Things They Oughtn’t (2020Mar31)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020                                        6:05 AM

Things They Oughtn’t   (2020Mar31)

The sad truth is that the educated, rational folks who produce modern technology are not always anticipating, say, the Internet’s potential, in the hands of a misanthropic, irrational troublemaker. America’s vaunted freedoms are based partly on the lag time, between something starting to happen—and the eventual legislative remedy for abuse of the new technology.

Capitalism, too, subsists in no small part on that gray area between unthoughtful and illegal. Very few people would actually be comfortable with wealth, knowing that its source was a criminal rip-off, or the cause of climate change, or caused cancer, or was manufactured by under-aged slave-labor.

But there are arms-manufacturers, pharmaceutical price-hikers, oil industry execs, bankers, investors, PR folks, etc. who are all willing to live by the maxim: ‘If I don’t do it, someone else will. And where does that leave me?’’ And I must admit, as heuristics go, it’s difficult to find fault with that reasoning.

However, I find that a good, solid argument can often be the worst kind of roadblock to an open mind. Perhaps I should state, rather than leave implicit, that an open mind is the most important part of personal liberty. Oddly, no one can give you an open mind—and no one can take an open mind away from you (just FYI and bye-the-bye).

Thus I have ever linked (since childhood) freedom of thought and open-minded-ness as core to being a solid American citizen. Perhaps this is what Conservatives don’t understand about Liberal values? I dunno. To resume:

Capitalism’s emphasis on ownership is reasonable within the bounds of business. But what Marx so inconveniently pointed out was, that the bounds of business often ignored the bounds of decency or humanity. We see the ultimate metastasis of Civilization’s “Big C” in the morphing of the USA from a land of overall wealth, to a land of poverty, with a handful of billionaires.

Bad people will do a lot of things they oughtn’t do—that doesn’t force us to do likewise, nor should we mistake their behavior for ’leadership’. Wealth has, for too long, accorded unearned dignity and false brilliance to its random lottery-of-inheritance winners.

And let’s not forget those savage enough to claw their way up, from nothing. They made themselves rich—shouldn’t a role-model show people how to rise up as a group?

I get it—it’s a great accomplishment—no denying. But at my age, I’ve come to suspect that I have more fun, imagining wealth, without knowing about all the pain-in-the-ass details, than an actual Richie Rich enjoys his actual dollars. I could be wrong. But I’m not.

Ask anyone—they’ll assure you: Money is everything. Yeah, you buy food and pay rent with it—but not always. Some people grow their own food. Some people live in their cars. Money is big—real big. But stop brain-washing yourself—money is NOT everything. It is an invention—when it stops working, people will stop using it.

That’s probably going to be a lot messier. I mean, than if we don’t make a conscious choice to shift towards increased social-service and social-support programs while the dregs of the outdated C system are still chugging away.

Science Fiction always predicts a future without want or payment—a post-need society. Ask HR what they think of that idea—ask the SCOTUS, while you’re at it. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek made it all seem so simple. But can we get there from here?

Truth Be Jammed (2020Mar30)

Monday, March 30, 2020                                        2:19 AM

Truth Be Jammed   (2020Mar30)

Abusing the freedom of expression so dear to this nation, the for-profit ‘info-tainment’ industry has become a predator of our national consciousness, introducing uncertainty where none truly exists, amping fear under the guise of offering guidance, and providing cover for true miscreants. This deluge of disinformation and misinformation must be viewed as parallel to shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater—indeed, it shouts ‘fire’ to the entire nation.

The British have seen this for the threat to their national interests which the for-profit ‘info-tainment’ industry represents—FoxNews has lost its permission to broadcast there. And clear reflection on their motives reveals their intentions to be counter to the free expression of all—it is a ‘jamming signal’ against the truth.

Their lawyers gleefully point to the difficulty of deciding between misguided opinion and purposeful disinformation—which would have settled things, back before these same sharks had created a database of criminally dangerous misinformation campaigns. Now we have archives of evidence.

H2O (2020Mar27)

Friday, March 27, 2020                                            4:16 AM

H2O   (2020Mar27)

Water is Life. Life is Water.

60% of the human body is water (H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158). Here’s the breakdown:

Brain and heart                   73% water

Lungs                                   83% water

Skin                                      64% water

Muscles and kidneys          79% water

Bones                                   31% water

Biologists often liken land animals’ bodies to ‘space-suits’ for their original ‘sea-ancestors’, evolutionarily speaking. I find evolution, and its implications, as breathtaking as photos from the Hubble. That eternal humping towards a Jerusalem of infinite potential in DNA, in Mitochondria, in Microbiology in general—it’s psychedelic, man. Personally, I didn’t really see it, until Joan Slonczewski’s books explicated it for me.

But microbiology as technology is, IMHO, the only way to approach climate change, or the mitigation of human impact on environment. If that can’t cut it, no amount of space travel is going to mean jack. But I’m addressing Water, or I should be.

Water is known in chemical settings as the Universal Solvent. It is an ingredient in most poisoning-remedies. It dissolves salts, sugars—even rocks, which gives us both our sandy beaches and our Grand Canyon. Water is the culprit who carries mineral deposits to your kidney and gall bladder.

Chemically, Water is also notable for being easily state-changed, from solid to liquid to gas, and back again (dew, for instance). Not surprisingly, the key Molecule in Life, has unique characteristics.

Chlorine, BTW, the most toxic chemical in our lives, has equally, but darker, unique qualities—which make it the most deadly molecule. Neal Stephenson wrote a wonderful eco-thriller novel about industrial misuse of Chlorine, “Zodiac”, which I recommend. But, again, I digress.

So, Water, as a beverage, is always encouraged. To excess, of course (are we not humans?) You can drink too much water, just as you can drink too little. Why is moderation the last thought that ever occurs to us humans? I can’t seem to stay on subject this evening>

I’ll try this again, later….

Out of the Way (2020Mar24)

Out of the Way   (2020Mar24)

Liberty and Equality are entirely

A matter of attitude.

Americans grasp that, in their cradles.

Facts, sadly, are the opposite.

Our attitude doesn’t faze the Facts.

The Facts are only altered

Through Thought and Action.

If our attitude blocks out the Facts,

Our Actions will fail.

If we can’t separate attitudes from

Our Facts, we will fail.

Thinking is part of survival.

If you don’t like to think of Facts,

Get the Hell out of the Way.

The Inquisition’s Auto-da-Fe

The Disgrace at the Head of Our Country (2020Mar23)

Monday, March 23, 2020                                                  11:11 PM

The Disgrace at the Head of Our Country   (2020Mar23)

Republicans just don’t know when to put their dicks away. It’s as if they’re locked into Bluster-only. They’ve completely lost sight of the ‘Public Service’ theme. Trump tries to restrain his third-world-dictator persona, with all his might, during his flabber-talk (daily, for some reason).

But it still seeps through. You can hear in his voice that his only interest is in bans, boundaries, and limits—his focus remains on personal control, not fixing the pandemic.

And his Senate buddies are like dogs, smelling large cash amounts in play, and unable to listen to commands! They’ve actually held up vital legislation, to make sure they all get a big bite. As usual, they are disgraceful—and worthless as leaders.

By comparison, State leaders and local systems are dealing with the threat in an exemplary manner. It’s marred only by the total void, where federal sources of aid would normally be—and these people have to work even harder, more admirably, because of the disgrace at the head of our country.

Small Gov Death Toll (2020Mar20)

Friday, March 20, 2020                                            12:55 AM

Small Gov Death Toll   (2020Mar20)

If there’s a big ‘silver lining’ to this medical massacre, it is the proof that our world can turn itself upside-down at the flick of a switch. Everything’s closed. Everything’s stopped. Whatever was a sure thing, last week, is a pipe-dream today. Whatever was debated, last week, is now known as fact—and we didn’t even have to prove Trump wrong. We just had to have people start dying.

But, to get back to my point, there is evidence here—evidence that our society is not static, nor locked into financial regulations—it is a living thing. And, being human, if we are offered a new path, we’ll tell the super-wealthy to go F themselves.

Humanity still has enough instinct to drop what they’re doing and flee from disease, hunkering in their homes, so long as Plague stalks the streets. Trump’s non-existent ‘leadership’ is highlighted by the many examples of it displayed by various state and local leaders, in all 50 states. Conservs wanted ‘small government’—here it is: 50 entities acting without any coordination. My only question is: Are we gonna call the mortality-total the ‘death-toll’ of the Virus—or the ‘death-toll’ of the Trump administration?

Those Hoaxing Democrats (2020Mar19)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock (10337288m) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, . President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his incendiary comments about the four Democratic congresswomen of color, urging them to get out if they don’t like things going on in America. They fired back at what they called his “xenophobic bigoted remarks” and said it was time for impeachment Democrats, Washington, USA – 15 Jul 2019

Thursday, March 19, 2020                                               2:18 AM

Those Hoaxing Democrats   (2020Mar19)

We see by the poor results of our Federal Government’s response to the recent viral pandemic (and thank god for competent state and local authorities) that American society is no longer reflected by Capitalism. Capitalism has gone from an engine-of-progress, to a small elite, willfully persecuting citizens—and fragmenting their communities.

These ‘elites’ have gone so far as to ‘rebut’ reality, in broad daylight. It’s their current system of public address. Trump and henchmen spent weeks, urging folks to mingle, to get out there and spend money in restaurants. Who knows how much worse they made this crisis?

And now, they ‘spring’ into action, accepting reality, as people die and hospitals fill—without any reference to their little tap-dance of the previous two weeks. O, don’t bother making a fuss about last week’s lies, or the week’s before—we’ve got all new misinformation for you, hot off the grill.

If you are not a dyed-in-the-wool, certified Geek like myself (I once made a living, writing code all day) you have no business confining your life to the tiny screen in front of you. Go talk to your friends for real—what’s the big deal? Or, if it wouldn’t kill you, you could even use a phone as a phone.

The elites let the chain-stores gut American small towns from coast to coast—you think they’re gonna change i-phones to make them safer? Why is social media a sniper’s nest for every psychopath with a conspiracy theory? Is it really impossible to regulate the internet, without strangling free-speech—or does that merely make the effort unprofitable?

After the Republicans finished urging citizens to gather together in public places (and spend money, of course) and claiming this pandemic was a ‘Democrat Hoax’, Trump and henchmen are finally acting as if there is a pandemic.

My favorite quote from all of this is possibly the most cogent argument against the sitting president anyone could possibly make—Trump: “I take responsibility for absolutely nothing.” And, no, that is not out of context. I would say it defines the present context.

China Envy (2020Mar17)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020                                        12:03 AM

China Envy   (2020Mar17)

I don’t care for the Media’s attempts to make us envy China’s pandemic response strategy. The Chinese herd and isolate their people like cattle. Of course, that’ll do it—if you don’t mind being in the herd.

The Chinese choose to live the way they do—just as we choose to live like Americans. We had a perfectly good American pandemic response strategy. Obama had everything ‘ready to roll’ at the first sign of viral threat. Obama’s Administration explained to the incoming Trump people what these emergency provisions were for—and told them to expect this kind of threat in the near future.

Trump was told. Trump was warned. Trump trashed it all—just ‘cause Obama built it. If you want to be mad at Trump, you have more than enough reason to. He’s still doing his best to F everything up—he’s probably tweeting right now. I’m certainly mad as hell.

If you want to be afraid of the pandemic—that too, comes well within the bounds of reason—be afraid—or just worry a lot, like I do.

But, for god’s sake, don’t start envying the Chinese!

What the hell is wrong with you people?!

I’m sick and tired of the Media encouraging the entire population to panic every time the world goes awry. Cowardice is not America’s ‘brand’—or, it didn’t used to be….

Otherwise Sensible People (2020Mar09)

Monday, March 09, 2020                                        3:56 PM

Otherwise Sensible People   (2020Mar09)

The media is supposed to perform a public service. They would, ideally, tell us exactly what is going on, where to go for help or answers, and exactly what the experts have said. Creating panic is not on that list—fear-mongering for ratings is Extremist Post-Ethics Capitalism in its naked form.

We see ‘professional’ shift in meaning—from mature-competence-and-responsibility to rapacious amorality—Capitalism’s eternally slippery slope adopts the fashion of fuck-yer-buddy as a logical path towards maximum profits. Reagan sold it well. But Trump is the perfect illustration of what eventually transpires in a Republican culture with ethical corner-cutting.

President Disgrace seems to have only one gear—and lying-one’s-ass-off is a particularly awkward tool to bring to a Health Crisis. It is fortunate that most Americans have had four years to learn to ignore everything he says—his psychotic blabberings in response to the Corona Virus emergency would have caused national panic, coming from a real president.

I’m an at-risk senior—Corona has come to Somers. Westchester County is, in fact, one of the worst loci on the East Coast.  I can face death. That’s not what bothers me.

What bothers me is President Impeached dismantled all the infrastructure built by Obama’s foresight. Obama got us through the Ebola outbreak completely unscathed. Obama saw the future and acted to shore up our health safeguards—with special ‘virus’-squads in the CDC, in Homeland, and with the Pentagon. Trump trashed all of that stuff—because Trump isn’t a responsible adult, much less a president. Trump has replaced Benedict Arnold as America’s Biggest Traitor. Trump betrays everything and everyone—it is his brand. It doesn’t surprise me at all, anymore. What continues to shock and amaze me is the favor he is still shown by otherwise sensible people.

Rashōmon (2020Mar01)

Sunday, March 01, 2020                                                    4:51 PM

Rashōmon   (2020Mar01)

Life in the world of Magic was interesting. Don’t mistake me—with great power comes great danger—it was by no means a quiet life—but Magic gave life a depth which it no longer has. But we are humans. We used it all up—didn’t we?

Shall I tell you the story of the last Magic? We know its worldly interpretation: “Song of Bernadette” (1945 – Twentieth Century Fox). But others know it as the Final Chapter of The Saga of the Last Blue Fairy, a ceremonial chorus last sung round an oak tree in 2005.

No one expects Magic to return, at these gatherings. They are an amalgam of respect for the past and mourning for an irreplaceable loss. Is it healthy or not, to remember that the world once had a deeper dimension to it? To regret the human nature that led to its absence?

Still, one fascinating aspect of the chanting of the Saga is that final chapter. When the last Blue Fairy was very old, nearing her Transit, and barely visible in daylight, she sensed a pocket of Life-Water, just beneath the ground in Massabielle, France. Risking her life, she exposed herself to a human girl—who, luckily, mistook her for one of their gods. But she dug up the virgin spring, releasing the Life-Water, which was all that mattered.

It was the last bit of Magic on Earth—and the Lady-Fairy of the Blues felt it only right to have the Magic depart with her, the last of her species. The humans flocked to it, as humans always do. In less than a year, it was pure water, like any other spring. We, the descendants of their human servants, still keep alive the memory of the Old World, the world of Magic and Fairies (and ‘gods’). We gather round the Old Oak, the big one. We have a bonfire, we have a dance, we chant the chant, we drink the mead. And we dream of better times, times when the Earth’s soul was still inviolate.