Tong Pass

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A Playbook for Tyranny

The framers knew all about tyranny. That was the whole point behind the Declaration of Jndependance. It was an indictment on King John’s repressive attitude towards the colonies. It stated that John was a tyrant and the colonies had a god given right to be free. To have dignity before the law. Skip ahead two and a half centuries. Tyrants are more common than gnats on a cow in summertime. In fact tyrants abound in governments. They flourish. All it takes is to squash the will of the people. Take their freedom, their hope, and their happiness. If you want to be a tyrant, check off those three items and crown yourself king. What is to stop a president from doing that in an established democracy run by and for the people? It’s not as hard as you think. First, nullify the voice of dissension. There are numerous ways to do so, from prison, to sowing doubt. Doubt is like a bacteria. It spreads. So start there. Next, stomp out that pesky rule of law as it applies to the one in power. Apply it wholeheartedly to publius, but if the law aims her sword at you, pull off her blind and throw her in jail too. In other words, treat law as if it is another voice of dissension used as a tool to undermine the power structure of the one in charge. Two down, one to go. This last piece is a bit trickier. How to keep the peace and prevent an insurgencey of the unhappy public. Two choices, benevolence or iron fisted fear. The latter can harden the hearts of your enemies so it’s not advised, but in the short term, you can achieve a lot. Benevolence is a viable option. Let the people have their cake. A hungry person doesn’t care what they are eating, just as long as they are eating. As far as history and the legacy of the ruler that supplanted democracy? It depends on how successful they become. The longer they maintain power, the more successful they become. History will begrudgingly credit that regardless of what you did or how you did it. So if you want to rule a modern democracy while neutering the things that make it such, follow these suggestions. You may end up a leader that answers only to themselves. 

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The Oligarchy of America

The president loves how things are run in totalitarian societies. Let’s make his administration an oligarchy. If you love him and will walk through fire for him, than you are qualified for any role in government. Are you a scientist? No? That’s ok. You love the president. That means you can be in charge of agricultural science, or education, or anything you want. Name it. Does that position require one to be a scientist, or have an extensive background in that area? Yes. Does that matter in an oligarchy? No. From Russia with love, The Oligarchy of America is taking shape. This is not your typical crony capitalism at work. That is par for the course in politics. A quid pro quo that is allowed to flourish. But an oligarchy in the executive branch? That’s ahead of the curve of the greatest Republic on Earth.  Give me loyalty or give me death. America will die as a democracy. This isn’t politics. It’s a reality and America should be concerned. Are they? No. The masses are so disgruntled that they don’t care. They are jobless, lack the skills to compete, and sick of being left behind by global competition. What’s the cure? Death by opiates. But will they go so far as to flush the rule of law down the toilet? Sure, why not? Let’s make America like Russia and parse out government positions based on friendships and loyalty. Promise confirmation by funding the sentator’s next election bid. Power is wonderful isn’t it? There’s no need for education or experience. It doesn’t matter what the constitution says or what the law requires. Just be loyal and love the chief. Cheers to Vladimir for figuring out how to mutate the fabric of our existence. We died for it in 2 world wars. Fought a revolution for freedom and even fought ourselves. For what? I guess, let’s give up and thank our beloved President for his love affair with totalitarianism. It is the will of the people that we bow in reverence to our glorious leader. We take pride in it. Totalitarianism means that we let go and let the powers that be rule us. We vote to be subservient. Rules do not apply to some, so let them be in charge. It is their right after all. Right?

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The Nuclear North

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The Method

Method acting is more than what people think. It’s not about staying in character day and night. That’s just one small part to the technique. It might help at first to see a script, learn about the character, and be that character. Ex: The character is homeless, angry, and drinks a lot. The actor playing that character doesn’t have to stop bathing, pound drinks, and get in fights. If you think that is method acting, than you do not understand the point. Say, you take on that role of a homeless person and do the above behaviors to establish an emotional attachment. Ok, that’s fair and is part of a general description of method acting. But, it is so much more than that. An actor that can shed their own personality and slip into another’s is a great talent. If you can forget who you are and take on the identity of a character that exists on paper, than you are doing more than pretending. The people that do it the best make it look effortless. A fan can love an actor, but when you see them in a role and forget the actor and get lost in the character, than that actor has tapped into the role. To say method acting is self-indulgent is missing the point. It’s a craft and masters of their craft are chameleons in acting. If as an actor, you throw on costumes and take on a stereotype of what that character is, than you might call it character acting. Method actors elimate that part. They do not pretend. They become. A personality is like clothing which can be put on like a shirt and taken off at any point. That is the evolution of method acting from its 1930s origin brought to America by Stanislavsky. The difference between staying in character twenty-four hours a day or treating your character like clothing is the difference between good and great acting. The best actors are character chameleons. If you can do that, than you can avoid typecasting and take on any role imaginable. The range is endless for an actor employing that method. Practice by staying in character until you master that character. At that point you can slip in and out at anytime. 

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The American Experiment

How fragile is our Republic? Will our great experiment fail? It seems like this country is divided and that is the new normal. Is it new? We had a civil war. Our country stayed together afterward. America survived that gross attempt at suicide. Reconstruction was a terrible time. Two world wars and we are still here. Does every generation since our founding worry if our pursuit of liberty and happiness will end? How dysfunctional can it get before politics ruin the republic? There are disagreements and then there comes a time when America splits apart at the seams. It’s happened before and succession is not outside the realm of possibility. We have precedent. It’s possible that America needs dysfunction to function, but it doesn’t alleviate anxiety. Conservatism has come to us at the federal level and it’s goal is to deconstruct the government. Not to limit it, or shrink it, but to nullify it. Without a federal government, there is no United States. We are left with just states, giving the appearance that America is contained within the bubble of the state that you reside in. The union as a whole is eliminated. That’s the path America is on and the more extreme the politics the more disunion will result rendering America neutered and unimportant. Putin can say to the world that Democracy’s don’t work. America failed to keep itself together. It elected its own end. America is left with tribal like states that insulate from each other. Without a federal government to lead us and enforce the constitution, we are not The United States. The ideology to dismantle the federal government comes from the wealthiest among us that are so rich that they control their own destinies. It’s the party of the Absolute right. What happened when the Absolute left takes control? The USSR gives us our answer. America should be worried because the gravest assault a Republic can sustain is an assault on itself. And right now, America is prepped to lash out. It remains to be seen if America will survive in spite of itself. If we can remember who we are as a nation and why we became that nation, than maybe we will remain that nation. On the other hand, we will devolve, lose our place in the global order, our allies will suffer, and The United States will become, The Seperated States.

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The Poetic Struggle

Poetry is pretty amazing. It has been an expression from the beginning of human history. Before the written word, there were poets passing down oral history. It is fun and natural to include history within poetry. They are complementary. It is difficult to be precise in its expression. The grammar of poetry has been long established. It can be a long process to reign in a poem within those bounds. Whether it’s iambic tetrameter or even hexameter. A poem can flow really well, but what happens when it flouts the rules?Call it prose? On the other hand, something truly fun and original might be lost if one obliges the rules. So, time can be spent reworking a poem to make sure it’s trochee or time can be spent in free flow. The first can be a challenge. Yet if rules are not conformed to, there will be a lot of wheat to separate from the chaff. Of course, one can always leave that part to an academic trying to deconstruct a poem. Perhaps your talent is so great that it conforms naturally on paper to the rules. That’s doubtful. For the meantime, adhering to the rules in poetry can be good training and naturally as one practices there could be a tendency to correct the number of syllables and iambs. 

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