Jan 22

A Liberal’s Guide to Giving Trump a Chance


Right-wingers want liberals and centrists to give Trump a chance. They repeatedly tell us to give the guy a break. They say we’ve no idea what he will do as president, and that’s almost right. During his campaign, he was artfully vague about how he would do anything. Nonetheless, we already know plenty about him. Do we need to learn more than this to decide?

  • The kind of Cabinet and staff Trump has chosen. Trump’s vice-president pick was a cultural extremist as governor. He was responsible for blocking women’s health benefits and LGBTQ rights at every corner. One of Trump’s first staff selections was someone who described his earlier enterprise as “providing a platform for the Alt Right.” (If you’ve been living in a cave, Alt Right is White Supremacists 2.0.) From there, it went straight downhill. His current Cabinet is made up of fairly extreme Right-wingers and billionaires. There has been no nod in these selections toward the majority of Americans who don’t consider themselves either Right Wing or billionaires. And before the Even Steven Right goes crazy…America is not predominantly Left Wing either. But when you ignore the combined number of centrists and liberals, you’ve ignored a large percentage of the country. That’s equivalent to giving about 60% or more of the country the finger.
  • Trump’s staff and Cabinet part 2. Trump has picked people to head government departments who have been radically antagonistic toward the same departments prior to their appointments. Many of these departments and their consequent regulatory powers are designed to protect the quality of life for the Americans. Perry, during his famous debate fumble, said he wanted to get rid of the Energy Department. Now, he’s up for head of the Energy Department. There is a list of similar candidates with similar disdain for the departments they are heading. I’m not ready to have regulations and agencies that protect our quality of life neutered. I’m guessing most Americans aren’t either when they think about it. Another middle finger to the majority.
  • Campaign rhetoric: We’re told when Trump says monumentally stupid or unconstitutional things that we liberals take him too seriously and literally. Fine. So what’s the opposite of that? He has no gravitas and he speaks only symbolically or suggestively? When does Trump mean it, and when doesn’t he? Either he wants to desecrate the First Amendment by registering Muslims or he doesn’t. With something that important and potentially shameful, there’s little room to fuck around with word games. We need a leader, and we want a leader. But we can number the things candidate Trump said that Americans should be ashamed to accept in the hundreds. I won’t follow anybody where that’s going.
  • Campaign rhetoric part 2. Trump supporters generally tell us it was the heat of the campaign that forced him to make his more despicable statements. But isn’t the campaign really an audition or a job interview? Isn’t that where you show your best side, not your worst? We accuse most candidates of sugar-coating their less than admirable qualities but, suddenly, a politician appears who is crude, discriminatory and lies consistently. We’re supposed to forget all that, and transition into a new, improved Trump after the inauguration? (Trump’s first day as president was filled with petty arguments over crowd size at the Inaugural ceremony the day before. To quote his 13-year-old girl-like tweets: #sad.)
  • Campaign rhetoric part 3. We’re supposed to admire Trump for boldly speaking his mind. A madman screaming on a street corner boldly speaks his mind as well. Enough said.
  • Trump the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow… except when he’s gaslighting. Trump isn’t different from the steaming pile he was on the campaign trail, but he does love a good gaslight. For example, recently he implied horrible things about the CIA, that included at tweet hinting that they were a vestige of Nazi Germany. The tweet’s available for the public’s viewing. At the CIA yesterday, he said he never had a problem with the CIA, and that the feud was the product of the dishonest media. That’s gaslighting: the con man’s game that assumes people are too lazy to remember or to check the facts. Unlike Ingrid Bergman in the movie “Gaslight”, we know we’re not crazy.
  • Trump tries to psychologically separate the people from the free press: The first step of an authoritarian government is usually to shut down the free press. That doesn’t necessarily mean boarding up the front door of The Times. It can also mean making the press a convenient scapegoat so that many people no longer look for information from anyone not connected to Trump. Whether it’s his remarkably thin skin or something more devious, Trump cannot stop himself from attacking the press unless they say the things he wants to hear. It’s always a matter of convenience. Does it support his propaganda or are they automatically labeled “the dishonest press?” This isn’t just about PR. It’s about the flow of information, the freedom of opinion and the right to dissent.
  • Trump’s authoritarian, messianic complex. I believe in America. The document that establishes the country starts, “We, the people…” Trump gave good lip service to that right after the election and in a tiny part of his inaugural speech. But nothing indicates that he is willing to compromise or really negotiate with anyone who doesn’t fall in line behind him. He will steamroll over anyone who disagrees with ways he thinks America will be great again. At the RNC convention, it sounded very much like he was telling us only he could save us. I liked “Stronger together” better. He’s got a definite authoritarian flair, a quality struggling people too often see as attractive – until their democratic rights and their quality of life end up in the dumpster. Trump draws an intensely dark and outrageously inaccurate picture of America. (Listen to him describe the “typical” lives of black Americans.) But dictators need a morass, real or contrived, to save unwitting followers from. Trump creates the picture a particularly ugly one. Those who don’t seek information independently (see free press above) will believe it and seek Trump’s authoritarian salvation.

I’m sure I missed a lot, but I think this alone is plenty. Trump will inevitably carry out some things. But at what cost? There’s a necessary tokenism in doing the right thing occasionally. It’s reassuring to those who need to believe. But we’ve got to be “big picture” thinkers or we’re going to be in trouble. The Trump “big picture” doesn’t look good.


Jun 03

Trump’s New Book: The Art of the Deflection

The Art of the Deflection

The Art of the Deflection

“Because the indefensible can’t be defended… that’s why we perfected… The Art of the Deflection.”

If I were to ghostwrite Trump’s next book, that would be the first line. All politicians and political wonks play some form of deflection when debating. But Trump and his followers have taken it to a new level.  In their hands, it has gone from a simple technique to an art form they depend on almost exclusively. Like the magician’s sleight of hand, they say, “Look over here – not there.”

I’m not always a fan of CNN. They play Trump’s game – all Trump, all the time with very little push back on his hyperbolic statements.  I wonder if they are like CBS News Chief, Les Moonves, who said, when talking about Trump’s rise, “It may not be good for America, but it’s good for CBS.”  Those sugary sweet ratings can tempt anyone away from wholesome journalism. But CNN’s Carol Costello was a delightful exception to this the other morning.

On that day, Costello asked a Trump advisor, “What is Trump’s plan to deal with Isis?” Four times, she asked. And four times the Trump guy attacked Hillary, Obama, the Democrats…. always somebody. The question wasn’t, “How effective are the other guys?” The question, I repeat as Carol repeated four times, was, “What is Trump’s plan to deal with Isis?”

Like a true journalist, Costello kept calling him on it, but all the supporter had to work with was some of Trump’s non-specific declarations. And that’s not a plan.  The defender couldn’t defend the indefensible, so attacking others was his only option.

“Ignore the man behind the curtain. It’s Obama’s fault we have no plan.”

(In fairness, later this week, Trump’s Stephen Miller… You know? The one who looks like a serial killer… He explained Trump’s foreign policy. “Trump has a good foreign policy philosophy,” he said  before attacking other people who actually have a plan.  We all know a good philosophy beats a good strategy any day, right?)

It’s not only poor Carol Costello who has to suffer through this nonsense. But the sad thing is that she seems to be one of the few who still believes in the power of journalism and persists until she gets an answer. Or in this case, until it becomes clear there is no answer. (Cuomo does pretty well, too.)  You’ve got a be a bit of a bulldog with this Trump bunch or you get nothing.

I first noticed this pattern of deflection a few months ago. They asked CNN’s regular Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord, to talk about Trump’s rants that were descending into a promotion of violence. Remember Trump saying about protesters, “I’d like to slug that guy.” And “See, in the good old days this doesn’t happen because they used to treat them very, very rough.”

(Woo hoo. Let’s make America great like that again!)

The CNN news person asked Lord to defend Trump’s comments. Lord’s responses could’ve been a drinking game. The game:  You get a shot when Lord diverts from defending Trump’s dog whistle statements by going after “liberals” within ten seconds of starting his answer. That was then. But he hasn’t changed his tactics a bit. Now, if you want a quick buzz, watch anytime they ask Lord to answer for any of Trump’s provocative statements. You earn a shot if Lord doesn’t miss a single beat before he goes after someone who is not Trump rather than try to defend the man.

Cheers. And please don’t drink and drive.

If you listen carefully, Lord rarely defends Trump. Neither does Katrina Pierson, the other regular spokesperson on CNN. None of them do. If there’s nothing of substance to defend, you have to either admit that and lose,  or you have to distract from that fact. They distract.

Deflection is a consistent pattern that runs throughout the Trump campaign. If it’s not officially part of their game plan, it should be.  Keep everyone’s eyes off The Donald’s many flaws and keep the opponents playing defense. That’s the only way this works.

C’mon. Do these Trump people really believe that by blaming someone else, it absolves Trump from the original criticism? Do they believe in the magic of magical thinking that says such deflection causes the original criticism to melt away? Nah. It’s a cheap tactic, and they know it. The question is: Who’s falling for it?

As a proud liberal, I’d like to say that this sort of distraction is an essentially conservative practice. But then some conservative would show me some examples of a liberal who has done it. But I bet if someone had the time and patience to count who uses it, the conservatives would far outnumber the liberals. It seems to be a favored tactic in their ranks.  And it makes sense. Isn’t it always about some evil “other” with them anyway? Muslims, immigrants, the elites, gays, the press, Washington insiders, liberals, Obama, Black Lives Matter….anybody to blame for their miseries.  Attacking is a deflection that comfortably fits their narrative.

For Trump, it’s mostly attack, attack, and some more attack. That’s because even the Messiah of the White Middle-Aged can’t defend the indefensible.

Listen to Trump talk at any of his rallies. They’re all the same. Usually first, he’ll go on about poll numbers, who likes him,  who he doesn’t like and the “harrable” press, ad nauseam. Then, after stroking his ego and presumably getting some satisfaction from it, he’ll move on to making a few vague declarations which are essentially fantasy promises to the gullible. These serve as empty morsels for the psychological needy and provide an illusion that there is something there. Since this usually lacks any real substance, he has nowhere to go. To use a double negative, you can’t build on nothing. So, he’ll shift to attacking other people – which he does in abundance. He might mix it up a bit, but all the elements are generally the same each time.

What else can he do? That’s all he’s got. But if you like stage magicians – you got it.

Did somebody say the emperor has no clothes?

Dec 28

ISIS is the New Ebola

If your Christmas gathering this year was like mine, it was horrible. All we could talk about were the people in our lives we lost to Ebola. A couple of friends at the table broke down into tears just thinking about it. Because of this plight, we all wore masks which we lifted the corners of to fork in the turkey and mashed potatoes. It was a necessary precaution because we didn’t know where anyone at the table had been or with whom they had been in contact. Despite the unseasonable warmth, it was a cold Christmas all the same.

Your holiday celebration wasn’t like that? Neither was mine. Actually, my Christmas was quite nice.

Remember Ebola. It gave us something to talk about in 2014. Our medical experts said American resources are different from those they have in Africa, and we had little to worry about. That didn’t stop some from panicking.

Man looking frightened

There’s an Ebola over there.

For instance, the conservative mouthpieces started calling for travel to be banned from Africa. Rand Paul even suggested that bringing back our soldiers who worked in Africa to contain the disease would potentially doom us all.

Conservative blogs started wringing their hands about leadership failures in the White House because our President was listening to the experts in the CDC instead of them. “Travel bans!” they all cried in unison. On the heels of this sentiment came one that required us to isolate somebody. A Republican governor responded by locking up an American nurse returning from compassionate work in Africa although every expert in the world said it was unnecessary. (Admittedly, a Democratic governor almost gave into the same panic, but in the end listened to the experts and let the health workers go home to monitor themselves. Better late than never.)

The conservatives were all predicting our “lack of response” would bring us an apocalypse that would make the Walking Dead look like a walk in the park on any given Sunday. For those not fluent in the conservative language, “lack of response” translates to “lack of panic” in English.  The president and other authorities weren’t panicking enough for them.

Whenever something the least bit exploitable hits the news, you can count on members of the GOP, the proclaimed party of the conservatives, to do two things. Once the news hits, they barely skip a beat before they tell you why you should be afraid. Skip a few more beats, and they will describe to you who should be kept out of this country (for foreigners) or who should lose their civil liberties (for Americans).

Now, it’s ISIS. Statistically, ISIS isn’t going to touch your life. It just isn’t. The group probably will not even hurt anybody you know. The stats are so against it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about ISIS. It just means we should keep a perspective and not be so damn afraid as a nation.

Nonetheless, the Republican frontrunner is still drawing crowds talking about things like travel bans and registering people all according to a religious test clearly frowned upon by our Constitution. It’s true the conservative candidates who understand their need to appeal to centrists for the general election have done the politically expedient thing of denouncing such talk. But the real face of conservatism is at the place where they draw the crowds. Even having made these un-American suggestions, Mr. Trump has not lost any attendance at his rallies nor numbers in the polls.

We would hope conservatives would learn from some of their recent  useless panics. But, all we can do is hope.

However, in typical fear and panic style, Americans are burning Mosques where other Americans worship. Meanwhile, conservatives criticize Obama because the president has chosen not to make ISIS’s day by calling them Islamist and turning it into the holy war these extremists want. Conservatives want to blame a one-size-fits-all generic Muslim for their fears. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all generic Muslim. It seems ISIS isn’t the only group hoping for a holy war.

It’s Ebola panic all over again.  FDR’s famous fear quote is too easy here. When we stop letting the conservative fear mongers* (aided by the ratings-hungry media) tell us that we should be afraid and how we should react, we’ll be a lot better for it.

Right now, we have other things to do. We need to stay rational which will naturally instill courage in us. We need to start thinking for ourselves and to begin questioning why others are so bent on us living in fear and pessimism to the point that we’re willing to give up our principles. Until we do, they own us.

So, if you’re on-board, start by repeating after me: “ISIS is the new Ebola.”

*(It all comes down to the middle-class white fear of losing economic and social power and trying to control others in an attempt to regain it.  But that’s a discussion for another time.)


May 02

Cruz makes claim after skipping Lynch vote that has aides pedaling fast | Dallas Morning News

C'mon Ted... you can fool some of the people... and you obviously have.

C’mon Ted… you can fool some of the people… and you obviously have.

The Texas senator’s stance on Senate rules implied opposition to lots of things he supported. Oh, Teddy!

Source: Ted Cruz’s claim after skipping Lynch vote has aides pedaling fast | Dallas Morning News

This guy went to an Ivy? Most of us had a better understanding of how government works after our middle school civics course.

Cruz always makes excuses when he does something stupid like spearhead the shutting down of the government or miss a key vote. And the excuses are usually as outrageous as the thing he is making the excuse about.

Back me on this: Didn’t he go on Sunday television after the shutdown? And wasn’t Cruz’s excuse for that massive failure go something like this: Because the Democrats didn’t fold to the demands he was making, they caused the shutdown? Therefore, the fiasco (that he spent weeks engineering) was the Democrats’ fault.  I guess the bad-sport Dems just don’t like to govern by holding the government hostage.. It’s all their fault… In what twisted universe?

It’s simple, Rafael. If you’re not there, you haven’t voted. That’s not a “no” vote. That’s simply no vote at all. (I swear I knew this in 7th grade.) So, next time you want to register a “no” vote, buddy, show up. It’s the only way.

But if you’re going mess up on how it all works, at least don’t do it in such a way that you shoot yourself in the foot. That’s just not presidential.

And stop with the lame excuses.



May 01

Satanists Seize On Hobby Lobby To Test The Limit Of Religious Freedom | ThinkProgress

Freedom of religion for all religions? Or just evangelical Christians?

Freedom of religion for all religions? Or just evangelical Christians?


Posted by Darrell

May 01

Conspiracy Theory: Military Takeover of Texas


Texas residents were up in arms this week over a planned U.S. military training exercise that’s been portrayed in right-wing conspiracy theory circles as everything from a ploy to confiscate Americans’ guns to an excuse to abduct political dissidents.

The speculation reached such a fever pitch that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday asked the State Guard to monitor the exercise so that “that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.

“Residents’ fears can be traced back to a “leaked” slideshow presentation that outlined the operation’s goals and logistics and made the rounds on the fringe of the conservative blogosphere. The document was posted by the conspiracy theory website All News Pipeline to the document sharing site Scribd in March under the headline “Jade Helm Martial Law WW3 Prep Document 1.” As of Thursday, it had been viewed more than 2.1 million times.The document contained a map that labelled certain states, including Texas and Utah, as “hostile.” So it comes as no surprise that rumors about a possible military takeover would run rampant among anti-federalists and conspiracy theorists.

It’s worth noting that Brazos Valley, Texas radio station WFAW actually posted the U.S. Army’s slideshow presentation back in February when county commissioners approved the military’s request to conduct the training exercise. The document posted by WFAW varies slightly in content and length from the slideshow cited by conspiracy websites.

The training exercise is scheduled to last from July 15 to Sept. 15 in Texas and six other states, according to a release from the U.S. Army.”The public can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of exercise will be conducted in remote areas,” the release read. “The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and its associated noise. There will also be economic gain: an increase in the local economy, in fuel and food purchases and hotel lodging.”The military’s official statements on “Jade Helm 15” have done little to quiet anti-government fear-mongering, though. Here are the wildest rumors about the training exercise that are floating around the fringes of the Internet.

Source: Wingers Debate Why Obama Is Plotting Military Takeover of Texas

Editor’s note: As long as it keeps them busy and not committing their usual mischief, maybe it’s just all good for a laugh. Like the Manson family, extreme RWers keep waiting and hoping for the violent thing to happen that will change everything. Remember the Bundy standoff? No, not Ted Bundy. The other law-abiding citizen.

An imagined takeover of Texas is as good a reason as any to get upset on a warm summer day, I guess. If your political position demands fear and hatred to survive… why not?

May 01

Violence is violence is violence

Among thinking people… there is no excuse for it.

Kid with guns. What's happened to us?

Kid with guns. What’s happened to us?

Jan 17

Waiting for Alinsky

A picture of Saul Alinsky

And waiting….and waiting….

Saul Alinsky has been a hot topic for the last decade or so. Freedomworks has had seminars on his tactics to stir up the Tea Party. Glenn Beck and other conservative spokes models have waxed eloquently about his devious left-wing philosophy and strategies. He pops up as a frequent topic on Right-wing blogs. And God knows, he’s always referred to by conservatives on Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, the only people who aren’t talking about Alinsky are… most liberals. However, you wouldn’t know it from conservative social media.

Yesterday, a raging right-winger called me an “Alinsky loving liberal” during a debate I was having. He was part of a conservative swarm on Twitter. (They travel in packs like nuns.) Admittedly, he wasn’t arguing with all cylinders – nor were his compatriots. Nonetheless, his name-calling conjured up images of my secret satanic altar to the god, Saul Alinsky –surrounded by flickering commie red candles deep in the dark grotto of my evil liberal lair.

Only problem: I  barely have a passing academic understanding of who Saul Alinsky was and what he’s all about. What I do know leaves me cold. Sometimes, I have to trust Wikipedia and look him up when I hear references to him (references always made by conservatives). I’d hate to have to take a quiz on the man. I’d no doubt flunk. I dare say, most of the many liberals I know aren’t any better educated on Alinsky than I am. None of us probably come anywhere close to having the knowledge those who have attended a Freedomworks seminar on the guy have.

Alinsky is a conservative myth the Right creates to have a canned argument at the ready. Oh, he was real guy and had a real political and activist philosophy. There are surely even some left-leaning adherents to his ways out there in the world even now. But are most of the run-of-the-mill liberals disciples of Alinsky or any of his ideas? No. And, sorry, I can’t make it any simpler for those conservatives who will undoubtedly insist they are. (See conspiracy theories.)

So, if all this Alinsky stuff is a conservative delusion, why waste cyberspace writing about it? Because it’s symptomatic of what is regularly occurring in the current political debate. It represents the classic strawman argument. For those who haven’t been in debate class for a while, that’s where you stack your opponent’s side of the argument with material that is not what he, in fact, believes. You customize both sides of the argument to your advantage, and it makes for an obvious but dishonest win.

As a debater setting up a strawman, you say, “This is what you believe and this is why it’s wrong.” Notice the lack of a question to find out what your opponent actually does believe. In a strawman argument, it doesn’t matter what he really believes. In fact, it’s dangerous to find out. It may not fit your preconceived argument.

Remember the old saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything else  becomes a nail.” If all you have is a ready argument about the deviousness of Alinsky, then  it’s really convenient if all of your opponents happen to be his followers.

We all do it. I have a good friend who is a conservative who I communicate with regularly on social media. He always surprises me by being something other than what my preconception of what a conservative is. It’s a good surprise because I learn something new every time. The biggest thing I learn is not to rely solely on my own preconceptions and to think in terms of questions more than statements.

When my opponent yesterday brought up Saul Alinsky, we had only communicated for probably no more than ten minutes. I had only asked questions and challenged some of the swarm’s facts at that point. He had no real clue about me nor what I believed. It didn’t matter. With the Alinsky reference, he was able to pull up a canned argument (both sides) in his mind and make a decision. There was no attempt on his part to discover anything that wasn’t already occupying the echo chamber in his brain.

His loss.



Nov 21

Republicans: Is it time to deal with those anger issues?

Play with me!

Play with me!

Why Republicans Need  Some Time on a Shrink’s Couch

by Darrell Hill

In politics, we expect some gamesmanship. For the past six years, the Republican game was to keep President Obama in a constant “no win” position. It started the week after Mr. Obama’s first inauguration when the Mitch McConnell proclaimed that they would make sure Obama was a one term president. Forget governing. The game was more important. Who cares if the country (with our wages) stagnates? It’s an angry game that speaks of deep-seated anger issues.

There’s an old saying: “The only way to stop playing a game is to stop.” In other words, we have a part to play in any game we find ourselves in. Sometimes political or psychological games sweep us in before we even know we’re playing. But, if we don’t like the way it’s going, we can stop. Last night, Barrack Obama stopped playing the Republican’s game by executive order. He walked away from their trying to keep him in a “no win” position. And this maddened the Grand Old Party.

Sure, Obama stopped playing the game because there are no other elections during his presidency that his actions can influence . Okay, a little political, but better late than never. Politicians are not always our bravest citizens. But Obama found the courage to stop playing last night. And good minds on both sides of the issue will argue for decades whether delivering the executive order was constitutional or not. We had a lot of this kind of discussion during W. as well. That’s all interesting. But, to me, what’s more interesting is the Republican response when the president one-sidedly stopped playing their short-sighted game.

Of all the things the Republicans have proposed in response to the president’s executive orders, not one of them, up to the moment I’m writing this, has to do with resolving differences. No “let’s come to the table on this” or “let’s pass a bill”. “None of that statesmanship crap! How about some power plays instead? We want somebody to hurt.”

I guess if you’re angry enough all you can see is punishment. Punishment does seem to be more of a conservative tactic. However, Punishment almost never works. People might put up with being spanked for a while but not forever. The idea that punishment doesn’t work seems to matter little when the game turns to retribution. The interesting thing about the Republican’s default style of retribution is that each measure ultimately hurts only the American people. Only one threat out of the current batch of threats actually lays a glove on Obama himself in any real way. Check it out:

  • Withholding funding for NSA or other government agencies. Who does that hurt? We need less security in this country, right? Instead of a compassionate immigration policy, we need to de-fund and shut down all of our immigration agencies. Does that really hurt anybody but the American people?
  • Refusing to confirm Obama’s nominees including the attorney general. The Republicans apparently didn’t learn their lesson when they let the NRA convince them not to confirm a surgeon general to help set health policy in the country – just before Ebola was a concern. Who gets hurt when the right officials aren’t in the right place? Yup. The people of the United States.
  • Shutting down the government… again. If you have any memory of the last government shut down not so long ago, it speaks for itself. Suffice it to say, the American people are smart enough to know when they are being held hostage.
  • Impeaching the president. Besides the difficulty of meeting the high bar of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, they should think back on what it cost their party when they erroneously decided that impeachment was the way to get rid of Mr. Clinton. They need to remember how all-consuming and painful it was to the people of the United States to go through that. They should recall how unsavory it was to have a hostile party try to negate an election through a witch-hunt.  (My advice to the GOP: If you must indulge yourselves, limit your witch-hunts to once every 100 years or so.)

An impeachment would hurt Obama but not as much as it would hurt the country. With the deck stacked like it is in the Congress, the American people will understand that it’s all political. And it probably wouldn’t help the Republicans in a big picture way if they were to become known as “the party of impeachment”.

All the Republicans seem to know is obstruction and retribution. Every suggestion so far for responding to this executive order on immigration has centered on hurting the president – but mostly by sacrificing the American people… you and me. Can you believe they’re trying to hold us hostage again?

If you don’t think the GOP needs some time on a shrink’s couch to work out their sick anger issues, maybe you should join them for couple’s counseling.

Nov 15

7 facts about conspiracy theories

Paranoid Donald Sutherland pointing

Just as I expected! Conspiracy theories always are.

If you like to debate politics (and I use the word “debate” rather than “fight about” to seem more civilized than I am) as much as I do, you know that such conversations online are stuffed with claims of conspiracies. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the Right or the Left. Someone’s always spouting nonsense conspiracy theories about secret evil-doers secretly doing evil. They will wonder why you don’t see the obvious while you struggle to get them to give some reasonable proof.

I found a great article by Steven Van Hauwer published online in May of 2012 called The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories.  I tried to boil it down to a quick and dirty list of ideas from the article as well as a few of my own observations about conspiracy theories (CTs) and those who swear by them.


  1. Historically, the majority of CTs have been proven incorrect.
  2. CTs are a tool for widening the gap between “us” and “them”. (Right & Left, Government & People, Muslims & Christians, gun-nuts & peaceniks…)
  3. Most CTs involve blaming some “other”. Sometimes this will occur even when the incident that sparked the CT comes from an accidental source or a natural disaster.
  4. CTs are the products of people trying to fill in the blanks when they aren’t fully informed or don’t have the understanding they need. This “filling in” coincides with a belief system or an emotional need / response.
  5. Disproven CTs are often replaced by other CTs to bolster the same belief system. Disproving one creates a vacuum that must be filled with more CTs.
  6. When someone accepts one CT, he becomes susceptible to accepting others. He gets increasingly further from what is known and is real.
  7. When people invest in pet CTs and see them as important, they usually find it hard to accept new and more rational explanations. They start loving the convenient theories more than they love the truth.

So the next time you think you have the goods on someone, stop and consider it again. How many real facts, apart from assumptions, opinions, or beliefs, do you have? It might be less than you think. What can you prove? If you can’t give definitive, objective proof to support your CT, do us all a favor. Just stay quiet. There’s too much noise out there already..

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