whole Civil War over it.  We’re battling over it still.

Either ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ or they aren’t.  There can’t be ‘Some Men Are Created MORE Equal’.  Well — there can — but that isn’t this country.

Except it is.  Because we screwed up at the start and allowed slavery to not only ‘be’ but — and here’s where slavery STILL haunts us — to guarantee slavery’s survival, we reverse-engineered how OUR version of democracy would ‘work’.  We empowered the slavers.  We empowered A MINORITY.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that that minority is WHITE, CHRISTIAN & MALE.

Historically, White-Christian-Male Culture has hated and feared any culture that wasn’t IT.  It’s used the Law to punish ‘the other’ and their culture.  Quick ‘for instance’ – marijuana prohibition never had anything to do with marijuana being a health risk (it isn’t — not compared to thousands of OTHER things we do or imbibe LEGALLY) – it was about the fact that marijuana (unknown to White Christian Male Culture) was enjoyed by MEXICANS who brought it with them when they migrated (many after the Mexican Revolution started in 1910).

Those same White Christian Males hated marijuana even more when Jazz Musicians — code for Black Men – took to it enthusiastically.

If you look at the arguments we’re having today — and it’s heavy with racism — you can’t miss slavery’s echos all over the place.  What is VOTER SUPPRESSION if not white people trying to keep black people from voting?  That’s not occurring in a vacuum.  It’s White People resisting the fact that Black People (‘slaves’ to the republican mindset) are free, are citizens, and can vote.

Republicans despise the fact that Black People or Brown People or Asian People or ANY PEOPLE that aren’t them can vote.  They’ve seen for eons where this would lead — to the demise of White Christian Male Culture as the ‘dominant culture’ in America.  To the End of Slavery, really.

And Republicans desperately don’t want THAT to happen…