Hurricane Harvey has taken me to a dark place

I think I’m suffering from outrage overload. I just don’t want to write about anything anymore. There’s too much that needs to be said, and I have too little time, energy and talent to do it justice. I find myself just sitting here, staring at my screen, paralyzed by the thought that, as soon as I hit “publish,” there will be ten other things that deserve more attention than whatever it was that I just wrote about. And, really, if we’re being completely honest, what good does posting here even do? Maybe, if I’m lucky, 1,000 people read something that I’ve written, 50 of whom “like” it on Facebook, and maybe 3 or 4 share it on Twitter, where it quickly gets lost in the ocean of memes.

Today, I found myself wondering, if, in the whole scheme of things, I would have had more of a positive impact in the world, if, 15 years ago, instead of starting this blog, I’d started working a part-time night job, donating whatever I’d made to an organization, like the ACLU, that could have put it to good use. I mean, I know some people out there find value in what I write here, and I know that some positive things have happened as a result of this blog over the years, but, looking at it objectively, I’m tempted to say that I could have accomplished more if I’d taken the 25 hours or so a week that I’ve worked on this site, spent that time instead working behind the counter at Starbucks, and funneled whatever I made into something more impactful. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I could find a second job that would pay $10 a hour, and worked 25 hours a week – that’s $13,00 a year before taxes. And just think how many copies of Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny I could buy for that and leave on city busses with that, or how many scholarships I could help fund for promising young journalists. But, instead, I choose to spend my time, like I am right now, thinking about clever ways to twist a serious post about global climate change so that I can work in a mention of Donald Trump’ new baseball cap or our First Lady’s inappropriate choice for flood zone footwear

[above: While Trump, during his brief stop in Texas today, didn’t mention the fact that over a dozen Americans thus far had lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Harvey, did take the opportunity to introduce a new hat, which is available through his website for $40, the proceeds from which will not go to charity, but to him directly.]

Sorry to drag you into this. I guess I’m just feeling a bit defeated at the moment, like nothing really matters. I think it’s Hurricane Harvey’s fault… Apparently, I can handle the idea that Trump conspired with the Russians to steal the presidency, but I can’t handle images of American highways under 20 feet of water. I guess it’s because, in the case of Trump, there might still be a real, tangible solution available to us. Robert Mueller, assuming he can prove there were crimes committed, could theoretically set in motion a chain of events that not only drives Trump from the White House in disgrace, but puts him in prison. In the case of the so-called “500-year storm” that just hit the Texas coast, though, what is there that we can really do? We’ve allowed ourselves to be lied to over the past 30 years about global climate change, and now we really don’t have much choice, as far as I can tell, but to accept the consequences. I suppose, if we acted quickly, and decisively, we might avoid the worst of it, but there’s not really any turning back now, is there? We’re well down the path to extinction, and there’s no sign that our leaders want to even try to change course, despite what we’re seeing unfold… Trump is still telling us that he intends to open more coal mines, and his fellow Republicans continue to question climate science, even as these “once in a lifetime” events keep happening, and more people keep losing their lives.

So, yeah, I feel a bit defeated by the collective stupidity of the American people at the moment… those people who chose to elect a man completely devoid of empathy to be our leader… a man who, instead of comforting those who have lost everything, chose today to note the size of the crowd that had come out in the rain to see him.

[above: “What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump declares triumphantly in Texas, as though he’s on the campaign trail, and not standing in a state where some have lost everything.]

It’s not just Trump, though. It’s everything that made Trump possible. All the years spent convincing the American people that laws protecting their clean drinking water were somehow anti-American. The fake news networks suggesting that our first black president wasn’t an American at all, but a Kenyan marxist who had been programmed from birth to destroy our country. The defunding of public education. The acceptance of corporate dollars as free speech. The false equivalency between what scientists say on one side of a debate, and what lobbyists say on the other… We’ve spent decades chipping away at the very foundation of America, and this is what we’re left with. Trump isn’t an aberration. Trump, I’d argue, is a perfect reflection of America as it exists today.

And yet we keep telling ourselves that all of this might somehow change. The New York Times asked today, if Hurricane Harvey offered Trump “an opportunity to recapture some of the unifying power of his office. The answer, of course, is an emphatic “no.” It just gave Trump an opportunity to model a new “USA” baseball cap, which, by the way, you can purchase for $40 on his website, and talk excitedly about how this “record breaking” flood was making members of his administration “famous on television,” all while absolutely ignoring the dead and the suffering.

But, yes, some apparently thought that the man who, just a few years ago, said the following about his predecessor’s response to a natural disaster, might someone evolve into a better man… someone seeking to harness the “unifying power of his office.”

No, my friends, the world sucks, and we’re all going to die… Yes, I know that there was a lot of beauty to be seen in Houston, as individual Americans stepped forward to help one another, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re too short-sighted, stupid and fearful to deserve a big, beautiful planet like this one that we’ve been given.

[above: I want to believe that scenes, like this one above, reflect who we actually are as Americans more than the fact that we’ve chosen leaders like Trump, Cruz and Cornyn, but I don’t think it does. In response to accute emergencies, we tend to do the right thing as a nation, and I have no doubt there will be epic demonstrations of love and decency as we approach extinction, but we lack the ability in our daily lives to get beyond our fear and anger, and work together toward a better future. And that will be our undoing.]

Just two quick illustrations of how short-sighted and stupid we are, before I throw my laptop across the room and proceed to cry myself to sleep.

First, from Newsweek, we have a clip from an incredible piece about how freedom from regulation helped make the events unfolding in Houston today possible.

We do value our freedom here in Texas. As I write from soggy Central Texas, the cable news is showing people floating down Buffalo Bayou on their principles, proud residents of the largest city in these United States that did not grow in accordance with zoning ordinances.

The feeling there was that persons who own real estate should be free to develop it as they wish. Houston, also known as the Bayou City, is a great location because of its access to international shipping in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not a great location for building, though, because of all its impervious cover. If water could easily sink into the ground, there would be less of it ripping down Houston’s rivers that just a week ago were overcrowded streets…

Houston was built without regard for the carrying capacity of its roads, just as it was built without regulating the amount of impervious cover that would be shedding water into streets, storm sewers, rivers and Buffalo Bayou…

And, second, we have this from Vox about Trump’s recent rollback of Obama era flood preparedness standards.

Since 2015, infrastructure projects paid for by federal dollars have had to plan ahead for floods and water damage. But when Houston and surrounding towns start to rebuild after floodwaters recede from Tropical Storm Harvey, they won’t be required to plan ahead for the next big storm.

That’s because on August 15, President Trump rolled back the Federal Flood Risk Mitigation Standard, an Obama-era regulation. The 2015 directive, which never fully went into effect, required public infrastructure projects that received taxpayer dollars to do more planning for floods, including elevating their structures to avoid future water damage and alleviate the burden on taxpayers.

Trump characterized his move as repealing an onerous government regulation and streamlining the infrastructure approval process. But he was criticized by both environmental groups and conservatives, who said it made sense to try to protect federal investments.

…The federal government spent about $277 billion on relief aid from 2005 to 2014, responding to natural disasters like Harvey, according to a 2016 report from the federal Government Accountability Office.

Flood mitigation projects, however, got only a fraction of federal money — the same GAO report found that FEMA spent only about $600 million on mitigation efforts in the same time span.

The flood risk mitigation regulation was supposed to help reverse that trend. While elevating structures would cost more money upfront, the Obama administration reasoned they would save taxpayers more in the long run, so they wouldn’t have to keep shelling out money to rebuild destroyed buildings. Flood mitigation has a 4-1 payback, experts say.

So the Federal Flood Risk Mitigation Standard tried to reduce flood risk with a three-pronged approach:

– It encouraged new projects to be built on higher ground, away from flood-prone areas.

– New infrastructure projects also had to be flood-proofed — new roads and railways would have to be 2 feet above the 100-year flood elevation standard and new hospitals 3 feet above.

– Infrastructure projects also had the option to build to standards so they would be safe from a 500-year flood — an extreme but low-probability event on the scale of Hurricane Harvey.

So, yeah, that’s where we are today… pushing fossil fuels over renewables, cutting regulations in the name of freedom without any thought as to the ramifications, and rolling back legislation intended to mitigate the effects of global warming… And, for what it’s worth, none of this has anything to do with Donald Trump. We started down this path a long, long time ago, and it doesn’t look as though we’ll be leaving it any time soon.

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78 Comments

  1. Anonymatt
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    You seem to be forgetting all the positive work this blog has done to promote ball shaving.

  2. Kim
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    We have a tremendous capacity for good, but we continue to pick bad men to be with.

  3. Andy LaBarre
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Politico: “It was a presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.”

  4. Catherine D
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I hear your despair, Mark. I really do.
    The best I can suggest at the moment is to take a step back, reconnect with whom and what brings you joy, read or otherwise reflect on the example of people who persevered despite horrible odds, and then return to the struggle.
    I understand as best as I can the magnitude of what we’re facing. On my own worst days I think we’d be better off finishing humanity’s presence on this planet sooner than later, to minimize the rest of the damage we can do to all other living species.
    But we cannot tell what will be the turning point, the last snowflake to trigger an avalanche, the last drop to breach the dam (sorry for the last, but appropriate under the circumstances). And if we do go down in catastrophe, we’ll have at least done what we could to prevent it. No consolation, really, but to imagine more regrets….
    As for *how* you spend your time and what you do for the cause, I’ll say that at this juncture citizen journalism is worth a lot. We have precious few routes through which to share information about local matters of significance, and how national and international issues play out here. You do perform a public service whether you see the fruits of it or not.
    And no, I don’t think you wrote this cri de coeur to fish for praise.

  5. Stephen Fife-Adams
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Many days I am mentally in the same place you are. Trump didn’t create the existential crisis facing POC, although he has amplified it. He didn’t create GOP authoritarianism, although he has embraced it. He didn’t create our appalling policy indifference to climate change, although he has exacerbated it. And getting rid of him isn’t going to turn things around when such a huge percentage of the American population is proudly resistant to facts. Nevertheless, I hope you will keep writing. The anti-nuke movement didn’t stop nuclear arms from building up, but it did create enough angst in enough people to make the use of them unthinkable. (I know, I know, Trump is all about doing the unthinkable. But we’ve had a pretty good run despite the presence of nukes in the world for over 70 years.) Words and images were what kept the anti-nuke movement sharp and motivated. We are in a race against extinction, it’s true. But we need more voices raising the red flag and urging us to action, not fewer. We need our own amplifying voices, many many of them, to drown out the blowhard with the bullhorn. You are one of those, and an especially gifted and effective one. Please keep your words flowing. We need them.

  6. Demetrius
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Sharing actual information (facts), making connections, stimulating discussion, and providing a forum for robust dialogue and debate may be one of the most radical things anybody can do these days, given in our current predicament.

    Like you, I’m in a “dark place” with regard to current events – but I really appreciate everything you’re doing to spread some light among the darkness – and I hope you’ll find the wherewithal to continue doing it.

  7. Shannon Watts
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    According to #MorningJoe, the White House sent link in press release yesterday to purchase Trump’s USA hat. Not for charity – for profit.

  8. Lynne
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    One of the things that helps me is to remind myself that this is not the worst thing we have had to deal with. Well, climate change is but in many ways, Trump isn’t the worst president we have ever had. I think our first Democratic President was far worse. At least Trump isn’t marching Native Americans across the country to kick them out of the east.

    The thing about climate change is that these kind of weather events might actually be helpful in that Americans tend to have trouble with abstract thought but hearing first hand accounts from Houston (and lots of us know people in Houston) might make the issue more concrete. Sure, some will deny that weather events like this are related to warming but fewer and fewer all of the time. Besides, say what you want about neoliberalism but right now it *is* working to some degree to mitigate climate change. Maybe we can work harder to push things from a political point of view.

    IF you haven’t yet, read Al Franken’s new book. Besides being a good inside look at the workings of the Senate, it is also pretty hopeful to remember that we do have good people in politics who are doing their best to ensure that our country is a better place. Things are bad to be sure.

    Also, it is important to take care of yourself first. We are going to need you and this blog as we ramp up towards the 2018 midterms. Take a break if you need to. Post about local stuff if necessary. But let’s keep our eyes on the goal which is to get out the vote for the midterms.

  9. Heather MacKenzie
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    . I go into despair intermittently, and I expect it. As a person who studies the mind, with both psychotherapy and Buddhism, I feel somewhat prepared to act in the gritty reality we are in. The Buddhists call this a degenerative age. Of course, Buddhists mostly see the mind as a continuous experience over eons of lifetimes until enlightened, which at that point we are finally skilled enough to really help.
    My point is; as in Tibetan Buddhist teachings, we may be living in degenerate times, but we are not degenerate. We have an opportunity in the midst of tremendous sufferings, to hold fast to Truths which are all of the virtues. Tibetan Buddhists call them the 6 perfections; generousity, moral discipline, patience, joyous enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. Our suffering is our opportunity to recognize that these Truths are constants, no matter what our deluded minds suffer. Our adhering to the virtues connects us to all sentient beings and uplifts each other, especially during these times. so, the work is to continue to expand our compassion and acknowledge our suffering (including the tremendous suffering we experience by seeing others suffer, so important to acknowledge), And then practice balancing the sadness with the steadfastness of all virtues and the beauty of our interconnectedness . I look to Anne Frank, Ellie Wiesel, MLK, Gandhi, Jesus, Frederick Douglas, the mystics, so many of our history of leaders who have been able to sustain a virtuous vision in the context of the worst of times. These are the minds who have helped us through.
    Your blog helps people Mark. It helps us to look to each other for understanding, for mutual support and love. …and isn’t that what is the essence of the meaning of life? Mother Theresa said something on the order of instead of doing great things, do little things with great love. Love is the constant in our midst, we have to keep it front and center.

  10. Megan Moore
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree with you and your current state of despair, but your blog is important and valuable to me. You always say exactly what I’m thinking and it helps me cope. I don’t have the courage to write a blog… for fear of political implication with my jobs, fear that I’m not good enough, etc. I appreciate your perspective. Calling out the insanity in our world helps to prevent the complete normalization of faux news. Please don’t stop. We need your voice.

  11. disinterested observer
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Mark, don’t let HW and EOS see you cry. Liberal tears is like Jaegermeister and Red Bull to them.

  12. EOS
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I understand completely how one feels when the President of our country holds views that are fundamentally opposed to an individual’s personal philosophy. The eight years of Obama were difficult. Whatever emotions you feel, understand that 50% of the population has a different perspective.

    http://conservativetribune.com/man-behind-famous-painting/

  13. Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, everyone. I’m going to take a day or two off, but I suspect I’ll be back before too long. I just need to think a little more about how best to play this hand that I’ve been dealt. I may be wrong, but I can’t help but think that, if I rearranged the cards a bit, I might be able to get a little farther along in the game. At any rate, I do appreciate the comments. I really wasn’t fishing for compliments when I posted that, but, with that said, it was nice to read what you had to say in response, and I’m happy to know that people actually value what I do here.

  14. Angela Barbash
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I appreciate your work and I hope you find the patience and psychic strength to continue. I consider myself fortunate to live in a town that has a consistent, thorough blogger. I moved here in 2001 as a wide eyed 20 year old and your writing became an anchor point in my experience. I have to imagine you mean a lot to a lot of people, who may have never said as much.

    Hold tight the people and experiences that bring you joy. This is what wards off despair.

  15. Bob
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I have visited your site less and less in recent years. I have wondered for a long time how much time it takes, and why you keep doing it. I think we have kids about the same age. I can’t imagine how you find the time.
    I mostly find the postings increasingly piss me off and make me want to respond in a shitty manner. EOS, HW, Peter’s hatred of everything, Jean Henry and her endless know-it-allness. It’s a bummer. I’m not sure how you do it. I’ve enjoyed your arts writing over the years and your cartoons. Your Ypsilanti information has been important but seems less relevant, at least to me. I wonder if the right wing creeps like EOS aren’t sucking your soul dry. Pull the plug, I say. You’ve done more than enough.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    EOS 12% of the country voted for Trump, not 50%. There is no moral majority. You have some very good strategists in your camp however. Nothing moral about that.

    Bob– the irony of you calling Pete relentlessly negative is striking. I will admit to know it all status if you concede that 99% of your comments on this site are attacks on other commenters with very little other substance. At least Pete has something to say. I suspect you did at some point too. Maybe you just can’t bear any counter perspective? Just speculation but sometimes I worry about you. At any rate, there is no requirement to read the comments to enjoy what Mark has to say.

    Mark– Do what you’ve gotta do. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Mark — I hear the DIY skatepark in Prospect Park has another pour coming up. I think you would like those kids. Maybe go talk to them and fill up your cup. Then write about it or not.

  18. Bob
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Can’t talk. Standing in line for Hillary tickets. I got my hundred bucks.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Working on Climate action was super depressing for me. And I wasn’t alone. The degree of burn out is so high that many with whom I worked locally, like me, are now working in other areas. Most are now doing something more practical in the field than trying to change the behavior of citizens or institutions (who share a lot of tendencies). There’s just a point where one feels that one has exhausted their own resources in the effort. But often others will step into the fray and the Don Quixote tilting-at-windmills work goes on. And maybe you figure a new angle of approach.

    Your work is valuable. I know it has changed the evolution of Ypsi and altered the way many in A2 and the county see Ypsi and it’s capacity. Whether that is for the good or not in the long run is not within your control. You can amplify the issues, but it’s not your work to correct them– at least not in this blog. Like any creative effort, how people respond is beyond your control. Existential concerns are not new, though we do seem closer to disaster than I remember in my life other than during Three Mile Island when I was a kid, sitting and waiting 12 miles away, out of school, to see if we would be evacuated. But much of the world would see that as a highly privileged position relative to their own. We still have tremendous capacity here to change course, to resist, to speak to the complexity of circumstances and the peril and opportunity therein. Hard to know if any of it will matter in the long wrong but I often think the striving is the only meaning we are guaranteed.
    MEANING
    “When I die I will see the lining of the world. / The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset./ The true meaning, ready to be decoded./ What never added up will add Up./ What was incomprehensible will be comprehended./ –And if there is no lining to the world? / If a thrush on a branch is not a sign, / But just a thrush on a branch? If night and day / Make no sense following each other? / And on this earth there is nothing except this earth? / –Even if that is so, there will remain / A word wakened by lips that perish, / A tireless messenger who runs and runs / Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies, / And calls out, protests, screams.
    Czeslaw Milosz

    PS This book really helped me deal with repeated human failing and denial in face of existential threat. How we look at Houston matters. Many kinds of stories there. All the ways we are.
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/books/21book.html

  20. Tony
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    EOS, I fully understand your political opposition to Obama. In fact, I wasn’t a big fan of some of his decisions either. My question is whether you can look past tribal instinct, use the higher functioning parts of your brain that God gave you, and objectively discern the clear differences in character between Obama and Trump?

    Obama was a flawed human like we all are, but he is fundamentally decent human who tried to do the right thing. Trump is a toddler-like narcissistic sociopath. He is a vile person and everyone who meets him (go see every photo of him with another country’s leader) knows that.

    I’m not a liberal. If it had been Romney vs. Clinton, I would’ve voted for Romney. The thing in office now isn’t a true conservative. He’s acting the way he is because he a) revels in the adoration of his base and b) knows he needs to keep them foaming at the mouth to keep him in power. Republican leaders mostly say in private they hate him, but they’re afraid he’ll send his angry mob of racists.

    This is the current inhabitant of the White House. This isn’t hyperbole or grandstanding. I would be happy to let me kids watch any President prior to him speak. Not Trump though. I could sleep at night knowing that prior Presidents we’re thinking deeply about foreign policy. Not Trump. Despite having opposing political philosophies to mine, I believed prior Presidents we’re trying their best to make the US a better place. Not Trump.

  21. Oliva
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    It’s true what many of these commenters have written–what good you’ve done for our city and for people everywhere through your writing here. That you have been able to sustain it is just so admirable. (I don’t know how your insides deal with some of the comments. To me the name-calling and regular belittling, like in comment sections everywhere nowadays, is part of the sickness of which you write in this post.) But by sustaining the energy and will to keep going all these years, alongside myriad other pursuits, you model a kind of excellence that is rare. Thanks for doing so much for others and leading by example. May excellence be valued again and become less rare!

  22. EOS
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Tony,

    I would also have preferred a large number of persons for president other than Trump. But I still prefer Trump over Clinton. I am not a fan of either Romney or McCain, but think each is better than Clinton. I think all presidents believe that they are doing their best to make the US a better place. But many adopt policies that end up making things worse, not better. Obama made a significant number of decisions that negatively impacted our country. Trump is working to reverse many of them – and that’s a good thing. Trump is not a conservative, but he has many conservatives working for him. I’m not sure if he is a Christian, but he has more Christians in his inner circle than any recent president. If he were really a narcissist he would have remained a businessman making millions of dollars surrounded by sycophants. Many “Republican leaders” have said a lot of derogatory comments about Trump in public. Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham are not conservatives and deserve to be replaced. I think Trump may end up being viewed in history as one of the best presidents ever. I’m not a rabid fan foaming at the mouth. I’m on my knees praying for God’s help and intervention. 2 Chron 7:14

  23. kjc
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    ” If he were really a narcissist he would have remained a businessman making millions of dollars surrounded by sycophants.”

    he’s still making millions. as are his properties, often on the taxpayers’ dime. and he has more sycophants than ever.

    you’re over dude.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes, KJC, the entire enterprise of running for president and now being president is about enriching his own wealth, along with his ego. Nothing more. Even if he hadn’t won, his plan was reportedly to leverage his base to create a media empire… aka disinformation machine.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/donald-trump-reports-hes-getting-rich-off-the-presidency/530718/

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    “I think Trump may end up being viewed in history as one of the best presidents ever.” — EOS
    Noted for future use. (also, ha ha ha ha!)

  26. EOS
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    The White House says President Donald Trump is pledging $1 million in personal funds to Harvey storm relief efforts. Guess he is not so good at using the office to enrich his own personal wealth.

  27. anonymous
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, Trump has a reputation for saying that he intends to give to charity, and then not following through.

  28. nick
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    give up on the coverage of the presidential dumpfire (or at least scale it back a lil). it’s really not adding anything to the conversation, the ground is well covered, and it seems like it’s taking its toll on u. i would love to see more writing about local stuff! and bring back the fuckin saturday six pack! seriously, the stuff about ypsi/arbor, zines, music, art, local politics, entrance/exit interviews etc is wayyyy more interesting, useful and has a greater impact. like if i want to hear about the latest bullshit the president is up to i just have to visit a news site or listen to the radio. give is the sweet MM local coverage we crave man.

  29. wobblie
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Mark, you have developed so much good karma, don’t fret this stuff. As the Poles say, only two things matter Duty, Honor. Follow your duty and you will be honored.

  30. Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Generally speaking, I write as a way to work through things that I’m interested in, and have questions about, so that I can better understand them. So, yeah, I’ve been writing a lot lately about the Trump administration, because there’s a lot that I’m trying to better understand. If you feel as though you can get the same information elsewhere, I’d encourage you do so. I don’t want to bore anyone. But, at the same time, I don’t want to just write about stuff that people want for me to write about. I mean, this isn’t a job. I’m not being paid by anyone. And, I suspect, if I was writing about stuff that I wasn’t all that interested in, the site would die a pretty fast death. So, yeah, I write about what interests me at any given time. And that’s going to change over time, as I change, and as my interests change. I would like to bring back the radio show, though, now that my voice is better. I didn’t talk about it here, but I had a growth on my vocal cord that kept me from talking for a while. It seems to be somewhat improved now, though.

  31. charlieRomeo
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    The hard statistical demographic fact is that 53% of white women voted for Trump. Forget about misogyny. What motivated and inspired these women to vote for Trump ? Did they actually believe his bullshit ? Were they incapable of seeing what a deficient, unadulterated con-man bullshitter he is ? I look in the eyes of every white woman I encounter and wonder if she voted for Trump.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    White women who voted for Trump, voted along their party line for the most part. Women can be racist and misogynistic as well. Misogyny was still a big part of Trump’s victory along with many other factors. In the end, these white women sought to retain their privilege over ethnic and religious minorities by throwing them under the bus. It’s not so shocking really. dividing the oppressed against one another has been an effective strategy in American politics for it’s entire existence. Reagan was a master. That’s how he convinced the WWC to throw labor under the bus to vote for him. He convinced them it was POC ripping them off. Lee Atwater’s strategy, by his own admission. Welfare queens, etc. Convincing white people they are self-sufficient and that POC were taking their money via taxation, when it’s the WWC and red states that suck up more federal funds than they supply. All the crap EOS spouts to this day. Worked like a charm. Still does.

  33. EOS
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Stop lying Jean. I have never once said anything about POC ripping us off, welfare queens, WWC?, etc. Critique what. I write, but don’t make up shit.

  34. Lee Markham
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t have a blog, but I often post my opinions on Facebook, and I don’t think I’ve ever changed anybody’s mind there, or even in my face-to-face conversations with friends and family. I have sometimes felt fairly powerless in that regard. However, I had a major hand in raising a son and a stepson who are now adults, and it is my hope and belief that some of my values have rubbed off on them, though neither of them turned out to be anything close to a carbon copy of myself. So I think in order to have a meaningful influence on someone’s life, you really have to catch them early in a sustained process that permeates their life. Parenting is about the only way you can do that.

  35. disinterested observer
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    EOS, remind me, where was Obama born?

  36. Sad
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait to see what Trump does for Labor Day.

  37. Bob
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Kick the dreamers to the curb would be my guess

  38. Sad
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    No, that’s Tuesday. He’ll be doing the same as all laborers – enjoying the day at the country club. Maybe he’ll give the help extra large tips to honor the holiday.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    EOS– I have read your comments for years and you have absolutely talked about welfare as being predominantly a service offered to Black people who are ripping off people with more ambition. You have absolutely talked at length about a supposed culture of dependency created by welfare and all social services, all while denying unequal access to adequate healthcare, education, justice etc etc for Black Americans. You have even indulged ideas of White racial superiority and the welfare state as the only explanation for the different outcomes between races. I’m not going to go back to review your many posts. You have expressed many racist ideas and right wing populism spoon fed ideas about race and social benefit programs. Anyone here will remember. They make an impression. Trust us.

    You should go back an review your own comments. I honestly can not imagine a worse use of my time. The few times you have offered something interesting and accurate to the conversation I have made a point to validate that. Always. I rarely point up how fucked up your thinking is relative to how frequently fucked up it is by comparison. My attempts at positive re-enforcement are not working.

  40. EOS
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    No I haven’t. Not ever. And no one will be able to find anything of that kind on this blog. As I said before, critique what I write, but don’t make up shit. I feel sorry for you.

  41. Bob
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Told you so. Happy Labor Day.

  42. Iron Lung
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    “And no one will be able to find anything of that kind on this blog.”

    Lol.

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Relevant to this discussion and the proclivities of our beloved MM trolls:

    “Starbird is publishing her paper as a sort of warning. The information networks we’ve built are almost perfectly designed to exploit psychological vulnerabilities to rumor. “Your brain tells you ‘Hey, I got this from three different sources,’ ” she says. “But you don’t realize it all traces back to the same place, and might have even reached you via bots posing as real people. If we think of this as a virus, I wouldn’t know how to vaccinate for it.”

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/uw-professor-the-information-war-is-real-and-were-losing-it/

    PS– Let’s just end run in advance the almost inevitable proferring from leftists of the assertion that the right is uniquely vulnerable to populist campaigns of misinformation>>> This sounds really familiar:
    “The true common denominator, she found, is anti-globalism — deep suspicion of free trade, multinational business and global institutions. “To be antiglobalist often included being anti-mainstream media, anti-immigration, anti-science, anti-U.S. government, and anti-European Union,”

  44. Iron Lung
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Birthers.

    You’d have to be a complete moron to have bought into that nonsense.

  45. Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget when EOS was absolutely convinced that Clinton was suffering from Parkinson’s, or some other neurological disease, which made her unfit to serve.

  46. Iron Lung
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Or that Clinton was having people killed over emails.

  47. Iron Lung
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    EOS’ posts are mostly “right wing craziness” flavor of the week. It’s so unoriginal, that it’s comedic.

  48. EOS
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Well Mark, why would someone wear prism glasses for years after her fall if there was no neurological impairment. Some crazy conspiracy theory? No she discussed the prism lenses herself.

    Iron lung – Never said that Clinton had people killed, especially not over emails. Just that there was an ever growing list of dead bodies of people who were associated with her opposition. And no, I don’t share original ideas, just report the facts that are contradictory to the posts on this site.

  49. EOS
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Come on. Where are all my previous posts where I called Blacks Welfare Queens and expoused White Supremacy? Where are all my racist posts? Where did I write that Clinton had a neurological disease and not an impairment?

    I guess you’ve all conceded that you can’t argue with facts, so you’ve decided to resort to lies.

    SMH

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    The thing about concessions is the recipient does not get to decide when it happens. Please EOS and Hyborian, please take note.

  51. EOS
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    And the thing about accusations is that they must be backed up by evidence or they are determined to be bullshit.

  52. Iron Lung
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    “Never said that Clinton had people killed, especially not over emails. Just that there was an ever growing list of dead bodies of people who were associated with her opposition.”

    What’s the fucking difference.

  53. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Correlation vs. Causation. It’s a significant difference. As I have said on this site before, I don’t think Hillary murdered anyone or ordered anyone murdered.

  54. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “What’s the fucking difference.”

    Were you drunk when you wrote this?

  55. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Jean,

    I read Starbird study. I think it is interesting but I do think it worth pointing out that the study is working from a pool of 60,000,000 tweets about specific mass shooting events (Sandyhook, Orlando shooting, etc) and then forms a subcategory of 100,000 tweets which are specifically tied to the same mass shooting events but which also involve conspiracy theory about those events. The 1 conspiracy theory tweet per 600 tweets on the same event puts a little perspective on the scope of the problem. Further, some of the 1 in 600 tweets that were categorized as addressing the idea of conspiracy involvement were challenging the notion that conspiracy was involved…. In other words, if the ratio of tweets is any indication, almost nobody believes in these conspiracy theories. It is just anecdotal but I have never met a single person who believes Sandy Hook or the Orlando shooting was a hoax or false flag operation. Yet, it is very very common for the left leaning crowd, evidenced by the comments on mm.com, to ascribe beliefs onto the “average” trump supporter in very irresponsible ways.

  56. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Why are some in the mm.com community so desperate to ascribe beliefs to EOS?

    If you want to know what EOS, right now, thinks about pizza parlor pedophilia, Sandyhook, curfews for black people, etc, then why don’t you just ask? EOS is literally saying “I don’t believe that” and you guys are unable to hear it. Why?

    One formulation which tries to answer ‘What is ideology’: Ideology is not just what one falsely believes about the world, but Ideology is also what one falsely believes others believe about the world.

  57. Sad
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Good guestion FF.

  58. puzzled pawn
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Have you ever had a conversation with a birther, or someone who thinks the Clintons had people murdered? Did you challenge those false and corrosive ideas, or did you help poison their mind by staying silent?

  59. Jcp2
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Why do anonymous posters take their reputations on a local editorial blog so seriously? Anonymity is exactly that; there is no reputation to be concerned about because there is no accountability for statements uttered. If EOS/FF/HW want to really prove a point, do it in a larger, more visible forum, or better yet, do it in public. After all, that’s where the First Amendment lives. Not here.

  60. Sad
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Good point Jcp2.

  61. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Jcp2,

    If these types of character assassinations were limited to pseudonyms on a local blog – few would care. But they are indicative of a pattern that exists to attempt to discredit anyone who holds an opposing view. Call them a racist, supremacist, philanderer, or criminal – whatever it takes to get them off topic and in a defensive mode. And if it is repeated frequently, without a denial, then observers will falsely assume there is some truth to them. It’s one thing to present these ideas and then present the evidence to support them, but quite another to irresponsibly accuse. It is destroying our form of government and I fear that is exactly why it is being done in the political arena.

  62. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    And contrary to what you posted, I do think that EOS has a reputation on this blog. I present honest opinions from a conservative point of view.

  63. Iron Lung
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Self importance anyone?

  64. Iron Lung
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    “EOS is literally saying “I don’t believe that” and you guys are unable to hear it.”

    No, EOS will say “I’m just asking questions” and back away from its outrageous statements when convenient. It doesn’t matter what it “believes.”

    Q:”Did the Holocaust really happen?”
    A:”Why are you denying the Holocaust?”
    Q:”I’m not denying the Holocaust, I’m just asking questions!”

    Not to say that EOS has denied the Holocaust on this blog (to my knowledge) but you get the point. “Belief” is irrelevant.

    Why this person feels the need to receive validation for some self important role on an irrelevant local blog is unknown. Honestly, I find it disturbing.

  65. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Puzzled Pawn,

    The ideas of Birtherism and Clinton murders were not part of the tweets studied by Starbird. Birtherism was pretty common at one point about 40 percent of GOP thought Obama was not born in the US. Of course I gave my opinion to the birthers I met…Why wouldn’t I? My opinion was it does not matter where he was born–I supported Obama regardless of his birthplace….

    I have never met anyone who believes the Clinton’s are murderers….According to one poll 94% of people did not believe that Sandyhook was fake. Of the 6% that believed in the conspiracy theory that Sandyhook was faked to encourage gun control, party affiliation was not an indicator of that belief…..

  66. Lynne
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Re: ” I present honest opinions from a conservative point of view.”

    I don’t doubt that is how you see yourself but after the lies you have told (most recently about Joe Arpaio) on this blog, that is certainly now how I see you.

  67. Lynne
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    er not “now” but NOT

  68. Jean Henry
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    FF– I have met multiple people on the far left and right who believe 9-11 was an inside job or the work of Israel, or who went along with the birther questioning for far too long, or who go to the same places as EOS on Benghazi, who bought the entire “Clinton Cash’ movie narrative– hook, line and sinker, etc. Mark just recently linked to a John Doe interview where Dow declared himself ‘not a conspiracy theorist’ (the implication was like Exene) but that something was clearly wrong…. We just went through an election where the Clinton conspiracy believers (and bots) were so forceful in their spread of misinformation that many, many people on the left became convinced that HRC must be corrupt or simply that they didn’t like her. It’s exceedingly clear that a few true believers can greatly impact the impressions of others too lazy to really seek out contrary information to their narrative bias. I thought the study had merit. Some less direct cultural impacts of misinformation are hard to measure. That study made an attempt to find the source and spread. It did not try to measureoverall impact on people’s ‘impressions’ of situations.

  69. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Lynne,

    The information I shared about Sheriff Joe was factual. You disagreed with my opinions. That does not constitute a lie. You shared a long list of accusations about the man that never resulted in charges. If there were proof, he would have been charged.

  70. Lynne
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    EOS, still lying then? Because it is isn’t true that if there is proof there will automatically be charges. However, we at least know that he was guilty of racial profiling illegally. He admitted as much when he accepted Trump’s pardon.

  71. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    No, never lied. He was guilty of violating a court injunction. Give it up.

  72. Lynne
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    You are lying right now, EOS. He was guilty of violating a court order to NOT racially profile. You are a liar. I don’t expect you to admit it but when you talk about how mean liberals keep accusing you of lying, just know that there is basis for such accusations. That is all. I will try to remember to call you out on your lies more frequently going forward.

  73. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The court order was to refrain from detaining ANY person who was not a legal citizen if they had not also violated another state law. You are misinformed and you don’t want to know. Please stop calling me a liar. It’s not nice. It’s not true.

  74. EOS
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/08/25/how-ex-sheriff-joe-arpaio-wound-up-facing-jail-time-before-trump-pardoned-him/?utm_term=.ad1ad3593fd7

  75. Jean Henry
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “Someone needs to erect a statue honoring the regular dude with a bass boat.”
    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/I-downloaded-an-app-And-suddenly-I-was-talking-12172506.php?cmpid=twitter-premium#photo-14036067

  76. Iron Lung
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    EOS was a birther.
    EOS believed that Clinton had people killed over emails.
    EOS believes that the Earth is 4000 years old.

    I am sensing a pattern here.

    The comments section of this site is simply a forum for EOS. In fact, EOS writes more than the moderator himself.

    What is the point?

  77. Jean Henry
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Illegitimum non carborundum, Pete.

  78. Jean Henry
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Also, Mark’s been writing a lot lately. Some of the best and most detailed posts get the least response. The comments section is for sure getting worse and worse, at least regarding anything even vaguely political. Nothing he can do about that though really.

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