May, 2019

May 19

Mitch McConnell: UnAmerican; Alt title: Mitch McConnell: the Devil

Mitch McConnell will do anything to advance the far-right’s agenda. And of course that agenda is advancing the advantages of the 1%, of big oil, of racism, of neofascist Christians. He has done more damage than any other single American. Even more than Trump, in the long run.  I was going to list some of those “anythings” but I defer to Robert Reich. Here’s a quote from his article and the link to it.

PS: The devil is said to be a liar. Mitch McConnell has shown a willingness to say anything–which he contradicts later when convenient–to win. He’s the devil’s best liar in the Senate–and there are lots of liars in the Senate

“No person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

“Yes, Donald Trump has debased and defiled the presidency. He has launched blistering attacks on Democrats, on judges he disagrees with, journalists who criticize him and the intelligence community.

But McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.”

Read on:

May 19

CULTURE SLASH #1 – a new John Shirley Blog Feature

Culture SLASH #1

YouTube—where morons go to become stars. And where they are frequently made stars. Most of their millions of followers aren’t watching them ironically. They’re watching them because they’re at least as idiotic as the YouTube’s most idiotic “stars”. “Beauty Gurus” James Charles and Tati Westbrook, for example. Their inconsequential feud cost Charles 3 million of his zillion subscribers! Oh no! Endless commentary results! CNN reports on it as if it were a real news story!

The exaltation of the shallow has its petty little dramas. It’s like someone on bad drugs staring—drooling—at the tiny ripples in a wading pool.
Gizmodo reports that “A man says he paid about $150 for what was promised to be a clean home with a private bathroom in Amsterdam, only to find that his Airbnb was a shipping container illegally parked on the side of the road with a bed in it.”

The renter posted photos, and that’s exactly what it is—a shipping container with a chemical toilet and a bed shoved in it. In the ad it was described as a cottage!

It was illegally placed on the street and has been taken away by the authorities. Who can’t find the lister, or do I mean blister, who posted the ad for the thing. Some Airbnb listers have reportedly had hidden cameras in their temp housing offerings too. But it’s not just Airbnb listers who’re shady; some renters have left vile messes behind, partied with major drugs, and generally disgraced the place. It’s a risk you take both ways…And people have been robbed and raped on Uber and Lyft rides. Businesses that try—or attempt—to fly under regulatory radar will result in major suckage. It goes way back. Long ago I had a friend who subletted an apartment briefly in New York—where it is done crazily much– and it turned out to be infested with bedbugs. The persistent, nearly ineradicable pests hitchhiked in the subletter’s luggage and made life a nightmare once again in the next place they went. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Badly flawed tech is only half invented…Years ago I suggested that there should be a powerful agency, with sister agencies worldwide, that would have to approve electronic tech of any kind before it’s released. Sort of like the FDA but for tech—and indeed, the FDA may have to deal with electronic tech as people are creating some to be taken in capsules. It travels into your body and…does things to you.

My proposition was that we often have new tech shoved on us—we suddenly became responsible for pumping our own gas in most places, interacting with new tech to do it; we became our own cashier product scanners in some stores—a neat and insidious trick allowing the business to pass along labor they used to pay for, to the consumer. We’re increasingly asked to check ourselves in at airports. Cell phones were inadequately tested—there is at least some risk from the microwaves they use, and the damn things, for many pathetic cell phone zombies, are addictive. . .Technologies we thought were to protect our families—like cameras and intercoms in children’s nurseries—were easily hacked and abused. Technologies that monitor our buying habits are intrusive…I could go on. . .We don’t have to give up cell phones–we could’ve taken the time to force the manufacturers to design them more safely, and to minimize, and warn about, addictive aspects.

Technology that pollutes, too, is only half invented.

But when I suggested the new agency–to make sure tech is fully invented before being foisted on us–most people sneered or spoke darkly of Evil Bureaucracies. Lately it’s been discussed at higher levels—other people, years later, have the same idea and it may indeed come about…

See? Listen to me. I’ll steer you right.

“Right into the ditch, Shirley.” Why, you!

May 19

Another Indication that TRUMP IS A RUSSIAN ASSET

Nicolas Maduro, kleptocratic pseudo-socialist President of Venezuela, was sitting in his plane nervously awaiting takeoff so he could flee Venezuela for Cuba–when Russia told him to stay. Putin or his intermediaries are reported to have told him, hey, Nicolas, it’ll be all right. “Stay, Nicolas Maduro.” We infer Putin told Maduro that rumors of imminent American intervention were exaggerated. So Maduro stayed in Venezuela. This happened just a week ago, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

And soon after, Donald Trump suddenly changed his tune on Venezuela.

Up till that time Trump was eager to intervene in Venezuela, to install the real President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, in Maduro’s place. Trump spoke of moving troops to Columbia to prep for invasion. He was heavy on the rhetoric about removing Maduro who, after all, is theoretically a socialist (in word though not in deed).

But shortly after Russia suggested that Maduro should stay, Trump suddenly backed off that rhetoric. And though Pompeo and Trump’s advisers wanted Maduro out, CNN tells us:

“…news that President Donald Trump…is urging caution among senior advisers about potential US military intervention in Venezuela, is growing frustrated that some aides are openly teasing military action in the country, where a battle for power has recently intensified.”

Trump changed his tune because the kleptocratic Putin wants the kleptocratic Maduro to remain in power. Why does Russia want the status quo unchanged in Venezuela? Washington Post reports: “Russia owns substantial portions of Venezuelan oil fields, which it got in exchange for loans and bailouts over the past decade. And Venezuela signed over almost half of Citgo — its wholly owned company in the United States — as collateral to Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, for what was reported to be $1.5 billion in cash.” If there’s a change in power those deals might be voided.

So, Russia clearly told Trump to stop talking intervention.  Maduro’s departure could cost the Russian oligarchs billions in profits, Donald, so forget intervention.

And obviously Trump meekly replied, “Yes, Vlad.”

The evidence that he’s a Russian asset — not just an ally, but a puppet of Putin’s–is quite large. And the Venezuela turn-about is just another strong indicator.

More indicators from a Vanity Fair article in January: “There is a growing urgency behind these efforts, following a Washington Post story that detailed the lengths Trump went to shield his interactions with Putin from his West Wing staff, as well as a New York Times report that Trump privately told officials he wanted to withdraw from NATO. The first Trump-Putin meeting, in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017, is of particular interest to lawmakers. The interpreter in that meeting said President Trump instructed him not to discuss details of the sit-down and confiscated his notes when several U.S. officials asked him what had transpired, according to the Post.”