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Is Trump faking us all out?

Lots of folks are speculating that Trump is faking us out with this corona virus diagnosis. They cite how the WH is one big lie machine (alternative facts, dontcha know) and the speculation is he can claim a miracle drug has saved him, and then ride that into victory.

Maybe, but highly highly doubtful IMNSHO.

POTUS lives in the world’s most protective bubble, admitting that he got the virus makes no strategic sense because it means his government failed to keep him safe. Failure is never a good look.

He interacted with donors and now they are PISSED. You can’t anger the people who give you money. 

Other republicans are now being reported as corona +, namely 2 republicans on the judiciary committee. They need them for the ACB hearings. If this was a hoax, there wouldn’t be other people getting sick if they are needed for that. Plus, there’s bunch of WH reporters and staffers who are also being reported as corona + (9 as I write this).

And, my biggest reason why this is not a hoax – it completely undercuts his campaign message about having managed the pandemic well. Why would you vote for the guy who said it was a hoax, inject bleach, it’s going away, it affects almost nobody, and then he comes down with it himself? It contradicts ALL of his messaging from the moment this virus appeared. 

No, I would expect them to cover up a + result long before they’d try to fake one.

How Trump Can Win

originally published on Facebook 8/28/2020

The race is on – can Trump win? Maybe, but I’m very doubtful…

With the conventions over, we now have a better view of how the race is going to run and won. What will determine the outcome? Let’s look…

COVID

Last night, CNN’s Jim Acosta reported that a senior White House official told him that the administration was going to go for a herd immunity approach to the virus. Let it rip through the population and get everyone infected to achieve immunity. Sweden has been held up as the model for this approach, but they suffered massive death and just as much economic hardship. That doesn’t seem sensible to me. Plus, the NYT has shown through their polling research that in any given district, as the corona virus cases and deaths increased, Trump’s approval decreased, a direct relationship measured in real time. If they adopt this, there’ll be lots of dissent, and it’ll be a disaster. Just imagine the news stories about the children who die from it after a big push towards herd immunity.

The Economy and the Stock Market

Trump is famous for following the stock market and hailing it as the economy. The general economy sucks right now, so he has to push the performance of the stock market, which is spectacular right now. However, October is the traditional month for economic crashes, and Warren Buffet’s crash indicator is blinking red.

Kenosha

The teenaged vigilante is being hailed by the right wing. But, as I suspected, he has a past that is troubled and possibly criminal. By raising him up as a good guy, while simultaneously putting down Jacob Blake for the exact same kind of past, they will only amplify the issue of race in this country. White Americans are majority in favor of the BLM movement and of working towards racial justice, a new phenomenon in America. How can the majority support racial justice, but support the teenaged mutant ninja vigilante at the same time?

Protests, Riots, and Crime

This is the weak spot. Trump sees it, the right wing sees it. If they can make this the narrative, they have a chance. Consider the following:
— The protests have a majority support, peaceful protest is as American as apple pie. The racial injustice they highlight is something the country wants to address, the numbers in the crowds plainly show that.
— Nobody likes riots. Are they the work of Antifa or the 3% white supremacists? They have to convince people that right wing agitators don’t exist, but they do. This is going to depend upon how much each group gets tagged with the violence. Right now, there is more credible evidence that right wing agitators are responsible. Will that change?
Crime is at a generational low in this country, even with the recent uptick, it is still less than half of what it was in the mid 1990’s. People in cities are safer than they were then. So, he needs to make it look much worse than it is. But, who is the president right now? That becomes a sticky question, as Trump famously takes no responsibility for anything, but how can the president not be responsible to some degree? Especially if he keeps pushing how bad it is. I’m not sure how a sitting president can make the country look like it is suffering a crime wave and argue to be reelected.

It looks like Trump is going to run a law and order campaign, much like his hero Nixon did in 1968 and 1972, it is his only real option. But, I suspect that is not going to have the same effect. The electorate of 2020 is not the same as it was in either of those races and I think this is a mistake for him to go that direction without tying in police reforms and racial justice. I’m working on a piece about that, look for it soon.

For Trump to win, a few things will have to happen- the virus will have to magically go away so that death and sickness go down, the stock market doesn’t crash, the economy stops bleeding jobs, there will have to be incontestable evidence that the left wing agitators are a greater threat than right wing agitators, and he has to somehow convince people that a crime wave has taken over the country for which he bears no responsibility. These things could all happen, but I have my doubts.

QAnon is Toxic to Trump

originally published on facebook 8/26/2020

QAnon is toxic to Trump, he just doesn’t know it yet.

QAnon posits that there is a global cabal of satan worshipping pedophile cannibals running the world. Somehow, they’ve infiltrated the government and many parts of our society. Trump and the republicans have now openly embraced this idea, thinking that it will lead to political power. However, evangelical leaders are starting to denounce QAnon as a Gnostic heresy. A schism has opened up, and it will only get wider.

There is an inherent tension in any conspiracy theory because ultimately it is a lie. The purveyor of the theory can use many different techniques to convince people of its truth, but ultimately what they are selling is rubbish. The believers of the theory eventually will see this. At some point, the brainwashing wears off, reality crashes in, and they suffer cognitive dissonance.

I’ve often made the joke- what’s the difference between a cult and a religion? About 150 years. QAnon is only around 3 years old. There’s another 147 years to go before they have the institutional strength of being a religion behind them. Ultimately, it is a belief system that is flimsy at best, because it has not had time to develop. Evangelical Christianity is much older and has much more sway because of its age, it is an institution, it is trusted, it has power, and it does not like competition, especially competition that it can’t absorb. QAnon is a threat to their own power, but it is too weak to succeed. QAnon will, however, do a lot of damage.

Many Christian rituals were absorbed from other cults, it has a long tradition of doing so. However, it can’t absorb a tradition that is antithetical to its own beliefs. While QAnon can co opt the Republican party, I’ve suspected that Christianity can’t co opt QAnon, and my suspicions are proving correct, as the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now confirming. The rejection of QAnon by the elite of the Evangelical Christianity will split and weaken both movements.

The evangelical embrace of Trump was always a deal with the devil, Trump is not Reagan, he can’t project a wholesome image of himself, and he just doesn’t care about morality. As we’ve seen in the Jerry Falwell jr saga, we are also now seeing it in the QAnon saga, he corrupts everyone he comes into contact with.

Everything Trump Touches Dies.

Evangelical leaders denounce QAnon

All About Karen

It’s become the nom de ridicule to identify the generic white woman of privilege. Basically, calling someone “Karen” is to say that they are a demanding, arrogant, self-absorbed, and oblivious white woman who is not afraid to use her white privilege to gain what she wants.

Let’s take the situation in NYC’s Central Park, where a woman was walking her dog off leash in an area where she was not supposed to. A black man asks her to put the dog on leash, and she not only refuses, but she gets so angry that she calls the police and claims he is assaulting her.

It’s very clear, she was not following reasonable rules and she’s definitely in the wrong. Had she simply recognized that fact and complied with the rules, we would not know her name and she would still have a job. So, why not follow a simple request to follow a simple rule? Would this situation have unfolded differently if the man asking her to leash her dog were white? One can only speculate, but my hunch is that she would have either complied, or at least not called the police while refusing. But, because society has placed a higher value on her word as a white woman, she believes that calling the police and making a false claim will work and she can get her way.

This is white privilege.

A closer examination of this interaction reveals that white privilege has allowed her to not relate to the world in a fully developed and mature way. Humans go through several different stages of mental and emotional development during their lives. Hopefully, by the time one has reached adulthood, one has learned to be part of a group and accept that one’s wants and desires may not always be fulfilled. Living in a city with shared spaces means that one has to adhere to various rules in order that all may share in them equally. Her desire to let her dog run unleashed conflicts with the rules for that shared space. By exercising white privilege to have her desire met (to let her dog run unleashed), she has acted like a toddler who gets told no.

She has reduced herself with this false feeling of security, control, and power. Elevating her wants above rules that apply to everyone is to actually take her far below a developed and mature adult. This is infantilization by white privilege. When you have the ability to force your will not matter what, you never have to acknowledge other people or consider what they may need or want. Or, in other words, white privilege has allowed her to act like a spoiled, petulant child.

Like a toddler who’s only focus is on themself, she feels she is able to ignore what was a completely reasonable request and essentially throw a temper tantrum to have things her way. White privilege has allowed her to not behave as an adult, not respect those around her, and to be bad member of society.

So – what is she actually giving up by giving up her white privilege? She gives up the undeserved feeling of superiority but not much else. Granted, the concept of self is very powerful and is one of our most important mental health aspects. But a self that is built on lies is not a healthy self and is actually weak. What she gets without the ‘security’ of white privilege is a healthier and more adult relationship with fellow humans.

How to Respond to This Social Uprising

The US has been rocked and shaken to its very core by the events of the past couple of weeks. When I see what is happening, my first reaction (after the shock) is what can I do? With my history of having had heart surgery, the COVID-19 pandemic makes me extremely uneasy to be in large crowds. Under other circumstances, I would be out every day, as I am confident in my ability to handle myself in most crowds. But, in an era of an airborne pulmonary-afflicting virus, I just don’t think it is wise for me.

So, I’ve turned my energies to thoughts and writings, which I was already doing in regards to my art work and general reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what kind of thoughts can I contribute to this conversation? As a white man of privilege, I can’t truly speak about oppression. As a gay man, yes, I have experiences with certain types of oppression, but they don’t truly compare to the issues at hand. What I can contribute, though, I hope, is some help in framing conversations for white people to have with each other about what white supremacy is and what it actually does to our society.

Living in an unjust and unequal society is dangerous and toxic for all of its members. It is hard, however, to see how that affects you in a negative way when there are some benefits that accrue to your position. Just because you get some benefits, doesn’t mean it is a system that is good for you overall.

So, I’ll be writing about these types of topics here and I hope that anyone who reads these pieces can follow along and appreciate I’m attempting to say here.

In a Place

Finding myself in a place
Where time doesn’t matter
But it keeps marching on
The world has stopped for most
Things still happen
The sun comes up
The winds change
Nature is still here
Even though we aren’t

The End of the World

It’s hard to shake that feeling – the world is ending.

American dominance of the global economy and politics – that’s gone now. When Trump got elected, we started this descent into irrelevance. How can a country that elects a lying, grifting buffoon be trusted to do anything right? We have seen it during the past 3 years in regular everyday affairs, but now in a genuine emergency, Trump’s criminal ineptitude is putting the nail in the coffin of American Exceptionalism. Donald Trump shows us that the only ways in which we are truly exceptional are stupidity and cruelty.

It’s very hard not to have anxiety and dread about this – endings are typically painful. When that ending is monumental like the sunsetting of a super power, and the rise of a more chaotic era, anxiety and dread about the future abound. Living in a time when our technology and industrialism can destroy life on this planet will only amplify those feelings exponentially.

Will the end of this era lead to the end of the world?

What I Miss

What I miss
I miss Jason’s touch
When our fingers intertwine
And the world becomes a different place
If only for that moment
I know
I matter
I am here

What I miss
Random
Bumping into
Not expecting to see you
Then seeing you
A surprise encounter
So good to see you!

What I miss
Kindness
Decency
Respect
Acknowledgement of my humanity
Being able to acknowledge your humanity
Competent moral leadership
Honest journalists
You not having blinders on
Me being able to take my blinders off
Your humanity
My humanity
Humanity

What I miss
Solid beliefs
The real deal
Hope
Going outside whenever
Stores
Crowded places alive with energy
Looking forward to tomorrow

That’s what I miss

Social Media is Poison

There’s that moment when you get that feeling of wanting to punch someone really hard when you are reading their social media post. It’s an urge to smack them so hard that their head spins into next week. Can you feel that surge of energy vibrating down your arms to your hands? What they wrote is so obviously ridiculous that it requires and demands an immediate response. You’re bristling and ready to pounce.

Why is that?

Sometimes people post things to get a rise out of their reader for pleasure, or to share their current feelings, or to manipulate their reader into either siding with them, or against them, and fuel an argument. This is about intentions – why is that person writing/posting that? What do they want from me?

I assume that infuriating things have been written for pretty much as long as we’ve been writing. The behavior is not new as provoking is a natural tendency that humans do all the time. Indeed, provocation is an important part of the maturing and learning processes we go through – how else do you determine limits if you don’t push them? That push provokes. How many times have you provoked a reaction in someone, who was ignoring or not paying enough attention to you, when you wanted their attention?

Combining the urge to provoke and the need for attention, with the dopamine high of the social media experience, gives you aggressive and demanding interactions. They play out in a digital ether littered with virtual salons of distrust, anger, and rage. The furious posting of links to back up or refute an argument fly back and forth. The anticipation generated by someone’s typing… makes your will focus and narrow on the instigator of your wrath. The driving need to slay them and bend them to your will fuels every keystroke. Every time you hit send is another blow against an enemy, whether unreal and imagined, or living and breathing. The dopamine buttons on your keyboard take you closer and closer to that mostly unrealized paradise of OWNING them.

In the earlier days of the internet, it was said that no one knows you’re a dog. Nowadays, it seems that social media turns everyone into a demagogue.