Monday, July 29, 2019

Week of 07/29/2019

You Become The Hate That You Make
I’m going to start this off with a quote.
“If you hang around with losers, you become a loser.”
Some of you may probably recognize it.  If not, I’ll share with you the person who said it at the end.
I have come to realize that maybe my liberal and progressive friends were right about something.
Perhaps it could very well be true...
Narcissist President Donald Trump is a racist.
Up until recently, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt.  Narcissist like him do not see themselves as a part of any kind of group.  Narcissists see themselves as being above everyone and everything else.  They believe themselves to be the smartest of the bunch, the top of the top, the elite of the elites.  Not just smart, not just a genius, but a super-genius.  The smartest of smart.  Whatever it is that people see as being the best, narcissists seem themselves as being one better than that.   The apex of everything.  A self-supremacist.
So to say that someone like Narcissist Trump is a racist would be demeaning to his narcissism.  That would lump him into a group, and narcissists cannot see themselves as being equal to anyone else.
And yet... his recent words and deeds leads me to believe that his is in fact a racist.  He may not have always been one, but he has certainly become one.
The New York Times has dug into Trump’s words and deeds going all the way back to the 1970’s, and there are a few alleged incidents, but it was his presidential campaign where it really started to come out.  His attacks on Mexicans being “criminals and rapists”, his criticism of a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, his declaration that immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS”, his degradation of Native Americans, and his re-tweeting messages from White Nationalists are all documented.
Certainly his bigoted hatred of President Barack Obama was made clear prior to Narcissist Trump running for the White House.  From challenging Obama’s birthplace (Hawaii) and education, to challenging his every policy agreements and treaties, to the number of times Obama went to play golf, Trump has continually proclaimed he would do everything different.  And, to his credit, Narcissist Trump has done things differently.  He is made it his mission to repeal, revoke, and otherwise dismiss everything Obama ever did.  And then when it came to golf, Trump has outdone Obama in the number of vacations and golf outings he has taken.  Narcissist Trump has played golf more times in his current occupation in the White House than Obama, and perhaps more than any other president in history.
But it his very recent attacks that have convinced this commentator that Narcissist Trump could very well be a racist.
First was his attacks on “The Squad”; the four newly-elected congresswomen – all United States citizens, three of them born in the United States, and the fourth being a nationalized citizen longer that Narcissist Trump’s current wife – telling them all to “go back” to the countries they came from.
Just a reminder to you red-hat cult followers, even though I’m sure none of you will comprehend this, three of the four women he targeted were born in the United States of America.  This is the country they came from!
Here’s another reminder: the four women were all recently elected *because* of Narcissist Trump and his actions and attitudes. They would not be in Congress if not for him and his cult supporters and his enablers in the Trump Party!
And then there is this: Narcissist Trump decided to bully longtime Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, pompously declaring that the City of Baltimore is “filthy” and a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”  The comments are the latest in a string of tirades where he has declared various cities – all predominantly African-American – as being horrid and “the worst”.
Just wondering... where did “Pizza Rat” come from?  You know, the rodent stealing a slice of pizza that epitomized filthy conditions?  Oh, right, New York City.  Donald Trump’s home base.
For this commentator, that was enough for me to change my mind about Narcissist Trump not being capable of being a racist because of his narcissism.
Now... what has changed, besides the fact that Narcissist Trump is now occupying the White House?  Well, he has been associating himself with plenty of nationalists and supremacists.  From Christian Nationalist and Vice President Mike Pence to his white nationalist advisors, to fascists and chickenhawk warmongers, Narcissist Trump’s White House is more just “white” in name.  Trump has openly declared himself to be a “nationalist”; it’s just a matter of filling in the prefix as to what kind of nationalism he supports.  His words and his deeds do that for him.
And it does not matter if he that says he’s “not a racist”.  I do not know anyone who proudly declares themselves to currently be one.  Narcissist Trump is a habitual liar, with well over ten-thousand documented lies since taking office and rocketing up faster than SpaceX.  Anytime he makes that kind of denial there should be a rimshot and a laugh track to follow it.
Let’s get brutally honest here... you become the hate that you make.  If all you are spewing is racial hate, then that is what you are.  If you are supporting white nationalists and Christian nationalists and white supremacists and Christian supremacists, excusing their activities with claims of “both sides” and retweeting their dog whistle messages, then that is what you are.  If you are hanging around with white nationalists and Christian nationalists and white supremacists and Christian supremacists and warmongers and fascists and putting them in positions of power and influence, then that is what you become.  Your actions and your words define who you are, not what you claim to “believe” to be.
And that brings me back to that quote at the beginning of my column...
“If you hang around with losers, then you become a loser.”
Do you know who said that?  It was a certain host of the reality TV series called “The Apprentice” who said that.
You may have heard of him.  His name was Donald Trump.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Week of 07/22/2019

Fifty Years After The Moon Landing – Giant Leaps Back For Mankind
A little more than fifty years ago, as of this column’s posting, mankind made the first steps out into the universe. 
We put two men on the Moon.
Over two billion people watched it live on TV; myself included.  Granted, I was too young to fully understand the significance, but I do remember watching it on a black-and-white TV.
We did it for ego.  We did it for bragging rights.  We did it because we didn’t want the Soviet Union to upstage America in this like they did with the other firsts in space.  We did it because the late President John F. Kennedy promised that we would, and do it in a decade.
It was a race.  It was a competition.  The Soviet Union had made so many gains being the first to launch a satellite, the first to put a man in orbit, the first to venture outside the capsule... America didn’t want the Soviets to plant their flag on the Moon first.
But we did it.  We put two men on the moon and planted the American Flag in the ground, where it remains there today along with all the other junk and litter that we left there.  Hey, we’re Americans.  It’s what we do.  We plundered the ground, took some rocks, and left our trash and mementos there.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!
And yet... fifty years later, this commentator and science fiction fan/author seriously doubts that we could repeat that magic.
The first reason why we can’t go to the Moon right now is that we – as in America – do not have the means to get there ourselves. 
We used to have a great fleet of space shuttles, and we used to be able to go up into space on a regular basis.  We’d launch a shuttle, drop off a satellite, fix another satellite, do a few experiments in low orbit, then land the shuttle and get another ready to launch.  We put up space-based telescopes and helped assemble the International Space Station!  We were talking about going to Mars!
And then some genius decided to put control of our space agency in the hands of a mealy-mouthed bureaucrat who didn’t want us in space anymore.  It was too dangerous.  It was too scary.  So when the aged shuttle Columbia burned up in re-entry, this same mealy-mouthed bureaucrat decided that it was time to stop putting shuttles into space.  He retired all of the shuttles.  The problem being, we had nothing to replace the fleet with.  We had to hitch a ride with the Russians and the European Space Agency.
Nice going, dumbass.
Even today, America’s only way to get to space is through the private company SpaceX, or, again, through the ESA or the Russians.  America sent twelve men to the Moon, and now we can’t even go the ISS on our own, never mind fix those space-based telescopes we put up there.
But, even if we did have our own spacecraft again, this commentator seriously doubts that we would have the determination to go back to the Moon.
First there is funding.  Going to the Moon again is a pricey endeavor.  We have Democrats that think that the money would be better spent on needed social programs, and we have fascistic members of the GOP that think that the only things that tax money should be spent is on war and police and prisons and a certain narcissist’s ego-wall.  And whatever the Democrats want, the fascistic GOP does everything in their power – by hook and by crook – to deny it.  So even if the Dems that control the House of Representatives wanted to further fund space exploration, the sociopaths and psychopaths in the fascistic GOP will pull out the stops to shut it down just out of spite.
By the way, the reason why we stopped going the Moon in the 1970’s was because the Dems in Congress said that we should stop spending money on space and instead spend it on social programs.
Then there is the biggest cheerleader for us going back into space... the orange-skinned narcissistic space cadet known as President Donald Trump.  Only he doesn’t see us as explorers.  He envisions a “Space Force”; a division of the military that would be dedicated to saving America from space.  I’m sorry, but we’ve seen this vision before, and it’s not great.
Even if we didn’t have the Spaceball-in-Chief in office, though, America really doesn’t have the vision or the drive to go into space.
We didn’t want to go to the Moon because it was there.  We weren’t looking to put up colonies or try to find little green men or to see if it was made of cheese.  We went to the Moon out of fear of losing to the Russians.  It was for ego, not for exploration.  It was for bragging rights, not for bold ventures into the great unknown.  We did it.  It’s done.  America will always be the first to put men up there.  We have the boot-prints and the American flag and the junk up there to prove it.
Instead, we are focused on the Middle East, and terrorists, and immigrants, and predatory healthcare costs, and whether or not that Russian-made app is spying on us, and whether the Russians will interfere in our elections again.  The only space that we are interested in nowadays is cyberspace and the space between our ears.  Never mind the chunk of space rock that has enough gold to make every human being a billionaire; we’re worried about whether or not we will have a chunk of money for us to survive through our golden years.  
Let’s get brutally honest here... America took several giant leaps back when we decided to stop looking to the Moon for our future.  We took the achievements made by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the ten others who followed them, and we put it in the national trophy case called the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum along with the model of the U.S.S. Enterprise from “Star Trek”.
Hell, there’s a significant number of people who think that we did not go to the Moon at all!  There are people that firmly believe that we faked the whole thing.  That’s only one of the many falsehoods that we have bought into since then that have done a disservice to mankind itself.
We need inspiration to go back into space.  We don’t have it.  We need to be challenged to go out there.  We can’t do that if we’re focused on the latest iPhone app and asking why the price of our medication is going up and focused on all the hate being churned up by the orange-skinned space cadet in the White House and his hate-filled bigoted myrmidons.  Look up?  I’m looking for the giant asteroid that is supposed to wipe us out.  It can’t come soon enough.
Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong made one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.  Today, we have reversed his giant leap and have taken two more backward.  Never mind finding aliens... we can’t even find our humanity.