Hello, and welcome to my blog. You can call me the LongHairedWeirdo; you can also call me "LHW" or "Weirdo" for short.
What's the point of this blog? Well, November of 2016, a real tragedy occurred. An incompetent, blowhard, bullshit artist was elected President of the United
States. He's a mean spirited person with no understanding of our government - for example, he feels that you should use the power of the Presidency to persecute (and attempt to prosecute) a political oppoent when any good prosecutor can tell you she's done nothing meriting criminal charges. He has no understanding of how to run an economy; he has no understanding of how the Constitution works. He has no sense of how to run foreign policy. He's petty and vengeful, and will have control over America's military power, including the ability to launch a nuclear strike.
This is a tragedy and it's enough. But there's a greater tragedy in place, already... one that has allowed this to happen.
First, many of my left-leaning friends are scornful of the people who voted for Trump, many of whom have been doing things, like chanting "lock her up!" - i.e., to jail Hillary Clinton - or espousing white-supremecist views, or who just plain hate liberals and the liberal mindset. Of these, scorn should be reserved for:
The white supremecists, and,
the people who know the law, and still demand that Hillary Clinton face charges.
What about those who hate liberals, and the liberal viewpoint? Look: when a group of people spend many years, and billions of dollars, trying to sow hatred using lies, who do you blame? The people who hate, because they believe the lies? Or the people spreading the lies?
Even some of the people leaning toward white supremacy often believe what they believe because of he carefully sown lies that have been bearing fruit. But if you can't peel away from being a white surpremecist, that's far worse than thinking that liberals would destroy the economy because blah blah blah. (That's intended as a translation, but it's frightfully close to transliteration in some cases. "Liberals will destroy the economy because they're liberals" is a pretty direct transliteration.)
Second, the news media have also been bamboozled. Heh. I remember watching a TV version of The Blues Brothers. When Elwood (in the movie) says "I took the liberty of bullshitting you," it's turned into "bamboozling you" - a much better bit of voice-over than the time a bowlderized movie tried to claim the actor said "FORGET this!" while his lips showed only two distinct syllables! Bamboozling and bullshitting are close, but bamboozling refers to explicit deception. A bullshitter may not care about deception.
Let me pause here - I do that a lot! "Bullshit" is when you say stuff that sounds good, not caring about the truth. It's what some high school students do on essay questions - they don't remember the material, so they 'bullshit' - say stuff that they think sounds reasonable and convincing. Bullshit isn't always wrong - it can be useful, and/or fun, in situations where everyone is aware it's bullshit. Want to grouse about an evil ex- or your too-strict boss, to some friends? Bullshitting can be good for you. But in situations where truth is needed, bullshit is even worse than lies. Lies are far more easily discovered to be untrue because the lie is deliberately intended to deceive; figure out what the lie might be hiding, and you're halfway to discovering the truth. Bullshit might be part true, part false, or entirely meaningless. Where do you start?
Okay: so, liars sow lies, and the media is bamboozled. But there's a bit more.
I know some good people who vote Republican. But the Republicans have done a lot of evil things, and they are putting our nation in danger. If they hadn't done these things, while constantly lying about how they're right and reasonable, they wouldn't have opened the door to an incompetent bullshitter like Trump. Such as?
Well, they've put the full faith and credit of the nation in danger, taking the economic well being of the US and the rest of the world as a hostage, and threatened to (metaphorically speaking) shoot it. The goal wasn't to shoot the hostage, but they set up things so well there was a real danger that it could happen anyway. And they said it was a good thing - that it wouldn't crash the economy, that it would merely get spending under control. (It would crash the economy, by the way. It's a fundamental truth of economics: one person's spending is another person's paycheck. Money doesn't fall from the sky! Removing 500 billion-with-a-b dollars from people's paychecks would leave them unable to spend to provide other people's paychecks, and it would ripple out from there.)
So: they lie. They've lied about truly important things. They've failed the most fundamental task of leadership, telling the unpleasant truths so that people know the stakes. This is how a bullshitter like Trump could operate - without a sound foundation of truth, there was instead a foundation of sand... and to quote another person often depicted as a long-haired weirdo, when you buildon a foundation of sand "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Lies are pretty common. No politician is perfectly honest - at the very least, to a politician, the truth is like a ladder, and needs a bit of a slant, or they can't stand upon it. But the Republicans have done worse. They have, on occasion, acted with sociopathic disregard for decency, as well as truth. And here, I refer to the Terri Sciavo fiasco.
You know what's horrifying about the Terri Schiavo incident? The President, and the Republicans in Congress, lied to the people, giving them reason to question some of the most fundamental protections we all enjoy, when the truth was super-easy to obtain for anyone with the resources of a congresscritter, or the President... or some random guy on the internet who chats with a few friends online! And why did they do this?
Precisely so they could get on the news media and opinion airwaves asking why liberals want this poor woman to die. They lied, and forsook their duties, for the sake of spreading a vicious, hateful slander against their political opponents.
But what about those who may have had deeply held beliefs, beliefs precious to themselves and to many others? Well, that should be even scarier. You see, this was so simple that a layperson could collect all the data needed to collect a complete story of what was going on. And even that layperson would learn that, even if one disagreed with the courts, those who supported the courts were not bad people.
You see: Michael Schiavo asked the Florida courts to render a finding on what his wife would have wanted. If they found, to a clear and convincing standard (this is right next to "beyond a reasonable doubt" in legalese) that she would choose to end medical treatment, then they could order that medical treatment be ended. Otherwise, to be safe, they would have to decide to keep her alive, as best as possible.
The judgement written is not very nice to Terri Schiavo's birth family - the judge found them to be entirely unconvincing, and explicitly pointed out that their changing stories, the reasons they gave for their changes in stories, and how they looked and acted while giving testimony - most judges see a lot of people lie, and get moderately good at reading the signs! - rendered them unreliable. On the other hand, it found that Michael Schiavo's witnesses were ideal - they seemed to be honest, their stories didn't change much, and they readily admitted to facts that weakened their case. In short: they seemed to be trying to help the court discover truth, rather than trying to get the court to come to a particular decision. The court ruled that it had clear and convincing evidence that Terri Schiavo had made statements that she wanted to die without long term medical care that supported nothing but the meat machine, not actual living. (As an interesting side note: Michael Schiavo was offered some big bucks to give up guardianshp of his wife. If he did, the next guardian would still be under court order to end medical treatment for her. He refused to give up guardianship. This is an unsurprising fact, given what we learned about him during that situation - but I bet it surprises a few people who never bothered to learn the facts!)
You know what? Even if there was doubt about the decision, it's easy to see that they tried their damnedest to do what Terri Schiavo wanted. This was clear, and established perfectly. To refuse to mention this is either dishonest, or the worst sort of incompetence - the kind of incompetence where you don't care about the truth, or the damage an untruth can cause, and therefore don't even try to learn anything. Such a person, in a position of power, is the proverbial bull in the china shop - not deliberately trying to wreck things, but nevertheless, the wreckage would bring tears to your eyes if you care about the fine china - or, in this case, freedom and human dignity.
Was anyone pilloried for this? (The "pillory" was a form of forced public humiliation - so it's an apt term.) Of course not! To punish people with unkind words after they've done such a thing is unthinkable in US journalism.
But it should be "thinkable" - it should be a constant fear. This is what should protect us from enemies of freedom doing such horrible things. Today, those same people can do more terrible things - and they will again be treated as reasonable people making reasonable claims, for reasonable purposes. No one will remind us that this is the same sort of person who would violate a helpless woman's wishes, and vilify her husband, so we should take their claims with a grain of salt the size of an iceberg.
At least, the "news media" won't. John Stewart (and John Oliver - or probably other fine hosts, though these were the only two I saw regularly) of The Daily Show, might have. How damaged is our nation when the news media can't speak the truth, and only our comedians can do so?
We need to heal that damage. We need to put our country right.
How? I don't know - think of a train called America
We have to fix things, and, I suppose you could say that is me deciding to "try dragging my feet".