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Literate Chaotic / the beginning of nothing
« on: April 11, 2017, 06:13:19 am »
just something i'm starting... not much here. posting to shame myself if i don't keep working on it.

They call cops "pigs", and that's what they've always called them. For as long as anyone can remember, anyway. It's a funny enough epithet, I guess, but the image doesn't really fit. Maybe it made sense way back when cops were dumb and fat and sloppy, if cops were ever dumb or fat or sloppy. If it was up to me, I'd call them dogs instead. They're a lot more like dogs than pigs. Strong. Persistent. Mean. Once a cop gets a hold of something or somebody, he won't ever let go. Loyal like dogs, too. Maybe even more. This country is rotten with corruption, but you no matter who you are, you can't buy a cop. Loyal, but not to anyone I'll ever know. But it isn't up to me, so cops are pigs.

The car rolled to a stop at the Business District checkpoint and the all the windows descended automatically. The glare of flashlights immediately flooded the interior and I tried to shrink into the rear seat, but I couldn't slouch any lower without looking suspicious. Sid was sitting up front at the console as the officer poked his pointy face in through the window.

"Route log, please." He asked, not politely.

Sid sneered and held the car's detachable navcom up at the officer's face, saying nothing, equally not politely. The blinking display was too close for him to read it, and she knew it. She was obviously looking for trouble.

He reared back disgustedly and his hand darted into the cabin to swipe the navcom out of Sid's. This was only the first checkpoint, and I was sure it was about to be the last. I held my breath as the officer scanned the navcom and his buddies scanned the car's occupants with their flashlights. No noise except the purring motor. We all sat perfectly still, hands visible and motionless, staring straight ahead at nothing. None of us made eye contact with each other, or with the cops. People had been shot for "threatening eye contact", right here at this very checkpoint, more than once. Really—they are a lot like dogs.

Navcoms are simple things. They just list the destinations programmed into a car along with every stop it had made in the past 48 hours and a record of all the ID chips that had been in the vehicle during the same period. It doesn't take very long to learn everything a navcom could possibly have to teach you. The officer outside the car was apparently trying to learn something the navcom couldn't teach him. Centuries passed.

"Mmmmm," the officer sang, finally. "You'll have to make good time if you're going to make it in time." The officer's tone said he was weighing whether or not to intentionally delay us so as to hand out citations for violating curfew, as if the navcom wouldn't report us anyway. Smiles stretched out behind the flashlights.

Sid's hands almost formed two fists, but she caught herself and forced her fingers to relax. "Yes. Sir." I heard the blatant sarcasm in her voice. I was praying it flew over the officer's head.

The officer's angled face appeared once more through the window, grinning a little. He eyes pierced Sid's for just a second before craning his neck to sweep the other three of us in back disdainfully, as the navcom in his hand found its own way to the slot on the console and replaced itself. He inhaled sharply, no doubt hoping to detect contraband, and his mouth straightened out of its grin as he failed. We knew the car was clean, but you can never know how much that really matters. The officer withdrew himself abruptly with "Well, what are you waiting for, citizens? Move along, we have a million of you to inspect tonight."

Grunts came from the other officers as the flashlights swept out of the cabin and away from the car, finally. Sid tapped the green "RESUME DRIVE" command on the navcom and the car lurched forward and rolled down the street.

This checkpoint scene replayed itself no less than five times that night, each one eerily similar to the last, right down the the sing-song disdain and pointy face of the officer in charge. A couple of times I even wondered if we we had driven around the block just to get another look at the same bunch of uniformed thugs. Not once did I catch a glimpse of where that epithet "pig" had come from. We got to Sid's place just before curfew.

Literate Chaotic / True Trump Stories: The Brown Stroke
« on: April 04, 2017, 01:17:52 am »
Yes, this is Donald Trump fan fiction of my own invention. Just deal with it.

--- The Brown Stroke ---

Don let out a tired sigh as he plopped out of the golf cart. Waddling over to the tee, his mind kept wandering to the mean things CNN had said about him that morning on Twitter, and he was having some trouble calming his thoughts. A round of golf usually evaporated any stress he might have, but today was different somehow. Maybe his belt was too tight around his substantial gut, maybe his cleats were cramped. He couldn't quite put his stubby finger on it, but whatever it was, it was driving him crazy.

"Come on Jeff, hurry up!" he hollered to the Attorney General-slash-golf caddie who was ambling up the slope behind Don. "We don't have all day for Chrissakes, and where's my damn water, it's the hottest day ever out here!" Don swiped his forehead with a $1,500 rag, which he discarded after just the one use. Reaching the top of the rise, Jeff stooped to pick it up. "Jeff, come on. Are you serious? Just leave it there, the club has people for that. Look, you really need to respect yourself more," sneered the fat man as he yanked his belt upwards.

"Yessir, Mr. President, sir," Jeff chirped happily. "Here are your clubs, sir. I reckon you can ---"

Trump interrupted the old man, "I reckon you can just shut up, Jeff. I didn't bring you out here to get tips, you know. Gimme the driver, will ya?"

Jeff obediently stopped talking, dug around in the bag for a second, and pulled out a club.  "Here you are sir, one driver as requested." He held the club out, his hand on the grip and the head facing the President's.

Don just stood there. His squinted eyes darted back and forth from under a day-glo orange visor from the end of the outstretched club to the Attorney General's face. Jeff's face crumpled into a familiar "Aw heck, I screwed up again, didn't I?" expression under the glare of the most powerful man in the world. Time stood still as he pondered what his mistake was. His triceps complained about the prolonged strain they were under, and began to tremble a little. Jeff gulped.

An hour passed, or so it seemed, before Don finally exhaled and sniped, "I'm not going to touch that dirty fucking thing, Jeff. Have you ever handed a golf club to anyone in your life?" He moved toward Jeff, reached out, and snatched the club by the grip out of Jeff's hands. "I can't believe I hired you to enforce the law, Jeff. You can't even... Jesus, you're lucky Vlad thinks so highly of you."

Jeff went a little limp and cast his eyes downward. "Yessir, sorry sir." He deposited both hands in their pockets.

"Yayessuh, sowrry, suh," Trump mocked Jeff's Southern drawl  as he turned around to take his swing.  "Now, watch this."

Trump studied the landscape between himself and the distant green. He stuck his thumb into his mouth and popped it out again, raising it above his head to get a feeling for the wind. Or, he imagined that was what he was doing anyway. He'd seen all the pros do that on TV, even in cartoons, so he knew it was an important part of the strategy. He waddled up to the tee and rocked back and forth a couple of times, straddling the ball. He swayed his elbows to and fro a few times to loosen up his swing.

Don was determined to get a hole in one this time. Finally, his mind cleared, and it was just him and the ball and the flag off in the distance. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else existed. He raised the club over and behind his head, took in and let out a big breath, and let loose.


"Oh," said Don, suddenly out of the zone, "oh, no. Jeff! Jeff get over here!" He felt dizzy. What was happening? He'd missed the ball entirely! But that's not all. His brain filled with fuzzy memories for a second. The sound of children laughing. A unpleasant emotion swirled around him... what was that feeling? Is that... shame? Where's Jeff? "Jeff! Com'ere!" Don's knees buckled. Everything went black.

Jeff hobbled over to the President's side, but two Secret Service agents beat him there. Where had they come from? No matter. They had reached Don before his great mass had impacted the Earth, held him up and steadied him. "Mr. President, are you all right?" asked one of them, "Sir, let's get you inside now."

Jeff, finally catching up to the group, pulled out a fresh towel and blotted the President's forehead. "Sir, are you all right, sir?" he said, somewhat frantic.

By now, Don was standing under his own power and had shoved the two agents to the side. "Get off me, goddammit!" he barked, "I'm fine. I'm fine. Just lost my balance. Stop... let go of me!" He spun around to make sure no one was still hanging onto him. "Jeff, give me my water bottle already, put that fucking rag away."

Jeff obliged, handing over the bottle. "Sir, you scared us! That was quite a spell there, are you sure you don't..." Jeff trailed off as he eyed the President's rotund body, checking for signs of damage. He inhaled sharply and bit his lip when he noticed a damp patch, slightly brown, spreading on Don's backside. He glanced at the Secret Service men. They all exchanged awkward, knowing eye contact, and everyone was looking around toward the tree line for anyone else who might be spying. Instinctively, the three men surrounded the President like they were trying to shield him from a mob, but there wasn't anyone around. Just the cruel world, playing another trick on old Don.

Tenderly, Jeff addressed Don. "Sir, we'd better get you inside, so you can get a... you look tired, sir, this round can wait until tomorrow." Jeff knew better than to point out the obvious to the man who had taught him there was no such thing. "Let's walk back you back to the cart, sir."

Don, for his part, was barely aware of what was going on. Why are all these guys crowding me, he wondered. What's the big deal? Then he felt something tickle down the inside of his thigh. His hand, moving on its own, swung down and between his thighs as he stooped over to check himself. Oh, God. Oh, Jesus.

"I've been shot!" yelled the President. "I've been shot! Look! I'm bleeding! Who's out here? Obama is that you?!" He demanded of the empty golf course. "Come on damn you! Show yourself!"

Jeff and the two guards hurried Don back down the slope toward the golf cart and loaded him on. As it sped back toward the clubhouse, Don was shouting obscenities at Hillary Clinton for having some bastard try to kill him. "You'll be sorry, you bitch!" He said, over and over again. "You'll be sorry!"

Aneristic Illusions / Local Politics Clusterfuck
« on: March 29, 2017, 06:24:57 am »
warning: this is long and boring. excuse me for using pd as my own personal blog, but, you know, deal with it and stuff.

I live in a medium-ish sized town in AZ around the outskirts of Phoenix. Or rather, we would be a town, but this area is unincorporated. It's a sprawling tangle of subdivisions crowded around a couple of "main" roads that are way too narrow for the number of people who have flocked out here over the past decade.  Public services have struggled to keep up with demand, mostly due to terrible planning and probably a shoestring budget (the way everything operates in Arizona), but with the added seasoning of a couple of powerful bullshit tycoons who run the only water utility and fire protection service (fire protection isn't included in taxes here -- if you want it, you have to pay through a per-square-foot fee to this company).

The people who want to incorporate (myself included) generally believe that the townspeople deserve as a matter of natural rights or something to unionize and have some input on our collective future. Right now, we are at the mercy of the County Supervisor, a person who has no need to consider our opinions because he is elected by the entire country, and is a Republican. Beyond him is the state legislature, which is even farther removed and more useless. You may have to live in Arizona to get a true appreciation for how corrupt everything here is, but suffice it to say there is no such thing as a politician here who does anything that might be construed as "the will of the people". So it is the sense of the "Incorporate" side that we might manage to fend off higher levels of government by instituting one that answers, at least mechanically, to us. I doubt that is how it would actually work out, but I'm a horrible Statist so it is the best alternative, as far as I'm concerned.

The people who want to remain unincorporated, however, confuse me. I can't quite put my finger on any actual reason they oppose it. They blare protests at the prospect of "higher taxes" and "more bureaucracy", predictably, but our property taxes are already as high as they are allowed to go under state law, and we live in a Republican clusterfuck so "more bureaucracy" is a given anyway. But these do not seem to be the heart of their opposition -- only the most easily communicated. After talking to a few of them sincerely, I think the main reason they don't want to incorporate is just because. Typically, a person in the "NOPE" camp is one whose residency in this area predates the population explosion of the last 10 years and who bears a slight grudge against all of us late-coming "city dwellers" for mucking up their natural desert landscape with our drab repetitive tract homes, strip malls, six-lane roads, streetlights, running water, Internet access, and all the other trappings of civilization they apparently hate. These people are Conservative in the most insidious sense: they are not really "conserving" anything, they just hate change and progress because they are change and progress. Still, when cornered on any one particular issue, they will admit that the benefits of incorporation are both real and valuable. The utilities are of poor quality and they should not have to pay protection money to the Firefighter Mafia; the roads are crap, the schools are crap, there are no parks, there are no leaders nearby with an ear turned to the people, there are no real businesses or jobs in the area, and so on. They just stubbornly won't incorporate, well, because they won't.

I would like to convince them, but as usual with such deeply conservative folk, they are immune to reason. Even when you nail them down on any one of fifteen different paths to "the only logical conclusion is that we should incorporate", they just pop back out of place as soon as you move in for the close. They seem to think that if they just bury their heads in the sand, incorporation will never happen. I, and many others, have argued against that way of thinking since it's preposterous. Either they will eventually vote "NO" and lose in a referendum, and have none of their concerns addressed by the outcome on account of pouting in the corner while negotiations were happening; or some neighboring city will end up annexing them thanks to their neighbors signing on, resulting in more or less the same. Either way, an area this densely populated cannot go on as a "county island" for too long. They point to pockets of unincorporated areas within and around Scottsdale, failing to take note of the fact that those areas are populated by rich assholes on 40-acre estates, not poor fourth-generation "ranchers" on evaporating ex-ranches next to a highway. My desire to convert them is admittedly less altruism than science experiment or weekend hobby. I just don't understand the way they think, and I keep imagining that if I could wrap my head around their thought processes, I might unlock some skeleton key to the universal ignorance of conservatives in general. Silly, but I don't care really. It's fun to prod them.

We follow the journey of Sal, an ordinary middle-aged insurance clerk who, as a way of fantasizing away the cosmic pointlessness of his existence, dreams of a world without violence, poverty, and injustice and the many things he could do to effect change, if he only had the opportunity. One day, on a whim, he buys a lottery ticket that turns out to be the only winning ticket for the biggest jackpot in history -- over a billion dollars after taxes and fees.

Being a reasonably intelligent guy, he manages to set up a trust to receive the winnings. His trusted friend is a decent lawyer who is able to keep his identity a secret by filing all the appropriate paperwork through an impenetrable bureaucratic maze. At first he does nothing with the money: keeps his job, doesn't buy anything extravagant, doesn't even pay off his mortgage or car loan. He just goes about his life as usual, patiently waiting for the press to die down and quietly investing some money, more as a hobby than anything else.

After the furor in the media has subsided, he sets his plan in motion. He buys a private island somewhere in Indonesia through a series of shell companies, and begins developing a very high-tech, secure compound, mostly underground. He arranges to fake his own death, abandoning his life and retiring to his new compound. From this place he recruits a private army of highly-trained and very effective mercenaries, hackers, and financial experts. He begins slowly exerting the force of their combined expertise on global markets through strategically imploding large corporations and even a few smaller national banks and draining their value into his own stockpiled wealth. In the ensuing political and social unrest, his troops sweep in along with coordinated humanitarian aid and public works projects, transforming war zones almost overnight into stable states. He bankrolls resistance movements here, recognized governments there, and a large array of media outlets. He even successfully masterminds the assassinations of many of the world's worst despots, including some in highly influential countries.

The whole world is confounded by the sudden appearance of this state-level actor, operating apparently on par with a global superpower, but no one can figure out who is behind it. His final move is to force the United States, the EU, Russia, and China into an alliance against him by knocking off a few low-level diplomats and sabotaging some of their most important military operations. With no way of locating or even identifying him, the alliance is forced to pool their intelligence resources and learn to work together, accidentally causing world peace.

"Ha! I have done it!" he cries over simulcast TV, radio, and Internet streams, "I have fooled you into working together for the good of mankind!"

People everywhere cheer. Politicians, finally realizing the master plan is nearing its ultimate goal, manage to track the signal to the secret compound in Indonesia. They bomb it. Then they also bomb each other to erase the compromising intelligence they all have on one another. Everyone dies.

"BZZZZZZZZZZZ!" goes the alarm clock. Sal opens his eyes and heaves out a heavy, frustrated sigh. "Yeah, that would never work. Geez, what a dumb idea," he says out loud to no one in particular. Rolling out of bed and into his slippers, Sal gets up to make the coffee. His grand scheme for helping the world has been foiled again, but he refuses to be deterred. He is a good man, and he will, eventually, think of something. This scene repeats more or less daily for the next forty years, and then Sal dies.

Aneristic Illusions / The New America (x-posted from my blag)
« on: March 14, 2017, 04:16:20 am »
Over the past few years it has become apparent that between 30% and 40% of Americans no longer subscribe to this nation's founding principles. While they attend Fourth of July parades and political rallies religiously, all the while waving their little flags and buying up Save the Constitution tee shirts, their fervent lip service to "freedom," "justice", and "equality" belies their growing spite toward those very ideas in the real world.

In truth, many Americans now have very different definitions for these words than what you might find in a dictionary. "Freedom", it seems, no longer means the right to enjoy a life without interference from abusive government power. It now means the right to trample the lives and livelihoods of others without interference from a disapproving society, and indeed the unchecked power to use the power of government to secure that right.

"Justice" no longer refers to securing the expectation of a government reluctant to arrest and imprison citizens, or the right to a fair trial if you ultimately face prosecution for any crime. In today's America, "justice" represents little more than immediate, state-sponsored retribution for victimless crimes and violent policing of thought and association.

Likewise, when millions of Americans refer to "equality", they do not mean absolutely equal protection for every individual under the law and in pursuit of the necessities of life like housing, employment, and education. Their version of "equality" expects and enforces strict homogeneity in appearance, speech, and behavior. They actively reject interest in sharing their world with anyone who stands out or speaks out. To them, "equal" means "unanimous".

As we ride this wave of backlash against the strides in social justice and governmental transparency and accountability that many people fought hard for over the past century, we find the basic character of our country transforming. The very definition of "America" has changed from a place where people from all different backgrounds could cooperate and succeed -- not despite, but because of our differences, to a place where different personalities, backgrounds, orientations, beliefs, and ethnicities must undergo repression in favor of presenting a facade of patriotic sameness.

These new attitudes toward society and life in present such an incompatibility with the ideals put forward in the Declaration of Independence that it insults America to go on calling these people "Americans". So, we will refer to this swell of hateful anti-everything sentiment as "New America" from now on. If you want to succeed in New America, what qualities must you have? By examining this question, you can understand who this backward cultural revolution targets.

First, you must have plenty of financial security. New America values material wealth above almost anything else: the well-to-do absolved of nearly any other shortcoming by the virtue imparted by their riches. New America believes that monetary unfailingly indicates upright morals, a strong work ethic, and high intelligence. After all, how could a person possibly have enormous wealth if they did not possess enough righteousness to avoid wasting their money, put in enough honest labor to earn it in the first place, and have enough smarts to grow it? New America knows for sure that no rich person has ever become rich through lying, cheating, stealing, or mere inheritance.

Conversely, failure to achieve financial bliss surely shows a lack of basic decency, as New America has realized with absolute certainty convinced that poverty arises only from moral faults, despicable laziness, and stupid decisions. No one in New America has ever found themselves in the poor house through bad luck or generations of inescapable, institutional poverty. Importantly, poor people always seem to need help, and New Americans do not "help" people. Helping people requires the usurpation of wealth, which belongs only to the person who earned it -- no matter how badly someone else might need it, or how painlessly the rich might part with it. New America treasures personal responsibility: no one bears any responsibility whatsoever for what happens to someone else. Ever.

Not all good people have unlimited wealth, but if they don't, then they must have a lot of these other qualities to make up for it. And not all rich people possess unshakable morals; but you can always identify those who don't by their reckless donations to Progressive causes.

Next, you must profess Christianity. All of our elected officials share a solid Christian faith, with occasional exceptions finding their way to election in heathen and apostate regions, and even these exceptions must confess their strong motivation by some other faith and defer on all questions of religious importance to the nearest Christian. New America will not compromise on this point: without fail, every single good and righteous person in the history of our nation has publicly professed a Christian faith. They specifically, without question, founded America as a Christian nation. Outside Christendom you will find nothing but perverts, devil worshipers, liars, cheaters, and all manner of hedonists and reprobates. If you cannot openly endorse Christianity, then you must at least allow others to assume you follow Christ. If you don't, then suspicion and distrust will follow wherever you go.

Moving on, it helps immensely if your birth certificate says "Male" on it. Of course, New America would never dream of enforcing such a rule outright, at least not yet. But they recognize that, when it comes to the natural qualities desired for leadership and success, the masculine gender just has certain innate advantages. Men naturally possess greater strength -- both physically and emotionally. They suffer less from bouts of uncontrollable hysterics. They project a more dominant appearance, with a comparatively larger stature and more angular features. New America would by no means categorize men as "superior", but it generally accepts that masculine characteristics seem more compatible with political and economic power than feminine characteristics. Women have their own arenas in which they excel over men: the home, mostly, raising children and cleaning, but also in professions requiring gentleness and beauty while always considering their natural delicateness and fragility.

Unavoidably attached to this point about gender, you must also respect the traditional roles of both the male and female sex. This, above all, means accepting the fact that only two genders can possibly exist, that everyone has one or the other, and that biology solely determines the gender of each person. No editing, changing, or masking your biological gender will ever enjoy legitimacy in New America. Beyond this, your sexual orientation must match your physical gender. If it doesn't, then you'll have to make up for this severe deficiency by greatly overcompensating in one of these other areas.

And finally, if you really New America to truly accept or admire you, then you really do need to have a Northern European racial background. Remember: to insist otherwise, or to insist that such an expectation contains "racism", gravely violates New America's central thesis: that we systematically eradicate "Political Correctness".. New America has no interest in entertaining the childish fantasies of multiculturalism. Every worthwhile work of art from music to architecture sprung solely from a White person's imagination. White people envisioned and built every great facility and institution in New America, and they did it specifically to preserve White heritage. This nation has had a century and a half of experimenting with forced racial equality, and we have, apparently, decided that those experiments have failed. Now, of course, New America does not (yet) propose wholesale extermination of non-white people. But if you do not have white skin, then you must at least talk, dress, and behave as if you do. You must not have pride in your own heritage. Meanwhile, we will send the police to the places where you live to harass you and kill you; we will refuse to hire you for good jobs, or promote you if you get hired. And we will very diligently work to identify ways in which you do not belong here, and seek to forcibly remove you where possible.

Now that you understand what New America expects from you in terms of your characteristics at birth, a few more beneficial qualities exist that will help you to succeed even more:

You must have a job. Unemployment, like poverty, arises only from moral degeneration.
You must support our military and every single expedition it makes, no matter the rationale behind it.
You must despise foreigners, even while you travel as a tourist in their countries.
You must believe what the Party tells you, no matter how unlikely its veracity. In fact, if you suspect the Party of lying to you, then you must believe it twice as much.
You may have noticed that most of New America's expectations for its citizens revolve around being born just the right way. New Americans strongly distrust anyone who differs from them -- and since these qualities describe New Americans, they form the fundamental rules of their club. If you cannot join this club on your own merits, then they have no need for you.

These points may seem exaggerated, but if you study the ideas behind them you will see how well they explain every single piece of legislation being proposed by the American "Conservatives". These people may use softer language to communicate their goals, but that language merely cushions these harsh beliefs. Millions -- nearly half -- of Americans now believe this so strongly that they will gladly sign away the very Constitution underpinning our civilization in order to see these ideas enshrined in eternal law. They will sacrifice every last one of the demands laid out in the Declaration of Independence just to establish a racist, theocratic order; even if that means losing their own rights as a consequence.

The challenge we face as a nation lies not in how to argue in favor of universal health care or the humane treatment of migrants and minorities. Our challenge lies in how to confront and defeat this hateful ideology without legitimizing its ignorant precepts, and without destroying our civilization in the process. We cannot yet know whether we can actually meet this challenge; but certainly we will never meet it as long as we continue to misunderstand the reality of it.

We do not fight for our comfort, our privilege, or our pride. We fight for our right to exist and our right to transmit the ideals of the Enlightenment to our descendants. The menace that threatens our existence and our nation will not hesitate to lie, cheat, or use violence if it finds itself pinned down; so we must prepare for anything.


The ellipsis, shown above, is a versatile punctuation mark. It symbolizes a number of complex ideas in a compact form much more efficient than attempting to write out those ideas in longhand language. It can variously mean annoyance, suspense, and sarcasm, just to name a few of its uses. People the world over have learned to use the ellipsis frequently in informal language and as an abbreviation, its use transcending mere English and finding itself transplanted to many different languages. It is among the most common and most useful marks in written human language.

But have you ever wondered how such a powerful and flexible character made it into everyday writing? What genius is behind its ubiquitous appearance in our language? As I will show in this brief article, the history of the ellipsis is one of mystery, intrigue, and secrecy. It is, in many ways, a history of the Occult itself.

Many scholars trace the origins of the ellipsis to the Egyptian hieroglyph for Ra, the sun god. Others point to a symbol from early Christian mystery schools, known as The Three Faces of God, used to mark the members and meeting places of Christian mystics at a time where they were subjected to cruel persecution not only from the Roman state, but from other, less mystical Christians as well. In fact these symbols do play a part in the history of the ellipsis, but neither is its direct ancestor.

On Halloween night, 1774, the American Founding Fathers were meeting for a midnight ritual at the Masonic lodge in Philadelphia. As tensions with the British Crown grew more dangerous and explosive with each passing day, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson sought the guidance of ancient Roman gods on the top floor of the lodge in a secret rite.

Alternative history researchers have discovered that on this night, George Washington was to be inducted into the highly secretive 34th Degree of the Freemasons. The ritual for this ascension -- which is so secretive that almost no one, including most Masons, has ever even heard of it -- is shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that involves the piercing of the initiate's left palm with a sacred blade and an incantation in ancient Sumerian language, believed by Masons to be the language of the angels.

According to hidden legends, as Washington's hand was sliced open at the conclusion of the ceremony and he swung his arms in the ritual's gestures, his blood spattered across the floor -- forming three distinct spatters in a perfectly straight line. This was highly unexpected, even in the secret, windowless Chamber of the Ascension. It was seen as a sign from the gods -- a sign which, once deciphered, set the three fathers on their revolutionary path which would change the face of human civilization forever.

The three dots of blood were taken to be a prophesy: one blot for each of three distinct phases of history to follow their revolution. The first phase would be the formation of the United States under the Constitution and the acquisition of all land between the original colonies and the Pacific Ocean. This phase would be a hard one, marked by internal and external struggles as the States evolved into a coherent nation. It would end with a terrible Civil War that would test not only America's will to survive, but its moral fortitude as well.

The second blot symbolized a period of rising power for America -- during the next Age, the United States would grow in wealth and power, becoming the preeminent power on Earth, a nation to lead all nations. This period would bring its own challenges but would be defined by a gradual march to universal equality and the realization of all the dreams of the Enlightenment. It would, however, inevitably end during a period of mass confusion and distrust of the government.

The third blot foretells of the rise of an evil ruler who will cast aside all the trappings of democracy and bring America down to its lowest point -- culturally, militarily, and economically -- in all of its history. The nation will be tried, and according to the prophecy, it will ultimately have to relinquish its power among the nations if it hopes to survive. This will be a dark time full of leaders misleading the people, people distrusting each other, violence, and social unrest. The new ruler, according to these legends, was in fact an incarnated demon -- and would discard his human facade when the time was right and appear to the people in his true form, which is described in the old tomes as "very much like a tangerine with wispy yellow fuzz at the top of its crown".

The three initiates in the Lodge were so shaken by this prophesy that they undertook to embed the symbol for it -- the ellipsis -- into American language for all time. They did not want the warnings to ever be forgotten, but to be a guide to all future generations to be vigilant against the dangers that lie ahead. So, when you use the sacred ellipsis in your writing, never forget the true meaning behind it.

Religion, it turns out, is dying. In the last hundred years or so, it has been stabbed countless times by the relentless march of scientific inquiry, which has drained our ancient religions of all their mystery. There are no real questions left to ask, you see, because as soon as you ask a religious question you find out there has already been sixteen studies from Harvard that answered it three years ago.

As science rolls on, telling us why the Sun moves across the sky, where the summertime goes and why it comes back, and all manner of celestial mysteries, the serious student of spirituality is pushed farther and farther to the extremes of human experience. The religious seeker must content herself with answering the Really Big Questions, like "Is there life after death?" or "Why do bad things happen to good people?" or "What is the meaning of life?"

But historically, those questions were never the bread and butter of our religious lives. Sure, they were always there, forming the foundations of our religions, promising to comfort us at funerals and give monks something to think about all day while they toiled.  But those were not the religious questions that got us through the day. They didn't tell us when to plant the crops or when to harvest them. They didn't tell us how to make sure Summer would return after it vanished every Autumn.

Most of us never really cared about the Big Questions anyway. For most of humanity, religion was a simple, paint-by-numbers affair. You put in a quarter, you get a gumball. That's how it worked. Our ideas of morality were practically cartoons. But that's all gone now, replaced with the indifferent drone of cold, soulless science.

Could it be that millions of people who had been content to live their lives with the shallow and cartoonish ideas about the universe, robbed of the safe spaces of their mindless faith by a scientific age that only undermines the need and moral justification for religion, find themselves completely disconnected and confused, unable to function in a world where they can no longer just get away with painting by numbers? Are these Weird Times the result, at least in part, of a backlash by people who no longer have any identity, whose entire world is being continually invalidated by empirical evidence and real science? Of course, this is a truism. Our technological and social progress have so disrupted the ideological status quo of human civilization that half of us no longer feel tethered to anything. Not to common decency, not to charity, not to compassion, not to equality, not to anything. They have been set adrift, and are doing everything they can do to rebuild the world they feel they have lost.

This, I believe, is why they are immune to logic and impervious to facts. The act of following facts and logic is what got them to where they are to begin with, and they have resolved to undo that damage precisely by abandoning facts and logic. The world is too complex. There are too many variables. There are too many unseen forces outside of their control. There is too much to understand, too much history, too many words, too many different ideas, too many different people. It drives them mad. They can't think with all this progress going on. What happened to Sunday afternoons goddammit, what happened to drive in theaters, what happened to everything? It's all because of the facts and the logic and the respect, they figure. It all started with all those people who weren't satisfied like they were. The troublemakers. And now they've got to fix it, by God. They've got to Make America Great Again.

So it seems to me that trying to convince them out of that mindset can only make the problem worse. What they need is not a better understanding. They've already shown that any such understanding cannot help but to elude them. Whether they're too angry to understand, or too set in their ways, or just too dumb, it doesn't matter. They won't get it. So what will they get? What can they understand? What they need is something simple and straightforward. Something old-fashioned, familiar, and definite. A New Religion.

And what might this religion look like? It's got to be easy to recognize. It's got to draw a crowd. It has to have God in it, somewhere. It has to have a simple story that can repeat itself in the life of every believer. It has to be something they can share at the dinner table. There needs to be a struggle in it, a winner and a loser.

And I think... I think I have just the answer. It's not new -- not really -- it's based on an ancient tradition. It isn't a revolution (that's a good thing, remember). It's quick to pick up. Like all great arts, it's simple to learn but it takes a lifetime to master. It can be expressed in simple pictures and paragraphs much, much shorter than these. It's a revealed wisdom, handed down from ancient and learned generations of old. There is prayer. There is a sacrament. And it will definitely piss off the Devil. And you don't have to pay tithes!

So what is it? It's easy.

I call it the Holy Ancient Order of Punching a Goddamn Nazi in the Face.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / Maybe you can help
« on: February 23, 2017, 03:31:47 am »
So, in recent months, I find it increasingly hard to concentrate. I am surrounded by noise, there's always a stray itch, no one can leave me to my thoughts for more than two minutes without demanding my attention or unloading some god awful deluge of dithering, idiotic words about one or another useless thing on me. I can't set aside any inviolable time or space for creativity. I must find quiet moments late at night or early in the morning to pursue any train of thought, while everyone else is asleep and I am too tired to think properly.

This is making me an unpleasant person to be around. I can't stand the company of any person at all, I am constantly tuning everyone out because my mind is gasping desperately for solitude, so I don't hear most of the things that are said to me until they've been repeated once or twice. I am perpetually distracted at home and at work. I am developing acute misophonia, physically cringing when I hear someone eating, or drinking, or breathing, or generally just existing anywhere within earshot. The sharp inhale someone does right before they speak causes me to brace for impact, because I really, really just want everyone to shut up for five goddamn minutes. This is made worse by the constant drone of music in the background, always with lyrics, which for some reason (this is new) completely interrupt my ability to think at all. And that's sad, because I like music. But I even want the music to shut up.

I have no patience with anyone, and I know that I come across as being seriously annoyed at the mere presence of anyone, including my own family -- because I am annoyed. This is unfair to them, and I don't want to behave this way. But I am perennially exhausted by the constant demands for my attention (I mean this literally, not hyperbolically -- there is actually no time where I can expect to be interruption-free longer than about fifteen or twenty minutes at the most, and even that is rare). I am more and more disinterested in every kind of human contact, and it's really beginning to show in ways that are unpleasant to me and unfair to the people I love. It's probably worse in my head than it seems outside, but it's clearly not getting any better.


What do you do to shut the world out, and what are some healthy ways to tell people to give me some solitude once in a while without coming off like a complete prick?

- The Pyramids. I mean look at them. They're huge. Definitely not made by people. My friend Pete who lives up the road couldn't build something like that, and he has one of those engine block cranes and everything. Such mystery. Also, accurately used the measurement of π like 2,500 years before anyone calculated it. So they had time machines, too.

- The Mayan Calander. Only lost like a day or two in the span of 6,000 years, and predicted the end of the world to within 4 years of Trump taking office. Pretty good accuracy if you ask me, especially for a bunch of savages who didn't know what wheels are.

- Baalbek. Look up the Trilithon blocks, srsly, your mind will get blown. Who could do this? Nobody, that's who. But somebody did do it anyway. Ask anybody, they'll tell you it was giants. Or the Romans, but who are you going to believe. The Romans couldn't even build a wall big enough to keep out the Goths.

- Macchu Picchu. Just look at those gigantic blocks, fit together tighter than a Republican butthole. Also, way up on top of a mountain, where nobody noticed it until the 1930s, except for all the locals, who say it was built by gods. I mean, I don't know what your standards for evidence are, but to me this is obviously the work of some superhuman technology.

- Stonehenge. This is famous of course, but English people building something like that? No sir. Have you met English people? Nice try, "Science".

Aneristic Illusions / a new project
« on: February 20, 2017, 11:22:33 pm »
Since my disgust with the ascendant Nazi element in America and elsewhere refuses to be satisfied with just posting angry memes on Facebook, I have decided to try another outlet for it. Rather than (only) posting blurbs about what latest shitty and/or dangerous antics Captain Cheeto is up to, I want to document and expose the extremism rising in our culture in general and provide resources for survival and resistance. To do this I am starting a separate website/blog whatever and filling it with what I hope will eventually be a repository of well-researched information and opinion, both original and pulled from media.

I won't post a link here since I'm not looking for kudos or to advertise, but if this sounds like something you might want to contribute to, I'm always on the lookout for help with content, so let me know and I will explain more and maybe we can cooperate on this. If not, that's cool too.

Or Kill Me / The Schizophrenic Republic - part II
« on: February 20, 2017, 10:06:39 pm »
--Part 2 because I'm working on a larger piece this will be part of. Part 1 hasn't been posted anywhere--

America is, and has always been, a nation with a sharply fractured identity. Born during the years of the Enlightenment, a period of rapid scientific advancement and rekindled but overly romantic ideas about the golden age of classical democracy, the Founders of the American experiment set out to enshrine very extreme (for the time) ideas about government and political power in their new Republic. Fervent subscribers to the precepts of Classical Liberalism, they proclaimed that "all men are created equal" and that governments are instituted by "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". These are still inspirational ideas even today, even if they are barely understood anymore by most people -- including most of the leaders who seek and obtain elected office.

Of course, at the same time that these flowery words were being put to paper and inspiring a revolution in the name of democracy and the Enlightenment, America was also a country that relied socially and economically on the morally and physically repugnant institution of slavery. This is not news to anyone, and it is a topic covered in greater detail and with greater nuance elsewhere; but it is important when considering the character of the United States. We have always been, from long before the very inception of the ideas that would give rise to our Republic, an essentially schizophrenic nation defined largely by the deep and at times unbridgeable canyon separating our stated intentions and our actual practices.

We tend to gloss over this divide and coat it with as much sugar as we can manage. Obviously, there is no denying the Civil War that shredded our country in the 1860s and left its own indelible cultural marks and resentments. We often portray American history as an essentially forward-facing arrow in which the evils of slavery reached an untenable fever pitch in 1861, but that the Civil War was somehow the final word on the matter. After that, we imagine, we put our demons behind us with the North's victory over the South, the ensuing Constitutional amendments abolishing slavery, and harsh years of Reconstruction. But we have done generations of Americans an immense disservice by allowing ourselves to see history in that simplistic way.

In reality, America has never really recovered from that fundamental struggle. Honestly, America can never really "recover" from that struggle, because the arguments which led to the Civil War are the engine that powers American culture and defines the American psyche. Squabbles over "States' Rights", the propriety of discrimination, the role of government in social order, and numerous other questions remain unanswered. And they will probably always remain unanswered, not only because they are difficult questions but because our eternal struggle to answer them despite our inability to do so is the bedrock on which the American personality is based. The tug-of-war between our irreconcilable differences powers the engine of American progress and ingenuity.

In our most drastic attempt to answer these questions so far -- the Civil War -- the North imposed on the South, and the Federal Government on all subsequent generations of Americans, the notion that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing without direction (and coercion) from a benevolent power emanating from the seat of government. Whether or not this notion is essentially true, or whether or not it was anyone's intention, is not important. It is the way many Americans perceive history since the Civil War, and this is what millions of Americans continue to fight against.

That fight, and the popular will to ignore it, has defined the last century and a half of our history. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, when we decided against all evidence that the South had been "fixed", as soon as full control of the state legislatures were returned to Southern aristocrats, nearly all of the former Confederate States set about tearing out every stitch of social progress that had been forcibly sewn into their constitutions. Poll taxes were enacted to keep Black Americans out of elections. Slavery, though abolished in the outright sense, persisted through the economic exclusion and coerced subsistence of sharecropping. Racial segregation was enforced. Interracial marriage continued to be an abomination, one of many imaginary crimes that easily could and often did result in the murder of innocent Blacks by gangs of White thugs who nearly always got away with it, rarely accused and acquitted by all-white juries when they were.

The systematic intimidation, oppression, and disenfranchisement of minority groups remained integral to the politics of the South until the passage of the Civil Rights Act nearly a century later, mostly because polite society simply did not care. As far as the vast majority of White America was concerned -- including, and often especially those who considered themselves progressive and non-racist -- there was no problem. The Civil War had settled The Race Problem, and all that was left to do was for Blacks to get over it.

The North, for its part, was hardly a tolerant and multicultural Utopia. As wave after wave of immigrants arrived in America looking for better lives and opportunities, wave after wave of counterbalancing xenophobic paranoia arose to meet the newcomers with unwelcoming disdain, each wave ironically including members and descendants of previous immigrations now proving how purely American they had become by participating in the tradition of anti-immigrant fervor. America's split personality was evident then, as it is now, as a place that boasts of individual responsibility and opportunity while stubbornly categorizing people and defining them not by who they are, but where they are from and who they bring with them.

The reason it's important to remember our history is because it helps to place current events in a context where it makes sense. The lofty language of American idealism, where "all men are created equal", and where we have "liberty and justice for all", has always been a serene surface masking a deep reservoir of paranoia, distrust, and institutional inequality that gets more violent and more absurd the deeper one goes. Most Americans live somewhere beneath that surface, some lower than others. The most fortunate of us are lucky enough to break the surface once in a while and see America's promise firsthand -- which is a beautiful thing, but when you're swimming up there, it's very difficult to fathom what lies hundreds of feet down. And if you're always up there, the monstrous torrents lurking below are all but invisible, and never felt firsthand.

First, I'll just state that I realize what follows is an unlikely solution for a number of reasons, most of which relate to widespread cynicism, incompatibilities between worldviews, miscalculating the demand for such ideas, and general disorganization. So when you hit something that would get caught on one of those snags just be aware that I'm intentionally not accounting for them since I think those problems are possible to overcome through methods outside the scope of this particular post.

Now, this post will probably end up being a big wall of text, so let me summarize before I start free-writing my brains out. I propose that our current system of government (talking about the US here, but probably other places too) is archaic, obsolete, untenable, and so hopelessly mired in corruption and bad habits that it is futile to try and fix it. So I think rather than spend much more energy fighting to overpower or reform this institution, we should simply abandon it.

That seems preposterous, right? A whole country full of people can't just "walk away" from government. It has the guns and it collects the taxes and it passes the laws, after all. But this way of thinking about the government is just... incorrect. We tend to think of it as a man-made God; a "higher power" which is more or less omnipotent and omnipresent; able to rain justice (or injustice) down from the heavens. And yes, the government is a powerful organization. But it is still only an organization. It isn't really omnipotent or omniscient or omnipresent. It's just a big organization made up of a bunch of other big organizations, that provides services, and it all runs on money. Just like any corporation or American Legion outpost or Shriner's hospital. And all it would take to abandon it, is to provide the services it provides some other way.

The question here is a simple one. Aside from the fact that we may not want to because we don't think it would work, what exactly would stop us from organizing an "alternative" government, without "revolution", without even direct confrontation, that simply accepts donations and organizes and provides the services that government provides? It could be simple services at first -- say, legal advice, or general information, or health clinics -- but gradually adding more complex services like public transportation and healthcare. Given the fact that many countries are able to provide services like these with per capita expenses well within what would be affordable for large sections of people, it doesn't seem that money would be the biggest obstacle.

With the Internet, one advantage to such an "alternative government" could be the erasure of geographical and even lingual boundaries. All one would need for citizenship in such a state would be access to the Internet and possibly a mailing address. The process of legislation itself could be carried out with technologies used by distributed software development teams and organized according to open source principles, allowing for true direct democratic collaboration on policy. The movement could be organized in any number of ways, including a non-hierarchical network of individuals that can't just be rounded up and imprisoned in the event that the old government realizes that a critical mass of citizens are ready to jump ship. Given widespread-enough membership, goods and services could form the basis of an economy unaffected by the whims of financial elites, and eventually the organization could even support various methods of providing physical security for citizens around the world. It could do these things without coercion, and without the need (and thus could be designed to explicitly exclude the ability) to forcibly homogenize language, beliefs, ancestry, or culture. And as time passes, the current forms of government would just wither and fall away like dead leaves.

This idea is not new, of course. It isn't unique. It has been tried before, and it has failed (damn Hippies). But with access to modern communication and manufacturing technologies, the idea has a chance of succeeding if only there were some way to drive genuine interest in it. The only reason such a system cannot exist, would be because we believe it is impossible, or ridiculous. So I'm not saying this can be done, only that it could be done if humans weren't quite so unimaginative in large groups.

First. This is not a "hey look how egalitarian I am" thread. I will not be expounding self-righteously on these points. It isn't here to show off what I know and you don't, or to ask for someone to give me kudos. It's just here because I often struggle with not understanding why some people say some things, but don't ask about them because it seems like asking exposes the bigotry in a negative way. I imagine other people may have similar experiences. If not, well, sorry intrude, I guess? idk.

This thread is a record of the (likely many) instances where I will come to have an actual understanding of why my supposedly selfless, progressive beliefs are in fact resting on a frame of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or otherwise bigoted bullshit.

2017/01/26, 7:32 PM: I realize (by having it explained to me) why it is not a contradiction to expect, demand, and claim physical and emotional equality for women and still be more offended/enraged by violence against women than by violence against men. I'm annoyed and a little ashamed at my failure to arrive at this realization without having to ask someone.

Winter grows like a glacier on the lengthening evenings, night after night depositing a fresh layer of cold onto what was there yesterday. It fits, this season of hibernating nature where everything looks, and feels, like a corpse. The flashing and buzzing of our synthetic society does what it can, but no matter what advances we make in quantum dot color technology, no matter how vivid the reds get, the cheap veneer of civilization peels away upon any close inspection. We scurry, we frantically, urgently distract ourselves with everything we can get a hold of. We build bigger buildings, we buy bigger TVs, we drive faster cars, we blast more rockets into space. We demand progress, because progress is how we define ourselves. Without it, we ... trail off, unable to complete a thought. Nothing.

In a way, it could be said we are the last lucky generation. The ruins of civilization are in such good repair, for now. At least the lights are still on. We know the ride has ended, but if we just hold out a little longer, maybe we -- maybe our children -- will live and die before the whole thing collapses in on itself entirely. No one talks seriously about rebuilding. No one talks seriously at all. No one talks at all. Well, we are all talk, just not to each other.

I am a pessimist. My pessimism runs deep, practically spiritual. I have an unshakable faith in the thorough rottenness of nature's ill-fated experiment in sentience. We have no idea what we are doing, who we are, or who we want to be. And yet, after having my pessimism vindicated so abruptly, I find myself wishing for optimism to show up somewhere. The 1960s were awful for a lot of people, but they gave rise to Star Trek, a show that is universally described as "optimistic" but which, it occurs to my cynical mind, managed to place the universal goodness and godwill of humanity exactly where it belongs: in some lofty, distant future that we will never achieve. At the time, and even now, Star Trek is lauded as describing humans at our best. And, here and there, its optimism inspired real people in real places to do truly good things. But mostly it comforted the already comfortable by telling us that someday, we would rise above it all and become our best selves. So we convinced ourselves that eventually, everything would work itself out. That we were on the right track. That "the arc of history bends toward justice".

Not today, though. Equality is inevitable; it just isn't yet realized. In the meantime, we need more prisons. We need tougher laws for those thugs. In the meantime, we need to cut back on these entitlements, and push people to be responsible for themselves. Someday, someday we will get there; but today, we are here, and let's just do this right now.

I am not educated to know if any of this makes sense in any sort of context. Did we ever value today what we believed we would value tomorrow? Or has our vision of the future always been so divorced from our plan for this afternoon? Our dreams so useless while we are awake? It turns out that history does not move itself. That the arrow of time does not attract the "arc of history". That what goes up does, in fact, come back down.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / sappy election blog #14
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:41:03 pm »
The last few days have sent me knocking all over the place. My headspace resembles a pinball machine, complete with shards of sharp, tinny music and incessant ringing bell noises. The election results put a pit in my stomach what has not budged since, no matter what levers I pull or what I try to wash the taste of the last 72 hours out of my brain with. I have browsed all of the idea outlets that have earned my attention and my time over the past 18 months, digital, physical, and personal. The sharp pangs of piercing disgust have multiplied at every turn, but at least they have dulled a bit and grown into a constant, droning melancholy eating at the edges of my consciousness. Hope has been reported missing. I have slept restlessly, and I not dreamed for what seems like a very, very long time.

I have tried the normal, human reaction, which is to attempt to wrap my mind around the events of the past week. But the standard issue "Facebook Leftist" repertoire of communal wisdom is impotent in explaining these. The extended set of explanations offered by various emotional wrecks, all of them scrambling over one another to arrive at the first sound conclusion, yields little better results other than a vague suggestion that "Liberals are too mean", which in my estimation is dangerously close to saying "Nazis are not too mean", and is thus suspicious brain food. I must admit that to whatever extent I still care to find a unifying theory as to why we as a culture have chosen this path, I am not much farther along in that investigation today than I was at midnight Tuesday night. Although, to my horror, it would seem that the most correct statement that can be made in relation to "why" this has happened, is simply to state the obvious: America has chosen Fascism.

We can all, I think, agree that the American Left failed in this election. But contrary to the maniacs who are doing whatever they can to convince us that the failure rests solely with the American Left, I find the sheer mass of this decision to outweigh anything the American Left is capable of, even in its heyday, which this certainly is not. I do not know exactly how to express this eloquently, so forgive me if I devolve into grunts and shrieks here, but America has chosen Fascism.

Some people want us to believe that this is due to the fact that "Progressives" are "too condescending". Which basically amounts to an argument that Liberals are bullying white people. It almost sounds reasonable, too, until you remember that the Fascists who won this election by being outright hostile to everyone who is not a white Christian male. So to accept the blame on behalf of "mean Liberals" is to first dismiss the humanity of the Right's targets out of hand, because if we can lose an election by being indifferent to the plight of whites but win an election by being openly hostile to people of color, the disabled, the elderly, and the queer, I really do not understand why I am supposed to feel guilty about the former, and appease those practicing the latter.

My initial reaction (which can be gleaned from my prolific shit-posting on Facebook throughout the event) was to place the blame squarely on so-called "Progressives" who managed to justify to themselves a complete lack of action on behalf of people who were in the sights -- and continue to be in the sights -- of the incoming Trump administration. And although I have learned that such initial reactions are often valueless, in this case I must conclude my instincts were fairly accurate. At its heart, whatever your belief about absolutely anything in this year and a half long endurance test, the most fundamental fact borne out on election day was that when it really counted, the "allies" -- WE "Allies" -- turned high tail and fled the field.

So in the coming days, months, and years, when every manner of horror visits the people of this country, one marginalized group at a time, I lack any faith that there is any coherent resistance at all. While we are busy worrying about sounding "condescending", whole neighborhoods will disappear. While we are wringing our hands about being "too uncooperative", our neighbors will disappear. While we sing the praise of a peaceful transition of power, the lights will go out, and the we won't know who to call. And someday, in a future that might as well be a century from today for many of us, when the lights come back on, and someone dares to hope again, where will we have been?

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