Prague Pride Parade

I’m not going to write about the tragedy in Charlottesville tonight.  It’s too fresh and anything I type is likely to be more incoherent rage than logical observation.  So, I’ll  write about that in a day or two, after I’ve had time to  absorb it all, and we have more information.  At least one person  is dead, and I don’t want to jump in and  start shouting until we know more.
Today, I marched in the Gay Pride Parade.  To my discredit, this is the first one I’ve ever attended.  It was a fantastic atmosphere.  There were counter-protestors, with huge signs saying “The Czech Republic is not  Sodom” and “Stop Extremism” which I thought was a bit of  an oxymoron.  At any rate, impossible.  On any issue, or in any field of  human endeavor, there are going to be extreme positions.  There are also going to be moderate positions.  And several others, along the range.  Because there’s always a range.
Anyway, the counter protesters, despite their position right by the horse at the head of the square and their outsized signs, were absorbed by the body of the protest.  Partly just because of the numbers, partly because their signs just blended in with all the other signs (Cake Against Hate!) and partly because people, including many dressed in outlandish costumes, kept coming up to them and looking at their signs.   I suspect some even engaged them in conversation.

There were balloons, and floats, and people on  stilts, and music, and lots and lots of people wearing face paint and rainbow colored clothing but I didn’t feel out  of place in just jeans and a t-shirt.  It was a friendly, casual atmosphere.
There was also a bit of street theater.  I don’t know if you could call them furries, because it was more  leather, but a bunch of guys dressed up like animals, a dog being led around on a leash, a rabbit.  It was all very entertaining.

I plan on doing it again next year.  Gay people know how to put on a party, no  doubt about that.

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Lazy Day

Oh, this is turning into the laziest summer ever, and I’m kind of enjoying that behind the guilt of not getting any  of the things done that I should  be getting done.  It was raining in the morning when I got up and it poured and poured and that always clears the air and lowers the pressure, especially as this is the  most oppressively hot summer I’ve ever seen in Prague.
I read a lot, two books simultaneously, I’ll maybe finish them both this weekend.  One is by a friend of mine, one is by a famous writer, but there are a lot of  similarities between them.  Secret lives, a bit of the supernatural, prophecies and curses.
Isabel made pancakes for breakfast, I made leftovers for lunch (the chicken nuggets in blue cheese that Isabel had made for dinner a couple of days ago), spent a fair bit of time on facebook, my Berniecrats group has a saboteur or two, and at least one of them seems to be among the admins, so that’s a problem.  But, the way I see it, it’s a group with more than 50,000 members, who are all  on the same track, the same page, who all have close enough to the same mindset that a saboteur or two isn’t going to change much.

Then, met a couple of friends who are visiting Prague and had a great conversation about bygone days, but there were some names and incidents I didn’t remember, that was my last year of drinking, and a great deal of  it was spent in an alcoholic fog, then politics came  up and you’ve never seen anything escalate so fast.  They were totally convinced Hillary lost because she was a woman.
Still, even though she said I (all who didn’t vote for Hillary) was directly responsible for Trump, somehow we managed to change the subject back to more neutral topics, she did a comedy, magic act which got a laugh out of everybody and, all in all, it was a lovely afternoon.

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A Tale of Two Books

I’ve been between books (talking about reading now, not writing) for a couple of weeks, so  I was very pleased when Helena got me one by Neil Gaiman, who is an author I’ve been hearing about from several different directions, but had never read.

Neverwhere is the story of average-guy Richard who’s living the yuppie life complete with snooty girlfriend when he stops to help a girl in distress, which grosses his girlfriend out because she looked all derelict and homeless, and the girl has some weird magical powers, like she can make doors open, and talk to rats and pigeons.  And she lives underground and has a couple of weird, demonic people trying to kill her.
So far I’m finding the characters really interesting, and it’s well written, but somehow I’m finding it fairly predictable.    I mean the story arc, not the details, which are many and quite suitably bizarre.  Like, for instance, the part where nobody notices him, he’s like a ghost.  It was an  interesting touch, but you knew SOMETHING was going to happen to  make him follow the girl.  He couldn’t just go  back  to normal after that.
Then, got a message on Facebook that my friend Becky has written a book and it’s currently a free download on Amazon, “Leah Bishop and the Book of Ken-Tse.”

So, I must begin that one forthwith.  Books are great.

 

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Korea

North Korea is a problem, to be sure.  There’s no doubt the people there are oppressed.  Any country which has completely closed borders, you know  they are oppressed.  One, because they aren’t allowed to leave the country, and so there’s repression right there.  Second, because you know  the administration is worried about what would happen if those borders were open.  Mass exodus?  Probably.   Third, if they can close their borders, they have free reign to oppress their people any  way they  want to.  Who’s to know?

No easy options present themselves.  Re-unification?  Sure, they speak the same language, but there’s nothing in  that  for the government of  the North.  They lose all their power and become ‘the poor northern region of Korea.’  Also, just being crazy and paranoid, they’re not likely  to go  for it.

One thing I do know is that nuclear war (in fact, a conventional war) would be a disaster.  People die in wars.  No matter how oppressed people in North Korea are, I  doubt they want to  be bombed to death.

The way I see it, we need to leave this to the experts: The South Koreans, the Chinese, probably the Russians as they do actually  have a bit of a land border in the icy lands of Eastern Siberia, maybe the Japanese, which would piss the North Koreans off no  end, but they are a part of the region.

The U.S. shouldn’t even be at that table but, since they inevitably  will, they would be well advised to listen to all  other sides first.   Including North Korea.

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Platform

We argue a lot (I mean we all Berniecrats) about Demexit or Dementer, whether to go out on  a limb, leave the nest, admit that the Democratic party has no intention of releasing their death grip on the levers of power and try to form a 3rd party, or do we try to take over the Democratic party from within.  After all, we are the political descendants of FDR.  They are the corrupters, the usurpers.
While I understand more and more the logic of going 3rd party, it does seem an impossible task, and may take years.

What would it take to form a 3rd party?  It’s not about having the right, catchy name, although I suppose that never hurts.  What it would take is a few million dedicated souls, a bit of paperwork, and a platform.

We’ve got the millions of dedicated souls.  We may not be a political party yet, but we’re a hell  of a voting bloc, and we are interconnected.

We’ve actually got  the  platform, too.  I’ve been inserting it into lots of my posts, and I’ve seen a lot of other people do  it, too.  It’s become a litany.  Health Care, Money  out of politics, living wage, free tuition, end private prisons, etc…  It isn’t always exactly  the  same.  We don’t have  exactly  the  same priorities.

What I have noticed is what an incredible range of issues we have agreement on.  Here’s what our new party’s (if we were to form a new  party) platform would  look like.

 

  1.  Health Care.  Damn right it’s a litmus test.  If you don’t support universal health care, you’re not  really  a Berniecrat.
  2.  Living wage.  Right now, we’re talking $15 an hour
  3.  Get money out of politics
  4.  End Private Prisons
  5.  Legalize Pot
  6. Transition to a Green Economy – create jobs in the process
  7. Make the Police Accountable for their actions
  8.  Make the rich  pay  their  fair share of  taxes
  9.  Stop bombing everybody for no good reason
  10.  Free college tuition

If you agree with all 10, congratulations, you  are a member of the party.  If you  agree with fewer than  5 or 6, go ahead and vote for somebody else, or don’t  vote.  Seriously, not  voting  is an option.
Anywhere between those numbers, let’s talk about it.

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Booker’s Bogus Bill

Must hammer out a quick blog as Sam has a friend over and the  living room couch  is  needed as a bed, but not too much to say that hasn’t been said.  Trump is stupid, childish, delusional, the DNC is deliberately losing to the Republicans because that’s what they’re paid to do (find me a better explanation), North Korea is  still threatening to blow up the world, there’s and absolutely insanely unconstitutional bill that some people  in  congress (and not just Republicans) are pushing which would actually  make it  illegal to protest  against Israel.

On the bright  side, Corey Booker has suggested a bill  to totally legalize marijuana at the federal level, which would be amazing, revolutionary, and would totally change things for the better.  But then, I remember who Corey Booker is, and what a bucket of sleaze he was to vote against senior citizens getting  a break on drug prices, and I have to suspect this  bill is merely his  act of atonement, an attempt to  remain politically relevant, to once again be the hero of the cool kids, and not sincere at all.

Someone said (not going to look this up, but I’m sure lots of people have said it because there’s a pattern, it’s a matter of public record) that Democrats will  avidly support any bill  they know has no  chance of winning.

Which is a shame, because it could do for the  U.S. what it has done for Colorado, and if we could  get past all restrictions world wide on this miracle plant the world would be a much better, certainly a much  mellower place.
So, here’s the deal, Senator Booker.  If you actually get this bill passed, I will seriously consider your candidacy for the presidency.  If not, piss off, you’re still a scumbag.  Ball’s in your court.

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The Robots are Coming

The thing that got me today, and this is pettily peevish on my part, was when we were discussing a society where robots did all the work, and someone described it as an “Orwellian Nightmare.”  No.  An Orwellian nightmare is when the police can arrest you for not liking the government, throw you in jail, torture you until they break you and actually make you love the government.  It is a nightmare world  where the government can get right inside your head and make you into something different.  It is a world in which the government brazenly lies to everybody about everything, but everybody accepts it because they love the government, and believe it.  But it  wasn’t about robots.  Not even close.  The highest tech thing they had was that the viewing screen could be monitoring you, and it would  tell you you weren’t doing your morning push-ups with  sufficient enthusiasm, for instance.  But, it was
He might have said “an Asimovian nightmare” except that Asimov generally wrote positive things about robots, or maybe a “Čapekian nightmare,” but no.  Just like Shakespeare and Mark Twain get all the internet memes, Orwell  gets all the nightmares.

Anyway, I just totally fail to see how robots washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, mopping and vacuuming the floors, cooking all the food, and carrying your bags around while you shop is going to be a nightmare.
Yes,  many men will feel emasculated by robot cars, but if you are one of them, I didn’t want you on the road anyway, so I’m cool with that.  Robot cars will not drive aggressively.  They won’t get angry at other drivers.
I am not sorry that people who formerly worked in mines, or on factory assembly lines, will  be out of a job.  Their lives will be improved.
All our lives will be improved.  If you are worried about the robots taking over, or removing all the challenge from our lives, you can always go play Bear Gryllz out in the woods somewhere.  It’s a big world.

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