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Arming kindergarten teachers, this was the best he could do?? #neveragain

I listened to the listening session on the way home last night. I have some concerns about how the guests were chosen. Some seemed very pro-NRA in spite of losing their children. But never mind that for now.

So, Trump proposes arming teachers and training them so that they can stop deranged shooters Matrix style. Let’s just review a few very good reasons why this is a hugely stupid idea. No, Trumpers, don’t even. If you don’t see how dumb this idea is, then your opinion here is just wasting everybody’s time. Don’t even start. I have no patience for it today. “Let facts be submitted to a candid world”:

  1. Teachers are self selected. Some of you may not know this but I was an elected member of my township’s board of ed back in the 90s. I’ve met a lot of teachers and sat in on union contract negotiations and referendum for new high schools and curriculum committee meetings. This is not to toot my own horn but just to say that my experience with the educational establishment is not superficial. Teachers, for the most part, go into the profession because they have a calling to serve the interests of children. Oh, sure, every now and then you’ll find some who really don’t belong in the classroom but for the most part, there is a kind of altruism that goes along with teaching. That sense of altruism, caring and service does not usually include violence of any kind.
  2. Teachers are not human shields. Many teachers will sacrifice themselves to save their charges but teachers are not police officers, soldiers or security guards. They’re teachers. Since when has it been our expectation that teachers will voluntarily take on a shooter and put their own lives in danger? This should be seen as a workplace safety issue and if I were the unions, I’d take it up with OSHA and the NLRB. So, you know, arming them and training them because we deliberately make their workplaces hazardous is a non-starter. Telling teachers to suck it up and pack heat when they go to work is unacceptable. None of us should be expected to tolerate it or put our lives at risk at work unless we’re astronauts.
  3. Who is going to pay for it? Oklahoma is so cash strapped from their experiment with tax cuts on steroids that schools are operating at only 4 days per week. There are so many school districts in NJ that the addition of training and security guards and metal detectors is going to quickly put a strain on the budget and other things will have to be sacrificed. Property taxes will soar and angry residents will show up at school board meetings attacking the very teachers they expect to protect their children. So, economically, it makes no sense.
  4. Who will pay for teachers’ combat pay? I mean, seriously, if you’re going to ask teachers to actively defend themselves and students, putting themselves in harm’s way, your union would be stupid to not demand extra pay, extra life insurance, disability insurance (no more GoFundMe’s), medical benefits. And who could blame them? They’re going into a war zone.
  5. It’s dangerous. You are asking people who are fundamentally opposed to violence to use a gun in an emergency situation when there’s chaos, confusion, screaming, and probably no clear idea where the bullets are coming from at first. So, these teachers are going to be expected to identify the shooter, aim accurately while potentially being fired upon, and not inadvertently shoot students who are running around looking for cover. We are expecting perfectly inelastic collisions with the bullet. It will not ricochet or pass through desks or doors or walls or windows. And these teachers will need to have the presence of mind to do all of this in seconds, concentrating on taking the shooter out while their students are looking for safety and clear directions.

If you don’t see yet how insane this all is, then your mind has been completely taken over by the NRA.

And who benefits from arming teachers to the teeth? I can only see one beneficiary. It’s the NRA who represents gun manufacturers. Giving teachers gun and training them only results in an escalation of the arms race where the gun manufacturers are guaranteed to make a ton of money.

I doubt that even one child will be saved by this. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost a lot of teachers who don’t think their altruism is worth their lives.

You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to take this proposal to its logical conclusion. You just need to do a thought experiment.

Another thought experiment might go like this:

Question: Who is doing the shooting in schools?

Answer: mentally and emotionally disturbed young men with assault weapons.

Does the idea arming teachers and hiring security guards address ANY of those parameters? No. It does not.

What would?

What would happen if we required background checks to prevent mentally and emotionally disturbed people from buying guns? What if we authorized the local police to commit a mentally or emotionally disturbed person for 72 hours for observation and to confiscate their guns? What if we prevented people under the age of 21 from buying certain kinds of guns? What if we banned assault style weapons that really have no useful purpose in a free society? What if we required gun shows to follow the same regulations as any other gun dealer?

Will it solve all of our gun problems? No. Will these common sense proposals violate the second amendment? No. Will it save lives and let children be children and teachers be teachers? I’m betting it would.

Let’s get real, people. Surely, Donald Trump could have come up with a better plan than turning our schools into the prison season of the Walking Dead. And if he can’t, then what the f^ck is he doing being president? For that matter, the whole GOP seems to be compromised with stupidity. There’s only one last resort to getting our point across that 2/3 of the American electorate want more controls on the access to guns: vote them out.

November is Coming.



Wait. What??

The PA Supreme Court approved a new district map yesterday. It was designed by an independent expert at Stanford. For the southeast part of the state, it looks cleaner and less convoluted by large swaths of rural farmland creeping into Philly suburbs. Also, Harrisburg and Hershey are in a new district together, which should make it more difficult for the gun toting mouth breathers in York county to dominate.

All cool and groovy. Everybody’s happy.

Wait, what’s this? Mike Doyle’s district has been redrawn? Let’s zoom in for a closer look.

Zoom, ZOOM, ZOOM!!!

I’m now in a Republican district? Nooooo!!!

See that area circled in red? That used to be part of Mike Doyle’s district, the area in purple. Now, it belongs to the area in yellow that went heavily for Trump in 2016. My suburb is middle class/working class and diverse. It’s solidly Democrat. So, we’ve essentially been saddled with a Republican congressman unless we can turn this district blue this fall. It’s not impossible. With my suburb in the mix, it could happen. It’s just not the same as being in the warm fuzzy embrace of Doyle’s district.

The GOOD news is that Conor Lamb, who lives in Mt. Lebanon, could end up as my congressman. Woooot!!

I see so much canvassing in my future this fall.


Help turn PA 17 blue.


My representative next year will be Tom Marino, a hard right Republican who seems to be a steadfast opponent to choice and reproductive rights.

He’s got to go.


David Graham in The Atlantic writes that we don’t want to scare anyone unnecessarily so let’s just not talk about election meddling and the legitimacy of Trump’s president.

I couldn’t disagree more.

If anything, we should have a truth and reconciliation commission after this is over so we understand how the system was messed with. And I am not ruling out that the actual results were tampered with. It’s a possibility that we have to keep open until we are certain they were not. Color me not convinced yet. Yes, it might undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency. Yes, it might make us look like Kenya. But sweeping it under the rug is a sure fired way for the inattentive American electorate to stop paying attention to elections again.

Pundits have to stop saying that we don’t know whether the Russian Troll Farm had an effect on the election. Intuition says it did. The question remains, how do we measure it? I’ll leave it to the analysts at Harvard to figure that out. But in the meantime, I would remind people of the Daou Triangle. This was an idea that Peter Daou proposed back in 2006 when the left blogosphere was getting crushed by red state blogs whose messages were consistently being picked up by the media and amplified.

We know how this system works. Of COURSE, it had an impact.

We’ve got to take it seriously. We have nukes. We owe it to the world to fix this problem even if we have to air our dirty laundry and look like half the country are gullible marks for cleverly evil people.

Get it all out there. Resist covering it up. Fix it before it breaks again.


I’m listening to MSNBC and CNN (not watching it) and the gloves are off. That presser with Sarah Sanders yesterday was the last straw. The level of lying, lying for no reason to lie, and the inept response to Mueller indictments and the gun issue, are unacceptable.

CNN is calling them out with the “OMG, do we look STUPID to you?” talk while MSNBC is less breathless, more analytical and very snarky.

I prefer MSNBC. It has better guests and a lot fewer pie fights.

But whatever frosts your Crockies. The media seems like it’s had enough and will not be playing the part of “stooge” in the program anymore.

Bring it on.

Begin at the beginning…

I keep running into people who are “confused” by this whole Russia thing and don’t know what it’s all about.

I’m also getting this interesting knee jerk reaction: you’re right, Republicans are bad, but Democrats aren’t any better. That’s dangerous thinking right now because people who track How Democracies Die and the rise of autocracies will tell you that the Republican Party is in a class by itself now. It is not useful to compare Republicans to Democrats at this point in time. One party is still playing mostly by the rules and trying hard to abide by the Constitution and the other party clearly isn’t.

So why is it that some of us can see it and aren’t confused, even some Republicans like Norm Ornstein, Jennifer Rubin, John Dean, George Will, Bill Kristol, and some of us can’t?

I’m going to throw this out there and Lady V can correct me if I’m wrong but I think it has to do with some kind of self knowledge. People who can resist the pull of undue influence on them just have a more integrated sense of who they are and what they stand for.

Does that make them better or worse than others? I guess that would depend on the planet you’re from or want to live in.

And maybe the planet you want to live in has something to do with the people who are influencing you.

When I was growing up in a high control religion, I was told that paradise, a New World, was going to be like living in a lush green valley full of fruit trees where lions and children would play with each other and a diverse group of people in native dress would be on an endless picnic, passing plates of fruits and vegetables to each other. In other scenes in my orange bible book, they would be standing next to each other, never actually looking AT each other, but staring into some brilliant light in the distance with smiling faces full of devotion.

Now I look at those images and am astonished at how closely they resemble North Korean propaganda posters.

Yes, yes, what I really want to do is spend eternity with a bunch of sexless vegetarians, wearing skirts and dresses forever and maintaining strict gender roles, obedience and submission while sister Edna and sister Carol talked endlessly about the day when they discovered The Truth. What 12 year old girl wouldn’t want that? What they didn’t tell you up front was to get to paradise, god was going to have to destroy billions of men, women and children and the lucky few would be the cleanup crew before entering this blissful New World.

What is my point?

Don’t let yourself be talked into someone else’s idea of paradise unless you know you’re not going to end up on the cleaning crew? That happiness in life derives from resistance to the ends justifies the means mentality? That struggle and triumph against evil is more satisfying than elimination of it? That people who try to confuse you are not on your side? Know yourself and your limitations? Discover what you believe and stick to your core values? That sometimes it’s better to be secure in yourself and unpopular than just like everybody else in a crowd of like minded people? That trustworthy people don’t manipulate you into staying when you want to leave?

You decide.

I’ll leave you with this handy table for today. It shows the scale of influence. Ideally, you want to be on the left side. Be skeptical and wary of any individual or organization that pulls you to the right.


Speak of the Devil. This is one of Trump’s tweets this morning:


I’ve been reading Steven Hassan’s Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs about how to resist undue influence. Here’s an interesting bit you might find relevant to this tweet:

I’ve suspected for awhile that the “tax cut” was going to be used to pacify the masses into sticking with the benevolent autocracy. You owe them. And it’s only good for this election year. After 2018, the tax cuts to individuals will decrease until they are gone by 2023. But the cuts to corporations are going to live forever. Maybe even in their own paradise earth.

Astroturf and self-censorship

Tweet of the Week:

AstroTurf- Manufactured grassroots activism and commentary.

That’s what happened when the Russian troll farm, Internet Research Agency LLC (the LLC is a nice American touch), spewed thousands and thousands of messages every day on social media about what an old, sick, unexciting, criminal Hillary Clinton was and how Trump was so inspiring, forceful and displayed leadership abilities.

That’s how it works. The public got a constant, steady message about how unappealing Hillary was. Even today, 14 months after she lost, you will still get this reaction from your otherwise nice and lucid relatives who watch Fox News:

It’s awesome to watch. One minute they’re talking about some football game all nice and calm. Then all you have to say is “Hillary”, and they explode into fits of rage that she’s not behind bars for what she did with her email server. Literally nothing Trump has ever done is equal to it. No matter how much you point out that nothing she did was illegal, that the handful of classified materials were classified *after* she sent them and that we are talking about her personal emails, not her work emails, they still think she’s hiding something. And you know what? It will be almost impossible to convince them otherwise because you can’t prove you didn’t do something if there’s no evidence. Short of following her into the bathroom where she should have some privacy, she has revealed more about herself than any presidential candidate or American citizen in HISTORY. And it still won’t be enough.

The name for this phenomenon is “reflexive control”. It might be helpful at this point to reread Steve Hassan’s BITE model. And the way people make decisions as elaborated by Amos Tversky (False equivalence is close but doesn’t completely explain how it works)

I have friends who are now a little embarrassed that they voted for a loser in spite of the fact that she won 3.5 MILLION more votes after all that negativity. They tell me she would have won if she’d just kissed white working class asses a little more. They do not realize how they too have become unwitting repeaters of very sophisticated propaganda.

That’s how effective AstroTurf is. It didn’t help that virtually every news person repeated these lies and narratives until they started to sound true. The question I have is how many of them knew what they were doing and how many were unwitting?

It hasn’t ended. The narrative that stuck after the election is that if she hadn’t blown off Michigan and Wisconsin, she might have won. This completely distorts the reality of the electoral college. Neither state’s electoral votes combined could make up for losing PA. I had some indignant tweeter insist to me the other day that Hillary blew off Pennsylvania and then I knew it had gone too far because I campaigned for her in PA and she was in this state constantly.

We keep coming back to Pennsylvania. I’m waiting for Robert Mueller to drop more shoes. He’s got to tell this story slowly, let the American people ingest it and understand each chapter a little at a time because rolling it out all at once will seem too unbelievable and outrageous to be true. Pulling people out of the jaws of deception and undue influence is a very tricky and delicate operation. Some individuals will never be free. Their susceptibility to reflexive control is hardwired. Others just had to have the right incentives pitched to them, the monsters in the dark corners of their minds unleashed. Insecurity, fear, resentment, racism, sexism, selfishness. The Russians knew exactly which buttons to push.

I can’t wait until it is revealed how Cambridge Analytica data mined the Trump campaign’s marks, their church habits, what kind of clothes they wore, where they lived, how they spent their money, how much they watch reality TV, all plopped into some clever model that predicted just how labile their personal values were. Does the car they drive indicate a desire to impress? An Audi says one thing, a Lexus something different. Are they pre-occupied with the image they show to the world? How many times a year do they have pedicures? Oh, the things we will learn about ourselves.

Slowly, slowly.

“Let all the worms that lie in the mud hatch out”


Prediction: there will be renewed calls for crackdowns on social media, maybe even a measure of censorship. Because how else will we be able to protect ourselves from this happening again?? We have an election this fall. We need to do something NOW, NOW, NOW!

And that’s when the Russians will have truly won. The minute we self censor to protect ourselves from others is the minute we give up our ability to protest our grievances. Then the dark era really sets in. Game, set, match.

What we need to do is educate ourselves to what is going on and recognize it when we see it so we can blow it away from us. It can be done. Just ask any kid brought up in a high control group religion who didn’t become a member as adults. We have radar for this kind of stuff. I can feel it when someone is trying to manipulate me to think things that don’t match my personal value system. It’s like someone hurling photon torpedoes at my brain. I have to deploy my deflector shields. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t listen to NPR anymore or watch cable news or network news on TV. It’s especially important to not WATCH the news. These days, I read multiple domestic and foreign news sources and listen to podcasts. So far, so good.

Also, we need Net Neutrality rules back in place ASAP. I don’t want the telecoms or cable companies owing any favors to this president this fall.

Talitha Cumi

Emma Gonzales:

Something Reines said

I was on the road last night when Phillipe Reines was on MSNBC. I can’t remember which host. Chris Hays maybe? Reines is a former Hillary Clinton aide who played the part of Donald Trump during her debate practice sessions. They played a clip last night where Hillary called Trump out about being Putin’s puppet and then went on to describe the cyber conspiracy on social media. If Hillary knew the dimensions of what she was up against back in September 2016, then I find it really difficult to believe that there were any “unwitting” Trump campaign officials. Maybe some very low level staffers but Kellyanne? Corey Lewandowski? Of course they knew.

Really, is there any question? Hillary pretty much spelled it out. Now we know exactly who did it and how.

But that’s not the interesting thing that Reines talked about. He said something to the effect that he didn’t consider Trump to be legitimate. Trump is not 45. The next president will be 45, not 46.

Now that could just be wishful thinking. But what if he knows something we don’t know? What if Trump actually lost the election? I mean legit lost? Maybe that’s why he keeps bringing up the fact that he won. He knows it’s not true? Assuming it’s a possibility, how could that have happened? What are the next indictments going to reveal about how far the Russians got?

And can you imagine the amount of self restraint Hillary would be showing to know that she is the actual president elect and has to sit on her hands, allow for a peaceful transition of power, and wait patiently for all to be revealed and justice to happen on its own time table? I’m not saying that she’ll ever occupy the Oval Office but the fallout, when it happens, is going to gut our illusions about free and fair elections.

Just thought I’d mention it. It could be nothing at all. Nevertheless, it’s time for the media to start rehabilitating her image and unmute her supporters.

Also, let’s stop trying to understand what makes Trump voters tick. We know what motivated them now. It was a Russian troll farm. They knew what kind of person to target. They knew everything about the personalities, psychology and character of the Trump voter. Now, how did they know that? What data were they mining?

It will all come out.


And then there’s this:

Melania has probably regretted marrying him for years. She’s not my idea of a First Lady. She doesn’t have a calling to do much of anything. Maybe she’s just a very private person.

But this is inexcusable. It sure looks like he pushed her. I’d like to see the instant replay from a different angle. Maybe it was a matter of footing a gap between plane and stairs. But look at his face. It reminds me of what he did with the president of Montenegro. I dunno, maybe he just has a grudge against people from former Yugoslavian states…

Real men don’t have to throw their weight around, especially at their humiliated wife at the top of a dangerous flight of stairs. Jeez, dude, she’s probably wearing stilettos.

Noka lujan

I got that from a Susan Simpson tweet. She’s the lawyer who dissected the case against Adnan Syed so brilliantly. I’m hoping she’ll analyze the latest Mueller indictment as well.

I’ve been listening to the news on a long drive this evening. The indictment is called a “speaking indictment”. Beyond charging 13 foreign nationals with a crime, it tells a story in greater detail. The story is about how the American people were duped by a conspiracy by Russian intelligence operatives to dump on Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump… AND Bernie Sanders.

Let’s stop the whole “Bernie would’ve won!” bullshit. The purpose of their conspiracy was to undermine this country’s democracy and generate chaos. Their chosen vector was Donald Trump. If Bernie had won the nomination, the bots, trolls and sock puppets would have turned on Bernie and taken him out with even more efficiency. Don’t kid yourselves.

The person who gave the best assessment of the president’s reaction to the indictment was Al Sharpton on MSNBC. I never thought I’d say that because I’ve kinda been a skeptic ever since the Tawana Braley incident. But he’s actually pretty good at looking at the president’s actions and interpreting what they mean. Sharpton’s take on this is Trump is guilty AF. If there was really vindication from this indictment, he wouldn’t have sprinted past reporters on his way to Florida tonight. No, he’d be doing a victory lap and have a spontaneous press conference there on the lawn. He didn’t.

He’d also stop protesting too much. He’d be more concerned about what that indictment was saying about how vulnerable we are to psychological manipulation through social media. But he didn’t

There’s more. If I can find a Sharpton clip later, I’ll try to post it.

But the thing that pisses me off the most is the reaction of the media. They’re shocked, SHOCKED! that Russian trolls and sock puppets pushed Trump on us. It’s just too unbelievable.


The only thing that’s unbelievable here is just how Andrea Mitchell and Maggie Haberman and Matt Taibbi and Matt Lauer etc, etc with all their Ivy League educations and their street savvy managed to get sucked into highlighting Hillary’s stupid little email server problem for 600 days straight, told us how unlikeable she was ad nauseum, and acted like she was the biggest loser with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe while not knowing where they were getting all that negativity.

They’re all very social media savvy. I see them on Twitter all the time.

Of course they knew. *I* knew there were trolls and bots and sock puppets pretending to be Bernie Supporters. I’ve been warning people for YEARS about the dangers of social media like Facebook and sites like DailyKos. How could these presumably smart people NOT know what was going on?

So, were they deliberately malicious towards Hillary and her supporters or were they just motivated by clicks and profit? Whatever the true story is, it was no accident. The bots might have had a zillion accounts but it was the media who amplified their voices and drowned ours out.

Let’s put the blame where it belongs. It belongs on the shoulders of the “journalists” who hyped the “excitement” of Donald Trump’s rallies and told us how boring it was to be assigned to Hillary’s press pool.

I didn’t vote for Clinton so she could give me an orgasm. I voted for her because she was an experienced, knowledgeable politician with good ideas and she had more character in her pinky than Donald Trump had in his big, soft gut throughout his entire life.

Anyway, there’s more to come. This is just the beginning of the story. It’s like Mueller is prepping his audience. “You were duped. This is how they did it and why. In the following indictments, we’ll peel back more of the onion and show you who stood to benefit.”

Noka Lujan?

I highly doubt it.