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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Idea

The Idea


First the bad bit
I, like many others, have been very concerned about the direction of
our country in recent weeks. I have been feeling discouraged, angry, and betrayed. I have felt like one small person with very little power in a great sea of profound issues.


Then the good bit

Watching the women's marches across America, and across the globe,
inspired me. Inexplicably, I felt somehow bigger than myself. It was such an odd feeling, I did not even recognize it at first. Then I had an idea (more precisely a set of ideas) that woke me from a sound sleep.


To Whit

I am wanting to partner with a graphic artist friendly to The
Resistance. I am looking for help to render my ideas on paper and/or computer graphics. I am hoping to find someone whose enthusiasm matches my scant monetary resources.


Thusly

If you know someone or know someone who knows someone with this
skill set, please contact me.


Postscript

As a wise friend said to me only yesterday; (paraphrased) This only
works if the marches werenʼt just a one time thing. To trump the agenda of the new President, we need a sustained effort. 

Sharp.as.a.tack Productions

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Regarding the following link
The role of media-stoked fear in our politics

This fellow lays it out in a simple straight-forward way. After switching back and forth from Fox News to any other large media outlet, it was easy for me to see how consumers of extreme right-wing media see the world so differently. It is a simple view and it is fear based. When people feel their backs are against the wall and a mortal enemy is bearing down on them, good judgment is rarely the result. 

Parenthetically, I find it interesting how religion in America is often sold in a similar fear-wrapped package. It is not surprising to find so many Christian evangelicals hopping on board a train that must seem so familiar to them.

We only need one other piece to make a full circle. Imagine you lived in a place where the standard way to get your information about the world was from a religious leader. For the sake of argument, let's say 
he's a Muslim cleric. Of course there are moderate clerics but let's imagine you happened to be born in a place where, instead of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. they had instead fiery fundamentalist Muslim clerics. Now, every day you are fed a diet of fear and anger. Of course they change the names of the monsters in their stories, though you may confidently assume they are no less vehement in their rhetoric. To be fair, we could have easily engaged in the same mental exercise with fiery fundamentalist Jewish clerics. And so on.


I do believe we can put a bow on this puppy.


*There are those of you whose minds continue to question, drill down, look for the missing pieces. You might feel as though I have omitted a group. Let us give them a name. "I am on the correct side of the issues and therefore feel exempt from thoughtfully questioning the thin mental porridge too often served at my table, Liberals". Not to worry dear reader, I turn my sights on them in other posts. Few escape my curmudgeonly gaze. Insert maniacal laughter here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sinful? Sexy?


Regarding this story and similar horrors.

Link: American Female Genital Mutilation

The linking of sexual pleasure, self or consensual interpersonal, to the concept of sin, is unquestionably one of the worst ideas to propogate among humans. This idea, based solely on magical thinking (and most commonly related to a judgmental and vindictive invisible fellow in the sky), has been the source of hateful intolerance and innumerable barbarous acts on both the individual and societal level. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

As Darkness Falls

Regarding this link
New Dark Ages

First of all, it can not possibly be scarier than what I think, but I concede the point.

There was a period when Truth was not a thing independent of personality, power, etc. Truth
was whatever the rich and powerful (nobility and/or priests) asserted. Period. This historical period was known, in the vernacular, as The Dark Ages.

It is clear that perfectly reasonable intelligent thoughtful persons might have summarily concluded there was no likely path looping back to that period. Even the most cynical may have entertained the notion of humans being well past that sort of foolishness. Nevertheless, as dust on the battlefield clears, it seems there may be a path and a shockingly short one. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Post Truth

Washington Post article on post truth era.

I feel it is time we say what many people seem unable to say straight out.
Post Truth is what naturally follows from willful ignorance and anti-intellectualism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The easiest quiz you ever took

Out of the seven billion plus humans on the planet, choose the one who belongs to these quotes:

He trusts no one, and places a premium on revenge. ("If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck!")

And to make creative choices, he writes: "I try to step back and remember my first shallow reaction. The day I realized it can be smart to be shallow was, for me, a deep experience."

"The world is a vicious and brutal place, he wrote. "Even your friends are out to get you: They want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife, and they even want your dog.''

"When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it," he writes. "I always get even."

In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye," he wrote. "I'm not proud of that, but it's clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a very forceful way. The difference now is that I like to use my brain instead of my fists."


"When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it.  Then they were vicious. They were horrible, but they put it down with strength.”



Sunday, November 13, 2016

You've reached "Narcissists-R-Us", how can you help me.

Setting aside for a moment what the "Left" says about the election, I suggest the following.
The people who voted Republican for President have no idea what they've done, nor how it is likely to swing back around and bite them as well as everyone else.

I know there are many very concerned people right now and I do not wish to fan the flames of hysteria. However, in my considered opinion, the inmates taking over the asylum is no longer just a metaphor. Further, if you are not frightened- you simply do not yet understand the consequences of this election. Conversely, if you are frightened to the point of immobility, you need to snap out of it. We are all likely to need clear heads if we hope to come out the other side of this heinous fiasco.
The above thoughts are mine.
JF

From this point down is ostensibly a letter written by an attorney to the liberal Daily Kos site. I found it online and unsigned so I can not vouch for the authenticity. I can say the writer makes a fair amount of sense to me:

I’m a business and corporate attorney in the Midwest, in practice for 32 years.  Today a client emailed me, asking me what I thought of the election.  Here’s what I wrote back:

Ok, I normally don’t discuss politics with clients, but since you asked:   Trump is the most appallingly unprepared, unqualified person ever “elected” (he didn’t win the popular vote) to the presidency.
He is dishonest to the core, an ignorant, vulgar, bigoted megalomaniac.  He is an authoritarian with a taste for revenge, who has nothing but contempt for democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law – subjects he knows nothing about in any case.  He neither knows nor cares about science.  He will put criminals and crackpots in charge of government agencies. The Supreme Court will be packed with right-wing ideologues who will ensure that all manner of fringe legal theories will become legally enforceable.  Trump’s presidency will make the Bush nightmare look like America’s halcyon days. 
Russia – aided by an astonishingly unprofessional FBI director James Comey --  succeeded in swaying just enough votes to swing the election. Yesterday the Russian Foreign Ministry actually confirmed that Russia had worked with the Trump campaign to help get him elected.  For months the Trump campaign had vigorously denied this even after it had to fire campaign manager Paul Manafort after his ties with Putin and pro-Putin Ukrainians were discovered.  Russia also officially confirmed that it was indeed behind the hacked Democratic Party servers and the leaking of emails to try to change the talking points by creating controversy about Clinton while suppressing anything negative about Trump.  Imagine if something like that had surfaced regarding Obama or Clinton during their campaigns – the right wing would have gone apoplectic – but now all we hear is crickets.  The Russians have cultivated Trump for years; they know he can be manipulated to allow them to gain the upper hand in whatever areas they wish. Trump is, as the Russian saying goes, Putin’s “useful idiot”:   Полезный дурак Путина. 
I have a number of clients who also wanted to discuss politics with me this past couple of days, and who are elated that Trump won.  Their reasons seem to be: 
  • They think our country is being overrun by Muslims or will be, and they want to avoid a situation like in Europe.  That’s a legitimate concern, since non-Europeans are indeed pouring into Europe and refusing to assimilate.  I have traveled and lived in Europe and have seen it with my own eyes. It threatens to destroy the fabric of society there. But we don’t have that problem:  One reason is that we control immigration.  We let in the best and brightest, and a tiny trickle of refugees, and that’s about it.  In Europe, by contrast, uneducated people from countries that never advanced beyond the 13th century can just take the train or drive and sneak in.  Also, non-Europeans flood into Europe from former French, etc. colonies such as Tunisia – a problem we don’t have.  Immigrant Muslims here in the States are assimilating far more than in Europe, in part because we don’t relegate Muslims to ghettos; we welcome them into our neighborhoods.  We have two first-generation Muslim families on our street. The wife in one of them wears a headscarf, but otherwise they’re not much different than anyone else. Our kids play together.  We get together socially.
  • They hate Obamacare because it is killing small businesses.  Obamacare is a classic example of that saying, “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”  It leaves a lot to be desired but it is far better than nothing.  As I’m sure you know, it’s just Romneycare on a national scale -- a Republican plan designed to privatize health care by delivering 20 million new customers to insurance companies.  It works fairly well in Massachusetts.  But once the Democrats abandoned Medicare for all and instead passed Obamacare as the price for getting Joe Lieberman’s crucial vote, Republicans did everything possible to sabotage and obstruct it, just as they have sabotaged and obstructed everything Obama has tried to do from day one.  The result is that the costs for small business are higher than they would have been – even though Obamacare has already resulted in a huge reduction in overall health care costs:  $2.6 trillion savings over the first 5 years.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why Congress doesn’t just enact Medicare for all – it would be financed by payroll tax deductions and small businesses wouldn’t have to contribute a dime.  And the result would be even greater overall savings.
  • They think Clinton is a “liar” and “corrupt,” but all they know is the propaganda they have been fed for decades by right-wing hate media. They think her speaking fees make her corrupt but couldn’t care less about the fact that Trump stiffed thousands of people who sold him goods and services.  They think she is a liar because she mischaracterized something James Comey said (which he shouldn’t have discussed in the first place), but overlook the daily deluge of lies coming out of Trump’s mouth.  I have followed the Clintons and the right-wing vendetta against them ever since I was in law school 33 years ago. Hate media (Fox, Rush, Savage, Jones, Drudge, Breitbart, Falwell Jr. et al.) use exactly the same propaganda techniques used by Goebbels in the 1930s and by Radio Moscow in the 1970s-1990s, only slicker.  And people eat it up.  In fact, these past few months it was hard to tell the difference between the Russian state-controlled media and Fox News.  Both sounded just like the old communist Radio Moscow, using their usual propaganda techniques, but this time to shamelessly promote Trump and just as shamelessly denigrate Clinton. In reality, Hillary Clinton has dedicated her life to public service, to the betterment of the country.  She is comprehensively knowledgeable about public policy and the world (an in particular is under no illusions about Russia), and knows how to get things done in a bipartisan manner.  She is as honest as any politician can be.  I’ve had a top secret clearance and worked in intelligence, and the email circus was just that.
  • There is definitely a racial and misogynist component.  One client, who laughed that Clinton got “spanked” and said he and all his friends talk like Trump all the time, and see nothing wrong with it.  Over the past eight years I’ve heard a lot of vile, disgusting racial stuff about Obama and Michelle Obama.  We aren’t nearly as civilized as I had hoped.
The world order is fragile.  Democracy is fragile.  The Trump presidency will be an unmitigated disaster. Our country and the world are in more danger now than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  For me as an attorney, I feel as though my country has just died.  White supremacy has emerged again. Vast numbers of uneducated white men have gleefully voted with their middle finger.  Every great nation has its rise and its decline.  Trump’s election may well mark the beginning of the decline of the United States as a great nation.