Anti-Vaccination Agitation

One way to look at it is this – a small minority now has the ability to hijack public health policy by waging their own shadow campaign on social media. They are accountable to no one. They can force the expenditure of limited public health dollars just to minimize the effect of their own campaigns. This is also an asymmetric campaign, because it is much easier to spread fear than proper information. At the very least it is reasonable to filter out their harmful misinformation from private platforms. Panels of experts can be used to provide the filter, and fair processes can be made available for appeals. At the very least these options need to be explored.

Sciencebasedmedicine.org
Sciencebasedmedicine.org

This article was about Gardasil. The vaccination worked, but social conservatives hated it because it gave women permission to be promiscuous. Think about what that means. They wanted people to suffer and die from a preventable cancer rather than vaccinate them against the cause of that cancer on the grounds that sex outside of marriage is bad and should be discouraged. They used vaccine fear to wage a war against this vaccine, and this isn’t even the first time, nor was it the last.

facebook/Stonekettle

That is the Conservative-Republican-Trumpist line now about the coronavirus vaccine:

Oh, we’re not anti-vax. We just don’t think vaccines work.

…Strangely, it is the same argument they offer about their obvious racism. What their resistance is about now is still religion. Their religion of conservatism. Their invented Republican Jesus, the one who loves capitalism and profit more than he does the poor and the sick. Their belief that government can’t do anything good in the world.

I’ve heard this pushback from dozens of sources now. They just object to this one vaccination, not the general idea that vaccinations work. Either the science is real, or it isn’t. Either we have stopped Small Pox, Polio, etcetera through vaccination, or the entire business is a sham. A con job. Pick one side people, because it can’t be both sides at the same time. The vaccine works. It works and you should get it.

Editor’s Note

This was originally posted as a quote on January 11, 202o, I have advanced and appended the quote with the current coronavirus crap.

Train Tanker Crush; or, The Power of Vacuum

Someone posted a GIF captured from this video, claiming it was a telekinetic experiment or whatever:

Railroad tank car vacuum implosion – Sep 29, 2008

It took me mere moments to find the video the image came from, so I’m not sure if they were fools or trolls trying to fool others. It really doesn’t matter. The image itself was removed from the Facebook group it was posted in. The only reason this article makes it to the blog is because of the search I had to conduct just trying to find the Mythbusters episode that I knew demonstrated what this video doesn’t explain.

The video itself could have been of a crush test (it is not an implosion) The crowd in attendance suggests that it is a demonstration. The crowd is a little too close for comfort. The steel deformed in a way that suggests it wasn’t the same thickness as the Mythbusters tanker, but the Mythbusters definitely demonstrated what is going on in the video.

Discovery wants you to buy their videos, therefore Mythbusters isn’t available from them on YouTube. You can get them by subscribing to Discovery+ on Amazon.com or on their website, but you can’t watch full episodes on YouTube for any price. Discovery has a playlist for all the Mythbusters classic highlights, but not complete episodes. I watched all ten seasons of Mythbusters on Discovery, another must-see series whose ending marked the ending of my time paying for cable TV.

Now, to illustrate a scientific fact that I know to have been demonstrated before, I have to subscribe for a monthly fee just to be able to reference a specific episode of the show, and the person I want to show it to also has to subscribe in order to see that one show. This situation is beyond ridiculous. We should be able to just watch that one show if that is what we want to see. Not that I would pick that one episode of Mythbusters to watch. As impressive as the demonstration is, that is not the best episode of the show. What is the best episode? I’d have a hard time saying.

If you are talking to Discovery, tell them how frustrating the unavailability of this show is, please. I just wanted to be able to reference it for informational purposes. I shouldn’t have to pay them a fee just to be able to reference the show that already exists in their archives.

I did find another account that published the full Tanker Crush show. I created a playlist from their videos. I doubt that they will stay up long. There were other videos claiming to be that Mythbusters episode on YouTube and other video websites, but none of them that I looked at were complete.

Finite Understanding

I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand about the many connections and relations which occur to me, how the matter in question was first thought of or arrived at.

Ada Lovelace (?) (datanerds.com) (Amazon.com)

A hat/tip is owed to The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe #818; however, I could find no source for the quote. I haven’t decided if it is worth the effort to go through all her papers in order to find it or not find it.

Ada Lovelace helped write programs for a computer before there was a computer to run them on. She translated articles on Babbage’s analytical engine from other languages. She experimented with electricity and tried to write a calculus for the brain to explain why we think and feel the way we do.

Not only was she born before her time, but I would say that her time has not yet arrived. Imagine what she could have achieved had she been born tomorrow?

[The Analytical Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine.

Ada Lovelace (Wikipedia)

Featured image: a watercolor of Ada found on Wikipedia

Eliminating GIGO

When I wrote:

…I think I got the most volume and some of the most varied feedback I’ve ever gotten for any post I’d ever written before. It ran the gamut from “this is easy to do and Facebook can’t seem to do it, so they must not care” or “Facebook is in bed with X group, their behavior demonstrates this.” to “Any attempt to moderate speech violates my freedom of speech.” When I queued up this episode, one of the first things that the guest says on mic is that she figured that the Facebook Supreme Court was just a way to get Facebook out of the crosshairs for making the decisions that need to be made, content-wise:

Radiolab – Facebook’s Supreme Court – February 12, 2021

…and by the end of the episode I was where Jad was “we have to ban Facebook, don’t we?” But then I thought some more about the varied responses to the tests that were put forward to illustrate just how hard it is to make judgements about what is or isn’t acceptable on social media, and I started to realize that what Facebook will ultimately achieve, if it succeeds, is some form of internet protocol for allowing the greatest amount of speech possible without misleading the populace or allowing for the targeting of segments of the population. I wish them luck with their supreme court experiment. Hope it all works out.

Tangentially, there were two more episodes later in my podcast feed that dealt with the same conundrum. Speech, the freedom and limitations of:

Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick – First Amendment Fallacies – Feb 27, 2021
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law – Deplatforming and Section 230 – 02.27.21

If I were to craft a tweet for this episode of Trumpconlaw, as I have tried to do for it’s 49 brothers (failed at a few) It would run something like “Section 230 allows your internet to serve you the porn you want on demand, it does not enable Facebook to silence your god-king, no matter what he says about it.” The #MAGA remain MAGA no matter how many times they mash their faces against the screens, though.

…which reminds me. While #48 about pardons was largely a rehash of the previous pardon episodes of Trumpconlaw, #49 speaks explicitly to the title of this article because:

What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law – Incitement – 01.30.21

Incitement is by definition GIGO that should be eliminated. “Trump’s behavior since the November election proves that his intention was to incite violence on January 6th. He would have caused more violence on January 20th if he had not been deplatformed.”

Laïcité

Laïcité provokes a lot of incomprehension outside of the country, which isn’t surprising given the current financial globalization trend that privileges individual rights over collective fraternity. Yet, in France, the political community takes precedence over subjective communities, as it is the only body able to guarantee both freedom and equality. And a community transcending particular interests cannot exist without universalism, the founding principle of laïcité.

institutmontaigne.org
The Daily – France, Islam and ‘Laïcité’ – February 12th, 2021

A tragedy for a teacher leads to a teaching moment for the rest of us. We would do well to internalize what we call secularism but the French understand is much, much more than that.

Quantum

A human is a quantum particle. When watched the human remains a constant, never changing. When unobserved the human shifts direction and state, never the exact same quantum particle twice. It throws off energy and matter as part of its existence, and no amount of measurement will ever accurately assign the value of the quantum human. There will always be something lost just in making the attempt to measure it.

Texas Standard – It Took This Houston Family Two Years And Legal Action To Gain Special Education For Their Son – January 26, 2021

(Justice delayed is justice denied. Education delayed is education denied)

Do not destroy the quantum human particle. Nurture it. Let it grow and change and create its value unobserved when possible. Let it become what it’s unknown state of being wants it to be. Only then will its true value be realized.

breathe in. breathe out. move on.

Is This It?

In the cool light of an impending winter’s day, watching as the world economy spirals down the drain of the Coronavirus pandemic; as the various nations of the world including the vassal states of my own country flex their muscles to assert their dominance, and lastly in light of the naked insanity of our president and his supporters, is it completely reasonable to ask the question:

Is this it? Is this the end of us?

The question could be answered in a number of ways. Parsing the question, it depends on what you mean by the word us. The human race will continue on, and the world will continue spinning just like it always has. In that sense the answer is no. No, it is not the end of us. Some form of government will continue. Other nations will take over our leadership role. This process has already started and will continue whether we want it to or not.

A different take would be to observe that every empire in history has fallen. They rise, and then they fall. We watched the Soviet Union dissolve before our very eyes just over thirty years ago. This could be the point in time where the empire that the United States maintains falls apart.

Maybe our empire should fall apart. Maybe we shouldn’t have an empire in the first place? I’ve been warning people for years that the US is one major crisis away from ceasing to exist. Some people laughed when I first proposed this problem back in the day, the problem that the United States is a paper tiger.

A paper tiger in that, the American people don’t want an empire. They never have wanted one. The federal government in Washington D.C. established one anyway. They did it in our name, at the urging of power brokers of previous generations. Stealing the lands of our neighbors and putting native peoples to the sword in a fair approximation of England or France or any other empire-building nation of previous generations.

We have built a military that is unrivaled in the modern world, spending blood and treasure at a phenomenal rate to the benefit of our corporate masters and even to the benefit of the assembly line workers that build all the armaments that we currently deploy. We can, with pinpoint precision, remove any threat that we recognize as a threat with that military. We can do this and we have done this, right up to this point in history.

We are the wealthiest, most powerful nation in recorded human history. How can we just cease to exist?

…and here we are laid low by a virus, the simplest form of life on this planet. Life so simple that it barely qualifies as life in the first place. It is a little bit of replicating code that has evolved to use the larger bits of life around it to make more of itself without ever knowing what it was doing. It just does what it does, and we can’t stop it.

We can’t stop it. Not with jet planes or nuclear weapons or all the money in the world can we stop it. We can’t stop it unless we accept that we have to stop it, and then make that the thing we need to do now instead of building jet planes and nuclear missiles. This is the biggest crisis we’ve faced in our lifetimes, bigger than the crash that happened in 2008 that we still haven’t recovered from. It is possible that we are living through the greatest crisis in recorded human history, when our children’s children look back at this time through the lens of history.

The future of the United States as a political entity is a small thing compared to the effect that a pandemic can have on the human psyche. In the end that is really all that matters. Unless we can grasp the threat we face right now and answer that threat. Unless we put aside the petty dictators and their Trumpismo’s and focus on the real threat, the fear that this virus inspires in us all and the impact that its continued existence unchecked in the world represents, then the United States will be done for in spite of its globe-spanning military presence and its corporate reach.

…and just maybe, in the end, that is the way that it ought to be.

Featured image: IFLScience How Long Do We Have Left Before The Universe Is Destroyed?

Trumpismo

Mom was a huge Ross Perot fan. I’m sure very few of the family knew or even remember this about Mom, but she loved Ross Perot when he ran for president back in 1992. How many of you remember 1992? I remember that election very well. Ross Perot ran for president the year we had that three-way race that ended up saddling the United States with president William Jefferson Clinton. Bill Clinton, the president that American conservatives love to hate. Ross Perot ran for president again in 1996, Establishing the Reform Party in the process, but didn’t do nearly as well that year.

Mom loved the fact that Ross Perot spoke straight to the people. She loved the fact that he threw charts and graphs at the arguments, getting wonkier about the policies being argued than any other candidate in American history had gotten, at least in her experience.

She thought Bill Clinton was a used car salesman turned governor and I agreed with her in that. Mom had disapproved of Reagan and then the elder Bush for pretty much the same reasons that I did. They were mean people with mean policies and they said whatever their party told them to say in order to get elected. But Ross Perot? Mom loved every minute of that sideshow. The threats on his life that caused him to drop out of the race. The surprise re-emergence of the candidate mere weeks before the election. It was great theater.

There would be no Ross Perot love in my future. I had discovered libertarianism on August 2, 1990. That was the day that the elder Bush took us to war in the gulf against his buddy from the Reagan years, Saddam Hussein. On that day, as we peaceniks were engaging in a sit-in in the capitol rotunda, back in the days when the Texas state capitol building was open twenty-four hours a day for tourists, I just happened to be sitting next to Terry Liberty Parker. Yes, that Terry Liberty Parker.

Terry was infamous in Austin. Terry had been active in the anarchist/libertarian fringe of Austin politics for decades. His experimental clothing-optional apartment complex was a distant memory by 1990. He was running a libertarian show on Austin’s cable access channel by that point in time, and he was out rabble-rousing with the rest of the troublemakers on the fringe of Texas politics that night as he helpfully enlightened me about the weird world of third party politics while we occupied some floor space in the capitol building. By 1992, I was a hard-core Libertarian Party member.

Since I was a libertarian, and since this was my first time out for a presidential election as a libertarian, I wanted nothing to do with some upstart named Ross Perot. I tried to point out to Mom that Libertarians had been trying to break into American politics since the seventies, all to no avail. Ross Perot was not going to be able to do anything even if he managed to get elected as president. With the Democrats and Republicans united against him, he would be lucky to be able to stay in office at all.

There was another reason that I wouldn’t vote for Ross Perot even if there had been no Libertarian Party. A reason I have never told anyone about until now. I wouldn’t vote for Ross Perot because I knew he was a real estate developer. I’ve covered this point more than once on the blog so I won’t revisit the subject beyond simply noting that, during the process of working closely with a developer, you become numb to the energy and the hype. When you finally get numb to it all you stop listening to the words of the sales pitch and you start to take note of the number of lies that form the foundation of selling the project.

The revulsion at the lies that real estate developers tell comes from a deep distrust of most salesmen. As the son of a used car salesman I was immersed in my father’s world of buying and selling cars every day throughout my teenage years. Every time I spoke to him or was around him as an adult he was sizing up and selling cars and trucks. Automobiles were all he talked about or cared about aside from sports. It was his raison d’etre, his reason for existing. I was surrounded by used car salesmen and bullshit artists throughout my most formative years. Surrounded by workaday confidence men. I reflexively recognize a sales pitch when I hear one and I reject the content of the pitch out of hand, the actual words of the pitch completely unheard by me. I know I’m being sold to, and no one sells you things you don’t already want to buy. If it is something you already want, you just buy it without having to deal with salesmen. At least, that is what I do.

Real estate developers, in comparison to car salesmen and their hourly hawking of vehicles to car shoppers, are engaged in what can be most precisely be cast as a long con. Unlike car salesmen who have to make their sales in some portion based on their reputation for honesty and repeat business (Dad’s mantra was “be completely honest with a customer”) a real estate developer never has to look at a contractor or a buyer again unless he has to go to court in order to sue them or answer a lawsuit.

Consequently, a real estate developer can be even more dishonest to his marks …er customers, than a used car salesman can get away with. Each piece of property is unique. Each contract is different. Your past failures are conditioned based on the quality of the information that you were given. You have plausible deniability to fall back on. You can’t tear down a piece of property and discover all its flaws like you can with a machine. You have to sell what the property offers, sell what you can invent or envision the property to be.

I knew that Ross Perot was selling, and I knew that he was selling hard. I knew he had a knack for selling big dollar projects, and I knew he knew his way around Washington D.C. I no more trusted him than I would trust a carnival barker who promised me the show of a lifetime. So I stuck to my guns and voted for Andre Marrou in 1992. He lost, just like libertarians always lose, and we got Slick Willie as president that year.

All of this would be a quaint history lesson if it weren’t for the fact that a real estate developer currently holds the office of president. In hindsight, I wonder if Ross Perot went through those I’m a candidate, no I’m not a candidate convolutions that he engaged in precisely because his poll numbers started to show that he might win the 1992 presidential election. That he might become president himself with all the trouble holding that office would bring, not to mention having to take a significant pay cut.

Being a spoiler in an election is one thing. Punishing the elder Bush by appealing to the fickle middle of the voting population and drawing support away from him, allowing Bill Clinton to win, was just fine with Ross Perot. Actually gaining the office of President would be another thing entirely, and he had to be smart enough to know he couldn’t survive in Washington D.C. under that harsh spotlight. He wouldn’t be allowed to maintain his vast network of properties and businesses. He wouldn’t be able to work with a congress that was pitted against him.

Ross Perot knew how to make money and how to survive in the business world. This basic understanding of the reality of the business world is something that Donald Trump really never got the hang of, as revelations about how his father bailed him out time and time again over the decades should illustrate to anyone paying attention.

Ross Perot torpedoed the elder Bush’s second presidential campaign in 1992 specifically to make sure that he was a one-term president. Seen in this light it becomes obvious that Ross Perot was the smarter of the two real estate developers to run for office in the modern age. Donald Trump was not nearly as smart and he became president with all the scrutiny that comes along with that office.

However, Donald Trump’s gaining office meant something more to me, personally. As an amatuer pholosopher. As a political spectator. As a news junkie. Donald Trump being president meant that his supporters had a political philosophy that they believe is a part of Donald Trump. Trump himself had a politics that he espoused, the essence of what a Trump administration would be about. This was true whether Trump had enumerated what his political philosophy was or not, because the people who supported him would invent what they wanted to see if he didn’t provide the substance for them, and they’ll invent it for any political figure even if that figure does give them something else that he wants them to believe. So after the paint wore off my toenails and I came to grips with the fact of a Trump presidency, I set out trying to figure out what the president’s political philosophy was.

I had to figure this out for myself, because I knew that he would never consciously reveal what his true motives were beyond lining his own pockets at our expense. In public. Every day.

Hispanics have a name for the kind of demagogue, the kind of despot, that Trump wanted to be, based on the way he presented himself to the people he was president of. The way he presented himself to the people who wanted to belong to him and showed up at his political rallies that never stopped occurring, a hallmark of the kind of authoritarian that Donald Trump admires. In public. Every day.

Caudillo is what the Spanish people called Francisco Franco when he took over Spain. El Caudillo, the strong man.

99percentinvisible.org – EPISODE 408 Valley of the Fallen – 07.28.20

Historically we in the United States consigned those who fell under the shadow of the Monroe doctrine to the tender mercies of a Caudillo like Francisco Franco was and that Trump wanted to be. That practice has fallen out of favor in the country at large if not in Washington D.C. in particular, but we’ve apparently grown so fearful of the poor among us that we will risk having a Caudillo to rule over us directly. A dictator to rule over us, like a king would. A Caudillo to rule over us in the same manner as those who lived under our corporate control in Central and South America, back in those #MAGA days when America was great.

Throughline – There Will Be Bananas – January 9, 2020

Donald Trump really isn’t a strong man, though. He was planning on being a strong man. He presented himself as a strong man. This is why the trolls who supported him on the internet called the Never-Trumpers cucks or cuckolds, weak men who allow their women to sleep with other men. Everyone who had a brain and understood what Trump was promising to bring to the office of the President knew that he was promising a dictatorship unlike anything that the United States had seen at any point in history. The people who chanted “lock her up” and “build that wall” at Trump’s rallies thought he was going to be a dictator like Bush the second joked about being.

If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.

George Bush, December 18, 2000

…and Donald Trump has made a lot of people’s lives miserable, killing over 240,000 Americans. However, he didn’t earn the hatred or directly spill the kind of blood that a title like el Caudillo requires. He didn’t declare martial law because a United States president can’t do that all by himself. Only governors have that power in the United States, and even their power on that subject is strictly measured. He didn’t get to create concentration camps to put the Mexicans that he and his supporters are so afraid of in. His wall was never built. He couldn’t effectively prosecute his political opponents even though he tried to do it several times. So he’s not really a Caudillo.

He’s more like a Caudito or a stormy child. My apologies in advance for butchering a noble language like Spanish.

Since he fancies himself a strong man, and since his supporters pretend he is a strong man, I find it fitting that his affected masculine air, his machismo, also carry an appropriate title for one such as he. Consequently the name I’ve chosen for his politics is Trumpismo, a similar label to the one hung on the politics of Hugo Chavez, the only dictator that Donald Trump hates.

Throughline – El Libertador – May 16, 2019

Trumpismo

Knowing who Trump was and naming his politics was the easy part. Trying to discern what his politics actually were? Now that was the hard part. No matter how hard I squinted at his actions, the platform that supported them simply wasn’t discernable. What does Caudito Trump stand for? What are his policy goals? What does he believe? Four years later, on the eve of his ouster from the office of the president, this remains an open question to me.

It is hard to discount the facts of Trump’s racism. There are just too many instances of him engaging in racist speech. Particular kinds of speech that he repeated too often for them to be simple misunderstandings. His racism goes all the way back to his father and his family and their effect on him, but his racism should have been apparent to anyone who was paying attention during the campaign that lead up to the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency, and what happened after it. It is not for nothing that Chris Hayes refers to Donald Trump as the birther-in-chief.

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump Ph.D.

Donald Trump took up the birther cause with a vengeance that made Sarah Palin’s promotion of it pale by comparison. The idea that Barack Obama was not an American is a patently racist idea. How do I know this? Because conservatives don’t have a problem with Ted Cruz running for president, and he wasn’t born in the United States. “Ted Cruz looks every bit as white as I look, so why should it be a problem? That Barack Obama character looks like a foreigner with his black skin. He’s not an American, is he?” Therein lies the racism.

Whether Trump is a racist or not, he clearly thought his supporters were racists. Every word that he spouted was about them and they and the threat they pose. Trump’s pitches were demonstrably racist. Trump’s flunkies are still demonstrably racist. The Republican party, the party of Trump, is still demonstrably racist.

The Wife said don’t let the racists win on Facebook as the 2018 midterm elections were occurring, her obvious point being that people were being motivated to vote for Trump and his endorsed Republicans, all of whom were running exclusively on racist fears, and that these Republicans should be defeated at the polls by the rest of us self-respecting Americans. The majority of us, the people who don’t see life as a game that is only won by profiting off the suffering of others. We shouldn’t let the racist minority of Americans win. That’s it. That is the sum total meaning of don’t let the racists win.

The result was that family and friends went to town on her on Facebook, taking her to task for calling them racists. She got so much hatred on Facebook that she ended up deleting the status the very next day. If you don’t like the quality of your fellow travelers being assessed as your qualities, don’t stand up and try to defend those fellow travelers. Let the sleeping dogs lie and walk on. Walk on, because the racism of your fellow travelers is beyond question. The only question in my mind is why do you feel you need to defend yourself when you aren’t being targeted? Sensitive much?

Refugees are entitled to seek asylum by international law, even brown-skinned refugees have that right. Caudito Trump making the US into something that the refugees fear more than staying where they were makes us worse than the gangs and warlords those people are fleeing from. Caudito Trump was trying to make the United States appear more frightening than MS13, his preferred Mexican bogeyman of the time.

That was Trump’s plan. That was why he separated children from their parents at the border. That was why he locked children up in cages. That was why he and his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, as well as his current AG Billy Barr conspired to make millions of people who are Americans stateless by denying them residency inside the United States. He declared these poor people invaders and outsiders simply because they didn’t have documents to prove that they were Americans.

Is that something you carry around with you? Proof that you belong here? Most of us don’t have those kinds of documents. There was a political backlash in the 1990’s against even creating a thing similar to a national ID, and yet you don’t dare leave home without your papers if you look like a Mexican in the United States, even in 2020.

These people aren’t a threat to anything aside from the narrow vision that feeding them, sheltering them, welcoming them will somehow mean there is less for the rest of us. The poor towns and villages of Mexico, with far less resources than we can command on a whim, have embraced these people and welcomed them with open arms.

That is what it is to be human. To be humane. To ease the suffering of others, even if you have to do without because of it. You welcome refugees in and you offer them whatever it is that you have to spare, because at least you have it to spare.

…And the only reason, the only reason that there can be for singling out the Southern border as the place where problem migrants come from, is racism. Caudito Trump doesn’t talk about gangs other than Mexican gangs. He doesn’t talk about anything other than the other waiting for us across the Southern border.

(Some of text above is from Facebook)

However, the illusion of Trumpismo being essentially racist dissolved after 2018. Caudito Trump pushed xenophobia all day every day through the end of the 2018 midterms, and in that election he was politically flogged for the blatant racism he was engaging in. Finally and justly flogged, politically.

After the 2018 election he changed tactics. Gone were the threats of invasion from across the Southern border, other than the occasional red flag that the coronavirus could be sneaking across the border with those evil Mexicans. In the 2020 election when he needed the votes of brown-skinned Americans to win, his pitch was entirely economic.

Unfortunately Caudito Trump didn’t have a definable economic policy. His economics is not about getting dollars into the hands of average Americans that need them, or helping the drug addicted wretches strung out on profit-making drugs manufactured by international pharmaceutical companies. No, his economics amounted to calling everyone he wanted his supporters to be afraid of socialists, as if socialism was a bad thing.

Socialism is not what conservatives think socialism is. Stalin wasn’t socialist. Stalin was a dictator, like Putin is. Stalin was a dictator like Caudito Trump wanted to be. The fear of socialism has driven conservatives to embrace the thing that they should be afraid of. Socialism is Medicare or Social Security, and most Americans love those programs.

Historically? Historically socialism evolved into Marxism, and Marxism turned out to be a dead end. Marxism was what Stalin paid lip service to while killing 60 million people as perhaps the worst dictator in human history (he has competitors for that position) Marxism, as a theory, died with the USSR. The social democracies of the Nordic countries are also socialism, practiced within the loosely capitalist/feudalist framework that dominates the Western world.

(Some of text above is from facebook)

The economics of Trumpismo amounts to trickle-down economics in the form of giant tax breaks for the wealthy and be afraid of socialists. That isn’t an economic platform that can bear any weight. After four years I’m still largely left with a puzzle. What was Trumpismo? What is it? Can it be defined by the targets he selects?

“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this president had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families are so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.”

At this point, Coach Pop paused, and I thought for a moment that perhaps he didn’t have the words and the conversation would end. Then he took a breath and said:

“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”

Coach Gregg Popovich Responds to Trump

Everything Caudito Trump says can be dismissed as obfuscation. You can harm your own understanding of reality if you pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth. Hucksters of his caliber have long lost sight of what is true or isn’t true and are continually engulfed in a fog of bullshit that they can’t even see through, so there is little to be gained from sifting through his words for gems of truth.

However, this Bullshit is Bullshit truism doesn’t mean that Caudito Trump has no politics, no Trumpismo, or that his politics can’t be sieved out of his nearly chaotic actions. It’s just that the results may not create a framework that supports weight. There isn’t a there there to build on, as far as I can tell. But there is a pattern which can be illuminated, like the outline of a murder victim left at a crime scene.

I’ll start with this. Donald Trump was impeached for trying to get Ukraine to create propaganda targeting Joe Biden, the man that Caudito Trump lost the 2020 election to. Time after time Trump attempted to profit himself at the expense of the country at large, and when the thing he was trying to do benefited the Republican party, the Republican leadership in the legislature followed his lead. Sullying Joe Biden’s reputation served their interests, and so they acquitted Donald Trump of the crimes he was accused of, even though the crimes had been demonstrated in open court. This action made the Republican party accomplices to Trump’s crimes, an act that they have so far evaded punishment for.

These events, however, serve to illustrate the one major point of consistency about Caudito Trump. Time after time, when Donald Trump acted, it was to benefit Donald Trump alone.

Caudito Trump’s consistent self-rewarding actions reveal the first plank of Trumpismo. He believes that in order for there to be winners there must be losers. In order for there to be success there must be want and suffering. The first tenet of Trumpismo is belief in the zero-sum game. This belief underpins every other thing that Caudito Trump and his Stormtrumpers believe. Others must suffer so that they can have what they want in life. The suffering of others is not only unavoidable, it is desirable. Without the visible suffering of the losers there cannot be anything to desire about being a winner.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
Fresh Air – ‘Sum Of Us’ Examines The Hidden Cost Of Racism — For Everyone February 17, 2021

This is a requirement of the zero-sum game. Once you have subscribed to this tenet, everything else falls into place. The racism, the xenophobia, the bulwark of nationalists and populists down through the centuries is a hallmark of those who think they must claim more than they are rightfully due. This is why they don’t see themselves as racist when they move to keep what they have secured for themselves. Protect it from the other, those who have to do without.

Donald Trump winning means cheaters win. Cheating was and is his standard of practice and his father’s standard of practice. Caudito Trump’s biggest supporters, White Evangelicals, are cheating and they know it. They know he isn’t a christian, but they support him even with this inadmissible knowledge in their heads because engaging in this deception gets them the ideological victories that they have literally sold their souls for over the years since Ronald Reagan took office. This is just another facet of belief in the zero-sum game.

Caudito Trump runs his businesses like a crime boss, and he does business with criminal gangs from around the world. Hillary Clinton’s major failing as a candidate and a politician is that she never tried to prove that Donald Trump was a tax cheat back when New York state could have done something about it. She knew he was a cheater, just like everyone else in business and government in New York city knew this about him, and yet she did nothing to torpedo the man before he became Caudito Trump, the man in control of the largest military on the face of the Earth.

Oh my! This is why I should have stayed out of this. I could say the same about you sir. We will never agree with each other. We both think the other is willfully ignorant and will NEVER see the others point. Just keep depending on the government (other people) to take care of you. I want to depend on myself and God. I guess we just agree to disagree.

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Agree to disagree, the height of willful ignorance. That’s what I suggested was being displayed in that conversation back in 2018 with my brother-in-law and his friends. Willful ignorance. Deliberate stupidity. The author was asserting that there was a vast liberal conspiracy at the center of the average American’s perception of Caudito Trump. That this was the reason that Donald Trump has been dismissed as one of the worst presidents in history. The belief that Barack Obama was one of the best presidents in history.

A vast liberal conspiracy? I was citing a Pew poll as evidence of these assertions. That Obama was loved. That Trump was hated. Agreeing to disagree on matters of opinion is a forgivable sin, I’ll grant that much. If only nature was so malleable as to allow willful ignorance like the above to go unpunished for long.

This is the next most substantial platform of the politics of Caudito Trump under the adherence to the zero-sum game. The second platform is the belief in a grand conspiracy that is keeping the most powerful office in the United States from being exercised the way that its current occupant wants. Caudito Trump loves the stupid, and the stupid love grand conspiracy theories, so he loves and promotes grand conspiracies as the reason why he cannot give his supporters what he thinks they want.

This is why he promotes the ridiculous fantasies behind Qanon. It isn’t because he believes that crap. His supporters believe it, and so he puts on that face. His actions are a pantomime, a mimicry of what his supporters say they want in a leader.

Fortunately (unfortunately for them) nature does not reward leaders that cannot lead, and what we have witnessed time and again over the last four years is that Donald Trump can’t lead. He can’t lead because he has nothing he believes in aside from Donald Trump.

Trump and his enablers — like those from history of similar mindset — have made it abundantly clear: Anybody not of THE PARTY can’t be trusted. This is the primary message of, “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair?” And so, unchecked, what happens next is those who are not of THE PARTY must be removed from power. They must be purged from government, from military leadership, from law enforcement, and especially from public education.

Facebook – Stonekettle

A leader has to believe something. Faith in oneself is only part of the leadership equation. You also have to have faith in something greater than yourself, and a narcissist like Trump can’t imagine anything greater than he is. This is why he lies incessantly. This is why he constantly cheats at everything that he does. He is a broken man. He has always been a broken man.

This isn’t how we were raised. This isn’t how any of us were raised, aside from Caudito Trump. These aren’t the values of a free people. This is not the America I fell in love with as a child. If it is the vision of America that you want embodied, one that you support, then I have to wonder what it is that you are so afraid of?

Penniless, hopeless refugees are a threat to the United States? We throw away more food in a day here in the US than would be needed to feed ten times the number of refugees requesting asylum in the US right now. We have entire towns made up of empty houses. We have more empty space than would be necessary to house every homeless person in the world if they somehow made their way here to the United States.

We will soon have created a vaccine that will liberate us from the confines of the coronavirus, and we will achieve this without Caudito Trump’s stupid warp speed efforts. We will do this because that is what we do. It is what we have to do in order to overcome the limitations of nature and our own personal shortcomings. It is what we do, aided by people that Caudito Trump and his supporters want thrown out of the country.

I have some good news for you. The game is not zero-sum. Trump is a con artist that lies to you. Refugees are not a threat, they are an asset that we squander, just like we squander the vast amounts of treasure we possess on things that do not make us better people. It is time to stop being afraid. Time to stop listening to people who tell you that you should be afraid, especially when those people have the wealth and authority to solve the problems they tell you to be afraid of, if only they exercised a fraction of their wealth and power to do it. Don’t fall for the con. Don’t defend Trump’s lost cause. Don’t accept his vision of America as your vision of America.

Trump stops being president on January 20th, 2021. There is nothing he can do that will change this fact. It is written into the constitution that the office ends when and where it does. For him to attempt to remain in office is The essence of what unconstitutional means.

The Democratic speaker of the new House of Representatives will become President on January 20th, 2021 if Caudito Trump has rendered the election results inconclusive, which is the best he can do under the circumstances. I’m good with that result just as I am good with Joe Biden becoming president. The average citizen did their job on November 3rd of this year. We honored the 240,000 dead Americans and kicked their murderer out of office in the election. Our job is done. Now it is up to the people who have been given authority to to their jobs.

The governors and legislators of the various states will follow the constitution they swore to uphold, and validate the election results that the count (still going on) reveals. The electors for the president will cast their ballots on December 8th, and if that vote doesn’t reveal a Biden presidency, then the House of Representatives will step in and try to make sense of the mess. The Democratic House of Representatives. Who do you think they will chose?

The military can be counted on to follow procedure. That is one of the few things I’m fairly certain of. They will not back Caudito Trump’s transparent coup attempt that is currently being foiled in the courts. The US military will follow procedure and back whoever Congress names as the next president, because that is what procedure requires of them. Caudito Trump is done. Still, I think I will keep my fingers crossed until January 20th, just in case.

It’s going to be interesting watching Trump get evicted on January 20th. It’ll be like justice has finally arrived for all those black families his father evicted all of his life, that Trump’s son-in-law Jared evicts regularly to this very day.

(Some of text above is from Facebook)

When Joe Biden takes the oath of office and enters the White House we will have come full circle again. The evangelicals that allied themselves to the Republican party under Reagan have been frustrated yet again with Biden’s victory. The people who were so scandalized by the nomination and then election of Bill Clinton to the White House, the people who were so shocked at having to tell their children about oral sex because the president got a blowjob and it was talked about on the news, those very same people went out and promoted Caudito Trump and his Trumpismo to the White House.

With Caudito Trump’s elevation to high office the Moral Majority ceased to have any claim to morals or to even being a majority anymore, and they were soundly defeated at the polls on November 3rd. Even though they managed to make some gains on down-ballot races, Joe Biden will likely win with more than seven million votes, more votes than have ever been cast for a president before in history. I wonder what hobby horse these backers of Trump and his Trumpismo will come riding back out on next time? Because there will be a next time.

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Editor’s note

In researching this article before publishing it I came to the realization that I mistook the existence of The Perot Group and its development of properties in Texas to be the only business that Ross Perot engaged in. In that assumption I was mistaken. I left the text I had written largely intact because it does reflect what I thought of Ross Perot in 1992. I was simply wrong in 1992. Wrong that he was a real estate developer, correct in my estimation that he was a salesman first. He just happened to be a technologist second and not the even more divorced from reality group designated as real estate developer.

when I decided that the name for Trump’s politics was Trumpismo back in 2017, I thought I was being unique and original. Turns out, a lot of people had the same idea at about the same time that I did. Oh, well.

Featured image from the AP story Message of Election 2020: Trump lost, but Trumpism did not published on November 7, 2020.

Embracing Post-Scarcity

…and then he asked me,

As if those shows you watch would get aired without a profit motivation? Would they even have been made? Would Netflix exist? Would Facebook? You take a lot for granted.

I had to admit, he had a valid point. Not that I agree with him, but the point is valid on its face. Every television show, every radio show ever created was created the way they were to specifically address the advertising model adopted by broadcasters in the early twentieth century. All of them exist the way they do because their creators and the networks that paid for their creation were speculating on audience appeal and the value of that appeal on the advertising markets.

I find it amusing, when listening to public radio podcasts, that they stop for an advertising message at precise intervals. Those intervals are dictated by the broadcasters who understood just how much information the listener or viewer could assimilate at one time before being lost in the narrative. You can have this much information and no more, because we need you to pay attention to this next advertisement! Leave the audience hungry, so that they will tune back in after the pause in order to hear the rest of the story.

Public radio and television networks (and especially podcasts. No podcasts need to follow this formula unless they too count on advertising to pay for their content) do not need to stop for an advertising message every fifteen to thirty minutes. They just do that in order to conform to the standards for commercial broadcasts and the advertising model that has proven to be largely unworkable in the post-scarcity economy that the internet is the harbinger of.

The Wife and I have mused together several times over nearly a decade about what this impending switchover to post-scarcity economics implies. Gene Roddenberry and his chief work of fiction, Star Trek, do not do more than imply that inhabitants in that distant future no longer understand what money is and why we ancients could never get past the need of it.

The Wife has asked this very question when I have posed what the impending advent of a freedom dividend or universal basic income(UBI) or guaranteed minimum income (GMI) would mean to the average person. What will the world be like, when people no longer have to work to survive? No one knows, because that economic state has never existed in human memory. But it is about to happen, one way or another.

The world economic system throws off enough human value, measured in increments of whatever monetary system you want to use, for the entire world to be provided with the means to survive without having to work. The operative phrase there being having to. Work will still be done, because people need to work. They just won’t starve or be kicked out of their (modest) residences when they don’t. We already live in a post-scarcity economy, we simply do not have the benefits of that economy spread equinomically across all the participants.

The right way to get out of the problem that we are in now, the problem of false scarcity, is the only real question here. The question is not whether or not we can get out of this delusion of scarcity that the wealthy who run the world make sure to indoctrinate their workers with. How do we do emerge from scarcity in a way that the creators of all the things we use on a daily basis finally do get the benefits of their creations? That system has never existed before in history.

In Fields of Blood (Karen Armstrong, 2015) the point was driven home early in the book that the agrarian state was based on the direct confiscation of the farmer’s work. In example after example she paints the inescapable portrait of the leaders of these states confiscating the work of the providers and creators in order to live more comfortable, secure lives, while only marginally providing security and stability for the people that they live on top of.

In the recent science fiction novel, New York 2140 (Kim Stanley Robinson, 2017) the author projects a future where these economic thieves are still making a fine living off of the suffering of other people, even though a good portion of the world’s population is living a marginal existence in the flooded remains of our former coastal cities. I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book, so I won’t go into how the world changes over the course of the novel, but I don’t need to in order to make the point that I want to make in mentioning the book here.

That point is this; we can stop these profiteers, these pirates, we can stop them here and now and just avoid that future altogether. All we have to do is adopt an economic strategy that lifts all boats by design. A strategy that modifies itself as the economics around it shift from decade to decade. That strategy will take the form of a UBI or GMI, but that is just the beginning. The question then really does become, what next?

Well, the creators will continue to create, for one thing. The farmers will farm, because that is what they do. When they get wealthy from their efforts at creating they will either stop doing that or find someone else to help them do that. Someone who is still just bouncing along on subsistence. The farmers are just the beginning of what has become a very complex social structure since the days when Abraham first conjectured that the problem with society was that it stole all of his work, and set off to create the perfect agrarian state. A state that ended up never existing. Dozens of religions have been founded on his simple observations, and still we struggle with the beast that is scarcity and the fear of scarcity.

To answer the question from the beginning of this article, would these shows exist? I have to point out that most people who create do that because that is what they do. The Wife makes movies, has been part of some fifteen films over the span of decades of her life, and she’s never made a dime off of any of them. It would have been nice to make some money from them, that just isn’t the reason she does it. It isn’t the reason that anyone working in film or television or radio or the theater does the work they do. They create the things they do because that is what interests them, and there is a place for them to make these things and so contribute to the world, so they do what they can.

I write because that is what I do. I also don’t make any money off of it. It would be nice to make money; but again, that isn’t why I do it. I didn’t create architectural documents to make money. I did it because drafting and computers and escaping my dysgraphic limitations were what drove me. When I couldn’t do that anymore, and being faced with ceasing to be relevant to the world because I could no longer do the thing I loved, I found a way to do the thing I had always wanted to do. Write. Writing is the thing I had always wanted to do but couldn’t do because I had to feed a family, and writing without a computer interface is an impossibility for someone who has the kind of dysgraphic problems that I have.

The space in which to reinvent myself was provided by socialism, which is why I say that I was Saved by Socialism, and having been given that space and discovering that I had to do something in order to keep living in the here and now, I taught myself to write in much the same way that I taught myself computer assisted drafting (several times) I can now bring my ideas into existence with a word processor for them to be discussed or puzzled over by anyone who runs across them.

This personal revelation of mine is a part of why I keep telling people who clearly are angry about being forced to do a job they don’t want to do, to just stop doing it. Just stop. Wait. Wait as long as it takes for them to get that itch. Some people will never notice the itch. There is no help for those people no matter what I might say here. Most people will get the itch and they will be driven up off the couch and out the door in pursuit of something to do with themselves that feels meaningful in the grand sense of meaning, and not in the personal sense of meaning which amounts to “what can I distract myself with next?”

I want, more than anything, for everyone to be allowed to sit down and say “I’m not going to do that anymore.” …and then have them be forced to admit that sitting at home doing nothing is not a useful, rewarding life that you can be happy in. Because until that experience is a realistic possibility the delusion of scarcity and its fear will drive people to keep working at things that they don’t find rewarding but feel that they must continue to work at anyway unless they want to starve, their children to starve, live on the streets, etcetera.

They are convinced that if they don’t work the world will come to a standstill. Even the Wife says “the world will come to a standstill, won’t it?” I want to see their faces when they realize that the world keeps going on anyway, turning once around its axis each day, traveling once around the sun each year, even though they have decided not to participate in life any longer. Because it is at that point that we really will have arrived at a post-scarcity economy.

Still Alive Old Friend

Still, old friend. You’ve managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target.

Kirk to Khan. Me to 2020

This thought occurred to me when Chadwick Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020) (Wikipedia) died from complications of cancer back in August. The man was so amazing on screen. Now imagine being that amazing while all the time knowing what was eating you alive from inside. The treatments. The pain.

…And still. Some of the best performances ever recorded on film by anyone. I am in awe of him and so many other people out there who strive and achieve against such great odds. It inspires me to keep going. To not give up.

Kirk to Spock. It’s two hours. Are you ready?

Wrath of Khan (the real movie)