Fingers of Blame

No, Donald Trump is not Mussolini. He is a wild, sociopathic American genius who has yanked the reins of a rampaging horse away from the monsters who spurred and whipped the beast into a mad-populist frenzy. Trump may be a sociopath, but he is not the one who tormented that horse into screaming, nostril agony.

Stop looking for villains to compare to Mussolini, to Huey Long or MacArthur, Mr. Will.

Look in a mirror. You have reached out to choose treason with both eyes and with both hands and with a willing heart. - David Brin on Facebook
Washington Post Op-Ed
Rather than compare Trump to any particular fascist, even though his talking points are reminiscent of a few of them and his past behaviors are demonstrably corporatist in nature (Mussolini's brand of fascism) I will go straight to the source. Learned people in positions of authority in the GOP (like George Will) should have known where their actions were taking them. The Republican party has made themselves into the NSDAP, the party of Germany that elected Hitler. They could be any one of the groups that backed fascists in the troubled times before and during World War Two, it really doesn't matter which group you choose to compare the Republican party to. What is important is that if Republicans nominate Trump and he wins because they give him the status of 'Republican nominee' then the horrors he inflicts get hung around their collective necks.

They need to understand this point going into the convention. It needs to be made blatantly clear that we are at a historic turning point. They have an important choice to make now. They should probably put some real thought into that. Perhaps it is time they actually noted the points illustrated, and revised their goals. That is, unless they want to be the party that brings fascism to the US.

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. 

Brain Fog

Three days ago I looked at the front page of this blog.  Who Gives a Shit About Iowa? Have I not written anything since then? WTF?

I've had several interesting conversations since writing that piece. I've had two or three good ideas (one of which will be applied to the next chapter of EPHN if I ever get around to completing the one I'm working on) None of the stuff I come up with gets beyond notes phase. None of it gets beyond notes phase because essentially, I have no brain. The problem I'm having is one of the symptoms of Meniere's, one that half the medical community says isn't real. Those of us who have Meniere's know differently. We call it brain fog.  I'm struggling with it right now, so please bear with me.

I'm trying to write today even though I have trouble forming basic thoughts because this is yet another part of the disease that plagues my every moment, and I don't really bother to talk about it to anyone outside the wife, the daughter and the son.

Brain fog.  It's like the insides of my head are full of cotton wool. Like the frontal lobes of my brain (had to look that up, sadly) have electrical current running through them, and conscious thought is elusive. Just beyond reach.  Most frequently brought on by vertigo attacks, it can show up without notice any time the pressure in the ears change, the tinnitus changes, the headaches start or stop. You name it. I think I had a vertigo attack while sleeping last night because I went to bed early and dizzy. I woke up the drooling genius searching for keys on his keyboard that I am now.

When I woke up seven hours ago I thought about writing this piece.  Clever ideas about what to say, ideas about how to express myself floated in one side of my head and out the other.  They are lost to me now.  I keep hearing the voice of the antagonist from Spock's Brain "I put the teacher on my head" a frequent joke around the house when one of us is forgetful.



But it really isn't a joke when I feel this way.  Ah, to have access to a device that would put the knowledge back in my head. To restore the mental acuity that I usually take for granted but is so lacking now (took a full 30 seconds to come up with the word acuity) I'm torn between stomping my feet in mock anger "brain, brain what is brain?" or just going with the flow and embracing the silence.



The above is another inside joke around this house, as frequently referenced as Spock's Brain.  At least Earth Girls are Easy was meant to be funny. If only I was blond and female I could make vapid work for me.  Guys without brains or muscle aren't of much use.  The Wife is blond and generally smarter than me when I'm like this. Some would tell you she is always smarter.  Can't argue with that right now.

So I'm going back to my marathon of Better Call Saul. Been meaning to watch that anyway and it is complex enough that I actually have to watch it or I'll miss something, unlike most television. Finished the Expanse yesterday and there won't be new Walking Dead till Sunday.  I'll find something else to watch when I finish that. Hopefully this fog will pass soon and I'll have something more substantive to say.

(This post subject to edit or deletion when the brain returns. Come back soon, brain)


The Meaning of Conversation

"Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply" 
Celeste Headlee 10 ways to have a better conversation

In Other Words, you are doing it wrong.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. I just really liked this TED talk and that quote. 

Smells like 1984 to Me

PBS News Hour: Egypt’s opposition forcibly muted five years since revolution
Five years after the revolution that toppled the government, Egypt has yet to achieve the movement’s democratic ideals. But there are no more protests because protests are illegal. Freedom of speech curtailed, McCarthy-esque fear pervades under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with opposition parties persecuted and former revolutionaries jailed. Special correspondent Nick Schifrin reports.
Contrast US satellites Egypt & Israel, the treatment of their people by their governments, with Syria. Syria, backed by Russia and tied to the old USSR, is held up as resisting progress while US satellite countries in the region continue the old ways of suppression quietly on the sidelines. Never has the future painted by George Orwell in '1984' been more starkly illustrated than on this anniversary of Mubarak's fall from power.

Guardian article


Social media post copied to the blog

Who Gives a Shit About Iowa Anyway?

So the news is engaged in a full court press today, bound and determined to prove that their horserace really is a race and they really aren't blowing smoke up our collective asses.  I'm doing my best to avoid this mess today, not listening to the news in a complete reversal of my normal patterns for daily life.

It is Monday though and Monday is Freethought Radio day (as well as Point of Inquiry day lately) so I have been listening to my regular podcasts (and BBC news) and Freethought Radio had an interesting interview with Justin Scott who has been doing some brave work in Iowa, going around asking questions of presidential candidates at various meetings attempting to call attention to the slights being offered to minority groups in the US when it comes to the subject of faith.

I wanted to highlight the bigotry by omission of candidates for government office; candidates who go around touting their religion prominently.  This importance placed on their beliefs in the supernatural leaves me wondering openly if they understand how those who believe differently feel when they stress how important their religion is to them. How important they think their religion is to good governance in the US.

The problem for me is, neither Justin Scott nor FFRF seem to be interested in producing content to be consumed directly on the internet and only on the internet.  FFRF's near cluelessness when it comes to web programming is what lead me to attempt to catalog all their episodes several years ago, a project that I finally had to give up when I realized that I wasn't willing to volunteer my effort on the project indefinitely.

First off, the videos of his interviews are not where he said they were; they are on his personal youtube channel which I finally located here. This is a playlist of all the interviews to date;




FFRF's link resolves on Facebook to look like this;


The youtube link conveys about the same level of information.  Therefore it falls to me to write something that I can share even though, as the title of the piece says, I really could not care less about Iowa. Or New Hampshire, for that matter.

Why?  Because they aren't representative of America.  They just agreed that they would go first, and they are determined as small Midwestern states to make themselves out to be more important than they are by being first to caucus and first to primary in the US, because they are utterly forgettable by almost any other measure unless you like snow.

So the presidential candidates run around in these little isolated areas of the US for months at a time, far longer than the voting block that they represent merits if you were looking at national influence, percentage of voting Americans. The idea that these two races mean anything would be laughable if only the media could be convinced to laugh.  Instead they insist on portraying the primaries as horseraces and build up the competition as if what we are witnessing was a sporting event and not the future leaders of our country vying for attention.

Which is why the subject of Justin Scott's videos interests me, even though his location in Iowa galls me ever so slightly.  Iowa is one of those regions where religion figures prominently; and when I say religion, I mean evangelical christians, the omnipotent WASP's who have run the country since its beginning.  The people who are most threatened by the presidency of Barack Obama and the likely potential that he will be succeeded by Hillary Clinton, if we are lucky.  If we aren't lucky we'll have any one of the current GOP candidates currently doing their best to out-conservative each other.

Being brave enough to go out in public and film, to identify oneself as an atheist and ask how the candidates plan on protecting your right to not believe.  That takes real courage.  I wanted to let Justin know that I appreciated his work, even though I have to spend several quality minutes (hours actually) writing a post highlighting the important work that he is doing.  I wish that more members of the media had the balls to ask the really hard questions.