civil rights (8)

Science Literacy, and Democracy...

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Derived from Carl Sagan in "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," on Skeptic.com: Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (infographic)

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

 

 

"The human understanding is no dry light, but receives infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one would.' For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding." Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

 

"A clairvoyance gap with adversary nations is announced, and the Central Intelligence Agency, under Congressional prodding, spends tax money to find out whether submarines in the ocean depths can be located by *thinking hard* at them."

 

Both quotes from "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle in the Dark," chapter 12 - "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," Sir Francis Bacon's quote is in the chapter intro.

 

The steps of the scientific method go something like this:
1. Make an observation or observations. 2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information. 3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what's been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis. 4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced. 5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary. 6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. Source: Live Science - Science & the Scientific Method

 

Writing a physics and nano blog, one wants the audience (be they somewhat limited), to catch on to the central theme of the weblog: science, and the promotion of science literacy, for citizens of this country, and since this is the web, Earth.

 

SCIENCE IS FOR ALL STUDENTS. This principle is one of equity and excellence. Science in our schools must be for all students: All students, regardless of age, sex, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, aspirations, or interest and motivation in science, should have the opportunity to attain high levels of scientific literacy.

 

Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.

 

National Science Education Standards (1996), Chapter 2: Principles and Definitions, National Academies Press

 

This blog is a continuing, meaningful discussion about scientific and technological literacy (STL), and its importance in fostering a society of informed citizens – indeed, a prerequisite for participatory democracy – conversant in emerging fields as consumers and eventual future participant contributors. In the language of scripture, I would like to "begat" citizens versed in technology that want to research, discover, and publish in it. For a world so impacted by it, it is imperative we're all versed in it, scientists, engineers, artists, and lay citizens alike.

 

We have gone through a dizzying four-year experiment with technology and authoritarianism. No less than Foreign Affairs (Does Technology Favor Tyranny?) has studied the impact. It was fostered by a birther lie, and technology (Twitter). Though I doubt the current flailing will change election results, we have a number of citizens, in the words of Tom Nichols, who voted for the sociopath. Some of our fellow citizens "created their own realities" (Karl Rove), or delved into "alternative facts" (Kellyanne Conway). His political party could stop him, but they're too cowardly, afraid of him and his base. Sadly, these are NOT their constituents: most members of Congress are multimillionaires, worth well over the salaries we pay them. They serve, for want of a better term, American Oligarchs (Andrea Bernstein), and the businesses they give endless tax breaks to.

 

E Pluribus Unum is probably the first Latin phrase you've ever heard, or read: "out of many, one." It's the nation's motto, and poetic, but in the era of news feeds, echo chambers, and social media groups, E Pluribus Multis is more illustrative and quite apropos.

We must depart, somehow, in the next succession of days, from the false empowerment of divisive Multis, into a future fully embracing science literacy, and Unum for the survival of the species. Our baloney detection kits must be tuned to high gear.

 

“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”

 

“We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

 

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

 

We owe it to Carl's grandkids, and our children's futures, to get this right.

 

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The Next Authoritarian...

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Macska Moksha Press: Anti-war & anti-authoritarian quotations, Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

 

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

 

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.” Frank Herbert

 

No less than "created realities" Karl Rove and "the room where it happened," and knock off Yosemite Sam, John Bolton, have said it's time to throw in the towel. Twitter has flagged his gaslighting and will have to decide if a lame-duck lunatic is beneficial to its bottom-line. Unlike Bolton, I don't think the GOP (gang of Putin) is "coddling" him.

 

I think they completely understand their audience.

 

Mike Pompeo is a West Point Graduate and Harvard-trained lawyer. He knows the State Department is supposed to coordinate the transition, and magical thinking announced to his boss's rabid followers only delays the inevitable. He plans to run for president one day, and he's trying to "ride the dragon" the right-wing has created over 40 years. 70 million Americans are the byproducts of 40 years of hate radio, Alex Jones, dark Internet sites, and Fox propaganda. They all decided to despite evidence, in the words of Tom Nichols, vote for the sociopath. That for all intents and purposes is their "base."

 

Reagan is a paper saint: he started the birth of this dragon in Philadelphia, Mississippi, blocks from where Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found. The "wink-and-nod" to white supremacy had begun. It metastasized in four decades to a racist bullhorn after the nation's first and only black president.

 

Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham used the pushed-on-the-bench Amy Coney Barrett to secure their positions in the Senate, where they do absolutely NOTHING, except hold on to power for mostly their rich constituents, and the poor white rubes that think they hate the demographics shift as racially as they do. They are cynically playing this game because of the close races that should not be close in Georgia for control of the Senate. The miracles of Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock, both poised to oust incumbent Republican senators, will cement Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight as a blueprint that should be replicated nationally, that is if the democrats want to have power going-forward. She will win the governorship in 2022. However, the House lost 10 seats, and Georgia is in a runoff that shouldn't have been this close in a pandemic where the leader of their party is woefully inept and WAY out over his skis. But competence isn't necessary for authoritarians.

 

Authoritarianism, the principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law, and they usually cannot be replaced by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections. The freedom to create opposition political parties or other alternative political groupings with which to compete for power with the ruling group is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.

 

Source: Britannica.com/authoritarianism

 

What Republicans should worry about is a more serious run of failure. Republican presidents — Donald Trump and George W. Bush — have now spent almost all of their last nine consecutive years below 50% approval. Add George H.W. Bush’s final year, and that makes 10 of the last 13 Republican presidential years, with the only significant exception coming in the period after the Sept. 11 attacks (we can’t know for sure, but it seems likely that George W. Bush was heading underwater by then).

 

In other words: Whether or not Republicans have a popularity problem, they certainly seem to have a governing problem, one that at this point could be symbolized by Trump’s utter inability to deal with the pandemic or by the party’s years-long attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without having any alternative to offer. Of course, it is perhaps just the luck of events that dealt Republican presidents five of the last five recessions. And the Iraq War. And the coronavirus. But my suggestion to the party, if it has lost the presidency, is to spend some time trying to figure out why its presidents seem to have such a tough time in office.

 

Why Can’t Republicans Win the Popular Vote? Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg News

 

When you cannot win a popular vote, you probably won't want people voting. This is why I don't think we can afford to relax, even after this Herculean effort.

 

There are the runoff elections in Georgia's Senate race that will decide if Mitch McConnell maintains his majority leadership, or Chuck Schumer finally assumes it. It will decide if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can get their agenda done, or this is a unique one-off due to the pandemic. It will decide how LONG we're suffering from the pandemic long after 45 is fighting subpoenas for his taxes, business practices, and trying to stay out of prison. I doubt his running for president in 2024. There are too many ambitious republicans that want to ride the dragon Kraken he's summoned. They don't necessarily NEED him for that, and they are hopelessly dependent (and afraid) of their base. There's an off-year election in 2021, where the Koch brothers or local citizens can decide local seats. There will be a midterm in 2022, where Kevin McCarthy is already eyeing the Speakership for himself. We don't get a break because authoritarianism and fascism will never take a break.

 

The next authoritarian will likely, not be a buffoon.

 

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Stockholm, and Munchausen...

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This map shows how the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures, Andy Kiersz and Marguerite Ward, Business Insider

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, COVID-19, Human Rights, Politics

 

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response. It occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse.

 

Ref: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/stockholm-syndrome#definition

 

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, most often a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick.

 

Ref: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001555.htm

 

Let's face it: this nation has always been in a Cold Civil War since 1865. We're eleven countries with distinct ways of digesting the news media. Social media is a means to hack our minds into silos. We're on separate mental continents. "United States" is an oxymoron and cosmic tragicomedy. We're more like fractured states with fifty different opinions.

 

The Stockholm tribe drank the kool-aid with Jim Jones. They are unfazed in their chosen Twilight Zone dimension, and totally nonplussed why we can't understand their secret, klansman decoder ring Morse code. They have waited forty years for "trickledown" to actually work, and like Jed Clampett, make them Beverly Hills billionaire hillbillies. Cigarettes don't cause cancer, climate change is a Chinese hoax; vaccines cause autism, gravity can be overcome with the power of positive thinking, huckster name-it-and-claim-it faith healers can blow COVID away, and Hillary is head of a flesh-eating, pedophile cult that an orange faux billionaire is going to save us all from, exposing the "deep state." Logic doesn't work with these people. You can't tell them anything. They're lemmings in suicide vests, to quote MSNBC's, Chris Hayes. They are the 69,151,070 that think the last four years of caged children, attempted Muslim bands, selling out our soldiers in Afghanistan, 230,000+ dead and climbing, lying like he breaths and farts, breaking every commandment and law is EXACTLY what they want four more years (or, more) of!

 

The Munchausen crew watches reruns of OG Star Trek, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, the new Discovery series, even though we know warp drive is by Einstein impossible, but it's cool to think we might live beyond our hubris, homophobia, racism, misogyny, sexism, and stupidity maybe repairing the damage to the planet's environment without killing ourselves. We balance fantasy with the scientifically-accurate Expanse. We typically were the science nerds, poets and artists shoved into lockers, harassed by the "cool kids," male or female, sometimes experiencing violence. We find ourselves in a perpetual, near-ending, abusive relationship with the Stockholm click, wondering why our rational outlines of thought and snappy repartee on Twitter hasn't totally shut down and shamed the inmates at Arkham. 73,050,225 of us are holding our breaths and praying that the electoral college doesn't screw us over this time, like the principal ignoring the bullies that harassed us.

 

Sensing he just might not be able to gaslight, steal, sue, whine, or slump across the victory line to "own the libs," or stay out of prison, Biff Tannen has come up with a "plan B" to continue trolling humanity until his last breath (if he's not arrested), or at some point when trans fat from fast food, and Darwin do their necessary work.

 

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Name It, Claim It, and Tomorrow...

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Diverse reactions to upside-down flag display in Sarasota, Carrie Seidman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics

 

Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was an American minister and author who is best known for his work in popularizing the concept of positive thinking, especially through his best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking. He served as the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, New York, from 1932 until 1984, leading a Reformed Church in America congregation. Peale was a personal friend of President Richard NixonDonald Trump attended Peale's church while growing up, as well as marrying his first wife Ivana there. Peale's ideas and techniques were controversial, and he received frequent criticism both from church figures and from the psychiatric profession.

 

Peale's works came under criticism from several mental health experts, one of whom directly said that Peale was a con man and a fraud. These critics appeared in the early 1950s after the publication of The Power of Positive Thinking.

 

One major criticism of The Power of Positive Thinking is that the book is full of anecdotes that are hard to substantiate. Almost all of the experts and many of the testimonials that Peale quotes as supporting his philosophy are unnamed, unknown, and unsourced.

 

A second major accusation of Peale is that he attempted to conceal that his techniques for giving the reader absolute self-confidence and deliverance from suffering are a well-known form of hypnosis and that he attempts to persuade his readers to follow his beliefs through a combination of false evidence and self-hypnosis (autosuggestion), disguised by the use of terms which may sound more benign from the reader's point of view ("techniques", "formulas", "methods", "prayers", and "prescriptions"). One author called Peale's book "The Bible of American autohypnotism".

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Vincent_Peale

 

The first critique sounds a lot like "people are saying": "famous psychologist", a two-page letter from a "practicing physician", a "prominent citizen of New York City", and dozens, if not hundreds, more unverifiable quotations. The second surrounding autosuggestion leads me to think why he's said the most absurd things on-repetition continuous loop, despite evidence to the contrary: autosuggestion in the hands of a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is kerosene on a lit fire; autosuggestion on steroids.

 

The "rounding the corner of the pandemic" is a form of name-it-and-claim-it. It has overwhelmingly not made billionaires out of paupers, but it has lined the pockets of a few charlatans cum "pastors." It is the same as claiming the election is "rigged" if he loses, legitimate if he wins, or steals it. It might just mean we're tired of his bullshit.

 

It's absurd to "lock her up," or "fire Fauci," but the mob mentality he engenders as well as the Fox News feedback loop, in the words of Karl Rove "create their own realities."

 

“The aide said that guys like me 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.” ... “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. 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 you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The quote was chilling because it implied that the most powerful government on earth was confident it could be guided, not by empirical evidence, but by its ideological inclinations. Reality, of course, does matter and Rove and his boss learned, both in Iraq and when the economy collapsed in 2008, that there are costs to denying it. Happily, for them, those costs were primarily borne by those who had little choice but to live in the reality-based community: soldiers and civilians in Iraq; US homeowners, and workers.

 

The Reality-Based Community And Trump’s Orwellian Dystopia, Milton Mankoff, Ph.D., HuffPost

 

I want a president I don't have to think about every day. I want a president that doesn't pathologically lie. I don't want a daily dose of adrenalin, clutching onto the rails of society as the rollercoaster, reality TV ride careens off the rails. There are no showrunners or scriptwriters like in "The Apprentice" that can make every bizarre move he did seem in the next episode, thought out cogently, and brilliant. He is revealed a mad king, and an overwhelmed, orange court jester. A Biden bus was attacked in Austin, Texas and African American voters were pepper-sprayed in Burlington, NC. Armed terrorists are promising to storm into the streets if their orange god loses, and he has no recovery or theft he can pull to "own the libs," and flush our democracy down a golden toilet. The 80 days between November 4th and January 20th will be biblically evil.

 

I am cautiously optimistic.

 

I don't want to wear a mask while others following the Orange Troglodyte grin in defiance as they walk in the same stores I do. I don't want smoke blown in my face by a MAGA enthusiast, that then goes in with his wife (I assume), to hector everyone else in there that were wearing masks to protect their neighbors. I don't want to mentally review excerpts in my mind of "1984", or recall "The Handmaid's Tale" and to equate the fall of empires to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The speculation of civic violence is only satisfying briefly if you're right, but doomsday's casualties won't be a spectator sport. You might find yourself in the middle of the game. Ragnarok typically ends painfully. Armageddon has no second act.

 

I have voted. I want a boring president. I want news not driven by tweets from a lunatic. I want a president that believes in science. I want a sane administration. I want a life again.

 

Resource: Election Protection

 

ENGLISH 866-OUR-VOTE 866-687-8683
SPANISH/ENGLISH 888-VE-Y-VOTA 888-839-8682
ASIAN LANGUAGES/ENGLISH 888-API-VOTE 888-274-8683
ARABIC/ENGLISH 844-YALLA-US 844-925-5287

 

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Q & A...

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Environmentalists Against War: Don’t Let Our ‘Hair-trigger President’ Start a Nuclear WarAmy Goodman and Denis Moynihan / Democracy Now! and King Features Syndicate

 

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

 

Why are the republicans behaving so irrationally?

 

It depends on what you mean by "irrational." Paul Weyrich gave away the game in the 1980s.

 

"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

 

Well now, they cut cables for online voter registration machines in Virginia, they post fake boxes to harvest absentee votes in California (FOX, pointed this out, no less), they restrict counties to ONE drop-off box and restrict drive-through voting in Texas during a pandemic; they sue to not count, or ironically, segregate mail-in ballots after election day, and only want the votes counted ON election day, as that will favor republicans. For a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party, everything is consistent with Weyrich's thesis.

 

Who is going to win the election?

 

I know who I voted for, and who I DON'T want to win the election, or in his case: steal it. Allan Lichtman and Rachel Bitecofer both keep me somewhat sane.

 

Whoever is the next president has about 8 years before there is no hope of dealing with the effects of climate change, that the fossil fuels industry has known about since the late FIFTIES, they just started covering it up in the seventies. There IS no planet B: no world of liberals and world of conservatives, except for the news outlets consumed. Physics is quite limiting on faster-than-light travel. This earth is the only starship we may ever know.

 

Whoever is the next president will be dealing with a global pandemic, that like most preceding it that have been unleashed by our insistent presence in the world economy, will be eventually contained by masks, rigorous testing, social distancing, and contact tracing. In other words: SCIENCE, not fiction, or propaganda.</p>

 

Whoever is the next president will make the difference as to how long that actually takes. Letting a virus burn through a population is NOT herd immunity, but the Freudian slip "herd mentality" says a lot about who currently has the nuclear codes and his followers.

 

Noam Chomsky in an interview with Scientific American, 2018:

 

Why did you recently call the Republican Party “the most dangerous organization in world history”?

 

Take its leader, who recently applied to the government of Ireland for a permit to build a huge wall to protect his golf course, appealing to the threat of global warming, while at the same time he withdrew from international efforts to address the grim threat and is using every means at his disposal to accelerate it.  Or take his colleagues, the participants in the 2016 Republican primaries.  Without exception, they either denied that what is happening is happening – though any ignorance is self-induced – or said maybe it is but we shouldn’t do anything about it.  The moral depths were reached by the respected “adult in the room,” Ohio governor John Kasich, who agreed that it is happening but added that “we are going to burn [coal] in Ohio and we are not going to apologize for it.” Or take a recent publication of Trump’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a detailed study recommending an end to regulations on emissions. It presented a rational argument: extrapolating current trends, by the end of the century we’ll be over the cliff and automotive emissions don’t contribute very much to the catastrophe – the assumption being that everyone is as criminally insane as we are and won’t try to avoid the crisis.  In brief, let’s rob while the planet burns, putting poor Nero in the shadows.

 

This surely qualifies as a contender for the most evil document in history.

 

There have been many monsters in the past, but it would be hard to find one who was dedicated to undermining the prospects for organized human society, not in the distant future -- in order to put a few more dollars in overstuffed pockets.

 

Noam Chomsky Calls Trump and Republican Allies "Criminally Insane", John Horgan, Scientific American, November 3, 2018</p>

 

Related:

 

Noam Chomsky: The GOP Is Still the Most Dangerous Organization in Human History, Lorraine Chow, Eco Watch, May 12, 2017

 

Noam Chomsky on Midterms: Republican Party Is the “Most Dangerous Organization in Human History”, Democracy Now! November 5, 2018

 

"What the hell do you have to lose?"

 

Well, after Herculean dips in the Stock Market, unemployment nearing Depression-era levels, 234,768 dead Americans, and 9,263,209 infected, I think we have our answer.

 

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Negligent Genocide...

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The Snake Handling Churches of Appalachia, Part 1, Texts, Codes and Translations, Experimental Theology Blog

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

Under Penal Code 192b PC, California law defines involuntary manslaughter as the unintentional killing of another person, while committing either a crime that is not an inherently dangerous felony or a lawful act that might produce death. A conviction is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

The key feature of involuntary manslaughter is that it does not require intent to kill another person—unlike Penal Code 187 PC murder, which requires “malice aforethought.”

Shouse California Law Group - Penal Code 192b – California Involuntary Manslaughter Law

I didn't bother watching the debate. I assumed he'd be doing a "kinder, gentler" version of his orange orangutan feces-slinging from the last debacle, but manage to pull in the crazy, while his opponent remained calm, cool, confident, and dare I say: presidential. From the commentary, that appears to be the case, 53% think his opponent won, 39% are still firmly in the apocalyptic cult. That suggests they can be out-voted. I've already cast mine for the saner, calmer candidate.

I don't believe the cult is completely stupid: they know he has little regard for them. He's reaching for the brass ring of actual billionaire status after myriad business failures that are almost cartoonish, promised him by an ex-KGB agent, and this modern-day Jonestown Guyana is a means to an end. The key to their undying fealty to him is he at least appears to hate the "others" they hate, and share their dread of a demographics future where they are all in the numerical minority, even though like him (or, me) most won't live to see, experience or if here, perceive it.

He's been committing crimes since his "American carnage" inauguration on January 20, 2017. His 20,000+ lies are a proportionality to the 220,000+ Americans that have died of the Novel Coronavirus. The report from The National Center for Disaster Preparedness was a punch in the gut: between 130,000 and 210,000 citizens could still be ALIVE were it not for ineptitude, incompetence, obfuscation, arrogance, and apathy. Translating: the pandemic's impact COULD have been a loss of 10,000 to 90,000 Americans. On the upside, that's still a lot, but the lower number is literally HALF of what we lose each year to the flu.

I'm not sure this is involuntary. It feels like intentional murder. He's purposely holding another in a series of super spreader klan rallies this weekend. The more Americans he can infect, the less (he thinks if that's possible) will be available to vote against him.

He is headed into a raft of lawsuits the NY District Attorney, the Manhattan DA, and the SDNY (formally headed by the Borat 2 crotch-clutching Rudy Giuliani), that no lawyer worth their reputation will volunteer to defend him: his record on not paying his debts are prologue to if they will be able to feed their families. Not even the debauched Rudy "Ghoul-e-ani" is that stupid.</p>

He has no empathy, but expecting empathy from a sociopath is like trying to get "blood from a turnip": it's not possible, and we should stop trying.

 

On her way to work one morning / Down the path alongside the lake / A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake / His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew / “Oh well,” she cried, “I'll take you in and I'll take care of you”

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk / And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk / Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived / She found that pretty snake she'd taken in had been revived

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You're so beautiful,” she cried / “But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died” / Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight / But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

“I saved you,” cried that woman / “And you've bit me even, why? / You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die”

 

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin / You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake, song by Al Wilson

 

The Snake in full: Read Donald Trump's anti-immigration poem, Jeremy B. White, The Independent

 

Read it again. As John Heilemann said: "everything about him is either confession or projection."

 

We should have listened (or, at least his MAGA hat followers) not with the jaundiced ear of racism and xenophobia, but the informed ear of insight and revelation.

 

 
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Altered States...

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Although he also wrote poetry and plays, Unamuno was most influential as an essayist and novelist. If his vigorous and iconoclastic essays have any common theme, it is that of the need to preserve one's personal integrity in the face of social conformity, fanaticism, and hypocrisy. Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Miguel-de-Unamuno

 

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

 

When the United States declared war on Germany 100 years ago, the impact on the news business was swift and dramatic.</em>

 

In its crusade to “make the world safe for democracy,” the Wilson administration took immediate steps at home to curtail one of the pillars of democracy – press freedom – by implementing a plan to control, manipulate and censor all news coverage, on a scale never seen in U.S. history.

 

Following the lead of the Germans and British, Wilson elevated propaganda and censorship to strategic elements of all-out war. Even before the U.S. entered the war, Wilson had expressed the expectation that his fellow Americans would show what he considered “loyalty."

 

Immediately upon entering the war, the Wilson administration brought the most modern management techniques to bear in the area of government-press relations. Wilson started one of the earliest uses of government propaganda. He waged a campaign of intimidation and outright suppression against those ethnic and socialist papers that continued to oppose the war. Taken together, these wartime measures added up to an unprecedented assault on press freedom.

 

How Woodrow Wilson’s Propaganda Machine Changed American Journalism, Christopher B. Daly, Professor of Journalism, Boston University, Smithsonian Magazine

 

The necessity for the Fairness Doctrine, according to proponents, arises from the fact that there are many fewer broadcast licenses than people who would like to have them. Unlike publishing, where the tools of the trade are in more or less endless supply, broadcasting licenses are limited by the finite number of available frequencies. Thus, as trustees of a scarce public resource, licensees accept certain public interest obligations in exchange for the exclusive use of limited public airwaves. One such obligation was the Fairness Doctrine, which was meant to ensure that a variety of views, beyond those of the licensees and those they favored, were heard on the airwaves. (Since cable’s infrastructure is privately owned and cable channels can, in theory, be endlessly multiplied, the FCC does not put public interest requirements on that medium.)

 

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials.

 

Formally adopted as an FCC rule in 1949 and repealed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan’s pro-broadcaster FCC, the doctrine can be traced back to the early days of broadcast regulation.

 

The Fairness Doctrine: How We Lost It, and Why We Need It Back, Steve Rendall, FAIR, 2005

 

Couple this with the invention of the Internet, Netscape, AOL, Facebook, and Twitter; 24-hour CNN "infotainment," the rise of right-wing talk radio, the creation of Fox by Roger Ailes and MSNBC by Tom Rogers (coincidence): we are a nation in altered states. There is "spin" because of a particular slant of the news one consumes. There didn't use to be when we had three main stations and a UHF channel. It is demonstrable; one side is positioned more clearly in reality and one in abject fantasy. There are echo chambers of truth and echo chasms of fiction. We get exactly what is programmed for us in our selective news feeds. One produces results that can be measured and judged; the other makes us scratch our heads and shrug. We are Pied Piper-ed by The Joker.

 

It was a matter of time's arrow - Entropy - when we actually got a carnival barker to lead the cuckoo's nest: Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The only thing that makes sense of their devotion to this devolved Neanderthal: agency. White evangelicals became numerical minorities in 2017. The demographics don't support republicans winning a majority in any future elections: they just can't convince a plurality of voters to buy their 80's "trickle-down" bullshit, and the "loved uneducated" want what Lyndon Baines Johnson observed with "the lowest white man." So you see fake boxes in California, one box per county in Texas; polling places in districts closed, predominately comprised of BIPOC. Paul Weyrich said it "way back when," and it's why I've stated, the "gang of Putin" has always been a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party. Their patsies are the racists; their constituents are American oligarchs. With the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, they are preparing for minority rule, not unlike South African Apartheid.

 

 

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came, and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

 

"But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

 

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

 

Amazon.com:
"Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,"
"How to Watch TV News: Revised Edition"
Neil Postman

 

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Splashdowns and Pandemics...

John%2BLewis.jpg
"Good Trouble"... The Griot Poet, image source Smithsonian Magazine

 

Topics: Civil Rights, International Space Station, John Robert Lewis, NASA, STEM

This will be the first splashdown that's occurred in a while, but particularly during a global pandemic and the internment of a legend. It was germane during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The Space Shuttle brought to mind the CGI and FX ease of take offs and landings in Science Fiction movies, regardless of genre: somehow massive spaceships can magically levitate, and "ease" into orbit without accelerating to escape velocity in a planet's gravity well.

Today, we're laying to rest a civil rights icon, John Robert Lewis. He was BLM before the Internet and hashtag. He was notorious for getting in "good trouble," leading a sit-in on the House floor - breaking rules for twenty children and six adults slaughtered at Sandy Hook, for what he and Dr. King called "The Beloved Community." Like moonshots, that was "conspiracy theorized" away, callously, but revelatory of how depraved this republic was before this current moment. Hopefully, the citizens of Alabama will rename the bridge currently carrying the name of a confederate traitor and Klan grand dragon in HIS distinct honor.

During splashdowns and pandemics: I can dream.

 

*****

NASA will provide live coverage of activities leading up to, during, and following the return of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with the agency’s astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station.

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31, following a successful launch on May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 1, for undocking of the Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft from the space station and 2:42 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, for splashdown, which will be the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the space station.

Coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website will begin at 9:10 a.m., Aug. 1, with a short farewell ceremony on station and resume at 5:15 p.m., with departure preparations through splashdown and recovery at one of seven targeted water landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

All media participation in news conferences and interviews will be remote; no media will be accommodated at any NASA site due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To participate in the briefings by phone or to request a remote interview with the crew members, reporters must contact the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-5111 no later than two hours prior to each event.

NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from Space Station on SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight

#P4TC link: Dragons and Dystopias...

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