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America, It’s Time To Have A Chat

The monster you elected is a fascist. You keep claiming that we don’t know what that word means yet almost none of you have bothered to read Mussolini’s own words on the topic.

But let’s go further. Here is how a professional historian, Umberto Eco, who studied Mussolini and Hitler both extensively, described the key traits of fascism back in 1995. (Mr. Eco passed away not so long ago. We are indebted to him for putting this list together.)

  1. The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  2. The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
  3. The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  4. Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
  5. Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
  6. Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
  7. The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  8. The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  10. Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  11. Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  12. Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  13. Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”

There is another list of 14 points created by Dr. Lawrence Britt. Many of his points match or overlap Mr. Eco’s work as well.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
  5. Rampant sexism
  6. A controlled mass media
  7. Obsession with national security
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
  9. Power of corporations protected
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  14. Fraudulent elections

Both of these lists match to a high degree with the administration of Donald Trump. When you add in Trump’s obvious Narcissistic Personality Disorder, his inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, his obsessions with his popularity, you gain a clear picture that Trump is a mentally unstable man with fascist tendencies.

Donald Trump is a fascist. Let’s say that again – Donald Trump is a fascist. 

I did not vote for this sad loser. You did. And in Trump’s own words, that makes you “sad”, “weak”.

I did not create what follows here but what it says is true. The only question now is how much longer will you let yourself be conned?

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.” Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t care about “the little guy.” Trump’s cabinet is full of billionaires, and he took away your health insurance so he could give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it. American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war. Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated our allies, and given ISIS a decade’s worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t have the stamina to do the job. Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5pm phone call because “it was at the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in.”

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn’t “respect” Clinton. Foreign leaders, both friendly and hostile, are openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and “he tells it like it is.” Trump and his administration lie with a regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let’s be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned. Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark. Now that you know the score, quit insisting the con-man is on your side.

It’s time to wake up, America, before you drown in your own self-induced nightmare.

 

Happy New Year?

It’s now 2017, and we get to soon face what a United States run by a sympathizer to Vladimir Putin will look like. And it’s not looking good.

I’m not going to comment on the national politics here though. You can read about that elsewhere. Just remember that Trump always lies, even when the declassified report is released the same day proving that he’s lying. Remember that – if Trump said it, it is almost certainly a lie.

For myself, progress on prepping this house to sell is moving along nicely. I have some goals set and hope to see those through if oil and gas prices stay where they are now or rise a bit more. Once the house is prepared, it will go on the market, likely first half of 2018, and once sold, I can finalize this divorce and get on with the rest of my life.

Not that I believe in numerology, but there was/s  a “reading” that included three 69’s. That number supposedly means to “let go of the old”, and that an old cycle is ending this year and a new cycle is beginning. I’d like to believe that is true. I also got three 490’s, which is unusual (three of anything is unusual but hey, let’s play along here). That number supposedly denotes a new path in life, one that is fully supported. So, like I said, I don’t believe in numerology, but those numbers are fun and interesting and I would not at all be upset if that were the outcome for me this year.

I’ve healed well from FFS and GCS in 2015. It’s now 18 months post-GCS and I feel great and am very happy with my choice. Likewise, it is now 20 months since FFS, and I am glad that I did that too. I can see why Dr. Cardenas said that, at my age, after I fully heal, I might want to consider a face lift. The chin and jaw contouring did leave a bit of excess skin that could be taken back. I may do that eventually. May. But first onward with this house, the divorce, and establishing myself in my new life.

I now have three teenage grandchildren and two who are not yet that old. I’m only allowed to see two of the five total grandkids. One of my sons does not speak to me even or have contact with his children and the other told me that he will tell his child that his father “died”. I said to him, “So you’re going to lie to your own child?” And his response was “Yes.” This came from a man who claims he is a “Christian” and who claims he “follows Christ”. The other son also uses religious arguments for cutting me off. You can see right here that I have all the evidence, right in my own family, about why I reject Christianity and what it represents in 2017 America.

But my daughter is a wonder, an amazing woman and human being, and she includes me as much as she can. Friday evening, we celebrated my grandson’s 13th birthday together and I was thankful for that. Each year I want to reiterate that I give thanks for my daughter, her husband, and her children, and the chance to include them in my life.

I spent this Christmas with a dear friend and her family. It was wonderful to be somewhere I knew I was wanted rather than just tolerated, as my family, excepting my daughter, have done to me for years now. This was different, and enjoyable.

The year 2016 was personally mostly good for me, though it was very problematic for the trans community specifically and showed emerging threats to LGBT people generally. I don’t want to talk about those except to urge people to remain vigilant, to contact your representatives at the state and federal level, and ensure they know that you do not support hate and bigotry as law. Speak out, be visible, and be heard.

To each of my friends, I hope your 2017 is wonderful and full of good surprises. There’s plenty to be worried about for 2017, but remember to take a breath, smell the roses when you can, and keep moving forward with your life. Let’s all work towards the best even as we prepare for the worst. Good luck and may fortune smile upon you in 2017.

P.S. My lone semi-serious political statement in this blog entry is simply this – Donald J. Trump is a thin skinned egocentric bully. So I urge the widespread adoption of “Trumple Thinskin” as his new nickname. Mockery of evil is useful in defeating it. I’ll be happy if someone someday calls him that to his face.

Why Do We Need A Church Anyway?

That thing that we all call the “church” was doomed from its inception. Frail, flawed human beings are going to fail, including in their conception and execution of the church. They are going to place themselves first, their wants, their needs, their narrow interpretations of a boundless deity who created a universe so vast we can barely comprehend the size, let alone all that is within it.

And you know, now that I think about it, Jesus didn’t preach creating churches, planting church seeds, none of that. He didn’t demand confessions or tithes or looking down one’s nose at those less “Christian” than he was.

Instead, he taught his disciples to simply spread the good news. And he said where two or more are gathered in my name was sufficient. It didn’t need a building, an organization, a tax break, an organ, a choir, hymnals… none of that. No megachurch, no TV stations, no fake games by the power mad.

And speaking of those power hungry, where I see those things, I see too often people, very often usually men, who seek nothing but power and dominance over others, as well as fame and fortune. Creflo Dollar, anyone? Pat Robertson? Jim Baker? How many people must these con men fleece before your heart awakens to the truth.

What truth? Jesus never needed those men. Neither do you.

Christianity, as religion, is as much a sham as the Old Testament rules were – rules that God gave Israel not because he wanted to but to show Israel that rules alone are never enough.

Maybe Jesus gave us the church to teach us the same thing – that we need to grow up, look past rules, look past the church, and learn to just love. Maybe it’s time to be the adults that Christ and so many other religious leaders have told us to be, to be kind to one another, to cherish one another, to lift up one another.

Because in far too short a time, we will all return to the stardust from which we came. And all that will be left are memories. If you live a life of rigidity, coldness, cruelty, all in the name of some hellfire breathing thunder god from Mt. Ararat, just what sort of memory will you leave? Not one that people will hold to, or cherish, I can guarantee you that.

Authenticity and “Passing”

I originally wrote most of this as a comment to another blog I follow. But I realized it’s useful and wanted others to have the chance to consider this as well.

I really really dislike the term “passing” but I’m going to use it here because so many people in the community understand it. I prefer to think of it as just acceptance of who I am.

One of the things about “passing” seems to be a lack of effort. And I don’t mean that in the way some people might think. In fact, perhaps I mean it the opposite way.

When we’re unsure of ourselves, when we’re not authentically ourselves (which I agree is hard!), we start to “act”, and our role in society becomes performance art rather than just who we are.

But the funny thing is that people seem to be able to detect performance art versus authenticity. Maybe we try to hard. Maybe we make subtle mistakes or maybe we’re acting so hard that we don’t make mistakes. Maybe we “act” too hard and it sends signals to others.

I’m not really sure. But what I do know is that as I acquired personal inner peace, as I began to simply “be me” as opposed to someone society thought I should be, my issues with “passing” vanished.

Yeah, I admit I’ve had medical help along the way as an MtF trans woman but that help, while it definitely helped, wasn’t the final piece of the puzzle for me.

It was when I finally found a way to “be me” that I stopped acting. And almost as soon as I stopped acting, I stopped getting misgendered, etc. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. I know that hormones need time to work. I know that there are other aspects. But regardless of all those things, it does seem to me that “passing” includes being authentic, just “being you” rather than a construct.

NOTE: Part of finding that inner peace, for me at least, did come from surgery. Once I completed GCS, then I began to finally, for the first time in my life, begin to feel positive about my own body. So surgery played a role there too, but only a role.

A Response to the Lies of “A Sacred Androgen”

Recently, the Antioch Review has published an article full of hateful lies, stereotypes, and absolutely incorrect medical information about transgender people titled “The Sacred Androgen” (link marked as “nofollow” so as not to boost the page’s rank).

In response to this, Brynn Tannehill wrote a scathing condemnation of the article and The Antioch Review itself, titled “Antioch Demonstrates Why Mid-West Kills Queers from the Inside Out“.

And in addition to Brynn’s article, I sent the following email to Christina Check who is listed as the contact for The Antioch Review. I encourage all of you to do likewise. The more they hear from us, the more they may realize they have done something ugly and horribly wrong, and perhaps retract and apologize for that piece of garbage they published.

My letter to the editor lies below this line


 

Really?

If you had published such a pile of garbage laden pile of tripe about black people, your offices might have been buried under angry responses from across the nation already.

If you had published such a garbage laden pile of tripe about gays, you would have been dragged through the major press and rightfully pilloried publicly destroying your reputation.

Yet you think you can get away with it against transgender people?

Your author uses every bad stereotype, ignores all the current medical evidence including neurobiological evidence that has led the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association all to conclude that:

1. Being transgender is not a mental illness (and it’s no longer listed as one in the DSM)
2. Being transgender is a neurobiological medical condition caused by in utero hormonal ratio variations during early pregnancy.

Your article goes on and paints trans women as sex obsessed fetishists which couldn’t be further from the truth and which theory has been totally destroyed. Bailey’s work on “autogynephelia” has been refuted because what he thought was solely trans obsession turns out to be common natal female behavior as well.

Your author asserts that transgender people are mentally ill while mental health professionals say that being transgender is not a mental illness. Your author then goes on to support reparative therapy which has been proven to increase suicidality, and never ever “cures” anything.

Your author cites the 41% suicide attempt rate as proof of mental illness and ignores that mental health professionals cite that as proof of the deep systemic hatred and oppression our culture has displayed towards transgender people. Mental health professionals say YOU need to change your attitudes towards trans people, and not that trans people need to change.

Your author launches into rape culture objectification of women and then tries to use that as a reason to see trans women with disgust.

Your author tries to assert that trans women are just gay men but ignores actual biological evidence that trans women are as different from gay men, in the brain, as they can possibly be.

The above microscope slides are just one of many studies demonstrating that trans women have brain structures very similar to cisgender women and nothing at all like gay men.
In short, your article, “The Sacred Androgen”, is hate speech targeted at a minority group that is being actively attacked and oppressed today in popular media and by right wing politicians and churches for being different. Yet the medical community, across the board, supports trans people and who they say they are. There are only a few old fossils, like Paul McHugh, Bailey, and others who get regularly trotted out by the right wing to support these hateful views.

With the publication of “The Sacred Androgen”, The Antioch Review demonstrates that it is not a rational nor respectful publication and that anything it publishes should be ignored, discarded, and that the Review itself should be driven into the ground as a purveyor of hate speech.

You should be ashamed of yourselves but bigots never are. Just like racists have been hiding in the closet for the last 40 years until Trump came along, bigots never give up their ugly ways and we now know that The Antioch Review is a publication of bigots and bigotry.

Cara Ramsey