Monday, August 13, 2018

Symbols, things, fetishes, logic, idol worship, perverts, Hayakawa, Korzybsky, Kaepernick, and Trump

Remember S.I. Hayakawa? 

I didn’t think so. 

Back in the 1960s, Hayakawa was acting president of an institution called, at the time, San Francisco State College. (It has since evolved into a research university.) 

A temper tantrum on
a sound truck

Hayakawa briefly made it into the national headlines, and onto network TV news, when he climbed to the top of a sound truck and ripped out the loudspeaker wires while the truck was amplifying black liberation messages on his campus. To be fair to Hayakawa, he was trying to keep the college open while the people responsible for the sound truck wanted it to shut down. But Hayakawa, of all people, should have understood the symbolic impact of his act.

I imagine that the handful of individuals who knew what Hayakawa had achieved in academia before the San Francisco State incident, and who also respected the ultimate aims of the black liberation movement, felt shocked and mortified. It was as if Dr. Jekyll had suddenly turned into Mr. Hyde. Almost equally bad, when he appeared on television to explain himself, he came off as a kind of well-meaning but wimpy putz. If you have the time to spare you can see it here:


Prior to that incident, Hayakawa was known as an academic who taught a form of thinking that should, if anything, have prevented his tantrum on a sound truck. So it was disappointing, to say the least, that Hayakawa had briefly morphed into an out-of-control bully — resorting to a kind of vandalism to show his displeasure with people who were advocating a point-of-view in a manner that he felt was inappropriate.

But let’s go way back to a little over a decade before that. And yes, yes, this ultimately has to do with with Colin Kaepernick and other athletes taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner, and with Donald Trump harassing them for it. Just bear with me for a while. 

Logic, as you surely know if you took either the kind of college course for humanities majors that is generally nicknamed “Moron Math,” or perhaps a very elementary philosophy course, is kind of a mashup between philosophy and mathematics. It is designed so you can diagram and presumably straighten out screwed up reasoning like this:

Are all redheads plumbers?

“Joe is a redhead. Joe is a plumber. Therefore all redheads are plumbers.” Or, with equally erroneous thinking, some numbskull might conclude that all plumbers are redheads.

Various exercises, done with overlapping, partially overlapping, and completely separated circles helped students diagram both erroneous and logical thought processes. Their use is to help people avoid jumping to nonsensical conclusions from insufficient data. 

Early in the 20th Century a Polish-American scholar named Alfred Korzaybski, began expanding our understanding of how false conclusions get made. I don’t pretend to be a student of Korzybski or even to be able to follow him much of the time. However, he spawned an academic discipline called General Semantics. It was S.I. Hayakawa who explained Korzybski's theories in a book dumbed down enough so that even the incipiently cranky 17-years-old college student that I was in 1956 was could get it. 

The book was called Language In Thought And Action. It was required reading in my college freshman English course, in part, I suspect, because the head of my college’s English Department, a man named Basil Pillard, was one of Hayakawa’s collaborators.

Whoopee! Here comes
a sex fetish!

One of the principles that the book taught was how to differentiate between things and symbols, which are abstractions, of things. Take one of the ultimate abstractions — the sexual fetish. At the time, one could find, say in New York’s Times Square, book stores that sold pornography and sex fetishes under the counter.

Sex fetishes? They might have included a shiny patent leather woman’s shoe (just one) with a very high heel. You couldn’t have sex with it, at least not as most of us understand sex. It had no erogenous parts. It had no warmth. It had no voice. It had no brain. It had no tenderness. It had no passion. It had no moving parts.

And yet creepy little men would buy it and take it home to kiss, lick, suck and whatever else, all in the course of masturbation. For them, that shiny high heeled shoe wasn’t a shoe. It was sex itself. It may have begun as a symbol of a sexy woman in high heeled shoes, but somehow it had morphed, in the minds of the fetishists, from a symbol into the real thing.

The Bible backs me
up on this, if you care

Fetishising symbols is a practice that goes back at least to biblical times, and that gave rise to one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…”

So idol worshipping is just another form of masturbating while sucking on the heel of a patent leather shoe. It is a demonstration of people confusing the symbol of God with the real thing, assuming you believe there is a God.

Hold all that for a moment and tell me — or tell yourself — what the American flag is.

Basically, it’s a piece of cloth consisting either of other pieces of red, white and blue cloth, sewn together in a certain manner, or it is a piece of cloth with a certain number of red white and blue stars and stripes printed on it. Most people would recognize either form as “the American flag.” But it’s still just a piece of cloth.

The American flag is also a legitimate symbol of the United States and of American liberty. But that is all it is, a symbol. Some people, Donald Trump among them, have confused the symbol with the thing, same as ancient idol worshippers, and same as creeps masturbating over a woman’s shoe.

You cannot burn up or burn down the United States of America by setting fire to a flag, because the flag is only a symbol, not the real thing. You cannot destroy freedom by failing to salute the flag in a prescribed way, for the same reason. 

Similarly, you cannot destroy the United States of America by refusing to stand with your hand on your heart when the Star Spangled Banner is played. Our national anthem is another symbol. Or rather, it is a song celebrating a symbol.

Maybe "taking a knee" 
is a form of respect

As for saluting the flag in a manner that Donald Trump favors, consider this. In a more authoritarian state than perhaps even Donald Trump has envisioned, we might all be ordered to get down on one or both knees as a symbol of respect, just as some people do while praying. It certainly seems to be more humble and respectful than standing while feeling for our own heartbeats.

By insisting on taking a knee Colin Kaepernick and other football players are not, as Trump insists, disrespecting the flag They are instead disrespecting the perverted fetishization of the flag by people whose behavior is opposite what the flag stands for — liberty and justice for all. The football players are saying that freedom and justice fail to exist when people are shot dead by a police officer for driving, walking, standing, or merely breathing while black.

It is Trump who disrespects America, and the American ideal, by insisting not only on flag worship, but also flag worship according to the specific ritual he fetishizes.

In doing so, he has committed almost precisely the same perversion as the biblical idol worshipper and the pervert who sits behind locked doors sucking on a stiletto-heeled shoe. Or, for that matter, a pervert who allegedly pays hookers to pee on him. He has gotten his own wires crossed, and confused a symbol of a thing with the thing itself.

If this is a free nation, anyone who so wishes may take a knee, most especially when the knee is taken in protest. The right to protest is precisely what the flag is all about.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Three things that really get my goat but that aren’t Donald Trump. (One is worthy of capital punishment. Or worse.)

Look, I’m suffering from Trump burnout. Maybe that’s why I haven’t posted here for over a week. He may be the gift that keeps on giving to comedians, but for me, Trump….

I was about to use the old cliché that Trump sucks the oxygen out of the room, but that’s not really what he does. He’s one of those noxious people who instead noisily blows methane into the room. He not only makes it hard to breathe. He makes it stinky and explosive.

If you’re a fan of that kind of thing, be sure to go here. Meanwhile stop complaining that today’s piece isn’t political. It’s not supposed to be political. Or at least it’s not that kind of political. Without further ado, here are the three things that truly deserve a fair share of outrage.

#1. 
And the rotten tomato you rode in on.  Normally, I am opposed to capital punishment. But I make several exceptions to the no capital punishment rule. For example, I strongly support the death penalty for the people responsible for making sure that tiny paper stickers get glued on fruit and tomatoes. Hey wait! Where do you think you’re going? Stay right here and hear me out.

The purpose of the stickers is to let the people at the cash register know what it is you want to buy, so that he or she can charge you for it. As if the poor nincompoop wouldn’t know a lemon from a watermelon on his or her own. Or a little yellow grape tomato from a great big beefsteak tomato. Or a plum from a pomegranate. 

The problem is, when you get home you have to peel the damn stickers off. It’s not so bad if you’ve got longer fingernails and you’re trying to get a sticker off a leathery avocado. But try it with a soft, thin-skinned fruit like a plum or a tomato. You end up picking, and picking, and picking until you finally tear off the fruit’s skin with the sticker. Then the fruit begins to bleed, its juices making a sticky mess of  your hands, your shirt, the table you’re working at, and the fruit itself.

These accursed Sticker People should not only be executed, they should be executed by having their skin slowly peeled off by sadists with very long fingernails, until they bleed out like an overripe plum.

#2. 
The “vocal fry.” It’s grounds for a very special form of physical punishment. Vocal fry? If I ended every declarative sentence with a question mark you’d know what I’m saying? No? Well, then watch this explanation, then come back?

Okay, vocal frying drives me up a tree? Something about it tells me, “This person is a little snot who ought to be separated from society?” But no, I don’t really advocate capital punishment for this bunch. Instead, I think the courts should hire board-certified surgeons to humanely remove the vocal cords of every vocal fryer in America. And humanely sew up their lips while the surgeons are at it. Got it? (No that last sentence wasn’t a vocal fry, it was a question.)

3.
Patronizing physicians’ assistants. This is a particularly powerful pet peeve of mine (say that three times fast) because I’m at an age when body parts start to break down, rust out, wear out, or fall apart, just like very old cars. I’ve heard all the loud sloshing noises that my heart, with all its leaky valves, generates during a sonogram. It sounds like a big plunger having a go at a badly stuffed toilet. But I’ll take a heart attack, please, in preference to several other pernicious ailments that are gnawing away at my body. 

I get that I’m a hell of a lot closer to the end of the road than the beginning. I’ve been on this doomed planet for almost 79 years and as the old saying goes, nobody’s getting outta here alive.

But we’re all going to get killed a lot faster by those accursed Physicians’ Assistants, or PAs, with their overly-sweet, patronizing explanations, a jarring mixture of baby talk and technical jargon, delivered in a cooing voice, about why you’re dead meat (but let’s pretend you’re not.) 

Their tone of voice is the same one you might use when house training a puppy, with lots of high pitched sing-song praise if you say anything at all that indicates you’re not brain-dead. It’s a good thing they phone it in, because if  you were  in the same room with one of them, they’d probably pat you on the head and toss a strip of bacon at you.

The last, of many similar calls, went something like the two paragraphs that follow. (Note: add a touch of vocal fry for maximum effect, and make absolutely certain that the PA has no last name): 
“Hello, Mr. Crank? This is Jessica? Jessica who? I’m the PA from Doctor Poshmanoogarly’s office? I have such good news for you, Mr. Crank! Your biopsy came out negative! (BRIEF PAUSE)  
“How-everrrr, Doctor Poshmanoogarly did notice on your most recent cat scan a bit of atypical osseous calcification on the left suborbital nodule of the right anterior lobe. So he’d like you to come in next Wednesday to discuss surgery. What’s a suborbital lobe? Oh, Mr. Crank, you’re soooo sharp!”
Okay, I’ll come in. But there had better be a strip of bacon, or at least a Milk-Bone, waiting for me when I get there.




Friday, July 27, 2018

You’re doing a hell of a job there, Brownie. I mean, Donny.

Actually, screwing up on one of his own promises may be among the few things — if not the only thing — Donald Trump has done right.

Nevertheless, The Trumpster has failed to deliver on one of the key assurances he made to his followers — that he would restore the place of filthy-burning, air-polluting, lung-poisoning, cancer inducing coal as a major source of American energy.

Using U.S Energy Information Administration data, Fidelity reports:

As a percentage of its contribution to US power generation, coal has slipped below where it was before the 2016 presidential election. As of early June 2018, coal produced just 24% of America’s power mix, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s roughly 5% below coal’s market share in November 2016 (and about half its market share during the early 2000s). Cheaper natural gas and growth in renewables have been the primary reason for coal powering down.

Source: US Energy Information Administration

Uh oh. Looks like somebody at the Energy Information Administration is going to get fired. The Trumpster doesn't like people who go around telling the truth. Chartable truth at that. 

It also looks like the Trumpster's incompetence and lying is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, he's wasting his time trying to shove lumps of polluting coal down the throats of Americans.

On the other hand, he's failed so badly at a court order to return immigrant kids held in ICE baby prisons by a deadline now past, that he's had to invent a new lie to explain his incompetence. The kids are "not eligible," his administration claims.

Not eligible? What did they do, hold up a bank? Join a deadly gang of toddlers? Cry too much?

Sorry, kids. The Trumpster explains that all you little children, five years old, down to about 18 months old, shouldn't have come here in the first place. So it's your own fault. Shut up and stop crying like a bunch of babies. 

I'm not sure what the Trumpsters are going to do with you. But I wouldn't be completely surprised if they trafficked you. Or rented you out as farm labor, and pocketed the profits. (They've already got you scrubbing toilets.) Or maybe even ate you. In fact, if they take the last option, they could then look up from their golden dinner plates at the end of a meal, blink innocently, and say, "What babies?"









Tuesday, July 24, 2018

And you thought there was no evidence that Trump is guilty of a capital crime. Or should I say, CAPITAL CRIME?



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To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

8:24 PM - 22 Jul 2018

Really? A capital crime?

I’m talking, of course, about treason. 

The law is quite clear on this point. Giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States is treasonous and is punishable by death. To quote the pertinent U.S. Code:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)
And how has Donald Trump given aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States? Let me count the ways.

Well, come to think of it, there may be too many ways to count. Besides, just a trio of highlights ought to do it.
  • He has adhered to and in fact embraced Vladimir Putin, a former KGB (Russian and before that Soviet secret police) agent, who was President and now is Prime Minister of Russia and who is almost certainly behind one or more, or perhaps numerous “hacks” of the last presidential election and perhaps other elections, thus subverting the democratic  practice upon which American democracy is founded.
  • He has adhered to and in fact embraced  “Dear Leader” Kim Jon-Un, the kind of adorable dictator who has his own uncle, Jang Song-thaek executed, along with — why the hell not? — all Uncle Jang’s blood relatives. Dear Uncle was put to death by being shot with anti-aircraft weapons, the better to make bigger holes in his corpse, I suppose. But I’m straying from my very abbreviated bill of particulars.
  • He has turned on our allies and insulted, denigrated and weakened an American alliance with Western Europe, thus weakening our national defenses and leaving us essentially on our own should Russia, or North Korea, or any other nation such as Iran turned against the United States and, for example, bomb our cities or our territories, block our shipping, counterfeit our currency, bring down our electrical grid, or evaporate the bank savings, pension credits and stock holdings of every single American via Internet hacking, to name just some of the possibilities.
Yes, there’s plenty more. Other particulars might range from subverting our system of justice to psychologically and perhaps physically caging and effectively torturing small children with loneliness, disgusting tasks such as cleaning toilet bowls, and inadequate food,  in what are effectively juvenile concentration camps — because their parents tried to come to the United States to escape persecution and tyranny. Feel free to add charges that you feel are indispensable.

Some Trump sycophants, profiteers, self-dealers, and evidently many haplessly deluded fools have claimed there is method to Trump’s madness, that it is all part of a clever plan to fool our enemies and thus, by some as-yet undisclosed means, to defeat them.

You bet, undisclosed. They’re undisclosed because there is no means. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s all-caps tweets are laying the groundwork for a not-guilty-by-insanity defense should Americans finally have the courage to arrest Trump and bring him and those who significantly aid and abet him to trial. 

What also needs to be said is that justice in this case should not stop at impeachment. 

Impeachment is only where it should begin.

Monday, July 16, 2018

What idiot says I have to like you to prosecute you?

Total canard? the whole "biased investigators/biased prosecution claim is a
giant Trump canard. By an interesting coincidence, Trump is already showing
up in rubber ducky stores in Amsterdam. The sticker on the cap he's holding
says, "TAKE QUACK AMERICA." — Photo by The New York Crank. And
sorry for the lousy line breaks. There's a glitch somewhere that I can't correct.
The snowflake-y whining by Donald Trump and his apologists that some of the investigators looking into his case are “prejudiced and biased,” is a load of superfluous baloney.

I won’t get into whether a few of the investigators slightly dislike, intensely dislike, or utterly loathe Trump. It doesn’t matter. 

Imagine what it would do to American jurisprudence if grounds for dismissal of a prosecution — or of a conviction — were, “Your honor, both the police and the prosecutor are biased against my client because their evidence makes him look like a murderer. The prosecutor clearly said — and you heard him say it — that murder is a despicable crime. And you further heard him say that he hates murderers. Hate, hate, hate! The prosecution is so biased and corrupt that it's practically guilty of a hate crime against my client.”

So what’s a poor judge to do? Throw out the case because somebody in the process that led to the conviction was biased against crooks and murderers? Or that they didn't like a specific crook and murderer?

Juries need to be impartial. Judges need to be impartial. Investigators need only to produce honest evidence, and prosecutors need only to honestly present it to the jury. So long as the evidence is real and not — dare I say it? — trumped up, the accused has no grounds for complaint.

Little wonder that a former Watergate prosecutor trashed a claim by the Trump camp that the poor little snowflakes had their case damaged because the investigators looking into their behavior don’t like it or them. Said the former prosecutor, Jill Wine-Banks:
The fact that people have opinions does not make them biased. It’s like being a juror. You can have an opinion. You just have to be willing to set it aside and to follow the evidence wherever it takes you.
And here’s Cynthia Alksne, another former federal prosecutor, on the same topic:
For example, I prosecuted the Klan. I don’t like the Klan. I never say anything nice about the Klan. And if you looked probably at my emails you would find that I’m very open about that. But when the time comes to make a decision about whether or not the Klan burned a cross in somebody’s yard , that’s a decision that’s straight facts. Either the guys were there and burned the cross or they didn’t.
So there! And either Donald Trump is a colluding puppet of Vladimir Putin or I’m the Emperor of Mexico, you sniveling White House snowflake.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Republican right wing is beginning to discover that it just shot itself in the … no, not in the foot. It’s another part of the anatomy.

With the inevitable addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court is about to swing hard to the right, no matter what Democrats do. And in the long run, Roe vs. Wade is dead. The only question is whether Roe will die hard and fast, or suffer a slow death of a thousand cuts.

So the so-called conservatives are out there dancing in the streets, right? Wait a second, not so fast.

The Federalist, a right wing journal that would warm the cockles of Justice Antonin Scalia’s wicked heart (were he still among us to have his cockles warmed) just put its finger on a small, umm, problem. It’s a replacement parts shortage. Human replacement parts.

To keep the wealth engine of the One Percent growing, the  United States population also has to keep growing. Otherwise, the very rich would have to pay more and more in taxes as the population declines, while having fewer and fewer people to sell their goods to.

Moreover, the rich need worker bees. You know, people who do the real work, whether that relates to picking fruit, picking up the toddlers after school, or picking their noses in front of a computer screen. But guess what?

Here’s what, according to Melissa Langsam Braunstein, who writes the “parenting” column online for the Federalist: 
“It’s just not clear we all enjoy raising flesh and blood miniature humans anymore.”
Quick Jeeves, the smelling salts! Oh my blinking stars! Say what, Melissa? 
“…it seems clear that millennials will either have fewer children than they’d wanted or opt out of parenthood altogether .”
What a terrifying thought! Who will keep our economic engine’s gears oiled and its wheels turning, and its innovations hatching if we don’t have enough replacement babies? For that matter, who will keep the ranks of our enlisted military populated? 

We used to have immigrants for all of that. But no longer, what with Trump slamming the gates shut, and a Supreme Court about to solder our national rudder in place so that hereafter we can turn only in rightward circles. Trump and his merry band of idiot bullies have just shot themselves — and the United States of America — in the testicles.

No wonder that  social conservatives, in addition to trying to eliminate abortion are going after birth control. Damnit women, they need your babies, even if it means confiscating your birth control pills so you’ll be forced to become a baby machine. Who knows? If it's deemed necessary, armed cops may be able to haul you away to the hospital and pry out your IUD with a wire cutter and a pair of pliers. But only to save the lives of the unborn, of course. Already one conservative publication, The National Review, is shrieking that IUDs are “contraception that kills.” 

But throwing you in the slammer if you dare to sell or swallow a birth control pill (or perhaps for using an IUD, you child-killing thug-ette) is a slow way to grow the population. Can’t we get all those potential handmaidens popping out babies any faster? What do we have to do? Arrest women caught with implanted IUDs for murder? And perhaps execute a few?

Not to worry. Federalist columnist Melissa Langsam Braunstein, has a solution: encourage millennials to have babies more often by brazenly misleading and confusing them. In a recent column entitled “6 Reasons Millenials Should Stop And Embrace Parenthood,” Melissa tries to sell you on having more pregnancies with reasoning like this:

1. Focus on What You Can Control. Among millennials with fewer children than they’d wanted, 49 percent said they’re “worried about the economy,” 37 percent are “worried about global instability,” 36 percent are “worried about domestic politics,” 33 percent are “worried about climate change,” and 27 percent are “worried about population growth.” Whew, that’s a lot of big worries!I understand wanting to err on the side of caution, but the world has never been problem-free, and sometimes we need to act in spite of that. Further, the most meaningful things in life often require a leap of faith at the outset. Or, in the wise words of a mentor, “Leap and the net will appear.”
Right, Melissa. Don’t fix the economy so that people can afford to have babies. Just encourage everyone to close their eyes and jump. Tell you what, Melissa. Go jump out of a window, preferably the window of a very tall sky scraper. If a safety net appears, as you promise, to prevent you from becoming a sidewalk serving of scrambled brains, I’m sure a lot more millennials will be convinced. Personally I prefer the old maxim, “Look before you leap.”
2. Paid Family Leave Is On The Rise. Parents, 39 percent of you say you’re having fewer kids than your ideal because there’s “not enough paid family leave” and 38 percent said there’s none. According to Working Mother, however, “Since late 2017, an increasing number of private employers have expanded their paid maternity leave and paternity leave offerings, some doing so dramatically,” all to attract and retain employees like you. Employers hear you, and they’re responding.
There's a small problem with that one, Melissa. You’re asking people to have babies on spec — the speculations that their own employers will read Working Mother,” take the cue, and “dramatically” increase parental leave. Not very damn likely in a nation that more and more is being run by so-called conservatives. 

More likely, FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, will be repealed, either by Congress or by Supreme Court fiat. Employers who are freed from workplace discrimination enforcement will find your pregnancy a reason to not promote you, or even to fire you. Oh right, that’s already happening.
3. Child Care Is Tough But Not Impossible. Sixty-four percent of current parents and 31 percent of would-be parents cited the high cost of child care. I’m with you. It’s not only tough, but can also be expensive to find people you trust to care for your children.The good news is that it’s not forever. For most families, the first five years are the most costly in this category. Every family has different needs and preferences, but there are ways to control costs, whether it’s help from family members, parents adjusting work schedules to be home, or a trade between families who alternate watching one another’s children.
Right-O, Melissa. Parents can just go and tell the boss, “Now see here, I need to adjust my work schedule to take care of my child, so I won’t be able to come in Mondays and Thursdays. But I’m trading baby-watching schedules with my friends from the bowling alley, the Smiths. So Muffy or Chip Smith will be here to attend status meetings instead of me on Mondays.” 

Know what the boss is likely to say? Hint: It’s a favorite phrase of Donald Trump’s. It starts with the word “You’re...” and ends with an exclamation point. Your next persuasive point, Melissa?
4. Babies Don’t Need Houses. Now, among those without children, 24 percent of respondents remain so because they “can’t afford a house.” If you think you need to buy a house in a great school district, consider: You have five years and nine months (at least!) before your firstborn starts kindergarten. That’s several years to save and buy into your ideal district or devise an acceptable Plan B. Apartment living works just fine in the short-term.
Save how much, Melissa? How can you save a dime, especially in cities like, say, San Francisco where the median home value is now $1.61 million and rising fast. But you say, “apartment living works just fine in the short term.” In the short term, rents in the same city have risen 40 to 50 percent and the average rent for a two bedroom apartment in that town is now $4,382 a month. 

But do people have to go to San Francisco? Isn't life lots cheaper in Nowheresville? 

Yes, assuredly. The problem is, there are no jobs in Nowheresville. That’s why it’s so cheap. And that’s why everybody’s trying to squeeze into cities like San Francisco. So yeah, Melissa, saving up for a $1.6 million house in five years while paying $4,382 a month for rent and a wad of money for child care is no problem, no problem at all. Are you also selling bridges? How about the one in Brooklyn? People could buy it from you and live under it. Babies can live under bridges just like other homeless people, right Melissa?

Oh, and I'm not even going to think about what you mean by "a good school district." Well actually, I am. I think you mean, a district that doesn't have too many of "those people."

Next, Melissa suggests reducing student debt. I got all excited and upbeat about that one, until I read what she had to say about it.
5. Let’s Reduce Student Debt. Thirteen percent of respondents say they’re not sure about parenthood because they have “too much student debt.” Everyone’s situation is different, but this could be a good time for students, parents, and alumni to start pressuring the federal government to weigh practical solutions to the student loan crisis, including reducing the flow of federal dollars to universities (since that actually raises students’ costs).Here in Washington, DC, American University allows students to graduate in three years, saving families a whole year of tuition. Perhaps more schools should introduce such programs, and we should encourage students to talk to potential employers before choosing majors, so they know they’re employable post-graduation.
Right Melissa, by starving universities, you’ll force them to lower tuition. Could you show us how that works, please? No? The article you linked to certainly doesn't. It just makes what appears to be a baseless claim. 

And you’d also recommend turning college from a learning experience to a pressure cooker experience, blasting through four years of courses in three. The one thing you seem to have forgotten is Bernie Sanders’ proposal for student loan forgiveness, which would reduce student debt to zero instantly. While  we’re at it, tuition-free college supported by the government, working pretty much the way the GI Bill of Rights worked immediately after WWII, would prevent most student debt from ever happening. And that policy was part of an effort that unleashed a great wave of post-war prosperity. Oh sorry, I forgot who I was talking to.

Lastly, Melissa threatens us with self-inflicted death. 
6. Family Isn’t Your Jam. This is the group that most concerns me, amidst our crisis of loneliness, crisis of meaning, and the rise in suicides....
She goes on but I won’t, save to repeat that Trump and the Republicans have shot themselves and this nation in the testicles, aided and abetted by people like Melissa. We won’t be able to sustain the population internally. We won’t be able to replenish the population by letting in immigrants. Instead, we’re in danger of becoming a withering-away nation, our population aging, our ability to create prosperity falling, our future slowly going down the drain.

So the only solution the so-called Conservatives see is to force the majority of this nation’s women to effectively become unwilling handmaidens — baby machines serving the state. 

Very smart, conservatives. Very smart.