Protest is Patriotic! Trust Me, I Served

YES, I AM! And thank you, my brothers and sisters in uniform, for the freedom to RESIST!

So, I’m as anti-Trump as they come. I march, I blog, I call congressmen who are really tired of hearing from me, I write letters to my editor, and I shell out my hard earned cash to liberal organizations that RESIST. And when I run into a Trump-supporter, I often get the same crazy jazz from them that goes something like this:

“Freedom isn’t free, snowflake!  And you’re disrespecting the proud men and women in our armed forces by being so disrespectful to our president!”

Well, here’s the thing they find out about three seconds later, and they never know how to process it…I was one of those proud men in our armed forces!

And not only did I serve my country, I served it in two services. I joined the US Navy in 1987 and got out in 1992. Then, I joined the US Army National Guard in 1998 and was honorably discharged from the US Army Reserves in 2014. I am now a retired staff sergeant after having served my country for most of my adult life. And not only that, I served three of those years in combat zones; Operation Earnest Will in 1988, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and in Operation New Dawn in 2011.

What was my final job in the military, you may ask? I was a Counterintelligence Special Agent, charged with rooting out espionage and sedition directed against the US Army. The job was referred to as MOS 35-L, and required a Top Secret Clearance that is only granted to soldiers whose loyalty to the United States is beyond question.

I am proud of my service and proud to be a veteran. And I am also extremely proud to be a part of the RESISTANCE. You see, I am still passionately loyal to the United States. I have always considered myself a patriot, and that is why I can not abide the thought that some foreign dictator has undermined our free and fair election to impose a man like Donald Trump upon us.

Please tell me, conservatives, in what universe should a man like me tolerate anything but the best in leadership for the country I served for so long? And believe me, Trump is as far from the best leader as Cleveland, Ohio is from the Andromeda galaxy!

Trump is plainly nothing more than a spoiled rich brat, who never grew up. And this rich brat is now playing with America like it’s his own box of toys which he’s handing out to other rich brats so that they can break ’em while he laughs at the wreckage. Net neutrality? Broken! Our public lands? Broken! American educational excellence? Broken! Our National Parks? Broken!

In each case, I mentioned the systems and services We The People pay for and rely on are breaking under this corrupt, sycophantic, regime. We are losing our place as a world leader and racking up over one and a half trillion in debt that our grandchildren will have to find a way to pay off. All so The Donald and his bratty friends can make a quick buck while Putin laughs.

As a patriotic American veteran, I can not stand for that! So I RESIST in every way I can. And just like the days when I served in uniform, I will not quit until that resistance wins our country back.

So keep it up, patriots! Keep marching, keep protesting, and let your voice be heard! And don’t EVER let some brainwashed Trump-supporter tell you that you’re disrespecting our troops. There’s quite a few of us who are as proud of the RESISTANCE as we can be.

By Clayton J. Callahan



Big Surprise, America: We Don’t Live in a Democracy

Webster’s definition of Democracy: a government by the people; especially: rule of the majority. b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

This definition does NOT apply to the United States of America!

Of course, this isn’t news to anybody who’s been awake for a while. As for me, I confess that I personaly came to this obvious conclusion rather slowly. You see, I was raised to believe that we actually DID live in a democracy, and to paraphrase a famous Republican, I truly thought that “…government of the people, by the people an for the people would not perish from this Earth…”. Yep, I was that nieve.

However, in today’s America, I find it hard to fathom such naivete could be found in anyone. We The People, to put it bluntly, don’t count for squat in America today. The government doesn’t exist to serve us, it exists to serve its owners, and that ain’t you and me. In fact, you can pretty much just take a sharpy marker to your home copy of the constitution and write over the preamble in big black letters the only thing that matters nowadays, “Money talks.”

Am I being overdramatic, you may ask? That is a fair question to which I provide the following evidence for you to judge. In America, as of December 2017:

94% of us support expanded background checks for gun purchases. 

83% of us support net neutrality.

80% of us feel that drug prices are too high.

75% of us oppose the GOP tax bill (that just passed as of today).

70% of us believe that climate change is real and people are the cause of it.

60% of us favor expanding Medicare to all Americans.

And 59% of us disapprove of Trump’s job performance!

In a democracy, the will of the people would drive policy and our elected officials would be prioritizing what we care about.

But NONE of this matters one whit, That’s right, no legislation is currently moving through Congress to address ANY of the above concerns. Why? Because We The People don’t matter to our leaders at all!

In fact, the only time our leaders even bother to pretend anymore is during election season when their jobs run the actual risk of termination. But, to be clear, they count on their big money owners…oops, I meant “donors”…to pay for a propaganda blitz to bamboozle enough of us to keep their jobs. They do not, however, count on the goodwill of informed citizens.

And, folks, those owners are already hard at work. These big money interests are even now bankrolling a huge ad campaign to brainwash us into thinking the GOP tax bill will actually be good for We The People as confirmed by statements from Americans for Prosperity reported just today on NPR. And if I were a betting man, I’d say their media blitz just might work because American education has been so underfunded for so long that not enough of us have the context to see through their lies (and that’s not by coincidence either).

So, the fact is we don’t live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy, where an elite few compete for sway over the peasants. To change this we need nothing sort of a revolution. And I would prefer that such a revolution be political. For I fear JFK’s famous quote, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” may turn prophetic.

For the moment, we still have the right to vote (although it’s getting harder state by state to exercise it). So we need to act NOW, while we still can, to purge Congress of the oligarchs and put in people who give a damn about us. And once they’re in, we need to hold their feet to the fire to amend the US Constitution so that We The People stay in, and the moneyed interests stay out. That’s why I support the proposed “We The People” 28th Amendment, to undo Citizens United and take our country back.

So get out there and register to vote. Help others to register to vote. Find a candidate who represents us and support that person all the way to DC!  This is how we beat Roy Moore and this is how we must win back our democracy, and the clock is ticking.


By Clayton J. Callahan



How Friendships Have Died in The Age of Trump

It’s been over a year since the viral video above ended a ten-year friendship between two men who’d once served together in Iraq,

I met Kevin in the 505th Engineers when I was in the US Army. He was a cook, and I was a radio operator. We deployed to Iraq together in the summer of 2005 and our butts stayed in the sandbox until the fall of 2006. During that long, hard year, one of the few things I had to look forward to was my nightly chess game with Kevin. We also shared an interest in nerdy things like science fiction and role laying games.

He was my friend, and he helped get me through. And, I’d like to say I did the same for him.

Sure, I knew Kevin was a conservative Republican. We talked politics a lot. I thought he was interested in understanding the liberal point of view and building a common understanding. We often disagreed but never argued. Then, we got home, and I moved to Oregon while he stayed in North Carolina.

Through the magic of Facebook, we reconnected in 2015. I was glad to hear from him. He’d acquired two grandchildren and, like me, he had long since left the army. But something more fundamental was different about my old friend Kevin. He still wanted to talk politics a lot, but now he was more confrontational. He’d cut and past questionnaires from conservative websites and insist I explain my position on a battery of issues. And as 2015 became 2016, he came out as a hardcore Trump supporter.

Confident that Hillary would win, I brushed off his Trumpian boasts and prepared myself to comfort my friend when his guy lost. However, when the world turned upside down that November, I was the one in need of comfort. I was angry. I felt betrayed. How could the country I’d fought for choose such an obviously incompetent, racist, moron for our president?

I didn’t contact Kevin, he contacted me.

A week or so after Trumps electorial win, Kevin sent me a shaky video of two black men beating up a white guy while they shouted, “Don’t vote for Trump. Kick his ass!” Kevin sent the video without explanation, and I was at first confused. Was he telling me all Hilary supporters were thugs? Was he making some kind of racial statement? I later found out that this was a video of a road rage incident that went viral thanks to Breitbart. But in that moment I didn’t bother to research the clip, I just went off.

I berated my friend for his choice of president and for sending me this crappy video. I warned him of all the chaos and destruction that could be expected when Trump got in the White House. And I told him in no uncertain terms that his candidate was immoral, and to support Trump in any way was to compromise one’s own morality.

Kevin was shocked. In all his years of knowing me, I was the calm one who worked to be reasonable in my arguments. He’d never seen this side of me before and could not comprehend why I couldn’t see Trump as just another Republican who’d won an election. My last words to him, “There’s a protest downtown. I’m going!” He counseled me to be safe. and I replied that he would not be hearing from me again.

I then unfriended him and have not spoken to him since.

I went to the protest that night. It was my first but hasn’t been my last. Since Trump won, I’ve become as active in the Resistance as I can be. I’ve joined several groups and gone to town-halls and rallies of all sorts. You see, I fought for this country in Iraq, and am determined to fight for it still. Sadly, in any war there are casualties–and in this one the first was friendship.


By Clayton J. Callahan


Making News and Pissing Off The Powerful!

I’m proud to say I was at the Indivisible rally, Rachell Maddow mentioned in last night’s show. I’m not a huge presence, I’m just the guy to the right-hand side of the screen of the Portland rally holding the RESIST sign. However, I feel good knowing that that crowd was one person larger because of me.

We all need to come out. We all need to show up and make our voices heard. Every voice must count, every sign must be held up high if we are going to have an impact on the plutocrats who currently sit in power.

Thanks for the shout out, Rachel.



Republicans, Where Is The Utopia?

This is a serious question I’m starting to ask conservatives I know (who will still talk to me). With Republicans in control of the US House, Senate, Presidency, and holding a dominant five to four seats on the Supreme Court, where is the utopia the GOP promised the American voter? After all, they are in the driver’s seat, so it’s fair to ask, “Are we there yet?”

Please keep in mind, Republicans didn’t suddenly get behind the wheel in November of 2016. It’s not just at the federal level that Republicans are in control of our national destiny. The majority of state governors are Republican by a margin of 33 to 16 (with one Independent). And in the state legislators, only nine states are firmly in Democratic hands, while seven are split. That’s a grand total of thirty-four states that don’t have to bow to any “libtard agenda” and are free to do things the right-wing way.

So, Republican leaders, I ask, where is the utopia? Now, I know that sounds like a rather vague question, so I’ll be happy to clarify.

First off, I’d like to ask, where are the jobs? Low taxes on the rich and deregulation of our industries were supposed to bring back those high-wage industrial jobs that went overseas decades ago. But when an average guy like me looks at the job market, I see two categories: minim wage and executive salaries with stock options…and nothing in between. And since the demand for business executives is much smaller than the demand for wage-slaves, I’m pretty certain I know which jobs most of us are going to get. So, like I said…where are the jobs?

Secondly, why isn’t the world a safer place for America? Tough talk directed at “little rocket-man” has yet to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula. The so-called Islamic State is still committing acts of terror worldwide. Afghanistan is losing ground to the Taliban daily. And the Chinese and Russians are expanding their territorial control in the South China Sea and Ukraine respectively. All of this despite our military budget that dwarfs all other nations by leaps and bounds. So…why aren’t we safer around the world?

Also, with the world’s largest prison population, I have to ask, why aren’t we safer at home? Almost every time I hear a Republican pundit speak, their rhetoric is filled with dire gloom and doom about the criminal-aliens and rapists that are currently threatening our citizens. Obama even tried to placate this bombast by deporting a record number of non-citizen taxpayers under his administration (although the GOP willfully ignored that little fact). So now, with the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a tough-on-crime guy like Jeff Sessions in the seat of Americans top law enforcement office…why aren’t we safer at home?

And when I ask these questions, I can hear the crickets chirping. So, in my humble opinion, it’s well past time Republicans put-up or shut-up! If they want to push back against liberal complaints regarding their handling of the government, they need to show us all the utopia they promised.

I will not accept that they haven’t had enough time in office to get the job done. Because, when you look at their decades’ long dominance of state government and the US Congress, that argument shows itself for the cop-out it is. Keep in mind that since the dawn of the new millennium, the Democrats have been in control of Congress for only four years (2006 to 2010).

Republicans have had more than ample time to right this ship and sail us to the land of grit and gumption prosperity that they have always promised the American voter. But when you look around, you notice things are not so good. The good jobs aren’t coming back. The world is not safer and neither are our neighborhoods. So it’s long past time we stopped listening to these Pied Pipers of the right, and steer our course in a new direction, or at least put a stop to all the GOP back paddling from utopia.

By Clayton J. Callahan


The Dunning Kruger Effect Meets…The Donald

Okay, first off this is NOT a post to bash conservatives or the GOP per-se (I know, I’m breaking pattern). Actually, I strongly do believe America needs a smart and thriving conservative party to keep our nation balanced. Also, to my fellow lefties, know this is a warning. Please don’t feel smug…it could happen to us too.

So, just what is the “Dunning/Kruger effect and what does it have to do with Donald Trump?”

Basically, Dunning/Kruger is a term psychologist use to describe how people who know very little about a subject believe they know a lot, and how people who know a lot about a subject think they know very little.

Immagine an ancient shepherd watching the heavens as he herds his sheep. He sees the sun rises in the east and set in the west every day with never a miscommunication. To him, it is obvious that the sun revolves around the Earth, and he may scoff at anyone who says differently. This guy would be at one end of the Dunning/Kruger spectrum.

At the other end is a modern astrophysicist. She spends her life studying the mountain of data that has been learned since ancient times and the large hills of data that continue to arrive in her lab daily. In fact, she often stands in awe at how big the universe is and how small her understanding is in comparison. She could explain to our ancient shepherd the true relationship between Earth and its star quite easily. After all, she knows a lot and is still learning more every day.

Now, she could explain to our ancient shepherd the true relationship between Earth and its star quite easily. After all, she knows a lot about it, but suppose instead of just accepting her knowledge he challenges her?

Suppose he argues with her assertion about his own ideas on this whole Earth/sun thing?

The shepherd asks her question after question until the astrophysicist has to give him an honest answer like, “I don’t know why gravity exists, I can only explain how it works.” At this point, the shepherd declares victory. His Earth-centered sun theory is obviously superior to hers because, to him, it explains everything, and her ideas still have a few holes in them.

Throughout this allegorical debate, we learn the astrophysicist was arguing with a crippling disadvantage from the very start. That’s right, the ignorant hold the advantage over the knowledgeable in an argument–every time.

You see, the knowledgeable have to work hard to describe the nuances and technicalities that are often hard to explain to the laymen. The ignorant, however, need only give glib responses that appeal to “common sense” and are unburdened with those pesky facts that need explaining or rules that have exceptions.When was the last time I saw the Dunning/Kruger effect in action? It was the last time I listened to a Republican debate.

Keep in mind, the GOP fielded some bright folks last year. Although I often disagree with the likes of Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio, I will admit these are sharp guys who have thought long and hard about their positions as they relate to American policy. The Donald, however…not so much.

Using glib phrases, insults, and sheer bravado, Donald Trump became the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee. In debates, he made mincemeat out of his opponents and the crowd loved him for it. This despite the fact that Trump has no political experience, is not a war hero, lacks a basic understanding of international affairs, and can only stand on a questionable business career as any kind of qualification to be the leader of the free world. The educated among the GOP are aghast that this ignoramus is leading their party and form the core of the “Never Trump” movement (and I respect them). Who supports the Donald? Well, mostly the poorly educated, yet enthusiastic conservative voters who never think to ask what he means when he says he’s out to “make America great again.”

Could this have happened on the Democratic side of our nation? You bet your butt. History is full of leaders on the left and right who have galvanized the uneducated masses, assumed power, and then run their respective countries into the ground. And only a liberal who is ignorant of history would say differently.

Folks, I am as certain as a well informed and educated man can be that Trump is about to repeat some history…and I do not wish to stand by and watch. We, the knowledgeable (hampered as we may be by the Dunning/Kruger effect), must, never the less, try to explain to our fellow Americans where this ignorance is leading us. I am not just talking to my fellow liberals either. Conservatives of intellect must oppose Trump, for you righties that have studied history also know what happens when it repeats.

To liberals, I have to say, don’t get cocky. Get educated! Do not let the glib leader with the easy answers ever have sway over our side or we will fall into the same trap. Remember, we are all human folks, and equally subject to the laws of nature, Dunning/Kruger included.