On his January 18, 2019, show, Bill Maher offered a keen insight about keeping the middle class perpetually squeezed and just this side of desperate:
I would add that people who are wealthy enough not to feel squeezed generally keep themselves distracted from all the environmental, social, and psychological decay parading before them by focusing, metaphorically, on the bright, shiny objects that industries across the board produce. Sometimes I just want to yell: Snap out of it! Abracadabra! Wake up! Life is beautiful! We don’t need to consume like there’s no tomorrow, and, what’s more, we shouldn’t because if we do, there will be no tomorrow. That concept seems to be a piece that Bill Maher doesn’t get yet.
This morning (Thursday, 1/5/17), Donald Trump tweeted: “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people.… to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!”
With apologies to readers who can’t stand the sight of Trump, here are screenshots of his actual tweets:
Trump’s tweets are so full of fallacies that I don’t know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just dive in with several sets of questions.
First, whom is Trump calling dishonest? Why doesn’t he name anyone specifically? Is he, in fact, claiming that every reporter and all news media are dishonest, or is he leaving it to his Twitter followers to blame the ones that he’s attacked in the past? Is the ultimate purpose behind his blanket statements to sow distrust in news media as a whole?
Second, do the dishonest media—whoever they may be—actually say that Trump is “in Agreement with Julian Assange,” or do they do what Trump says he does, that is, “simply state what he [Trump] states” and leave it to “the people to make up their own minds as to the truth”? If he has examples of media quoting him falsely, why doesn’t he cite them? Granted, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, but Trump could add a screenshot of the false claim to his tweet or put links in his tweet to the stories that contain the false quotes—if there are any—or he could cite multiple examples in a series of tweets.
Third, does the following tweet look like the work of a “big fan” of U.S. intelligence agencies to you? Please note that the quotation marks Trump puts around the words “Intelligence” and “Russian hacking” indicate that he’s mocking the U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election.
Fourth, if Trump is such a “big fan” of “Intelligence,” why didn’t he publicize the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian interference in the election? And if he’s not in agreement with Assange, why did he go out of his way to tweet to his millions of followers that Assange said the “Russians did not give him the info”? (See screenshot of tweet below.) Don’t Trump’s actions indicate that he gives more credence to Assange than to U.S. intelligence agencies?
So, what is Trump up to here? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that he suffered a narcissistic injury when he—along with rest of the world—learned that all of the official U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia intervened in the U.S. election in order to harm the electoral prospects of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Worse still, the C.I.A. concluded that Russia actively interceded in Trump’s behalf. How humiliating! Well, Trump, who has deluded himself into believing he won a “historic electoral landslide” couldn’t let that stand. So, in a narcissistic rage, he lashed out at the intelligence agencies by publicly doubting their conclusions and having his transition team release a statement that, in effect, called the agencies incompetent.
But now (oops!), the intelligence agencies’ report is about to be released, and Trump has painted himself into a corner. What does he do? He blames the “dishonest media,” of course! He tweets: “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump’s a big fan? Yeah, right!
Let’s not let him get away with it.
Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? Are you thinking about making one? If so, you’re among the 44 percent of Americans who, according to a December 2016 Marist poll, say they are likely to make a resolution for 2017.
The Marist survey asked: “What is it that you will resolve to do or not do in the New Year?” (Here’s a link to the poll in case you’re interested in analyzing the data: http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us161201/Marist%20Poll_National%20Tables_New%20Years%20Resolutions_December%202016.pdf#page=3).
The results of the poll show that many of the most common resolutions involve reducing some kind of consumption. While the top vow is to “be a better person,” resolutions to lose weight (that is, to eat less), spend less money, stop smoking, and stop drinking are also popular. Absent from the survey are resolutions to achieve materialistic goals. Apparently, Americans aren’t resolving to become rich and famous in 2017—or, if they are, they aren’t admitting it.
In addition to resolving to be a better person, people are vowing to improve themselves by exercising more, eating healthier, getting closer to God, going back to school, setting goals, and getting a better job. They say they want to use their time better, increase family time, enjoy life, be kinder to others, and get politically involved. Worth noting is the fact that, with the exception of the 1% who are resolving to get a new house and the less than 1% who want to travel, Americans are resolving to do things in 2017 that are either environmentally benign or environmentally beneficial.
So now that it’s January, and the super-duper, holy-cow(!), consume-like-there’s-no-tomorrow season is behind us, a lot of us are thinking about reducing our consumption of food and other stuff and spending our time involved in more meaningful pursuits. If we follow through with our resolutions, we’ll not only make our own lives better, stronger, and happier, we’ll also be reducing the strain our consumption puts on the natural world.
I hope you’ll take a minute to read: “Democrats Can Stop Trump Via the Electoral College. But Not How You Think.” http://wpo.st/dJiK2 The author, Michael Cannon, is a scholar at the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think tank. I rarely agree with libertarians, but I think Cannon’s analysis here is good. Briefly, he’s counseling Democratic electors to pick a Republican—Romney, for instance—vote for him, and then convince at least 37 Republican electors to vote for the same candidate. As Cannon sees it, this is the only way to prevent Trump from assuming the presidency.
Many of my Democratic friends, who are horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency, have told me they’d be okay with some other Republican—almost ANY other Republican. I emphatically agree. So what do you, dear blog reader, think about urging electors (Democrats and Republicans) to vote for a consensus (non-Trump) Republican? Good idea? Bad idea?
Some Democratic members of the Electoral College have formed a group called the Hamilton Electors. They intend to vote for a Republican, whom they will choose by consensus. If you’d like more information about the Hamilton Electors, click here: http://www.hamiltonelectors.com
If you’d like to contact members of the Electoral College directly, #AskTheElectors makes that easy. Check out: http://asktheelectors.org
Here’s a link to another article on the subject by Kathleen Parker, “The Electoral College Should Be Unfaithful.” http://wpo.st/PeiK2
* * * * * * *
Guess what, folks! Today is AMERICA RECYCLES DAY! Woo-hoo! Did you get the day off? Me neither. Rip-off, right?
Let’s hope we get the day off next year. In the meantime, let’s show our America-Recycles-Day spirit by clicking on the following links.
For information about:
- recycling electronic products, try: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling
- dealing with used oil, see: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/managing-reusing-and-recycling-used-oil
- reducing your waste, check: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-waste-what-you-can-do
- general recycling, click: https://www.epa.gov/recycle
So come on, America! CELEBRATE THE DAY! There won’t be another America Recycles Day for an entire year!
Rather than allow myself to sink into a deep depression following the election of a certain sociopath* (whose name I’d rather not mention for fear of nauseating all the kind people who read this blogpost**), I’ve been looking for any silver linings that might have attached themselves to this catastrophic event. So far, I’ve found three:
- People will have the opportunity to see what happens when Republicans are in control of all three branches of government. If the past is any guide, Republican policies will drive us into a ditch. This time, however, the Republicans will have a hard time blaming Democrats for their failures; they will be held accountable for just about everything.
- During Obama’s presidency, rank-and-file Democrats have generally been passive, trusting that Obama will do the right thing most of the time, and feeling that activism has been unnecessary. With @$&#% as president, more progressives will realize the importance of getting involved in politics and fighting back.
- Given that @$&#% denies the existence of global warming and has promised to undo Obama’s environmental regulations, the chance that the U.S. government will address global warming—as long as @$&#% is president and Congress is under Republican control—is near zero, and that, of course, is bad news. But here’s the silver lining: When the government refuses to act and the ecological consequences become increasingly apparent, a growing number of individuals will, of necessity, take responsibility for their own ecological footprints. And that’s good news because bringing the planet back from the ecological cliff will take all of us doing our part whichever party is in power. Besides, the more actively we’re involved, the more likely it will be that politicians will have the courage to do the right thing.
* * * * * * *
* Is @$&#% really a sociopath, or am I exaggerating for comic effect? I don’t have the credentials to say for certain, and I don’t know if http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html has the credentials either, but here’s some of what I found at that website:
Profile of the Sociopath
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
Do you think that profile fits @$&#% to a tee? I do.
** Henceforth, I shall refer to the unnamed one as @$&#%.