Thursday, March 9, 2017

Congressman Kennedy Sticks It To Paul Ryan

Republican Paul Ryan has always struck me as an imperious, callous bastard, out of touch with the suffering of others, but always claiming to be a pious Catholic. In his white-bred , privileged world, a measure of one’s worthiness to lead has always been how much water he can carry for wealthy corporate donors, never how much assistance he can provide for the elderly, the poor, and the downtrodden. His jimmied-up health care bill, Obamacare with the guts extracted, will provide undeserved tax cuts to his base—gazillionaires who are already provided for. It would raise premiums and deductibles for the peons he sneers at, eradicate Medicaid, and kill off thousands of the elderly before their time. The Obamacare death panels he carped about endlessly have become a self-prophecy.

Yet Ryan smugly stood before cameras the other day and called Trumpcare an “act of mercy.” I’ve never heard such a condescending pronouncement from on high by any politician. The only mercy his disastrous plan will provide is the mercy of the grave for those who will no longer be able to afford health care. I wanted to pick up a sock and stuff it down Ryan’s throat; obligingly, Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, grandson of Bobby Kennedy, did it for me:

"I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill 'an act of mercy.' With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture…The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us. There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill. This is not an act of mercy. It is an act of malice."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The World’s Most Powerful Man is Sick; He Has NPD—What That Means To You and Me

Donald Trump is ill; his behavior and words make that undeniable. He lashes out against enemies perceived and real. He lies constantly. He craves attention and approval. He displays no genuine empathy. He has no shame. He never takes the blame for anything. In his own mind, he has no faults. He exaggerates his accomplishments, and he always uses superlatives when describing his policies and actions—i.e. “I won the election by a landslide; “Biggest electoral win ever”; “Largest crowds ever at my inaugural”; “I will build the greatest wall ever”; “I will replace Obamacare with the best health care in the world”; “My cabinet is the greatest cabinet in the history of America.” He shows no humility or dignity; he must always describe himself in the most grandiose terms. If you’ve been wondering, like I have, what the hell kind of personality/psychological disorder afflicts our president, I am happy to provide the answer. I am reprinting the explanation from an article published by Karen Wehrstein of the Daily Kos:

“[Trump] is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and [I will] spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it. Certainly the term 'narcissist' is being applied to him a lot, but most people don’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically.

I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but for personal reasons I have educated myself about NPD. It generally conceals itself and is little understood—but has a devastating effect on the lives of others close to the narcissist or to organizations he is involved with. Knowing NPD creates a coherent picture that explains Trump’s behaviors. That will help you not only understand Trump, but enable you to spot people with NPD who want to enter your life, organization, etc., so that you can act accordingly. This is an educational moment in history. It is very rare that the symptoms of NPD are on such massive public display.

If you find yourself completely baffled by Trump’s behavior, that’s because mentally-healthy people generally find NPD-rooted behaviors incomprehensible. The narcissist violates social norms that healthy people hold instinctively and therefore assume (usually correctly) that others hold—while at the same time he creates a semblance of normalcy, because being able to do so is part of the disorder. Because the rest of us cannot relate to, often cannot even imagine how a narcissist thinks and feels, it seems outside the realm of plausibility, and so his semblance of normalcy will fool us. Not only Trump voters but fellow Republicans and even Putin have shown signs of buyer’s remorse with Trump. That’s because he fooled them all. Narcissists can do that.

So, since he’s a textbook case, let’s hit the textbook. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the American Psychiatric Association’s guidebook for mental health diagnosis – gives diagnostic criteria for all mental illnesses. Between the fourth and fifth editions, the criteria for NPD changed, so I am going to use both to paint a fuller picture. If you’ve been following the presidential news for the last few months, you’ll likely be able to think of at least one and probably several examples of Trump demonstrating every single diagnostic criterion below.
From DSM-IV:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
From DSM-5
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
AND
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences, and predominance of a need for personal gain
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

President Obama and others who have observed that Trump’s behaviors arise from an underlying insecurity are right, as per DSM-5 criterion A.1.a. above. Kossacks and others have figured out that the way to get under his skin is to is to point out how unpopular he is, because that works on narcissists. In fact any criticism does, because narcissists can’t handle criticism at all, cannot help but take it personally, as per DSM-5 criteria A.1. a & b both.

How else does this translate into behaviors?
Let’s start with the persona narcissists create. Because they lack empathy, they have to learn how to appear normal, which they do by rote-learning expressions and mannerisms from normal people around them. In fact, they are good at being charming; they learn what people want to hear and say it without regard to whether it is true. Because they are without moral qualms, they can come across as decisive, which normal people interpret as confident, and spontaneous, which normal people interpret as authentic. This is how Trump played the crowds at his rallies. None of it, however, is sincere; it is only for personal gain. There is no such thing as loyalty from narcissists; loyalty arises from the social norm of reciprocity, which is based on empathy, which they don’t have.

Next: falsehood. Honesty is also a social norm based on empathy, so narcissists feel no need to hold themselves to it. Falsehood serves two functions: 1) manipulating people into furthering the narcissist’s aims (e.g. making promises he never intends to keep); 2) maintaining his own delusion of superiority, e.g. insisting he is liked more than he is, or rebutting good arguments with false ones. The media is debating whether Trump’s tales of a record-breaking inauguration audience and 3-5 million illegal votes are lying or delusion. Knowing what I do of NPD, I would say it’s delusion. Trump will cling to it and keep it in the news even at the risk of damaging his own credibility, because it engages his central, very strong motivation, and he lacks the empathy to see how it will damage his credibility.
Because narcissists are so insecure at heart they can be control freaks, and the male of the species in particular can be authoritarian. Hence, executive orders that are likely unconstitutional as well as absurd. In a “love” relationship (because narcissists lack empathy, which is central to love), he can seek to dictate every aspect of his partner’s life, including that she conform to his standard of beauty. Thus he feels free to wander into the dressing room of a teen beauty pageant to “inspect the goods,” and you’ll see a certain uniformity among the Trump women in style of dress and even length of hair. I think he is likely giving them strict orders.

At the same time, there will be impulsiveness, moodiness and disorganized thinking. A narcissist is really a six-year-old in a grown-up body, lacking reason and ruled by emotion; recall Melania Trump’s comment that she had to look after two boys, one being Barron, the other, Donald. People have suspected Trump’s reversals and word-salads could indicate ADHD, but these are indicators of NPD, too.

In his exploitiveness, the narcissist violates social norms concerning appropriate boundaries, whether those boundaries are codified in conflict-of-interest prohibitions, investment loan contracts, business contracts, sexual assault laws or what-have-you. The narcissist basically feels that rules are for him to set, not obey. This includes even the rules of logic, such as “base your decisions on facts.”

Projection characterizes how narcissists describe people who oppose them. They will “project their own negative introject,” in Freudian terms, i.e. ascribe their own wrongdoing and faults to other people, whether it be criminality (“crooked Hillary”), lying or a rigged election. I have come to assume that whatever Trump accuses someone else of doing, he is doing or has done himself.

Competitiveness and envy result from others apparently outdoing the narcissist, e.g. President Obama drawing large inauguration crowds. He, and everything he’s touting, has to be the biggest, the best, the huuuugest.

Rage and vindictiveness result from the narcissist’s wishes being thwarted which, of course, life does fairly often, quite naturally. It is a primal rage, like a child’s; hence Trump’s angry style of speaking and noted obsession with getting even. One reason the golden shower story went so viral; Americans have come to know Trump well enough to see it is plausible. Rage translates into hate, which can manifest as racism, sexism, and homophobia.
So how to deal with a narcissist? To put it very bluntly: don’t. There really is nothing to do with these people but to disassociate with them. They bring nothing but harm and suffering. However, if you are stuck with one, there are ways to handle it:
1) Avoid being disillusioned: have very low expectations. Here are things never to expect from a narcissist: honesty, loyalty, reciprocity, change due to the gravity of a position, reasonableness in negotiation, learning through experience, maturation, adaptability, courage, ability to handle adversity, aspiration to genuine excellence, genuine altruism, humility, guilt or shame for wrongdoing, equanimity, sincere gratitude, sincere appreciation, sincere praise, admission that he is wrong, returned favours or improvement of the condition. In Trump’s case, you can’t even expect normal laughter or a smile that goes up to his eyes. Prognosis is poor because narcissists think all problems are caused by other people and so generally don’t seek treatment. Many people, even ones as smart as President Obama, expected Trump to settle down some once he was president. I knew he wouldn’t. He actually is not capable of doing so.
2) Do not normalize. Healthy people have a tendency to give the benefit of the doubt, in part because they simply can’t believe a narcissist is the way he is. It is standard operating procedure for him to use that to gaslight you; normalizing is gaslighting yourself. Recognize and accept that he is the way he is, that it’s due to mental illness and that he will not change. This is what the mainstream media most needs to learn about Trump.
3) If you are trying to figure out why he would do something, ask yourself, “How might it be motivated by a need to feel significant or important?” Discount all other motivations. Your questions will be answered.
4) Keep interactions distant. Don’t depend on a narcissist for anything; never make yourself vulnerable to a narcissist. Don’t loan him money or do work for him without 100% payment upfront.
5) Expect those around him to be damaged. They are either brain-washed into being extensions of him, parroting his thoughts, or faking same for personal gain, or bewildered by the madness. Expect chaos in any organization he leads: good people will resign in disgust or be fired, while marginal people ascend to powerful positions.
6) Do not attempt to reason with or educate him. It doesn’t happen.
7) Manipulate him by using his disorder. Flattery will get you everywhere; convince him that your idea was his brilliant one and he’ll run with it. Trump’s campaign staff learned to do this. But if you’re too honest for that:
8) Get rid of him as fast as possible. How?
a. Stop giving him what he so desperately needs. Once a narcissist realizes someone is no longer a source of approval, admiration and adoration, he’ll be off like a shot looking for the next sucker.
b. Expose him. Narcissists also tend to flee when they realize people are onto them. I am actually expecting Trump to flame out fairly soon, perhaps within weeks, because he is revealing that his condition makes him unable to deal with losing the popular vote, drawing a small inaugural audience, being mocked by SNL or greeted with protests wherever he goes. The media are beginning to talk openly about his mental illness; how will he handle that?

The central thing to understand about narcissists is that their need for “narcissistic supply” – feelings of being significant, important and adored – overrides all other considerations, including empathy and all the human norms that arise from it, because their delusion is to equate narcissistic supply with survival—same as a drowning victim might drown their rescuer. Some narcissists, having flashes of realism as some of them sometimes do, have described narcissistic supply as a far stronger addiction than heroin.

It’s a throwback to the helplessness of early childhood, where not being considered important and lovable by parents is a genuine threat to survival. Thus a narcissist is always trying to soothe an all-encompassing internal terror, and no amount of narcissistic supply can ever soothe it entirely. This is the inner hell in which Donald Trump lives, and which he now has the ability to externalize onto the United States of America and the world.”

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wall Street Jackals Are Back And This Time They Want It All

The most diabolically shrewd maneuvers—in crime, politics and American history (which are pretty much the same things)—involve deception and diversion. Usurpers like Trump and his fascist gang, once in power, create crises and chaos so that the masses will be distracted while their pockets are picked. It’s always about the money, in the end. Two weeks of loud and very public incompetence by President Bannon has us looking away while Wall Street jackals move in for the kill.

Yes, Muslims have been banned; the moderate AG was fired; the DeVos vote is tied; meanwhile, financial regulations (you know the ones in place to prevent another economic crash like 2008) are being slashed by the same predators who stabbed us in the back then. The media, like ADD children, can’t focus on what’s important, just what makes the most noise. They missed the fact that Goldman Sachs is now in charge again.

The few who did catch it, cranky old white codgers like Tom Brokaw, are too muddled to understand or still living in 1955. This might be frightening news to the Trump voter—huddled in their isolated Pennsylvania farms or their polluting West Virginia factories—if they ever heard it, because the robber-bankers are coming after their life savings. Soon advisors, brokers and investors will no longer have to adhere to sensible rules; Social Security will be privatized; Medicare gone. The very racists who put Bannon in the White House will have their lives destroyed. Oblivious to this, Brokaw thinks we should confirm Trump’s rapacious and unqualified nominees as quickly as possible, because it’s what the old white people of Michigan, Ohio and Kansas would want.

In an article which appeared in Esquire magazine online today, Charles Pierce agrees:
“I just heard Tom Brokaw, the man who invented World War II, drone on sonorously about how the Democratic minority in the Congress is making a mistake by slowing down the confirmation process because that's the Republican playbook and that they'd be better advised to go out and seek the wisdom of middle America (Say white people, Tom. Go for the gold.) as regards the issues of the day. This is good advice, provided there's one angry shut-in anywhere in western Pennsylvania or rural Michigan who hasn't yet been interviewed by a major newspaper or television correspondent.

“But, if they do take Brokaw's advice, they might point out to these forgotten people that there are some people who remember them very well and have not forgotten what marks they are. In fact, on Friday morning, The Los Angeles Times had something for them to chew on while they can still afford breakfast.

“And, in The Wall Street Journal, Gary Cohn, the administration's senior economic adviser, was more than happy to explain his plan to lift the terrible burden of being honest off the nation's financial sector. Cohn, as it happens, is one of the phalanx of former Goldman Sachs employees with whom the president* plans to drain the swamp. He seems quite comfortable living there, but what do I know.

“But it's not about his old company, and his old pals, and the fairly thorough job they did blowing up the world economy eight years ago which, of course, is a century in Banker Time. They have labored under the burden of being marginally honest for far too long.

“This is about consumer choice about the same way a carny midway gives you the choice of being swindled in a shooting gallery, in a fortune-telling booth, or at a stand where you throw plastic hoops onto plastic ducks—where, of course, the hoops do not fit over the plastic ducks because that's the whole point, suckers.

“For the past two years, we heard endless thumbsucking from the Brokaws of the world that Donald Trump was a different kind of Republican, that he was running a "populist" campaign, that he would "upend Republican orthodoxy." Because he couched it in barely veiled racism and xenophobia, enough of the suckers bought it to tip the election in his favor. Now, however, the rubber is meeting the road.

“Those nice white "forgotten people" will now be free to have their pensions swindled out from underneath them by sharpies whose bonuses depend on how much money they can steal. They will find themselves paying usurious interest rates on their credit cards because of a clause written in Swedish, in .00009 point type, on the back of their monthly statement. And then, when it all comes crashing down again, they'll have to look for somebody to blame, and it won't be them, and it won't be the charlatan they elevated to the White House. And someone else will run for president, and give them the proper scapegoat, and Tom Brokaw will ask all the wrong questions of all the wrong people again.

“It's morning in America.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Do Republicans Hate Obamacare? Because They Hate Obama

Robin Marty of Cosmopolitan has finally cleared up, in a cogent way, one of the enduring mysteries of the Obama presidency: why Republicans are so opposed to Obamacare. We Democrats sensed that it had a lot to do with racism and politics; still, it was hard to comprehend how Republicans across the country, without ONE single exception, could heartlessly and ruthlessly deprive seven million Americans of health care insurance. Here is what Marty wrote:

“The GOP’s refusal to vote in favor of Obamacare’s passage and their aggressive opposition to every element of the bill - even those they had agreed with in the past - served to help them sweep into power in both Congress and a number of state legislatures when the 2010 midterms came around. And by taking over a number of state legislatures and governors’ mansions, Republicans could then block portions of the ACA from going into effect, further hampering the reforms. Red-state legislatures often refused to expand Medicaid so more people could receive subsidized insurance plans, leaving their residents with far more expensive out-of-pocket costs than blue-state counterparts. They also often opted out of opening their own state exchanges, forcing the uninsured to enroll through the federal exchange instead, which limited their coverage options and put a greater burden on the federal site. By first refusing to support Obamacare and then purposefully trying to make it fail, Republicans believed any consumer dissatisfaction would rest completely on the shoulders of the Democrats, since they were the only ones to vote in favor of the law.

“So do Republicans really despise the Affordable Care Act? Despite the fact that they have voted in some way, shape, or form to repeal some or all of the ACA more than 60 times in the six years since it was signed into law, the answer may surprisingly be no. Or at least, not as much of it as they claim. But they do hate the 'Obamacare' that was passed solely with Democratic votes and signed by a Democratic president, and they will do anything to tear that down completely. And when they later replace it with a new plan that has a surprising number of policies similar to the law they just undid, well, then we will know the thing they hated most about Obamacare was always Obama.”

Republicans, as we all know, are profound and oblivious hypocrites who think only of themselves and not the welfare of others; yet they claim to be Christians. Guess they missed this Bible verse from Psalms 41:1-3: "Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers him...the Lord sustains him on his sick bed; in his illness, you restore him to full health."

...and this one from Proverbs 19:17: "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed."

...and this one from Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ."

...and this one from...oh, what's the point? Republicans are heartless, conscienceless bastards who pay no heed to the book they purport to love more than any other.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Liberals Don't Get It; Trumpites Are A Different Animal

There's a scene in the TV series "The Sopranos" when Dr. Melfi, Tony's psychiatrist, is told by her husband that "there is no cure for a sociopath...they are animals." It suddenly dawns on Dr. Melfi that all of her years spent working to help Tony have been for naught. Psychoanalyzing an animal is pointless. Talk therapy does not help. Meds don't help. Trying to understand them is pointless. Ascribing normal human standards to their behaviors is an exercise in futility. In the end, one must realize that they can't be persuaded, shamed, or cajoled to do the right thing. They have no conscience or morality. They are concerned only with themselves, and they live to prey on others.

This is what liberals do not understand about Trumpites. We try to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that their anger is somehow justified. We look for justification for their irrational hatred of Hillary and Democrats. We hope that Trump's language and behavior are just a means to a better end. We delve into sociological causations for the disaffection of the white working class. We make excuses for college-educated females who voted for Trump. We desperately search for a glimmer of sensibility in half of all voters supporting a compulsive liar, sexual predator, tax cheat and business fraud.

Liberals, please listen. There is no humanity in a Trumpite. Stop attributing human qualities to non-humans. They are animals, devoid of compassion, empathy and concern for the greater good. They live, breathe and think only for themselves. The rest of us are merely marks in their con games. Like their leader, they use humans as a way to get what they want for themselves. And they couldn't care less if others are happy, safe or prosperous as long as they are. Take Obamacare, for example.

You know why they want to rip it apart? It's not because they have some deeply and thoughtfully considered socioeconomic objections, or that they see a better way of implementing universal care. No. It is simply because they do not want others, especially those beneath them, to be cared for. The well-being of others makes them furious, especially if their tax dollars contribute in some small way to that abomination. Even if Trumpites have their own wealth and comfort, they do not want others to share in the same abundance. For what is the point of being prosperous if others have it too? Remember, animals fend for themselves. Sociopaths are merely snakes on the prowl, not beneficent do-gooders.

Gun obsession is another example of the sociopath's self-centeredness. In his view, the world is a jungle, and a weapon gives him the advantage. The animal seeks to intimidate and cow others, and he assumes that all others are animals too...ones from which he needs to be protected. It never enters a Trumpite's head that liberals want everyone to be protected, that the greater good is served by keeping guns out of irresponsible hands, that liberals want humanity to exist on a higher plane of shared decency and respect. For the animal there is no such plane. There is only the jungle. There is only me.

Liberals, wake up. Trumpites are animals. Conscienceless, amoral, hateful, brutal, and completely devoid of remorse. (If Democrats had won the election despite losing the popular vote by millions, they would have felt guilty. But not these animals.) Stop treating them like they are human. Call them out for what they are. Shame them for their shamelessness. Be relentless in pointing out their inhumanity. And don't forget, you cannot appease an animal. You cannot compromise with it; you cannot work with it. It will bite your head off as soon as you turn your back on it.

Thankfully, in America animals are still outnumbered by human beings. Appeal to human beings' decency and sense of righteousness. And stop trying to figure out Trumpites. Sociopaths are incurable.





Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wait Until Trump Voters See How Trumpism Will Affect Them

Like petulant children, tired of being scolded for their bad behavior and words, Trump voters gave humane, decent adults everywhere a great big middle finger in this election. Now, like the giddy misanthropes they are, they gleefully watch as liberals like me tear their hair out. This is what they wanted all along--vengeance for being fact-shamed by Democrats; for having to squelch their racist inclinations; for stifling their urge to ridicule the disabled and the mentally impaired; for having to tell their racist jokes in private; for having to reduce women to sexual objects. They entered the ballot booth as assassins of civility, not protectors of democracy. Trumpers couldn't care less about democracy. Democracy impels them to accord respect to the other--the other gender, the other race, the other religion, the other sexual orientation. They see no benefit for themselves in the greater good, and finally they have found their hero...someone who embodies what they stand for: self-serving, short-term ego gratification, without a shred of social conscience or open-mindedness.

But the day is coming, sooner not later, when the Trumpers will regret the havoc they have unleashed, because they have to live and work in Trump's America too. They have to send their kids to school in Trump's America. They have to serve in Trump's military. They have to pay taxes to support CEOs like Trump. And when they've finally gotten their fill of Trumpism and they begin to criticize President Donald, they'll have to live in fear of Trump's reprisals. If there is one thing we know Donald loves to do it's get even with his enemies.

The Trump victory gives permission for schoolyard bullies to resume their reign of terror, and most Trumpers send their kids to public schools. The Trump victory validates the boss who uses his power to intimidate and sexually harass employees, and most Trumpers are in jobs where they are vulnerable to their superiors' power. The Trump victory emboldens the local gun nuts to open carry at school picnics; even conservatives like picnics. The Trump victory is likely to bend the tax code even more radically in favor of the super-rich, and history tells us corporations and the rich are not going to share any part of this obscene windfall with Trumpers. The Trump victory legitimizes illiteracy and stupidity; Trumpers should prepare for the American education system to sink to a new low under Donald. The Trump victory comes with a pledge of foreign aggression and military adventurism; it will be the Trumpers who fight and die in these wars. The Trump victory, by his own words, opens up the nuclear option; neither Trumpers nor anyone else will survive a nuclear war.

To Trumpers who read this blog: I know, I know...you're thinking, "He's just another liberal elite scolding us." That's right, I am. You should have listened to me, to all of the liberals, when we tried to warn you. A couple years from now, you'll realize you were wrong, and have deep regrets for the mess you've made. But you'll never admit it, because, like your leader, you don't have the decency or humility to ever admit you were wrong. Like the bratty kids you are, you never learn. Your childish behavior follows you into adulthood, and four years from now we, the adults, will have to bail you out again.

But for now, don't come running to me. He's not my president; he's yours. And you'll have to pay the consequences for what you've done.

Friday, September 9, 2016

NASA Study Warns That Republican Policies Will Destroy America

Will America go the way of the Roman Empire? NASA says yes. Our consumption glut and our obscene imbalance of wealth will eventually destroy our civilization. For decades now, scientists and Democrats have been warning Republicans that right-wing policies are dangerous, but the Koch brothers (and all others who take advantage of the Citizens United loophole to buy conservative politicians) and their corrupt congressmen aren't listening. Under Republican congressional rule, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Resources are dwindling because of climate change and other factors, yet the super-rich are unaffected by these changes since they have more access to the vanishing resources. 500 years from now, some historian will write "The Rise and Fall Of The American Empire" as a final epitaph. The full report on the study comes from The National Journal and is reprinted here:

Few think Western civilization is on the brink of collapse — but it's also doubtful the Romans and Mesopotamians saw their own demise coming either.

If we're to avoid their fate, we'll need policies to reduce economic inequality and preserve natural resources, according to a NASA-funded study that looked at the collapses of previous societies.

"Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed," reads the study. "The stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses."
In unequal societies, researchers said, "collapse is difficult to avoid.... Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society."

As limited resources plague the working class, the wealthy, insulated from the problem, "continue consuming unequally" and exacerbate the issue, the study said.
Meanwhile, resources continue to be used up, even by the technologies designed to preserve them. For instance, "an increase in vehicle fuel efficiency technology tends to enable increased per capita vehicle miles driven, heavier cars, and higher average speeds, which then negate the gains from the increased fuel-efficiency," the study said.
The researchers used what they termed a Human And Nature DYnamical (HANDY) formula to reach their conclusions. The formula uses factors such as birth rates, resources, and income classes to create a mathematical equation to project outcomes.

The study was sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and headed by the National Science Foundation's Safa Motesharrei.

For those who think modern society is immune from the problems that brought down ancient civilizations, a "brief overview of collapses demonstrates not only the ubiquity of the phenomenon, but also the extent to which advanced, complex and powerful societies are susceptible to collapse," the study said.

So how do we save ourselves? "Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity, if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed equitably," reads the report.