Monday, June 29, 2020

Blog Episode 520

This is the 520th published episode of The Wifely Person Speaks.

What I really want to do is take the next month off.

The more news I read, the more I think I'm living in some sort of dystopian parallel universe where people just lie around, never worrying about anyone other than themselves while believing that all leaders are good and know everything there is to know about what is good for the little people. Just keep the screen on, the soda cup filled, and the popcorn coming. Brains are optional. 

In the course of last week, it came to light that the Russians appear to have been paying a bounty on coalition member troops. Not only does it appear US intelligence knew about this, it is unclear whether or not Feckless Leader and his cabal had been informed. Pence et al say no, but interestingly, Military Times says otherwise:
In early 2020, members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000. The recovered funds further solidified the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and linked associations. One official said the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step.  
The intelligence officials told the AP that Trump was briefed on the bounty matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting Sunday neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed. Trump tweeted Sunday night he was just told intelligence officials didn’t report the information to him because they didn’t find it credible. 
Clearly, lots of other people found it credible. But then again, it's a pretty well-established fact that if you're working in the White House these days, it's a pretty safe bet you have no intelligence to speak of. If you did, you would not be working in the White House, would you? Either way, someone in the administration knew the Taliban was being paid by the Russians to kill coalition forces while Feckless Leader is kissing Putin's ass. And this is okay because..............?

Let's play a game. It's one of my favorites: What if Obama Did This?

This isn't about Putin, or Russia, or the Taliban. This is about re-election. This is all staged, it's all plotted out, and it's all out there to get half the country angry. Angry isn't a useful political tool, which is why the saying goes, Revenge is a dish best served cold. This is about distraction. And there's a great word for that PROPAGANDA. 

So, let's talk about propaganda. We used to know all about Communist propaganda and Soviet propaganda, and even Nazi propaganda. We, the People, have lost sight of the meaning of propaganda and its purpose. From Merriam Webster:
1.    capitalized a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions

2.    the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

3.   ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause 
We can eliminate definition #1 since we're not talking about the curia here. Numbers 2 and 3 are just fine. Both intimate lying is involved.  

Did you know the Nazi party used the idea of Divide And Conquer as the baseline for propaganda? The idea was if you could divide a group into arguing factions, the takeover of the entire group was easier. The Soviets used the same technique, as did the Chinese. Once the takeover part was done, homogenization would begin. Get everyone on the same page. Deal with dissidents by separating them out of the whole. 

Look no further than Feckless Leader and his never-ending stream of bullshit about vote-by-mail to see propaganda-in-action. That his stream of bullshit is just that, and doesn't matter what he says. He doesn't have to tell the truth; his aim, as orchestrated by the racist cabal around him, only requires that he spew enough bullshit to get people mad about it. THERE'S the division.  Now, let's drive the wedge right into the middle, exploit the split, and divide the nation.

This is how the election will fall. That orange orang is laying the groundwork now in his tweets about how the November election is already unfair. He's showing his hand and if you cannot see what's in it, you need to pull you head outta wherever it is. 

Eleanor Roosevelt was way ahead of her time...except she was living in the time of Nazi Germany:

Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.

Wake up and smell the fascists, people. 

I would want to take some time off, but I'm terrified if I do, I'll never come back to this and that fat fuck will have won another round of "silence the opposition," and that would not be good. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.                                                                                        Sun Tzu , 5th century BCE

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Great Orange Herring Takes the Stage

Tulsa Rally Jabin Botsford/Washington Post
So, there was supposed to be this big, giant, blowout come-back rally in Tulsa on Saturday night. The city was in a tizzy, not quite sure how to handle the 1,000,000 people the Feckless Leader insisted would show up for the event. Feckless Leader even scheduled a speech outside to the overflow disciples clamoring to hear his every syllable. 

About 6,300 people showed up to a venue with a capacity of 19,000. Inside. No one was outside.

The Blame Game is stupendous. It's HUGE. They (as in the ubiquitous They) blamed the lame-stream media for blowing the corona virus risk outta proportion. They blamed Tik-Tok-using-teenagers for a campaign to register to buy out the house. They even tried to blame radical left-wing protesters and that mystical non-existent organization Antifa for scaring people away. Tulsa police confirmed the protests were very peaceful:
There were large groups of protesters in downtown Tulsa near the site of the rally, police said, but they were demonstrating peacefully.

"There are multiple groups of demonstrators with varying viewpoints in the area adjacent to the rally," the Tulsa Police Department tweeted. "Overwhelmingly these encounters have been peaceful with everyone attempting to share their views."       
CNN - 10:53 PM ET, Sat June 20, 2020
Yeah, I can see why so many Magaites were scared off. Nothing like the sharing of opinions to make one quake in one's boots.

So many orange herrings, so little space. 

The lies are not without purpose, but they are getting deeper and more threatening these days. He still acts as if COVID-19 will simply waft away. The election is in his crosshairs and not as a mere candidate. His attack on mail-in ballots stymies me: HE votes by mail. What is he afraid of?  Whoa, that's a very easy question to answer: a paper trail. 

Paper ballots are pretty much known to be the safest, most accurate way to vote. Paper trails can be followed. Yeah, you can stuff ballot boxes or hide them, but overall, when push comes to counting a shove, paper can be counted. Multiple times, if necessary. But they can't be hacked. These days, that's sayin' something. The Great Orange Herring is sowing seeds of doubt and distrust wherever he can. He knows every seed will not germinate into civil war, but he's hoping enough will grow up to arm his cabal well enough to begin an insurrection. I am not alone thinking this. Read any number of essays and analysis of what is quietly happening. 

Meanwhile, back at the vanity press, John Bolton, the guy I once hoped would be the grown-up in the room, has  a book being released  tomorrow, Tuesday, when most of you will read this. The Room Where It Happened is causing quite the stir. The Great Orange Herring calls it both lies AND  classified. Hmmmm. What to think? What to think? I can't decide which pisses me off more: that Bolton's making a quick buck offa this, or that he's a total douche-bag because he refused to testify at the impeachment. It woulda dampened the enthusiasm for this big spilling of hotsy-totsy secrets, I suppose. Instead, he left Feckless Leader in office with a price yet to be determined. Oh, wait. The list price is $32.50. He is just as big a media whore as the rest of them. If he really cared about the trumpster fire he was fanning, he  should've testified as a patriot...which clearly he is not. Nope; he's a profiteer. 

Were we expecting something else from a person who served at the pleasure of the Great Orange Herring?

Everyone is out for a buck. No one in office seriously gives a shit about this country. Everyone has an agenda and none of them are for the betterment of We, the People. What makes it all worse is that every elected official in this country sees that fat fuck profiting off the presidency like the whore that he is. From charging the Secret Service exorbitant prices at his hotels to making deals with China and Russia that directly enrich his bottom line, he has made emoluments okay. And every elected official wants a piece of that orange cream pie. 

This is no honor left in governing.

If you need living, breathing proof, the Minnesota Legislature can provide that for you. After the explosion following the death of George Floyd, Governor Walz called for a special session to deal with the state's part in setting parameters for police reform, something that has to be done so the municipalities can proceed with changes, and came out with NOTHING. Those sorry sacks of feces sitting in the state house accomplished nothing. The GOP blocked every proposal, used poison pills to prevent votes, and the DFL did nothing to get them to the table to hash it out. Here we are, the epicenter of this growing international movement of change, and our own legislature cannot manage to set an example for the nation, much less the world. NO. Those selfish, self-serving assholes blew the greatest opportunity to showcase democracy-in-action responding to the call of We, the  People, because they could not pull their collective heads outta their asses to do it. FIRE 'EM ALL!  They are, without exception, total embarrassments to the State of Minnesota.

For the record, I'm beginning to have a better understanding how the Great Orange Herring Playbook works. Anyone can do it; it just takes a little practice. There's even an instructional video:

Only problem is that the Great Orange Herring is doing it in real time with our very real nation but he isn't nearly as darling, beloved, or talented as Charles Durning. Hell, Feckless can't even walk down a ramp without looking like an alter cocker...but that does not make him any less dangerous. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Keep your eyes on the Israeli government for the next few weeks.
The attempt to annex parts of the West Bank
is going to yield a shit-storm of major proportions...
and it's gonna  be led by Israelis.  

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Monuments We Keep

My dad was fond of saying, "All idols have clay feet." Didn't matter who the idol du jour was, whether it was Churchill or JFK, Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan, they were all imperfect...except for him of course. All jokes aside, he was right, and I became more aware and more critical of those held up for admiration. Statues to "great" men and the occasional great women were not necessarily honoring greatness; they were praising perspective. 

One of the oddball side effects of that recurring lesson was that I became a pedestal reader. Whenever I saw a hero-statue, I wanted to read the pedestal...of if there was no plaque, I would write down the name for the next trip to the library...or eventually Google. Yes, folks, I am an information junkie, but you already knew that. 

So, with all sorts of wheels coming off all over the nation, I am astounded by the White House's stance on removing Confederate statues and renaming bases. Clearly our sense of history is changing perspective and frankly, that's long overdue. In this age of instant information, we are no longer buying the revisionist versions of history or folk tales that go with it. Come on, we all know Columbus did not discover America. Erik the Red found Greenland circa 982 C.E., and his son, Leif Erikson, established a settlement in Vinland around 1000 C.E. That's a good 500 years before Chris. See many statues for Leif? Didn't think so. 

Whereas Leif did not appear to be into wholesale slaughter of Indigenous Peoples he came across, we cannot say the same for Columbus. For the Conquistadors that followed, Columbus pretty much set the pattern for European behavior in the "new" world. It wasn't nice. And it should not be lauded as a geopolitical achievement, just like  the annexation of Poland in 1939 is not a cause for celebration, either. I can't imagine there are any statues of Ribbentrop in Polish plazas. That's because the Nazis lost. Duh.

©2020-Steven G. Artley - Artley Toons Online
So, what's wrong with naming an elite military base for a guy like Braxton Bragg, known as the most cantankerous man in the military, who was also one of the worst generals on the losing side? Why not just rename a fort for Benedict Arnold? I do understand the forts were named in a different time with different criteria, but does that mean we are forever stuck with having to memorialize inglorious dead? Maybe it's time to grow up a bit and look at who we're putting ...or keeping...on pedestals these days. There's nothing wrong with admitting times have changed and We, the People have to move forward toward a more accurate and honest version of our own history.

© Mark Ricklis 2020
One of my loyal readers sent pictures taken over the weekend at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. It's a lovely place, and there you can find Liberation Monument by Nathan Rapoport, a Jewish sculptor, born in Warsaw, and ultimately immigrated to the US. A US soldier is carrying a concentration camp survivor. The inscription reads:
Dedicated to America's role of preserving freedom and rescuing the oppressed.
That's a far cry from the Rebel Yell
Our Dixie forever! She's never at a loss.Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
There are lots of great monuments worth visiting: The Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, Dignity of Earth and Sky, Tomb of the Unknown  to name a few. They're out there and many actually do a better job of representing our better side, that part of us for which We, the People, should strive. 

Look, if Minneapolis can come to grips with removing the name of John C. Calhoun, dedicated pro-slavery politician, to bring back that beautiful lake's real name, Bde Maka Ska (pronounced buh-DAY’ muh-KAH’-skah,) the rest of the country can begin the process of recognizing who we were then is not who we are...or should be... now. There is no shame in maturation. We can and should correct names/things that are wrong. 

This is not easy to grok, internalize, or fully embrace. Making this change takes work that not everyone is going to be willing to do. That said, recognition of the problem is the first step. The trick is to keep moving forward even when it's hard.

If you have a problem with removing Confederate flags, statues, and base names from public buildings, lands, schools, or venues, then you are a racist. 

It's just that simple.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Stay home or if you go out,  wear a mask
This pandemic doesn't give damn that you're bored or miss eating out.
At this stage of the game, if you get COVID-19
it's probably your own damn fault. 


Monday, June 8, 2020

Growth, Reality, and Owning Up

A little more than 5 years ago, I wrote an episode called ALL LIVES MATTER. At the time I wrote those words, I was speaking directly about other Peoples of Color. I was not being flip or dismissive. Just the opposite: I was saying BLM did not go far enough.

38th Street and Chicago Avenue, MPLS
I could not have predicted the impact of the BLM movement or the horrific increase of police brutality and murder caught on video. We could see racism in action; we were there, on the spot, to witness through cell phone or body cams the events in real time. That changed everything for everyone; racism was no longer hearsay. We were hearing what they were saying. We cannot turn away.

Racism is the reality for those who are not white, just as white privilege is a stark reality for a whole bunch of the rest of us. We can debate about all sorts of things in both those categories, but what is not open to debate is the inherent inequality of our justice system, economic opportunity, and education availability. That which is afforded to white people is all too often not available to the Black community. The playing field is never level.

None of this is news. The first enslaved Africans to arrive in the North American colonies are thought to have arrived in Jamestown on The White Lion in 1619...401 years ago. Slavery may have been abolished with the passage of  the 13th Amendment in 1865, but racism, discrimination, segregation, and inequality before the law certainly has not disappeared. Progress may have been made in the 1960s with the advent of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, but almost 60 years later, we have progressed little. There is still segregation, there is still discrimination, and there is absolutely inequality before the law. 

You can attempt to justify it all you want. You can say George Floyd wasn't exactly a model citizen...but Philando Castile was. It didn't make a difference. They're both dead at the hands of a cop. No one can justify murder by badge. It cannot and must not be tolerated. And it must stop here, and in every other city, town, and state in this country.

Even if the Toddler-in-Chief is a flaming asshole who dogwhistles violence and is threatening to send the military into the streets for "law and order," We, the People cannot stand by in silence, lest we become the new Tiananmen Square. We cannot harangue the rest of the world on human rights when our own army is shooting protesters. We lose the moral high-ground. American Exceptionalism takes on an entirely different meaning....Except Us. I'm not willing to accept that.

Black Lives Matter is kind of a catch-all phrase for the anger. It becomes more than an identity, it becomes a slogan, and the slogan becomes a rallying cry. Since little has changed on the ground in over 40 years, Black Americans have every right to be angry and frustrated. Do not conflate that with rioting and looting. I'm talking about taking back the streets for the sake of the community so the community prospers. 

Black Lives Matter is about so much more than pointing a finger at police; it's about pointing at systemic racism and demanding that tacit hatred stop. It's about getting the white population to take a long hard look at itself, as a group and as individuals, in order to ask ourselves the really hard questions. And that's the easy part. Asking is easy, answering will probably be painful. Listening is also hard. Shutting up and seriously listening to the Black community will not be easy because it points out our own privileged short-comings. No one wants to self-flagellate, but it has to be done if we are ever to forge a common community. 

White privilege is a cocoon we weave around ourselves. For the record, it doesn't just push away the Black community. it pushes everyone who is not white away. I hold firm to what I said in the original blog about the Indigenous People and invisibility. You don't hear much about them other than what casinos they own, but the IP community took huge hits during the rioting and looting. They will need help to rebuild, but their plight isn't so well known or popular. They need a seat at this table.

But right now, the focus is solidly on the Black community where death by cop is becoming a too frequent occurrence. In March, Breanna Taylor, an EMT, of Louisville, KY, was murdered in her bed by cops in the wrong place. Two days before George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Maurice Gordon was murdered by a New Jersey State Highway Patrolman. He was unarmed, stopped for speeding, he was not arrested, not detained; his car wouldn't start after the cop pulled him over. What could that man have possibly done to make the cop empty his revolver into him? 

While defunding or dismantling the Minneapolis Police seems fraught with danger, it probably has to be done. That department is not a matter of a few rotten apples, but rather a system rotten to the core. Chief Arredondo is not a bad chief, not by a long shot, but he cannot possibly do what needs to be done with a union defending cops who brutalize at will. I am sure nothing will be instant, the streets will not go unprotected, but something other than what that city has must be put in place. The streets are not safe for all communities of color, and that just cannot go on.

And briefly, on the subject of Antifa, some of my readers insisted Antifa is a real organization because Feckless Leader says so. So let's perfectly clear about this:

ANTIFA means Anti-Fascist.

Just so you know exactly what ANTIFA is, I thought I would show you some pictures of some of my favorite Antifa terrorists:

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Want a fun, easy project?
Go to the post office of your choice and buy a 10 pack of stamped postcards. 
It'll set you back $3.90
Address them to 
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington, DC 20500

For the return address, put
1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza
Washington, DC. 20500

And in the message space, 2 words:

Not only are you postcard bombing the White House,
you are helping the USPS to survive.
And that's a good thing. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Welcome to Venezuela

Welcome to Venezuela.
Or Argentina.
Or Brazil.
Or Yemen.
Or Sudan.
Or Somalia.
Or Ethiopia
Or Syria.
Or Afghanistan.
Or China
Or Philippines
Or Russia

Take your pick. They don't have civil rights in those places. Or open, fair elections. Or an independent judiciary. If the great orange asshole continues on the path he is on, neither will we.
As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement offices to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism assaults and the wanton destruction of property. 
On the surface that may sound reasonable, but take a moment to unpack that statement:
...thousands and thousands: who is commanding this force and what exactly is their mission? 
One of the delays in deploying the Minnesota National Guard was the lack of a mission statement provided by the mayor of Minneapolis. Without those specific instructions the Guard could not be deployed. 
...heavily armed soldiers, military personnel: what constitutes "heavily" armed? Tanks? Bazookas? M2s? M249s? Concussion grenades? Flash bangs? Anyone wanna guess?
Is he really going to turn the guns on his loyal MAGA members? The ones who are fine people? The ones with guns who demonstrated in Lansing? Is he really going to hold his alt-right cabal accountable? This is the guy who called the Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and the gun-toting "protection" squad in Lansing "very fine people."

Sure he is.

Meanwhile, back in DC, peaceful protesters were gassed so the coward of the bunker could visit St. John's Church across from the White House. He used it as a photo op with a bible. Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, took exception to this and published the following statement:
"The President just used a Bible and one of the churches of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard.

"I am outraged.

"The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s; nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country."
Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), meanwhile, has sent General Milley at letter:
That's a real and very serious question without a good answer at the moment. I'm waiting to see if there is a response. 

I am sitting on the Saint Paul side of the Mississippi, close enough to Minneapolis to feel the pain and the dismay at the events of the last week. Not that Saint Paul and West Saint Paul have remained unscathed, but the center ring of this circus is Minneapolis.

"Minnesota nice" is pretty much Minnesota for "screw you" for anyone who is not like "them" which means anyone who is not a white Christian. Minneapolis has a looonnnnng history of overtly practiced discrimination, and it's not just against Blacks. It includes Jews, Indigenous Peoples, Latinx, Asians, just about anyone who is different. Pejoratives are still common language here. And not too many people see anything wrong with jewing down a neighbor or going out for greaser tacos. The Indigenous Peoples have been so invisible for so long in this state that when the Walker Art Center erected a scaffold and gallows by LA artist Sam Durant supposedly to commemorate the Dakota 38, people were shocked when the Sioux population went ballistic. Why? Because no one ever really sees them. 

(It was huge when Tim Walz picked Peggy Flanagan as his running mate. She's Ojibwe. She was not the first Indigenous Person to be elected to statewide office, she was the second. Still a very big deal.)

But getting back to Minnesota. It's true we had provocateurs setting fires. We had cars with no license plates here in little ol' Mendota Heights. But overall, Governor Walz, the two mayors did pretty well after some early confusion. The community, however, pulled together to get supplies and funding for the areas affected. This is the part of Minnesota the rest of the country can learn from. Neighborhood watches banded together to protect their own neighborhoods. Why? Because they were protecting themselves from those who would do them harm.

George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, flew up from Houston to join the call for justice. He spoke so eloquently today. This is part of his speech:
I understand you all upset, but I can deservedly say, I dealt in y’all’s habits of society. So if I’m not over here wilding out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff… if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? 
What are y’all doing? Y’all doing nothing, because that’s going to bring my brother back at all. It may feel good for the moment, just like when you drink, but when it come down, you going to wonder what you did.

My family is a peaceful family. My family is god fearing. Yeah, we upset, but we not going to take it, we not going to be repetitious. In every case of police brutality, the same thing has been happening. Y’all protest, y’all destroy stuff, and they don’t move. You know why they don’t move? Because it’s not their stuff, it’s our stuff. So they want us to destroy our stuff. 
They’re not going to move. So let’s do this another way. Let’s do this another way. Y’all right. Let’s do this another way. Let’s stop thinking that our voice don’t matter and vote. Not just vote for the president, vote for the preliminaries, vote for everybody.

Educate yourself. Educate yourself. Don’t wait for somebody else to tell you who’s who. Educate yourself and know who you’re voting for. And that’s how we going to hit them, because it’s a lot of us.
It's 10:44 PM here in Minnesota. There are peaceful demonstrations in memory of George Floyd going on. The City of Minnesota is warning people in the affected Minneapolis neighborhoods to check their yards and surrounding areas for left-over homemade incendiary devices, specifically water bottles filled with gasoline. And people are finding little caches in their yards and apartments dumpsters. There is a strong police and state patrol presence, but they appear to be in protection mode. There is talk of a "credible threat." 

Truth is that when these guys are in protection mode, they aren't gassing people, or banging them over the head. They are doing the protect part of protect and serve. One of the things We, the Minnesotans learned this past week is that there are people who will come to destroy. They are looking to cause racial strife, to start a local civil war, to ignite a powder keg called civil war. We need the cops and the State Patrol, and even the Minnesota National Guard in an alliance with us to stop the provocateurs. Not to recognize that reality is to make sure history repeats itself. 

I cannot speak to what's happening in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, or Los Angeles. I can only speak to living in this state with this curfew and this community that has, at least for this moment, come together to protect itself. Minnesota might not always be nice, but at least we're efficient. Very Scandinavian. Ja, sure, you betcha. 

That said, what everyone across this nation must understand is that this may be going on in your city right now, but for Black Americans, right now is all the time

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

If you still believe there is a real alt-left antifa organization, 
I would strongly urge you to get your tinfoil hat adjusted.