Monthly Archives: January 2016

Memoirs of a Sigma Female

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!

 

Why is the Millennial Face of ALEC a trolling misogynist lying bully named @WilliamFreeland?

**Warning, strong language ahead

 

Dear ALEC (that’s @ALEC_states on twitter),

 

Why is the millennial face of your organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council, William Freeland, who is also subject to delusions of grandeur and makes outlandish claims for which he provides no evidence, a trolling misogynist lying bully?

 

I get it — people are rude and unkind. Yes, I’ve lived on Earth more than a decade; I know the drill. It also makes 100% sense to me that you would have trolls in your employ who would be specifically assigned the task of illogically, relentlessly, insultingly, crudely and also, for the sake of variety, passive-aggressively engaging and attacking anyone who criticizes your master plan to target state legislators and inspire them to act as human roadblocks by standing in the way of any of American society’s attempts to prevent climate change, protect workers rights, and end the United States’ dependency on foreign oil. It’s a brilliant strategy you’ve designed and I always give credit where credit is due. Kudos, ALEC. Focusing on the local level is noticed less, by fewer people, is talked about less, by fewer media outlets, and entails far less resistance from voters. Who turns out for local elections anyway? (Insert rhetorical group laughter here. No, make that the sound of chortling.) And trolls are the perfect complement to your national strategy: they misinform, they confuse, and thus they systematically divide and conquer the general population. The confused mind shuts down, turns the channel, closes the newspaper, seeks distraction such as “reality” TV, facebook, and instagram, and logically focuses instead on things it does understand: parenting, eldering, working, working out, dating, partying, going to school, paying bills, running errands — all activities that are easy to check off the list if only because they have been completed so many times before and have become habitual. And most strategically, the confused mind will feel morally justified in saying, “I didn’t vote because I didn’t really understand the issues.”

 

Most strategically, the confused mind will feel morally justified in saying, “I didn’t vote because I didn’t really understand the issues.”

 

Most people’s moral compass — fully intact, despite a muddled mind — causes them to see voting from a place of confusion as a kind of fraud, as a type of lying or cheating that’s “just not right,” and thus not an act of dishonesty they can approve of taking part in. In other words, the person who doesn’t show up to the polls on election day who can honestly say, “well, I don’t watch the news [guilt guilt guilt] — that’s why I didn’t vote. I don’t even know the issues,” feels that they’re doing the right thing by staying home! Little do they realize that they are being bombarded with “news,” all the time, conflicting reports filled with mis- and dis-information. Which is why they avoid it. It leaves them confused and feeling guilty that they don’t know what to think. Voting? They don’t feel they deserve such a privilege if they haven’t earned it by studying up on the issues. And the cycle perpetuates itself. Oh, yes, ALEC, you are admirably and masterfully implementing your plan. And confusing the masses is the glue that holds all the pieces of that plan together.

 

 

But ALEC, your trolls are supposed to be better trained. They’re supposed to pee only on the paper and not splash any vitriol on the company. You see, William Freeland isn’t just a super troll, he works for you. It says ALEC is his employer on his linkedin page. So when he lies, bullies, tells a woman who calls him a cunt that she is projecting onto him (yes, unbelievable — that’s why I took a screenshot of it in case he deletes the tweet), and egregiously makes false claims and baseless accusations, it’s so odd that you would divert from a working strategy that uses anonymized trolls and instead veer into unwise territory by associating an identifiable, google-able troll directly with you, your organization, and your reputation. Trolls are supposed to operate covertly. The way he tweets on twitter like a baby screaming for attention from its crib — nonstop and incoherently — and then turns around and reveals that you are his employer makes you look bad. Very bad. Like, surprisingly bad. Unexpectedly unprofessional and uncouth.

 

That is all.

 

Sincerely,

Sarah Reynolds

 

 

Ok, dear social justice activists, enough of my chit-chat with ALEC. Here come all of the lies, the insults, the screaming for attention, the deflection, the misogyny, the outrageous baseless claims and most interestingly, the fear once William Freeland realizes he has backed himself into a corner.

 

Starting with the original tweet of mine that William Freeland started trolling me on:

 

 

 

 

 

 

*At this point, I was like, what? Who — whaaaaa? I tweeted at him first? Obsessively tweet about him? Daily? Now, if you know how to win a troll war (I got this from Sun Tzu of course), the key is to never contradict an obvious lie right away when you can easily disprove it later. Instead, let the troll think they have the upper hand by not objecting — they will dig their own hole even more deeply, even more quickly and you will win faster. (Wait till you find out what he was actually referring to! That he works for ALEC. So he was conflating my tweets about ALEC with tweets about him! Yes! I know! And ALEC pays him real money! To represent them! In public!)

 

 

 

Oh! So he finally clarifies and reveals that he works for ALEC!! But the best is the way he says it: “I, of ALEC, was terrifying …” LOL!! And then he insults me and assumes I am a garden variety Daily Kos reading, tea drinking stereotype. LOVE IT!! He has never clicked on the link to my blog (in my twitter profile) once! But do I contradict him?ย  No, as Sun Tzu says, “Never contradict a troll. Don’t give him any reason to put down the shovel!! Let him dig his own grave.” Or, actually, that might have been Churchill. So I merely point out — again — that even though I’m so disgusting to him, he keeps following me. Why?

 

 

 

 

 

So at this point, he has called me deranged and obsessive twice (the second time is where he quotes his own tweet, just above). Deranged!! Really? Does he not realize how illogical he’s being? I mean, it’s not even an insult. He could have called me a doorknob and it would have made as much sense.

 

 

 

Now at this point, a well-meaning follower tries to tell me to stop engaging with the troll; watch how William reacts. Note that he specifically tells me what to do: that will be relevant later.

 

 

And now back to the main thread. I had just tweeted, “But you seemed so certain before that you had a claim against me” (yes, that’s the crappy part of creating these blogposts with embedded tweets; tweets would be best visually displayed in the shape of a family tree but blogposts are linear). And he replies:

 

 

This is what, the second or the third time he’s called me confused. And of course it’s “sad” — he wants me to know how much he pities me. That would trigger a defensive reaction in most people (which is what he wants it to trigger in me, too) but for me, his word choices just provide me with additional insight into his shadow self.

 

 

He doesn’t reply to that, but in picking back up on his recommendation that I “bow out” (because remember, he’s in the habit of commanding people to roll over and display submission because he has an inferiority complex and this is how he attempts to assert dominance and leverage control over others), I simply redirect, circling back to the point, which is, if I am truly deranged and obsessive, as he claims, then he should clearly file a complaint with Twitter Support, with evidence to back up this outlandish accusation:

 

 

Oh! He doesn’t like to be told what to do? He certainly likes to tell others what to do! Oh, and note how much it irritates him, especially coming from a woman!

 

 

 

And that leads us to the final tweet of this exchange, where I once again ask him what it is about me that compels him to follow me despite my alleged derangement.

 

He refused to answer my question not once but three times, which is how I won the twitter war (whoever is the first to stop replying is the loser in a twitter war).

 

That tweet had nothing to do with you and didn’t mention you. Yet you favorited it.

 

I tweeted that (“Twitter family, you are the best” — at the very top of the image above) because so many of my followers came to my defense during the trolling and let William know how horrible he was being to me. And if you guessed that he was just as terrible to them, you guessed right. Even more terrible. Just a few examples:

 

And he actually tells her, “Don’t project” — that’s it’s “unbecoming.”

 

This is how pathologically passive-aggressive he is. He attacks people and baits them, attacks and baits. That’s his M.O. Then they call him a name and like the prepared predator he is, instantly he readily explains, oh no, you’re projecting. It is amazing — nay, mind boggling — that ALEC would affiliate itself for a millisecond with a man who would tell a woman that she is projecting cunt traits onto him. And of course, he can say, “Well, she called me a cunt first. She was asking for it.”

 

ALEC, if you don’t know you’ve got a serious liability on your hands, you are far far less intelligent than I first gave you credit for.

 

And here he insults another friend of mine — for what? She doesn’t even attack him, she just says she disagrees:

 

 

And then this:

 

 

 

And here’s where he freaks out when I tweet that ALEC ought to know what kind of person they have representing them on Twitter (these are not all part of a thread so they’re not all embedded in a particular order).

 

 

 

 

 

LOL, I never called him a cunt nor did I tell him it was unbecoming of him to project onto me when he called me confused, deranged and obsessed multiple times. (Because I think he is none of those things; I think he is mean and a bully. And a liar and a misogynist.)

 

More hilariosity: it’s no more libelous for me to call him a lying bullying misogynist than for him to call me a deranged, confused, obsessed progressive intelligentsia operative (next paragraph). Although, at least there’s evidence for my claims. He flat out lied about me tweeting about him daily – ha!! That was the most entertaining part, his conveniently leaving out the fact that it is ALEC I tweet about (not him) and not daily. A brief twitter search showed me that it’s usually about twice a month that I tweet a series of 10 to 15 #StopALEC tweets.

 

 

And I saved the best part for last. William accuses me of being on the payroll of the liberal elite here:

 

 

HA! You know when they say you really know you’re living your passion when you’d do what you’re doing for free? Well, guess what, that’s bullshit. You won’t end up doing it “for free” — you’ll pay for it. Twice. With your time and your money. I pay for this website (it’s cheap, $30 twice a year because I have the wordpress upgrade), the postcards and stamps for my Postcarding for Progress meetup, equipment for making videos, and on and on. And I spend hours on twitter and hours blogging (for example, this post itself has literally taken hours just to finish all this godawful embedding of tweets), hours I can’t (or in truth, choose not to) spend doing anything else. And I take orders from no one. And that means I receive money from no one.

 

I almost replied, “Yeah right, on my $373/week unemployment benefit” but I couldn’t truthfully say that because my 26 weeks of unemployment insurance ended last month. YEAH. I used to have a day job as a debt collector. I am not a political operative, never have been, and no one directs my tweets, and I am the only one who tweets in my name.

 

 

 

 

Multiple people? Which of my tweets ever indicated that? And as far as being part of a progressive microcosm, clearly William never took 30 seconds to read my self-description on this blog or to spend a minute perusing my posts. I call myself a progressive patriot *because* I have views that aren’t necessarily liberal (like going back on the gold standard) and because the Bill of Rights is so important to me. I wish I could make money off my passion. I made over a hundred videos in as many days on youtube in 2014 and they never got more than 25 or 30 views each; my goal was to monetize my channel so I could have a source of income besides a day job, and ultimately instead of one. (I just had to accept that I am not that interesting, or at least not interesting enough for people to hit “subscribe.”) The bottom line is I don’t represent anyone but myself and I do not get money to tweet. And to that end, I am going to post my Unemployment Insurance benefits history right now. As my regular followers know, I went back to school this past fall. When I was laid off back in May, I found out that I qualified for the Dislocated Worker Program because of how many employees at our site were laid off at the same time (or some reason like that — it’s a state program that disburses federal funds for education and MNDEED told me I qualified for it). This was such a gift, such an unexpected opportunity to go back to college after dropping out when I was 18, a true second chance. And I am so proud of myself for taking the leap and going back after 16 years out of the classroom; as of January 4, I can officially say I have 12 college credits to my name.

 

Don’t worry, I’ll be getting student loan money in Feb.
The first two weeks in May I received severance pay from my old employer.
The first two “non-eligible” weeks I received severance pay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus I know someone who sometimes makes donations to the “Keep Sarah Caffeinated” Fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This is not to say I don’t accept gifts — just make sure you clearly write GIFT in the memo line of the check or money order you send me or else it will screw up my FAFSA next school year.)

 

 

Finally, I want to say that one of the people I admire most is Ralph Nader who wrote, “Unstoppable: The Emerging Leftโ€“Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” I know well that people are far more comfortable with labels like red or blue or right or wrong or democrat or republican and that is not me. There have been times I lost followers for retweeting Justin Amash or Rand Paul on 4th Amendment issues and there have been just as many times I lost followers for criticizing Hillary on her psuedo-feminism and Wall Street ties. I am not interested in being divided and conquered and falling prey to anyone’s agenda, especially not ALEC’s. Trolls, consider this very fair warning. If you tread your self-righteous way into the quagmire of my twitter timeline, be very prepared to get stuck there.

 

 

 

January 7th update!! William thanked me for this blogpost! What, no more accusations of libel? Well, fantastic! It’s great to know he approves of my analysis of his underlying motivations and commensurately approves of my analysis of ALEC’s two part strategy to use both anonymized and identified trolls to spread confusion as the glue that holds their Divide & Conquer strategy together. Further, it is delightful to feel his gratitude amidst the certainty that he has no objections regarding the accuracy of any of the claims in this post!

 

 

 

 

Oh, and William, one more thing. I know you said in one of your tweets that your mom is a good person and I believe that. It was most likely your father or another father figure who, while you were growing up, made you constantly feel that you weren’t good enough. But I don’t believe that your mom would be proud of the way you treat people you’ve never even met. I can’t imagine a scenario where she reads your tweet to Sharon and doesn’t shake her head, ashamed of the way she didn’t protect you from an overbearing father or stepfather who taught you by example that it was okay to use words as weapons to constantly attack women. You’re being used by ALEC. Ask her if you don’t believe me. It’s not too late of course to make a new decision. You certainly have plenty of drive you could channel into a libertarian cause that is organized by people who don’t hate women. I hope you will.

 

 

Feeling Patriotic? Protest Tyranny and Absolute Monarchy: Buy an Electric Car

Feeling patriotic? Sell your gas-guzzling absolute monarchy-funding, human rights tragedy-perpetuating car and buy an electric car! Let’s all stop voting with our dollars for public beheadings, public lashings, internet censorship, repression of speech, an absence of an independent free press, and woman-hating kings who make life a fascist regime hell for their subjects in Saudi Arabia by donating to their cause every time we purchase gasoline.

 

 

I’ve said before that we vote in three ways, first with our actual ballot at the polls; second, with our dollars, with which we vote affirmatively for all the laws and policies of the government of the country the product is manufactured in when we buy it; and third, with our time, minutes and hours we spend assenting to the practices of the major corporations who create our news, our television, our music, and our books, by spending that time reading/watching/listening to it (to say nothing of the free advertising we give away every time we wear branded clothing/shoes/handbags, etc.). And because we get to vote at the polls once a year at the most, we technically do much more voting with our time and money — especially when we pay our taxes, in which case we re-vote, and confirm the presence of every member of Congress, and second their every legislative move.

 

 

This is why it’s so important to sign petitions and write to Congress regularly, reminding them that they work for us and promising them that we will fire them next election day if they don’t do what we want. Hey, that’s how lobbyists do it. It’s an incredibly effective strategy. Less than a third of eligible voters turned out last mid-term election — how many voters would you guess actually picked up the phone and called their one Rep and two Senators? Guarantee lobbyists picked up the phone. Multiple times. And showed up in person.

 

 

So every time we fill our cars up with gas, we are voting with our dollars for the laws and policies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most American gasoline’s country of origin. Now, I was ten during the first war in Iraq, the Gulf War that began in 1991, and I remember my mom calling me downstairs to watch President George H W Bush on the TV in the family room so that she could teach me the body language of lying. As he yammered about how urgent it was to declare war (a declaration that started the instability in Iraq we are still fighting today; people often refer to our 2003 invasion as the impetus, but this blogger suggests that our 1991 invasion is a better historical peg), my mom said to me, “You’re watching the President of the United States lie to the American people on live national television. Now, I want you to watch his face.” Now in my little SNL’d brain, I immediately thought of Dana Carvey and his brilliant impression of Bush the first, and my mom, anticipating this, told me it was not time to improve my comedy routine; it was time to learn the facial ticks and speech blips of liars. (I put my GHWB hand gestures back into my pockets and put “Not gonna do it” firmly out of my head.) So she says, “Now, Sarah Louise, there are people who lie, people who lie pathologically, and people like this man who look straight into the camera when they lie. No compunction whatsoever.” (Me: “What’s compunction?” Mom: “No qualms.” Me: “What’s a qualm?” Mom: “Jesus, Sarah, what do I look like, a human dictionary?” Me, nodding sweetly: “Yep.” Later she made me look up compunction and qualms in the big dictionary in the dining room. Thanks, mom.) After the address from the Oval Office was over, we talked (she talked, I listened) a bit more about the nature of someone who could feel gratified by getting away with deceiving millions of people and how they are few and far between in every day life but very frequently found in people who occupy positions of authority in government.

 

 

Now, this was a game we played with lots of public figures on the glowing oracle-box of truth (the TV) over the years; for example, a year later, we would watch the Bush/Perot/Clinton debates together and she would tell me that the difference between George H W Bush and Bill Clinton was that Clinton actually believed his own lies. But that night, on the eve of Desert Storm in 1991, she just wanted to me to know that the most important thing to remember about the United States’ involvement in the Middle East was that it was about oil. Period.

 

 

Long story short, our military protection of the Saudi regime is how we protect our access to cheap, readily available oil.

 

 

If your next question is why, let me be the first to admit that Abby Martin’s answer rivals the one my mom gave me twenty-five years ago. (Ok, truth: Abby’s 27 minute answer is so thorough, so concise, and so well-researched that it is actually better than my mom’s — and if my mom were alive, she would love Abby Martin and agree.) The historical perspective provided in the episode of the Empire Files embedded below tells you everything you need to know, going all the way back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. And it makes it very very clear that our “dependence” on oil is actually the Saudi monarchy’s dependence on US consumption of their oil. But, long story short, the answer to “why?” is that our military protection of their regime is how we protect our access to cheap, readily available oil.

 

 

 

 

This is a paradigm 100% in our power to change. We don’t have to buy gas. We don’t have to vote with our dollars for monarchs who believe it’s okay for women to vote as long as the men they live with and are financially dependent on give them permission to leave the house. We don’t have to collectively prop up a regime that denies due process (what courts? oh, secret courts with “private” trials), a regime that beheads people for stealing, for being gay, and for objecting to abuse of power by the government and protesting that injustice in public, in print or online, a regime that lashes women for being raped (yes, a woman who is raped will receive more public lashings than her rapist), a regime that is destined to be overthrown. And it knows it. As Abby Martin points out in her brilliant withering expose, the House of Saud is scared — and they should be. History hasn’t been kind to kings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, please sign this petition asking the UN to remove Saudi Arabia from the Human Rights Council:

Click on the image to go to the petition.
Click on the image to go to the petition.

 

 

**Brief Aside: I managed to find the No Compunction, No Qualms speech from 1991 on youtube. Watch it here. Notice GHWB trip up on the word diplomatic starting at the 53 second mark. No, flubbing a word isn’t always an indicator of dishonesty. In this case it is.

 

 

**Second brief aside: Have you ever watched the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Try watching it again with this whole new additional perspective.

 

 

Also, this: http://www.theforeignservicemn.com/electric_ford_ranger/index.php