How do we move forward?

Truth first, then reconciliation

move forwardMy friend Alison from church, in response to something I posted on Facebook, noted:

The Perils of having a reality show host as your country’s leader! I think probably you and [your wife] predicted that at the start? But no one could have predicted quite how terrible it could be! I would like your views on how this country can learn and move forward?

Let’s parse this. I don’t think that his a TV host per se was necessarily a disqualifying item on the resume. Ronald Reagan was an actor, and while I despised most of his politics, I seldom doubted that he was in government for what he thought was the good of the country, rather than always out for himself.

Whereas most people who knew Donald Trump before 2016 thought of him as self-absorbed, to be kind. He began his racist campaign talking about Mexican rapists. This was, as they say in poker parlance, a “tell.” So the outcome wasn’t that much of a surprise. What was more interesting/scary was how attractive his vulgar and abusive rhetoric appealed to voters.

Here’s the problem with political prognosticators. They depend too much on the past. “Trump will pretend to run for a few months then drop out.” He’s teased as early as the 1990s about running. They also said Biden couldn’t win in 2020 because he’d failed to even get his party’s nomination twice before.

Oh, yeah, what you asked

To your question, I really don’t know. I’ve been reading tons of contradictory advice on this topic. Ultimately, I often end up in the “truth and reconciliation” mode. See this article from Politico on the question of race. Surely, we need a healing process. But before that, we know we need some truth-telling.

This is important because “it’s not ‘unity that Republicans want, but absolution. They want Americans to forget what we just witnessed and what we are now likely to witness over and over again.”

Also: “As The very leaders who refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, who themselves trucked in the falsehoods and debunked conspiracy theories about a stolen vote and oncoming tyranny — the lies that fueled the Capitol assault — were now preaching the gospel of unity. And they did it with straight faces.”

Should djt be convicted in his second Senate impeachment trial? NO! But only if he appears before the Senate and repudiates the Big Lie. He could say, “I’m sorry. There was no widespread voter fraud. My hubris got the best of me.” Of course, he NEVER says he’s sorry about anything. So the Senate should convict the kleptocrat, keeping him from ever running for office ever again.

In remarks on the Senate floor on January 19, Republican leader Mitch McConnell condemned the violence at the Capitol. “The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.” Sure Mitch has his own agenda here, but he always does.

Congress amok

As for those ‘other powerful people,” they include members of the House of Representatives. Members of the House such as QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Jim Jordan, and minority leader Kevin McCarthy, spread the Big Lie.

Worse, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, and newly-elected gun-toting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert,  among others, allegedly provided tours to insurrectionists ahead of the January 6th attack. Thus armed intruders knew the layout of the building and the weaknesses in security.

Then DURING the event, Boebert reportedly updated insurrectionists to the location of Democratic members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If true, these people needed to be booted from the House, at the bare minimum.

In the Senate, McConnell has problems in his caucus. In an op-ed published a couple of Saturdays ago, the El Paso Times was the third Texas paper calling on Ted Cruz to resign. The editorial board wrote: “To borrow from the title one of his books, now was ‘A Time for Truth.’ And Cruz knew the Stop the Steal campaign was a fraud.” Failing that, the Senate should at least censure him and Josh Hawley (R-MO), constitutional scholars who know better.

Understand their views

Speaking of which, CBS This Morning ran a segment on how poorly the average American knows the Constitution. They asked toughies such as the three branches of the federal government, who the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is, and who their member of Congress is. Surely Constitutional literacy is lacking in America. Maybe we need to require Civics for Grownups.

Other suggestions kicking around include supporting local newspapers so they can engage in robust reporting. I’m afraid, though, that too many people are so jaded about the honesty of the “mainstream media” that it will be of minimal effect.

I relate to this. Teaching in the Age of Disinformation Propaganda and conspiracy theories are everywhere. What’s a professor to do?

All of this said, I think it is important to try to understand those who revere 45, preferably in a “safe place”. Admittedly I don’t know what this looks like. Maybe we need to engage therapists all over the country to have us talk it out?

I do know from personal experience that this is damn difficult. But if you dismiss them as deluded, stupid, or manipulated, this will get neither of you anywhere. They collectively see him as keeping GOD at the forefront of American life. He cares about the little guy in their minds. You can agree to disagree with them, or just walk away.

They are telling the truth. Full stop.

more furious

truthHere are a couple interesting pieces from guys who identify as white. The first is some guy on Facebook but forget who. “If you are skeptical of how a Black person describes the reality of their interactions with people around them and the world at large, it’s time to do some soul-searching. Believe me, I’ve been there…”

The other is from my blogger buddy Greg, who wrote a lengthy post on Facebook. “I have tried to listen to people who speak of their experiences, and I have tried not to say condescending things like ‘Well, I never see it’ or ‘I’m sure you just misinterpreted things.’ I have said this a lot, but I hope not in a condescending way – I rarely see or hear obviously racist things. I’m not attuned to it, and people are far more subtle about it these days.”

They don’t always announce their bigotry

That’s true that the bigots can be subtle. It reminds me of the time I posted this story in 2011 about not getting served at a Holiday Inn bar near Fenway Park in Boston on June 14, 1991. This despite waiting at least 10 minutes and other people who came to the bar after I did getting their drinks.

When I posted this on Facebook, I got pushback. “Maybe he didn’t see you.” He SAW me; he acknowledged me pointing at me with his index finger. He just didn’t serve me. And he had plausible deniability at a crowded bar. As I noted at the time, “I became so incensed that, had I access to a baseball bat, I am afraid I might have started smashing the drinking glasses that hung over the barkeep’s head.”

Though I was angry with the original incident in Boston, I was far more furious at not being believed. I’ve told this story – the part about not being believed – to a number of black people, mostly from church. They all sighed knowingly.

I stole this from that first white person cited because it was so succinctly written. “I’ve doubted things my black friends have said about others I’ve known for a long time in my quest to always see the best in everyone. But I’ve learned the hard way (and, sadly, made it harder on my black friends in the process) that they know their own reality far better than I ever will. Trust black people when they tell you what their lives are like. They are telling the truth. Full stop.”

this thing happened
From YEAHitsCHILL

More susceptible to falsehood than to truth

Anything can be corrupted, polluted or discredited

truthI receive Quotable Notes daily. One from March: “Man’s mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.” –Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536), a Dutch humanist who was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance. I don’t know that “the first editor of the New Testament” is correct. But it WOULD appear so.

For the past couple years, in order not to write about him ALL THE TIME, I’ve posted on this date some links about a person who has described himself, more than once as a “an extremely stable genius”.

This has turned out to be an extremely difficult task. It’s not that there’s a dearth of examples of unsettling behavior but rather a plethora of them.

He feels compelled to comment about his claimed expertise in all subjects in some way, even when it comes to offering advice about something for which he is completely unqualified. He offered unsolicited advice on the best way to fight the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. It was met by derision and laughter because the weight of dropped water on a rooftop fire would have collapsed the structure and made things much worse.

He prevaricates brazenly, having lied or misled the American people more than 10,000 times.

He berates senior officials constantly. It’s remarkable how many times his aides ignored his dodgy or possibly illegal requests. He is tired of hearing “You Can’t Do That.” We should all be afraid.

Back in March, his 32 tweets were noteworthy, from a Saturday Night Live rerun he groused about to several attacks on the late John McCain.

He “railed against Shep Smith and other Fox hosts he doesn’t like; called on the network to defend Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro, two hosts he does like.” He’s since dissed Chris Wallace, and the network in general for allowing Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg on the platform.

Nation of Change noted: “No one has yet assessed the full disaster from stripping the office of dignity and competence, plus shredding prestige overseas. When ‘anything goes,’ even changes weekly, then anything can be corrupted, polluted or discredited.”

Frank S. Robinson says he has plan-free fact-free anal sphincter foreign policy. He CLEARLY has no idea how tariffs work.

Robert Reich wrote that, as a result of the tax cuts, “business is booming for connoisseurs of private planes. That’s because the tax law allows businesses to deduct the full cost of buying a plane in the first year of purchase… Some wealthy individuals have even created shell businesses to utilize the deductions.” His golf habit has cost American taxpayers $100 million.

Most Americans believe he has made race relations worse. He again targets transgender people – this time in new proposal to rescind Obama-era healthcare protections.

I could go on, and on, but it’s exhausting. He says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents; he feels no responsibility to protect the integrity of our democracy.

Should he be impeached? Probably, and for all these reasons. Even Justin Amash, a Republican, finds his actions “inherently corrupt.”

That said, as awful as I find him, he can win re-election in 2020. And THAT depresses the hell out of me.


A fugue

November rambling #2: The Road to Unfreedom

‘Make the Gospel great again’

Dunn lumber signNATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT (it ain’t good)

Lies, damn lies and post-truth

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Authoritarianism and the Weekly Sift – From Russia to Ukraine to Brexit to Trump: The Road to Unfreedom

Kenyans Say Chinese Investment Brings Racism and Discrimination

How the Generals Are Routing the Policy Wonks at the Pentagon

With Statement Equal Parts ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Imbecilic,’ He Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis

Billboard featuring DJT, ‘Make the Gospel great again,’ Bible verse is taken down in Missouri

The Difference Between ‘Patriotism’ and ‘Nationalism’

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Won’t Invite a Comedian Next Year

The Nancy Pelosi Problem – the most effec­tive congressional leader of modern times—and, not coinciden­tally, the most vilified

Hazing, humiliation, terror: Women who work in federal prisons are harassed by both inmates and guards; those who complain are ‘blackballed’

Ken Screven: Breaking Stereotypes | Out in Albany

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Already Breaking the Rules

West Virginia Democrat announces 2020 presidential bid

Walter Ayres: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a pastoral letter against racism – Open Wide Your Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love

Stephen Colbert On How He Returned To Catholicism After Being An Atheist

Coffin Clubs New Zealand

For Young Adults, Cohabitation Is Up, Marriage Is Down

Forgotten your keys again? It’s not as bad as you think; it could be good for your brain

Color Meaning, Symbolism, And Psychology: What Do Different Colors Mean

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Is Incomplete — There’s a Final, Forgotten Stage

The intraocular option

HAIRMERGENCY!

Noun. alexiteric (plural alexiterics) (medicine) A preservative against infectious diseases. A preservative against the effects of poison. (HT, Dan)

Bill Gates is obsessed with redesigning the world’s toilets

Dustbury turns 65 and thinks he’s Sinatra

SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg has died at age 57 of ALS

Tributes to the late magician Ricky Jay

RIP William Goldman the Oscar-winning screenwriter who penned classics such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, and The Princess Bride

Greg Burgas: Some more olde-tymey movies I’ve had the chance to watch or re-watch recently

Kelly Sedinger: Prologue to his forthcoming supernatural thriller, The Chilling Killing Wind

CGC 9.2 Overstreet #1 Hits $9K at Heritage

Cookie Monster Week: The proper way to eat a cookie and Gets therapy and How to make an apple pie

Subway Break Dancers, Clad in Armor, Go Medieval at the Met Museum

Internet Wading: Numbers, words, food, and art

Oven Rack Placement for the Best Baking Results

Now I Know: Why Do Leaves Fall from Trees? and Why Did the Chickens Cross Under the Highway? and How to Become Half a Prince and 1-916-CALL-TURK

Arthur does a meme I tagged him on

MUSIC

Coverville 1239: The Joni Mitchell Cover Story III

Roy Clark: I Never Picked Cotton and 12th Street Rag and Yesterday When I Was Young and Malagueña from The Odd Couple

Roman Carnival overture – Berlioz

YOU MAKE MY DREAMS Aubrey Logan feat. LaVance Colley – Hall & Oates

How Eric Idle wrote Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

U is for Untrue “news”

The Daily Currant and its ilk have fooled even US mainstream media organizations.

True-or-FalseIn September 2015, I was seeing this story on Facebook, disseminated by people I knew personally, that indicated that President Obama was going to receive his second Nobel Peace Prize. Instantly, I knew it was bogus – among other things, the award would be issued later in the year – but I wanted to know WHY it was spreading so quickly.

Both NationalReport.com and USAToday.com.co who published the story are notorious fake websites, that do not print legitimate news. USAToday.com.co is not affiliated with USAToday in any way, according to its disclaimer. USAToday.com.co is part of a growing number of .co websites that attempt to disguise themselves as reputable brands Continue reading “U is for Untrue “news””