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Name: Mouse de la Soul
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New Jersey
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Dec 9, 2017, 01:41 PM
Number of posts: 1,933

Journal Archives

A trip to Europe convinced me the USA is ill

Returning from a vacation in Spain with my son, I had the profound impression that this country is ill.

In Barcelona, Girona and the small seaside town of Cataqués I had dozens of encounters with Spaniards (and Catalans) that were marked by a kind of sweetness in the speech patterns that I almost found incomprehensible. Even the police went out of their way to be helpful, despite my lack of reasonable Spanish.

Now I know that Spain has a high rate of unemployment and cops have motivated a wide array of protests from the Catalan independence movement. But during the entire two weeks in Spain I rarely heard signs of distress such as sirens or raised voices. Frankly, the only real disturbance was that of me and my son squabbling over his (distracting) computer game. The people of Spain had every right to roll their eyes or shout "shut up, stupid Americans, don't bring your technology problems and your abysmal record of teaching manners to your children." But they politely endured us. Interestingly, the profusion of "Llibertad" banners could be called "distressing" but the effect for me was the opposite. Those cloth banners were putting the police and unscrupulous politicians on notice that democracy, not fascism, has the upper hand. This is why I often place handwritten signs across my bumper to challenge the status quo and I encourage every DU member to do the same. It would probably be catalytic across the country. (Handmade, across the entire bumper, beats printed stickers).

NOTE: Many Europeans live in apartments with railings which are perfect for cloth banners. In the US we virtually live in our cars so the bumper is the medium, paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan.

It was on the return that I experienced the greatest sense of what has happened to our country. My very first encounter with a US citizen was with a border guard who was checking passports and those "declaration" cards we had to fill out. I had filled out the card for both me and my son – which we had been told to do (nicely) by a Norwegian stewardess. As I leaned forward to hand over the card, this guard barked "step back!" as if I were a criminal. After managing to get through that hostile welcoming committee – and still shaking – we passed posters with pictures of armed policemen (with machine guns) and a statement along the lines of "if you see something, say something." The usual SS propaganda wihout a hint of concern for how our approach to security is still terrorizing citizens long after 9/11 . While waiting for our bags a large sign could be seen with a list of horrors you could be arrested for. Welcome to America.

But the final straw was on the ride home. I could swallow, grugingly, the $240 pricetag for parking and the almost pre-industrial and supremely ugly parking systems, but nothing but a bottle of whiskey could medicate me for what followed. Every few miles I saw police cars with strobe lights. They lit up the night sky as if the US were a war zone. Some were due to crashes (which seems insane enough). Some were for speeding perhaps. A plethora of overdue infrastructure work might have employed the cop cars as safety lights, effectively militarizing a civilian operation. But the sheer number of cop cars and the intensity of their strobes was astounding. I don't recall seeing – or hearing – a single stroboscopic display of police power like that anywhere in Spain – and Catalonia was going through a virtual revolution.

These barking security guards, gun-flashing security posters, and insidious over-amped police cars (everywhere), is a sign of national illness. I would stake my life on it. I think the Europeans know this. The Norwegian Air flight included many films that addressed fascism, obliquely and otherwise: 3 Billboards, The Shape of Water, etc.

If I were an alien zoologist studying this region of planet Earth, I might easily conclude that the United States is diseased.

People, we must vote like never before on November 6, but we must CONTINUE to change the culture wherever we can. If nobody in the police headquarters says a peep about whether the order of insanely fascist strobe lights, or sports car police vehicles with aggressive lettering is really necessary, the technology is ordered and employed. If no one on the airport security board questions the appropriateness of posters that makes our country look like a militarized shithole, then creeping fascism is enabled.

A culture dedicated to education and moderation doesn't order strobes like that. This is where US "pragmatism" falls apart. Yes the strobes might prevent an accident or two, but I have nearly had accidents due to the same blinding lights. And the psychological effects are withering. The delicate threads of manners, design and culture can add up to a "city on a hill" – or a fascist dump where a grotesque number of citizens are incarcerated – or shot to death – for standing up to unnecessary police power.

So vote we must. And we must come together in each others homes, break bread, drink wine (or beer), and support each other and the country. We have no choice. We must become a thoughful, caring, cultured country or this great experiment in democracy dies. Each one of us must act as cellular antidotes.


So Democrats unite! We must get out the vote precisely BECAUSE our lives are becoming depressing and too many are resorting to opiods to become, in the words of the great Pink Floyd, "comfortably numb."

Resist these asinine, psychopathic Russians and their sick Republican enablers. Vote in November. Get your neighbors to the polls. Encourage every young person you meet to register as a Democrat. And change the culture – and the infrastructure – a little bit every day.

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Sun Jul 15, 2018, 03:38 PM (34 replies)

Nonviolence is tactical

I am thrilled to see so much support for calling out the emerging fascist system in our midst (threats to the press, brown-skinned children in concentration camps, disenfranchising labor unions). Keep shouting and protesting LOUDLY.

But also be tactical.

That means get out the vote like it may be the last one we have and DO NOT GIVE TRUMP WHAT HE IS ANTAGONIZING US FOR: a violent event he can point to that will justify martial law. He's playing by every dictator's handbook. A token violent incident is all he needs to trigger a phase shift.

Shout, but don't hit: Ghandi threw off the Brits and Mandela eradicated apartheid by NOT playing into that standard dictator's gambit. MLK lead a civil rights movement with deep, but firm, love. Nonviolent resistance is not necessarily polite, but it does two things:

1) It does not invite martial law and full-on fascism.

2) It wins over the majority of citizens who have no stomach for violence of either the fascist or rebel kind.

Let us yell loud and hard brothers and sisters. Let us call the disgusting fascists what they are: the people we defeated in WWII. But let's beat them through greater strategy, and that is what nonviolent resistance is all about.

I know some have "had enough", but don't forget what advantage we actually have:

A) Reality is on our side.
B) Muellar is doing an incredible, thorough job and has all of Cohen's tapes and papers – and even pieced together his shredded documents. He's flipped several insiders and recently hired more prosecutors.
C) A growing MAJORITY is sick of Trump and his crime family.
D) A blue wave is growing despite Trump's oily lies to the contrary.
E) The press is getting smarter and now calling out the lies and fascism – and even Fox has rumblings of disgust with this presidency. (Yes, I've held my nose and checked in on it).
F) An unprecedented number of Republicans have come out against their own party.

Let us leverage all of the above into the biggest vote drive this country has ever seen. But we must buck up, citizens. We're on a roll. Violence is neither necessary nor tactical. It's not good either and would take away our moral advantage in a heartbeat – not to mention justify martial law and the institututionalization of fascism.

AND WATCH FOR RUSSIAN BS: Be vigilant and watch out for Russian trolls who would be fanning the flames of violence (actual violence, not the occasional pitchfork imagery).

Nonviolent action is massively effective. We must not succumb ro Trump's taunts and give him a chance to pull the trigger.
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Wed Jun 27, 2018, 12:49 PM (5 replies)

The only travel that should be banned is Gorsuch's UNCONSTITUTIONAL trajectory to the Supreme Court

After Obama's decent Supreme Court pick was denied due process, CNN now reports that the fundamentally ILLEGAL Gorsuch vote on the Supreme Court is rendering entry by citizens of 7 countries illegal.

Had enough cognitive dissonance?

I have.

>>> PLEASE conscript ten Democrats to vote every day until November 6. Make it personal and tell them to conscript their friends.

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Tue Jun 26, 2018, 01:41 PM (5 replies)

Can we have a sober discussion about self-improvement?

Democrats, in my opinion, are going to save this country. They have been the more principled party, and the more intelligent party, for generations. One of the reasons for their drive towards excellence is a culture of (usually polite) debate.

New Jersey's Dems could use an extra dose of that self-analysis right about now:

The Democratic Governor of New Jersey wants a tax hike on millionaires. Democrats are blocking him.

Getting to "no," with Chris Christie's help

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Mon Jun 25, 2018, 11:05 AM (0 replies)

Sessions/Trump are, effectively, human traffickers

They are taking children at the border and exchanging them for votes. They are wrenching them violently from their parents, shoving them screaming into vans and holding them against their will in facilities with darkened windows (which even Senator Jeff Merkley was prevented from entering yesterday to check on their welfare).

See link below. Daily Kos shares some cynical graphics to underscore this point – and it is the most vivid truth of this entire, sick, American moral collapse. I can't sleep.

Resist daily.


Posted by DemocracyMouse | Mon Jun 4, 2018, 12:09 AM (5 replies)

US Border Patrol is out of control

Daily Kos covers the point plank killing of a young woman by US Border Patrol. This is not the first time and it has to stop. Police abuse – and executions – of minorities has to stop. Now. It is the cruelest, sickest, grossest thing I've ever imagined possible. A young person struggling to escape poverty, only to be shot and killed by a North American – for HIDING from his gun!

As Avenatti says, "Basta!" (enough!)


TALK TO EVERYONE! Every retailer, every neighbor!


And I'd like to add this link to a story in the Washington Press about our sick, sick, sick President separating children from their parents (and losing track of 1,500 of the kids, some to human traffickers):

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Fri May 25, 2018, 10:25 PM (9 replies)

Unscientific bias towards "moderates" by political establishment may lead to fewer votes

A sober, peer-reviewed article in The Legislative Studies Quarterly suggests that political establishments may be hampering the GOTV effort. There's a bias towards "moderate" candidates which is intuitive and not very strategic.

Principled Moderation: Understanding Parties’ Support of Moderate Candidates
By Hans J.G. Hassell

Recent scholarship has argued that parties strategically support more moderate, and thus more electable, candidates. Using interviews with party elites and new data on the party support and the ideology of primary candidates for the US Senate, I show that parties do support moderate candidates. However, using evidence from districts with different levels of competitiveness and over time, I find that support of moderate candidates appears not to be strategic. Rather, party support of moderate candidates appears to be the result of the ideological preferences of party leadership rather a strategic effort to win elections.

If we want progress AND we want to win, stand up to insider's unscientific biases. Progressives and moderates can both win and we need to check our biases – especially with a perfect storm of Republican/Russian evil to pivot on.

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Fri May 25, 2018, 11:00 AM (3 replies)

Washington Post: The Democrats' most salient, combustive and unifying idea

At this stage it's not about Warren, Booker, De Blasio or Sanders. It's about understanding the underlying forces at work in this country... about empathy for the millions of people such forces are affecting.

It's about putting forth a vision that can shed light on all the other issues. May the Democrats work together to forge this unifying vision.

Washington Post:


Sanders, with one presidential run under his belt, was better than most at articulating a unified theory. He spoke of tuition-free public universities, ending institutional racism and the war on drugs, reforming criminal justice and immigration, and fighting climate change — “but there is one issue out there which is so significant and so pervasive that, unless we successfully confront it, it will be impossible for us to succeed on any other of these important issues.”

And that is inequality. “The oligarchy in this country, whose greed is insatiable, is destroying Lincoln’s view of America, our vision of America, and is leading us to a government of the few, by the few and for the few.”

This is a big idea. Maybe the big idea. Whoever can best make that case should lead the Democrats in 2020.
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Wed May 16, 2018, 01:19 AM (22 replies)

"I feel like I've been tricked by the devil"

So some Republicans can think... when up against naked, self-serving, reality:

Raw Story:

Eddie Devine voted for Trump, but worries he may go out of business if he is unable to continue hiring 20 foreign workers a season though the H-2B visa program.

“I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,” Devine admitted. “I feel so stupid.”

Posted by DemocracyMouse | Sat May 12, 2018, 11:10 AM (14 replies)

Just drove a large hand-made sign into the heartland

(And I came out alive).

I taped four manila folders together and wrote a big bold sign that stretched all the way across the bumper of my 2012 Honda Civic. Then I drove from NJ to Illinois and back to visit my son. This is what I wrote in all caps:


And then for good measure, to really confuse the occasional evangelical, I squeezed into the corner:

"Love thy neighbor." – Jesus

As I drove for two days west and two days east, I entertained myself by passing cars and trucks with a slowdown just as my sign became visible. I calculated that if 2-3 people per minute saw that sign, I reached 3–4,000 folks over the entire journey. Multiply that by the conversations I started and the cell phone pix uploaded on Instagram and Facebook. (I slowed down especially to aid the meme-making process).

There were no threatening gestures. My car was totally unscathed.

We're gonna win.
Posted by DemocracyMouse | Fri May 4, 2018, 10:27 AM (55 replies)
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