It’s Just Tommy being Tommy!

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It’s Just Tommy being Tommy!

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Imagine for a moment that you pack your family into your car and drive to your in-laws for the holidays. Of course, the traffic is horrendous. When you arrive at the nicely decorated house, a few snowflakes waft through the air. You and your family walk up the flagstone walk to the wreathed door and you’re greeted warmly. In you go, all five of you, each carrying a nicely wrapped present or two. Christmas music plays in the background and the smell of turkey with all the trimmings is in the air. Your mouth is watering! Your tempted to to short-circuit the introductory phase and head straight to the buffet — just for a taste. But that would be impolite. 

Yet, something seems amiss. What is that noise? Their spoiled little brat, Tommy is running amok in the living room shooting the loudest cap guns you’ve ever heard in your life. It slowly dawns on you that no cap gun makes that kind of noise. Those are actual bullets! They must have given their ten-year old who mistreats pets, bikes, and toys actual working guns for early Christmas presents. 

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What do you do now? I mean, on the one hand, your in-laws have prepared a wonderful Christmas Dinner. Your stomach is growling. Besides, it will be embarrassing to just walk out. 

On the other hand, you don’t want your kids to be accidentally killed or maimed for the rest of their life. You don’t really want yourself or your spouse to be killed either. 

Sounds like a pretty absurd scenario, doesn’t it? 

But polls indicate that many Americans are just fine sitting down to dinner in this scenario. 

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If you are one of those folks, you don’t even insist that the guns be taken away from Tommy. In fact, many of you even encourage the parents. “It’s great that you’ve finally found something Tommy can feel responsible for.” Or, “Oh, well, that’s just Tommy being Tommy! After all, no-one’s perfect!” Or, “Well, yes, Tommy might hurt someone, but that’s true of all kids.” 

And that weekend, assuming there are no casualties at dinner, you are happy to send your kids over for a playdate. And there’s Tommy with his real guns loaded with real bullets putting real lives at danger. But I guess you wouldn’t want to embarrass your in-laws. And, who doesn’t like a free meal or free baby-sitting?

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It’s just Tommy being Tommy! 

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My first experience with real guns could well have been my last. Free chapter 

from “Tales from an American Childhood” 

Author Page on Amazon. 

A Pattern Language for Collaboration and Teamwork. 

The Myths of the Veritas. 

Lion Slayer & Eagle Eyes Return

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Although Lion Slayer had not specifically been tested or trained the way that Eagle Eyes had, since he was a human being, he could read the excitement on the visage of Eagle Eyes as she crouched down, turned back and scurried back toward him. 

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“What did you see? What’s there?” asked Lion Slayer. 

“I saw an old friend! The Mountain of Twin Peaks! We are only two days from our Center Place. Sorry, I mean…well, the Center Place of the Veritas. Who knows? Perhaps we will soon see all our friends! Let me go back to the crest and scan the horizon for trouble for awhile. If all looks well, we should continue our journey.”

“I pray to soon see once again Hudah Salem and that she is well. And, for Fleet-of-Foot as well.”

Soon, they both lay on their bellies at the crest and scanned the land below them for any signs of trouble. It occurred to Eagle Eyes that Lion Slayer was unlikely to see something that escaped her own eyes, but she kept that to herself. And, she could well be wrong. Just because she could see details and patterns that escaped most people did not prove he was incapable of recognizing patterns that she could not see. After all, he had spent years seeing patterns in a different environment than she had. He might well see dangers that she would have missed. As Shadow Walker discovered, a snake may find you by your heat. She imagined for a moment being a snake finding Lion Slayer by his heat. That line of though, for some odd reason,  reminded her that Lion Slayer looked strong and handsome.

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After a time, they glanced at each other, smiled, and nodded to signal their agreement that it was time to move forward. Though they had spotted no trouble, because they were visible on this downslope for a good distance in many directions, they moved only when the wind stirred and kept from moving in lock-step. Soon, they reached the cover of a large wood. They entered the forest in good spirits. Eagle Eyes had reassured Lion Slayer that they would very soon reach lands that she was intimately familiar with. 

“If we’re lucky,” she claimed, “we may make tomorrow night’s feast!

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Meanwhile, Trunk of Tree had somehow convinced himself that he would make a better leader than Many Paths. Try as he might, he could not convince others to share this opinion. All he did as he sought out support was to distance himself from others. Prior to his questioning of Many Paths, he had actually been popular and well-respected among the Veritas, both for his strength and for his not inconsiderable military instincts. But this campaign, he reflected is going very badly for me. He brooded on his failure and recalled that ALT-R had used POND MUD in his various schemes. As he paced back and forth along a line of wild blueberries, he turned the problem this way and that. Aloud, he said, “Who can be my POND MUD?” 

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As chance would have it, Many Paths had come with Easy Tears to pick some blueberries and overheard his odd question. Preoccupied as he was, Trunk of Tree did not notice their presence. Many Paths found herself tempted to keep around the bend out of sight to see whether Trunk of Tree would say anything else. But she felt a mild dishonesty fringed such an action so she playfully announced, “Well, met, Trunk of Tree. I don’t things ended well for POND MUD, nor for ALT-R either. But I am sorry if you are mourning him. I felt bad that we lost both of them to the forces of greed and deception. In the end, it was as though they were the offspring of The Orange Man.” 

Trunk of Tree glanced back and forth between the two young maids and his cheeks reddened. “Well, I’m not really mourning him. I was just curious — do you know anything about their friendship? I mean, I don’t see why POND MUD did whatever ALT-R said. Do you understand it?” 

“Not fully,” answered Many Paths truthfully. “I did find out that POND MUD somehow got it in his head — well, because ALT-R told him so — that ALT-R had saved his life! Nothing could be further from the truth. I am almost certain that ALT-R tricked POND MUD into getting in the quicksand in the first place. And he could easily have pulled him out with a vine or brach or rope, but he made POND MUD really scared and convinced him he had to literally put his face in the mud in order to get out.”

“So….? Did you set him straight?” asked Trunk of Tree. 

“I tried to. I think many people told him the same thing. But he kept asking more people. He was looking for a certain answer — that ALT-R had saved his life. But no-one else thought so. That just made him — somehow — believe ALT-R … harder? Is that the word? As though he insisted on hanging on to this false belief. I don’t fully understand that part.”  

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The three of them began silently partaking of the delicious berries. After a time, Many Paths said, “Have you ever started to lose your balance and then the harder you try to right yourself, the more out of balance you become? It felt a little bit like that. POND MUD couldn’t help himself and when he did, he began to feel guilty — as though he were betraying his friend ALT-R to even consider whether he had been telling the truth. Ironic, eh? ALT-R was using him — abusing him really. But whenever POND MUD thought along those lines, he felt guilty so … so he was more peaceful inside to just believe the lies of ALT-R. I don’t really know, Trunk of Tree, but that is my surmise.”

“How stupid of POND MUD!” exclaimed Trunk of Tree, a trifle too loudly, it seemed to Many Paths. 

“Indeed,” answered Many Paths. “I feel sorry for him. I keep wondering what I could have said to allow him to see the truth that was staring him in the face.”

Trunk of Tree got a faraway look in his eye. “Perhaps you didn’t properly use the Rings of Empathy. Maybe…just maybe it takes actual physical strength to force insight onto someone.” 

Easy Tears frowned and tilted her head at that comment. Many Paths gave a sardonic smile. “You might be right, Trunk of Tree. I do not have such an understanding from She Who Saves Many Lives. It’s not…It’s just a ring. Well, seven of them. I use them to … connect with people; not control them. I have never tried to use them that way.”

“Exactly! You’ve never even tried! That’s the problem with women! You and She Who Saves Many Lives aren’t using the true power of the rings! If a man had them — a man who had power in his heart and soul and body, he could make people see the truth! That’s why I think I should be leader. I would not be afraid to use the power of the rings!” 

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Many Paths reached into the crevice between her breasts and pulled on a leather thong. Out through the neck of her tunic a small leather pouch popped. “Well, let’s try your experiment then. Here. Easy Tears is enjoying those blueberries! As am I! But here, borrow the rings and see whether you can convince her they are no good.” 

“What? You can do that? You would do that? You would give me the Rings of Empathy? You’re a fool, but thank you.” He held out his hand and Many Paths plonked down the pouch into Trunk of Trees ample hand. “I’m not giving them to you. I’m lending them. Have a go.” 

Trunk of Tree could hardly believe his good fortune. He had plotted and schemed to obtain the Rings of Empathy and Many Paths had given them to him! I can get everything now. He held all the rings in his hands and begin concentrating as he intoned, “Easy Tears, you do not like the blueberries. You hate them in fact. You will give all of yours to me.” 

Easy Tears began trembling. She fell to the ground and muttered in a strange voice, “I love blueberries. Oh, no, I hate blueberries. I love them. I hate them. No, no. The power of the ring is too strong. Oh, they are burning me. The blueberries are setting me on fire. Oh, no!” She began rolling uncontrollably on the ground. 

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Many Paths could see that Easy Tears was convulsing with silent laughter.  Many Paths quickly knelt down beside her and whispered into the ear of Easy Tears “Don’t humiliate him. Break it to him gently.” 

Trunk of Tree held his hands high and shouted with joy. “You See! You see! I can harness the magic of the Rings!” 

Easy Tears was laughing so hard now that her face was wet with tears and she couldn’t catch her breath. 

Many Paths considered joining in the fun and leading on Trunk of Tree. In some fundamental way, that would be cruel. Wasn’t it just as wrong to bully Trunk of Tree with her superior insight into human nature as it would be if he used his superior strength to bully someone? Among many possibilities she considered that she wanted to sow doubt in his mind quickly but also gently. “Do you remember, Trunk of Tree, that wrestling trick you taught me when we were kids? I think you called it “willow wand”? Is that right? And the harder someone rushed at you…”

“Why are you asking about wrestling?” sneered Trunk of Tree.  Did you see how I bent her mind with these rings?! I don’t understand why you never tried it. Or, maybe you did but you’re not strong enough to make it work!”

Many Paths sighed. 

“Trunk of Tree,” she began, and noted that a hint of exasperation had crept into her voice. She tried to concentrate on what she admired about Trunk of Tree and spoke again, this time with genuine affection. “Trunk of Tree, you know what a great jokester Easy Tears is and how she has facility to fool others with play acting. Right?” 

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“What are you saying? That she faked it? That was a real curse. Look at her even now, she writhes in pain. I am sorry, Easy Tears. I didn’t know how powerful I would be with the rings.” 

“Oh, Trunk of Tree,” chuckled Easy Tears, “You went along with my play-acting splendidly! I think we may have really fooled Many Paths there for a moment! Right, Many Paths? Admit it. You thought, just for a moment that maybe they really were magic. Come on. Admit it.” 

Many Paths nodded and smiled. Easy Tears had some brilliant thoughts. This way, I can ‘take the fall’ for the joke and save Trunk of Tree’s pride, provided only he’s smart enough to play along. “You did. You did. For a moment there, you two had me going. What’s that sound? Drums. Listen. Two of our own approach. It’s Lion Slayer and Eagle Eyes! They’ve returned! Let’s go hear their tale!”

Many Paths turned and ran toward the Center Place of the Veritas, deftly snatching her pouch with the Seven Rings of Empathy out of Trunk of Tree’s hand before he could even react. Soon, Easy Tears and Trunk of Tree were running behind her, eager to hear what news they had brought. At least for now, Trunk of Tree’s thirst for power seemed to have evaporated like a morning mist under the rising sun. But winter is coming. 

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Author Page on Amazon.

The Myth of the Veritas: The Forgotten Field. 

The Orange Man.

The First Ring of Empathy. 

RIP, GOP

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Context: Today, after weeks of moaning and complaining that there needed to be a defined open process for impeachment, the Democrats in the House brought a motion to define an open process for impeachment. Not a single Republican voted for the motion. NOTE: This was not a vote on impeachment. It was a vote to do what the Republicans had been asking for over the last few weeks. Their obsequious partisan fawning over a treasonous, cruel, inept President signals, I think, the death of the Republican Party.

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RIP GOP

I know a Grand Old Party 

Who swallowed a lie. 

Now, I don’t know why 

They swallowed the lie. 

Perhaps they’ll die. 

 

I know of a Party 

Who swallowed obstruction. 

They swallowed obstruction to hide a base lie.

But I don’t know why

They swallowed the lie. 

Perhaps they’ll die. 

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I know an old Party 

Who’s now quite absurd, 

They got absurd to hide obstruction.

They swallowed obstruction to hide the lie.

But I don’t know why

They swallowed the lie. 

Perhaps they’ll die. 

 

I know an old Party 

That’s blind as a bat. 

Think of that! 

As blind as a bat. 

They won’t open their eyes

Because they’d see lies. 

But I can’t surmise why, 

They swallowed the lie. 

Perhaps they’ll die. 

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I know of a Party- 

Who says they like dogs, 

But they act more like hogs. 

They pollute the sky; 

They feed in their sty.

They swallowed the bat

(Think of that! To swallow a bat!)

To catch the absurd

Lies that they told. 

Too afraid to be bold,

They embraced the absurd

To hide the obstruction.

They swallowed obstruction to hid the lie.

But I don’t know why 

They swallowed the lie. 

Perhaps they’ll die.  

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I know of a Party — 

It’s full of old goats.

Truth gets stuck in their throats, 

But I don’t know why, 

They’d let our earth die.

To cover the lie

That hides the obstruction 

That covers the lie?

But I don’t know why.

They swallowed that lie.

Perhaps they’ll die.

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I know an old Party 

Who once sued a cow

I don’t even know how

They once sued a cow. 

They all swore an oath

To uphold the law. 

But Barr and Mitch? They both

Said “naw, we’re now Putin’s kitsch.” 

They swallowed their treason 

The whole summer season.

They gave as the reason: 

They swallowed the goat, 

That caught in their throat. 

They swallowed that goat, 

To catch the dog.  

Why such a hog? 

To swallow a dog?

They swallowed a dog

To hide the absurd. 

They claimed the absurd

To distract from obstruction, 

They all know they heard. 

They wouldn’t vote to protect our elections.

(Too worried about their own protections?)

They didn’t vote for needed construction.

But they swallowed obstruction 

To hide the lie — 

But I don’t know why 

They swallowed the lie. 

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I know an old Party

Who swallowed a Trump. 

Now it lies in the Dump.

As still as a Lump;

As dead as a Stump. 

RIP

GOP

Exclusive Interview with Giant Slug!

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Interview Transcript

Subject: Jabba the Hutt

Media:  via ansible, 

Earth Date: 28 October, 2019

Interview Time: 17:00 hours GMT.

Interviewer: (Henceforth abbreviated ‘I’). First of all, I’d like to thank you for granting me this interview. 

Jabba the Hutt: (Henceforth abbreviated ‘Jabba’). No problem.

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I: My first question is probably one you’ve anticipated. Why did you decide to run for President of the United States? 

Jabba: Well, why not? I mean, it’s a great opportunity to extend the reach of our Tatooine Crime Family to another whole planet. And, earth has — what — 7 million people I can eat or enslave. 

I: Actually, earth has 7 billion people. I don’t know whether —

Jabba: First rule of interviewing me. I am right. Always. 

I: Well, I mean, but this isn’t a debate. I just thought you might have misspoken and I was giving you a —-

Jabba: Nobody gives me anything. I took it all. If I say there are 7 million, then if the Republican Party wants me for their candidate, they’d better toe the line and say the same.

I: Moving on, why should voters vote for you when they already have an incumbent running. You know. Donald J. Trump. 

Jabba: Hah! He’s nothing. I beat him in every single category. 

I: For example? 

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Jabba: His Crime Family only spans part of one small planet. Mine is bigger. And speaking of bigger, look at my holographic image! I’m way bigger than he is in every dimension. Even though English is not my native language, I speak in complete sentences. And, I can generate 100 tweets per minute. Second, I have more gravitas that Trivial Trump as I like to call him. Fourth, I’m more ruthless. He hires people. He tells the press those hires are awesome when of course, they are his lackeys and lack relevant experience and expertise. He messes up and then he picks one of them to fire. Then, he trashes them on twitter and has his Whites Only House organ — I think you call it Fox News — trash their reputations. That’s not real leadership. A real leader, such as myself, eats the offending lackey. Then, you trash them when they have no way to fight back. He’s a lightweight. I don’t even think he weighs one ton. Not even one. 

I: Some have suggested that you shouldn’t be allowed to run because — you know — you’re not real. You’re fictional. 

Jabba: SO WHAT?! You think Trivial Trump is real? His supporters think he’s some kind of business genius even though almost all of his business ideas failed miserably. Who loses money on a casino? Casino games are mathematically designed to ensure a profit. Even the Barwagian Slum-Rats of Beta Capula Four make money on their casinos. And, they only have six neurons. His supporters think he’s brave though he was so chicken-hearted that he had his daddy bribe doctors to claim he had heel spurs. Heel spurs! What a wimp. Here is my favorite: his supporters think he’s going to fight for the American worker even though he has stiffed them over and over and over again throughout his entire career and even though he passed a tax cut for billionaires. He’s trying to cut out their medical coverage right now! No, no, I take it back. Here’s my real favorite. His supporters think he’s going to Make America Great Again. Why? Because he had it printed on hats!! Made in China by the way. No, I’m every bit as real as the Donald J. Trump his supporters fawn over. Neither of us exist. But I am way stronger, way smarter, and way more cruel. Cuter too!  

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I: So, do you think he’ll take you up on your offer to have a debate among the five of you? It’s Sanford, Walsh, and Weld, right? And now you. Do you think you’ll do well in a debate?

Jabba: I will crush them all. Absolutely crush them. 

I: Can you share your strategy? What will be your main points in the debate? 

Jabba: Debate! Hah! Who wants to watch a debate? I already told you: I will crush them all. 

I: But…at least on earth, the tradition is to have a debate, not a … what…wrestling match?

Jabba: A lot of customs on earth will change once I become dictator. 

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I: Well, you — we don’t have dictators. We have Presidents. Their power isn’t absolute you know. 

Jabba: You’re so naive. Ever hear of Stalin, Putin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Kim Yong-un… your planet has had plenty of dictators. 

I: True, but I’m talking about America. 

Jabba: So am I. I don’t know about Sandford, Walsh and Weld but Trashy Trivial Trump and I are running for dictator. He’s made that abundantly clear. And, I’m on record for it as well. And, I won’t be one of those nambly-pambly dictators either. Absolute power. My supporters will be glad to be slaves, toadies, and lackeys who’ll do exactly what they’re told. In that way, Trashy Traitorous Trivial Trump and I are alike. But I’ll be competent. He isn’t. 

I: It’s called a Presidential primary…not a Dictator primary. 

Jabba: Yeah, yeah. Sure, that’s what people call it who don’t see the truth even when it’s brightly shining before them like a giant light saber. At least I’m honest enough to come right out and say it. Make me dictator! 

I: Have you thought about who you’ll have in your cabinet? 

Jabba: Of course. Uncle Ziro will make a great Secretary of War. I’m renaming it to be more honest. None of this wimpy “Secretary of State” crap. Let’s call a spade a spade and a war machine, a war machine. Rotta will be my Secretary of Slavery. So, he’ll be overseeing the taking of slaves, the design of their training collars, etc. I like to get them when they’re about four. That’s a good age for them to learn their place. Of course, I’ll start with taking kids away from their parents who are unpopular because of race, religion, poverty etc. but I’ll end up, if all goes well with all seven million people on the planet. 

I: Actually, there are … well, never mind. Any particular policies you want to push? Trump is suing to take away health care from millions of Americans. Do you support that policy? 

Jabba: No. Absurd. Suing? Why bother. Just take away their health care. That’s the problem with Trashy Tentative Traitorous Trivial Trump. ‘Oh, look at me. I’m so mean I’m going to take away people’s health care. Oh, I’m so strong.’ What rot! I’m going to take away people’s health, not just their health care. Put most of them to work in the Asbestos mines of Aldebaran Four. That ought to do it. Life expectancy under Trashy Tentative Traitorous Trivial Truthless Trump will slide down to about 55 years but under a monster worthy of the name, people will be lucky to live to be 25 years of age. Of course, the cutest little kids will saved for something else. And, when they’ve outlived their usefulness at 15 or 16, they’ll still be tender enough to eat. 

I: Another objection I’ve heard some people raise is that you are not a natural-born US citizen. Any comment? 

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Jabba: I was born in America. It’s Trashy Tentative Traitorous Trivial Truthless Toothless Trump who’s not a natural-born citizen. He was actually born in Trinidad. I have investigators right now digging up the truth and you’ll see. I’ll make all the info on him public at the right time. 

I: I see. And will you be releasing your tax returns. 

Jabba: Oh, yes. Very soon. Very soon. Because they will show how brilliant I am. 

I: So, by ‘very soon’, do you mean in the next few weeks? 

Jabba: What about the next few weeks? 

I: Will you release your tax returns in the next few weeks. 

Jabba: Soon. Very soon. Very, very soon. It’s hard to be more specific because of US regulations. I’m under intergalactic audit. So, we’ll see. I can’t show them till it’s over. Soon. Very soon.  

I: How do you feel about walls? 

Jabba: Walls are lame. No half-measures. Tacky Trashy Tentative Traitorous Trivial Truthless Toothless Trump wants to put a wall on some border someplace. What a small mind. I’ve got a better solution. Everyone’s collar will GPS their whereabouts at all times and if people are not where they are told to be, they will be incinerated instantly via laser cannon mounted on satellites. 

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I: Will you be seeking any assistance from foreign nations in terms of campaign contributions or information? 

Jabba: Foreign nations? You mean other countries on earth? No. I have my allies. They’re all over the galaxy. They’ll make sure I get elected. 

I: Trump is using the Russians. I just wondered if …

Jabba: Russians smushians. I’ll use Jedi Mind Control. It’s flawless. The Russians leave digital fingerprints everywhere. Tacky Trashy Tentative Traitorous Trivial Truthless Teeny-Weeny Toothless Trump is lucky there isn’t any intelligent life on earth or he would have been impeached already! The evidence of his betrayal are a supernova of silliness. When we cheat, no-one will know. We use professionals. It’s embarrassing that he even calls himself head of a Crime Family. He’s so obvious. 

I: I see. But I thought the Jedi were the good guys. 

Jabba: Yeah. Whatever. Capture them on video doing disgusting things with 14-year olds — you’d be surprised how compliant they become to make sure that stuff doesn’t come out. Easy to entrap. But I don’t even need to turn them with blackmail. There are plenty who have turned themselves. I’ll use them first. I’ll save the blackmail for a backup. 

I: Do you think you have a realistic chance at winning the primary. Trump remains popular with his base. 

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Jabba: Bah. I’m everything Trump is and more besides. I’m Trump writ large. He’s Jabba writ teeny. He’s small potatoes. Small turnips really. More bitter than potatoes. 

I: I can see why you might appeal to the males who are look for a strong leader, but how do you think you’ll do with the female vote? 

Jabba: They love me. Any woman who knows her proper place is being a total slave to a slimy, salacious slug will vote for me, not that hilarious Hitler with Heelspurs and Hairplugs. 

I: A big part of the job of President, or dictator for that matter, is international relations. Are you familiar with the various nations, religions, cultures, physical characteristics of various nations on earth?

Jabba: No. But neither is Putin’s Pathetic Pusillanimous Puppet. And, unlike the Mango Mussolini, I can learn. Anyway, it’s all temporary. All of earth’s nations, religions, cultures, and physical characteristics are going to change radically once I’m in charge. Oh! I have to go. I’ve got a chanting engagement with a large crowd in Hell, Michigan. 

I: Thanks again for the interview. Good luck in the primary. 


https://www.starwars.com/databank/jabba-the-hutt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabba_the_Hutt

 

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Leveling the Playing Field by Halloween

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 It hardly seems fair. The Democratic candidates for President have already had three debates and still others are scheduled. Meanwhile, there have been zero debates for the Republican nomination. This may have been understandable back in the days when the House of Representatives was taking the attitude: “Don’t hand off that football to me! If I try to run down the field, I’ll get tackled half-way to the goal line by the Senate Republicans!” 

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Now that impeachment seems inevitable and likely will involve both Mike Pence and Heelspurs, just imagine! If they were both removed from office, Nancy Pelosi would become President, at least for a short time. It’s time for Republicans to stop hiding their heads in the sand or — or wherever it is they hide their heads to avoid reality. Republicans need at least one other viable candidate. And, while Sanford, Walsh, and Weld are all much more reasonable and would do a much better job than Putin’s PP Puppet, where’s the excitement? 

It isn’t just that the Republicans need another candidate in case of impeachment and/or imprisonment. And, of course, when it comes to vastly overweight elderly men, there is also the ever-present possibility of heart attack or a lethal fast-moving cancer. Many confused elderly people fall in their own homes. Suppose Donny Boy falls in the shower? Or, rolls out of bed the wrong way? There would still be Pence, true, but he’s even less exciting and charismatic than Sanford, Walsh or Weld. It’s just too risky. Thanks to Global Climate Change, it’s quite within the realm of possibility that the weather in November of 2020 will be horrible in multiple ways. Who is going to drive through a blizzard to vote for Mike Pence? No-one. The GOP needs an alternative who will excite the base! 

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And having an exciting candidate isn’t just about the votes for the Presidential election. A candidate who would excite the base would also help keep the Senate Republican and, if the candidate is really exciting, it might even re-flip the House! Imagine! The Republicans have a real shot at having the majority in both chambers of Congress and retaining the Presidency. All it would take is a candidate to really rile the red-meat base. 

Having a viable alternative isn’t only about voter turnout. The debates offer an opportunity to explore the pros and cons of various policy options. In the Democratic debates, for instance, income inequality has been an issue that has come up repeatedly. Various candidates have suggested various ways to deal with this. But regardless of which one comes out ahead in the end, the issue has been raised so that now, thanks to the Democratic debates, people throughout the length and breadth of this great nation have become aware that a high DOW index doesn’t mean that the economy is actually working for everyone! What rot, eh?

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Similarly, while the GOP is doing all it can to challenge the Affordable Care Act in court and take away health care for millions of Americans likely driving them into poverty or death, the Democratic debates are making people realize how destructive this would be. Where’s the counter-argument? A Republican debate would bring these issued into the pubic consciousness in a way that’s favorable to the interests of the GRU, the NRA, and the billionaires of this great land. Right now, thanks to the Democratic debates, many people are only focused on the fact that people would lose their healthcare and watch their kids die because they cannot afford the medicine. But where’s the publicity for the other side? A Republican debate could point out the pain and suffering of billionaires not being able to afford that third yacht (really, an ocean liner) they’ve been dreaming about. Is it fair that billionaires be forced to choose between buying that third yacht or buying Aspen, Colorado? 

Furthermore, how is the thirst for blood lust being slaked? True, there has been some sparring and jabbing in the Democratic debates that has distracted the public from the differences between the parties, but for the most part, it’s been a very civil discussion, at least compared to what we could look forward to in a debate with Donny Boy! But only if he is afforded a worthy opponent. That’s when we can expect the Mango Mussolini to really shine! 

And who might such a worthy opponent be? I know the answer! 

Unfortunately, Republicans will be prone to dismiss this answer out of hand. I beg you — don’t dismiss this out of hand, but consider how it will reframe the narrative and re-energize the party. I’ve thought about this from many different angles and every time, I come up with one name — one opponent who can accomplish two things. 

First, he will provide a chance for a debate the GOP will be proud of in the sense that the Peach Leech will not only be able to sling names and lies, but more importantly, that opponent will be able to sling names and lies right back!

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Second, this opponent will excite the base! And, if things go south for Fat Hitler and his VP, there will still be a GOP candidate with name recognition to win the ticket for the GRU/NRA/GOP. He will excite the base enough to bring out voters in bad weather and have the kind of long, fluttering coat-tails that will insure down-ticket victories! 

Who might this worthy opponent be? 

I humbly submit to you that there is one obvious answer: 

Jabba the Hutt!

First, and most importantly, it’s a name that lends itself very well to mindless chanting. “JAB-BA! JAB-BA! JAB-BA!” 

Second, he is big and he is out of shape. He won’t make the fat, old, white men in the GOP jealous by being too fit. 

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Third, he will appeal to both men and women among the base who feel that women should know their place and accept it. What says “inequality forever” better than a woman wearing a metal bikini and a choke collar on a leash? 

Fourth, he will bring many women back into the fold of the GOP; those whose fantasy is to reform the beast and turn him into a true gentleman. Many were initially convinced that all the Pussy-Grabber needed was a little warmth and tenderness from a real woman, and he would become a kind of Prince Charming. That illusion is hard to keep up when Mr. Malice Aforethought just keeps right on acting like a spoiled brat on camera and day after day. But Jabba the Hutt would provide another target for women who long to kiss those ample lips and turn Jabba into ?? Who knows? But if a frog turns into a prince, who knows what great beauty might be hidden deep in the soul of Jabba? 

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Fifth — and this is almost too good to be true — he’s already head of a Crime Family! 

Sixth, he has an existing fan base. He has stage presence! He is a draw! A debate between Donald Drumpf and Jabba the Hutt will have amazing ratings! At last, the Republicans will able to get across their own talking points in front of a HUGE TV audience! While Deranged Donald can explain why it’s important for everyone, not just sane people, to have access to assault rifles to help cull those over-crowded classrooms, Jabba can push the idea that everyone in America should be able to have their own atomic weapons! 

Seventh, Jabba knows nothing about American values, institutions, or mores. On that score, he’s on a par with Dodderhead Don. But while the Blathering Bolshevik cannot correctly pronounce “hamburger,” Jabba has never even had one! While Donnie may serve up junk food to honor folks at a Whites Only House dinner, Jabba will serve live, wriggling meat! While the T-Rump insists on building a wall to protect the borders of America without knowing where those borders are, Jabba the Hutt doesn’t even know where the planet is. 

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Eighth, some in the fringe of the GOP are actually starting to care about having a habitable planet. And in that fringe, some are beginning to suspect that the Oranga-Trump doesn’t really even have a planet B. But Jabba knows where there are lots of habitable planets! 

Ninth, Jabba is a cruel bully.  

Tenth, and most important perhaps, Jabba knows how to lie. Of course, it will be hard for him to reach the level of lies of the Prodigious and Profligate Pee-Resident. Hardly anyone in the galaxy can match the 10,000 lies of the Obnoxious Obstructionist. Sorry, 11,000. Sorry, 12,000. Sorry, 13,000. Well, yes, but he is capable of lying and that’s what counts. After all, I’m not saying he needs to beat the T-Rump in the debates. I’m only saying he could be a viable candidate. Since he’s capable of lying, he can pull off one of the best lies ever and pretend to be a Christian! Of course, Jabba has probably never heard of Christianity or Christ or the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments. So what? I’ve never seen him in church. He has zero history of doing anything Christian or being Christian. So what? All he has to do is claim to be a Christian and that’s enough to make him a viable candidate in the eyes of many evangelicals.

I know that the nay-sayers out there will bring up various bogus counter-arguments, so let’s address some of them, head on. 

1. Jabba the Hutt isn’t real. It’s a little hard to take seriously any objections about a candidate based on the fact that they don’t really exist — not from a party whose official position is that Climate Change doesn’t exist and who get a large portion of their bribes — oops, sorry, I meant to say “campaign donations” — from oil oligarchs who have known for decades that their product is destroying the viability of the planet, but let’s play along, and pretend the GOP cares about reality. LOL. Sorry. So, let’s consider: Jabba the Hutt isn’t real (and somehow that matters). 

So what if Jabba the Hutt isn’t real? Neither is Donald J. Trump! At least, not the Donald Trump that the base supports; he isn’t real. They think he’s a successful businessman! LOL! They think he’s six foot three! They think he is going to “Make American Great Again!” They think he’s beautiful and courageous. Why? Because he says so! Well? So what’s the problem? Jabba the Hutt simply needs to claim he’s real, over and over in a loud, thundering voice. 

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2. Jabba the Hutt isn’t a natural-born US citizen. Again, so what? Deranged & Dangerous Donald himself has provided the answer to this one! Jabba can become a “birther” and claim that he has evidence which he will reveal shortly proving that he is a natural born US citizen and that Traitorous Trump was actually born in Trinidad! Jabba can call him Traitorous Trinidad Trump over and over and over. He can claim that he has a clone army of investigators even now substantiating this very thing. 

3. Jabba the Hutt could not be trusted; he’d operate for his own ends, or someone his Crime Family owes money to, not for the best interest of America or Americans. Okay, and your point is? 

4. Jabba the Hutt knows nothing about our political system. He doesn’t know anything about our intelligence agencies or military. He doesn’t know anything about diplomacy. He doesn’t really know how to do much of anything except lie, cheat, steal, and be cruel and vain. Okay, and your point is? 

I am not saying Jabba the Hutt should be or will be our next POTUS. After all, that’s up to Putin. I’m just saying that there should be another viable candidate in the wings and no-one fits the bill as well as Jabba the Hutt. 

JAB-BAH! JAB-BAH! JAB-BAH! 

Instead of giving out red hats, made in China, that say, “Make Amerikkka Great Again”, Jabba could give out nifty metallic bikinis and choke collars emblazoned with the words, “Massive Asinine Galactic Absolutists!” 

Hurry up, GOP! Re-energize the base! Bring your arguments about why pollution is a good thing to the American people. Give these two behemoths a chance to explain why the rich and powerful deserve to be even more rich and powerful while the people who actually do all the work should be kept poor and in a state of constant fear! 

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I have to admit that there are two actual weaknesses with Jabba as a candidate. First, although he’s clearly a cruel bully, I’m not sure he’s actually a racist. But I’m sure he could fake it. Still, it’s better to have a candidate with a lifetime of history to prove his racism rather than someone who now spouts the line. On the other hand, this probably isn’t such a big deal. After all, the Mango Mussolini has no history of being Christian and the base believe he is just because he says so. Why should it be any different with racism? It’s a weakness not to have a lifetime of racist actions but I don’t think it’s a show-stopper. 

Second, he’s not currently friends with important world misleaders. Traitorous Trump has Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Recep Erdogan, al-Assad, and MbS. But that’s only on this world. Jabba has dictatorial buddies throughout the galaxy! The real question is whether they care enough about destroying earth to help out their buddy in this endeavor. 

Third, and most problematic, I think, is whether JABBA can be convinced to run. It might seem that being head of a Crime Family and having untold and unearned wealth and being able to kill at will any inconvenient witnesses should be enough for any Hutt. But — who knows? If he were approached in the right way and there was plenty of chance to exploit the country for his benefit, he just might give it a go! It’s worth a try! JAB-BA! JAB-BA! JAB-BA!

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What Could Be Better: A Horror Story

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In anticipation of Halloween, here is a kind of horror story. I might not recommend it for kids under 12 although I remember being fascinated by this stuff. I saw the movie THEM! about giant ants when I was about nine. Wow! But anyway, a few stories to tingle the spine. 

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What Could Be Better?! A Horror Story

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Karmic Decisions, Gamma Section, Milky Way Division, Department 78776-G-164c, Species – Human; Sub-species Greedypigs. 

“I’m here to do what?” screamed Joe. “This can’t be real.” 

“What? What do you mean ‘what?’ You never heard of Karma while you were a —- let me see — oh, yes, here it is — ‘an earthling’, is the expression you use. So, when you were an earthling…excuse me, I don’t mean to laugh, but in our language it’s a commonly used synonym for ‘Greed-Meister.’ And, here you are waiting for an assignment based primarily on your being of the subspecies, Greedypigs. You get it? No, you don’t get it. You’re greedy.” 

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“Well, that doesn’t sound so bad to me,” piped up Joe. “No Siree. Many of us on earth, most of us, I suppose, are downright greedy. Nothing wrong with that! That’s what put a man on the moon. And what cured polio and all sorts of good stuff.” 

The giant Worblastic Filtermeister tilted one of his heads to the left and one to the right. He regarded the earthling, also known as Joe, with a quizzical dozen eyes. “I’m no expert on earth species and culture and so on. So many galaxies; so many planets. But how many billions do you think Jonas Salk made on the polio vaccine?”

“I don’t know. I’m not much good at trivia. Can we get on to my assignment? Time is money, they say. And, I did make a lot of money on earth. I’m already at the top of the pyramid of earth species so … what’s next?” Joe, the earthling, shrugged his dual shoulders and scanned the eyes before him. It was weird trying to make eye-contact with a twelve-eyed being. “Do I get to be CEO of a major multinational? Or are we going all the way to a God or something?” 

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“You think earthlings are the top species? Oh, Lord, there are so many misconceptions in that. Oh, my. My oh my,” said the Filtermeister. “I thought we could chat a bit, but you are in a hurry.” 

When you watch another earthling roll their eyes, it can be mildly disorientating. But when the eyes rolling in front of you are each as large as a basketball and there are twelve of them going in various directions — ! For Joe, it was nauseating. He could not watch. He just had to look down at his feet. His shoes looked despicably dirty. Where had he been? Wait. It isn’t just the shoes. What the hell is going on here, he thought. He felt as though he were shrinking. He yelled out, “Where am I going? Am I a god now? I’d be good at that! I tell people what to do all the time. Isn’t that the essence of a god? To be the boss?” As Joe spoke, he tried to yell louder and louder, but his voice continued to weaken and whine up to a higher pitch. At last, he couldn’t even recognize his own voice. It sounded teeny and … metallic. 

Joe had a sudden urge to dig a hole. He had no idea why, but he did; the urge was powerful. He began to look around for a shovel but saw only a forest of giant grasses all about him. He was surrounded by smells he barely recognized. Grass. Yes, but what was that one? Snail? And ant trail? And, oh, Joe thought that swallowtail caterpillar smells delicious! From far above, there was thunder. Or, no, it was a voice. The Filtermeister! For a moment Joe recalled, he had been an earthling talking with a Filtermeister, a Filtermeister who would decide his next ‘gig’ as he put it. What was he saying?

“Nothing! No billions at all,” thundered the Worblastic Filtermeister. “Do you really think everyone who worked on the Space Program worked as hard and as long as they did just to make money?” 

Joe heard these sounds and each of the sounds echoed to a meaning. But these meanings were far away. Far, far away like church bells two towns over which required a cold and favorable wind and even then you weren’t sure you really heard them. And what did they have to do with the business at hand, which was to dig a hole and pronto. And I have no shovel! But wait! What’s a shovel? Joe glanced toward his feet and saw that all of them had built-in shovels. How cool! I am amazing! And, though I may be tiny, I am strong as steel! OMG! In a flash it seemed, a nice cool dark cavity had appeared, carved out by the — by me! My ancestors. They gave me these legs. Cool! Nice work. But, I need a door! 

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Soon, Joe lay still at the bottom of his small hidie-hole and waited. Good God, have I ever been this hungry before? For a moment, Joe remembered again the Filtermeister. Oh, yes, he had been given this wonderful life because he had been such a good human. Good karma. I told him I was greedy and so I am. It feels quite natural for me. I will eat that entire caterpillar! I deserve this life of luxury! Wait! Wait! I hear it coming! He tore open the shutters and threw up the sash, as it were. In a split second he had sunk his giant fangs into the side of the caterpillar. Oh, my GOD this is delicious. Somehow, it’s even more fun because of all the squirming! What is that? Some ebony-winged beast is trying to steal my caterpillar. “Leave it alone! It’s mine! I got here first! I don’t need to share my kill with anyone!” 

Too late, Joe realized that the beasts goal was not to steal the caterpillar but to hurt him. That’s not much of a sting, he thought. Wait till I get my mandibles on her. Joe slung his body forward like a catapult  — except  — nothing happened! He tried to wave his frontmost arms. Nothing! What strange magic was this? It seemed like such a minor wound. Joe tried every muscle in his body but couldn’t move a thing. 

She took a strong stance, put two legs shamelessly on his side and flipped him over on his back. Now, the bastard was getting ready to sting me again, thought Joe. He steeled himself. OW! That hurt worse than the first one. Another! Oh, god. This went on for some time. At last, that sorry chapter in his life was over. She stopped stinging. She looked quizzically at him, compound eyes to compound eyes. She ran her forelegs over her mandibles and licked them suggestively. She began buzzing her wings. She arose like an angel of death. 

Hopefully, the poison will wear off soon, Joe thought, and I’ll go back to eating those luscious caterpillars. Out of nowhere, this ran through Joe’s mind: “I survived the crash of 2008 and I’ll survive this.” What on earth does that even mean, he thought, but it made him feel better for a few days. He kept telling himself that paralysis would wear off. Every few minutes, he would thinking this would be the minute when he recovered. But it wasn’t. And each moment, he forgot that he had had his hopes up the previous moment. For a solid week, he convinced himself that he’d look back to those painful stings as the worst part of a very long and happy life.

Then — they hatched. All of them. Within minutes of each other. They were greedy. Oh, yes, they were greedy.

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Sadly, the stinging definitely wasn’t the worst part of Joe’s life. Not by quite a bit, in fact. The mysterious flying lady with the whirring wings had not meant to hurt him with her stings. She was merely depositing her eggs inside his body. When they hatched, they began to devour him from the inside out, carefully avoiding the truly vital organs that would end his life. For it was fresh, living flesh that they greedily desired. Every pain fiber in his body screamed nonstop. The poison kept his limbs completely still. But the poison did nothing to mute the constant scream of his pain. Joe could only scream the one word: GREED! Endlessly.

Joe looked back on those painful stings as the best part of a very long and excruciating life. He tried to call back the winged terror. “Please, he wanted to say. Sting me again. Anything’s better than this.” But Joe couldn’t talk. He couldn’t move at all. And the wasp wouldn’t have been interested.

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Author Page on Amazon 

This is a work of “pure fiction” however — the protagonists and their “back stories” are true. This is a story that takes place in a nearby but parallel universe.

https://petersironwood.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/if-only/

Essays on America: Sexual Fantasies for Political Gain?

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Sex. 

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That’s the missing puzzle piece. Oh, sure, you may be saying to yourself, but which puzzle?

In order to explain that, I shall have to back up a bit. Let’s go back to early November, 2016. I have to admit that I was shocked that more than a few hundred people in America would support Trump. 

Over time, I’ve come to realize that people support Trump for a number of different reasons including: 

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  1. They’ve replaced their (difficult to live up to) Christianity with Trumpism which instead actually celebrates the “sins” of Christianity. They don’t support Trump despite the fact that he grabs women by the privates, is unfaithful, swears, ducked the military through fraud, made his money through fraud, or that he lies through his teeth constantly. They support Trump precisely because of these things. 
  2. Some may believe they are on a “team” with Trump and it would be disloyal to switch teams no matter what he does. Of course, a look at Trump’s actual behavior makes it obvious that he feels zero loyalty. “Loyalty” never crosses his mind except that he knows it’s a button he can sometimes push to get compliance from some people. 
  3. Some substantial number of folks don’t think politicians really ever do much that actually impacts their lives. Red, Green, or Blue — it’s all hot air. Mostly, they just drone on about stuff. But Trump? He’s fun to watch! 
  4. Of course, some do support him because they don’t just excuse his racism; they are simpatico with his racism. Or, his misogyny, or his xenophobia, or his homophobia. Or, whatever the hate target du jour is. 
  5. Among the extremely wealthy and powerful, there may be a handful who actually calculate that Trump will be good for them personally. They already have all the power and wealth they could possibly need but that makes them rather bored. So, they play a game to keep themselves amused. That game costs millions of lives. But that just makes it more fun. And, in the service of doing well in that game, they see Trump as an ally.

But even with all of that, there’s a missing segment. And, none of these, or even all of them together quite explains the ecstatic and joyful pain that I see on so many faces among his crowds. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against joy. And, many politicians have enthusiastic crowds, but this is of a different character. True enough, some just stare blankly ahead. But some have a kind of fire in their eyes and it is not the fire of patriotism. Hold that image and let’s turn for a moment to a seemingly unrelated question. 

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Why would so many conservative politicians rail so noisily against gay rights, gay marriage, and — in short — gays? Of course, many of them who scream the loudest actually turn out to be gay, but that’s another story. What if the reason they hate gay behavior is that they want the energy of male attraction — including homoerotic energy — to be funneled in a different direction – toward submission of a social/sexual nature – to the next person up the chain of command? 

For some people, this kind of subservience makes human relationships much less baffling. I must kiss up to the person I’m under but I get to screw over all the people below me. That’s what they love about a hierarchy. It’s a sado-masochistic orgy laid atop the work that must actually get done. Not so many years ago, industrialized societies mainly had very gender-segregated job sites. The men had their homosexual hierarchies and the women had theirs. 

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In fact, this aspect of our society is so pervasive, even to this day, that we regularly refer to acts of aggression and dominance with words that are meant to define sexual behavior. “Oh, yeah?! Well, F*** Y**!” This is really rather perverted when you think about it. Sex evolved to speed up diversity and ensure the survival of the next generation. It’s kind of a sacred. In the best case scenario, it’s a mutual, shared, beautiful thing as well. So, why hurl about sexual words as though sex is hurtful and aggressive? 

Because for some people, it’s all about power. That, for them is sex and the proper way to have sex is also for one person to have complete power. Such folks could be impassioned by a vision that includes all sorts of perversions that the dream of being powerful enough to impose on someone else. 

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This dynamic is not just with wild-eyed rally attenders. It’s also true of the professional politicians. According to this hypothesis, Mitch and Lindsey don’t just submit to Trump’s craziness because they are afraid he’ll call them names or ruin their re-election chances. They actually get off on being subservient to a tyrant.  In much the same way, Trump doesn’t only submit to Putin because Putin’s got dirt on him. Trump enjoys it! It satisfies his Dick-tater envy. Putin, you see, gets to do anything he wants. If he had a friend procure 13 year old girls, nobody would dare cross him about it. If journalist tell the truth about Putin, they might just wind up dead. Trump pines for the day that AmeriKKKa will be completely under his “thumb.” He doesn’t want anyone to “stand up to him.” Everyone should bow down and bend over. Everyone should be on their knees. And, for some people, the thought of this is actually exciting. Many others find it completely disgusting, but that just makes it more exciting for those who are into that sort of thing. 

Those who find it disgusting fail to see that Trump’s obesity and lack of character and shallowness and ugliness and cruelty do not detract from his appeal; they add to it. If he were young and handsome, like Trudeau, say, it wouldn’t increase his base or increase the passion they feel. It would diminish it. That’s the “sex” piece of the puzzle. 

It’s not actual sex of course. But that doesn’t make it any less powerful. The multi-billion dollar porn industry in the USA is alive and well. Estimates vary wildly about annual revenues, but they vary from 7 to 97 billion dollars. Of course, sexual fantasy and innuendo are rampant throughout much of the larger 1/4 trillion dollars of overall advertising. So, just because the sexual fantasies don’t play out in reality doesn’t mean they can’t be powerful. 

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You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this plays a part in the passion that some fans have for rock stars such as the Beatles. They were talented! But they were also rich and famous. For the most part, people would fantasize because they found the Beatles (or sometimes one of them) attractive on multiple dimensions. But when people see themselves as a failure, someone unattractive may seem to be someone they are more deserving of. If someone has deep guilt, then, being forced to engage in sex with someone unattractive and mean is more degrading and therefore more satisfying. For some, being humiliated or humiliating someone else is a turn-on.

Incidentally, you’re free to have any fantasies you want, sexual or otherwise. You are free, in our country, to go to Putin’s Puppet’s rallies and fantasize about being his slave. I don’t care. But be aware that on-lookers know what’s behind the chanting and screaming.

 

On a happier note, here are my hopes. 

  1. Some folks will find something deep within themselves — perhaps God — and realize they are fighting on the side of the devil. They will renounce Trumpism and go back to being Christian. 
  2. Folks will review all the people that Trump has betrayed. Then, they will say to themselves, “Gee, if he’s betrayed all those people maybe he won’t stand by me even though I went to a rally and bought a red hat.” 
  3. Folks will tire of the Trump Show and find something less boring. It’s like living next to the El. At first, you think you’ll never sleep again. But gradually you get used to the noise or the lies or the treason and it’s less entertaining every day.
  4. Some folks will read my wonderful essay on labelism and immediately shafts of golden sunshine will stream down through the cathedral windows and they will see how literally silly it is to judge people totally on their category.
  5. Very rich folks will realize that if they act on the wrong side of saving our ecosystem, they will lose. 
  6. I am hopeful that folks in the base will find actual romantic love and won’t feel such a strong need for fantasy. Failing that, perhaps they’ll find other fantasies that are more satisfying; e.g. —- ?

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Author Page on Amazon

https://petersironwood.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/trumpism-is-a-new-religion/

https://petersironwood.com/2019/09/19/essays-on-america-at-least-hes-our-monster/

https://petersironwood.com/2019/02/17/you-bet-your-life/

https://petersironwood.com/2019/07/11/essays-on-america-labelism/

https://petersironwood.com/2019/09/10/essays-on-america-the-game/

 

The Truth about Clouds and Gods

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Eagle Eyes awoke first. She smiled at the cool mist that enveloped the edge of the forest where she and Lion Slayer had bedded down for the night. They agreed that stopping, and eventually sleep, would be more prudent than pushing their weary bodies further possibly causing injury in the dark journey over unfamiliar ground. Eagle Eyes loved clouds and especially the ones that came right down to you. She smiled again. 

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Ever since she had been a little girl of four winters, Eagle Eyes had spent much time looking skyward. Partly, she loved watching birds soar, dart, turn, glide, bank, and dive. Understanding how the shape of their wings related to their rainbow palette of actions — that first insight about form and function is what began her fascination with shapes. But Eyes of Eagle also enjoyed watching the clouds move, form, reform, transform. They formed dragons, horses, people, deer, and so on. She imagined she could fly up to visit the clouds so she could discover what they were made of. 

One day, when Eagle Eyes was about seven, she had mentioned her cloud obsession to She Who Saves Many Lives. The tribe elder smiled and knelt down in front of the child, Eagle Eyes. 

“Now, my dear. What do you think clouds are made of?” 

Eagle Eyes had said, “She Who Saves Many Lives, I do not know. They look a bit like the fluff that blows off the cattail. They look a little like the seeds of milkweed and dandelion as well. Well, not the seeds really but the wings of the seeds that allow them to fly. But sometimes, I imagine they are more like dough before it is cooked. Sometimes, when mother makes tea, the steam that rises from the tea reminds me of clouds.”

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She Who Saves Many Lives had smiled again. “You do have quite an imagination. What if I told you that one of those guesses is exactly right? At least to the best of my knowledge. How could you see which one is correct?”

Eagle Eyes had thought as hard as she possibly could. “Well, I think I like the one where they are dough the best because that would feed the whole village!” 

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She Who Saves Many Lives had nodded. “I suppose that might be the most fun to imagine. And, if it were actually true, it would be wonderful. Which do you think is most likely the true state of affairs?” 

Eagle Eyes thought about each of them in turn. “I think it’s like the steam of the tea. I’ve watched how the cattail fluff blows and most of it ends up on the ground. Which is what the cattail wants anyway. So it can grow a new baby plant. And the same for dandelion and milkweed. It never goes up over the mountains like clouds do.”

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“I don’t see why there would be dough in the sky. I was helping once and dropped the dough on the ground. People were not happy. How could it be way up there? It falls! I know!”

“Well, Eagle Eyes, you are exactly right. And, though you cannot fly up to the clouds, sometimes, the clouds come right down to visit us!”

“That would be fun!” exclaimed Eagle Eyes. “But I still don’t see why I can’t have the one about the dough. I mean, it’s not really true, but we could say it is and it would make people happy to know all that dough is up there in case everyone got hungry.” 

She Who Saves Many Lives sighed loudly. “Why do you suppose the Veritas search for nuts and greens? Why do you suppose we hunt and fish?” 

“She Who Saves Many Lives, everyone knows that! So we can eat! All animals have to eat!”  

The tribe elder nodded and asked the girl, “That’s right. What if everyone decided they didn’t need to hunt. They didn’t need to fish. They didn’t need to find acorns or hickory nuts. They could just take a big chunk of dough out of the sky to feed everyone’s belly? If everyone believed that all clouds were dough, they might not do any fishing and hunting and gathering and starve instead. It is always thus with the truth. It is fine to have pretty stories, but don’t mislead people into thinking the pretty story is actually a true story. This is why the Veritas value truth so highly.” 

“I see,” Eagle Eyes had said brightly. “Can we play hide-and-seek now?” 

“Eagle Eyes! Eagle Eyes! Are you all right?” Lion Slayer had awakened and now stood staring down at the blank expression of Eagle Eyes. 

“What?!” exclaimed Eagle Eyes. “Oh. Sorry. I was daydreaming. Let’s get ready and go.” She looked about her and noticed that the fog had dissolved. 

“Daydreaming about what, Eagle Eyes?” inquired Lion Slayer. 

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll tell you the story once we are making good time getting back. We need to deliver our news to the tribe.” 

Soon, they were on their way. At first, they walked, then, they jogged. As their sore joints and muscles warmed up, they began to jog faster. Eagle Eyes related her reverie to Lion Slayer. 

He took it in silently for a time. Finally, when they sat for a break, he said, “We also value the truth highly. But there are higher truths that must be believed. So, we believe all things were created in a flash. All this” — Lion Slayer swept his hand around the grassy field — “was created in an eye blink by the One and Mighty.”

Eagle Eyes removed her moccasins, stretched her toes and massaged her feet. “How do you know about this instant creation? What I see around me is usually slow change. But sometimes change happens quickly. I see that too. A tree may grow slowly for many years and then be stuck by lightening and its nature changes from a living growing thing to a dead hulk. And, the fire that nearly killed us…that was a fast change! In fact, I’m not sure I ever properly thanked you. If you hadn’t found a way out, I probably would have perished.” Eagle Eyes shivered. 

Lion Tamer shrugged. “We were both lucky. Or, the One and Mighty saved us.” 

“Whatever the reason,” said Eagle Eyes, “I am happy to be alive.” Eagle Eyes rolled to a spot from which she could rest her feet on the trunk of a tree. “Ah, that feels good. Try it. It will let us get going again more quickly. Here. There is a spot beside me.” She patted the ground.

Lion Tamer arose and walked a few paces closer to Eagle Eyes. He glanced at her beautiful, well-muscled thighs. He decided to stare up at the treetops instead. They both looked up at the canopy of green above. Lion Tamer found his eyes drifting back to Eagle Eyes. “Perhaps we should get going. I am eager to be reunited with Hudah.” 

“Yes,” mused Eagle Eyes, “and I with Fleet of Foot. Although we may also be hastening the time of discovering we are the only survivors of that fire.” 

Feet still in the air against the tree trunk, Lion Slayer wiggled his feet. “The One and Mighty will protect them. You will see.” 

“I hope you’re right. Does the One and Mighty always do as you desire?” asked Eagle Eyes. 

“No. But the One and Mighty always does the right thing,” replied Lion Slayer. 

“Always? How can you know that?” 

“I have faith. It is our way. Our tales are handed down from tribal leader, father to son, since the beginning of time. So, we know them to be true.” 

“True? The Veritas have tales too. We have a story, for instance, about how language began. I think there is some truth in it. People may have begun by making noises of animals for fun, or to reassure them, or to make hunting them easier. But eventually, people used the noise of an animal as a word for the animal. But I don’t imagine every word of the legend is true. And, we have the sound of zzz in our language but you do not. Could it be we have more bees around? I don’t know.” 

“You speak of tales and legends, but what we pass down is only the truth. Anyway, we should go.” 

“Yes. But you believe all the legends? I heard many of them while visiting.  I mean, do you believe it’s really true about the crystal mountain and the all-killing mountain of fire? You don’t think these are metaphors but literal truths?” 

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Lion Slayer did not hesitate. “They are true. All of them.” 

“We should go.” Eagle Eyes swung her legs back down to the ground and scrambled nimbly to her feet. “That feels better!”

Lion Slayer did the same. “You’re right! I’ve never used that technique before. We don’t have so many trees handy as in these lands.” 

They set off again, first walking and then jogging. After a few hours they came to rocky lands and followed a small trail single file to the crest of a hill. As they approached the crest, Eagle Eyes slowed to a walk and then got down on all fours and crept to the top so that she could espy any possible enemies before they spied her. She saw, not an enemy, but an old friend that nearly made her jump up incautiously and shout for joy. 

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Author Page on Amazon

Poetry & Short Stories

The Veritas Myth about Language

The Legend of the Orange Man

The Start of Book One: The Myths of the Veritas

The Start of Book Two: The Myths of the Veritas

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Introduction to a Pattern Language for Collaboration 

Index to the Pattern Language for Collaboration 

First of Three Essays on the Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence

A Small Snippet of Cloth

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Many Paths approached the Veritas Center Place with a smile on her face. She realized she was famished and the aromas of the feast made her mouth water. As she approached, she scanned the scene and nodded as most glanced up from their feasting to note her appearance and smiled. She nodded slightly and slid into an open space near Stone Chipper and A-OC. She enjoyed their company. It also afforded her an unobstructed view of Trunk of Tree. Ever since Many Paths had rejected his advances, he had mounted a whispering campaign to spread lies about her. Although the general conversation of the Veritas made it impossible to hear what he was saying, Trunk of Tree seemed oblivious to the fact that Many Paths could easily read his lips as well as the replies of his companion. She did this while carrying on a pleasant conversation about the pros and cons of various types of stone to use for spear tips and arrow tips. 

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Trunk of Tree had at first accepted the idea of Many Paths being chosen as the new leader. She had shown remarkable leadership and perspicacity in the Great Battle of the Three Paths. He had always hated doing nothing. Many Paths had not, in fact, asked Trunk of Tree to “do nothing.” She had asked him, and he had agreed, to oversee the understanding of how their defenses had been compromised enough to allow the attack of fire arrows during the Feast of Bel-Tanay. And, then, he had been put in charge of improving those defenses. That work was done. It pained Trunk of Tree to have no mate and in order to curb his worry about Easy Tears, he “decided” that she was dead, along with all the others who had gone on the mission to find Tu-Swift. In the mind of Trunk of Tree, Many Paths had sent too small a war party and now, they were certainly all dead. He had tried to strike an alliance with Many Paths through marriage but she had refused, instead sticking with the idea that these warriors were not dead but still on their mission. This was nonsense to Trunk of Tree. It had been weeks. And there was no sign of any of them. 

Trunk of Tree would bend the ear of any who would listen. At first, he tried to incite members of the Veritas to question her judgement, but Many Paths had been chosen by the Trials of the Seven Rings of Empathy. She had been chosen by She Who Saved Many Lives and while Many Paths was as yet unproven, She Who Saved Many Lives had earned great respect among all in the Veritas. Trunk of Tree garnered very little support for replacing Many Paths and putting he himself in charge. Trunk of Tree changed his tactics and began spreading lies about Many Paths, claiming that she had cheated during the trials. When that tactic failed to bring about any credence, he began spreading rumors that she had been intimate with Trunk of Tree and now she kept coming after him while he rejected her. That was almost true, he nearly convinced himself, because he had come after her. What difference did it make if he turned the story slightly to suit his own purpose? Of course, the Myth of the Orange Man kept coming to mind, but he pushed it aside as he tried to convince Squash Planter to support him. This is the conversation that Many Paths could decode from her vantage at the feast. 

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“How can she be over there smiling as though all is well when we are missing many of our best warriors?” began Trunk of Tree. Physical strength was an asset of Trunk of Tree, but diplomacy and politics were not. Many Paths noted that he did not bother to work from common ground but began straight-away with the topic he wanted to explore. She could see that Squash Planter frowned and glanced her way. He was uncomfortable with the topic and was skeptical. But Trunk of Tree pressed on. “She has always been very attracted to me. We lay together many times before I rejected her and she turned to the now dead Shadow Walker. Once she realized he was dead, she again advanced on me. Really too soon for honor, in my opinion. But I think she is desperate now for a replacement husband. I just cannot go there. I miss Easy Tears who is also no doubt dead. But we must overcome sorrow and do what we need to do to save the tribe. If I am chosen as the replacement, you will be among my commanders. We will have a War Party of strength and destroy these people who sit astride horses once and for all! And, when that’s done, we’ll go after the Nomads of the South. I suspect some treachery on their part is also involved. Doesn’t it strike you as an odd coincidence that a short time after the Nomads of the South return with Eagle Eyes and Fleet-of-Foot we are attacked by the Child Stealers? I say Those Who Steal Children and the Sand Eaters of the South work together to steal our richer lands. How can it be otherwise? Do you want your children stolen? Do you want them to come and steal our lands, trample all the squash plants, and make this whole land a desert?” 

Many Paths smiled slightly and shook her head slightly. Trunk of Tree was strong, but not at all effective as a politician. He talked incessantly and did not once try to understand the concerns of Squash Planter. Stone Chipper noticed her reaction and asked, “You don’t agree, Many Paths? You prefer the slow, carefully abrasion method of making arrow points?” 

“No, no. I’m sorry, Stone Chipper. I was smiling about something different. I have news I need to share with the tribe and I think it’s time. Most folks are done with their supper. I agree with you that the chipped points of flint are much, much sharper and better.” 

Many Paths stood now on her bench and held up her right hand. “Veritas. I have some news I need to share with all of you. I must warn you that it is not very complete news, but I did want to share it with everyone. This,” she said as she held aloft the shred of blue clothing, “is from Eagle Eyes. I recognize it because she and I found the indigo gentian together that was used to dye part of her dress. She put this on the leg of one of the eagles she trained. This eagle came to me and allowed me to retrieve this small shred, sent as a sign that she, at least, is alive.” 

A cheer rose up from the people. 

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Trunk of Tree stood up on his bench and shouted, “How do we know that? It’s nonsense! I don’t see any eagle! Where’s the eagle? It’s just a piece of cloth. She’s lying to you!  Anyone can claim a piece of cloth is from Eagle Eyes. But the truth is that the warriors she sent out are all dead. Even my sweet Easy Tears!” 

Trunk of Tree scanned the faces in the crowd and could see no nods. They simply stared at him. Trunk of Tree looked intently, trying to connect with someone who looked sympathetic. What about this new group that walked into the margin of the Center Place? They were a rag-tag crew, he thought to himself and they drew more clearly into view. And then a voice he recognized rang out. 

“Is that so, oh, Trunk of Tree. We are all dead are we?” 

Trunk of Tree nearly fell backwards off bench. His mouth fell open, and he leapt down. The sight of Easy Tears blew out all his doubt and ambition. He sprinted to Easy Tears and wrapped his arms around her. Everyone now approached the returning warriors with a torrent of questions. 

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Many Paths stood on her bench and in a surprisingly loud and steady voice said, “Welcome back! We all have many questions. But I suggests that rather than attack our friends like a pack of angry fire ants, we invite them to a nice meal. Then, we will hear their story. Then, we can ask our questions. I’m sure we have many.

And so it came to be. Fleet-of-Foot told the main story from the beginning of their journey to their encounter with the odd door. He described, as best he could, the strange cold, hard, heavy material. He described their rescue of Tu-Swift and reassured everyone that Tu-Swift was — or at least had been — unharmed. When it came time to introduce Day-Nah, he looked to Hudah Salah who nodded and did the honors. Easy Tears continued the narrative and described how they had run in the night and were soon pursued by a war party from the ROI. She described how the fire arrows had started a fire and how the party had been scattered. As she told of the fire, she alluded to the Myth of the Orange Man. “Fire, like fear and hatred and lies, are hard to control. We believe that the village of the ROI has been destroyed, not by us, but by their own fire arrows. It seems to me, that the ROI have learned the wrong lesson from the Myth of the Orange Man.” 

She told of Shadow Walker and his injury and how they all decided that he alone would continue to search for Tu-Swift because they wanted to bring back what they had learned of The People Who Steal Children. “One thing we particular found odd was that they seemed to show no interest or skill in covering their trail. Nonetheless, we were stymied when we first came to the hidden door. We thought perhaps a people who have the speed of horses do not bother to cover their trail. In any case, Tu-Swift devised a way to release the horses. We do not know whether they will be able to recapture them. I’m sorry to say, we do not know the fate of Eagle Eyes or Lion Slayer. For that matter, we are not sure about Shadow Walker or Tu-Swift. What news do you have of these friends?” 

Many Paths spoke. “I am so happy to see you all well and uninjured. I confess, it would be nice to know about the others as well, of course.” The crowd muttered its approval. 

Many Paths continued, “I do have some news, but not much. Just before the feast, one of the eagles that Eagle Eyes trained came with a strip of cloth from Eagle Eyes. I know it is hers because I can smell her scent on it. But there is also the smell of fire. If she were still in the fire, I doubt she would take the time to send a message! Of course, I don’t know what happened later. It made me think how wonderful it would be if we could send more complete messages to each other by using eagles or wolves. I continue to feel that Shadow Walker and Tu-Swift will return to us. Time will tell. But let us learn more about these People Who Steal the Children of Others.” 

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Author Page on Amazon. 

The Myth of the Orange Man.

Beginning of Book One: The First Ring of Empathy

Beginning of Book Two: Feast and Fire. 

 

A Profound & Utter Failure

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A Profound and Utter Failure

For years I have puzzled about why someone would get into a state where they actively and wantonly worked toward the destruction of life itself. By “life” here, I don’t just refer to human life. I refer to the entire tree of life including all our fellow humans but also butterflies, trees, dolphins, and wolves. Everyone is actually part of that tree. So why should one part of the tree want to destroy the whole. 

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Let’s take a journey back in time to your childhood. If you go back far enough, I think you will find a time when you would be susceptible to hatching the following fairly evil plot. 

Let’s say that you and your friends decided on a really cool project — say to build a treehouse. Each of you was responsible for one major item. Your individual responsibility was to get a very long extension cord. You realized you had the easiest job and therefore you put it off the longest. As you returned each good-weather day after school to the site of the treehouse, the progress was obvious. And one day you arrived and it was finished. All your friends were up in the treehouse. They all waved to you and invited you up. One held up a transistor radio with a portable TV and shouted, “Bring the extension cord! We can watch TV! Any channel we want!” 

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But you didn’t have the extension cord. Now, of course, you probably just said, “Oh, darn! I forgot! I’m so sorry! I will go try to get one right now.” And, that would be that. You and your friends could have spent a summer or two enjoying that treehouse until you outgrew it and the weather made it unpleasantly moldy and unstable. 

Perhaps you can imagine a slightly different way of reacting. Instead of admitting you had forgotten, you instead reacted like this: “Well, why should you get to have fun up there while I have to go get an extension cord? A treehouse is stupid anyway. They’re unsafe! And once I tell your parents about it, they will forbid you to use it!” Can you imagine getting into a headspace, as a kid, where you would rather spoil the party than let anyone enjoy it if your own enjoyment was tarnished for any reason, including guilt? 

Or, imagine as a teenager that you and your friend both went to take the written test for a learner’s permit. You finished and failed with a score of 65. You watch your friend still working on the test. Do you want them to pass with a 75? 85? 100? Do you want them to fail? Personally, even as a teen, I would want them to succeed. However — I am very aware of a part of me that would like them to fail. Ironically, that part would have been wishing for my friend to fail more than for a random stranger to fail. Can you feel that too? 

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So, these are some trivial instances where an immature person might be tempted to act as though, if they can’t have what they want, then no-one should. 

Now imagine someone who felt themselves to be a profound and utter failure. Absolute. Utter. A fraud. A person will negative wealth who claimed to be rich. A person completely unable to do their job. A person who fails at relationships, at work, and has no real friends. 

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A person who nonetheless insists and screams and yells that they were perfect in all things and the best at everything. 

Imagine that they felt the only life that really matters was their own. 

Now imagine that they are about to die. 

Now imagine that they have to power to make others die with them. 

Many others. Many, many others. And not just human beings.

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Such a person would have no affection for pets or for wild animals. 

Might such a person want to destroy the entire tree of life because they view themselves as a profound and utter failure?


 

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