27 03 2018

I doubt there are many still watching these pages. I’ve been away for a couple of years. Not physically- I’m still comfortably ensconced in the Shallow South, amusing myself by lambasting the herds of morons and Jethros surrounding me. But I stopped posting here after the last election.

Those who know me probably get it, but those whose only exposure to me comes through these electronic missives might not understand. After all, the election of the Tangerine Twatwaffle should have provided me with ample fuel for rants. This is, of course, true. But I’ve been unable to properly express my horror and loathing at what is happening to my country.

Actually, scratch that. I could very easily express my feelings on the subject, but who wants to read several thousand swear words joined by just barely enough non-invective to make complete sentences?

In lieu of posting here, I’ve been schmoozing with my Feline Overlords, spending time at the shooting range, writing a few short stories and working on two novels, editing a weekly newsletter for a fictional investment company, trying to lose weight, and managing to keep a legitimate income stream coming in to keep a roof over head and the bill collectors at bay.

And trying very, very hard to control my visceral reaction to the madness engulfing us- both here in the States and all over the world.

In the words of a famous mariner and philosopher, “I’s had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!”

The US has gotten by for a bit over two centuries by adhering to loads of unstated and un-legislated rules of behavior. The Founders of this country fucked up very badly by believing the People would never allow themselves to fall under the sway of a shrieking shitgibbon with delusions of competence. They also never dreamed Congress would be controlled by creatures who refuse to rein in the orange-colored manbaby at the head of the government because they’re busy trying to score short-term political and economic gains at the expense of rationality, long-term catastrophes, and even the continued viability of the country as constituted.

Political parties are a convenient means of semi-controlling the chaos made manifest which is the true state of politics in any vaguely democratic government. Like all conveniences, there are some deleterious side effects as a consequence of that convenience. George Washington even warned us in his farewell address to the nation:

The Founders never imagined their descendants would intellectually and morally devolve so far  as to place their party’s interests above the country. To be fair, and to prevent accusations suggesting I am deifying the Founders, they also (with a few notable exceptions) could never have imagined a black man being elected President, women having the right to vote, or the staggering complexity of the modern world. They were not gods- merely men. Men who were products of their time and possessed of beliefs and behaviors which would be considered outright barbarism today.

But they assumed those who would follow in their footsteps would be at least moderately interested in doing what is right for the United States of America. The Founders assumed (wrongly, as we now know) the Americans who succeeded them would better their own conditions by working to better the conditions of all their fellow Americans.

This may never have been true, although it is one of the core unstated beliefs of the American Experiment, but at least the faded trappings of this ideal has largely been adhered since the Constitution was ratified and adopted.

No more. Those currently in power seem to be concerned only with looting the country for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy friends. The Congress which should act as a check on the power of the Executive is instead cooperating with the excesses of the Presidency- even in the face of strong evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors”- because the current occupant of the White House happens to have the right capital letter after his name. In the interest of short-term political expediency, those who are running the country are insulting and antagonizing our allies and friends. They are willfully destroying the elaborate network of trade agreements and alliances which are to a great extent responsible for America’s current prosperity. They actively encourage anti-intellectualism and happily sow internal discord among the populace in order to obfuscate their pillaging of America’s resources for their private gain.

And a significant number of Americans are cheering them on.

The United States of America is wealthy and prosperous because of hard work, an appreciation of the value of education, a welcoming attitude towards immigrants, long-term funding of scientific research, careful cultivation of trading partners and allies, access to vast resources within its borders, and not a small amount of good fortune. Those currently in power and their benighted followers are cheerfully trying to get rid of all of those assets and rely on luck.

Luck, for those not paying attention, comes in three flavors- blind, dumb, and bad. You don’t get to chose which variety shows up. You’re stuck with whichever one it happens to be. I prefer to make my own luck, or at least manage my resources sufficiently to stave off the most disastrous consequences of ill fortune. The current situation is not something over which I have any actual control- but WE do.

We (the People) can do something about the ongoing evisceration of American influence and prosperity. We can add our voices to the voices of others speaking out against a government seemingly determined to auction the country and its people off to the highest bidders. We can litigate against the policies and iniquities of those who see themselves as our rulers instead of our servants, support those who initiate litigation, and serve on juries as a result of government impropriety. We can vote against those who are more interested in personal profit and aggrandizement than in doing the jobs we hired them to do. We can run for office ourselves, or support those who do run for office in opposition to the reprehensible and obnoxious creatures currently infesting governments across the country.

But that all means you can no longer sit back and remain passive. You have to step out of your comfortable little bubble and pay fucking attention. The clock is ticking,and every minute the odious scavengers rooting at the trough of the public treasury destroy another small bit of what makes America what it is. They villains in this scenario are calculating they’ll finish extracting every last centavo of value from the country and bug out with the loot before the average American wakes up to the fact he or she is literally being robbed. Tick, tick, tick.

The only way they can get away with it is if WE let them.


Current music: The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether by Alan Parsons Project

Iranian Irony

8 12 2009

The alleged government of Iran, in celebrating the “National Day of the Student”, unleashed its Basij goons on those students in a storm of beatings and arrests across several cities in Iran. The principal targets of those beatings and arrests were, of course, students.  This is in the wake of his epic rant about how the US is somehow preventing the Twelfth Imam from returning. Honest! Click on the link- I couldn’t possibly make up something that stupid.

I swear President I’minadinnerjacket must be getting his political strategy tips from the Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Villain Stereotype. All he needs is a top hat, matching cape, and sinister mustachios to complete his transformation to Snidely Whiplash. Next week, the Basij tie all the female students they’ve arrested to sawmills and railroad tracks in a bid to get the deed to the family farm. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, go look it up. Google is your friend.

Apparently, the “leadership” within Iran believes real life is following the script of a lame 1930’s adventure serial. Not finding success with becoming a Major Player on the world stage, they’ve apparently decided to go with Zany Comic Relief.

It is the National Day of the Student, to celebrate the courageous student revolution which overthrew the brutal Shah. What’s that? There are students demonstrating against me? Have them arrested! Yes, all of them! Who do they think they are, anyway?

I swear it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. The manifold stupidities of the past are preventing what could be a bright and shining future in the region. The US has far more in common- culturally and economically- with Iran than with all of the Arab states combined. Iran should be a bulwark against the corrupt Arab regimes- especially the House of Saud. Instead, the US panders shamelessly to Saudi interests in order to contain Iran.

I need to find a reality with a more reasonable author. Could you please direct me to the nearest dimensional portal?

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Istanbul (not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants

California- It’s a whole ‘nuther Species

8 05 2008

Will Rogers once observed that California was like a bowl of granola- what ain’t fruits and nuts is flakes. Having lived there (relax- I’m no longer contagious), I can laugh at that while acknowledging the joke’s essential accuracy. Every so often, however, a news story comes along that makes me wish Will had been a little less truthful.

The story in question is about a coyote attacking a little girl in San Bernardino County. The story itself is not the the biggest problem. The big problem is the local talking heads on the idiot box (for those playing at home, I’m referring to TV “News” reporters) who commented on the story after reporting the basic facts. The following is an actual quote:

Male TV Personality: “Scary story. Wow. If I came outside and found a coyote had its teeth in my kids neck, who knows what I would do?

Here’s a clue for you: If you were an actual human being and not a stuffed shirt peddling a journalistic, infotainment-like art product, you’d do exactly what the mother in the story did- you’d attack the animal with whatever was at hand until it let go of your kid. This is what any human on this planet would do … except- apparently- TV “personalities” in California.

How far removed from the basic human condition does someone have to be to utter that sub-moronic quote? It’s a running gag that normal human rules of behavior do not necessarily apply in California, but this is fucking ridiculous!

Humans do not- as a general rule- tolerate predation. Animals which once preyed on our species are now either extinct, nearly extinct, or have learned from painful experience to avoid humans at all costs. When animals decide humans are kinda tasty or easy prey (much the same thing), communities of humans get together, hunt down the offending critter, and kill it. Generally, a whole bunch of other critters of the same type get croaked during the hunt- just to be on the safe side. We- as a species- don’t like being considered “food”.

The mother’s atavistic response to the coyote trying to drag off her kid was (probably) almost instinctive. I’m certain she didn’t hesitate for a second before running after the animal. This is a basic human reaction to any danger to our young. It’s a survival trait shared by many animals.

But not TV newsreaders, apparently.

In most of the rest of the country (and most of the rest of the world, too), this episode would have been followed by armed humans keeping watch over the area both night and day, accompanied by vigorous attempts to track down and destroy the animal responsible (and any other potentially dangerous creatures in the area at the time). But this is California. A few traps were set, people were cautioned to keep their pets and kids indoors, and the police took pains to warn people against shooting any coyotes found near their homes.

A brief digression is in order. Coyotes are primarily scavengers. Humans- even human children- would not be primary prey for a healthy coyote. Humans- including children- are generally too large for any but the most desperate coyotes to consider a prey animal. The most likely reason that this particular coyote tried to carry off a child is that the animal was sick or injured (or both). Unable to compete for regular meals with other animals, it went for what seemed to be a totally helpless 10-kilo bag of meat when its protector was momentarily absent. This sort of attack is news precisely because it is so rare. It’s rare because only desperate animals (mostly) go against thousands of years of humans are dangerous conditioning.

An animal in those kind of dire straits is unlikely to change tactics. Posting armed humans around likely food sources- especially at night- has a very good chance of eliminating this animal. Traps are also likely to work on this animal (healthy coyotes are usually good at avoiding traps). But the police in San Bernardino County don’t seem to like the idea of people actively protecting their kids and pets.

It must be a SoCal thing. Up near the Oregon border or in the Sierras, folks would have no problem dealing with this kind of issue themselves.

Current status: Bewildered

Current music: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult


30 03 2008

An 11-year old girl died from a treatable form of diabetes in Wisconsin recently. Here’s the local article on the subject.

The problem with this case (and many others like it, all over the world), is that the so-called parents of this child decided that they were going to pray her well. Despite the pleas of other family members, the “parents” decided that praying for her to get well was preferable to taking the girl to a doctor.

Many people might read that and say, “So? Strangers die every day.”

If this were an isolated case, one might be tempted to agree. Sadly, this case is not unique. Parents all over the world resort to prayer or faith healing when their children get sick, and all too often the child dies as a result.

Most children are not mentally or emotionally equipped to properly assess the risks for such decisions. This legal and scientific fact is the reason parents are given so much control over children. If an adult strongly believed that prayer could save him or her from a deadly illness, that adult should be permitted to make such a decision (so long as no one else is harmed or endangered). Adults make life or death decisions all the time, and they have a right to do so if those decisions do not harm or endanger anyone else.

That’s where the adult’s decisions in life-or-death matters runs into problems with the law: when those decisions harm or endanger another. This is especially true when the person endangered or harmed by their decision is under the legal control of the adult. Part of the bargain wherein society permits parents so much control over their children is the idea that the parents will do what is best for the child. Somebody please tell me how letting a child die of an easily-treatable disease is in the child’s best interest.

A lot of people suffering from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have revived an old myth which says they can cure their disease by having unprotected sex with a virgin. Children are sometimes forced to have sex with AIDS-infected men in the stupid belief that this will somehow cure the disease. The end result is that more people are infected, and the cycle continues.

Polio was nearly wiped out a generation ago. But now there are epidemics of the disease in Africa and Asia because local superstition holds that the inoculation against polio actually causes AIDS. Religious leaders in these areas are particularly guilty of spreading this tale. Apparently it is better in the eyes of Angry Invisible Skyman that people die from easily-prevented diseases than to permit thousands of years of medical science to benefit True Believers.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have permitted children to die rather than permit life-saving blood transfusions. Scientologists don’t believe in psychology or psychiatry, and several people have been injured or killed when people with serious mental illnesses have become violent for lack of commonly available drugs to treat their conditions. Various fundamentalist Christian sects have allowed children to die of easily treatable illnesses because it was “God’s will”.

People in sub-Saharan Africa who are dependent upon local religious leaders for decision-making might, perhaps, be forgiven for their stupidities. If few people are literate (this is not the case throughout Africa, of course), their literate leaders are in the position of parent. If the parent makes stupid decisions for dependents, then those dependents should not be blamed for the consequences.

Blame should rest upon those who live in areas where accurate information is freely available, but the stupid decisions are made regardless of the facts. In the United States, there is no excuse for ignorance. With the sheer quantity of information freely available and widely distributed throughout the country, there is no excuse to rely upon prayer to cure a child’s diabetes. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where condoms and AIDS information are freely available, there is no excuse for deliberately infecting children with HIV in the vain hope that virginity will somehow magically cure the disease.

You can believe in an Angry Invisible Skyman to your heart’s content. You can even live by whatever flavor of Angry Invisible Skyman worship you wish- if you’re an adult and decide to do so. You have no right to inflict your beliefs upon others. You have no right to allow a child to die just because you think praying to Angry Invisible Skyman version 2.0 will magically heal her. You have no right to allow polio to kill and maim others because your favorite superstition says that would be a good thing.

Why do we- as a species- permit this sort of anti-survival behavior?

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can—and must—be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible.” -RAH

Current status: Disgusted

Current music: Seven Seas of Rhye by Queen