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    February 2018
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • Here was my neighborhood last night
      Because the family of a mentally ill Philadelphia man holding a knife called for an ambulance, and the cops showed up. They claim he “charged” them and they shot and killed him. The mental health unit is a pilot program and isn’t paid to work on the weekends. Protesters didn’t do this, looters did. (Maybe … Continue reading Here was my neighborhood last nigh […]
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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
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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.