fascism (105)

Origin...

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Image source: Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures - Isabel Wilkerson, Livestream (2022)

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

"While I was at the hotel today, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]—that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion, I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position, the negro should be denied everything. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman, or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied with its correctness—and that is the case of Judge Douglas’s old friend, Col. Richard M. Johnson. [Laughter.] I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject) that I have never had the least apprehension that my friends or I would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might if there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this: [that] I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature—not in the Congress of the United States—and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause.] I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject."

Teaching History, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, 4th Debate, Part 1.

The man who would be known as "the great emancipator" could turn a phrase at an event at the time that would dwarf our current 1-1/2 hour modern performances: they were hours in duration. People brought lunches and took notes. Old Abe appeared to have been the "George Carlin" of his day. He was exploitative in his digs, not knowing at the time the same people he derided he would need fighting for him to win the war of secession.

Lincoln exploited racist tropes to make Judge Douglas - his Democratic (the conservative party then) opponent, look like a conspiratorial fool. As we look to history, we see the pedestals that our heroes occupy are made of cracked porcelain; their balance isn't steady because human bodies aren't perfectly proportioned, and they often fall from their lofty perches after scrutiny.

Despite this obvious bias Lincoln had towards "his tribe," another Douglass, Frederick Douglass, would petition him for the involvement of our ancestors on the side of the Union in the Civil War as well as make the case for the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite the many docuseries with them briefly onscreen together generally getting along, Frederick Douglass wasn't an initial fan of the 16th president:

Douglass was concerned about the unequal pay of Black soldiers, who received $3 dollars less per month than white privates. He was also incensed by the Union government’s response to the Confederate treatment of Black prisoners of war, who were being tortured, killed, and sometimes sold into slavery. He focused his anger on President Abraham Lincoln. “The slaughter of Blacks taken as captives,” wrote Douglass in his Douglass’ Monthly, “seems to affect him [Lincoln] as little as the slaughter of beeves [cows] for the use of his army.”

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: Inside Their Complicated Relationship, History.com

So, when I hear people saying they're tired of voting for "the lesser of two evils," their naivete seems to reflect back to halcyon days that never existed, not realizing African Americans have voted that way since we were allowed to vote without interference (poll taxes, lynching, cross burnings, voter purges). As long as a caste system of complexion has existed on these shores, there has never been a conservative or liberal "great again."

The following (or a version of this) I posted on Rotten Tomatoes after seeing the movie:

"I read “Caste: The Source of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson before I saw “Origin,” directed by Ava DuVernay. I highly recommend reading the book, seeing the movie, and staying for the after-the-credits discussion by the director. It is POWERFUL and relevant to the times we all find ourselves in. Seeing the reenactment of Nazi book burning has a modern analogy in practice.

"The Caste System in America is based on skin color and the debasement of people who have no control over how they present themselves or how they are perceived. This extends easily to other groups under the boot of patriarchy.

"See it while it is available. It is a threat to patriarchal oligarchy and for the downcast, the Dalits, the under-the-boot marginalized: the relieving breath of being seen.

"I recommend this movie, seen with a group, and a discussion at a coffee shop or a restaurant afterward. You will need to decompress."

*****

A caste system, whether divinely inspired, fueled by American slave codes, black codes, Jim Crow, eugenics, or Europe, Italian and Nazi fascism, in India, Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (rulers, administrators, warriors), Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen, farmers), Shudras (laborers) Dalits (Harijans or Untouchables), propped up by myth, superstition, and pseudoscience, is about resources and power, who "deserves" to have it, and who those deeming themselves deserving, deeming others as not deserving.

We can see the effects of the caste system in everything:

The global south suffered more from the pandemic than the global north.

The deleterious effects of climate change also affect the Global South more than it does the North. Our apathy for solving it lies in arrogance, caste, and xenophobia.

The Nazis plagiarized the South's black codes for the Nurenberg Laws to oppress the Jews.

It would take 500 years for African Americans to catch up to their (currently) majority neighbors. The March on Washington was on the eighth anniversary of the lynching of Emmett Till, but the essence of the assembly was a demand for reparations. We're still cashing a check returned, as Dr. King said, for "insufficient funds."

For Europeans, the outsiders are from the African continent (Akebulan), driven by conflicts supplied by European and American military-industrial complexes, STARTED by European and American business interests for one-sided extraction profits.

There's a scene in Sean Penn's "Superpower" documentary where Volodymyr Zelinzky and Vladimir Putin occupy the same stage. Putin glares at Zelinsky for contradicting him in a question-and-answer session with the press. In the obvious two-tier caste system, Russian pride cannot suffer his Ukrainian lesser upstaging him on camera. The motivation for the war, in a wounded strongman's twisted mind, might be as simple as that.

China is on Akebulan to extract the abundant resources from the continent to fuel what is arguably a communist-capitalist system. Their underdogs are Uygers, and they are treated like Dalits and Dr. Martin Luther King.

In fact, when King visited a local school for Dalit children in the southern Indian state of Kerala in 1959, the principal introduced him thus: "Young people, I would like to present to you a fellow untouchable from the United States of America." Although King was initially shocked by this introduction, he later understood the deeper connections of oppression, exclusion, and exile that African Americans in the US and Dalits in India shared. The broader Black freedom struggle has continued to inspire Dalit struggles in this region, from the formation of the Dalit Panthers in the 1970s to the recent emergence of Dalit Lives Matter groups in Nepal and India.

MLK and the Civil Rights Movement’s Global Perspective, University of Dayton blogs

In Israel-Palestine, the caste system also has only two tiers, as did its WWII analog. There will always be a "two-state solution" in Israel-Palestine because it is never meant as a problem to solve. The two-state solution is meant to sound reasonable because it IS reasonable, but part of a two-state solution would mean returning lands seized since 1948 (or at least 1967). That has another word in America: reparations. If you can do it in the Near East, the fear is the clamor to do it in the United States couldn't justifiably be resisted.

Power and resources, hoarded to the one percent of any nation's pyramid, are imbalanced, and it is a caste system that is unsustainable.

A caste system is a societal pathology, and I don't see such a society lasting long enough to build interplanetary or interstellar vessels. "Fermi's paradox" may have a grim answer.

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Bedlam, Swatting, Terrorism...

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 Image source: CSO online - Swatting

 

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

 

Bedlam is a scene of madness, chaos, or great confusion. The term bedlam comes from the name of a hospital in London, “Saint Mary of Bethlehem,” which was devoted to treating the mentally ill in the 1400s. Over time, the pronunciation of “Bethlehem” morphed into bedlam, and the term came to be applied to any situation where pandemonium prevails. Source: Vocabulary.com

 

Swatting is a criminal act that involves making hoax phone calls to emergency services to trick them into sending a response team to a person's address. The goal is to trick the emergency services into sending a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to a supposed emergency, such as a shooting or hostage situation. Source: Google generative AI

 

According to Dictionary.com, terrorism is the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population. The goal of terrorism is to achieve political, social, or ideological objectives.

 

International terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored). Source: FBI.gov

 

Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature. Source: FBI.gov

 

I grew up in an era of possibilities, of the struggle for rights by African Americans through Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Hispanic Americans through Casar Chavez, the LGBT community after the attack on Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York. The year after the assassination of three black Civil Rights leaders, we did what John F. Kennedy inspired us to do one year later, and Dr. King, the Star Trek fan who talked Nichele Nichols out of quitting the show, never lived to see.

 

But we live in now, where in the early 2000s, a younger man who wasn't on the planet tried to convince me that my Saturday morning cartoons the day before hadn't been interrupted by an important event: the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 (Sunday). His evidence was, of course, a grainy video on YouTube. I'm certain that the conspiracy theorists are already gearing up for Artemis. "Deep fake" has probably improved the tech for denial.

 

The president who inspired the mission, John F. Kennedy, led the sad cavalcade of assassinations rash in the 1960s. The president who spoke to the astronauts was Richard Nixon, the same who ran on a "law and order" platform, scaring the bejesus out of citizens he wanted to govern because of the bedlam, the chaos, the great confusion on college campuses like Kent State and NC A&T as students protested the Vietnam conflict that nobody understood, and no one wanted, and for the words in our founding documents that stated, "all men are created equal." The president who saluted astronauts would win reelection in a landslide and lose his job due to Watergate larceny.

 

The revered founders were, of course, referencing only themselves and their progeny. They had no concept of descendants of their chattel workforce becoming lawyers, engineers, educators, scientists, astronauts, mayors of towns, governors, state representatives, congressional representatives, senators, presidents of universities that directly benefited from slavery, or President or Vice President of the United States. Some of their jurists would obfuscate this possibility and give the interpretation of The Constitution by grammatically spitballing the pious-sounding, pseudo-academic name of "originalism."

 

We are here now, at the dawn of the second quarter of the 21st century. Nothing like September 11, 2001, was conceivable to a child in 1969 in the last year of a novel science fiction series called "Star Trek" where it seemed, 200 years into the future, we had "figured it out," we had put down the rocks of racism, sexism, silliness and decided to work together towards a common goal of survival on Earth and among the stars. Superluminal speeds and Heisenberg-defying transporters were plot devices; everyone was in on the joke.

 

Nothing like January 6, 2021, twenty years from an international terrorist assault on our shores that domestic terrorism would bring bedlam to the U.S. Capitol, medieval jousting and bludgeoning Capitol and Metro Police officers, tasing them, bear-spraying them, killing them, urinating and spreading feces, which in and of itself is a sign of mental illness Saint Mary of Bethlehem was constructed to mitigate. Then, poof! It would go away, redefined from insurrection to tourists gone bad (when no tours were scheduled during the pandemic), Antifa (ahem: anti-fascists) to finally "a beautiful day, full of love."

 

Towards the end of the second quarter of the 21st Century, we will likely see climate disruption at an irreversible, unpredictable pace. The world population will be increased to ~9.7 billion, and by 2100, ~10.4 billion. There are a few new posts in 2023, but a lot of inoperable links on the 100-year starship website (like "mailing lists" and "contact us"). From here until 2100, it doesn't give us a century to construct a generation's vessel or to solicit and train a crew for a one-way trip on the culturally narcissistic need for humans to survive their hubris expressed on this planet since the dinosaurs were too dumb to have scientists.

 

It would seem, though, even with the scientists and experts, we have allowed the know-it-alls, who know nothing, primacy because they're so loud. They demand attention to feed a narcissistic ego, blustering and ever-terrified that we will realize that they are nincompoops with no applicable skillsets. Conspiracy theories are tailor-made for people who won't read, study, or take the time to comprehend hard subjects and are rewarded lucratively for slavish devotion to bull crap. We have allowed our lizard brains to lead and the blowhard simpletons to rule us to ruin. They alone cannot fix or build a starship.

 

We are here now as the "rule of law" is being tested as it has never been before, to the point that we're being gaslit to ask if such a thing ever existed and if we can get by with WHATABOUTISM instead of democracy, tyranny instead of freedom.

 

Judges, Special Councils, Clerks, and politicians are being swatted doxxed; elected officials are receiving death threats because misinformation is being spread on social media like feces to infect the lizard portion of our brains, where fear and anger dwell, exploited for ratings, votes, and to sell products online and between archaic commercials. The only thing on the other side of bedlam is anarchy. That is a poor substitute for a federal republic that has existed for over 246 years and could easily be gone in a fortnight.

 

June: We have to run.
Luke: What?
June: We waited last time. We waited too long, and we didn't see how much they hated us. I lost you, and then we lost Hannah.
Luke: Are we just gonna forget about her now?
June: We will never ever forget about her, but we cannot help her if we are dead. It's changing, Luke. This country is changing.
Luke: No, Canada's not Gilead.
June: America wasn't Gilead until it was, and then it was too fuckin' late. Luke, we have to go. We have to run. Now.

Source: TV fanatic, "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood on Hulu

 

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Births, Stats, Mathematics...

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Source: Brookings Institution

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

Cate Cox and Brittany Watts: Their last names rhyme, but their circumstances couldn't be more diametrically different from one another.

Cate Cox is a married suburban mother with two children. She previously lived in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, but due to her condition, she had to flee her state. A complication with her pregnancy put her life at risk and the possibility that she might not be able to conceive again if her pregnancy weren't ended expeditiously through a procedure now outlawed in Texas.

Brittany Watts, an African American woman, had a stillborn, unfortunately, in the toilet. The fetus was found in the drain, and she was charged with abuse.

Mrs. Cox eventually left Texas for the procedure, having the financial means to leave and get the healthcare that she desired.

Ms. Watts was a frightened young woman who had left the hospital twice before her miscarriage. Yet she's charged with felony abuse of a corpse in Ohio.

Abstract

The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility*

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sparked the most profound transformation of the landscape of abortion access in 50 years. We provide the first estimates of the effects of this decision on fertility using a preregistered synthetic difference-in-differences design applied to newly released provisional natality data for the first half of 2023. The results indicate that states with abortion bans experienced an average increase in births of 2.3 percent relative to states where abortion was not restricted.

Source: The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility, IZA Institute of Labor Economics

The Dobbs Decision was a strategic salvo shot at the year 2045:

New census population projections confirm the importance of racial minorities as the primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing, and soon-to-be-declining white population. The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations (see Figure 1).

The shift is the result of two trends. First, between 2018 and 2060, gains will continue in the combined racial minority populations, growing by 74 percent. Second, during this time frame, the aging white population will see a modest immediate gain through 2024 and then experience a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births (see Figure 2)

Source: Brookings Institution

24.6 (Hispanics) + 13.1 (African Americans) + 7.9 (Asians) + 3.8 (Multiracial) + 0.9 (Other) = 50.3%, which is apparently an existential crisis on the right because "white" supremacy is anxiously numerical.

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

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled:

Numerical Population Power

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

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

Hence, a national ban is actually what they want. Fifteen weeks will be sold as a "reasonable" compromise, and then it will be paired down to the goose egg that is the actual target. Hence, the hostility towards mixed-race couples and multiracial children from their union: they're not on the "white" team. Hence, the hostility towards the LGBTQ community and whether or not they conceive by surrogate or artificial insemination, their union does not produce enough "white" babies to maintain a numerical majority for the "white" team. Mrs. Cox and upper-middle-class suburban women like her will always have the means and the money to flee any complications and save future childbearing years. Ms. Watt will have one of two options: either flush her undesired fetus while in a state of shock down a toilet or die from complications that she cannot afford to mitigate.

The American Eugenics Movement, unfortunately, had a boost from prominent scientists who wished to rid the world of the "feebleminded" and the unfit. They did this through forced sterilization and control over who could get married (to procreate in the first place). If you've ever used the terms "well-bred" or "good breeding," those originate from eugenics, now accepted as a pseudoscience, once promoted by one of the founders of the transistor and Nobel laureate in Physics, William Schockley. Coupled with southern Jim Crow, eugenics-on-steroids in the hands of the Nazis led to the Holocaust.

Nazi authorities created the Lebensborn program to increase Germany’s population. Pregnant German women deemed “racially valuable” were encouraged to give birth to their children at Lebensborn homes. During World War II, the program became complicit in the kidnapping of foreign children with physical features considered “Aryan” by the Nazis.

Source: Lebensborn Program/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

More Than 700,000 Ukrainian Children Taken To Russia Since Full-Scale War Started, Official Says, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

Dramatic Population Drop in Russia, as War, COVID and Emigration Exacerbate Declining Births, Health Policy Watch

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

If one is desperate to maintain a majority or "goose your numbers," you might be capable of anything to achieve those ends.

Very soon in the founding of a new nation, however, White Christians began to establish their well-being by using the resources, bodies, and lives of others. Through their own "witchcraft," European Christians employed a mysterious and threatening potency that was the practice of using the other for their own gain. In [James W.] Perkinson's description, through the projects of the modern Christian empire, "a witchery" of heretofore unimaginable potency ravaged African and aboriginal cultures...For Perkinson, the witchcraft of White supremacy was conjured through racial discourse as an ideological and practical frame that he identifies as the 'quintessential witchery of modernity.'... In Perkinson's chilling words, "Whiteness, under the veneer of its 'heavenly' pallor, is a great grinding witch tooth, sucking blood and tearing flesh without apology."

Excerpts: The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism & Religious Diversity in America," by Jeanine Hill Fletcher, CH 2: The Witchcraft of White Supremacy, 47, 48.

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The Red Road...

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

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have become more deeply dependent on both on his watch.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle of “worst president” regarding stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with and struggling with the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair, December 7, 2007

I am enjoying the New York Times bestseller by former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning. The book was sold out, so I bought the CDs to play on my car’s player as I casually drive to and from work. There are 11 CDs, and from the few I’ve listened to, she has an hour’s worth of material for each. The book is 384 pages.

I enjoy her erudite writing and observations of our current moment and crisis. Though we probably don’t agree on many things, I admire her integrity, love of her parents (particularly her dad), her family, and demonstrated fidelity to the US Constitution.

However, her dad was a part of the administration that Nobel laureate Dr. Stiglitz discusses in his Vanity Fair article. It was her dad who, instead of searching for a VP candidate, nominated himself. It was her dad who championed the disastrous war in Iraq, a country that did not attack us on September 11, 2001. He didn’t just “sex up” the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; he lied. That license led to thousands of Iraqis killed and the fertile ground from which sprang Al-Qaeda in Iraq, followed by ISIS. That license led to pathological licentiousness to lie more than 30,000 times in a four-year presidential term. “Deficits don’t matter” leads to truth not mattering—Post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

It was her dad who said:

“You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms [congressional elections]. This is our due.” A month later, in December 2002, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

O’Neill says Cheney told him, `Deficits don’t matter,’ Chicago Tribune, January 12, 2004

I remember reading this on my Kindle: The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, Ron Suskind. For Liz’s dad, deficits didn’t matter. That drove the drunken stupor of tax cuts that led to the cliff we almost fell off in 2008. There was a real crisis when the Obama-Biden administration took office after the financial crash spawned by the “deficits don’t matter” philosophy.

Wall Street was, of course, bailed out over Main Street. COVID bailouts benefitted the rich. That’s why Wall Street is more than willing to do it again. Until we see some CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers frog-marched in shackles, what onus stops them?

The Dow Jones hit a record 37,000+ Thursday. Yet, we’re into how we “feel” about the economy. I don’t think it’s “feelings.”

Inflation soared across the globe last year, peaking near 11% in the eurozone and above 9% in the US.

The source of that high inflation has become a well-trodden line. Analysts have typically laid the blame on supply-chain bottlenecks created by excess demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war also increased energy prices, leading to further rises in inflation as suppliers factored in higher transport and running costs.

While this contributed to rising prices, the report finds that company profits increased at a much faster rate than costs did, in a process often dubbed “greedflation.”

Profits for companies in some of the world’s largest economies rose by 30% between 2019 and 2022, significantly outpacing inflation, according to the group’s research of 1,350 firms across the US, the UK, Europe, Brazil, and South Africa.

The biggest perpetrators were energy companies like Shell, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron, which were able to enjoy massive profits last year as demand moved away from Russian oil and gas.

A June study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that 45% of eurozone inflation in 2022 could be attributed to domestic profits. Companies in a position to benefit most from higher commodity prices and supply-demand mismatches raised their profits by the most, the study found.

CEOs of the world’s biggest companies consistently sounded the alarm on inflation as a significant barrier to growth. Many blamed rising input costs on their own price hikes. However, lots of those CEOs appear to have instead used the panic of rising costs to pump up their balance sheet.

The biggest study of ‘greedflation’ yet looked at 1,300 corporations to find many of them were lying to you about inflation, Ryan Hogg, Yahoo Finance, December 8, 2023

In essence, gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator—the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage. Election season can create emotions spanning from immense anxiety all the way to extreme apathy. The public arguing, divisiveness, and competition for votes, including political gaslighting, can be overwhelming and exhausting.—Vernita Perkins and Leonard A. Jason, Merriam-Webster.

Political gaslighting has one objective: to undermine the truth, or more accurately, to undermine objective truth.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Winston Smith, in “1984” by George Orwell. Under torture, O’Brien makes Winston say he sees five fingers when O’Brien is holding up four. The Party was the arbiter of truth, and “truth” was whatever the Party or O’Brien said it was.

“There are FOUR lights!” Jean Luc Picard shouted defiantly under torture by Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Chain of Command, part II.”

There are strategies to combat gaslighting. Despair can be debilitating and a self-fulfilling prophecy if the worst possible outcome that you can think of happens.

The best strategy I know to combat despair is to work on a campaign that you’re passionate about. In 2012, it didn’t look like Barack Obama and Joe Biden would get re-elected against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (former Speaker of the House - remember him?). My wife and I volunteered to call from the campaign office of Sean Patrick Maloney, who we had never heard of. He won and became our Congressman as long as we lived in New York. He sadly lost his seat when congressional districts were redrawn, so he was competing for the same votes as another Democrat.

The best weapon against gaslighting is truth.

Liz Cheney is telling the truth and bringing receipts—truth matters.

She quotes her dad on the second CD, who admonished her to “save the republic, daughter,” missing the irony his “deficits don’t matter” rhetoric spawned what we’re all living through.

Take heart. Tell the truth. Truth matters in the face of lies. Grind it out next year and vote.

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Power and Resources...

 

 

 

French economist Thomas Piketty compares the US economy to Europe in the Gilded Age. Oregon Live, 2014

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

 

Thomas Piketty wrote "Capital in the 21st Century" in 2013 centered on the wealth inequality we can see all around us. I can see more house-less citizens on the streets of North Carolina and Texas (on a recent visit) than I can remember from my youth because back then, we didn't have 8 billion inhabitants on the planet. There is a documentary of the same title on Amazon Prime video. The premise is ominous, and it bears witness to the stress that our world system is undergoing.

 

Dr. Piketty suggests that the rise of fascism around the world is because of income inequality. The climate crisis only exacerbates the supply chain, as thousand-year weather events are now more frequent than we would like.

 

Fascism is on the rise globally, but it is for lazy people. Propping up a so-called "strongman" gives a fall guy: if he (usually a "he") is right, he gets all the praise. If he's wrong, there can be one of two reactions: a coup (a coup, political, physical, or both is usually how they came to power in the first place), or a flaccid, impotent collective powerless shrug by the populace. So-called "strongmen" (an ever-oxymoron) are preferred when there is uncertainty, supplies are scarce, and people are fleeing wars, biblical tsunamis, and isolated by pandemics. When people are afraid, they are ripe for conmen and charlatans who will "fix" what is wrong and reflect back to halcyon days that never existed.

 

Democracy requires a shared reality, upon which sides debate and come to a consensus for the betterment of the electorate. Consensus means that you and your side won't get your "laundry list" after laying out your arguments, at least in that particular debate. It requires compromise and logic to be successful. It also helps that you are sane.

 

Whether you set your government framework on capitalism, communism, republicanism, or socialism, the divine right of kings, each has a hierarchy decided long ago of those who deserve the wealth and riches, and those pariahs at the base of the pyramid that do not.

 

Russian aggression in Ukraine, Hamas attacks in Israel; and Somali refugees in Europe are all because we are on the same volume of a planet that existed 43 years ago when we were only 4.4 billion people, and the American military after Vietnam was licking its wounds, reframing around an "all-volunteer force." The Soviet Union still existed as an existential boogie-man. Now, that remnant interferes in democratic elections worldwide, because the notion of participation in a stable world order is anathema to a kleptocracy.

 

Modern-day robber barons are no different than their ancestors, who met untimely ends in the French Revolution. Since we fought a Revolutionary War to depart the authoritarian crown of King George, the word sounds adventurous, avant-garde; "cool." Revolutions are bloody, and they aren't always for noble reasons.

 

"We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian." Adolph Hitler, 1928, Snopes

 

The current status quo is unsustainable. We can't keep siphoning up ("trickledown" is gaslighting) tax breaks to American oligarchs and tax shelters in America and Europe for Russian oligarchs. It is thermodynamically impossible to "consume our way to utopia," and colonizing Mars is a pipedream by Elmo Musk, whose plan to terraform the Red Planet is impractical, impossible, unworkable, and dangerous. I'm not against space exploration. Far from it. Seeing the runaway Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Venus informed our models on Earth. Mars at one time probably had an atmosphere, water, and life about four billion years ago. The point is, the planet doesn't have either now, and the closest planet to terraform is right under our feet, without a requirement of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), rockets, or superluminal star drives. It merely requires something we should have learned to do in kindergarten: sharing resources with one another for the "common good" of continuance.

 

Cooperation is survival. Hoarding is death.

 

“Last year, I had a life-changing experience at 90 years old. I went to space, after decades of playing an iconic science-fiction character who was exploring the universe. I thought I would experience a deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration.

 

"I was absolutely wrong. The strongest feeling, that dominated everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.

 

"I understood, in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.

 

"This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realized that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I did my share in popularizing the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable."
-- William Shatner, actor

 

Credit goes to the respective owners.
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Pattern Recognition...

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"Last Battlefield," 47 years later, StarTrek.com, January 10, 2016

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/Deadline-Other-Controversial-SF-Classics/dp/1615083863/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2OG3SHB3ZGSZB&keywords=deadline+cleve&qid=1696985555&sprefix=deadline+cleve+cartmill%2Caps%2C116&sr=8-1

 

The Cleve Cartmill affair, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadline_(science_fiction_story)

 

I admit I had heard of this before, but I didn't know the government gave it his name. It figures because Cleve was clever (see what I did there?) amid the Second World War and the secret Manhattan Project, led by Robert J. Oppenheimer and now a popular movie from Christopher Nolan. Cleve honestly thought the story was crap, but I can see why the FBI got so excited. Fiction writers are storytellers, and storytellers recognize patterns in human nature and the logical outcomes of scientific research. Instead of the devices that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki ("Little Boy" and "Fat Man"), we very well could have had Philip K. Dick's predicted "Heisenberg Device" ("The Man in the High Castle," 1962, also a fascinating alternative history series on Amazon Prime).

 

I found a fascinating Internet archive photocopy of the magazine. I can smell the pages of it: https://archive.org/details/astoundingsciencefiction1944marchdeadlineatombombstory/page/n1/mode/2up?view=theater.

 

The Amazon description (even though they don't have a copy in print):

 

WHY DID THE FBI WANT "DEADLINE" CENSORED? Hugo and Nebula Award winner Robert Silverberg says, "Deadline's publication caus[ed] the FBI to investigate Cartmill, Astounding Science Fiction, John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp." Author Cleve Cartmill, editor John W. Campbell, publishers Street & Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp were only some of those who came under government investigation after security officials learned of the contents of what was to become science fiction's most controversial brainchild? Why? You will discover the startling answers in Jean Marie Stine's amazing introduction to this first-ever collection of Golden Age author Cartmill's work. Included in this mammoth volume are four complete novellas: The Too-close to Reality for the Government, "Deadline," the noirish outer space mystery, "Some Day We'll Find You," the intellectual thriller of an attempted revolution against a future theocracy; "With Flaming Swords," and the thought-provoking story of a man whose desire to be a normal, patriotic citizen inadvertently lead to his society's "Overthrow." But, be warned: Cartmill questioned authority and traditional explanations and told his stories to inspire readers to see and question the shortcomings of their society. So, if you are completely comfortable with your government, society, and life and never want to doubt what you're told, put down this book immediately and do not read any further. Cleve Cartmill (1908-1964) was a reporter, radio operator and inventor. He is most famous for "Deadline," the Murchison And Co., Space Salvagers series, and his short novels for the legendary Unknown magazine. This book's editor, Jean Marie Stine, is a well-known science fiction author and anthologist. During the late 1960s, she served as a personal assistant to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and in the 1970s, she wrote the classic The Prisoner: A Day in the Life, based on Patrick McGoohan's cult television series.

 

*****

 

One of my favorite and most powerful Trek episodes I saw as a youth was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Recall the 60s weren't just "make love, not war": there was a lot of both. Vietnam overseas, protests of the war, and Civil Rights/Voting Rights marches at home. Suspicions that any deviance from the John Birch Society's authoritarian "norm" was judged subversive; communists, therefore, were necessarily purged and crushed from existence. Judging from the airing date, its first showing came nine months after the sad assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

 

It also aired during the climate of the Cold War, a period many seemingly LONG to get back to (that madness), where the nuclear "plan" was called MAD: mutually assured destruction. We still possess that insane power, essentially holding humanity hostage, guns to our heads.

 

Gene Roddenberry put an interracial, international crew together: Nyota Uhura (literally: "Freedom Star" in Kiswahili); Hikaru Sulu (for the Sulu sea, meant to represent all of Asia, but of fictional Japanese origin); Pavel Andreievich Chekov (a RUSKIE for crying out loud!). In this fictional treatment, Bele and Lokai "stood their ground" until the end. As I've commented before, Roddenberry developed his own eschatology, y. Yet, it is positive and relevant that we might survive our own hubris, essentially stemming from old tribal conflicts and current contemporary displays of breathtaking stupidity and arrogance.

 

This episode was a stark warning of the inevitable consequences of NOT...

 

Source: Wikipedia

 

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is the fifteenth episode of the third season of the original science fiction television show Star Trek. It was first broadcast on January 10, 1969, and repeated on August 12, 1969. It was written by Oliver Crawford, based on a story by Gene L. Coon (writing under his pen name "Lee Cronin") and directed by Jud Taylor. The script evolved from an outline by Barry Trivers for a possible first-season episode called "A Portrait in Black and White." The script was accepted for the third season following budget cuts. The episode guest-stars Lou Antonio and Frank Gorshin, best known for his role as The Riddler in the Batman live-action television series. Contrary to popular rumors and articles, Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.

 

In this episode, the Enterprise picks up two survivors of a war-torn planet who are still committed to destroying each other aboard the ship.

 

Once the Ariannus mission is completed, Bele takes control of the Enterprise again, but this time, he deactivates the auto-destruct in the process and sends the ship to Cheron. Once there, the two aliens find the planet's population completely wiped out by a global war fueled by insane racial hatred. Lokai and Bele stare silently at the destruction on the monitor and realize they are the only ones left of their race (or, as they see it, their "races").

Instead of calling a truce, the two beings begin to blame each other for the destruction of the planet, and a brawl ensues. As the two aliens fight, their innate powers radiate, cloaking them with an energy aura that threatens to damage the ship. With no other choice, Kirk sadly allows the two aliens to chase each other down to their obliterated world to decide their own fates, consumed by their now self-perpetuating mutual hate. Forlorn, Lt. Uhura asks if their hate is all they ever had. Kirk ruefully says no...but it is all they have left.

 

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield: Script

 

Bele and Lokai. Black on one side and white on the other. Mirror images of each other. Cain and Abel. Brahman and Dalit. German and Jewish. Catholic and Protestant. Hutu and Tutsi. Ukrainian and Russian. Ishmael and Isaac, imago alterius. Of the same genome and lands, on the same PLANET, yet hating one another for the most superficial, if you want to call it this, "reasoning." Which was the more excellent sacrifice? Who is the Abrahamic son of blessing? Though I invoke Biblical struggles, the current crisis started almost with the birth of the modern nation of Israel and the displacement of Palestinians after the Second World War. Vox gives a nice primer on the history. All conflict boils down to a struggle over resources: oil, minerals, rare earth, jewels, water, holy ground, and the faux hierarchies the few use to justify the grand theft of resources from the many.

Let's be clear: Hamas is a terrorist organization, as the Russian Federation is a terrorist state. Both are not invested in world order (a "Boogie Man" term) because disorder is their only superpower. A coalition between Israel and Saudi Arabia is as disastrous to Hamas as Ukraine is on the border of Russia: they are, ironically, the "threat of a good example" (Noam Chomsky). How do you justify the destruction of a nation when two monotheistic governments cooperate? How do you justify a dictatorship when there is a democracy on your border, that Russians have relatives there, and many have intermarried? "Superpower" is a documentary filmed by the actor Sean Penn at the beginning of the conflict. If you saw Putin's expression the one time he and Volodymyr Zelinsky were on stage together, and Zelinsky defied Putin's version of events, I don't need to study Russian to see when a dictator is incensed. These wars are personal. He and Hamas are Bele.

 

A planet or a nation in the Near East. The pattern is recognizable, as is its conclusion.

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

 

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

 

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

"The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., BrainyQuote.com

 

Tao produces one
One produces two
Two produce three
Three produce myriad things
Myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang
Achieve harmony by integrating their energy
What the people dislike
Are alone, bereft, and unworthy
But the rulers call themselves these terms

 

So, with all things
Appear to take loss but benefit
Or receive benefits but lose
What the ancients taught
I will also teach
The violent one cannot have a natural death
I will use this as the principle of all teachings

 

(Tao te Ching verse 42, translation by Derek Lin, 2006)

 

 

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Cloth Diapers...

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

 

This essay is derived from a creative work of the same title, posted on my poetry blog Monday.

 

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you.

 

Sixty years ago, you were thirty-eight years old. I was one year, one month, and one day old. I was apparently potty-trained, which I didn't know until my big sister told me after I bragged that my granddaughter, your great-granddaughter, was potty-trained at two.

 

"We had cloth diapers back then. No one was playing with you, Reggie."

 

I took this to mean the task of changing cloth diapers, flushing the load, and WASHING them was probably unpleasant. It also subtly suggests that disposable diapers stifle our development.

 

Twenty-two years ago this past Monday, a Saudi Sheik, Osama Bin Ladin, trained by the CIA when he was in the Mujahadeen, fighting a proxy war with Russia in Afghanistan, convinced 19 hijackers, 15 from his nation, to plunge top-filled planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon: Flight 93 was supposed to hit the Capitol, except for the passengers who decided to intervene, "let's roll." 3,000+ people died. The nation was terrorized.

 

On your birthday, four little black girls were murdered for the crime of singing in a choir, or, correction, PRACTICING to sing in a choir for a performance. It happened on your thirty-eighth birthday. It was a Sunday.

 

Monday, you and Pop had to go to work like it was "normal." Violence has been normal for African Americans since the 13th Amendment ended enslavement (EXCEPT as a punishment for a crime: "wiggle room" that has been abused), the 14th gave us birthright citizenship, and the 15th gave at least our men, the right to vote. That was immediately thwarted in the aftermath of the antebellum South by naming the number of coins/marbles/soap bubbles in a bottle, poll taxes, tests to recite The Constitution (when civics knowledge for the average citizen - then, and now - would likely fail miserably).

 

You both had to drop me off at the sitter and hope to see me alive again and pretend, like every black person at the time, that this was "normal."

 

"Two medical professionals, Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Dr. Carol W. Greider,
Shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with Dr. Jack W. Szostak in 2009 "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

 

"The long, thread-like DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, the telomeres being the caps on their ends. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase.

"If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed."

Source: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2009/

 

Telomeres are shorter for African Americans, a byproduct of 400 years of racial terrorism.

 

We were, and are, terrorized for being human, for wanting what's in The Constitution, for exercising our birthright citizenship. They want to take that away, too., for undocumented immigrants, then probably selective brown people who won't vote for them. The Growth and Opportunity Project said they should reach out to African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, the LGBT, Women, and Youth to expand the party. They instead engage in "culture wars" that are silly, like fighting the banning of gas stoves (there isn't one), the replacement of incandescent lights with more climate-friendly fluorescent or LED lights, and somehow, it's outrageous to suggest limiting beer consumption (no one did).

 

I'm tired, momma.

 

September 11, 2001, Pop had been dead for two years. The boys were in fourth grade and college. They had questions. I had no answers, and I wanted to talk to Pop, but I couldn't. Now I can't talk to you.

 

As Americans finally experienced, on September 11, 2001, the psychological effects of the horrific fear of not knowing what calamity would end your existence.

 

Living in fear of being killed for the "sin" of being alive shortens your telomeres.

 

As my big sister observed:
This country needs more cloth diapers for our development.

 

Happy Heavenly birthday, momma. I miss you. Love, "Stink."

 

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60 Years Ago Tomorrow...

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Source: March on Washington, History dot com editors

 

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

 

Sixty years ago tomorrow, two dear friends turned a year old, and ten years old. Sixty years ago tomorrow, I was a year, and 12 days old. The March on Washington happened on the eighth anniversary of the terrorism and slaying of Emmett Till, August 28, 1955, the actual date of original march August 28, 1963, this coming Monday. The demonstrators asked for a form of reparations that would come in the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 the next year, the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, and the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Dr. King, in a recording before the march opined that "we were coming to get our check." There were celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, and future politicos (on opposite sides now) Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell. The march was a sea of "diversity, equity (sought) and inclusion (goaled for)" in that there were African Americans, white Americans, Jews, women and other minority groups on the Washington Mall. It was the "future and the hope" Gene Roddenberry and Lucille Ball launched Star Trek from. In two hundred years, we will have to get something right about living together.

 

At the original march, there were very few, if any, women allowed on the platform, John Lewis and Dr. King being the most famously remembered, as the Civil Rights Movement had a notable flaw: it was misogynist to its core. A lot of work behind the scenes, the arrests, the enduring of fire hoses was done by women like my big sister, heretofore unacknowledged. The hierarchy the then young people were marching against was a justification for those who "had," and those who "had not," but that did not let women at Langston's table yet. This stratification is a competition for resources, and those who have had the resources are never eager to part with or share them, even if it insures species survival. It makes "trickledown" a gaslighting myth, as any distribution, regardless of speed, is anathema to the system.

 

Tomorrow, there will be a commemorative march populated by the "least of these": African Americans, Asians, Hispanic/Latinos, LGBTQ, Women: all whose constitutional rights as citizens and EXISTENCE as humanity has been challenged since August 28, 1963. There has been a sustained assault by the ones who have benefited the most from the hierarchy that established Levittown's that are more economically segregated (de facto) than de jure (by law). No one has to burn crosses on your front lawn if you can't afford to live there. All of the aforementioned groups have seen the Voting Rights Act gutted, Roe vs. Wade eliminated, bodily autonomy and privacy of what we as citizens do at home in our bedrooms, down to contraception itself for the same reason: the hoarding of resources by those who consider themselves "worthy" so long as they have pariahs' necks to stamp.

 

The world population in 1963 was estimated at 3,195,779,247.

 

The world population in 2023 is estimated at 8,045,311,447.

 

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/population

 

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. Millennials from 1981 to 1996. Generation Z from 1996 (overlap) to 2012, and my granddaughter is "Generation Alpha" from 2013 to 2025. Source: https://caregiversofamerica.com/2022-generation-names-explained/

 

The globe hasn't gotten bigger, and Zephram Cochrane hasn't cracked the warp drive code (note: in the fictional Trek universe, he isn't born until the 2030s).

 

The world population is projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion by 2100. As with any type of projection, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding these latest population projections. United Nations

 *****

Broadly defined, ecofascism is any environmentalism that advocates or accepts violence and does so in a way that reinforces existing systems of inequality or targets certain people while leaving others untouched. It is basically environmentalism that suggests that certain people are naturally and exclusively entitled to control and enjoy environmental resources. Some types of people, in other words, are “native species” and others are “invasive.”

 

The term itself is still very much up for debate but gathering currency largely due to high-profile individuals who have explicitly identified themselves as ecofascist. An example includes the man who murdered 51 People in a Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque in 2019. The El Paso, Texas, shooter, also in 2019, did not refer to himself as an ecofascist, but he plagiarized the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto, including many of its bogus arguments about race, nation, and environment. More recently, as you mentioned, another young man drove several hours to Buffalo, New York, where he targeted Black grocery shoppers.

 

A common ecofascist argument, then, links national environment to population, contending that certain (often specifically nonwhite) populations, within the US or beyond it, are the primary cause of climate change and other environmental issues.

 

A Darker Shade of Green: Understanding Ecofascism, September 7, 2022 | Elaina Hancock - UConn Communications

 

I would also call this "eco-eugenics."

 

Environment. Levittown. Wealth. Population. All determined by a sick, psychopathy. Divided like a pie on the table of the depraved, in this case, the pariah Lazarus, and his kin get no crumbs from the Koinonia table. When you found a nation on the land grab and murder of its indigenous inhabitants, from Columbus to "Manifest Destiny," when you cultivate and build your wealth on the backs of kidnapped enslaved people from the continent that BIRTHED humanity, the only way you can maintain such a system that would make Alfred Hitchcock BLUSH is through the application of unmerciful violence. "Christian nation" and "United States" become a form of delusion and self-gaslighting. You might have to ban a few books to keep up the façade. Burning them would be too obvious.

 

I don't know what the world will be in 200 years, just like I don't know if a Zephram Cochrane will ever exist, but I hope for my "little one's" sake in six decades, it is still here, balanced on indigenous sensibilities with the environment, more egalitarian, and less authoritarian, the inequity quelled and every stomach filled, including hers, sixty years from now. She will be a little older than me, hopefully in a better world that I helped form.

 

2083: 10,427,226,400, Source: World Population Projections

 

"When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money." Cree Tribal Prophesy

 

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Megalomania...

You’re going to have to pay me… One Billion Dollars! … Sorry, One Hundred Billion Dollars! Photo: Warner Bros; Getty Images, Jonathan Chait, NY Mag, March 8, 2018

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Diversity in Science, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Women in Science

Megalomania: a mania for great or grandiose performance; a delusional mental illness that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes 

Useful Idiot: a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda. E.g., It is one task of the KGB [in 1982] to apply its skills of secrecy and deception to projecting the Soviet party's influence. This it does through contacts with legal Communist Parties abroad, with groups sympathetic to Soviet goals, with do-gooders of the type that Lenin once described as "useful idiots" ….

—The Wall Street Journal, all the above from Merriam-Webster.com

Are we suffering from mass psychosis? Does it explain January 6, 2021, and the insanity that has descended from it? Was a substantial fraction of our nation led astray by a megalomaniacal, narcissistic useful idiot?

"A flood of negative emotions" is the business model of a lot of news outlets on the right. Determined to regain the audience lost after the Dominion settlement, Jesse Watters succeeds Tucker Carlson at the 8:00 hour, launching into a racist diatribe against the 44th president because they have to get their viewers back to repocket the $787.5 million dollars they had to pay out. Jesse, the "stable genius," forgot that Hawaii is our 50th state, but that occurred almost immediately after November 4, 2008.

When I was a senior in high school, 150 businesses owned everything we saw in print, on television, and heard on AM or FM radio. Now, with the expansion of the Internet, that ratio reduced EXPONENTIALLY to six corporations. With the expansion of the Internet, propaganda can be projected without a filter. Hitler deftly used radio to reach his masses, our current demagogue used Twitter until he was kicked off, and he was so devoted to this avenue he had to generate a knockoff to continue the conversation with his cult. Megalomaniacs never had it so good.

"Dr. Evil" was the antagonist in the Bond derivative "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and its natural sequel, "The Spy Who Shagged Me." It's the type of flippant character that makes "team normal" think that no one could possibly be that over-the-top. Then, the year 2016 said, "Hold my beer."

Menticide: a systematic and intentional undermining of a person's conscious mind: BRAINWASHING - Merrian-Webster.com

Ms. Senko’s groundbreaking film examines the rise of right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in its daily propaganda had radicalized him. His new fanaticism rocked the very foundation of their family. She discovered that this phenomenon was occurring with alarming frequency in living rooms across America. The film reveals the consequences that this radicalized media is having on people, families, America, and the world.

The Brainwashing of My Dad (2015)

Rush Limbaugh, of stogies, four traditional marriages (I guess he needed practice?), bombast and blatant racism (I guess why Clarence Thomas liked him?), was the Grand Pooh-Bah/Grand Dragon of an echo chamber that still persists long after his transition. Under the attack of menticide, 24/7 fearmongering on "the border," "CRT," "DEI," "Immigrants," "LGBT," "People of Color," and "Women with bodily autonomy" are the substitutes for "young bucks," "welfare queens," and "Barack the Magic Negro." Rush and his Zombie clones are ginning up fear on a regular basis, hacking everyone's reptilian brain stem made into mountains of gold and an unstable society. There must always be enemies for those who fear change and shadows.

At its core, this is about resources. Resources are subdivided by hierarchies so that certain universities that are "elite" (and beneficiaries of enslaved peoples) are picked first for employment after graduation. Most academic positions at universities seek the same graduates from the same elite PWI schools. Once the dust settles, universities will resegregate, and sadly will Fortune 500 businesses. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion only mattered as slogans to avoid lawsuits post-George Floyd. With the end of Affirmative Action, what holds them accountable if, like campuses, the diversity among the workforce declines? Who would care?

Hierarchies have allowed societies from Egypt to England to rank and rate their populations into the worthy and the unworthy, the Brahmin and the Dalits, and the haves and the have-nots. "Occult" typically refers to magic, but it means hidden, and hiding knowledge is what gives a group self-designated as rulers of the rest their edge. "Conserving" the status quo allows for the continued acquisition of wealth beyond avarice and passing it on to their progeny. That means ignoring inequities, and climate crises, particularly heat waves in Texas's case since most of the workers affected happen to be BIPOC. The "Supreme Court" repealed Roe vs. Wade, Affirmative Action yesterday. What was left untouched: athletic programs, legacy enrollments, the children of employees, and millionaire gifts by benefactors like Fred Trump, that got his stupid son into Penn, and Jared Kushner, who, by his grades, couldn't have gotten into Harvard without daddy-the-jailbird's help. Roe and Affirmative Action were both decided by the Warren Court, an Eisenhower appointee. The Roberts "Court," appointed by "W," who lost the popular vote in 2000, and his Republican successor, who appointed three justices, losing the popular vote in BOTH elections, is determined to repeal the 20th Century and is coming for the 21st in LGBT rights. I use quotes in that the Roberts junta is neither supreme in the practice of law nor a court of jurisprudence. It is the extension of libertarian billionaires, the mythology propagandists of "reverse discrimination," and thus fascistic.

Ayn Rand, for the moment, has won. Welcome to 1953.

This paradigm of looking back to "great again" is unsustainable. We cannot solve income disparities going back to the fifties. No new technical designs will come from the back of the bus. The LGBT will not be returning to the closet to make closeted, cisgender couples feel comfortable in their camouflage bigotry, nor has a single-banned drag show stopped a single gun massacre in America. Women will not be returning to the kitchen and the state of barefoot and pregnant because that idyllic "Leave it to Beaver" Levittown never existed, except in "master-planned communities." Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson's dissent is poetry.

We're not going back.

We have to figure out climate change, sustainability, and feeding eight billion souls that are growing at an exponential pace that will take us to nine billion in 2037 and ten billion in 2057. I won't be here, but my granddaughter will be. A lot of grandchildren will be. Hoping for starships is like wishing on magic lanterns.

There is no functional analog in nature to a billionaire. Insects run their colonies via pheromones, and the most significant member of the colony is the Queen: males are drones and sperm donors. Patriarchy is a human construct.

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) nevertheless estimates that annual investments of $39 billion to $50 billion would be required to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. Source: Brookings Institution.

But they won't. The core of their Hoarding Disorder is maintaining the inequity that puts them at the apex of society's pyramid; they've mistaken a designed system as "natural," making them apex predators. Only the second part is correct.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

— Nelson Mandela

I'm revamping the SAT program, which ended during the pandemic, for as long as it lasts, with an online component. We'll also discuss strategies to apply to the colleges and universities they desire. The youth are relevant to our shared future and survival.

On a dysfunctional planet, billionaire status is irrelevant.

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.”

— Coretta Scott King

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

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Fascism and Laziness...

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Source: Washington Monthly, "The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism," Martin Longman, January 31, 2017

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

But beyond him being (obviously) a genocidal maniac, there's an aspect to Hitler's rule that kind of gets missed in our standard view of him. Even if popular culture has long enjoyed turning him into an object of mockery, we still tend to believe that the Nazi machine was ruthlessly efficient and that the great dictator spent most of his time…well, dictating things.

So it's worth remembering that Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac, and his government was an absolute clown show.

In fact, this may even have helped his rise to power, as he was consistently underestimated by the German elite. Before he became chancellor, many of his opponents had dismissed him as a joke for his crude speeches and tacky rallies. Even after elections had made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag, people still kept thinking that Hitler was an easy mark, a blustering idiot who could easily be controlled by smart people.

Why did the elites of Germany so consistently underestimate Hitler? Possibly because they weren't actually wrong in their assessment of his competency—they just failed to realize that this wasn't enough to stand in the way of his ambition. As it turns out, Hitler was bad at running a government. As his press chief Otto Dietrich wrote in his memoir The Hitler I Knew, "In the twelve years of his rule in Germany, Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state."

His government was constantly in chaos, with officials having no idea what he wanted them to do, and nobody was entirely clear who was actually in charge of what. He procrastinated wildly when asked to make difficult decisions and would often end up relying on gut feeling, leaving even close allies in the dark about his plans. His "unreliability had those who worked with him pulling out their hair," as his confidant Ernst Hanfstaengl later wrote in his memoir Zwischen Weißem und Braunem Haus. This meant that rather than carrying out the duties of state, they spent most of their time in-fighting and back-stabbing each other in an attempt to either win his approval or avoid his attention altogether, depending on what mood he was in that day.

Hitler Was Incompetent and Lazy—and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show | Newsweek Opinion, Tom Phillips

Axios has obtained leaked private schedules of President Donald Trump showing how he’s spent his time over the past three months. According to the leaked schedules, our president has spent 60% of his “working” hours since the midterms in unstructured “Executive Time.”

Executive Time is supposed to consist of time in the Oval Office, but Trump wakes before 6 a.m. and doesn’t leave the residence for five hours. He spends that time, according to Axios, “watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials, and informal advisers.” And, we can safely assume, tweeting like a madman.

Then, usually around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., the president finally gets off his ass and actually does some work, attending an intelligence briefing with his chief of staff. The idea for Executive Time, which during the three months the leaked schedules totaled 297 hours, came from former chief of staff John Kelly because of Trump’s disdain for regular schedules.

Trump Could Be Our Laziest President Ever, According to Leaked Schedules, Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

Democracies require informed citizens. "Democracies did not originate with the founding of the United States. The term 'democracy' comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and "kratia" (power or authority). So, of course, DEMOCRACY is a form of government that gives power to the people. But how, when, and to which people? The answer to those questions changes through history." See: https://www.ushistory.org/gov/1c.asp

Fascism has a self-built mythology of efficiency that generations of psychopaths have used gaslighting by pamphlet to the Internet to convince rubes and middle-of-the-road citizens that they're "stable geniuses." News flash: They're not.

Fascism as a term didn't come into vogue until Benito Mussolini in Italy. Prior to that, Jim Crow, black codes, and the Confederate South were all the foundations Mussolini based his philosophies on. Nazi Germany based its treatment of the Jews on Jim Crow, American black codes, and the Eugenics movement (which they put on steroids).

Fascism is the parent "ism" of every one of the "isms" that's used to classify, objectify, demoralize, and categorize humans into this unmoveable hierarchy where the fascists/psychopaths have put themselves on the top: 1. They think they deserve it because of some "magical formula" that's varied from "it's God's will" and evolution, post-Darwin, post-Nietzche. The formula is fungible so long as the outcome is the same. 2. The inherent "inferiority" of anyone else who isn't a fascist/psychopath. 3. Anyone with a three-pound functional brain that can read history and reason for themselves is "woke." America had black people. India, under the Caste system, had Dalets: the pariahs, the untouchables. Nazy Germany had Jews. Russia has Ukraine, which at this moment is destroying all of its delusions of superiority.

Fascism puts everything in the lap of the "dear leader." Thus the responsibility for the government running efficiently, or running like a crap show, is the. "dear leader's." That way, when everything GOES to crap, it's the leader's fault, not the citizens. Since he is the source of "truth," they await to hear, by pronouncement, tweet, or "truth social."

“The past was alterable. The past had never been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” George Orwell, "1984"

German citizens, post-1945, claimed to "not know" anything about the atrocities. As Dumbo Gambino appears to be careening toward federal indictments, what will be the excuse in a post-MAGA world (if we ever get to a post-MAGA world)?

But since all you have to do to have a democracy is, well, inform your citizens, how would governments distract them?

The IBM Simon was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, which integrated features from its own wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) and cellular radio technologies. It featured a liquid-crystal display (LCD) and PC Card support. The Simon was commercially unsuccessful, particularly due to its bulky form factor and limited battery life, using NiCad batteries rather than the nickel–metal hydride batteries commonly used in mobile phones in the 1990s or lithium-ion batteries used in modern smartphones.

The term "smartphone" was not coined until a year after the introduction of the Simon, appearing in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator. The term "smartphone" was first used by Ericsson in 1997 to describe a new device concept, the GS88.

Source: Wikipedia/Smartphone

Abstract

The use of smartphones has been increasing worldwide. Usage of these devices has been associated with addiction and adverse emotional states. This study employs a mixed methods approach to study these relationships in an Australian sample. The study comprised 164 participants aged between 18–70 who completed the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, the Smartphone Addiction Scale, and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Seven participants were also interviewed, providing answers of a qualitative nature. Smartphone addiction significantly predicted higher levels of smartphone usage. Additionally, smartphone addiction and distractibility also significantly predicted higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Qualitative results identified themes such as convenience, time of the day, and activities in relation to smartphone usage as well as short‐and long‐term effects of this usage. Findings indicated that both distraction and addiction have an influence on the use of smartphones and that increased usage has detrimental consequences for emotional health. Themes such as dependence and temptation, and interferences appear congruent and consistent with the results of the scales used.

Smartphone distraction‐addiction: Examining the relationship between psychosocial variables and patterns of use | Humberto Oraison, Olivia Nash‐Dolby, Bruce Wilson &Ridhi Malhotra, Australian Journal of Psychology, Taylor & Francis Online, 2020

Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fueled by an internet overuse problem or internet addiction disorder. After all, it's rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to. Health Guide

Democracy requires informed citizens. Fascism requires couch potatoes.

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Threat Assessment...

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Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists, The Rand Blog

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

Source: https://www.dhs.gov/ntas/advisory/national-terrorism-advisory-system-bulletin-may-24-2023

Summary of Terrorism-Related Threat to the United States

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence. In the coming months, factors that could mobilize individuals to commit violence include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues. Likely targets of potential violence include US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.

Duration

Issued: May 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Expires: November 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Roads, bridges, mall outlets, power stations; churches, mosques, synagogues, temples; drag shows, pride parades, nightclubs; K-12, community colleges and universities; every BIPOC, even those like the gunman in Allen, Texas, who was Hispanic and sympathized with white supremacist propaganda enough to kill; the Post Office, Police Departments, the FBI; and where you and I work.

A Big Lie about an election that was lost, not RIGGED, has put a target on all of our backs. Our so-called representatives only offer "thoughts and prayers" after every gun massacre, but will not propose legislation, will not even propose liability insurance, like the kind we have on cars, for the small percentage of us that insists on collecting arsenals. It's as if they WANT this "American carnage" to usher in something darker, like Kristallnacht, like fascism. America was a refuge for Stephen Miller's grandfather and Albert Einstein during the Nazi pogroms. Will Canada be a refuge for American Christian nationalist pogroms?

Here are some thoughts I've been mulling for a while, and I would like to forward them now:

One: Fascism doesn't stop with your favorite "out-group."

I have African American friends in my community that use the Bible to legitimize their bigotry toward LGBTQ+ people. My own epiphany happened during a diversity class in the 1990s when the professor asked one of the attendees a question: "Mr. _______, do you CARE where Mr. ______'s spermatozoa are deposited tonight?"

The second Mr. ______ is me, to whom the blunt and salacious question was directed. The technique was to make the first man think: are you overconcerned with his sexual practices? My oldest son was 11, and my youngest son was 1 at the time. Continuing the thought experiment: Does it matter to your heterosexual relationship? If it does, either you or your wife is closeted. James Baldwin was a close friend of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lorraine Hansberry, author of "A Raisin in the Sun," was a closeted lesbian due to the times. Pauli Murray was also a closeted lesbian, lawyer, and civil rights activist. Bayard Rustin, a gay man, was one of Dr. King's closest advisors and the chief organizer of the March on Washington in August 1963. See SPLC: Learning for Justice.

Two: Everyone needs a "green book" plan.

My mother graduated from a school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for "Practical Nursing," similar to an Associate's Degree now. She. and my father used a green book, a guide to let them know on long trips where to get gas, where to stop to eat, where to go to the bathroom, and where to sleep. In the 1950s, they NEEDED this to get from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Philly and BACK. It worked because otherwise, I would not be typing this blog. Our risk is not due to a preponderance of Melanin only. It is all public places now.

Do you speak another language? Is your passport current or expired? Part of our "green book" may be in formulating an exit plan. When all "hell is breaking loose," it's a little late.

Three: The State owning women's bodies is fascism.

The Nazi regime encouraged the birth of children deemed “racially valuable” in order to increase Germany’s “Aryan” population. This campaign closely reflected the regime’s racial ideology and theories of eugenics. The Lebensborn program was designed by the SS to increase Germany’s declining birthrate. It was originally intended to provide pregnant “Aryan” women with financial assistance, adoption services, and a series of private maternity homes where they could give birth. By the end of World War II, Lebensborn became involved in the Nazi regime’s systematic kidnapping of thousands of “biologically valuable” foreign children to be raised in German homes. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In Russia, they are kidnapping Ukrainian children and spiriting them to Moscow. In America, six anti-Christian Mullahs overturned 50 years of precedent to induce forced births because of a demographic that is itself a chimera: if so-called "white" people had its origin in the Bacon's Rebellion of 1681, codified in the first Census of 1790, counting "free whites, all other free persons, and slaves," The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, In barring their immigration to the United States for ten years, all categories of humans in the United States are the product of government fiat to justify hierarchy for the purpose of theft from the masses. Dr. Alan Goodman said, "Race is the power of an illusion." For the Christian nationalists: "And He has made from one BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings," Acts 17:26. Therefore, you cannot be "replaced" if you never really existed beyond being a variation of humans. This was the first Big Lie.

Four: Vote early; don't show bumper stickers, flags, or paraphernalia.

In Austin, Texas, during the 2008 elections, a neighbor was such an Obama fan he paid $5,000 for him and his wife to shake the future president's hand. He had as large a banner touting Obama-Biden on his front lawn as our neighbor (nearer me) did for the 2004 election with Bush-Cheney. The Obama-Biden sign was vandalized with the n-word and swastikas; nothing happened to Bush-Cheney (there's a double entendre in there). Ahem: This happened in the waning days of the "compassionate conservatism" era, the gateway drug before Christian nationalism.

It's obvious the incident was instructive to me. I give to the party I see upholding The Constitution, but I don't sport the "swag." Some might derisively call what I'm suggesting "respectability politics." I have called it survival for my many trips around the sun, here billions of years before my birth, and will be here billions more after my death.

I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security's warning, but I've been aware of this extremism since before one of the political parties nominated and elected a demagogue.

I have been on this Earth for sixty-one years. As a black man, I have never felt "free."

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Gaming Apocalypse...

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

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

This is NOT an eschatology blog. The second verse is a common cudgel to the LGBT community, bellowed from the pulpits of soon-discovered closeted pastors. Several laws are passed to ban drag shows, as in North Carolina, but not a peep about gun massacres. Guns with muzzle velocities of 1,006 meters per second, or 3,300 feet per second, eviscerate human flesh to unrecognizability. There were two mass shootings back-to-back in San Antonio, Texas. Merriam-Webster list ominously 66 synonyms for "perilous," some of which are: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: and fatal.

Culture wars are NOT designed to solve anything. They are designed to concern, enrage, and engage the reptilian part of the brain that leaps at every shadow and requires long rifles to go into Starbucks, libraries, or drag shows because of "freedom." Banning books, drag shows, and "woke" are solutions in search of nonexistent problems.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Yesterday, in the Orwellian committee, Jim Jordan ostensibly "leads," is government-paid gaslighting. The whistleblowers brought before the sham committee lost their security clearances, each for a cause. One refused to arrest a January 6th terrorist because he "didn't agree that he should be arrested." Getting fired for cause in at-will states used to be a very Republican viewpoint. The current Congress majority in the House is not Republican.

As Representative Stacey Plaskett, the lawyer Jim Jordan pretends to be pointed out, he and the committee are the 45th president's defense lawyers. His last one quit after dim bulb blurted out in the Cable, Not News fascist rally, “I took the documents; I’m allowed to,” oblivious to the fact every statement, every tweet, every "truth" on his knockoff website is a documented confession. Meanwhile, Jim Jordan screamed like a banshee when Representative Daniel Goldman, another lawyer Jim Jordan is not, read him the House rules on whistleblowers. Jim has a Juris Doctorate but never took the bar. It shows. He would have to study instead of ranting and Spitballing.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Seventy-two percent of Americans feel birth control should be [a] legal right women in this nation should have. Seventy-one percent want gun laws to be stricter. In both cases, a majority of citizens want something that the bureaucracy of government hems up in red tape where it dies in committee.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Christiane Amanpour, in a commencement address to Columbia, blasted her employer's decision in a proper British accent to platform a psychopathic fascist in prime time, as she said, respectfully disagreeing with clueless, paste-eating CEO Chris Licht. She showed more backbone than Anderson Cooper chastising his dwindling audience, and Jack Tapper, trying to make the Durham report more than a flaccid "bombshell" to suck up to the Sith overlords of the Cable, Not News network. I've eliminated the app from my phone and blocked the CNN Politics alerts on my iPhone. I see no more reason to watch it than I saw to abuse myself on Fox with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Meghan Kelly, Tucker Carlson, and soon Sean Hannity violated the third rule for Mogwai every night, instead of midnight, at 8:00 pm. When Amanpour is CEO, and CNN returns to being "the most trusted name in news," maybe I'll return. Neil Postman was a prophet.

We have a Supreme Court that is neither. Trust in our institutions is at an all-time low as John Roberts "whistles past the graveyard" of our federal republic, allowing the extremist more extreme than HIM to steamroll him from an intolerable 15-week ban to torching Stare decisis. When a small minority of gun owners holds the country in an ongoing hostage crisis, when women lose a right that's been with them for two generations, when the highest court in the land might as well wear jerseys with logos from the billionaire who pay for their vacation junkets, we don't have to keep asking what a Constitutional Crisis looks like. The crisis is staring us in the face as we look away from it.

If the current administration doesn't win in 2024, the party that comes to power might shred what is left of The Constitution and declare it too "woke" for display, to follow, or study. At that point, we devolve from lawyers to Bronze Age Scribes. At that point: we've devolved from a republic to sovereignty and fascism. King George, in the end, would have won.

No need to study the LSAT or pass the bar: just Spitball.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

Synonyms of perilous: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: fatal.

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The Illusion of Perfection...

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Source - Jati: The Caste System in India, Asia Society

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

“In America, this battle to wipe out whole ethnic groups was fought not by armies with guns nor by hate sects at the margins. Rather, this pernicious white-gloved war was prosecuted by esteemed professors, elite universities, wealthy industrialists, and government officials colluding in a racist, pseudoscientific movement called eugenics. The purpose: create a superior Nordic race.

“To perpetuate the campaign, widespread academic fraud combined with almost unlimited corporate philanthropy to establish the biological rationales for persecution. Employing a hazy amalgam of guesswork, gossip, falsified information, and polysyllabic academic arrogance, the eugenics movement slowly constructed a national bureaucratic and judicial infrastructure to cleanse America of “the unfit.” Specious intelligence tests, colloquially known as IQ tests, were invented to justify the incarceration of a group labeled “the feebleminded.” Often the so-called feebleminded were just shy, too good-natured to be taken seriously, or [simply] spoke the wrong language or were the wrong color. Mandatory sterilization laws were enacted in some twenty-seven states to prevent targeted individuals from reproducing more of their kind. Marriage prohibition laws proliferated throughout the country to stop race mixing. Collusive litigation was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sanctified eugenics and its tactics.”

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race,” Edwin Black, page xv, Introduction (paperback edition)

I purposely did not watch the coronation of now King Charles and his former mistress Camilla. Many tuned in for the “Pomp and Circumstance” of the ceremony. As a descendant of kidnapped Africans, thus far, uncompensated in the form of reparations, it was antithetical for me to celebrate the origins of the global slave trade that displaced so many for the enrichment of so few.

It was also interesting to see how they managed the public relations fiasco of Harry and Meghan, the former Duke and Duchess of Winsor. Giving their estate to Jeffrey Epstein, associated with Prince Andrew, both virtue-signaled to the intolerant in the United Kingdom and pedophiles that “happy ever after” was always a facade of mind and propaganda.

The illusion of perfection is pursued first by setting up a hierarchy, a societal pyramid that, at its apogee, are the humans who, by political fiat and outright brutality, have set themselves apart from the rabble as the elite, the wealthy, the one-percent: the closest things to gods in the flesh the rabble can think of.

In India, the illusion takes the form of the Caste System:

At the apogee are the Brahmin, the Priest, the closest to the gods; therefore, the closest things to gods the people below the apogee have ever seen.

Below that is the warrior caste, Kyshatriyia. In a human body analogy, the Brahmin is its head, and Kyshatriyia is its arms.

Vaisya is the merchants and landowners – the torso.

Commoners, peasants, and servants are called Sudra – the feet.

Beneath the feet are the outcasts, the untouchables, the unredeemable called Dalets. Their lot is the clean the streets and latrines.

Within the caste system or Jati, individuals cannot raise themselves in the societal pecking order. Still, the entire GROUP can by emulating another group above it (no explanation given at the link as to who, or what judges an entire group rising from mediocrity in the pecking order).

Isabelle Wilkenson based her book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” first on the Indian System, then compared it to the German System during WWII, and finally to the American System that seems self-reinforcing by inertia, almost perpetual.

The illusion of perfection debases the lives of the Indigenous: the Aborigines in Australia and the First Nation Peoples in North, Central, and South America. Continents populated with peoples who have a culture, languages spoken and written, historical records, and civilizations are raized out of existence because if they don’t worship the same as Europeans if they don’t speak like Europeans, if they don’t particularly look like Europeans, they are irrelevant, they are unpersons, Aborigines, African Americans, Dalets. In this case, “black lives don’t matter” because they never did.

As I type this, the illusion of perfection has visited an outlet mall outside of Dallas, Texas, in Allen, where I have close relatives. We now have more gun massacres than we have days in the year, and the only way it will improve is if it suddenly stops tomorrow. Newsflash: It won’t. The illusion of perfection can only be reinforced by violence. Showing facts, history, and scientific data invites backlash and a brutally efficient gaslighting operation through Secretary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

The illusion of perfection punches down at the weak (fill in the blank for any outgroup you might know or belong to) because it always has. It’s “easy” to punch down on immigrants because the “gang of eight” proposed the only solution before Marco Rubio ran for president. It’s “easy” to lambast the LGBT community because the “solution” they won’t vocalize would sound a lot like German concentration camps or the hanging wall in “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. If the "horse is out of the barn," then the original door was opened by the Brown vs. Board of Education 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Richard and Mildred Loving vs. Virginia, 1967, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Roe vs. Wade, 1973 (repealed in 2023), Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015: if you repeal one part of the 20th and the early part of the 21st Century, you must using the darkest, cynical logic, repeal it all.

In the illusion of perfection, Dr. Edwin Black focuses on eugenics, but isn’t eugenics a form of secular religiosity? Both have an elite, the chosen, the pure: the elect who deserve, and the "others" who are damned. As he pointed out, whole universities and academic tomes devoted themselves to reinforcing what amounted to a lie. Still, like any broadcast on Fox Propaganda, it was a lie that a large swath of people wanted to believe.

The illusion of perfection has the same septuagenarian running against the same (now) octogenarian who repaired the damage post-COVID the septuagenarian caused. The octogenarian is trailing the septuagenarian because the octogenarian – four years senior to the septuagenarian, isn’t “entertaining” (or racist). I guess they never saw the White House Correspondence Dinner the septuagenarian avoided due to a lack of a sense of deprecating humor and an easily bruised ego (the octogenarian killed it, by the way). The octogenarian was VP to the first and only African American president, and his VP is the descendant of an African American father and an Indian mother. I'm glad he's not racist.

In a Washington Post article about the latest sacrifice to American Moloch, the congressional representative for the mall ended with this vapid statement because the gun lobby and NRA made him memorize the script like an automaton:

“Rep. Keith Self (R), who represents the Allen area in Congress, said on CNN that people who were calling for gun control, rather than just thoughts and prayers, ‘don’t believe in an almighty God … who is absolutely in control of our lives.’

“’[People] want to make this political, but prayers are important,’ he said.”

Allen, Texas

© May 7, 2023, the Griot Poet

“Thoughts and prayers” means

I refuse to legislate

While the gun lobby pays!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Representative Keith Self(ish) doesn’t believe in any other almighty God in his particular religion other than Mammon.

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Dark Frequencies...

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

Dystopia

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now, George Orwell’s

Prophecy banal.

Lamentation

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now that Orwell weeps:

[Nightmares] actual.

 

*****

 

The graph is part of an exercise that I do after every shooting. If you’ve got a stock app on your smartphone, it’s easy to track. There is an uptick in any stock that trades with gun manufacturers. It was simple to blame it on the fear of gun control that never materializes, despite the massacres’ gruesomeness or the victims’ innocence. It turns out that terrorizing citizens is public policy. When you get beyond the reflexive “thoughts and prayers,” what do you have left other than the obvious? Terrorized citizens can’t think clearly, don’t read leisurely fiction or historical record, or absorb civics or critical thinking. Voltaire warned about tyranny, but the threat of assassination seems to be as tyrannical as the Kremlin. Putin has eleven time zones, terrified by everybody dropped from a window, every dissident imprisoned in a gulag, or every ex-pat poisoned in another country. America is dangerous to our health inside and outside our homes (see: Breonna Taylor). Where do we go in public that cannot become a crime scene?

It turns out that my “Stop the Bleeding” kit arrived after Easter instead of before, delayed by the likely deluge of other orders from my active shooter class and others around the nation that decided the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King was a GREAT day to do a class! A taser I ordered for my wife came in from Amazon on the same day.

After Tennessee, on April 11, 2023, America had another mass shooting in Louisville, Kentucky. The governor of that state lost two friends, and a third at the time was in critical condition. Five people were killed, and about nine were injured.

April 13, 2023, a 35-year-old English teacher was killed by a lone gunman in the drive-through of a Dunkin Donuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her eleven-year-old son was unharmed in the backseat, but he saw his mother executed for no reason. His psyche, regarding harm, is another matter. Mother’s Day is next month, and I don’t think the cliché “thoughts and prayers” will cut it.

I now carry pepper spray on my keychain. I have a telescoping baton that makes a metallic “shooshing” sound, a hopeful shock to an assailant. In addition to pepper spray and a taser, I plan to give my wife my 9mm pistol (hopefully without the same glitches as Sig Sauer pistols, shooting when not hitting the trigger) and a purse that will double as a holster: if threatened, she’ll have to shoot through it. We didn’t leave Afghanistan: we brought the war home.

 

*****

 

Jonny Quest” is one of the many cartoons I’ve taken to collecting on DVD. I bought a DVD player that looks like a laptop but only has the drive, screen, controls, and remote. Jonny Quest was about the adventures of Jonny, his friend from Calcutta, Haji, his dog, who looked like a pug mutt, “Race” Bannon (that’s how his name was listed). And Dr. Benton Quest, who had as much of an impact as “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” and “Marlin Perkins’ ‘Wild Kingdom.’” The STEM focus of the latter is self-evident. Dr. Benton Quest was a biologist on one Saturday, a physicist on the next Saturday, a Chemist, or an Electrical Engineer on any given Saturday where the situation needed him to be! There were car chases, a Cyclops, spider legged robot spy, dog fights with a Nazi, and LOTS of guns! Dr. Quest was the epitome of a nanotechnologist*, years after Dr. Richard Feynman’s lecture “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” circa 1959 and years before Dr. Norio Taniguchi coined it at a conference in Japan in 1974. Thankfully, neither Jonny nor Haji were involved in gunplay.

“Jonny Quest” is utter fantasy, a cartoon. All of us kids were in on the “gag.” Only the “evil-doers” died, never us “good guys.”

I feel like we’re going to war every day instead of work.

What kind of country or cartoon is this?

 

*****

 

*My “elevator pitch” definition:

Nanotechnology regards biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics, all of the major STEM disciplines at the nanoscale. Nano means “billionth,” or 10-9 meters. Nanoscience is the theoretical observation of nanoscale phenomena. Nanoengineering is exploiting that phenomenon towards a practical (engineering) end, as in manufacturing something that can be purchased or consumed. Before I entered the field, Dr. Quest was probably the first nanotechnologist I had ever seen and didn’t recognize because the definition wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now.

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Functional Fascism...

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Ron DeSantis previously said he wouldn’t get involved in Donald Trump’s indictment “in any way.” | John Bazemore/AP Photo, Gary Fineout, Politico

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

NEW YORK — The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Christians overall remain a large majority in the U.S., at nearly 70 percent of Americans. However, white Christians, once predominant in the country’s religious life, now comprise only 43 percent of the population, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, a polling organization based in Washington. Four decades ago, about eight in 10 Americans were white Christians

The change has occurred across the spectrum of Christian traditions in the U.S., including sharp drops in membership in predominantly white mainline Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians and Lutherans; an increasing Latino presence in the Roman Catholic Church as some non-Hispanic white Catholics leave; and shrinking ranks of white evangelicals, who until recently had been viewed as immune to decline.

White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population, survey says, Rachel Zoll, Associated Press

It was the first panic and the first indication that white evangelicism focused on earthly political concerns more than heavenly meditations. Eighty-one percent of them voted for the vagina-grabber after the Access Hollywood tape. It was soon after this he, or as Michael Cohen's indictment called him, "individual one," directed his then-attorney to pay hush money to Karen McDougal, a Playboy Centerfold, and Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, coordinated with then editor of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, which is the most apropos last name I've seen to be the editor of a supermarket rag. He was called before the Manhattan Grand Jury before they voted on indictment.

Impeachment is a form of federal indictment, but the twice-impeached former president beat the rap in a stacked Senate jury. Then, when he didn't win re-election, a point he was cognizant of, he ordered a mob to Capitol Hill to seize power, an insurrection for the first time since the Civil War, a breach of the Capitol for the first time since the war of 1812. For his new presidential campaign, he upped the ante from Reagan's "states rights" speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by staging his first rally in Waco, Texas, the sight of the standoff between the government and the Branch Davidian Cult. It's talented bigotry to invoke George Soros and call an African American District Attorney an "animal. If dog-whistling, it's best in a gross sense to hit one target with two epithets.

"Individual One" started his first presidential campaign taking birtherism in the gutter with him and raising it from the swill like an anointed Phoenix, with 3,500 lawsuits against him, including Trump University (which he said he would "never settle" until he did). Part of his narcissistic "charm" is he never seems to pay for any crime he commits, no matter how outlandish it might have been, even insurrection. It might explain his follower's attraction to him: he's a reverse Robin Hood; he steals from the poor suckers and gives to himself. They all think they're in on the gag, but in true conman fashion, marks usually are not.

Earlier this week, three children and three adults were gunned down by a former transgender student at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. I have fond memories of variety shows like "The Old Oprey" and "Hee-Haw," based on a soundstage there. Governor Bill Lee asked for prayers. He has written anti-LGBT laws, restricted abortion rights, banned drag shows, banned books, and expanded permit-less carry; without the need for safety training or practice. Tennessee paused further expansion of freedom for guns; contraction of civil liberties in lieu of "thoughts and prayers." Congressman Andy Ogles also sent "thoughts and prayers," yet posed with his family in a 2021 Christmas photo armed to the teeth with assault weapons. Now that the indictment that was supposed to happen last Tuesday happened yesterday, the former president continued to threaten "death and destruction" simultaneously, or soon after that, a photo of him with a baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg's head like Robert De Niro as Al Capone in the movie, "The Untouchables."

"If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck!"

At the same time, his likely challenger in the GOP primary breezed through a clone of his Soros-African-American Attorney bigotry and said that he would not assist in his extradition if he refused to leave Florida for his arraignment.

That is collusion by an officer of the court, and a governor, to break the rule of law.

During the January 6 Hearings, many of the insurrectionists in Congress ignored subpoenas sent to them by the committee. Now that Jim Jordan has actual Judiciary Committee power, he's proven that he got a law degree but didn't pass the bar. Good luck enforcing your subpoenas.

But that shouldn't matter for the goals of today's republican right. The Growth and Opportunity Project (the 2012 GOP Autopsy) called for the party to expand its base beyond white evangelicals, rural dwellers, conspiracy theorists, weirdos, fascists, racists, misogynists, and insurrectionists with irritable bowel syndrome. It called for them to expand to women, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT, and young people. It rightly predicted the diversification of America and assumed that a functional political party would absorb the study's wisdom.

The party and its avatar in 2016, 2020, and apparently, 2024 rejected it.

If Governor DeSantis, like Jim Jordan et al., ignores the New York indictment and “will not assist in the extradition,” it's not very far from that the "rule of law" becomes meaningless.

Past that Rubicon is the rule of the mob boss, warlord, or one man as king. There would be no civics, civil rights, or civil liberties, just lords and serfs, the next logical step of income inequality. Dictators never give up power, so elections, if held, would become meaningless "public spectacles" like they were in Saddam Hussein's Iraq and are in Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation. It simply takes the slow-boiling frog destruction of the rule of law. After that, fascism becomes actionable and functional.

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

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

And the world, like old Europe, will become soaked in the blood of our fellow humans. Warlords have a tendency not to get along.

If the world is like Europe in its violence before the world order after the Second World War, where could we run after the Third?

June: We have to run.

Luke: What?

June: We waited last time. We waited too long, and we didn't see how much they hated us. I lost you, and then we lost Hannah.

Luke: Are we just gonna forget about her now?

June: We will never ever forget about her, but we cannot help her if we are dead. It's changing, Luke. This country is changing.

Luke: No, Canada's not Gilead.

June: America wasn't Gilead until it was, and then it was too fuckin' late. Luke, we have to go. We have to run. Now.

Season Five of "The Handmaid's Tale" finale on Hulu, TV Fanatic

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By Another Name...

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Space race: Inside ego-fueled competition of Bezos, Musk, and Branson, Michael Kaplan, New York Post

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

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of “free” black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

The neo-slavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies that discouraged the prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by AnotherName unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neo-slavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.

Slavery by Another Name is a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

—from the book jacket and Pulitzer dot org

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, Douglas A. Blackmon, Penguin Random House

Ta-Nehisi Coates penned "The Case for Reparations" for The Atlantic in June of 2014. The country was in the lame-duck of the second term of a political miracle: Barack Hussein Obama carried the popular vote and the electoral college TWICE, despite a blowhard asking for his birth certificate, despite a blowhard asking for his grades at Harvard, then commissioning his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen to threaten his high schools and colleges mob-style if they dared release any of his grades from his "great brainwork." One would think that he had something to hide.

We crossed the Rubicon of 8 billion souls on Terra Firma last November, and we're showing the signs of strain: Candida auris is spreading in healthcare and nursing facilities alarming the CDC: it could easily become more dangerous to the general population. climate change is exacerbating weather patterns, thus affecting food supplies. The thawing permafrost is wakening Paleolithic viruses that haven't seen the light of day (or 8 billion vectors) in several millennia. The brunt of the crisis is being felt by the countries - so-called third world - without enough industry that would create the problem. This is destabilizing governments and fostering authoritarian nationalism, nativism, and xenophobia. The US President and Canadian Prime Minister reached an agreement to reject asylum seekers at their respective borders. As we whistle through graveyards, Waiting for Godot and Deas Ex Machina to resolve our issues. Where are these fellow humans supposed to go, other than open earth in whistled graveyards voluntarily? It is eerie, sadistic eugenics in slow motion.

The estimated cost to pay reparations is ~$14 Trillion dollars. The cost would be from the government, not individual "white" taxpayers. We can literally print money out of thin air when we want to do something, proposing austerity measures for things that used to be referred to as the "common good."

Broken down in the documentary, The Big Payback, the estimated bill due (as Dr. King said) for uncompensated labor that built the United States is $14 Trillion Dollars. $14 Trillion Dollars is about $350,000 per African American.

The government keeps from paying what's owed us by stirring divisions: Black Lives Matter are "black identity extremists," but the Klan, Neo Nazis, Boogaloo Boys, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers are NOT to date classified as domestic terrorists.

Reparations would also include levying taxes on the extremely wealthy, who got rich off of Reagan lowering their taxes to 28%. He had to raise taxes periodically when the math and reality came crashing down in the form of a recession. It's why endless tax cuts as a solution have always been a bureaucratic form of magical thinking.

"Trickledown" was always a boondoggle and maintained by always having an "other" to blame for the nation's problems. Before Trump, who is about as subtle as a farting rhinoceros, Reagan's "wink and nod" genteel racism was a form of soft fascism in our faces. The function of fascist hierarchies has always been to separate the Earth's resources from those deemed "undesirable" to those deemed "desirable," "genius," and "blessed" by a deity. India had the Dalets, the base of their hierarchy, and Germany prior to and in WWII had Jews, Gypsies, artists, intellectuals, homosexuals, or as "woke is the new n-word," anything fascists then and now didn't like about modernity. Rinsed, lathered, and repeated, it, along with enslavement, is the oldest grift in the world and probably predates prostitution.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is a 2020 historical and narrative nonfiction work about the nature of inequality in the United States, India, and Nazi Germany. Wilkerson is a writer and former journalist best known for her work in the New York Times, for which she received a Pulitzer Prize. She achieved further acclaim with her 2010 work, The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson has also taught journalism at many colleges and universities, including Princeton and Emory.

Caste describes the United States from the arrival of the first enslaved people in 1619 to the current Covid-19 pandemic to explain the nature and consequences of inequality. In the book’s first part, Wilkerson notes that many people were shaken and surprised by the results of the 2016 presidential election. Still, the outcome was really the result of long-buried issues, and she, therefore, calls for a deep dive into the structures of American life. She argues that the key to understanding America is its caste system, a commitment to structures that assign some lives more valuable than others; in the United States, it is based on skin color.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Super Symmetry Summary

It would depend on whether we value people or the toys of billionaires: golf courses consuming copious amounts of water to maintain; mansions, yachts, yachts for helicopters, and penis rockets.

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By Comparison...

 

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Is Facebook Turning You Into a Troglodyte? Zachary Shtogren, Big Think

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

Framework (noun): (a) a basic conceptional structure (as of ideas), (b) a skeletal, openwork, or structural frame, FRAME OF REFERENCE (Merriam-Webster); ACADEMIC: The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory, which explains why the research problem under study exists. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185919

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Those who refer to themselves as moderate republicans or "never Trumpers" conveniently forget that Reagan started his campaign spitting on the graves of Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi. "States rights" was always code for the right to own human beings for uncompensated, unending labor. Reagan said it specifically to pull in Southern Dixiecrats, the "wink and nod," genteel, "aw, shucks" brand of feel-good racism with enough plausible denial for black conservatives that wanted on the train. The three Civil Rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, who STILL, along with Incels, Neo-Nazis, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and QAnon, are NOT designated domestic terrorist organizations - the FBI reserves that for Black Lives Matter and similar groups who put their bodies on the line for justice and typically don't carry AR15s, or AK47s.

The framework for "government is the problem" was the Lewis Powel memo. "Powell recommended a propaganda effort staffed with scholars and speakers, a propaganda effort to which American business should devote “10 percent of its total advertising budget,'” including an effort to review and critique textbooks, especially in economics, political science, and sociology." (Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) Obviously, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Ronald Reagan, and the entire Reich Wing ecosystem echo chamber read the memo. It elevated Powell to Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, which, every day since Taney and the Dred Scott decision, is becoming its own oxymoron.

So it stands to reason if "government is the problem," you CANNOT let the government be the solution. Every elected republican has one mission when getting to office: sabotage and cutting taxes for their wealthy benefactors. To perform this insurgency, you have to construct an ecosystem that echoes the same message and reinforces itself like a mantra at a MAGA monastery, musing on anger versus meditating on enlightenment. The fact that their favorite platform is now a proven liar is irrelevant: they haven't been told yet, so it's Troglodyte Nirvana. When you seize power, you must keep the Trogs angry even if you control all levels of government. You must keep the opposition - the "Democrat Party" (emphasis on "rat"), turning the adjective into a noun, using poor grammar as pejorative - on the defensive. It also helps that when you're in power, you're particularly bad at governing. "Government is the problem": solutions are hard to come by, especially when it calls for concession and compromise, meaning giving a little to get a little and trying again later. "Owning the libs" and trending on Twitter is more fun than thinking. The goal is to wear us down, to make us give up on pursuing common interests, and to become complacent. The opposite of activism is apathy, and the vacuum abhorred by nature is filled with the first wad of filth to walk through.

Eventually, an echo chamber disciple descends from his bizarro Olympus, personified on a grifting, golden escalator, the embodiment or incarnation of Archie Bunker with a wallet.

In Timothy Snyder's book, "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America," his erudite analysis of Vladimir Putin gets into the man's history, fears, and motivations. Ukraine's "existing" is a threat to his power. Before the bombing, it was modern. It had functional nuclear power plants (with the noted exception of Chornobyl). Ukraine was the antithesis of Russia's thesis of leadership by the reincarnation of Lenin and Stalin. It's why the Russians have to interfere with democratic elections. If you're trying to hold onto power until your last breath, it's a good idea to sabotage democratic elections across the globe. When his people demand elections, demand representation, demand better for themselves, Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see. People spontaneously falling out of windows, getting shot or poisoned, and being imprisoned for multiple years in gulags also bolsters his dark reign. The Russian people see where the wealth is: in Putin's palaces and with his oligarchs. "Why don't they protest in the streets?" Russians have no First Amendment Rights, and there, the Second Amendment is only for Putin's hired thugs. Where republicans in America are a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party, the Kremlin is a kleptocracy masquerading as a state.

People under such conditions, according to dystopian fiction author, Margaret Atwood, either become activists (which puts their lives in danger), collaborators, or complacent, keeping their heads down because they feel they have no power to change their conditions.

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see.

Dominion voting systems are suing Fox Propaganda for $1.6 billion, and SmartMatics is suing for $2.7 billion. No one who watches American Pravda is the wiser because "truth is bad for business."

And voila! You have a utopia for fascists and a dystopia for their subjects, who are either collaborators or exhausted. You have to enamor them to fascism, by comparison.

"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

"The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor." Voltaire

Republicans and Putin are trying to defeat democracy by exhausting citizens and subjects. We can regulate women's bodily autonomy, but not climate change or Wall Street. We can pull books from shelves, but not qualified immunity from bad police officers. We can threaten drag shows (a voluntary activity) but not make schools safe: a collapsible, laughable fold-out gun shelter in Alabama must have cost the district a small fortune that could have been remedied with background checks and red flag laws. “Woke” is their new n-word without saying the n-word for everything in modernity they do not like. Everything is, as Carl Sagan said in 1996, a “celebration of ignorance.”

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

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

Ann Duryan and Carl Sagan, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.”

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. Voltaire

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Apocalypse Now...

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Judge Royce Lambert said Jacob Chansley's role as a leader among those who went into the Senate chamber and disrupted the electoral vote tally compelled a serious prison sentence. | Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images | Politico

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, COVID-19, Environment, Existentialism, Fascism

Note: The title of this post is from the famous movie Apocalypse Now, which was popular during my senior year in high school.

Nathaniel P. Grimes is a Theologian, someone who "dedicates her or his life to the scholastic vocation of seeking after knowledge of God and the things of God." In other words, graduate school. Dr. Grimes published a paper that I feel should have gotten much more traction and explains the abject lunacy on the right: "The Racial Ideology of Rapture." In it, he posits that the viewpoint was not scriptural; it was political, as in an existential crisis for a South who had brainwashed themselves after losing the Civil War, or more aptly, mass cognitive dissonance before Leon Festinger.

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult that believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.

While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience,” committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members). Source: Simply Psychology

They lost the Civil War after Chief Justice Taney spouted the worst Supreme Court decision to Dred Scott that a black man "has no rights that a white man should respect." The institution of slavery, whether they owned any or not, meant that due to a lack of Melanin, the so-called "white" peasantry was magically "superior" to enslaved Africans. They didn't have to do anything to be superior. The society was exquisitely designed to reinforce the claptrap in the science of the day and from the pulpit that, upon further examination, was the framework for pseudoscience. As formerly enslaved Africans began running for office, gaining property, and establishing successful townships, [for] the psyche of the southern poor who risked life and limb to defend plantation oligarchs' ownership of other humans was an existential crisis. If the "whites" were not "superior," then what were they? The surviving confederate soldiers and their descendants got the battle ensign of Robert E. Lee (popularly, but inaccurately, the flag of the insurrectionist Confederacy) and shell shock.

The plantation oligarchs got reparations from the US government, the foundation for generational wealth passed down to their posterity. Equally, the descendants of potentates and peasants are hellbent on "conserving" the sadistic societal status quo.

Anglo-Futurism

John Nelson Darby was the "OG" of dispensationalism eschatology, or epochs in which humanity would be judged and punished, similar to the plagues of the Old Testament. John Scofield was a Confederate deserter (a broken clock can be right once or twice). After a conversion experience, he began writing dispensationalist literature, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, the foundation for the Dallas Seminary, and his Scofield's Reference Bible, which many trained theologians used during their graduate studies. His 1917 reference Bible referenced Genesis 9 as a "prophetic declaration" that "Ham will descend an inferior and servile posterity," probably the fanciest way I've seen someone use the n-word without using the n-word. Scofield's reputation was built on an "anti-black, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish theology." Moody followed in his footsteps, as his vision of a "perfect, raptured Heaven" was of "the Scotsman, the Englishman, the Frenchman, the German, the Italian, the Russian": all those who "hungered after righteousness." It was White-topia before Levittown.

Rapture was the escape hatch from Reconstruction and the previously enslaved Africans, newly by the 14th Amendment African Americans, to gain genuine electoral power and some property. The paper mentioned a diagram of the Earth's population in 1886 that I've seen in various forms. This was surrounding the International Prophetic Conference, showing the population of the world to premillennialists as "white squares" and "black squares," the noir geometry representing "Jews, Catholics, Mohammedans, and Heathens."

On page 219 of the paper: "in order to hasten Christ's coming, **the conditions here on earth must decline dramatically.** So they chose to pull back from social reform not only because the conversion was deemed more important but because reform itself 'delayed the Second Coming and deluded those who would be converted."

"Conditions on earth must decline dramatically": like climate change? Diversity, equity, and inclusions? Income inequality? Debt ceiling default? Social justice and police reform? Elections in a federal republic? Governing? Bodily autonomy for women, the transgender? What's the reserve against prosecuting wars all over the globe? We relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem in the last administration. The current administration hasn't moved it back since there's a sizeable percentage of the electorate that wants to hurry apocalypse like it's a "GI Joe: Real American Hero" Saturday morning cartoon where we do battle with Cobra, lasers blasting, and no one really wounded or dying. If premillennialists apparently had the "mess up the room, so the parent shows up" theory of the Second Coming, their descendants still have it. There will definitely be a "new Heaven and a new Earth" as the first Heaven and first Earth (the current one) passes away (Revelation 21) after the throws of a nuclear exchange. Seas probably would dry up if they hadn't overflowed from melted poles causing rising tides or becoming so irradiated for thousands of years. Your favorite salmon, lobster, or tilapia would, from then on, be aquatic SPAM.

This attitude fuels one political party currently in charge of the House of Representatives. The "weaponization of the government" hearings are going about, as well as Jim Jordan was in not protecting his athletes from sexual assault. Dr. Barbara Rossing, author of "The Rapture Exposed," starts her first chapter with these words reminiscent of Smedley Butler: "The Rapture is a Racket." Throughout the book, she shows that basing our Middle East strategy on "clean up on aisle 5" is part of why there hasn't been a "two-state solution" in Israel/Palestine. "The conditions on earth must decline dramatically."

People like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr used the Bible, the fact that pastors essentially had confidential meeting halls, to motivate a nonviolent movement to change the country for the better: "I want to go to Heaven, but I want some shoes down here!" He practiced "here-and-now" ministry and left it for history and the universe to judge him.

Or, we can have the eschatology of the insane. We can have faux theists that follow a cruel, psychopathic nincompoop that they've built a graven image while a disturbed man parades the Capitol in buffalo horns, war paint, and buckskin. Like QAnon, the eschatology of the insane "rationalizes the fantastical" and makes a few insurrectionists chairs of a "weaponization of government" committee, ignoring the last administration when the weaponization occurred.

The idea of white supremacy rests simply on the “fact” that white men are the creators of civilization (the present civilization, which is the only one that matters; all previous civilizations are simply “contributions” to our own) and are, therefore, civilization’s guardians and defenders. Thus, it was impossible for Americans to accept the black man as one of themselves, for to do so was to jeopardize their status as “white” men. But not so to accept him was to deny his human reality, his human weight and complexity, and the strain of denying the overwhelmingly undeniable forced Americans into rationalizations so fantastic that they approached the pathological. – James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son.”

Very soon in the founding of a new nation, however, White Christians began to establish their well-being by using the resources, bodies, and lives of others. Through their own "witchcraft," European Christians employed a mysterious and threatening potency that was the practice of using the other for their own gain. In [James W.] Perkinson's description, through the projects of the modern Christian empire, "a witchery" of heretofore unimaginable potency ravaged African and aboriginal cultures...For Perkinson, the witchcraft of White supremacy was conjured through racial discourse as an ideological and practical framework that he identifies as the 'quintessential witchery of modernity.'... In Perkinson's chilling words, "Whiteness, under the veneer of its 'heavenly' pallor, is a great grinding witch tooth, sucking blood and tearing flesh without apology."

Excerpts: The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism & Religious Diversity in America," by Jeanine Hill Fletcher, CH 2: The Witchcraft of White Supremacy, 47, 48.

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Adios, Dilbert...

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

Dildo (noun): an object shaped like and used in place of a penis for giving sexual pleasure; (mainly US offensive): a stupid person, especially a man. Cambridge Dictionary

Note: In light of recent events, and the pregnant homophone, it was too good to pass up.

As an engineer in Austin, Texas, working at Motorola, I emailed Mr. Adams (we both used what is now the ancient Internet service provider, AOL) a story idea about being volunteered for a project in an engineering group that I didn’t work in to change a process that I wasn’t responsible for. Then, in another meeting, I was taken off the project AFTER I had researched the business unit - Diffusion - and made the process changes. Scott turned it into a strip overnight, replying, “GREAT story idea!” At least, that's how I took it.

The strip above showed up the NEXT day (Saturday). Maybe I read too much into the coincidence, but I made it for a time, my screen saver, just to needle the management types. None of them suspected they or their absurdity was the subject of the strip.

"Dilbert" was brilliant in that it sourced many of its stories from "the field." Engineers working in semiconductors, STEM types working for engineering firms. Government engineers could also relate to the archetype "pointy-haired manager" (a personification of the devil), and every bad technical manager that went to "bad manager school," most of them either hadn't done engineering in years or weren't ever engineers at all. Catbert, the evil HR director, was self-explanatory. I have no idea what "Ratbert" was supposed to represent. Until his racist YouTube rant, I did proudly cart around a stuffed Dogbert in my home or work office prior to the familiar orange "bigly" pompadour on his latest work that leaves no doubt about his politics. As a US veteran, I took an Oath to "protect and defend The Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." I don't share his viewpoint on a glorious time of "great again" or insurrection. I was by no means unique or solitary to have sent Mr. Adams a story idea and him choosing to use it or ignore it. At one point, he showed a Pareto chart of each engineering segment he got story ideas from (semiconductors were far to the left on the abscissa). He seemed beyond culture, class, and classification. He got us, the nerds in hamster cubicles who made the modern age possible.

I now choose Scott Adams to ignore you.

The once widely celebrated Adams, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement “It’s okay to be White” — a phrase sometimes associated with racist memes.

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with White people … that’s a hate group,” Adams said on his live-streaming YouTube show. “I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people … because there is no fixing this.”

Adams, 65, also blamed Black people for not “focusing on education” during the show and said, “I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of Black Americans beating up non-Black citizens.”

It took me a while, but I finally stuck it out enough in graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Nanoengineering. Oh, and by the way, my physical features, you would identify as black.

I'm saying my "physical features" because, until 1681, there was no such thing as "white" people. That was created by the United States and propagated throughout the world. The first 1790 Census was explicit in its hatred of anything other than "white." I put the name in quotes because, due to the need to maintain numerical dominance, "white" has been a fungible word. Czechs, Italians, Irish, Jews, and Russians were once not considered "pure" enough to be "white." Humans are adaptive to the environments they inhabit.

Thus, Mr. Adams, you are exactly what anyone would expect an African to look like after approximately 40,000 years of not getting direct equatorial sunlight near the equator and closer to the north pole. Your ancestors in Europe would have no need for the protection of Melanin. Their hair would thin and mat to trap heat. Their noses would narrow due to the cold. I would expect humans on a Martian colony not to look as good as the actors on Star Trek: lower gravity, further from the sun, and higher radiation; the humans would not only look different, they would find the gravity well on earth crushing. Race is a social construct. If you read beyond what appears to have been conspiratorial sites, you would know that. The engineer you once were, the satirist of corporate silliness you became while simultaneously holding your engineering job, has gone the way of the dinosaurs and the Dodo.

I am not, nor have I ever been, part of a hate group. I have never called for segregation, as humans cannot "segregate" unless we're going to different sectors of the universe. They can create enclaves with restrictive covenants - but we breathe the same air and consume the same products on the same planet. A formula that you, Elon Musk, and Ron DeSantis should imbibe: Racism = Prejudice + Political Power. I derived the formula from an interview with the comedian Paul Mooney. Black people can be prejudiced. They have never, however, wielded power large enough or long enough to create laws to affect any other group, as yours has mine for centuries of this nation's history, a history you probably don't want to be reviewed or taught. Besides, I think you'd be terrible at picking tobacco or cotton.

Whatever demons you've been channeling since the Covid crisis that you deny, I hope one day, you excise them and join the rest of humanity in the light of diversity.

Along with Dogbert, the book products I purchased as a fan went out yesterday with Thursday's garbage collection.

I guess now that a once brilliant cartoonist is insane.

“Scott Adams is a disgrace,” Darrin Bell, creator of “Candorville” and the first Black artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, told The Post on Saturday. “His racism is not even unique among cartoonists.” Bell compared Adams’s views to the Jim Crow era and more recent examples of White supremacy, including “millions of angry people trying to redefine the word ‘racism’ itself.”

‘Dilbert’ dropped by The Post, and other papers after cartoonist’s racist rant, Thomas Floyd and Michael Cavna, Washington Post

 

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Silicon Gaslighting...

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Image source: Black Planet dot com

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

Note: I had my bridge removed by a periodontist. That's not as trivial as I thought it would be, recalling me pulling my baby teeth at the age of six. My pain management regimen consisted of 600 mg of Motrin and 500 mg of Tylenol four times a day for two days, plus lots of rest. I guess losing a tooth at six is remarkably different than losing one at sixty. For the sake of public safety, I opted to telework as much as I could that week. I will have posts for Tuesday - Friday next week, taking President's Day off.

*****

Sematech was a consortium of semiconductor industry giants on Ben White Boulevard in Austin, Texas. The taxpayers paid their land expenses through a ten-year tax abatement. Sematech promised Austin jobs. So in the spirit of fairness, Austin obviously wanted Sematech to start paying their taxes, and repaying the homeowners who footed the bill for a decade.

May 9th, 2007

Sematech leaving Austin for Albany

Abstract:

International Sematech will move its headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Albany, N.Y., state officials said May 9.

New York will spend $300 million to provide the buildings and infrastructure required to accommodate the headquarters of Sematech, a consortium of microchip manufacturers and semiconductor research operations, said Alain Kaloyeros, the chief administrative officer of the state University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, located at Albany NanoTech.

The money will go to the University at Albany, which now hosts Sematech's existing research operation. The deal is still being finalized, although Sematech will begin moving some personnel to Albany in July, Kaloyeros said.

Source:

phoenix.bizjournals.com

http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=22519

*****

I worked for Applied Materials at the IBM research facility in Fishkill, New York, from 2011 to 2017 and, ironically, with Albany Nanotech/Sematech on many occasions since my company had equipment installed there. I often passed the photo in Fishkill of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, taken in 2005 with Governor George Pataki and IBM executives. IBM promised jobs. The company needed ten years of tax abatements to grow, and they promised job nirvana. The ten-year clock was UP in 2015. Fishkill wanted their money. IBM wanted another decade-long tax abatement. There was an obvious impasse. Something had to give.

(Reuters) - IBM Corp IBM.N said it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract-chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc to focus on cloud computing and big data analytics.

IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years to take the chip operations off its hands, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

IBM took a related pre-tax charge of $4.7 billion in its third quarter. It also reported a 4 percent drop in revenue on Monday, hurt by weak sales in its software and services businesses.

IBM’s shares fell 8 percent to $167 in premarket trading.

IBM to pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to take chip unit. Abhirup Roy, Reuters, October 20, 2014

If $1.5 billion dollars paid is saving, what in Heaven's name did they OWE Fishkill, NY?

So, color me not exactly nonplussed when I read this article on CNN:

CNN Business — When Microsoft President Brad Smith announced in February 2021 that the tech giant had purchased a 90-acre plot of land in Atlanta’s westside, he laid out a bold vision: The company, he said, would invest in the community and put it “on the path toward becoming one of Microsoft’s largest hubs” in the United States.

The announcement, which was met with enthusiastic coverage in local media, promised the construction of affordable housing, programs to help public school children develop digital skills, support for historically Black colleges and universities, new funding for local nonprofits, and affordable broadband for more people in Atlanta.

“Our biggest question today is not what Atlanta can do to support Microsoft,” Smith wrote. “It’s what Microsoft can do to support Atlanta.”

Two years later, Microsoft announced a series of cost-cutting efforts, including eliminating 10,000 jobs, making changes to its hardware portfolio, and consolidating leases. As part of those moves, Microsoft put the development of its Atlanta campus on pause this month, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The decision to pause plans feels like a “broken promise” that caught many residents of the predominately Black neighborhood where Microsoft planned to build the campus off-guard, according to Jasmine Hope, a local resident and chair of her neighborhood planning unit.

‘Broken promises.’ Tech industry’s real estate pullback leaves communities reeling. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business, February 14, 2023

*****

In the book and 2003 documentary, "The Corporation" by Professor Joel Bakan, he looked at the legal fiat during the Robber Baron era using the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which conferred birthright citizenship for formerly enslaved peoples to corporations, hence making them legal "persons."

So, Dr. Bakan asked the question, "what kind of person would this entity be?"

The chilling and provocative answer: the closest person to a corporation would be a psychopath.

The Corporation likewise forces viewers to ponder key philosophical questions about the role of science and entrepreneurship and who should own knowledge and life. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, introduces the complexities of intellectual property by outlining the history of patenting knowledge and life forms. Here, the film pushes our sensibilities of entrepreneurship and patenting. Patenting is intended to encourage innovation by ensuring that the innovator profits from the discoveries. But indiscriminate patenting can lead to “biopiracy,” –– a recently-coined term for the activities of corporations, universities, and governments that patent the medicinal or therapeutic properties of plants or animals used in traditional and indigenous medicines. The film also discusses the ethics of genetically-modified foods, which dramatically increase food production and change farming practices. For example, “terminator technology” in rice prevents farmers from saving and re-sowing seeds because the seeds have been genetically modified to produce only one crop. Perhaps most disturbing, the film raises the specter of corporations’ owning the entire human genetic code, as well as that of all other species on the planet.

In summary, The Corporation contends that today’s ubiquitous corporations are designed to behave like psychopaths—a provocative premise likely to polarize viewers and invite debate. The film has insights for people on all points of the political spectrum. It is useful for managers who struggle with issues of ethics and corporate social responsibility and for trainers, instructors, and researchers in the fields of strategy, ethics, governance, labor-management relations, and sustainable development.

The Corporation - The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Movie Review

About 1.2% of U.S. adult men and 0.3% to 0.7% of U.S. adult women are considered to have clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. Those numbers rise exponentially in prison, where 15% to 25% of inmates show these characteristics (Burton, B., & Saleh, F. M., Psychiatric Times, Vol. 37, No. 10, 2020). That said, psychopathy spans socioeconomic status, race, gender, and culture, and those who score high on psychopathy scales range from high-functioning executives to prison inmates to people whose psychopathic symptoms may reflect difficult life circumstances more than anything else.

One effort to coordinate thinking in the field is Patrick’s “triarchic model,” which posits three separable trait constructs underlying psychopathic symptoms: “disinhibition,” which includes tendencies toward impulsiveness, irresponsibility, difficulty regulating one’s emotions and behavior, and mistrust of others; “meanness,” which involves deficits in empathy, contempt toward and inability to bond with others, and predatory exploitativeness; and “boldness,” which includes dominance, social assurance, emotional resilience, and adventurousness. Each of these traits has unique developmental features and neurobiological correlates. Patrick developed the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure to assess these trait constructs (Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2009Journal of Personality, Vol. 83, No. 6, 2015).

A broader view of psychopathy. Tori DeAngelis, the American Psychological Association

Wafer fabs are complex places in need of specific technical STEM backgrounds. Local colleges and universities can tailor curriculums so that their graduates "fit the mold" of what XYZ employer is looking for. There are often collaborative research efforts between academia and industry that are encouraged and pursued.

Not all of the jobs are technical. If you have a cafeteria on-site, you need to staff it. Janitorial services are needed for the offices and bathrooms. You need painters, masonry workers, plumbers, and electricians.

All, from the cook to the engineer, are subject to layoffs at the whims of management and shareholders who never met them or care how such a move impacts their families. It is a string of broken promises and shattered dreams.

It's a tax dodge. It's grifting. It's Silicon gaslighting.

So, let me get this straight:

The tobacco industry paid lobbyists to promote the false narrative that smoking wasn’t as bad for your health as the Surgeon General reported. Mike Pence (not a smoker) endorsed in an OpEd that resurfaced after helming the disastrous response to the Coronavirus pandemic (and he wants to run for president, presumably getting the votes from the same people who wanted to kill him on January 6, 2021). Smokers like my father were gaslighted, and paid for this lie with their lungs and lives.

The fossil fuels industry paid those same lobbyists to do their magic, promoting the false narrative that climate change wasn’t as dire as they were already aware of in the late 1970s. Instead of information we could have acted on, we were gaslighted.

A lot of American oligarchs: Bezos (Washington Post), Bloomberg (Bloomberg News), Murdoch (Wall Street Journal, Fox Propaganda), Musk (Twitter), Trump (Twitter knockoff, the Orwellian “Truth Social”), and Zuckerberg (Facebook) are heavily involved in controlling the narrative of what we believe and know as reality. The previous “off the dome” isn’t even an exhaustive list. AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, Newscorp, and Viacom are the six corporations that own 90% of all the media that we consume: radio, television, print, and the Internet. Thirty-eight years ago, it was fifty. We believe what we're fed: "corporate citizens" is a term the corporations lob at us through various forms of media. We believe also from the media that billionaires/oligarchs are "blessed," "geniuses," "highly favored," not tax dodging criminals because that's what their media tell us to believe.

If corporations "are people," are the organizations clinically psychopaths?

Are their minions in lobbying firms and congress merely servile sociopaths?

But this isn’t gaslighting?

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