Friday, August 18, 2023

Where you can find me


Edit: Twitter X has become increasingly antisemitic, actively promoting and agreeing with antisemitic conspiracies and allowing advertising and promoted posts from self-declared white supremacists. Elon Musk's latest open Antisemitism is the last straw. I will no longer post my material there. I'll keep my profile as a placeholder, until that's no longer permitted. And I'll post links to my other sites. But I'm done with it. End Edit

I promised my followers on Twitter that I wouldn't leave the platform until they threw me out. 

I'll stick to it, (Edit: I'll stick to it. I'll use it to keep current and stay in contact with certain people, but new material will be posted elsewhere. The only thing I'll put on Twitter are links to those sites End Edit) but Elon Musk announced today he will remove the block option from the platform.

Additionally, Twitter, or "X" as it's calling itself these days, also finally killed Tweetdeck, which was my primary interface. 

I'll keep my account there, as promised, but the platform has become essentially unusable to me. 

I've been bleeding followers there for months, since Musk took over, and frankly I'm at pains to understand why I should provide the world's richest man with any more free content -- the guy should be paying me. Particularly now that I'll have to deal with thousands upon thousands of trolls, bots, and screaming haters that I am no longer allowed to block while also working through X's garbage basic browser interface.

Oh, and not to mention that I continue to be rate limited. 

I mean, you don't have to fuck me over more than a dozen times or so before I get the message. 

So, I'll be reducing my presence there starting today.

If you still want to follow me, here's where you can do so: 

Obviously here, on Stonekettle Station, I'll be moving a lot of content back here to my own website. 

My personal Facebook, maxed out, you can view the content there and share it, but I can't accept any new "friends." That's a Facebook limitation and I have no control over it

The Stonekettle Station Facebook group, a closed group, you'll have to request to join. Answer the membership questions, or your application will be rejected immediately. But once in, unlike my personal page, there aren't any limits and you can comment on everything and participate with 50,000 other super cool people. There are strict rules regarding behavior, so read those first and adhere. Act like a jerk, you get airlocked immediately. 

My professional Facebook Page, unlimited, unfiltered, unblocked. But you'll have to deal with the trolls and the jerks and the pedants. I don't moderate or curate the comments. 

Instagram, where most of my professional photography resides and some additional narrative. Also technical discussions of photography. 

Threads, limited at the moment as the platform really isn't useful to me until, if, there is a desktop interface. [There is now a dedicated desktop interface and I'm using Threads the way I used to use Twitter. Also, starting to see a lot of folks I enjoyed interacting with on Twitter now on Threads, also news services, information sources, celebrities, etc. If you want to follow me in a fashion similar to Twitter, this is the place I'll be putting most of my effort] I'm hoping this grows into a useful replacement for shortform, i.e. what Twitter used to be. 

Counter Social. It's like Mastodon, but without all the people who hate me.

Speaking of Mastodon, I do have an account there. It's in mothballs, I won't use it or post in the Fedverse anymore. The environment there was extremely unwelcoming to me. Your experience may be different, but I really, really felt unwelcome. Also there are a number of accounts in the Fedverse pretending to be me, using my name and my content that they're skimming from other platforms. Apparently that's acceptable on Mastodon. Just another reason for me to avoid the place. 

Post. A nice platform. Small. Not a lot going on. Still in development. 

Bluesky. I'm there. I'm posting. I'm leery, given that the guy who runs it was the guy who sold me out to Elon Musk, but I'm there. 

Patreon, you can support me here. I do some additional blogging there. Shortly there will be exclusive content just for Patreons. I intend to start a weekly video podcast. I'm set up. I've scripted out the first dozen or so episodes, but I've been on the road for the last eight months due to some family issues and haven't been able to get it up and running. I've hopefully resolved that situation and the first 'cast should drop shortly. 

You can also support me via PayPal and I very much appreciate that. 

And my store is here, Etsy, where you can find prints of my photography for sale, puzzles, pens, shirts, coffee mugs, and other cool things. 

See you around // Jim

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas


I had assumed that I would age with all my friends growing old around me, dying off very gradually one by one. And here was a plague that cut them off so early.
--Thom Gunn

As some of you have noted, I've been meaner than usual recently.

I'm told it's been noticeable over the last week or so on my various social media feeds. 

I don't dispute that. Nor do I apologize for it -- though interestingly enough a number of people wrote to tell me they liked the new meaner Stonekettle, so there's that. 


My increased crabbiness comes from the fact that I have COVID.

I've been fighting it for the last week or so. 

Now, you might be one of those cheerful sick people, but I'm not. I feel like crap most of the time these days, a legacy of spending most of my life in a profession that tends to beat the hell out of you on a good day. Twenty years of that and, well, yeah, I feel lousy most days now. So anything that makes me feel worse isn't something I handle all that well. I'm not a good sick person. And COVID has been kicking the piss out of me for a week with the primary side effect being that it's making me even more unpleasant than usual. 

Anyway, I mention it now because people have noticed and because maybe a narrative of what happened to me will help you, should you be unfortunate enough to get this crap. 

First, let me say this: I don't want any advice. 

REPEAT: I don't want any advice. None. Thank  you. 

Second, and I can not stress this enough, I don't want, need, or require any medical advice. 

I have a doctor, for the moment, you're not him, thanks (and more on that subject in a minute).

I got it on the last day of my recent photography trip to Navajo lands in the Southwest with my wife. I know exactly where I got it and I know exactly who gave it to me. The relative who infected us in Las Vegas (yes, my wife got it too) didn't know they had it either, until it was too late. So, there wasn't much we could do to avoid it. 

Worst part is that over the last few years since this disease first emerged, I've attended two Worldcons and a half dozen smaller cons, and if you know anything about science fiction conventions, it's a miracle I never got it before this.  

One fucking day in Vegas though...

Fortunately, we left Las Vegas (not knowing yet that we'd been exposed) and drove pretty much straight home. Two days, almost all of that in the car by ourselves. And when we stopped, we were far away from others (we're not particularly social people). We still wear masks in public when appropriate. We still use hand sanitizer. And we didn't start feeling the first symptoms until we were nearly home -- literally about three hours away. So, the likelihood we may have infected anyone else along the way is fairly low. Hopefully.

We got to our home in Florida late at night. Went to bed and woke up the next morning with sore throats and coughs. 

We tested right away. My wife was positive but I wasn't. 

We isolated of course. Had groceries delivered, given that we'd been on the road for two weeks and there wasn't any fresh food in the house. Called everyone and told them to stay away. 

That first day wasn't too bad. Mild headache. My neck and shoulders ached worse and worse as the day went by. Sneezing. Sore throat. Called my doctor and asked for Paxlovid, only to be told by the receptionist that the practice (three doctors) would not prescribe the antiviral. Beg pardon, I asked? We don't prescribe Paxlovid, she said in a tone dripping with disdain like I'd asked for a big jar of Fentanyl. Like just a blanket won't do it? Not based on patient condition? Just, no? That's right, she said. The doctor eventually called in a prescription for the sore throat, but not pax. Guess I'll be looking for a new doctor then, because that's just bullshit -- but common with conservative doctors in The South since the advent of COVID and politics-based medicine. 

The next day was the worst. I slept through most of it. Fever. Body aches. By then I was testing positive. I got up around noon, had some soup, wandered out to my office to see what was going on, and ended up with chills so bad I couldn't stop shaking. I was suddenly so weak I wasn't sure I could get back to the house. I got outside my office, it was about 98F in the shade. I sat down on the pavement in my driveway, which was hot enough to burn my ass in the blazing sun, and I was wearing a huge heavy hoodie, and I was still freezing. I eventually made it back into the house, crawled into bed and buried myself under a bunch of quilts and slept for the rest of the day. And don't think I wasn't still pissed about being denied Paxlovid, because I was. And still am. 

Day three was better. Still felt like I had the flu, still had a fever, but no chills. Throat was really sore and I had a persistent cough. But, I got a lot of work done that day, actually. Wrote an essay, processed a bunch of pictures from the trip. Finally ate something. You want to lose weight, I don't recommend COVID, but it does work. 

Lost my sense of smell on day five. 

That second day, I was ill to death, fever, chills, and the trash was full in the kitchen because we'd cleaned stuff out the fridge when we got home. I pulled the bag out, but I wasn't walking out to the road and trashcans. 

So I tossed it into the garage. 

And I forgot about it. 

It's a 100F here.

I forget about it for a couple of days. 

My wife eventually went out to the garage for something and I hear her retching, OMG SOMETHING DIED OUT HERE! 

I'm like, really? I don't smell anything. 

She looked at me, seriously? You don't smell that? Gag. Something must have gotten in here and died. 

I looked at the beagle, the beagle looked at me. And even he was wrinkling up his nose in disgust and it takes a lot to disgust a beagle. Trust me. 

That's when I remembered that trash bag from the kitchen. 

The one that might have had some raw shrimp in it. And had been sitting in the heat for days. 

Ooooh! The light came on. 

Hey, I've lost my sense of smell! That's not great, but from your expression it is convenient! I'll get that garbage out to the cans now. Sorry. 

It's weird. I can taste certain things, but not others. 

I can't really smell much of anything. 

Coffee? I can smell that. And taste it too. And it tastes as great as it always does to me. No problem. But fruit juice? Might as well be cold water. I don't know. I had some pizza last night and it tasted fine. I bleached the hell out of the kitchen and the garbage cans. Nothing. Couldn't smell any of it. Which was, again, convenient. So, there's that. But then it's Florida. This place mostly smells like cancer from the paper plant and moldy swamp water. Who wants to smell anything anyway, amiright? 

I'm told I'll get taste and smell back in a few weeks or so. 

We'll see. I not in any hurry. Especially since I'm the one who has to take out the trash in this horrible heat. 

Over the rest of the week, I wrote another essay. Processed more pictures from the trip. Wrote a bunch of social media posts. Rewatched The Mandalorian and the Book of Boba Fett. Watched Trump get indicted again and watched Elon Musk continue to destroy a $40 billion platform with all the finesse of that armed chimp in the movie Nope. I mowed the grass, or an acre of it anyway. The pasture can wait another week. I'm feeling better, still got that cough though. Still isolating. Still testing positive. Still a little tired. 

It's the first time I've gotten it. 

Hope it's the last, but it probably won't be given that the disease is endemic now. 

I'm fully vaccinated and have received all the boosters and, yeah, I still got it. But it was mild, I didn't die, didn't end up in the hospital with a tube shoved down my throat, hopefully won't have any long term complications. That's how vaccines work. 

I'm still pissed about not getting the Paxlovid. 

But, really, for me, the worst part about having COVID is that I can't see my 8-month-old grandson for a few more weeks. 

That blows. 

Though my lovely daughter-in-law is a sending me pictures nearly every day and Facetiming the good stuff. 

Getting old sucks, so does COVID. But being a granddad makes up for a lot.

Monday, August 14, 2023



Why is “Phoney” (Like in PERFECT “PHONE” CALL, get it?) Fani Willis, the severely underperforming D.A. of Fulton County who is being accused of having an “affair” with a Gang Member of a group that she is prosecuting, leaking my name in regard to a Grand Jury pertaining to Election Fraud & Irregularities that I say took place in Georgia. I made a PERFECT PHONE CALL OF PROTEST. What does Phoney Fani have to do with me?
-- Donald Trump, Truth Social, 8/13/2023


Phoney. Like Phone. 

Phone call. Phoney. Phone. See? And then Phoney is like Phony. Get it? Ha ha. Phoney. Hilarious. 

I am very clever. 

Oh yes, very clever indeed. 

You know, a perfectly normal, rational, adult message from a man who used to be President of the United States and wants to be again. Like that. Sure. Go ahead and have the lawyers put that on the legal documents and sing it in court Foney Fani bobani fofanny nanni mo nanni bonana...


Yeah, you're right. I'll stop. 

Besides, you probably don't get it anyway. Too intellectual for us poor chumps, am I right? That's the Wharton Business degree talking right there. You gotta be well bred, Ivy League, upper crust...



A former president, currently under more than 70 felony charges, screaming online about how the election was stolen (or as he puts it "stollen") from him yesterday morning, and threatening witnesses and court officials today in advance of even more criminal indictments for attempted election fraud, is just how democracy works in America now. 

He claims to have "Massive and Conclusive Proof" of election fraud. 

Massive and Conclusive Proof [sic].

Gigantic, colossal, immense, tremendous, the most massive Brobdingnagian proof like no one has ever seen before!


Except so far the only proof Trump has managed to produce is an amateurish YouTube movie made by a convicted felon who was put in prison for committing election fraud and who Trump himself pardoned and some random gibberish from a failed pillow salesman who is mostly famous for cocaine benders and unhinged conspiracy theories. 

Which is weird. 

Really weird. 

Because despite millions of dollars and endless accusations and repeated promises of earthshaking evidence, these sons of bitch still can't prove election fraud in even the most sympathetic court of law. 

I mean, it's just astounding how far up their own assholes these Trump cultists are. Absolutely astounding. I honestly don't know how they're getting enough oxygen to keep what little brains they have operating. 

Or maybe they aren't.

Look here: Trump himself when he was president, first thing he did after being handed an office he didn't deserve by the Electoral College, formed the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity -- because he was mad that he'd lost the popular vote and was determined to prove that America loved him more than Hillary Clinton. 

You remember this, right? 

Sure you do. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. That's right. But a lot of other people seem to have forgotten all about it. Include the Press. 

And who did Trump put in charge of his big giant enormous Commission? 

Former Kansas Secretary of State (now Kansas State Attorney General), Kris Kobach, a hardcore Republican partisan who was absolutely convinced there was chicanery afoot and who was determined to prove it. Which is always what you want in an AG, a guy who starts out absolutely convinced of the conclusion and then goes looking for evidence to support it. No chance of a legal system going completely haywire with a guy like that in charge of Death Row, am I right? 

But I digress. 


Well, I mean, he couldn't find a single case other than than a bunch of old white Republicans double voting, but somehow that doesn't count (see the previous note about forgone conclusions). Oh, and lest I sound too dismissive, a Republican "election" investigator hired by the commission was indicted for possession of child porn. So, you know, at least they got one arrest out of it. 

But again, I digress.

Trump's commission made repeated claims of voting by non-citizens. They told America with absolute certainty that millions -- not just one or two, but millions -- of illegal aliens were voting for Democrats. 


That was their count, not mine. Millions. 

But in the end, they could produce exactly zero evidence of this astounding claim. They couldn't even find one bedraggled Mexican fence-jumper to pin the whole thing on. 

Not even with the full power of the federal government behind them. 

And, ironically, even grossly openly-racist red states like Mississippi told Trump to "go jump in the Gulf of Mexico" and that their election systems were secure. The commission folded up and closed its doors in less than six months and Kobach slunk back to Kansas in defeat. 

Here we are, seven years later, and this ongoing lie about election fraud cost Fox News nearly a billion dollars in a lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems. Probably over a billion when you total up the settlement and the lawyer fees. 

And again, with all the resources, all the money, all the lawyers, all the billionaire backers and the complete and utter lack of any integrity or belief in any actual truth, Fox News still couldn't prove a single case of voting fraud or any exploited vulnerability in Dominion's electronic voting systems in any fashion whatsoever in any state including those controlled by political organizations sympathetic to Trump himself and more than willing to give Republican operators like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell illegal access to their machines. Fox News couldn't show any compromise to the systems and had to admit in public that they were wrong. And then they had to pay. $787.5 million dollars to Dominion. 

And looks pretty certain that Fox News is going to lose a similar lawsuit to Smartmatic as well, maybe even harder. 

And speaking of Georgia, that state will likely cost Republicans engaged in this conspiracy theory dearly. 

For Trump, Georgia may very well be his Waterloo. 

Foney Fani bobani fofanny nanni mo nanni bonana...


Right. Sorry. 

Anyway. In every state, the integrity of the elections has been examined down the molecular level. In no case is there any evidence whatsoever of any significant vote tampering or voter fraud. There are minor isolated cases of corrupt voting officials attempting to change results and a few people voting illegally either on purpose or by accident (and in Ron DeSantis' Florida, "accident" and "illegal" have very questionable definitions, but still...), but in almost every case those votes were for Trump and/or Republicans and were never, ever, enough to change the outcome of any election in either direction. 

Not even close. 

Here's the thing: The real threats to democracy aren't at the ballot box and never were. 

The real threat comes from those like Trump who would ignore democracy and the will of the people altogether and who daily attempt to replace democracy with disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, intimidation, dark money, and when all that fails: seize power with violence and insurrection. 

Trump is the inevitable end result of that loathsome trend started by Nixon and Reagan.

It's the ideology of racism, selfish saber-rattling nationalism, endless corruption that is never held to account, slathered over by a thin veneer of the shallow aw-shucks John Wayne patriotism of those who themselves never served. 

It is the dimwitted paranoid maladapted knuckle-dragging inheritor of McCarthyism, Jim Crow and the German/American Bund, the distilled unhinged essence of violent cowardice whored up and presented as strength and manliness to the brawlers and the goons and the shouting mob too damn stupid to realize they're being used even as they are gleefully thrown into prison for the crimes of their leaders. 

It's not some foreign nation.

It's not some army at our border or some navy on our shores. 

It's this. This rot. This corruption. This cancer. This swollen orange carbuncle on the ass of humanity, sitting on a toilet in Mar-a-Lago right now, shitting his colon inside out in rage and furiously tweeting  hate and threats and fascism with his tiny sausage-like thumbs. 

This is always how democracy dies. 

This violent selfishness from those too lazy and stupid to do the basic grunt work of citizenship. 

When you demand the population swear allegiance to a flag but give your own fealty to party and ideology without a shred of self-awareness; when you demand business be given the same voice and rights as a citizen but then punish that corporation when it doesn't say what you want; when your prisons are full to bursting with the poor but not the rich; when justice and liberty are hereditary birthrights of privilege and increasingly unobtainable to the lower classes and when even violence can no longer change this condition, well, the end of the Republic isn't far away. 

The worst part is that in every case -- every single case -- the collapse is never a surprise. 

When it all falls apart, well, the warning signs were there all along. Loud. Obvious. Laid out in plain order, one after the other. Stop! Go Back! Danger! Danger! And in every case, the course of the fall could have been altered, or reversed, at any time, at any point along the way, if only the population had the will to do so.  

The greatest strength of a democratic republic is the citizen. 

Ironically, that's also its greatest weakness. 

It doesn't take much to bring down the mightiest Republic. 

You just have to stop believing in it. 

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Latter Days of a Better Nation, Part VI

“They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archetype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.”
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle


Nothing like this has ever happened before!

"Just found out that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ secretly attacked my Twitter account..."

The President of the United States secretly attacked my social media account. 


My Twitter. 

Note Trump doesn't bother to explain what he means by "attacked" or how he found out and who told him.

Note also Trump doesn't actually use his personal Twitter account, even though it's supposedly been restored by Twitter's new owner, so how exactly this alleged secret attack affects him in any fashion or in any way infringes on his campaign is left as an exercise for the reader. (It also brings up a fascinating implication that Twitter -- a privately held social media company in the hands of a foreign born billionaire infamous for irrational statements and actions and a self-professed hard conservative bent -- has direct influence on American democracy and if that is indeed the case then perhaps social media should be subject to strict government regulation and oversight, but I digress). 

Note that if Trump is talking about the account he used during his presidency, that by definition is public information, intellectual (sorry) property of the US government, and physically in possession of one Elon Musk, available to not only all Americans but the entire world. And he's the one who posted it for all to see, Donald Trump. Nobody else. And we're going to come back to that. 

Note also Trump's First Amendment rights seem to be fully intact -- and in point of fact, that man never shuts the hell up. He's been given an undeserved platform on every social media site (and he literally owns one) and every news channel and every pundit is lined up ten deep to interview him for free and broadcast his insanity to the world. There isn't a late night show or a political rally that wouldn't have him on board at the last moment. The First Amendment grants Trump the right to spew his bile and conspiracy and madness, but no one has to listen to him or give him a platform. 

And finally, if you're still unclear as to what a Begging the Question Logical Fallacy actually is, "Did Deranged Jack Smith tell the Unselects to DESTROY & DELETE all evidence?" is a textbook example. 

But, thus is the world we live in now, this bizarre construct of Reality TV. 

It's not Joe Biden. 

It's not Hunter Biden.

It's not Democrats. 

It's not the DoJ. It's not Merrick Garland and it's not Jack Smith.  

It's not some grand conspiracy led by Hillary Clinton and the Illuminati with a candlestick in the basement drawing room of a Washington DC pizza parlor. 

It's Donald J. Trump. 

It's all Donald J. Trump and no one else. 

Trump abused his office and he bragged about it. 

Trump broke election law in multiple states and he tried to do it in others and he boasted about his fraud on live TV and swore he'd do it again. 

Trump led a violent insurrection against the United States of America and he's proud of it. He could have stopped it -- and his staff and political party begged him to do so -- and he vehemently refused, and he did so on record. He committed sedition and treason right out in the open and is unashamed and determined to do it again. 

Trump violated every standard of morality, ethics, and the values of his position and he pissed on his oath of office every single day and he's not only unrepentant, he's out there right now unabashed in front of his Nuremberg Rallies and on Social Media profiting from his chicanery and malfeasance. You don't need to take my word for it, you can see and hear him for yourself. 

Trump literally told America, the World, that he could commit murder on the street in public and not only get away with it, but he wouldn't lose a single vote and here he is every single day determined to prove that statement correct. And it's looking like he wasn't wrong.

Nearly every lawyer who defended Trump, nearly every violent Brown Shirted brawler who rallied to his banner on January 6th, they're all in prison or facing serious legal consequences for actions committed in Trump's name. 

Those testifying against Trump in court, those bringing charges against Trump in court, they are almost all members of his own party, some of them even voted for him. 

No, this isn't on Joe Biden or Democrats or anyone else. 

It's all Trump.

“Hitler lied shamelessly about himself and about his enemies. He convinced millions of men and women that he cared for them deeply when, in fact, he would have willingly sacrificed them all. His murderous ambition, avowed racism, and utter immorality were given the thinnest mask, and yet millions of Germans were drawn to Hitler precisely because he seemed authentic. They screamed, “Sieg Heil” with happiness in their hearts, because they thought they were creating a better world.”
Madeleine K. Albright, Fascism: A Warning

Donald Trump is the reason for Donald Trump's predicament and no one else. 

Trump lies shamelessly about himself and about his enemies every single day. 

Trump convinced millions that he cares for them, when, in fact, he would sacrifice them all without a second thought and has done so repeatedly. 

Trump's murderous ambition, avowed racism, and utter immorality are given the thinnest mask, and yet millions of Americans are drawn to him precisely because he gives them license to be their own worst selves. They scream "MAGA!" with happiness in their hearts, because they think once they've eliminated all of us, they'll somehow have a better world. 

And the more things change, the more you see the relentless cycle of history coming 'round again and again. 

This time, it's Trump. 

It's all Trump and it's all Trump in his own words and it always has been.

The thing about extremism is that each position must be more extreme than the last, more hyperbolic, more unhinged, more fanatical, until you're just screaming obvious insane spittle-flecked nonsense.

But if you do it long enough, like Hitler if you do it with enough rage and hate and fury, then people start to believe. 

See, these people, they often tell you how there can be no morality without their religion. Without their god, they say, everyone would rape and murder and steal and burn down civilization. It is only fear of their god that holds back the dark of night. 

But what happens when they replace their god with someone who gives them license to be their own worst selves? 

The ironic part is that the final apocalyptic book of their own Bible warns them of exactly that -- and yet those who sound the alarm most dire of the (alleged) coming End Times fail to see their own god's warning of evil in guise of salvation. 

Ancient religions aside, it's bad enough when it's just Cat Piss Man on the corner mumbling about UFOs and CIA brain implants, but when this raging irrational insanity becomes a political movement, civilization can collapse in an orgy of violent self immolation that nothing can stop it until it burns itself out and billions are dead.

And every time -- every fucking time -- afterwards, in the ruins of the once great cities, after the war crimes trials, after the remaining criminals have been hanged or thrown in prison, with the gut-churning raw-lamb smell of the rotting corpses and the acrid stench of the burning buildings still in your nose, well, then the survivors all look at each other in embarrassment and shame and wonder: how could this have happened? 

How could this have happened? 

Why did we listen to that guy? 

How could we have been led so far astray? 

How could we have let hate consume us like that? 


And why didn't someone stop it?

Oh yes, why didn't someone stop it?

Yeah. Someone.

Because in the end, among the ruins and the destruction and the dead, even then, they can never ever see how it was them who were the monsters all along. 

It was them who let it happen, while the ones they were convinced to hate were led away in chains and who stood by while the ashes from the ovens fell on their roofs like snow.

Yeah, why didn't someone stop Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Trump, before it was too late?

Because someone never does. 

Today, now, here, in this place, that someone is US.

And that moment is NOW.

This is the deflection point, right here. This is the crux, the pivot that history will turn on. 

And that someone is us. 

Every generation these dirty rotten insane sons of bitches come again. The madness starts to rise up yet again. The barbarians are at the gate and the drums of war and revolution are beating loudly yet again.

The madness must be stopped now while it's still possible. 

This time we have a chance to stop them before they burn the world down yet again. 

Before it's us, those of us lucky enough to survive, standing there among the bodies of our countrymen, wondering why somebody didn't stop it. 

We're that somebody. 

And we better show up. 

Not someone, you.

You want a better nation? You want a better world? A better future? 

Then you have to be a better citizen. 

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism