Tuesday, February 28, 2023

I Like To Re-Post This Every Now And Then

 



This is a quote from The Age of Jackson by Arthur M., Jr. Schlesinger Jr.

He said this in 1941.

It doesn't refer directly to the desire of "the capitalist class" to impose serfdom on most of us, but that concept seems to me to be not far from the surface of Schlesinger's statement.

"... since this is a capitalistic society, the class most interested in its security and prosperity is the capitalist class, which thus should have the most power.

The theory has survived every test but experience.

It simply has not worked. Since the Federalist party the American business community appears to have lost its political capacity; it has not been, in the strict sense, a ruling class.

In placid days power naturally gravitates to it as the strongest group in the state; but through American history it has been unable to use that power very long for national purposes.

Moved typically by personal and class, rarely by public, considerations, the business community has invariably brought national affairs to a state of crisis and exasperated the rest of society into dissatisfaction bordering on revolt".

Friday, February 24, 2023

Social Security

Something has been bothering me as I listen to the republicans rail against Social Security as being bankrupt.

That something is something that I think I know but can't remember enough about to say definitively and publicly.

So I did a Google search: "in how many years since inception has the social security trust fund had a surplus?"

Answer: "Since 1937, there have been 11 years in which benefits paid out exceeded income and so the assets of the Trust Funds had to be spent to make up the difference."

In 86 years, Social Security has run a surplus for 75 of them.

"What happened to that aggregate surplus?" I asked myself.

"I don't know", I said in reply.

So I did another Google: "what has happened to social security surpluses?".

I found an article from 2000 based on a book by a guy named John Attarian.

He had a lot to say, most of it sounding pretty republican, mostly railing against calling the financial apparatus that contains the surplus a "trust fund" - republicans are really prone to railing.

He died in 2004 at age 48.

Before dying he did say this "Social Security revenues go into the Treasury’s general fund and are automatically credited to the Trust Fund in the form of Treasury bonds. The Treasury pays Social Security benefits and administrative outlays out of general revenue and debits the Trust Fund an equivalent value of bonds. Any leftover Social Security revenue finances general government operations, with an equivalent value of bonds remaining in the Trust Fund as Social Security’s “surplus;”"

So the dollars come from paying citizens and get turned into treasury bonds upon receipt, at which point the dollars go into the General Fund.

So cash is turned into debt at the outset.

And the cash becomes an anonymous component of the General Fund to be spent willy-nilly on trillion dollar wars and such.

(You are probably saying to yourself "there you go again, picking on those poor republicans"; and you are right; however, consider this: GW Bush went to Congress and asked for permission to invade Iraq; Congress gave permission; no funds were provided; they must have paid the trillion from somewhere.)

But let's back up a click or two.

Turning Social Security Payroll Tax Payment dollars into debt as soon as they get to the Treasury, spending the actual dollars on SS benefits and SS admin and then spending the surplus anywhere that seems good while giving SS back its surplus as more debt, leaving an aggregate surplus as debt is a dazzling accounting trick.

After perceiving the preceding I began to understand why the republicans let Social Security stay in place rather than getting rid of it (they have been railing against it for 86 years and still haven't gotten rid of it; even the republicans aren't that incompetent, one would hope).

That is because it serves them three very useful purposes. 

It gives them something to rail against under the banner of having a balanced budget. 

It gives them a ready source of money for various trillion dollar unfunded gambits like George Bush's war in Iraq.

It gives them a straw man - "worthless IOUs" (Treasury Bonds - I didn't mention that a favorite republican talking point when discussing the 'trust fund" is that its contents are "worthless IOUs"; "don't tell the Chinese" I always think to myself) instead of a cash surplus.

It's a neat system.

I don't know why the Democrats don't call them on it, except that trying to explain what I have just described, and going on Fox and Friends to do it is probably too grotesque to imagine, even for Ol' Kevin or Ol' Mitch. 

donnie, being a brilliant businessman, would probably be willing to do it; I'd watch that; hell, I'd pay to watch that.

That, then, is what I have been able to discover about something that I think I know but can't remember enough about to say definitively and publicly.

What I haven't answered and am too tired to look into it any further is do we have a 75-year aggregate surplus in the "trust fund" albeit in Treasury Bonds rather than cash, or has that been disappeared somewhere as well?

Or did I get my hands crossed somewhere as we moved all that money around?

And don't forget to remember that since Spring 2017 I am a declared manufacturer of fake news, so I probably just invented John Attarian.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Strategy To Serfdom

Serfdom: The State of Being a Serf



Historically serfdom was a big deal from 800 to 1400, or so, in Europe.

"A serf's duties were working on a plot of land, especially during the medieval period when Europe practiced feudalism, when a few lords owned all the land and everyone else had to toil on it. In Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries, large plots of land were ruled by lords who made serfs work the land for the lords’ profit."

Let's translate that to the 2000s.

A serf's duties are working for little or nothing - transition plan to nothing well on its way - in the enterprises of a few obscenely wealthy lords who own everything. In current day America huge pots of money are possessed by a few lords who make serfs work their enterprises for the lords’ profit; and profit can only really be maximized in a wageless society.

But we are not there yet; the proto-serf class still gets "paid".

But "there" can be seen from "here".

Since Reagan, the IRS has been starved to extinction.

The result is that the lords already pay little or no taxes.

The legal snarl that allows that is so complicated that it takes a large and skillful tax enforcement apparatus to keep the lords honest.

Funding to the IRS is basically nonexistent, and its vestiges are being eliminated, so there isn't any such enforcement apparatus.

So the lords, with their legion of tax attorneys and tax accountants, and the legal snarl that is our tax code, do battle each tax year with an agency shrinking into oblivion.

But, since the rest of us can be audited, harassed and indicted by an intelligent algorithm using our easily available earnings records and periodic tax payments, we pay taxes.

The flip of the lords' tax exemptness is the rest of us's tax liabilityness.

And the nearly non-existent IRS can keep track of the rest of us with ease and an algorithm.

The republicans have a reason for this: keeping excess income out of our hands greases the skids on our road to serfdom.

So, 1% of us have 31% of the wealth, and the balance will flow to them when most of the rest of us are serfs and we are working for two meals a day and one side of a twin mattress. 

But more work needs to be done.

And it is being done.

Elected republicans - in half of our states - who stay if office at the pleasure of the lords' campaign contributions - are enthusiastically passing laws to make voting very difficult for most people; or impossible (things like ID cards that require access to transportation and the money to pay for transportation and to pay for the ID, and the free time from earning their pittance to do the travelling and paying, etc. etc. etc.) and by purging their names from voter rolls and disallowing re-enrollment from those so persistent as to try.

And lots of other barricades to the ballot box.

They are doing that work every day.

But, what about the other half of the states where such laws are generally not being enacted, and where, in many cases voting is being made easy?

The lords have that problem covered.

The national republicans have for years been after the Post Office.

The Post Office is a real leak in their plans for the rest of us.

People in a lot of states not controlled by republicans can vote by mail.

That's so easy that even poor people, people without cars, can and do vote.

And they are known to not vote for the lords' best interests.

The republicans, years ago, delivered the coup de gras to the Post Office.

They passed a law that forced the Post Office to pay all retirement and health care obligations in one lump 30 years in advance.

And then, ever since they have railed against the insolvency of the Post Office.

Last time enterprises faced that sort of solvency problem was the banks in 2008, and Congress coughed up a trillion dollars to bail them out.

With the Post Office down but not out the republicans are doing to it the same that they are doing to the IRS.

Starve it out of existence.

Those are the three prongs of the Strategy to Serfdom.



Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Norfolk Southern: Sounds Like Bankruptcy

 I just heard that the EPA, or somebody, has told the railroad that they will clean up the toxic sump previously known as East Palestine Ohio.

Or the EPA will do the job and charge the railroad.

Triple.

In either case that's probably more money than Norfolk Southern had planned for charitable donations this year - they DID offer the town $25,000, though.

As we learned with the Sacklers, corporate bankruptcy not only protects the filer's money, it keeps the humans out of jail.

As Mitt Romney once said, "corporations are people".

Kinda special people.

Waiting For Sidney

 I recently had a question.

Better than "question" it could be described as a quandary of entry level understanding entangled with a desire to go beyond entry level but with limited means of describing what subsequent information is desired.

I had just formulated a question out of the quandary and realized that my search engine of choice had no way to answer it; I could barely compose it.

Then I listened to a New York Times podcast: Search Wars Just Got Scary.

Listening to it explains the title of this post and its final sentence.

"I actually wondered why Nova was using photons at all, because, as I understand it, photons are particles of light, light also being a wave; and, I am unsure of what a wave really is - I think it is something like a vibration, maybe, and that it waves/vibrates through something, some of the somethings in the case of light being beyond my current level of physics comprehension, and that if that is anywhere near an accurate description of light, and if one accepts the apparently accepted fact that light is the only wave that is also a particle, or has particles, or oscillates between being a wave and being a particle, that raises the question: is light like, but totally different from an atom, atoms having particles and all?  But I couldn't figure out how to pose that question to Bing. Because my version of Bing doesn't have any AI assistance such a kludge of a question would probably not produce rational results anyway; maybe when I get that version of Bing with AI, I can just refer it to this blog post and maybe Sidney, Bing's sidekick will get back to me with an answer - or ask me to run off to the Bahamas with it, if one believes the New York Times."



Monday, February 20, 2023

Quantum Entanglement



Gradually, over several years now, I have become as interested as a non-mathematician, non-scientist can become interested in quantum physics.

That interest started when I read for the first time The God Problem.

I have read it a couple or three times since that first reading, and with each reading I become more interested in things like quantum entanglement.

That interest unfortunately is hindered by the fact that I don't know math, so I can't look at a whiteboard full of line after line of symbols and draw any conclusions.

But at the ape-brain level I can grasp some of the entry level concepts and their deep and important implications.

Recently I found a Nova episode titled Einstein's Quantum Riddle.

I have watched it several times because I couldn't get all of it in one viewing.

And between viewings I forget a lot of what I got.

I came away from the last viewing with a question: "Which particles can be entangled?"

I asked that because the Nova episode was using photons as the example of entangled particles and I assumed that other particles could be entangled, and I wondered what they were and if all known particles could be entangled.

(I actually wondered why Nova was using photons at all, because, as I understand it, photons are particles of light, light also being a wave; and, I am unsure of what a wave really is - I think it is something like a vibration, maybe, and that it waves/vibrates through something, some of the somethings in the case of light being beyond my current level of physics comprehension, and that if that is anywhere near an accurate description of light, and if one accepts the apparently accepted fact that light is the only wave that is also a particle, or has particles, or oscillates between being a wave and being a particle, that raises the question: is light like, but totally different from an atom, atoms having particles and all?  But I couldn't figure out how to pose that question to Bing. Because my version of Bing doesn't have any AI assistance such a kludge of a question would probably not produce rational results anyway; maybe when I get that version of Bing with AI, I can just refer it to this blog post and maybe Sidney, Bing's sidekick will get back to me with an answer - or ask me to run off to the Bahamas with it, if one believes the New York Times.)

I'm going to copy/paste a few things I found being said as a result of that Bing search: "which particles can be entangled?"

It turns out that not understanding or being able to speak math is the least of my problems.

It turns out I can't even do English.

Here are a few of the answers.

"Entanglement is nothing more than a state of correlation between two or more quantum objects. They need not even be the same object. Alan Steinhardt has already given the example of the electrons in an atom, or a molecule for that matter. Those electrons are arranged as Pauli spin pairs, which must be naturally correlated and therefore entangled. I will give another rather mundane example. Consider an atom that emits a photon. We don't know what direction the photon took. However, if we measure the photon we would know not only the direction of the photon, but also that of the atomic recoil. You see, a photon has momentum and the conservation of momentum means the atom will recoil. Therefore the momenta of the photon and atom are entangled."

"The excitement regarding entanglement has more to do with controlling and manipulating entanglement as a quantum resource. These requirements are far more stringent and call for special entanglement resources, or more specifically quantum resources that can be deterministically entangled. The gates in a quantum computer generate and manipulate entanglement. That's because entanglement is shared information between multiple quantum parties, and computing is all about information processing."

"Entanglement features largely in the theory of decoherence. With every interaction, a quantum system becomes increasingly entangled with it's environment. We quickly lose track of this increasing complexity and disregard the information. It is this information loss that introduces decoherence and wavefunction collapse, simply because a system becomes too entangled to comprehend."

Those are from Mark John Fernee from the University of Queensland.

I'm going to stop there.

I think I have lost any illusion that I could acquire a cocktail party level facility with quantum physics.

I'm going to confine my cocktail talk on the subject, should such an occasion ever present itself with a confident "Niels Bohr was absolutely correct!!"

What Leadership Looks Like



Last year on St. Patrick's Day I posted a post titled The Kiev Address.

Eleven months later a pale shadow of my dream has actually occurred.

But even a pale shadow is a great thing for Ukraine and for the world.

And, after all, although Biden, like me, is Irish, not all of us Irish go overboard on the dramatics.

Maybe I went overboard.

Last St. Patrick's Day.

I had hoped not.

Today's picture should live for all time in glory for all humanity.

 I am re-posting The Kiev Address post here in its entirety.

******************************************************************

Last night I had the strangest dream

I'd ever dreamed before 

I dreamed I saw a mighty room Filled with women and with men 

After some time, I saw that there was a podium with the logo of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization attached to it.

All was silent.

I saw a person walking to the podium.

After he had taken the speaker's position and had begun to speak, I recognized him.

It was Joe Biden.

He spoke briefly.

"Now that this meeting is about to be concluded I need to make an announcement.

"We have filed a flight plan for Kiev.

"Jill and I are going to meet with President Zelensky and the Ukrainian Parliament in special session.

"Since we can't, or won't, stop Putin and his murderous war, the least that the Leader of the Free World, and his wife can do, we believe is to show our faces in the murder zone.

"This is probably foolhardy; for sure it is dangerous; by announcing the visit in advance complete with public flight plan we are making it certain that if some errant surface to air missile or some unknown sniper bullets kill us, they will be instantly identified as having come at the orders of Vladimir the Butcher; and we would expect appropriate action to be taken.

"But we hope and pray for the better angels to prevail.

"We expect to make our visit and to leave at its completion unharmed.

"But we will not be restrained from joining out brothers and sisters in Ukraine. 

I guess a collective gasp would be the best description of the reaction of the room.

The dream wobbled, wiggled, faded and focused as dreams are wont to do.

But things became clear again.

The Bidens were standing with President Zelensky.

Joe was in the middle, Jill was on his right and Zelensky was on his left.

Joe began to speak.

"Thirty One years ago the Ukrainian People revived on this continent, an old and noble nation, newly conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.

"Now you are engaged in a great war of survival, testing whether your nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. You are met on a great battle-field – all of your great land - and survive from day to day, no more, no less. 

"Some day you will come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who already have given their lives that that nation might live. When, in God’s plan for things that happen, this war ends, and you have prevailed, it will be altogether fitting and proper that you – and all of us everywhere - should do this: should so dedicate.

"But, in a larger sense, you will not be able to dedicate – you will not be able to consecrate – you will not be able to hallow -- that ground. 

"The brave men and women, living and dead, who have already struggled there, will have already consecrated it, far above any poor power of the living to add or detract to the achievements of the dead.

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we have said here today, but it will never forget what our brave dead – for we are now, all of us one - did here. 

"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who are fighting here have thus far so nobly advanced. 

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from those honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they have given and are giving the last full measure of their devotion -- that we here resolve that these dead and those that follow shall not have died in vain -- that your nation, under God, shall have a new life born in freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".

The room was eerily silent.

Then all faded to white.


Sunday, February 19, 2023

Whole Hog Is Best

  I received this email this morning.

"You have not gotten frothed up yet this morning

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A rally is scheduled to take place in Nashville to save Rep. John Lewis Way.

The road was recently renamed to honor Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights leader and one of the 13 original “Freedom Riders.” He led the historic lunch counter sit-ins that led to Nashville becoming the first southern city to start the desegregation of public places.

Now, Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that aims to rename parts of Rep. John Lewis Way to President Donald Trump Boulevard."

To which I replied:

"No froth.  That's just the same trolling, jim crow bullshit as was putting up confederate hero statues in the Twentieth Century.  If Tennessee lawmakers want to sign up for that, let history judge them. I think if I were in the black leadership structure in Nashville I would propose that dishonoring John Lewis by concatenating his name with an unindicted criminal and traitor is such a heinous act that the Tennessee legislature should instead name the whole thing donnie the dildo way.

The portrait, below, is made of pig entrails.



Trickle Down Truth Has Started To Raise Its Head



 GOP operative sentenced in scheme to funnel Russian money to Trump campaign
Story by Sareen Habeshian • Yesterday 8:41 AM


The above referenced news item caught my eye this morning; it's off an MSN newsfeed.

**************************************************************

I read the Mueller Report and documented my reading here with periodic posts during the course of my reading.

So anyone who has read any of them is going to say, "there he goes again; pickin' on Ol' donnie".

So let's start pickin': the next four sentences (italics) summarize what I have said previously.

The Mueller Report documented numerous cases of trump affiliates and family in deep contact with the Russians.

But Mueller said that conspiracy - even with numerous documented probable instances - is too difficult to prosecute.

The Mueller Report documented in detail ten instances of what was hard not to see as obstruction of justice, and called it such, but then went on to say that the Justice Department couldn't indict a sitting president.

Fat Billy controlled the report, so before it was released to the public, he went on the news streams and proclaimed that the Mueller Report totally exonerated trump.

How documentation of crimes described as too difficult to prosecute and crimes jurisdictionally unprosecutable constitute exoneration is something of a mystery.

But the proclamation worked.

The press and everybody else said, "well shit, why do I want to read all that if it exonerates Ol' donnie"?

So, rather than reading it, they moved on to the next crisis, of which we manufacture so many on a daily basis that it is difficult not to think that we have a Crisis Crisis in America.

But back to Mueller.

A question screams to be asked.

Why would a man with the reputation, track record, integrity and acknowledged deep skill in pursuing crime blink when presenting a several hundred page documentation of manifold and multiple?

Crimes?

There are those who say that he was merely handing prosecution of the crimes off to the Constitutionally designated prosecutor and court: the House and the Senate.

We saw how that came out.

The prosecutor prosecuted but the jury was rigged.

So the verdict is left to History.

As the facts of the case begin to trickle truthfully back onto the scene, without Fat Billy umpiring them, that jury - ultimately the only real jury - is beginning to get the truth.




Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Spring Offensive

 The Russians are coming; the Russians are coming.

They are pouring out of PutyLand into Ukraine.

It's time to load up the C-130s with MOABS - click to see previous thoughts; no one took my suggestion last time; I am lobbying for it again this time - and dump carnage on the invaders.

At 11 tons of TNT a pop, a lot of PutyBurger can be created.

And PutyBurger commits no PutyCrimes.

I really don't care who flies the planes.



Thursday, February 16, 2023

Ghost Herd: Anna King

 Our local NPR station, KUOW, is blessed with an associated journalist who lives in Richland Washington (the capital of Manhattan-Project-Land) and who covers a territory east of the Cascades substantially larger than the Holy Roman Empire.

It lies east of the Cascade Mountains and goes on to the horizon.

I first started paying attention to Anna when she did some stories about a fairly large crack that had appeared in Wanapum Dam.

Having read Cadillac Desert several years previous to the crack, I was acutely aware of what one of the Columbia River dams breaking and disgorging its water downstream would look like from the standpoint of people living in Portland, so she had my attention from the outset.

But Anna doesn't merely report news items; she weaves poems and parables out of the people, places, smells, sounds and whatever else she happens to notice about what's going on around the bare facts of the story she wants to tell us.

That was how it was with the Great Wanapum Crack story.

It was way more interesting than the bare facts.

Since then I have heard her do that again and again.

In fact, I have heard her upon occasion, wax nothing short of epically poetic while telling us about how the desert in spring suddenly becomes an endless mass of color where things that no one knew were there burst into riotous bloom; and how it feels to ride your horse pell-mell across and through the springtime desert.

To the horizon.

Recently Anna has outdone even herself.

A couple of years ago it developed that one of the baronial agriculture families in Anna's neck of the woods had been selling non existing beef cattle to Tyson Foods.

After a surprisingly long time - and an aggregate sale of about a quarter million nonexistent cows - Tyson got wise and a great regional hoorah ensued.

Anna has been digging into the hoorah brilliantly since it first went public.

That coverage has culminated in a six-part podcast: Ghost Herd.

Anyone who is interested in scrupulously accurate news wrapped in history, spiced by sociology, and leavened occasionally with poetry will find Ghost Herd worth the time they spend listening.

I got it from Apple Podcasts, but I guess it's on all the major podcast purveyors.




Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Dopesick

 I just finished this one season re-telling of the criminal saga of the Sacklers.

I take a number of thoughts, questions and reactions from the tale.

Paramount among them is intense anger that a band of drug lords who, it would appear, have the distinction of having the highest number of names of dope-dead people of any drug cartel in history attached to their name, has been allowed to keep a large portion of their recent and drug-gotten gains, and allowed to spend what is arguably a gift-from-some-perverse-god surplus on being held harmless from the law.

That's pretty negative.

But, for me, there is also a huge positive.

The Series's  intensely personal and beautiful depiction of the people of Appalachia who were the initial target for the Sacklers has allowed me to remember at a gut level something donnie teased me into forgetting: we are all Americans, and not very different, and all in this mess together.




Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Sociologic Drift At The Oregon/Idaho Border

 A long time ago I had friends in Idaho, and I was an avid bird hunter - pheasants, chukars and such.

Sometimes my friends came to Eastern Oregon where I travelled from Portland to meet them and where we did our hunting, and sometimes we met in Eastern Oregon and went deep into Idaho where one of my friends' family had large landholdings in prime bird hunting country.

In either case, any time I got close to the Idaho side, I bought some Coors beer.

For years and years there was some kind of mystique surrounding Coors, mainly, I think because it was brewed in Colorado and not available in many other states - at that time.

The beer may or may not have been different, superior and desirable compared to alternatives, but its relative scarcity created an envelope of legend around it for some reason.

I never heard Oregonians in those days demanding to be annexed to Idaho for reasons of Coors, but it may have been happening.

It's interesting moving the clock forward to today.

Some counties in Eastern Oregon are petitioning Idaho to be annexed so they can become the beneficiaries of all of Idaho's munificent and enviable characteristics: life from conception laws, women who know their place, whites supreme, whites only, return trump as rightful sovereign, make LDS the state religion, and, yes, Coors beer.

Since Coors is everywhere these days and has become an instrument of Satan and the godless, socialist, West Coast CABAL (the only name I can ever remember out of that acronym is "Lauderdale") I doubt if it has any influence on the current petition to be annexed.

I wish them well; a pregnant protrusion on the left side of the map of Idaho would be a fitting tribute to the mothers of the potato state.




Monday, February 13, 2023

No Extra Terrestrial Activity

 I was relieved to hear just now that the recently unidentified objects that we have been shooting out of the sky are not extra- terrestrial beings.

Or transporting such beings.

I would have been so disappointed if they had been - extra-terrestrials - and were getting here via balloon rather than warp drive vehicles.

I guess we need to tell Ol' Tucker we don't have a problem.

He'll probably spin a story that we're not seeing the warp drives because they are invisible, and that they are there and that they are sending out balloons.

And that they are loaded with stolen trump ballots.

And piloted by JFK Jr.

In his rescue mission for the legendary trump presidency: he's going to bring those ballots to the Capitol and throw vast piles of them on the Capitol floor while shouting "let the counting begin".

I'm really looking forward to it.



Turkey's New Sultan

 

Videos show Turkey's Erdogan boasted letting builders avoid earthquake codes

With an election looming, any adverse facts about Tukey's dictator are totally unallowable, from his point of view. So, expect anyone remotely connected to the distribution of these videos to be put in prison, post haste, and for the duration.  Once that starts happening, expect a Declaration of Catastrophic Emergency that cedes to Erdogan the Sultancy for life.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Two Movies I Don't Get

 Cate Blanchett is a favorite of mine.

And she came through swimmingly in Tar: a yeoman's performance, I guess I would say.

But, aside from the fun of watching one of my favorite people do her schtick, I have no idea to what end she was doing it.

Other than the superficial aspects of the story line, I have no idea what Tar is really about.

It seemed - as the final scene summed it all up - that I had just lived through the world's longest shaggy dog story.

Except that Cate isn't in it, and those who are are new to me (I probably have seen Colin Firth somewhere and not known it) one can plug the same words from the sentences above into my reaction to The Banshees of Inisherin.

Except that it wasn't even a shaggy dog story.

The miniature donkey was a great character, though.

They could have added Alfie and had a passable buddy movie.



Thursday, February 9, 2023

Originalist Bullshit And SCOTUS Doubletalk

 A district court in Texas has overturned a red flag law because in 1787 there weren't any red flag laws.

That decision was piggyback on the Bruen decision from last year by Ol' Clarence and the Boys (actually there was one girl).

SCOTUS said that in looking at the Constitutional validity of laws it is necessary to see if there are historic precedents dating to the time of the Constitution's framing.

New York had none, other than the very old law the SCOTUS just found unconstitutional, so that old New York law was found to be unconstitutional.

I can't help but wonder how SCOTUS gets by with that logic while at the same time they say that the original words “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” means that every household is an armory and that that armory needs to be well equipped with killing devices that didn't exist when the Second Amendment was written - probably late one afternoon, just before the framers all retired to the local Pub for the day.









Have You Heard The One About DeSantis Being A "Groomer"?

 Just askin' questions here.



They Hear Things Going Bump

 


Did that rabbit fart?



How I Really Feel

 Yesterday I posted a sort of beat around the bush observation about aid to Syria.

I wanted to make a point, but I didn't want to be harsh.

I have kept hearing since then - perhaps the volume is even increasing - that the fact that the EU, and especially the United States, aren't giving aid directly to Bashar al Assaad is "just politics".

The EU and the United States are in fact pouring aid into Humanitarian Aid NGOs that have been and continue to serve the land area previously known as Syria.

That's a hard job because it's only a land area - something that might be sketched over the silhouette of a land mass on a piece of paper called a map; but there is no government; maybe there are gangs or war lords or Islamic Nut Cells, but no government.

Bashar al Assad, self-titled "President" is in charge of nothing; he is a murderer presiding over a pile of smoking rubble.

He's the guy who killed between four and five hundred thousand of his people (they had elected him as president with synthetic enthusiasm not long before he started killing them) over the last twelve years.

He's the guy who called Putin in to bomb hospitals from the air (a transferable skill, the world has learned with chagrin and dismay in the last year).

He's the guy who selectively gassed his own people.

He's the guy who happily let some of the oldest of human works be turned to dust.

Why would any rational entity give Assad money?

Or even feminine hygiene products?

Not doing so is not politics; it's common sense.

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In early 2017 donnie drove me over the edge.

I had been trying to comment on his antics, crimes and catastrophic incompetence with reasoned, supported snippets of expository prose.

I soon came to realize that that was a fool's errand.

So I joined up, as best as I was able, the mainstream commenting class.

In a blog post around that time, I announced that I was constituting myself forevermore as a premier source of fake news.

I think I have, here above, one of my finer such products.

I have done no research, know nothing about the subject, am clearly flirting with some sort of racism and religious intolerance, and am generally just plug ignorant.

I am excited to continue to blend into the Twenty First Century Milieu.



Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Not So Fast, Madame

 I just heard a five or so minute interview on the BBC where a woman representing Assad kept yelling incoherently about the west sending aid to Turkey, and why weren't they sending aid to Syria.

Every time the BBC guy tried to say something she would start yelling.

He did try to make the point that there really isn't any parcel of land that one would currently call Syria, from a discrete governmental point of view, at least, and that, in any event, the west is sending copious aid for the geography formerly known as Syria to a variety of NGOs.

It took him some time to assert that over her constant yelling.

The essence of the yelling was that the west needs to send s bunch of money to Assad so he can take care of his people.

I hope we resist that proposal.

I think he has already taken sufficient care of them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

State Of The Union?

 Sarah Huckabee Sanders countered President Biden's cogent, spirited and occasionally brilliant State of the Union address with a reprise, slimmed down albeit, of donnie the dildo's 2017 inaugural address.

Spineless Kevin fell asleep just before he collapsed spinelessly into a puddle of scaley goo and slithered off the podium.

I guess now we know the shape of things - other than Spineless Kevin - for TWO MORE YEARS.



They Keep Blowing Up The Electrical Grid

I made a predictive post in early December.

I even followed it up a couple of days later with a follow-on post saying that the "plot was thickening".

The thickening continues: I am hearing more and more interviews with domestic terror experts saying that the proliferation (since this post the attacks keep coming - and I didn't know at the time - had already happened in Oregon and Washington) is going to continue, probably to crescendo, and that the proliferation has an objective.  

All the interviewees name generic white supremacy/nationalist sources, all of them small fry; no expert has been willing to say what the crescendo is heading toward in space and time, what great final crashing chord will bring the audience to its feet cheering insanely. 

I guess we have to wait until the several "Take Our Country Back" military sectors are implemented and announced in early 2025 to find out the obvious.

It is interesting to note that the only consistent - military - thing Puty does in Ukraine, when he isn't randomly blowing up train stations, supermarkets, childcare centers, churches, shopping malls, apartment houses, parks, schools, hospitals, maternity wards, restaurants, and highway crossroads, is the destruction Ukraine's power grid.

When I was in Vietnam, we used crossroads as targets of last resort when a mission had been unable to accomplish the primary, secondary or tertiary mission and needed to get rid of its bomb load (we didn't want that shit coming back to our air base); we also had an abandoned pottery plant that we targeted for bomb load jettison, abandoned because it had once been thought to be a strategic target and had been mercilessly reduced to semi-rubble - I was never sure how pots were a danger to the security of the American people - if we couldn't find a convenient crossroad. 

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Here is the 4 December 2022 post, for reference:

"The news this morning tells of a significant power outage in North Carolina.

The outage is being characterized as "vandalism": unruly and disgruntled individuals randomly blowing up substations; "boys will be boys" and all that sort of thing.

It looks to me more like the first of, what I assume, will be many more practice feints preparatory to some ultimate country-wide coordinated thrust to break our nation into several smaller militarized zones under militia control.

After executing some large number of follow-on test thrusts against the nation's infrastructure during 2023, "Operation Restore the Donald" is scheduled to depart the practice round and become a full-scale insurgency in early 2024.

We will know the bell has been rung when the republicans follow donnie's dictate and terminate the Constitution." 


Monday, February 6, 2023

Turkey Goes Officially Under

 Even as the sham leader of a sham democracy Erdoğan has been hindered from his ultimate dream of becoming the total and permanent Sultan.

But he has not to date been able to, with comfort and certainty of no explosion, declare himself as such.

The earthquake, from his point of view, is golden.

He can finally rid himself of that annoying upstart, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and that man's pesky constitution.

Watch for the imminent Sultanic Verse declaring Recep now, and forever, the new and absolute monarch.

Take that, Sweden.


A Video Too Good Not To Post

I hope I don't start doing this very often, but this one was just too good to let lie fallow.


 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Stroll In The Desert?

 I'm on a bunch of mailing lists so I get a lot of emails every day.

If I took myself off the lists I probably wouldn't get any emails every day.

And that probably would damage my self-esteem.

It's vestigial, but still a thing.

Besides, I really like hearing from Joe, Kamala, Adam, Jeff (Merkly) Nancy, Tester from Montana and a lot of other really nice folks.

The problem is, they all want money, which I have little of; but it's nice that they keep in touch.

Among the mailers of "e" that I hear from are Samsonite and Hartman.

I guess Delta is getting back at me for my recent mean posts about them by sharing my demographics.

Or maybe they get money for them.

Who knows - or cares - really?

Anyway, I just got a Samsonite call to action a few minutes ago.

Let's all collaborate: what is the message here?



Thursday, February 2, 2023

Memphis: The Question That Keeps Not Getting Asked

I originally posted this early (PST) the morning of January 26, 2023.

Due to a series of mishaps, it disappeared.

I appealed to my daughter who makes a living making sure that the content of history is saved for posterity in digital form.

I figured if anybody could find a cache where my wayward post had gone, she could do it.

And she could; and she did.

So here it is again.

Since I posted this people started asking the question referred to, and Al Sharpton pretty much answered it at the funeral.

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On 7 January of this year a 29 year old black man was stopped by police for a police-perceived traffic violation.

In Memphis, Tennessee.

Somehow the situation quickly got so dangerous to the peace and tranquility of Memphis that the police - there were five officers - found it necessary to "beat the crap out of him" (quoting his mother from a recent interview).

He died from injuries a few days later.

As horrible as that briefly told tale might be, like mass shootings, it tracks such a normal, every-day-nowadays storyline that one shrugs, moves on and mutters "when are they going to get the cops under control"?

Before moving on, however, some questions might arise.

One of them, question three, is pretty generic; it is always on the question list from these never-ending lethal encounters of the fatal kind.

But the other two seem to be Memphis specific.

Does Memphis really have roving bands of police - in this case there were five (well, maybe ten if you count the other five that allegedly watched the beating) deployed in the pursuit of that most heinous of crimes - traffic violations?

Does Memphis really have such a big police budget that it can provide that level of "public safety"?

How does a traffic stop warrant the use of lethal force?

But there is a question that screams to me, and I have not heard anyone ask it, or even imply that there might be such a question.

"All five of the murderous officers were black; the nature of this event is the classic Jim Crow slave patrol sort of brutality that is meted out to black men daily in America - by white police thugs; we thought that that phenomenon was a whites only activity - sort of a white privilege thing; so what gives?"

Unlike most questions I ask in politics and public affairs that question is not rhetorical.

I have no idea what the answer is.

But the distance between what I think I know and therefore believe about the nature of our slave patrol based police/military complex and the facts of five black police killing a black man after a trumped up traffic stop is so vast that I have to believe that it indicates an almost quantum-physics-like anomaly.

And an anomaly of that magnitude can be fatal.

If you don't understand it.

So we had better get an answer to the question.

FAST.

I have a suggestion.

I respect and trust Al Sharpton - a lot - I have always liked street fighters.

I suspect that Al knows the answer to the unasked question.

If not, I believe that he can quicky figure out how to answer it.

So let's appoint him the task of assembling a small group of similarly skilled and qualified associates and have them quickly work out their answer to the question and then tell America what's going on.