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Topics - tyrannosaurus vex

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Hey, Hamish
August 21, 2022, 10:37:34 PM
Or Kill Me / Push the button already
June 14, 2020, 10:52:12 PM
One of the most insidious and dangerous assumptions we have is the silly idea that human history has a direction. That in some meaningful way, life in the 21st century is fundamentally different (even "better") than life in, say, the 14th century, or the 21st century BCE for that matter. That human events follow a more or less predictable (at least in hindsight) trajectory from "primitive" to "advanced", and that it does this because of some sort of natural law that governs all kinds of progress.

This idea is pure bunk, and should be stamped out with extreme prejudice wherever you see it. It is the kernel at the center of the centrist's inaction in the face of injustice, the unfounded presupposition behind violent wars of "regime change" and "nation building", and the morally vacant justification for colonialist thinking. It is the reason we are taught that the evils of slavery and genocide are "in the past" while the forces that drive them simmer in communities around the world.

History has no arc. It is not a story about a protagonist species who learn and grow. It has never been guaranteed that tomorrow will be more just for you than today, or that the next century will bring more opportunity for your descendants than the last one had for your ancestors. This should be plain to see as we watch the entire allegedly "free" world slip farther every day into the same patterns of mistakes and collapse that have recurred time and again since anyone bothered to remember anything.

Even when disaster is averted, for all our apparent progress we have never actually made a difference in what it means to be human. Sure, we have the power to blow up the planet, the power to fling ourselves uselessly into orbit, the power to talk to each other across insurmountable distances. But so what if we can do all this, but give up the ability to feed our children, or the time to appreciate a sunset once in a while, or the courage to speak to our own neighbors? What have we gained, exactly, and why do we imagine that to be "progress"?
Donald Trump is not the problem.

He is an inevitable result of a society that overvalues profit and undervalues human lives. If Trump had never been born, we would have some other equally vile sack of excrement sitting in the Oval Office. He is symptomatic of our collective terror and ignorance around the pace of social change. Like God, if Trump did not exist, we would have to invent him.

In terms of the election this year, a vote against Trump is absolutely meaningless if it is also a vote *for* a return to the political and social status quo in which he arose. Any vote that is not essentially revolutionary will only serve to strengthen Trump's position -- specifically because it is the popular longing for a return to normalcy that created his presidency in the first place.

Voting for Biden is not a protest against Trump, it is a fear-based reactionary scramble for safety. As such, it is doomed from the start because all such scrambling only reinforces the political trajectory that has already culminated in Trump's election. Why would the country elect Biden, when we already have a president who embodies everything he stands for but without the cheap and frankly insulting veneer of faux civility?

Joe Biden opposes universal healthcare (he says everyone deserves "affordable" care, which is code for "healthcare should only exist as a side effect of making some asshole a billionaire"); he opposes network neutrality; he supports imperial wars; he supports propping up banana republics to secure resources; he opposes economic security for the working class (again, unless it makes a profit for someone). Personally he is a sex creep and he can barely string a sentence together better than Mango Mussolini can.

If you want to vote for Biden, please do it for the same reason I am doing it: so you can tell the useless liberals and centrists that you did play the game by their rules and we all still lost. Don't do it because you think there's any fundamental difference between Trump's outright fascism and the DNC's fascism-with-a-wink.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / a petition
April 06, 2020, 04:21:49 PM
the world is awful and nothing makes any sense anymore including questions of life and death, so i am requesting ideas for discordian chaos magic rituals that could resurrect TGRR because we need his guidance in this trying time.
does this belong in this forum or Aneristic Illusions? I do not know.

One thing this pandemic has shown us (in the US, particularly) is that labor practices and worker protections are abyssmal, and that they need to improve -- not just for the human sake of the workers and their families but because of the added unnecessary strain on the wider economy when an event like this forces people out of the workforce.

Maybe when this is over, assuming society survives in some form that more or less resembles its pre-pandemic form, businesses will realize that they could have been more resilient if workers/consumers were more resilient, and change their ways. I say "maybe" only because a 0.3 probability sounds like good news these days. We know it won't work out that way. There will be humanitarian carnage, and a lot of fancy euphemisms from HR, and the train will keep on rollin'.

The reasons for this inability for profit-centric economies to change are obvious and not worth exploring here. What I'm (vainly, to be sure) imagining as a way around this is a simple idea and at first glance seems to work out mathematically, given some appreciable stretch of time where things are more or less stable. As always the hurdles are of the human motivation and PR variety.

In 2019 there were about 132M filled full-time jobs and somewhere around 28M part-time jobs. For my purposes I count each filled position separately, even though many people have multiple jobs and some combination of full-time and part-time employment.

If we take a conservative estimate, we could say there are somewhere around 140 million positions at a given time in the US economy, not counting gig work and the like. Now, imagine some kind of organization that acts like a combination of union and insurance that collects dues from workers. Say, $30 per week for fulltime and $20 week for part-time employees. Given an average adoption rate of 50% across the workforce, such an organization would collect about $2.1B per week, or $110B per year.

These funds could be used as an independent unemployment fund to provide or supplement unemployment payments to displaced workers, and to drive adoption this would probably have to be a selling point, but I'm wondering if this kind of money is large enough to strongarm industries into taking better care of their workers. For example, here's what I'm imagining:

- this organization could negotiate its own separate medical insurance plans, like an employer would but with a vastly higher pool and therefore more negotiating power, and enrolling in one of its plans would insulate workers from loss of coverage due to being fired or laid off or whatever. that in itself would eliminate one of the chief means employers use to coerce workers into unfavorable conditions.

- given a long enough time without catastrophic economic failure, the organization could accumulate large enough stockpiles of cash to organize walkouts of workers while paying 100% of their salaries. these walkouts could target individual employers or whole industries, and because the strikers aren't losing income, the strikes would be far more dangerous to employers than traditional union protests.

- subscription to protection by the organization would rise as its members are able to demonstrate the economic security associated with membership.

- eventually, the organization could publish its own fundamental bill of workers' rights which every employment position must satisfy in order to be certified or something. though there would be no regulatory or law-enforcement power, there would be the economic power of simply directing workers to positions that do qualify and effectively blacklisting positions that don't.

Anyway, yes, this is very rainbow flavored unicorn farts and rose-colored glasses and everything, but it's fun to imagine while everything is on fire. I do think the basic concept is sound, but since nobody has ever tried it (that I know of), I'm probably wrong.
I'm just curious about what, if anything, you people think about life after death. Is it possible? Probable? What would the experience be like? I have some ideas, but they're vague and not very well thought out, maybe I'll try to organize them later.
Literate Chaotic / What Have They Done to the C-Store?
January 23, 2020, 02:19:10 PM
In many ways and for many reasons, the town where I grew up was like The Land that Time Forgot. In the first place, it was a mining town, so it never had a very compelling reason to exist at all, except for strictly utilitarian reasons. The small population (tiny, really, never breaking 1,500 the whole time I lived there) didn't produce many thinkers or dreamers. It wasn't located anywhere geographically, strategically, or economically interesting (except for the mine, of course). It didn't exist at any crossroads that attracted travelers; in fact it was the terminal end of a two-lane, badly maintained county highway that entered the place at one end, became Main Street for about three or four blocks, and then emptied itself directly in the open pit copper mine that was so big its gravity well anchored the town somewhere in the 1960s and permeated everything in a 5 mile radius with a slightly rancid whimsy.

Of course, I despised the place. It was too small, too remote, too boring. I knew everyone, everyone knew me, and I hated everyone, even my friends. It was the last place to get anything from a real grocery store to fast food to high speed internet. I would celebrate any minor encroachment of what I imagined The Real World to be into this insular little community of the incurably incurious. And I wanted out, for good. I swore I'd leave and never look back, like everyone does in a place like that before they realize just what it is that keeps people there. Eventually, I did, but that isn't the point of this story.

There were only a couple of places a high school kid could hang out. There was no mall, no movie theater (there had been but the imagination levels in this town were so low it couldn't even support its single-screen cinema), no nothing. So in the tender years between starting middle school and finding out about the miracle of drugs and alcohol, my friends and I spent a lot of time at the Shell gas station across the street from the football field. It sounds ridiculous, it was just an average convenience mart, but it did have the useful addition of a couple of bench tables from the 70s (you could tell by the color) next to the soda fountain. We were there before school, during lunch, after school, on weekends, and pretty much any other time we could be. We knew the place like the backs of our hands, we knew everyone who worked there and what their shifts were, we knew who would let us buy cigarettes, and everything was fine. We hated it, we hated the town, we hated existence itself, but the C-Store was some kind of refuge at least.

We got a lot of our calories from the donuts they brought over to the C-Store from the grocery store across the parking lot every morning. They were usually stale and there wasn't much variety, so they fit right into the whole scene. Pepsi and donuts. Donuts and Pepsi. The craving for sugar should have warned us about other white crystal-based fixations that would come later, but nobody said anything. We were young and full of shit. And full of donuts.

Anyway, like I said, eventually I did manage to escape. I was away for years and never went back for anything more important than Christmas or a funeral. On the few occasions I did swing back by, I usually never noticed much had changed. It was to be expected, the place really was stuck in a temporal anomaly. A new surface on a road here or there, a new coat of paint on some dumpy old company-sponsored building, that's about it. They never installed any traffic lights or built anything new. It was a place out of time, always the same awful, oppressive, stagnant pile of trash. And driving into it always filled me with the same angst and claustrophobia I'd had the day I left. Until it didn't.

On one trip, the last one I'll probably ever make, I stopped in to the old C-Store for some smokes and looked around. Same beige and orange stripes as always, same two scratched and pitted bench tables where I'd spend literally years of my life. And the same donut cabinet, except inside that cabinet weren't the misshapen, stale old garbage confections of my youth, oh no. There were just some boxes that said Krispy Kreme on them. What the fuck. There was no Krispy Kreme in this town, where did those come from? If I had been 14 I would have been amazed and delighted, but for some reason the emotion that struck me now was anger. And a slight twinge of panic, as if someone had just pulled the chair I was about to sit in a foot to the left. What, pray tell, was happening to this place? It was inconceivable. No word for it but unnatural. The donuts in that case were very likely far superior to anything I'd ever had, but it wasn't right. This was not the order of things.

Depending on the type of person I was, I might have grumbled and moved on, I might have complained to the clerk, I might have just asked someone where they were getting the premium donuts, or just backed out of the place slowly, whispering gibberish to myself. But really, I was too dumbfounded by my own reaction to do any of that. Why should this -- a clear improvement in things -- make me angry? And to whom was this anger directed? The clerk probably had nothing to do with it. The manager was just making life better for whatever band of miscreants were now doing the job of holding down those tables over there. The donuts themselves were just inanimate objects, doomed to be eaten. No, I wasn't angry at any of them, I was angry at... the whole world.

I was angry at the world for failing to deliver what I felt sure had been a promise of at least one eternal, unchanging foundation. One place that truly never died. Something in this miserable realm of death and uncertainty that I could always go back to, if the need arose, to remind myself that though I myself will pass away, some things never would. I was sure that was in the fine print somewhere, but no, these donuts had stolen that all away. If they could change, anything could change. There was no safe harbor in the world. No rock on which to build an identity. These were just donuts, but what if something bigger had changed? What if, god forbid, I had driven into town to find a Holiday Inn or something? It had always seemed impossible, but the second hand on the stopped clock of this backwoods hellscape of a town had crept forward a notch, and now nothing was sure.

Luckily, I managed to get my cigarettes without making too much of a scene and made my way back to the car. The whole episode seemed as ridiculous to me as it sounds now to you, I'm sure. But for one split second, the whole world had lost its cohesion. I found myself adrift in a tumultuous sea of unstoppable change and I was desperate -- at least for a moment -- to find something to replace the solidity and reliability of my expectations. I even had the thought that there ought to be a law -- against what, who knows? Against all change of any sort anywhere, I suppose. So for the shortest moment, I was basically a Republican. Over some donuts.

And if that can happen to me over some confections I wasn't even going to eat anyway, I can only imagine what goes through the minds of people whose whole identities are based on the supposed unchanging nature of civil society and culture. Many of those people are, I venture to guess, having the same sort of "oh god what have they done to my donuts" reaction every time they turn on the news. And without the benefit of years of self-doubt and heavy psychedelic use, maybe they're comfortable to swing their anger and blame around at anything that moves. Literally spitting into the winds of change. Unaware that they don't actually hate The Gays or The Liberals or The Poors, but that they're just stuck in an endlessly repeating cycle of assigning landmark status to social and cultural trends that are as prone to change and death as they are themselves. Sinking -- thrashing, but sinking -- in that sea of change when they should be swimming.

Or Kill Me / roger can't have ALL the fun
July 28, 2019, 12:11:39 PM
I have been to the mountain top. I saw everything there was to see up there, and believe me, it's a lot. I will presently be accepting requests for miracles, spiritual wisdom, and the like. First however, I feel I should warn you:

First of all, don't ask me about God because I can't tell you anything about that.

God is not up there on the mountain (he really isn't, go look for yourself if you don't believe me, I'll wait).

Since God wasn't up there, the only thing I got for all that effort was a caffeine headache and nicotine stains so deep in my teeth my great great grandfather just died of emphysema.

Secondly, while I will happily perform ACTUAL miracles on demand, I am not to be confused with some hocus-pocus magician. Some examples of legitimate miracles are: appreciating the natural grace of a kamikaze pilot; answering any riddle where the punchline is not about "life in general" or some such drollery; or expressing within a hair's breadth the entire point of it all only to be hopelessly misquoted.

As opposed to, say, ridiculous things like ending world poverty or peace in our time. Who would want to end all that anyway? Then what would we wring our hands about?

Thirdly, concerning all of the above: Yes I am serious. Except for the part about miracles, you can go make your own goddamned miracles.
Despite my weirdly intense desire to believe in woo, metaphysics, government conspiracies, and to a much lesser extent UFOs, I am unable to do so with one exception: drugs. Specifically entheogens used by tons of indigenous cultures all over the world since forever to expand consciousness. My jury is still out on whether or not they actually do expand consciousness in any practical way, but given recent studies linking psychedelic hallucinogens like psilocybin to measurable improvement in chronic depression and suchlike, it seems reasonable to at least entertain the possibility that such substances and the experiences they induce have the potential to assist constructively in a person's serious attempts to rewire their personal grid.

So where my conspiracy thinking comes in is in the fact that these are mostly all Schedule I substances in the US and treated like heroin or something despite this science and in most cases despite the importance of these substances to cultural practices that far predate apple pie. Is it possible that there are people in charge of things somewhere who are genuinely aware of the effects these drugs have on consciousness and intentionally suppress and malign them in order to prevent people from waking up to a higher (by which I mean more compassionate and self-actualized) level of consciousness? Ancient Astronaut theorists say YES.

I am asked to relay the message that EVERYTHING IS AWFUL and would you please reenter the atmosphere before we all die of smelling our own farts too much.

End transmission

PS it's okay if you booted RWHN again, we won't blame you
 I spend what is probably an unhealthy amount of time shitposting on Facebook. This is not news to anyone, but what is news to ME is that some person from Dallas who owns/operates some kind of artist workshop wants to pony up the dough to print and frame some of my awful photoshops and have an actual real life art show thing.

This is exciting news to me especially since basically everything else about my life is completely disintegrating before my eyes. I had assumed 2019 would be another boring ass year but apparently the universe has other plans

The reason I am posting about it here is to give you fair warning. Such a stroke of luck is sure to be met with calamity from The Mgmt, so we will probably all die in a nuclear war by September. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Aneristic Illusions / Looking for ideas
July 12, 2018, 07:37:35 PM
someone bought the domain and is looking for decent troll material beyond what's already there. any help would be appreciated. asking for a friend.
Since the 21st Century insists on being an era wholly dedicated to the pursuit of increasingly extreme and inter-contradictory philosophies, I have decided to embrace my own extremism so as not to be left behind the bandwagon. To that end, I am going to put down in writing some of my more controversial beliefs, so that I can come back here periodically and ensure that I am making sufficient progress in evolving from these points farther and farther up my own asshole. So, here's where I'm starting from.

1. The morally offensive nature of environmentalism.
The general consensus, even among conservatives (if only nominally), is that it would be preferable, if possible, to preserve some or all of Earth's ecosystem. I find this notion distasteful. Our planet's purpose is not to wallow in its genetic diversity, but to provide a laboratory in which evolution can experiment. Once sentience arises, all other forms of biological life immediately become expendable, except insofar as they are necessary for the preservation of that sentience. For this reason, we should only preserve whatever portion of the natural ecosystem is required to ensure the continued survival of the human species, and treat everything else as raw materials for our own experiments and progress toward more communicable forms of sentience. If we have to burn down entire rain forests to achieve interstellar travel, for example, then that's a more than appropriate price to pay for such technological achievement. All natural environments, and all the creatures in those environments, exist solely to power our own endeavors and we should not limit our abilities or potential just out of deference to some silly assertion that they have a right to exist. If they really had a right to exist, they would have evolved thumbs and invented nukes before we did.

2. Democracy is a bad idea and should be avoided in most cases.
The belief that humans are capable of sanely managing our own affairs is flawed, even at an individual level. At the level of large societies, it's just an invitation to outright disaster. So-called "free" societies are powered by the transfer of labor and capital from those who have it to those who are taking it, and this is an inherently limited dynamic with a definite point at which the whole thing begins to break down. Once such a society reaches a point where lower classes can no longer satisfy the limitless appetites of the upper classes, the society inevitably decays as those appetites turn to their own infrastructure for sustenance. Eventually, you get places like Mississippi and Oklahoma where civilization is mostly running on habit. This happens everywhere humans are allowed to govern themselves, and also everywhere humans are allowed to govern others. I propose an alternative system where no one is in charge, but a strict regime of social order is enforced by artificial intelligence programmed to efficiently distribute social resources, and which has absolutely no tolerance for human deviation from prescribed patterns. It won't be fun, but it will be sustainable, and that's what matters. As an added benefit, this system would completely eradicate legal and political professions, which is practically a justification in and of itself. To this end, the focus of all human scientific research should be on the invention of machine intelligence and robotic automation sufficient to implement this system.

3. The Human ego is bad and should be removed.
Ultimately, most human suffering arises from the notion that we exist as individuals somehow separate from "other" individuals. This infectious illusion allows us to imagine that there is some such thing as "us" and "them". While great thinkers have popped up for thousands of years trying to dispel this myth, they have all met with similar ends. Usually, we kill them, then we worship them as a symbol that justifies our persecution of other groups. Clearly, this philosophical/spiritual approach to solving the ego problem has failed miserably. As a solution, I propose that either we implement a system of compulsory excision of the prefrontal cortex in new human offspring, or the we develop invasive brain probes which merge the sensory input and internal thought processes of all individuals into a single "consciousness". While the former is probably more realistic at our relatively primitive level of technological advancement, the latter is preferable for a number of reasons including the potential loss of intelligence required to invent the AI called for in point #2.
Stephen Hawking is dead, and with him any hope we ever had of devising a spaceship powerful enough to escape this horrible ball of horseshit we call a "planet".

Sure, there are other scientists, and sure, Hawking was mostly parity pooper who kept telling us why AI and alien contact would be bad. But he was was the last remaining face of REAL SCIENCE who was generally liked. Now, the only person standing between us and absolute idiocracy is that Neil DeGrass Tyson guy, and he runs out of brainpower halfway through buttoning up his shirt.

It is the end of an era, and the next one will be so defined by ignorance and woo that it'll be a miracle if we make it another 10 years without forgetting how to breathe. So if you're the kind of person who likes happy endings or, you know, hope in general, now would be a good time to drive off a cliff.
The list is getting pretty long, so I am going to start writing it down.

1. The problems society faces are complicated, nuanced, and typically have no obvious or satisfying solution that benefits everyone. Unfortunately, our ability to compromise is basically dead, and everything about modern communication centers around bite-sized ideas. We are at a rare point in human development where the tools we have developed are exactly the opposite of what we need to solve our problems.

2. Speaking of our tools, we have designed the Internet: a miraculous platform for communication that transcends all historical barriers to the flow of information and ideas. We have then done the eminently Human thing and used this platform to segregate ourselves morally, philosophically, and along every other fault line we can think of, creating new barriers to the flow of ideas. Now we find ourselves in disposable communities, surrounded by people we suspect of not belonging. It's not exactly a recipe for the unity required to take on large systems of oppression or violence.

3. We refuse to face real problems, because we're too busy being righter and louder than everyone else, and being honest about our problems introduces the risk that we might not be as correct as we think we are. We're subconsciously aware that we're full of shit, but are scared of admitting it.

4. The systems we have built to automate society have grown bigger and more powerful than us. They're more complex than our mental models of them, and they are just efficient enough to fool us into thinking we don't need to maintain them. They also rot from the inside out, so by the time we notice a problem, it's way too late to fix it.

5. The lies we used to tell our children about what made civilization work are now the fables grown-ass adults tell themselves they must abide by in order to keep it working. This is ... not advised.

6. We have convinced ourselves that the way things are is the way things must be. We are incapable of dreaming or thinking big about the things we need to change in order to survive as a species. It is absolutely outside the scope of most people's universes to even consider, for example, post-scarcity economics. This is despite the fact that we actually have the technology to make it work, or the fact that we need to make it work if we're to have any hope.

7. Everyone seems to have a collective sense of impending doom. This is not mass delusion, it's a finely-tuned evolutionary mechanism. The alarms are ringing, but we are just monkeys, so our solution is to screech louder than the alarms until they shut up. This is also a finely-tuned evolutionary mechanism. Nobody said natural selection had any particular preference for intelligence.

8. The kinds of progressives who are currently being laughed out of global politics because of their "crazy ideas"... are not nearly progressive enough to do any good, even if they got everything they asked for. Despite half of the planet being consumed with Hollywood blockbuster entertainment about superheroes and spaceships, it turns out nobody actually has any imagination.
If 200+ years of "democracy" has taught us anything, it's that humans are awful at governing themselves. I've completely given up all hope of convincing people to improve, because even if they eventually do (which they won't), I'll be dead long before I see it. So instead of giving a shite about the state of human affairs, I will spend the rest of my life dreaming up new rules for You People to live by. Here are a few I'm working on at the moment.

1. No more music about feelings and relationships. "I have feelings and I will adjust my relationship status accordingly" has been expressed so many times there's no way there's anything left to say here. From now on, all songs will address dragons, space monsters, epic historical arcs, or something else that's completely unrelated to how you "feel", which no one cares to hear.

2. Driving slow in the fast lane will be a holy sacrament. There's no reason to be in a hurry to get anywhere people are expecting you. Life is too short, and besides, nobody really gives a fuck about you showing up on time unless you get there early and make them look bad by comparison. All the more reason to take your time.

3. Everyone will be required to spend at least 3 hours per day piling insults on anyone on the internet who tries to look cool by being "edgy". Being offensive isn't witty, it just drags conversations into chaos by short-circuiting the human instinct to be right about everything all the time.

4. No more songs that are written entirely in 4/4. Just knock it off. It's the 21st century, we shouldn't still need musical training wheels.

5. All scientists will be pulled from any projects and research currently underway and will be assigned tasks that contribute directly to the development of cold fusion, flying cars, and faster-than-light interstellar travel. They will not be allowed to visit their children until certain breakthroughs have been made. We live in the future, and it's time we started acting like it.

This list is not finished, so don't get comfortable.
Aneristic Illusions / i spend too much time on facebook
September 05, 2017, 05:23:20 AM
It's probably my paranoia, or I'm just missing a large piece of the picture somewhere, but it seems that popular Facebook groups (expecially the ones with lax moderation) tend to hit some level of activity or membership size, and then face an almost automatic onslaught of alt-right trolling. I've seen it happen to a number of groups, not least of which almost every single Discordian group. It tends to happen faster when there's a high level of anti-Trump or otherwise progressive content or opinion being shared.

I'm not saying there's an Alt-Right mastermind out there, but... is there an Alt-Right mastermind out there? Because the level of racist, sexist, generally douchebaggy trolling spikes and it tends to either destroy the group, or turn it into a nuked-out husk filled with Pepe memes and people calling everything that moves "cuck". Am I crazy, or is this an actual phenomenon? And if it is a thing that actually does happen almost predictably, is there more to it than just roving bands of neo-Nazis that just accidentally hit some kind of critical mass and begin festering?
I don't know who it was, but someone seems to have picked up the URL and turned it into a mock Republican site. Maybe people on PD might have some ideas about content that could go into this site in order to further some nefarious plan. If so, it wouldn't hurt to post some of those ideas in this thread, in case the person who registered this domain accidentally stumbles across the thread and uses some of the ideas.
Or Kill Me / The Problem with You People
June 17, 2017, 11:05:02 AM
There is a problem with You People, it's plain to see. You're nothing like us. You're taking up too much of the space we want to be taking up. You're really making a mess over there in your area, which is terrible by the way. You're the wrong color, you love the wrong people and you kill the wrong people, you speak the wrong language, you worship the wrong gods, eat all the wrong foods, drink the wrong wine, and smoke the wrong kind of grass. You read the wrong books and you write — oh, the books you write aren't just wrong, they're abominations. There is, I'm sorry to say, a problem with you people. And really, we have no choice but to do something about it.

Look at you. You're savages. Look at the way you dress, or don't dress, or overdress. It's embarrassing. We are embarrassed for you. On your behalf, because there's a problem with you, and you're not able to be embarrassed for yourselves. Too busy being embarrassed for us, maybe? No matter. Take that off. Put this on. Who wears animal skins that way? It's stupid, it's out of style. It's offensive. Think of the children, won't you? You're insufferable, you're wrong, and there's a problem with you people, and we're going to have to clean up your mess.

Good people don't look like you. They look like us. They speak, act, think, believe, walk, and live like us. Not like you. No one who looks or talks or lives like you will ever be taken seriously by one of us, and that's what counts. Believe me, that's what counts, because if people like us don't like you, then where will you be?

I know that I, for one, would never want to be on the outs with us.

Because that's where you are.

And there's a problem with you.

In true Democrat form, the Democratic Party has chosen this particular moment in history to have an existential crisis and turn inward to eat itself.

Meet the Justice Democrats, swooping in at just the wrong moment to save the American Left from any possibility of victory in 2018.

No doubt taking inspiration from the GOP's TEA Party conniption from 2010, the Justice Democrats are the spine the Democrats have never had, without all that messy connective tissue or muscular system that goes along with moving and doing things. Their website/manifesto declares war on "Corporate Democrats" who have "Allowed the Republicans to take control of most state legislatures" and whatever. Having convinced themselves that the only real antidote to American Fascism is a bout of hard-line socialism, they intend to attack unworthy and insufficiently true-believing Democrats in primaries across the country next year, and ... defeat them?

I'm all for taking a more progressive stance on issues. But this BernieBot Army is exactly the wrong way to do that. And, of course, since it is exactly the wrong way to go about making a political comeback, you can depend on the Democrats to pull it off -- flawlessly and spectacularly, in an inspiring display of self-immolation and utter collapse.

Seriously, though, maybe I'm being too pessimistic, but it's hard to see the chance of success in this. On the surface, it seems like all good intentions and warm fuzzy pep rallies. But as with any "goddammit you're moving too slow" political movement, it is sure to be overrun with increasingly fractious and myopic pet-project activists -- ultimately causing the disintegration of every last coalition in the Democratic Party's base. Their entire reason for existing is already because they're better/smarter/faster than Those Other Democrats, and only a fool would think that isn't going to translate downward to the membership of this group.

So yeah, go ahead and have fun with 2018, I guess. I'm just going to have a nightshade cocktail and sleep until this whole thing blows over.
Literate Chaotic / the beginning of nothing
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.
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
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.
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.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Maybe you can help
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
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
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.
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?
Jobs, like every kind of interpersonal relationship, are terrible and unrewarding. I have been dating my current employer for almost 4 years now, and the shine has worn off a bit. It's difficult to ignore the toxic political atmosphere, and I can see that my work - although it's as good as it's ever been - is motivated more by the flailing reflexes of a drowning spirit than by anything like a desire to succeed or make progress. My department, aside from being a pile of similarly flailing, dysfunctional Aspies, is currently being ground into mush beneath the wheels of a particularly large bus. We have "struggled to meet key metrics" and "become somewhat lax in our duties". That's "we" the department, not the royal we, mind you.

I have no very specific evidence that I am about to be canned. On paper, everything is great. Performance review for 2015 was a solid 4/5 (5/5 is considered impossible except for people in Sales), no write-ups, no coaching. But the last couple of weeks there has been a whole lot of "make sure you write down what you do and how to do it so others can cover you," a lot of emails not being replied to, projects going unreviewed, and general gruffness from Teh Mgmt. Markedly lower levels of eye contact. Responsibilities that were mine according to paper, given to other people.

Also, last week there was a Particularly Bad Fuckup, which could reasonably be considered at least partly my fault, and it came a time of great hawkish watching that arose from the previous week's Particularly Bad Fuckup during which I inadvertently exposed the complete ineptitude of my superiors to their superiors.

Now, I am a paranoid person by nature. And it is true that the prospect of job hunting has been on my mind for some time now, to the point of submitting my resume to a few places. I can't really discern whether my cabin fever is bleeding into my "what the fuck is happening" cortex, or if I'm picking up something serious. If it does turn out to be all in my head, I should probably start taking Xanax. If it isn't, something stronger may be in order. Either way, if you happen to be a billionaire with nothing better to do than pay me large sums of cash in return for computer and network services (or, to be honest, any kind of service), I will not summarily dismiss any offers.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / free stuff for you
November 19, 2015, 12:05:30 AM
i run a server that has features similar to dropbox (file sync/share etc). if you are a person who would like a way to share/host files without some lame ass ad-driven bullshit and/or care about privacy (all the files are encrypted and as the server admin even i do not have access without your keys, and it has been some time since the last NSA raid. also the server is behind a valid SSL certificate), i will make an account for you if you ask. might be ok for hosting propaganda and assorted nonsense.

truth in advertising: this is really so i can get some experience managing this particular platform. there's no cost to you. the only caveat is i'm not claiming to be some mega corporation with 100% uptime and i'm not responsible for backing up your data. if my hard drives crash your shit goes with them.

just don't spam up my drive space with anything illegal, immoral, or stupid like Nickelback mp3s.

oh and the domain is which is awesomer than dropbox.
mostly half-finished pamphlets and rants. Very low quality guaranteed. I have no idea who authored most of it.

Here's a link:

Fuck the following things:

- Hair that migrates to new locations for no reason at all. I always looked forward to having a distinguished gray color in my hair, but now all the places that should be gray are bald. Fuck you, genes.

- The fact that I can't even tell what being hungry feels like anymore. Used to be the simplest thing in the world: stomach growls, eat food. Now? It's like a new Indiana Jones adventure tracking down the source of some new ache or pain or twitch, and always finding out it's just that I need food.

- Being slow to do things that should be instantaneous, like peeing or realizing how dumb John McCain is.

- Wishing the whole neighborhood would just shut up and go inside. Including myself, after about 7PM.

- Yelling at people who can't hear me for things I'm not even sure about, and yelling at people who CAN hear me, for things I'm pretty sure I'm wrong about.

- Resenting young people for doing the same stupid shit I used to do, and don't want to do anymore anyway.

- Realizing that idiots are forever, and almost being OK with that.

- Saying "you damn kids and your toys" and only kidding about 90% of it.

- Preferring a book and a nap over a romp in the sack.

- Seeing all of this happening and being unable to hold it back.
It's a good thing I don't believe in conspiracy theories, because if I did I'd be tempted to think the entire subprime mortgage crash and the following "Great Recession" were engineered from the beginning as a long troll on private home ownership in America. Of course, I am sophisticated and smart enough to know that nobody would do that -- not because they are above doing it, but because nobody can think that far ahead anymore.

Still, according to this link, the results are about the same as they'd be if it were some devious master plan.

There are three narratives to this story. One, the Conservative narrative, begins in the 1990s with President Clinton's push to drive up home ownership among Americans as a way to boost economies national and local, increase civic participation, and decrease crime, among other things (maybe some shadowy organization of goddamn HOAs bought Clinton, who knows). Of course, this was all a terrible and Socialist™ thing to do, because something something poor people with nice things something something, and the Conservatives were right because ten years later, a housing crash happened which proves poor people don't deserve nice things.

The "liberal" story starts around 2001 or so with the Banksters inventing a number of insidious financial instruments based on imaginary money that could only be realized through various legal and semi-legal forms of consumer financial fraud, the largest of these being the "Sub-Prime Mortgage," which if they were made out of anything physical would be confiscated at any airport for their tendency to blow up and break things. Eventually this game of American Roulette had to end in tears, and so it did in 2007 and 2008 with the collapse of the housing market. The Banksters knew it would happen, and they did it anyway, and that's why in 2009 the Democrats had them all arrested and put them in prison for a very long time. Or something.

But the third narrative, the one the lizard people and those aliens from Planet X don't want you to know about -- the real story here -- is far worse than either one of those two tales of political and financial incompetence and botched altruism. This one starts all the way back in January 1977, the last days of Gerald Ford's presidency. See, Gerald Ford was an asshole. We know he was an asshole because he was a Republican. And he was feeling especially dickish in January 1977 because he was about to be replaced by that wimp, Jimmy Carter. A president named Jimmy? What was the world coming to? Anyway, Soon-to-be-Ex-President Ford was intent on showing the ungrateful Americans who kicked his sorry ass out of the White House a thing or two. So he set in motion a series of bad decisions that eventually ruptured thirty years later like a disgusting time bomb made out of infected appendixes.

There are people who will tell you that the great engine of American prosperity and social stability has always been our "work ethic" or our "religion" or our "patriotism." These people are wrong. Actually, they're not only wrong, they are lying, on purpose, and are most likely being paid by the Koch Brothers or the estate of Ronnie James Dio to keep those awful lies in circulation. In actual point of fact, the thing that keeps America from becoming some terrible third-world nation is our fierce belief in private property. It is our fierce belief in "I got mine, you got yours, and never the twain shall meet" that keeps us milling about our daily lives contentedly, producing and consuming and voting and donating. It is the idea that all of us having some "skin in the game" keeps us happy and committed to society that was the basis for Clinton's push for expanded home ownership, and that idea was right. It just so happens that Clinton's not-terrible idea fit into Ford's plan like a cigar.

Ford's plan was brilliant in its subterfuge. He met quietly with a number of his fellow anti-taxers and pro-poverty douchebags in the GOP and Big Business™, and they set to work sewing the seeds of the biggest land grab and legal shakedown in American history. Details of the plan at this stage are few, but we do know that by the mid 90's, someone had gotten Clinton to push for this "Partners in the American Dream" program that virtually eliminated traditional barriers to home ownership like, um, being able to afford a house. And in the decade or so the plan was in effect, banks fell all over themselves to mop up the veritable chemical spill of easy money being pumped out of government loan guarantees like sweet crude from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

That, of course, is where most coverage stops, more or less. Bad government encourages bad business, and all that. But the story is continuing today and nobody is really paying attention anymore. In the wake of the housing crash, newly vacated shards of the American Dream were, and continue to be, snatched up by multi-billion-dollar corporations. Now, this is probably just business on their part, but consider the implications for this new reality where Americans rarely live in anything even remotely resembling real private property. Compare the legal rights of a home owner to the legal rights of a renter. All the same liabilities and responsibilities exist, with none of the privileges.

America is now a nation of serfs and peasants, living in tenements and shacks put up by corporate lords and provided for civil use so long as we agree to 100 pages of demands in the form of a rental or lease agreement, including an agreement to forego things like your 4th Amendment rights while occupying your assigned domicile. Add to that the currently in-vogue practice of Civil Forfeiture and what you have is a government which, at all levels, has built a hyperspace bypass right through the space formerly occupied by your rights as an individual.

And it's all thanks to Gerald Ford. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Richard Nixon should still be the President, and this is why I am writing his name in for every available office this year and every election year, until the day I die.
And be creative! No points for just posting silly pictures from an image search.
Over the course of the past several business cycles, I have inherited a large pool of experience in transforming direct language into a more polished and deliverable format. In fact, at this juncture, my ability to communicate without the use of approved wording has been critically compromised. Rather than view this development as a hindrance, I'd like to use this to generate an opportunity for production-positive knowledge transfer. To that end, I am offering to take submissions and modify their language to align with company communications policy. You are invited to participate in this exchange by offering the roughest, least polished terms and phrases you can think of.

To help, here are a few recent examples at my workplace that turned unacceptably blunt language into conversation-conducive remarks:

Transformed: I seek to enhance my productivity output despite any obstacles presented by operational realities.

T: Technological hardware considerations can have a tangible impact on audio traffic.

T: Your admirable dedication to company security practices has inspired me to synthesize a solution to this task while remaining aligned with company processes.
our government really is falling down on the job. We are under constant siege by dimfucks and fuckbrains and other shady persons qualifying for fuck-related slurs. We have had a long recent history of awful attempts at violence and the public news stream is full of cock, repost, and assorted bullshit. What have we gotten for our votes? Nothing. What have we gotten for our taxes? Nothing. What has our government given us? Nothing. Not even basic services like completed punchlines. It is for these reasons that I submit to you this petition.

-----------PETITION FOLLOWS-------------


__(signature or pee stain)__

It's a safe bet that the term "Great Filter" is already known to most of the people on this board, but because typing is fun, I'll give a brief explanation here anyway. Statistically speaking, based on a few safe assumptions dealing with the size and age of our galaxy, the prevalence of certain elements in the cosmos, and various things we know from the history of biological life on Earth, the universe should be teeming with alien life. Life should be more common than fat people at Wal-Mart. That there is life "out there" should be a safer bet than guessing that the neckbeard who lives across your street in his parents' basement listens to Rush and has at least one imitation Samurai sword. Our galaxy alone should be home to something like seventy quadrillion metric fuckshits of advanced civilizations. All the math that goes into this assumption is as sound as we can make it, and even Republican scientists are more or less certain of its truth.

The problem is, if our galaxy is so full of people, WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY? We have no evidence of alien life anywhere, unless you listen to that asshole Georgio Tsoukalos or various hillbillies who can't tell the difference between a girlfriend and a cousin. Even considering the vastness of space, the relatively slow speed of electromagnetic wave-based communication, and our recently developed ability to eavesdrop on said communication, we should be receiving so many god damn artificially generated signals that talking to our own satellites should be like trying to tell the guy in the fishnet turtleneck whether you want X or acid at a Skrillex gig. But space is silent. Why?

There are a number of competing theories as to why this might be the case, from "your math is just wrong" to "they are there, they're just using some kind of communication we don't understand." But the funnest theory is the Great Filter, which basically says that life is common -- even intelligent life similar to ourselves -- but that some Awful Thing prevents it from achieving interstellar travel or communication. So there could be billions of worlds like earth, each of them infested with horrible little worms like us, but they are all quarantined by the Great Filter. Usually it is assumed that they end up blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons or something before achieving anything like what we dream about in Star Trek.

While nuclear or biological or chemical warfare is a perfectly plausible explanation, I don't think it is the right one. Humans, for example, have had a good 75 years with access to nukes, and we haven't killed ourselves off yet. And, what's worse, all signs point to our collective lack of being serious about playing with our best toys continuing indefinitely. No, we will not be sterilizing the planet, at least not on purpose. I think the Great Filter is much more sinister than just an innocent collective autocidal incident.

It comes down to what makes a society a society. In order to achieve what we call civilization, our species relies both on collective intelligence and individual ingenuity. We must be able to function cognitively at a high level as distinct members of the whole, as well as to communicate with each other and our progeny efficiently in order to maintain the systems and infrastructure we construct. The problem is that at a certain point in every successful civilization, the relative comfort and convenience afforded individuals leads to a breakdown of the "social instinct." It becomes acceptable and even prudent to put oneself before one's community, because the individual loses sight of the fact that a society, like any kind of team, only works when it works together as a unit.

Such breakdowns are apparent throughout history as the causes of all kinds of social decay and collapse. But the real Great Filter comes in when we consider what kind of sacrifices would be required from individuals if their civilization attempted to colonize the stars. It is a task of such magnitude and scale, economically and temporally, that it holds no real interest for the individuals who would need to contribute to it. Those who began the process would have no hope of seeing it even halfway through. Biological life does not allow for lifespans that would make it worthwhile to travel from our star system to another one, for colonization or any other purpose. In order to accomplish that task, we would have to completely eliminate the entire concept of "I" and become a new sort of life form, multi-multicelled organism. Not in a figurative sense, but a real, literal sense. An actual colony organism where the individual cells are completely disposable and expendable, where intelligence resides in an organ or a process that cannot be comprehended by any of the individual units.

And we are unwilling to even take small steps in that direction. We are all about ME ME ME and MY MY MY. MY stuff. MY money. MY taxes. MY rights. Humanity is horrible at cooperating for anything other than fighting off an existential threat, and even then that threat must be immediate enough to directly threaten individuals (see: climate change). We just don't do things on a scale large enough to leap from our star system to any other. I think it is because everything we have achieved is because we are wired for individualism, and that wiring prevents us from achieving anything of any magnitude larger than maybe a planetary government (which will of course be a government of self-interested assholes that exists to facilitate the marginally interesting lives of other self-interested assholes).

So that is the Great Filter. That we are constitutionally prevented from shedding our egos to accomplish a task we can only dream of because we have egos.

Or something.
So, in my old age, I have discovered that classical music doesn't suck. But I have a problem. Most of it does suck. Especially every single scrap of malauditory shit written by pretentious assholes who wish they were good enough to die at Mozart's feet in the past 150 years.

The purpose of this thread is to see if any of you irreverent bums know of any DECENT classical music that I should listen to, because I'm really lazy and the Google machine hasn't been very helpful. Everyone who says something is good is wrong. Beethoven is excellent, but wears thin after a while. Mozart is alright. I am liking Brahms so far. But surely there are less prominent composers who are as good as or even better than these overblown baroque-era Miley Cyruses. Who are they?

Now, I'll be frank. I am not looking for "edgy" or "innovative" classical composers. Invariably, in the context of the symphony, those two adjectives are euphemisms for "likes to use a lot of that god-awful dissonance shit" and "lacks the decency to present an audible rhythm." I do not want to wade through unfathomable seas of notes and instruments that disagree with each other, or try to wrap my aged and shuttered mind around "ambient" pieces that sound like someone delicately vomiting at the other end of a very long rubber tube. I want clear melody, harmony, and rhythm in the traditional sense: pleasing to the ear, but also complex and able to bear multiple extended listens. I am not looking for the kind of shit that BBC marches out every year at the Proms, which is only pleasing to self-satisfied schmucks in tuxedos who probably go to the symphony so they can go home to bitch about it over expensive wine that they are also bitching about. I would prefer only music written prior to 1860, because apparently after that year everyone in the classical scene got completely fucktarded and started "innovating" by deleting everything in their compositions that could be defined as "music." There may be newer compositions done in the Baroque or Classical styles, but I have not heard of them. That's what you are for !

The real problem I'm trying to solve with this music is that I live in Phoenix, which has less culture than cheese manufactured in the vacuum of outer space. I need to feel like there is a point to humanity, that we can paint mind-altering soundscapes, but in a format that is tied to history. Anyway, do you have any ideas?
Being a white guy who grew up in a town where there were exactly four black people, of whom one spent most of his life in and out of mental hospitals (He was crazy, you see. He kept showing up at town hall meetings and demanding to be heard in public.) and the other three were never seen in public, I can say with a good deal of certainty that I know probably next to nothing about racism. Oh, I learned all about it in school, of course, especially the part where it's all in the past so we should all just move on already. Still, even in my highly sheltered state, there have always been a few things that stood out to me as being odd about the Utopian post-racial paradise we white people are so graciously -- and generously -- affording colored folk these days.

At the top of this list, for some reason, is the way that in every city there is a street running through the ghetto named after Dr. Martin Luther King. Again, I am hardly the authority on these matters, but it seems like the act of naming a street after a hero -- for many people THE hero -- of the Civil Rights movement, while casually neglecting the part of town where that street is located, is a little disingenuous. Like millions of people beaten down by centuries of the most heinous abuse and violence and oppression are going to break out into spontaneous song and dance because some asshole at City Hall renamed a road.

Now, take that sentiment and multiply it about a hundred thousand times, and you will be an honorary citizen of Jackson, Mississippi. There are two things I noticed right away upon arriving in that place. First, there is the fact that the state flag of Mississippi still contains the Confederate flag (because the state has a proud history, and don't you go thinking it's for any other reason at all). The second is that Jackson's airport is named "Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport," and it flies that Confederate flag right over the top of the name banner like there just ain't no such thing as horrible, wretched irony in the world.

Honestly, I am not all that well traveled, but I know a shit hole when I see one, and I am here to tell you that Jackson, Mississippi, is a shit hole. That it is the largest, most sophisticated and most modern city in Mississippi portends many things about the state, none of them good. The airport is the first and last sign of actual civilization a person is likely to see there, for outside its pretentiously white-painted walls there lies a slimy serpent of a little town that has only joined the 21st century because they finally ran out of calendars for 1947 and had to order a new batch for the handful of people living there who can read.

The road snakes away from the rental car garage into woods so thick you'll think you've surely taken a wrong turn. The woods themselves are beautiful; it's too bad someone had to go and mess them up by filling them with the most god-awful third-rate "city" you may ever have the misfortune of witnessing. It's all broken down pickup trucks and "IMPEACH THE MUSLIM USURPER" signs, and nary a person skilled in the art of picking up wayward trash from the side of the roads. Eventually, you top a hill and can see the city's entire breadth stretch out humbly before you. It has all the hallmarks of a normal town, by which I mean it has some paved roads (full of pot holes) and a few buildings taller than the trees next to them, but there's something missing. The city has never really had any economic boom to speak of, it has instead expanded slowly in fits, beleaguered and thwarted by backward social and economic policy borne of widespread terror at the prospect of the future ever arriving.

I spend exactly 36 hours in this place, and my soul screams for escape from the first minute my boots hit the ground here. I do not see one black person the whole time I'm in town, other than the kitchen staff in a restaurant. All the customers were, of course, white. Next time I go to Jackson, I'm going to make it a point to eat on the wrong side of town, because any city this far South that looks this lily white has got to be hiding something. My suspicion is that it's hiding something pleasant that the natives don't want anyone to find out about because it might encourage outsiders to come more often.

Welcome to the Deep, Deep South.
There I was, minding my own business, sitting on a subway car waiting for service to start again after some poor bastard got himself smeared all over the Rector Street station a few stops ahead, quietly thumbing through Facebook posts on my phone. As usual, it was an uninterrupted stream of "I ate a salad" and George Takei being funny and "Fuck that Obama guy" and "The Tea Party makes me feel like shitting myself on purpose." Being a self-centered asshole who fancies himself somehow superior to most of the other apes on this rock -- especially now, watching these hilariously petty New Yorkers get all puffed up and indignant about their pointless lives being put on hold for ten minutes so someone can scrape what's left of a fellow human being off the tracks -- I am naturally drawn to political discussions.

But it occurs to me that I've been looking at this whole "Government" thing all wrong. It has been my understanding that people hate politicians they disagree with (or think they disagree with) because they wish to have more like-minded people running things. This, supposedly, would inspire them to vote for people with whom they DO agree, and thus the whole system would have no choice but to -- eventually -- go the way of popular sentiment.

It turns out that is all hogwash. See, the thing about hating politicians is, it's a drug. It gets you high like a drug, you form social groups around the consumption of that drug, you start talking about it in inappropriate situations, and eventually you have nothing left but that hate. And, like any drug, hating politicians leads to hating politicians even more. You start out hating Obama and cheering the day the House is given to the Republicans. But then, it isn't enough just to hate Obama anymore. You have to start hating Boehner and a whole smattering of RINOs. And it doesn't just work for the conservatives. I know a lot of Democrats who started out being super happy about Obama -- an apparently thoughtful, symbolically and substantially powerful force for moderation -- and now they're huddled in the bathroom snorting Marx off the far end of the counter and snarling about Ted Kennedy selling out.

The speaker on the ceiling coughs out a DING! and the doors whoosh shut. Finally, the car lurches forward, and I look up to see 100 sarcastic rolling eyeballs snap out of the "Ug no like to be inconvenienced" position and rotate robotically back down to the natural, no-eye-contact-allowed, glazed and locked at fifteen degrees below the horizon position of the New Yorker in its native habitat. Not the city, but that comfortable and somewhat sickly state of being an island in an ocean so full of other islands that there's no room for any water between them. It's too quiet, given how many people are crowded together here. Everyone just wants to move on. No use for small talk.

I go back to my phone, and review some of the political posts (the wireless signal is gone now, all I have is the cache -- although I only know that because the signal indicator has no bars). Hate hate hate, piss, piss, moan, moan. And it occurs to me that the real purpose of the Government has nothing to do with working together. Gridlock is the point. It exists so that people have something other than each other to lash out at when shit doesn't go their way.
* not actually new.

On matters of environment, sustainability, renewable resources, and energy production I usually fall decidedly on the side of the Eco-Spags. However, on the specific issue of GMOs, I find little reason to back the violently anti-progress activists. Not because I am a great big fan of the assholes at Monsanto whose business model seems to be the genetically-engineered lovechild of Microsoft and Count Dracula, but because Monsanto's loudest opponents only use the economic and political evils of the company as a footnote to their squealing about the inherent evils of genetic engineering.

Now, I am probably largely uninformed on the topic of genetic engineering. I am neither a botanist nor an engineer, let alone both. But I have read some stuff and, like any random person on the Internet with more opinions than time, I don't see a compelling reason to shun all GMOs. Are they really bad for humans? Eh, probably not. They may be bad for bees, but that isn't conclusively proven either. I do know that GMOs present a viable short- to mid-term solution to *SOME OF* the problems we have with starvation related to overpopulation, economic instability and war. Whether the ultimate damage done by GMOs to the ecosystem (if any) outweighs the potential good GMOs might do for the people who live in that ecosystem is what I'm trying to figure out.

You won't find me arguing that the way Monsanto conducts itself in the market is excusable. It's a terrible organization filled with terrible people who have terrible priorities. But that's an economic and political problem, not necessarily a scientific or ecological problem.

What do you think?
On the subject of religion, it is worth noting that religion isn't really limited to "religion." Spiritual, organized religion is only one manifestation of an almost universal social behavior among humans. That is, we are faced with hardship, we overcome that hardship, and we codify our methods of doing so into something we like to fantasize is a set of universally applicable instructions for overcoming all future hardships.

In the absence of any real hardship, we will happily invent something to take its place. Because humanity survives on a diet of strife and misery, we sew the seeds of those things in every encounter where we can, so they can grow and eventually we can reap their awful fruit. Religion is only one system we have invented for doing this. There is also politics, sports, Facebook, and any  number of other places where we go to receive our communion of outrage and self-righteousness.

The following list of Affirmations are complete bullshit, but they express what I think our modern, privileged, Western attitudes toward one another and those outside of our culture would be, if they were codified into a set of beatitudes.

1. Because I have suffered more than you have, you have never really suffered at all.
2. Because I know more than you do, you know nothing.
3. Because I must succeed, you must fail.
4. Because I am right, you are wrong.
5. Because I am good, you are evil.
6. Because I am oppressed, you are privileged.
7. Because I need, you must give.
8. Because I speak, you must listen.
9. Because I see, you must be blind.

I know I practice all of these things regularly, even when I try not to. In the moment, in the heat of a disagreement, they seem to hold true somehow, and then afterward, they completely disintegrate upon even the slighted examination. What is it about these attitudes that solidify under the stress of an argument, but shrivel and dissipate afterwards? And why is it that a calm mind can regard these nine points and the thousands of other thoughts that could continue the list as almost laughably easy to avoid, but a distressed and angry mind naturally and immediately conjures them up like armor?

What do these statements protect? And why is it worth protecting?