civil_rights (46)

Xenophobic Idolatry...

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Teen Vogue: Quaranteens Against Xenophobia, Karma Samtani

 

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

I sent the following article to my advisor and our Dean:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Foreign students in the United States, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, will have to leave the country if their classes are all taught online this fall or if they transfer to another school with in-person instruction, a government agency said.

It was not immediately clear how many student visa holders would be affected by the move, but foreign students are a key source of revenue for many U.S. universities as they often pay full tuition.

China ranked first among countries of origin for international students in the United States with nearly 370,000 during the 2018-2019 academic year, according to data published by the Institute of International Education.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said it would not allow holders of student visas to remain in the country if their school was fully online for the fall. Those students must transfer or leave the country, or they potentially face deportation proceedings, according to the announcement.

U.S. to force out foreign students taking classes fully online, Mimi Dwyer, Reuters

He has lost his goddamn Nazi, rabbit-ass mind!

The only thing "exceptional" about us now is the depths of this nation's racism, stupidity and depravity. We're essentially telling foreign students - many of them my friends and colleagues - they're "canaries in a [COVID] coal mine" before its collapse on the entire enterprise of democratic-republican governance. NO magical thinking is going to get some blond haired, blue-eyed "superior" assholes to design the next innovation, or allow us to compete on a global stage. We're literally NANOMETERS away from the world economy quarantining the (dis) United States as a failed state. I'm sure the NYSE will like Brussels better; "Hamilton" can play Europe and we can go from the dollar as trade currency to the Yuan with the FLIP of a switch!

Short list of things created by immigrants:

1. Blue Jeans (Jacob W. Davis, Latvia; Levi Strauss, Germany); 2. Hamburgers (Louis Lassen, Denmark); 3. Doughnuts, (Adolph Levitt, Russia); 4. Budweiser Beer (Adolphus Busch, Bavaria); 5. Apple Computer (Steve Jobs, father-Syria); 6. Google (Sergey Brin, Soviet Union); 7. Sara Lee (Nathan Cummings, Canada; parents-Lithuania); 8. Hot Dogs (Charles Feltman, Germany); 9. Basketball (James Naismith, Canada); 10. "God Bless America" Song (Irving Berlin, Siberia); 11. YouTube - 2 of the 3 founders (Jawed Karim - Germany, Steve Chen - Taiwan, Chad Hurley - U.S.); 12. KISS, rock band (Chaim Witz - Israel, known by his stage name, Gene Simmons); 13. Kraft Cheese (James L. Kraft, Ontario, Canada); 14. Van Halen, rock band (Eddie Van Halen, Netherlands); 15. Ketchup (Henry John Heinz, Bavaria).

15 Iconic American Things That Wouldn't Exist Without Immigrants, Alison Caporimo, BuzzFeed Staff

Short list of things created by orange dumb ass Satan: _______ (Does chaos count?)

But no worries: some racist assholes deathly afraid of circa 2042, waving the flags of traitors and Nazis will "feel better" about themselves and make it all "great again," while all of the previous "melting pot" collapses to dystopian shit!

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The Enlightenment...

 

Topics: Civil Rights, Existentialism, History, Politics

Enlightenment, French siècle des Lumières (literally “century of the Enlightened”), German Aufklärung, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition. The goals of rational humanity were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.

A brief treatment of the Enlightenment follows. For full treatment, see Europe, history of: The Enlightenment.

The powers and uses of reason had first been explored by the philosophers of ancient Greece. The Romans adopted and preserved much of Greek culture, notably including the ideas of a rational natural order and natural law. Amid the turmoil of empire, however, a new concern arose for personal salvation, and the way was paved for the triumph of the Christian religion. Christian thinkers gradually found uses for their Greco-Roman heritage. The system of thought known as Scholasticism, culminating in the work of Thomas Aquinas, resurrected reason as a tool of understanding but subordinated it to spiritual revelation and the revealed truths of Christianity.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Enlightenment: European history

Caveat: Only if you're not BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Caveats remove the romanticism, which if you explore the Britannica link, romanticism was associated with emotion as well as art, and the opposite of rationalism.

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge has a Ph.D. in African American Studies and varied interests in "big Broadway musicals to the social and political movements of the last 200 years" according to her show's website. Dr. Bainbridge removes the romanticism and mythology we tell ourselves: the apotheosis we've promoted our flawed, Founding Fathers to, such that any real history that doesn't place their descendants in a good light is ignored, rewritten and propagandized. See: The Lost Cause.

People are in the streets: because 401 years is the patience of Job on steroids, post reconstruction, lynchings and Jim Crow. We've never had the luxury of PTSD: it's ever-present traumatic stress disorder, over-and-over. Necks were stretched with ropes from trees before esophagi constricted with choke holds in New York and knees in Minnesota.

In my 2016 post, Scientism, the point was scientists and the scientific community being human have prejudices. Prejudices are learned from "credible others": usually parents, relatives and authority figures respected. As Bainbridge points out in the video above, science masks racism with "reason," such that structural inequality that was once defined by divine law can be redefined by natural law, so that nothing really changes. It rationalizes low numbers in STEM fields so that no actions are needed until jogging while black: Ahmaund Aubrey; sleeping while black: Breonna Taylor, with a viral George Floyd snuff video as icing on a blood cake. I'm glad the academy is tackling it, but it's long overdue. Jane Elliott says it best: "You are not born racist. You are born into a racist society. And like anything else, if you can learn it, you can unlearn it. But some people choose not to unlearn it, because they're afraid they'll lose power if they share with other people. We are afraid of sharing power. That's what it's all about."

I don't want a "return to normal." Normal was Winthrop's "city on a hill," that might as well be a pile of feces plated with gold and silver: it's still a dressed-up pile of shit.

American mythology teaches that the early United States was founded by men of conscience who came to the "new world" in order to practice their religious convictions in peace and freedom. John Winthrop (1588–1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in particular has been quoted as a source of inspiration by U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.

Yet Winthrop did not represent a tradition of either democracy or religious tolerance. He hated democracy with a passion. The state he created did not hesitate to execute people like the Quakers and even brought to the "new" world the very popular tradition of medieval Europe, the trial and execution of witches.

"A Shining City on a Hill": Troubling information about a famous quote. The Puritan tradition of intolerance and John Winthrop, World Future Fund

"United States" is oxymoron - a contradiction in terms. We're 50 warring tribes and unrepresented territories: D.C. Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We were sure adding stars to that flag, complaining about kneeling S.O.B.s protesting police brutality; stealing territory from First Nation peoples and Mexico for the racist "Manifest Destiny." We halted it when the math didn't work for the racists, and the balance of the senate was in play. I count eight more senators for 54 states, that may not vote the way Moscow Mitch might want them to. See Jane Elliott here, and above.

We've moronically made masks a culture war. The European Union consists of 27 nations, and this graph is all you need to know why there is a travel ban to Europe for U.S. citizens. He got his "travel ban," alright: American "exceptionalism" in Bizarro World. Boomerangs work, and karma is a bitch. We're apparently going to see if raking puts out forest fires and COVID spread at Mt. Rushmore. If anything bad happens, he'll blame Obama.

Masks might have stymied the spread of Coronavirus, but we're on the Good Ship Pequod abandoned by surprisingly woke Ahab, once he found out about prosthetic limbs and decided pursuing white whales for revenge was bullshit. In a fit of panic, sheer lucidity and rightfully ignoring Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s death cult ramblings, Governor Greg Abbott implemented a mandatory masks executive order in Texas, likely saving his job for re-election.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams

The ship-of-state is currently being steered by tweeting, orange Captain dumb ass, performing embarrassing, public political fellatio on a KGB agent that obviously has his number to his bank account. He has YET to retaliate to $100,000 bounties against our service members in Afghanistan. His bemoaning dead confederates was a culture war dodge: we need the ban for the safety of the rest of the planet, we're a manifest global pandemic of hate, and because we have NO leader that will protect us now! We are defenseless, and our mad emperor is perpetually naked.

We are isolated from the world. I would like us one day to rejoin it, humanely and sanely. I want us to actually START acting like the mythology we believed ourselves through propaganda (wrongly) to be.

I want us to evolve, mature, finally ...enlightened.

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Wrestle Mania...

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Mil Máscaras, 2009. Source: Wikipedia

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Human Rights, Humor, Politics

In the old days, wrestlers would meet, and fans would be interested in knowing who wins and how. There were stories, but there were also plain old matches. Now, there are writers. Every match, every encounter, is designed to advance a character. And all the matches fit in to the general theme of the broadcast, which is given a title. For last week's Raw, the backstage title was "The Evolution of Justice." It's a reference to two sets of wrestlers who are on a collision course.

Your WWE wrestling script begins with background: What happened the last time WWE played to this area. Knowing what the fans remember is very important motivation for the wrestlers.

Then there are the "dark matches." Before WWE Raw goes live on the USA Network, WWE tapes two matches that will air exclusively on the company's own TV network.

Then there's the audience prep. Just like any TV show, the audience has to be conditioned to react to certain things. On April 14, WWE was going to mourn the death of the Ultimate Warrior, felled from a heart attack a few days before. So WWE announcer Jerry Lawler, who gets his own pre-event, full-stage introduction, is instructed to remind fans to put on their masks so that WWE can go live on the air with a tribute.

Then comes the first match. It'll be interrupted by a commercial break, which is something that the wrestlers know — they can't decide to go to "the finish" when the TV audience is watching a Pringles commercial. Match number one is between Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio.

The announcers know who will get "over," i.e. win, but they don't know how. This allows them to actually announce the action in the match legitimately.

Excerpts from: "Here's what a pro-wrestling script looks like," by Mark Ambinder, Newsweek

My last foray with pro wrestling was about 1974 (age 12) with both of my parents at the Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum.

These were originally father-son outings, but my mother decided she wanted to go, so we let her tag along for more than a few times. Generally, she was quiet during the action as my dad and I shouted either our approval or disdain for the admitted actors in the ring: The "American Dream," Dusty Rhodes, Dick, the Bulldog Brower (I know the definitions of his first two names, I'm clueless as to what a "Brower" is); The Mighty Igor and "the man of a thousand masks," Mil Máscaras. Mil and the Brower were in heated, pitched mock battle in the ring, when mom suddenly yelled out:

Break it off, it don't belong to you!

This was from my mother, mind you. My father and I were speechless. As if reading my embarrassed young mind, Pop said: "I expect we'll go home now." We did, and I never went to a wrestling match again. Mom wasn't exactly fuming: I think SHE was as shocked by what she said as WE were!

Previously, I've speculated this reality show carnival barker is running an episodic tragedy, only because as a terrible B-movie actor with zero empathy and no social graces, this is the only show he knows how to produce. Twitter is just a bullhorn for a snake oil salesman and carnival barker.

I posit here, instead of a reality show, he's running a typical pro-wrestling script. He's fake wrestled before and sent a doctored version of the video out personifying CNN as his adversary. He probably bathed in Ben Gay after the stunt.

My mother when she was alive was five foot, two inches, petite and well, motherly. Yelling like the rest of the crowd was a response of being in the crowd, being influenced by my father's and my actions as well as theirs. Orange Satan's spawn following is in-the-crowd: following every inane tweet, every suggesting this pandemic would be 15 people, then zero, every prediction from a faux "cubic model" this would be over by Memorial Day (it's late June), every suggestion hot weather would diminish the infections (it's not), every suggestion to drink bleach or shine a flashlight up our asses; every stupid example of NOT wearing a mask, until it's become a culture war issue.

"Stable genius" maybe should have asked Mil Máscaras?

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

 

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

 

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

Black Wall Street:

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

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

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

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

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum

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

But today, it is also, Juneteenth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#ShutDownSTEM...

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Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Site: #ShutDownSTEM.com

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

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

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

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

Négritude:

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

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

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Négritude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biff, Galileo and Gaslighting...

 

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

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

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

Galileo is convicted of heresy, History.com

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

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

You look scared, Donald.

You should be.

A pandemic is problematic for you.

You can’t gaslight a pandemic.

You can’t bully it into compliance.

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

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

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

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

You can’t impugn its character with baseless attacks.

You can’t fool it with talk about God.

You can’t bury it with FoxNews fluff pieces.

You can’t drown it in nationalism.

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

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

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

You can’t rage-Tweet it into exhaustion.

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

By golly, Biff damned sure is trying!

I wrote this on Facebook, May 8th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Going Forward...

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At the former IBM research facility, Fishkill, NY

 

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


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

 

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


(Suggested) extended protocols:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IML%2BProtocols.jpg

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

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

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

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Image Source: Pinterest

 


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

Ref: Leadership of Ghouls...October 26, 2018

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then he
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss
Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?


John Milton, "Paradise Lost," Book I, Lines 221-270

Blankets to First Nation peoples.

Colonial weaponizing of smallpox against Native Americans was first reported by 19th-century historian Francis Parkman, who came across correspondence in which Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander in chief of the British forces in North America in the early 1760s, had discussed its use with Col. Henry Bouquet, a subordinate on the western frontier during the French and Indian War.

Early American historian Elizabeth Fenn of the University of Colorado Boulder lays out her theory on what happened in her 2000 article in the Journal of American History. In the late spring of 1763, Delaware, Shawnee and Mingo warriors, inspired by Ottawa war leader Pontiac, laid siege to Fort Pitt, an outpost at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in present-day downtown Pittsburgh.

The fort’s commander, Capt. Simeon Ecuyer, reported in a June 16 message to his superior, Philadelphia-based Col. Henry Bouquet, that the situation was dire, with local traders and colonists taking refuge inside the fort’s walls. Ecuyer wasn’t just afraid of his Native American adversaries. The fort’s hospital had patients with smallpox, and Ecuyer feared the disease might overwhelm the population inside the fort’s cramped confines.

Bouquet, in turn, passed along the news about the smallpox inside Fort Pitt to his own superior, Amherst, in a June 23 letter. In Amherst’s July 7 response, he cold-bloodedly saw an opportunity in the disease outbreak. “Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them.”

Historian Philip Ranlet of Hunter College and author of a 2000 article on the smallpox blanket incident in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, also casts doubt. “There is no evidence that the scheme worked,” Ranlet says. “The infection on the blankets was apparently old, so no one could catch smallpox from the blankets. Besides, the Indians just had smallpox—the smallpox that reached Fort Pitt had come from Indians—and anyone susceptible to smallpox had already had it.”

The most important indication that the scheme was a bust, Ranlet says, “is that Trent would have bragged in his journal if the scheme had worked. He is silent as to what happened.”

Even if it didn’t work, British officers’ willingness to contemplate using smallpox against the Indians was a sign of their callousness. “Even for that time period, it violated civilized notions of war,” says Kelton, who notes that disease “kills indiscriminately—it would kill women and children, not just warriors.”

 

Did Colonists Give Infected Blankets to Native Americans as Biological Warfare?
History.com


It is ghoulish:

- To attempt infection of peoples whose land you robbed from them.

- To offer blue states accept bankruptcy versus getting a bailout like the "too big to fail businesses and banks."

- To refuse W.H.O testing that would help flatten the curve in an obtuse effort to win re-election.

- For 26 million people to file unemployment in the richest country in the world.

- For the richest country in the world to be so bereft in the face of a pandemic.

- For its executive to be such a braying buffoon at propaganda "press" briefings where nothing is learned or useful.

- To try gaslighting a pandemic and suggest humans essentially ingest Lysol into their systems, guaranteeing this will kill them faster.

More particularly: we barely flinched when we snatched children from their parents; we barely blinked when we put those children in cages. We in Orwellian fashion wouldn't bring ourselves to call them what they really are: concentration camps, now a hot oven for the novel Coronavirus. It's better than Auschwitz or Dachau ovens and kind of "green." That too, is ghoulish.

Cannibalism is the act or practice of species eating the flesh or internal organs of their kind. In the story, scenes of ghouls eating ghouls and humans eating humans pass regularly as the narrative continues.[1][2]

Strictly speaking, one-eyed ghouls always have to cannibalize since they are forced to eat human or ghoul meat. In their case, however, only eating ghoul meat is typically treated as cannibalism.


Ghoul meat tastes disgusting to ghouls, but in contrast to other non-human nutrition, they are able to digest it. Continued cannibalization may trigger a mutation in Rc cells, resulting in turning them into kakujas.

Ultimately, the ghoul is like the pacman emoji in arcade video games: it gobbles until the energy balls are consumed. Ouruboros or cannibalistic ghoul, it consumes its own tail. The fictional monster then resorts to cannibalism - like polar bears impacted by climate change - when all resources and options are exhausted. Pacman and polar bear then wink out of existence.

Conservative columnist Max Boot famously coined the phrase "gang of Putin" in a Washington Post piece last year.

I prefer "ghoulish ossiferous party." You now know ghoul, and ossiferous relates to "sucking the flesh off bones." Both however, are apropos and fitting.
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Protocols...

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The suddenly unemployed are still waiting for theirs.
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Black Like Me...

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Human Rights, Medical Science


In recent weeks, my patients in an urgent care in central Brooklyn came in progressively sicker by the day. They were mostly Black and Brown. Many complained of fever, cough and worsening shortness of breath. I even sent a few of the sickest patients to the ER. COVID-19 had arrived in New York City in full-form, hitting its largely Black and Brown areas the hardest.

Only mere weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologists have not yet had the opportunity to disaggregate nationwide morbidity and mortality data by race, but Black Americans will undoubtedly be one of the most harshly affected demographic groups.

In recent weeks, my patients in an urgent care in central Brooklyn came in progressively sicker by the day. They were mostly Black and Brown. Many complained of fever, cough and worsening shortness of breath. I even sent a few of the sickest patients to the ER. COVID-19 had arrived in New York City in full-form, hitting its largely Black and Brown areas the hardest.

Only mere weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologists have not yet had the opportunity to disaggregate nationwide morbidity and mortality data by race, but Black Americans will undoubtedly be one of the most harshly affected demographic groups.

This pandemic will likely magnify and further reinforce racialized health inequities, which have been both persistent and profound over the last five decades, and Black Americans have experienced the worst health outcomes of any racial group.

 

What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Black Americans
Uché Blackstock, Scientific American

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening...
A tall, slim tree...
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

Dream Variations, Langston Hughes, Poet.org and enotes analysis

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New York Times - Where Americans Didn't Stay at Home Even as the Virus Spread

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

 

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


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

 

*****


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

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

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

Nam-Hwa Kang, Asia-Pacific Science Education

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

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

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

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

 

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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


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

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

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

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

He turns it into gaslighting.

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

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

 

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

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

Malignant Narcissism


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

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

 

Why is the behavior of malignant narcissism often considered dangerous?


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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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Image source: Reddit


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


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

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

Fascists are obviously dumb as hell.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3895.HEIC
Every square centimeter packed

 

Topics: Biology, Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism


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

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

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

I continued walking.

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

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

I continued walking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also:

Related link: Coronavirus statistics

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


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

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

 

Related link: Coronavirus statistics

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Gigs and Pandemics...

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

March madness has ended abruptly due to Coronavirus.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Norquist had a tax pledge:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Define Fascism - Seth Tobocman, The Nation


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

*****


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

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

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

 

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

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


What is the Rule of Law?

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

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

*****


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

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

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

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

*****


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The U.S. Constitution is officially toilet paper.

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

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Mitt Romney on the Senate floor, image source: Axios

 

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


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

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

There were profiles in courage on the democratic side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And barely a peep from Republican lawmakers.

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

Fear has a way of bending us.

Sherrod Brown, Democratic Senator from Ohio

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

I am not a fan of Mitt Romney.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York Times, February 5, 2020

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

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Naked Oligarchy...

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Image Source: Extra News Feed link below


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


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

The Real Story Behind the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Library of Congress: The Founders and the Vote


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christina Zhao, Newsweek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Image Source: Truth Dig link below


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

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