Wednesday, September 28, 2022

If you solve a problem, you can no longer exploit it

My Sunday movie was Mario. Mario plays for the soccer team in Thun, Switzerland. It’s the kind of team that if a guy does well he’ll move on to a better team with a bigger fan base and more money. Mario is hoping for such a contract. He lives with his parents in a nearby town and commutes to the stadium. Leon is also a rising star and new to the team. To save commute time Mario is asked to be Leon’s roommate. They fall in love. But soccer teams, and lots of other sports teams, are quite homophobic. The team management wants to make sure there is no scandal and asks them to appear in public with women. Some of the other players begin to talk of blackmail. Will it be soccer or love? Spoiler alert: Though I won’t reveal the answer to that question, Mario does get a contract with a team in Hamburg, Germany. I wonder how he managed to get such a prize apartment overlooking Hamburg harbor. I finished the book The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel. The book is 390 panels of this comic that ran in alternative newspapers, including Between the Lines in Michigan. What’s in this book are panels that ran from 1987, when it seemed nobody was writing about the lives of lesbians, to 2008. It isn’t just about their love lives (though there is that), it’s about their home lives, jobs, interacting with neighbors and the community, dealing with parents, enduring medical issues, and raising kids – yeah, pretty much like families of straight couples. Which was Bechdel’s point. The main characters are Mo (the one most likely to rant), partners Tony and Clarice and their son Rafael, the friends Lois, Ginger, Sparrow, and Stuart (yeah, a guy) who share a house, Jasmine and her transgender daughter Janis, plus various lovers and other characters. Along the way is a lot of ranting against the politics of the day – this stretches from the end of the Reagan era through Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Many times the actions of the characters parallel the actions of the government as a way of showing what the government is doing wrong. An example is Stuart replacing the carpet on the stairs because it smells funky while Ginger insists the smell is coming from the wall, then Stuart doing a bad job laying new carpet. Bechdel makes clear this describes the invasion of Iraq, though the 9/11 terrorists came from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. One cool thing is these characters are not static, locked into being the same page to page. In particular Rafael grows from an infant in 1994 to a smart-mouth teen in 2008. These comic panels tell a cohesive story of friends over a 20 year period. Alas, the book’s ending doesn’t really seem like an ending. I read online that Bechdel put the story on hiatus while finishing a book that became Are You My Mother, and has drawn only a few panels since then – the characters reacting to the rise of the nasty guy. I enjoyed the book, though considered stopping reading when yet another character considered infidelity. I’m glad I stuck it out to the end. I downloaded Michigan’s COVID data, updated yesterday. I don’t know yet if I’m looking at a data reporting anomaly (no holidays this past weekend) or actual good news. The weekly peaks in new cases per day are 2786, 2419, 2396, and 1708. The deaths per day remain in the 10-20 range. Michigan will have three proposals to amend the state constitution on the November ballot. This past Sunday the Detroit Free Press recommended we vote yes on all three. Proposal 1 is there through a legislature vote. Instead of restricting a lawmaker to six years in the Michigan House and eight in the Senate, this will allow them to serve a maximum of twelve years in either chamber. To entice voters to go for it there is also a provision for better lawmaker financial reporting. Actually both parts are good. Over 25 years ago citizens voted for term limits so a legislator couldn’t stay there for a lifetime and develop long-term relations with lobbyists. But with legislators there such a short time it is the lobbyists that know what’s going on and run the place. Proposal 2 is enhanced voting access, to counteract the “Secure MI vote,” which was more voter restrictions in disguise. SMV got enough signatures for the legislature to consider it (and bypass the governor’s veto). They haven’t yet because Promote the Vote got a lot more signatures and is on the ballot. Proposal 3 is about abortion rights, which would overturn a 1931 law that bans abortion, and which is prevented from being enacted waiting for how this proposal goes. This one set records for the number of signatures gathered. Definitely yes to all three. Earlier this month Len Niehoff, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, wrote an opinion piece for the Free Press saying why banning books – which Republicans and “concerned parents” are pushing for at an alarming rate – is a bad idea. First, it doesn’t work. See that thing called the internet. Second, demands a book be banned are often based on misinformation or ignorance. The person requesting removal usually hasn’t read the book and doesn’t know what it is really about. Third, because of the second reason banning a book is hypocritical. It is an exercise of raw power. Fourth, a ban violates the First Amendment which says the government should not be in the business of deciding which ideas we should be and not be exposed to.
Finally, if book banning did succeed at keeping young people from reading what they wanted our society would suffer terribly from the consequences. Reading takes them into other minds, other experiences, other perspectives, other ways of looking at the world. It destabilizes their natural human tendency to believe that everyone sees things like they do. ... No, the greatest evil of book banning is that it has the potential to stunt the empathic development of young people. That’s a serious problem because, given the collective challenges our society currently faces, we need now more than ever the helpers, the people who rush in, the brave souls who will put themselves in between the freedom of the human conscience and the evils that would dispense with it. Banning books fosters the bystander mindset. And that’s how the world ends. Not with a bang. Not with a whimper. But with a passive audience looking on. Silent, indifferent, and inert.
I missed reporting on Banned Books Week, which was last week. This is a time for the American Library Association to highlight, and through that to try to counteract, the efforts of people banning library books. The ALA reports the top ten most challenged books. They also remind us a high percentage of challenges are not reported and receive no media attention. And though the list has ten books, a lot more titles are challenged. In the ten most challenged of 2021 five of them are LGBTQ related, with Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe at the top of the list. Another three are, I think, banned because of race (such as The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison) though the reasons given for all of the remaining five are because they depict violence or abuse or are sexually explicit. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is also challenged “because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.” Leonard Pitts, in an editorial in the Free Press had a critique of the Republican governor’s stunts busing and flying immigrants to Democratic cities. If Republicans wanted to fix immigration, they had plenty of chances, most notably when Bush II proposed a bill in 2006. But they don’t want to fix immigration, they want to campaign off it.
Again, this is not about immigration. It's about cruelty as political stratagem. After all, if you solve a problem, you can no longer exploit it. But leave it unsolved and you can use it to rub raw the emotions of your target audience -- e.g., white people terrified at the browning of America -- and stampede them to the polls.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

That should make your blood run cold

In my previous post I told the story of my little red car showing its age (17 years) and refusing to start. The saga continues. I went car shopping on Thursday. A friend took me to a dealer that had an old Honda Insight at a nice low price. I took it for a test drive and immediately saw a deal breaker. Part of the rear window slopes with the roof. Part is vertical. That means there is a bar across the middle of my rearward view. Why anyone – both car designers and government regulators – thought this was acceptable is a mystery. I am leaving behind a car in which I thought the back window was too small. I wasn’t going to buy one with another rearview obstruction. So I said no thanks. I realized the other dealership of interest was less than two miles away. I hadn’t done my daily walking yet so I asked the salesman if it was possible to walk from here to there – if there was a sidewalk the whole way, especially when one major road went under another. He said that wasn’t a problem (I saw later it was), but safety could be – I was in Detroit. So he offered to drive me to the other dealership – in the car I had just declined. I asked him about the bar through the rear view. Yeah, he had to tilt his head up and down to see around it, but he thought he could get used to it. I felt I shouldn't need to get used to it. The second dealer had a Prius I had seen online. I took it for a test drive and decided this would work well. So I bought it. I’ll describe the color as boring black. The paperwork took about two hours. I’ll have to take it back to get the tire sensor replaced. And sometime soon they’ll send the instruction manual. And this car needs one. The big task on Friday was to send the little red car on its way. For that I needed the title. For several years the title sat on one of my cabinets. Then I realized I should put it somewhere safe. Now several years later it wasn’t in the places I thought were safe. After a few hours searching I found it and thought why is it here? There’s nothing safe about this spot. Looking over the title I saw that it had a lien showing. When I bought it I was given a discount if I financed it rather than paying cash – even if I financed for just one month, which I did. The title did not show the lien had been cleared. In what was not my finest hour, I got on the phone and called the loan company. I ended up talking to three different people because when I got disconnected or had to hang up to call somewhere else, I was given a different agent when I called back. The big question was how to get a release letter to me and do so quickly. One guy said we can fax it to you, or to someplace like FedEx or UPS. The next guy said we can only fax it to a DMV office. So I called the Michigan Secretary of State central office to get the fax of a local SoS office. I was told it may not go through on the first try, so I should call the central office and they’ll check with the local office to see if it came through. I wasn’t allowed to call the local office because if they gave out their number they’d spend all day on the phone rather than dealing with customers in their office. After I called the loan company the third time I realized the original release letter would be in the same place I found the title – and it was. The things I do to myself sometimes. A release letter will still come through the mail in two weeks. I didn’t call back a fourth time to cancel that request because the answer bot demands an account number or SSN and because it was a brief loan from 17 years ago it had neither. I called the guy handling the pickup for the car donation company and set a time. I drove the new car to the old one. I transferred the plate and cleaned out the old one. Then I waited a while. The tow truck came and loaded the old car. I said my goodbyes (it had been a part of my life for 17 years), then reached in and pulled out the garage door opener. The car is being taken to a place where it can be sold (likely a scrap yard will buy it) and proceeds given to a charity. The public days of the Detroit Auto Show has been going on for a week and ends tomorrow. I had planned to go on Thursday to see when I might be able to buy an all electric car. I’m sure what I want is still a couple years away. Now that I have a Prius I’m confident will last me a few years the need to find out the electric car schedule is no longer urgent. The Auto Show should be back as an annual event. The nasty guy and his legal difficulties have been in the news a lot this past week. On Wednesday Joan McCarter of Daily Kos reported Letitia James, Attorney General for New York, filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against the nasty guy and his adult children, alleging numerous acts of fraud in the way he valued his real estate holdings. When he needed a loan the claimed value went up (which could act as more collateral for a larger loan) sometimes up to ten times the actual value of the property. When he needed to pay taxes the claimed value went down. This wasn’t a little oopsie. This was intentional and ongoing. Alas, there is no jail time for a civil lawsuit, though James has asked for criminal charges to be brought. I’ve written before that The nasty guy asked for a special master to review the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, his for profit estate, to see if some of them were really his and should be returned. The nasty guy got as special master one of the people he requested. Also on Wednesday Mark Sumner of Kos reported the nasty guy’s legal team went before the special master Judge Raymond Dearie. It didn’t go well. The legal team tried to cast doubt on whether documents were classified while refusing to show evidence they had been declassified, a “Schrödinger’s cat” position. They wanted to keep the status undetermined. They said future prosecution was “proof” the nasty guy would be endangered by telling the truth. Dearie was quick: show the evidence or shut up. They shut up. In a second post Sumner explained a bit more:
Specifically, Trump’s legal team is refusing to talk about whether, or how, Trump actually tried to declassify any of the documents by claiming it would harm their “defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment.” In other words, they’re saying that if they reveal that Trump didn’t declassify any documents, that could subject him to legal action for stealing and holding highly classified information. Which he did. And if Trump claims he did declassify documents, then he’ll have to prove that in court, and also be subject to possible charges over failure to follow the law regarding declassification. Plus, there’s the whole perjury issue—and the issue of Trump obstructing an investigation—that comes with lying about the whole thing.
The nasty guy has an out – Judge Aileen Cannon, who babied the case all the way and who agreed to the nasty guy’s claims and added a few outrageous conditions of her own, has reserved the right to dismiss the special master if he displeases her. An appeal of Judge Cannon’s ruling is before the 11th Circuit Court. And, as Sumner reported, in a filing for that court the nasty guy made some incredible claims. He, as president, has interest in his own records, no matter the classification. And if he wrote on the documents they are privileged information. Also, the DOJ hasn’t proven the documents are classified. They’re ridiculous claims. See the Presidential Records Act. Also, he’s no longer president. And that last claim should be that the nasty guy hasn’t proven they’re not classified. On Thursday Sumner reported a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit ruled the DOJ and the FBI provided all the legal points and evidence to support their position. And the nasty guy’s team offered only speculation and unsupported claims. The court also had a few things to say to Judge Cannon – such as the reasons she gave for the need of a special master are not in the law. As for the nasty guy the court said he hasn’t shown a need for the classified documents or shown a need to know the contents. Even if he did that doesn’t explain why he should have them. An appeal of an 11th Circuit Court decision goes to the Supremes. What happens there will be a mystery for now. In a late afternoon Thursday post Sumner reported on the latest from Judge Dearie. The nasty guy claimed the classified documents were an FBI plant. Dearie said here’s the list of things the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago. Tell me which are FBI plants. Tell me if the FBI left documents off the list. You can lie all you want to Fox News. But you can’t in my court. Since so many of the nasty guy’s cronies have been subpoenaed Mr. Newberger, who calls himself a political satirist, tweeted a photo of the nasty guy and several cronies at a golf course with the caption: “Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Subpoena.” Turning to Russia, Mark Hertling, a retired soldier, tweeted:
Putin's announced mobilization of 300,000 "reservists" was jaw-dropping to me this morning, but not for the reason some might suspect. Why? Because I know how Russian soldiers are trained, in basic training & in their units.
He then reviewed the extensive training American soldiers get. Then discussed how little training Russian troops, especially conscripts and draftees, get before being tossed into the war. And they don’t get much training once they’re at the front.
The issue is the Russian army is poorly led & poorly trained. That starts in basic training, and doesn't get better during the RU soldier's time in uniform. Mobilizing 300k "reservists" (after failing with depleted conventional forces, rag-tag militias recruiting prisoners & using paramilitaries like the Wagner group) will be extremely difficult. And placing "newbies" on a front line that has been mauled, has low morale & who don't want to be portends more RU disaster. Jaw-dropping. A new sign of RU weakness.
Sumner reviewed Biden’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly, which was about calling out Russia for violations of human rights and of international law. Some of Sumner’s excerpts of Biden’s speech:
This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold. ... To be very blunt, let us speak plainly: A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter—none more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force. ... If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequence, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for. Everything. Every victory won in the battlefield belongs to the courageous Ukrainian soldiers, but this past year, the world was tested as well. We did not hesitate. We chose liberty. We chose sovereignty. We stood with Ukraine. ... A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.
Sumner then discussed how that mobilization of 300K men is going. Charles Jay of the Kos community reported that Alla Pugacheva, a Russian pop music icon, has spoken against the war. She started her career in the 1960s and her Instagram account has 3.5 million followers. Her post with the announcement got 800K likes and 110K comments. For her to declare her opposition is a really big deal. Sumner reviewed the history of the war – what Russia intended and how it went so badly for them. Then Sumner discussed this call for mobilization.
Putin had resisted calling for mobilization, because he knew exactly what that meant. It meant that while Russians were perfectly willing to make happy noises about how Putin used his army of contract soldiers that the average Russian sees as a pathetic pile of misfits constantly bullied by Russia’s criminal-based upper class, they would not make happy sounds if they had to actually put an inch of skin in the game. Back in May, a poll showed that poor Russians—those most likely to have relatives in the military—were, unsurprisingly, the ones most likely to be against the invasion of Ukraine. A majority of Russians who had trouble putting food on the table were either hesitant about continuing the war or straight-up wanted to withdraw from Ukraine. At the other end of the scale, wealthy Russians were hugely in favor of watching poor people get slaughtered for sport.
Then Sumner said there is nothing partial about this mobilization. It looks like a million – not 300,00 – are facing conscription. Whole university classes are being hauled away, even though students were supposedly exempt. And, of course, a greater percent of the conscripts come from ethnic minorities, a form of ethnic cleansing.
Vladimir Putin crashed the Russian army on the rocks of Ukraine. What’s left if it is a wreck tottering on the edge of total destruction. The situation is so bad that Putin has turned to what is legitimately a last-ditch effort to patch the holes and try to keep things afloat long enough to … to … And that’s the real kicker. Putin will hold his mock elections. He will proclaim parts of Ukraine to be parts of Russia. But he will never get to keep them. Still, maybe he will get a little ethnic cleansing done and call that victory. Maybe it’s time for another poll on just how much Russians love this war.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Everyone is as rotten as them, but too hypocritical to admit it

My Sunday movie was the documentary The Revolution Generation. It was released this year. It works through the theory that American history runs in 80 year cycles, that there is a big cataclysm about 80 years and that event brings out the heroes. So, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WWII are each about 80 years apart. And it has been about 80 years since WWII. And Millennials are the ones coming into power. Millennials portrayed as lazy narcissists. Older generations are doing to Millennials what was done to them – told they’re not enough. A lot of negative stereotypes are thrown out there, likely because older people are afraid of the young power. But they’re organizing. They’re the voice of change. They have the new ideas. They’re living the issues. They’re demanding a seat at the table. They want action and willing to lead to get it. They’re a large generation and the most diverse. They believe who you choose to be is more important than skin color or gender or orientation. Millennials were shaped by 9/11. The message was You Are Not Safe. Part of the need for connection was satisfied through the internet, but that also brought a lot of depression as kids compared themselves to the idealized versions put forth by others. They were overmedicated. This generation has big college debt. 63% are unable to pay it. But a college education is almost required for a middle class life. 60% of them are in the gig economy and struggle to pay bills. They are becoming aware how screwed up the system is. The first election they could vote in was 2008 and that showed how powerful they could be. But then they experienced the Great Recession (which is was 80 years after the Great Depression). And they saw there was zero accountability to those who had done the damage. Pundits will say Occupy Wall Street failed. But Millennials saw it was undermined by mainstream media. Some say it was successful in explaining concept of the 99% against the 1%. In 2016 they saw Bernie Sanders was saying the things they wanted to hear. Everything they care about became political. At the Democratic convention Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton and that felt like a betrayal. They wanted Bernie to run as an independent. But we have a two party system and Bernie knew he would have split the progressive vote. But Millennials were convinced not to care and enough sat out the election to make a difference. The problem of 3rd party candidates will be solved by ranked choice voting, where they have a chance. RCV is beginning to be used. In 2012 highly gerrymandered districts were used and in 2013 an important chunk of the Voting Rights Amendment was overturned. And protests continued. A primary example is Standing Rock. Young people were at the center of this one. Though that battle was lost it highlighted two things: It showed that corporate interests are not aligned with the public good. And it showed police were protecting the corporations. With climate change front and center the fight is between right and easy. We’re down to whether we’re willing to save our species. We have the solutions. Do we have the political will? The big event every 80 years has, so far, been a war. Institutions get torn down and rebuilt. But now a war can destroy all. Will leaders step forward to navigate through the crisis to prevent a war yet still make a sufficiently significant change to the system? A new organization, Unrig the System, has appeared. This one is a movement across politics. Its goal is to make politics more fair. I searched for that phrase online and got several hits, a Facebook page, a couple places hosting podcasts, and a conference. The supposedly Quiet Generation (the one before Boomers) actually wasn’t so quiet – they marched for the Civil Rights bills for the 1960s. One reason why they achieved that was they were after one thing – civil rights for those who aren’t white. The movement today can have a similar single focus to unrig the system. Because it is all politics. Everything is a policy decision, everything from the air we breathe to our water, to our wastes. A lot of Millennials had said they couldn’t run for elected office because they don’t have the money and who would give a kid enough money to run? But many found good hard work made up for a lack of money. And at least 30 Millennials joined Congress in 2018. One of those was Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. She ran to use politics to change policies and came up with the Green New Deal. Of course there was a Big Oil backlash. And AOC used that to highlight how the system is rigged. There is AOC and fellow members of The Squad in Congress. There is Greta Thunberg – though she is Gen Z, she is inspiring a lot of Millennials (and others) to take action. The leaders are there. The need creates the leaders and pulls out their good qualities. And this bunch is determined to have love as the focus. One of the voices of the movie said: Millennials are coming into power. We don’t need approval or permission to change our world. We only need each other. The hero of our generation is our generation. I’m sure a good part of why this movie was made was to tell older generations to get out of the way and another part was to tell the younger people to get into the fight. My little red car has been giving me concern for a while now. The cruise control stopped engaging before the pandemic, but wasn’t a big concern until my recent trip to Nashville. The air conditioner quit on the way home from that trip. And the starter has been taking more than one attempt to make the engine turn over – something that happened just after a new alternator was put in. By the time the cruise control quit the car was already 14 years old and over 190K miles. When the AC quit it had already topped 200K miles. I asked about the cost of repairs and checked an online site for the value of the car and repairs were higher. I could endure some warm August weather. And cranking the starter a few extra times wasn’t a big deal. So I made plans for seeing the Detroit Auto Show (on now) to see how soon I could get an electric car (not SUV) with sufficient range. I was becoming less sure my current car would last that long. Over the last week the number of attempts to start went from three to sixteen, then twenty. And last night I gave up after fifty. Fortunately, this was after my evening event. And there were friends waiting to see if I needed help. One friend gave me a ride home. Unfortunately, that means my car is sitting in a parking lot and not at home. It’s been a good car, lasting almost 17 years, and reasonably staying out of the repair shop during that time. Today I spent the day looking for a replacement. Online sites make that relatively easy. In addition to searching for available cars I can also check reliability data. The existing electric cars don’t have sufficient range, as I said. Also, getting a charger installed in my garage is going to take a while and I need a car now. So I’m considering a used hybrid, something that will get great gas mileage until an electric is available for me to buy. Since I worked at a car company for my career and bought the current car just before I retired, I had always bought new with the employee discount. This will be my first used car. I downloaded Michigan’s COVID data, updated yesterday. The trend in new cases per day is down, but only a bit. The peaks in the last several weeks are at 2699, 2654, 2660, 2282, and 2204. The number of deaths per day is still in the 12-20 range, as it has been since mid March. Biden said the pandemic is over. But 2200 new cases per day in Michigan does not look like this is over. Greg Dworkin, in a pundit roundup for Daily Kos, had a few quotes about the stunt DeathSantis pulled flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. The first was a tweet by Brendan Nyhan, a poli sci professor at Dartmouth. It was interesting enough that I went to the full thread. Nyhan quoted Matt Glassman:
DeSantis and Abbott shipping migrants to other states might be good politics for them, but it also feels like the triumph of s---posting as a substitute for serious policy. It's not a viable immigration strategy. But in a world of s---posting, it might seem downright innovative.
Nyhan added:
The need to be seen publicly owning libs is so profound for ambitious pols in the GOP that we're seeing an escalatory dynamic in which the ante keeps being raised - dumping migrants in blue states, performatively arresting people who were told they could vote, etc. I worry that debt ceiling hostage-taking could go even further in the next Congress under these circumstances.
Nyhan quoted Greg Greene:
Here’s the deal: with no overhyped caravans at the border and with Republicans having lost the August news cycle, GOP officials and media want to knock Dems off-message by staging a caravan from within. It’s bait. Dem officials should exercise restraint.
Nyhan added the stunt is...
Intentionally creating a situation where there would be no support or resources for highly vulnerable people.
Back to the roundup, Dworkin quoted a tweet by Bob Smietana: “Southern governors sending migrants north face a crisis of faith.” That included a link to Religion News with the tag, “It’s getting harder for a politician to adhere to Christian morals and get elected president.” In the comments Denise Oliver Velez included a few political cartoons. Matt Wuerker has one titled Air Desantis which shows posters showing free flights to fabulous Martha’s Vineyard and migrants scrambling to the ladders over the US border wall. And DeathSantis said he wants to discourage migrants. Matt Davies of Newsday has a cartoon of migrants coming off the plane and being asked “From which cruel & despotic regimes are you fleeing?” A migrant replies, “Texas and Florida.” Dworkin included a tweet by Jenny Hunter about the recently averted rail strike:
I wrote with ⁦@TerriGerstein⁩ for ⁦@Slate⁩ about how railroad companies just dangled the economy over a balcony because they didn’t want to adopt humane leave and attendance policies.
In another pundit roundup Chitown Kev of Kos quoted Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times:
The conceit of this dehumanizing bit of political theater was that the liberal denizens of Martha’s Vineyard would reject the migrants out of hypocrisy, thus proving that Democrats aren’t actually interested in welcoming immigrants into their communities. To DeSantis and his amen corner, asylum seekers are disposable, and they believe that liberals will want to dispose of them too. What happened, instead, was that residents of Martha’s Vineyard rallied to provide food, shelter, clothing and services. The asylum seekers are now on their way to Cape Cod, to receive further assistance. The stunt failed to make its intended point.
It’s a case of a supremacist seeing the world only in terms of maintaining the social hierarchy and being surprised that others don’t see the world that way. Dartagnan of the Kos community started a post by asking wouldn't it be nice to know when your child was about to throw a temper tantrum?
Just imagine if you knew the tantrum was coming ahead of time, though. You could sit back and relax, even count down, 3-2-1, and when the whining started, you’d be totally prepared for it. Imagine you’re in the middle of doing something very important: you could look up at the clock and say to yourself, Okay, have to take a break now, tantrum coming up in a minute. Multiple Republican candidates for office have given us all a preview of their plans should they lose their elections on Nov. 8: They all intend to bawl “fraud,” as loudly and vehemently as their little lungs can manage. Their reasons are as murky as their (nonexistent) policy positions but they all—like the babies they’re emulating so well—seem to boil down to the fact that someone isn’t paying enough attention to them right now.
Dartagnan then discussed a report by Reid Epstein in the NYT listing a dozen Republican candidates for governor and senator who have already said they will cry fraud if the election doesn’t go their way. Which means they aren’t fit to be candidates and don’t deserve your vote. Though thanks for letting us know about your planned tantrum. In a Ukraine update posted last Saturday Mark Sumner of Kos wrote that as a “war correspondent” he’s got a really cushy job. He can work from his desk in America and report based on what he reads online. He’s thankful for his job for a couple reasons right now. First, last Friday was the Day of Remembrance of Ukrainian Journalists. Since the start of Russia’s invasion 39 have been killed. Second, now that Russia has pulled out of Izyum we saw, as we did when they pulled out of Bucha and many other cities and villages, Russia left behind war crimes, a fresh set of atrocities. In Izyum’s case it is 445 people buried in the forest. There is evidence of torture. Putin may think of them as statistics or pieces on a chessboard, but they were real people who did such things as celebrate Christmas last year. Weoropar tweeted a discussion of Russia’s definition of “hypocrisy” and “normal.”
The way they see it, a westerner, who is appalled by looting - would himself loot, if given the chance. Moreover, the Russians see themselves better than the westerners, since they at least openly admit they're rotten. That is one of the reasons behind Russian pride in atrocities. Being better than the West is another major part of Russian Worldview TM, but I'm not going into that topic right now. The key thought of this rant - the Russians want to prove to the rest of the world that everyone is as rotten as them, but too hypocritical to admit it.
Another case of supremacists not seeing that some people are not worried about their place in the hierarchy. On Tuesday evening Sumner reported on the news that Putin was about to give a big speech. But his appearance kept getting delayed. And eventually moved to Wednesday morning. But some people seem to know what is coming and it doesn’t sound good. Oligarchs seem aware of what it is because the Russian stock market dropped 9%. And men ages 18-64 are scrambling for airline tickets to anywhere out of the country and Googling how to escape Russia. In a Wednesday morning update Sumner reported Putin did give his big speech. Russian TV reserved three hours. Putin talked for ten minutes. Putin did the usual bit of blaming the west and repeating his goal of ridding the world of the “Nazi” regime in Kyiv. He lied about how well the invasion is going for Russia. He declared there will be elections in Russian held territory in Ukraine so they can be annexed. That way liberating them can be seen as an attack on Russia. Of course, most of the citizens in these areas will vote for “don’t kill me.” And the big news: He will be mobilizing 300,000 military reservists (the actual definition of “reservist” is whatever Putin and his goons decide it means). Sumner wrote, quoting numbers Putin spouted:
So … Russia has lost fewer than 6,000. Has killed 100,000. Killed 7,000 Ukrainians in the last three weeks. And is now calling up 300,000 to fight the half of the Ukrainian military that remains? It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s Russia.
Sumner noted these 300,000 troops won’t make Russia’s inability to do logistics any better. They won’t compensate for the weapons Russia no longer has the resources to make. And many of these new “contract” soldiers vow to refuse to fight or shoot their commanders. In the meantime flights leaving Russia have sold out and the airlines were ordered to not sell tickets to men age 18-65. And the traffic jam at the Finland border is now 35Km long – Finland may soon have a larger Russian army than Russia. And at the United Nations Biden said, “This war is about extinguishing Ukraine's right to exist as a state — plain and simple — and Ukraine's right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold.”