existentialism (149)

Outcomes, Language and Syntax...

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Credit: michaelmjc/Getty Images (chalkboard); Scientific American (words and design)

Topics: Biofuels, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism

Climate change is already disrupting the lives of billions of people. What was once considered a problem for the future is raging all around us right now. This reality has helped convince a majority of the public that we must act to limit suffering. In an August 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of Americans said they had experienced at least one heat wave, flood, drought, or wildfire in the past year. Among those people, more than 80 percent said climate change had contributed. In another 2022 poll, 77 percent of Americans who said they had been affected by extreme weather in the past five years saw climate change as a major crisis.

Yet the response is not meeting the urgency of the crisis. A transition to clean energy is underway, but it is happening too slowly to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The U.S. government finally took long-delayed action by passing the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, much more progress is needed, and entrenched politics hamper it. The partisan divide largely stems from conservatives’ perception that climate change solutions will involve big government controlling people’s choices and imposing sacrifices. Research shows that Republicans’ skepticism about climate change is largely attributable to a conflict between ideological values and often-discussed solutions, particularly government regulations. A 2019 study on Climatic Change found that political and ideological polarization on climate change is particularly acute in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.

One thing we can all do to ease this gridlock is to alter the language and messages we use about climate change. The words we use and the stories we tell matter. Transforming the way we talk about climate change can engage people and build the political will needed to implement policies strong enough to confront the crisis with the urgency required.

To inspire people, we need to tell a story not of sacrifice and deprivation but of opportunity and improvement in our lives, health, and well-being—a story of humans flourishing in a post-fossil-fuel age.

The Right Words Are Crucial to Solving Climate Change, Susan Joy Hassol, Scientific American

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The New McCarthyism...

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

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

Debt Ceiling and Dystopia

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

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

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

Source: Treasury.gov

The Old McCarthyism

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

Source: Senate.gov

The New McCarthyism, or the New Testament of the Soulless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

America Looks Different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hierarchy, Power, and Resources...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Munchausen by Congress...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Young Guns: an Epitaph...

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

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

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

Wikipedia: Young_Guns (film)

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

Young Guns

A New Generation of Conservative Leaders

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

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

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

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

“Created realities” and the vote for Speaker.

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

*****

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Kindred and Us...

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Image source: Carter Matt dot com

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

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

My "Rotten Tomatoes" review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selfish desires are burning like fires.

Among those who hoard the gold

As they continue to keep the people asleep

And the truth from being told

Racism and greed keep people in need

From getting what's rightfully theirs

Cheating, stealing, and double-dealing

As they exploit the people's fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people's homes

And all the surrounding land

Buying and selling their humble dwelling

In the name of the Master Plan.

E Pluribus Unum, The Last Poets, Genius Lyrics

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

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

Despite the gaslighting, we are Kindred.

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

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

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Grievance, Gridlock, Grift...

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

The genesis of grievance

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

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

The high priest of gridlock

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

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

The apotheosis of grift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Apogee of Evil...

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Credit: Erik English.

Topics: Biology, Biosecurity, Civilization, COVID-19, Democracy, Existentialism

Weaponizing a pathogen sounds like something out of an archetype Bond villain, minus the wrapped-up plot twists by the time the credits roll, and the obligatory fawning of a stereotypical bikinied woman over the intrepid MI-6 spy. Real life doesn't conclude so cleanly. Before every student became accustomed to active shooter drills, my generation ducked under wooden desks to shield themselves from nuclear fallout. Life has always been precarious, as we have always had a segment of society that would "go there."

On that high note, I will see you on the 29th of November. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pandemics can begin in many ways. A wild animal could infect a hunter, or a farm animal might spread a pathogen to a market worker. Researchers in a lab or in the field could be exposed to viruses and unwittingly pass them to others. Natural spillovers and accidents have been responsible for every historical plague, each of which spread from a single individual to afflict much of humanity. But the devastation from past outbreaks pales in comparison to the catastrophic harm that could be inflicted by malicious individuals intent on causing new pandemics.

Thousands of people can now assemble infectious viruses from a genome sequence and commercially available synthetic DNA, and numerous projects aim to find and publicly identify new viruses that could cause pandemics by characterizing their growth, transmission, and immune evasion capabilities in the laboratory. Once these projects succeed, the world will face a significant new threat: If a single terrorist with the necessary skills were to release a new virus equivalent to SARS-CoV-2, which has claimed 20 million lives worldwide, that person would have killed more people than if they were to detonate a nuclear warhead in a dense city. If they were to release numerous such viruses across multiple travel hubs, the resulting pandemics could not plausibly be contained and would spread much faster than even the most rapidly produced biomedical countermeasures. And if one of those viruses spread as easily as the omicron variant—which rapidly infected millions of people within weeks of being identified—but had the lethality of smallpox, which killed about 30 percent of those infected, the subsequent loss of essential workers could trigger the collapse of food, water, and power distribution networks—and with them, societies.

To avoid this future, societies need to rethink how they can delay pandemic proliferation, detect all exponentially growing biological threats, and defend humanity by preventing infections. A comprehensive set of directions detailing how we can build a world free from catastrophic biological threats is required. That roadmap now exists.

How a deliberate pandemic could crush societies and what to do about it, Kevin Esvelt, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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Takeaways...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Death by Whataboutism...

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MODUS TROLLERANDI PART 2: WHATABOUTISM

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

Nikolas Cruz was sentenced in the Parkland Shooting to life without the possibility of parole, torpedoing his request to die by the state executioner.

Alex Jones owes a bucketload of money to the Sandy Hook families who have had to endure his lies by grift of his gullible Internet followers, mocking the verdict in a dual screen that "good luck! Ain't no more money," while petitioning the rubes to go to his site.

The January 6th Committee held what was possibly its last hearing yesterday if past precedent favors republicans in the midterms (except for the unforced error of overturning Roe vs Wade, and the promise if given power, they will make it a nationwide ban). If Nancy Pelosi is Speaker after the elections, the committee issued a subpoena to Generalisimo Insurrectionist. He'll wage a pitched legal battle, raise a lot of money, and hope the other crimes he's guilty of in New York and Georgia don't wind him up in a jumpsuit to match his complexion.  Women are registering for the midterms in record numbers; the unrest in Iran over the "morality police" is a microcosm of a constituency fed up with octogenarians making rules for them.

The person at the center of the January 6th Committee's focus has established a cult of personality for his followers and personal convenience for his enablers. Despite the recordings of Kevin McCarthy expressing abject terror, despite his, Mitch McConnell's, and Lindsey Graham's castigation of him on the House and Senate floors, they read the political tea leaves, realizing the conspiratorial dragon they benefitted from through Reich Wing talk radio, television, websites is a Frankenstein beyond their control. They hope to ride the crazy wave to "power," which at this time means a position with little relation to actual governing power, and hope their violent followers don't retaliate on them if they pick up the wrong salad fork, or select the wrong channel with the remote control.

The person at the center of the January 6th Committee's focus still deludes himself into that he actually won the 2020 election, still denies the loss, confesses to crimes he committed in real-time, and foments open rebellion and uncivil war if he's ever held accountable for his brazenly committed, and admitted crimes. He now demands the return of classified documents he magically declassified by telepathy (not a thing), and that the government "planted them." If you can follow that, there will be a padded cell next to his.

I was not a fan of Seinfeld. The comedy took as its theme the play by William Shakespeare: "Much Ado About Nothing." Norman Lear comedies like "All in the Family," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons," and "One Day at a Time" would often veer into sensitive topics about things like gang violence, rape, racism, and misogyny. Jerry Seinfeld and the cast made a comedy about nothing for ten years. When the final curtain went down on the show, there was "weeping and gnashing of teeth" at my Motorola office in Austin, Texas. Even in syndication where I might see an episode or two, I still don't get the attraction.

The dark side of much ado about nothing is Whataboutism: nothing matters. It makes one's sense of history and strategy for the future be temporally bound by business quarters. It explains why we can't do anything about climate change, George W. Bush summed up the attitude in his thoughts about the future asked by Bob Woodward: "we'll all be dead." I used to think he was the worst president in my lifetime until kismet said "hold my beer." The Republican platform in 2020 was reduced to Seinfeld minimalism, and they don't have one in 2022, save recycled Gingrich jibberish. Sexually assaulting women; grabbing them by the genitals doesn't matter. Railing about the sanctity of the unborn never mattered according to Dana Deloach: she just wants power in the Senate, so Herschel Walker can speak word salad about promiscuous bulls all he wants (to the chagrin of Rick Scott and Tom Cotton) as long as they gain the majority. Winning is all that matters, principle never did. There were several hundred mass shootings before Nikolas Cruz. Alex Jones started his grift before the twenty-six victims were in Rigor Mortis. Donald Trump in "Art of the Deal" explained "truthful hyperbole":

“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.”

“I Call It Truthful Hyperbole”: The Most Popular Quotes From Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”, Emily Price, Fast Company, April 4, 2017

In other words, brazen lying.

He played to people's fantasies that he was a successful businessman, despite six bankruptcies and being in hock up to his eyeballs to Deutsche Bank and the Russian Federation. He saw the reaction to the one and only black president and like a wolf, he pounced. He and his father were charged with violating the Fair Housing Act by the NIXON administration. Orly Taitz is a forgotten name and evidence education does not equate to intelligence. He took over the birther issue, poured kerosene, and lit a match. As Michael Cohen said, he never meant to win the election, it was a publicity stunt, which is why he had nothing he was passionate about to improve people's lives other than the rich like himself (richer than he since he's probably not on paper a billionaire). He could have repitched The Apprentice to NBC, still pulled down a check from the network, and still laundered money for Russian oligarchs, but no. Donny got out over his skis, got a taste of real power, and now like an 80s crack addict, can't get enough of it.

He's Pookie in [orange] face.

That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts.

It does hurt. It can kill a republic.

On the page where McHenry records the events of the last day of the convention, September 18, 1787, he wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy – A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” Then McHenry added: “The Lady here alluded to was Mrs. Powel of Philada.”

“A republic if you can keep it”: Elizabeth Willing Powel, Benjamin Franklin, and the James McHenry Journal
January 6, 2022, by Josh Levy, Library of Congress

44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:44-47

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Himalayas...

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The Shisper Glacier in April 2018, left, and April 2019, right. The surging ice blocked a river fed by a nearby glacier, forming a new lake. YALE ENVIRONMENT 360 / NASA

Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Environment, Existentialism, Global Warming

Everything about Earth and the organization of human civilization is about the control of resources.

We’ve come up with arbitrary “rules” about who is worthy of those resources, and how much they can horde, or obtain. Pharaohs, priests, secret societies, and guilds all have “knowledge” they jealously guard, or it may be as simple as caste or color. Every society with billionaires, emperors, kings, oligarchs, potentates, and sheiks all have a designated group to blame for the ills of poor planning and sadistic resource management: indigenous, or imported servants by force, they are the easy go-to designated pariahs. It is a cynical way to get rich, but a poor method of species survival. A resource we all need, from billionaires to pariahs, is potable water to drink. Jackson, Mississippi is a foreshadowing of what we might expect.

This continual differentiation of mankind by caste, color, station, and monetary wealth has brought us to this rolling train wreck catastrophe. Climate refugees occurred in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Climate refugees occurred after the flooding in Pakistan. Climate refugees will occur in the aftermath of future superstorms. Lest we think ourselves immune, we may all be seeking higher ground, leaving homes and businesses for something we could have solved decades ago except for avarice.

The permafrost is melting, and that will release viruses that haven't seen the light of day for several millennia, and we have no vaccines for what will likely be carried on the wind and zoonotically transferred between animals and humans.

Starships are as real as magic carpets, genies, Yetis, and mermaids.

There is no “planet B,” life, or wealth on a nonfunctional planet.

Warmer air is thinning most of the vast mountain range’s glaciers, known as the Third Pole because they contain so much ice. The melting could have far-reaching consequences for flood risk and for water security for a billion people who rely on meltwater for their survival.

Spring came early this year in the high mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan, a remote border region of Pakistan. Record temperatures in March and April hastened melting of the Shisper Glacier, creating a lake that swelled and, on May 7, burst through an ice dam. A torrent of water and debris flooded the valley below, damaging fields and houses, wrecking two power plants and washing away parts of the highway and a bridge connecting Pakistan and China.

Pakistan’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, tweeted videos of the destruction and highlighted the vulnerability of a region with the largest number of glaciers outside the Earth’s poles. Why were these glaciers losing mass so quickly? Rehman put it succinctly. “High global temperatures,” she said.

Just over a decade, ago, relatively little was known about glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the vast ice mountains that run across Central and South Asia, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. But a step-up in research in the past 10 years — spurred in part by an embarrassing error in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, which predicted that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 — has led to enormous strides in understanding.

Scientists now have data on almost every glacier in high-mountain Asia. They know “how these glaciers have changed not only in area but in mass during the last 20 years,” says Tobias Bolch, a glaciologist with the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He adds, “We also know much more about the processes which govern glacial melt. This information will give policymakers some instruments to really plan for the future.”

As Himalayan Glaciers Melt, a Water Crisis Looms in South Asia, VAISHNAVI CHANDRASHEKHAR, Yale Environment 360

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The Nobel Peace Prize 2022...

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Topics: Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Peace Prize

The 2022 Peace Prize is awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties.

The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses, and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.

The Nobel Peace Prize 2022. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022. Fri. 7 Oct 2022. < https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2022/summary/ >

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The Apotheosis of Stupidity...

 

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

"Obviously, there are issues with the border and with migration, but these are the kinds of stunts you see from people who don't have a solution,” Buttigieg said in an interview with journalist Evan Smith at the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival.

His comments drew applause from the audience.

“Governor DeSantis was in Congress. Where was he when they were debating immigration reform?” Buttigieg asks in the interview. “What have any of these people done to be part of the solution?

"So, you know, I get that if you're after attention...it's one thing to call attention to a problem when you have a course of action … it’s another thing to just call attention to a problem because the problem is actually more useful to you than the solution, and that helps you call attention to yourself. And that’s what’s going on,”

Buttigieg continued, “And the problem is, it’s one thing if it was just people being obnoxious, but human beings are being impacted by that. You flee a communist regime in Venezuela, you come here, and then somebody tricks you — somebody using Florida taxpayer money for some reason — tricks you into going from Texas to Massachusetts.

“It is not just ineffectual, it is hurting people in order to get attention.”

Watch Pete Buttigieg's Devastating Takedown of Fla.'s Ron DeSantis, Alex Cooper, The Advocate/Yahoo News

I watched the pained look on Desantis' face as he had to work for once in his career as Florida's governor and look serious. He couldn't troll the libs in Brandon, Florida to cheers that are both double entendre and vulgar dig at President Biden. It was probably as fun as sending Venezualian asylum seekers to Martha's Vinyard. The migrants and a Florida state senator filed lawsuits. But that doesn't matter to him. After "building the wall" with his toddler son, Mr. "Stunting Like His [fascist] Daddy" is more like him every day: more married to the performance of power than the responsibility of power. When DeSantis was in Congress, he voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy. Now he has to accept help from "Dark Brandon." I was in New York, so his vote affected me and my family, personally. Truly, "karma keeps receipts."

Stupid.

The second Adlai Stevenson was the Pete Buttigieg/Barack Obama of his day.

When Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson was running for president in the 1950s, a supporter purportedly said to him: "Every thinking person in America will be voting for you." Stevenson replied, "I'm afraid that won't do — I need a majority."

When President Donald Trump leaves office, there will still be millions of Americans who think that all Muslims are terrorists, Mexicans are taking over the country, and the government is planning to confiscate their guns. Most of us don't think that way, but we do need to vote.

A call to every thinking person, Tom Siebert, Montgomery, Chicago Tribune

Stevenson stopped Russian interference in the 1960 presidential election by not spreading the propaganda given to him. Back in the day, that's what normal politicians did when a foreign power tried to rig an election, not "I love it," or for that matter, use it.

Aileen Cannon, one presumes, went to college, and law school, passed the state bar, and she is a judge. But, because her client, the orange stain in the underwear of the nation, doesn't want to say his lies under oath, she's accommodating that wish. She's overruling the Special Master Stain Man and she wanted. Judge Dearie was appointed by Reagan.

Stupid.

Ginni Thomas, one presumes, went to college, and law school, passed the state bar, and she is a lawyer. She STILL believes the 2020 election was stolen. She told the January 6th committee this, and according to her text to Mark Meadows, she told her "best friend," presumably her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas.

Stupid.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is the new Prime Minister of Italy and a member of the fascist party after the death of Mussolini. She is racist, a conspiracy theorist, so of course, American republicans love her. She isn't unintelligent:

She's stupid.

From the "awe, shucks" of a B-movie actor, a C-average student who needed the [then, and now] not-Supreme Court to 5-4 appoint him in 2000, usurping the popular vote, to a charlatan con artist pretending to be a business success on a non-reality TV show, we have put mediocrity on a pedestal, we have apotheosized stupidity. Collectively, society attacks academics, poets, artists, and scientists as "nerds," "pansies," "wimps," and lightweights. Yet they react to arts and song, they demand the latest gadget, not at all connecting the persons they torment, the groups they loathe and look down on as the source of things that either make their lives easier or give them beauty and meaning. Our news media practices "both sides-ism," and "what about-ism." It used to be flat earthers were those strange people with pamphlets: they have a website. We've democratized the Internet and put a halt on civics and critical thinking. The climate change effects now in Florida, previously in Jackson, Mississippi, can vanish with magical thinking, positive mental attitude mantras, jingoism, and sloganeering. I see why fascism has been, and for the foreseeable future, always will be a temptation: giving allegiance to so-called strongmen (or in Italy's case, a strongwoman) takes the burden of responsibility off the rest of us. We can binge on streaming videos, selective podcasts, and social media newsfeeds. We don't have to venture outside of our self-constructed siloes, since that's where we're the most comfortable.

Fascism is thus for lazy, gaslit people, and it's stupid.

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by the use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplishes anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

 

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DARVO...

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Image source: Pinterest

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

DARVO is an acronym for "deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender". It refers to a reaction that alleged perpetrators of wrongdoing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.[1] Some researchers and advocates have indicated that it can be a common manipulation strategy of psychological abusers.[2][3][4] An abuser (or alleged abuser) denies the abuse ever took place, attacks the person that alleged abuse (often the victim) for attempting to hold the abuser (or alleged abuser) accountable for their actions, and claims that they are actually the victim in the situation, thus reversing what may be a reality of victim and offender.[2][4] It often involves not just "playing the victim" but also victim blaming.[3]

Source: Wikipedia/DARVO

This hasn't been a good week for "Orange Jesus." Prepare for a lot of DARVO.

The Eleventh Circuit Court batted back his hand-picked court stenographer with a blistering decision that if he were to appeal to his stacked no-longer Supreme Court, the faux college fascist Niel Gorsuch, accused rapist frat boy Brett Kavanaugh, and ACTUAL Handmaid (and proud of it) Amy Coney Barrett would have some difficulty trying to find the back-of-the-box Cracker Jack excuse to justify his theft of classified documents, further descending the court's already stained reputation with the Dobb's decision firmly into the marsupial territory. It would probably be the ONLY ruling from which Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas recuse themselves. Chief Justice Roberts, the architect of the court's destruction with the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, would join the actual Justices we have REMAINING on the court - Sotomayer, Kagen, and Jackson in descent not because he agrees but to hide his utter ineptitude at shepherding the third branch of our government.

Update: As of July 7, Roberts requested all law clerk's cell phone records, according to the Brennan Center. It's the legal equivalent of trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

As the urban legend goes, the orange toddler attacked his mother, Mary, it frightened her, and she appealed to her husband and the toddler's father, Fred. Fred, being the busy businessman he was - detained at a Klan rally in 1927 (though there's no evidence he was a supporter), and what would become family art - dodging paying his taxes and scurrilous connections with organized crime - sent his middle school toddler to Cornwall Military Academy in upstate New York, because rich, successful businessmen couldn't be bothered with things like setting boundaries for children. When "Todd" came back for, say, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or summer break, Mary and the girls made their way to Europe on holiday, away from the monster they were all culpable in creating by their neglect.

Mary Trump: Donald's upbringing forged his bullying and racism, Mark Gruenberg, People's World

Letitia James, NYS Attorney General, has charged the Trump Organization with fraudulent activities, lying when devaluing their property suited them and increasing the value when applying for loans. That makes wealth fungible, and I now declare by the power of positive thinking that I am worth a gazillion dollars. Two problems: (1) that's an expression, not a numerical measurement, (2) tell that to my bill collectors.

Meanwhile, "back at the ranch": Mango Mussolini's "mini me's" Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are literally kidnapping Venezuelan migrants and stunt-unloading them in Martha's Vineyard and Vice President Kamala Harris' residence. Also, the key to the cruelty is signing them up for immigration hearings while transporting them to states where the hearings are not taking place.

Abbott was on the Texas Supreme Court, the state Attorney General before ascending to the governor. DeSantis "built a wall" with his toddler son, and was a member of the Tea Party in Congress, again before getting the top gig.

18 U.S. Code 1201: “provides the legal definition of the federal crime of kidnapping: Whoever unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise . . . when — the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce . . . shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or [for] life.”

Mini stable genius from Florida used funds to address migrants in Florida to ship them: from Texas. He through "Perla" even left brochures. The problem is, the program removes unauthorized aliens from Florida. Mini blockhead kidnapped authorized asylum seekers from Texas. Veritas after the scheme backfired, went dark.

Well, they're both lawyers. I hope they hire some good ones for when they inevitably get sued, and the court cases go to discovery.

I actually felt sorry for Sean Hannity for the first time in my life. I do admire the fact that he kept a straight face as Dumbo Gambino gave the "declassification by telepathy" defense. When grasping for straws, always go for the "Hillary Clinton emails" because even though after eleven hours of testimony in front of Congress, she didn't have anything to incriminate her, he knows his dwindling herd still hates her more than him.

The meme above is a perfect metaphor for the current place the United States and the world find themselves in: we're all suffering the throes of WGM: white grievance minstrelsy. Everything has to be seen through the lens of prince charming saving the damsel in distress. Hell, we can't even have a black mermaid without some snowflakes having an existential cow over a fictional character. The meme above is a perfect metaphor for the current place in the United States and everything that is coming to a head stems from a throwaway line from Saint Ronnie Reagan's first inaugural address: "Government isn't the solution, [the] government is the problem." So don't expect solutions from the side that repeats this like a positive mental attitude mantra at a multilevel marketing meeting. They've got an echo chamber that blames everything on immigrants, minorities, LGBT, women, and the only solution to the problems of the universe is tax cuts (not, as in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42). It's the clear, systematic execution of the Lewis Powell memo, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse noted it as well on his Senate page. We have colors because of the angle of incidence of ultraviolet light. We have races because of politics. Politics also defines in society who is valued, and who is chattel. Politics engineers society so that certain things reinforce themselves so they seem as if they've always been that way and always will be that way. So when someone upsets the apple cart, say, the first African American president in the nation's history, you get birtherism (Abbott sued the Obama administration on days ending in "Y"), the Tea Party (Ron's old turf), the Orwellian "Freedom Caucus" (I guess for every one white, heterosexual, and Christofascist).

They will deny it. They will attack. They will reverse the victim and offender. White evangelicals are textbook examples of DARVO and WGM. They feel persecuted because of their faith when in reality, they are turning people off because of the things they focus on. Instead of spreading the love of Christ, they are themselves driving the young from church due to their bigotry. 81% of them voted for an admitted sexual assaulter and an Olympic-level serial liar labels them as hypocrites. Young procreate if that's important, and churches whose median age matches that of a Fox Propaganda viewer or Russian citizen usually become empty buildings or museums.

Young people have other concerns: student loans for one. The volunteer military replaced the compulsory draft, and Saint Ronnie started gutting state funding for universities that used to be a lot cheaper than they are now, some free and didn't require predatory loans. Desperate young people sign up for the six branches of service - they may get a sign-on bonus, and a GI Bill they can use towards education later: if they don't die in conflict-enriching defense contractors, whose children will not shoulder the burden. This creates an artificial barrier to education that previously lifted low-income people out of poverty, not strapped them with crushing debt.

As his faux empire crumbles and he gets his legal comeuppance, the party he has in his grip loses elections (and is held accountable for anything approaching violence after losing), my hope is to hold the House and Senate this fall, and the presidency in 2024. Then on January 20, 2025, that will truly be a "New Pulse of Morning" (Dr. Maya Angelou, RIP). Maybe we will stop promoting toddlers to carry the nuclear football. Maybe we will have two functioning parties again instead of one. Maybe we will stop worshipping billionaires and oligarchs as "self-made" gods and recognize they used a mix of means legal and illegal to gain such wealth in a single lifetime. Maybe we will stop tribalizing and work together to solve now intractable problems as a human species. Maybe we will finally grow up.

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Pablum and Fascism...

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Source: Holocaust Museum

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

After my commission to the United States Air Force, I was at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, attached to Air Training Command, learning about Communications and Computer Systems. One of the things I would be introduced to is ARPANET, there, and at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, which eventually became the Internet we know.

Leaving college I had a Secret Clearance. To get a Top Secret Clearance (communications were. and are in SCIFs - special compartmentalized information facilities). I had to fill out a long analog form of SF-86, and sit down with an agent from the Defense Investigative Service (I believe this is performed by another agency now).

For most of my classmates, the interview took 15 - 20 minutes. For me, the only African American in the classroom, it extended to TWO HOURS. Finally, the agent had enough:

Agent: Lieutenant, you're the only African American in your training class, and you're the only officer, from the Major down, who's said you've never used marijuana. WHY should I believe you?

Me: Because they came to my neighborhood to buy it, not thinking of the hell they left behind as they went back to their suburbs!

I never saw a man turn so beet red in my life. He was embarrassed and angry.

Agent: You KNOW we're going to interview at least FIVE of your neighbors!

Me: Do me a favor: interview ten. If any of them say I smoked weed, then you'll kick me out of the Air Force with a dishonorable discharge. Otherwise, you can ask me those canned questions for another two hours. You're going to get the same answers.

WHY was I so confident? One, I never did, not in my household. My father was a WWII veteran of the Navy, a heavy ship gunner, and, a ranked boxer. Smoke weed at your own peril! I didn't out of fear, respect, and love for my dad. He like a lot of black men went to fight Hitler's fascism only to encounter it at home. To the agent, I didn't "fit the stereotype."

I did find out he, or some agent, interviewed ten neighbors. I did receive a TS/SCI clearance.

The agent, though biased, was doing his job. It's from this I can say you just DON'T stumble and happenstance transport boxes of classified information to your living quarters.

Kevin McCarthy, the sad excuse of a "leader" for Republicans in the House, wants President Biden to apologize for calling MAGA Republicans "semi-fascists." I beg to differ: (1) the Red Hat Crew call THEMSELVES MAGA Republicans, (2) the Red Hat Crew wear t-shirts like "I'd rather be Russian than a Democrat," a version available on Amazon, and (3) my main critique is you can be no more semi-fascist anymore than any woman in America, who lost their rights to bodily autonomy, can be semi-pregnant. Joseph Robinette Biden is a creature of the Senate, and has fond memories of working across the aisle with "the gentleman from Kentucky," or "the gentleman from West Virginia." The term "gentle lady" would come much later, after slow, and painstaking change. The Senate was from its inception a club of white males. They were initially picked by their state governors so that they would if called to be jurors for, oh say, an impeachment, be impartial, and not beholden to the concerns of statewide elections. That was changed with the 17th Amendment.

This is pablum:

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This is not a tweet: it's an electronic pacifier for a spoiled brat. He never received a belt, as would have been the punishment in my household, he never even received "time out." He is the byproduct of what privilege, wealth, and narcissism produces in a human.

Devin Nunes is the "CEO," the only qualification being a sycophant for a demagogue and having a famously hilarious Twitter spat with a fictional cow. Baby Huey owes $1.6 million for hosting fees, in the repeated mistake anyone with a New York Times online or newspaper subscription would tell you that this man never pays any bills! Male polar bears famously impregnate females in heat, then wander off because evolution hasn't given them parenting skills. Similarly, Donald has problems being a normal human. The real Twitter ended him after January 6, 2021, insurrection being the bridge too far for all the other policies he had violated since then. "Truth Social" is as Orwellian as he is insane. His main complaint is how the evidence was staged for the photo. It does not explain why he's the only ex-president that has classified files in his not-a-SCIF office at his public club/hotel.

He seems to not know, or not care that this is publicly available and can be used against him in a court proceeding, particularly if, as it looks like he's (going to be) indicted.

Jeff Teitrich's tweet: “any good lawyer would tell Trump to stop talking, but Trump doesn't have a good lawyer. Trump has a parking garage lawyer.”

He’s a spoiled brat and seems to have ZERO clue that everything he puts out on his failing social media platform becomes part of the public record, and, is open to legal discovery in court proceedings.

But Dumbo Gambino only has the parking garage lawyer.

What incenses me is, that we have these things called cell phones with cameras. The fake Rothchild sounds like a Russian agent. Inna Yashchyshyn, 33, probably wandered in where the documents were with her cell phone. In the 80s, we worried about documents leaving the SCIF physically. Now their images can be posted on a website for access by Guccifer 3.0.

I think he feigned disinterest in the Presidential Daily Briefings. I think he feigned hostility towards the intelligence community. You don't gather that many files willy-nilly on the last moments of January 20th. This was done over time, four years of meticulous, clandestine gathering. Maybe Devin Nunes had a hand in it? His closed-door meetings with Putin were instructional sessions on WHAT to steal, and where to put it so Inna could fake being a Rothchild and come down to Mar-a-Lardo to photograph it and upload it on Telegram.

This is espionage. It doesn't take James Bond or Maxwell Smart, but part of the usual thoroughness of the SF-86 process (Jared Kuschner, the noted exception), is to find weak spots an enemy can exploit. Trump is as self-centered as a polar bear, he doesn't pay his bills, he owes a lot of money, and he's the only presidential candidate in modern history refusing to show his taxes, steadfastly blocking them from a congressional inquiry. Having Michael Cohen sue his military academy, Fordham and U Penn were about vanity: his taxes, I think, would reveal points of leverage that Putin has cultivated for 40 years.

This is espionage. This is treason.

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The Business Model...

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

"Maxwell Smart, a highly intellectual but bumbling spy working for the CONTROL agency, battles the evil forces of rival spy agency KAOS with the help of his competent partner Agent 99." Source: Internet Movie Database (1965 - 1970)

There were several spy genres on television as well as on the big screen. "I Spy" with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby were undercover agents posing as a tennis pro and coach. There was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."; "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E."; "The Wild, Wild West"; "The Saint"; "Mission: Impossible"; and "The Avengers" to name a few. Sean Connery inhabited James Bond, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., like KAOS, a metaphor for the Soviet Union.

Speaking of Russia:

COINTELPRO The FBI began COINTELPRO—short for Counterintelligence Program—in 1956 to disrupt the activities of the Communist Party of the United States. In the 1960s, it was expanded to include a number of other domestic groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Black Panther Party. All COINTELPRO operations ended in 1971. Although limited in scope (about two-tenths of one percent of the FBI’s workload over a 15-year period), COINTELPRO was later rightfully criticized by Congress and the American people for abridging first amendment rights and for other reasons. Source: vault.FBI.gov/COINTELPRO

We were balancing a world post-WWII and launched into a Cold War. We nearly annihilated the human species a year before the March on Washington, a year after I was born. We also had assassinations of significant leaders: Medgar Evers (June 12, 1963), President John F. Kennedy (November 22, 1963), Malcolm X (February 21, 1965), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968), and Robert F. Kennedy (June 6, 1968). So spy shows tried to give us escapist fantasies from an era with great music, but it was a decade soaked in blood and angst.

It seems I recall - my parents received two newspapers: the Winston-Salem Journal in the mornings (now the only paper) and the Winston-Salem Sentinal in the evening. If you were a business advertising, you had a higher price for the morning than the evening paper. The evening news consisted of local from 6:00 - 6:30 pm, and national from 6:30 - 7:00 pm. After that, you got the spy series, game shows, or comedy series. They seemed to receive a decent amount of information they felt they needed to be informed, citizens. They and society as a whole also seemed: calmer. Instead of 24 hours of programming on a plethora of channels, which we'll probably never view in a single human lifetime, the television went to a test pattern at midnight. There were a lot fewer insomniacs back then, and we had relief from the blood and angst - at least for brief respites.

The more we learn about the insidiousness that underlies social media in the new documentary "The Social Dilemma," the more it seems like the film is bringing a slingshot to a nuclear war. What we learn in this movie is that our brains are being manipulated and even rewired by algorithms that are designed to get our attention and make us buy things, including buying into distorted ideas about the world, ourselves, and each other.

"The Social Dilemma" is from Jeff Orlowski, who gave us the similarly terrifying "what are we doing to ourselves" documentaries "Chasing Coral" and "Chasing Ice." This one might as well be called "Chasing Us" as it asks fundamental and existential questions about whether we are literally writing (with code) ourselves out of the ability to make vital decisions about our own survival. Source: The Social Dilemma, Roger Ebert dot com

Part of what I remember from the documentary is emotion: anger engages us to click on a display, an ad, or fire off (what we think is) a witty missive in a comments section.

Monomers as metaphors

Monomers can bind with like molecules to form polymers in nature. The Internet has allowed us to combine with like-minded individuals at lightspeed over vast distances. Just because an extremist in North Carolina converses with an extremist in Norway, that they have found a "crew" in a chatroom, that they are vibing off each other, it doesn't mean that each of the other is "right." E.g.: Everyone in the fictional Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane thinks the citizens of Gotham are dumb schmucks and that Batman is a violent, vigilante psychopath (that last part might have a tinge of truth to it). That they would make the Penguin Mayor of Gotham and the Joker President also makes my point: a polymer of individual mental patients grouped together might give itself the name Qanon, and believe Secret Jewish Space Lasers cause fires in California.

Unlike Europe and the United States, Russia has a clear stance on Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s hope for the future is his Eurasian Union, to be established next January as a rival to the European Union. Belarusian and Kazakh strongmen are game to join his dictators’ club. But since the idea has little popular support anywhere, Eurasian integration can take place only in conditions of Russian domination and local dictatorship. For Mr. Putin, the Eurasian Union would be meaningless without Ukraine. Eurasian ideology is the brainchild of Alexander Dugin, who has never disguised his admiration of fascism. His website publishes Russian strategists who claim that Ukraine is not a sovereign state.

Don’t Let Putin Grab Ukraine, Timothy Snyder, NYT, February 3, 2014

I've read Alexander Dubin's name in Snyder's book, "The Road to Unfreedom." Referred to as "Putin's brain," he may have influenced the war in Ukraine. Two Medium writers, Nadin Brzezinski and B Kean have both suggested that Dugin planned and approved of the assassination of his daughter by the FSB. I'm almost expecting Dr. Evil.

This ain't really a life, ain't really a life, ain't really nothing but a movie. "B-Movie," Gil Scott-Heron, Genius Lyrics

So-called "strongmen" use KAOS/chaos as their toolbox. They're really not strong: Putin, Orban, Xi Jinping, Trump: the tendency towards authoritarianism shows individuals internally insecure with not having the final word or the solution to any problem. It's why Orban seized control of the media in Hungary: can't let those reporters say mean things about his ineptitude. Xi's response to Covid is probably worse than ours if he let his scientists speak to those in the west and share information (this secrecy births conspiracy theories whether they're true or not). Putin was best at turning individuals against their nations but by rank a Lieutenant Colonel and low-level bureaucrat. He seized power by a staged terrorist attack before the year 2000: he exploited Russians' fear and need for security: KAOS/chaos.

A world run by the weakest of men (it's always men) is a world on fire, a societal, psychotic episode, a saturation of 24/7/365 angst: KAOS/chaos.

I can only conclude now the model is KAOS/chaos without a balance of order/CONTROL.

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Diversity or Dystopia...

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Watch: Nichelle Nichols Tells The Story Of How Martin Luther King, Jr. Dissuaded Her From Quitting ‘Star Trek’ TrekMovie.com

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

"It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 31 March 1968, King Institute, Stanford University

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the reason Nichelle Nicoles stayed with Star Trek after the first season. She wanted to return to her first love - theater, and Broadway.

As it turned out, Dr. King was the self-professed biggest fan, and what ensued was life-affirming for Nichelle Nichols. When speaking to NPR, she said: “He complimented me on the manner in which I’d created the character. I thanked him, and I think I said something like, ‘Dr. King, I wish I could be out there marching with you.’ He said, ‘no, no, no. No, you don’t understand… You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for.'”

She continued: “I said, ‘Well, I told Gene just yesterday that I’m going to leave the show after the first year because I’ve been offered…’ — and he stopped me and said: ‘You cannot do that.’ And I was stunned. He said, ‘Don’t you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time, we are being seen the world over as we should be seen.’ He says, ‘Do you understand that this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch?’ I was speechless.'”

How Martin Luther King convinced Nichelle Nichols not to quit 'Star Trek', Mick McStarkey, Far Out Magazine, United Kingdom (Rest in Power, Nichelle Nichols)

Star Trek is the child of Gene Roddenberry, birthed at the height of the Civil Rights movement. This time was also the period of government surveillance of those same organizations by the FBI via COINTELPRO. It was a Pollyanish vision that two centuries in the future, we would mature from our societal adolescence, our tribal factions, and mature enough to work together, across cultures and worlds. Dr. Maya Angelou said "we grew up" after the inauguration of President Obama. We hoped we had.

Gene and his scriptwriters were products of the Second World War, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Hence, in creative license, they somewhat hinted, that the utopia of the 23rd Century was preceded by a self-imposed, dystopian hellscape.

World War III was the last of Earth's three world wars, lasting from approximately 2026 to 2053. The conflict involved nuclear cataclysm as well as genocide and eco-terrorism. The post-atomic horror in the aftermath persisted as late as 2079.

The war was preceded by the Second Civil War and the Eugenics Wars, all of which were sometimes regarded as parts of a single escalating conflict. It resulted in the deaths of some 30% of the Human population, at least six hundred million people, and the extinction of six hundred thousand species of animals and plants. By the end, most of the major cities had been destroyed and there were few governments left.

Star Trek Memory Alpha: World War III

If you follow the link for the Second Civil War, it refers to contemporary concerns about a certain twice-impeached Oval Office resident and his rabid followers. The inset of scenes from the January 6th insurrection was ominous and brilliant social commentary in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The first episode was both social commentary and warning: there are no benevolent Vulcans that will show up to clean up our nuclear mess after the discovery of a superluminal warp drive. With our luck, we'd encounter Klingons or Romulans. Social commentary and hope animated Dr. King's remarks to Nichelle/Uhura.

Social commentary is what Star Trek has always tried to do. Gene Roddenberry appealed to our secular better angels, our shared experience as humans beyond color or culture.

Viktor Orban was in Dallas, Texas yesterday. He received a standing ovation for his remarks about race mixing, the LGBT, and taking over universities and the press. This is fascism. The Republicans in Dallas are true RINOs and should have worn their white sheets. It is the aftermath of their patron saint, Ayn Rand's admiration of a serial killer, William Hickman: cruelty. Only a psychopath can admire a psychopath. Reagan admired Rand. What does it say about a party that makes her words the sacred scripture of apoplectic violence?

The reason fascism seems to be spreading across the globe is the same reason terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda spread across the globe: the Internet. We are now investing more in newsfeeds, tweets, and blogs that we can read on our ineptly-named "smart phones." There have always been factions - they are encouraged by the wealthy. It's better for the rubes to fight each other than use critical thinking on who the theaves are.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best-colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.”

― Lyndon B. Johnson

People are not leaving their homes because of whims or WWII Nazi survivor George Soros (a familiar racist trope). They are leaving because of failed governments in Central America affected by US trade policies such that there is effectively no middle class. Their daughters will be the prostitutes to drug lords and their sons will be the runners and soldiers for them. They are leaving because of wars in Somalia, Chechnya, and elsewhere so-called "strongmen" punch down on weaker populations. They are leaving because of climate catastrophes that are decimating their nations with floods like those in Kentucky or fires like those in California. Colonizing the Moon or Mars is not a plan - it's a suicide mission, and we don't have any warp-capable starships or a Starfleet. We have a "pale blue dot" Carl Sagan said we live on together. In order to survive on it, we're going to have to share resources and work together.

Savvy demagogues like Orban, Putin, and the criminal who previously had the nuclear codes are using the tribal "fear of the other," the desire not to "mix races" to seize power, with no intention of relinquishing it. It allows the hoarding of resources, wealth, power, and the licensing of cruelty. Weaponizing fear of "others" is also profitable, hence Fox Propaganda and Reich Wing media promoting it. Carotin or Melanin: Every human being on the planet is from the African continent. The variations are the result of migratory patterns, the foods encountered, and the angle of incidence of the sun. We don't need to go to another planet to know that - just pay attention in high school biology, or read a science report.

If we were to colonize the Moon or Mars (hopefully without terraforming with nukes), in a hundred years, the colonists would no longer look like Earthlings: they would be Lunarians and Martians, and due to their wildly different environments, they could not come back to Earth. One of the things Star Trek probably got right: under similar conditions - a planet in the "Goldilocks" zone, with similar gravity and atmosphere, aliens on those worlds would probably develop into similar physical structures, similar skin variations.

We are being held hostage by so-called "white" men hoarding resources to themselves in the deluded notion they could survive a full-scale collapse of civilization and life on Earth. Diversity or dystopia. A beloved community or extinction.

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

“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Cooling Centers...

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Projected temperature change for mid-century (left) and end-of-century (right) in the United States under higher (top) and lower (bottom) emissions scenarios. The brackets on the thermometers represent the likely range of model projections, though lower or higher outcomes are possible. Source: USGCRP (2009)

Topics: Climate Change, Environment, Existentialism

The heat index in Jefferson County reached 105 degrees by noon Monday — and it’s only getting hotter.

More than 50 million Americans face scorching temperatures as a heatwave spreads over most of the country this week. Louisville could see heat indices as high as 115 degrees, putting many residents at risk of heat illnesses.

Every year, more than 600 people die from extreme heat. Dizziness, muscle cramps, and vomiting are telltale signs it’s time to cool down, according to Zach Harris, medical director of emergency services at Norton Hospital.

“If you’re so hot that you start to not feel good, that’s the right time to go inside or find some shade or some way to cool down,” Harris said.

Older adults, young children, and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk, but even healthy adults can experience heat-related illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cooling centers are open to help Louisville residents beat the heat, Michael J. Collins, 89.3 WFPL

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The death toll from the devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky continues to rise.

Eastern Kentucky flood relief: Ways you can donate

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed Monday evening that the death toll has risen to at least 37. The governor says refrigerator trucks are serving as mobile morgues to hold bodies as they are flown to the medical examiner’s office in Frankfort.

4 siblings among dead in Kentucky flooding

Beshear says the number of missing is in the hundreds. He says Search and rescue crews are still running into areas where it’s difficult to get to.

Beshear says the flooding death toll has risen to at least 37, WKYT New Staff

Future temperature changes

We have already observed global warming over the last several decades. Future temperatures are expected to change further. Climate models project the following key temperature-related changes.

Key global projections

Increases in average global temperatures are expected to be within the range of 0.5°F to 8.6°F by 2100, with a likely increase of at least 2.7°F for all scenarios except the one representing the most aggressive mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Except under the most aggressive mitigation scenario studied, the global average temperature is expected to warm at least twice as much in the next 100 years as it has during the last 100 years.

Ground-level air temperatures are expected to continue to warm more rapidly over land than in oceans.

Some parts of the world are projected to see larger temperature increases than the global average.

Maybe like, Kentucky?

Future of Climate Change, EPA.gov

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Occam's on Steroids...

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Image source: Dictionary dot com

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

Originally from the entry: Apathy, Crisis, and Zappa (another blog I posted to before WordPress).

So what exactly is a constitutional crisis? We should be clear about what does — and, more importantly, does not — merit this description. It’s possible to have a major political crisis even if the Constitution is crystal clear on the remedy or to have a constitutional crisis that doesn’t ruffle many feathers.

Political and legal observers generally divide constitutional crises into four categories:

1. The Constitution doesn’t say what to do.

The U.S. Constitution is brief and vague. (Compare it to a state constitution sometime.) This vagueness has one major advantage: It makes an 18th-century document flexible enough to effectively serve a 21st-century society. But sometimes the Constitution leaves us without sorely needed instructions, such as when William Henry Harrison became the first president to die in office in 1841. At the time, it wasn't clear whether the vice president should fully assume the office or just safeguard the role until a new president could somehow be chosen. (It wasn't until 1967 that the 25th amendment officially settled the question.) When Vice President John Tyler took over, no one was sure if he was the real president or merely the acting president, nor was anyone certain what should happen next. Tyler asserted that he was, in fact, the new president, and since then, vice presidents who have had to step into service as chief executive have been treated as fully legitimate, but early confusion took its toll on the perceived legitimacy of Tyler’s presidency.

2. The Constitution’s meaning is in question.

Sometimes the Constitution’s attempt to address an issue is phrased in a way that could allow multiple interpretations, leaving experts disagreeing about what it means and making it difficult or impossible to address a pressing problem. In this way, both the Great Depression and the Civil War created constitutional crises. The problem sparked by the Civil War is obvious: The fight rested on a bunch of unsettled constitutional questions, the biggest of which was about slavery and the federal government’s ability to control it, a subject on which the Constitution was silent. And while the Constitution provided information on how a state could join the union, it didn't say whether one could leave it or how it would go about doing so. It obviously took a war to resolve this crisis.

3. The Constitution tells us what to do, but it’s not politically feasible.

This category of constitutional crisis can crop up when presidential elections produce contested and confusing results. In the 2000 presidential election, when George W. Bush and Al Gore were separated by just a few hundred votes in Florida, the tipping-point state whose electoral votes would determine the winner, the state’s election results remained contested for weeks due to a number of irregularities and a secretary of state who seemed determined to cut a recount short. In theory, the Constitution allowed for various solutions to this problem: Congress could have decided which of Florida’s electors to recognize, or Congress could have determined that neither candidate had achieved a majority in the Electoral College and let the House of Representatives decide on a president (per the process spelled out in the 12th Amendment). Such outcomes, while certainly constitutional, would have been politically infeasible, creating a significant legitimacy crisis for the new president.

4. Institutions themselves fail.

The Constitution’s system of checks and balances sets the various branches against each other for the laudable purpose of constraining tyranny. However, due to partisan polarization, individual corruption, or any number of other reasons, sometimes the political institutions in these arrangements fail, sending the governmental system into a crisis. This was the type of constitutional crisis commentators were seemingly referring to in describing reports that Customs and Border Protection agents (members of the executive branch) weren't following orders from the judicial branch.

Five Thirty-Eight blog: The 4 Main Types of Constitutional Crises, Julia Azari and Seth Masket

Secret Service Jan 6 text erased despite Congress' request

Jan. 6 texts missing for Trump Homeland Security secretary and deputy

Occam's razor: a scientific and philosophical rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities Merriam-Webster

So, what do we call this?

Too many people who know that you're supposed to keep official records (Secret Service, Homeland Security) aren't keeping official records.

The GOP had CPAC in Vicktor Urban's authoritarian country (he's apparently not a big fan of diversity, and by extension, neither is the GOP).

Homeland Security: a lot of angst about the name came up post 9/11 because it sounded so - "Nazi." This is, sadly, when Alex Jones gained a lot of traction. He popularized "9/11 truthers" before he saw where his depraved bread was buttered with Sandy Hook, lying about dead children, and anything else he could glom onto for a fast buck that I hope he's finally being separated from his exchequer. It's like the chips all fell in place for the Joker to take over Arkham, and Batman is TDY across the universe with the Justice League.

Dumbo Gambino lied to 9/11 victims about going after the Saudis (15 of the 19 highjackers) to their faces in the height of their grief and loss. That hasn't stopped the sociopath from hosting the LIV golf tournament at his Bedminster course, because that would take something he has ZERO in his emotional fuel tank: empathy. It's all about money and protecting those who he thinks will give him boatloads more.

Malcolm Nance's new book: "They Want to Kill Americans" couldn't be starker. The Introduction had me up past midnight! He's gone back to Ukraine to help them win the war. I sometimes think it's safer than America right now.

Orange Satan didn't do this by himself. He had a lot of complicit help that doesn't mind turning our high-sounding Constitution into toilet paper (for flushing). He just saw where the wind was blowing after the country elected its first and so far, only black president, and lost its collective mind!

Coup. Insurrection. Insurgency. They're all words. We went from Obama's tan suit and Michelle Obama's bared arms controversies to the Grand Pooh-Bah storming the Capitol to save us from whatever addles their loose minds. For the record: the 1995 Million Man March was a peaceful exercise of the First Amendment that resulted in no Capital Police Officers' deaths, storming of the Capital, the display of an insurrectionist flag, Grand Pooh-Bahs howling at the moon, or the deposit of urine and feces.

The only option Malcolm gives in interviews about his book is to vote. Vote in record numbers every election. Vote for the proverbial dog catcher. Nothing is trivial. Fascism is a fungus on the body politic. You can't give it any room to grow, otherwise, we'll have a January 6 in 50 state Capitols. Dysfunction equals dystopia, not democracy or civilization.

Maybe we're not calling it a constitutional crisis because four decades of dumbing down a previously "informed citizenry" has led to the dichotomy of proletariat drones carrying "smart phones."

Also from the previous blog post:

"One of the things taken out of the curriculum was civics," Zappa went on to explain. "Civics was a class that used to be required before you could graduate from high school. You were taught what was in the U.S. Constitution. And after all the student rebellions in the Sixties, civics was banished from the student curriculum and was replaced by something called social studies. Here we live in a country that has a fabulous constitution and all these guarantees, a contract between the citizens and the government – nobody knows what's in it...And so, if you don't know what your rights are, how can you stand up for them? And furthermore, if you don't know what's in the document, how can you care if someone is shredding it?"

"Notes From the Dangerous Kitchen," a review and a quote from Frank Zappa, Critics at Large

A few months before January 6, someone was flushing it.

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Counting in Counties...

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Credit: Amanda Montañez; Source: “Political Environment and Mortality Rates in the United States, 2001-19: Population-Based Cross-Sectional Analysis,” by Haider J. Warraich et al., in BMJ, Vol. 377. Published online June 7, 2022

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

Reality literally bites.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the link between politics and health became glaringly obvious. Democrat-leaning “blue” states were more likely to enact mask requirements and vaccine and social distancing mandates. Republican-leaning “red” states were much more resistant to health measures. The consequences of those differences emerged by the end of 2020 when rates of hospitalization and death from COVID rose in conservative counties and dropped in liberal ones. That divergence continued through 2021 when vaccines became widely available. And although the highly transmissible Omicron variant narrowed the gap in infection rates, hospitalization and death rates, which are dramatically reduced by vaccines, remain higher in Republican-leaning parts of the country.

But COVID is only the latest chapter in the story of politics and health. “COVID has really magnified what had already been brewing in American society, which was that, based on where you lived, your risk of death was much different,” says Haider J. Warraich, a physician and researcher at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In a study published in June in The BMJ, Warraich and his colleagues showed that over the two decades prior to the pandemic, there was a growing gap in mortality rates for residents of Republican and Democratic counties across the U.S. In 2001, the study’s starting point, the risk of death among red and blue counties (as defined by the results of presidential elections) was similar. Overall, the U.S. mortality rate has decreased in the nearly two decades since then (albeit not as much as in most other high-income countries). But the improvement for those living in Republican counties by 2019 was half that of those in Democratic counties—11 percent lower versus 22 percent lower.

People in Republican Counties Have Higher Death Rates Than Those in Democratic Counties, Lydia Denworth, Scientific American

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