Serfs Up…

As I write, it’s raining, here, in Northern California. It brought to mind those movies in which drought is a factor. The characters are all worried about water and what they’re going to do. The movie happens and it nears it’s end. Then, as the movie closes, rain starts falling. Everybody breathes a sigh of relief and laughs and goes outside and dances in the rain. All of their problems are solved!

Wait…from ONE rain? I currently live in an area stricken by drought and has been for many years, now. Our reservoirs are dangerously low. Our aquafer is dangerously low. Those movies are often set in places or times where they don’t have meteorological equipment to help them but we watch day after day as high pressure areas – often described as “unusual” – push the rain-producing lows north, depriving us of water. One rain ain’t gonna solve our problem…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for the rain. We need it. But, at most, it’s going to settle some dust, maybe add – a bit – to rain catchers. But it’s also going to cause grasses and low shrubs and bushes to grow, adding to our fire risk.

I don’t think the current jet stream patterns, where rain is constantly pushed north of us, should be described as “unusual.” I think they’re the “new norm.” If I remember correctly, the old norm was annual rainfall to the tune of something like 30+ inches where I live. This year? We got an absolute deluge to start the season. We started at something like 500% above normal rainfall! Then the rain stopped and, mostly, STAYED stopped. So far, this year, with the rain year closing and resetting in 25 days, we’ve had 26 inches – and that’s the best rain year we’ve had in a long time!

Today, scientists know that the Sahara Desert was once a lush, green place full of water and life. Apparently, it once was home to the largest fresh water lake in the world and sported big, long rivers. But the climate pattern in the area changed. The area stopped getting water like it had. I don’t have to imagine the patterns it went through – I’m living it now. It got drier and drier. The animals fought for shrinking water supplies. It rained from time to time but less and less each year. Many years, it didn’t rain at all. The drier things got, the hotter they got. Fire did the rest. The animals that hadn’t left searching for water fled the flames – if they could. Fire is VERY effective at clearing areas. If there’s no follow-up rainfall, nothing grows back. The last large watering holes dried up until only the occasional oases existed – and you’d BETTER know where they are before you start your journey.

To me, the climate change deniers won the rhetorical war. Now, we ALL lose the real life climate war together. But, of course, greed is all in once-great America. A planet no longer able to sustain human life is just collateral damage to maximizing shareholder value. I guess the important part is that the cons got to “own” the libs on this one – for awhile, anyway – and the fossil fuel industries made a freaking KILLING! (Perhaps…not the best choice of words…)

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It’s an odd phenomenon in this once-great, submerging nation that we’ve taken to addressing symptoms because we can’t (won’t, really) address the actual, underlying problems. Palliative care instead of corrective care. Nice. But we don’t have a choice. Nothing is more important than the profits of a few large, multinational corporations and the small number of people who run them. The wage thieves who have taken so much from the people who do the work have amassed HUGE fortunes and they use them to protect and enhance their huge fortunes. They sure as hell don’t intend to pay their fair share of taxes. That is, they’re NOT going to pay taxes at a rate commensurate with the amount they extract from society, so the money flows one way.

We see the cracks everywhere. Everywhere. The US still likes to describe itself as a “first world” nation. I don’t think that’s true anymore. I mean, sure, you can look around and see the trappings of when we were a first world nation. We still LOOK pretty good – if one doesn’t look too closely. Granted, we’ve got a military the likes of which the world has never seen. Even THAT is a common thread to failing societies. They NEED ever larger armies to control that which they once controlled just by being awesome. (Yeah, a bit simplistic.) Once again, it brings thoughts of ancient Rome to mind.

Rome was once, obviously, THE first world nation on the planet. Now it’s just a city. A beautiful city, to be sure, but hardly the world dictating power it once was. One can still look around and see the trappings of a once-great nation, many still in use today – nearly 2,000 years hence. We’re taught in school that the Roman Empire became so large it became unsustainable. I suspect the truth is, the people at the top of the economic structure became so out-of-control greedy, after awhile it didn’t matter HOW big the empire was – it just couldn’t keep up with the money grabs. And that’s a fair description of the United States today.

We can’t address homelessness because of greed. Yes, some of the homeless are there because they’re drug addicted or have mental issues. But there are plenty out there who have simply been priced out of the housing market and don’t have the resources to leave. Of course, we used to treat drug addicts and those suffering mental illness – often whether they wanted us to or not. But that took professional people and facilities, all of which had to be paid for, and the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so…we cut budgets and cut budgets and cut budgets and finally close facilities and turn residents out onto the streets. “Good luck.”

The other prong of the greed-driven homeless problem is hedge funds buying up all the private housing. That entire process profits everybody in the stream – except those who have to pay the rents and can no longer compete in the purchasing market. Who in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are created by destroying society? Nobody, that’s who.

Having a hard time just buying gas? Tough. Suck it up. The oil industries are making a killing. I know, the cons blame the Dems. That’s just what they do. But the prices at the pump are a corporate choice. The corporations made the choice to cut production specifically to increase the price of a barrel of oil. It’s a kind of gouging. They COULD produce enough oil to keep pump prices low. They CHOOSE not to because they couldn’t set new profit records if they did. In the past, the only thing that brought prices down was Congress holding “hearings” to find out why prices were so high. The moment the corporations have to prove their supply chain problems, the supply chain problems magically disappear and the prices go down…some. I haven’t heard calls in Congress for hearings. Who, after all, in this country is going to interfere with profits just because those profits are destabilizing the national economy?

We can’t solve the gun crisis because of greed. Yeah, I know. The shooters are nut-balls and it’s only a few bad apples. But as we’ve covered, the wage thieves don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes so we don’t get the facilities we need to care for them. So they’re nut-balls with easy access to military style killing machines. Every time one of the nut-balls goes off, gun sales go up. Who, in this country, is going to interfere with profits just because a few defenseless children are brutally cut to pieces from time to time?

I’ll tell you this: I believe in Capitalism but a crucial component of Capitalism is the realistic ability of the consumer to say no. The rigged system we live in today has largely eliminated that. Now it’s “Pay or die.” That’s not Capitalism, it’s Feudalism…and I don’t want to be a serf…

Freedumb and Freedumber…

Arm teachers? Really? Okay, I admit, I’ve heard it before. Over and over, in fact. It’s what failed humans say to try and protect the gun industry. But, fortunately, that one is behind us, now. We have all had a chance to see, I think, beginning with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida – where the on-duty “resource officer” (a deputy sheriff) chose not to risk his retirement by confronting an active shooter, the failure of this pretense. That guy made a choice. His retirement was more important to him than the lives of the children he had been assigned to protect. More recently, last week, in fact, we all watched an entire police force in Uvalde, Tx quivering in fear rather than face the shooter. This, after having completed specialized training in confronting active shooters only months earlier. In truth, I’ve never needed any real-time evidence. The idea was always a smokescreen of bull-pucky. But as long as the concept seemed theoretical, the sentence could be uttered and insisted upon and the “debate” about “well-regulated” militias was, essentially, fought to a draw – a “win” for the Gun Rights Advocates (GRAs).

Okay, so how about hardening the schools? Lovely. “Oh, I go to Washington Elementary Fortress!” Nice. Oh, also? Stupid. It’s just another con smokescreen. Think about it for a second. Do you really believe the cons in Congress are going to authorize the money necessary to “harden” every public school in the nation? Why, they would be forced to raise taxes on the wage thieves who have stolen so much from the working class! The other minor flaw in that stupid, stupid idea is that it’s not just schools, now, is it? We would have to fortify every public venue in the nation. Awesome.

By and large, it’s pretty much the same group who couldn’t be bothered to don a mask in an effort to protect their fellow human beings because it was such an infringement on their “freedumb.” NOW they’re willing to undergo surveillance every second they’re outside, metal detectors at their favorite restaurants, bars, and shopping venues, and pat-downs from armed security guards? You’re happy to move from checkpoint to checkpoint, “papers” in hand? Remember Sting’s stalking song? “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” The reality is, that’s what it would take to lock down our society enough to protect everyone in it from being murdered while going about one’s business. I, for one, stand opposed to surrendering my actual freedoms so you can ignore half of the Second Amendment – the “well-regulated” part.

I’ll tell you this: it sure seems stupid, to me, to be SO concerned with your freedumb, you will happily, even enthusiastically, surrender your actual freedom…

Death, Lies, and Videotape…

Cowards


Twelve times, as of May 28, 2022. Twelve. That’s how many times the Uvalde, Texas police have changed their story about what happened in their town on May 24. When all is said and done, there’s only one true story: “We were too scared.” That’s a real blow to the decades of “tough-guy image” they had built for themselves, in their own minds, so they have to come up with a cover story. One cover story doesn’t hold up so they come up with another. Then another. Then another. The one story they’re not likely to tell is the true one, “We were too scared.”

I’ll bet the mother who went into the school and rescued her children and some others, was scared, too. She did it, though. Oh, and SHE wasn’t wearing any body armor, like the cops were. Neither was the shooter, apparently. In fact, ALL of the parents trying to go into the school and do the job the cops were refusing to do were likely scared.

At some point, the cops started blocking parents from going in. That mother who actually got in? She had been briefly held in handcuffs by the cops to try and stop her. It didn’t stop her. So everyone stood outside the classroom and listened as round after round after round was fired off. Sorry for the euphemism. What I meant was, child after child after child was murdered.

So, quick question. If the cops are refusing to take action and physically preventing anyone else from taking action, aren’t they – de facto – protecting the shooter? I think the answer is yes. I don’t just want to see the entire Uvalde police force replaced. I want to see those cowardly weasels stand trial for aiding and abetting a mass murder…

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The quiet part, out loud
Of course, there’s a part to this we all know but aren’t allowed to say. Nothing is going to happen as a result of this. Oh, sure, there will be lots of talk – “explanations,” excuses, blame, finger-pointing, obfuscation, deflection, and the ever useless, ‘thoughts and prayers’ – but NO action. Republican politicians know shootings like this are good for business. Every time one happens, someone, somewhere says, “We need to get rid of guns” and the conservatives run with it. Then the mini-minded rush out and buy a few more guns, just in case THIS time, it turns out to be true. Since the only, true, reality, to the Republican Congress Critters is ‘good for business,’ they just really don’t see the need to adjust anything or make any changes. After all, they’re perfectly safe!

The part we’re not allowed to say? Republicans in Congress will absolutely take action once their reality changes – once they, themselves, become the targets of ongoing active shooters on a regular basis. That sentence, as written will be enough (likely) to get me thrown into Facebook jail and MAY warrant a visit from suited agents in big, black SUV’s checking to see if I’m dangerous to the Congress critters. Am I making a threat? No. Do I intend harm? No. Still, one can’t even SAY it, when it comes to Congress critters but we all have to live it when it’s anybody – everybody – else.

I’m not threatening, encouraging, or even endorsing putting Republican politicians in the crosshairs. I’m merely pointing out that the only thing that changes a stubborn Republican’s wrongheaded mind is an invasion of reality and even THAT doesn’t always work. Steve Scalise got shot at a Republican softball practice. He’s still VERY pro-killer. But he was “only” shot in the hip. Gabby Giffords, on the other hand, took a bullet to the head. She survived but has updated her position on guns.

‘I hope he gets his’ is a very human reaction, borne mostly of frustration. As Republicans in Congress refuse to budge on this issue (as with so many issues they refuse to confront), people begin to believe that the only thing that will get anything done is experience – we hope they get theirs, sooner rather than later. It’s a horrifying place to be. If the only thing that will prompt action by Conservatives in Congress is for them or their families to get shot to pieces, then so be it. But we can’t say so in this once-great, submerging nation. We’ll all THINK it. We’ll say it privately, to one another – because we all know it’s true. But we can’t say so publicly. Even the appearance of a threat to these pampered little pricks is enough to draw attention from law enforcement or removal from social media.

Side note to law enforcement: save the gas. I’m not a threat. I have no intention of shooting anyone. I’m not threatening, nor attempting to incite. I’m simply writing and publishing what everyone knows and, because everyone knows it, sooner or later, some angry, frustrated person is going to do it. That will be a shame but at least the “well-regulated” part of the Second Amendment will suddenly be understood – even by the Republicans…

Twisted Truths…

I read a letter to the editor that took the position that a right to privacy doesn’t exist in the Constitution. Is THAT the way the ‘punish women’ crowd is defending the Clown Court’s pending threat? The letter writer suggested I “check it out.” He ALSO suggested that if people want a right to privacy, they had better agitate for a constitutional amendment to get it. Um…if I may…

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” – Constitution of the United States of America

The Fourth Amendment has been interpreted as a right to privacy pretty much throughout the history of this once-great nation, although it wasn’t always respected as such. So…how can a woman be secure in her person if some state insists on peeking into her sex life, her uterus, and her medical decisions? I think the word “secure” in the Amendment IS “private” and opponents of the Constitution are trying to pick nits, knowing most Americans don’t really know what’s in the Constitution in the first place.

I suppose some stubborn sod might try to argue that “secure” means “safe” but I think THAT falls short, too, since women living in the red, punishment states will absolutely NOT be safe. But the Fourth Amendment isn’t the only support women have. See, the founders really didn’t WANT to include a Bill of Rights because they were concerned that they’d overlook something, somewhere and evil people would take advantage of the oversight. (Enter conservative Republicans…) They addressed their concern with this:

Amendment IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” – Constitution of the United States of America.

I would like to point out that both the Fourth and the Ninth Amendment include the words, “shall not” (emphasis, mine). When the conversation is about the Second Amendment, the weakest thinkers in this once-great nation ALL understand that “shall not” is absolute. I wonder why they can’t make the leap to the “shall not” in the Fourth and Ninth as absolute as well. I guess Fox “News” says something different.

I’ll tell you this, I don’t think we need a new amendment. I think we need a new “Supreme” Court.

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I’ve been writing ‘MyBaconPress’ for quite some time, now. This is actually my third blog. The first two were undertaken when I thought it possible to reverse course and save this once-great nation. (Yeah, I was younger and still idealistic.) The result was MASSIVE depression as I grasped, over and over again, that there would be no saving, no convincing anyone there was even a need. Twice, it caused me to step away in an effort to protect my own mental health. Now, more and more people see the damage but I’ve come to accept that it’s FAR too late. Long ago, I came to the conclusion that the single most important piece in the destruction of the United States was the dismantling of independent media. For this, we can thank Bill Clinton. Now we suffer under “mogul media” or perhaps “monolith media.” It’s media owned by the one percent, operating for the benefit of the one percent.

My second blog, ‘The Doctrine of Universal Harmony,’ – or ‘Doc Harmony’ for short (last I knew it was still available on the archived web…) – was written during Bush 43’s bumbling years in the White House. I kept hearing the lies dubya was telling in his attempt to sell his illegal invasion of Iraq – and I kept writing about them in an attempt to get people to understand they were being lied to. So, yeah, it was me vs the mogul media. The moguls wanted the war. (War is quite profitable for the people who make the weapons of war – and there’s NEVER a risk their own children are going to be sacrificed for profit…that’s for the “little people.”) So the media was all-in on the war and so most of America went along. There I was, pointing out that the actual goal was Iraq’s oil and had nothing whatsoever to do with September 11th. (Most people don’t even remember that the original name for the invasion was “Operation Iraqi Liberation” – or, O.I.L. Clever, weren’t they? Nonetheless, people figured out the “clever” name game and the operation was quickly re-dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.’) As you can imagine, the push-back was fierce – at least from the framework of my tiny, little blog.

For the record, I don’t believe or pretend I’m always right but I was dead-on accurate about Iraq. Slowly, over time, one false story after another has been debunked and the idea that Iraqi Invasion II was, at least, a “mistake” is pretty much common knowledge by now. It turns out, the truth takes time. Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on it’s shoes.”

So, as you can imagine, I felt pretty good the other day when I heard 43’s Freudian slip about Iraq. You remember George, right? He’s the “President” who was installed by the Clown Court even though he lost the “election.” He was speaking at the Bush Center, in Texas. He meant to be talking about that putz Putin and he said, “…and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq – I mean, of Ukraine…” Yeah, so what?

Iraq was still destroyed and destabilized, their leader (for better or worse) remains brutally murdered (under cover of “law,” naturally), and the dead are all still dead. The oil companies made an absolute killing though, didn’t they? Literally. But it’s not like anybody is about to bundle Bush up and haul him off to The Hague for justice. Still, I felt vindicated and it’s always great to be vindicated…

Sometimes, it’s all you get…

Five Vs Nine…

The Keystone Kongress and the Kangaroo Court
Once again our Keystone Kongress is proving that they CAN get things done. Mostly, they just don’t want to. Well, assuming the things they might get done would benefit the majority of American people. THOSE things, they can never seem to do – and when they DO take them up – whatever follows is more of a hollow joke than anything substantive.

The first time I noticed this phenomenon was when they all got together and, in ONE DAY, declared Terri Schiavo, a brain-dead patient her husband was trying to remove from the machines, “alive.” Turns out she was still dead and failed to properly respond to the Kongressional declaration. NOW, activist and ideological morons on the SCOTUS have decided to overturn Roe v Wade…you know…because of ‘Stare Decisis,’ the doctrine that precedent should be followed in determining law. I’m sure we all remember each of them perjuring themselves by swearing to honor the principle before said Kongress.

The vast majority of the American people are angry about the choice and have taken to protesting – up to and including the court members houses. So the Sennett has already passed a law offering police protection to the appointees. Apparently, there’s some concern that the idiots face a potential threat to their well-being. I wonder if the ruling clowns will pass similar legislation protecting the women whose well-being is threatened by the idiotic declarations of the court. (Spoiler alert: they won’t…)

I guess I should add there there IS a law on the books protecting SCOTUS morons from the free speech of the people. Apparently, it’s illegal to try to sway a SCOTUS “decision.” To me, that translates perfectly to powerful people protecting themselves from the consequences of their actions. I believe the founders would NOT have approved…

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Oh, the IRONY…
I hear that the lying, ideological, moron windbag Samuel Alito, Jr spoke at George Mason University on the topic of ‘Statutory Textualism.’ George Mason University is one of those diploma-mill “schools” that exist for the sole purpose of converting people into dependable conservative voices in law. That is, they don’t teach “law,” they teach “conservative law.” No, it shouldn’t be different…but it is. I suspect George Mason, the man, would HATE being associated with the moral and mental deprivations of modern conservatism but he’s held in high esteem by people who don’t understand things because he initially refused to sign off on the Constitution. (More on that in a second.) They seem to ignore the fact that he ALSO wanted an immediate end to the slave trade, for example… but I digress…

‘Textualism’ is the moronic concept that when interpreting law, the actual, written words in the statute in question are the ONLY thing that should be considered. The REASON for the law is not relevant and should not be part of the consideration. It’s the tool stupid people use to justify their preferred positions, NOT arrive a sound conclusions. They decide what they want the outcome to be, then search for justification and reject any and all opposing information. That’s backwards thinking and it’s the stock and trade of religion and conservatism.

In the case of Roe, the backward thinking is expressed in their upcoming evil ruling by pretending that since the word ‘abortion’ isn’t actually written in the Constitution, it must not be Constitutional to rule on abortions at the Federal level. That wrongheaded thought causes me great concern, not only for other things that are not specifically written into the Constitution but for some of the things that ARE. Remember, the original Constitution defined black people as only 3/5 human, fercrissakes. Also, bear in mind that Roe v Wade was not specifically about abortion. It was about privacy, which IS written in the Constitution…

Do you know WHY the Bill of Rights are amendments and not specifically included in the original body of the Constitution? As it happens, the founders were concerned that if they tried to codify each and every right a person has, they’d certainly overlook something, somewhere. They KNEW they couldn’t cover everything that should be covered. Either they would overlook something, or the issue in question was something they’d never even heard of, but they knew they couldn’t think of everything. They tried to get around it by NOT codifying ANY rights in the Constitution but it turned out too many of the colonies (by now, states) wouldn’t sign on without something specific on the topic. Thus, the Bill of Rights was born. As it happened, the founders were right. They didn’t think of everything. Ah, but they DID consider that which they were unable to consider and one of those clever sods added this:

Amendment IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

That’s a SHALL NOT, not a probably shouldn’t. In short, the founders, among them, ironically, George Mason, told the lying ideologue Alito his attempted defense of eliminating rights was bullshit 233 years before he even tried it. The irony is that Mason was one of the driving forces behind the Bill of Rights in the first place. He refused to ratify the Constitution until it was included. I don’t know, maybe Mason was a scheming weasel, too, and the secret plan was to limit rights exactly the way Alito plans to do now. I doubt it, though. I think Alito and his activist, ideologue buddies are twisting and torturing Constitutional intent to create their preference, not interpret law…

And The Tension Rises…

The Sour Cream Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has experienced a breach. Someone, somewhere in the bowels of the court leaked a draft document showing the court’s intention to overturn Roe v Wade. These cowardly weasels (they like to call themselves “justices”) prefer to hand down their most egregious, most abominable decisions quietly, in the night, as they abscond out the back door. Let people yell and howl at their activism, they’ll be long gone and in their hidey-holes for a few months.

It’s not a surprise. The cons packed the court intentionally with the goal of returning the US to the days of back-room abortions and punishing poor women – one of their favorite things to do. I specify “poor” because that’s the group that will suffer the most from this stupid, activist ruling. Women with resources will simply travel to a smarter, blue state, get the needed procedure, and come home and show everyone the photos from their recent “vacation.” But if you can’t pull together the scratch to travel out of state? You WILL suffer that error for the rest of your lives. Suck it up, buttercup. As usual, people have forgotten history. Young, fertile women today are about to find out just how brutal that time was. I wonder how long it will be before those cretin red states are requiring women to bring a permission slip from their husbands to obtain birth control.

Younger women might think, “Oh sure. Like THAT’S ever going to happen.” Yeah, it could. That used to be the rule and it could easily be the rule again. That’s the way things were for women in my lifetime! Also, women couldn’t have credit cards in their own name. I doubt THAT one will change, though, because the cards financially enslave people and in our brutal, so-called “free market” system, keeping people down financially is the primary goal. But a woman’s doctor WOULD often examine the woman and then contact the man who speaks for her to discuss the results. Women my age know what they’re up against. Younger women don’t seem to.

The dishonorable liars on the once respected “high” court who stand with this decision each took turns telling the Senate that Roe v Wade was “settled law.” There’s no such thing, of course, but that was their story and they stuck to it. The thing is, they were nominated in the first place because they were dependable votes against women. But I say again, they testified before Congress, saying something in the moment they knew they were misrepresenting – just to get the seat. Lying to Congress is illegal, sworn in or not. When they lied to Congress, they committed perjury, right? I think perjury should be an impeachable offense for a SCOTUS judge. Maybe we can get that into the next constitution. You know…after the revolution…

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Have you heard the one about how landlords provide housing and that if ANY controls are imposed over the process, those greedy little bastards just might stop investing? Oh, it’s a real knee-slapper. See, in real life, landlords aren’t providing housing. They’re denying housing by buying up ALL of the available inventory. You hear about the “housing shortage” in the corporate media all the time but there are plenty of buildings. They’re just all owned by rich folk who have no use for them other than gouging every dime they can from the working class. When rich people use their lucre to buy up most or all of the single family homes in a given area, other prospective buyers get locked out of the process. They then rent instead of buying. This puts pressure on the rental market and people in no position to buy are forced to compete with those who COULD buy if there was something reasonable available. I describe it as a “shit rolls downhill” situation…

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Just For Fun:
I believe in an 80 year cycle of things. I know, that’s a bit obscure. That’s because the “things” in question are different, working in different 80 year cycles. Also, 80 is only the average and the numbers don’t always work perfectly. Sometimes, it’s 75 years, sometimes, it’s 85 years but you can pick a cycle and follow like events through history and you’ll see the cycle, too. My own suspicion is that it takes about that long for in incoming generations to re-learn – or more accurately, forget – what the older generation once knew from experience. But check this out:

The end of the American Revolutionary War was, officially in 1783. (The fighting stopped in 1781.) 80 years later? Why, the American Civil War in 1861. THAT ended in 1865. 80 years after that? WWII. 1941 – 1945 as far as American involvement. So, why those events and not others? Why for example would I cite WWII but not WWI, or any of America’s other bullshit wars for that matter? Well, the subjectivity is what makes this abstract. The reason I focus on them in this particular cycle is that they’re transformative events, BIG things that changed the world. The Revolutionary War introduced the world to a brand new country, one that would later become the world hegemon. The American Civil War overturned an entire social and economic structure, turning the US from a racist hell-hole with legalized slavery, into the racist hell-hole with slavery outlawed we live in today. (The racists had to switch to a “prison” system to accomplish those same goals…)

Yes, WWI was a big deal but the Dough-boys went over, fought, and came back to a world pretty much the same as the one they had left. It DID set the stage for the later transformation but didn’t do much on it’s own but kill a lot of people. WWII, though? The entire world was different after that war. Everything, everywhere. For better AND for worse. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s? Why not that one? The Civil Rights movement looked like a big, transformative deal. But, let’s be honest, here, shall we? The people airing grievances during the Civil Rights movement are pretty much STILL out there airing pretty much the SAME grievances and precious little has changed for them beyond window-dressing. Ethnic minorities still suffer social and institutional racism. Illegal wars for profit still rage in this country just as quickly as the wealthy can convince the cannon fodder THIS war is necessary. Fat, old, white men are STILL trying – with unfortunate success – to own and operate women.

Now take a look at the world around us today. Everyone, rightly or wrongly, is angry and getting angrier. The politicians have been VERY clear in their “let them eat cake” attitudes. The brutal, no-holds-barred, so-called “free market” capitalism is slowly crushing the life out of the workers. Climate change is out of control, now, and greed just keeps pretending it will be okay. The anger of the average Joe is growing, little by little, day by day – and it’s just getting worse. So…add 80 years to the end of WWII in 1945.

Can I guarantee the world with devolve into some course-changing, cataclysmic event in 2025? Of course not. But the US DOES have an “election” coming up in 2024 and most people realize it will NOT be a fair or honest contest. The red states have created so many election laws that come down to some form of “if the outcome isn’t in keeping with our Gerrymandering, we reserve the right to change the results ourselves,” only a fool would trust the results. January, 2025 is when the next Presidential inauguration takes place in the US.

Yeah, I know. Tin-foil hat stuff. Like I said, just for fun. Do with it what you will. But in the meantime, you might want to keep your powder dry…

Real Estate Investment Trouble…

I’ve been trying to warn anybody who would listen to me about REITs for something like eight years now. ‘REIT’ is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. It’s basically rich people pooling their money and buying up all the single-family housing. I need to be clear, here. REITs used to serve a valuable purpose. They bought and maintained apartments and strip malls around the country. There’s a place for that. It provided housing, not eliminated it. Buying up the single-family homes is a fairly new phenomenon. They didn’t even really START until about 2014. Before that, investors weren’t sure it was a good plan. They’re all on-board, now, though. The thing is, NOBODY in or around the industry is going to make any effort to stop the problem. EVERYONE thinks they’re making money and, well, what could be wrong with that? The seller gets (usually) more than their house is worth and in some case, an offer in seven minutes. The agent gets a FAT commission. The REITs get the property. Sure, society gets torn apart, one house at a time, but, profits, right?

One company, Invitations Homes, Inc., owns enough single family homes in the United States to house every person living in Iceland. They own 82,758 single family homes. Figuring an average of 4.5 people per home, they could easily house the entire population of Iceland, currently around 344,979 people. Most of the homes they’ve taken off the market are in the west and in the sunbelt states where, as the article reads: “the barriers to homeownership are highest and rent demand is strong.”

“…barriers to homeownership are highest” in those areas because the REITs keep buying up the housing at whatever they need to pay to get the property. Joe Six-pack can’t compete with all-cash, no inspection, short escrow, sale in minutes REITs. “…rent demand is strong” because fewer and fewer people can afford to BUY the houses. The rents compete with a house payment, these days, because once the REIT owns all the available housing in a given area, they can charge whatever they want to charge. People will pay it or they won’t. If they don’t, there’s a nice bridge they can move in under – at least until the police drive you away.

Sadly, our society has been conditioned by the corporate media to just knee-jerk a reaction. “Oh, the homeless? Must be addicted to drugs. Must be an alcoholic. Maybe they’re insane.” Stay with me, here. Maybe…just maybe…many people CAN NOT pay $3,000 for a one bedroom place and don’t have the resources to leave. No money, no place to go, no options in our brutal, so-called “free market?” Tough! You bought that latte, that one time, you remember? YOUR fault!

Since the industry WILL NOT police itself, it’s up to politicians to step in. They could pass a law forbidding REITs from buying single family homes AND require them to divest in a fairly short time. This would return inventory to the market and bring the values back to where they should be. Of course, EVERY single person associated with real estate transactions would WAIL like someone just cut something off their body without anesthetic. The REITs themselves? Rich people, remember. Our politicians work for the rich people. Quick review, left or right, which politician might YOU expect to stand up and do the right thing for the average American? Okay, likely Bernie but he wouldn’t be able to do it alone, so…instead we get politician talk and stupid, useless ideas. “Hey, let’s just build more inventory.” Quick question, how does building more inventory help if the rich people keep buying up everything as it comes on the market? Someone builds 1,000 houses, the rich buy up the 1,000 houses. Still no inventory.

I mention it because I’m currently trying to find MY way through being victimized by the process. I’ve lived in a small but well-maintained little house for several years now and because the owner wasn’t greedy, I’ve been fortunate to be paying far below market rates. The landlord COULD have chased the money but he chose not to. Then, he died. His children inherited the property and pretty quickly decided to sell. A fat wad of cash instead of a steady, dependable income is often too enticing for people to pass up. But it’s put my whole life into upheaval. Will I be able to stay in the city I grew up in? Maybe, maybe not. CAN I pay usury rent? If I stay, I’ll have to.

To be clear, I’m not protesting REITs because they’ve landed on me. I protest them because sociologists have long understood that home ownership is one of the best predictors of a stable society and REITs are undermining that with amazing, frightening speed. I suspect that, sooner or later, this horrifying land grab will be one of the main drivers of the revolution…

Stay tuned…

Money To Dust…

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter, recently, from the conservative bubble about how they’ve lost their “freedom of speech.” As usual, it’s bunk. What IS being challenged is the freedom to lie. The people who have been banned from various sites are usually warned that their lies are going to lead to bans. THEN, they GET banned because they insisted on continuing the lies. Then they pretend the real issue is someone has infringed on their “freedumb of speech.” I’m a big fan of the First Amendment. That’s the one that contains the freedom of speech clause. But I ALSO know the danger to allowing unfettered disinformation out into the body politic because a democracy (or, in this case, a Republic) depends heavily on a knowledgeable electorate.

The obvious problem is “errors” (intentional or otherwise) in judgment regarding what is truth and what is not. Remember Hunter Biden’s laptop? The right was all over that from early on. The left didn’t pay much attention because there didn’t seem to be any “there” there. Turns out there was. I wonder how many people got in trouble with social media police for pushing a story that turned out to be true. But just because someone dropped the ball on the Hunter laptop doesn’t mean the 2020 “election” was stolen. There really ARE pure lies out there, undermining our society second by second.

When people with ill-intent began to turn the First Amendment against Americans, I found myself in a quandary. As an example, did you know that the Cato Institute was founded by the Koch brothers for the specific purpose of spreading disinformation about climate change? Yes, by all means, the First Amendment. But when one’s freedom of speech gets perverted and twisted into freedom to lie, freedom to undermine society, freedom to disseminate disinformation and misinformation, and even freedom to endanger all of humanity? Well, I’m all for flags on social media posts and when the corrupt pattern is continually repeated by the same characters, I’m okay with banning them.

Elon Musk has had several run-ins with Twitter over the years on the topic and has become, apparently, tired of the fight. So he says he’s going to buy Twitter and open it up as a true free speech zone. Let’s assume for the moment that he actually follows through with the purchase and pursues his dream of a site fully free of oversight on what people post. You know what he’ll get? First, a site so rife with falsehoods and misinformation it won’t be worth any thinking person’s time. but shortly thereafter on his open space? Porn. Someone, somewhere will test the waters by posting a lovely photo of a woman’s bare chest. If that goes unanswered, it will take off from there and before too long, porn will be the mainstay of Twitter.

It’s not theoretical. There is a site called ‘Tumblr.’ It was designed for photo blogging, that sort of thing. It had a hands-off policy. Before long, Tumblr was known primarily for all the adult fare that could be found there. Over time, that pushes out others who want to use the site for something else and then it hurts ad revenue as fewer and fewer advertisers are willing to associate themselves with a porn site. Tumblr finally decided to police people’s “free speech” and do away with most of the adult stuff. Tumblr is still there but the presence isn’t the same. They’re not the only site, either. There’s one called ‘OnlyFans.’ It was designed as a video site where people could show off their talents. Like, say, juggling. Viewers pay a subscription fee to watch you juggle and presumably, learn a few new tricks and techniques. OnlyFans, too, had a laissez-faire attitude. So, ladies who work in the sex trade started using the site to showcase their…um…”talents.” Now, from my understanding, it’s pretty much adult titillation and private sex shows. At one point, the company publicly considered shutting the adult stuff down but decided against. Now it’s their main identity.

So I hope Elon DOES open up Twitter. We’ll all get to watch the self-described “business genius” turn $44 BILLION dollars into dust…

Coup-coup…

There’s a movement afoot attempting to unseat Marjorie Taylor-Greene, that nutball con who never met a conspiracy theory she didn’t love – so long as it attacks the left. She seems to subscribe to the Q-anonsense without question. The effort to block her is based on the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. It bars anybody who has participated in insurrection against the US from polluting Congress or any other elected office of public trust, for that matter.

Specifically, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The truth is, I don’t know the detailed evidence against her. My understanding is that the January sixth commission has written records of her participation including texts and emails with some of the organizers. They also have statements made by others so…first hand reports from people she was working with to coordinate the insurrection. AND, it should be noted, none of this evidence has been tested in court, so it’s entirely possible the corporate media has glommed onto some juicy tidbits and turned then into something they’re not in it’s never-ending quest to divide left and right. But most of us have seen the videos of her making declarations in support of the big lie, the pretense that Biden didn’t win the 2020 election and declarations that “we can’t allow it to just transfer power peacefully like Joe Biden wants and allow him to become our President because he did not win this election. It’s being stolen.”

The attorneys for the plaintiffs saw the videos, too. MTG walked into court and did what every con does when confronted with reality. She lied, or, rather, dissembled. In fairness, what was she going to do, stick to her story? She risks opening herself up to charges of perjury. (Although, when I thought about it, I thought the a person who truly believed the story WOULD stick to it because they truly believed it. I mean, look, there’s no law about being wrong on the stand. There are only laws against LYING on the stand and, somehow, she knew to duck the questions. Suddenly, she can’t remember anything. The questioning went something like this:
Plaintiff Attorney: Do you remember saying (such and such or so and so?)
MTG: I do not remember saying that.
Plaintiff Attorney: Let’s go to the video!
Amazingly, she WAS able to recall, with perfect clarity and despite her inability to remember the video in the first place, that the clip being shown was being taken out of context. That’s some VERY specific memory, right there…

The right is characterizing the effort as an attack on democracy. I’ve noted they have no such objections to ACTUAL attacks on democracy. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and violent insurrection are apparently a-okay but relying on the Constitution of the United States? Obviously anti-democratic.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. Conservatives have no principles, only positions of the moment…

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Hey, they seem to have found one of those criminal scofflaws who attempt to rig elections. In this case, that would be the Chief of Staff to the Dumbass, Mark Meadows. Apparently, he’s registered to vote in two different states, South Carolina and Virginia. This, AFTER he was removed from the voter rolls in North Carolina, where he was ALSO registered to vote. Really, it’s a pattern. Voter fraud DOES exist, it’s just that it’s nearly always Republicans (or conservatives) engaging in it.

Meadows is up to his hind end in the insurrection problem, too. The more I read, the more I see him as the point man for the coup. I suppose he was the Orange Moron’s shield. Participants of the coup communicate with Meadows, Meadows communicates with the dumbass, that kind of thing.

Meadows has already turned over much evidence that will be used against him in response to subpoenas from the January sixth committee. More testimony from others around him at the time continues to implicate him, as well. He should go to jail. But truthfully, I’ve lost faith in the integrity of this once-great nation and I think the dumbass will be back. When he DOES return, Meadows gets a pardon so all he has to do is avoid prison for a little while longer, right?

I liked the rule of law better…

Can’t Quit…

Here’s a funny thing: CheetoJesus’s social media platform, ‘Truth Social,’ seems, by all measures, to be crashing and burning. That part doesn’t surprise me. The Dumbass has never started a successful business in his life. The part I like is the part about Devon Nunes. Nunes is a FAR right conservative. He polluted the halls of Congress for something like 18 years and like so many other permanent fixtures in our Congress, likely would have stayed forever. Except he bought into the trumpery. He voluntarily resigned his position in the House and went to work for the Orange Moron! Ha, ha! Now he’s out of the House (thank the gods) AND it looks like, soon, he’ll be out of a job, too.

Nunes is from a (IMHO) lazy, whiny rich family so he’ll be fine. But I LIKE seeing people who buy into the trumpery live the results of their faith. It’s kind of…comforting…

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The politicians sure have gotten themselves into a pickle, haven’t they? I saw a headline in the Guardian, ‘Garland Under Pressure to Charge Ex-President.’ Oh, what to do, what to do? Here’s the pickle: the United States DOES NOT jail ex-Presidents. So far, EVER. I believe the idea is that if one party’s president is jailed, it will lead to a tit-for-tat and the jailed president’s party will LIVE to jail the other party’s president. The very concept reeks of corruption but it worked for, like, 227 years. Nixon (R) pressed the boundaries by overseeing a criminal break-in. He resigned but otherwise walked away – and the Republicans STILL haven’t forgiven the Democrats. Bush (R) 43’s crimes were international war crimes. Not so much criminal activity in the US and so, apparently, “easy” to overlook. But then came the trumpery (R…hey, there seems to be a pattern, here). This guy is SO corrupt, even a small scratch at the surface exposes criminal activity and the deeper one looks, the worse things get.

Investigations across the land have found enough evidence to put anybody else in prison for a while. But this is an ex-president. Okay, so maybe he gets a pass on his financial criminal activities. Rich people stealing from everyone else is the very basis of the so-called “free market” system so we’re all kind of used to that. But treason? An attempted coup? Really? After the Orange Moron’s insurrection on January 6th, enough evidence has been produced to indicate his guilt. So now what? He’s an ex-president. Enter the “protected for life” rule. But he’s a traitor. He stands AGAINST the US Constitution. He actively tried to overthrow the government of the United States, fercrissakes. Can one give that a pass? He’s out there still, planning the next chapter of his coup and he STILL has widespread support among his base. (Don’t be too surprised. The Bible makes clear that many people will love the Beast of the Sea – and, boy howdy, do they!)

So…if they DON’T prosecute, the country is in dire risk of an authoritarian overthrow and descent into dictatorship. If they DO prosecute, the disloyal opposition pretends to take it personally (ignoring evidence) and this once-great nation, that apparently operated by handshake agreement – falls apart anyway. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s a bad choice. I don’t like, but I understand, the concept of not prosecuting a president lightly, even if it means letting them get away with some things but if we can’t prosecute treason, we’ve failed already and it’s only a matter of time before the facade comes down.

For my part, I’d prefer to fall on the hill of doing the right thing. Charge and prosecute the Trump Crime Family, most especially Donnie “the Don.” If the evidence supports conviction, convict them. If We, the People are destined to suffer regardless of the choice we make, let’s at least make the right choice, to do the right thing…

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To hear cons tell it, the only reason gas is so expensive is because Biden cancelled plans to allow drilling on public land and a pipeline extension that wasn’t expected to move one drop of nasty-ass, tar-sands oil until 2032. No, he didn’t cancel the leases the oil cartels already have. He just wasn’t going to issue any MORE leases on public land. His position? They should use some of the 9,000 leases they already have. Oil companies don’t like to use leases they possess. They put them on their balance sheets to boost company value, then let them sit idle. But the oil companies KNOW they have a strangle-hold on the world economy. They KNOW they simply shut off the spigot and – viola! – they get anything they want. They’ve done it again. Biden is now acquiescing and allowing leases on public land again. So, if the cons are correct (the cons are almost never correct) we should be looking at gas prices more like, oh, I don’t know, say, $2.00/gallon, right? Any day now, I’m sure.

The truth is, no president has much control over what goes on in a corporate boardroom. The truth is, gas is expensive because of greed and nothing else. Trumpery still reigned in this once-great nation when the oil cartel decided to cut production because, darn it, they just were pocketing enough of the world’s hard earned money. The so-called supply chain interruptions just gave them an excuse and they went for it. Enthusiastically.

As the greed-blinded execs raised prices as aggressively as possible – ostensibly because of the change in policy, not availability – gas went up 30 cents a DAY here in California. Now it’s coming down. A penny here, a penny there. It’ll never be where it was when the money grab began. Maybe it will drop to $5.00/gal – and people will feel relieved. At least it’s not $6.00.

As most of us know, the world is addicted to oil. World leaders will, eventually, do whatever they’re told to do because the oil “dealers” have what the world needs. But, as any/every addict knows, the only way to recover actual freedom and dignity is to break the addiction…