FREEDOM AND THE LACK THEREOF – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #76 – FREEDOM


Folk songs notwithstanding, freedom is not “just another word for nothing left to lose.” Freedom is exactly the opposite of that. Freedom — having freedom — leaves you a lot to lose.



Like … say … your right to live a life you want to live. A life that is open to any choice you can make. Without freedom, life is a prison, even if you aren’t behind any bars.

When you are not free, they are always watching you, tracking you, closing off the doors to opportunity. They write laws which can get you executed, locked up, deported. They can take away what little you have and leave you with nothing, not even your life.

Lack of freedom means lack of choice. You can’t go where you want, do what you want. Achieve what you would.

Freedom means wings to fly while its opposite is chained and barred.

Stay free. Help keep us all free!

SHALLOW – IS THAT SORT OF LIKE STUPID? – Marilyn Armstrong

SHALLOW? 

Like wading in shallow water, we have a country full of shallow people. They watch “the news” and believe that it’s all lies because the orange-skinned what’s-his-face says so. As a woman whose husband was a television news reporter for more than 40 years, I’d like to point out that my husband did not haul his tired ass out of bed every morning before the sun rose so he could get up and fabricate lies.

That’s not how the news has EVER worked. But that is how propaganda works and propaganda is what you are believing.

Nor was he ever told to tell lies. He was occasionally asked to omit something when it happened to involve a sponsor, but he didn’t listen anyway. Garry is a truth teller.

And his friends? The other reporters, photographers, directors, and producers?

They told the truth, too.

Fact.

Reporters are not liars. They work their asses off trying to spread the truth to you dunderheads who are too shallow to listen.

Fact.

The news is as true as the people who research and write it can possibly make it. Do they make occasional mistakes? Yes, but they correct themselves and apologize. They don’t erase the truth about a president. They couldn’t do that even if they wanted to.

There are facts in evidence. There is tape. There are written and filmed speeches. Trump called everything he doesn’t like, a lie. HE is a liar. A living, breathing lie from top to bottom. Anyone who believes his bullshit is shallow and probably not very bright, either.

Fact.

The news IS the truth and if you are too shallow to believe reality, you are going to live with something you like even less than what you think you are already living. We are on a razor-thin edge between what we used to think of as freedom and a real dictatorship. If we haven’t already crossed over that line. I’m not sure we haven’t. Time will tell us soon enough.

Fact.

If you refuse to see or believe the truth, democracy, and your world is going down the tubes. You will live to see the horrors you have wrought. I’m old and frankly, I’m grateful I won’t be around to see it. I feel sorry for my granddaughter and those who come after her, though. This is not what I wanted for her or anyone.

It will be a terrible world. It’s already bad, but it will get worse. And you — all of you thick-headed, non-reading, no-research jerks — are doing it to all of us.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

Shallow people are stupid. I don’t mean they have a “low IQ.” I mean they are too shallow, lazy, selfish, and foolish to learn the truth. It’s so much easier to believe bullshit, isn’t it? You don’t have to read anything. You don’t need to do any research. You don’t really need to know anything. You can just roll along, believing whatever some idiot tells you. That’s how we got where we are and that’s how we keep rolling down that hill until we are one of those shithole countries Trump was talking about.

By being shallow and stupid.

FOWC with Fandango — Shallow

AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE! ROUND 2: REUNIFICATION – BY TOM CURLEY

WE’RE NUMBER ONE, BUT AT WHAT?

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! We’re number ONE! We’re the BEST! 

You’ve heard it all your life. You hear it at ball games.  You hear it at every political rally, regardless of which party is telling you how great they are. Hell, we got an overdose of it during the 4th of July celebrations.


So now that there has been a “second” summit with Kim Jong-Un, described by him as “disappointing” (other translations say “depressing” and personally, I call them “futile and stupid” — and by Pompeo as “Not so bad” leaving the rest of us wondering “What summit? Was there a summit?” I have to again ask the question: What are we best at? Leaving out sports like football and baseball … what else?


Better health care? Better crime levels unless by “better” you also mean “more of them”? Where is America’s “sweet spot?” Good question, don’t you think?

But let’s get real for a second. Are we really number one? Are we the best country in the world? If so, at what?

Recently UNICEF released a “Child Well-Being in Rich Countries” study. They ranked 29 developed countries according to the well-being of their children on a number of factors. Where did the greatest nation in the world rank? Number one, right? Nope.

The US ranks #26. To be more specific we rank:

#26 for “Material Well-Being”.

#25 for “Health and Safety”.

#26 for “Infant Mortality Rates”.

#26 for “Low Birthweight”.

#22 for “Immunization Rates.

#27 for “Preschool Enrollment rates”.

#25 for “Participation in Further Education”.

#16 for “Overweight”.

#29 for “Teen-Pregnancy rates”.

#12 for “Being Bullied”.

It goes on. Were we #1 for anything? Yes. We were # for “Alcohol,” meaning we have the top rank for the absence of drunkenness. But considering our current government, can you blame the rest of the world for drinking more?

Another round for the world!

Republicans love to say that the U.S. has the greatest healthcare system in the world. The Commonwealth Fund ranks us #11 out of the 11 most developed nations. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. #37 out of all the countries in the world. Just below Costa Rica and just above Slovenia.

But you know what we are best at? Putting people in jail.


From Wikipedia: “In October 2013, the incarceration rate of the United States of America was the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. While the United States represents 4.4% of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.”


Take that North Korea! Take that all you Third World Dictators! We’re number one! Lock us up! Lock us up! Oh wait, we’re already doing that.

We’re number one!!

You know what else we’re good at?

Ripping children, toddlers, and babies from their mothers and fathers because they had the nerve to travel thousands of miles from their home countries seeking asylum because their lives are in danger. We’re number one at ignoring their screams as their parents get dragged away, having no idea why this is happening.

MCALLEN, TX – JUNE 12: A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

We’re number one at putting them in overcrowded cages.

We’re number one in putting them in outdoor tent cities where the daytime temperatures reach 100 degrees.

We’re number one at telling a parent who is in custody that his or child is “taking a bath,” only to find the child has been taken to some unknown facility  1000 miles away.

How do I know this? Because I can’t think of any other country doing this!  I did a Google search. There was a country that did this and it didn’t end well for the country — or the children.

Germany 1933

It’s pretty much common consensus that our internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War 2 was the lowest point in our history — discounting slavery, of course. That would be lower. 

This horrific excuse for an administration says they are just enforcing the law. Except there is no law that says you have to rip a baby from his mother while she’s breastfeeding!

Our Chump-in-Chief says: “It’s the Democrat’s fault!”

Wow, I didn’t see that coming.

The Director of Homeland Security says there is no policy of separating children from their parents and they’re not doing it.


I watched her say it on TV next to another screen showing kids being separated from parents and being put in detention camps. 

The California top court ordered the Trump administration to get those families back together by the end of this month — July 27th. Anyone giving odds on this really happening? 


The administration has basically admitted that they are doing this as a bargaining chip for getting that stupid fucking wall. Ponder that for a second.

One man was so distraught over losing his kid he hung himself while in detention. Pity about that. Give Trump his wall and maybe this can all go away.  If there is a devil, he’s sitting in hell going WTF? Dudes, dial it back a bit! This is over the top for anyone with half a conscience.

There’s a difference between patriotism and nationalism.

A nationalist says “My Country, right or wrong. Love it or leave it.” They think our country is like a sports team you support no matter how badly they are doing.

A patriot says “I love our country but when our government is doing something wrong, we point it out and you are obliged to fix it. We’re not perfect. We can do better.

My country right or wrong? Here’s the full quote.

Our country is not a sports team. We love to say that we are a nation of laws. Great. But shouldn’t we also be a nation of human beings? A nation of compassionate people with some modicum of decency?

We’re a nation of immigrants.

We all came from somewhere else. Except for Native Americans. If you want to get really technical, even they walked here from a land bridge from Russia around 50,000 years ago, so they’re immigrants too.

One of the most important icons of this country is the Statue of Liberty.  The plaque on it has the famous words “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

It should be changed now to “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We’ll rip your kids away from you and huddle them into overcrowded detention centers.”

Something to think about as the end of the month approaches and the big day of the reunification of immigrant children and their parents is on the schedule. 

I’ve made a point of trying to find some sliver of humor in any of the blogs I write. I have to admit I got nothing on this one. I even teared up a few times while I wrote it. So I’ll try to end with a joke.

How many Trump administration people does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer? 20,010. One to change the bulb, three to blame the bulbs failure on the Democrats, three to blame it on Hilary and Obama, three to say the bulb didn’t need to be changed in the first place, and 20,000 ICE employees to commit horrific acts of child abuse. 

Oh well, at least I tried.

BAD TO THE BONE: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LITTLE DONNIE? Marilyn Armstrong

Because most of us are rational, we not only loathe the guy running our government. We also really want to know how he became such an awful person. We all know people — some of us are those people — who grew up with abusive parents. Desperately poverty. Rich and privileged, lower, middle, or undefined class. One of many children. An only child. Male. Female. Other.

By: Dreamicus

Most of us turned out okay. Even those who have (had) (still have) a lot of issues were never completely loathsome. All of us had a few good points. Someone thought we were okay.

But then, there’s Donald J. Trump.

So I thought I’d run a little survey.

QUESTION:

 


His father was a pretty ugly guy in his own right. A racist slumlord, I’m sure he passed his beliefs to his kid. But other people have rotten parents and they don’t grow up just like them. Rich and poor, children can grow into decent people, no matter how they began.

What made the difference? If it wasn’t a contract with the dark one? A television renewal failure? What happened to turn a rich asshole into the pit of evil?

FOWC – MEAN! – Marilyn Armstrong

#FOWC – MEAN!

To paraphrase my friend Tom,  “You don’t need a prick to be a dick, but it doesn’t hurt none, either.”

Have you watched “It’s a Wonderful Life“? With Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore? Lionel Barrymore was the meanest man in town … and he didn’t hold a candle to the meanest guy in OUR town.

Guess who I’m talking about? You betcha! Donald J. Trump. His sidekicks are pretty nasty assholes too, so don’t think I’m just picking on him. I’m picking on the entire movement, the complete political party made up of nasty racists, bigots, and hate-mongers. The kind of people who steal children from their parents and think it’s funny.

For further commentary on how “not being a dick” can be a meaningful political position in these, our modern times, please see Tom Curley’s post:

ARE YOU A DECENT HUMAN BEING, OR ARE YOU A DICK? – by TOM CURLEY

after which, ponder whether your “political convictions” exceed your conscience or any remaining ability to empathize with human beings. Because today, being a Republican is equivalent to abandoning anything that would normally identify you as a decent person.

And it ain’t just me saying it, either.

ARE YOU A DECENT HUMAN BEING, OR ARE YOU A DICK? – BY TOM CURLEY

I listen to the various pundits on all the news stations and newspapers going on and on about what Democrats need to do to win the midterm elections. They all have a variation of the same theme. They must have a “message.” They can’t just say “Hey we are better than that asshole Trump and those fucking Republicans.”

They need to be for something, like universal health care, a 15-dollar minimum wage, not ripping innocent children from their parents for the crime of trying to come to America for a better life.  But here’s the thing.

That’s bullshit. I completely disagree. We have moved far beyond arguing about political policy. We need to run on what kind of human beings we are in this country.

It’s really simple.


Are we, as Americans, decent human beings? Or are we dicks?


It turns out that over the last two years we have found out there are a frighteningly large number of Americans who are unimaginably horrible dicks. 

If you think ripping a baby from a mother or father and then sending it to another state without any way of keeping track of who the baby belongs to or where it went is OK, you’re a dick.

If you are horrified by this and you didn’t believe such a thing was possible in America, you’re a decent human being.

If you think white supremacists and Nazis are good people, you’re a dick.

If you think a white supremacist running down innocent protesters with his car and killing at least one is bad, you’re a decent human being.  Side note: NAZIS ARE BAD.

If you are a white person who calls the police because

1 – A black family is barbecuing in a public park
2 – A black fireman is doing fire safety checks in his own neighborhood
3 – A black state representative is going door to door talking to her constituents
4 – A black woman is at a community pool to which she belongs
5 – A black man is wearing socks at a public swimming pool

you’re a racist dick.

Oddly, most of the dicks who called the police on these people were women. Turns out


You don’t need a prick to be a dick.


That might make a pretty good bumper sticker or tee-shirt.

racist white women
One of dicks who actually did one of those things.

If this stuff both surprises and appalls you, you’re a decent human being.

I’ve been covering elections for CBS since Nixon. In every election, both sides always say the same thing. “This is the most important election of our lives.”

And we all go, “yeah, sure, whatever.” But this time, for the first time in my life, I agree. We, as a country, are at an honest-to-God existential crossroad. We are being governed by the largest group of horrible dicks in modern history.

And we are being led by the biggest dick of all, the twidiot-in-chief.

So, please, get out and vote this November.

Be a decent human being.

Don’t be a dick. There are way too many of them out there already. 

A MILESTONE OF DESPAIR – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #29: A MILESTONE OF DESPAIR

Fandango – Nightmare

It’s the one month anniversary of having WordPress abandon us for whatever future they think they see on their far horizons. I’m sure, whatever their milestone may be, it involves hitting all of us for more money. Because as far as I can tell, it’s always about money. Always and forever.

But also, these days, it’s also about meanness, cruelty and casual viciousness. As a nation, we are developing a kind of comfort with meanness and ugliness.

Jon Stewart said it well on Colbert’s show. Drumptf doesn’t merely do something harsh because he thinks it is necessary. He feels obliged to add an extra level of brutality to each thing.

He can’t say he disagrees with the press. He has to point out that they are also stupid and lazy. He can’t say he didn’t “have sex” with that woman. He also needs to mention that she’s too ugly for sex with a stud like him.

Everything he does is coated is that kind of nasty, mean-spirited ugliness and it has my head spinning. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the beauty of the flowers when all I can see is that compared to DJT, Benito Mussolini was a real gentleman. Adolf Hitler had charm.

Drumptf has no charm. There is nothing cutesy about him. He’s not only unfunny, he’s cruel and most cruel to those who have the least ability to fight back.

He could have created an immigration package with which I’d no doubt have disagreed, but this wasn’t a political move. This was intended to show “how bad” we are and it certainly succeeded. To preventing desperate people from attempting to gain asylum here, he added to it kidnapping and imprisonment for babies, toddlers, and pre-school children. He can’t do something for some bizarre version of “the good of the country.” He also feels obliged to add a personal level of evil to the policy so it does not merely impinge on our political psyche but on our ability to believe we live in a decent society.

Michael Moore was on the show too.

He asked: “How often do you read the news and cry?” I don’t cry. I despair and have nightmares. I feel as if I’ve been overcome by a kind of mental illness. I’ve walked into a “fun house” full of hideous twisted mirrors and all I can see it an ugly, distorted version of something that used to be me or my fellows, but is now foul and twisted.

It’s not even anger. I’ve run out of anger. My current state is more like being a permanently abused child wondering if there’s any hope of rescue before I am beaten to death.

Like the cherry on the sundae, Drumptf is also a minority president. He was not elected by the majority of American citizens. Now that the not-so-Supreme Court has formally decided racial gerrymandering is legal — along with sending five-year-olds to court without a lawyer — one has to wonder with the likelihood of Russia messing with our elections (again) and gerrymandering if there’s any chance we will have an honest election.

I know this much.

All the people who didn’t bother to vote at all or who felt voting for a useless third-party candidate didn’t matter? You screwed us.

You know who you are.

If you do it again, Drumptf or one of his non-biological sycophants will be running this country when your great-grandchildren are praying for asylum in Canada.

Milestone? Really? For me, it feels more like a month of nausea and despair. Maybe it’s just me. Then again, maybe it’s not.