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Member since: 2001
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Independence Day and the American Dream

I grew up hearing about "the American Dream".

No one ever told me exactly what it was. I had to infer from context. And the contexts could be confusing.

To some people, the American Dream was freedom from fear of going to jail or being killed if they worshipped the "wrong" God or had the wrong name or supported the wrong leader or failed to support the "right" leader. They were grateful just to be here, to be able to walk freely on streets where people weren't looking over their shoulders or ducking into doorways or following them in windowless vans.

To some, the American Dream was being able to cast a vote, to write a Letter to the Editor, to publish a newsletter, to run for public office, to have a campaign sign in their front yard, to attend a Party caucus or meeting- to take an equal and active part in allocating executive and legislative power.

And then there were those to whom the American Dream meant someday being able to buy any house they could afford, in any neighborhood. And their children having access to good public education in well-funded schools, taught by teachers who were good at their jobs and paid adequately. And being hired to do any job they qualified for on an equal basis with other applicants, regardless of skin color or religion.

To many of the young men I went to school with, the American Dream meant not being conscripted to become cannon fodder and die in a meaningless war they had no say in starting or continuing. To the young women I went to school with, the American Dream meant having equal legal status in the economic, political, and social spheres, and the right to decide what to do with their own bodies.

As I grew a bit older, I encountered people to whom the American Dream meant the freedom to get rich without restriction. The freedom to do whatever they wanted to do, regardless of whether it might cause harm to the land or the water or the air or the safety of their neighbors. Freedom from "government interference" telling them they couldn't enjoy themselves or make money in ways that might harm others.

Even more recently, I have run across those to whom the American Dream means using the force of law and government to make everyone abide by the rules their own God has ordained, and the right to not be made uncomfortable by being confronted with people or beliefs who are different, or by having to acknowledge the injustices and suffering that resulted from privileges their predecessors arrogated to themselves by virtue of race and gender and religious faith.

But in order to make those latter two "American Dreams" cone true, it has become necessary to kill all the other versions of the American Dream.

America, is this a good bargain? Is this really the price we want to pay?

Perhaps we need another Declaration of Independence.


Know Your Junta


"Americans, KNOW YOUR JUNTA! Match the names with the pictures below
A. JusticeOligarch B. Justice Beerboof
C. Justice Stepnfetchit D. Chief Justice Enabler
E. Justice Serenajoy E. Justice Torquemada

Pictures below of you can imagine who, with numbers."


When the national anthem is played or the pledge of allegiance performed...

...from now on I will remain seated, arms crossed, head bowed, silent. Or if standing, I will cross my arms, bow my head, and remain silent.

I am in mourning for my freedom and the America I loved and held dear.

I hope that more and more women will remain silent on such occasions. I hope men who value freedom will join us. They have taken our voice. Let only theirs chant the rituals of an increasingly fascist state.


Blast from the Past: The Protest We Need is "Human Carpet"

Back in the 1950s and 1960s this type of protest was known as "The Human Carpet." Here's what you do:

You fill your backpack (now I guess it would be your daypack or fannypack or whatever they're called) with water, extra bandannas, snacks, an empty plastic bottle, and your legal counsel information. I guess nowadays you'd add your phone. Wear long trousers and long sleeves and sunglasses and a hat. Extra points for a couple of "letter" bandanna-sized pieces of cloth.

Pick your target: The sidewalks, stairways, and driveways that constitute the approach to the building where enemy business needs to get transacted.

Time your assembly: Approach silently, together, within a 15-20 minute period, on foot, NO SIGNS, looking like ordinary tourists, etc.

Gather until you are closely packed in those sidewalks, stairways, and driveways. Still silently.

LINK ELBOWS. Silently.

SIT DOWN. Still silently.

Pass around your "letter" cloths until they can be held up in order to spell out (back then "NO MORE WAR" ) your short message.

Remain sitting. Silently, except maybe for an occasional song. "We Shall Overcome" is a perennial favorite.

Remain sitting. Have a snack. Drink some of your water to stay hydrated.

When they lob the teargas, wet your spare bandannas, put them around your face.

When they come to drag you away, keep your arms linked but otherwise go limp.

Stay silent. Unless you have to cry out in pain when being beaten by the cops. On the dozens of cell phone cameras around you.

That's a nowadays addition: "Those closest to the center of the carpet use phones to document."

Use the empty bottle to pee if you have to. Later on you can pass it along and those near the edge can uncap it and toss it at the po-pos, if needed.

Sleep in place, if you have to.

This is "The Human Carpet." Some of us will get arrested.

Some of us will get beaten up and teargassed.

But in the long run, if discipline is maintained, this is ferociously effective.

We used to do it when young men were being sent to die in Vietnam.

Now young women are going to be dying right here in America.

So let's roll out the Human Carpet again.


Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health is about "religion" the way rape is about "sex."

Religion is only a tool (albeit a very powerful one) of patriarchy.

The fundamental driver of patriarchy is not religion. It's POWER.

Placing half the population in a structurally subordinate role is the single most effective POWER move, ever.

Using religion to do that is like using money to do that (and money played a huge part - plenty of the steps to this culmination had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with leverage created by $$.)

It's about POWER.

Which is the only thing terrified manbabies and their manipulative, fearful female enablers think will stop the painful fear that lives inside them. The fear that they're insignificant.

THAT'S what it's about.

Religion and money are just frosting on a cake of raw, unchecked power-grabbing.

The problem for them is, the institutional structure that made it possible for them to impose and maintain this particular power fifty years ago is no longer what it was.

And this will not end well. For anyone.

But in the long run, they will lose the power they have appropriated today.

At a terrible cost to themselves, and to everyone else.



"Go resentfully, making noise and waste, and remember what profit there may be in crypto. As far as possible, without logic, sign on to the latest Qanon lunacy.

Holler your lies loudly and repetitiously, drowning out others, applauding the dull and ignorant, for they will believe your nonsense.

Be a loud and aggressive person, causing vexation to "woke" spirits. If you compare yourself with billionaires you can stay resentful and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser assholes than yourself.

Deny your failures and highlight your fantasies. Keep obsessed with your own genitalia, however inadequate; it is your only possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise gullibility in your business decisions, adding to the world's griftery. But let this not discourage you from wacky conspiracy theories; there are always more scammers and they need a constant supply of suckers.

Be yourself. Especially, do not regard compassion. Neither be kindly or considerate, for more aridity and disenchantment provide perennial profit margins for oligarchs.

Lash out viciously at the counsel of the years, and gracefully surrender your children's futures.

Purchase more guns to shield you in sudden misfortune. Keep distressing yourself with dark imaginings, for those woke libs really do want to keep you weary and alone.

Ignore any form of discipline, except to force it on others. You are the only child of the White Christian God that matters, no one else has a right to be here.

And whether or not Fox News covers it, no doubt the secret CRT LGBTQ Trans Replacement criminals are coming for you. Therefore invoke the wrath of God exactly as YOU conceive Him to be. And whatever your inadequacies and follies, in the noisy confusion of life, keep rage where your soul would have been. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it's still YOUR world and not those other peoples'. Be angy. Strive to be violent."


I never wanted to "ban guns".

I grew up in a family with sport hunters who had rifles and shotguns. Relatives shot skeet and entered marksmanship competitions.

I always assumed that the 2nd Amendment was there to ensure that the government would be able to call on citizens who could be quickly mobilized in the event of an invasion or a threat to the nation, because those citizens could participate in organized, trained units (i.e. 'militias'). Such units could be quickly transitioned to formal military service at need. This made sense for the 18th Century and in more recent times, we have had National Guard and Reserve units that served the same function.

I never had a problem with the 2nd Amendment, considered in those terms.

And I never had a problem with working firearms being available to ordinary people for sporting purposes, or functional antiques and/or non-working modern firearms being collected by antiquarians and/or hobbyists. What harm?

Especially since back when I was young there were a good many programs that focused on firearm safety for the owners of sporting weapons. Including one called "the National Rifle Association" that provided excellent safety education and training. My grandfather taught all of us a few basics about firearm safety, things like "always assume it's loaded," "always be aware where it's pointing and NEVER point it at a person," "if you find an unsecured (i.e., not in the cabinet or locked rack) gun, immediately inform an adult and show them where it is."

I never had the hand-eye coordination for any sport that required accuracy in aiming things, even softballs or tennis balls, so I never got into gun sports. But they never bothered me.

Where did this thing about "the 2nd Amendment is about arming the people so they can fight against the government if they need to" come from?

This makes NO sense. No intelligent jurist or legal thinker would include that in a document creating the structure, powers, and limitations of a democratic government!


Sensible firearm regulation is not contrary to the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution and it is not an infringement on the rights of any citizen to peacefully enjoy sporting weapons in safe contexts.

You get a buzz from shooting big ones? Okay, there are actually shooting centers where you can go and pay to shoot 50-caliber machine guns. Wouldn't be my idea of fun, but I wouldn't make it illegal. Those guns are locked away when not in use, and you have to sign waivers and shoot them under supervision, making them as safe as possible.

You find fondling the blue steel of a "piece" exciting? Uh, well... okay. Fine. There are shooting sport centers, maybe they can add 'gun fondling' rooms for the enjoyment of their patrons. The guns can be not loaded and/or nonfunctional, and you can fondle away all you want, and NO ONE WILL GET KILLED. This is weird but should not be illegal.

You want to shoot skeet or engage in marksmanship competition? Great! Join a shooting club, keep your weapons secured at the club, hang with your buddies and shoot to your heart's content.

You want to hunt for the pot? Okay, keep a legal hunting weapon at home (and 'legal hunting weapon' will not include guns that would rip your dinner into too many pieces to collect, right?), registered, and secured when not in use, and bring it in for inspection as needed.

You want to trophy-hunt? Ick. But it's still legal, I guess. Go to a "game ranch" or other facility and use the weapons there.

You engage in a hazardous line of work and/or have good reason to believe you need a weapon for personal protection? Fine. Make that case to law enforcement, get a permit and training, register your weapon, secure it when it's not under your direct control, and bring it in for inspection as needed.

None of this infringes on any reasonable interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

I don't want to "ban guns".

I want to keep people from being killed by criminals and irresponsible people with guns.

This should not be rocket science.


Listen up, you morons: Keeping Schools Safe Edition

Okay, since you morons utterly refuse to do the ONE, CHEAP, SIMPLE (no, not easy, but yes, simple) thing that is UTTERLY GUARANTEED to keep schools safe from being mass slaughter grounds, let's move on to viable alternatives.

No, not "School Resource Officers." (Really?? Oh, just watch the 6/5 "Last Week Tonight". John Oliver covers it well. :sigh: )

No, not "hardened doors" or, dear heaven... "man traps" or "ballistic blankets"... Seriously, morons??

Consult some real experts.

The United States Marines have an entire operational group that trains and installs security for big public buildings that transact lots of business daily, with lots of people coming and going, in an environment that has to project both a positive image that reflects stated American values, and safety for those who work (and live) there. They have been providing Embassy security for the U.S. State Department for more than 70 years in all kinds of places and conditions.

Some years back I listened to a retired Marine whose career was spent in the Embassy Security Group, and this is what I remember from that presentation:

First, it is more effective to prevent incidents than to respond to incidents.

Second, of the three elements of security, two - environmental awareness and situational awareness, are preventive. Only incident response doctrine/training is based on response, and even that depends on the other two.

This was some time back and I am probably not remembering it too precisely. But I'll give the best synopsis of the three elements I can:

"Environmental Awareness" is the eyes-on, constant attention to what is actually occurring, everywhere that matters. Who is approaching a perimeter. Entrances and exits. Who is present, where in the building, and where they are moving. This is provided by both in-place assets (guards in place at strategic points, managing entrances, etc.) and oversight assets (cameras under constant monitoring in secure areas with access to communications.)

"Situational Awareness" is the analysis of threat levels, the things that contribute to risk escalation, operational security, and events that may dictate temporary changes in operational doctrine, the escalation or de-escalation of standard risk management procedures and or/changes in incident response doctrine/training.

"Incident Response Doctrine/Training" is the set of protocols for responding to various types of incidents and includes how an incident is identified/determined, how communications proceed, and what actions are taken, with various decision trees for contingencies as they materialize. This is not just for the security staff, but for the regular building occupants/staff, who must know what various codes mean and what they must do in those situations. And it includes the "secondary" response actors - local police and responder teams, adjacent US military forces, etc.

What do these things mean in terms of schools today?

First, every school should have a complete security assessment by professionals experienced and trained in designing and implementing this kind of security. This isn't "door hardening" so much as camera installation and positioning, the designation of various perimeters and zones and planning for constant eyes-on attention when the building is in use as well as off-hours monitoring and opening review and assessments (you'd want to know, for instance, if someone approached within a perimeter and put something in a waste bin during the night. Maybe it's just someone trying to save money on home waste disposal costs, but maybe it's something sinister, too.)

Second, every school district should have a security management division that hires, trains, and supervises well-prepared and well-compensated staff both for in-place and oversight security monitoring. These are not nose-picker jobs or retiree volunteers. Any trained security or LEO knows that this job is enormously challenging in terms of maintaining alertness, awareness, etc. for the many hours when nothing seems to be happening at all, and instant escalation of that alertness when anything trips a 'potential incident' awareness. Short shifts to maintain alertness. Regular reassignment between working locations to keep awareness 'fresh'. This is not cheap. Certainly not as cheap as regulating access to firearms. But it is critical, if you're not going to remove firearms from the mix.

Third, every school in the district needs to have a Situational Awareness team that is intimately familiar with the staff, students, parents, regular visitors, and community around that school, empowered to do regular assessment of potential problems. And, given the nature of how mass shooting incidents happen, this requires people with "people knowledge". Who got expelled? Which kids are bullying what other kids? Which parents showed up at a PTA meeting all bent about some teacher? This is the case for restoring a robust school counseling staff in every school and having them be an integral part of the team.

And finally, every school district and every school needs to establish and constantly update and upgrade their incident response doctrines and training using the data gathered from their environmental and situational awareness personnel, local responder teams, etc. And undertake regular training, not just for active shooter situations, but for a whole array of potential incidents and even regular events that pose potential security problems at schools. A shared awareness of a particular class having lots of bullying incidents, or which kids and their families seem to need extra help and understanding, will go a long way to preventing mass slaughter.

And this needs to be part of every school budget in every school district in America. Yes, the cost will be astronomical. But dear morons, y'all are saying, you're willing to do anything, ANYTHING (except that obvious, cheap, simple thing) to "keep our children safe."

So do it, then.


Okay, so imagine that you are a stupid person.

Being stupid, you don't actually know HOW stupid you are.

There are other people who are different from you - they are not stupid. They might be smart. But you don't know how smart they are. You just know they're not stupid.

Now imagine that everything you need to live - in fact, everything EVERYONE needs to live - is in a big central depot, and that depot has only two service windows.

A larger, well-staffed, efficient service window, open 24 hours, has a sign on it "Stupid People ONLY".

The other service window has no sign. It's not always open, when it is open it's not well-staffed, and it's often not fully stocked.

You, and your fellow stupid people - a substantial number of people, to be sure - always stand in line at the "Stupid people ONLY" window. You sometimes have to wait, but not all that long, and they generally have what you came for.

Everyone else - all the people who aren't stupid - goes to the other service window. Because it's not always open and not well-staffed, the line there is very long. And they don't always get what they came for in one trip.

One day while you're in line, you notice something happening at the other service window.

They're fixing it up. They have more staff, and a new sign that says "open 24 hours." The line there starts to move a little faster. More people in that line seem to be getting what they came for.

Then you see someone with a ladder at YOUR service window.

What are they doing?

Oh, NO! They are preparing to take away the "Stupid People ONLY" sign!

Then the stupid person ahead of you in line says "Those OTHER people are going to come and stand in OUR line!"

And the stupid person behind you in line says "And I bet some of them are SMART - they'll find a way to CHEAT and we'll never get what we need, ever again!"

Everyone in your line starts chanting "Stupid people ONLY! Stupid people ONLY!"

Someone pulls a gun and aims it at the guy with the ladder.

Well, there you go.

Now do you understand America in 2022?


Tonight, I am thinking about Mamie Till

She was a mother.

How painful it must have been for her to see what was done to her child. To look at his body so mauled and brutalized.

Her courage.

Her decision: "Leave that casket open. I want the world to see what they did to my baby."

It could not have been easy.

Those photographs were horrific, the reality must have been unbearably wrenching.

But that decision, that moment, and those photographs made an important difference.

Sometimes people, even caring people, who are comfortable in their own reality, need to have a taste of others' realities.

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