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Taking Acception
“It is unacceptable.”

You hear that phrase a lot these days, whether we’re talking about one of the many offenses delivered to us by this modern world or some fresh outrage fulminating out of the President’s Twitter account. The assertion is always accompanied by the firmest intonation and soberest of facial expressions, as if we have truly reached a point past which we cannot go.

But it seems we always do. Go past the outrage, that is, and on to ever more outrages and even more troubling states of affairs. And when we arrive at these new junctures, there will always be someone who will step forward and very seriously declare that the new situation is “unacceptable.”

I have no quarrel here with people taking this kind of offense. We need to take a stand in these situations and confront our tormentors. My gripe is that these speakers, after they have stood up, just sit right down again. Perhaps they expect others to take on the risks involved with actual action. When you say something is unacceptable, however, it creates a fair expectation that you are prepared to act on your expressed displeasure. Okay, I’ve reached my limit, this declaration seems to say, and now I will step up and put a stop to it.

Otherwise, it’s bullshit. You are making a tacit promise to act, but you do not. “Unacceptable” ends up meaning exactly the same as “acceptable,” only with an added layer of hypocrisy. Suddenly, everything you say is suspect.

So please, can we stop using the term “unacceptable” unless we really mean it? Either we are willing to follow through or we’re just flapping our gums. And if you decide to keep saying it anyway, I will call out your usage as lame, insincere, hollow, and totally bogus.

I will not, however, say that it is unacceptable. I guess I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment.
Yes and Not No
Let me say right off the top that I am dead set against planning ahead. It is foolhardy, wasteful, and runs counter to all that I hold dear.

“What?!” you are no doubt exclaiming. “What could possibly be wrong with planning?” And my answer to you is, “nothing.” Planning is vital to achieving a positive outcome in any undertaking. Oh, you might stumble into some small successes on luck alone, but it’s hard to imagine any project that doesn’t involve some kind of preparation. So it is not planning that I object to. It’s planning ahead that troubles me.

The thing is, all planning takes place ahead. If you find yourself planning behind, I must tell you that you are wasting your time. Everything you are planning has already happened. It’s written in stone and in indelible ink on titanium steel. Indeed, you might be doing something that isn’t even a thing.

It’s the same with advance planning. The essence of all planning is that it is done in advance. Even if you’re throwing together some slapdash plot at the absolute last moment, that moment occurs before the plot is implemented — even if that is only a fraction of a second later. Anything you might come up with later is not planning, it’s regretting.

So, are we in agreement? There is no need to speak of advance planning or planning ahead. Like “gathering together,” these concepts are redundant, repetitive, superfluous, and overly extra redundant.

I can sense that we are now of the same mind on this question. That said, I absolutely refuse to mutually agree.
Got Guilt?
There was a time when it was considered unwise to call yourself a “Liberal.” It supposedly opened you to charges of being a pinko, a fuzzy-headed do-gooder, and someone who is overly generous with other people’s money.

Well, I am proud to say that I am a liberal, and that I’ve never shrunk from the L-word label. I’ll even cop to those charges, although pink is not really my best color. I’ll also admit that, like any good liberal, I am riddled with guilt.

One thing I don't feel guilty about, however, is feeling guilty. It’s one of the things that motivates me to do good. And it’s good to good, so what’s the problem? There are some side effects, but nothing too serious. Too much of it can tie you up in knots and actually keep you from doing anything, including good. But if you get the proportions just right, a little guilt can keep you humble, which is critical if you want to do right. As long as you’re genuinely trying to be nice, you can safely let the guilt eat at you — as long as it doesn’t rise to the level of shame. Shame is a different strain of internal blight, and I try as hard as I can to avoid getting into that frame of mind. Fortunately, that little bit of guilt can act like an inoculation against the soul-eating cancer of shame. I’m lucky to have kept it to a minimum so far.

No one would ever accuse the Republican leadership in Washington of being liberal. For one thing, there is no evidence that they are even slightly burdened with guilt in the way that I am. Which leaves me to wonder: what motivation do they rely on to do good? Perhaps they are driven by some higher purpose I am too dim to perceive, or maybe they are attuned to the whispering of angels. They could, I suppose, just be naturally wise. I just don’t know.

But somehow they’ve managed to effortlessly arrive at a place it’s taken me a life of anguish and self-doubt to get to: they are almost completely without shame.
“It’s not treason.”

That’s one of the latest rationalizations about Little Donny’s meeting with the Rooskis to land with a thud on the sidewalk below Trump Tower. I think the Drump team was referring there to the very restrictive definition of treason under Article III of the Constitution. Article III seems to be talking very specifically about wartime “enemies.” We are not technically at war right now, so their assertion would likely be true no matter how nefarious the dealings that took place in that room. Even so, the assurance is something of a comfort.

If true. But truth, sadly, seems to be mostly an inconvenience to Donald, Donny Jr., and the rest of the Drumpsters. You’re better off assuming that whatever they say is a lie than wondering if they’re telling the truth. Furthermore, as the Drump Era comes into clearer focus, we are seeing some evidence to justify the assumption that whatever they do is likely to be illegal. That meeting might have violated any number of election laws, some of which are felonies.

Or it might simply have been have been extraordinarily unwise. Or clueless or incompetent or crazy or just plain stupid.

Although not treason. Nor is it money laundering, even though one of the participants was recently busted for that crime. Nor hacking, though another attendee has a record of such activity.

It is possible that the word “treasonous” might apply to this situation. We’d need to know more to be sure. The distinction here is that you can be put to death in this country for treason as it is described in the Constitution, but plain old treasonous activity like betraying your country and all it stands for will not get you the hangman’s noose. Treasonousness, like collusion, is not a crime.

For now let’s agree that “it’s not treason.” Little Donny will not swing for his crimes, whatever they are. In fact, he might even get a show on Fox.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee