ARE PEOPLE REALLY THAT STUPID?

It’s not the first or the last time Garry and I will have this conversation. Really, we started having it a few years ago when we realized how many people were convinced there is no global weather change in progress. When Trump hit the ground running for office, we had a lot of trouble believing other Americans could be stupid enough to really vote for someone so obviously unqualified for the position.

When he was elected, I had to accept how many Americans are far more stupid than I imagined possible. Even all these months later, I still can’t fathom the depth of their dumbness.

Last night, on Facebook — I swear this is true — there was an article announcing all the hurricanes are man-made with laser beams. Proof? A Chinese guy with glasses said so. I got through perhaps three paragraphs before I clicked off. I’m sure millions of American morons already believe this. Somewhere, men and women are discussing how “They’ve proved it! The government is creating hurricanes so they can take over the world.”

Nothing anyone tells them will convince them otherwise.


You think I’m making it up?

Geo-engineering theorists and researchers say that Hurricane Harvey is a pretext to impose martial law  © Neon Nettle

Hurricane Harvey Exposed As ‘Man Made Weapon’ Used To Impose Martial Law   © Neon Nettle


And if that’s not enough, check out: PUTIN HAS PROOF US MADE HURRICANES WITH MACHINES.  Feel free to put your brain in cold storage and believe. You saw it on Facebook, so it must be true.

Garry commented he sees total stupidity in the vacant eyes of Trump supporters at the last rally — wherever it was. “Maybe Alabama?” he asks me.

“I think so,” I admit.

It is so hard to keep track of this stuff. Why is the president holding rallies anyway? He was already elected. How many times does he need to be elected? Isn’t once usually enough?

Garry thinks the empty-eyed, slack-jawed followers must have eaten something. Maybe they weren’t always that stupid, but something came along and stupefied them. I said I think it is because we have allowed and encouraged the mythologizing of history. A war to promote slavery becomes a sentimental cause célèbre. A battle to eliminate our Natives is suddenly a rational battle to create a “real country” as if it wasn’t “before.”

All countries do it. It isn’t just us. After some appalling event has occur, before the last blood is dry, there’s a rosy wash splashed over the occurrence. It wasn’t so bad. It doesn’t take long, either. Ten years, tops — and suddenly, everyone is saying “Oh, it wasn’t all that bad.”

An older person … a gray-haired elder stands and says “NO, no, it was terrible. I was there.” We pat him or her on the head because obviously, she or he must be senile. We know we are right because it says — right here, in this book or on the silver screen — it wasn’t bad. It was noble. It was just. It was good.

The years have marched on. As my interest in history has deepened, I have lost all patience with glorious tales of rulers and their battles. All monarchs are tyrants. All are corrupt despots. The people who follow them are no better than their rulers. They either have lost — or never knew — that when you dispose of intelligence to mindlessly follow evil, you are equally evil.

Don’t forget: somewhere today, groups of people are talking about how hurricanes are made by secret government agencies … because there are no climate changes here! When you can’t believe science, you might as well believe any deranged idea someone promotes online.

WAKE UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

During the past two and a half years, Garry and I have logged endless hours watching the current political nightmare unfold. I can’t count the number of hours spent analyzing “millennials,” folks approximately my granddaughter’s age. How disaffected they are. How they aren’t going to vote because “this has nothing to do with me” — a direct quote from my granddaughter.

I love my granddaughter with all my heart, but that just pissed me off to a fare-thee-well.

The world into which the now oft-dismissed “baby boomers” were raised — despite maudlin memes on Facebook — was very far from a perfect world. Classified advertisements for jobs were divided into “Help Wanted: Male” and “Help Wanted: Female.” It was legal and enforced. As for people of color and immigrants, their help wasn’t wanted on any page.

help-wanted-advert-1892

70 years later, the Help Wanted advertisements looked pretty much the same as they had in 1892. Photograph: Library of Congress Archives

Jim Crow laws were legal. Inter-marriage between races was illegal in all southern states and many northern ones. There was no Medicare. No Medicaid. If you lost your job, or your job didn’t offer medical benefits — and employers were not obligated to provide benefits — you were out of luck.

People reminisce about the 1950s and early 1960s as if they were perfect days for everyone. A world in which jobs lasted forever. Spanking kids was totally cool. No one was hungry. True-ish — but only if you were triple white.


Triple white = White collar. White skin. White picket fence.


If you were anything else, you lived a very different reality.

civil-rights-bill-passage-nytimesheadline

Did I mention that abortion was illegal? Illegal abortions were frequently fatal and effective birth control hadn’t been invented. It’s not that we didn’t have sex outside of marriage. Of course we did. Hormones, boys, girls, love, and passion were never different than now, but acting on these urges was far more dangerous. The ramifications of “getting caught” were perilous and possibly illegal, so we were sneaky. We had sex in cars, not beds.

We hid our social lives from “the grownups” who were also “the enemy.” Child abuse was not illegal. It was ignored or absolutely approved of. Beating your kids was “discipline.” Which is why I get enraged every time I read one of those Facebook “nostalgia” posts about how great it was to be able to hit your kids.

Hitting kids doesn’t make them better people. It just informs them it’s okay for bigger, stronger people to hit smaller, weaker ones.

January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve.

January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve. Photograph: New York Times archive

My generation — we old people — were out there manning the barricades. Marching for justice.

We changed the world. Not as much as we hoped, but some. We certainly tried. We fought racial and gender discrimination. While waiting for the law to change, we hid our homosexuality or trans-gender identities. Not doing so might do us in. We never gave up the fight, but time has had its way. We got old and most of us have put down the signs and stopped marching.

It’s your turn.

Selma alabama 1965 resized

The world got so much better and now it’s getting so much worse again. Looks like the stuff we fought for is going down the tubes.  I know you feel the world has failed to live up to its promises to you. Life is hard. Good jobs are scarce.

The truth is that life — real life — has always been hard. Good jobs were always hard to find. No one told me life would be easy. Did someone tell you that? If they did, they lied.

It’s time for your generation to step up to the plate. Put down your phone. Go fix stuff. Fight for a better life and a better world. Vote! That’s how change happens. If you don’t care enough to stand up for yourselves and your future, no one else will care. All the work we did will vanish. It will be the real 1950s all over again. I don’t think you will like it.

Then, as my mom used to say, you’ll really have something to cry about.

DOONESBURY NAILED IT 41 YEARS AGO – BY BRAINWRAP (AND ME)

Doonesbury nailed it 41 years ago. — By Brainwrap 


 I remember this specific strip too. I was an ardent follower of Doonesbury back in those days. How ironic and sad that his material is relevant 41 years after publication. 

AMERICAN VALUES, AMERICAN VOTING AND AMERICAN IDOL – BY TOM CURLEY

The American voting system is seriously fucked up. I think most of us can agree on this fact. Right wing nut jobs insist that millions of illegal aliens somehow got into thousands of voting booths and voted for Hillary.

I voted!

Thousands of illegal aliens somehow rented hundreds of buses and all drove to New Hampshire to vote for democrats.

New Hampshire or bust!

Our arcane system of electing a President has resulted in a minority of Americans voting in the two worst Presidents in American history.

Dumb and Dumber. (Dumber is on the left)

Republican states are bending over backward to deny more and more people (usually minorities) the right to vote. To top all this off, less than half our voting age population bothers to vote at all.


Interesting fact. In 2012, more people voted for the winner of American Idol than voted for President of the United States. 


This begs the question which is — what is American Idol doing right that the American government is failing to do?

I think the answer is that we as a nation have just become a big, big, really bad reality show. We have a really bad reality TV show President. And why? Well, apparently lots of people like reality shows. So, I say we need to change the whole system of voting.

It’s obvious. We need to change the way we select candidates for President and turn electoral politics into a giant reality show contest.

We start with the primaries. We have a set number of people to start with. Say … 16. Both parties do this. We then have 16 debates. The debates are not moderated by network news people. Instead, we have judges. Different judges for each debate. For the first debate, we can have the judges from The Voice, Master Chef, Junior America’s Got Talent, and so on.

Or we could mix them up. At the end of each debate the judges eliminate one candidate. Oh, and the audience can yell and scream all they want.

When you narrow it down to the top 10 candidates, that’s when you, the American public, takes over. During the debate and for one hour following it, you get to vote for the candidate of your choice. The one with the fewest votes is out.

Voting rules are simple.  You can vote by text, phone call, or online. You can vote 10 times on any of these devices. (Note: Message and data rates may apply.)

Eventually, we’re down to just two candidates.

Now they are free to travel around the country. Give all the speeches they want. But — they will have to go through at least four more debates.

Here’s where it gets interesting. They are not just debates! Depending on the judges, the candidates will have to compete in various competitions. When the America’s Got Talent judges are moderating, each candidate will have to do some kind of act. Magic, ventriloquism, hip hop dancing, or maybe a dog act.

When the Master Chef judges are moderating they will all have to make an interesting dish. Using shrimp.

They may have to design a line of clothing, flip a house or bake a perfect soufflé.

You get the idea. The candidate who wins these challenges gets an advantage for that episode, excuse me, debate. Stuff like maybe the winner gets an air horn he or she can blow whenever the other candidate is speaking.

When we finally get to election day all the networks agree to show a wrap up clip show of all the debates. The winners, the losers, the fallen soufflés.

Everything.

Now you, the American public have until midnight November 8th to vote. You can vote by phone, text, online, regular mail — or you can go to a voting booth. This time, you only get 20 votes. You can only vote 10 times on any given device. Except the voting booth. You can cast all 20 votes there. (Note: Message and data rates may apply.)

I realize at this point you think I’m joking. And I am. But am I? You say that it’s supposed to be one person, one vote. But is one person, 20 votes any different? OK, you say it’s too complicated. What if people don’t use all 20 votes? What if they don’t know how to text? What if they can’t get online? Well, too bad. That’s what makes the game interesting.

Is this any more difficult than having people stand in lines for hours on election day in poor districts with a few voting machines, many of which don’t work — only to find out that they’ve been thrown off the voting rolls because their name was similar to somebody else who had committed a felony and wasn’t allowed to vote?

WTF!! What do you mean I can’t vote!?

But, you say “How do we know people didn’t cheat?” Maybe they voted more than 20 times? Well, our technology seems to be fully able to handle the problem. I recently texted a donation to a hurricane relief fund during the telethon that all the networks aired the other day. I tried to do it again and I got a text back saying that I had donated the limit.

Maybe people could cheat, but it’s still more secure than the electronic voting machines we use. Machines we’ve seen repeatedly hacked by professionals trying to show us how easy they are hacked.

So this is it. My humble proposal. I think it would bring a lot more people out to vote, and it would be a lot more fun!

Tell me honestly, wouldn’t you pay money to watch Ted Cruz try to bake a savory cheese soufflé?

I’m Ted Cruz, and I approve of this soufflé. Food porn!

 

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES (AGAIN) – TOM CURLEY


Stupid is as stupid does.

It’s an old line, probably used by everybody’s mother. Most memorably, it came from the movie Forrest Gump. It’s what Forest’s mother always told him when people made fun of him for being … well … Forrest Gump.

The thing is, I never really understood what the phrase actually means. It sounds very profound, but what is it actually saying?

I only think of this because stupid has become a word that’s popping up more and more these days. The current “so-called administration”, has been labeled “ignorant,” “immoral” and “inept.” But lately a new word is emerging to describe our “so-called government.”


Stupid.

Also the word “idiot” is cropping up. The headline of a recent NY Post editorial was “Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot.”

Why? When he discovered the New York Times was about to publish a story exposing emails which proved he was meeting with Russian agents to acquire damaging information about Hillary Clinton from high level Russian government sources — because they wanted to help Trump win the election — what did he do?

He released the actual emails. Proving he wanted to collude with Russian agents to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton and didn’t care that the Russian government was involved. He actually wrote back “I love it!”


HOW STUPID WAS THAT?

His defense was that he didn’t get any damaging info, so it didn’t count.


AND HOW STUPID IS THAT?  

It’s like saying “I went to rob a bank but when I got there they were all out of money,” so it doesn’t count.

And we all thought Eric was the dumb one.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Cheesy McCheese head, the actual President of the United States, recently stated — publicly — that the Mexican wall must be transparent.

Why you ask?  Because Mexicans will be throwing large bags of drugs over the wall. He didn’t want unsuspecting Americans on our side to get hit on the head by large bags of drugs.

No, I’m not making that up. Absorb that for a few minutes.

Everybody has role models.  Trumpy’s role models seem to be Governor LePetomaine from Blazing Saddles. “Work, work, work, work. Hello boys!”

And the rebel leader from Woody Allen’s Bananas.

REBEL LEADER: From this point forward, underwear will be changed every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside. So we can check. Every child under 16 years old, is now 16 years old.”

Previously, we learned how utterly incompetent this administration is. But now, we are also getting a handle on just how incredibly stupid they are. Although I still don’t know precisely what “Stupid is as stupid does” means, it seems to explain our current administration.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE AND NAZIS, REDUX – BY TOM CURLEY

I’m writing this on Saturday August 12, 2017. I only mention this because I’ve noticed that many of the blogs I’ve written since November 8th 2016 about the  “Orange Fuehrer” (yup, I’m going there) which I thought were specific to that week or day, have become “evergreen”. By that I mean if it’s re-posted  six months later, it still seems like I wrote it yesterday. Today may be different.  But somehow, I doubt it.


Cognitive dissonance is defined as one mind simultaneously holding two or more conflicting beliefs, ideas or values.

I experienced a variation of that today. Ellin, my daughter Sarah and I went to see the movie “Dunkirk” this afternoon.

It’s a very good movie. It documents the reality of what 400,000 English troops experienced for a week. They were trapped by German forces at the beach of Dunkirk. The Germans, no excuse me, to be more specific, THE NAZIS, chose to send the Luftwaffe to bomb and shoot them like fish in a barrel.

They bombed RED CROSS HOSPITAL SHIPS FILLED WITH WOUNDED SOLDIERS! NAZI U-Boats sank every ship they could find overloaded with troops.  What eventually saved the English troops were hundreds and hundreds of private citizens. These people owned small fishing boats, small pleasure boats, any kind of boat, and sailed them across the English Channel, risking their lives to rescue British troops.

Churchill hoped to save 30,000 troops. Out of 400,000. The boats that went over rescued over 350,000. They had no guns. The troops only had rifles to fight back against U-Boats and dive bombers. Dunkirk was both one of the worst moments for the allies and the best moments for the allies. When the troops reached England, there was a volunteer who was handing out blankets to the soldiers. He told each one “Well done.”

One of the soldiers replied. “All we did was survive.” The man replied “Sometimes, that’s enough.” The NAZIS went on to do more horrific things before the war was over.

My point is. The Nazis were the bad guys. I mean, really REALLY BAD GUYS. It’s rare in human history to have really, really bad guys with no redeeming qualities. The best thing you could say about Hitler was that he was nice to his dog. And we sort of need really good bad guys. After the Nazis died out, we briefly had the Klingons.

They were really bad guys. Until Star Trek Next Generation where they became not so bad guys.

But Nazis? They have ALWAYS BEEN REALLY, REALLY BAD GUYS. Hell, in German schools, from grade school on up, they are upfront with their history. They make sure every German is aware of exactly what happened in WWII to make sure that it never happens again.

At least, in Germany.  I bring all of this up because when I came home from watching Dunkirk, I started watching the news. White nationalists, waving NAZI flags and Confederate flags, were rioting in Charlottesville at what they called a “Unite the Right” rally. A NAZI, drove a car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and wounding 19 others. These were not Germans. White men, born here.

I cannot call them Americans. Their leaders claim that “they are fulfilling the promises of Donald J. Trump. They are taking back America.”

They led a nighttime rally reminiscent of Hitler’s rallies of the 1930’s. But they did it in polo shirts and with  TIKI torches! TIKI torches! Are you kidding me??? I went to a Luau clam bake and a KKK rally broke out!

The Governor of Virginia gave a stirring speech saying that these NAZIS were not welcome in Virginia. They were not welcome in America. He is right.

What did our Asshole-In-Chief say? He said a lot of people are to blame — but never mentioned …. THE FUCKING NAZIS!!!!!

Here’s the dissonance.

We fought a war against these assholes. My dad and his generation served and died fighting against these assholes. For those few who are still alive, what must they think watching the news — today, Saturday, August 12th. 2017?

What has happened to us? NAZIS ARE THE BAD GUYS!

I usually try to be funny with my posts.

I try to find the humor in the insanity that has become our reality. But not today. Maybe tomorrow.

A CRITICAL LOOK: ALL IT TAKES?

A brief, critical look at what it takes to be a Real American in 2017


I keep reading posts which suggest that all it would take to make the world non-racist would be for (fill in the oppressed individual by color, ethnicity, nationality, or faith) to work really hard. Get that work ethic between their teeth and go for it.

World’s Tallest Native American statue

Do you think the Jews in Germany didn’t get that? They had that ethic work sewn up — until they were locked in cattle cars and carted off to be gassed and burned.

Dark-skinned people from around the world are sure their efforts will be rewarded in America if they are patient and hard-working. It’s the American way, or always has been. Immigrants have always worked their butts off because they are America’s true believers. They know this is the way to make a place for themselves and their family here. That’s how we built our nation and while we longtime citizens may have lost our faith, they have not.

(AP Photo/Preston Stroup) President Franklin Roosevelt, speaks on the 50th anniversary of the erection of the State of Liberty in New York, on Oct. 28, 1936. He declared that, “To the message of Liberty which America sends to all the world must be added her message of peace.”

The irony of making our problems the fault of immigrants is astounding. We are immigrants, unless we are Native Americans. Hating immigrants is like hating yourself. If we didn’t come to this country on our own, then our parents, grandparents, or great grandparents came. By plane or boat. Some had a little money, many had nothing but themselves, a few skills, and a whole lot of hope.

Immigrant families are already doing their best to fit in. They know how hard it will be, but they keep trying. Oppressive or not, these are determined people. They’ve put it all on the line and they won’t give up without a fight.

When white men complain they are oppressed, I’m pretty sure they have no idea what they are talking about. There’s a big difference between “not getting everything you want” and “oppression.” These guys don’t see a difference.

If  you’re working on the assumption that Those Other People need to behave like you to get what they deserve and you find that a satisfying answer, think again. They need to be much better than you. You can make mistakes and show up at work with a hangover. They can’t. You got the “go ahead” nod at birth, not because you’re better but simply because you had the right mom and dad. You got that advantage without education or effort. You keep it for a lifetime, no matter how much you screw up.

He formed the minute men and brewed beer. What a guy!

For others to have a chance to merely be your equal, they need a better education than you, perfect manners, and a willingness to never step out of line — for any reason. Could you do it? Do you do it?

A lot of people who think they are absolutely not racist, are. Not in a “grab the Nazi sign and lets terrorize people” kind of way, but in their assumptions that the world belongs to them by some sort of natal right. They mange to deal with people who are “different” as long as they aren’t too different. As long as they wear the same clothing, abide by identical rules, speak the “right” way … and behave the way we all know we should, but usually don’t. And don’t live in the “wrong” neighborhood.

Union soldier

Meanwhile, let’s keep those statues of the South’s proud racists standing tall so that our youth will better understand history.  What do you imagine they will understand by seeing statues of people willing to die to support slavery?

Just in passing — do you know anyone who learned history from a statue? For me, it was books and museums.