Saturday, July 31, 2021

Another Another View Of Not Cracking The Nut

 Back awhile I posted 

The Cracking Of The Nut - Or Not


 Another View Of Not Cracking The Nut.

It took a while for me to remember that I had pictures of one of my best friends not yet cracking a nut.

That was a temporary problem for my friend.

Unfortunately for most of the rest of us - Americans - the nut described in the blog posts referenced above is uncrackable.

Paris: Why Everybody Should Live There


La Lune

 January 2019 (I think I remember it was January).

I knew that there was a lunar eclipse in progress, but I had not cared much and had gone to bed.  But I didn't go to sleep, and I decided that I cared about seeing if I could get some pictures of it, so I went out front, into the street, in my pajamas, and took some pictures.

Here are a few of them.

Images For 31 July 2021


There is an invisible line in Paris.
It starts in the forecourt of la Louvre and terminates (I think) in la Défense.
The Ferris Wheel and the Obelisk are two of the things that sit on it.
The Grand Arch de la Défense is the last thing so situated - I think.

A European Blackbird - Merle Noire - in les Berges.

"Let's go find your brothers and sisters".

What a real window display is like.

Life on the Seine

"Be careful with that beak".

Castor bean flowers in Bretagne

Are All republicans Stupid?

 Yesterday I made a post asking "do all republicans look alike?"



Then this morning one of these decided to make a statement:

To which Ted Lieu 

 swiftly responded.

Remember when the Tea Party used to rail against Socialists taking away their Medicare?  

It turns out that the head republican propagandist is equally stupid, or uninformed.

Reminds me of when G. W. Bush's Press Secretary had never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I congratulate Representative Lieu for his speed in building on Representative Stefanik's rousing endorsement of Medicare.  

I wonder if she has heard of Europe?

Friday, July 30, 2021

Bitcoin Understood - Finally

 In the time since Bitcoin was introduced I have heard a lot of interviews with pundits, technicians, analysts and political scientists - to name a few - about what Bitcoin is.

I can't tell you how many presentations on blockchain I have endured.

I'm technically knowledgeable enough to understand that blockchain is a complicated, computer cycle intensive process that somehow produces value in the form of the Bitcoin crypto currency.

But have never gotten the link between computer cycles and currency.

And why the value of each "coin" keeps going up has been nothing short of alchemy in my view of the world.

Every presentation I have ever heard has involved an amazing number of words, none of which, for me, had any tangible, understandable meaning (knowing that a computer array somewhere is frantically wasting electricity didn't give me the key to the door of understanding this mysterious new hype).

Today one of the news guys on the BBC in few words explained it to me.

"Solve immensely complex puzzles and get awarded bitcoin".


I understand that.

And that made one other thing that I knew about Bitcoin suddenly tie into the whole concept.

I knew that at the outset there was a set number, never to be increased, number of "coins".

I just never knew what that had to do with anything.

Now I understand: that finite number of coins means that, as they get awarded for people solving puzzles, they get to be worth more; and as the puzzle solving goes on they get more valuable as their supply dwindles.

I'm not clear on when the supply reaches zero and the puzzle solving continues what happens.

Maybe there is a secondary market for already awarded coins?

But I was happy to get this far with understanding.

Personally I prefer beaver pelts.

An Interesting Death Machine

 Early this year a lot of us got vaccinated as soon as spotty supply, ridiculous logistics and phantom vaccine sites would allow.

One would have expected all of us to be in line ASAP to be vaccinated.

But no.

A group of - apparently - nearly half of us have decided to exercise their god given right to resist government over-reach and to protect the sanctity of their bodies, resisting the implantation of micro chips and modification of their DNA.

"Vital bodily fluids" from Strangelove seems to be a term back in the republican world view.

That dichotomy turns out to be a problem.


While nearly half of us are standing around un-vaccinated the virus is spreading and mutating; half of us is a big opportunity for spreading and mutating.

As a result of that spreading and mutating we now have much more spreadable variants.

Those of us that are vaccinated are pretty safe from infection at all, let alone serious infection or death.

But the un-vaccinated are sitting ducks for a much more - orders of magnitude - spreadable version of our old Covid friend.

So where the unvaccinated rate is high the Covid 19 infection/hospitalization/death rate is also going back to early pandemic levels.

But wait; there's more.

It turns out that the known fact that the vaccinated can be populated with the new variant, and that that is pretty much a no-problem situation is only part of the story.

It is now known that those of us vaccinated that get populated with the variant, get populated with a vengeance: we become spewers of massive doses of the variant into the air that we all breathe.

That of course is probably not good news for the unvaccinated.

I assume the republicans will pass a law rounding all of us who are vaccinated into concentration camps.

And break out the gas chambers.

They need to protect the base.

If that doesn't happen we will apparently see the infection/hospitalization curve go backward tilting vertical, hospitals will cease to function under the load, vaccinated people's death threatening conditions - like heart attacks and car wrecks - will all die in the streets due to there being no hospitals, and the variant will be able to continue to massively mutate until it comes up with a vaccine proof version and all of us will begin dying of Covid 19 and its children.

It seems to be time to re-learn that old time dance, Dans Macabre.

Do All republicans Really Look The Same?

 Not only do they all chant the same conspiracies, they all wear the same masks making them harder to catch.



The Big Lie In Metamorphosis

 From Brittany Bernstein of The National Review:

"Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) on Tuesday claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 'bears responsibility' for the January 6 Capitol riot and accused the 'drooling media' of being 'too petrified' to question the Democratic leader about it.

"'The mainstream media serves as Lame Duck Nancy Pelosi’s loyal stenographers,' Stefanik wrote in a tweet. 'No questions allowed about Speaker Pelosi! All off limits.'"

Let's start with the obvious: that is among the most ridiculous things said this year by the republican party; and that's saying a lot; the ridiculousness stream from HQ Fasco-WhiteLand has been on "high" all year.

But that's just a lot of fun.

The rest that can be noted is a bit more sinister.

After a few weeks' gestation necessitated by the recent casting into the outer darkness of Liz Cheney and replacing her with Madame Stefanik as chair of the House Republican Conference (that function being the head propagandist of the gop house mob) the message is again being promulgated.

And this time it has really got its act together - the message, not the party.

A new pseudopod has been added to the amoeba-like structure known as the Big Lie.

The nucleus and immediately surrounding cellular gelatin of the Big Lie remains but now it has companion gelatin; it usta-was: the election was rigged, the fiendishly clever Democrats got into every voting machine in America and re-wrote the software so that Joe Biden would win, while many down ballot Democrats lost (making the election look more plausible); the republican wins were dictated by god and were therefore immune from fiendish Democrat code tampering.

Now that the new Chairman is in place that message has been expanded to include: Nancy Pelosi and a crypto committee of pedophiles and pizza eating atheists came together in a hidden sub-basement of the Capitol - over multiple weeks between 3 November and 5 January and recruited and trained godless pizza eating pedophiles and multitudes of other Democratic Party lackeys and ne'er-do-wells, complete with maps and diagrams of the Capitol and directions and orders to attack on 6 January; all of the attackers were given trump paraphernalia to hide their actual loyalties and beliefs and to make donnie look bad and give Pelosi another shot at impeachment.

The amoeba grows.

But let me switch metaphors.

It has become a blob.

I like that metaphor because a song from long ago, written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David, that was written for Steve McQeen's (the actor not the director) debut starring role movie of the same name (The Blob, not Steve McQueen) has lyrics perfect for what we are confronted with and will be until the republicans finally overthrow the government.

Beware of The Blob, it creeps

And leaps and glides and slides

Across the floor

Right through the door

And all around the wall

A splotch, a blotch

Be careful of The Blob

Listen to the song.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Images For Today - 28 July 2021

I was looking out the window of our hotel in Rennes.  There was some major construction in the drive up area to the train station.

This is rue de Sante.  When I walk down it here I feel as if I have walked into a canyon that functions as a time machine.

In 2012 the Seine got really high.  Or so I thought until I saw some of the historic high water marks that are scattered around the city.  On Ile de la Cité there is a mark about six feet up the side of a building; I can't remember the year that was annotated; maybe it was the year where people were going about in rowboats in the area where I usually stay.

Seed pods - really tiny fruit - in Parc Montsouris.

Life on the Seine

Tourists; when I first went to Paris they were mostly Japanese; these are from China. 

Part of a life sustaining market niche on Boulevard St Germaine at the Metro Maubert-Mutalité, this is one of two locations of this very good bakery; the niche has a fromager, a poissonerie, a boucherie and various other vital purveyors of essentials.

From a walk in the desert in New Mexico

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Another View Of Not Cracking The Nut

 In a recent post I used the term "sham democracy".

I had pointed out that if the republicans get their way, rewrite what happened on 6 January 2021 to look as if donnie had some friends over for a barbeque, extend their already decade long national gerrymander and eliminate huge swaths of eligible voters - all within easy range of accomplishment - the United States will become a member of a growing club of sham democracies.

A sham democracy has regular elections, apparently has political parties and goes through all the motions of a democracy.

But what is really going on is that the always-elected head of government is the de facto dictator calling all the shots, executive, legislative and judicial (a sham always packs the court system with toadies and sycophants who know which side their bread is buttered on and will do anything to avoid losing their butter).

The executive is always elected because he or she controls all components of the administration and operation of all functions of the country, including the elections; ballots are all voted in advance, and they always elect the executive in control.

There is, of course, a press, but it is a department of the executive, so the only requirement for its continuance is to, usually, stay just on the believable side of fantasy.

Fox News is too far into fantasy to be allowed in a sham democracy.

Poland, Egypt and Hungary are good examples of sham democracies.

Europe has a number of others in development.

The New York Times podcast "The Daily" recently devoted five or six installments to a survey of the European Union.

They started in Germany and traveled around to many other member states talking to everyday people and everyday local leaders.

They spent some time in a few of the shams as well as some time in some of the actual still functioning democracies.

It was interesting that the attitudes, satisfaction with government and overall satisfaction with life across an apparently dichotomous group of countries were not themselves dichotomous.

And they all sounded pretty much like what Americans say about their satisfaction with their lives and their government: plusses and minuses; on balance things are pretty good.

The Times's summary assessment of what the citizens of the shams thought about things was that democracy is an eight letter word; they like the periodic opportunity to do sham voting, but as long as the resulting sham victory of the dictator creates an environment where they can binge watch whatever it is that one binge watches in a sham, and have jobs that make them feel like whole humans and feed their kids, and have a place to live, they don't care a fig for eight letter words.

As alarmingly distant as that viewpoint is from the views of the Children of The Enlightenment who architected the United States of America, that viewpoint sounds pretty much like what I hear from most contemporary Americans.

I guess that's the reason there seems to be no way to stop the republicans from making America the newest member of the sham democracy club.

It's too hard a nut.

And that nut can't be cracked.

The Cracking Of The Nut - Or Not

 I ended this post's predecessor with these statements:

What is the GOP trying to hide? Why are they so worried about what Jim Jordan and Jim Banks might say if they are subpoenaed? We need to get to the bottom of January 6, so we have to ask.

What we have to ask is: what is the seditionist GOP doing?

It's hard to read a responsible publication - I read The Economist - and not encounter a version of that question.

The follow on that I keep not hearing, is, what are we gonna do about it?

I expect it's nothing because having asymmetric dominance in the Senate (remember, North Dakota with a population of 780,523 has two senators; California, with a population of 40,000,000 has two senators) and an equally asymmetric dominance in the Electoral College makes republican ability to cover up, re-define and re-tell history a hard nut to crack.

To that today I would like to add these thoughts.

Not cracking that nut leaves us a few years away from sliding into a sham democracy.

That will be quite sad for most of us.

But then, as noted elsewhere, most of us are pretty much screwed.

A society in which a seven million vote victory can be sold to a large minority as a loss has lost its way so badly that it's difficult to find a parallel in history.

On the other hand, it's interesting that there is a parallel for the mass suicide pact that the followers of donnie have entered into.

This time it's "don't have the vaccine".

Last time it was "drink the Kool-Aid".

Monday, July 26, 2021

What Is The Seditionist GOP Doing? (From When Democrats Turn Out).

 After the election of 2020, during which I contributed some money to a lot of Democrats, I got added to a lot of Democratic mailing lists.

Having all that coming at me every day in email endlessly could be pretty annoying.

But it's really easy to scroll through and delete all of them every time I open email.

I could, of course, unsubscribe, but I don't want to disconnect from the stream, I just don't have time for it on a minute by minute basis.

Already this year I have contributed several times.

To Democrats like Raphael Warnock.

It's all good.

Just now I got one of those emails that I didn't delete.

Because I read it.

Because it was talking about the same subject that I was talking about in a blog post that I had just posted.

Here it is.

"Noel -- What is the seditionist GOP doing?

"FIRST: Kevin McCarthy selected five GOP members to join the House's select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection, three of which had already refused to certify Joe Biden's electoral victory. 

"THEN: Nancy Pelosi rejected two of those selections, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, allegedly because Democrats MAY NEED TO SUBPOENA THEM for their role in the January 6 insurrection. 

"NOW: Kevin McCarthy has pulled ALL FIVE GOP appointees and is threatening to create his own investigation into January 6. 

 "What is the GOP trying to hide? Why are they so worried about what Jim Jordan and Jim Banks might say if they are subpoenaed? We need to get to the bottom of January 6, Noel, so we have to ask".

What we have to ask is: what is the seditionist GOP doing?

It's hard to read a responsible publication - I read The Economist - and not encounter a version of that question.

The follow on that I keep not hearing, is, what are we gonna do about it?

I expect it's nothing because having asymmetric dominance in the Senate (remember, North Dakota with a population of 780,523 has two senators; California, with a population of 40,000,000 has two senators) and an equally asymmetric dominance in the Electoral College makes republican ability to cover up, re-define and re-tell history a hard nut to crack.

We are so screwed.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Hits The Target


"OCASIO-CORTEZ: "I think Kevin McCarthy has decided that his role as a minority leader in the House of Representative is to essentially be chauffeur of the clown car and he believe {SIC} that his job is to champion some of the most ludicrous, irresponsible and dangerous members of his party instead of centering some of the more even-keeled and responsible members of his party."

This transcript is extracted from a recent CNN interview.

So what is she talking about?

Here's a quick synopsis.

Back a while the Democrats voted a bill out of the House to set up a non partisan commission to investigate everything - not what Ol' Mitch and the Boys had been asserting - but the real stuff that led to the near Republic-ending insurrection of 6 January 2021.

The commission would look into things like who planned the thing, what part the president and the republican big lie supporters had in the planning - if any - and generally how exposed the Republic is to a coup in the near future.

When the bill got to the Senate the republicans killed it.

Ol' Mitch and the Boys said there was no need for an investigation, they had their best people working on it already.

The House countered, saying that there was indeed a critical need for such an investigation, and that the House would regretfully - they vastly preferred a non partisan commission such as looked into the 2001 terrorist attack and JFK's assassination - set up a select committee.

So they passed a bill setting up a select committee.

It was to be made up of twelve members, seven Democrats and five republicans.

Kevin McCarthy said that there was no need for such a committee, that there were plenty of investigations and that, anyway, if there were to be another investigation it should be investigating Nancy Pelosi for being the mastermind of the 6 January insurrection, not into anything vaguely related to reality. 

Nancy Pelosi ignored Kevin and went forward with the select committee, naming six Democrats and one Republican to the seven Democratic seats.

After massive and continued obfuscation Kevin made his five nominations, two of whom are well documented clowns who aggressively support the big lie and voted to overturn the election.

Not surprisingly Nancy refused to accept the two clowns.

Kevin said "OK if that's the way you want it we'll do our own investigation" or some such petulant inanity.

One might ask what suddenly made Kevin decide that, after continuously saying there was no need for any more investigations, he now  wants to add another one to the daily news cycle.

Kevin is not only the chauffeur of a clown car, he is the head clown.

Or, more likely, a tantrum throwing six year old.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

More About The Effects Of The Tantrum

From Bloomberg News:

 "The U.S. is moving in the “wrong direction” in combating a new wave of Covid-19, and a booster vaccine shot may be needed especially for the most vulnerable, said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

"He said new U.S. recommendations on masking for the vaccinated are under 'active consideration,' as the delta variant fuels a surge of infections around the nation. With half of the country still not fully vaccinated, the U.S. faces a worst-case scenario of daily deaths reaching 4,000, the same level as during last winter’s peak, he said.

"'I’m not sure if it would be the worst-case scenario but it’s not going to be good,' he said on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' 'We’re going in the wrong direction'.”

In the wake of those comments numerous republicans have gone on record with an identical statement, quoted here: "It's just a Fauci ouchie".

Ron Paul is calling for the destruction of vaccine manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico, saying "what better use of our all volunteer military than snuffing out rampant violations of freedom".

Ol' Mitch and the boys just sat staring into space and looking wise.

The rest of us checked our generator fuel.

Images For 25 July 2021

Seattle St John's Wort; who says you can't take a macro with a telephoto lense?

Was le Montagnard, then re-named The Highlander; I think it's a pizza place now.  When it was le Montagnard you could get a really good filet mignon there.

These are just like our chairs.  That's probably because we bought the same kind as these.  Who says nobody buys stuff made in France?

Another view of Pont St Michel with Le Départ St Michel in the background.

If you macro moss you get a picture of a forest.  This was growing on la Seine.

I think that this is a picture of the cloisters along rue de Rivoli.

Parisian still life

Coquille St Jacques from Picard.

Cafe Louis Philippe, just across Pont Louis Philippe, naturally

In the arsenal de Paris gardens

They lived out side our bedroom one year.  They made it to fully fledged fly away adulthood.  We were proud foster parents.

On the beach at Lopez Island

A male Anna's 

Not surprisingly, these are called golden crowned sparrows.

You probably are wondering what the tree is; it's a Douglas Fir.

The Tantrum That Destroyed A Nation

 The republicans have been throwing a tantrum since the election went to President Biden.

They have made it clear that not only are they going to lie about donnie's treasonous attempt to overthrow the government, they are going to continue to assert the big lie that donnie won the election.

But the crowning component of their post election tantrum is that they will show us: they won't get vaccinated.

History moves on and this time it's going to be without the United States.

"Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams says pandemic is "spiraling out of control again" because of unvaccinated Americans" (from Face the Nation today).

Black Bug On Floor


Friday, July 23, 2021

Burning The Flag II

 In case you couldn't see the defacement in detail in the original image, I cropped and blew it up to 250%.

I think some of us - not many, of course, these days being as they are - but some of us, might object to this even if it weren't defacement.

But I wouldn't expect the republicans to want to pursue legal action, these days being as they are.

We are really screwed.

Burning The Flag

 The republicans a while back tried to pass a law that made burning an American flag a crime.

Flags wear out over time, wind, rain and sun and need to be disposed of.

The flag code says that the proper manner of disposing an American flag is to burn it.

So I have never been sure what the republicans had in their proposed law that made the prescribed manner of flag disposal a crime: having seditious thoughts while burning? If so, the law would have been an amazing mashup of a violation of the First Amendment and a need for federally certified mind readers (certified republicans, I suppose).

Anyway, the republicans failed in passing that law.

I was interested when this picture popped up this morning in republican Arizona.

Apparently defacing the flag is republican kosher.

In Arizona.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Extreme State Of Our Screwedness

 The more I hear about donnie's last year, last six months, last 20 days, and the events of 6 January 2021, the more the verdict of donnie trial two seems correct: "guilty so say 57 of us; but 57 of us is not enough to convict; it is just a convincing, rather large, majority"

General Milley spent a miserable end of the donnie nightmare: he saw clearly, as did his immediate subordinates - all multi star generals - that the dildo was planning a coup and it worried him to sickness.

General Milley felt that his oath to the Constitution dictated that he not allow the dildo to call out the military, on the soil of the United States of America, to overturn a many times validated election.

And General Milley should know the drill: he had been an inadvertent participant in the dress rehearsal for a mini-coup when he joined the president's gang that gassed the peaceful demonstrators at the church that donnie wanted to have his picture taken with a bible in front of.

The real thing donnie wanted out of that little tableau was General Milley standing next to him in fatigue - battle - uniform.

Looks good for the future of the coup, donnie must have thought.

If he thinks.

General Milley immediately apologized.

And went on 24 hour guard duty until inauguration day.

And that is just one thread of all that is coming out about how close we came to the end of the Constitution.

donnie was in a snit and was being egged on by Flynn to call a coup and he didn't, but changed his mind and on 6 January 2021 he let loose the losers.

The morons among us.

The man is clearly guilty of treason.

If treason be undermining the Constitution.

Which donnie clearly attempted.

So why is he running for president rather than in prison awaiting execution?

And that's the thickness of the plot.

It's because of the republican party.

They are donnie's impenetrable shield.

For them the Constitution is a stump speech reference similar to the bible - a document that they often confuse with the Constitution.

The amalgam of properly gnarled references to those two documents, mixed with racism, hate, white supremacy and theatrically monumental abject ignorance makes for a platform that appeals to just enough of the members of an amazingly ignorant and amazingly hate filled mudsill of our population that, if you can Russian rig things just enough, the Electoral College gives you the presidency.

The two senators per state, no matter how lacking in population be the state, coupled with that Electoral College, makes minority rule of the mudsill a frighteningly high odds outcome in our elections.

It facilitates the merger of the sinister with the stupid.

And "stupid" is the key word.

Because of the real culprits: the republicans couldn't pull off their chicanery if it were not for the mudsill of stupids that are allowed to vote.

But they are allowed to vote, and there are a lot of them.

And they love the "amalgam".

We are so screwed.