politics (23)

Xenophobic Idolatry...

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Teen Vogue: Quaranteens Against Xenophobia, Karma Samtani

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short list of things created by immigrants:

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

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

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

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

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The Enlightenment...

 

Topics: Civil Rights, Existentialism, History, Politics

Enlightenment, French siècle des Lumières (literally “century of the Enlightened”), German Aufklärung, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition. The goals of rational humanity were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.

A brief treatment of the Enlightenment follows. For full treatment, see Europe, history of: The Enlightenment.

The powers and uses of reason had first been explored by the philosophers of ancient Greece. The Romans adopted and preserved much of Greek culture, notably including the ideas of a rational natural order and natural law. Amid the turmoil of empire, however, a new concern arose for personal salvation, and the way was paved for the triumph of the Christian religion. Christian thinkers gradually found uses for their Greco-Roman heritage. The system of thought known as Scholasticism, culminating in the work of Thomas Aquinas, resurrected reason as a tool of understanding but subordinated it to spiritual revelation and the revealed truths of Christianity.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Enlightenment: European history

Caveat: Only if you're not BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Caveats remove the romanticism, which if you explore the Britannica link, romanticism was associated with emotion as well as art, and the opposite of rationalism.

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge has a Ph.D. in African American Studies and varied interests in "big Broadway musicals to the social and political movements of the last 200 years" according to her show's website. Dr. Bainbridge removes the romanticism and mythology we tell ourselves: the apotheosis we've promoted our flawed, Founding Fathers to, such that any real history that doesn't place their descendants in a good light is ignored, rewritten and propagandized. See: The Lost Cause.

People are in the streets: because 401 years is the patience of Job on steroids, post reconstruction, lynchings and Jim Crow. We've never had the luxury of PTSD: it's ever-present traumatic stress disorder, over-and-over. Necks were stretched with ropes from trees before esophagi constricted with choke holds in New York and knees in Minnesota.

In my 2016 post, Scientism, the point was scientists and the scientific community being human have prejudices. Prejudices are learned from "credible others": usually parents, relatives and authority figures respected. As Bainbridge points out in the video above, science masks racism with "reason," such that structural inequality that was once defined by divine law can be redefined by natural law, so that nothing really changes. It rationalizes low numbers in STEM fields so that no actions are needed until jogging while black: Ahmaund Aubrey; sleeping while black: Breonna Taylor, with a viral George Floyd snuff video as icing on a blood cake. I'm glad the academy is tackling it, but it's long overdue. Jane Elliott says it best: "You are not born racist. You are born into a racist society. And like anything else, if you can learn it, you can unlearn it. But some people choose not to unlearn it, because they're afraid they'll lose power if they share with other people. We are afraid of sharing power. That's what it's all about."

I don't want a "return to normal." Normal was Winthrop's "city on a hill," that might as well be a pile of feces plated with gold and silver: it's still a dressed-up pile of shit.

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

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

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

"United States" is oxymoron - a contradiction in terms. We're 50 warring tribes and unrepresented territories: D.C. Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We were sure adding stars to that flag, complaining about kneeling S.O.B.s protesting police brutality; stealing territory from First Nation peoples and Mexico for the racist "Manifest Destiny." We halted it when the math didn't work for the racists, and the balance of the senate was in play. I count eight more senators for 54 states, that may not vote the way Moscow Mitch might want them to. See Jane Elliott here, and above.

We've moronically made masks a culture war. The European Union consists of 27 nations, and this graph is all you need to know why there is a travel ban to Europe for U.S. citizens. He got his "travel ban," alright: American "exceptionalism" in Bizarro World. Boomerangs work, and karma is a bitch. We're apparently going to see if raking puts out forest fires and COVID spread at Mt. Rushmore. If anything bad happens, he'll blame Obama.

Masks might have stymied the spread of Coronavirus, but we're on the Good Ship Pequod abandoned by surprisingly woke Ahab, once he found out about prosthetic limbs and decided pursuing white whales for revenge was bullshit. In a fit of panic, sheer lucidity and rightfully ignoring Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s death cult ramblings, Governor Greg Abbott implemented a mandatory masks executive order in Texas, likely saving his job for re-election.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams

The ship-of-state is currently being steered by tweeting, orange Captain dumb ass, performing embarrassing, public political fellatio on a KGB agent that obviously has his number to his bank account. He has YET to retaliate to $100,000 bounties against our service members in Afghanistan. His bemoaning dead confederates was a culture war dodge: we need the ban for the safety of the rest of the planet, we're a manifest global pandemic of hate, and because we have NO leader that will protect us now! We are defenseless, and our mad emperor is perpetually naked.

We are isolated from the world. I would like us one day to rejoin it, humanely and sanely. I want us to actually START acting like the mythology we believed ourselves through propaganda (wrongly) to be.

I want us to evolve, mature, finally ...enlightened.

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Wrestle Mania...

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Mil Máscaras, 2009. Source: Wikipedia

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Stable genius" maybe should have asked Mil Máscaras?

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

 

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

 

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

Black Wall Street:

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

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

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

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

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum

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

But today, it is also, Juneteenth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Memorial Day 2020...

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History.com

Topics: History, Politics

One of the earliest commemorations was organized by recently freed slaves.

As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand.

Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

The holiday’s “founder” had a long and distinguished career.

In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. On Decoration Day, as Logan dubbed it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though some historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom.

After the war Logan, who had served as a U.S. congressman before resigning to rejoin the army, returned to his political career, eventually serving in both the House and Senate and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for vice president in 1884. When he died two years later, Logan’s body laid in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, making him one of just 33 people to have received the honor. Today, Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle and several townships across the country are named in honor of this champion of veterans and those killed in battle.

8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day (Updated), History.com Editors

Typically, we would be in a family gathering in Texas, barbecuing, if not for this pandemic. For African Americans, Memorial Day is not only the unofficial-official "First Day of Summer," it's a mini-family reunion, as many center around the immediate family, friends, ribs and fixings. Everyone typically watches the Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, out of respect for the fallen, unnamed but not forgotten, regardless of political party.

That of course, isn't our current situation:

In one message retweeted by the president, John Stahl, a conservative who gathered only 3% of the vote in his bid to represent California's 52nd District in the House in 2012, called the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton, a "skank."

In another message shared by Trump, Stahl aimed insulting gibes at Pelosi and Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 race for the governor's office in Georgia and is a contender for selection as Joe Biden's running mate in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump retweets a message calling Hillary Clinton a 'skank' and spreads sexist insults about other prominent female Democrats

Tom Porter, Business Insider

*****

President Donald Trump spent a day at the links Saturday at his Virginia golf course as the nation careened toward 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. It was his first time golfing since declaring the pandemic a national emergency.

The tee-time scenes couldn’t help but recall those times Trump slammed Barack Obama for golfing when he was in the White House during the Ebola outbreak — which killed two in the U.S.

Trump Used To Tee Off On Obama For Golfing During Ebola Outbreak That Killed 2 In America

Mary Papenfuss, Yahoo/HuffPost

Our current situation is having a septuagenarian adolescent, if comedian and Celebrity Apprentice show runner Noel Casler is heeded: a drug addict. One does not just crush Adderall to snort unless it is prescribed, usually for attention deficit disorder, or hyperactivity disorder. It explains the constant, unconscious sniffing at microphones. It explains why intelligence agencies are encouraged to keep presidential daily briefings "short, and without nuance." It explains why he demands briefings targeted towards brevity and "killer graphics." Coupled with raging malignant narcissism and the lucky birth into wealth and white male supremacy, he's bluffed his entire life, failed upwards to the highest office in the land where he's clearly out over his skis.

 

2020 as year three and one half under this lunatic is well beyond its expiration date.

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Salk, Sabin and the Sun...

Topics: Biology, COVID-19, History, Politics

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952—an epidemic year for polio—there were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

Polio, a disease that has affected humanity throughout recorded history, attacks the nervous system and can cause varying degrees of paralysis. Since the virus is easily transmitted, epidemics were commonplace in the first decades of the 20th century. The first major polio epidemic in the United States occurred in Vermont in the summer of 1894, and by the 20th century thousands were affected every year. In the first decades of the 20th century, treatments were limited to quarantines and the infamous “iron lung,” a metal coffin-like contraption that aided respiration. Although children, and especially infants, were among the worst affected, adults were also often afflicted, including future president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1921 was stricken with polio at the age of 39 and was left partially paralyzed. Roosevelt later transformed his estate in Warm Springs, Georgia, into a recovery retreat for polio victims and was instrumental in raising funds for polio-related research and the treatment of polio patients.

According to the link, the trials weren't without consequence:

In 1954, clinical trials using the Salk vaccine and a placebo began on nearly two million American schoolchildren. In April 1955, it was announced that the vaccine was effective and safe, and a nationwide inoculation campaign began. Shortly thereafter, tragedy struck in the Western and mid-Western United States, when more than 200,000 people were injected with a defective vaccine manufactured at Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, California. Thousands of polio cases were reported, 200 children were left paralyzed and 10 died.

The Salk method - created in 1954 - is to inject inert forms of the virus into the bloodstream (made inactive with formaldehyde), then the body develops defenses, or antibodies against them, however it didn't prevent the virus from thriving in the intestines. His colleague, Dr. Sabin, injected an attenuated vaccine (1961), meaning it wasn't a fully inert strain so that the gut environment could be addresses. More here. The Sabin mostly eliminated Polio in the world, but the U.S. still uses the Salk method.

April 8, 1950, Mildred Dean married Robert H. Goodwin. Mom would earn an associates degree as a PN - practical nurse, and Pop worked for Hanes Dye and Finishing as an operator, under grueling conditions and few opportunities to promote until retirement. My big sister - in grade school at the time - would come along for the ride.

1954 - the year of the Polio vaccine, was also the date of Brown vs. Board of Education, where the Supreme Court reached a non-partisan, 9-0 decision, that education in America was separate and unequal.

1961 was the year the Sabin vaccine was created, and a couple who had been married twelve years got pregnant around Thanksgiving - I would be born August of 1962. I likely was beneficiary of the Sabin method at Kate Biting Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, also the black hospital where my mother worked.

We cannot "patent the sun." But one can be grateful for the impact of invention by Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin on the quality of life given to everyone in my generation, and forward, and African American parents wise enough to wait for it.

There will be a sunrise, past this moment.

Dr. Jonas Salk announces polio vaccine, History.com Editors

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YULIA DROZDOVA/ALAMY STOCK VECTOR
 

Topics: History, Politics, Research, STEM

 

A crowd began to form at the train station in Pocatello, Idaho, around 5:15 am on Wednesday, 10 May 1950. Some 700 bleary-eyed townspeople had come to see the president and neither the day’s cold weather nor the hour would deter them. When the train chugged into town, President Harry Truman was standing on the rear platform, ready to greet the crowd. The trip to Pocatello was part of a whistle-stop tour of the northern US that took the president to numerous small towns dotting the railway.

Although Truman spent most of his time in Idaho addressing local agricultural and economic issues, in Pocatello, he talked to the crowd about science. Earlier that morning, as his train sped along the tracks, Truman had signed the National Science Foundation Act of 1950. It created the first federal agency devoted to supporting fundamental research and education across all scientific disciplines. Standing before a group of chilly Idahoans, Truman made a case for the importance of large-scale federal support for scientific research.

The story of NSF’s creation and early years of operation serves as an important window into the growth of postwar federal science policy. Science’s role in World War II had convinced many in the government that public support was needed for scientific research. Once open, NSF became an important site where debates over science policy, federal support for civilian research facilities, and federal support for education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) played out in postwar America.

NSF and postwar US Science, Emily Gibson, Physics Today

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Going Forward...

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At the former IBM research facility, Fishkill, NY

 

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


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

 

*****


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


(Suggested) extended protocols:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IML%2BProtocols.jpg

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

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

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

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Image Source: Pinterest

 


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

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

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


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

Blankets to First Nation peoples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


It is ghoulish:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Image Source: Semantics Scholar link below

 

Topics: Biology, Existentialism, Politics


Note: As I'm getting my sea legs in online classes, the blog will post not at the normal times because these aren't normal times. My karate instructor from undergrad is a cancer survivor: his doctor has him in isolation as COVID-19 can be exacerbated by immunodeficient systems. In addition, his wife and daughter just came back from overseas and are in isolation. He has relatives visiting him, though.

A brief I wrote my first year of graduate school for a class called Nano Safety (excerpt):

From an article in Nature: Education, it posits that viruses are not ‘alive’ in a sense they don’t have metabolic processes, one of the four criteria for life (“organized, metabolism, genetic code, and reproduction”) as discussed in class, 24 August 2017. There are three possible mechanisms to origins. The Progressive Hypothesis: “bits and pieces” of a genome gained the ability to move in and out of cells (retroviruses like HIV given as an example). The Regressive Hypothesis: meaning the viruses evolved from some common ancestor to their current state. The Virus-First Hypothesis: that viruses existed before mortals as “self-replicating units.”

1. Where did viruses come from? Ed Rybicki, Virologist from the University of Cape Town in South Africa

2. The Origins of Viruses, By David R. Wessner, Ph.D. (Dept. of Biology, Davidson College) © 2010 Nature Education, Citation: Wessner, D. R. (2010) The Origins of Viruses. Nature Education 3(9):37

My wife and I suffer allergies during this time of year. Out of an abundance of caution, we attempted to have her tested for COVID-19. The doctor surmised she didn't have any symptoms of Coronavirus, but the inventory of test kits from the CDC is what really troubled me: ONE. Only if you meet the stringent requirement of damned-near death's door will anyone get the test. Then, the doctor will order another SINGULAR test.

Conclusion: Our numbers are being held down artificially.

We're sheltered in-place. I'm calling and texting friends to check on them.

North Carolina now has 63 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, but that's for those who met the criteria and GOT the singular test kit evaluation.

All of us are literally on our own.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Allen Institute for AI has partnered with leading research groups to prepare and distribute the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a free resource of over 29,000 scholarly articles, including over 13,000 with full text, about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses for use by the global research community.

This dataset is intended to mobilize researchers to apply recent advances in natural language processing to generate new insights in support of the fight against this infectious disease. The corpus will be updated weekly as new research is published in peer-reviewed publications and archival services like bioRxiv, medRxiv, and others.

 

Semantics Scholar: COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19)

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Gigs and Pandemics...

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

March madness has ended abruptly due to Coronavirus.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Norquist had a tax pledge:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Social-media bots are growing more sophisticated. Credit: OMER MESSINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

 

Topics: Computer Science, Internet, Politics, Research, Sociology


Definition: a device or piece of software that can execute commands, reply to messages, or perform routine tasks, as online searches, either automatically or with minimal human intervention (often used in combination):

intelligent infobots; shopping bots that help consumers find the best prices. Dictionary.com

Social-media bots that pump out computer-generated content have been accused of swaying elections and damaging public health by spreading misinformation. Now, some social scientists have a fresh accusation: bots meddle with research studies that mine popular sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Instagram for information on human health and behavior.

Data from these sites can help scientists to understand how natural disasters affect mental health, why young people have flocked to e-cigarettes in the United States and how people join together in complex social networks. But such work relies on discerning the real voices from the automated ones.

“Bots are designed to behave online like people,” says Jon-Patrick Allem, a social scientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “If a researcher is interested in describing public attitudes, you have to be sure that the data you’re collecting on social media is actually from people.”

Computer scientist Sune Lehmann designed his first bots in 2013, as a social-network experiment for a class that he was teaching at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby. Back then, he says, bots on Twitter were simple, obscure and mainly meant to increase the number of followers for specific Twitter accounts. Lehmann wanted to show his students how such bots could manipulate social systems, so together they designed bots that impersonated fans of the singer Justin Bieber.

The ‘Bieber Bots’ were easy to design and quickly attracted thousands of followers. But social-media bots have continued to evolve, becoming more complex and harder to detect. They surged into the spotlight after the 2016 US presidential election – amid accusations that bots had been deployed on social media in an attempt to sway the vote in President Donald Trump’s favor. “All of a sudden, it became something of interest to people,” Allem says.

 

Social scientists battle bots to glean insights from online chatter, Heidi Ledford, Nature

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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...

smedley_1b.png
[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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Adaption and Extinction...

MV5BMWQ4MzI2ZDQtYjk3MS00ODdjLTkwN2QtOTBjYzIwM2RmNzgyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI%2540._V1_.jpg
Source: Internet Movie Database

 

Topics: Biology, Climate Change, Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics


Though the movie poster is an attempt at dark humor, I do agree with the science. We're in a time of our history where science is being suborned to political and economic considerations, when we need it literally for survival.


From a biological perspective, there is no such thing as devolution. All changes in the gene frequencies of populations--and quite often in the traits those genes influence--are by definition evolutionary changes. The notion that humans might regress or "devolve" presumes that there is a preferred hierarchy of structure and function--say, that legs with feet are better than legs with hooves or that breathing with lungs is better than breathing with gills. But for the organisms possessing those structures, each is a useful adaptation.

Chief among these misconceptions is that species evolve or change because they need to change to adapt to shifting environmental demands; biologists refer to this fallacy as teleology. In fact, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct, so clearly there is no requirement that species always adapt successfully. As the fossil record demonstrates, extinction is a perfectly natural--and indeed quite common--response to changing environmental conditions. When species do evolve, it is not out of need but rather because their populations contain organisms with variants of traits that offer a reproductive advantage in a changing environment.

 

Is the human race evolving or devolving? July 20, 1998, Scientific American

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The Cesspool...

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Credit: Getty Images

 

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


Last month, I temporarily deactivated my Twitter account following a colossal dump of racist abuse into my feed, including a man in Texas whipping up his followers to phone into an NPR radio show on which I was a guest to ask about “white genocide.” Others played a guessing game around my skin color in the belief this would help them gauge my IQ. On YouTube, one of the editors of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudoscientific journal founded after the Second World War to argue against desegregation and racial mixing, imitated me by dressing up in an “Indian shirt” (I am British; my parents were born in India). The comments underneath said I should I go back to where I came from.

It’s just another day online.

The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience
Angela Saini, Scientific American and author of Superior: The Return of Race Science


I will take a week off before classes start in the fall.

The Internet is a development of science as well as the military-industrial complex. Scientists, engineers and librarians used as "FTP" - file transfer protocol, which predates what we've come to recognize as HTTP - hypertext transfer protocol.

If you peruse DARPA's website, there is historical reference to the idea of something that would survive a thermonuclear attack. The previous communications protocols from WWII was a "hub-spoke" configuration: thinking of a wagon wheel, the hub was at the center and typically the headquarters for deployed assets in theater. The spokes were distant users of the communications network the hub would have set up with an engineering design called a communications plan (in a previous life, I was that person as an Air Force Communications/Computer Systems Officer). Thus the enemy - presumed the USSR during the Cold War - would simply destroy the hub and the spokes would be in the dark and disconnected, or deploy an EMP - electromagnetic pulse, exploding a nuclear device in atmosphere, disrupting most if not all high frequency transmissions. The idea of a "web" was so that could not occur.

The network involved satellites of course, and the distant users were tied to the hub with troposphere line-of-sight microwave horns, radio frequency equipment that multiplexed voice and digital through encrypted teletype, audio and digital switches. It was a beautiful thing to witness when it all worked.

What is developed for the government like Velcro eventually gets to the masses. AOL is an ancient form of email and web browsing that required dial-up phones and a loud modem. Netscape was the first attempt at commercial web design software, relying mostly on the aforementioned HTTP. Before social media, people started bantering or bickering back-and-forth on message boards or would send "flame mail" trying to make a point. When using company assets to send witticism or derogatory commentary, many then and now found themselves in the unemployment lines.

As I alluded to in Filter and Subtext, what particularly used to happen as a societal breaking mechanism - editors in the case of print media; producers for film - pretty much no longer exists. One may publish their first thoughts, misspelled and grammar failing; grainy, amateurish film made on cheap laptops or with cellphone cameras. Any pointing to written errors labels you a grammar Nazi; any video has to be "true" because it's on the Internet with high views. The ready access to information has led to the dangerous belief that no one has to train and become expert in a field to have an informed opinion.

The Internet is both falsely empowering and the source of demographic demarcation: by having the ability to get anything in an instant gives the impression that you KNOW a subject. As a person that reads academic papers for a living, I can assure you in the first read of any paper, I won't know the subject. I will read the abstract several times followed by the introduction, experimental procedure; results and conclusions. I will read some of the papers in the references. There are words, phrases and either physical or chemical compounds I'm not familiar with (Google). I write things down; take notes. I work through the formulas in the paper so I can understand them. It is a tedious, grinding process that takes time. I recall a maxim in the martial arts: "a black belt is a white belt that never quit." So it is with building any level of expertise in well...anything. By choosing "news feeds" instead of reading morning and evening print media as well as three main networks essentially reciting from the same Associated Press scriptures, we automatically place ourselves in silos that when we try to converse with one another, devolve into electronic and actual shouting matches.

Tom Nichols is a college professor at the US Naval War College, occasional opinion contributor on MSNBC and until recently, was a member of the Republican Party. In his treatise "The Death of Expertise," he points to a disdain of experts on the right and the left; the confusion of confirmation bias (finding the thing that you already agree with confirming what you already believe) as "evidence" your position and opinions are true. This likely parallels the transistorizing of the cumbersome and large hub-spoke network into our hip pockets. It may empower those unfamiliar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect that despite their sense of empowerment, they may be way out over their skis. They might tweet the first thing that comes to mind while sitting on the loo during "executive time." In such a world, everyone's an expert and no one is for the most part humble enough to admit they might be wrong or at least misinformed about a subject. In such a world, the warming temperatures are ignored and the science is scrubbed from government sites as "inconvenient" to the stated China hoax theory. In such a world, pseudoscience is pushed in every corridor of existence as "free speech" and "teach the [faux] controversy." Facts won't matter: There is still a Flat Earth Society in the 21st century (with a website). There are still conspiracy theorists that think the Moon landing was faked.

In such a world, the chimera list of wrong-headed things that can be believed: Alt-Right (Wrong) racist tropes, Bigfoot, the Clinton's murdering people or running child sex rings; crisis actors at mass shootings, E.T., fascism (aided and abetted by our own cleverness per a virtual Yuval Noah Harari at TED); flying saucers, Godzilla, Loch Ness Monster, Neo Nazis, Ouija boards, Pizza Gate, poltergeists, Q-Anon is almost endless, but not ONE can bother to read the Mueller Report or believe that our election processes were as attacked as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and walls of the Pentagon fell to ruinous rubble on 9/11.

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Exclusive: FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat
Jana Winter, Yahoo News


"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

In such a world, truth itself becomes a casualty, and the opposite of freeing truths is slavery.
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Of Memes and Men...

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Image source: Facebook

 

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


We were inundated with Facebook memes, videos and caricatures of Robert Mueller.

We saw him pose heroically as a Marine when he served in Vietnam.

We saw him superimposed as Sheriff Matt Dillon (played by actor James Arness) from the two-decade television series, “Gunsmoke.”

As much as I enjoy the movie theater and seeing my once comic books on the big screen, like Bill Mahr has opined, I think we're inundated with superhero movies to the point like our fixation with reality shows, we're losing our ability to use critical thinking and reasoning. It has disastrously resulted in a reality show president with demonstrable Internet Addiction (Twitter) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (across the pond, Boris Johnson is now British Prime Minister). Of course, we give such a limited being, a caricature bereft of any respect for scientific inquiry, now having control over entities that will impact our addressing (or, ignoring) climate change and the nuclear codes.

Spoiler alert: we don't.
 

This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now
They don't know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan
They don't know if they want to be diplomats ...
Or continue the same policy of nuclear nightmare diplomacy
John Foster Dulles ain't nothing but the name of an airport now

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia
They want to go back as far as they can ...
Even if it's only as far as last week
Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards

And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes
Riding to the rescue at the last possible moment
The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse ...
Or, the man who always came to save America at the last moment
Someone always came to save America at the last moment
Especially in "B" movies

Gil Scott-Heron, B Movie, Genius Lyrics


In the end, Robert Mueller is a 74 year old man that clearly didn’t want to be there. He wrote his 448 page report for a different time and American: when we got our news from morning and evening local papers, not mobile apps. He wrote it for an American that developed powers of concentration during the dominance of radio, listening intently to every word spoken. He wrote it for an America that had fewer options for distraction in the form of a plethora of cable channels and Internet websites. It is an America and American that does not exist now.

He's not Matt Dillon - tough as the laptop doctored memes made of him, or the videos of him handcuffing Orange Satan and leading him off to the pokey. He doesn't have the deep voice he had on earlier videos of his speech patterns. He's an older man now. Entropy diminishes our faculties over time. It's biology, chemistry, physics: senescence. Despite a billion-dollar industry selling us all manner of snake oil, there is nothing we can do to stop it from occurring to any and all of us. At best, we can ease its transition.

Yes. He could have used the deferment the draft board gave him during the Vietnam War: he had actual bad knees (not fake bone spurs). He conditioned himself to pass the grueling Marine physical and served his country. He went through Army Ranger School and Airborne School to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. He is in the Army Ranger Hall of Fame (I didn't know there was such a thing). After September 11, 2001, he steadily lead the FBI during some dark times as we entered the 21st Century, unsure if we'd survive at all.

Yet, there were his fellow republicans Wednesday with exception of a respectful few attacking him. The ageism jokes were repugnant of elected officials, yet it's on video. The Orange Caligula crowed it as a "win": he's consumed an entire political party, making it as crude, traitorous, licentious and feckless as himself. Pundit's like Chris Wallace said it looked "disastrous for the democrats." Chuck Todd said the "optics were terrible."

When did facts need optics? When did an attack on our nation (9/11; the 2016 election) need a band? "Infotainment" should have never entered our lexicon in the 1980s. It's made us less than non-serious: it's made us silly.

Don’t think of visuals or theatrics. Have you READ The Mueller Report? Download it for G-d's sake! You binge watch streaming videos, so you can digest this in a weekend! Did you HEAR Mueller use the words "unpatriotic" and "problematic" with regards to this president*? Did you hear that the Russians are interfering, not next year, but NOW? My senator, Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va) just released the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. It's chilling, but not enough for Mitch McConnell et al. to hesitate blocking election protections that would - in their warped minds - not favor republicans. No worries.

Fun fact: no president has ever been removed from office by impeachment. Jackson after the Civil War like Bill Clinton after Monica Lewinsky was impeached in the House but both measures failed in the Senate. Their records still reflect their impeachment.

Nixon after the Watergate impeachment inquiry was looking at it actually happening in the House and upheld in trial in the Senate with members of his own party. The inquiry was after he won a landslide reelection victory: 49 states to his opponent George McGovern's 1. He won 60.7% of the popular vote and was the first republican to sweep the south. His popularity fell after the inquiry revealed his malfeasance, and he resigned rather than be removed by members of his own party when they actually had principles and followed their Oath of Office.

Mitch McConnell above all others has reduced the senate from a political body that prided itself on deliberating hard issues and coming to consensus into a tribal, unconstitutional free-for-all. Oleg Deripaska, indicted by Mueller Russian oligarch and close adviser to Putin is building an aluminum plant in his state - no worries. Donald Trump would likely survive as McConnell would "pull a Merrick Garland," and just refuse to hold a trial. Since the votes would go on partisan lines, that would put senate republicans on record supporting a lawless president before a major election. His impeachment however would stand, on his record for all time. Impeachment is also not just about this president*, but the next actual one, and what we as a nation will tolerate.
 

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t brought forward an impeachment inquiry because previous to this, only 85 democrats supported impeachment. That number has climbed, and will likely go higher.

However, if the thesis of the argument is this president* is not following The Constitution and thus constitutes a crisis, neither is the current Speaker of the House. Slow-walking an impeachment inquiry is either also a constitutional crisis, or it's not. If NO ONE is following The Constitution, there effectively isn't one and the rule of law is a myth: it is the rule of whims and notions of current moments and times as arbitrated by a pathologically lying narcissist with impulse control.

Lastly, if he gets away with it, interference in our elections by foreign countries becomes in the words of Mueller “the new normal,” and our democracy* as well as our sovereignty* as currently our Putin-installed president* will forever have asterisks next to their titles. We won't have to worry about immigrants of any stripe.

Our sovereignty will depend on our getting out to vote en masse to counter any foreign election meddling, domestic voter suppression and the return of an "oldie-but-goody" in Florida: poll taxes!

We will cease to be a country.

White supremacy was this nation's origin; racism unto oblivion and the ash heap will be our epitaph.

“We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within....

Attributed to Nikita Khrushchev in comments from Barbara Fowler post Helsinki, Orlando Sentinel
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LMADIS...

Topics: Applied Physics, Electromagnetic Radiation, Politics, Robotics


I normally cheer the usage and applications of recent technology. In light of recent events, this may not be a swift idea. The second through fourth letters of the acronym are quite (and maybe intentionally) ominous.

"War is the continuation of politics by other means." Carl von Clausewitz

 

*****


In June, Iran’s military shot down one of the U.S. Navy’s $130 million Global Hawk drones, claiming it had veered out of international airspace and into the nation’s territory.

Now, the U.S. Navy has returned the favor, using a new directed-energy weapon to disable an Iranian drone in the same region — marking the next-generation device’s first known “kill.”

According to a Department of Defense statement, a fixed wing drone approached the USS Boxer while the ship traveled through the Strait of Hormuz on July 18. The drone then came within a threatening range, prompting the crew to take “defensive action.”

A defense official later told Military.com on the condition of anonymity that the Navy took out the drone using its Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS), a new device that uses radio frequencies to jam drones.

Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, has denied the incident altogether, telling reporters the nation has “no information about losing a drone.”

 

US Navy's Weapon Gets First "Kill," Shoots Down Iranian Drone
Kristin Houser, Futurism

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Where You Came From...

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - Bronx, NY

Rep. Ilhan Omar - Somali refugee, naturalized in Minnesota

Rep. Ayanna Pressley - Cincinnati, OH

Rep. Rashida Tlaib - Detroit, MI

Donald Trump - not Queens, somewhere between Area 51 and dumb $:#% i-Stan!

I tweeted this at "stable genius" Sunday. I won't mince words.

If the video embed invokes the Bard ("what's past is prologue" - William Shakespeare) his racism came from his environment, not reruns of "All in the Family" with Archie Bunker.

He was a racist when he descended the escalator at Trump Tower, railing against Mexicans as drug dealers and rapist and Muslims as terrorist.

He was a racist as he made "other" the first African American President of the United States in his swiped-from-Orly-Taitz birther campaign that put him in the Oval Office.

He was a racist when he took a full-page ad out in the NY Times calling for at the time a return of the death penalty for the Central Park Five. Even after DNA evidence exonerated them and the actual rapist confessed, he still won't admit his error.

He was a racist when the NIXON administration's justice department came after him and his father in the 1970s for discriminating against African Americans and Puerto Ricans in their rental properties in New York.

I recall the jarring sight of the Robert E. Lee Battle Flag (NOT the flag of the Confederacy as it is misidentified by the lazy) in a village in Wappingers Falls, NY about 80 miles north of Manhattan. The "stars and bars" were flying high in Boston, Massachusetts as I took a class in Implant Engineering in 2016 at the onset of this poorly-scripted, reality-TV slow-rolling nightmare.

First Nation Peoples who speak native tongues are told to "go back where you came from" when they were here before Europeans.

African Americans are told to "go back where we came from" as IF leaping on a slave ship sir named "The Good Ship Jesus" packed like sardines, suffering cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and death; the survivors separated, raped and beaten worse than cattle did it all for a LARK!

Hispanics/Latinos are told to "go back where they came from" when Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas and California USED TO BE Mexico. The Alamo - so "bravely fought" for Texas freedom - was started because the Mexicans would not agree to continue slavery!

This nation is a sham, a facade: a fake! It's told itself a line of bullshit so long, it's become accepted history instead of the propaganda used by a well-moneyed oligarchy to maintain control of the masses.

They WON'T do reparations because this "system" needs pariahs. Without them, the whole thing crumbles like a house of cards: African Americans, First Nation, Hispanic/Latinos, LGBT; Women. It needs someone to be under a stamping boot:

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." O'Brien to Winston in "1984."

It's why the struggle isn't left-right as Robert Reich has stated, but between democracy and oligarchy, who have likely gotten plenty tired of democratic freedoms interfering with the Ayan Rand, Atlas Shrugged invisible hand of the "free market."

Keeping poor whites against people of color is the easiest way for them to keep control and not have accountability for their avarice and nihilism.

Naturalized or birth: we're the American melting pot. We're all from here.

"For years, even before mounting a formal bid for the presidency, Trump regaled television news audiences with racist conspiracy theories about former president Barack Obama. He pledged to send investigators out to prove the nation’s 44th president was not born in the United States. He later derided immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, calling those foreign nations “shit hole countries.” He once said immigrants from Haiti all “have AIDS” and that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts.”

In Trump’s mind, a judge’s Mexican heritage made him incapable of ruling fairly in a civil fraud case against one of his companies and he believes “laziness is a trait in blacks.” Trump, whose real estate company was sued for housing discrimination in the 1970s, went on to place a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for the execution of five innocent black teenagers. Even after the Central Park Five were exonerated, he refused to take it back. After Heather Heyer was murdered in Charlottesville, Virginia, amid a white supremacist protest, he lamented the there were “some very fine people” on “both sides.”

Trump is not a fine person. His words Sunday were not racially “charged,” “fueled,” or “tinged.” They were unapologetically racist.

And, if you support him, so are you."

 

Goldie Taylor, The Daily Beast, Trump is a Racist. If You Still Support Him, So Are You.

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