Green Blues

The Czech election went well for corporatists and xenophobes.  On the bright side the Pirate Party, which I don’t know too much  about except they have a cool name and are pro-EU, which is something, did well and seem poised to be a major party in future.  The communists did poorly, but I find it kind of surprising that there’s a communist party  here at all.  The Greens were crushed, they got less  than  5%.
I don’t understand that.  In every country, the Greens seem to wind up being the joke party, and yet, what more pressing  issue is there?  And they are clearly on the right side of it.
It makes me think of the scene in Percy Jackson (book.  Never seen the film straight through, so don’t know if this scene was included) where Percy’s cloven hoofed friend was out enjoying the  beauty  of the night sky and lamenting the garbage all around and Percy says something like “Oh, yeah, I forgot you’re kind of a crazy environmentalist” and Grover (I think his name was Grover) said “Only a human wouldn’t be.”

As a political issue, it seems like a total no-brainer to me.  Everybody would like cleaner air.  Cleaner air is healthy.  Everybody would  like  to save the elephants, and the orangutan, and the dolphin, and the polar bear.  It wouldn’t cost much to convert, and most of what it would cost it would  cost in wages, meaning people would get good jobs and everybody would be happy.
I’m an optimist, despite all.  I believe we will save the world and develop clean energy before we all choke to death, but I think the change will come about because of inventors, and scientists, and over the battered bodies of politicians.  Politics, it seems, is where good  ideas go to die.

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The Horror

This is bad, this is depressing.  Not only  does the United States have Donald Trump, and Britain Theresa  May, now the Czech Republic is going to have its very own blatantly corrupt, extreme right wing president.
Of course, it’s a  multi-party system, and there will have to be some coalition building, but Andre Babiš (pronounced Bah beesh, the little hook (that’s what it’s actually called in Czech, little hook) makes the s into an sh, and over a c it makes a ch, and over  an r it makes a sound no foreigner can pronounce, which Czechs are perversely proud of) is apparently going to be our next president.
He is a one man proof that it doesn’t matter what system you  have, the power  structure remains the same, and the average folks are not  a part of  it.

When Czechoslovakia was Communist, Babiš was a Communist.  Not just a go along to get along Communist, but a member of the State Security, which was like the KGB.  Once it became capitalist in 1989, Babiš became a capitalist, and has somehow (corruption) managed to accumulate a 4.1 billion dollars (according to Forbes).
I love this country, but I am extremely nervous about the future right now.   Dark days ahead.  I  mostly just hope he doesn’t try to take us out  of the EU.

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The Purge

I must confess, I  miscalculated.  I thought after  losing the most winnable election in modern history, the Democrats would try to figure out what they did wrong (as is done after every airline crash) and take steps to see it wouldn’t happen again.

But, they’re going in  the other direction and it  seems nothing will dissuade them.   The recent purge of Sanders supporters from any position of authority within the Democratic (oh, how hollow that sounds now) party was a power play as definitive as (although admittedly less bloody than) the Tien An Men massacre or the October 14th, 1307 massacre of  the Knights Templar by Philip the 4th.

It was, for the Democrats, what Kristallnacht was for the Nazis.  So, the question is, what are we going to do about it?  Trying to form a 3rd party historically doesn’t work.  The last successful new party in the U.S. was the Republican party back in the 1850s, and both parties have completely changed ideologies since then, but the power structure remains.  It’s tempting, because the Democrats, it has become obvious, would rather lose than fight for single payer healthcare and a more equitable tax structure.  But it won’t work.

So, should we stay and slug it out, try to take over the party  from the inside out, like the wasp larvae that feed on ants, knocking their heads off from the inside when they’re ready  to hatch?

Actually, I think we should.  We’ve just won mayorships of two two southern cities (Jackson, Mississippi and Birmingham, Alabama) and have a reasonable shot at getting  a Berniecrat, Vincent Fort, elected mayor of Atlanta.  David Hildebrand has got the DNC worried, so to protect the millionairess Dianne Feinstein they are introducing a couple of ‘leftist’ (heavy on the quote marks) candidates to muddy the waters.  Stephen Jaffe  could knock old we’re-taking-impeachment-off-the-table Pelosi, and Randy Bryce is taking a sledge  hammer to Eddie-Munster-look-alike Paul Ryan.
The fight continues.  The lawsuit continues.  The idea continues.  The idea that universal health care is worth fighting for.  The idea that private prisons are bad.   The idea that we need to get money out of politics, make rich people pay their fair share of taxes, start regulating the banks again, and give everybody jobs setting up solar  panels  and windmills  so we can save the  planet, clean the air, and stop fracking.

If we have to destroy the Democratic party from the inside out to accomplish  that goal, then that is what we must do.

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Uranium

It’s not new news, this has been  the rumor on the left, the big hubbub in conspiracy circles, since before the Democratic convention even.  Sure seems to have caught fire today, though.

I was seeing it all over the place, but I  was checking sources, and most just seemed to be virulently anti-Hillary sites, which I don’t mind reading, I’m pretty virulent in  my  dislike of her as well, but they’re not always the gold standard  in journalistic restraint, if you  know  what I mean.

Then, I saw a piece on it in Forbes, and then read a piece in the Washington Post.  The post set out to try to  debunk the whole story.  The story is this:  Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, approved  sale of a uranium mining company, which comprises about 20% of American uranium capacity, to a Russian mining company.  In return, she  got  a big, fat donation to the Clinton Foundation.
The debunking went like this:  “Well, yeah, sure it’s a huge amount, but Hillary’s name isn’t on anything and there’s no proof she even knew about it, and besides,  Trump is worse, so there.”
I’m not even exaggerating much.

I doubt  very much if Hillary Clinton  will do  jail time over it.  As the Washington Post pointed out, it’s hard to prove a quid pro quo, and it’s even harder to  get a  conviction against a rich, well connected D.C. politician.
But I  do hope  it  gets thoroughly investigated, and I  hope she feels  the wrath of public outrage.  That’s about  it.

 

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The Phone Call

On the one hand, I feel  a bit sorry  for Trump.   For weeks, people are carping about what a shitty  human being he is, interfering with aid efforts in Puerto Rico, golfing, not even noticing the wild  fires in  California,  golfing, being an arrogant  fat  prick, golfing, not bothering to acknowledge the deaths of four American soldiers who died in Niger, golfing,  saying Obama never called the families of dead soldiers, golfing, and then when he gives in and calls the families, people start complaining that he wasn’t ’empathetic’ enough,  as if  he’s expected to know  what a word like empathetic even means.  It  must seem to him  that  he can’t catch  a break.

I mean, all he said was “Well, he knew what he  was signing up for,” which is sort of like “he died doing what he loved.”  You just can’t please some people.

To tell the truth, I thought his low point was  when he  was  making fun of the handicapped reporter, but that didn’t keep him from  being elected president.  (of course, the Democrats helped in  that department.  “You’ll vote for me and  like it, basement  dwelling losers” makes a shitty campaign slogan, in  retrospect.)

After that, it’s all been just floundering around oafishly, saying one asshole thing after another, but everyone is so  used to it by now it  seems normal.  I mean, nobody expected him to recite poetry or anything.

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Thought for the Day

We exist on three levels.  Each of these levels has its own rules and characteristics, but each affects the other two in different, and significant ways.   They all exist in  the same time, and two of them share, often uncomfortably, the same space.
The first level is the real, physical world, the water we drink and the air we breathe, the environment in which  we evolved.  The trees, the plants, the animals, the food we eat.  It is the first because it came first chronologically  and, without it, the other two would not exist.

The second is the world of human beings, society, civilization.  It is houses and cities and cars and TV and mobile phones.  Most people spend most of their time at this level and that’s understandable.  We are human and the most important thing to us is to interact with, and be approved of by, other human beings.
People who spend most of their time at level one, like Bear Grills or Cody Lundeen, are entertaining to watch on TV and, if you know somebody  like that, they’d be the first person you’d invite on a camping trip.  In the unfortunate event of the Earth getting hit by an asteroid, you’d definitely want to  have them close by.  However, they really are a tiny minority.
Level three is what Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky and French philosopher Pierre Teihard de Cardin called the noosphere.  It is the world of words, the world of ideas.  Like level one, there are few people who spend most of their time there.  Some artists and dreamers are quite familiar with the place but anyone who spends too much time there finds it difficult to return to level two, and you need to pop back in  now and again for  a sandwich, at least.

Level three is the least essential, but the most interesting.  It contains the blueprints for the future of existences  1 and 2 just as certainly as the fruit contains the  seeds of its next iteration.  Without it, we are nothing more than animals who wear clothes and live in houses.

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Witch Hunt

When Woody Allen made his comment the other day re: the Harvey Weinstein case, saying ‘we shouldn’t let this turn into a witch hunt,’ he was widely and instantly mocked, because that is the nature of  social media, the witch-hunty nature of social  media.  Of course, Woody Allen.  First, he played a borderline pervert in most of his films, at any rate a weird, older guy who inexplicably was romantically linked with smoking hot younger women.  (I, too, am a weird, older guy who is inexplicably married to a hotter, much younger woman.)  Also, he was accused of molesting his step-daughter when she was 7, but it was never proven in court, and might well  have  been  a trumped up charge by Mia Farrow, who was pissed off because he  was having an affair with her adult step-daughter, which everyone found really skeezy at the time but that was 1997 and Allen and Soon-Yi Previn are still married.

A witch hunt, he said.  Well, seeing all of the ‘me,too’ comments on Facebook today, it’s hard to deny there is a serious problem.  Men are often cruder than  we should  be, and some are, no doubt about it, creeps.

BUT.  One of my female friends added an extension to her ‘me, too’ comment saying that men should post and apologize for all  the times we’ve made crude, sexist jokes or stared at a woman’s breasts instead of looking her in the eye.  Partly, I  thought, that might  have been a humble brag on her part, because she is, indeed, a lady with quite ample breasts, but mostly I just felt it was witch-hunty.
Sure, guys need to be a bit classier, not just shouting lewd comments at women they don’t even know, and refrain from touching women who don’t want to be touched, but we’re not going to stop being aware of women’s bodies, or the attractiveness thereof, and the difference between a sex joke and a sexist joke is a fine line, that not everybody draws in the exact same place.

In short:  women are perfectly justified in objecting to male behavior.  They are unreasonable if they actually expect some kind of a change in our biology.

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