Monday, September 4, 2017

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected -

In a NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof tweet this morning, he retweeted this:
 @NickKristof  12h12 hours ago
Nicholas Kristof Retweeted Maggie Haberman
Alonso died while trying to save the lives of other Texans. But, Mr. President, because he's a dreamer, he's not American enough for you?
This is, I think illustrative of part of the media's lack of understanding of Trump and those like him... It's not just that Trump doesn't think Alonso isn't American enough, Trump thinks Alonso is a loser for risking his life to save others.   Also, if Alonso isn't rich, then by Trump's definition, Alonso is also a loser.   So, if Alonso isn't rich AND if he risk his life saving others, he's a double loser and we don't need his type in the good ole' USA.

Remember - John McCain, in Trumps mind, was a loser because he got caught.  Real hero's don't get captured.

No, it's not logical, it's not reasonable, it's not even near a sane argument.  But, that is the world our President lives in.  If he had just taken all the money Daddy gave him and invested it in a mutual fund he'd have a lot more money than he has now, but, in his world he earned everything he has and he is special/privileged, and deserving of everyone's praise.  He's built his own fictional world with Daddy's money and the rest of us will suffer because of it.

Now, if there is one thing I hope for out of this disastrous Presidency it is this - the realization that the accumulation of money implies no ability to do anything else.  It implies nothing as far as morals, it implies nothing as far as being smart, it implies NOTHING.  Being able to accumulate money is a nice parlor trick, but that's about it.  One's ability to do so is almost always tied to being in the right place at the right time, some lucky freaking happenstance, or winning the DNA lottery and having folks with money or some personal characteristic that helps one accumulate it. /rhat we'll stop worshiping at the altar of money and those who have accumulated it, that's my one hope.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post - To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected - to those who have money for whatever reason, to whom much is given, much is expected.  The President has used his money to try and make himself feel better and it apparently hasn't worked.  When terrorist hit the World Trade Towers in the city where he grew up, Trump the billionaire didn't do one single thing to help anybody.  He didn't donate money, nothing.  If you have resources are you saving them? if you have talents, are you hoarding them?  Is buying that $200,000 car, that 3rd vacation house, that hobby farm filling a void you need filled, or is filling a void the world needs filled?  Is it helping your elderly neighbor or family member?  Is it making an impact on your community that others wouldn't be able to fill?  I want to emphasize this last point - that others wouldn't be able to fill.  This is how many successful people justify their lives, they are filling a void in the market by providing fancy wrapping paper, expensive jewelry, selling car's, loaning money, etc. that is their contribution to the world.  Bullshit.  Double Bullshit.  If it's such a need the market would fill it.  What difference are you making with the generous talents and resources you have?  To whom much is given, much is expected.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What the Trump nationalist/protectionist don't get...

Some of the Nationalist/Alt-Right supporters for Trump are clearly racist.  They want to shut the borders because of their racist attitudes.  As the saying goes, if rational thought didn't form someone's opinion, it's probably not going to persuade them to change their opinion.  So, I don't really know that there is much that can said to persuade the racist that they are wrong.  Almost by definition they are irrational and logic will not persuade them otherwise.

However, there are other nationalist making, I think, a series of really illogical conclusions.

How many times have you heard your conservative uncle, who is generally an o.k. guy not a racist, talk about all the money the government spends on foreign aid.  If they wouldn't spend all that money, uncle argues, then his taxes could be lower.

From wikipedia -
"Wallerstein characterises the world system as a set of mechanisms, which redistributes surplus value from the periphery to the core. In his terminology, the core is the developed, industrialized part of the world, and the periphery is the "underdeveloped", typically raw materials-exporting, poor part of the world; the market being the means by which the core exploits the periphery."
We, the United States, have exploited poor countries to our benefit for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Every trade deal and every aid package had strings attached that benefited us and our interest.

And Trump, Bannon, and laid off factory workers around the U.S. are morons for not realizing this... in a classic 'bless their hearts' moment they are too stupid to know what chaos they wish for...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

On Stupidity

‘Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use  of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings  at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from ‘After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works/English, vol. 8) Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.

"The surge in global populism is not reducible to economics. It is about racism, sexism, homophobia, and cultural backwardness. It is revenge—not of the economically insecure, but of the cultural left-behinds. The solutions that progressives and pundits are fixated on, such as reducing inequality or creating more middle-class jobs, will be insufficient to stem its rising tide.
Political attitudes are shaped by more than people’s pocketbooks—groups and places voting to restore a fading social order will vote against their future economic interests precisely because they’re looking backwards."
 What Is Really Behind the Populist Surge? - Richard Florida

Building the realm of alternative facts: Trump’s lies are enabled by years of right-wing media
After decades of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Breitbart, conservatives can no longer tell fact from fiction
"Many in the conservative base are no longer capable of knowing truth from fiction. They have been fed BS for so long and with such relentless purpose that they no longer have BS detectors at all.
Sykes pointed out that White House press secretary Sean Spicer took this phenomenon to a new level when he said that Trump’s belief that the unfounded charges of voter fraud was evidence that the voter fraud happened, which is mind-boggling. He also noted that Spicer refused to answer a question about the unemployment rate, which suggests the administration will have no problem making up numbers to back up claims that Trump is massively improving the economy.
Furthermore, administration officials can do this in full confidence that right-wing media outlets will provide cover for their claims. "

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Blaming Democrats and the Liberal Press

Make America Great Again, because the Democrats have ruined it.

Here's the result of 30 minutes of googling... all back of the envelop stuff, probably something wrongish but close enough ... 

Since 1993/94 ish to current -

  • Republicans have had the majority of state legislatures 11 times, Democrats 7 times, and 1 time tied.
  • Republicans have had the majority of Governorships 16 times, Democrats 4 times
  • At the Federal level:
  • Republicans have had the majority in the Senate 7 times, Democrats 4 times, and 2 times tied
  • Republicans have had the majority in the House 10 times, Democrats 3 times
  • In the Supreme Court, of the 18 Justices who have served on the Supreme Court between 93/94 and today - 14 were appointed by Republicans and 4 by Democrats.
And of course there have been 3 Republican Presidents and 2 Democrats as President during the same time period.
For the last month plus they've had the White House, Supreme Court, House, Senate, 33 Governorships, and the majority of the state legislatures.  
But, they have done NOTHING BUT WHINE since November.   They've become so accustomed to blaming others for their shortcomings that they don't know what to do.

The biggest target of their whining has been the dastardly LIBERAL MEDIA.  Yes, that same group that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News have been complaining about for the last 20+ years.

The media on the right love to brag about how they dominate the ratings.  Bill O'Reilly loves to remind Rachel Maddow and the folks at MSNBC that many more people watch Fox than MSNBC.  Something like 14M people listen to Rush daily, 13M listen to Hannity, along with Fox News dominating the TV news ratings.  To compare about 600K people watch Morning Joe on MSNBC every day.  But, they can't stop whining about the liberal media.  First, listen to Democracy Now if you want to hear Liberal media.  The argument is one I've never understood, MSNBC/CBS/ABC and Fox all are corporate media and on a pretty narrow political spectrum, each company's primary goal is making money, not teaching or influencing opinion. Rush actually knows this, it's just he's made his brand on complaining that people aren't treating people like him and his listeners fairly, and it's worked, so he continues to roll with it.

They've been in the political majority for the last 25 ish years.  They've dominated the media during the same time period.  And they whine and complain that the world sucks and it's somebody elses fault.  And these folks are supposed to be the ones that believe in personal responsibility?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

How to handle this idiot

Donald Trump is on a "fake news" rant... it is his latest shiny object.  There have been literally thousands of these "shiny objects" since he started running for President, and as of yet, neither the media nor other rational reasonable people know how to deal with someone so clearly in their own reality.

On "fake news" it's interesting that Donald doesn't really even understand what it is... he believes it is opinion that disagrees with his own.  In fact it's all the links embedded at legitamate news sites and webpages that is paid content... here are some I just copied from an actual newspaper's site:


The IRS Announces 2017 Standard Mileage Rates

What turns off small business shoppers?

Three Tax Credits for Your Family

New Year, New Tax Implications

Possible Jail Time For Stallone?

How To Fix Your Fatigue (Do This Every Day)

Megyn Kelly Joins NBC After Fox News Drug Allegations

Ivanka Has Last Laugh At Media With Secret Net Worth

Trump Saves Homeowners $5,088

Itching This Part of Your Body Is a Sign of Alzheimer’s

There are some more egregious than these that most people have seen - photo shopped pictures of muscle bound folks which say something about "scientific breakthroughs"...

But this dumb ass we've elected President doesn't know the difference and when he spouts this crap about CNN being "fake news"... the 35% who somehow think this idiot is going to make their life work by being mean to the people that they blame for their failures (the poor, blacks, immigrants, liberals, etc.) they absolutely believe it.

Reasonable and rational people don't know what to do with irrational, illogical idiots like this guy.  They all grew up hearing that if they argued with an idiot bystanders wouldn't be able to tell the difference.  So they just assumed that people would figure it out.. well that didn't work out did it?

Carl Bernstein tweeted - "the most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon's."

Maybe just maybe the media is going to figure out how to handle this very dangerous man and his alternative reality.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Psychoanalyzing Trump

My friend Mary, a brilliant writer, wrote this on facebook -
"Public Service Announcement: If someone says, "Nobody loves you more than me. Nobody!" run far and fast. That's not love. That's how an abuser keeps his or her victims in line."
Donald's speech to the CIA yesterday -
 "I just wanted to really say that I love you. I respect you. There’s nobody that I respect more. You’re going to do a fantastic job. And we’re going to start winning again. And you’re going to be leading the charge."
The Psychological Condition that Best Explains Donald Trump's Twisted Worldview: Think of our president as a hoarder. But instead of objects, he collects victories and vendettas.

The evidence mounts to overwhelming: He's a pathological climber. The self-declared "ratings machine" suffers from "Impressive Compulsive Disorder,” a condition that is like hoarding, not of stuff but of impressive power.You know that burning sinking feeling you get when you're around someone who's more impressive than you? That's Trump's sole driver. There's nothing in him to upstage it, no greater good to temper it.

 The Mind of Donald Trump

Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency.

 Trump and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

 The Mayo Clinic’s definition of NPD is: “A mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that is vulnerable to the slightest criticism. If you have NPD, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious, you often monopolize conversations, you may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior, and you may feel a sense of entitlement (when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry). At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior.” Does this sound like Mr. Trump? You bet it does!

Has there ever been a more damaged person who was President, perhaps.  But, I guarantee there has never been a more damaged person so easy to read as our new President. 

How the press and the public navigates figuring out which of his rants are "donald being psycho" and those that  have serious implications are going to be one of the great challenges over the next four-years.

The other challenge will be making sure he doesn't destroy everything we've built since 1776.


Fears of the President

Trump supporters are all over social media chastising "liberals" for what they deem as unwarranted fears of the President.  They're also suggested that singer/actress Madonna be charged with treason after she said publicly that she'd thought of burning down the White House after the election.

AlterNet pulled out some of the fears of the right-wing regarding the last President.

10 Right-Wing Predicitions About Obama That Never Came True
1. Obama Will Create Death Panels2. Obama Will Kill His Critics3. Obama Will Spread Disease In Order To Imprison Americans4. Obama Will Start A Race War5. Obama Will Create A Personal Brownshirt Army6. Obama Will Seize Guns7. Obama Will Invade Texas8. Obama Will Ban The Bible
9. Obama Will Impose Sharia Law10. Obama Will Stay In Office

Read the AlterNet piece to see which loonies were pushing which conspiracy theory that didn't come true.

Speaking of loonies, lots of your facebook and twitter friends are warning of that evil Madonna today and what she said to the rapid "feminazi's" that marched on 1/21/17, actually here's what she said:

Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die.
"I choose love. Are you with me? Say this with me: We choose love. We choose love. We choose love."
Here's the Full Transcript of Madonna's Speech at the Women's March

Oh wait.  It was a message of love? Hmmm... kinda like those 10 thoughts from the conservatives, right? Uh, no.