Truth is an Absolute Defense and Damnable Evidence of Prevarication

I’ve waited a while to write about the events leading up to and including January 6th, to allow perspective to take shape and for the raw emotions to dissipate.

My initial, emotional reaction to the incident was one of disgust and I actually thought that lethal force should have been applied. Such attacks on our country, for this was clearly an attack, tend to foster such emotions. These were not patriots or heroes fighting against injustice, they were prime examples of cowards wrapping themselves in the flag with their actions driven by false bravado derived from mob mentality camoflaged behind the anonymity of the crowd.

As Samuel Johnson once said,

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson

Of course, they weren’t even smart enough to avoid boastful images on social media, but no shock there. This operation, while clearly deliberate and organized, wasn’t conceived at a Mensa meeting.

Having spent twenty years as a police officer, there was no more challenging event than a call for “officer needs assistance.” We tended toward a swift and certain response to render the officer assistance and woe to those who created the threat in the first place.

But the circumstances here were different, and I am in awe of the measured response by those officers who were essentially abandoned by those in command out of a concern more for appearances than public safety.

But now, with the passage of time, several things become evident.

The genesis of this incident—which several law enforcement organizations had more than definitive evidence was being planned, including premeditated violence, for which they should have been better prepared—was begun by a lying President, disingenuous public figures, profit-motivated media hucksters and their snake-oil purveying representatives pretending to be political commentators or factual news sources.

But don’t take my word for it. You can take their own admissions in court as evidence.

Sidney Powell, part of former President Donald Trump’s “nightmare” defense team, in court filings defending her in a suit by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation about the claim that Dominion machines were manipulated to change the election results, admits the hard truth.

In her brief filed with the court Powell, “moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems Monday, arguing her earlier claims that Dominion was involved in an orchestrated voter fraud effort were so outrageous that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.”

And how does one define reasonable?

“agreeable to reason (defined as a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.) or sound judgment; logical

capable of rational behavior, decision, etc.”

Reasonable is the opposite of what these people contended since election day.

Let’s look at those words again. The claims made against Dominion, by Powell, Giuliani, and President Trump himself up to January 6th, were “so outrageous that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.”

Based on such assertion, for it must be the truth if filed with the court otherwise Ms. Powell and/or her attorneys would face disciplinary actions for knowingly filing false documents, then at least one of the attorney’s representing the former President, Ms. Powell in this case, believes only unreasonable people would believe such claims. Thus President Trump, at least in the view of Powell, must be an unreasonable person if he believes the alleged election fraud or is delusional perhaps or, and this is the most likely scenario, knows full well the claims of voter machine manipulation are false allegations and in no way contributed to changing the results of the election.

Yet it hasn’t stopped Mr. Trump from continuing this either unreasonable, delusional, or deliberate false claim which directly agitated the mood of the mob on January 6th and fomented the violence.  Mr. Trump can deny he caused the violence, but he needs to explain why he propagated a lie.  He, and those followers who bought into this lie, are unreasonable or delusional or intentionally supported a lie to subvert a legitimate election.

And then there’s Tucker Carlson, he’s not really a pundit, news reporter, or political commentator, but he pretends to be all three, badly, on his show. A show that his own court filings admit is entertainment not factual news. Here are the words of the Judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, relying heavily on the filings of the Fox Network lawyers representing Carlson.

“Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”

There’s that word again, reasonable. Here’s more from the court filings.

“As Defendant notes, Mr. Carlson himself aims to “challenge [] political correctness and media bias.” Def. Br. at 14. This “general tenor” of the show should then inform a viewer. that he is not “stating actual facts” about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in “exaggeration” and “non-literal commentary.” Milkovich, 497 U.S. at 20-21; Levinsky’s, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 127 F.3d 122, 128 (1st Cir. 1997)). Fox persuasively argues, see Def Br. at 13-15, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer “arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism” about the statements he makes. 600 W. 115th Corp. v. Von Gutfeld, 80 N.Y.2d 130, 141, 603 N.E.2d 930, 936 (1992). Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.”

Case 1:19-cv-11161-MKV Document 39 Filed 09/24/20 Page 11-12

The line that caught my eye from the decision, which dismissed the suit against Carlson and Fox because it lacked merit based on the court’s analysis of the type of show and Carlson’s own filings, is the following

“Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.

Simply bloviating does not come to mind when one is considering whether or not to consider a broadcast a reliable source of news.

Fox Network lawyers take it one step further, mocking the legal case made by McDougal’s legal team in their court filings.

“a reasonable viewer of ordinary intelligence listening or watching the show … would conclude that [she] is a criminal who extorted Trump for money” and that “the statements about [her] were fact…Context makes plain, that the reasonable viewer would do and no such thing.”

What inferences can we draw from this? Quite a few, actually. 

The former President clearly stated many times this election was stolen from him (not the American people of course), and fraud played a significant factor despite all the evidence to the contrary. Mr. Trump and those who embraced this contention are “unreasonable persons” to use the language of the courts, or willfully engaged in a concerted and deliberate effort to subvert our government and democracy.

These actions culminated in the violent outburst on January 6th and were inflamed by the actions of people like Sidney Powell, misusing the courts as a mechanism to further their fraudulent agenda, by hucksters like Tucker Carlson masquerading as a journalist when, by his own court filings, he is nothing but an agent provocateur of hyperbole and bloviating rabble-rousing supported because his show is a profit center for Fox News and nothing more, and the once and former President himself who spoke to the already agitated crowd and continued to spread what was nothing more than an absolute lie.

And they all knew it.

That there even exists any doubt that people like Powell, Carlson, and Trump further inflamed the rabble that stormed the U.S. Capitol Building and bear full responsibility, let alone continue to listen to such idiocy, is troubling to say the least.

74,222,958 Americans voted for a lie, were fooled into thinking Mr. Trump had anything but his own interests at heart in seeking a second term or failed to be “reasonable” in their analysis. Let’s hope those who still have some rationality remaining recognize the error of their ways and find Republican candidates worthy of their support.

More important, let’s hope the Republican party weans itself away from the monkey on it’s back named Trump and regains it’s necessary place as a party of respect.


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American Chimera: Our Long History of Delusion

As Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration draws near, the level of apprehension over the potential for violence increases. Violence premised on a lie. Violence instigated with no basis of moral, legal, or ethical reasoning. Violence threatened by those either unwilling or unable to discern fact from fiction. It would seem we have a long history of such things.

Mayflower Lives' Review: The Pilgrims in Flesh and Spirit - WSJ
Wall Street Journal Image

The history they taught me about the “discovery” of America was a false narrative. The Pilgrims, or a more accurate appellation, Puritans, didn’t come here to establish religious freedom. They came here to escape religious persecution by the Church of England and to establish their own theocracy.

It wasn’t religious tolerance they sought, it was doctrinal dominance. Soon after, nights lit by the burning of witches revealed their embracing myths and lies. And let’s not even go down the road of a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner shared with the natives. Another twisted image of reality.

This foundation of a white-washed image of the beginnings of English influence in America sheds light on our proclivity to self-deception. One might argue many of those who came to America were chasing a lie. And the tendency to twist the facts to fit their own truth became ingrained in our society.

I am reading a fascinating book called Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen. He paints a picture of the falsehoods and lies sold to many English to lure them to this new land.

“Most of the 120,000 indentured servants and adventurers who sailed to the [South] in the seventeenth century,” according to the University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall’s history of America, Freedom Just Around the Corner, “did not know what lay ahead but were taken in by the propaganda of the sponsors.” The historian Daniel Boorstin went even further, suggesting that “American civilization [has] been shaped by the fact that there was a kind of natural selection here of those people who were willing to believe in advertising.” Western civilization’s first great advertising campaign was created in order to inspire enough dreamers and suckers to create America.

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 22). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. location 444

It would seem we have often been taken in by the words and lies of someone like Donald Trump almost from the beginning of the nation. And now we have taken it to a new height. A significant number of Americans embrace two poorly crafted fantasies devoid of even a semblance of validity, the Q-Anon Conspiracy and the lies this election was stolen from Donald Trump by an equally sophisticated and widespread conspiracy.

I’ve struggled to understand how so many otherwise rational Americans are taken in by such nonsense. How is it Americans firmly believe in things that cannot be proven or often are easily disproven?

From a variety of respectable survey organizations, we have these startling statistics :

  • 55 percent of Americans say they believe in angels.
  • Only 39 percent say they accept the concept of evolution.
  • Only 36 percent say they believe global warming is partly anthropogenic (i.e., caused by human activity).
  • 34 percent say they believe in ghosts.
  • 34 percent believe in UFOs.

As many as 69% of Americans who regularly attend religious services accept the “creationist” viewpoint, i.e., the belief that a single, omnipotent God literally created all there is.

Psychology Today

We are a nation lacking a fundamental understanding of basic science. We are inclined to fantasies more than facts. The biologist E. O. Wilson said, “We have created a Star Wars civilization with Stone Age emotions.”

“If one has enough belief in the supernatural plan, if one’s personal faith is strong enough, false prophecies are just unfortunate miscalculations that don’t falsify anything. If you’re fanatical enough about enacting and enforcing your fiction, it becomes indistinguishable from nonfiction.”

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen Kindle version location 595

Francis Bacon, the English Philosopher, was a strong purveyor of the myths of migrating to America and often promulgated the same unsubstantiated misrepresentations or, at worst, outright lies about the abundance of gold in the New World and the welcoming arms of the locals toward Englishmen. Locals, those encouraging emigration to the New World insisted, were desperate to embrace the “enlightenment” of English civilization.

“We have created a Star Wars civilization with Stone Age emotions.”

E.O. Wilson

Perhaps the willingness of many to plunge into the New World based on such myths led him to write this about human understanding.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate….And such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.”

Francis Bacon, The New Organon

And further on, he says,

“Once the human mind has favored certain views, it pulls everything else into agreement with and support for them. Should they be outweighed by more powerful countervailing considerations, it either fails to notice these, or scorns them, or makes fine distinctions in order to neutralize and so reject them.”

(Francis Bacon, The New Organon)

So perhaps it is in our DNA to embrace those fallacies because they appeal to something innate within us. Maybe this explains why, since the incident of January 6th, 2021, many have spent hours and days crafting explanations and justifications for that which can never be justified. Yet, it finds acceptance by those whose fundamental beliefs need soothing reassurance.

If violence rages once again on Inauguration day, Wilson’s contention we have Stone Age emotions may be overly generous.


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A Conundrum for 2024

Under the category “It Couldn’t Get Any Stranger, Could it?” I have proof it has.

Donald Trump, in his quest to alter reality, through his legal eagle lawyer, filed a case (in the wrong court mind you) entitled

Donald Trump For President, INC.

Docket number 1:2020cv01567

Yes, you read that correctly. The President of the United States sued America. He is suing us!

It’s like being sued by your child, only worse.

How this is part of the plan to Make America Great Again is anybody’s guess.

Here’s an image of the case from the Federal Claims Court

Shortly after the court stopped laughing, they ordered the matter transferred to the US District Court in Michigan. Then they started laughing again.

Recognizing this might be a bad thing, and after taking the wrapping off his Federal Rules of Procedures and looking for a hint, his lawyer said “Oops” and filed a motion to dismiss.

Which, in between giggling, snickering, and wiping tears from their eyes, the court granted.

This legal circus is all a smokescreen for the real intent. If Mr. Trump doesn’t know he has less chance of winning any legal challenges to this election than a Russian opposition candidate has in challenging Vladimir Putin (and living to talk about it) he is a fool.

But we know he is not a fool, he is a scam artist. The President formed the Official Election Defense Fund. Ostensibly to challenge the election results.


The devil is in the details (and in Mar-a-Lago last I heard altering his golf scorecards to qualify for the Pro Tour.)

It would seem that any donation above $8,333 can go to fighting the results, however 60% of the donations go to a recently formed PAC which is barred from using funds for such purposes.

They can, lo and behold, be used to promote a run in 2024, or, perhaps, for a defense fund should one be needed in the near future.

Our worst nightmare, they are plotting a return. George Orwell had the date wrong. Not 1984 but 2024.

This raises an interesting question. I’d ask his lawyer but I’m not sure he’s read criminal procedure yet either.

Will President Trump, since he is eligible for another term as President, have to seek permission from his Parole Officer to leave the state every time he wishes to hold a rally?

Inquiring minds want to know…

Funny & Tricky Questions - Home | Facebook

Just kidding…I know it will be too soon for him to be on Parole.


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Maybe We Are the Dinosaurs

In 2016, 62,984,828 Americans voted for Donald Trump, a mostly unknown albeit suspect political commodity. Perhaps it was the frustration with the existing system and the perception they needed to send a clear message they wanted change.

Most were sincere in seeking change; but some sought a return to the days of white hegemony and cultural homogeneity, longing for a delusive memory of a better America.

But whatever the reason, Mr. Trump won, and the country soon came to understand what it had done to itself.

It didn’t take long for a rise of white supremacist groups, ignored at best or encouraged at worst by the President, to rise up all over this country and show the dark underbelly of the nation.

Now, four years later, armed with the painful memories of shooting ourselves in the foot to support a man who clearly assumed a position way beyond his snake-oil salesman abilities, 70,903,094 (and still counting, although thankfully it won’t matter) Americans voted for that same train wreck of a President.

In 2016, many of those who voted for Trump could be forgiven since, to borrow a line used before another injustice, “they know not what they do.”

In 2020, there is no such excuse.

Maybe those of us who think of America as a nation of civility and tolerance are going the way of the dinosaurs.

Those of us who yearned for the respect and admiration of the world, not their fear.

Those of us who see science as the way to the future, not an inconvenient truth to be mocked and ignored.

Those of us who seek to embrace our differences, not suppress or subjugate those with whom we differ.

Those of us who long for tolerance and openness.

Those of us who see the greatness of America not in our military power, but in the character of those of us willing to defend this nation against those who would do us harm. They act as defenders, not conquerors.

Those of us who would then offer those same enemies a path back into the global community.

Those of us who are outraged by violent protests against those of different philosophies.

Those of us who are offended by white (or any other) supremacy,

Those who remember our cultural melting pot makes America unique globally.

Those who do not seek to homogenize the country by forcing everyone to our own image.

Maybe those of us, confused by so many of our fellow Americans embracing the tired old philosophies of nationalism, militarism, and global confrontation, are the ones fading into history.

Maybe our time has run its course, and the virus of intolerance has rendered this country unable to sustain our multicultural society.

My strange love affair with America: The tears won't stop falling | HuffPost
Image Huff Post

If this is our new reality, I fear the promise of an America with a long future ahead will follow us into the fog of history.

We will be the vestiges of a once-thriving experiment uncovered by those seeking to answer what happened.

America deserves better than this. The world now knows the dark secret of this once-promising nation. And, as long as the potential for such a repeat of self-destruction exists, they will see us with a jaundiced eye. They will no longer look to us as a beacon of hope but as a bellwether of lost promise and the faded shadow of a better future.

In 2016, America lost its moral compass. While we may not have drifted as far into the darkness like some other nations in history, we were teetering on the brink.

And over 70 million Americans voted for us to stay the course. SEVENTY MILLION!

Once our Presidents accepted the will of the people with grace and humility, calling upon our better angels. Now one summons the devils of our own destruction.

We can only hope this election was not the last desperate grasp of rationality but a portent of a return to our higher calling. But we would be wise to be vigilant to our own potential for self-destruction.


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Presidential Treason: Nixon and the War in Vietnam

When one considers the risk/benefit of a free press and becomes concerned that a fully unrestricted press poses a danger to the safety and security of the country, I would suggest reading this article about the length some will go to get elected, and how a free press is critical to protecting America’s integrity.

When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election

During the run-up to the 1968 election, Richard Nixon, in a foreshadowing of Watergate, did something in secret that is so horrendous as to defy credulity.

In what became known as the Chennault Affair—“named for Anna Chennault, the Republican doyenne and fundraiser who became Nixon’s back channel to the South Vietnamese government and lingered as a diplomatic and political whodunit for decades afterward.” (taken from the above article)—Nixon used this surrogate to persuade the South Vietnamese to delay reaching any agreement on ending the war on the promise that Nixon, if elected, would give them better terms.

This matter did not become public knowledge until 2007 with the release of previously restricted documents in Nixon’s Presidential Library.

Perhaps, if someone had the integrity and sense of honor to leak this information to the press, a quicker, less costly end to the war might have been achieved.

By 1967, the war had taken more than 20,000 American lives, wounded hundreds of thousands, and torn American society apart. But for the sake of winning an election—by preventing Johnson’s feverish efforts to negotiate an end to the war and extract American troops giving the Democrats a boost in their election prospects—Nixon sabotaged the negotiations.

The end result?

Six more years of war. More than 38000 additional combat deaths and hundred of thousands more wounded. American lives shattered, POWs languishing for five more years, and a country torn apart by anti-war violence.

This same President willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of an election victory would further sully the office with the Watergate scandal in securing another election.

Another episode which may have never come to light but for the sake of a deputy director of the FBI, a man of integrity known as Deep Throat, some enterprising reporters, and the Washington Post, a newspaper willing to fulfill its obligation as a free and independent press.

Sadly, at the cost of America’s most precious resource, the men and women willing to serve their country, this other Nixon episode never saw the light of day in time to do anything. Perhaps now it can serve as a reminder of the need to protect a free press.

Like the Pentagon Papers published by the New York Times detailing the American military consensus that the Vietnam war was unwinnable, which turned even more against the war by unveiling the truth, perhaps an exposé of Nixon’s treasonous behavior by an enterprising publisher might have saved thousands of American lives.

It is those drawn to the power of the Presidency that need bear the most scrutiny of a free press. Secrets sometimes save lives, more often they needlessly waste them.

That alone is a strong enough reason to ensure the preservation and sanctity of a free press.

And if you haven’t yet….GO VOTE!

Vote 2020 | Auburn Examiner
Your Right Your Duty Your Country



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Why Joe Biden?

Distaste or disdain for one candidate is a terrible reason to vote for their opponent. I daresay it is how we find ourselves in our current situation.

We are led by an untrustworthy, churlish, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual, out-of-his-depth President with delusions of grandeur and little regard for the history or stature of the office of President of the United States.

I believe the demonization of Hillary Clinton—some of it self-inflicted—drove many to vote for Mr. Trump, with little regard for the consequences of such actions. The nonsense of a Deep State conspiracy gripping many Americans shows how rare analytical thinking—the ability to explore all avenues of an issue and separate facts from fiction—is among many of our fellow citizens.

Minds turned to mush by years of reality TV and rationality-sapping attention deficiencies—the dumbing down of America—has robbed many of the ability to think beyond a Tweet or a meme.

We are a country where common sense is as rare as unicorns. Yet one must find reasons to vote for a candidate, not just against them. I want to detail my own reasons for voting for Joe Biden rather than against President Trump.

The government of the United States is not a business. It is not a For-Profit corporation to be run for the benefit of stockholders, the enrichment of executives, or the empowerment of the party occupying the Oval Office.

Often, a President must make decisions in the best interest of the country even when it may go against the wishes of those who voted for him, or her.

That is the difference between a candidate and a President and that is the content of character one must seek out in casting your vote. Which person is best suited to transition from candidate to statesman?

In my humble opinion, Joe Biden has demonstrated the ability to move from candidate to statesman many times over his distinguished career.

The fallacy that America needs a businessperson to lead the government is just that, a fallacy. Businesspeople are zero-sum personalities, seeking an advantage over their competitors. In domestic and international affairs, such a narrow minded approach is a recipe for disaster.

Our government exists for three limited purposes; to protect our constitutional rights, to defend us from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to ensure the fair and equitable operation of our free capitalist economic system.

The immense sophistication of the government of the United States is not something one learns on the job. One must have elements of experience, a comprehensive understanding of history, and an intuitive level of decision-making ability tempered by strong analytical skills and the courage to make difficult choices in the best interest of the country.

Most critical, is the ability to work with those of the opposite political spectrum to reach those compromises which are in the best interest of the country, and the world.

Joe Biden brings years of government experience at the highest levels to the table. He has established both relationships and credibility with foreign governments, something we have lost to the most severe degree with the current administration. Consistent reliability was never more needed than in the pandemic now gripping the world.

America should be leading the way out, not foundering in misinformation and anti-scientific voodoo driven rancor. Joe Biden is the candidate best positioned to re-establish a sense of purpose and balance during this national crisis.

And more important than anything else, Mr. Biden is unafraid to admit mistakes, learn from them, and adapt to changing times. America has always had a greatness within her, but we have not always been great. The best leaders, those who make the best Presidents, are those who listen to their opponents and adapt when they hear good ideas, no matter where or who they come from.

That is the Joe Biden I see before us. A man who understands the most terrible of personal tragedies, the satisfaction of hard work for a job well done, and the joys of accomplishing great things.

A man from modest means who has accomplished great things.

Now Mr. Biden is not perfect, but he is unfazed by changing circumstances and willing to change with them, not resist them out of some whitewashed memory of the good ‘ole days. He embraces good and necessary change with an open mind, not intransigent stubbornness.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells

Seamus Heaney

 I wish it had been Mr. Biden four years ago who faced Mr. Trump. I have little doubt the outcome would have been much different. Those who drove the political decisions back then will answer to the inquiries of history as to their culpability, but looking back is only useful if we apply the lessons to the future.

Joe Biden is the answer for the immediate future of this country, and Kamala Harris is the long-term future for change. The many controversies roiling this country; economic, health, racism, changes within criminal justice, climate change, are matters that will take time, and experience, to resolve. Placing someone like Ms. Harris in the position of Vice President, with a front-row seat to profiting from Joe Biden’s extensive experience, will offer a roadmap to future endeavors.

Why Joe Biden? Because for all the reasons I just pointed out, he is the best solution to regaining American greatness and our leadership and place of respect in the world.

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From M.A.D. to G.O.D.

An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible.

The National Intelligence Council—something I would bet most people have never heard of—is one of those rarest of governmental entities. Avoiding the taint of political bent of any sort—probably because it is so obscure—it functions as a center for long-term strategic analysis. Every four years, it produces a report projecting various potential scenarios for the future.

Their reports are, sadly, read by few people; a consequence of our ADHD-addled society lacking any ability to read and digest anything more than a grammar-deficient, emoji-laden posting about nonsense.

While the report cautions the dangers of trying to “predict” the future (something only Long Island Mediums and their ilk can do with any certainty), the council’s analysis has produced some startlingly accurate scenarios.

One of which we are now experiencing with COVID-19.

In the 2012 report, the council compiled a list of “black swans”—game-changing events that could impact the world. One of those scenarios was this.

“Severe Pandemic No one can predict which pathogen will be the next to start spreading to humans, or when or where such a development will occur. An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible. Such an outbreak could result in millions of people suffering and dying in every corner of the world in less than six months.” Global Trends 2030 Pg. XI (emphasis mine)

Why does this matter? Because this report, and information analysis by the Obama administration, led to the creation of a government entity to plan and prepare for just such a scenario.

They created a plan for subsequent administrations to build on (and rely on) in a pandemic. (

What they didn’t expect was their administration would be followed by one who was hellbent on reinventing the wheel and dismissing anything that came before them. (As a side note, they will have the new design for the wheel right after they finish building the wall.)

All of this leads up to the main point here, the critical nature of the upcoming election. We have an administration characterized by anti-science bias, fundamental disdain for critical analysis, inability to grasp complex geopolitical matters, and driven by pettiness and ego.

And this is what we might face in the years to come.

(From the latest version of the Council’s report)

“Uncertainty about the United States, an inward-looking West, and erosion of norms for conflict prevention and human rights will encourage China and Russia to check US influence. In doing so, their “gray zone” aggression and diverse forms of disruption will stay below the threshold of hot war but bring profound risks of miscalculation. Overconfidence that material strength can manage escalation will increase the risks of interstate conflict to levels not seen since the Cold War. Even if hot war is avoided, the current pattern of “international cooperation where we can get it”—such as on climate change—masks significant differences in values and interests among states and does little to curb assertions of dominance within regions. These trends are leading to a spheres of influence world.”

One of the most frightening realities is the stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world and the potential for proliferation of such technology to unstable theocracies and apocalyptic embracing non-state actors. Absent a rational and intelligence-driven administration, our ability to mitigate such risks is crippled.

There are almost 14000 nuclear warheads dispersed among the eight or nine known nuclear nations. The US and Russia hold ninety-one percent. While terrifying, this is a dramatic decrease from the mid-20th century peak of almost seventy thousand. These decreases resulted from negotiation strategies—a policy abandoned by this administration and replaced by belligerence, nationalism, and increased leaning toward isolationism.

Since the days the Soviet Union became the second nuclear power and the replacement of the first atomic weapons with the even more powerful thermonuclear ones—a weapon that is detonated by an atomic explosion—we have avoided nuclear war through a policy of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction.

We prevented all-out war by guaranteeing everybody loses. MADness indeed, but effective.

Now, the proliferation of such technology—a characteristic of technology is the newest inventions become easier to produce and distribute over time—threatens this delicate Faustian deal with the thermonuclear devil.

If the latest report is even partially accurate, the US and the world face one of the most complex and volatile moments in human history. We always held the keys to own destruction; war, forced starvation, tribalism. Each had the potential to wipe out humans.

But those things took time.

What we’ve done is reduced the time necessary to bring about our own obliteration down to the mere opening of a briefcase, the turning of a few keys, and a short countdown to Armageddon.  Who do you want to sit in the position to work to prevent such a future?

On our current track, we are moving from M.A.D to G.O.D. Mutually Assured Destruction to Guaranteeing Our Destruction.


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2020 The Year of Clarity

Okay, the holiday Truce is over. We have a new year to consider. Time to look forward to better times for this country.

With 2019 finished, let’s hope 2020 becomes the year of clarity for America.

We will remember the past year as one where a significant number of Americans lived in a self-imposed delusion. Delusions that began with Mr. Trump’s election.

They credit the mere invocation of the name Trump with stimulating complex economic growth as if that is all it takes to drive the American economy.

The hostile relationship with our allies titillates his supporters and they remain unconcerned with our President’s infatuation with dictators and totalitarian governments.

They rejoice in the reduction of foreign aid as if it was solely altruistic charity, failing to comprehend even a basic understanding of complex geopolitics and the benefit inured through our influence in other countries which promotes our own interests.

Non-plussed by the undeniable and ongoing interference by Russia in our elections, they bask in a tainted and tarnished “victory” with little concern for the political consequences.

They ignore the stain of Impeachment and the open and notorious jury tampering taking place in the Senate. All rationalized by the “unfairness” of the House proceedings. A Constitutional process well established under law.

Were this the 1950s-not that I wish to return to such a period in history, but if it were—Mr. Trump and his cohorts would find themselves before the House Committee on Un-American Activities as a suspected communist collaborators and sympathizers. I dare say it would be one of the few examples where the committee was on to something.

The latest version of the defense of Mr. Trump is that they knew what they were getting; a crude, carnal, misogynistic, morally (and in some case financially) bankrupt, egotistical, self-aggrandizing carnival barker. But he promised to “drain the swamp.”

And that made it okay. Like falling off a ladder and claiming you intended to do it all along.

Nothing he does, or says, or fails to do is too egregious for their purposes. Despite the rational concerns of many of their fellow Americans–and the lessons of history–they embraced the hyper-nationalism and questionable decision making from a man who can’t even be bothered to read the Presidential Daily Briefing.

Even a briefing reduced to a Presidential Briefing for Dummies version, written at barely literate comprehension level, and containing more pictures than words. As long as he colors between the lines and matches the right numbers, the briefing is considered a success.

A man who, as the leader of the free world, sends rapid-fire tweet messages like a rabbit on crack at the grammar level of a first-grader and his supporters are okay with that. (I apologize to most first-graders and crack-addicted rabbits, Mr. Trump would fall at the lower edge of the bell curve.)

I dare say Mr. Trump has set a first for a President in that English may not be his first language. What is remains in question.

The hero worship infatuation with Mr. Trump persists despite much of the economic trends (less impressive than he would have you believe and arguably begun by his predecessor under much more trying economic conditions) and our deteriorating global position as a world leader (which he would insist has improved under his guidance) all point to a dismal future absent a quick change.

And to offer some evidence to open our eyes to clarity in 2020, there is this gem. For those of you of the conservative Christian religious ilk, some of his most ardent and willfully ignorant supporters, who see Trump as a conservative godsend, the President would have you add this to your persistent myth.

The president doesn’t secretly hold a god-like opinion of himself. He believes he is an improvement over the original. In response to an editorial in Christianity Today, Mr. Trump had this to say;

“I mean, the name of the magazine is Christianity Today, and who is doing more for Christians today? Not Jesus. He disappeared; no one knows what happened to him. But I’m out there every day protecting churches from crazy liberals.”

While Trump admitted that Jesus did do some things for Christianity in the past, Trump said he was doing more now, and it was more substantial. “I’m appointing judges to help protect religious rights,” Trump stated. “How many judges has Jesus appointed? He says something about judging people in the future, but I ain’t seen it.”

Furthermore, Trump asserted that he “saved Christmas.” “Look what I’ve done,” he said. “You can say ‘Merry Christmas’ now. In fact, if you say ‘Happy Holidays and don’t immediately make it clear you’re referring to Christmas, you go to prison. What has Jesus ever done for Christmas? Be born? He wants credit for that? Come on.”

Let’s hope 2020 is the year we see Mr. Trump for what he is; another charlatan peddling snake-oil miracles for self-enrichment. Time to take the government out of this Ponzi scheme led by a fraud and a scam artist.

Mr. Trump’s antics are not “tweaking the nose” of those trying to hold onto the power of the mythical “deep state.” Nor is he draining the swamp. What he is doing is feeding the good people of this country to the alligators of hate and bigotry, fattening them up so he can use them to assert more control over our other equal branches of government and become a replica of his idol, Mr. Putin.  

At the very least let’s release all those prisoners we sent to jail for saying “Happy Holidays.” Jesus said “Forgive thine enemies.” Donald J. (we now know what the J stands for) Trump can go one further and “set the people free.” It would be the Christian Version II thing to do

P.S. Any moment now the usual responses will start, blaming everything bad on the Clintons or President Obama and all the nefarious things they did.

Using Mr. Trump’s logic (if such reasoning can be considered logical) the fact that so many of his associates have been indicted and convicted while virtually no indictments came from the Obama administration or from investigations into the Clintons must mean they are better at pulling off scams than he is. Perhaps it is simple jealousy driving Mr. Trump. He cannot stand being beaten at his own game.

Jesus Trump does have a certain ring to it, though. I can see a historian in the future, working on his doctoral dissertation, writing, “Jesus Trump, what were they thinking?”

The Poisoning of American Discourse

Perhaps we’ve something to learn from this poem by William Blake about the cost of anger.

While vigorous and enthusiastic discourse on differing ways to accomplish things in this country have always brought great benefit, the polarization of extremes does not bode well. We can, we must, always have disparate opinions and methods of accomplishing things yet we also need remember our common goal.

The President’s biggest failure, in my opinion, lies not in what he may be trying to accomplish, but in his methods and manner. Mocking, dismissing out of hand, or ignoring differing opinions from some very intelligent and accomplished Americans who have much to offer is his biggest failure, and the greatest risk to America.

Mr. Trump would be well served to step away from Twitter, put aside his skepticism of the value of others, and listen. His failure to do that is the single best argument against his re-election. The noise of impeachment will be silenced by the politics of the Senate majority who will ignore any evidence to ensure continuity of their power. Waste no more time trying to overturn an election (absent, of course, more evidence) and focus on the next election.

This country has succeeded because of our differences, not in spite of them. The anger engendered by President Trump and many of his most virulent supporters, as well as those who stand in obtuse opposition to him, are a cancer growing on the very heart of this country.

The result of that malignancy may be the destruction of the America we all love.

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles

And it grew both day and night. 
Till it bore an apple bright. 
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine. 

And into my garden stole, 
When the night had veild the pole; 
In the morning glad I see; 
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

“People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.” G.K. Chesterton (Eugenics and other Evils)