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Blatant CIA Recruiting Propaganda: Chuck (leaving Netflix Nov 1) October 24, 2016

Where does entertainment end and the manufacture and broadcast of blatant government recruiting infomercials under the guise of independently produced TV shows begin? I attempt to explore this gray area in a textual analysis of the pilot episode of the show Chuck that I wrote for a Communicating Across Cultures class I took at St Catherine University. You’ll find additional commentary below the works cited.



Who is behind the creation of television shows like Chuck that glorify the lifestyle of state sponsored espionage, assassination, and adventure?  The writers of the show, Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz, have a history of creating action-adventure fare, but this unique niche whose neighbors include Alias, MacGyver and 24 is comprised of territory they were entering for the first time in 2007 when the pilot aired on NBC. In an interview, they claimed they were inspired by the humor of the movie Spies Like Us, and it’s apparent throughout the pilot that the audience is indeed viewing a comedy as much as an espionage thriller (2009). But while the show’s creators may be two young guys new to the industry and upon whom a lucky star shines — a star that connects their writing to the best directors and network to showcase it — Chuck’s institutional purpose is likely much more layered and nuanced.



The foundation of the show is upper middle class America in a post-9/11 world; not the the realm of blissful ignorance of current events amidst the combination of fake smiles and socioeconomic prosperity that emanates from other shows to the average living room on Must See TV night, but a realm of fake smiles, hyper-beautiful people and socioeconomic prosperity that does — specifically — acknowledge world conflict and international affairs. Layer two is the introduction of Chuck himself, a nerd we can all relate to because he is not nerdy at all. Instead, he’s socially savvy, witty, and also kind: right away we learn he has a broken heart and that his surgeon sister and soon-to-be-brother-in-law are using all the power and privilege at their disposal to help that heart heal. We then learn that unbeknownst to him, Chuck has received a cache of government secrets in an email from an old Stanford classmate and that this cache has been uploaded, via a series of flashing images, into Chuck’s brain. It’s called the Intersect and now both the CIA and the NSA are concerned about the mystery behind the sender and the recipient of the email containing these encoded top secret images. Layer three is the introduction of the human representatives (and personified stereotype) of each agency. We learn that Major Casey, NSA, is “a killer — cold school” and that Sarah Walker, exuding confidence, beauty and charm, is — what else — a covert operative for the CIA who wears bullet proof bustiers and weaponized hair pins and takes kill orders from the Director of the CIA himself (with whom she is on a first name basis, by the way). Casey calls Sarah “the CIA skirt” in his most demeaning tone and Sarah calls Casey “a burnout” and means that in a commensurately belittling way. It seems to be the US government itself putting the institution in the institutional purpose of the show.




One can’t help but wonder if Chuck was designed to recruit potential spies to both the CIA and the NSA. Every Hollywood stereotype is repeated and refined: the message is that spies have Maseratis, diffuse bombs, drive cars backwards down stairs, pretend to be people they are not, get to break and enter without reprisal, and of course, keep photos of their clandestine romantic relationships with fellow spies on their phones and reminisce about trips to Cabo as they sit in the lap of a luxury suite whose floor to ceiling windows offer a breathtaking view of a cosmopolitan skyline. Rather than an ulterior or secondary motive, recruitment of future employees for these national security and intelligence agencies seems not only to be one of the messages (i.e. “wouldn’t you love to live this lifestyle too? come work for us”) but the original intention for the show. In other words, Chuck is government recruiting propaganda modified to incorporate characters who interact for an hour each week first, and a dramatic comedy about spies with a few recruiting messages thrown in for good measure second.



So who exactly is being targeted by this program? “Geeks, nerds and lonely dudes,” as Chuck says when referring to himself and his cohorts in the Nerd Herd (redolent of the Geek Squad at Best Buy), who fantasize about a life of adventure where the geek gets the girl and all really is fair in love and war (2007). As a television watching demographic, the working people aren’t totally forgotten: they can see reflections of themselves in the employees at the imaginary retail store called the Buy More where Chuck works (“buy more” itself being a command statement sending a strong message to the viewing audience to spend money, regardless of a slowing economy — recession would hit the next year in 2008).  The expert physical comedy and Carol Burnett-worthy one liners and farce will appeal to those viewers who enjoy a good dramatic comedy. And who isn’t patriotic? Certainly, there are many people who aren’t, but in our post 9/11 world, it is taken for granted that we are: patriotism is a hegemonic value. Many Americans in the year 2007 were reeling over the disclosures of the Bush regime’s constitution-violating surveillance and unlawful treatment of prisoners in the Global War on Terror. Chuck was there to remind Americans from coast to coast that it’s all for a greater good. Plus, it’s exciting to boot.



Images and symbols throughout the show reinforce that assumption of patriotism: the Intersect itself is comprised of a slew of triggering images. We see fragments of actual footage of terrorists about to behead someone, then in a flash, we see Lady Liberty and an American flag. A humming bird and a rose rotate in quick succession and then we see someone being hypnotized. Never was a television show audience bombarded with images in ways that are so openly geared toward inducing and reinforcing feelings of pride, righteousness and love of country.



This show is consistently funny — hilarious at times — but its Achille’s heel for the first forty minutes of air time is that it relies on and amplifies stereotypes that descend into derogotype. I was turned off the first time I saw the pilot by the way the characters came across as one-dimensional caricatures rather than people we could really imagine in those roles. But during the last five minutes of this series premiere, after Chuck is able to diffuse a bomb with the help of the Intersect in his head, the Casey and Sarah characters suddenly reveal their humanity and their devotion to protecting others, not because they know these random people who might be affected by an explosion but simply because those strangers are in danger and preventing them from being blown up is their job, one Casey and Sarah do well and fearlessly. But there’s a very gray area society would ideally confront when it comes to portraying actual government activities in ways that glorify morally ambiguous life choices, such as killing, surveilling, and detaining people indefinitely. Chuck himself is quite literally indefinitely detained and repeatedly surveilled over the five years this series was on air, and though the majority of the American people may not object to the existence of a CIA or an NSA, I do think we should question the ethics of going beyond writing and producing an exciting show about spies protecting our country from international threats and crossing the line that separates entertainment from the manufacture and broadcast of blatant government recruiting infomercials under the guise of an independently produced TV show. That being said, Chuck soon became one of my favorite shows, each episode outdoing the degree of suspense, last minute bomb diffusion, and romantic tension of the last.



Pilot: Chuck, Season One, written by Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz. NBC for College Hill Productions. Original Air Date: September 23, 2007.

New York Comic Con 2009: CHUCK Panel Live Blog; The TV Addict. Accessed September 8, 2016.





So the question is: Is it bad? Is it morally wrong for the government to collaborate with production studios to create this kind of patriotism-inducing call to service to our country? Actually, no. It’s just product placement like any other. We see people on TV drinking coke, we want to drink coke. But no one is forcing us to — the same concept applies to advertising certain career paths. (To wit: if watching Criminal Minds makes you want to be an FBI profiler, good — they need people to hunt down child pornographers and human traffickers and other sick psychopaths.) It’s not even morally gray. What IS gray is any glorification of torture or other unconstitutional acts. On the other hand, to its credit, Chuck did a great job of revealing the loneliness and anonymity the viewer might expect would be required of working for the government in such a capacity. Major John Casey is basically an alcoholic and Chuck Bartowski is often miserable as he finds himself entrapped by one love triangle after another and Sarah Walker literally has no friends and no life. That’s it. The writers — and the script suggests finishing touches (probably) added by very real government operatives — go out of their way to warn the viewer to think very carefully before seeking employ within the federal government.



What IS gray is any glorification of torture or other unconstitutional acts.



And as far as the glorification of torture and other unconstitutional acts goes, that is very dangerous, because its normalization is slowly but surely wearing away our collective moral compass; and the show Chuck does make light of it in other episodes later in the series. I will blog another textual analysis of the movie Central Intelligence starring the Rock and Kevin Hart to explore this paradox further.


**This show is due to be pulled from streaming on Netflix on November 1 so watch it while you can!


I’ll always love Bernie Sanders but here’s why I boarded the #TrumpTrain (and why you should too) August 29, 2016

Please check out my video and be sure to like and subscribe!


STRATEGY: Vote third party if you live in a historically red state in order to create a historical record of dissent but vote for Trump if you live in a state that is historically blue or is a swing state. Remember, it’s a just war we’re fighting. Hillary is just a pawn in the game, the human personification of a wire transfer. But the war is real — and it’s a war on corruption. We know what we’ll get with Hillary: four more years of corporatism. Trump may keep none of his promises (to stop regime change, nation building, endless war, the TPP, pull out of NAFTA, and bring back manufacturing jobs), but we know for sure that Hillary won’t. If we take a risk on Trump’s populism, the worst case scenario is four years of republican disaster that create the fertile ground for an even more progressive candidate to run in 2020. For example, BERNIE. Hillary has run for president twice and ostensibly, Bernie would be running a re-election campaign in four years anyway, had the DNC and the mainstream media not conspired against him to ensure that Hillary was the candidate and that Bernie never even had a chance.




Here’s the article on the Iranian asset that was killed because of those classified emails Hillary sent with extreme carelessness on an unencrypted server. Ruh-roh. The Nat Sec community doesn’t like you anymore, Hillary.


The second that Iranian nuclear scientist was hanged for treason, she became a liability. Think I’m connecting imaginary dots? Well, what day was he executed? And what day did Trump make his apology speech? Trump is now being coached by people who have a lot more to lose than their pride. Notice he’s walking back his immigration stance and skipping the torture rhetoric and no longer saying weird things like “Hillary and Obama are the founders of ISIS” and instead saying logical things like “Obama and Hillary’s actions in the Middle East contributed to the vacuum from which ISIS could emerge.”



Now, when Bernie warns us that if he ever tells us who to vote for, we shouldn’t listen to him — should we listen to him? YES.




Here’s Hillary earlier this month on a stage as her health publicly deteriorates. Hillary freezes: then her handler comes up to her and tells her to “keep talking,” but has to say it twice before it works.






And here’s 13 minutes of Hillary lying straight!



Here’s a HILARIOUS — and I mean HUH-larious — reading by Bill Whittle. Hillary Clinton is NOT a feminist.



And here he is talking with Stefan Molyneux about FBI Director Comey’s scathing statement on why the FBI would not be recommending prosecution to the DOJ, which to many of us sounded a lot more like “closing arguments” that beautifully outlined all the crimes that Hillary committed rather than an explanation for why he wasn’t recommending prosecution. Bill has an excellent theory that Comey essentially couldn’t recommend prosecution because of possible corruption inside the Dept of Justice and so instead, he disclosed all of her crimes so that Congress would demand a hearing (which it did) and call for additional separate charges (which they did). Lo and behold, the Clinton Foundation is being investigated for corruption as we speak!


My own personal theory (AND I’M SPECULATING) is that Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch did indeed talk about the grandchildren on the plane for 39 minutes, but especially about Loretta’s grandchildren and what might happen to them if Attorney General Lynch went ahead and charged his wife Hillary with any crimes. At that point, I speculate, faced with no other option, Director Comey decided to try Hillary Clinton in the Court of Public Opinion, and delivered his closing arguments in front of the jury of 318 million of her closest peers in the form of a live televised “official statement.”




And watch more about the donors to the Clinton Foundation in Abby Martin’s excellent expose. The whole episode is great, but I have it embedded to start at exactly 12:15 in order to get straight to the corrupt donors to the Clinton Foundation. $10 million from literal hell on earth Saudi Arabia, $10 million from billionaire oligarch Victor Pinchuk, between $1 and $5 million each from Oman, Quatar, Kuwait, the UAE and … that’s right, another friendly neighborhood Saudi billionaire. These are countries where dissent is punished with public execution. Oh, and a woman who is raped? Well, that’s adultery, you silly Westernized whore. And adulterers get stoned to death.




And here’s the conservative version of Abby Martin’s expose called “Clinton Cash.” There was a lot of pseudo fact checking, but lo and behold, it turned out that Clinton Cash the movie, like Clinton Cash the book, simply followed the money trail and documented the horror as it was. There was no need to make it look worse. Here’s the fact check of the fact check! Click here.



Now watch the Clinton Chronicles — the corruption goes WAY back!



Listen to Hillary Clinton pat herself on the back for getting a 41 year old child rapist off with two months’ time served in the 70’s. And she chuckles in nostalgic glee.


Watch Abby Martin’s excellent expose on NAFTA, “How NAFTA Displaced Millions of Mexican Farmers”


Don’t let David Seaman be the next Seth Rich.




Please vote! I’d love it if you voted for Trump but I’d love it if you voted period!


Interested in supporting my work? Click here.



Body Language/Speech Analysis: FBI Director Comey & the Inevitable Hillary Indictment June 10, 2016

Logic is hard. Critical thinking is no longer taught in our schools. Most colleges do not require a course in logic to graduate, and because the media can legally lie, even if people were skilled at drawing reasonable conclusions, they would often be basing those conclusions on false information anyway.


That said, let’s try applying a little logic to the Hillary implosion — aided and abetted by one Associated Press. Fact: The number of delegates required to “clinch the nomination” is 2383. Fact: Hillary does not have that many today. She did not have that many on June 6, 2016, the night someone blackmailed/bribed someone else at AP to discard all journalistic integrity and declare that she had enough superdelegates to “clinch the nomination.” AP claims that they polled all the superdelegates and that there were just enough to give her the win. This would be like polling all the members of the Electoral College and declaring that Trump had enough electoral votes to win the presidency! (Does it sound like I’m speculating when I use big words like “blackmail” and “bribery”? Well, that’s because I am. Simultaneously, I’m extending AP the benefit of the doubt — the doubt that they could ever do something so unethical, immoral and unjust unless they were under the incredible pressure of being blackmailed or bribed.)



FACT: There’s a date on the calendar when the superdelegates vote. That date — JULY 25, 2016 — has not come and gone according to the passage of months, days and hours that we measure using time-keeping devices and subsequently label “history.”




TRUTH: Hillary has not received the nomination. She is not the presumptive nominee. She is exactly where she was a year ago: Not the Democratic nominee for president in the 2016 election cycle.


Further, we can analyze FBI Director Comey’s word choices, body language, and tone of voice and see (and hear) that he does indeed plan to recommend to the Department of Justice that Hillary be indicted under the Espionage Act. Why? Because that is the law she has broken by allowing Special Access Program emails to go unencrypted on her private server for three months (from NBC: “the special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails“). Author and columnist H. A. Goodman explains the basic legal facts in the excellent video below (it will start at exactly the point in the video where he gets to that, 12:32). In summary, yes, some of the emails were retroactively classified, but that’s not relevant. Convicted whistleblowers sit in prison right now for transferring retroactively classified emails, so it’s a crime and one that gets indictments and guilty verdicts. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The SAP emails were born classified. There is no “retroactive” for those emails. They were above Top Secret from the get go.



But don’t take Goodman’s word for it: the recent release (5/26/16) of the State Department Inspector General report concluded that 1) Hillary violated the federal records act by not turning over all official emails before she left the State Dept and 2) that there was no evidence that she ever received approval to use her own email account for conducting official State Department business (or ever even requested such approval). So there’s ample evidence that she should be indicted. Will she? She’s betting she won’t. Her alienating presumptuous arrogance is embarrassing enough (for example when she says that the report won’t affect either her campaign or “my presidency”) but the disrespect and disregard for the law she doesn’t even attempt to hide is really over the top.


Frankly, I thought that there was a good chance that corruption would thwart the release of the State Dept IG report and, that even if it were released, it would likely be false. (And it’s damning — very damning.) The FBI, on the other hand, I have far more faith in (or rather, less doubt). There is no way to get inside Director Comey’s head and know what he intends to do, however, there is a fascinating theory that people are always confessing (literally, that people are always subtly revealing the truth with their words, tone and body language) and that if you listen well enough, you can hear what they’re really saying. In other words, there are three elements of communication. First, the words that are coming out of a person’s mouth; second, what they’re really saying; and third, what they’re not saying.


Cenk Uygur explains below that Director Comey, at a May 11 “Pen & Pad” Briefing with Reporters, was very direct in clarifying that there is no “security inquiry,” that in fact, Hillary is being investigated as part of a criminal investigation. Comey says, “I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry.’ We’re conducting an investigation. That’s what we do. It’s in our name. There are no special set of rules for anybody that the FBI investigates.”



But there is no audio in this segment from TYT. Those phrases are really an amalgamation of several things Director Comey said in two separate exchanges with a reporter. Here’s the first one, copy/pasted from the FBI’s website (except, it wasn’t a complete transcription so I edited it). Turns out, it’s not so direct after all. In fact, the way he square dances with the truth is far more revealing. Pen & Pad briefings are audio only, so we can’t see Director Comey, but in a way, that’s easier, at least for me. Undistracted by facial expressions, I can hone in on “weak” spots in his speech (this means, places where the societal mask we all wear disappears for a second or two).

Starting at 21:04:


Catherine: On the e-mails, Director Comey, are you doing a security inquiry?

Director Comey: (long pause – awkward!) I’m sorry?

Catherine: On the e-mails are you doing a security inquiry?

Director Comey: I don’t know what that means.

Catherine: So it’s a criminal investigation?

Director Comey: We’re conducting an investigation. That-that’s the bureau’s business. That’s what we do. And (pause) that’s probably all I can say about it.

Catherine: The reason I ask is that Mrs. Clinton consistently refers to it as a security inquiry, but the FBI does criminal investigations. I just want to —

Director Comey: Right —

Catherine: — see if you can clear that up.

Director Comey: — it’s in our name.

Catherine: Okay.

Director Comey: Yeah.

Catherine: Okay. So it’s not —

Director Comey: I’m not familiar with the term security inquiry.


BEST PART EVER: “I’m sorry?” he says, as if he has no idea what a security inquiry is and in fact, has never even heard such an bizarre off-the-wall term! A what??? A dinglehopper inquiry? A security yackamadoodle? How odd! I’ve never HEARD of such a thing!! Silly Catherine. Surely you jest! From what alternate realm do you descend where FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Inquiry? Inquisition maybe, inquiry — NEVER!


Ok, so he’s just a little too ready to respond with confusion to that question and a little too ready to feign innocence. It’s so funny, so actually hilarious that if it were say, Chris Parnell playing Comey in the SNL version of this exchange, Chris would not even have to exaggerate his intonation on “I’m sorry?” I think James Comey means, Sorry, not sorry. #sorrynotsorry


Let’s keep breaking it down: Cat goes, “on the email, are you doing a security inquiry?” and Directory Comey is all, “I don’t know what that means.” He’s actually being quite kind to Catherine in particular (she is one of the few people he addresses by name), so what does his faux-surprise pretend-ignorance MEAN???? Well, if we were using something I call “red neon sign translate,” he would be holding up a red neon sign that says, “the concept of a security inquiry is so absurd, so silly, and so illogical because the concept of actually and truly being investigated by the FBI is so measurably tangibly serious that downplaying it that much can only mean one thing: that Hillary is actually dumb which is measurably untrue OR she’s very very afraid; either way, I am not even going to acknowledge the insult to the entire Bureau that her euphemism conveys; if there’s anything I can do about it, she will never be our boss.”


Ok, that would be a big red neon sign. Fine. God, split hairs.


But WAIT — there’s more! Cat tries to make him admit on the record that it’s a criminal investigation when she says, “So it’s a criminal investigation?”


Now we get to hear his dad tone. All of a sudden he gets — just a little — pissed. “We’re conducting an investigation,” he barks says in a clipped tone. He’s not angry with/at Catherine, but again, he’s sick and tired of saying that they’re conducting an investigation because conducting investigations is all a bureau of investigation does. What else would it do? Really?


Then Catherine, taken aback by Comey’s departure from his generally jovial low key tone slips into hedge language: “the reason I ask” — she doesn’t have to give a reason; she’s a reporter, she asks questions for a living, we know why: it’s her job. But she feels compelled to gently rephrase her question because he barked at her and she felt bad for a second. She concludes with “I just want to see if you can clear that up.” This kind of hedge language is what we use on parents, bosses and other authority figures when they’re “in a bad mood” because we don’t want to get snapped at. Phrases that couch our request, such as “I was just wondering …” or “how would you feel if I possibly …” or “Do you happen to know by chance if/when/what ….?” instead of a direct question. She could have said, “You know why I’m asking — it doesn’t make any sense. Will you please state for the record that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation of Hillary Rodham Clinton?” But, he answers affirmatively anyway! TWICE!


He says, “Right. It’s in our name.” Listen to the way he says it: “Right.” As in, yes, obviously. Hillary is being criminally investigated. And then when Catherine starts to use a placating tone to communicate to him primally that she is not a threat (“Okay, okay”), he communicates back to her with his calmer tone, “yes, I know you’re not a threat; you’re good, and yes, you’re 100% correct — yeah.” He uses affirmative language twice here, with the word Right and the word Yeah. This is not a coincidence. This is a man who chooses his words extremely carefully, and has no problem with hesitating if he hasn’t found the right words yet (wise man — as my mom used to say, “Once words come out of our mouths, they can never go back in, just like bullets from a gun. And words can be even more dangerous.”).


There’s more. At 14:21:


Eric: I know you don’t want to talk about the Hillary e-mails but I’m asking anyway.

Director Comey: [Are you ashamed?]

Eric: Yeah, I try not to. You’ve indicated publicly, in Niagara Falls and a few other places that you were going to finish this up on your own schedule. You were in no rush. The convention wasn’t a factor, nothing else was a factor. Is there a concern in the director’s office that this investigation is now the subject of so much scrutiny and speculation that you’re affecting a presidential election, in a negative way?

Director Comey: All I would do Eric is repeat what I said before. In any investigation, especially one of intense public interest, and I felt this about San Bernardino. We want to do it well and we want to do it promptly. And so I feel –I feel pressure to do both of those things? (passive aggressive up-talk) What I said at some places, I don’t — I don’t see — I don’t tether to any parTICular external deadline? (passive aggressive up-talk) Look, I understand the interest in this particular investigation. I do feel the pressure to do it well and promptly. As between the two, we will always choose well. That’s the same general answer I hope I’ve [been giving] before.


Director Comey’s uptalk is pronounced in this exchange. When noticeable in a teen-aged girl, this voice mask is used to hide her intelligence because she feels compelled to hide any trait that could be a threat to others. In the head of the FBI, it’s super condescending. And he totally insulted “Eric” when he asked rhetorically, “are you ashamed?” Here’s what we know now about Director Comey (but could really have already guessed knowing that he was a US Attorney because they are lawyers who use words as tools and weapons to persuade juries): he can be mean. So, he has that streak of meanness. Now, we haven’t seen him in twenty different situations — we aren’t omniscient either — so we can only make an assessment based on the available data. Plus, he wasn’t mean to Catherine — he was only a little tetchy. The only time he was actually unkind was with Eric. And after all, we might be mean too if we had to keep dealing with idiots who asked stupid questions, especially if they were attempts to put concerns words in our office mouth disguised as questions.


So in order to truly gauge his character and make a well-rounded analysis, we need to look at at least two more interactions, with varying power dynamics. In the Pen & Pad briefing, the reporters were subject to him. He was most likely standing at an elevated podium, and they had to get permission to speak to him, to even be in the room. In this next video, he is on an equal level with the person interviewing him — they are both sitting (this is a position of non-dominance, and if the other person is standing, it is a position of subservience) and he was invited to be the interviewer’s guest. And in the third video we’ll look at, he is subject to a Congressional Committee, sitting below the members of a Senate Select Committee, looking up at them (looking up TO them, as a public servant, where the Senate represents the public — or the 37% of the public that bothers to vote in Senate elections).


I’ve capitalized or bold/italicized some words that Director Comey speaks, for a specific reason, below the video:



He says:

“Somebody asked me -uh- in the States about whether I’ve -uh- I think the question was, is the Democratic National Convention a, I forget what the question was, a hard stop for you or is that a key date for you or are you doing this investigation aimed at — and I said, NO. I — we aspire to do all our investigations in two ways: well and promptly. I’m personally close to this investigation because I want to enSURE [pause] that we have the resources, the people, the technology, and the SPACE [pause] to DO those things. And to do it in the way I hope we do ALL our work which is competently, honestly and INDEPENDENTLY. Um, and, I’m CONFIDENT it’s being done that way.”


So in communication element 1, the words that are coming out of his mouth, we can hear him say that he’s committed to concluding the investigation well, professionally, above board, the right way, quality over speed, etc, etc. It’s the same party line he’s been repeating for months.


But what is he really saying (communication element 2)? He says: I’m personally close to the investigation. Now, as we know, from a logic standpoint, the director of the bureau technically oversees all investigations but he says he’s “close” to it. The word close here is important. He could have said, “I am watching over my agents” or “I am doing everything I personally can to ensure the integrity of the investigation” but he doesn’t.  He says he’s close. What he’s really saying is that he’s close to finishing it. Now why does he mention space? That’s weird. Really weird. You don’t bring up space until you feel like you don’t have enough space, until you feel that your space is being encroached upon. For example, people who say they “need some space.” Space is also a word where his voice mask slips for a split second. Why? Because someone is likely hovering over him or attempting to infringe upon his space, probably someone who would rather the investigation stop.




Now, to deduce what he’s not saying, the most revealing of all the three elements of communication, we’re going to “do the math” and take all the pressure points or weak spots in his speech, every word or syllable where his mask slips (this is not a face mask, this is a voice mask) and add them together.




We then treat this like putting a ripped up handwritten note back together that is missing some of the pieces. No, we’re not reading it in context, but it could still be a very valuable source of information. The fun part here is that we get to fill in the blanks and move the pieces around into different orders (this also means that we are doing art, not science, and therefore the accuracy rate of our conclusion goes down).


So imagine that we heard him say, “No sure space do all independently confident” and we were like, what did he say?


There’s no sure space to do it all independently or confidently (?)


There’s no confident space to be sure or all independent (?)

OR, what I think it is,

There is no sure space (secure space); [I’m] doing all (everything) independently and confident [ially].



Yes, it is a stretch. And we’ll never know if this was the right analysis or not. The only thing we can verify (and I’m happy to be wrong — this is fun for me because I’m often right, but not always!) is that he’s close to being finished with the investigation, from communication element two. I predict it will be August of 2016 when the DOJ finally indicts Hillary.


I predict it will be August of 2016 when the DOJ finally indicts Hillary.


Additionally, watch his hands when he says he’s close to the investigation — his hands hold — nay, grip! — an invisible object. It’s very close to him indeed. There are other very pleasant aspects of his body language; I’m not going to specify all the indicators in his voice and hand movements and posture, etc, but they mean that he is probably a protective person, a thoughtful person, a person who can be violent sometimes but defensively, not aggressively, that he would not hurt women, that he has some regret (people who don’t feel regret don’t have an intact moral compass — we WANT indicators of regret), that he is very gentle toward children and domestic animals and vulnerable people, also that he’s methodical, logical, reflective, and talkative. Negatives? He likes the sound of his own voice, he likes giving advice and keeping people rooted to the spot while they listen to it because they feel obligated to, is moderately arrogant (the regret off-sets this and neutralizes the effect in his everyday life), is self-righteous, assumes that he is smarter than most people (although there are indicators of high intelligence and an excellent memory so he probably IS smarter than most people). Finally, there is also an interesting indicator of humility: it tells us that there was an event in the recent past where he realized just how powerful his influence on changing the outcome of a situation for the better really is (within the past 5 years, probably 3 years ago).



Now let’s go to that Hearing on Worldwide Threats, the Senate Select Committee hearing I mentioned earlier, where Director Comey is acting as a public servant and is thus the subordinate one in the power dynamic. Click here and then forward the feed to 1:04:46 to see the opening question from a Senator and then his response.



There’s no text for me to copy/paste and this hearing is long and sad and boring so suffice it to say, there are more indicators that Comey is logical, methodical, respectful of authority (both kinds, that which is endowed by rank and that which is endowed by We the People), humble, kind, protective of vulnerable peoples, along with new interesting indicators: that he is curious, deferential (he shows the most deference to Jim Clapper in this video; his body language indicates respect and admiration for the DNI), patient (listen to the way he explains concepts to Congress — he goes out of his way to not sound condescending toward them) and also happily married.



Finally, there was a second exchange Director Comey had with Catherine at the Pen & Pad briefing that really encapsulates my whole conclusion.

Catherine: I’m hopeful that you can answer this one.

Director Comey: Is it Hillary Clinton related?

Catherine: Yeah, but this is a really important issue though.

Director Comey: I don’t doubt that all of your questions are important. I’m just telling you I’m predicting the answer. As short as you can.

Catherine: I actually keep my questions very short (Cute — she knows she’s special and the favorite). [crosstalk 00:56:06] I consistently hear from security clearance holders that if they had done a fraction of what had been done by Mrs. Clinton’s team that they would already be in jail. Can you assure people that Mrs. Clinton and her team are being held to the same standard? That there isn’t a special set of rules because they are powerful and politically connected?

Director Comey: I’m not going to comment (pause) other than to say there are no special set of rules for anybody that the FBI investigates.


So, first he says that he’s not going to comment … then he comments — lol. So WHY does he comment? Because his moral compass compels him to. If he really doesn’t say anything (or regurgitates the same old non-answer he gave to Eric), then he’s not denying what everyone already thinks, that people like the Clintons get special treatment and everyone else gets a SWAT team at 4:00 a.m. breaking down the door and terrifying the entire building/block. It annoys him that he even has to say this (because in his ideal Just World it’s a given) but he grudgingly (after a pause) agrees exactly with Catherine’s word choice and echoes her phrasing exactly, “no special set of rules,” and goes beyond that — for anybody the FBI investigates. So now we know he’s idealistic and has an aversion to hypocrisy and bullies. Good! And what else do we know? That he is a person who is compelled by his moral compass. In the end, he will not be able to keep from doing the right thing and seeking justice.


So Bernie, you better stay in the race, Senator!








**Did you enjoy this body language/word choice analysis? Great! Please let me know on twitter and comment below!


***If you are the FBI, I would like a mug, please. An oversized one with the seal on it. You can send it to me at

Sarah Reynolds | 1299 Grand Ave #304 | St Paul, MN 55105


****But I would like Hillary indicted more than the mug, so if I have to choose, then the indictment.



Tell the @EPA: it’s time to ban #Organophosphates May 18, 2016

Filed under: Take Action,There's still time. — Sarah Reynolds @ 6:02 pm
Tags: ,

It’s that time again! The EPA is taking public comments on whether chemicals that cause cancer and are linked to autism and other developmental delays should be allowed on our food! And in our water! Let’s say no  … all over again! Just say no! No means no!


Click here, enter your name and address, and click submit OR copy/paste my slightly longer paragraph below into the text box and submit THAT. Also, take 30 seconds if you have time to read the original April 2016 report released by the EPA stating that these organophosphates are killing us, our kids and plants & animals — link at the bottom of the post. THANK YOU!! You earth lover, you.


It’s time to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. These nerve-damaging pesticides put nearly 97 percent of all endangered species at risk of harm, jeopardizing the existence of plants and animals listed under the Endangered Species Act. Multiple scientific research studies link these organophosphates to cognitive delays in children and a host of other detrimental human health effects. The World Health Organization last year announced that malathion and diazinon are probable carcinogens. The EPA should immediately remove them all from use. Please take action on this important issue.



April 2016 EPA Analysis: 97 Percent of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides

Copy/paste this into your browser for more info:


Organize & Galvanize: Democracy Awakening 2016! March 24, 2016


This April, thousands will mobilize in Washington, D.C., to spark a Democracy Awakening like never before. From April 16-18, we will gather in our nation’s capital to Rally for Democracy and call for a Congress of Conscience.



The movements for voting rights, money in politics reform, climate change measures, labor rights, peace, and justice for students, women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community are coming together to deliver a resounding message to our nation’s leaders:

We demand a democracy that works for all of us – where we have an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people and the public interest. There will be teach-ins to learn more about advancing voting rights and reforming money in politics (the #GetMoneyOut movement, including the movement to pass a Constitutional Amendment that will overturn the two disastrous Supreme Court decisions, Citizens United vs FEC & McCutcheon vs FEC, which both made it legal to donate unlimited amounts of money to election campaigns — anonymously! (They call it “dark money” for a reason.) AND there will even be a day of real lobbying where we meet with our Senators and Representatives (or their aids) on Monday April 18.

If that’s a vision you want to be a part of, join me in signing up to stay engaged. The Awakening will feature exciting panels and workshops, music, and inspiring speakers and activists like you from around the country, joining together to demand solutions.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United back in 2010, it undermined the integrity of the vote by allowing billionaires and wealthy special interests to drown out our voices. And in 2013, the Supreme Court dealt democracy another blow when it gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in its Shelby County decision.

We are mobilizing in April to counter these undemocratic rulings and ensure both the right to vote and the integrity of the vote are upheld in this crucial election year.

Our elected officials have yet to act and it’s critical that we hold them accountable.

Whether you care about climate change, racial justice, fair wages or ever-increasing student debt, change is possible only when we stand together.

A coalition of more than 110 groups, from the NAACP to, the LGBTQ Task Force to the National Organization for Women, the Postal Workers of America to Public Citizen, have jumped on board to make this April action historic. More are joining every day.

Join the fight: click here for more info. It’s a FREE event!

It will take all of us. But together, we’ll awaken the democracy we all deserve.



Want to send me to DC? Click here!


Here’s my pitch:



Thank you for your support!



Are you a fighter? February 7, 2016

Filed under: Income Inequality,Money — Sarah Reynolds @ 12:02 am
Tags: , , , ,

Income Inequality, the Gutting of the Middle and Working Classes, and What We Have to Do Next


The evisceration of the union-based job security of the United States Postal Service is the quintessential example of an ongoing social experiment: how much of the middle class chunk of the prosperity pie will the American people allow to be shaved off and redistributed upward? Long time readers and twitter followers know that I often call for the repeal of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. It required the pre-funding of retiree benefits for postal workers who hadn’t even been born yet (which is not required of any other federal agency and without which, the USPS would show a profit every single year) and was designed to bankrupt the Post Office and hand all the Post Office’s business over to UPS and FedEx. USPS jobs are (were) well-paying middle class jobs that never required a college degree; and that is the point. People at the very top of the American wealth pyramid who want our society to transform into a caste system don’t like the idea of people without a college degree earning $50,000 (mail carriers working overtime) or $70,000 (USPS middle management) a year. And other people in the system who are not rich and have seen their jobs shipped to Mexico, India or elsewhere and/or have seen their wages stagnate or decrease over the past 35 years are now working low-level management jobs at $35,000 a year, putting in 60 hours a week and know: this is it. There’s not enough money, not enough time, and I am not going to get ahead. Young people are being offered $11/hour “assistant manager” jobs at 30 hours a week in the same tone one might offer a lottery winnings check and no one is telling them that there was no such thing as an hourly management job that wasn’t full time 20 years ago. It would have been a full time salaried position with benefits — stellar benefits.


We could call it a conspiracy. Except it’s being done right out in the open.


Now, instead of asking, why is our middle class and our working-class shrinking? And then realizing that both are being deliberately, slowly but surely, eroded through a systematic process of 1) outsourcing, 2) insourcing via H-1B visas that allow our jobs to be taken by people from other countries by moving the people to the job instead of moving the job to the people, 3) turning full time jobs into part time jobs, and 4) turning salaried positions into hourly, we are instead operating in a bubble — the isolation of our own socioeconomic class — and that is what prevents us from seeing that almost everyone else is experiencing a similar or worse situation. But the glue that holds this master plan together? Media reports and corporate mouthpieces that promote a false narrative designed to make the masses feel that someone else is being overpaid. Overpaid because they’re in a union. Overpaid because of affirmative action. Overpaid because they don’t have a degree. Overpaid because they do have a degree but don’t have experience. Overpaid because they work for the government. But it’s happening to everyone. Everyone’s income is declining (except the 1%’s; 95% of all income gains since 2009 went to them — the other 99% saw a net decrease). We just don’t realize it because the strategy — divide & conquer, in order to pit us all against each other — is working.




Think $15/hour is high for a minimum wage? Consider this. It costs what it costs to live. And when people don’t make enough to live (pay for food, shelter and health care), society picks up the difference and its (our) tax dollars subsidize what the poor can’t afford to pay for with their wages.


Supporters of the $15/hour minimum wage, you have probably heard the latest complaint, “$15 an hour is really high for an entry level job.” How to respond? “There’s no such thing as an entry level job. The phrase is entry level position. It referred to a now rare opportunity to begin a career in a salaried position with the understanding that one would continue to work one’s way up a corporate ladder, through hard work and promotions, from there. A job is wage based labor. Entry level positions were careers that began with a salaried position of at least $40,000 a year in today’s money, with benefits. At $15/hour, even if a person got scheduled for a full 40 hours a week, 2080 hours per year, today, they would make at most $31,200, and of course wouldn’t, because they would now go into an income tax-paying tax bracket. Even after taxes, that is still enough to disqualify them for food stamps, subsidized housing and subsidized health care. They will not actually have any more disposable income than they do now. They will simply have to spend that additional $15,000 per year on health insurance, rent and food instead of our tax dollars picking up the difference through social welfare programs.”


Know why Walmart especially hates the $15/hour movement? Because the way it works now, they get to double dip: pay their employees wages so low that they employees HAVE to go on SNAP, then those same workers use the SNAP to buy food at Walmart! That’s the whole reason the Waltons entered the grocery market by creating Super Walmarts in the first place. And it’s actually even more brilliantly horrific than that: Walmart does whatever it takes to keep their workers part time, in other words, working 20 hours a week at the most to avoid having to offer any kind of benefits whatsoever (especially health insurance). So if one worker works 20 hours a week at $7.25/hour, that’s about $7,540 per year or about $628/month. Now, let’s say this worker is a married woman, and has two children. She could — and probably does — receive the maximum SNAP benefit for a household of 4: $649 (the difference is $138 less if she isn’t married and has 2 kids). She’s going to spend every dime of that at Walmart. Now, Walmart has actually paid her more than $628 per month. They’ve paid approximately $39 on top of that $628 into Social Security, so they’ve paid about $667 to have her work in their store. But they recouped $649 of it from her SNAP. Now, I can’t say what Walmart paid to stock that food — the profit margin on eggs, sugar, and milk is very low, so for the sake of argument, let’s round up and pretend that $649 worth of food actually cost Walmart 60% of the retail price (it didn’t, but let’s make this example as horrifying as we can within the context of knowing that the truth is probably even more horrifying), about $390. The $649 (SNAP amount) – 390 (W’s cost) = $259. So ok, they really only recouped $259. So $667 they paid to have her work part time that month minus the $259 they recouped through SNAP (keeping in mind it was probably more — a lot more) is $408. $408 x 12 months = $4,896. At 20 hours a week, that’s 1040 hours in a year. $4,896 for the year divided by about 1040 hours and they paid her a whopping $4.71 an hour. That’s how much it cost them (and we are rounding UP, way up) to have a woman — systemically impoverished because many many people benefit from the perpetuation of poverty — work in their store. Oh, and you, person who makes $50k/year at your crap job that keeps raising your health insurance premium and as of January 1, raised your deductible to something so high you’re actually praying to God daily that no one in your family gets sick, you paid for her food — and her family’s food. You paid for her health care. Not her health insurance, her health care. Impoverished Walmart worker has no health insurance premium because medicaid doesn’t work that way. The tax dollars just go straight to the provider with no mark up for an insurance company middle man. And Walmart got away with paying slave wages. Because we are being divided and conquered and don’t want someone who stands on her feet all day, carrying and lifting objects to restock shelves and perform other physical labor, to make enough to buy her own food, pay her own rent and afford her own health care.


And that, my friends, is the sordid scent of Walmart’s victory.



This is what it will take to turn things around: demanding a living wage for the poor. This WILL force all employers to increase their wages through upward pressure. The way to demand it is through reminding our elected officials that they work for us and that if they do not do what we want — in this case, increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour — then we will vote for their opponent on election day. Sign every petition that crosses your path. Vote. Vote again. Call your Congressperson. When you hear your family and friends say things like, “that’s a lot of money for a teenager,” remind them that that teenager should be the very lowest on the totem pole of workers and that a living wage will force employers to show preference to workers who are not in high school when hiring, and pay them more than $15/hour. Ask them, when was the last time $31k/year was enough for a person with kids anyway? $15 an hour for a high school student who’s going to work for a maximum of three months a year at more than 20 hours a week (and is poor themselves if they’re working that much, and is probably doing it to save for college) will at the *worst* provide more of an incentive for employers to hire adults. Everyone benefits when everyone has enough money to live and spend and buy cars and houses and save. Yeah, savings accounts!


Bottom line: you can make a difference in people’s understanding of what’s happening with income inequality with just a few talking points. Especially in the mind of your congressperson.


Memoirs of a Sigma Female January 26, 2016

I have been fascinated for some time with the power dynamics of the pack or tribe and have read with amusement since my early 20’s the slew of PUA (Pick Up Artist) books written by omega males pretending to be alpha males. Hint, wanna-be’s: alpha males don’t look for one-night stands. As in the animal kingdom, they display dominance by regularly protecting and providing for their mate — or multiple mates, concurrently, not consecutively. Omega pick-up artists don’t generate enough income to protect and provide sufficiently for themselves on a regular basis, never mind for a mate and multiple offspring. Having that much income is yet another way the alpha male displays his dominance. (Reader, if you’re wondering why I read these PUA books, it was so I could learn their m.o. and protect myself against such tactics. However, these omega males have a very distinct scent in their sweat so it turns out I never really had to worry about it because I would smell them coming my way before they ever got so much as my name.)



So over the course of investigating the differences between alpha, beta and omega men, I was exposed to articles and books regarding the characteristics of alpha, beta and omega females as well. I always felt like I was just none of these and wasn’t sure what to make of it (long story short: alphas are hyper confident leaders, betas are loyal worker bees, and omegas are — to be very very frank and oversimplify it way too much — losers). So I started looking more into the traits of actual wolves to discern the real world roles these tribal/pack roles play and found out there was such a thing as a sigma wolf. Sigmas are interesting: in the wild, they find themselves alone because they refuse to accept the authority of the alpha. Ironically, as a lone wolf, the need for survival itself forces them to adapt and to accept the role of alpha that nature thrusts upon them so that they can find a mate. Wolves’ prey is much larger than they are. They need at least one other wolf to help attack and kill dinner in order to eat it. (And you know what happens after dinner, with all that romantic snow and picked-over carcass. SEX. And 2 months later, the beginnings of a new pack. OMG, cute little baby wolves!! SO CUTE!! DYING OVER HERE!!!!!) **Also, I have terribly glossed over the traits and mating patterns of wolves in the wild so there’s that.**




**slightly related tweet about wolves from last month



Extrapolating that fascinating information, we can see that a sigma human too rejects the ranking and categorizing so prevalent in traditional human hierarchies, but will, in order to survive, “deal with it,” as it were. Sigmas overwhelmingly prefer not to be controlled — in other words, they seek autonomy. But because they have no inclination to control others, they avoid leadership positions. But they can lead. If they absolutely have to. (PUKE. Like during “team playing”! Where one person does all the work but everyone gets credit for it! Guess who does all the work to make sure the team isn’t let down? Yeah, SIGMAS. Fan-freaking-tastic. Avoid groups and group projects like the PLAGUE!) So, ok, I thought, that’s more like me.



Now, I’ve found that alphas are generally not that bad. Especially alpha females: they like me and I respect them. Alpha males are assholes. Bottom line. Even if they’re good, they’re horrible. Vengeful. Vindictive. Mean. Self-righteous. But they will jump in front of a train if it means the survival of at least two other members of the tribe. So, I guess we all have our bad points. And they reply to that short list of traits with, “True, true, true, true — but I thought you were going to mention my bad traits?” HA HA, so FUNNY, alpha males. Actually, alpha males and females have a great sense of humor and you get points with them for being funny — and for being brave. So if you ever find yourself around one, that’s how you get their protection. (If you *want* their protection — suffice it to say, there are good alphas and bad alphas and the price of their protection will be perpetual loyalty.)


And Betas can be decent friends; but they gossip, a lot, and rank and social status are very important to them. And most people are betas. Betas are how we got trends like rolling our jeans and shoulder pads. They will literally do whatever the magazines and the TV tell them to do. They’re not bad people. But then again, is there such a thing as a good or bad person? This blogger says no. There are only good or bad actions — or the worst of all, taking no action when you could have and it would have prevented pain for yourself or others. Betas act when alphas (especially alphas on the TV) tell them to.


Omegas are the most detrimental to the happiness and healthiness of everyone in the tribe. They are all the manipulativeness of Alphas, all the gossipy, easily influenced suggestibility of Betas, and all of the resistance to authority of Sigmas — and they can’t stop talking about themselves or complaining about how bad the world is. They personify lost potential. (Alphas would say they never had any to begin with but I don’t know if that’s always true.) When they talk about how fucked up they or their lives are, believe them. When they tell you, that’s just the way it is, life sucks, what are you gonna do, that’s the way it’ll always be, and subsequently you wonder if they ever had a history class, don’t even be tempted to explain that women can vote now and there is no more (legal) slavery in our country, or that things change when masses of people organize to change them. Omegas are rarely operating in reality. So when you point reality out to them, you might as well be speaking gibberish.



Which brings me to sigmas. Alphas love sigmas because of their usefulness to the tribe which hinges on one primary personality trait, indeed the trait which will define and redefine the trajectory of the sigma’s life’s path over and over again: a sense of obligation. Oh, you’ll miss your daughter’s recital on Sunday if I don’t pick up your shift? Sure, I can take it. What, you’ll lose your driver’s license if I don’t drop you off at the courthouse at 1? Ok … no, no, you don’t need to pitch in for gas. Say again, you need someone to testify at your name change hearing on Friday and I’ll have to use 4 hours of sick pay to do it? There’s no where I’d rather be! No one else can help the tribe avoid total obliteration on Saturday at 2:19 pm? Ok ok, you talked me into it … text me the address. There is a great way to avoid these situations, as the Sigma inevitably learns somewhere in their twenties, and that is to never give anyone their phone number. (True story. What, you don’t like email? Also going car-free when I was 28 took care of 90% of all requests for help. And here I was just trying to stop helping bankroll al qaeda!) But you probably noticed the running theme: a good cause. Sigmas respond to this like flies to honey. But it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, doesn’t it? When you think of the tribe as a single entity, always moving toward survival and away from destruction and/or dying out, the presence of specific members of the tribe who feel a sense of duty to make sure the others are ok or will be ok or won’t end up un-ok is a brilliant back-up plan, an insurance policy personified. If the entire tribe were in a van, sigmas would be the spare tire. They wouldn’t even BE a person — that is how utilitarian they are! (Metaphorically speaking.)



Now betas are going, but wait, I help out! Do you? Or do you say yes initially and then back out at the last minute and feel TERRIBLY GUILTY about SAYING NO at the same time that waves of relief wash over you? Do you really feel an obligation to do the right thing? Or do you suddenly feel overwhelmed by the possibility of missing an opportunity to show someone of social importance how special they are if your hand isn’t the first in the air when it comes time to volunteer? Betas’ volunteering is offering to set up and take down at the office holiday party. Sigmas are volunteering with Teach for America or the Peace Corps (or serve in the military or with another organization). Visualize this holiday party organization meeting: while the Alpha(s) are “delegating” all the peon tasks to simpering betas, and the omegas are complaining about how stupid and pointless another dumb holiday party without alcohol will be, the Sigmas are busy negotiating for permission to bring the booze. (True story — “But my awesome egg nog recipe just isn’t the same without the brandy. Couldn’t we just have the holiday party at a park? … Ok, that’s probably true … then let’s just have the party at a bar. We won’t need to bring the alcohol, the alcohol will bring us! Ha ha, get it???” “Yeah, we get it, Sarah.”)



But there’s a much simpler way to identify which tribal role a person plays. Alphas are perfectly happy to have sex with or without love (although they prefer with — but they are the last to know this. Ten years into their [second/third/fourth] marriage, they’re like, oh, yeah, this is better). Betas pretend they prefer with but what is most important to them is approval of the tribe: if the tribe says promiscuity is the way to gain status, they’ll be promiscuous; if the tribe says polygamy is the way to gain status, they’ll have multiple wives; if they tribe says abstinence is the only way to go, look who’s donning a chastity belt. Omegas find their way or are lured into bad sexual situations. It’s as if the batteries in their inner danger detector died and no one ever bothered to replace them. They do sometimes marry another omega but usually they sublimate their procreative urge into a fantasy world where actual responsibility is unnecessary. Second Life comes to mind. This is also why PUA (pick up artistry) is so appealing to more extroverted male omegas — they don’t actually want a relationship. The whole thing is a role-playing fantasy. At the deepest level, they know their chances of being rejected for a one night stand are far lower than for a LTR. And, oh yes, sigmas. Male sigmas would rather pay a prostitute (or sex worker, as they would ideally be called) then lead a woman on under the false pretense that there is any hope for an actual long term relationship. They see the uncanny resemblance between dating and prostitution and would rather pay straight cash for sex than trade dinner and a movie for it. (Which is actually way less degrading to women when you think about it.) And if the alternative is an unhappy fake one, a female sigma would rather be in no relationship. If you aren’t a sigma, imagine for a moment what it would be like to have no procreative compulsion, in other words, no ticking “biological clock.” It’s a freedom that I can’t really explain in words. But when I am around frantic betas or manipulative alphas who can’t stop thinking about how they haven’t gotten married or had kids yet, I feel this amazing sense of relief that I am not like them. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever have kids; it simply means I have no active desire to. I would have to have a very specific lifestyle and very specific type of mate before I risked my happiness and financial security that way. What do you call a job that’s 24 hours a day you can never quit and never get paid for? Were you going to say slavery? Funny — I was going to say motherhood.



What do you call a job that’s 24 hours a day you can never quit and never get paid for? Were you going to say slavery? Funny — I was going to say motherhood.



And now, the whole reason I was inspired to write this post. The other night I was quite nearly the victim of a slow-motion ambush by the human version of a pack of wolves at a Starbucks of all places. Middle aged mean girls. As I watched the alpha and her highest ranking beta use their tried and true techniques (meaning, strategies that had worked on beta outsiders in the past), Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz came to mind. They felt entitled to everyone around them bowing to their will. And why? Because everyone around them had in the past. But that night, they picked the wrong woman.


I was sitting in the chair on the right that night.

I was sitting in the chair on the right that night.


I was sitting in front of the fireplace across from an empty chair when the alpha walked in and sat across from me, her knitting bag in tow. I found out later that she and her Stitch ‘N’ Bitch crew do this at Starbucks locations across the twin cities, but at that moment, I thought she was alone. We said hello to each other (I went out of my way to make sure she knew no one was sitting there and that she was welcome to because I was raised by a sigma mom who taught me to be polite and considerate as a way of preventing war which ensures the survival of more of the tribe). Queen Bee took out her knitting and about 15 minutes later, the rest of the pack began to slowly trickle in. And they pulled their chairs so that they formed a half circle that ostensibly ended with my chair. Here’s a picture of what it looked like after half of them had arrived.


At the halfway point. Even more stitchers would arrive.

At the halfway point. Even more stitchers would arrive.


I knew it was too good not to photograph and blog about and took the picture above from the register. Then even more knitting mean girls arrived until the point where they literally had me boxed in! Now when I got up to go to the bathroom, the woman sitting in the chair to my immediate left that was keeping me from getting out said, “Oh! I’m blocking you in!” as she remained sitting. Yeah, this sweet submissive beta was feeling really brave in front of her Alpha. I replied, in her exact tone, “Yeah! You totally are!” Oh, Right Hand Beta (the one with her black hair pulled into a bun above) wanted to shoot daggers out of her eyes and into my throat. I wish she had tried.



Shocked by the combination of my perfect echo of her awfulness and my unwillingness to be group-bullied out of my own chair, Beta Number 5 scurried to get out of my way and moved her chair to the side so I could get out. As you can see in the photo, I had placed my laptop so that it occupied exactly half of the footrest in order to mark my territory. I had been watching “The Blacklist” and had intended to go home after it was over. But as I walked to the bathroom, I knew: I’d stay till every last one of those piles of yarn had left the building. When I came back, Beta Number 5 jumped right up to let me in (I almost gave her a treat for such a compliant display of good manners! She was learning so fast too!) and I sat back down. Alpha said, “Yeah, while you were in the bathroom, we logged into your bank account and took all your money.” Yep. I hadn’t locked my screen to indicate to them that they were zero point zero percent a threat to me. And Alpha didn’t like that. I didn’t even look at her. Please. She was a poorly trained mannerless consumer not a criminal. I put my headphones in and started pinteresting castles. Bun Beta Number 1 would glare at me from time to time and I’d smile sweetly. Then, hilariously, she put her Samsung on the two inch border that Alpha and I had left open on the footrest. I realized that she is likely an alpha in her workplace and in her other circle of friends — in my peripheral vision, I noticed that she barely actually knitted and compulsively checked her phone (like an alpha, not like a beta). But in this pack, she was not an equal to the woman sitting across from me. Also, she used some very alpha strategies to get me to leave. In addition to regularly staring at me, she started talking very loudly. (In other words, I could hear her over the music I was listening to which I already had up to max volume.)



Now at this point, more mean girls/adult women started showing up. I didn’t count but I want to say 10. And if you notice in the picture, Alpha and Bun Beta are the only two in the special soft chairs; everyone else sat in a hard chair. As all the newcomers sat on my side (instead of a few of them sitting over by A & B), I realized that this was a strategy they’d used before, to literally make their prey feel surrounded and run. So fucking mean.



So guess what I did. I pulled up the guillotine/beheading episode of Criminal Minds (“Drive”) and angled my laptop out so that that group of 8 women could clearly see it and put it on full screen (my laptop is 18 inches wide — don’t worry, I had my headphones in). How long do you think it took before they angled their chairs away so that they formed their own haphazard circle of 8, separate from Alpha and Bun Beta completely? 7 minutes. BOOM. So for the next two hours (I watched another episode of CM afterwards), the 8 women knitted to my left in one group while the leaders talked only to each other on the other side (there was a third woman who joined them halfway through but she didn’t stay long). Around 9, they disbanded, and after every one of them had left, I learned a bit more about their pattern from some people who’d witness their behavior before and discovered that the mean girls do this to whoever is sitting at the fireplace, every Friday night.



Well, good! I’ll see them again next Friday! Looking forward to it.



Finally, isn’t it fascinating how terrible people can be? How one strong personality can override even the basic manners and etiquette training your parents instilled in you in childhood? I thought of that sweet beta (Beta Number 5) who moved her chair for me and knew she had parents who would be shocked if they saw her treating a stranger as rudely as she treated me. But that’s pack mentality. One strong leader can bring out either the best or the worst in a small group, a big group, a country, or even the world.


Did you like this post? Want more alpha | beta | omega | sigma posts in the future? Please comment below!



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