Truth, Justice and the American Way

Even though this was just the catchphrase of DC Comics’ Superman, first uttered in 1938, I truly believed and internalized that truth and justice were the right and real American way. Truth and justice is what set us apart and made us exceptional as a people and a nation. This ideal is the foundation of the basic American values of democracy and human rights.

But, the political rights’ assault on the truth over the past four decades and the politicization of the justice department during the Trump administration, are destroying the American way. One third of Americans have bought into the lies and have become an anti-government force bent on the destruction of the administrative state, nothing could be more un-American. Somehow, these dissenters must hear the real truth.

Truth and justice must prevail for the survival of the American way. It is not just a line from a comic book, it is an ideal, an exemplary way of being that is second to none in the world. We must return to the truth to heal and continue our greatness and standing in the world. There is no other way! TRUTH!!!

Putin Sides with Insurrectionists

THAT SHOULD SCARE THE HECK OUT OF EVERY AMERICAN! Russian President, Vladimir Putin, former Soviet KGB agent, propaganda expert, lifelong sworn enemy of the United States and democracies everywhere, is siding with the Trump insurrectionists who violently attacked the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021 as they tried to stop congress from its duties to certify the duly elected next president of the United States.

Let’s be clear, Putin’s only interest is world power and wealth for himself and his oligarch friends. Trump and his followers are just one of his tools to reach his selfish goals.

Conspiracy theories, Q’Anon, right-wing media, right-leaning social media, much of the GOP and cartoon-like news sources such as Fox News, OAN, NewsMax are doing Putin’s work for him. America’s own, homegrown, propaganda machine is destroying America from within playing right into the hands of Putin.

Apparently, nearly half of Americans no longer value and cherish the democracy envisioned by our founders. They have bought into the lies, and now, act and vote against democracy, sometimes violently. They don’t realize that they’re anti-democratic views and actions are not just un-American, but detrimental to themselves while benefiting the super wealthy.

When I was growing up, the biggest threat to America and democracy was nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Today, it’s misinformation! Misinformation, frighteningly, internalized by half of Americans! Misinformation that is, sadly, funded by greedy, super wealthy Americans who are, effectively, robbing ordinary Americans of the power granted to them by the Constitution of the United States. They use outright lies, made up us versus them stances and false patriotism to brainwash everyday Americans.

Putin’s approval and support of the insurrectionists should be heard as a dire warning to American democracy. America’s acceptance of misinformation will result in a world takeover by oligarchs and the diminishment of human rights and opportunity for everyone else. Trump, the GOP and their followers are Putin pawns, nothing could be more un-American or anti-democracy! STOP BELIEVING THE LIES THAT HELP PUTIN AND THAT DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY!

Putin hates democracy because it is the only thing standing between him and world domination. If Putin and the world oligarchs , including powerful American oligarchs, takeover, you and I will be nothing more than their powerless chattel. That is the cost of believing the lies and throwing away our democracy.

Pervasive Propaganda

Mass media and social media is brimming with propaganda from various domestic groups, political entities and foreign enemies. Their purpose is persuasion in order to alter your values and beliefs forcing you to act for their benefit. Propaganda today is nearly inescapable and more sophisticated and diverse than ever. Don’t be a propaganda pawn!

Don’t be influenced by hate groups, greedy oligarchs, anti-democracy autocrats, religious extremists and conspiracy theorists as they have infiltrated much of our media. Avoid YouTube, Twitter and far left or far right media sources for your news. Stick with neutral sources such as the Associated Press, NPR News, CBS News or local news. If your news sources are pushing your buttons, making you angry and putting you at odds with many of your friends and family members stop watching it because you are being manipulated.

America is being torn apart by propaganda from many sources and our democracy is at risk! Don’t believe the lies! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love your neighbor as yourself!

Is it hopeless?

Has misinformation infiltrated so deeply before in our history? It seems to me that most people in the past were busy living their lives and left politics to the few. But due to the expanse of cable news and social media over the last couple of decades, more and more people have strong political opinions. One would think that having more people knowledgeable and involved in our political process would be good for our democracy, but it is not because many have been infected by misinformation which is sadly destroying our democracy.

Rumors and unsubstantiated claims have become gospel for many who reject the truth. No amount of real evidence will change their minds. People are making decisions based on the misinformation that are bad for their own well being. For me it’s like watching a friend walk toward the edge of a cliff blindfolded, ignoring my frantic pleas to stop, while they happily listen to the evil liar saying keep going, keep going…

Right now I am feeling hopeless, but is it?

Trump or Truth?

This is an either/or choice. There is no gray area. One choice will lead to the destruction of America as we know it, the end of democracy and a takeover by the world’s oligarchs, while the other choice will bolster democracies around the world and keep government in the hands of the people where it belongs.

The oligarchs (including several of America’s super wealthy) gain and maintain power through the lies, they fund the lies that convince ordinary Americans to vote against their own best interest. They will take all we produce together for themselves. They will bleed you dry whether you’re black, brown or white, U.S. born citizen or immigrant, legal or otherwise. We, the 99%, are the victims together.

People who haven’t chosen the truth have become anarchists while they wrongly believe they are sanctioned patriots. They have become victims of mass hysteria as lies have caused them to harbor irrational beliefs and engage in irrational behavior.

Allowing oligarchs to dismantle and disempower “our” government strips us, the majority of Americans, of our power. Our power is in the truth. Believing the lies gives away our power.

Liz Cheney is speaking truth to power. The election was free and fair. January 6th was an insurrection! Trump lost! Government is not your enemy, it is us! Choose verifiable truth!

True Believers of the Lie

Anti-American, anti-democracy “patriots” believing they truly love their country while espousing hatred, committing violence and supporting autocracy, makes no sense. Many of our friends, neighbors and family members have been sucked into an alternate reality where up is down, the sky is green and the ground is blue, lies are truth and truth is a lie.

True believers are adamant that they are absolutely right and everyone else is misinformed, leaving no room for discussion or debate. No amount of fact checking or research on my part will change anyone’s belief. They only believe their “news” source whether radio, TV or internet. Their sources are not vetted for credentials, funding or motivation. People are believing things said by someone who only wants to make tons of money or who wants to manipulate voters into voting against their own best interests.

Has America ever been divided by lies like this before? I’ve been trying to understand this division for nearly four years now and I’m feeling hopeless. Will it end in the destruction of our democracy or will we be able to ride it out as the pendulum of change swings back? I feel helpless in convincing true believers just how dangerous the lies they believe are to our country.

Are Small Government Conservatives Just Selfish?

The Center for Small Government describes small government as one that; …is strictly limited to defending our lives, liberty and property; that honors individual rights; stays out of unnecessary wars; and that is contained and transparent enough to easily find and root out government waste, dysfunction and injustice. In other words, OUR government should have a limited role, provide minimal services and regulation with absolutely no concern for the common good.

I’ve got mine and the government should protect me, protect what I’ve got, let me get more, not tell me what to do and to not help any of my fellow Americans in need.

This means, as a small government conservative, that I can make and sell dangerous, ineffective “snake oil” while destroying the environment from mining for ingredients and expelling polluting chemicals from the manufacturing process into the airways and waterways, and while paying my workers poverty wages working in unsafe conditions without paying overtime after 40 hours or contributing to healthcare and pension benefits. I get to use all the resources, including human capital, reap the benefits and throw them away when I’m done with no accountability! Small, ineffective, government is really good for me, but not for the majority of tax paying Americans.

People proudly claim that “I’m a small government conservative.” All I hear is “I’m good, you’re on your own.” If you can’t get ahead working three and four subsistence-wage jobs, it’s your fault! We don’t need small government, we need good and fair government based in the reality of advantage and disadvantage! Good government now! End selfishness!

Crimes of Survival

George Floyd Jr., Eric Garner and Jean Valjean, the main character from Les Miserables, were all punished for committing crimes of survival, the first two with their lives at the hands of police. Floyd was killed for trying to use a single counterfeit twenty dollar bill at a convenience store, Garner was killed for selling loose cigarettes outside a store and Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his dying relative. All three lived in a society that made it impossible for everyone to live securely.

Les Miserables is a story about a victim of society set in the late 18th early 19th centuries revealing a lack of human compassion for a man committing a minor crime out of desperation. Now, in the 21st century human compassion is still lacking for the marginalized.

Lack of opportunity, hopelessness and just trying to get by are solvable societal problems through education, affordable childcare and healthcare, and livable wages for essential workers. Misdemeanor crimes should not be punishable by death on the street at the hands of police.

Crimes of survival must be met with compassion, accountability and opportunity. We can, collectively, do better!

Tabloid Political Party

When I was growing up I always noticed the supermarket tabloids at the checkout. The outrageous pictures and headlines defied reason. I always believed that these were only consumed by bored housewives who were entertained by the titillating stories based on gossip, half truths and sensationalism without the annoying guardrails of journalistic standards. The stories were fun to read and share with friends, but any reasonable person would know the stories were not based in irrefutable fact. These tabloids were not reliable sources of news. They were solely created for entertainment purposes.

Sadly, for the last twenty years, this tabloid formula of gossip, half truths and sensationalism has been adopted by right wing media. This kind of misinformation has always been with us, but due to the takeover of AM radio by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, the expansion of cable news and the creation of the internet into a giant propaganda machine, misinformation has come to dominate the minds of at least a third to nearly half of our population resulting in a level of division in our country not seen since the Civil War. This soup of misinformation created the space for the election of the “tabloid” president who led with, perpetuated and expanded the big lies to fit his selfish purposes taking the majority of Republicans with him.

For those outside the “tabloid” universe, the lies are obvious and ridiculous just like the covers and headlines of the supermarket tabloids displayed at the checkout counters. We must be our own fact checkers. We need to ask ourselves who wrote or spoke the information, for what audience, for what purpose, who are their sources and who paid for it? Often money and power rather than truth are the motivations underlying these communications.

Don’t fall victim to the lies and conspiracy theories that make others wealthy and powerful at your expense. Don’t be duped! Question!

Temporary Stability?

I feel a sense of relief that government is rebuilding and functioning better for the majority of people. However, I fear that it is just temporary. Democrats only hold a slim majority in the House and Senate and Republicans are working tirelessly to suppress voting.

Misinformation in right wing media is still rampant, and misleading Republican voters. Most Republican politicians are playing along with the lies to get re-elected and they have no other legislative plans. They are mired in ridiculous culture wars and the deconstruction of our government and democracy. They use the false claim that Democrats are all evil far left socialists to instill unreasonable fear in their constituents.

We can’t relax! Democracy is hanging by a thread and we must work tirelessly to preserve it!