human_rights (30)

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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Rule of Law...

 

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


What is the Rule of Law?

The rule of law is a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just society. Many countries throughout the world strive to uphold the rule of law where no one is above the law, everyone is treated equally under the law, everyone is held accountable to the same laws, there are clear and fair processes for enforcing laws, there is an independent judiciary, and human rights are guaranteed for all.
 

Source: American Bar Association, Public Education: Rule of Law

*****


WASHINGTON — The U.S. attorney who had presided over an inconclusive criminal investigation into former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe was abruptly removed from the job last month in one of several recent moves by Attorney General William Barr to take control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News that Trump has rescinded the nomination of Jessie Liu, who had been the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., for a job as an undersecretary at the Treasury Department.

Liu also supervised the case against Trump associate Roger Stone. On Tuesday, all four line prosecutors withdrew from the case — and one quit the Justice Department altogether — after Barr and his top aides intervened to reverse a stiff sentencing recommendation of up to nine years in prison that the line prosecutors had filed with the court Monday. (Liu left before the sentencing recommendation was made.)
 

Barr takes control of legal matters of interest to Trump, including Stone sentencing
Carol E. Lee, Ken Dilanian and Peter Alexander, NBCNEWS

*****


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is demanding that Attorney General William Barr testify publicly over the Justice Department's decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Trump associate Roger Stone.

Harris is asking Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to call Barr before the panel, of which she is a member.

"I request that you immediately schedule a hearing for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case," Harris wrote in a letter to Graham.
 

Harris demands Barr testify over Roger Stone sentence recommendation
Jordain Carney, The Hill


News flash (and all due respect to Senator Harris): he won't.

He, along with Wilbur Ross ignored subpoenas sent by the House of Representatives due to the coming census regarding this administration's plans to dispute citizenship, translation: negate brown people.

The policies of the United States regarding immigration has a history of blatant racism. The rule of law has always been dubiously applied differential to its black and brown citizens.

What STOPS our government from extrajudicial killings? Where is the breaking mechanism for it? Surely not in the senate.  Will we see a violation of Posse Comitatus?

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878, by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1956 and 1981.

The act specifically applies only to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. Although the act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the act force with respect to those services as well. The act does not prevent the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.

The title of the act comes from the legal concept of posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied person to assist in keeping the peace. Wikipedia/Posse_Comitatus_Act

There is just enough wiggle room for a demagogic despot and a subservient lackey as head of the DOJ; the courts stacked with lifetime federal judges the ABA deems unqualified, it is the recipe for a slow coup, a descent from democracy to despotism; from federal republic to fascism.

I'm sure the Nazis on the way to exterminating six million Jews, tested the waters with the first 24.

What do you do when the threat to your own continued existence...is your own "government"? The "gang of Putin" actively purge voters in Georgia. They make it difficult for (currently) numerical minorities to vote. They ignore laws and statutes they know they're guilty of violating. They're shameless and like Orange Satan, unchecked.

The U.S. Constitution is officially toilet paper.

We're in the fight of our lives.
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The Last Republican...

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Mitt Romney on the Senate floor, image source: Axios

 

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


A criminal was acquitted Wednesday. A trial was held for the first time in the history of the republic with no witnesses and no evidence examined. It was a shame, and a sham.

Perhaps democracy died Wednesday. It died in the Wiemar Republic for a time once Chancellor Hitler made himself Fuhrer, and overthrew their constitution. Post this kangaroo court, we are a banana republic that just crowned the mad court jester, king.

There were profiles in courage on the democratic side.

Doug Jones was a Civil Rights lawyer that won a hard fought and decades-long case against the terrorists that bombed the 16 Street Baptist Church, and killed four little black girls. It happened on my mother's birthday when I was a year and a month old: September 15, 1963. He won against Roy Moore, accused of pedophilia and creepy behavior around malls. Roy is running again in the Republican primaries, as is Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III who wants his old job back. He was the first senator to back Orange Satan and one of the first he turned on when he recused himself in the Mueller investigation. Doug could have acquitted a criminal, but then that wouldn't have made sense pursuing justice decades denied.

Kyrsten Sinema just won her seat and now has to defend it in the traditionally red state of Arizona. "Sinema began her political career as an activist for the Green Party before joining the Arizona Democratic Party in 2004. In the 2012 elections, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress and the second openly LGBT woman elected to Congress. After her election to Congress, she shifted toward the political center, joining the conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and amassing a "reliably moderate-Democratic" voting record.

Sinema won the 2018 United States Senate election in Arizona to replace retiring Senator Jeff Flake, defeating Republican nominee Martha McSally. She became Arizona's senior senator immediately upon taking office. Sinema is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona." Wikipedia She could have joined McSally in demeaning the fourth estate. The easy thing to do was vote to acquit, "convert" to the Republican Party and pick up the devil's blessings. She chose The Constitution over a criminal and her comfort.

Jon Tester is known for his missing fingers, a childhood accident with a meat grinder. He's in a red state that both supported the orange shit stain, and could turn on him. His fidelity is to the rule of law, and that no one is above it.

Joe Mansion is the epitome of a "blue dog democrat." He voted for Kavenaugh after the Christine Ford testimony, reminiscent of the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearing except for the yelling, beer references and histrionics. He faces the possibility of defeat in a very red state. He chose not to fear.

History has indeed taught us that when it comes to the instincts that drive us, fear has no rival. As the lead House impeachment manager, Representative Adam Schiff, has noted, Robert Kennedy spoke of how “moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle.”

Playing on that fear, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, sought a quick impeachment trial for President Trump with as little attention to it as possible. Reporters, who usually roam the Capitol freely, have been cordoned off like cattle in select areas. Mr. McConnell ordered limited camera views in the Senate chamber so only presenters — not absent senators — could be spotted.

And barely a peep from Republican lawmakers.

One journalist remarked to me, “How in the world can these senators walk around here upright when they have no backbone?”

Fear has a way of bending us.

Sherrod Brown, Democratic Senator from Ohio

Haltingly, emotionally one lone republican voted what his party no longer has or condones: his conscience.

I am not a fan of Mitt Romney.

His strong belief in his faith I don't share. There are verses in Mormon scripture disparaging to African Americans in their "war on heaven," giving incarnation to valiant angels in the cosmic conflict as "light-shinned babies"; those of lesser valor as dark-skinned. They have since disavowed those beliefs.

As the candidate of the Republican Party in 2012, he was as dissembling as any other republican. He lied in the first debate with President Obama, a precursor to the rampant obfuscation and assault on truth we're subjected to daily. He was not triumphant in their second debate, the president regaining his footing, but Obama's dismissal of Russia as an existential threat will be researched by American historians...provided we still have a republic based on facts, reality and principle. Romney lost, and was as startled as his wife was because of the hardened-from-facts bubble that is conservative media, or as Karl Rove opined, a "created reality."

Perhaps his halting was the effervescence of bursting through that bubble; his emotion penance for a party and a world he had some part in creating.

The Latter Day Saints, according to Rushton's version, would "go to the Rocky Mountains and... be a great and mighty people," associated in the prophecy's figurative language, with one of the biblical four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation.

Smith's supposed original statement predicts that the US Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" but be saved by Latter-day Saints. The embellished version portrays it to be "by the efforts of the White Horse."

Perhaps Senator Romney knows this prophecy. Perhaps he believes he embodies it. Perhaps he does not in either case.

He did behave Wednesday in the well of the world's former most deliberative body, as a man feeling the weight of history and his moment in it.

Despite all of my misgivings to him, we did witness the political passing, post the mortal transition of John McCain...of the last republican.

New York Times, February 5, 2020

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Naked Oligarchy...

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Image Source: Extra News Feed link below


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


"The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent – while in reality, they make no clothes at all, making everyone believe the clothes are invisible to them. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new "clothes", no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as stupid. Finally a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" The tale has been translated into over 100 languages. Wikipedia

The Real Story Behind the Story

For social psychologists, the story is a textbook example of pluralistic ignorance, a social phenomenon in which “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes” (Krech and Crutchfield, 1948). Where pluralistic ignorance occurs, great mischief often follows. Jens Ulrik Hansen elaborates: “pluralistic ignorance is the phenomenon where a group of people shares a false belief about the beliefs, norms, actions or thoughts of the other group members.” This sort of thing happens all the time, and most people follow at least some rules and norms not because they believe in and approve of them, but because everyone else seems to.

"Pluralistic ignorance is a social phenomenon in which “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes."

Joni Ernst gave away the game on Joe Biden and Iowa. Ken Starr acts like he's never impeached a president for a blow job, credulously arguing that collaboration with a foreign power isn't as bad as extramarital fellatio. Alan-defender-of-pedophiles-Dershowitz is essentially arguing the Nixon "if it's the president, it's not illegal" defense while getting #Dershbag to impressively trend on Twitter. The wring-our-hands constitutional stewards during black emperor president can't sit on their asses longer than an a few hours before making airplanes, crossword puzzles or playing with fidget toys.

Be that as it may, Oligarchy is here. The political structures of the republic are still operative but increasingly ineffective at stopping Oligarchy from its purpose, which is to suck all resources toward the top.

The U.S. Oligarchy can't be described with classifications such as upper, middle, and lower class. Oligarchy divides society (with amazing success!) into rigid strata or tiers.

Top Tier is the "highest degree of authority ... free from control." A Paul Simon lyric defined them: "a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires." The operative word is "loose." Conspiracy theorists derail when they imagine tightly disciplined cabals. To think the Top Tier acts in concert is to underestimate how viciously and constantly its components compete among themselves. An oligarchy is more like a clan: They argue with each other but unite against the Other – that "other," in this case, being everyone else.

Letters at 3AM: 'O' Is for Oligarchy, Michael Ventura, The Austin Chronicle, April 9, 2010

This was a prescient article I read in the print version of the Austin Chronicle when I was living in the city at the time. It printed over several weeks and had me coming back to the cafe to digest it along with coffee. The tiers it described below the Top Tier are well-compensated professionals (six figure and above incomes), skilled services (skills that cannot be outsourced); the unskilled tier and beneath the unskilled tier: "spare parts" - a natural place for the homeless and mentally ill.

There is a lament for a golden era of the Founding Fathers. Justice Antonin Scalia was a described "strict constructionist," meaning "a judge to apply the text only as it is written. Once the court has a clear meaning of the text, no further investigation is required. Judges—in this view—should avoid drawing inferences from a statute or constitution and focus only on the text itself." (Wikipedia) He apparently did not use that as self-description, it was merely applied to him by those who saw advantage in ascribing it to him. The reason Moscow Mitch held his seat after his demise from Merrick Garland - and was prepared to continue it if Hillary Clinton had become president - was because of this archaic view. The Constitution as it was originally written ascribed the mathematics of "three-fifths a human" to the kidnapped African Diaspora, which directly relates to the equally archaic electoral college.

In a sense, our republic was designed for oligarchs. In a "strict constructionist" view of the original documents, only propertied white men would be given the "audacity of [the] vote":

The right of suffrage is a fundamental Article in Republican Constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right [to vote] exclusively to property [owners], and the rights of persons may be oppressed... . Extend it equally to all, and the rights of property [owners] ...may be overruled by a majority without property....

Library of Congress: The Founders and the Vote


Excluded from the franchise: the African Diaspora ("property," along with the real estate of plantations), First Nation Peoples, Women; non-English speaking peoples.

For all the poetic waxing on our "founding documents," this sounds an awful lot like oligarchy.

So, the descendants of these crimped dick constructionists are hankering for "the good old days" when men were WHITE Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgenger (WASP-C) men, they were the only ones that could vote and everyone else was an asterisk.

What about Clarence Thomas? Yeah, about Clarence long-dong Thomas...

In Stowe’s 1852 book, the character of Sambo was one of the slave overseers that work for the cruel slave owner, Simon Legree. Uncle Tom, a god-fearing slave with a compassionate heart, was tormented and beaten to death by Sambo, who regretted his act even as Tom forgave him as he was dying. Although Stowe had higher aims with her book, the depiction of Black characters as matronly and subservient further added to stereotypes that persist today.

Little Known Black History Fact: Sambo, D. L. Chandler, Black America Web, 1/11/17

Long-dong. Sambo. Use the right epithets. He can continue taking naps. He's useless, and knows he can't come back to the family BBQ.

So, as this wholesale siphoning goes on, the "vast sucking sound" is as effective as it's always been since the late billionaire Ross Perot coined the phrase (and like Joni, kind of revealed the game).

94% of American voters supported universal background checks, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll with a margin of error of +/- 3.4%. Wikipedia

In fact, according to a Public Policy Polling survey, 83 percent of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of all firearms, including 72 percent of all NRA members.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll, released earlier today, shows that a large majority—75 percent—of voters think the Senate should allow witness testimony in the ongoing impeachment trial. Respondents appeared to have answered along party lines, with 49 percent of self-identified Republicans, 95 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents saying there should be witnesses.

Christina Zhao, Newsweek

A democratic republic would respond to such data; an oligarchy with a lower tier of a well-compensated professional class responding to wealthy donors would not, and adamantly so. 

If we actually want a functioning democratic republic, we better act like it.

It may take some door knocking. It may take some cold calling for candidates, your representatives and senators. If they're part of the "gang of Putin," it will take calling multiple times. It may take some posting signs in your yards that open you sadly to assault by Neanderthals prone to violence against sunshine - "woke" tweets and "on fleek" Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat updates don't count. If voting wasn't that important, Staci Abrams wouldn't have a fight in Georgia. Adam Schiff and the House managers didn't convince a single, made up mind in the 53-47 crowd, but hopefully it did in the jury that matters: 331,002,651, and counting. They won't all vote. Some of them have never voted. The cult members won't be talked off the island, but this republic needs voters that are alert and see through the lies. Democracy is messy and hard to maintain, which is why authoritarianism and fascism raises its ugly head from time to time. This is existential because this might be the LAST time, with no recovery, or global Marshall Plan on the horizon. It's going to be up to "us."

Finally a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

What if the naked emperor and his sycophant senator pachyderms DON'T CARE?

"We are the ones that we have been waiting for." by then candidate Barack Obama, but it has other sources.

#FIGHT for the future.
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Facts, Fascism and Fascists...

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Image Source: Truth Dig link below


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


Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians” — meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,” already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

There has been high praise for the House Impeachment Managers: Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren, Sylvia Garcia, Jason Crow, Hakeem Jeffries; especially its leader, Adam Schiff. My fraternity brother, House Manager Hakeem Jeffries probably accomplished the first hip hop Biggie Smalls' mic drop rebuttal in impeachment history. I'm sure it completely went over Jay Sekulow's head.

Belief in pseudoscience extended across the Nazi high command, from the Führer's search for 'death rays' to Goebbels reading Nostradamus in bed.

This is a dense and scholarly book about one of the pulpiest subjects of the past 70 years - the relationship between the Nazi party and the occult, which has been much debated across popular culture both in fiction (Captain America: Civil War, Hellboy, Wolfenstein, the Indiana Jones series, Iron Sky, The Keep and countless others) and in innumerable schlocky works of pseudoscience with runes and swastikas on the covers.

As it turns out, though, even this sober, academic treatment of the topic reveals stranger-than-fiction truths on every page.

Here are a few of them. In the 1930s, Hitler made extensive notes on a book called Magic: Theory, History, Practice and underlined passages such as "He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world". In 1934, the year after he was appointed chancellor of Germany, he hired a dowser to go over the Reich Chancellery in search of "death rays" that might damage staff in the building. He and Himmler held frequent conversations about "the World Empire of Atlantis, which fell victim to the catastrophe of the moons falling to Earth" and about a discredited pseudoscience called Welteislehre, or World Ice Theory, which taught that the cosmos was made of ice and which they saw as a "Germanic" counterbalance to the "Jewish" theory of relativity.

Hitler's obsession with the occult, Tim Martin, July 30, 2017, Independent.ie

It seems Captain America: the First Avenger and Marvel got it right.

When you're modern fascists, you stretch, move; work on crossword puzzles and paper airplanes in the senate chamber even under threat of imprisonment. Must be nice, Mr. Paul. But this is a guy who's ophthalmology certification is from the National Ophthalmology Board, which sounds all well and good until you realize it's a board HE founded. It also apparently dissolves like bicarbonate in vinegar when convenient.

Eugenics and mythology were the Nazis' obsessions; "intelligent design" and end-time eschatology appears the obsession of our current crop of sociopaths.

Even though the House Impeachment Managers have been witty, erudite, thorough; brilliant with video and PowerPoint presentations that would make Nancy Duarte, the author of Slide:ology proud, to quote Thomas Paine: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” Ms. Duarte's most famous student is Vice President Al Gore and his Nobel Prize climate presentation that became the Oscar-winning documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth."

But when you're fascists, any truth is the enemy. That's why your Putin sock puppet can get rid of environmental laws that affect streams and wetlands. That's why climate change is STILL a Chinese hoax after signing some cockeyed trade agreement that probably will make us all miss TPP. Your AG Bill Barr/Roy Cohn chases conspiracy theories across the globe that makes our allies think we've lost our collective minds. 16,000+ and counting lies from "dear leader" is literal Manna from Heaven to the sachet swastika set, fact checkers be damned. Down is up. Left is right. White is black; it's always a new moon and the sun shines darkness.

53 - 47: So far, 53 out of 100 senators of the same party with an obvious bias against reality are awaiting their moment to acquit a criminal, because their own party is a complicit criminal enterprise. 53 - 47 senators voted against election security; 53 - 47 senators agree with voter ID, voter suppression and Russia interfering with the fundamental right of a republic to pick its OWN leaders. For 53 - 47, evidence doesn't matter. Witnesses don't matter. FACTS don't matter: because to them, democracy doesn't matter. Only POWER matters. 53 - 47 need to prove they're not fascists.

53-47: this number should be hung around 53 red necks. They should pay a political price and lose their positions and majority. November 3, 2020 is the date we end this fascist takeover. #Vote, or your republic is permanently lost.

Lies are to fascists like slop is for hogs: a mixture of mud, corn husks and rancid pig shit, filth only comfortable to hogs.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

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Drug Deals and Bullshit...

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Image Source: Philosophy Talk, "Is There a Case for Bullshit?" by Serena Wong

 


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


One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, “we have no theory.”

Frankfurt, one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt

Well, he used it in a rally. They finally embodied it in a president* that's clearly fatter than when he started "executive time" or something, because golfing on the government dime isn't burning any calories, nor are his prodigious tweeting bowel movements.

*Putin-installed puppet

Level 1 Bullshit Artists

Pilgrims coming for "religious freedom." Winthrop's "shining city on a hill" was a shit pile of lies. His utopia looked like proto "Handmaid's Tale." Dude didn't even like Quakers. WHO doesn't like Quakers? You damned near died your first winter, in some cases resorting to cannibalism, systematically slaughtered the First Nation Peoples who GOT you through that winter and masked the genocide in the false memory of Thanksgiving propagated as propaganda to introduce Black Friday and the holiday binge buying season where everybody's broke in January. Happy capitalism. Socialism is evil. Ask Denmark.

Level 2 Bullshit Artists

Slavery. When you saw the road was rough with thorns and thistles; the First Nation peoples had bows, arrows and occasionally guns showing you how pissed they were when you tried to genocide them, you and Great Britain went to the continent of Africa, payed off some douche chieftains that wanted to get rid of rivals and use uncompensated labor to make yourselves rich beyond Solomon's dreams. Your government documents state your reason to secede was about slavery and your revulsion of black people, so don't bullshit me, you or anyone else. You balk at reparations because it's like pulling the thread of your favorite suit, watching the entire structure unravel. I get why you're nostalgic over the "peculiar institution." Bullshit artists are lazy. See "executive time."

Level 3 Bullshit Artists

I call bullshit on the revered "Founding Fathers." Your papered-over Tea Party in Boston Harbor wasn't a noble act of rebellion: you were COLONISTS. You didn't hitchhike to America! Britain paid your cruise ship tickets on the Mayflower. You essentially saw a way NOT to pay your taxes. (Your descendants created lawyers, loopholes and offshore bank accounts for that now.) "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal"...except black men, black women, their children and descendants; white women didn't vote until 1920. African Americans didn't get the Voting Rights Act until 1965, and THAT has to be periodically reauthorized! It barely passed this last time, like republicans might want to vote slavery back in.

Level 4 Bullshit Artists

The Fairness Doctrine: "In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress dictated that the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission) should only issue broadcast licenses when doing so serves the public interest. In 1949, the FCC interpreted this more strictly to mean that licensees should include discussions of matters of public importance in their broadcasts, and that they should do so in a fair manner. It issued “In the Matter of Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees,” which announced the Fairness Doctrine, and began enforcing it."

It's after the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, right wing AM talk radio and Rush Limbaugh became the darling of the trucker set and the foundation of the echo chamber that would eventually become Roger Ailes Fox "News," 4Chann, 8Chann, Infowars and QAnon. Read the above underline statement, and ask yourself if they do.

Level 5 Bullshit Artists

The Fox News Channel (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that was founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996. Roger Ailes appointed himself as permanent CEO of the news operation in 2001 & was created as a Republican-centered alternative to CNN. In January 2002, the ratings of the channel surpassed top-rated CNN to become the #1 news cable channel. They fell in March 2002, but since then the network has maintained its #1 cable rating (as of 2019) with increasing viewership and international access. Wikipedia

Ailes was a staffer in the Nixon administration, and of course thought any republican president should be allowed to get away with grand theft from the Watergate building. Too bad he had those tapes that did him in. He should have had Twitter, and misspelled, or spelled covfefe.

Level 6 Bullshit Artists

The entire Russian government has resigned just hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping changes to the country’s constitution, according to reports. The TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government, reported Wednesday morning that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his ministers submitted their resignations to Putin. The agency said Putin thanked Medvedev for his work and said the outgoing prime minister would be installed as deputy of the presidential security council. Medvedev said he resigned to give Putin space to carry out the changes he wants to make to the constitution.

The Entire Russian Government Has Resigned, Jamie Ross, The Daily Beast

Wow! I guess "he alone will fix it" by decree+ like an emperor, or in the case of Russia: a Czar. Now I see where his comb-over toupee Neanderthal got it from. It sounds like he's making what's left of their constitution into toilet paper just like his Orange Satan puppet. He did this as his American pet's impeachment hearings got underway. You don't have to commit a crime to get impeached, but it's awkward as the Government Accounting Office announces you're guilty of a crime.

+"So let it be written, so let it be done" Yul Brynner as Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments, in a slew of Hollywood cultural appropriation.

 

Level 7 Bullshit Artists


Seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, source: Wikipedia

Evangelicals aren't a religious body anymore: they're a political party with zero values. Somehow, the once "family values" party fell in line behind a heathen that exemplifies ALL seven deadly sins turned racism into a winning strategy for the moment. He's impeached forever - the third president* in U.S. history, the first in the 21st century and with the Lev Parnas What App drop, he apparently thinks Quid Pro Quo is a healthy bowel movement for septuagenarians.

The Southern Strategy is subject to the thermodynamics of Entropy just like any other moldy philosophy. John Bolton called the plot against Marie Yovanovitch that may have threatened her life a drug deal, but he's teetering between breaking another bombshell in a shitload of bombshells or depressing the sales of his future book by waiting too long. Any information that could remove the orange tweeting thing from the nuclear button is useless if he gets a second term, or if we're all glowing in the dark.

By the way Orange Satan: a shit load of lies doesn't make them true. It's just all bullshit.

*Putin-installed puppet
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Kompromat: Donald Trump at a Miss Universe party in Moscow in 2013. What he might have done in a hotel room there is nobody’s business except, perhaps, his wife’s. Photograph: Stoyan Vassev/Reuters, Irish Times

 

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


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

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

Production staff described how their job was to elevate Trump's image, whose star had fallen since his 1980s heyday of fame.

"Most of us knew he was a fake," Braun, who worked on six series of the show, told The New Yorker. "He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king."

In his address, the president threatened to invoke severe sanctions against Iran, but seemed amenable to deescalating the burgeoning military aggression. Still, the nine-minute address was packed with the president’s standard potpourri of falsehoods, lies, and bouts of incoherence. But the most striking aspect of his speech had less to do with what he said than how he said it. Which is to say, Trump was slurring and snorting through an address that was ostensibly designed to calm a nation on the brink of war.

Trump has never been a particularly graceful public speaker, but his mush-mouth sounded especially pronounced this morning. There was heaviness to his speech, as if he was struggling to talk through cottonmouth. He also had difficulty with the letter S, which he couldn’t pronounce without a drawn out hiss, as if he were a snake. One of the more flagrant examples entails the president mangling the pronunciation of “tolerated” while condemning terrorism.

The briefing by his laughable national security team, supposedly justifying the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Wednesday raised more questions than it answered. Senator Mike Lee sounded livid. Rand Paul also seemed willing to seize back the Article I powers congress has abdicated since 9/11. John Bolton saying he would testify in an impeachment trial sent the current president* and republican-led senate in a panic to conclude quickly the only trial in America or in HISTORY - without called witnesses. Russia hacked the RNC like they hacked the DNC, but did not release it, meaning they HAVE it in other words, kompromat, used to manipulate them.

WASHINGTON -- Newly released documents show Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the months before the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled.

The State Department released the documents Friday to the group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on March 26 and March 29.

Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal “a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”

Last week, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt “kneecapped” by a “smear campaign” Giuliani led against her. She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.

The documents released Friday also include a report, that appears with Trump hotel stationery, that appears to summarize a Jan. 23 interview with a former Ukrainian prosecutor general, Victor Shokin. The summary says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.

The instinct of this president* is to be a crook. He was so Dr. Flunk-en-stein he's blocked any public access to his grades at Fordham University in New York and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. It's so bad, he apparently didn't know colleges and universities CAN'T release that information without his permission. It's so bad he doesn't want us to see his grades at his military academy high school. Michael Cohen threatened the institutions - mob lawyer gangster-style - to protect his former client's demonstrably fragile ego (Mike's in jail for him now).

We're out of the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the same reasons: racism and jealousy. He tore it up because "the black guy who teased him at the White House Correspondence Dinner" did it. The announcement of Bin Laden's death comically preempted his precious reality show, the ONE place he could pretend to be successful instead of the failure even he knew he was. How DARE his enemy!

He needs his name on NAFTA 2.0 because of his malignant narcissism. He took Orly Taitz cockeyed, Quixotic crusade and rode the bigotry former Dixiecrats cum republicans cum Tea Party cum his cult following who were quite clear they loathed having an African American president and the immigration and demographics changes he represented. Along with help from Vladimir Putin and the antiquated electoral college, he slumped to the Oval Office, a position he'd never thought of, never prepared for and is not qualified for, despite his braggadocio regarding his "big brain."

“Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity, but long before he was considered a political figure. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told the story that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

This has relevance now because as recently as this week, President Trump challenged the Secretary of State of the United States to an IQ contest. This came within two days after NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the President a “moron” or a "f**king moron." The president has frequently bragged that he was a great student at a great school (Wharton). Thus, the public is entitled to a contrary view from somebody who was there (Dr. Kelley), and I faithfully report it here.

Bill Kelley was one smart cookie. His textbook was standard in his time in the then-new field of “marketing intelligence” and the necessity of using computers and databases to manage it. (See onlinelibrary.wiley.com which credits Bill for coining the quoted phrase.)

Frank DiPrima, DailyKos, AlterNET

He is both poster child of the SAT cheating scandal and the abysmal mythology of "white supremacy." He has proven the Alt-Wrong, Noodle Nazis, Klu-less Kleptocratic Kakistocracy to be the impotent impostors they've always been, frightened they have to compete for positions of the future; reaching for a past that never existed. They want white picket fences, white women at home: barefoot, submitted and perpetually pregnant to increase their stock of fascists. They want black people on the back of buses, Hispanics/Latinos back in Mexico, LGBT back in the closet; big oil and coal unfettered regardless of environmental consequences. They need fear to rule over others to bandage the failures they can't accept in themselves, and their pathetic lives.

And they have anointed an orange, satanic savior, a lens through which they focus their racist angst through.

Sadly, for The Apocalypse, there is no second season.
 

*Putin-installed puppet: a new definition for PIP, which he wouldn't follow anyway.

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Malignant Solipsism...

Echo-and-Narcissus.jpg
Echo gazes at Narcissus while he longingly peers at his own reflection. J.W. Waterhouse, 1903. Public domain.

 

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


One day while hunting, Narcissus comes across an untouched, glassy spring. He is drawn to its beauty and lies down to take a drink, but what he sees in the still water enchants him. He is in love with what he sees and is inflamed by the features of the vision: the hair, his eyes, porcelain skin, and rosy cheeks. Attempts to kiss and hold the reflection are in vain, and Narcissus is only frustrated by the teasing reactions of the image. When Narcissus winks, the image winks back, when Narcissus waves, the image waves, and when he cries tears, he sees that the image also cries. Narcissus cannot understand why he cannot reach what he so desperately desires.

The tormented boy agonizes over his unrequited love. He cannot leave the spring and is trapped in his frozen gaze at his reflection, pining away for the boy in the water who rejects all advances. Then Narcissus realizes that the image is his, but it’s too late, as he has already fallen tragically in love with himself. Knowing that he can never have what he desires, his body withers away in despair. When Narcissus says “Goodbye” to the reflection, Echo’s voice says “Goodbye.” At that moment, Narcissus dies while peering into the spring. Historic Mysteries

 

*****


The Camp of the Saints (French: Le Camp des Saints) is a 1973 French dystopian fiction novel by Catholic author and explorer Jean Raspail. A speculative fictional account, it depicts the destruction of Western civilization through Third World mass immigration to France and the West. Almost forty years after its initial publication, the novel returned to the bestseller list in 2011. Wikipedia/The_Camp_of_the_Saints

The Turner Diaries is a 1978 novel by William Luther Pierce, published under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald.[1] The Turner Diaries depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the federal government, nuclear war, and, ultimately, a race war leading to the systematic extermination of non-whites.[2][3] All groups opposed by the novel's protagonist, Earl Turner, including Jews, non-whites, "liberal actors" and politicians, are exterminated. Wikipedia/The_Turner_Diaries

The Turner Diaries may sound familiar if you recall the Oklahoma City Bombing. Timothy McVeigh had a copy of it in the pickup truck he was discovered in. An army veteran skilled in explosive ordinance disposal (E.O.D.), fashioning a bomb of fertilizer and fuel was a matter of course.

The Jewish white nationalist (pxymoron) Steven Miller recommended The Camp of the Saints in several revealed emails to Brietbart. Mr. Miller - a second generation descendant of Jewish refugees from the Nazi pogroms in WWII Poland - and the author of our kiddie concentration camps efficiently "disappearing" and outright killing brown children (24 that we know of).

“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.”

This is what Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, in an Aug. 30 email, which has only been made available in redacted form until now. It is one of many documents the Trump administration is trying to keep from the public, despite congressional oversight efforts and court orders in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.

Earlier in the day on Aug. 30, President Donald Trump met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the president’s hold on $391 million in military assistance for Ukraine. Inside the Trump administration, panic was reaching fever pitch about the president’s funding hold, which had stretched on for two months. Days earlier, POLITICO had broken the story and questions were starting to pile up. U.S. defense contractors were worried about delayed contracts and officials in Kyiv and lawmakers on Capitol Hill wanted to know what on earth was going on. While Trump’s national security team thought withholding the money went against U.S. national security interests, Trump still wouldn’t budge.

Thanks to the testimony of several Trump administration officials, we now know what Trump was waiting on: a commitment from Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

 

Kate Brennan
Just Security: Exclusive Unredacted Ukraine Documents Reveal Extent of Pentagon's Legal Concerns


Holding onto the Articles of Impeachment may have been suggested by Professor Lawrence Tribe, but it is by far a masterclass in government dexterity by Speaker Pelosi, who did predict Orange Satan would self-impeach, which he does with every twitchy tweet from the loo.

However, at the voluminous avalanche of lies, he's starting to affect the notions of truth and reality:

Democracy requires that we honor the culture of words. The very idea of democracy is based on the hope that fellow citizens can reason together and find a system for adjudicating differences and solving problems—all of which assumes there is a shared commitment to the integrity of our public words. If you believe words can ennoble, you must also believe they can debase. If they can elevate the human spirit, they can also pull it down. And when words are weaponized by our political leaders and used to paint all opponents as inherently evil, stupid, or weak, then democracy’s foundations are put in peril. Which brings us to the dismal, demoralizing Donald Trump era.

The debasement of words has reached a zenith with the coming of America’s 45th president, who dominates discourse in this country in ways perhaps no other president ever has. And if we hope to repair the damage that’s been done, we need to understand what it is about Trump’s misuse of words that is pernicious and dangerous.

The least problematic part is the sheer banality of Donald Trump’s words. During his presidency, Trump has uttered no beautiful and memorable phrases. His inaugural address, which is a speech normally meant to inspire the citizenry, is remembered, if at all, for the phrase American carnage and Trump’s description of a dystopian nation, broken and shattered. More worrisome is that many of Trump’s utterances are an incoherent word salad. If you read the transcript of many of his interviews and extemporaneous speeches, you often find that Trump is not only unable to lay out a coherent argument; at times he’s unable to string together sentences that parse.

The banality and weaponization of Trump’s words are bad enough, but the greatest cause for concern is his nonstop, dawn-to-midnight assault on facts, truth, reality. That places Trump in a sinister category all his own.

Many politicians are guilty of not telling the full truth of events. A significant number shade the truth from time to time. A few fall into the category of consistent, outright liars. But only very few—and only the most dangerous—are committed to destroying the very idea of truth itself. That is what we have in Donald Trump, along with many of his aides and courtiers. We saw it at the dawn of the Trump presidency, when he insisted—and sent out his press secretary to insist—that the crowd size at his inauguration was larger than that of Barack Obama’s, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. And that behavior has continued virtually every day since.

 

Trump’s Sinister Assault on Truth: The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.
Peter Wehner, The Atlantic

*****


Democracy depends on a shared set of facts that can be debated in discussed either in a court, on a congressional floor or near a coffee machine at work. It's affable and seeks a happy medium: no one gets everything they desire, but it does require compromise.

Fascism is nothing at all like that. Like George Orwell's famous novel, "1984," fascism requires and demands power for its own sake. It wants what it wants for the sake of wanting. History has no meaning to it at all. Logic and reason have no appeal or sway in people who traffic in "alternative facts" or its Karl Rove precursor: "created realities." Sunshine Fascism...April 12, 2019

 

*****


At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months - including the attack on December 27th - culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.

 

Top Iranian general killed in US airstrike in Baghdad, Pentagon confirms
Amanda Macias, Joanna Tan, CNBC


At the direction of a president that has lied over 15,000 times since bizarre inauguration, replete with rain ignored and carnage commentary. At the direction of a president that has used racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia like a hobbyist would use a socket set. "Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region" means those plans likely didn't die: they have been inherited by a motivated deputy now promoted. There will be reprisals and escalations in the Near East that will be...biblical. Secretary Clinton's AMER-EXIT to Belfast is telling and foreboding.

We're at the direction of a president who many psychological professionals view as a malignant narcissist and devotee of solipsism. No reality is real external to his own disturbed mind. No history has existed save the history he makes in 140 characters. No truth is real except the banal "truthiness" of the moment. His cult minions follow such disturbed mental gymnastics blindly without critique. There is no overarching policy or plan for anything, nor will there ever be, like 140 misspelled characters and retweeted conspiracy theories. It's to change the narrative from impeachment, real-world consequences be damned.

There is a cult industry pre and post the Internet speculating the identity of "the man of sin"; "the son of lawlessness."

- Prophesy enthusiasts postulated Napoleon and Hitler cum Nostradamus, with one consonant rearrangement: Hister, because as with all conspiracy theories, humans look for patterns and invent them whether they're real or not. Saddam Hussein was thrown in for good measure.

- Ronald Wilson Reagan was the evil one because each letter of his names numbered "6."

- Mikhail Gorbachev was him due to his birthmark on his forehead.

- George W. Bush had a website and a book, likely from his membership in Skull and Bones.

- Barack Hussein Obama had that, misappropriated scripture and myriad conspiracy theories from his inauguration forward.

My pet name for the 45th president is mostly tongue-in-cheek. However, his following is cheering for Armageddon, and the actions last night have brought us closer to that. There will be a response here, or abroad. The earth does not need humans that draw up treaties and break them with Iranians or Native Americans.

The enamor for "end times" has no definition other than "the world coming to an end." The Earth is 40,075.017 km in circumference, 510,072,000 km2 surface area, 1.08321 × 1012 km3 volume, 5.97237 × 1024 kg mass; 5.514 g/cm3. Evolutionary biologists put oxygen-generating photosynthesis some 2.4 billion years ago, evidenced by rust. Humans evolved in Africa 200,000 years ago, migrated away where ultraviolet light wasn't so direct and thus lightened, then defined that natural process as evidence of "superiority." Australia is on fire in their driest summer in the southern hemisphere, fueled by climate change and apathy from science and climate deniers. T.S. Elliot summarized our exit in "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, Not with a bag, but a whimper." The whimper might be fires, floods and weather we cannot contain, let alone control.

Prior to our entrance on this terrestrial soil, the earth traveled in space around the sun 365.25 days per year more or less without witnesses, scribe, historian, artist or scientist to count 4.5 billion years. The earth does not need us: we need it.

The 2019 Doomsday Clock by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists claimed two minutes to midnight.

The 2020 Doomsday Clock in this third decade of the 21st century will at least be informative once published.
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Men of Lawlessness...

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Facebook image I was informed was "meme logic," which until that instance, I didn't know was a thing.


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


[From Newsweek] "I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment XVII

The fix was in on the ratification of the 17th amendment in 1913.

Senators before then were appointed by their state legislatures in the event they might be jurors in a trial of impeachment. This was to ensure they wouldn't make decisions "based on politics" and would be unbiased, considering only the facts as presented by trial lawyers in charges towards the accused.

In recent days, McConnell indicated that he has held discussions with the White House to formulate an impeachment game plan to achieve a favorable outcome for Trump. "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel," the senator told Fox News host Sean Hannity late last week. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this." The Republican also revealed that he will be working in "total coordination with the White House counsel's office and the people representing the president in the well of the Senate." Ibid

The purging of voters in Georgia and Wisconsin...the incessant search for nonexistent **voter fraud*** (mimicked by his mop head doppelganger in the UK), while slow-walking the protection of our elections from foreign interference...rejecting out-of-hand any witnesses that this present darkness of White House has blocked from ANY public testimony...openly stating you're WORKING with the plaintiff (Al Capone could have benefited from such hubris and rigged jury), holding up the "advise and consent" of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court AS IF Moscow Mitch knew he might get an opportunity to appoint two replacements with the NEXT president*...and if he didn't, he'd just stonewall any duties that didn't expand the borders of raw, naked fascist political power. To continue calling them republicans is an insult to actual republicans.

We are distracted by "smart phones" and dumb down apps on them. We're more versed in soundbites and slogans than civics or history. This ignorance is by design, despite a warning by the sage Frank Zappa. Indeed, how WOULD you know if someone's shredding The Constitution through a meat grinder if you DIDN'T know what was in it?

At the dawn of humanity, bartering was used in lieu of money to buy goods. As early man began to rear domestic livestock, one of the earliest forms of barter included cattle, sheep, as well as vegetables and grain.

The first known currency was created by King Alyattes in Lydia, now part of Turkey, in 600BC. The first coin ever minted features a roaring lion.

Coins then evolved into bank notes around 1661 AD. The first credit card was introduced in 1946.

The history of money: from barter to bitcoin, Rebecca Burn-Callander, The Telegraph

HOW would you know you're pockets are being picked by some rich fat cats that are amused they can make us scurry after each other like rats in a maze after the same block of cheese when all we're up in arms about artificial barriers: borders, Melanin, class; money. Concentrating on smaller things that make us "feel good" in the moment doesn't hold power or the powerful accountable for the mess they've made for profit. See Sacha Baron Cohen calling out the "silicon six."

Shiny objects like gold and silver replaced bartering; printed money replaced coins, bank and credit cards making wallets thinner each year. We're well past bartering and into cryptocurrency and legal tax evasion. A few clever assholes found a way to squirrel away more digital shiny objects in offshore accounts, not paying a dime in taxes to their host countries and bribing every elected official that will parrot repetitively a party line that's easy for rubes in red hats to follow. Face it: racism and fear is all they've shoveled out; NOTHING has ever bothered to "trickle down" since Reagan, or paid a single bill, healthcare costs or college. It's time to give up believing the shtick. They sure don't, but they'll use it as long as it works. It will work until it doesn't work, or like Rome we become a mausoleum and interstellar tourist trap for failed planetary systems. A byword. A joke.

Who asked Franklin the question that sparked his witty response? It was Elizabeth Willing Powel, a pivotal woman of the founding era who has been erased from this story. Her erasure not only creates a founding-era political history artificially devoid of women, but it also makes it harder to imagine contemporary women such as Pelosi — or Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — as political leaders.

The first record of the anecdote appears in a 1787 journal kept by one of the delegates to the convention, James McHenry of Maryland. He wrote: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

Yes. He is impeached. After the dismal speechifying by his GOP interlocutors and miserable defense of the indefensible. Whether he is removed is up to a dysfunctional senate that has publicly admitted bias and willingness to release a criminal, a move who's only parallel is the outgoing, asshole former Governor Matt Bevin, pardoning a pedophile as his last dick move on the way out, corroborating he never should have been elected in the first place. Speaker Nancy Pelosi delaying sending it to the senate was suggested by Harvard professor and constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe. It was a master stroke. It was also poignant that her opening remarks identified the Russian agent as an existential threat to our republic. Our own republic is threatened from within by republicans that have no semblance of respecting the rule "of the people and by the people," but by our own nauseous version of Russian oligarchs, empowered by the Orwellian "Citizens United." When you have to purge half a million votes to "win" elections, you likely don't have any platform that's amendable to most citizens.

But in the end, will we have a republic, or a crumbling facade on a dung hill? To not speculate on worse-case scenarios is both hubris and naivete. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics: over time, the system will either increase change - from order to chaos - or remain the same. The second law can be aptly applied to political systems.
 

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ESV

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Wheels Off...

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Google's First Fully Autonomous Car Gives Up; Drives Self Off Cliff - Joe Bagel
The scene is from Thelma and Louise

 

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


I will be taking a break until the holidays. I have a lot of deadlines to meet.

Conservatism as popularized by their patron saint, Ronald Reagan and a budding media propaganda wing that covered all the bases - AM talk radio, Tom Clancy novels, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger was hyper masculine, Uber patriotic and most decidedly: anti-Russian. The spike in testosterone was a reaction to the Vietnam War, the one we "lost." It was a modern "lost cause" that stuck in the craw of those that wanted Ho Chi Min to surrender like the Germans and the Japanese Emperor. Our mythology told us we were "the good guys" and the film credits always had happy endings with the hero getting the girl.

Something happened from the launching porch for "The Gipper" in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the wink-and-nod to white southern racists - left over Dixiecrats cum "Reagan democrats," soon-to-be Tea Party/Orwellian "Freedom Caucus," African Americans loyal to the previous "party of Lincoln" and genteel 1%, all wooed by Lee Atwater plausible denial coded language, faced with the reality of changing demographics, not in their Melanin-lacking favor. It was something the "Southern Strategy" didn't anticipate.

For this democracy to work, each of us has to agree on the same set of facts. We may not believe in what approach to take to solve them, but believing in the facts would merely change the approach to their resolution.
TruthFiction
Climate change is realClimate change is a hoax
Russia interfered in the 2016 electionsUkraine interfered in the 2016 elections
The current president is a crookThe current president is fighting the "deep state"

A functional Republican Party might use cap and trade to fight Climate Change. They would use diplomacy to modify the Paris Climate Accords to stay within the confines of its goals. Heck, they might make a buck or two.

A functional Republican Party would take the Autopsy authored by the RNC and reach out to diversify a party dwindling in number of Lincoln African Americans, conservative Hispanic/Latino citizens, Asians and Log Cabin Republicans.

After ANY of these impeachment inquiry hearings; after Mr. C.Y.A. Gordon Sondland uttered the magic Latin phrase: quid pro quo and Dr. Fiona Hill pimp slapped the republicans on the House Intelligence Committee (it hurt to type that), a functional Republican Party would look beyond their fundraising and think of The Constitution they swore to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

But we don't have that. We've never had that.

Racism itself is a conspiracy theory. It requires a leap of faith that your lack of exposure to equatorial ultraviolet rays over 1-200,000 years bequeaths you red ruby slipper, pixie dust and fairies that bless every step you take on the Yellow Brick Road in Oz.

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." (then) Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson

 

*****


If the Republicans cared about the facts or the gravity of the crime being investigated, the answer would be apocalyptically damaging. But they don’t care, and they will continue to defend Trump even if those testifying under oath include an eyewitness to a criminal conspiracy hatched in the White House like Sondland, or patriots like Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Marie Yovanovitch, who not only provided irrefutable evidence of the crime but detailed the existential threat that crime poses to America.

Had Trump pulled out that (so far) proverbial gun and shot someone on Fifth Avenue, Republicans would trot out the exact same defense they have this week: The shot was fired at 2 a.m. and there were no eyewitnesses. Those nearby who claimed to have heard the shot had actually heard a car backfiring. The closed-circuit video capturing the incident is, as the president says, a hoax concocted by the same Fake News outlets that manufactured the Access Hollywood video. The confession released by the White House was “perfect” evidence of Trump’s innocence. Election records show that the cops who arrived on the scene were registered Democrats and therefore part of a deep-state conspiracy to frame the president for a crime he didn’t commit but that the Democrats did. The victim was not killed and will make a complete recovery, so no crime was committed anyway. And even if Trump had killed the young woman he gunned down, the argument advanced by Trump’s lawyer last month would apply: “The person who serves as president, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.” Next case!

 

Republicans Are Excusing a Criminal Conspiracy, Frank Rich, NY Magazine


Devin Nunes is about as dense as the cow he's frivolously suing. Ohio congressman Jim Jordan acts like a wrestling coach (that has new charges of not protecting student athletes from a predatory pedophile team doctor), and apparently, doesn't make enough to purchase a suit jacket!

Impeachment is likely in the House of Representatives. The senate is signalling along with republicans writ large that the "rule of law" doesn't apply for this Orange Satan, as the unitary executive - the Baal altar of William Barr - apparently only applies to presidents on his team. Russia, Iran; Israel can select our next president with impunity. Citizens will tune out and binge watch streaming media, oblivious to their responsibilities as citizens, masking their pain.

The Washington Post has the tag line "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

In darkness, Putin wins.

Apathy from exhaustion...is darkness.
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What's At Stake...

 

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


The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation[1] founded in 1985 that, upon its formation, argued the United States Democratic Party should shift away from the leftward turn it took in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. One of its main purposes was to win back white middle class voters with ideas that addressed their concerns.[2] The DLC hailed President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of Third Way politicians and as a DLC success story.

The DLC's affiliated think tank was the Progressive Policy Institute. Democrats who adhered to the DLC's philosophy often called themselves New Democrats. This term is also used by other groups who have similar views on where the party should go in the future, like NDN[3] and Third Way.[4]

On February 7, 2011, Politico reported that the DLC would dissolve, and would do so as early as the following week.[5] On July 5 of that year, DLC founder Al From announced in a statement on the organization's website that the historical records of the DLC have been purchased by the Clinton Foundation.[6] The DLC's last chairman was former Representative Harold Ford of Tennessee, and its vice chair was Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware. Its CEO was Bruce Reed.

Source: Wikipedia


The Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission helped unleash unprecedented amounts of outside spending in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The case, along with other legal developments, spawned the creation of super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from corporate and union treasuries, as well as from individuals; these groups spent more than $800 million in the 2012 election cycle. It also triggered a boom in political activity by tax-exempt "dark money" organizations that don't have to disclose their donors. You can listen to the decision (see "Opinion Announcement - January 21, 2010") as read by Justice Kennedy and the dissenting opinion read by Justice Stevens. Read on to learn more about how the Supreme Court transformed the campaign finance landscape with this decision, and how it is now affecting U.S. politics.

Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission, OpenSecrets.org

Both political parties through the need for funds deified the "free hand of the market." Both are concerned at the resonant chord Sanders, Warren et al have struck with an electorate not umbilical-tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Instead of a "rising tide that lifts all boats," the effort to kowtow at Moloch's altar has produced Caligula.

Former Governor and "Bain Capitalist" Deval Patrick threw his hat into the democratic primary, as did billionaire and former republican, former independent and ended-up-democrat Mayor Mike "stop and frisk" Bloomberg. Governor Patrick seemed to eclipse the news another school shooting occurred in California, now apparently routine, despite the death of two citizens that won't grow up. Meanwhile, Erdoğan blasted a propaganda video over his I-Pad showing the Kurds as terrorists, the same aforementioned Kurds he apparently has a "great relationship" with while committing genocide.

In the ever-changing defense of the indefensible, the Reich Wing has veered from the impeachment inquiry hearings have "no pizzazz" and chief of lies tweeting about it sixty times in a day, Hillary colluded with the Russians (to apparently, lose the election and plunge us all into a dystopian nightmare); crowd strike, star chamber, no Quid Pro Quo, a Quid but no Pro Quo what-about-ism on bribery and the latest hilarious defense: he's too stupid to commit a genuine Mafia shakedown - he forgot the cement boots.

We have a political party that believes in science, facts and reality who's name has been turned into a pejorative ("democrat party").

We have a political party that believes in conspiracy theory, lies and obfuscation; "creates its own Karl Rove realities," believes the self-admitted sexual assaulter NEVER LIES (according to Franklin Graham) that somehow with a straight face still associates itself with integrity, principles and "family values." Stephen Miller - the architect of our kiddie concentration camps, apparently willed himself "white" and shared racist propaganda that would have prevented his grandfather's escape from Polish pogroms.
 
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See "Sunshine Fascism," April 12, 2019

Impeachment, despite the protestation is in The Constitution. Alexander Hamilton (well pre the Broadway hit and triple platinum album) wrote about it in the Federalists Papers:

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. Federalist 65, Yale Law School

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware. Federalist 69, Yale Law School

Putin would love to discredit representative democracy, itself a pejorative to him. The Internet Research Agency has interfered in elections around the globe, an annoyance so far with one clear success here in the US. He would love for all nations to organize around strongmen - reporting to him, of course - making him richer than Midas and Solomon.

For the rest of us, outside of the politburo would be literally as Russia faced years before its 1989 fall: disease, famine and death.

The defeat and demise of democracy would have the impact of the Chicxulub crater.

Except instead of a wall falling symbolically, we could be facing extinction. Only delusion and hubris would make us ignore this.

A few xenophobic Ayn Rand worshipers will be rich beyond the wildest psychopaths' dreams - for a moment - until inevitable Entropy completes our societal and mass species apoptosis. There will be no second act and fully negates starships, lest they be filled with ghosts, corpses and dreams. It's that stark.
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Snowflakes and Woke Folks...


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


For ONCE, this isn't about the self-destructing Orange Satan. There will be ample material next Friday, as his downward spiral continues.

That doesn't mean I'm not concerned with our republic. Public impeachment hearings begin next Wednesday, broadcast on every network, including the conservative ones. That being said, the most dangerous animal in the world is man, and like any, is most dangerous when cornered. The scene from the Sons of Jacob takeover is disturbingly instructive. The question is, would Ayn Rand self-centered capitalism even CARE if we lost our democracy as long as stocks continue trading between 9:30 am - 4:00 pm EST?

 

*****


The conniption fits about African American actress Halle Bailey playing the Little Mermaid were humorous and disturbing. It reminded me of the controversy over NK Jemisin winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards for science fiction...because she's African American. A whole community - self-described as "rabid puppies" and sad puppies eventually were bequeathed the apropos label: "snowflakes."




A term for someone that thinks they are unique and special, but really are not. It gained popularity after the movie "Fight Club" from the quote “You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."




Began being used extensively as a put down for someone, usually on the political left, who is easily offended or felt they needed a "safe space" away from the harsh realities of the world, but now has morphed into a general put down for anyone that complains about any subject.



Source: Urban Dictionary/Snowflake

 


1. Ahem: mermaid's aren't real. o_9 The fact that humanity came from what we now know as the continent of Africa can be verified as can the political creation of so-called "white" people in 1681.

 


2. The legend of mermaids was probably based on the manatee (which doesn't look attractive at all, except to other manatees) and drunken, horny sailors that hadn't seen land or women in a while.

3. Atlantis is fiction, as is Aquaman and Namor, depending on which comic book series you followed. There are hidden worlds and undersea organisms we're discovering every year, yet we haven't discovered Atlantis, mermaids, mermen, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, unicorns or leprechauns.

 

*****


I posted several trailers for "Harriet" played by British actress Cynthia Erivo and screenplay co-written by Kasi Lemmons, an African American woman who also directed the film.

In real life, Cynthia Erivo dates actor Dean John-Wilson, an aforementioned so-called white guy. English society has its issues (see: Brexit). However, manumission in eighteenth century England wasn't followed up with black codes, lynchings and Jim Crow. Also, English actors have played American parts before - Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight trilogy and Sir Patrick Stewart played a Frenchman in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Charles Xavier in X-men. How soon we forget.

To be fair: in some forums my posts were received positively. In others, I was immediately attacked by the diversity doppelganger of the aforementioned pound puppies: "woke folks." Specifically, I recall a diatribe about the movie and certain characters not being historically accurate. It was as interesting and I think the same phenomena as Arial NOT being a single white female. It was fascinating, but something I felt I had to address:

1. It’s a movie. The statement at the beginning says “based on true events.”

2. If your criticism is historical inaccuracy, that is correct. Often what is cinematic is not accurate. The writers have to generate conflict to keep our interests. That is the license of creativity.

3. I’m a Star Trek fan, but I also majored in Engineering Physics as an undergrad and pursuing graduate study in Nanoengineering. That said, I don’t watch Trek to learn physics as warp drive is inherently impossible at even a casual understanding of Einstein’s Special and General Theory of Relativity. It’s entertainment, nothing more.

I deeply enjoyed "Black Panther" and Chadwick Boseman's acting abilities, knowing full well his Wakandan accent was as practiced as Michael B. Jordan's and that Wakanda as a nation doesn't exist. Plus, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee who created the first black and distinctly African Superhero were two Jewish guys from New York!

I still wore my "straight out of Wakanda" shirt as others wore dashikis with pride and not a lot of analysis or forethought.

I am absolutely fine with Cynthia Erivo playing Harriet Tubman. I'm overjoyed David Gyasi is playing the real life inspiration for the whitewashed Lone Ranger. The African Diaspora in America are involuntarily from both of their home nations, knowing neither intimately. Both actors had to audition and be judged by the merits of their abilities. They worked as hard as the two Englishmen who portrayed a fictional billionaire superhero crime fighter and a starship captain in the 24th century. If neither of these individuals won their parts, we'd be talking about someone else.

No less than former President Obama called out the woke as non-activists, more concerned with scoring consciousness zingers than the heavy lifting of citizenship. He, and before him General Colin Powell and currently Kamala Harris via the ever ridiculous and receding Rush Limbaugh and through the "kings of woke" Ben Carson and Cornell West (Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post) wasn't "black enough" despite many times vilified and hung in effigy.

Both snow and woke are triggered beyond their tribal enclaves and feel the connected world closing in with divergent opinions of "how things used to/ought to be," a particular intolerance being the bedrock foundation of fascism.

Of the two groups, I can say voting in a (currently) democratic republic is a lot more important than posting opinions from their smart phones, or the basement. 

 

Both need to switch to decaf.


I can't wait for their coming conniption fits on Bass Reeves.

 

Related links:

The 'Superhero Journey' Of Harriet Tubman, Now On Film
Noel King, NPR Morning Addition
The Real Lone Ranger Was Black, And Now There Is A Movie About Him
Jerry L. Barrow, BET

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On Fascism...

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[Major General Smedley Butler. Image reprinted from Philadelphia’s Organized Crime of the 1920 and 1930s by Anne Margaret Anderson with John J. Binder courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 11, Arcadia Publishing, 2014).]

 

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


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

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

In 1934, a colossal claim reached the American news media: There had been a plot to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in favor of a fascist government. Supposedly in the works since 1933, the claims of the conspiracy came from a very conspicuous and reliable source: Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most decorated war heroes of his time. Even more unbelievable were his claims of who was involved in the plot – respected names like Robert Sterling Clark, Grayson M.P. Murphy, and Prescott Bush (George Herbert Walker Bush's father and George W. Bush's grandfather). While news media at the time mocked Butler’s story, recently discovered archives have revealed the truth behind Major General Butler’s claims.

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "Old Gimlet Eye",[1] was a senior United States Marine Corps officer who fought in both the Mexican Revolution and the World War I. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government.

By the end of his career, Butler had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (along with Wendell Neville and David Porter) and the Medal of Honor, and the only Marine to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

In 1933, he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot, when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to Fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations, but a final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony.

Halloween yesterday had impact.

A formal vote along party lines agreed to an official impeachment inquiry. The same vote republicans wanted initially...until they didn't. The rules they raided the SCIF over was as republican as the Affordable Care Act: they were passed by John Boehner for Benghazi. Karma is truly a bitch.

 

*****


Major General Smedley Butler is one of nineteen men to win two Congressional Medals of Honor. He was on his way to becoming Commandant of the Marine Corps. His reporting the coup led to likely his stall at two stars and lackluster failure to gain elected office as a republican senator.

His reveal of the fascist plot to overthrow the US government is instructive. To quote the historian Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny":

"History does not repeat, but it does instruct. As the Founding Fathers debated our Constitution, they took instruction from the history they knew. Concerned with the democratic republic they envisioned would collapse, they contemplated the descent of ancient democracies and republics into oligarchy and empire. As they knew, Aristotle warned that inequality brought instability, while Plato believed that demagogues exploited free speech to install themselves as tyrants. In founding a democratic republic upon law and establishing checks and balances, the Founding Fathers sought to avoid the evil that they, like the ancient philosophers, called tyranny. They had in mind the usurpation of power by a single individual or group, or the circumvention of laws by rulers for their own benefit. Much of the succeeding political debate in the United States has concerned the problem of tyranny within American society: over slaves and women for example."

History and Tyranny, Prologue, Timothy Snyder, "On Tyranny"

We're seeing a growing rise in inequality as the 1% build their versions of castles and motes in exclusive enclaves, separating themselves from the rest of the population. They continue post Citizens United influencing electoral politics with bucket loads of money and horse shit. The poetry we ascribe to our founding documents neglects that John Jacob Astor - our nation's first multimillionaire - after struggling in the fur business, made cheddar in the opium trade to China, as did "Warren Delano Jr., the grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt." He eventually settled...into New York real estate with the help of Vice President Aaron Burr. One of his properties was part of the original New York Public Library system. When you investigate history, it has a way of destroying illusions.

 

America’s First Multi-Millionaire, 250 Years Later
Get the facts about John Jacob Astor, America’s first multi-millionaire.
Barbara Maranzani, History.com


We have deluded ourselves into thinking we are "the good guys." The Constitution is at most a suggestion by White, Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender men who owned slaves, kept wives and mistresses, defying the demands of Colonial England and usurped power. Though they used the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal," African slaves were not considered human and women were not regarded at all except as sexual partners and mothers. The tendency towards miscegenation resulting in mixed children that fostered "colorism" within the future African Americans made things even more confusing.

We need to recognize this designed division for what it is: a way to maintain power by those in power. It will not bring back coal, put blacks on the back of the bus, women out of the work force, LGBT back in the closet or immigrants - Ellis Island, Emma Lazarus poem notwithstanding, or asylum seekers - back in their native countries.

This is a moment for Americans to consider our founding documents with regards to what kind of country we had to what kind of country we ultimately want going forward: one with sovereignty that selects its own leaders, or an anarchy selected in banana republic elections in literal Russian Roulette?

Instead of overthrowing the president, the installed Manchurian ass(et) may be trying to overthrow US!

We won't always have a self-sacrificing Smedley Butler to save us.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

War is a Racket, Major General Smedley Butler
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Half Century...


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


As stated, my incarceration ends this Friday. However, my "due process" is as much a mystery as my apparent offense. Any appeals goes into the nether ether; a 1 and 0 equivalent of a digital black hole. The temporary suspension of my First Amendment rights is annoying, but I have the ability to post to forums that I'm the administrator, and if determined to, I can message any post to another Facebook subscriber "on the outside" to post for me. The inconvenience comes when you wish to join into a flow of ideas over something you have an emotional tie to (like, homecoming). As a parent and now a grandparent, I can attest it is far more instructive "teaching a lesson" when the offender has a clear explanation of what the original offense was. I likely ran afoul of an algorithm.

It's interesting that Facebook is the byproduct of a theft if "The Social Network" is to be believed. To address its (assumed) accidental complicity in the spreading of fake news by Internet trolls, there is a "news" service that respects all voices, inclusive of those on the Alt Right (Wrong) like Brietbart and the Daily Caller along with legitimate news outlets as a faux diversity of voices. Yet, Mr. Zuckerberg doesn't want government regulation or for Facebook to be broken up into smaller companies (though, I doubt he would starve).

Facebook and Twitter are "free" with the exception of gathering metadata on our browsing and spending habits and using it towards profiting of those same and other corporations. It can also be used nefariously by governments as discovered in 2016.

On this fiftieth anniversary of the Internet, we should recall the lesson from the fictional character, Spider-man: "with great power comes great responsibility."
 

Marking the anniversary, our founder and inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said:

“It’s astonishing to think the internet is already half a century old. But its birthday is not altogether a happy one. The internet — and the World Wide Web it enabled — have changed our lives for the better and have the power to transform millions more in the future. But increasingly we’re seeing that power for good being subverted, whether by scammers, people spreading hatred or vested interests threatening democracy.

“A year ago, I called for a new Contract for the Web, bringing together governments, companies and citizen groups to come up with a clear plan of action to protect the web as a force for good. In a month’s time that plan will be ready. This birthday must mark the moment we take on the fight for the web we want.” *

 

As the internet turns 50, we must protect it as a force for good, Web Foundation

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Angry White Guys...

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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images MSNBC

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Fascism


TAMPA — From the convention stage here, the Republican Party has tried to highlight its diversity, giving prime speaking slots to Latinos and blacks who have emphasized their party’s economic appeal to all Americans.

But they have delivered those speeches to a convention hall filled overwhelmingly with white faces, an awkward contrast that has been made more uncomfortable this week by a series of racial headaches that have intruded on the party’s efforts to project a new level of inclusiveness.

The tensions come amid a debate within the GOP on how best to lure new voters. The nation’s shifting demographics have caused some Republican leaders to worry not only about the party’s future but about winning in November, particularly in key swing states such as Virginia and Nevada.

The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Rosalind S. Helderman and Jon Cohen, Washington Post, August 29, 2012

Republican National Conventions are paste-white affairs with a smattering of African American members and some tokens as room jewelry. That has declined steadily since 2000. The GOP Autopsy Report is a fascinating document, and could have stopped the bleeding had it not been turned to toilet paper by our current Russian ass(et). 

Two weeks ago, I posted excerpts from the New Republic article by Jeet Heer: The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy. Disrupting the congressional process of inquiry is a departure from the governing norms of democracy itself.

In the summer of 2015, the House Select Committee on Benghazi was still chasing conspiracy theories, holding a series of closed-door hearings with officials and witnesses. As part of the investigatory process, other members of Congress who were interested in learning more were excluded – and when former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tried to crash a deposition, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) blocked him.

On this, Gowdy, who chaired the Benghazi panel, was correct. Not only did he take steps to prevent a political circus – nearly every witness was interviewed behind closed doors – but House rules only permit members to participate in depositions if they serve on the relevant committees. These are not spectator events.

SCIF: Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. A Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced "skiff"), in British and United States military, national security/national defense and intelligence parlance, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information. Wikipedia

This WASP-C (White Anglo Saxon Protestant, Cisgender) frat boy stunt has compromised our SCIF.

This is the SAME SCIF the Benghazi Hearings were held in.

Forty-five republicans are literally IN the room with full access to the same classified information and testimony being investigated. Like a Grand Jury, this part of the process is not public. It will eventually be aired publicly.

This is the SAME SCIF entered with cell phones that can be hacked by distant actors in far off countries (like Russia) that can get an electronic "peek" into the building. It probably happened while ordering pizza. It only takes one. The hearing was delayed likely to allow NSA to sweep and re-secure the SCIF. It violates federal law.

I hope it's not permanently compromised, as Putin would want it. I called my representative and blasted him through his admin for a sophomoric stunt.

President Teddy Roosevelt (R) offered educator Booker T. Washington a visit to the Presidential Mansion that proved contentious to a nation based on the "norms' of white supremacy. African Americans weren't official "guests," they were at most servants and nothing more. It is said after that visit, the mansion would get the definitive name "White House," removing all doubt about the nation's foundations.

"The Southern Strategy" is suffering from Entropy. It worked well in 1968, exacerbating the fears of "the other" by white southern Dixiecrats that stormed out of the Democratic Party post Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), The Civil Rights Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965); the Fair Housing Act (1968). Forty years later, they would collectively lose their minds with the election of the one and only African American to the highest office on the planet. He would move his family into a house built by slaves, the descendants servants for generations and still there. He would be hung in effigy and disparaged in vitriol. The report of the demographics shift in the nation - "demographics is destiny" (Auguste Comte) - cemented the collective conniption fit of the white and privileged.

“We’ve got a queer running for president, if that ain’t about as ugly as you can get,” Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst said to the crowd after telling them to “wake up.”

“I’m not prejudiced, but by golly,” continued Hurst, waving his finger in the air, “a white male in this country has very few rights, and they’re getting took more every day.” While one member of the crowd walked out in protest, Hurst was met with whistles and applause from the audience after he finished speaking.

Tim Fitzsimons and Gwen Aviles, NBCNEWS

We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Nixon on his reelection swept the south - the first time by a republican - but, this isn't 1968. Or 1980 - 1988. The wink-and-nod genteel "soft bigotry of low expectations" under the current darkness of this Orange Satan went from dog whistle to foghorn.

This was and is about those in power that don't want that power interrupted, by people of color, women, LGBT, immigrants et al.

And they're likely willing to burn the whole joint down to "make America [a] great (white supremacists' hope) again."
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The Sons of Jacob...

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Warning signs hang in a church in Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu | Vox

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


Note: Taking a blog break as I prepare for midterms. I'll reemerge in about two weeks.

The Sons of Jacob are the conspiratorial group that devised the philosophy and social structure for a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy and orchestrated the rise of Gilead.

A founder of a local Sons of Jacob chapter tells the Boston Globe in an interview he read about the community in a Facebook group and got into it because he wanted to help "the kids" to "get them out of gangs and away from their sinful families and into a better way of [life]."

According to Offred, "'they' shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress, and the army declared a state of emergency". She adds "they blamed it on the Islamic fanatics" and that "the entire government" was "gone like that", making her wonder "how did 'they' get in". Later on "they suspended the Constitution" which they said "would be temporary". Moira suspects "they've been building up to this".

Source: The Sons of Jacob, The Handmaid's Tale Fandom Wiki

Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale in 1985. The Sons of Jacob didn't have Facebook or social media, so their emergence was from a fictionalized decline in birthrates that propelled them to act out of fear for survival. Being 1985, it would have never occurred to the writer to bring an outside force from Russia favoring the Sons of Jacob to assist them first electorally: we were in the Cold War and apparently still litigating the Civil War. The author pointed out in an interview, what seems sudden in a coup d'etat typically happens first in the background. Outside the awareness of the country, it suddenly overruns an unsuspecting public with a surprise assault.

Impeachment is not necessarily for a crime. He can be impeached for not fulfilling his presidential duties nominating candidates (preferring "acting" positions) for senate confirmation in their constitutional duty to "advise and consent" (obliterated by Moscow Mitch with respect to President Obama and Merrick Garland).

[The president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States... Senate.gov

Now...Caligula tweets threats of civil war and witness intimidation, yet another ground for impeachment. Twenty-four hours after denying he strong-armed the Ukrainian president, did it AGAIN from the White House lawn, involving China. The fact he has a shot-in-foot trade war with them is bizarre, and the equivalent of falling on his own Sword of Damocles.

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

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

But these overt forms of voting suppression are merely the most visible manifestations of a larger questioning of democracy on the political right. Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric—and the eagerness of so many good, white patriotic Americans to cheer it and believe it—is a symptom of the larger trend on the political right toward doubting the legitimacy of the American system. The question we need to be asking isn’t, “Why is Trump being such a jerk?” It’s, “Why is the American Right giving up on democracy?”

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


William Barr, the nation's top cop, isn't fighting the Opioid Crisis at home, but globetrotting after debunked conspiracy theories to link Ukraine to the DNC server hack, not Russia, therefore discrediting the Mueller Report and thus, justify lifting any sanctions against them. Rudy Giuliani - America's mayor after 9/11 - is passing around said debunked conspiracy theories in Trump hotel folders with monogrammed stationary. Mike Pompeo is denying unsuccessfully testimony to the House Intelligence Committee regarding his complicity in the Ukrainian call, which he eventually admitted being on. Mike Pompeo is a graduate of West Point. Mike Pompeo is a Harvard Law graduate. He's supposedly a "Christian" with a penchant for mendacity that is only eclipsed by Orange Satan.

At my previous job before graduate school, one of my coworkers was lamenting about the "birth rate decline of white people" right outside of my office. He had three children, the guy nodding next to him had FIVE and the next two gents two and three children respectively. For the record: I have two sons, a daughter-in-law; a granddaughter (not then). I clearly was outnumbered. White supremacy is if nothing, anxiously numerical.

I closed the door to my office. It wasn't worth a reply.

The Sons of Jacob are fictional, but the fear of "white genocide" is quite real and first retweeted by the Manchurian Candidate now at Pennsylvania Avenue.

The prospect of civil war was first opined by evangelical (evil-gelical) pastor Robert Jeffress, again retweeted by an addled, Internet addicted and disturbed mind. Franklin Graham can't recall a SINGLE lie told by the "father of lies." He made #Antichrist trend on Twitter after his self-apotheosis as "the chosen one." I guess such a figure needs anti-Christian followers in his flock, as neither remotely reminds me of Christ.

White Americans own a lot of guns, brought on by "fear of the other": demographically, evangelicals became numerical minorities in 2017. Some openly discuss the aspect of a modern civil war. One of my friends from undergraduate at NC A&T, said so. Working as a GS engineer for the US Navy, they openly discussed a race war with the only African American engineer in the division and the rounds of ammunition they purchased for the "Turner Diaries"-inspired bloodbath. My wife heard similar sentiments from her coworkers at her employment where she is also the only African American.

The impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were successful in their respective House of Representatives only. Nixon seeing the biblical "handwriting on the wall," resigned before removal. Even with the mounting evidence, and if impeachment is successful for the first time in our history: If his removal is recommended by Moscow Mitch's senate, their constituent's collective pathology may be worth tearing our republic to bits over. I shudder over that apocalyptic scenario.

I'm not sure their blindness lets them see it: fascist sons of bitches erecting this bullshit mountain will not "make America great again," turn back the clock on climate change; make coal or petroleum clean, bring back factory and farm jobs, de-globalize the world economy, make women barefoot and perpetually pregnant, put black, brown and anyone other-than-white-people on the back of the bus, LGBT back in the closet or inaugurate a Dominionism-inspired Republic of Gilead.

 

In fiction, Moira suspected "they've been building up to this".


They are building us up to something...
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Man Without a Country...

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Source: Book vs. Flick: Stephen King's IT, Sara Century


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


"I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Source: 5 U.S. Code § 3331.Oath of office, Cornell Law School

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

This is a man without a country and really, a party without a country.

He is a man without a country because he has nothing beyond his wallet he truly believes in. He wasn't a liberal the sixty-five years he was a member of the Democratic Party; he's by far not a conservative in the Republican Party whose racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia he has driven nakedly to its logical conclusion of fascism. He obviously had the building blocks to exploit. Pathological lying is one of his many visible mental disorders. He would rather run a hustle than study, as true education would be an admittance he doesn't know everything, and his narcissistic personality disorder simply won't allow anything but his self-deluded, deified perfection, and enablers willingly reflecting back the adulation that has no bottom.

His soul and wallet are equally owned by Vladimir Putin because Russian oligarchs were the only ones that would loan him any money when he burned his bridges with any legitimate American banking institution after SIX bankruptcies - it takes special talent to lose money in gambling casinos. He is evidence of what it looks like when one man who metaphorically and quite literally "gains the world," and sells his soul (if he ever had one).

The hearing yesterday shows just how far the former party of Lincoln and Reagan has fallen from the ideal of whatever conservatism - envisioned by William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater was supposed to mean.

The whistle blower charge has been declassified. The agent has also been threatened with the only constitutional punishment for treason by Orange Caligula in a breathtaking display of projection. The current constitutional crisis we find ourselves in may either prove our democratic ideals, or damn them to disorganized tribalism. I am literally praying for our continuance as a nation.

The idea of a Director of National Intelligence dates back to the 1950s, but was instituted specifically after the attacks on 9/11. It's main purpose is to coordinate the myriad agencies - the same seventeen that conclusively pointed to Russian interference in 2016 - that weren't talking to each other before the attacks. It is supposed to be a senate confirmed position; there have been two confirmed and two acting directors.

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire is senate confirmed - for the counter-terrorism task force, per his previous skill sets as a Navy Seal. We currently have a dysfunctional, dystopian system of "acting" positions, due to the record turnover of government workforce (currently at 78%, a record in less than four years) and the lack of desire by those sane to work for someone clearly unstable.

 

*****


The Reality Of What They Are

Formatted reality shows are essentially game shows, because there is a specific structure, set rules, and a clear winner. What makes them exciting to watch is the fact that they are often clever dramatic social experiments. To truly connect with an audience and have entertainment value in a show, the idea needs to be as fun to watch as it is to participate in.

Docuseries reality shows allow us to witness life unfold for a person, family, business, or group set within a lifestyle and circumstance that creates entertaining and compelling content. The reason viewers tune in is because we have an insatiable appetite for witnessing and being entertained by the human experience.

This formulaic reality show will not work for very much longer. It's not even fun to watch.

We were attacked on 9/11. We were attacked during the 2016 presidential elections. We are open for slaughter and attack by those same forces, and we've been damned lucky another 9/11-style attack hasn't happened, or that the current kleptocracy hasn't spurred or allowed one to happen! That will unify nothing except our devolution into chaos. It's easy if the United States became a failed state, for the world currency to switch from the dollar to the Chinese Yuan without a blink. They could relocate the UN and Wall Street to Europe. We could in a fortnight become a byword and a historical footnote.

He is a man who has never had a country like any lover or wife he's not unwilling to cheat on.

My concern is as a people, WE have a country instead of a badlands of anarchy.
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Roger Ailes, Roy Cohn and Reality...


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


Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers.

The memo—called, simply enough, "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News"— is included in a 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes' work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations that we obtained from the Nixon and Bush presidential libraries. Through his firms REA Productions and Ailes Communications, Inc., Ailes served as paid consultant to both presidents in the 1970s and 1990s, offering detailed and shrewd advice ranging from what ties to wear to how to keep the pressure up on Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the first Gulf War.
 

Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News, John Cook, Gawker, 2011 article


Near the beginning of “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” the new documentary about the lawyer and power broker who mentored Donald Trump, an interviewee says, “Roy Cohn’s contempt for people, his contempt for the law, was so evident on his face that if you were in his presence, you knew you were in the presence of evil.” He wasn’t being hyperbolic.

In the 1950s, as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, Cohn wasn’t just a key player in the anti-Communist witch hunts of the time. He also persecuted men in the State Department who were suspected of being gay, despite being a closeted gay man himself. Later, he became a consigliere to New York’s mafia families, some of whom also had ties to Trump, even as he ranted about law and order.
 

Roy Cohn Is How We Got Trump
From McCarthyism to the mob to Trump, Cohn enabled evil.
Why did elites embrace him?
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times


More than four years into the experience, Trump can now pull a stunt that would have obliterated any previous politicians’ career before sundown and get away with it, because it’s incrementally more of exactly what he has been doing since he rode that golden escalator into this elongated infamy we now endure.

This is part and parcel of creeping fascism. An instance of horrifying racism becomes merely “expected” from the president, and then he moves on to another one, and then another, and another after that. He and his administration are laboring to normalize the grotesque.

History is the scaffold for the present.

Though Washington, DC was designed by the genius (and likely, closeted) African American Benjamin Banneker, it is, as of 2019, applying the umpteenth time for statehood. Moscow Mitch will block it as the grim reaper of all things decent, because it will "give an advantage to democrats." True. The District of Columbia will gain two senators and as long as we insist upon the anachronism, the slave state favoring electoral college. It should be extended to Puerto Rico, Guam and other territories. It is a tacit admittance the GOP's policies aren't attractive to a large swath of the population. Hence, the best way to win is to block, inhibit, intimidate, purge, voter ID or otherwise Russian-hack the vote.

We are here because we never dealt with the nation's demons of Native American genocide and land theft. We are here because we told ourselves captive, silly myths about enslaving Africans was "Christianize-ing the savages," and further logical fallacies about not needing to pay the descendants of centuries-free labor reparations.

Not withstanding the poignant observations of his college professor, the one thing he's studied and mastered brilliantly is chaos and division. It's the genius of feral instinct, not unlike a rodent in survival mode.

We are here because of the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." If they had simply added the modifier "White Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender Male," the matter would have been clarified. There would have been no 13th, 14th, 15th or 19th Amendments; Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Harvey Milk, Barack Obama or Pete Buttigieg.

We are here because one man is a disciple of Roger Ailes and Roy Cohn's dark arts - either directly or indirectly - he's expertly mimicked their panache for not telling the truth to Olympian heights, and fabricates the reality he would rather than is. He has a ready-made audience of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, climate change and science deniers. He has a bully charm to elicit the same behaviors from his minions - either fall in line, or be turned on in a tweet. 

My acerbic commentary on Facebook regarding the article by John Fea "Why is Christian America Supporting Donald Trump?":

Because the first supremacy on this soil was Christian supremacy: it takes balls and psychopathy to slaughter the same First Nation people who kindly got them through their first winter. Many colonists resorted to cannibalism - look it up. It made it easy to kidnap Africans whose agricultural expertise made the colonists richer than sultans and kings. Many a lynch mob were the same people who read the good book minutes before the barbarous act, and many “Christian” masters sired Mulatto children or practiced “buck breaking” - raping male slaves to dehumanize them in front of their families, despite in either case being married with children and in many cases, “ministers.”

The veil is just off. This is who they’ve always been.
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Herd Immunity...

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Everyone who was in the Fullerton, CA, movie theater, not just those at the "Avengers" screening, may have been exposed to the contagious disease. (Source: CDC/Twitter, KCRG)

 

Topics: Biology, Civil Rights, Human Rights


Normally, I save this type of commentary for Fridays, but...

As measles cases rise, more vaccine exemptions are being demanded by parents concerned about government control or worried about the now-debunked link between immunization and autism.

This year’s back-to-school season coincides with the worst measles resurgence that the nation has seen since the disease was declared “eliminated” nearly two decades ago.

At least 1,241 people — many of them school-age children — contracted the viral infection across 31 states so far this year, according to the most recent count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called it the highest number of reported cases in nearly a generation. [1]

Here's what I was looking for:

Measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000. This was thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States, as well as better measles control in the Americas region. [2]

The declaration was a bit hyperbole and grandiose: we again, increased the likelihood of protection from it via herd immunity.

You can reduce the incident of things when you respect the science.

This resurgence of measles, with an R0 of 18 versus Ebola's R0 of 2 - is due to the rampant conspiracy theories spread online and hyped by celebrities that has impacted herd immunity - simply, if 95% of the population go for their vaccinations, it protects the 55 or so that for various reasons good only to them, refuse to get them.

When the numbers increase in the un-vaccinated and the numbers decrease in the vaccinated, you have the situation we're currently not enjoying.

This lack of respect for science has analogies: climate change and mass shootings.

In each case, there is a disrespect for the science that preceded any announced conclusions. In the case of climate change, it enjoys the same treatment the cigarette industry used to sow doubt (and in many cases, the same PR and law firms to do it).

With gun lobbyists that did NOT exist at the founding of the country, science is discouraged and the useless channeling of 'thoughts and prayers" follows any massacre, as if they know our attention spans are fleeting and the carnage has already been factored into their business models.

Though it thought triumphant in 2000 to declare ourselves measles-free, this predates 9/11 when our sense of safety was ripped away like a scab of useless flesh. Fear gripped the nation and irrationality became the norm. Fear of the "other" drove gun sales then, and they always will.

My "societal inoculation" to reduce (not eliminate) gun violence:

1. License and insurance - this logical step is resisted by the aforementioned gun lobbyists as the "slippery slope" to totalitarianism, yet no one has proposed we NOT regulate vehicle or business licenses.

2. Universal background checks - of in-store and straw one-to-one purchases.

3. Buy-back programs to those that don't want to go through the hassle of 1 or 2.

4. Confiscation - for the knuckleheads that will invariably try to go out in a "blaze of glory."

No one law or set of laws will eliminate gun violence any more than one vaccine, even at 95% herd immunity will totally eliminate a disease: it simply reduces its frequency; the current R0 for guns has to be around the mid thirties.

The above is slightly better than the thoughts and prayers that haven't traversed higher than the myriad ceiling under which they have been uttered.

 

1. Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of kids are going to school unvaccinated, Jayme Fraser, The Columbus Dispatch
2, Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Measles History

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Handmaids, Families and Utopias...

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Image Source: Trump's 'Sharpie Gate' Hurricane Dorian Stunt is Getting Trolled on Twitter
Alison Sullivan, God's Daily Dot

 

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


I will make a commentary on "Sharpie Gate" momentarily.

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian state resembling a theonomy that overthrows the United States government. The novel focuses on the journey of the handmaid Offred. Her name derives from the possessive form "of Fred"; handmaids are forbidden to use their birth names and must echo the male, or master, whom they serve.

Beginning with a staged attack that killed the president and most of Congress, a radical political group calling itself the "Sons of Jacob", exploiting religious ideology closely resembling some traits of Christian Reconstructionism, launches a revolution. The United States Constitution is suspended, newspapers are censored, and what was formerly the United States of America changes drastically into a theonomic military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead. The new regime moves quickly to consolidate its power, overtaking all pre-existing religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations; and reorganizes society along a new militarized, hierarchical model of Old Testament-inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. Above all, the biggest change is the severe limitation of people's rights, especially those of women, making them unable to hold property, handle money, as well as forbidding them to read or write.

The story is told in the first-person narration by a woman called Offred. In this era of declining birth rates due to increasing infertility brought about by environmental pollution and radiation, she is one of those few women with healthy reproductive systems. Hence she is forcibly assigned to produce children for the ruling class of men "Commanders", and is known as a "Handmaid" based on the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. Apart from Handmaids, other women are also classed socially and follow a strict dress code, ranked highest to lowest: the Commanders' Wives in blue, the Handmaids in red with the exception of white veils around their faces, the Aunts (who train and indoctrinate the Handmaids) in brown, the Martha's (cooks and maids) in green, "Econo-wives" who handle everything in the domestic sphere in stripes, young and unmarried girls in white and widows in black.

Source: The Handmaid's Tale, Wikipedia

Aptly described by one viewer as "the prologue to The Handmaid's Tale", Netflix's The Family is the new docuseries taking the world by storm.

A deeply gripping tale, the critically acclaimed show tells the story of the clandestine Christian organization called 'The Family' and their hidden influence on U.S. politics.

Based on a true story, The Family is a docuseries that combines archival photos and interviews with dramatic reenactments to investigate a secret Christian organisation known as The Fellowship Foundation, colloquially referred to as 'The Family'.

Their Washington D.C.-based network, comprised solely of men, includes numerous high-powered politicians, diplomats and religious leaders from around the world, who conspire together to influence legislation on a global level.

Their leader is a man named Doug Coe, described in the trailer as "the most powerful man in Washington you've never heard of". Coe believed that God's work was best carried out away from the public eye.

Source: The Family, docuseries on Netflix, Harper's Bazaar

The Family author, Jeff Sharlet wrote it and its follow on, C Street as warnings on the abuse of power by an un-elected political organization that has out-sized influence on the US government. We've accepted the National Prayer Breakfast as "normal," when in strict constructionist reading of The Constitution, flagrantly violates The First Amendment.

Margaret Atwood opined in interview that what she wrote in 1985 isn't something she dreamed up out of whole cloth: there are real-life analogs. What was dramatized in the book and now in the series as the overthrow of the federal republic, suspension of the US Constitution has a prologue we often don't see...until the "Sons of Jacob" think they can openly get away with violence. They may first have an ultra secret organization that no one except for one truthful author has ever heard about.

 

*****


The joke is first evangelical literature in the 1970s and the 1980s focused on the "end times" as a terrible, awful future event to avoid. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was often quoted at the end of a popular litany of speculative literature as a cosmic "get out of jail" card with the almighty. It also calmed and soothed Christian writers' audiences enough to consider the next book in their careers of scaring the bejesus out of their readers.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation.

Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them.

The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, Amazon.com

The mythology of Star Trek likely germinated in the nightmares Gene Roddenberry and people steeped in Cold War "duck and cover" drills (me included), thought a lot about: would World War III be the existential LAST war? Worlds orbit suns as we now observe throughout the universe. They do not require air, water or life - sentient or otherwise, just gravity, planetary physics and an orbital path.

It is mythology because benevolent aliens happening upon a fledgling warp species is pure "Deus ex machina." Warp drive is as imaginative as unicorns. Aliens that can traverse vast distances would probably be indifferent, if not militant to a technologically emerging species. Roddenberry could have easily made them Klingons.

The short-lived Enterprise, debuting days after September 11, 2001, tried to document our unsteady first steps to the stars, prior to Federation bureaucracies, Prime Directives and the original intro that became The Captain's Oath.

The CBS streamed, so far sophomore seasoned Discovery series not only fleshed out Captain Christopher Pike - the previous USS Enterprise's highest ranking Starfleet officer - it briefly alluded to the third world war in season 2 regarding ex-pat Earthlings and a time-traveling Red Angel (no spoilers - stream, binge and catch up).

What's missing is the cause.

Lying about Hurricane Dorian like a third grader forging his 68 on a report card to an "88" before his parents see it. It is callous of the lives lost in the Atlantic (20 and counting); the height of narcissistic personality disorder, and also illegal.

18 U.S.C. §2074 makes it a crime to issue a counterfeit weather forecast, claiming that it was issued by the Weather Bureau.

Despite a rare rebuke by the National Weather Service, who ostensibly WORK for the orange twit, he doubled, tripled and QUADRUPLED down, exhaustively dragging us ALL into his mad Twitter reality where he is king for life, he is right all the time and his "great brain" is the purest of genius, even stable.

We pulled out of the nuclear arms deal with Iran with the impulsive, not thought through, non-reviewed action that let us walk out of the Paris Climate Accords. We may have to send troops to ensure Iran doesn't reconstitute it's nuclear enrichment program (what the deal was supposed to do); we may end up paying trillions mitigating the after effects of super heated ocean water resulting in climate change damages after calling it a "Chinese hoax."

2053 is the fictional start of the Trek timeline almost species ending third world war. Ten years after that, Zefram Cochrane flies the Phoenix and attracts the attention of Vulcans who are (as written), benevolent, logical and vegetarian. We weren't interesting until we warped, because apparently thermonuclear annihilation and near species extinction is rather boring on a galactic scale.

The "end" may not take thirty-four years. It might just take an errant tweet during a septuagenarian bowel movement in the midst of "executive time" to produce a demonstrably pathetic lie about Alabama...or, a mushroom cloud.

Homo Sapiens to Homo Stultus...a gross, but sadly fitting epitaph.

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” James Baldwin
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