Move over, Martin Shkreli: Palmer Luckey is here!

Give a young man way too much money, and they turn into instant assholes. That’s what I conclude from the story of Palmer Luckey, who was one of the people behind the VR headset Oculus Rift, which he sold for over $2 billion dollars. He’s now worth $700 million (what happened to the other 1.3 billion?), and he’s got to do something to better humanity with that that money.

So he’s funding a company that’s backing Donald Trump.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey financially backed a pro-Trump political organization called Nimble America, a self-described “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit” in support of the Republican nominee.

A social welfare organization? Well, that sounds nice. Except, here’s what it’s really all about.

We’ve proven that shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real. So many of you have asked us, how we can bring this to real life. We wanted to do it in a way that was transparent and had purpose. Not just sell t-shirts to sell them, but to sell t-shirts to shitpost. We’ve worked with lawyers and RNC consultants to advise us on how to establish the proper entities to do this right, and we’ll be transparent with all financial activity from Reddit. We’ve also worked with the Reddit admins to make sure all of our activity operate within their guidelines.

Announcing Nimble America, Inc., a social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit dedicated to shitposting in real life.

Oh, hell no. How can someone grow up to think that “shitposting” is the great cause to which they will dedicate their life and fortune?

But wait! There’s more! What do you think the lofty goal of virtual reality programs might be?

Someone in the audience asked Palmer Luckey a rather odd but revealing question: Why did he and his chief technology officer, video game pioneer John Carmack, often speak of a “moral imperative” to bring virtual reality to the masses?

“This is one of those crazy man topics,” Luckey answered, “but it comes down to this: Everyone wants to have a happy life, but it’s going to be impossible to give everyone everything they want.” Instead, he went on, developers can now create virtual versions of real experiences that are only enjoyed by the planet’s privileged few, which they can then bestow to the destitute of the world.

He is so generous.

Well, then, I say we should give Luckey what he wants, and condemn him to spend the rest of his life with an Oculus Rift shackled to his head, and free access to all the VR he wants, while he lives in a shack and works 16 hours a day assembling expensive electronic gadgets in a Chinese factory.

It is a shame, though, that the Oculus Rift looks like a nifty toy, but now I’ll never buy one.

Black hole discovered inside the astronomy community

It’s name is Scott Lewis. He has “borrowed” over $30,000 from various people by telling tales of financial misery, getting pitying contributions, and then turning on his donors.

Scott Lewis tells many persuasive tales of woe involving former partners and/or friends designed to appeal to his current target’s compassion and desire to make a difference in his life. In hindsight, it should have been an obvious red flag to us that he seems to have an alarming number of these stories. By connecting with each other, we have now realized that many of the stories we had heard about each other were in reality blatant lies, crafted by Scott Lewis presumably to dissuade us from contacting each other. As author Lynn Fairweather puts it, “…an abuser’s prospect becomes an even better potential victim if she’s willing to listen to his tale of woe and offer him sympathy and encouragement, because then he’s hit the jackpot: He’s found a “saver,” a nurturing woman who compulsively takes in troubled souls, blind to the inherent risks to her own well-being”. Each of us have wanted to be “better than all the previous people” when we first entered his life.

Scott Lewis deliberately maneuvers his new target into disliking all his ex partners and previous friends. This is also why we have been silent for so long; for a very long time we were too scared to reach out to anyone else, or speak about what he did to us. We knew that he would always craft his narrative to portray himself in the best possible light while making us look vindictive, petty, and delusional. We were scared that he would reach out to mutual friends first with his own version of the story, to further isolate us and make his deception and abuse less likely to be called out. Since connecting with other victims of Scott Lewis’s abuse, we have been able to see exactly how he distorts the things that he does; the way he minimizes his own role, plays the victim, and pins all the blame on the actual victim instead. We were surprised to realize we each experienced the exact same cycle of abuse at his hands.

I used to be so optimistic about human beings.

Police doing it right

I know most of you heard about the explosion in New York that injured a score of people and led to Trump using it to foment fear and hatred to bump up his poll numbers. We also had an incident in Minnesota, in a St Cloud mall (I’ve been there many times!), where a man went on a stabbing spree, and shouted something about Allah. Eight people were injured, and the guy wielding the knife was killed — which goes to show that it is kind of helpful to get guns out of the hands of these bad people.

But here’s the thing…Minnesota does have a substantial population of Muslims, largely Somali immigrants. They don’t have a violent reputation. But when the St Cloud police chief went on Fox News, of course the Foxites assumed we had a terrible race/immigrant problem here, and tried to stir up some inflammatory racist assumptions and remarks. Chief William Blair Anderson would have nothing to do with it, and actually made a helpful reply.

“I can tell you that the vast majority of all of our citizens, no matter their ethnicity, are fine, hard-working people, and now is not the time for us to be divisive,” he said. “We already have a very cohesive community, and I expect that this will draw us even closer together. But at the end of the day, our job is public safety, period.”

Anderson then went on to say that developing relationships with Somalis in his community was vital to rooting out potential extremists.

“We actually work very well not just with our East African community, but all of our community,” he said. “We meet regularly with any number of people, whether they are advocates for a specific ethnicity or different cause. It’s one of things that makes St. Cloud a wonderful place to live, and I know that might sound corny, but it’s the truth. We have established and maintained a very good rapport with our East African community and our community at large.”

Go away, race-baiters. The less we see of you, the better we’re doing.

That’s also the kind of responsible attitude I like to see in the police.

That explains why I get so irritated by people who complain about trigger warnings

It’s because they’re blatantly misinterpreting them, and incorrectly telling me how I’m using them. Miri explains it all.

What’s gaslighting is when we say, “We need trigger warnings in order to be able to engage with content rather than automatically shut down,” and you respond, “You’re just trying to avoid engaging with difficult content.”

If people are telling you that they are trying to engage with trauma-related material and you insist that they’re actually saying that they want to avoid it–or literally ban it from being taught–you are gaslighting them. You are insisting that you know better than they do what’s inside their own heads. You are pretending that they said something other than what they actually said, making them doubt their own thoughts and words.

Exactly! When I’m going to talk about icky stuff, I warn people “We’re about to talk about icky stuff,” and then…we talk about icky stuff. It’s incredibly annoying when obnoxious people try to tell me that we use trigger warnings to avoid talking about the icky stuff, when it’s exactly the opposite.

I can’t say that I’m being successfully gaslit, though, because I’m confident that I know what my own intent is, and I mainly come away feeling that the complainer is full of shit. It does seem to be effectively persuading a lot of bystanders who just want to despise anyone who has respect for the experiences of the people they are teaching, though.

The anti-SJW mentality

Fred Clark discusses the insulting intent of “SJW”. It’s very good, in particular in shooting down the defense that the people using it intend it sarcastically.

To describe this use of “SJW” as sarcasm would entail mockery directed at the insufficiency of the “social justice warriors’” battle for social justice. It would require an affirmation of an agreed-upon framework that regards “social justice” as a good and noble, desirable thing, and truly being a “warrior” advocating for it as an honorable, praiseworthy trait. If it were sarcasm, the scorn would be directed at the “SJWs” for being only so-called “SJWs” — for posing as SJWs while actually failing to be the true, genuine article, the steadfast advocates for social justice that we all agree we all ought to strive to be.

But there is no such shared framework. And that is not the target toward which the scorn here is directed. What is being scorned, rather, is the very idea and standards of that framework — the idea that “social justice” is, in fact, a Good Thing. Their attempted mockery of “SJWs” is an attempt to mock the very idea of social justice itself.

Isn’t it obvious when so many of the people who sneer at “SJWs” are anti-feminists and racists that it can’t be because they’re mocking keyboard warriors who aren’t very good at supporting equality? They’re against egalitarianism.

Next up, Clark should discuss the popularity of the word “cuck” among these same people. There’s something psychologically strange going on there, too.

Done arguing

The alt-right is outraged at being called “deplorable”. They’re right. The term is utterly inadequate. How about “despicable”? How about abhorrent, abject, abominable, awful, contemptible, detestable, disreputable, hateful, heinous, ignoble, ignominious, loathsome, low, mean, odious, reprehensible, shabby, shameful, and vile?

A spokesman for the alt-right just had a press conference, led by Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, an openly racist, white supremacist organization. He also had a couple of speakers to help him out — speakers who are known entities in “scientific” racism.

Spencer invited two prominent members of the movement to join him. One was Peter Brimelow, the founder of the website, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an “immigrant-bashing hate site that regularly publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others on the radical right.” (Brimelow freely admitted during the event that he publishes white nationalists.) The other was Jared Taylor, a self-described “race realist” who explained why the white race is superior to all others (except for East Asians, he said, who are superior to whites). The audience was a mix of reporters and what appeared to be alt-right members and fans.

Good god. What did they have to talk about? Basically how wonderful Donald Trump is for their goals, and what a glorious leader he is.

Spencer continued, “It really is about him and it’s about, in a way, projecting onto him our hopes and dreams. There’s something called ‘me magic,’ and that is a self-fulfilling prophecy…We want to make Trump; we want to imagine him in our image. And that is maybe—you can see that in a meme of Trump as a Napoleon or Trump as some figure out of the Dune novels in an arcade of the future in a robotic suit of armor fighting enemies. All of that stuff is silly, all of that stuff is ridiculous, but it actually gets at something real and that is that we want something more, we want something heroic, we want something that is not defined by liberalism or individual rights or bourgeois norms. We want something that is truly European and truly heroic.”

Then they argued about whether Jews would be allowed to continue to live in the Aryan States of America. No, really.

What would this utopia look like? Spencer said it’s too far off to get into specifics. But he and Taylor, whose role at Friday’s event was to give academic assurances that the races of the world are not equal, disagreed on whether Jews would be welcomed into the white utopia homeland. Spencer took the position that they were not “European” and therefore would take their place in their own ethno-state. Taylor countered, “I don’t think that if a Jewish person identifies with the West and with Europe than that’s something that we should deny.” As Spencer acknowledged, the alt-right has yet to sort out these mere details.

“Mere details”. Poison gas, or bullets? Details.

It’s not all negative, in their minds.

But Spencer did offer up a vision of an alt-right society. “If the alt-right were in power, we would all have arrived here via magnetic levitation trains,” he said. “We would have passed by great forests and beautiful images of blond women in a wheat field with their hands, running them through the wheat.” The audience tittered. “It would be a wonderful sight.”

Jesus fuck. OK, what about the brunettes? Will they be deported to their own “ethno-state”? Will redheads be sequestered somewhere? I don’t even want to think about the fate of black women in Spencer’s utopia.

Like I said, “deplorable” is an unsatisfactory word to apply to Trump supporters. How about “Nazi scum”?

I think we’re well past the stage of needing to mince words anymore.

North Dakota … a petty, vengeful state


After the United States government declared that the North Dakota pipeline should be halted and basically rebuked the process that allowed it to be built, the state of North Dakota has lashed out and issued an arrest warrant for Amy Goodman. Like a good journalist, she’s always annoying the authorities, and now some officious dimbulb in power in that very conservative state has decided, after the fabulous press they got from siccing attack dogs on Indian children, that harassing the journalist who caught their viciousness on video is the right person to punish.

Why can’t Amy Goodman be more like Matt Lauer or Wolf Blitzer, and suck up to the powers-that-be? Maybe it’s because she’s one of the few journalists still doing their goddamn job.

North Dakota also issued arrest warrants for Jill Stein (vandalism: she spray-painted a bulldozer) and Cody Charles Hall (for being an organizer of the protest).

You go right ahead, North Dakota, and make yourself look even worse.

By the way, the last time Amy Goodman got arrested here in Minnesota, it did not go well for the authoritarian thugs.

Good for you, University of Oregon


There are some things you simply aren’t aware of when you’re immersed in an environment — and that’s the case when I was living in Oregon. I don’t recall Dunn Hall, which was one of the campus dorms, but then I didn’t live in the dorms, and was only vaguely aware of the undergraduate students. I never heard any discussion of Frederick Dunn, the guy it was named for, and who was a classics professor in the 1920s. I especially never heard that he was an Exalted Cyclops of the KKK.

But now people are talking about it, and the university is stripping his name from the roster of buildings, prompted by an act of vicious racism.

Student body president Quinn Haaga urged the trustees to act in the wake of the death of 19-year-old Larnell Bruce in Gresham. The black teenager was purposefully run over by a white supremacist, according to police reports.

“The state of Oregon has a very ugly racist history that was deeply ingrained in our policies and laws,” Haaga told the trustees. “Unfortunately, as this horrible tragedy illustrates, these sentiments are still very alive and well in many parts of the state.”

I know what argument some will use against this: there go the SJWs again, erasing history to signal their virtue, and maybe even comparing it to the erasure from official photos of Communists who lost favor with Stalin. But how can you erase history if you never knew it in the first place? This is an act that acknowledges horrible attitudes that were simply taken for granted. It made me conscious of a founding bigotry that I would otherwise have not known. Eugene is a lovely place to live, but you’re really swimming in a sea of whiteness while you are there (I live there for 8 years), and it’s easy to oblivious to Oregon’s history of sundown towns and anti-black laws.

But here’s one person who defended Dunn.

UO alumnus David Igl made an unsuccessful plea to retain Dunn’s name, saying the professor was involved with civic organizations — such as the YMCA and the Methodist Episcopal Church — that would be antithetical to the KKK’s views. He said Dunn was “a victim of some swindlers called the KKK.”

Hucksters from the South, Igl said, recruited KKK members in Eugene in the 1920s, using fear and bigotry as motivators to part townspeople from their money, but the townspeople soon were disillusioned.

Dunn didn’t repudiate his membership, as far as historians can tell, but Igl contends that few Klansmen did out of fear of the so-called invisible empire of the organization.

Oh, right. No racism in Oregon, just high-minded civic responsibility. The white founders of Oregon weren’t racist, no sir, it was all imported by sneaky bad people from Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi who crept across our border like reverse carpetbaggers, tainting the virtuous liberal egalitarianism of the pioneers. Except…

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.

The South is a convenient scapegoat for racism, and yes, it has a history of racism too…but I’ve lived in Northern states, Washington and Oregon and Pennsylvania and now, Minnesota, and the racism is thick and strong here, too. We just don’t see it in action when we’re only hanging out with our white friends, and when we avoid confronting it. I only learned yesterday that there’s a house flying a confederate flag here in Morris, Minnesota — we’re all pretty good at closing our eyes.

I also learned that the University of Oregon is now planning to rename Deady Hall. I didn’t know Dunn, but I certainly knew Deady Hall — it’s the oldest building on campus, very prettily antique, but now I find out that Matthew Deady, one of the founders of the UO (although I knew he was actually opposed to the university system, and didn’t want a university, although he was happy to grab control when it was founded) was pro-slavery.

See? We don’t talk about these uncomfortable facts, until someone waves them in our face, and then we’re all embarrassed and decide that maybe we shouldn’t be naming prominent racists as heroes of our institution.

The righteous protests of Standing Rock

The North Dakota oil pipeline protests turned violent, the news media say! And what’s the first thing they tell us?

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured after several hundred protesters confronted construction crews Saturday afternoon at the site just outside the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. One of the security officers was taken to a Bismarck hospital for undisclosed injuries. The two guard dogs were taken to a Bismarck veterinary clinic, Preskey said.

Security guards and attack dogs got hurt. Wait…why were there even dogs there, and what were those dogs doing? Don’t the bulldozers tearing up the countryside count as “violent”? What about the pepper spray getting fired into people’s faces?

Then they mention the casualties among the unarmed protesters, which law enforcement tries to pretend didn’t happen.

Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed, he said. Preskey said law enforcement authorities had no reports of protesters being injured.

I’ll spare you the photo of the Indian child with a face lacerated and bloodied by dogs. Instead, I’ll just recommend that you watch Amy Goodman’s on-the-scene coverage of the protest.

I’ll also show you another scene of unimaginable violence. This is what happened when an oil pipeline ruptured in the Moscow River last year.

Now why wouldn’t the Indians want that kind of spectacular spectacle in their water supply?

Hey, there’s nothing to fear from a pipeline! Except for sudden unexplained explosions and a flame-thrower like geyser of flame that can incinerate people 200 meters away. As happened in New Mexico this weekend, killing 10 people (5 of them children).

The 30-inch pipeline exploded around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, and left a crater about 86 feet long, 46 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Police say the resulting fire probably lasted 30 to 40 minutes. It reportedly was visible about 20 miles to the north in Carlsbad, N.M.

Authorities said one end of the ruptured line became a virtual flame-thrower, showering fire on the victims camped beneath a bridge about 200 yards away.

“The evidence out there at the scene indicates it was horrendously hot,” State Police Capt. John Balderston said. “It incinerated everything in its path. If it burned for as long as we think it burned, that explains the extensive damage to the vehicles and to the property and people.

The pipeline company doesn’t see the problem.

John Somerhalder, president of the pipeline group of El Paso Energy, the parent company of El Paso Natural Gas Co., says his company is cooperating fully with investigators. But he adds he believes the explosion was an accident.

“We saw no indication there was third party damage or foul play,” Somerhalder said. “It is, was a very major tragedy that occurred [Saturday], and it occurred as a result of a rupture of one of our pipelines.”

It was just an accident! No one is at fault! Sure, we occasionally incinerate small children, but you certainly can’t blame El Paso Energy!

Does anyone still wonder why the people of the Standing Rock reservation might be a teensy bit irate at a pipeline being built across their water supply?