WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY

Here is another in my unintentional series of re-posting blogs I wrote a year or so ago because they are more relevant today. This happened last week.

Ellin and I have a boat. We’ve been at the same Marina for over 19 years. This is our happy place. We love it. We don’t come here to discuss politics or religion. We come here to relax and have fun.

Here’s a picture of my neighbor to my right. He flies an American flag.

Lots of boats do. It’s a thing with boaters.  Why not? This is my neighbor two boats over to my left.

A little more nautical, but still cool. And then there’s the chucklehead next to me.

I was down below when he came in. I went upstairs to say Hi and he say “Hey did you see my flags?” I looked up and before my normal filter could kick in all I could say was

“WHAT THE FUCK?!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!”

He laughs and says “Oh, you don’t like the guy? I think it’s funny.”

Now, those that know me would be thinking I was about to explode. And they’d be right. I knew if I did this, the guy would never know what hit him.

I didn’t want to do that. The marina is my safe place. It’s where I go every day to sit in the sun and relax. I know that some people on our dock are Republicans and some are Democrats. But we are all friends and we keep it to our selves. We can agree to disagree. I’ve grown to know them enough that we can put aside our differences by simply not talking about them. This is the dock. Mellow out. Have a beer. Go to the pool.

We are all here to relax and have fun. Then yesterday another one shows up on the dock next to us with the same God Damn flag. The vast majority of the dock was appalled. Angry. Livid. WTF?!!!

My problem is I believe in the First Amendment. I will defend your right to say stupid racist shit, but I get to also say I think you are a racist piece of shit.

There are limits to the First Amendment. You can’t shout “FIRE” in a theater. You can stand on a street corner and be as much of an asshole as you want but you can’t do it everywhere. Like our marina! The manager of  our marina, god bless him, went to both of these morons and explained the marina is a “politics-free zone.” Please take the flags down. Other people on the dock, almost all of them, were upset.

Well, chucklehead number two got all mad and outraged, but finally took the flags down. Chucklehead number one took them down but kept putting them back up until another boat owner got into a huge shouting match with him. He took the flags down.

Here’s the point. The First Amendment doesn’t mean you get to spew your racist hateful shit anywhere. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all private entities. They can make their own rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do in their app and on their property. The Trumpers have decided that you have to listen to them.  If I had put a flag up that violated the marina’s rules, I would have felt terrible and immediately taken it down. I would have been embarrassed.

They don’t. They have no respect for anybody else’s feelings or rules.  They feel they have the right to shove their opinions down your throat.

THEY DON’T!  They have the right to shout racist crap and you have the right not listen to them and call them a bunch of fucking morons. Oddly the upshot of this is that my neighbor is being shunned.  Revealed to be the moron he is.

Really, he is not the sharpest pencil in the box and has no idea how to drive his 37-foot boat — which scares the shit out of all of us on the dock.

He seems to be stunned that he’s being treated like a minority. Like someone who is different from all the people around him. Like, even though we all believe in the First Amendment, we don’t want his kind around here. Karma’s a bitch. Here’s the original post. Making the same point.


Nazis are bad.

This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact. We seem to live in a world where facts are considered by many to be identical to opinions. That still doesn’t make them any less ‘factual.’

The fact is, NAZIS ARE BAD! White supremacists are bad. White nationalists are bad. A Nazi by any other name is STILL A NAZI!

Despite this, there has been a huge rise in Nazism, white supremacy, hate crimes, and massacres, the latest being the horrific massacre in New Zealand. Which, by the way, was live-streamed on Facebook. That was bad enough. What was worse was it was re-posted over a million times on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many sick fucks are out there?

Turns out, way, way more than I ever imagined.

They always were out there, but up until two years ago, they had the decency to stay hidden beneath the rocks under which they lived.

What changed?

What made them come out from under their slimy rocks to proudly proclaim their hatred, their racism, and misogyny? Duh! The White Nationalist in chief, Adolf Twittler got elected president.

Since then, a Nazi nut job living in a van covered with alt-right posters and pictures of Herr Twittler sent pipe bombs to two former living presidents and all sorts of media folk. Another shot up a concert in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, another bunch of right-wing nut-jobs committed mass murder.

What a fine crew they are. Yup. Good people on both sides.

There are so many hideous crimes after a while the details blur together. No matter how horrible Cheesy McCheese Face behaves — like refusing to condemn Nazis who commit murder in Charlottesville and dumping on John McCain even though he has been DEAD for months  — Republicans and “his base” continue to support him.

Well, there goes the neighborhood.

 

Although his base is a minority in the U.S., they comprise a lot of people. Too many people. So, the question remains, how do we (relatively sane) people deal with these assholes?

I disagreed when Hillary Clinton famously called these folks “deplorables.” Why? Because they owned it and started wearing tee-shirts that said “Proud Deplorable.”

She should have called them “Assholes.”

Why? Because how cool would it have been to see hundreds of thousands of these morons parading around in public wearing tee-shirts saying  “I’m a Proud Asshole.”

Lately, an odd thing has started happening. The MAGA hat-wearing public is complaining they are being discriminated against. They are being publicly shamed. They are victims. They’re being picked on because they’re MAGATs.

There are even websites and apps out there that tell them what restaurants they can go to. Where they can be sure nobody will make fun of them. Sort of a “Green Book for Red Hats.”

This shaming is a good thing. If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, we’ve learned you can’t talk to these folks. No matter how many facts you present to these morons, they only believe what the Hater-In-Chief says.

They’re a cult. You can’t have a rational conversation with a cultist. All cults are essentially the same. They only believe their “leader.” Everybody outside the cult is “the enemy.”

Everybody not in the cult is out to get them. The cult leader has secret information that only he possesses. That information almost always is the same:


The leader was anointed by God to be their leader.


As often as not, the hidden information is that the leader actually is God.  Everyone tends to forget that in most cults, the end comes when the leader goes stark raving mad, has sex with all female members, regardless of age, and decides everybody needs to kill him or herself.

The problem is this cult has more than 50-million members. That’s an awful lot of Kool-aid.

Shit, we’re gonna need more Kool-Aid.

So, what do we do with these MAGATs? These Nazis?

I say let’s treat them the way they treat other minorities:

*   If you see them on the street, cross the street. You never know if they will become violent.

*   If you see them in a store, follow them around to make sure they don’t steal anything.

*   Don’t argue with them. It’s like teaching a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

*   Shun them. Turn your back on them and walk away.

Give them all a message in the one language they understand:


Your kind is not welcome here.


IS HONESTY YOUR BEST POLICY – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #38

Do you really want to tell your wife she looks fat in those jeans? No? Do you need to tell her you slept with her best friend, even if it was before you got married? Or for that matter, with anyone besides her since you got married?

If you tell her any of these things, are they going to improve or ruin your relationship?


Do you believe that honesty is always the best policy? Is there is ever a time or circumstance when dishonesty (lying) is justifiable? Please elaborate.

We lie to each other all the time. Usually little lies. Like how much you paid for those sneakers … or for that matter, how much you paid for your wife’s birthday present (she warned you to NOT spend a lot of money). Or maybe shearing $100 of the price of that camera lens or telephone or computer.

We lie to our kids all the time. Some of them are huge, life-changing lies like: “You can do anything you set your mind to.”

No, you can’t. If you don’t have the talent, you can’t become a great writer or musician or mathematician or engineer. You need tenacity, but you also need talent. When we don’t mention the whole “talent” issue, it’s a lie and it can ruin a kid’s life, too.

I’m in favor of telling the truth when not telling the truth will cause harm to anyone, will destroy a good relationship, or simply make someone unhappy when they don’t need to be. I am also strongly in favor of honest conversations so that people don’t waste years believing something they partially heard while eavesdropping. AND I strongly, passionately believe in NEVER EVER EAVESDROPPING.

Whenever I watch a movie and someone has cheated and the cheater feels a compelling need to confess, I always wonder “why”? If his/her spouse never heard about the cheating, they would be okay. So the only reason you are confessing is to make ourself feel better. It isn’t going to make your relationship better or make your spouse happier. If you need to confess, find a priest. Get a shrink. Confess to your seatmate on the bus across town.

Leave your spouse alone. They didn’t do anything wrong and don’t deserve to be punished. If you have the kind of spouse who is going to eviscerate you for failing to “tell the truth,” they need to have a brain adjustment too.

THE TIME HAS COME TO SAVE THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

So here we are, 100 years later, and it’s happening. Again. Or is that “still?”

We didn’t understand what happened last time the world decided to blow itself up — and we aren’t seeing it now. Depending on my mood, I blame it on poor education, international lack of honesty about how great nations became “great” nations. And, of course, greed.

God is dead and greed rules us. When saving a few pennies is, to a corporation, worth destroying a family’s livelihood and future, the world will continue to be a toxic muck.

So here we are again. Or, as I said — still here because maybe we never really left.

Lying to the public and each other with a determined willingly to believe the unbelievable because the lies make us feel better. Or less bad. Whichever.

Do we have to destroy ourselves before we look at our culture, our society, our world, and say “This is not the way? Let’s be better.” We need to be a lot better because there’s an awful lot to do. We better get to it.

THE STUPID IS STRONG IN THIS COUNTRY – By TOM CURLEY

One of the iconic scenes in the movie Star Wars, the first one. Episode 4. “A New Hope” is where Obi-Wan Kanobi is taking Luke Skywalker and his two droids R2D2 and C3PO into town and they are stopped by two Stormtroopers looking for those very two droids. Obi-Wan simply waves his hand and says “these are not the droids you are looking for. You can move along.” And  the Storm Trooper looks at him and says “these are not the droids we are looking for, you can move along.”

Obi-Wan then explains to Luke that it was a “Jedi Mind Trick.” But it only works on the weak and feeble minded. In other words, it only works on stupid people.

That means that the Jedi Mind Trick will work on Americans really well because this country has an absolutely amazing number of mind-numbingly stupid people. I bring this up because I read a result from a poll last week that said (and I am not making this up) that 56% of Americans believe that we should not teach or use Arabic numerals.

Let that sink in for a moment. 56% of the American public doesn’t know that 123456789 are Arabic numerals!!! That’s serious Storm  Trooper stupid.

Here’s some other “facts.”

      • “Only two out of five of us can identify the three branches of government;
      • Less than half of us know which nation dropped the atomic bomb;
      • Only one-third of us know that the Congress, not the President, declares war;
      • Only 30% of us know that members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and only 25% of us know that Senators serve six-year terms;
      • Most Americans continue to believe that the 9/11 terrorists came from poverty or were neglected as children despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary;
      • A generation ago presidential speeches were pitched at the level of twelfth graders. Today they are pitched at the level of seventh graders;
      • Even after the 9/11 Commission had stated publicly that Saddam Hussein had provided no support to Al Qaeda, a poll showed that half the population still insisted that he had;
      • Only 25% of us can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment but more than 50% of us can name two members of the Simpson family.

These revelations and many others come from Rick Shenkman, an Emmy Award-winning reporter and historian, in his new book entitled Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter. The vaunted wisdom of the American people, Shenkman says, is a myth. When it comes to government and politics, we are ignoramuses: ill-informed, apathetic, and easily manipulated.”

Think about it. The Attorney General of the United States took Robert Mueller’s 400 plus page report that he didn’t even bother to read and just told the American public, “There’s nothing to see here, these aren’t the droids you are looking for. Move along.”

Almost half the country actually believes it! One Republican Congressman, ONE — actually read the report. And what did he do after he read it? He said that the President needs to be impeached! Because he broke the law!

“These are the Droids you are looking for! Arrest them!”

And then there’s Florida. America’s Dick. America’s big dumb dick. As any male knows, even if he won’t admit it, that when there is a competition between the “big brain” and the “little brain” the “little brain” always wins. For “Florida Man” (yes that’s a real thing, Google it) there is no competition.

Here’s a quick sample. All of the following are real and true:

“Florida Man attacked during selfie with a squirrel.

“Florida Man wearing tee-shirt that says ‘Who Needs Drugs? No seriously, I have drugs” is arrested for drug possession.”

“Florida Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon after throwing alligator through a Wendy’s Drive-in window.”

See? I’m not kidding. These are all real.

“Florida cop claims Burger King put dirt in his food – investigation reveals it was seasoning.”

“Thousands of gun owners in Florida planning to ‘shoot down’ Hurricane Irma.”

“Florida Man tries to rob a Game-Stop while wearing a transparent bag on his head.”

Finally, “Florida Man who tried to ‘run’ to Bermuda in inflatable bubble rescued by Coast Guard, AGAIN.”

And then there’s the number one, all-time greatest, bestest, bigly-brained Florida Man of them all.

We could really use Obi-Wan right about now.

Not the end.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – BY TOM CURLEY

Nazis are bad.

This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact. But, we seem to live in a world where facts are considered by many to be identical to opinions. That still doesn’t make them any less ‘factual.’ The fact is, NAZIS ARE BAD! White supremacists are bad. White nationalists are bad. A Nazi by any other name is STILL A NAZI!

Despite this, there has been a huge rise in Nazism, white supremacy, hate crimes, and massacres, the latest being the horrific massacre in New Zealand. Which, by the way, was live-streamed on Facebook. That was bad enough. What was worse was it was re-posted over a million times on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many sick fucks are out there?

Turns out, way, way more than I ever imagined.

They always were out there, but up until two years ago, they had the decency to stay hidden beneath the rocks under which they lived.

What changed?

What made them come out from under their slimy rocks to proudly proclaim their hatred, their racism, and misogyny? Duh! The White Nationalist in chief, Adolf Twittler got elected president.

Since then, a Nazi nut job living in a van covered with alt-right posters and pictures of Herr Twittler sent pipe bombs to two former living presidents and all sorts of media folk. Another shot up a concert in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, another bunch of right-wing nut-jobs committed mass murder.

What a fine crew they are. Yup. Good people on both sides.

There are so many hideous crimes after a while the details blur together. No matter how horrible Cheesy McCheese Face behaves — like refusing to condemn Nazis who commit murder in Charlottesville and dumping on John McCain even though he has been DEAD for months  — Republicans and “his base” continue to support him.

Well, there goes the neighborhood.

Although his base is a minority in the U.S., they comprise a lot of people. Too many people. So, the question remains, how do we (relatively sane) people deal with these assholes?

I disagreed when Hillary Clinton famously called these folks “deplorables.”

Why? Because they just owned it and started wearing tee-shirts that said “Proud Deplorable.”

She should have called them “Assholes.”

Why? Because how cool would it have been to see hundreds of thousands of these morons parading around in public wearing tee-shirts saying  “I’m a Proud Asshole.”

Lately, an odd thing has started happening. The MAGA hat wearing public is complaining they are being discriminated against. They are being publicly shamed. They are victims. They’re being picked on because they’re Magats.

There are even websites and apps out there that tell them what restaurants they can go to. Where they can be sure nobody will make fun of them. Sort of a “Green Book for Red Hats.”

This shaming is a good thing. If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, we’ve learned you can’t talk to these folks. No matter how many facts you present to these morons, they only believe what the Hater-In-Chief says.

They’re a cult. You can’t have a rational conversation with a cultist. All cults are essentially the same. They only believe their “leader.” Everybody outside the cult is “the enemy.”

Everybody not in the cult is out to get them. The cult leader has secret information that only he possesses. That information almost always is the same:


The leader was anointed by God to be their leader.


As often as not, the hidden information is that the leader actually is God.  Everyone tends to forget that in most cults, the end comes when the leader goes stark raving mad, has sex with all female members, regardless of age, and decides everybody needs to kill him or herself.

The problem is this cult has more than 50-million members. That’s an awful lot of Kool-aid.

Shit, we’re gonna need more Kool-Aid.

So, what do we do with these Magats? These Nazis?

I say let’s treat them the way they treat other minorities:

*   If you see them on the street, cross the street. You never know if they will become violent.

*   If you see them in a store, follow them around to make sure they don’t steal anything.

*   Don’t argue with them. It’s like teaching a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

*   Shun them. Turn your back on them and walk away.

Give them all a message in the one language they understand:


Your kind is not welcome here.


HONOR AND CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS – Marilyn Armstrong

From the Washington Post, these are Cohen’s quotes, not something “made up” by the writer. I’m sure he had help with it because these words have the ring of a professionally written and carefully polished speech.

That being said, I think this sums up much of what many of us feel:

“Mr. Trump is an enigma,” Cohen said in his opening statement. “He is complicated, as am I. He has both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”

He went on to say:

“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great,” Cohen said. “He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.’”

America. The greatest infomercial in political history? Also, probably, the biggest dive from greatest to pettiness, racism, ignorance, cruelty, and rampant destruction of what have always been the beauties of our world.

From the Post:

Cohen has insisted that “blind loyalty” is what drove him to commit crimes on Trump’s behalf. Federal prosecutors have contended that Cohen “relished the role of ultimate fixer” and that he was “driven by a desire to further ingratiate himself with a potential future president — for whose political success Cohen himself claimed credit.”

“Taken together, these offenses reveal a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy,” prosecutors wrote in a memorandum to a federal judge before Cohen was sentenced. “His motivation to do so was not borne from naiveté, carelessness, misplaced loyalty or political ideology. Rather, these were knowing and calculated acts — acts Cohen executed in order to profit personally, build his own power, and enhance his level of influence.”

I can understand why many people would be hesitant to believe the words of a man who, in the name of ambition, would follow a man he knew to be bad in every way that counted.

On the other hand, these people are defending the exact same bad guy and I will bet that every one of them knows how evil Trump really is. They aren’t doing the right thing. They are doing the politically expedient “thing” which they know to be wrong.

Photo: NBC News

I find it hard to fathom anyone having that level of ambition, yet I see it everywhere. Even back in college, there was always one little wormy kid who would do anything to grab the job you were trying to get — and this was back when we weren’t even paid for the work. It was all a matter of personal honor.

Too many people have no honor. These days, it would seem that more than ever, people have no honor — just a personal agenda. Furthermore, they don’t comprehend the concept of honor. They think it’s about ambition and flags … but it isn’t and never was.

From left to right: The four sisters: my mother (Dorothy), Aunt Pearl, Aunt Kate, and Aunt Yetta

Time for a personal story. In my freshman year of college, I met a boy and we fell in love. I was 16. He was 17. He wasn’t a virgin — but he was barely not a virgin. I was a virgin — I was 16, after all — so we went to be together in a borrowed apartment and it was wonderful. It was. He eventually turned out to be more than a little psycho, so while we had an affair that lasted many years, we did not marry. Oddly, he shared Garry’s birthday. As did another boyfriend from that period.

I know we all don’t believe in “fate,” but that’s pretty fateful. I digress. Back to the story.

I actually told my mother about it. You have to understand that my mother was all in favor of modern sex and not being held to old-fashioned standards, so when she went completely bonkers, I was baffled, boggled, and bewildered. I said: “What about …”

And she said: ” Not MY daughter!”

That was when I realized that your beliefs and your BELIEFS didn’t have to be the same. Mom decided I needed to talk to the grand dame of her sisters — my Aunt Kate. My mother’s oldest sister.

Left to right: Aunt Pearl, my mother (Dorothy), Aunt Ethel (Uncle Herman’s wife) and Aunt Kate

She was born in “the old country” and was the only member of the household who still kept Kosher. She remained Jewish without ever casting aspersions on family members who had gone another way.

I adored my Aunt Kate. She was beautiful, a dead ringer for Katherine Hepburn as a young woman. Even older, she had cheekbones to die for. But beyond that, she was deeply and passionately kind. There was inherent goodness about her I have known rarely through the years.

I told her what had been going on. She listened. Quietly. Then she said: “But what about honor?”

Honor?

I had never considered honor as part of the love/sex/passion thing. Nobody had used the word, not even my mother. It was a concept that swept in from the past and put the issue into an entirely new perspective. And I never forgot that for some people, it’s about their version of religion or faith. For others, there are just “rules” you follow because “you’re supposed to follow the rules.” For Aunt Kate, it was about honor. And after that, I never forgot to consider whether or not what I was doing was honorable.

Shortly after that conversation, I pointed out (proudly) to Aunt Kate that I was still wearing the fake fur coat she’d give me when I was in Junior High School because I loved it. Horrified that I could still be wearing that old coat, in the middle of Manhattan, she pulled off her coat and gave it to me. I tried really hard to give it back, but it stuck. Until I moved to Israel when I got rid of most of my heavy winter clothing, it was my “good coat.” It was a fake beaver coat. No fur, just poly whatever, but it looked and felt like the real thing and had a wonderful swing to it.

We had lunch at a hotel dining room and I tucked my arm into the crook of her arm and we walked locked together down the avenues of Manhattan.

Honor.

That’s what is missing from today’s America. Our sense of honor is gone. We stand naked and shivering in the winds of ambition with no moral code. There’s no one worse than us, though there are a few probably at least as bad other places.

Our days of lecturing the rest of the world about right and wrong are, I think, over. Or at least over for the next 50 years while we try to repair our image. Maybe longer, depending on whether or not the chaotic Democratic Party can collect itself and think nationally and rationally.

Let us find honor for all rather than self-aggrandizement for a few.

Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

FEELING PIQUED? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Pique

Pique is such a cute little word. It’s the right word, mind you, but it doesn’t really cover the territory.

I am in a life and death struggle with AT&T, which is interesting because I’ve closed my account with them. Apparently, for the privilege of not working with them, you have to pay for that, too. In their system, if you call them, you have to pay them for “an upgrade” even if you don’t upgrade. Even if you were talking about it, decided not to and hung up. They will still bill you between $70 and $90 (assuming you didn’t buy a phone … more if you actually bought anything at all) for having talked to them.

That’s a hefty bill when you’ve actually done nothing at all except discuss what plans are available. I have concluded — and not lightly or without serious thought — that anything they tell you via customer service is a lie. Either it’s an outright lie intended to just shut you up and get you off the phone, or it’s something they made up just to get you off the phone. I call that “making it up as you go along” but perhaps you can come up with a more colorful name.

To get “make it up as you go along” service, you need a manager. They will even send you “the deal” in writing and no one else will have heard of it. They will give you long and complicated case numbers, but no one will do anything about them. If you are working with my bank, they will tell you they’ve taken care of it and if you call back, you’ll discover no one did anything at all. They completely ignored you.

That’s the third part: completely ignoring you while pleasantly agreeing with everything you say.

Why is customer service like this? It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when customers were valued. For that matter, when workers were valued. Now, no one is valued unless they own the company or run a major piece of it.

The important thing to remember is:

Trying to find peace with customer service

They will tell you they understand your frustration. They do not comprehend the difference between “pique,” “frustration,” and “lethal rage.” They don’t realize that 9 or 10 pointless conversations with customer service don’t make you a bit frustrated. They make you angry enough to want to strangle whoever is on the other end of the line.

Pity you can’t reach through and grab them by the throat, isn’t it?

I’m feeling a little bit “piqued” at AT&T. Just a bit of pique. Nothing serious.