What Did You Learn in 2020?

Source: NationalPriorities.org Tradeoffs

Some of the things I learned in 2020 were useful and probably will remain so going forward. For example, how to produce videos (and plan for the time suck known as post-production). Others were interesting and useful at the time, but it’s unclear how they’ll apply to this Boomer’s future life. For example, how to win at British parliamentary style debate.

Some things I already knew but received much more evidence for in 2020:

A team of people collaborating with a common goal can accomplish more than any given individual can accomplish.

Distrust for authority will influence people to act against their own (and society’s) best interests when it comes to public health.

Pranksters were busy in 2020. Here are designs allegedly for Space Force which turned out to be a hoax (the Nazi-like uniforms, not the Space Force).

All space programs are fundamentally military programs.

Screenshots from Google News on the final day of December, 2020.

The ginning up of support for space programs both public and private is covert militarization of public sentiment. And probably a military recruiting tool as well.

The ginning up of support for nuclear power is also being done with military applications in mind.

Information conveyed by corporate-controlled organizations, including National “Public” Radio, manufactures consent for continued militarism and promotes ignorance about the forces driving our global climate emergency.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And government in the U.S. exists to make sure of it.

False dichotomy and the personification of everything are still the leading errors in thinking used to control the masses. My run for elected office was an attempt to use one to combat the other. Jury is still out on whether this can be done, and whether or not it is a beneficial approach.

Things I did not learn in 2020 but hope to make some progress on in the new year:

How to be most effective as an information worker in a corporatized, capitalized world that rapaciously consumes nature including humans. For example, is my time and energy working for an anti-racist transformation best spent lifting up marginalized voices, working to organize white supremacist-leaning working class, a combination of both, or something else altogether?

How to make my actions as effective as possible in realizing the better world that I know is possible. I’ve tried protesting, marching, rallying, civil resistance, speaking, writing for mainstream publications, blogging, meeting with elected officials, petitioning, social media posting, street theater, and door knocking. Also running for elected office, also lobbying at the state level and the federal level. I’ve joined some organizations and helped start others. Also spent some decades teaching for critical thinking which I have National Board Certification in.

Link to buy the book here.

While I ponder all this I’ll be promoting my first published book, something I need to learn how to do.

I will also will be facilitating education for a small pod at the preschool level. I could claim I’m doing that because I know for a fact that empowering young learners makes a positive difference in the world. But the truth is, I’m following my bliss.

And, while pondering, I’ll take on a local project to improve the community I’m temporarily living in. One I can do safely while observing covid protocols in a state that is telling people EMTs will no longer be able to send cardiac arrest patients to hospitals because California hospitals are maxed out on ICU beds for covid patients.

Something I’ve spent the end of 2020 doing is taking time to process my grief over the pandemic and its harms. 

I was so busy when it hit that I, of necessity, made accommodations for it but powered onward through my busy, busy days with taking time to grieve. 

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer “For health-care workers during COVID-19, the burnout is real, and it’s getting worse” Dec. 1, 2020  photo by Heather Khalifa

I’ll grieve for all the families who’ve lost someone. Grieve for all the health care workers strained to their breaking point. Grieve the greed that has killed millions forced to work in unsafe conditions without health care or sick leave from their jobs.

2020 has been so difficult that people have yearned for a new year to begin. 

I hope we don’t find a future so harsh that we look back on 2020 as the good old days.

Cloud Of Darkness Over Future Of US Still Led By Warmongers

“Cloud of darkness” was trending on Twitter when I got up this morning. It means one thing to gamers but this boomer couldn’t help but feel it probably was a reference to our collective future governed by the president-elect’s cabinet picks.

Putting female warmongers in prominent roles to please Democrats already trained to regard the warmongering Hillary Clinton as a desirable “leader” is absolutely unsurprising. What’s only mildly surprising are the weak, insincere protestations sponsored on corporate media outlets like CNN and MSNBC. 

Cutting the mic of commentators who question the wisdom of appointing, say, Rahm Emmanuel, is entirely in character for these manufacturers of consent.

Because if you’re trying to spin neoliberals as progressives, muting the pushback is essential.

To get back to my original point, trying to spin corporate hacks who peddle weapons to Israel and Saudi Arabia while unwilling US taxpayers pick up the tab as feminists is laughable. Well, it would be laughable if it didn’t fool so many liberals. Identity politics has been a potent management tool for keeping the brunch eating masses stupefied while the soul and treasury of the US is hollowed out by austerity to pay for endless wars.

Real feminist leaders like Kathy Kelly have been speaking out during this transition on the urgency of ending the 19 year war on Afghanistan.

link to video on YouTube if embed does not work for you

Here’s she’s joined by moderator Ann Wright, another peace leader, as well as Matthew Hoh, Rory Fanning, Danny Sjursen, and Arash Azizzada to discuss the prospects of this happening before Biden gets into the White House.

Democrats in Congress and generals at the Pentagon are putting up resistance, of course. If the cash doesn’t flow to weapons manufacturers, how will the campaign contributions and/or cushy corporate posts flow?

When you’re in the weapons business — as the US government surely is — endless wars is your go-to marketing scheme.

But the current occupant of the White House has shown less business acumen than some expected. Instead, he has appeared to focus on his image. Challenges like managing a public health crisis resulted in fatal damage to his persona as leader, but the remaining weeks do offer some opportunities for legacy repair.

Ending the war in Afghanistan (which Obama promised to do but never did) could be just the ticket. 

Pardoning Julian Assange, jailed in the UK for the crime of actual journalism on Obama’s watch and since, would also be a winning move and, as an in-your-face to his rival and predecessor, likely to appeal to the outgoing chief executive.