RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on thatย specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impressionย – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?

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Comes At You Fast

So, just since this morning I’ve learned that I’ve got some kind of growth on my thyroid that I need to have checked out, one of my best friends… I’ll save the gory details, but his mom’s cancer has progressed to where they’re pretty sure the time is coming soon, and then another one of my friends flipped her car and is in the hospital as we speak. ๐Ÿ˜” And that’s just the bad stuff that I know about. I hate to think about whatever awful news I’ve missed due to not being on FB for a couple of weeks.

Cash Grab

In the interest of psychological self-preservation, I’ve steered clear of reading too much Twitter or watching too much political news today. ๐Ÿคจ That’s probably something I should consider doing permanently… instead of trying to always stay up to date on the latest breaking news, maybe I should take a couple days’ break between absorbing all of the awfulness. ๐Ÿค” I’m sure I’d end up hearing about it if anything urgent actually happened, but the rest of it should be easy enough to consume in summary form for the previous couple of days. ๐Ÿค“ Meh… it’s a thought anyway…

I was blessed to receive a “catch up” sleep last night. I think I ended up crashing around 5:00am, and didn’t wake up until 3:00pm… so despite my schedule getting a little screwed up due to the sleep schedule adjustment, waking up feeling rested and without much pain was a godsend. – so I can overlook the inconvenience it’ll probably cause.

I got another small surprise in the mail today. While I’m normally not a fan of bands/artists re-releasing their albums with “bonus tracks” after everyone has already bought the original… because I liked nearly every single track on Skillet’s album Unleashed, I went ahead and gritted my teefs and clicked the “buy” button when they announced that they were releasing Unleashed Beyond – which has five brand new tracks and two remixes of songs already on the original disc. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m 90% sure that I’m gonna like the new stuff.

So yeah… honestly even though it’s the early evening, I really feel like my day is only just getting started – and right now my mind is clear, I’ve not set any obligations for myself, so hopefully it’ll just be a mix of lazy, doing a little of this and that, and trying to keep it from ending up crappy for whatever reason. I felt a twinge of maybe wanting to take some photos again, so maybe I’ll look about and see what types of new features and photo slideshow software packages are out there these days.

What’s Wrong

People have far too much access to each other. It’s not that the access is bad, it’s that people don’t know how to properly use such a feature of today’s life. I’ve never seen such a culture of “I’m miserable so I’m going to make everyone else miserable too.” as now. So many humans seem to exist only to be a bane to other humans.

The most recent bit of bullshit that I came across was when a local festival posted a graphic of a sign that essentially said that no animals were allowed on festival grounds unless they were a certified service animal for a disabled person. So of course some jackass had to get butthurt, complaining that people with diabetes can have service animals, but they aren’t disabled ๐Ÿ˜ย and therefore use of the word was offensive. ๐Ÿ˜‘

The festival quite politely pointed out that the graphic came from somewhere else, and they were simply wanting folks to know that any animals on the property must be service animals, because lots of folks these days try to take advantage of that allowance without a certification for their animals. The same asshole responds with “I don’t know what you mean by ‘these days‘” Oh my God d00d. Are you fucking kidding me? You’re not that dense that you don’t realize that the festival is saying that people try to “fake” service animals quite often these days. (Fact. I’ve seen it online and in person myself.)

But back to access to other humans. I can only speak about the window from which I view the world, and my window is different than it was ten years ago. I’m no longer working, I’m single… so I no longer have a lot of things that would normally take up a person’s time, so I can spend a lot of time online. Researching things that interest me, discussing things with people, debating things… generally a little bit of everything… but that also grants me a ton of time to notice and recognizeย all of the truly horrible people and things in the world. ๐Ÿ˜ž

And this is cliche, but I do blame the Donald Trump presidency for some of it. He goes out in front of the world and acts like the blustering, politically-uneducated, loud mouthed, ignorant blow-hard that he is… and of course it subliminally encourages others, people like him, to do the same thing. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ So now there is a sea of truly ignorant people out there who will run their mouths about almost anything, yet only rarely know of what they’re speaking. Explain to them how wrong they are and it only makes their conviction (in their wrongness) that much stronger. It’s a bizarre and frightening thing to witness day after day after day.

Back when the world was normal, people who were unsure of something would get online to research and learn. But now people live in an echo chamber, where the ignorant people reinforce and invigorate the other ignorant people, so there’s eventually an army of these uninformed and/or misinformed morons. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป People who do know what they’re talking about… they’ll try to educate the moron army, but the moron army will have none of it. In fact, they’ll get mad. Mad that you’re trying to help them understand something that they clearly do not understand. ๐Ÿ˜’

And so it goes, every day on Twitter… on Facebook… on Reddit… one mass of people against another mass of people. The intelligent people don’t back down because they’re aware that they are right. The ignorant people won’t back down… well… because they’re ignorant. ๐Ÿ˜ It’s frustrating to watch the ignorance grow, as these people spread their misinformation and sometimes blatantly made-up “facts” to the gullible. That’s a Trumpian thing to do – discredit good, factual information as being “fake” so you can replace it with whatever bullshit you wish were the facts.

Meh… those are just a few examples. Then you have fake people on Facebook, creating a bullshit image of what they want people to believe their life is like. They’ll call someone a friend one minute, then talk shit about them as soon as they leave the room. People who will see someone’s enthusiasm for something, and will then laugh or otherwise berate that person and their thing, simply because they don’t share that same enthusiasm.

Then there are the folks who couldn’t give two shits about anyone but themselves. Their entire motivation exists around their own gratification at whatever cost to those around them. Then there are the sad people who seem to require “likes” or “clicks” or whatever, as if that sort of thing validates their life and makes it “good enough” or maybe even better than someone else’s. ๐Ÿ˜ขย “Oh look, she’s talking shit but she only has 72 followers. *laugh*” And then the things that a lot of people would look at and consider to be worth noticing, discussing, or debating… it’s like those things don’t exist to a huge segment of the population. ๐Ÿ˜ง Some things you want people to notice and be shocked or outraged, but the shock and outrage is always saved up for some bullshit like “Did you see that Microsoft included an emoji of a hand “flipping the bird” in their latest update? Can you believe it?”

Granted, again, I know that this is because of the window that I have, to observe the digital humans and actual humans, because of my own choices and otherwise… but I sit here and wonder why, of all the people I know, that I’m one of the very few who are concerned with what’s going on in our government? Steve Bannon said that their intention was to get into office and totally fuck things up (I’m paraphrasing) and boy is that what they’re doing. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Many decades from now, our grandchildren are going to read about this time in their history books and wonder why more people didn’t say or do something.

Our President is an ignorant, narcissistic, bumbling man-child. He installs his daughter and son-in-law in top positions in the White House, despite them having equal political experience. (Meaning ZERO) Sebastian Gorka was a former Breitbart contributor with a penchant for racist hyperbole. Betsy DeVos was named Secretary of Education, despite having no experience in public schools, while lobbying for privatization. Dan Scavino is a conspiracy theorist who posts fake news, including allegations that Michelle Obama is actually a man. Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who was named to head the EPA, despite suing the agency more than a dozen times previously. And then there’s Rick Perry, who heads the Department of Energy, while not even realizing what the department did until after he took the job. And Pruitt, he’s doing his best to eliminate transparency in the office, so much so that he’s already being legally challenged. Ugh… I could go on and on, because for nearly every Trump appointee there’s some “JFC” fact that goes along with them.

Whether by ignorance, inaction, or purposeful action – our government is literally filled with people who are doing a amazing job of destroying it from the inside, just like Bannon said they wanted. In their delusional bubble, I’m sure they think things are swell. Meanwhile, the more observant of us see that hardly anyone knows what’s going on, and the world sees that hardly anyone knows what’s going on… we’re losing even more respect, and it doesn’t help when our loud-mouthed President keeps making bizarre, almost dementia-tainted tweets and empty threats of war on Twitter. Oh, and did I mention that Trump hasn’t even nominated people for hundreds of vacant positions in his administration? Yeah… it would be nice if we had an Ambassador to South Korea, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc. (Especially since we’ve already bombed Syria with dozens of missiles.)ย But rather than listing a bunch of other shocking holes in our government, just follow this link and see for yourself. People should be bothered by this.

But no. You used the word “disabled” when talking about service animals and not all people that need service animals are disabled and I find that offensive. It makes my fucking brain hurt sometimes, no lie. ๐Ÿ˜– And try to point out all of Trump’s documented failings and shortcomings to a Trump supporter… yeah… see how that works for ya. More than ever, the ignorant masses are digging in their heels and are simply not going to stand for any of these “so-called facts” anymore. What do you do with people like that? I mean, how do you communicate with them? Reason with them? It’s like this huge chunk of the population has chosen to remove itself from reality, so how is a thinking person supposed to process and deal with that – without getting so frustrated that they have to bust out ridiculously long, multi-paragraph blog posts in the middle of the damn night? ๐Ÿ˜

But yeah, that’s part of “what’s wrong with me” right now…

Zero Hour

This weekend ended up being exactly what I needed it to be. ๐Ÿ˜Œ I also realized that in addition to just enjoying the company that I was with, having a human in my immediate proximity went a long way towards keeping my brain from getting stuck in the “on” position like it almost always does. (Much like how you have to jiggle the toilet handle just the right way to keep the water pump from running for hours and burning itself out.ย ๐Ÿ˜)ย Now my company has gone, the weekend is coming to an end… but there’s still a new Rick and Morty episode tonight along with the season finale of Game of Thrones, so that provides one last little bit of goody before it’s back to normal tomorrow.

The currentย “you’ll hear from us” state of both of my attorney-led endeavors has got me feeling a bit restless again, so the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is give those folks a call. I’m not sure that any prodding from me will make either of those situations move any more quickly, but at least I’ll feel like I’m trying to do something about it.

Another thing that I was reminded of this weekend is how nice it can be when I’m not perpetually absorbing the news of the day. It’s difficult for me to consciously avoid the news. I want to stay informed. I want to stay outraged at the things one should be outraged against. But much like the way I swore off of HLN years ago after shows like Dr Drew and Nancy Grace started to make me a little bit crazy… heh… I should really consider limiting my consumption of political news, even from the shows which present it from a point of view that is often similar to my own. (This topic is honestly worthy of it’s own multi-paragraph entry here. ๐Ÿค” Perhaps soon.)

Other information briefs: Christina handled her first chemo treatment like a champ, but today she cut her hair quite short in anticipation of the eventual hair loss. Jim’s mom is still putting up a fight against her cancer, but the probability of recovery at this point is not good. ๐Ÿ˜” And then my friend Rick Kitzmiller… he’s got a lot of support, but complications during chemotherapy are starting to put his recovery at risk as well. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ “I’m just treading water.” is the way he most recently described it to friends via a Facebook post.

Obviously, I’ve also got other friends and family who are facing their own flavors of health problems (as am I) so it’s not that I’m not thinking about them and praying for them too… it’s just that cancer has a way of getting a bigger collective gasp, and those afflicted with it tend to stay near the front of your mind whether it’s fair or not. It’s just all incredibly sad, and in those times when I’m not thinking about it or talking about it, I just have to totally push it out of my mind or risk drowning in my thoughts.

 

Like I Was Saying

Donald Trump went off-script today, and in a way he said many of the things that I had mentioned in the post below. However there’s a big difference between a shmuck like me pointing things out and the President of the United States doing it. It’s a difficult enough thing for people to consider as it is, and now was certainly not the right time to do it – nor was seeming so argumentative the way to do it.

It proves my point though, as the media and intarwebs are currently totally losing their shit over it. One of the terms that I see getting tossed around a lot is “moral equivalency.” So many people are saying that because Donald Trump pointed out that there was violence on both sides, that he was therefore saying that there was a moral equivalency between Nazis, white nationalists, the KKK, and the people that were protesting on the other side.

For the post below, what I did was push my emotions and beliefs aside to point out things from a strictly observational view. But Trump… I’m not sure he has the emotions or empathy or whatever you might call it – so he wasn’t even aware that what he was saying might end up pissing off the majority of the country. I wouldn’t suggest that there’s a moral equivalency, and I’m not sure that’s what he’s suggesting either… but the cat is out of the bag.

He just seems to have the same frustration as me, where the coverage is absolutely one-sided about everything that happened due to the very controversial nature of the rally and the people that attended… when you can clearly see in video after video, plenty of protesters being just as punch-happy as the racist white guys. It’s hard for me to watch anyone get a free pass for such behavior, and I’m guessing it’s the same way for him. But you’re the President, man… you can’t get up there and just say that.

Hooey

It was actually last weekend that I did this, but since I’m back up and running here I figure I’ll reach back a few days to something good for my first real post. A concert that was pretty high on my “must see before they die” list, Huey Lewis and The News performed at the relatively new Rose Music Center just outside of Dayton Ohio. It’s a perfect-sized venue, essentially like Riverbend but without the lawn seats. And since it was just me going, I woke up early on the day the tickets went on sale and actually got myself a front row seat.

I met up with Jim and Adam there as well. They also got their tickets early, ending up only a few rows behind me. If I would have known he really was gonna pull the trigger I’d have gotten us all seats, but it all still worked out. I knew I’d be feeling pretty beat up after everything was done, so I went ahead and got a room in some shitty nearby hotel. That was somewhat of an adventure, but it gave the trip some extra personality. And even though she wasn’t interested in the concert, I took Cassi with me for company before and after the show.

One the second day we decided to visit the National Museum of the USAF near Wright Patterson Air Force Base. What an amazing place… and free admission, believe it or not. Neither one of us are in top physical shape, so walking the expansive buildings was a bit of work, but we managed to hit all of the attractions. Very kewl to be able to walk through a plane that served as Air Force one for many years and carried eight different Presidents at one time or another.