US Judicial Coup, Liberal Confusion, University Infiltration – or All Three?


Right now, I find myself at a curious intersection (for one who hates jargon, and is especially irritated by distracting, meaningless nonsense like ‘intersectionality’: if you have something to say, say it clearly; don’t hide it behind clever-sounding, long, made-up words). Where was I? Oh yes. Curious intersection.

I closely follow the decades-long journey to ‘constructionism,’ ‘original intent,’ whatever on the US federal bench. Reading drivel like that written today by the (London) Observer’s Richard Wolffe.

All the while noting regularly that we are where we are not because of some judicial coup, but because large numbers of US working people have switched their allegiance to the Republican Party, as the Democratic Party has abandoned them over the past 30 years, in favor of we-know-best social engineering.

Meanwhile, I return to university. Only to find college political professors, at a major university known to have close ties with the Koch brothers, merrily promoting political theory which says that modern US polity has abandoned objective reason (as taught by ‘great thinkers’ like Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Allan Bloom and Ayn Rand), and should return to its senses, led by a judiciary dedicated to the ‘natural law’ expounded in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, and supported by the Federalists.

Timely, interesting, co-incidental and not a little creepy, eh?

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Published in: on October 7, 2018 at 2:48 am  Leave a Comment  

D.R.A.T. – Democratic Response Against Trump

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Democrats are losing the PR battle with Trump. I could explain at length why I say this, and why I think it is so. But it all comes down to one word: focus. In which spirit, I’m going to let Peter Hamby, in his excellent article in Vanity Fair, summarize my own feelings, while I focus on what I think Democrats should do about it.

First, we need to get real focused, real quickly on who the voters are that we believe will make the difference in 2018 and 2020. I have my own views about who those voters are, and what policies will likely ensure they turn out to vote for us. And every other supporter of the Democratic Party has their own idiosyncratic version, too. Matters not. We have the capability to work out what is the real answer, and to focus on it. I’ve written further about this elsewhere also.

I could say, and have said, that the next step is to create a unified and vigorous message and platform that targets these voters, and to find the best candidates to present that message and platform. But, you know, we’re kind of past that stage now. It’s become more urgent. Plus, different messages/platforms/candidates work in different parts of the country. Why not trust the local organizations to make those decisions for themselves?

My focus, with this post, is on coming up with a resource that serves all candidates, whatever their personal message, and wherever they are presenting it: a vehicle which begins successfully to counter Trump’s PR.

In my opinion, we need a national-level, rapid-response, message task force. Which utilizes every aspect of modern media coverage, just as Trump does. Is fronted by people who are telegenic, radiophonic (is that the right word?). And which counters Trump every day with punchy, pithy, catchy//optics, visuals, slogans, Tweets.

Ooh, ooh, you may say. We have that. No. We don’t. Because, if we did, I’d be deluged with it. I’m not. Period.

There is a wonderful new group, Navigator Research, which claims to be sharpening the Democratic message. I have some of its members as my FB Friends. I read their very long and very interesting reports. Until, with respect, my eyes cloud over. This is not what I’m talking about. This group may well be able to help with determining the target group of voters, with fashioning the content of the counter-punch. But again, with respect, it is not at the moment doing any punching.

I have written elsewhere what I think that punch should look like, to achieve the most effect. Comes down to this. Folks do not want a non-stop stream of invective against Trump the animal. They know who he is. They know he’s awful. That message is winning us nothing. Neither is all the talk about Russian collusion and White House corruption.

I don’t care what you say is in the polls. I’m out and about, in western South Carolina (previously, central North Carolina). Deep in the heart of the sorts of places Democrats should be reaping votes like so much tasty seasonal hay. These people are totally unmoved by these storylines. They’re punch drunk. They don’t care any more. Maybe the talking heads in Washington gain amusement from making the latest clever debating points. But ordinary folk just glaze over.

What we need to do is focus on the metrics that influence these ordinary people every day of their lives. But which no-one else is articulating. I’m not going to pretend I have the precise list. A group like Navigator Research can work out the details. But I do know this. It should be about three metrics. No more than five. Likely: the buying power of the money in your pocket; how Trump is affecting your place of work; job security (for you and your children); your kid’s education; your healthcare insurance premium.

We need gimmicks. Lots of them. What about a grade card? Weekly. Monthly. The five simple catchy metrics. Lots of graphics. This is how Trump is performing on your grade card this month. And why.

Not the awful Washington press conferences we have at the moment. Fronted by people of retirement age. Explaining through sheaves of paper. Why this Trump policy on trade. Or that Trump approach on welfare benefits. Will affect something. Some time. If we can all stay awake long enough. To take notice.

Punch, punch, punch. Trade war with China means WalMart toys for your kids go up in price. Have they? Will they? Bingo! Here’s a graph showing the steady rise in price of simple consumer goods due to Trump.

And, to be blunt, if your toes curl at the mention of WalMart, you are the problem. Ordinary voters shop at WalMart. Get over it. We need to stop scolding voters, and start trying to win them over.

Trump promised his policies would create more jobs. Have they? The right jobs? The wrong jobs? Where? Did his tax plan bring jobs home? How many? Are his trade wars affecting jobs in America? Will newly-expensive steel hit the car industry in Detroit? What is the ratio of jobs lost by Trump to jobs gained? Graphs. Maps. Moving animation.

Don’t tell us about Iran. And for goodness sake, get Chuck Schumer away from a microphone. Find a telegenic Congressional candidate from Ohio. Put her/him in a typical car. Have a straight stretch of interesting street. And mark out how far she/he can drive the car on half a tank of gallon, on the basis of new higher oil prices, due to Iran, Syria, Israel, whatever (obviously scaled down!).

Being simple in presentation. Pithy and punchy. Doesn’t mean we have to ignore complex issues. We just have to find clever ways to make them accessible. Even if those clever ways don’t always satisfy our own concerns and prejudices.

For example, tell folks that a hostile immigration environment might mean the price of American food produce going up. I know that you and I may care about the inhumanity of much of Trump’s immigration policies. But ordinary Americans, fighting to save a job, unable to pay their healthcare insurance premiums, frankly, might not care as much about another person’s problems as they might about the price of their own food. There is a time for appealing to better instincts, and there is a time for appealing to wallets.

Make it relate. Simple, focused, punchy, fun. Something which appeals to ordinary people; not necessarily something that proves intellectually satisfying to the leaders of the Democratic machine in Washington. Make it accessible. The measure of whether or not it is working is if you are assaulted by it from at least two different sources on your way to work. A roster of cheery folks the media know to interview. With a simple, catch-all, catchy umbrella name. Doesn’t have to be D.R.A.T. Come up with your own. Colors, fonts, logo’s that ordinary people come to know and expect.

We’re never going to beat Trump. He’s been successfully misusing the media for thirty years. What we need to do is sort out what is our gameplan to counter his policies. And then work around him to sell our vision.

Trump is winning because he stays firmly on the low road, appealing to the gut. We don’t want to go there. We don’t have to go there. But neither should we airily float along on some amorphous high road. We stick it to Trump on the basic promises he made and keeps making to the American people. On jobs, cost of living, healthcare premiums, and the like. We stick it to Trump on wallet issues. And hold him to account with noise, color and parade.

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Published in: on June 7, 2018 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Radio Interview Podcast: ‘Trump, Rosneft, Russian Mob’

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The timely podcast of my radio interview with #EdOpperman is now up online – on Spreaker, and on YouTube.

There are two posts of mine, which provide further information:

• ‘Mueller Is Not Looking To Impeach Trump.’

• ‘Trump, World War, Armageddon,#MaggiesHammer.’

The theme: “Ed interviews British-American lawyer and author #GeoffGilson about the real story behind the #Mueller investigation. Is Mueller after Russian Mob ‘Boss of Bosses’#SemionMogilevich, not #Trump? Why does it all lead back to Eastern Europe, the Velvet Revolution and the covert influence of Chivalric Orders?”

PS Do ever so quickly check out the YouTube link, for the delicious takedown of me by ‘Sunshine.’ One of the great advantages of age and an unshakably irreverent sense of humor is that I really do enjoy the negative reviews more than the positive. That said, I’m still open to being bought off, and going to Bermuda. I think I’ve earned a comfortable retirement … 

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Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just How Innocent Is Bill Browder?


Earlier today, I wrote a piece about the news that anti-Putin activist and Trump nemesis, #BillBrowder, was being denied entry into the US. The problem was, I had to mess about with my referencing links. I’d come face-to-face with the issues now inherent with a free internet, alternative web-sites and fake news.

The now-standard line on Bill Browder, for those of you paying attention, is that he is the missing link in the potential Impeachment of Donald Trump. But all is now propaganda, psyops, political spin, alternative facts, fake news, and double-take. If you have an agenda you want to run as news, you can find a way to do it. So whom do you believe?

The prevailing ‘conventional wisdom’ has Bill Browder as crusading victim. But there is an opposing story being peddled that he got his hands caught in the till. And has been using his considerable charms, funds and PR experience very successfully to market his different yarn.

Pretty much all I can do is present some of the other articles I’ve come across, and let you make up your own minds. But bear this in mind. We all need to be more cautious about the information we immediately accept online. Research the source. Compare. Use your own intelligence. And think about it. Before you present it to others as gospel.

And so …

(Yet, this is what we read about the author of the last article:

(And this is what we read about the author of this last article:

But why, I hear you ask, do I even bother with these esoteric sources? Because we live in an age of corporatized mainstream media. Where almost all media has bias and agenda (be it right-wing or left-wing). Where ‘good’ information is fed to whacko sources by folks who want deliberately to discredit that information (a favorite psyops device of intelligence agencies). And where even responsible investigators are forced to use ‘alternative’ sites, due to the agendas and biases of more mainstream outlets. Er. I can attest to that.

So. We have to look a bit further, a bit wider, a bit deeper than we used to. And we have to accept all information that we read with a pinch of salt, until we have managed to effect at least some due diligence. So. Do yours …

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Bannon, Trump: The Normalizing of Political Assault


If you want the clearest illustration of what we are up against with the forces aligned with Trump, look no further than Bannon’s speech to the California GOP on October 20, 2017:

“It’s not about your race, your color, your gender, your religion, your ethnicity, your sexual preference,” he said. “It’s about one thing — are you a citizen of the United States of America? Because if you’re a citizen, there are certain responsibilities and obligations that come with that — but as a citizen also you should have preference for jobs and economic opportunities.”

The high and mighty of one of the union’s strongest Republican state parties essentially gave their support to Bannon, as he savaged their 43rd President.

They stayed silent as he laid out his plan aggressively to take the populist fight of the AltRight to the existing Republican Establishment.

They sat on their hands as he enunciated a platform which remains removed from fascism only by the fact that we still live in a democracy, and one can argue what precisely represents ‘statism.’

Republicans cannot tame Trump and Bannon. Only the Democrats can defeat them. And they stand no chance of achieving that ambition while they themselves still trade in denial, hypocrisy and banality.

The only realistic path to overturning Trump is successfully to remove from him the voters who remain scared of what the future holds. But who might find themselves attracted to a populism that eschews hatred and inspires with inclusivity.

Quite rightly, in this past week particularly, our attention has been focused by the #MeToo campaign on the sexual aspects of abuse of power.

But abuse is not always sexual. Bullying exists in the political and social as well as the sexual context. It all comes back to the concept of folks with power using their power to abuse others.

If we want to reduce the incidence of bullying, in all its demonstrations, then we need an environment where all chauvinism, supremacy and notions of dominion are considered anathema.

The silent enablement of the inappropriate imposition of authority is the active normalizing of all behavior which leads to bullying, abuse and assault. There is no excuse for ignoring the connection.

And Trump and Bannon are about nothing if not the creation of an environment where political and social Darwinism is considered the norm. They are the active personification of political assault. Not just with the ugliness of their behavior. But with the savage and divisive denigration contained in their rhetoric.

If you ain’t speaking out about this. If you aren’t preaching against this, by supporting political as well as sexual #MeToo. If you aren’t promoting a plan that has a realistic chance of stopping it. Then you might just as well be a card-carrying member of it …


Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Weinstein, Trump, North Korea, et al – Is There An Upside To Ugly?


Yes. You read that right. First, let me make clear, if it is not already obvious. Unlike those celebrities and politicians, who first had to check their social diaries, campaign finances, moviemaking schedules (insert where appropriate), before they thought it wise to criticize Harvey Weinstein publicly. And speaking as someone with five sisters and most of whose extended family and close friends are female. I have no problem whatsoever in saying that Weinstein is a monster. And that I’m clearing out all Weinstein Company and Miramax films from my DVD collection. I just wish they’d made enough decent movies that such a move would have any kind of significant impact.

But. As a rather outré observer of social and political phenomena. I find myself compelled to comment that there seem to be some rather interesting, disturbing, welcome (again, choose whichever works) consequences to the focus on Weinstein.

1) First, the most disturbing. It is normalizing Trump. Don’t let this happen.

2) But. The good. Folks are coming forward. Trump, and now Weinstein. Have made the atmosphere so unbelievably toxic. We are prepared to believe anything and everything. And in a weird way. I sense people feel more comforted about coming out and speaking up. And are finding that there is more support for them. Well. Possibly not from those who have taken the Weinstein shilling.

3) There is so much ugly in the air at the moment. Those of us with a conscience are actually more alert, not exactly looking for, or expecting someone to support. But more ready to do so. And. Strangely. Prepared to discuss, advance social responses a bit more out of the ordinary than usual. I mean, I know we expect the unorthodox from Justin Trudeau. But would he have found himself able to suggest, as he did yesterday, in an essay in Marie Clair, that boys should be raised as feminists to change the culture of sexism. If the social and political environment were not so poisonous?

4) Broadening the scope beyond Weinstein. Taking into consideration issues like North Korea, Iran, Corker, Puerto Rico. Think of the times we have not organized sufficiently or quickly enough in response to allegations of wrongdoing. Because they seemed too unbelievable. The ‘Oh C’mon Syndrome.’ Do we have that stance any more? If you’re missing my point. Consider how long it took for people to believe that the BBC harbored child abusers. Or the Catholic Church protected sex molesters.

5) Our headlines at the moment are a psychological nightmare of uncomfortable. But, I remember reading a political analyst who, halfway through the TV Reality Show otherwise known as the 2016 Republican Primary, opined that, if elected, Trump might well serve a useful function in leeching the social poison simmering just below the surface of the collective US psyche. Er. Anyone want to contest that opinion now?

6) Put it another way. Would Weinstein have been exposed without Trump? Would we be thinking, bloody hell, we really do need to do something about North Korea, Iran, healthcare, jobs, immigration (again, you fill in the gaps), if we were not truly frightened sick that Trump and his ilk were about to take us all into the Dark Ages?

I genuinely am not making light of any of this. I’m just noticing that we merrily took the elevator to the Seventh Level of Hell. Sniffed. Dropped one. And now find ourselves truly mobilized to do stuff. And unwilling any longer just to accept.

For my own part. I have written some fairly whacky stuff in my time. But most of it now pales in comparison to the reality of what I’m reading in the headlines. Even on the fake news web-sites. My angels-fear-to-tread posts now have footprints that make them look like Macy’s carpet the day after Black Friday. Ok. That was a lighter reference. Just in case you’re finding it difficult to tell the difference.

The point is. I guess. As awful as are the stories we are reading at the moment. From Weinstein to California wildfires. From Vegas to Myanmar. As much as we may feel like the world is going to heck in a hand-basket. Even more than normal. Like we want to take a kneel just walking into a Regal 16. I find myself more heartened than normal. And I am Mr. Optimist. I find myself genuinely comforted that we are a sufficiently resilient and compassionate species. That we will always find remedies. And we may be more ready to do so now, because of, not in spite of, the monsters in our midst.

Having said which. For the love of the soon-to-be-incinerated Hollywood Couch. Please do not sink back into our now-normal, societal, 15-minute ADD, and not stay alert. There’s shit out there. Loads of it. Yet uncovered. Still unexposed. Keep your eyes open. Be ready to help someone you know. And be prepared to believe anything and everything. And then act. I’m not saying I’m happy we have monsters among us. I’m observing that they’re bringing to the surface matters we need to be ready to address.

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Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Make America Ok Again


I read an article by Damon Linker from The Week. With some trepidation. Normally his writings make my toes curl. They are beyond self-righteous paeans, aimed at the George Clooney Wing of Democratic Anxiety. But his essay’s title catches my attention: “This is the America we deserve”.

For once. I agree with him. At this moment in our collective history, I think we are precisely the America we deserve.

Before I explain why. And also, why I disagree with Damon’s analysis, although not his conclusion. Before all of that. Let me deal with the term ‘America.’ Which is not as tangential a point as it may at first appear.

Yesterday was Columbus Day. A day which appears to be having less and less relevance. A day when people remember that an Italian, funded by the Spanish Royal Family, claimed to have ‘discovered’ a land, already settled by an indigenous people.

Columbus didn’t name it ‘America.’ He didn’t found ‘America.’ He landed on an island in the Caribbean. He never set foot on what we now call North America. And he spent much of his later years also exploring Central and South America.

The word ‘America’ comes from a lesser-known navigator and explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. Who made the decision? A cartographer. Like Columbus, Vespucci traveled to the New World (first in 1499 and again in 1502). Unlike Columbus, Vespucci wrote about it.

Vespucci’s accounts of his travels were published in 1502 and 1504 and were widely read in Europe. Columbus was also hindered because he thought he had discovered another route to Asia; he didn’t realize America was a whole new continent. Vespucci, however, realized that America was not contiguous with Asia. He was also the first to call it the New World, or Novus Mundus in Latin, in his books.

Er. Thank you for the history lesson, Geoff. You’re welcome. But, there’s a point. Which goes to the heart of the ‘American’ character. Much like our current President (which is one reason why we deserve him), most ‘Americans’ are not that concerned with accuracy. They prefer the story. The boast. The self-righteous self-aggrandizement.

And so. We celebrate Columbus ‘discovering’ America. With no thought for the settlers already here. And we merrily call it ‘America.’ Without a thought for the fact that most maps call it ‘North America.’

Columbus and Amerigo explored many other parts of a continent, all of which is known as ‘America.’ Yet, it is only we inhabitants of the United States of North America who abrogate to ourselves the term ‘American.’

And here’s the rub. It ain’t just a white or a European thing. For this demonstration of supremacist nationalism, all residents of the United States of North America bear equal blame. Whether legal or not, all such residents are happy to use the epithet ‘American’ once they set foot here.

Which illustrates a further aspect of why, right now, I think we are the America we deserve to be. Not only do we always enjoy presenting ourselves in the best light possible. That ‘we’ relates to everyone. And it ain’t always just a ‘best light’ thing. If we can’t be the best on our own merits, we have no problem being ‘best’ by dissing someone else.

So. We abrogate the term ‘American’ solely to ourselves. Regardless of the fact that there is a whole continent and some 55 countries and dependent territories which are also ‘American.’

We claim to be the greatest country the world has ever known. Even if that is always true. It is the manner of the claim which underlines our national character. None of us. White, black, brown, yellow, red. Could ever settle for merely being ‘as good as,’ or ‘ok.’ Nope. We have to be the greatest. And when we think we are slipping. We elect a rogue who promises that he can ‘Make America Great Again.’

Now. Any outside, unbiased observer might conclude that, with so much emotion invested in our singular greatness, there would be a singular viewpoint as to what makes us great. Um. Not so much.

For while we are all happy erroneously to abrogate to ourselves the single description ‘American’ once our feet touch the soil, we’re none too successful at actually melding ourselves into a singular strand of ‘American.’

For why, I do not know. Another essay, for another time. But we delight in almost immediately dividing ourselves into sub-categories of ‘American.’ It is as if, at the very moment we recognize our own ‘Americanism,’ we look up, see a different color, hear a different language, experience a different culture, and demand separation at the very same time as we yearn for melting pot.

And so we build our own walls. Immediately. And become British-Americans, Indian-Americans, Chinese-Americans; gay Americans, black Americans, Christian Americans; liberal, conservative, AltRight; supremacist, oppressed, disadvantaged.

We divide ourselves with railway lines. Neighborhoods. Gated communities. Various shades of red and blue. And worst of all, with self-righteous polemic, that refuses to accept any kind of social or political communality. But rather demands that our very own individual ‘greatness’ can only exist if all others are minimized and characterized as being ‘wrong.’

We deserve, not because we earn. But because we exist. And if we do not have. Then someone else took it away. Undeservedly. We can only be right today, because someone else was evil yesterday. We divide. We conquer. We polarize. We demonize. And if we cannot do it on merit. Then we lie. All of us. Every day.

And that is why we are the ‘America’ we deserve.

It is why we elected the monster we deserve. For he knew precisely to whom he was appealing. He knew exactly what would happen when he said: you deserve; and if you do not have, I will find someone to blame; and someone from whom to take. If that person is already here, we will get rid of them. If that person is abroad, we will push them aside. I will give you freedom to hate. To acquire. To control. Without regard for consequence. Follow me.

How did he know that we would react as positively as we did to this message? Because, leaving aside all of the remainder of the history of the United States of North America, very specifically, that is what we have been doing these past forty years or so. ‘We.’ All of us. All ‘Americans.’

We have been giving ourselves permission to be who we want to be. Believe what we want to believe. Behave how we want to behave. Take what we want. Own what we want. Whether or not it is ours. Whether or not we can afford it. For no reason other than the fact that we are ‘American.’ And we deserve.

And we have done all this regardless of the impact upon others. Regardless of consequence. To ourselves. To our neighbors. To our friends. To our enemies. Regardless of resulting debt, whether financial, emotional or political.

But it’s been worse than ‘regardless.’ Very often, we have had full ‘regard.’ ‘Regard’ for what we have recognized has been in our way. ‘Regard’ to express our own self-righteous objection. Whether that self-righteous objection has been properly informed or not. And then precocious disregard, as we have arrogantly tossed aside what has been in our way. Domestically, and abroad.

All of which has left us a populace now at war with ourselves. And pretty much with the rest of the world.

What is the answer? Simple. Stop thinking we are always entitled. As individuals and as a nation. Stop believing we are the greatest. Ditch the nationalist and supremacist narcissism that leads to toxic convictions like the one that says we are the only country on this continent permitted to call itself ‘America.’

Truly take to heart the fact that there are six and a half billion other people in the world. With whom we have to live in harmony. Three hundred million inhabitants of this country, who have to find a way to live together. And who have to learn how to disagree in a civil manner.

Accept that it’s ok to be ‘ok.’ That other folk can be ‘ok,’ too. Without it taking anything away from us. All of us. Each of us. That would be a good start.

Along with realizing that the blame lies with all United States Americans. Not just the one in the White House. He is merely the reflection of the rest of us. A reflection of the America we have all become. The America we currently deserve to be …

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The Price We Pay In The US For Freedom


Already, we are hearing conspiracy theories about Las Vegas. Made worse by the fact that algorithms associated with social media sites are making some of the more obnoxious theories go instantly viral.

As upsetting as this is. Not least for victims, their families and friends. The fact is that, when a country, such as the US, places such a vigorous premium on freedom. Freedom of the press. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the internet. Freedom to own a gun. The price we pay for freedom is often ugly and painful.

As always, the price we are willing to pay as a society is the consequence of decisions we make to balance freedom, security, safety and decency. There is no right or wrong. There are only the choices we make, democratically, by deciding to take part in the electoral processes we have already agreed by way of majority vote.

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Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 3:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Las Vegas: If Not Now, Then When?


I got jumped on a bit for a comment that ‘politicized’ the tragedy in Las Vegas.

Before I say anything about that, let me once more take a moment for all of us just to think of 58 dead. 527 injured.

Let’s stop long enough, from looking at the pictures. Tracking money to the Philippines. And actually think about 58 people dead.

Lying on the ground. Tended to by friends. Who knew them, laughing and singing, only moments before. With families waiting. For whom now the wait will never end.

Let’s think about what 527 injured means. A scratch? Crippled? Neighbors whose lives are ruined. Whose families just went from sharers to carers.

Let’s think about the first responders. Who, as always, thought nothing of their own safety. As they attempted to protect others.

Let’s think of the concert-goers. Who stood up. Went back. Covered bodies. And helped some to safety. Who were themselves injured, or killed, as a consequence.

It’s not just that we live in violent times. We live in an age where social ADD is the norm.

Who remembers Harvey? Who cares now about Irma? The people still suffering the effects of flooding do.

The President, for sure, has moved on. To Puerto Rico. To demand praise. For emergency efforts that owe nothing to him.

A President whose only contribution to societal institutional memory was to minimize the effects of Maria, by making offensive comparison to Katrina.

But it’s not just Trump. It’s all of us. If it happened last week, it might just as well have happened a millennium ago.

If it happened before a win by our favorite college team. It is forgotten altogether.

I’m 61. I’ve seen a lot. There isn’t too much about which I cannot say: it’s ok; things will change – they will get better.

But one thing gets worse. Our ability to move on, and forget. I do not mind the moving on. I do mind the forgetting.

I was accused of heartlessness for ‘politicizing’ Las Vegas ‘too soon.’ The real heartlessness is allowing so much time to pass that it never becomes sufficiently ‘politicized’ at all.

We permitted Donald Trump to become President, because we waited too long.

We let important issues slide because we have convinced ourselves they can wait until tomorrow.

We condemn ourselves to future tragedies, because we pretend that it is ‘too soon’ to politicize the ones that just happened.

Another product of our age is our desire to normalize activity we know, deep in our heart, is not normal.

I understand about the Second Amendment. I get the history of this country. The desire to protect loved ones. But gun culture is not normal. We need to stop pretending to ourselves that it is.

And this is not merely a rant calling for gun legislation. That is one more product of our times: we seek to dumb everything down.

This isn’t just about responsible gun ownership versus bad. This is about changing ourselves into a society where we hate less, and are prone to violence less. Where the perceived need for guns is less.

This is not a cultural change that happens overnight. With one piece of legislation. This is a process that takes years. Demands dedication. Sacrifice. Clear thinking. And constant renewal.

I wrote elsewhere about what sort of issues I would see addressed if one were to attempt a complete rethink of a culture that regards possession of incredibly dangerous and offensive weaponry as the norm. I paste that ‘program’ here:

“If someone were to ask me to address the issue of violence in the US, I would talk about:

1) My therapist from alcohol rehab in 1994. Who is or was part of a national commission, set up by rehab experts and the insurance industry, to examine the whole problem of addiction. Causes. Environmental. Genetic. Cycles of abuse. Which commission was seriously discussing having all insurance companies pay for two weeks of therapy for every insurance holder. To deal with all of the natural distortions we all experience growing up. The commission (not so much the insurance companies) took the view that such wholesale therapy could well reduce the incidence of violence in society.

2) Reform of policing methods. Aiming at a time when front-line police in the US might not carry guns. When citizens would be involved in designing the rules of conduct by which they are policed. When the disconnect between those who genuinely want to serve and protect and their communities could be fully repaired. (

3) The connection between disadvantage and behavior. The connection between seeming imbalance in society and reaction. Addressing causes, while also making it clear that no ’cause’ excuses breaking the law.

4) The manner in which our society properly deals with those with mental health issues. In a dignified fashion.

5) Sentencing policy, and whether or not it creates a devil-may-care attitude among those likely to break the law.

6) Gun culture. How to change it. I really do not think there is anyone out there saying that gun ownership is a good thing. It builds character. It makes my crops grow. It is generally expressed in terms of protection. So, let’s talk about protection from what. And seriously address the ‘what.’ With an open mind.

This would be a start. And, as you can see. I regard the issue of ‘gun culture’ as multi-dimensional. Too many folks, in my opinion, look at it one-dimensionally: guns are good; guns are bad. It ain’t that simple. And. Addressing it will take tens of years. If not longer.”

I now add a couple of comments from another contributor. I do not have their permission. But I was struck sufficiently by their words that I want you to read them, too:

“I wish we had more support for those who feel breaking into someone’s house armed to rob and possibly kill (is ok), maybe if there were far less poor and suffering there would be less of a need for others to feel they have to protect themselves. Maybe if certain drugs were legalized and regulated there would be less violence as well.”

“I don’t think society will become safer. We are over populating our planet and our middle class is disappearing, with not much hope in sight for a brighter future for those who have only known a life of despair. I am grateful for those in my life who have helped my family out in our lowest of times, preventing me from feeling the desperation that so many do that bring them to the point of committing heinous acts against others. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of my husband and children. Thankfully I have people in my life who have prevented me from reaching the point where I feel I have to jeopardize my moral beliefs to keep my family fed, not everyone has that. And the number of people who don’t is growing rapidly.”

Hate. Violence. Gun culture. Are not normal. But that does not mean that I do not understand why they exist. They exist because too many of us are in despair. In fear.

I do not apologize for ‘politicizing’ Las Vegas. I do not apologize for ‘politicizing’ it ‘too soon.’ I do not apologize for saying that ‘gun culture’ is not normal. And demanding that our society do much, much better. Each of us. As individuals. Not some amorphous societal blob, in a capital or capitol. All of us. We all of us need to do much, much more to relieve the despair and fear felt by so many in our society. My only apology would have been if I had not politicized this issue at all.

Facebook comments are here.

Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 3:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Las Vegas 2017 – Guilt


Nobody really wants to be the one to say this. We would prefer our focus be entirely on grieving and consoling. But, it is not too soon. And we all know it is in our minds. So. Let me be the one. A country and western music festival? Maybe now the rednecks will wake up and take notice?

#heartbroken #stopallthehate

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Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment