Why wait?

heisenbergThough it’s tempting to treat it as an artifact of the Internet, rushing an item to press has always been a tactic employed by journalists, probably since the days of the Bennetts and the New York Herald; getting “the scoop” was and remains a huge deal.  In that rush, just as in those days, accuracy is often sacrificed, which is not often considered as a great loss to publishers.  Despite protestations to the contrary in the field of journalism, simply giving the facts and the truth about a story is frequently dull and a poor way to sell newspapers, virtual or otherwise.  Anyone who’s been on the Worldstarhiphop site for more than five minutes will tell you what draws eyeballs — things that end up in some needlessly dramatic mess.  Which brings us to the case of Jussie Smollett. Continue reading


For those outside the U.S.

warning-fascismA quick note to folks outside of the United States: what you are seeing in my country — in this country, I suppose I should say — is in fact the reality of the situation. We do in fact have fascists in power and they are in fact enabled by fascist voters who put them there. This is not meant to be hyperbole; none of this note is.

The reasons why this is happening are the same reasons that caused this to happen in Spain, Italy, Japan, and Germany in the 1930s, Argentina in the 1960s, Uganda in the 1970s…any number of places and times. There are always such people blinded by hate and fueled by violence, and they are everywhere. They take advantage of times when education is low and resentment is high — conditions that are caused by exploitation and inequality. They are strongest in the rural areas of the U.S., which should be considered third-world equivalent.

Donald Trump was not the cause of this; he is the outward symptom. His rise was inevitable given the system that has developed in the United States: falsified democracy, corporate welfare, and oligarchy. It didn’t start with him, but has been accelerated under him — a fact that perversely may be good in the long run, as it strips away the facade of the “kinder, gentler” fascism we have been creeping towards (and often embracing) over the past couple of decades.

I don’t know the ultimate answer to this. There is an impotent “Resistance” offered by the opposing party which reflexively opposes The Leader in the same way that his current followers did to Barack Obama when he was in power — through identity and vitriol and not actual policies or reforms. They seek to take us back to the conditions we had before, unaware that they were the precipitating factor in what we have now. If they succeed, please don’t think that there has been a serious change; the United States will still be dangerous and unstable, though it may have slightly more favor from global capitalists who require stability. (There are also likely to be serious civil conflicts internally, as the principal difference between the “MAGA” and “Resistance” cadres is that the former is more inclined to violence and is heavily armed as a rule.) The system which caused this crisis will still be in place, and can cause it again, or cause something worse to happen.

Please don’t be reluctant to act. Individual Americans might require assistance against the regime — I’m including myself in that category, though there are others who need it more acutely. The subversion required for that assistance will be worth more than any “Resistance” occurring here. Your nation, state, or alliance may need to take steps against the U.S. Do it. Again: what you are seeing is happening, and you should act accordingly.

And now, the case against

Since everyone is (for some reason) holding forth on this today, allow me to say some very unpopular and uncomfortable things. Donald Trump was elected “fair and square” — which is to say he was elected by the same system that elected the rest of the Presidents who’ve led us. The problem is that system, not Donald Trump.

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Now that we have your attention…

In the last three days or so, we have been subjected to a number of articles from CNN (going after Jimmy Dore in an “exposé” on YouTube advertising), the BBC (against Vanessa Beeley and other bloggers and journalists), and NPR (a smear against Anoa Changa by Atlanta’s NPR affiliate), all concerning alternative theories surrounding what is happening in Syria — or, failing that, simply suggesting that before dropping bombs somewhere as a reaction to an internal chemical weapons attack, perhaps those responding could verify whether or not it was in fact Assad and his forces which did so, or perhaps suggest a motive for those attacks, or perhaps outline a particular overarching strategy whereby those guilty of similar attacks on civilians (such as those in Yemen) would be met with an analogous and morally consistent response.  The Guardian has chimed in about the supposed Pentagon claim of “4000% increase in Russian bot activity” which followed the Syria strikes, and identified one of those Russian bots whose name was Ian and appeared suspiciously human in a follow-up interview on SkyNews.  (Links for these are forthcoming, but I don’t wish to further delay the publishing of this message; all of these are easily found on social media.) Continue reading

Putin Watch

Hello, fellow patriots!  It’s time once again to look out for Vladimir Putin!  He’s the sneaky, all-powerful no-goodnick behind all of America’s woes, and the real reason that we have his lackey Donald Trump as our President!  Remember: don’t listen to those people calling for arcane things like “evidence” — they’re all Putin stooges!  Here’s the latest in nefarious Putin news… Continue reading

The mote in our eye

Ladies and gentlemen, my first blog post in almost four years.  Did I miss anything?

Hopefully you all will not be waiting another four years for the next one.  As you might be able to tell from the content, it was not external political matters which kept me away — although I’ll admit that those have had a toll on my spiritual and mental well-being from time to time.  Please feel free to leave comments, as before.

There’s been a bit of pearl-clutching on this side of the pond over an opposition candidate in the upcoming Russian Presidential election, Alexey Navalny. Navalny is a reformer, and has made combatting corruption the centerpiece of his campaign, with strong and reasoned policy points concerning the economy. Of course, one of the weak points of modern Western democracy is that policy is a very distant concern among observers of his campaign, and many aren’t even looking at it at all. That’s human nature, of course, but it is amplified by media reaction. On that side, Russian media is essentially an arm of the Vladimir Putin campaign and ignores Navalny. They will get around to ridiculing him later, if he gains any traction with his campaign. (This is not a behavior that is confined to Russia, as I’ll discuss later in this article.) To Western media, Navalny has become a cause celebre because he seems to be the only reform-minded candidate running against Putin, and Putin has been transformed into something of a Blofeldian caricature in the U.S. Continue reading

I’m Going to Say Some Unpopular Things About Leelah Alcorn

First of all, what a terrible tragedy.  What we know is that she felt trapped in her body, she went to her parents for help, and they decided that the help she needed was ‘therapy’ to make her feel male. When she realized that it would be too late for her to transition gracefully if she waited for legal autonomy, she killed herself, leaving a suicide note on social media asking that her death bring about help for teens like herself.  Her mother didn’t acknowledge either the suicide or the transgender identity when she announced her baby’s death.

I understand the outrage at the parents, I really do.  They did completely the wrong thing, they bought snake oil medicine, and when their child died they couldn’t (publicly) face the fact that their actions had something to do with it.  They still call her “Joshua”, and she will undoubtedly be buried under that name and in a suit.

The thing is, the parents of a suicide often have trouble acknowledging it.  I had a forty year old friend who took an overdose of medication for his chronic pain, and his mother couldn’t acknowledge it was suicide – even in a situation where there was no blame implied.  How could you expect Carla Alcorn to come to grips with the death of her child when her child blamed her for it?

I want to fix this, really, for all future Leelah’s.  I just don’t see how attacking her parents does that.   They attempted to get their child psychiatric treatment, they went to doctors they believed were reputable, and the depression deepened.

We certainly can say the mental health professional they took her to failed dramatically.  Ohio was on it’s way to banning conversion therapy last year, but that effort crashed and burned in the spring.  The fact that she didn’t get any help for suicidal depression is another BIG data point in favor of the ban.

But the truth is, even if she had gotten appropriate therapy (which I would guess would have been a combination of depression treatment and gender conversion therapy) there is no guarantee that she would have lived.  We will never know.

So let’s all respect Leelah’s wish, and do what we can to make the world better for Transgendered teens (and adults as well), but please, if we can, let’s do it without demonizing her family.  They have enough pain to deal with, and changing their minds won’t help the next Leelah.