Ben Carson Doesn’t Know The Difference Between Slavery And Immigration

So…Dr. Ben Carson, our new HUD Secretary, was making a speech recently, when he brought up the notion of the American Dream.  While doing so, he further exemplified the fact that you should never confuse education with intelligence.

 

Carson’s statement caused such a stir, that he even got a response from Gene Wilder on the subject.  Okay, maybe I am just making this part up.

 

#RESIST

When You Fully Realize How Complicit The GOP Is With Trump And His Fascism

Admittedly, I have probably watched way too many movies over the course of my life, especially my earlier years.  Many of them, over and over to the point where I had scenes, shots and lines memorized verbatim.

Whenever I have a moment of realization, the scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis’ character (Butch Coolidge) meets John Travolta (as Vincent Vega) in a bar always comes to mind.  His expression is perfect, and it’s a great panning shot that really emphasizes a sense of realization for the character.

So I always think of this shot when it occurs to me how deeply complicit the Republican party is with Trump, his fascism, and the many possible connections he has with Russia, and all that they may entail.  Whether or not Trump bears any consequences for colluding with Russia depends more on how many people help him, how many do nothing, and how many let him slide, than on whether he actually is guilty of something or not, in my opinion.  There is way too much smoke there, for the situation to be free of wrongdoing.

The most recent example that points to a GOP cover up is the vote on Tuesday of the House Judiciary Committee to keep information on Trump’s possible ties to Russia, as well as potential ethics violations, a secret.  Every chance they get, Republicans continue to place party before country, even when the implications of the Trump presidency involving Russia are massive.

Donald Trump Seems To Think All Black People Might Be Friends With Each Other

Donald Trump’s casual racism was revealed recently at a press conference in which he asked reporter April Ryan if members of the Congressional Black Caucus are her friends.

Remember, this is coming from a man who says he is the “least racist person you have ever encountered.”  Yes, he actually said that.

The exchange also revealed further Trump’s status as one of planet’s biggest douchebags.  Apparently, he thinks it’s suitable to ask a professional journalist to set up meetings for him.  What else do you need Trump?  Should Ryan sweep and mop the floors, too?

A George Carlin Breakdown Of The Modern-Day Republican Party

I was watching this classic bit from the late, great George Carlin the other day and it dawned on me that he’s basically describing the modern-day Republican party.

I have long maintained that if you’re not a very wealthy person and still vote GOP, you are a fool.  But the party and its supporters, under the Trump administration, are also taking blatant hypocrisy to a whole new level.  For example, whining about “unprecedented obstruction” after they did the same thing for 8 years under Obama.  They break the full-of-shit meter constantly.

Add to that the religious fanatics and supposed “Christians” who are just fine and dandy with a man like Trump in the White House, and you have the modern-day GOP.

Fighting The Rise Of Fascism In America

For a long time, I was hesitant to use Hitler comparisons when debating about Trump. In short, because it has become such a cliché and it serves to negate one’s argument (Godwin’s Law.) But also because no matter how horrible or despicable Trump is, until he has taken actions such as Hitler, the comparison becomes flawed. Someone like Hitler evokes such an emotional and visceral response due to the atrocious events of the Holocaust, that comparing someone in our current society to him still sounds like a stretch.

BUT, with that said, I have no doubt that Donald Trump is a fascist, and would become Hitler-esque if he could. The following short video provides a summary of all of the ways Trump embodies fascism and how the current political climate is conducive to it.  While it was made before Trump won election, the ideas still apply:

The thing that scares me these days is the realization that someone like Hitler could happen again, as much as we would like to think it won’t. In fact, thinking that it can’t happen is a big part of why it could. The battle against the growth of fascism in our country becomes spread across several fronts, and it can be exhausting. There is the need to pressure representatives in Washington to oppose and fight Trump’s policies. There are protests that must happen, as well as boycotts and other forms of civil disobedience on the part of citizens. Remaining vocal in opposing Trump and everything he is bringing to America is of utmost importance and is one of the easiest things we can do – do NOT stop expressing outrage and disgust at what Trump is doing and what his supporters represent – even if it means losing friends or family connections. We simply can’t afford to remain silent right now.

The more abstract and difficult layer to fighting the rise of fascism here in the United States involves the current state of news and information, as well as the level of ignorance of so many citizens. Trump has his followers believing that anything that comes out of “mainstream media” is a lie or “fake news.” Which opens the door to basically limitless manipulation potential for Trump and his administration. They are able to put out bald-faced lies, and if they do it often enough, it actually becomes truth for Trump supporters. Conversely, those same people can easily be convinced that information to the contrary of what Trump’s administration says is untrue and invalid. We have seen this happen already. A recent poll suggested that over 40% of Trump supporters believe his baseless claim that there were 3 million illegal votes cast (in an election that he won.) That is simply a lie that Trump made up, and since he has such sway over his supporters, they believe it without any evidence or supporting information. Scary stuff.

I think the situation is basically hopeless for most of Trump’s ardent followers, in terms of trying to convince them of the many ways Trump’s actions and policies are problematic. When you have people supporting an administration that says facts are debatable and that they are simply presenting “alternative facts,” those people are obviously too far gone to bother reasoning or debating with. The key, then, simply becomes having more people who are opposed to Trump show up at the polls on election day than Trump supporters, as well as ensuring that the younger generation has the tools and information necessary to see the myriad ways Trump is unacceptable as POTUS. We must not let the lies and misinformation become the accepted norm. Whenever Trump lies, we need to call him on it and not let words become redefined or euphemisms (such as “alternative facts”) become commonplace. State and local level elections become crucial. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are two enemies of democracy that must be fought vigorously. Our elected representatives in Congress need to know that we are watching them, and that we expect them to vigorously oppose Trump’s agenda. If they don’t, we need to throw our support towards someone to replace them. We need to stay engaged as progressives, united against the common enemy of Trump and the GOP. We absolutely cannot afford to become cynical or apathetic, lest we allow this great nation to be completely taken over by fascist anti-patriots.

We just need to stay engaged, alert and active. There are times when it might seem insurmountable or hopeless, but we can’t allow despair to fill our hearts and minds. We need to remember that Trump does NOT have a mandate, and that a majority of Americans agree with liberal positions on most, if not all, major issues. There are more of us than them. He is a minority-elected president that was able to get through due to questionable circumstances and the antiquated electoral college system. Let’s never stop treating him as such.

#RESIST

 

Trump photo:  Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Trump’s Refugee Ban Is Shameful

Like many others, I had reservations about using this image for a meme, as I don’t want to disrespect this boy’s death.

But then I thought, it is even more disrespectful for people to ignore and shut out this child’s death and the many others like him. People need to see what is going on to give context to Trump’s shameful policy of blocking refugees from certain countries and giving Christians “priority.”

I think it’s a shame that our country would turn away refugees, when it is known that doing so can very well be a death sentence. It reflects a fundamental selfishness, as well as a deadly cowardice. We are supposed to be the “home of the brave.” Not so much, anymore, I guess.

I don’t understand how people can be proud of any of this.

 

#RESIST

 

Why I Have No Respect For Trump Supporters At This Point

I think it’s safe to say that this country is divided right now.  The campaign and election of Donald Trump, AKA President Pussy Grabber, to the highest office in the nation, has brought about a ton of lost Facebook “friends” for a lot of people, increased family infighting, and a daily onslaught of bitter back and forth and arguments on the internet between decent Americans and the Trump supporters who have poisoned the well of this great land.  For a person like myself, who already has an inclination to engage in political discussions online, it’s not as noticeable of a shift.  But for the average person, I think there has been a yuge increase in this type of adversity and discord.

This has all brought up the old debate about whether politics should get in the way of friendships, and whether people can retain their relationships even if they strongly disagree in that arena.  I have seen memes floating around which self-declare that (the meme creator) is capable of disagreeing with others, without losing or sacrificing their friendship.  While I think it is generally true that people should be able to “agree to disagree,” I think that what we have seen with the Trump campaign, and now presidency, has far transcended the boundaries of “normal” political discourse and engagement.

I probably don’t need to go through the laundry list of reasons why POTUS Pee-Pee is categorically unfit for the presidency at this point.  We have all seen and heard what Trump and his cult of followers have brought to the table.  He has cultivated and encouraged outright bigotry and racism, toxic xenophobia, degradation of  women and the disabled, and advocated violence against those who oppose him.  He invited a foreign government to interfere with our presidential election, and suggested that perhaps “2nd Amendment people” could do something about his presidential opponent.  He is probably the most polarizing political figure in modern U.S. history.  With Trump, things go beyond mundane disagreements such as how much of a social safety net we should have, or how much foreign aid we should give to any given ally.  Instead, things have become about having or not having fundamental decency as human beings.

On top of all of this, Trump’s administration has been shameless in their “gaslighting” and blatant lies to the American public.  Things that are obvious and documented, such as the  relatively unimpressive attendance at Trump’s inauguration, are being called into question by Kellyanne Conway and crew as “alternative facts” as they attempt to promote an alternate reality for their delusional horde to believe in.  It was the same when Trump mocked a disabled reporter.  He later denied it, even though it’s on tape, and there are actually people who insist that the controversy was all a result of “biased media.”  Not to mention all of the times Trump has been recorded saying something, only to later flat-out deny saying it.  Or the recent revelation that Trump has no intention of releasing his taxes, even though he had promised that he would – and, to add insult to injury – Trump incorrectly speaks for the American public and says that they are not interested in them.  The sad thing is, Trump’s remaining defenders are perfectly okay with being deceived this openly.  They apparently don’t mind being psychologically manipulated by Trump and his administration.

When it comes to expressing opinions online, I actually think it is everybody’s civic duty to be vocal in opposing things like blatant and dehumanizing bigotry, hate and degradation.  So much so, that people end up losing friends, if need be. Because remaining silent only serves to enable those that seek to strip away our rights, freedoms and dignity.  Resistance starts with vocalizing opposition.  Things like racism should be something that we frown upon, and there should be a consequence felt by those who choose to fill their hearts with hate.  The way I see it, the kinds of people that would have an issue with me voicing opposition to those things, I honestly don’t want or need in my life. I have “lost” a few “friends” on Facebook since the campaign season started, which had happened only once before (that I had noticed.)  But I don’t really feel any “loss” – rather, I feel like I am being the person I was meant to be, without resistance or static from individuals that have revealed themselves to be morally and ethically contemptible.  I have also chosen to unfollow a few people because I was just tired of seeing their asinine pro-Trump bullshit.  I simply don’t need that kind of ugliness or negativity in my life, and I think the world throws enough of that at me as it is.

I always come back to this picture that I saw a while back, during the campaign. It sums up why I don’t have any respect for the most ardent Trump supporters, which by now is pretty much anyone still standing by him.

These “forgotten people” (as they have come to be known) don’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but themselves. Why should anyone give them any respect? They spend all their time pledging allegiance to politicians and individuals that feel completely comfortable and content attacking and denigrating anyone that isn’t white, male and straight (or females that are inexplicably bound to them.) Sure, there are some minorities who for some silly reason support Trump, but they all subscribe to the white male patriarchal ideal of American culture.  They bring no actual argument or thought process to the table – it’s “woe is me, immigrants take our jobs, blah blah blah, cry cry cry.”  And it inevitably becomes deflected into “Obama this, Hillary that…”  It’s pathetic.  I have had countless arguments with Trump supporters online, and I have concluded that, at this point, they are unreachable.  There is no point.  I mean, when you have people who proclaim that they are proud to be “deplorable,” how are you supposed to reason with them?  The level of discourse from almost all Trump supporters I now encounter daily amounts to little more than trolling.  It’s “neener neener neener, we won, you lost, get over it.”  No substance, no philosophical basis (other than “hey, we’re assholes”) and lately, not even acknowledgement of basic facts that can be seen and heard by our own eyes and ears (think “alternative facts.”)

I hope people on the right realize that this is far from over. They can expect what they have seen recently, with the historic women’s marches around the world, and then some, to continue as long as a despicable man-baby who was put into office through a questionable election is in power.

#RESIST

 

 

 

Here’s To A Better 2017

Well, another New Year is upon us. I think a lot of people would agree that 2016 has been, as Helen Mirren said, a “pile of shit.”

We lost so many monumental talents that transcended their art to become inspirational beacons for humanity as a whole, and witnessed just how much xenophobic nationalism and division have festered in our country as well as across the pond.

But, as much as this year has sucked, I always come back to the idea that the entire concept of a “year” (and time itself) is just another illusion. It’s just a way in which we attempt to measure and quantify our existence on Earth, and doesn’t really exist. As someone wrote somewhere, “Time doesn’t exist. Clocks do.” No matter what year we say it is, the world just goes on constantly spinning, offering us only consecutive and fleeting moments, not actual days or years.

Still, one positive to the concept of a New Year is that it offers inspiration and motivation for change and growth. It offers us the feeling that we have an opportunity to make things better, and cast away all of the negative stuff that has impeded us or cast a dark shadow upon our days. So, here’s to seizing every single moment that we’re blessed to be here, and let’s give 2017 everything we’ve got, on an individual and collective level, to create a better world for everybody.

Happy New Year everyone!