Monday, December 30, 2019

The rain’s moved out and the cold’s come back. I find myself in the grip still of whatever surly funk got a-hold of me Friday. Gloomy and tired as opposed to quarrelsome and irritated, really, but I don’t know why the change. It is what it is, I guess. Perhaps it’s a natural progression.

In any event, the hard part’s over and we’re looking at today with as fresh eyes as possible. The News is still moving slowly in these waning days of the 2,019th Foul Year of Our Lord, some say by design. There’s a theory that Nancy Pelosi is drawing out the impeachment process for as long as she can get away with, either to gather more evidence of criminal shenanigans by the Trump Administration or just to make the dopey slob sweat. He’s tweeting on recent days is evidence that he is feeling the heat, acting squirrelier and snippier lately, like he’s trying to force her hand but he’s too clumsy and dense to actually affect anything.

I know no one is going to listen to me on this, but I’d hope Trump’s wretched excuse for a presidency will put to bed the idea that “what this country needs is someone outside of politics/to be run like a business”. At the very least, I’d hope it shakes us loose from the idea that celebrities are people we should put into positions of actual political power or that running a company (or in Trump’s case, just being a rich guy) is the same thing, or should be the same thing, as running the United States government.

No one likes to hear this – not small-government conservative dingbats or left-wing socialists/anarchists – but the U.S. government is not built to radically change from election to election. Whatever president comes after Trump will have to operate in the world his administration’s created, which for the most part hasn’t really changed much in my lifetime if since World War 2. As we’ve seen with Trump’s all-out war against the bureaucrats that do the actual work, the problem with “The Swamp” isn’t the one we’ve thought it was for so long.

I realize that this insistence on “government as usual” clashes with my declared affection and leanings towards political anarchism, but one of the tenants of that theory that’s really stuck with me is “use what works and make it work better”. Furthermore, there was a British BBC Radio comedy that ran during the ’70s and ’80s called Yes, Minister which explored the push and pull conflicts between elected politicians answerable to the people and the vast, immense bureaucracy that was charged with keeping things running. It was done in a comedic, often hilarious way, but it revealed a very simple yet mercurial truth about running a government: it’s a mess and it’s amazing anything gets done at all.

One of the things I’ve always felt was holding this country back from being the 24-hour-7-days-a-week good-time party for one and all that it should be is the idea of the Savior. The “one guy” who’ll come in sweep away all the bad to implement nothing but good. Past examples have been guys like Ross Perot, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, and Dennis Kucinich, and none of them even got close. Trump’s fanatics think it’s him when it so obviously is not. Bernie Sanders fanboys seem to be convinced he’s going to implement Nationalized Healthcare, end all war, fix it so no one’s poor, and give everyone ponies the first hundred days, and they are all going to be very sad little children on Christmas morning.

Look, if Bernie Sanders – or Jill Stein or Elizabeth Warren or Tulsi Gabbard – were any real danger to the Powers That Be that run the military-industrial complex and profit from the corporate control of everything, he’d not only not be a serious contender for President of the United States, he’d probably dead in a ditch. One thing I think Sanders (and Warren, for that matter) understand maybe better than anyone running for the Democratic nominee that real, serious, important change – in politics, in government, in society – is indeed possible. It’s just not going to get done any time quick and it’s going to be a long, hard road.

Americans being what we are ain’t got the patience and will most certainly buck before much gets accomplished. Hell, look at all the fight against the Affordable Care Act, gutted because of ideological reasons to the point where it’s barely a small step forward, and the PTB are still trying to get rid of it. Why do you think Michael Bloomberg is considered a serious contender rather than a joke of a dilettante? The PTB will feed you to their pigs to keep even the slightest bit of political power – or money, for short – from going anywhere but the proper people: them and no one but.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s knock out some news and call it a night. Georgia Rep. John Lewis announced he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which he intends to fight off. The only people who don’t wish him the very best are people who think the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot from Soviet Russia to destroy America, Freedom, Jesus, and Proper Society. So, from the rest of us decent human beings, get well, Rep. Lewis. Very few have stomped the Terra like you have.

Cleaning up a little news from the weekend, a guy named Jack Wilson was the fellow who took out the White Settlement, Texas, shooter Sunday, a 43-year-old man named Kieth Thomas Kinnunen. Wilson was head of church security, as well as being a firearm instructor and former lawman. Way it’s told, he took Kinnunun down with one shot which, all things being said, is fairly impressive.

The shooter had a fairly extensive criminal record and a history of, well, being on the short end of the stick. A transient with roots to the area, Kinnunen was supposed to be very religious and read the Bible thoroughly, and his sister said she doubted the shooting was political or based on revenge. That’s interesting. Sadly, the shooting victim who was in critical condition yesterday died today, bring the total count (including the shooter) up to three. The two church goers who were shot were also part of the church’s security.

So what does all this mean in context with the ongoing debate on just how well armed-slash-loaded for bear society needs to be? Well, nothing, really. While we can all agree that it’s pretty screwed up that your average small-town church needs armed guards and the expectation that you could get gunned down right after the opening singing, Wilson’s actions along with, more importantly, training and experience is just what we want as armed guards in this sort of situation, rather than random dingbats with AR-15s, Rambo delusions and tiny penises. I got no answers.

Yesterday’s other horror, the multiple stabbings at a synagogue in Monsey, New York, got a few interesting twists to the story as well. Five Hanukkah celebrants were stabbed by 37 year old Grafton Thomas, an African-American man later caught in Harlem. While as of yet we have no concrete why and Thomas has pled “not guilty” to five counts of attempted murder, his sister has said he has a history of mental illness and apparently some of the wackier slices of antisemitism and written polemics against the Jews were found among his effects.

This caps off a particularly nasty month for New York Jews – as well as the shooting at the kosher deli in Jersey City, New Jersey – as well as a rise in antisemitic attacks across the country. It’s also adding to the strained relationship between Jewish folks and black folks, and a number of wingnut buttholes who don’t give two shits about Jewish people (or black people, for that matter) are using the circumstances of this particular crime to divide folks even further.

I’ve said it before, but the blame for the rise of domestic terror can’t be laid solely at the feet of Trump’s presidency. Rather, Trump’s presidency is more a result of increased racial, religious and political tensions across the country and the world. In short, he wouldn’t have gotten elected on a platform of racial hatred against Muslims and Mexicans if there already went a dearth of Our Fellow Americans who were awfully terrified of what they think Mexicans and Muslims represent. If anything at all, he just frees them from having to wear the hood, so to speak.

The actual people who were affected by the attack are calling for reconciliation, peace, love, and understanding in light of the tragedy, but their voices are getting drowned out by professional hate mongers who see nothing but an opportunity here. Again, I have no answers or even any suggestions beyond “be nice to each other and try to have a good time while you can”. Nobody listens to me, though.

To wrap it all up, some reporter asked Joe Biden if he’d consider naming a Republican as his Vice-President should he win the Democratic, and the goofy bastard said “sure”. Be fair, it’s a stupid goddamn question from an incredibly lazy member of the press, and there’s probably no good answer to a conundrum that brain dead.

Still, that’s exactly what the base as well as the various factions of the Left that Biden is trying to pull together to beat Donald Trump and overturn his foul policies based on fear and loathing want. A 77-year-old president who’s next in line is a member of the party that’s enthusiastically taking advantage of that fear and loathing to consolidate their political power. Good job, Joe, way to have your finger on the pulse.

Finally, new research by Russian scientists suggest that the increased expansion of the Universe is caused not by dark energy as previously conjectured, but via a little understood aspect of physics on the quantum level called the Casimir Effect. In short, at very, very small distances, atomic particles pop into and out of existence seemingly just because they want to and this is enough to push tiny metal plates apart. The scientists posit that this effect on a Universal scale – and any cubic foot of Empty Space is full of those here-and-gone atomic particles – is what’s causing the various galaxies to speed away from each other at a surprising speed.

Well, I thought it was interesting, anyway.

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