Archive | January 2021

This is supposed to be the boring time…

An elephant, representing the Republican party, as Dr Frankenstein looking at the empty operating table: “Whoever created that monster currently rampaging in the village should be ashamed of themselves,” Igor figure labled Right Wing Media: “I blame ANTIFA, master.”

The entire Republican party should be, yes…

I am actually doing some writing that isn’t about the news and specifically the Traitor-in-Chief… but it’s difficult to stay focused on anything when one is wait for the next Coup to drop.

Last night, for instance, Rachel Maddow began her show talking about how usually this is the boring part of any presidential administration. The last days are normally taken up with the mundane tasks of winding the administration down. The outgoing First Lady invites the incoming First Lady to tea at the White House, and the outgoing President welcome the incoming President and gives them a tour of the place. Other members of the outgoing administration may give farewell speeches to their departments. News organizations publish what are mostly puff pieces about what each cabinet secretary has accomplished, and so on.

Instead the outgoing President has been having screaming meltdowns about petty things such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Hanks and other stars agreed to perform as part of Biden’s inaugural celebrations. He routinely fires important officials over twitter, and thus there were only a few Senate-confirmed cabinet members left when the Murder Mob invaded the Capitol building. Most of those hastily turned in their resignations after that. Even though everyone must resign by tomorrow, some of them tried to make the resignation sound like they were standing on principle.

Meanwhile the executive offices of the White House are eerily deserted, in part because people are trying to avoid being the target of the Traitor-in-Chief’s next screaming fit.

And he’s too petty to attend the Inauguration, or do any of the traditional social nicety parts of the transition. He’s too busy ordering his staff to find a way to get a big crowd to send him off Wednesday morning (and apparently almost no one is RSVP-ing).

The man has not once, not a single time, expressed condolences to the millions of Americans who have had family members die because of the pandemic. He certainly isn’t going to attend the memorial service in front of the Capitol this afternoon for the 400,000 Americans who have died of COVID thus far.

US surpasses 400,000 deaths from Covid-19.

More Americans are dying every day than were killed at 9/11, and yet that has fallen completely off the Traitor-in-Chief’s radar. A bit over four years ago all sorts of people—not just Trump supporters, but lots of so-called moderates and even supposedly liberal people—kept telling people like me that we were overreacting. The kept telling us it would be all right, that we would get through this. And I said, “Not all of us will!” It wasn’t me foreseeing the pandemic, it was the other issues. Such as chipping away at the Affordable Care Act. And the various anti-gay things, including regulations that allow medical people to refuse to treat queer patients if they claim a religious objection. That’s exactly not how you should run an emergency room, let me tell you. And before we got to the pandemic, there were already reports showing that thousands more people than statistically out to were dying because of problems with healthcare. Not to mention the uptick in hate crimes, including a rise in murders motivated by hate.

So, no, this has not been all right. Not everyone has survived this administration. And the lingering effects of their failures is going to include rising death rates for the foreseeable future.

Trump’s record on LGBTQ rights has been vile from the moment he took office. We kept a list.

I don’t have a fun and pithy ending to this.

I’ve had a countdown app on my phone for over a month that tells me exactly how many days, hours, and minutes it is until this evil, hateful, incompetent man is no longer in power. And I check it several times a day. And afterwards, I calm some of the anxieties by repeating quietly several times, “Only X more days.”

I can’t tell you have incredibly happy I am that now we’re in the “Only X more hours” phase of things. I really would like to get back to normal news cycles someday…

“A heartfelt 'fuck you' to everyone who told me I was overreactin in November 2016.”

“A heartfelt ‘fuck you’ to everyone who told me I was overreactin in November 2016.”

On the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, a challenge

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Being an old, white, gay guy, I think on days such as the federal holiday officially designated “Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.” my job is not to try to address issues of racial inequality with my own words, but rather to amplify the voices of people of color. Their lived experience makes anything they have to say on the topic much more relevant than anything I could say.

So today, let me suggest you take a look at Don Lemon’s “An MLK Day challenge to the news media.” I’ll quote a chunk of it here:

“So, on the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and his unapologetic truth-to-power approach, let me speak candidly and directly to the people who actively read Playbook — lawmakers and the people they employ, journalists and the people who employ us, and other influentials. It’s what I like to call: WKWW, “What King Would Want.”

This new administration was elected to represent all Americans, obviously. But let’s be honest about the people who put Joe Biden and Kamala Harris over the finish line: They were and are Black, brown and Asian, with Black women leading the way, like pacers in a marathon. It is high time we (because I am included in these groups) not only have a seat at the table, but lead the discussion and make some of the decisions.

Here’s why:

When our Latino brother and sister journalists wondered aloud and privately in newsrooms why we were giving candidate Donald Trump so much oxygen when he started by calling Mexicans rapists, did we listen to them or did we brush it off as an inability to be objective?

When Black journalists in newsrooms all over America questioned Trump’s history of racism, from housing to birtherism and more, did you stand up for us or keep quiet? Or did you journalistically appropriate us once we provided cover for you and your organization to finally speak or write the words, “The President of the United States is racist”?”
—CNN anchor Don Lemon, writing for Politico‘s Playbook

It’s really good. Read the whole article here.

“Trans Black Lives Matter. Queer Black Lives Matter. Disable Black Lives Matter. Poor Black Lives Matter. Old Black Lives Matter. All Black Lives Matter.”

“Trans Black Lives Matter. Queer Black Lives Matter. Disable Black Lives Matter. Poor Black Lives Matter. Old Black Lives Matter. All Black Lives Matter.”

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t let today pass without acknowledging another issue related to racism and other forms of hate: 44 Trans People Killed in 2020, Marking Worst Year on Record for Transphobic Violence.

Two Trans People of Color Have Already Been Killed in 2021.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Weekend Update 1/17/2021: Who woulda thought?

Time once again for a post in which I share news stories that broke after I assembled this week’s Friday Five post, or was a story that didn’t make the cut to the Friday Five for reasons, or brings additional information or updates to a story which I have linked to at any time previously. And as usual, I will have a some comments to go along with the links.

I admit that I have been allowing myself more than a bit of schadenfreude with regards to the Capitol rioters, aka, the Trump-supporting White Supremacist Murder Mob. But they really have done all of this to themselves: Selfie-Snapping Rioters Leave FBI a Trail of Over 140,000 Images.

And it’s not just that so, so many of them took pictures and videos of themselves committing crimes and have posted them to social media. They all carried their cell phones with them, and apparently they don’t know that phones continually ping nearby cell towers in order to see if there is a phone call coming in, and that means the phone and its location is available to be subpoenaed: Police let most Capitol rioters walk away. But cellphone data and videos could now lead to more arrests – Think rioters walked away scot free? Not so fast, say police with potent technology ready to name names. And they also think that deleting social media posts is a great way to cover their tracks. Spoiler: things you delete online aren’t really deleted, even when the service provider doesn’t let you restore it, the data is almost always still available. Also, courts have held that the act of deleting social media posts indicates that you are aware that you may be guilty of crimes (it’s a form of attempting to destroy evidence).

Not only do they not know how the technology they’re using works, but they’ve proven again and again that they don’t know how the government works. New, Dramatic Video of Capitol Rioters: ‘WE ARE LISTENING TO TRUMP’. Among the things they screamed at the cops they were beating and kicking and crushing and so forth, was the assertion that they were on a mission ordered by Trump, “your boss.” First, no, the President is not the boss of the Capitol Police. Just as he is not the boss of private citizens nor is he the boss of the entire government. The phrase “Commander in Chief” applies solely to the U.S. military. As Chief Executive, he is also the head of the executive branch. Be he is not the commander of Congress, nor the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial branch, nor the commander of state governments, nor commander of private citizens. The Capitol Police are part of the legislative branch of government. They report to Congress itself, not to the President. Lots of people don’t understand that when the president issues an Executive Order, for instance, that doesn’t have the same weight as a law. Executive Orders are always directed at departments within the Executive Branch, setting policies of how those departments will handle certain circumstances.

More than 100 individuals involved in Capitol riots arrested. So far. Many more arrests will be coming.

Picture of the QAnon Shaman inside the Capitol building during the murder mob riot, with the caption “Dances with Karens”Meanwhile one of the designated clowns of the murder mob has not had a good week. Oh, yes, last week a federal judge decided that since he claimed that his all-organic diet was due to his religious beliefs, that the jailors are to accomodate that, nothing else has gone his way: ‘Q Shaman’ Jacob Chansley to remain jailed pending Capitol riot tria.

The judge said he is a flight risk because he is unemployed (literally lives in his mother’s basement), is a habitual drug user, and had demonstrated an ability to raise money quickly over the internet because he’s considered a mascot of the QAnon fuckwits and all the white supremacist groups trying to shore up the the Traitor-in-Chief. So he will not be out on bail, and the federal marshals will be transporting him from Arizona to cool his heels in a federal jail closer to Washington D.C.

And more info keeps coming out that make him look even worse: Woman says she warned Capitol Police about ‘QAnon Shaman’ rioter Jake Angeli in December.

Meanwhile…

Other supporters of the Traitor-in-Chief are also having a bad week: Trump ‘refusing to pay’ Rudy Giuliani’s legal fees after falling out – President said to be offended by personal lawyer’s demand for a reported $20,000 a day. Donald is famous for not paying people the money he owes them. Why does anyone ever agree to work for him?

Oh, wait, well apparently Giuliani is finding a way to get money out of this gig: Giuliani associate told ex-CIA officer a Trump pardon would ‘cost $2m’ – report. Just slip Rudy a couple million dollars, and he’ll put in a good word for you with the Pres… except we now know that Donald has stopped taking Rudy’s calls.

Rudy isn’t the only one getting in on this particular grift: Trump Allies Rake In Huge Fees From Pardon Seekers – The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars — and potentially much more — from people seeking pardons.

I could make more snarky comments, but this article rounds up things that the various late night hosts have said about Rudy’s situation, so I’ll let you go read those: Seth Meyers on Trump refusing to pay Giuliani: ‘No more perfect way for this to end’.

Moving on…

One of the videos I linked to on in the most recent Friday Five included a joke about Donald trying to steal things while packing up to leave, specifically a bit about a bust of President Abraham Lincoln. After delivering the scripted joke, Seth Meyers then said, “This was a joke we wrote this morning. But wouldn’t you know it…” and then he cut to footage from some of the news channels taken outside the White House, showing a staff member walking out of the White House carrying the bust of Lincoln. Which brings us to: No One Will Take Responsibility for That Abraham Lincoln Bust Seen Leaving the White House.

Wow.

Of course, Donald has so many other legal troubles… Atlanta Prosecutor Appears to Move Closer to Trump Inquiry – The Fulton County district attorney is weighing an inquiry into possible election interference and is said to be considering hiring an outside counsel. These would be state criminal charges in Georgia. If Donald issues a pardon to himself, and if the courts uphold it, it would still have no effect on these charges, because the President can only pardon federal crimes. Similarly to the criminal investigations against the Trump organization and family in New York State, and another set on-going in Connecticut… and those are just the ones I’ve been keeping track of.

Since becoming President, Donald has been documented making literally thousands upon thousands of lies. CNN’s Daniel Dale has tried to pick the fifteen worst of all of those lies: The 15 most notable lies of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Finally, who could have possibly foreseen this: Election Disinfo Plunged After Twitter Banned Trump. (Spoiler: everyone who has been paying attention, that’s who!)

Friday Five (pack your bags edition)

“Just pack your bags, leave the White House, and shut the fuck up!”

Lucy telling it like it is.

I’ve decided that the people who have been saying 2020 doesn’t really end until the Traitor-in-Chief’s term officially ends this coming Wednesday are on to something. So welcome to the 55th Friday of that most curséd year, 2020.

So, a bit over a week since a murder mob incited by the president and some of his political allies attacked the U.S. Capitol building, we’ve seen a second impeachment, thousands of national guard troops in the capital city, and a number of internet services have finally started enforcing their terms of service on rightwing people for threatening more violence. That last bit makes me hopeful that this timeline may be taking a turn toward the less awful than it could be. Or maybe I’m reaching delusional levels of hope.

Time will tell. Until then, we have the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one local story that has taken a major source of happy distraction from my day, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about the deplorable thug still occupying the White House, and five videas (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

This Week In News Local to Me:

Sick and dead finches reported in Kitsap County and across Washington state.

Stories of the Week:

Movers Pick Up Their Pace At The White House – More moving trucks seen at White House week ahead of Biden arrival.

Betty White reveals how she plans to spend her 99th birthday in quarantine.

Congress impeached and tried my ancestor after he left office. Trump could be next – I’ll leave the legal arguments to the lawyers, but my own last name is proof Congress can impeach and try newly-minted private citizens.

A man injected himself with ‘magic’ mushrooms and the fungi grew in his blood, which put him into organ failure.

US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds – Law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests show a clear disparity in responses, new statistics show.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Lesbian teen who got kicked out by family turns them in as possible MAGA rioters – “hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?” she tweeted with a photo of her mom attacking a Black woman.

The 22 Funniest Queer Jokes From LGBTQ Comedians.

Transgender people killed in Chicago & Puerto Rico as wave of violence continues – Tyianna “Davarea” Alexander was shot while walking down the street. Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín was killed before his body was dumped in the middle of a highway.

North Carolina Town Adopts LGBTQ-Inclusive Law After State Ban Lifts.

In ‘nasty parting shot,’ HHS finalizes rule axing LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections – Under the new Health Department rule, taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can refuse to acknowledge same-sex marriages and turn away qualified LGBTQ parents.

This Week in Deplorable People:

Justice Department launches webpage tracking individuals charged in Capitol riot.

MAGA Terrorists Making Threats At All Levels Of Government – MAGA seditionists are now issuing threats to politicians in all levels of governments.

Off-duty cops who rioted at Capitol facing investigations – Several off-duty police officers have been identified as participants in the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.

Exclusive: Large bitcoin payments to right-wing activists a month before Capitol riot linked to foreign account.

Rick Wilson Unloads On The Whiny Bitch Victimhood Of The Republican Party – “Twitter and Facebook aren’t banning you because you’re a conservative. They’re banning you because you suck. They’re banning you because you say evil shit,” said Wilson to Joy Reid.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

House Republicans overwhelmingly stood behind Trump after he incited a white supremacist insurrection.

Desperate QAnon Believers Think Trump Spoke to Them in Morse Code.

Donald Trump Refuses To Pay Rudy Giuliani’s Legal Fees – Living up to his reputation, Donald Trump is stiffing yet another person that worked for him.

How Science Explains Trump’s Grip on White Males.

Trump Issues Lie-Filled Video Statement After He is Impeached for Second Time.

In Memoriam:

Chuck Yeager, pilot who broke the sound barrier, dies at 97.

Chuck Yeager was a Hollywood idea of a brave test pilot – today they must be skilled engineers too.

Chuck Yeager Was a Hero to Speed Demons Everywhere.

Public Ceremony Scheduled In West Virginia For The Late Chuck Yeager.

100-Year-Old Tuskegee Airman Theodore Lumpkin Jr. Dies of COVID-19.

Pioneering Texas Trans Pol Addison Perry-Franks Dead at 39.

Pat Loud, Matriarch of Pioneering Reality TV Family That Introduced America to Their Out and Proud Gay Son, Dead at 94.

RIP Muppet Designer Caroly Wilcox.

Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried & Roy Dead at 81.

SF gay activist Ken Jones dies at 70.

Things I wrote:

Monday Update: Reactions to murder mob incited by the President, Police response, and Dems winning the Senate.

Age of Misinformation, or, how sf/f warned us of the current apocalypse.

You cannot reason with terrorists and cultists.

Videos!

It’s a Little Too Late For Republicans To Denounce Trump Pt. 1:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here. And hey, you can watch part 2 here)

FBI: The MAGA Maniacs Who Tried To Overthrow The Government Are Going To Pay:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

After Second Impeachment, Trump Begins Moving Out of White House: A Closer Look:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

James Comey: If You Went Up Those Stairs, You Committed A Crime. You Are Going To Be Found:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Doritos – The best gift (Mexico, English subtitles, 2020):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

You cannot reason with terrorists and cultists

“Let's be clear: the STOPTHESTEAL people tried to steal an election. The WWJD people brought guns, bombs, and built a gallows. The FAKENEWS people believe literally 100% provably false, literally 100% insane conspiracy theories. The BLUELIVEMATTER people beat a cop to death.”

Let’s be clear…

“Imagine a senior who, two weeks before graduation, organizes an attack on the school administration building that leaves five dead. Now imagine someone arguing that we shouldn't expel the student because 1) it's awfully close to graduation, or 2) it would divide the student body.”

Imagine…

The people who stormed the Capitol last week are terrorists. Domestic terrorists. Domestic white supremacist terrorists. Domestic christianist terrorists. Like all terrorists, they believe they are heroes. Like all terrorists, they believe anyone who doesn’t agree with them are their enemies. Like all terrorists, they believe that anyone who opposes them are either evil, or fools under the sway of evil forces. If you believe someone is not just your enemy, but also an evil being, you will not listen to the person. Which means you can’t negotiate a meaningful compromise of any kind with them.

“Imagine 9/11 only no press conferences explaining what happened or what was ongoing, and a third of Congress expressing sympathy with Al Qaida and urging us to forget the attack in the name of unity.”

Imagine…

Most of the people who stormed the Capitol last week are also cultists, in the sense that they “practice excessive devotion to a person and/or belief system.” Many of them firmly believe that the world is secretly controlled by a ring of vampiric pedophiles, and that the Traitor-in-Chief has been secretly arresting and executing members of this ring for years, for instance. Others simply believe that much is being stolen from them by classes of people they think are inferior who are now getting some civil rights. A whole lot of them believe that the Traitor-in-Chief is somehow just like them, and even more, that he cares about them (despite tons of evidence to the contrary). Like all cultists, they believe that evil people and evil forces oppose them, and that the only way to defeat those evil forces is to utterly destroy anyone and anything that stands in their way. Which once again means that you can’t negotiate any sort of live and let live situation with them.

“Republicans: 'We just lost the House, the Senate, the Presidency, the respect of the world, and 350,000 American lives. Meet us in the middle.' Yeah, that's gonna be a no.”

A really big no.

An unknown number of Republican members of Congress are true believers in the same manifesto of the domestic terrorists and cultists. Many are cynical opportunists who believe that they can somehow ride the tiger that is the mob of domestic terrorists and cultists. Some may finally be realizing that once you’ve jumped on the tiger’s back, you can’t get off without getting mauled. Most seem to think that they can just ride the tiger forever. In any case, they aren’t going to work in good faith with people the tigers hate. Which again means, there isn’t much point in trying to appease them or compromise with them. Today, 10 of them very pointedly got off the tiger’s back by voting for Impeachment of the Traitor-in-Chief.

But I don’t for one minute believe that any of those ten came to that conclusion because people on the other end of the political spectrum compromised with them. My point above is not that everyone of the rioters and their supporters are irredeemable, but rather, that there is nothing we, who they perceive as either enemies or tools of their enemies, can do to change how they feel.

For those that have committed actual crimes (all the rioters, for instance), we have to do our best to identify them and then prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. As to the supporters who merely cheered them on or whatever, we have to shun or boycott or otherwise show them that they have things to lose if they insist on continuing to fight our right to live our own lives.

And it’s okay in the course of these events to occasionally take a moment to enjoy a little schadenfreude…

“All Capitol stormers who get felonies will lose their right to own guns.”

“All Capitol stormers who get felonies will lose their right to own guns.”

Age of Misinformation, or, how sf/f warned us of the current apocalypse

“The President has not been silenced. He has a press room right in his house. He's more than welcome to step up the the podium, speak and even take some questions. He is not a victim.”

The President has NOT been silenced. The entire White House Press Corps is waiting to report his words to the world…

One of the history classes I took in college was focused very tightly on the era from 1945 to 1980—and almost exclusively from the viewpoint of the U.S. My professor was literally the kind of guy who would show up on campus at least twice a week wearing one of many ponchos he had picked up during his frequent summer sojourns to Central America. He also wore turtlenecks a lot, and frequently had on one of more necklaces again, acquired during his Central American trips. He was the living embodiment of a particular academic stereotype of the time.

His tests usually had at least one essay question. He warned us that the final would have several of the shorter essay questions similar to those we’d seen before, and one much longer one that would make up a large portion of the grade of the test. At some point before the final, he gave us a list of sample questions for that large final one, telling us the question on the test would be either one of those, or a variant. When the day of the final arrived, the test at the end was along the lines of, “Of the technological advancements made in the 20th Century, what is the one which poses the greatest threat to the future of humanity. Explain why you think this is so.”

Which was, indeed, one of the questions that had been on the sample list. And I knew, because of things he had said many times in class, that he believed there was one, and only one correct answer: strategic nuclear weapons and the threat of all-out nuclear war.

And I had disagreed in class.

I could have written the essay he wanted. I felt, however, that I needed to maintain my own integrity, so instead I wrote about communications and data technology, and how as those technologies converged, they would create tools which could take propaganda to a point that could indeed send humans to extinction. I don’t remember all of the specific arguments I made in the essay.

As I expected, he didn’t give me very many points for it, and even wrote a derisive comment about how newspapers and television could never wipe out the human race.

You don’t know how tempted I have been of late to email him (he is still alive, though no longer teaching at SPU where I took classes from him—he is semi-retired teaching part time at a small college in Oregon, now), point him to the current series of fascistic, racist movements boiling over in many countries around the world, all fueled by misinformation driven by algorithms and ask him if he wants to reconsider that grade.

I should mention that I was taking this class in 1986 or 1987, at a time before most people owned personal computers, the protocols that would make World Wide Web possible were just being invented, and if you had cable television at all, you probably only had access to about a dozen channels. It is understandable that someone wouldn’t see where telecommunications was going. I can’t take complete credit for being prescient in that essay. It’s true that my minor was Communications, and being a mathematics and data guy by nature, I had an understanding of how tiny incremental changes could propagate out to create vast systemic disruptions.

But I also had the help of having been an avid science fiction fan for as long as I could remember. What most people think of as cyberpunk had only been around for a few years at that point, but the precursors had been percolating through science fiction works for a couple of decades. So I had some help in imagining what ubiquitous telecommunications technology might turn into.

Which leads us to the here and now. There are large segments of the population in live in information bubbles that allow them to believe (and receive daily confirmation) the most outlandish and provably false ideas. Ideas that inspire them to arm themselves and invade capitol buildings and kill public servants, all while thinking that these aren’t crimes and that they will be lauded as heroes who saved humanity afterward.

Way back in 1975 U.S. Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger said, “Everybody is entitled to his own views. Everybody is not entitled to his own facts.” A slightly different version of this statement is often attributed to U.S Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In any case, between the various siloed news sources, social media algorithms, and ubiquitous stream of data to devices many of us carry with us constantly, we’ve entered a world where a lot of people are forming opinions and making decisions based on their own “facts.” It’s not just that they are immersed in misinformation and lies, they are immersed in complex constructs of alternate realities built on misinformation and lies, but so reinforced (with the help of technology), that they might as well be physically living in a parallel universe from other people.

It’s not a new phenomenon, but the layering of misinformation, misinterpretation, misrepresentation, and misdirection has been accelerating and compounding to a point that it is becoming nearly impossible for people to reach across bubbles and have meaningful conversations—let alone the level of mutual understanding and empathy necessary to have good faith discussions of how to solve our problems.

We’re at the point where a bunch of loosely aligned sub-cultures have been (and are still) plotting the violent overthrow of governments as well as the literal destruction of people who disagree with them. The murder mob which invaded the U.S. Capitol building just last week is only one example of this problem.

And while it appears that the coup has halted because the Liar-in-Chief is so devastated at all his social media accounts being taken off-line (leaving him, by reliable counts, sulking in the residence portion of the White House and not just ignoring his job and duties, but ignoring even his most sycophantic aides), the truth is that his angry supporters and the allied neo-Nazis/alt-right extremists are simply doing their planning in slightly more obscure portions of the network. There will most certainly be more violent “protests” and threats in the coming days.

Which is not to say that I think Twitter and Facebook and the other tech companies were wrong to take the (long overdue) actions that they have to shut down the various accounts. Nor am I saying that Congress shouldn’t be proceeding with at least the effort to re-Impeach and so forth. The truth is that these mostly white supremacist haters and malcontents have been angry and raging for years, and they are going to continue to riot and cause trouble no matter what we do.

It is precisely because they will rage and riot no matter what we do, that all of us should do the right thing. We should continue to speak out against the lies and hate. We should encourage those with the power to de-platform violence to do so. We should continue to seek out and arrest the lawbreakers and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

I’ve seen people on the progressive end of the political spectrum bemoan that fact that private companies such as Twitter and Amazon Web Services and the like have so much power to silence people. Specifically I’ve seen the assertion made that this “just moves us closer to the cyberpunk dystopia where corporations have more power than governments.” I have some news for you: we are already in that dystopia, and have been for a bit longer than you probably imagine.

But that’s just another layer of the problem. A problem we can only solve if we stay engaged and find ways to hold each other accountable.


Edited to Add:

Camestros Feloptan has a somewhat related post that I missed yesterday: Further Annals of Libertarians Discovering Capitalism Sucks.

And if I’m going to talk about Cyberpunk, even in passing as I did, I should include this song, from Billy Idol’s most underrated album, CyberpunkNEUROMANCER:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

ETA 2:

Elseweb I was asked which sci fi stories helped paint this picture. This is not a definitive list, just ones that come to mind:

Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester

The Dueling Machine by Ben Bova

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick

On Wings of Song by Thomas M. Disch

Bladerunner the motion picture directed by Ridley Scott

“The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by James Tiptree, Jr

The Müller-Fokker Effect by John Sladek

Monday Update: Reactions to murder mob incited by the President, Police response, and Dems winning the Senate

“We naively believed it couldn't happen here because we assumed all of the players would do their constitutional duty. We never imagined our leaders would stand in defense of an authoritarian madman. Don't blame the constitution, blame Replublicans.”

Click to embiggen.

This was originally going to be a Weekend Update but between all of the new breaking faster than I could compile good links, my favorite football team losing its playoff game, the arrival of some new furniture, and both my husband and I experiencing varying possible symptoms of coming down with something, I kept not finishing it. And on that first point, you don’t want to know how many news links I select, pasted into this draft, and wrote a few lines of commentary about, only to have newer news pop up, so I’d delete and put in new stuff. So, I finally realized that I need to take a step back and look at some themes I can comment on and leave the breaking news to the professionals.

So first, some perspective on why the police response was completely inadequate to respond to the mob. It’s a big complicated, and we shouldn’t be too quick to jump to a single explanation. The first article focuses on a statistical analysis of how U.S. police in general respond to protest groups and the like depending on whether the crowd is perceived to be conservative or liberal:

The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration .

The second talks about the mistake of thinking that the protestors couldn’t be serious, in part because so many of them believe obvious, ridiculous conspiracy theories and so forth. Ridiculous doesn’t mean they aren’t serious:

The Capitol Invaders Enjoyed the Privilege of Not Being Taken Seriously.

Then this article takes a data analysis approach to comparing specifically the response to Black Lives Matter protests last year, and their response to the trump cultists rally:

BLM vs Capitol protests: This was the police response when it was Black protesters on DC streets last year.


I need to write at least one full post talking about why at least some of the supporters of the traitor-in-chief are so shocked and amazed that their violent storming of the capitol while shouting about executing the Vice President and the Speaker of the House would result in criminal charges. I’ll try to get that done before the week is done:

Hello, Consequences Of My Own Actions! Rioters Shocked To Face Firing, Arrests – Here’s your round-up of people who are being fired, arrested, or both, for committing gleeful insurrection and sedition.

And I’ve linked so many times to reports, studies, and incidents of how many police departments are full of white supremacist and related extremists. But here’s some fallout from that:

Police departments across the U.S. open probes into whether their own members took part in the Capitol riot.


You might be amazed to know that, even after the joint session of Congress reconvened and completed the confirmation that Biden won the election, but the traitor-in-chief still has lawsuits pending, and he’s trying to get the Supreme Court to overturn the election:

Supreme Court won’t fast-track review of Trump election lawsuits.

And Republicans in Congress, even after the murder mob nearly got some of them, are still resisting removing the authoritarian madman in office and in control of things like the nuclear launch codes:

Republicans Are Still Trying To Keep Trump In Power Even After He Incited A Deadly Insurrection.

Finally, the murder mob isn’t finished, yet:

FBI Warns Trump Supporters Planning ‘Armed Protests’ In All 50 States Starting This Weekend.


Let’s close with some Videos:

Governor Schwarzenegger’s Message Following this Week’s Attack on the Capitol. This isn’t a perfect response. I think if Gov. Schwarzenegger was going to do this, he should have also joined in calls for the Traitor-in-chief to resign. But it’s nice to see what would have been a principled Republican official response would have been in the before times:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

After A Rocky Week, Stephen Finally Gets To Celebrate The Georgia Senate Wins By Warnock And Ossoff:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

SEDITION! – A Randy Rainbow Parody:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Friday Five (flipping Georgia blue edition)

We’ve reached the second Friday in 2021. And who is truly surprised that there was violent seditious, treasonous insurrection incited by the sitting President against the Congress and the Constitution this week?

That is a rhetorical question in two senses. I realize that a lot of people have their heads stuck in the sand (or elsewhere) who are shocked at the development. I had expected violence, I just hadn’t thought that the Capitol Police wasn’t prepared for it. In more uplifting news, in both of the Georgia senate run-off elections (one a special election to fill the unexpired term of another senator, and the other just to fill a normally up-for-re-election seat) the Democratic Party nominee in both races won. And this is significant for a whole lot of reasons. Reverend Warnock is the first African-American ever to serve as a senator from Georgia. He is only, after all these decades, only the eleventh African-American of any party and from any state to serve in the Senate. He is the first African-American Democrat to serve as a Senator from a Southern state. He also ran as an unaplogetic progressive Democrat in what has long been seen as a Red State. Similarly, Jon Ossoff is a young Jewish man who was elected to the other seat. At 33 years old he will be the youngest member of the Senate (which just seems weird). He also ran as an outright progressive. I really hope that the upper echelons of the Democratic Party take this to heart, and stop throwing their support in Red States to so-called moderates, who policy-wise are indistinguishable from Republicans in a bizarre belief that those kind of candidates can somehow fool Republican voters into crossing over. I firmly believe that if the progressive, black Democratic challenger to Mitch McConnell had been on the general election ballot instead of the bland, white, Air Force veteran milquetoast moderate, the McConnell would have either lost or come really close to it.

But let’s get on to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one special video that is all upbeat and full of good news and I hope makes you laugh as much as I did, the top five stories of the week, five news stories that have a local connection for me, five stories about seditious traitors, five stories about deplorables people, five stories about the deplorable thug still occupying the White House, and five videas (plus things I wrote and one notable obituary).

This Week In News We Need Right Now!:

Killer Mike Knew Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Would Win the Georgia Runoff – This is the first thing in several days that made me laugh in a way that had nothing to do with gallows humor; and his joy and enthusiasm brought happy tears to my eyes:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Stories of the Week:

The Full(est Possible) Story of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Event Daring Fireball’s John Gruber nominates this excerpt as the best paragraph of 2020:

Whether it’s war and peace or public relations and gardening, sorting out the truth is a complicated endeavor when it relates to Donald Trump. Everyone involved in anything, no matter the size, no matter how stupid, seems to lie as a first resort, or to know very little, or to lie about knowing very little, or to know just enough to send blame in another direction, and the person in that direction seems to lie also, or to know very little, or to lie about knowing very little, but perhaps they have a theory that sends blame someplace else, and over there, too, you will find more liars, more know-nothings, and before long, a whole month will have passed, and you still haven’t filed your story about how the president’s attorney wound up undermining democracy in a parking lot off I-95 on a strip of cracked pavement in a run-down part of a city that ordinarily would command no consideration from the national political class or the very online public or the equally online mainstream media, which, when forced to look, found lots of reason to laugh.

The Moon Is Rusting, and Researchers Want to Know Why.

21 Excellent Fantasy Books Coming Out This Winter.

COVID-19 and HIV Are Not the Same. But They’re Similar in Many Ways That Matter.

Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine – The architecture of the modern web poses grave threats to humanity. It’s not too late to save ourselves.

This Week in News Local to Me:

Tim Eyman Trial Approaches Conclusion, State Alleges Years of Schemes – “He’s been fibbing for 20 years”.

Seal found wandering on highway in Southwestern Washington.

Sea otter reintroduction to more of the Pacific Coast gets a nudge from Congress.

In Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai,’ Seattle restaurateur Yuji Okumoto reprises a role — and a life — he thought he’d left behind. Kona Kitchen, owned by Yuji, is one of the favorite local eateries.

Bean Dad Deletes Twitter Account After Old Anti-Semitic, Homophobic Tweets Resurface. I know this played out on Twitter, but so-called Bean Dad is a local Seattle writer and musician…

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

Pro-Trump Forces Stormed the Capitol Protesting 2020 Election Results – At least one person has died.

Company Fires Employee Who Stormed Capitol With Badge On.

Please compare the police response to Black Lives Matter and a white mob storming the Capitol.

Trump Calls For “Healing And Reconciliation,” Lies About National Guard, Says Capitol Rioters “Will Pay”. In one of many videos that didn’t make this week’s cut, Stephen Colbert characterized the Traitor-in-Chief’s comments as “phrased as if someone’s lawyer has explained to them that in thirteen days they might face charges of sedition, incitement, and possible accessory to murder…”

What happened at the Capitol ‘was domestic terrorism,’ lawmakers and experts say.

This Week in Deplorable People:

California Woman Charged Over Voicemails to Catholic School: ‘I’m Going to Fucking Kill Your Kids’.

A Pharmacist Allegedly Tried To Ruin COVID-19 Vaccines Because Of False Beliefs They Were “Unsafe” – Authorities described 47-year-old Steven Brandenburg as an “admitted conspiracy theorist.”.

Proud Boys leader arrested for attack on Black church that led to violent clashes in DC.

Judge floats sanctions for attorneys who sought to block Congress from counting electoral votes.

Project Lincoln finds the lane it should stay in: cutting off corporate money to seditionists.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

Trump Is Said to Have Discussed Pardoning Himself, Again.

Trump Loses Social Media Megaphone as Facebook, Twitch Act.

Shopify takes down Trump’s campaign store – The company says the president’s comments Wednesday violated its policy against promoting violence.

Trump stacked courts with judges ‘hostile’ toward gays, rights group says – Nearly 4 in 10 of the president’s confirmed appeals court judges have a “demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ+ bias,” according to Lambda Legal.

‘Domestic Terrorists’: An Angry President-elect Joe Biden Condemns Trump’s Sedition – Joe Biden introduced his nominees for the Department of Justice with an angry denunciation of Trump’s effort to overthrow the will of 160 million voters.

In Memoriam:

Neil Sheehan, Pentagon Papers reporter, Vietnam author, dies – As a national writer for the Times based in Washington, Sheehan was the first to obtain the Pentagon Papers, a massive history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam ordered up by the Defense Department.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 1/2/2021: More of the same BS.

Coffee vs reality – and silly habits.

Wednesday Update: 1/5/2021: Treason, Tallies, and Run-offs.

Don’t become silent… don’t let the traitors get away with it.

Videos!

Hey, Republicans Who Supported This President: Are We Great Again Yet? – LIVE MONOLOGUE:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Seth Meyers Calls For Trump’s Removal After Violent Insurrection at Capitol:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Jimmy Addresses the Violence at the U.S. Capitol:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Dan Rather Explains How President Trump Incited a Coup:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Tensions at the White House ‘are as high as they’ve ever been’:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Don’t become silent… don’t let the traitors get away with it

"Another Confederate monument has been removed:" over a picture of Mitch McConnell with a smug smirk on his face:

“Another Confederate monument has been removed:”

I stayed up late into the night until the joint session of Congress ended. Yes, all the way through both times the two houses retired to separate chambers to debate objections to some Electoral votes, and even the closing prayer. I stuck through until Vice President Pence gaveled the session closed. Just before the closing prayer, Pence announced the total counts for each candidate and quoted the Electoral Count Act of 1887 that his announcement “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States.”

The big news of the day should have been the against most predictions, both Democrats won the Georgia Senate seat run-off elections: Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are the two newest members of the Senate and that’s huge. That means after Inauguration Day, when Kamala Harris becomes the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans will no longer control the Senate. All the committee chairs that need to hold confirmation hearings for Biden’s political appointees will be Democrats. The Majority Leader who schedules votes on things like confirmation hearings and laws passed by the House that the Republicans have ignored for years will be a Democrat. That is huge! And it should have been everyone’s top headline yesterday. Instead…

“Republican Pary: These are your riots. Trump got them going, but You Built This!”

“Republican Pary: These are your riots. Trump got them going, but You Built This!”

I thought that I would be spending the day with CSPAN running in the background while I edited a big document for work. I thought it would be the boring ceremonial stuff interrupted by six false objections from the Sedition Caucus forcing the two house to separate and people to read their 5-minute prepared speeches before large majorities voted to reject the objections. I knew the thousands of white supremacist, QAnon-believing, Trump cultists would cause some trouble, but I thought it would be mostly contained in the streets of the city, where the Metropolitan Police force and the D.C. unit of the National Guard were ready for them. I figured it would be like when the Black Lives Matter march happened last summer, and a massive police and National Guard presence would be ready. None of us knew that, for whatever reason, the Capitol Police (a completely separate police force from the city’s Metropolitan Police) would not be expecting demonstrators.

Although I do have to admit that I’m not surprised that some of the Capitol Police actually removed some barriers and waved the lawless thugs through. Nor that some posed to take selfies with the treasonous crowd. Because there has always been a significant number of white supremacists within every U.S. police force.

I was incredibly angry at how the mob behaved when they got inside the Capitol Building. And I’m really angry at those media people who are trying to float the idea that they thought the Capitol was open, and they were just strolling through like on a perfectly legal public tour.

They kicked in windows to get in. They kicked in doors. Many of them proudly posed for cameras with items they stole from inside the building. They knew they were not just strolling through on a public tour.

I get it, white privilege makes them think that there will be no consequences. They don’t see themselves as treasonous, lawless thugs. They think they’re patriots. And so many of them are now outraged that a few of them got pepper-sprayed and the like. They are completely unaware that they were treated far, far, far more gently than Black Lives Matter protesters are and have been treated. Hundreds of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters are routinely arrested for simply being in the street. There should have been mass arrests yesterday, not Capitol Police helping people walk down the Capitol Steps and later occasionally nudging the crowed that was illegally assembled after curfew further from the Capitol.

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I have other topics that I want to write about. But things like this keep happening, and I feel that being silent while the President and some members of Congress make excuses and continue to egg on the delusions of these lawless, racist, thugs must be called out. This isn’t over. It isn’t going to be over when Trump if finally out of office.

At least some of them are starting to face some consequences: Company Fires Employee Who Stormed Capitol With Badge On.

Maybe a few will even face charges: FBI asks public for help identifying violent rioters in Capitol siege.

Wednesday Update: 1/5/2021: Treason, Tallies, and Run-offs

“Call Me Crazy... but I think possible treason should be investigated as thoroughly as a blow job.”

“Call Me Crazy… but I think possible treason should be investigated as thoroughly as a blow job.”

Today both houses of Congress meet for a Constitutionally mandated tallying of the Electoral votes. Do not let the media that keeps referring to it as “certifying” the vote fool you. The popular votes have already been certified in each state (and audited in many states and recounted in several). The Electoral college votes have all already been certified by the state governors, as required by the Constitution (most states require their respective Secretary of State’s office to certify state election results first, then electors meet to cast their votes, and then the governor signs it according to the Federal Constitution).

The Congressional process is not a certification, it’s a ceremonial tally. Similarly, the President of the Senate (aka the Vice President of the U.S. unless that office is vacate or the person is unavailable, at which point the duty falls to the Senate Pro Tempore—under current rules and tradition, the seniormost member of the majority party) is authorized by the Constitution to do only two things: call the joint session to order, and open the envelopes containing Electoral votes. He isn’t even the person who counts them. The counting is done by tellers selected from the two houses.

However, because of the members of what many people are now calling the Sedition Caucus are going to object to some of those slates. And if at least one Senator and one Representative object, the two houses retire to their own chambers and debate for not more than 2 hours, then vote on whether to accept the contested Electoral votes. And a majority of both houses have to agree to reject them in order for them not to be counted. So with a Democratic majority in one house, there is no way that any Electoral votes will be rejected.

The Hill has a nice summary to today’s process here: Questions and answers about the Electoral College challenges.

So there is going to be a lot of drama, but it’s all just a media circus. There won’t be a change in the election results. Unfortunately the fuckwits out there who have become pro-fascists and distrustful of the democratic process will take this as encouragement to continue their hate crimes, intimidations, and terrorist threats. So it is definitely not harmless.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so: Worse Than Treason – No amount of rationalizing can change the fact that the majority of the Republican Party is advocating for the overthrow of an American election.

The grifter-in-chief continues to think that threatening and cajoling people will make them ignore the law and let him remain in power: ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor. The entire hour-long recording is available online, and if you hear it Trump sounds like a cartoonish parody of a crime boss. I saw more than one former prosecutor on line say that real crime bosses are more subtle than he was in that call. So besides being an incompetent businessman, an incompetent casino owner, and an incompetent President, but he is only a wanna be mob boss!

Meanwhile, it’s looking likely that Moscow Mitch will cease to be the Senate Majority soon, which is just as important as getting the grifter-in-chief out of the Oval Office: Warnock win puts Democrats on the brink of Senate control – The other Georgia race, which remains uncalled, will determine the Senate majority.

Georgia Senate Race Called For Reverend Warnock By Decision Desk HQ – Democrat Jon Ossoff still needs to make up a small deficit, but Reverend Raphael Warnock has defeated Kelly Loeffler.

That gives me hope.

I’m not going to make any predictions about how bad the street violence of the Proud Boys in D.C. is going to be. Videos that were shared Tuesday evening indicate they weren’t prepared for being treated like normal protestors by the police. Proud Boys Brawl With D.C. Cops Ahead of Pro-Trump March.

We’ll have to wait and see.


Edited to Add: Georgia Election Official: Trump Is To Blame For Both Senate Losses In Georgia. If they’re saying both Republican candidates have lost, I guess that means both Warnock and Ossoff have won.

ETA 2: Democrats retake the Senate with Georgia sweep. Everyone’s calling it. Good job, Georgia!

%d bloggers like this: