Bad Seed

I’d like to have a good laugh over the latest lament of the Columbia student protesters. They’ve occupied Hamilton Hall and now they are outraged that no one is bringing them food and water. They think they have a right to burritos, Red Bull and melatonin gummies on…like…humanitarian grounds or whatever. This is the height of white, entitled, western arrogance (everything the students think they are decrying) and they are incapable of absorbing the irony.

Yes, I’d like to laugh, but it’s really not funny. When the University of Florida arrested protesters and released a statement saying, in part, “The University of Florida is not a daycare,” I let out a silent cheer. Hell! Yeah! Bounce these snot-nosed brats out into the street and show them that their actions have consequences.

The sad truth is, while these students must accept responsibility for what they are doing, the adults are the ones who have failed. We have failed the children, we have failed our institutions of higher learning and, in many ways, we are failing society.

About 20 years ago, I was listening to the Sean Hannity Show on radio when a college kid phoned in. He said something like, “I’m a conservative student in college. How do I deal with my professors who are way left?”

Hannity’s response was, “I feel ya, kid. My best advice to you is to just go along, take the good grade and make your way in the real world after you graduate.” I’m pretty sure I heard similar conversations play out on the Rush Limbaugh Show in the ‘90’s.

I think this is what a lot of moms and dads across America have been doing since the 1960’s when widespread campus activism first appeared. They simply looked at Junior’s grades at the end of each semester and said, “Good job, sons and daughters. Keep it up.” They never really bothered to ask what the students were learning. They never pushed back when Junior started spewing nonsense about anti-colonialism, decadent western capitalism, or the theory of intersectionality. Mom and dad would just smile and nod when the grades came home and would happily write another check for the college when the tuition bill came due.

Well, the bill is really coming due now.

The first evidence of it came during the pandemic when students had to learn remotely while schools and campuses were closed and mom and dad started to figure out what their high school and college brats were being fed. Then, they really started to wake up when the race riots broke loose in the summer of 2020. Remember the kerfuffle over Critical Race Theory? It feels like ages ago. Then came the firestorm of trans rights, men on girls’ sports teams and shared bathrooms between all genders. Yeah…the good old days.

Parents started forming committees to protest at schoolboards. Conservatives started trying to make more serious runs for public office in hope of beating back the forces of anti-Americanism. Donors began to hesitate before cutting their university of choice another check. A lot of parents started saying, “Where is my kid and what have you done with him/her/then/it?”

Now, with the explosion of antisemitism and flagrant lawlessness that has erupted at colleges across the country, Mr. and Mrs. Mom and Dad are really awake. But…too little, too late. We’ve now raised a generation of anxiety-ridden children who have been indoctrinated to the idea that traditional learning with an eye toward critical thinking pales in comparison to so-called lived experiences and education through activism; said activism being of the leftist persuasion.

But it’s not just the parents who have failed. Gutless cowards who sit in the administrative offices at these elite colleges have also failed.

I spent some time with a headshrinker about eight years ago. The most important thing she taught me was that personal boundaries matter. If you don’t construct both internal and external boundaries in your life, you will always be adrift in some way. This was one of the most valuable life lessons I ever learned. I wish I’d learned it earlier.

By not demonstrating to these kids that their actions have consequences, these administrators are proving that boundaries don’t matter. This is why the Columbia kids who have now occupied a campus building are demanding amnesty for their actions. They don’t want the evidence of what they’ve done to dog them for the rest of their lives. “But they have a point, squishy adults cry in response. Didn’t we all do dumb things when we were young?” Of course we did, but we didn’t break windows, harass students based on their ethnicity or religion and occupy a building in the name of a conflict happening thousands of miles away.

And who do these students have to look to? Radical professors who have indoctrinated them with a one-sided ideology without the benefit of balance. Administrators who ignore one deadline after another for the sake of supposed empathy. Politicians who will use these protests for their own ends. And, of course, the ultimate failures in adulthood, two presidential candidates, neither of whom are worthy of holding the highest office in the land.

Sidebar: One aspect of the current campus drama that I really love is the cherry picking of constitutional rights. These kids are protesting in the name of their First Amendment rights as guaranteed by a document authored by a bunch of imperialist, slave-owning white men. I believe they are standing on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Yet, when it comes to freedom of the press, they are far less tolerant. Check out all of the videos on YouTube and see what happens to journalists (professional, student and civilian) who try to interview standard protesters or video the activities of the protesters. You will find it very instructive.

I never thought I would live to see the day when the word adult would be used in the noun, adjective and verb form, but here we are. Well, no matter how you implement the word, America has failed the adult test. And who will answer for these failures when Jewish students end up dead? Because that’s where I think this is heading. Who will pay the bill when there’s life blood on the ground?

Finally, on a separate but related note, I mentioned that today’s youth seem incapable of absorbing irony. Well, here’s the ultimate irony in all of this. Every time pro-Hamas students block Jewish students from entering a building in the name of so-called antizionism, they reinforce why Israel must exist. Every time people tear down hostage posters, they remind Jews of why they really aren’t welcome or equal in western society. Every time politicians employ anti-Semitic slogans, or deliberately misuse inflammatory words like, “genocide,” or “apartheid,” they remind Jews that there is only one government in the world that will really defend them. Every time they deny or downplay the mass rape and slaughter of Israeli citizens in the name of so-called, “resistance,” they show their true evil. There will always be Jews who will stand with the anti-Semites, for both good and bad faith reasons, they too will soon learn how things really are.

Will they learn too late? God only knows. But sooner or later, their bill will come due and they will have no choice but to pay it.

This is a very adult concept, isn’t it?

It is 7:48 Pm Central Standard Time as my fingers type these words. I see tweets indicating that the NYPD may be about to raid Columbia. Good luck, kids. You won’t like jail food, but at least you’ll be hydrated and won’t starve to death.

Faugh! Go tell it to Nika Shakarami.

The Juice

I don’t remember exactly where I was on June 12, 1994, when Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered. Based on the timeline, I’m sure I was in Selleck Hall on UNL campus, attending summer classes. I was probably hanging out in my room watching Star Trek: The Next Generation when the news broke like distant thunder in a dark sky. I don’t remember where I was during the tense Ford Bronco chase either. I was probably taking a nap.

I do remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on October 2, 1995, when the verdict in the trial of the century was read. Like most of America, including children in classrooms across the country, I was tuned in and watching. I was in my room on the second floor of Selleck Hall’s main building, located right next to the elevator and directly above the famous dining hall. I was lying on my bed in front of my small TV with my room door open, as many guys on the floor did during the day hours. I watched in horror as the court clerk read the verdict, finding O.J. Simpson not guilty of murder. I remember hearing crying from the courtroom, as well as someone screaming, “No!”

What happened next is seared into my memory. A guy named Kenji, an African-American student who lived across the hall from me, began screaming and shouting. They weren’t screams of anger, outrage or fear. They were celebratory in nature, as if his football team just won the Super Bowl. I lay on my bed and choked down my anger as several other voices on the floor also joined in the cheers and whooping.

That moment was when I really got it for the first time. I saw the great racial divide that exists in America. Sure, I’d watched the Rodney King drama unfold three years earlier, but the names and voices from L.A. were just concepts coming to me out of the air. And sure, I’d been lectured at by sanctimonious professors in classrooms about racism and such. The Simpson verdict was when I really got the point.

In that moment as I listened to Kenji rejoicing over the liberation of a guy who butchered the mother of his kids, I hated the fucker. I didn’t hate him because he was black. Kenji and I served together in Selleck government and I always liked the guy. But now, I hated him for cheering on a rich asshole who literally got away with murder.

Nine years later, I was attending an NFBNewsline seminar in Baltimore. I was in a room known as the Quadrangle, a large space that held four beds. I had three roommates. Two of them were black. Somehow, the subject of O.J. Simpson came up. I remember feeling outnumbered and attacked as I stated that I was dead certain that O.J. had gotten away with murder. The two of them laughed at me. I remember the laughter to this day. It was scornful, mocking and derisive. They were confident in their assurance that O.J. had been framed for murder. Based on the way Nicole and Ron’s throats had been cut, it had obviously been done by gangsters to whom O.J. owed gambling debts. The murders were a warning to O.J. to either pay up or die. That’s why he ran. He feared for his life.

These two guys are suckers, I thought. They actually think that O.J. was innocent. They are buying into a conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact.

Now, after the death of O.J. Simpson four days ago from cancer at age 76, I have come to doubt my initial impulse. It was born of reflexive vexation for being mocked as if I were a loveable but simple child. Looking back on it, I firmly believe that both men knew full well that O.J. was guilty. They knew the truth for what it was, but they chose to advance a certain narrative in solidarity with their community. In other words, they were gaslighting me. They were gaslighting a dumb hick from Nebraska who didn’t know what it was like to grow up black in Atlanta. They were contemptuous of a white boy who just didn’t get black anger in America. They were chiding a clueless idiot who didn’t understand the healthy, well-earned suspicion that many black people harbored toward the police. That Ryan O. was a nice enough guy, but he was naïve at best, ignorant at worst. Yes, they had very good reasons to lie to me, but they were lying none the less.

How do I know they were gaslighting me? Because, I’ve experienced it time after time after time over the past 10 years. It’s been done again and again for the same reasons. The pattern is sickeningly familiar. The reasons are varied, from supporting a certain political candidate to protecting society from an invisible disease to condemning a foreign country for defending itself. But the motives, benevolent at the beginning and sinister as they mushroom, are always the same. If the stakes are high enough, the lie is a noble one. It has to be told to serve a greater good. If you choose not to believe this lie and engage in a full-throated support of it, you are the problem. You are racist. You are sexist. You are Islamophobic, or transphobic, or whatever the cause du jour might entail. You are bigoted and close-minded. You’re a dupe for the invisible puppet masters pulling the strings. You are the true enemy and you deserve to be canceled, shunned, ridiculed and maybe even to have righteous violence visited upon you.

How ironic that the reasons for those noble lies often come back to the doorsteps of those who are rich, powerful and influential in society. Maybe they are politically influential. Maybe they are culturally influential. But, at the end of the day, they have money and success, so morality must take a hit in the name of service to a certain community.

I’m not writing this to relitigate the O.J. trial. If anyone is interested, there are hours and hours of retrospective analysis and raw historical footage that you can view from any lens if you wish to understand what it was like to live through that time. I’ve already said that I believe he was guilty and that he got away with murder. Unless the real killers should magically turn up with smoking gun evidence, my view on this will never change.

My reasons for writing about this now are merely to take note of the fact that our modern age of mass gaslighting didn’t start when Donald Trump first ran for president in 2016. It didn’t start when he won that election. It didn’t start when COVID-19 broke free into the world. It didn’t start when George Floyd was murdered. It didn’t start when a violent mob assaulted the U.S. Capital on January 6, 2021. It didn’t start when Russia invaded Ukraine, or Hamas raped and massacred thousands of Israeli citizens on October 7, 2023.

It didn’t even really start when certain voices began to excuse 9/11, or when Bill Clinton avoided paying a political price for the Monica Lewinsky affair. To my mind, our modern age of mass gaslighting started on October 2, 1995, when an entire segment of the country knew that a rich and powerful man murdered his wife and an inconvenient bystander and got away with it because he had the means to hire the best lawyers that money could buy, and they carried his water anyway, knowing damn well that the story wasn’t true. The modern gaslighting age started when the internet was only in its infancy, cellular phones were a rare luxury and you actually had to go to the library to do research. DNA was a semi-magical concept shrouded in the respectability of science, but still elusive to the masses.

How the acquittal of O.J. Simpson on double murder charges has served the larger interests of the African-American community is beyond me. I certainly know how it served the activist class, including certain journalists, pundits and academics who have a vested interest in the racial grievance game. But how it served the interests of the average, decent mom and pap folks who just want to make it through life with their fair share of dignity, respect and opportunity that goes beyond their skin color…I have no idea.

Supposedly, video has surfaced of one of the jurors from the O.J. murder trial admitting that everyone on the jury knew that he was guilty, but they wanted revenge for the Rodney King beating in 1992. I appreciate the candor. I’d rather hear unpleasant truths than be lied to for the advancement of some self-serving fiction. On the other side of it, the implicit understanding is that O.J.’s subsequent conviction for robbery in 2007 at the hands of an all-white jury was payback in kind for his skating on the murder charges in 1994. He served 10 years in prison, which was merely a fraction of what he actually deserved, but at least it was something. In the meantime, it looks as if O.J. was able to get away with not paying the bulk of the hefty judgement against him leveled by the Goldman family in the wrongful death civil suit.

And so, round and round we go, tit-for-tat. Each side in the grievance game can hold up their chosen avatar when the argument comes. The white folks have O.J. Simpson, who should’ve died of cancer while serving a life sentence in prison. The left has Mark ‘scumbag’ Fuhrman, who still enjoys being a celebrity contributor on Fox News. It appears that this is how we will be playing the grievance game for the next while. There does not appear to be an off-ramp on this doom carousel. Only God will decide when he’s ready to turn off the music.

I have no idea what became of Kenji. We were never close. I do hope he’s well. I do know that one of the two gentlemen I argued with in the Quadrangle became very prominent in NFB leadership. I heard from reliable sources that he ran cover for Fred Schroeder long before the sexual scandal broke in 2020. How appropriate that he had a chance to sharpen his gaslighting skills and that he could be useful to the so-called, “greater good.”

Incidentally, I do recommend the limited series, American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, aired eight years ago on F-X. There are some unfortunate casting choices to be sure. Cuba Gooding Jr. was a terrible choice to play O.J., and John Travolta was cartoonish as Robert Shapiro. But the story is saved by excellent performances by Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Courtney B. Vance as Johnny Cochran, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian (Kim’s dad) and especially by Sterling K. Brown as Chris Darden. The writing is thoughtful and deliberate, taking no definite positions about guilt or innocence amidst the growing circus of the trial. If you can find it, it’s well worth your time, unlike the successive ACS series concerning the Bill Clinton impeachment saga. I have not yet watched the five-part documentary, O.J. Simpson: Made in America.

God bless the Brown and Goldman families. God bless O.J.’s kids. They didn’t ask for this. And God help America. You can turn off the music any time now, Big Daddy.

Burn Notice

On July 23, 2020, David French wrote a column for The Dispatch titled, “Dump Trump, But Don’t Burn Down the GOP.” His premise was simple. The GOP should eject Donald Trump, but many who were carrying his banner should be given grace and space to mend their ways. After all, how do you fight the president of the United States when he’s your party’s standard bearer?

I was in earnest agreement with David French. Remember that, at the time that he wrote those words, America was still in the grips of the pandemic, as well as a summer of rage in which ravenous mobs were burning, looting and toppling statues in the name of the slain George Floyd. Sure, Trump had to go, but the GOP was still the best alternative to the Democrats and their tacit approval to the marauders.

French’s column was written before the 2020 election, before the COVID vaccines became available, before January 6, before the FBI raided Maralago, before Russia invaded Ukraine, before Trump’s many indictments and legal losses, before Fox News settled a massive lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems, before the Israeli-Hamas war and, most important, before Joe Biden’s advanced age became a glaring liability.

Now, here we are in March of 2024. After a lot of quiet desperation in many quarters of the right, the primaries have come to not. Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswami and Mike Pence all proved to be paper tigers in the face of Trump and what he represents. I have never seen a primary season that was so full of hope and promise early on, only to crumble into utter futility before it had ever got started.

We are now left with the choice between a doddering old man who can barely walk and talk, and a narcissistic man-child criminal who, if he should be re-elected, will enter his second term with a vengeful hit list.

Who’s responsible for this predicament? Sure, you can blame the primary voters. It’s no small matter that Trump had been given up for dead before he was indicted. The other candidates gave it their best shot in the debates and their various campaigns, but the politics of normality proved to be a grand exercise in futility. The voters merely responded to the choices before them and they chose.

Sure, the voters gave us Trump for a third time, but here’s the real question. Why was Trump in a position to run again? Why was he not impeached and convicted after January 6? The evidence was ample that he was complicit on some level. If there doesn’t turn out to be enough evidence to convict him in a court of law, so be it. But impeachment is not a legal process. It is a political process designed for the exact crisis that Trump sparked when he sicked the mob on the U.S. Capital.

If Trump had been impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate, he would have no longer been eligible to run for office again. We would not now be facing the beggar’s choice that has been forced upon us by the two parties.

Mitch McConnell, who is leaving at the end of this year, is chiefly to blame. He could’ve picked up the ball and run with it while the fence was still being rebuilt and feelings were raw in the days after the siege on the capital, McConnell is a master political chessman and should have foreseen what would happen. But, he didn’t. Instead, he is rumored to have said, “We’ll just let the Democrats take care of the son of a bitch.” Now, with the end of his long political career in sight, did McConnell finally unload on Trump? Nope. He endorsed him once again.

Shortly after Trump left Washington, Kevin McCarthy went to Maralago and kissed the ring. He didn’t have to go. He could’ve turned his back on Trump once and for all. By going to Maralago and bending the knee to Trump once again, McCarthy re-legitimized the man who, to this day, traffics in wild conspiracy theories about stolen elections. Theories which, not inconsequentially, have been shot down in courts of law again…and again…and again. As for Kevin McCarthy, Trump’s loyal fan base rewarded him by granting him the shortest gig as Speaker of the House in history.

The GOP didn’t have to run Liz Cheney out of town on a rail. If they truly believed she was a threat, they could’ve kept her close and tried to manage her, even as she sat on the January 6th Committee. But they didn’t. Liz Cheney is out of office and is on a book tour peddling her memoirs. The only other vocal Trump critic, Senator Mitt Romney, will be gone next year.

So, here we are. The GOP controls the House, but only by a razor-thin majority that keeps getting thinner as more and more decent and honorable congressmen head for the door after wearying of a toxic, dysfunctional climate that has been hijacked by MAGA sycophants that care more about performance than policy. After bargaining and clawing his way to the speakership, Kevin McCarthy lasted eight months before he was ousted by the nutjob Freedom Caucus. His successor, Mike Johnson, doesn’t look like he’ll fare any better. No major policy achievements can be had in the House while chaos holds sway at the top.

It looks as if the only functional branch of government is the judicial. The Supreme Court is doing its job. The current conservative majority was a win for President Trump 1.0, but now he has promised to cast aside the Federalist Society and go with more MAGA judges should he be returned to office. Wow. I sure am heartened by this.

Some have argued that many Republicans were scared to impeach Trump because they were in fear for their lives. This is a reasonable concern. Threats of violence leveled against those in political office are well documented. But here’s the problem. In our current scenario, we’re going to get violence no matter who wins in November.

If Trump wins, as many polls suggest that he might, the radical left will take to the streets and resurrect their rage-fueled tactics in Washington. The Democrats have long established a permission structure for leftist street justice. November, 2024 will be no exception. In fact, I think the summer of rage will be a picnic compared to the violence we’ll see if Trump wins again.

If Trump loses, he sure as hell won’t go gently into that dark night. He’ll scream about rigged elections again and his rabid followers will mount another siege on institutions of power. By not impeaching Trump and downplaying the seriousness of the January 6th riot, the GOP has negated its credibility as the party of law and order.

Either way this country goes, we’re screwed.

And I have barely touched on the various shit shows going on outside of our borders. If Russia, China, Iran or Canada decides to escalate, America is ill-equipped to defend itself. Our military recruitment is down. Our education system is in tatters. Our happiness index is now outside the top 20 countries. Social media has infected our discourse with a noxious blend of simplistic and juvenile banter. It really is a dark time for the rebellion.

What is the solution? I have no freakin’ idea. We’ve painted ourselves into a very, very dark corner and I don’t see a way out that doesn’t involve blood, fire and death. Think I’m being melodramatic? Replay the last decade in your mind and tell me I’m being a fear monger. I only have one immediate answer for all of this. BURN DOWN THE GOP!

They have faced their moment of truth and they have utterly failed the test. The first time around, Trump was an unknown quantity who took the country and the GOP by storm. No one was prepared for him. No one knew how to deal with him. No one could manage him. Any accomplishments of Trump 1.0 were overshadowed by his shoddy leadership during the pandemic, let alone his unforgiveable conduct after he lost the 2020 election. But now, every single GOP politician, operative, pundit and voter knows exactly who and what they’re getting if they pull the lever for him again. They can lie to themselves and those around them, but they know.

Sadly, this won’t stop anyone from engaging in rampant self-delusion. I have a dear friend (I won’t say her name because I love and respect her), but she has watched her local GOP party be hijacked and taken over by MAGA thugs who don’t give a damn about political pragmatism. Mouth-breathers like Matt Innis, who take their marching orders from Steve Bannon, only want to stand atop the battlements in all of their tumescent glory and watch good men like Congressman Don Bacon and Governor Jim Pillen fall. She has witnessed their strong-arm tactics first hand and she is disgusted. When I tell her that these people are a result of unchecked Trumpism, she doesn’t argue. “I know,” she says with a sigh. Yet, she is bound and determined to vote for Trump in November because, “Biden is worse.”

Is Biden really worse? I think he’s a disaster, just as President Kamala Harris would be a disaster. President Harris is who we’ll likely end up with if Biden is re-elected. There’s no way he makes it through another four years. He didn’t have the brains or balls to carry us through these times of tumult 20 or 30 years ago, let alone now. Biden is a windy scumbag who only got where he is because he rode Obama’s coat tails. So, thank you, President Obama, for giving us President Biden and very likely President Harris at some point.

I’m sure as hell not going to vote for Biden. Unlike those idiots at The Bulwark, I don’t see Democrats as the reasonable alternative to Trump. They have their own internal strife and authoritarian tendencies that will only become more apparent as they continue to hold on to power. My solution is more conservative candidates. No conservative Democrat has a prayer right now.

This, barring any legal or medical intervening event, is the choice that awaits us in seven months. It’s like going into a restaurant and being handed a menu with only two choices; a cat shit sandwich, or doggy diarrhea stew. Either way we go, we’re gonna wake up with brown teeth.

Sidebar: RFK Jr. is a crackpot. He is not going to be the next president of the United States. Any support for him is wasted. No Labels can’t get it up. Cornel West isn’t even worth a conversation.

Still, at least Biden is a remnant of the institution. If the psycho left wants to burn them down, that’s on them. The revolution always eats its own in the end. Just ask AOC, who can’t even go to the movies without being harassed by pro-Hamas goons. That’s not within my purview. I was once a loyal GOP member and it is no longer a party that I recognize or respect. There are still many good people in it, but they are quickly becoming a minority.

While many state parties across the country like Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Nebraska descend into turmoil and financial ruin, Trump has driven Ronna McDaniel out of leadership of the Republican National Committee. You see how her loyalty was rewarded after she stuck by him during his presidency and the aftermath? In her place, we now have Lara Trump, who got the job as co-chair because she is Donald’s daughter-in-law. Yeah…nepotism always works out so well. Observers have noted that a resolution demanding that the RNC not use its coughers to pay for Trump’s mounting legal bills was dead in the water. A dollar given to the RNC will now likely pay Trump’s lawyers, not any struggling state party. It’s also noteworthy that almost none of the people who served in Trump’s first administration have endorsed him this time around. And yet, Trump prevails with a growing list of endorsements from full-throated supporters to reluctant hangers-on.

So, burn it down. Burn it all down. Not literally, of course. I am unalterably opposed to political violence in a free society. But the GOP must be decimated in its current form. Starve it of all oxygen by withholding your time, your money and your public support. Cast your votes for individual candidates based on character and policy, not slogans and shit talk. Don’t volunteer for your local parties anymore. Spend your time and energy in other ways that feed your soul with productivity and happiness. Let the GOP die the death by immolation that it deserves. The only way they will die is if they lose…and lose…and lose…until they become tired of losing and throw themselves upon the mercy of the bankruptcy court.

This brings up an interesting point. Sometimes, you can find glory In losing. Just ask the left, who loves to revel in victimhood. It’s possible that figures like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Green enjoy losing. But do we really want to lose a possible war with China? Do we really want to see abortion become national law? Do we really want to see the national debt continue to skyrocket? Do we really want to continue with a flood of unchecked immigrants pouring over our southern border? Maybe psychos like Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert do, but I sure as hell don’t. But if we stick with Trump, we will pay a price that America just can’t afford.

What does David French think now? Who knows. He left The Dispatch a few years ago and now writes a column for the New York Times. I like David, but I’m not giving the NYT a dime. Best of luck to him as he will inevitably write something that will displease the leftist jackals who now run the paper. This is where the media should be a comfort, but sadly, they’ve de-evolved into megaphones for their various echo chambers. Outlets like The Dispatch, where my pal Rachel Carver now freelances, are about as effective as a wet candle in a black-out.

My only further advice is that everyone reading this should buy a gun and put it under lock and key for a few months. This is not a joke. It is not my characteristic flippancy. It’s not a call to violence. November is going to be very bloody and all good people should be prepared to defend themselves against shitbirds who will take advantage of the coming chaos to line their own pockets and settle scores. If you’re Jewish, sleep with one gun under your pillow and another one strapped to your ankle. When shit hits the fan, y’all will be catching flak from both sides.

Finally, my apologies that Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell did not appear in this entry. Sorry for the false hope. It’s 2024. You all should be used to false hope by now. Sam Axe for president!

Silence is Complicity

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only reason I maintain this blog is so that there will be a record of my thoughts, feelings and actions if I should die unexpectedly. Who was Ryan O? What did he believe? Did he measure up to the standards that he set for himself? This blog will not persuade anyone of anything. It will not move the needle. I’m just another American nobody with a series of opinions. Let the record reflect that, after a certain point in my life, I tried to do the right thing when it mattered most. Or maybe I’m just writing down my thoughts so as to keep my own reality solidified in a world that seems to be tilting ever more toward the psychotic zone.

I think I’ve been pretty consistent in these pages in condemning sexual assault and misconduct. For those of you that are so inclined, check out my entries throughout 2016, particularly in Mid-October. Check out my very lengthy, very emotional entries in early 2021. Weigh those entries against what I’m about to write here.

Last Sunday, a clip of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal went viral on social media. Dana Bash was interviewing her and asked why politicians and women’s groups who claimed to stand against sexual violence were not more forceful in their condemnations of Hamas terrorists on October 7. Jayapal hemmed and hawed in typical politician fashion. The noteworthy part was when Bash pushed back on her, refusing to let her get away with the typical progressive stratagem of deflecting all criticism of Hamas back on Israel.

A day later, Jayapal came out with a statement, but it was too little, too late. Any reasonable person can and should read Jayapal’s tepid and tardy statement as a reaction to being publicly shamed. This was not a statement born of principle and conviction. It was a move born of embarrassment and damage control.

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood came out with a generic statement condemning Hamas. The United Nations for Women organization also recently came out with a statement condemning the actions of Hamas against Israeli women on October 7. All of these bodies, who claim to speak for women, did so only after mounting criticism that they were too slow to acknowledge that Israeli women had been systematically raped, tortured, kidnapped and murdered during the attack. It is also not a coincidence that the statements began to drop after female hostages were released from Hamas captivity.

Today is December 7. Two months ago, Israeli endured the worst attack and loss of life in one stroke since the Holocaust. The simple fact is that female politicians and activists, as well as groups purporting to speak for women, have been shamefully silent on this issue. This despite the fact that, unlike many claims of sexual violence which ultimately boil down to ‘he said/she said’ there is ample evidence that mass rape did in deed occur. In fact, the perpetrators bragged, laughed and celebrated their brutality against Israeli women. They took live videos of their assaults, posted them to various social media accounts and shared them with sympathetic parties. The only doubt fostered as to the depth of depravity of these crimes come from conspiracy nuts, leftist extremists and useful idiots for the cause of Hamas who want to water down the events of that bloody day.

Here is the bitter pill with no chaser. The brutal truth is that the left has now experienced it’s Hollywood Access tape moment. It faced the same test confronting Republicans in October of 2017. And, just like the bastions of “conservative” politicians, activists and common voters six years ago, the left has now failed the test.

No one likes to be the villain of the piece. No one likes to think that their actions, or inactions, result in a villain achieving power. This is why people are so emotionally malleable. They can lie to themselves, to others and to their god of choice, all in the name of justice, righteousness and principle. But it’s bullshit.

It’s all well and good to speak supposed truth to power when you’re in a friendly crowd. It’s all fine to pick a fight and throw bombs when you think you’re going to gain a lot of “likes” and “shares” from it. But it’s quite another when you run the risk of speaking your truly held beliefs, only to be ridiculed, threatened, taunted, mocked and maybe even assaulted because of those valid views. That is the honest to God meaning of conviction, and once again, we learn that those who scream about justice in public come up well short when it really matters.

Do you think I’m waggling my finger here? If you do, then you haven’t been paying attention over the past eight years. I’ve been largely alone since Trump came to power. Six years ago today, I walked away from a community from which I derived a good deal of my self-worth. Four years later, I walked away from the other major community from which my identity sprang. IN both cases, it was because of the issue of sexual predation. So, with all due respect, fuck you if you think that I’m enjoying myself here. Being a man without a country really sucks.

I honestly don’t understand why progressives have to make it an either/or scenario. Why can’t they say, “Sure, we support the Palestinian right to statehood and we want them to be free of Israeli oppression, but wanton rape and murder are a bridge too far.” By not taking this position right out of the gate, they’ve destroyed any credibility they had in the realm of sexual justice for women. All the counter forces have to do is stand up and parrot New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. “Silence is violence, but not when it comes to Israeli rape victims.”

So, if progressives love call-out culture, let me employ it here. Shame on all of you who rightfully spat fire over Donald Trump’s callous admission of his assaults on women, only to hold your tongue when video evidence was set before you of a woman begging for her attackers to kill her after being gang-raped. Shame on all of you who stridently attacked Brett Kavanaugh based on hearsay testimony, while ignoring video images of a woman crawling on the ground with her pants full of blood. Shame on those of you who screamed about the systematic cover-ups of sexual abuse in the National Federation of the Blind who now downplay the forensic evidence of female corpses that had their pelvic bones crushed from violent and repeated rape. Shame on those of you who proudly posted #MeToo on your social media feeds, but who now turn a deaf ear to the testimonies of the hostages who are now home, and refuse to call for the release of the remaining hostages who are very likely still enduring repeated rape and maybe worse. Shame on those of you who are reading this right now, who know I’m right in all that I say, but who refuse to speak up because…you don’t want to ruffle feathers, or make people uncomfortable, or maybe show your true colors.

Donald Trump knows he can, “grab ‘em by the pussy,” whenever he wants because scores of people from politicians to law enforcement to church ministers will defend him, regardless of the evidence. Now, the Hamas terrorists who raped, murdered and pillaged, and who have sworn to do it again and again and again, hold the same comfort. They know that a collection of western idiots will give them either passive or active permission to act on their blood hatred and brutalize women as they see fit. If silence really is complicity, than all of you are guilty. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

The reason that the left remained silent for so long isn’t particularly complicated, even if they claim otherwise. Just as they believe in, “good trouble,” or, “good violence,” maybe they actually believe in, “good rape.” Rape as a form of resistance to the so-called occupation of Palestinian land. Stop for a moment and examine this rabbit hole from a slight remove. See where it takes you? It does go to a very dark place, indeed.

My ultimate message today is the same as its been all along. Sexual assault is not a partisan issue. It affects everyone, no matter what their gender, race, political stripe, sexual orientation or ideology. If you want to sit on the sidelines and ignore it, that is your choice. If you want to pass yourself off as a courageous defender of justice, then be consistent in your message. Otherwise, you’re nothing but a hypocrite and a fraud and your contradictions will follow you.

I stand with Israel. I stand with survivors of sexual assault, no matter what the circumstances may be. If I haven’t done enough to combat it in my past, I’m trying to do my bit now. Can those of you who invoke the cause of justice make the same claim?

One last point. KFAB radio personality Jim Rose recently delivered one of his morning monologues on this very topic. It was one of his best. He forcefully condemned the silence on the part of women’s groups toward the brutality against Israeli women. It was a moment worthy of applause…until you realize that Jim Rose will gladly pull the lever for Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee for president next year. What a shame. Hypocrisy seems to be the order of the day.

3-F

Let me start this entry off with a caveat. If you are a person who is absolutely genuine in your concern for the Palestinian people who are now caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hamas, none of what follows will apply to you. If you are using concern for the Palestinian people as a shield for other purposes, you can kiss my ass.

For the past three weeks, my emotions have alternated between shock, sorrow, disbelief and mounting rage over events transpiring in the Middle East. I was deeply shaken by the surprise attack on Israel on October 7. I was heartened by the support Israel received from many of the leaders of the West in the following days. I was disgusted, though not surprised, by the pro-Hamas rallies that came so quickly after Jewish blood was still wet on the ground.

What I was not prepared for was the rapidity from which much of the media narrative would shift from a compassionate or neutral tone toward Israel to one of sympathy for those in the Gaza Strip, while mixed with a growing skepticism of Israel’s motives, tactics and end goals. I’ve been paying attention to Israel now for 20 years, so I expected the media and many politicians to turn against Israel at some point, but I figured it would happen after Israel ramped up its ground assault in Gaza. I did not think it would take mere days.

The best example of this tonal shift, of course, was the Israeli bombing of a Palestinian hospital that wasn’t. The New York Times lead the charge in labeling the attack as coming from Israel. When President Biden visited Israel the following day, he had to inform the world that the rocket had actually been fired from Gaza and fell far short of its target. Yet, it took the NYT six days to correct the narrative. To this day, certain members of the progressive left such as Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib still maintain and trumpet this spurious, libelous story.

This was just the tip of the iceberg. Social media swarmed with deniers questioning everything from whether or not babies had been beheaded, whether women had actually been raped, whether children had been kidnapped, or whether the videos, many of which were taken by Hamas terrorists and proudly flaunted on social media, were authentic. This forced Israel into the position of having to validate the attacks by holding special screenings for journalists, posting graphic photos of dead babies on the internet, and justifying its strategy to the western world.

And then came the campus rallies. Angry young people marching on free, comfortable, entitled colleges, chanting and screaming slogans that they’ve been taught in classrooms without the benefit of any critical analysis. Then came cowardly, mealy-mouthed administrators issuing tepid, toothless statements trying to soothe everyone while condemning no one. Then came a group of terrified Jewish students locked in a library at Cooper Union with an angry mob of pro-Hamas supporters banging on the doors and screaming taunts and epithets. The students had to be escorted from the building by armed cops.

The only silver lining I can find in all of this bloody business is that the masks are finally off. If the bigoted right wing of the Republican Party was drawn out of the closet during the rise of Donald Trump, the anti-Semitic bigoted left is now feeling free to crawl into the light under the umbrella of the Democrat party. Supposed anonymity on the internet, masks in public and the comforting yoke of permission granted by a cadre of media, intellectual and academic elites gives these people cover to reveal who they really are. Let them have their reckoning in public, rather than the quiet solitude of the voting booth where they expose their hearts to no one but God. We will remember them.

I doubt anyone reading this is familiar with the three D’s as connected to antisemitism. I don’t blame you. I had never heard of them until recently. The three D’s are, demonization, delegitimization and double standards. Demonization is the historical pattern by people of blaming the Jews for all of the woes of the world; economic, political, social, etc. See Adolf Hitler and Louis Farrakhan for further reference. Delegitimization is the practice of downplaying or denying the right of Israel to exist, or questioning or denying the existence of historic events, such as the Holocaust. See Ayatollah Khamenei and Nick Fuentes for further reference. Double standards are the practice of applying standards or expectations to Israel or other Jewish persons that would not otherwise be applied to other countries in a similar situation. See most college professors, media pundits, leftist politicians and CAIR for further reference.

These three D’s, reflected in the charter of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, perfectly illustrate what Israel and Jews across the world are up against. Yet, the working definition of antisemitism as brought forth by the IHRA has been adopted by numerous countries, including the US, Australia, Germany, Canada, the UK, Spain and Italy. Strange how so many civilized countries can so easily agree on a working definition in peacetime, yet can buck at the notion of applying such definitions when the theory is put to the test.

As a tribute to the three D’s, I have implemented my own system for countering antisemitism. They are, the three F’s. Fuck you, fuck off and fuck yourself.

If you are a pundit, politician, journalist, college professor or even an Uber driver who uses terms like, “moral equivalency,” “apartheid,” “occupiers,” “ceasefire,” or “decolonization,” then fuck off!

If you are a “protester” who tears down posters of Israeli child hostages and wears paraglider stickers at your pro-Hamas, anti-Israel rally, then fuck you!

If you are someone who is, “just asking questions about the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the October 7th Massacre, when there is ample evidence available, then fuck yourself! You’re not really asking questions. You’re planting poisonous seeds.

If you’re someone who uses the Israeli-Hamas war as an excuse to instigate harassment, discrimination or even violence against Jewish citizens in your own country, then fuck you, fuck yourself and fuck right off!!!

Let me (ahem ahem) just ask a few questions before I finish up.

What does the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine, it will be free,” really mean? How many people who gleefully chant this slogan at rallies also love to employ the word, “genocide,” when speaking about other minorities?

If the Jewish people were to leave Israel, or be forced out, where would they go?

If the United States had been told to, “control your rage,” or “don’t escalate,” in the months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what would our response have been?

How many of the progressives who are calling for a ceasefire have also called for Hamas to release the hostages?

What do pro-Palestinian protesters in the West really know about the workings of the Israeli government? How do they square their western values, such as pro-homosexuality, overt feminism and diversity with the treatment of women, gays and other minorities by Hamas?

Why did the Palestinian people elect Hamas as their government in 2006, after Israel had already relinquished the Gaza Strip to them? It wasn’t as if Hamas was lying about who and what they were. Unlike the Nazis, who went to great lengths to conceal their crimes, Hamas has been perfectly clear in their goals. They want to eradicate Israel and the Jewish people from the Earth. I’m not trash-talking here. Look it up.

And for you Jewish leftists who are still anti-Israel, when are you gonna wake the fuck up!?

Let me hasten to add that criticism of Israel as a country is fair game. No country is above reproach. But when masked students project vile, anti-Semitic slogans on to a library on an American college campus under cover of darkness, there’s something else going on that goes far beyond criticism of Israeli policy. When people are sharing pictures of the Star of David in a garbage can, that’s not pro-Palestinian, or even pro-humanitarian. That is pure evil.

The worst part of this whole business is that I used to view the rise of Nazism and the subsequent Holocaust as, just history. It was a horribly fascinating period of history that I was sure wouldn’t…couldn’t happen again in our modern world. I don’t think that way anymore. Between the rise of Donald Trump, the bending of the knee to authoritarianism along the entire political spectrum, and recent events in Israel and abroad, I now have a much clearer understanding of exactly how and why the events of the first half of the 20th Century occurred. It happened before and I am certain that it will happen again. Between Russia, Iran and China, I have no doubt that we will be in World War III before long.

Against this dark and ominous backdrop, I can only make one final statement. It is a statement that comes without equivocation or nuance.

Let history bring down the sword of war upon us all. My neck is my own, for the saving or the severing. I stand with Israel. I stand with my fellow Americans who are Jewish. I stand with the Jewish people of the world.

Death to Hamas.

What a World! What a World!

I recently listened to a fascinating podcast series called, The Witch Trials of J. K. Rowling, produced by The Free Press. This seven-part series chronicled the rise of Rowling, the success of the Harry Potter books and her clashes with extremists ranging from radical Christians to radical transgender activists. It framed the various controversies swirling around Rowling through the prism of the burning of witches throughout history.

One aspect I found particularly intriguing was the rise of the internet and it’s affect on politics as we know it today. The actions and language of the current progressive movement can be traced to the rise of Tumblr, circa 2012. Tumblr is a microblogging site where many groups of various identities shared their feelings and experiences. Terms like, “Safe space,” “Microagression,” and “Triggered,” gained popularity on Tumblr. According to the research done by Megan Phelps-Roper, author of the Rowling podcast, Tumblr was populated overwhelmingly by females.

At the same time, another social media domain called 4Chan was mushrooming. This site was populated largely by males and prided itself on being as politically incorrect and offensive as possible. It largely resembles the right as we know it today.

These two sites seem to operate in complete polarity to one another. Yet, they seem to represent the perfect example of the Horseshoe Theory. This theory posits that the extreme left and extreme right may appear to be far apart, but upon close inspection, they are actually close together in their actions and underlying views, much as the two ends of a curving horseshoe are in relative proximity.

If you listen to the entire podcast series (which I highly recommend), you can see how this works. One might think that Christian extremists and trans radicals have nothing in common, yet in their tactics and outward demands, they share a great deal. One of the most obvious points of commonality is that they both tried to have J. K. Rowling canceled at various times.

The examination of Tumblr and 4Chan also makes me think of a comparison between our two political parties. I once heard Jonah Goldberg posit that the Republican Party was like a father figure, while the Democrat Party was like a mother figure. Dad is concerned about keeping your doors locked at night, arming for proper defense, paying the bills on time and forcing the kids to take risks now and then in the hopes that they will flourish. Mom wants to make sure the kids eat their vegetables, play nice with the other kids, keep their room clean and protect the kids from being hurt.

These notions rely on stereotypes to a degree, but they are also rooted in thousands of years of tradition. This pattern also helped to distinguish the two genders from each other. Now, with the rise of the digital age when norms and customs are being redefined, things that were once thought of as normal are now considered dangerous. This explains the propagation of the term, “Toxic masculinity,” in leftward circles.

But what about toxic femininity? What about the idea of safetyism to the exclusion of the traditional values of western civilization such as free speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion? Could the erosion of individual rights in the name of protecting the historically vulnerable and marginalized be acceptable? For a growing number of people, particularly the young who have grown up entirely under the umbrella of relative security, the answer is sadly, yes.

This is why the success of Rowling represents such a threat to so many. If she can withstand attacks from both ends of the horseshoe, are they really effective? The recent popularity of the Hogwarts videogame in the face of an attempt to cancel it, and plans to produce a new television series based on Harry Potter in the face of more protests seem to suggest that Rowling is too big to cancel.

But what about the little people who aren’t the most successful author in the world? What about the academics, the cubical workers, the journalists, the programmers and scores of other workers who don’t have Rowling’s resources? Many of them choose to stay silent in the face of the fear of cancelation. Others who do speak up quickly find themselves marginalized and suddenly on the outs. Some who witness this growing phenomenon decide to throw their lot in with another figure who seems too big to cancel, Donald Trump.

It’s a vicious cycle that threatens to tear at the fabric of our democracy. The ends of the horseshoe poison the middle until too many people find themselves forced to make a false choice that is suddenly all too real. Choose right or left. Choose toxic masculinity or toxic femininity. Choose Door #1 or Door #2. Behind either door is the same monster wearing different garb; fascism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism. Call it Voldemort, or Darth Vader, or Daenerys Targaryen. Either way, the threat is the same.

As for Rowling, I admire her for sticking to her values. Yes, she’s famous and rich and does appear to be too big to cancel. But if you listen to her speak in the podcast, you can hear her voice waver with emotion as she describes the assaults she’s had to endure in her life. She may be cancelproof, but she’s still a human being who hurts.

I also feel anger on her behalf. As SI prepare for another read of the Potter books, it strikes me that she has given an extraordinary gift to the children of the world, and to many adults. She gave us a universe full of rich characters, wonderful friendships and daunting challenges. In return, many have told her to, “Suck my big, fat trans dick.” Others have applauded those sentiments, or have stood silently by. It really does hurt my heart on her behalf.

I do believe that Rowling will ultimately be vindicated. I think the trans movement is a time bomb that will eventually explode sometime between now and when we know more about the long term effects of children transitioning with surgery and puberty blockers. The explosion will come in the form of lawsuits against the medical establishment who has too quickly decided to champion a trendy cause over their patients.

Rowling’s efforts to maintain safe spaces for biological women will also eventually be seen as a no-brainer, but how many more women will be assaulted by biological men in women’s prisons, battered women shelters and even in locker rooms in the interim? Far too many; more than I care to ponder.

And…since I’ve started writing this, Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox News. Everyone was quite startled to learn that Tucker was not, in fact, cancelproof. I have no sympathy. Next to Donald Trump, Carlson is the living avatar of the toxic right. There are a lot of rumors floating around as to why Tucker was abruptly canceled. We may never know the reasons, but whatever they were, he discovered the same hard truth that Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Megyn Kelly and others learned. No matter how big you think you are, nobody is bigger and badder than Rupert Murdoch.

Resistance Is Futile

Thanks to Picard Season 3, I’m back in a Star Trek phase; surprise, surprise, surprise!

That’s right. After I excoriated the first season on this very blog, I gave up on Picard and his angsty group of space misfits. Reports on the heinous second season (Q not withstanding) seemed to validate my position.

Then came the third season. The show got new writers, the band got back together and everyone who has hated new Trek started telling me how good the third season of Picard is.

They weren’t wrong. More on that in a few weeks after the show ends.

But this reemergence into Trek has got me to thinking. One of the purposes of Star Trek has always been to serve as subtle commentary on contemporary society. To that end, I will spend these remaining paragraphs illustrating why the progressive left and the so-called “new right,” strongly resemble the two greatest adversaries that the United Federation of Planets have ever faced in the whole of the Trek universe.

First, imagine this, if you will.

An alien species that is driven by a hive mind. It is one giant collective that feeds on the uniqueness of other cultures and worlds to grow itself. Individuality is strictly prohibited. All members are born into the collective and are immediately raised to service the larger community. There are no parents. There are no genders. There are no individual characteristics of any kind.

“Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life.” That was the quote from Locutus, formerly Jean-Luc Picard, when his crewmates rescued him from the collective and restored him to his human self.

Such is the creed of our current progressive left. Resistance is futile. We only wish to raise quality of life. But instead of words like, “assimilate,” and “irrelevant,” they use other universal language such as, “diversity, equity and inclusion.” Always in that order, always with an eye toward intersectionality, always with the goal of inclusion, which is merely code for assimilation into the community (collective.) If anyone should express any tendency toward individualism, they are immediately castigated. “You will either be assimilated, or you will be annihilated. Resistance is futile.”

Think I’m exaggerating? Try attending any seminar or conference at which the language of the progressive left is used. Try dealing with governmental bureaucracy, the red tape of the university system or the growing number of corporations who subscribe to the hive mind and you’ll discover how Borg-like they really are. Today, it’s cultural. Tomorrow, it’s business. Next year, it’s the government. It ends with totalitarian regimes such as you find in China, North Korea and Cuba.

Sidebar: Eventually, we learn that The Borg have a queen. I guess the future is feminine.

On the other side of the table, we have a group of people who can change their shape at will. Yesterday, they described themselves as limited government conservatives who believed in fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, the positive power of character and freedom for all. Then, a great changeling came among them and they all proved to be changelings themselves. This changeling took many forms over the years; successful businessman, Democrat, architect, stalwart husband, Independent, television star, Republican, and eventually, president. In truth, he was none of those things. He merely changed his shape to fit whatever circumstance suited him.

Like the Founders of the Dominion, this changeling insisted on absolute, unquestioning loyalty and obedience. This authoritarianism took the form of a spiritual slavishness in his followers. Any question should not only be ridiculed, but should be punished. Like the Jem’Hadar, these slavish soldiers will even attack institutions based on the mere whims of their leader.

As it turns out, all of the changelings, including the great founder, are nothing more than buckets of shapeless, formless goo. Whatever shape they take in the moment is not their true form. That has only the substance of soft, organic slime that will retreat, regroup and reconstitute itself when conditions warrant. As it turns out, many of the Trump loyalists such as McCarthy, Cruz, Giuliani and even Haley are little more than masses of undulating goo at their center. And if anyone should not proclaim an instant, dogmatic loyalty to the head changeling, he/she will be severely punished.

There was a time when no changeling was allowed to harm another. See Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment. But with the emergence of Trump the changeling, that rule was abandoned with gusto. It’s not a coincidence that in the current iteration of Picard, changelings can and do kill one another.

Sidebar: Eventually, The Cardassians (the space Nazis of Star Trek) allied themselves with The Dominion during the war. Art imitates life.

Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at what’s happening to state and local GOP parties at the grass roots level across the country. Today, Arizona, Nebraska, Michigan, etc. Tomorrow, America. There are no countries currently ruled by right-wing fascist ideologies, but the movements are growing.

The Borg. The Dominion. The two chief antagonists of the Star Trek universe. Very different, yet similar at their core. Despotic, totalitarian, autocratic and absolutely convinced of the moral certainty of their cause to the exclusion of all others.
Perhaps all two of you who read this may find my analogy to be trite and simplistic. Many find Star Trek itself to be trite and simplistic. Yet, I urge you to examine the chief avatar of both the extreme right and left; Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If they aren’t generators of trite simplicity, I don’t know who is. And their quixotic proclamations only hold purchase because of their amplification by their legions of slavish followers, especially within the media.

Of course, neither side sees itself in the way I describe. The right views themselves as Klingons; a proud, warrior race. But the Klingons have honor. The new right have none. The left views itself as a group with infinite empathy, compassion and intellectual superiority, much like the Betazoid race. Yet, the Betazoid people also welcomed free expression and debate from all viewpoints. This notion is impossible for the left to grasp.

I’m sure anyone who is a Trek fan and who also cares about politics will read this and say something like, “Ryan, your analogy about the right is spot on, but your depiction of the left is crap.” People from the other side will echo this sentiment in reverse. It’s very easy to diagnose the opposition without running a concurrent self-evaluation. That is why we find ourselves where we are now.

In the escapism of Star Trek, both The Borg and The Dominion were fought and defeated by the Federation and their allies. That is fiction. We have no idea how things will play out in the real world of today. All I can tell you with certainty is that the threat is real and it is growing on both sides.

Happy Easter.

Can a Blind Person Fly the Plane?

I’m trying to remember the last time I wrote in this blog. I think it’s been months. I admit fully and firmly that I’ve dropped the ball. Frankly, I’m tired. I’m tired of talking to myself. I’m tired of feeling like one of the few sane minds in a room full of cuckoo birds. I’m tired of watching people whom I know to be smart, rational people put their brains in their back pocket. I’m tired of the encroaching groupthink mindset that wants to push me into being absolutely for things, or absolutely against things.

Take Elon Musk, for instance. The guy recently went through with one of the dumbest moves in financial history when he purchased Twitter. The left went bonkers, screaming about the horrors of an eccentric, often erratic millionaire taking over a website mostly known for its high levels of toxicity and reflexive vitriol. In some quarters, folks are acting as if winter is coming. Maybe a nuclear winter, complete with total, eternal darkness, sparse life underground and 12-fingered children playing with two-headed mongrels in piles of glowing dust.

And why? Because, Musk dares to espouse the value of free speech. How dare he consider allowing Trump back on Twitter. How dare he give a platform to haters, homophobes and heretics?

Worse yet, he dared to cut Twitter’s bloated staff by half, a privilege extended to any new management when they take over a company. The former heads of Twitter knew this was a possibility when they agreed to sell. Included in that massive slashing of personnel was the entire accessibility team. For those uninitiated in the disabled club, these are the people who insure that Twitter is useable for those folks who do not interact with their computer devices in conventional form; folks like myself who use a screen-reader to voice the text on my screen.

Predictably, the disability justice crowd went nuts when the news came down last Friday. I’ve learned to reduce much of the shrieking of the online woke mob to background noise, but a few people whom I consider to be reasonable, level-headed thinkers also began to doomcast. One of them was my pal, Steve Sawczyn.

I mention Steve specifically and by full name because he is my benefactor. Steve is the reason why this blog exists; financially speaking. He pays the bill every year that allows me to continue to log in and share my inanities with all of you. I know Steve personally and he is a calm, kind man with a decent family who is generally not given to panic, hyperbole or capriciousness.

This is why I was startled when I read a tweet from Steve in the wake of the mass firings that said, “A few hours ago, Twitter laid off its entire Accessibility Experience team. This is sad not only because so many lost their jobs, but because so many more around the world may lose their voice.”

My response to Steve was characteristic of Twitter in immediacy and tone and indicative of my foul mood. “That is a load of horseshit! You can’t possibly believe that.”

Steve’s response was equally characteristic, equal parts brevity and deadpan. “This too shall pass.”

I want to repeat that I know Steve and he is a smart cookie. If he really believes that many blind people would lose their voices if Twitter should become unusable, he’s making this argument in good faith. A lot of the woke disabled left do not argue in good faith, such as their recent efforts to cast the legitimate questioning of John Fetterman’s fitness for office as, “Ableist.” If Steve says it, I’m sure he believes it to be true.

I have also learned a very painful lesson over the past seven years or so. No one is too smart to be stupid. Let me be clear that I am not saying that Steve is a stupid man. Quite the contrary. However, even the smartest people can behave in a stupid manner if they give themselves permission to do so.

I can’t tell you how many people whom I previously viewed as those of high intellect and strong character who evolved in their defenses of Donald Trump’s every action and utterance from tentative rationalizations, to shameless justifications, and finally, to full-throated cheerleading. The consequence of this was for the left, also populated with a lot of people who should know better, to use Trump as an excuse to rationalize, justify and cheerlead their own stroll down the path of casual authoritarianism. See previous arguments on abolishing the filibuster for more information. The latest culmination of this is the second of two speeches delivered by the current president of the United States, warning that, if Republicans win back control of Congress this coming Tuesday, Democracy will be endangered.

This unfortunate phenomenon is what us political junkies term, The Flight 93 Mentality. It stems from a now-deleted essay by Michael Anton in 2016, comparing the eminent presidential election to the doomed Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. Anton’s ultimate point was that Americans (those who chose to vote for Trump) were the ones who would save the plane before it became a deadly missile that would inevitably destroy our country.

The premise was poppycock in 2016 and it is abject folderol now with Biden piloting the plane! I’m sure that Biden is typically unaware of the grand paradox (there’s that P-word again) of his assertions. If voters exercise their democratic privileges, they will only preserve said privileges if they keep one party in power without a proper counterweight. Come to think of it, I doubt Biden even knows what a paradox is. I’d hate to see him try to pronounce it. God, I love ableism!

How does this relate to Elon Musk and Twitter? Very simply, Twitter is a large source of the problem. Various doomcasters, doomscrollers and doomtrollers all find plenty of fodder on Twitter. Indeed, why can’t we distill the great nuances of life down to 240 characters, static photos and short video clips?

Am I saying Twitter shouldn’t exist? Hell no! It’s the consequence of a free society with innovation at its core. Am I saying it’s largely a cesspool of digital sewage? Absolutely! The whole blue checkmark debate reveals a virtual cast system perpetuated largely by those who decry cast systems in other quarters. Am I saying that blind people shouldn’t care about Twitter? Of course not. Bud disabled people around the world had a voice long before Twitter came to prominence and, now that we’ve proven that the bell cannot be unrung, we will find a way to express ourselves should Musk crash the plane in a grand, fiery plunge.

I think some of this current panic mongering comes, not just from the fear of lack of access, but from a personal animus toward Musk. Many people (disabled included) view Musk as a Trumpian figure who’s takeover of Twitter signals the decline of the noble order of values that once held sway in this valiant land of blue checkmarks. This is more uninformed fiddle faddle. I am not a cheerleader for Elon Musk. I don’t see him as a conservative avatar, or an avatar of any sort, for that matter. Like most rich people, the guy is probably equal parts crazy, narcissist and asshole. He has too much of an affinity for the Chinese government for my liking, which means he probably enjoys his own brand of autocracy. But how is this any different from the previous regime who chose to suppress the Hunter Biden story in hopes of swinging the 2020 election in their favor?

Elon Musk is now the sole controller of Twitter. That is the reality. He’s not going anywhere and he will not be cowed by online theatrical protests. If Twitter really is a hallowed ground of sacred principle, and if the disabled want Musk’s attention, how about trying to start a dialogue with him rather than going all fetal position inside of your own comfort bubble? Or maybe Jonathan Mosen will have his way and the NFB will sue Twitter. If there’s one thing the NFB knows how to do, it’s sue. I guess Mosen likes the NFB now, or at least, he likes them when they suit his purposes. I hope he doesn’t have any underage daughters who plan to attend their convention without a bodyguard.

In the meantime, another guy I follow on Twitter noted yesterday that the Instacart app seems to have become partially inaccessible. You can load your grocery cart, but you can’t check out. Yet, not a peep from the usual suspects. I guess mundane things like buying groceries isn’t nearly as sexy as hand-wringing over a crackpot rich dude who just took a wrecking ball to the latest international order.

Finally, on another subject, I wanted to write a long blog entry about the death of Queen Elizabeth and the profound sadness I felt when she left us. I guess it’s just not in me. I will simply say that, upon her death, it felt like the last truly adult head of state left the table. Now, it feels as if the kids are flying the plane. I know that new leaders will rise and some of them will be competent, but right now, it feels as if we’re in a void with no one to look to for guidance. What we’re left with is a country that can’t even hold a Prime Minister, another that will likely have a rematch between two addled octogenarians for the presidency in two years, war in Eastern Europe and a lot of countries who are casually veering toward authoritarianism. Does this seem like doomcasting to the two of you who are reading this? If so, than I have plenty of good company. God save the Queen.

As for you, Steve, if you’re reading this, feel free to pull the plug when the next bill comes due. The world will have to wait for my final thoughts on Better Call Saul. Honestly, at this point, I think I’m past caring.

The End of Roe v. Wade

I never thought I would live to see the day when Roe v. Wade was overturned. Yesterday, when my phone blew up with the news, I was quietly thankful. I believe that the RVW decision was wrongfully resolved and was an abomination on legal, moral, constitutional and scientific grounds.

I was thankful, but I did not celebrate.

One of my biggest reasons for opposing legal abortion is due to its origins in eugenics. That point was driven home to me yesterday as I browsed the predictably angry tweet storm from the left. More than a few justified the need for abortion based on the notion that the disabled cannot have quality of life. Implicit in their arguments is the real notion that those who are deemed as the caretakers of the disabled cannot have true quality of life. This idea should send chills down the spines of everyone who claims to champion diversity, equity and inclusion. In particular, it should give serious pause to everyone in the disabled community. Yet, in this great paradoxical age in which we now live, I don’t expect much introspection along those lines.

I am glad to see the end of RVW. Yet, two people whom I consider to be good friends are not glad. They are angry. I believe their deep feelings of anger, sadness and betrayal come from a place of good faith. One is a gay woman who is fearful that the reversal of RVW foreshadows the eventual overturning of gay marriage. The other woman has her own personal reasons for championing the rights of women to have autonomy over their own bodies. I will not lord this victory over them (or anyone) using the popular Trumpian tactic of, “Owning the libs.” It is a time for quiet reflection and preparation as the battle over abortion now comes back to the states.

My final point is simple, but not simplistic. Whoever sheds the first blood in the name of political righteousness will lose the battle for public opinion. Mark these words well. The first dead judge, or politician, or clinic worker, or feminist activist will take your side back to the days of the bombing of abortion clinics and dead doctors that retarded the cause of the pro-life movement in the public consciousness for decades. I firmly condemn the violence of political extremism, just as I have condemned the muted violence of abortion.

Slow Joe

In reaction to President Biden’s State of the Union address, many of those on the right have addressed his increasing tendency to speak in a garbled, mush-mouthed style. This is an obvious avenue of attack. Some, particularly those in the disabled community, take offense. The sentiments are best expressed by a young woman who commented on a friend’s Facebook thread in response to several people who were mocking Biden’s verbal mishaps at the podium:

“FYI, laughing at someone’s speech issues is ableist and stupid. Say what you will about his politics, but the man is trying. Speech impairments are real and don’t downgrade someone’s intelligence. Grow up!”

The poster of this comment is 20 years old. She was born just after the time that George W. Bush became president. I was 25 when GWB was elected and 33 when he left office. I remember well the field day that the press, Democrats, comedians and my personal friends (many of them disabled) had with President Bush’s flagrant malapropisms, spoonerisms, stutters and other verbal blunders at the microphone. None of them had any compunction about taking shots at everything from Bush’s IQ to his heritage to his personal appearance.

The difference between 2001 and now is the size of the stage. The internet was still up and coming and social media was not woven into the fabric of our lives. Now, all of you SJW types have a much bigger church in which to profess your beliefs on Sunday, while quietly sinning the other six days of the week. Your outrage is performative in public, carefully designed to check all the right boxes for professional and social capital. You guys are the new family values Republican coalition, mouthing all the right words in front of the cameras in the Congressional chambers, while meeting your mistress at midnight. It’s all well and good to defend Slow Joe, but you’ll take your shots at whomever the GOP nominee will be in 2024 and anything and everything will be fair game in the name of justice, right? After all, politics is the ultimate contact sport.

As for Biden, the notion that he is a victim of a childhood speaking malady as abject horseshit! All you need do is search out his public speeches (both prepared and extemporaneous) from several years ago to see that his speech patterns have degraded of late. He is very likely a victim of old age. So, you’ll likely switch to your next tactic. “Ryan, knock off the ageist bullshit!” I was also 33 years old when John McCain ran against Barack Obama for president. Did any of you leftist snipers care about ageism then? If you answer with any word other than, “Nope,” then heaven bless you for a little fibber. I wonder if any of my disabled friends were outraged when Vice-president Biden told a guy in a wheelchair to stand up. Or did you choose to memory hole that episode as President Biden memory holed Afghanistan the other night?

The reality of the situation is that Joe Biden is a tepid leader who would not have been well suited to the presidency at 40, let alone at 79. His one function was to insure that Donald Trump was voted out of office. He succeeded. All of the rest of this drama is a ridiculous holding pattern while we wait for 2024.

In the meantime, I have no sympathy for President Biden on any front. All I have to do is rerun his Vice-Presidential debate with Paul Ryan in 2012 and watch Biden’s treatment of Ryan to remind myself of what a mean, nasty shithead Uncle Joe really is.

So, bring on the partisan ableism, ageism and all of the other isms, and please do me the courtesy of foregoing the finger-wagging and speak to me with your true voices. I prefer unvarnished honesty to the fraud of performative politics.