The Last Night

In less than twelve hours, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States.┬áLet’s put this in terms that a space cadet like myself can relate to.

Is it like we’re waiting for an asteroid or comet to slamdance the planet (think “Deep Impact,” not “Armageddon“), knowing that in mere hours the planet will be scrubbed down to bedrock and made as lifeless as the moon? Hardly. I can do hyperbole and hysteria as well as the next blogger, but it’s not going to serve any useful purpose.

But we’re on the right track.

Instead of a comet or asteroid the size of Texas heading on a collision course, let’s say that astronomers have found that the sun’s motion is taking the solar system into a nebula, a dust cloud, a vast three-dimensional wad of gas.

We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re pretty sure that it won’t be good. Maybe it’s just that in the cloud we’ll get cooler because the sun’s light will be dimmed by this interstellar fog we’ll be drifting through. Maybe instead of just cooler, it wills start to get cold, crops failing, a new Ice Age starting. Maybe there will be radiation, or the Earth’s ozone layer will be completely stripped away. Maybe the entire atmosphere will start to be slowly torn away from us. Maybe this will happen in weeks or months, maybe in lifetimes. Maybe we’ll be able to engineer some stopgap solutions to mitigate the effects, or maybe we’ll just die.

Tonight our nebula is the entire international right-wing fascist surge. We’ve seen it in Europe, we saw it in Asia and Australia, we saw it in the way Great Britain voted to leave the EU in Brexit, and now we’re up to our eyeballs in it here in the US of A.

Will we make it out the other side, whatever that might be, with little or no change other than what we might have seen in, say, the difference between the Johnson Administration and the Nixon Administration? Maybe, but it’s very difficult to see how that could happen.

It’s not just Trump, it’s not just Putin, it’s not just the GOP or the Tea Party. It’s all of the people who are reveling in being self-declared “deplorables.” It’s the racists, misogynists, homophobes, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, all of whom now are being give permission to come out from under the rocks where they had been lurking to take prominent positions in government.

Those of us who think it’s a good thing for women to control their own bodies and not be treated like property, who think it’s a good thing to welcome people of any and all ethnic backgrounds, who think it’s a good thing for government and religion to be completely separate, who think it’s a good thing for the government to stay 100% out of our bedrooms and bathrooms, who think it’s a good thing for everyone who’s legally qualified to be able to vote without jumping through impossible hoops, who think it’s insane to have eight old straight white guys controlling more wealth than 60% of the world’s population – we’re the people who are going to have to remember that all of those good things came at the end of long struggles by our parents, grandparents, and on and on.

We also need to realize that those good things are in serious danger if we don’t keep defending them. Every. Single. Day.

Enjoy this last night. Sleep tight. Tomorrow morning a truly evil, arrogant, and ignorant excuse for a human being will be one of the most powerful people on the planet.

And the world will never, ever be the same.

What I Believe

A few notes to get us started

I believe that this list will change over time. The universe is a highly dynamic environment and creatures which fail to adapt will die.

I believe I’ll be swearing a lot – you’ve been warned. I’ll try to be judicious, but there might be days when the circumstances and the actions of others might not allow me that option.

I believe that the middle of the road is a very good starting point for any political discussion. Fanaticism at either end of the spectrum is destructive, counterproductive, and guaranteed to be wrong.

I believe we need to keep our sense of humor. Satire and sarcasm will be important tools in the upcoming years, as Benjamin Franklin Pierce taught us.

I believe that there are no absolutes – the world is made up of a gazillion shades of grey in a gazillion dimensions. That having been said, the laws of probability still apply and there are a lot of things that are quite clearly right and many that are quite clearly wrong.

I believe that I need to post this and get on with building this site. I’ve been tinkering with it for weeks, but I believe I need to remember “perfect is the enemy of good” far more often.

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I believe that the American Founding Fathers put the First Amendment first for a reason and I completely, 100% agree with that reasoning. Without the protections of our freedom of speech, our path to a totalitarian dystopia is inevitable.

I believe that the purpose of government is to protect the people and society from external threats while giving every single person in that society the opportunity to shoot for the stars and fulfill as much of their potential as they possibly can. The government is also there to take on the really huge projects that serve the public good – interstate highways, national parks, and so on.

I believe in moderation and pragmatism. I believe in music, beauty, travel, good story telling, and sharing those things when we find them. (I believe that what my other website is for.)

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I believe in data, as accurate and as much of it as we can get. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, so if you want to claim there are alien spaceships in our skies or that climate change is fake, you had better come equipped with facts and proof.

I believe we all need to know the source of our data, have an idea about its accuracy, and watch out for things that we don’t know that we don’t know.

I believe that Alex Jones, Breitbat, Reddit and all of their ilk are all signs that certain segments of our society are getting more ignorant, gullible, and downright fucking stupid by the day. Do not bring any of that shit here as any of the above-mentioned data or proof.

I believe that ignorance is curable but stupid is generally forever.. Wiser people than I have said it better – “You’re entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.”

I believe that this is MY site, I want to share it with as many people as possible, and I want to have as much intellectual discourse as possible. Varied points of view will be encouraged and this will not be a bubble or an echo chamber, but it will be civil discourse or your butt will get banned – this is not the wild, wild west.

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I believe that people are basically good and want to help their neighbors, live and let live, and be kind to strangers. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is about 90% of a really excellent moral structure.

I believe that there are a few evil fuckers who want everything to themselves, dominance over one and all, and don’t care who or what they hurt, kill, or destroy to get there. I try not to hate these people myself, lest I sink to their level and become the thing that I hate, but like rabid dogs or cancer tumors, the evil fuckers are what they are and need to be defeated, destroyed, and eliminated.

I believe that the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States is one of the most dangerous occurrences in the history of this country. The fact that it occurs in 2016 (when the US is the world’s leading superpower) instead of 1816 (when the US was a third-world power) has the potential to make it one of the most dangerous occurrences in the history of the world.

I believe that Donald Trump is an unstable, ignorant, psychopathic, narcassistic, abusive, adulterous, misoginistic, racist, xenophobic, and homophobic buffoon who is incapable of recognizing or telling the truth.

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I believe that we as a species will someday (hopefully soon) become an interplanetary one, with humans on the moon, Mars, asteroids, and throughout the solar system – despite the fact that we have some evil fuckers among us. If we can avoid destroying ourselves (TBD) or driving ourselves back into the Stone Age, there are great things ahead for humanity.

I believe we should get our asses moving on that path. Part of that is politics, but we’re starting to see the beginnings of the Next Industrial Revolution, the one that takes us off-planet. For that, politics needs to get the hell out of the way.

For what politics does do in the field of space exploration and growing our species beyond this one, fragile “basket of eggs,” it is a CRIME that we haven’t been back to the moon in forty-five years and it’s even worse that NASA’s Orion is taking years and years to build, and once built will only launch once every couple of years. That’s no way to build an airline. So move aside and let Elon and Richard and Jeff do it.

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I believe that Donald Trump should be doing twenty-five to life in a Federal prison for tax evasion, sexual assault, fraud, bribery, and quite possibly for treason.

I believe that even if we are able to somehow get rid of Donald Trump as President (impeachment, resignation, act of God) we will still have to deal with the second worse and second most evil person to ever hold the office, Mike Pence. The man’s political career as a homophobic sexist is disgusting.

I believe that the Trump Administration’s Cabinet is unbelievably unqualified to hold the offices for which they have been nominated. Many of them have long careers in trying to destroy the departments which they’ll now be heading, many of them are getting the job because they’ve donated tens of millions of dollars to the GOP and to Trump.

I believe the ability of the current GOP controlled Congress and the outright evil bastards in the Trump White House to stack the Supreme Court with ultra right-wing ideologues can cripple this country for the next fifty years and set back our progress on human rights by a century.

I believe that the next four years will be an unprecedented time of trial and danger for the United States and for the world.

I believe the next weeks and months are going to be the hardest in my lifetime.

I believe it’s horribly possible that the path we’re on has the potential to literally destroy the United States as we know it today.

I believe that the good people of this country outnumber the evil by an order of magnitude or more.

I believe that if we’ll start using our brains, recognize that we need some actual leaders instead of pop culture icons, and demand that our leaders be held accountable, we can get this country back on course.

I believe that we’re going to have to work at that every single day.

I believe I’ll be doing whatever I can here. Even when it gets bad.

Especially when it gets bad.