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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,185

Journal Archives

He dreams the dream of the proud...

Trump says homelessness hurting real estate prestige, will destroy cities

The homeless are living in "our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to building," Trump said.

For the Invisibles:

"On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand

"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud
Over all we have known

Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

Is it only a dream that there'll be no more turning away...?


How to remove Brett Kavanaugh without impeaching him

An excellent explainer from Vox:

The paper, “How To Remove a Federal Judge” by law professors Saikrishna Prakash and Steven D. Smith, lays out a road map for, well, how to remove a federal judge without resorting to the impeachment power. It argues that a provision of the Constitution stating that federal judges and justices “shall hold their offices during good behaviour” is widely misunderstood.


Barring a historic political realignment, in other words, there is virtually no chance that there will ever be 67 senators who will vote to remove Kavanaugh. But, if Prakash and Smith are right about the Constitution’s good behavior clause, there won’t necessarily have to be.


They quote future President John Adams, who said in a debate with a contemporary that a judge serving during good behavior may be removed after a “hearing and trial, and an opportunity to defend himself before a fuller board, knowing his accuser and accusation.” And, in what is probably their single most persuasive piece of evidence, they quote a 1790 act of Congress providing that judges convicted of taking bribes ”shall forever be disqualified to hold any office of honour, trust or profit under the United States,” even though no impeachment may have occurred.


Suppose that prosecutors showed that a justice perjured himself at his confirmation hearing — a crime that is, admittedly, very difficult to prove — and he is sentenced to some amount of time in prison. If he can only be removed via the impeachment process, that would mean that he would still be a member of the Supreme Court even as he serves out his sentence.

It's an interesting argument and one that, if Democrats decide cleaning up the judiciary is a worthy goal, could facilitate that process - over the long haul.

None of this is a quick fix.

The quickest fix I can think of is for the new Democratic President to decide that the Supreme Court needs only SEVEN justices to undertake its Constitutional responsibilities, and gets the support of Congress to reduce the number to seven.

Last added, first removed.

There are some excellent arguments to be advanced in favor of reducing the size of the Supreme Court- much more logical and adminstratively, legally and even judicially defensible than increasing the size of the Court.

Either way, making symbolic attempts to impeach an official who will not then be removed from office has its appeal- I'm fully aware of the power behind the argument that the process itself may tip a balance in favor of having enough of his colleagues decline to defend him, remove their support from him, and possibly negotiate a resignation by him. And the moral power of doing the right thing even if the net effect is zero.

But the judiciary, like the electoral process, has been seriously degraded, corrupted, and disorganized by the GOP. Cleaning it up system-wide is just as important a goal as cleaning up the electoral process.


No, it's NOT "just a stupid thing with a Sharpie"... and this is why:

Does anyone else remember last year's false missile alert in Hawaii?

For about half an hour, residents of Hawaii lived with the terror of believing ballistic missiles were headed their way. Motorists sought shelter in highway tunnels. Schools evacuated to shelters. The 9-1-1 system broke down in many areas from the call volumes. At least one heart attack was attributed to the incident.

NORAD issued a statement saying they saw no threat, but were investigating. US Pacific Command confirmed there was no threat. Hawaii's Congressional delgation demanded accountability.

Then the White House got into the action. A certain individual who shall be known as President Windrip loudly announced "They made a mistake." Various cabinet members called for investigations. Blame was suddenly flying thicker than oobleck.

Ultimately, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee responsible for the false alert lost their job. And the head of the HI-EMA resigned. The FCC made changes to the Emergency Alert System protocols to prevent such a thing ever happening again.

So that's how THAT incident of an irresponsible public source releasing false disaster alerts was handled.

Which seems a bit more methodical, mature, and productive than a bunch of media laffing it up about Sharpie memes. (Fair disclosure: Yes, I laughed. Quite a lot, actually. But that's not the point, and it shouldn't be.)

From the government itself? The response has been less than impressive, to say the least.

Something's wrong here.

Not that we didn't already know that.


Oh, God, Here We Go Again: Dear Denmark

Dear Denmark-

I want to apologize, on behalf of all adult-Americans, for the childish and insulting behavior of the Occupant of the Oval Office toward your nation and its leaders.

Please believe that we ordinary Americans have great respect for you, and profound gratitude for your steadfast friendship and alliance in promoting past shared geopolitical principles of advancing world peace, justice, and social equity.

Please know that an actual majority of us STILL share those principles and goals, and are appreciative of your national examples of tolerance and progressive change and non-violent solutions to troubling issues around terrorism, economic inequity and world migration.

We are, for the moment, stuck with the Occupant and his sycophants, but we as ordinary citizens are doing all we can to hasten his departure in a manner consistent with the above-mentioned shared principles.

As you are aware from your educated appreciation of your own and world history, these profound errors cannot be rectified in a day.

We love you peeps, and are grateful for your forbearance.


3:00 am thinking...

Things catch up with me, yanno?

I do what I can, from day to day. Try to find ways to bear light, to oppose the darkness. Keep reminding myself that I can't fix the whole damn' world.

Most days I can find something to be grateful for. The weather. Fresh peaches ripening on my trees. A cheerful phone call from my elderly mother. Snuggles from the Feline Overlord. A bit of news, here and there, of people doing the right thing, the human thing, the loving thing.

Mostly, it's enough.

But lately, just the last few days, I wake in the darkest hours of the night, and I stare out into the shadows of the bedroom, and watch the black branches toss against the charcoal background of the window, and the shadows are full of unanswered questions.

And the biggest question is:

How are we going to make this right again?

Americans, neighbors, people living among us, are committing crimes against humanity.

Americans, neighbors, people living among us, are tearing apart families, locking up children, putting people in concentration camps.

Americans, neighbors, people living among us, are gathering in smug secret little social media gatherings to dehumanize people, to promote bullying and cruelty and cowardice.

Of course, most of them are "just following orders".

And I shiver in the darkness.

Those are words full of deadly weight.

How will we ever make this right?

Even if- in the unlikely event that we hold the "leaders" accountable in some way- (briefly, I fantasize seeing Stephen Miller's dead-eyed face in the dock, waiting for a judge to pronounce sentence... briefly, I fantasize the confiscation of ill-gotten fortunes and the funding of thousands of libraries and day care centers and free clinics...) -what will we do with the not-leaders?

The ones following orders. The ones "enforcing the law". The ones who righteously believe it was perfectly okay to treat human beings like trash, like a disease. In the service of their own faith in the rule of a law that privileges them as somehow right to do so.

At 3:00 am I wonder how it was in some small, quiet German city in 1948. Did neighbors look at one another with unspoken doubts? "Was that you guarding the platform to make sure none of the people being loaded in the boxcars escaped?"

How does America heal from this?

At 3:00 am, I cannot imagine.

And in the sunlight of 3:00 pm, I cannot imagine, either.

Things I considered undeniable truths of our shared communal understanding of rightness are becoming translucent, shaky, fading...

Can we ever make this right again?


Nomenclature Check: LISTEN UP, news media, law enforcement!!

Kindly expunge the phrase "active shooter" from your vocabularies. Add it to your "do not use" filters. Please instruct your spellchecker, Siri, whatever...

to substitute "HMWG (Homicidal Moron With Gun)" for "active shooter".

And, there's a BONUS for you journos in the audio and video media: You get to pronounce this, and here's the correct pronunciation: "HUMWIG".

Got it?

Because "active shooter" is a term often used in video games, teevee action-hero shows, comic books and comic book movies, and it has acquired in the minds of certain deranged melanin-deficient racist/misogynists suffering from acute testosterone toxicity, a veneer of "cool".

"Oooooo "active shooter"!! Wanna be one of THOSE! Maybe they'll make a video game of me, THEN I'll be important!"

Kinda works, doesn't it?

On the other hand...

"Oooooo "HMWG"! Sounds... um... lame-o..."

Yep, that's the ticket.

So that's what y'all can do for America today, folks. If the peeps listening to the police scanner hear "Reports of active HMWG downtown, respond all units"?

If the talking head at the scene peers earnestly into the camera and states "The humwig was shot by police, so we can't yet speculate on what motivated him"...

If the Internet headlines on the Google search return "HMWG at Peoria Arby's, police report casualties"...

Yeah. Please help out with this.


It All Started With Pong...

...clear back in the 1950s.

In 1958, to be precise. Well, the Atari version came out fourteen years later, but all those computer engineers... they STARTED IT!!

Personally, I blame the amount of time it used to take to compile your programs and punch the tape. The computer guys weren't even allowed to smoke in the computer room back then, they had to do SOMETHING.

A mere sixty years... three generations... later, we're mowing each other down in Wal-Marts and nightclubs, yep.

A slippery slope indeed.

Do these people ever even LISTEN to themselves?



America: If you love it, stay and help it grow wiser, more compassionate...

...stronger, smarter, more inclusive, more sustainable.

That's true patriotism.

That is all.


Dear Brits: So sorry about BoJo. Really. We'll try to help, though!

Y'all have been there for us as we've struggled with having President Windrip forced on us by Russia and the Electoral College- you have come up with some of the best laugh lines, you pioneered the giant manbaby balloon, you pushed the "Show your Rump to [Redacted]" campaign, you've done all you could to lift our spirits and remind us that we're not alone in these dark times.

Well, we're here for you, too. As BoJo enters No. 10, we get it.

The horrified disbelief.

The sense of a centuries-built reputation (in your case, for all that Uber-U Stiffupperlipitude and Ultra-dignity flavored with a dash of BBC self-deprecating humor) sliding away down a greased sewer pipe.

The don't-want-to-look sensation when the morning paper arrives.

All of it. We have it too.

And we'll do our best to make BoJo as big an ass on this side of the pond as he is on yours.

Scout's honor.

Chin up and all that.

Keep calm and above all, CARRY ON!! (In the American sense this time.)

Link yer elbows, step in time... we're all on this rooftop together.


The GOP, Pedophilia, and Child Abuse

Why Are Right-Wing Conspiracies so Obsessed With Pedophilia? (Mother Jones)

Conspiracies centering on the vulnerability of children are neither new nor distinctly American. Wild claims of Jews killing Christian children and using their blood in rituals—the “blood libel”—date back to at least the 12th century and have popped up every so often since then, and long before that Christians were suspected of performing similar rites. “Hurting children is one of the worst things you can say someone is doing. It’s an easy way to demonize your enemy,” says Kathryn Olmsted, a professor of history at the University of California-Davis, who has studied conspiracy theories.

Why do child-abuse conspiracies explode into public consciousness at certain moments? Explanations offered for the peculiar resonance of Pizzagate and QAnon tend to focus on pathologies in the media ecosystem—epistemic bubbles, polarization, the unruly growth of social media. But years before the fracturing of mass culture and the dawn of Reddit and 4chan, the McMartin accusations fed a national spectacle during which scores of people were wrongly accused of sex crimes against children.

The continuities between the McMartin case and Pizzagate suggest a broader explanation for pedophile conspiracies: They aren’t the residue of malfunctions in our media culture. They’re an outgrowth of the normal workings of reactionary politics.


With Pizzagate and QAnon, the molesters have changed from day-care workers to the liberal elite, and the politics behind the theories now are more explicitly spelled out. But the general context is more or less the same: conservative retrenchment after a period of progressive social gains. If women’s entry into the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century triggered deep anxieties about the decay of traditional gender roles and the family unit, in the 21st century it was same-sex marriage, growing acceptance of transgender rights, and the seeming cultural hegemony of a social justice agenda. “Q found that fear,” says Travis View, a conspiracy theory researcher and a host of the QAnon Anonymous podcast.

One thing this article, excellent as it is, does not touch. But I'd like to bring it up:

If harming children is one of the worst things to accuse an enemy of to demonize them, and 'defending children' is the absolute moral high ground... why are GOP activists not lining up outside the concentration camps to demand those childrens' freedom and restoration to their families? Why are they not carrying torches and pitchforks and nooses to the lawns of Alexander Acosta, Jeffrey Epstein, and, yes, Donald Trump?

These are not shadowy conspiracy speculations. These are right-in-your-face torture and sexual assault on children, with plenty of clear, incontrovertable evidence including the perpetrators' own slimy, smarmy admissions and innuendos and lascivious 'jokes'.

Why, then, are the GOPpies who are so deeply horrified and outraged about shadowy and ultimately nonexistent conspiracies in the equally nonexistent basement of a pizza parlor not turning that righteous rage on the perpetrators of the demonstrably horrific child abuse going on right under all our noses?

It would be easy moral high ground to claim. They have the power, they have the influence. One deep, serious rumble that All Is Not Well with the GOPpie base's perception of their political priesthood, and the housecleaning would begin in good earnest.

But it doesn't happen.


Easy answer: They're hypocritical opportunists whose concern for the well-being and purity of (white) childhood only applies in the context of accusing opponents of heinous crimes for political purposes.

That may be the most likely and is possibly the most widely applicable explanation.

But I think there is another, darker explanation as well:

Psychological Projection

Psychological projection is a defence mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.[1] For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.

Not all GOPpies are sleazy pedophiles and sadistic child abusers, of course.

But I suspect a good few of the sick bastards who've been nurtured through forty years of the Masters of the Universe culture to believe they're above the common herd and entitled to any transgressive gratification their whim dictates have settled on this ultimate transgression as a validation of their Ubermensch status. Enough of them to form their own creepy web of enablement and projection as a defense mechanism.

And now they're backed into a corner.

What does a rabid rodent do when backed into a corner?

Why, exactly what we're seeing now. All we need is some latter-day Riefenstahl to document "The Triumph of the Whim".

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