The War On The Poor

The most significant political development in the United States occurred between 1854 and 1968 — from Lincoln to LBJ — during which the Republican Party switched from being anti-slavery to pro-slavery, while the Democratic Party switched from being pro-slavery to anti-slavery.

After 1991 — from W. Clinton through Obama to H. Clinton, almost — the Democratic Party steadily regressed back in the direction of its original pro-slavery orientation. This regression is a part of the grand bipartisan War On The Poor, which continues today. The Republicans are the leading force in this war, with the Democrats reactively following.

Today’s efforts at political organization by the anti-slavery movement are vigorously opposed by the bipartisan pro-slavery powers, and their War On The Poor is structured as organized white supremacy-dominated greed claiming to defend the rights of unorganized individual greed — called “freedom” — against the supposed slavery that organized sharing — called socialism — would impose against “individual initiative.”

Many of the naïve victims of the War On The Poor are hampered in defending themselves by their political immaturity, which is a consequence of their ignorance, biases and wishful thinking.

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My Excellent Independence Day Rant, 2017

John Kennedy’s grave, April 1964

My Excellent Independence Day Rant, 2017

Bigotry lets stupid people feel powerful. They are bigots because they are greedy, and they are greedy because they are fearful. They are fearful because they are hollow, and desperate for their materialism and worship of power to fill the void of their lack of character, to mask their internal weakness with an illusion of external power.

In American politics: bigotry is allowed to shape the arguments, and money is allowed to control the voting. Hillary Clinton had the most well-deserved electoral defeat in American history; Donald Trump, the most undeserved win. It’s not Trump’s fault, the preference for TV over books inoculates ignorance and bigotry against learning and knowledge.

The corporate-owned politicians lie because lying is the sound of theft. They are the agents of those who think: “The purpose of life is to enrich yourself without being impeded by the needs of others.” The news media propaganda industry is rich people paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people, who middle class people are joining. The lie being pushed is that fulfillment is to be had in a system of economic apartheid without economic security and without personal freedom.

Suffer we must, for billionaires’ money lust depends on it. For consolation we can have: clueless comforting happy talk, or searing bitter bigotry, unless we choose better.

In systems of patronage capitalism it is necessary to sell out your integrity and moral character in order to advance a financially rewarded career. You have to go along to get along. It’s like the perpetuating of physical-sexual abuse through the generations: as a child (or young worker starting out) you are abused by your seniors who demand you loyally cover their asses and slavishly submit to their demands – you cannot be impeded by moral principles or self-respect; as a rising star you find even bigger abusive tyrants to follow while recruiting your own ass-kissing minions to expand your power base; and finally as (and if) a successful pharaonic mega-abuser yourself you get to beat up multitudes, remotely, by using your army of slave-drivers and aspiring tyrants. The seed of all this is weak character, the lack of courage and/or strength to maintain personal integrity regardless of the costs in terms of comfort, money, social position, recognition, and acceptance by the herd.

Q: “Why spend $600B a year on a military to protect us if you Trumpsters and Corp-pols are willing to let us die of treatable diseases and ailments?”

A: You miss the point. The purpose of the US military is to protect Big Capital (corporate assets and operations, and plutocrats’ take), not the public. Also, the economic policy of the U.S. (i.e., the corporate-owned government and economy) is militarism: the big insiders’ war machine / finance capital profit cycle. “The people” are just an excess labor mass from which to extract wealth, and on which to dump the toxic wastes and financial costs (“socialized losses”) of exploiting and privatizing the commons. The graveyards of our war dead are garbage dumps for capitalist expansion. The U.S. is neither united nor a nation, it is a colony. “We the people” are expendable commodities steadily being programmed for slavery. The American Dream: commercializing life and death, and cornering the market.

America has a capitalist system whose foreign policy is imperialism, domestic policy is colonialism, economic policy is militarism, and management policy is patronism.

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SAME OLD, SAME OLD

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

I have given you the secrets of the human universe.
Did you notice?

You can’t change people,
only they can change themselves,
though they usually would prefer to die
than have to.

It’s not Trump’s fault,
the preference for TV over books
inoculates ignorance and bigotry
against learning and knowledge.

In American politics:
bigotry is allowed to shape the argument,
and money is allowed to control the voting.

Everything you know is wrong,
and you know everything.

It drives me crazy and breaks my heart
to see so much stupidity and cruelty
in our human world.
That is why I hate people.

The graveyards of our war dead
are garbage dumps for capitalist expansion.

I think back to all the times I was kind and unkind,
and I wish I could go back and fix half of them.

21 June 2017

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Russian-Hacked USA, and Other Follies

Tonight (10 January 2017, President Barack H. Obama delivers his televised farewell address. In 10 days, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Below are some of my thoughts at this juncture.

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On “Russians hacked the election making the USA have Donald Trump as president, and not Hillary Clinton”:

Reading the commentary and all the comments here (on Juan Cole’s blog, “Informed Comment,” on 6-9 January 2017), I think your consensus is:

#1, that the public exposure of the Podesta (Clinton, DNC) e-mails did sway the election “to Trump,” specifically away from Clinton; and

#2, that this was a bad thing, a cause for anger, and that the perpetrators of these leaks should suffer retribution from the US Government.

On point #1: there has been no doubt cast on the veracity of the leaked e-mails, therefore if a portion of the public was swayed to vote “away from Clinton” because of these e-mails then they were swayed by truthful information that had previously been hidden from them: “transparency.” I favor transparency, and believe it serves the public interest.

On point #2: If voters being swayed by the exposure of truthful information of public interest is “a bad thing,” then those who believe this prefer voters being fooled and “guided” by powerful insiders (Orwell called them the Inner Party).

Those angry that insider (mainly DNC) plans went awry are angry at the workings of democracy with better informed voters. Why not be angry at the betrayal of fair-play and democratic principles that thwarted the Sanders campaign (the most popular option nationally)? Why not be angry that such a monumental betrayal of public trust was done for the benefit of extremely corrupt and deceitful insiders (H. Clinton and associates)?

The effort to pin blame on “the Russians” for spoiling the insider’s succession gambit is just a poor and cowardly excuse to deflect attention from the Inner Party’s colossal failures:

– to devise an economy that serves the public (the major grievance of Trump voters, also Sanders voters), and

– to maintain (not corrupt) the institutions and mechanisms of democracy (the popular will having an influence through voting, the major grievance of Bernie, 3rd party and anybody-but-Clinton voters).

If killing the messenger (Assange, “the Russians,” mystery hackers, or whoever you most want to hate) is your reaction for being shown the truth, then you are condemned to be the victim of your own follies for a long time.

Trump was elected because the public consensus is that voting now has no influence on public policy — so real people can’t get what they need and want from it — but it still can sometimes be used to throw a Molotov-cocktail-by-ballots into the cozy connivances of the Inner Party.

Who is responsible for letting it get to this point? The Russians?

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My view of the significance of President Obama’s administration (2009-20016) to American history is linked below. I wrote it in 2008.

Obama and the Psychic Auto-Shrink-Wrapping Called Race in America
http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/20/obama-and-the-psychic-auto-shrink-wrapping-called-race-in-america/

Here is Cornel West’s summation of the Obama Administration:

Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama
9 January 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency

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It is as likely that American capitalists will preserve the Social Security Trust Fund and Publicly Funded Education, as that the Chinese will end trading in rhino horn, elephant tusk and bear liver. These are the Golden Cities of Cibola and the Fountains of Youth, which the obsessed conquistadores of temporal power can never refrain from lusting after.

Climate Change is the still wet graffiti of collective world greed pressed within the geological strata of the future.

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Trump Absolutely Won, Hillary Absolutely Lost

11 November 2016 (98th Armistice Day)

“I’d rather vote for what I want, and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want and get it.”
(Eugene V. Debs)

I wanted Bernie Sanders, and if not then Jill Stein, and if not then… abstain.

I would never vote FOR Hillary Clinton, nor FOR Donald Trump.

Electorally, How Did Trump Win?

– RURAL and RUST BELT counties are the overwhelming majority of counties in the USA.

– A majority of people in RURAL and RUST BELT counties favored Trump.

– This is how Trump won states to get the significant majority of Electoral votes.

Electorally, How Did Hillary Lose?

– Hillary only won the URBAN CENTERS in the major US wealth areas:
– LEFT COAST: LA Basin, SF Coastal Strip, Portland, Seattle
– SOUTHWEST: Colorado & New Mexico cites, and Latino vote
– MIDWEST: Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN), Chicago (IL)
– EAST COAST ESTABLISHMENT: Wash.D.C., VA, MD, DE
– BIG MONEY CENTRAL: NY, NJ, CT, RI, MA
– NEW ENGLAND: VT (Bernie’s state), NH, coastal Maine

– Hillary lost the great majority of inland, outlying and rural counties in “her” states.

Florida Vote (a swing state):

Trump = 4,605,515
Clinton = 4,485, 745
Stein = 64,019

Clinton + Stein = 4,549,764

Trump got +55,751 MORE Florida votes than Clinton + Stein

Don’t blame Jill Stein. Trump absolutely won, and Hillary absolutely lost.

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2008 Red-Blue Map by County:
2008-redblue

2012 Red-Blue Map by County:
2012-redblue

Hillary did WORSE in 2016 than the results shown in the 2012 map.

See: http://www.google.com/ “2016 US election results”
(for the numbers in every state, and individual state-county maps)

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Voter Turnout 2016

Part of Hillary Clinton’s defeat (and Donald Trump’s victory) in 2016 can be attributed to the LOWEST percentage voter turnout in US history (since 1828, when data records began). TEN MILLION fewer eligible voters went to the polls in 2016 than in 2012. Fewer than half of eligible voters actually voted in 2016.

Percentage turnout has been above 50% since 1828, except during 1920, 1924, 1996 and 2016. The % turnout for 2016 was 48.6% (the lowest in US history).

Between 2012 and 2016 the US voting age population (VAP) increased by 10 million.
(VAP in 2016 is 245.3 million)

The voter turnout in 2016 was 10 million LESS than in 2012.
(Turnout in 2016 was 119.3 million)

The percentage voter turnout in 2012 was 54.9%
The percentage voter turnout in 2016 was 48.6% (record low)

The election years with LESS than 50% turnout:
1920, 49.2%
1924, 48.9%
1996, 49.0% (W. Clinton wins)
2016, 48.6% (H. Clinton loses)

In 2016:
H. Clinton gains 47.7% of turnout (56.90M votes)
D. Trump gains 47.5% of turnout (56.67M votes)
HC + DT gain 95.2% of turnout (113.57M votes)

Net Others gain 4.8% of turnout (5.73M votes)

HC gains 230,053 more votes than DT (+0.19% of turnout)
(loses on basis of Electoral College votes)

IF WE ASSUME that:
– the eligible voters favoring Trump were on average highly motivated, so a high percentage of them went to the polls,
while
– the eligible voters favoring HRC were on average modestly motivated, so a middling percentage of them went to the polls
then
IT IS POSSIBLE that:
– in the non-voting portion of the VAP (say at least the 10M missing since 2012) there was a higher portion of HRC-leaning people to DT-leaning people,
– AND IF turnout had been higher
then
– relatively more HRC votes than T votes would have been added (to the observed totals)
AND
– that might possibly have tilted the election in HRC’s favor.

Bernie Sanders has often said that “with high turnouts Democrats win, with low turnouts Republicans win.” (Which is why Republicans favor voter suppression.)

In brief, HRC needed tidal waves of “missing voters” who favored her, in Red States.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the non-voting remainder of the 2016 VAP (126M possible voters) did not split any differently than the voting portion (the 119.3M turnout) on the favoring of HRC or DT. So speculating on how an HRC win might have been gained by engaging large numbers of presumably “missing” HRC voters may be grasping at nonexistent straws.

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Commentary On Election 2016 (follows)

Please note, I express myself freely in what follows. I am NOT concerned to spare anyone’s feelings. Nothing personal, but…

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Essential reading if you want to know “why it happened” and “what do we (really) have to do to fix the problem.” In brief: stop crying, emoting, “fleeing” your privileged white ass to Canada hoping they make good lattés up there, and messing up the streets (protesting a democratic election!!). Instead, fire the ENTIRE Democratic Party, and start that over with an entirely new crew (e.g., Bernie, Nina Turner, Keith Ellison, Tulsi Gabbard, that kind of people). You are only victims of believing what you want to believe, instead of opening your eyes and ears to reality, and then dealing with it as it actually exists. Your ignorance is their power. Maintaining ignorance (blaming others) is the essence of the delusion of “privilege.” I do not feel your pain. Wake up!

Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit
(Glenn Greenwald)
9 November 2016
https://theintercept.com/2016/11/09/democrats-trump-and-the-ongoing-dangerous-refusal-to-learn-the-lesson-of-brexit/

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Yvette Carnell (on Facebook, just after midnight, on the morning of 9 November 2016):

“Understand what this Trump victory means. He defeated capital, the media, the military industrial complex and both the Republican and Democratic Party. Republicans said he was unelectable and ran away from him after the groping allegations. Now Trump is president. This is historic.”

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My Old Predictions on Election 2016
9 November 2016
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2016/11/09/my-old-predictions-on-election-2016/
(above shown in full below)

During last June (the CA primary, 7 June 2016) I wrote that “a vote for Hillary Clinton before July is a vote for Donald Trump in November.” By all kinds of cheating, bribery, rigging, collusion with corporate media and procedural underhandedness, the Clinton mafia, the DNC and professional Democrats managed to shut out the popular will (and its spokesman, Bernie Sanders) from the electoral process. Okay, so the corporations won. But it seems increasing clear now that Hillary Clinton’s political legacy for America will be the Trump Administration. <> (29 September 2016)

Donald Trump is the popular response of the white working class to its nearly 40 year degradation by neoliberal economics. Donald Trump is not Hitler, neoliberalism is Dracula. The neoliberal plague was unleashed in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher (in the UK) and Ronald Reagan in 1981, and has continued to be propagated in the US by a succession of corporate-owned factotums: George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and — if the Democratic Party can rig everything to come out just right — Hillary Clinton. <> (8 September 2016)

It is abundantly clear that should Hillary Clinton lose the November election (as seems more likely with each passing day) it will be a richly deserved loss. <> (8 September 2016)

The American electorate may arrive at a consensus of voting for a train-wreck they can be assured of seeing unfold in every detail, instead of voting for a stealthy railroading of them all, under the guise of social progress. <> (8 September 2016)

If Donald Trump does actually win the November election it will be because of all the Democratic Party regulars and Clinton faithful, who “voted for him” by late July, by voting for Hillary instead of Bernie: that is to say by rigging the voting processes, and collusion with corporate media to sabotage the Sanders campaign, in addition to simply casting their votes for Hillary during the primary elections and at the Democratic Party convention. <> (24 August 2016)

Had the Democratic Party really been concerned about beating Donald Trump in the November election they would have nominated Bernie Sanders, who is heavily favored over Donald in just about every electoral district, and in every single poll taken on that question (still). But, the Democratic Party regulars and the Clinton faithful are far more concerned about preserving their own situations of personal gain, and they did not want to “lose control” of the Democratic Party to the “popular will” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau), for the good of the country. <> (24 August 2016)

So today, the 25th of July 2016, is undoubtedly the first day of the Trump presidency, the beginning of its preamble which will reach a crescendo on November 8, and then be legitimized on the 20th of January 2017. The best hopes for the next four years in America, and perhaps for a generation, were strangled in their Democratic Party crib today. I will always hate all Hillary Clinton voters, and I will always pity all Donald Trump voters. <> (25 July 2016)

Trump voters are too stupid to do any better, and many of them are justifiably angry over how they have been exploited economically. It is perfectly understandable that they would rebel against their political impotence by throwing the monkey wrench of a vote for Trump into the gears of the system. So, I pity them. Hillary voters, on the other hand, are smart enough to realize just how stupid their identity politics vanity is. Is the advancement and enrichment of one very corrupt woman really worth the many sacrifices the nation and its people must endure to sustain it? Is the thrill of being able to say “I voted for the first American woman president” really more important than the futures of our children, and the welfare of so many hard-pressed people? For Hillary Clinton voters it is, and so I hate them. <> (25 July 2016)

The Democratic Party has done a superb job of ensuring that many millions of young Americans will never look on it with respect and trust ever again. It has also done an outstanding job at demonstrating — for all Americans and all the World — one of the clearest and most vivid counterexamples to the concept of integrity that has ever been devised. Seed corn has been wasted by the gluttony of the privileged, and of the stupid. Fortunately for these Democratic party “loyalists,” delusion and self-absorption will save them from ever noticing the consequences. Until karma surprises. <> (14 June 2016)

The 2016 election is between the people and the corporations. Independents will determine who wins in November (they outnumber registered Democrats and registered Republicans). Bernie is the overwhelming favorite nationally (and in swing states), and would easily defeat Trump. If the DP fields Hillary Clinton against Trump, Trump will win. <> (5 June 2016)

Among the people: Bernie’s supporters are the most alert, Trump’s supporters are the most bitter, and Hillary’s supporters are the most deluded. <> (5 June 2016)

If the Democratic Party apparatchiks (the paid minions of the 1% oligarchs) can beat back the hostile-takeover Sanders insurgency of popular and populist democracy, and put Hillary Clinton forward as the party’s champion in the general electoral joust, then President Trump will be inaugurated in January 2017. The Democratic Party apparatchiks are first and foremost fighting to preserve their patronage positions (to hell with the country). A President Trump is no threat to their ambitions, but a nominee Sanders — whether subsequently president or not — would mean that a revolution had occurred in the Democratic Party, and the Obama-Clinton apparatchik gravy-train derailed. <> (27 February 2016)

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President Trump
8 November 2016 (revised 11 November 2016)

President Trump is popular America’s (as opposed to institutional America’s) equivalent of a Brexit from neoliberalism and globalization.

Part of the political rejection elevating Donald Trump to the presidency (beyond excruciating economic pain) is a popular emotional rejection of social attitudes and would-be social norms (as advocated by “advanced” worldly people) that are taken as threats to local distinctiveness, local traditions and old “religious” and ethnic customs, where those old customs are largely forms of bigotry passed down through families as basic elements of social and personal identity.

As is true with ISIS, the Taliban, Syria’s Assad, Turkey’s Erdogan, Iran’s ayatollahs, Egypt’s generals, the Chinese ‘geriatrocrats,’ and every “conservative” authoritarian regime around the world, all socially “liberal” ideas like women’s rights (reproductive, marital, sexual) and equality with men (political and economic), secular parliamentary government, the illegality of institutional racism, the illegality of the persecution of homosexuality and gender relativity, are all seen as part of “world governing” capitalist globalization taking over and diluting (to zero) local power structures (which are basically certain types of regional-national male classes defining the nature of their societies, and compelling all others to fit into their assigned places in these inequitable hierarchies).

This rejectionist and xenophobic nationalism is keenly and emotionally felt as “patriotism,” the defending and maintaining of “our (local) way of life” against the invasions by heartless, impersonal, unpatriotic trans-national and exploitative world economic forces, with no loyalty locally or nationally (e.g., job offshoring, foreign tax-haven sheltering “world capital”), and whose human faces are self-aggrandizing elitists who have personally removed from themselves any localisms and “backwardness” that would connect them to the communities they would rule over from afar, in order to be most efficient in advancing their own personal ambitions. Hillary Clinton is a perfect example of such an elitist, happy to homogenize (and “feminize”) the USA in order to make its exploitation by “world capital” more efficient.

Hillary Clinton is certainly more capable than Donald Trump would ever be at managing the economic system that currently owns the USA. But the popular preference for a President Trump is an angry rejection of that Wall Street neoliberal globalized system. They don’t want Trump to run it better than Hillary, they want Trump to destroy it and give them something new, which makes them feel good within their local distinctiveness, as they imagine they would have “in the good old days.”

Personally, I wish the Democrats had run Bernie instead of Hillary. Oh well, you reap what you sow.

I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party.

Trump has triumphed, and all the institutions, who were uniformly against him (including a significant portion of the Republican Party Establishment), have been shamed. The American people have unleashed their political berserker.

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However you feel about it, Trump’s victory is:
– the result of an honest democratic election,
– a victory for populism, and
– a defeat (electoral) of the neoliberal establishment.

I have no doubt we could have had the same electoral result with Bernie Sanders, as President-Elect.

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PDF of this article:
trump-absolutely-won-hillary-absolutely-lost

Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief

Democracy is so precious that it has to be rationed,
voting must be guided least it undermine the nation.
A confederation of complacent parasites
triumphs over a panic of anguished bigots’ fright.
The great zombie beast, dazed and confused,
plows on forward, prodded and amused.
The ruptured traditions all have been preserved,
the fragile ideals have successfully been reversed:
The task of public schools
is to press children into tools,
the goal of private schools
is to carve robots out of fools.
Dynasties arise and ancient unions fail,
memories turn over, and to the chief we hail.
No dreams have been deferred, they’ve simply been forgotten,
corrupted as ambition, or as despair turned rotten.
With clarity intact, and old visions of uplift,
with your world I’m out of time, athwart your synchronism.
With insights you attack, I’m now thankfully adrift,
this solitude of mine is freedom from your prison.

22 October 2016

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Fear & Loathing in American Voting, 2016

In the diagrams above:
“tax Wall Street” = “deal with climate change” = “socialism” = “no wars.”

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The following rather moralizing (and no doubt futile) essay is a bonus with today’s posting.

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When The You We See Is The You You Are

My response to Charles Eisenstein’s essay (cited just below) follows:

The Lid Is Off
by Charles Eisenstein
http://charleseisenstein.net/the-lid-is-off/

Charles Eisenstein presents the dilemma posed by modern electronics communications and recording technology eroding the ease of concealment of unsavory personal behavior and attitudes, which ease of concealment was up until recently an intrinsic aspect of human society. He describes three examples:

1. Exposure of lewd “locker room” talk about women by Donald Trump, audio recorded a decade or more ago,

2. Exposure of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street bankers (her actual political beliefs, opinions, and promises to the financial industry); by hacked e-mail.

3. Exposure of many instances of police brutality (e.g., beatings, fatally shooting unarmed civilians, even non-fleeing unresisting ones); by cell phone video.

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When I began work in the classified arena (1978) I instantly learned to consider every communication, and even research inquiry, whether face-to-face and verbal, or written, and especially through any electronic means (via computer networks), to be the equivalent of a postcard: it would be readable by anyone and everyone who could come across it, or eavesdrop (or “wiretap,” or “hack”). This was a procedural form of “say what you mean, and mean what you say.” In other words, understand and accept the consequences of what you are saying (or writing, or making research inquiries about). So, it never occurred to me to try running any money-making schemes, or seek out porno through my employer’s computer/internet systems (not so hard to do since I had no interest in these things, but people who did were invariably caught and fired).

At a more basic level, the “solution” to the dilemma posed by Charles Eisenstein is simply to not be a hypocrite. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Speak and act as if every moment is a “postcard” entirely visible to any and all, and easily recorded by them. Naturally, no actual human could ever maintain a perfect record in this regard, but making the effort to do so will improve your character and thus self-esteem, and it is very likely to keep you out of a lot of trouble.

The way to do this is to become self-aware, either by the luck of good parenting and education (when you are young), or by the luck of learning this truth as a result of the blowback from your own folly that you (also) luckily escaped from and got to live down (and then reform yourself). Once self-aware, you identify any disparities between your persona (the public you) and your shadow (the hidden negative aspects of your personality), and you breach the wall of hypocrisy and denial you had maintained between these two, letting in disinfecting light (and public view) that clears up your hidden rot: mean what you say and say what you mean.

So, for the Trump part of you: enjoy your sex dreams within the vast expanse of your own mind, but leave them there. There is no need to share them as part of boasting and ridicule expressed to boost comradeship, which is in fact a form of intimacy (between boys and boys, and girls and girls) that you veil with bravado to hid from yourself your embarrassment about it. Don’t act to demand attention and dominate, but command respect and gain trust by how you consistently act.

For the Hillary part of you: enjoy your daydreams of Machiavellian manipulations of people that result in your glorification, because like Walter Mitty, Billy Liar and all brides, it is so enjoyable to be the star of your own movie. But, keep these dreams (of inadequacy desiring power) within the vast expanse of your own mind, and make sure you do not deceitfully actualize them, thus splitting yourself into a persona that is a lie, and a shadow of hidden corruption as your motivating core. Instead of “me against the world” (like Rastignac at the end of Balzac’s “Le Père Goriot”), seek to be in and with the world in a way that maintains an honest self-respect.

For the chest-thumping alpha-male gorilla in you: play by the rules when exercising your power, be unbiased in how you treat others, and never forget your humanity when dealing with another person, whether you like them or not. Every moment of your life is a postcard. Make sure that any unbiased (and ethical) observer who happens to read any of your postcards of the moment can conclude he/she would have acted as you did if he/she had been in your place; or he/she can accept the choices you made in those circumstances. When acting as an agent of society to maintain order (peace and safety), do so in a manner that upholds the ideals of that society. You will be proud to have served honorably and ethically, and with a consistency of such action you will earn appreciation and gratitude.

Developing and maintaining good character during the course of your life will prevent the occurrence of many possible regrets when it comes time for you to die.

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