Category Archives: Commentary

letter to Donald: how to break the fatal conundrum

Donald:

If there ever was a leader who needed a forthright and blunt consultant, that would be you.

If there ever was a leader who didn’t know that and refused entertain even the notion, that would be you.

As futile as it may well be, I am appointing myself your consultant. It is the best public service I can perform.

Don’t worry (if you ever do), it will be simple. It will boil down to a very simple action plan. But first we need to do some work on the first two phases of change, awareness and acceptance.

Right about now you think this is all a pile of b.s. And many Americans do not think you worthy of being told the time of day. Unlike those many millions of other Americans,however, I think you also put on your pants one leg at a time–and I believe that God has no grandchildren. I must give my clients the benefit of the doubt, else I could not work with them. So someplace down deep in those murky depths, where your soul languishes,. starved for the living light of love, a little voice may be whispering into your mind’s ear: this guy might have something here.

So let’s get it on, Donald. First thing is: let me explain why I don’t call you Your Highness, Mr. President, Mein Führer, etc. I am here to share with you what I’ve learned. And the only way that will have a snowman’s chance in hell of that working for you is if we meet human to human — no bars of status, no norms of what I cannot say, no place for you to go. 1:1, eyeball to eyeball, level playing field

It will be hard for you, but stretch a bit. It wont take long and you can afford my fee. Best, however is that you will profit personally and financially acting on my advice.

Here, then, is why. Listen up, Donald.

Shakespeare said, nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Lets look at yours. A blind man could see that your thinking or self image is locked into avoidance of responsibility and accountability, into being against things just to be against them, into an inordinate and all consuming addiction to power, position, status and prestige, and into a ruthless win/lose mode of competition , Those modes of thinking drive you to being willing to break the law. You do that in order to undermine others so that you can feel that you have won. And, probably at base there lies a drive for excitement über alles. It is very much like criminal thinking. No matter the label: as I said, a blind man could see all of this, unless he or she were a Moscow Mitch/Lindsay Graham type or a white US evangelical.

Lets dismiss the support of those two groups right away: you can always easily tell them, but you can’t tell them much.

In other words whatever the situation, you assume you can win out if you do not cooperate, always undercut, ruthlessly try to control. It is all reactionary and it does nothing except negate.

Lets bring that a little closer to home, lets venture into accepting what we are saying here.

There is one exception to your well honed spirit of negation: receiving real, valid feedback about how you are doing. You do not negate that: you just don’t ever get it. Until your assumption of the Presidency, you could afford to make feedback so onerous., so dangerous and so painfully expensive that few if any had the inrtestinal fortitude to tell you anything except what they all knew you wanted to hear. But the whole US public, all world leaders, the Democrats are not afraid of you. They are breathing fiery feedback, saying you are not fit to lead. It is everywhere, except for Fox News, Moscow Mitch and lackeys, and white evangelicals (although one of their revered Leaders recently said that with the Ukraine S N A F U, you have lost your heavenly mandate.)

So here it is: the rats are jumping off the ship. I know, you think that “they” are all devious traitors. But accept that it is happening.

And that brings us back to the fundamental notion in my suggestions: your emergency needs and your inability to act in this emergency exist for the same reason: lack of feedback. The worse things get, the more you negate and strike out. And the more you negate and strike out, the worst the crisis, the greater thebody of evidence you must sooner or later deal with, and so forth in a vicious downward spiral. All being cheered on and given loud applause by Moscow Mitch and the white evangelicals.. And when figuratively the guillotine blade of impeachment and trial falls upon your overfed neck, you will, as you always do, conclude that everything was rigged against you and that you have been betrayed by everybody.

Of course you will be wrong but you won’t know that until after that blade has fallen.

So heres the action plan. With most of the nation looking to see your head roll, yours is not to reason why, yours is but to quit or die.

Whether you think it’s just or not is irrelevant. Even you can see that you are developing a reputation for being a criminally inapt leader. People write your reportcard based on what they see, not on your intentions. And what they see is getting more nefarious every day. Not just in the US, but everywhere on this globe. Disbelieve it at your own peril. The minority Moscow Mitch and white evangelical report card looks less and less realistically accurate with each round the clock news report.

Lets wind up here talking about why you must think twice before rejecting this action plan suggestion.

Just exactly how well do you think that a report card getting worse by the day supports your business aspirations and interests? You used to be able to hide your disasters. Your business was not that important to the rest of the world; you buried your malfeasance in the fathomless and muddy depths of New York real estate. People simply dismissed you as a poisonous clown. Now however everything about you is right out in front of everybody. A growing majority of Americans, even now including some Republicans, thinks you should be thrown out of office. The report card is beginning to show a lot of Ds and Fs.

That brings us to the action plan. What if you just up and said, to hell with all these ingrates and traitors. I’ve spent millions on this stupid job and there’s no gratitude. I have lent my stable genius to the building of a revitalized America, and all I get is trouble. To hell with all of them and that: I quit. Come on, now: hasn’t that possibility drifted in and out of your mind already?

Do you really think that such a disgrace and calamity as Impeachment and trial will actually boost investors willingness to work with you? Your interests will be valued at less, your patrons in Russia will drop you like a hot potato, your business upon which your whole identity rests will begin to wither.

But if you were to tell them all to lump it now, you would be able to take with you some of the honor and a little bit of the goodwill that you might have had upon entering this office. You would not have to explain away a permanent report card with all Fs. Your businesses might be salvageable.

You ought to be frightened enough to do this, Donald.

As a consultant valuing integrity,, I am duty bound to say that I do not think you could take being booted out of office, maybe not even just the process, regardless of the outcome. All the evidence suggests a fatal external locus of control as the foundation of your life: you must have position, power, status and presige, especially via money, to live with yourself. the mere possibility of losing even the appearance of that puts you into witchhunt mode licketysplit. And at your age, losing all that would certainly be more than you could handle.

So here are two behavioral suggestions, rule of thumb, which might make this action plan easier to do; First: u think of my suggestions like the suggestion that you open your parachute if jumping out of an airplane. Second, open your eyes while keeping your mouth shut. You might then see that everyone who knows the score with you is singing to the Impeachment investigation. You might notice that your rats are indeed jumping your ship.

T .

Well, that’s it Donald: get out of Dodge while you still can. My consultation with you is complete and ended. I will only add that I like the majority of your countrymen devoutly hope that you will take this advice.

As for my bill for this work, first this is pro bono, public service so I charge you nothing. In additon, however, it is gratis because you will need all you can keep and I don’t want to kick a man who is about to be big-time down.

Good luck!

W. S. Hill

Good or bad, thinking makes it so.

A graduate of the southern Michigan high school I attended recently found a copy of the school’s 1926 yearbook in aThrift Shop in South Carolina. When he told the owner of the shop that he wanted to send it to his and my home town’s Historical Society up there, the owner of the Thrift Shop gave it to him for free.

It contains many hand written thoughts from 1926. The Historical Society published a few of them in the newsletter I get every month. Ofthe ones in the newsletter, three spoke to me — (the Society preserved punctuation, spelling and sentence construction):

“Love is great, love is mighty, I only wish your night shirt

Was next to my nighty. Now don’t get excited or be misled,

I mean on the clothes line and not in the bed.”

“A good thing to remember a better thing to do -is to belong

To the construction gang and not to the wrecking crew.”

“Remember the word “American” ends in I can!”

Those are the sorts of thoughts and they innocently clever style that I heard and learned as describing being an American in my formative years, 1941-1951. They re-awaken and refresh me like a cool wind on a hot, muggy, air-polluted day. They are like pretty flowers growing in an opening you had not seen before in a dark forest.

Nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Shakespeare). How might we indeed bring good light into our current,national-cultural bad, narcissistic darkness if we had retained the abilities, values and simple clean morality of that long gone era! Where indeed have all the beautiful flowers of American thinking gone?

Time is up

Today HuffPost reports that Trump wants to take the US out of NATO!

Is endangering the Constitution, betrayal of the country’s security needs an act of treason?

Forget about bellowing about what an evil man Trump manifestly is. He was beyond help when he took office. Perhaps the always stuck in the mud far right Republicans haven’t noticed the grave danger to us all that Donald poses. No surprises there. They would not recognize danger to democratic government and civil liberties at all because they neither want nor have regard for them in the least.

They like to say, oh, this is just his style. That’s what Heinrich Himmler thought about his “style”.. How well did that turn our, Heinrich? Oh, I see: you had to commit suicide because your style became a burden, after you’d destroyed any civility in German life, and engineered the deaths of millions of humans you thought were sub-human.

And Donald’s style? Hmmmm: lie, cheat, subvert, undermine, deflect, intimidate and betray whenever self interest Trumps Presiential Duty. Hardly an honorable man. Is that the style description you want read as your obits, far right reactionaries? Probably yes.

When the government is being dismantled by officials who are supposed to protect and manage it, when the usual Constitutional paths to deal with criminal behavior in the President and his representatives are all being neutralized by his cronies who run the relevant agencies, when the President wants to act to take the US out of the one organization that since its inception has kept aggressive people like Putin at bay, then we’d better realize and do it awfully fast: TIME IS UP.

Putin’s voluntary Agent Orange is going to do what Khrushchev tried: bury us. But this time there will be no allies, no restraints, no help from anywhere to stop it. Donald is in over his head but thinks he is swimming. He is a very heavy nuclear bomb riding right above the engine room, waiting to go off, while thinking that will speed up the trip.

The ship has neither captain nor rudder: it is going everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. It has to be the case that other Navies would like to sink our ship before it does any more damage — all except Captain Putin that is. Better cast Agnt Orange overboard in a very very deep place, before he finally sinks the whole ship.

Choose or Perish with a Whimper

Violence is categorically unacceptable as a political tool.

  • Republicans in Power in DC:  you no longer have any dodge and you no longer have any moral standing on which to rely.  Your efforts to cobble together a governance, of, by and for nihilistic, greed driven fat cats has done what it was aimed at all along: created your own, towering Frankenstein’s monster, Agent Orange.  Now there is only one choice:  stand and be counted for demanding and acting on removal of Trump OR forever go down in the annals of history as  proven venal cowards who stood by counting their bribes as the world’s longest experiment in multicultural democracy and constitutional self government was unceremoniously dismembered.  You have already demonstrated the behaviors of venal cowardice.  Now is the time you can change that impression or confirm its reality as the prime trait of your being.
  • (Former) Friends and Acquaintances of a Conservative Bent:  I have refrained from talking sides until now.  I thought that bridges might be built.  It is clear today that your representatives and the Fool in the ‘White House do not want any bridges, nor do they have any interest in democracy or collaboration.  If you support them, do not count yourselves any more as friends of mine and do not waste my time with your blabbering drivel.
  • Undecided People:  are you deaf, dumb and blind?  What is there to mull over? the only choice now is:  support the domestic political terror or oppose it.  But note that when you support that abomination, you are supporting people whose beliefs and actions are the antithesis of the freedom to speak and act that makes your choice possible — and with enough of your support, possible for the last time.   Supporting those traitors you may well be participating in the killing of the world’s longest standing experiment in multicultural democracy, a nation that once was at the forefront of establishing government of the people, by the people and for the people across this aching globe.  Selling your soul to the devils ask traitors is never a two way bargain in which you take away anything to keep, but the devils take away your soul.  So you really want to be eternal losers?
  • Agent Orange:  the best way to deal with a devil like you is to ignore you. So I am.  Tweet on that, birdbrain!

For all but Agent Orange (he is not, never has been and never can be a President of the United States in any way but in title.  After all there is nothing to an empty suit but hot air and appearance seeing to persuade you that it is real.):   Remember these ominous words  from Pastor Martin Niemöller coming down to us from the Thousand Year Reich that lasted 13 years:

First they came for the socialists (today: Mexicans), and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists (today: intellectuals), and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews (today: Democrats), and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

If we do nothing to stop our own bomb sending Nazis, then we are complicit in the collapse of civil democracy, then we are complicit in any harm that comes to anyone from the actions of our own bomb sending nazis.  Your collaboration born of complicity will not create a Big Bang for you, but you will do down with a whimper. No?  Just look at the pictures of Germany in late April, 1945.

Keep Your Heads Down

Who will we be as a society?   Until the bombing attacks, that was a nice academic question, professor philosophy for philosophy professors as it were.

After today no observant, rational person should see our time now as anything except the beginning of a long period of testing.

I have not obsessed on the news about the bomb attempts to kill Democrat party leaders.  I have not listened ad infinitum to the 24-7 news:   so much of it is biased, right or left, despite the efforts of honest, hard working, deep digging journalists..  Politically biased news has been in the US since colonial times, when newspapers actually invented stories to blacken the reputations of politicians they did not like.  And that still goes on today.

The one possible exception I know of would be World War Two in Europe.  Reporters  like Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, Andy Rooney, Martha Gellhorn, Bill Mauldin, Ernie Pyle et al risked and in Pyle’s case lost their lives too send unedited stories back to the US.   Yes they were competing with other reporters, yes they were pressured to get competitive stories, yes some were forbidden to go on the front lines (Cronkite for instance, flew on missions with the 8th Air Force despite having been expressly prohibited).  They knew, however, that reality would be more interesting than window dressing,.  They wanted the public to know of the courage of those young pilots, navigators, gunners etc who flow into the 20 mm armed teeth of ME 109s and FW 190s, unable to turn, dive, maneuver, dodge.

After these people retired and passed on, journalism in the US returned to its own inglorious bashing and slandering traditions.  Both sides.

I say a pox on both their houses and choose to stand back and watch a bit before reacting, if I even do react..  I’ve heard the talking heads cry fire in the theater one too many times.  I need to  let the PR wave wash up, dissipate and then judge.

In this case, however,  I do not need to stand back,.

The chicken has come home to roost.  The day of testing our will to remain democratic has arrived.

In a country that puts up with a vile, lying, foul mouthed, easily criminal brainless bully like Agent Orange, who regularly incites to violence and is a model of hate and intolerance for our youth, what else could you expect?

In a society that blithely accepts the self serving PR nonsense from the film and computer games industries that movies and computer games do not teach their users anything at all,  what else could you expect?

In our remaining public debate forum where a large minority of our population really believes that there can be alternative facts in any situation, what could we expect but this?

In a country that has no reverence for life, shown by its failure to recognize the inborn right of every citizen to the best healthcare the society can offer, what else could you expect?

In the culture, alone on this planet, which believes so deeply in the myth of the rugged, self starting individual therefore finds little need to offer the safety nets and civil protections of community.  We give ourselves NSD:  Neo-Social Darwinism.  In that land, as was the case in NS Germany,  you must expect embedded violent behavior glorified into a virtue.  And of course, the quintessential adolescent behavior, is violence.  No?  How many armies induct older men into their ranks of trained killers?  How many armies teach their soldiers about all men having been born equal, about moral rights to the sanctity of the body,to safety+shelter+food+meaningful work?  Do we have examples in history of what this does to a society?  See the movie, Before the Fall, about the SS Napoli schools in Nazi Germany.  What does it mean for us that we now openly proclaim the military to have our brightest and best?

Why is it that Europeans are frightened of, repelled by but not surprised by American violence?

It is simple:  it is part of human nature which needs controlling and channeling.  No?  Watch the movie, Look Who’s Back.  We do that because that is what we have rewarded, massaged, developed and built on all the steps that lead to violence as politics  —  all the good words about bringing democracy to the poor, downtrodden masses and pictures of  soldiers giving candy to kids whose homes we have just destroyed notwithstanding.

We are the world’s prime Nation of Violence.  Politics by violence is only we Americans, turning what we have taught ourselves onto ourselves for once.  his is not the beginning of the  beginning of social warfare as a means of governance.  It is simply the debut of it in politics here.

Keep your heads down, there will be more.

 

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.

IMG_3066

Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.