civics (163)

Gaming Apocalypse...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Illusion of Perfection...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vaisya is the merchants and landowners – the torso.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allen, Texas

© May 7, 2023, the Griot Poet

“Thoughts and prayers” means

I refuse to legislate

While the gun lobby pays!

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

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Dark Frequencies...

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

Dystopia

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now, George Orwell’s

Prophecy banal.

Lamentation

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now that Orwell weeps:

[Nightmares] actual.

 

*****

 

The graph is part of an exercise that I do after every shooting. If you’ve got a stock app on your smartphone, it’s easy to track. There is an uptick in any stock that trades with gun manufacturers. It was simple to blame it on the fear of gun control that never materializes, despite the massacres’ gruesomeness or the victims’ innocence. It turns out that terrorizing citizens is public policy. When you get beyond the reflexive “thoughts and prayers,” what do you have left other than the obvious? Terrorized citizens can’t think clearly, don’t read leisurely fiction or historical record, or absorb civics or critical thinking. Voltaire warned about tyranny, but the threat of assassination seems to be as tyrannical as the Kremlin. Putin has eleven time zones, terrified by everybody dropped from a window, every dissident imprisoned in a gulag, or every ex-pat poisoned in another country. America is dangerous to our health inside and outside our homes (see: Breonna Taylor). Where do we go in public that cannot become a crime scene?

It turns out that my “Stop the Bleeding” kit arrived after Easter instead of before, delayed by the likely deluge of other orders from my active shooter class and others around the nation that decided the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King was a GREAT day to do a class! A taser I ordered for my wife came in from Amazon on the same day.

After Tennessee, on April 11, 2023, America had another mass shooting in Louisville, Kentucky. The governor of that state lost two friends, and a third at the time was in critical condition. Five people were killed, and about nine were injured.

April 13, 2023, a 35-year-old English teacher was killed by a lone gunman in the drive-through of a Dunkin Donuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her eleven-year-old son was unharmed in the backseat, but he saw his mother executed for no reason. His psyche, regarding harm, is another matter. Mother’s Day is next month, and I don’t think the cliché “thoughts and prayers” will cut it.

I now carry pepper spray on my keychain. I have a telescoping baton that makes a metallic “shooshing” sound, a hopeful shock to an assailant. In addition to pepper spray and a taser, I plan to give my wife my 9mm pistol (hopefully without the same glitches as Sig Sauer pistols, shooting when not hitting the trigger) and a purse that will double as a holster: if threatened, she’ll have to shoot through it. We didn’t leave Afghanistan: we brought the war home.

 

*****

 

Jonny Quest” is one of the many cartoons I’ve taken to collecting on DVD. I bought a DVD player that looks like a laptop but only has the drive, screen, controls, and remote. Jonny Quest was about the adventures of Jonny, his friend from Calcutta, Haji, his dog, who looked like a pug mutt, “Race” Bannon (that’s how his name was listed). And Dr. Benton Quest, who had as much of an impact as “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” and “Marlin Perkins’ ‘Wild Kingdom.’” The STEM focus of the latter is self-evident. Dr. Benton Quest was a biologist on one Saturday, a physicist on the next Saturday, a Chemist, or an Electrical Engineer on any given Saturday where the situation needed him to be! There were car chases, a Cyclops, spider legged robot spy, dog fights with a Nazi, and LOTS of guns! Dr. Quest was the epitome of a nanotechnologist*, years after Dr. Richard Feynman’s lecture “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” circa 1959 and years before Dr. Norio Taniguchi coined it at a conference in Japan in 1974. Thankfully, neither Jonny nor Haji were involved in gunplay.

“Jonny Quest” is utter fantasy, a cartoon. All of us kids were in on the “gag.” Only the “evil-doers” died, never us “good guys.”

I feel like we’re going to war every day instead of work.

What kind of country or cartoon is this?

 

*****

 

*My “elevator pitch” definition:

Nanotechnology regards biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics, all of the major STEM disciplines at the nanoscale. Nano means “billionth,” or 10-9 meters. Nanoscience is the theoretical observation of nanoscale phenomena. Nanoengineering is exploiting that phenomenon towards a practical (engineering) end, as in manufacturing something that can be purchased or consumed. Before I entered the field, Dr. Quest was probably the first nanotechnologist I had ever seen and didn’t recognize because the definition wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now.

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Innocence...

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Topics: African Americans, Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Diversity in Science, Environment, Existentialism, Fascism, Global Warming, Human Rights

Trauma at 55

© April 3, 2023, the Griot Poet

 

Graduation day.

No child smiling because we

Lost Martin Thursday.

 

April is National Poetry Month. This photo of five-year-old me inspired my haiku about my kindergarten graduation. It should have been a happy day with parents in the audience.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Thursday, April 4, 1968. Our graduation was scheduled for Friday at Bethlehem Community Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

All thirty-six students were blissfully unaware of the political earthquake that this was or that it had occurred. As we all aged, we probably learned of the death threats and the near assassination by a deranged woman at a book signing. We were unaware of the "Missiles of October" in 1962, barely scratching the planet's surface or taking our first steps before potential Armageddon. Medgar Evers was assassinated in Mississippi in June of 1963, and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November of the same year in Dallas when we were a little over a year old. Brother Malcolm was assassinated in February 1965 when we were almost three. I don't recall the University of Texas. Clock Tower shooting in 1966, but we were four then. My classmates, like me, probably heard a program on the local radio station, WAAA-AM, on Sundays from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "Martin Luther King Speaks." At that time, the caveat was that he spoke, addressing his audience directly over AM, the complete analog of today's social media. What are now tapes or YouTube videos for later generations: it was him, alive, breathing, and speaking. Martin, then Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, the president's brother running for president, fell that year.

I recall my mother kissing me profusely, promising to be there for the graduation, and saying "I love you" repeatedly. I had no doubts about that.

I also remember my father's eyes: red with bloodshot, dried tears on his cheeks. To that point in my brief existence, the thought of him crying was alien, foreign.

The kindergarten teachers sat us down. We assumed to prepare us for the costumes we would wear – white shorts, shirts, and bow ties for the boys, and skirts for the girls.

"Children, Dr. Martin Luther King was shot yesterday and died."

Stunned silence.

I am on the front row, the photo's first student on the left. The eighth student on that row is a girl who I recall having a crush on: she has her right knee pointing towards her left leg. She would break the silence before our ceremony with an ear-piercing screech, repetitive, inconsolable grief beyond her years, perhaps mimicked from a funeral. We all knew what "died" meant. In some form or fashion, by five, you have lost beloved pets or relatives that you never thought would leave the Earth.

The seed from her grief cascaded through the graduates like a malignant vine. The time was 9:00. We cried for two hours, during which someone with a pickup truck, a rebel flag flying, drove through the parking lot, yelling over and over so our young ears and teachers could hear him, "Martin Luther Coon's dead! Yahoo! The South will rise again!"

I lay on the linoleum, palm heels in my eye sockets, wailing my [own] notes. The teachers were crying with us, trying to console themselves and us, allowing us our grief. We went down for a nap at 11:00. Perhaps our teachers did too.

We went out for a brief recess, probably to clear the fog from our brains, but as I recall, we moved like zombies, with no one on the seesaw, children sitting, staring numbly on the swings, and no action on the monkey bars. Then we went in and got dressed.

Our parents would be there at 1:30 pm. I have described why not a single child graduating in the photo was smiling. Staring at my unsmiling, well, forced smiling parents, I remember this poignant thought post-grief beyond my brief years:

 

"We're not kids anymore!"

We would all start first grade in the fall without him.

I hugged my big sister tightly that evening, a student activist in the Civil Rights Movement attending Winston-Salem State University, because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, what "died" meant.

*****

Devolution

(Post-Cold War and 9/11)

© April 4, 2023, the Griot Poet

 

I did duck-and-hide

Drills, kids as cold warriors:

Now, active shooter.

 

My employer hosted an Active Shooter/Stop the Bleeding training at my facility on probably the most insensitive date they could pick on the calendar: the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. As the first haiku eludes, time does not heal trauma. For the first half, both instructors had experience in law enforcement and the military. The second set of three instructors from a local trauma center featured a combat medic, who taught us through a cadaver dummy to stuff gauze from a "stop the bleeding kit" (there is a website to order directly).

I participated in the class vigorously to fight the "sugar crash" from the doughnuts offered.

We saw a lot of videos, one featuring the shooter in the Naval Shipyards gun massacre. The other was the bodycam video from the recent incident in Tennessee at a Christian School where three adults in their early sixties (around my same age) and three nine-year-old children were sacrificed on the altar of American Moloch. The original intent of particularly white evangelical Christian schools was to protect the "innocence" of their children from sitting next to someone like me. Somehow "thoughts and prayers" for a Christian school, no doubt inspired by Brown vs. Board of Education being actualized in the South, seemed oxymoronic.

"Duck-and-hide," or more accurately, duck-and-cover, where drills were part of civilian preparedness in the event World War Three spontaneously broke out. They gave us manuals we should read (I still have mine). The teachers and manual said that getting under the desk was the best way to survive the nuclear fallout if you were not the center of the blast radius. Preconscious and curious, my parents had bought the complete volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Internet of its day. Foreshadowing my eventual STEM majors in Engineering Physics, Microelectronics, and Nanoengineering, I read the "Nu" volume on nuclear weapons. I sadly concluded after my research that the drills were government-sanctioned gaslighting, a word I now use. The word I used then is a two-syllable word with the popular abbreviation "B.S." Plutonium 239, the ore of choice for thermonuclear weapons, has a half-life of 24,100 years, meaning that it would be half as radioactive in about 24 millennia. This drill wasn't to save lives but to reduce panicked stampeding that, I admit, would help no one. The official nuclear doctrine of deterrence is M.A.D.: mutually assured destruction. We'll see if Russia in Ukraine remembers this at all.

The United States has been in some war 93% of the time from 1775 (before its existence) to 2018. This factum is according to Smithsonian Magazine. The article's caveat is how to interpret "war": declared congressionally, unilaterally by the executive, or (in my opinion) upon one's citizens.

I will attend my precocious granddaughter's fourth birthday party this National Poetry Month. She is one year younger than my five-year-old image. After getting her a "Dr. McStuffin's Medical Kit" for Christmas, she immediately assigned herself as her grandparents' doctor. She even does televisits when we chat on Google Hangout.

Yet she grows up in a world of the continuous threat of Armageddon. Add to that designed scarcity, economic Disaster Capitalism cum neoliberalism, rising global temperatures, and active shooter training when she starts kindergarten in the fall, minus the "stop the bleeding kits," even with her Dr. McStuffin credentials. Because of the malaise of government and gun lobbyists, we've reduced her citizenry to becoming a combat medic in the future, whether she wants to or not.

I bought a "stop the bleeding" kit. It should be here before Easter.

"We're not kids anymore!"

None of us are.

 

 

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Functional Fascism...

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Ron DeSantis previously said he wouldn’t get involved in Donald Trump’s indictment “in any way.” | John Bazemore/AP Photo, Gary Fineout, Politico

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

NEW YORK — The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Christians overall remain a large majority in the U.S., at nearly 70 percent of Americans. However, white Christians, once predominant in the country’s religious life, now comprise only 43 percent of the population, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, a polling organization based in Washington. Four decades ago, about eight in 10 Americans were white Christians

The change has occurred across the spectrum of Christian traditions in the U.S., including sharp drops in membership in predominantly white mainline Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians and Lutherans; an increasing Latino presence in the Roman Catholic Church as some non-Hispanic white Catholics leave; and shrinking ranks of white evangelicals, who until recently had been viewed as immune to decline.

White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population, survey says, Rachel Zoll, Associated Press

It was the first panic and the first indication that white evangelicism focused on earthly political concerns more than heavenly meditations. Eighty-one percent of them voted for the vagina-grabber after the Access Hollywood tape. It was soon after this he, or as Michael Cohen's indictment called him, "individual one," directed his then-attorney to pay hush money to Karen McDougal, a Playboy Centerfold, and Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, coordinated with then editor of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, which is the most apropos last name I've seen to be the editor of a supermarket rag. He was called before the Manhattan Grand Jury before they voted on indictment.

Impeachment is a form of federal indictment, but the twice-impeached former president beat the rap in a stacked Senate jury. Then, when he didn't win re-election, a point he was cognizant of, he ordered a mob to Capitol Hill to seize power, an insurrection for the first time since the Civil War, a breach of the Capitol for the first time since the war of 1812. For his new presidential campaign, he upped the ante from Reagan's "states rights" speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by staging his first rally in Waco, Texas, the sight of the standoff between the government and the Branch Davidian Cult. It's talented bigotry to invoke George Soros and call an African American District Attorney an "animal. If dog-whistling, it's best in a gross sense to hit one target with two epithets.

"Individual One" started his first presidential campaign taking birtherism in the gutter with him and raising it from the swill like an anointed Phoenix, with 3,500 lawsuits against him, including Trump University (which he said he would "never settle" until he did). Part of his narcissistic "charm" is he never seems to pay for any crime he commits, no matter how outlandish it might have been, even insurrection. It might explain his follower's attraction to him: he's a reverse Robin Hood; he steals from the poor suckers and gives to himself. They all think they're in on the gag, but in true conman fashion, marks usually are not.

Earlier this week, three children and three adults were gunned down by a former transgender student at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. I have fond memories of variety shows like "The Old Oprey" and "Hee-Haw," based on a soundstage there. Governor Bill Lee asked for prayers. He has written anti-LGBT laws, restricted abortion rights, banned drag shows, banned books, and expanded permit-less carry; without the need for safety training or practice. Tennessee paused further expansion of freedom for guns; contraction of civil liberties in lieu of "thoughts and prayers." Congressman Andy Ogles also sent "thoughts and prayers," yet posed with his family in a 2021 Christmas photo armed to the teeth with assault weapons. Now that the indictment that was supposed to happen last Tuesday happened yesterday, the former president continued to threaten "death and destruction" simultaneously, or soon after that, a photo of him with a baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg's head like Robert De Niro as Al Capone in the movie, "The Untouchables."

"If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck!"

At the same time, his likely challenger in the GOP primary breezed through a clone of his Soros-African-American Attorney bigotry and said that he would not assist in his extradition if he refused to leave Florida for his arraignment.

That is collusion by an officer of the court, and a governor, to break the rule of law.

During the January 6 Hearings, many of the insurrectionists in Congress ignored subpoenas sent to them by the committee. Now that Jim Jordan has actual Judiciary Committee power, he's proven that he got a law degree but didn't pass the bar. Good luck enforcing your subpoenas.

But that shouldn't matter for the goals of today's republican right. The Growth and Opportunity Project (the 2012 GOP Autopsy) called for the party to expand its base beyond white evangelicals, rural dwellers, conspiracy theorists, weirdos, fascists, racists, misogynists, and insurrectionists with irritable bowel syndrome. It called for them to expand to women, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT, and young people. It rightly predicted the diversification of America and assumed that a functional political party would absorb the study's wisdom.

The party and its avatar in 2016, 2020, and apparently, 2024 rejected it.

If Governor DeSantis, like Jim Jordan et al., ignores the New York indictment and “will not assist in the extradition,” it's not very far from that the "rule of law" becomes meaningless.

Past that Rubicon is the rule of the mob boss, warlord, or one man as king. There would be no civics, civil rights, or civil liberties, just lords and serfs, the next logical step of income inequality. Dictators never give up power, so elections, if held, would become meaningless "public spectacles" like they were in Saddam Hussein's Iraq and are in Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation. It simply takes the slow-boiling frog destruction of the rule of law. After that, fascism becomes actionable and functional.

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

Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

And the world, like old Europe, will become soaked in the blood of our fellow humans. Warlords have a tendency not to get along.

If the world is like Europe in its violence before the world order after the Second World War, where could we run after the Third?

June: We have to run.

Luke: What?

June: We waited last time. We waited too long, and we didn't see how much they hated us. I lost you, and then we lost Hannah.

Luke: Are we just gonna forget about her now?

June: We will never ever forget about her, but we cannot help her if we are dead. It's changing, Luke. This country is changing.

Luke: No, Canada's not Gilead.

June: America wasn't Gilead until it was, and then it was too fuckin' late. Luke, we have to go. We have to run. Now.

Season Five of "The Handmaid's Tale" finale on Hulu, TV Fanatic

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By Another Name...

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Space race: Inside ego-fueled competition of Bezos, Musk, and Branson, Michael Kaplan, New York Post

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

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of “free” black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

The neo-slavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies that discouraged the prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by AnotherName unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neo-slavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.

Slavery by Another Name is a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

—from the book jacket and Pulitzer dot org

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, Douglas A. Blackmon, Penguin Random House

Ta-Nehisi Coates penned "The Case for Reparations" for The Atlantic in June of 2014. The country was in the lame-duck of the second term of a political miracle: Barack Hussein Obama carried the popular vote and the electoral college TWICE, despite a blowhard asking for his birth certificate, despite a blowhard asking for his grades at Harvard, then commissioning his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen to threaten his high schools and colleges mob-style if they dared release any of his grades from his "great brainwork." One would think that he had something to hide.

We crossed the Rubicon of 8 billion souls on Terra Firma last November, and we're showing the signs of strain: Candida auris is spreading in healthcare and nursing facilities alarming the CDC: it could easily become more dangerous to the general population. climate change is exacerbating weather patterns, thus affecting food supplies. The thawing permafrost is wakening Paleolithic viruses that haven't seen the light of day (or 8 billion vectors) in several millennia. The brunt of the crisis is being felt by the countries - so-called third world - without enough industry that would create the problem. This is destabilizing governments and fostering authoritarian nationalism, nativism, and xenophobia. The US President and Canadian Prime Minister reached an agreement to reject asylum seekers at their respective borders. As we whistle through graveyards, Waiting for Godot and Deas Ex Machina to resolve our issues. Where are these fellow humans supposed to go, other than open earth in whistled graveyards voluntarily? It is eerie, sadistic eugenics in slow motion.

The estimated cost to pay reparations is ~$14 Trillion dollars. The cost would be from the government, not individual "white" taxpayers. We can literally print money out of thin air when we want to do something, proposing austerity measures for things that used to be referred to as the "common good."

Broken down in the documentary, The Big Payback, the estimated bill due (as Dr. King said) for uncompensated labor that built the United States is $14 Trillion Dollars. $14 Trillion Dollars is about $350,000 per African American.

The government keeps from paying what's owed us by stirring divisions: Black Lives Matter are "black identity extremists," but the Klan, Neo Nazis, Boogaloo Boys, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers are NOT to date classified as domestic terrorists.

Reparations would also include levying taxes on the extremely wealthy, who got rich off of Reagan lowering their taxes to 28%. He had to raise taxes periodically when the math and reality came crashing down in the form of a recession. It's why endless tax cuts as a solution have always been a bureaucratic form of magical thinking.

"Trickledown" was always a boondoggle and maintained by always having an "other" to blame for the nation's problems. Before Trump, who is about as subtle as a farting rhinoceros, Reagan's "wink and nod" genteel racism was a form of soft fascism in our faces. The function of fascist hierarchies has always been to separate the Earth's resources from those deemed "undesirable" to those deemed "desirable," "genius," and "blessed" by a deity. India had the Dalets, the base of their hierarchy, and Germany prior to and in WWII had Jews, Gypsies, artists, intellectuals, homosexuals, or as "woke is the new n-word," anything fascists then and now didn't like about modernity. Rinsed, lathered, and repeated, it, along with enslavement, is the oldest grift in the world and probably predates prostitution.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is a 2020 historical and narrative nonfiction work about the nature of inequality in the United States, India, and Nazi Germany. Wilkerson is a writer and former journalist best known for her work in the New York Times, for which she received a Pulitzer Prize. She achieved further acclaim with her 2010 work, The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson has also taught journalism at many colleges and universities, including Princeton and Emory.

Caste describes the United States from the arrival of the first enslaved people in 1619 to the current Covid-19 pandemic to explain the nature and consequences of inequality. In the book’s first part, Wilkerson notes that many people were shaken and surprised by the results of the 2016 presidential election. Still, the outcome was really the result of long-buried issues, and she, therefore, calls for a deep dive into the structures of American life. She argues that the key to understanding America is its caste system, a commitment to structures that assign some lives more valuable than others; in the United States, it is based on skin color.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Super Symmetry Summary

It would depend on whether we value people or the toys of billionaires: golf courses consuming copious amounts of water to maintain; mansions, yachts, yachts for helicopters, and penis rockets.

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By Comparison...

 

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Is Facebook Turning You Into a Troglodyte? Zachary Shtogren, Big Think

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

Framework (noun): (a) a basic conceptional structure (as of ideas), (b) a skeletal, openwork, or structural frame, FRAME OF REFERENCE (Merriam-Webster); ACADEMIC: The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory, which explains why the research problem under study exists. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185919

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Those who refer to themselves as moderate republicans or "never Trumpers" conveniently forget that Reagan started his campaign spitting on the graves of Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi. "States rights" was always code for the right to own human beings for uncompensated, unending labor. Reagan said it specifically to pull in Southern Dixiecrats, the "wink and nod," genteel, "aw, shucks" brand of feel-good racism with enough plausible denial for black conservatives that wanted on the train. The three Civil Rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, who STILL, along with Incels, Neo-Nazis, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and QAnon, are NOT designated domestic terrorist organizations - the FBI reserves that for Black Lives Matter and similar groups who put their bodies on the line for justice and typically don't carry AR15s, or AK47s.

The framework for "government is the problem" was the Lewis Powel memo. "Powell recommended a propaganda effort staffed with scholars and speakers, a propaganda effort to which American business should devote “10 percent of its total advertising budget,'” including an effort to review and critique textbooks, especially in economics, political science, and sociology." (Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) Obviously, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Ronald Reagan, and the entire Reich Wing ecosystem echo chamber read the memo. It elevated Powell to Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, which, every day since Taney and the Dred Scott decision, is becoming its own oxymoron.

So it stands to reason if "government is the problem," you CANNOT let the government be the solution. Every elected republican has one mission when getting to office: sabotage and cutting taxes for their wealthy benefactors. To perform this insurgency, you have to construct an ecosystem that echoes the same message and reinforces itself like a mantra at a MAGA monastery, musing on anger versus meditating on enlightenment. The fact that their favorite platform is now a proven liar is irrelevant: they haven't been told yet, so it's Troglodyte Nirvana. When you seize power, you must keep the Trogs angry even if you control all levels of government. You must keep the opposition - the "Democrat Party" (emphasis on "rat"), turning the adjective into a noun, using poor grammar as pejorative - on the defensive. It also helps that when you're in power, you're particularly bad at governing. "Government is the problem": solutions are hard to come by, especially when it calls for concession and compromise, meaning giving a little to get a little and trying again later. "Owning the libs" and trending on Twitter is more fun than thinking. The goal is to wear us down, to make us give up on pursuing common interests, and to become complacent. The opposite of activism is apathy, and the vacuum abhorred by nature is filled with the first wad of filth to walk through.

Eventually, an echo chamber disciple descends from his bizarro Olympus, personified on a grifting, golden escalator, the embodiment or incarnation of Archie Bunker with a wallet.

In Timothy Snyder's book, "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America," his erudite analysis of Vladimir Putin gets into the man's history, fears, and motivations. Ukraine's "existing" is a threat to his power. Before the bombing, it was modern. It had functional nuclear power plants (with the noted exception of Chornobyl). Ukraine was the antithesis of Russia's thesis of leadership by the reincarnation of Lenin and Stalin. It's why the Russians have to interfere with democratic elections. If you're trying to hold onto power until your last breath, it's a good idea to sabotage democratic elections across the globe. When his people demand elections, demand representation, demand better for themselves, Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see. People spontaneously falling out of windows, getting shot or poisoned, and being imprisoned for multiple years in gulags also bolsters his dark reign. The Russian people see where the wealth is: in Putin's palaces and with his oligarchs. "Why don't they protest in the streets?" Russians have no First Amendment Rights, and there, the Second Amendment is only for Putin's hired thugs. Where republicans in America are a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party, the Kremlin is a kleptocracy masquerading as a state.

People under such conditions, according to dystopian fiction author, Margaret Atwood, either become activists (which puts their lives in danger), collaborators, or complacent, keeping their heads down because they feel they have no power to change their conditions.

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see.

Dominion voting systems are suing Fox Propaganda for $1.6 billion, and SmartMatics is suing for $2.7 billion. No one who watches American Pravda is the wiser because "truth is bad for business."

And voila! You have a utopia for fascists and a dystopia for their subjects, who are either collaborators or exhausted. You have to enamor them to fascism, by comparison.

"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

"The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor." Voltaire

Republicans and Putin are trying to defeat democracy by exhausting citizens and subjects. We can regulate women's bodily autonomy, but not climate change or Wall Street. We can pull books from shelves, but not qualified immunity from bad police officers. We can threaten drag shows (a voluntary activity) but not make schools safe: a collapsible, laughable fold-out gun shelter in Alabama must have cost the district a small fortune that could have been remedied with background checks and red flag laws. “Woke” is their new n-word without saying the n-word for everything in modernity they do not like. Everything is, as Carl Sagan said in 1996, a “celebration of ignorance.”

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

“The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

Ann Duryan and Carl Sagan, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.”

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. Voltaire

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Apocalypse Now...

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Judge Royce Lambert said Jacob Chansley's role as a leader among those who went into the Senate chamber and disrupted the electoral vote tally compelled a serious prison sentence. | Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images | Politico

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, COVID-19, Environment, Existentialism, Fascism

Note: The title of this post is from the famous movie Apocalypse Now, which was popular during my senior year in high school.

Nathaniel P. Grimes is a Theologian, someone who "dedicates her or his life to the scholastic vocation of seeking after knowledge of God and the things of God." In other words, graduate school. Dr. Grimes published a paper that I feel should have gotten much more traction and explains the abject lunacy on the right: "The Racial Ideology of Rapture." In it, he posits that the viewpoint was not scriptural; it was political, as in an existential crisis for a South who had brainwashed themselves after losing the Civil War, or more aptly, mass cognitive dissonance before Leon Festinger.

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult that believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.

While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience,” committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members). Source: Simply Psychology

They lost the Civil War after Chief Justice Taney spouted the worst Supreme Court decision to Dred Scott that a black man "has no rights that a white man should respect." The institution of slavery, whether they owned any or not, meant that due to a lack of Melanin, the so-called "white" peasantry was magically "superior" to enslaved Africans. They didn't have to do anything to be superior. The society was exquisitely designed to reinforce the claptrap in the science of the day and from the pulpit that, upon further examination, was the framework for pseudoscience. As formerly enslaved Africans began running for office, gaining property, and establishing successful townships, [for] the psyche of the southern poor who risked life and limb to defend plantation oligarchs' ownership of other humans was an existential crisis. If the "whites" were not "superior," then what were they? The surviving confederate soldiers and their descendants got the battle ensign of Robert E. Lee (popularly, but inaccurately, the flag of the insurrectionist Confederacy) and shell shock.

The plantation oligarchs got reparations from the US government, the foundation for generational wealth passed down to their posterity. Equally, the descendants of potentates and peasants are hellbent on "conserving" the sadistic societal status quo.

Anglo-Futurism

John Nelson Darby was the "OG" of dispensationalism eschatology, or epochs in which humanity would be judged and punished, similar to the plagues of the Old Testament. John Scofield was a Confederate deserter (a broken clock can be right once or twice). After a conversion experience, he began writing dispensationalist literature, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, the foundation for the Dallas Seminary, and his Scofield's Reference Bible, which many trained theologians used during their graduate studies. His 1917 reference Bible referenced Genesis 9 as a "prophetic declaration" that "Ham will descend an inferior and servile posterity," probably the fanciest way I've seen someone use the n-word without using the n-word. Scofield's reputation was built on an "anti-black, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish theology." Moody followed in his footsteps, as his vision of a "perfect, raptured Heaven" was of "the Scotsman, the Englishman, the Frenchman, the German, the Italian, the Russian": all those who "hungered after righteousness." It was White-topia before Levittown.

Rapture was the escape hatch from Reconstruction and the previously enslaved Africans, newly by the 14th Amendment African Americans, to gain genuine electoral power and some property. The paper mentioned a diagram of the Earth's population in 1886 that I've seen in various forms. This was surrounding the International Prophetic Conference, showing the population of the world to premillennialists as "white squares" and "black squares," the noir geometry representing "Jews, Catholics, Mohammedans, and Heathens."

On page 219 of the paper: "in order to hasten Christ's coming, **the conditions here on earth must decline dramatically.** So they chose to pull back from social reform not only because the conversion was deemed more important but because reform itself 'delayed the Second Coming and deluded those who would be converted."

"Conditions on earth must decline dramatically": like climate change? Diversity, equity, and inclusions? Income inequality? Debt ceiling default? Social justice and police reform? Elections in a federal republic? Governing? Bodily autonomy for women, the transgender? What's the reserve against prosecuting wars all over the globe? We relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem in the last administration. The current administration hasn't moved it back since there's a sizeable percentage of the electorate that wants to hurry apocalypse like it's a "GI Joe: Real American Hero" Saturday morning cartoon where we do battle with Cobra, lasers blasting, and no one really wounded or dying. If premillennialists apparently had the "mess up the room, so the parent shows up" theory of the Second Coming, their descendants still have it. There will definitely be a "new Heaven and a new Earth" as the first Heaven and first Earth (the current one) passes away (Revelation 21) after the throws of a nuclear exchange. Seas probably would dry up if they hadn't overflowed from melted poles causing rising tides or becoming so irradiated for thousands of years. Your favorite salmon, lobster, or tilapia would, from then on, be aquatic SPAM.

This attitude fuels one political party currently in charge of the House of Representatives. The "weaponization of the government" hearings are going about, as well as Jim Jordan was in not protecting his athletes from sexual assault. Dr. Barbara Rossing, author of "The Rapture Exposed," starts her first chapter with these words reminiscent of Smedley Butler: "The Rapture is a Racket." Throughout the book, she shows that basing our Middle East strategy on "clean up on aisle 5" is part of why there hasn't been a "two-state solution" in Israel/Palestine. "The conditions on earth must decline dramatically."

People like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr used the Bible, the fact that pastors essentially had confidential meeting halls, to motivate a nonviolent movement to change the country for the better: "I want to go to Heaven, but I want some shoes down here!" He practiced "here-and-now" ministry and left it for history and the universe to judge him.

Or, we can have the eschatology of the insane. We can have faux theists that follow a cruel, psychopathic nincompoop that they've built a graven image while a disturbed man parades the Capitol in buffalo horns, war paint, and buckskin. Like QAnon, the eschatology of the insane "rationalizes the fantastical" and makes a few insurrectionists chairs of a "weaponization of government" committee, ignoring the last administration when the weaponization occurred.

The idea of white supremacy rests simply on the “fact” that white men are the creators of civilization (the present civilization, which is the only one that matters; all previous civilizations are simply “contributions” to our own) and are, therefore, civilization’s guardians and defenders. Thus, it was impossible for Americans to accept the black man as one of themselves, for to do so was to jeopardize their status as “white” men. But not so to accept him was to deny his human reality, his human weight and complexity, and the strain of denying the overwhelmingly undeniable forced Americans into rationalizations so fantastic that they approached the pathological. – James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son.”

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

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

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Adios, Dilbert...

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

Dildo (noun): an object shaped like and used in place of a penis for giving sexual pleasure; (mainly US offensive): a stupid person, especially a man. Cambridge Dictionary

Note: In light of recent events, and the pregnant homophone, it was too good to pass up.

As an engineer in Austin, Texas, working at Motorola, I emailed Mr. Adams (we both used what is now the ancient Internet service provider, AOL) a story idea about being volunteered for a project in an engineering group that I didn’t work in to change a process that I wasn’t responsible for. Then, in another meeting, I was taken off the project AFTER I had researched the business unit - Diffusion - and made the process changes. Scott turned it into a strip overnight, replying, “GREAT story idea!” At least, that's how I took it.

The strip above showed up the NEXT day (Saturday). Maybe I read too much into the coincidence, but I made it for a time, my screen saver, just to needle the management types. None of them suspected they or their absurdity was the subject of the strip.

"Dilbert" was brilliant in that it sourced many of its stories from "the field." Engineers working in semiconductors, STEM types working for engineering firms. Government engineers could also relate to the archetype "pointy-haired manager" (a personification of the devil), and every bad technical manager that went to "bad manager school," most of them either hadn't done engineering in years or weren't ever engineers at all. Catbert, the evil HR director, was self-explanatory. I have no idea what "Ratbert" was supposed to represent. Until his racist YouTube rant, I did proudly cart around a stuffed Dogbert in my home or work office prior to the familiar orange "bigly" pompadour on his latest work that leaves no doubt about his politics. As a US veteran, I took an Oath to "protect and defend The Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." I don't share his viewpoint on a glorious time of "great again" or insurrection. I was by no means unique or solitary to have sent Mr. Adams a story idea and him choosing to use it or ignore it. At one point, he showed a Pareto chart of each engineering segment he got story ideas from (semiconductors were far to the left on the abscissa). He seemed beyond culture, class, and classification. He got us, the nerds in hamster cubicles who made the modern age possible.

I now choose Scott Adams to ignore you.

The once widely celebrated Adams, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement “It’s okay to be White” — a phrase sometimes associated with racist memes.

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with White people … that’s a hate group,” Adams said on his live-streaming YouTube show. “I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people … because there is no fixing this.”

Adams, 65, also blamed Black people for not “focusing on education” during the show and said, “I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of Black Americans beating up non-Black citizens.”

It took me a while, but I finally stuck it out enough in graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Nanoengineering. Oh, and by the way, my physical features, you would identify as black.

I'm saying my "physical features" because, until 1681, there was no such thing as "white" people. That was created by the United States and propagated throughout the world. The first 1790 Census was explicit in its hatred of anything other than "white." I put the name in quotes because, due to the need to maintain numerical dominance, "white" has been a fungible word. Czechs, Italians, Irish, Jews, and Russians were once not considered "pure" enough to be "white." Humans are adaptive to the environments they inhabit.

Thus, Mr. Adams, you are exactly what anyone would expect an African to look like after approximately 40,000 years of not getting direct equatorial sunlight near the equator and closer to the north pole. Your ancestors in Europe would have no need for the protection of Melanin. Their hair would thin and mat to trap heat. Their noses would narrow due to the cold. I would expect humans on a Martian colony not to look as good as the actors on Star Trek: lower gravity, further from the sun, and higher radiation; the humans would not only look different, they would find the gravity well on earth crushing. Race is a social construct. If you read beyond what appears to have been conspiratorial sites, you would know that. The engineer you once were, the satirist of corporate silliness you became while simultaneously holding your engineering job, has gone the way of the dinosaurs and the Dodo.

I am not, nor have I ever been, part of a hate group. I have never called for segregation, as humans cannot "segregate" unless we're going to different sectors of the universe. They can create enclaves with restrictive covenants - but we breathe the same air and consume the same products on the same planet. A formula that you, Elon Musk, and Ron DeSantis should imbibe: Racism = Prejudice + Political Power. I derived the formula from an interview with the comedian Paul Mooney. Black people can be prejudiced. They have never, however, wielded power large enough or long enough to create laws to affect any other group, as yours has mine for centuries of this nation's history, a history you probably don't want to be reviewed or taught. Besides, I think you'd be terrible at picking tobacco or cotton.

Whatever demons you've been channeling since the Covid crisis that you deny, I hope one day, you excise them and join the rest of humanity in the light of diversity.

Along with Dogbert, the book products I purchased as a fan went out yesterday with Thursday's garbage collection.

I guess now that a once brilliant cartoonist is insane.

“Scott Adams is a disgrace,” Darrin Bell, creator of “Candorville” and the first Black artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, told The Post on Saturday. “His racism is not even unique among cartoonists.” Bell compared Adams’s views to the Jim Crow era and more recent examples of White supremacy, including “millions of angry people trying to redefine the word ‘racism’ itself.”

‘Dilbert’ dropped by The Post, and other papers after cartoonist’s racist rant, Thomas Floyd and Michael Cavna, Washington Post

 

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Intersectionality and 53%...

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Image Source: U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050, Jeffrey S. Passel, and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research, February 11, 2008

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

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

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled:

Numerical Population Power

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

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

*****

If current trends continue, the demographic profile of the United States will change dramatically by the middle of this century, according to new population projections developed by the Pew Research Center.1

The nation's population will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the growth during this period will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants. (Figure 1)

Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period due to the effect of new immigration, 67 million will be the immigrants themselves, 47 million will be their children, and 3 million will be their grandchildren.

The Center’s projections indicate that nearly one in five Americans (19%) will be foreign-born in 2050, well above the 2005 level of 12% and surpassing the historical peaks for immigrants as a share of the U.S. population—14.8% in 1890 and 14.7% in 1910. (Figure 2)

By 2050, the nation’s racial and ethnic mix will look different than it does now. Non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67% of the population in 2005, will be 47% in 2050. Hispanics will rise from 14% of the population in 2005 to 29% in 2050. Blacks were 13% of the population in 2005 and will be roughly the same proportion in 2050. Asians, who were 5% of the population in 2005, will be 9% in 2050.

If you do the math: the BIPOC in these statistics adds up to ~51 to 53%, a clear majority.

What is intersectionality?

The concept of intersectionality describes how systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class, and other forms of discrimination “intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects. For example, when a Muslim woman wearing the Hijab is being discriminated against, it would be impossible to dissociate her female* from her Muslim identity and to isolate the dimension(s) causing her discrimination.

Source: Center for Intersectional Justice: What is intersectionality?

“Race,” as we have been conditioned to understand it, is a social construct. Yet, every employment application asks me to choose a category that best describes me: I chose Black/African American because that is my culture. I am a human being, a terrestrial inhabitant born on planet Earth. We fill out the Census because it is our “civic duty” and our habit, born of ignorance and not questioning why things are the WAY they are.

So racial capitalism was basically built based on the idea that capitalism itself is not distinct from racism. The way we think of racism is that racism is a by-product of capitalism. That is, capitalism emerges, and racism is a way to divide workers. It’s a way to extract greater value from enslaved people, Indigenous people, etc. But Cedric argued that the grounds of the civilization in which capitalism emerges are already based on racial hierarchy. If you think of race as assigning meaning to whole groups of people, ideologically convincing others that some people are inferior to others, that some people are designed as beasts of burden, then what you end up getting is a system of extraction that allows for a kind of super-exploitation of Black and brown people. And racial capitalism also relies on an ideology or racial regime. The racial regime convinces a lot of white people, who may get the crumbs of this extraction through slavery, through Jim Crow, convince them to support or shore up a regime that seems to benefit whiteness based on white supremacy but where their own share of the spoils is actually pretty minuscule. Slam poet Saul Williams commenting on the Intercept Podcast: The Rebellion Against Racial Capitalism. Facebook

*****

The Census is crafted from the same crucible. Every ten years, we count the number of citizens, or residents, in the nation. We craft, actually, gerrymander districts based on these demographic numbers. The absurdity is evident not too far from me: my Alma Mater, North Carolina A&T State University, the largest Historically Black College and University in the nation, was split in two to dilute the impact of student voting and participation in the franchise. That was thankfully remedied, and students are voting in record numbers. It is thus important which party controls the White House (I think it should be called the Presidential Mansion) during the ten-year cycle. We’re looking at the next election in 2024. What will be of paramount importance is which party gets to draw congressional districts after the election of 2028.

Fifty years of precedent were repealed in jettisoning Roe vs. Wade: why? Perhaps it is that “for the last 70 years, fertility rates have decreased worldwide, with a total 50% decline. Reasons include women’s empowerment in education and the workforce, lower child mortality, and the increased cost of raising children. Lower fertility rates, coupled with increased life expectancies worldwide, create an aging population, putting pressure on healthcare systems globally.” (World Economic Forum) Comparing national birthrates in 2020:

NationBirthrates
Niger6.7
Nigeria5.2
Senegal4.5
Ghana3.8
Pakistan3.4
World2.4
Mexico2.1
The U.S.1.8
South Korea1.1

Source: World Economic Forum: Ageing and Longevity, June 17, 2022

It makes sense, in a macabre, sociopathic, psychopathic “logic.” If your birthrates are falling, you open the floodgates to all births by repealing abortion rights; the health and career aspirations of women be damned. Similarly, for the LGBTQ community, the right to marry "who you love" contradicts the desires of capitalism: replacement workers, which can be done through surrogate parenthood. Still, these are Neanderthal minds crafting our society. The closet was valuable to them because you could, in sham marriages, procreate in public and copulate in secret. Dr. Claude Anderson stated in "Black Labor, White Wealth" that enslaved Africans and their descendants were a "planned numerical minority." "White" is a fungible concept: as numbers declined in America, Czechs, Italians, Jews, and Russians were added to the "white" column and instructed how to address the designated pariah "others." This façade would inevitably crash on the weight of its own hubris.

"Race" is a social and political construct. Suppose you happened to have won the "sperm lottery" and were born in "Leave it to Beaver Villes" with a prepondering lack of Melanin (and lack of empathy for those possessing it). In that case, you're likely comfortable with the status quo as it is; reducing inequality doesn't interest you in the slightest; therefore: you want to "conserve" what you know and are comfortable with it. And if you can't gerrymander, voter suppress, or intimidate "others" into their diminished places, January 6, 2021, showed us conclusively that their last ditch, "in case of democracy, break glass" last move, they will resort to deadly violence to uphold a chimera. 40,000+ video security footage given to the CIA reject at Fox Propaganda ensures the next coup will have a roadmap to once-secret places. The Capitol is the scene of past and future crimes.

Intersectionality is another word for cooperation. We will have to cooperate to address the challenges of climate change, to take the mythology out of it, "it's THOSE people, not US," to solve the problem together. It's not Ron DeSantis-Stan at risk of higher water levels due to climate change: it is an American state, American citizens, and, as illustrated in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, American climate refugees and, sadly, casualties.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech on April 4, 1967, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." He condemned the Vietnam War, which would result in over 50,000 American casualties, as immoral and unjust. He was assassinated, supposedly by James Earl Ray, on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, for the rights of Sanitation Workers, carrying signs stating the obvious, "I am a man," that wasn't at the time (and since the public execution of Tyre Nichols feet from where King was assassinated) being respected. It was an extension, or arm of the Poor People's Campaign, an effort to unify the poor in urban cities and Appalachia, in other words: intersectionality.

So, it's not a fear of Black History/CRT, or drag queen story hour (if you don't support it, don't go), Hispanic Heritage Month, Queer History Month, Women's History Month: it's the Venn Diagram that intersects each of these groups under a common foe that is determined to maintain that status quo by closing polling booths, voter purging, voter suppression. Book bans discourage intersectionality through ignorance, such that each can build coalitions to the point they could become the 53% voting majority in a majoritarian nation.

South African Apartheid existed as "white" Afrikaans declined to a numerical minority.

America might try something like this for 47%, and the continuously psychopathic 1% would like to maintain.

There is another formula:

99% = 46% + 53%, which is > 1%.

The old world had castles, kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses, with serfs willing to subjugate themselves to a monied elite because of "divine will," not sociopathy.

The new world has mansions, billionaires, hedge fund managers, and corporations, with a bewildered herd willing to subjugate themselves to a monied elite because the propaganda they pump them says they are "blessed," not kleptomaniacs.

Intersectionality = cooperation = survival. Authoritarian autocracy does not.

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Silicon Gaslighting...

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Image source: Black Planet dot com

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

Note: I had my bridge removed by a periodontist. That's not as trivial as I thought it would be, recalling me pulling my baby teeth at the age of six. My pain management regimen consisted of 600 mg of Motrin and 500 mg of Tylenol four times a day for two days, plus lots of rest. I guess losing a tooth at six is remarkably different than losing one at sixty. For the sake of public safety, I opted to telework as much as I could that week. I will have posts for Tuesday - Friday next week, taking President's Day off.

*****

Sematech was a consortium of semiconductor industry giants on Ben White Boulevard in Austin, Texas. The taxpayers paid their land expenses through a ten-year tax abatement. Sematech promised Austin jobs. So in the spirit of fairness, Austin obviously wanted Sematech to start paying their taxes, and repaying the homeowners who footed the bill for a decade.

May 9th, 2007

Sematech leaving Austin for Albany

Abstract:

International Sematech will move its headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Albany, N.Y., state officials said May 9.

New York will spend $300 million to provide the buildings and infrastructure required to accommodate the headquarters of Sematech, a consortium of microchip manufacturers and semiconductor research operations, said Alain Kaloyeros, the chief administrative officer of the state University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, located at Albany NanoTech.

The money will go to the University at Albany, which now hosts Sematech's existing research operation. The deal is still being finalized, although Sematech will begin moving some personnel to Albany in July, Kaloyeros said.

Source:

phoenix.bizjournals.com

http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=22519

*****

I worked for Applied Materials at the IBM research facility in Fishkill, New York, from 2011 to 2017 and, ironically, with Albany Nanotech/Sematech on many occasions since my company had equipment installed there. I often passed the photo in Fishkill of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, taken in 2005 with Governor George Pataki and IBM executives. IBM promised jobs. The company needed ten years of tax abatements to grow, and they promised job nirvana. The ten-year clock was UP in 2015. Fishkill wanted their money. IBM wanted another decade-long tax abatement. There was an obvious impasse. Something had to give.

(Reuters) - IBM Corp IBM.N said it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract-chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc to focus on cloud computing and big data analytics.

IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years to take the chip operations off its hands, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

IBM took a related pre-tax charge of $4.7 billion in its third quarter. It also reported a 4 percent drop in revenue on Monday, hurt by weak sales in its software and services businesses.

IBM’s shares fell 8 percent to $167 in premarket trading.

IBM to pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to take chip unit. Abhirup Roy, Reuters, October 20, 2014

If $1.5 billion dollars paid is saving, what in Heaven's name did they OWE Fishkill, NY?

So, color me not exactly nonplussed when I read this article on CNN:

CNN Business — When Microsoft President Brad Smith announced in February 2021 that the tech giant had purchased a 90-acre plot of land in Atlanta’s westside, he laid out a bold vision: The company, he said, would invest in the community and put it “on the path toward becoming one of Microsoft’s largest hubs” in the United States.

The announcement, which was met with enthusiastic coverage in local media, promised the construction of affordable housing, programs to help public school children develop digital skills, support for historically Black colleges and universities, new funding for local nonprofits, and affordable broadband for more people in Atlanta.

“Our biggest question today is not what Atlanta can do to support Microsoft,” Smith wrote. “It’s what Microsoft can do to support Atlanta.”

Two years later, Microsoft announced a series of cost-cutting efforts, including eliminating 10,000 jobs, making changes to its hardware portfolio, and consolidating leases. As part of those moves, Microsoft put the development of its Atlanta campus on pause this month, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The decision to pause plans feels like a “broken promise” that caught many residents of the predominately Black neighborhood where Microsoft planned to build the campus off-guard, according to Jasmine Hope, a local resident and chair of her neighborhood planning unit.

‘Broken promises.’ Tech industry’s real estate pullback leaves communities reeling. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business, February 14, 2023

*****

In the book and 2003 documentary, "The Corporation" by Professor Joel Bakan, he looked at the legal fiat during the Robber Baron era using the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which conferred birthright citizenship for formerly enslaved peoples to corporations, hence making them legal "persons."

So, Dr. Bakan asked the question, "what kind of person would this entity be?"

The chilling and provocative answer: the closest person to a corporation would be a psychopath.

The Corporation likewise forces viewers to ponder key philosophical questions about the role of science and entrepreneurship and who should own knowledge and life. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, introduces the complexities of intellectual property by outlining the history of patenting knowledge and life forms. Here, the film pushes our sensibilities of entrepreneurship and patenting. Patenting is intended to encourage innovation by ensuring that the innovator profits from the discoveries. But indiscriminate patenting can lead to “biopiracy,” –– a recently-coined term for the activities of corporations, universities, and governments that patent the medicinal or therapeutic properties of plants or animals used in traditional and indigenous medicines. The film also discusses the ethics of genetically-modified foods, which dramatically increase food production and change farming practices. For example, “terminator technology” in rice prevents farmers from saving and re-sowing seeds because the seeds have been genetically modified to produce only one crop. Perhaps most disturbing, the film raises the specter of corporations’ owning the entire human genetic code, as well as that of all other species on the planet.

In summary, The Corporation contends that today’s ubiquitous corporations are designed to behave like psychopaths—a provocative premise likely to polarize viewers and invite debate. The film has insights for people on all points of the political spectrum. It is useful for managers who struggle with issues of ethics and corporate social responsibility and for trainers, instructors, and researchers in the fields of strategy, ethics, governance, labor-management relations, and sustainable development.

The Corporation - The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Movie Review

About 1.2% of U.S. adult men and 0.3% to 0.7% of U.S. adult women are considered to have clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. Those numbers rise exponentially in prison, where 15% to 25% of inmates show these characteristics (Burton, B., & Saleh, F. M., Psychiatric Times, Vol. 37, No. 10, 2020). That said, psychopathy spans socioeconomic status, race, gender, and culture, and those who score high on psychopathy scales range from high-functioning executives to prison inmates to people whose psychopathic symptoms may reflect difficult life circumstances more than anything else.

One effort to coordinate thinking in the field is Patrick’s “triarchic model,” which posits three separable trait constructs underlying psychopathic symptoms: “disinhibition,” which includes tendencies toward impulsiveness, irresponsibility, difficulty regulating one’s emotions and behavior, and mistrust of others; “meanness,” which involves deficits in empathy, contempt toward and inability to bond with others, and predatory exploitativeness; and “boldness,” which includes dominance, social assurance, emotional resilience, and adventurousness. Each of these traits has unique developmental features and neurobiological correlates. Patrick developed the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure to assess these trait constructs (Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2009Journal of Personality, Vol. 83, No. 6, 2015).

A broader view of psychopathy. Tori DeAngelis, the American Psychological Association

Wafer fabs are complex places in need of specific technical STEM backgrounds. Local colleges and universities can tailor curriculums so that their graduates "fit the mold" of what XYZ employer is looking for. There are often collaborative research efforts between academia and industry that are encouraged and pursued.

Not all of the jobs are technical. If you have a cafeteria on-site, you need to staff it. Janitorial services are needed for the offices and bathrooms. You need painters, masonry workers, plumbers, and electricians.

All, from the cook to the engineer, are subject to layoffs at the whims of management and shareholders who never met them or care how such a move impacts their families. It is a string of broken promises and shattered dreams.

It's a tax dodge. It's grifting. It's Silicon gaslighting.

So, let me get this straight:

The tobacco industry paid lobbyists to promote the false narrative that smoking wasn’t as bad for your health as the Surgeon General reported. Mike Pence (not a smoker) endorsed in an OpEd that resurfaced after helming the disastrous response to the Coronavirus pandemic (and he wants to run for president, presumably getting the votes from the same people who wanted to kill him on January 6, 2021). Smokers like my father were gaslighted, and paid for this lie with their lungs and lives.

The fossil fuels industry paid those same lobbyists to do their magic, promoting the false narrative that climate change wasn’t as dire as they were already aware of in the late 1970s. Instead of information we could have acted on, we were gaslighted.

A lot of American oligarchs: Bezos (Washington Post), Bloomberg (Bloomberg News), Murdoch (Wall Street Journal, Fox Propaganda), Musk (Twitter), Trump (Twitter knockoff, the Orwellian “Truth Social”), and Zuckerberg (Facebook) are heavily involved in controlling the narrative of what we believe and know as reality. The previous “off the dome” isn’t even an exhaustive list. AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, Newscorp, and Viacom are the six corporations that own 90% of all the media that we consume: radio, television, print, and the Internet. Thirty-eight years ago, it was fifty. We believe what we're fed: "corporate citizens" is a term the corporations lob at us through various forms of media. We believe also from the media that billionaires/oligarchs are "blessed," "geniuses," "highly favored," not tax dodging criminals because that's what their media tell us to believe.

If corporations "are people," are the organizations clinically psychopaths?

Are their minions in lobbying firms and congress merely servile sociopaths?

But this isn’t gaslighting?

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Challenging Utopia...

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Note: The origin of my harshness was this, ON the day we laid Tyre Nichols to rest, I was commenting on a police report of a double amputee being shot to death by the police. Trolls have to troll. After my rebuttal, I heard nothing else.

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

A common trope in science fiction is a misunderstanding, intentional, or unintentional, of evolution. Over time we get smarter, more peaceful, better, or something like that.

The definition of evolution given at the outset of this entry is very general; there are more specific ones in the literature, some of which do not fit this general characterization. Here is a sampling.

Although the work of Charles Darwin (see the entry on Darwinism) is usually the starting point for contemporary understandings of evolution, interestingly, he does not use the term in the first edition of On the Origin of Species, referring instead to "descent with modification.” In the early-mid 20th century, the "modern synthesis" gave birth to population genetics, which provided a mathematization of Darwinian evolutionary theory in light of Mendelian genetics (see also the entry on ecological genetics). This yielded a prevalent—probably the most prevalent—understanding of evolution as "any change in the frequency of alleles within a population from one generation to the next." Note, however, that this definition refers to evolution only in a micro-evolutionary context and thus doesn't reference the emergence of new species (and their new characteristics), although it is intended to underlie those macroevolutionary changes (see the entry on philosophy of macroevolution).

In a popular textbook, Douglas Futuyma gives a more expansive definition:

[biological evolution] is a change in the properties of groups of organisms over the course of generations…it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population to the alterations that led from the earliest organism to dinosaurs, bees, oaks, and humans. (2005: 2)

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evolution/

For one hour of fictional products, it has to be shortened: over time, things get better.

Over time we will reach nirvana. Over time science will solve the mysteries that vex us. Over time we will learn to "live together as brothers and sisters" or perish as fools, per Dr. King. Both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gene Roddenberry were optimistic evolutionists. They could see a future where we conquered our prejudices along with the stars. We worked together across skin tones as one humanity, in peace (at least on Earth), expanding our survivability on other worlds. Particularly for King, Nichele Nichols represented our people would survive into the future, a detail sci-fi writers like H.G. Wells (an enthusiastic eugenicist) conveniently forgot, and H.P. Lovecraft was openly racist and hostile, a reality that still plagues both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. It is why African American speculative fiction writers like Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin is important in an era of projection, obfuscation, and, ironically, "cancel culture." Afrofuturism came from the same well as women's fiction, queer fiction, and studies centered on each genre: to be seen. Florida might as well call February Blank History Month. Frederick Douglass, a Republican, orator, and abolitionist can't be mentioned in "DeSantis-Stan."

Things, over time, don't necessarily get better.

Are we living in [the] age of stupid? The era of the idiot? The answer, of course, is yes, with examples of monstrous moronicism everywhere – from climate deniers to the "plandemic" crowd who believe Covid-19 was cooked up in Bill Gates' basement. On the other hand, human beings have always been incredible creatures. A better question is whether we are, as a species, becoming dumber. If this is already the era of the idiot, what comes next?

An "Idiocracy," according to filmmaker Mike Judge. The Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, and Silicon Valley creator's dystopian 2006 comedy (which he directed and co-wrote with Etan Cohen) arrived with its own terminology to help us prepare for the upcoming reality T.V. special that we may call The Collapse of Reality Itself.

Idiocracy: a disturbingly prophetic look at the future of America – and our era of stupidity, Mike Judge, The Guardian

To get to the "get better" part, fictional Earth and Vulcan two millennia before, had to go through, and survive their global nuclear conflicts (not an easy trick - so far, we have no models). The Vulcans discovered "o'thea": a philosophy of logic/reality-truth after massive savagery and infighting. Earthlings, after MAGA, went through a few things that aren't for the squeamish.

Leon Festnger studied an apocalyptic UFO cult in the 1950s – a precursor to the Heaven’s Gate Cult of the 1990s. They were sure the world would end and had a date. The faithful sold all their worldly goods and waited for the apocalypse, and waited, and waited. Some of the former faithful felt discouraged and left. Others felt their “vibrations” had saved the Earth from destruction. Simple Psychology defines it thus: “Cognitive dissonance (CD) refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. CD produces a feeling of discomfort, leading to an alteration in attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance, etc. “For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition). “Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).”

"Party of Apocalypse" - Reginald L. Goodwin

Jordan Klepper turns the crazy into a shtick on the Daily Show. Crashing Trump's first campaign rally in South Carolina, he ran into a fanbase that has not only still stayed faithful to their cult leader, but they also do not accept Joe Biden as the current president. In their minds, Trump is still president, and they probably wouldn't mind if he suspended The Constitution, elections, and REMAINED president, plugging in his children and grandchildren. This rule by royalty is what Europeans left Europe for. Jordan himself is worried.

We used to have two Americas based on a social construct of race. We now have two Americas based on logic, and illogic, reality and nonreality, fact, and fiction. The purveyor of 73% of election misinformation on the planet was suspended from social media after a filmed, live insurrection on January 6, 2021, that he encouraged, where people died, excrement spread at the Capitol. But, those were "crisis actors," Black Lives Matter, or Antifa (again, which means anti-fascist, and I can't imagine anyone but a fascist having a problem with that). He has now been re-platformed by Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Misinformation is their business model, and the bottom line is far more important than citizenship and a federal republic. The College Board, in a move of abject cowardice, dumbed down the African American AP curriculum, piloted at 60 high schools, and released stripped down nationwide because it hurt the feelings of the High Potentate of DeSantis-Stan!

This is probably what a "Collapse of Reality Itself" looks like.

And it didn't take 500 years, rabid procreation, or a nuclear holocaust to get there.

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The New McCarthyism...

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New liberal ad ties presumptive future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to ‘red scare’ icon Joseph McCarthy, Peter Weber, The Week

Topics: Civics, Civilization, Democracy, Economics, Existentialism, Fascism

Debt Ceiling and Dystopia

The debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.

Failing to increase the debt limit would have catastrophic economic consequences. It would cause the government to default on its legal obligations – an unprecedented event in American history. That would precipitate another financial crisis and threaten the jobs and savings of everyday Americans – putting the United States right back in a deep economic hole just as the country is recovering from the recent recession.

Congress has always acted when called upon to raise the debt limit. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. Congressional leaders in both parties have recognized that this is necessary.

Source: Treasury.gov

The Old McCarthyism

Elected to the Senate in 1946, Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) did not draw major national attention until 1950. On February 9th of that year, he delivered a Lincoln Day address in Wheeling, West Virginia, blaming failures in American foreign policy on Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. The Wisconsin Republican claimed to have a list of known Communists still working in the Department of State. A special subcommittee investigated McCarthy’s charges and rejected them as “a fraud and a hoax.” Still, the outbreak of the Korean War and the highly publicized conviction of Alger Hiss lent credibility to the charges. When McCarthy became chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953, he launched a series of investigations into alleged subversion and espionage. In 1954 a confrontation with the army led to the nationally televised Army-McCarthy hearings, which tarnished McCarthy’s public image, undermined his charges, and prompted his censure by the U.S. Senate.

Source: Senate.gov

The New McCarthyism, or the New Testament of the Soulless

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

This is an excellent definition of the “Big lie,” however, there seems to be no evidence that it was used by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, though it is often attributed to him.

The OSS psychological profile of Hitler described his use of the big lie:

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

Source: Jewish Virtual Library/Joseph Goebbels: The Big Lie

"Then if anyone at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be the persons; and they, in their dealings either with enemies or with their [own] citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public good. But nobody else should meddle with anything of the kind." Plato, The Republic

We tell ourselves lies: E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one, or the "melting pot," Emma Lazarus's poem at the Statue of Liberty, whitewashing the kidnapping of Africans, the indentured servitude of poor whites and Native Americans, the disdain our immigration laws treated immigrants from the Chinese Exclusion Act, Catholics, Italians, Czecholovacians, Russians, to the recently attempted Muslim Ban.

One lie a sizable number of citizens are telling themselves: a demographic shift either isn't happening or can be mitigated by either denying electoral losses or keeping certain people from voting.

America Looks Different

The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.

America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans can grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction.

In 1980, exit polls tell us that the electorate was 88 percent white. In 2012, it was 72 percent white. Hispanics made up 7 percent of the electorate in 2000, 8 percent in 2004, 9 percent in 2008, and 10 percent in 2012. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2050, whites will be 47 percent of the country, while Hispanics will grow to 29 percent and Asians to 9 percent.

If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we must engage them and show our sincerity.

Source: The Growth and Opportunity Project (the so-called autopsy), page 7, paragraph 2

A functional party would look at this and disseminate it. They might hire consultants to form focus groups. The message would be broadcast from radio stations, television, and the Internet: Republicans want to be a "big tent" party. We (republicans) want to expand to minorities, women, and youth. A function party acting on these practical, fact-based conclusions would look completely different than the fiasco we are currently witnessing. They have shown since this report to be racing in the opposite direction, heading over the proverbial lemming cliff. Maybe they tried, but most of their electorate wasn't receptive to "others" being under their red tent.

Rural Americans reliably votes republican and guaranteed the re-elections of Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, miniatures of Trump showing after higher infection rates and deaths from Covid, gun massacres, faux crusades against asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants - usually coming for construction jobs at American companies paying them cash under the table, and wars against Critical Race Theory (i.e., accurately taught American history), Nazi book bans, and assaulting the beach of Drag Queen story hour with AR15s - all it takes to win elections is the scare and make angry the right number of white people.

The New McCarthyism is based on Goebbels's "Big Lie," the current one given by a septuagenarian that could not accept another septuagenarian who beat him in the 2020 election. So narcissistic and pathological was the loser he fomented a coup in the 21st Century, 20 years after 9-11. Osama Bin Laden is gone, a casualty of Seal Team Six, but his chief aim of destabilizing the west of showing the "Great Satan" to be a paper tiger. To show that the ideals we espoused overseas couldn't even be maintained at home. The Civil Rights Movement, the killing of African Americans: all of this has been televised and broadcast. Osama and Vladimir Putin only pushed on an open sore and poured in salt. The culmination of Osama and Vladimir's wildest dreams was the election of a mop-headed, fake billionaire that has lost more money than he's ever earned. The book I believe he read from cover to cover and emulated in his rallies was "My New Order," a collection of speeches by Adolf Hitler. It is in its original form, 1,008 pages long. At one time, he had an attention span beyond that of a gnat. He seems to have committed it to memory. The only person who would know for sure, Ivana, is buried surreptitiously on his golf course in New Jersey.

Concealed carry devolved to open carry, in many states requiring no registration or training, studies showing the threats to African Americans getting shot elevated by such conditions. The goal of the New McCarthyism is the same as old-time American Klan-robed fascism: it frightens African Americans first, then the general public. Where does anyone feel safe now when schools, malls, and places of worship have become killing fields? The government dysfunction we’ve seen since the Speaker vote debacle and the threat not to raise the debt ceiling (25% of which was accrued during the previous administration) is by design. It is to “wear out” the electorate; it is the proverbial “pox on both houses,” and the convenient discovery of classified documents with former Vice Presidents Biden and Pence is both sides-ism on steroids and textbook gaslighting. It is to give us no reason to believe voting will change anything. It is voter suppression by gaslighting because the Growth and Opportunity Project would take too much work. and change. They are not a serious governing party: they are the comments section on Facebook reading "Green Eggs and Ham."

The Republic is a repudiation of the rights of kings to rule over a country, the lives of peasants, and hoard wealth for themselves. The new world kings/billionaires/oligarchs are trying to reestablish that through means of fear, violence, and terror.

Kevin McCarthy will cement his legacy as this nation's weakest (and likely, short-lived) Speaker of the House. He's given away his power and threatened the default of the full faith and credit of the United States. This would defund the Ukraine war on Ukraine's and Russia's sides. It would raise U.S. unemployment from record lows to third-world levels. It would pitch the world over that same lemming's cliff into the Greatest Depression, possibly the last. It would guarantee an electoral loss for the Grand Old Party that rejected the price of growth and opportunity: diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Hierarchy, Power, and Resources...

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The Last Kingdom recap: season one, episode three: succession in Wessex, Sarah Hughes, The Guardian

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

The modern martial arts belt ranking system first started emerging in 1907 when the creator of Judo, Jigoro Kano, introduced the iconic Judo uniform and belt. Before that, his students practiced traditional Japanese kimonos. However, back then, there existed only two belt colors: white and black. White belts were those in the process of learning the fundamentals, while black belts were students who mastered the basics, knew how to use them functionally, and were ready to pursue Judo on a more serious and advanced level. The white coloring represented purity, avoidance of ego, and simplicity, while the black symbolized a fuller repertoire of knowledge.

A popular belief within the martial arts community is that every student started off with a white belt, then gradually, it darkened in color from all the blood, sweat, and tears of training. However, there exists no real historical evidence of this practice, and it is generally regarded to be little more than a myth. Source: https://stouttrainpitt.com/

Hierarchy (noun): a system in which people or things are arranged according to their importance. Cambridge Dictionary

Every nation has an arrangement of those who are deemed "important." In the United Kingdom, since Charles ascended after the death of his mother, Elizabeth, they are apparently the beneficiaries of the Norman invasion in 1066, which deposed someone named Harald Godwinson and the House of Wessex. After several centuries of colonization, plunder, and slavery, the "Commonwealth" was born, and the fairytale of Camelot was used to justify plunder. One hierarchy is justified with belt colors, the other with propaganda.

In November 2022, we reached eight billion with something of a shrug. We were 4.4 billion my senior year in high school, 1979 - 1980.

The average human takes up an area of approximately one square meter.

The volume of Earth is about 1,000 billion cubic kilometers, per the World Bank.

4,400,000,000,000/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 4.4E-12

8,000,000,000,000/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 8.0E-12

Relax. These surface-to-volume ratios only work on the nanoscale. For example, if we were a metal, say gold, the spectrographic analysis would show that due to the S/V ratio being different, the color of a macroscopic (seen) bar of gold would be different on the nanoscale (in many cases, blue or other colors) because the S/Vs are different.

It is a gross and stark illustration that as we exponentially increase in population, we're exponentially decreasing the ability to feed our population. The fraction's denominator did not change, but you can bet feeding the first humans in Africa was a lot simpler math than eight billion. The first thing learned in kindergartens for the 99% is to share. One presumes the first thing learned in nurseries for plutocrats is how to hoard.

Therefore, the castes of royalty, race, and inequality justify hoarding resources in a siphon-up operation (the antonym of "trickledown"). Billionaires, like kings, influence through propaganda the justification of resource theft. To ensure the running of this machine, you need some willing advocates (e.g., Kyrsten Sinema, Boris Johnson, Joe Manchin, Rishi Sunak) in world governments such that the obscenely wealthy will pay little or nothing in taxes in their respective countries. Camouflage the theft with drivel like "free markets" or "God's will." Having a compliant court system to define "money as free speech" helps magnify your megaphone and hides where and from what country your campaign donations are coming [from]. Social media, with the protection of Section 230, can proverbially "shout fire in crowded theaters" without consequences, except the empty "we'll do better" promises. They pay for Members of Parliament, Senators, House Members, and presidents to enact their agendas, despite their nation's constitutions. Democracy is, thus, anathema to avarice.

We have a global hierarchal social construct. Instead of the distribution of resources that ensures the health, safety, and welfare of the human tribe, a justification is given to those more "worthy" of the resources: bloodlines, divine right, "good genes" (eugenics), going to the "right" schools, being born on the "right" side of the tracks, "talented tenths"; secret fraternal orders, and open orgies of oligarch opulence like Davos. It is the justification of high crimes and misdemeanors committed in plain sight. It is the framework of how we justify the "haves" and the "have-nots." It is a form of societal cognitive dissonance. It has justified the grand theft of natural resources, political power, and, thus, wealth over millennia. It has no analog in nature and does not guarantee species survival.

The dinosaurs did not perish from arrogance. They [simply] had no science to tell them that the meteor was coming.

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Tribute to the Trekkie...

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3f_vD6icWk
December 10, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Prize Speech


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

Note: Sourced from https://physics4thecool.blogspot.com/2011/10/honoring-trekkie.html, my previous blog posting site.

"If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am part of a generation that, when we pass, will have the last memories of hearing your voice on the radio, on television, and not be a documentary or a YouTube embed. Small children, that terrible day when we...lost you.

I remember when after the assassination of Martin Luther King, a pickup truck with a confederate flag flying behind it rode past my kindergarten, shouting epithets and gloating at his death (1968).

I saw my first burning cross at the age of fourteen (1976) during my first overnight encampment with JROTC.

This wasn’t that long ago.

Like your support of the idea of us in the future in Star Trek, we tried to embody that hope in every class we tackled, every Calculus, Physics, and Engineering problem we solved: we strove to make you proud of us, despite the fact you were here and then gone so soon.

Happy birthday sir, and THANK YOU!

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https://youtu.be/cLOZxOo5Czo

"At the end of Star Trek's first season, Nichelle was thinking seriously of leaving the show, but a chance and moving meeting with Martin Luther King changed her mind. He told her she couldn't give up...she was a vital role model for young black women in America. Needless to say, Nichelle stayed with the show and has appeared in the first six Star Trek movies. She also provided the voice for Lt. Uhura on the Star Trek animated series in 1974-75."

See Star Trek Database: Nichelle Nichols

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Munchausen by Congress...

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Research Gate dot net: Epidemiology of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in New Zealand

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

Tina Depuy (from her website: tee-nuh doo-pwee) wrote an analysis of the Republican Party when the House of Representatives was under John "weed head" Bohner in 2013:

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, now referred to as Factious Disorder by Proxy or FDbP, is where a parent or caretaker enjoys the attention of having a sick child. Hence, they exaggerate and sometimes induce their victim’s symptoms. Children are made to be sick; parents are given sympathy for their seeming stoicism. It’s adulation-seeking via child abuse.

In this case, the caretaker is Congress (specifically the Republican-controlled House). The thing they’re enjoying making unwell is, well, us: the country, our economy, postal services, meat inspections, air traffic control, infrastructure, law enforcement, military, credit rating, commerce, and every other part of a country [thought] of around the globe as a superpower.

This disorder can sometimes be traced to an early legit emergency, where the caregiver with FDbP first experiences the rush of admiration they’ll later crave. For the GOP, it’s probably September 11, 2001. It was on that day the then-leader of the Republican party (the same dude the GOP no longer acknowledges exists, they’ll even listen to Mitt Romney speak before uttering his name) finally got to do everything he wanted without question – all with an over (and brief) 80 percent approval rating. He pre-emptively invaded Iraq without paying for it, flattened wages, made the rich richer, and transformed higher education into a profit-driven industry. More importantly, he got Democrats to shut up while he pretended drunken-sailor-spending was compassionate conservatism.

Congress has Munchausen by Proxy, Tina Depuy, March 2, 2013, Post Independent.

The above article and its analysis by analog have aged incredibly well.

Unless you've been living under a rock, we now have the weakest Speaker of the House in the history of the republic who "gave away the store" to MAGA extremists and got his authority weakened. Is George Santos’s real name even George Santos? The only reason the pathological liar is tolerated is that it gives Kev a four-vote thin margin. If he removes him, it triggers a special election in a Blue State in a Democratic-leaning district (that somehow woke up from their drunken stupor and is pissed George is their Representative). If he were to survive the primary, the fictional Klingons have a proverb: "revenge is a dish that is best served cold." That would cut Kev down to three and resorting to public self-immolation. The constituents would send another Democrat to the House, increasing Hakeem Jeffries' numbers and steps toward Speaker in 2024. Under "Kev the Spinless," we can look forward to nothing but show trials, no credible laws proposed that could [possibly] pass the Senate, and going over the debt ceiling cliff in September, if Kev makes it that long.

Newton Gingrich started this mess. His philosophy was playing a zero-sum game, political terrorism, and nihilism. It was always a "Contract ON America," never WITH America, as it ignored a sizeable and growing part of the electorate that demographically, the republicans let themselves get caught flatfooted in the 21st Century, so: voter suppression as a Hail Mary. It was under Gingrich we started seeing the debt ceiling being used as a tool for hostage-taking (the entire government). He somehow (creepily) married his high school Geometry teacher, divorced her for his first mistress, then divorced the second wife (the previously-mentioned first mistress) for his second mistress (and now third wife) Calista WHILE trying to impeach Bill Clinton for the same thing!

Gingrich attempted a soft coup by Constitution: he aimed to impeach Bill Clinton and Al Gore and, by default, become President of the United States. He was both hypocritical and shameless, just like the Republican Party now. Zero-sum became the Tea Party under the first (and only) African American president, then the Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," which led inexorably to MAGA, having the same characteristics and number of letters as "Nazi." After midterm losses, he stepped down as Speaker in the face of full rebellion. Bob Livingston challenged him, then had the same "strayed from his marriage" issues as Gingrich and Clinton. That led to wrestling coach pedophile Dennis "the groomer" Hastert before Nancy Pelosi's first run. After that, John Boehner (ran out by the Tea Party), Paul Ryan (Ibid), and Nancy Pelosi for her last go-around, followed by a slimy, whimpering, limp surfer tan in a suit. Newt posing now as a wisened, sage political philosopher, is gaslighting from a windbag.

Do soft coups then become dry run practice coups like storming the Michigan Capitol under Gretchen Whitmore's first term as governor? Her attempted kidnapping and threats to her administration flukes? I guess Charlottesville, August 11 - 12, 2017, and The Insurrection of January 6, 2021, were all Antifa (antifascists) dressed as conservatives and bringing with them the Grand Pooh-Bah of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos?

"The Republican Party is the party for normal Americans." Newt Gingrich.

Unlike Depuy's analysis, this didn't age well.

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Young Guns: an Epitaph...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Dark Humor, Democracy, Existentialism

In 1870s Lincoln County, New Mexico, English cattleman John Tunstall hires a wayward young gunman named Billy to join the "Regulators" who live and work on his ranch: Doc ScurlockJose Chavez y ChavezDick Brewer, "Dirty" Steve Stephens, and Charlie Bowdre. Tunstall tries to educate and civilize the young men in his employ and clashes with rival rancher Lawrence Murphy, a well-connected Irishman in league with the corrupt Santa Fe Ring.

One of Murphy's hired hands, McCloskey, joins Tunstall while Doc attempts to court Murphy's ward, Yen Sun. Murphy's men kill Tunstall, leading his lawyer friend Alexander McSween to arrange for the Regulators to be deputized and given warrants for the killers' arrest. Hotheaded Billy challenges Dick's authority as the group's foreman as the Regulators attempt to take Murphy's henchmen alive. Instead, Billy guns down several unarmed men, including McCloskey, whom he suspects of still working for Murphy. Newspapers paint the Regulators as a deadly gang headed by a larger-than-life outlaw, "Billy the Kid."

Wikipedia: Young_Guns (film)

Make no mistake: Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy are proud Republicans. But they believe the party had lost sight of the ideals it believes in, like economic freedom, limited government, the sanctity of life, and putting families first. This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican party. These Young Guns of the House GOP—Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)—are ready to take their belief in the principles that have made America great and translate it into solutions that will make the future even better, solutions that will create private sector jobs, maximize individual freedom, and establish a better world for our children. This groundbreaking book is a call to action that sets forth a plan for growth, opportunity, and commitment to propel this country to prosperity. Together, the Young Guns are changing the face of the Republican party and giving us a new road map back to the American dream.

Young Guns

A New Generation of Conservative Leaders

By Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy, published by Simon & Schuster

A Faustian bargain is a pact whereby a person trades something of supreme moral or spiritual importance, such as personal values or the soul, for some worldly or material benefit, such as knowledge, power, or riches. Britannica online

When Kev sought the Speakership previously, he eighty-sixed himself by his gaffe on Benghazi and Hillary Clinton (saying the quiet part out loud) and an alleged affair (when Republicans CARED about things like that). My favorite Kev-ism is the one that came and went like a silent, deadly fart: "I think Putin pays Trump" a month before Orange Satan clinched the nomination, and we've been in the Twilight Zone ever since.

Kevin McCarthy said that the "President bore responsibility for the Capital Riot on January 6," then voted with the insurrectionists who wanted to overthrow a free and fair election. He followed that up with a whirlwind tour of Butt-kissing down at the gaudy resort of the twice-impeached leader of the Republican Party in Florida. He could have invoked the 25th Amendment. He could have whipped the votes in the House from Republican members to support impeachment BOTH times! He raised money for the "Taliban 20" that voted against his Speakership, and Marjorie Taylor, "Secret Jewish Space Lasers," found out the hard way to get what he wants - power - he would lie to even the QUEEN of MAGA. To enter into a Faustian bargain, one assumes "The Kev" had a soul to haggle with the Orange Devil from Mar-a-Lard-o in trade. Jellyfish have more spine.

“Created realities” and the vote for Speaker.

This is the first time in a century that there’s been a failed vote for Speaker. “Kev” is like the Republican Party: no agenda, no platform, and no ideology to govern. All this after copious Butt-kissing on the altar of the graven image of Orange Cheeto. The party has a problem with facts and reality. Kev is the last man standing for the “Young Guns." The Tea Party drove out the former. Kev-o is being driven crazy in prime time.

*****

The aide said that guys like me [Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not how the world works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and we create our own reality when we act. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and all of you will be left to study what we do." [The New York Times Magazine] Attributed to Karl Rove, which he denies.

*****

The GOP Leader in the House cursed at his chaotic, fractious, raucous caucus, and Gunboat Barbie, Lauren Boebert, cursed him back.

Hakeem Jeffries got 212 votes (in one round), Kev 202, and Jim Jordan 20 after THREE. He failed to get elected Speaker SIX TIMES on Wednesday (by Thursday, as I type this, that count went to ten), and by the House Clerk not gaveling when time expired, it allowed them to sneak a few more votes in to get the ONE successful vote out of seven: to adjourn, and avoid at the time a seventh defeat. Nathanial Banks of Massachusetts holds the longest, most contentious record at 133 - right before the poorly-named Civil War, and I think Kev-a-Tron is going for the Guinness Book of World Records. We now have Kev-bro, or likely Steve Scalese, self-described as "David Duke without the baggage." What did that MEAN, anyway? Even if Kev managed to limp to the Speakership, he's already the WEAKEST Speaker in the nation's history. We haven't gotten to funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, or funding Ukraine against Russian aggression. Whoever's Speaker, the next two years should be "fun." Thanks to Jonah Goldberg, his "fecal festival" observation has become part of my lexicon. So apropos for the two-year anniversary of an insurrection that sadly involved feces and urine from barbarians.

If spineless Kev-muffins wants to “play Speaker” so badly, why doesn’t he BUY a gavel and podium at Walmart or Amazon? It would be FAR cheaper and less humiliating. He could knock himself out all day and post selfies. That is the only functionality other than breathing and going to the bathroom that the “raucous caucus” appears to have mastered. The House Republicans aren’t lawmakers: they’re the logical conclusion of electing the poorly spelled, grammatically challenged comments on Facebook.

Whatever soulless deals "the Kev" promised with the "Space Lasers Caucus," the next Speaker, if it's not him, will have to continue it to maintain a modicum of sanity for as long as humanly possible before like Ryan, Cantor, Boehner, and Kev-ums to leave Arkham Asylum to save it. Al Qaeda, the Taliban (original, and 20), QAnon, MAGA, and all terrorists have the same common goal: make America (not "great”) but ungovernable. If you truly believe that “Government is not the solution to our problem, the government is the problem” (Reagan), you CAN'T ALLOW it to function for anyone other than billionaires. In such a nihilistic, sadomasochistic, Murchassen-by-proxy worldview, this demonstrated chaos to elect a Speaker, without which there IS no 118th Congress, on the second anniversary of the January 6 Insurrection is not a bug: it’s a desired, psychotic feature.

This is embarrassing and has shown the American people that the slim majority the Republicans enjoy should be erased in 2024. They should not be allowed to govern until they take their jobs more seriously than their social media followers.

He’s a ‘Chaos Candidate,’ and He’d Be a Chaos President,’ Jeb Bush. Truer words have never been spoken, and the chaos has become a contagion.

 

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Kindred and Us...

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Image source: Carter Matt dot com

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

Note: Apologies for the late and last 2022 blog post. My laptop has had its own mind lately.

My "Rotten Tomatoes" review:

"I've been a fan of Octavia Butler since reading my first novel by her, "Mind of My Mind," about a vampiric telepath named Doro: an immortal from Africa that devours your soul, so he can essentially be immortal at the cost of what makes you "you": your mind and soul. Butler makes us, through fiction, look at race, class, gender, and the impact of a hierarchical society whose behaviors reflect our slavery past in America. Notice that no other nation has our domestic violence problems: the Second Amendment was specifically designed for quelling slave rebellions. The fact that the first African American president was elected re-elected, and the response was a vaudevillian reality TV pretend billionaire, Kindred, could not be more timely. We need more from her, NK Jemison, and other speculative BIPOC writers. It's been a long time coming."

My wife and I watched it on Hulu, and like "The Handmaid's Tale," she was immediately hooked. She had never been a fan of science fiction, but I corrected her by saying that Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler are speculative fiction writers:

A type of story or literature that is set in a world that is different from the one we live in or that deals with magical or imagined future events:She tells readers that she writes "speculative fiction," defined as "fiction in which impossible things happen."Her speculative fiction novel is set in the near future. Cambridge Dictionary

I'm a Trekkie, but in Kindred, the protagonist, Dana, time travels (a popular science fiction trope) to the antebellum south, where she meets two of her ancestors: a black woman and her slave owner obsessed with her. Her technology isn't going at superluminal speeds and whipping around the sun: her tech is the terror of thinking she's going to die, which pulls her back to Rufus Weylan, and Alice, his father's slave. Butler doesn't explain the mechanism of how this is done (like, do we really know how warp drive would work?), but the writing by Butler and the 21st Century adaptors of her fiction pulls you into the story. Dana is going back in time to ensure the (in this case) "grandmother paradox" favors her being born.

Terror as a tech: the United States, the John Winthrop self-professed "shining city on a hill," has been at war 93% of the time since 1776. Assaulting the indigenous inhabitants and kidnapping an uncompensated labor force from the African continent: the only way you can keep such a psychopathic system in some semblance of "functionality" is with violence. That terror pulls Dana through the corridors of time from 2016 to the 19th Century, where her interracial relationship with Kevin could not be seen as possible or desirable. Her travels aren't with Industrial Light and Magic special effects and light shows: it is raw, guttural fear, shrieks, and screams audible to her neighbors that remind you of Mrs. Kravitz and her patient husband Abner from the TV series "Bewitched," which I'm sure inspired Butler when she wrote the characters. Dana is repelled by the rigid codes that don't respect her autonomy and compelled by the need to rescue Rufus at several key epochs where he could have perished, and she would thereby cease to exist.

America prides itself on being E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one people. Yet the stratification of our society into classes, types, and colors frame our politics, our discourse, our understanding of history, our rejection of facts, and our nostalgia for a halcyon era where we were "great": sequestered on reservations, enslaved, segregated, closeted, miserable, except for the dominant culture at the top of the Great Seal Pyramid.

Selfish desires are burning like fires.

Among those who hoard the gold

As they continue to keep the people asleep

And the truth from being told

Racism and greed keep people in need

From getting what's rightfully theirs

Cheating, stealing, and double-dealing

As they exploit the people's fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people's homes

And all the surrounding land

Buying and selling their humble dwelling

In the name of the Master Plan.

E Pluribus Unum, The Last Poets, Genius Lyrics

And this framework keeps us at each other's throats, clawing for scraps on a planet that surpassed 8 billion humans last month. Every structure of violence has within it the kernel of resource allocation: who gets WHAT. When you define yourselves at the top of the pyramid, you must convince the rest of society that this evolved or divine position is correct, "logical," and "rational." Your progeny inherit this "superiority" in perpetuity. Anyone disagreeing with you is met with violence, even unto death.

The Myth of Race, Robert Wald Sussman; The Emperor's New Clothes, The Race Myth, Joseph L. Graves, Jr.; Racism, Not Race, Alan M. Goodman, Joseph L. Graves, Jr., all give credible, anthropological, biological data pointing to that we are all humans sharing the same planet with 8 billion other humans. Even if we could accelerate a rocket to near-light speed, we're parsecs from anything resembling the current planet on which we've evolved. Climate change is a real dilemma we currently face that threatens our survival. Due to laws of physics and causality, time travel and warp speed have yet to materialize. We can face the future by reconciling with our past. The future is rocky and uncertain if we don't.

Despite the gaslighting, we are Kindred.

I invite you to stream the Hulu series, write a review online, and treat one another like we're related: because, ultimately, we are. This will also support getting a Season 2.

"God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth" - Acts 17:26

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Grievance, Gridlock, Grift...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democratic Republic, DNA, Existentialism, Fascism

The genesis of grievance

The man who was least deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in history is the beginning of the roots of white fragility. It wasn't that he might have had learning disabilities or wasn't suited for college. He turned his focus outward to "others": immigrants, feminists, the LGBT, and minorities. Once he settled into a syndicated broadcast on AM Talk Radio that proved more lucrative than what his WWII veteran father earned as a fighter pilot, lawyer, and legislator, he founded a cottage industry of handling that fragility by blaming others for personal shortcomings with no sense of hypocrisy in the party he championed labeling itself the "party of personal responsibility and family values."

In 1969 Limbaugh graduated from Cape Girardeau Central High School, where he played football and was a Boys State delegate.[15][16][17][18] At age 16, he worked his first radio job at KGMO, a local radio station. He used the air name Rusty Sharpe having found "Sharpe" in a telephone book.[12][19] Limbaugh later cited Chicago DJ Larry Lujack as a major influence on him, saying Lujack was "the only person I ever copied."[20] In deference to his parents' desire to attend college, he enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University but dropped out after two semesters. According to his mother, "he flunked everything [...] he just didn't seem interested in anything except radio."[12][21] Biographer Zev Chafets asserts that Limbaugh's life was largely dedicated to gaining his father's respect.[22] Source: Wikipedia/Rush_Limbaugh

The high priest of gridlock

In the 1994 campaign season, to offer an alternative to Democratic policies and to unite distant wings of the Republican Party, Gingrich and several other Republicans came up with a Contract with America, which laid out ten policies that Republicans promised to bring to a vote on the House floor during the first 100 days of the new Congress if they won the election.[61] Gingrich and other Republican candidates for the House of Representatives signed the contract. The contract ranged from issues such as welfare reformterm limits, crime, and a balanced budget/tax limitation amendment, to more specialized legislation such as restrictions on American military participation in United Nations missions.[62]

In the November 1994 midterm elections, Republicans gained 54 seats and took control of the House for the first time since 1954. Long-time House Minority LeaderBob Michel of Illinois had not run for re-election, giving Gingrich, the highest-ranking Republican returning to Congress, the inside track at becoming Speaker. The midterm election that turned congressional power over to Republicans "changed the center of gravity" in the nation's capital.[63]Time magazine named Gingrich its 1995 "Man of the Year" for his role in the election.[3] Source: Wikipedia/Newt_Gingrich

The apotheosis of grift

"Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." President Ronald Reagan's inaugural address.

Despite the propaganda from the "Never-Trumper" folks, Saint Ronnie Reagan wasn't: a saint. Reagan had a racist conversation with Richard Nixon, mocking an African delegation as "monkeys." He was famous for referencing African Americans with the terms "young bucks" and "welfare queens." Ironically, the Nixon administration came after Donald and his father for discriminatory housing practices. TO THIS DAY and with DNA evidence, he still wants the Central Park Exonerated Five rearrested and executed. Trump came down that escalator in his Ivory Tower and talked like a racist white man from Queens, famous for attacking black children in the 1970s. Reagan did his racism with winks and nods, plausible denial for any blacks who supported him: Trump was, and is, who he has always been.

After railing before the election about inflation and gas prices, they immediately, on a DIME, switched to Hunter Biden's laptop, A.K.A. Benghazi 2.0, without a SHRED of shame or cognizance of hypocrisy. They had no political platform in 2020 and none in the midterms. They eeked a majority out of gerrymandered districts and refused to campaign about the fifty-year project of overturning Roe vs. Wade. Because when you have no policies or a framework to govern, trolling is what you do. If Elon kills Twitter, that might be the best thing he’s ever done. It’s dumbed down our public discourse and allowed conspiracy theories to run rampant as “free speech.”

The fact that Trumpism is largely a reincarnation of the German American Bund is beyond dispute. To paraphrase Thom Hartmann's latest article, we are in late-stage Reaganism. Lauren Boebert and Matt "pedo" Gaetz refused to stand or applaud during Voldemyr Zelinski's address to Congress (you know, like normal humans), and "Boe" is on the outs with the former Mrs. Marjorie Taylor "Nazi Barbie, Secret Jewish Space Lasers" Greene. There was no "red wave," but elections were razer close: we almost got Herschel Walker as a Senator from Georgia, and the aforementioned mean girls got reelected. We are FAR from out of the authoritarian woods yet. If January 6, 2021, isn't punished, including Trump and other plotters, it was a dry run practice before the next bloody coup.

We went from a B-Movie actor whose film credits included "Bedtime with Bonzo" to a reality television star that was a carefully-crafted public fiction by Jeff Zucker and NBC. Mark Burnett had to replace his office furniture that had long succumbed to Entropy. We as a nation are at the endpoint of the Lewis Powell memo. Before it, lobbyists were rare to nonexistent. The confluence of government and corporations hasn't always been our "normal." We have to decide IF we're a "nation of laws and not of men" or if the only men that will count in the opposite of a democratic republic are wealthy, white, male, cisgender American oligarchs. “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini; however, it's unlikely he ever said this, but what it outlines is disturbing nonetheless. We give far too much attention and power to narcissists with itchy Twitter fingers and deep pockets to corrupt politicians.

We can have either a functioning Constitutional Republic or we can have the Hunger Games. We cannot have both.

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Takeaways...

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Democrats kept the Senate. But Georgia is still important. Ellen Ioanes, Vox

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Women's Rights

First, explanation and apologies: I'm working on a five-year-old laptop, and the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) is no longer supplying parts, or at least that's what Geek Squad is saying. Early in the climb of Bill Gates to billionaire status, he introduced something that became a model for everything from software to computer chips: every new version of Microsoft Office was no longer compatible with the previous version. Therefore, you had to purchase the new software. It's easy to translate that to other industries, such that you have to make the OEM richer than the dreams of Avarice. This is not a conspiracy theory. It's American capitalism as it's practiced in its current stage.

Here are my takeaways from the 2022 midterms, in no particular order:

I was the 150th vote in the state of North Carolina, and my first cast vote was for Cheri Beasley, former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, meaning she has held an elected statewide office. She was beaten by Ted Budd, a multimillionaire who opposed the certification of the 2020 election in Congress prior to the insurrection on January 6th. He would also vote for a nationwide ban on abortion procedures, even in the event it threatens the life of the mother. Traveling from Durham, NC, I saw a billboard of her image darkened, as was done with President Barack Obama, and Senator Raphael Warnock (in a runoff with Herschel Walker, who can't string a sentence together). For Senator Jon Ossoff, they added to his darkened features, the common Jewish trope of a hooked nose. I met her at NC A&T's homecoming (GHOE - greatest homecoming on Earth) and stated that I hoped to call her Senator-Elect. Alas, with all her qualifications, they picked the Congressman who is known for cheating farmers, paid by big pharma, and a fitting replacement to Senator Richard Burr, who KNEW about the pandemic months before, and did not alert any of his constituents in the state. Instead, he invested in some well-placed insider trading, lining his pockets rather than warning his constituents. In the end, North Carolina is one of the states that seceded from the Union over the issue of slavery. A qualified, accomplished jurist had two major strikes against her: black, and female. The DNC didn't help her either. The descendants of the slaveowners and the peasants who fought the Civil War on behalf of southern oligarchs haven't changed their minds.

Stacey Abrams lost to Brian Kemp for the same reasons I mentioned for Cheri Beasley. Arguably, Stacey Abrams' organization, Fair Fight gave us Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. She too had the dual dilemma of being an African American female. It does not matter the accomplishments of either of these women. It does not matter their pedigree, the fact that they are lawyers. The former Republican representative of Georgia's 3rd district, Lynn Westmoreland called the first black president and his wife, the first lady "uppity," both also lawyers and graduates of Harvard and Princeton: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative Republican from Georgia, let slip today what critics have been saying is the subtext of many of the attacks on Barack Obama: He's "uppity." According to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, Westmoreland was discussing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech outside the House chamber today when he veered into his thoughts on Michelle and Barack Obama. "Just from what little I've seen of her and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said. When a reporter sought clarification on the racially loaded word, Westmoreland replied, "Uppity, yeah." Georgia GOP Congressman Calls Obama 'Uppity', Gregory Smith, Washington Post. There's a long list of official definitions at the link. However, this succinct one from Urban Dictionary I believe captures the spirit of the southern zeitgeist: "Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one's place in a social hierarchy. Assuming equality with someone higher up the social ladder."

Val Demmings ran with the same handicap in Florida against the least consequential senator in U.S. history. He is quite well-known for not showing up to work, denying the effects of climate change on his state, and flaccid ineffectiveness after the Parkland gun massacre. Despite besting him (in my opinion) in the one and only debate they had, he was re-elected comfortably, shouting the democratic tropes of communism, socialism, and the fact that Val is the complexion that she is, and he is not.

Charlie Crist had the same problem as Terry McAuliffe had in Virginia: he's a retread candidate for governor, going against the one who's warring against "woke" Disney, "woke" books and history, "woke" math, "woke" diversity, equity, and inclusion, "woke" climate science, and "woke" empathy to the "tired and poor" in Emma Lazarus' poem. He won not saying in a debate with Crist whether he would serve a full term as governor, knowing full well he's got the "woke dies today" koozies for his presidential 2024 campaign. Charlie Crist ran on empathy, and Florida is "better than this." DeSantis played Orange Julius, stole his act, and made The Atlantic's Adam Sewer's essay and book, "The Cruelty is the Point" his modus operandi.

Tim Ryan has the irony of losing to a man who didn't live in Ohio and specifically spurred the help of the sitting president in his party. It was an uphill battle, but in the end, PAC money and the fact the seat was and is republican now that JD Vance is Senator-elect.

Beto O'Rourke campaigned barnstorming across the state of Texas, visiting every county. He challenged Governor Abbott in a press conference after the Uvalde gun massacre that upended everything we've been told about Texas law enforcement as the "gold standard" for active shooter response. Abbott let hundreds of his citizens die in a climate-induced freeze, and inspired refrigerator trucks to deal with the bodies piling up from Covid due to his negligence and refusal to do mask mandates. He took away bodily autonomy from Texas women BEFORE the Supreme Court did it nationally. Abbott won, and Texas lost.

North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Florida, and Arkansas were a part of the Confederacy, and the first act of insurrection was secession from the Union over the issue of slavery. The first "Big Lie" is that it wasn't slavery when as in each case, their stated reason was the continuation of slavery in the expanding western territories and the supposedly inherent inferiority of African people trapped in involuntary, uncompensated servitude.

The Senate is still in the hands of the Democrats, thanks to an activist Supreme Court. On the conservative side, they all essentially lied to get the jobs: "Roe is settled precedent." It didn't help that Samuel Alito FLEW overseas to Italy to take a mocking victory lap. A lot of women, men, and young people were pissed.

Georgia is in a runoff again, largely because that's how the machinations are designed. Thinking that African Americans would be discouraged, hoodwinked, and threatened into not voting in a second election depresses their numbers for either Dixiecrats, who designed the original voter suppression systems, and conservative republicans, the inheritors of the Southern Strategy.

I'm going to donate to Senator Warnock's campaign because he is what Georgia and the United States Senate need, NOT a football player demonstrably suffering from traumatic brain injury. In the words of my Fraternity Brother, Jamal Bryant, “They thought we were so slow, that we were so stupid, that we would elect the lowest caricature of a stereotypical broken Black man as opposed to somebody who is educated and erudite and focused." Herschel is the stereotypical black man who will vote as he's directed, and do as they say. Herschel is not "uppity," and can be coached by his equally dumb equivalent, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The House is on a razor's edge and could go either way, with narrow margins such that if the Republicans take it, Kevin McCarthy will likely not be Speaker, and Nancy knows that chamber better than anyone, even in the minority. If the Democrats keep the chamber, every model from news outlets and 538 needs to be thrown out the window.

The "red wave" pundits and Fox propaganda expected turned out to be a dribble, or more accurately, a urinary tract infection for the Trumpian fascists: low volume, and painful.

Georgia: "Don't boo, VOTE!" President Barack Obama

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