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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bricktop, Jan 17, 2017.
Pay $1200 to rent a dorm bed
is this some philip k dick inspired skit
Military struggles to recruit best, brightest in booming economy
By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times - Sunday, July 7, 2019
A directive to recruit more troops coupled with a thriving U.S. economy has sparked a “perfect storm” and created one of the toughest environments in decades for uniformed recruiters, Pentagon officials and outside experts say, as the military doles out bigger bonuses and tweaks its approach in order to attract the nation’s best young talent.
Booming employment markets — the U.S. economy added a strong 224,000 jobs in June, the government said Friday — and soaring stock values on Wall Street traditionally have made it difficult for military recruiters to pitch men and women on a career in the armed forces, according to researchers, who say the correlation has held true for at least a half-century.
But the sustained strength of the U.S. economy over the past five years has taken the challenge to a whole new level, and the true depth of the problem came into focus last year when the Army fell short of its recruiting goal for the first time in over a decade.
The commander in chief even took time during his Fourth of July “Salute to America” event to pitch the idea of military service and on Friday was already claiming results.
“Our job numbers are so good that our military has a hard time getting people,” Mr. Trump acknowledged to reporters on the White House lawn Friday, “and I think really you’re going to see a big spike. I’ve already heard it, a lot of people calling in.”
The Pentagon could use the help.
The Army set a goal of 76,500 recruits and pulled in fewer than 70,000, according to Defense Department figures.
The Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps hit their goals last fiscal year, though the services barely cleared the bar in some cases. The Navy’s goal was 39,000 and signed up 39,018 recruits, Pentagon numbers show. The Marine Corps beat its 31,556 goal by 11 recruits, and the Air Force exceeded its 29,450 threshold by 893.
Although each of the services, including the Army, expect to hit their goals this year, analysts say, the military has compounded its recruiting challenge by trying to expand the size of its ranks. The Army, for example, is aiming for a 500,000-member active-duty force over the next 10 years, meaning it needs to maintain aggressive recruiting goals to keep up.
“Consistently, the research finds that recruiting is more difficult, the supply of high-quality recruits is more difficult when the economy is booming,” said Beth J. Asch, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. who specializes in military recruiting. “There’s another factor here, which adds the cherry on top. The Army is growing, as are the other services. So you have a bit of a perfect storm of a really strong economy and having a larger force.”
Army officials seem confident that they will meet their mark this year, though they readily acknowledge that they are facing headwinds.
“This environment is as challenging as we’ve faced — 3.6% unemployment. We have no benchmark historically for the all-volunteer force,” acting ArmySecretary Ryan McCarthy recently told the Military Times. “We statistically can make it, but we’re going to have to run through the finish line — undoubtedly a full
To avoid a repeat of last year’s shortfall, the Army is taking a multipronged approach. Army officials this month said they will offer bonuses of up to $40,000 for some recruits who sign a six-year commitment.
The Army’s total of enlistment bonuses rose by $115 million last year, according to The Associated Press, and almost $100 million was spent on bonuses for those already in the service.
The Marine Corps increased its largest award from $8,000 to $9,000 in 2018, service numbers show. What’s more important, officials say, is that they have put a priority on the in-person recruiting process with a full understanding of the private-sector opportunities available to young recruits.
“Marine recruiters have made [the goals] without lowering any standards, even in a tough recruiting environment where the sort of high-achieving young people we need have plenty of options,” Gunnery Sgt. Justin Kronenberg, a Marine Corps spokesman, told The Washington Times.
More broadly, military leaders also said they have embarked on a more holistic overhaul of recruiting and have rethought each aspect of the practice for a target generation that includes many born after the turn of the century.
“We’ve increased the number of recruiters by the hundreds, put them on the streets,” acting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said last month when he was serving as Army secretary. “We changed our storefronts, we moved our storefronts, we’re getting deeper into social media, we’re overhauling all the networks and IT behind that, we’ve changed ad agencies, we’re going to come eventually with some new slogans and commercials and things like that. We’re doing everything we can to reach those kids.”
Central to the effort has been a more concentrated focus on recruiting in the nation’s largest cities. The Army says it has seen a 27% increase in sign-ups in Minneapolis. In New York City and Baltimore, the numbers have shot up 19% and 17%, respectively, over last year.
Analysts say that effort, too, is partly a response to the strong economy and the changing landscape of the American job market. The military traditionally found greater success in more rural areas with lower average paychecks and fewer jobs. Technology, mobility and connectivity, analysts say, have eroded the distinction.
“In some ways, we’re getting more homogenous,” said Ms. Asch. “Those differences may not be so stark … that differential between cities and non-cities is getting smaller.”
Each of the branches also has ramped up its social media presence, moving far beyond the traditional TV and radio commercials. The Army has instituted a “virtual recruiting teams” program that assigns tech-savvy soldiers to monitor social media and respond to candidates’ questions.
Those teams, the Army says, ultimately direct the potential soldier to their neighborhood recruiting station.
Those and other programs underscore the military’s efforts to engage with young people on their turf, but officials say face-to-face conversations remain the most important part of the process.
“While we regularly update our digital presence and connect with our audience on social media, we still feel the conversation about a young person’s future and the possibility of service is one best had in person, kneecap to kneecap,” Sgt. Kronenberg said.
Fuck off! Eat cake
"Inherting money is a terrible burden"
"Also inheritance tax is bullshit because being an heir to an unbelievable fortune is a great burden I wouldn't want to have to burden the regular people with. I worked hard for this."
Coal left Appalachia devastated. Now it’s doing the same to Wyoming
One day encapsulated everything that’s wrong with Fox News
From revelations about spreading Russian propaganda to making racist attacks, July 9 had it all.
By Aaron Rupar@atrupar Jul 10, 2019, 11:40am EDT
Tuesday was an especially ugly day for Fox News.
It began with revelations that host Sean Hannity helped spread Russian propaganda about Seth Rich’s murder. It ended with an astoundingly racist attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by host Tucker Carlson. In between, hosts slut-shamed sexual assault accusers and spread misinformation about former President Barack Obama. Put everything together and it encapsulated all the channel’s worst impulses.
Take Carlson’s increasingly aggressive attacks against Trump administration adversaries, which culminated with his xenophobic indictment of Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress: He attacked her as “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
And yet through it all, President Donald Trump continued to amplify the network’s content on Twitter, illustrating how far off the rails both the president and the cable news network he can’t stop watching — the top-rated one in the country — have gone.
Hannity got played by Russian propagandists
Early Tuesday, Yahoo News published Michael Isikoff’s in-depth report on the origins of the conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed on the streets of Washington, DC, in July 2016.
Three years later, Rich’s killing remains unsolved, though police investigators believe it was a robbery gone wrong. But shortly after it happened, Rich’s demise became subject of a right-wing conspiracy theory that held he was murdered because he had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks — a claim that, if true, would indicate that the US intelligence community’s conclusions about Russia being behind the hacks of Democratic targets in 2016 were mistaken.
According to Isikoff’s account, this conspiracy theory originated from a baseless intelligence “bulletin” put together and disseminated by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, which is known as the SVR. Details from the bulletin were posted on an obscure website that often spreads Russian propaganda, WhatDoesItMean.com, and eventually made their way onto the airwaves of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.
From Isikoff’s story:
The conspiracy claims reached their zenith in May 2017 — the same week as Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in the Russia probe — when Fox News’ website posted a sensational story claiming that an FBI forensic report had discovered evidence on Rich’s laptop that he had been in communication with WikiLeaks prior to his death. Sean Hannity, the network’s primetime star, treated the account as major news on his nightly broadcast, calling it “explosive” and proclaiming it “might expose the single biggest fraud, lies, perpetrated on the American people by the media and the Democrats in our history.”
Among Hannity’s guests that week who echoed his version of events was conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow. Although neither he nor Hannity mentioned it, Sekulow had just been hired as one of Trump’s lead lawyers in the Russia investigation. “It sure doesn’t look like a robbery,” said Sekulow on Hannity’s show on May 18, 2017, during a segment devoted to the Rich case. “There’s one thing this thing undercuts is this whole Russia argument, [which] is such subterfuge,” he added.
According to DC investigators, Fox News’s story was completely bogus. It was quickly retracted, and Fox News announced it was conducting an internal investigation to determine how it was published in the first place. But more than two years later, not only have the results of that investigation not been disclosed, but Hannity has never apologized for promoting the conspiracy theory on his show.
So not only does Isikoff’s story reveal that Fox News unwittingly spread Russian propaganda that was meant to sow doubt about the Kremlin’s role in hacking the DNC, but according to the interviews Isikoff did with Rich’s family, the network unrepentantly traumatized the relatives of a murder victim in the process.
Tucker Carlson smears a Muslim congresswoman as “a living fire alarm”
About 12 hours after Isikoff’s story dropped, Tucker Carlson, a primetime host with a show preceding Hannity’s that has repeatedly come under criticism for promoting white nationalist themes, uncorked an attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that was beyond the pale.
During a monologue toward the end of his show, Carlson characterized Omar — a Somali refugee who, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), became one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress earlier this year — as “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
“She has undisguised contempt for the United States and its people,” Carlson said, citing no evidence and ignoring that 78 percent of voters who cast ballots in Omar’s Minneapolis district voted for her last year. “No country can import large numbers of people who hate it and expect to survive ... she’s a living fire alarm, a warning to rest of us that we better change our immigration system immediately — or else.”
Omar responded on Twitter by indicating she’s taking Carlson’s attack in stride.
But Carlson smeared her as a traitor who is actively working to destroy the country whose Constitution she’s sworn to support and defend. It’s not hard to imagine how somebody watching his show could come away with the idea that Omar is one of the most dangerous people in the country.
Carlson’s monologue illustrated not only how Fox News promotes white nationalist themes but also how those themes are deployed to radicalize people. But Carlson’s attack on Omar was only one of the ugly broadsides made by a Fox News primetime host on Tuesday evening.
Laura Ingraham helps slut-shame Christine Blasey Ford
Immediately following Hannity’s show, Fox News host Laura Ingraham and the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway teamed up to slut-shame Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who came forward late last summer with her statement that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
Hemingway, promoting her new book, sought to discredit Ford by describing her as “a heavy drinker who was much more aggressive with boys than we were led to believe” when she was in high school.
Ingraham didn’t register any objection to Hemingway’s smears, but instead reinforced them, saying, “When you scrub your social media profile, that’s a statement, is it not?”
And that’s not all. Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Fox News used the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein — a convicted sex offender with ties to Bill Clinton and Donald Trump — to launch a misinformed attack on President Barack Obama.
Afternoon host Harris Faulkner and Campus Reform editor Lawrence Jones III blamed Obama for the sweetheart plea deal Epstein received in 2008 from Alexander Acosta, a former US attorney who now serves as Trump’s secretary of labor — even though Obama wasn’t even inaugurated as president until January 2009.
And on Fox & Friends, hosts allowed White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to spread misinformation about the US census with impunity.
Yet just on Tuesday alone, Trump posted six tweets that either directly promoted Fox News programming or featured video clips from Fox News shows. And on Wednesday morning, he retweeted a post from right-wing commentator Mark Levin that attacked CNN host John Berman for criticizing Carlson’s latest attack on Omar as “what to many is just a racist comment — a flat-out racist comment or offensive comment suggesting that people shouldn’t be allowed in the country.”
Fox News viewers don’t seem to be bothered by any of this
Tuesday may have been an especially ugly day for Fox News, but it wasn’t particularly unusual. The network regularly comes under fire for spreading conspiracy theories, amplifying white nationalist themes, and pulling out all the stops to demean critics of President Trump.
Yet Fox News was the most watched outlet on all of basic cable in the second quarter of this year, marking 70 consecutive quarters that it has been the most watched cable news network.
So while groups like Media Matters and Sleeping Giants continue to pressure advertisers to sever their business relationships with Fox News in response to racist attacks like the one Carlson made on Omar on Tuesday night, viewers — including the current occupant of the White House — continue to buy what Fox News sells them, no matter how ugly or inaccurate it may be.
The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.
Way too much shitty news today
Founder of African American museum found dead in trunk of car
Baton Rouge police are investigating the death of African American museum founder Sadie Roberts Joseph, whose body was found in a trunk of a car.
By Samantha Morgan | July 13, 2019 at 6:41 AM CDT - Updated July 13 at 6:23 PM
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An icon of the Baton Rouge community was found dead in the trunk of a car Friday afternoon. The cause of her death is unknown as this time.
According to officials with the Baton Rouge Police Department, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, was found at roughly 3:45 p.m. on Friday, July 12. Joseph is the founder of non-profit Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History.
The car was found in the 2300 block of North 20th Street, which is located off I-110 near Choctaw.
Officials did not say how she was discovered.
Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community. We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels. From assisting with her bicycle giveaway at the African Americcan Museum to working with the organization she started called CADAV (Community Against Drugs and Violence). Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community. She will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.
Joseph’s home is located on Kaufman Street, which is roughly 3.5 miles from where her body was found.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
If you know anything about this case, contact Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867 (STOP)
Radical centrism folks
A guillotine could solve any issues they’re having
Again: Trump didn't somehow turn Republicans meaner and dumber. They did that themselves.
Hunter for Daily Kos
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday July 18, 2019 · 9:30 AM CDT
Rep. Kevin McCarthy is following the path of Gingrich, DeLay, and Hastert.
This, on the National Republican Congressional Committee's new shamelessness and crudity of message, is an awful lot of words from The New York Times and it still doesn't quite get to the meat of the matter. It's not that the NRCC is mimicking Trump's behavior, in their now-rampant name-calling, nickname-giving, lying, and universal "socialist" and/or "anti-Semite" labeling.
It's that this descent into abject propagandizing is being led from the very top. Republican congressional leader Kevin McCarthy, the slippery Capitol eel who spent Tuesday insisting that obvious racism wasn't racism and that Democrats were being terribly uncouth in saying so out loud, and NRCC chair Rep. Tom Emmer are the ones demanding it and orchestrating it. Names can be put to this strategy; it did not arrive from nowhere.
So what does this say about them, personally? It says that Trump or no Trump, this is the sort of people they are. This is the sort of person that the Republican Party, including the members cited in the story as being unhappy about the entire Republican apparatus being turned into a pie-throwing machine, puts in top positions.
And it predates Trump by several decades; Kevin McCarthy’s playbook is, if anything, the Newt Gingrich playbook dumbed down to a bare handful of grade-school taunts. It was Frank Luntz who helped Republicans craft a new party era in which words no longer meant what they meant, and of making the public believe that orange was now purple via focus-group-tested misdirections. It was Dennis Hastert who helped maneuver the party into a new post-9/11 era of simply lying to the American people outright, even over matters of war, and declaring that anyone who pointed out the truth was perhaps on the side of terrorism, or France. (He also pioneered other, ahem, new Republican trends.)
It's not quite right to say that Republicans are mimicking Trump's juvenile and aggressively dishonest rhetoric. That's unfair. Republicans worked very, very hard to invent juvenile and aggressively dishonest rhetoric, to weaponize it, to orchestrate it via a handful of preferred outlets; Trump mimicked them.
If anything, Trump's contribution was to prove that you could do all of it far more stupidly than Frank Luntz originally envisioned—that you didn't need to pretend at dignity, coherence, or anything else. You could lick the walls, hang from the chandeliers, and inform audiences of your penis size and the base wouldn't give a damn if you gave them that or the faux-wonk Gingrich version.
You could say the racism part softly or say it loud; you could use proxies to smear your war-veteran presidential opponent as perhaps a traitor to the nation or just stand up at a rally and call them short. Luntz and the others assumed you needed to put at least a thin coat of respectability on it; as the William F. Buckleys of the movement steadily gave way to Andrew Breitbarts, then Jesse Watters, that coat was scraped bare without any chipping from the latest buffoon.
Yes, the NRCC (and Republican National Committee) are in a new era in which the ransom notes are written in crayon and you can get farther with the base eating paste than arugula. But it's not new that people of the caliber of Kevin McCarthy would "rise" to leadership positions, then use those positions to drag the whole party down a bit deeper into the mud. And it's not new that the party would call every last opponent, in every race from the presidency to dog catcher, a communist or socialist or against the troops or some other incessantly repeated phrase distributed on a memo and stretched so thin it soon becomes a mere mouthing of syllables.
Let's not give them the credit of thinking the party fell to this point from somewhere higher up. It was Republicanism sliding to this point that allowed Trump to sweep up a thoroughly morals-devoid, fact-hostile base with a two-bit carnival act that had worn thin a decade back. He could leave the country tomorrow and Kevin McCarthy would not suddenly discover decency in his absence. It never worked that way.
Why does the GOP hate public transportation so much. They're obsessed with being opposed to it to the point of hating it more than it hates Al Qaeda?
Evers announced a modified grant program for transportion. Straightforward - the bulk of the money will go towards rural areas, and it will be almost entirely road building/repairing.
And then we have the GOP blabbering about any amount of money going towards buses, trains, etc, is exactly what Dems do and is nothing but wasted money and that it's time to get the veto hammer out.
Idiots don't realize that public transportation reduces congestion, makes parking more available, and is good for the economy? You'd think that would be enough to offset the fear that it might also benefit poor people, but nope. Apparently the only acceptable way to get around is by car or truck.
Black people might leave the ghettos white people have created for them.
That’s a touch aggressive and also highly illegal. I’d like to meet the gem of a person who thought putting that notice out was a good idea.
That person’s lawyer:
It is for poors and poc
Koch brothers have vested interests in a petroleum fueled economy. They finance 'grass roots' opposition to public transport in most locales that Gov's try improve/ start mass transport infrastructure.
Conservatives back this bc of the koch's well known funding efforts.
10 years ago, Luzerne County had two judges who were convicted for racketeering in connection with a bribery scheme in which they accepted payments in exchange for imposing harsher sentences on juvenile defendants.
The payments came from the for-profit prison the judges sent them.
Since Jordan Peele is remaking Candyman
Hey that’s my neighborhood.
I wonder if he’ll make it about the horrors of gentrification
This is great
From just riding the BART a couple of times in 2015, that was probably some of the worst smelling public transit I've come across.
depressing DK dump
I fear we kid ourselves thinking racism will prove a deal-breaker in 2020.
It saddens me but I simply don't agree that hammering Trump harder over racism is going to help us defeat him in 2020.
Trump launched his 2016 campaign with a blatantly racist attack on Mexicans. He then proceeded to run a blatantly racist, white supremacist campaign. Dem and GOP strategists were all over cable news insisting such blatant racist attacks would doom Trump.
He won the GOP nomination.
Some GOP strategists feared dropping their decades-long tactic of hiding behind thinly veiled racist "dog whistles," would cost them dearly in the general election.
Contrary to the recent attempts to rewrite history, Hillary Clinton actually did repeatedly attack Trump's racism.
Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral college. While the GOP did lose some seats in Congress, they also retained control.
His racism wasn't a deal breaker many of us hoped it would be. Parts of the Obama Coalition stayed home or voted 3rd party instead of standing up to this disgusting "birther."
Some blame Hillary Clinton's high negatives, poor campaign organizing, MSM, Comey, Russia and a perfect storm for the 2016 presidential loss and the failures down-ballot.
As someone who has heartily disliked the Clintons for decades, I admit I heaped plenty of blame on her, too, after that 2016 debacle. How could anyone lose to this openly racist, sexist PIG I thought and said.
Charlottesville was my eye-opener.
It should have been the eye-opener for every Democrat and left-leaning voter and candidate in this country.
The unthinkable happened, an American President defended Nazis as very fine people. His Presidency should have been doomed on that day. His attempt to spin it as defending the Confederate statues only made it clearer he was a white supremacist!
But, Trump's numbers rebounded.
If defending the white supremacist Nazis isn't even a deal breaker anymore, then what is?
Children in cages caused Trump and the GOP far more, lasting damage than Dems hammering him over blatant racist attacks.
The suburban, white women who didn't blink an eye at Trump promising to abuse brown adults at the border, did recoil over the images and reports of caged, brown children. These are the type who donate to Unicef and Save the Children causes but too often vote GOP. For them, caged children is something that only happens in "shithole countries" where children are prey. To see it happening here in America in front of their eyes did break through the noise. I know a die-hard Trumpster Latina senior who dismissed his every racist attacks on Latinos, but actually cried for those caged little kids. Hammering home Trump abusing children does break through.
In 2018, the GOP suffered heavy losses in the suburbs due to women swinging towards the Dems. Dems hammered GOP over trying to take away pre-existing conditions and ran on protecting the ACA. Many smart Dems pointed out the many children with pre-existing conditions and who suffered from life-time caps prior to ACA.
When Trump led the GOP fearmongering over the scary caravans, many a smart Dem counter-attacked with promises their own sensible border security plans expressly forbade caging innocent children like animals. That's a killer counter-attack VA's Spanberger delivered to loud cheers.
Far too many white men may be okay with hurting children to punish brown people, but many women do draw the line at abusing children.
Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Senate Race, because enough white women drew the line at voting for an accused child molester. Credit to the incredible mobilization efforts by black women who did care about real "family values” candidate.
Child abuse and molestation can be a deal-breaker and Trump knows it. That’s why he's trying so hard to distract us from Epstein.
Trump isn't very smart, but he IS a long-time predator who has honed his self-preservation skills. Epstein's arrest and Acosta's corrupt deal was headline news all over the country. Papers were reprinting Trump/Epstein old photos and journalists were digging more of the them. More victims were coming forward. Alan Dershowitz couldn't even defend Trump this time because he was under barrage of attacks himself.
The sharks were having a feeding frenzy and a Trump was back on his heels, super-defensive about his long friendship with another PEDOPHILE.
He's preyed on women for decades. He defended and supported Roy Moore the child molester. He promoted the corrupt Acosta who let pedophile Epstein escape charges so he could prey on dozens more children. Predators stick together is what I expected to hear from the Squad and every Democratic candidate and activist.
Instead, Trump successfully wiped the Epstein news off the front pages by launching another of his patented racist distractions. He's sitting in the White House laughing his ass off at MSM and us for falling for his same old, trick.
For those that insist don't worry Epstein's case isn't going away, they're missing my point. You defeat your opponents by hammering them over and over with one killer message, which is why “Crooked Hillary” proved so successful.
Elijah Cummings ripped into DHS chief over reports caged children were sitting in their feces, treated like dogs, and it's NOT leading the cable news shows nor are Dems talking about it on those shows. Epstein was denied BAIL and NBC found damaging footage of a very friendly Trump/Epstein partying together.
But, Trump's racism still dominates news and even dKos coverage today.
The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
My heart is with those who believe hammering Trump harder on racism will work. But my head knows racism isn’t a deal-breaker and the GOP understand this all too well. My head believes we’ve seen evidence these are deal-breakers we must hammer home:
A President who cages children abuses children.
A president who supported Roy Moore stands with those who molest children.
A president who pal'ed around with a notorious pedophile and promoted the corrupt prosecutor who let the pedophile skate, is a friend of pedophiles who abuse our children.
I want to hear Dems hammering home we must defend our precious children from this predator!
Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP
The Dark Roots of Whiteness
Most cultures have trickster figures who appear when everyone is confused, when life is in chaos, and everyone is in trouble. The West African trickster God Eshu is famous for the tricks he loves to play on people and the chaos he likes to cause. One popular story involves him wearing a hat that is black on one side and white on the other side. He finds two friends who have adjacent farms and he walks down the dividing line between their fields. Afterwards, when the two friends get to talking about the man with the hat, they begin to quarrel over what color the hat was. One insists that it was white and the other swears that it was black. Each swears he knows what he saw and they wind up calling each other blind, untruthful, even crazy.
Once they took up the opposing positions, they could do nothing but see what was wrong with the other person's point of view. Eventually Eshu appears again and chastises both former friends for being hard-headed and narrow-minded. He puts on the hat that is clearly divided into black and white and shows how it is able to instigate such intense opposition and hurtful division.
Interpretations of the story include the sense that we each see the world from our own side of the road and fail to see what others know or witness in life. Another idea points to how easily a difference of experience can lead to opposing parties and blind polarization. How easy it is to turn another person into the "other." How hard it is to keep an open mind and be willing to walk in the shoes of another person and experience life as they see it. How hard it is to have an open heart towards others if we are busy defending what we think we know, and what we blindly believe, when we literally only have one part of the story.
Of course, political parties often display exactly this type of one-sided view of the world and a willingness to polarize over almost anything that passes between them. But when someone really wishes to exploit the tendency of people to blame others for their own problems, all they have to do is come up with some version of the two-colored hat and keep turning people against each other. Donald Trump is likely not a good businessman and he's certainly not a meaningful leader. But he has learned the trick of taking the two-colored hat and tossing it into situations that are troubled in order to benefit from the chaos that ensues.
There are many versions of this old trickster story just as there are many ways in which people become tricked into turning against each other, and even into voting against their own interests. The two sides of the hat can be any two colors, they can be red and blue, as in the way people perceive the current division between red states and blue states. However, something deeper and more elemental appears when the contrasting colors are as basic and as stark as black and white.
Seeing things in terms of black and white involves a kind of all or nothing thinking, no nuances, no middle ground, no compromise. This kind of oppositional thinking leads to the idea that you are either with us or you are against us, and in being against us you are not just wrong, you are likely evil.
This kind of splitting leads to overall instability and even to “borderline behavior” where people cannot integrate good and bad characteristics of themselves or others. For one side to be good, the other side of the border or the party line has to be bad. In a sense, all borders are arbitrary to some degree. And eventually, most borders generate borderline behavior.
The current troubles at the southern border of America are being intensified and exaggerated by the exploitive nature and borderline tendencies of the current president who called himself the “chaos candidate.” The problem with using chaos and division as a tactic is that real people, actual families and defenseless children, suffer the pain of being vilified, being falsely blamed and rejected. Not only that, but no one can control the results once chaos has been loosed upon the land, especially not those who think they are in charge. Typically, those who use chaos as a strategy trick themselves in the end and wind up being consumed by their own inner chaos.
When Donald Trump tells people to “go back where you came from,” he is pulling out the black and white hat to divide people against each other. The hope is that enough people will claim the mantle of whiteness, and fall into the fallacy of “white thinking” which can cast anyone deemed non-white as shadowy, unclean, and ultimately less than human. An assumption within white thinking is that people of color, and in Trump's case, especially women of color, do not really belong to this country. Under the irrational spell of white thinking, if they don't like it here, they should go back to the land they came from, even if they were born here.
A great irony occurs in the fact that so-called white people have no land of their own to return to. People who identify as white might have connections to Poland or Ireland, to Scotland or Iceland. But there is no “white land.” There is Greenland and there are the Netherlands, but there never was any white land. And there were never any actual white people. If the idea of going back to where you came from is applied to white people, they have nowhere to go back to.
Thus, the problem isn't that there are actual white people, but rather that there are people caught in the spell of white thinking. The idea of whiteness is a single-minded point of view, as in the tale of the two colored hat. The notion of people being white is only a few hundred years old. What began as a false idea has become a dangerous ideology that can spread more readily because of online platforms and the increasing uncertainty of the modern world.
Ideas like white nationalism and white supremacy derive from historical colonialism, but the roots of whiteness also arise from what can be called a fallacy of color. A tragic aberration of meaning occurs when the idea of whiteness is taken literally. This fallacy of color happens when people identified by a color become people identified with that color. When taken symbolically, white can represent all that is light and bright as well as above and beyond, making white the highest and most superior color. In a kind of cosmological trick, aspects of the color white, such as brightness, purity, and innocence become the basis of false claims of superiority for one group of people, causing other people to be cast into the shadows and be declared less than pure and therefore inferior.
The invention of whiteness as an identity group causes all other people to have to take on some other color as an aspect of their identity. In that sense, it can be said that the idea of whiteness becomes the source of all subsequent oppositions of race, ethnicity, and identity.
Typically, we use colors as metaphors to describe feelings and attitudes that are common to all of humanity. Metaphorically, a person, regardless of their skin pigmentation can become red with anger, green with envy or blue with sorrow. Someone can be deemed the black sheep of the family, and no one expects them to appear with black skin. We know that they are not literally turning into those colors. Yet, whiteness has become systematically literalized into self-defining terms of white people, white culture, and white supremacy. The result of this fallacy of whiteness is systemic white privilege that continues to do great harm to people of all colors and hues, including those who over-identify with white thinking themselves and thereby lose their connection to the one meaningful group of people, humanity.
Psychologically, the claim of whiteness creates a kind of self-absorption and even self-absolution as it fails to acknowledge the shadow side of claiming purity and brightness for one group and casting others into the shadows, socially, economically, and even spiritually. But there is another problem with the literalizing of whiteness. As a color, white seems to absorb all other colors; as an identity it diminishes the richness of other colors and can obliterate the essential values of human diversity. And whiteness as an ideology can wipe out everything, as in a storm of self-involvement, as in a sense of self-absorption that claims to need no one else, as in tweets of self-indulgence and self-importance, intended to deny the deep internal emptiness of all who claim to be superior to others on the basis of appearance, or supposed purity of origin.
So-called “White America” holds to its claims of purity and innocence through the practice of massive denial. This includes denial of its own inner alienation and pain, for the human soul knows when it is disconnected from the souls of other people and from the Soul of the World. The rise of Donald Trump has brought to the surface the collective shadows of racism and hate that are created by, and sustained through, the false superiority of whiteness. Superiority itself is a narcissistic defense against a hidden sense of inferiority that manifests plainly in the hate and violence of white supremacists.
When Donald Trump equivocates white supremacists with those protesting racial injustice, he is whiting out the important distinctions between the ideals of protesting for greater freedom and justice for people of all shapes and shades, and the false idealization of certain people because of supposed superior traits. Unfortunately, our associations to whiteness have become fixed, and literalized in seemingly indelible ways that literally lead to oppression, violence and death, including the death of social vitality, and the loss of imagination needed to change life at a collective level.
If we go back to the tale of the trickster and the two-colored hat, we can see that the splits and divisions that arise between people inevitably come from seeing things from different positions in life. But the old wisdom tale also can reveal how the seeming supremacy of white depends upon the automatic use of oppositional thinking. The idea of us vs. them is the hat that can be pulled over each difficult issue and each troubling dilemma that arises in this world that is increasingly troubled by radical storms in nature, and poisoned atmospheres in culture.
The role of trickster figures and trickster deities and myths is ultimately to bring healing and greater consciousness to people. In a sense, they intend to trick people into waking up and reflecting upon ways in which we fall into fallacies and become willing to blame others for problems and suffering that we have contributed to. The biggest fallacy of all may be found when people forget that we all walk the Earth's surface, that we all breathe the same air, and that like it or not, that we are all in this together.
If it is exceptionalism that people want to claim for America, let it come, not from false forms of exclusion; let it come from deep places of unity and meaning. And if a slogan is needed, let it come from the poets and from the people who know what suffering means, and how exclusion works. Let it come from Langston Hughes* who wrote,
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be…
Let it be the dream the dreamers dreamed –
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrant scheme
That any man (or woman) be crushed by one above.
O Let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath.
But opportunity is real and life is free
Equality (and dignity and mutual respect) is in the air we breathe…
O Let America be America again.
The land that never has been yet…”
*Excerpt from “Let America Be America Again” with minor additions by Michael Meade
Michael Meade is a storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. He is the author of Awakening the Soul, The Genius Myth, Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of The Soul, Why the World Doesn't End and The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul. Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a nonprofit network of artist, activists, and community builders that encourages greater understanding between diverse peoples.
What do conservatives mean when they say they want their country back
How often have I heard or seen this phrase, "I want my country back," used over the years since I was born in 1956, in Raleigh, North Carolina? I can't give you a precise number, but I can tell you that, though I've seen liberals employ these words on occasion over the nearly six decades of my life, most of the time it has been the mantra of white male conservatives. Indeed, many self-identified "Tea Party" members have repeatedly used this term as their personal call to arms.
What Do Conservatives Want When They Say "I Want My Country Back?"
What do they mean when they say that? To which supposed golden age of America do they want to return? Who can say what is in the hearts of such people? But I have some ideas based on my experiences over the years.
As a child born in the middle of the Fifties in the South, I knew at an early age that some people were considered inferior to me. The signs were all around - literally. I remember once, when I was three or four, a white woman stopped me as I approached a drinking fountain, thirsty after being dragged around on a hot summer day by my mother on one of her shopping trips to Raleigh's downtown. The woman, politely, but sternly, took hold of my arm, and told me I couldn't use that fountain because it was for "colored people." A fountain not much different than this one:
My memory is a little vague after that, but I do recall talking with my mother about it later. She must have been embarrassed, for she had a hard time explaining why there were different water fountains for people based on the color of their skin. It didn't make much sense to me as a child, and I imagine she had difficulty understanding how to explain the concept of racism to her incessantly curious little boy.
(Please follow me below the orange curlicue for the rest of the story)
Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Mom grew up in a place where such things did not exist, probably because there were so few black people living in the Northern Plains states, both then and now. She and my father moved to Raleigh the year of my birth because of his acceptance into North Carolina State University's graduate program in statistics. To them, Raleigh, NC, was not only the biggest city in which either of them had ever lived, but it, and the entire state, were also, for all intents and purposes, a foreign country. People spoke differently, their manners were different, and most significantly, there were far more African-American people living there than either of them had ever seen before. Of course, no one used the term African-American back then. They were either called "coloreds" or "Negroes" in proper speech, or more informally (as one the neighbor kids I played with explained) simply "niggers." ( I learned how to sing eeny, meeny, miney, moe, catch a nigger by his toe ..." from the same children, no doubt because it was the version their parents had taught them).
What was most disorienting to my mother and father were the vast number of unwritten rules regarding how the two races were supposed to relate to one another, and the assumption that everyone, black and white, implicitly understood these rules, rules of which my parents were ignorant. For example, thanks to the poverty of so many "colored" folks, even my parents could afford to hire a maid to help clean our house twice a week after we moved to Cary, NC when I was three. Our maid, Annie, was about as light skinned as one could get and still be recognized as not white enough to pass. My mother had trouble from the get go with her, because while Annie knew the boundaries of what constituted acceptable behavior between a black maid and her white employer, my mother did not.
My mom was constantly wrong-footing herself with Annie, trying to do things like eat lunch with her or help Annie do her work, things Annie understood would be taken the wrong way had they been observed by other whites. She did her best to explain to Mom that such things just weren't done, but my mother was stubborn, and didn't see why she should treat Annie any differently than she would treat anyone else. To Annie, my mother was her white boss, a somewhat clueless if well-meaning one, but her boss nonetheless. To my mother, Annie was her friend, one to whom she felt closer to than many of the native white Carolinian housewives that lived all around us. Yet, even my mother had to face the reality of Annie's situation at times.
Usually, after Annie finished her work for us, my mother would drive her to the closest bus stop where she could catch a ride home. Occasionally, Mom even drove Annie home, though my mother only learned to drive a car after she came to North Carolina (her father didn't believe in women learning how to drive) and always felt a little anxious when she did so. What I remember most vividly from those visits was the difference between Annie's home and mine.
I lived in a nice three bedroom one story brick home with a carport located in a new subdivision surrounded by similar homes where none of the mothers worked. Annie and her family lived in a hovel, a shack really, where every adult that could work did work, man or woman. We had a nice big yard with lots of grass, a pond out back and a gorgeous pine forest that backed up against the homes across the street from us. The yard Annie's kids played in was bare dirt with a few weeds and a small flower garden near the front stoop. I have no pictures to show you what Annie's home looked like, but I did find this image of one from that era, a home a little nicer than the one in which Annie resided, but it will do to give you a general idea:
Annie didn't like having us stay very long when we dropped her off, but my mother usually insisted, believing it the courteous and friendly thing to do, and so I would play with Annie's kids out in the dirt while my mother talked to Annie about her garden (they both had a passion for flowers) or sit on Annie's stoop and drink a glass of water or iced tea, chatting away, oblivious to Annie's own anxieties about our presence there.
One day, Annie missed her bus and she walked the two miles or so back to our home and asked if my mother could drive her instead. By this time the sun had set, and my mother, always fearful of driving in the dark - "It's so easy to get lost out here," she would say - suggested that Annie call her husband when he got off work to pick her up, as my father was working late at one of his part-time research jobs, and therefore unavailable. Annie did her best to explain why that wasn't such a good idea, but my mother insisted she call him anyway. When she did, Annie's husband asked to speak to my mother. He finally got the message through to Mom that a black man driving in a white neighborhood after dark was, shall we say, verboten. It was simply too dangerous. He was very nice about it, because by this time I'm sure Annie had explained my mother was a Yankee lady who didn't know any better, but he made it clear that he would be risking arrest or worse if he came to pick up his wife from her job. So, my mother called my father, and he came and drove Annie home, instead. That day my mother learned a lesson about the life of her friend and other African-Americans in North Carolina - that segregation and racism were not merely minor annoyances for black people, that they could literally be matters of life or death.
Since that time, over the course of my life I watched as the Civil Rights movement worked hard to end discrimination and enshrine equal treatment under the law for all races in voting, employment, housing and so forth, but that came only after years of arrests and brutal mistreatment of non-violent protestors and a major arm twisting effort on Congress by LBJ (one that he was not all that keen about). And despite court orders and the myriad laws on the books, and the acceptance by most whites that black people have the right to eat at the same restaurants and work at the same jobs as whites, de facto discrimination against African-Americans still exists. It's in our schools, which are more segregated than ever, in our neighborhoods, in lending and banking practices, in employment, and most cruelly in the way the criminal justice system disproportionately treats black defendants vs. white defendants. So while some things have "changed" for the better, that improvement does not run very deep. Certainly, its been far less significant or ground-breaking than many people like to think.
We see the same situation played out in the other major civil rights struggles of our times, such as those for women and for LGBT people. A great deal of change in societal attitudes and in the law, but not as much real change as as we like to believe in how people are treated. In fact, if anything, I have consistently seen a backlash year in and year out, over the course of my lifetime, regarding each advance in human rights for any group regardless of who they are, what color their skin is, what religion they practice or who they chose to love.
And now we have a law in Indiana (and similar ones in 19 other states) that expressly attempts to reinstate the right of individuals and businesses to discriminate against anyone they choose, if any law requiring fair and equal treatment "substantially burdens" the exercise of these persons' religion. It's a blatant attempt to grant legal immunity to bigots, and though the purpose of the law may have been aimed primarily at allowing discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people, its clear to me that the supporters of this law do not intend to stop at trying to stuff gays back in the closet. Their efforts encompass attempts to limit the rights of a far wider range of people, from the poor, young people and students, women, Latinos, immigrants, the disabled and, of course, blacks. Anyone who thinks otherwise is frankly delusional.
The Supreme Court's rulings gutting the Voting Rights Act and allowing onerous voting fraud laws to stand, along with decisions such as Citizens United and Hobby Lobby make it abundantly clear that freedom is a term limited to the corporations and those who practice the right form of Christianity. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana is another in a long line of laws intended to limit the freedom of people. it will allow one small group of people, under the guise of "religious freedom, to impose their own bigoted and hateful beliefs upon the many. Beliefs that, when acted upon, negatively impact the freedom of our brothers and sisters, and literally sanction the right to harm people they do not like for whatever reason.
You see, conservatives may be big on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, with its declaration of "one nation ... with liberty and justice for all," but when they say those words they don't really mean them, not for all people in any event. No, they don't see anyone other than themselves as entitled to freedom, equality and justice. And when they say they want their country back, they really mean they want to turn back the clock to the way it used to be before civil rights laws were passed to protect, however ineffectively, the rights of those who do not fit within the narrow definition of straight, white Christian men. And they are deadly serious about that agenda.
Many of you have grown up in an era where equal rights is assumed to be the norm, but let me assure you that for most of the history of our country, and I would argue, this includes the present time, that has not been the case. Feminism as a movement did not exist until the late 60s and early 70s. The movement for "Gay Rights" originated in the seventies, but really only began to see significant progress over the last 15 years or so. And the right to vote for all intents and purposes did not exist for black people when I was born, and schools all over the South were still legally segregated despite the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The following image reflected the intense backlash of extending any rights to black people back then:
One year, before our family moved away from North Carolina forever, the NAACP and other civil rights groups circulated a petition in our neighborhood. It contained a simple statement asking the state to dismantle the numerous legal barriers that prevented most blacks in the state from exercising their right to vote. My parents signed the petition. What my parents failed anticipate was that their neighbors would see my parents' names on that list when the volunteers seeking signatures for the petition knocked on their doors, and what our neighbors' reaction would be.
Within a day, my parents were shunned by all their so-called friends in our little development in Cary, and their children were prohibited from coming to our home to play with my siblings and I, and we were not allowed to visit our friends in the neighborhood at their homes. Eventually this "shunning" subsided so that once again we could play with the other kids, but the my parents' relationships with our neighbors never really recovered from the incident. My folks had broken the single most important rule in southern society back in then - never, ever do anything to show support for the rights of colored people. In other words, never do anything to oppose the doctrine of white supremacy.
So, when I hear someone say that they want to take their country back, I cannot help but look at the person making that statement and wonder, which country do they want? The one that used police to bust up unions? The one that made lynchings a celebratory outing? The one that preached a woman should be happy staying home, raising the kids and catering to her husband's every whim? The one where homosexuals hid their sexual orientation from all but their closest confidantes out of fear their careers and lives would be destroyed, and that they would be disowned by their families? The one where black people could not eat in the same restaurants at which white people ate, or drink from the same water fountains, or attend the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods or ....
I don't want my country back. I want a better country. One that truly provides liberty and justice for all people. And I certainly don't want a country where anyone can discriminate against anyone else of whom they do disapprove and escape liability for that immoral and otherwise unlawful act under any pretext, be it freedom of religion, racial superiority or traditional values.
I never want to go back to the country that existed when I was born. The one that exists now needs far too much improvement as it is.
NSIAP, plenty of disagreements with Fareed Zakaria but he's spot on
Right wing ideology is poison
It's absolutely amazing these evil pieces of shit keep letting this story continue to get worse for them. I heard a recording of one of the school board members yesterday on 1A (NPR) and he doubled down on the logic of "if I don't pay my utility bills then they're cut off!" Outright refusing someone to pay for these students makes you look like the lowest piece of shit that you could possibly be in such a situation.
If they won’t accept this guys payment then the debt is void in my opinion
Opinion - Politics
Oscar Mayer heir: It’s time for a 100% tax on billionaire estates
Published Wed, Jul 24 2019 2:34 PM EDTUpdated Wed, Jul 24 2019 3:33 PM EDT
Since President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, corporate America and the billionaire class have had a field day.
Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and her family’s generational wealth have skyrocketed since Trump’s policies were signed into law.
If we are concerned (and we should be) about the health of our economy, strengthening – not eliminating – the estate tax is the solution.
Chuck Collins is the great grandson of the meatpacker Oscar Mayer and the author of Born on Third Base and, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. He is a founding member of the Patriotic Millionaires.
Since President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, corporate America and the billionaire class have had a field day. As CNBC recently reported, the beneficiaries of these policies don’t fall that far our of the president’s orbit, let alone his cabinet: Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and her family’s generational wealth have skyrocketed since the policies were signed into law.
At a time when wealth disparity in the United States continues to grow and the lion’s share of the expanding economy moves toward the wealthiest among us, the news that Devos is profiting off the policies of the administration she serves in is anything but surprising, yet wholly counterproductive to a healthy economy and functioning democracy.
I’m watching this trend with personal interest: As the great grandson of the meatpacker Oscar Mayer, like Devos, I had the immense privilege of being born into the 1 percent.
For me, being part of a family that had amassed vast amounts of wealth came with a sense of responsibility, and I knew individual acts of philanthropy wouldn’t be enough alone to reduce the widening chasm between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the country. That’s why I gave away my inheritance at 26. And that’s why I’ve spent the following three decades mobilizing to create a fairer tax system.
Many wealthy American families, the Devos’ chief among them, are using their considerable resources, political influence and media holdings to help rig the rules of the economy in order to protect and grow their own dynastic wealth. Billionaires are expanding their shares of the pie at the expense of investments in our social safety net, infrastructure, and education systems.
Earlier this year, at the behest of their campaign donors, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019, arguing that the estate tax is “an onerous and unfair” tax on “hard-working families”.
Keep in mind that the 400 wealthiest billionaires today have as much wealth as the bottom 64 percent of the US population combined.Three wealthy dynastic families – the Waltons, Kochs and Mars clans – together hold over $348 billion. Since 1983, their wealth has expanded almost 6,000 percent, adjusted for inflation. Over the same period, the median U.S. household wealth has declined 3 percent.
If we are concerned (and we should be) about the health of our economy, strengthening – not eliminating – the estate tax is the solution.That is the kind of policy that will ensure our government represents the average person, rather than becoming a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.
When Congress established the estate tax a century ago to put a brake on the build-up of concentrated wealth and power, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed, “You can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or democracy. But you can’t have both.”
We are hurtling towards a destabilizing level of inequality and bold measures are required. Our elected leaders can’t make the 1 percent be generous, and I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath waiting for Devos to give away her inheritance. But we can require them to pay their fair share.
Democrats in Congress should advocate for a progressive estate tax: with graduated tax rates starting at current levels of 40 percent on wealth over $10 million and rising to 100 percent over a billion. Under current estate tax law, someone with $15 million and $15 billion pay the same rate.
This proposal is not without precedent. In 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress instituted an estate tax of over 90 percent to thwart the “economic royalists” of that day.
Not comfortable with 100 percent or even 90 percent? Well, a good first step is to support Senator Bernie Sander’s new estate tax initiative that would levy a 77 percent rate on inheritances over $1 billion.
We are at an inflection point: Do we protect our democracy or become a plutocracy? It’s time to knock the crown off the Devos crowd, so we can build toward an economy that doesn’t serve the interests of a few households.
Chuck Collins is the great grandson of the meatpacker Oscar Mayer and the author of Born on Third Base and, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. He is a founding member of the Patriotic Millionaires.
B O L O N G A
the woman in this video is the Prime Minister of Iceland
I have been going down the rabbit hole on a couple of electoral things lately, thinking about congressional districts, gerrymandering, and the electoral college. Things I didn’t know:
From 1793-1913, Congress enlarged the House after every census except 1840. When we landed at 435, the 1913 US population was about 93 million. In 2019, we are about 330 million. We used to have a rep for every 214,000 people. Now we have a rep for every 760,000.
Since 1967, single member districts have been required under federal law, 2 usc 2(c). Absent this law, states could apportion seats alotted to them in any manner that insured proportional representation by population vote (one man, one vote).
The electoral college is 538, derived from 435 house, 100 Senate, and 3 for DC. Unlike the single member law, states can award their electoral votes however they want.
This was great
Seder so much