The Jefferson Memorial, Racism and Application of Today's Understanding to the Past

I am pretty radical in my antagonism toward racists and our racist past. I share some of Frederick Douglass's famous sadness over the Fourth of July holiday. I consider it legitimate to consider America to be the tragic consequence of brutality and genocide. America is a country based on the arrogant, imperial view of the British who never found a native society they didn't want to destroy. I am in favor of reparations, not a symbolic gesture but real, race aware changes in policy that attempt redress.

I am not in favor of tearing down the Jefferson Memorial. I agree that his participation in slavery is shameful. I also know that he is one of the people that created some of the most beautiful parts of America.

At some point we anti-racists need to figure out how to balance between our desire to honor the repudiation of racism against the fact that everything in the past is tainted with it.

For me that balance begins with evaluating the intent of the person being honored. Jefferson Davis was a warrior fighting to save slavery. Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder who invented much of the modern idea of freedom.

The Jefferson Memorial doesn't seem to me to glorify slavery. I'm not sure it really is about Jefferson. It has always seemed to me to treat him as the symbol of enlightened political ideals of freedom and equality.

More importantly though is that the balancing needs to account for, at the end of the day, pride on the achievements of civilization, too. I would be surprised if you could find a single white person of any accomplishment before 1800 who did not hold opinions about women and 'other' people that were reprehensible by modern standards. Who weren't perfectly fine with penal systems that were often worse than concentration camps.

So, Isaac Newton was one of the greatest minds in history. He was also an investor in the slave trade. Do we ban regard for his immense contributions to science and culture because of that? If so, how do we frame our history?

To whom to we attribute the basic realizations about gravity if he is no longer to be admired. Are we really going to insist that, as some have said about the Jefferson Memorial, that we say, "Newton, a man who bought shares in a morally repugnant slaving enterprise, saw an apple fall from a tree and..."?

We are all flawed. It's my view that people's flaws should be overlooked when reasonable. Nothing I know about Thomas Jefferson's life suggests that he committed slavery crimes outside the boundaries of his time nor that any of his main life motivation was to promote enslavement.

As I understand him, he was determined to create a society where people could be free. If his understanding of the word 'people' was different than now, at least his ideas supported changing that definition over time. Without him, the New World would not be as decent a place as it is. Even if it might have been better if he had been better, too.

I say judge memorials an the destruction by the intent of the memorial. I do not believe there is anything about the Jefferson Memorial that glorifies racism. I believe it intends to glorify freedom and equality. If Jefferson himself provides an object lesson in how much farther we have to go, so be it.

[This was discussed at length on my public facebook page HERE. The original article which this responds to is HERE.]

Urgent! Today! Do 'Social Distancing' Save Lives! Save our Culture.

Right now the only thing we know about the people who can spread the virus that causes COVID19 is that there are lots of them and that they are not showing symptoms. We do not and can not know who we can interact with without risk of becoming infected. While the disease may or may not be bad, the really, really bad thing is that you will not know you are sick for ten or twelve days. During that time, you will be infecting the people with whom you interact and they will infect others.

The only way to avoid infection is to avoid associating with others who are infected.

‘Social distancing’ is the practice of absolutely minimizing your interaction with everyone and doing highly disciplined things to avoid interacting with infected people. Presently that means everyone because there is no way to tell who is will not infect you. and, importantly, you don’t have any idea if are infecting your friends and family. You definitely might be sick but not showing symptoms.

How can you tell when you will not infect others? Do ‘social distancing’ for two weeks. If you haven’t shown symptoms by then, you are not sick. That is, you know if you haven’t gotten infected during those two weeks. But, if you practice careful social distancing, you will not have been in a position to become infected and then you can be confident that you did not get infected during that two weeks and are not infected at the moment.

If you have a friend who has been doing the same thing, ie, not going to bars or crowded places, keeping a six foot permitter at the grocery store and work, washing hands like it’s a job, and otherwise doing everything they can to avoid exposure, then at the end of two weeks, you will also know that they are not infected. That’s good news because it means that they can become part of your ‘social distance’ club and you can hang with them.

What ‘social distancing’ does is provide a signal, a way to know who is safe and who is sick. If you have a couple of friends that you trust to me smart enough and reliable enough to execute ‘social distancing’, then you can socialize more normally. That means you can live life more normally while still keeping some discipline to avoid getting sick. 

It also means that we are starting to organize the spread of the disease. If we don't do it now, we may not be able to do it ever without draconian policies that require real sacrifice (and for Americans, that means never). In a couple of weeks of not doing 'social distancing', infected people will be everywhere. 

To avoid them will require literally staying in your house like they had to do in China. That wasn't some totalitarian ploy. It took the new cases rate from 4000 a day to essential zero. That would be horrilbe but we might not need to if we start doing 'social distancing' today, this minute.

Equally importantly, you will not have added to the overall societal burden of sick people. That means you will have helped ‘flatten the curve’, that curve of doom where we have a huge spike of sickness that overwhelms hospitals and medical personnel and, as a consequence, will vastly increase the number of people who die. It also means that your grandmother or father or some other at-risk person is less likely to run into someone who is infected.

Below is a link that explains how to accomplish ‘social distancing’. It basically comes down to, for the next couple of weeks, STAY HOME, DON’T INVITE FRIENDS OVER, KEEP A SIX FOOT PERIMETER WHEN YOU GO OUT AND ONLY GO TO THE STORE WHEN YOU MUST. WASH YOUR HANDS, EVEN AT HOME. 

For the next two weeks:

But read the whole article. It's good. It is your duty to your family, friends and our entire society. This could turn into an actual dystopia event. Be responsible. Distance yourself and your family. Save lives.

Worried About Emotions in the White House: Vote for a Woman and Be Safe

So, I was starting a wisecrack about how it is I can't possibly vote to put a man in the White House because he hasn't had a lifetime of controlling his emotions for a few days each month to make him be better able to behave correctly when he is in a bad mood.

It was intended to be a glib reversal of the usual jibe against a woman controlling the nuclear button during her menses.

As I said it though, I thought, Holy Crap!! That's actually a legitimate point.

My female friends often talk about the discipline it takes to manage the heightened emotions sometimes felt during that time of the month. Being in well practiced in the art of recognizing one's emotional state and insuring that its contributions to your life performance are positive is actually a huge virtue.

And it's a good thing that many men lack and it shows in many of the things that men are criticized for.

Cogito ergo superbus. I think therefore I am arrogant.

The problem with these folks is that they think consciousness is something special. Pure anthropocentrism. We have it so it must be important. 

Cogito ergo superbus. I think therefore I am arrogant.

Consciousness is an optimization for an otherwise blind consequence of the entropy. All resources must be consumed for the universe to get to its eventual state of cold, gray nothingness (and then a dark energy big bang so it starts over again).

All over the universe, oxidation is a way to consume the energy of a system with a particular chemistry. On Earth, we do that with iron in our blood. Organic metabolism is the local innovation to make sure that our neck of the universe does its part for entropy. Consciousness evolved to supercharge the effort.

I'm sorry to offend all the 'in god's image' people but we are merely bags of chemicals that coagulate into lumps for the purpose of creating more bags of chemicals to more thoroughly reduce all that we touch into cold, gray nothingness. 

Our consciousness has no more importance than our ability to shit on everything beautiful. Both are pointless consequences of our mission to consume all resources. One increases consumption. The other wrecks what it touches. I'll leave it to you to decide which is which.

Me? I've always been impressed by fusion. Everywhere you put enough matter, it organizes itself into an energetic system that makes human efforts to at wasting energy seem trivial.


Article of Impeachment Must be Passed by House Democrats

I have changed my mind. I believe that the D's have a duty to impeach. A committee should have a hearing where they stipulate the Mueller report and pass articles of impeachment on Obstruction of Justice. One day. In and out. Another day for a party line vote. Back to business.

If they don't, we have established the idea that clear obstruction in the White House is acceptable. As a precedent, this would be awful and would encourage a future of criminal behavior.

I emphatically do not think that the D's should engage a new investigation. I do not think they should have days of hearings. I do not think this should be allowed to dominate their work as legislators. Mueller has done the work.

There should be one day of committee where they stipulate their agreement with the facts Mueller uncovered. One day of debate where the R's can rant in opposition. A party line vote and done. Then a return to doing work, passing bills that would benefit the people.

We send soldiers to their deaths to fight for freedom. The House D's need to do their duty to protect our future. The evidence in the Mueller report is so compelling that ignoring it would be dereliction.

Trump must be impeached. Decent people cannot tolerate this behavior in the halls of power. The D's are largely decent people. The R's, not so much. The decent people need to do their duty.

State of the Union MY Democratic Response

I want to be the first to react. Stacey Abrams in articulate and charismatic. Unfortunately, she's a Democrat and chooses to wrap everything in sweet liberal platitudes to make sure the impact is as diffuse as possible.

You probably want to know what I would have said...

My fellow Americans, the State of the Union is endangered. We have caged children, a tax bill that has enriched the wealthy and, as many Americans are finding out this month, impoverishes the middle class. Our President shut down the government and, after two years of Republican control, has not accomplished any infrastructure legislation or border security.

Did I say "no border security"? Yes. Let's be clear. The President's party controlled all branches of government for two years and did absolutely noting to secure the border except talk. Only when the House was about to turn Democrat did they do something. 

That thing was to hold government workers hostage. Even then the President did not negotiate. He all but said, "I will hold my breath until..." government workers starve to death. He made not a single counterproposal. He was using it as a political stunt to rally his base. It was a cruel and inappropriate use of government power.

Tonight he is rattling sabers to divide us over abortion, immigrants, Russia and many other things. Everything he does is political and he never makes any attempt to collaborate. If he wants to get something,  he has to give something.

Democrats offered him $1.6 billion for border security. Not good enough, make an offer in return. He could have said, "DACA and $3 billion." He did not because he is not interested in governing.

My fellow Americans, we are confronted with an unprecedented threat, a President who does not actually care about anything except himself. Unless Democrats are willing to submit to his arbitrary and foolish demands, nothing will get done unless the American people get behind us.

So, my response to the President's State of the Union message is this. We are in trouble. Help our legislators. Get out on the streets. Protest at Republican state houses. Protest at the Congress. Donate to Democrats. Write letters. Work to elect Democrats. Activate Democratic America.

Thank you very much for listening. We are in trouble but with your help, we will prevail.

Pelosi State of the Union Reply

Since our new hero, Nancy Pelosi, trolled Fuckface about the State of the Union, I ended up thinking about the democratic response and how they would utter dumb platitudes. So I wrote a better speech. Perhaps you will like it...

LAST NOVEMBER, the American people, for the second time, voted for Democrats. In 2016, a bizarre fluke in our Constitution managed to give the Presidency to Donald Trump anyway. This time, an overwhelming majority voted for Democrats with the clear intent, if polls are to be believed, that we act as a counterweight to the psychotic pull of Donald Trump’s personality.

The State of the Union is dire in many ways. In a normal year, I would talk to you about climate change, DACA and economic stimulus. This year, only one thing matters: Our government is being destroyed.

In case you missed it, let me be clear about what happened. Donald Trump said, Give me $5.7 billion for a wall. We made a counteroffer. We said, we hate the wall but we will give you $1.6 billion. Donald agreed and a deal was made.

Then Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlsen were mean to Donald and he reneged.

Since then, we’ve been waiting for a counteroffer. He’s says $5.7. We said $1.6, he says… Crickets.

So we wait. Lately people have been saying that Democrats should say what their affirmative border security policy is. This is it: DACA. Otherwise, there is no emergency. Illegal immigration is at historic lows. Undocumented immigrants are not rampaging the landscape with hammers. They continue to commit crimes, especially violent ones, at lower rates than other Americans.

Yes. I know. Donald told us several nasty stories this January but, my fellow Americans, anecdotes are not data. A guy in Wisconsin killed two people, kidnapped their daughter and held her captive. You don’t see me saying we should kick out all uneducated white men.

The truth is that there is no need for a wall. The President is lying when he says it is essential. We have lived for hundreds of years without one and America still stands. It is economically unwise. It is terrible for the environment. It is an awful contradiction to America’s self-image. It is pointless except as an exercise to inflate Donald Trump’s ego. If you want to control illegal immigration, put walls around airports where all the science says illegal immigration really happens.

If the President gets over his ego and makes a reasonable offer, we will make a reasonable counteroffer and get the government back to business. We have already made one counteroffer. We passed bills allowing him to open the non-immigration parts of the government. His response, also crickets.

So much for the master dealmaker. He’s figuring that Democrats will cave to his tantrum as public opinion forces our hand. The polls show that the American people are smarter than that. They heard him say he wanted a shutdown. He’s got it. Apparently he likes holding government employees hostage.

I want to add that Mitch McConnell has shown himself to be an awful wimp and has betrayed his oath of office. He is a Senator. There is absolutely nothing in that job description that talks about being the President’s legislative director. He has an obligation to the country. HIs failure to allow voting on the bills the House has passed is nothing short of un-American.

I am under no illusion that either Mitch or Donald will cooperate with us. Democrats will continue to act as responsible legislators. We will understand the problems in our society and look for solutions. We will pass bills that are well considered and practical. They will not become law but will serve as evidence that the American people can use to imagine a decent future as they make their electoral choices in the next election.

What Democrats will not do is submit to the nasty impulses of the nutcase in the Oval Office. He cannot be trusted and just giving him what we wants, especially when it’s stupid will only encourage future tantrums. Do us all a favor and picket the White House and the State houses of Republican governors. Tell them that you understand that Donald Trump is playing with the lives of 800,000 people in order to try to bully me. Tell them that you understand that I have had many men try to bully me in my life. It won’t work.

Then donate to Democratic candidates A dollar for a Democrat is a vote for sanity.

Thank you for listening.

Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745)

"It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissars. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient."

read more: Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745)

Mon Dec 03 2018 22:07:21 GMT-0600 (Central Standard Time)

Not a Douchebag


Trump's the guy who punched your friend a couple of times and she went back because, "He 'gets' me and promised he wouldn't anymore." Then she told you about the time she didn't want to have sex and he just held her down and fucked her anyway. "Oh, it was no big deal. It was just sex." And had to borrow money for lunch because, "He got arrested for drunk driving. It's so unfair. He hardly ever drinks that much."

It's nothing like he's a douchebag. Trump is a very bad, dangerous person that emotionally damaged idiots insist is on his or her side. Everyone has a bad partner story. Not everyone has a criminal president story.