Showing posts with label MAGA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAGA. Show all posts

June 5, 2023

Fearing for freedom's fate and feeling like the vexed man (or woman)? I grok how you feel. A shrink's advice.

 

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist
More about the artist.

For those not familiar with the word grok, it was coined by science fiction master Robert Heinlein in his classic book Stranger in a Strange Land. It means  "to understand intuitively or by empathy.

I don't actually feel like this most of the time when I follow political news. I know people who do, if not most of the time, much of the time. I also know people who become so upset by it that they turn off and tune out the news. 

I was reading this optimistic Washington Post OpEd by Greg Sargent titled "Opinion Biden has a theory of MAGA that just might be working"...

The photo is of President Biden in his embodiment of Dark Bandon Badass wearing his 3025 Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. Full-discloser, while I am not really all that superstitious, I have a pair on order which should come in a few days. I am hoping that by wearing them I can send good vibes to the president.

This ad was in the middle of the essay:


Greg 
Sargent concludes his column this way:

Yet Biden also plainly believes that conducting the nation’s business on a bipartisan basis is inherently stabilizing. That sometimes requires treating the opposition — or a large swath of it — as a mostly conventional political party, which risks mitigating perceptions of the threat it poses.


In the debt limit outcome, that tension proved far more navigable than many, including me, expected. How this tension will play out in 2024 is hard to predict, but for now, the Biden theory of MAGA has mostly been vindicated.

I hope his conclusion, that the Biden theory of MAGA has mostly been vindicated, proves to be true. 

How does this relate to feeling like the Vexed Man? 

In general I see myself as neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I like to believe that I'm not a glass is half full or glass is half empty kind of person. I like to believe that I look at the glass and factor in evaporation rates of the liquid in the glass and based on the humidity and the likelihood of rain I determine whether the glass will fill up or be depleted. 

When it comes to the possibility that in the next election the United States will take an irrevocable step to becoming a fascist autocracy with a bigoted anti-woke America first agenda I eschew hyperbole and try my damnedest to be objective.

This isn't to say that from time to time I don't succumb to the shpilkes. I do. 

My recommendation to those who feel overwhelmed by anxiety about the future of the country is to be kind to themselves and make a concerted effort to spend some time every day to take a distraction break. 

Do the things that are likely to give you pleasure. Spend time with people you love, treat yourself to a meal at a favorite restaurant, if you don't subscribe to a streaming video service pick the one that most appeals to you and find movies, or better yet long running TV shows, to watch. 

Take a drive in the country or just go for a walk, plant a garden, hell, if it suits you go to the city dump and shoot rats with a .22 riffle.

If you can afford it, there's retail therapy. This involves the process of shopping and then the pleasure in getting what you buy.  You don't have to spend a lot. Shop for a pair of happy socks, buy some inexpensive costume jewelry, or if you like gadgets or tools go to an electronics or Lowes type store and buy something on impulse.

Consider redecorating a room or just getting rid of a worn out piece of furniture. The idea is to treat yourself.  You can always do what I did, buy a pair of Ray-Ban 3025's.

Click above to read
I am aware that these glasses are the same sunglasses worn by Tom Cruise in his Top Gun movies and that Ron DeSantis, referring to himself as "Top Gov", also wore them, or glasses that looked like them, in a 2022 ad pretending to be a tighter pilot.



About the blog:

If you are new to my blog, welcome. Scroll down here to see all of the tags I've used and all of my blogs since 2012. The blog only became totally political in the last two years. However if you are interested here's what I wrote about politics in 2016.

Weekly stats by country:

For some reason I had many readers from Singapore this week. Could it be that major country spy chiefs are meeting there this week in a secret enclave?  The international readership varies but usually after the US the most logons are from Russia.



May 28, 2023

It's redundant to say crazy cuckoo MAGA people but it also insults Sonny the cuckoo bird

By Hal Brown, MSW,  Retired psychotherapist. More about me.

Fair Use, General Mills

Maybe I needed a second cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs out of my mind this morning but the first thing that caught my attention in the title of the following article was the first four words:

Reading this made me think of the original crazy cuckoo.

In context below these words were used by Democratic strategist Kurt Bardella explaining how Biden outmaneuvered McCarthy on the debt ceiling deal as follows:

So if this goes down because Matt Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert or any of those crazy cuckoo MAGA people decide to tank the US economy, it is one hundred percent going to be at the feet of the Republican Party and not the president."
Cocoa Puffs is a classic American cereal known for being marketed to children and for its sugar content. It was introduced in 1956. 

While the name "Sonny" may be the answer to a trivia question, the bird's catchphrase, "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" has become iconic. How deeply impeded in American culture it is can be demonstrated by the 2011 story about  a sword-swinging samurai declaring himself 'Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs' when he was arrested. In another case a man was arrested for indecent exposure when he was walking naked down a street in Tulsa and he claimed it was due to eating Cocoa Puffs.


The mascot of Cocoa Puffs, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, was introduced in 1962. In television commercials, Sonny attempts to concentrate on a normal task but ends up coming across some reference to Cocoa Puffs themselves (usually described by the adjectives "munchy, crunchy, chocolatey") and bursts with enthusiasm, exclaiming his catchphrase "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!"[5] Sonny was voiced by Chuck McCann from 1962 to 1978, and has been voiced by Larry Kenney since 1978.[6]

The line "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" has entered the vernacular as a term for somebody who is irrational.[7]

Sonny's name comes from the original format of the commercials, in which he was paired with his grandfather (also voiced by McCann). Rather than proper names, they always referred to each other as "Gramps" and "Sonny." When the grandfather was dropped from the ads, "Sonny" remained as the character's name. In 2010, Gramps returned to the Cocoa Puffs ads, with McCann reprising his role as Gramps and Kenney continuing to voice Sonny.

Sonny was designed by Gene Cleaves. Animation pioneer "Grim" Natwick (of Fleischers' Betty Boop team) also contributed to the early images of Sonny and Gramps, according to then-contemporaries who collaborated with Natwick.[8]

Sonny was originally depicted as wearing a pink-and-white striped shirt, then in 1995 was redesigned, this time wearing 1990s "extreme" clothes and being given a more Disney-esque appearance. In 2004, he was redesigned in a more simplistic fashion, this time without clothing.


Sonny, of course, was the original crazy cuckoo. He wasn't crazy in the sense of being mentally ill, he was crazy in sense of being extremely enthusiastic.

As far as being a cuckoo bird he didn't look anything like real cuckoos.


Here's something I didn't know until I read about cuckoos in Wikipedia:

Cuckoos have played a role in human culture for thousands of years, appearing in Greek mythology as sacred to the goddess Hera. In Europe, the cuckoo is associated with spring, and with cuckoldry, for example in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva, the god of desire and longing, whereas in Japan, the cuckoo symbolises unrequited love.

Not to get too serious, oh crap, this all is very serious... but between having Donald Trump who was merely a malignant narcissist who expressed delusional beliefs to having legislators influencing policy who very well may be clinically delusional, and having so many people in MAGA world being unmoored from reality, this country really does need some intensive psychotherapy.

Marjorie Taylor Greene's most famous lunacy was suggesting that California wildfires were caused by George Soro and his space laser. I wish it was possible that the ghost of Sigmund Freud, another famous Jew, could tell NASA and the NIMH how to make mental health space lasers.

Addendum: 

Freud didn't really say this, but he might have....


  

May 25, 2023

2024 election will be the new Battle of Fort Sumpter

 By Hal Brown

Battle of Fort Sumpter, Currier and Ives, Public Domain

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024 the equivalent of the Battle of Fort Sumpter which marked the beginning of the Civil War will begin.  The bombardment of the fort, which is near Charleston, was by the South  Carolina militia. It ended with the surrender by the United State Army. 

Not that anyone reading this blog needs a reminder, but briefly:

The Civil War remains the bloodiest war in American history with over 620,000 deaths. The war began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate soldiers attacked Union bases at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It was fought for four years, three weeks and six days until Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. General Joseph E. Johnston subsequently surrendered on April 26, 1865, while Kirby Smith surrendered on June 2, 1865. Cherokee General Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender on June 23, 1865. (Reference)

When the southern states seceded the country looked like this:

Slave and free states and territories at start of Civil War

There are several slightly different maps showing how the country looks today. Here is one of them. You get the idea.

The issue of the right of people to own people who were kidnapped from Africa (those abolitionists called accurately "slaves") and force them to work for them is what ultimately led to the Civil War.  It could be said to have started with the election of Abraham Lincoln.

The election of 1860 was one of the most pivotal presidential elections in American history. It pitted Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln against Democratic Party nominee Senator Stephen Douglas, Southern Democratic Party nominee John Breckinridge and Constitutional Union Party nominee John Bell. The main issue of the election was slavery and states’ rights. Lincoln emerged victorious and became the 16th President of the United States during a national crisis that would tear states and families apart and test Lincoln’s leadership and resolve: The Civil War.(Reference)

Today children learn to revere Lincoln as the president who freed the slaves... at least this is what they learn in school which teach history accurately.

The coming civil war could be said to have started with the defeat of Donald Trump in his attempt to win a second term and the election of Joe Biden. The beliefs in the superiority of white people which come under the general heading of MAGA have been present since the actual Civil War ended but they increased exponentially in the last century as minority groups became more and more empowered and their votes began to influence elections. 

The election of our first Black president brought American bigotry to a simmering boil but by and large it didn't blow the lid of the kettle off. These people breathed a sigh of relief and their kettle of rage and resentment was removed from the stove when Donald Trump was elected.

Trump coined the term MAGA. It was a big tent which included everyone from self-proclaimed NAZI's to Christian nationalists. His regime gave such people a sense of power they hadn't felt, well, since the Civil War.

Giving credit, or blame, where it is due I have to hand it to Ron DeSantis for turning the concept of being woke from something good and beneficial into something evil. Read about his latest bigoted balderdash here: DeSantis says he’ll turn 'woke military' away from 'gender ideology'.

The upcoming election will pit people who are woke, i.e., those with empathy and who believe in accepting everyone, against anti-woke warriors and MAGA forces. It will be a war fought  against those who believe that everyone should benefit equally from living in America and believe in the crucial sentence from The Declaration of Independence no matter whether they believe in God or not:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I'd like to say that it is unlikely that anybody will be killed on Election Day or as a result of a win by Biden. Only one person was killed and one mortally wounded in the Battle of Fort Sumpter. Tragically I can't say that the re-election of President Biden won't be met with violence and death. Just the other day a man threatening the president tried to crash a U-Haul truck though the White House barrier gates.

The quote, rephrased in various ways* "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it" is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana. I could turn this quote around and note that there are those who do remember history, in the case of the United States the history of the Civil War, want to learn from what they consider the mistakes of the Confederacy and try not to repeat them in the civil war they intend to engage in if Joe Biden wins the presidency.

Footnote:

  • * This famous statement has produced several variants:
    • Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    • Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
    • Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
    • Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
    • Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Related:

Violence is the new Republican grift, by Chauncey DeVega

Republicans know more death enhances their power

Excerpt:

In all, violence in its many forms (which includes random violence, terrorism, hate crimes, intimidation, and vigilantism) is central to the Republican fascists and larger white right and "conservative" movement's project to end America's multiracial pluralistic democracy by gutting the rule of law and the country's democratic and other societal institutions.

Trump's greatest appeal is how he gives his followers and others in the MAGA movement's orbit permission to be their worst true horrible selves. Violence bonds members of a social group together; this is especially true of political personality cults such as the Trump MAGA movement. Healthy democracies discourage and outlaw political violence because it is antithetical to normal politics with its rules-based deliberation and collective decision-making and other ways of attempting to be legitimate sources of authority among the governed.

If you don't see the Disquis comment section below click here.  

Blogs by Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist. More about me.


May 20, 2023

Butcherman is the font for MAGAmerica where cruelty is the point

 By Hal Brown

Click above to enlarge image

The train of thought which led to me writing this began with reading this story in my daily mail from Yahoo News:

A Loud GOP Minority Pledges to Make Trouble on Ukraine Military Aid


Then I read 

Auschwitz film early favorite at Cannes


Examples of how the GOP is cruel went though my mind as I thought about their immigration policy and abortion bans. I thought about DeSantis and his war against what he calls woke, and how woke is really a synonym for having empathy for all, not merely some select, people.

I then thought about the phrase which has become a meme ever since The Atlantic writer Adam Serwer published his book of essays entitled The Cruelty is the Point: The Past, Present and Future of Trump's America. (You can read or listen to an interview with him here.)


It is just that so many people don't care about the hardships of others. It is that they actually relish knowing these "others" are suffering or, if they are policy shapers, making them suffer.

Thinking I might write something about this I did a web search of the phrase "the cruelty is the point" and scanned though a number of the articles (showing in illustration to this blog). I realized that I didn't have anything particularly original to add. 

Suffice to say that if empathy was a human gene which could be measured in a DNA test the results would show many Americans would come up woefully lacking. 

I wasn't up for writing about malignant narcissism which I've often addressed (here for example), or sadistic personality disorder for that matter...



What did occur to me to write about was how frequently I found myself using a font in blog illustrations which I don't see anybody else using, perhaps because it isn't in the standard lists of free fonts. The font is called butcherman and you have to search for it. I use BeFunky to add it to images I sometimes use in my blogs...




Google fonts and other programs also has it:

Click to enlarge and note the phrase Google uses.

The letters in butcherman are all bleeding.

 To me these letters represent those people who are literally or figuratively bleeding whether as a result on not being able to get an abortion, immigrants fleeing persecution, or in Ukraine where every day citizens know they may be killed. 

I think of those who can look at the misfortune of others  and not feel even a glimmer of empathy for them. The font is called butcherman, but these people are actually butcher men.

Addendum: 


Then there's this:

A first-grade teacher who spoke out against a Wisconsin school district’s decision to ban “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton from a spring concert is facing termination, USA Today reports.

and this:

The latest news is that Florida investigators want to interview some of Jenna Barber's fifth grade students. She dared to show a Disney film with a gay character and was suspended.




January 20, 2023

Will the public ever recognize instantly who the initials JRB stands for?

 Will the public ever recognize instantly who the initials JRB stands for?
By Hal Brown

Look up FDR and you will find...

 247,000,000 results on Google. The initials LBJ and JFK are readily associated with the two presidents.

Look up JRB on Google and while there are 8,820,000 results none, at least on the first page, refer to Joseph Robinette Biden.

Click above to enlarge

The text I used for the illustration on this blog is from this Salon article by historian Robert S. McElvaine's article ... 

Of course some presidents no matter where history ever ranks them end up being referred to by three initials even when their middle names were fairly well known. Harry S. Truman never became HST, for example.

The reference to President Biden as JRB, who is usually referred to as Joe Biden rather than Joseph Biden, jumped out at me. I think using the three initials was an attempt by the author to equate him with FDR and LBJ.

I agree with the author's assessment. 

I think that Biden's (JRB's if you prefer) accomplishments have been drowned out in the GOP noice machine. He's been like Pablo Casals or Jascha Heifetz playing a solo during  a shit-throwing battle between screeching monkeys.

After describing the accomplishments that he uses to justify why FDR and LBJ were great presidents the author explains why he thinks Biden's two-year record stacks up well against "the very high bars set" by FDR and LBJ. Here are bullet points:

  • The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to stimulate the economy.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide for repairs and extensions to the nation's roads, bridges, railroads, water systems and broadband. 
  • The PACT Act, expanding health care and benefits for those who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service. 
  • The CHIPS and Science Act, funding advanced scientific research and investing $53 billion to manufacture silicone microchips in the U.S. 
  • The Inflation Reduction Act, which does more than any previous legislation to mitigate climate change, allows Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to cut prescription drug prices, begins to crack down on tax evasion by corporations and the very rich and much more. 
  • The Respect for Marriage Act, protecting both same-sex and interracial marriage.
  • A reform of the Electoral Count Act, making it more difficult to overturn an election, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Biden has also excelled on the international stage far more than Roosevelt did in his first two years — and more than Johnson ever did. Biden rallied the forces of democracy to oppose Vladimir Putin's authoritarian aggression and aid Ukraine and revived NATO, which Trump had on the verge of collapse.
The future not only for JRB, for American democracy itself, depends on how well Democrats are able to, one, get enough voters to know about these accomplishments, and two and perhaps just as or more importantly, to care about how these benefit them personally.

Those who prefer to have a fascist authoritarian America where minority groups are marginalized (or worse) are a lost cause.  In their MAGA slogan "again" is a yearning for a pre-Civil War Confederacy. 

Those with even a rudimentary grasp of history wouldn't be bothered by the similarities between the rise of Hitler in the 1930's and what is happening in the United States today. To the contrary, they would applaud it.

--------- Addendum---------

Other articles by Robert S. McElvaine:

WHATTAYA THINK OF “SLEEPY JOE” & “DYSFUNCTIONAL” DEMOCRATS NOW, AMERICA? Aug. 2022

 
-------

Coincidentally, as I was finishing up this story the Cincinnati mayor was being interviewed on "Morning Joe" about how Biden's infrastructure bill was helping his city from improving transportation to increasing funding to the police in order to enable them to hire community resource officers to deal with mental health calls.

Postscripts:

Jennifer Rubin in a Washington Post Q&A answers this question: Will Republican lunacy ever cost them any significant number of voters?

There are multiple groups of voters who continue to support GOP candidates. The first is the hardcore cultists, who are beyond reason and persuasion. The second includes business interests, which go along for the tax cuts and anti-regulation policies. Those people are more reachable if they fear House Republcians are inviting economic chaos.

The final group includes habitual Republicans with an inordinate fear of Democrats. They can also be swayed. These are the voters who at some level understand that Biden is not a raving socialist; that our economy is recovering; that our international standing has improved; and that the side that is radical is the GOP. Biden's appeal to bipartisanship, good faith efforts to address the border and popular economic measures (e.g., infrastructure investments) are effective in persuading this group. Overall, the best thing going for Democrats is the unhinged, irresponsible conduct of the MAGA House.

-----

I posted links to this on Facebook, Tribel, Mastodon, and Twitter. On the latter I included the most popular hashtags with Biden including the one with the highest number, BidenWorstPresdientInHistory. I'll add replies to this tweet here if I get any.

Homelessness: Daytime nightmare about to unfold in Portland

  Public domain, Creative Commons.. By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist This is a classic case of municipal decision makers putting t...