OCCASIONAL POSTINGS FROM THE MOTHER SHIP
Let me say that somehow I doubt Ossoff will win in Georgia. I would love to be wrong. But beyond the race, I find it so disheartening what the race indicates about our politics. Because I am on a lot of democrat's e-mail lists, I have a first hand view of the shrill tactics used to coerce money from alarmed liberals glued to their keyboards. Here is a sampling of the headlines and content of the e-mails that lead into a plea for money: “Catastrophe” “Disaster” “Disgusting” “Insulted” “I am pleading” “Do Not Delete” “No One Saw This Coming” “We’re panicking” "Massive Loss" "Crushing Loss" "State of Emergency" "All hope Lost" "Kiss all Hope Goodbye" "pack up. go home. it’s done." "nothing left. give up." as well as the standard "they have out-spent us" or "contribute before midnight so we can achieve our goal", etc. How does any of this build good governance? This approach reenforces a narrative of our democracy as a money-driven enterprise in which the team with the biggest coffers wins. It presents a persona of the democratic party as frightened, alarmed, defeated. Nowhere in these e-mails is there a description of Osoff's policies, we are asked to take it at face value that we are hoping for a win to hurt Trump's feelings. This perpetuates the cult of personality that started this political death spiral. Meanwhile, while the democrats are reactionary whiners, the right wing gleefully reports that they have turned the term "fake news" against the left and that the liberals are hysterical, intolerant, violent, anti-free speech—a preposterous characterization that is gaining traction, because if there's one thing the right can do it is control the message. How can the perpetrators of "Pizzagate" and "Sandy Hook truthers" gain the upper hand in a war of ideas? If there is no message from progressives other than Trump is bad and give us money, it aint gonna be that hard.
Trump crosses a line. Rejects Paris agreement, rejects science, rejects cooperation. They are laughing at you Donald. You are pathetic. Hope his base can sustain him. All for the base. Ahhh the base. You mean the throat cutters in Portland. Hope they are happy. More throat cutting. Onwards into Trump's future. Syria and Nicaragua. Fantastic. Trump is a whupped dog, a mocked, humiliated individual, a debased, foolish man. And he is dangerous. Let's see this play out. But make no mistake, the entire Republican Party and media and monied apparatus stands behind him. This is their decision, and America will stumble with their full throated support. America 5th! Nature abhors a vacuum, Don. You have just handed The EU, China and India moral authority in the world and a path forward to international domination. They are laughing at you, true dat.
Regarding the endless drumbeat of the media against the White House and the hysteria over Russian ties to the Trump administration, let us say that the media may be be piling on, but the White House is making it pretty easy. Does anyone think the right-wing media didn't want to ensnare Obama in scandal? They simply didn't have the ammo. Though they never stopped harping on Benghazi and the Clinton e-mails. Amazing to see Fox news reporting on obscure stories rather than the current mayhem; they are literally trying to change the subject. I would say what is at issue is Trump's lack of engagement in the issues, the distractions he is causing and the intransigence of his supporters and the craven double standards of the GOP. It remains to be seen how much chaos Trump can generate before those on the right bail: they "just can't quit him."
Regarding the Comey firing, I would like to accept for the sake of argument that Rod J. Rosenstein came into office end of April and did his homework and came to the startling conclusion that Comey had been inappropriate in his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail debacle. Let's take that at face value, and accept further that Sessions who is supposed to be recused on matters of the election, has every right to step in and pass Rosenstein's letter to Trump which lead to Trump's decisive action. Ok, fine. Now, without delay, to show non-partisan response it only seems appropriate to appoint an independent prosecutor. How could it make any sense that Trump should appoint his own investigator. That is objectively absurd, surely. As for Kellyanne's eye-rolling "Russia, Russia, Russia" she is merely dog whistling to the Republican base who somehow have learned to love the Russians in the last six months and couldn't care less how their boy got elected. Meanwhile, Trump's policies continue to place America in jeopardy while the public obsess over his erratic behavior: healthcare, climate change, infrastructure, immigration, national security, these are the matters that need addressing. Oh, and Donald, thanks for clarifying in your letter to Comey that you weren't being investigated by him (three times!). Trump supporters, that's a relief to hear.
I decided to go public with the site last night after the healthcare vote got me riled up. I know there's a lot of refining to do here but thought I'd throw my hat in the ring. If you check back in periodically I hope to have more videos, maybe some interviews, better content (I could get some others to write stuff), or maybe I'll go back to making horror movies.
So there is a tussle over at the New York Times because they hired a conservative op-ed columnist named Bret Stephens who is a Climate Skeptic. His first column was a typical eye-rolling and condescending piece of writing in the tradition Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist). As with Bjorn, Stephens assures us he is not a denier but worries about the poor and our ability to pay for any immediate action on climate ("immediate" means now, 29 years after the problem was first presented to the US Congress). The op-ed piece offers a perfect opportunity to respond to the tepid arguments of so-called thoughtful conservatives on the issue. He also makes the correlation that since polls mis-predicted Hillary Clinton's win in the 2016 election, scientific prediction is therefor untrustworthy. WOW. That's a stretch. Telling that he conflates opinions with facts. Sounds like just a bunch of sore-winner talk (though to be fair the ever sensible Stephens is no fan of Trump.) The response to the column is what this dispatch is about, however: the beloved Climate Scientist James Hansen who has fought tirelessly for decades to bring America to its senses on climate, asked readers to drop their subscription to the NYT in protest, siting the editor's defense of Stephens and his characterization of Climate as a "left-leaning" issue. I agree that this is despicable, and as a life-long reader of the Times, I am so annoyed by all this. However, I say let Stephens publish his tripe and let clear minds respond: the thinness of his arguments, the bias and smugness of his position, let it be on full display for readers to respond (and respond they did; Stephens' follow-up column published 4/2/17 is a rebuttal to the comments section of his first post, and in my opinion only further exposes his facetious position: he sights the misguided support of Ethanol as a reason there's nothing we can possibly do to combat Fossil Fuel production. He doesn't note that Solar and Wind are the fastest growing part of the energy sector...). In my opinion the real story is the call to boycott the Times, like the call to shut down Conservative speakers at Universities (most recently Ann Coulter and Milo What's-his-name). I say let them speak. Let the left sharpen their arguments. Let this debate happen in plain site. Stop trying to shut out the other side. In fact, try to understand the opposition and even find common ground (yes you read that correctly). That is not to say acquiesce to falsehoods and bad arguments, but instead, listen politely and call out the hypocrisy with guts and brains. As for the Times, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, Democracy Now! — all are biased in one direction or another; each will sink or swim on its own merits and integrity if readers are vigilant and informed. If you have been an environmentalist for any length of time, you already know the heartbreak of having your perspective shut out of public discourse on both sides of politics (presidential debates anyone?) because you know what—? Nature doesn't vote, and she doesn't get ratings, but she does have the final say.
EARTH DAY 22 APRIL 2017
And so it begins. I am launching DISCONNEX before it is done because it will never be done. But the time is now to share and to continue to develop ideas that articulate a way forward in this tumultuous world. I make no claim to being smarter or more informed than anyone else, but I am compelled to try to make sense of the world as an artist and as a citizen and to share the insights I have with those who might be inclined to ponder yet another perspective in the cacophony of ideas that make up our media-drenched culture.