existentialism (137)

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Image Source: Space Billionaires, Please Read the Room, Shannon Stirone, The Atlantic

 

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

 

Note: The post title is sourced from The Atlantic article, as is the lurid artwork.

 

It is the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void," shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative.

 

The thing that really surprised me was that it [Earth] projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile. Michael Collins, Apollo 11. Source: Wikipedia/Overview effect

 

The best case for taxing the rich is made by a "space race" with billionaires leaving the Earth ravaged by a once-in-a-century pandemic in the form now of the Delta variant, climate change disasters that can't be gaslighted, and modern-day Hooverville tent cities IN the richest nation in the world, exacerbated since last year by the Coronavirus. Almost all new cases in what amounts to a fourth wave are among the unvaccinated, in a bizarre, nihilistic viral analog of the Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, and Dr. Strangelove. But: "space, the final frontier" for billionaires, apparently is more important. Is it my observation only that each "spaceship" looks like a phallic symbol or pleasure instrument?

 

Bezos, of course, ruins the whole point of the Overview effect: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry, and move it into space and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is,” he said in an interview with NBC News. “That’s going to take decades to achieve, but you have to start. And big things start with small steps.” (Justine Calma, The Verge). That's a direct quote from the richest man in the world, a toss-up clone between either Dr. Evil or Lex Luthor.

 

The world's richest man has obviously not heard about space junk sipping lattes on his half-billion-dollar yacht, with a spare for the helicopter (hey, that's important). Just like Musk's "genius" idea of terraforming the planet Mars for humans by dropping nuclear bombs to warm it up. First point: Mars has no atmosphere to warm up. Second point: Plutonium-239 used in current thermonuclear devices has a half-life of 24,110 years, meaning the radiation level will be half as lethal in 964 human generations. Branson's price tag to do weightlessness is $250,000. You can afford it by entering a contest: the cost is $10, $25, $50, $100, which begs why anyone has to donate to a raffle for a ride with a billionaire? Batman didn't charge the Justice League for the Watchtower (I don't think). Bruce Wayne is a plucky superhero (or antihero); he's fictional.

 

Bezos, Branson, Musk, et al. are real, and they don't appear interested in anything other than their own enjoyment.

 

*****

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2024

 

  • Lauren writes about an astronaut who died on the latest Mars mission. People in the neighborhood say traveling to Mars is a waste of money when people on earth can't afford basic necessities.
  • Lauren also writes about the cost of water increasing. It's fashionable to be dirty since no one can afford to clean their clothes.

 

Shmoop.com: Study Guide, Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler, Chapter 3

 

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it you take it

 

Oh, make me want to holler
The way they do my life (yeah)
Make me want to holler
The way they do my life

 

This ain't livin', this ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no, no

 

"Inner City Blues: Make Me Wanna Holler," Marvin Gaye, Genius Lyrics

 

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)

 

I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)

 

The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)

 

"Whitey on the Moon," Gil Scott-Heron, Genius Lyrics

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The Caveat of Cul De Sacs...

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A river snakes its way through the Amazon rain forest in Peru.
Credits: USDA Forest Service

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

The finding comes out of an effort to map where vegetation is emitting and soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Earth’s trees and plants pull vast amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere during photosynthesis, incorporating some of that carbon into structures like wood. Areas that absorb more carbon than they emit are called carbon sinks. But plants can also emit the greenhouse gas during processes like respiration, when dead plants decay, or during combustion in the case of fires. Researchers are particularly interested in whether – and how – plants at the scale of an ecosystem like a forest act as sources or sinks in an increasingly warming world.  

A recent study led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California identified whether vegetated areas like forests and savannas around the world were carbon sources or sinks every year from 2000 to 2019. The research found that over the course of those two decades, living woody plants were responsible for more than 80% of the sources and sinks on land, with soil, leaf litter, and decaying organic matter making up the rest. But they also saw that vegetation retained a far smaller fraction of the carbon than the scientists originally thought.

In addition, the researchers found that the total amount of carbon emitted and absorbed in the tropics was four times larger than in temperate regions and boreal areas (the northernmost forests) combined, but that the ability of tropical forests to absorb massive amounts of carbon has waned in recent years. The decline in this ability is because of large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation, and climate change effects, like more frequent droughts and fires. In fact, the study, published in Science Advances, showed that 90% of the carbon that forests around the world absorb from the atmosphere is offset by the amount of carbon released by such disturbances as deforestation and droughts.

The scientists created maps of carbon sources and sinks from land-use changes like deforestation, habitat degradation, and forest planting, as well as forest growth. They did so by analyzing data on global vegetation collected from space using instruments such as NASA’s Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) onboard ICESat and the agency’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites, respectively. The analysis used a machine-learning algorithm that the researchers first trained using vegetation data gathered on the ground and in the air using laser-scanning instruments.

NASA Study Finds Tropical Forests’ Ability to Absorb Carbon Dioxide Is Waning, Jane J. Lee / Ian J. O’Neill

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MisInfo Wars...

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Image Source: Link Below

Topics: COVID-19, Democracy, Economics, Existentialism

Eric Boehlert nailed it on Press Run: the Murdock variant. I alluded to this Friday. True-to-form, the gaslighting led to a selloff on Wall Street of almost 800 points, from fears of the Delta variant conservative news outlets have been sacrificing their own viewers to impact. Question: Didn't Rupert Murdock, owner of Fox and the Wall Street Journal just lose money? Aren't all conservative oligarchs with propaganda outlets losing money?

The only thing that makes "sense" is that instead of news organizations, conservative "news" outlets are essentially a congress of sociopaths.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy today issued a public advisory on health misinformation, calling it a “serious threat to public health” and encouraging all Americans to help slow its spread during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. To that end, the National Academies have been addressing misinformation in health and science on multiple fronts and are taking steps to help cultivate a fact- and evidence-based information environment.

“This pandemic has demonstrated as never before how critical it is not only to combat false and misleading claims but also to get clear, understandable, and potentially lifesaving health guidance to the public,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “The National Academies are eager to support the surgeon general in this effort and are committed to working with the research community, health care providers, government agencies, and others to help amplify credible, authoritative health information.”

“Misinformation is worse than an epidemic: It spreads at the speed of light throughout the globe, and can prove deadly when it reinforces misplaced personal bias against all trustworthy evidence,” added National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “Research is helping us combat this ‘misinfodemic’ through understanding its origins and the aspects of human nature that make it so transmittable."

The surgeon general’s advisory defines misinformation as “information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time,” and notes that, although some knowingly and deliberately share misinformation, many others do so inadvertently because they are unaware of any inaccuracy or they are raising concerns or seeking answers. The rise of social media has also enabled misinformation to be spread more quickly and frequently.

As Surgeon General Urges ‘Whole-of-Society’ Effort to Fight Health Misinformation, the Work of the National Academies Helps Foster an Evidence-Based Information Environment

Molly Galvin, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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Smokestacks, and Psychopaths...

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Image credit: Daily Kos

 

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

 

In the south, you'll see some lummox proudly spewing black smoke from the back of his pickup truck (it invariably is always "his/he/him"), tricked out with dual black smokestack pipes to "own the libs," spew smoke in the air and cause environmental bleeding heart tears over caring about climate change. Indeed, "the cruelty is the point." Smoky seems to miss the point he's still on the same planet he's ruining. I'm down for him shooting his own foot: that would generate first a gasp as his talus explodes through his boot, then a guffaw. I will call 911 and tie you a tourniquet.

 

For a political party whose membership skews older, it might be surprising that the spirit that most animates Republican politics today is best described with a phrase from the world of video games: “Owning the libs."

 

Gamers borrowed the term from the nascent world of 1990s computer hacking, using it to describe their conquered opponents: “owned.” To “own the libs” does not require victory so much as a commitment to infuriating, flummoxing, or otherwise distressing liberals with one’s awesomely uncompromising conservatism. And its pop-cultural roots and clipped snarkiness are perfectly aligned with a party that sees pouring fuel on the culture wars’ fire as its best shot at surviving an era of Democratic control.

 

How ‘Owning the Libs’ Became the GOP’s Core Belief, Derek Robertson, Politico

 

Tennessee wants to halt vaccines - not just COVID, but everything! They fired the health commissioner because she was doing her job during a pandemic that's killed almost as many Americans as the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic. Florida governor Death Santis is selling merch "Don't Fauci My Florida" after a beachside condo imploded from decaying (say it with me now: "infrastructure"), and he's second in US COVID numbers for the Delta variant. Luckily, Disney is streaming Loki because I think the Mouse may have to shut down again. "Kids get long haul COVID too." Someone needs to Fauci Death Santis' brain.

 

Fox Propaganda is pushing vaccine hesitancy as likely every anchor and crew member is fully vaccinated and following COVID protocols. Meanwhile, they are purposely sowing doubts about the efficacy of a vaccine people are fighting in the streets for overseas. This, of course, follows a Russian disinformation campaign that every opinion pundit at the Ministry of Pravda on New York's Avenue of the Americas seems to be parroting. "America's newsroom" has a Russian accent.

 

The conclusion of the Kerner Commission was we were "two Americas": one black, one white; separate, and unequal.

 

We are two Americas still: one vaccinated, one unvaccinated as a Delta variant spreads in mostly red states. For the most part, African Americans are showing social conservative values: they tend to get vaccines (most, not all), and when I'm in the store, I still see us all wearing masks. The cynical, dark calculus is, as more get sick and die (apparently, red-state republicans are cannon fodder on the altar of Moloch), the economy will falter. The party in power always gets the blame, for good or ill. This is 2022 and 2024, not because the criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party has any "ideas": it is the political equivalent of a binky for colicky, psychotic children; it is power for power's sake.

 

The presidency of George W. Bush may have been the high point of the modern Christian right’s influence in America. White evangelicals were the largest religious faction in the country. “They had a president who claimed to be one of their own, he had a testimony, talked in evangelical terms,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute and author of the 2016 book “The End of White Christian America.”

 

Back then, much of the public sided with the religious right on the key culture war issue of gay marriage. “In 2004, if you had said, ‘We’re the majority, we oppose gay rights, we oppose marriage equality, and the majority of Americans is with us,’ that would have been true,” Jones told me. Youthful megachurches were thriving. It was common for conservatives to gloat that they were going to outbreed the left.

 

But the evangelicals who thought they were about to take over America were destined for disappointment. On Thursday, P.R.R.I. released startling new polling data showing just how much ground the religious right has lost. P.R.R.I.’s 2020 Census of American Religion, based on a survey of nearly half a million people, shows a precipitous decline in the share of the population identifying as white evangelical, from 23 percent in 2006 to 14.5 percent last year. (As a category, “white evangelicals” isn’t a perfect proxy for the religious right, but the overlap is substantial.) In 2020, as in every year since 2013, the largest religious group in the United States was the religiously unaffiliated.

 

In addition to shrinking as a share of the population, white evangelicals were also the oldest religious group in the United States, with a median age of 56. “It’s not just that they are dying off, but it is that they’re losing younger members,” Jones told me. As the group has become older and smaller, Jones said, “a real visceral sense of loss of cultural dominance” has set in.

 

I was frightened by the religious right in its triumphant phase. But it turns out that the movement is just as dangerous in decline. Maybe more so. It didn’t take long for the cocky optimism of Generation Joshua to give way to the nihilism of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. If they can’t own the country, they’re ready to defile it.

 

The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It, Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

 

The orangutan increased his margins with African Americans and Hispanic voters, surprisingly. Members of my family voted - insanely - in 2016 and 2020 for him. I don't tend to support racists who deny rental property to blacks in New York, say the Exonerated Five should still be in jail after DNA evidence, and a confession acquitted them, and over two dozen women accusing him of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault are all lying.

 

I'll give you a Mulligan for 2016. You believed the public fiction by reality TV he was a business genius (he isn't even as evidence shows, a "stable genius"). It was for "family values," so that might mean you're bizarrely against abortion and same-sex marriage. It's like television: if you don't like the channel, you have other options, and if you're against abortion (and not a woman) or gay marriage (and not LGBT), don't practice either. Problem solved. You probably believed in cooties as a kid.

 

After four years of lies, covfefe, mangled/slurred sentences, guttural cursing, saying President Obama SPIED on him, Olympic-level obfuscation, children in cages, white supremacists in Charlottesville, fawning obsequiousness to every dictator from Putin to Kim Jong Un he could find under a rock, the unanswered murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi; rubber bullets and teargas against mostly peaceful protestors (1st Amendment - look it up), haphazardly constructed border wall boondoggles like his six bankrupt businesses, tax cuts for no-one-that-looked-like-YOU, and you STILL voted for him after what is now after "I Alone Can Fix" January 6, 2021, is shaping up to have been an attempted coup, that says a lot more about you than it does about me.

 

I'm going to have to put some real estate between us for my own mental health.

 

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Thirty-Three Point Eight...

Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, Politics

Fahrenheit to CelsiusCelsius to Fahrenheit
(5/9)(°F - 32) = °C(9/5) °C + 32 = °F

Handy-Dandy Conversion Table

 

Even though the Big Think video is informative, my critique is it presumes much regarding the audience, presumably the species.

 

The assumption is that even with the equivalent of supercomputers on our hips, humans will be motivated beyond the video to know the difference between Fahrenheit, and Celsius. What the average human mind will process is: "two degrees," which doesn't sound like much as mathematical dexterity is only encouraged in those interested in STEM.

 

On Wednesday, when former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, his remarks on the occasion contained some of the usual sentiment about the importance of being a bold and inspiring nation—but they also contained something a bit unusual. “Here’s a bold embrace of internationalism: let’s join the rest of the world and go metric,” he said. “I happened to live in Canada as they completed the process. Believe me, it is easy. It doesn’t take long before 34 degrees is hot. Only Myanmar, Liberia, and the United States aren’t metric and it will help our economy!”

 

The Long, Tortuous History of the U.S. and the Metric System, Lily Rothman, TIME

 

The resistance to the Metric System (originally from the French) has to quote Ms. Rothman, "a long, tortuous history" in the United States. Resistance to "change" is inherently political, and we have but one of the two major political parties famous for looking backward, as well as celebration, and apoptosis of a hierarchal status quo.

 

I'm not saying the video isn't informative. The above formulas were drilled into me in middle school science class, and since I have made my living, and continue my education in STEM, mental conversion is a familiar exercise.

 

It should be for average citizens also. The video concerns two degrees Celsius hotter; the title I derived from one degree hotter (in bold below):</p>

 

(9/5) 0°C + 32 = 32°F

 

(9/5) 1°C + 32 = 1.8 + 32 = 33.8°F

 

(9/5) 2°C + 32 = 3.6 + 32 = 35.6°F

 

(9/5) 3°C + 32 = 5.4 + 32 = 37.4°F

 

(9/5) 4°C + 32 = 7.2 + 32 = 39.2°F

 

Add that to whatever is average summer temperatures in the Arctic, California, Texas, or North Carolina, and you can see why Environmental Scientists are hair-on-fire excited.

 

My critique is the video, well-intentioned, has the Curse of Knowledge Cognitive Bias.

 

Some of the best science lectures I've attended are when the speaker assumes the audience is hearing the information for the first time, provides a primer of about 15 - 20 minutes, and about a thirty-five to forty-minute lecture, allowing time for questions. It respects the intelligence, and time of the audience.

 

The opposite: the lecturer is so excited about their work, they hit Warp Seven after clearing orbital drydock, and head for Andromeda, 2.537 million light-years away. The only time they stop is when the host informs them their time is up, and it's evident the crowd has tuned out, checking social media, and drooling as they wait for the lecture/torture to end.

 

To communicate the gravity of the situation, I feel we need to communicate better to the general public for buy-in that: 1. There is a crisis, 2. We have to do something about it.

 

By logical extension, science communication can mean life or death. Ninety-nine-point-five percent of new COVID deaths are from the unvaccinated, so armchair conspiracy theories are not proving helpful. I took the Moderna vaccine. I did not become magnetic. I did not become the carrier of a variant. I'm a grandfather, so my infertility at this stage is kind of irrelevant. No one started tracking me (for what reason, God only knows).

 

Please feel free to share my post, and check my calculations. We all need a clear understanding, not fossil fuel industry/corporate lobbyist gaslighting, on where we're headed if we don't heed the warnings.

 

“Science-fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.” Isaac Asimov

 

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Power Density...

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Optimal size: wind farm efficiency drops as installations become bigger. (Courtesy: iStock/ssuaphoto)

Topics: Alternate Energy, Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, Green Tech, Thermodynamics

Optimizing the placement of turbines within a wind farm can significantly increase energy extraction – but only until the installation reaches a certain size, researchers in the US conclude. This is just one finding of a computational study on wind turbines’ effects on the airflow around them, and consequently the ability of nearby turbines – and even nearby wind farms – to extract energy from that airflow.

Wind power could supply more than a third of global energy by 2050, so the researchers hope their analysis will assist in better designs of wind farms.

It is well known that the efficiencies of turbines in a wind farm can be significantly lower than that of a single turbine on its own. While small wind farms can achieve a power density of over 10 W/m2, this can drop to a little as 1 W/m2 in very large installations The first law of thermodynamics dictates that turbines must reduce the energy of the wind that has passed through them. However, turbines also inject turbulence into the flow, which can make it more difficult for downstream turbines to extract energy.

“People were already aware of these issues,” says Enrico Antonini of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California, “but no one had ever defined what controls these numbers.”

Optimal size for wind farms is revealed by computational study, Tim Wogan, Physics World

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Last Ice...

A polar bear perches on a thick chunk of sea ice north of Greenland in March 2016. These thicker, older pieces of sea ice don’t fully protect the larger region from losing its summer ice cover.A polar bear perches on a thick chunk of sea ice north of Greenland in March 2016. These thicker, older pieces of sea ice don’t fully protect the larger region from losing its summer ice cover. (Image credit: Kristin Laidre/University of Washington)

Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming

The "Last Ice Area," an Arctic region is known for its thick ice cover, may be more vulnerable to climate change than scientists suspected, a new study has found.

This frozen zone, which lies to the north of Greenland, earned its dramatic name because even though its ice grows and shrinks seasonally, much of the sea ice here was thought to be thick enough to persist through summer's warmth.

But during the summer of 2020, the Wandel Sea in the eastern part of the Last Ice Area lost 50% of its overlying ice, bringing coverage there to its lowest since record-keeping began. In the new study, researchers found that weather conditions were driving the decline, but climate change made that possible by gradually thinning the area's long-standing ice year after year. This hints that global warming may threaten the region more than prior climate models suggested.

'Last Ice Area' in the Arctic may not survive climate change, Mindy Weisberger, a senior writer for Live Science

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Coups, Crackpots, and Psychopaths...

He nailed it.

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

 

Coups

 

There is a strong Trump following in the military, and retired generals on the crazy train, making moot all the protestations about Bill Clinton being a "draft dodger." Mango Mussolini has five deferments from fake bone spurs. Most of the retired generals are part of the Vietnam era, when they, returning from the theater were spat on and called "baby killers," they resented rich kids dodging service, yet they support one because of the coming preponderance of Melanin in America's future: a future the old farts will never live to see. Most of those retired generals aren't BIPOC (black, indigenous people of color). Many of the terrorists from January 6, 2021, are being arrested, but the jewel will be getting the seditionists that helped the insurrection getting taxpayer dollars. The seditionists in Congress don't want a bipartisan commission because criminals don't want a crime investigated in which they participated. They will also - on cue - complain a special committee comprised completely of Democrats is grossly partisan.

 

Any coup unpunished, whitewashed, or ignored becomes a rehearsal. The global economy would pivot on a dime if we suddenly became a failed state.

 

Crackpots

 

The highest-rated show on Fox Propaganda (AI inserts this automatically on my phone) used the legal excuse that "no one should take Tucker Carlson seriously." Greg Abbott, after dozens of his constituents died this past winter, passed laws to let psychopaths open carry, and is continuing the grift of building the wall. Meanwhile, temperatures in the west are soaring to dangerous levels, and brownout is inevitable. Greater than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit without air conditioning is as deadly as freezing without central heating. He'd rather ban Critical Race Theory in K - 12 schools (where it's not taught unless kindergarteners are lawyers), and solve voter fraud (which doesn't exist). But hey, we passed Juneteenth: we just can't teach where it comes from, or what it meant to ex-slaves, their descendants, and America. We managed to protect the Affordable Care Act, but Moscow Mitch has promised to "Merrick Garland" any Biden nominee if he gains the majority in 2022. It's why they're blocking votes and making it harder. It's an admission of political impotence in [a[ Democratic Republic: in a fair fight, they know they would lose.

 

The modern Republican Party died at the 2016 National Convention when they accepted a nonprofessional politician, a gameshow reality host playing the role of "billionaire" (only Cy Vance truly knows) as their bizarre nominee.  They are now the party of conspiracists, domestic terrorists, insurrectionists, and QAnon. He plugged into an anti-democratic strain in the party that was tired of listening to talking points from conservative think tanks, and preferred ranting word salad from Archie Bunker, the racist dad brainwashed right along with them, and their shared hatred of the one-and-only African American president in 232 years of the federal republic. The former GOP have wined and dined racists winked and nodded at "states rights" Dixiecrats since Reagan's initial campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Entropy works in physics and politics: eventually, genteel racism was going to metastasize into a full-on fascist. It's only natural the "grand old party" seeing no fortune in attracting, or being beholden to people of color became the "gang of Putin." They thus needed no stinking platform in 2020. After decades of running on Reagan's "aw shucks" populism, white ethnic nationalism is far more appealing. "Deconstructing the administrative state" means installing a dictator after destroying democracy.

 

Psychopaths

 

"Chief Executive" references one of the many roles in the US Constitution for an American president. It became convoluted with "Chief Executive Officer" during the Reagan years.

 

Three years into the new century, and two past 9/11, a documentary called "The Corporation" aired on screens and quickly went to video, which you can watch at the link.

 

Synopsis

 

One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy, and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today’s dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled, or absorbed into some new order. In this complex, exhaustive, and highly entertaining documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director of the influential and inventive Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, teams up with co-director Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan to examine the far-reaching repercussions of the corporation’s increasing preeminence.

 

Based on Bakan’s book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns, and pundits on a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporation’s inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts, and possible futures. The Corporation charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

 

Case studies, anecdotes, and true confessions reveal behind-the-scenes tensions and influences in several corporate and anti-corporate dramas.  Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical, computer, tire, manufacturing, public relations, branding, advertising, and undercover marketing. In addition, a Nobel-prize-winning economist, the first management guru, a corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians, and thinkers are also interviewed.

 

*****

 

In the book "The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success," Kevin Dutton explains that there are jobs that can attract literal psychopaths - and also jobs that are least likely to do so.

 

So what jobs are most attractive to psychopaths? Here's the list, originally published online by Eric Barker: 1. CEO, 2. Lawyer, 3. Media (Television/Radio), 4. Salesperson, 5. Surgeon, 6. Journalist, 7. Police officer, 8. Clergy person, 9. Chef, 10. Civil servant.

 

And for those looking to potentially avoid working with the least number of psychopaths, here's the list of occupations with the lowest rates of psychopathy: 1. Care aide, 2. Nurse, 3. Therapist, 4. Craftsperson, 5. Beautician/Stylist, 6. Charity worker, 7. Teacher, 8. Creative artist, 9. Doctor, 10. Accountant.

 

The premise of The Corporation is if the corporation is a person, what kind of person is it? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, the only "type" of person this can be is a psychopath.

 

So, why do we want a psychopath to have the nuclear codes? A care aide sounds more species-extending, and a lot more stable than fake billionaire gameshow hosts.

Juneteenth is my sister and my late father's 96 birthday. I will take a break next week in celebration and remembrance.

 

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The Edge of the World...

Giant Ice Shelf Crumbling Faster than ExpectedIcebergs break away from Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica last year. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming

Antarctica’s monster Pine Island Glacier—one of the fastest melting glaciers on the continent—is giving climate scientists new reasons to worry.

The trouble has to do with its ice shelf, a frozen ledge at the edge of the Pine Island Glacier. The ice shelf helps stabilize and contain the vast flow of ice behind it.

But now it’s crumbling into pieces.

In the last five years alone, more than a fifth of the ice shelf has broken away in the form of gigantic icebergs, which fall into the ocean and drift away.

At the same time, the glacier has begun losing ice at a faster rate. Since 2017, the speed of the ice flowing from the glacier into the sea has accelerated by 12%.

These losses are summarized in a new study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

The big question is what will happen next, according to lead study author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington. There’s a chance the ice shelf may stabilize and the flow of ice will slow down, or at least stop speeding up.

Then again, “the other scenario is this process will continue and the shelf will fall apart far more quickly than we expected,” he told E&E News.

Giant Ice Shelf Crumbling Faster than Expected, Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American

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Common Sense...

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Thomas Paine

 

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

Note: This post meant for Friday was delayed by a crashing hard drive. I now have a brand NEW solid state version thanks to Best Buy and the Geek Squad (shameless plug). I now have the dubious and quaint job of finding all of my files on this newer, faster drive.

At a time when statues that honor our past often whitewash that history or honor traitors, Paine’s is a legacy all Americans can be proud of today and which our nation should honor. Paine was a thinker far ahead of his time. Almost uniquely among the Founding Fathers he opposed slavery and favored abolition, called for a progressive income tax to pay for universal education (including for both sexes), a welfare system for poor relief, pensions, women’s rights, and more. He was an eloquent advocate for equality and representative government, writing, “The true and only true basis of representative government is equality of rights.” He added, “the danger arises from exclusions.”

Thomas Paine was one the greatest political writers and philosophers of his time; his best-selling works, Common Sense, The American Crisis, Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason fundamentally altered the political and social landscape of the 18th and 19th centuries and helped forge the United States of America.

Thomas Paine embodies the American Dream in a selfless way, rising from humble origins and penury to become a foremost political figure of his time, a friend to humanity and a foe to tyrants. He never sought personal power or wealth; instead, he championed the rights of the “common” people and believed emphatically in the dignity and rights of humans, which drove him to challenge the traditional authority of kings and dogmas of established churches, forever changing the course of human history.

Thomas Paine helped create America. It’s time America honored his legacy.

Thomas Paine Memorial Association

We saw to our horror a modern insurrection on January 6, 2021. As the battle ensign of Robert E. Lee's North Virginia Regiment paraded the halls of the Capitol during the siege, we discovered later the number of confederate figures venerated at the "Temple of Democracy" as well as state Capitols and cities that were guilty of the first insurrection.

Thomas Paine was as much a Founding Father to the United States of America as any other whose histories have been whitewashed, and mythologized to the point of unrealistic apotheosis. He apparently named the United States (lately, an oxymoron), and penned the lines you've probably heard in one form, or another:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. When we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price on its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

He was a scientist, poet, philosopher, scholar, and best-selling author. He was a deist, as were most of the Founding Fathers, meaning they believed in a God, just not a sovereign one intimately tied into, or interested in human affairs. There is such a thing as the Jeffersonian Bible, where Thomas Jefferson took scissors to every miraculous occurrence in the tome. Yet like the Tulsa Massacre and other vile atrocities masked by state propaganda, Paine’s history is deliberately hidden: unknown except to atheists, agnostics, freethinking societies, historians and theologians who study him, and humanists who revere him.

Despite the artistic flow of his prose that inspired a revolution against the British Empire and birth of its American analogue, there are no statues of him at our Capitol, the seat of our power. It is ironic the vitriol against the District of Columbia becoming the 51st state, existing as the last visible example of literal taxation without representation. “It would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

History is best defined as a study of past events, particularly human events, to learn important lessons from them. History gains insights from the past; science make hypotheses, design experiments, looking for patterns to make predictions that can hopefully improve our futures, extend our lives, and maybe, our civilization.

Thomas Paine, and the Tulsa Massacre: both are sins of omission, both leave a citizenry of a federal republic uninformed. Uninformed citizens don't make decisions using faculties of critical thinking skills, since that part of the brain is unused, if not atrophied. Uninformed citizens cannot manage the responsibilities of a democratic republic. Uninformed citizens are anathema to a democracy. Such citizens are open to conspiracy theories, as nature abhors a vacuum. What would our country be if we faced our past, and planned logically for our futures? Gaslighting history and ignoring science is a disastrous combination that limits our survival runway as a species. Without global cooperation, management of resources, addressing income inequality that exacerbated our response to the pandemic, systemic racism that impoverishes not just BIPOC, but nations, we will crumble, as other empires have. The Mayas sacrificed fellow tribesmen and women to a water god to eliminate drought. New flash: it didn't work out too well for them.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. When we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

It is not the time to tire. We must defeat this evil, or witness the death of democracy.

Our next actions will either save, or doom the republic.

Our next actions will be guided either by apathy, or common sense.

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Un-Democracy...

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PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/mccarthy/

 

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

 

Even presidents who don’t believe in history need a historian to rely on. When asked, in 2014, by a delegation of students and history teachers for his chosen chronicler of Russia’s past, Vladimir Putin came up with a single name: Ivan Ilyin.

 

Ilyin is a figure who might have been easily lost to history were it not for the posthumous patronage of Russia’s leader. Putin first drew attention to him – Ilyin was a philosopher, not a historian, a Russian who died in exile in Switzerland in 1954 – when he organized the repatriation of Ilyin’s remains for reburial in Moscow in 2005. Ilyin’s personal papers, held in a library in Michigan, were also brought “home” at the president’s request. New editions of Ilyin’s dense books of political philosophy became popular in Kremlin circles – and all of Russia’s civil servants reportedly received a collection of his essays in 2014. And when Putin explained Russia’s need to combat the expansion of the European Union and laid out the argument to invade Ukraine, it was Ilyin’s arguments on which the president [relied].

 

Timothy Snyder begins his pattern-making deconstruction of recent Russian history – which by design, he argues, is indistinguishable from recent British and American history – with a comprehensive account of Putin’s reverence for the work of Ilyin. Like much of Snyder’s analysis in this un-ignorable book, the framing offers both a disturbing and persuasive insight.

 

Ilyin, an early critic of Bolshevism, had been expelled by the Soviets in 1922. In Germany, where he wrote favorably of the rise of Hitler and the example of Mussolini, he developed ideas for Russian fascism, which could counter the effects of the 1917 revolution. As a thread through his nationalist rhetoric, he proposed a lost “Russian spirit”, which in its essence reflected a Christian God’s original creation before the fall and drew on a strongly masculine “pure” sexual energy (he had been psychoanalyzed by Freud). A new Russian nation should be established, Ilyin argued, to defend and promote that ineffable spirit against all external threats – not only communism but also individualism. To achieve that end, Ilyin outlined a “simulacrum” of democracy in which the Russian people would speak “naturally” with one voice, dependent on a leader who was cast as a “redeemer” for returning true Russian culture to its people. (My insert: Make Russia Great Again?) Elections would be “rituals” designed to endorse that power, periodically “uniting the nation in a gesture of subjugation.”

 

The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder review – chilling and un-ignorable, Tim Adams. The Guardian

 

Black Wall Street was razed in 1921, the bombing by air dramatized in the sequel to Watchmen on HBO. Rosewood was massacred in 1923. The steamroller of violence began in 1919 after "The Great War," we know as World War I as African American soldiers returned from the war and filled factory jobs that whites found themselves competing for. The struggle for resources fosters violence. Standardized testing, De Jure redlining, and structural racism are all bloodless coups of violence. It is Pontius Pilate washing his hands before the crucifixion, but the aims and the ends are absolutely congruent.

 

In our country, one of the two major parties is actively practicing un-democracy: they are obviously not interested in "bipartisanship," except as a political cudgel on the democrats; there are 47 states logging hundreds of legislative maneuvers to make it harder for black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) to VOTE. Armed "poll watchers" can intimidate, film, potential voters. This precedent is ominous now that you don't need a permit, or training to "open carry" in Texas: just a brain, no matter the state (or, damage) of an individual mind, and a functioning trigger finger. The ongoing, dystopian Arizona "fraud-it" is as much a template as January 6, 2021. If not challenged, we will see both again. In a two-party system, both have to accept that if your party lost the election, it's your job to come with better arguments the next time. Now, the equivalent of a tantrum is being constructed, modeled after the commander of covfefe Pablum, just one where votes are suppressed, gallows might be built, bullets likely fly, and blood from BIPOC bodies runs red.

 

“Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day,” Gladys Sicknick said in a statement provided to POLITICO. “I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward.”

 

“Putting politics aside, wouldn’t they want to know the truth of what happened on January 6? If not, they do not deserve to have the jobs they were elected to do,” she added.

 

Among the Republican senators who agreed to meet with the group, according to a source with knowledge of the schedule: Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Susan Collins (Maine), Roger Marshall (Kansas), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

 

Mother of deceased Capitol Police officer presses GOP senators to back Jan. 6 commission, Melanie Zanona, Nicholas Wu, Politico

 

The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch's attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy's career: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

 

Overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.

 

"Have You No Sense of Decency?" The United States Senate, June 9, 1954

 

These Senate Republicans blocked the January 6 commission bill using the antebellum filibuster.

 

Decency? I would say, that is a no.

 

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It's Funny, Until It Isn't...

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What Charlie Chaplin Got Right About Satirizing Hitler. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair

 

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

 

The Great Dictator—Charlie Chaplin’s masterful satire of Adolf Hitler—began filming in September 1939, right at the start of World War II. By the time it was released in 1940, the Axis had been formed, and Nazis were already occupying much of France. The threat was not at all abstract: critic Michael Wood notes that the movie premiered that December, in London, amid German air raids. The following December, of 1941, would yield its own devastating threats from the air—this time on American soil, which would clarify for Americans the realness of this war by bringing it home.

 

It was, in other words, a strange moment to be making a comedy about Adolf Hitler—even a satire holding him to account, and even one in which Chaplin himself, who was at that point one of the most famous movie stars in the world, famous for playing the ambling, lovable Little Tramp, took on the role of Hitler. In 1940, Germany and the US had yet to become enemies; feathers, it was worried, would be ruffled by a movie like this. But Chaplin was already unwittingly bound up in the era’s iconographies of evil. His likeness, the Little Tramp, with that curt mustache and oddly compact face of his, had already become a visual reference for cartoonists lampooning Hitler in the press. And he was already on the Nazis’ radar: the 1934 Nazi volume The Jews Are Looking At You referred to him as "a disgusting Jewish acrobat." Chaplin wasn’t Jewish. But he was frequently rumored to be. And when he visited Berlin in 1931, he was mobbed by German fans, proving that his popularity could surpass even the growing ideological boundaries of a nascent Nazi Germany—hence their hatred. Vanity Fair

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

TV producers described how they smoothed out President Donald Trump's rough edges in The Apprentice, helping mold the image that lifted the serially bankrupt businessman to the presidency.

 

"I don't think any of us could have known what this would become," Katherine Walker, a producer on five seasons of the NBC reality show told The New Yorker for its January 7 edition. "But Donald would not be President had it not been for that show."

 

The Apprentice was first aired in 2004 and presented Trump as the ultra-successful real estate deal-maker who would choose from a cast of candidates competing for a job in the Trump Organization. Trump's catchphrase on the show was, "You're fired," which he would deliver pointing at that week's unsuccessful candidate.

 

Editor Jonathan Braun told the publication that Trump would fire contestants on the show on a whim, forcing editors to "reverse engineer" programs to make Trump's decisions seem coherent.

 

Working With Trump 'Was Like Making the Court Jester the King' Says 'Apprentice' Producer, Tom Porter, Newsweek</p>

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Tom Phillip's opinion piece in Newsweek is probably cathartic, except to the six million Jews who died in concentration camps, along with Gypsies, the LGBT, scientists his incompetent clown show managed to efficiently slaughter.

 

Kevin McCarthy, Moscow Mitch, nor the PFKAR (pronounced "PFF-car": the Party Formally Known As Republicans) are interested AT ALL in democracy, nor are their constituents. Squish and Turtle are trying to scuttle the 1/6/21 investigation, styled on 9/11 (that wasn't great either), styled on the boondoggle Benghazi Commission, styled on the Watergate Commission, styled on the Kerner Commission, styled on the Pearl Harbor Commission: a commission is for fact-finding, and in the fact-free environment of PFKAR, that's Kryptonite. Neither of them wants to answer questions that might lead to some of their members being criminally indicted for treason, as insurrection is covered in the US Constitution.

 

Mary Caitlyn wrote on her blog, "The Swamp" the fourteen points of fascism as a warning in 2018. Peter Wehner states it quite plainly in The Atlantic: The GOP Is a Grave Threat to American Democracy. Jeet Heer stated this observation in The New Republic in 2016: they are NOT interested in democracy! How many times must the obvious be stated? WTF are cyber ninjas? The only other option in the modern is authoritarian fascism, and a return to a Medieval caste system of lords and serfs, which negates the reason for the American Revolution, or the "democratic experiment." They're enthralled, bedeviled, bewitched by a disgraced, banned-on-social-media-septuagenarian blogger who is days from criminal indictments in several cases, in several states! I breathlessly await the alternative facts spin on fascist QAnon propaganda outlets! Indictments lead to arrest warrants, his "mini-me" Death DeSantis can't block his extradition, and a few toothless wonders armed-to-the-teeth (ironic: they could have invested their money in better dental care) will volunteer to protect Dumbo Gambino in Mar-a-Sicko while he fires up his private jet for the getaway, forgetting the poor rubes putting their lives on the line for his sorry ass. "Winning."

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to all the rocket scientists and professors in the last episode of “Bullwinkle.”

 

Another senator wants to raise taxes on everyone under the age of 67. He, of course, is 68. Yet a third stands up to demand, “We’ve got to get the government out of government!” The Pottsylvanian spies decide their weapon is unnecessary: Congress is already ignorant, corrupt, and feckless. (I wonder if this is where Reagan got his zinger and the GQP's raison d'etre?)

 

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire, Beth Daniels, Smithsonian Magazine

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Adenoid Hynkel was a spoof of Adolf Hitler by Chaplin. Ronald Reagan went from Bedtime for Bonzo to the Oval Office. Dumbo Gambino went from a spoof of himself as a successful real estate mogul to the cause of mass deaths by negligence, the cheerleader for a modern insurrection against the government he was elected to lead, and the current instigator of a brewing domestic terrorism insurgency that will tear the republic to shreds.

 

It's funny until it isn't.

 

Daniel Ziblatt, a political science professor at Harvard and the co-author of How Democracies Die, told Intelligencer, “I think it’s pretty clear that there was a somewhat serious effort to steal this election. It’s not going to succeed. In that sense, the acute normative crisis has passed. It doesn’t mean our checks and balances have worked.” He pointed to what he described as “a chronic slow-burning problem” within the American electorate, the “radicalization” within the Republican Party. “One can’t have a democracy [in a two-party system] where one of the two parties is not fully committed to democratic norms.” Ziblatt described the current situation as an escalation of constitutional hardball, where political actors “sniff out weakness in constitutional structure,” violating long-standing norms if not technically the law. He pointed to the Trump-led effort in 2020 to have Republican-controlled state legislatures pick their own electors to throw victory to the president, regardless of how their states voted.

 

Is Trump’s Coup a ‘Dress Rehearsal?’ Ben Jacobs, The New Yorker, December 27, 2020

 

Trumpery (noun): 1. something without use or value; rubbish; trash; worthless stuff. 2. nonsense; twaddle: His usual conversation is pure trumpery. 3. Archaic: worthless finery. Dictionary.com, see also: Merriam-Webster

 

It's funny...until it isn't!

 

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The Monster They Made...

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

It's the kind of floor speech that sets up a presidential run in 2024 when no one in her party has any illusions: the blogger in Florida will be in too much legal and financial trouble to actually run for his old "executive time" job, plus, he'll be two years shy of eighty. It's what Rafael Edward Cruz trolled the insurrectionists about. It's what inspired Toy-Story-Woody Josh Howley's raised fist broadcast around the world. Both salivate to ride this dragon. A Cheney has put herself in the way of their ambitions.

She sounds principled. Noble. Statesmanlike. It's also superfluous bullshit. Don't get me wrong: she's right. Anyone sane seeing the January 6, 2021 insurrection can't call it anything but that, unless that's ultimately their goal. But the environment she finds herself in stems from her and her father's previous actions. They sowed the seeds that germinated the Tea Party, that metastasized into the Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," Alt-Right, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, that through Fox Propaganda and its many clones in right-wing talk shtick culminating in a modern attempt to overthrow our federal republic.

On September 16, 2001, Vice President Cheney appeared on NBC's Meet the Press and talked about what it will take to deal with the terrorism threat: "…We have to work the dark side if you will. Spend time in the shadows of the intelligence world," Cheney said. "A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion …."

 

PBS Frontline: The Dark Side

 

David Corn rightly points out that Liz Cheney, and her dad, Dark Lord of the Sith, paved the way to the big lie. It's why congressmen compare the January 6, 2021 insurrection to rowdy tourists (typically, tourists who smear feces and urinate in halls are jettisoned from the park). She, her dad, and many obfuscating republicans that lied us into the "weapons of mass destruction" that weren't in Iraq brought us to this point.

 

The right had a hissy fit when Janet Napolitano warned about right-wing violence in 2009. So did Daryl Johnson, an intelligence analyst at DHS. The "chickens came home to roost" on January 6, 2021, and the current Attorney General Merrick Garland and DHS Secretary Mayorkas are warning the same thing in 2021, specifically by name: white supremacy.

 

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debates are being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. So you can be sure that each candidate will deliver an effusive homage to Reagan and then explain why he or she is Reagan’s one true heir.

 

(The first GOP presidential debates were in Cleveland, and even there, Reagan was invoked by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Lindsey Graham.)

 

But no matter how much the candidates talk about Reagan, you can be sure that none of these extremely important things about him will come up. And maybe that’s appropriate — since if Reagan stood for anything as president, it was creating a completely fictionalized version of the past.

 

1. Reagan launched his 1980 general election campaign with a speech lauding “states’ rights” outside Philadelphia, Mississippi — the site of the notorious “Mississippi Burning” murder of three civil rights workers in 1964.

 

James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were abducted and killed in Mississippi by the local Ku Klux Klan in June 1964 — a case that garnered enormous national attention because, as Schwerner’s widow said, he and Goodman were white.

 

On August 3, 1980, Reagan traveled to the Neshoba County Fair, which a prominent state Republican had recommended as the place to find “George Wallace-inclined voters.” There — within walking distance of the earthen dam where the murderers of the three civil rights workers had surreptitiously buried them just 16 years before — Reagan delivered a speech including these lines:

 

I know that in speaking to this crowd, that I’m speaking to what has to be about 90 percent Democrat. I just meant by party affiliation. I didn’t mean how you feel now. I was a Democrat most of my life myself. …

I believe in states’ rights. … And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment. …

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT RONALD REAGAN YOU WON’T HEAR AT THE REAGAN LIBRARY GOP DEBATE, Jon Schwartz, The Intercept

 

As columnist William Raspberry wrote upon Reagan’s death, his endorsement of “states’ rights” — the same phrase white Southerners had used for decades to justify Jim Crow segregation — was “bitter symbolism for black Americans” and “an important bouquet in [GOP] courtship” of Dixiecrats.

 

*****

 

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821. Wikipedia

 

Shelley's most pressing and obvious message is that science and technology can go too far. The ending is plain and simple; every person that Victor Frankenstein had cared about met a tragic end, including himself. This shows that we as beings in society should believe in the sanctity of human life. Minori Cohan, Shelley’s warnings in Frankenstein

 

[Ironic] that a Russian criminal hacker group calls itself Dark Side Leaks that pretty much shut down the eastern seaboard from New York to Alabama. Sadly, the people who hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic emerged to meme ridicule, making the Ransomware attack worse than it needed to be.

 

The Republican Party that Liz Cheney wants to lead doesn't exist if it ever did. She voted more for the previous resident's agenda than against it, according to 538. She voted no on HR1: The For the People Act with the typical republican-speak against expanding the franchise to voters that probably wouldn't think twice about not voting for her or her party. Elise Stefanik was far less a sycophant, but fealty to a demagogue gets you a promotion from a dear leader out of power, for whatever that's worth.

 

For the moment, she and a lot of sane-sounding republicans that oppose open fascism are still on the "dark side." They don't want to expand the voting franchise; they are appalled at the thought of turning off the spigot of dark money, aren't the least bit interested in raising the minimum wage to a living wage, could care less to have universal healthcare like most European nations. There is no interest in Liz's party for the LGBTQ, which includes her sister and her partner because they, without intervention, can't have more white babies that might grow up to vote republican (if they don't, they'll just block them like black and brown communities). There is no racism in their suburban cul de sacs. For god's sake, a woman can't have agency on when she gets pregnant, or if she wants to become a mother, because the only function of Liz Cheney's gender in her party, according to the late, great George Carlin is broodmare of the state.

 

Prometheus in Greek mythology is a Titan. His name means "fore thinker." In lore, he's credited with creating mortals and against the will of the gods, giving us fire. The punishment for this affront by Zeus was the creation of Pandora. Meeting Epimetheus (hindsight), he fell in love with her, despite Prometheus' warnings. She is famous for the box unleashing evils, hard work, and disease on the face of the earth. Source: Britannica

 

For these fifteen minutes of fame, Liz Cheney sounds rational, majestic: presidential. Her vast connections to traditional republican powerbrokers will make the lives of Dumbo Gambino and the jellyfish-chin-in-a-suit-who-wants-to-be-Speaker a living hell. Her father, Lord Vader, is deathly silent, and that's scary (for them, and likely us).

 

To ascend and become our first female Chief Executive, she would have to admit her role in the monster she and her father helped create. That would take something heretofore unseen in republican politicians, traditional, or QAnon: hindsight.

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Biological Fukushima...

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Residents of the Pairaisopolis favela in Sao Paolo wait for meal distribution in the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. Credit: Alexandre Schneider Getty Images

 

Topics: Biology, COVID-19, Existentialism, Pandemic

 

Note: Many stories are coming out of Seychelles. It is the most vaccinated nation on earth that is seeing rising cases of the Coronavirus due to tourism by Indian elites. We're not going to solve this piecemeal, nor treating each other in our backward, moribund tribal "traditions." This fight is a long haul, and hubris can make it longer, and more painful.

 

To be in Brazil right now feels like being trapped in the middle of a chaotic battlefield, a 14-month-long siege, without anyone in charge on your side of the trenches. Totally surrounded by a lethal enemy that keeps getting closer to you and your family. This biological foe keeps morphing in a way that seems well adapted to infect everyone within reach, showing mercy neither for pregnant women nor for their newborn babies.

 

After 12 months of such brutal biological warfare, more than 390,000 Brazilians have perished; the number of fatalities climbed to more than 4,000 fatalities a day in early April, and the number of new cases per day edged above 100,000, filling hospitals to capacity with tens of thousands of terminally ill patients who occupy all available ICU beds in a country that has one of the largest national public health systems in the world and more hospitals than the U.S. Such a steady tsunami of severely sick patients has led to an unprecedented collapse of the entire country’s health system and the setting of yet another pair of world records in terms of both infected and deceased health professionals. On top of that, the country’s stock of medical equipment and the supplies required to intubate patients in need of respirators to survive are running at a historic low and may run out completely because the federal government simply failed in the process of replenishing the national stockpile several months ago.

 

This, in a nutshell, is the catastrophic and unprecedented hecatomb that Brazil found itself locked in by mid-April 2021. A devastating second wave of the pandemic began to engulf all five regions of the country back in early November 2020. It resulted, in part, from the premature and chaotic relaxation of social isolation measures that had helped at least some regions of the country contain the worst of the initial phase of the pandemic. It worsened because of the large public political rallies that preceded the two rounds of the 2020 national elections, generating a multitude of super spreader events all over the country. And the situation was exacerbated by Christmas and Carnival, the largest national festivity.

 

Brazil’s Pandemic Is a ‘Biological Fukushima’ That Threatens the Entire Planet, By Miguel Nicolelis, Scientific American

 

 

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Munchausen Oligarchy....

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Image source: Facebook meme

 

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

 

Munchausen Syndrome was named after a German cavalry officer Baron von Munchausen (1720-1797), a man who traveled widely and was known for his dramatic but untruthful stories. In 1951 Richard Asher described a pattern of self-abuse, where individuals fabricated histories of illness. These fabrications most often led to complex medical investigations, hospitalizations, and needless surgery. Remembering Baron von Munchausen and his mythical tales, Asher named this condition Munchausen Syndrome.

 

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, often referred to as MSbP, is a term coined by pediatrician Professor Roy Meadow in 1977. The term refers to the circumstance where the child is the subject of the fabrication of an illness by the parent. It was thought that the parent 'with MSbP' was motivated by trying to gain attention from medical professionals by inducing or fabricating the sickness in their child. In Meadow's first article, he explored two case studies of children admitted to hospital with illnesses thought to be fabricated or induced by their carers: 'These two [parents] flourished there [in the hospital] as if they belonged, and thrived on the attention that staff gave to them.... In these cases, it was as if the parents were using the children to get themselves into the sheltered environment of a children's ward surrounded by friendly staff' (Meadow 1977: 344-345).

 

A new name for Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Defining fabricated or induced illness by carers, Ellen Fish, Leah Bromfield, and Daryl Higgins

 

The "Republican Party" is a name. It has no "principles" it lives by. It exists, to paraphrase Steve Schmidt, for the accumulation, acquisition, and maintenance of power for power's sake.

 

Where the "Republican Party" is was eventually going to metastasize. Entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to political systems, and philosophies.

 

Cutting the corporate tax rate from 70% to 28% sounds great: if you're in the industry, or on the receiving end of corporate largess from lobbyists. To say that Social Security is insolvent doesn't begin to address the real problem: a theft in plain sight occurred, and reparations - not just slavery in the 1860s, but 1980s reparations - have yet to be paid.

 

“For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people–one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s,” says Thom Hartmann. Taiwan’s single-payer system enabled the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down its economy, resulting in just seven deaths, while in the United States more than 350,000 have died.

 

Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current “sickness for profit” system. Modern attempts to create some kind of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn–including Obamacare, which Hartmann regards as basically a sellout to the health insurance industry.

 

There is a simple solution: Medicare for all. Thom Hartmann, The Hidden History of Healthcare, Penguin Books

 

A large part of why we don't have universal healthcare in the United States is that "those people" (black, brown, LGBT, women who delay or forego marriage) would get it. Like the filibuster, it's a relic of slavery. It's remarkable in its longevity.

 

Everything about the "Republican Party" can largely be explained by sadomasochism, and Munchausen by proxy to feed oligarchy, their true, and only constituency. They claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism and spend like drunken sailors. They harm the body politic, then promptly blame it for the dysfunction they've caused. Politicians at their basic level are caregivers to the republic. It's why we constantly recover from the lunacy of previous republican administrations during democratic administrations, then go right back to the lunacy after the change in administrations AS IF they're capable of doing anything different than their previous debacles. They revel in a dysfunctional government, they cheer for dystopia and Armageddon. "Government is not the solution to our problem: government IS the problem" became a Reagan mantra, lazy politics, and intellectual bankruptcy. Why not goose the racist inclinations of your constituents, instead of leading them to help you solve problems, and actually earn your pay? For the crumbs from a chipped table between the Rich Man and Lazarus, they are willing to put hundreds of thousands of people to death, to gaslight about taking a vaccine to ameliorate a pandemic, to sacrifice Fox Propaganda viewers on the altar of Moloch so the economy can fail, and they can return to power, not because they have any novel ideas: It just makes them feel better.

 

They've been running this con for forty years. I have witnessed it and knew it would reach a saturation point: that it could not be sustained, as no lie, big or small can. They are desperately trying to patch the dam with fingers, hire QAnon "cyber ninjas" to audit Arizona ballots (already audited three times), to dwell in the "created realities" realm of Karl Rove. You can call it "religious freedom," the "silent majority," but it legitimizes their personal bigotry against whole groups for things they have no control over, nor they would change about themselves if they could. They can't gain their votes, so, they block their votes.

 

The Whig Party: The Whig Party was a political party formed in 1834 by opponents of President Andrew Jackson and his Jacksonian Democrats. Led by Henry Clay, the name “Whigs” was derived from the English antimonarchist party and was an attempt to portray Jackson as "King Andrew." The Whigs were one of the two major political parties in the United States from the late 1830s through the early 1850s. While Jacksonian Democrats painted Whigs as the party of the aristocracy, they managed to win support from diverse economic groups and elect two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The other two Whig presidents, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore gained office as Vice Presidents next in the line of succession. History.com

 

The Know-Nothing Party: Know-Nothing party, by name of American Party, U.S. political party that flourished in the 1850s. It was an outgrowth of the strong anti-immigrant and especially anti-Roman Catholic sentiment that started to manifest itself during the 1840s. A rising tide of immigrants, primarily Germans in the Midwest and Irish in the East, seemed to pose a threat to the economic and political security of native-born Protestant Americans. In 1849 the secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner formed in New York City, and soon after lodges formed in nearly every other major American city. Britannica.com

 

Neither of these parties exists in the United States.

 

Implosions are ugly, but like Entropy and blowing out gaslights, they are inexorable.

 

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Image Source: Good Reads

 

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

 

Tucker Carlson appears to be made of Teflon. Fox News's top-rated host has been repeatedly accused of anti-immigrant and racist comments, which have cost his political opinion show many of its major advertisers. Yet Carlson endures in his prime-time slot.

 

Carlson even attacked his own network's chief news anchor on the air, with no real consequences. That anchor, Shepard Smith, quit mid-contract shortly after Carlson went after him.

 

Now comes the claim that you can't expect to literally believe the words that come out of Carlson's mouth. And that assertion is not coming from Carlson's critics. It's being made by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York and by Fox News's own lawyers in defending Carlson against accusations of slander. It worked, by the way.

 

You Literally Can't Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say Fox's Lawyers, David Folkenflik, NPR

 

Attorney Sidney Powell is defending herself from a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit using the same tactic successfully deployed by Tucker Carlson's Fox News show last year.

 

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Powell for a series of statements claiming that the company was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election for President Joe Biden.

 

Powell's attorneys have said in a court filing that no reasonable person would have believed her allegations as fact and therefore she can't have defamed Dominion. This approach was successfully argued by lawyers representing Fox News in a 2020 defamation case.

 

"[I]n light of all the circumstances surrounding the statements, their context, and the availability of the facts on which the statements were based, it was clear to reasonable persons that Powell's claims were her opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern," Powell's lawyers wrote.

 

"Those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions—or the awaited resolution of the matter by the courts before making up their minds."

 

Sidney Powell Uses Same Defamation Defense as Tucker Carlson's Fox News Show, Darragh Roche, Newsweek

 

“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.”

 

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. 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 key 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."

 

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

 

Fox knows the pandemic is real, as does Tucker Carlson. Like most other functional news outlets, he's probably getting a PCR test: polymerase chain reaction as well as temperature tests each time he comes to the building and set. Likely, his audience knows it's real as well. They might know one, or two people who have had it or perished from it.

 

But the lie is more intoxicating than truth.

 

Barack Obama is a talented, superficially charming politician that can retail politic and kiss babies credibly with anyone. As a graduate of Columbia and Harvard, a constitutional scholar, he was never this rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted-socialist Fox Propaganda and right-wing talk radio made him out to be. He said a speech in 2004 that put him on the political map. The economy was in a tailspin in 2008 due to the moribund philosophy of "trickle-down economics," which is more like a vacuum sucking up money from the lower classes to the 0.01%. The 46th president chimed the death knell to the moribundity.

 

The mother of lies was the "mama grizzly" from Alaska, saying the rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted socialist "palled around with terrorists." A public display of affection with his wife became a "terrorist fist bump." This was reductio ad absurdum on steroids.

 

After losing with her running mate, she glommed onto the "death panels" myth by former NY lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey's objections to Section 1233 of HR 3200: the Affordable Care Act. The recently-departed Rush Limbaugh, along with Laura Ingram, and Sean Hannity parroted the claims because that's what a propaganda echo chamber does. Add to this Orwellian programming trio, the irascible Newton Gingrich, who turned conciliatory political protocol into blood sport. They have killed more grandparents this pandemic than the aspect of affordable healthcare to all Americans from a black president.

 

The lie metastasized with birtherism: the notion that Barack Hussein Obama (emphasis always on the middle name) wasn't born in America. Newsflash: he was, despite the desperate attempts to decertify Hawaii as the reluctant 50th state. However, neither John McCain (Panama Canal) nor Raphael Edward Cruz, Jr. (Canada) was born on American soil. They are both American citizens because at least one parent - in McCain's case both parents, were American citizens, so the argument that Stanley Ann Dunham could not confer the same status to her son had he been born in another country is feckless, racist, and moot. He was the living, breathing symbol of the change coming to the US.

 

The Tea Party reflected back to the beginnings of this republic with the Boston Tea Party: "taxation without representation" the battle cry and apparent raison d'etre for the existence of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. All of them have one thing in common: a preponderance of Melanin, and fewer senators than Wyoming.

 

T.E.A.: taxed enough already, the modern battle cry for people not willing yet to admit their angst with the Affordable Care Act had little to do with socialism, or death panels, hence the pejorative "Obamacare," because hanging him in effigy, and witch doctor placards were the last remnants of "wink and nod" genteel, subtle racial politics. The Tea Party "Freedom" Caucus (Orwellian as it sounds) swept into power in the 2010 midterms, despite Obama's pleading with his following to vote in the same numbers as the 2008 presidential election. As history demanded, the opposition party took the House in 2010, helped by GOP Chair Michael Steele, jettisoned immediately after his token role was fulfilled. Moscow Mitch started his reign of terror with the 2014 midterms. Post Mr. Steele's quixotic effort to engage more African Americans in the party, they went for the nasal-pronouncing Reince Priebus, soon-to-be in a distinguished succession of former White House Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Steele has since redeemed himself with The Lincoln Project.

 

An unlikely union occurred between a carnival barker, and a master spy, the latter master to the former: Dumbo Gambino pimped by Dr. Evil; the Ku Klutz Klan owned by the KGB. Neither of them planned for him to win against his more qualified, consequential opponent, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, so they had no plan for success, even for nefarious goals. It is why the last four years of Keystone Cop politics, chaotic, semi-form hand gestures; mumbled diction, misspelled tweets, hamberders, covfefe, and Page Six sensationalism ended in the current pandemic Zoom kerfuffle we're all in.

 

"Palling around with terrorists"; "terrorist fist bump"; "death panels"; "birtherism"; the T.E.A. Party; "Freedom" Caucus: no challenges, not a single reset, no "this is not our party." There were speed bumps that led to the biggest lie, even bigger than the Big Lie of stolen elections, and a January 6, 2021 insurrection: an alternative reality known as QAnon, that despite evidence to the contrary, the lie has its audience in sway because the truth requires responsibility.

 

“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, Good Reads

 

Even with the current revelations that QAnon is a guy and his dad in the Philippines, the 2020 platform that wasn't, the lie has primacy over facts, which is imperative if you want to run something based on facts, like science in the lab, or a democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whipsawed, Gobsmacked...

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Image source: Duke University Office of Institutional Equity

 

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

 

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": It was kind of whiplash, you know, because there was a great deal of relief and joy, jubilation really, at the guilty verdict that came down in the Derek Chauvin trial. And then just that quickly, people were kind of whipsawed back into this grieving mode. The Eleventh Hour, Brian Williams, transcript

 

*****

 

 

In 1961, author James Baldwin was asked by a radio host about being Black in America. He said:

 

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one's work. And part of the rage is this: It isn't only what is happening to you. But it's what's happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance. Now, since this is so, it's a great temptation to simplify the issues under the illusion that if you simplify them enough, people will recognize them. I think this illusion is very dangerous because, in fact, it isn't the way it works. A complex thing can't be made simple. You simply have to try to deal with it in all its complexity and hope to get that complexity across.

 

"To Be In A Rage, Almost All The Time" - NPR, June 1, 2020, at the nascent beginnings of the George Floyd protests.

 

 

I wept at the verdict Tuesday. Seeing George Floyd's murderer led out in handcuffs was cathartic, saddening, and angering. This was not justice: it was accountability.

 

Justice would be George Floyd alive. Justice would be George tucking Gianna in at night. Justice would be Gianna riding his giant shoulders again. Justice would be George walking Gianna down the aisle. Justice would be George being called "Paw-Paw" by his grandchildren from Gianna if she were to choose to be a mother. Before "liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Thomas Jefferson penned the requisite of "life."

 

This pandemic has revealed our "American exceptionalism" is a farce - a joke. This "exceptionalism" had the United States with the highest death and infection rates in the world. This "exceptionalism" has a caste system, parallel to the Indian Varnas, and more brutal than the German Nazis, that is cutting off our noses to spite our own faces.

 

In the book "Castes: The Origins of Our Discontents," by Isabel Wilkerson, she says in an NPR interview: "caste is the granting or withholding of respect, status, honor, attention, privileges, resources, the benefit of the doubt, and human kindness to someone on the basis of their perceived rank or standing in the hierarchy." Racism and casteism do overlap, she writes, noting that "what some people call racism could be seen as merely one manifestation of the degree to which we have internalized the larger American caste system." -NPR

 

Also in her book is Leon Lederman.

Leon M. Lederman

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988

Born: 15 July 1922, New York, NY, USA

Died: 3 October 2018, Rexburg, ID, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL, USA

Prize motivation: "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino."

Prize share: 1/3

Leon M. Lederman – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2021. Thu. 22 Apr 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1988/lederman/facts/>

 

Dr. Lederman, Isabel Wilkerson writes, died having sold his Nobel Prize medal for $765,000 to pay his medical bills in the richest country in the world. A Nobel laureate died in a nursing home, in "exceptional America." That fact gobsmacked me.

 

Dr. Lederman's demise is the result of the exceptionalism that allowed six Klansmen and three American Nazi Party members to be acquitted of all charges in the Greensboro Massacre, the crime evidence on tape.

 

Just like Rodney King's beating. Just like Eric Garner's public lynching for selling loose cigarettes in NYC, the first black man to say "I can't breath" recorded. Tamir Rice only had seconds to play with a toy gun before he was summarily executed. Just like George Floyd.

 

We held our breaths because we've all been down this road before. Guilty on all counts, and the same forces that freed Klansmen, Nazis, and rogue cops started harping that the sequestered jury was somehow "bullied" because they looked at the evidence, and reached a verdict. It feels wrong to them because the jury wasn't in a southern courtroom, or Semi Valley: because the jury wasn't "all-white," making a mockery of the term "jury of one's peers."

We didn't get to breathe for George before losing Daunte Wright, Ma'Khia Bryant. This state terror feels mechanistic, steampunk: programmed. This timeline of death is psychotic and persistent. Like the Coronavirus, its only function is to exist, to thrive, even though its complete migration throughout the body politic causes eventually, according to Merriam-Webster: “[T]he irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by a permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity: the end of life.” Apoptosis can apply to nation-states. Rome and England are tourist destinations now.

Racism is a moribund concept. It's the ultimate narcissism, the mother of all "isms" when you're supremely confident your "in" group has discovered and propagated the perfect gaslighting shtick over people of color, women, LGBT, immigrants. The only way the façade continues is that it must relentlessly be reinforced by state-sanctioned violence.

It is state-sanctioned violence to steal land inhabited by First Nation people already here, then put them on "reservations," segregated from the political machinations of power.

It is state-sanctioned violence to kidnap Africans for uncompensated labor, hold them in bondage for centuries, segregate them in government housing projects ("ghettos"), refuse to discuss reparations, redline homeownership, give white GIs home loans, and scholarships for college after WWII, and complain the problem with the African diaspora is they're "lazy."

It is state-sanctioned violence that forty-four transgender or gender-nonconforming citizens were killed in 2020.

It is state-sanctioned violence that the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill had one lone nay vote from the same raised-fist "Mr. Woody" senator that helped incite an insurrection.

State-sanctioned violence has a boomerang effect: it is karmic. It is why we performed so badly in a once-in-a-century pandemic. It is why their mortality rates are high, their opiate addiction is a crisis, and their birth rates are low. They are not being replaced. The very machinations put in place to publicly lynch, put Orwellian boots-to-face, or "knees on necks" on society's "least of these" eventually affects someone even narcissists might care about.

Like smokestacks on pickup trucks to "own the libs," as if they breathe some other atmosphere on another planet, this state-sanctioned violence caused the bankruptcy and eventual death of a physics Nobel laureate. This is the epitome of madness.

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time."

You can't possibly imagine how enraged I feel most of the time.

 

 

 

 

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Argonne, Assemble...

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(Image by Shutterstock/muratart.)

Topics: Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Existentialism, Global Warming, Green Tech

Thankfully, we're not. Hat tip to Marvel, and Rotten Tomatoes.

Scientists aren’t superheroes. Or are they? Superheroes defend the defenseless and save humanity from any number of disasters, both natural and unnatural, often using powers of logic and some really hip techno-gadgets.

The Earth is in crisis and while it has its own mechanisms to fight back, it could use a helping hand. Earth could use a superhero.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are stepping up and applying decades of expertise and research to combat some of Earth’s toughest foes, from waste and pollution to climate change. And they’ve assembled a cache of some of the world’s coolest technology for this crusade.

So, this Earth Day, we take a look at just a few of the ways Argonne’s scientist-superheroes are swooping in to keep Earth healthy and its citizens safe.

Predicting Earth’s future

What better way to save the planet than knowing what the future holds? Argonne and DOE are leaders in modeling Earth’s complex natural systems to help us keep tabs on the planet’s health. The best of these models can simulate how changes in these systems and our own actions might influence climate and ecosystems many years into the future. They give us a better understanding of the roles played by tropical rain forests, ice sheets, permafrost, and oceans in maintaining carbon levels and help us devise strategies for protecting them — ultimately, identifying how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we need to reduce from human activities and remove from the atmosphere to stabilize the planet’s temperature.

8 Things Argonne is Doing to Save the Earth, Argonne National Laboratory

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Traitors and Patriots...

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Image source: AZ Quotes

 

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

 

Though hundreds of C.E.O.s signed on to defending voting rights in principle, many notable omissions did not, like the C.E.O. of Walmart, Warren Buffet signed as citizen, not head of Berkshire Hathaway; Coca-Cola and Delta felt they had said all that needed to be said, and JP Morgan Chase, who has a history of its initial fortunes on slavery, also declined.

 

*****

 

 

Sunday, my wife and I took a "sanity ride" to a park in High Point. It's an exercise we've settled into during the pandemic. We didn't leave the car, just driving around, just looking at kids and parents at what appeared to be a baseball game. On leaving High Point, we were followed by the police for several miles, likely running my plates through dispatch. I purposely drove five miles below the posted speed limit. The lights went on anyway. I pulled over to a building, my license and insurance ready, hands on the dash. By the time the masked police officer came to get my effects, he said my tags had expired. Running my plates, he probably saw I had no priors, so he advised me to pay for the tags, and bring evidence to the judge in High Point. The ticket would disappear, problem solved.

 

Expired tags were ironically the same reason Daunte Wright was stopped in Minnesota, on the same Sunday. We're both black men. The difference is, Daunte is no longer alive.

 

*****

 

Ulysses S. Grant was a Republican. During the Civil War, the slaveholding south were Democrats. That flipped with the FDR New Deal; the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, and 1968 Fair Housing Act. He and Abraham Lincoln would be aghast at the conspiratorial nuthouse their party in the 21st Century has become.

 

We are still a country with two factions: traitors and patriots.

 

President Joe Biden has largely given up on trying to negotiate anything with Republicans. There’s a good reason for this: the GOP is no longer a legitimate political party.

 

One of the most comprehensive and well-respected surveys of political parties worldwide is called the Global Party Survey and came out of work done at Harvard in the US and Sydney University in Australia. The researchers note: “Drawing on survey data gathered from 1,861 party and election experts, the study uses 21 core items to estimate key ideological values, issue positions, and populist rhetoric for 1,127 parties in 170 countries.”

 

What they found was that the Democratic Party in the US is fairly solidly within the norms for political parties in fully developed countries around the world. It resembles normal and legitimate parties in Canada and most of Western Europe.

 

The Republican party, however, both behaves and is ideologically most similar to Hungary’s Fidesz party, Turkey’s AKP party, and Poland’s PiS party.

 

All three are, essentially, fascist parties.

 

Like the Nazis & Fascists, the Republican Party Must Be Purged, The Hartmann Report

 

I would say four.

The traitors' ancestors brought my ancestors to this country against their will to work as uncompensated labor. The traitors' ancestors wrote "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and a mathematical loophole for holding kidnapped humans in bondage. The traitors are their descendants, shouting "all lives matter" while black lives obviously don't make a kind of duplicitous, hypocritical "sense."

The traitors believed the pandemic was a hoax, delaying our actions resulting in more deaths than necessary. The traitors believe masks are an assault on "liberty and freedom." That "liberty and freedom" apparently cancels the deaths of 578,726 Americans. That somehow opening with only 195 million doses given, 76.7 million fully vaccinated amounts to 23.4%: we need 70-80% to achieve "liberty."

The traitors are pushing the election "Big Lie," not unlike the "Lost Cause" narrative that amounts to superfluous bullshit: if you hold your nose, and compare it side-by-side, it's the same lie that caused the Civil War, inaugurated Jim Crow and domestic terrorism on people that didn't ask to be brought here. The traitors are passing laws to shorten early election times, close more precincts that stifle the voices of BIPOC, the young, the queer because they haven't had a platform since the 1980s that appeals to these groups. The traitors are trying to tank Kristen Clarke's nomination to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department like they did Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because someone fighting for the Civil Right to cast a vote might thwart the plans to block the votes of people who won't vote for them. The traitors don't want a 9-11-style commission to investigate and hold accountable traitors in an insurrection, guaranteeing the tactic will happen again if an election - local or national - is lost. The traitors are more motivated about Antifa (short for antifascist) than the fascists that scaled walls 100 days ago powered on this big lie, given voice by their fallen orange god who daily performed nauseating fellatio on Vladimir Putin, according to Michael Cohen, for a vanity tower in Moscow.

 

A spoken word artist I admire is Rudy Francisco, encapsulating my angst in the apropos "Adrenaline Rush." Being a person of color in America is an extreme "sport" at a traffic stop.

 

I will get my car inspected, update my registration with the state, and show proof to the magistrate in High Point. Even with inspection and registration in hand, I will be cautious, nervous, and driving five miles below the posted speed limit there and back. Wish me luck.

 

My wife and I made it home, as Rudy's mic drops at the end of his piece "this time."

 

Daunte sadly didn't.

 

 

 

 

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Habitable Epoch...

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Artist's conception of GN-z11, the earliest known galaxy in the universe. Credit: Pablo Carlos Budassi Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Topics: Astrobiology, Evolution, Existentialism, Exoplanets

About 15 million years after the big bang, the entire universe had cooled to the point where the electromagnetic radiation left over from its hot beginning was at about room temperature. In a 2013 paper, I labeled this phase as the “habitable epoch of the early universe.” If we had lived at that time, we wouldn’t have needed the sun to keep us warm; that cosmic radiation background would have sufficed.

Did life start that early? Probably not. The hot, dense conditions in the first 20 minutes after the big bang produced only hydrogen and helium along with a tiny trace of lithium (one in 10 billion atoms) and a negligible abundance of heavier elements. But life as we know it requires water and organic compounds, whose existence had to wait until the first stars fused hydrogen and helium into oxygen and carbon in their interiors about 50 million years later. The initial bottleneck for life was not a suitable temperature, as it is today, but rather the production of the essential elements.

Given the limited initial supply of heavy elements, how early did life actually start? Most stars in the universe formed billions of years before the sun. Based on the cosmic star formation history, I showed in collaboration with Rafael Batista and David Sloan that life near sunlike stars most likely began over the most recent few billion years in cosmic history. In the future, however, it might continue to emerge on planets orbiting dwarf stars, like our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, which will endure hundreds of times longer than the sun. Ultimately, it would be desirable for humanity to relocate to a habitable planet around a dwarf star like Proxima Centauri b, where it could keep itself warm near a natural nuclear furnace for up to 10 trillion years into the future (stars are merely fusion reactors confined by gravity, with the benefit of being more stable and durable than the magnetically confined versions that we produce in our laboratories).

When Did Life First Emerge in the Universe? Avi Loeb, Scientific American

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