Tulsi is Running!

I woke up  to the news that Tulsi Gabbard has announced her candidacy (well, technically she just announce that she’s going to officially announce soon, but that’s good enough for me) for president, and I couldn’t be happier.
I think she’s got a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination, because you’ll have about 10 or so other people running, who are all pretty much identical in their corporatist ideology, and then you’ve got Tulsi Gabbard.  They’ll split the faux-liberal vote between them, and Tulsi will get 100% of the progressive vote.
This is assuming, of course, that Sanders does not run, and I can’t see it.  He and Tulsi are very similar on policy and I don’t believe Bernie is so blinded by power and the adulation of the crowd that he’s going to jump in and split the progressive vote.  In fact, I suspect that they have probably discussed this between themselves.
Anyway, the trolling and the media hit pieces have already begun.  She’s friends with Hindu Nationalist Modi!  That seems kind of a bizarre accusation to me.  Yes, she’s met with him.  She’s also met with Bashar Assad, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Donald Trump.  She’s also met with Indian politicians who are not Modi.  And calling Modi a “Hindu Nationalist” is off, too.   He is the legally elected president of India, a country which is predominantly Hindu.  It would be  strange if he weren’t.
So, on the Internet, the debate rages.  Meanwhile, on TV…I don’t usually get my news from TV, because I don’t like  getting news from anyplace I can’t answer back immediately, I’ve become spoiled that way, but I decided to listen to CNN for a bit today, to see how they covered it.  They spent about 5 minutes talking about how Julian Castro has announced his candidacy, he’s Latino, he’s got an identical twin brother, he’ll have a tough  time catching Elizabeth Warren, etc…and they covered Tulsi Gabbard in one sentence, which included the phrase “and also.”
It’s the same exact bullshit they pulled with Bernie Sanders.  I don’t think it’s going to work this time.

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Wheels and Walls

“They say ‘a wall is medieval.’ Well, so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall.  The wheel is older than the wall, you know that? There are some things that work. You know what? A wheel works and a wall works. Nothing like a wall.”

– United States President Donald J. Trump
It’s an open question, really.  We don’t actually  know when the wheel was invented.  The first ones were likely smoothed logs or naturally round stones.  They might have helped to move heavy objects over short distances, but until the invention of the axle, and the invention of roads – and the first roads were probably just naturally worn paths along popular routes – they likely weren’t very  practical.
The first walls were probably just stacks of branches or stones, and from what we know  of simian intelligence, people probably did that at some point for defense before we were even completely human.  Same with the domestication of animals.  We’ve seen baboons keeping dogs as pets, so we can assume it goes way back with us.
Like the invention  of agriculture and the domestication of fire, we have absolutely no idea how far back either walls or wheels go, since by the time written language came along, we already had both of them, and the rudimentary versions would leave no traces for future archaeologists to date.  Wood rots.  Stones that were used to build a wall would be completely indistinguishable from stones that are just stones, after a couple hundred thousand years.
The point is that building a wall  between  the U.S. and Mexico will not serve any good purpose, will cost a lot of money, will be bad for property owners along the border, terrible for our relations with Mexico, which is a major trade partner, and bad for the environment.

Whether what he said  is technically true or not doesn’t matter.  What matters is  that it was a rambling, completely irrelevant statement, an indicator that the President of the United States is a stupid person who  thinks in stupid terms.  Not that we really needed any more indicators.

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Bad Times at Joshua Tree

A few days ago I read an article, which was obviously satire and clearly labeled as such, about how Libertarians were finally able to enjoy America’s National Parks due to  the  government shutdown.  It was the kind of comedy which just writes itself.  Just put  in a lot of quotes that could be from Libertarians,  expressing  the Libertarian philosophy, and it’s funny.   All about how they could ride their dune buggies wherever they liked  and scare the shit out of all the animals and drop garbage everywhere because now they were finally free to.  It  was very funny.
Then, just now, I  read an article about how vandals are taking advantage of the shutdown to wreak  havoc on Joshua Tree National Park, carving out their own roads, dropping garbage all over the place and, in at least one case, chopping down a tree.  Now, I think the Joshua tree is technically a cactus, but that is not the point.  It is rare, it is protected (there is actually a National Park dedicated to it) and there is no reason  at all for  anybody to chop one  down, except that some people just like destroying shit.  So, I’m not laughing now.
This is the problem with Libertarianism (ditto Anarchy – the difference between the two groups is mostly stylistic, as Anarchists are far more likely to dress in black leather) and  the  current  unintended  experiment proves it.  Without any government oversight at all, things  quickly turn to shit.
It would be a wonderful world if people were good  enough to get  by with no government.  If nobody wanted to trash the local environment, if  everybody felt  responsible for the  products they sold, if people obeyed the  unwritten laws of proper  social behavior, we could have  our  utopian paradise, and we could have it  right now.
But, people are shit.  Until we solve that problem, it’s going to be real hard to solve any of the others.

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Jesus and the Coming of the Octopi

The threads, by themselves, seem insignificant, but wind them around each other, twist a bit, and the strength  is incredible.
On one thread, re immigration and Trump’s stupid wall, I made a comment (only half tongue in cheek)about how the U.S. would benefit from unlimited immigration because anybody coming in would be smarter than that stubborn 30% of Americans who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, Noah’s Ark is a literal story, and global warming is a hoax.  There was only one response, from a woman who said “Noah’s Ark is literal, global warming is a hoax and Jesus is Lord.”  I suspected she might be responding in sarcastic mode, and checked  her profile.  Jesus all  over the damned place.

Then, I was reading about octopus intelligence.  There were several examples of how they could get out of their tanks whenever they felt like it, and how they could communicate with human beings.  Pretty amazing stuff.
Anyway, one strange side effect of our current climate changes is that octopi  are actually having a population explosion.  It’s not hard to figure out why.  Octopi lay hundreds of thousands of eggs at a time, on the evolutionary principle of massive numbers ensure a few survivors.  Almost all of the  eggs wind up as fish food.  But, as so many other fish in  the ocean  are dying, huge numbers of octopi are being born and reaching adulthood.  Of course,  they may in turn succumb to starvation, but along the way they may become the dominant life form of the ocean,  even of the entire planet, much in the way that after dinosaurs were wiped out by  an asteroid, tiny mouse sized mammals began to evolve and eventually became us.
So, even if global warming wipes out the human race, it may just make way for some future intelligent octopodal species.
As a human being, I think we should avoid going down that road.

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Trump to Lie

Time zones.  I guess it’s my own fault, I shouldn’t be so obsessed about American politics.  It’s not as if I live there.  One the other hand, I count on my  social security check, so I don’t want to screw that up, and we only have 12 years left to save the planet and the U.S. is one of the countries that could do the most to make that happen, or the reverse.  It actually looks like the president of Brazil  is determined to destroy the world all by  himself, but China, and some other countries, are doing some pretty  cool stuff.  But, I’m getting off topic.
All day on Facebook,  people  have been  talking about Trump’s speech tonight, but it’s midnight now and I’m going to  bed and it  still isn’t going to happen for  a couple of hours, so I will read all about it in the morning, and I guess that’s good enough.  Maybe better.  There will have been time for everybody  to  sift through it and make the obvious jokes, there will  have been an ‘official’ Democratic rebuttal, which will probably be lame (they should let Rashida Tlaib give the rebuttal – sparks would fly) and Bernie Sanders will have had time to give his rebuttal, which will be heartfelt and logical.
I don’t think there will be any surprises.  I don’t think he will declare martial law, or try to appoint himself dictator for life.  I also don’t think  he will use the speech to announce his resignation. That would be awesome, but it would be totally out of character.  No, he’ll talk about how much we need the wall, and blame the shutdown on the Democrats, and  lie a lot and say some things that are incoherent.
It has all  become very predictable.

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The Role of Games in Development

Games have preceded overall computer development, rather in the way that games precede human development. We learn as children how to compete, how to play fair, how to work with a team – a lot of basic skills we need as adults. You see it with lion and bear cubs, their banter prepares them for the life and death struggle of the permanent hunt.
Our computer games are preparing us for  that world which is to come,  that point where we evolve and become something more than human, the day when we reach our childhood’s end.  What that will be, we don’t  know, but the games are preparing us  for it.

Perhaps, some day  in the not so distant future, in some Sims like, civilization building game, someone will design a society in which the infrastructure of man works in perfect co-ordination and harmony with nature to give everybody  fresh water everywhere and the food will grow to provide  all humans with  sustenance and pleasure, as much as we need in  the times and places we need it, and everybody will have a nice home, or two, and the schools will be temples of brilliance and the march of science will continue to move forward at a nice, steady pace, and there will  be no need for war because there is no  want, and no borders, and we can move out to  explore the  stars with  a clear conscience, as the Earth will  be a paradise.
Meantime, I have  another book of poetry out: Quest for Enlightenment and Stuff, which was supposed to be The Quest for Enlightenment and Stuff and I can’t believe I proofread the whole thing and screwed up on the title, but if you buy it now (very reasonably priced on Amazon and Kindle) and I  change it later,  you will have a collector’s item.  On the other hand I might  just leave it alone and consider it  a fortuitous accident.

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WTF Does Israel Have on the U.S.?

Disclosure:  I haven’t always been anti-Israel.  I’m half Jewish (the half that  counts) and in my youth I was quite the little Zionist.  I spent quite a bit of time in Israel, learned a bit of the language, and from some time in 1977 until February of 1979, I served in the IDF, that organization which is now committing crimes against humanity every day.

So, I am horrified at what  is happening now.  Soldiers harassing and abusing small children, soldiers shooting at journalists and medics, soldiers shooting unarmed civilians, settlers stealing Palestinian’s homes, bulldozing them to the ground while soldiers watch, settlers uprooting olive trees which have been  on the  land for  centuries (once upon  a time, planting trees and greening the landscape was a big part of the Zionist ethic), settlers sitting on  a hillside with snacks  and soft drinks, cheering as they watch bombs falling on Gaza, cheering for death.
There is absolutely no doubt  these are bad things, and there is little doubt among objective observers that the onus for this lies entirely on Israel.
And yet, Chuck Schumer (D-supposedly) and Marco Rubio (R) are co-sponsoring legislation which will punish people for speaking out against Israel, or for supporting the BDS movement by, for instance, refusing to buy Israeli products.  I don’t know if it mentioned jail time or fines, but government employees -teachers, cops, firemen, etc… could lose their jobs.  Some states already have laws like this and a teacher in Texas was recently fired for refusing to sign a loyalty pledge to Israel.

This is blatantly unconstitutional.  It is downright un-American.  Freedom of speech means you can complain, or protest against, or refuse to buy products from anybody you damned well please.  People criticized the hell out of Miley Cyrus because she made a couple of slutty videos.  Right wing loons have been boycotting Jane Fonda for decades.  People will  boycott food  products at the drop of a hat over the use of one  wrong ingredient.

Can you imagine the U.S. government saying you weren’t allowed to protest  against Canada, or Japan?
No, it’s just Israel, and it’s so blatantly unconstitutional and unAmerican that you have to wonder what is motivating Schumer and Rubio. (and I’m sure they’re not the only ones – this bill actually has a chance of passing)  Could it be that Israel knows something they do  not want revealed – maybe about 9/11, maybe about the June, 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty?  Could it be that  Israel has been  financing lots of political campaigns in the U.S., filling our congress with moles?  Could the crazy ‘Zionists control  the world economy’ people actually be right?  Could they be trying to bring about Armageddon, believing  themselves to be among the righteous?
It almost has to be something huge like that, and I wish I knew  what it was.

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