existentialism (75)

What They Meant...

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Image Source: 100 photos, Time.com, Emmett Till

 

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

 

100 photos, Time: In August 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he stopped at Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. There he encountered Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. Whether Till really flirted with Bryant or whistled at her isn’t known. But what happened four days later is. Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, seized the 14-year-old from his great-uncle’s house. The pair then beat Till, shot him, and strung barbed wire and a 75-pound metal fan around his neck, and dumped the lifeless body in the Tallahatchie River. A white jury quickly acquitted the men, with one juror saying it had taken so long only because they had to break to drink some pop. When Till’s mother Mamie came to identify her son, she told the funeral director, “Let the people see what I’ve seen.” She brought him home to Chicago and insisted on an open casket. Tens of thousands filed past Till’s remains, but it was the publication of the searing funeral image in Jet, with a stoic Mamie gazing at her murdered child’s ravaged body, that forced the world to reckon with the brutality of American racism. For almost a century, African Americans were lynched with regularity and impunity. Now, thanks to a mother’s determination to expose the barbarousness of the crime, the public could no longer pretend to ignore what they couldn’t see.

 

I am a child of "forced bussing," emphasized by the dominant culture of North Carolina in 1971, when 1954's Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education Decision, and "all deliberate speed" reached my municipality. I remember being nine years old, riding on buses at zero-dark-thirty in the morning to Rural Hall Elementary for the fourth grade, a limited experiment in federally-mandated diversity. I traveled to was in what was then, the rich, white suburbs. Every time my friends and I got off buses, we were miles from our homes.

 

We generally stayed in clicks: black youths on one side of the cafeteria, white youths on the other. In the evenings, I remember watching local and national news where high school students brought chains, bats, and knives. I recall waiting for our powder keg to explode.

 

Then, we played a game of football during recess. I don't know what "did it" for the girls, but boys covered in sweat, mud, and scrapes develop bonds that are hard to ignore. Thankfully, the powder keg never went off.

 

From Rural Hall, we were bussed back to East Winston-Salem at Fairview Elementary for fifth, and sixth grade. On to Mineral Springs Middle School for seventh, and eighth grade. Atkins, Carver, Hanes, and Paisley - traditionally, African American High Schools that reliably fed HBCUs - were "demoted" to ninth/tenth grade high schools, so that every student in the city would have the "benefit" of diplomas from the traditionally white high schools of North, East, Mount Tabor, and West.

 

The good news: most of the fourth graders that aged through this forced diversity got used to seeing people other than themselves. Star Trek was in syndication, and we were inspired by the vision of a future that at least our descendants would have their acts together, and learn like we did to live together post-warp drive, or football.

 

The not-so-good news: There were quite a few interracial couples, which I had never seen before. Quite a few "Christian" Academies sprung up to sidestep what their parents saw as ungodly miscegenation. I haven't kept contact with my former classmates from Rural Hall Elementary, Mineral Springs Middle School, Atkins High School, and North Forsyth High School. I can't help but imagine that many of them on the other side of the cafeteria before our mud-soaked football games have returned to the other side, donned red hats, and QAnon paraphernalia.

 

There was a list of Emmett Tills before Emmett Till. The brutality visited upon his teenage body compared modernly to Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. There are literally hundreds more. Many, like the Emmett Tills before Emmett Till, are unknown, unheard of: unlisted.

 

The times they want to return to wasn't so much the president named Eisenhower versus Obama; white picket fences in Levittown's, or affordable healthcare: "great again" is the ability to reign terror, and murder on an entire community - black, brown, LGBT, women, with absolute impunity. They made that QUITE clear on January 6, 2021.

 

Every significant group that has had knees on their necks, oppressed by the dominant group since Plymouth Rock took inspiration from the efforts that started post-1865, to this present political darkness. It will continue until E Pluribus Unum isn't just a quaint Latin phrase. We cannot be a democratic republic, AND a nihilistic, fascist dictatorship.

 

Their "great again" wish is that Mother Till hadn't opened that casket.

 

We are NOT going back! Black lives, and democracy, matter.

 

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Splitting Babies, Washing Hands...

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Pop Culture Guy: Foghorn Leghorn

 

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

 

To split the baby is a reference to a story in the Old Testament in Kings 3:5-14, regarding a decision of Solomon that shows his wisdom when given a difficult task. Solomon as king was often asked to judge between people with difficult problems, and his solutions were accounted as very wise. The term is often used to describe an unreasonable solution that may be used as a way to find an underlying truth.

 

In Kings, two women approach Solomon, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby. In fact, one woman has smothered her own child in her sleep and has taken the child of another woman with whom she shares a home. Upon waking, the mother of the living baby finds she is holding the dead child, who she knows is not hers. Since she cannot convince the mother of the dead child to give her back her child, they go to Solomon for judgment.

 

Solomon’s solution is fairly unique. He hears both sides, which are identical, and decides that the best course is to cut the baby in half so both mothers will have a share. To do this, however, means to kill the child. The mother who has already lost a child is happy with the solution, but the real mother cries out and begs Solomon to let the other woman raise her child alive.

 

When the real mother protests the solution and is willing to give up her rights as a mother to preserve the life of her child, Solomon hands the baby to her.

 

What does It Mean to "Split the Baby"? Tricia Christensen, Wise Geek

 

What did it mean? Pontius Pilate was the Roman procurator (governor) of Judaea living in Jerusalem during the trial of Jesus. According to the story, he washed his hands to indicate that he believed Jesus was innocent of any capital crime - if he was killed - it wasn't on him.

 

A famous idiom from Matthew 27:24

 

The prosecution put on a clinic in the Well of the Senate in their closing remarks. Every avenue to derail the trial on "procedure," or "constitutional norms" was deftly batted away. It helps when the prosecution is playing seven-dimensional chess, and the defense team of Foggy Foghorn Leghorn, and Rage Elmer Fudd, is playing jacks.

 

The former Party of Lincoln has ridden this Kraken before the Orange Orangutan. Roger Ailes and talk radio proto Karl Rove, "created their own reality" in a Rush Limbaugh, cigar-chomping, racist ranting clones (because you don't need talent if you get a raging crowd buying your product), against the libs, Feminazis, and cooties. For forty-one years, from Reagan to Orange Satan, they have gaslighted their constituents, blamed every convenient "other" they could label and shoveled money uphill like a Hoover vacuum to their one percent benefactors. They have no intention of getting off this bucking steer in the right-wing rodeo, otherwise, like rodeo clowns, they might get skewered by the bull.

 

I don't expect there to be enough votes to convict him. It will be just shy of sixty-seven. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. The arcane rules of the Senate even after the off possibility of getting to sixty-seven, then have to take a simple majority vote to remove him from running again for office. He will be fatter, four years older, more insane, and publicly incontinent in 2024 (he wears Adult Depends now). Entropy can save us, or his criminal trials for state crimes in New York, and Georgia can put him in a wardrobe matching his fake, and grotesque spray tan. Cruz and Holley are salivating at this possibility.

 

They are splitting the baby: forty or so white republicans, and their mascot, Tim Scott, will vote again to acquit a criminal. Not because they're no longer the "party of law, and order." Not because the Party of Reagan was any greater: he started his campaign BLOCKS away from the death site of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner; he spoke openly about Welfare Queens, Young Bucks, and African Monkeys. Doofus Gambino is the end of Entropy: over a long period of time, any system goes from order to chaos. Forty-plus one poodle is looking forward to the next midterm, the next election, the next voter suppression, and now added to the quiver: the next insurrection, Like see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys, they will ignore it, and use it as a tool if they lose future elections.

 

The Neo-Confederates are self-immolating, and not for some noble protest, but to maintain power at the expense of the republic. They are the party whose defense will relitigate "WHATABOUTISM" with Antifa (anti-fascists), Benghazi (might as well), and Black Lives Matter (because they don't). Foggy Fog, and Rage Elmer will unimpressively rest today. Gaslighting and created realities will blow them up to the high crest peak of BS mountain. Rage will then observe the Sabbath at sundown.

 

They are the party of white nationalists. They are the party screaming the N-word at Capital Police during the insurrection. They are the party of smeared feces and urinated Capitol halls. They have become the party of Camp Auschwitz T-Shirts: Work Brings Freedom. They are the party of the Battle Ensign of Robert E. Lee (NEVER call it the Confederate Flag) flying at the Capitol, something not accomplished during the Civil War. They are the party of Ukraine and Georgia election interference "perfect" phone calls. They are the party that would sacrifice their own sycophant Vice President Mike Pence and executes the first and only female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. They are the party of Vice President of the treasonous Confederacy, Alexander M. Stephens, and the "Cornerstone Speech":

 

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." Cornerstone Speech

 

They have not wavered from this mentality. It's been taught over and over, father to son, mother to daughter. The first gaslighting being the "lost cause" narrative lie, metastasizing to the inherited inferiority narrative shoveled at all of us, the proto version of birtherism, stolen from Orly Taitz. This "alternative fact" was amplified by a failed businessman, a faux billionaire that [probably] had Russian prostitutes urinate in a bed of the black president and first lady he hated with every fiber of his dark soul, that knows no love.

 

Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals left any allegiance they ever had to brown-skinned, Palestinian prophets, and voted for this Antichrist.

 

They, therefore, cannot be called Republicans any longer: they are fascists.

 

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Jacob Anthony Chansley, a QAnon believer, speaks to a crowd of Donald Trump supporters in Phoenix on Nov. 5, 2020. | AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills. Article by Ben Leonard, Politico

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

Q Bacca

Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, has filed an emergency motion before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., “for sustenance.” In the alternative, Chansley is asking to be released from jail pending trial. The requests are related to Chansley’s belief in Shamanism, a religion which he says allows him to eat only organic food as a core tenet of practice.

The motion, filed by attorney Al Watkins, mirrors requests for organic food which Watkins made during a plea hearing last week.  Chansley pleaded not guilty to charges related to the siege.

Watkins says Chansley hasn’t eaten since authorities moved him to Washington, D.C., more than a week ago.  Chansley has lost more than twenty pounds, the documents state, and further note that his “physical condition . . . is declining.”

‘QAnon Shaman’ Files ‘Emergency Motion’ for Organic ‘Sustenance,’ Including Wild Caught Tuna, Vegetables, and Soup, Aaron Keller, Law and Crime

Ahem: This has to be the first documented case of white privilege on steroids. He's got to be in solitary confinement, for his own safety. He wouldn't last a nanosecond in general population. The buffalo horns might increase his survivability to about 30%.

Q-California

(CNN) "When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice," William James, one of the most prominent American philosophers of the 19th Century, once said.

James' words rang through my head over the last 24 hours as it became more and more clear that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, wasn't actually going to make a decision about whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's past extremist and intolerant comments should result in the Georgia congresswoman being stripped of her committee assignments.

After a lengthy meeting with Greene on Tuesday night in which she refused to apologize for her past actions, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNN, McCarthy foisted the matter onto the Republican Steering Committee. But the Steering Committee adjourned Tuesday night without rendering a decision on Greene. So McCarthy turned to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, for help. But a meeting between the two men earlier Wednesday produced no resolution to the problem.

Why Kevin McCarthy has already failed his first big leadership test+, Chris Cillizza, CNN

Kevin McCarthy will never be Speaker. Nancy Pelosi gave the SICKEST official burn on the Speaker's website, which he can only salivate at like Pavlov's dogs, but will never own. Who wants a squishy surfer dude from California, who's only talent he thinks he needs in life is to dress in a suit, sport a tan, and jut out his chin for the camera? There is literally nothing of consequence above his neckline.

Stripping a crazy congresswoman of committee assignments is a layup. They did it with Steve-why-is-white-supremacy-a-problem-King, who lost his post in the midterms. "Little Kev-o" couldn't do it for the QAnon, AR-15 hoisted against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, secret Jewish space lasers causing forest fires, liking a post suggesting Speaker Pelosi deserves to be executed, and he wants to lead?

Don't fret, though. It's not like she won't be busy. She has an active social media existence. I'm holding my breath on the level of crazy she's going to raise twiddling her Twitter thumbs in the loo since she has absolutely no reason to report to work now. That means watching a lot of right-wing news designed to keep her, and its audience in a perpetual state of pissed-off-ness and scared of the brown people. The loo is where her 45th court jester did his best disinformation work after all, which is the only things he did other than golf more in four years than President Obama ever could have in eight. In, Game of Thrones parlance, let us "brace ourselves": next-level insanity is coming because an idle, crazy mind is the devil's workshop.

QAnon Sense

The Republican Party isn't a serious governing body, and that should concern us. "Bipartisanship sometimes referred to as nonpartisanship, is a political situation, usually in the context of a two-party system (especially those of the United States and some other western countries), in which opposing political parties find common ground through compromise." Source: Wikipedia

Sixty-one republicans wanted to kick Liz Cheney out of leadership - because she FOLLOWED The Constitution and clearly saw Orange Satan incite an insurrection, where they defecated on the floors, urinated in the halls, and that's supposedly OKAY. Blue Lives Matter, except for the Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, whose ashes laid in state for defending their worthless lives.

One-hundred and ninety-nine republicans thought Marjorie Taylor-Greene should be on the Education Committee, which by its definition is: "Education can be thought of as the transmission of the values and accumulated knowledge of a society. In this sense, it is equivalent to what social scientists term socialization or enculturation. Children—whether conceived among New Guinea tribespeople, the Renaissance Florentines, or the middle classes of Manhattan—are born without culture. Education is designed to guide them in learning a culture, molding their behavior in the ways of adulthood, and directing them toward their eventual role in society." Britannica

The party can't read The Constitution beyond the Second Amendment. Moscow Mitch didn't pass a THING as Majority Leader, calling himself the grim reaper, but animated his caucus for the lifetime appointment of conservative judges, positions left open because they couldn't be bothered to "advise and consent" for a black president.

Strangely enough, I don't want just the Democratic Party. There should be an opposition party, and it should be functional. Instead of "climate change is a Chinese hoax," a conservative alternative would be cap-and-trade. Hell, the Affordable Care Act originated from the Heritage Foundation, you know, where Mike Pence works now. Mitt Romney spearheaded it in Massachusetts. He was for his plan before his party put the racist, birther, witchdoctor boogie man on it. Politics poetically is "the art of compromise," and there can't be compromise in an echo chamber, even one you might like.

This started with Sarah "mama grizzly" Palin. Then, it metastasized into the Tea Party, which almost drove John Boehner insane. I see why he quit, to go smoke, and sell weed. Now, it's QAnon, and they apparently vote in numbers enough to put an insane person in Congress.

QAnon is just another monster from the echo chamber of Breitbart, Fox, News Max, OANN, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and the only human in existence where the first consonants switched in his first and last names sounds like a dirty word: Tucker Carlson.

The Republican Party can decide to follow their 2012 autopsy or continue to lose elections. One-hundred and ninety-nine opposition ads are gearing up for the 2022 elections. You all just went on-record as the party of QAnon. The party is undergoing a massive contraction after the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Even if Dumbo Gambino isn't convicted, if a simple majority vote removes his option to run in 2024 (when he'll be seventy-eight), he's done. Every Republican candidate trying to run for dogcatcher will have the orange stain for a generation. Or, if he's convicted of the other myriad crimes under investigation in New York, he will go to prison. You will then be the party of seditionists, racists, and stupid jailbirds.

This is Black History Month. Every DAY is black history. We know it. We lived the worst of America's darkness, and we're still standing.

We're not going anywhere, and we're not going back.

I been scarred and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
   Snow has friz me,
   Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
   Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
   But I don't care!
   I'm still here!

Langston Hughes, "Still Here," Hello Poetry

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The Lethality of Magical Thinking...

 

 

Echo and Narcissus

 

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

 

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

 

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The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.

 

Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. States in which our presidential candidates used to win, such as New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida, are increasingly voting Democratic. We are losing in too many places.

 

It has reached the point where in the past six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 211 for the Republican. During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to Democrats’ 113.

 

Our job as Republicans is to champion private growth so people will not turn to the government in the first place. But we must make sure that the government works for those truly in need, helping them so they can quickly get back on their feet. We should be driven by reform, eliminating, and fixing what is broken, while making sure the government’s safety net is a trampoline, not a trap.

 

The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hardworking people who want to become hardworking middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America.

 

America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans are able to 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 have to engage them and show our sincerity.

 

Excerpts: "Growth, and Opportunity Project" (popularly, the GOP Autopsy, 2012)

 

Magical thinking is the belief that one's ideas, thoughts, wishes, or actions can influence the course of events in the physical world. It is something people all over the globe engage in, and many religious and folk rituals center around it. While magical thinking can be a very normal human response, and there are aspects of it that can have psychological benefits, it can also be counterproductive at times and even be a sign of a mental health concern.

 

Very Well Mind: Magical Thinking Benefits and Concerns, Lisa Fritscher, Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD

 

The "Growth and Opportunity Project" looked at the prospects of the Republican Party being viable even with the changing demographics that are inevitable. It's a quick read, and quite logically laid out. It's a calming alternative to what the party has become.

 

From Grand Old Party to Growth and Opportunity Project, to Gang of Putin, insurrection and Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene. The GOP is starting to look more like Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane with Riddler, and Joker. This is not just acceptance of violence against opponents they should debate with better ideas. This isn't a "bug" for the Republican Party: violence is becoming a feature, a feature of fascists.

 

Kevin McCarthy can retire. He'll never be Speaker of the House, except if they overthrow the republic, and we become The Republic of Gilead in "The Handmaid's Tale." John Boehner couldn't control the "Freedom" Caucus - and they were SANER! What does he think "talking to" Taylor-Greene will do? Oh yes. From the link above, she's removing all the homicidal, anti-Semitic, controversial calls to assassinate Speaker Pelosi. Like I said, never Speaker.

 

Echo and Narcissus is the fable from which we derive the word narcissist. He dies pining for his own reflection, in love with himself, or at least his reflection; starving to death, the Nymph Echo saying the only thing she could say: his last word before expiring: "farewell." McCarthy literally "kissed the ring" of the loser narcissist of the 2020 election. The same he blamed for the insurrection, then a week later recanted. It's like he's never read the Growth and Opportunity Project, or like his president, used it as toilet paper on a golden throne. The entire party is too proud to change, but narcissistically blames "others," and stares at itself in the mirror, finding no flaws. The fat lady has sung; Echo is warming up.

 

The U.S. Capitol is both a crime scene and a toxic work environment. Democrats think Boebert and Greene might try to kill them. They're buying Kevlar to go to work.

 

Magical thinking leads to conspiracy theorizing. Insane asylums manage magical thinking, republics require informed citizens with a firm tether to facts, science, and reality. It creates a world of "us and them," saints and sinners, Batman and Jokers, protectors of the unborn against satanic pedophiles using concealed carry sidearms. Once one side makes "others" of their political opposites, they are of no more consequence than beetles on sidewalks joggers squish absentmindedly. Once your opponents in your mind aren't even human, you can justify anything to rid yourselves of them - even insurrection, or murder.

 

And insurrection without consequences is a dress rehearsal. Fascism is incremental.

 

Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion that have overrun the world.

 

–François-Marie Arouet ‘Voltaire’ (d. 1778), ‘Questions sur les miracles’ (1765)

 

"History rarely repeats itself, but its echoes never go away." Tariq Ali

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Big Lies, Krakens, and Infamy...

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Live Science: What is a Kraken? Benjamin Radford

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights

 

Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:</em>

 

YESTERDAY, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

 

Speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York (Transcript)

 

Good evening.

 

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

 

George W. Bush, 9/11 Address to the Nation

 

Go home; we love you.

 

Dumbo Gambino, 1/6/2021

 

Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Founders Day for Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated (Vice President Kamal Harris is a member).

I've been busy since last Friday and numb from four years of bullshit.

 

There's a sizable contingent of this country - 74 million or so - that don't think I'm a citizen. Listening to a podcast with Chris Hayes and Ta-Nehishi Coates on what happened last Wednesday, out of a pulp fiction writer's fever dream. The discussion between them is ostensibly titled "The Attack on the Capitol." Their dialog led to a dark logic.

 

For eight years of the Obama presidency, he was il-legitimated by the birther lie. He was a secret Muslim, closet homosexual, his wife a transsexual man, and the kids adopted. It would have been news to their grandmother. Every effort made to make him "other," inclusive of Witch Doctors and hanging him in effigy.

 

A whole cottage industry of conspiracy theories blossomed, and right-wing operators cashed in on the racism cash cow. Violence escalated nationally against African Americans - the majority of them men, but a few women because, racism - possibly to teach us our "places" in the authoritarian hierarchy. From Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Aubry, Breona Taylor, to George Floyd, we could not catch our breaths. We were hung, struck, shot: lynched in reality.

 

The Former Republican Party (look up the definition of republicanism) hasn't won both the electoral college and the popular vote in four elections: 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. The Southern Strategy obviously has a demographic shelf life, and a few in the privileged group is having the sads about it. If you "other" the first African American president, the votes of people sharing his heritage are by definition "illegitimate," despite decisively winning elections and turning the power of the Senate. This happening despite denied voter suppression tactics of reducing drop boxes during a pandemic, cutting cables on voting machines, reducing precincts, delaying mail-in votes: they HAD to win, or so they thought.

 

Therefore, you can lie to your constituents; you can tell them the election was stolen without evidence. BLM protesters get teargas, water cannons, percussion bombs, and rubber bullets; armed insurrectionists get Capitol Police escorts who pose for selfies. They are fertile ground for sowing the grains of alternate facts. The ground had been prepared for over forty years. Rush Limbaugh, AM Talk Radio, Fox Propaganda, News Max, and OANN are the fruits born of this manure.

 

These fecal droppings also bear the fruits of violence. "Obama is coming to take your guns" raised more money than Midas for the gun industry from 2009 - 2016. They've lost money under Captain Crazy Pants. Without "jackbooted thug boogie men," you don't raise as much money for an industry so focused on a narrow clientele steeped in racism, religious extremism, sexism, xenophobia, and anxiety disorders.

 

So, after forty years of propaganda and bullshit, House Republicans aren't afraid for the random QANON candidate to their far-right in a primary: they're afraid the constituents they've been lying to for campaign dollars, the constituents they've played on their fears of the "other" and changing demographics to maintain power, will see through the wolf tickets they've been sold, and like the insurrectionists-seditionists cum insurgents, they will find them at their exclusive enclave residents - and kill them. The BIGGEST lie they've been told is that the current numerical minorities are taking their jobs. Middle-class jobs shipped overseas was a decision that happened in corporate boardrooms by people who looked like them. The rest is automation, computer science, and robotics.

 

Then First Lady (now Secretary) Hillary Clinton talked about a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Maybe it's time to do what Senator Mitt Romney practically shouted in the Senate's well post the attempted coup that threatened democrats and republicans alike. A coup that could have easily resembled how the "Son's of Jacob" overthrew the government in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" to set up the fictional Republic of Gilead:

 

Tell them the truth. Teach the ones you don't jail civics and critical thinking skills.

 

"His [John F. Kennedy's] assassination was the result of the climate of hate. Only I said 'the chickens came home to roost,' which means the same thing. A climate of hate means that this is the result OF something, and when I say 'chickens coming home to roost,' I mean the same thing." He admonishes he didn't say he was glad the president was killed: that's what Malcolm says the press said. YouTube

 

Origin: The Phrase Finder

 

The notion of bad deeds, specifically curses, coming back to haunt their originator is long established in the English language and was expressed in print as early as 1390, when Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Parson's Tale:

 

And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.

 

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The Path Forward...

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Topics: Climate Change, COVID-19, Existentialism, Science

Science, as Carl Sagan wrote, has to be our "candle in the dark."

The Scientific Method we developed as a hunter-gatherer species. The tools of hunter-gatherers were utilitarian and pragmatic. Our ancestors observed things and noticed patterns. They made mental notes of these patterns and codified them through rituals, customs, and behaviors into distinct cultures defined by these traditions. Some kept this knowledge in secret, esoteric, as any knowledge is power over others. This probably is the reason why we're so suspicious of any change in what was, or is new knowledge.

Many first-responders are BIPOC, so the resistance to it, probably from the apprehension around the Tuskegee Experiment, has an understandable history, but it's still alarming. We can wear masks. We can contact trace. We can socially distance. We can take the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca variants of the vaccine, and mitigate this more quickly.

Or, we can guarantee after a long dark winter, a long slog through the spring, summer, and fall. Herd immunity isn't by brute force: it is intentionally engineered with vaccines.

WASHINGTON — Authorities are reporting early shipments of the COVID 19 vaccine will not cover all essential personnel who are supposed to be first in line to get it. The CDC's immunization advisory panel voted Tuesday to give the first round of COVID-19 vaccines to health care personnel and long-term care facility residents.

Hundreds of thousands of frontline medical workers are at the top of that list. But surveys are showing that not all are eager to be first.

While 63% of health care workers reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that they would accept the vaccine, the agency is concerned about the large numbers who are hesitant. The American Nurses Foundation is reporting 36% of nurses surveyed said they would not voluntarily get the COVID-19 vaccine once it's deployed.

'No one wants to be a guinea pig' | Vaccine hesitancy divides health care workers, Scott Broom, ABC10 News

Carbon sequestration involves a lot of technology, or it can involve what Earth did before we discovered technology: plant more trees.

Forty-nine million years ago, a small aquatic fern called Azolla wrested control of Earth’s climate. At the time, the landlocked Arctic Ocean developed a surface layer of fresh water, which allowed the ferns to grow unchecked in a wide-open environment. Billions of tons of plants died and sank to the bottom of the ocean, taking with them the carbon they had sucked from the air when they were alive. 

The consequences were extreme. Geologic evidence indicates that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels plummeted more than 80 percent over 800,000 years, sharply ratcheting down Earth’s thermostat. Prior to the inferred “Azolla Event,” most of the globe was lush and tropical. Afterward, the Arctic cooled by nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the poles froze, and our planet entered a lurching cycle of ice ages that continues to this day. 

How to Bury Carbon? Let Plants Do the Dirty Work, Cory S. Powell, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory

This seems simple enough, but politicians like Jair Bolsonaro apparently came to power much like our one-term Neo-fascist did: lifted to the office by right-wing Christian zealots in Brazil, particularly of the megachurch kind. From a dominionist view, carbon sequestration shows a "lack of faith." Forty-nine million years ago is a long way from a mere guestimate of ten-thousand years. Burning the Amazon, like for many cheering for Armageddon hastens the Apocalypse, and the Second Coming. It is thus, anathema.

I follow Politics and Prose on YouTube. David K. Johnston gave a speech at their bookstore some time ago on his book: "The Making of Donald Trump." Many things weren't a revelation to me, but one thing, in particular, stuck with me.

People the world over are afraid. Con artists, fascists, and strongmen play on fear.

I'm talking pre-pandemic afraid: afraid of change, afraid of diversity, afraid their particular sacred texts do not line up neatly with new scientific discoveries; afraid of their traditions being challenged in the light of Sagan's candle. Such fear gives political power to strongmen (the antonym more accurate) that assure their crowds on their rise to power that they will return those fearful of change to a "golden age of greatness," which they never really define. The other common thing is there is a scapegoated "other" on which all blame for everything wrong is laid. That is the history of the scapegoat, by the way. For humans, it leads to disdain, disregard, murder, and genocide.

For an otherwise intelligent species, that can lead to extinction.

A preprint paper in ArXiv gives the grim estimate that intelligent species over long stretches of time eventually annihilate themselves. I would really like us all to be the rare exceptions to this possible rule.

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Dark Winter, Brighter Spring...

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

I have taken the following vaccines this year: Pneumonia, Seasonal Influenza (Flu), Shingles in two booster shots.

Therefore, I am very likely to take the Coronavirus vaccine either offered by Pfizer or Moderna.

Pfizer is pushing back on the Trump administration's suggestion that the company is having trouble producing its COVID-19 vaccine, saying it's ready to ship millions more doses – once the government asks for them. As the company spoke out, several states said their vaccine allocations for next week have been sharply reduced.

Here's what the key players are saying about a complicated situation:

What Pfizer says

"Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed," CEO Albert Bourla said via Twitter. His company says it has completed every shipment the U.S. government has requested.

"We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses," Pfizer said in a statement.

The company also noted that in the past week, it shipped 2.9 million doses of the vaccine it developed with BioNTech in what is widely seen as a breakthrough in the nation's fight against the coronavirus.

Pfizer Says Millions Of Vaccine Doses Are Ready, But States Say Shipments Were Cut, Bill Chappell, NPR

Unlike the 1918 pandemic, I don't think it will take us a decade to come to some sense of normalcy. I am concerned, from a cultural perspective, that the vaccine spreads equitably.

We have a reason to be suspicious. The Tuskegee Experiment happened over four decades, affected hundreds of lives, allowing syphilis to infect men, women, and children. It makes trusting authorities with our lives a bit problematic. As I've said, if it helps anyone reading this entry, I will take the vaccine. I would like to get back to some sense of normalcy.

The revelation of the recent Russian hacks is the equivalent of a Cyber Pearl Harbor. Our nuclear triad material, three states (including Austin, Texas), the Central Intelligence Agency, Treasury, NASA, Commerce, et al. This is a stickup. Think the city, lights: sewage. Like a burglar, we could all be held hostage by a foreign power. To paraphrase a false claim attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, Putin could literally "bury us without firing a shot."

The shenanigans of the current obtuse, malignant, narcissistic, and incompetent administration will come to an end. Vaccines will go out, modeled by an incoming administration that like previous democratic ones before them, have to shovel the country out of the smoldering ruin that the previous republican one left the country in. They will, of course, delay vaccines, they will of course, try to sabotage on the way out. They are the steroids equivalent of Clinton-to-Bush removing the W keys, and costing the government approximately $15,000. It was disappointing and sophomoric. This stunt is petty, malevolent, and deadly. We have crossed the Rubicon of 300,000 dead Americans. At a rate of a 9/11 per day, we'll reach 400,000 by inauguration. Delay during a pandemic will kill more Americans, but I guess that's not a big concern to a malignant narcissist.

But I am hopeful for a brighter spring.

Mango Mussolini can do a lot of damage in 33 days, but it's 33 days at noon when he loses access to the nuclear football, he loses the presidential immunity that protects him from an indictment, not that Letitia James, Cyrus Vance, SDNY, or EDNY are bothered by his threats of family and self pardons. His crimes in New York are state felonies, likely involving inflating his wealth, or decreasing it when it suited him. We'll likely find out he's not as rich as he claims to be. He cashed a series of diminishing value checks sent as a gag by Spy Magazine, proving himself a bit player in the New York Real Estate market. He'll need every penny he's grifting from his deluded followers to stay out of prison. Not that I'm sympathetic: but grift on this constant level has to be exhausting, and depleting of finance, and bodily constitution.

The evil energizer bunny has to run out of gas sometimes. His tweets will reach a limited audience. Cities that haven't YET gotten paid for his previous rallies will refuse to book him. He's proposing bringing back The Apprentice because his "power" is his celebrity, and that dwindles quickly without cameras on you constantly. He can call it Apprentice, 2024: Finding a Vice President (a tacit admittance Pence didn't help him win re-election). Several sources say Twitter might finally remove him, not the conviction to "do the right thing," just that if his followers dwindle, they have no one to gather metadata from for marketing purposes. It's business, and a one-term president probably isn't good for the bottom-line.

That's all fine and good, Donald unless you're spending your evenings at Riker's. Maybe they'll station you at the Queens Detention Complex. He can see the old neighborhood, while the rest of us heal from his madness. We will get through this.

That's it for this year. See you in January 2021.

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Measure of Our Impact...

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Dams are just one type of infrastructure that can cause environmental damage. HUSEYINTUNCER/ ISTOCK

Topics: Civics, Climate Change, Environment, Existentialism

It’s not just your storage unit that’s packed to the gills. According to a new study, the mass of all our stuff—buildings, roads, cars, and everything else we manufacture—now exceeds the weight of all living things on the planet. And the amount of new material added every week equals the total weight of Earth’s nearly 8 billion people.

“If you weren’t convinced before that humans are dominating the planet, then you should be convinced now,” says Timon McPhearson, an urban ecologist at the New School who was not involved with the research. “This is an eye-catching comparison,” adds Fridolin Krausmann, a social ecologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, who also was not involved in the work.

There are many measures of humanity’s impact on the planet. Fossil fuels have sent greenhouse gases soaring to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. Agriculture and dwellings have altered 70% of the land. And humans have wiped out untold numbers of species in an emerging great extinction. The transformations are so great that researchers have declared we’re living in a new human-dominated age: the Anthropocene.</em>

Systems biologist Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Science went looking for a new gauge of our impact. He and his colleagues synthesized previous estimates of the biomass of living plants for each year between 1900 and 2017. Those estimates account for about 90% of all living things and are based on field research and computer modeling. From 1990 onward, they also include data from satellites, which researchers have used to track global vegetation.

Human ‘stuff’ now outweighs all life on Earth, Erik Stokstad, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Magazine

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Footsies with Armageddon...

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

Iran's most senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near the capital Tehran, the country's defense ministry has confirmed.

Fakhrizadeh died in hospital after an attack in Absard, in Damavand county.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the killing "as an act of state terror".

Western intelligence agencies believe Fakhrizadeh was behind a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

"If Iran ever chose to weaponize (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb," one Western diplomat told Reuters news agency in 2014.

Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

But news of the killing comes amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that the country is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, assassinated near Tehran, BBC News

Yes, just like something out of Marvel's Captain America. According to reports by U.S. intelligence, China has conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army with the ambitious goal of developing soldiers with enhanced biological capabilities.

Though it may sound like something out of science fiction, emerging technologies capable of augmenting the human body paired with the rapidly evolving world of genome-editing could arguably spawn the dawn of super-humans.

Concepts like artificial intelligence symbiosis, bionic body parts, and self-regenerating limbs are not too far off into the future.

Though the idea of getting your hands on some highly coveted Marvel-Esque superpowers sounds exciting, there are some real-world fears and ethical questions that need to be asked. Should we if we can?

China is Creating Biologically Enhanced Super Soldiers, Says US Spy Chief, Donovan Alexander, Interesting Engineering

Act Two
McCoy is conducting a medical analysis on the unidentified man at sickbay on the Enterprise. McCoy is amazed at the physical and recuperative power of the man.

In sickbay, Kirk arrives to speak to the man. McCoy notes his superior bodily strength and efficiency of his lungs, hinting at his Augment origin. McCoy estimates that the man could lift both he and Kirk with one arm. He tells Kirk that it would be interesting to see if the man's brain matches his body.

TOS: Space Seed, Memory Alpha

In July, we were estimated losing a person a minute to COVID-19. We may now lose the equivalent of a 9/11 per day by Christmas. Bah, humbug!

In the constitutional "peaceful transfer of power," you would think the current occupant of the Oval Office would be laser-focused on the pandemic. He would have his agencies coordinating with the incoming administration to ensure its success, and minimize the loss of life due to a virus that spreads exponentially. You would think his Oath of Office would come to mind, the whole "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign, and domestic." That the safety of the nation and its citizens would be his highest priority.

Dude, you don't know our current occupant. He's playing president like he played a billionaire. He's never been either one.

No action on the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, no condemnation of the act, or sanctions on an ally that approved this action, nor officially logging our disapproval.

China is on the verge of fielding "Captain China" supermen on a future battlefield we may find our soldiers dying on. They're already on the verge of technological supremacy without augments. Their fascination with Nazi lawyer Carl Schmitt is disturbing.

Of course, his priorities are arguing an election that he clearly lost.

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that China's economic and military transformation, under the current Communist regime, has the potential to seriously threaten the future security of Canada and the West. The paper first looks at the economic reforms that have radically changed the Chinese economy. Then, the paper presents the significant changes that have taken place concerning military strategy, equipment modernization, and power projection capability. The strategic view and policies of Canada and the US are discussed in light of these changes and other recent incidents. The paper then presents the argument that there are three potential problem areas in which China could possibly threaten the West. The paper concludes by noting that China is a Communist country that is dissatisfied with its status in the world and that the West must not be naive to its intentions and ambitions.

When China awakes, it will shake the world - Napoleon Bonaparte

Once China becomes strong enough to stand alone, it might discard us. A little later it might even turn against us if its perception of its interests requires it - Henry Kissinger

China: the Emerging Superpower
by/par Major H.A. Hynes

The economic conditions before the first and second world wars were similarly dire, and related to each other. The gist of each causing massive losses of life (inclusive of the 1918 pandemic) was arrogance and greed.

We live in a cartoon. We think our actions are recoverable and survivable. We think there's a "Season Two" to stupidity. We think that minerals we've given agency over our lives, spewed as the guts of stars parsecs away are valuable enough to hoard, steal, and kill over.

We elect caricatures of gangsters to high office: sociopaths with Twitter followers that are equally psychotic. We're at the Entropy of our political experiment. Chaos is kind of unrecoverable without benevolent aliens and fictional warp signatures.

He's running a con. He's ALWAYS running a con. The con started with Reagan: "government is the problem" is as catchy and myopic a slogan as "defund the police." What does either one mean? I don't think officers should show up to a mental health crisis with guns blazing: that usually doesn't turn out too well. Was there a libertarian rocketeer that had a cost-effective method of getting to the moon? Was there some unknown genius living in his mom's basement that had a better solution than ARPANET (that became the Internet)? I'm as against bad, racist cops as anyone, but if my home is broken into, I EXPECT a government structure capable enough that when my glass break goes off, SOMEONE that my taxes pay for their salaries comes a-running, whether they like me personally, or not!

He's making far more money in small-dollar donations by losing the election, whining about it was "rigged," and putting out 46-minute bullshit infomercials to morons than winning it. As a malignant narcissist, he could care LESS who his rhetoric influences to commit violence, whether they're Republicans, Independents, or Democrats. He's probably as surprised as the 80 million who voted for the sane candidate that there are 74 million that would consciously and deliberately vote for him!

He's running a grift reality show, while we all sit on a powder keg for forty-six days.

As he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. It is, perhaps, the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita, but also the most misunderstood.

In Hinduism, which has a non-linear concept of time, the great god is not only involved in the creation, but also the dissolution. In verse thirty-two, Krishna speaks the line brought to global attention by Oppenheimer. "The quotation 'Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds', is literally the world-destroying time,” explains Thompson, adding that Oppenheimer’s Sanskrit teacher chose to translate “world-destroying time” as “death”, a common interpretation. Its meaning is simple: irrespective of what Arjuna does, everything is in the hands of the divine.

"Arjuna is a soldier, he has a duty to fight. Krishna, not Arjuna will determine who lives and who dies and Arjuna should neither mourn nor rejoice over what fate has in store, but should be sublimely unattached to such results,” says Thompson. “And ultimately the most important thing is he should be devoted to Krishna. His faith will save Arjuna's soul." But Oppenheimer, seemingly, was never able to achieve this peace. "In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatements can quite extinguish," he said two years after the Trinity explosion, "the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds'. The story of Oppenheimer's infamous quote, James Temperton, Wired

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Truthiness, to Truth Decay...

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Image Source: Wikipedia link below

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

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidencelogicintellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.

The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.

American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.

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

Roger Ailes was very explicit as to why he wanted, and created Fox News: he wanted a news outlet friendly to conservative interests in the wake of Watergate, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I don't think we realize how astonishing that was, and that we've mythologized those times as "halcyon days" of yore.

Richard Nixon ran on "law and order," and the fear of violence in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He subtly stoked white grievance, the so-called "Southern Strategy," infamously described by political operative Lee Atwater. It worked. He rode to power in 1968, and a landslide forty-nine out of fifty state win in 1972, where he became the first Republican to sweep the south.

Nixon didn't need the plumbers to break into the DNC headquarters Watergate building, but there's evidence he used government resources instructing them to do so. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was accepting "bags of money" at the White House - as he did as governor of Maryland - to do political "favors" on Capitol Hill. For all intents and purposes, that is bribery. Nowadays, they attach lawyers to it, and call it lobbying.

The Justice Department was in a conundrum: if they indict the sitting president for an illegal break-in, they have to indict the sitting Vice President for usury. Plus, that pesky thing called The Constitution said if removed from office, the next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then, as now, a Democrat. The "memo" came out, without legal standing, or precedence, that you "cannot indict a sitting president."

We did not have cable television, cell phones, or social media apps. Every single American, presumably many who voted for Nixon's landslide victory, got the same information from three television outlets: ABC, CBS, and NBC news. Telegrams, letters, phone calls, letters to the editor in local newspapers and polls showed the country's mood had turned against Nixon, plus his promise to get us out of the Vietnam War turned out to be a boondoggle: many families were welcoming their loved ones home in body bags in a war it clearly looked like we weren't going to win. Altruism and fealty to The Constitution had nothing to do with republicans then, or now. The party talked Agnew into leaving on a lesser charge to get Gerald Ford - a congressman from Ohio, with no association to Nixon, or Agnew - in as Vice President. Then, the Republicans could keep power at the Executive Branch if an Impeachment in the House led to a conviction in the Senate, and forced removal.

 

The speed of a sprinter, a thrown fastball, the luminescence of a distant star, or the Hawking's Radiation of a Black Hole is demonstrable, measurable facts. They are not subject to opinions, "alternative facts," quackery, or spin. On the one hand, first, second, and third place is determinable. The speed of a Rookie fastball pitched from a mound can be logged; the astrophysical properties of distant objects can be studied because there is an agreement on what IS true and what is false in sports and physics.

“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it's like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”

"The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change."

“The whole idea of a democratic application of skepticism is that everyone should have the essential tools to effectively and constructively evaluate claims to knowledge.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, also Brain Pickings: Science, and Democracy

The premiere of Stephen Colbert's witty and insightful show probably had a lot to do with the "truthiness" on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That was demonstrably a lie. Yet, time and comparison to our current tweet-addicted sociopath make memories fail, as even George W. Bush now can pay respects to John Lewis: he was one of three living presidents to do so. The current occupant is too racist, devoted to his base, and fantasy to do so.

Ted Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and like President Obama, an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He's taken to Twitter to spread baseless conspiracy theories, and promote a right-wing social media app, Parler, financed by Rebecca Mercer, who like her billionaire hedge fund father, funds right-wing causes around the globe. It also shows his disdain for the people in Texas that are his constituents: he thinks they're fools, and probably wants to run for president again on the gravy train of lunacy Orange Satan built. The Republican Party genuinely fear their own base. They've stoked them every time a Democrat ascends to the presidency that the great purge of "coming to take your guns" is around the corner, any minute now. There were more guns sold during the Obama administration than the current imbecilic nightmare. I assume gun industry sales will improve apace.

The irony is, Parler is a completely enclosed silo. Part of the perverse joy of social media by sociopaths is "owning the libs," a badge of honor after frustrating arguments back and forth on a platform that you get blocked. Similar I'm sure, to throwing pollutants in the air from smokestacks on trucks, thinking oneself immune from the effects on Earth-Two. There are few "libs" on Parler to own. It also shows the tech company's regard for the intelligence of conservatives is limited, but they can see an opportunity, like most snake oil salesmen and conmen, to make a fast buck off gullible marks.

You cannot measure a sporting achievement without a knowledge of the rules, and adherence to them to make a judgment on performance.

You cannot have a STEM field without knowing the foundations of its knowledge, what is, and is not possible, and adherence to The Scientific Method to make an evaluation of the outcome of an experiment, and the world.

You cannot have a Democratic Republic with truth decay. To list them together is an oxymoron. Unless your ultimate goal is a fascist state.

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Science Literacy, and Democracy...

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Eight Years and Counting...

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Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming

The year 2028 could be one of stunning accomplishment or somber failure, depending on how society at large reacts to the current global warming crisis. An initiative called ClimateClock, created by a pair of activists/artists intends to ensure that we land in the former category. And if they're not successful, don't say they didn't warn you.

In a push reminiscent of the Doomsday Clock, the ClimateClock is a worldwide project dedicated to shining a light on a very serious problem — the amount of time the world has left to prevent global warming effects from turning totally irreversible. At press time, there's about seven years and 98 days left ticking away on the timer. The clock is based on the carbon clock made by the MercatorResearch Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), using data from the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

NYC ClimateClock Counts Down Deadline to Climate Doomsday, Alia Hoyt, Science: How Stuff Works

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Infodemic...

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Topics: COVID-19, Existentialism, Research

I assure you, I have been affected by this pandemic more than most. I am in a demographic that can experience deleterious effects from this virus. I have had friends and family affected directly. I have classmates that are struggling to survive. This is no hoax: it's real.

My precautions are beyond anal.

I worked in cleanrooms in the semiconductor industry, the most stringent being Class 1. The old criteria meant 0.5 microns of particles per cubic feet of air. (The newest guidelines were adopted in 2001, metric and still pretty stringent.) Each employee passed through air showers to push off any particulates from their clothing. Smokers are encouraged not to indulge, and cologne was prohibited - smoke and scent are particles. We then put our street garb in a locker, putting on green hospital gowns and fab shoes that never left the site. Then we donned cleanroom gowns - "bunny suits" - before going into the alien, HEPA-filtered environment, protecting it from any hair, skin, sweat, or dirt we could shed that would inhibit the functionality of integrated circuits. I tried to drink as little water as possible before going on the floor. Going to the bathroom, or lunch was a pain.


I have developed a unique protocol for assaulting what used to be trivial things like getting the mail, mowing the lawn - grass grows as rains fall during pandemics - or, going to the grocers for supplies.


1. I fashioned a mask from my father's handkerchiefs and rubber bands per the CDC guidelines. (I now have a collection of 5).

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

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

Source: https://physics4thecool.blogspot.com/2020/04/protocols.html

The confluence of misinformation and infectious disease isn’t unique to COVID-19. Misinformation contributed to the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and it plagues efforts to educate the public on the importance of vaccinating against measles. But when it comes to COVID-19, the pandemic has come to be defined by a tsunami of persistent misinformation to the public on everything from the utility of masks and the efficacy of school closures, to the wisdom behind social distancing, and even the promise of untested remedies. According to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, areas of the country exposed to television programming that downplayed the severity of the pandemic saw greater numbers of cases and deaths—because people didn’t follow public health precautions.

In the United States, misinformation spread by elements of the media, by public leaders, and by individuals with large social media platforms has contributed to a disproportionately large share of COVID-19 burden: we house 4 percent of the global population but account for 22 percent of global COVID-19 deaths. With winter around the corner and people spending more time indoors, it is more imperative than ever that we counter misinformation and clearly communicate risks to the public; in addition, as we await the arrival of a vaccine, it is equally important to arm the public with facts. We have work to do: a recent poll found that just half of the American public plans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID Misinformation Is Killing People - This “infodemic” has to stop

Amir Bagherpour, Ali Nouri, Scientific American

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Nobel Peace Prize...

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An appropriate symbol for the Nobel Peace Prize. There are many worthy others, of course.

Topics: Existentialism, Nobel Peace Prize

“We must either learn to live together as brothers, or we are going to die together as fools.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

See Also. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Fri. 9 Oct 2020. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/facts/

Announcement
The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas, and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. In 2015, eradicating hunger was adopted as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The WFP is the UN’s primary instrument for realizing this goal. In recent years, the situation has taken a negative turn. In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2020. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Fri. 9 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2020/press-release/>

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W in the Absolute F...

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Monkeyland: There's a website for everything.

 

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

 

We started with Tuesday’s “debate,” where one candidate came for the debate, while the other as an orange primate slinging shit, trying to get his opponent to stutter and literally, “seeing what sticks.” Every post-debate analysis gave it to his opponent.

 

Now, he’s tested positive for the Coronavirus.

 

The sad part is, we’ve been lied to SO many times, we have a right to doubt the report.

 

It is a bit “convenient” after a disastrous debate, isn’t it? After 20,000+ lies, 200,000+ dead Americans, and counting, he’s caused us to question our reality.

 

He saw his internal polling numbers, and his howling, feces sling fest didn’t move the needle. He is a faux billionaire that played one on The Apprentice reality-TV show. He was so broke, the showrunners rented the furniture seen on the set because his office looked like the remains of "Sanford and Son." Methinks this is the Occam's razor reason why he's desperately terrified for anyone to see his taxes: his net worth is in the crapper.

 

He knew the employment numbers were going to be disappointing. Dow futures went negative at the news of his infection. He knew it as he went to a fundraiser in New Jersey. He knew it as shook hands with supporters. He planned a rally in Wisconsin, despite the protestations from the democratic governor. IF (& that’s a BIG if) he’s got it, he did it, I think, HOPING he contracted the virus from his previous super spreader events, so he could change the subject, and NOT have to debate further. He’s going for a medical resignation, and you can’t get called a quitter if you’re “legitimately” (wink, wink) sick.

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Nuff said.

 

“Stand back and stand by” made the “Proud Boys” little mushrooms poke there rusty, racist zippers. He's disavowed them like he did his father's attendance at a Klan rally in New York City in 1927; as he did ever knowing David Duke, or what the Klan is; as he did after Charlottesville when he called Neo-Nazis "very fine people," making them equivalent to Antifa (which means, say it WITH me now: ANTI-fascist). He's disavowed them because that's just another crime he could be convicted for if he foments violence at what's looking to be a landslide defeat. He knows he’s losing, and losing means prison: the Manhattan DA, SDNY, the NYS DA Letitia James could give a shit about any pardon Mike Pence can worm out of his complicit, faux-Christian ass: no president, no matter how brief the tenure can do anything about state crimes. His best move in 2016 was to lose and inaugurate “Trump TV,” not this American Carnage of apathetic ineptitude he’s unleashed on this nation.

 

Speaking of Christians, what EXACTLY are white evangelicals going to do after this? WHO in their right minds would seek out their example? They couldn't even be street guards at an elementary after this debacle of epic hypocrisy. After decades of facade piety, they voted for the vagina grabber! Their median age is a matched set to Fox viewership: white and getting older. Religious organizations survive from the free-will charitable contributions ("tithes and offerings") from their congregations. Congregations only grow when YOUNG people join them, get married, have babies, and stay awhile. Good luck paying your mortgages. Hit up Franklin Graham or Paula White for a loan to float you.

 

A seventy-four-year-old racist (allegedly) has COVID-19, with associated morbidities: he’s overweight, his diet is disastrous, and yet he’s managed to fire off tweets with supposedly mild symptoms between the land of the living and the hereafter.

 

A malignant narcissist hates the idea of losing, or quitting while he’s clearly behind.

 

This is the equivalent of a more noble and honorable man falling on his sword.

 

I'm voting. I'm voting as SOON as the polls open. He can promise to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. He can promise to give us our "40 acres and a mule" WITH interest. None of these flaccid, half-assed, shoot-from-the-hip promises mean anything to the functioning of this republic, that since I'm LIVING in it, I desperately WANT to function.

 

I need him gone. Quoting his well-worn, rehearsed phrase that made him famous: YOU'RE FIRED. Because in the words of Joy Reid: I "really WOULD like to sleep at night!"

 

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Fierce Urgency...

Ouroboros

Ancient Symbols: Ouroboros

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

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

― Martin Luther King Jr

From Middle English apocalips, from Latin apocalypsis, from Ancient Greek ἀποκάλυψις (apokálupsis, “revelation”), literally meaning "uncovering", from ἀπό (apó, “after”) and καλύπτω (kalúptō, “I cover”). Wiktionary

It is the 19th anniversary of September 11, 2001, now during a pandemic. What's been revealed:

  1. The Russians that attacked the 2016 elections are doing so in 2020, with the apparent blessing of their installed puppet. Not only is he deferential to Vladimir Putin, but he's also nauseatingly gracious to him and any world dictator. He derisively nicknames everyone he meets to troll them. He hasn't once Vlad, the impaler of democracies.
  2. The criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party (Max Boot names them the "gang of Putin") has conceded they have literally NOTHING they can sell the electorate on their policies: tax cuts for the rich don't cause economies to grow, or jobs to "trickle-down." All they can give the rubes is "white power," which doesn't mean anything if you can't buy a senator or congressman with your personal exchequer.
  3. Confirming conservative judges hasn't ended Roe vs. Wade, and even if it did, it wouldn't eliminate abortion completely, just transfer the personal decision to individual states. The original intent by Margaret Sanger was to eliminate "lessers" and the "feeble-minded," which meant a lot of black and brown people, through involuntary abortions and sterilizations. Hell, America had a whole bureau for it. It backfired when it became a form of bodily agency for white women, wrongly attributed to lower birth rates. It didn't HELP, but babies and daycare are expensive. That probably did it.
  4. It does ensure that, once the demographics changes are complete in 2045, they will be the guards of white supremacy - not democracy - at federal and state levels. Even though White Anglo Saxon Protestants be in the numerical minority, they will still be in a similar state as Apartheid South Africa: diminished, but in-charge.
  5. The Russian-installed puppet knew Coronavirus was airborne, that it would affect children: in February. He lied. We ran for our lives middle of March last semester. We were open, exposed. What would have been the result of a masking order on February 8th? I have no doubt it still would have been horrific, but how many lives would still be with us? I don't if we'd be heading for 200,000 soon; 400,000+ by the end of the year.
  6. The Coronavirus reveals that America by far is not "united." It is, in the title of author Isabel Wilkerson, arranged in a Caste system based on degrees of Melanin. Those with a preponderance of the pigmentation have to be demonized, violated, and killed. The reinforcement is by projection: monsters projecting their monstrosities on others. It is the origins of how we distribute wealth, resources, and health.
  7. The near 100 fires on the west coast of America are visible from satellite. More will be said about how this is NOT climate change than about how this is the direct result of it. Other than the frenzied rush to qualify a vaccine, we have no warp drives, nor do we have a "planet B." People in the midwest and other locations will shrug and ask, "why should they care?" This is similar to the resistance to give New York help during Hurricane Sandy. A repeat of item six, "United States" is an oxymoron.

Donald John Trump lied, and people died: hundreds of THOUSANDS of people. If he followed science, he would have had a mandatory mask mandate. If he followed science, he'd literally be sailing to re-election. If he just, didn't LIE! He said he "didn't want to panic us," but he's trying to scare the shit out of Levittown 1950s "suburban housewives" against the evil brown people from urban cities led by the scary black Senator Cory Booker, and invading hordes from the Mexican border!

“I felt like this was pretty urgent,” said De Kai, who was born in St. Louis, and is the son of immigrants from China. “I saw the country where I grew up, where my family lives [now mostly in the Bay Area], about to face this pandemic without knowing much about something as simple as wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.” In part, this comes from a cultural difference between East Asia, where masks have been routinely worn for decades to fend off pollution and germs, and other parts of the world. This includes the U.S., where people are unaccustomed to wearing masks, and, in the past, have sometimes been insensitive, even stigmatizing East Asians, many of whom had chosen to wear them in public prior to the pandemic, and had continued the practice in the aftermath of the SARS and MERS outbreaks. (In part, this habit was meant to show other people that they were concerned about transmitting the disease—something we in the West would do well to emulate.)

De Kai’s solution, along with his team, was to build a computer forecasting model they call the masksim simulator. This allowed them to create scenarios of populations like those in Japan (that generally wear masks) and others (that generally don’t), and to compare what happens to infection rates over time. Masksim takes sophisticated programming used by epidemiologists to track outbreaks and pathogens like COVID-19, Ebola, and SARS, and blended this with other models that are used in artificial intelligence to take into account the role of chance, in this case the randomness and unpredictability, of human behavior—for instance, when a person who is infected decides to go to a beach. De Kai’s team have also added some original programming that takes into account mask-specific criteria, such as how effective certain masks are at blocking the invisible micro-droplets of moisture that spray out of our mouths when we exhale or speak, or our noses when we sneeze, which scientists believe are significant vectors for spreading the coronavirus.

If 80% of Americans Wore Masks, COVID-19 Infections Would Plummet, New Study Says, David Ewing Duncan, Vanity Fair

Here's the ArXiv preprint paper to review. It takes ninth-grade reading comprehension. What you don't understand in terms can be discerned with a search engine.

Tomorrow is today, and every day we're being trolled by the so-called chief executive. He's bankrupting the nation like one of his casinos. He's exhausting us with his criminality, obvious mental deficiencies, and endless gaslighting.

He's revealing his ineptness, incompetence, and likely, complicit relationship with a foreign adversary. Of the 20,000 plus lies already documented from 2017 to this now, he cannot obfuscate his FIRST official lie as president*:

Before he enters on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:– I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8

*Putin's puppet is an accidental oval office resident, and a clear and present danger to the republic, as Oroborus (America) eats its own tail.

 
 

 

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Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc...

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Image from GoComics.com and SpaceAndTime.com

 

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

 

Public-opinion polling shows that Trump’s low opinion of American elections has practically become Republican Party orthodoxy. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Republicans have an “unprecedented” level of “concern and mistrust in the system.” Roughly 70 percent of Republican voters believe that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, it’ll be due to fraud. In both this poll and an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, only half of Republicans say they’d accept a Clinton victory. (In the latter poll, by contrast, 82 percent of Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory.)

 

This suspicious Republican electorate is joined by growing ranks of conservative politicians, pundits, and intellectuals. They’re all increasingly willing to say that the existing American political system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be rolled back to the days before blacks and women could vote. On the most obvious level, this can be seen in moves by Republican governors all over America to make voting more difficult, through stringent voting ID laws, new hurdles to registration, and the curtailment of early-voting options. Equally significant has been the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act by conservative Supreme Court justices in the 2013 Shelby Country v. Holder ruling.

 

Suspicion of the democratic system is so pervasive on the right because it’s driven by the fear that white Christian America is facing demographic doom. The evidence is right there in the election results: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and if current polling trends hold, the GOP will be batting one for seven when the results come in on November 8. Thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans may hold on to a U.S. House majority for a while, and they’ll remain competitive in state capitols in the near future. But a whites-only party can’t win national elections. And over time, the GOP’s congressional and state fortresses will crumble if the party doesn’t change dramatically. Or if the democratic system doesn’t change dramatically.

 

The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy, Jeet Heer, The New Republic, October 24, 2016

 

The 2008 electorate was on-record as the youngest and most diverse in Pew Research history. It's why I think the right had a visceral reaction to President Barack Obama. He was the seventh African American to run for president in the modern era, and the first one to actually win. The trial balloon of a "post-racial" society was floated (see? We're not racist, you finally have a negro president). The 2012 re-election sent them over a cliff of brief self-reflection with the post-election GOP Autopsy, officially the Opportunity and Growth Project. That revelation was short-lived, and with past indicative revelations as prologue, quite reasonable and sane. State media/Fox propaganda and other conservative outlets couldn't help themselves. The faux "controversies" from Michelle Obama's bare arms (but not Melania Trump's bare behind), Grey Poupon mustard on hot dogs and tan suits seems delirious, hilarious, and deranged. It was a parade of the insane.

 

There are a pro and con to whether racism qualifies as a mental disorder. To those recipients of its attacks and largesse, it seems to fit the bill. I was the victim of a "Zoom bombing" recently, pornographic materials, and the n-word repeated to an online crowd of African Americans in a Sunday School meeting studying the Book of James: We'd lean "pro."

 

This demographics time bomb was set off by the aftermath of 1865: no longer having free slave labor, many legal machinations were attempted to re-enslave previously free African Americans using vagrancy laws, see "Slavery By Another Name," by Douglas A. Blackmon. The American Prison System exploits a loophole in the 13th Amendment: anyone arrested by the system - state, federal or for-profit - according to The Constitution is technically a slave of the state. We have Asian citizens because Chinese immigrants were imported to replace freed slaves on plantations. ICE likes to raid Hispanics/Latinos at food processing plants, but are missing the bonanza of brown targets at home builders, who probably couldn't offer their great home prices without company owners paying undocumented immigrants cash off-the-books, so as not to incur tax liabilities. Not a single home builder, for example, has done a perp walk.

 

*****

 

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

 

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled: Numerical Population Power 

 

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

 

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

 

 Source: Sample chapter

 

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (Latin): after this, therefore because of this. It is an informal fallacy, meaning the fallacy originates in an error of reasoning rather than a flaw in the logical form of the argument. (Wikipedia) So, what WAS the original "argument"?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We've taken The Constitution, our founding document, through historical apotheosis. Strict constructionists will say it is without flaw, and we should look for "original intent"; "breathing document" aficionados want constant change and continuous improvement, ever-becoming a "more perfect union."

 

The story we tell ourselves becomes muddled over time. This is similar to the game of "telephone," where my teacher whispered instructions to the first student in a line of fifth-graders from a 3 x 5 index card. Twenty-students deep, what we said and the meaning of what they said has irrevocably changed, similarly through essentially a 232-year relay.

 

We are here from Crispus Attucks to George Floyd, from sacrifices in revolts from England to knees-on-necks, no-knock raids, and killing teenagers carrying Arizona Tea and a bag of Skittles. We are here from Manifest Destiny, Trail of Tears, Black Wall Street-like genocides to Coronavirus pandemic. We are here because the original story of this country has become horribly distorted. That's not to say the original picture was perfect. For this republic's continuance, we desperately need to be honest with ourselves.

 

We're here because the country was based on slavery: the wealth of the nation built on the backs of free, uncompensated, kidnapped-from-Africa labor for generations.

 

We're here because those persons were described as a fraction, 3/5th's, and their children sold away like so much cattle.

 

We're here because the same slave owners defining us as inferior beings had unsolicited sex with us, siring Mulatto children in heterosexual rape of African women and "buck breaking" in homosexual encounters meant to emasculate African males in front of their females and families. Sally Hemings was not Thomas Jefferson's "lover": the relationship (or, the rape), started when she was fourteen. That is BY definition, pedophilia, and like all the aforementioned sexual acts above, sadistic.

 

We're here because the slaves, nor their descendants received reparations for years of enslavement, murder, and terrorism by the KKK, "sundown towns" requiring a Green Book to navigate around, and white citizen's councils.

 

We're here because such wealth exchange as reparations would dismantle the current biased system of white supremacy, and the reason it is opposed so strongly.

 

We're here because to justify the system, this nation built-in mythologies of superiority and inferiority, socially-engineered the society to self-fulfill the delusion, and codified it into laws. African Americans can be prejudiced, but they cannot be racist. Racism = prejudice + political power; the ability to codify your hatred with the strength of judiciary. Hitler did not "overthrow" the Weimar Republic: he won the election, seized control, and cloned Jim Crow on steroids in Europe, the only lesson the United States refuses to take ownership of.

 

We are here because unlike the logical fallacy: our current "this" is logically followed by the obvious "that." For us to have a new tomorrow - "[Built] Back Better," we're going to have to admit the sins of the nation's past, and in the vernacular of scripture: repent.

 

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Entropy and Existence...

Depositphotos_102544000_l-2015.jpg?profile=RESIZE_400x5 Ways To Safeguard Yourself After Divorcing a Narcissist, Weinberger Divorce and Family Law Group

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

Entropy as Time's Arrow: "One of the ideas involved in the concept of entropy is that nature tends from order to disorder in isolated systems." Hyperphysics

The Senate Intelligence Committees' bipartisan report confirming Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that Putin's puppet; his coterie lied in official testimony to Congress and the Mueller Report should be a damning indictment to a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party with a doofus, bizarro mob boss at its helm. You should download both documents and READ them.

Crimes-in-progress is being confessed to on camera and in real-time. You likely think a guilty person wouldn't confess to a crime he's committing, but a brazen criminal unburdened by guilt or a conscious would, and say you shouldn't believe your "lying eyes," or "fake news." Jeb Bush said, "he was a chaos candidate, and he'll be a chaos president." Orange Satan asked African Americans "what the hell do you have to lose?" That hypothesis, as said at the end of a proof, has clearly been shown - healthcare during a pandemic, jobs, the post office: QED.

As a nation and a world, we are all in an abusive relationship with someone that has no real relationship with facts, data, or reality. We're being gaslighted by a narcissist, whose puppeteer is a KGB agent. His ascension was by design. Trigger warning for what follows:

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

1. They tell blatant lies.President Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.   'Do you regret all your lying?' White House reporter's question startles Trump
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.What Makes Some Narcissists Mean, Competitive, and Jealous
4. They wear you down over time.From the Spouse of a Narcissist: Here’s What You Need to Know
5. Their actions do not match their words.A Narcissist’s actions or intent NEVER match up with their words.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.Trump's pardon may be undermining Anthony's wishes, historians say
7. They know confusion weakens people.Dissociation And Confabulation In Narcissistic Disorders
8. They project.The Projector in Chief
9. They try to align people against you.Top Tips for Surviving Your Divorce With a Narcissist
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.Why Relationships with Gaslighters or Narcissists Can Be So Painful
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.The Narcissist and His Lies: How They're Different
Your succinct guide to malignant narcissism

 

A lot of the links above are about interpersonal relationships with women and their narcissistic partners. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gained significant steam after the "American Carnage" speech at his pitifully-attended inauguration, which turned out to be both projection and promise.

As a country and world, we are all in a wearing, abusive relationship with the current occupant/Russian asset in the Oval Office. It is not hyperbole or hubris to state this election is not just for the "soul of America," but for the very existence of the species.

Whoever is in the next administration in America will have an impact on policies regarding climate change (this is still a thing). Concerning the deregulation of the fossil fuel industry during our current dystopian nightmare, under a second term (or, a lifetime according to Orange Satan), it can only exacerbate a precarious situation, magical thinking may create rainbows, and conspiracy theories make you feel smart, but neither has ever solved a problem relying on a knowledge and appreciation of The Scientific Method. Can you see QAnon in Starfleet? Do you want these people piloting your starship?

The following are excerpts from my previous blog post two years ago this month, The Mendacity of Dopes...:

“Putin’s thesis is that the American constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged in the right way from within,” Mitchell continued. “Putin wants to break apart the American republic not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault lines within our society. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term response to the problem.” The problem Mitchell was describing has a kind of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose quality to it as far as Putin is concerned: Not only has the Russian leader tried to exploit political polarization over issues like race and guns, his attempts to do so have themselves become deeply divisive—to the point where even Trump’s advisers frequently find themselves at odds with the man they serve.

Part of Mitchell’s argument—which might be viewed favorably by a president who has taken particular umbrage at the notion that Putin sought to help him defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race—was that the Russian government isn't necessarily interested in supporting a specific politician, party, or ideology. Instead, it simply wants to sow chaos in the United States to advance its own goals, which it sees as threatened by America’s preeminent position in the world. Mitchell cited the revelations on Tuesday that suspected Russian government hackers have been targeting conservative U.S. think tanks and promoting “fringe voices” on both the left and the right on social media sites like Facebook.

Uri Friedman, The Atlantic: Even Trump’s Own Adviser Is Warning About ‘Politicizing’ the Threat From Russia. But the danger he sees is already here.

This is the metastasis of "The Southern Strategy" a rancid, racist tactic that was birthed on the heels of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. It was and is a desperate bid for power. It predates itself as the definition of "white" changed from excluding everyone except "Nordic stock" Europeans (the English, mostly) to eventually including the previously excluded: Italians, Jews [and ironically] Russians all had tiny quotas. The resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the nascent eugenics movement in the United States fueled and influenced immigration policy in the earlier part of the last century. Admittedly, despite its reprehensible aims, it worked remarkably well for quite a while.

A president with decidedly African features, he and his wife both educated at Ivy League schools and a pitch-perfect family did not personify the fictional "Huxtables" before the fall of Mr. Cosby to their many detractors. The continual reminder that the country is becoming browner only ignited more fear and resolve to fight a demographic shift not in their favor of continual predominance circa 2042 - 2045. Their resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue transmitted a well-worn, white supremacist trope regarding farmland in South Africa (it's returning the farmland to their original, African owners), but he needs a distraction since his former campaign manager and former personal lawyer were both found guilty on a total of 16 felony counts in a matter of minutes. Their visceral reaction to them was an existential crisis, a call to arms; a "white genocide," ironically feared by the descendants of those that caused it well before the "Trail of Tears" for Native Americans. It caused Roger Ailes to see the power of televised propaganda and cater to an audience that was well past facts post the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of listening to Rush Limbaugh on AM Talk Radio and his "ditto head" clones; well past reasoned discourse before Twitter came online. What facts can be revealed are rebuffed by an avalanche of lies, there are no "gotchas" for a party that with the help of Karl Rove started "creating their own realities" a long time ago. A sizable chunk of the electorate has been in this "post-truth" Twilight Zone for decades.

Added: The NY Times reported Aleksei Navalny Hospitalized in Russia in Suspected Poisoning.

This is what the “end of the American experiment” would look like. Foreign nations would pick our leaders. If republicans can visit Moscow July 4, 2018, before the midterm elections, what would prevent democrats from visiting Beijing summer of 2022? Could we protest in the streets, or dissent from the state on systemic racism during a pandemic without getting tear-gassed, flash bombed, rubber bullets shot at our heads, or kidnapped in unmarked cars? Would we see poisonings, or people spontaneously “falling off buildings?” Would AG Bill Barr rescue the rule of law? Would VOTING matter?


That’s the essence of the somber warning President Obama gave Wednesday night, and this is an example of what a sham democracy would be like. Democracies that fail do so slowly – behind the scenes – the rapid fall only seems quick when it’s all over. Russia, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein has “elections,” but they’re fraudulent shows at gunpoint for a despot, thus ensuring high participation numbers in both totalitarian states. NO ONE represents the Russian people. They are ruled by a junta, led by a criminal sociopath. We are barely represented here. We have the nightmare choices of a marginally functional party and a dystopian, dysfunctional one led by a psychopath.


The bedrock of democracy, “an informed citizenry” would cease to exist: we would put in earbuds to jam out, or binge-watch streaming video and “mind our own business.”


Engaged citizens protesting racism during a pandemic looks like anarchy to tyranny.


Fearful, self-centered citizens are what authoritarian regimes crave and need: apathy.

All they needed was a useful idiot avatar, and a master spy to push the republic over the precipice. Ironically, if successful, the 2nd Amendment along with all others in a theoretical fall of our republic would become meaningless as in Russia, there is no right to bear arms that "former Americans" would recognize or appreciate. The imagined confiscation by government "jackbooted thugs" may be under the flag of a foreign power that duped the gullible:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

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

For the sake of all liberal democracies and humanity on the PLANET, they...MUST...fail.

 
 
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Pig Slop...

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

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

Farmers feed their pigs slop, a messy, wet mix of various leftovers—and when they do, they can say they slop the pigs. A derogatory way to talk about food that doesn't look very tasty is to call it to slop. And you can call sticky, overly sentimental music, writing, or film slop as well. Source: Vocabulary.com

When President Obama used an executive order for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), that was considered constitutional overreach and tyranny from the executive branch. That was likely the executive at the time and the children in question are both brown. This was due to the GOP-dominated Congress not passing a DREAMS Act for those same children's path to citizenship. Immigration reform used to be a thing with republicans: Saint Ronald Reagan made a whole bunch of illegal immigrants citizens, and that might have contributed to the high numbers his republican successor, George W. Bush enjoyed for his 2004 reelection. That compassionate conservatism advantage has been dwindling ever since, at least until our current moment of discontent.

Ben Sasse called Orange Satan's executive orders unconstitutional slop, which it is. His clap back to the middle school mean-girl tweetstorm from Mango Mussolini is an admittance: "I don't need you to get reelected, you need me." He like a lot of other Republican senators had their constitutional duty to remove a criminal from office. They are the beneficiaries of Jim Crow, the Southern Strategy, Voter Purging, and Suppression. They shirked it because they are criminals themselves. Conditional integrity is still cowardice.

HuffPost senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked the president during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing if, after 3½ years, “do you regret at all the lying you’ve done to the American people? All the dishonesties?”

“That who has done?” Trump replied. 

“You have done,” said Dáte, who wrote at length about Trump’s “Ministry of Untruth” earlier this year. 

Trump paused and then moved on to the next question.

In his report, Dáte noted that Trump’s stream of falsehoods across nearly every topic and in any setting is corroding America’s democracy as it normalizes lies coming from the nation’s highest office.

Trump's Response When Asked If He Regrets All The Lies He's Told America: None, Josephine Harvey, HuffPost

We have a view of history that fascism doesn't need competency. Hitler was quite literally a shit show, and the mythology of Nazi efficiency is...just that.

It's poignant that Senator Kamala Harris is African Diaspora through her Jamaican father and Indian Diaspora through her mother - both immigrants who met in Oakland, California where she and her sister were born as American citizens. Both marched and shouted for Civil Rights for all its citizens, especially their daughters, as civil rights have never had a hue, simply for and of humans. America, India, Germany have had and have caste systems that assign portions of humanity to either the apex of the pyramid where all riches are siphoned to or the base where all the weight of society crushes pariahs beneath it. She's a woman that self-identifies with black culture through her HBCU - Howard University and her Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She married another human that happens to be of European descent. She is above all, an earthling, and Oakland isn't a crater on Mars. Her fraternity brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr - found himself in an inflection of revelation.

Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabelle Wilkerson

In 1935, Nazi Germany passed two radically discriminatory pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. Together, these were known as the Nuremberg Laws, and they laid the legal groundwork for the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust and World War II.

When the Nazis set out to legally disenfranchise and discriminate against Jewish citizens, they weren’t just coming up with ideas out of thin air. They closely studied the laws of another country. According to James Q. Whitman, author of Hitler’s American Model, that country was the United States.

“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” says Whitman, who is a professor at Yale Law School. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”

In particular, Nazis admired the Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against black Americans and segregated them from white Americans, and they debated whether to introduce similar segregation in Germany.

Yet they ultimately decided that it wouldn’t go far enough.

How the Nazis Were Inspired by Jim Crow, Becky Little, History.com

Fascism, like its cousin racism, doesn't need rationality over "us" and "them." It allows one group to dominate another without guilt, or blame for the consequences. It allows you to long for mythological glory times where Germany and America were "great again."

Fascism in Germany or America just needed enablers, and frankly, intellectuals that underestimate how a cornered animal - hog, rodent or narcissist - is its most dangerous and cunning when it figures it's going to die in prison and has nothing - other than its freedom - to lose.

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Occam's Razor and Scorched Earth...

 

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

As Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder was a strong advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project, which aims to supply Russian gas directly to Germany, thereby bypassing transit countries.

At the time of the German parliamentary election, according to Rick Noak of The Washington Post:

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Schroeder hastily signed the deal just as he was departing the office from which he had been voted out days earlier. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.

Wikipedia: Gerhard_Schröder-Relationship_with_Gazprom_and_Rosneft

Occam’s razor, also spelled Ockham’s razor, also called law of economy or law of parsimony, principle stated by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed as “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” Source: Britannica online

Occam's razor: Orange Satan spoke two consecutive days to Grand Pooh-Bah Putin; 16 or more private conversations last year (in the current Coronavirus apocalypse, we'll refer to that as the "before times"). He's managed to without fail insult every [former] ally we've had since the end of the Second World War, but not even a nickname for Vlad the Impaler of democracies. What he says in those conversations that like his salary, we're paying is apparently none of our business. We can't see his grades, SAT scores, or his taxes. Al Capone wasn't too keen about the idea of revealing his taxes either, and that ultimately is what landed him in prison. A guy who had "Joey No Socks" at his New Year's bash after Pooh-Bah gifted him the 2016 election and planet is probably a crook. The producers and showrunners of "The Apprentice" was in on the joke, as well as most residents of New York City. He's not a businessman, except of the Keystone Cop variety, every decision is a pratfall and every pronouncement word salad. Case-in-point: you're reading this during a pandemic. His lack of talent in his 74 years of wasting oxygen and producing flatulence at wee tweet hours has been covered by white male privilege, his father, the Mafia, Russian money laundering, and republicans that never once believed their own shtick. Enter Bizarro Capone with a dead Propecia ferret on his head yelling manically "he can fix it."

The "empty vessel" model was introduced by Reagan: as he deteriorated, others like William Barr worked the marionette strings from the shadows as Ronnie "aw shucks" himself into B-movie legend. Mind you, "nature abhors a vacuum," but Donnie just "isn't there." He doesn't say "aw shucks": he might say "oh, fuck," or "oh, I'M fucked."

Nixon - Roger "rat fuck" Stone's back tattoo totem - was unscrupulous, but he was competent: Affirmative Action and the Environmental Protection Agency just two of his accomplishments, other than the whole Watergate Plumber's thing. Simultaneously insulting a landmark and a culture by saying "yo-Semite" ("yo-sim-e-T," idiot!) isn't the "stable genius" his twisted mind and cognitively dissonant followers believes himself to be.

EIGHT republican "patriot" senators were in Moscow on July 4, 2018, months before the midterms. That's strange for patriots (Tom Clancy is confused in the hereafter), especially on the nation's birthday. Probably totally innocent. Good luck with the 2nd Amendment, over there: it doesn't exist.

The Republican Party is shrinking. The Southern Strategy was great for Nixon in 1968, and cool for Reagan in the 80's nostalgic "Back to the Future" decade, when Lee Atwater resurrected the ghoulish grog in "welfare queens", "young bucks", and Willie Horton when Pappy ran in '88, which actually means something to white supremacists. 52 years into the future, any milk left on the shelf that long would be rancid, if not mummified.

So, what do you do when your shtick is shit, your base is melting by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and you just can't win legitimate elections anymore? Domestically, that takes the form of a faux war on faux voter fraud, voter purges and voter suppression of the groups that probably won't vote for endless tax cuts for the 1%, genteel racism and not-so-subtle sexism and homophobia. Internationally, you might "get a little help" from your Russian friends, and make sure they can still help.

Jill Stein, Gary "Aleppo" Johnson, and for God's sake, red hat KANYE are not going to BE president!

And, what if you lose and you don't accept it? A lunatic currently has the nuclear codes and twitchy Twitter fingers.

It's 87 days to the election (yesterday was 88).

It's 165 days to the inauguration of the NEXT president.

Tomorrow is after that.

 
 
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