Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Brexit pain will cease when the lesson is learned

We Remainers still haven't learned the lesson of Brexit; the entire nation still hasn't learned the lesson of charismatic leaders, and their fatal flaws.

The lesson of Brexit that Remain has not yet learned is that it profits us nothing to be consistently kind and forgiving of the Brexiteers, who, from the first day, attacked us verbally and often physically, and who welcome hooligans to their ranks. 

The lesson the nation hasn't learned is that following a leader such as Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson is the same thing as giving up your intellect, your powers of discernment and ability to differentiate truth from wishful thinking, in ourselves or in others.

Pema Chodron, the first American female rinpoche--learned Buddhist monk--said it best: "Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know."


I would like to short-circuit the learning curve, so we could get rid of Brexit by tomorrow morning and Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn the day after.

By the way, they look different, they sound different, and they are supported and espoused by different populations of people. But they are exactly alike. 

Neither man is as well-educated as he claims; both men have chosen the path of plebeian popularity to spread their lies through society. Johnson's lies are big and bold and overly right-wing; Corbyn's lies are small and sneaky and overly left-wing. Not the same, but equal. (It is worth noting that recently, Corbyn's lies have become almost as blatant as Johnson's. He said he would step down after the 2019 general election; he has not. Despite the fact that his party took the worst beating, under his leadership, it has suffered in 100 years.)

Both men attended exclusive prep schools. Both men worked as journalists early in their careers. Johnson was a right-wing eurosceptic; Corbyn is a left-wing eurosceptic. 

Both work very hard at gathering around them platoons of people to witlessly sing their praises, failing to notice that there is nothing to praise them for. Empty barrels, in short, lionising the emptiest barrels that there are: career narcissist politicians.

Neither Johnson nor Corbyn is quite as blatant as Donald Trump, but that is probably just cultural conditioning. The US is light years more brazen than the UK will ever be...and still, Johnson comes close.
We must learn, immediately, that following any leader whose standard modus operandi includes verbal lies as well as denying what he is (Johnson portrays himself, what with the stupid hair, as a regular bloke; Corbyn, what with the tweedy look, portrays himself as professorial.)

Of course, that barn door has already been flung open and we will have to work awfully hard and fast to regain what we have lost.

As for the behaviour of Remainers, it must change if we really want change. No, we do not have to suborn a bunch of football hooligans to bash people on the street. We do not, god knows, need to look for a counterpart to Nigel Farage.

What we do need to do is STOP BEING SO GOD DAMNED NICE, SO FUCKING RATIONAL. Who gets the best service? The meek? Nah, the guy who bangs on the counter and demands attention NOW. It is sometimes embarrassing, I will admit, to go over the top when a reasoned approach would work. Indeed, on a personal level, it happened to me yesterday. messed up; I reamed out the Amazon supplier; it wasn't REALLY their fault. I'm a bit embarrassed. But guess what? I did not have to pay for that which I did not receive. I suspect I can sustain a bit of embarrassment for 100 quid.

And that's what we have to do. We have to go overboard, over the top, in every possible venue, to every possible obstructionist in or out of government, to every single person who has attempted to make our lives a living hell while we shyly smile and refuse to be less than polite, less than--if you will--British. 

Read James Felton's 52 Times Britain was a Bellend: The History You Didn't Get Taught At School; you'll quickly see that British manners and decency has often been a myth anyway.

I'm not suggesting we attempt to steal all of India's salt or the money to pay for it, nor that we should ship all of Ireland's potatoes to Britain and starve the Irish (see above). I am suggesting that we develop ways and means to starve the current horrific government of what it wants most: Our cooperation and a very great deal of docility in the face of the grave danger they have thrust the nation into.

So here, in my opinion, are the lessons we need to learn.

Regarding leaders: They are all liars and wankers until the prove otherwise, and if they have created an image not true to their nature, all the more reason to get rid of them AT ONCE.

Regarding Leave: We have let it go too far, not having stopped it before it was a fact of life (see wankers and liars, above). So now we have to get really mad, really objectionable, so that they will, for a change, fear us. We don't have to physically beat them, and should not; that's immoral in anyone's  book. But we should--we MUST--make their political lives so uncomfortable that even though they are liars and wankers, they find they must give in to save some shred of their dastardly careers.

To repeat: "Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know."

But this is the real world, not a Buddhist temple, so we have to also act on what we have learned to make the bad juju go away.



Copyright 2020, Laura Harrison McBride

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tories: Are They F*cking Nuts?

Image result for Marty Feldman Igor
Marty Feldman as Igor from the 1974 film, Young Frankenstein.

On Twitter this morning, a tweeter noted that he had just received an email from the Conservative Party asking him for a donation to help it get Brexit done.

Was it true? I used to be annoyed by the Conservative mail monkeys, but I FINALLY got them to unsubscribe me from their mailing list, as I had no idea how I had ever got on it. Anyway, I couldn't directly check, and the tweeter had not included a screen shot of the begging email.

I believe it is true, as a look at their website will indicate. Click here. 

To get to the begging part, you'll have to get past two photos--one in motion--of BloJob doing what he does second best: blustering. (Lying is first, boffing, I contend, might be third.)

Then there are colour blocks explaining all the great things the Parliament of Fools is going to do as Brexit becomes real. They are ALL laughable, beginning with their beginning, the NHS. Then schools, then the economy, then safer streets. Don't laugh; they do manage to forget that all those things need attention because the Tories have gutted them for a decade. They are hoping we won't notice; the gammon won't.

And then, the piece de resistance: They ask for a handout. They admit they can't do this without us. They direct us to chip in now, anything from 3 quid to 100.

Let's put this in perspective.
A great many gammon were attracted by this bright, shiny object, otherwise known as fool's gold.

The Conservative Party/Brexit/BloJob promised 350 quid a week extra for the National Health Service.

The Conservative Party/Brexit/BloJob promised prosperity as a sovereign nation (which we always were), freed of the imperious demands (also known as cooperative agreements on which all 28 members voted) of the European Union. 

(Before I continue, in case there are any bollocks-brained Leavers reading, a UNION means that the members cooperate for the good of all. There is no dictator, just an elected leader. Sort of, in fact, like the UK...but definitely NOT like faux unions such as Unite, headed by a Putin Puppet who is going to try to FORCE a Corbyn clone on us....but I digress.)

The Conservative Party/Brexit/BloJob promised a vibrant economy. It promised untold riches if only we could get rid of the stinking foreigners clogging up the works by both taking crap jobs for low pay and sucking off great jobs at the top and repatriating their loot. (Neither vision is the truth; the truth is there have been EU citizens living in the UK at all levels of employment and wealth. The only faction that sucks off the cream of the economy can be characterized as home-bred Tories.)

The Tories forced the UK into a decade of austerity, needlessly. As the fifth largest economy in the world (now the 7th, a significant drop even BEFORE the Tories began begging for salvation), the fact that social services and military efforts and cops and medicine had to be curtailed had nothing whatever to do with need, but only with desire. The desire of the Tories to NOT pay any taxes while we paid lots, and to scrape off the cream for themselves. 

A few highly-paid Europeans apparently got in their way, as did the EU labourers who picked the crops. If you don't like the truth, just call it economical mismanagement and malfeasance at the highest levels of government.

But the result is this:

After forcing their nation into austerity while spending like drunks on themselves (by keeping employee wages low and by NOT paying taxes on their own huge incomes), the Tories are trying to convince us to pay more for the diminished business, social and cultural facts that are the result of their Brexit juggernaut. It is obscene. But then, it could be nothing else considering who created the situation.

To recap, so simply that EVEN a Leaver/gammon might understand:

  • Tories made you suffer for ten years.
  • Tories promised it would all be worth it when the HUGE dividends of Brexit--which arrives on Jan. 31, 2020--were in.
  • Tories are asking--begging really--for us to send them more money.

Apparently, the government's cupboard is bare, both from their refusing to pay any taxes and diminished taxes via pre-Brexit tax-receipt-gutting job losses. So now, after literally eating our lunch, the Tories want to eat our lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast. And we are supposed to fall for that?

The True Cost of Brexit Bus.  And now the wankers are dunning us for 'gifts' to make their ludicrous Brexit a slightly less damaging event than all but the witless know it will be.

There's only one thing to say: ARE THEY FUCKING NUTS?


Copyright 2020, Laura Harrison McBride

Monday, January 27, 2020

75 Years of NEVER AGAIN in Jeopoardy in the UK

Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination Camp today (Wikipedia)

In England* last week, the government expressed the wish to write a law preventing people from parking vehicles of any sort on any public land for any reason. What's it about? The Romany. The throwback government of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, dual citizen of the US and UK, and offspring of Prussian tossers (to use an English term for worthless people) has set about creating the hostile environment that will send packing any individuals who cannot reliably prove English descent. Never mind that English descent means primarily French.** 

Today I read of an American academic whose minor children were denied UK government approval to join her to live in Oxford, where she teaches. Why? The government cited various bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. The real reason? Her husband is a native of Cameroon. Make of it what you will.

For virtually the entire pre-Brexit period, the Labour Party has been defending/denying antisemitism. Some claim Jeremy Corbyn, still its leader despite losing four elections in a row, is antisemitic; others claim he isn't. My question is this: Why are we even debating this 75 years after Nazi death camp Auschwitz was closed? Why is there EVER a charge of antisemitism in the UK? Is the ghost of Oswald Mosley, Hitler's British toady, still at large? 

What did NEVER AGAIN mean? Did it mean "not in Germany"? Well, yes, of course. The German government has long adopted a very strong anti-Nazi stance. I read yesterday, however, that German police forces are beginning to show signs of significant Nazi infiltration.

Did it mean never again in the UK? We thought it did. But consider: England twice forced all its Jews to leave, inviting them back for the express purpose of permitting them one--and only one--profession: Money lender. After which, of course, the always inconsistent, not to say insane, Brits vilified the Jews because they had money. Well, duh. You'll never lose money betting on the thickness of a Brit's skull.

At the moment, Boris Johnson has available a roster of nationalities to vilify that would have made Adolph Hitler jealous. Included are, of course, citizens of the EU nations who came to the UK to work and live when the dunderheadedness of the football hooligan population was vilified rather than celebrated. But no one is safe now not even Indians. 

Remember India? That huge country Brits ruled with an iron hand for centuries..finally allowing Indians to live in the UK and open curry houses. I expect Indians and possibly Bangladeshis will be somewhat welcome as Priti Patel and Sajid Javid come from families who emigrated from the region. Oddly--or maybe not--Patel in particular is rabid about "foreigners."

Did I mention there was nothing to be known about the British brain that's more cogent than knowing its self-loathing? They have good reason, I must admit. Shipping starving Irish, whose country they had invaded, to Australia to sink or swim (which meant die mostly) for stealing a crust of bread. Setting the Middle East on fire after WWII by mucking about in Persia/Iran and in Palestine/Israel, two areas in which British behaviour is still inconsistent at best, inflammatory at worst. (I'll go with worst, if you don't mind.) 

That's all I've got. I'm trying to calm down my subconscious so it will quit making my physical life miserable, so I'm not going to delve any deeper or more specifically into the ludicrous lip service the United Kingdom pays to preventing wholesale extermination of people. Indeed, I am fully convinced that their morally challenged toffs (Johnson, Rees-Mogg, etc.) were easily lured into Brexit--as currently constituted, a priori vile to foreigners--by Putin whose own nation has long since been purged of Jews, Romany, Catholics, people of colour, Muslims, etc. (Don't even go there.Where? The "stans" that are primarily Muslim. Suffice it to say the Russians have not been kind to them. No more than Boris Johnson referring to Muslim women as letter boxes.)

So there it is. On Friday, little England is going to fete its bully boys, its football hooligans, its small-beer-swilling John Bulls by laying on a celebration--voted for by less than 25% of the UK's voters--of isolationism and economic navel-contemplation. This is a position from which, I predict, little England will become ever LESS protective of its Jews, Romany, Catholics, people of colour, "furriners," and anyone different--disabled, displaying Downs Syndrome, injured in some horrific way.

Never Again. In the UK at the moment, it does not apply.


* I'm using the term England because before the Brexit disaster is through, it will no longer be Britain (which includes all those living on the main "British" isle) nor will it be the United Kingdom--because Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will have taken back their independence.

** Without going into a whole history lesson, King Henry II was actually French and set foot in England precisely once. He lived with his wife--Queen of England--Eleanor of Acquitaine in several castles in central and southern France. So much for your "Englishness." Here's a photo of Chateau de Chinon, a castle in the Loire, one of Hank's faves; does it look British to you?
 Copyright 2020, Laura Harrison McBride

Friday, January 17, 2020

Excuse-ism: Now is not the time for this folly

In other places, at other times, I have mentioned that one of today's major problems is the Hallmark Way of Life. This includes the tawdry phrase “Love ya,” used ubiquitously as long as you don't actually hate someone enough to punch them in the throat.

It also includes being sappy about children to the point of abusing people who don't care to be around children and who might--gasp!--like dogs better. Or parakeets.

It includes parents who let their children run wild in restaurants, bothering other diners, but think management is “mean” if it asks them to control the brats or leave. 
More parents need to use the Naughty Step. Indeed, just under half of the entire adult population--those who still think LEAVE is a good idea, could use some time there.
It includes that ridiculous woman who, saved from death in an airplane by the efforts of hero pilot Sully, proceeded to sue the airline because she didn't feel well afterwards. (A sane person would have showered Sully with laurels and praised the airline that employed him to the heavens.)

It includes the knee-jerk compulsion to excuse any sort of unsupportable behaviour because:
  • The person had a tough childhood
  • The person is a recovering alcoholic
  • The person didn't grow up with money
  • The person grew up with too much money
  • The person grew up with just the right amount of money, which, in relation to the above two lines, is enough to send the person over the edge
  • The person had only one parent caring for him/her
  • The person was adopted
  • The person is old
  • The person made bad choices, such as, for example, using abortion as birth control instead of birth control as birth control, and then spewing about her continuing mental/emotional horrors 50 years after the fact. (*Get some fricking help, lady.)
  • The person was too lazy to investigate the situation he or she is now caught in.
My mother suffered from a mild case of Hallmarkism. When people did obnoxious things, she was in the habit of saying, “But she means well.”

Possibly that was sometimes true. But more often than not, my brother and I rolled our eyes because it was clear that the horrid neighbour who had just let her Great Dane poop on our new rosebushes didn't mean well at all. She simply meant not to have Fido's poop in her yard. And so on.

Maybe this seems like small potatoes. But I assure you, it is not.  Especially in view of the horrific things going on in the world today, and the narcissistic leaders encouraging bad behaviour by their idiot followers, and whining when they are caught. I refer to:
  • Donald Trump in the White House. (Where IS that puke symbol when one needs it?)
  •  Boris Johnson, God's own buffoon, forcing the UK out of the EU on the worst possible terms because he needs to catch up with the late Margaret Thatcher in the Vicious Political Nincompoop Contest. 
  • Vladimir Putin requiring ALL of his government to resign so he can alter the constitution with the intention of his retaining power beyond 2024, the time of the next Russian elections, according to the UK's only real newspaper, The Guardian. (Actually, I don't expect screaming from Russians; they've spent millennia glimpsing freedom for about a month and then going back to serfdom to some despicable autocrat or other.)
Trumpanzees have been whining for more than three years, despite being the most vicious, inhumane population of voters the world has ever seen. But it isn't their fault, you see. Why? Because:
  • Black people made them do it. 
  • Foreigners made them do it. 
  • Liberals, insisting on clean air and water, made them do it.
  • Democrats made them do it because they think the US constitution is worth more than Trump lining his pockets illegally.
  • And on and on.
Gammon, the new term to describe people who are as dumb and fatty as cured pork products, usually men, but also women, and applies to ignorant whiners on both side of the Atlantic.
The same sort of excuse-ism is at the base of all the whining and pleading being done by Leavers now that they have finally figured out that experts and Remainers were right, that there will be no huge windfall for the moribund National Health Service (NHS), that they will have to leave retirement in warm Spain for the cold and unfriendly UK, and that their savings are worth squat, soon to be less than squat. That their children's jobs are disappearing to more honest and friendly nations, and that their friends--or even they--might well die in the UK when they can afford neither housing nor food on their return, and the NHS lets them--from lack of funding--lie waiting for care in a hallway so long that they die.

They expect us, the population damaged by their selfishness and ignorance, to say, "Oh, poor wee thing. Let us help you." They will use the excuse that they meant well. 

Did they mean well?
Hell no. They meant to take your freedom, your money, and your life if it comes to that. Just as long as they could move to Spain without having to learn Spanish, creating British communities and contributing little or nothing to Spain, and NOT have people speaking a foreign language back home in the UK they'd left. Why? God only knows. But expats in Spain actually voted to Leave the EU because, in their otherwise depopulated town "back home," they had seen Polish signs in the butcher shop on their last visit.

So how are we supposed to counteract these lazy, wimped out, inward-looking (but not introspective) whiners who would rather have Donald Trump in the White House than actually assess the candidates and, even if not their dream candidate, vote for the one who will at the least not trash the population and tear up the Constitution?

Or, across the Atlantic, who were lazy and self-involved enough to avoid learning what leaving the EU would mean for all Britons, including themselves? 

How are people trained by the greeting-card society supposed to understand that sly grifters like Nigel Farage would purposely lie to them about how rich the once-great National Health Service would be after leaving the EU? Hell, Frog-rage ADMITTED the lie within 15 minutes of finding out Leave had won...and still, they excuse him. Why? Maybe because he's an unrecovered recovering alcoholic...and isn't that doubly excusable?


People who are so mired in excuse-ism are going to continue to excuse execrable behaviour in others, from their undisciplined child to a malignant narcissist like Donald Trump. Of course they will. Their own behaviour is execrable, and they want, more than anything else, to not only be excused for it, but loved for it, regardless of how ludicrous and harmful to others that behaviour might be.

Now that the penny has dropped about the horrors of leaving the European Union, and hordes of Leave voters are wringing their hands over their idiocy, even the UK expats who voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU are realising that THEY will have to leave their warm Spanish retirement homes. Believe it or not, some of the cosmic fools didn't realise that loss of EU freedom to travel at will and live where they desire would disappear for them—still UK citizens and not Spanish—as surely as for the dumbshit Leavers from deepest, dopiest Devon who are now jobless and, in many cases, still clueless and whining.

Ah, poor we this what I say? 

Not at all. 
I say, Tough Shit.

Copyright 2020, Laura Harrison McBride

Monday, January 13, 2020

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Bell of HMS Illustrious, damaged in 1941 by Nazi warships as we defended ourselves and EUROPE from their depredations.

How Remainers can hijack the despicable fascist Brexit celebration...and should

There is nothing to celebrate about ruining the lives of the citizens of the UK to enhance the wealth of the ruling class.

There is nothing to celebrate about driving a wedge into the EU, an organization that has kept Europe free of war longer than at any time in history.

There is nothing to celebrate in doing Putin's bidding.

Therefore, the bells should not be rung. Except as a death knell. Or in protest. But how?

First, some background

  In 1940,  

Ernest Hemingway's' novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It concerns a young American who went to fight in Spain with the working-class, democratic and anti-Catholic faction against the dictatorial, pro-wealth faction supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The working class revolt was crushed, and it would be decades before Spain got out from under the rule of the last of Spain's Bourbon kings, who was subsequently replaced by the vicious General Francisco Franco. Many of us will recall his death, at least as reported by Saturday Night Live in 1975, with Chevy Chase reporting, every week, that, “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

The concept of for whom the bell tolls is much older, coming from a meditation by John Donne and written in 1624. It was both prescient and chilling, and there is no single piece of writing on earth more germane to the travesty of Brexit. Even back then, those with intelligence knew that England and Europe were—and must be—one. 
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, meditation no. 17, by John Donne
“No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...."
In their galloping idiocy, the UK government and its witless Leavers have chosen the perfect metaphor for the grievous harm they are doing to the UK and to Europe. Their celebration of bells is, without any doubt, a rendition of Donne's tolling bells and not the celebration they, in their idiocy, imagine. It's a revisiting of Hemingway's Pulitzer Prize book. It would be funny, that they have chosen to celebrate their travesty with the one thing—the one event—that displays deeply and cosmically the wickedness of their actions, if it were not so deeply and profoundly sad.They are so profoundly ignorant that they fail to understand the words Donne wrote, that damaging any part of the earth we share is deadly. Deadly. And so, although their idiocy is worth a laugh or two, if only to get through the day, their wickedness is worthy of a death knell.

War-damaged bell, Berlin. When one nation decides it is different from and better than all the rest, war results. ALL sides are damaged. The UK has declared cultural and economic war on the EU, and none will ever fully recover. The UK is now a rogue, belligerent state.
Nonetheless, we have an opportunity. We can demonstrate their evil so that only those marked for eternal damnation (and I don't speak religiously, but historically) can fail to understand the magnitude of the horror they have unleashed. 

Don't toll the bells--smash them

What must we do, then? We must smash the bells.

How? Can we climb Big Ben and go at it with a sledgehammer? No. Can we smash our local church bells? Probably not, but if we could, should we? No.

What we should do is, at the exact time of the tolling, smash bells, any bells we can get our hands on. Loudly. In public. In front of the church or the town square or wherever the gammon controlling your locale plan to ring in their era of self-harm and other-harm.

Between now and then, we must organize a movement, For Whom the Bells Toll; Leave is Dead.

Or perhaps I, or someone else, will come up with a shorter name that conveys the the thought.

But we don't have much time. As for me, I shall change my social media to reflect For Whom the Bell Tolls. Please join me. And please organize the tolling—not the ringing—of the bells in honour of the death of the UK and the death of a bit of the EU on Jan. 31.

C. 2020 by Laura Harrison McBride

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Send DumbDonnie Trump for Riding Lessons

This morning, someone posted a definition on Twitter, in explanation of DumbDonnie's barring (illegally) Iran's top diplomat from addressing the UN. The post indicated that DumbDonnie is suffering (as are we all suffering) from his advanced case of ODD.

Adults with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) display a pattern of negative, hostile, and defiant behavior that lasts at least six months and includes four (or more) of the following symptoms:
  • Often loses temper
  • Often argues with family and coworkers
  • Actively defies or refuses to comply with rules and laws
  • Deliberately annoys people
  • Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Angry and resentful
  • Spiteful or vindictive”
I'm fairly certain he has that, something I once thought was a bogus disorder. Actually, I still do. I first encountered it 25 years ago when I was teaching riding at Columbia Horse Center in Maryland, a lesson academy and hunter-jumper barn where I had ridden a few years earlier. It was only a part-time gig for me—mainly I wrote books—but it was fun, I was apparently good at it, and extra money for something one loves is always good.

I had agreed with the program director to trade one of my intermediate classes for one of her beginner ones. Why? To be nice, I guess, as I'm not any more crazy about beginner classes—also known as up-downers—as any other instructor. It happened that, in the class of six kids of about ages 10 to 12, there was one fat, lazy rider. She would customarily trot as directed for a few minutes, and then would walk her horse—the biggest beginner lesson horse in the barn, and therefore a bit overworked from having to carry big kids and beginner adults—and park. And sit on him for the rest of the 45-minute lesson.

I would instruct her to return to the lesson, and she would tell me she had a headache or her stomach ached yadayadayada.

I didn't see a need for this obviously disinterested student to wear out a horse by plunking her considerable weight on him for no reason. So, I decided to have a word with her mother and suggest the girl—let's call her Carol—might prefer some sport other than riding. As luck would have it, the mother phoned while I was in the office on my break between classes, and I answered. I began my spiel about the girl possibly preferring some other sport and so on. The mother broke in by saying, “Oh, but Carol likes you; you don't yell at her so she doesn't get into trouble.”

Yell at her? I NEVER, EVER yelled at any student, except in terms of instructions, such as, “Get in two-point position NOW,” if I saw that they were annoying the horse by bouncing on him and would possibly be tossed...that sort of thing. Apparently, the program instructor had yelled at Carol, for precisely what I was annoyed about, to no avail. Hence—light bulb moment—the trading of classes.

Well, I was astonished. I had never heard of ODD until that moment. I hung up the phone. My colleague and dear friend Mehdi, an incredibly talented Iranian rider and teacher at Columbia, entered the office.

“Guess what? I just had a talk with Carol's mother.”


“She told me the kid has ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder.”

Mehdi asked me what the symptoms were. I told him what Carol's mother had told me, and without missing a beat, he said, “Maybe I'll get Tourette's Syndrome for instructors. Maybe I'll go into the ring and say, OK, everyone FUCKING trot.”

So we laughed. But the fact is, both of us thought ODD was a crock. Each of us, cut from the same mental/emotional cloth despite his being an Iranian from a wealthy family and I an American from a working class one, believed in the same things. Riding. Decency. Respect. Industriousness. And most of all, involved and active and moral raising of kids.

Working at a posh academy in suburban DC, we saw lots and lots and lots of spoiled brats. Riding was, in fact, usually what saved some of them, taught them how to apply themselves to learning a skill, and how to consider the animals they were, literally, abusing with their horrid equitation for the first couple of years, and treat them kindly and well afterward, brushing them and giving them carrots and apples. In addition, we demanded attention and respect, rewarded endeavor and not just success, and did not make exceptions. Ever. Which is what parenting used to be, did it not?

I wish I had a dollar for every parent that told me he/she couldn't believe how attentive and respectful their kid was to us when the same kid was a horror show at home.

I wish I had had a means to correct the parents who removed their kids from lessons because they thought the child should be a riding superstar when that same kid was barely competent to sit on a horse and walk it but nonetheless wanted to jump a four-foot fence.

I wish I had had dozens of parents like the policeman whose daughter rode at Columbia, a very expensive proposition indeed on his salary, who told me he would spend every penny he had to keep her riding and not hanging out at the mall with low-lifes.

So the US President more than likely—well, almost certainly—has, among his other mental aberrations, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. ODD. A made-up disorder if I've ever seen one. A disorder that could probably be avoided in 99 percent of cases by some decent parenting. Tourette's Syndrome isan aberration of the central nervous system, and even so, many people can control it. ODD is an aberration dependent on the two choice-based activities of opposition and defiance. End of story.

In case you're now saying, well, the author is—duh!--an author and not a shrink, consider this from the venerable Mayo Clinic:

“There's no known clear cause of oppositional defiant disorder. Contributing causes may be a combination of inherited and environmental factors, including:
  • Genetics — a child's natural disposition or temperament and possibly neurobiological differences in the way nerves and the brain function
  • Environment — problems with parenting that may involve a lack of supervision, inconsistent or harsh discipline, or abuse or neglect”
I think that gets it. And here's the layman's explanation: A child's natural temperament may also ensure that they DO NOT get ODD regardless of how execrable the parenting might be, and See Environment, above. The naturally competent, sunny children will weather horrid parenting; those who are less equable or possibly less able to make connections (i.e., think) will not.

I give you, then, Donald J. Trump, ODD as his horrific parents made him, but now, as a chronological adult, responsible for his own tantrums, now being condoned and fostered by the monstrous “parents” of the Republican Party.


Copyright 2020 by Laura Harrison McBride

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

To Tories, you are a bait dog

A bait dog

For the Tories, you are a bait dog.

The disturbing photo above appeared on my Facebook feed a couple of days ago, labeled Bait Dog, and imploring us to ban dog-fighting.

The photo has been in my head ever since. BUT...

It is also emblematic of the way the Tories have treated the entire UK population since that  overgrown juvenile, David Cameron, first set foot in No. 10, Downing Street.

For the Tories, we are bait dogs. 

For ten years, a great part of the UK population has been kept barely alive through cuts to social services at the very moment the Putin-led Brexiteers* are causing corporations to flee across the Channel, taking our jobs with them.

Finally, when we are no longer useful--no longer able to even crawl into the dog-training pen to be bitten by bigger, stronger dogs yet again--we are tossed onto the trash heap of a diminished National Health Service (NHS). There, we may be saved, or we may die. It is almost certain, after the loss of thousands of nurses fleeing the hostility in the UK, we will lie in pain on a gurney in the hallway for hours. Hours that might kill us for want of a timely injection or emergency procedure.

Like a bait dog on a trash heap.

What doesn't kill us will see us pleading with landlords to let us remain until Universal (no) Credit sees fit to issue the funds we qualified for after losing our job to Brexit corporate flight. 

Failing that, we will have to join the army of homeless, a population that has increased a whopping 165% since the Tories came to power.

To the Tory horde, you are but a bait dog, a piece of meat with which they can make more money. 

They don't have to feed you much; that's why Universal (no) Credit was created. So their taxes, even before investing in overseas companies without paying any UK taxes, are low. (The Tories want Brexit because otherwise, under new EU rules, they won't be able to offshore their loot; they will have to pay taxes, that is, contribute to the nation that gave them their wealth. They do not recognize your right to even a reasonable amount of wealth; they do not recognize your right to live if it interferes IN ANY WAY with their getting what they want...more money.

The Tories have fixed it, by diminishing the NHS, so that they don't have to care for you when you are hurt or ill; if they did, they would have to pay taxes to cover the cost, since you are now unable to help yourself. And they won't do that; it would bite into their profit from offshoring their money. Easier to put you out on a trash heat with the rest of the used-up 'bait dogs.'

If this begins to sound as if the Tories will do ANYTHING to you to get rich and richer, you are right. ANYTHING. Including selling your health service to US Big Pharma and your lovely, decent food--when you can afford it--to the slavering maws of US Big Agriculture.

They certainly don't have to educate your children. Why? For one thing, many children won't make it to their first birthday. “Infants are more than twice as likely to die in England and Wales if they are born into a poor family rather than a wealthy one, and the gap is widening,” according to an expert quoted here

Your children are bait puppies.

Aside from that, if those children manage to grow up, there won't be many jobs in the suddenly third-world backwater formerly known as the UK and once the fifth-largest economy worldwide, stunning for such a small nation...destroyed by Tory greed, not for all of us, but for themselves. 

The UK, destroyed, for the small cadre of Eton educated men (and a few women who masquerade as such like May and Patel) who are willing to destroy anything to increase their wealth and power with no regard for their nation or anyone in it. Except themselves.

To Tories, you are expendable. A bait dog. A substandard being useful only for what you can do for them. And then, you can disappear. They don't want to feed you, house you, or educate you beyond what is needed for you to live a short miserable life costing them almost nothing. If you fail to clean their house, pick their crops, or make their cars, you are of no use to them, none at all. And you will find yourself, very shortly, at the side of the proverbial road, your many cuts bleeding, your limbs and spirit broken.

That, friends, is what the Tories want for you. If they tell you anything else, it is advertising, meant to trick you into buying their vision of a perfect future--for THEM.
You are a bait dog for the Tories, nothing more. NOTHING more.

* Farage? Just a shill, a creepy one, but still a shill.

Copyright 2019, Laura Harrison McBride


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Suffer the children: A poem for these times

A stormy evening in Plymouth, Devon, UK

Suffer the children

by Laura Harrison McBride

I'm hearing the screaming this morning. The
screams of Jamal Kashoggi as he was
hacked apart for telling the truth, and
wanting to marry his beloved lady.

I'm hearing the silent screams of the children
in the “showers” of Auschwitz as the
Third Reich ended innocent lives of Jews,
gypsies, Catholics, the disabled.

I'm hearing the impassioned wails of mothers
separated from their children, sent back to
South America without the young they bore
and nurtured and tried to bring to a promised land....

The land has lost its promise.
It survived its massacre of the Algonquin,
the Sioux, and all the other unique people
and cultures of North America.

It survived its enslavement of bewildered
souls transported forcibly from Africa, where
they had ruled the hostile jungles, but could not
overcome the more hostile—and well-armed--
Confederate slavers.

It struggles, now, to survive a platoon of
cockamamie self-styled pastors whose
similarity to their own saviour is as close as
is mine and yours to a rabid dog.

It struggles to survive an educational system
rendered impotent so George Bush's wastrel
brother could sell computers and standardized

It struggles to survive a health-care system in which
only the wealthy survive, thus ensuring that the next
generation will be saddled with too many useless, lazy
supernumerary trust-fund people for even the brawniest
economy to support. Unless, of course, the brawny workers
die out, leaving the helpless wealthy to carry on, which
equals the end of America.

It struggles with memory loss. Some don't even know
what the Holocaust was. Some forget that Russia has never
been anyone's friend, never. Not in all of recorded history.
And not now.

The population struggles to remember that they, too, can die
hungry and alone, unwanted and terrified. Indeed,
they don't understand that that end is more likely than
dying a self-made millionaire, a celebrity, or even
a Kardashian. Which is their dream, supported by
a culture that knows it is not possible, not for 99.999999%
of them, but profits on promoting the falsehood.

They don't struggle with uncertainty. Having to weigh
the relative merits of various courses of action is beyond
their pay grade. They lack the education to do it. Their
spiritual leaders are the cockamamie clergy, insisting
that Jesus would consign black or brown or yellow
people to earthly perdition despite abundant evidence
to the contrary in their own holy books. They do not
struggle with uncertainty; they are sure that black is white
and good is bad and they will arm themselves to the
teeth to make the rest of us believe it. They bear the
mark of Satan, all right, but also the vacant face of
the moron.

“Suffer the little children to come unto me”
does not mean, as one of the hollow clergy said recently,
excusing the Border Patrol, to make children suffer.
Suffer, Biblically and for eons more, means to allow. 
But...they are uneducated,
the clergy and their followers. And so, the words
of a man of peace are used as an excuse for acts so vile
that I cannot even list them without first taking strong drink.

I would scream. I do scream. My body, racked with pain
these two years since the UK referendum and Trump,
vibrates to the discordant notes—although discordant sounds
not strong enough—of the misery of two peoples, the British
and the American. There is no consensus on what is causing
my pain, but I know. It is the spectre of evil, settling on us
like a poison-laden mist. When it lifts, the physical pain will, too.

I wish I could pray.

Maybe they—we—deserve this misery, the misery that
has tripled homelessness, made prescriptions for anti-depressants
skyrocket in the US, disappear entirely from the Tory-gutted
NHS, leaving good people in pain and dying, slowly or fast.

We spent our attention elsewhere
when the robbers were filling their satchels with our culture,
and enticing our politicians to join in the robbery. We spent our
attention elsewhere when the disaffected claimed all
politicians are the same, all clergy fools. There are some of
each, but we consigned all of them to the trash heap, bidden by
people too lazy to think, to discern, to decide, to act when
action was demanded.

It is our own fault, the vile situation in two nations. We
failed to notice the Russian Runt as he weaved in and
out among honest, decent leaders. (Don't go there. Clinton
was a man, not a demon. Blair was a middle ground between
cockamamie socialism and the Tories, and not faultless.
In short, a man.) We must learn to accept partially flawed
leaders lest we get totally flawed ones, evil ones like Trump
and May, Putin and Johnson.

Are you perfect? But are you good? Do you try? Are you kind?
There, then. How can we expect more in our leaders. Goodness,
energy, humanity. I'd settle for that.

I will settle for that and celebrate it if the US and the UK survive.

I give it no more than 50/50 odds. And I'm still hearing the screaming.

C. 2018, Laura Harrison McBride

Brexit pain will cease when the lesson is learned

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