Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I think, we are; proper fucked.

I've attempted to be sanguine in the face of this unmitigated disaster we're calling the first year and a half of the Trump presidency.

I've attempted to tell myself that "Yeah, he's terrible, but our institutions are strong" as he's undermined those institutions. I've then fallen back on, "Well, the people he's putting in are only skin deep and there are core elements that won't be affected" to simply watch these governmental agencies hemorrhage career employees.

I then moved onto "Well, at least the press will hold him accountable" only to watch as he works to undermine the credibility of the press.

I then thought "There has to be a bridge too far. He'll have to do something that so abhorrent that even the staunchest of his allies will pull back from him." I know this is a crazy one, but I held out some hope. Only to watch as Republicans stepped in line to back a guy who couldn't quite denounce nazi's.

As I write this the WH is currently flopping around about their defending, maybe not defending, not sure when they didn't or did know that this guy Porter was a serial spouse abuser.  Even though it's clear, they knew because they wouldn't give him a security clearance (they generally don't give clearances to people who do shit like that because it can be used as blackmail)

"When you dance with the devil, the devil don't change, the devil changes you..."

I believe when we finally find our way out of this miasic forest of pus and rot, we will have been invariably changed.

We will no longer consider civility as a virtue, but as a weakness. Pluralism will be considered pandering and will be used as pejorative in the same way liberalism is used today.

Any notion that we were a nation that once stood as a beacon for the common good, the rule of law and the pursuit of liberty and justice will die a quiet death, in fact you can argue it's on life support now, with people eagerly grasping the plug.

Thus, I think we are proper fucked.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Trump's infidelity should come as no surprise.

Looking at the various news sites today, what I most noticed was a general apathy about the ?maybe? revelation that Trump's people paid ~$160k in hush money to a porn star who screwed around with Trump.

The reason to me is quite obvious.  This is entirely within his character.  This is a man who has a history of cheating on his spouses.

The bigger question now is how credible is this claim?  Apparently people have know about this for awhile but there hasn't been enough evidence to corroborate this allegation.

Monday, October 9, 2017

At least the GOP's War on Women is going well.

Good news ladies. If your employer is a cheap skate or has some weird religious hang ups about sex your right to control when you get pregnant, you're in luck!

The trump administration just got the health and human services to grant a sweeping exception to employers to stop paying for your birth control.  It's now entirely on you, isn't that awesome! 

Now you can pay who knows how much a month for the privilege of not getting pregnant.

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

If you're pro-life but somehow think this decision is a good idea, please please please explain your rational to me.  If your rational in any way has a religious component in it, good luck, you're going to fucking need it.

Let's be clear, this decision is to fellate Trumps fervent religious right constituents, nothing else.

What staggers me is this administrations hell bent ambitions on entirely wiping out Obama's legacy without thinking about the misery they're going to cause.

This is universally a bad decision for women.  This will result in more unintended pregnancies and more abortions. We're at an all time low for abortions because women have access to birth control!

Even worse, it's going to affect the poorest women the most. This are the women who can least afford to get pregnant.  Never mind the republicans' never ceasing assault on welfare programs for children.

As a father of daughters, I'm looking at the reality that it's FUCKING 2017 and my daughters will have less access to contraceptives then their mother and grandmothers.

This doesn't surprise me.  This is yet another fantastic example of the republicans gleefully taking away women's rights.

If you know a woman who identifies themselves as a republican, please ask them to explain their parties positions on women.

Ask them about pay equality.

Ask them about paid maternity leave.

Ask them if they think it's okay that their employer can decide to deny them free access to birth control.

Grab your phone and simply google "Republicans stance on rape" and prepared to be truly horrified.
Seriously only do that in an incognito browser.. I can only imagine what the great google machine will think of searching for shit like that..

Then sit back and watch the cognitive dissonance as they try to hold their idea of the republican party and are faced with the reality that the party is actually universally hostile to women's rights.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Our unyielding love of guns will end us all.

I think this world has broken us in some sense. I know that I should be outraged and horrified. I know that I should be grieving for the family's who loved ones were senselessly killed.

However, I find myself just numb. Just un-surprised, saddened and resigned to the fact that this massacre will simply result in another wiki page entry along with the day Tom Petty was in the hospital. Lots of people will fill their facebook with hashtags and prays.*

In some number of days or weeks some other person, in desperate need of mental health services, will find it in themselves to likely commit another atrocity.

Already there are people howling this is some false flag operation or some other conspiratorial prattle.

My co-worker and friend had something very insightful to say about the battle lines being drawn:

"I'd think anti-gun activists should shut the fuck up. Let the gun nuts try to fucking explain this one. The moment they speak up the gun nuts can now talk about how their coming to take their guns and the conversation about the massacre will end."

I agree with him. I really want to hear their bloviating "stand your ground" argument. I want to see them tie themselves into Gordian knots trying to argue how guns are keeping us all safe.

Then like usual we'll get to watch our senators, have moments of silence in the capital, quietly thumb the stack of cash from the NRA and do nothing.

And do nothing is what they'll do. Even now you can bet a shiny penny the pro gun lobby are running through the halls of the capital getting promises and handing out donations to ensure that nothing happens.

I'm not even going to address the dumpster fire. He'll manage to fuck this up, you watch.

* - Hashtags and prays piss me off.  We've got plenty of those, neither seem to be doing fuck all. 

Find out who your senators and representatives are and call, email and write them. Depend stricter gun laws. Demand bans for assault rifles. Demand serial tracing from manufacturer to owner.

Here's the ugly truth. I think it's time America falls out of love with the gun. It's done nothing but inflict misery on us. It's an abusive relationship. We keep thinking that next time, it'll be better, but we know the truth. It offers us the sweet promise of protection and provides little. Instead it gives us some materbatorial fantasy about how we're all going to be dirty harry.

The ugly truth is, we'll either use it on ourselves, or love ones or they'll use it on themselves. Our children will find them and use it on themselves or others. 

It's a pandora box of misery.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Puerto Rico is Fucked.

I'm come to realize that Puerto Rico is completely and utterly fucked.

Here's why:

With the destruction in Miami, gulf coast and Houston there's only so much in terms of federal resources to go around.

Midterm elections coming in a year... Who are the politicians going to allocate money to? The people who can vote them out of office or Puerto Rico?

By all measure Puerto Rico's infrastructure was already a complete shit show before the hurricane. Because of it's location and what's needed to fix it, it's going to become crazy expansive very quickly. To add to that, with the poverty and debt that PR already has, I don't expect investors are going to line up in droves to dump money in.

Will PR get rebuild? Yes. Will it be slow as shit. You can bet on it.

Taking a knee and the slippery slope and getting played.

The people who are freaking out about the NFL players taking a knee are getting played.

What the NFL players are trying to do is force a conversation about racism, privilege and inequality in this country.

The other side instead of engaging in this conversation wants to yell "unpatriotic!!" as loud as they can. It's a clear act of de-platforming.

Let's stop for a moment and think about the people who REALLY don't want to talk about equality for a moment... Yeah it's those assholes with the nazi flags.

What's frightening to me is that I see this leading down the road to fascism.*

Imagine an America where you get fired from your job because you patriotism-ing enough?

This is where we're going today. The President demanding people get fired for lacking patriotism is scary.

Boss: "Yeah, I'm gonna have to let you go, I get a call from the patriotism police and yesterday while you were at the game, it's clear from the video you didn't take your hat off and you have your left hand on your heart. We've talked about this before, we only employ true patriots around here."

While the quote is falsely attributed to Sinclair Lewis, I'm going to butcher it a bit further...
"When Fascism comes to American it will be wrapped in an American Flag carrying a cross and demanding blind jingoism"

* - Fascism: go read the wiki article on fascism as there isn't a well defined single definition, but of them, I like this the best:

The 14 points of Fascism
  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
  4. Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
  5. Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
  7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
  9. Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  14. Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Coming Darkness...

As I've watched the various weather forecasts for Harvey and now Irma and Jose, I've had a stark revelation. I can see a future in which we for the most part have to abandon the southern coast.  I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Will we rebuild Houston? Yes. Just like we rebuilt New Orleans, many parts of New Orleans that are not rebuilt, I can imagine there will many parts of Houston that never get rebuilt.

If Miami gets wrecked, will we rebuild it? Yes.

However, think about "Littlevile". This is an imagined small town on the coast. It could be in any of the coastal states.

Let's imagine for a moment that Irma smacks Florida, as a category 3 or 4 it runs into this small town on the coast and wrecks 85% of its structures.

FEMA and flood insurance comes in and Littleville starts to get back on it's feet. Let's imagine it the whole process takes 2 years..

Now imagine at the 1.5 year mark, another storm comes in and undoes a portion of the work.  FEMA has to come in again and the flood insurance pays out for some more stuff. Plus private business insurance has to pay out again for the businesses that were damaged.

Now imagine this process happening in fair number of small towns across the southern region.

At some point, it's not that the federal government will abandon this areas, it's that the insurance companies will.  This will cause a cascade effect.

Sure, you'll be able to build there, but flood insurance will be so insanely expensive (imagine 5k per month) as to deter anybody from building on the coast. When this happened with Sandy that did this sort of thing, and congress howled, but at at some point after they've had to past their Nth number of relief bill that's pouring money into the flood insurance market to shore it up, the writing will be on the wall and the resistance to high flood premiums will melt away. 

So imagine any set of these towns that's through their 5th or 6th partial rebuild.  No businesses will be able to get flood/business insurance. What few houses are there will be mansions build on high pilings surrounded by levies.

With each storm, more and more of the residences of these towns are forced by economic conditions to move. At some point the local government bereft of a tax base dwindles to a skeleton of what it was. Eventually these small towns will have to band together for schools, fire, police, etc. These structures will become the only safe places in a storm. Built on high foundations, surrounded by levies, generators and water systems on the roof. Designed to be islands for weeks at a time. What few people remain will find the only way they can build will be to build near these regional storm shelters as zoning rules and insurance restrictions will limit them.

As more storms continue to roll in, there will come a point where the state governments will balk at rebuilding anything. Who needs to fix the pot holes in a town with no people?  Why would a government issue bonds to build infrastructure that won't even last a fraction of it's intended life? While all this time, the sea level continues to creep higher and higher. Municipal water systems will salinate, as they are right now in Florida. Sewer systems that were designed when the sea level was lower will inundated as they are now in Florida. There will be no will, people or money to fix these.

There might be people who'll come out in say it, but in most cases what will happen is that legislatures in these states will simply drag their feet. When presented with the mounting costs will kneed their hands... and frankly as these regions empty of people their constituents will be pressuring them to spend money on infrastructure inland. Sleepy cities in the middle and northern parts of these states will suddenly have an influx of people, flush with money to build houses. They'll want bigger schools for their kids, these towns will need more fire / police / hospitals.

The south coast won't die with a bang, but it will die with a steady ebbing of it's people in resources.

NASA will release pictures showing a timelapse of the lights going out on the southern coasts except for the major cities where they'll be spending billions to buttress and build what will eventually become islands in a region of darkness.