No, Thank You

As I was leaving Malaysia in ’99, I was detained by the authorities… a minor thing, I thought, a bit of confusion about  a stamp in the visa, or rather the lack  thereof, when I had entered the country, just about a week or two earlier.  I hadn’t come into the country secretly, or anything.  I’d come across my border, had my luggage inspected and everything.  Not my fault they didn’t give me a stamp.
Well, I spent a night in jail, and the next day they moved me to a detention camp.  A hell hoe of a place, 2 pit toilets for a couple hundred  of us, two meals a day which  consisted of a couple of pieces of white bread and some really thin soup with a small dead fish, rather on the bony side, floating in it.
I was there for 8 days.  I  knew I  had it better than most of the people in there.  The majority were Indonesians, who had come looking for  work.  They would be detained until there were enough to fill  a boat, and then sent back.  Some were not on  the  first trip.  Some were Thais, and it  was a similar situation.  One poor guy, from Burma, was stuck.  If  they sent him back to Burma, he would  be executed, but they weren’t going  to let him out unless it was to Burma.  There was a guy from Iran,  who seemed to be kind of nuts, but I could understand that.
I fell in with  a group of Africans, partly as they were the only ones who spoke English.  Anyway, one of the other prisoners had a phone, he let me call  the American embassy, and a very nice lady there worked hard  to get me out.  Once I was out, I did pop in at the embassy to say thank you, and bring her flowers, but it was voluntary.  I wouldn’t have been berated in public if I had failed to thank her, or the president at the time, who  was Bill  Clinton.
Donald Trump’s tirade at LaVar Bell  is ridiculous.   Sure, he’s happy  his son’s home from China, but that’s kind of the State Department’s  job, and there’s no evidence that Trump was involved in the process at all.   As Ball said “If I  have to thank anybody, it’s the president of  China.”
Also, though, and this is really the problem with  Trump, one of the things that Trump does not understand:  if it is obligatory to say ‘thank you,’ then it doesn’t actually  mean ‘thank you.’  It means something else.

 

 

 

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86ed.

For quite some time now, probably  about  a year, I’ve  been  a member of a Facebook group called Berniecrats.  Well, visitor  to the page, anyway.  Saying member of the group conjures up an  image of us all meeting for tea and cookies on  Thursday  afternoons, or something, instead of a group of strangers with a political conviction in common.

Anyway, a month or two  ago, things got a bit out of hand, with the excessive number of trolls, and the admins pretty much threw up their hands.  A lot of people  left, I guess you could say the smarter ones.  I hung on, figuring it didn’t matter  if trolls were present, we outnumbered them and, besides, that gave us someone to argue with.  It does  get rather boring agreeing  with people all  the time, and that’s not at all the reason  I’m on Facebook.
Anyway, it has recently become clear  that the admins themselves are a huge part of the problem.  Either the whole thing has been an  elaborate trolling ruse from the start, or they have honestly come to the political opinion (as they claim) that Bernie betrayed the movement he started by supporting Clinton, that he should have run as an independent, or maybe a Green, or  something equally futile.  I tend to the elaborate ruse theory, since most Bernie fans are still  Bernie fans, and support him in the fights he’s waging, on our behalf, right now.
Anyway, I’ve been arguing with a couple of  them, and now find myself kicked off the site.  It’s O.K., I’ve been kicked off other sites before (including one poetry page, but I’m pretty sure politics was the reason), and I suppose what I said might have been construed as an ad hominem attack, and usually I would agree that cheap puns on people’s names are lame (as much as I  despise her, I  get real tired of people thinking they’re clever calling  her Killary, or Shillary), but Claybell Dumbfuck (the troll’s name is Collin Daybell) just tumbled from  the tips of my  typing fingers.

Whatever.  I belong to a few other Bernie sites, so this will reduce the clutter a bit.

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How to Spot a Witch Hunt?

If I’m not already on the record as thinking this whole #metoo thing has become a bit of a witch hunt, let this blog be considered as such.
I just saw a friend’s update in which she said men should  stop posting in support of women because we should have been speaking up for women all along .  I saw another one earlier who listed as enemies ‘anyone who uses the word witch hunt.’  So, we’re not supposed to criticize (or mansplain, which seems to be a word now for anything said by a man), but we’re not supposed to agree and offer support, either.  We’re not being given a lot of options here.

But it’s the Al Franken case which makes me think it’s a witch hunt.  There was an article the other day in the New York Times, which is still inexplicably in existence, saying that ‘it  might not be fair, but Al Franken should resign.’  Let me repeat that.  Even if Al Franken turns out to be completely innocent (which  I  think will happen, despite the 2nd accuser – her charge doesn’t sound much more serious than the first one), the New York Times still thinks he should be forced to resign.
Then, there was a guy (Yes, a guy) who was berating me today for being sufficiently anti-Franken, saying we shouldn’t be questioning whether the charge is serious enough or not, since he has been accused and we must believe the women.
This is insane.  When the accuser is automatically believed because if someone is accused, we must assume them guilty, then it’s a witch hunt.

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The Words in our Heads

In the ‘learn something new every day’ category, it was pointed out to me today that “Mr. Mojo Risin” is an acronym for Jim Morrison.  Well, a quick second to look and check and sure  enough, yes, it is, and my view of rock history is changed somewhat and I can imagine the etymology of the song, everybody sitting around making acronyms of  their names, who knows what they  came up  with out of  Ray Manzarek (Kraazy Namer?), Robbie Krieger (Beer Keg Robir?) and John Densmore (Modern J. Shone?), but when they got to Mr. Mojo Risin, Morrison, vain and obsessive as he was, probably just started saying it over and over again, louder and louder, and the lads, being exceptionally talented and  spontaneous individuals, just started playing along.
It could be more thought went into  it than that, but I’ll bet not.  That’s how songs (and poems) get written.
One of my  favorite rock etymologies is from Paul McCartney, who apparently wrote “Yesterday” one fine morning while he was taking a poop, at least that’s  how  I  remember hearing it.   He’d just woken up and, in that hazy state of mind when you’re still adjusting to being in  the real  world rather than the dream world and things in your head are not  too fixed and rigid, the song came to him.  He said it came to him so complete that he thought he must have heard it before, and asked several people ‘where have I heard this song before?’ before admitting that he’d written it himself.
I am not a religious person, not a believer at all, but our minds are all  vessels for something, they have access to all the collected knowledge of all human history, and all the imagery and sensation of the whole world around us, and they are just turning it around and around and trying it from every different angle and, if you’re lucky, something great will pop out.

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No Surprise

Well, the  Dakota access pipeline, which so many brave people fought against, is leaking.  We are not surprised.  Pipelines leak.

Five people shot down by a crazy man with a gun in California.  Police had had  lots of warning signs.  We are not surprised.

Trump says something stupid.  We are not surprised.
There are predictable things.  The cycle of day and night, increasingly cold weather as  we move into winter, increases  in price.  Oil pipelines leak (It’s not automatic, I  suppose.  If they were actually being constructed for people who are concerned about the environment and conscientious, by people who have a clue what they’re doing, then there would be no leaks, but you can never be sure about the latter and the former is just obviously first.  If they gave a shit about the planet they wouldn’t be in the oil  industry in the first place.

Mass shootings are carried out by crazy people with high powered weapons.  This is pretty much the definition of a mass shooting.  Since we know there will always be a supply of crazy people, the only way to stop them  would be to eliminate the guns, but we know that’s not  going to happen so when the next mass shooting  happens, it will not be a surprise.

And, of course, Trump does and says stupid things every day.  It’s what one expects of a stupid person.  The surprise is when he occasionally says  or does something not  completely stupid.
It is unthinkable that the Democrats could lose to him in 2020, and yet…certainly Hillary Clinton would lose to him.  Liz Warren, hated on both the right (for her positions) and the left (for  her betrayal) would probably lose to him.  In fact, anybody who is hated by the Berniecrats (takes corporate cash, does not support universal health care) would probably lose to him.

And it won’t even be a surprise.

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Lighten Up on Al Franken, Already

I have  often criticized Al Franken, over the last couple of years, for being an asshole  as a Superdelegate and making it  very clear that  he was  a Superdelegate for Hillary even if the Democratic voters in his state, the  exceptionally beautiful state of Minnesota, voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders which they, in fact, did.
I think he needs to apologize for that.  Not for some isolated incident that happened back when he was still  a comic, and wasn’t really all  that  bad.
The old honk-honk joke?  They did that on Married With  Children, more than once.  They did a whole lot worse on Benny Hill, every episode.  It’s not very funny,  but they were comedians on a tour and just fooling around.
Anyway, he apologized, and the ‘victim’ accepted his apology, and we can move on.  I I don’t think we will, though.  I just saw a comment thread on the Al Franken incident, and it was long, really long, to the point where there was really no point in adding my comment to it.  There was no more room on the Dodgeball court to add new players.  About half were saying ‘this is not  such a big deal’ and the other half were calling for  his immediate resignation, and why should we support him just because he’s a Democrat, and any aggressive behavior on the part of men, whether verbal, comical, or merely flirtatious is absolutely at the same level of evil as  dragging a girl  into the bushes and  having sex while you hold  a knife to her throat.
So, I think it’s  not going to  be  safe out there  for  a while, guys.  Eventually, we will  reach some kind of equilibrium again, where a man can talk to a woman without fear of a lawsuit, but it won’t be the same equilibrium we  had before.
No more honk-honk joke,  anyway.

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The Ongoing Investigation

Clinton’s people want Trump investigated  for improper contacts  with  Russia, and Trump’s people want Hillary investigated for a whole  bunch of stuff,  but improper contacts with Russia are  near the  top of the list, and Bernie’s people might like to see Trump investigated, but we don’t  want to side with the Hillary people.
Here’s how I  see it.  The calls for  an investigation into Trump’s dealings with Russia are an indication that the Democrats don’t really want to impeach.  Maybe they’re afraid of Pence, or maybe they just don’t want to see impeachment established as an effective tool, because a guillotine cuts all necks  the  same and, just like poor voters who vote against themselves  on  taxation because they think some day they’ll be rich, Democrats dream that they somehow, magically, will get into power again.
If they really wanted to impeach they’d be going after him for corruption, tax evasion, sexual harassment, nepotism, lack of mental competence, lack of  psychological fitness, lack of the capacity to do the job.  Then  they’d have a winning case, by golly.
I’d be  perfectly happy to see Hillary Clinton investigated  simultaneously.

In fact, I’d like to see everybody in congress, in  the cabinet, in the White House or in public life in any capacity,  investigated.  All the time.  As a matter of course.  Their taxes should  be audited  automatically, their phones should be tapped, their movements should  be tracked.

Once a few of those  fuckers go to  jail – Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter much, but I’d like to see a few of both – then we’ll start to  see some changes, I bet.

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