Tag Archive | manipulation

A Letter to Glenn Beck

While doing my usual “scroll through Facebook to make sure the world still exists” thing this morning, I stumbled across two interesting things from the very same source: The Blaze. For those who don’t remember, The Blaze is a cable news network started by former Fox host Glenn Beck, a Mormon with a decently good head on his shoulders, but with a lot of socially conservative leanings that I can’t get on board with. Conservatism, as we understand it in the U.S. today, conflicts with itself–they want “small government,” except that they want the government to impose social conservatism.

First I saw this well-phrased, well-written emotional appeal to the American public to stop the divide, to reach across the aisle, and to heal the country:

Well, I’m sorry, Glenn, but you don’t get to be the Voice of Reason right now.

I’ve noticed many people on the left and right pulling this schtick, where, after years, if not decades, of peddling divisiveness and hysteria (remember The Blaze and Michelle Bachman’s attempts to link President Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood?) and then, when you see that the mess you’ve been creating is getting ready to implode or explode, pull a 180 and try to take the highroad, saying, “We have to stop this!”

You. We have to stop you.

You, Glenn Beck. You, Rachel Maddow. You, Milo Whateveranis. You, The Young Turks. You people now trying to act like this mess isn’t of your making–you are the ones who must be stopped, because this mess is of your making.

This random guy being attacked by his own allies because of his appearance? You created this. You paved the road here, you sat us down in the vehicle, and you drove along that road until we reached this point. You did it knowingly and deliberately, to boost your ratings, and now you’re saying “No, we shouldn’t be divided. We’re all humans”? Where was that spiel when you were trying to link Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood?

You monsters did this. You created the circumstances, you lied, you manipulated the facts, and you misled everyone, waiting to release critical information until the most opportune moment, and this hysteria that you’ve created is a direct result of all of that. I wrote about how the news purposely and deliberately withheld information about rotting farms across the country until the most opportune time, and they decided that time was when they could blame it on Trump’s immigration policies instead of droughts, wildfires, and government interventions paying farmers to grow crops regardless of whether the crops survive. All of this has been happening for years. But now that the media can blame it on Trump and ask if he’s going to claim responsibility for the famine–because, yes, people really are that hysterical–we hear about it.

And what about the fact that critically important news items seem to pop up and vanish just as quickly, keeping the masses in a paralytic state of paranoid fear? This was the entire point of your attempts to link Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood. You know it, I know it, and everyone knows it. You rode that “Obama is a Muslim Kenyan” line every bit as hard as Donald Trump. In fact, I lost a longtime friend with whom I used to play in a rockband, because of his constant peddling of Glenn Beck bullshit, telling me that I needed to be afraid of the Muslims who were infiltrating our government. You did that, Glenn. You took over his mind and replaced his rationality with fear by exploiting his vulnerabilities.

And now you want to say “We’re all humans”?

No, because you’re not. You’re not a human. You’re an immoral monster. You’re a disgusting, mutant salesman obsessed with your sales numbers, and you didn’t give a damn how much damage you cause to humans while you attempt to sate your ravenous hunger.

The alt-right for years, Glenn–for years has been calling Obama a Muslim and a Kenyan hellbent on destroying America from within. If that sounds familiar, it’s because you have a documentary that asserts that very thing. You can’t just distance yourself from it now that it’s grown beyond your control, because you planted the seeds that became that tree. And you’re still doing so, you slimy toad.

What is this shit, Glenn? That article was released yesterday. Yesterday, Glenn! On your website.

This diehard, rightist propagandist, wacky, inaccurate, nonsensical article propagating the notion that transsexualism is a new thing that should be condemned rather than allowed appeared yesterday, 24 hours ago, on your website. And now you want to say “We’re all humans”? What about transsexuals like me, Glenn? Are we “all humans” too? Because this article on your website from yesterday suggests otherwise. “Trans people should get back in the closet and shut up,” is what this article from yesterday on your website asserts.

You want to dance in Romulan territory while proclaiming your neutrality, and it doesn’t work that way. Libertarians are in the neutral zone. You, though? You cast your lot with the Romulans a long time ago, just as the leftists cast their lot with the Federation. And I’m over here like, “No… Why did we let people like Glenn Beck push this to the point of war?”

Because you did, Glenn. You and the leftwing media both. You did this.

Now we jump from war with Syria (which, it’s time to confess, we are fighting) to war with North Korea to trans military bans to Nazis to possible trade wars with China to raging anarcho-communists in the blink of an eye. You won’t let people sit down and take a deep breath and remind themselves that “We’re all humans,” because you’re too busy peddling fear trying to keep their eyeballs glued to their television screen and listening to you prattle on about Obama’s ties to the freaking Muslim Brotherhood.

You don’t have the right to stand there and appeal for calm now, Glenn. Neither you, the Nazis, or Antifa have the right to do that. You’ve all taken your sides. Maybe you didn’t have the foresight to see where it would go. Maybe you didn’t realize what you were doing. I could accept that. But you’re still responsible for his mess. You can’t just pretend like that isn’t true. If you want to call for calm and unity now, that’s great–you can join the call of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists who have been calling for calm, liberty, tolerance, and love for years. At this point, though, you’re tainted by the circumstances you’ve created, and you owe the world an apology if you want to change your tune now.

You directly contributed to this. In fact, wasn’t it because you wanted more leniency to say wild, speculative things that you formed The Blaze in the first place? And you continue to dance in the redzone of conservatism–the very same redzone that created the alt-right that morphed into Neo-Nazism, as that lunatic article from yesterday shows. Of course, trans people have always existed, Glenn. The only question was whether we had to pretend otherwise, or whether we could embrace it. Through most of human history, it was “pretend otherwise.” This led to many suicides and many problems–like with a guy you may have heard of named J. Edgar Hoover.

If you want to appeal for calm, that’s great, but you’ve got to extract yourself from either side. You have to get out of the left versus right paradigm entirely, or you’re not appealing for calm. You’re appealing for victory for your side. “Conservatives have the high-road because conservatives are calling for calm… It’s the leftists who are calling for violence still.”

You made this bed. Either set it ablaze or lie down in it.

Timing is Everything — Media Manipulation Part 2

And the media clearly knows that.

Much of what I hear on Facebook these days–aside from North Korea bullshit–is stuff about families being broken up by Trump’s immigration policy, and his harsh deportations. Yet, in reality, Trump has deported fewer people than President Obama did. In both absolute numbers and averages, Obama deported more people than Trump. But because the media chose not to report on any of that, people now being exposed to it are under the impression that it’s a new thing, and that Trump/Republicans are to blame for this “uniquely” awful problem.

I just watched a popular libertarian page say that they wonder if Trump will claim responsibility for the famine that is going to be caused by the “entire fields being left to rot” because so many people have been deported that there’s no one to pick the crops. I’m not even kidding. Those are the headlines right now: “Entire Fields Left to Rot Because of Deportation of Illegal Immigrants.”

But that’s been the case for years. The corn field right across from me is going to rot again–an “entire field left to rot.” This happens all over the United States, because the government just pays people to plant the crop, and doesn’t really care if the crop is harvested or not. The media didn’t report on it, though. Now they have. The result? Predictably, everyone thinks this is a new thing, brought about by Trump “deporting so many people.”

Two absolute falsehoods. Old news, really. But because it’s only now being delivered, people are manipulated en masse into believing that Trump is responsible, and that his “singularly harsh deportation policy” is responsible.

It’s scary, really, that people are so easy to manipulate. Because, two years ago, fields not being picked wouldn’t have been newsworthy. It still isn’t, really, except that it can be used to promote an agenda.

I would have hoped, and expected, if I had the interest, knowledge, and awareness then, in the mid 90s that the upcoming age of social media would have prevented this sort of thing from happening. It doesn’t seem to have abated, though, because not many people are sharing these experiences, but I know from firsthand experiences, having friends all over the United States and having been across most of the United States, that “rotting fields” are not new, and neither are they caused by a lack of illegal immigrants to be paid under the table for picking the crops. It’s actually quite standard. In the eons of human history, it has never been especially common that an entire society’s fields would be successfully picked–anything from weather to war to earthquakes to wild animals could destroy a crop. Yet now it is Trump’s fault.

I talked yesterday about how the media and the state are able to determine what you and I discuss, and I want to point out that I’m not asserting the state and the media are colluding together to control the conversation. They don’t have to, because the media wants your attention. It doesn’t really matter why they want your attention. They do. To get your attention, they’re going to talk about things most likely to interest you, and those will be the sensationalized things. That lunatic who we have as Secretary of Defense saying that he’s willing to annihilate the North Korean people would qualify, of course.

Another way of manipulating people, though, is to just withhold information. It’s inevitable that information will be withheld, and this is just part of human nature. Right now, your senses are taking in far more information than your brain can process, so most of it gets discarded. This has, on many occasions, resulted in strange things happening. Perhaps the most common is “hitting one’s funny bone,” which occurs when one collides with something and has no expectation of it at all. Psychologists enjoy playing with these quirks of the human brain and nervous system, and there are even a few television shows that exploit it. In one, viewers are asked to count how many times a person wearing blue jumps rope. Viewers, focused on counting, didn’t notice the man walk by wearing a giant chicken costume, because their brain discarded that information.

The media functions the same way, especially in today’s hyper-connected society. I could, if I cared to, find out exactly what conditions are like on the ground in Portland, Oregon, right now. I could find out the weather, the local issues, and could probably peer inside of a local restaurant as though I was there. How many people each day post something on Twitter and hope that it goes viral? How many people have family members killed by cops and attempt to spread it on Facebook and Twitter each day (note: at least three, just in the United States)? Yet these stories rarely gain traction. Just this month, an estimated 30 people have been killed by police officers. How many of them have you heard about? Probably “none.”

This is because there’s just so much stuff happening that it can’t all be talked about. The bulk of it is discarded as uninteresting and not newsworthy. Three years ago, a few rotting fields of crops across the United States was discarded as uninteresting and not newsworthy. But now! Now that the media has spent months telling us the previously-neglected horror stories of families being broken up by deportation, there is yet another angle that can be worked to push that agenda: finally mention the fields that have been rotting for years, if not decades, and people will come to the conclusion that it’s a new phenomenon, simply because they hadn’t heard about it before.

It’s clever, on their part, because they can’t be criticized for choosing not to report on something before. Something has to be discarded, after all, just like police officers can’t chase after everyone speeding on the highway. They can only go after some of the people they see speeding, just like we can only process some of the information our brains receive. The problem with police officers it that they appear to have racist motivations when determining who to pursue and who to ignore, given that a disproportionate number of black Americans are harassed by police each day. The problem with the media is similar: they often choose what to report on and what to discard based on their own agenda.

That agenda is clearly to manipulate Americans into disliking Trump and, in particular, his immigration policy, despite the fact that the numbers don’t bear this out, which even left-wing news sources admit. They’re perfectly free to admit this without hurting their narrative, though, because these are cold, emotionless, facts-based stories of numbers. It’s the personal stories that matter. It’s their focus on Juan Hernandez being deported from his wife and kids after 19 years in the United States that grabs people’s attention and is embedded in their minds. Similarly, news stories that properly cite that more than half of people killed by police are white, and the other half are divided among black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, middle Eastern Americans, and other Americans, have no impact, because the focus on the personal stories of black Americans who are killed by police do far more to construct the narrative than any raw numbers will.

Throw them a personal story that tugs at their heart strings, and it really doesn’t matter how many facts you throw out afterward that refute that personal story as an anomaly, or the agenda behind that personal story as flawed and biased. Once set, the narrative is set, and facts don’t change our minds.

Do I like Trump? No. I can’t stand Trump. Don’t take any of this as a defense of that buffoon.

Take it instead as a warning about manipulation. We must always be on guard against manipulation, because they are always trying to manipulate us.

Conversation Control

To a certain extent, we’re all reactionaries, because we react to news as it happens to provide–ideally–insights and perspectives that other people may not have considered. I think that definition, though, is a bit too limited, because many of us are using reactionism as a way of being proactive, contradictory though that seems, because there are underlying ideas that are being spread by the reactive writings. At the same time, many of these “reactionaries” I’m talking about are doing work on the ground that is certainly proactive, aimed at creating the circumstances instead of reacting to changing circumstances. I’m pretty sure this paragraph could be deleted without changing what I’m about to say much, but I’m going to leave it in anyway, because it’s still true: we’re all reactionaries.

That said, there’s one area where are reactionism is hindering us, especially libertarians and anarchists.

If we are to be free, we must stop allowing the government and other institutional authorities to set the agenda, to set the tone of the conversation, and to set the topic of the conversation. Last week–if you can believe it was only a week ago–it was Trump’s tweet about banning transgender and transsexual people* from military service. This week, it’s North Korea and the prospect of nuclear war. It should be interesting to note that both issues received similar levels of reactions: many Facebook posts, articles, and tweets, very little real activism. In fact, it’s just a lot of reactionism. We’re letting the government and other institutions decide what we’re talking about. Instead of advocating libertarian principles, we set aside what we want to discuss so that we can jump on the bandwagon and join the conversation that the government wants us to have. Scratch all the tweets, articles, and Facebook posts about Trump’s proposed ban on transgender/transsexual soldiers, and pencil in statements about North Korea. It seems pretty likely that you’ll find the same people have produced both sets of reactive tweets, with very few exceptions, and that, perhaps, the transgender ban received more attention than the North Korea one. However, the North Korea thing is still young.

How can we ever talk about freedom and the value of liberty if we’re jumping at the state’s beck and call to discuss whatever random issue they have landed on when they spun the Wheel of Reactionary Division? If the government can control what we’re talking about so effectively, there is no reason that it should ever stop doing so, because doing so gives us the breadth that we need to discuss liberty, sound money, non-aggression, rights, peace, and love–and the government doesn’t want that, because liberty, sound money, non-aggression, rights, peace, and love are ideas that can destroy governments.

Imagine that you own a multi-billion dollar company, and you treat your employees like crap, because they can’t work anywhere else–you have a monopoly in the area. Some of these employees are trying very, very hard, however, to form a union that would give them the leverage needed to fight for better standards, if not eliminate the people at the top altogether. How would you handle this? Ignoring morality (since not many of us would be so callous in the first place), would you just sit there and watch them unionize and take some of the power away from you?

Of course not. And one of the most effective weapons at your disposal is Conversation Control. Create scapegoats. Blame a small segment of the workers for the plight that everyone faces. “I know it’s bad,” you might say, “and it’s those migrant workers who are responsible. Being from poor countries, they don’t care if they can’t each afford to pay a car and house note with their wages. So they’re working for less, which drives down everyone’s wages. They’re the ones responsible.” Suddenly the workers are no longer talking about unionizing, because they’ve been divided into two camps: those who defend the migrant workers, and those who fell for the scapegoating. The conversation is no longer about unionizing. It’s about a manufactured enemy.

When that enemy expires, randomly pick another one–bonus points if the new enemy has never been encountered by any worker, and demonstrably poses the workers no threat at all, such as Isis or North Korea. They’ll stop talking about the harm being done to them because you’ve presented them with some imagined harm that is multitudes worse than what they’re already facing. To prevent that from coming to fruition, they’ll stop their talk of unionizing in order to prevent those evil, distant devils from making their situation worse. Once that problem is dealt with, of course–presuming it’s not an indefinite and eternal problem, like “terrorism”–their situation will certainly have gotten worse, and, as an added bonus, they’ll accept the worsened conditions as normal, as “the price we pay for protection from those external enemies.”

We are being manipulated en masse, and it is apparently pretty easily done. The masses are marionettes being made to dance and neglecting the dance that we want and need to perform. This has to stop. We have to begin ignoring the government’s attempts to change the conversation. We have to talk about the things that we want to talk about, not simply react to whatever they want us to discuss. Otherwise, they will always set the agenda, and Liberty will never be on that agenda.

* As a transsexual person, I don’t particularly care for how “transsexual” is being pushed out of the conversation by the same people who enjoy pointing out that gender and sex aren’t the same thing; therefore, “transgender” and “transsexual” aren’t the same thing. For months now, I’ve watched my allies push me and my type out of the conversation because they mistakenly have decided, as I once did, that “transgender” is a more palatable version of “transsexual.”  But that’s incorrect.

By the way, I would ask that you consider sharing and contributing to former libertarian vice presidential candidate Will Coley’s attempt to open an interfaith religious center in western New Hampshire, which you can find by clicking that link. New Hampshire, of course, is the home of the Free State Project, and contains, currently, the highest number of Libertarian state legislators.

Rantings & Ravings Reboot Ep 01

As I explained in the intro, now that the iron appears to be having an effect and my anemia is lessening, I plan to be more active–it also helps that I’ve just forced myself to proceed anyway, of course–and that means a return to podcasting. I’ve been planning to reboot Rantings & Ravings for a while, and this is episode 1: “Ryancare & Russians.”

Note: I’m certainly not doing anymore podcasts in this voice. I sound so angry. This is actually due to the fact that I edited out most of the pauses; you can tell from some of the less edited podcasts that, when recording, I tend to talk about like Obama, with a pause following every 3 or 4 words. That fits with the inflections better, but removing the silences makes it sound… like a continuous raving rant. That’s actually not intentional.

In this episode, we discuss the GOP’s attempts to modify the Affordable Care Act, and the effects we can expect that to have. Spoiler: it will really piss off the GOP’s voter base. They already have trust issues so severe that they rejected the establishment and elected Donald Trump. With him betraying them, as I predicted in this video:

… and with Paul Ryan–who already drew their ire by siding against Trump–working to further undermine their implicit desires, the 2018 midterm elections will be The Reckoning for Republicans. It will be a bloodbath that pours Democrats into office, a trend that will continue with a sure Democrat victory for the White House in 2020.

The Stupid Comment of the Week is quite possibly the most stupid thing that anyone has ever said to me, no joke. It’s seriously that stupid. The Anarchist Shemale will not be held responsible for drivers whose heads explode when they hear the stupidity and thereby have an accident. It is advised to not listen to this segment while driving.

Furthermore, Trump, Russians, and hysteria are discussed, since that’s always in the news, and we consider the implications of the Clown Sightings that people seem to have forgotten about, as well as what it might mean that the FBI isn’t looking into it. Schools were actually locked down because of alleged clown sightings, but the FBI hasn’t bothered to check it out? There’s something certainly odd about that, and the parallels between clowns and Russians are too much to ignore, so we speculate the possibility that–seriously–the entire clown sightings thing was a Psy-Ops campaign by intelligence agencies to study the effects and spread of hysteria.

We also discuss the absolutely absurd assertion that the Russians are competent enough to “hack the election” of the world’s foremost superpower and the most technologically advanced nation in human history, but are simultaneously too incompetent to click four things to change their Date & Time and keyboard settings.

Finally, there is an overview of Reductive Reasoning and how it applies to the boy/girl dichotomy, the nature of definitions, and abortion. Each week in this segment, I’ll be picking an issue and applying Reductive Reasoning to it. This week wasn’t meant to dive fully into gender or abortion, but sought to use them as examples to explain the concept.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the reboot. 😀

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!

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.

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.

1134 Words on a Psychopath

Anyone who has ever been the victim of a psychopath sees the clear parallels to domestic abuse. I grew up watching my mother be thrown through windows by alcoholic Everett Barber (yes, that’s really him, because FUCK HIM), beaten, punched, kicked, and choked. Everett is reformed now, and has been through AA, but I will not accept his redemption as valid until he’s actually apologized to my sister and me, and to our mom–I’ll accept the apology on my mom’s behalf.

I’ve certainly seen my fair share of domestic violence. So please understand that, when I make this analogy, I do so with full knowledge of the unbridled horror of it, and with full awareness of the helplessness of the people involved. Because that’s what perpetuates the violence–helplessness. As a child, I was helpless and powerless to affect the situation. But I tried. That early Saturday morning as my mom choked out, “Everett, I can’t breathe,” I tried, pulling two sharp knives from the kitchen drawer. “Mom, I’ve got a knife!” I shouted and took two steps toward the bedroom.

And then I stopped.

Because I was 8 years old. I was in the second grade, and this was a grown man. Knives or not, I knew I couldn’t take him.

I turned back to the drawer and, standing in darkness, dropped the knives. And then I burst into tears and repeatedly said, “Mom, I’m sorry…”

It only recently occurred to me why I apologized. I never thought about it until I reached that point in Dancing in Hellfire. I apologized because I couldn’t help her. I apologized because I was helpless. I apologized because I was powerless. There was NOTHING I could do.

You can’t imagine how badly I want to go to Everett’s house and totally fuck him up. I reject violence in all its forms, and that is the only thing staying my hand. I’m not a scared little kid now, and he’s not a big adult. I’m in my prime and he’s almost an old man. By all rights, I should now make him helpless and powerless.

But I won’t.

But neither am I able to forgive it or just let it go, and I doubt anyone would be able to. Not if they saw what I saw and heard what I heard.

So I know exactly what I’m drawinG parallels to. And I’m doing so for a reason. Because the psychopath systematically establishes power over the target until the target is helpless, and if you don’t know it’s coming the psychopath will succeed. And, often, the psychopath will succeed anyway, because the psychopath has spent a lot more time perfecting their craft than you will have spent perfecting your defense.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

The psychopath knows what to offer you to entice you. Me, I was looking for a soulmate, someone to connect with on a different level, a kin spirit. Whatever you want, the psychopath knows how to make it appear that you’ve found it. The psychopath is good at this.

But it’s not just about lying to you. It’s about making you lie to yourself. It’s about using lies to make you tell and believe your own lies; it’s about the psychopath enticing you so much that you engage in self-deceit, because then the psychopath truly has power over you.

The psychopath will tell histories that conflict with what you remember. You are right. Never, ever lose sight of that. When something you know conflicts with the psychopath, you are the one who is right. Don’t let yourself believe the psychopath’s version thinking that you can secretly hold to the truth, go along with it, and play the psychopath’s game.

You can’t. You will lose.

The psychopath knows doublethink better than you, and the psychopath will not only use it, but will manipulate you into using it, and it’s then that you are nearly her thrall. By this point, it’s almost certainly got to run its course, which will be painful for you. Very painful. Don’t let it get this far. You are the one who is right. Don’t allow your memories or thoughts to be overwritten. Don’t play along.

The psychopath expects you to play along. Remember, the psychopath is several steps ahead. The psychopath knows fully that when you agree, you have conflict internally and that you are agreeing because you want to believe and that you’re entertaining the possibility that you misremember. When you say, “Hmm… I think I remember bits and pieces of that,” the psychopath knows you’re conflicted. But if you cede the ground that you are wrong, you’re giving the psychopath license to rewrite your memories in her favor. And the psychopath will do so.

A lot of people think that victims in abusive relationships are fools for hanging around, but it’s important to understand that there are a lot of emotional factors there. It’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome in nature–the abuser fulfills their needs and gets emotional highs from it, or some other kind of pleasure from it. But the victim gets something, too.

Yes, you are.

Yes, you are.

The victim is always chasing a carrot on a stick, and the psychopath is always dangling it and tempting with it. Your hope is the strongest weapon in the psychopath’s arsenal. Your hope that it will work out, that the abuse will stop, that you’ll get what is on offer… These are what give the psychopath power over you. The psychopath knows that you hope, and knows how to keep that hope alive. The psychopath keeps the tiny embers burning, kindling the fire just enough to keep it from going out altogether.

You have to let that fire die.

It’s not easy, and the psychopath knows that, too. It’s never easy to stop chasing the carrot, to give up hope and accept that you’ll simply never have the carrot, and it’s made harder by the psychopath’s insistence that you can have the carrot, often “one day.” But you want the carrot, don’t you? Isn’t the carrot fucking everything you ever wanted?

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

So knowing how to deal with a psychopath, and how to keep yourself protected (because the psychopath lives and loves to play games) is useful, but it doesn’t help much until you’ve identified a psychopath. That’s obviously a lot easier to do in hindsight, isn’t it? Only hindsight gives us the clarity to realize what has happened, how we were played with from the start, and how we were merely victims. How can we distinguish sincerity from psychopathy? How can we know we didn’t misremember?

We can’t.

Ego and Bait

This post is no longer 1134 words. I’m okay with that, because the preceding section is. Anyway.

One of the biggest telltale signs of a psychopath is an out-of-control ego. This doesn’t necessarily manifest in pride; obscene amounts of pride don’t necessarily mean psychopathy, and the psychopath is too clever to display large amounts of pride. The psychopath doesn’t do anything that blatantly gives away the ego.

Ego manifests in many ways, and perhaps the most obvious way is a lack of empathy. But it also appears in harder-to-notice condescension.

I’m saddened to think that I’m absolutely correct, but I don’t know what else to think. Between the stupid “communication through blogging” shit and the way she repeatedly tries to elicit an emotional response from me, only to immediately fall back to one sentence replies and silence, there’s nothing else I can think. She just keeps throwing bait out there and then running back to the shadows, presumably to laugh and enjoy herself when I take the bait. But I didn’t take the bait this time. I kicked it toward the bushes she fled to. And I won’t take the bait again.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

This time I didn’t try to kick the football. I turned and tried to kick her (remember we’re being metaphorical here). I’m not going to do another somersault because she cajoled me into trying to kick the ball again. I’m not a fucking dolphin at Sea World. I’m Charlie Brown, and I’m no longer trying to kick the ball. Could she convince me to try again?

Absolutely. But not with words. No matter what she says, there are no words Lucy could use to get this Charlie to try to kick the ball again.

Ignorance: The Psychopath’s New Weapon

I actually do want to make the case at some point that humanity is in real trouble, especially in the United States, where we have cultivated ignorance and exonerated it consistently enough that there’s little prospect for continued growth. I frequently have people say “I’m not reading that book you wrote” about one of my comments, proudly broadcasting to the world that they can’t be bothered to read, and this is worsened by it being said as though I’m the one in the wrong, I’m the fool, for writing a reply that was too long for their particular brand of idiocy. But that’s for another day, and the title I’ve chosen isn’t actually related to that.

Someone recently asked me how I can publish a story that Bradley* wrote, and I was told that “Aria didn’t write the story. Bradley wrote the story.”

Needless to say, my mind was positively boggled. And, of course, this was from the psychopath (told you–see this post to learn what I mean), no doubt trying a different tactic to get an emotional reaction out of me–you know, as the psychopath needs. I’m proud to say I didn’t give it, and I won’t give it now, because there was no emotion to my reply. There was only cold brutality.

I replied pointing out that humans evolved from apes, yet there are still monkeys. My point was actually that the psychopath’s question was just as ignorant as the Christians who ask how there can still be monkeys if we evolved from them, and to point out that, yes, I did evolve from Bradley. It was the perfect metaphor for the situation. But the psychopath doubled down on the ignorance and said “Yet we don’t claim credit for the work of the monkeys” or something like that.

I replied three times. First, simply “I did write it.” Then I gave a mini-explanation, a very short one of just a few sentences, and then I said predictable. Well. The psychopath was predictable, to the extent that I couldn’t even pretend to be surprised or pretend to have an emotional reaction. That’s what the psychopath does, remember? I explained that in the last post about it. The psychopath attempts to elicit an emotional response, presumably to feel in control but I don’t care enough to ask “Why,” and then immediately drops back to short replies and no replies. The psychopath simply wants drama, simply feeds on emotion, and is incapable of caring what those emotions are.

So rather than feeding that, I rebuked the psychopath extensively, shredding the thought process and revealing the ignorance underlying it. “You can’t publish that story you wrote yesterday, because you were wearing different socks yesterday, and since you’re not wearing the same socks today you’re a different person and therefore not the person who wrote the story,” I used as a slippery slope. It’s perfectly true, though. The reasoning is as asinine as it was faulty, and rivaled only by the almost pathetic attempt to elicit an emotional response.

There’s just no context where the psychopath’s question and replies make any sense. Even the people at the Westborough Baptist Church aren’t that looney. No one is so confused on the matter that they think a transgender person is literally a different person mid and post transition, especially not to the extent that I wouldn’t be able to rightfully claim to have written something that I wrote.

In another brazen display of the psychopath’s out-of-control ego, I was asked how I expected her to react. I must admit that I took some vindictive pleasure in pointing out that… I didn’t. I never gave a moment of thought to how the psychopath would react. I didn’t consider how George W. Bush, my Aunt Diane, my ex-wife, or Asheik Mohammed Samar, random name in India that I just made up, would react, either. Because these people aren’t part of my life. I don’t make it a habit of wondering what random people who aren’t part of my life will think or feel about what I do. I consider the reactions only of people in my life and people who care about me–not random people thousands of miles away.

Of course, it’s not true that the psychopath is a random person thousands of miles away, but that’s the thing–she might as well be. I didn’t destroy the relationship and friendship, and I clinged to them far longer than I should have.

When I told a friend of this, she asked what could the psychopath say that I would take as sincere. The answer is…

Nothing.

The time for words is long over. There is absolutely nothing that she could say to me that I would accept as sincere. Only actions can speak loudly enough to be heard over the blood pouring from the knives she put in my back.

It still isn’t any easier for me. I doubt it ever will be, and she surely knows that; she certainly knows that I still love her and want to believe she’s sincere. But I can’t.

In the interest of our friendship and years of circles, I did give her time to reply and apologize for the fucked up thing she’d said. She hasn’t done so. Again–predictable.

One thing is all it would take from her. And, believe me, I want to let it all go. You have no idea how badly I want to just release all of it. It would be so easy. One thing to convince me that she’s sincere, that she’s not just a psychopath, that I’m not just her victim, and that she is the person she claims to be. One thing.

And it is the one thing a psychopath would never do.

As I said.

Predictable.

* My “Other name” isn’t Bradley, but that’s close enough.

Tiamat’s Game, Part 1

This is the first part of a 5 part novella I’ve written to be part of a Fantasy compilation that takes place in the same setting as The Anvil, The Hammer, and The Sword; it is meant to give more life to the world and flesh things out a bit more and will contain about ten short stories and this novella. I’m presenting “Tiamat’s Game” in five parts–primarily because it isn’t finished, lol–here because I want to. 😀

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These writings were discovered in the abandoned and ruined temple of Kalik af Nora. Years after the fall of the Empire and the death of Queen Shadow, one of the rulers of divided An’Kai sent an expeditionary team into the temple to see if they could find anything of value or anything that would help win the war against the other territories in the torn Kingdom. Among other things, the following testament was discovered.

*          *          *          *          *

Day 1

I’ve decided to keep a journal. There seem to be some strange things going on, and I want a record of it. But I should come back to that. See, we’ve been here for two weeks now, and if I’d known the strange things that were going to happen—or if I’d known how long we were going to be here —I would have started this diary as soon as we arrived. But I knew neither of these things. I still know very little. Maybe someone will one day discover this journal and will understand better than I what is happening.

There are five of us on this island. None of us have any idea how we came to be here, and we had no knowledge of each other prior to our arrival. We’ve guessed that we were on a ship that was caught in a storm. The ship must have been destroyed, and we must have been the only passengers to wash up on the shore of this wretched isle. We must have nearly died ourselves, and we must have suffered serious injuries to our heads—as none of us remember being on a ship or why we would have been—though no marks remain to indicate this; it is speculation only. We must have, because we have no other idea how… this came to be.

I wonder if the elf is keeping a record of events—I hope so. The elf could describe the island much better than I can. But let me circle back to that, because I should start with the five of us. I am called Gandis, and I am a human who lives on the continent southwest of Inrabis [Editor’s Note: Isle of Myrar has not been considered  a “continent” since the Second Age, indicating that this diary is from some time between 14,000 years ago and 8,000 years ago]. I’ve lived there my entire life, outside a village called Gahenna [Editor’s Note: The town of Gahenna was destroyed by the Storm in 14316 Grand Count but was located southwest of Lhosa on the eastern edge of the Verdan Woods.].

Like I said—I can’t imagine what in the Nine Hells I was doing on a ship.

Anyway, there is an elf. Her name is Arieiiiiieninililenienillen or some such nonsense. We call her “Arie” because we have no idea what her name really is. It’s just a stream of vowels, the letter “l,” and the letter “n.” None of us understand it when she says it. She’s sweet and kind, but she’s obviously very young—for an elf, I mean. Or so they say—by the gods, until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even believe that elves were real!

I didn’t believe that dwarves were real, either, for that matter. And there’s one of those, too. A grumpy little bastard whose name is as jumbled and confusing as the elf’s. I call the dwarf “Brick” because, just like with the elf, I have no idea what is really coming out of his mouth when he says his name. Instead of vowels, the letter “l,” and the letter “n,” though, the dwarf’s is a mess of the letter “k.” Might as well call him Brickikikikik. That’s what it sounds like. The best part  is hearing the dwarf try to say Arie’s full name. It’s hilarious—and funny moments are priceless in this abominable place, because they are so rare.

And, the gods help us, there is a gnome. There is a tribe of gnomes (Do gnomes live in tribes?) [Editor’s Note: No, they don’t.] in the forest near Gahenna, so I’ve seen gnomes before. The ones near Gahenna are really shy, though, and I’ve never talked with one. This little bastard on the island with us, though—he’s anti-shy as they come. His name is Savin, so it’s pretty straightforward and none of us have a problem with it. The problem with him is that the tries to spit out as many words as possible as fast as possible, whether they make sense or not.

Luckily for me, there’s a human woman here, too. Well, it’s not really “lucky” for me, because she’s younger than I am and not very friendly in the first place. I guess I can’t blame her—none of us are friendly. Her name is Lucrecia, and she says she’s from a place called An’Kai, but I’ve never heard of it. She’s a warrior, too, and a damned good one.

We all have one skill or another. I’m a miner and the only real woodsman here, so I’m basically responsible for hunting, foraging, and building shelter. I wish I could be more useful, but I don’t even have a weapon. I’ve got my pick and my axe (none of us can account for how in the world we managed to arrive here with some possessions), but the pick certainly isn’t any use in fighting. The axe is meant for chopping trees—it can be used in a pinch, but I’m better off running.

The gnome calls himself Savin the Sorcerer, but he seems a trickster to me. He’s lit a few fires for us and done some other useful things, but all of them can be explained by prestidigitation, like the people do in the carnivals that come to Gahenna each year. My grandparents told us the story of how the gods banned magic and made it impossible to do [Editor’s Note: After considerable research, it is a mystery as to what Gandis is referencing.], but Savin says he can still use magic.

The dwarf, like Lucrecia, is a natural warrior, and he has a much better axe than I do. His is a battle-axe. Mine is a wood-cutting axe. Brick, though, has offered a few times to let me use his axe to go about my work, but he only said that because he wants me to sharpen his axe for him. Even if I wouldn’t have to sharpen his axe after using it, though, the thing is still too large to be useful to me.

Arie calls herself a “bard” and I reckon she’s a pretty good storyteller. But she does it constantly—getting her to shut up is a magic spell in and of itself. I’ve got to admit, though, that her stories and poems are really inspiring. When she starts reciting, I feel a surge of energy, like I can do anything. She’s not bad with a bow or sword herself, but I had to make her a bow (and some arrows) since she didn’t already have one.

Well, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I should tell you about the island we’re on. It’s small. It’s damned small, and that’s its defining characteristic. If it weren’t for the trees, you could stand on the beach on one side of the island and easily see the beach on the other side. It’s about a mile across one direction and about half that in the other direction. In the center is a wooded area and a cave—that cave!

That damned cave is the source of all our problems. We can’t explore it because it’s just too damned dangerous. I can stand at the entrance, just outside of it, and look in—dozens of red, glowing eyes stare back at me, and an orchestra of growls resonates from within. There are all manner of beasts in there, and while they should be attacking and killing one another, they’re not. For some reason, they are living together peacefully, crammed into that cave, and they wait. They just sit there and wait—for the sun to set.

We constantly must hide, and that’s where I come in. I have to dig us new hiding places every day, usually in a new location after destroying the previous one. It’s a pain in the ass and it takes all day, but by the time the sun is getting ready to set, I’ve got the night’s shelter dug. Don’t get me wrong—the others help. But they have to use wooden and stone tools that we made, and those break easily.

There seems to be no end to the island’s game—just as there is no end to the island’s beasts. Arie has killed a rabbit or deer every single day since I made her a bow, and we have yet to exhaust the supply of edible varmints. Arie fishes, too, so food is the only problem we don’t have. There’s also no end to the island’s surprises, but I’ll have to get into that tomorrow. I’ve got to go to sleep now. Tomorrow will be a long day—tomorrow is always a long day.

 

Day 2

It’s not really Day 2. I don’t know what day it is. Arie says we’ve been here two weeks and three days, but Brick says we’ve been here more than a month. Savin says it couldn’t be more than three weeks. Lucrecia says they’re all wrong: we’ve been here forever. I said I’d get into some of the island’s other surprises, so I guess I’m going to do that now…

Lucrecia says we’ve died. She doesn’t mean that we’ve died and this is the afterlife. She says that we have all died at one point or another, and that we reappear and wake the next day on the shore of the island, having all of our memories erased. She says she is the only one who remembers this, possibly because she’s the only one who hasn’t died. She says that we’ve been on the island for at least a year and that we all—except her—have died several times, each time waking on the shore with no recollection of what has happened.

But I only remember the past two weeks. I tend to agree with Arie that we’ve been here two weeks and three days (though I would have said two weeks and one day). But if Lucrecia is right, that means Arie and I have both went through this “death and resurrection” thing more recently than Brick or Savin (since Lucrecia hasn’t gone through it at all), and neither the dwarf nor the gnome have any recollection of me or Arie dying. Lucrecia says that she remembers and that the other two must not remember because they, too, have died on the island.

Really, I think Lucrecia is mad. Being stranded on a tiny island will do that to a person. She does have some kind of explanation why she alone remembers our deaths, but what she said really doesn’t seem likely. How could we die and not remember it? How could one of our fellows die and we not remember it? That’s why I’m keeping this journal. No matter what happens, these words will remain, and we can figure out what is going on.

 

Day 16

I’m terrified.

I woke up on the shore of an island exactly two weeks ago accompanied by people I’ve never seen before and with no idea how or why I came to be on the isle. It was lucky I was there, though, because I’m a miner and I have a pickaxe, so I’m the only person really capable of digging out a shelter for us. And a shelter is needed. By the gods, is a shelter needed when night falls! Horrible, enormous, and ravenous beasts roam the island at night, and they are, the elf says, only interested in us. They pay no attention to the deer or rabbits—or to each other.

There are five of us—an elf, a dwarf, a gnome, another human, and myself. But I’m not going to bother going into detail about us all, because… I just found a book buried beneath a tree. It was apparently intended to be a spellbook by the look of it. It probably belonged to the gnome. But finding it curious (to say the least!) to dig up a book beneath a tree on a desert island, I opened it up to see what it was.

This book has my writing in it. It has two entries, one marked Day 1 and one marked Day 2. The date on these passages says that I wrote them fifteen days ago. But I’ve only been here fourteen days! I know this for a fact! I’ve been keeping track of each day as it passes by making a notch in a specific tree near the shore and I carved into it the fourteenth notch this morning.

Lucrecia says I died. She says I died during the night on Day 2, that I went out to relieve myself and was devoured by the monsters. She says that this day, today, is actually Day 16—so I’ve put “Day 16” here. She says we die with alarming regularity and we never remember it. Nor do we ever remember our previous “life” on this island when we resurrect the next morning. We also, apparently, don’t remember when someone else dies. If Savin dies, I apparently would not remember his death. He would die and resurrect on the shore, and I would go about the day as though nothing had happened. Lucrecia says she remembers all of this because she has yet to die.

I see that on previous pages I thought she was mad. I’m having a hard time telling myself that now. I can’t dispute my own handwriting. I was clearly here fifteen days ago, though I have no recollection of it at all. What is going on here?

Arie speculates that we are in the Nine Hells. She might be right. Arie’s people tell a story about an elf (named Hababababakis or something—I have no idea what she said) who angered the gods by stealing fire from them and bringing it to the world as a gift to mortals. The gods were furious, because it diminished the mortals’ need of the gods, so the gods caught and imprisoned the man. They tortured and killed him every day and he always woke the next morning. Arie says this is pretty much what is happening to us.

I don’t know.

 

Day 17

Arie is dead.

I hope that Lucrecia is correct and that Arie will be alive and well the next morning, because it really tore me apart to see Arie die. Especially because it was… mostly my fault. I had to get some more wood and I couldn’t collect it near our camp for the night, because that would have told the abominations where we were. Arie volunteered to accompany me because… Well, let’s face it. I’m worthless. If something attacks me, the best I can hope to do is not accidentally kill myself while running away. And there are plenty of hostile things on this island, while not all of them come out only at night.

I was chopping down a tree when it happened. A thick vine whipped against my back, tearing through my shirt and ripping into my skin. Arie screamed. A second cord wrapped around my ankle and tripped me. My axe was thankfully embedded in the tree, so accidentally chopping my own head off wasn’t possible. The vine wrapped around my ankle hoisted me into the air while Arie fired arrows at it, but the vine was too swift and nimble.

Arie drew her shortsword and came to rescue me. That was when the rest of the monstrous plant revealed itself. It ripped up from the ground, sending dirt, leaves, and rocks exploding in every direction. Shaped similarly to a pinecone, the damned thing was twice as tall as I am and as wide as I am tall. It had several vines as arms, and it had some control over its roots and could use them as legs. I’ve never seen anything like it. Worse, it had eyes. Two huge, black eyes, and a gigantic mouth filled with razor sharp teeth, each of which was as big as any of my fingers.

Arie slashed the vine that held me, but because of its whipping around, she had to get close enough to the plant monster to strike at the place where the vine connected to the rest of its body. Her sword cut through the appendage, but it cost her life . I fell several feet to the ground and ran as fast as I could to go get Lucrecia, Savin, and Brick—they could help, and the only thing I could do for Arie was get help. By the time the four of us returned, the plant had gone back underground and only Arie’s arm remained on the ground, still clenching her sword.

Lucrecia says I shouldn’t worry too much because Arie will be back in the morning and none of us will remember Arie’s death. That’s pretty good for Arie—I wouldn’t want to remember what it was like to be eaten by a giant plant monster. But Lucrecia still might be mad. It’s quite possible that the whack on the head which caused us all to forget how we got here and when we got here also made Lucrecia insane. I hope not, though.

 

Day 18

Yesterday I wrote that… Arie died…?

I must be losing my mind. Arie is fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with her. I was attacked by a giant plant monster which ate her? That’s one crazy nightmare–maybe dehydration got the best of me. Perhaps I didn’t get enough to drink. Or maybe I ate the wrong kind of mushroom. Regardless, Arie is alive and well, and there’s no way I could have forgotten a thing like I wrote about yesterday. Even if Lucrecia is right and Arie did die without any of us remembering, that still doesn’t explain why I don’t remember the plant attacking in the first place. I don’t remember the plant at all—why wouldn’t I remember that?

Savin and Brick don’t remember Arie’s death, either. They also don’t remember anything about a giant plant; nor do they remember me running and getting them so they could help Arie. Lucrecia says that she remembers, but I think she’s insane. And I think that I’m going crazy myself. Perhaps Lucrecia wrote yesterday’s journal entry, mimicking my own handwriting, to mess with my head. She’s mad, after all, and crazy people do that kind of thing.

 

Day 19

Lucrecia. She’s on thin ice with us. She killed Brick today because he refused to go with her into the cave and see what could be done about some of the monsters. Brick said that was suicide—and he was right. So Lucrecia asked him why he had a problem with dying. She said he’d be back the next day. And he told her that she was mad. So she drew her sword and stabbed him through the chest before he could react. As Arie, Savin, and I watched in horror, Lucrecia laughed.

“He’ll be fine,” she said. “And if any of you have a problem with that, you are more than welcome to join him.”

Brick is the only one who has the slightest chance of taking on Lucrecia. Arie is decent with a shortsword, but if Lucrecia and she end up fighting, Arie won’t stand a chance. Savin is almost as useful as I am when it comes to fighting, so without Brick there’s no hope of anyone putting Lucrecia down. We hesitated for a minute. “Well?” the bitch Lucrecia asked. “Is anyone going to be joining him in a shortcut to tomorrow?” One by one, we went back to our work. I went back to digging. Then Arie went back to hunting. And finally Savin shook his head and went back to cooking the food Arie had already gotten for us.

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I will post a new part on each Monday, so Part 2 will arrive Feb. 22.