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Trump should serve as a warning to all of us

I haven’t been even a little coy about my contempt for Donald Trump. He’s a tiny-handed, narcissistic, man-child still seeking his daddy’s approval and ruining our country in the process. But, he can do something positive for us. He can show us all how living a life filled with expectation leads to unhappiness.

It’s my belief that the happiest people are the people who have learned to live with no expectations. They don’t expect life to be easy, they just expect it to be what it is. Life isn’t fair. It’s not easy. It’s not filled with happiness all the time.

However, Trump and people like him expect that life will just unfold before him perfectly. I don’t know if it’s how he was raised (but I suspect so), but he acts like he expects everyone to just do what he wants them to. Like he’s what the world revolves around. He expects that his worldview should be or is the dominant worldview. He expects that money should get him whatever he wants. I mean, maybe it got him his wife, but I don’t think that’s working out for him as well as he expected it to.

And that’s the problem. Expectations rarely work out the way we think they will. We see things from our limited perspective, discounting the people around us, who all have their own motivations and expectations. We also can’t predict the world of larger events – things like natural disasters, the criminal or nasty intentions of others.

Our expectations also imply that we know what’s best on the grander scale. When we get focused on a set of ideas, and it blocks us from being able to see other possibilities. These possibilities could bring us rewards we never dreamed of because we couldn’t comprehend them, but we’ll never see them because expectations clouds our vision. It’s truly sad for us.

Because Trump has expectations, he acts out of fear that the expectations will not be fulfilled. Acting out of fear is rarely (I would say never) a good idea. It’s more short-sighted than allowing life to unfold, which means precluding a whole series of other potentialities. Fear is the greatest liar in our lives. Nothing cuts us down faster than fear.

And we can see what it’s doing to the United States. Fear leads to unrealistic nationalism, racism, homophobia, etc. It’s not the United States I love so much. It’s not a United States with possibility. It’s backward-looking and limiting. With our resources and population, we should be leading the world in science, technology, mathematics, economics, etc. But we’re not. Until our Dear Leader gets his head out of his ass, we’re going to continue to skid, out of control, backwards, to an era where equality was a dream.

Comey: 1, Trump: 0

I wasn’t going to, but I ended up watching part of James Comey’s testimony yesterday. Here are my takeaways:

  1. This Russia business is serious shit. They ramped up their campaign against America in 2016, and it’s not over with yet. I was a little concerned when Comey emphasized that it wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats, because that could weaken the argument that Trump’s team was colluding with the Russians. But, the reality is, Putin is interested in destabilizing the US and will align himself with whoever he needs to accomplish that. In Election 2016 that clearly wasn’t going to be Hillary since she was warning everyone what Russia was up to.
  2. I’m less pissed about Comey’s commentary regarding Hillary’s email issues in the last election. I don’t know why he bothered with anything in the days leading up to the election, since that clearly hurt Clinton, but the reality is that Russian bots were already hard at work spinning whatever they could for the MAGA crowd, so I don’t know how much of a difference it really made.
  3. Our elected officials are not looking out for our best interests. The questions about Hillary’s email issues were a complete waste of time given the point of the hearing. They were looking to give FoxNews some soundbites they could use, and they got those. They didn’t get to the heart of the issue at all: Russia’s interference and whether Trump obstructed justice.
  4. John McCain is out of touch with reality. I have serious questions about his ability to do his job. He kept asking about why Clinton was cleared of the Russian investigation. Try as he might, Comey could not get it through to McCain that they were separate investigations. McCain tried to clarify after the hearing what he was getting at, but he still missed the point. The email investigation was OVER. That’s why Comey could comment regarding whether Clinton had done anything criminal. At no point during his tenure at the FBI was the Russia investigation concluded to where Comey would have been free to comment on Trump’s culpability.
  5. Our elected officials aren’t looking out for our best interests. I want to throw this one out there again. The questions about why Comey didn’t stand up to Trump, resign in the face of questions about the administration, and why he didn’t immediately pursue an inquiry against Trump for his pressure to end an investigation completely miss the point. They’re illogical. The best way to stand up to Trump and defend America against Trump was to stay quiet and in his position to start that investigation. Resigning wouldn’t have left him in a position to do any of that.
  6. Comey knew from the beginning what most of us have known about Trump – he cannot be trusted. One of the senators on the panel brought up the excellent point that in the law, writings made contemporaneously with a meeting are given great weight because they’re seen as being more accurate. Comey knew what a snake Trump is and knew that, should he display any form of disloyalty, he’d be out on his ass. Basically, he did exactly what every law student is taught: He covered his ass. CYA is one of the first things you learn in law school, and if not there, definitely in practice.
  7. Trump obstructed justice. Some of the senators appeared to try to suggest that Trump saying he “hoped” that Comey would let the Flynn thing go (since he’d been asked to resign) wasn’t really a directive to Comey. That’s a damn big reach. Trump boots everyone out of the office and one-on-one has a serious conversation with Comey? That’s got to raise some eyebrows. It doesn’t matter that Trump has publicly shared his disapproval of the Russia investigation. He met with Comey, by himself. Comey said he felt like Trump was giving him a directive, under those circumstances. If he wasn’t trying to issue a directive, why say anything at all? Trump was attempting to influence an investigation that affected members of his team. That’s obstruction. It doesn’t matter that he (may) lawfully has the authority to direct who or what should be investigated.
  8. Comey did the right thing by sharing his memos. Comey testified that he shared his memos with a friend who shared them with the news in the hopes that a special prosecutor would be appointed. He knew that shit stank to high heaven in the administration and that the only way anything would truly be investigated is if there was a special prosecutor. The only way to make that happen was to drop a huge bombshell. Well done.

Of course, none of these hearings matter if Republicans won’t get their shit together and do what’s best for the country. Democracy as we know it was attacked and will continue to be attacked unless we do something. If Republicans don’t stand up now, who knows if there will be anything left to fight for.

This presidency is an unmitigated disaster

The US President is no longer the leader of the free world. The US isn’t even viewed as a full democracy anymore.

The US is no longer leading the call for a cleaner and more sustainable world. It’s fallen to mayors and other leading city and county executives to ensure the health and well-being of its citizens and work with global leaders since the federal government can’t do what’s right.

States are passing single-payer health systems because the federal government can’t come together and do what’s best for its citizens.

The Attorney General reportedly offered to resign because Mango Mussolini won’t give him the freedom to do his job (not that I love what Sessions was trying to do, but still). Can’t accept the resignation though because he wouldn’t be able to push someone else though and the guy waiting in the wings actually wants to do his damn job.

It’s now completely and openly known that Putin interfered in our election and gave the victory to Twitler. Yet no one seems to want to do anything about it. Of course, we shouldn’t expect Republicans, like Paul Ryan, to do anything about it since so many of them either knew about or participated in the fraud. (Russians are also hacking internationally and screwing with international relations.)

It feels like the United States is falling apart. Racism is back in the open with more attacks on minorities than before. People feel emboldened by Trump’s lack of humanity and unwillingness to tell people to respect each other. Our elected officials seem to have absolutely no regard for their roles and are acting in only their best interests. The government that was supposed to be FOR the people is gone.

And what can we do about it? We’re resisting as best we can, but that doesn’t seem to be having an effect. Even Democrats can’t seem to get their shit together to do anything to move us forward. Popular officials, like Cory Booker, have been taking money from Crooked Jared Kushner, and aren’t responding to calls for explanations or promises to stop.

The 2018 elections aren’t far away, but it’s going to be a long time until we get there. We must keep being active. Speaking out against the wrongs and in support of each other. It’s time to make new connections with those around us. We must start caring about each other’s stories. We must start validating each other’s lives.

If we cannot do that, the US will surely stop existing as we knew it. We cannot let Trump and his cronies do that to us. To what we’ve built. We need to bring back the hope.

What happened to critical thinking?

I haven’t posted much about the 2016 presidential election. In part because I had to recover from it. It ended up being a really traumatic experience. The US has come a long way since the days where they enslaved other people just because they could, but there’s still a lot of room for growth. Too much, really. The fact that people still get excited about the Confederate Flag is a pretty big indicator.

The election really showed us something important though – critical thinking has left the US. Sure, more people voted against Donald Trump than voted for him. That really didn’t matter though, now did it? He ended up becoming the 45th POTUS.

While I can’t really understand it, I sort of get why someone may have voted for Trump. He pretended like he was an outsider to the scene. (Even though there are millions of pictures of him hobnobbing with politicians.) He SAID he wanted to #draintheswamp. (Though he only knows other people just like him who are familiar with Washington.) He said that they could keep their healthcare and that people with preexisting conditions would be protected. (Though he has no experience with trying to sort out healthcare for himself on any kind of budget.) He made people feel like he understood what it was like to be the little man and that he came from the same place they didn’t. (Obviously not true since he had millions from his father to build his own businesses.)

Alright, I guess I can’t really understand how someone voted for him. But, that’s because I, like many others, engaged in critical thinking when he made his claims. I researched the claims to check their veracity. Of course, some will claim they did as well. There’s a whole world of alt-right media available to prove them right. But, a critical thinker would see that there were MANY (and more) pieces of evidence which suggested that the only thing spewing from Trump’s mouth was bullshit.

Why are we so divorced from critical thinking? There have been a few articles floating around since the election about how people are almost… proud… of their ignorance. While I don’t believe a formal education past high school is necessary, I do think we should all strive to be informed. Being informed is part of being a responsible citizen. Sure, back when the country was founded we elected representatives and let them do some of the researching for us. Now, though, we have all the information we could possibly want at our fingertips. Yes, we have to sort through things to determine for ourselves what may be accurate. It’s a little more work, but the fate of the country is in our hands.

The proliferation of partisan websites has pushed us to this point. I don’t read anything from the Right, but I can see it in the Leftist sites I see popping up on Facebook all the time. They’re articles with clickbait titles, while all the content has been taken in pieces from other, researched articles. OccupyDemocrats is the one I see most often and it occasionally makes my head spin. But, they get floated more often than the original sources. I invested in subscriptions to the New York Times and Vanity Fair because I wanted original journalism getting my attention.

In the past I haven’t cared too much who people voted for, as long as they engaged in critical analysis before casting a ballot. At the time though, it was policy differences that were at stake. I think it’s reasonable for us to discuss things like taxes, educational standards, and economics. It’s easy to disagree about the best path for American. That’s just not where we are now.

The Conservatives of old have been replaced by people who can only think to oppose Liberals. They don’t have a plan, as we saw with the ridiculous healthcare bill. Conservatives complained for years about Obamacare, but hadn’t bothered to research and draft their own plan? Nope! It was just “Down with Obamacare!” In any company they’d be fired for their incompetence. Instead they get reelected because they’ve managed to become experts at telling certain populations exactly what they want to hear. Selling the package of crap in such a way that discourages people from forcing themselves to think about what they’re voting for. Keep America uninformed and win! It’s gross. Disturbing. And I’m worried it’s going to end this grand experiment with democracy.

If the Marmalade Mussolini has his way, we’ll be a dictatorship before too long.

Stay vigilant, friends. Stay vigilant.

Trump is the true enemy of the American people

Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that the “Fake News” is not his enemy, it is the enemy of the American people.

This tweet comes after his disaster of a press conference on Thursday. Trump did what he usually does when asked reasonable and intelligent questions, he talked about himself. His electoral college win (though he was knocked down a peg when a journalist pointed out that he was lying about how great a victory it was). How he’s a good guy. How Russia is “fake news.” (I have yet to figure out what “fake news” is.) How the leaks are real but the news is fake. (A journalist did say, point blank, that that makes no sense. Trump ignored it.) We also got a pretty clear display of casual racism.

And of course, what would a Trump presser be if we didn’t get to hear how horrible the media is? He talked about the tone of hatred that extends from the media to him.

Then, when he’s got a chance to get his tiny fingers back on his phone, he tweets about how the “failing” news media is the enemy of the American people.

I would like to say, for the record, that the media isn’t the enemy of the American people. Freedom of the press and the need for it is as old as our country. When independent journalists do their jobs, the American people get unbiased facts they need to make critical decisions when they enter a ballot booth. Without the press, we wouldn’t have learned the extent of Richard Nixon’s treacherous behavior. In fact, Nixon also declared the press an enemy.

Eliminating freedom of the press is one of the main features of fascism. The goal is to turn it into a tool of the state and use it for propaganda.  We can disagree about many things on how the US is governed, but I think we can all agree that we are not interested in a fascist state. Fascism is the antithesis of American values.

There are those who say that Trump is doing what the people want. His executive orders have come in a flurry. The reality is that those may have little to no meaning in the long run. But it looks great to his core supporters. Outside of his core supporters, there are many across the political spectrum who are willing to give him a chance. They give him tacit support or are opposed, but still willing to take a “wait and see” approach.

I am NOT one of those people.

We don’t have the time and luxury for that. We are already progressing quickly on the path to fascism.

People have outlined the traits of fascist regimes differently, but regardless of how it’s viewed, we’re in trouble.

By Rense
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – “America First” says it all
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Wanting to employ torture, denying religious freedom, eliminating federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities,” travel ban
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – ISIS, Muslims, Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals
4. Supremacy of the Military – He’s repeatedly said we’re going to have the best military, talks about nuclear holocaust, blowing up the Russian spy ship, emphasis on new military spending
5. Rampant Sexism – “You can grab ’em by the pussy,” women needing to dress “like women,” refusal to take on equal pay issues
6. Controlled Mass Media – Calling all news outlets that don’t blindly support him “fake news,” guiding us to Breitbart and Fox News, only calling on conservative outlets for questions
7. Obsession with National Security – This is Trump’s #1 priority right now
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Fortunately we haven’t gone too far down this path, but his preference for Christian refugees all over any others is troubling and telling
9. Corporate Power is Protected – Trump is using his presidency for his own personal gain, deregulation was one of his first executive orders, and he’s looking for breaks so his friends can get loans
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Trump is unlikely to back any laws that support any kind of minimum wage increase, that is just the beginning of undermining the labor force
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Trump has attacked Meryl Streep after her unflattering awards speech, he references the “elites” as though he isn’t one
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Trump has repeated stated that he doesn’t believe we have enough laws regarding drugs, to protect police and has called for law enforcement departments nationwide to re-evaluate, and for legislatures to revise their laws to protect police. Law enforcements agencies have said there is no need for this.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Most of Trump’s political appointments have been donors, he wants to revamp regulations on lending institutions so his friends can get loans, and well, RUSSIA and Rex Tillerson
14. Fraudulent Elections – Despite winning the election, Trump has repeatedly called into question the legitimacy of the election – alleging that there was rampant voter fraud with “illegals” voting (against him, naturally). He wants an investigation into voter fraud issues. This lays the groundwork for him to ignore the 2020 results, should he even last that long.

By Umberto Eco
1. The cult of tradition – “Make America Great Again” was the rally cry for Trump. He wants to throw us back into the 1950s and his supporters are delighted to travel back in time when they didn’t feel so oppressed.
2. The rejection of modernism – Rational discourse will not be tolerated under Trump. He seeks “peace through strength”
3. The cult of action for action’s sake – This concisely summarizes Trump’s executive orders, most notably the travel ban. Without consulting relevant agencies, he issued the executive order, which they are now abandoning because of a “bad court”
4. Disagreement is treason – While he hasn’t actually stated this, he’s had staff fired for having written things in the past that were not favorable to him, fired Sally Yates for not simply doing what he told her, and generally refuses to call on medial outlets that are likely to challenge him
5. Fear of difference – Trump surrounds himself with people who look and act like him. He wants to let in Christian refugees primarily and block others from entering, wants to keep Mexicans out of the country, and can barely interact with other racial minorities
6. Appeal to social frustration – This is probably what won Trump the election. He spoke to groups who felt marginalized and rural areas turned out in record numbers to support him.
7. The obsession with a plot – Perhaps more times than he’s done anything else, he’s attacked supporters of Hillary Clinton and the media for sabotaging his election (which is why he lost the popular vote). Even now he still speaks of Hillary though the election has obviously ended. Everything is a liberal conspiracy against him.
8. The enemy is both strong and weak – ISIS is powerful, but HE can defeat them. Russia is powerful, but he is the key to our salvation.
9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy – “Peace through strength” (i.e. military force)
10. Contempt for the weak – This is probably best seen through Trump’s continuous struggle to identify himself as being powerful and strong, and identifying the United States as the strongest nation.
11. Everybody is educated to become a hero – It seems we have yet to see this play out, but it is still early in his presidency
12. Machismo and weaponry – I laugh at the idea of Trump as macho, but I am fairly certain that is how he sees himself, as best defined by his sexual prowess. We already know he wants to cultivate the strongest army, building it up beyond where it is even now.
13. Selective populism – Every time he is on air or tweeting, he’s talking to his core supporters – those who truly understand his message. His supporters believe he should focus only on them, not on those who disagree with them. This is counter to the Constitution and American values (at least recently)
14. Newspeak (impoverished vocabulary and elementary syntax) – Trump’s tweets certainly exemplify this point and his speeches are not far off. His speech has been compared to that of an 8th grader’s.

It is clear that we are much farther down this path than we should be. The Resistance is strong, but in order to win against fascism, we must STAY fighting. It will be long. It will be exhausting. But it IS necessary.

1

Been a while…

It’s been so long since I wrote here that I actually forgot my username. I’m not sure what that says about what’s going on in my life. Now I do know that I’m overwhelmed what’s going on in the world. Between trying to have several direct sales businesses (I have a reason for having more than one – I love what they all mean to me) and what’s going on with the United States government, it’s just all too much.

One one level, I’m just overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to make what I see as two different sides of my life work together. I have my personal life, which seems small and insignificant. Then there’s the Lyndsy that’s trying to figure out how to save my country. With so much going on, I’m drowning in trying to figure out what I can do to stop the madness. I don’t know how to balance the two. I also feel weird for having personal successes and joys.

I’m so disgusted by the President. He swept into office completely unprepared. I don’t think anyone can truly be prepared to be President of the United States of America. It’s an incredible responsibility and until that responsibility is sitting squarely on your shoulders, you can’t know what it will mean. I was looking through pictures of inaugurations over the years and the outgoing presidents and first ladies all wear smiles, while the incoming presidents and first ladies look panicked and/or very reserved.

However, Trump came in with a special lack of preparation. He had no idea that he would need to fill out the staff. He wasn’t attending briefings the way you’d expect of someone who would be the Commander in Chief for one of the world’s foremost militaries. He didn’t even seem to know who he was nominating for Cabinet positions.

And oh those nominations. It was like he went looking for everyone who was the antithesis of the department. Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. She who champions charter schools and voucher systems, who has never worked in public education nor sent her kids through the public education system. Rick Perry for Energy – the guy who forgot the department existed when he was running for President. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General – a guy who hates all the current policies and has fought against the legislation that protects minorities and who wants to undermine it. Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State with his questionable ties to oil, Russia, and Putin.

Trump lied to the American people. A lot of us didn’t buy what he was selling. More of us voted for Hillary than for him. But enough people in the right states listened to what he had to say. They bought the message of hope he conveyed. They believed him when he said he was going to return the country to the American people. That he would “drain the swamp.” That Wall Street wouldn’t run the country.

What they got was a man who’s got Goldman Sachs everywhere. He’s appointing millionaires and billionaires to posts. They’re completely out of touch with the majority of America. He almost has no problem admitting he lied to get what he wants.

Trump agenda so far seems to have been to try to push things as far as he possibly can to see what he can get away with. His executive order was challenged almost as soon as he issued it. It was done without consulting the appropriate agencies to make sure it made sense, that it was rational and logical. He’s throwing a fit because a judge (let alone 27) would dare defy him.

He fired Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General, for doing her job, because he didn’t like what she had to say. That’s completely inappropriate. The last time that happened it was Nixon trying to cover up Watergate. That’s pretty clearly an issue.

He’s tweeting about how Nordstrom is treating his daughter Ivanka so unfairly. As President, that’s completely inappropriate. He shouldn’t be using the position as a bully pulpit to make money for his daughter. He still hasn’t separated himself from his business interests and conflicts abound. The military wanting to rent space in Trump Tower is ludicrous.

And yet, I still sit here, at a total loss for what I can possibly due to help. There are so many problems I don’t even know where to begin. It makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and just give up. But there’s a part of me that just can’t. I went to law school because I love the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The idea that these are in jeopardy is horrifying to me. That we didn’t learn from European history terrifies me. I’m embarrassed at how we look internationally. It’s shameful.

Doing nothing isn’t an option. We all have to do something. My hope is that a lot of small somethings will lead to something huge. Something that can’t be ignored by Trump and his administration. We don’t have a choice if we ever want to have the United States we know and love back.

2

How we know rape culture exists

There’s been some debate about whether rape culture exists in the United States. The 2016 election should remove all doubt.

Nate Silver showed maps of the electoral college if only men voted (Trump victory) and if only women voted (Hillary victory). There are probably a variety of reasons for this. Afterwards the hashtag #repealthe19th  started trending.

Confusingly, WOMEN were using it.

Yes, you read that correctly – women stated that they would give up their right to vote if it meant Trump would win the election.

Obviously I’m confused about why ANYONE would vote for Trump at this point, let alone women. He’s on the record that he sexually assaults women and can do it because he’s famous. Gross.

This is troubling on a deep level. Women in the United States think they have so little value that they would give up their right to vote. The right that blacks and women fought so hard to get. They would vote for a man who has expressly indicated that he can take sexual advantage of any woman he wants because he’s famous. They think so little of themselves that they’re okay with someone sexually assaulting them.

That’s not okay. We are worth so much more than that. We are not just our bodies. We are not just sexual playthings for men.

We are smart. We are worthy. We are game changers. We deserve love. We deserve respect.

When next you run into a woman who is voting or Trump or says she’s okay with repealing the 19th Amendment, remind her of everything she is. Remind her that she’s important. Remind her that we are not second to men. That we are equals.

If all that fails, remind her to vote on November 28.

 

Maybe I am a conspiracy theorist

I’m not too much of a conspiracy theorist. Really, I can only think of one that I buy into. You can ask me about it if you want to.

I just read an article about how the Dallas Morning Star is endorsing Hillary Clinton, not just telling people not to vote for Trump.

Trump’s background is questionable at best when its comes to political leanings. He’s been an independent, a Democrat, and a Republican. For a long time I thought that his candidacy was a joke. That he was just in it for the publicity. Or something like that.

At some point it occurred to me that maybe he was actually in it to help Clinton. The DNC was happy to use its power to help her get the nomination. That’s very clear now. (Yes, I’ve heard the argument that Sanders wasn’t really a Democrat so why should they help him? That’s a whole other post.)

If the DNC was willing to do it, why not Trump too? He’s either a delusional megalomaniac hellbent on world domination or a prop for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (Okay, there could be other things, but I’m having fun with these two.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to Hillary Clinton being POTUS. She’s brilliant, strategic, and tough. (Notice I didn’t say “she’s a woman.”) She would make an excellent Commander-in-Chief.

And maybe it’s not a bad thing to use whatever tools she has available. We all know how women don’t have the same advantages men do in the United States. Even women with money. Perhaps this is the only way. I don’t like it, but let’s face it, it’s all corrupt. Until we all start working together to bring better candidates to the market, we’re going to be slaves to the bullshit system we have now.