19 February 2017

Link round-up for 19 February 2017

Cosplayers do Valentine's Day.

Coloring books are fun!

How far could Legolas really see?

Have some amusing pictures.

Some say such creatures are just a myth.


Creative?  Er, how would this work?

The Bible is Lovecraftian porn.


Perhaps we sometimes do the same?

Goofy album covers are goofy (found via Mendip).

In this case, I'm OK with a little pollution.

Disquietingly close to plausible.  And no doubt they loathe these appealing creatures.

Burger wars rage on Twitter.

It's God's will!

Stupid terrorist is stupid.  Stupid dingbats can't get anything right.

The word is spelled "Lügenpresse" -- our side should get things right.

Could it be reincarnation?  Oh, and there's this.  Miller does have a history of racism (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

Have some cute feline mom-and-baby pics.....and these soothing flowers.

It's not a controversy.

Trump's hiring -- apply here.

Always be wary of MSM reporting on science.  Don't believe everything people say about the ACLU, either.

Wingnuts follow Alt-Jesus.

A Tennessee Republican wants to declare artificially-conceived children illegitimate.  Here are some kids who would be targeted if they lived there (luckily they live in a more enlightened state).

A modern Christian explains why there's nothing wrong with owning a woman.

Crazy Eddie looks at the "day without immigrants" protests in his state.

They are out there, recruiting.

Critical thinking is critical, to avoid making a fool of oneself.

Some people relish barbarity from the past.

We're not intolerant, they're stupid.

Pro-freedom counter-protesters rally for Planned Parenthood, in one case far outnumbering the enemy (found via Hackwhackers).

Sorry, Nazis, if this is a Jewish thing, they win again.

Here's how airliner oxygen masks really work.

Wingnutty wingnuts are wingnutty.  They're even this wingnutty.

Consider a VPN for online privacy.

Some Christian missionaries are terminally screwed up.

We live in remarkable times.

Green Eagle dissects the "alternative facts" version of World War II.

Eight nations unite against Trump's attack on global abortion rights (found via Republic of Gilead).

Finland wasn't always so enlightened.

After four months, the battle to liberate Mosul grinds on.

Looks like Michelle's garden is safe.

Trump gets it right!

This Republican legislator views pregnant women as mere "host" organisms (bolstering the case I made here for a new party symbol).

The sweeps begin.

Ignorance is strength, or maybe it's just willful dumbth.

McCain hits Trump hard (found via Mendip, who is now doing political link round-ups under the "Grand Old Pigs" titles).  Here's some advice for bad times.  Bill Maher sees the humorous side.  Also, boycott these.

Warren's "persistence" has an honorable precedent.

The Democratic party must avoid false choices.

Max's Dad looks at Trump's weird press conference, while Hackwhackers has a round-up of reactions.  Stonekettle Station does an exhaustive analysis.  Don't forget Trump has an actual mental disorder.  And this is true too.

[Image at top:  If anyone knows who made this, please tell me so I can credit it properly.]

17 February 2017

Random observations for February 2017

The last thing any liberationist should want is chaos.  Chaos quickly makes most people hungry for order, even authoritarian order.

o o o o o

If I do ever die, I want people to say "he died", not this "passed away" horseshit.  I hate euphemisms.

o o o o o

If Donald Trump had not been born rich, he would probably be indigent or dead.  His mentality and behavior are too weird and offensive to succeed at any ordinary job.

o o o o o

I feel a special horror at regimentation, at anything that subsumes the individual within the mindless mass.  The chanting of slogans, the singing of hymns or recital of creeds, marching in unison -- it all reeks of yielding one's humanity to a deadened and dangerous subhumanity.

o o o o o

The fact that you personally don't understand the scientific evidence for something doesn't mean that that evidence is not conclusive.

o o o o o

Can we someday do without leaders at all?  It would be contrary to our nature as a species -- we are primates, and primates have dominance hierarchies.  But we have already transcended our biology in so many other ways.....Who can say?

o o o o o

A person who knows only one language is like a person who has only one eye.  You can see just as much, but all the depth is missing.

o o o o o

You are free to the extent that -- and only to the extent that -- you can say  "no" to someone who gives you an order, and make it stick.

o o o o o

Human lust and sexual passion are a constant across the millennia and around the world.  Taboos about various forms of sexuality seem pretty much random and change like the weather, from decade to decade and from country to country.  It's absurd to think that the particular configuration of clouds we see right here at the present instant constitutes a final "correct" state which will be fixed forever.

o o o o o

A lifeless universe?  I prefer to imagine that there are many worlds out there with their own peoples, where the stories that cannot be told on this world can have their chance to live.

[For previous random observations, see here and here.]

14 February 2017

Iran in pictures

If the Republican Minority-Rule Regime drags us into another war, it's quite likely that Iran would be the target, given that country's status as the wingnuts' current bogeyman and major object of Trump's blunderingly belligerent rhetoric.  Herewith, some images of the country they'd be taking us to war against (click for bigger versions).

Tehran, the capital city:

Tehran's metro-area population is 16 million, larger than any US metro area except New York.


Maydan-e Shâh (Royal Square), Isfahan:

Traditional dresses (this is a Persian New Year celebration):

Protester helping injured police officer during the 2009 anti-regime demonstrations:

Satellite dishes (to access foreign TV) are a common sight in Iran:

Children's play area, shopping mall, Shiraz:

Borj-e Âzâdî (Persian history monument), Tehran:

Ruins of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshîd), the imperial capital founded by King Darius I around 515 BC:
The Iranian sense of national identity is very deep-rooted, reaching back to the coronation of Cyrus the Great in 559 BC, more than 300 years before China first became a unified state.

This is Mohammed Mosaddegh, Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953:
Mosaddegh led the first serious attempt to bring real democracy to Iran and expel foreign domination, only to be overthrown by the US/British-backed coup of 1953 which restored the rule of the Shah.  Most Americans have barely heard of him, but this history is well-known in Iran.

Iraq-Iran geographical size comparison:
Iraq at the time of the 2003 US invasion had a population of about 18 million.  Iran's current population is 83 million, about equal to Germany, or more than one-fourth the population of the US.

And of course one cannot ignore pictures like this:
The struggle against the brutal theocratic regime is an ongoing one.  The 2009 demonstrations were the largest protest marches in the history of the world, drawing crowds in the millions.  The current President, Hassan Rouhani, is a reformist who has made some substantial changes, but Islamist hard-liners control much of the government and often retain the upper hand.  It is very unlikely that an attack by a foreign power, especially one still resented for the 1953 coup, would improve the situation.

12 February 2017

Link round-up for 12 February 2017

Soon we will see Saturn's rings as they've never been seen before.

"I call my own shots."

Clever dogClever donkeyStupid humans.

What's your job?


We cannot know what they are dreaming of.

Just hitch a ride.

Interesting words enrich our discourse.

Fragile art -- poetry on an eggshell.

"Dress like a woman" (found via Hysterical Raisins).

You never know where revolutionaries may be found.

Fundie wingnuts are in a snit about Superbowl commercials.

Sometimes people are better than you expect.

"You are here."

These responses to the Women's Marches are very revealing.  Check out Kevin Swanson too.  Remember, we're all possessed by demons -- especially Lady Gaga (more here).

A normal person reports on an online encounter with a Trumpanzee.

It's a wingnut Valentine's Day card!

Besides being a Green, Jill Stein is an idiot.

Trump has massive support in my home city.

Ken Ham does a really crappy rainbow (found via Republic of Gilead).

I don't think this is only gays.

Before counter-protesting at Planned Parenthood, read this.

Remember, the enemy hates regulations.

Here's another quote from Frederick Douglass, on the Fourth of July (link from Ranch Chimp).

This is what Elizabeth Warren was trying to read out.

See pictures from the Stonewall rally (found via Republic of Gilead).

Ooh, look at the scary hijab.

Republicans protect us from voter fraud, but how would deporting this person protect us against Islamic extremism?  Then there's this.

Joanne Dixon looks at American cruelty.

I've been here.

The British prepare to welcome Trump.

It's a hot summer.  And facts are facts.

Now that the idiots are in charge in the US, our scientists may soon have a place to goSee the message here.

God is with us.

I think many countries share some of Sweden's concerns about Trump.

The model for the Statue of Liberty was an Egyptian (found via Earth-Bound Misfit).

Fair and Unbalanced looks at the bungled Yemen raid. I repeat, the idiots are in charge.

Traditional cultures in Kenya are taking steps against the horror of female genital mutilation.

Dumbass Trump (found via Fair and Unbalanced) seems to generate a miasma of illiteracy (found via Green Eagle).  Maybe if he trashes our schools badly enough, no one will be left smart enough to notice.  Progressive Eruptions has commentaries on his authoritarian madness.  Maybe this explains some of it.

Resistance is working, bigly -- even when it seems to fail (found via Republic of Gilead).  Congressional Republicans are running scared.

Trump brings peace.

Don't believe everything you read.

More Trump voters start wising upThese people may take longer to realize they were conned.  But to some, Trump is a liberator.  Others want more.  Animal abusers get a win.

On ACA repeal, Republicans are floundering and getting rattled -- because it's a delusion.

Here's a show of support for Trump in his home city.  Let's see how these events turn out.

Don't forget the soon-to-be-President's record.  Nonnie9999 gets an early start on official portraits.

[23 days down, 1,438 days to go until the inauguration of a real President!]

10 February 2017

Quote for the day -- hypocrisy

"I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land..... I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of 'stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.' I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members.

"The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus..... The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other.

"The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise."

Frederick Douglass (found via Progressive Eruptions)

09 February 2017


I've occasionally been criticized for what some people consider a lack of civility -- for rejecting the enemy's position as invalid or illegitimate or unworthy of serious discussion, and for doing so in blunt terms.  I've been accused of intolerance of differing viewpoints, taking a "my way or the highway" approach.  In fairness, I don't get accused of these things at all often, but I think it's still worth addressing.

To take the easiest point first, I've actually gone out of my way to avoid purism and intolerance of differing viewpoints among those I consider basically allies, even when the difference is on an issue I consider very important.  The drive to "purge" one's own side of those who are so impure as to agree with you only 80% of the time instead of 100% can lead only to infighting and weakness, which is why I've always felt cheered to see such purism at work among Republicans and right-wingers generally, while abhorring it among ourselves.

But where the enemy is concerned, there is a difference.  The Republican party and the US right wing in general have for years been dominated by a theocratic element which regards non-Christians and any substantial deviation from the Christian taboo system as intolerable or even evil and demonic.  The fact that Trump is obviously not religious in this sense has been taken by some as a sign that the right's theocratic tendency is on the wane, but in fact it merely shows that the theocrats are smart enough to support a candidate they consider personally imperfect for the sake of the larger goal of forcing their taboo system on the rest of society.  If Trump will sign laws enabling anti-gay discrimination and appoint judges opposed to Roe v. Wade, that's more important to them than his personal lifestyle.

Moreover, the current minority-rule regime headed by Trump is far from clean of the theocratic stench.  Stephen Bannon, a major (perhaps the major) power behind the throne, explicitly supports restoring the dominance of "Judeo-Christian values" over the Western world, and views secularism as an enemy to be defeated.  As for Mike Pence, another influential figure, his record speaks for itself -- and remember, once enough Republicans overcome their cowardice in the face of the Trumpanzees to help Democrats impeach Trump, it's Pence who will occupy the Presidency.

This is not a mere difference about policy.  These people want to impose a totalitarian religious ideology on the entire nation, enforcing its taboos on everybody.  They want to make me a second-class citizen in my own country.  And this is not something I can just politely disagree about.  This is not something I can engage in civil debate about.  This is all-out war.  I am personally under attack here, and if you're an atheist, or gay, or a woman who values reproductive freedom, or even a religious person of any stripe other than Christian fundamentalist, then you too are under attack.  I am not going to treat the people waging or supporting this onslaught as if they were honorable opponents in a normal political contest.  One does not respond to blitzkrieg with parliamentary points of order.

"With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost." -- William Lloyd Garrison

07 February 2017

Film review -- V for Vendetta (2005)

At an unspecified time in the future, Britain is under the rule of a fascist regime which had come to power two decades earlier by exploiting mass panic over a mysterious epidemic.  The regime has all the features one expects from its ilk, such as omnipresent surveillance, state control of the media, and ruthless suppression of dissent.  It is also explicitly Christian in character; its symbol is a modified cross, gays and Muslims have been "disappeared" from society, propaganda emphasizes the evil of "godlessness", and the official slogan is "Strength through unity, unity through faith" (in the graphic novel from which the film was adapted, it has "purity" in place of "unity").  The general public mood appears to be one of sullen but apathetic acceptance of the situation.

Opposing the regime is a lone revolutionary known only as V (Hugo Weaving), a man of almost superhuman intelligence, stamina, and fighting skill.  It's implied that he developed these abilities partly as a result of medical experiments performed on him at the "Lark Hill" concentration camp, making him a monster of the regime's own creation.  V's face is never seen; he always wears a distinctive mask modeled on the face of Guy Fawkes, an actual British revolutionary who attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, and whom V has taken as his inspiration.  V's goal is to embolden the masses to rebel against the regime.  He is also tracking down and killing the individuals who brutalized him at the camp years before.  V is a man who can literally bring a knife to a gunfight and win.

Here, protagonist Evey (Natalie Portman) encounters some of the regime's plainclothes enforcers, known as "Fingermen" -- and then V shows up:

Observe the corruption which is in fact endemic under authoritarian regimes; the Fingermen apparently use their power to extort sex from women fairly routinely, without fear of punishment.  There is also a bishop who freely indulges his penchant for forced sex with young girls.

V subverts the state's own media to get his message out, even managing to widely distribute copies of his mask so that others can act anonymously while invoking his image.  Discontent spreads and dictator Adam Sutler (John Hurt) becomes increasingly unhinged as his regime starts to lose its grip:

As some of the visuals suggest, this film is explicitly a work of art and much of it cannot be taken as literal storytelling -- I found its imagery enthralling.  It does also take considerable risks with its story, though.  V is not so unambiguously heroic as these clips suggest.  He is ruthless and violent and willing to use almost any tactic to achieve goals he considers important.  In particular, in the middle of the film, he carries out an elaborate and bizarre act of "liberation" which is extremely disturbing.  Evey eventually comes to accept it; if I were in her position, I do not believe I could.  Each viewer must make his or her own judgment.

I should note that V for Vendetta is surprisingly gay-friendly for 2005.  Stephen Fry has a minor role as a gay man who escapes persecution (for a while) by remaining closeted, and an emotionally-wrenching sequence follows the story of an actress imprisoned for her lesbianism and ultimately killed.

V recognizes that the evil and violence of fascism make the use of even deadly violence against fascists themselves both legitimate and necessary.  Here, he has a final confrontation with Mr. Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith), the sadistic party leader, and a group of his thugs (V is wearing body armor):

I suspect V would not be among those who feel squeamish about punching Richard Spencer.

The film is not flawless.  Sutler's death seems perfunctory for such an important figure, and the circumstances are implausible.  We don't get much sense of what V is fighting for, aside from his desire for revenge against his former tormentors. While the final scene between V and Evey is emotionally powerful, the resonances of the following climactic ending are all wrong -- V achieves the aim of his predecessor and posthumously succeeds in blowing up the Houses of Parliament, the architectural icon of British democracy, an act which would surely horrify the crowds of citizens watching, not inspire them.  But these shortcomings do not detract from the unconventional brilliance of the rest of the work.

It's actually hard to imagine a fascist regime, especially a theocratic one, arising in Britain with its vigorous democracy and deeply-secular society.  But V for Vendetta has perhaps become more relevant to Americans, with our Republican party long dominated by fundamentalists and growing ever more authoritarian.

Thanks to artist Marc McKenzie for calling my attention to this movie.

05 February 2017

Link round-up for 5 February 2017

Stephen Bannon has a new credit card and theme song.

Some forms of commerce will defeat any wall.

Could you dig a hole big enough to hold all the world's air?

Pussyhats and uppity women are demonic, apparently. Hell, we're all Satanic (found via Mendip).  Kevin Swanson offers even more clueless views.

Is your religious freedom being violated?  Watch for hypocrisy.

Coal supporters are trying to ban clean energy in Wyoming (found via TYWKIWDBI).

Blogger Perfectnumber628 looks at wedding dresses and the virginity fetish, and Christianity's impact on her self-respect.

Ladies, you've got this guy running scared.

If you're in a resistance group, beware of people who advocate violence -- they may not be what they seem.

Here's a police chief who gets it.

These particular Trumpanzees should have known better.  Eventually, maybe the rest of them will learn.

This pagan post about hexes makes some good points about the ethics of resistance.

Those who try to erase the targeting of Jews in the Holocaust, read this.

Bruce Gerencser responds, for the umpteenth time, to the why-do-atheists-hate-Jesus thing.

I like most of this group's platform, but will it sell with the general electorate?

Texans rally round victims of a hate attack.  But there's going to be more and more of this kind of crap (found via Progressive Eruptions).

Europe is trolling Trump on video, starting with Switzerland and Germany. Der Spiegel sums up his regime in one image.

Who would claim this immigrant didn't deserve to come here?

Now this is a waterfall.

One of the world's most forbidding deserts is now blooming.

Here's a blog of great travel photography.

Another nation is staging mass protests to sustain the fight against corruption.

This is Shinjuku.

At least the food is healthy.

Shaw Kenawe reports from Boston's rally against Trump's Muslim ban.  Javad Zarif comments on the ban. Two companies' stances on it draw very different public reactions.  A veteran takes a standLondon protests, and some Americans were there.  It's lucky the ban wasn't in place years ago.

Looks like the March for Science is on!

Signs display the wit and smarts of the resistance (link from Kevin Robbins).  For contrast, see my 2013 post about the enemy's efforts.

Cincinnati defies Trump.  So does the National Park Service, which seems to be joining the resistance.

The National Security Council is changing.

Republicans face a choice:  piss off their best voting bloc or enrage the teabaggers.

Trump gets one thing right (maybe thanks to Ivanka), and of course Republicans hate it.  They're planning to reintroduce the anti-gay FADA bill, (found via Republic of Gilead -- I also wrote about FADA here).

Orrin Hatch is in a snit.

Trump's speech on religion was an exercise in surreal hypocrisy.  Here's his assessment of Lincoln (found via Progressive Eruptions).

Despair is unrealistic.

[16 days down, 1,445 days to go until the inauguration of a real President!]

03 February 2017

Trump -- and the resistance -- in pictures

For those whose main focus is politics, I imagine the last two weeks must have been exhausting.  Yet maintaining a sense of humor is more important than ever.  Mockery and ridicule have always been among our keenest weapons against the pompous and self-important.  And people have not been slow to employ them against the juiciest target the enemy has presented to us since.....well, ever, pretty much.

(found via Progressive Eruptions)

And speaking of mockery, it's classic how our side made the most vulgar of all Trump's aphorisms the basis for the signature headgear of the resistance, pwning not only Trump's misogyny but the crummy red hats he's been flogging to his Trumpanzees for months.

(found via Crazy Eddie)

(found via Mock Paper Scissors)

Portland, Oregon (found via Politics Plus)

(found via Progressive Eruptions)

Never let the Republican Minority-Rule Regime forget that we are the majorityWe are the real America.

01 February 2017

Video of the day -- immigrants

Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder sings of an earlier wave of immigrants who came to the US to escape oppression -- the Irish, whose country was under British rule at the time.  The "isle of hunger" reference is to the Great Famine of 1845-1852 (somewhat earlier than Ellis Island), when starvation exacerbated by a bigoted and incompetent conservative government in Britain drove over a million Irish to emigrate.

30 January 2017

Video of the day -- pressure works

Rachel Maddow documents how Trump and his gang have repeatedly backed down in the face of pressure from Congress or the public.  Let these examples embolden us to make that pressure irresistible when the big fights -- over Obamacare, Social Security, voting rights, and other key bastions of progress -- are waged.  Video found via Politics Plus.

29 January 2017

Link round-up for 29 January 2017

It's possible to watch The Ring safely.

Bring your own hole, but be careful.

Is that an S or an R?

Mark Mothersbaugh crafted the ultimate turd.

This is fashion?  WTF?

If you're out on Tumblr but not to your family, beware of this person.

Trump gets pwned on Twitter.

It's remarkable how much thought went into the costumes in Alien.

Tengrain has a Trump clock.

Never forget this.

Here's why so many Mormons abandon their religion (found via Republic of Gilead).

It's quite possible for a lifelong calling to be based on a delusion.

Remember the first time.

A 2,000-year-old house decoration looks classier than a lot of what we have now.

How big was that "March for Life", really?

Gizmodo remembers Félicette the space cat.

Fifty years ago, basic errors in safety planning killed three astronauts.

Commodore Perry's 1853 opening of contact with Japan may hold lessons for contact with alien intelligence.

Accused rapists find a law book to defend their actions.  Maybe they should just try to move the trial to Oklahoma (found via Mendip).

Alt-right?  Meet the alt-resistance.

The robots are coming.  Be prepared.

Wingnuts get wingnuttier than ever under Trump.

At the speed of light, it takes a million years.

The war on women shifts into high gear as Trump resurrects the global gag rule, Texas considers barring women who have had abortions from voting, wingnuts step up attacks on Planned Parenthood, and Russia decriminalizes domestic violence.  But the Netherlands is pushing back against Trump.

The Church of England is riven by internal conflict, but is so moribund that it hardly matters.

This is Oxford, UK.

Trump fudges the significance of the Holocaust -- as do some of the commenters at the linked post.  We have relics of what it really was.  Here's how it ended.

Here's an example of Christian parenting.

Sign here to oppose a law that could force child rape victims to marry their attackers.

Boston blogger Donna has a report and photos from the Women's March there.  More on that here.  Crazy Eddie reports from Michigan; Murrmurrs and Politics Plus from here in Portland.

See more photos from the marches worldwide at CNN and It Helps to Dream.  Here are some of the best signs -- I like this one (found via Mock Paper Scissors).  Stinque looks at the marches' significance.  And yes, she must have been there.

Hackwhackers notes that the fervor must translate into ongoing action, and our rightful President agreesGays (found via Republic of Gilead) and scientists are planning their own marches.

Some wingnuts had vulgar comments on the marches.

Here's a quick round-up of Trump's actions.  Republic of Gilead has a new recurring feature, Orange Horrors, to help us keep up.  Mendip lists some reliable sources, and some more, for the Trump era.  And here's a collection of resources and groups for the resistance (found via Mock Paper Scissors).

"The man in the gilded tower is not grateful."

Fight back like hell on the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines -- it's worth it.

Trump prizes loyalty, but only in one direction.  And he doesn't inspire it in those around him (found via Mock Paper Scissors).  He won't even be able to fake being President, though he fakes everything he can.  And he's just as petty and short-tempered as he seems.  But mockery remains a perfect weapon against the pompous. And there's one Republican he can't intimidate.

Explore the wit and wisdom of Mike Pence (found via Mendip).

Kurt Eichenwald explains the real significance of Trump's event at the CIA Memorial Wall.

California prepares to play hardball with Trump over sanctuary cities (found via Republic of Gilead).

The Muslim entry ban has precedent.

Robert Reich anticipates the fall of Trump (found via Green Eagle).

[9 days down, 1,452 days to go until the inauguration of a real President!]

26 January 2017

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold

We're not even a full week into the orange dingbat's minority-rule "Presidency" yet, and RawStory is reporting that some high-level Republicans are questioning Trump's emotional stability (link found via Hackwhackers).

That's far from surprising.  Set aside the cabinet of cranks and kleptocrats.  Set aside the ominous requests for names of government scientists working on climate change.  Set aside the gag order on EPA scientists (it's working already -- I'm gagging, and I'm not even a scientist).  Set aside the plans for Soviet-style military parades in our cities.  These are characteristic acts of a despot, and while despots are evil, they are not necessarily mentally unstable.

Consider instead the insistence on lying about things that are easily checked for veracity.  We've all heard about Trump's unhinged reaction to media reports on the mediocre turnout for his inauguration, and the blatant untruths he required Spicer and Conway to spout on his behalf.  He's now making equally fatuous assertions about the response to his speech at the CIA Memorial Wall, despite almost universal condemnation of its disrespectful and vulgar use of the venue, and despite the widely-broadcasted revelation that the applause heard there came from flunkies brought along for the purpose.  And he's now demanding an investigation into his own delusional claims that "illegal voting" accounted for Hillary's huge victory margin in the popular vote, claims supported by absolutely nothing except bald assertion.

Burr Deming suggests that Trump may be driven by a need to assert masculinity -- as Marco Rubio might put it, if a man has a small inaugural-crowd size, something else may be small as well.  But millions of men suffer from feelings of inadequacy and an urge to assert manliness.  It doesn't usually drive them to make up easily-refuted lies (sorry, "alternative facts") out of thin air and then try to bully the rest of the world into accepting them as true despite the plain reality they can see with their own eyes.  Most men, after all, have an even stronger desire to avoid appearing ridiculous.  Something is very wrong here, probably above and beyond the long-standing diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.

My question to those "Republican officials" who are now suddenly so alarmed, though, is this -- have you been living in a cave for the last year and a half?  Trump didn't suddenly start behaving like this six days ago.  Throughout the whole primary and general-election campaign, he displayed the mental stability of a foul-mouthed, bad-tempered toddler.  Why didn't you stop him?  The Republican establishment's anti-Trump efforts are already going down in history as the epitome of fecklessness and cowardice.  "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," with H-bombs on standby yet, and now all of a sudden you've noticed that this guy is too unstable and impulsive to occupy the position you helped him get "elected" to?

Even if enough Congressional Republicans see the light to join with Democrats in impeaching this preposterous and appalling miscarriage of democracy, your party will forever be tarred with the fact that you inflicted such a fiasco on the world in the first place.  And we will never, ever let you forget it.

Ah, well, at least the growing alarm and doubts among the enemy offer us some comfort.  It's at least some of the worst who lack all conviction.  And based on what we saw on Saturday, when our female-led pink-hatted legions thronged city streets across the nation and around the planet, it's the best who are full of passionate intensity.

24 January 2017

Random observations for January 2017

It's a good thing I've never been one for pets.  I'm not the nurturing type; I probably couldn't even keep a cockroach alive.

o o o o o

You learn more by listening than by talking.  If those around you are chatterboxes and you are reserved, you will know much about them, while they know little about you -- which works to your advantage.

o o o o o

An intelligent person will judge your beliefs by your reasons for holding them.  The vehemence with which you express them counts for nothing.

o o o o o

I have never seen the point of marriage.  It basically means inviting the government and/or a church into your relationship as a third partner, and vastly complicates things if the relationship reaches a natural end.

o o o o o

If you aren't sure which side is right in some social or political controversy, look for which side most of the guys in suits and ties are supporting.  That's the side which is wrong.  This rule works in probably 95% of cases.

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Military conscription is a device whereby old, decrepit males slake their resentment and envy of young, vigorous males by enslaving them and exposing them to dismemberment, disfigurement, and death.

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The enemy is not the person who says "I want to do that".  The enemy is the person who says "You can't do that".

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If you're just going to be like everybody else, what's the point of existing at all?

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A response consisting of "You are a [word ending in -ist]" or "This is a form of [word ending in -ism]" is not an argument and does not refute anything.  It's just fancy name-calling, a dodge to avoid dealing with the substance of whatever you're supposedly responding to.

[For previous random observations, see here.]