big fish chasing small fish, small fish getting together and chasing the big fish

There are more of us every day

The sickest thing about this whole episode (the latest being the sham Kavanaugh hearings) is that the vast majority of Americans don’t support these power-mad Republicans nor their draconian agendas, but they and the media have got us thinking that we are in the minority! They have taken our power away from us like taking candy from a baby.

There are less and less of them every day. And every day they will try new, more desperate tactics to cling to power. If the people only had a sense of our vast, collective energy, we would be unstoppable.

I’m still not sure whether we are going to make it through this. We have strayed so far from anything resembling democracy I can’t see the way back.

On the banality of life under authoritarianism

I used to watch movies and documentaries and wonder how people could live seemingly-normal lives in repressive states like the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, China, etc.

Now I’m living it in the US. Now I know how we get there.

Although the urge to scream and lie down in the middle of the highway to stop everything rises in me daily, the inertia of daily life is stronger. I have a child I have to keep functioning for.

I have a good job, a good family, and a good house, which I don’t take for granted.

I know it’s only an accident of fate that I can keep going about my business and enjoying my relatively-easy life because I’m white and middle class, because my family came here a century ago instead of a week ago.

I have a lot of privilege, compared to some.

But I also know that it would only take some small slip of fate to put me under the boot of Republican authoritarianism. I live in constant fear that the shoe will drop.

I finally understand the human need to keep on keeping on, even when all around us is dehumanizing.

So I continue to enjoy my privileged, middle class comfort while feeling increasingly guilty about it and wondering when my bubble will pop.

Most of the time I feel powerless to stop fascism, but I keep a flame of resistance burning for the future.

Happy birthday, America.

totalitarism

Trump didn’t create this empire

We have got to stop acting like Republican greed, deceit, and cultivated ignorance started with Trump! Here’s a Bush advisor in 2002:

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

They tell us this over and over and we still don’t listen. It’s been going on for many decades. Dems don’t even fight back.

Democrats and the media still want to fuck around with “civility” while Republicans are literally creating an empire (a death cult) based on greed and hate. People are fucking dying.

Trump is most certainly an imperial president with no clothes, but he didn’t create this empire. He’s just the perfect fruition of decades of Republican greed and nihilism. I hope he’ll be the empire’s downfall, but I’m not sure we have enough democracy left to fight back, especially as long as the only opposition party is so consumed with incrementalism and protecting the sanctity of the same institutions that got us here.

"The greatest most beautiful clothes the world has ever seen."

Black clad demonstrators with "NO HATE" signs

Can you be Buddhist and antifa at the same time?

Haven’t processed all of this yet, but this is a great exploration of antifa from a Buddhist perspective. Please read if like me you are troubled by both violence and nazis.

Buddhists and the Bloc: An Open Thread On Antifa

On perceptions:

I also want to think about this on a “Buddhist” level. What do we expect Buddhists to look like at these demonstrations? Based on mainstream images, we might expect thin, glowy, non-disabled, ‘wise-seeming’ adherents, typically white, occasionally Black. (Thanks, racist erasure.) We might expect them to be sitting in meditation, legs crossed, face uncovered and untroubled. There is nothing wrong with any of these forms, but it’s a problem when our expectations calcify around them. This problem is not new. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche identified it in his classic book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. If we’re not careful, we can slide into stereotypes and assumptions about how awakening behaves. What it wears. How it sounds. And that’s where ego creeps in, just when we think we’re being all awakened and marvelous.

On violence as a tactic:

…My commitments to transforming oppression lead me to seek relationship and solidarity with those actively opposing white supremacy.

That means I’m going to encounter plenty of people I disagree with. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that some people in Antifa, and some who use black bloc tactics, aren’t animated by rage and a desire for destruction. Even vengeance. But this scares me less, even on a moral level, than those who would pretend that the world’s seemingly endless stream of searing injustice doesn’t warrant our rage.

I am unarmed. I will remain unarmed. Buddhist Peace Fellowship will never promote attacking an enemy. But in my mind, this is a profoundly privileged position, almost an accident of luck, and a calling for which I am grateful — not a trophy of righteousness with which to bludgeon others who choose to engage in self defense.

Taking heed from spiritual-political revolutionary and writer adrienne maree brown, let’s be honest about whose bodies are at stake, and act accordingly. Violence surrounds us every day, all the time, inescapable. How do we bring about radical transformation (which necessitates destroying many current systems of greed, hatred, and delusion), while remaining as true as possible to a life of awakening and compassion?

Read more and join the conversation at The Buddhist Peace Fellowship website.

Cassandra at the peak of her insanity.

It’s time for SOLIDARITY, not SURPRISE

It’s been two months since I posted, although I have new things to rant about every single day. While current events might seem unpredictable, and the bizarre machinations of the Bannon/Trump administration may surprise us, there is really nothing that we couldn’t have generally expected with basic knowledge of how authoritarian kleptocrats work, and by listening to what Trump and Bannon have said themselves.

I’m not saying I’m the smartest smarty pants, but I listen to a lot of very intelligent people. And I have already posted here about…

the many different ways that Republicans suppressed free and fair voting, and will fight democracy even more in the future;

that the Trumps are in deep with Putin, and have been for many years;

how crucial it is not to normalize this aberrant presidency, and stop letting a childish tyrant control the conversation with manipulative, illiterate Tweets;

that the systems of government that got us to this point are not going to save us now;

how Trump voters are selfish racist hypocrites, and that they are not the majority;

that Trump’s immigration policies are immoral and racist;

how quickly Trump-Bannon have moved to flood the swamp with sycophants, donors, and lying ideologues;

how it’s no accident that this is one of the most authoritarian governments we have ever seen in this country’s history;

how important it is to protest with direct action, build solidarity, maintain mindfulness, hold fast to our moral compasses, and think of the future right now;

that we need to be a lot more paranoid online because people actually are out to get us;

that gun control is a racial justice issue;

how Republicans are cheaters who can’t win fair elections, that want to muzzle peaceful dissent, and how they built a decades-long strategy to worship free enterprise at the expense of justice and criminalize their political opponents;

how proud I am to see my city stand up against hate;

how inept Democrats are, have been, and will continue to be at protecting us from Republicans’ nihilist destruction;

and most of all about how we need to be ready to put our bodies on the line to resist, and that we need to stop being surprised at the depths of Republican corruption.

When it happens again and again, I am left with not much else to say except SEE! I told you so. I told you so again. That’s boring and demoralizing.

Cassandra at the peak of her insanity.

‘Cassandra’ by Evelyn De Morgan (1898, London); Cassandra in front of the burning city of Troy at the peak of her insanity.

I keep coming back to Cassandra who was cursed to know the future and never be believed. Of course she went insane, who wouldn’t? I am trying not to follow that path by doing what I can: take care of my physical and mental health, take care of my child, teach him about the real world but also help him grow up to be a happy, healthy, and responsible person, stock up on emergency supplies, and build solidarity with friends and family that we are going to need when The Crisis hits.

We can’t know exactly what The Crisis will be, but I’m positive there will be a major national or international emergency precipitated/used by the Trumps to try to grab even more power. It could be a third world war, a Russian attack on our power grid, a weather disaster that is exacerbated by lack of federal infrastructure, disorganized mass protests and rioting, defunding of local government or other critical agencies that we rely upon, another rash of widespread hate crimes, or (maybe, possibly, hopefully) the people finally rising up together to take our government back when we realize that The Constitution is only as strong as we make it.

No matter what, we are living in some of the ugliest times of this nation and it’s almost certain to get much much worse before it gets better. I implore anyone who cares to take care of yourselves, but don’t turn away from the difficulty and suffering. Stay connected to each other, don’t allow authoritarians to isolate us at home, at work, in our community, or in politics. We need each other more than ever.

Don’t count on impeachment

I see a lot of people celebrating already because they think impeachment is imminent. It’s really not.

More importantly, I don’t want people to think impeachment would (will?) save us. It’s a continuation of people who keep thinking this can’t happen here or that somehow the Democrats or courts are going to stop it. They’re not.

Impeachment is not going to undo the damage of the past year of antagonism, the past months of shitting on democracy and the Constitution, nor the past decades of voter miseducation and suppression.

Should Congress impeach Trump? Of course. Just add that to the long list of ethical tasks they have been avoiding for years in service of their own short-term political power, including providing a hearing for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, safeguarding the public health of our country, protecting the environment, etc.

We need a broad and deep change in our society. We need to work for the rest of our lives to make this racist kleptocracy as impossible as it should have been.

"Nixon and Reagan shaking hands:

How Republicans have criminalized political opponents for decades

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

– Jezebel: Nixon Policy Advisor Admits He Invented War On Drugs to Suppress ‘Anti-War Left and Black People’, 3/22/17

Also, if you haven’t yet, just watch 13TH already! This story goes way back before Nixon.

1984

We have always been at war with Eurasia

‘Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has said Trump will lead a “deconstruction of the administrative state.”’
–  Washington Post: Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce, 3/12/17

Tearing down civil society, safety nets, schools, environmental protection, while adding to the world’s largest military force.

They want us tired, hungry, lonely, and sick. They want us at each other’s throats so we won’t be at theirs. Killing the government isn’t just just an ideological goal, it’s strategic at multiple levels.

Republicans hate democracy, part eleventy million and one

They have tried criminalizing dissent in several other states, and now this “economic terrorism” bill filed today in North Carolina shows once again that Republicans value money and power more than civil rights, the Constitution, or democracy itself.

What would the founders say? What would Martin Luther King say?

AN ACT TO CREATE THE CRIMINAL OFFENSE OF ECONOMIC TERRORISM, TO ESTABLISH CIVIL LIABILITY FOR ECONOMIC TERRORISM, TO CREATE A DUTY FOR A RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO TAKE ACTION TO CLEAR TRAFFIC OBSTRUCTIONS RESULTING FROM UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES, TO INCREASE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR OBSTRUCTING TRAFFIC WHILE PARTICIPATING IN UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES, AND TO PROVIDE CIVIL LIABILITY FOR THE COSTS OF RESPONDING TO TRAFFIC OBSTRUCTIONS AND CERTAIN OTHER UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES.

Read it at http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H249v0.pdf