Chapter One: Make America Great Again

Greatness is not a birthright. It’s not a self-granted title. It is not guaranteed. America has been great.

Overthrowing our corporate and colonial masters was great. Inventing sustained flight and landing on the moon in the same century was great. The highway system is great. The internet is … Fine. All of those things were done basically before the mid eighties and we were so great that our enemies literally disappeared. We wrote songs. “I’m Proud to be an American” was a hit on the radio.

That was about 35 years ago.

I’m not a “participation trophy, everyone is special” kind of guy so if this seems harsh know it comes from a place of love. We suck now. We are pouring lives and resources down two large holes in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can’t come up with a decent solution to address climate change. We can’t pay for basic services like roads or schools. Cops are shooting people, people are shooting cops, kids are shooting kids but we can’t get basic background checks around guns. Opiod addiction is taking more lives than AIDS did at its height. We have backed out of deals left and right which betrays our oldest friends. People can’t afford healthcare or college. The government is operating a domestic spying program that would make the KGB blush. We have created echo chambers online and where we do intersect there are threats and violence- egged on with impunity by foriegn agents who use our free speech against us. Who gets the blame? People sneaking into the country- the only people who couldn’t possibly be responsible as they weren’t even here. The brain drain is in reverse. Suicide rates are climbing. The Dow is through the roof but if you’ve seen that windfall benefitting our communities you are more perceptive than I.

We are arguing over bathrooms, cakes, crowd sizes, kneeling, restaurants, and whatever the daily special is. None of these issues, no matter your side, have to do with national greatness. These are controversial issues that boost clicks and donations but don’t improve lives.

We need action on real issues.

We need an economy we can all benefit from, healthcare we don’t have to worry about, roads and wires that keep us connected, government that represents the will of the people while respecting the rights of the individual.

I could go on, and maybe I will. I hope you agree with some of this and that at least something here made you angry. If not, let me know.

Reporting, Clickbait, and Fake News: A Guide for the Woefully Uninformed

I am hearing the phrase “Fake News” thrown around a lot by idiots on Twitter. I thought it might be nice to define the following terms so that we can finally have a common lexicon by which we can fully and collaboratively discuss our misery. I will discuss the facts of a story, in the styles of Good Reporting, Bad Reporting, Biased Reporting, Clickbait, and Fake News. Here we go!

Lets see how different styles of news reporting would cover the following facts: John Milberg was hit by a car while crossing Main street. He was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital and is recovering.

Good Reporting: An article attempting to inform the public about the actual events as they actually occurred, sometimes with bits of human interest or analysis. Most people also consider this boring news. 

Headline: Man struck by car while walking home.

Article: John Milberg was hit by a car while crossing Main street. He is in stable condition at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Bad Reporting: An article with only a passing concern with accuracy. All news sources sometimes have this, good news sources print retractions and corrections. Lots of retractions and corrections is often a sign that a news source is actually concerned about getting it right… eventually. 

Headline: Man struck by car while walking home.

Article: John Milberg was hit by a car while crossing county street. He is in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Biased Reporting: An attempt to use facts to push an agenda- often to confirm the biases of the publisher’s key demographic. 

Headline: Mayor’s refusal to increase street lamps has dangerous consequences.

Article: In the latest serious blow to her disastrous administration, Mayor Dinglebert is facing serious criticism after a local man was nearly killed on a dimly lit road last night.

Clickbait: It has little or nothing to do with actual events, its designed to suck you down the click hole. It will cover your screen in a minefield of ads and other clickbait. 

Headline:  He said this road was dangerous, you’ll never believe what happened next.

Article: People cross roads all the time. Sometimes they don’t make it across. Click the slideshow to see how many made it.

Fake News: It starts with a blank document and gets less informative from there. Based on lies, designed to catch attention and get shared on social media, funded by ad revenue from stupid people on Facebook.

Headline: Warren Buffet to Pay for Donald Trump’s Wall

Article: In a move that has democrats fuming, Donald Trump has secured funding for his wall from Billionaire Investor Warren Buffet.

There, now I’m sure there will be no need for further clarification- but feel free to comment and tell me I am an idiot, too.

Trump Tweets Flag Trap – Two Reasons Not To Fall For It



It’s a trap. Do not burn the flag to protest Trump’s latest tweet: This is a brilliant strategy, probably from his strategist, to get moderate Americans on board with Trump. It will work if his opponents act in a predictable manner. Don’t fall for it. Here is why:

1: He wants you to do burn a flag. 

Trump wants the internet filled with videos of self-righteous college students burning flags. This will further divide the country and put him on the side of patriotic Americans.

2: You can’t call this a fascist move without calling Hillary a fascist too.

There it is folks, plausibility. Hillary suggested this very thing, minus the loss of citizenship. Her candidacy really is the gift that keeps on giving.

What can you do?

In my opinion, It is best to ignore this one. Any reaction could be used against you. If you feel like you MUST do something, then dress up like Uncle Sam when you do. Go out there and wave flags. Dress up your dogs. Be pro-American. Don’t just let him have the Patriotism symbols without a fight. After all, freedom of speech is American. Freedom of religion is American. Why should he get to be the patriot in all this?


Christmas Banksy


Flower Thrower Banksy in More Festive Trappings

This isn’t really a banksy

Before the Christmas Break

I have decided to take a break from politics for the Christmas season. In order to do that, I need to get a few things off my chest.

1) The US should accept Syrian refugee families and provide safe housing for noncombatants and those who wish to remain in the country. Its not our job to pick a winner in the conflict, but it is our duty as a global leader to protect innocent lives. We don’t have to oppose Russia and get into a nuclear conflict. We don’t have to bring democracy to Syria, we just need to make a place where innocent people can put down arms and take up their lives. Its like a hostage situation where we don’t let hostages out on the off chance that one could be a gunman. I’m embarrassed by the cowards in our government.

2) Trump’s cabinet picks make perfect sense for a fascist. He is assembling anyone who could rival him and will pit them against each other instead. Watch out Congress. He has the NSA now. His attacking the media makes sense too. He is as bad as I thought and I hope he doesn’t do permanent damage before he gets out of office.

3) The Democrats are going to give Trump four more years if they don’t start learning how to communicate about class. Divisions are bad for society, but a class war unites 99.5% of us. Those are acceptable numbers by any measure.

4) Opposition to Trump should be focused on policies, not the man. The man won an election despite most voters not agreeing with all of his policies. Focusing on specific issues is the key to successful opposition. Attack the man and you lose people who feel you are attacking them by proxy.

5) Nobody reads this, but it helps to put it out there. I hope I can look back and realize I worried for nothing. I’d settle for being able to look back and connect to this page at all after they are done slaughtering net neutrality.

6) Nobody ever knew what net neutrality meant- and they won’t notice it when its gone. Maybe they will wonder why there haven’t been any big internet companies since FB, Google, Netflix, Insta, and Snapchat. I’m sure that will be blamed on regulation and lead to tax cuts.

7) This has a very “Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand / Boston Massacre ” feel to it. If my grandkids are reading this, this headline just came out regarding the detention of Maksim Odintsov and Aleksandr Baranov: If you want to know what grandpa thought about it at the time- he was sad but not surprised. I hope what is starting here is over by the time you’re reading this. Hug your Mom or Dad for me.

On the Election of Trump and the Five Stages of Grief

While Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief may not be linear (or even accurate), I find myself trapped in them when considering President-Elect Trump.

Denial: I find the phrase “I just can’t believe it” popping into my head frequently. But of course I can believe it- and I know just who to blame. Then, I start to feel angry.

Anger: I am angry at the party nomination process, the selfishness of Hillary Clinton, and the echo chambers created by social media. I start getting angry at the Trump voters, but then I start to moderate. I start to feel conciliatory. I’m ready to bargain.

Bargaining: I get that for every sexist who only voted for Trump because of his genitalia, there is at least another sexist who voted for Clinton because of hers. Trump won because people wanted change, and were willing to go along with things they didn’t like to get change. Globalism might make the pie larger, but it cuts smaller slices for American workers in the midwest. It is easy to be idealistic about the undocumented workers when they aren’t threatening your job. Maybe there is room for common ground. Maybe we can find a way to address the very legitimate concerns of the Trump voter, without going for the dangerous solutions that have been suggested. But, when I try to picture how this grand bargain would work, I consider the people involved.

Depression: I don’t imagine the democrats will look at this election and soul search. I see them blaming third parties and the bigoted Republicans. I don’t know which Trump we will get in the White House.

This Guy?

Or This Guy later that day?


Acceptance is the one feeling I haven’t had yet. I have described it as this.


So, I’ll probably write about this a bit more. Let me know if you’re feeling the same way or if you have genuine silver linings to consider. Blind optimists are invited to drown themselves in their half-full glasses.

Bad Words

I don’t mean swear words. I mean bad words. These words are pissing me off right now.

Feels (As a noun, unforuntately)

“Watching that video of the person hugging the dying kid always gives me the feels.”

A person does not get “The Feels”, they have feelings. It is okay to have feelings, they are natural and come from within. It isn’t like, the chills, or the gout. You have emotions, kiddo. Welcome to humanity.


“Jeff and Joe are so close, it is a total bromance.”

What Jeff and Joe are displaying is called friendship. Unlike romance which is built on infatuation mixed with love, friendship is built on mutual respect and trust. Also, you can’t be a friend with a bro, because a bro cannot be respected. As such, on both parts of the portmanteau, bromance is terrible.


“I wanted to smash, but she’s keeping me in the friend-zone.”

Much like Bromance, this is generally known as friendship. In this case, however, it has an added dose of unrequited affection. You have feelings (not feels) for the person, but they don’t share those feelings for you. Ladies and gentlemen, the implications in this word alone belie any benefit to its existence.


“Your hott lemme smash.”

Saying this to anyone should revoke your license to have sex. You remember how on TV sitcoms they would sit the teenaged son or daughter down and, to synthesized violin, the parental figure would say ” You’ll know when you’re ready for sex.”? Here is a way to know. If you say this you are not ready. I get the feeling that many people only say this ironically, but the problem is that it provides cover for the people who don’t. Just like the plauge of “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all yo clothes.”, if we keep saying it in jest- we still have to keep hearing it in earnest.



Ashley Madison Alibis



The Ashley Madison database has been dumped on the internet, according to Brian Krebs. In it are contained a list of the service’s customers, people who paid money to have a discreet affair. It is going to be very difficult for these guys to talk their way out of it, but as a public service- here are ten ways to try.


1. The Best Friend

“You know, Peter and Linda have been on the outs. Peter had mentioned the site before and I was worried he was going to make a terrible mistake so I signed up to keep tabs on him. I don’t want him to throw away his marriage and lose the joy I have.”

2. The Suspicious Spouse

“You’re just so perfect, and I know I make so many mistakes as a husband. I was worried you might be on there and my insecurity got the better of me.”

3. The Pivot

“So they used to be just a dating site and I tried them out in the early days of the internet before we met. Remember those AOL days, and modems, oh memories …”

4. The Conspiracy

“I have been posting on some political forums. Most of the guys on there found their name on this list. It’s an effort to discredit our cause. This thing goes all the way to the top! I need your support now me than ever!”

5. The Hoax

“There are so many versions of that list, so many random names. I even found your name on one. I can’t believe you fell for it. Did you send money to Nigeria too?”

6. The Patriot

“These hackers are working with ISIS to discredit honest, hardworking Americans. I can’t believe you’re falling for it. Have you forgotten 9/11?”

7. The Author

“I’m doing research for a book about a service like this, where a serial killer uses it to find her victims after being jilted. Serves ’em right- those scum bags.”

8. The Mistreated Employee

“My boss, that sleezebag, told me to sign up so that I could find dates for him without his wife knowing.

9. The Crazy Ex

“Michelle signed me up for the service. She told me that I should look up her profile. She’s just gotten worse since we’ve been married. I almost feel bad for her, if it wasn’t for all the pain she had caused you.”

10. The Affair Affair

“The slogan is Life is Short, have an affair. I thought it was Madison-Ashley, the event planners. I was planning a vow renewal service. You can imagine my embarrassment when I got the first email after signing up. I could bring myself to log back in and cancel.”

Bonus 11. The Truth (In most cases)

“I am deluded enough to think that women on the internet are interested in having sex with me. Obviously, none of them did. You aren’t married to an adulterer, but you are married to an idiot.”

A cup on the T

A cup is taking up a seat on the T. Nobody is upset, they barely notice. They don’t care if there is stuff inside it. If anything, they hope the cup is already emptied, lest something spill over on to them. Its just a discarded cup, and if it mattered to anyone it wouldn’t be on this train. It obviously mattered at some point- but nobody can say when, why, or to whom. Now, its just taking up the seat next to me, and I’m taking up the seat next to it, and we are both going back and forth until we reach the end of the line. I wonder what happens to cups at the end of the line. I’d like to think someone collects them.

Hawaii II Anthem

Cards Against Humanity recently gave a square foot of a private island to customers of their Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanza promotion/spectacle/stunt. They are now asking for an anthem, and I am humbling submitting this original work for consideration.

One Square Foot of Freedom

Out of the mist, rising from the waters,
The future birthplace of our sons and daughters.
One square foot of freedom, and they can’t take that away,
No matter what the legal contracts say!

Plant your flag and take a stand,
In your one square foot of land.
Its the only thing you’ll have the room to do.
Very Small, though she may be,
Our sacred legal entity,
We will call her shores our home- Hawaii 2.