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Give Thanks For The Golden State

'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

For over a month now, at least half of the nation has been suffering from PTSD: Pre-Trump Stress Disorder. Our nation has self-inflicted a very serious sickness - actually, a relapse of a recurring, chronic, ugly syndrome. And when Patti Smith, standing in for Bob Dylan at the recent Nobel ceremony, sang his "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall," I could only think, Alas, yes indeed.

Trump's tainted victory seems a repudiation of American progress, even the fabled "American Dream", and certainly against Reverend King's famous dream as well. The civil rights, women's, environmental, anti-war and other movements of the 1960s and onward have, for all their failures, been hugely positive forces in modern history. But the counter-strategy by "the establishment" has always been Divide and Conquer. This election was a backlash and last gasp of an outdated view of American life - one that actually only ever existed for a few. Whatever Making America Great Again might turn out to really mean, few will partake of that in any positive way due to Trump's minority rule. It looks like the Bush Jr. scam again - elect a front guy, cloaked in fake populism; If this election was really about anything, it was about making some rich people richer. The rest was all diversion and window-dressing.

The first Trump lie to fall has been his promise to "drain the swamp" in Washington. His own swamp of cronies already looks to be at least as stinky and corrupt as any in our history, with predictable backpedaling on the catchy promises he made while campaigning. Longtime Harper's editor Lewis Lapham calls the Trump win a "hostile takeover" - and in business those are always about one thing: cash. For a relatively recent example of the scenario, consider the murderous kleptocrat billionaire Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who first came to power in the 1960s with the slogan "This nation can be great again!" Sound familiar?

Did I believe or even hope President Hillary Clinton was going to usher in some sort of utopian era of progressive green equality and joy? Of course not. I'm long past expecting much from politicians. But she was undeniably slandered, first for decades by the venal Right and then by the gullible Left. And so enough Americans believed the far more prolific and practiced liar, with no evidence that he meant what he said or knew how to get any of what he said done. Nice job, electorate, of proving Winston Churchill correct: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Clinton's undeniable faults were nothing compared to Trump's, and as for her qualifications and experience, compared to him she's Abraham Lincoln and George Washington combined. But yes, for all that, she did blow the campaign.

As for progressives, too many "Berners" were nearly as obnoxious in their fanaticism as the yahoos at a Trump rally. Sanders, who seemed a great guy overall and did good work injecting his views into the campaign, was never going to win any big chunk of mainstream America. And those who said it didn't matter who won are willfully ignorant of how policies and funding can impact, say, healthcare, women's rights, and the environment for starters; That's a facile position taken from a perspective of safety, usually by men. Those of us who have worked on those frontlines or who have themselves suffered know better.

The one time I heard Hillary Clinton in person, she pledged to overturn Citizens United, support rational gun control, keep us on track confronting climate change and other environmental imperatives, preserve reproductive rights, and more, concluding: "I don't want to see anybody turn back the clock, and that's exactly what's happening... There is so much nonsense and distraction out there and we just have to ignore it, even though it's hard to take all the incoming stuff that is so far removed from facts and reality. But we must stay focused on people and their rights and needs. A unifying, open, tolerant, inclusive vision must win."

It didn't. She ignored too much. The results of a generation of profiteering pandering propaganda by what even the Wall Street Journal has called the "gutter voices" of American culture  - Limbaugh, Breitbart, Coulter, Hannity, and their ilk, clustered on FOX - has come home to roost with the ultimate angry, know-nothing President-elect. I know his type; in fact I grew up with some of them, a species of privileged permanent frat boys who epitomize "born on third base and thought they hit a triple." The rise of what the Oxford English Dictionary has just officially sanctioned as "post-truth" is no accident. But many of the victims will have brought it upon themselves. And their children and grandchildren will suffer even more.

Finally, equally disturbing were the self-proclaimed "Christians" who somehow became convinced to support a man who openly violates every Commandment or Deadly Sin of that faith. What Jesus might think about Trump seems to be a question that answers itself.

So, enough complaining; what to do now? How to survive political PTSD? Barring some surprising outcome of attempts to derail him actually taking office, it seems the first concrete and attainable goal might be to regain the Senate in two years, for damage control at a minimum. It's likely that by then Trump soon becomes so mired in scandal and ineptitude that his term becomes known as one of the very worst in our history.  California Dreaming?

California political leaders statewide have already made statements vowing not to go along with some of Trump's more threatening and pointless campaign promises; That's a good start.

Even younger white voters in California joined the rest in rejecting Trump. Yes, our state's racial history has often been shameful, but as whites too become a minority, we seem to be collectively losing our old prejudices. Reality can do that. Eventually demographics and sanity should banish the Trumpian ethos back to the gutter.

On a personal level, for now, I keep reminding myself that in California at least, in my primary fields of public health and the environment we had the best election in history here: Landmark victories on tobacco and soda taxes, funding health care for the poor, legalized pot to keep kids and nonwhite people out of the money-grubbing "correction" industry, small advances on gun control, a ban on plastic bags, and more. Huge industries threw massive amounts of money and deception to defeat these proposals, but a big majority of California's voters saw through all that. The net effect will be huge reductions in suffering and premature death - AND many good things that start in our state spread elsewhere, even nationwide.

There's no denying I'm reaching for silver linings here - but I'll take the positive where I can find it, recall that Clinton won the real vote by millions, and be as grateful as ever to be a lifelong Californian. In any event, once I come out of this deep dark funk, I guess I'll just keep joining those who are working for goals where I might have some positive impact, big or small, in favor of "the moral universe" - however long its arc may turn out to be. For all its faults and failures, America is greater than this. Or damn well better be.

But for now maybe I should cash in too. So, for anybody who still really believes a Trump regime will be good for our nation, or even for those who voted for him who are not themselves among the fabled "1%" - I have a big beautiful orange bridge for sale, cheap. Inquire within.


  1. Harvey Reading December 14, 2016

    Poor baby. Grow up. Your piece is simply propaganda for a world that never was.

    Trump is nothing more than more of the same. You really need to face reality, to take a good long look at the last 50 years of democrapic party sellout and double-cross of the Working Class, which got going in ernest with preacher Carter and has only gotten worse since. Take a look at only the past 8 years of democrapic rule under Mr. Hope and Change. And then try to peddle the BS you did above.

    Oh, why am I wasting my time? Pseudolefties are always right in their own minds, no matter how much reality may contradict them. Ever read The Grapes of Wrath? Ever live in the Central Valley, especially in a smaller farm town? If you had, I suspect the tone of your article would have been quite different.

    I have nothing much against California. I was born there and lived there for 52 years, and it has been going downhill as fast as the rest of the country. Up through the 60s, Working Class kids could afford college there. No longer. Ever hear of a moronic jerk name Ronald Reagan? He got his start in politics in California.

    Wages in California used to be among the highest in the country … $7.53 an hour (about what $42 an hour is now) for a union warehouse job in 1975 — no longer. You have a U.S. senator whose main interest is increasing the wealth of her husband and a governor who believes that increasing the public subsidies of water for corporate agribusiness by construction of an underground peripheral canal is a high priority. I don’t see much to give ‘thanks’ for.

  2. james marmon December 14, 2016

    “So, enough complaining; what to do now? How to survive political PTSD?”

    Just a suggestion Heilig, you need to develop some coping skills. Before the worm turned, this is how I survived.

    “Albert Ellis is known as the father of cognitive-behavioral therapy and founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Ellis began developing it because he was disappointed with psychoanalysis and did not feel it worked for everyone. His work was based on how an individual’s beliefs strongly affect their emotional functioning and behaviors. Ellis called these irrational beliefs, because they made people feel depressed, anxious, and angry and led to self-defeating behaviors.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Personal Growth Consultant.

    • BB Grace December 15, 2016

      So why not get your license and offer REBT classes?

      Or how about writing a book about being a Native of Mendocino County and the stories of other Natives who went through the Social Services racket?

      I respect the fact you earned a MSW and empathize with your employment experience; However, like many people, most recently Mr. Mendosa pointed out, your horse is dead. Yes, it’s a horse, and yes, others have horses you don’t like, and yes, they could improve on their riding skills, but your horse, without that license is dead.

      It’s time for a new horse Mr. Marmon. Either get a license or find a constructive way to help because at this point it’s the same rant, which many social workers depended on Clinton and globalism. They didn’t have time or any reason to think Trump would prevail, and you know, they care.

      So what can they look forward to? You voted for Trump. You tell us everyday how smart you are. And you are except for your dead horse.

      REBT is seriously needed here. Why not give classes? Why not volunteer? Maybe apply for NAMI grant?

      As for Heilig’s article, Mr. Reading posted that people are products of their choice of propaganda. Those on the left who were very comfortable, had their role and played it well as Mr. Heilig, who never read a right wing anything and had it translated for him by those who never read the right wing stuff either.. lets face it, the left smeared “Republicans” and MSM censored, so the left had no curiosity what was the right. They didn’t need or want the right. The right was a waste bin full of deplorables. And now the right is a majority (though their papers insist Hillary won the popular vote. I don’t believe that). Globalism has crashed and the Mr. Heiligs have NO CLUE WTF.

      They have no idea that most of us were liberal activists employed or working with liberals for decades. We all, even Trump, came to where we are on our own terms. Many of us were seeking solutions or answers the establishment liberals were not answering, just reams of name calling and insults, fluff and no substance, word smithing as an art, and we had no place else but look to the right for solutions, which we found in the Bill of Rights and US Constitution.

      Liberal Central Government with CEO is not Constitutional Government. It’s crony capitalism and it’s NOT working! These CEOs are not improving our lives but empowering central government over our lives.

      Before we had CEOs, we had a Redwood Empire that sustained a population of home owners for over a century. Now we have Beer, marijuana, Wine, Meth, Heroin, 1/5 the population is on psychotropic medication, and rackets that make more addicts. It needs to stop.

      What will you do to help? I sure hope you get off the dead horse Mr. Marmon.

      • james marmon December 15, 2016

        Do you think they would give me a license Ms. Grace? I would have to prove I have been rehabilitated. With Bryan Lowery and CEO Angelo claiming I scared them, I pretty much left with beating that dead horse.

  3. Pat Kittle December 14, 2016

    Big choice we had:

    The current Wall Street war criminal for Israel versus the likely new one.

    Oh well, maybe Trump will at least do something about the ecologically catastrophic UNSUSTAINABLE level of immigration (not that he gives a crap about ecology).

  4. Steve Heilig December 15, 2016

    Thanks for the comments, Mr. Reading and Mr. Grace especially. Reading, who at least admits he is far removed from the California reality on which he opines so erroneously, inadvertently provides a perfect example of why I included this:

    “those who said it didn’t matter who won are willfully ignorant of how policies and funding can impact, say, healthcare, women’s rights, and the environment for starters; That’s a facile position taken from a perspective of safety, usually by men. Those of us who have worked on those frontlines or who have themselves suffered know better.”

    At Planned Parenthood, I was responsible for a clinic in, yes, Fresno. And having worked for and cared for addicted, AIDs, and other such patients, I can attest that policies matter (and yes, I subscribe the Wall St. Journal and read it daily, mostly to see what the Right’s standard-bearers are saying; I peruse Breitbart and the rest when my stomach can stand the ill-informed yelling and idiocy). I don’t expect utopia from any government; but I do wish and work for approaches and funding based on research and compassion. That seems to be the best we can hope for.

    Regarding immigration, Kittle needs updated info; it stabilized years ago, and regarding Mexicans, has actually been net negative. But all too true that Trump cares not for ecological issues – or probably even immigration for that matter. Nobody with any grasp on reality believed he would build that “wall” or that it would help anybody if he did.

    Again, for those who still think Trump will fix anything, I still have that nice bridge for offer.

    • Harvey Reading December 15, 2016

      From what you write, you have a great difficulty not only dealing with reality but with even perceiving it.

    • BB Grace December 15, 2016

      It’s about building bridges Mr. Heilig.

      For example, one of the divides is the environment. I don’t buy MSM/PBS “Climate Change”. I am aware of the U.N. Agenda 21 and now 2013: Sustainable Development’s “climate change” science, which reminds me of a surfing expedition.

      I was in Todos Santos, Baja Sur Mexico (because I grew up surfing) for the July 11, 1999 full eclipse, staying with a friend in Pescadero, where the police drove around the village demanding everyone go indoors because they could not afford to teach the population how to protect themselves from damaging their eyes watching the sun. At least that was the excuse as it seemed just another excuse to be tyrannical police state in Mexico as expected.

      My point is Mr. Heilig, information is valuable and the US has been censoring information for a very long time. The Climate Change hoax is no different than the Pescadero policia patrolling during a full eclipse, robbing humans from Earthly experiences in the name of protection.

      Notice how the AVA publishes the weather report? Weather reports are fake news. BPEarthwatch is one of my favorite weather sites.

      He’s very reliable also on earthquakes.

      Check out BPEarthwatch, apply the UN Agenda for climate change to that, what do you get? Where’s the man causing climate change in these pictures?

      • Steve Heilig December 16, 2016

        Hey, I’ve surfed Todos/Pescadero too!
        Was a sweet little town back then too, a refuge from the tourist madness of Cabo, right?

        The rest of your comment is (again) disjointed silliness, though. Too much sun? (sorry, couldn’t resist)(my own skin has had too much sun, but I don’t regret it).

        Anyway, here’s a recent post I enjoyed:
        “Film plot idea: 97% of scientists band together to contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky brave crusading band of billionaires and oil companies.”

        thanks anyway,

        • BB Grace December 16, 2016

          Right Mr. Heilig; North of Cabo around the Tropic of Cancer.

          When you say “film plot”.. I think sales.

          BPEarthwatch is a tool I use. What about billionaires? I’m glad I’m not one. What about oil companies? You don’t use oil?

          Or is there something about Arab oil and perpetual war that makes it your preference?

  5. Jim Updegraff December 15, 2016

    Mr. Steve Heilig: some good thoughts in your comments. I would not pay any attention to Mr. Reading’s comments – I never have read any positive comments from him regarding other people’s thoughts. He is what my great grand kids call a sourpuss.

    Pat Kittle; with the declining birth rate and a large number of people coming into Social Security in a decade how else but immigrants to expand the work force to keep SS solvent. Of course many will not be white or Christians which does not bother me at all.

    • Harvey Reading December 15, 2016

      Social Security is solvent. In about 20 years it will still be able to pay about 75 percent of benefits, assuming people like the pro-privatization she-monster are kept out of office (which has been accomplished) thus keeping their corporation-loving hands off the program. Truth is, if the cap on income not subject to the tax was removed, the problem would essentially go away. That, of course, would mean that overpaid CEA types would have to pay the tax on the full amounts of their salaries. Which could explain why you make your ridiculous point regarding immigrants to Pat Kittle.

    • Steve Heilig December 16, 2016

      Mr. Updegraff: Thanks. Yes, that is a common impression of Mr. Reading here – an angry old crank, more than willing to opine on anything, regardless of whether he really knows anything about it. A common affliction with age and idleness – that’s how FOX ‘news” succeeded, with an average viewer being almost 70 and male and not too educated – but one to guard against if at all possible.

      • Harvey Reading December 16, 2016

        You and Updegraff enjoy your dream world. Reality will continue nonetheless. And fortunately, reality includes the Clintons being history history, along with Obama.

        And, Mr. Heilig, you don’t seem all that eddicated yourself. I definitely guard myself against the likes of people like you. By the way, Fresburg is NOT a small town in the valley.

        Excuse me now. I need to eat some mush and take a nap.

        • Harvey Reading December 16, 2016

          Oh, by the way, Trump’s pick for Interior seems, at first glance, to be much better than either of Obama’s worthless scum.

      • LouisBedrock December 16, 2016

        I’m disappointed that two people I like and admire, Steve Heilig and Jim Updegraff, unable to counter Harvey Reading’s arguments ad rem, resort to ad hominem attacks.

        • heilig Post author | December 16, 2016

          Thanks sir – but eventually one just has to “consider the source” and tell it like it is when arguing with an angry know-it-all has long become pointless. There is a general negative consensus regarding Mr. Reading, who is in fact the perpetual attacking voice here as Updegraff notes, and seems to think he is an ultimate authority on just about everything, with no evidence for that – and I happen to share in it. It’s like some nut yelling at people on the street – at some point one learns not to engage. I guess I did slip up a bit this time.

          • Harvey Reading December 17, 2016

            When everyone knows that YOU, of course, are the true ultimate authority …

  6. Jim Updegraff December 16, 2016

    Pardon me for just now responding to the latest blither and blather by Mr. Reading at 10: a m. I almost always fall asleep reading one of Harvey’s nonsensical comments.

    “Ad Hominem attacks”?. Friend Louis, are you sure you are not looking in the mirror?

    • Harvey Reading December 16, 2016

      And yet you read them …

  7. heilig Post author | December 17, 2016

    Perspective: Hell’s Angels, Trumpism, via Hunter S. Thompson:

    “Thompson thought that what might prove most dangerous about the ethic of total retaliation was the way it encouraged the distrust of all authority—except for the authority of brute force. The president-elect’s enthusiasm for waterboarding and other forms of torture, his hawkish cabinet choices, and his overtures to strongmen like Vladimir Putin are grave omens. We could end up back where Thompson left off at the end of his book: the Angels, marching with the John Birch Society, on behalf of the Vietnam War.”

    • Harvey Reading December 17, 2016

      You neglect the facts that torture and hawkish cabinet appointments, along with nearly constant war are nothing new in this country. Look at the last 8 years under Mr. Hope and Change. But now that we have a prez-elect that you pseudolibs truly hate, even more than you hated Bush 2, you present old nooze as if it was new, a ‘grave’ omen. Got nooze for ya: it’s no graver now that it was in the past, or than it would have been had the she-monster become the next prez-elect.

  8. Pat Kittle December 17, 2016

    The smug hypocritical banality of SJW’s like Steve Heilig drove me to vote for the candidate who is NOT YET a big-time war criminal for the Israel lobby.

    Steve opens his PC clunker with the tiresome cliche from the sanctimonious lying thieving married racist & self-proclaimed “Reverend” who seems to have spent his last night alive abusing White prostitutes, aka MLK.

    Then it gets worse.

    Steve, were you among the bereaved who retreated to your weepy safe spaces when you realized all those Israel lobby billionaires & their (((mainstream media))) couldn’t put Hillary Dumpty back together again?


    Do I trust Trump? Of course not! I’d never voted for a Republican in my life. I had Eugene McCarthy bumper sticker flowers plastered over my motorcycle at the time I got myself kicked out of the Marines.

    But I’m a tree-hugger, so I voted for Trump. Yes, you read that right. 2 reasons (both earning him the unprecedented wrath of the Israel lobby):

    1) UNLIKE Hillary the war criminal, Trump does NOT promote a foreign policy of “regime change” (i.e., more war for Israel), or starting a war with Russia. Redwoods or endless war.

    2) UNLIKE Hillary the traitor, he does not think everyone on Earth should be allowed to move here if they feel like it, and he just MIGHT actually do something about it. Redwoods or open borders.

    “Regarding immigration, Kittle needs updated info; it stabilized years ago…”

    “One international migrant (net) every 29 seconds”:
    — [ ]

    “U.S. legal immigration system: it continued intake of 1.0 million to 1.1 million or more newcomers yearly between 2007 and 2014… These numbers of legal admissions show little decline in legal immigration during the hard times of the past decade. The U.S. legal immigration system has become a mindless machine, with no ‘slow’ or ‘stop’ button – only ‘full ahead.'”:
    — [ ]

    • heilig Post author | December 17, 2016

      Sigh. More than enough (“smug”) hate in Kittle’s diatribe to speak for itself, but:

      No Sir, no weeping or “safe spaces” for me, whatever that means. I work in both environmental and healthcare fields and will continue to do so, esp. now.
      But wait – you call yourself a tree-hugger and are worried about overpopulation and voted for a guy whose cabal would ban abortion, restrict contraception access, destroy the EPA, and actually do nothing worthwhile regarding immigration (re Mexico; sorry if I was unclear on that, but that’s what his imaginary ‘wall’ was about), etc? And you think immigration is what destroys the redwoods? And that Trump isn’t likely to start a war?
      I think I just found somebody to buy that big bridge!

      (former ZPG/NPG member, until the deplorables took over those groups)

      • Pat Kittle December 17, 2016

        Sieg Heil ig:

        See? I can be as boorish as you.

        I already fully explained why I voted for the candidate who is NOT-YET-a-WAR-CRIMINAL-for-ISRAEL. Apparently endless wars for Israel — against brown people — are OK with you.

        I also 100% debunked your SJW lie:
        “Regarding immigration, Kittle needs updated info; it stabilized years ago….”

        Rather than acknowledging you got caught telling a BIG LIE, you repeat your hilarious I-have-a-bridge-for-you cliche.

        You claim to be a “former ZPG/NPG member” but you ignore the mind-boggling horrors that human over-breeding wreak upon non-humans:
        — [ ]

        You are not a hopeless case, but you’ve got to muster the courage to step out of your SJW box.

        • heilig Post author | December 17, 2016

          You may not know that “SJW” is long a term used only by trolls. And I clarified my factual immigration comment.

          But enough of you. Your Freudian Nazi slip-up is noted. But even before that, a fellow reader pointed out that I was much too restrained in responding to your earlier comment, where you started with the time-tested spectre of a black man sleeping with white women, moved on to hatred of Israel, and then went after those invading (non-white) immigrants. None of which had anything to do with my main point, that Trump has conned his followers. But perhaps that is untrue about yourself – as you admit, you were finally convinced to vote Republican by the one candidate using bigotry as his calling card, and was endorsed only by the KKK. So yes he’s your guy, and it’s clear who you really are.

          How the AVA online has come to be colonized by such a gutter voice as yours (again quoting the Wall St. J. about your type) is a sad thing. Enough.

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