Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Living Hell of Half-Assed Democracy

"For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!” — From "The War Prayer", by Mark Twain

Half of us hate the other half. We blame the other half for almost everything that is “wrong” with our country, whatever that means to us. If the other half was struck down by lightning, our lives would be instantly cured of all problems. Considering ISIS is no more than 20,000 people, hating 165 million Americans must require a hell of a lot more energy.

When politicians and their followers say, "the American people", they  mean roughly half of a nation. When half of Americans say "make America great again", they mean, give me back my America. When the other half of America says "not my president", they mean, give me back my America... will the real America please stand up?

The unhinged extremes of "conservatives" and "liberals" were never opposite each other: they were always side by side. Think of a protest, where obnoxiously loud, heated exchanges take place. The extremes always find each other, with a mission to destroy the other. They blow up the ground they stand on, creating the Grand Canyon of democracy. The moderate watch from the safe distance of their respective cliff edges, polarized by the unchallenged belief that a force much greater than themselves created the canyon.

As long as both mainstreams continue to enable their unhinged extremes, the insanity will continue. The pendulum will swing every four to eight years. The policies will be done, then undone. Then done and undone all over again. 


"Half" is not a victory. We don't do half patriotism, half pride, half intelligence, half compassion, half jobs. No real leader would ever disrespect half a nation. Many of our forty-five leaders consistently showed us that they either never understood half our nation, or worse, chose the half they could profit from the most. The day a politician says, and more importantly means, "half of you have placed your trust in me, and you are getting your wish... but the other half does not like or trust me: they are a huge priority for me" is the day democracy will no longer be abused by the schizophrenia of nations.

...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cincinnati, OH! (A Tribute)

It's not that Cincinnati is better than any other place on the planet. Every place has its greatness, and uniqueness. It's that every place deserves to be homaged. This is my tribute to the Queen City.


Credits: Drone Images by Third Eye Aerial, Steven Madow, and Phil Armstrong. Black & White Photography by Joe Yanes. Music & Lyrics by Leonard Cohen. Music performed by Jeff Gutt.

Compiled / Edited by Joe Yanes & The Daily Presence. A not for profit, not compensated production. For any questions, comments, please contact yanesjm@yahoo.com.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Silence Disturbed

Patchogue (NY) resident James Klein, a registered Republican
and a Navy veteran, hangs the American flag upside down
outside his home on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.
Martin Scorsese's "Silence" is a brutal story of persecution. Going back to the early 1600s, Silence tells the haunting story of the first Christian missionaries in Japan. Not for the faint of heart, the film portrays  inhumanity to an extreme that makes you wonder if the universe is simply not better off without us. 

Leaving the theater, I experienced a revelation of sorts. It suddenly dawned on me that stories about religious, ethnic, or political persecution are all trying to convey the exact same message: persecution exists because the powerful minority will always posses a consuming fear of the powerless majority

I decided to read-up a bit on the subject of human fear, as it should be clear by now that politics is more about the management of fear than anything else it claims to be. The simple conclusion was that fear is the most basic, but ultimately most toxic of human instincts. It brands itself from early life as our protector-in-chief, a survival of the fittest superhero of sorts. Yet as honorable as mere survival can be, and as useful to evolution as it has been, fear often reaches dysfunctional overload when unchecked. We are coded to take even the hint of a minor threat and entertain worst-case scenarios in the kangaroo courts of our mind. When it comes to fear, sense has no voice in our decision making process. When it comes to fear, alternative reality makes as much sense as we need it to make.

Every generation since the dawn of man has witnessed the tragic impact of irrational fear. Ours is no exception, so it's best not to fall prey to nostalgic distortions. There is no way to sugarcoat it: fear, unchecked by either reason or faith, makes cowards out of mere mortals. 

Teddy Roosevelt, one of the great conservative presidents of the United States, best summed up the power of caution over fear with his famous maxim, "speak softly, carry a big stick". Such was the quiet strength of our leadership, one that was instrumental decades later in the defeat of boisterous Nazi Germany. Yet somewhere along the way we seem to have lost the lesson. America has apparently stumbled into a leadership tinkering with dystopian antics. A leadership that could now be summed up by an unbecoming speak loudly, spread a big fear.  

Much has been written in recent days about the parallels between our latest brand of leadership and Nazi Germany. The superficial similarities arguably exist, except for one important detail: Germany imploded during the Great Depression, America grew stronger. Germany devolved practically overnight from Weimar Republic to Banana Republic. The foundation-less Republik was no match for the strength of our checks and balances, making current comparisons premature. Besides, we have plenty of swept-under-the-rug issues that have plagued us for many generations. Never mind the dark specter of an American dictator. Worrying about a Nazi fate only clouds very real and unsolved problems. The kind of problems that will likely be the real undoing of the great American experience, such as our alarming rate of incarceration (US DOJ and Interpol statistics), murder rate by firearms (FBI stats), and real unemployment (US Dept of labor and Census Bureau). None of these problems have anything to do with ISIS, and although they are complicated by illegal immigration they will not go away if we stopped ALL immigration. 

That being said, our mighty checks and balances today are about to be tested like never before, much to the concern and contempt of half a nation. But consider the following: the other half, the one who ushered in this chapter of American history, held the exact same contempt for the previous leader. They fell back on the same kind of Naziesque warnings: Obama was a dictator that was hellbent on destroying America. It was a contempt driven by fear (much like the current contempt), and there was not enough consolation our checks and balances could provide. 

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the two sides of this dysfunctional marriage we call America is closer to the truth. A mediocre accomplishment, as almost-truths always are.

As I watched Silence in my own distressed silence, one particular word kept recurring in the story: apostasy. Apostasy is "the formal disaffiliation from, or renunciation of a religion by a person". Apostasy, it seems, is also what lurks in the shadows of America’s Heartland. A Heartland with a vindicated mandate to cleanse our "formerly great" nation from fear-inducing ethnicities and non-Christian religions. A Heartland who will no longer remain in silence. A silence, disturbed. A disturbance that now haunts those who call themselves The Resistance. A resistance that will swing the pendulum of democracy back within the next four years, so we can get up and do it all over again. 

Until then, those of us obsessed with making sense of it all might finally understand the words of America's subway prophets: "Fools, said I, you do not know: silence like a cancer grows..."


***


SPOILER ALERT on the video below. 
Do not watch if you've never watched "House of Cards" 
AND you intend to do so. Oh an also it's NSFW.


"Silence Disturbed"
A Videoblog by the Daily Presence-Joey
Video editing by Joey. Scenes from House of Cards
Song performed by "Disturbed", music and words by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

*

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Old Potomac Two-Step

Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson
Like Rex Tillerson, my father was an Exxon lifelong career man. When he retired from Exxon he became an industry consultant. In the mid 90's he and I worked together on a series of international oil companies projects, collaborating with major consultants including McKinsey, Accenture, and PA Consulting (UK). Contrary to popular belief, Exxon and most of the major oil companies have been spending significant time and resources on cleaner, alternative energy. My father collaborated with one or two universities, with a minor assist from my part, on studies involving the impact of improved engine efficiency, the gloomy future of oil prices, and the end of the oil industry as we know it.

Towards the end of the 90's, Accenture asked for our help on a project in Russia (Samara), not far from the Caspian Sea. Rex Tillerson was VP of Exxon's operations in the region at the time, Exxon Ventures CIS. We met with Tillerson on one occasion, he struck me as a straight-shooter. The culture at Exxon, one I experienced by osmosis at home growing up, has always been strongly pro-science. There was an exception during the administration of Lee Raymond (1993-2005), when Exxon took a skeptical approach to climate change. In 2006 Exxon changed leadership and self-corrected. The new CEO declared there was no question that human activity was the source of CO2 emissions, one of the leading causes of detrimental climate change. That new CEO was Rex Tillerson.

Now, I'm not going to go out on a limb for a politician. I don't know if Tillerson will do the right thing as Secretary of State, politically or otherwise. I really don't know if he has any skeletons in his closet, though I'm fairly certain he was picked by Trump-Bannon for his Russian stripes. Either way, it's not my turn to watch him. For those whose job it is to watch him, Tillerson's confirmation was not among the most bipartisan. That honor belonged to Gen. James Mattis, a true warrior and principled anti-torture dissenter amidst a lair of scorched earth high-anxieters. What has been said about Tillerson by his opponents is that his climate change position has made him a respected foe. 

For his part, unlike Mattis and Tillerson, President Trump has already demonstrated he lacks character and wisdom. Unfortunately for the majority of our country we’re stuck with him for at least four years. Unless he places us in clear and present danger, beyond the shadow of constitutional doubt, for the next four years we will be testing the structural strength of our mighty constitution. After all, what the Founders giveth the Founders can taketh. Don't hold your breath though, Donald Trump has mastered the "art of the deal": riding lawyers to a legal netherworld, a sanctuary of entitlement where you can turn six bankruptcies and 3,500 lawsuits into profitable exit strategies. Having said that, and in the meantime: just like Obama supporters pleaded with the opposing view to at least try and find common ground, perhaps a taste of the same medicine is now in order. 

For those of us who have lived long enough to see a few U.S. presidential cycles, and a few global recessional ones, the pattern is getting predictable. What isn't predictable, and therefore a threat to freedom and democracy as we know it, is irrational fear. Fear moves us in unpredictable ways, we don't like the unknown. So we adopt convictions through trial and tribulation as our road map. Then we set off on our journey according to our map, justifying our choices by seeking confirmation that we are on the right path. That confirmation bias is what makes us prey to the preachers of half-truths. It also distorts reality beyond recognition, creating fictitious alternate universes where no common ground exists. 

Thankfully for the fate of our planet, common ground is all we've got. It's the ground where Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Atheists already coexist peacefully. Where rational conservatives and rational liberals currently work together productively. It's the ground where blacks, whites, and browns befriend and reproduce. Where straights and gays create art together without prejudice. It is the ground where Tillerson met with Obama multiple times, to plead his case on sanctions that carried unintended consequences. Where General Mattis was appointed by Barack Obama as Commander of the U.S. Central Command. It is, when all other ground has been scorched by the lords of war, the only ground that matters. Everything else is fear-based distortion of the weak-minded. It is the dancing in the dark of foes and fools.

To my oil industry phobic friends on the far-left: it seems to me that peer-reviewed science journals are as inconvenient to you as they are to the far right. Have you two met? Perhaps you can do dinner sometime. 

To my climate change denier friends on the far-right: How well do you know our new Secretary of State? You should reach out to him sometime and ask him where he gets his "fake, tree-hugging science". 

Has it ever occurred to both of you far-siders that it is getting more difficult to tell the two of you apart? In the words of another Donald, albeit a more poetic one:

What a tangled web we weave, go 'round with circumstance.
Someone show me how to tell the dancer from the dance”.

Don Henley / The Eagles (1973)



From Clear and Present Danger: (1994) "The Old Potomac Two-Step"




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why We Can't Handle The Truth

Mark Twain is commonly credited in modern times as the author of the quote, "If you don't read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you read them, you're misinformed." Truer words are not often spoken, but either way those particular ones were never articulated by Mark Twain. Of all misattributed quotes, this one has to be the mother of all ironies. 

Let's just say that Twain, one of my favorite observers of humanity's insanity, was a contributor to that great quote. One that could have just as well been written for today's fake news-gate headlines. Take a look for a moment at the quote's evolution: as far as we can tell the quote's roots can be traced to Thomas Fuller in the 1600's, picked up by Thomas Jefferson in the 1700s, and enhanced by Twain's signature sting in the 1800s. The first known instance of the quote as we know it today was delivered in 1955 by Orville Hubbard, mayor of Dearborn (Michigan) at the time.

So why subject a simple quote to such a brutal dissection? And why does it matter where the truth comes from? Because a great truth, one that took three hundred years to be eloquently delivered, is still not understood by the average citizen today. This is a worrisome telltale sign of a mass learning disability. 

Yes, it matters where the truth comes from. It matters who it came through. It matters how long it took to be discovered. It matters how many people suffered and died needlessly because we did not understand it. It matters because we still don’t understand it. When it comes to the truth, everything matters.

For a generation that was raised on the urgency of "just do it" we sure take our time when it comes to our evolutionary hunger for the truth. If truth be actual food we would all be extinct by now. "Uh, Andromeda, this is HGS Beagle II... that's a negatory on minimal intelligence aboard that blue rock. Quite fascinating though, the place looks like a resort. Pity, what a waste of a habitable zone." 

Therein lies our tragic flaw: we still don't comprehend our evolutionary prime directive to seek the truth. Not the convenient truths, those are the few and easy ones.  It's the difficult ones that scare us. The ones that require we get out of our comfort zone. Oh but we sure pay lip service to hard truths. We fight wars in their name and we build monuments to them. We worship them in our churches, theistic or atheistic ones. Like any form of worship, fear is part of the equation. When fear reaches irrational levels, we give up our quest for the truth to someone else. Chiefly our priests and politicians.  

One way people neutralize fear is by submitting to a larger group. We're buying the protection they're selling in exchange for one warm body, one soul, one vote. Political parties are the closest mass behavior we have today to the pack mentality from our animal ancestry. Packs are much less interested in the truth than they are in the success of the pack. 

Should you find yourself drawn to a political pack, do as you will. Consider, nevertheless, the following lesson from the universe: the pack approach to life is a zero-sum game. For every pack organized, an equal but opposite pack will always find its way to the kill.

We can't handle the truth because we favor self-fulfilling prophecies over accountability. We can't handle it because we have a love-fear relationship with it. Like all dysfunctional relationships, we are wired for a painful long haul, even in light of overwhelming evidence: it is the difficult truths that will always set us free. Not our priests, and most definitely not our presidents.

...


"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? 

I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. 

You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. 

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. 

Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."


- Col. Jessup, "A Few Good Men"

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Art of The Con

"The self-fulfilling prophecy is in the beginning a false definition of the situation, evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning."

- Robert Kenton, 1948


If you take information and strip it of context, you end up with propaganda. It is no different than manipulating visual perspective in a magic trick. Replay the magic act from different angles and you will eventually expose the trick. Likewise, restore context to information and you will always expose the propaganda.

Propaganda is the cocaine of partisan politics. It is an artificial rush that takes you up to the heights of "telling it like it is", only to slam you back down to the dirt-eating "we left something out". Without contextual information politics is a zero-sum game. It takes what it gives and it gives what it takes. 

There are 3,143 counties and county-equivalents in the US. Over six US presidential elections ago, an Australian immigrant named Rupert Murdoch observed that counties, not states, are the DNA of the US. There are still mainstream media outlets today that don't understand our national genetics. They talk about fifty red-white-and-blue states in time-wasting analyses. 

Murdoch astutely noticed that a vast majority of those counties see "red" when it comes to politics. By vast I mean, more than 90% of these counties are home to a red majority. A true color map would actually show more purple than red, as most of these counties are not 100% red. Be that as it may, the challenge for the Heartland was that Blue America had just been resurrected by centrist William Jefferson Clinton. Among the top reasons for this blue revival: it turns out trickle-down economics didn't actually trickle from Wall Street to Des Moines. The trickling was diverted and offshored to the brown fog of Beijing and Mexico City. The red Heartlanders who refused to wait forever packed their bags and decided to give Blue America a chance. 

Between 1992 and 2016 there have been seven presidential elections. In six out of seven the blues outnumbered the reds. In two of those six the reds were bailed out by the Electoral College. You can draw your own conclusions as to where that trend is headed.

Bucking the trend and with a little help from a red freshman class, Murdoch didn't just see a rise of blue Heartlanders marching to a promised land. In a glass half-empty vision he saw red folks being left behind. He saw the void, but more importantly, he knew the power of that void. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Murdoch bet on the wide open spaces and went to every county of the Heartland. A land abandoned by the new American majority, but not by the founding fathers. The large TV screen in the living rooms and bars of the Red Heartland was playing only one magic show: Fox News. 

Hillary Clinton did not lose to Donald Trump, she lost to Rupert Murdoch. The man with the largest share of Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox. A man who, in the ultimate twist of cynical fate, must fiducially consider the interests of Saudi Arabian prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the second largest shareholder of 21st Century Fox.

To be fair it is not that Fox News is a lone outlier in our fulfilled Orwellian prophecy of Newspeak. It's just that they are one of the worst offenders. Their kind of magic appeals to simpler folk, whose appetite for the truth has been exceeded by their need for work and dignity. These are not unintelligent Americans, certainly not any more or less intelligent than any other segment of the country. These are left-behind Americans, whose anger has been poked by the peddlers of half-truths.

Propaganda sells zero accountability. It cons the illusion where nothing is your fault. Your responsibility is magically removed from your perspective. This is not just a red problem by the way: this is a red-white-and-blue problem, a black-lives, brown-lives, and every other lives problem. The peculiar thing about human nature is that, barring a few outliers who literally believe in magic, most folks know that the magician is manipulating their field of vision. It's just that they can't resist the thrill of the illusion at a time when reality is dull to them. The temporary absolution from reality is comfortably numbing, the rush of quasi-truths leaves them craving for more.


For their part, the Saudi Prince and his Chief Information Amputator can't really be bothered with the problems of America's Heartland. In exchange for the feel-good experience from self-fulfilling prophecies, at the end of the evening the magician always takes your money home. 


"...Now every time that she performed,
Oh, everybody cried for more.
Soon all she had to do was step into the light,
For everyone to start to roar.
And all the people cried, you're the one we've waited for..."

-"Duchess" (1979)


Sunday, November 20, 2016

"The Forgotten Will Be Forgotten No More"

On Friday January 20, 2017, the 45th president of the United States will be sworn-in. During his inauguration speech, forty-five will be facing a historic dilemma: to mention or not to mention that prickly will of the people.  You know the one, "the American people have spoken." No matter what forty-five decides, the elephant in the inauguration will be telling it like it is: "The electoral college has spoken." 

We heard you loud and clear founding fathers. Your message from the past was a shot across the bow. You'd think after 2000 we would have taken that warning more seriously. Which prompted me to take a closer look at our history, since we've obviously been condemned to repeat it. 

I dug deeper into that electoral college dragon you set loose on us. The one that lurks in the shadows of every election, never actually pouncing. Except for a handful of times, including this last one, when the dragon spewed hellfire on an "unfair" majority. I should have been paying closer attention this time around. What exactly is an unfair majority? 

I came out of my research with the mother of all head-scratchers. That famous electoral college I knew all my adult life, harmless and quiet for over one-hundred years before 2000, was designed to protect the less populated, under-informed, and forgotten... by counting slaves as two-fifths of a white man? Good grief Thomas Jefferson. Say it ain't so.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." When Jefferson's pen released that last drop of ink on one of the world's most famous parchment papers, somewhere on a plantation in Virginia an enslaved man looked up at the heavens and shook his head. And somewhere in the conscience of that slave's "owner" there was a twitch, as he stared at the words he had just written. The kind of twitch that for a moment we think might have been a pinched nerve in the neck... but no. It was something worse. 

In a world driven by "pre-truth" and "post-truth" (and anything but the truth so help me God), I am willing to hold Thomas Jefferson accountable only to the pre-truth of his time. In his case, pre-Civil War. That being said, how does a man so otherwise enlightened in matters of leading the world away from tyranny reconcile that blatant contradiction in his mind? I suppose by sitting on Monticello’s terrace, looking down upon Mulberry Row and watching men and women he deemed not fully human build his personal wealth without liberty. Two-fifths human, to be precise. 

The revolutionary war was a bar brawl compared to the Civil war. True liberty and the pursuit of happiness were not born with the revolutionary war. They were born through the labor pain of a one-hundred-year journey. A journey that started with the Civil War and ended with the political defeat of white supremacist George Wallace.

Against all those odds, I refuse to smugly judge from the cheap seats of a better-informed future. Flawed as he was, I still hold a decent  amount of respect for Thomas Jefferson. He was no John Adams, but there was greatness in him. I will assume until further evidence that he may have been a “good slave-owner”, whatever in god’s name that is. Or at least a slave owner with a nagging conscience. I typically don't look to the past for a moral compass anyway, as much as I respect the few enlightened ones that made my world a little better, and the many who sacrificed life or limb for the basic freedom of millions. But this much I know: It's the ones who delivered actual inalienable rights to those condemned as two-fifths human who should command our greatest respect.

The electoral college was a borderline undemocratic measure, with roots in Roman times, a far less civilized model to choose from in the first place. It was a measure born out of an arguably legitimate concern, the under-representation of less informed and less populated areas. A concern that was instantly addressed through less undemocratic means. Not only was it neutralized right off the gate by the creation of political parties, it was wiped out as long ago as the propagation of radio and television. A concern that nevertheless was found to be a powerful tool for political manipulation, and it was implemented anyway. Well, with all due respect to a well-meaning watchdog of fair representation, when it was dragged through the mud of a de-humanizing tyranny it became a threat to the greatest democratic development the world has ever known. The well-meaning founders who let it go forward had no way of knowing that the under-informed could one day be mass-blitzed by false information. The exact opposite of what the measure was intended to protect just happened. The under-informed were deliberately mis-informed, propaganda style at its most devious, giving proof beyond shadow of a doubt that the electoral college was ill-conceived. 

So knowing what I now know better, I have an appeal to those whose anger was awakened by Donald Trump...


Dear Forgotten:

I was wrong. I didn't think your message would make it this far. Honestly, I thought your nomination of Donald Trump was your message, but it didn't have a chance to go further. Speaking at least for the politically independent, we were wrong. 

Many of us have heard you, loud and clear. Forty years is enough. Since the day that first factory was closed back in the mid 70's, you have slowly watched the disintegration of your world. Almost everything you were promised by your fathers and grandfathers was crushed. You retreated to a world that looked awfully close to those ghettos you saw on TV. Except you weren't black.  So how in the world did you end up there?

You went through the five stages of grief. You stopped asking questions when you submitted to acceptance, in your own version of hope. A hope that never came. Well, at least not the way we would like it to be. That "long run" crap everyone talks about is a slap in the face of dignity. Forty years is enough. 

Who knew, but apparently it is possible for the five stages of grief to be restarted. Awakened. Someone came to your town, to your TV sets, to your twitter accounts, and whispered the magic words in your ear: "It's not your fault. Follow me." So far so good, you still have my attention. 

But here's where I'm losing you: the man who asked you to follow him not only never walked a mile in your shoes, he wouldn't wear your shoes if you paid him. And that's saying a lot for a billionaire. The rub is, you turned a deaf ear when you heard he was not self-made. Strike one.

One of the five stages of grief is anger. When he whispered in your ear, Donald Trump didn't just stop at "it's not your fault." Oh, no, he knew how to fire up that anger like there's no tomorrow. In fact, that's literally what he told you: there is no tomorrow. Only he had the billionaire superpower to turn back time, and he "told it like it is": it's the Mexicans, the Blacks, the Muslims, the Jews, the Immigrants, the Liberals, the Gays, the Handicapped, Non-Christian Soldiers, Captured Soldiers, Washington, Hollywood, China, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, the Media, and Women who don't know their place, especially Fat Women. Notably absent from that list: fat billionaires who stiff the ones who actually do the work, then hide behind bankruptcy; the same ones who outsource their own production to Mexico and China, and who get bailed out by Saudi Arabian royalty. A royalty that is quite possibly one of the most evil on the planet. Call me crazy but I don't think it was China or Mexico who shut down your factories. It was the billionaires who thought paying you $8 an hour was stupid, when you can pay a Chinese or a Mexican $1 an hour. Strike two. 

Which brings us to bases loaded, two strikes, bottom of the 9th. The good news is, you just won the most recent game. Bad news is, keep swinging at air and you will lose the series. Look closer at that scoreboard: the popular vote is not on your side. It's sliding in the opposite direction from you. In 2000 the difference was half a million. Today it is nearing three times that. That trend is not going to stop, and no electoral college can stop the actual will of the people. Which by the way, always included you. You never needed an undemocratic contraption to be a major part of this country. And it’s time to let it go.

Want to keep America great? Why not start by making accountability great again. Fix yourselves, as you rightly demand of the welfared ones. Stop dreaming that a bored billionaire prince actually cares about you. Had the electoral college been designed to honestly defend you, I would say swing away. The next one will be out of the park. But no, it wasn't conceived with honesty. It was created for political gain, on the backs of slaves, who at two-fifths human didn't even qualify to be called the forgotten ones.

I'm betting that you're smart and realize that four or eight years from now there won't be a sea of factories in Mississippi, Texas, Detroit, or Pittsburgh. These mythical factories certainly will not be hiring you at $15 an hour. Oh there will be the usual sewage of misinformation telling you that the few that are still there are there because of the people you voted for. And there might be one or two new ones, subsidized by taxpayers. Definitely not by free markets, because irony needs no electoral college. Because only irony tells it like it is.

Since the likes of Bannon and Coulter already know about the factories myth, they will continue to do what they do best. They will make a lot of money by mocking you in textbook intelligentsia-speak: It's not your fault, follow me. Up to you if you want to let them do that. I think you're smarter than that, and I think you’re pride in resisting government handouts is genuine. I also think you're right that the political machinery on the left is full of hypocrisy. But that's no reason to strap dynamite to your chest and blow yourself up. A Machiavellian prince is not worth it. Trust me on this one, Machiavelli lost that war. And so will this current bored prince, whom you thrust upon the rest of us when your anger was poked. Just remember, no good decisions are ever made in fits of rage.

As we both seek to repair the damage done, can we walk away from the propaganda and anger puppeteering? Let's start a conversation about an America where political tyrants will be powerful no more. An America that truly honors the founders legacy by repudiating royal dreams of Camelot and golden palaces. An America where the far right and the far left can no longer fool anyone with their blatantly false and self-serving propaganda. The America that once truly liberated itself and helped make the world more free.



The Living Hell of Half-Assed Democracy

"For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy t...