civics (66)

 

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A fan made cover for George Orwell's novel. "Animal Farm" is one of Orwell's most well-known works and gained unlikely popularity with Ukrainian refugees. (Photo from Flickr user Ben Templesmith.) PRI.org
 

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics, STEM

 

Columbusing: The art of discovering something that isn't new; "1492, Columbus was Columbusing the 'new world' one journal entry at a time" Source: Urban Dictionary

Black Wall Street:

On the morning of May 30, 1921, a young black man named Dick Rowland was riding in the elevator in the Drexel Building at Third and Main with a white woman named Sarah Page. The details of what followed vary from person to person. Accounts of an incident circulated among the city’s white community during the day and became more exaggerated with each telling.

Tulsa police arrested Rowland the following day and began an investigation. An inflammatory report in the May 31 edition of the Tulsa Tribune spurred a confrontation between black and white armed mobs around the courthouse where the sheriff and his men had barricaded the top floor to protect Rowland. Shots were fired and the outnumbered African Americans began retreating to the Greenwood District.

In the early morning hours of June 1, 1921, Greenwood was looted and burned by white rioters. Governor Robertson declared martial law, and National Guard troops arrived in Tulsa. Guardsmen assisted firemen in putting out fires, took African Americans out of the hands of vigilantes and imprisoned all black Tulsans not already interned. Over 6,000 people were held at the Convention Hall and the Fairgrounds, some for as long as eight days.

Twenty-four hours after the violence erupted, it ceased. In the wake of the violence, 35 city blocks lay in charred ruins, over 800 people were treated for injuries and contemporary reports of deaths began at 36. Historians now believe as many as 300 people may have died.

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum

In popular culture, it was reenacted in the opening scenes of Watchmen on HBO. Today is my sister's, and what would have been my father's 95th birthday. What would have been my mother's 95th is this September 15: on that date in 1963, the Sixteen Street Baptist Church Bombing happened in Birmingham, Alabama. I was one year, one month and one day old. As with my own granddaughter now, I was likely full of happy smiles, and blissfully unaware the world was so complicated.

But today, it is also, Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated across the country commemorating the formal emancipation of slaves in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was scheduled to be effective on January 1, 1863, slavery continued after that date in many states. It was not until two years later, on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas that a Major General from the Union Army informed some of the last remaining slaves of their freedom. This day marked the formal end of slavery in the United States, and Juneteenth was born in celebration of that day. Today the summer holiday is often celebrated by large get-togethers, cookouts, music, and food. But this holiday has evolved significantly over the century. Let's take a look back at some memorable past Juneteenth celebrations and events as reported in many of the popular African-American newspapers of the time, all available through The New York Public Library's electronic resources.

The first Juneteenth celebrations were especially important. Many African-Americans who were enslaved participated in the celebrations and passed on their experiences to the next generation. In Parsons, Kansas in 1895, the Parsons Weekly Blade, told how they celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the emancipation by, "indulging in various pleasures," followed by "sumptuous repasts." Then came a series of speeches about the importance of Juneteenth and the experience of slavery still fresh for many African-Americans. After the speeches the celebrations continued with, "an animated game of baseball."

In 1915, The Chicago Defender wrote, "Texas is a wonderful state in more ways than one. Looking at it from our point of view, they can can deal out some of the most unjust justice and then, as if to relieve their conscience, they can flop over and do the most gracious things." That year, in celebration of Juneteenth, Governor Ferguson pardoned forty prisoners from the state penitentiary.

Researching Juneteenth Celebrations at The New York Public Library, Rhonda Evans, Assistant Chief Librarian, JBH Research and Reference Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, June 19, 2017

The 80s G.A.P. Band derived their name from three corners that intersected Black Wall Street: Greenwood, Archer and Pine. Orange Satan thinks he's "made Juneteenth famous." I tweeted this yesterday to him, with the following: "Juneteenth didn't need you. Did you EVER walk into this building (NYPL), or did I answer my own question?" I think I did.

President Donald Trump planned to hold a rally Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma – the site of the worst racial attack in U.S. history, by many accounts. After days of controversy over that choice, he changed the date.

The history of the massacre in the area, which was known as "Black Wall Street," spotlights the formation of an affluent Black community and the gruesome events that destroyed it.

In 1921, a white mob attacked a predominantly Black area in Tulsa, killing hundreds of people and destroying the country’s wealthiest African American community. Its abrupt demise and similar incidents around the country during that period played a role in widening the racial wealth divide, experts say.

Part of what enraged critics, Trump had planned to speak to supporters June 19, or Juneteenth, known as Emancipation Day – the date in 1865 when a Union general traveled to Galveston, Texas, to read President Abraham Lincoln’s orders freeing the slaves.

'Black Wall Street': Trump's plan for rally in Tulsa calls attention to 1921 race massacre, Paul Davidson, USA Today

He's planning to accept the nomination of his party on the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, August 27, 1960, when peaceful sit-in activists for civil rights were clubbed by whites and local KKK members. Once is an "oops"; twice is trolling.

A simple search of this blog finds entries on the term "war on science," to which this entry is now added. Paraphrasing George Orwell, ignorance has become a sort of strength, or at least a hammer; an ax handle clubbing everyone into submission. Authoritarians have been skittish of science since Galileo. When science confirms their dogma: good. When instrumentation and discoveries go against holy writ from the Bronze Age, literally all HELL breaks loose! Winthrop's Puritanism is pumped up on steroids. Chest are beaten and noses flare, the adrenaline rush falsely empowering the faithful with a sense of mission: a holy grail quest. The most vile heresies can be justified and covered if it's under two words: "God's will," typically interpreted by white, Anglo Saxon Protestant, Cisgender males and their misogynistic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic and patriarchal worldviews.

Masks are now a culture war issue, despite the science that says they help slow the spread of the virus and allow us to SAFELY open. Despite the Coronavirus numbers spiking in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Black Wall Street massacre (not riot), his supporters are signing his waiver, and they are showing up without first notion of protecting others. Though he's dodged a huge bullet up to now, I don't think magical thinking will inhibit an aggressive virus, whose only basic program is to replicate itself, whether in the pews of ardent followers, or on the podium of their reconstructed "Two-Minutes Hate" orange god. We have confused skepticism with contrarianism and intelligence with brute ignorance. There is a pride in exceptionalism Americans have, that has crossed over to haughtiness, and the rest of the planet frankly, could give a shit, which matches the attitude of "dear leader." The faithful may only "get it," when they and their bizarre cult leader are under clinical endotracheal intubation.

The world is studying STEM with vigor, and we are falling behind because of a world changed by anthropomorphic climate disruption, income inequality, employment replaced by - in the words of James Boggs - "automation and cybernation". Backwards time travel only happens on the quantum level and in science fiction stories. We will soon "reap the whirlwind" when instead of blaming China for the pandemic; stealing secrets from us: we may have to eat crow if the plant a communist flag on the moon we, to this DAY, deny we ever visited. Technology will only accomplish one of two things: liberate us superficially, while our minds further atrophy by not exercising it, or efficiently enslave us physically, the strings pulled by an authoritarian puppet master, fearful and manipulative, with enough dexterity and remaining motor skills...to tweet. Both possibilities are "equally terrifying."

"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." Arthur C. Clarke

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#ShutDownSTEM...

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Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Women's Rights

I participated in JSNN's version of #ShutDownSTEM yesterday. It was a discussion led by the Dean about the situation we all find ourselves in post the deaths of Ahmaund Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, laid to rest next to his mom in Houston, Texas.

It was a tentative meeting, thankfully from the Zoom participants extremely diverse. The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is by its construction diverse: Afghanistan, Brazil, Chad, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and the United States represented in its student body and faculty. It's quite easy - at least, before the pandemic - to get lulled by the interactions that are often taken as routine, and that the entire country and world are doing exactly what you're doing.

On June 10, 2020, we will #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives.

In the wake of the most recent murders of Black people in the US, it is clear that white and other non-Black people have to step up and do the work to eradicate anti-Black racism. As members of the global academic and STEM communities, we have an enormous ethical obligation to stop doing “business as usual.” No matter where we physically live, we impact and are impacted by this moment in history.

Our responsibility starts with our role in society. In academia, our thoughts and words turn into new ways of knowing. Our research papers turn into media releases, books and legislation that reinforce anti-Black narratives. In STEM, we create technologies that affect every part of our society and are routinely weaponized against Black people.

Black academic and Black STEM professionals are hurting because they exist in and are attacked by institutional and systemic racism. Black people have been tirelessly working for change, alongside their Indigenous and People of Color allies. For Black academics and STEM professionals, #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is a time to prioritize their needs— whether that is to rest, reflect, or to act— without incurring additional cumulative disadvantage.

Site: #ShutDownSTEM.com

I recalled my asking Mr. Tedford - my middle school science teacher - a question on the coefficient of linear expansion: I was answered with "no, you big dummy!" Upset, in tears, I relayed the encounter to my parents, who promptly made an appointment with Mr. Tedford and the principal at Mineral Springs Middle School. We got a sweaty apology, and I got all my questions answered the rest of that semester year.

I recalled my own interactions with a store detective at Kings Department Store in Winston-Salem, NC, 1976. I was body slammed and frisked while four white males robbed "Deputy Do Wrong" blind in the tennis shoe section. Despite my trying to bring this to his attention, he was convinced that "nigras steal" despite my objections and his lack of evidence.

I recalled asking a rhetorical question of the Brigade Commander: "what does it take to get to your rank" as a ninth grade, shy and impressed Neo ROTC cadet, answered with: "YOUR KIND will never get to this rank!" I did actually, three years later.The Ku Klux Klan (or, someone pretending to be them) left me a death threat: "don't show up for the Brigade Review (parade), nega, or we'll shoot your azz!" I showed up and commanded 180 cadets in formation in front of onlookers that included my parents and girlfriend at the time: anyone that spells that horribly, can't be serious or aim a gun! I'm sincerely glad I wasn't wrong.

These roadblocks are the moments that either break you, or make you, our Nietzsche ("that which does not kill us makes us stronger") Négritude.

Négritude:

The concept of Négritude emerged as the expression of a revolt against the historical situation of French colonialism and racism. The particular form taken by that revolt was the product of the encounter, in Paris, in the late 1920s, of three black students coming from different French colonies: Aimé Césaire (1913–2008) from Martinique, Léon Gontran Damas (1912–1978) from Guiana and Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) from Senegal. Being colonial subjects meant that they all belonged to people considered uncivilized, naturally in need of education and guidance from Europe, namely France. In addition, the memory of slavery was very vivid in Guiana and Martinique. Aimé Césaire and Léon Damas were already friends before they came to Paris in 1931.

Beyond the encounter between Africa and the French Caribbean Césaire, Senghor and Damas also discovered together the American movement of Harlem Renaissance. At the “salon”, in Paris, hosted by sisters from Martinique, Jane, Paulette and Andrée Nardal, they met many Black American writers, such as Langston Hughes or Claude McKay. With the writers of the Harlem Renaissance movement they found an expression of black pride, a consciousness of a culture, an affirmation of a distinct identity that was in sharp contrast to French assimilationism. In a word they were ready to proclaim the négritude of the “new Negro” to quote the title of the anthology of Harlem writers by Alain Locke which very much impressed Senghor and his friends (Vaillant 1990, 93–94).

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Négritude

I didn't say any of the above stories, or relate our Zoom meeting to Négritude, but they are not very far behind me.

The deaths of Ahmaund Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a Neo-Négritude, that instead of remaining indigenous has spread throughout the world. Most marches have been peaceful and multicultural, with a few knuckleheads looting. That's important, because to deconstruct white supremacy, we need the creators of it to do it. We also need certain public African American figures to get a little Négritude, get diagnosed for Stockholm Syndrome or enough sense to shut up such that they get out of the way of progress.

This is the minefield/mind-field blacks in STEM have to navigate. Teachers, counselors and what should be "role models" feel an almost instinctive, no: tribal obligation to reinforce the status quo. They will say hateful, hurtful, disappointing things to diminish you; to "keep you in your place." A cursory review of history had only the comfortable roles of the buck boy, mammy, sex slave and step-n-fetch for the African Diaspora. The system reinforces itself by backlash politics, cognitive dissonance and a propagandized, false narrative of history that makes the descendants of the original perpetrators "feel good." Like a membrane disturbed and a nerve throbbed, it responds with cold, robotic efficiency.

This time, it's different. We've taken time out from the orgy of violent shooting incidents our news would report and naval gaze on until the next shiny object; the next shooting. We just couldn't take a break from the 401 year orgy of knees-on-necks, even during a pandemic: it's endemic to the American experiment, that currently, is not giving the results posed by the original hypothesis.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

No truer words uttered at George Floyd's home going. He is NOT, however, a martyr:

1: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion 2: a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle

George Floyd is not a Messianic figure. He never wanted to be. He was a man, like all of us, with his flaws, horrible choices and sins. He was a man that like any man, can learn from his sins and seek redemption, if he so chose. He was a man that had a little brother and children that looked up to him. He was a man that wanted to breathe.

Perhaps, STEM has finally inhaled the stench of racism, and instead of spraying Febreze to mask the odor, found it finally, rancid. Perhaps it will exhale in meetings to come, solutions. This will take time. It will be worth the effort.

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Biff, Galileo and Gaslighting...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.

This was the second time that Galileo was in the hot seat for refusing to accept Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe: In 1616, he had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs. In the 1633 interrogation, Galileo denied that he “held” belief in the Copernican view but continued to write about the issue and evidence as a means of “discussion” rather than belief. The Church had decided the idea that the Sun moved around the Earth was an absolute fact of scripture that could not be disputed, despite the fact that scientists had known for centuries that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

Galileo is convicted of heresy, History.com

Authoritarians have a long history of defying science and reality. No one questions now that the Earth isn't the center of the solar system and our understanding of the universe has expanded since Galileo confirmed Copernican Heliocentric Theory. Modern authoritarians resort to pathological lying.

I've discussed Biff's proclivities here and here before. The video above is homage to him without invoking his hideous visage.

You look scared, Donald.

You should be.

A pandemic is problematic for you.

You can’t gaslight a pandemic.

You can’t bully it into compliance.

You can’t lie to it and hope it won’t run a fact check.

You can’t pay for its silence or promise immunity.

You can’t threaten its reelection bid if it breaks ranks.

You can’t fire it when it dissents from your ramblings.

You can’t impugn its character with baseless attacks.

You can’t fool it with talk about God.

You can’t bury it with FoxNews fluff pieces.

You can’t drown it in nationalism.

You can’t dismiss it with cries of fake news.

You can’t pardon it after it completes its assaults.

You can’t give it a demeaning nickname and hope to deflate it.

You can’t rage-Tweet it into exhaustion.

You Can’t Gaslight a Pandemic, Donald, John Pavlovitz, Stuff That Needs To Be Said

By golly, Biff damned sure is trying!

I wrote this on Facebook, May 8th:

He’s wrecked the economy like 1 of his casinos.

He sucks as a moral leader, or comforter-in-chief.

Expect Biff to go full Brown People-Chinese-Mexican-Muslim racist, because, why not?

May 8th was Friday. He managed to fulfill my predictions by Monday.

Like all authoritarians, fascists, Nazis and racists: facts don't matter. What matters is emotion, what a certain thing makes "the base" feel. Most of them, like Biff feel threatened by changing demographics. Fascists take advantage of disasters and chaos, as rampant confusion consolidates their power, and a pandemic is made-to-order. For his bewildered, gun-toting herd, it's like the last gasp of Archie Bunker. They're worried about 2042. I'm worried about Dr. Bright's ominous prediction of this being our "darkest winter." I'm worried about the Forbes article four years ago that capitalism MUST change, or humanity will starve itself to death eight years later in 2050. The so-called white majority becoming numerical minorities will be short-lived, and moot:

Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health.

We need to build a new system: one that will balance economic growth with sustainability and human flourishing.

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050, Drew Hansen, Forbes, 2016

In one of a number of revolts against colonial rule, in a corner of what is now Tanzania, the Maji Maji Rebellion sought to drive out German colonialists. The rebels were partly incited by a spirit medium who claimed to be possessed by a snake spirit and to have a “war medicine” that would turn German bullets into water. In one of the saddest and most surreal episodes in anti-colonial history, thousands of Africans who put their faith in this magic perished before German machine guns.

It has been axiomatic in anthropology since Bronislaw Malinowski’s seminal work in the early 20th century that people turn to magic when they feel powerless. Soldiers, for example, may repeatedly practice mastery of their weapons, but they know there is still a strong element of chance in whether they live or die in combat, and so they also pray, wear talismans, and develop superstitions about weapons, clothes, or routines that bring luck. In this spirit, the Maji Maji rebels—outgunned but unwilling to tolerate German occupation—put their faith in magic water, as well as their own martial skills, as they rose up.

COVID-19 and the Turn to Magical Thinking, Hugh Gusterson, Sapiens.org

I don't think it will matter what hue of human is in the numerical majority. This pandemic screams at us that capitalism as we practice it is out of balance with the globe we live on. This pandemic roars at us that all the magical-thinking-whistling-past-the-graveyard in the world won't will it away, nor will opening up too soon and assume callously only "brown people" will die. As much as I love Star Trek as nerd mythology, I'm not expecting a leap in physics, discovering warp drive, and leaving the planet for exciting Alpha Centauri tours. In 2050, I pretty much expect to be either 88, or ashes. I just didn't expect the rest of the world to be ashed with me.

It is, in a dark sense, a brute force way to end inequality, forever.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," Matthew 5:5.

I guess that doesn't necessarily have to mean Homo Sapiens.

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Going Forward...

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At the former IBM research facility, Fishkill, NY

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Human Rights, Politics, Women's Rights


Note: Yesterday, eleven years ago, we lost mom before Mother's Day weekend - on a Thursday. Happy Mother's Day - love, "stink."

 

*****


This was my week of finals: Advanced Nano Systems Monday and Solid State Devices on Wednesday. The first was posted on Blackboard and had a set time to answer all questions, open-book and open notes. That took four hours. Wednesday, the exam was proctored on Zoom: 3 hours. I was completely and utterly wiped out. Now, I have to focus on my preliminary research proposal, meaning I'll be doing a lot of reading, summarizing and crafting the proposal in an NSF-style format suitable for publication. My committee will tear it to shreds. I'm expecting it. As such, I will take blogging breaks from time-to-time. Pursuing a Ph.D. in anything isn't trivial, and nanoengineering is by far not trivial, and is mentally and emotionally exhausting. It will be worth it, though.

The above is how I went to work at Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices and IBM in some capacity. Wearing the garments wasn't an "option." We were - as I stated in Protocols - protecting the product from our contact with the outside world.

Our "cleanrooms" are now our living rooms and we're protecting ourselves from the environment outside.

I'm bemused by the now popular label, "essential workers," as if these workers weren't essential before a pandemic showed just how essential they really are. Missing from the list are janitorial services, which is why I've always treated the cleaning person with the same respect I would afford an executive: one makes decisions about the company for typically investors; the other decides daily to clean our messes in the loo.

As of this posting, more than 40 states are starting to relax stay-in-place restrictions, not because of the Russian puppet concerned about re-election and avoiding prosecution from NY Attorney General Letitia James and SDNY, but democratic and republican governors are having a cash flow problem: it cannot flow if we're too concerned with "Life," followed by "Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness" to venture forth.

At best, we're looking at a year and a half to a vaccine. On the website The History of Vaccines: "Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement." It apparently has an exploratory stage, a pre-clinical stage, IND (investigative new drug) application; phases I - III vaccine trials, post-licensure monitoring of vaccines and VAERS: the vaccine adverse event reporting system, in case, ironically the "cure is worse than the disease."



Testing, shelter-in-place, contact tracing: This is how we can slowly open the economy safely and reduce infections/deaths. Tracing has a noble, brute-force history with smallpox. This is so we don't overwhelm the medical community while research pursues a vaccine or cure. Denmark, Germany, Finland and other European countries are opening, and safely for the most part. Mississippi halted their opening after a spike in infections; Florida and Texas will likely soon follow. Per capita tests per million citizens, we're now second to Italy and slightly ahead of South Korea, that have had 256 deaths ...total. It's both embarrassing and sickening to the soul.


(Suggested) extended protocols:

1. Vote November 3, 2020. Especially millennials. My open letter to millennials (Belief in Oneness) before the 2018 midterms preceded the takeover by the democrats, the prescient predictive power of Dr. Rachel Biticofer's modelling and the impeachment of the Russian ass(et). Democracy means "rule of the people." In short: give a shit.

2. Every building, particularly security guards will have to use body temperature infrared thermometers before allowing access. They're commercially available on Amazon. I posted the most expensive one, but there are other products listed. 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit or greater should be deemed a health hazard, and turned away.

3. Schools and manufacturing particularly are going to have to structure "A-B" days: MWF-A, TTh-B; MWF-B, TTh-A etc., where buildings are filled to 1/2 their capacity, controlling access with BTIR thermometers.

4. Schools especially are going to have to record lectures on YouTube if students are turned away; they're going to have to get a doctor's note to return to class.

5. Telecommuting has to be encouraged if possible at all. Zoom isn't going away.

6. Hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and sporting events are going to have to get used to 25-50% occupancy; financial targets will have to be adjusted.

7. The existence of for-profit prisons will have to be revisited. They are not efficacious. They're structured for high occupancy and recidivism, and hotbed for this or any pandemic's spread; so are meat-packing plants and nursing homes.

8. Get used to leaving home like this (showering when you return):

IML%2BProtocols.jpg

I'm assuming myself asymptomatic: masking protects Y-O-U from M-E. More of us doing this reduces the spread of the virus, while giving a break to emergency services and ventilators. It can be continued for the anti-vaxxer community that won't take a vaccine even if successfully going through trials. I know the history of this country with the Tuskegee experiment. It's lazy scholarship to continually resort to the worst human motivations in the midst of a crisis. Biologists have families, too.

My unfortunate conclusion is, we're going to be at this for a while, post this and any successive administrations' tenures, if we still have a functional republic: the jobs report will be at Depression-era levels; William Barr is pulverizing the rule of law as it's now apparently fine to lie to the F.B.I. after admitting to it twice under oath.

We're in the fight of our lives, and we're literally on our own.
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Protocols...

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Will Smith as U.S. Army virologist Lt. Col. Robert Neville in the movie, "I Am Legend."

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Elections, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


Plot: "In 2009, a genetically re-engineered measles virus, originally created as a cure for cancer, turns lethal. The virus kills 90% (5.4 billion out of 6 billion) of the world's population and turns 9.8% (588 million) into vampiric, cannibalistic mutants called Darkseekers, who are extremely vulnerable to sunlight. The remaining 0.2% (12 million) of the population are immune to the virus and are the prey of the mutant Darkseekers.

Three years after the outbreak, U.S. Army virologist Lt. Col. Robert Neville lives an isolated life in the deserted ruins of Manhattan, unsure if any other uninfected humans are left.

Neville's daily routine includes experimenting on infected rats to find a cure for the virus, searching for food and supplies, and waiting each day for any immune humans who might respond to his continuous recorded radio broadcasts, which instruct them to meet him at midday at the South Street Seaport.

Flashbacks reveal that his wife and daughter died in a helicopter accident during the chaotic evacuation of Manhattan, as the military enforced a quarantine of the island in 2009. Neville stayed behind on the island with other military personnel." (Wikipedia)
 
I worked in cleanrooms in the semiconductor industry, the most stringent being Class 1. The old criteria meant 0.5 microns of particles per cubic feet of air. (The newest guidelines were adopted in 2001, metric and still pretty stringent.) Each employee passed through air showers to push off any particulates from their clothing. Smokers are encouraged not to indulge, and cologne is prohibited - smoke and scent are particles. We then put our street garb in a locker, putting on green hosptial gowns and fab shoes that never left the site. Then we donned clean room gowns - "bunny suits" - before going into the alien, hepa-filtered environment, protecting it from any hair, skin, sweat or dirt we could shed that would inhibit the functionality of integrated circuits. I tried to drink as little water as possible before going on the floor. Going to the bathroom, or lunch was a pain.

I have developed a unique protocol for assaulting what used to be trivial things like: getting the mail, mowing the lawn - grass grows as rains falls during pandemics - or, going to the grocers for (what's left of) supplies.

1. I fashion a mask from my father's handkerchiefs and rubber bands per the CDC guidelines.

2. I use cloth/rubber work gloves for mowing as the rubber is tactile enough for me to operate equipment and pay for items at the grocery store.

3. After I enter the house, I immediately put all clothing - including my gloves - in the washer. I proceed to the shower.

It is a ritual of the dish panned and dry skinned. I call it my "I Am Legend" protocols.

I am approximately 45 minutes from the hospital that I was born in. I am in the city I earned an undergraduate in Engineering Physics and a Masters in Nanoengineering. I feel like each day outside my door, I enter an alien landscape. Shopping is now foraging for food at several department stores. The shelves are emptying as the undocumented workers that pick our food are also impacted by this virus. We're going to start seeing shortages. Perhaps I need to look at hunting. Thankfully, there are no Darkseekers.

Now, as many other STEM graduate researchers are doing, I'm continuing Ph.D. studies online. No one knows what this is supposed to look like, since before the entire planet became as hostile as Mars, it was done in-person for the most part.

Wisconsin showed the depth of depravity in the "gang of Putin" from the Supreme Courts at both federal and state levels and its extensively word-salad challenged faux mob head: they'd rather kill us than allow people to vote. It's almost a public admittance that they know they have no ideas to convince a majority of the electorate to vote for. They're reduced to deplorables, fascists, homophobes, racists, rubes, Sambos, sexists, tax cheaters, wife beaters and zombies. NO ONE with a sane grasp of reality - whether voting during a pandemic or by mail - would consciously vote for four more years of this shit. "Planet of the Apes" had intelligent, evolved primates. This is more like "Conquest of the Stupid People." We apparently didn't have to wait 500 years to get to "Idiocracy." Speaking of which, someone wants to open the economy prematurely to save his own ass, since he's supposedly a "stable genius" and wolf-of-Wall-Street business wizard after six bankruptcies. He just didn't tell you, the land he's wizard of is Oz.
 
He hits the nine signs of a sociopath lotto, and the only thing that lowers my systolic and diastolic blood pressure is avoiding those Joseph Goebbels' styled Ministry of Untruth press briefings. They're absolute useless, word-salad garbage.

He won Wisconsin in 2016. Their citizens showed the resolve we've GOT to have to repel Russian meddling and voter suppression: we've literally got to crawl over glass to save this republic, otherwise, I'm pretty sure we'll no longer have one. The inverse of federal republics is fascist dictatorships. That's only fun for fascists and death cult members.

Will Smith is an actor. "I Am Legend" is a movie, for which he likely received a fat 20 million dollar check. Just about that many people filed for unemployment. He's made a lot of movies since then, and barring we burrow underground, he'll probably make a few more before he retires to that big mansion in Calabasas, California.
 

The suddenly unemployed are still waiting for theirs.
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New%2BYork%2BTimes%2BCOVID-19.PNG
New York Times - Where Americans Didn't Stay at Home Even as the Virus Spread

James Glanz, Benedict Carey, Josh Holder, Derek Watkins, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Rick Rojas and Lauren Leatherby

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights


Only a fascist like William Barr would try to suspend habeas corpus during a global pandemic, as are other strongmen across the globe are using the crisis to seize more dictatorial power over their citizens. Only a sociopath puts in an emergency order through the secret service for ...golf carts. Democracy - that fleeting experiment in rationality, and with it: life on Earth hangs in the balance.

While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt.

Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.

“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”

 

Covid-19 Changed How the World Does Science, Together
Matt Apuzzo and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times


Yes, China and its stupid strongman leader held precious data and allowed the Coronavirus to spread before this cooperation born of survival was established. Calling it "Wuhan" or "Chinese" is as problem-solving as ascribing radical terrorism to a religion. The Klan burns large crosses, and historically, hung and castrated African Americans. They and other white supremacist groups are yet still not classed as terrorists, domestic or otherwise.

 

*****


A true STEM education should increase students’ understanding of how things work and improve their use of technologies. STEM education should also introduce more engineering during precollege education. Engineering is directly involved in problem solving and innovation, two themes with high priorities on every nation’s agenda…. the creation of high-quality, integrated instruction and materials, as well as the placement of problems associated with grand challenges of society at the center of study. (p. 996).

Whereas there have been initiatives for integrated STEM education in a number of developed countries including South Korea, the mechanisms of integration for STEM disciplines and instructional approaches are largely under theorized (National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council, 2014). Given the limited research, instructional design for integrated STEM can be informed by the literature on problem-based learning (PBL). In a number of reviews on integrated STEM programs, researchers found that integrated STEM programs commonly utilize real-world complex problems as instructional contexts in which students apply knowledge and practices from multiple disciplines (Banks & Barlex, 2014; Kelley & Knowles, 2016; Lynn, Moore, Johnson, & Roehrig, 2016; National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council, 2014). PBL is a well-researched and widely accepted student-centered instructional approach in which students are given an ill-structured real-world problem to investigate viable solutions for by applying knowledge and skills from various sources (Hmelo-Silver, 2004; Savery, 2006). PBL helps students develop knowledge involved in problem solving and cognitive skills such as critical and analytical thinking. Additional characteristics of PBL such as working in collaborative groups and engaging in self-directed learning lead to learning outcomes such as communication competency and motivation to learn. This approach was succinctly summarized in Hmelo-Silver (2004).

In PBL, student learning centers on a complex problem that does not have a single correct answer. Students work in collaborative groups to identify what they need to learn in order to solve a problem. They engage in self-directed learning (SDL) and then apply their new knowledge to the problem and reflect on what they learned and the effectiveness of the strategies employed.… The goals of PBL include helping students develop 1) flexible knowledge, 2) effective problem-solving skills, 3) SDL skills, 4) effective collaboration skills, and 5) intrinsic motivation. (p.235).

Nam-Hwa Kang, Asia-Pacific Science Education

South Korea is the model the planet needs to pursue. It has a deep respect for STEM, STEAM and has pursued it relentlessly. Such preparation encourages quick reaction to problems and creative solutions. It's shown in drive-through testing. It has NEVER been demonstrated in creationism, "intelligent design" and other magical thinking.

The mapping of the virus spread globally correlates with our frequency in the states. The south and Midwestern states are astonishingly red, and a few of their correlating governors obtuse. This is somewhat simplistic and deceptive, as the northern states have more mass transit, and thus a subway can also carry a novel virus just as easily as an SUV or pickup truck. New York shows no movement, but has the highest infection rates, which globally correlates to where travel and world trade (and humans) meet frequently. A nationwide shutdown would "flatten the curve." Sadly, I'm finding more that "United States" is aspirational, a suggestion and oxymoron.

President George W. Bush coined the term "compassionate conservatism," (Vyse - New Republic) which looks now to have the lift of a lead balloon. What we need instead is a compassionate capitalism. Slavery - the foundation of American capitalism - was far from anything compassionate. It is not compassionate to give sweetheart deals to your son-in-law and his brother's company during a pandemic. It is not compassionate to have governors bidding on the same life-saving equipment like they're in an auction on eBay. It is not compassionate (or, competent) that the Governor of Georgia, literally miles from the Center for Disease Control didn't know asymptomatic persons could transmit the virus. It is not compassionate to house children in cages at the border (after ripping them from their parents, as in slavery). Like the New Republic article above alludes, compassion has given way to callousness, an IDGAF with red caps replacing Klan robes and middle fingers replacing gold crosses. Cruelty and so-called white grievance is the obvious, particular point. It is a primitive instinct, racist, xenophobic and steeped in superstition; a sacrifice to Moloch on cremation pyres of (don't) care. It is a recipe for extinction, and for the gun rights advocates with thousands of rounds of ammo - your strategy is only as good as your last bullet when food supplies run out. Constitutional gun rights alone do not make civil societies: civil societies with functional governments make constitutional gun rights possible. That's not "making America great again": it is the recipe for a failed state.

Cooperation, or extinction. I will say this (sadly) to my last breath.

 

*****


“China isn’t the problem. Lack of diversification is the problem,” says Belinda Archibong, an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College in New York. In Africa, “lack of regional, intra-Africa trade is the problem.”

That’s a long-standing discussion within the continent. “Maybe this crisis is going to force us to trade more amongst ourselves,” says Blandina Kilama, an economist and senior researcher at Research on Poverty Alleviation, a Tanzanian think tank.

In the U.S., John Melin is an eyewitness to the virtues of trade. Brown & Haley, the candy company where he is president and chief operating officer, has seen a rising share of its Almond Roca sales coming from overseas.

China is a big source of that demand, which helps keep the firm’s 175 employees near Tacoma, Washington, employed. Mr. Melin and his team are working hard to keep the sales flowing and to pin down some alternative suppliers for packaging.

“Part of the health of our country​ and our​ ​high standard of living comes from the fact that people fly on ​B​oeing​ ​airplanes around the world​,​ and people buy i​P​hones around the world​,​ and people a​dm​ire the values and institutions of the ​United ​States,” he says. That integration with the world “brings more good than bad.”

In Germany, Yorck Otto similarly sees globalization as here to stay, and probably for the better.

“No, this wheel cannot be turned back,” says Dr. Otto, president of a business association representing small and medium-sized companies.

“The global supply chain will continue to get better and better every day. This globalization will be refined, and hopefully it will be also covered under new humanitarian laws and regulations so that the world can be a little bit better through globalization,” he says. “I’m not a great fan of kids sitting in Bolivia digging into soil to get materials to make batteries, for example.”

Why COVID-19 is likely to change globalization, not reverse it, The Christian Science Monitor
WHY WE WROTE THIS
Can the world’s fabric be undone? Some nationalists point to the coronavirus as a reason to seal borders and bring manufacturing home. But business experts say the benefits of trade are undiminished.


This piece was reported by Patrik Jonsson in Savannah, Georgia; Nick Squires in Rome; Ryan Lenora Brown in Johannesburg; and Lenora Chu in Berlin. It was written by Mr. Trumbull.
 
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Zombies Would be Better...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Fascism, Human Rights


In dystopian novels and movies, zombies are easy to spot. They're also slow and not very smart.

They're typically not orange and self-admittedly, whiners.

The obligatory press briefing is a ritual I wish the media would give up, totally.

Analysis of what he says is on the major cable networks: CNN, Fox, MSNBC. More people watch local networks because they "trust" them. Any president's message preempts local programming, and thus there's no time or functionality lending to analysis. He gets to spew BS to his cult unfiltered.

He turns it into gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders.

In my book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People - and Break Free I detail how gaslighters typically use the following techniques:

 

1. They tell blatant lies.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
4. They wear you down over time.
5. Their actions do not match their words.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
7. They know confusion weakens people.
8. They project.
9. They try to align people against you.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting
Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D., Psychology Today

Malignant Narcissism


I want to explore with you the darker side of narcissistic personality disorder, where aggression, antisocial behaviors, and suspiciousness are as prominent as their poor sense of self, fragility, and egocentricity. (Below is a video clip that explores the symptoms of malignant narcissism.)

A person with malignant narcissism has the potential to destroy families, communities, nations, and work environments. This condition reflects a hybrid or blending of narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. Psychologist Eric Fromm termed the disorder in 1964. Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg later delineated the symptoms of the condition and presented it as an intermediary between narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders.

 

Why is the behavior of malignant narcissism often considered dangerous?


Individuals with this profile can form connections with others. However, they process information in ways that can hurt society in general, but also the people who love or depend on them. Family, co-workers, employees, and others in their lives often have to walk on eggshells to appease a fragile ego and minimize the occurrence of their unstable, impulsive, or aggressive behaviors.

They lash out or humiliate others for infractions of even the most frivolous nature (for example, you gave an opinion that differed from theirs; you demonstrated confidence, and it made them look bad; you told a joke that involved poking fun at them).

For some, their grandiosity and protection of their fragile "true self" can be at such extreme levels that they will lie and give the impression that simply because they say it, that makes it reality. Many will become angered if their lies are challenged with truth or facts. Of course, this can create problems for the people close to them, as this pattern of behavior can easily veer into gaslighting.

Malignant narcissism is a blend of two disorders that pose problems interpersonally for their victims — narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. It is not uncommon for others to feel anxious, intimidated by, and fearful of people with this condition. The combination of poor empathy coupled with aggression, hypersensitivity, and suspiciousness can bring pain to others.

 

How to Tell You're Dealing with a Malignant Narcissist
Rhonda Freeman Ph.D., Psychology Today


All respect to the Walking Dead: zombies only exist in theatrical presentations. Like Gremlins, there are rules to deal with them. In fictional realms, warp drive and transporters exist, Bifrost is an Einstein-Rosen Bridge and every crisis can be solved in less than an hour, minus commercial breaks without worrying the zombies have the nuclear codes.

Good old undead, regular zombies: way easier, with rules.
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Lethal Stupidity...

Lethal%2BStupidity.jpg
Image source: Reddit


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Fascism, Human Rights


“Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.” Thomas Gray's poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742)

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." George Orwell, "1984" (1949)

Fascists are obviously dumb as hell.

The city of Greensboro is under a shelter-in-place order until April 16. I'm heartened some republican governors are bucking Tweet Dweeb and following the science. It's ironic to think in 1863, Abraham Lincoln founded the National Academy of Science DURING the Civil War. Republicans used to be rather right-brained dominant before donning tinfoil hats.

“Last night we talked about the governor of Mississippi, announcing that there would not be a statewide stay-at-home order in his state either because he said ‘Mississippi is not China,” said Maddow. “But today … the governor of Mississippi today did something brand new. He issued his own executive order that overrides and overturns any actions that have been taken by cities and towns in his state, even as he is refusing to act statewide.”
 

Rachel Maddow blasts Mississippi governor for banning cities from coronavirus business closures, Matthew Chapman, Raw Story


Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas and Glenn-ever-the-dry-drunk Beck thinks grandparents shouldn't even wait for euthanasia from the lasers of "Logan's Run": they should happily throw themselves into the arms of Moloch for the sake of their real god: Mammon. Ron DeSantis is not wearing the governor's chair well since morphing into a "mini-me" version of his orange god. Headlines calling your decisions during a pandemic "dumbest s---" probably doesn't play well in re-election commercials.

Since both I believe are grandparents, I welcome and look forward to their sacrifice. As a new grandparent of eleven months now, I think I'll pass.

This is the danger of repealing The Fairness Doctrine and allowing one side to frame opinion as fact, or facts as unknowable. It allowed an entire political party - post Watergate - to in the words of Karl Rove, "create their own reality." It gave rise to right wing talk radio and its malcontents, and eventually an entire "news" channel whose license isn't journalistic: but entertainment, like their parent company. They know it is wrong on some level, but know the efficacy of shouting opponents down and wearing down by gaslighting. Without fail, like any other story they propped up and repeated, the pivot from calling Coronavirus "fake news" to taking it seriously wasn't met with protests from supporters, because cults don't question authority. It creates "Ministries of Truth," Fox being the first, pumping out fiction that endangers their own median aged 65-year-old audience. A republic runs on debate of actual facts based on reality, not Ayn Rand notions of the "morality of democratic capitalism," which sounds innocent until you inspect the entire quote:

"Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism." –Paul Ryan, praising the anti-democratic Ayn Rand, who once said, "Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom." The inspiration for a large amount of "ideas" from the gang of Putin was dead broke at the end of her life REQUIRING Social Security before her passing. 1,168 pages of Gordon Gecko worship is a lot to plod through, which I doubt that those who cite her have read completely or understood fully. The basic gist of her works are tooled into talking points and a deification of the market that extends into the current day and this crisis of lethal stupidity that may invariably get a lot of people killed. I know the need to "get back to normal," but think of our last normal day: 9/10/01. Before that, we walked from the ticket counter to boarding where families waved goodbye to their loved ones. A shoe and underwear bomber has us putting our shoes in tubs and being full body scanned. I'm sure my parents wished for "normal" after December 7, 1941.

I hope we start thinking of healthcare as a human right and not a privilege of the well-heeled. That we take a look at income inequality - created by policies that benefit the few on top and we STOP separating into primitive, warring tribes on the mythology of our biological warpaint: we are ONE human species and every one of us is from the continent of Africa. To survive this outbreak, we need to behave as one tribe, one race: the human race, or Moloch's altar will be full of babies and grandparents.

Every time we get a republican president, we go closer to the precipice. We look into the abyss and suddenly get our senses back and place the ship of state right after economic downturns from the cult-reflex of "trickle down economics" (disavowed, mind you by David Stockman).

We have an unhealthy co-dependency. We exist on a political seesaw going from boom to bust; order to chaos. We reflexively change political parties every eight years ...EVERY eight years with the few one-term exceptions that for the sake of that cliff I hope we can replicate November 3, 2020.

Else, inertia with a little momentum push will tilt our luck as a republic over into the darkness, and a virus waiting survivors at landfall.
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Social Distancing...

IMG_3895.HEIC
Every square centimeter packed

 

Topics: Biology, Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism


I shopped and bought the supplies you see above for the suggested "hunker down." It's the most I've ever purchased at one time in a grocery store. Missing from the pile of food, meat and cleaning supplies is hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Amazon is out, with delivery projections of off-brand toilet paper mid April, according to a college friend on lock down in California. Though I don't own a dog anymore, I observed dog food was missing from the shelves. The city is on limited hours from 10 am to 3 pm. The suggested crowd assemblies dwindled swiftly from 500 - 300 - 100 to 10 or less. There will likely be no spring commencement. Susan Rice was to be our keynote speaker, and I was going to attend to congratulate newly-minted Doctors of Philosophy.

My classes went online almost immediately through Blackboard. It was kind of cute to see my professors struggling and fully admitting they've never taught an online class before. The fact that they were lecturing was a departure from previous experiences, typically PowerPoint slides uploaded to Canvas (another college app), chapters read and a test proctored. That was my experience with it before. There's a video app: Zoom that I used to view a Ph.D. defense and a seminar on writing. My tiny house seems at comparison to my mobility before, smaller ...

I took a walk today in the neighborhood. Teleworking tends to drive one "stir crazy." I saw a family that lives across the street from me playing with her son in the street. She was accompanied by her brother, his girlfriend, her kids and their mother. The brother and his family had moved into the neighborhood. I said hello, mouthing a few brief remarks. I was friendly ...at a distance.

I continued walking.

A jogger passed by me on my right. A couple walked by on my left: I spoke briefly. I still walked.

A neighbor said "did anyone tell you you look like Charles Barkley?" I smiled: I've heard it before, and said "I wish I had his salary!" We laughed. I said it ...at a distance.

I continued walking.

A read on my phone about a few young spring breakers determined to party in Florida, full of the invulnerability of youth. They're not practicing social distancing, or good sense.

Italy passed a grim marker in the number of infected and deaths. I'm sure we're trying not to copy-exact this aspect of what was the Roman Empire in these modern times where the globe is no longer vast, and the oceans not the barriers they once were.

Columbus Day may not get as much attention as our other holidays, but scientists are still fascinated by what Christopher Columbus’ arrival meant for the “New World” and how it shaped where we are today.

“It was a culture clash, obviously,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “But it also launched a clash of infectious diseases.”

Columbus and other visitors from Europe lived in agrarian societies and cities, he said. The viruses and bacteria that develop in farming and when large groups of people live together are different from those in a more nomadic society, like the American Indians.

Think about swine flu and bird flu, Prescott said. We’re always on the lookout for viruses that pass from humans to animals, mutate DNA, and then return to humans.

“Well, that didn’t just start last year. So long as humans have been raising livestock, we’ve been passing viruses back and forth,” he said. “When explorers from Europe reached the Americas, they brought livestock and they brought diseases and the result was devastating.”

In Hispaniola, Columbus’ first stop in the Americas, the native Taino population (an indigenous Arawak people) had no immunity to new infectious diseases, including smallpox, measles and influenza. There were an estimated 250,000 indigenous people in Hispaniola in 1492. By 1517, only 14,000 remained.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: Columbus brought more than ships to the New World, October 10, 2013

Also:

Related link: Coronavirus statistics

Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492
Alexander Koch, Chris Brierley, Mark M. Maslin, Simon L. Lewis
Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume 207, 1 March 2019, Pages 13-36


The conversation that hasn't been had: we're seeing not just the impact of a zoological virus from bat to human, we're seeing the impact of a globalization protocol that's been in place since 1492. The bats are in China, but bats are on every continent. The trade agreements we've negotiated for cheap labor also meant the ones in charge of the labor pool ignored (or, weren't pressed to follow) OSHA and safety regulations we take for granted. The "chickens [were eventually going to] come home to roost" because human society as far as temporal considerations is episodic. We think of the quarter, the end-of-year, the holiday push and financial goals higher than last years. We think of stock dividends and investor sentiments; use bailout money to buy back stocks and artificially pump up the value of their companies. This selloff on Wall Street has simply been an adjustment from the previous superfluous bullshit. My trip to Texas to see our granddaughter, relatives and friends; my wife's annual girlfriends' trip, our sons trip to Greensboro have all been put on hold indefinitely to flatten the curve.

I walked alone ...home, continuing social distancing.

 

Related link: Coronavirus statistics

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Gigs and Pandemics...

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics


Center for Disease Control: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

I am admittedly drained by circumstances outside of my control and workload.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in practically ANYTHING is exhausting enough. Papers are assigned. No time is allotted to complete any assigned task. There's the research proposal. There's lab work if you're in a STEM field and writing...LOTS of writing.

It's been a week. The Stock Market ate my retirement. To quote a classmate, "the world is on fire, and I'm watching it burn." I feel like I've entered a near four-year dystopian nightmare that I cannot wake from. He's done this much damage...in a week.

Next week: all seventeen North Carolina colleges and universities will go to virtual classes. A lot of lecture is interpretive art: professors tend to "riff," not that they don't know their subjects, but at certain levels, they're not going to spoon feed you. You HAVE to attend classes, you must rewrite notes, read the text and memorize every detail preparing for quizzes or exams.

It's going to be interesting trying to do this online. We're online for an indefinite time.

March madness has ended abruptly due to Coronavirus.

The NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball have suspended seasons. Might as well look for the possible cancellation the Olympics this summer. What about football in the fall? Coronavirus will lull in the hotter spring and summer months, but being here it will likely rage back-to-form as the seasons change.

The market dropped 10% - about what it did in 1987 during that recession, but it was never driven by a narcissistic, incompetent boob either high on Adderall, cocaine or an aggressive, infectious virus.

The origin of tips is an acronym: "to insure promptitude" (old English). It was a term the aristocracy used for servants, particularly in restaurants.


Most of our restaurant servers are in the visible gig economy, and make LESS than the minimum wage of $7.25/hour. They make about $2 per hour and the rest in tips, which to make it worth it, means 20% and busing a lot of tables, laborious, backbreaking work with no vacation, overtime or paid sick days.

4txmwgc8l4m41.png

It also means if you're sick, you can't work and therefore you can't pay your bills, or you know: eat. Maybe, you muscle through it with daytime cold medicine - a lot of it and cough drops. Maybe you blow your nose ferociously between waiting tables and hope no one notices while you infect them.

Lamar Alexander objected to two weeks of paid sick leave, which isn't even as generous as other countries, nor that of his colleagues. Somehow we lost paid sick leave and it left with a whimper. I had six weeks in the nineties working at Motorola and AMD. You used it when you needed it; it rolled over to the next year. Now, American companies have employees take vacation, thus penalizing the employee for something out of their control. You CAN take unpaid sick leave if you run out of vacation. It sounds like the upper levels never get sick, or at their levels probably have the sick leave they've stolen from everyone else.

Paid sick leave allows us to "flatten the curve": people can stay home, not infect others and pay their bills. Companies get healthy employees back that won't get others sick, or shutdown their businesses. It relieves the strain on the medical system, that is about to get slammed if nothing changes.

Grad students are studying to be professionals, and they like their instructors can telecommute...gig professionals cannot.

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Grover Norquist

Norquist had a tax pledge:


I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of ______ and to the American people that I will: One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and Two, to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates

The taxpayers Grover and the criminal-element-masquerading-as-a-political-party is honoring are at a little higher pay grade than the rest of us. Decades of not paying for shit resulted in crumbling infrastructure the "invisible hand" of the market never repaired, it resulted in drowning the baby in the bathwater by cutting essential services like disaster preparedness for pandemics out of spite for your predecessor.

It's really dogma and cult-like in their slavish devotion to this creed. "Cutting to grow" the economy has never and I repeat: NEVER trickled down to anyone! Instead of Reaganomics, it should correctly be called "Laffernomics." It's a con job that's been siphoning funds up the ladder into the canopy of the 1% for four decades now. When the 99% ask questions, they push conspiracy theories and racist tropes so we can tear at each other. It's worked for them since the Civil War, and ensured their hegemony. Their oligarchy is more blatant now, and we're exhausted by their relentless propaganda.

The gig economy is the result of globalization and moving manufacturing via trade agreements overseas. It looks good on paper and saves a lot of money for companies. Sadly, the factory off-shored moves support jobs out of a nation, state, and municipality: plumbers, painters, janitors and cooks; nurses and daycare workers for on-site offered care. People who tried college, or knew they weren't "college material" (whatever that means), but could make a decent living and raise a family in jobs of worth and dignity. China, Korea (the masters of drive-by testing) and Taiwan will recover from Coronavirus: after quarantine of their populations - they'll just turn on the factories that used to be here. Their plumbers, painters, janitors and cooks will report for duty.

Having gig economies means Uber drivers trying to make a buck will unwittingly spread the virus to every customer they pick up, the waiter will breath on the restaurant client; the usher at church will pass it with the collection plate and Eucharist sacraments.

Humans work by cooperation and collective activity. Everything from sporting events to Broadway shows, worship services, weddings and funerals will have to be rethought. People will start ordering groceries online. As schools close, children already dependent on at least one meal there will be driven into food insecurity and the nation into developing world status. We will be further atomized and stratified, further isolated from one another. How exactly under such circumstances can we vote this nightmare out? I often wonder if this chaos is ineptitude, or nefarious.

"United States" is already oxymoron and an inside joke to authoritarian dictators.

I'll take off Monday, but the blog should go up at its usual time. My commute to school has suddenly been reduced.
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The Unthinkable...

Define%2BFascism.JPG
Define Fascism - Seth Tobocman, The Nation


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

1. Don’t obey in advance
2. Defend institutions
3. Beware the one-party state
4. Take responsibility for the face of the world
5. Remember professional ethics
6. Be wary of paramilitaries
7. Be reflective if you must be armed
8. Stand out
9. Be kind to our language
10. Believe in truth
11. Investigate
12. Make eye contact and small talk
13. Practice corporeal politics
14. Establish a private life
15. Contribute to good causes
16. Learn from peers in other countries
17. Listen for dangerous words
18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives
19. Be a patriot
20. Be as courageous as you can


The above is from the book "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century," by Yale Historian Timothy Snyder. Also by the author: "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America."

From the post "Inevitability, Sports Metaphors and Republics..." March 17, 2017:


Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny warns that republics are not "automatic" nor are they inevitable. It requires a buy-in from the governed, a fundamental knowledge of the mechanism of republics and the citizen's responsibilities in keeping them going. One simple aspect is voting; the other is holding our elected officials accountable for their actions towards their constituency, not their donors or the donor class. That alludes to other forms of government that have the labels: autocracy, authoritarianism, corporatism, kleptocracy, oligarchy, totalitarianism that are the basis of very haunting dystopian novels of hopeless futures, Orwell's "boot stamping on a human face forever." Our lethargy in this country and overseas is due to the near instantaneous access to information, resulting in a citizenry in western nations that would "rather not think about it," or in the spirit of Sinclair Lewis, "It Can't Happen Here." In his prescient essay in 2004, Chris Hedges begs to differ *:

* The movement seeks the imprint of law and science. It must discredit the rational disciplines that are the pillars of the Enlightenment to abolish the liberal polity of the Enlightenment. This corruption of science and law is vital in promoting the doctrine. Creationism, or “intelligent design,” like Eugenics for the Nazis, must be introduced into the mainstream as a valid scientific discipline to destroy the discipline of science itself. This is why the Christian Right is working to bring test cases to ensure that school textbooks include “intelligent design” and condemn gay marriage.

The drive by the Christian Right to include crackpot theories in scientific or legal debate is part of the campaign to destroy dispassionate and honest intellectual inquiry. Facts become interchangeable with opinions. An understanding of reality is not to be based on the elaborate gathering of facts and evidence. The ideology alone is true. Facts that get in the way of the ideology can be altered. Lies, in this worldview, become true. Hannah Arendt called this effort “nihilistic relativism” although a better phrase might be collective insanity.

*****


Among the Founding Fathers’ chief goals was to do away with a government where the king was above the law and had absolute power over the lives of his subjects. In our system, the President, like every other citizen, is meant to be subject to the law. The Founding Fathers were explicit about that intention when they debated the shape the new government they were creating would take. And that quintessentially American view that no man is above the law has been the case up until the presidency of Donald Trump.

The rule-of-law approach to government means not only that a President must himself be accountable, but also that he cannot be permitted to create special rules that he can use to benefit his friends or punish his enemies. Trump’s most recent efforts to manipulate the criminal justice system in this regard are like a four-star fire alarm that should summon the entire country, not just half of it, to put out the fire. This is not a partisan matter – whether a President is a Democrat, a Republican or affiliated with any other ideology, he or she cannot be permitted to turn the criminal justice system into a political weapon.

The rule-of-law approach to government means not only that a President must himself be accountable, but also that he cannot be permitted to create special rules that he can use to benefit his friends or punish his enemies. Trump’s most recent efforts to manipulate the criminal justice system in this regard are like a four-star fire alarm that should summon the entire country, not just half of it, to put out the fire. This is not a partisan matter – whether a President is a Democrat, a Republican or affiliated with any other ideology, he or she cannot be permitted to turn the criminal justice system into a political weapon.

 

If Trump Is Allowed to Turn the Justice Department Into a Political Weapon, No One Is Safe
Joyce Vance, TIME

*****


We are here because of "The Gipper," Ronald Reagan, who stole money from Social Security to pay for tax cuts for the 1% that made it insolvent. The B movie president was followed by proto reality television "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" leading to "The Apprentice" and the poor acting and business management skills of a grifter that squandered all the money his father every gave him and lost money on a casino - the first time in history.

We are here because to Anglo Americans, the unthinkable was the election and re-election of Barack Obama. He represented to them the existential threat of being numerical minorities circa 2042, even though many will not live to see it (if, as I now have my doubts, humanity is still here).

We suffered eight years of madness about tan suits, Grey Poupon mustard, open outrage at the First Lady Michelle's bare arms - and speculation she was transgender - along with Obama being a secret Muslim, gay communist socialist Martian hellbent on gay marrying their grandchildren, fighting in-their-minds, "hoax" climate change and making them eat veggie burgers. Naked first ladies in filmed girl-on-girl sexual positions and prodigiously pathological lying Russian puppets is apparently, white evangelically fine now; "family values" is now for suckers.

We are here because this country's original sin - slavery and the Apartheid Jim Crow - was an obvious target to exploit with the infrastructure of AM Talk Radio and the Internet that democratized obfuscation in the likes of Alex Jones, Steve Bannon and the alt-wrong; Storm Front and digitized Klansmen in robes or polo shirts with Tiki torches by a Russian power that used it as a Trojan Horse and Achilles Heel.

We are here. What are YOU going to do about it?

This election on November 3, 2020 is consequential. Our federal republic can die as TS Eliot opined "with a whimper."

His winning would be nightmarish, but more frightening is a loss that sparks random violence from armed paramilitaries on which Orange Satan pours gasoline on a pyre. Rising from the ashes like a limp phoenix, he would "declare victory" over the ash heap and no-go zones that would be our former republic.

If there is a twenty-first addendum to Dr. Snyder's points, be prepared to fight post November 3, 2020 if he loses. Michael Cohen, knowing his old boss knew the "peaceful transition of power" would be anathema to the faux billionaire real estate confidence man. 

“Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”

― John Milton, Paradise Lost
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Rule of Law...

 

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


What is the Rule of Law?

The rule of law is a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just society. Many countries throughout the world strive to uphold the rule of law where no one is above the law, everyone is treated equally under the law, everyone is held accountable to the same laws, there are clear and fair processes for enforcing laws, there is an independent judiciary, and human rights are guaranteed for all.
 

Source: American Bar Association, Public Education: Rule of Law

*****


WASHINGTON — The U.S. attorney who had presided over an inconclusive criminal investigation into former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe was abruptly removed from the job last month in one of several recent moves by Attorney General William Barr to take control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News that Trump has rescinded the nomination of Jessie Liu, who had been the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., for a job as an undersecretary at the Treasury Department.

Liu also supervised the case against Trump associate Roger Stone. On Tuesday, all four line prosecutors withdrew from the case — and one quit the Justice Department altogether — after Barr and his top aides intervened to reverse a stiff sentencing recommendation of up to nine years in prison that the line prosecutors had filed with the court Monday. (Liu left before the sentencing recommendation was made.)
 

Barr takes control of legal matters of interest to Trump, including Stone sentencing
Carol E. Lee, Ken Dilanian and Peter Alexander, NBCNEWS

*****


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is demanding that Attorney General William Barr testify publicly over the Justice Department's decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Trump associate Roger Stone.

Harris is asking Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to call Barr before the panel, of which she is a member.

"I request that you immediately schedule a hearing for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case," Harris wrote in a letter to Graham.
 

Harris demands Barr testify over Roger Stone sentence recommendation
Jordain Carney, The Hill


News flash (and all due respect to Senator Harris): he won't.

He, along with Wilbur Ross ignored subpoenas sent by the House of Representatives due to the coming census regarding this administration's plans to dispute citizenship, translation: negate brown people.

The policies of the United States regarding immigration has a history of blatant racism. The rule of law has always been dubiously applied differential to its black and brown citizens.

What STOPS our government from extrajudicial killings? Where is the breaking mechanism for it? Surely not in the senate.  Will we see a violation of Posse Comitatus?

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878, by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1956 and 1981.

The act specifically applies only to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. Although the act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the act force with respect to those services as well. The act does not prevent the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.

The title of the act comes from the legal concept of posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied person to assist in keeping the peace. Wikipedia/Posse_Comitatus_Act

There is just enough wiggle room for a demagogic despot and a subservient lackey as head of the DOJ; the courts stacked with lifetime federal judges the ABA deems unqualified, it is the recipe for a slow coup, a descent from democracy to despotism; from federal republic to fascism.

I'm sure the Nazis on the way to exterminating six million Jews, tested the waters with the first 24.

What do you do when the threat to your own continued existence...is your own "government"? The "gang of Putin" actively purge voters in Georgia. They make it difficult for (currently) numerical minorities to vote. They ignore laws and statutes they know they're guilty of violating. They're shameless and like Orange Satan, unchecked.

The U.S. Constitution is officially toilet paper.

We're in the fight of our lives.
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The Last Republican...

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Mitt Romney on the Senate floor, image source: Axios

 

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


A criminal was acquitted Wednesday. A trial was held for the first time in the history of the republic with no witnesses and no evidence examined. It was a shame, and a sham.

Perhaps democracy died Wednesday. It died in the Wiemar Republic for a time once Chancellor Hitler made himself Fuhrer, and overthrew their constitution. Post this kangaroo court, we are a banana republic that just crowned the mad court jester, king.

There were profiles in courage on the democratic side.

Doug Jones was a Civil Rights lawyer that won a hard fought and decades-long case against the terrorists that bombed the 16 Street Baptist Church, and killed four little black girls. It happened on my mother's birthday when I was a year and a month old: September 15, 1963. He won against Roy Moore, accused of pedophilia and creepy behavior around malls. Roy is running again in the Republican primaries, as is Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III who wants his old job back. He was the first senator to back Orange Satan and one of the first he turned on when he recused himself in the Mueller investigation. Doug could have acquitted a criminal, but then that wouldn't have made sense pursuing justice decades denied.

Kyrsten Sinema just won her seat and now has to defend it in the traditionally red state of Arizona. "Sinema began her political career as an activist for the Green Party before joining the Arizona Democratic Party in 2004. In the 2012 elections, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress and the second openly LGBT woman elected to Congress. After her election to Congress, she shifted toward the political center, joining the conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and amassing a "reliably moderate-Democratic" voting record.

Sinema won the 2018 United States Senate election in Arizona to replace retiring Senator Jeff Flake, defeating Republican nominee Martha McSally. She became Arizona's senior senator immediately upon taking office. Sinema is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona." Wikipedia She could have joined McSally in demeaning the fourth estate. The easy thing to do was vote to acquit, "convert" to the Republican Party and pick up the devil's blessings. She chose The Constitution over a criminal and her comfort.

Jon Tester is known for his missing fingers, a childhood accident with a meat grinder. He's in a red state that both supported the orange shit stain, and could turn on him. His fidelity is to the rule of law, and that no one is above it.

Joe Mansion is the epitome of a "blue dog democrat." He voted for Kavenaugh after the Christine Ford testimony, reminiscent of the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearing except for the yelling, beer references and histrionics. He faces the possibility of defeat in a very red state. He chose not to fear.

History has indeed taught us that when it comes to the instincts that drive us, fear has no rival. As the lead House impeachment manager, Representative Adam Schiff, has noted, Robert Kennedy spoke of how “moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle.”

Playing on that fear, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, sought a quick impeachment trial for President Trump with as little attention to it as possible. Reporters, who usually roam the Capitol freely, have been cordoned off like cattle in select areas. Mr. McConnell ordered limited camera views in the Senate chamber so only presenters — not absent senators — could be spotted.

And barely a peep from Republican lawmakers.

One journalist remarked to me, “How in the world can these senators walk around here upright when they have no backbone?”

Fear has a way of bending us.

Sherrod Brown, Democratic Senator from Ohio

Haltingly, emotionally one lone republican voted what his party no longer has or condones: his conscience.

I am not a fan of Mitt Romney.

His strong belief in his faith I don't share. There are verses in Mormon scripture disparaging to African Americans in their "war on heaven," giving incarnation to valiant angels in the cosmic conflict as "light-shinned babies"; those of lesser valor as dark-skinned. They have since disavowed those beliefs.

As the candidate of the Republican Party in 2012, he was as dissembling as any other republican. He lied in the first debate with President Obama, a precursor to the rampant obfuscation and assault on truth we're subjected to daily. He was not triumphant in their second debate, the president regaining his footing, but Obama's dismissal of Russia as an existential threat will be researched by American historians...provided we still have a republic based on facts, reality and principle. Romney lost, and was as startled as his wife was because of the hardened-from-facts bubble that is conservative media, or as Karl Rove opined, a "created reality."

Perhaps his halting was the effervescence of bursting through that bubble; his emotion penance for a party and a world he had some part in creating.

The Latter Day Saints, according to Rushton's version, would "go to the Rocky Mountains and... be a great and mighty people," associated in the prophecy's figurative language, with one of the biblical four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation.

Smith's supposed original statement predicts that the US Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" but be saved by Latter-day Saints. The embellished version portrays it to be "by the efforts of the White Horse."

Perhaps Senator Romney knows this prophecy. Perhaps he believes he embodies it. Perhaps he does not in either case.

He did behave Wednesday in the well of the world's former most deliberative body, as a man feeling the weight of history and his moment in it.

Despite all of my misgivings to him, we did witness the political passing, post the mortal transition of John McCain...of the last republican.

New York Times, February 5, 2020

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Naked Oligarchy...

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Image Source: Extra News Feed link below


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


"The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent – while in reality, they make no clothes at all, making everyone believe the clothes are invisible to them. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new "clothes", no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as stupid. Finally a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" The tale has been translated into over 100 languages. Wikipedia

The Real Story Behind the Story

For social psychologists, the story is a textbook example of pluralistic ignorance, a social phenomenon in which “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes” (Krech and Crutchfield, 1948). Where pluralistic ignorance occurs, great mischief often follows. Jens Ulrik Hansen elaborates: “pluralistic ignorance is the phenomenon where a group of people shares a false belief about the beliefs, norms, actions or thoughts of the other group members.” This sort of thing happens all the time, and most people follow at least some rules and norms not because they believe in and approve of them, but because everyone else seems to.

"Pluralistic ignorance is a social phenomenon in which “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes."

Joni Ernst gave away the game on Joe Biden and Iowa. Ken Starr acts like he's never impeached a president for a blow job, credulously arguing that collaboration with a foreign power isn't as bad as extramarital fellatio. Alan-defender-of-pedophiles-Dershowitz is essentially arguing the Nixon "if it's the president, it's not illegal" defense while getting #Dershbag to impressively trend on Twitter. The wring-our-hands constitutional stewards during black emperor president can't sit on their asses longer than an a few hours before making airplanes, crossword puzzles or playing with fidget toys.

Be that as it may, Oligarchy is here. The political structures of the republic are still operative but increasingly ineffective at stopping Oligarchy from its purpose, which is to suck all resources toward the top.

The U.S. Oligarchy can't be described with classifications such as upper, middle, and lower class. Oligarchy divides society (with amazing success!) into rigid strata or tiers.

Top Tier is the "highest degree of authority ... free from control." A Paul Simon lyric defined them: "a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires." The operative word is "loose." Conspiracy theorists derail when they imagine tightly disciplined cabals. To think the Top Tier acts in concert is to underestimate how viciously and constantly its components compete among themselves. An oligarchy is more like a clan: They argue with each other but unite against the Other – that "other," in this case, being everyone else.

Letters at 3AM: 'O' Is for Oligarchy, Michael Ventura, The Austin Chronicle, April 9, 2010

This was a prescient article I read in the print version of the Austin Chronicle when I was living in the city at the time. It printed over several weeks and had me coming back to the cafe to digest it along with coffee. The tiers it described below the Top Tier are well-compensated professionals (six figure and above incomes), skilled services (skills that cannot be outsourced); the unskilled tier and beneath the unskilled tier: "spare parts" - a natural place for the homeless and mentally ill.

There is a lament for a golden era of the Founding Fathers. Justice Antonin Scalia was a described "strict constructionist," meaning "a judge to apply the text only as it is written. Once the court has a clear meaning of the text, no further investigation is required. Judges—in this view—should avoid drawing inferences from a statute or constitution and focus only on the text itself." (Wikipedia) He apparently did not use that as self-description, it was merely applied to him by those who saw advantage in ascribing it to him. The reason Moscow Mitch held his seat after his demise from Merrick Garland - and was prepared to continue it if Hillary Clinton had become president - was because of this archaic view. The Constitution as it was originally written ascribed the mathematics of "three-fifths a human" to the kidnapped African Diaspora, which directly relates to the equally archaic electoral college.

In a sense, our republic was designed for oligarchs. In a "strict constructionist" view of the original documents, only propertied white men would be given the "audacity of [the] vote":

The right of suffrage is a fundamental Article in Republican Constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right [to vote] exclusively to property [owners], and the rights of persons may be oppressed... . Extend it equally to all, and the rights of property [owners] ...may be overruled by a majority without property....

Library of Congress: The Founders and the Vote


Excluded from the franchise: the African Diaspora ("property," along with the real estate of plantations), First Nation Peoples, Women; non-English speaking peoples.

For all the poetic waxing on our "founding documents," this sounds an awful lot like oligarchy.

So, the descendants of these crimped dick constructionists are hankering for "the good old days" when men were WHITE Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgenger (WASP-C) men, they were the only ones that could vote and everyone else was an asterisk.

What about Clarence Thomas? Yeah, about Clarence long-dong Thomas...

In Stowe’s 1852 book, the character of Sambo was one of the slave overseers that work for the cruel slave owner, Simon Legree. Uncle Tom, a god-fearing slave with a compassionate heart, was tormented and beaten to death by Sambo, who regretted his act even as Tom forgave him as he was dying. Although Stowe had higher aims with her book, the depiction of Black characters as matronly and subservient further added to stereotypes that persist today.

Little Known Black History Fact: Sambo, D. L. Chandler, Black America Web, 1/11/17

Long-dong. Sambo. Use the right epithets. He can continue taking naps. He's useless, and knows he can't come back to the family BBQ.

So, as this wholesale siphoning goes on, the "vast sucking sound" is as effective as it's always been since the late billionaire Ross Perot coined the phrase (and like Joni, kind of revealed the game).

94% of American voters supported universal background checks, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll with a margin of error of +/- 3.4%. Wikipedia

In fact, according to a Public Policy Polling survey, 83 percent of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of all firearms, including 72 percent of all NRA members.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll, released earlier today, shows that a large majority—75 percent—of voters think the Senate should allow witness testimony in the ongoing impeachment trial. Respondents appeared to have answered along party lines, with 49 percent of self-identified Republicans, 95 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents saying there should be witnesses.

Christina Zhao, Newsweek

A democratic republic would respond to such data; an oligarchy with a lower tier of a well-compensated professional class responding to wealthy donors would not, and adamantly so. 

If we actually want a functioning democratic republic, we better act like it.

It may take some door knocking. It may take some cold calling for candidates, your representatives and senators. If they're part of the "gang of Putin," it will take calling multiple times. It may take some posting signs in your yards that open you sadly to assault by Neanderthals prone to violence against sunshine - "woke" tweets and "on fleek" Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat updates don't count. If voting wasn't that important, Staci Abrams wouldn't have a fight in Georgia. Adam Schiff and the House managers didn't convince a single, made up mind in the 53-47 crowd, but hopefully it did in the jury that matters: 331,002,651, and counting. They won't all vote. Some of them have never voted. The cult members won't be talked off the island, but this republic needs voters that are alert and see through the lies. Democracy is messy and hard to maintain, which is why authoritarianism and fascism raises its ugly head from time to time. This is existential because this might be the LAST time, with no recovery, or global Marshall Plan on the horizon. It's going to be up to "us."

Finally a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

What if the naked emperor and his sycophant senator pachyderms DON'T CARE?

"We are the ones that we have been waiting for." by then candidate Barack Obama, but it has other sources.

#FIGHT for the future.
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Facts, Fascism and Fascists...

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Image Source: Truth Dig link below


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


Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians” — meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,” already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

There has been high praise for the House Impeachment Managers: Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren, Sylvia Garcia, Jason Crow, Hakeem Jeffries; especially its leader, Adam Schiff. My fraternity brother, House Manager Hakeem Jeffries probably accomplished the first hip hop Biggie Smalls' mic drop rebuttal in impeachment history. I'm sure it completely went over Jay Sekulow's head.

Belief in pseudoscience extended across the Nazi high command, from the Führer's search for 'death rays' to Goebbels reading Nostradamus in bed.

This is a dense and scholarly book about one of the pulpiest subjects of the past 70 years - the relationship between the Nazi party and the occult, which has been much debated across popular culture both in fiction (Captain America: Civil War, Hellboy, Wolfenstein, the Indiana Jones series, Iron Sky, The Keep and countless others) and in innumerable schlocky works of pseudoscience with runes and swastikas on the covers.

As it turns out, though, even this sober, academic treatment of the topic reveals stranger-than-fiction truths on every page.

Here are a few of them. In the 1930s, Hitler made extensive notes on a book called Magic: Theory, History, Practice and underlined passages such as "He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world". In 1934, the year after he was appointed chancellor of Germany, he hired a dowser to go over the Reich Chancellery in search of "death rays" that might damage staff in the building. He and Himmler held frequent conversations about "the World Empire of Atlantis, which fell victim to the catastrophe of the moons falling to Earth" and about a discredited pseudoscience called Welteislehre, or World Ice Theory, which taught that the cosmos was made of ice and which they saw as a "Germanic" counterbalance to the "Jewish" theory of relativity.

Hitler's obsession with the occult, Tim Martin, July 30, 2017, Independent.ie

It seems Captain America: the First Avenger and Marvel got it right.

When you're modern fascists, you stretch, move; work on crossword puzzles and paper airplanes in the senate chamber even under threat of imprisonment. Must be nice, Mr. Paul. But this is a guy who's ophthalmology certification is from the National Ophthalmology Board, which sounds all well and good until you realize it's a board HE founded. It also apparently dissolves like bicarbonate in vinegar when convenient.

Eugenics and mythology were the Nazis' obsessions; "intelligent design" and end-time eschatology appears the obsession of our current crop of sociopaths.

Even though the House Impeachment Managers have been witty, erudite, thorough; brilliant with video and PowerPoint presentations that would make Nancy Duarte, the author of Slide:ology proud, to quote Thomas Paine: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” Ms. Duarte's most famous student is Vice President Al Gore and his Nobel Prize climate presentation that became the Oscar-winning documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth."

But when you're fascists, any truth is the enemy. That's why your Putin sock puppet can get rid of environmental laws that affect streams and wetlands. That's why climate change is STILL a Chinese hoax after signing some cockeyed trade agreement that probably will make us all miss TPP. Your AG Bill Barr/Roy Cohn chases conspiracy theories across the globe that makes our allies think we've lost our collective minds. 16,000+ and counting lies from "dear leader" is literal Manna from Heaven to the sachet swastika set, fact checkers be damned. Down is up. Left is right. White is black; it's always a new moon and the sun shines darkness.

53 - 47: So far, 53 out of 100 senators of the same party with an obvious bias against reality are awaiting their moment to acquit a criminal, because their own party is a complicit criminal enterprise. 53 - 47 senators voted against election security; 53 - 47 senators agree with voter ID, voter suppression and Russia interfering with the fundamental right of a republic to pick its OWN leaders. For 53 - 47, evidence doesn't matter. Witnesses don't matter. FACTS don't matter: because to them, democracy doesn't matter. Only POWER matters. 53 - 47 need to prove they're not fascists.

53-47: this number should be hung around 53 red necks. They should pay a political price and lose their positions and majority. November 3, 2020 is the date we end this fascist takeover. #Vote, or your republic is permanently lost.

Lies are to fascists like slop is for hogs: a mixture of mud, corn husks and rancid pig shit, filth only comfortable to hogs.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

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Drug Deals and Bullshit...

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Image Source: Philosophy Talk, "Is There a Case for Bullshit?" by Serena Wong

 


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


One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, “we have no theory.”

Frankfurt, one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt

Well, he used it in a rally. They finally embodied it in a president* that's clearly fatter than when he started "executive time" or something, because golfing on the government dime isn't burning any calories, nor are his prodigious tweeting bowel movements.

*Putin-installed puppet

Level 1 Bullshit Artists

Pilgrims coming for "religious freedom." Winthrop's "shining city on a hill" was a shit pile of lies. His utopia looked like proto "Handmaid's Tale." Dude didn't even like Quakers. WHO doesn't like Quakers? You damned near died your first winter, in some cases resorting to cannibalism, systematically slaughtered the First Nation Peoples who GOT you through that winter and masked the genocide in the false memory of Thanksgiving propagated as propaganda to introduce Black Friday and the holiday binge buying season where everybody's broke in January. Happy capitalism. Socialism is evil. Ask Denmark.

Level 2 Bullshit Artists

Slavery. When you saw the road was rough with thorns and thistles; the First Nation peoples had bows, arrows and occasionally guns showing you how pissed they were when you tried to genocide them, you and Great Britain went to the continent of Africa, payed off some douche chieftains that wanted to get rid of rivals and use uncompensated labor to make yourselves rich beyond Solomon's dreams. Your government documents state your reason to secede was about slavery and your revulsion of black people, so don't bullshit me, you or anyone else. You balk at reparations because it's like pulling the thread of your favorite suit, watching the entire structure unravel. I get why you're nostalgic over the "peculiar institution." Bullshit artists are lazy. See "executive time."

Level 3 Bullshit Artists

I call bullshit on the revered "Founding Fathers." Your papered-over Tea Party in Boston Harbor wasn't a noble act of rebellion: you were COLONISTS. You didn't hitchhike to America! Britain paid your cruise ship tickets on the Mayflower. You essentially saw a way NOT to pay your taxes. (Your descendants created lawyers, loopholes and offshore bank accounts for that now.) "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal"...except black men, black women, their children and descendants; white women didn't vote until 1920. African Americans didn't get the Voting Rights Act until 1965, and THAT has to be periodically reauthorized! It barely passed this last time, like republicans might want to vote slavery back in.

Level 4 Bullshit Artists

The Fairness Doctrine: "In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress dictated that the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission) should only issue broadcast licenses when doing so serves the public interest. In 1949, the FCC interpreted this more strictly to mean that licensees should include discussions of matters of public importance in their broadcasts, and that they should do so in a fair manner. It issued “In the Matter of Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees,” which announced the Fairness Doctrine, and began enforcing it."

It's after the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, right wing AM talk radio and Rush Limbaugh became the darling of the trucker set and the foundation of the echo chamber that would eventually become Roger Ailes Fox "News," 4Chann, 8Chann, Infowars and QAnon. Read the above underline statement, and ask yourself if they do.

Level 5 Bullshit Artists

The Fox News Channel (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that was founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996. Roger Ailes appointed himself as permanent CEO of the news operation in 2001 & was created as a Republican-centered alternative to CNN. In January 2002, the ratings of the channel surpassed top-rated CNN to become the #1 news cable channel. They fell in March 2002, but since then the network has maintained its #1 cable rating (as of 2019) with increasing viewership and international access. Wikipedia

Ailes was a staffer in the Nixon administration, and of course thought any republican president should be allowed to get away with grand theft from the Watergate building. Too bad he had those tapes that did him in. He should have had Twitter, and misspelled, or spelled covfefe.

Level 6 Bullshit Artists

The entire Russian government has resigned just hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping changes to the country’s constitution, according to reports. The TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government, reported Wednesday morning that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his ministers submitted their resignations to Putin. The agency said Putin thanked Medvedev for his work and said the outgoing prime minister would be installed as deputy of the presidential security council. Medvedev said he resigned to give Putin space to carry out the changes he wants to make to the constitution.

The Entire Russian Government Has Resigned, Jamie Ross, The Daily Beast

Wow! I guess "he alone will fix it" by decree+ like an emperor, or in the case of Russia: a Czar. Now I see where his comb-over toupee Neanderthal got it from. It sounds like he's making what's left of their constitution into toilet paper just like his Orange Satan puppet. He did this as his American pet's impeachment hearings got underway. You don't have to commit a crime to get impeached, but it's awkward as the Government Accounting Office announces you're guilty of a crime.

+"So let it be written, so let it be done" Yul Brynner as Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments, in a slew of Hollywood cultural appropriation.

 

Level 7 Bullshit Artists


Seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, source: Wikipedia

Evangelicals aren't a religious body anymore: they're a political party with zero values. Somehow, the once "family values" party fell in line behind a heathen that exemplifies ALL seven deadly sins turned racism into a winning strategy for the moment. He's impeached forever - the third president* in U.S. history, the first in the 21st century and with the Lev Parnas What App drop, he apparently thinks Quid Pro Quo is a healthy bowel movement for septuagenarians.

The Southern Strategy is subject to the thermodynamics of Entropy just like any other moldy philosophy. John Bolton called the plot against Marie Yovanovitch that may have threatened her life a drug deal, but he's teetering between breaking another bombshell in a shitload of bombshells or depressing the sales of his future book by waiting too long. Any information that could remove the orange tweeting thing from the nuclear button is useless if he gets a second term, or if we're all glowing in the dark.

By the way Orange Satan: a shit load of lies doesn't make them true. It's just all bullshit.

*Putin-installed puppet
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Kompromat: Donald Trump at a Miss Universe party in Moscow in 2013. What he might have done in a hotel room there is nobody’s business except, perhaps, his wife’s. Photograph: Stoyan Vassev/Reuters, Irish Times

 

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


The Apprentice was first aired in 2004, and presented Trump as the ultra-successful real estate deal-maker who would choose from a cast of candidates competing for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump's catch phrase on the show was, "You're fired," which he would deliver pointing at that week's unsuccessful candidate.

Editor Jonathan Braun told the publication that Trump would fire contestants on the show on a whim, forcing editors to "reverse engineer" programs to make Trump's decisions seem coherent.

Production staff described how their job was to elevate Trump's image, whose star had fallen since his 1980s heyday of fame.

"Most of us knew he was a fake," Braun, who worked on six series of the show, told The New Yorker. "He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king."

In his address, the president threatened to invoke severe sanctions against Iran, but seemed amenable to deescalating the burgeoning military aggression. Still, the nine-minute address was packed with the president’s standard potpourri of falsehoods, lies, and bouts of incoherence. But the most striking aspect of his speech had less to do with what he said than how he said it. Which is to say, Trump was slurring and snorting through an address that was ostensibly designed to calm a nation on the brink of war.

Trump has never been a particularly graceful public speaker, but his mush-mouth sounded especially pronounced this morning. There was heaviness to his speech, as if he was struggling to talk through cottonmouth. He also had difficulty with the letter S, which he couldn’t pronounce without a drawn out hiss, as if he were a snake. One of the more flagrant examples entails the president mangling the pronunciation of “tolerated” while condemning terrorism.

The briefing by his laughable national security team, supposedly justifying the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Wednesday raised more questions than it answered. Senator Mike Lee sounded livid. Rand Paul also seemed willing to seize back the Article I powers congress has abdicated since 9/11. John Bolton saying he would testify in an impeachment trial sent the current president* and republican-led senate in a panic to conclude quickly the only trial in America or in HISTORY - without called witnesses. Russia hacked the RNC like they hacked the DNC, but did not release it, meaning they HAVE it in other words, kompromat, used to manipulate them.

WASHINGTON -- Newly released documents show Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the months before the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled.

The State Department released the documents Friday to the group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on March 26 and March 29.

Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal “a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”

Last week, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt “kneecapped” by a “smear campaign” Giuliani led against her. She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.

The documents released Friday also include a report, that appears with Trump hotel stationery, that appears to summarize a Jan. 23 interview with a former Ukrainian prosecutor general, Victor Shokin. The summary says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.

The instinct of this president* is to be a crook. He was so Dr. Flunk-en-stein he's blocked any public access to his grades at Fordham University in New York and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. It's so bad, he apparently didn't know colleges and universities CAN'T release that information without his permission. It's so bad he doesn't want us to see his grades at his military academy high school. Michael Cohen threatened the institutions - mob lawyer gangster-style - to protect his former client's demonstrably fragile ego (Mike's in jail for him now).

We're out of the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the same reasons: racism and jealousy. He tore it up because "the black guy who teased him at the White House Correspondence Dinner" did it. The announcement of Bin Laden's death comically preempted his precious reality show, the ONE place he could pretend to be successful instead of the failure even he knew he was. How DARE his enemy!

He needs his name on NAFTA 2.0 because of his malignant narcissism. He took Orly Taitz cockeyed, Quixotic crusade and rode the bigotry former Dixiecrats cum republicans cum Tea Party cum his cult following who were quite clear they loathed having an African American president and the immigration and demographics changes he represented. Along with help from Vladimir Putin and the antiquated electoral college, he slumped to the Oval Office, a position he'd never thought of, never prepared for and is not qualified for, despite his braggadocio regarding his "big brain."

“Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity, but long before he was considered a political figure. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told the story that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

This has relevance now because as recently as this week, President Trump challenged the Secretary of State of the United States to an IQ contest. This came within two days after NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the President a “moron” or a "f**king moron." The president has frequently bragged that he was a great student at a great school (Wharton). Thus, the public is entitled to a contrary view from somebody who was there (Dr. Kelley), and I faithfully report it here.

Bill Kelley was one smart cookie. His textbook was standard in his time in the then-new field of “marketing intelligence” and the necessity of using computers and databases to manage it. (See onlinelibrary.wiley.com which credits Bill for coining the quoted phrase.)

Frank DiPrima, DailyKos, AlterNET

He is both poster child of the SAT cheating scandal and the abysmal mythology of "white supremacy." He has proven the Alt-Wrong, Noodle Nazis, Klu-less Kleptocratic Kakistocracy to be the impotent impostors they've always been, frightened they have to compete for positions of the future; reaching for a past that never existed. They want white picket fences, white women at home: barefoot, submitted and perpetually pregnant to increase their stock of fascists. They want black people on the back of buses, Hispanics/Latinos back in Mexico, LGBT back in the closet; big oil and coal unfettered regardless of environmental consequences. They need fear to rule over others to bandage the failures they can't accept in themselves, and their pathetic lives.

And they have anointed an orange, satanic savior, a lens through which they focus their racist angst through.

Sadly, for The Apocalypse, there is no second season.
 

*Putin-installed puppet: a new definition for PIP, which he wouldn't follow anyway.

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Malignant Solipsism...

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Echo gazes at Narcissus while he longingly peers at his own reflection. J.W. Waterhouse, 1903. Public domain.

 

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


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 Camp of the Saints (French: Le Camp des Saints) is a 1973 French dystopian fiction novel by Catholic author and explorer Jean Raspail. A speculative fictional account, it depicts the destruction of Western civilization through Third World mass immigration to France and the West. Almost forty years after its initial publication, the novel returned to the bestseller list in 2011. Wikipedia/The_Camp_of_the_Saints

The Turner Diaries is a 1978 novel by William Luther Pierce, published under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald.[1] The Turner Diaries depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the federal government, nuclear war, and, ultimately, a race war leading to the systematic extermination of non-whites.[2][3] All groups opposed by the novel's protagonist, Earl Turner, including Jews, non-whites, "liberal actors" and politicians, are exterminated. Wikipedia/The_Turner_Diaries

The Turner Diaries may sound familiar if you recall the Oklahoma City Bombing. Timothy McVeigh had a copy of it in the pickup truck he was discovered in. An army veteran skilled in explosive ordinance disposal (E.O.D.), fashioning a bomb of fertilizer and fuel was a matter of course.

The Jewish white nationalist (pxymoron) Steven Miller recommended The Camp of the Saints in several revealed emails to Brietbart. Mr. Miller - a second generation descendant of Jewish refugees from the Nazi pogroms in WWII Poland - and the author of our kiddie concentration camps efficiently "disappearing" and outright killing brown children (24 that we know of).

“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”

This is what Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, in an Aug. 30 email, which has only been made available in redacted form until now. It is one of many documents the Trump administration is trying to keep from the public, despite congressional oversight efforts and court orders in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.

Earlier in the day on Aug. 30, President Donald Trump met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the president’s hold on $391 million in military assistance for Ukraine. Inside the Trump administration, panic was reaching fever pitch about the president’s funding hold, which had stretched on for two months. Days earlier, POLITICO had broken the story and questions were starting to pile up. U.S. defense contractors were worried about delayed contracts and officials in Kyiv and lawmakers on Capitol Hill wanted to know what on earth was going on. While Trump’s national security team thought withholding the money went against U.S. national security interests, Trump still wouldn’t budge.

Thanks to the testimony of several Trump administration officials, we now know what Trump was waiting on: a commitment from Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

 

Kate Brennan
Just Security: Exclusive Unredacted Ukraine Documents Reveal Extent of Pentagon's Legal Concerns


Holding onto the Articles of Impeachment may have been suggested by Professor Lawrence Tribe, but it is by far a masterclass in government dexterity by Speaker Pelosi, who did predict Orange Satan would self-impeach, which he does with every twitchy tweet from the loo.

However, at the voluminous avalanche of lies, he's starting to affect the notions of truth and reality:

Democracy requires that we honor the culture of words. The very idea of democracy is based on the hope that fellow citizens can reason together and find a system for adjudicating differences and solving problems—all of which assumes there is a shared commitment to the integrity of our public words. If you believe words can ennoble, you must also believe they can debase. If they can elevate the human spirit, they can also pull it down. And when words are weaponized by our political leaders and used to paint all opponents as inherently evil, stupid, or weak, then democracy’s foundations are put in peril. Which brings us to the dismal, demoralizing Donald Trump era.

The debasement of words has reached a zenith with the coming of America’s 45th president, who dominates discourse in this country in ways perhaps no other president ever has. And if we hope to repair the damage that’s been done, we need to understand what it is about Trump’s misuse of words that is pernicious and dangerous.

The least problematic part is the sheer banality of Donald Trump’s words. During his presidency, Trump has uttered no beautiful and memorable phrases. His inaugural address, which is a speech normally meant to inspire the citizenry, is remembered, if at all, for the phrase American carnage and Trump’s description of a dystopian nation, broken and shattered. More worrisome is that many of Trump’s utterances are an incoherent word salad. If you read the transcript of many of his interviews and extemporaneous speeches, you often find that Trump is not only unable to lay out a coherent argument; at times he’s unable to string together sentences that parse.

The banality and weaponization of Trump’s words are bad enough, but the greatest cause for concern is his nonstop, dawn-to-midnight assault on facts, truth, reality. That places Trump in a sinister category all his own.

Many politicians are guilty of not telling the full truth of events. A significant number shade the truth from time to time. A few fall into the category of consistent, outright liars. But only very few—and only the most dangerous—are committed to destroying the very idea of truth itself. That is what we have in Donald Trump, along with many of his aides and courtiers. We saw it at the dawn of the Trump presidency, when he insisted—and sent out his press secretary to insist—that the crowd size at his inauguration was larger than that of Barack Obama’s, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. And that behavior has continued virtually every day since.

 

Trump’s Sinister Assault on Truth: The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.
Peter Wehner, The Atlantic

*****


Democracy depends on a shared set of facts that can be debated in discussed either in a court, on a congressional floor or near a coffee machine at work. It's affable and seeks a happy medium: no one gets everything they desire, but it does require compromise.

Fascism is nothing at all like that. Like George Orwell's famous novel, "1984," fascism requires and demands power for its own sake. It wants what it wants for the sake of wanting. History has no meaning to it at all. Logic and reason have no appeal or sway in people who traffic in "alternative facts" or its Karl Rove precursor: "created realities." Sunshine Fascism...April 12, 2019

 

*****


At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months - including the attack on December 27th - culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.

 

Top Iranian general killed in US airstrike in Baghdad, Pentagon confirms
Amanda Macias, Joanna Tan, CNBC


At the direction of a president that has lied over 15,000 times since bizarre inauguration, replete with rain ignored and carnage commentary. At the direction of a president that has used racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia like a hobbyist would use a socket set. "Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region" means those plans likely didn't die: they have been inherited by a motivated deputy now promoted. There will be reprisals and escalations in the Near East that will be...biblical. Secretary Clinton's AMER-EXIT to Belfast is telling and foreboding.

We're at the direction of a president who many psychological professionals view as a malignant narcissist and devotee of solipsism. No reality is real external to his own disturbed mind. No history has existed save the history he makes in 140 characters. No truth is real except the banal "truthiness" of the moment. His cult minions follow such disturbed mental gymnastics blindly without critique. There is no overarching policy or plan for anything, nor will there ever be, like 140 misspelled characters and retweeted conspiracy theories. It's to change the narrative from impeachment, real-world consequences be damned.

There is a cult industry pre and post the Internet speculating the identity of "the man of sin"; "the son of lawlessness."

- Prophesy enthusiasts postulated Napoleon and Hitler cum Nostradamus, with one consonant rearrangement: Hister, because as with all conspiracy theories, humans look for patterns and invent them whether they're real or not. Saddam Hussein was thrown in for good measure.

- Ronald Wilson Reagan was the evil one because each letter of his names numbered "6."

- Mikhail Gorbachev was him due to his birthmark on his forehead.

- George W. Bush had a website and a book, likely from his membership in Skull and Bones.

- Barack Hussein Obama had that, misappropriated scripture and myriad conspiracy theories from his inauguration forward.

My pet name for the 45th president is mostly tongue-in-cheek. However, his following is cheering for Armageddon, and the actions last night have brought us closer to that. There will be a response here, or abroad. The earth does not need humans that draw up treaties and break them with Iranians or Native Americans.

The enamor for "end times" has no definition other than "the world coming to an end." The Earth is 40,075.017 km in circumference, 510,072,000 km2 surface area, 1.08321 × 1012 km3 volume, 5.97237 × 1024 kg mass; 5.514 g/cm3. Evolutionary biologists put oxygen-generating photosynthesis some 2.4 billion years ago, evidenced by rust. Humans evolved in Africa 200,000 years ago, migrated away where ultraviolet light wasn't so direct and thus lightened, then defined that natural process as evidence of "superiority." Australia is on fire in their driest summer in the southern hemisphere, fueled by climate change and apathy from science and climate deniers. T.S. Elliot summarized our exit in "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, Not with a bag, but a whimper." The whimper might be fires, floods and weather we cannot contain, let alone control.

Prior to our entrance on this terrestrial soil, the earth traveled in space around the sun 365.25 days per year more or less without witnesses, scribe, historian, artist or scientist to count 4.5 billion years. The earth does not need us: we need it.

The 2019 Doomsday Clock by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists claimed two minutes to midnight.

The 2020 Doomsday Clock in this third decade of the 21st century will at least be informative once published.
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Men of Lawlessness...

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Facebook image I was informed was "meme logic," which until that instance, I didn't know was a thing.


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


[From Newsweek] "I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment XVII

The fix was in on the ratification of the 17th amendment in 1913.

Senators before then were appointed by their state legislatures in the event they might be jurors in a trial of impeachment. This was to ensure they wouldn't make decisions "based on politics" and would be unbiased, considering only the facts as presented by trial lawyers in charges towards the accused.

In recent days, McConnell indicated that he has held discussions with the White House to formulate an impeachment game plan to achieve a favorable outcome for Trump. "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel," the senator told Fox News host Sean Hannity late last week. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this." The Republican also revealed that he will be working in "total coordination with the White House counsel's office and the people representing the president in the well of the Senate." Ibid

The purging of voters in Georgia and Wisconsin...the incessant search for nonexistent **voter fraud*** (mimicked by his mop head doppelganger in the UK), while slow-walking the protection of our elections from foreign interference...rejecting out-of-hand any witnesses that this present darkness of White House has blocked from ANY public testimony...openly stating you're WORKING with the plaintiff (Al Capone could have benefited from such hubris and rigged jury), holding up the "advise and consent" of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court AS IF Moscow Mitch knew he might get an opportunity to appoint two replacements with the NEXT president*...and if he didn't, he'd just stonewall any duties that didn't expand the borders of raw, naked fascist political power. To continue calling them republicans is an insult to actual republicans.

We are distracted by "smart phones" and dumb down apps on them. We're more versed in soundbites and slogans than civics or history. This ignorance is by design, despite a warning by the sage Frank Zappa. Indeed, how WOULD you know if someone's shredding The Constitution through a meat grinder if you DIDN'T know what was in it?

At the dawn of humanity, bartering was used in lieu of money to buy goods. As early man began to rear domestic livestock, one of the earliest forms of barter included cattle, sheep, as well as vegetables and grain.

The first known currency was created by King Alyattes in Lydia, now part of Turkey, in 600BC. The first coin ever minted features a roaring lion.

Coins then evolved into bank notes around 1661 AD. The first credit card was introduced in 1946.

The history of money: from barter to bitcoin, Rebecca Burn-Callander, The Telegraph

HOW would you know you're pockets are being picked by some rich fat cats that are amused they can make us scurry after each other like rats in a maze after the same block of cheese when all we're up in arms about artificial barriers: borders, Melanin, class; money. Concentrating on smaller things that make us "feel good" in the moment doesn't hold power or the powerful accountable for the mess they've made for profit. See Sacha Baron Cohen calling out the "silicon six."

Shiny objects like gold and silver replaced bartering; printed money replaced coins, bank and credit cards making wallets thinner each year. We're well past bartering and into cryptocurrency and legal tax evasion. A few clever assholes found a way to squirrel away more digital shiny objects in offshore accounts, not paying a dime in taxes to their host countries and bribing every elected official that will parrot repetitively a party line that's easy for rubes in red hats to follow. Face it: racism and fear is all they've shoveled out; NOTHING has ever bothered to "trickle down" since Reagan, or paid a single bill, healthcare costs or college. It's time to give up believing the shtick. They sure don't, but they'll use it as long as it works. It will work until it doesn't work, or like Rome we become a mausoleum and interstellar tourist trap for failed planetary systems. A byword. A joke.

Who asked Franklin the question that sparked his witty response? It was Elizabeth Willing Powel, a pivotal woman of the founding era who has been erased from this story. Her erasure not only creates a founding-era political history artificially devoid of women, but it also makes it harder to imagine contemporary women such as Pelosi — or Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — as political leaders.

The first record of the anecdote appears in a 1787 journal kept by one of the delegates to the convention, James McHenry of Maryland. He wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

Yes. He is impeached. After the dismal speechifying by his GOP interlocutors and miserable defense of the indefensible. Whether he is removed is up to a dysfunctional senate that has publicly admitted bias and willingness to release a criminal, a move who's only parallel is the outgoing, asshole former Governor Matt Bevin, pardoning a pedophile as his last dick move on the way out, corroborating he never should have been elected in the first place. Speaker Nancy Pelosi delaying sending it to the senate was suggested by Harvard professor and constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe. It was a master stroke. It was also poignant that her opening remarks identified the Russian agent as an existential threat to our republic. Our own republic is threatened from within by republicans that have no semblance of respecting the rule "of the people and by the people," but by our own nauseous version of Russian oligarchs, empowered by the Orwellian "Citizens United." When you have to purge half a million votes to "win" elections, you likely don't have any platform that's amendable to most citizens.

But in the end, will we have a republic, or a crumbling facade on a dung hill? To not speculate on worse-case scenarios is both hubris and naivete. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics: over time, the system will either increase change - from order to chaos - or remain the same. The second law can be aptly applied to political systems.
 

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ESV

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Wheels Off...

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Google's First Fully Autonomous Car Gives Up; Drives Self Off Cliff - Joe Bagel
The scene is from Thelma and Louise

 

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


I will be taking a break until the holidays. I have a lot of deadlines to meet.

Conservatism as popularized by their patron saint, Ronald Reagan and a budding media propaganda wing that covered all the bases - AM talk radio, Tom Clancy novels, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger was hyper masculine, Uber patriotic and most decidedly: anti-Russian. The spike in testosterone was a reaction to the Vietnam War, the one we "lost." It was a modern "lost cause" that stuck in the craw of those that wanted Ho Chi Min to surrender like the Germans and the Japanese Emperor. Our mythology told us we were "the good guys" and the film credits always had happy endings with the hero getting the girl.

Something happened from the launching porch for "The Gipper" in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the wink-and-nod to white southern racists - left over Dixiecrats cum "Reagan democrats," soon-to-be Tea Party/Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," African Americans loyal to the previous "party of Lincoln" and genteel 1%, all wooed by Lee Atwater plausible denial coded language, faced with the reality of changing demographics, not in their Melanin-lacking favor. It was something the "Southern Strategy" didn't anticipate.

For this democracy to work, each of us has to agree on the same set of facts. We may not believe in what approach to take to solve them, but believing in the facts would merely change the approach to their resolution.
TruthFiction
Climate change is realClimate change is a hoax
Russia interfered in the 2016 electionsUkraine interfered in the 2016 elections
The current president is a crookThe current president is fighting the "deep state"

A functional Republican Party might use cap and trade to fight Climate Change. They would use diplomacy to modify the Paris Climate Accords to stay within the confines of its goals. Heck, they might make a buck or two.

A functional Republican Party would take the Autopsy authored by the RNC and reach out to diversify a party dwindling in number of Lincoln African Americans, conservative Hispanic/Latino citizens, Asians and Log Cabin Republicans.

After ANY of these impeachment inquiry hearings; after Mr. C.Y.A. Gordon Sondland uttered the magic Latin phrase: quid pro quo and Dr. Fiona Hill pimp slapped the republicans on the House Intelligence Committee (it hurt to type that), a functional Republican Party would look beyond their fundraising and think of The Constitution they swore to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

But we don't have that. We've never had that.

Racism itself is a conspiracy theory. It requires a leap of faith that your lack of exposure to equatorial ultraviolet rays over 1-200,000 years bequeaths you red ruby slipper, pixie dust and fairies that bless every step you take on the Yellow Brick Road in Oz.

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." (then) Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson

 

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If the Republicans cared about the facts or the gravity of the crime being investigated, the answer would be apocalyptically damaging. But they don’t care, and they will continue to defend Trump even if those testifying under oath include an eyewitness to a criminal conspiracy hatched in the White House like Sondland, or patriots like Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Marie Yovanovitch, who not only provided irrefutable evidence of the crime but detailed the existential threat that crime poses to America.

Had Trump pulled out that (so far) proverbial gun and shot someone on Fifth Avenue, Republicans would trot out the exact same defense they have this week: The shot was fired at 2 a.m. and there were no eyewitnesses. Those nearby who claimed to have heard the shot had actually heard a car backfiring. The closed-circuit video capturing the incident is, as the president says, a hoax concocted by the same Fake News outlets that manufactured the Access Hollywood video. The confession released by the White House was “perfect” evidence of Trump’s innocence. Election records show that the cops who arrived on the scene were registered Democrats and therefore part of a deep-state conspiracy to frame the president for a crime he didn’t commit but that the Democrats did. The victim was not killed and will make a complete recovery, so no crime was committed anyway. And even if Trump had killed the young woman he gunned down, the argument advanced by Trump’s lawyer last month would apply: “The person who serves as president, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.” Next case!

 

Republicans Are Excusing a Criminal Conspiracy, Frank Rich, NY Magazine


Devin Nunes is about as dense as the cow he's frivolously suing. Ohio congressman Jim Jordan acts like a wrestling coach (that has new charges of not protecting student athletes from a predatory pedophile team doctor), and apparently, doesn't make enough to purchase a suit jacket!

Impeachment is likely in the House of Representatives. The senate is signalling along with republicans writ large that the "rule of law" doesn't apply for this Orange Satan, as the unitary executive - the Baal altar of William Barr - apparently only applies to presidents on his team. Russia, Iran; Israel can select our next president with impunity. Citizens will tune out and binge watch streaming media, oblivious to their responsibilities as citizens, masking their pain.

The Washington Post has the tag line "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

In darkness, Putin wins.

Apathy from exhaustion...is darkness.
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