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A Quick Program Note (RE: Delano Rose)

A few kind folks have asked why the links to episodes of The Delano Rose are broken. They were removed from my feed due to copyright issues.

Each episode of the show was a soundscape intended to recreate a lucid dream of star-travel and weird memories mixed with random, sometimes freely-associated ideas. I used music in transformative ways, clips from television shows, news items, and commentary. My belief was that its status as a transformative use for my personal, educational, and non-commercial ends would be sufficient to give it a pass.

It did not. A soulless algorithm flagged the shows and they were removed.

I understand the reasons and, while I make no money from my podcasts or blogs, the protection of intellectual property must be honored.

Sorry, folks. I deleted the automatically-generated posts from my feed.

Where Do We Go from Here? 71 Million Americans Still Love A Fascist

The election is over. While I am heartened that Trump was defeated (though he is still contesting the results as of Veterans Day) I am disappointed that it took the highest voter turnout in history and Biden’s victory was less than ten points. Trump earned the SECOND highest voter count in American history with 71 million people or nine million more than showed up for him four years ago.

To me, that number is horrifying and I thank everyone who met that challenge by voting and getting others to exceed that unsettling total by over five million votes. It was the greatest Presidential election drive in history to defeat the growing cancer of white fascism across the nation.

And those 71 million people who affirmed their support for this would-be dictator will milk this last gasp for relevance until adult professionals finally put it down. In the week following the election, Trump supporters deflected their candidates sins, failures, mistakes, and general unpleasantness by picking items from Joe Biden’s political career and in one case, I was informed that Kamala Harris was unsuited for the office of Vice-President because some blogger on a conservative website called her a whore in an op-ed piece which was later amplified as a fact by noted oxygen-thief Rush Limbaugh.

This is not a matter of Republicans saying this is their guy so they will be loyal to the party. No, this is an awakening of an extreme socially conservative beast born from the resistance to the civil rights movement and a denial of social injustice in this country.

I have listened to and read opinions about Biden and his family that could swap out the surname Trump and be as accurate as the court records that factualize opposition’s fantasies.

Essentially, Trump supporters could only defend their choice by claiming that Biden’s entire career of gaffes and bad judgement equates to Trump’s four years of abject failure, poor character, infidelity, predatory behavior, disloyalty, lies, fiscal irresponsibility, and gross incompetence.

71 million Americans felt he is the best option we have to lead because while he used a beauty pageant for underage girls as his personal pedophile sex gallery and admitted on tape to using his power to sexually assault women, here’s a video of Joe Biden being weird with kids. They deny Trump’s racism even though he blanketed all Mexicans as criminals and rapists. He pursued a ban on Muslims. His supporters are so ignorant of their own racism that they don’t see banning all of one race, nationality, or faith because some might be bad people is the basic, most understandable definition of that term. They don’t understand that Americans pay the tariffs imposed on China, not the Chinese. They don’t see Executive Orders as despotic so long as they agree with what’s being ordered. What they see is an old man who doesn’t care who he insults, doesn’t bother with people who see the world differently, and does not have to worry about being held accountable for lies, ignorance, or failure because he’s doing right by those who believe and act as he does.

This is the America Trump supporters still want. And they hold the Senate. And they have the Supreme Court. And they have many state governors and legislatures, courtrooms, commissions, and school boards. If that doesn’t frighten you, you’re not paying attention.

Meanwhile, the US House of Represented lost seats to Republicans, though kept the majority. The Senate is, as of this date, divided 48-48 with two run-off elections scheduled in Georgia.

Local and state elections were not a mandate to oust the worst President of the Modern Era(tm). There is so much to be done and, frankly, undone. There was no blue wave. The queen has been wounded, but the hive is still active. The worm has not yet turned among the Republicans in Congress who have excused and defended this President for his actions, the least of which would have been an outrage had Trump been elected as a Democrat.

I am heartened if only because the voting patterns tell me that, in the privacy of the voting booth, Republicans joined Democrats and Independents in record numbers to record their conscience. They voted for their state and local Republicans, but chose not to renew their support for Donald Trump. Enough Republicans chose against straight party lines this time to put their trust in Joe Biden to restore dignity and confidence in the Office of the President of the United States. Some, perhaps most, held their nose making this choice, so I applaud their courage of conviction. I know they will not go easy on Biden in his term. Nor should they. The point is that they put country over party and those Lincoln Republicans are the anonymous heroes of this election.

We always focus on the big ticket elections and turnout for state and local elections benefitted from this additional attention. Off-year elections are often ignored to the benefit of the incumbents. The lack of a “blue wave” in this election in the US House and Senate shows that we have a lot of work to do to escape this trend toward a selfish, isolationist, and darker America.

So, we take a breath. The battle’s done and we kinda won, so we sound our victory cheer.

Edit: Shortly after revising this entry, I came across this video blog from YouTuber Steve Shives that shares many of these ideas along with the specific song that’s been playing in my head since Saturday’s projected victory. Check him out.

Why Do People Like, Even Admire Donald Trump?

This is a common question among progressives who look at President Trump and suddenly see the conservatives of the past in a more favorable light. Myself, I would agree to swap Reagan or either Bushes for Trump if Trump agreed to tap out for a second term. Of course, I am fighting for a Biden win, but I would agree to any other reasonable Republican if it just meant the tangerine twatgoblin would pack up and go. I dislike him that much.

But why do people see a different, decent, even heroic man in our president? Some see him as the leader of their party and will never admit to anything other than his excellence and righteousness. He may be the worst Chicago Cub ever to throw a ball, but by GOD he’s still the White Stocking, win or lose. Others, like most of the working Republican Party, see him as a useful idiot. He occupies the office with a RED “R” and can be useful. As we have seen, the GOP rarely breaks rank with even the most absurd or vile Trump thought. Excusing Trump’s words and actions as a miserable human is the cost of forwarding their agenda.

But then, there’s the rest of them. The voters. The everyday folks who just need to get through this life without more to worry about than they have. They’re lower on Maslowe’s pyramid than most and just need to be led through this mess of a world they live in.

Continue reading “Why Do People Like, Even Admire Donald Trump?”

The Dinner Date: A Writing Exercise in Dialogue for Audio

AMB: A FORMAL RESTAURANT, LOW RHUBARB, CLASSICAL MUSIC TO SIGNAL “CLASSY” JOINT.

Becky: Before our date, what were you doing?

Peter: Is this an icebreaker question?

Becky: Very good. What were you doing?

Peter: Work.

Becky: What kind of work?

Peter: If I told you, you might think I spiked your drink with Nyquil. Best I tell you what I was doing before I had to work.

Becky: What was that?

Peter: Watching a two hour documentary on YouTube about the history of toilets.

Continue reading “The Dinner Date: A Writing Exercise in Dialogue for Audio”

The Lack of Yellow Ribbons

Back in the 1970s, around the end of the Vietnam War, the pop group DAWN, featuring Tony Orlando performed a song that was really about a man hoping his girl was still waiting for him after a three-year stretch in prison. In his letters, he tells her he’s coming home and asks her to tie a yellow ribbon around a tree near the bus stop to indicate she still wanted him. The singer can’t face coming home to rejection so the ribbon is his sign to either get off the bus there or keep on going.

According to one of the songwriters, L. Russell Brown, the song was inspired by a story about a Civil War soldier who asked his wife to wear a yellow scarf to indicate her loyalty to him in his absence. If he saw her without it, he would assume she had moved on and he would, too.

We don’t see a lot of yellow ribbons anymore. In fact, the ribbon has taken on many colors to indicate support for one cause or another and it is hard to drive anywhere without spotting a ribbon of come kind on the back of another vehicle. You may have one or more yourself.

Back at the start of The Gulf War – remember that small war George Bush led against Iraq to “liberate Kuwait” which resulted in a second war and occupation we pay for still today? Well, back then, we were a nation that still believed in the concept of going to war, fighting it to win, and bringing the troops home as soon as possible. The yellow ribbon motif was very popular around the country. Ribbons were tied around trees and affixed everywhere to show we supported our troops and wanted them home, preferably all at once with the parades and celebrations we failed to give our troops for their service in Vietnam.

It was a nice psychological exercise when the Guard and Reserves “kicked ass” and came home. It was a televised demonstration of American power and we brought home our troops, leaving behind only enough to keep our enemy under glass, growing, and plotting for a decade.

We showed off our yellow ribbon pins and stickers and kid-crafted signs in big displays of love and support. I don’t see them much any more, but the war continues.

I’m not saying we no longer support our troops. In fact, not supporting soldiers is the third rail of social conscience. You have to SAY it. You don’t, however, have to do anything that indicates it other than give a little money to a charity and send your hopes and prayers. Maybe keep posting memes about how patriotic you are because you love American soldiers and consider them saintly and honorable.

What I’m saying is that our country has given up on that last part and we took down the ribbons not because we don’t support our troops, but we’ve accepted that the war they fight will never end. We don’t expect them to come home to a big parade. We expect them to rotate out, retire, and come home whenever. Plus, that happy, cheesy tune doesn’t quite scan after thirty years.

An early Internet protest song for Gulf War 2

Maybe we took down the ribbon because five American Presidents have presided over our wars and occupations, but none of them have ended them. Bush the First left a monster in power and made Iraq a prison. Clinton did nothing to end the no-fly or promote regime change. After the radicals brought our war back to our shores on 9/11, Bush the Second struck back, toppled the government, and set up a puppet regime that we still support, built prisons that deny prisoners a speedy or fair trial and kept us in Afghanistan long after it was clear Osama bin Laden wasn’t there. Obama got bin Laden, but failed to close Gitmo as promised and remained in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Twatgoblin can’t even find those countries on a map.

NONE of these Presidents, nor anyone who served in Congress bothered to make good on their commitments to the troops by fixing the fucking Veteran Affairs system or ending the god-damned war. They have made it clear that, after an entire generation, we will have ALWAYS been at war with Middle-Asia.

That’s my entire adult life. I started with Yellow Ribbons thinking that we had a plan, objectives, and an exit strategy. My children have all grown up during this war and I don’t think anyone seriously thinks we will ever return to a state of piece.

The Yellow Ribbon is more about the song now because it is a story about individuals. A soldier comes home. Does his family still know and love them the same way despite how the war has changed them? Better, will the country still want them and care about them with proper reintegration services, benefits, educational opportunities, and medical care?

Again, I don’t see many Yellow Ribbons anymore.

NEVER FORGET?

NEVER FORGET…

…that it took longer to provide basic lifetime health and hospice coverage for the first responders on 9/11 than it did to build a new tower over the ruins. And that had problems.

…we are still at war and those who were born when we went to war are now adults, so they have never known an America that was not at war with “terror”. An entire generation in our country is being raised with a normalized state of war.

…we still live in a world where people cry tyranny over face masks to shop but never marched or boycotted over having to take off our shoes or submit to a body scan to fly in a plane.

…trillions of dollars were diverted from education, infrastructure, public health and safety, and other services to pay for this war now headed into its third decade.

…that despite promises to eliminate it, we still manage a prison at our naval facility in Cuba.

Never Forget means learning from our experience.

I remember drinking to get drunk with a man who returned from New York a few months after the attacks. He went there to volunteer and described being assigned to a shorting machine and conveyor belt to look for remains and objects that might identify victims.

“They had me looking for fingertips,” he said between shots. He had heard rumors of bonuses if they found rotting remains that helped identify someone. He recalled seeing people pocket jewelry and other valuables hour after hour on the line. He remembered being exhausted and sleeping on cots every few hours as more debris arrived by boat, coughing up dust that was likely cancer-causing but clearly toxic. He talked about medics responding to other volunteers coughing up blood after inhaling fine glass into their lungs despite using respirators and using the on-site showers.

He found rotting meat on the conveyor belt but it was so badly decomposed or shredded that he had no idea what it came from, but he reported it as required. He turned over personal effects, everything from pocket change, pieces of wallets and clothing, identification cards, badges, reflective stripes from safety vests, glasses, prosthesis, and charred and torn photographs.

The thing about this story is that I cannot verify it. I wouldn’t doubt the man’s story, but I know enough now about America’s willingness to believe or reject information. If I told you this to remind you of the horrors of 9/11, people would respond differently than if I asked you to consider it when voting to increase health care for workers like this. A simple shift in my “ask” would change this cautionary tale of a patriot into a socialist agenda to enslave such people to government servitude.

The same shallow, knee-jerk society exists now between surrendering your liberties to fly and wearing a mask to protect our fellow citizens.

It’s all how you wave a flag over it.

On the Weaponization of Dead Babies, & Other Political Tricks

A few days ago, 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant was shot in the head and killed by a monster. This monster was soon arrested, is now in prison without bond, and will likely die there once justice is done. This is how the system is supposed to work every time whether a white man shoots his wife or a Samoan mass shooter murders 20 Cannons in a classroom, or a robbery between a Hispanic and Muslim ends in murder. We cannot prevent all crimes so the system exists to do exactly what it did for little Cannon when we fail to stop the monster.

But every few pages of social media tells me I should be outraged for little Cannon. I should stand FOR Cannon and demand justice. It’s not that these people asking me are unaware of developments in the case. They’ve shared with me the photo of the monster in jail and links declaring police are now moving into a phase where the justice system is taking over.

So what am I supposed to be protesting? That he wasn’t killed in police custody? That he wasn’t lynched on his way to jail? Is that the dog whistle? Because I don’t see that the police and justice system CAN do more than they are.

So let me respond to this request for herd rage directly.

Monsters come in all shapes, sizes, genders, creeds, and races. Funny how this is when the pundit media is so concerned with the death of a child, crying crocodile tears over it like they ever really cared. The pundits don’t interrupt their blistering oratory and fearmongering to announce every Amber Alert or to share the shocking news that a child died of starvation while locked in his shit-covered bedroom because his white, Christian parents couldn’t care for him but enjoyed collecting the welfare payments his suffering earned them.

Did that seem oddly specific?

Do you remember them? No? Google the Tutko family of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and remind me where your Internet outrage was then for that child and his siblings. Where was Tucker Carlson’s grand bag of lung farts when that tragedy broke?

If you want to cherry-pick this case to imply this monster represents all black people, I can share the tales of white monsters all the live-long day that I’m pretty sure never even made it onto your radar. And you will be ashamed and sickened by the horrors they visited on innocents. But will you care enough to have the real conversation about the gap between rich and poor, the corruption and rot that grows in people denied any opportunity to live among us modest “haves”?

Let’s say you get your wish and the monster is lynched. What have you solved? Jack and Shit.

Let’s say the BLM movement fulfills your wish that they just shut up and go away. What does that solve? Is that your idea of “justice” for Cannon? Are you thinking that it means no more children will die from homicide? You know it won’t. You only want silence and for the loud people to suffer in it for your convenience.

You just want to repeat that the entire debate comes down to a white child murdered by a monster who happens to be black. I’m outraged because it happened at all. I’m outraged because millionaire shit-gibbons like Tucker Carlson, along with most people, wouldn’t give two shits and a salute about Cannon Hinnant even if the shooter had been his own father. Some of you living truck-nuts might even vomit up the old chestnut that “its the price of freedom!”

“Oh what a tragedy, his dad was aiming for the liquor cabinet and hit his child “by mistake. We hope people can give this family time and privacy to grieve.”

But to the conservatives who love to say liberal media doesn’t share news that doesn’t fit “the narrative” this fits the conservative one quite nicely doesn’t it? For a group of people who claim to be so firmly in the know about how the real world works and understand exactly how biased and skewed “the media” is, you sure enjoy this flavor of Kool-Aid, so much that you’ll politicize a child’s corpse to try to score a point you can’t even make without exposing the deep racism at its core.

Fucking stop it. You are better than this.

Rather than focus on the needs of the one, remember that BLM and other movements for civil rights are a response to the kind of tyranny conservatives LOVE pretending to stand up against. Only, it seems you love this form of tyranny because you stand with the tyrants. Your guns are safely locked away as masked gunmen pull citizens into unmarked vans and released only with a legally binding promise to relinquish their First Amendment right to protest further.

Face it, folks, we’re the ones out here, mostly unarmed, defending YOUR freedom and I only see you guys gunned-up to bitch about having to wear a mask. If you’re so fucking brave, why the Kevlar? If God’s going to protect you from a bug, surely he loves you enough to stop bullets, too, right?

Anyway. I get it. You don’t see the injustice in a group of people you know nothing about, refuse to interact with, and routinely refer to as inferior. Your life is not perfect, so why should someone else get to complain? And I know that some days the only thing that holds your dignity intact is the illusion that you are somehow superior because you were LUCKY enough to be born in America and white.

Unfortunately, we have bigger problems than your world view. You can ignore those problems and focus on the looting and the violence, throw pictures of a dead child in our faces, but history consistently files your behaviors in the “this is who they overcame” section of the narrative. Don’t be that guy whose entire life is immortalized by a photo of him in a suit smiling as he helps hold up the corpse of a beaten black man who dared use active sentence structure in front of a white man.

When This is Over, A Reckoning.

If you take the position that you won’t wear a mask or observe basic safety precautions during a pandemic, I can’t convince you otherwise, but I can say this:

Every time a sport cancels a season,
Every time a school has to close up because of an outbreak,
Every day a business remains shuttered,
Every time someone loses their job or business,
Every time something you enjoy stops operating,
Every time a party in defiance of the guidelines leads to new cases,
Every time a preacher, politician, or businessperson exposes puts citizens at risk with lies designed to protect their own coffers,
Every extra week we have another spike in cases,
Every hospitalization,
Every intubation and induced coma,
Every hospital bed filled that would have saved another’s life,
Every family that has to deal with a loved one with COVID, fatal or not,
Every death…

…it won’t be the fault of people who did everything they could to get us through and beyond this situation.

When the house is on fire, you can choose not to help put it out. But when the fire is extinguished, people will wonder what could have been saved if you just got over yourself and pitched in.