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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. 

Attacked. 

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? 

How? 

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


69 comments:

  1. You are saying the right things, and are correct, I believe. One minor nit: we are at an "inflection point," not a "deflection point." If I was a wiseass, I might say that we've been deflecting (i.e., avoiding the issue) since Reagan was elected.

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    1. Both deflection and inflection mean to bend something away from its course, but deflection applies to actions and inflection applies to words. I used "deflection point" specifically as in the action of deflecting the course of onrushing history, similar in tone and intent and urgency to the ancient Roman military command of "DEFLECT!" ordering legionaries to brace as a single unit and use their shields as ramps to deflect oncoming enemy forces.

      I said what I meant.

      //Jim

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    2. With you on deflection. And on always saying what you mean. And on this essay.

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    3. Loved the ‘intellectual (sorry)’ comment. I’ve voted every time there was an election for any seat in the hopes that things would get better. I recently moved to a very red county in North Central Florida. I can’t open my mouth without hearing about how great T**** A Twice-Arrested Criminal Predator Adulterer Con-Artist Crook is. I hate it here. I’ve never understood how he got to where he did, but I’m beginning to understand when I watch the GOP and the corrupt SCOTUS members.

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    4. πŸ’― anonymous & Elizabeth. I live in SE Fl now and I'm surrounded too. I'm actually waiting for the drumph DeSatan wars

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    5. Thank you for the clarification! I always learn something new when I come here.

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  2. Rod Serling -- "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" -- was being too optimistic.
    Thank you for laying it all out -- yet again -- in plain words. This is the turning point. There won't be another chance.

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    1. Sharon, I thought of that same episode while reading this.
      ...Ruth

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    2. I thought of that, too!

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  3. One of the newest merit badges to be required for Eagle Scout is called, "Citizenship In Society." The third requirement centers about ethical decision making, and the last portion of that requirement is:

    "Explain to your counselor how you plan to use what you have learned to assist you when that time comes, and what action(s)
    you can take to serve as an upstander and help other people at all times."

    I've worked with 2-3 Scouts on this badge (it's that new, only a year or so), and it's made me hopeful that Scouting is teaching not just leadership, but ethics as well.

    For all its known warts, I remain hopeful about Scouting as a way of training leaders. Hopefully it's not too late for THIS society.

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    1. The Scout's oath, for over 100 years includes the words "help other people at all times". Simple, affirmative, and contrary to everything Trump espouses.

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    2. Thank you for sharing this, and for working with young people. Scouting, like all major institutions, has its "warts" as you say. From my point of view, it remains a valuable part of our society.

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    3. My hope in the Scouts had been diminishing for years. The requirement to be religious, preferably Christian, the uber patriotism neglecting historical facts, the fight against inclusion, etc. The leadership at the top either is incompetent or ignorant, possibly both.
      The final straw was when trump gave a Hitler Youth type rally at the 2017 Boy Scout Jamboree. Absolute indoctrination of our youth!
      Many at the rally are now adults, wouldn't it be interesting to see the political slant of those that cheered at rally?

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  4. As usual. You’re right. As usual, the rough beast will continue to slouch towards Bethlehem.

    At this point, the BEST thing we can hope for is an all out alien invasion.

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  5. Really minor nit: “… some of them even voted from him. ” should be “…voted for him.”

    As always, correct. Maybe we don’t have to repeat this history again.

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  6. Natasha (Socasiren2)August 10, 2023 at 12:11 PM

    I don’t think enough people realize what a moment we’re in. All those people who placate they trumper/ racist/ misogynistic relatives in order to “keep the peace” are just allowing them to break everyone ELSE’S peace. You’re crazy uncle who cuts up on Thanksgiving is outside doing much worse to strangers. We need to start fighting that crap at home as well as in the streets. Well done as always!

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    1. As angry as I am with those on the right who are either true believers or who thing "the left" is such a destructive force that anything else is better. As much as that pisses me off
      Even more it's those still spouting the "Both parties are two sides of the same coin!" nonsense.
      As if anything of their agenda will be accomplished in an authoritarian government.

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    2. 100% J Buday. "As if anything of their agenda will be accomplished in an authoritarian government" -- good counter argument.

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  7. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke on a similar issue from a more personal point of view: looking at his father and his father's compatriots who had been soldiers of Nazi Germany, and how it destroyed them from the inside out. I put together a Google search that lists articles written about his statements on the issue: https://www.google.com/search?q=Arnold+schwarzenegger+talking+about+his+father+the+nazi+soldier&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS1002US1002&oq=Arnold+schwarzenegger+talking+about+his+father+the+nazi+soldier&aqs=chrome..69i57.27888j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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  8. As always, well-said, timely and frightening. I LOATHE living in 'interesting times.'

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  9. A recent article claims that, even when presented with factual evidence, many Republicans choose not to believe the truth. How to overcome these delusions is the question that must be answered before DJT and his enablers can be voted out.

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    1. You are right on!

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    2. It seems to be the case that conservatives especially tend to take on their beliefs as a personal part of their identity and thus any attack or rebuttal of their political beliefs is seen a a personal attack on them. It is extremely difficult to get them to change their minds or even honestly consider another point of view.

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  10. But what can a single individual do to stop the madness?

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    1. Vote accordingly

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    2. "Vote accordingly"--I mean, half of me says "Yes, of course, that's what I've been doing" and the other half is shrieking "ARE YOU FREAKING DAFT?" Because the states that vote accordingly aren't the ones that matter, and the states that matter have been grossly manipulated and gerrymandered and legislatively skullfucked until the votes of those who DO vote "accordingly" mean nothing, or are suppressed, or uncounted, or dismissed. Those of us in those states are disenfranchised precisely BECAUSE we vote for a better nation, because we TRY to be better citizens, and the ones in power fucking CANNOT abide that.

      So yeah, "vote accordingly", and I do, and I will, but: We need more. That, alone, is not gonna save us.

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    3. I agree that voting accordingly is no longer enough. Time to show some of these politicians an 18th story window. Time to break the spell of the Trump cult.

      I was raised to believed that all human life is sacred. I no longer believe in such absolutes. Some people are just too much of a clear and present danger to the nation and to the world to be allowed to exist.

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    4. Pardon me if I steal the term "legislatively skullfucked."

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    5. Here in TX, we continue to fight. We're organizing year-round, building on the grassroots infrastructure that our blessed Beto started, following Stacey Abram's playbook. Ohio's recent smackdown of Issue 1 gives me hope. Texas Blue Action Democrats is where I hang my organizing hat. We welcome all comers. I'd like to avoid a full-blown revolution.

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  11. It always flabbergasts me that trump attacks President Biden for his supposed lack of eloquence. He says the president can’t string two sentences together! Really?!?! Has he ever tried to read a transcript of his ( trump’s) gibberish? He can’t form a phrase of more than 5 words, nevermind a sentence.

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  12. Did you ever think after trump lost, things would get worse? I love reading your posts but felt a loss when Biden won because I thought it I would not see your insights as much. Little did I know your insights are needed more now! Thank you for your words of wisdom, hereope people will read and refect on them.

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  13. Well written Him, and yes! If you care about this Country and our democracy show up. If people had showed up when Trump first got elected, we wouldn't be facing this. If people would have shown up when Reagan was running for POTUS we wouldn't be here. If you truly care, show up.

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    1. A lot of people don't care. They are either waiting for a politician that truly inspires them (good luck!) or they are so burned out on Washington that they have become apathetic. They no longer believe in voting for the person who does the least harm. That would be selling out their 'principles'. This mentality is how we ended up with the current SCOTUS.

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    2. Wow, "They no longer believe in voting for the person who does the least harm" speaks to a major part of the problem. I.E. the current pathetic quality of our politicians (and getting worse every election). When did we stop voting for the person who would do the most good?

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    3. We stopped when we noticed that people who can do the most good often can't get elected. People who do the least harm often can get elected. If we don't vote for them, we end up with monsters who will destroy our democracy. That's what happens when you make the perfect the enemy of the good(enough). I'm no fan of Clinton. But I'm a realist. Had she been elected in 2016, this country wouldn't be anywhere near in as big a mess as it is now. Especially the composition of the courts. Presidents come and go, but justices are for life.



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    4. There isn't a consensus about who would do the most good. We need to stop being excited about politicians and look for quieter competency instead.

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  14. The reality TV reference is no small part of the Trump debacle-lypse. Reality TV was born of the last writers strike and was the industries way to make money without paying the story tellers. So they created a formless entertainment that was all conflict all the time. And into that construct walked Trump to a ready made audience of anger junkies.
    Somehow we have to get back to a story of us. This time one written for adults who can deal with horrible truths and not need a fantasy past to see a better future.
    Goddamn Trump, fucking goddamn Trump, is poised to destroy our democracy largely because neither he or his following can really understand what democracy is.
    We are under assault by angry, violent stupidity.

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    1. Reginalawsonv@gmail.comil.comAugust 10, 2023 at 1:57 PM

      "Debacle-lypse." Nice.

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    2. I produced some reality TV in the early 2000's. Reality TV isn't reality, in the same way that trickle down economics doesn't trickle down, and flushable wipes aren't really flushable.

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  15. Nicely said. We need this post and many more like it to drown out the ‘whatabout’ chorus of koolaid drinking angry toddlers who fell for a man who legitimized their bigotry.

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  16. Hello Jim. Always a pleasure to read your thoughts. I have been screaming for years that no one is coming to save us, we have to save ourselves. We become complacent so damned easily. A democracy is a living organism that all needs to be nurtured, which we forget on a regular basis. There is no autopilot for being a good citizen is there? I am old and stubborn and I will not let this country go down without a good fight. Thanks for keeping us engaged and occasionally pissed off. You make a difference.

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  17. Spot on. Thank you. And if nothing else, you've got me looking for a copy of Man in the High Castle. I remember reading it a thousand years ago (maybe it was 40) but I couldn't recall anything about it. Had to run it by Wikipedia first to recall its premise.

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    1. It was also made into a series on Amazon Prime, 4 seasons / 40 episodes. I'd not read the book, but thought the series was quite good.

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  18. Thank you for clearly stating the extreme danger to our society, our nation and our planet.

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  19. "What happens when they replace their god with someone who gives them license to be their own worst selves?"

    An admirable sentence.

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  20. Thank you, Jim, as always. Yours is not a voice crying in the wilderness. You have an activist audience. For years, as my sons were growing up, I had a plaque on the wall that said "I wondered why somebody didn't DO something.... Then I remembered that I am Somebody!" I was raised in a family that spoke out, even when it was unpopular to do so. I sometimes embarrassed my sons but I know they got the message. Just today, I read a statement from a Southern Baptist minister who is fighting extremism in his denomination. His advice: "Start small, start local." In other words, show up, stand up, speak up! Advice to live by or die trying!

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    1. Thanks Jane Myers. Your quote of that minister is right on target. Start small, start local. We have to elect good people at the local level so they can learn to run and win, and to govern and to build a base of voters that will help them win.
      Right now in Florida is that we have tired and lazy Democratic Party that can’t convince good people to run. The last two Governors race, we nominated Charlie Crist and Andrew Gillum. Don’t we have better candidates? Maybe not.

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    2. Our local DEC died of apathy, at the end there was only 4 of us. Wife heard it's starting back up, wasn't going to get involved again, but I've changed my mind. Doubtful it will be any better, but I MUST try

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    3. Howdy from equally f'd up TX, Mark Odom & Anon. Pls hang in there. Texas Blue Action Democrats has some tools that help. Check out 2 Million Texans / Blue Action Network. Holler --@Lucyfro on Twitter / X / wtf.

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  21. I thought I'd be dead before we hit this point. Ah well, I'll just keep plugging away at my husband. At least he's over Trump but still very conservative. It's the small things I think. Just lot's of small things. Now more pics please :)

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  22. Note that TFG’s tweets about Biden are pure projection. TFG can’t manage a coherent sentence, so he accuses Biden of it. TFG wants to weaponize DOJ, so he accuses Biden of it. And on, and on, and on…

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  23. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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  24. Thanks Jim. Excellent description. Glad you're speaking out, I'm sharing.

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  25. On target per standard operating procedure.

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  26. Great writing.
    I've been aware of trump since late 70's. Always thought he was a POS. Viewed him as born on 3rd base, catcher(law enforcement) threw ball over centerfield fence and he walked home screaming homerun. Saw his announcement speech and told everybody I know, Mussolini. Saw his RNC acceptance speech and started panicking. Got PO'ed at Hillary for running a crappy campaign.
    Now I see knuckleheads saying they are skipping vote or voting 3rd party. WTF he's had practice, he will get it right this time.
    Want to tell them why in your self righteous indignation do you think losing all your rights and being carted off justifies voting for someone who can't win or skipping the vote cause Biden ain't the perfect candidate. What particular lack of understanding of 3 branches leaves you confused enough to believe your 3rd party candidate if by some miracle won, wouldn't be less effective than a squirrel. I don't particularly like Biden or Harris but WTF I like the illusion my vote counts. The MAGAts already tried to take it away.

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  27. Talk about projection! He accuses Biden of being like a first grader when he himself told a biographer, "When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different."

    Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Michael D'Antonio, whose book, Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, nabbed the quotable gem during his six hours of interviews with the real estate king, The New York Times reports. However, as all good reporters should, D'Antonio also corroborated Trump's statement with evidence — from Trump's ex-wives.

    "The little boy that still wants attention," explained Marla Maples, Trump's second wife. She wasn't the only one who thought so.

    "He wants to be noticed," said Ivana Trump, wife No. 1, who recalled sending [Trump] into a fit of rage by skiing past him on a hill in Aspen, Colorado. Mr. Trump stopped, took off his skis and walked off the trail.

    "He could not take it, that I could do something better than he did," she recalled. [The New York Times]

    Trump also told D'Antonio that his education at a $30,000-a-year prep school, the New York Military Academy, gave him, "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military." Trump might raise some hackles with that comment, especially after igniting a controversy in July for saying that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was "not a war hero" because he was captured. Trump got out of military service with the combination of a high draft number and a "heel spurs on both feet" medical deferment.

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  28. I am currently listening to the "Eathseed" series via audiobook. Too onpoint for comfort.

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  29. Thank you! Anyone with a functioning brain should be scared enough at what is going on in this country to do something about it. It's really very simple. Vote for the rational person who will actually represent you. Do not let criminals off the hook. We won't change the zealot's minds, but we can, if we apply even a modicum of pressure, turn the tide.

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  30. One point someone noted elsewhere - while he posted plenty publicly, the warrant also may have given access to his DMs. Wouldn't THAT be interesting. Even just to see what was SENT to his account?

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    1. Why? Why would that be interesting? It would be hateful drivel, just like everything else these monsters do. It wouldn't change anyone's mind- everyone still enamored of him will love every word, there will be no consequences for any of it, and we would have to be subjected to it. What is interesting about that?

      Honestly, this fascination with knowing more, more, more about his depravity is almost as confusing to me as those who adore him. Just... why?

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  31. Unfortunately the people who need to read this won't (or even know about it) or dismiss it entirely.

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  32. I believe Trump requires a new word to describe his personal version of verbage.
    A combination of projection and defection, "proflection"!

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  33. "But what happens when they replace their god with someone who gives them license to be their own worst selves? " - Spot on!

    Great essay, as always.

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  34. I keep wondering how I can be a better citizen. I'm 75, widowed, live with my daughter in (God forbid) western S. Dakota, and subsist on my SS and a VA benefit from my late husband's death due to PTSD.

    I vote, ALWAYS, I show up every damn time. I engage my 2 senators and 1 representative, all of whom are irrefutably Republican and call out their BS regularly.
    I engage people online who spout Trump's BS and really try to not just denigrate them but to push back both reasonably and forcefully, speaking the truth that they don't want to hear: just calling them liars and idiots doesn't help. I have to admit that I'm terrible about phone campaigns though.
    I donate when and where I can. (Patreon certainly has my number!)
    I support my liberal friends, my gay friends, my younger friends in search of the truth. I try to educate my grandchildren who are all as liberal as I am, thank God. (Yes, I'm religious, but not a zealot.)
    So, what more can I do to be a better citizen? Seriously. I'm asking. I feel like I should be able to be more effective, but I don't know what more I can do.

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    1. Run for office? Give the sane people someone to vote for. When dems run, even when they lose, they have an effect on the Republicans who win: they become slightly less radical because they realize there are other opinions. And they know for sure that Americans hate Republican policies.

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    2. Several commenters have asked what more they can do, besides voting, which they never miss the chance to do.
      I suggest that most of us could offer to drive voters to their precincts on election day, or earlier if early voting is happening in their precinct. Recall that many states have reworked various voting laws and regulations to make voting more difficult for segments of the population that might tend to vote for candidates other than top-line Republicans. There are many older and/or infirm Americans who want to vote but can't or won't unless someone helps them get there.
      Find your local office of Democratic Party organizers and see what you can do to volunteer, including driving voters to polling places.
      That's what I'll be doing.

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