Blog Archive

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Take the Handmaid's Tale,

Take the Handmaid's Tale,

and add in Bladerunner:

and I think that's an accurate representation of where auto-pilot will get us.
Plus, maybe, Aeon Flux.
Essentially, Star Trek...with some of the features of Idiocracy.

which world do you want to work towards?

The Stupid and Narrowminded , whipped silly by the Greedy,have been in charge of things for far too long.
Education has always been the Left's...the Cooperators'...number one weapon against the Into the Cave! Crowd.
Enough with the Postmodern Ennui...Alienation...all that jazz...
Let us Assert ourselves.
Let us stop being intimidated by the Worst Among Us.
We'll make a Better World.
All of their fantastical prescriptions have been tried, and found wanting.
Our Prescriptions...the one's we've been able to implement...have worked.
Not perfectly, but nearer to the Ideal, than the alternative.(New Deal, Great Society, etc)
It is way past time to stand the fuck up.
Look them in the eye, and glare.
They'll either punch you in the face, or sit down and shut up.
The current strategy of Polite Retreat is unacceptable.
I wanna see a “Fuck You!” Wing of the Democratic Party.
My flag has a Middle Finger on it.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tell Me

What is this “socialism” you speak of?
Is it “Obamacare”?....that market based paean to Big Insurance?
Is it your Medicare? Social Security?
The Interstate Highway System?
What is that “capitalism” you speak of?
You mean that thing we do that virtually insures that actual Small Farmers go into perdition?
That Walmart is the only place in much of Rural America to buy toilet paper?
That thing we do that insures that the Big Casino that you all put in charge of the Global Economy gets to externalise it's Fuck-Ups into the Commons? Onto all of us Little Fish?
That “Capitalism”?
Tell me about “Deregulation” ….of the Very Big...and the Hyper-Regulation of the Very Small and even the Medium...How the layering of Laws and Rules onto Everyone except the Aristocracy that “doesn't exist” is a Perfect Expression of Freedom....
Tell me how Honeywell is a “small business”.
How Con-Agra is a “Small Family Farmer”....and the Salt of the Earth....
Tell me how the largest fictional and Supra-National entities on Earth are “just people”...but how Unions are not.
Remind me of how defunding/eradicating Pensions and other Benefits are not Broken Promises...and should be excused as necessary for the maintenance of that Third Lakeside Mansion...
Tell me how Rules for Businesses...especially the Very Large Kind...are somehow a Bad Thing...because Corporate Moguls are Moral and Just...and always do the Right Thing.
How Avarice is the Foundation of a Moral and Just Society...and how a Dude named Jesus said as Deontological Constraints are inimical to True Freedom...and that the Ends Justifying the Means always...Always...leads to the Best Outcome for all involved.
Tell me , again, about the “New Economy” that is waiting in the wings to replace the Manufacturing that just had to leave for the Third World...
Tell me how “Free Trade Agreements” are in Everybody's Best the Environment is an Ashtray...and how Perpetual, Exponential Growth is a rational thing to expect on a Finite Planet.
Remind me, again, that the sprinkle I feel on the top of my head isn't Urine from the Corner Office Balcony...that it is instead the Sweet Rain of Economic Prosperity, that the Good God, Market, has sent to fall gently upon us all....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Stupidity


I instruct my boys thusly:
“The first step on the path to Wisdom is “I don't Know””...and “Ignorance is curable with effort...but Stupid is always a Terminal Condition.”
The stories linked above are further proof that a large portion of the folks we share the country with can no longer be considered Ignorant, and therefore Curable. Instead, they are Stupid.
Stupid, and well trained in the usage of a set of rhetorical habits that further confuse and poison the “Debate”, and therefore, the Commons.
How many times has a Right Winger hollered at me to “Do some research”?
Or to “Broaden where I get my information”...the implication being that I, as a self described Liberal, must get my information only from “Left Wing Propaganda”?
Of course, these hollerers never...not once...offer up suggestions to accomplish this end...which is telling, I think.
Never have they told me to watch Fox...or to listen to Rush...or read World Net Daily.
Not once.
Indeed, when I take this crazy trait into my online arguing, in other words, when I deliberately refrain from linking to Wiki, or Msnbc or Alternet, because I know full well what my interlocutors will reflexively say...when I instead link to the Wall Street Journal, or to Forbes...even to Fox “News”(on the rare occasion that they accidentally get things right)...I am lambasted for those Sources, as well.
You just can't “win” an argument with these people...because they're Stupid...
And not just Stupid, but fucking Proud of their Stupidity.
They wear Stupidity like a uniform, believing(I think) that it is Knowledge.
They wave Stupidity around like a Flag.
...and the hardest thing is that when you present evidence, all but irrefutable to anyone else, that contradicts their Belief in their Stupidity....then YOU are the Stupid one!
You see, Liberals are the ones who “Drink the Koolaide”...just as “Liberals are the Source of Violence in this country”(really,lol)...and “Liberals want to put “Real Americans “ in camps, for seeking “Truth””...and on and on.
It makes me want to become even more of a Hermit than I already am...but it's my fucking country, too...dammit!
It's the place where my kids will grow up.
It's where I live.
….so I feel deeply that I have a Responsibility to counter all of the Stupid and Dangerous Bullshit that is thrown around and believed as “Fact” by so many of my countrymen.
I fear that we, in the “Reality Based Community” have already lost.
That we are already in a New Dark Age of...not Ignorance, that would leave an opening for Hope...but of Stupidity, malicious and evil....regarding itself as Truth and Goodness.
Falsehood, masquerading as the Real World.
I've lamented this for more than a decade, now...but it just gets worse.
Instead of naming our current time as the Anthropocene Epoch, I think it's more reasonable to name it the Age of Stupid.
The poem that's been in my mind since just after 911 is much more apt to our current predicament than I would like:

“”The Triumph of Dulness
from The Dunciad

In vain, in vain,---the all-composing hour
Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the power.
She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying rainbows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
The sickening stars fade off the ethereal plain;
As Argus' eyes by Hermes' wand oppressed,
Closed one by one to everlasting rest;
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after Art goes out, and all is night.
See sulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of casuistry heaped o'er her head!
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defense,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all. “”
-Alexander Pope, the Dunciad.

I tremble for the Future.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dearest Skippy,


I just watched you get creamed by Mr Olson on Faux.
Mr Olson, and that other guy, handled the rest of your protestations with dispatch.
But this little snippet:

“Perkins insisted that his children would be “taught values and morals against what I teach as a parent at home.” “

That is for me to tackle.
So your kids might learn something about this big ol' crowded world that you don't like?
My wife and I are continually re-teaching American and World History, after our boys get home from school.
We are forced to do this, as my parents were, because people like you, and the folks you run with, keep hollering every time any real history sneaks in.
Like how we're a Secular Nation, by design.
Like how Thomas Jefferson was a Deist.(I have all of his writings, including the Jefferson Bible, on the shelf)
The story of the Progressive Movement, the Free Thinkers, the Labor Movement, the Beats and Hippies, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Womyn's Rights...and the Whole History of Religion in the USA, and what came before.
Good, Bad and Disgusting.
We have to teach the Rest of the Story, because timid little power hungry shits like you, scream bloody murder whenever folks like us insist that our Whole Story be taught.
So cry me a river, Skippy.
You share this world with millions of other People...most of whom don't believe in the same tired old mythology that you do.
Get over it.

Thank you,
Amfortas the Hippie

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Privatised Health and Pandemic Stupidity

“There's no such thing as Society.”-Margaret Thatcher.
“Government IS the Problem.”-St. Ronald

The scariest disease on the planet arrives in Texas.
It is met with a near-failure of our Public Health System.
Nurses' computer systems can't talk to Doctors' computer systems.
A Nurse apparently doesn't know that Liberia is in West Africa, where Ebola lives.
Training for such an eventuality is haphazard, at best.
It took nine days for the Public Health System to finally get around to hiring a company to go to Patient Zero's apartment, and remove the soiled bedding and whatnot, and for the man's family to also be removed from that apartment, and into a more secure environment, a house in a “gated community”, apparently owned by the County Judge's buddies.
The CDC is scrambling to get up to speed, after “some people” saw fit to “pay” for exploding Tax Cuts by Cutting the budget of that Agency.
...and we're very busy closing Planned Parenthood clinics, attempting to outlaw Contraception....cutting taxes on very wealthy people...and continuing to Deregulate and Defund everything that still resembles the Commons.
For almost 40 years, a certain strain of Ideology has infected our Ideology that maintains it's Utopian Fantasy, that the Great God of the Market(World without end...) will solve all of our problems, if we just “get the Government off of our backs”.
The CDC, the NIH, Public Hospitals and other agencies and systems have been defunded-- their budgets cut to the bone—because those who worship “Free Market” are averse to anything Public.
Everyone is an Island, according to this hyper-selfish, Randian worldview.
Patient Zero is...”On his own”...
It's bad enough that, on a normal school day, folks have to send their virus shedding children to school, due to lack of affordable well as being unable to take a day off to care for them, lest they lose a day's pay, or even their job.
That's what Market(Holy, Holy) requires of us...never mind the preventable spread of communicable disease.
A handful of ignorant and fearful folks are afraid of Vaccines...and old, nearly defeated diseases come roaring back...Measles, Pertussis...
Speaking of School...thanks to “Governor” Rick and the gang, cleaning staff has been cut clean are those doorknobs...water fountains?
Nurse's Aids and other essential support staff are some of the lowest paid folks in the country, and entirely lacking even the most basic Worker Rights and Protections.
Anything “Public” is seen with extreme suspicion, if not outright hostility, and the usual logical fallacies are brought to bear to oppose them.
Indeed, tune in next week for what I'm sure will be a fine example of Ad Hominem, Misdirection and the Appearance of Substantive Argument...all the while ignoring the Meat of what I'm on about.
The Ebola outbreak currently raging in West Africa is an excellent example of why Public Health is essential. A Robust Public Health System is what has eradicated Small Pox, Polio, Measles, Dysentery, Typhoid...on and on, for the last Century or more.
It wasn't Pfizer...and it sure as hell wasn't Goldman Sachs.
Public Health is what stands in the way of things like Ebola, or even the Flu.
The essential Primary Research and Development, and often the later “Ordinary” R&D, of many pharmaceuticals and especially Vaccines,comes right out of Taxpayer Funded Systems, and are then handed over to giant multinationals, who patent and profit from them with little or no acknowledgment of the Public on which they rely.
From Public Sewer Systems, to Public Water Supplies...even to Public Schools...Some endeavors are simply Not conducive to “Privatisation”.
A look at Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and , yes, Texas, should be enough to dispel the Mythology consistently peddled by some people, lo these past 40 years. The Results of the Experiment are in, and it sure looks like Dysfunction, to me.
All of that Dysfunction is the result of Choices, made by True Believers in the Great God Market. Those True Believers are currently attempting to cast blame on “Liberals” for every problem arising from their own Mythos if Actual Liberals have had any power at all in my lifetime...unless perhaps one counts Richard Nixon....
It is not only quite Stupid, it is Dangerous, this surreal fantasy world.
So, answer to a question asked of me a month or more ago...this is Barely Civilisation...rather, Civilisation is the thinnest of Patinas. The Maintenance thereof requires work, and funding, and well as judicious application of Reason.
Our simplistic, bumpersticker “leaders” in Austin and DC have been found wanting, taking a sand blaster to that Patina of Civilisation, instead of reinforcing it with a few more coats.
To be clear, I don't expect Ebola to become that big of a problem in the USA...even in such “Third World-ish” parts of it like the Valley, or Alabama.
I worry a lot more about the Flu, and the random Gut Bug, and about the families who don't have the luxury of a stay-at-home parent, and must send their sick kids to school to mingle.
Given the constant irresponsible Fear mongering of Fox, et alia, and some of our congressional employees, we worry overmuch about the Wrong Things, and are hampered in any reasonable efforts to tackle the Right Things by an outdated Mythology of Hyperindividualism, and the continuing Destruction of the Commons.
Greg Abbott, and folks like him, share a poisonous Ideology that is much more of a threat to our collective Health than things like Ebola are ever likely to be.

Ego sum, Intrepidus,

On Alt Energy

On Alt Energy

Riff on this, specifically:(

Boo Fucking Hoo.
The Giant Utilities' Business Model is no longer viable...and they want the Government to step in and protect them from competition.
After all these years of “Free Market!!!”, and “Deregulate!!!!”...and an insistence that TINA, There Is No Alternative, to gigantic Hydraulic Empires, Centralized Power Plants, with their attendant spiderweb of wires strung across the land....after all of that, now, when a viable alternative presents itself, they want “Uncle Sugar” to step in and protect them from the Little Guys.
To stomp down the Individual and Neighborhood level Power Generation with which they cannot compete...
Folks at the American Society of Engineers have been saying for years that the Grid is in terrible shape...that it would cost Billions to Upgrade and Fix.
That Grid, when working perfectly, is prone to ice and tree damage, damage due to Bubba running his truck into a pole, and malfunctions due to the long term failure to maintain all of the myriad parts and pieces that constitutes the thing...let alone the fact that around 40% of the power generated at those gigantic pollution mills(Power Plants), is “Lost in Transmission” simply radiates into the surrounding air.
The Grid must be rebuilt...that is a Fact.
But we are not Obligated to Rebuild it in it's existing, 20th Century form.
Rather, we should rebuild it the way the Original World Wide Web was constructed.
Decentralised, Interconnected, and therefore Robust.
There's a better way, if We can get the current beneficiaries of the current paradigm to turn loose, and to get out of the way.

Arguing with Geese. Episode # 10,123

I went out to the Library/Monastery, today, bright and early.
We were all out there yesterday, unloading a trailer full of sand for the floor of the shop(fireproof, and the better to see the snakes on).
So I was a little worse for wear this morning.
I set up the ancient kiddie pool in what used to be the garden, between my place and Mom's, then went and opened gates on the way to where the Geese are, now...out behind Mom's, where the goats used to live.
Herded those ninnies all the way around the front, over the little dike, and to the Pool.
They stood there, looking at the water coming from the faucet, and muttered amongst themselves.
Then they wandered around the old garden...all in a knot...nibbling at grass seedheads, and muttering...keeping one eye out of 40 on me, at all times.
Having neglected to place chairs strategically around the route, I pushed them further...all the way into my old yard, under the big Oak.
Set up a sprinkler(one of their favorite things), and backed down the drive, towards Mom's...then back along the road, out of sight, and into the Library that way, stealthily.
I got into reading...checking on them every ten minutes or so.
They stood in a knot, muttering, for an hour.
Staring at the sprinkler.
Panting in the heat.
Then they, as one, waddled on over to Mom's.
I repeated the entire procedure.
Back and forth, in the 100-200 yards between Monastery and Mom's.
Staring at the pool, staring at the sprinkler...and thirsty.
As I've said, Geese will look at a newly opened gate for a month, ere they'll venture through it.
What I'm doing is re-writing their code...or at least attempting to.
As usual in such dealings with Geese, I can't help but think about the vast majority of ordinary rural Texans, as I have known them.
I'll repeat this Goose-Herding activity for a week, or a month...however long it takes for it to become “Normal”.
Put my place on the Goose-Map of their world, that they carry in their tiny brains.
Eventually, they'll just come over here. It will be on the Agenda for the day.
So long as I keep the pool filled, this jaunt to the Monastery will be “What Geese Do”.