human_rights (49)

Occam's Razor and Scorched Earth...

 

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia: Gerhard_Schröder-Relationship_with_Gazprom_and_Rosneft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow is after that.

 
 
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Gaming This Out...

Because of the recent changes in my previous platform, I am discontinuing https://www.physics4thecool.blogspot.com and continuing on WordPress and BSFS. What follows is the post I meant for Blogger. I will miss it.

 

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

The current first Tuesday of November came into law in the year 1845, when America was an agrarian society, and it took a day’s travel to get to one’s polling place to exercise the franchise. It was also 15 years before the Civil War that ripped the country apart pitting north against south, industrialists against plantation slavery owners. It was a time when my people were considered 3/5th of a person, and the conception of John Robert Lewis and Barack Hussein Obama never would have entered the mostly white male property owner's thinking.

Orange Satan doesn’t have the power to alter the date of the November 3rd election. His tweet came 16 minutes into the speech above. It was also minutes from the GDP dipping 32.9%, lower than it’s ever dipped in history. The Coronavirus has defied all happy talk, magical thinking and vindictive revenge porn, seeing the initial infection hot spots were in blue states. I probably would have wanted to talk about something else as well.

But, what if it’s something far more sinister entirely? He will sincerely try to steal or cast doubt in the election. He will use Russia, China, Iran; the Abominable Snowman, because “playing by the rules” is something his spoiled brat ass never had to do. He will behave like a cornered rat, he’ll do anything to survive, not excluding refusing to leave the Oval Office. We should have contingency plans for a protracted, dramatic, televised brawl: worthy of reality TV. He’s preparing to do what he does best: tie it up in court to wear down his opponents – the American people – to just quit. “Peaceful transition” means prison time for him, and until January 20, 2021, Mango Mussolini has the nuclear codes.

The hallmark of American Democracy was always the “peaceful transition of power.” This assumed everyone played by the same rules, abide by the same reality, and generally of good character, thinking of the country far above anything they could achieve for themselves. We’re obviously not there now. Orange Satan is the personification of fear: fear of the future and the inevitable change in demographics the passage of time brings. It was the core of right wing AM talk radio that evolved to the airwaves and a certain network owned by an Aussie and Saudi prince (so “American”), spewing nightly feces that amounts to mental propaganda and bullshit.

In yesterday’s final lauding of John Robert Lewis by three presidents that didn’t need foreign help and could actually string coherent sentences together, each took their subtle and not-so-subtle swipes at the current Manchurian Puppet. The Civil Rights Movement only looked at the founding documents of this republic, and asked the simple question: are we Americans? After 400 years, and serving this country in every war since Crispus Attucks first died for the American Revolution, the compound interest from “40 acres and a mule” is astronomical, but the wounds of daily racial hatred; the perpetual knee-on-neck of the body politic is exhausting. 400 years to George Floyd is literally, the “patience of Job” on steroids.

The United States is a democracy because of black people.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Now, that’s the “noble” part.

Peruse down a little further in the document: “He (ahem: King George of England) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” That part wasn’t covered in the Broadway Musical, “Hamilton.”

Reference: U.S. History: Declaration of Independence

Frederick Douglass said: “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” As Joy Reid of MSNBC eluded, we read it. We decided we wanted it. People like Crispus Attucks, Frederick Douglass, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and John Robert Lewis struggled and died for it, and their progeny have decided we WANT it.

The United States is nominally a Christian nation because of black people.

The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

We are the 400-year strangers and angels among you, that you hang, shoot, and strangle all day long.

We are either human or not. We are either fully Americans or not.

This is either a democracy, or it’s a modern American Bund.

Or:

“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life, I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

“When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” John Robert Lewis, the Angel that was among us, New York Times

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Good, and Faithful Servant...

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Image Credit: New York Times

 

Topics: Civil Rights, Human Rights, John Robert Lewis

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world, you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
 

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland, and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters, and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up, and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life, I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

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Betwixt Eddie and Mary...

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

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. Franklin D. Roosevelt

At 1 pm eastern, 12 noon in San Antonio, my wife's family laid her favorite uncle to rest, a U.S. veteran. He died due to health complications, non-COVID. Because of the pandemic, we had to say our tearful goodbyes over Facebook live, the participants' voices muffled by masks singing "It is Well." He lived a good life, into his eighties, longer than my own father, but his sons probably don't take solace in his longevity: their hero is gone for now.

Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr's book on James Baldwin downloaded on my Kindle about a week before Dr. Mary Trump's book about her uncle. They are my mental comfort food between writing a research proposal: a book written by an African American heterosexual professor about an LGBT Civil Rights icon, and a book about an unstable, reckless sociopath, written by his niece, a Lesbian, a notion now in a world with Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow is almost cliche. "Jimmy" was out and proud before it was relatively safe, or sane. He literally could have been killed for "the color of his skin, and the content of his character." But that did not stop or stifle his boldness.

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” ― James Baldwin

We are "betwixt and between" the past and the future: one written and one yet-to-be written, first by John Lewis and now, Black Lives Matter et al. We are betwixt and between love and hate, democracy and fascism; working towards a more perfect union, and barreling towards totalitarianism. The philosophies of Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler are personified in Bannon, Gorka and Miller, fascist whisperers recycling hate in the 21st century: the ovens now microscopic, efficient, utterly malevolent, and unseen. We are seeing the NRA's "jackbooted thugs" deployed in American cities - Portland, Oregon, soon Chicago, Illinois; our nation's birthplace in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and any other blue-governed city, without a peep from them, as deafening a silence now as for the death-by-police of the licensed gun owner, Philando Castile. The second amendment might be outlawed to Melanin in a dictatorship.

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear. Heinrich Himmler, commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo.

*****

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

For Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., that fierce urgency is he, I and previously "Jimmy" living in these black bodies, witnessing the country careen from "hope and change" to this dark moment of running over civil rights demonstrators in Charlottesville, Nazis in polo shirts carrying tiki torches; or teargassing peaceful George Floyd demonstrators on the Washington Mall. Once we got over the "post-racial America" shtick, it didn't take long to see the new black president hung in effigy, called the n-word almost daily, burned at the stake, bone through the nose as witch doctor for the pejorative: Obamacare. They prayed Psalm 109:8-15, for his death and desolation. They are anti-Christians for an Antichrist. Their hatred of immigrants in chat rooms and over the pit of hell summoned eventually a demon, who recycled for them Hitler, the Klan and Reagan's slogan: make America great again. Exposed in Dr. Glaude's treatise was what Eddie and "Jimmy" referred to as the American lie, broadcast with the hubris of a birther foghorn.

For Dr. Mary Trump, that fierce urgency was living through a slow train wreck: watching her father, Freddy - Fred Trump's namesake - taken apart by her grandfather brick-by-brick until there was nothing left. She could still live in the comfort of privilege, station and American aristocracy: her bloodline leading directly to the seat of power almost infinite. All she had to do was keep her head low and flatter a narcissist. Her clinical training tells her there is no pleasing such a person. His needs are a bottomless pit next to a black hole. His loyalty is demanded of others and expendable to the same. Just as the senior sociopath dismantled her father, her training said a prolific lying, mentally disturbed, gaslighting and violent man could dismantle a nation.

Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man

Perhaps she thought of Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

It is easy to fill in the blank now: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Women, Homosexuals, Lesbians, Transgenders: if we do not speak for our fellow humans, we follow them into the COVID ovens. A pandemic as eugenics is far more efficient, less visible and more excusable than public crematoriums.

I still have hope. I have to. I have a granddaughter barely over a year old, and she DESERVES a future.

Politics in America especially is organized tribalism. The factions George Washington warned about in his farewell address express themselves as republicans and democrats, along with greens and independents.

We are all between yesterday and tomorrow, living out our hyphens. We are ever all in "the fierce urgency of NOW" for tomorrow. We all have children, or know children, and a world that looks like a dystopian novel is only appealing to sociopaths, mass murderers and death cult members. A world like that has few children, and the human species - Coronavirus, climate change, or nuclear exchange - is then in peril.

For this election, for humanity, we have to ALL be Americans, and heroes in the spirit of John Lewis: voting by mail, voting early, getting in "good trouble" for this fleeting, precious thing called democracy: made real by the struggles of the downtrodden and "the least of these." For "the fierce urgency of now," for a "better world beyond the horizon"... for tomorrow.

“never lose sight, as we finger the pain and disillusionment of our after times, of the possibility of a New Jerusalem.” ― Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

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This House of Usher...

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Image Source: Freedom Summer link below

 

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

On June 21, 1964, three young men disappeared near the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael (Mickey) Schwerner and James Chaney worked for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in nearby Meridian; Andrew Goodman was one of the hundreds of college students from across the country who volunteered to work on voter registration, education, and Civil Rights as part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. The three men believed their work was necessary, but also dangerous: Ku Klux Klan membership in Mississippi was soaring in 1964 -- with membership reaching more than 10,000. The Klan was prepared to use violence to fight the Civil Rights movement; on April 24 the group offered a demonstration of its power, staging 61 simultaneous cross burnings throughout the state.

The case was drawing national attention, in part because Schwerner and Goodman were both white Northerners. Mickey Schwerner's wife Rita, who was also a CORE worker, tried to convert that attention to the overlooked victims of racial violence. “The slaying of a Negro in Mississippi is not news. It is only because my husband and Andrew Goodman were white that the national alarm has been sounded,” she told reporters during the search.

Throughout July, investigators combed the woods, fields, swamps, and rivers of Mississippi, ultimately finding the remains of eight African American men. Two were identified as Henry Dee and Charles Moore, college students who had been kidnapped, beaten, and murdered in May 1964. Another corpse was wearing a CORE t-shirt. Even less information was recorded about the five other bodies discovered.

Finally, after six weeks of searching, a tip from an informant -- later identified as Mississippi Highway Patrol officer Maynard King -- sent investigators to an earthen dam on the Old Jolly Farm outside Philadelphia. It was there that the FBI uncovered the bodies of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman on August 4.

Excerpt from Freedom Summer: Murder in Mississippi, American Experience, PBS

*****

Russian financial traffic got to the Taliban in Afghanistan: intelligence wouldn't use the word "bounty."  The scandal is there was no reaction or retaliation from the Commander-in-Chief*. In schoolyard parlance, Putin knocked the board off Orange Satan's shoulder, and he slunk away to get into a Twitter spat with a pack of mean middle school students. Twitter saw hacks Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Joe Biden (hopefully, the successor of Satan), and a lot of other prominent American accounts for a bitcoin scam. I can't imagine this wasn't Putin: he has no push back to any actions in the world he's taking. (Noticeably, Tangerine Nit Twit's account was fine.) Russians are also interested in our vaccine information, because a recovering America during a pandemic to them, is a threat.

Deafening silence (still) from a law-and-order president* and his politically compromised party complicit with a hostile foreign power.

* Putin's puppet, if you didn't already know.

Realize: This republic's unraveling has been an ongoing project. It was held together by spit, glue and duct tape. Every step forward by the marginalized has always experienced backlash. Corey Robin in "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin" states: Conservatism is the theoretical voice of this animus against the agency of the subordinate classes, i.e. people get pissed off about getting pissed on, and the ones over them calling it rain. This spawns Civil Rights, Women's Rights, LGBT rights movements, because a few of us actually read The Constitution. Jimmy Carter was our first openly evangelical president, and supported by none other than types like Michelle Bachmann. However, he ran afoul when he tried to get Bob Jones University to follow the law, and not be so racist with miscegenation (a fancy word for no interracial dating). Hopping on the abortion bandwagon was an easy dodge that I don't think they ever meant to win, as Corey Robin noted, the war against an enemy was the most important thing. This led them to their first sale of a piece of their souls to a B-movie actor, Ronald Reagan.

Reagan knowingly started his campaign within meters of the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi. This was genteel wink-and-nod politics, giving plausible denial to moderate whites and black republicans that could then both deny the subtle racism directly before them. Since Charlottesville and before it when IT descended that escalator in Trump tower, it's been a foghorn, and only a blind/deaf/dumb man could miss his self-admittance the alt-right, Neo Nazis and KKK can recognize. Every tax cut, then and since Reagan, has been a damned lie of trickle down; pissing on us, and still telling us it's rain. Hell, why change the shtick if it's still working after forty years? It's not a huge stretch from a B-movie actor to a reality show nincompoop.

*****

I purchased Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, by Dr. Mary L. Trump, feeling better contributing to its rise on the New York Times Bestseller List than John Bolton's (I canceled it when I found out he influenced the disbanding of the pandemic response team). Not that there wasn't a cottage industry that's used their access to this criminal to like Bolton, cash-in. Dr. Trump is a clinical psychiatrist specializing in psychopathy and sociopathy. She is also, by her last name: his niece. She is similar (to me) Marilyn Munster - "plain" by Munster norms - but normal to everyone else viewing the sitcom. In it, the mansion that Fred Trump met out his sociopathic abuse that produced our current president* was simply referred to as "The House."

The "Fall of the House of Usher" is a classic Gothic short story by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe. In it, the unnamed narrator makes the dysfunction of the Usher family - only one heir per generation - and the house itself one in the same. There is a suggestion this genetic problem might be the result of incest, since they only manage to have one heir per generation.

The narrator's friend Roderick buries his twin sister, Madeline after suffering catalepsy, defined as the loss of control of one’s limbs. Dictionary.com says "a physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by suspension of sensation, muscular rigidity, fixity of posture, and often by loss of contact with environment." Poe sure could pick the sickness!

Madeline "dies" (even before comics, there's a loophole), buried; only to emerge bloodied from the grave she escaped and attacks her brother (who wouldn't, buried alive?). She dies from her wounds, Roderick dies from apparent cardiac arrest and the house poetically collapses with the death of both heirs as the narrator sprints.

Brian Kemp is suing the city of Atlanta, its mayor and other municipalities to stop them from wearing masks, so...he can spread Coronavirus more efficiently? It's about as sensible as hocking Goya beans as refrigerator trucks and bodies are piling up.

I voted for the smart woman last time. I'm voting for the sane candidate this time as well: he models wearing a mask. I will crawl over broken glass, swim molten lava; wrestle man-eating crocodiles to end this dystopian nightmare. It's way past if we "love" Joe Biden: we need to overwhelm the cheating, voter suppression, the Russians hacking/disinformation and affect repairs to the framework of a crumbling republic.

However: If this house disintegrates, this narrator's passport is current.

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Death Cult...

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Image source: NPR

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights

Barbara Stanwyck: “We're both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you're a little more rotten.” -“Double Indemnity” (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests – no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachmann (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.

Excerpt from "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult," Mike Lofgren, Truthout, September 3, 2011

September 3, 2011 was a year before the re-election campaign of the first African American president, and the quixotic attempt to make him a "one-term president" by now Black Lives Matter Senator Mitt Romney, the goal was clearly stated by Michele Bachmann, Moscow Mitch McConnell and a whole host of characters that might as well have been the compost for the garden variety bullshit metastasized into our current COVID harvest.

Arizona has spiked. Oklahoma has spiked. Orange Satan's resuming in-person campaigning, and bullying schools to put their children through the flaming arms of Moloch this fall, so that the remnant of parents, teachers, principals and janitors that SURVIVE limp the hulking carcass of this economy over the finish line November 3, 2020 towards the re-election of Damien Thorn. Whatever the previous Republican Party's "principles" were, they jettisoned when an improbable black man with a funny name actually won the presidency, making history of course, but he wasn't supposed to. Running's aloud; winning's not.

Frederick Douglass was nominally a presidential candidate at the 1888 Republican convention by one vote. George Edwin Taylor became a candidate of the newly-formed (and brief) National Negro Liberty Party in 1904. Channing E. Phillips received 67.5 votes at the 1968 Democratic convention, the same year Nixon won. Shirley Chisholm was a candidate four years later for the DNC, earning 152 delegates. Jesse Jackson (Aggie Alumnus) garnered 3 million votes in 1984 and 7 million votes in 1988. Reverend Al Sharpton and Senator Carol Moseley-Braun and republican Alan Keyes also ran (2000, 2008). Herman Cain, Ben Carson, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was a late entrant into the race for this cycle. Source: Wikipedia

Until President Obama, the "hounds tooth" of white supremacy was remarkably efficient in barring people of any color from the nation's highest office. We also stand firmly as the only nation that has NEVER had a female executive, and until 2008, firmly held the line that whether (D) or (R), the reins of ultimate power would be held by white males 43 times from George Washington to George W. Bush. November 4, 2008 rocked their world.

Barack Obama was to them, a living nightmare: the personification of the demographics bomb they themselves caused with free trade policies that all but eliminated the central class in Central America. It was essentially an extension of slavery and indentured servitude. Builders et al., who payed workers in bags of cash so they didn't have to report them to the IRS, are suddenly freaked out those same people had children, who become citizens and most likely: won't understand their nostalgia for white picket fences and red-lined districts. Superbowl commercials celebrating diversity were denigrated if they didn't remind them of Norman Rockwell paintings, i.e., of themselves as the epitome of humanity. The "evil empire" of their patron, Saint Reagan, didn't look so evil and the PR was changed - common sense ignored - to reflect it. Fascism is nothing if not based on fear.

Death cult: A fringe religious group that glorifies or is obsessed with death. Oxford English dictionary

That Monday night, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick seemed to go full Midsommar—a horror movie about a fictional Swedish death cult that sacrifices their elders—by saying that ”as a senior citizen” he was “all in” on “willing to take a chance on [my] survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves.”

Right-wing internet commentator Jesse Kelly tweeted on Tuesday morning that, “If given the choice between dying and plunging the country I love into a Great Depression, I’d happily die.”

Glenn Beck on Wednesday said that he too was ready to risk his life for the stock market, in a stream following a town hall in which Trump floated a return to reopening businesses and public gatherings by April 12, an ambition that Beck conceded could be a death sentence for thousands of Americans—himself included.

If all that sounds to you like the dangerous, macabre ramblings of a movement willing to sacrifice human life for illusory gains, you’re not alone. “I dealt with suicidal cults before. I encountered people who are willing to die for their faith, ideology, race, etc. But, I never encountered anyone who is willing to die for someone else’s 401k,” tweeted Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who now runs an intelligence and security consultancy. “This is a whole new level of craziness.”

Formal experts on destructive cults agreed with Soufan’s diagnosis of Trump and his base’s support for letting some die. When I reached him via a Zoom video call, Steve Hassan, a mental health professional and cult expert, started nodding immediately when I asked if he saw parallels between, say, the Jonestown Massacre and Trump’s willingness to put the elderly on a near literal chopping block. Ben Zeller, a professor at Lake Forest University who focuses on new religions and Daniel Shaw, a New York-based psychoanalyst who has helped counsel people who have left cult religions, agreed with almost no hesitation.

Cult Experts Warn That Trumpism Is Starting to Look Awfully Familiar, Ali Breland, Mother Jones

Mike Logren called it. We are now well past the bug-eyed point with Bachmann.

Fear can motivate irrational behavior. A party with authoritarian tendencies will ignore facts, science and reality, thus, climate change, universal healthcare and COVID mask protocols are immediate non-starters. A party that cannot garner enough votes or convince enough women, LGBT, black or indigenous people of color and youth will simply block, or purge them. A party that fears oblivion might sell our national soul to a Russian devil, cavorting with them openly July 4, 2018. What then, are the "in the event of election landslide, break glass" instructions?

We're beyond the crazy bug-eyed, chrysalis of madness to fully-emerged, political dementia - the kool-aid moment of the republic, and we're a tweet away from Armageddon.

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Xenophobic Idolatry...

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Teen Vogue: Quaranteens Against Xenophobia, Karma Samtani

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short list of things created by immigrants:

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

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

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

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

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Wrestle Mania...

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Mil Máscaras, 2009. Source: Wikipedia

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Stable genius" maybe should have asked Mil Máscaras?

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

 

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

 

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

Black Wall Street:

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

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

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

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

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum

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

But today, it is also, Juneteenth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#ShutDownSTEM...

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Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Site: #ShutDownSTEM.com

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

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

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

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

Négritude:

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

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

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Négritude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biff, Galileo and Gaslighting...

 

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

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

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

Galileo is convicted of heresy, History.com

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

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

You look scared, Donald.

You should be.

A pandemic is problematic for you.

You can’t gaslight a pandemic.

You can’t bully it into compliance.

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

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

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

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

You can’t impugn its character with baseless attacks.

You can’t fool it with talk about God.

You can’t bury it with FoxNews fluff pieces.

You can’t drown it in nationalism.

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

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

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

You can’t rage-Tweet it into exhaustion.

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

By golly, Biff damned sure is trying!

I wrote this on Facebook, May 8th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Going Forward...

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At the former IBM research facility, Fishkill, NY

 

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


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

 

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


(Suggested) extended protocols:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IML%2BProtocols.jpg

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

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

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

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Image Source: Pinterest

 


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

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

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


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

Blankets to First Nation peoples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


It is ghoulish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Credit: Getty Images

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

 

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


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

 

*****


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

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

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

Nam-Hwa Kang, Asia-Pacific Science Education

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

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

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

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

 

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This piece was reported by Patrik Jonsson in Savannah, Georgia; Nick Squires in Rome; Ryan Lenora Brown in Johannesburg; and Lenora Chu in Berlin. It was written by Mr. Trumbull.
 
Read more…

Zombies Would be Better...

 

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


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

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

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

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

He turns it into gaslighting.

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

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

 

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

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

Malignant Narcissism


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

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

 

Why is the behavior of malignant narcissism often considered dangerous?


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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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Image source: Reddit


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


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

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

Fascists are obviously dumb as hell.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

March madness has ended abruptly due to Coronavirus.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Norquist had a tax pledge:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Define Fascism - Seth Tobocman, The Nation


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

*****


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

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

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

 

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

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― John Milton, Paradise Lost
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