I demolished Hobbiton

My wife is obsessed with our lawn, and I hate it. She sends me out to mow the stupid useless thing in the morning, a task made even more difficult because it’s covered with dew-speckled webs, and I have to destroy them.

It’s like a regular village out there, with all these little spider homes everywhere. And if you look closely…is that a hobbit hole?

Surely it is. It’s gone now, though — I scoured this little shire thoroughly, and now it’s just a wasteland of stubby, wounded grass weeping volatile semiochemicals into the air, the grieving survivors rallying and swearing to rebuild and maybe planning their vengeance.

Against me. Am I the implacable, inscrutable monster in this scenario? Would Sauron have felt a sense of relief when the oppressed rose up and destroyed him? I don’t think I would have minded if a swarm of spiders had scurried up to end my reign of terror.

How did we get here?

“Here” is a country where millions believe in loony conspiracy theories and vote for a fascist like Trump, and yet they close their eyes to black clad militarized police whisk citizens off the street into unmarked cars. We’ve become simultaneously hyperconscious of outrageous nonsense promoted on the internet, and desensitized to it. Well, most of us are desensitized — about 30% seem to have become the base of the Republican party.

There’s a lot of blame to go around. This documentary pins it on a couple of sources: Alex Jones and Roger Stone, and the conscienceless, manipulatory algorithms of YouTube and Facebook that enabled these terrible people, culminating in the election of Donald Trump. I think there are even more people responsible, but this is a good start.

Almost an hour of concentrated Jones and Stone is agonizing, but sit through it and bear the suffering. There’s a deep injustice here, that Noah Pozner’s parents get to suffer while Alex Jones got rich, and Trump got the presidency. Fox News is the mainstream version of Alex Jones.

Answers in Genesis gets everything wrong

Tonight, at 9pm Central, I’m going to try and wade through the bullshit Ken Ham threw everywhere in a recent video. He’s complaining about atheism, abortion, molecular biology, development, and of course, evolution, all in one crowded half hour, so I’ll start going through it all and see how far I get.

This is also an experiment for me, to see if I can simultaneously put up a YouTube video and make commentary. I don’t know, seems like a tool it would be handy to have in my toolbox.

Quacks are thriving nowadays

The Republicans have a new favorite doctor, Stella Immanuel. She loves hydroxychloroquine and detests face masks, so of course the Trumps love her. She has a few other…interesting…ideas.

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

A couple of Trumps are retweeting her claims, as is Turning Point USA, but Twitter and Facebook are removing the false information she’s spreading.

I think the White House ought to go all in and fire Birx and Fauci and replace them with Immanuel, and also that all of Donald’s medical care henceforth be provided exclusively by Dr Immanuel.

Where da boaters at?

When Donald Trump beckons, the media fall all over themselves to answer. For instance, lately Trump has been obsessing over “boat parades” and how much boaters love him, so the Washington Post indulges in overwrought analysis and puts together some fancy data visualization to show that yes, people who can afford boats tend to be Republican. Whether the boater population is a significant slice of the demographic pie, and whether they will be a significant factor in the election, and whether it is at all appropriate or useful for a newspaper to focus a microscope on such a trivial question is an exercise left for the reader.

“A state where the dark-red slice of Republican boaters is larger than the light-red slice of Republicans overall is a state where the boating community is more densely Republican.”

I can’t afford a boat, and I have no interest in owning a boat, so I guess I won’t be cruising around Lake Minnewaska waving a big blue “Trump Sucks!” flag. Is this a meaningful datum? All it tells me is that wealth has a positive correlation with supporting an establishment party that panders to money. (Well, actually, both parties pander to money, but one is more overt than the other.)

By the way, the WaPo is at least willing to point out what a narcissistic flibbertigibbet Trump is. He had earlier announced that he was “too busy” to throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game, then abruptly, to the surprise of his staff, announced at a press conference that he was going to throw out the first pitch for the New York Yankees…which was also a surprise to the Yankees. What prompted the about face?

He learned that Anthony Fauci was throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals.

Trump was irritated that Fauci was given the honor, the Times reported, citing an official familiar with his reaction. Not to be outdone, he reportedly told his staff to get in touch with the Yankees and take Levine up on his offer, but then the president went ahead and threw a curveball at the coronavirus briefing with his claim that he would take the mound on Aug. 15.

Jesus. The country is run by petty high-schooler.

Only we call them “contract security personnel” rather than “mercs”

Marcus Ranum asks a really good question: who are all these mysterious masked strangers dressed in black armor who show up at the best of the federal government to crush protests? It’s not the lone ranger. They seem to appear out of an undocumented pool of semi-professional thugs. That suggests an answer.

I’ve been puzzled by the fact that nobody seems to be talking about where these “federal troops” have come from.

They’re not well-trained and they’re not particularly brave, but they have spiffy gear that someone bought them from an online Tactical(tm) store. They’re fond of hitting people, especially people who can’t defend themselves. They act like they’re an occupying force; Amerikkka come to the inner city to bust some heads. Sound familiar?

Where has Trump friend Erik Prince been, lately? Because the smell of Blackwater is wafting all around; it’s unmistakable.

Could our government be hiring mercenaries to put down citizens who don’t like injustice? As Marcus suggests, there is a good opportunity for journalistic investigation here.

Here’s how they operate: four thugs abruptly attack a 14 year old girl in Eugene, Oregon.

I guess she was a dangerous threat.