Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Joe Manchin: A weak Democrat is now the Republican party’s strongest weapon


Photo of protest outside Manchin’s boat - Yahoo News

Joe Manchin should be kicked out of the Democratic party for aligning with Republicans to obstruct the agenda of the Democratic president. (I don’t know if that’s a thing, but if it isn’t, it should be.)

He damn sure shouldn’t be allowed to be part of any strategy meetings held by Democrats.

Manchin voted with Republicans during the Trump administration 74% of the time.

His record of bailing on his constituents is so bad protests took place today on the waters surrounding his boat, the Almost Heaven.

West Virginians have been trying to reach Sen. Manchin every way we know how to tell him we need this bill,” Loretta Young, the executive director of Race Matters WV, said in a statement. “79% of West Virginians want this bill! And yet, Sen. Manchin is still blocking it. He’s not listening to us, he’s listening to Big Money. That’s why we’re here at his yacht in D.C. today. Yahoo News

This is the same boat Manchin uses to entertain his Republican friends and carry-on private conversations about everything going on in DC. The key is the secrecy. It’s the men’s club all over again, though on occasion, women are invited.

“Generally speaking, the first rule of visiting Joe Manchin III’s houseboat is don’t talk about Joe Manchin’s houseboat.The Washington Post

It’s not open to everybody in Congress, Joe picks and chooses who gets to participate in these unofficial discussions. It’s his way of conducting secretive talks he’ll never be held accountable for and which only his chosen few can partake in.

It’s old-school politics—the kind that got us where we are today. We are a democracy in name only, run by the political elite, whose main concern is keeping power and extorting money from any business they can scare into thinking if they make a big enough donation legislation will move in their favor.

He’s given his offspring lessons in the same dirty politics and she’s a quick study. Earlier this month, his daughter, Heather Bresch, was implicated in the EpiPen scandal—as court documents from a federal lawsuit reveal.

Among the documents is an email sent on behalf of Bresch, who is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to her counterpart at Pfizer, then-CEO Ian Read. In the email, sent in January 2011, Bresch confirms a previous discussion with Read in which she says that the two agreed that as part of a deal, Pfizer would disinvest from its EpiPen competitor, Adrenaclick. Eliminating its main competitor would then allow Mylan to continue raising its prices. The Intercept, 9/7/21.

Joe is also the only Democrat who voted for all three of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees:

Neil Gorsuch (I vote to punish the trucker for saving his own life by abandoning his truck in freezing weather),

Brett Kavanaugh (I like beer and I got drunk enough to pass out on several occasions in high school, but I know I never assaulted Christine Blasi Ford), and

Amy Coney Barrett (I’m a cult member and I’m proud to do what I’m told, but don’t accuse me of being partisan because that might give me away).

Democrats need to show some balls for a change. It’s not like Manchin does anything to support their party. Instead, by voting with Republicans to block the Biden agenda, the only thing Manchin does for the Dems is prove that Dems can’t convince their own people to vote for their bills. It’s embarrassing.

It’s not like he’s negotiating in good faith, either. While he’s been adamant about not voting for Biden’s infrastructure deal, he’s not telling Dems anything about what they need before he’ll agree to it. He’s just using the moment to position himself as a “moderate.”

In other words, he is brand building while Rome is burning.

Kick him out, I say. He’s nothing but dead weight. At least force him to be honest about his allegiance and face the consequences of his obstructive behavior. It’s time for Democrats to act like winners instead of losers. They need to stop whining about how bad the Republicans are and do something about it. Even if that means they have one less Senator in their ranks.

Joe has way too much power as a Democrat. As a Republican, he’ll just be one more obstructionist. Dems can get a real Democrat to replace him in 2022. That’s where their focus should be.

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, September 27, 2021

God or Mother Nature: Who are you rooting for?

I’m sick of God.

The Christian God appears to me to be nothing more than a figurehead, designed by man to answer questions he can’t answer and to justify his inherent need to control others.

I’m calling BS on the whole thing.

I’m not saying there is no higher power, but if the God depicted in the Old Testament really exists, he’s kind of a dick.

For one thing, he’s a troublemaker. Why would God motivate his followers to pick fights over who others choose to worship? Why would he feel the need to encourage people to kill in his name? This is not the behavior of a God who is all knowing, all seeing, merciful, loving, etc.

This is how ego-maniacal men behave. Does God have an ego?

Why else demand that he be worshiped? Is it not enough that he can already see everything we do, and knows every thought we have?

And what about this business of performing sacrifices in his name? If he’s knowing and all powerful, why does he needs us to kill someone to show him we believe him?

I’ll tell you what I’d say if I were Abraham and God told me to murder my only son, I’d say, “You do it.” Then I’d run like hell taking my son with me even if it meant I’d go down with him.

In the end God gives Abraham a ram to kill instead, but why did he have to kill anything? And why make his suffering even greater by asking Abraham’s son to carry the wood he was expecting to use to build the fire that would take his life? That’s just mean.

Christians have concluded that the whole Abraham thing was actually a set up for Jesus to save us. The story of Abraham must have predated Jesus by at least 1,000 years.

1,000+ years is a long set-up. What were the people who lived between Abraham and Jesus supposed to believe? Are they not saved?

Don’t even get me started on the Book of Job. The entire story is nothing but a pissing contest between God and Satan. God torments a man to prove to Satan that Job’s loyalty to God is unconditional and will not wane even if his good fortune is diminished.

God tortured a man to prove a point—and not even a good point—only that God’s ability to brainwash his followers is stronger than Satan’s ability to brainwash his followers.

Throughout the Old Testament, God practices distinctly human behavior, and not even admirable human behavior. It’s as if God’s entire agenda is to pave the way for men to follow suit by killing to prove their points and torturing to show their power.

Which is what men do, after all.

They glorify war by telling themselves it’s an honor to kill for God and their country. I disagree. The honor would be in communicating to solve problems, resolve conflicts, share ideas, and find ways to live and let live. Religion can’t help with that.

Religion creates divisiveness, it doesn’t resolve it.

Look at the Crusades—holy wars that went on for centuries, killing millions, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wasn’t Jesus the one who said, “Turn the other cheek”? The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

Oh well, not to worry. If you happen to believe in salvation by grace alone, you’re guaranteed entry to heaven no matter how bad you’ve been, as long as you believe.

Convenient, isn’t it?

Spider Robinson wrote “God is an Iron.”

If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron. Or else he’s the dumbest designer that ever lived.”

Either way, it seems obvious to me that religion has it backwards.

God did not create man in his image—man created God in his--hence the comically hypocritical design.

The irony of asking Catholic priests to refuse marriage as a sacrifice to God, then sanctioning conspiracies to help them cover up their sexual abuse of children is the biggest irony of all.

Spider was right. God is an Iron.

Mother Nature is the higher power in my book. She doesn’t let her ego get in the way. She doesn’t even have one—she’s pure justice. You poison the planet, the planet poisons you. Cause and effect—it doesn’t get more real than that.

She isn’t jerking us around to show how great she is, she’s giving us information so we can adjust, accordingly. When we deplete the soil of all its nutrients by growing the same crops over and over without any attention to the long-term consequences, she doesn’t rescue us. She forces us to do the right thing and diversify so we can bring back the balance of nature.

She’s a mother for crying out loud. She’s trying to teach us. She doesn’t ask to be worshipped. She asks us to take responsibility for our mistakes.

God doesn’t teach--he bullies--providing men with a perfect excuse for doing the same.

Besides, nobody should worship another being. It’s a recipe for disaster. Whether it’s Jesus Christ, Jim Jones, Donald Trump or the Golden Calf, worship is not about sacrifice or humility, it’s about being on the right side.

Worship correctly, and you’re in the club. Worship the wrong party, and you’re a target for everything from abandonment and humiliation to torture and/or death.

And who’s going to tell us which God is the true God?

Some guy?

I think not.

Mother Nature is not an iron. She is a mirror.

She mirrors who we are and what we do. She makes no excuses for us—she allows us to see ourselves clearly so we can understand what works and what doesn’t.

She gives us a chance at becoming our best selves rather than excusing the worst in us.

Mother Nature is Life. She is honest. I’m rooting for her. 

Labels: , ,

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Trouble with Trump: How his narcissism fooled political elites of both parties and made him a Messiah to the angry mob


Photo by Sean Ferigan on Unsplash

The Republican party gave up decency, honesty, and integrity for Donald Trump. It wasn’t in the plan, it was a casualty—a casualty of their decision to tie their fortunes to an unstable, vengeful man whose bravado and inability to accept defeat would overwhelm them all and fool them into believing he was something he is not—a strong man who could do their bidding and keep their people in line.

Trump’s lack of experience and knowledge regarding the role of the president and the inner workings of government led the Republican political class to believe he’d play the role of a figurehead, like George W. Bush. He would help them maintain control of a party, and a country, they were fast losing their grip on.

At first, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham pushed back. They were clear-eyed about Trump’s shortcomings and were vocal about it. But somewhere down the line, it became clear that refusing to support Trump was no longer an option. Why?

Threats work. Republicans are not free-thinking, creative people who can pivot when circumstances change. It’s always been pretty much one-for-all and all-for-one with them. It’s one of their few strengths, politically. Until now.

Now the figurehead is running their show and it’s getting uglier by the minute.

Trump is targeting one of the Republican party’s most influential leaders: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s not what they expected. But it should have been.

Ever since McConnell responded to the events of January 6th by saying “President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he’s been on Trump’s hit list.

It matters not that McConnell has done more to advance white/male/Christian control over our justice system than anyone—with his refusal to allow even one Supreme Court nominee to be vetted during the Obama administration—he’s now Trump’s enemy.

Why? Because he dissed Trump. It’s that simple. Trump has no other motivator.

Everything Trump does is about protecting his fragile ego.

Mitch has finally learned what Michael Cohen already knows: Trump is loyal to nothing and no one.

Why don’t his followers understand this? I suppose it’s because they think when Trump targets someone, it’s because they deserve it. Not so.

Trump’s behavior isn’t about the victims he targets—they are irrelevant. Equally irrelevant are the political consequences of his actions. He is not a strategist, he’s a reactionary. He lies and cheats because he is a liar and a cheater—it’s in him, it’s got nothing to do with anybody else.

To understand Trump, you need to understand what it means to have a personality disorder. For one thing, it doesn’t work to project your idea of normal human behavior onto someone with a personality disorder. The usual rules don’t apply.

Specifically, a normal person with an abundance of confidence has accomplishments to justify that confidence. When a similar abundance of confidence is demonstrated by a person with narcissistic personality disorder, it is because that person is incapable of surviving emotionally without constantly reminding others of how great they are.

Such people will do anything to keep attention on themselves. That includes, in fact requires, pretending to be better at everything than they are.

The need for approbation is so strong in such a person they can never get enough. They must always project strength, intelligence, competence. This is why Trump spends so much of his time talking about how great he is: it’s how he needs to see himself.

Remember when Trump took the cognitive test and bragged about it? He reminded me of a 10-year-old, telling his mommy how well he did on his math test. His inability to comprehend how ridiculous he appeared shows how lacking in self-awareness he is. He thought he sounded smart.

Nothing matters to Trump as much as his need to be adored, admired, elevated, even worshipped. It is the foundation of his entire sense of self. That’s how we know Trump has a personality disorder and not just narcissistic tendencies.

Today, when I hear people say things like “Trump is a marketing genius” or “Trump sure knows how to use social media” or anything that implies Trump is smart and savvy, I just cringe.

Fran Leibowitz said it best “You don’t know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump.”

When people say they hope he’ll come around, they are denying reality. He won’t, he can’t. What we’ve seen is all there is.

Trump is broken.

It was not leadership qualities or a sound political platform that won Trump the presidency in 2016. It was two things, one random, the other carefully orchestrated by the one superpower who wants our democracy to fail: Russia.

The random part is that so many angry Americans identified with him. This should not surprise us because they share similar characteristics: gullibility, lack of education, poor critical thinking skills, unwillingness to take responsibility for their situation, the need to blame others for their unhappiness.

Like Trump, his followers, see educated people as a threat. They too want to blame someone for their failures. Anyone who can validate them and excuse them from being responsible for their own unhappiness is a prime candidate for elevation to the role of leader, guru or even Messiah.

They were all looking for a way to feel better about themselves. Trump gave them that.

He also told them to distrust the government.

He said he would be different.

He said, “I alone can fix it.”

And they bought it.


Putin knew Trump would do more to create chaos than a military strike ever could, and he took advantage of that knowledge to make his move. The Russia-based Internet Research Agency flooded social media with every kind of lunacy to discredit Democrats and anybody else who questioned Trump’s qualifications or motives.

QAnon, Putin, Twitter and Facebook assured Trump his first election victory.

If you doubt their contribution to Trump’s political success, look at Trump’s inability to keep even a moderate presence on social media since he lost the 2020 election. Even with his own much touted website (a failure by any standard) he’s gone nowhere.

Putin doesn’t care anymore and even Q has stopped encouraging Trump and his followers. He’s still banned from Twitter. Facebook has also banned him until after the 2022 mid-terms. We’ll have to see if they lift that ban or not.

If Trump had the internet chops people have credited him with, he’d have found a way to maintain his presence. But he failed because he’s a victim of his own worst instincts and they sabotage everything he touches.

The only power Trump has now is based on fear. Republicans know he’ll resort to violence if he’s cornered. They know his supporters will follow suit.

They are all held hostage by the dunce who thinks he’s a winner because none of his cronies are willing to tell him otherwise.

Trump and what’s left of the Republican party are not working toward “… a more perfect Union.” They are working toward a system of white/male/Christian minority rule.

Like the Nazi’s in the lead-up to WWII, Trump’s followers needed a scapegoat and they’re not that fussy about who it is. Blacks, Jews, Women, Muslims—they’ll all do just fine.

What brought the Republican base to Trump was their willingness to believe what he told them: That they were special. Unfortunately, when the person telling you that is the President of the United States, that’s a heady thing.

Imagine a Pulitzer Prize winning author commenting on one of your stories “This is fabulous! You’re so talented! Keep it up! You’re special!”

It doesn’t matter that Trump is functionally illiterate, petty, and sounds like a moron whenever he speaks.

They trust him because he allows them to believe in themselves.

What gave Trump the status of Messiah among the Republican base is the very thing causing the party’s current implosion: violence, negativity, hatred and condemnation of Democrats and anyone else who dares question their irrational beliefs.

The world is changing but they are banking on Trump to stop it. The more grandiose Trump’s portrayal of himself, the more his base believes him capable of. They too fail to recognize the nature of Trump’s delusions.

They still believe he is a successful businessman, despite evidence to the contrary. Their follow-the-leader mentality coupled with his ability to raise their own self-esteem is a combination they are helpless to resist.

It’s okay if they are filled with hate. It’s okay if they think killing people is an appropriate solution to their anger. It’s okay if they refuse to learn, grow, adapt.

Donald is just like them, and he is the most successful person on earth.  

The Democrats also failed to comprehend the true nature of their nemesis. For all their book smarts and lofty talk, they too projected normalcy onto Trump. For years into his presidency pundits and politicians alike were waiting for him come around, to be more presidential. So fearful of appearing judgmental or unfair, they gave him exactly what he needed to strengthen his grip on the country. They went along.

When he nominated Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, they chose to forgive and forget how McConnell had blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland to the bench just a few years earlier. They backed a man who believed it was appropriate to punish a truck driver for saving his own life by abandoning his broken-down vehicle in below freezing weather. Never mind that had he stayed inside that truck he would not have survived until morning.

How ironic that a nominee to the highest court in the land was confirmed by members of both parties after demonstrating such a blatant lack of judgement. Is a truck more valuable than a life? Are the rules more important than a human being? Apparently, so.

A single Democrat (Joe Manchin) similarly failed us by confirming Justice Kavanaugh. Whether you believe he attempted to rape Christine Blasi Ford or not, you can’t deny the viciousness or blatant disrespect his behavior conveyed during his confirmation hearings. This is a man whose life of privilege led him to feel entitled to a place on the court, regardless of his behavior, temperament, or suitability.

Watch the hearing without the sound. What you will see is a man so convinced of his superiority and the inevitability of his appointment that he becomes rabid at the slightest suggestion that he might not be the best choice. Where is the reasoned judgment and level-headedness we used to think were necessary for someone tasked with such an awesome responsibility?

Trump’s third nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, was not supported by Democrats, but it didn’t matter. After stacking the court with Republicans prior to her nomination, this was the final nail in the coffin for women’s rights. The current Texas abortion law would not be law at this time if she hadn’t joined the court. We knew she was part of a Christian cult that was pro-birth. We knew what she would do if she was allowed to join the other conservative justices on the court, and we let her do it.

But perhaps the biggest failing of the Democratic party is one both Obama and Clinton are personally responsible for. They failed to recognize the power of their words and the weakness of the Republican base. They insulted, demeaned, and diminished the very people they needed to win over.

Obama didn’t understand the damage he did when he accused Republicans of clinging to guns or religion and blaming immigrants to explain their frustrations. 

When Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “A basket of deplorables” she sealed her fate as well. She fed them exactly what they needed to make her an enemy for life. While no one could have predicted the lunacy that would follow, her years of political experience should have told her you don’t win hearts and minds by ridiculing people.

When Trump entered the political arena, he was the antithesis of the snide, superior, liberal elites who insulted the Republican base and made it impossible for them to trust the Democratic party. It was Obama and Clinton who opened the door for the flamboyant and comically incompetent man who soothed the hurt feelings of the angry mob and fed their need to feel justified in their hatred of anyone more educated and more successful than they knew themselves to be.

When emotions run high, facts fly out the window.

Fortunately, Biden knows this. That’s why he is always measured, contemplative, empathetic. But because he is also a Democrat, the ire of the Republican base has already been raised against him.

If he can pass legislation that helps the disenfranchised, it may help. If we can find a way to curtail the downward spiral of vitriol encouraged by the amoral business practices of Facebook, it may help. If we can elect more democratically minded politicians to Congress, it may help.

If Biden can undo some of the damage done by his predecessors, we may be able to save our democracy, for now.

Let’s just hope future politicians remember these lessons.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 23, 2021

It’s a Tie! The debate heats up as Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson vie for the title of The Most Ridiculous Person on TV


It’s a close race to the bottom, as the competition heats up. Tucker took the lead, briefly, when he said the vaccine mandate is all about “taking over the military.”

He thinks saving lives has nothing to do with mandating a vaccine to stop a disease that’s already killed 680,000 Americans. Tucker has the inside scoop. He has concluded that the vaccine mandate is really designed to identify “sincere Christians…free thinkers” and “men with high testosterone levels.”

To what end?

According to Tucker, the result of this heinous scheme will be “the takeover of the US military.”

Here’s how it’s going to work. Biden makes the mandate, and those identified above (all of whom, per Tucker’s theory, are not fans of President Biden) will “leave immediately.

Thousands of military personnel who have sworn to protect their country are just gonna walk away, go AWOL.

This will leave Biden with an entire military subject to his control.

(Side note: Biden is already Commander in Chief. He’s already in charge of the military.)

I was in the Army for four years. I shouldn’t have to tell anybody this, but you don’t get to “leave immediately” when you don’t like something. As for mandating vaccines in the military, I remember getting fifteen shots on the same day in Basic Training. We got vaccinated for every disease in existence, or so it seemed.

They didn’t ask if we wanted them, they marched us to a big stadium, pulled out a huge metal contraption that looked like something an alien might have created and used that to shoot multiple vaccines into each arm via sharp bursts of air. Then they ran us to a field and made us do push-ups. It hurt.

But we sucked it up because we were soldiers. Was Tucker ever a soldier? I think not, because if he thinks a soldier can wander off in a huff when they don’t like an order, or that a single vaccine can “take over the military” he’s delusional.


Speaking of delusional, that’s where Laura Ingraham comes in, to tie the record for the most ridiculous comment ever made on television.

 “It’s not diversity that makes our country great, it’s freedom.”

It’s not so much the statement that is ridiculous as it is the context.

We have never been less free than we are now and it’s solely due to the actions of the Republican party—her party--the one she defends as if it’s her religion, which I guess it kind of is. 

I just have a few questions for her.


How are we free when anti-maskers are ripping masks off the faces of people who wish to wear them?

How are we free when doctors and nurses are harassed and threatened for sharing medical information designed to protect us from disease—in other words, when they are punished for doing their job?

How are we free when ignorant Republicans refusing to wear masks or be vaccinated are putting the lives of unvaccinated children and those with pre-existing conditions at risk?

How are we free when our hospitals are so full of Covid patients who refuse to get vaccinated that people dying from heart attacks and car accidents can’t get medical attention?

(What about Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? How do we achieve that when we’re dead?)

How are we free when medical personnel are forced to work through second, third and fourth waves of this pandemic, working 12 or more hours a day to treat anti-vaxxers who wouldn’t need treatment if they weren’t so fucking self-centered?

How are we free when our election officials are being stalked and threatened for maintaining the integrity of our elections?

How are we free when Republicans in Congress block legislation most of the country wants?

How are we free when women are being denied their Constitutional right to make healthcare decisions about their own bodies?

How are we free when the former president and his followers are still trying to overturn a fair election and force their way to power against the wishes of the American people?

How are we free when voter suppression laws are spreading like wildfire throughout the states?

How are we free when her party’s former president and his cronies threaten violence against anyone who refuses to support him?

How are we free when the only way to avoid having a target on our backs is to comply with the ideas held by a small minority of maniacs like her?

Laura Ingraham claims she values freedom. How can that be when every message, tweet, action, and written word spewed by her party seems aimed at taking away our freedom?


As Iñigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Somebody needs to get that woman a dictionary.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, September 20, 2021

“When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead…” -- White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane


Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash

Republicans have lost it.

If you remember the Cold War, you’ll be familiar with the expression “Better dead than red.” Now we have something just as stupid to replace it with: Better dead than blue.

What’s left of the Republican party (which is fortunately dwindling) is so committed to making Democrats wrong, they are willing to toss science, logic, and common sense out the window. Pundits have long puzzled over what would make an electorate vote against their own self-interests, and now we know: When the desire to be right and to prove another wrong is the only thing that matters.

Republicans are still refusing to get the vaccine and none of the arguments for that position make any sense. The longer this resistance lasts, the more illogical their thinking becomes.

They’ll promote treatments but rail against anyone who suggests they get the vaccine.

The vaccine is free and monoclonal antibody treatments are about $2k a pop. Not to mention the price of the hospital visit. Insurers are no longer waiving deductibles and covering Covid treatments like they did before the vaccine was available. Why advocate paying for treatment when you can eliminate the threat for free?

For months those hostile to the vaccine said that they wouldn’t take it because it wasn’t fully approved.

Well, now the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved, and they still won’t get the shot—but they’re lining up for monoclonal antibody treatment which is still being administered under an “emergency use” authorization.

Republicans are also pushing Ivermectin (a horse de-wormer) and Hydroxychloroquine, neither of which have been approved by the FDA for Covid treatment.

Republicans just don’t trust the vaccine.

But didn’t the Trump administration develop the vaccine? So, Republicans don’t trust it because…the Biden administration is distributing it?

Do they think a Democrat opens every vial and contaminates it before it gets to patients? Or do they believe that since people died under Trump they need to die under Biden too or else it will make Trump look bad? Newsflash: Trump already looks bad. If you’re worried that fewer deaths on Biden’s watch will make Biden look like a better president, well, Biden IS a better president.

Covid isn’t real. People aren’t really dying. It’s a hoax.

Hmm. Then why do they need monoclonal antibodies, horse de-wormer or hydroxychloroquine to treat it?

Masks infringe on their freedom.

Republicans are fully committed to their right to die and to take others down with them. (They think they have that right, but they really don’t. If they did, there would be no law against murder or driving drunk or yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Vaccine mandates are about control, not health and safety.

Yet, Republicans don’t seem to have trouble with other vaccines. One of the highest rates of Covid in the country is in Mississippi—a state with the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country for school kids. The governor of that state is now calling Biden’s vaccine mandate “An attack on hard-working Americans.”

He says Biden is asking them to choose between a jab and a job. Well, when you put it that way, I guess we should all give up employment so we don’t have to get a shot. Heck, we should give up travel too. I seem to recall needing a yellow fever vaccine years ago before a planned trip to Africa. Damn! If I’d know it was really an attack on me, and it was all about taking away my freedom, I’d have thought twice about that trip.

But today, I heard the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard from a Republican.

Biden only implemented a vaccine mandate because he knows that as soon as he tells people to get it, Republicans will refuse and more of them will die.

It’s all a game, you see. A big fat mind-fuck perpetrated by Biden. Isn’t it obvious? Think about it. Biden is trying to wipe out Republicans so Democrats can take over the country.

Of course, for this to be true, the following would also need to be true:

·       Biden knew if he mandated the vaccine, Republicans would automatically refuse.

·       Biden is relying on this refusal to ensure the virus continues to spread.

·       If the virus spreads, it will kill Republicans because everybody else is vaccinated.

Someone in the Republican party is pushing this trifecta of idiocy because it’s just too far-fetched to believe that Biden wants to save lives by getting more people vaccinated.

That killer, Biden. You can’t believe anything he says. Next thing he’ll be pushing vaccines on kids!

Ah, yes, well that’s exactly what’s next. Pfizer has just confirmed the safety and efficacy of a one-third dose vaccine for children ages 5 to 12. Biden must want them dead too.


There is only one reason for all this nonsense, and it has nothing to do with the vaccine or freedom. Republicans backed a crazy man. To deny that reality, they must deny all reality. The only way they can hang onto their misguided belief that Trump is their savior, is to insist that everyone else is evil.

If the truth comes out, they will all go down in history as fools who believed the crazy man’s lies and let a psychopath into the White House.

I guess we should have realized they’d take this approach with the vaccine. They showed us on January 6th, they’d rather hang Mike Pence and shoot Nancy Pelosi than admit Trump’s a loser. At this point, nothing should surprise us.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Replacement Theory: Tucker Carlson has a point—he just doesn’t know what it is


Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

Tucker Carlson is confused. He thinks Christian White men are supposed to be the ones in charge, get the best jobs, earn the most money. He doesn’t understand that in a true democracy, when the people in charge fail miserably, they get voted out. In a true democracy, dead weight doesn’t get rewarded—so if the White guy isn’t delivering and the Black woman is, the White guy should be fired.

This is what democracy looks like when it works—Tucker thinks that’s what it looks like when it’s broken.

Part of the problem is that we’ve never had a true democracy, so for those of us promoting it, we must rely to some extent on our own imaginations. How might it look? How do we make it happen? What thinking do we need to change to get there?

These are the questions the rest of us are asking. Not Tucker.

Tucker’s world is crumbling around him and he’s afraid. He’s starting to see women and POC getting more respect, earning more money, becoming more integrated into the higher echelons of society and it’s killing him. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!

He’s trying to stop it, but he should realize you can’t stop something you don’t take the time to understand.

The problem isn’t that wicked liberals are conspiring to replace Christian White men with liberal women, POC, atheists and Jews. It’s that too many powerful Christian White men are woefully lacking in both self-awareness and an understanding of what a real democracy looks like.

They are cancelling themselves with their backward and ignorant rhetoric.

There is no conspiracy—they have failed us. They are going to be replaced because they are not adequate to the task of running our country.

They conveniently ignore the point of “Separation of Church and State,” as they attempt to strip away the right of a mother to choose whether to bring a pregnancy to term. The law guarantees us rights over our own bodies, according to legal precedent set decades ago. While pro-birth activists have the right to practice their own religion, the have no right to force the rest of us to comply with their values.

They are killing their own people by telling them to fight vaccine mandates. When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened to withhold salaries of school officials who defied his prohibition of mask mandates, he had already lost so many of his constituents to Covid, that his entire margin of victory in the race that won him the election was wiped out.

Republicans are destroying any hope they have of holding onto their positions of power. If ever there was a self-fulfilling prophesy, this is it.

Women, POC, and others still in touch with reality and capable of critical thinking skills, have gradually seen incompetent men leave positions of power, both in corporations and in politics. They are being replaced by people who understand democracy and are willing to fight for it. It’s taken a long time, but the momentum is building and now it’s time for the deniers, liars, white supremacists, male dominating, ego-centric, imperialistic-minded men (and their like-minded women), who have trashed the planet and human rights and can’t quite grasp the new reality, to step aside.

Christian White men and women who can keep their religion where it belongs—church & home, not work or politics—and who can accept reality and support others equally, are welcome to join us. But there will be no more coddling.

We need people who can do what’s needed to rebuild our economy, repair our infrastructure, slow climate change and work toward that long-promised “more perfect union.” If you can help us with that, you can be part of it.

Otherwise, you will be replaced. And rightly so.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 12, 2021



Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

I am not a morning person. When the phone rang shortly before 7 am Pacific time, I was confused. Before I could even ask who it was, the person on the other end said, “Turn on your TV.”

“What channel?”

“Any channel.” My heart skipped a beat.

My friend, Donna, worked for one of the big financial firms back East. She was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge on her way to her office in San Francisco when she heard the news on the radio.

A plane had flown into one of the twin towers.

That’s crazy, how could that even happen? The towers loomed above everything--you’d have to try to hit them.

It wasn’t an accident.

Donna crossed the bridge, turned around, and drove back to Sausalito. Then she called me.

Everything got fuzzy after that. I turned on the TV, but I can’t recall if I watched the second plane hit in real time or just saw the playback so many times it feels like I saw it as it happened.

I remember specific moments in time, but the details aren’t clear. Did I drive to work that day or stay home, glued to the TV? Are my recollections of watching, re-watching, and watching again--that same horrifying clip of the second plane hitting the second tower--from that first day or the days that followed?

I do know that for months after, every time I heard a plane overhead, I would look up and imagine it blowing up. For months, maybe even years. I’m not sure when that stopped.

At some point that week I was back at work. A TV had been rolled into the break room so when we weren’t at our desks we could watch the news, a moment-by-moment unfolding of one unbelievable scene after the other. People running from an enormous cloud of smoke, dust, and debris, faces contorted in fear and disbelief as they tried to outrun the disaster behind them. Bodies dropping from windows as news anchors exclaimed with genuine horror--the kind of gut-wrenching emotion we had never seen from the talking heads before.

As each one fell, I asked myself, “Would I have jumped? Could I have jumped?

It had to be so smoky up there, how could they breathe? Were they feeling the heat of the flames, aimlessly running to escape them without even realizing they were about to go through a window?

I struggled to understand them, as if somehow that would make it less surreal, less frightening, less painful to watch, less excruciating to contemplate.


I was attending college at the time, taking the last few courses needed to get my B.S. I was supposed to attend class that night, but the professor called to say it would be cancelled. The class was Social Research Methods, and our final project was to conduct a study we would each design ourselves.

Everybody had turned in the title of their study and their main hypothesis the week before. The next step was determining how to test for it. I don’t remember what I had originally chosen, but after 9/11, whatever it was seemed too trivial to contemplate. I was still struggling to make sense of what happened, so I changed my research topic.

The subject of my study would be PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). It seemed like everybody was suffering from it. I had to pick a very narrow aspect of it for the purpose of the study, so I focused on treatment. What I learned while in the process was that my original hypothesis (that women would be more likely to seek treatment for PTSD than men) was not substantiated. Statistically, there was no significant difference between men and women in that regard.

What did show up as a slightly more likely (though still not statistically relevant) reason for some to be more willing than others to get treatment for PTSD was extroversion--presumably because extroverts like to talk about everything more than introverts do.

No groundbreaking discoveries there. But I did learn something: conducting a study and getting relevant data from it are two entirely different things. You can take all the right steps, but that’s not enough.

You need to ask the right questions.


After 9/11, I had a lot of questions. I started paying more attention to the news. I wanted to know why someone would do something so unimaginable to us.

Why us? How could anybody want to do that to us?

I devoured the news, reading and watching everything I could to understand the insanity I had witnessed. But mainstream media wasn’t interested in understanding the people who committed these atrocities. They wanted revenge. When a rare voice tried to point out that our habit of fighting wars on foreign soil was not well received by the rest of the world, they were shut down with a ferociousness that frightened me.

I didn’t understand how trying to piece together some kind of narrative that would make sense was such a terrible thing to do. I decided I needed to get my news firsthand.

I applied for an internship with a local radio station—public radio—so, yes, liberal radio. In Berkeley. (Okay, very liberal radio.) The draw was less their politics than their willingness to ask questions and listen to the answers.

Granted, the newsroom Rolodex was filled with the names of like-minded thinkers, so most of the time when we called for interviews, we knew what they’d say. Still, it felt like we were doing something important. We were trying to ask the right questions.

Did Saddam Hussein really have weapons of mass destruction? Was he really trying to buy uranium from Niger?

Stephen Zunes was a regular guest on the Sunday evening news. He is a currently a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco and is an expert in Middle Eastern Studies. In the years leading up to our invasion of Iraq, he made frequent visits to the Middle East. He met with a variety of government officials, academics, journalists, and opposition leaders, and provided insights we could get from no one else. We loved him because he knew on Sunday we’d call, and he’d always pick up.

He told me that Saddam Hussein had about a dozen body doubles because he couldn’t trust his own people. He spent much of his time in hiding.

He also told me Saddam was obsessed with Jennifer Lopez. He had pictures of her everywhere and he was writing a romance novel with J.Lo as his inspiration. The man who couldn’t trust his own people, spent his spare time on romance novels and was infatuated with J.Lo, did not sound like a nuclear threat to me, or to Stephen Zunes.

Every other week, when it was my turn to cover the lead up to the war in Iraq, we’d go over what we knew and what we questioned. We’d try to get various viewpoints, but the people who had already decided it was time for war weren’t interested in talking to us. They didn’t like our questions.

After a couple of years, I gave up. Despite doing everything we could to stop the country from going to war in Iraq, repeatedly broadcasting news to help people see that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to us—that terrorists tended to be mobile, and leveling another country wouldn’t help us fight the terrorist threat—reason did not prevail. Vengeance did.


Today we are commemorating 9/11 just as we are finally ending the war in Afghanistan. For 20 years we have occupied another country to save ourselves from a future terrorist threat. But now the greatest threat to the United States is from within the United States.

Have you ever wondered why so many of the insurrectionists on January 6th were ex-military? We trained them to be terrorists.

We taught them terrorist tactics so they could fight terrorists in another country, in a war with no end in sight—where suicide bombers and mines were a constant threat—where civilian men, women and children were blown to bits on a regular basis.

Our soldiers had to watch the carnage, clean up the mess, and live with the guilt.

What were we doing there? Why did we stay so long? Did their sacrifices even make a difference?

We asked soldiers to monitor civilians as they went about their daily lives for weeks, sometimes months, then told them to operate a drone to wipe out the very people they’d gotten to know—sometimes intimately, over long periods of time—as they watched them go about their business, walking to work or haggling for food in a local marketplace.

Thanks to the United States, an entire generation in the Middle East has grown up in rubble. And the people we ordered to make that happen, returned to a country where their needs were largely ignored. Their sacrifices were taken for granted, their pain diminished, their value questioned.

I just remembered something else I learned from my study on PTSD. Time doesn’t heal PTSD. If untreated, it festers. The nightmares get worse, the pain becomes chronic, the torment never ends.


We need to honor the people we’ve damaged.  We need to acknowledge that they are not so different from the rest of us. We need to face the fact that we made them vulnerable by asking them to do the unthinkable and then telling them the war they fought for 20 years was never going to succeed and it was all for nothing.

We need to welcome the refugees our actions created. We need to take care of the Afghan people who helped our contractors, not just those who helped our military. We need to understand what motivated us and do everything in our power to prevent this from happening again. We can’t keep creating terrorists in the name of stopping terrorism.

We need to start asking the right questions. If we don’t, we are doomed to repeat ourselves.


I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

(From the poem September 1, 1939 by W. H. Auden - 1907-1973)

Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash

Labels: , , , , , ,