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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
September 27, 2014

Calling for terrorism at the polls and then saying "Kidding!" a week later is not a "hoax."

Here's the long and short of it:

A Facebook page purporting to belong to a right-wing Wisconsin militia called for armed interdiction of Democratic voters at the polls in November, specifically to target those who signed the recall petition against Scott Walker. It contained images of firearms, target practice at shooting ranges, and black voters standing in line. Days later, when this call for terrorism at the polls drew exactly the kind of attention we would expect, the page was edited to say essentially "Just kidding! Stupid libruls r too sensitive!" Or more literally what it said was: "You’ve Been Trolled by Journalists with Zero Credibility" and claimed "This page was made by one person. No conspiracy, no militia, no paid funding ... just one guy."

Even if it was just one guy, that doesn't change what it represents, and certainly doesn't mitigate the context of nationwide right-wing terrorist murder sprees that have happened on a steady basis over the past several years. Not to mention the context of Jim Crow 2.0 election-rigging measures in numerous states and lawless 5-member Supreme Tort rulings dismantling civil rights. Seriously, if this guy or guys behind this were Muslims who openly support ISIS and said they were going to blow up a skyscraper, then said "Kidding!" a week later, no one would be saying "Phew! It's just a hoax!"

So what the fuck is going on when that's the reaction here, on Democratic Underground, to something like this? If - IF, goddammit - the subsequent claim to be just one person is true and not a defensive reaction to the response, then it's at best an example of stochastic terrorism: Cowardly demagogues and propagandists continually pushing fantasies of violent confrontation and terrorist intimidation through rhetoric and only partly backing down when they get blowback. It leads to real incidents. We know this for a fact, because by this point too many mass-killers have been found to be motivated by right-wing talk radio and Fox News rantings.

But...why the fuck would we just accept the word for it of the kind of person/people who would do something like this that they are just one person and were "just kidding"? That's utterly insane. It's as if the reality of such a thing, even at its most benign possible interpretation, is just too awful for some people to confront. Well, I'm sorry the world isn't a safe and comfy kindergarten, but we have to deal with things like this. The right-wing is increasingly terroristic in this country, increasingly justifying the label of cancervatives, and this is just a manifestation of where their minds are running these days - if not their plans. Don't hide from it.

September 26, 2014

Militia group planning armed interdiction of Democratic voters at the polls.

Something this...blood-boilingly infuriating...is probably old news, but it's the first I've heard of it.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/26/winsconsin-poll-watcher-militia-target-voters-walker

I could churn out some long-winded intellectual exposition about this kind of reptilian fuckery, but I think I'll just say...

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...it looks delicious.

September 26, 2014

Economic Segregation is not Okay.

In the list of the many, many socioeconomic issues that are never discussed in this country, probably the one that flies furthest below the radar is this: Economic segregation - the physical stratification of communities, cities, even entire regions along class lines.

It's true that we often hear about gentrification, and people complain when they're priced out of their own communities, but how often do people look deeper than that and ask whether the very concept of economic segregation is acceptable? We denounce the quasi-imperialism of rich areas expanding into middle-class and poor areas, but how often do we hear the very notion of such areas called into question? Not very often, if ever.

We accept the underlying phenomenon without question, perhaps as an inevitable outgrowth of the "free" market - another illusion we accept without question. But obviously there is nothing "free" about a market where your set of options is walled off by what people with more money than you want - if they want it, then you can't have it. And it isn't even that they want it more, merely that the absolute dollar value of their desire outweighs what you are capable of offering, so a desire that might in their case literally be nothing more than an afterthought outweighs what in your case might be a lifelong dream, simply by dollar arithmetic.

The rich thus have the power to completely shut off all possibility of your living in a given area without getting the permission and charity of some individual among them - an indulgence they could cut off or modify for any reason that suits them. In other words, we have a situation that's essentially Manorialism. The rich, becoming physically contiguous, create areas where those with less not only can't live in independently, but usually are not even welcome in as ordinary citizens and consumers: Basically a separate country with separate rules, that keeps expanding and encroaching further into the common space of the people.

And that's bad enough, but it gets worse when you realize that the only way these areas can function economically is by importing workers who can't possibly afford to live there on what they're paid. So these areas suck in economic value from surrounding areas, but then externalize the costs of their lifestyle by forcing their employees to live elsewhere, in areas too far away to benefit from the work they do. The rich get a free ride at the expense of everyone around them, and those who bear the cost are prevented from enjoying the benefits of their labor. Landscapers may spend all day beautifying a community an hour away from where they live, while their own streets are rundown and depressing. A teacher educates the privileged young while the kids of her own community go to some half-prison of a school where they teach burger flipping.

It's just wrong, and has already badly eroded the fabric of American civilization. So I say desegregate. Aggressively. Blend the classes back together, at least in the urbanized areas where that's clearly an issue. Mandate some fraction of all developments is set aside for each and every stratum as a price/rent-controlled bloc, proportionally, and they have to be homogeneously distributed so they can't be segregated into some leper colony. And for fuck's sake, no "poor doors." If a rich person is such a piece of shit they can't bear to mingle with other human beings who happen to have less money than them, they should live out in the boonies, not in the middle of a city.

Either this is one country or it isn't. And if it isn't, let's make it one.

September 24, 2014

New Rosetta Comet Closeups

Keep in mind that the little boulders seen here and there are the size of buildings:

Enhanceable (right-click-->View Image-->click the magnifying glass where you want to enhance):
[img][/img]

Zooms:

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Weeeeeeeeeeeird. Especially when you realize this thing has such minimal gravity that it mostly sticks together because of electrostatics.

September 23, 2014

A better word for plutocracy: Richtatorship.

I could never get behind the terms "plutocracy" or (gag) "corporatocracy." This is Pluto:

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And this is Pluto:

[img][/img]

So how is plutocracy rule by the rich? Yes, yes, I know the etymology - but most people don't and never will, and most people who do still don't make the association on a basic emotional level. But what alternative is there? "Corporatocracy" is a syllable-salad train wreck with no meaning at all to most people, and at best abstract associations for those who think.

Allow me to propose a better and comprehensive alternative to both terms: Richtatorship.

Now hold on, I know it isn't a pretty word. In fact it's puerile, but that's part of the point. It gets right to the dirty, shitty heart of the matter, and in a way that's still more linguistically elegant and powerful than the alternatives. The meaning and the moral value of that meaning are self-evident, and cut straight to the chase: Rich people doing whatever they want and making you do whatever they tell you. Everyone can relate to that - even most rich people themselves.

Whatever they collectively want, no matter how strongly opposed by the overwhelming majority of the American people, usually becomes law. And whatever they collectively do not want, no matter how strongly demanded by the overwhelming majority of the American people, usually does not become law. They corrupt every level of government, and commit all level of crime with impunity so long as their peers are not victims.

You won't win any intellectual prizes for using the word "richtatorship" or "richtator", but you'll leave a mark whose meaning everyone knows instantly.

September 20, 2014

A likely fact about the future that sickens me.

When clean energy is the only energy, when electric transport is the only transport, and there is no longer any financial incentive to deny climate change, conservatives will insist it was liberals who denied it and try to blame the state of the environment on liberalism.

September 19, 2014

I want Jerry Brown to run for President in 2016.

There are plenty of reasons why he won't - he's Reagan Old at this point; his state is Deep Blue, so he adds nothing electorally; and he appears to be serious about focusing 100% of his time on rebuilding California from its Prop 13-induced decline and Lost Decade(s).

Here's the thing though: He's succeeding. California is recovering on a deep, fundamental economic level, for the first time in decades. Budgets are steadily rising, and in a way that adds to rather than subtracts from the future. And he manages Republicans in the legislature in a way that suggests he is quite the Asshole Whisperer.

Brown clearly knows something about governance that most of the rabble in politics have either lost or never knew to begin with. I wasn't around for his original gubernatorial career, so I won't dignify the attitude that had dominated about "Governor Moonbeam" by assuming it was justified. Either way, there seems to be general consensus that his political talents have aged like fine wine.

Now, that isn't to say I'm necessarily discounting any other candidate - even in saying that I want him to run, my primary vote would still be contingent on the delivery of a campaign worth rallying around. And despite my skepticism of the political talents of, say, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in delivering results, I would certainly give them fair time to prove they can generate a strong and broad national movement. But I definitely want Brown in the mix.

He's basically Eisenhower - people like him, but nobody loves him enough to inspire hatred in someone else. And he just keeps delivering good results without generating much drama. Strikes me as the sort of leader who tunnels through mountains instead of trying to climb them. Which is an apt metaphor given that he's almost the only Governor in the country (possibly the only period - I'm not entirely sure) who's actually delivering on plans to build high-speed rail, however technologically flawed the specific plans are.

Plus he has a superb relationship with Silicon Valley and its rapidly-expanding network of enterprises (it's now deep into clean energy, automotive, and spaceflight), and at this point in our nation's history it's about the only productive sector that still makes us relevant. Most of the rest of the US economy is just noisy entropy (Wall Street, banking), poverty-promoting degeneracy (big-box retailers), or vicious, politically destabilizing corruption (oil, gas).

Overcoming systemic problems that decades of politicians have not is a skillset you can't buy or fake. So, while most likely Brown has no intention of running, for the reasons stated and probably others, it's worth noting that he is a valuable resource.

September 18, 2014

Facts Our Party Will Not Officially Admit, That It Must

1. The preceding "administration" was a dictatorship. It didn't merely violate the Constitution, in the way that American Presidencies may play fast and loose with the laws - it existed completely outside of the law, with the enthusiastic consent and support of the military high command and security apparatus.

2. Failure to understand and publicly acknowledge this, increases the likelihood of a recurrence, and a recurrence would (a)happen the very next time there is a Republican President, and (b)more than likely be far, far worse. The next Republican will not only be torturing and disappearing foreigners captured in war on distant shores - it will be torturing and disappearing journalists, college students, lawyers. Americans.

3. The militarization of police forces undertaken in the Bush era was not just some kooky right-wing lark with tragic, unintended consequences - it was undertaken in anticipation that Americans would resist when seeing their families, friends, and neighbors being dragged away in the night for political reasons.

4. The US media actively silenced nearly all criticism of Bush and his policies. With few and rare exceptions, it behaved as a monolithic propaganda machine regurgitating verbatim talking points from Bush political operatives and neither sought nor tolerated publication/broadcasting of any contrary fact in its coverage. But there was a loophole in that propaganda system out of which grew a strong and vigorous resistance: The internet. That loophole will not exist next time. If we allow things to go that far, we will learn what life is like for the netizens of China and Iran, with critical comments and news articles disappeared the moment they're posted, and lawsuits on the matter dismissed with impunity by conservative courts.

5. An election where the legally eligible voters denied the right to vote outnumber the deciding margin...is a rigged election, and leaders who obtain office in such a way have no right to it. Every time Republicans do this and get away with it, they will take it a step further next time. Eventually they will stop pretending that elections need to occur at all before they assume the powers they grant to themselves via money, corrupt courts, and guns.

6. George W. Bush's two Supreme Court appointees are illegitimate due to the dictatorial circumstances of his rule, the naked fraudulence of his original "election," and the deliberately-sought impossibility of verifying the legitimacy of his second. All decisions resting on their votes are null and void, including (but not limited to) Citizens United, the striking down of preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and (less importantly, but still worth noting) the Hobby Lobby ruling. This is merely in addition to the fundamental illegitimacy and lawlessness of those rulings on their face.

7. The current Republican House "Majority" is illegitimate and has no lawful authority. The American people voted for a Democratic House majority in 2012, and the arbitrarily-drawn districts invented by Republicans simply countermanded their will. There are no valid complicating factors such as a constitutionally-mandated electoral system in this case - the House of Representatives is meant to be representative, and Republicans have thoroughly and treasonously subverted that, making themselves open enemies of freedom and democracy.

8. Deliberate attempts to suppress legitimate voting are treason. They are open warfare on the republic and the Constitution. Rights must be asserted and defended as if lives depend on them, because they do.

September 17, 2014

History Summarized in a Few Depressing Statements

1. Anatomically modern humans existed seven times longer than all of recorded history with no written language, no architecture, and leaving behind nothing but a few stone totems, a few beads, and some cave paintings.

2. Stretches of time equivalent to that between the Scorpion King and John F. Kennedy, passed in a single inhabited cave with no apparent cultural or lifestyle changes.

3. Most people since the advent of agriculture were drunk all the time and died before age 30. That is, the minority who even survived childhood.

4. The vast majority of generations who ever lived had no choice whatsoever in their profession, food, religion, or government, and never knew choices were even possible.

5. For most people, history consisted of the handful of fables their mothers told them as little children, and their lineage going back a few generations. Other than this, the past never existed, and neither did the future.

6. Want to know what life was like in the Middle Ages for ordinary people living under knights? Ask Mexicans who live under drug cartels.

7. The Byzantine Empire had 99 emperors, covered vast swaths of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, and survived for over a thousand years. From memory, name one of those 99 and state one decent thing he did.

8. Archaeological soil layers usually contain pottery shards, coins, scraps of cloth, and the residues of agriculture. The archaeological soil layer in Italy corresponding to the 5th century AD...is almost nothing but ashes and weapon fragments.

9. If Genghis Khan ruled today, his proportional death toll would completely erase every single person from North America and most of South America combined.

10. You know Stalin's purges, where he randomly massacred every last person he suspected of even being capable of disloyalty, their families, and often their ancestral towns and villages? That kind of thing happened about twice a decade in the Late Roman Empire, for three hundred years. And then it stopped because...see #8.

September 16, 2014

Ban the sale and advertisement of high-sugar foods to minors?

People form their tastes and eating habits in childhood, so it's not much of a shock that people who grow up guzzling sugared soda and eating junk food tend to keep doing that in adulthood (at least until medical necessity stops them) while people who grow up eating better mostly don't develop bad habits later. So...how about banning the direct sale and advertisement of high-sugar foods and beverages to minors?

Parents would still have the right to buy it for their children as a treat or reward now and then, and degenerates who don't care at all about their kids would still have the "freedom" to screw them up out of laziness. But if kids couldn't buy it themselves, weren't brainwashed by ads during their TV shows to want it, and if parents were occasionally reminded to think about the subject by having to actively give consent, that could have a meaningful effect on typical diets and subsequent benefits for the cost of healthcare over time.

Plus it wouldn't really limit freedom - all you'd be doing is stopping corporations from exploiting the problem, not putting any major roadblock in the way of kids experiencing the joys of ice cream, cold soda on a hot day, etc. etc. So it wouldn't be a Prohibition with the attendant perverse incentives - kids could still possess sugared foods - it would just be a business regulation.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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