No More Sabres to Rattle

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It’s quite the sad yet delicious recent turn of events that has revealed the hypocrisy of Trump and his supporters. It’s also revealing to see that this time it was the Republican who ran on the promise of peace only to go back on it. That’s usually the Democrats’ job. Through the lens of the old maxim about power corrupting, I would hope that Trump supporters are finally acknowledging that their “god-king” is nothing special in the world of Presidents, but rather just another slave to special interests and none more special than the military industrial complex. Sadly, many of them continue to make excuses for him and reveal that their support for him was not based on anything more righteous than their desire to preserve a nationalist tribal identity. It would be more comical if there weren’t so many lives hanging in the balance.

Because Trump was able to tap into Americans’ deepest insecurities, the loyalty he inspired was unique. Not only was he able to lie his way into office, but he had an army on the internet willing to repeat his lies without question. “We need Trump because Hillary will lead us into WWIII!” If any of the people spouting this nonsense actually cared about peace, they would have been engaged in anti-war activism long before Trump. There is even more proof that the majority of them don’t care about peace in how they have responded to Trump’s “tough talk” on Venezuela and North Korea and striking Syria: “It’s a good thing we have Trump to lead us into WWIII!” Just as Obama supporters were essentially willing to let Obama extend the war on terror longer and more viciously than Bush would have and keep killing children with drone strikes in exchange for the promise of government healthcare, Trump supporters made an even worse deal. They were willing to trade “WWIII” for nothing more than national pride.

Before I get any further, an important caveat: I don’t think WWIII is imminent, in fact I’m more inclined to believe that in the age of the internet, it’s impossible. So while I’m using the term “WWIII” here, it’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek because it’s the term that Trump supporters used to scare libertarians away from Gary Johnson. The reality of the threat from government now is not a world war, but the continued proxy wars and occupations and limited operations that currently comprise the global war on terror. Of course you could call this a world war, but if so, it pales in comparison to the destructiveness of the last two, and if you call it that, where were you when Bush was starting it? What I’m getting at here is that the reason Trump and Clinton were both terrible options for President is that they would both be slaves to the military welfare queens who manipulate politics in order to enrich themselves off of as much violence as the American people will put up with as long as they keep paying their taxes.

So back to the idea of power corrupting. I would say that being “Commander-In-Chief” of the greatest mechanism of violence the world has ever known is a lot of power. The sad thing is, the President himself doesn’t have to be corrupted to be a mechanism for corruption. Even a President, like Kennedy, taking office with the best of intentions is subject to … well … you know the story.

It’s childishly naive to think that we can ignore the advice of the American founders to rely upon our militias and avoid having a standing army. The existence of a standing army makes us all less safe. It makes the American people slaves. It leaves us vulnerable to the predatory government over which Donald Trump now presides. The answer to this issue, and the greatest single thing we could do to restore American principles in practice is quite simple: abolish the United States military. No more sabres to rattle, and none to cut down your freedom.

Being a Politician is a Mental Disorder

It’s time for us to direct some compassionate attention to those afflicted by Authoritarian Personality Disorder. There are plenty of opposite disorders of the disobedient kind for which there are over-prescribed drugs to sedate people into submission, but for the authoritarians, much less practical attention is paid and we all suffer as a result.

Authoritarian Personality Disorder is described in several texts with varying definitions, but here I’ll use this working definition: A personality disorder characterized by an unhealthy desire to control others manifest in destructive ways such as seeking political power or other positions which hold arbitrary power over others. While it is tempting to think of politicians, we must also be wary of their sponsors in the banking class, as well as their enforcers in the police and military. However, thanks to the broader authoritarian culture, many authoritarian types are able to seek positions of control in the private sector and in their personal lives.

A human being raised in a healthy, loving environment will seek healthy and loving relationships. Even someone raised in an authoritarian environment will be capable of developing healthy relationship skills unless otherwise affected. The truly disordered cases are motivated by deeper seated insecurity caused by childhood trauma or abuse. When those experiences are properly processed, they do not manifest as controlling behaviors. When one is provided with the authoritarian environment and the adverse childhood experiences, the victim is only able to manifest their insecurities with learned behaviors of control.

The first step is admitting that we have a problem, both as the power-hungry individuals and the rest of us who enable them. This will allow us to isolate the problems and separate them from their most obedient enablers. Once we “throw the bums out,” we must remember not to replace them, which sounds easier than it is. As for the Authoritarians who are serious about seeking treatment, I would guess that some form of immersive psychedelic therapy in the jungle far removed from society would be something I could get behind.

While it’s tempting to write off these people as simply “assholes,” understanding what makes them assholes makes it much easier to do something about it. These are not people who need scorn or derision, and certainly not government office, but rather people who need empathy and treatment.

One theory about Authoritarian Personality Disorder holds that one of its causes and/or stimulants is submissiveness or gullibility in others. While some experts believe that the disorder can manifest without victim stimuli, some say that victim stimuli brings it out, while others suggest that it is the root cause. Regardless, the best way to prevent Authoritarian Personality Disorder from affecting you and your loved ones is to remain assertive and skeptical of all who would try to subvert your will to their own.

(Since I was in Iraq, I realized that my background in psychology gave me a unique way of understanding human behavior in the political context. If you enjoyed this post, please let me know and if there are any other topics you’d like me to address this way in the comments. Are there any individuals that this post brings to mind? What do you think made them the way they are?)

The Answer to 22 Veteran Suicides Per Day

If you believe what the government tells you, the Department of Veterans Affairs exists so that a grateful nation can show its appreciation for those who have risked their lives in the interest of the national defense. However, the reality of VA services could only have you conclude that everyone in the VA is grossly incompetent or that’s not its real purpose. There are lots of great, very capable individuals who take significant salary cuts and disadvantages in their careers to work at the VA, so that’s not it. Could it be that the VA exists primarily as a pacifier? To make Americans think that veterans are taken care of? To make potential recruits think that they will be taken care of if maimed in war? To be a convenient political football? If it was truly set up for its stated purpose, you wouldn’t have twenty two veterans committing suicide every day.

The answer to this problem is quite simple when you face up to the significance of it and can admit to its root cause. Government cannot be trusted with any system of healthcare. Power corrupts and right now the VA is controlled and perverted by those who use it to serve their own power. It’s time to put the VA directly into the hands of veterans.

Privatize the VA as a charity owned by the veterans. Close some overseas bases. Liquidate the assets, give it an endowment. Or maybe if the Pentagon cared about veterans as much as its sponsors in the military industrial complex, it could find that six trillion it lost recently. Make the VA exempt from all “drug war” restrictions so veterans are free to research and pursue marijuana and other banned alternative treatments for PTSD. Give every veteran in America one voting share and I guarantee when those resources are in the hands of veterans helping veterans without government in the way, we will finally defeat this shameful epidemic of veteran suicides.

Is Constant Contact Like the Death Star?

Yes, I’ve had a terrible experience with Constant Contact. They’ve been miserable to deal with at nearly every turn. No, I don’t think they have the power to destroy planets. What I’m pointing out here may be its fatal flaw – that one point you hit and the whole thing blows up. (Not literally, and this is not a threat, and screw the lawyers for whom I have to include this.)

I had been using Constant Contact for a while with nothing of note except for their unjustified prices. In fact, I’ve been pretty bad about consistently using my email list. So last December when I sent a couple emails to my list about upcoming events that I’d be speaking at, I thought nothing of it. But then a week later when I tried to get back into my regular routine of a weekly email to my list, I was cut off from sending any emails.

After a few maddening hours on the phone with technical support, they were finally able to explain to me that my email list had been shut down because of a complaint about spamming. For the record, I don’t add anyone to my list. You used to be able to sign up on my website. They said that because of one complainer who reported my recent emails to SpamCop, they had to shut down my list until I could do a “double opt in” on my entire list, meaning I had to send an email saying, “If you want to keep receiving emails from me, please click here.” I tried to explain to them what happened, but Constant Contact wouldn’t even let me put that in the message. I was not allowed to see the complaints, confront my accuser, or even get Constant Contact to review the specific emails in question to see that they obviously weren’t spam.

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Predictably, this killed most of my list. I don’t know about you, but I like being subscribed to a number of email lists and I don’t read every email from every list I’m on. So I tried to get the issue to a manager and hit a wall with the guy who tried to explain that this policy was a good thing. So I cancelled my account with them. Bear in mind, they still charged me during the whole time when I couldn’t use my account.

I called out Constant Contact on Twitter, and they replied with a stock message to send a DM to their tech support with my account info. So I asked them to publicly explain their policy and they didn’t reply. Instead, they called me. You would think that they would have the decency to apologise, or at least be understanding, but no, months after this whole thing transpired, they called me to obnoxiously try to justify their policy. “Thanks for reminding me why I cancelled my account!”

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So if you have business or political rivals using Constant Contact, all you have to do to shut them down is subscribe to their lists, then complain about spam to SpamCop. Or maybe I’m wrong. But if I am, it would mean that I was singled out for political reasons. Anyone want to test this theory?

(We’ve been working on a new email system for a while and it should be live soon. Sorry to those of you who have been missing my emails.)