civics (161)

When Falsification Has Lease...

Topics: Applied Physics, Civics, Materials Science, Solid-State Physics, Superconductors

I'm a person who will get Nature on my home email, my previous graduate school email (that's active because it's also on my phone), and my work email. Because it said "physics," I was primed to read it.

What I read made me clasp my hands over my mouth, and periodically stared at the ceiling tiles. My forehead bumped the desk softly, symbolically in disbelief.

Ranga Dias, the physicist at the center of the room-temperature superconductivity scandal, committed data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism, according to a investigation commissioned by his university. Nature’s news team discovered the bombshell investigation report in court documents.

The 10-month investigation, which concluded on 8 February, was carried out by an independent group of scientists recruited by the University of Rochester in New York. They examined 16 allegations against Dias and concluded that it was more likely than not that in each case, the physicist had committed scientific misconduct. The university is now attempting to fire Dias, who is a tenure-track faculty member at Rochester, before his contract expires at the end of the 2024–25 academic year.

Exclusive: official investigation reveals how superconductivity physicist faked blockbuster results

The confidential 124-page report from the University of Rochester, disclosed in a lawsuit, details the extent of Ranga Dias’s scientific misconduct. By Dan Garisto, Nature.

In a nutshell, this is the Scientific Method and how it relates to this investigation:

1. Ask a Question. It can be as simple as "Why is that the way it is?" The question suggests observation, as in, the researcher has read, or seen something in the lab that piqued their curiosity. It is also known as the problem the researcher hopes to solve. The problem must be clear, concise, and testable, i.e., a designed experiment is possible, a survey to gather data can be crafted.

2. Research (n): "the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions" (Oxford languages). Here, you are "looking for the gaps" in knowledge. People are human, and due to the times and the technology available, something else about a subject may reveal itself through careful examination. The topic area is researched through credible sources, bibliographies, similar published research, textbooks from subject matter experts. Google Scholar counts; grainy YouTube videos don't.

3. The Hypothesis. This encapsulates your research in the form of an idea that can be tested by observation, or experiment. The null hypothesis is a statement or claim that the researcher makes they are trying to disprove, and the alternate hypothesis is a statement or claim the researcher makes they are trying to prove, and with sufficient evidence, disproves the null hypothesis.

4. Design an Experiment. Design of experiments (DOE) follows a set pattern, usually from statistics, or now, using software packages to evaluate input variables, and judging their relationship to output variables. If it sounds like y = f(x), it is.

5. Data Analysis. "The process of systematically applying statistical and/or logical techniques to describe and illustrate, condense and recap, and evaluate data." Source: Responsible Conduct of Research, Northern Illinois University. This succinct definition is the source of my faceplanting regarding this Nature article.

6. Conclusion. R-squared relates to the data gathered, also called the coefficient of determination. Back to the y = f(x) analogy, r-squared is the fit of the data between the independent variables (x) and the output variables (y). An r-squared of 0.90, or 90% and higher, is considered a "good fit" of the data, and the experimenter can make predictions from their results. Did the experimenter disprove the null hypothesis or prove the alternate hypothesis? Were both disproved? (That's called "starting over.")

7. Communication. You craft your results in a journal publication, hopefully one with a high impact factor. If your research helps others in their research ("looking for gaps"), you start seeing yourself appearing in "related research" and "citation" emails from Google Scholar. Your mailbox will fill up, as I hope your self-esteem.

Back to the faceplant:

The 124-page investigation report is a stunning account of Dias’s deceit across the two Nature papers, as well as two other now-retracted papers — one in Chemical Communications3 and one in Physical Review Letters (PRL)4. In the two Nature papers, Dias claimed to have discovered room-temperature superconductivity — zero electrical resistance at ambient temperatures — first in a compound made of carbon, sulfur and hydrogen (CSH)1 and then in a compound eventually found to be made of lutetium and hydrogen (LuH)2.

Capping years of allegations and analyses, the report methodically documents how Dias deliberately misled his co-authors, journal editors and the scientific community. A university spokesperson described the investigation as “a fair and thorough process,” which reached the correct conclusion.

When asked to surrender raw data, Dias gave "massaged" data.

"In several instances, the investigation found, Dias intentionally misled his team members and collaborators about the origins of data. Through interviews, the investigators worked out that Dias had told his partners at UNLV that measurements were taken at Rochester, but had told researchers at Rochester that they were taken at UNLV."

Dias also lied to journals. In the case of the retracted PRL paper4 — which was about the electrical properties of manganese disulfide (MnS2) — the journal conducted its own investigation and concluded that there was apparent fabrication and “a deliberate attempt to obstruct the investigation” by providing reviewers with manipulated data rather than raw data. The investigators commissioned by Rochester confirmed the journal’s findings that Dias had taken electrical resistance data on germanium tetraselenide from his own PhD thesis and passed these data off as coming from MnS2 — a completely different material with different properties (see ‘Odd similarity’). When questioned about this by the investigators, Dias sent them the same manipulated data that was sent to PRL.

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Winners and losers

Winners - Scientific Integrity.

The investigators of Nature were trying to preserve the reputation of physics and the rigor of peer review. Any results from any experiment has to be replicable in similar conditions in other laboratories. Usually, when retractions are ordered, it is because that didn't happen. If I drop tablets of Alka Seltzer in water in Brazil, and do it in Canada, I should still get "plop-plop-fizz-fizz." But the "odd similarity" graphs isn't that. The only differences between the two are 0.5 Gigapascals (109 Pascals, 1 Pascal = 1 Newton/meter squared = 1 N/m2), the materials under test, and the color of the graphs. Face. Plant.

Losers - The Public Trust.

"The establishment of our new government seemed to be the last **great experiment** for promoting human happiness." George Washington, January 9, 1790

As you can probably tell, I admire Carl Sagan and how he tried to popularize science communication. But Dr. Sagan, Bill Nye the Science Guy, the canceled reality series Myth Busters (that I actually LIKED) has not bridged the gap between society's obsession with spectacle, and though the previously mentioned gentlemen and television show were promoting "science as cool," it is still a discipline, it takes work and rigor to master subjects that are not part of casual conversations, nor can you "Google." There are late nights solving problems, early mornings running experiments while everyone else outside of your library or lab window seems to be enjoying college life and what it can offer.

Dr. Dias is as susceptible to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (physical, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization) as anyone of us. Some humans express this need posting "selfies" or social media posts "going viral," no matter how outrageous, or the collateral damage to the non-cyber real world. Or, they like to see their names in print in journals, filling their inboxes with "related research" or "citation" emails with their names attached. There is even currency now in your research being MENTIONED in social media.

*****

Mr. Halsey was the librarian at Fairview Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Everyone in my fifth grade class had to do a book report, but before we could do that, we had to pass Mr. Halsey's exam - with an 85% or better - on the Dewey Decimal System, and SHOW him in a practicum, that we could find a book that he would give you using Dewey. If you didn't pass, you didn't do the book report, and you failed English. I thankfully made an 92%, and satisfied Mr. Halsey that I wouldn't get lost in the periodicals.

We now have search engines that we can utilize via supercomputers in our hip pockets. A lot of effort to know math, physics, chemistry applied to the manufacture of semiconductors for those supercomputers instead of facilitating access to knowledge might have inadvertently manufactured a generation suffering from Dunning-Kruger. Networking those supercomputers over a worldwide web, coupled with artificial intelligence gives malevolent actors inordinate power over a captive audience of 8 billion souls.

Couple this with the falsification of data having a lease in the realm of science; it only contributes to the mistrust of institutions like the academy, like our democracy, which has been referred to since Washington as "the great experiment." If the null, and the alternate hypotheses are discarded, what pray tell, is on the other side of what we've always known?

 

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Avatars and Horses...

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The Greek Myth of Odysseus and the Trojan Horse, Greek Boston

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

Avatar (n) - an electronic image (as in a video game) that represents and may be manipulated by a computer user; the incarnation of a Hindu deity (such as Vishnu); an incarnation in human form; an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person, See: Merriam-Webster/avatar.

 

Stalking Horse (n) - a horse or a figure like a horse behind which a hunter stalks game; something used to mask a purpose; a candidate put forward to divide the opposition or to conceal someone's real candidacy, See: Merriam-Webster/stalking horse

 

Trojan Horse (n) - a seemingly useful computer program that contains concealed instructions which, when activated, perform an illicit or malicious action (such as destroying data files); someone or something intended to defeat or subvert from within, usually by deceptive means, See: Merriam-Webster/trojan horse

 

So far, every republican president post-Eisenhower has been an avatar for agendas crafted for them.

 

My observation: Post-Eisenhower, they had no real vision of how they wanted to govern. Conservative "think tanks" and corporate interests have performed a political version of "Cliff Notes" so that thinking is irrelevant and, from the candidates themselves, discouraged. Talking points, propaganda, and sloganeering are manufactured and repeated in an established echo chamber, where repetition replaces reality. What we get aren't politicians, but actors on a stage who know the buttons to push in their audience.

 

Governor Ronald Reagan lost the Republican Primary to Vice President Gerald Ford in 1976. Ford injured his chances of a second term by pardoning his former boss, Richard Nixon, after the unforced error of Watergate: on paper, he was going to win against his Democratic opponent, George McGovern, after LBJ chose not to run for re-election due to the unpopularity of the Indo China/Vietnam conflict. McGovern only won his state of Minnesota, as Nixon won a landslide, frightening the country with "law and order." However, it may have been that Nixon, neurotically fearful and abusing alcohol, feared the DNC Headquarters may have had intelligence on his collusion with a foreign power:

 

“Keep Anna Chennault working on SVN (South Vietnam),” Haldeman wrote as Nixon barked orders into the phone. They were out to “monkey wrench” Johnson’s election eve initiative, Nixon said. And it worked.

 

The Nixon campaign’s sabotage of Johnson’s peace process was successful. Nine days later, Thieu’s decision to boycott the talks headlined The New York Times and other U.S. newspapers, reminding American voters of their long-harbored mistrust of the wheeler-dealer LBJ and his “credibility gap” on Vietnam. Humphrey’s momentum faded.

 

LBJ was furious. His national security adviser, Walt Rostow, urged him to unmask Nixon’s treachery. Humphrey’s aides told their boss to expose the episode and disgrace their Republican foes. But Johnson and Humphrey balked. They didn’t have proof that Nixon had personally directed her actions.

 

When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election
It took decades to unravel Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks. Now, the full story can be told. John A. Farrell, Politico Magazine, August 6, 2017.

 

Reagan latched onto a letter: the Lewis Powell memo, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by Nixon. This letter was the basis of "Reaganism," the attacks on education and labor rights, and the "long game" by Corporate America to deregulate the administrative state and give themselves and the owner class tax cuts, sold by a B-Movie actor that could hit all his lines as "trickle down." His Vice President and former primary adversary, George Herbert Walker Bush, aptly described it as "voodoo economics," which is more like a zombie that won't die. Like his predecessor, both men had been governors of California, and the "October Surprise" put the Reagan campaign square in the camp of collusion with a foreign power for political gain. He exploited the brief recession in 1980, no fault of his Democratic incumbent opponent, using the often repeated phrase "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Any brief recessions under Reagan, and increases in unemployment were blamed on the Democrats by the B-Movie flimflam artist.

 

The "Gipper" was the perfect avatar for the Powell Memo.

 

The scion of the 41st president would win a controversial election in 2000, some say installed by a 5 - 4 vote on the Supreme Court. George W. Bush as the 43rd president glad-handed, was, between him and his wooden Democratic opponent, he was the candidate "most Americans would like to have a beer with" (W was a self-described recovering alcoholic and teetotaler). He prayed in the open like a Pharisee. He ran on "compassionate conservatism" from his Christian bona fides, calculated and preying on the premise the country was appalled that his predecessor had consensual sex with an adult intern, a woman other than his wife, and lied about it under oath. W talked down the economy that his predecessor handed him a surplus with, then promptly tax-cut it into oblivion and blamed the Democrats for his incompetence. 2008 was the last year of his administration, and that's when his "chickens came home to roost" w aith the housing crisis, having to bailout Wall Street for essentially gambling with subprime loans, and the costs of wars in Afghanistan, where he did not get Osama Bin Laden, and Iraq, where he executed Saddam Hussein because of a grudge he felt about Hussein trying to kill his dad, and his need to goose his numbers for the upcoming 2004 elections. He would be the only Republican presidential candidate to win the popular vote, now for nine election cycles.

 

W's reign of error was preceded by a 1997 statement of principles from Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, and Paul Wolfowitz for the Project for a New American Century:

 

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

 

The strong military and Pax Americana PNAC advocated didn't hinder the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and almost the Capitol on 9/11/2001. The New American Century brought us civil liberties-violating shoes and laptops in plastic tubs to x-ray, hands-above-head body scans, and pat downs if "something suspicious" was seen in the body scan (they ask you if they can check your groin area). I remember a world more laid back at the airport, and better, real food than chips and biscotti.

 

Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century

 

He, with whom everyone wanted to have beers, was the perfect avatar for PNAC.

 

The dizzying years between 2017 - 2021 seemed like a century and not an administration. I was in graduate school, keeping my head down, and my mind filled with nanomaterials. The administration at that time was slapstick, stumblebum, the source of memes, late night comedian standups, tweets that drove the news cycle (we were trying to decipher "COVFEFE"). There was a Muslim ban, white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia who were "very fine people" (in a bizarre application of "both-sides-ism"), the death of Heather Heyer. There were camouflaged agents harassing protestors after the livestreamed George Floyd lynching. Teargas was used to clear demonstrators in Washington, DC June 1, 2020, to hold a Bible upside down for a prescient photo op. Fun observation: the currently branded $59.99 Holy Writ, if you turn the numbers upside down, the 5 looks like an "S." Add a few vowels and consonants, you get "66.6Suckers!"

 

Despite his resemblance to the "Lord of the Flies," he is the frontrunner of a party he's only been ostensibly attached to after the first black president was elected, re-elected, and clowned him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He is the frontrunner after having affairs on his first, second, and third pregnant immigrant wife, then with an adult film star and a Playboy centerfold, and bragging about sexual assault on video. He is the frontrunner because he is the id of a number of Americans disturbed that a black man won the presidency not once, but twice, so he is their anger, their rage, their "retribution." He is "chosen by God," despite the fact that he was a Democrat most of his life until he latched onto the birther conspiracy theory. He is the frontrunner despite four years ago; we had refrigerated 18 wheelers as morgues for a death toll of 1.13 million Americans during the pandemic, the stock market a quarter of its trading now, and told to inject ourselves with bleach, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin (horse wormer), and politicizing masks. He's the frontrunner after spurring an attack on the Capitol after a "call-and-response" sermon to keep himself in power after the votes were counted not in his favor. He's the frontrunner using stochastic terrorism to attack his "enemies" by proxy that can result in actual deaths.

 

As strange as he is, he is the perfect avatar for Project 2025.

 

"Think tanks" are populated by eggheads that are funded by grants, corporate interests, or billionaires. Dystopian nightmares like "The Hunger Games" and "The Handmaid's Tale" have behind them a wealthy elite that funds the chaos because in chaos, they can seize and hoard resources for themselves, and since they're self-isolated from the rest of humanity, what would it matter to them if society cratered?

 

The conservative project since the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Decision, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1968 Fair Housing Act, and the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Decision is to repeal the gains of the 20th Century. They are working on contraception and same-sex marriage. "Great Again" doesn't take us back to the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s: I'm seeing a return to the 1850s.

 

In paraphrasing a text message with a good friend, my wife and I plan to vote early, order groceries online to pick up early in the morning and make sure we have ammo for our guns. We've discussed siege scenarios where she should shelter, as I most likely engage our neighbors dedicated to a pathological liar.

 

In the second season of "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu, the "Sons of Jacob" storm the Capitol (familiar?), assassinating the Congress, setting up the "Republic of Gilead," an act that can only appeal to sociopaths. As we watched the well-acted, horrific scene, I looked at my wife and said spontaneously, "They look like they LOST an election."

 

Win, or lose, my fear is they will do violence because they WANT to do violence. The party promoting this violence is nihilistic: they are the dogs who if they "caught the car," they wouldn't care about it because dogs normally don't drive cars.

 

Major General Smedley Butler, WWI's two-time recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, revealed the conspiracy to overthrow the first administration of FDR because wealthy corporate interests thought fascism was easier to make money and manage than democracy. Butler, a Republican, revealed the plot, despite he wasn't a Democrat. It wasn't a matter of tribal affiliation or nihilistic tendencies.

 

Smedley Butler was a patriot, and patriots swear oaths to The Constitution, not to parties, men, or demagogues.

 

 

 

 

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It's On Us...

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― Gaylord Nelson, former Republican Governor and Senator of Wisconsin, Founder of Earth Day, April 20, 1970, which led to the formation of the U.S. EPA, December 2, 1970. Image: Nelson Institute of Environmental Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

Robert Mueller was the subject of Internet memes as a 21st-century version of Joe Friday in "Dragnet." There was going to be an arrest. The 45th Oval Office occupant was going to be put in handcuffs and "perp-walked" in full view and total embarrassment of the Troll-in-Chief who tormented them with his itchy, psychotic Twitter fingers.

 

Robert Mueller did not save us.

 

Jack Smith was appointed late in the game of criminality. He joined Alvin Bragg, Fani Willis, Letitia James, Shawn Crawley, and Roberta Kaplan after two impeachments and 91 federal indictments, trying to do justice, stymied by wealth and privilege that most of us will never have. He has been convicted twice in the E. Jean Carroll: the second time because he couldn't keep his mouth shut. He owes over half a billion dollars between the two. But these are civil lawsuits. He owes money that he actually doesn't have, so he has to go hat in hand to the faux Tony Stark to get a bailout, I guess because a check in Rubles would be to hard to gaslight, even for him.

 

Jack Smith will not save us.

 

Meme posting on Facebook, tweeting (or "X"), Threading, Snapchatting, Reddit posts with pithy commentary, and real clever zingers will not change anything. Hiding behind your laptop as a "keyboard warrior" is no different and no less cowardly than the trolls you get your blood pressure up over in their mom's basements. Our democratic republic is "hanging by a thread." We need your bodies; we need your commitment.

 

Focus your anger into action.

 

Due to a lot going on at work, I ended up voting on Super Tuesday. I did not encounter any resistance. The tape in the machine had to be replaced, so my ballot was counted sometime later. I came back when my wife voted to get my sticker.

 

The candidates I voted for won in the primaries. I plan to volunteer for the campaigns that I want to be successful.

 

If you're angry about the state of the world and your country, I quote the Honorable John Lewis, who joined the ancestors: "Get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

 

It's not just civil rights anymore. It's Women's Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Immigrant Rights, and the rights to just BE yourselves.

 

The Danger of Echo Chambers

 

The State of the Union started with the pomp and circumstance of the Joint Chambers of Congress, which is still a crime scene. The current Speaker filed the Amicus Brief to overturn the results of the 2020 election. However, I am reminded of the 2012 election.

 

I see Senator Romney glad-handing everyone on the floor. I recall him so confident that he had won the 2012 election, he launched his transition website. It was because he consumed a lot of Fox (not) News, and they projected he would win, until he didn't.

 

I recall Karl Rove making Meghan Kelly walk to the statisticians' office at Fox (not) News, totally apoplectic that Obama/Biden had won re-election. The other persons utterly stunned were Mitt and Ann Romney. As Karl and Fox (not) News viewers, they absorbed a medium that made them feel better, but it did not, in fact, inform them, and still doesn't.

 

The danger of echo chambers is like Narcissus; it only gives you the last thing that you might hear:

 

One day, while hunting, Narcissus comes across an untouched, glassy spring. He is drawn to its beauty and lies down to take a drink, but what he sees in the still water enchants him. He is in love with what he sees and is inflamed by the features of the vision: the hair, his eyes, porcelain skin, and rosy cheeks. Attempts to kiss and hold the reflection are in vain, and Narcissus is only frustrated by the teasing reactions of the image. When Narcissus winks, the image winks back; when Narcissus waves, the image waves; and when he cries tears, he sees that the image also cries. Narcissus cannot understand why he cannot reach what he so desperately desires.

 

The tormented boy agonizes over his unrequited love. He cannot leave the spring and is trapped in his frozen gaze at his reflection, pining away for the boy in the water who rejects all advances. Then Narcissus realizes that the image is his, but it’s too late, as he has already fallen tragically in love with himself. Knowing that he can never have what he desires, his body withers away in despair. When Narcissus says “Goodbye” to the reflection, Echo’s voice says “Goodbye.” At that moment, Narcissus dies while peering into the spring. Historic Mysteries

 

The danger of echo chambers is adherence to narratives that do not exist in the real world. It is allegiance to "alternative facts," crackpot conspiracy theories, Big Lies, horse manure, hoopla, and hogwash. It says climate change doesn't exist in a deluge of evidence on a warming globe annually breaking its previous records. It is saying the Affordable Care Act was destined to "kill grandma," when four years ago, we had refrigerator trucks as mobile morgues by ignoring a pandemic and promoting quackery like drinking bleach, shining lights up our rectums, ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine. It is putting on a Batman suit and thinking yourself an undefeatable martial artist, or a Superman suit and thinking you can fly. "Try that in Gotham," or leap from the roof of a short house: the acceleration due to gravity is still 9.81 m/s2. Physics is reality, and it cannot be gaslighted.

 

Things like the Orwellian Citizen's United have guaranteed that every election until capitalism is reformed is the "election of our lifetimes." The American oligarchs today are the spiritual descendants of the fascists who tried to prop up Smedley Butler as their dictator. He balked, realizing that he was a "gangster for capitalism" and that "war is a racket."

 

Time travel is a popular sci-fi trope, but backward travel is impossible due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But it is possible to shape the future we want to see for our children. To do that, we can't listen to nymphs reflecting echoes.

 

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air, water, and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and living creatures.”

 

“The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
― Gaylord Nelson, former Republican Governor and Senator of Wisconsin, Founder of Earth Day, April 20, 1970, which led to the formation of the U.S. EPA, December 2, 1970.

 

 

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Origin...

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Image source: Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures - Isabel Wilkerson, Livestream (2022)

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Fascism

"While I was at the hotel today, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]—that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion, I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position, the negro should be denied everything. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman, or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied with its correctness—and that is the case of Judge Douglas’s old friend, Col. Richard M. Johnson. [Laughter.] I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject) that I have never had the least apprehension that my friends or I would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might if there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this: [that] I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature—not in the Congress of the United States—and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause.] I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject."

Teaching History, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, 4th Debate, Part 1.

The man who would be known as "the great emancipator" could turn a phrase at an event at the time that would dwarf our current 1-1/2 hour modern performances: they were hours in duration. People brought lunches and took notes. Old Abe appeared to have been the "George Carlin" of his day. He was exploitative in his digs, not knowing at the time the same people he derided he would need fighting for him to win the war of secession.

Lincoln exploited racist tropes to make Judge Douglas - his Democratic (the conservative party then) opponent, look like a conspiratorial fool. As we look to history, we see the pedestals that our heroes occupy are made of cracked porcelain; their balance isn't steady because human bodies aren't perfectly proportioned, and they often fall from their lofty perches after scrutiny.

Despite this obvious bias Lincoln had towards "his tribe," another Douglass, Frederick Douglass, would petition him for the involvement of our ancestors on the side of the Union in the Civil War as well as make the case for the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite the many docuseries with them briefly onscreen together generally getting along, Frederick Douglass wasn't an initial fan of the 16th president:

Douglass was concerned about the unequal pay of Black soldiers, who received $3 dollars less per month than white privates. He was also incensed by the Union government’s response to the Confederate treatment of Black prisoners of war, who were being tortured, killed, and sometimes sold into slavery. He focused his anger on President Abraham Lincoln. “The slaughter of Blacks taken as captives,” wrote Douglass in his Douglass’ Monthly, “seems to affect him [Lincoln] as little as the slaughter of beeves [cows] for the use of his army.”

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: Inside Their Complicated Relationship, History.com

So, when I hear people saying they're tired of voting for "the lesser of two evils," their naivete seems to reflect back to halcyon days that never existed, not realizing African Americans have voted that way since we were allowed to vote without interference (poll taxes, lynching, cross burnings, voter purges). As long as a caste system of complexion has existed on these shores, there has never been a conservative or liberal "great again."

The following (or a version of this) I posted on Rotten Tomatoes after seeing the movie:

"I read “Caste: The Source of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson before I saw “Origin,” directed by Ava DuVernay. I highly recommend reading the book, seeing the movie, and staying for the after-the-credits discussion by the director. It is POWERFUL and relevant to the times we all find ourselves in. Seeing the reenactment of Nazi book burning has a modern analogy in practice.

"The Caste System in America is based on skin color and the debasement of people who have no control over how they present themselves or how they are perceived. This extends easily to other groups under the boot of patriarchy.

"See it while it is available. It is a threat to patriarchal oligarchy and for the downcast, the Dalits, the under-the-boot marginalized: the relieving breath of being seen.

"I recommend this movie, seen with a group, and a discussion at a coffee shop or a restaurant afterward. You will need to decompress."

*****

A caste system, whether divinely inspired, fueled by American slave codes, black codes, Jim Crow, eugenics, or Europe, Italian and Nazi fascism, in India, Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (rulers, administrators, warriors), Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen, farmers), Shudras (laborers) Dalits (Harijans or Untouchables), propped up by myth, superstition, and pseudoscience, is about resources and power, who "deserves" to have it, and who those deeming themselves deserving, deeming others as not deserving.

We can see the effects of the caste system in everything:

The global south suffered more from the pandemic than the global north.

The deleterious effects of climate change also affect the Global South more than it does the North. Our apathy for solving it lies in arrogance, caste, and xenophobia.

The Nazis plagiarized the South's black codes for the Nurenberg Laws to oppress the Jews.

It would take 500 years for African Americans to catch up to their (currently) majority neighbors. The March on Washington was on the eighth anniversary of the lynching of Emmett Till, but the essence of the assembly was a demand for reparations. We're still cashing a check returned, as Dr. King said, for "insufficient funds."

For Europeans, the outsiders are from the African continent (Akebulan), driven by conflicts supplied by European and American military-industrial complexes, STARTED by European and American business interests for one-sided extraction profits.

There's a scene in Sean Penn's "Superpower" documentary where Volodymyr Zelinzky and Vladimir Putin occupy the same stage. Putin glares at Zelinsky for contradicting him in a question-and-answer session with the press. In the obvious two-tier caste system, Russian pride cannot suffer his Ukrainian lesser upstaging him on camera. The motivation for the war, in a wounded strongman's twisted mind, might be as simple as that.

China is on Akebulan to extract the abundant resources from the continent to fuel what is arguably a communist-capitalist system. Their underdogs are Uygers, and they are treated like Dalits and Dr. Martin Luther King.

In fact, when King visited a local school for Dalit children in the southern Indian state of Kerala in 1959, the principal introduced him thus: "Young people, I would like to present to you a fellow untouchable from the United States of America." Although King was initially shocked by this introduction, he later understood the deeper connections of oppression, exclusion, and exile that African Americans in the US and Dalits in India shared. The broader Black freedom struggle has continued to inspire Dalit struggles in this region, from the formation of the Dalit Panthers in the 1970s to the recent emergence of Dalit Lives Matter groups in Nepal and India.

MLK and the Civil Rights Movement’s Global Perspective, University of Dayton blogs

In Israel-Palestine, the caste system also has only two tiers, as did its WWII analog. There will always be a "two-state solution" in Israel-Palestine because it is never meant as a problem to solve. The two-state solution is meant to sound reasonable because it IS reasonable, but part of a two-state solution would mean returning lands seized since 1948 (or at least 1967). That has another word in America: reparations. If you can do it in the Near East, the fear is the clamor to do it in the United States couldn't justifiably be resisted.

Power and resources, hoarded to the one percent of any nation's pyramid, are imbalanced, and it is a caste system that is unsustainable.

A caste system is a societal pathology, and I don't see such a society lasting long enough to build interplanetary or interstellar vessels. "Fermi's paradox" may have a grim answer.

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Bedlam, Swatting, Terrorism...

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 Image source: CSO online - Swatting

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Fascism, Star Trek

 

Bedlam is a scene of madness, chaos, or great confusion. The term bedlam comes from the name of a hospital in London, “Saint Mary of Bethlehem,” which was devoted to treating the mentally ill in the 1400s. Over time, the pronunciation of “Bethlehem” morphed into bedlam, and the term came to be applied to any situation where pandemonium prevails. Source: Vocabulary.com

 

Swatting is a criminal act that involves making hoax phone calls to emergency services to trick them into sending a response team to a person's address. The goal is to trick the emergency services into sending a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to a supposed emergency, such as a shooting or hostage situation. Source: Google generative AI

 

According to Dictionary.com, terrorism is the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population. The goal of terrorism is to achieve political, social, or ideological objectives.

 

International terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored). Source: FBI.gov

 

Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature. Source: FBI.gov

 

I grew up in an era of possibilities, of the struggle for rights by African Americans through Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Hispanic Americans through Casar Chavez, the LGBT community after the attack on Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York. The year after the assassination of three black Civil Rights leaders, we did what John F. Kennedy inspired us to do one year later, and Dr. King, the Star Trek fan who talked Nichele Nichols out of quitting the show, never lived to see.

 

But we live in now, where in the early 2000s, a younger man who wasn't on the planet tried to convince me that my Saturday morning cartoons the day before hadn't been interrupted by an important event: the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 (Sunday). His evidence was, of course, a grainy video on YouTube. I'm certain that the conspiracy theorists are already gearing up for Artemis. "Deep fake" has probably improved the tech for denial.

 

The president who inspired the mission, John F. Kennedy, led the sad cavalcade of assassinations rash in the 1960s. The president who spoke to the astronauts was Richard Nixon, the same who ran on a "law and order" platform, scaring the bejesus out of citizens he wanted to govern because of the bedlam, the chaos, the great confusion on college campuses like Kent State and NC A&T as students protested the Vietnam conflict that nobody understood, and no one wanted, and for the words in our founding documents that stated, "all men are created equal." The president who saluted astronauts would win reelection in a landslide and lose his job due to Watergate larceny.

 

The revered founders were, of course, referencing only themselves and their progeny. They had no concept of descendants of their chattel workforce becoming lawyers, engineers, educators, scientists, astronauts, mayors of towns, governors, state representatives, congressional representatives, senators, presidents of universities that directly benefited from slavery, or President or Vice President of the United States. Some of their jurists would obfuscate this possibility and give the interpretation of The Constitution by grammatically spitballing the pious-sounding, pseudo-academic name of "originalism."

 

We are here now, at the dawn of the second quarter of the 21st century. Nothing like September 11, 2001, was conceivable to a child in 1969 in the last year of a novel science fiction series called "Star Trek" where it seemed, 200 years into the future, we had "figured it out," we had put down the rocks of racism, sexism, silliness and decided to work together towards a common goal of survival on Earth and among the stars. Superluminal speeds and Heisenberg-defying transporters were plot devices; everyone was in on the joke.

 

Nothing like January 6, 2021, twenty years from an international terrorist assault on our shores that domestic terrorism would bring bedlam to the U.S. Capitol, medieval jousting and bludgeoning Capitol and Metro Police officers, tasing them, bear-spraying them, killing them, urinating and spreading feces, which in and of itself is a sign of mental illness Saint Mary of Bethlehem was constructed to mitigate. Then, poof! It would go away, redefined from insurrection to tourists gone bad (when no tours were scheduled during the pandemic), Antifa (ahem: anti-fascists) to finally "a beautiful day, full of love."

 

Towards the end of the second quarter of the 21st Century, we will likely see climate disruption at an irreversible, unpredictable pace. The world population will be increased to ~9.7 billion, and by 2100, ~10.4 billion. There are a few new posts in 2023, but a lot of inoperable links on the 100-year starship website (like "mailing lists" and "contact us"). From here until 2100, it doesn't give us a century to construct a generation's vessel or to solicit and train a crew for a one-way trip on the culturally narcissistic need for humans to survive their hubris expressed on this planet since the dinosaurs were too dumb to have scientists.

 

It would seem, though, even with the scientists and experts, we have allowed the know-it-alls, who know nothing, primacy because they're so loud. They demand attention to feed a narcissistic ego, blustering and ever-terrified that we will realize that they are nincompoops with no applicable skillsets. Conspiracy theories are tailor-made for people who won't read, study, or take the time to comprehend hard subjects and are rewarded lucratively for slavish devotion to bull crap. We have allowed our lizard brains to lead and the blowhard simpletons to rule us to ruin. They alone cannot fix or build a starship.

 

We are here now as the "rule of law" is being tested as it has never been before, to the point that we're being gaslit to ask if such a thing ever existed and if we can get by with WHATABOUTISM instead of democracy, tyranny instead of freedom.

 

Judges, Special Councils, Clerks, and politicians are being swatted doxxed; elected officials are receiving death threats because misinformation is being spread on social media like feces to infect the lizard portion of our brains, where fear and anger dwell, exploited for ratings, votes, and to sell products online and between archaic commercials. The only thing on the other side of bedlam is anarchy. That is a poor substitute for a federal republic that has existed for over 246 years and could easily be gone in a fortnight.

 

June: We have to run.
Luke: What?
June: We waited last time. We waited too long, and we didn't see how much they hated us. I lost you, and then we lost Hannah.
Luke: Are we just gonna forget about her now?
June: We will never ever forget about her, but we cannot help her if we are dead. It's changing, Luke. This country is changing.
Luke: No, Canada's not Gilead.
June: America wasn't Gilead until it was, and then it was too fuckin' late. Luke, we have to go. We have to run. Now.

Source: TV fanatic, "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood on Hulu

 

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Curated, Created Realities...

 

 

Image source: Facebook meme

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

What is lost in the above Facebook meme: 5:00 - 5:30 pm was typically your local news. 6:00 - 6:30 pm, before “Bewitched,” was your international news, the Walter Cronkites, Mike Wallaces, and Harry Reasoner’s time to scare the living crap out of you that the world beyond our borders, during and post-Vietnam, was still going over a cliff. Hence, there is a serial lineup of sitcom talent for an obvious purpose. We also got cut off at midnight, white noise after the anthem, and a nation avoided insomnia because no 24-hour options existed.

 

Dr. Neil Postman was a Professor of Journalism at NYU. I will recommend two books in this post: “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness” and “How To Watch TV News.” Both are essential in an era of gaslighting and misinformation.

 

Above, you peer a lineup that existed on network television in the early 1970s and continued throughout the Reagan era. It went essentially unchanged until the early 2000s.

 

Though I enjoy watching Star Trek on streaming services, this is recent. Enterprise, like Voyager, Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation, and The Original Series were all available on standard channels and cable television. Discovery and Strange New Worlds were first launched by CBS Streaming and then bought out/transferred to Paramount Plus. Nostalgia requires a checking account.

 

Saturday morning cartoons ENDED in September 2014. I can at least see Bugs Bunny on YouTube. Occasionally, Facebook brings up Tom and Jerry, The Roadrunner, etc., on my newsfeed because the algorithms have read my desires and given me what I would most likely wish to see. In this case, nostalgia is free, but now, more than ever, I am the product.

 

“Many decisions about the form and content of news programs are made on the basis of information about the viewer (Internet history), the purpose of which is to keep the viewers watching so that they will be exposed to the commercials” (bots and propaganda).

 

Neil Postman, Steven Powers, “How to Watch TV News.”

 

ABC, CBS, and NBC are running game shows and reality shows in prime time where sitcoms, dramas, actors, and writers used to be employed. As “Amusing Ourselves to Death” puts it, the news, 24-7-365 (366 on leap years), has become our entertainment. How did this happen?

 

In 1972, Richard Milhouse Nixon won a landslide election, winning 49/50 states and 520 electoral votes to his Democratic opponent, George McGovern’s 17. “Other” received one electoral vote. Judging from the redness of the map, a lot of African Americans voted for “law and order” or did not bother to show up at the polls. The Vietnam War trudged on, and the body count approached a staggering 282,000 U.S. and allied military deaths.

 

Two years later, in 1974, Nixon resigned in disgrace after the revelations of the Watergate burglary investigation by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the subsequent investigations, and the relentless media coverage that swayed a nation from electoral route to, maybe we need to get rid of the president who emphatically stated “I am not a crook” might be a crook. In this case, presidential larceny could not be tolerated.

 

This was possible because Americans had a shared reality innocently framed by what we viewed for entertainment: as many kids in Rural Hall watched Archie Bunker and Saturday cartoons as my neighbors did in East Winston. Although we were in the throws of forced busing due to the 9-0 Supreme Court Brown vs. Board Decision in 1954 (“all-deliberate speed” came about 20 years later in North Carolina), these shows gave us a framework for conversation, jokes, laughter, and community. The above shows weren’t the bastions of diversity - only “Room 222” had a diverse cast - but a shared entertainment experience made us feel more “united” than we do now.

 

Roger Ailes was an aide in the Nixon administration. After Nixon’s ouster, Ailes wanted a news network that was friendly to conservatives and biased against liberals. According to a Rolling Stones article, he created a propaganda network and a fear factory. The fear seems to be in the workplace and projected to its audience, absorbing propaganda nightly. After his death, it still runs top-down, like Pravda, not like a news organization. Since it’s profitable, even after the Dominion lawsuit and the upcoming lawsuit with Smartmatics, the network thinks it can absorb the legal losses of billion-dollar settlements and survive. That is frightening power and reach.

 

I cannot leave their rivals out of this. CNN was the first parent cable news network that “birthed” Fox and MSNBC from “Crossfire” (Paul Begala on the left, and Tucker Carlson on the right). They all follow a framework of “what should you fear of the ‘other.’” Television networks have always competed for viewership through television shows staffed by writers who create content. Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How To Get Away With Murder” on the public airwaves are distant memories. You need a streaming subscription now. I pay for several, but it’s not normal, nor should it be seen as normal.

 

What happens when your “United States” has no framework for a shared reality?

 

The Republican frontrunner/former reality TV huckster has not debated in the primary and doesn’t need to. He probably won’t in the general election either. He presided over the deaths of 1.13 million Americans due to the botched handling of the Coronavirus that, arguably, his Republican predecessor (43) put the medical professionals in place, and his Democratic successor (44) continued and expanded. Forty-five pulled them out of China to “own the libs” and found himself and the country flatfooted to identify whether the virus came from a food market or a lab leak. The U.S. had the worst performance of Western nations, exacerbated by not promoting masks and pushing non-cures like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

 

But, the party and a sizeable amount of the nation want to give him the nuclear codes again because, heck, he's entertaining, in a perverse, psychotic sense. For example, the fictional Batman is grim, determined, disciplined, and rarely smiles in the comics. His nemesis, Joker, is a murdering psychopath, but Jack Nickelson and Heath Ledger made him "entertaining." We all watched both versions of Mayhem.

 

If you can sell soap to 1950s housewives, you can sell racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia to the rubes who can’t, or won’t, afford streaming alternatives. And sell soap.

 

You “keep the viewers watching” not with clever sitcoms and nighttime dramas like “Dallas” and “Dynasty,” but anger at the “other.” Who is “other?” The people who don’t watch your network share your curated views. One side is “woke,” the other is fascist. No one talks.

 

We’ve had decades of Civil War reenactments in city parks, and no one died. Therefore, there is no appreciation that in an actual, modern Civil War, the death toll would likely overrun the hospitals more than Sars-CoV-2 did with the alpha through delta variants. The U.S. dollar would cease to be the currency of global trade, and world order would collapse into fiefdoms, dictatorships, and warlords, which would be fine to oligarchs who separated themselves from society generations ago and only come down from Mount Olympus to influence/bribe our politicians. Homo Sapiens (Latin: “wise men”) should choose a more apropos name: Homo Stultus (“stupid men”), and fully own Idiocracy. It didn’t need 500 years.

 

Humans are storytelling creatures. We need entertainment in the form of books, poetry, well-acted plays, movies, and television shows. We also need knowledge, facts, and accurate history to make a collective assessment of where we’ve been collectively as a nation and a species and where we’re going as a nation - perfecting The Union or over a cliff. Karl Rovian “created realities” nor Neo-Nazi book bans accomplish either necessity.

 

“Infotainment” is neither news nor entertaining, and Dr. Postman’s warning about the parent of this debacle, Ted Turner’s HBO-inspired infotainment, CNN, rings from his grave:

 

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books (well?). What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

 

“This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

 

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

 

(The parenthesis in both Postman quotes are my adds for emphasis, as are any bold type.)

 

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Births, Stats, Mathematics...

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Source: Brookings Institution

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

Cate Cox and Brittany Watts: Their last names rhyme, but their circumstances couldn't be more diametrically different from one another.

Cate Cox is a married suburban mother with two children. She previously lived in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, but due to her condition, she had to flee her state. A complication with her pregnancy put her life at risk and the possibility that she might not be able to conceive again if her pregnancy weren't ended expeditiously through a procedure now outlawed in Texas.

Brittany Watts, an African American woman, had a stillborn, unfortunately, in the toilet. The fetus was found in the drain, and she was charged with abuse.

Mrs. Cox eventually left Texas for the procedure, having the financial means to leave and get the healthcare that she desired.

Ms. Watts was a frightened young woman who had left the hospital twice before her miscarriage. Yet she's charged with felony abuse of a corpse in Ohio.

Abstract

The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility*

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sparked the most profound transformation of the landscape of abortion access in 50 years. We provide the first estimates of the effects of this decision on fertility using a preregistered synthetic difference-in-differences design applied to newly released provisional natality data for the first half of 2023. The results indicate that states with abortion bans experienced an average increase in births of 2.3 percent relative to states where abortion was not restricted.

Source: The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility, IZA Institute of Labor Economics

The Dobbs Decision was a strategic salvo shot at the year 2045:

New census population projections confirm the importance of racial minorities as the primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing, and soon-to-be-declining white population. The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations (see Figure 1).

The shift is the result of two trends. First, between 2018 and 2060, gains will continue in the combined racial minority populations, growing by 74 percent. Second, during this time frame, the aging white population will see a modest immediate gain through 2024 and then experience a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births (see Figure 2)

Source: Brookings Institution

24.6 (Hispanics) + 13.1 (African Americans) + 7.9 (Asians) + 3.8 (Multiracial) + 0.9 (Other) = 50.3%, which is apparently an existential crisis on the right because "white" supremacy is anxiously numerical.

Excerpt from "Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice," (August 1, 1994) Claude Anderson, Ed. D., Chapter 2: Power and Black Progress:

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled:

Numerical Population Power

     In a democratic society, the numerical majority wins, rules, and decides. The theoretical rights of a minority may or may not be respected, especially if they are a planned minority. Numerical population power is the power that comes to those groups that acquire power through their sheer size. The black population peaked in the 1750s when slaves and free blacks accounted for approximately 33 percent of the total population. The high numerical strength of blacks caused fear and concern among whites. They feared the loss of their own numerical power. Word of black Haitians' successful slave revolt in the 1790s had spread across America and reportedly ignited several slave revolts in Southern states.

     The First U.S. Congress enacted the first naturalization law that declared America to be a nation for "whites only." The Naturalization Act and other income incentives attracted a mass influx of legal and illegal European ethnicities, followed by Asian and Hispanic immigrants a century later. The immigration quota for blacks remained zero until their total percentage of the population declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured its dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins. Source: Sample chapter

Hence, a national ban is actually what they want. Fifteen weeks will be sold as a "reasonable" compromise, and then it will be paired down to the goose egg that is the actual target. Hence, the hostility towards mixed-race couples and multiracial children from their union: they're not on the "white" team. Hence, the hostility towards the LGBTQ community and whether or not they conceive by surrogate or artificial insemination, their union does not produce enough "white" babies to maintain a numerical majority for the "white" team. Mrs. Cox and upper-middle-class suburban women like her will always have the means and the money to flee any complications and save future childbearing years. Ms. Watt will have one of two options: either flush her undesired fetus while in a state of shock down a toilet or die from complications that she cannot afford to mitigate.

The American Eugenics Movement, unfortunately, had a boost from prominent scientists who wished to rid the world of the "feebleminded" and the unfit. They did this through forced sterilization and control over who could get married (to procreate in the first place). If you've ever used the terms "well-bred" or "good breeding," those originate from eugenics, now accepted as a pseudoscience, once promoted by one of the founders of the transistor and Nobel laureate in Physics, William Schockley. Coupled with southern Jim Crow, eugenics-on-steroids in the hands of the Nazis led to the Holocaust.

Nazi authorities created the Lebensborn program to increase Germany’s population. Pregnant German women deemed “racially valuable” were encouraged to give birth to their children at Lebensborn homes. During World War II, the program became complicit in the kidnapping of foreign children with physical features considered “Aryan” by the Nazis.

Source: Lebensborn Program/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

More Than 700,000 Ukrainian Children Taken To Russia Since Full-Scale War Started, Official Says, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

Dramatic Population Drop in Russia, as War, COVID and Emigration Exacerbate Declining Births, Health Policy Watch

The First U.S. Congress enacted the first naturalization law that declared America to be a nation for "whites only." The Naturalization Act and other income incentives attracted a mass influx of legal and illegal European ethnicities, followed by Asian and Hispanic immigrants a century later. The immigration quota for blacks remained zero until their total percentage of the population declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured its dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins. Source: Sample chapter

If one is desperate to maintain a majority or "goose your numbers," you might be capable of anything to achieve those ends.

Very soon in the founding of a new nation, however, White Christians began to establish their well-being by using the resources, bodies, and lives of others. Through their own "witchcraft," European Christians employed a mysterious and threatening potency that was the practice of using the other for their own gain. In [James W.] Perkinson's description, through the projects of the modern Christian empire, "a witchery" of heretofore unimaginable potency ravaged African and aboriginal cultures...For Perkinson, the witchcraft of White supremacy was conjured through racial discourse as an ideological and practical frame that he identifies as the 'quintessential witchery of modernity.'... In Perkinson's chilling words, "Whiteness, under the veneer of its 'heavenly' pallor, is a great grinding witch tooth, sucking blood and tearing flesh without apology."

Excerpts: The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism & Religious Diversity in America," by Jeanine Hill Fletcher, CH 2: The Witchcraft of White Supremacy, 47, 48.

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The Red Road...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have become more deeply dependent on both on his watch.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle of “worst president” regarding stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with and struggling with the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair, December 7, 2007

I am enjoying the New York Times bestseller by former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning. The book was sold out, so I bought the CDs to play on my car’s player as I casually drive to and from work. There are 11 CDs, and from the few I’ve listened to, she has an hour’s worth of material for each. The book is 384 pages.

I enjoy her erudite writing and observations of our current moment and crisis. Though we probably don’t agree on many things, I admire her integrity, love of her parents (particularly her dad), her family, and demonstrated fidelity to the US Constitution.

However, her dad was a part of the administration that Nobel laureate Dr. Stiglitz discusses in his Vanity Fair article. It was her dad who, instead of searching for a VP candidate, nominated himself. It was her dad who championed the disastrous war in Iraq, a country that did not attack us on September 11, 2001. He didn’t just “sex up” the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; he lied. That license led to thousands of Iraqis killed and the fertile ground from which sprang Al-Qaeda in Iraq, followed by ISIS. That license led to pathological licentiousness to lie more than 30,000 times in a four-year presidential term. “Deficits don’t matter” leads to truth not mattering—Post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

It was her dad who said:

“You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms [congressional elections]. This is our due.” A month later, in December 2002, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

O’Neill says Cheney told him, `Deficits don’t matter,’ Chicago Tribune, January 12, 2004

I remember reading this on my Kindle: The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, Ron Suskind. For Liz’s dad, deficits didn’t matter. That drove the drunken stupor of tax cuts that led to the cliff we almost fell off in 2008. There was a real crisis when the Obama-Biden administration took office after the financial crash spawned by the “deficits don’t matter” philosophy.

Wall Street was, of course, bailed out over Main Street. COVID bailouts benefitted the rich. That’s why Wall Street is more than willing to do it again. Until we see some CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers frog-marched in shackles, what onus stops them?

The Dow Jones hit a record 37,000+ Thursday. Yet, we’re into how we “feel” about the economy. I don’t think it’s “feelings.”

Inflation soared across the globe last year, peaking near 11% in the eurozone and above 9% in the US.

The source of that high inflation has become a well-trodden line. Analysts have typically laid the blame on supply-chain bottlenecks created by excess demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war also increased energy prices, leading to further rises in inflation as suppliers factored in higher transport and running costs.

While this contributed to rising prices, the report finds that company profits increased at a much faster rate than costs did, in a process often dubbed “greedflation.”

Profits for companies in some of the world’s largest economies rose by 30% between 2019 and 2022, significantly outpacing inflation, according to the group’s research of 1,350 firms across the US, the UK, Europe, Brazil, and South Africa.

The biggest perpetrators were energy companies like Shell, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron, which were able to enjoy massive profits last year as demand moved away from Russian oil and gas.

A June study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that 45% of eurozone inflation in 2022 could be attributed to domestic profits. Companies in a position to benefit most from higher commodity prices and supply-demand mismatches raised their profits by the most, the study found.

CEOs of the world’s biggest companies consistently sounded the alarm on inflation as a significant barrier to growth. Many blamed rising input costs on their own price hikes. However, lots of those CEOs appear to have instead used the panic of rising costs to pump up their balance sheet.

The biggest study of ‘greedflation’ yet looked at 1,300 corporations to find many of them were lying to you about inflation, Ryan Hogg, Yahoo Finance, December 8, 2023

In essence, gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator—the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage. Election season can create emotions spanning from immense anxiety all the way to extreme apathy. The public arguing, divisiveness, and competition for votes, including political gaslighting, can be overwhelming and exhausting.—Vernita Perkins and Leonard A. Jason, Merriam-Webster.

Political gaslighting has one objective: to undermine the truth, or more accurately, to undermine objective truth.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Winston Smith, in “1984” by George Orwell. Under torture, O’Brien makes Winston say he sees five fingers when O’Brien is holding up four. The Party was the arbiter of truth, and “truth” was whatever the Party or O’Brien said it was.

“There are FOUR lights!” Jean Luc Picard shouted defiantly under torture by Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Chain of Command, part II.”

There are strategies to combat gaslighting. Despair can be debilitating and a self-fulfilling prophecy if the worst possible outcome that you can think of happens.

The best strategy I know to combat despair is to work on a campaign that you’re passionate about. In 2012, it didn’t look like Barack Obama and Joe Biden would get re-elected against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (former Speaker of the House - remember him?). My wife and I volunteered to call from the campaign office of Sean Patrick Maloney, who we had never heard of. He won and became our Congressman as long as we lived in New York. He sadly lost his seat when congressional districts were redrawn, so he was competing for the same votes as another Democrat.

The best weapon against gaslighting is truth.

Liz Cheney is telling the truth and bringing receipts—truth matters.

She quotes her dad on the second CD, who admonished her to “save the republic, daughter,” missing the irony his “deficits don’t matter” rhetoric spawned what we’re all living through.

Take heart. Tell the truth. Truth matters in the face of lies. Grind it out next year and vote.

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Power and Resources...

 

 

 

French economist Thomas Piketty compares the US economy to Europe in the Gilded Age. Oregon Live, 2014

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

Thomas Piketty wrote "Capital in the 21st Century" in 2013 centered on the wealth inequality we can see all around us. I can see more house-less citizens on the streets of North Carolina and Texas (on a recent visit) than I can remember from my youth because back then, we didn't have 8 billion inhabitants on the planet. There is a documentary of the same title on Amazon Prime video. The premise is ominous, and it bears witness to the stress that our world system is undergoing.

 

Dr. Piketty suggests that the rise of fascism around the world is because of income inequality. The climate crisis only exacerbates the supply chain, as thousand-year weather events are now more frequent than we would like.

 

Fascism is on the rise globally, but it is for lazy people. Propping up a so-called "strongman" gives a fall guy: if he (usually a "he") is right, he gets all the praise. If he's wrong, there can be one of two reactions: a coup (a coup, political, physical, or both is usually how they came to power in the first place), or a flaccid, impotent collective powerless shrug by the populace. So-called "strongmen" (an ever-oxymoron) are preferred when there is uncertainty, supplies are scarce, and people are fleeing wars, biblical tsunamis, and isolated by pandemics. When people are afraid, they are ripe for conmen and charlatans who will "fix" what is wrong and reflect back to halcyon days that never existed.

 

Democracy requires a shared reality, upon which sides debate and come to a consensus for the betterment of the electorate. Consensus means that you and your side won't get your "laundry list" after laying out your arguments, at least in that particular debate. It requires compromise and logic to be successful. It also helps that you are sane.

 

Whether you set your government framework on capitalism, communism, republicanism, or socialism, the divine right of kings, each has a hierarchy decided long ago of those who deserve the wealth and riches, and those pariahs at the base of the pyramid that do not.

 

Russian aggression in Ukraine, Hamas attacks in Israel; and Somali refugees in Europe are all because we are on the same volume of a planet that existed 43 years ago when we were only 4.4 billion people, and the American military after Vietnam was licking its wounds, reframing around an "all-volunteer force." The Soviet Union still existed as an existential boogie-man. Now, that remnant interferes in democratic elections worldwide, because the notion of participation in a stable world order is anathema to a kleptocracy.

 

Modern-day robber barons are no different than their ancestors, who met untimely ends in the French Revolution. Since we fought a Revolutionary War to depart the authoritarian crown of King George, the word sounds adventurous, avant-garde; "cool." Revolutions are bloody, and they aren't always for noble reasons.

 

"We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian." Adolph Hitler, 1928, Snopes

 

The current status quo is unsustainable. We can't keep siphoning up ("trickledown" is gaslighting) tax breaks to American oligarchs and tax shelters in America and Europe for Russian oligarchs. It is thermodynamically impossible to "consume our way to utopia," and colonizing Mars is a pipedream by Elmo Musk, whose plan to terraform the Red Planet is impractical, impossible, unworkable, and dangerous. I'm not against space exploration. Far from it. Seeing the runaway Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Venus informed our models on Earth. Mars at one time probably had an atmosphere, water, and life about four billion years ago. The point is, the planet doesn't have either now, and the closest planet to terraform is right under our feet, without a requirement of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), rockets, or superluminal star drives. It merely requires something we should have learned to do in kindergarten: sharing resources with one another for the "common good" of continuance.

 

Cooperation is survival. Hoarding is death.

 

“Last year, I had a life-changing experience at 90 years old. I went to space, after decades of playing an iconic science-fiction character who was exploring the universe. I thought I would experience a deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration.

 

"I was absolutely wrong. The strongest feeling, that dominated everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.

 

"I understood, in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.

 

"This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realized that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I did my share in popularizing the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable."
-- William Shatner, actor

 

Credit goes to the respective owners.
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Pattern Recognition...

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"Last Battlefield," 47 years later, StarTrek.com, January 10, 2016

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Star Trek

https://www.amazon.com/Deadline-Other-Controversial-SF-Classics/dp/1615083863/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2OG3SHB3ZGSZB&keywords=deadline+cleve&qid=1696985555&sprefix=deadline+cleve+cartmill%2Caps%2C116&sr=8-1

 

The Cleve Cartmill affair, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadline_(science_fiction_story)

 

I admit I had heard of this before, but I didn't know the government gave it his name. It figures because Cleve was clever (see what I did there?) amid the Second World War and the secret Manhattan Project, led by Robert J. Oppenheimer and now a popular movie from Christopher Nolan. Cleve honestly thought the story was crap, but I can see why the FBI got so excited. Fiction writers are storytellers, and storytellers recognize patterns in human nature and the logical outcomes of scientific research. Instead of the devices that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki ("Little Boy" and "Fat Man"), we very well could have had Philip K. Dick's predicted "Heisenberg Device" ("The Man in the High Castle," 1962, also a fascinating alternative history series on Amazon Prime).

 

I found a fascinating Internet archive photocopy of the magazine. I can smell the pages of it: https://archive.org/details/astoundingsciencefiction1944marchdeadlineatombombstory/page/n1/mode/2up?view=theater.

 

The Amazon description (even though they don't have a copy in print):

 

WHY DID THE FBI WANT "DEADLINE" CENSORED? Hugo and Nebula Award winner Robert Silverberg says, "Deadline's publication caus[ed] the FBI to investigate Cartmill, Astounding Science Fiction, John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp." Author Cleve Cartmill, editor John W. Campbell, publishers Street & Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp were only some of those who came under government investigation after security officials learned of the contents of what was to become science fiction's most controversial brainchild? Why? You will discover the startling answers in Jean Marie Stine's amazing introduction to this first-ever collection of Golden Age author Cartmill's work. Included in this mammoth volume are four complete novellas: The Too-close to Reality for the Government, "Deadline," the noirish outer space mystery, "Some Day We'll Find You," the intellectual thriller of an attempted revolution against a future theocracy; "With Flaming Swords," and the thought-provoking story of a man whose desire to be a normal, patriotic citizen inadvertently lead to his society's "Overthrow." But, be warned: Cartmill questioned authority and traditional explanations and told his stories to inspire readers to see and question the shortcomings of their society. So, if you are completely comfortable with your government, society, and life and never want to doubt what you're told, put down this book immediately and do not read any further. Cleve Cartmill (1908-1964) was a reporter, radio operator and inventor. He is most famous for "Deadline," the Murchison And Co., Space Salvagers series, and his short novels for the legendary Unknown magazine. This book's editor, Jean Marie Stine, is a well-known science fiction author and anthologist. During the late 1960s, she served as a personal assistant to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and in the 1970s, she wrote the classic The Prisoner: A Day in the Life, based on Patrick McGoohan's cult television series.

 

*****

 

One of my favorite and most powerful Trek episodes I saw as a youth was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Recall the 60s weren't just "make love, not war": there was a lot of both. Vietnam overseas, protests of the war, and Civil Rights/Voting Rights marches at home. Suspicions that any deviance from the John Birch Society's authoritarian "norm" was judged subversive; communists, therefore, were necessarily purged and crushed from existence. Judging from the airing date, its first showing came nine months after the sad assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

 

It also aired during the climate of the Cold War, a period many seemingly LONG to get back to (that madness), where the nuclear "plan" was called MAD: mutually assured destruction. We still possess that insane power, essentially holding humanity hostage, guns to our heads.

 

Gene Roddenberry put an interracial, international crew together: Nyota Uhura (literally: "Freedom Star" in Kiswahili); Hikaru Sulu (for the Sulu sea, meant to represent all of Asia, but of fictional Japanese origin); Pavel Andreievich Chekov (a RUSKIE for crying out loud!). In this fictional treatment, Bele and Lokai "stood their ground" until the end. As I've commented before, Roddenberry developed his own eschatology, y. Yet, it is positive and relevant that we might survive our own hubris, essentially stemming from old tribal conflicts and current contemporary displays of breathtaking stupidity and arrogance.

 

This episode was a stark warning of the inevitable consequences of NOT...

 

Source: Wikipedia

 

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is the fifteenth episode of the third season of the original science fiction television show Star Trek. It was first broadcast on January 10, 1969, and repeated on August 12, 1969. It was written by Oliver Crawford, based on a story by Gene L. Coon (writing under his pen name "Lee Cronin") and directed by Jud Taylor. The script evolved from an outline by Barry Trivers for a possible first-season episode called "A Portrait in Black and White." The script was accepted for the third season following budget cuts. The episode guest-stars Lou Antonio and Frank Gorshin, best known for his role as The Riddler in the Batman live-action television series. Contrary to popular rumors and articles, Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.

 

In this episode, the Enterprise picks up two survivors of a war-torn planet who are still committed to destroying each other aboard the ship.

 

Once the Ariannus mission is completed, Bele takes control of the Enterprise again, but this time, he deactivates the auto-destruct in the process and sends the ship to Cheron. Once there, the two aliens find the planet's population completely wiped out by a global war fueled by insane racial hatred. Lokai and Bele stare silently at the destruction on the monitor and realize they are the only ones left of their race (or, as they see it, their "races").

Instead of calling a truce, the two beings begin to blame each other for the destruction of the planet, and a brawl ensues. As the two aliens fight, their innate powers radiate, cloaking them with an energy aura that threatens to damage the ship. With no other choice, Kirk sadly allows the two aliens to chase each other down to their obliterated world to decide their own fates, consumed by their now self-perpetuating mutual hate. Forlorn, Lt. Uhura asks if their hate is all they ever had. Kirk ruefully says no...but it is all they have left.

 

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield: Script

 

Bele and Lokai. Black on one side and white on the other. Mirror images of each other. Cain and Abel. Brahman and Dalit. German and Jewish. Catholic and Protestant. Hutu and Tutsi. Ukrainian and Russian. Ishmael and Isaac, imago alterius. Of the same genome and lands, on the same PLANET, yet hating one another for the most superficial, if you want to call it this, "reasoning." Which was the more excellent sacrifice? Who is the Abrahamic son of blessing? Though I invoke Biblical struggles, the current crisis started almost with the birth of the modern nation of Israel and the displacement of Palestinians after the Second World War. Vox gives a nice primer on the history. All conflict boils down to a struggle over resources: oil, minerals, rare earth, jewels, water, holy ground, and the faux hierarchies the few use to justify the grand theft of resources from the many.

Let's be clear: Hamas is a terrorist organization, as the Russian Federation is a terrorist state. Both are not invested in world order (a "Boogie Man" term) because disorder is their only superpower. A coalition between Israel and Saudi Arabia is as disastrous to Hamas as Ukraine is on the border of Russia: they are, ironically, the "threat of a good example" (Noam Chomsky). How do you justify the destruction of a nation when two monotheistic governments cooperate? How do you justify a dictatorship when there is a democracy on your border, that Russians have relatives there, and many have intermarried? "Superpower" is a documentary filmed by the actor Sean Penn at the beginning of the conflict. If you saw Putin's expression the one time he and Volodymyr Zelinsky were on stage together, and Zelinsky defied Putin's version of events, I don't need to study Russian to see when a dictator is incensed. These wars are personal. He and Hamas are Bele.

 

A planet or a nation in the Near East. The pattern is recognizable, as is its conclusion.

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

 

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

 

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

"The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., BrainyQuote.com

 

Tao produces one
One produces two
Two produce three
Three produce myriad things
Myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang
Achieve harmony by integrating their energy
What the people dislike
Are alone, bereft, and unworthy
But the rulers call themselves these terms

 

So, with all things
Appear to take loss but benefit
Or receive benefits but lose
What the ancients taught
I will also teach
The violent one cannot have a natural death
I will use this as the principle of all teachings

 

(Tao te Ching verse 42, translation by Derek Lin, 2006)

 

 

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A Cult of Ignorance...

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Asimov image: https://karsh.org/isaac-asimov/

 

Sagan image: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0755981/

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism

 

Note: The Nobel Prize will be awarded starting Monday in Physiology, then Physics (my admitted favorite), Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Economics the following Monday. Thus, the concentration of the postings will be Nobel as they post. I will be “nerding out.”

 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding [its way] through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

 

Isaac Asimov

 

This is an often-used quote for memes from a longer essay by Isaac Asimov, who was at the time a professor of biochemistry at Boston University and the author of 212 books of science and science fiction (an interesting “side hustle”). I provided the link above and below, highlighted with his name. Dr. Asimov had much to say about the state of affairs as he saw it during my freshman year at North Carolina A&T State University in 1980. It was also the year the New York Times reported more black males in college than in the prison industrial complex. It was an election year and the year for the inaugural of 24-hour news media in Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN), which birthed copycats Fox and MSNBC in 1996. It’s hard to imagine that before Ted’s innovation, television wasn’t a profit-making enterprise as much as a public service. Pundits didn’t wear their party affiliations on their sleeves or give “opinions” on the “news.” Mostly, they did not lie to their audiences to goose ratings either.

 

Asimov’s poignant observation of the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” had to morph to “Don’t trust the experts” since Neverland never existed. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (the “arrow of time”) does, and did, meaning that those who gave that warning eventually would be untrustworthy after the “big 3-0.” Therefore, “Don’t trust the experts” became the foundation for railing against elites, which means anyone who goes to a library, pursues an education up to a terminal degree, or reads a book.

 

Experts created the Internet. Experts like “Hidden Figures” Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan enabled the United States to get to the Moon (there would be no “SpaceX” without them). Experts like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett were one of many who helped to create the mRNA technology for the vaccines used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

But “Don’t trust the experts,” a vapid slogan or talking point if there ever was one.

 

Sloganeering in the Cambridge Dictionary has a succinct and to-the-point definition: “trying to persuade people by repeating phrases instead of explaining your ideas.” It means the absence of an argument. Thus, there is a deliberate absence and avoidance of thinking or outlining to formulate a cogent framework, relying on volume and repetition so that others will begin following your “lead” from the sheer exhaustion of gaslighting.

 

*****

 

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

 

The dumbing down of Americans is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

 

*****

 

Dr. Sagan published these words in 1995. Both authors’ works are still available years after their deaths.

 

Celebrating ignorance invariably leads to a cult of ignorance.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when expertise is assailed as bullying.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when your side can’t admit to losing the Civil War or a presidential election.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when Dr. Fauci, Senator Romney, the FBI, the CDC, elected officials, and VOLUNTEER election workers must shell out dollars to protect their families from raving lunatics who believe every conspiracy tall tale printed, uttered, tweeted, or truth-ed.

 

Source material: Cult of Ignorance

 

Climate scientists are experts, yet they cannot be believed if the stupefying mantra is to be obeyed. The war against experts has always baffled me. No couple during Braxton Hicks contractions wants an Appalachian folk medicine doctor like Granny from the “Beverly Hillbillies” applying moonshine and a hacksaw or Norm, the mailman from the sitcom “Cheers” to start spitballing and wing it through the full delivery.

 

But, “it’s the weather,” following the “Don’t trust the experts” mantra, despite new Hurricane Katrinas repeated since 2005 across the globe, fire seasons in California and Canada, and women never having complications from ectopic pregnancies, high blood pressure, depression, stillbirths that need intervention by what is now illegal in most neo-confederate states (“conservative” they are not) because of the “sanctity of life” until the children are old enough to be lead-sprayed by psychopaths. Because in terms of climate, some wish to induce the apocalypse, and because in terms of bodily autonomy, the stork brings all babies alive and well as requested to cisgender parents, and no “others.”

 

*****

 

I contend that the slogan “America’s right to know” is [a] meaningless one when we have an ignorant population and that the function of a free press is virtually zero when hardly anyone can read.

 

What shall we do about it?

 

We might begin by asking ourselves whether ignorance is so wonderful after all and whether it makes sense to denounce “elitism.”

 

I believe that every human being with a physically normal brain can learn a great deal and be surprisingly intellectual. I believe that what we badly need is [a] social approval of learning and social rewards for learning.

 

We can all be members of the intellectual elite, and then, will a phrase like “America’s right to know” and, indeed, any true concept of democracy have any meaning.

 

Isaac Asimov

 

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Cloth Diapers...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

This essay is derived from a creative work of the same title, posted on my poetry blog Monday.

 

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you.

 

Sixty years ago, you were thirty-eight years old. I was one year, one month, and one day old. I was apparently potty-trained, which I didn't know until my big sister told me after I bragged that my granddaughter, your great-granddaughter, was potty-trained at two.

 

"We had cloth diapers back then. No one was playing with you, Reggie."

 

I took this to mean the task of changing cloth diapers, flushing the load, and WASHING them was probably unpleasant. It also subtly suggests that disposable diapers stifle our development.

 

Twenty-two years ago this past Monday, a Saudi Sheik, Osama Bin Ladin, trained by the CIA when he was in the Mujahadeen, fighting a proxy war with Russia in Afghanistan, convinced 19 hijackers, 15 from his nation, to plunge top-filled planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon: Flight 93 was supposed to hit the Capitol, except for the passengers who decided to intervene, "let's roll." 3,000+ people died. The nation was terrorized.

 

On your birthday, four little black girls were murdered for the crime of singing in a choir, or, correction, PRACTICING to sing in a choir for a performance. It happened on your thirty-eighth birthday. It was a Sunday.

 

Monday, you and Pop had to go to work like it was "normal." Violence has been normal for African Americans since the 13th Amendment ended enslavement (EXCEPT as a punishment for a crime: "wiggle room" that has been abused), the 14th gave us birthright citizenship, and the 15th gave at least our men, the right to vote. That was immediately thwarted in the aftermath of the antebellum South by naming the number of coins/marbles/soap bubbles in a bottle, poll taxes, tests to recite The Constitution (when civics knowledge for the average citizen - then, and now - would likely fail miserably).

 

You both had to drop me off at the sitter and hope to see me alive again and pretend, like every black person at the time, that this was "normal."

 

"Two medical professionals, Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Dr. Carol W. Greider,
Shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with Dr. Jack W. Szostak in 2009 "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

 

"The long, thread-like DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, the telomeres being the caps on their ends. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase.

"If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed."

Source: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2009/

 

Telomeres are shorter for African Americans, a byproduct of 400 years of racial terrorism.

 

We were, and are, terrorized for being human, for wanting what's in The Constitution, for exercising our birthright citizenship. They want to take that away, too., for undocumented immigrants, then probably selective brown people who won't vote for them. The Growth and Opportunity Project said they should reach out to African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, the LGBT, Women, and Youth to expand the party. They instead engage in "culture wars" that are silly, like fighting the banning of gas stoves (there isn't one), the replacement of incandescent lights with more climate-friendly fluorescent or LED lights, and somehow, it's outrageous to suggest limiting beer consumption (no one did).

 

I'm tired, momma.

 

September 11, 2001, Pop had been dead for two years. The boys were in fourth grade and college. They had questions. I had no answers, and I wanted to talk to Pop, but I couldn't. Now I can't talk to you.

 

As Americans finally experienced, on September 11, 2001, the psychological effects of the horrific fear of not knowing what calamity would end your existence.

 

Living in fear of being killed for the "sin" of being alive shortens your telomeres.

 

As my big sister observed:
This country needs more cloth diapers for our development.

 

Happy Heavenly birthday, momma. I miss you. Love, "Stink."

 

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60 Years Ago Tomorrow...

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Source: March on Washington, History dot com editors

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

Sixty years ago tomorrow, two dear friends turned a year old, and ten years old. Sixty years ago tomorrow, I was a year, and 12 days old. The March on Washington happened on the eighth anniversary of the terrorism and slaying of Emmett Till, August 28, 1955, the actual date of original march August 28, 1963, this coming Monday. The demonstrators asked for a form of reparations that would come in the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 the next year, the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, and the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Dr. King, in a recording before the march opined that "we were coming to get our check." There were celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, and future politicos (on opposite sides now) Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell. The march was a sea of "diversity, equity (sought) and inclusion (goaled for)" in that there were African Americans, white Americans, Jews, women and other minority groups on the Washington Mall. It was the "future and the hope" Gene Roddenberry and Lucille Ball launched Star Trek from. In two hundred years, we will have to get something right about living together.

 

At the original march, there were very few, if any, women allowed on the platform, John Lewis and Dr. King being the most famously remembered, as the Civil Rights Movement had a notable flaw: it was misogynist to its core. A lot of work behind the scenes, the arrests, the enduring of fire hoses was done by women like my big sister, heretofore unacknowledged. The hierarchy the then young people were marching against was a justification for those who "had," and those who "had not," but that did not let women at Langston's table yet. This stratification is a competition for resources, and those who have had the resources are never eager to part with or share them, even if it insures species survival. It makes "trickledown" a gaslighting myth, as any distribution, regardless of speed, is anathema to the system.

 

Tomorrow, there will be a commemorative march populated by the "least of these": African Americans, Asians, Hispanic/Latinos, LGBTQ, Women: all whose constitutional rights as citizens and EXISTENCE as humanity has been challenged since August 28, 1963. There has been a sustained assault by the ones who have benefited the most from the hierarchy that established Levittown's that are more economically segregated (de facto) than de jure (by law). No one has to burn crosses on your front lawn if you can't afford to live there. All of the aforementioned groups have seen the Voting Rights Act gutted, Roe vs. Wade eliminated, bodily autonomy and privacy of what we as citizens do at home in our bedrooms, down to contraception itself for the same reason: the hoarding of resources by those who consider themselves "worthy" so long as they have pariahs' necks to stamp.

 

The world population in 1963 was estimated at 3,195,779,247.

 

The world population in 2023 is estimated at 8,045,311,447.

 

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/population

 

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. Millennials from 1981 to 1996. Generation Z from 1996 (overlap) to 2012, and my granddaughter is "Generation Alpha" from 2013 to 2025. Source: https://caregiversofamerica.com/2022-generation-names-explained/

 

The globe hasn't gotten bigger, and Zephram Cochrane hasn't cracked the warp drive code (note: in the fictional Trek universe, he isn't born until the 2030s).

 

The world population is projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion by 2100. As with any type of projection, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding these latest population projections. United Nations

 *****

Broadly defined, ecofascism is any environmentalism that advocates or accepts violence and does so in a way that reinforces existing systems of inequality or targets certain people while leaving others untouched. It is basically environmentalism that suggests that certain people are naturally and exclusively entitled to control and enjoy environmental resources. Some types of people, in other words, are “native species” and others are “invasive.”

 

The term itself is still very much up for debate but gathering currency largely due to high-profile individuals who have explicitly identified themselves as ecofascist. An example includes the man who murdered 51 People in a Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque in 2019. The El Paso, Texas, shooter, also in 2019, did not refer to himself as an ecofascist, but he plagiarized the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto, including many of its bogus arguments about race, nation, and environment. More recently, as you mentioned, another young man drove several hours to Buffalo, New York, where he targeted Black grocery shoppers.

 

A common ecofascist argument, then, links national environment to population, contending that certain (often specifically nonwhite) populations, within the US or beyond it, are the primary cause of climate change and other environmental issues.

 

A Darker Shade of Green: Understanding Ecofascism, September 7, 2022 | Elaina Hancock - UConn Communications

 

I would also call this "eco-eugenics."

 

Environment. Levittown. Wealth. Population. All determined by a sick, psychopathy. Divided like a pie on the table of the depraved, in this case, the pariah Lazarus, and his kin get no crumbs from the Koinonia table. When you found a nation on the land grab and murder of its indigenous inhabitants, from Columbus to "Manifest Destiny," when you cultivate and build your wealth on the backs of kidnapped enslaved people from the continent that BIRTHED humanity, the only way you can maintain such a system that would make Alfred Hitchcock BLUSH is through the application of unmerciful violence. "Christian nation" and "United States" become a form of delusion and self-gaslighting. You might have to ban a few books to keep up the façade. Burning them would be too obvious.

 

I don't know what the world will be in 200 years, just like I don't know if a Zephram Cochrane will ever exist, but I hope for my "little one's" sake in six decades, it is still here, balanced on indigenous sensibilities with the environment, more egalitarian, and less authoritarian, the inequity quelled and every stomach filled, including hers, sixty years from now. She will be a little older than me, hopefully in a better world that I helped form.

 

2083: 10,427,226,400, Source: World Population Projections

 

"When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money." Cree Tribal Prophesy

 

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Cartoon Network...

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Mick Fleetwood's Maui Restaurant destroyed in Maui fire. Allison Rapp, Ultimate Classic Rock

Topics: Battery, Chemistry, Civics, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism

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The Herculoids were a Hanna-Barbara cartoon that only ran for two seasons, from 1967 to 1969. From ages five to seven, I didn't demand much from my Saturday morning viewing pleasure: good guys, bad guys, action, good guys pummel bad guys, in this case, casting them off the planet. We landed on the Moon in their last year of air (it's a shame that history is now controversial). Dr. King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated In Medias Res. My understanding of Physics and STEM came much later.

Zandor, Tara, and Domo were the human protagonists defending planet "Amzot" (the writers threw spaghetti at the wall on this name). In a tepid reboot, they called it Quasar, a little more astrophysical but nonetheless kooky. They had a laser ray dragon (Zot), a rock ape (Igo), and a ten-legged rhino/triceratops hybrid that shot energy rocks from his snout (Tondro, the Terrific, because, yeah). Gloop and Gleep were human-sized, protoplasmic creatures called "the formless, fearless wonders," with eyes, and Gleep, was somehow the "son" of Gloop, without genitalia or gender (go with the bit?). The humans also shot energy rocks from slingshots at the foes too dumb to leave Zandor and his jungle planet alone. If the rocks were made of Lithium, they shouldn't have lasted too long: one of its properties is its volatility in oxygenated atmospheres.

In 1967, I would have been five years old and not too demanding of my visual entertainment on Saturday Morning Cartoons, as this old form pastime was called.

Taking a few courses in Physics drives a probing question and observation:

 

Where were the flocks of laser ray dragons, the congress of rock apes, the herds of rhino/triceratops hybrids, and what marshy bog did the "formless, fearless wonders" ascend from? It seemed Zot, Igo, Tondro, Gloop, and Gleep were the only ones of their kind.

In "Sarko: The Arkman," Sarko kidnaps Domo, Igo, and Tondro for his "collection" on another planet. Zandor rides Zot with Gloop to ANOTHER PLANET without the need of a spaceship, escape velocity, pressurized spacesuits, protection from radiation, or the friction of reentry to Sarko's world. Even if the planet was in the same orbital plane as Amzot, it didn't appear to take him long, and he wasn't bruised by a single meteor during the trip nor tanned from radiation burns (or dead). Gleep clones five copies of himself to protect Tara then turns up in a scene making himself a pillow on Sarko's world to catch Domo. Zot flew escort to Sarko's ship on the way back to Amzot again, with no loss of life. Did you follow all that?

Five-year-olds don't need Physics lessons, just a simple plot, a lot of action, and taking care of "evil-doers" before you play outside after Saturday cartoons.

It's magical thinking, but not a way to run human society.

 

"The human understanding is no dry light but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one would.' For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes. Therefore, he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless, in short, are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding."

Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

 

Maui is a dystopian hellscape. It is now the deadliest wildfire in American history: until the next one. Reuters reports the cause of the fire is unknown, but 85% of all wildfires are caused by humans, as is the anthropogenic climate disruption that helped light the match. Hurricane Dora energized the spread, fanning the flames across the island that was experiencing a drought. Part of Maui's problem is prior to the predictions of climate scientists coming true in recent real-time, Maui never had to prepare for drought conditions or massive wildfires. Did I mention the island chain is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean?

Maui was the Capitol of the old kingdom of Hawaii before colonization. It was a tourist attraction and the seat of culture. Maui is the place where the Hula dance and the Samoan language were reconstituted and practiced. A 150-year-old banyan tree burned in the flames. It will survive IF the roots survived the savage flames.

 

"Some 271 structures were destroyed or damaged, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said, citing official reports from the U.S. Civil Air Patrol and Maui Fire Department." Reuters

 

There is a throughline from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Hurricane Dora in Maui. That throughline is climate change, gestated into the climate crisis, birthed into climate catastrophe. In eighteen years, we have shuffled, obfuscated, and kicked the can down the road right into our children's and grandchildren's future. We have allowed political operators and lobbyists for the fossil fuels industry to quote their "science as one would": "It's summer." "There is no climate change." "It's a (fill in the blank) hoax." "How can there be global warming if New York is blanketed in snow?"

The tobacco and fossil fuels industry used the same researchers and same lawyers to sway public opinion and sell their products. It is a myopic concentration on quarterly profits, not looking at the damage to the planet beneath them going forward. If Adam Smith's capitalism is our "salvation," there should be market-based solutions to ensure a functional civilization as corporations pursue profits and bought and paid-for politicians pursue policies that sustain both commerce and civilization.

Otherwise, their vulgar opinions have not offered solutions nor modeled societal collapse.

The Guardian reported from the National Academy of Science that more than 50% of life is in the soil beneath us. Life on Earth may survive our own hubris. It likely won't be intelligent or anything resembling human civilization.

Cartoon Network Physics is only good for five-year-olds on Saturday morning cartoons. There are no laser dragons, rock apes, rhino/triceratops-hybrids, and energy rocks to deploy to our rescue. It fails humanity in the long term. "Sciences as one would" has led us to this precipice. "Sciences as one acknowledges" will lead us away from it.

Note: The blog will resume Monday - Friday postings on August 21st (traveling for work).

 

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Megalomania...

You’re going to have to pay me… One Billion Dollars! … Sorry, One Hundred Billion Dollars! Photo: Warner Bros; Getty Images, Jonathan Chait, NY Mag, March 8, 2018

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Diversity in Science, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Women in Science

Megalomania: a mania for great or grandiose performance; a delusional mental illness that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes 

Useful Idiot: a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda. E.g., It is one task of the KGB [in 1982] to apply its skills of secrecy and deception to projecting the Soviet party's influence. This it does through contacts with legal Communist Parties abroad, with groups sympathetic to Soviet goals, with do-gooders of the type that Lenin once described as "useful idiots" ….

—The Wall Street Journal, all the above from Merriam-Webster.com

Are we suffering from mass psychosis? Does it explain January 6, 2021, and the insanity that has descended from it? Was a substantial fraction of our nation led astray by a megalomaniacal, narcissistic useful idiot?

"A flood of negative emotions" is the business model of a lot of news outlets on the right. Determined to regain the audience lost after the Dominion settlement, Jesse Watters succeeds Tucker Carlson at the 8:00 hour, launching into a racist diatribe against the 44th president because they have to get their viewers back to repocket the $787.5 million dollars they had to pay out. Jesse, the "stable genius," forgot that Hawaii is our 50th state, but that occurred almost immediately after November 4, 2008.

When I was a senior in high school, 150 businesses owned everything we saw in print, on television, and heard on AM or FM radio. Now, with the expansion of the Internet, that ratio reduced EXPONENTIALLY to six corporations. With the expansion of the Internet, propaganda can be projected without a filter. Hitler deftly used radio to reach his masses, our current demagogue used Twitter until he was kicked off, and he was so devoted to this avenue he had to generate a knockoff to continue the conversation with his cult. Megalomaniacs never had it so good.

"Dr. Evil" was the antagonist in the Bond derivative "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and its natural sequel, "The Spy Who Shagged Me." It's the type of flippant character that makes "team normal" think that no one could possibly be that over-the-top. Then, the year 2016 said, "Hold my beer."

Menticide: a systematic and intentional undermining of a person's conscious mind: BRAINWASHING - Merrian-Webster.com

Ms. Senko’s groundbreaking film examines the rise of right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in its daily propaganda had radicalized him. His new fanaticism rocked the very foundation of their family. She discovered that this phenomenon was occurring with alarming frequency in living rooms across America. The film reveals the consequences that this radicalized media is having on people, families, America, and the world.

The Brainwashing of My Dad (2015)

Rush Limbaugh, of stogies, four traditional marriages (I guess he needed practice?), bombast and blatant racism (I guess why Clarence Thomas liked him?), was the Grand Pooh-Bah/Grand Dragon of an echo chamber that still persists long after his transition. Under the attack of menticide, 24/7 fearmongering on "the border," "CRT," "DEI," "Immigrants," "LGBT," "People of Color," and "Women with bodily autonomy" are the substitutes for "young bucks," "welfare queens," and "Barack the Magic Negro." Rush and his Zombie clones are ginning up fear on a regular basis, hacking everyone's reptilian brain stem made into mountains of gold and an unstable society. There must always be enemies for those who fear change and shadows.

At its core, this is about resources. Resources are subdivided by hierarchies so that certain universities that are "elite" (and beneficiaries of enslaved peoples) are picked first for employment after graduation. Most academic positions at universities seek the same graduates from the same elite PWI schools. Once the dust settles, universities will resegregate, and sadly will Fortune 500 businesses. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion only mattered as slogans to avoid lawsuits post-George Floyd. With the end of Affirmative Action, what holds them accountable if, like campuses, the diversity among the workforce declines? Who would care?

Hierarchies have allowed societies from Egypt to England to rank and rate their populations into the worthy and the unworthy, the Brahmin and the Dalits, and the haves and the have-nots. "Occult" typically refers to magic, but it means hidden, and hiding knowledge is what gives a group self-designated as rulers of the rest their edge. "Conserving" the status quo allows for the continued acquisition of wealth beyond avarice and passing it on to their progeny. That means ignoring inequities, and climate crises, particularly heat waves in Texas's case since most of the workers affected happen to be BIPOC. The "Supreme Court" repealed Roe vs. Wade, Affirmative Action yesterday. What was left untouched: athletic programs, legacy enrollments, the children of employees, and millionaire gifts by benefactors like Fred Trump, that got his stupid son into Penn, and Jared Kushner, who, by his grades, couldn't have gotten into Harvard without daddy-the-jailbird's help. Roe and Affirmative Action were both decided by the Warren Court, an Eisenhower appointee. The Roberts "Court," appointed by "W," who lost the popular vote in 2000, and his Republican successor, who appointed three justices, losing the popular vote in BOTH elections, is determined to repeal the 20th Century and is coming for the 21st in LGBT rights. I use quotes in that the Roberts junta is neither supreme in the practice of law nor a court of jurisprudence. It is the extension of libertarian billionaires, the mythology propagandists of "reverse discrimination," and thus fascistic.

Ayn Rand, for the moment, has won. Welcome to 1953.

This paradigm of looking back to "great again" is unsustainable. We cannot solve income disparities going back to the fifties. No new technical designs will come from the back of the bus. The LGBT will not be returning to the closet to make closeted, cisgender couples feel comfortable in their camouflage bigotry, nor has a single-banned drag show stopped a single gun massacre in America. Women will not be returning to the kitchen and the state of barefoot and pregnant because that idyllic "Leave it to Beaver" Levittown never existed, except in "master-planned communities." Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson's dissent is poetry.

We're not going back.

We have to figure out climate change, sustainability, and feeding eight billion souls that are growing at an exponential pace that will take us to nine billion in 2037 and ten billion in 2057. I won't be here, but my granddaughter will be. A lot of grandchildren will be. Hoping for starships is like wishing on magic lanterns.

There is no functional analog in nature to a billionaire. Insects run their colonies via pheromones, and the most significant member of the colony is the Queen: males are drones and sperm donors. Patriarchy is a human construct.

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) nevertheless estimates that annual investments of $39 billion to $50 billion would be required to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. Source: Brookings Institution.

But they won't. The core of their Hoarding Disorder is maintaining the inequity that puts them at the apex of society's pyramid; they've mistaken a designed system as "natural," making them apex predators. Only the second part is correct.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

— Nelson Mandela

I'm revamping the SAT program, which ended during the pandemic, for as long as it lasts, with an online component. We'll also discuss strategies to apply to the colleges and universities they desire. The youth are relevant to our shared future and survival.

On a dysfunctional planet, billionaire status is irrelevant.

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.”

— Coretta Scott King

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

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Unsustainable...

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From the Twilight Zone season 3, episode 8, "It's a Good Life." Billy Mumy plays an evil little boy who terrorizes his neighborhood with his magical powers for any slight.

Here, he turned a man into a jack-in-the-box.

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism

Jesse Pinkman: You don't want a criminal lawyer… you want a "criminal" lawyer,

Jesse Pinkman: What, dude, wouldn't take a bribe? [That] dude in there? Saul Goodman. we're talking about?

Walter White: Yeah. "Morally outraged," he said. Threatened to call the police.

Jesse Pinkman: Wait, and Badger is gonna spill?

Walter White: Like the Exxon Valdez.

Jesse Pinkman: So, what do we do about it?

Aaron Paul: Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," IMDB.

From the 2019 documentary, Where's My Roy Cohn,: "Roy Cohn personified the dark arts of American politics, turning empty vessels into dangerous demagogues - from Joseph McCarthy to his final project, Donald J. Trump." IMDB

In order to understand the mind of Donald Trump, one must acquaint themselves with the life and legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn. He’s the notorious lawyer who tampered with evidence in order to ensure that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair, despite the fact that their shared status as dangerous Russian spies is still hotly debated. Cohn coaxed what was later alleged as a false testimony from Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, that affirmed her complicity in the eyes of the court. Has enough evidence subsequently come to light connecting her with Julius’ role as a recruiter of Russian spies, and have the nuclear secrets reportedly stolen by Julius been found to be of much value?

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert

David Frum said it succinctly: "The President is a Crook," in this case, the former president tried to, and is still trying to foment an insurrection because he ran and lost in 2020. Then, and now, we have the choice between the man, the presidency, and the rule of law.

The Constitution is essentially a property document. Despite the genius we proffer to the founding fathers, they were humans in the eighteenth century. The citizens they were writing to were wealthy property owners like themselves, many of them attaining that wealth through the ownership and trade of human chattel. Their women didn't have the right to vote until the suffrage movement produced the 19th Amendment, throwing the black women who worked on suffrage "under the bus." My mother and sister didn't get the full right of citizenship until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I was three years old.

The United States Constitution is a remarkable document written by men steeped in education but fallible. No document nor dogma can anticipate changes in the world and society. Barack Hussein Obama would have shocked them. They would have guffawed at a presidential candidacy of a Hillary Clinton.

Unless you've been on Mars or hiding under a rock, the twice-impeached president has now been twice indicted for criminal activity. After losing to E. Jean Carrol in a case accusing him of sexual assault, he doubled down on a CNN Town Hall, calling her a "whack job," and she and her lawyer rightly sued again. The backlash and poor ratings afterward probably contributed to the firing of CNN's former CEO, Chris Licht.

After getting his first indictment for paying off an adult film star and playboy centerfold, affairs he covered up while his third wife was pregnant with his fifth child, he strutted like a peacock. After being indicted for stealing classified information, he held a rally at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where arguably, one of his espionage crimes was recorded on tape.

What. is. WRONG. With. HIM? For that matter, what is wrong with our fellow citizens?

Mary Trump wrote "Too Much And Never Enough" about her malignant narcissist uncle. In chapter 3, titled "The Great I Am," he was sent to military school in Newburg, New York, after getting aggressive with his mother and bullying issues at the age of thirteen.

"Finally, by 1959, Donald's misbehavior—fighting, bullying, arguing with teachers—had gone too far," Mary Trump writes.

Fred Trump was on the board of trustees for the Kew-Forest prep school that Donald Trump was attending.

"Fred didn't mind Donald's acting out, but it had become intrusive and time-consuming for him," Mary Trump wrote. "When one of his fellow board members at Kew-Forest recommended sending Donald to New York Military Academy to rein him in, Fred went along with it."

In the book, Mary Trump wrote that Trump's mother, Mary Anne Trump, "didn't fight for her son to stay home ... a failure Donald couldn't help but notice."

"Over Donald's objections, he was enrolled at NYMA," she writes. "The other kids in the family referred to NYMA as a 'reform school'—it wasn't prestigious like St. Paul's, which (older brother) Freddy had attended."

"Nobody sent their sons to NYMA for a better education, and Donald understood it rightly as a punishment," Mary Trump wrote.

Trump Sent to 'Reform School' As Teen for Bullying, Niece's Book Says, Elizabeth Crisp, Newsweek

What are the symptoms of spoiled brat syndrome?

The syndrome is characterized by "excessive, self-centered, and immature behavior". It includes a lack of consideration for other people, recurrent temper tantrums, an inability to handle the delay of gratification, demands for having one's own way, obstructiveness, and manipulation to get their way. Wikipedia

Professor William T. Kelley at the Wharton School of Business, let's just say, didn't think highly of the 45th president's intellect (see Mystery 2). His fellow Wharton students spent their weekends in study groups. Young Trump went back to New York on weekends, tutored likely by criminals that Roy Cohn represented, inspired to create a fantasy world from the Godfather trilogy popular in his youth. John Gotti was the original "Teflon Don" until he, like Al Capone, was eventually caught. He practically struts like Marlon Brando.

"It's not theirs. It's mine!" He is indicted on 37 counts, 31 for espionage. He is a criminal, but in a certain sense, he is the epoch of the spoiled brat grown-up physically. The indictment happened a day before his 77th birthday. He had issues getting lawyers in Florida, aided by his reputation of stiffing anyone who works for him and his childish stubbornness not to follow counsel: silence is golden, but he can't shut up.

On the calendar, he's a late-stage septuagenarian. Emotionally, he is a child. He is Billy Mumy with the magical power to manipulate an entire constituency that the GOP didn't know they had. His wand is explicit bigotry and cruelty; his power is to give those who will follow him over the abyss cover and approval to be their worst selves. No one liked Mumy's character portrayal, and other than fellow sociopaths, no one [really] likes him.

A political party following the machinations of an impulsive being is not sustainable. 2024 will mark 20 years since the GOP won both the electoral college and the popular vote. That can lead a party to desperation. And desperation leads to demagogues and violence.

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Fascism and Laziness...

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Source: Washington Monthly, "The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism," Martin Longman, January 31, 2017

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

But beyond him being (obviously) a genocidal maniac, there's an aspect to Hitler's rule that kind of gets missed in our standard view of him. Even if popular culture has long enjoyed turning him into an object of mockery, we still tend to believe that the Nazi machine was ruthlessly efficient and that the great dictator spent most of his time…well, dictating things.

So it's worth remembering that Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac, and his government was an absolute clown show.

In fact, this may even have helped his rise to power, as he was consistently underestimated by the German elite. Before he became chancellor, many of his opponents had dismissed him as a joke for his crude speeches and tacky rallies. Even after elections had made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag, people still kept thinking that Hitler was an easy mark, a blustering idiot who could easily be controlled by smart people.

Why did the elites of Germany so consistently underestimate Hitler? Possibly because they weren't actually wrong in their assessment of his competency—they just failed to realize that this wasn't enough to stand in the way of his ambition. As it turns out, Hitler was bad at running a government. As his press chief Otto Dietrich wrote in his memoir The Hitler I Knew, "In the twelve years of his rule in Germany, Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state."

His government was constantly in chaos, with officials having no idea what he wanted them to do, and nobody was entirely clear who was actually in charge of what. He procrastinated wildly when asked to make difficult decisions and would often end up relying on gut feeling, leaving even close allies in the dark about his plans. His "unreliability had those who worked with him pulling out their hair," as his confidant Ernst Hanfstaengl later wrote in his memoir Zwischen Weißem und Braunem Haus. This meant that rather than carrying out the duties of state, they spent most of their time in-fighting and back-stabbing each other in an attempt to either win his approval or avoid his attention altogether, depending on what mood he was in that day.

Hitler Was Incompetent and Lazy—and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show | Newsweek Opinion, Tom Phillips

Axios has obtained leaked private schedules of President Donald Trump showing how he’s spent his time over the past three months. According to the leaked schedules, our president has spent 60% of his “working” hours since the midterms in unstructured “Executive Time.”

Executive Time is supposed to consist of time in the Oval Office, but Trump wakes before 6 a.m. and doesn’t leave the residence for five hours. He spends that time, according to Axios, “watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials, and informal advisers.” And, we can safely assume, tweeting like a madman.

Then, usually around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., the president finally gets off his ass and actually does some work, attending an intelligence briefing with his chief of staff. The idea for Executive Time, which during the three months the leaked schedules totaled 297 hours, came from former chief of staff John Kelly because of Trump’s disdain for regular schedules.

Trump Could Be Our Laziest President Ever, According to Leaked Schedules, Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

Democracies require informed citizens. "Democracies did not originate with the founding of the United States. The term 'democracy' comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and "kratia" (power or authority). So, of course, DEMOCRACY is a form of government that gives power to the people. But how, when, and to which people? The answer to those questions changes through history." See: https://www.ushistory.org/gov/1c.asp

Fascism has a self-built mythology of efficiency that generations of psychopaths have used gaslighting by pamphlet to the Internet to convince rubes and middle-of-the-road citizens that they're "stable geniuses." News flash: They're not.

Fascism as a term didn't come into vogue until Benito Mussolini in Italy. Prior to that, Jim Crow, black codes, and the Confederate South were all the foundations Mussolini based his philosophies on. Nazi Germany based its treatment of the Jews on Jim Crow, American black codes, and the Eugenics movement (which they put on steroids).

Fascism is the parent "ism" of every one of the "isms" that's used to classify, objectify, demoralize, and categorize humans into this unmoveable hierarchy where the fascists/psychopaths have put themselves on the top: 1. They think they deserve it because of some "magical formula" that's varied from "it's God's will" and evolution, post-Darwin, post-Nietzche. The formula is fungible so long as the outcome is the same. 2. The inherent "inferiority" of anyone else who isn't a fascist/psychopath. 3. Anyone with a three-pound functional brain that can read history and reason for themselves is "woke." America had black people. India, under the Caste system, had Dalets: the pariahs, the untouchables. Nazy Germany had Jews. Russia has Ukraine, which at this moment is destroying all of its delusions of superiority.

Fascism puts everything in the lap of the "dear leader." Thus the responsibility for the government running efficiently, or running like a crap show, is the. "dear leader's." That way, when everything GOES to crap, it's the leader's fault, not the citizens. Since he is the source of "truth," they await to hear, by pronouncement, tweet, or "truth social."

“The past was alterable. The past had never been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” George Orwell, "1984"

German citizens, post-1945, claimed to "not know" anything about the atrocities. As Dumbo Gambino appears to be careening toward federal indictments, what will be the excuse in a post-MAGA world (if we ever get to a post-MAGA world)?

But since all you have to do to have a democracy is, well, inform your citizens, how would governments distract them?

The IBM Simon was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, which integrated features from its own wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) and cellular radio technologies. It featured a liquid-crystal display (LCD) and PC Card support. The Simon was commercially unsuccessful, particularly due to its bulky form factor and limited battery life, using NiCad batteries rather than the nickel–metal hydride batteries commonly used in mobile phones in the 1990s or lithium-ion batteries used in modern smartphones.

The term "smartphone" was not coined until a year after the introduction of the Simon, appearing in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator. The term "smartphone" was first used by Ericsson in 1997 to describe a new device concept, the GS88.

Source: Wikipedia/Smartphone

Abstract

The use of smartphones has been increasing worldwide. Usage of these devices has been associated with addiction and adverse emotional states. This study employs a mixed methods approach to study these relationships in an Australian sample. The study comprised 164 participants aged between 18–70 who completed the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, the Smartphone Addiction Scale, and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Seven participants were also interviewed, providing answers of a qualitative nature. Smartphone addiction significantly predicted higher levels of smartphone usage. Additionally, smartphone addiction and distractibility also significantly predicted higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Qualitative results identified themes such as convenience, time of the day, and activities in relation to smartphone usage as well as short‐and long‐term effects of this usage. Findings indicated that both distraction and addiction have an influence on the use of smartphones and that increased usage has detrimental consequences for emotional health. Themes such as dependence and temptation, and interferences appear congruent and consistent with the results of the scales used.

Smartphone distraction‐addiction: Examining the relationship between psychosocial variables and patterns of use | Humberto Oraison, Olivia Nash‐Dolby, Bruce Wilson &Ridhi Malhotra, Australian Journal of Psychology, Taylor & Francis Online, 2020

Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fueled by an internet overuse problem or internet addiction disorder. After all, it's rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to. Health Guide

Democracy requires informed citizens. Fascism requires couch potatoes.

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Threat Assessment...

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Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists, The Rand Blog

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Source: https://www.dhs.gov/ntas/advisory/national-terrorism-advisory-system-bulletin-may-24-2023

Summary of Terrorism-Related Threat to the United States

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence. In the coming months, factors that could mobilize individuals to commit violence include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues. Likely targets of potential violence include US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.

Duration

Issued: May 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Expires: November 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Roads, bridges, mall outlets, power stations; churches, mosques, synagogues, temples; drag shows, pride parades, nightclubs; K-12, community colleges and universities; every BIPOC, even those like the gunman in Allen, Texas, who was Hispanic and sympathized with white supremacist propaganda enough to kill; the Post Office, Police Departments, the FBI; and where you and I work.

A Big Lie about an election that was lost, not RIGGED, has put a target on all of our backs. Our so-called representatives only offer "thoughts and prayers" after every gun massacre, but will not propose legislation, will not even propose liability insurance, like the kind we have on cars, for the small percentage of us that insists on collecting arsenals. It's as if they WANT this "American carnage" to usher in something darker, like Kristallnacht, like fascism. America was a refuge for Stephen Miller's grandfather and Albert Einstein during the Nazi pogroms. Will Canada be a refuge for American Christian nationalist pogroms?

Here are some thoughts I've been mulling for a while, and I would like to forward them now:

One: Fascism doesn't stop with your favorite "out-group."

I have African American friends in my community that use the Bible to legitimize their bigotry toward LGBTQ+ people. My own epiphany happened during a diversity class in the 1990s when the professor asked one of the attendees a question: "Mr. _______, do you CARE where Mr. ______'s spermatozoa are deposited tonight?"

The second Mr. ______ is me, to whom the blunt and salacious question was directed. The technique was to make the first man think: are you overconcerned with his sexual practices? My oldest son was 11, and my youngest son was 1 at the time. Continuing the thought experiment: Does it matter to your heterosexual relationship? If it does, either you or your wife is closeted. James Baldwin was a close friend of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lorraine Hansberry, author of "A Raisin in the Sun," was a closeted lesbian due to the times. Pauli Murray was also a closeted lesbian, lawyer, and civil rights activist. Bayard Rustin, a gay man, was one of Dr. King's closest advisors and the chief organizer of the March on Washington in August 1963. See SPLC: Learning for Justice.

Two: Everyone needs a "green book" plan.

My mother graduated from a school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for "Practical Nursing," similar to an Associate's Degree now. She. and my father used a green book, a guide to let them know on long trips where to get gas, where to stop to eat, where to go to the bathroom, and where to sleep. In the 1950s, they NEEDED this to get from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Philly and BACK. It worked because otherwise, I would not be typing this blog. Our risk is not due to a preponderance of Melanin only. It is all public places now.

Do you speak another language? Is your passport current or expired? Part of our "green book" may be in formulating an exit plan. When all "hell is breaking loose," it's a little late.

Three: The State owning women's bodies is fascism.

The Nazi regime encouraged the birth of children deemed “racially valuable” in order to increase Germany’s “Aryan” population. This campaign closely reflected the regime’s racial ideology and theories of eugenics. The Lebensborn program was designed by the SS to increase Germany’s declining birthrate. It was originally intended to provide pregnant “Aryan” women with financial assistance, adoption services, and a series of private maternity homes where they could give birth. By the end of World War II, Lebensborn became involved in the Nazi regime’s systematic kidnapping of thousands of “biologically valuable” foreign children to be raised in German homes. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In Russia, they are kidnapping Ukrainian children and spiriting them to Moscow. In America, six anti-Christian Mullahs overturned 50 years of precedent to induce forced births because of a demographic that is itself a chimera: if so-called "white" people had its origin in the Bacon's Rebellion of 1681, codified in the first Census of 1790, counting "free whites, all other free persons, and slaves," The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, In barring their immigration to the United States for ten years, all categories of humans in the United States are the product of government fiat to justify hierarchy for the purpose of theft from the masses. Dr. Alan Goodman said, "Race is the power of an illusion." For the Christian nationalists: "And He has made from one BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings," Acts 17:26. Therefore, you cannot be "replaced" if you never really existed beyond being a variation of humans. This was the first Big Lie.

Four: Vote early; don't show bumper stickers, flags, or paraphernalia.

In Austin, Texas, during the 2008 elections, a neighbor was such an Obama fan he paid $5,000 for him and his wife to shake the future president's hand. He had as large a banner touting Obama-Biden on his front lawn as our neighbor (nearer me) did for the 2004 election with Bush-Cheney. The Obama-Biden sign was vandalized with the n-word and swastikas; nothing happened to Bush-Cheney (there's a double entendre in there). Ahem: This happened in the waning days of the "compassionate conservatism" era, the gateway drug before Christian nationalism.

It's obvious the incident was instructive to me. I give to the party I see upholding The Constitution, but I don't sport the "swag." Some might derisively call what I'm suggesting "respectability politics." I have called it survival for my many trips around the sun, here billions of years before my birth, and will be here billions more after my death.

I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security's warning, but I've been aware of this extremism since before one of the political parties nominated and elected a demagogue.

I have been on this Earth for sixty-one years. As a black man, I have never felt "free."

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Gaming Apocalypse...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Dark Side, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

This is NOT an eschatology blog. The second verse is a common cudgel to the LGBT community, bellowed from the pulpits of soon-discovered closeted pastors. Several laws are passed to ban drag shows, as in North Carolina, but not a peep about gun massacres. Guns with muzzle velocities of 1,006 meters per second, or 3,300 feet per second, eviscerate human flesh to unrecognizability. There were two mass shootings back-to-back in San Antonio, Texas. Merriam-Webster list ominously 66 synonyms for "perilous," some of which are: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: and fatal.

Culture wars are NOT designed to solve anything. They are designed to concern, enrage, and engage the reptilian part of the brain that leaps at every shadow and requires long rifles to go into Starbucks, libraries, or drag shows because of "freedom." Banning books, drag shows, and "woke" are solutions in search of nonexistent problems.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Yesterday, in the Orwellian committee, Jim Jordan ostensibly "leads," is government-paid gaslighting. The whistleblowers brought before the sham committee lost their security clearances, each for a cause. One refused to arrest a January 6th terrorist because he "didn't agree that he should be arrested." Getting fired for cause in at-will states used to be a very Republican viewpoint. The current Congress majority in the House is not Republican.

As Representative Stacey Plaskett, the lawyer Jim Jordan pretends to be pointed out, he and the committee are the 45th president's defense lawyers. His last one quit after dim bulb blurted out in the Cable, Not News fascist rally, “I took the documents; I’m allowed to,” oblivious to the fact every statement, every tweet, every "truth" on his knockoff website is a documented confession. Meanwhile, Jim Jordan screamed like a banshee when Representative Daniel Goldman, another lawyer Jim Jordan is not, read him the House rules on whistleblowers. Jim has a Juris Doctorate but never took the bar. It shows. He would have to study instead of ranting and Spitballing.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Seventy-two percent of Americans feel birth control should be [a] legal right women in this nation should have. Seventy-one percent want gun laws to be stricter. In both cases, a majority of citizens want something that the bureaucracy of government hems up in red tape where it dies in committee.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Christiane Amanpour, in a commencement address to Columbia, blasted her employer's decision in a proper British accent to platform a psychopathic fascist in prime time, as she said, respectfully disagreeing with clueless, paste-eating CEO Chris Licht. She showed more backbone than Anderson Cooper chastising his dwindling audience, and Jack Tapper, trying to make the Durham report more than a flaccid "bombshell" to suck up to the Sith overlords of the Cable, Not News network. I've eliminated the app from my phone and blocked the CNN Politics alerts on my iPhone. I see no more reason to watch it than I saw to abuse myself on Fox with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Meghan Kelly, Tucker Carlson, and soon Sean Hannity violated the third rule for Mogwai every night, instead of midnight, at 8:00 pm. When Amanpour is CEO, and CNN returns to being "the most trusted name in news," maybe I'll return. Neil Postman was a prophet.

We have a Supreme Court that is neither. Trust in our institutions is at an all-time low as John Roberts "whistles past the graveyard" of our federal republic, allowing the extremist more extreme than HIM to steamroll him from an intolerable 15-week ban to torching Stare decisis. When a small minority of gun owners holds the country in an ongoing hostage crisis, when women lose a right that's been with them for two generations, when the highest court in the land might as well wear jerseys with logos from the billionaire who pay for their vacation junkets, we don't have to keep asking what a Constitutional Crisis looks like. The crisis is staring us in the face as we look away from it.

If the current administration doesn't win in 2024, the party that comes to power might shred what is left of The Constitution and declare it too "woke" for display, to follow, or study. At that point, we devolve from lawyers to Bronze Age Scribes. At that point: we've devolved from a republic to sovereignty and fascism. King George, in the end, would have won.

No need to study the LSAT or pass the bar: just Spitball.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

Synonyms of perilous: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: fatal.

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The Illusion of Perfection...

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Source - Jati: The Caste System in India, Asia Society

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, COVID-19, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

“In America, this battle to wipe out whole ethnic groups was fought not by armies with guns nor by hate sects at the margins. Rather, this pernicious white-gloved war was prosecuted by esteemed professors, elite universities, wealthy industrialists, and government officials colluding in a racist, pseudoscientific movement called eugenics. The purpose: create a superior Nordic race.

“To perpetuate the campaign, widespread academic fraud combined with almost unlimited corporate philanthropy to establish the biological rationales for persecution. Employing a hazy amalgam of guesswork, gossip, falsified information, and polysyllabic academic arrogance, the eugenics movement slowly constructed a national bureaucratic and judicial infrastructure to cleanse America of “the unfit.” Specious intelligence tests, colloquially known as IQ tests, were invented to justify the incarceration of a group labeled “the feebleminded.” Often the so-called feebleminded were just shy, too good-natured to be taken seriously, or [simply] spoke the wrong language or were the wrong color. Mandatory sterilization laws were enacted in some twenty-seven states to prevent targeted individuals from reproducing more of their kind. Marriage prohibition laws proliferated throughout the country to stop race mixing. Collusive litigation was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sanctified eugenics and its tactics.”

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race,” Edwin Black, page xv, Introduction (paperback edition)

I purposely did not watch the coronation of now King Charles and his former mistress Camilla. Many tuned in for the “Pomp and Circumstance” of the ceremony. As a descendant of kidnapped Africans, thus far, uncompensated in the form of reparations, it was antithetical for me to celebrate the origins of the global slave trade that displaced so many for the enrichment of so few.

It was also interesting to see how they managed the public relations fiasco of Harry and Meghan, the former Duke and Duchess of Winsor. Giving their estate to Jeffrey Epstein, associated with Prince Andrew, both virtue-signaled to the intolerant in the United Kingdom and pedophiles that “happy ever after” was always a facade of mind and propaganda.

The illusion of perfection is pursued first by setting up a hierarchy, a societal pyramid that, at its apogee, are the humans who, by political fiat and outright brutality, have set themselves apart from the rabble as the elite, the wealthy, the one-percent: the closest things to gods in the flesh the rabble can think of.

In India, the illusion takes the form of the Caste System:

At the apogee are the Brahmin, the Priest, the closest to the gods; therefore, the closest things to gods the people below the apogee have ever seen.

Below that is the warrior caste, Kyshatriyia. In a human body analogy, the Brahmin is its head, and Kyshatriyia is its arms.

Vaisya is the merchants and landowners – the torso.

Commoners, peasants, and servants are called Sudra – the feet.

Beneath the feet are the outcasts, the untouchables, the unredeemable called Dalets. Their lot is the clean the streets and latrines.

Within the caste system or Jati, individuals cannot raise themselves in the societal pecking order. Still, the entire GROUP can by emulating another group above it (no explanation given at the link as to who, or what judges an entire group rising from mediocrity in the pecking order).

Isabelle Wilkenson based her book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” first on the Indian System, then compared it to the German System during WWII, and finally to the American System that seems self-reinforcing by inertia, almost perpetual.

The illusion of perfection debases the lives of the Indigenous: the Aborigines in Australia and the First Nation Peoples in North, Central, and South America. Continents populated with peoples who have a culture, languages spoken and written, historical records, and civilizations are raized out of existence because if they don’t worship the same as Europeans if they don’t speak like Europeans, if they don’t particularly look like Europeans, they are irrelevant, they are unpersons, Aborigines, African Americans, Dalets. In this case, “black lives don’t matter” because they never did.

As I type this, the illusion of perfection has visited an outlet mall outside of Dallas, Texas, in Allen, where I have close relatives. We now have more gun massacres than we have days in the year, and the only way it will improve is if it suddenly stops tomorrow. Newsflash: It won’t. The illusion of perfection can only be reinforced by violence. Showing facts, history, and scientific data invites backlash and a brutally efficient gaslighting operation through Secretary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

The illusion of perfection punches down at the weak (fill in the blank for any outgroup you might know or belong to) because it always has. It’s “easy” to punch down on immigrants because the “gang of eight” proposed the only solution before Marco Rubio ran for president. It’s “easy” to lambast the LGBT community because the “solution” they won’t vocalize would sound a lot like German concentration camps or the hanging wall in “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. If the "horse is out of the barn," then the original door was opened by the Brown vs. Board of Education 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Richard and Mildred Loving vs. Virginia, 1967, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Roe vs. Wade, 1973 (repealed in 2023), Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015: if you repeal one part of the 20th and the early part of the 21st Century, you must using the darkest, cynical logic, repeal it all.

In the illusion of perfection, Dr. Edwin Black focuses on eugenics, but isn’t eugenics a form of secular religiosity? Both have an elite, the chosen, the pure: the elect who deserve, and the "others" who are damned. As he pointed out, whole universities and academic tomes devoted themselves to reinforcing what amounted to a lie. Still, like any broadcast on Fox Propaganda, it was a lie that a large swath of people wanted to believe.

The illusion of perfection has the same septuagenarian running against the same (now) octogenarian who repaired the damage post-COVID the septuagenarian caused. The octogenarian is trailing the septuagenarian because the octogenarian – four years senior to the septuagenarian, isn’t “entertaining” (or racist). I guess they never saw the White House Correspondence Dinner the septuagenarian avoided due to a lack of a sense of deprecating humor and an easily bruised ego (the octogenarian killed it, by the way). The octogenarian was VP to the first and only African American president, and his VP is the descendant of an African American father and an Indian mother. I'm glad he's not racist.

In a Washington Post article about the latest sacrifice to American Moloch, the congressional representative for the mall ended with this vapid statement because the gun lobby and NRA made him memorize the script like an automaton:

“Rep. Keith Self (R), who represents the Allen area in Congress, said on CNN that people who were calling for gun control, rather than just thoughts and prayers, ‘don’t believe in an almighty God … who is absolutely in control of our lives.’

“’[People] want to make this political, but prayers are important,’ he said.”

Allen, Texas

© May 7, 2023, the Griot Poet

“Thoughts and prayers” means

I refuse to legislate

While the gun lobby pays!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Representative Keith Self(ish) doesn’t believe in any other almighty God in his particular religion other than Mammon.

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