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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ship of Fools

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet
-- African proverb


Trump was going to defeat ISIS in the first 30 days.

He was going to “win” in Afghanistan – after all, he knew more than the generals who had studied war for their entire lives and who had been fighting in Afghanistan for more than a decade. He knew more than the State Department. He knew more than the history professors. He scoffed at the experts, the “elites,” because he knew more than they did. Remember?

He was going to "repeal and replace" Obamacare "on Day One." That’s what he promised. It seemed impossible, such a promise, but it would be easy, he said. He had a great plan. Great, Folks, you’ll see.

He was going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. When critics questioned how that would work, how he could possibly make good on such a preposterous promise, they were shouted down.  And the press was vilified and penned into corrals far from the stage.

He was going to throw out all the illegal immigrants.

He was going to make a deal with North Korea and Iran and China and Russia and the world.

He was going to … do something. Yes, something. Something something gazpacho and make America great again.

The ignorant mouth breathers who make up his base ate it up, even though he was always short on details and long on rhetoric.

They actually believed him.

They actually believed Donald Trump – Donald Trump of all people – could somehow bring them some vague undefined victory in the Middle East. That he would somehow secure 10,000 miles of porous American borders and make a profit doing it. That he would give them great high-paying jobs complete with healthcare that didn’t require any effort or education or initiative on their part whatsoever while at the same time sticking it to everybody they considered lazy and unworthy and unfit to be an American. And somehow – somehow – he would cut taxes and reduce the size of government while at the very same time increasing spending by untold billions on some mightily “restored” military and he was going to eliminate the national debt through some magical new trade deal that he would personally work out with the rest of the world.

And he was going to power the whole damned thing with clean coal.

And they actually believed him.

They did.

But then these are the same drooling cross-eyed dipshits who think a billionaire New York real-estate developer who builds tacky casinos and swanky country clubs staffed by foreign workers, a Reality TV host whose shows are an hour-long fuck-fest of tits and ass and self-serving backstabbing narcissism portrayed by the personification of some backwoods West Virginia county fair demolition derby cheered on by drunken rednecks in cow shit spackled overalls, married to a string of vapid trophy wives, buoyed up incestuous nepotism, and surrounded by a scurrying host of toadies, sycophants, ass kissers, discredited fringe political hacks, cashiered generals, Wall Street crooks, war profiteers and foreign interests, a guy who has never shown the least charity or nobility or degree of compassion, a guy who daily craps in a golden toilet, yeah, that guy, is actually going to look out for their interests from his penthouse windows.

These are people who steadfastly refuse to face reality in any fashion while the seas rise and America falls.

These are people who think there are easy, cheap, simple sound-bite answers to the problems of civilization.

These are people who believe that you can end terrorism by bombing nations into rubble -- because for them, every problem can be solved with a punch in the face or a bullet in the guts.

These are people who think poverty, racism, and inequity can be solved by smugly telling poor people, "get a job, loser!"

These are people who actually think human migration can by stopped by a wall despite thousand of years of history that repeatedly and definitively proves exactly the opposite.

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This morning, even the most stalwart Trump supporters are howling in outraged betrayal.

Reality is setting in, both for Trump and for them.

The Great Wall they were promised is just a renovation of what they already had, and they’re going to pay for it, not Mexico. Because building an actual giant wall across 2000 miles of Mexican border is not only impractical, it’s fiscally impossible – and it won’t work anyway.

Trump is now making noises that he’s maybe open to fixing Obamacare, single-payer in the form of Medicare for All is suddenly making progress in Congress, and the diehard Trump supporters are disappointed to the edge of tears.

Trump’s big MOAB of a plan to crush ISIS is a dud, and his plan for Afghanistan is, well, more of the same.

And now?

This morning he’s actually praising the Dreamers and saying he doesn’t want them kicked out of the country.

Former Trump supporters like Anne Coulter…

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… are now shitting their collective colons inside out in white hot fury.

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A year ago, those like Coulter thought Trump was “the only one making sense.”

Except he wasn’t.

He wasn’t making sense.

He never made sense.

At all.  Ever.

He never answered a single question. He never gave any details. There was never any plan of any substance whatsoever.

It was all just bombast and bluster, vague hand waving and impossible promises and I’d like to say than any fool could have seen it coming but that’s obviously not true. More than Sixty millions fools just like Anne Coulter couldn’t seem to see it. 

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The simple truth of the matter is that there are no simple solutions.

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There are no simple solutions and there never have been.


If you believed Trump’s promises, well, you’re a goddamned fool and you have nobody to blame but yourself.


You can't end terrorism.

Not in thirty days. Not in thirty years. Not ever.

War, conflict, terrorism, you can't end war and killing and destruction by more war, more conflict, more terror.

Wars to end all wars don’t. And never have.

You can't drop civilization on people from the belly of a B-52.

What’s that?

World War II?

We ended World War II by bombing the Nazis and the Japs out of existence?

Did we?

Did we really?

Or did the killing actually end when those nations were rebuilt over decades into new, peaceful, productive civilizations? When the things that precipitated that war, food, resources, rights, industrialization, inequality, trade, economy, were addressed and at least to some degree fixed.

I spent my entire adult life bent to the business of war. I’m a professional at it. So don’t roll your eyes and call me some silly liberal peacenik with flowers in my hair. I know all about war and I’m not at all a fool. I’m not saying that the war isn’t sometimes necessary, or that we don’t need rough men ready to do violence in the night on our behalf.

But war is a failure of civilization.

Afghanistan has been bombed to rubble over and over, but there still isn’t any peace there.

Africa has been bombed and blown up and raped and mauled and mangled and shot and pillaged and there still isn’t peace there.

No matter how many bombs, no matter how much death, no matter how many die, the war, conflict, terrorism does not end.

It does not end until there is something better.

It’s not the bombs that end the war and terrorism, it’s civilization.

You can't magically give everybody healthcare. You can't magically feed everybody. You can't magically end poverty, homelessness, racism, hate, disenfranchisement by waving your hand.

You can't do it by telling people to get jobs.

You can't do it by telling people to pull themselves up if there’s nowhere for them to pull themselves up to.

You can't do it by giving people things.

But you also can’t do it by not giving them things.

You can't end illegal immigration by arresting people.

You can't end illegal immigration by deporting people.

You can't end illegal immigration by imprisoning people.

You can't end illegal immigration by building a fucking wall, no matter how long or how high.


You cannot – can not – make America great by engaging in the things terrible countries do.


There are no simple answers.

Civilization is complicated.

Our civilization is the most complex in all of history.

All of these things, war, peace, terrorism, safety, poverty, economic opportunity, law and order, chaos, immigration, jobs, stability, all of these things are facets of the same complex, ever-changing, fluidly dynamic structure – that is: civilization.

There are no simple answers.

There are no permanent answers.

Moreover, there is no single right answer.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Not on the left. Not on the right. It’s more complicated than that. It will always be more complicated than that.

Every single day, you have to push back against the fall of night.

If you really want to end war and terrorism, then you have to work to reduce the fundamental problems that lead to destruction.

People resort to terrorism – and to illegal immigration for that matter – because they don't have anything better.

People turn to crime, to drugs, booze, cults, to myriad destructive actions including violence and terrorism, and to politicians who promise easy solutions and simple fixes, because they're looking for something better. But you don't end war and conflict, terrorism, illegal immigration, crime, chaos, by building walls and blowing up the world.

And you sure as hell don’t end it by pulling the ladder up after yourselves.

“Fuck you, I got mine” is a lousy ideology to build civilization on. 

The rest of the world sees America, the ideal of America, and they want that. That’s why they come here – legally or not.

A moral people would strive to bring the rest of the world up to our level, to ensure all people everywhere have what we have, not slam the door in their faces.

Hunger, poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of opportunity, disenfranchisement, bigotry, inequality, homelessness, hate, fear, uncertainty, all of these things are what lead to war, to conflict, to crime, to illegal immigration, to division, and ultimately to the collapse of civilization.

The only way to ensure a stable and reasonably secure future for you and your descendants, is by building a better world for everybody.

You reduce the likelihood of civilization’s collapse by working to reduce inequality and disenfranchisement, by working to see that everybody has the things they need to live decent lives – for themselves and for their children. Food. Shelter. Healthcare. Jobs. Stability. Order. Education. And so on.

It's ongoing, forever.

There are no simple answers.

There are no easy solutions.

If someone tells you there are, simple answers, that it's easy, that they can fix it all in a few days, well, then they're either a con artist or a damned fool. Maybe both.

Now, to some extent, America can abide foolish leaders – our founders expected such an eventuality and they planned for it.

They built in safeties.

You.

You are that safety.

America can abide a foolish leader, for a while anyway, but it cannot long survive as a nation of fools.

If you want a better nation, a better civilization, then you have to be better citizens.

For starters, that means being smart enough to know when you’re being conned.

And then to face the world as it exists, not as you want it to be.

There are two fools in this world. One is the millionaire who thinks that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the world's ills will be cured.
-- Henry Ford

147 comments:

  1. I am cautiously, ever-so-slightly, just a skosh encouraged by the reaction of the majority of the American public. I am seeing more people turn up at public fora - for instance, more than 100 folks turned out for a public hearing by our state Public Service Commission about a bailout, effectively, for our electric utility; they were passionate, well informed, and outraged.

    Our local newspaper, Republican to the core (and, of course, part of a chain), has actually started running LTEs that denounce the Idiot-in-Chief.

    When I go to the grocery store or ride the commuter train to work, I overhear snippets of conversation - political conversation! That never used to happen.

    It's a helluva long time to next November (and even longer to November 2020), and many things can change or go wrong between now and then(s). But I do see signs that people are beginning to remember - or learn, if they never knew before - what it means to be a citizen.

    Thank you for your eloquence.

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    1. I too have noticed what appears to be a shift in the direction of common sense and involvement. It may be tiny and perhaps fragile but it's encouraging.

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    2. It's funny, but I'm starting to entertain the idea that Trump, unwittingly (or witlessly), is going to end up truly making America great again, as it unites to reject him and all the ugly aspects of our society that he represents and shines a spotlight on.

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    3. Maokun, I have thought the same thing myself. but it seems a lot of conflict has come from it too. a race war so to speak.

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  2. I would like to believe that Trump's disappointed followers will reject him next time, or even assist in removing him before then. but they seem to cling to their belief system even stronger in spite of reality. Viewed from the outside (Canada) I can only watch Americans and shake my head in disbelief.

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  3. Typo in para 3, "corals" SB "corrals."

    You are my god because you say so well what I'm still trying to formulate into coherence.

    Pat in BC

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  4. Not to be a pedant, but I think you meant "corrals" in the early going. Superb essay otherwise, as usual.

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  5. What is more painful is not that they believed any of it, it is that so many of them still do. Also painful - the permanent headache I have from banging my head against the wall.

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    1. Janet, I too would bang my head against a hard surface. Unfortunately I have a high probability of retinal detachment and so must refrain from said head banging!

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  6. "“Fuck you, I got mine” is a lousy ideology to build civilization on."

    Truer words have never been uttered. Unfortunately, this is the battle cry of the Tea Party that had taken over the right wing of the (R) party.

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    1. Far more than just the Tea Party . . .

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    2. This has been the phrase that I've been using to describe the GOP now for quite some time. It's perfect. Unfortunately.

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    3. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredSeptember 15, 2017 at 5:04 AM

      Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor to VP Joe Biden, uses the terms YOYO (You're On Your Own) vs WITT (We're In This Together) in a number of descriptions of the two sides to that coin. Some excellent economic background and analysis can be found at his On The Economy blog.

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    4. George Lakoff in "Don't Think of an Elephant" used Strict Father v Nurturing Parent to describe the difference between cons and libs. Great book about the "war" between the Left and Right.

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  7. I think a good place to start would be for everyone one to take to heart the first sentence of your commenting rules. Don't be a dick. Treat everyone and every situation with the respect they deserve, and go from there.

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    1. I prefer to treat everyone with respect whether they deserve it or not.

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  8. Thank you for this. It's powerful writing.

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  9. "...war is a failure of civilization."

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    (First paragraph editorial comment : "...knew more *than* the State Department.")

    Thank you, once again, for your superb insight. This was an excellent read.

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  10. Excellent as usual, Jim. One small editing observation: in paragraph 4, should be "corrals" instead of "corals".

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  11. Damn right! You're a man I would love to have a drink (or several) with.

    Bill

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  12. Once again, BANG! nail-on-the-head dead-on, Jim.

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  13. At the risk of offering a simple answer to a complex problem, would a starting point possibly be living wages here, and fair trade worldwide? Since so many insist that Capitalism is their deity, after all. Yes, I AM aware that it's not going to solve everything, but it might be a place to start.

    Gretchen in KS

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    1. I'm thinking that's not a bad start, but also family planning. We have to accept that resources are finite. And we're breeding ourselves into a real mess if we don't stop it.

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    2. Morgan,glad u brought up family planning. To me, that is one of the pitfalls of opening the doors to every refugee or immigrant who seeks a future in the US. Many cultures eschew birth control and support large families. We CANT support unlimited children for anyone, including our own citizens. Cam the US possibly make it a condition of entry, accept current family size but no new ones here? Or ...?It's such a brouhaha to even bring up when you're a bleeding heart humanitarian like me. Thank you. Might have to contact our Reps in Congress about that.

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    3. Education is highly important, too. Making sure people know what their options are. But if they can't afford family planning--or the basic necessities of life, for that matter-- (I really don't think "the land of the free" will gain much traction if it becomes the land of "one child per couple" or something of the sort. But that's only my opinion.)

      It's tough to know where to start, which thread to yank in the whole tangle. Heck, I can't claim it as my own idea, but hubby keeps harping on bringing back the CCC and the WPA. It's not as though we couldn't use more public works, and we certainly have some significant number still unemployed.

      Worldwide, there are so many good deeds in need of doing. Doctors Without Borders, Habitat For Humanity, Red Cross, these are just three organizational names that come to my mind quickly. If they could get the kind of backing they needed, just think what could happen? I don't think of those as being "gifts" so much as a framework for people to be able to use, to lift themselves and others. Then again, where do we start? But we need to start somewhere. I still think a living wage and fair trade. (yes, it's me, but from a different computer.)

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    4. We could start by supporting women's reproductive health rights! By voting against pandering theological politicians. I'm real damn tired of women being vilified for claiming to own, as a sentient being, everything within the confines of their skin and frame. I'm even more freakin' tired of women being treated as too stupid to know what is best for themselves, of needing it legislated. Being blamed for being a woman who 'gets herself' pregnant. When I hear this I always think, just how does a woman impregnate herself? No choice, even the rapist has more rights in some jurisdictions. Being hissed at for not smiling on command, by any man who feels entitled to it. And of course for not self-stifling and being called a bitch or worse, if we dare to stand up for ourselves, our ideas, our intelligence. For insisting on fair play. I think the least of our birth control pitfalls start with immigrants. It starts right here. Whew, sorry to go Grandmother on you.

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    5. Studies have revealed that if a woman can be given even a fourth grade education birth rates will begin to drop. Educating girls and allowing women to participate in an economy dramatically reduces the birth rate and improves the country and the economy.

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  14. Another 5 star article! Well done!

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    1. Excellent commentary Jim, you put many of my thoughts into words so easily. This should be required reading in every PolSci class everywhere.

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  15. OMG Jim! This essay is THE best!
    I wish all countries could read this and be able to take it all to heart.
    Thank you for your great insight.

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  16. An old shipmate of mine who is an unrepentant right wing nut once told me that the reason that he was supporting Trump was because he was the guy that could get the raccoon infestation out of America's collective basement.

    I asked exactly how Trump planned to do that very thing, and my old friend gave me the something, something, business man, knows how to get things done routine. I told him that he was a damn fool, and his folly would come back to bite him, because Trump had nothing but bravado, bull shit, and his own self interests.

    We haven't spoken since.

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    1. Bill, I've recently started questioning acquaintances who voted Trump. I word it as: "I don't wish to get into a discussion, I only have one yes or no question that I'd like you to answer: are you still happy you voted for Trump?"

      So far, two out of three not only says, "NO!", but because they are not forced into a defensive position they start spilling all of the pent up frustration and betrayal they're feeling.

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    2. I have been following American politics for 60 years, and I have never seen so many unhappy winners. And they have been unhappy since the election - they never went through even a short spasm of being happy they won.

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  17. Carefully thought out, Jim, and well presented. We can only hope that it will gain general currency, soon.

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  18. One of these days, I will read one of your essays and check a box other than, "You are my god" but today is not that day. Perfect, pull no punches essay. Thanks for being out there.

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  19. Yup. Or as we used to say, yessir, yessir three bags full. This is what a civilized society should be doing. But then again a civilized society wouldn't let Trump and his ilk with local calling distance of the levers of power, much less the Oval office.

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  20. nailed it, again...... Distrubing read but truth often is. thank you

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  21. Thank you. Please, please, please, let people start "getting it." Please?

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  22. So eloquently written. "It" is kind of simple though...can we all just get along?

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    1. If both parties are willing to try I'm sure we could, but I'm unwilling to get along with actual no shit nazis, and I've never met anyone one willing to try with me.

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  23. Spot on. This is what I call the "last over the bridge syndrome": “Fuck you, I got mine” is a lousy ideology to build civilization on.

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  24. As usual, the verities need to be shouted aloud from time to time... Ironically, I'm reminded of an excerpt from Niven and Pournelle's (great SciFi writers with somewhat jejeune personal political perspectives and RIP to Jerry) Lucifer's Hammer, where one of the central protagonists ponders a proper battle cry: "Over the top for a better standard of living." Yes, civilization is hard. By definition it is an artifice super- and self- imposed over the natural impulses of the sentient members of a species. One of its measures is how well it treats the least among them. Another is the degree to which some members successfully seek advantage over their fellows. While being an artifice, it survives and prospers by attaining and cultivating an ecological balance in the midst of the universe's dictum to seek maximum entropy. Slogans are easy; Policy is hard.

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    1. "Slogans are easy, Policy is Hard" or some variation of that statement should be the Democratic msg going into 1018 and 2020.

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  25. "A moral people would strive to bring the rest of the world up to our level..." THANK YOU! I've long thought this but you're the first professional writer I've seen to articulate it so well.

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  26. You take all my fear, my outrage, my grief, my bewilderment, and you put it out there. And I read your words and think, "Yes. That's it. Right there. That's what's true. And right. That's the answer to what's wrong". And I almost tear up, because I so need to hear that someone, you, have the right of it. I need to hear this. Like every day since last November and going forward until we, as citizens turn things around. Thank you. Amazing article.

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    1. Cheryl, I so agree with your comment. I enjoy reading the comments on Jim's posts almost as much as the posts themselves. It reminds me that I'm not alone, which is much needed living in an area where I am, politically, in a very small minority. It's even more hurtful that many family members are trumpites, and this has caused a lot of bad feelings.

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  27. For many of his sycophants, the only thing that matters is that he hates that BLACK president as much as they do, and thank god we will not have to tolerate a WOMAN as president. An article by David Frum which was a summary of conversations with DT supporters during the election season shook me to the core. Many said that while they had been forced to tolerate a black president, no way were they going to tolerate a woman as president. That is all that matters to many of them.

    So while as usual you have articulated beautifully what besets the country at the moment, for those hard core racists and misogynists, nothing DT does will make an iota of difference in how they view him. He is still out there bashing Hillary and President Obama whenever he gets the chance, and that is their nectar. And that is sufficient for them.

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    1. Do you have a link for the Frum article? I'm wading through https://www.theatlantic.com/author/david-frum/ without any luck so far (assuming that's where the article is located). Thanks in advance...

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    2. Sorry I didn't include the link the first time. "In our America, the gender gap closed a long time ago—and then went into reverse. Obama in the Oval Office was humiliating enough. But Hillary will be worse: We’re going to lose any idea at all that leadership is a man’s job." Here's the link: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/backing-donald-trump/493619/

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  28. Great essay! End quote, not so much. Redistribution actually works, the US 1950s or Medicare are examples. Ford was exaggerating to defend his money. Economic issues are everywhere and a level playing field and safety net require we take some money from one class and give it to another. The real folly is to trust rich people with a nations economy.

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    1. Am I remembering wrong? Was not Ford a closet Nazi and war profiteer? The quote is not bad, though.

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    2. Ford was a rabid anti-Semite who embraced certain of Nazi ideology. When war came, he supported America 100%, though war profiteer is a fair label.

      I used his quote for a specific reason. I'll leave that reason as an exercise for the reader. // Jim

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  29. Sure, there are no easy solution. Tha hardest part is to establish a realitionship with people and that takes hard work, really hard work. The realtionship then can lead to a conversation about solutions, findning common ground, wheter it is taxes or just kindness to your neigbour. This year 7 men will own as much as 3.5 billion people. I don't think a conversation with these seven men will persuade them to part with 99% of their wealth, but it was possible education and healthcare would be easier. But thats the radical dream. The more reasonable one is that we, the people demand better leaders by being better people :)
    Nice text Jim. Keep up the good work.
    Greetings from Sweden

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  30. The problem is, people never want to hear about difficult, time-consuming solutions. They want the problem fixed NOW. They want to wave the wand and make all the problems go away.

    That's how our elections get won these days, by people promising that they have simple solutions to all our problems.

    That lack of will to look at the long term is what plagues us most these days.

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    1. It has always been that way, politicians making promises they can't hope to keep is a cliche older than our constitution.
      What's changed is that for the first time in a few generations is that a white man (I'm not advocating supremacy I'm only pointing out who was disgruntled enough to vote for the asshole) cant find employment that will feed his family.

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  31. Brilliant. As someone who spent the second half of their career as an intel analyst specializing in domestic counterterrorism and foreign policy, all I can say is - you nailed it. Thank you.

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  32. Didn't think it was possible but you just keep getting better. Thanks Jim. Brought tears

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  33. I wish the people I love who thought Trump was the answer because he was an "outsider" "not a politician" would read and understand this. You have articulated perfectly why believing a con-man has led us to this. Thank you for being so smart, so right. I have shared on Facebook, hope the ones I love and many others read and know the truth of this.

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  34. "But war is a failure of civilization."

    The difference between WWI and WWII was not military, but diplomatic. The Treaty of Versailles versus the Marshall plan.

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    1. The Marshall Plan was the greatest thing that happened in the 20th Century.

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  35. Jim, my favorite blog yet. I see you presenting this as a speech at the 2020 Democratic Convention and stealing the show.

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  36. I live in a very rural southern small town. It will take a bit more for these people to see Trump for what he is and turn on him. But if academia (all, not just the so called "liberal"ones), political movers and shakers,right wing media, and local and state governments will start calling bullshit on Trump, the others will follow. They need to be told he is a con and they need to be told by others who also believed Trump. They don't want to feel like fools by themselves. That whole Emperor and the new clothes thing. When my "Give him a chance" mom capitulates then I will know we have made progress toward people really seeing Trump for the con and liar he is.

    Excellent writing, btw!

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  37. This man makes me laugh, makes me think,
    and has, on occasion made me cry.
    Love his writing.

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  38. This may be my favorite sentence you have ever written. "But then these are the same drooling cross-eyed dipshits who think a billionaire New York real-estate developer...degree of compassion, a guy who daily craps in a golden toilet, yeah, that guy, is actually going to look out for their interests from his penthouse windows." Although to be honest I had to read it three times to fully grasp the whole thing and I'm still not sure that I got it all.

    But as always, well done.

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  39. As always, the best most coherent thing i've read all week. And i STILL wont be able to get those who need to hear the message most to take the time to read it, much less absorb its message. But i will try once again. And as always, I am glad you are there, thrusting your brilliant fists against the posts; little by little, one by one, we all need to see the ghosts...

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  40. I heartily agree. I have only one comment. You refer to Trump's wives as "a string of vapid trophy wives." True for the last two, but I've talked to two people who worked with Ivanna Trump, his first wife, who was in charge of certain aspects of his hotel businesses. They both told me that she was a woman with a brain and a really good head for business rather than the trophy wife they were expecting to deal with. So at least she wasn't vapid.

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    1. All three may be less vapid than Trump. Marla Maples was smart enough to raise her daughter far from Donald. Melania appears to understand the deal she made and works to be a good mother for Barron.

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  41. 10th paragraph - "That he would somehow secure 10,000 miles of porous American borders and make a profit doing it." If there were a profit to made from building the wall, Chaney and Halliburton would have built it years ago.

    I wish I could force a number of Trump supporters I know to actually read this piece. It is right on the money!

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  42. Your comment:
    "You reduce the likelihood of civilization’s collapse by working to reduce inequality and disenfranchisement, by working to see that everybody has the things they need to live decent lives – for themselves and for their children. Food. Shelter. Healthcare. Jobs. Stability. Order. Education. And so on."

    Juxtapose that against Deadbeat Dad Joe Walsh on Twitter:
    "No babies, health care is not a right. A meal is not a right. A roof over your head is not a right. A job is not a right.

    It's all on you."

    Men like him, spouting off on the air waves & online are the greatest threat to civilization.

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  43. Perhaps "Homie G's" tweet was the most indicative. "Time to burn my MAGA hat."

    No Homie G, Make America Great Again, but being a better American.

    Homie G is the blinding example of the type of fool who voted for Trump. Somehow, he was certain, that one man who refused to give any details in his plans, somehow even had a plan...much less the ability to carry out said plan.

    Fools. All of them.

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  44. "All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth. " - Baha'u'llah, Gleanings CIX

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  45. “'Fuck you, I got mine'is a lousy ideology to build civilization on."

    How did we, in my lifetime, as a country, go from being led by a man who stated, "As not what your country can do for you..." to being led by a PARTY that says "Ask yourselves, 'What has my country done for me lately?'"

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  46. Once again you have delivered a cogent missive concerning our disastrous leader and the "cross-eyed dipshits" who worship him. For some reason my students never quite understood the whole "no easy answers" answer either...

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  47. i've said,i was waiting for your next entry and you didn't disappoint, i agree 100 % with what you've said, even i'm not american.

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  48. a scathing commentary of Trump and his cult base of idiots and with just the appropriate number of curse words

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  49. "The rest of the world sees America, the ideal of America, and they want that. That’s why they come here – legally or not."
    The ideal of America is exactly why people want to come here, by any means at their disposal, they want to come here. It's our duty as citizens, NOT taxpayers, CITIZENS to try and make the reality of America the equal of its ideal.
    I used to think liberals and conservatives had basically the same destination in mind, but had different routes to get there.
    I'm certain that's not the case now, I suspected it when I changed party affiliation (1994), and trump (purposely diminutive)being elected confirmed it.
    Now the question is how do we unfuck our country?, I know "constant effort ", but our government is a shambles! Our districts are so gerrymandered it'll take two generations to sort out the shit show that is Congress. Our goddamn "democracy" has thrice (in my lifetime) electoraled the loser into office, and each fucking time it's benefited the same party that fucked up congressional districts in the first place! (So why would they unfuck it?)
    So I'm asking for all of us who really understand the distinction between being a citizen and being a taxpayer, WHERE DO WE START?
    I know I've started at home, Columbus Ohio, I've marched, protested, and most importantly voted in every election even the May local stuff only elections. But until WE vote as a block, as CITIZENS, in ALL elections, until we ALL march WE aren't going to make any headway!
    MSGT M.Alvarado US Army (Ret.)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. I live in Hawaii, which has consistently voted mostly Dem wince inception, but has all the political pull of a voting bloc of 2. I don't feel right giving a lot of money to the DNC. Anything I do locally is preaching to the choir, and unless I move to a red state for political reasons, what are my options?

      Delete
  50. Another right on the money essay, Chief.

    /salute

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  51. Excellent.....very matter of fact....even the trump supporters should have no rebuttal

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  52. Have we ever even tried giving peace a chance?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we have, and it worked very very well. The Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine, in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

      It didn't change everything, but it did more good for more people than anything ever proposed or done by any people ever in history.

      Delete
    2. I must say, from the perspective of Europe, which happened to fall into war every couple of decades, 7 decades of peace and prosperity looks pretty good.

      Yes, I know, there were still regional conflicts, like the breakup of Yugoslavia, but not 3 of the largest countries of Europe going to war with each other and subsequently dragging most of the world into it.

      Delete
    3. "The Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine, in the immediate aftermath of WWII "only kept us out of war for 5 years at the most. Although 5 years is 5 years. Great blog Jim!!!

      Delete
  53. Thank you for another spot on essay. Very well thought out and well written and a msg both sides need to hear and heed.

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  54. Anyone seeking an example of the eloquence that the English tongue is capable of need look no further than this post.

    Thank you, Jim

    South Jersey Doc

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  55. "Hunger, poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of opportunity, disenfranchisement, bigotry, inequality, homelessness, hate, fear, uncertainty, all of these things are what lead to war, to conflict, to crime, to illegal immigration, to division, and ultimately to the collapse of civilization."

    True, so very true, and the thing that scares the ever living fuck out of me is that this applies to so many American citizens right now... We can either fix the problem, or the problem will fix itself. I know which way I prefer, I know which way I fear it will happen, and the two do not meet in the middle..

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  56. "I have a plan to defeat ISIS in the first 30 days."

    *200+ days later*

    "I didn't mean in a row."

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  57. Does it make me seem like an ass if I point out that this should all be fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain?

    Not that Jim didn't do a lovely job of SAYIN' it, but...

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  58. A good read, excellent article..I felt I need more of this..waiting and hoping by tomorrow maybe.

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  59. Thanks for laying it out so clearly. Sadly, it's lost on those who should be saying, "Wait, somethings not right!"

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  60. "War is a failure of civilization." Yes, yes it is, but something in me thinks twice about using the word civilization because, in imperial histories--of China, Rome, England, Germany--"civilization" has been used as a justification for conquest and oppression of one group of people by another who claim they are the bringing "civilization" to the people upon which they war. I know that Jim is using the word to mean the use of diplomacy, courtesy, manners and communication to expedite the relationships between nations and tribes, to create connections and bridges, but the doctrine of Manifest Destiny used by the U.S. to justify its cultural wars with indigenous people and states south of our border just keeps popping up in my mind. War is a failure of human societies in their struggle to create a world where we work, "to reduce disenfranchisement and poverty" but conservatives can also use the call to "civilization" to justify the continued entitlement of the wealthy elite and their continuing disparagement of the "huddled masses." White supremacists use a claim that "European civilization" is superior in order to justify their bigotry and racism.

    But, thank you, Jim. One thing the neuroscience is showing is that liberals have a much easier time with complexity than the conservative mind, which tends to focus on single causes and solutions. It IS a difference in how the world is perceived, at a very deep level, and I'm not sure how that difference can be best addressed.

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  61. Woodrow Wilson had a war to end all wars and we know how that worked out 100 years later. It resulted in the rise of the Third Reich. War is Bullshit, it profits only the rich. No one paid attention when Dwight David Eisenhower warned us about the Military Industrial Complex but look at where we are now. Never-ending wars which only create more enemies from countries that were no threat to us to begin with. The age of war for mega profit.

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  62. I've seen it happen. Not often, but occasionally ... in those bright, shiny moments that come unexpectedly and too infrequently. A team of people come together to solve a problem, usually an emergency of some kind, and they put their egos aside and draw on each other's creativity and problem-solving abilities to obtain an unselfish end. Compassion and empathy are their fuels, collective wisdom provides their tools. But that is about as far from modern politics generally, and Donald Trump specifically, as you can get.

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  63. Perhaps President Trump has a bit of pragmatism in him. It's amateur hour in the White House, but reality may be starting to kick in, at least for some of them.

    But, instead of rubbing our hands in glee at the "drooling, crosseyed dipshits", perhaps now is an opportunity. Recognize the fear Jim spoke of after the election, and reach out.

    We are in one of the most dangerous aspects allowed by our form of government. One ideology, and I don't care if it's Left or Right, controls all three branches of our government. It's time to reach out, compromise, and elect an opposition congress to counterbalance some of this foolishness.

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2016/11/bug-hunt.html
    http://www.stonekettle.com/2017/02/red-sea.html

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  64. Jim, you mentioned the aftermath of WWII and how rebuilding Germany and Japan solved the problems that caused the war.

    So few people understand that while the atomic bomb may have ended WWII what *won* the war - in both theatres - was the Marshall Plan.

    US Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, may have been the most important and the greatest man of the 20th Century. It's a certainty that his eponymous Plan did more to raise the standard of living for more people than any other act by any other person or government in the history of mankind.

    That's saying something.

    Yet he gets just a few paragraphs in our kid's 10th grade World History textbook.

    And between the Marshall Plan and the 1947 development of the Truman Doctrine the path was set for the rest of the 20th Century to be an era of enlightened foreign policy for not just the US but for almost all of the West.

    Sure, we dropped the ball plenty, but still, on balance, a lot of good was done for a LOT of people following the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine. Where nations used to treat defeated enemies after was as their punching bags (see: The Treaty of Versailles) we saw how that led inexorably from the horrors of WWI to the infinitely worse horrors just a couple decades later of WWII. And people learned from the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles and did the exact opposite after WWII!

    That's amazing! It might be unique in the history of mankind and the history of nations! People who were in charge and actually in position to do something about the causes of WWII actually learned from the immediate past and didn't do the easy, expected, normal, conservative, thing! Instead they did the exact opposite of the usual, conservative, thing. And it worked!

    Sure, brush fire "wars" on and off through the rest of the 20th Century but nothing like a real war. Nothing like a sequel to WWII like WWII was to WWI.

    The millions and millions of lives saved and lives made better thanks to Secretary George C. Marshall and President Harry Truman represent an accomplishment which had never been made before, which may never be equalled again. At least not for a long time. Those two men should have giant monuments to their names in every capital city in Europe as well as in Washington DC. Monuments that dwarf those to Lincoln and Washington and Jefferson. That's how important their actions in the aftermath of WWII were.

    And yet, and yet...

    Instead... they get just a few paragraphs in the 10th grade World History textbook. If that.

    It was too much to hope that Marshall and Truman represented a permanent change in how nations did business, I suppose. But we could hope, couldn't we?

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  65. Japs -- perhaps Japanese Imperialists.

    Not all Germans were Nazis

    Otherwise a great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That all Germans weren't nazis is more chilling than if they all had been.
      It shows how a world can be dragged into insanity by a minority held belief system in a single (and relatively unimportant) country.
      Now imagine the worlds only superpower going that crazy. That is what our current situation is in America.

      Delete
  66. Speaking as a German . . .
    . . . well, the short form is, thank you for another incisive essay. I'd quibble with a few details - the undeniable nature of the defeat in 1945 versus the deniable defeat of 1918 did make a difference in the development of the respective post-war periods. But I agree entirely that the Marshall Plan was critical to the survival of the modern Federal Republic of Germany; it avoided the post-war poverty of the Weimar Republic that was such a fertile breeding ground for extremists, especially the völkisch sort.

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  67. Great article! I think too many people think of life as a zero sum game. They can only win at the expense of other people. It is kind of a 'Lord of the Flies' view of the world. Somehow we have to change that view to 'you win, I win, we all win'.

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  68. "Anyone who supports any policy that is slightly conservative is an ignorant mouth breather, should just go die and get out of the way of correct thinking people." I get it.

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    Replies
    1. If that's what you took away from this post, then you're not sharp enough to be here. See yourself out.

      Delete
  69. Another great post, Jim. "Who would have thought (civilization) could be that complicated".

    A few years ago, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terror bombing, our now Canadian Prime Minister (then just a 3rd party leader), Justin Trudeau, was politically naive enough to suggest that we should look for the "root causes" of terrorism. That moniker stuck with him for years & he was generally labelled weak because of it. But dealing with root causes is the only solution & only fools think otherwise. It is not weakness but strength.

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  70. "“Fuck you, I got mine” is a lousy ideology to build civilization on." -Stonekettle Station

    This needs to be on bumper stickers and political protest signs and editorial pages everywhere. Right up there with Asimov's:
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

    It would be a start. In fact, I will be taking part in a protest of sorts next week and I've been trying to come up with an idea for a sign. Maybe now I have one. Just to let people in my town know I'm paying attention.

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  71. Jim, I wanted to be sure you knew Jerry Purnell had died.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/obituaries/jerry-pournelle-science-fiction-novelist-and-computer-guide-dies-at-84.html

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  72. Again Jim, you tell it better than any one. I try to get others to read what you write. I have the feeling that only those that already get it, read it. I will keep trying. Let me add a little of my own thoughts. Until we realize that we are all in this together, and that there is no logical reason for you having more than another, this will continue. We can almost accomplish this at the immediate family level. Your retarded child does not get less. In many cases they get more because they need more. Having more than another should be based on exactly that. The need, and not the want. A doctor or scientist may need more for their work, but should not have more personally. No way that is going to happen, but it may be something to be aware of and something we should work toward. Again, it all comes down to our using our intellect to over come our animal instincts, and not for the purpose of rationalizing them.

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  73. Trump like followers and like believers will be even after Trump.
    I am Bosnian refugee who started calling U.S.A. my new home back in 1995. Trust me! I know what fear when used by corrupt ones echoes like in the ears of scared masses that are willing to follow.
    Yes, we assimilated, became citizens, and are trying to make a good living in our new home here. And yes, some Bosnian Americans are Trump supporters too. You may ask the hell why. Right?! Well, at least for those in my family that are, I can safely describe, not as stupid or an idiot (that's how they like to label themselves during our adult discussions), but rather as scared and easily pliable. I would love to help them see, but unless they open their eyes a little wider that will never happen. I hope they will eventually... decide to help themselves by fighting their fears. Reading a book, and not getting most of their info from Fox News, Trump websites, his Tweeter and Facebook posts may help too.

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  74. Sorry, but I had to post this before even reading past the title. One of the greatest songs ever written in my view.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWuIu9N3vB4

    Back to the article!

    Cheers,
    Leroy

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  75. Forgot the lyrics dammit.

    We're setting sail to the place on the map
    from which no one has ever returned
    Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
    by the light of the crosses that burned.
    Drawn by the promise of the women and the lace
    and the gold and the cotton and pearls
    It's the place where they keep all the darkness you need.
    You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby.
    You will pay tomorrow
    You're gonna pay tomorrow
    You will pay tomorrow

    Save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don't want to sail with this ship of fools. No, no
    Oh, save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don't want to sail with this ship of fools
    I want to run and hide right now

    Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
    They will leave you drifting in the shallows
    or drowning in the oceans of history
    Traveling the world, you're in search of no good
    but I'm sure you'll build your Sodom like you knew you would
    Using all the good people for your galley slaves
    as you're little boat struggles through the warning waves, but you don't pay

    You will pay tomorrow
    You're gonna pay tomorrow
    You're gonna pay tomorrow

    Save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don't want to sail with this ship of fools
    Save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don't want to sail with this ship of fools
    Where's it comin' from?
    Where's it goin' to now?
    It's just a It's just a ship of fools

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  76. No, civilization doesn't bring peace. It never has and it never will. MEETING PEOPLE'S NEEDS may bring peace, but people don't actually NEED civilization, as evidenced by a couple million years' worth of unwritten human history where *we survived and thrived* well before the advent of agriculture and city-building. Was it perfect? No. Was life expectancy low compared to now? Yes, but life expectancy is an average, and there were still lots of people living into their 70s and maybe 80s, just like now and here and in the USA.

    Everyone's got their blind spot when it comes to history and culture and social issues and you're no different. This is yours. Human civilization does not map 1:1 to human society. It's only one way to arrange human society, and it's the most inefficient thus far, not to mention complex and top-heavy and disempowering. It might do to manage a population overshoot of seven billion people but we shouldn't have seven billion people on the planet in the first place.

    The Donald is one symptom of what's wrong with civilization, not a cause of those wrongs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd rather be blind my way than yours.

      My way at least has the internet and flush toilets.

      Delete
    2. So what's your libertarian solution?

      Yes I'm assuming you are one, anarchists and libertarians are more or less the same even if they don't know they are.

      Civilization is a problem. So what that is not civilization is the answer then?

      Delete
  77. I have been shouted down as a fool over the last 40 years because I have insisted that we could bring about a greater degree of world peace by feeding people instead of killing them. We have the land, wealth and scientific resources to end hunger everywhere! If we make ending hunger a national priority, we can rule the world as one benificent power among hundreds of others. We seem to lack the wisdom and perhaps the courage to become peacemakers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peace will come to the world when all its people have enough to eat.” – Momofuku Ando

      Delete
    2. The German variant of that is: "Zuerst kommt das Fressen, und dann die Moral."

      Delete
  78. Start asking 'our' conservative Republican diehards, to keep an open mind & Leave themselves room to end up on the RIGHT side of History-
    'cause after trump et al is convicted of Treason, colluding with OUR enemy's -providing aide & comfort to our commie scum enemy... things are gonna get very weird.

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  79. Sometimes I think I should try and have an open dialogue with Trump supporters to really hear them out, then I witness the comment section on the most hilariously bullshit posts I've ever seen and I realize why that would be absolutely pointless. Forget Jesus, y'all need some fucking BOOKS.

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  80. Who would have known it was so complicated?

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  81. Jim, cogent, well-crafted and accurate.

    There is not an easy answer. Yet, oddly, there is an easy description: it’s complex. And therein lies the perpetual rub.

    So, that begs the perpetual question: How do we get enough people to understand said complexities and get them to join and influence the nuanced, multi-faceted, large-scale, long-game required to address them? (Just putting it into a sentence is complex)

    The it’s-complex crew will never sway most in the it’s-easy crowd. Trying to do so by way of detailed reasoning is folly. Confronting them with derogatory descriptions of their views and approach will not persuade them either. In fact, they will further entrench. To these we should offer kindness, and compassion but exert finite energy on persuading them.

    I have been editing my comments, on and off, for over an hour and now and realize I need to constrain my content. So, my qualifier: I want to comment on the role of technological advancement in this conundrum.

    There always have been, and perhaps always will be, those who want simplistic explanations and that are satisfied (enough) with easy answers. They will likely follow the candidate, or situation-specific leader, who best meets those criteria. And many among them will battle and deride those that try to convince them otherwise.

    That state of expected-simplicity is, in part, human nature. It is more pronounced in some folks than it is in others. It is reinforced through parenting, philosophy, religion, political ideologies, personal experience, exposure to the new or lack thereof, etc. Portions nature and portions nurture. It is also, in part, an inevitable byproduct of technological advancement.

    We invent and benefit from things that make our lives easier. Then, after a period of widespread and uniform adoption, it embeds itself – and a new norm, or assumed baseline, is established. In 2017, so many are accustomed to so much being convenient, or provided, or available, ever so quickly. We want, and get, much of our day-to-day stuff with less effort and more expeditiously than ever before. We get used to it and then we expect it. And taking it for granted, as opposed to knowing the complexity has been removed for our benefit, has made many unappreciative, and perhaps just lazy. I’m not just talking about the internet, ecommerce, e-everything either. How many of us acknowledge the invention and role of concrete? Or water systems, electrical distribution, roads and highway systems that enable commerce, the ability to talk to each other in real time over great distances, etc. And news. News went from word of mouth, to short-form print, to longer form print, to telegraph, then Radio, then TV, and now a plethora of paths to information, misinformation and disinformation. The cycle shortened, the frequency and audience has increased, and yet the content is so often consumed in the most condensed and convenient form – the headline, the sound-bite, the chyron, the tweet, etcetera (long form just for fun). Technology is not the problem in and of itself, but it seems to reinforce the behavior of those with the easy answer syndrome. Unfortunately, as such advances accumulate, it may increase the size of that community. I fear it will continue to grow and make things worse. I hope we can abate this trend.

    I think one answer to the larger problem lies in education in the broadest possible sense – and especially for the younger and future generations. We need to embed and reinforce the concepts of healthy skepticism, critical thinking, discernment, long-arc-implications, reasoned and civil debate, and negotiation. Those are not in any way obvious elements of a typical curriculum today and in some places are being pruned away. We need real effort on this front. It will stick with some. If done well, with enough.

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  82. How these deplorable people thought a 3 times married, 4 time bankrupted individual who owns businesses in China was going to make America great again, well I don't know.
    Think about it.
    Trump has married 2 immigrant women, has gotten the American people to pay 4 times for his bad business decisions, and he himself does not hire American workers. I bet you and I pay more taxes then he does.
    He will NEVER make America great again because he doesn't have a clue.


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  83. Problem is that his supporters are so unhappy with Washington that they just want someone who will promise to blow it up. This is a long-established American brand of politician and this type has always attracted some support.

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  84. I'd really like this Jim to have it out with the Jim who wrote No Man's land and urged everyone to figure out how to make deals with these supporters.

    How would you like to compromise with those who think that Trump is doing a good job? Or that all his problems are with McConnell and Ryan and Clinton and those people who are leaking and the Chinese and North Korea, and never him?

    How do you compromise with that? I asked you that before. Maybe you have an answer now.

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2017/03/no-mans-land.html

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    Replies
    1. You misunderstood what I wrote back in March.

      You've have 6 months to figure it out. You haven't done it.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps I did, or perhaps I'm more pessimistic about those supporters that you think you can woo back. While Trump's polling numbers have dropped quite a bit, his polling numbers in places like Michigan and Ohio and Florida and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? They've stayed basically the same for the last 8 months.

      In a couple of places they've actually gone up.

      So the basic idea on that piece is that there are people to negotiate with, to reach compromise with, while the data on the ground suggests that even after all this bullshit they are still not changing their minds.

      And negotiating with the relatively sane conservatives in New York or California doesn't help, because those states are already voting the other way.

      I've wracked my brain trying to figure out what one could give the Trump voters in Wisconsin to change their mind and vote for people who are wanting civilization, but my suspicion is at this point that they do not want civilization, at least as we know it.

      They support autocrats who back their view.
      They support religious laws determining the law of the land.
      They support extralegal violence.
      They support extrajudicial policing.

      Maybe I'm wrong about that, but the data doesn't indicate that.

      Delete
    3. That's fair, but that isn't where I'm going with it. I'm happy to compromise at least in principle; I still don't know what compromise would work.

      First off, I recognize that while I can't see good options in compromise to get them on board, that doesn't mean they don't exist. Again, I asked you - what do you think would work? And if you don't have an answer, fine - I'm happy to keep asking.

      But my suspicion is that what victory looks like here is not playing the same game. 27% of the US population voted for Trump; my suspicion is that convincing the other 73% that didn't vote for Trump to go a different path is going to be a lot easier of a lift than convincing people that they made a bad choice the last time. That might involve a more conservative bloc than I'd prefer, but it is far better than authoritarian religious zealot. This is made significantly harder by the two-party system the US has, but it's possible. It's more likely to be the case that making the Democratic party a bit more right-leaning and encouraging voter turnout as best we can will work.

      So how do I do that? I'm not quite sure. I'm not sure how to convince 40% of the people who don't regularly vote that this is the more important time to do so, but that's what I'm working on now. That doesn't involve meeting those others halfway or compromising with them in any way, mind you.

      The other option that my family has been thinking of doing is leaving the country. This became a lot more important and real to consider since my son got cancer last year. It's hard to do, but it is a real option to consider.

      The final thought I have is the example of compromise set forth by Obama. Obama worked hard to get someone, anyone on the GOP side to work with him on healthcare. He adopted a healthcare plan that was proposed by a conservative thinktank and implemented by Romney. He begged GOP people to get involved, included them in every meeting and every markup, and they all refused to vote or budge one bit. While I think there's some room possibly to entice people who aren't normal voters to vote, I'm not sure how there is any room to entice people like Ryan and McConnell.

      Delete
    4. Then quit. Give up. Knuckle under. Put your pistol in your mouth.

      Or, I suppose you could choose the Conservative option and aim the pistol at the opposition you can't find common ground with. Go out in a blaze of righteous glory, your sacred principles unbent.

      Because that's the only two options you've left yourself.

      You can't, or won't, compromise. You won't even consider finding a way to find common ground. You've written off everybody who doesn't see things your way as a single homogeneous enemy, not even worth exploring.

      Fair enough. But that means that even if you somehow win back power, you'll still have to fight these people. You can't, or won't, represent their ideals or even meet them halfway. That means if you're in power they'll be trying to tear you down, so you'll have to be the oppressor they fear. You'll have to rule by force and fiat, since you can't compromise with them. And either you'll have to wipe them out, herd them into camps, contain them, or risk them burning you down and doing the same to you.

      And if you don't regain power, and if you can't, or won't, live with the direction America is going, then what's left? What's that leave you? Since you can't, or won't, see any other option?

      You're entitled to your depression, but I'm not your psychiatrist. So either buck the fuck up and start helping us fix this mess -- or don't. Either way, I won't publish any more of your suicide notes.

      Delete
    5. Kalon,

      You're pissing me the fuck off.

      You are bound and determined to get what I said wrong EVEN THOUGH WHAT I MEANT IS CLEARLY STATED IN THE TEXT of the original article, to wit:

      Nowhere did I suggest that any of us should compromise with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, with haters and bigots, and gun waving fanatics or dimwitted goons.

      Nowhere did I suggest you should give up your civil rights, your freedom, or your integrity.


      But you keep insisting that I did say that. I DIDN'T. So knock the fuck off.

      Delete
    6. I'm sorry I'm pissing you off, and it wasn't my intent at all. I know you don't mean to compromise with those people, and I'm sorry that I implied it in any way.

      My point, simply, is that if you take away those people, I'm not sure what you're left with to compromise with. It's an incredibly bitter pill to swallow that 27% of the US are people that are haters, bigots, dimwitted goons and gun waving fanatics, but the evidence suggests that's about correct. When 1 in 3 people believe that the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was the right thing to do, what other conclusion is there to get to? When the polling numbers for Trump in Wisconsin haven't dropped a bit since inauguration despite all the things Trump has done, what else is there to conclude?

      I don't think you ever advocated to compromise with the bigots. I never have, and I'm sorry that I made it sound like I did. That's my fault. I just don't have the optimism that if you take those out, there is particularly a whole lot left to compromise with.

      Delete
    7. Ok. That's enough. I see you're going to persist with this same nonsense. It's fairly obvious to me now that you're attempting to sealion me. I should have recognized it when you showed up six months ago.

      You're done. Don't bother to reply, no further comments from you will post on this blog again.

      Delete
  85. Jim Wright: What an educated, curious, ethical American sounds like. Thank you from the bottom of my cranky-ass old heart.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Jim, thanks for raging against the dying of the light. As a soon-to-be retired Army punk, I truly appreciate your voice and support your efforts. Keep up the good fight. You are dead on in your analysis.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Just six more years until the nearest port... with Mike Pence at the helm?

    ReplyDelete
  88. Great stuff Jim! I've touted this one online. Some of you have seen how I recently used prose like Jim's to take down that horrid, rationalizing weasel George F. Will.

    See my most recent blog about a possible fix for gerrymandering that you'll read nowhere else. At Contrary Brin:
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-minimal-overlap-solution-to_24.html

    Finally, Halloween is coming! Here's your costume
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Federal-Union-Army-Soldier-Cotton-Hat-Navy-Kepi-Cap-Civil-War-Costume-Accessory/188951633?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=11498&adid=22222222227056708908&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=161416633888&wl4=pla-270738797428&wl5=9028743&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=117079856&wl11=online&wl12=188951633&wl13=&veh=sem

    http://www.militaryclothing.com/Civil-War-Blue-U-S-Kepi-Cap.aspx?id=16267-200032-CC-7.50&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI16fa66DB1gIVFLbACh2FWAtoEAQYAiABEgLzo_D_BwE&ad=76800671909

    ReplyDelete

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