politics (36)

Traitors and Patriots...

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Image source: AZ Quotes

 

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

 

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

 

*****

 

 

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

 

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

 

*****

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

All three are, essentially, fascist parties.

 

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

 

I would say four.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Daunte sadly didn't.

 

 

 

 

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics...

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Which states have dropped mask mandates and why, Marlene Lenthang, Yahoo News

Topics: Biology, COVID-19, Dark Humor, Existentialism, Mathematics, Politics

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Mark Twain, also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics

A follow-up to Tuesday's post: VOC...

‘No Thank You, Mr. President’: GOP States Still End Mask Mandates Despite Covid-19 Rise And Warnings From Biden, CDC, Alison Durkee, Forbes Business, April 2, 2021

Having some "fun" with mathematics. It's dark humor for all you young libertarians.

The current US COVID deaths are 573, 988 from https://ncov2019.live/.

The current US population is 332,494,997 from Worldometers.info. Each link updates minute-by-minute, so by the time you read this, these figures will have changed.

(US COVID deaths/current US population) x 100 = 0.17%. Round up to 0.2%.

That's pretty low.

For the "freedom-loving libertarians" spring breaking in Miami, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas - a thought experiment:

100,000 of you are about to dive into the ocean.

There is a 0.2% = 0.2/100 chance some of you will get devoured by sharks.

100,000 x (0.2/100) = 200 dead spring breakers.

So, out of 100,000 - 200 = 99,800, or 99.8% have a very good chance of not becoming "chicken of the sea," and surviving your spring break. The dilemma is, there will still be blood in the water. Blood that carries pathogens that despite your "Y" swimming lessons and the saline environment, you might ingest red tide, and suffer the consequences.

The problem is, your 0.2% chance is not zero. Under normal circumstances (and pandemics are once-in-a-century "not normal"), there's no libertarian case for this:

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Splitting Babies, Washing Hands...

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Pop Culture Guy: Foghorn Leghorn

 

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

 

To split the baby is a reference to a story in the Old Testament in Kings 3:5-14, regarding a decision of Solomon that shows his wisdom when given a difficult task. Solomon as king was often asked to judge between people with difficult problems, and his solutions were accounted as very wise. The term is often used to describe an unreasonable solution that may be used as a way to find an underlying truth.

 

In Kings, two women approach Solomon, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby. In fact, one woman has smothered her own child in her sleep and has taken the child of another woman with whom she shares a home. Upon waking, the mother of the living baby finds she is holding the dead child, who she knows is not hers. Since she cannot convince the mother of the dead child to give her back her child, they go to Solomon for judgment.

 

Solomon’s solution is fairly unique. He hears both sides, which are identical, and decides that the best course is to cut the baby in half so both mothers will have a share. To do this, however, means to kill the child. The mother who has already lost a child is happy with the solution, but the real mother cries out and begs Solomon to let the other woman raise her child alive.

 

When the real mother protests the solution and is willing to give up her rights as a mother to preserve the life of her child, Solomon hands the baby to her.

 

What does It Mean to "Split the Baby"? Tricia Christensen, Wise Geek

 

What did it mean? Pontius Pilate was the Roman procurator (governor) of Judaea living in Jerusalem during the trial of Jesus. According to the story, he washed his hands to indicate that he believed Jesus was innocent of any capital crime - if he was killed - it wasn't on him.

 

A famous idiom from Matthew 27:24

 

The prosecution put on a clinic in the Well of the Senate in their closing remarks. Every avenue to derail the trial on "procedure," or "constitutional norms" was deftly batted away. It helps when the prosecution is playing seven-dimensional chess, and the defense team of Foggy Foghorn Leghorn, and Rage Elmer Fudd, is playing jacks.

 

The former Party of Lincoln has ridden this Kraken before the Orange Orangutan. Roger Ailes and talk radio proto Karl Rove, "created their own reality" in a Rush Limbaugh, cigar-chomping, racist ranting clones (because you don't need talent if you get a raging crowd buying your product), against the libs, Feminazis, and cooties. For forty-one years, from Reagan to Orange Satan, they have gaslighted their constituents, blamed every convenient "other" they could label and shoveled money uphill like a Hoover vacuum to their one percent benefactors. They have no intention of getting off this bucking steer in the right-wing rodeo, otherwise, like rodeo clowns, they might get skewered by the bull.

 

I don't expect there to be enough votes to convict him. It will be just shy of sixty-seven. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. The arcane rules of the Senate even after the off possibility of getting to sixty-seven, then have to take a simple majority vote to remove him from running again for office. He will be fatter, four years older, more insane, and publicly incontinent in 2024 (he wears Adult Depends now). Entropy can save us, or his criminal trials for state crimes in New York, and Georgia can put him in a wardrobe matching his fake, and grotesque spray tan. Cruz and Holley are salivating at this possibility.

 

They are splitting the baby: forty or so white republicans, and their mascot, Tim Scott, will vote again to acquit a criminal. Not because they're no longer the "party of law, and order." Not because the Party of Reagan was any greater: he started his campaign BLOCKS away from the death site of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner; he spoke openly about Welfare Queens, Young Bucks, and African Monkeys. Doofus Gambino is the end of Entropy: over a long period of time, any system goes from order to chaos. Forty-plus one poodle is looking forward to the next midterm, the next election, the next voter suppression, and now added to the quiver: the next insurrection, Like see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys, they will ignore it, and use it as a tool if they lose future elections.

 

The Neo-Confederates are self-immolating, and not for some noble protest, but to maintain power at the expense of the republic. They are the party whose defense will relitigate "WHATABOUTISM" with Antifa (anti-fascists), Benghazi (might as well), and Black Lives Matter (because they don't). Foggy Fog, and Rage Elmer will unimpressively rest today. Gaslighting and created realities will blow them up to the high crest peak of BS mountain. Rage will then observe the Sabbath at sundown.

 

They are the party of white nationalists. They are the party screaming the N-word at Capital Police during the insurrection. They are the party of smeared feces and urinated Capitol halls. They have become the party of Camp Auschwitz T-Shirts: Work Brings Freedom. They are the party of the Battle Ensign of Robert E. Lee (NEVER call it the Confederate Flag) flying at the Capitol, something not accomplished during the Civil War. They are the party of Ukraine and Georgia election interference "perfect" phone calls. They are the party that would sacrifice their own sycophant Vice President Mike Pence and executes the first and only female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. They are the party of Vice President of the treasonous Confederacy, Alexander M. Stephens, and the "Cornerstone Speech":

 

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." Cornerstone Speech

 

They have not wavered from this mentality. It's been taught over and over, father to son, mother to daughter. The first gaslighting being the "lost cause" narrative lie, metastasizing to the inherited inferiority narrative shoveled at all of us, the proto version of birtherism, stolen from Orly Taitz. This "alternative fact" was amplified by a failed businessman, a faux billionaire that [probably] had Russian prostitutes urinate in a bed of the black president and first lady he hated with every fiber of his dark soul, that knows no love.

 

Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals left any allegiance they ever had to brown-skinned, Palestinian prophets, and voted for this Antichrist.

 

They, therefore, cannot be called Republicans any longer: they are fascists.

 

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Reality-Truth...

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Leonard Nimoy as Spock from "Amok Time," TOS, first aired September 15, 1967

 

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

 

I've been finishing up the semester. I passed my preliminary exam. Now I'm working on refining my research question for my dissertation proposal, due late spring. I usually take a break from blogging around the holidays, and as my Dean put it, dissertations proposals are "a bear." So don't be surprised if I take a blog break for LONG stretches.

 

o'thia
Literally defined as "reality-truth" in Vulcan religion/philosophy, methods of emotional self-control, and teachings of pacifism. The term o'thia is also known simply as logic. Note: there is an error on the wiki - cthia, versus o'thia. See TOS novel: Spock's World, by Diane Duane. See beta wiki: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Vulcan_language

 

As I type this, the FDA meeting on the Pfizer version of the coronavirus vaccine has concluded. They have taken the first steps towards approving the vaccine for distribution in America. The first woman in the world to receive it was a 90-year-old grandmother in Bristol. As she gave her arm and consent, many even in the UK expressed misplaced skepticism, expressing their version of European "anti-vax" sentiments. African Americans are still feeling the sting of the Tuskegee Experiment, decades later, and don't trust anything the current administration might have produced after waves of destructive behavior, destroying what was marginal "norms," but the pandemic has shown and is showing, we were not "normal," and we still aren't. The majority of WASP-C (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender) countries are scarfing up vaccine supplies because they have the WEALTH to do so. We are still behaving carnally, like warring tribes over the next hill. The pandemic has revealed our world is imbalanced by racism and income inequality. A lot of the epidemics and pandemics stem from people trying their best to survive under circumstances they did not design for themselves. You can't complain about anyone eating a bat any more than you can about someone eating chitterlings and high-salt hog products when the scraps were literally all African Americans had to eat. See Umar Haque's article: "How Covid Proves the World is Even More Racist Than You Think." Start getting used to the term "vaccine nationalism." It's short-sighted: you can't do any international travel for business, or pleasure if developing countries - where we get a lot of precious metals - are still in lockdown.

 

Star Trek is modern mythology, born during the turbulent 1960s when there were the struggle for civil rights, women's rights, LGBT rights (Stonewall), civil unrest, assassinations, and the Cold War with the Soviet Union, "duck-and-cover" drills being as part of the school curriculum as masks are now. Gene Roddenberry envisioned a world in the far future, with fantastic technologies and cooperation among humanity that from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, he obviously hadn't see demonstrated. In many ways, we're trying to "live up" to the optimistic (some would say Pollyannaish) vision today.

 

Star Trek inspired many P.E.E.R.s (People Excluded due to Ethnicity and Race, see David Asai, 2020 here, and here) into STEM, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, for example, and myself.

 

Spock particularly inspired me. He wasn't just Vulcan: he was biracial, not just of two cultures, but two worlds. From the canon, he seemed to experience xenophobia and insults from other "pure" Vulcans, as well as snarky humans like Dr. Leonard McCoy. Seeing myself in the outsider, "the other" in Science Officer Spock wasn't even a little stretch. Empathy for his fellow Vulcan's and some human's racism during the turbulent 1960s was easy.

 

o'thia

 

We are a country in the aftermath of being gaslighted by a man his clinical psychologist niece says is so delusional, he can gaslight himself. We are a country in the aftermath of four-hundred years of gaslighting between "superior" and "inferior." "Reality-truth" is anathema to him and his cult following, primed by forty-years of AM talk radio and four-hundred years of generational brainwashing. The Fairness Doctrine wasn't repealed by Reagan, but it was abandoned in 1987 during his administration's lame-duck years. It affected radio broadcast licenses, so you can say this probably led to Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio. Fox News is television, thus unrestrained by whether we had a fairness doctrine when they arrived in 1996 or not. The Texas AG and seventeen other AG's - all WASP-C males (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant-Cisgender) have filed a frivolous lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results because the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People Of Color, and P.E.E.R.s among them) have no votes that they deem credible unless they vote for republicans.

 

[Chief Justice Roger B.] Taney -- a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern aggression -- wrote in the Court's majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it." PBS - Dred Scott case: the Supreme Court decision, 1857

 

Dr. Mary Trump is the author of "Too Much, and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." She's apparently working on a follow-up book on the country's collective trauma due to her uncle's incompetence, and more likely, his many undiagnosed mental disorders. Also, as I listened to her View interview, she wants to talk about how we as a nation - not the BIPOC, or P.E.E.R.s - have collectively ignored our past and never reckoned with the slaughter of Native First Nation Peoples, the kidnap, rape, and slaughter-at-will of the African Diaspora, to the point the current dwindling majority can't see me any more than Taney did my ancestor, Dred Scott: we have no rights they are bound to respect, and our vote is by definition "fraudulent," unless we vote for them as "masters."

 

"Reality-truth" - o'thia - saved the mythical Vulcans from self-annihilation.

 

We might want a steady diet of o'thia if we want to survive as a species.

 

"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe." Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa in the movie Black Panther, Rest In Power.

 

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Truthiness, to Truth Decay...

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Image Source: Wikipedia link below

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

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidencelogicintellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.

The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.

American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness

Roger Ailes was very explicit as to why he wanted, and created Fox News: he wanted a news outlet friendly to conservative interests in the wake of Watergate, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I don't think we realize how astonishing that was, and that we've mythologized those times as "halcyon days" of yore.

Richard Nixon ran on "law and order," and the fear of violence in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He subtly stoked white grievance, the so-called "Southern Strategy," infamously described by political operative Lee Atwater. It worked. He rode to power in 1968, and a landslide forty-nine out of fifty state win in 1972, where he became the first Republican to sweep the south.

Nixon didn't need the plumbers to break into the DNC headquarters Watergate building, but there's evidence he used government resources instructing them to do so. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was accepting "bags of money" at the White House - as he did as governor of Maryland - to do political "favors" on Capitol Hill. For all intents and purposes, that is bribery. Nowadays, they attach lawyers to it, and call it lobbying.

The Justice Department was in a conundrum: if they indict the sitting president for an illegal break-in, they have to indict the sitting Vice President for usury. Plus, that pesky thing called The Constitution said if removed from office, the next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then, as now, a Democrat. The "memo" came out, without legal standing, or precedence, that you "cannot indict a sitting president."

We did not have cable television, cell phones, or social media apps. Every single American, presumably many who voted for Nixon's landslide victory, got the same information from three television outlets: ABC, CBS, and NBC news. Telegrams, letters, phone calls, letters to the editor in local newspapers and polls showed the country's mood had turned against Nixon, plus his promise to get us out of the Vietnam War turned out to be a boondoggle: many families were welcoming their loved ones home in body bags in a war it clearly looked like we weren't going to win. Altruism and fealty to The Constitution had nothing to do with republicans then, or now. The party talked Agnew into leaving on a lesser charge to get Gerald Ford - a congressman from Ohio, with no association to Nixon, or Agnew - in as Vice President. Then, the Republicans could keep power at the Executive Branch if an Impeachment in the House led to a conviction in the Senate, and forced removal.

 

The speed of a sprinter, a thrown fastball, the luminescence of a distant star, or the Hawking's Radiation of a Black Hole is demonstrable, measurable facts. They are not subject to opinions, "alternative facts," quackery, or spin. On the one hand, first, second, and third place is determinable. The speed of a Rookie fastball pitched from a mound can be logged; the astrophysical properties of distant objects can be studied because there is an agreement on what IS true and what is false in sports and physics.

“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it's like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”

"The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change."

“The whole idea of a democratic application of skepticism is that everyone should have the essential tools to effectively and constructively evaluate claims to knowledge.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, also Brain Pickings: Science, and Democracy

The premiere of Stephen Colbert's witty and insightful show probably had a lot to do with the "truthiness" on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That was demonstrably a lie. Yet, time and comparison to our current tweet-addicted sociopath make memories fail, as even George W. Bush now can pay respects to John Lewis: he was one of three living presidents to do so. The current occupant is too racist, devoted to his base, and fantasy to do so.

Ted Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and like President Obama, an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He's taken to Twitter to spread baseless conspiracy theories, and promote a right-wing social media app, Parler, financed by Rebecca Mercer, who like her billionaire hedge fund father, funds right-wing causes around the globe. It also shows his disdain for the people in Texas that are his constituents: he thinks they're fools, and probably wants to run for president again on the gravy train of lunacy Orange Satan built. The Republican Party genuinely fear their own base. They've stoked them every time a Democrat ascends to the presidency that the great purge of "coming to take your guns" is around the corner, any minute now. There were more guns sold during the Obama administration than the current imbecilic nightmare. I assume gun industry sales will improve apace.

The irony is, Parler is a completely enclosed silo. Part of the perverse joy of social media by sociopaths is "owning the libs," a badge of honor after frustrating arguments back and forth on a platform that you get blocked. Similar I'm sure, to throwing pollutants in the air from smokestacks on trucks, thinking oneself immune from the effects on Earth-Two. There are few "libs" on Parler to own. It also shows the tech company's regard for the intelligence of conservatives is limited, but they can see an opportunity, like most snake oil salesmen and conmen, to make a fast buck off gullible marks.

You cannot measure a sporting achievement without a knowledge of the rules, and adherence to them to make a judgment on performance.

You cannot have a STEM field without knowing the foundations of its knowledge, what is, and is not possible, and adherence to The Scientific Method to make an evaluation of the outcome of an experiment, and the world.

You cannot have a Democratic Republic with truth decay. To list them together is an oxymoron. Unless your ultimate goal is a fascist state.

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Science Literacy, and Democracy...

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Derived from Carl Sagan in "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," on Skeptic.com: Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (infographic)

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

 

 

"The human understanding is no dry light, but receives infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one would.' For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding." Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

 

"A clairvoyance gap with adversary nations is announced, and the Central Intelligence Agency, under Congressional prodding, spends tax money to find out whether submarines in the ocean depths can be located by *thinking hard* at them."

 

Both quotes from "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle in the Dark," chapter 12 - "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," Sir Francis Bacon's quote is in the chapter intro.

 

The steps of the scientific method go something like this:
1. Make an observation or observations. 2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information. 3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what's been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis. 4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced. 5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary. 6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. Source: Live Science - Science & the Scientific Method

 

Writing a physics and nano blog, one wants the audience (be they somewhat limited), to catch on to the central theme of the weblog: science, and the promotion of science literacy, for citizens of this country, and since this is the web, Earth.

 

SCIENCE IS FOR ALL STUDENTS. This principle is one of equity and excellence. Science in our schools must be for all students: All students, regardless of age, sex, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, aspirations, or interest and motivation in science, should have the opportunity to attain high levels of scientific literacy.

 

Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.

 

National Science Education Standards (1996), Chapter 2: Principles and Definitions, National Academies Press

 

This blog is a continuing, meaningful discussion about scientific and technological literacy (STL), and its importance in fostering a society of informed citizens – indeed, a prerequisite for participatory democracy – conversant in emerging fields as consumers and eventual future participant contributors. In the language of scripture, I would like to "begat" citizens versed in technology that want to research, discover, and publish in it. For a world so impacted by it, it is imperative we're all versed in it, scientists, engineers, artists, and lay citizens alike.

 

We have gone through a dizzying four-year experiment with technology and authoritarianism. No less than Foreign Affairs (Does Technology Favor Tyranny?) has studied the impact. It was fostered by a birther lie, and technology (Twitter). Though I doubt the current flailing will change election results, we have a number of citizens, in the words of Tom Nichols, who voted for the sociopath. Some of our fellow citizens "created their own realities" (Karl Rove), or delved into "alternative facts" (Kellyanne Conway). His political party could stop him, but they're too cowardly, afraid of him and his base. Sadly, these are NOT their constituents: most members of Congress are multimillionaires, worth well over the salaries we pay them. They serve, for want of a better term, American Oligarchs (Andrea Bernstein), and the businesses they give endless tax breaks to.

 

E Pluribus Unum is probably the first Latin phrase you've ever heard, or read: "out of many, one." It's the nation's motto, and poetic, but in the era of news feeds, echo chambers, and social media groups, E Pluribus Multis is more illustrative and quite apropos.

We must depart, somehow, in the next succession of days, from the false empowerment of divisive Multis, into a future fully embracing science literacy, and Unum for the survival of the species. Our baloney detection kits must be tuned to high gear.

 

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

 

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

 

“We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

 

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

 

We owe it to Carl's grandkids, and our children's futures, to get this right.

 

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The Next Authoritarian...

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Macska Moksha Press: Anti-war & anti-authoritarian quotations, Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

 

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

 

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.” Frank Herbert

 

No less than "created realities" Karl Rove and "the room where it happened," and knock off Yosemite Sam, John Bolton, have said it's time to throw in the towel. Twitter has flagged his gaslighting and will have to decide if a lame-duck lunatic is beneficial to its bottom-line. Unlike Bolton, I don't think the GOP (gang of Putin) is "coddling" him.

 

I think they completely understand their audience.

 

Mike Pompeo is a West Point Graduate and Harvard-trained lawyer. He knows the State Department is supposed to coordinate the transition, and magical thinking announced to his boss's rabid followers only delays the inevitable. He plans to run for president one day, and he's trying to "ride the dragon" the right-wing has created over 40 years. 70 million Americans are the byproducts of 40 years of hate radio, Alex Jones, dark Internet sites, and Fox propaganda. They all decided to despite evidence, in the words of Tom Nichols, vote for the sociopath. That for all intents and purposes is their "base."

 

Reagan is a paper saint: he started the birth of this dragon in Philadelphia, Mississippi, blocks from where Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found. The "wink-and-nod" to white supremacy had begun. It metastasized in four decades to a racist bullhorn after the nation's first and only black president.

 

Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham used the pushed-on-the-bench Amy Coney Barrett to secure their positions in the Senate, where they do absolutely NOTHING, except hold on to power for mostly their rich constituents, and the poor white rubes that think they hate the demographics shift as racially as they do. They are cynically playing this game because of the close races that should not be close in Georgia for control of the Senate. The miracles of Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock, both poised to oust incumbent Republican senators, will cement Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight as a blueprint that should be replicated nationally, that is if the democrats want to have power going-forward. She will win the governorship in 2022. However, the House lost 10 seats, and Georgia is in a runoff that shouldn't have been this close in a pandemic where the leader of their party is woefully inept and WAY out over his skis. But competence isn't necessary for authoritarians.

 

Authoritarianism, the principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law, and they usually cannot be replaced by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections. The freedom to create opposition political parties or other alternative political groupings with which to compete for power with the ruling group is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.

 

Source: Britannica.com/authoritarianism

 

What Republicans should worry about is a more serious run of failure. Republican presidents — Donald Trump and George W. Bush — have now spent almost all of their last nine consecutive years below 50% approval. Add George H.W. Bush’s final year, and that makes 10 of the last 13 Republican presidential years, with the only significant exception coming in the period after the Sept. 11 attacks (we can’t know for sure, but it seems likely that George W. Bush was heading underwater by then).

 

In other words: Whether or not Republicans have a popularity problem, they certainly seem to have a governing problem, one that at this point could be symbolized by Trump’s utter inability to deal with the pandemic or by the party’s years-long attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without having any alternative to offer. Of course, it is perhaps just the luck of events that dealt Republican presidents five of the last five recessions. And the Iraq War. And the coronavirus. But my suggestion to the party, if it has lost the presidency, is to spend some time trying to figure out why its presidents seem to have such a tough time in office.

 

Why Can’t Republicans Win the Popular Vote? Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg News

 

When you cannot win a popular vote, you probably won't want people voting. This is why I don't think we can afford to relax, even after this Herculean effort.

 

There are the runoff elections in Georgia's Senate race that will decide if Mitch McConnell maintains his majority leadership, or Chuck Schumer finally assumes it. It will decide if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can get their agenda done, or this is a unique one-off due to the pandemic. It will decide how LONG we're suffering from the pandemic long after 45 is fighting subpoenas for his taxes, business practices, and trying to stay out of prison. I doubt his running for president in 2024. There are too many ambitious republicans that want to ride the dragon Kraken he's summoned. They don't necessarily NEED him for that, and they are hopelessly dependent (and afraid) of their base. There's an off-year election in 2021, where the Koch brothers or local citizens can decide local seats. There will be a midterm in 2022, where Kevin McCarthy is already eyeing the Speakership for himself. We don't get a break because authoritarianism and fascism will never take a break.

 

The next authoritarian will likely, not be a buffoon.

 

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Stockholm, and Munchausen...

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This map shows how the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures, Andy Kiersz and Marguerite Ward, Business Insider

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, COVID-19, Human Rights, Politics

 

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response. It occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse.

 

Ref: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/stockholm-syndrome#definition

 

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, most often a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick.

 

Ref: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001555.htm

 

Let's face it: this nation has always been in a Cold Civil War since 1865. We're eleven countries with distinct ways of digesting the news media. Social media is a means to hack our minds into silos. We're on separate mental continents. "United States" is an oxymoron and cosmic tragicomedy. We're more like fractured states with fifty different opinions.

 

The Stockholm tribe drank the kool-aid with Jim Jones. They are unfazed in their chosen Twilight Zone dimension, and totally nonplussed why we can't understand their secret, klansman decoder ring Morse code. They have waited forty years for "trickledown" to actually work, and like Jed Clampett, make them Beverly Hills billionaire hillbillies. Cigarettes don't cause cancer, climate change is a Chinese hoax; vaccines cause autism, gravity can be overcome with the power of positive thinking, huckster name-it-and-claim-it faith healers can blow COVID away, and Hillary is head of a flesh-eating, pedophile cult that an orange faux billionaire is going to save us all from, exposing the "deep state." Logic doesn't work with these people. You can't tell them anything. They're lemmings in suicide vests, to quote MSNBC's, Chris Hayes. They are the 69,151,070 that think the last four years of caged children, attempted Muslim bands, selling out our soldiers in Afghanistan, 230,000+ dead and climbing, lying like he breaths and farts, breaking every commandment and law is EXACTLY what they want four more years (or, more) of!

 

The Munchausen crew watches reruns of OG Star Trek, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, the new Discovery series, even though we know warp drive is by Einstein impossible, but it's cool to think we might live beyond our hubris, homophobia, racism, misogyny, sexism, and stupidity maybe repairing the damage to the planet's environment without killing ourselves. We balance fantasy with the scientifically-accurate Expanse. We typically were the science nerds, poets and artists shoved into lockers, harassed by the "cool kids," male or female, sometimes experiencing violence. We find ourselves in a perpetual, near-ending, abusive relationship with the Stockholm click, wondering why our rational outlines of thought and snappy repartee on Twitter hasn't totally shut down and shamed the inmates at Arkham. 73,050,225 of us are holding our breaths and praying that the electoral college doesn't screw us over this time, like the principal ignoring the bullies that harassed us.

 

Sensing he just might not be able to gaslight, steal, sue, whine, or slump across the victory line to "own the libs," or stay out of prison, Biff Tannen has come up with a "plan B" to continue trolling humanity until his last breath (if he's not arrested), or at some point when trans fat from fast food, and Darwin do their necessary work.

 

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Communication...

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Topics: Biology, COVID-19, Politics, Research

Living through a pandemic has resulted in phrases like RT-PCR, immune response, and aerosolized droplets becoming part of the regular vocabulary for a portion of the population. It has also underscored the important role that we all have to play as scientists in communicating science to the public. As research related to COVID-19 has moved forward at unprecedented rates, misinformation has also multiplied and spread at a terrifying pace. And no matter where you stand politically, all of this happening in an election year for the US further underscores the ways in which science has become an increasingly partisan issue.

Did I mention that the holidays are also approaching? While gatherings of family and friends may look different this year, you may still be anticipating a challenging conversation over a holiday meal with someone who has different viewpoints from yours.

Our situation comes with innumerable challenges. However, it also provides an opportunity for scientists to make a powerful contribution to society and demonstrate the value of science education. Whether or not you are engaging in research directly related to COVID-19, you can help those around you separate facts from myths, interpret the data that are available, and make better-informed decisions.

This realization occurred to me this spring. As positive cases of COVID-19 were just starting to appear in the US, I found myself talking to my physical therapist about the virus and potential treatments. Although I don’t work in drug development, I understand enough of the chemistry to know how nucleoside analogs such as the drug remdesivir function. I excitedly explained how viruses are sloppier than normal human cells when replicating their genomes and how researchers can capitalize on this to make drugs. A few days later, I found myself having a similar conversation with my mom. I wasn’t in a place to predict the efficacy of any drug, but I could at least explain why antivirals like remdesivir had a shot at working, while hydroxychloroquine was less promising. After these two conversations, it struck me that I could also share this knowledge with a broader population on social media.

Science communication is a skill that takes practice to develop, and I am still learning and growing. The stakes couldn’t be higher, but the important part is that any scientist can build this capability to communicate effectively.

We’re all science communicators. Here’s how to do it better, Jen Heemstra, Chemical & Engineering News

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Name It, Claim It, and Tomorrow...

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Diverse reactions to upside-down flag display in Sarasota, Carrie Seidman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics

 

Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was an American minister and author who is best known for his work in popularizing the concept of positive thinking, especially through his best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking. He served as the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, New York, from 1932 until 1984, leading a Reformed Church in America congregation. Peale was a personal friend of President Richard NixonDonald Trump attended Peale's church while growing up, as well as marrying his first wife Ivana there. Peale's ideas and techniques were controversial, and he received frequent criticism both from church figures and from the psychiatric profession.

 

Peale's works came under criticism from several mental health experts, one of whom directly said that Peale was a con man and a fraud. These critics appeared in the early 1950s after the publication of The Power of Positive Thinking.

 

One major criticism of The Power of Positive Thinking is that the book is full of anecdotes that are hard to substantiate. Almost all of the experts and many of the testimonials that Peale quotes as supporting his philosophy are unnamed, unknown, and unsourced.

 

A second major accusation of Peale is that he attempted to conceal that his techniques for giving the reader absolute self-confidence and deliverance from suffering are a well-known form of hypnosis and that he attempts to persuade his readers to follow his beliefs through a combination of false evidence and self-hypnosis (autosuggestion), disguised by the use of terms which may sound more benign from the reader's point of view ("techniques", "formulas", "methods", "prayers", and "prescriptions"). One author called Peale's book "The Bible of American autohypnotism".

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Vincent_Peale

 

The first critique sounds a lot like "people are saying": "famous psychologist", a two-page letter from a "practicing physician", a "prominent citizen of New York City", and dozens, if not hundreds, more unverifiable quotations. The second surrounding autosuggestion leads me to think why he's said the most absurd things on-repetition continuous loop, despite evidence to the contrary: autosuggestion in the hands of a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is kerosene on a lit fire; autosuggestion on steroids.

 

The "rounding the corner of the pandemic" is a form of name-it-and-claim-it. It has overwhelmingly not made billionaires out of paupers, but it has lined the pockets of a few charlatans cum "pastors." It is the same as claiming the election is "rigged" if he loses, legitimate if he wins, or steals it. It might just mean we're tired of his bullshit.

 

It's absurd to "lock her up," or "fire Fauci," but the mob mentality he engenders as well as the Fox News feedback loop, in the words of Karl Rove "create their own realities."

 

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” ... “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The quote was chilling because it implied that the most powerful government on earth was confident it could be guided, not by empirical evidence, but by its ideological inclinations. Reality, of course, does matter and Rove and his boss learned, both in Iraq and when the economy collapsed in 2008, that there are costs to denying it. Happily, for them, those costs were primarily borne by those who had little choice but to live in the reality-based community: soldiers and civilians in Iraq; US homeowners, and workers.

 

The Reality-Based Community And Trump’s Orwellian Dystopia, Milton Mankoff, Ph.D., HuffPost

 

I want a president I don't have to think about every day. I want a president that doesn't pathologically lie. I don't want a daily dose of adrenalin, clutching onto the rails of society as the rollercoaster, reality TV ride careens off the rails. There are no showrunners or scriptwriters like in "The Apprentice" that can make every bizarre move he did seem in the next episode, thought out cogently, and brilliant. He is revealed a mad king, and an overwhelmed, orange court jester. A Biden bus was attacked in Austin, Texas and African American voters were pepper-sprayed in Burlington, NC. Armed terrorists are promising to storm into the streets if their orange god loses, and he has no recovery or theft he can pull to "own the libs," and flush our democracy down a golden toilet. The 80 days between November 4th and January 20th will be biblically evil.

 

I am cautiously optimistic.

 

I don't want to wear a mask while others following the Orange Troglodyte grin in defiance as they walk in the same stores I do. I don't want smoke blown in my face by a MAGA enthusiast, that then goes in with his wife (I assume), to hector everyone else in there that were wearing masks to protect their neighbors. I don't want to mentally review excerpts in my mind of "1984", or recall "The Handmaid's Tale" and to equate the fall of empires to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The speculation of civic violence is only satisfying briefly if you're right, but doomsday's casualties won't be a spectator sport. You might find yourself in the middle of the game. Ragnarok typically ends painfully. Armageddon has no second act.

 

I have voted. I want a boring president. I want news not driven by tweets from a lunatic. I want a president that believes in science. I want a sane administration. I want a life again.

 

Resource: Election Protection

 

ENGLISH 866-OUR-VOTE 866-687-8683
SPANISH/ENGLISH 888-VE-Y-VOTA 888-839-8682
ASIAN LANGUAGES/ENGLISH 888-API-VOTE 888-274-8683
ARABIC/ENGLISH 844-YALLA-US 844-925-5287

 

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Negligent Genocide...

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The Snake Handling Churches of Appalachia, Part 1, Texts, Codes and Translations, Experimental Theology Blog

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

Under Penal Code 192b PC, California law defines involuntary manslaughter as the unintentional killing of another person, while committing either a crime that is not an inherently dangerous felony or a lawful act that might produce death. A conviction is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

The key feature of involuntary manslaughter is that it does not require intent to kill another person—unlike Penal Code 187 PC murder, which requires “malice aforethought.”

Shouse California Law Group - Penal Code 192b – California Involuntary Manslaughter Law

I didn't bother watching the debate. I assumed he'd be doing a "kinder, gentler" version of his orange orangutan feces-slinging from the last debacle, but manage to pull in the crazy, while his opponent remained calm, cool, confident, and dare I say: presidential. From the commentary, that appears to be the case, 53% think his opponent won, 39% are still firmly in the apocalyptic cult. That suggests they can be out-voted. I've already cast mine for the saner, calmer candidate.

I don't believe the cult is completely stupid: they know he has little regard for them. He's reaching for the brass ring of actual billionaire status after myriad business failures that are almost cartoonish, promised him by an ex-KGB agent, and this modern-day Jonestown Guyana is a means to an end. The key to their undying fealty to him is he at least appears to hate the "others" they hate, and share their dread of a demographics future where they are all in the numerical minority, even though like him (or, me) most won't live to see, experience or if here, perceive it.

He's been committing crimes since his "American carnage" inauguration on January 20, 2017. His 20,000+ lies are a proportionality to the 220,000+ Americans that have died of the Novel Coronavirus. The report from The National Center for Disaster Preparedness was a punch in the gut: between 130,000 and 210,000 citizens could still be ALIVE were it not for ineptitude, incompetence, obfuscation, arrogance, and apathy. Translating: the pandemic's impact COULD have been a loss of 10,000 to 90,000 Americans. On the upside, that's still a lot, but the lower number is literally HALF of what we lose each year to the flu.

I'm not sure this is involuntary. It feels like intentional murder. He's purposely holding another in a series of super spreader klan rallies this weekend. The more Americans he can infect, the less (he thinks if that's possible) will be available to vote against him.

He is headed into a raft of lawsuits the NY District Attorney, the Manhattan DA, and the SDNY (formally headed by the Borat 2 crotch-clutching Rudy Giuliani), that no lawyer worth their reputation will volunteer to defend him: his record on not paying his debts are prologue to if they will be able to feed their families. Not even the debauched Rudy "Ghoul-e-ani" is that stupid.</p>

He has no empathy, but expecting empathy from a sociopath is like trying to get "blood from a turnip": it's not possible, and we should stop trying.

 

On her way to work one morning / Down the path alongside the lake / A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake / His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew / “Oh well,” she cried, “I'll take you in and I'll take care of you”

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk / And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk / Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived / She found that pretty snake she'd taken in had been revived

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You're so beautiful,” she cried / “But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died” / Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight / But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

“I saved you,” cried that woman / “And you've bit me even, why? / You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die”

 

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin / You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in

 

“Take me in oh tender woman / Take me in, for heaven's sake / Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake, song by Al Wilson

 

The Snake in full: Read Donald Trump's anti-immigration poem, Jeremy B. White, The Independent

 

Read it again. As John Heilemann said: "everything about him is either confession or projection."

 

We should have listened (or, at least his MAGA hat followers) not with the jaundiced ear of racism and xenophobia, but the informed ear of insight and revelation.

 

 
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Altered States...

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Although he also wrote poetry and plays, Unamuno was most influential as an essayist and novelist. If his vigorous and iconoclastic essays have any common theme, it is that of the need to preserve one's personal integrity in the face of social conformity, fanaticism, and hypocrisy. Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Miguel-de-Unamuno

 

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

 

When the United States declared war on Germany 100 years ago, the impact on the news business was swift and dramatic.</em>

 

In its crusade to “make the world safe for democracy,” the Wilson administration took immediate steps at home to curtail one of the pillars of democracy – press freedom – by implementing a plan to control, manipulate and censor all news coverage, on a scale never seen in U.S. history.

 

Following the lead of the Germans and British, Wilson elevated propaganda and censorship to strategic elements of all-out war. Even before the U.S. entered the war, Wilson had expressed the expectation that his fellow Americans would show what he considered “loyalty."

 

Immediately upon entering the war, the Wilson administration brought the most modern management techniques to bear in the area of government-press relations. Wilson started one of the earliest uses of government propaganda. He waged a campaign of intimidation and outright suppression against those ethnic and socialist papers that continued to oppose the war. Taken together, these wartime measures added up to an unprecedented assault on press freedom.

 

How Woodrow Wilson’s Propaganda Machine Changed American Journalism, Christopher B. Daly, Professor of Journalism, Boston University, Smithsonian Magazine

 

The necessity for the Fairness Doctrine, according to proponents, arises from the fact that there are many fewer broadcast licenses than people who would like to have them. Unlike publishing, where the tools of the trade are in more or less endless supply, broadcasting licenses are limited by the finite number of available frequencies. Thus, as trustees of a scarce public resource, licensees accept certain public interest obligations in exchange for the exclusive use of limited public airwaves. One such obligation was the Fairness Doctrine, which was meant to ensure that a variety of views, beyond those of the licensees and those they favored, were heard on the airwaves. (Since cable’s infrastructure is privately owned and cable channels can, in theory, be endlessly multiplied, the FCC does not put public interest requirements on that medium.)

 

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials.

 

Formally adopted as an FCC rule in 1949 and repealed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan’s pro-broadcaster FCC, the doctrine can be traced back to the early days of broadcast regulation.

 

The Fairness Doctrine: How We Lost It, and Why We Need It Back, Steve Rendall, FAIR, 2005

 

Couple this with the invention of the Internet, Netscape, AOL, Facebook, and Twitter; 24-hour CNN "infotainment," the rise of right-wing talk radio, the creation of Fox by Roger Ailes and MSNBC by Tom Rogers (coincidence): we are a nation in altered states. There is "spin" because of a particular slant of the news one consumes. There didn't use to be when we had three main stations and a UHF channel. It is demonstrable; one side is positioned more clearly in reality and one in abject fantasy. There are echo chambers of truth and echo chasms of fiction. We get exactly what is programmed for us in our selective news feeds. One produces results that can be measured and judged; the other makes us scratch our heads and shrug. We are Pied Piper-ed by The Joker.

 

It was a matter of time's arrow - Entropy - when we actually got a carnival barker to lead the cuckoo's nest: Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The only thing that makes sense of their devotion to this devolved Neanderthal: agency. White evangelicals became numerical minorities in 2017. The demographics don't support republicans winning a majority in any future elections: they just can't convince a plurality of voters to buy their 80's "trickle-down" bullshit, and the "loved uneducated" want what Lyndon Baines Johnson observed with "the lowest white man." So you see fake boxes in California, one box per county in Texas; polling places in districts closed, predominately comprised of BIPOC. Paul Weyrich said it "way back when," and it's why I've stated, the "gang of Putin" has always been a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party. Their patsies are the racists; their constituents are American oligarchs. With the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, they are preparing for minority rule, not unlike South African Apartheid.

 

 

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came, and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

 

"But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

 

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

 

Amazon.com:
"Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,"
"How to Watch TV News: Revised Edition"
Neil Postman

 

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This House of Usher...

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Image Source: Freedom Summer link below

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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