Tag Archive | lies

The Blood I Cried

Want to read the whole story? Well, now you can! For a limited time (until June 15), Dancing in Hellfire is finally available for sale, for only $3.49. You can buy it here, through this very site, using PayPal or a typical credit/debit card (payment is processed by PayPal, so I don’t see the info), after which you’ll be given access to the book as both a PDF and an ePub.

Introduction

Whether being four years old and watching one of my parents’ friends shoot up peanut butter on our couch and dying before my eyes; whether being effectively kidnapped at the age of eight by my meth-addicted mother and forced to endure a summer of being too poor to buy food, with our water turned off due to non-payment, and with mom being beaten mercilessly by a violent alcoholic; whether coming to terms with her disappearance like something out of a murder mystery show; or whether being transgender in the midst of all of this and trying desperately to come to terms with it while surrounded by a fundamentalist Christian family that forced me to not merely repress who I was but also to forget who I was, I have seen a great deal of tragedy.

It’s strangely easy to forget how devastating all of this must truly have been, even as I was the one who experienced it, because it’s easy to forget how it truly felt to lie awake, crying and listening to the sounds of shattering glass as my mother was thrown brutally through windows. It’s easy to forget how angry I have the right to be at my father and grandmother, for forcing me to oppress myself and attempting to turn me into something that I am not.

Today I am a transgender woman and resident of the state of Mississippi. This is as frustrating, difficult, and dangerous as one would expect, but I survive, and I roll with the punches. I have no choice, just as I had no choice those early mornings as I bore witness to horrific domestic violence.

So this is my story–a story of how low human depravity can sink, but also how the human spirit can stand resilient and refuse to surrender. However, I know that I am one of the lucky ones. The majority of people who endure such childhood trauma, and who are forced by religiously oppressive authorities to repress their own natures, are not so fortunate. Most of the former lose themselves in a sea of drugs that allow them to forget, while the latter often lose themselves to the blade of a razor. Yet I know, because I have lived it, that we can survive the struggles–and not merely survive, but become stronger through them.

Where to begin, in this sordid tale of devils and demons?

My family is exactly what one would expect of a north Mississippi lower middle class / upper lower class white Christian family; it was only a few years ago that I first heard the acronym WASP, but I have to admit: aside from its redundancy, there is no more apt description of my family. They are almost stereotypical in how typical they are of an ordinary white fundamentalist Christian family from the southern United States.

Everyone in Mississippi isn’t like that, however, which is a point I’ve tried to stress in the past: Mississippi does contain many people like myself. As a friend recently put it, “We grew up in an area that is run-down, poor, and stupid, over all, where most of the populace is indoctrinated by religious nonsense to the point where they can’t even recognize rational thought. We pushed through what it takes to fit in here, and we defined ourselves. That’s something to embrace and be proud of.”

My friends and I have reached the end of a long and grueling journey that was filled with adversity and people who would use any means at their disposal—terrorism, fear, violence, and coercion—to bend us to their wills, and we’ve looked back at the paths we traveled and rejoiced that we survived and stayed true to ourselves. Friends are priceless when one is transgender in a family full of fundamentalist Christians.

Both of my paternal grandparents would reject me entirely—they do not yet know, and they will be among the last to know, since I see them only a few times a year. “You don’t know how they’ll react,” I’ve had people tell me. “Give them a chance. Sometimes people surprise you.”

With all due respect, those allies and friends have no idea the type of people we’re really dealing with. My Mississippian friends know better, too; they know that there is no chance that my family will ever welcome me at Christmas dinner as a female. When my grandfather (who, for the record, is on his tenth or eleventh wife) learned that my sister was living with her boyfriend, he wrote her a lengthy letter, wherein he quoted Biblical passages and called her a whore. When my grandmother found girls’ clothes hidden between my mattresses, she wanted to send me to a foster home and asserted that she would not have that in her house. If they had thought I was gay, they would have sent me to one of those awful “pray the gay away” camps.

This isn’t to say that I’m perfect, and acknowledging my own faults and mistakes will be the most difficult part of writing this. I have made plenty of mistakes and stupid decisions that brought people around me severe difficulty and hardship, particularly regarding past relationships.

My memory is also not perfect, and I am likely to make mistakes, and, given that some of the information comes from extremely unreliable sources (like my father), some of that can’t really be helped. It doesn’t matter, though. The point of this is to show how awful parenting shaped me, and the countless lies that my dad told me are part of that. I strive for honesty, integrity, and sincerity in all things. Consider this my vow that everything within is, to the best of my knowledge, the unaltered truth, except that names have been changed.

South Pontotoc

I was born premature, thankfully, since the umbilical cord had wrapped around my throat and I was choking to death. This was surely a result of my mother’s cigarette smoking and eating painkillers while pregnant. My father insists that she didn’t do drugs while she carried us, but… Yeah, she did.

I certainly don’t remember my birth, but I do remember some things from shortly after my birth. Though my family says there is no way I could remember it, my introduction to the world came with overwhelming confusion: I was in some sort of cradle, and the back of my right hand hurt because a number of needles and tubes penetrated my flesh. The details are blurry and fuzzy, as one would expect from such early memories, but the needles burned and itched. They irritated me, and I wanted them out. I was afraid and confused, with no idea why these things penetrated my hand and no understanding of what was going on. I knew only that I was hurting and helpless to do anything about it.

Confusion—pure confusion. I didn’t even have a sense of self. I had no idea that I existed, that I was a baby in a hospital, and that I was a being. I could feel the needles in the back of my hand, and they hurt. The pain, however, was not unbearable, and wasn’t the main facet of that moment. It was confusion. I was not afraid—I didn’t have enough self-awareness for the confusion to make me scared. I simply knew nothing. I was a blank slate, onto which was being written reality in the ink of experience. I didn’t even know that I was a blank slate. I knew only that I hurt, and that I was confused. I was not in the arms of a loving mother whose warmth brought me comfort. I did not stare up and into the eyes of a nurse who was delighted to see a baby growing healthier by the hour. I was not being cooed by an older brother, or rocked in the cradle while a loving grandparent read a story. I was alone and hurting in a room bathed in fluorescent light.

That was my first experience with the world. That was how I was introduced to the universe—in the sterilizing, emotionless light of an empty hospital room, not the gentle and soothing light of a home. I heard the beeps and sounds of monitoring equipment, not the joyous laughter of a loving family. I lie alone in a hospital contraption with the shrill, uncomfortable hospital sheets, not wrapped in a blanket and the arms of a doting mother.

And the worst part—the indisputable worst part—is that I remember this.

The first few years of my life were probably normal, about what anyone would expect from a southern, lower middle class white family that subsisted more on the successes of previous generations than the merits of its own. There were some oddities, though, and signs even then of who I really was, but it was the mid-80s. It wouldn’t really be fair to blame my parents for not recognizing and embracing that I was transgender.

Of course, I was born male, “with a penis and everything.” But whenever all of my underwear was dirty, my mother would put me in my sister’s panties; it wasn’t a punishment, to clarify. Being the clever child that I was, I began hiding all of my underwear, just so that I could tell my mom that I didn’t have any, and so that I could wear panties instead. Somewhere around three years old, I took all of my underwear and threw them into the back of a closet that no one ever opened, and then I reported to my mother that, strangely, all of my underwear was suddenly gone.

So when I say that I’ve been transgender since birth, it’s as close to “since birth” as one can get. I couldn’t have been older than three years old at that point, because my sister hadn’t begun kindergarten herself. I knew then that I preferred women to men: I loved my mother and sister, and, even at that age, I had a deep appreciation for feminine beauty. I also thought that my Aunt Diane was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and my mother used to make fun of me for my enamorment with my aunt.

My experience with men at this point was limited to my father (who was fat and not overly pleasant to look at), my brother (who was thin, but who had nothing on my mother), my grandfather (who was also overweight, and a jerk), and my Uncle Danny (who has always been an asshole). Although it’s typical for young boys to love their mothers, I wanted to be just like mine, and I suspect that had a lot to do it with, but who can say? I was three when it began, and I simply wanted to be a girl.

I had a blanket (what most people would call a “blankie,” though I never called it that), and it was one of those cotton-threaded ones similar to fishnet. I refused to sleep without it and my pillow. The pillow actually wasn’t that important, but the pillowcase certainly was. I rubbed the pillowcase between my finger and thumbnail, sleeping on the central heating vents in the floor and driving my father crazy with all of it.

A Look at My Father

I would love to say that my father isn’t a bad man.

But he is.

That’s a difficult thing to say and accept, but I have to stress that it doesn’t really make me love him any less, and that the dominant emotion I have for my father is pity. Even so, I would be lying if I said that he was a good man who simply made some mistakes; that isn’t the case at all. He’s a bad man who has made some good decisions, not a good man who has made a few bad ones.

His own childhood was no walk in the park, damaged by my alcoholic and abusive grandfather beating the hell out of my grandmother. Though not much of that has been shared with me, I can certainly relate to what he has said, and it’s clear the recollections are as painful to him as it is for me to recall the abuse my mother endured at the hands of alcoholics.

At some point, my grandparents divorced—Go, grandma!—because my grandmother wouldn’t put up with the abuse. My grandmother is easily worthy of her own story, because she is an unsung hero of the feminist movement without even trying. In the sixties and seventies, she left her violent husband and blazed her own path in Mississippi, won the house in the divorce, and then worked at a college until she retired at the age of 67.

True to the family history, my grandmother endured her own screwed up childhood, and was even sent away by her mother to live with Uncle Bill and Aunt Edna on their farm. Evidently, Aunt Edna didn’t like my grandmother one bit, and was very unkind to her. What internal strength caused my grandmother, in what must have been the 40s, to graduate as the valedictorian of her class? What quiet resolve allowed my grandmother to learn the necessary skills to work in the administration section of a college during the 60s?

These are questions to which I would love answers, but I’ll never have them, because they are not things that my grandmother is willing to discuss. Questions about her past are met with short answers, and I can’t blame her for not wanting to talk about it.

On one particular drunken rampage, my father held a gun on my grandfather so that my grandmother could limp out of the house. While I truly hate that he had to do such a thing in the first place, I’m also jealous that he was old enough to do something about it. When my mother suffered under Everett’s hands, I was in the second grade, and too young and weak to do anything to intervene.

For years, my father insisted that he was drafted to Vietnam, and he even talked about how he was called a murderer and spit upon when he returned. Eventually my sister and I realized that there’s no way this is true. Either he was actually the oldest between him and his brother (and thus wouldn’t have been drafted), or the Vietnam War ended when he was 16. In this little alternate reality he had constructed, he had to be older than our mother was (which was blatantly false—she had always been recognized as the older one), his brother had to be lying about his own age, and almost everyone had to have falsified birth records.

He changed his story to say that he was in Vietnam during the 80s, through another offensive that we did, but I have been unable to find any military record for him. Whether he actually fought in Vietnam, he did mislead us into believing he’d fought in the Vietnam War, which is a lie of such magnitude and scope that one has to marvel at it.

He is a religious man, though it’s hard to tell by his behavior: heavy drug usage, constant lies, and steady manipulation. Although he is less religious than other family members are, his secularism is applied selectively, and he’s generally as fundamental as everyone else is. He continues to believe that President Obama is a Muslim, is more or less openly racist, and is a diehard Republican, despite that he’s effectively a ward of the state who benefits substantially from liberal policies.

I obviously don’t see eye-to-eye with him, but we do have some similar interests. It was he who introduced me to Fantasy literature and tabletop gaming, both of which almost immediately became passions for me. In turn, I exposed him to the tenth installment of a popular roleplaying video game, and I’m still happy that I was able to show him to something that he enjoyed so immensely. He must have played through it a dozen times, and he certainly discovered more of its secrets than I ever would have.

There is some kinship between us, and I do love him, despite the numerous differences, and in spite of the fact that he has done me far more harm than good. More than anything, I pity him, because his childhood evidently destroyed him; he is one those who did not escape unscathed. He was swallowed by the mentality that the world owes him something, and oblivious to the reality that the world will never give it.

The rifts between us began because I was not the son that he wanted. He hated that I loved sleeping on the heating vents—I’ve always loved heat. I wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. I had to sleep on one of the floor vents, and the heat had to be on. There in the floor, I had the pillow and pillowcase that I refused to sleep without, and the blanket that I required as I slept.

My father hated all of these things. We went to visit some relatives at one point, and I left my blanket and pillow at home. With no other way to shut me up, my parents took me to a store to get a new pillow, and there I went from one to the next, tearing open the plastic just slightly, and “testing” it until I found one that was satisfactory. When we got back to our trailer a few nights later, dad went outside and told me to bring my pillow.

As I stepped out into the night air, I saw him kneeling just outside the small stone circle beside our front steps. It had once been a flower garden—conceived during one of mom’s highs, when she was bolstered with energy from painkillers. The high wore off, but the flowers remained in that little circle of rocks—at least for a while. Then they died, shriveled, neglected, and forgotten.

Almost like a demon out of a child’s horror story, there was my dad, grinning devilishly and eagerly, urging me to throw my old pillow onto a mess of crumbled newspapers soaked in lighter fluid as he held his flaming lighter above it. “We need to burn it!” he said, but I refused. There was no need to burn it. They were already making me throw it away—they were already making me discard this pillow that I loved and had slept with every night for years. Was that not enough?

“We need to burn it!” he said again, as I ran inside and cried to mom that dad wanted to burn the pillow that I loved. It may seem strange that I had such attachment to a pillow, but I did, and both of my parents knew it. My father certainly knew very well that I loved that pillow.

That’s why he wanted to burn it. Because I loved it.

We didn’t burn random things, and I doubt that we ever burned anything there at all. He wasn’t content to force me to throw away this pillow, the symbol that I was an emotional person and not the crass son that he apparently wanted. The pillow had to be destroyed in flames because I loved it, and because “real men don’t love.” This silly, feminine weakness, this emotional attachment to an object—it had to be gotten rid of, and in the most dramatic way possible.

It was not the pillow that my dad wanted to burn.

It was my heart.

My mother intervened, though my father came inside and continued insisting that we needed to burn the pillow, because he was afraid that I would be able to talk my mother into letting me keep it. One has to wonder why it was an issue that I wanted to keep it. In the end, I placed it gingerly on top of the garbage can in the kitchen and told it goodbye. I hated to do so, and I cried, because it didn’t make sense to me.

It’s understandable that I developed such strong emotional ties to objects, as neither parent spent much time with me, and there was not much hugging in the family. Mom and dad were always high on one drug or another, lying on the couch and borderline comatose. I don’t know how Brandi handled it then, or what she did in order to get through the long and miserable days, but it was surely as awful for her as it was for me. Unlike our older brother, we didn’t have friends with whom we could go hang out. Or, at least, I didn’t. Brandi was friends with a girl who didn’t live too far from us, and I hope that my sister was happy then.

Aunt May and Kay-Kay

For a while, mom did work, as did my father. While Brandi and Eric were gone to school and my parents were at work, I was babysat by our great aunt who lived next door, a relatively kind woman who I remember as mostly humorless. My father fleeced her out of most of her money, just as he did to my great-grandmother, and just as he is currently doing to my grandmother. However, I was too young to comprehend that, and there isn’t much that I remember about Aunt May.

It was horrendously boring at Aunt May’s. There were few places worse for my pre-school self. I wasn’t allowed to take my Nintendo, which left me there alone with an eighty-year-old woman and very little to actually do, because there was no one to play with and nowhere to play at. Aunt May wasn’t unkind, but she was also not particularly joyful. I don’t blame her for that—she was a very old woman, and probably not happy to babysit a four-year-old.

I should have been outside having fun, rather than sitting in a living room with an eighty-year-old woman and playing with paper dolls that she cut out of a magazine. Of course, such things seem droll only from a modern perspective, but I was accustomed to video games and cartoons, the heightened entertainment possibilities of the late 1980s. In the 1880s, a child would have been thrilled to sit on a couch in an air-conditioned house and idle away the hours with paper dolls.

However, imagine the horrified response one would get if a modern child was asked to spend day after day in that environment, with only a very old woman as company. There would probably be allegations of child abuse, though I’m not making that claim. However, many modern parents would likely consider that to be, at the least, borderline child abuse. To me, it was simply boring, and the time passed so slowly that I probably lived more moments there at Aunt May’s house than all the moments I have lived since.

I don’t intend any of this to be disparaging to Aunt May. I have no doubt that she did the best she could, and significantly better than many people in her position would have. Still, I dreaded those days when both parents had to work, and it was routine for me to ask mom each afternoon, “Do you have to work tomorrow?”

Aunt May had a moustache, as well, but I never noticed it. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and I was shown a picture of her that I learned she had a moustache. I was pre-kindergarten when I spent time with Aunt May, so the idea that a woman didn’t have facial hair wasn’t in my head yet, so it seemed perfectly normal to me. My father had a moustache and Aunt May had a moustache. Cars had tires, and houses had walls.

One horrible day, as Aunt May sat in her recliner, concealed from view of the kitchen as I sat on the couch near the front door, there was suddenly a crash in the kitchen. The backdoor entered into the kitchen, and I will never forget the fear that fell over this old woman’s face. Someone had broken in through the back door.

She and I hid in the living room, cowering in the corner behind her chair. I don’t believe she ever called the police (she didn’t have a phone), or did anything about it, but my memory of that ordeal is vague. I recall only the noise, the unmistakable terror in her eyes that I was able to recognize even at four years old, and the hiding.

Because she was very old, it simply wasn’t possible for Aunt May to always babysit me, and I had another sitter called Kay-Kay—a hefty, middle-aged woman who seemed to be doing pretty well in life. She had a house, at least, which I recognized to mean that she was okay—we lived in a trailer, and most of the people we knew lived in a trailer. Living in a house… That was a grand thing to me. I didn’t mind that we lived in a trailer, and I was much too young to know that being the child of two fast-food workers (even if they were supervisors) who raised Confederate flags, shot up heroin, and ate Xanax made me the definitive example of “trailer trash,” but I knew that it was a great thing to have a house.

Kay-Kay was an ordinary woman, and there was much going on beneath the surface that most people never saw. As I sat in one of her bedrooms, playing a video game, there was suddenly a banging on the door and people shouting, demanding to be allowed inside and promising that, if Kay-Kay refused, they would tear the house down.

Although I was shocked and scared at first, Kay-Kay put my fears to rest by handling it expertly. She answered in an almost aloof way, as though she had no concern about it. Even as they banged and screamed, I was unafraid, because Kay-Kay didn’t appear to take it seriously. After a minute or so, the banging stopped, and then the rhythmic pounding echoed through her home, coming from somewhere in the back.

“They’re going to tear the house down!” I shouted to Kay-Kay, scared once more. In my head, I had the image of two enormous, burly, and angry men outside with huge hammers, smashing away the bricks and crashing through the walls.

“Oh, no, they’re not, sweetie,” came Kay-Kay’s reply as she dropped to a knee and hugged me. “They’re just mad. They’ll get over it and leave in a few minutes.”

Sure enough, Kay-Kay was right: they did leave shortly thereafter. In actuality, they probably just had given up on the front door and gone to try the back door. Finding it locked, they banged and shouted some more, and then left. I never learned what it was about, and Kay-Kay asked me not to mention it to my parents, which made sense: that isn’t the sort of thing a mother wants happening at the selected babysitter’s home. I didn’t stay quiet, though, and that was the last time Kay-Kay ever babysat me. It was also the last time that I saw her.

The Rise of Tumult

There was a “friend of the family” called Doc, and I liked him a lot. Everyone liked Doc—he was a friendly, charismatic person. Being my parents’ friend, he was heavily on drugs, but Doc was also in a motorcycle gang, which created a problem, because shooting up was explicitly against the gang’s laws. Just to be clear here: this is the world I grew up in. This was normal to my three-year-old self. On any given day, I was likely to see one or both of my parents shoot up heroin with a buddy who was in a motorcycle gang, smoke a joint or two, and collapse onto the couch in a stupor and droning out “Yeah…” to no one.

I watched my mother, laid out on the loveseat, look to my father on the other side of the living room. She held up, toward my father, a syringe full of some red liquid, and then she asked in a seductive voice, “John, do you want some of this?” And as she spoke, she pressed in the syringe and sent a jet stream of this stuff—whatever it was—flying across the living room. They were both out of their minds, just high as hell.

Disheveled, frantic, panicked, and terrified, Doc stopped by our trailer and wanted to sell my father a half-pound of weed for fifty bucks. My father had twenty dollars he could pay. Knowing my father, it’s amazing that he had any money, but he did, and he explained to Doc what he had.

Doc in turn explained that he had to get out of town. “Had to,” he said, and my father understood what that meant. The gang somehow learned that Doc was shooting up, so Doc had to get out of town before they found him and forced him to run “The Gauntlet.” Because, apparently, that actually happens. My father bought the weed, and Doc fled, but it was to no avail, and he was later found dead.

We frequently drove north to visit my Aunt Diane and Uncle Danny (the man who would later go to prison for murder and, in all likelihood, killed my mother, though there is no body or evidence), as well as our cousins. One of these trips proved to be one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood.

As Brandi and I rode with dad in his yellow truck, in a secluded area where the road was surrounded by steep ditches that spelled death for anyone who lost control and went over, a truck driver decided to pass us. The trucker blew his horn a few times, and then he went for it. As he passed, he veered to the right—or dad swerved to the left. The enormous side view mirror of the rig crashed through the window beside dad and sent a spray of glass shards through the cab of our truck. Luckily, neither my sister nor I sustained any injuries.

The fault was probably my father’s (driving under the influence of one drug or another), but the reason officially given was that the highway wasn’t wide enough to pass. This excuse came much later in the day, after the trip got significantly worse.

We passed through Memphis as we traveled, and came upon an intersection. Not paying attention, I couldn’t tell you exactly how it happened, but there was shaking and noise. We rear-ended another vehicle. It’s possible that my father didn’t stop quickly enough, and it’s possible that he pressed the gas too hard and too quickly after the light turned green. Regardless, we hit the vehicle hard and sent it careening into the intersection. Reportedly, it traveled fifty feet from the impact.

The woman driving that car died on the spot with a broken neck.

Someone obviously called the police, and they arrested my father. The police placed Brandi and me in the back of the police car with him, which made us feel as though we were also being arrested, and that is terrifying when you’re four or five years old and have no comprehension of what is going on. As though we were playing out a scene in a movie, the very same trucker who had hit us earlier happened upon the accident, and presumably told the police that dad was driving erratically. The next thing I knew, the trucker was banging on the glass beside me, shouting obscenities at us—not just at our dad, but honestly at the five-year-old children, too. I was terrified, confused, and frightened out of my mind, and it didn’t help that dad, with his hands cuffed behind his back, was frothing at the mouth, rocking the police car, and demanding to be let out so that he could fight the truck driver.

My sister and I were taken to the hospital, and police, doctors, and therapists repeatedly questioned us about the accidents. We were separated from our father, but also from each other, and that made the experience more traumatic than it had to be. We were finally told that we would be going into the care of Aunt Diane and Uncle Danny briefly, and they were the ones who picked us up from the hospital. My grandmother acquired a good lawyer for my father, and he was able to go to rehabilitation rather than prison, or something to that effect.

For a long time, my nerves were absolutely shot, and it was nearly impossible to get me into a vehicle, which is probably the normal response of a four year old child after being in two accidents in a single day, one of which resulted in a death, all because the parents didn’t mind driving after eating a bunch of pills. Naturally, their solution was to shove pills down my throat, giving me what they called “nerve pills” that were probably Xanax or Klonopin. This was the only way to get me into an automobile for several months after the accidents, because otherwise I would scream and throw fits. Eventually the anxiety faded, but knocking me out with drugs was the only way to get me into a car for a while.

Things returned to what we considered normal, though that isn’t to say that either of my parents stopped doing drugs. I doubt either parent was clean for any notable period, and they continued inviting friends over. These parties, while they were more or less tame and consisted of people drinking, doing drugs, and playing spades, would not constitute “normal” for most kids.

On one such occasion, one of the people with whom they were hanging out decided that it would be a brilliant idea to inject peanut butter. Presumably, he’d heard that “The high is incredible, man!” and wasn’t much interested in maybe asking a doctor before doing something so horrendously and creatively stupid. According to my father—who is a known pathological liar, it’s worth remembering—the man died on the spot, so they took him home and left him on his couch, dead. I have no memory of this, but it allegedly happened sometime around my fifth birthday.

I started kindergarten, and I loathed it. Up until that point, my life was fantastic. I could wake up whenever I wanted, spend the entire day watching cartoons and playing videogames, snacking whenever I desired, and just doing anything I pleased. Then suddenly I couldn’t do that any longer; I had to wake up at a specific time, go spend the entire day in a boring school, and then only had a few hours afterward to do the things that I enjoyed doing. As early as kindergarten, it struck me as absurd: if the point of life is to be happy, as everyone constantly insisted to me, then why did I have to go to school?

We were poor—dirt poor, as you might expect, given the heavy drug usage. Although both parents were managers at various fast food restaurants at times, my mother eventually quit working altogether and got onto disability for her migraines. It was with tremendous excitement that we were approved for food stamps, and we waited for weeks with palpable eagerness in the air, though I had no idea what it even meant. There are two times that I distinctly recall the entire family waiting anxiously for something to happen, and the anticipation was identical on both occasions; we waited for food stamps and we waited for our cable to be activated with the same sense of impending thrill, as did I, even though I had no understanding of what either meant.

Being approved for food stamps felt like having a birthday, and so did the cable company finally coming out, after weeks of waiting, to connect our cable television. While I understood that having cable meant that we would have Nickelodeon, there was no way that I understood the concept of food stamps, so my excitement was surely nothing more than a mirror of my parents’ own eager anticipations. It was just months after this that I began school, and that mom became convinced that dad was not really working, that he was only disappearing while he was supposed to be at work.

It was a school day when it happened, because we were supposed to be in class, but mom kept us at home. My much older brother, my slightly older sister, and I were told that we were leaving dad, and I’m sure I handled that as well as any six year old child would, which is to say with naked emotion untempered by the jaded self-control we are taught to exercise in later years. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I was devastated nonetheless. First, the life I had come to know and love was wrecked by having to go to school, and then what little semblance of it remained was being irretrievably shattered by this upheaval. I spent the entire day in tears, as did my sister. Whatever was going on between our parents had nothing to do with us, and our lives were being cast into the hurricane because of it.

Too young to truly understand what was really going on, my primary concern was whether to leave my father “the good Nintendo” or the bad one. They both worked, but one of them was much more difficult to get working. Both my dad and I were big on video games, and so was my older brother, and even my mom and sister played occasionally. There were lots of family moments when we all took turns, and we even had a device that allowed four controllers to be used.

I agonized over that decision far more than a six year old should, and my mom didn’t give the situation nearly as much attention as it deserved. My entire world, prior to school, consisted almost entirely of playing video games. That I even debated which one to leave was a tremendous indicator of how much I loved my father, how much I didn’t want to leave, and, above all, how poorly equipped I was to cope with the chaos I suddenly was confronting. Mom was tearing our family apart, breaking it into two pieces, and she never sat down with my sister and me to explain what was happening, to assure us that we’d still see our dad, or to promise us that it would be okay. While to some extent that’s understandable, since she had to pack and load things up, the utter failure to remember that she was literally wrecking her youngest kids’ lives is very difficult to excuse.

To make matters worse, she was cowardly about it, too, because all of this happened while my father was at work. We lived in a trailer on my grandfather’s land, and it’s very likely that my grandfather was the one who alerted my father to the moving truck that was at his home. However, seeing as my grandfather later offered to shoot my mother for my dad, I doubt he would have showed the restraint simply to inform my dad of what was happening.

Regardless, dad pulled up while we were finishing and preparing to leave. The next little bit is a blur of anger, hostility, and shouting from which I am able to pull very few details. In a flash, dad went from anger to pleading, but mom refused to listen; her mind was made up, and she cranked the car, put it into gear, and hit the gas. Dad threw himself into the side of the car and then hit the ground, fell onto his back, and then lie there in the grass. My sister and I screamed and cried—our dad had just been run over!—and mom shouted at us to stop yelling. I gazed out of the back window at my father as we drove away, and there he was, lying unmoving in the grass, and all I could think was the horrible thought, “Dad is dead.”

There in the back of the car, crying quietly, having just watched my father die from being hit by a car, I sat at the age of six years old, being shouted at by my mom to shut up because I freaked out when I saw her kill my dad.

Want to read the whole story? Well, now you can! For a limited time (until June 15), Dancing in Hellfire is finally available for sale, for only $3.49. You can buy it here, through this very site, using PayPal or a typical credit/debit card (payment is processed by PayPal, so I don’t see the info), after which you’ll be given access to the book as both a PDF and an ePub.

The Drumhead

Anyone who has seen the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “The Drumhead” will probably have a pretty good idea of where I’m going with this. In the episode, a klingon happens to be a spy, and is caught–however, an accident that occurred at around the same time went unexplained, and, worried about saboteurs and collaborators, Starfleet began an investigation into the crew of the Enterprise.

What began as a seemingly justifiable investigation devolved almost immediately into a witch hunt, or, as Picard put it, a “Drumhead Trial”–a mock trial put on by a military tribunal where punishment was swift and decisive. It’s a well-known episode, and generally considered among that series best’s. It’s a pity that we learned nothing from its rather anvilicious lessons.

Consider this excerpt from someone at Fox News who was writing in defense of Trump:

That doesn’t mean that, say, Michael Flynn, who just invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on the Hill, doesn’t have problems related to past payments from the Russians.

Er… No, Howard Kurtz, that’s not right. The way this is phrased creates the default idea that Flynn has those problems, and that his invocation of the fifth is evidence of that–otherwise, why even link these two things?

In the episode I mentioned, a young man is revealed to have lied about his heritage, having claimed to be half-Vulcan when he was actually half-Romulan, and the Romulans were essentially Star Trek’s Russians. During his publicly open interrogation, with dozens and dozens of people watching eagerly, he was asked about his true lineage, and he invoked the fifth (or, actually, Starfleet’s version of the fifth).

Immediately, the whispering and gasps rang out. Rumor swirled, and he was instantly assumed to be guilty.

Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.

We would all do well to watch this tense episode once more, but allowing it to hit closer to home. You’ll see in the inquisitor none other than Democratic leadership, relentlessly pursuing every possible lead in their quixotic quest to find a collaborator or saboteur. In those nightmarish circumstances, where even Picard is ultimately brought in for questioning, even pleading the fifth becomes evidence of a person’s guilt.

The moral of the story is that we’re never more than one accident away from a witch hunt. We saw it last year when the clown sightings began–fully hysterical reactions from people over clowns who had done nothing to anyone and may very well not have existed in the first place. It’s entirely possible that there was never even a single clown, much less several, but that didn’t stop panic and hysteria from sweeping the nation: schools were locked down, clown masks were pulled from store shelves, and police investigations were launched.

Of course, we can look to an actual witch hunt if we’d like to depress ourselves, since 40,000 people were killed in puritan America for being witches–and, the reasoned mind of today understands that none of them were witches. The accusation alone branded one guilty, and often the trials involved horrific things like “Drown her. If she’s innocent, God will save her.”

Eyeballs deep in muddy water, fucking hypocrite.

I’m honestly not scared of much. I’ve had someone put a gun in my face and tell me to drop to my knees and beg for my life, whereupon I defiantly replied, “You’re gonna have to kill me, because I’m not doing that.” I’ve been left beaten and bloody in at least three parking lots. I’ve had picking up hitch hikers backfire on me in spectacular ways. But none of that scares me.

Hysteria, however… Hysteria terrifies me.

How long did McCarthy and Hoover’s reigns of terror last? There has even been talk of recognition the House of Un-American Activities. My death–who cares? It would likely be painful, but after that, over, so it’s really not something to be scared of. However, a witch hunt can go so very far beyond that–into tortured confessions, corrupt interrogators, presumed guilt rather than presumed innocence…

We played with the fire after the Orlando Shooting, as well, when people asked how this person who had been investigated three times by the FBI had been able to acquire guns. It is simply assumed, in their worldview, that a person is guilty if the FBI investigates them. Never mind that this could easily be part of the anti-Muslim witch hunt. “He was investigated three times? Then he’s guilty. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Besides, look what he did!”

Yes, but the fact that “what he did” was something he “hadn’t yet done” at the time he was being investigated is of critical importance. You can’t apply current knowledge about him to decisions people made about him in the past. And we damn sure can’t assume people are guilty just because we have an out-of-control investigatory agency that is perfectly poised to begin and instigate witch hunts.

I don’t know or care whether Flynn did whatever it is that he’s being presumed guilty of doing, and I don’t care if Trump played a role in it. Even if they do manage to demonstrate guilt (as opposed to assuming it), they still have to demonstrate why the whole thing is of any consequence at all.

Now people are talking impeachment. There’s no doubt: impeachment was on people’s minds on Election Day, as soon as the results came in. If the idea of having a hardcore religious nutjob as President sounds appealing, then, by all means, proceed with impeachment. People seem to think that we can make a Democrat president if we impeach Trump, or that we can spark an emergency election. Neither of these things will or can happen.

Kangaroo be stoned, he’s guilty as the government.

If Trump is impeached and remove from office, then Mike Pence becomes President. And any impeachment proceeding would look far more like a Drumhead Trial than anything that resembles a fair court. And, really, I think such an act could very easily spark a civil war, given that Trump has been in office barely four months and hasn’t done anything out of line with what previous presidents did. Removing the president that people chose before that president has even had the chance, in his supporters’ eyes, to do what they wanted him to do… I hope Democrats are ready for the fallout from that, because it won’t be the sunshine and daisies they seem to expect.

We have a problem, though, and the problem is fear. We are terrifyingly prone to panic, and that should be what scares us, not whatever bogeyman we’re panicking about at the given moment. Panic and hysteria shredded much of the Bill of Rights already. What is next in our witch hunt?

Bill Nye is Anti-Science

When I first noticed that people were using the descriptor “intelligent” not to denote people who seemed to have higher-than-average levels of intelligence, but to mark allies in political agreement, I posted that something was wrong and that it was going to get worse:

Intelligence has become the new deity.

“If you believe what I believe, then you are smart. If you are smart, then you will believe what I believe.”

An outward thing from which a person derives their own net worth–the problem is that the “outward thing” is actually an inward thing. In true Dunning-Kruger fashion, people judge their own intelligence by their own ideas, and since they always believe their own ideas to be correct, they always judge themselves to be intelligent.

I’m sure we’ve all run into this. At some point, someone has surely said something to you that was similar to, “You seem really smart… You should read this” or “… You should watch this video.” It carries with it the most dangerous of subtleties: “If you are actually smart, then you’d agree with me. Maybe you don’t have the information that I have. Here’s that information. If you still don’t agree, then I was wrong about you being smart.”

In fact, I’ve been called an “idiot” probably more than anyone I’ve ever met, and this insult has never been thrown at me in any context other than political disagreement. No one could ever possibly mistake me for an idiot. Whether I’m correct or incorrect is unrelated to that. In reality, if I say something and someone thinks I’m an idiot for it, then the much more likely answer is that they simply didn’t understand what I said in the first place.

Intelligence isn’t a prerequisite of being right, and neither is being right an indicator of intelligence. Some of the greatest minds in human history were wrong about any number of things. Being correct is a factor of knowledge and nothing else. Even someone with an IQ of 250 will be wrong about any number of things, simply because we lack a lot of information, and their unnaturally high IQ will do nothing to prevent them from being wrong.

Once more, it’s all about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is one of the most breathtaking psychological breakthroughs in human history. A person judges their own understanding of who is and isn’t intelligent relative to their own intelligence. I pointed out yesterday that we judge value systems relative to our own value systems–all of this is obvious, and the ties to Nietzsche’s philosophy and Austrian economics are equally obvious. We judge the value systems of other cultures by our own value system, and compare them relative to our own; ours are our own, so we like ours, and the more different the other systems are to ours, the more we dislike them. It’s impossible to escape from this, because my love for liberty-oriented value systems forms the basis that I use to assess the value of other systems. It’s also the case with intelligence: my only gauge for assessing other people’s intelligence is my own intelligence.

Several “celebrated scientists” have been exhibiting exactly the behavior that Murray Rothbard and others wrote about. They have become pimps of their scientific credibility in the employ of the state and the status quo. In fact, they have sacrificed their right to call themselves scientists and are about as anti-science as any group of people could be.

These guys.

Modern priests

What is this illustrious word “science?” What does it mean? What does it entail? If it is to be anything more than just a cheap and gaudy rubberstamp that we apply to whatever ideology we happen to believe, then it must have an actual meaning–which, ironically, is a statement that any scientist would agree with. Definitions are important, because they form the basis of the words that we use to understand and communicate the world. A simple Google search gives us:

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

I can’t help but wonder if that definition makes Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neili deGrasse Tyson blush and feel ashamed. It should.

Of course, my argument against them is part of the problem, isn’t it? I have no problem recognizing that. In the vein of any actual scientist, I see my own bias and absolutely insane demands of these human beings, that they must apply the scientific method in all areas of their lives, and that they aren’t allowed to deviate from it. In fact, it is I who is accusing them of heresy, isn’t it? They have violated my religion of Science by disgracing its methods, much like a Christian violating Christianity by disgracing the teachings of Christ.

My problem with them is that they should apply the Scientific Method and don’t.

This combines with the masses’ misunderstanding that they do apply the Scientific Method.

In effect, I’m demanding of them what the masses of people think they are already doing. “Surely we can trust Neil Tyson’s statements about art and science funding! He’s a scientist!” Of course, it was not terribly long ago that Neil Tyson asked his many, many Twitter followers if they truly wanted to live in a world without art, framing all of reality as a false dichotomy built on the idea that if the government doesn’t do something, then it can’t be done. The obvious problems with this stupidity don’t need to be pointed out–didn’t I just buy tickets to see a musical concert? The government didn’t buy those tickets.

Bill Nye went on CNN and made the statement that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund the sciences, and made mention of Article I, Section 8. It’s true that this is the section that enumerates Congressional power, but nothing else that Nye said is remotely true, as the passage that Nye quotes leaves off highly significant data. What do we call a “scientist” who discards a large part of the data because it isn’t convenient to his hypothesis?

“Formerly employed,” perhaps.

“Not a scientist.” Yes, that’s another option.

In fact, the section of the Constitution to which Bill Nye refers explicitly enumerates Congressional power without ambiguity, and the full passage asserts that Congress may promote the arts and sciences by securing patents for the respective authors and inventors. It is authorization to issue patents, not authorization to issue money. There’s no way that Nye could have accidentally read the first part of the sentence and not the second part. This was, we must conclude, an intentional ploy to convince the people who take him at his word as a reliable source that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund scientific research. In the interest of scientific integrity, I will provide the evidence to support my contention:

Congress shall have the power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

So this is two “celebrated scientists” who have been thoroughly disloyal to the precepts of science–the Scientific Method, the Bible of Science. Since so few people are calling them out on their heresy, allow me to do so:

Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, you have betrayed your church, and you should both repent and make restitution. This restitution should come in the form of public apologies on no less than six occasions throughout the next six weeks–two in written, two in aural, and two in video form. That shall be your penance.

I may sound like I’m joking, and I am, to a degree. I don’t expect Nye and Tyson to ever back down from their arrogant betrayal of the scientific method and wanton displays of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, much less to ever issue a single apology for the stupid shit they have said. However, I’m serious about my loyalty to the scientific method, to reason, and to evidence, and I’m serious that clearly these three men cannot say the same.

What of Hawking? Well, Hawking has repeatedly waxed at length about the evils of capitalism and how only world government can save us from its oppressive destruction. Never mind that anyone who has taken even a single introductory college-level economics course can attest to the scientific fact that we do not have capitalism anywhere on planet Earth. So I’m calling out Hawking on clearly never studying economics, yet routinely attempting to talk about economics as though he has any idea what in the hell he’s talking about. Clearly, he doesn’t, and any first-year college student could confirm that.

So to these three heretical priests, I say:

Repent! The end is Nye.

What we’re seeing is a more of an revival than a renaissance, as the precepts of science have been tossed in the trash with reckless abandon. What else can we conclude, when “celebrated scientists” make claims that they either know to be false, trusting that the masses will believe them, or are simply too ignorant on the subject to know whether their claim is false at all?

Yet this hasn’t stopped the masses–the precise characteristics which makes them “the masses,” after all, is that they aren’t interested in independently discovering truth and will blindly follow whatever ideology is handed down to them from “trusted authorities”–from swallowing all of it, with Tyson’s demonstrably false, fallacious, and erroneous spiel seeing tens of thousands of retweets by people who have no desire to think the matter through for themselves.

Trust has been placed in these three people, by the masses of people, who, again, are defined “as the masses” precisely by their lack of interest in pursuing these matters intellectually, and these three people have utterly betrayed that trust. Yet the masses don’t know it, do they? No, because the masses aren’t interested in scrutinizing the words of their favorite priests. For the masses, these poisoned, fallacious ideas enter the mind unchallenged, and there they embed themselves; the masses never stop to ponder the false dichotomy that Tyson has proposed, or what credentials Stephen Hawking might have to discuss economics rather than cosmology.

And I’m as qualified to call myself a scientist as Bill Nye.

I haven’t researched this recently, and seem to recall Nye having a Master’s, but maybe not.

In fact, if a “scientist” is someone who liberally applies the scientific method to questions, then I’m infinitely more qualified. Bill Nye has the advantage in that this actor and performer managed to get a kids’ show where he cheaply purchased credibility among the masses and became a trusted authority figure. Indeed, I find myself wondering whether Bill Nye was purposely planted there when we were kids precisely for this purpose–precisely for using him to peddle statism and the status quo once we became adults. It wouldn’t be the most extravagantly dangerous thing the state ever did. After all, they took control of the entire education apparatus and have been using it to manipulate the masses for 60 years. Now those people raised by the state education are adults and in charge, and the idea of dismantling that apparatus is met with knee-jerk angry reactions; the idea is rejected without consideration.

Give me their minds through their formative years, and by the time they’re adults I can have them convinced of anything. I can have them saying it’s okay to kill people who disagree with them, that people of one race deserve to be annihilated or enslaved, that it’s okay to steal things if they want those things… The mind of a child is not critical. By the time they are able to think critically, the ideas I plant will already be firmly in their minds, forming the very lens through which they view the world.

We have rarely been in more danger of a religious sentiment overtaking reason, and Nye, Tyson, Kaku, and Hawking are leading the charge. “Science” isn’t a set of beliefs that one must adhere to or be a heretic. I’ve seen “pro-science” people do the metaphorical equivalent of burning people at the stake for dare challenging one of the items in their set of beliefs, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same. “Science” is a methodology. Anyone who demands that you acquiesce to a set of beliefs and ideas that they have put forward is peddling religion, not science.

If they can’t present evidence, if they can’t present a reasonable argument, and if they can’t prove their position, based on all available evidence, is sound, then they are unworthy of trust. If they ignore huge amounts of information simply because it’s inconvenient to their hypothesis, then they are engaging in cherry-picking, another hallmark of religion, rather than science.

There’s No Such Thing As the Popular Vote

It certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it looks like the people–specifically, Democrats–are going to have to move out of the Bargaining Stage, since there are no bargains left to be made. I want to also credit them for mostly skipping over denial, because there weren’t very many people who really took the #NotMyPresident crap earnestly. I suspect that Denial is always the shortest stage of grief, at least when it comes to politics and elections, because people woke up on November 9th and there wasn’t really any way to live in denial. Denial requires people to enable it, and no one was willing to do that. Of course, we could make the argument–and I would make the argument–that anger and bargaining are both encapsulated by “Denial,” so the Denial Stage is actually three parts: abject denial, anger, bargaining. I would also contend that “depression” is part of the acceptance phase, but none of that is really important; it just occurred to me that anger and bargaining are part of denial–last ditch efforts to escape the consequences, to deny the outcome.

So the Electoral College voted and, to the surprise of no one with a brain and experience in politics and the ability to look at the issue rationally, Trump has been named the next President of the United States. That’s pretty much it for the denial, though, isn’t it? There are no tricks left up the denier’s sleeve, no cards left to be played, and no more opportunities to overturn the results of the fifty state elections. Jill Stein’s recounts were a total bust, only verifying the outcome in the one state that actually had a recount, and all of the anti-Russian propaganda has amounted to nothing.

It’s fascinating that so much attention was paid not just on the Electoral College but on the people themselves. One day Democrats argue that the Electoral College should be abolished, that it isn’t democratic, and that it’s not right. Then the next they’re lining up and begging the Electoral College to curtail the will of the people they represent. All of this confusion comes from the misunderstanding Democrats have, not realizing that we are fifty individual republics and there is no national popular vote; there are fifty elections on Election Day–one in each state–and the outcome of those elections determine who those states give their votes to. The people of Mississippi didn’t vote for the President. The State of Mississippi did, and the People of Mississippi simply told the state who to give its votes to.

Not as long as I’ve been paying attention to politics has so much focus been put on the Electoral College, not even in 2000. Both articles I’ve seen on the subject tonight express a sort of disappointment, saying things like “Trump clears the final hurdle…” and “Trump completes the final lap…” as though there was ever any doubt. The election is over, and it has been over since 2:00 AM on November 9th. Everything that has happened since in the mainstream media–all of the anti-Trump stuff anyway–has been a form of denial, up to and including the absolutely preposterous notion that there was ever any chance at all that the Electoral College might fail to install Trump.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve even bothered to look at what the Electors’ results were; even though I fully expected them to be what they were–though I didn’t expect any Republicans to defect*–but that really speaks to how sensationalized and extravagant the media and Democrats have been, that even though I knew beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the electors would elect Trump, I still went to see the results. I can only imagine how people less grounded in reality–like the Democrats who have accepted the swill that Trump is a tool of Putin–feel right now, their hopes again dashed on the rocks.

But none of this is really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about this fully insane article from the Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-electoral-college-is-poised-to-pick-trump-despite-push-to-dump-him/2016/12/19/75265c16-c58f-11e6-85b5-76616a33048d_story.html?utm_term=.aa42daef7342

Donald Trump clinched the presidency Monday as members of the electoral college cast ballots declaring him the victor, a perfunctory conclusion to the most stunning presidential contest in modern history.

Trump became the winner Monday afternoon after electors from Texas cast ballots and put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Results will be officially announced Jan. 6 in a special joint session of Congress.

While Democrat Hillary Clinton amassed a nearly 3 million-vote lead in the popular vote, Trump won the state-by-state electoral map, making him president-elect. That political dichotomy sparked special scrutiny and intense lobbying of electors by Trump’s opponents in recent weeks, including mass protests. It also drew outsize attention to the usually overlooked, constitutionally obligated gatherings of 538 electors in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Sorry, but I do have to call you out on this. See, Washington Post, I went to your article from the Electoral College votes in 2012, and… Oh. You don’t have such an article. You didn’t write an article when the electors voted in 2008 or 2012, because the process is pretty automatic, isn’t it? It’s a formality.

Anyway, the reason I bolded that part is that it’s kinda sore-loser-ish, isn’t it? First of all, stop saying “the popular vote.” There is not, and never has been, any such thing as “the popular vote.” When you speak of this, you are cultivating and spreading a myth and a lie. Hillary Clinton absolutely does not “lead in the popular vote” because there is no “the popular vote.” There were fifty popular votes. By a large margin, Donald Trump won most of the popular votes. Popular votes. As in–plural. Because there is no “the.”

The mostly symbolic calls for an electoral college rejection of Trump grew after revelations of a CIA assessment that Russian hacking could have boosted his campaign, which in the view of many Trump critics raised doubts about his legitimacy.

You just can’t help it, can you? I compared this to your article from where Obama defeated Romney in 2012. For it to be fair, you would have had to have mentioned the possibility that Obama was born in Kenya, because I’ve figured it out, Washington Post and Democrats. This whole “Trump is a Russian puppet!” thing–it’s just your Birther Movement. Don’t pretend like it’s more than that, or that it’s more dignified than that. This is you demanding to see Trump’s long-form birth certificate. However, you didn’t mention the possibility that Obama was born in Kenya in your article celebrating Obama’s victory.

And why did you say Obama won? Well, obviously, for very positive reasons. Let’s take a look at your language:

  • “reassembling the political coalition that boosted…”
  • “remaking himself from a hopeful uniter into a fighter…”
  • “scored a decisive victory…”
  • “capped a night of gains…”
  • “run as a symbol of limitless hope…”
  • “Obama’s promises had won…”
  • “had promised to fight the hardest…”

Wow! One might say you had your lips to his ass so fully that you were tonguing his large intestine.

For curiosity’s sake, let’s compare that to your language about Trump’s victory on November 9.

  • “Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the first female president…” [C’mon. Seriously?]
  • “Trump, a 70-year-old celebrity businessman who had never before run for office, is poised to become the oldest president ever elected to a first term. ” [Just had to take that whole sentence.] [Age Discrimination–you liberals aren’t fans of that, right?]
  • “After running a divisive campaign…”
  • “With Trump’s ascension to the White House, the nationalist wave that has swept capitals around the world — including in Britain, which voted to break from the European Union this year — came crashing onto U.S. shores.” [Again, just… wow.] [“Came crashing” is obviously heavily loaded language]

In fact, I’m going to stop here a moment to reflect on the horrifically biased language, because word choice is exceedingly important–it’s what gives away the bias. Hillary, you see, was on a quest. Quick, what do you think of when you hear the word “quest?” Unless you’re a World of Warcraft player, you think of an honorable, just mission undertaken to do something good and righteous. Trump is a “celebrity businessman.” Quite a contrast to Hillary’s quest.

Obama “capped a night of gains.” Powerful, positive language. Trump “came crashing onto U.S. shores.”

The primary reason I care isn’t that I like Trump. I don’t. I care because lots and lots of people don’t see the bias, and generally believe the Washington Post is neutral. You can’t claim neutrality while using language like “run as a symbol of limitless hope” for a Democrat, language like “quest to become the first female President” for a democrat, and stacking it against “built his campaign around the single contention…” [Romney] and “came crashing onto U.S. shores.” [Trump]

Moving on.

Trump has dismissed the intelligence community’s analysis of Russia’s role in the election and has boasted, including on Monday, of a “historic” electoral landslide. But his 305-to-232 win over Clinton ranks just 46th out of 58 electoral college margins.

I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. The intelligence community’s analysis? There has been no such analysis.

You mean this one?

I realize you guys are the experts at this, but isn’t this, you know… bullshit?

His detractors called on electors to buck the president-elect in favor of Clinton — or Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, or another Republican such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Yes, and you denialists enabled that delusion by pandering to those detractors and giving the false hope that there was ever any chance in hell that this was a possibility. I don’t mean to say that it was a “one in a million” chance or that it was “really long odds.” There was no chance; there were no odds. It was an impossibility, and you guys knew it. You knew most of these states have laws in place preventing it, and that most of the electors would be replaced if they wouldn’t vote for the person they were supposed to.

But not even once did any mainstream media outlet mention that little detail. I read the news everyday, and a lot of those are liberal outlets, and I never once saw any of these liberal sites mention the fact that most of these electors have alternates standing by and ready to go if the first elector doesn’t vote for the person they’re supposed to vote for. That’s a pretty big detail, but I never saw it mentioned. If it was mentioned, it certainly wasn’t stated nearly enough, and why not? Because that little fact nips the whole delusion in the bud and renders it absolutely impossible.

Across the country, critics of the president-elect braved cold temperatures and rallied outside state capitol buildings in hopes that electors might act as an emergency brake on Trump.

More examples in shockingly biased language. “Braved cold temperatures… rallied outside… hopes that electors… act as an emergency brake…”

And how does it convey the message about Republicans immediately after that sentence?

In Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1988, a few hundred shell-shocked Democrats protested in Harrisburg while all 20 electors backed Trump. In Utah, protesters booed and shouted “Shame on you” as the state’s six electors cast votes for Trump in a capitol building conference room in Salt Lake City.

  • “shell-shocked Democrats…”
  • “booed and shouted…”
  • “‘Shame on you'”

I know what you’re thinking. “They’re just reporting what happened!” Yes, and that’s the problem–the language with which they are reporting it is extremely biased. Allow me to rewrite this <sigh> two sentence “paragraph” without all the loaded language:

In Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1988, Democrat detractors continued protesting while all 20 electors backed Trump. In Utah, protestors jeered as the state’s electors cast their votes from Trump.

See? That is just reporting what happened. I’m not a big fan of “jeered,” to be honest, and if I was a journalist I would spend the time to look for a more neutral word, as “jeered” sounds negative to me. Why is that? The use of “jeered” paints the protestors as snarling, grimacing, unhappy people–which, by all accounts, is exactly right. “…booed” and “shouted” have the same effect, of course, unless you agree with those people, in which case it doesn’t sound so negative.

Ooh! I especially love this:

In Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump defeated Clinton by about a percentage point, Trump won all 29 electoral votes.

I’ll fill that out for you. I’ll fill you in on what the Washington Post actually meant.

In Florida, Trump defeated Clinton by one measly percentage point. One freaking point. But even though he won by only a single point, Trump gets all 29 electoral votes, which is bullshit and unfair. At the very least, Clinton should have gotten 14 of them. Fuck you, white America, you racist, misogynistic pieces of sh–

Okay, maybe not that last part.

What’s the point of even bringing up this info about Trump’s victory in Florida, the margin of his victory, and the distribution of electoral votes? Specifically to make you think what I said. Really, I mean that–they said that, and they put it the way they put it, precisely to make you think what I just said. It’s called manipulation, and there is a reason they spend billions upon billions of dollars each year learning the best ways to manipulate public opinion. Look how subtle it is!

They don’t have to state it. They just have to tell you the facts in the right way.

Again, I can hear you. “But that’s all they did! They just stated the facts!”

But they didn’t. Here. I’ll state the facts.

Due to his narrow victory in Florida, Trump claims its 29 electoral votes.

See? That is what the facts look like. The other stuff–that’s called “slant.”

And they are good at it. Man, are they good at it. It’s all about context, phrasing, and word choice–calling attention to the right facts at the right time and using the right words to convey it.

Some held signs, including one that read, “Resist Putin’s Puppet.”

Pictured: signs with EXACTLY as much truth, credibility, and decency as the sign that called Trump Putin’s puppet.

I mean, if you’re going to hold up a stupid sign, you might as well go all the way, and hold up the most stupid sign you can find, right? “Resist Putin’s Puppet,” are you freaking kidding me? It’s no surprise this idiot was out protesting the electors and evidently believing that there was even a remote chance that the electors wouldn’t elect Trump: clearly, this person is woefully out of touch with reality.

It’s probably because he gets his news from the Washington Post.

* On that note, congratulations Ron Paul, on securing an electoral college vote!

The Party That Cried Wolf

It seems that everything in America gets politicized to the point of being an exercise in partisanship, and in hindsight that’s not as surprising a statement as I thought. On the contrary, an ultra-partisan atmosphere was always the inevitable result of an overblown federal government that rules over everyone and that is divided into two diametrically opposed, fundamentally insane political parties.

Everything from gay acceptance to climate change to fake news to Russian hacking–it has become not a matter of facts and information but a matter of which side of the aisle one stands on. Truth is now in the eye of the beholder; the details of what a person believes now seem to be determined by the simple question of their party affiliation.

So, of course and predictably, the question of whether Russia had anything at all to do with the 2016 election results is similarly polarized. Except it’s kinda not, because there was not and has never been anything to the allegation in the first place, beyond the accusation itself.

I have to confess that I’m a bit shocked by how successful this propaganda campaign has been–because it is propaganda, which makes the existence of PropOrNot, a website ostensibly devoted to eliminating propaganda, all the stranger. It’s almost funny in a “Haha, America is doomed” kind of way, because PropOrNot is nothing more than an attempt to smear other sides of the discussion and drown them out with the same accusations that Democrats have been making for months. In other words, it is propaganda and, in true Orwellian fashion, subsists off accusing everyone else of being propaganda.

The only thing worth marveling at is what spectacular crybabies the Democrats have been. Nothing the Republicans did following either of Obama’s victories even comes close to the petulant whining of the Democrats–except, funny enough, the Trump-led birther movement, and that’s what we’re seeing here. This is the Democrats’ equivalent of demanding Trump’s birth certificate.

One would almost snidely say, “Good plan. Because that worked out so well for the Republicans,” except we just handed the presidency to the buffoon who led the charge on demands for Obama’s birth certificate and college transcript–up to and including promising to give money to a charity upon the release of the latter, and then failing to.

There is a difference, though. However asinine it was, Trump’s calls for Obama’s birth certificate never had the possibility to start a war. We were already at war with more Muslim countries than I care to think about, but we are not currently at war with Russia–unless you count the proxy war in Syria, which people would if it didn’t clearly paint the U.S. as the aggressors.

I saw a friend share something on Facebook earlier–apparently Assange resurfaced to totally promise us that he like totes 4 real didn’t acquire the information from Russians.

Well, shit! That changes everything, doesn’t it? Good. The Democrats can put it to rest and not mention it ag–

Oh. Except Assange has already been deemed a tool of Russian propagandists himself, so… Yeah. The Democrats will respond, “Well, of course he’d say that! He’s a puppet of the Kremlin!”

They have their own talking heads, too–the omniscient Central Intelligence Agency, who leaked a report that, while it contained no evidence, promised that it like totes 4 real knew that Putin was behind the DNC Leaks. Well–that Russians had influenced the election. Interestingly, the Democrats have been completely unwilling to point to any specific event as being done by Russia, instead leaving it strongly implied–that way, you see, they can’t be proven wrong.

Not that they can be convinced they are wrong, though. No, the only people who can convince the Democrats that Russia didn’t hack the election are the Democrats. I suspect the only people who can actually be persuaded by the evidence–or the continued explicit lack of evidence–are libertarians and greens. Some portions of the GOP are looking for the evidence, too–led by John McCain and old school hawks who are, to be honest, not exactly known for being interested in facts anyway.

I suspect that those Never Trumpers side with the Democrats on this one issue: Russia is Satan, and so they start their search for the truth leaning toward Russia being guilty. The Anti-Russia bachukirism* was what made such people swoon over Hillary in the first place. “She’s like George W.!” they cheered. “Except in a pantsuit!”

It’s not very surprising how much and how many Americans hate Russia. We hate China, too, now that they are becoming a superpower. “No!” those Americans proclaim. “You were just supposed to make our Nikes for us, not put the money into savings and become wealthy!”

This is something I’ve discussed before, of course. It’s the same reason that the EU demanded Apple pay Italy a bunch of money that Apple didn’t owe: “Why compete when you can crush?” Why play fair, according to rules of morality and fairness, when you can instead use your advantage to undermine the rules of the game?

Oh, but the CIA said~!

Which is almost as useful to me as what Assange said.

The CIA could tell me that their conclusion is that the sky is blue, and I’d demand to see their evidence. Are we so short-sighted and forgetful that we’ve forgotten that the CIA is like 97% of the reason we’re in Iraq? Because the CIA promised that Saddam totally, for sure, definitely had WMDs. This is Operation Paperclip CIA, right? Project MK-ULTRA CIA, right? “Saddam totally has WMDs” CIA?

At least with Iraq and Saddam they had the good taste to furnish images.

I get it, though. Democrat CIA is totally different from Republican CIA, just like loving, happy Democrat bombs falling on countries that are no threat to us are totally different from those mean, evil Republican bombs. That’s just how partisan we are.

Republicans and Democrats, it’s not just “the other party.” Your party is full of lying, manipulative sociopaths, too. They’re all lying, manipulative sociopaths. Republicans and Democrats alike–lying, manipulative sociopath. Say it with me now: “Just like <insert other party>, my own party is full of lying, manipulative sociopaths.”

The only thing that matters is whose cry of “Wolf!” you believe.

Well, I’m sorry, little boy, but I’ve heard this cry too many times to accept it at face value. So, as a millennial, let me welcome you to 2016.

Pics or it didn’t happen, bitch.

* Say it aloud.

Fellow LGBTQ: It’s Time to Divorce the Democrats

If you’re LGBTQ, I want you to take an hour or two to sit down and read this, consider it carefully, and then proceed. I want you to forget for a moment everything that you’ve been told by Democrats; I want you to come at this with a fresh perspective and an open mind, because I am watching–I am watching, my fellow LGBTQ people–as you are abused, used, and manipulated by the Democratic Party, and it breaks my heart. You are human beings, and you are not being treated as human beings. You are being treated as resources, as votes, and not much else. You, the proud LGBTQ community who stood and fought for your rights, found solace in a Democratic Party that offered you acceptance, only to pull a bait and switch; what they offered, it has turned out, was not acceptance but compliance.

We have much to thank the Democratic Party for. It was, after all, the Republicans who fought so hard against us, and the Democratic Party took us in at a time when we needed allies most. However, it has become painfully clear that they did not take us in out of any care or compassion for us; they took us in solely because they were building a political coalition to take on their chosen scapegoat, and so they needed us and our support. It was almost a quid pro quo–we used them and they used us–but it was never truly egalitarianism or equality that they sought.

Our goal is, and must be, to create a world where gender identity and sexual orientation do not matter. I believe that this is a goal we can all agree on, that we should move toward a world where transgender people are accepted as people, where homosexuals are accepted as people, where lesbians are accepted as people, and where, regardless of a person’s gender and sexual inclinations, they are accepted as people. The left has deceived us by pretending that they wanted this, too, but it has become clear that they didn’t.

The Democratic Party wants a world where sexual orientation matters, because if sexual orientation does not matter, then there is no longer an LGBTQ community that is part of their coalition. Egalitarianism would destroy the modern Democratic Party. It needs it to matter that a person is gay, that a person is black, that a person is Muslim, because it has built a coalition from these people. If suddenly these characteristics cease being places at which lines are drawn, then their coalition literally falls apart. They want you to be a pariah and, even if you’re not, they’re going to consistently tell you that you are.

transI am a transgender polyamorous lesbian.

I’m as LGBTQ as a person can get. I fight my battles alone here in the state of Mississippi, though, generally with nothing but disdain heaped upon me by liberal elements within the LGBTQ community, because I do not toe the party line. Because I will not sign on with the Democratic Party, I am a pariah. I have been attacked by supposed allies of the LGBTQ community, all because I’m not a Democrat. I’m not exaggerating; it has happened repeatedly. Their alliance with LGBTQ people is not built upon their compassion and acceptance of LGBTQ people; it is built upon our willingness to ascribe to their ideology, and the moment we don’t do that, they turn against us with all the fury that they otherwise direct at straight white Christian men.

“Allies” they call themselves, and that’s true, but only in the sense of “political allies.” Their alliance with you is not derived from their desire for egalitarianism and equality, but their realization that you side with them politically, and the very moment you don’t do that, the kangaroo will turn and hang the jury with the innocent. This is all the evidence we need that they don’t care about us. They care about our votes. They care about our obedience to their political ideology.

Someone who truly cares about you won’t turn their back on you the very moment you step out of their political line.

Behold: the response of "Allies" when you aren't a Democrat.

Behold: the response of “Allies” when you aren’t a Democrat.

It’s a horrific group-based mob mentality. “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us.” It’s not “being LGBTQ” that they care about–clearly. Just look at those comments. How dare I disagree with a liberal! All because I dared speak up and speak my mind and not be a liberal, they turned on me viciously, highlighting in the process exactly how they view the world: Us and Them. Once I spoke out against a liberal, I was no longer LGBTQ–I was one of Them. I was an enemy. I, an LGBTQ person, was no longer LGBTQ to these Allies of the LGBTQ community.

And why?

Because I didn’t toe the party line.

It’s inescapably clear that their concern for you is not built on the fact that you’re LGBTQ, but on the fact that you’ll side with them politically. I think I’ve made this case clearly–we have only to read above and see exactly what happened.

Consider Milo at Breitbart, as well. He’s a Republican, and widely despised by these same “allies” of the LGBTQ community, all because he dares disagree politically. It’s right in our faces. “Toe the party line, go along with what we say, bow to us, and we’ll ‘accept’ you. Challenge us, show any dissent, and we’ll turn and hang you with them.”

In order to keep you siding with them politically, they will lie. Oh, good God, they will lie, manipulate, and fearmonger.

transI am a strict advocate of non-violence, but I swear I would probably beat the hell out of Donovan Paisley for this. So he terrorized a “friend” of his by telling her that she would be captured and imprisoned, until she broke down and cried. He did this to force her to bow to his anti-Trump, Democratic hysteria. He doesn’t give a shit about her. How could he care about her? You don’t terrorize your friends. You can warn your friends, sure, but what he’s saying here isn’t a warning; it’s hysterical terrorism with absolutely no basis in reality.

Trump has said several times that he thinks transgender people should use whatever bathroom they want. The leader of the Republican Party is on record saying that he doesn’t really care about the transgender issue, that he doesn’t care what bathroom people use. I am no Trump supporter, but I do advocate truth, and the undeniable truth is that Trump is on record advocating transgender rights. Full stop: Trump is on record advocating transgender rights. He even said this during the Republican Primary, when he was in Full Conservative mode. This is a man who poses you no danger whatsoever.

Donald Trump is on record saying that he is fine with same sex marriage. These statements are not hard to find. Donald Trump has never said or suggested or implied anything that indicated he is ever going to do anything that would harm the LGBTQ community. In fact, Donald Trump has gone on record vowing to protect the LGBTQ community.

Compare these undeniable facts with the fearmongering that your “allies” are using on you.

Your “Allies” are telling you that you’ll be electrocuted and tortured in conversion therapy against your will. Your “allies” are telling you that you’ll be caught and sent to death camps. Your “allies” are telling you that you will be captured and imprisoned. Your allies are doing everything they can to terrorize you, when the facts–when the actual, verifiable facts–point in exactly the opposite direction: Donald Trump has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community. For fuck’s sake, Hillary Clinton opposed same sex marriage as recently as 2013, while Trump has been an actual ally since the 90s.

I don’t know how much plainer I can make it, fellow LGBTQ people. First, I’m generally not considered one of you at all, and why? Because I’m a libertarian, not a liberal. Simply for being a libertarian rather than a liberal, “Allies” of the LGBTQ community have turned and attacked me viciously–and not just me, but every outspoken LGBTQ person who dares to not be a Democrat. Your allies are doing everything they can to convince you to be afraid, to terrorize you into submission, to make you cower and weep in fear. It’s so pervasive that these same people consider me an enemy of the LGBTQ community! I am LGBTQ!

They don’t accept you because you’re LGBTQ. They accept you because you vote Democrat. And they will pull out every trick in the book from deceit to manipulation to terrorism to keep you voting Democrat. They don’t care about you. They care about forcing you to bow to their political ideology.

Trust Me. Please.

I can show you to a group of people who genuinely don’t care about your political ideology or your sexual orientation. I can show you to a group of people who care about you not because you vote for their political party, not because you’re gay, not because you’re a minority, but because you are an individual and a human being. I can show you to people who will respect you regardless of what you say, who will stand up for you and your rights regardless of where you fall on the political spectra, who will stand up for you and your rights regardless of the clothes you wear, how you do your hair, or what you do with your genitals.

No, they are not Republicans. I would not ever send you to Republicans. Conservatives have certainly gotten a lot better in recent decades, but abandoning one political party to sign up to another won’t help–you’ll just become a tool to be manipulated and used by them, as well.

But first you must divorce yourselves from the Democratic Party. They do not care about you, and they do not accept you. Their care and their acceptance of you depends wholly on your willingness to vote for their political ideology. And when they need to, they will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat to further their political ends.

transIt’s time to stand up. It’s time to end this abusive relationship.

I should point out that it’s entirely possible Donovan’s post was satire, in which case I’d owe him an apology–but not the Democrats. Because though his is the only one I saved, I’ve seen countless sincere ones exactly like this. Poe’s Law should never apply to something like this.

Bullshit Collection Part 2: Obama’s Veto Overruled By Congress

Some time ago, a bill swept through Congress with surprising agreement, allowing Americans to sue foreign governments for sponsoring terrorist activity against Americans. President Obama vetoed the bill, saying that he feared it would set a dangerous precedent and would give foreign citizens the idea that they could sue the American Government. This is a bit difficult to parse, but bear with me, because…

That means that Obama knows that the shit that we’re getting up to throughout the world is wrong, and he knows that citizens of foreign governments would have legitimate grievances with the United States. We could start with how we bombed a wedding in Afghanistan, I suppose, if we wanted to give an example.

The concern that I’ve had has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia per se or my sympathy for 9/11 families, it has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world, and suddenly finding ourselves subject to the private lawsuits in courts where we don’t even know exactly whether they’re on the up and up, in some cases.

Yes, President Obama. That stuff you said. That’s the point.

“…exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world…”

Yes, Mr. Obama. That’s exactly right.

Lots of people have come forward to agree with Obama and to point out how terrible it would be if we set up a system that allowed those smelly brown people to hit back against us. I mean, it’s common knowledge that they can’t hit against us directly–did you even see Operation Desert Storm? If anything is clear is that the countries in which “we’re doing all the work” have no recourse to stop us or to make us pay. Their bombs are crushed by our bombs; their aircraft massacred by ours.

We can impose No Fly Zones, grounding all of their aircraft, from halfway around the world with very little effort. They cannot fight us directly. This, of course, causes them to turn to “terrorism” in the same way that American colonists once turned to “terrorism” against the British. Does the Boston Tea Party ring a bell? How about the tactics of the American revolutionaries? The British fought war stupidly. They stood in a row, shot, and ducked to reload while the person behind them shot. They continued along like that–almost literal “ducks in a row.”

We couldn’t have defeated the British by playing by their rules, and they hated us for it. They called us cowards, cheaters, dishonorable. “You can’t do that!” they said. “You have to stand here, in front of us, as we take turns shooting at each other until someone wins!”

And we said, “Um, no. We’re not doing that. That’s dumb.”

So we shot from the trees. We didn’t form neat ranks and files. We hid in the hay bells, we hid in the trees and among the trees, we surrounded their forces, we shot from the sides, from the backs. And we won. Yet throughout all of that, we were not just terrorists; we were dishonorable terrorists, using despicable tactics because we couldn’t take them in a “fair fight.”

We face the same thing today–people all around the world who simply cannot go toe-to-toe with our military in the way that the American revolutionaries could not have gone toe-to-toe with the British army. For fuck’s sake, we didn’t even have a Navy, and the British Empire had the most powerful Navy in the world. Think about that when you think of places like Yemen and Syria, where our military is consistently “the most powerful in the world,” and theirs is… not anywhere close to that. They cannot take their fourteen F15 jets [numbers I’ve made up] and throw them at our nine gazillion F650 jets.

So they resort to sniping us from the trees, breaking our “rules of civilized war” in the process, fighting us in the only way that they can because going toe-to-toe with us simply isn’t an option–it’s suicide. We scream that it’s dishonorable, that it’s despicable, and that it’s terrorism. And maybe it is, if we could look back with the clarity of hindsight and say that the price of their freedom was bought with the lives of too many women and children, but we have no right to make such a determination in the first place. We are not the world’s police force, and neither are we the world’s judge.

I am continually baffled by the average American's lack of self-awareness.

I am continually baffled by the average American’s lack of self-awareness.

Nothing stops it, sir. That’s the point.

That’s precisely the point.

Anyone who wants to can attempt to sue the U.S. government for terrorism. This doesn’t mean anything. It only means something if a court of law–an impartial one, if we can find extraterrestrials from the Andromeda Galaxy who are anarchists and therefore can view this whole fucking mess objectively and are willing to preside over the case–finds for the plaintiff. Let the people of Iraq sue the American Government for terrorism. Let a court of law determine who is right.

A fair and objective court of law would find for the plaintiff. In Iraq, the United States is wholesale guilty of terrorism. Afghanistan, too, and likely at least a dozen others. Hell, the United States government is guilty of terrorism against the American people. Does this mean that we can sue the American government for terrorism? Because it should mean that.

Jonathon Horn knows, though–just look at what he said. He knows that the stuff the U.S. gets up to in other countries, whether he is okay with it or not, could be called terrorism rightly. If he didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t care whether foreign people sue the U.S. government, because the case would just be thrown out. So he knows. Let’s not just overlook that! It’s critical. He knows that the stuff that the American government does can, in at least a certain light, be rightly considered terrorism.

YES, FFS, THAT IS THE POINT

YES, FFS, THAT IS THE POINT

Germany has no case against the United States and absolutely could not sue us for terrorism. Our interactions with Germany have firmly fallen under the “acts of war” category, and so did the nuclear weapons. Terrorism =/= war. I firmly hate war, but we can’t pretend like an undeclared attack against a helpless nation who can’t fight back is remotely the same as allying with the British Empire to invade Nazi Europe, or that dropping twothose, not “that”–nuclear weapons on Japan is the same as hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings as a declaration of war.

China has no case against the United States, either. We saved their asses in World War 2. Your history sucks, Matt. Please go back to high school. Japan was slaughtering the Chinese, raping them, brutalizing them, torturing them, and China didn’t have much of a military to stand against it. China is the reason that the Allies won World War 2. Hitler was counting on Japan to help him attack the Soviets, coming from the east while Germany came from the west, and Japan instead focused its efforts on China, which proved a bit too big for them to just conquer simply. They weren’t stressing the Soviets, and that allows the Soviets to focus their efforts on the western border, where they lost more lives than anyone else in World War 2, and took the brunt of Nazi Germany’s attack. Then Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, we hit the Pacific Theater, and started advancing toward Japan. Every single island was a grueling battle of immeasurable death, because the Japanese refused to surrender any territory, forcing us to fight for every inch of land that we took. An attack on mainland Japan would have caused extraordinary death. The atomic bombs were a quick solution to a long, deadly problem.

How easily people forget.

The Soviet Union was our ally during World War 2, and so was China. We’ve yet to do anything worth suing over to either China or Russia. We’re about to do some fucked up shit to Russia, but we haven’t yet. China’s gripes could stem from Korea and Vietnam, but we were only in those places as part of a “UN Peacekeeping Effort,” which was a euphemism for “We’ve got military industrial complexes in several of the world’s largest countries that need to continue destroying resources and sharpening their weapons so, lulz, sorry people of Korea and Vietnam.” If anyone can be sued for those fiascos, it’s the United Nations–everyone. And China has no authority to sue on their behalf, because China every bit played a part in creating that mess.

Man, your history leaves a lot to be desired.

Iraq certainly would have a legitimate case. Iran… not so much. There was the virus we infected their centrifuges with–I don’t remember now what it was called–and it caused them to burn through machines at their nuclear refinement facilities, but that can’t be definitively pinned on the United States. We’d blame Israel, Israel would blame the United States; no one could trace the thing back to its source. Hell, didn’t we just give them a few hundred billion dollars? What are they going to sue us for? Giving them money?

I imagine your ignorant ass meant Syria.

Let’s think about Syria for a moment.

We have an established government led by Assad and backed by Russia. Then we have rebels. It started with a series of peaceful protests, Assad said “lol, not in my country” and started killing people and cracking down on protest. Then this happened:

syria

Then we slipped the guy a bunch of weapons and told him to use them to fight off the guards. They did so. This chaos and power struggle caused ISIS, who was already growing and taking territory in Iraq, where we had also left a power vacuum, to sweep into Syria and start claiming territory there, too. Syria absolutely has a case against the United States government. They stoked the fires of instability, provided arms to the rebels, helped create a power struggle, and the resultant mess is what we see today. Now, instead of working with Assad and Syria to restore stability to the country that we helped shatter, we’re only interested in digging the hole deeper, hoping that, maybe, we can dig deep enough and come out on the other side of the planet, standing on our heads.

simply-wrongI find myself becoming leery of people with four-letter names. lol

Alex is simply wrong. We can prove that Saudi Arabia funded 9/11. We can also prove that a Pakistani general gave Mohammed Atta one hundred thousand dollars while Atta was here and training for the 9/11 attack, though “truthers” have made it impossible for me to find this information not on a blogspot site. In fact, it’s actually kinda alarming how the top Google results go to a blog which cites another blog which cites another blog. I actually do have an actual print publication I could go to if I wanted to source the information, but it’s in the trunk of my car, it’s cold outside, and it’s, as the 9/11 Commission Report said, “of little practical significance.”

Oh.

I should have read your comment in full. You are a truther. That’s okay. So am I, and I think it’s sad that “truther” has become an insult. Yes, insult me because I want to know the truth, because I know that things don’t just happily break physical laws, because I know that a building couldn’t have fallen at freefall speeds, and because I remember that THREE TOWERS went down that day, one of which WASN’T EVEN HIT BY A GODDAMNED PLANE.

All three towers went down exactly the same way. One wasn’t even hit by a plane. And I’m the whackjob for wanting answers? You people going “Meh, that’s nothing worth discussing” are the lunatics! I don’t believe anything about 9/11, except that the 9/11 Commission was a provably biased one with ties to the Bush and Bin Laden families, and that the report–which I have actually taken the time to read–makes wonderful fairy tale reading, but is nothing more than that. You expect me to believe that this fire that magically melted steel allowed one of the terrorist’s passports to be found unscathed at 9/11? People, c’mon. That’s clearly planted evidence. How stupid can you be? It melted steel, but left paper undamaged?

Ugh. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

I don’t believe the government orchestrated 9/11. The most I will say is that the evidence suggests–like Cheney’s order for NORAD to stand down and the fact that we otherwise have 100% success intercepting aircraft, yet spectacularly failed repeatedly that day–that some powerful elements within the U.S. Government either knew about and allowed the 9/11 attack, or directly orchestrated it. That’s as far as I’ll go, because that’s as far as the evidence supports. Short of a revolution wherein we ransack all the classified documents and un-redact them, we’ll never be able to say more than that.

We’re not over there looting resources, though. You fail at contemporary events. The price of oil is low because the United States has started fracking like crazy, which allows us to get to oil that we couldn’t otherwise get to. We are the reason the price of oil plunged. It was only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that the price of oil began skyrocketing. I remember paying $4.35/gallon. Now it’s half that. You bloody fool. If we were looting their oil, then the reverse would have happened: the price of oil would have gone down after 2003, and then back up more recently.

It wasn’t about oil, though. You’re too short-sighted. It was about the destruction of resources. Sparring, if you will. Competition fosters growth, improvement, and efficiency. If we want the most powerful military in the world, then what do we need? War. “War is the health of the state,” they say, and that’s certainly true here. We need our military to fight. Necessity is the mother of invention. We need the need to cause us to develop new, better rockets, new , better “defense” wink-wink systems. The military industrial complex cannot just build a bunch of tanks and then go, “Well, that was fun, and we made lots of money.”

No.

It has to then destroy those tanks so that it has a reason to invent new, better tanks. It needs to evaluate those tanks’ weaknesses and improve them. What better way to do all of this than to attack a country that couldn’t possibly pose any real threat to us? That’s all this is: sparring. And we’re massacring people’s lives while we do it. It should come as no surprise to you that immediately after one conflict ends, we find ourselves bogged down in another. That has been the case for decades. Why? What is to be gained? Efficiency, improvement, and growth, because war is competition of our killing machines against theirs.

This isn’t an answer in and of itself, though. Why do we want to make our killing machines better, more efficient, stronger, and faster? What is the purpose? What is the purpose of sparring against so many lightweight athletes?

Russia.

And now the moment has come, as it was always destined to. We’ve improved to ridiculous degrees. We now have fully automated killing machines. Do you really think that we would have military drones capable of dropping smart bombs on an area half a square mile from the comfort of a base in Nevada if we hadn’t had Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, and Syria?

Where do you think the Nazis went after World War 2?

Only nineteen people were found guilty at Nuremberg.

And even discounting the Nazi thing as a minor one–which it is, realistically–it doesn’t matter. We made our intentions clear in the 50s that we would fight whenever, wherever. Why did we do that? Because there was the Soviet Union, the only nation in the world still capable of going toe-to-toe with us. That made them Public Enemy Number One, a mentality that, clearly, never went away.

We continued sharpening our swords and using all of these sparring matches to find ways to improve our attacks, strategies, technologies, methodologies, and tactics. The Russians… didn’t. The Soviet Union collapsed and set them back; they are only recently beginning to stretch back out, with action in Ukraine, Georgia, and Syria.

It is the intention of the United States Military Industrial Complex–a phrase I don’t particularly care for, because I don’t have much patience for conspiracy theories, but we are where we are…–to take out Russia now, before they’ve had a decade to spar with other nations and improve their own capabilities. The plan is to hit them now, before they can have sparring training. This will set them back another few decades, and will leave us with no one in the world who can challenge us as we terrorize smaller nations that couldn’t possibly hope to stand against us. We’ll continue competing and improving through the competition, while Russia will be set back more decades.

And then we will reign, the uncontested champion of the world.

This must be stopped.

Do not allow Hillary to win the election.

M16 is Still Here, and Deserves the Libertarian Vote

Call it a failure to stay on top of things if you’d like, but one way or another I had no idea that McAfee was still remotely interested in the 2016 presidential race; I wasn’t aware that he was willing to “fracture the party” as so many people accuse Darryl Perry of doing. The truth, though, is that McAfee isn’t fracturing anything, and neither is Perry; there was never any chance that I was going to vote for Gary Johnson, and I’ve been clear from the start that I’ve intended to write in John McAfee even though Gary Johnson won the nomination. My loyalty is to liberty, not to the nominee of the Libertarian Party.

These two should be aligned. My loyalty to liberty should mean that I am loyal to the Libertarian Party and its presidential candidate. However, that is not the case this year, as Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are running a campaign that is contrary to the principles of liberty and, in many cases, to the actual party platform.

I’m an anarcho-capitalist, so why don’t I support Darryl Perry? That’s just it: Darryl Perry is an anarcho-capitalist. We are talking about the Libertarian Party, not the Anarcho-Capitalist Party. Obviously, there is no AnCap Party–there can never be one–and the party to which we AnCaps most closely align is the Libertarian Party. I’ve often had people accuse me of wanting the LP to become the AnCap Party, but that isn’t the case; I want the Libertarian Party to nominate libertarians, not anarcho-capitalists.

In the long-run, of course, it is my position that libertarianism would lead to anarcho-capitalism, just as classical liberalism led to libertarianism. If we don’t include the rise of Fascism in the 20th century, that would be the case, anyway, but that’s really just a stern warning that we must always stay on guard against regressing back toward authoritarianism and losing the right to self-governance. We did used to be a society of classical liberals. Now we’re a society of fascists. I’ll substantiate that claim some other time, but if you’re reading this about why you should vote for John McAfee, then chances are you already know what I mean.

There’s some confusion about what distinguishes a minarchist from a libertarian. Quite a bit, actually, as minarchists and libertarians address totally different things. A lot of people think they’re synonyms; they’re not. A minarchist believes in a minimal state–one that provides for hospitals, schools, roads, or other similar things. There’s some debate among minarchists about what the state should provide, but it’s not important for our conversation. One way or another, the minarchist position is that some degree of state is necessary in order to provide for some services.

The Libertarian position, however, is that the role of the state should be to protect liberty. That’s it. That’s where the role of the state begins and ends to the libertarian. “Taxation is theft,” says the libertarian, while taxation is the only viable way of paying for the roads, hospitals, and schools that the minarchists want. So right there, we find a critical distinction between them.

An anarchist is someone who holds that the state is fundamentally and constitutionally incapable of protecting liberty and that it’s very existence is, in fact, an assault on liberty. This is the position that I hold. However, I know enough about human nature and power vacuums to know that abolishing the state today would do absolutely no good; before the end of the year, we would have simply produced a new state that rose in the vacuum. The goal of classical liberalism was to put 51% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of minarchism is to put 75% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of libertarianism is to put 99% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of anarchism is to put 100% of the power back into the hands of the people. To go from the 49% we have today under an unaccountable fascist government where we are tyrannized by a thousand bureuacratic despots to 100% would be an unmitigated disaster; the vacuum of power would be filled by the power-hungry, violent, and bloodthirsty, and it would immediately produce another state.

That’s my favorite thing to point out to people. What is the worst thing that could happen if we gave anarchy a chance? The absolute worst that could happen… is that we’d simply create another state. :/

Anyway, all that said, Darryl Perry is an Anarcho-Capitalist. I don’t know enough about his official platform, but I imagine that ideologically he is almost identical to John McAfee and to myself; the difference is that he’s an AnCap who is willing to become President and institute libertarian policy. Obviously, you can’t “institute” ancap policy. I don’t have a problem with this. I’m an anarcho-capitalist and I intend to vote, after all. It’s all about seeing the big picture and doing something in the short-term today that will pave the way for the future.

But that’s an excuse, really. Going from his positions, John McAfee could very well be an anarcho-capitalist himself.

No.

The truth is that John McAfee has my support because he’s the first candidate who I’ve ever heard speak with whom I agreed 100%.

Voting for John McAfee is like voting for myself.

Perry wasn’t in the Stossel Debate. Maybe if he had been, I would have been torn between him and John McAfee, but, honestly, it seems that it would have been redundant for Perry to have been in the debate too. When you have two actual libertarians talking, both of whom actually understand the NAP and abide it, you’re not going to get much argument between them. You’ll hear me squee in those podcasts as the awesomeness that is John McAfee washed over and converted me.

Let’s not forget–I went into the debate as a Gary Johnson supporter. Just moments before the debate, I tweeted that it was pointless; they’re libertarians, so what could they possibly disagree about? Minutes into the debate, Johnson had revealed how horribly un-libertarian he is, and Petersen was rejected from the outset for actively speaking out against the NAP. Meanwhile, there was John McAfee, saying exactly what you’d expect a libertarian to say, sticking to the principles of liberty, and advocating the NAP.

People like saying that “no libertarian is libertarian enough for an AnCap.”

Bullshit. John McAfee is.

I don’t demand that libertarians be anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they be libertarians.

I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party nominate anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they nominate libertarians.

I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party become the anarcho-capitalist party. I demand that they be the Libertarian Party.

The Libertarian Party has failed us horrifically by giving us a candidate who doesn’t seem to have ever read anything about libertarian philosophy, a candidate who “Thinks everyone should have liberty, as long as they don’t want to do something that I really, really dislike,” and a candidate who breaks from the NAP in a number of places. To add insult to injury, they also gave us Bill Weld, after Gary Johnson called him “the original Libertarian.”

Lots of people have fallen for the trap. Yes, it’s a trap.

They say that we hare hurting the “liberty movement” by standing by the principles of liberty. No, seriously–they actually say that. I’ve had countless people tell me that I’m hurting the movement because I dare to stand by the principles that founded the movement, that are the movement. One person accused us of “sabotaging” the liberty movement.

I think these people could use a dictionary. Sabotage:

deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.

These people took the liberty movement, destroyed its principles–by their own admission–and twisted it into some liberty-leaning conservative “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” stuff that only resembles libertarianism in the way that, if you squint and turn your head and gouge out one of your eyes, I look kinda like Victoria Justice.

You've gotta squint really hard.

You’ve gotta squint really hard.

The principle of liberty is the NAP. Live and let live. A truce, as John McAfee and Judd Weiss rightly say. Liberty is tolerance; it is maximized tolerance. It is “I do not agree or support what you say and do, but as it does no harm to me or anyone else, I certainly will not stop you.”

Quote of the Day: “Gary Johnson looks like a libertarian in the same way that I look like Victoria Justice.”

This watering down of the principles, twisting them and distorting them, and sometimes outright discarding them is, by definition, sabotaging the movement.

Imagine if the Communist Party had an influx of Socialists, and the Socialists nominated a Socialist to be the presidential candidate of the Communist Party. Now imagine that the Communists in the party were ridiculed, mocked, and told that they were hurting the communist movement. Now imagine that the Communist Presidential candidate goes on television and tells people that his socialism is what “Communism is all about,” so masses upon masses upon masses of people come to believe that communism is socialism. Now imagine the sheer audacity, the arrogance, the stupidity, the deceit, the self-deceit… of having one of those socialists tell the communist, “No, you’re hurting the communist movement. This [Socialist] candidate is what the communist party is really about! We’re helping the movement! We’re growing the movement!”

No. You’re not.

You’re tainting the communist movement by twisting it into the socialist movement.

Worse yet, you’re actively destroying the communist movement by taking the name of their movement and using it as your own for your socialist movement, all the while refusing to admit that there’s an enormous, fundamental difference between the socialism you’re peddling and actual communism. Now the rest of the world is looking at those few communists who are actually communists and who actually advocate the communist movement and calling them “wackos,” “extremists” and “fringe lunatics,” because they are taking their cues from you. You have redefined “communism.” Whereas it once was a reflection of the communist movement, it has become a reflection of the socialist movement, and you’ve muddied the waters so much that no one even knows the difference, and those few who do know the difference are busy being attacked by you for daring to stand by the principles of the movement and for daring to try to stop you from destroying it.

You are not helping the liberty movement by turning it into some twisted “liberty-lite conservativist small government” movement that calls itself the “liberty movement.” You are, in fact, actively destroying the actual liberty movement. And you’re so convinced that you’re absolutely right, so convinced of your own self-righteous glory, and so convinced of your ultimate rightness that you are incapable of seeing that you are the reason it has become impossible to nominate an actual libertarian.

A: “We’re the x movement, and we’re built on y principle.”

B: “Yep, it’s great.”

A: “So let’s nominate someone who stands by y principle.”

B: “No. Let’s nominate someone who stands against y principle half the time, and who argues z principle the other half.”

A: “No, let’s not.”

C: “I agree with B.”

A: “But y is literally the principle of our movement.”

B: “We’re still the x movement, even if we don’t support y. Our nominee’s z positions are vaguely similar to y. Support our nominee. Stop trying to hurt the movement.”

A: “No. We’re x movement, and we stand with y principle.”

B: “You’re sabotaging the x movement.”

A: “The nominee doesn’t stand by the x movement’s principles!”

B: “Stop trying to sabotage the x movement.”

This is what has happened with the Libertarian Party. And we are the heretics.

I’d never even heard the word “purist” thrown at a libertarian until this election. Previously, I heard “not a libertarian” and “is a libertarian.” The idea that someone could be a libertarian without being… a libertarian… was nonsense. Maybe people were throwing it out in 2008, I don’t know; I was a bit young then. 2012 I wrote in Ron Paul anyway. I might have voted for Johnson, I don’t recall. It was a decision I struggled with. Loyalty is important to me. Once I pick a candidate, I pick a candidate.

Come to think of it, having an LNC nominate a candidate is somewhat counter to the party’s principles anyway. It’s not fully counter to it, but it doesn’t make sense. The Libertarian Party should handle its candidates exactly how it’s doing, except that an “official” nomination shouldn’t have been given to Johnson. We don’t do it that way with other offices–in fact, that’s been a problem in the past, with that Invictus clown who declared himself a libertarian. No LNC nominated him to be the party’s candidate. He simply said he was, and thus he was a libertarian candidate for that office.

Why do we change the rules when we’re discussing the Presidency?

The Libertarian Party just generally does strange stuff when it comes to the White House. Nominating a candidate at all is a great symbol of that. John McAfee is a Libertarian presidential candidate because he says he is. End of story, just like Invictus was a Libertarian representative candidate because he said he was.

That is something that needs to be addressed and fixed: the Libertarian Party’s insanity regarding the Oval Office. The party totally loses its mind when it starts looking at the White House, and I think that we even have an “official” candidate is the best example of that–if not that, then how about the fact that this “official” candidate stands counter to the party’s platform?

McAfee is a Libertarian Presidential candidate.

I hereby retract my endorsement of Darryl Perry, and instead endorse John McAfee. I apologize for the confusion, to all four people who give a shit.

I had no idea that McAfee was still interested in the 2016 race. This is probably my fault for not following him closely, but half of the stuff he shares–if not 90%–is regarding his I.T. firm, not politics, and many of his official candidate accounts have been quiet since the LNC stupidly gave the nomination to a guy who couldn’t possibly stand up to Trump and Hillary. Even after my endorsement, I made it clear that it was still a toss-up, and that I might still vote for McAfee. There’s no “might” to it now.

McAfee unequivocally has my support.

Nice Work, Millennials: Your Word is Garbage

If Facebook news feeds are to be believed–and they’re generally not–President Obama has done “something” that offers people with student loans three years of payment deferment, although the loan can also be forgiven entirely. I don’t know the details, and I’m not going to pretend to. Recently, I wrote about how students who attended ITT Tech were organizing a campaign to refuse to pay their student loans, because they claimed that their degrees were suddenly worthless and that this, presumably, was the fault of the loaner.

When I said that, I used this analogy:

Let’s say that you ask me to borrow $5,000 so that you can buy a used car. You agree to pay the money back at $200 a month for 30 months–paying quite a bit of interest, but it’s not important. We can omit the interest entirely and it won’t matter. I tell you that those are my terms, though. “I’ll loan you the money, but only if you pay me back $200 a month, starting next month, and continuing for thirty months.” You agree, and I give you the money.

Then it turns out that you bought a piece of shit. The transmission blows, the block is cracked from overheating, the vehicle was evidently wrecked–basically, you didn’t check the CarFax. The next month rolls around, and I don’t hear from you. I go by your house, and you finally open the door.

“What?” you demand irritably.

“Um… You agreed to start paying me back today,” I say. “So… Do you have my two hundred dollars?”

“Fuck you, I’m not paying you shit for this piece of shit car,” you reply. “It’s your fucking fault I have this piece of shit. You shouldn’t have loaned me that money that I used to buy it. Hell no, I’m not paying you back. Get off my porch.”

It’s pretty easy to see here who is in the wrong. In this example, you are in the wrong. What type of car you used the money to buy isn’t important to our agreement. We didn’t stipulate that you would only pay me back if the car was reliable. If you’re not happy with the car, then take that shit up with the person who sold you the car; it’s got nothing to do with me. If you think you overpaid them and that they cheated you, then sue them. I don’t care what you have to do–none of that has anything to do with me. The bottom line is simple: you agreed to pay back the money that I loaned you.

You might have said, “I’m going to use the money to record a new demo for my rock band,” and it wouldn’t matter whether your band was successful. You asked to borrow the money, and I loaned it to you. It’s your responsibility to verify that your purchase will pay back dividends and that you aren’t just throwing that money away. It is not my fault that you didn’t look into what you were buying.

I happen to have a degree in the tech field. I began my college career majoring in Physics, intending to take on the General Relativity program at the University of Mississippi, because, believe it or not, Ole Miss has one of the best Physics programs in the world. However, I became disillusioned very quickly, and my uncle suggested to me at a family reunion that I enter the tech industry, because he worked for the IRS and had observed it is the only field that continues to grow. I took his advice and changed my major.

Plenty of people suggested that I stop attending what was then a community college–I was doing the 2+2 program between that college and the University of Mississippi–and to just attend ITT Tech instead. I made the conscious decision not to do it, for one simple reason. I didn’t trust ITT Tech. I didn’t distrust them, either–I had no reason to distrust them. The University of Mississippi, however, has been around for a very long time and is respectable enough as a school that I had no worry that my degree from them would be useful. If you have $140,000 loaned to you for college, why on fucking Earth would you use it to go to a school that you know little-to-nothing about? That is madness.

But you did. And then you blamed the people who were kind enough to loan you the money.

“We’re not irresponsible brats whining about our loans,” said Joseph White, 39, who graduated from ITT Tech in 2008 with more than $80,000 in student loans. “ITT lied to us. It’s fraud.”

But you are. That is the very definition of being an irresponsible brat! Yes, they lied to you. You believed them. There are two people involved in every lie, sir: the liar and the believer. One guy even confesses that he was swayed by the recruiter’s promises, that the recruiter basically promised him a life of luxury and ease. And rather than being an adult and saying, “Wait a minute. This recruiter has a job: to sell me something. Recruiters from the military have a very, very long history of lying to people to get them to sign up. Why should I think this recruiter is any different? Perhaps I should look into his claims objectively,” this guy grinned, nodded, and signed on the dotted line.

Dude, that is your fault.

You can’t just cry “They lied to me!” and escape your responsibility. If you are such a baby that you need to be protected from the lies that people tell every single day, then what chance do you have of making it in the world? That’s what this is ultimately about: is it the government’s responsibility to bail you out when you don’t question what you’re told and you believe someone’s lies? Let it be a learning experience for you. People lie.

I think I’m probably lucky in this regard. Thanks to the fucked up childhood I had, I learned from a very early age that everyone will lie to me to try to get what they want. I am nothing more than a resource to everyone else, and all they want to do is suck what they can from me before I either am sucked dry or tell them to fuck off. If you are an adult and you haven’t learned this lesson, then, I’m sorry to say, your parents failed you. You parents should have taught you to look incredulously at the Snake Oil Salesman and to demand that he substantiate his claims. They didn’t.

So now you’re turning to Nanny to do what Mommy and Daddy didn’t–the Nanny Government, that you’re begging to swoop in and save you from the Big Bad Liar whose claims you didn’t evaluate critically. Oh, no doubt–and I’m not excusing the recruiter. The recruiter should be held responsible for the lies. Keeping your word is also a two-way street–ITT Tech should have kept its word to you, and they didn’t. But that doesn’t justify you failing to keep your word to a third party. It’s not ITT Tech that you’re refusing to pay. It’s some third party who loaned you the money and who has nothing to do with you and ITT Tech. That’s between you and ITT Tech.

One girl says that she almost immediately noticed that something wasn’t right, but she continued and amassed $30,000 in debt anyway. Are you kidding me? What kind of attitude is that? “My intuition tells me something is wrong here, but I’m going to continue on and pretend like everything is fine.” You ignored your intuition–that is also on you.

Everyone is to blame here. I’m not saying ITT Tech is blameless.

But if you enter into an agreement with someone, then keep your word. Honesty starts with you.

Some years ago, I needed to buy a second vehicle. My wife and I were going through a rough patch, and it looked like I might leave her. Neither of us had any credit history. After talking extensively with my employer about it, he loaned me $1,000 for the downpayment. About three months later, I’d gone totally off the deep end and was no longer working for him, and had paid back only about $350. This is a true story, by the way. I went completely off the deep end and lost everything, including that vehicle.

But I build myself back up, went back and finished college, earned my degree, and got a much better job as a slot technician. And then do you know what I did? I emailed that guy about the money that I owed him, and started paying him $50 every week. After a few rough weeks where I wasn’t able to send him anything, I said “Fuck it,” busted my ass with a bunch of overtime, and mailed him a $450 money order that covered the rest of it. Three years elapsed between the last payment when I worked for him and the first payment when I’d recovered. But I said that I would pay him back, and I did. If I needed to borrow $1,000 from him today, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it–provided that he had it–because he knows first-hand that I will always pay it back.

Because I gave my word to pay it back.

keep-your-word

So here’s the simple question for everyone who wants to not pay off their student loans:

You gave your word. Why is it okay for you to go back on that?

Your attempt to go back on your word, whether you are ultimately successful or not, means that your word is garbage. I told this same guy–because he has helped me considerably over the years–that when I have a book published that sells very well, I’m going to buy him a car or a house or something, it kinda depends on how good “very well” is. And he knows I’ll do it. Besides, who else am I going to do something like that for? My dad? My sister? Are you kidding? Neither of them are ever even going to know about it. But don’t get me started on their recent shenanigans.

Your word is garbage. How does that make you feel?

I can tell you this: you can fucking bank on my word. If I give you my word on something, then neither god nor the devil will make me break it. It might take me three years to get around to fulfilling it, but I will never discard it. And, to be totally honest, that’s a good thing, because, if I’m being honest, I’m an expert manipulator. I get that from my parents, both of whom lived as manipulators through their entire lives. My mom’s word was so bad that when she disappeared, some people didn’t believe it. My dad’s word is so  bad that no one believes anything he says–the man has said that he was drafted to Vietnam, for fuck’s sake. So don’t criticize me for saying that I’m an expert manipulator–it’s just what I was taught to be from the time I was born.

However, I rejected that and consciously choose honesty over lies. It’s why you will never hear me say that someone “passed away.” Jarring though it is for people, I always say “died.” My mother didn’t pass away. She died. Why do I do that? Because even euphemisms are deceitful, regardless of their intentions, and the point of deceit is always to manipulate. By saying “passed away” instead of “died,” you are trying to manipulate them into not feeling that bad about someone’s death. What gives you the right to manipulate them? Fuck that. Be honest.

Everyone lies. Everyone is trying to manipulate you, to one degree or another and for one reason or another. Well, stop it. Say no to lies. Say no to manipulation. Say no to deceit.

Keep your goddamned word.

Why Julian Assange is a Clown

I used to have great admiration for Assange and the valuable service that Wikileaks provides to the world. I first became aware of it when Chelsea Manning provided us with the diplomacy cables, and have followed it since. Much like the people at The Pirate Bay, Assange has made himself an enemy of the system by standing up for what he believes in–for standing against tyranny and corruption. I’m having a hard time remembering it, but it really seems like there was someone else who was swept up in Wikileaks around the time who also had sexual assault charges brought against him. Maybe it’s just Assange. It doesn’t matter.

Like I said, I used to have great admiration for Assange.

I don’t now. Why not?

Quite simply, because I’ve been looking at this for months:

assange-the-clownAssange has been tossing out this line for months. Every few weeks, you can find Assange saying, “I’m about to release some more documents that will totally finish off Hillary!”

I’m not criticizing him because he hopes to “finish off” Hillary and consistently fails to. In fact, that’s something worth admiring: he has set his goal as taking down this titan of American politics. His failure to achieve that goal isn’t a mark against him.

What is a mark against him is that he… just… keeps… fucking… saying it.

Every few weeks, it’s all over Facebook, Assange promising that his “next batch” will finish off Hillary for good. Again, it’s not that he fails to do this that bothers me.

It’s that he’s not releasing the documents that will “finish off Hillary.”

If you had documents that could sink Hillary Clinton’s presidency chances, what would you do? Would it ever occur to you to tell the whole world that you had the documents and were going to release them “some time next week” or “in a few days”? Of course not! You’d simply release them. You wouldn’t talk about releasing them; you would release them.

However, Assange has had these documents for months.

So let’s say, for a moment, that he is right, and that he releases the documents and Hillary drops to zero percent in polls. What should we do? Should we pat him on the back? No! We should ask him why he held them for three months instead of releasing them. We should ask him why he knowingly and intentionally withheld documents of such staggering consequence that they would sink a presidential candidate while repeatedly throwing out bait? For months he has been promising that his “next batch” will finish off Hillary.

So what if he finally succeeds?

Then it will mean the he withheld these documents for months while feeding us largely inconsequential bullshit.

“But maybe he was saving the best for last!” people might say.

Perhaps, but, if that’s the case, then who the fuck does he think he is, to decide what the American People should and shouldn’t know, and when they should know it? Assange has fallen prey to what Nietzsche warned of–he has become exactly what he set out to fight. Now we need someone to hack the documents away from Assange and establish a Wikileaks Wikileakds for all the documents that Assange has decided not to share with us.

At this point, Assange is keeping us on a “Need To Know” basis. What if that last batch of documents had defeated Hillary? Would he indefinitely withhold the ones he is set to release? If he moved forward with his plan to release them, wouldn’t people accuse him of being a misogynist and kicking a dead* whore horse?

So let’s assume that Assange has 100 documents. He’s got more than that, but we’re keeping it simple. He says “I’m about to release documents that will sink Hillary!” and then he releases ten of those documents.

Hillary may or may not be damaged, but she certainly isn’t sunk. He says, “The next batch will totally take her down!” and releases ten more.

Hillary may or may not be damaged, but she certainly isn’t sunk. He says, “The next batch will totally take her down!” and releases ten more.

Finally, he succeeds in taking Hillary down. Why did he withhold these evidently critically significant documents for so long? Because of him, and solely him, in this scenario Hillary’s campaign continued on for some time because he withheld information from us. Countless millions of dollars squandered, months of people’s lives wasted. Is he intentionally drawing it the leaks so that Democrats don’t have a prayer of finding and fielding a replacement candidate before Election Day? If so, what in the fuck does he think gives him the right to manipulate American politics to that degree?

If he has information that could actually sink Hillary’s candidacy, then the only moral thing to do is release it immediately. But he didn’t. He has drawn the process out unnecessarily, rationing out our information to us while making false promises and knowingly withholding what he promises is critical information. Does this not sound exactly like the candidate he is trying to take down?

Of course it does. And that is the problem with Assange.

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Assange is trying to take down a candidate who repeatedly lies and withholds information… by repeatedly lying and withholding information.

“But maybe he was hoping the previous stuff would take her down, and that he wouldn’t have go this far!” someone could argue.

Yes. That’s called information control. The very idea is appalling, that Assange and Wikileaks would withhold the Really Bad Stuff because they hoped that the Pretty Bad Stuff would take her down.

I don’t know what Assange’s motives are, or if he’s trying to keep the Extremely Bad Stuff secret because he hopes the Really Bad Stuff will eliminate her from the election, just as he hoped the Pretty Bad Stuff would. But more than anything, it looks like Assange is simply an attention whore.

He says he does it because he doesn’t want critical information to get lost in information overload. I ask again–what gives him the right? Regardless, it is unacceptable that he might withhold for any amount of time information that could actually sink Hillary’s campaign. The only moral thing to do would be to release that information.

“Well, he has to go through the info and determine what is what,” others would suggest.

Why?

It’s not Assange’s job to screen and filter information. It’s Assange’s job to share information. Assange is not the fucking Gatekeeper of critical information that is relevant to who will be the President of the United States. He simply set himself up as that gatekeeper. Why? For the power? For the attention? We can only speculate about his motives.

But regarding a responsibility to not release information that could be damaging to U.S. national security? Fuck that, and fuck that entire mentality. It would be damaging to the security of Texas State Penitentiary to release to the inmates the information that they’re being fed rat meat and drugged and raped in their sleep. Does that mean the inmates shouldn’t be told? That idea, that national security is a justifiable reason to withhold pertinent and critical information, suggests that we do need a gatekeeper of the information, because we’re too stupid or reckless to handle it. I wholly reject that supposition, as should anyone.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

Oh, well. Share the truth anyway.

Because the truth doesn’t change. In plain sight or concealed, the truth is what it is. My sister can’t handle the truth that there is no god–she’ll openly admit that the only reason she believes is that she is terribly afraid of the idea of non-existence. But hiding from it and pretending it isn’t the case doesn’t change it. And then you end up with shit like this because someone somewhere along the way decided that people couldn’t handle the truth, and so they had to be lied to:

Pictured: People who were lied to.

Pictured: People who were lied to.

If the government is doing something that would damage our national security if it got out that our government is doing it, then our national security needs to be damaged because our government shouldn’t be doing whatever it is in the first place. Give people the information and let freedom take its course.

Assange just wants to stay in the spotlight, and wants to stay relevant. It’s not about preventing information overload, not if he is withholding information that could actually sink Hillary’s candidacy. It’s about attention and his desire to have everyone train their eyes on him. “My next batch will sink her! I mean it this time! Like totes 4 real!”

“Please pay attention to me.”

* In the interest of not committing suicide by shooting myself three times in the back of the head, this is figurative, obviously. No one should inflict violence upon anyone else.