How Typically American

So White House has published a pamphlet about the evils of socialism. I have not read it in full and I probably won’t since I have better things to do with my life than to read drivel from Trump administration, but on casual glance it seems to insinuate that the disastrous attempt at socialism in former Soviet bloc invalidates everything with the word root “social” in it. Therefore since badly implemented socialism in Ukraine has led to famine in 1921, “socialism” in EU in 2018 is just as bad.

That is of course complete non-sequitur.

The whole document also seems to be rather American-centric and comparing apples with pineapples, or perhaps even bananas. Like this infographic:

Whitehouse infographic about Costs of Owning a truck

Now I admit I have zero personal experience with any of the countries on that infographic except with USA.

But my experience with USA is that people there own pickup trucks in about 80% of the cases just to own them, not because they actually, really need them. I mean, I have seen them used for grocery shopping in big cities, with the deck empty and the groceries being put in a bag on the passenger seat. People commuted daily to work in them. Most owners of pickup trucks in USA could do just as well with only ordinary cars and for those rare occasions where they really, really might need something bigger (like buying building materials for house repairs etc.) the options available in for example Germany (i.e. renting a truck or goods trailer at the shop for a few days) would suffice ample. Further populations in EU are much more tightly knit than they are in USA, there are not many far-off farms and isolated homesteads that really need pickup trucks. I am not sure how this is in Nordic countries, but I still suspect that a real need for big pickup truck there is smaller than in US just due to the USA’s sheer size and wast empty places.

Thus this infographic is used either ignorantly or dishonestly to scaremonger. Or both.

As far as the economic side of the pamphlet goes, I will leave the critique to an expert who says everything better than I ever can:
Are the Danes Melancholy? Are the Swedes Sad?

On the whole I get the feeling that this pamphlet starts with the assumption that everything USA=good and everything socialism=bad and tries to spin evidence to appear to validate those assumptions.

How typically American of them, to ignore all context an only seek ways to put USA at the center of the universe. Again.

Whom Will They Blame Next, Unicorns?

I have never watched Fox News when I was in USA, and of course I have no incentive to watch it now. However the stories that I read about it on the interwebs are truly bizarre.

This one trumps them all: Fox News host: ‘Anti-Semitism from the left’ is the real cause of hateful attacks on Jews

Where exactly does this “virulent anti-Semitism from the left” happen? Where do roam these elusive creatures, these leftist antisemites? Where exactly is the land of “fringe of the progressive side.”?

How come that someone spews such a weapon’s grade bullshit on air and is not immediately challenged for providing evidence for it? Any person who says such inane claptrap should be discredited and mercilessly mocked.

Behind the Iron Curtain part 13 – Snitching

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


In medieval times, every village had to have its idiot. In totalitarian times, every village has its snitch.

Ours was a man in his fifties, whose common nickname was “Dědek bonzák” (Grampa Snitch). Of course nobody told this to his face, but everybody knew him and the nickname applies to him even now, twenty years after the regime changed.

I have only once seen him in “action” during one of our craft classes. For these we went out of school to a designated workshop where we would learn some basic knowledge about the use of tools – saws, files, drills etc. The room had a window that opened not in the street, but on a roof. And one day some of the more rowdy boys (the classes were gender segregated btw.) riled up each other until they dared to venture out on the roof when the teacher left the class for a moment to fetch some materials. They were seen from a nearby building by none other than Grampa Snitch, who a few minutes later barged in the class and screeched to the teacher about the miscreants. He actually pointed his finger on one of the boys, his own nephew, and screamed, “That is him, he is one of them, he was there on the roof!”.

After the class some of us expressed incredulity about how he so publicly ratted on his own nephew. We all could understand if the gave him a clip behind the ear later on and/or told his parents, but publicly accusing your own nephew? Unconscionable. His nephew summed it up in one simple phrase “He is just such an asshole.”.

I do not know whether it was malice that drove him, or overzealous adherence to rules. I do not think it was the latter though, because snitching has markedly some visible benefits to him.

There was in the country a longstanding tradition to burn old grass on the meadows and gardens in the spring. Stupid, damaging and dangerous tradition, which was therefore outlawed. Yet every spring Grampa Snitch could be seen burning the grass in his garden and on the meadow behind it. publicly, in broad daylight, and he was never fined. Yet had anyone else dared to break the law within his eyesight in even the minutest of minor ways, to this day his instinct is to call the police.

Everybody is guilty, we have already established that. Especially when the laws of the land are such, that they are impossible to not break, when even completely innocent remarks can be misconstrued as crimes against humanity. And in a system where everybody is guilty, there will be those who use the system to their advantage. Setting scores and disputes this way becomes second nature to some, and there will always be those who will not see it improper to let someone incarcerate for treason just because their dog barked all night.

There is also a flip side to this coin. With trivial or completely illegitimate grievances being commonly leveled amongst people, being a snitch was seen as the height of indecency. Which has of course made it difficult to officially address legitimate grievances as well. And there were people who used this to their advantage too. In the eyes of some it was seen as equally as bad to report someone who has a built a barbecue pit a few cm bigger than the law allows as it was to report that someone assaulted you. Literally.

As a sickly kid who had high marks I was of course bullied at school. The leader of the group of bullies eventually devised a type of torture that was life threatening – holding my nose and mouth tight shut until I started to turn blue in the face, and then watch the highly amusing confusion resulting from my oxygen deprivation. One day my mother managed to get this out of me, I do not know how she did it because I feared to tell anyone, but she did. She went berserk, told off the parents of the bullies and complained to school master. The bullies were held after school and they got some punishment at home too. But, you guessed it, the leader of the bullies felt that it was me who wronged him and when going home from the detention he shouted at me across the town square “You snitch!”. He did not dare to lay his hands on me again¹- and stick and stones can break your bones… and words can really hurt too..

It was only much later in life when I realised that all this is us (the populace) versus them (the officials) mentality that is common in prisons. And that is what it was – prison mentality. For we were in prison, really and truly – the Iron Curtain was just that, a barrier for keeping people in, not out.


1 – Bullying scars for life. He never realized that what he did to me was wrong, never had an epiphany and never apologized, yet when we grew up to be adults he thought we were “friends from school”. I never shook his hand when we met and when he died in a car crash a few years ago, I did not feel sorry in the least.

League Of The South Goes Russian.

Michael Hill speaks with a WWLTV reporter at Confederate monuments rally (Image from WWLTV May 17, 2017 broadcast). Source.

Unsurprisingly, League of the South is attempting to mate with Russia, home of, and saviour of white people. There’s a whole lot to the article, just a bit here.

Amid the controversy over President Trump’s recent summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the neo-Confederate League of the South announced this week that it will soon be introducing a Russian language section to its website.“To our Russian friends,” a missive on the League’s website, is signed by Michael Hill, the group’s president. An excerpt:

We understand that the Russian people and Southerners are natural allies in blood, culture, and religion. As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters.

We Southerners believe in societies based on real, organic factors such as shared blood, culture, and religion, and all that stems naturally from these salient factors in the human experience. As fellow White Christians who are grounded in the sublime traditions of our common European cultural heritage, we believe that the Russian people and the Southern people are natural allies against the destructive and impersonal impulses of globalism.

Religion is organic? Huh. As for these “sublime traditions”, c’mon, let’s hear about some of them. Any of them. Provide some details on all this sublimeness. Interestingly enough, the first definition of ¹Sublime is: to cause to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state and condense back to solid form. If one uses that particular definition, yeah, I can buy the sublime tradition nonsense.

Mr. Hill teaches that the defeat of Nazi Germany was “an unmitigated disaster for Western Christian civilization.” I don’t know who taught Mr. Hill about World War II, but they should be smacked.

Alt-Right leaders and white nationalists adore Russia’s Vladimir Putin, much as American Religious Right leaders do. As Casey Michel noted in a RWW report last year, Richard Spencer has called Russia the “most powerful white power in the world.” Matthew Heimbach, leader of the now-disbanded white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, called Putin “the leader of the free world.” Former KKK leader David Duke, who was a speaker at this year’s League of the South conference, has said he believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.”

Putin has supported right-wing nationalist movements across Europe. In 2015, Jared Taylor, the American proponent of “race realism,”  took part in a conference in St. Petersburg that gathered activists from Europe’s far right. There Taylor declared the United States “the greatest enemy of tradition everywhere.” Also in attendance was former KKK lawyer Sam Dickson, who praised Putin’s efforts to preserve “[the white] race and civilization.”

I can’t figure out why all these wannabe nazis don’t just run off to Russia. They’d be happy, and we’d all be better off without them.

RWW has the full story.

10 Plants: Bulldozed To Death.

In this June 17, 2015, file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. | Photo: AP Photo / Jim Mone.

In this June 17, 2015, file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. | Photo: AP Photo / Jim Mone.

That’s right: Confronted with a small-scale illicit marijuana grow on public land, the [Pennsylvania] State Police deployed a helicopter and the on-scene bulldozer and managed to kill their target. But that’s not how the cops tried to spin it.

Brought to you with utter disgust and contempt, contempt for fucking cops, who seem to be good for only one thing: murder. Contempt for the puritanical, colonial bullshit which is a complete blight on Amerikkan society.

You can read all the sordid details here.

I’d Prefer Abe Simpson…

The 72 year old Tiny Tyrant finally went there: “Get offa my lawn!” Just for the record, if there were desperate, frightened people standing on my lawn, I would do whatever I could to help them.

Source. You can see other choice responses at RawStory.

Only A Woman Knows That Trumpian Zen…

Sam Nunberg appears on MSNBC (screen grab).

Sam Nunberg appears on MSNBC (screen grab).

Sam Nunberg is pushing Hope Hicks for chief of staff, and his reasons are…interesting.

“She is actually perfect for what the president is looking for,” Nunberg replied. “He is thinking of not having a chief of staff. What he wants is to operate like the 26th floor of Trump Tower where he had a strong-willed, very good woman in Rhona Graff handling the calls, knowing him getting his zen, things like that.”

“He will listen to women more than men, believe it or not, strongly saying, that wouldn’t be a good idea,” he continued. “She would be perfect for this. He had to adapt to the presidency… political gravity will never apply to him.”

Oh my. No chief of staff? I’m sure that would work out wonderfully. It is in line with the Tiny Tyrant’s desire to be a dictator. Christ, just when you keep trying to tell yourself it couldn’t get worse, it always gets worse. I am not looking forward to slamming into the bottom of the barrel at speed.

As for zen, hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, I can’t think of a worse word to apply to the Tiny Tyrant. I’m fair confident in saying that chances are high that Trump doesn’t know the meaning of the word. “Zen and the Art of Being A Dictator“.

Back when Donny was confined to Trump Tower, he didn’t run a damn thing, and that’s how he wants to do things now? Well, it would be better if he stopped trying to run things…

“We’re dealing with a new president here,” he explained. “I would tell you Hope has very good political instincts. They came to her very quickly during the short time I worked with her, and she was essentially his gatekeeper during the election. And she would be great at that position, and she doesn’t take — she knows the way he’s going to work.”

“She’s not going to be insulted like John Kelly that the president is going to do what the president is going to do,” Nunberg concluded.

Yeah, we all know what we’re dealing with, and “political instincts” be damned. What’s required is someone who is actually qualified for the fucking job, but I guess we can’t even have that much in the revolving door regime.

Via RawStory.

The Chains of Intolerance.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Art and artists most definitely have a place in answering wrongs, great or small, and everything in between. Andrew Ellis Johnson has a searing piece up at Hyperallergic. It’s well worth seeing and reading.

The Cure for All Venereal Diseases!

The cure for all venereal disease, brought to you by…Jim Bakker, who else? One might enquire just what good christians might need with such a cure, but I doubt any sort of answer would ensue. By the way, silver is not a cure for fucking anything, particularly not venereal disease. It’s of no more use than mercury used to be, so don’t even think about it.

Source.

From Jim’s scamsite:

Silver Solution Gel

Silver Solution Gel (24ppm) works faster, longer and more efficiently than other silvers to promote natural healing.

  • Faster – By using catalytic instead of chemical action,  Silver helps speed up natural processes that have positive effects on the body.
  • Longer – Unlike other silvers that quit working after completing one function, Silver performs over and over for hours.
  • More Efficiently – By resonating at just the right frequency, Silver disrupts foreign elements without disturbing the body’s natural environment.

Silver Solution Gel provides soothing action for the skin and can be applied as needed. This four-ounce tube is perfect for toting in your purse or stowing in your desk drawer, glove box or medicine cabinet.

NO. No, no, no, to all that shit. Not so, not true, bullshit all the way. I do note that good ol’ Jim doesn’t personally believe in all these amazing benefits from silver, as he hasn’t turned even a light shade of gray-blue, [argyria] which is what taking colloidal silver will do to you eventually, and it’s permanent.  It’s not any nice shade of blue, either. It’s barely blue, more a decayed corpse colour.

This Black Cloud Called Trump.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Fifteen months ago, Trump was just beginning to embrace his new position of power but now he’s well into the dismantling of our democracy. My emotions are whipped around all day long. Mothers are torn away from their babies at the border. Families living good, productive lives here are sent back to “where they came from” — a place some of them hardly know. The reversal of all that Obama put in place to protect our environment. The destruction of an educational system that was once the best in the world. The attack on our press, which is treated like an enemy. Taking away our rights as he edges closer and closer to a dictatorship. And the lies. The constant lies. So that we can hardly find truth anymore. So many gut-wrenching changes.

I have nothing to add here. You can read more at Hyperallergic.

A Sad History of Monopoly.

Elizabeth Magie's 1904 board design.

Elizabeth Magie’s 1904 board design. Source and Credit. Click for full size.

 

Source.

It’s a right pity that Monopoly didn’t turn out the way Elizabeth Magie envisioned. Just goes to show that greed always wins. (I couldn’t get the twitter video to play; if you also have such problems, head to Required Reading, and scroll down to the bottom. That one works fine for me.

Alternative Bullshit.

Fool’s World Map: ‘Stultorum Infinitus est Nemerus’ G201:1/43. Source.

I was reading a post at Pharyngula about the “Intellectual Dark Web” idiots, and came to an abrupt halt over these sentences:

There is also an irritating but genuine grain of truth deep beneath the layers of whining. Campus leftists and their allies in the media are often no more open to alternative perspectives than the New Republic white male elite of two decades ago; they can behave badly too.

This was my comment in response:

I came to a screeching halt in front of this disgusting apologia. The rest isn’t worth my time. This is utter bullshit, there’s no “irritating, genuine grain of truth” there at all. “Alternative Views” is nuspeak for the same old evil bigotry and discrimination that people keep trying to resurrect. Sticking an “alt” in front of these old chestnuts doesn’t change a fucking thing. I can’t even say just how much I’ve come to loathe the word alternate, thanks to all the immoral, evil, toxic assholes embracing it, as if it heralded new ideas. All the whining is because people recognize their crap for what it is, and they aren’t interested in hearing it, or providing a venue for it. It’s about damned time, too.

Let them fucking whine, but don’t be trying to sell their shit as some sterling truth that’s truly new. Farrell should be smacked for writing such idiocy.

This is an ask, an ask to consider their brave, “new” views, which are exactly the same as the very old views, which place almost all people firmly in the inferior camp for one reason or another. It’s pushing the colonial mindset with its genocidal bigotry, the same old fucking bullshit people have been fighting against for much of history. There are always more smug bigots than there are thinking, accepting people, because bigotry is easy. We all live within frameworks of institutional and systemic racism of some sort, here in Ustates, it is the framework, and has been from the start. Just getting some people to even see that framework is a serious, brain-breaking chore. That framework makes it very easy to slide into bigotry, it’s a very comfortable fit for many people, and some of them just insist on justifying their “alternative, radical” views. Those views are not alt-anything, they are as old as the hills, and firmly status quo mainstream. They are not radical, they stink of the banality of evil.

These are people who are waving the Persecution Banner, while pulling down obscene amounts of money, most of it from bigoted fans who are stuffed full of aggrieved entitlement. These are people who are so damn desperate for power, they will say anything, and do anything for a chance at real power. I suspect at least some of them are laughing their arses off on the way to the bank every month, but this does not make them less harmful. They embrace obscurantism while smiling and claiming “science” backs them up. They want to be seen as great leaders, carrying the one and only torch of knowledge, only they understand enlightenment, and that enlightenment is in silencing and oppressing those deemed inferior, dismissing the hordes of the great unwashed with a faint wave of a hand. Bring up the days of the gentry to them, and you’d no doubt hear a chorus of wistful sighs.

It’s all bullshit. It’s not even alternative bullshit, just the same old centuries long song. There is not one alternate thing about it, not one truly new view, not even a hint of originality. These are people who long for the bad old days, and cry at every opportunity because they can’t have that.

Bullshit. Piles and piles of bullshit.