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Unauthorized
I’ve been engaging in a political thought experiment recently. My findings are still incomplete, but I thought I’d reach out for some peer review before I get too far into this thing.

The experiment deals with the “authoritarian mind.” You may have read about this idea over the last year; it’s gotten a lot of attention as a part of the many tortured attempts to explain the rise of Drump within a free, enlightened society. The term authoritarian here does not refer control freakish behavior of authoritarians themselves, but rather to the willingness of their followers to submit to such behavior.

The authoritarian mind is evidenced by a desire to be told what to think and do and a willingness to cede all personal responsibility to a strong leader. “I’ll take care of everything,” says the leader. The follower, seizing his chance to be let off the hook, replies “You’ve got my vote. Do whatever you have to!” — and the authoritarian relationship is officially established.

These relationships occur outside of politics, of course. Religion uses them to great effect. Most scams, both large and small, depend on the mark’s eagerness to give up personal control of their life or money and hand it over to someone who will promise to make everything better.

So here is my experiment: what would our world be like if all of these authoritarian minded people disappeared? Never mind why or how. If it makes you feel more comfortable, perhaps they’ve all been transported to heaven in the Rapture. Whatever. They’re gone — maybe 40% of humanity — and only those people who are willing (most of the time) to confront facts are left behind. Since you haven’t stopped reading this out of disgust, that group includes you, me, and everyone who tries to lead an evidence-based life.

Would the world be a better place without authoritarians? Would there be peace? Would reason finally triumph? Would the Age of Aquarius dawn at last?

Or would some fundamental element of humanity be lost? Would civilization stall and finally crumble to dust without the participation of true believers? Can our species survive without a blind faith that is impervious to facts? Who is to say that, with these people gone, some of us wouldn’t rush to fill the void of credulity and obedience? Movements need such people. So do armies. Maybe, as a species, we all do.

I prefer to think not. I prefer to think that an evidence-based life will lead me toward meaning and understanding and happiness. If I can maintain vigilance that is. I know that we all have an authoritarian inside us, urging us to give in to promises of simplicity and certainty. Who wouldn’t daydream of finding an easy way out of the daily drudgery of figuring out what to do in life? That drudgery can be a total pain.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, to be truly human, we must be gullible. Happy sheep waiting to be fleeced by the Controlling Class. Ba-a-a?

I don't think so. For me, the correct answer is “Bah!” That blissful certitude sounds even worse than the total pain option. Even though there will be lapses into gullibility, at least there’s the hope that I’ll snap out of it. I’m voting for endless doubt over contented ignorance.

I guess I’ll just have to miss out on the Rapture.
Hard Truth
The harder
It is
To know
What is true

The more
That it matters
We are sure
That we do
Quit While You’re Ahead
Congressional Republicans are in a tricky position. They sat down at the poker table this election year and drew to an inside straight. The voters have dealt them an unbeatable hand of absolute one-party control of our government. But that lucky draw came in the form of the The Joker — an erratic, unpredictable, amoral opportunist who could either conspire with them in their grand plans or blow those plans to smithereens. They could rake in a political bonanza…or just as easily end up in the dustbin of history. It all depends on that wild card in the White House.

Of course, they could still fold their hand anytime they want to and go home a winner. If their agenda of fantasy-based policies of economics and social justice is ever truly threatened by Cirque de Drump, they are capable of ending this sorry presidency in a D.C. minute. All the evidence for a successful impeachment and removal is right there, ready and waiting. No need to pile on over Russia; that path is too risky anyway. The smart move would be to plug in to the Emoluments Clause. We’re only a hundred days in, and he’s already violated it many times over.

The votes would certainly be there. Every Republican member of Congress secretly detests Drump and pines for a President Pence. Pence is one of theirs: pious, plastic, and phony as a three-dollar bill. And most of all, he’s pliable. I think at least half of the GOP caucus, given the opportunity, would be ready to pull the ripcord on impeachment. As for Democrats, my guess is they will provide 100% buy-in no matter what the legal rationale.

To dump Drump, however, the GOP will also need a good cover story to spin for his faithful followers. Based on the history of this voting bloc, the story does not have to be true or even rational. A simple appeal to fear or hatred should do the trick.

There are a number of approaches that could work, and all of them require outright lying. As I have indicated, that will not be a problem. I am not endorsing any of these suggestions, mind you, but rather presenting them to the Republican Party to use as it sees fit:

1. Declare that Drump is black, and that he was born in Africa. It worked before, why not now? The fact that he appears to be white only makes his charade more insidious and frightening.

2. Label him as a female/latino/muslim/LGBTQ or some other Other. This story would not be as sure-fire as the claim of blackness, but it still represents a proven strategy. Note that claiming he is a black, female, latino muslim who is also L, G, B, T, or Q would have the highest chance of success. Ironically, the fact that such a claim would be patently ridiculous would also make it the most credible to the target group. Not sure why that is, but the record is clear.

3. Accuse him of being in league with any or all of these groups or of being genuinely concerned about their issues. A traitor, in other words, to people like you and me. Or at least like me; I’m not too sure about you.

For the record, claiming that Drump is in league with Putin — even though the ex-KGB assassin is a proven enemy of our country and a threat to our way of life — will not work. Also ineffective: proving that Drump’s policies would hurt the target group, that he is ripping off the country for millions, that he is dangerously incompetent, or that he actively despises members of the target group. All true, of course, but that’s irrelevant.

My only advice for the Grand Old Partiers is not to wait too long. Quit while you’re ahead. You’ve already got your Supreme Court justice; I suggest you slam through a fat tax cut, take away a few life-sustaining programs from the poor, and call it good. Cash out your winnings and put an end to the whole ugly spectacle. If you don’t, if you get greedy, this pile of garbage might just spontaneously combust and burn your sorry-ass party to the ground. The sooner you pull that ripcord, the better off we’ll all be.
Señor Moment
Oh I still got it, pal
And I handle it
With flair

Brandish it and wield it
With the same old devil-
May-care

Yes I still got it, pal
And it’s still all covered
With hair

But I put it down a sec ago
And I can’t remember
Where
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee