Saturday, April 29, 2017

Incense And Peppermints

It started when I looked back. My footsteps had turned black. Then I noticed that wasn't it. They were holes - bottomless holes. Anything that fell in never came back out, stuck in the center of the world pulled equally in every direction by gravity's eternal presence. But this only happens when I look back. I'd have to look forward the rest of my life to prevent this tragedy from happening further.

I walked forward. I couldn't resist looking back like the pillar of salt that I am. Again, my footsteps turned cavernous. How can the earth survive this? I had to stop this from happening. I concentrated all my energy on preventing this curious curse, curving the forces of the universe best I could. I felt I had no choice though it drained me terribly. But then something else happened.

My gravity lightened, I was walking in a floating motion like a man on the moon. I realized I was out of step with the rest of the world but what could I do to not leave the tragic holes? Then a crowd gathered, watching me in surreal horror. Fuck the world! I need to walk normally again! But still I couldn't stop and break my moral promise. I skipped away to hide amid cries of "Freak!' and "Witch!"

My friends weren't glad to see me. They said it's a relief when I leave. I said it's a relief when I leave too. Except when I need relief. The bottomless holes left by my footprints made the news as scientists speculated on their occurrence. I could tell them the truth but few scientists want a truth they don't already know. Another fine mess I got me into.

I ran to the isolated countryside. I could hear rumors in the wind. Rumors of me. It was said I killed a man. An Egyptian, like Moses had. But I knew they said this because they only wanted an excuse to kill me because they feared my floating walk. Hell, I fear it too. Then my cell rang. A crowd was on the other end, vicious in their accusals of my alleged treachery and certain of their facts beyond unreasonable doubt. Despite the anger in their lynching voices I could sense a vast swell of pleasure behind it. At last, they could do their worst and have it sanctioned.

The only way to kill a rumor is to replace it with a wilder one. I told them it was not true I killed a man. I had, in fact, killed twenty, then pissed on them afterwards in contempt as outlined by the NRA handbook. The voices went silent, then paused, then hung up. Now they were truly angry. Some because they believed me, some because they did not.

But even in the outlands I was not safe as I found a woman staring into a stream. She was of shimmering light and the water sparkled in her reflection. No part of me could resist. She said she was an East Dallas Voter. I told her I was a Gravity Floater but unlike the others that did not scare her off. She I would need for life.

She asked me what I was going to do. "I have worlds to conquer and loves to honor." I said this because I have neither. But I had to give a political answer to a political person (which only causes a cover-up). I couldn't just say I wanted to spend all my living time with her. I couldn't put her in the presence of a freak and a witch. After that it became harder to talk until she said, "I can't talk to you anymore." She ran back to east Dallas but I knew I could never return to the city in my condition. Later, I heard she voted herself off the island in a tragic misunderstanding.

At that point, I had to go underground, deep into the darkest depths of Mordor where the wails of men cannot be heard; lost creatures like me, seeking out the dark, craving only an end. I descend a stairway to hell to see the world's underbelly where even the eyes of God do not penetrate. After doing so, I understand the Fear in Man.

Snaking cave corridors twist the mind so there's no finding your way back to the heart. I hear the clanging of iron upon iron, birthing weapons of war. Sickly muscular creatures with blazing orange eyes see nothing but what is before them. The war machine is their everlasting god since time immemorial. Standing over the creature is a warlord washing his incarnadine hands in a bowl filled with the murdered tears of children. Though constantly scorched by the burning heat, the iron creature has no fear of their only enemy: peace. In the above world is dithering and debates of war. But here is no doubt, having never known anything else. War comes because war always comes.

Further on I found another room, this one of splendor and luxury with walls plated in gold inlaid with diamonds. The furnishings were of the finest the world had ever seen. I should have been amazed but I thought: "Lot of good this will do you down in this hellhole never seeing the light of day." Gold without luster. Then I heard a vast scurrying of clawed feet heading towards me that made a long inbred instinct kick in to avoid it. It was rats.

Rats invaded the room of gold, gorging on food, making themselves miserable in their gluttony, berating the world above. But their sour faces didn't match their words of happiness. It was obvious they had a mutually agreed illusion of success, wallowing in the "victory" of self-betrayal. But they knew never to be seen, claiming that that would be betrayal. They live in a prison of fear of the above-worlders and want only their destruction. For the rats, that defines freedom. I slid on past.

In the communication room I saw a nude masturbating pig screaming lies into a microphone. "Poison is preservation! Freedom is death! Love is futureless!" After every proclamation it squealed in adolescent glee, shocked and amazed it was allowed to openly broadcast its garbage to the above-world. It was a disheartening sight but it did solve the mystery of where the White House recruits their spokesmen.

Talk everywhere was obsessed with the above-world and how to destroy it. They know they can't destroy it from below, that they must deceive it into destroying itself. But the beasts also know their hell has no hope in the end, that they live by vicarious means trading weapons for food and assuaging the unbearable loneliness of being cut off from the light by feeding off lives swindled from above. This gives the underworld a strength of conviction rarely matched above and many weak minds fall into their word traps of blaming and flaming.

But I knew I could never fit in there as I live between both worlds in my gravity floating state. Sure enough, I was spotted as "not one of us!" and taken to the rats for disposing. But rats are simple-minded because they believe deception makes them smart.

"We should kill you for spying!"

"Being pure and innocent souls, you have nothing to worry about then."

"Exactly! But you must be killed anyway."

"Because you fear me!"

"We fear no one! But you must be killed anyway."

"Because you can't handle the truth!"

"Only we speak the truth! But you must be killed anyway."

"Yeah, you keeping saying that. So you want to kill me because you have nothing to hide, fear no man, and are one with the truth?"

"Yeah, that's why. Plus it's fun killing people."

"Then you must not kill me."

"Why?? No way we want to die alone."

"Because I've been writing about you and since you are the good and moral people you say you are the above-worlders need to hear what I have to report. Unless, of course, you're not really what you say..."

"No, no no. We are the bestest most moralist people ever! You can record our words all you want. Good job. Can't wait to read all about it!"

The morons then happily escort me back to the light, giggling at having me do their bidding as far as they know. I found myself by the stream again, stuck in the same position - back to the same pain - as I was before only this time without the fearless Shimmering Woman. By this quiet shore I must wait and wonder in woe of who I am. But then I realize: it's only in writing that I become myself.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How A Bill Becomes A Duck

They said it was impossible to elect a duck as President of a country. But the Duck proved them wrong! True, a duck has no reasoning power, is incapable of nuanced thought, and sees the world in terms only to its self-benefit. What else can you expect? It's a freaking duck! But the people spoke and by a waterfowl they wished to be ruled.

A duck is out of its depth propped up as a President. It simply does what it has always known. It puts a goose, a goat, a chicken hawk, a jack ass, and various other wildlife in positions of power. The Duck is only comfortable among his own kind so humans are right out of the question. It's the Duck's world and we just live in it.

Fearing they may look foolish, those who put the Duck in power must then pretend the Duck can actually think and govern. For even though the Duck is simply following one shiny object after another (as ducks do), its supporters claim a brilliant strategy is being enacted, praising the Duck's unpredictability, and that its random changes in course are in fact not inconsistencies but reflects an ever-growing understanding. But really, it's just following the shiny.

The media, of course, must maintain their salaries, having many serious discussions on what options and philosophies the pig, the pony, and the otter might impose. Research is done on how nature affects the critical behavior patterns of the politically powerful platypus. Expert zoologists are called in to speculate on what might happen next. But really, they are just animals and even they don't know what they are going to do next.

Though it's obvious the Duck is incapable of leading, the Duck's party speaks well of the Duck, pretending it's not possible anyone could know better. Lying for the Duck becomes a badge of honor among the perverted beasts. A duck cult is formed, praising the Duck as the greatest ruler regardless of how these Duck sympathizers will go down in history. Lie for today. Die for tomorrow. That's the way of the Duck.

Ironically enough, the Duck doesn't even want to be President. It would rather just play in the water all day and fly around and dither instead of making policy or decisions. After all, that's all a duck is really suited for - and that's what makes the Duck afraid, for even it knows it should not be President. This open secret drives the Duck out if its tiny little brain, perpetually flapping its wings and quacking in constant distraction. But a duck is a duck and no amount of pretense or prevarication can change that - though a  nation has bet its life it will.

This creates the Duck Paradigm, a world of endless gaslighting of "success" while the ship sinks. You see, the Duck doesn't care in its mind if the ship sinks, it's just fine living on the water. The Duck actually believes its best interest is to duck up the world. And for some reason, many humans also want to duck up the world even though they are not ducks and will die trying to live as a duck does.
"It is wrong to hold the Duck to the same standard as other presidents. The pundit consensus is that if it fails to deliver on jobs and key legislation that the Duck will be punished for it. Wrong. The Duck's main mission is to vex the political and media elite, period. It’s essentially a mandate to entertain. If it does that, most of its supporters — and the people who will never admit they are his supporters — will be satisfied for quite some time. If it fails to deliver in other areas, well, that’s the fault of the deep state or some other villain."
Yes, there are still some humans who don't wish to be on a sinking ship. But in the anti-world of the Duck, they are labeled as selfish and mean for being "intolerant" of the Duck's destructive ways. Worst of all, instead of changing course in the face of drastic horror - instead of vowing never again to place a waterfowl or other inappropriate creatures to rule over them - the gate has been forever opened for farm animals to rule. Then again, what can you expect from a nation of sheep?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shopping With God

The universe is deceived about me. I am not God. I am not Jesus who channels God. I am not omnipotent. I cannot change the laws of physics at will and walk on water. I am just me.

But the expectations are more.

See, I only get paid so much money. I don't get to reach into a basket and pull out an infinite amount as needed to feed five thousand. Trust me on this, I have the roaches to prove it. And I'm also apparently so sinful as to need to eat, another alleged crime against the universe. Well, excuse me for living.

I have just enough money for what I need as I check out at the store but as my food is being weighed on the scale I see a giant thumb like a ghost's pressing down, causing it to break my budget. As always, no one else sees this so I cannot say a word without being deemed insane and just have to eat it like a bitch. I'm embarrassed at having to return part of my food that I CORRECTLY ON THIS FUCKING PLANET apportioned to match my money.

What is the purpose of this, can someone please tell me? But no one can. The world beats me up. God beats me up. I simply stagger along back to my hellhole. God is mocking me on the way.

"Yeah, that was Me, motherfucker! Hahahah!"

"Why? Why do You do this?"

"Can't tell you. That'd be against the rules."

"But You just broke the fucking rules by interfering! Whatever happened to free will? How am I supposed to survive when I can't even count on the laws of physics? I had twenty bucks and I measured out twenty bucks of food and then You FUCKED me. How am I supposed to count on anything at this point? How do I know if I put one foot in front of the other I'm actually going to move forward? Can You answer me that?"

"Trust Me."

"Can I mistrust You and get Your goddam thumb off the scale? Am I allowed to understand one fucking thing in this world? Let's just go our separate ways. How's that for a deal? I certainly don't need any help in suffering. Trust ME, I've got that down in spades every miserable day and night of my life."

But I only get silence in return, naturally.

"OK, I get it. Fine. I'm sorry if You have the misconception that life is just way too easy down here. The minute I ask for something You walk away because I need You but You don't need me. Just fucking lovely. I always said God was female."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

All The President's People

Dr. Annette Barnings was scrupulous in her professional conduct, courteous and concerned about her patients, dedicated to her craft, always learning the latest techniques and methods. She was no-nonsense in her approach. If you didn't take your health seriously, she would ask you if your intent was to live or die. She wasn't going to waste her time on those who weren't going to do what it takes to keep their health. If you're just going to keep eating Twinkies all day, that she could not subsidize.

With her focus on her craft, news came to her only in the corner of her eye. The world is in chaos. America is in decline. The same ol', same ol' just wasn't cutting it. What we needed was change, an altering of our course. Too many freeloaders taking down the system. Other countries are taking advantage of us. If things keep going the way they are, we'll be sunk. These points rang true with her and many internet entities were more than happy to provide "facts" to back those viewpoints up.

So she very enthusiastically voted for the buffoon Trump.

Government is the enemy of the people. Corporations have rigged the game. Immigrants have taken advantage of our good nature. At last we have a savvy businessman beholden to no one! He'll destroy those choking regulations. He'll unleash the free market to bring back true competition. And America will no longer be played for suckers around the world. Give 'em hell, Donny! "And I just love hearing those loser liberals whine!"

But only a few months after the election, a funny thing happened on the way to paradise. "Bobby Jo's Best Chiropractic House In Texas" opened up across the street. Dr. Annette was not too concerned at the competition but her curiosity was certainly piqued. When she met her neighbor she found a very young, buoyant girl - and also a fellow Trumpista.

"Things are changing and we're finally going to set things right! President Trump is a savior who's going to pull us out of the mess. Nobody else is willing to do it!"

Dr. Annette was surprised by her own reaction. By rights she should be wholeheartedly agreeing and joining in the girl's enthusiasm. But she hesitated. Upon hearing this Trumpian supporter, something didn't sound right. The girl continued.

"Too many people are living in dream worlds, living a lie. We need a realist in charge. He's going to say things people don't like but that's just tough. We finally have someone who will fight for us instead of letting us be walked all over. If we don't there will be nothing left of America. People who don't understand that don't understand the world and don't understand life."

A horrible thought entered Dr. Annette's mind. Is this how I sound to others? Like a simple child? It scared her so much she had to immediately push it aside before her whole world caved in.

She could run, but she could not hide.

Complaints about Bobby Jo's practice didn't take long to come streaming over to Dr. Annette who then had to fix the maiming they'd received by the girl's inept hands. She stormed across the street to demand an explanation.

"Just exactly where did you learn to be a chiropractor?"

"Feeling the pressure of competition, eh? I'm way cheaper than you. Welcome to the free market!"

"This isn't some game! We're talking about the well-being of people's lives! You have to think of someone else's welfare other than your own."

"Bullcrap. I am completely certified. I passed an online course lasting a whole week!"

"That doesn't qualify you to be practicing on patients! It takes years to earn a valid degree. You can't just set up shop somewhere and start calling yourself a practitioner."

"My degree is perfectly valid. We got rid of those old stupid government regulations that clog everything up and slow us down. Thank you, Mr. President!"

"You can't get rid of those regulations. That's total insanity!"

"Sounds like you're just being selfish and self-serving to me. Sorry I had to pop that bubble you are living in."

"Look, if you want to be in this business you need to be a doctor, that's a plain and simple fact. There's no other responsible way."

"That's a fake fact! I won't let you destroy American businesses."

"I can't believe my ears! Listen, honey, you won't be in business long, trust me on that."

"You sound just like one of those loser liberals. Get used to it. It's over! We won!"

Dr. Annette fumed her way back to her office, two sides of her in dire opposition. Government is the enemy but here I am on its side! We're supposed to be fighting to protect our interests now but that's supposed to make lives better not worse. Why is everything the opposite of how I thought it would be??

The infuriating smugness of Bobby Jo was in tune with the ill-tempered times. Enemies are everywhere! They must be defeated. And it became very clear to Bobby Jo just who the enemy of her success was: Dr. Annette. But not only was she the enemy, but so is competence and all other forms of responsibility. Whatever brings in money is good. Whatever threatens it is bad. Life really is a simple formula.

Bobby Jo started a campaign for the Doctor Responsibility Act, which cited a need for anyone with a doctorate degree to work only in hospitals. "Otherwise just anyone could set up shop somewhere and how would we know they're a real doctor? We must think of people's welfare!" As part of this she also revoked a chiropractic patient's right to sue. "Those damn liberal trial lawyers must be stopped!"

Her angry fellow constituents agreed. "I always knew my doctor was screwing me! About time somebody did something! And those trial lawyers just jack up the costs we all have to pay for while they get rich!"

While riling up voters, Bobby Jo colluded with her Texas tea party Senator, both making many impassioned speeches on the need to serve the greater good. She also spread rumors that Dr. Annette is "really a liberal!" And in these ways she drove Dr. Annette out of business "using our great free market system."

"She outsmarted you. She's more willing to admit that people are dishonest than you are, Annette. The only free market that counts is the one where our congressmen are bought and sold. Everyone's angry about getting screwed but we're only doing it to ourselves."

Dr. Annette was talking to her one liberal friend, trying to make sense of her demise. "I just don't understand. Why don't people choose to protect their interests?? Having that insane girl work on their bodies is suicide! I know one man who was particularly vocal in backing her actually ended up in a wheelchair because of her handiwork and he can't even sue. I just can't believe people are like that!"

"Believe it. Didn't you believe you were serving your best interests when you put that Senator in place who helped her screw you? Weren't you railing against the corporate takeover of America while at the same time putting a businessman in charge? What did you think was going to happen? Equality and social justice? Maybe you need to wake up and realize what's in your best interests just like you say the patients of that girl need to. This is not a joke or a game."

Monday, April 17, 2017

I Saw The Sun And It Ate My Eyes

it's all about the New Way, they said. no more truth or lies, they are the same. nothing is real, not even illusion. no more worry, no more sin, a new dawn is about to begin. adapt or be left behind. this is what they sold - and it sold very well.

so much is unsaid

a man came who told us he could move mountains. we laughed until he showed us by moving a mountain to our feet. suddenly, every map was a lie. he asked us if we wanted to move mountains too. everyone did, so we said no. when he left and we no longer believed we safely failed to move even an anthill and called the man a fraud.

she asked us why we had names when we're all the same inside. i asked her if all our taxes are the same and she left.

someone said there is no wind. the air is still. what we feel is the spinning of the world in motionless air. that's their theory of relativity. everybody lives by one.

with the New Way, every theory is valid. much comfort is found in this. a man declared he was going to live underwater, mocking us for our air dependency while he remained underwater holding his breath. he ran out of air but was a stubborn man and drowned just so he could he say he was never wrong.

monsters aren't monsters in the New Way

a child is viciously beaten in the town square. "no! no! stop! please stop! what did I do?" in the New Way, no one has to do anything to be beaten. a crowd gathers to watch, hearing their miserable inner lives in cathartic release, justifying the child's parents in unrelinquished rage.

a man wrapped in fur came to gloat. "success is easy! it's just a matter of crime!" he went on to scoff there is no good or bad - except when it comes to wine.

the world is a corpse where the dead rejoice if only in their head where buffalo roam and the sky is not angry someday. i heard a madman screaming the truth and a calm man peddling the false. the dead sleep well.

he never found meaning in his search. that was good enough for him never to stop.

she sassed "it's really like that!" we looked around feverishly, hungry for a revelation at last, but saw nothing. then she knew too much.

a large driverless grocery-laden truck rammed down the highway running over a small child. everyone said something must be done so they wouldn't have to do anything. that's the best way to get electable.

i saw a man slowly walk until he just stopped and keeled over with a whisper. he'd lost his will to live. he did everything society deemed necessary to survive but nothing he wanted, dying a thousand times before breakfast. only in his last moment did he realize doing as he wanted was what he needed. his last whisper decried "guilt won't let me do what I want."

i overheard her bear false witness against me, thinking she's blessed by the New Way. she spoke with impunity, factually explaining her crimes as mine. I rushed over to kill her but she ran away knowing the New Way was just more bullshit.

people asked me what the deal was with my locker. i told them to go over and open it. the fool who did so screamed in pain just like i always do when i open up. the beast inside shoots out its tentacles, each holding a razor sharp scalpel swinging wildly that always cuts you. they asked why i put up with that. i replied it's the only place I can get money. i told them that's why i curse both god and the world, praying for the death of both. then i went on trying to cover up the wounds that never heal.

I saw the sun and it ate my eyes; silently watching my demise.
Adults win when the child cries; losers win when you buy their lies.
Hating hate won't make us wise; how many more times will the living sun rise?

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Tickling Giants", A Film To See!

Don't cry for us, General Sisi
The truth is, we never loved you
- Only feared you -
We're sorry we made you cry!

You may be wondering who General Sissy is and - more importantly - why you should care. Well, I'll tell you why. He's the guy who kicked Jon Stewart out of Egypt!

Ok, so that's not exactly the truth but is in essence the truth. Egypt has (had) its own version of Jon Stewart poking fun at elected officials and general stupidity much like the Daily Show here. Now, you may have doubts as to the validity of that comparison because, come on, the Middle East lost its sense of humor sometime before Christ showed up with his Caesar joke tour. But, as it turns out, they have actual real people in Egypt!

Egypt's Jon Stewart is Bassem Yousef, and boy is he funny with his dead-on and good-natured satire breathing fresh air into a stale world. The film details his rise from a simple YouTube video to a full scale TV show. As the pressure rose and the stakes got higher and higher, I wondered if he'd crack, or compromise, or commit spiritual suicide in some other form. But he never does.

The world needs a million more Bassem Yousefs, to bridge the gaps and fill them with humor, to make us step back and realize our common humanity and silly insecurities, to ultimately make us closer together. His crew is of the same ilk, singing when the lights go out and bonding in the dream of truth's salvation. The behind-the-scenes clips were heartwarming and joyful and I kept finding myself with a smile on my face without even realizing it.

I was so happy to see my comedic prejudice be shattered (and God am I picky) by this delightful film. It was made by Sara Taksler, a producer for the Daily Show who became intrigued with Bassem after his guest appearance. I was privileged to see the film where she attended and gave a Q+A  showing the same qualities of humor and humanity as displayed in the film. The film is currently on tour at various festivals, college campuses, and community events. To see if it's coming near you, click here.

The wider story that puts everything into context is the Arab Spring of 2011. It was supposed to be a springboard to democracy (even as we eschew our own) and give rise to new voices and new attitudes - voices and attitudes yearning for freedom held in simmering containment for years. Bassem was the genie let out of the bottle and tens of millions rejoiced with him. But as Egypt is finding out so very painfully, there are two kinds of people who fight the tyrant: those who want to be free of the tyrant and those who want to be free to be the tyrant (see Wajda's brilliant "Danton").

Yousef is a thorn in the side to all forms of tyranny whether it's religious or military, he throws off the shackles of oppression. That's what the image up top represents: when the giant foot of oppression comes down to crush you, raise a feather to tickle it. When Mubarak's military regime ended and Mohamed Morsi was elected President new freedoms were expected to follow. In a sense, they did as Yousef's popularity skyrocketed. But there was much criticism from - you guessed it - the religious conservatives as Morsi inflicted his religious sentiments on the country while Bassem poked holes in it.

So Egypt decided they didn't know what they wanted but they knew they didn't want Morsi. In came general Sissy on his white horse to save the day! He rode that wave of popularity and now Egypt is stuck with a military regime all over again. Oops! Only this time the criticism of Yousef carried far stiffer penalties and the situation forced him out of the country and into America where he resides today.

"It's what people know about themselves
that makes them afraid."

Many are angry and frustrated by the ending of Bassem's show, something that can be understood even by us as we watch our alleged leader cry and whine about domestic comedy skits. If only these weakling leaders had the courage to resign and admit they are in over the heads, consumed with the self-knowledge of incompetence and committed treachery. We'd love to see power be broken when truth is spoken to it but alas, we fear too much to let control slip from our fingers however inevitable it one day will be.

But once something is known, it cannot be unknown. In Egypt, Bassem pointed out their dear leaders are basically walking around with their flies open. Many laughed as they realized this too and even the death of Yousef would not change that perception as he has forever altered the Egyptian consciousness. All of us in this world are being forced to make a choice on where we stand, to be divided as Jesus came to do. But all you gotta do is laugh to be on the right side. And if you watch this film, believe me, you will laugh!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Comrade Trump Has Got Your Back!

Russian purges under Stalin were the ultimate expression of societal treachery. Stalin knew himself to be the Great Betrayer of his country and thusly he waged a perpetual witch hunt though he himself was the witch. For him, the bigger the lie the better (sound like anyone you know?). This was his way of testing "loyalty", of who would go along with his insanity. Life became about having Stalin's approval. And for a Judas like Stalin, his insecurity was a bottomless pit.

People were rounded up to be blamed for the (vast) ills of society. It didn't really matter who as much as it did the number. Why would a nation stand for that? Why weren't the governing witches hung in the public square? It happened on many levels. Those in power were silent on Stalin's insane behavior in order to keep their power. The KGB as tools of the state knew they must victimize or be victims, and the populace believed the official lie they weren't capable of running their own lives and that must be left up to the state.

What kept the decades of oppression alive was the cognitive dissonance of the people. As innocents were jailed they often wrote letters to the instigator Stalin to right the wrong of their imprisonment. "If only Daddy Stalin knew he would fix this injustice! He said he loves us and we believe him like good citizens do!" Turns out Russia has no monopoly on useful idiots. But the problem is useful idiots doom us all.

KINSMAN, Ohio — For years, Tammy and Joseph Pavlic tried to ignore the cracked ceiling in their living room, the growing hole next to their shower and the deteriorating roof they feared might one day give out. Mr. Pavlic worked for decades installing and repairing air-conditioning and heating units, but three years ago, with multiple sclerosis advancing, he had to leave his job.

By 2015, Ms. Pavlic was supporting her husband and their three children on an annual salary of $9,000, earned at a restaurant. That year, they tapped a county program funded by Congress, called the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, to help repair their house.

The next year, they voted for Donald J. Trump, who has moved to eliminate the HOME program.
Because surely a silver-spooned billionaire will feel their woes! But one could certainly understand their buyer's remorse at this point as it dawns on them they are to be cut out, left behind, and made invisible in Trump's America.
The Pavlics’ ceiling may no longer be cracked, but in the zero-sum game that Mr. Trump’s budget seeks to set up, the nation is showing new fissures. The president’s budget proposal would cut deeply into the Department of Housing and Urban Development, paring rental assistance and eliminating heating and air-conditioning aid, energy-efficiency assistance, and partnerships with local governments like HOME. With the savings, Mr. Trump says, he would beef up military spending and build a wall along the Mexican border.
“Keeping the country safe compared to keeping my bathroom safe isn’t even a comparison,” Mr. Pavlic, 42, said. “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.”
Thank you for your patriotic self-immolation, Comrade Pavlic! Who's going to protect us from you?? But had you kept your brain working you'd realize the very worst bad guy hurting this country is the terrorist you helped put into office. Hope your ceiling falls in and knocks some sense into you.
The county, which voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump, is the type of place where people might hope to be great again. Open fields of overgrown grass line winding roads that lead to rusted steel mills and shuttered factories. The median household income in the county, which is about 90 percent white and 8 percent black, dropped by $7,400, to $42,368, from 2006 to 2015, while the population declined by 14,000, to 203,750. Near Kinsman is Masury, which locals have nicknamed Misery.
“Our county voted for President Trump, so I’m not sure they quite understand what is going to happen,” [county development coordinator] Julie Edwards said. “I don’t think people realize how much we rely on these services. I don’t think people are making the connection between cutting the HUD funds and paving our streets or building new affordable housing.”

Making America great by living in squalor while waiting on Daddy Stalin to come save them. In fact, one can make the argument we are even worse than the Russians who lived in general ignorance of Stalin's treachery. Here, it's reported and is done right out in the open. But not everyone views self-respect as a sin in this Ohio county.
Amber Barr, 34, lives in a women’s supportive housing complex and regrets voting for Mr. Trump. She and her 4-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, survive on a $588 disability check and $340 in food stamps every month. Her rent is $99, and she fears that Mr. Trump’s housing cuts are just the beginning. “If I didn’t have these programs, I wouldn’t have any kind of support, I wouldn’t have any kind of direction as to what to do, where to go, and I wouldn’t have any money to help me find resources,” Ms. Barr said, as she began to cry.
Housing assistance has helped her focus on getting treatment for hepatitis C, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety. It also meant escaping the temporary housing she was in for several months after leaving an abusive relationship. Last week, as she thought of Mr. Trump’s budget, Ms. Barr stood outside her building nervously clutching the only money she had left for the month: six quarters she hoped to put under her daughter’s pillow as a gift from the tooth fairy.
“I don’t plan on being here forever,” Ms. Barr said, wiping away tears. “People that are getting help right now are succeeding. People are not going to succeed. They are going to give up.”

Lock him up! Our President is a monster of incompetence, a de facto foreign agent, a wrecking-ball to our well-being, a sociopathic arrested adolescent so out of his depth and so beyond redemption his every waking moment is devoted to seeking approval. That we allow this daylight atrocity to continue shows we have no honor left as a country. That 40% openly wishes to turn a blind eye shows our true level of corruption. Every person who claims the truth is our enemy is a traitor.

But the thread tying this all together is one simple fact: the overwhelming majority of us wish only to have their own view of reality be affirmed. To them, that is the greater good. They are faithless in the Word, rejecting that which truly is greater than ourselves. Every soul serves something: truth or lies. And by such our fates will be determined, no matter how "elected" one is or how poorly the truth polls.

You have wearied the LORD with your words.
"How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying,
"All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them,"
or "Where is the God of justice?"