Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why Should I Vote? It Won't Make any Difference.

Okay, fair question:  why vote when you have good reason to believe that it's all crooked and rigged anyway?  What difference is it going to make?

Answer:  You should vote because this is our last chance to slow down and maybe even halt the advance of an autocratic state......yes, a DICTATORSHIP.  If you cannot see by now that this is what the Orange Idiot wants to create, then you must be blind, deaf and dumb. China and Russia now have dictators for life, and you betcha it has occurred to the Big Fool that he should have that role to play here.  After all, he's the smartest, cleverest, most deserving, and the most stable genius the world has ever seen................................................right?

Let's take a trip to Crazytown

If you stay home--as over 100 million Americans did in 2016--the GOP will retain control of all three branches of government.  It will be a sick joke at that point to even mutter phrases like,"....government of the people, by the people and for the people".

It will be a government bought and paid for, and completely at the command of the uber-rich. They have been working assiduously toward this moment in history for over fifty years (arguably for much longer than that....all the way back to the beginnings of human history), and their moment of triumph is nigh.  Once it is all sewed-up and they can do just about any and all the things that will continue to enhance their power and wealth....there will be a very small chance that it can be undone.

All the mechanisms of power and control are in place. If they continue to be so, even the constitution will be morphed into something the Founding Fathers would not recognize.  But, they WOULD recognize the instruments of tyranny in it and know that this augured dire times ahead for the republic.

More than half the states, 34 was the last number I heard, have already approved the idea of a new constitutional convention.  This would be an occasion wherein they would wield their now unencumbered power to disembowel the original constitution of the protections and safeguards that protect the individual citizen from an over-reaching and oppressive government.  Anything resembling a 'safety net' or a handout would be gone.  The 'little people'--as many rich people refer to the working class.(I have heard it myself, so don't bother trying to tell me they don't) would be left twisting in the wind.  Period...for real.

The Founding Fathers were well aware that all citizens were in need of protection and that governments are subject to being over-taken, warped into something evil, and used to suppress and subjugate the very people they were meant to serve.

Because of this awareness, they attempted to install a series of safe-guards that couldn't be easily set aside....unless all three branches of the government agreed that it was permissible, of course.  Under the guise of 'updating' the Constitution, a convention would render it an instrument of oppression.  They would dump anything that stood to impede their continued assault on individual rights, and the ongoing and accelerating campaign to amass such wealth as to render its holders untouchable in perpetuity......until the dam breaks.

When there is no longer a web of laws and controls to keep them from abuse and even starvation, people change dramatically.  When a sinking feeling of hopelessness seeps in around the edges and then really takes hold....at that point, people are willing to fight and even to die for what they must have to survive.

Most Americans are still quite content with the circumstances of their lives. As I travel around this part of New England, I see lots of almost new pick-ups, SUVs, and sleek German wheels. They still have all the addictive amusements of this material society to distract themselves from the ugly reality of what we're doing to the planet and to each other. Most people are marinating in a fast flowing river of opulent advertising and social media.....all of it designed to keep us feeling as if we are among the 'haves' and obstruct any sense that we're being used and abused by the tiny clique of the exotically rich who have about 80% of the wealth.

Of course, if you go to various quarters around the country where police shootings and gang shoot-outs are a daily occurrence, then you will understand that a large number of people are already in that place of burgeoning hopelessness.  There is no path open for them, educationally, professionally, emotionally, or in terms of just a decent and survivable daily life...or even to a situation where merely sufficient food is available.  Hunger and hopelessness go hand-in-hand to create the conditions for a violent revolution.  The aristocracy in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century found this out the hard way.

So, if you somehow justify staying home and not voting....you will...just like the 100 million who thought the same way in 2016.....be responsible for your roll in helping to sustain and promote the nightmare that Donald J. Trump is intent on inflicting on all of us.

 And, THAT, dear friends, is why you really, really should get out to the polls on November 6th.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The REAL Reason they want Kavanaugh so badly.

       First let me say, "Dear Senator Collins, fuck you."  Thanks, I needed to get that out of the way.  This long-time Republican has announced that she is going toe the party line and be the final vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court....and thereby she is betraying not just the members of her constituency here in Maine, but women (and all of us) across the country.  Groups are already marshaling funds and energy to VOTE HER OUT OF OFFICE on the next go around. Honestly, I have a sense that she's not going to even run, that she knows somewhere down deep that she just committed political suicide. Time will tell. Mainers tend to be a mostly calm and introspective lot, but once they get a burr under their saddles.......look out. There is still some of that same iron-clad determination that carried the day at Little Roundtop.

     But, lest you think this has all been about how this man, Kavanaugh, behaved as a teenager, it is not.  The Big Cheeto, His Great Orangeness, has recognized all along that Kavanaugh would be the single added vote that would cause the SCOTUS to vote against indicting a sitting president.  It is Trump's best insurance that he will not either get impeached or criminally indicted....at least, not while he is in the White House. We will be waiting, however, for the day when he leaves office.

    By insuring that this 'safety net' is intact, the demonstrably insane and malevolent actor in the Oval office will be able to continue his depredation on all fronts. People of color and immigrants, the environment, the most vulnerable segments of society who will otherwise be left twisting in the wind, unions, the elder population, the ability to get decent medical care, to not be hosed for prescription drugs, and the list goes on and on.  He is the Wrecker in Chief of all that working class Americans have gained over the last fifty plus years.

   It beggars belief that so many working people still cannot see through his ever deeper pile of bullshit, and still think he's on THEIR side.  The hell he is.  Donald J. Trump works for the oligarchs and plutocrats.....period.  He's a proven liar on a daily basis, a devious con-man and his con on the American people is working like a charm.  And, now, with a 'get out of jail free' card on the table, his looting and his destruction of any kind of protections for consumers, not to mention our environment itself,  is going to proceed at a furious pace.  Wait and see.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Post Truth Era.....

Some of the pundits on various sites are using this catchy term to describe the fact that we are now living in a time when the Truth has been effectively rendered irrelevant.  Some of them are belatedly grieving for the past, when Truth did still matter.  And, some of them are actually supposing that we can make the transition away from a slavish devotion to the idea that facts matter....and further arguing that this is both appropriate and alright.

America's Liar in Chief

These particular pundits are all of the hard-right conservative persuasion, as you might expect they would be.  I mean, after all, Fox News is a media monster built on the premise that truth is merely an inconvenience that gets in the way of furthering their sicko ideas.  Fox is very successful, having six of the top ten most watched 'news' shows.  The idea of leaving the Truth twisting in the breeze is very appealing when your agenda is to achieve political and then social dominance.  If you crave being in charge--as, of course, old white men have been for many generations--impediments that hold your feet to the fire in a test of whether or not your viewpoints actually have factual gravitas are not welcome. It's so much easier to simply make-up your points of contention and to argue them on the basis of how they appeal to the lowest instincts of your audience.

So, here we are. We have a president in the oval office who lies all the time and never even gives any indication that what is coming out of his mouth is based on stuff he just makes up according to how he would LIKE THINGS TO BE...instead of how they really are.  For Donald J. Trump, the Truth is not something to be honored or valued.  It is merely an inconvenient pain in his ass. This is carried almost to the point of becoming an art-form, a performance on a daily basis in which he believes he can re-shape reality according to his personal needs and desires. He lies to get his way, to pad his own wealth and to maintain control over the strange party that used to be one of Honor and integrity....way back when my parents were devoted to it, and Eisenhower was their poster-child.  We did actually 'LIKE IKE' and it was inconceivable that this war-hero turned politician would intentionally stand in front of the press corps and lie his ass off.  Trump does it several times a day.

I suppose the underlying question and primary concern should be: how does this impact our society as we move into the future?  Well, the answer to that is that it will destroy us.  Straight-up.  Yes, and that is not hyperbole.  Any society that comes to this point...of having lost its respect for what is actually and factually TRUE, is terminal.  Bold words, eh.  But, true.

Here's the reason such a society cannot survive for long: When people feel permission to lie anytime it will help them get what they want for themselves--which is what the Donald is all about--everything quickly becomes adversarial.  It is all about 'Me, Myself, and I' and to hell with your needs.  In fact, people pursuing this path are practicing selfishness on a level Ayn Rand would find admirable.  Her pseudo-philosophy, Objectivism, was all about, "I've got mine, and it sucks to be you."  So, here we have a segment of society that has risen to positions of power and wealth, based on the principle that each person is in it just for themselves.  And, they are more than happy to see you fail if it means more for them, or makes their path to dominance just a tiny bit easier.

In a society where a class of people are determined to get the upper hand, and are willing to cause endless harm and suffering to do so.....nothing good is going to happen in the long run.  This is precisely because you have an entire segment that feels disenfranchised, rejected, passed-by and even subjugated....by the lack of opportunities, lack of access to decent and affordable education, living under conditions that destroy a large number of lives, violence, drugs, and gangs all in the mix.

Once a society turns its back on the less fortunate,  the eventual result becomes like that newly bulging mound in a Mexican farmer's field, with a smoking fumarole, and that soon grows into an active volcano of mounting rage.  History clearly indicates that the population will eventually get fed-up and erupt.  When an entire segment of a society loses hope of a better future, or that they can at least live a decent life, then violence is going to happen sooner than later. It has happened too many times to think that it won't happen now.  When people feel truly oppressed and subjugated it will boil-over and explode into revolution.  That is just human nature.

There are exceptions, of course.  Once the mechanisms of terror are in place, it may be too late and futile for a successful revolution to gain any momentum.  In Nazi Germany, people only realized what was happening when it was really too late to do anything effective. The price of resisting was immediate arrest and a quick trip to Dachau, or similar.

The people of North Korea, have suffered under Kim and his father and grandfather endlessly.  The means of their subjugation have been in place for three generations and the dictator.....really a nice fellow with a good sense of humor, if you listen to Trump.....has a good handle on how to keep them down.  It's nothing new, really: send any dissenters away to concentration camps and kill them by forced labor and starvation. Result: not enough people are willing to stand up and be whacked down as in the Whack-a-Mole game.  Terror is undeniably effective, and dictators of all flavors, including Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam, etc, have all known this.

But, here's the take-away: all that dictators do to subjugate their people and to maintain order and control............depends on weaving a web of LIES.  Destroying the ability of a population to know what is really going on is critical, so attacking any and all sources of the actual TRUTH is necessary.  When Trump reiterates his disdain for the press, as he does many times each day, via Twitter, by calling them 'fake news' and any other pejoratives he happens to think of at that moment, he is accomplishing something critical to his ongoing success.  He is casting doubt on everything....yes, literally EVERYTHING. Once facts are given the same status as lies, it is possible to get people to think that anything you put in front of them is 'true'.  It doesn't take a vivid imagination to see how much easier it becomes then to manipulate the majority of people into believing whatever serves your purposes.

LIES ARE THE TOOLS OF DICTATORS.  If you allow them to become 'normal' then the means of knowing what is really happening to our society are GONE!

It matters.  In fact, it is pivotal and crucial that we not accept this wannabe dictator's attempts to blur the lines of fact and fiction.  He lies with no consequences at present.  He does it right in our faces, and is not the slightest bit hesitant to do so.  He tells lies that are easily debunked...and is not apparently concerned that his lying is so easily recognized.  In fact, as Obama said in his recent speech in South Africa, he just 'doubles down' and lies some more.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bankruptcy....of the Moral Kind

It is common knowledge that Trump has gone bankrupt in his business adventures, repeatedly...six times to be precise. Ever since he announced his run for the oval office we have been hearing stories about how either good or bad he is at business....depending on the source you are reading/watching.

The fact is he is very adept at using the laws around bankruptcy to lose money for his investors and to wind up with more money...much more.....himself.  He knows, or at least, his coterie of legal eagles knows, how to 're-arrange' financial dealings so that he comes out the other end smelling like a rose, and, more often than not, his investors are stuck with the losses.  He brags about this as a way of bolstering his reputation for making great deals and for being the most clever weasel in the woods.

All these months into his term as president, we are becoming almost inured to his lies and his attacks on anybody whom he perceives as not on his side.  There is considerable discussion about the dangers of allowing his behavior to become perceived as 'normal', even as acceptable. It, most assuredly, is NOT either one of those.

Fact is, I don't really give a fig about his finances.  He's just another greedy pig who is frantically scrambling to amass far more wealth than any person needs.....all to serve the continual aggrandizing of his pathetic ego. In literature there is a term for people like Trump:  picaroon.  A picaroon is a pirate, a rogue, a person who is just out for him/herself, and has no scruples that might stand in their way.  Whatever you need to do, is just fine.  Never mind morality, integrity, compassion...oh BLECH....or any redeeming quality that would seem to support the notion that we are all operating in a society of souls and that common decency is one of the tenets that makes this possible, even more tolerable.

There is another kind of bankruptcy that Donald J. Trump is apparently unfamiliar with: moral bankruptcy.  It is an umbrella term that captures the essence of a person who has no problem telling lies, stealing money by deception (think Trump University), and in a pinch, a truly bankrupt person is even willing to kill to achieve what they perceive as their goals.  The Orange One has intimated numerous times that he'll take whatever sadistic action is necessary to top whatever he perceives as opposition...not to the United States, as much as to him, his personal goals. Torture?  Not a problem.  Calling strikes where collateral damage is unavoidable? Hell, we were already doing this under the last two presidents.  It's a no-brainer for Trump.  His ideal form of government would be himself as permanent dictator for life.  He has said this in so many ways that it is clear he'd have no problem at all destroying our democracy in favor of his lifetime in charge.

The truly scary thing about this notion is that we are beginning to see signs that he could actually pull it off.  Yes, he could manage a way to end up on the throne of a thoroughly subjugated United States of America.  You may feel some skepticism of that idea.  I certainly did when I first encountered it.  I came up with all kinds of reasons why that would not be possible.  The genius of our constitution was supposed to be at least partially due to its deep insight into the potential pitfalls and foibles of the democracy it was creating.  Checks and balances were strongly positioned to stop just such a corrupt leader as Trump.  The Founding Fathers clearly were aware of the possibility that bad actors could try to subvert and otherwise render impotent the rule of law for nefarious purposes.  So, they included measures such as dividing the government into three branches that would serve to balance and counter-balance the power of a large centralized government.

But, there are some glitches.  That's the bad news.  A corrupt gang of operators....yes, just like those presently in office.....could find ways to gain power and to hold onto it.  One of the most obvious of these is what happens when an emergency occurs that directly threatens the safety and security of our country.  The government is suddenly in a position to start suspending constitutional rights by any number of means.  The most dire would be a declaration of 'martial law', under which we would suddenly find ourselves living in a totalitarian police state....for our own good, of course.  Remarkably, many Americans would see that as justified, as long as they feel safer.  Martial law supposes that maintaining the peace and the safety of all citizens is the highest priority...well above the mere freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  Those 'rights' are apparently subject to being quickly set aside when things become a little dicey.  And, just what that means is subject to a broad spectrum of interpretation, depending on what party and even what sector of that party is being asked....or has the self-assigned right to make such decisions.

It is not a novel thought that we could instantly find ourselves in a situation where the administration would declare a state of martial law to be necessary.  Any event on the order of 9-11, or even one not as large or as egregious, would be sufficient.  I have been saying this for many years now, and I am not alone in this concern. Recovering from such a period of upheaval would be much slower than its onset.  In fact, due to the nature of having such a commanding grip on the power of our government, it might not happen at all.  There might be changes put in place that make it well nigh impossible to get back to the levels of freedom we have now and have had for over two and a half centuries.  Once a country has fallen over that cliff it is no longer a matter of just climbing back to the top.  No, no.

Studying the many autocracies that exist now and that have appeared in the last century or more, reveals a distinct pattern.  Perhaps the most singular factor that presages the onset of a totalitarian state is economic disarray.  When a country's economy goes in the shitter, people experience new and often terrible hardships.  Any person who cannot put food on the table for their family or maintain a roof over their heads rapidly becomes a desperate person.  Under such circumstances, it's not a surprise that they will opt for the politician and political party that holds the most apparent promise of being able to make rapid and substantial changes happen.  Hitler's early campaign slogan was: "Hitler, Arbeit, Brot", i.e. "Hitler, Work, Bread" and it was addressing the dire economic circumstances of the Weimar Republic where runaway inflation literally had people paying billions of marks for simple items of sustenance.  It was a bitter joke that one needed a wheelbarrow to haul enough cash to the market to buy groceries.  In 1923, a loaf of bread cost 100 billion marks.  It was a terrifying situation for most people and more than enough to get them on board with a radical strongman who was promising an end to all the enemies and policies that had gotten them to that point.  Oh, yes, Hitler had the answers.  And, we all know how that went down.

So, here we are with a man in the Oval Office who has repeatedly admired Xi Jinping for his now cemented status as 'leader for life' of China.  He has heaped praise on Kim Jong Un, one of the most sadistic dictators currently in power.  His fawning admiration of Vladimir Putin is legend. Comedians constantly speculate on what Putin must have over Trump....the most obvious guess being the 'pee tape'. Who knows?

So, having observed so very many traits and having witnessed his actions over the last year and a half....I don't think it's much of a stretch to conclude that Ol' Donny Boy is morally broke.  There is nothing in his under-developed sense of how the world works and what it takes to be a decent human being that would indicate that he not only knows what compassion is, but that it is one of the key ingredients that separates us from being just another predatory species.  And, it should be noted that when we humans are in our most potent predatory mode.....we are FAR WORSE than any animal predators on the planet.  We have raised predation to a level that outstrips the ability of any other species to compete for the title of most vicious.  We are it, and people like Trump are leading the way in acting out our worst inclinations and tendencies.

All of this should serve as a dire warning.....that if we do not rise up and get every possible citizen out to vote him out of office, we will have a future in front of us that is light years away from the utopian society that humans have only dared to dream of throughout history.  We have all of the assets, tools and traits that are needed to actually make such a dream become a reality.  But, as long as we let the people who think Trump's ongoing push toward a situation where he becomes the Supreme Leader is okay....we are in for a terrible shock and a whole lot of pain to follow. 

We have a chance to avoid this dark scenario.  But, it will never amount to anything if people remain disengaged, apathetic and passive.  The people who think Trump's stunning lack of compassion, his frequent sadistic impulses toward any who resist his will, and his despicable dishonesty are all just fine....will be in charge and the rest of us will have only ourselves to blame.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Great Big 'Ol Train Wreck....

   As a kid, I used to watch as my paternal grandfather recited dramatic performances of poetry: Gunga Din, Casey at the Bat, and The Ballad of Casey Jones were his favorites.  His crowning moment came when the mighty Casey took that last great swing....and struck out....for there was no joy in Mudville that night.  But, he seemed to enjoy Casey Jones imminent demise at the throttle of his locomotive almost as much. I never stopped to think about the fact that what these tales are focused on is failure.  They seem to make failing almost heroic and just a little glamorous. German culture has long esteemed the concept of noble failure, the 'Heldentot' or 'Hero's Death'. Samurai culture is also embedded with the same idea, that to fail is noble if it is done with great courage and self-sacrifice.

Having just re-read Casey Jones for the first time in many decades, it strikes me how this widely acclaimed engineer seemed so intent on wrecking his train.....all because the 'southern mail' was two hours late. As I read it now, it makes no sense at all.  The point of carrying the mail is to get it to its destination.  Yet, here is this 'man among men' who has been told that the tracks are somewhat unsafe....washed out road-bed....and his fireman (the poor bloke who shovels coal into the boiler) has warned him they would leave the tracks if they don't slow down.  And, the great engineer's response is to peg the throttle and go as fast as the locomotive can go. Wha?!!!

Well, here we are, in the early decades of the 21st century, and we have another mad engineer at the throttle. None of what is going on now makes sense when any reasonable criteria of 'normality' are applied.  It is all tinged with the stomach churning feeling of un-grounded insanity.  This latest debacle of separating children from their parents--a crazy-making, melding of lies, cruelty, and deflecting of any responsibility--is just one more warning....a 'red' block-signal, saying, "Stop the train."  But, just as Casey ran the last four block signals so does the madman in the White House ignore any idea that there are rules and guidelines for decency and that his job requires the frequent and skillful application of both wisdom and compassion.  We don't elect a president to be a constantly lying buffoon, a bully, a gangstah, a self-aggrandizing peacock of a figurehead who wishes he could have adoring subjects....just like his new BFF, one of the most despicable dictators on the planet.  At least, we never did UNTIL NOW.   [ASIDE: Anyone with even a small brain knows that Kim's 'adoring' subjects are so terrified of being hauled off to a concentration camp that paying homage to their 'Dear Leader' is just a survival strategy.]  It is another one of those 'red block signals' that Trump aspires to be like Kim......or Putin.

So, one minute he says he is powerless to stop the implementation of a policy that not only did he create and put in place, but which he did by simply telling his staff what he wanted. For all I know, he did it while he was tweeting on the toilet at 3 a.m..  And, the next minute he blames it all on the Democrats, saying it's the result of their foolish (read Obama's) policies and laws.....which the merest effort at fact-checking proves to be just one more of his lies.  And another minute later, he makes a big show of his magically returned power by rescinding the policy, signing another 'executive order' with his childishly out-sized signature, like a kid would do on the refrigerator with a magic marker.

It is of no bother to him, apparently, that he just demonstrably lied multiple times. And, if that stops being important to us....we will have surrendered to a world where the truth no longer matters and lies become true simply because 'he said so'.  Oh, dear God!!! Where is reality in that kind of a society? Suddenly, everything becomes a vast grey miasma of half-truths and lies.  There is no longer any firm ground in an endless swamp of misery.

We now find out that this big show of 'compassion' on his part, does nothing to solve the terrible situation of 2300 children who have already been taken from their families.  Some of them have already been flown as far away as New York state, even as Kristjen Nielsen, the DHS Secretary, denies that the kids are suffering.  She has developed the same ability to tell bold-faced and disprovable lies as her boss.  And, she was apparently raked over the coals by him when she was seen as being somewhat less than 'all in' on this policy to begin with.  The fool made sure she would act with the indifference and cold-hearted efficiency that he so admires.  That is his version of being 'strong'.

Here's the thing: it is beginning to appear....at least to me....that we might indeed have another Casey Jones at the throttle.  I believe he has and continues to paint himself into a corner, an untenable position from which there is no easy exit.  Yes, of course, he has his much vaunted 'base' of those sad souls who will support him all the way to the end.  But, I seriously doubt if many of them understand that so much of what he is doing is aimed at either his becoming another world-class dictator, on the throne of a thoroughly subjugated state.....or a good ol' fashioned TRAIN WRECK. Just before the trains are about to collide head-on, Casey Jones tells his fireman to jump for his life and to tell Casey's wife and kids that he loves them.  When I read that an hour ago, it finally struck me: some people need tragedy, feed on failure, are drawn to it like the proverbial moth to a flame.

I think he's absolutely capable of running this whole thing right off the rails and...should it come to that....blaming everybody else for sabotaging him and his sick goals.  Hmmmm...why does that sound so familiar?  No, not the crazy engineer, oh, of course....it is exactly what Adolf Hitler did as the Third Reich descended into chaos and rubble.  He blamed his generals, called them traitors, and he blamed the German people, said they deserved to die in the flames of the Twilight of the Gods, the Gotterdamerung....despite the fact that millions of them had already died, and/or committed murder and mayhem for him as he pursued his insane destiny.

It boggles the hopeful mind to even consider the possibility of what will happen when Donald J. Trump runs the whole kit-and-kaboodle smack-dab into an oncoming train.  That could take the form of starting a nuclear conflict, pushing for trade wars that lead to economic collapse...or a variety of other scenarios.  I have this impending sense that he may actually be more drawn to that kind of tragic scenario than he is to seeing America actually thrive by being a country and a people who practice the ideals of compassion, love and kindness.  In his feverish mind, such a country would be too weak and vulnerable to survive. Never mind that we have survived for all these generations being the country that people admired and could count on for support....and I don't mean just do-re-mi....when needed.  We are the people who died on Normandy beach, Iwo Jima, Belleau Wood, and way too many more battlefields to list here. And, we did it for all people, not just to serve our own goals and needs.  Don't believe it?  Ask any older resident of Normandy....or so many other places.

We have a chance to stop this train, however.

If every single American who cares about our country, who cares about human lives and even the planet at large, and who sees clearly that Trump is indeed going to run the train off the tracks.....GETS OUT AND VOTES....then we may have a chance at avoiding what is beginning to look and feel like our very own Gotterdamerung.



Saturday, June 2, 2018

An Open Letter to the FBI

Dear Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

There have been articles on the web in recent weeks claiming that morale is at an all-time low in your esteemed agency.  I am hoping that is hyperbole and not true.  Clearly, your agency, and, one might argue, all that you stand for is under attack.  President Trump is doing everything in his power to make the Bureau sound like it is corrupt, unfair and incapable of doing its job of pursuing justice for the American people. It couldn't be more obvious that he is attempting to render impotent the investigation into his involvement with the Russians. 

Aside: when I was growing-up, in the 50s and 60s, the FBI was admired and held in very high esteem. Ask any kid my age what he wanted to do when he grew-up and the response was likely to be, "I want to be an FBI special agent", which was probably just ahead of, "I want to be an engineer." or a fireman, etc. FBI special agents were indeed 'special' and regarded as the pinnacle of the law enforcement community.  The intro to the t-v series, "Superman" included these lines: "...faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound," and the announcer ended by saying that Superman fought for, "....truth, justice and the American way."
Many of my peers would have said that that last part was precisely what the FBI did. 

The word that still pops out at me is, "truth".  It is one of the pillars upon which our society rests, and without it, things get real mushy, real quick.  I have written several blog entries about the whys and wherefores of Truth and what happens to a society where it is no longer a core value. In short, that society breaks down.  History is our teacher if we allow it to be.

Please know that there are legions of Americans who both know who you are and believe that your goal is still and always to seek out the truth in any given situation and thereby achieve justice for those who have suffered an injustice. In the service of justice, it's impossible to abandon the fact that truth is and always will remain pivotal.  There will not ever come a time when lies can compete with truth for credibility.  And, as Trump and his cronies continue their assault on the truth, it becomes as vitally important as it ever has been.

The Founding Fathers, and every generation since theirs, knew this, and despite attempts to render truth somehow suspect...just by saying it is, and by attempting to counteract its vital importance with a steady stream of falsehoods....the facts of a situation such as we are facing now are still solid, and grounded in provable events. The TRUTH is the truth, and no amount of lying or sleazy manipulation can change that.

The American people need you now, as they have perhaps never needed you before. You can stand as a source of rock-solid counter proofs, based on demonstrable truths, against this war on honesty and, indeed, Honor itself.  If the lies are allowed to become 'normalized' and used to substantiate the Trump agenda, our democracy will, at the very least, be shaken to its roots, and possibly even devolve into some kind of autocratic and fascist nightmare.

We are teetering on the brink of a precipice, and a single misstep could lead to another very dark period in the history of the planet.  We need to focus our attention like a laser-beam on the people who are doing everything they can think of to bring this about....all the while posing as bringers of prosperity and security. They are here to loot and plunder, and to gain control over the masses via unprecedented amassing of wealth.

Many political scientists, historians and scholars in related fields have pointed out that we could lose our democracy.  Yes, it could actually be subverted and become an authoritarian and despotic form of government.  Hitler and Goebbels knew exactly how to manipulate the German people and to make them so afraid of their chosen scapegoat, the Jews, that they went along with draconian methods of stabilizing their society.  Of course, when the smoke cleared they began to realize the huge mistake they'd made, and it was already too late; people were being hauled off in the middle of the night by the Gestapo to places like Dachau, often for simply having made a careless remark that was overheard and reported.

It would be a terrible mistake to assume that could never happen here. The first vestiges of it are already happening: attacks on the media as an untruthful enemy of the people, attacks on the rule of law, attacks on the very notion of Truth being of critical importance, scapegoating Hispanics and all people of color, violent police killing citizens and not being held accountable for it....all of the steps outlined by historians who have studied and written about how the Nazis came to power are in their early stages....RIGHT NOW.

So, to all the men and women of the FBI, I say, please keep the faith that what you are doing is of boundless and crucial importance to the survival of our democracy.  Do NOT let the lies and innuendo get you down.  We need you and we need you to believe in yourselves and your mission.

thank you for your service

Murad Sayen, in Maine

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Letter to My Descendants

This is intended for my descendants....should there be any....five generations from now.  Of course, there is no way to know if there will be such people, but on the outside chance that you do exist, I am writing to let you know some things from our perspective here in the early 21st century that I am hoping will be helpful to you.

First of all, I believe my generation, and myself, in particular...owes you an apology.  Are you surprised?  Perhaps you have wondered if we knew how badly we were treating our blue jewel of a planet, and if we realized that it would have such catastrophic results.

Short answer:  yes we did.  At least, a majority of us did. And, we pretty much stood by and let the oligarchs have sway and make a host of terrible decisions, most of them driven, pure and simple, by GREED.  They felt it was our planet to do with what we wanted, even if that meant being destructive and intentionally unaware of what that would mean down the road.

For those of us who stood by and watched in horror as the planet was raped and plundered, there can be no excuse.  We saw with our own eyes what was happening as it unfolded......and we did far too little and too late.  Somehow, we couldn't really grasp that it was as bad as it was, or that it would lead to even worse.  We were, as our expression goes....like that river in Egypt, the Nile.  Denial is a powerful cop-out.  It enabled us to shrug and constantly repeat to ourselves, "Nothing I can do about it."  And, for what it's worth, by the time we realized that we COULD do something, it was mostly way too late. It's like putting out a house-fire: if you catch it early, it's easy.  If you don't, it's impossible.

You might be wondering if we felt badly about the insoluble mess we would be leaving for 'future generations'.  I can only speak for myself and my wife, Abigail: yes.  We felt sick about it, and we were fully aware that it was quite likely that your generations could end-up living inside a hellish nightmare, if you survived at all.

But, somehow, that was never enough to make us take the dramatic steps....even violent revolution in the end....that would have been required to change the heading our ship was on, and avoid going on the rocks.  The entire process of slow and then faster degradation was imbued with a feeling of inevitability.  We were not merely passive.....our passivity was driven by copious amounts of APATHY.  Because so many people believed there was nothing to be done...that the ship was essentially unsteerable....it just became more and more possible to accept the unacceptable.

So......we did. And, I want you to know how sorry I am that we did this.

We should have fought with every means at our disposal.  We should have resisted right down to our last breaths. But...for the most part.............................we just shrugged.

Perhaps you are wondering if we were weak and cowardly.  Fair answer:  in hindsight, it appears that, yes, a lack of courage and determination was a part of what determined how we reacted to this greatest threat to humanity and all sentient creatures.  It feels tragic, abysmally sad, that this was what we chose to do, all the while mumbling to ourselves that we were helpless.

No, we were NOT HELPLESS.  We just told ourselves that we were to let ourselves off the hook. From your perspective, perhaps it's easier to see how it all came about.  The fatal flaw--if one can pin-point a single leak that really sank our ship, when there were many--was the all too human trait of GREED.

Of course you must be familiar with it.  It's what happens when humans begin to believe that we are all just out for ourselves, and the struggle is to get as much of anything as possible, even if it means others go with less....or none.  Greed is a by-product of people feeling disconnected from each other and from society at large.  They come to believe that looking out for oneself is all that matters.  And, greed has a built-in aspect that causes it to just get more and more virulent....until it has the features of a form of insanity.  And, indeed, it is exactly that.  People afflicted with greed, the disease, eventually come to believe that amassing whatever it is they crave--clearly money is the most popular choice--is all that matters.  And, proof that this behavior is insane comes in the realization that they will continue to amass resources...even when it is clear that doing so will result in a situation in which life will cease.

That's right. It's reminiscent of an animal that keeps on eating even though they are already so full that continuing to eat will KILL THEM.  An, animal might do this out of ignorance of consequences.  A human being, however, may well know that the outcome is lethal....but, keep right on stuffing themselves.  It reminds me of a scene in Monty Python's 1983 movie: "The Meaning of Life".  There is a man, Mr. Creosote, who is vastly obese, way beyond morbidity.  He's huge.  And, he keeps on eating, and eating, and eating......and finally he explodes. It's a riotous scene, but it's also uncomfortably gross because the viewer knows he's going to explode and, he just won't slow down.

Well,dear descendants, that is about how we were.  We just refused to stop consuming...everything. Whether it be carbon fuels, crops raised with nasty--i.e. unfriendly to living things--chemicals, over-the-top luxury that re-defined the term, 'decadent.  We wanted it all.  If it strikes you that this entire scenario is saturated with irony, yes, you are absolutely right.  And, most of that is the result of knowing what we were doing was wrong, and choosing to do it anyway, regardless of the consequences.  This is greed in action. This is the human trait of selfishness hard at work destroying any possibility of creating harmony or of transcending challenges by working together for the common good.  All of that goes right out the window when greed comes in the front door.  And..........it did. Hell, we opened the door and invited it in, not the least put-off by the big teeth and leering yellow eyes that should have told us to not let the wolf past the threshold.

Please do not think for a minute that I am arguing that we weren't wholly responsible for our choices.  Oh, no. We did our choosing with our collective eyes wide open.  Well, yes, okay...there were a lot of people who were clueless, but, in some ways, that was a choice too.  Many people at the time I am writing this are refusing to accept that a fact is something that, in order to qualify for the term 'fact', must be TRUE....demonstrably so,  and able to pass any and all tests proving otherwise.  Not anymore.  Now, there are many people....not a majority, but enough to fuck things up for the majority....who have decided that a fact is whatever they make up and want it to be.  Amazing, isn't it?

Think about what it means to leap from a firmly grounded, truth-based reality into a swamp where the 'truth' no longer has any meaning and we're unable to know what is real and what is false.  Reality becomes like a 'hall of mirrors' in an amusement park. Confusion rules the day, and this allows the picaroons to go about their looting and plundering unimpeded.  I have a hunch that you will have read historical accounts of our current president, yes, the one who is such a vivid shade of orange, but, sadly, not as intelligent as a typical orangutan.  If you have read about this sad and despicable man.....assuming that this flight away from factual information didn't take permanent root, leaving you adrift in a sea of "Who Knows?"....then you know that he was a kind of court jester, always making up facts to suit his greedy purposes and to preen his pathetically weak ego.  He became the band-leader as we proceeded to march off down the road to oblivion.

I so wish that I could reverse this communicative process and hear from you.  Did you manage to cobble together a livable society out of the rubble we left you?  I pray for you, even though you are not yet born--far from it--as I write.

I pray that your generation(s) will have not just suffered from the stupidity and greed of ours, but that you will have learned from it, and that you have had the courage to put together a society wherein you care about each other, where the color of a person's skin is irrelevant, and the name of the deity, if any, one prays to is equally unimportant, a society fully aware that the suffering of its least capable and impoverished souls is centrally relevant and that caring for all humans--and other species too--is one of the pillars in creating a society where there is less suffering and more joy.....not just for a debauched elite who want to bathe themselves in endless, degenerate luxuries at any cost, but for EVERYBODY.

Please try to forgive how stupid and selfish we were, and know that it was apparent to many of us even as it was happening.  We have had much struggle and pain here ourselves.  And, despite knowing that we brought it on ourselves....many of us desperately wanted to make changes that would move humanity toward an enlightened society.

Clearly we failed to do that.  And, thus you may understand and accept my apology as above.

I wish upon you the Grace and Intelligence of the Heart necessary to do better than we did.

God bless all Sentient Beings

Murad Sayen, in western Maine, USA, the year 2018