Re: Baby It’s Cold Outside – You Are ALL Being Ridiculous

There was once a time when it seemed that I had to chime in on all of these annoying little instances. I’m not sure what you would call them anymore. Events of mass triggering?

What it all boils down to is simple, really. A phenomenon of which originated in a time long since passed, and was passed down and repeated thoughtlessly for decades. Until someone somewhere finally scrutinized it, and didn’t like what they seen. In this case, it was a Christmas song. A Christmas song that raises an eyebrow in the context of the #MeToo era.

Like all of these situations, its presented with seemingly 2 polarized sides. The overzealous “BAN IT!” extreme. And the “Fuck PC Culture!” extreme. This, despite the fact that all I’ve ever come across so far are the latter. Those that I’ve seen on the critical side outline genuine concerns with certain problematic lyrics. The other side of the spectrum just wants their beloved cookie cutter holiday tune left in peace.

Though this post was spawned in reference to the song in the title, it is also all encompassing of other contexts of the this very situation. The situation that is, when thoughtlessly and mindlessly perpetuated rituals and traditions suddenly don’t make the cut in terms of fitting into modern day civil reality. I will explore this VIA the annoying song in question, as well as another that I had a realization about earlier this year. I will also explore how a long running television series managed to make the best of a previous indiscretion in its history.

But first, some holiday cheer.

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/shehim/babyitscoldoutside.html

First off, as per the date rape accusation . . . no. While the song has a couple areas that are questionable, its hardly a Cosby anthem. What it is however, is (at the VERY least!) disrespectful to the concept of female autonomy. She expresses her desire to go loud and clear, but still, the man resists. Maybe she will give in and sleep with him, after all!

I would like to say this is just a product of the time, but its really not. Not only have I heard of this happening to people I know, I could likely fill a book with examples JUST from the women in my life, were to ask.

It is not the song that is the worst part. It is what it, and others like it, represent. The notion that females are here to please us males, no matter what their say in the matter is. Though what the song describes is fairly benign, there can often be an aspect of fear in these situations. Imagine being the female in the song . . . but you fear what may transpire if you cross the male? The fact of the matter is most males are still dominant in the hierarchy of power. And it tends to be easier to shame a female than it is a male. It just takes one photograph. Shared voluntarily with a partner, but distributed out of malice in revenge. The reverse is indeed, always possible. But males tend to be situated on the right side of that.

“What a dumbass” vs “SLUT!”.

As for another common theme derived from the irrationally sexist, there is the ever present threat of the rape accusation. I kid you not . . . I know people who will NEVER EVER allow themselves to be alone in the presence of a women. Because all she has to say is that one 4 letter word, and off you go to the slammer. Or in the context of work, she just has to accuse you of inappropriate behavior, and there goes your job. To this person, ALL females are the same, and none can be trusted. Ever.

There are a few places I could go with this fellow and his misogynistic views that border on the dangerous. For example, the double standard. Males that have screwed this person out of actual items (of monetary value, or plain old money) often get more than one chance. But should a female respond to them the wrong way ONCE . . .just one single encounter . . . there it is. Her true colors.

Imagine that . . . SHE’S JUST LIKE THE REST OF EM!

I COULD say that. But I would rather go with the real world. A world where rape accusations did NOTHING to even slow down the assent of Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh. On a possibility related note, even previously openly feminist leaning journalists gave Jillian Assange a pass on his accusations. And #Metoo . . . many of these men have been carrying out their disgusting behaviors for DECADES. And its not that people didn’t know, either. For the story to get out, you needed some a game changing platform with even more saturation than the traditional television networks and publications which were owned or bought off by the very assailants of the story.

Enter, Social media. In this case, truly the great equaliser.

Despite the gripes (more than likely based upon personal anecdotes) from males about the unchecked power of the modern female, I daresay that to be a very interesting interpretation of reality. And a first class ticket to loneliness if one uses this conclusion to either justify identifying as MGTOW, or its far more troubled cousin, Incel.

Interesting factoid about the latter . . . it was originally coined by a women. Long before even MySpace was a thing. Needless to say, THAT experiment went very wrong.

But I am not here to mock MGTOW’s or Incels. Looking back at some of the conclusions I had been drawing whilst sucking up a fair bit of anti-femenist YouTube content just a few short years ago, I may well have gone down that road. Fortunately though, my intellectual explorations have been somewhat guided (people have told me when I was falling for ridiculous tripe) so I ended up on this side. But not everyone has the privilege (?) of having academics handy in everyday life. Not to mention the sometimes invaluable input of ordinary people completely outside of ones personal filter bubble. When someone playing in the arena of which you are claiming to be an expert of (dating in this paradigm) tells you that you are being ridiculous, only an idiot doesn’t stop and reevaluate.

It’s funny. A little conversation that was had years ago and likely long forgotten by this person. Yet it proved to be important.

Either way, I have no doubt that there exists problems and systemic issues that are manifesting in the form of toxic ideologies that are MGTOWism and Inceldom (?). Frankly, I suspect that these root phenomena are also manifesting in other toxic ideologies of which we may not even realize any connection yet. It is beneficial to all for this to researched, and answers be found.

But having said that, personal responsibility, effort, and growth will go a long way to personal fulfillment. The first step to a better outlook is feeling better yourself. It’s not necessarily an easy journey (you can trust me. I have yet to master what I am preaching). But it is something you can control.

To address the elephant in the room . . . it is NOT the duty of women to bring you satisfaction. No matter the ultimate root of Incel\MGTOWesk ideology’s, its hard to believe that such unwarranted expectation is not part of the package. Nor should any of the proposed solutions to this problem even remotely TOUCH on this as a possible fix.

Mr. Peterson.

To bring it back to where we left . . .

No.

I didn’t say Baby Its Cold Outside was a MGTOW or Incel anthem, either (if I don’t say it, I’m bound to be clarifying later!). I’m just saying . . . these sentiments didn’t come out of nowhere. We know where the Incel thing started. Isn’t it possible that all of these misogynistic beliefs may well stem from the status quo as preserved in art from a past era?

AGAIN, the song should NOT be the focus. Its the cultural paradigms behind it that should be the focus.

I had mentioned earlier that there was another classic pop hit that had begun to make me cringe once I stopped to actually listen to the lyrics. That is, in the context of our current paradigm.

That song is Knock 3 Times by Tony Orlando & Dawn.

My dad always loved the music of his youth, so I heard this song (among others) many times while growing up. And more recently, it appeared in the playlist of my workplace. Unsurprisingly, being that most of the songs on said station seem to lean towards boomer and millennial nostalgia (along with a healthy dose of cheap filler).

Listening to a song at least once a day seemingly FOREVER is a dangerous thing. When you are completely under stimulated by your job and bored out of your fucking mind, you give attention to things you never would have before. Interestingly, this was how a lot of this blogs material was born in the past 3 years. But on with the song.

Hey girl, whatcha doing down there
Dancing alone every night while I live right above you
I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
If you look out your window tonight
Pull in the string with the note that’s attached to my heart
Read how many times I saw you
How in my silence I adored you
And only in my dreams did that wall between us come apart
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Whoa, I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no (I love you, I love you)
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Mm, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Oh, my darling
Knock three times

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tonyorlandodawn/knockthreetimes.html

It’s a catchy song. I find it annoying, but it’s still in my head as I type this. Its is no wonder that it was a hit, and that it’s still popular to this day. Its very upbeat and positive. Not unlike most other songs in the Tony Orlando & Dawn discography.

But it is certainly reminiscent of the era in which it was spawned. Again, you don’t have anything inherently rapey (even less than Baby It’s Cold Outside, really). None the less, the sentiment is troubling.

Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness

***
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe . . .

##

means you ain’t gonna show

Since the song uses sound effects that obviously can’t be translated, I added the symbols to make the quote more contextual. It just . . . looks better that way.

Either way, the whole song can be boiled down to the sentiment of these lyrics. That girl living close by is pretty fine, and I am interested. She therefore is obligated to inform me whether or not she approves of my feelings.

Umm . . . what?

It makes for a catchy song. But when translated into real world experience, its hard to not have it come off as creepy. As reminiscent of that situation (situation’s?) where the guy would NOT take no for an answer. Which could lead one of 2 places.

1.) Fear and appeasement (“better get this over with so he doesn’t go Elliot Rodger on me”).

2.) Hardline (“GOD, WHAT A FUCKING BITCH! CAN’T ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION WITHOUT GOING FUCKING PSYCHO!”)

And so we find ourselves back where we started. A Christmas song and an upbeat seventies pop hit, both equally . . . creepy. It’s likely that many pop songs of the era may well also fit the bill. Along with films, TV shows, literature and any other threads encompassing popular culture. Being that popular culture tends to be reflective of the time period one is in, this is hardly surprising.

However, its not the end of the world. Every thread of popular culture created outside of your paradigm does not have to go away just because “We know better now”.

There was no need to ban the Christmas song from the airwaves. That got the social media bandwagon zombies going, and god knows that little good ever comes from that. Oh yay, another faux controversy for the guppies to whip themselves into an enraged frenzy over. Climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, industrial scale pollution of every square inch of the earths surface . . . nope. My main concern is . . . THEY BANNED A SONG I DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT UNTIL I HEARD IT WAS BANNED!!!

*Note
banned as in private companies made the choice to not include the song in their rotation. Which is very different from government stepping in. Which did not happen.

Definitions matter. Particularly in the realm of reactionary rhetoric.

Now that I have that out of my system, what then do I propose?

Enjoy. But enjoy responsibly. The essence of every beer commercial EVER.

Human civilization is built on culture. In some ways, it could be said that culture in all its various forms, helps keep us all sane. Modern innovations have taken most of us out of the agricultural lifestyle by necessity (food security is generally taken for granted in the first world. We throw millions of tons of it in the trash!). And now we have built ourselves a paradigm in which human lifespans can theoretically hit the 100 year mark (and sometimes beyond). That is a a whole lot of free time in ones own mind. Even taking into account the inhumane length of the modern workday.

Culture, in all its shapes and forms, has a purpose.

It entertains. It educates. And it serves the purposes of both being a record of the day to day sentiments of a given society, as well as being an ever growing record of all human knowledge gained throughout the ages. Which inspires the question . . . is knowledge a form of culture?

The philosophers may have a different stance, but for the purpose of this writing I am going with yes. The other alternative that comes to mind is tradition. But that is hardly fitting. Not to mention that traditions are just another form of culture.

Culture is all encompassing. But like most other things in life, not all culture is healthy.

Enter, Baby It’s Cold Outside. Knock 3 times. Any older Rodney Dangerfield routine. Really, almost any beloved piece of cultural artifact from ANY era. As time and human progress marches on, what is left in our wake is often embarrassing. Those that lived in those times often don’t see the fuss. But for everyone beyond . . . its a bit like rereading my old posts on this blog.

On an ironically related note, there was once a time where I considered purging all of the older material I’ve shared here. Compared to more recent works, its often embarrassing. Not to mention the possibility of someone potentially pinning me to a previously shared sentiment of which may not still be relevant. Having considered that all however, I decided to keep most of it. It showcases the growth of an ever evolving writer. And it likely will until the day I no longer contribute to the collection. Every new work will eventually become part of the obsolete backlog of growth.

So it goes for the cultural artifacts of societies throughout the ages (including ours). You don’t need to trash the old for simply reflecting the ideals of a different time. To echo the sentiments of those who would rather keep their state of mindless obliviousness to modern day criticisms . . . there would be nothing left.

Do not bury. Progress.

Though many of these cultural artifact’s are chained to their obsolescent values by entropy and the passage of time, I can think of at least one example of a cultural artifact adjusting to changing sentiments on the fly. This was in the show Desperate Housewives, first released in 2004.

The show is based around the many comedic dramas involving the residents of a little fictional street, in a little fictional suburb, located in the fictional place called Eagle State. One of these housewives (a strict religious, conservative, NRA affiliated type) has a son named Andrew. You learn that he is gay a few episodes into season one, and his mother learns of his homosexuality (to comedic effect) not long after we do. Also written into Andrew’s character is his status as a troubled teen. All of which eventually culminated in his mother leaving him at a gas station far from home with just his clothing in a bag.

At the time (me watching this live in 2004 or 2005), the enormity of the situation didn’t really register. It was only in the period after that the truly horrific nature of the scene had its full impact.

I have READ these stories!

An interesting thing to note here, is the status quo of the time. Future 2 term President Obama nicely sets the mood for this trip down memory lane.

https://youtu.be/_XAVqrqr4j4

And for further nostalgia, I present Hillary Clinton on the senate floor, circa 2004.

https://youtu.be/6I1-r1YgK9I

Indeed, neither one explicitly comes out against homosexuality. They just didn’t like the idea of gay marriage as being equal as per . . . their faith? Not really bigotry, but close enough to directly enable it.

Not cool.

But as we all know, this is not how things remained. Public sentiments changed, and politicians were evolving by the dawn of the 2010’s. Sticking with this pattern of reflections of public sentiment, Desperate Housewives writers had reunited Andrew with his mother, with her becoming more accepting of this trait of her son. Later in the series, Wisteria Lane even got its own token gay couple. So begins the comedic drama around the loud and pretentious fountain, which is later destroyed in the tornado.

#SpoilerAlert

And so the story continues. We seen how one artifact of culture had the luck of being relevant for long enough to change course. What started out as part of the problem, morphed into being part of the solution.

Few works of art get this opportunity, however. Paradigm shifts generally occur in much longer cyclical intervals than popular culture intervals. Artists and creators of all kinds are almost inevitability destined to be behind the curve in this regard. Thus, we need to look at these things for what they are.

Reflections. Not guidebooks.

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Assange Is Going Home

It seems that Julian Assange’s luck is up, and he will soon be headed back to the United States to face the music.

Earlier this month, I wrote a fairly extended piece outlining the many reasons why this no longer bothered me. Truth be told, the man was never a hero in my eyes to begin with, but I couldn’t deny the public service he had done. However, that credibility was dealt a massive blow in late 2016. And it completely vanished earlier this year with Assange’s attempt at opening up a twitter backchannel to Sean Hannity. This, to feed him more ill-begotten dirt on selected Democrats.

In other words, MORE attempts to manipulate the internal political affairs of a sovereign nation-state. Since Assange proponents are not beyond using the realm of speculation as an argument, it makes me wonder. . . how many other nation states has he influenced?

Given the circumstances, it’s possible that we may find out. But we shall see. Either way, I won’t shed a tear for this asshole of a man.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/u-k-and-ecuador-conspire-to-deliver-julian-assange-to-u-s-authorities/

One aspect of this saga that came as a bit of a surprise to me was how the 2 sexual assaults that started it all have continually been either overlooked or quickly dismissed. One of the instances timed out due to the statute of limitations running out, but the other has about a year left. Both of which have always been pushed to the sidelines in light of the whole Wikileaks thing, and both of which will likely end up timing out in light of the other charges from a far more powerful nation-state. That is unless Sweden is allowed a crack at him as well. Though seemingly doubtful, one can hope. . .

In a great many instances, this oversight can be understandable. For YEARS, the media (at any level) didn’t do all that great a job at telling this side of the story. Had I not looked into it myself for the previous piece, I also wouldn’t pay much heed to it.

One expects this from a majority of proponents. The biggest reason for this is ignorance of the story, followed by bigotry (the segment that always values male livelihood more than justice). These 2 don’t surprise me.

What DOES surprise me, however, is how Julian Assange can make otherwise progressive individuals seemingly turn a part of this philosophy off in support of the man. This comes to mind when reading the article above (the sexual assaults are not mentioned at all), but this could also be just ignorance again. Christopher Hedges article, however, was less excusable.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/crucifying-julian-assange/

Dropped, because his stint in the embassy lasted long enough to run out the statute of limitations. Given differing political trade winds to the ones that ended up coming to be, he may well have timed out both.

Something Hedges readily acknowledges in his article.

Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

The UK adds yet another bend to this, but such is their right. It all still boils down to a journalist who seemingly can’t see past Assange’s own delusions of grandeur. Even when the character has displayed characteristics contrary to this journalists own values.

Should Jillian Assange even be facing charges in the United States?

I suppose now would be a good time to again say, I’m not sure. There is plenty of bias on either side of that debate to go around. But personally, I don’t know.

All I do know is that the man is undeserving of the cult following of which he has amassed. He is not the Jesus Christ of free speech. He is just another rapist without a guilty verdict.

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“Crucifying Julian Assange” – (Truthdig)

Today’s piece is looking at a recent article by the honorable journalist Christopher Hedges. I’ve read Hedges work many times before, disagreeing with him enough to feel the need to write a rebuttal at least once beforehand. Today, I am doing the same.

Whilst I respect Christopher’s work and contributions to righting humanities oh so wrongful course, I can’t help but think he has hitched onto a trojan horse this time around.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/crucifying-julian-assange/

Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno—who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment to better relations with Washington—is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

Oh lordy. Where do I even begin?

1.) As cliche and idiotic as this statement is, I can’t help but say it in this context . . . LEAVE!

There are plenty of nations that would likely be happy to grant you honorary citizenship. The Donald’s list of favorite dictatorial leaders is a good start. At the top of that list, Russia. Go join Edward Snowden and bask in the freedoms afforded to you by the Russian Federation that you won’t have anywhere else.

It’s not like you haven’t already been talking to them in the first place. I was naive enough (back in October 2016) to think that you took your role as a potential influencer of the internal politics of a sovereign nation seriously enough not to be partisan. I was wrong, and it certainly won’t happen again.

Now, if only the rest of your liberal defenders (it would seem, including Christopher Hedges) would also get the message.

2.) I can’t help but think that I am missing something in terms of the gag order of which forbids Assange from talking about conditions within the embassy. Not to mention the whole health failing thing.

It’s also noted that Equador doesn’t seem to want to pay the man’s medical bills. This, I admit, does put me into a bit of a personal catch 22. On one hand, I am a proponent of universal healthcare for ALL (ie. everyone alive), because that is just the right thing to do. But at the same time, this small nation DID inherit this problem due to no fault of their own. Citizens of the nation should have a say in the matter.

The obvious band-aid (at least for the time being) would seem to be to have Australia foot the bill for its own citizen.

3.) Of all that I have just read, THIS is the part that made me almost fall out of my chair in a fit of laughter:

imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

What in the FUCK are you TALKING about?!

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time this aspect of this story has come onto my radar this month. The investigators (CBC) briefly mentioned an article outlining both some of the nonsense that embassy staff has been having to deal with on account to Assange AND their growing anger with the horrible hygiene demonstrated by Assange (including a disgusting litter box). A story I would come across the next day in Wired Magazine. The whole thing reminded me of an ex-roommate endured by a friend a year or so ago. A seemingly mature adult man with a job. But also a man that didn’t purchase anything for himself to eat, nor clean any of his messes afterward. Dishes literally rusted away in the sink for months, even after he was booted from the wifi with a not so subtle message (Network Name: *SoAndSo* Do Dishes).

And so the ordeal went on until he had no choice but to evict since my friend himself was moving. Not that it helped matters. He just left the mess (of which included full 2 and 4L bottles of urine.  Keep in mind, this bedroom had its own adjoining bathroom). All this garbage of which was left on the front lawn of his parents (the guys then new address).

Fitting, really. I didn’t learn NOT to be a disgusting pig out of my own volition. There was guidance (at least from one parent).

All of which makes this latest Assange revelation all the more amusing. Also of which makes the Hedges (and no doubt, others) reaction a bit perplexing. Is it not fair that one would expect a tenant or houseguest to behave in a clean and/or sanitary manner? And if household chores are demeaning, does this mean that it’s the job of the embassy staff? Not to mention that it makes me a bit inquisitive of personal beliefs. Would it be demeaning to you, Christopher Hedges, to do household chores? Considering many of the areas in which your activism covers, this blatant display of seemingly unrealized privilege stands in stark contrast.

I am likely very wrong about this. Even so, the idiocy of the criticism still stands out.

Also on the topic of house rules, the censorship of him from the internet comes to mind. The last reason I found from the embassy was that he was using embassy equipment to access pornography and other related stuff. If I were in charge of IT at an EMBASSY (let alone THAT embassy), I would probably have a heart attack if I found this out too. Particularly if the device was not isolated to its own broadband connection.

Then there are the potential political implications of some of the things that Assange was seemingly up to in the realms of the world wide web. Though the treasure trove of Russian origin DNC and Hillary emails can’t really be attributed to Assange (innocent until proven guilty), he has tried ONCE to open a backchannel since then. Unfortunately for him, it was with an amused imposter of the real figure (who had been booted from Twitter temporarily).

The fake Sean Hannity Twitter account had only been up for a few hours, but apparently that’s all it took to fool Julian Assange into sliding into the account’s DMs, offering information on Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate committee investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election.

The drama began when the real Fox New host’s Twitter was briefly taken down Friday night. Soon after, Dell Gilliam, a technical writer from Texas, created an account with the handle @SeanHannity__, quickly earning 24,000 followers — and the attention of the founder of WikiLeaks, the secret document-dump service that the CIA director has called a “hostile intelligence service.”

https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/d34njw/master-of-espionage-julian-assange-offered-dirt-to-a-sean-hannity-parody-account

There, Assange defenders, is your fucking red pill. Swallow that shit and quit making me want to wolf my cookies with your endless praise of this mans utmost respect for freedom.

As for political implications, consider the place of the Ecuadorian government in this. For the Assange unaffiliated data dump of before, they hold no culpability on what can’t be proven. But in a case where the man was caught RED HANDED in an attempt to AGAIN influence the internal politics of a sovereign nation, the stakes become much more . . . tricky.
Just him using the broadband connection of the Embassy itself could be seen as an acceptance of the activity itself. And even if that is not the case, just allowing him to reside in the embassy could count as a similar expression of consent. As if associating with the rest of the Western powers wasn’t already challenging enough.

I don’t like Assange. No kidding!

Indeed, I come at this with a degree of bias. I have never really been on the Snowden/Assange/Manning as Hero’s bandwagon, to begin with. I attribute most of their infamy to the collective burying of peoples heads in the sand.

The NSA has become super good at what it always has been (collecting and sorting signals intelligence)? The US government has been involved in all manner of shocking and horrifying actions, both past and present?

SHOCKING!

Hint: SOUTH AMERICA!

America was fucking with the Latin and South American continents just as much (if not more) than they have been the middle east. If Iran and Saudi Arabia are the proxy powers of the middle east, then the USA is the Iran/Saudi Arabia of the Americas.

And America regards the refugees created by these foreign policy decisions in exactly the same way. And this was BEFORE Trump sent the military to the border. Long before.

As you can see, my irritation is not just reserved for the enemies of liberal principals. While I used to be harder on people for being so blind to the obvious (why are a bunch of social media addicts complaining about their loss of privacy?!), I eventually had to realize that not everyone is me. Most people don’t have the time (or the want) for contemplation that I have. Making the culmination of the Snowden/Assange/Manning leaks a public service.

But though I haven’t heard much about the other 2 (and really don’t have much to say about them), Assange has long since burned up any credibility that Wikileaks afforded him. And so has WikiLeaks, frankly. It’s almost unthinkable that someone in the RNC and it’s affiliated entities didn’t also get burnt. And indeed the hackers got into some old RNC and GOP domains (along with their email payload), but not the current setup. And despite it likely being impossible for there NOT to be anything interesting in even the old emails, none of it was ever released.

Quite the public service.

The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”

His mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent video appeal, “Despite Julian being a multi-award-winning journalist, much loved and respected for courageously exposing serious, high-level crimes and corruption in the public interest, he is right now alone, sick, in pain—silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact and being tortured in the heart of London. The modern-day cage of political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London. It’s the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

Good grief. I have seen less graphic descriptions of starving Yemeni children.

“Here are the facts,” she went on. “Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge. That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the U.K. government has refused his request for access to basic health needs, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London.”

“In 2016, after an in-depth investigation, the United Nations ruled that Julian’s legal and human rights have been violated on multiple occasions,” she said. “He’d been illegally detained since 2010. And they ordered his immediate release, safe passage and compensation. The U.K. government refused to abide by the U.N.’s decision. The U.S. government has made Julian’s arrest a priority. They want to get around a U.S. journalist’s protection under the First Amendment by charging him with espionage. They will stop at nothing to do it.”

“As a result of the U.S. bearing down on Ecuador, his asylum is now under immediate threat,” she said. “The U.S. pressure on Ecuador’s new president resulted in Julian being placed in a strict and severe solitary confinement for the last seven months, deprived of any contact with his family and friends. Only his lawyers could see him. Two weeks ago, things became substantially worse. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who rightfully gave Julian political asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty, publicly warned when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He stated that because of the political costs of expelling Julian from their embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally. A new, impossible, inhumane protocol was implemented at the embassy to torture him to such a point that he would break and be forced to leave.”

Again, I have to suspend my disdain in order to keep to my principals.

I’m not sure that I agree with the United States’s overzealous need to get their hands on and prosecute the man for at least his past crimes. It’s a bit of a grey zone for me because I know for a fact that some of the information put real living, breathing, people at undue risk. Yet at the same time, the reason that much information is flagged as classified is often that we don’t want the public privy to it. Sometimes for good reason, often times because . . . humans.

WHOOPS! Better sweep that under the rug . . .

And if there is something to this speculated partnership with the United States to break Assange down mentally that goes beyond conspiracy theory, then, of course, I don’t condone this.

Frankly, it’s hard to make heads or tails out of any of this due to the sources of all the information. Of course a loving mother is going to describe in great detail every single trail of her own flesh and blood.

Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch dated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange. The document said the smear campaign should seek to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked. Assange is especially vilified for publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The Democrats and former FBI Director James Comey say the emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, by Russian government hackers. Comey has said the messages were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by “state actors.”

My god, Christopher Hedges really does have his head WAY up his ass on this one.

The Democratic Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime. Now, stories in newspapers that once published material from WikiLeaks focus on his allegedly slovenly behavior—not evident during my visits with him—and how he is, in the words of The Guardian, “an unwelcome guest” in the embassy. The vital issue of the rights of a publisher and a free press is ignored in favor of snarky character assassination.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense charges that were eventually dropped. Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

1.) Yes, the Democratic Party has not yet honestly assessed their reasons for losing the most winnable election in American history. The only thing more terrifying than the goings on in the Whitehouse in the past 2 years (which has become eerily reminiscent of the Ministry of Magic in Deathly Hollows Parts I and II) are the reactions of the DNC. An organization that seems to have learned NOTHING.

Actually no, that’s wrong. They seem to have only picked up on a very BAD lesson. The need for a celebrity candidate. I don’t care who it is . . . for the love of GOD, not now!

And as for Hillary . . . BACK THE FUCK OFF! I like you, I think you would have been an acceptable president (extraordinary, given the current comparison), but none the less . . . step aside.

2.) I don’t like the casual way in which Hedges seems to deal with the sexual assault charges (the charges have been dropped). There are 2 victims listed in the article, listed as Miss A and Miss W. Both allege that a consensual sexual encounter become non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.

Imagine that.

Either way, Miss A’s charges went away because the statute of limitations expired. The charges related to the Miss W encounter don’t expire until 2020. He WAS arrested on those charges already (in Britan, as asked to do so by Sweeden), but was bailed out by high-level supporters and fellow journalists.

Next, it looks like Britan decided to extradite Assange back to Sweeden to face the music. By this point, the Wikileaks stuff had blown up and the FBI wanted him as well, throwing another kink into this international mess. Assange’s lawyers unsuccessfully fought the extradition (fearing Sweeden would allow his extradition to the US), so he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy for the past 8 years.

I don’t fully agree with how the Americans have been playing this. But it is also unfortunate that the initial sexual assaults seemed to fall by the wayside to this mess. No doubt because they are unimportant, given the context.

It’s an oversight of the many. Welcome to the patriarchy!

But given the last topic in which I and Christopher Hedges butted heads on, I am a bit disappointed at the lack of oxygen given to this important aspect of the story. The charges stemming from the Wikileaks stuff was on top of the other stuff. NOT the show with a side of sexual assault.

By the looks of things, the 2020 charges may well also expire in the shadow of the persecuted messiah Julian story. Is this right?

WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. He disclosed the conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed, ominously, that Assange was on a U.S. “manhunt target list.”

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.

Dear lord. The last person to be persecuted as brutally as Assange is being (allegedly!) may well be Jesus Christ himself.

Uh . . . Assange helped to expose the inner workings (and failings) of pretty much every governing body with which his organization would come to touch on. WE GET IT.

Can we now be honest?

Be honest in saying that the man who should terrify the press (I guess that also includes me now) does not give a flying FUCK about the freedoms he has become the poster boy of? Do I really have to mention “SEAN HANNITY BACKCHANNEL!!” again?!

Even if the Russians provided the Podesta emails to Assange, he should have published them. I would have. They exposed practices of the Clinton political machine that she and the Democratic leadership sought to hide. In the two decades I worked overseas as a foreign correspondent I was routinely leaked stolen documents by organizations and governments. My only concern was whether the documents were forged or genuine. If they were genuine, I published them. Those who leaked material to me included the rebels of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN); the Salvadoran army, which once gave me blood-smeared FMLN documents found after an ambush; the Sandinista government of Nicaragua; the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Central Intelligence Agency; the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebel group; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the French intelligence service, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, or DGSE; and the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosovic, who was later tried as a war criminal.

We learned from the emails published by WikiLeaks that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton paid her donors back by approving $80 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, enabling the kingdom to carry out a devastating war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis, including widespread food shortages and a cholera epidemic, and left close to 60,000 dead. We learned Clinton was paid $675,000 for speaking at Goldman Sachs, a sum so massive it can only be described as a bribe. We learned Clinton told the financial elites in her lucrative talks that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best-positioned to manage the economy, a statement that directly contradicted her campaign promises. We learned the Clinton campaign worked to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. We learned Clinton obtained advance information on primary-debate questions. We learned, because 1,700 of the 33,000 emails came from Hillary Clinton, she was the primary architect of the war in Libya. We learned she believed that the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. The war she sought has left Libya in chaos, seen the rise to power of radical jihadists in what is now a failed state, triggered a massive exodus of migrants to Europe, seen Libyan weapon stockpiles seized by rogue militias and Islamic radicals throughout the region, and resulted in 40,000 dead. Should this information have remained hidden from the American public? You can argue yes, but you can’t then call yourself a journalist.

Is that a strawman?

I don’t disagree. The information had its rightful place in the public discourse. But so to, did the emails snatched from the old Republican server.

This is not partisanship. This is integrity. Frankly, me holding Hedges to his own standards.

“They are setting my son up to give them an excuse to hand him over to the U.S., where he would face a show trial,” Christine Assange warned. “Over the past eight years, he has had no proper legal process. It has been unfair at every single turn with much perversion of justice. There is no reason to consider that this would change in the future. The U.S. WikiLeaks grand jury, producing the extradition warrant, was held in secret by four prosecutors but no defense and no judge. The U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty allows for the U.K. to extradite Julian to the U.S. without a proper basic case. Once in the U.S., the National Defense Authorization Act allows for indefinite detention without trial. Julian could very well be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum-security prison, or face the death penalty. My son is in critical danger because of a brutal, political persecution by the bullies in power whose crimes and corruption he had courageously exposed when he was editor in chief of WikiLeaks.”

Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.

I puked in my mouth a little, there.

A man that helped fascism AGAIN regain a foothold in the liberal democracies of the western world, is the last hope for a free press.

Give me a break.

 “We need to make our protest against this brutality deafening,” his mother said. “I call on all you journalists to stand up now because he’s your colleague and you are next. I call on all you politicians who say you entered politics to serve the people to stand up now. I call on all you activists who support human rights, refugees, the environment, and are against war, to stand up now because WikiLeaks has served the causes that you spoke for and Julian is now suffering for it alongside of you. I call on all citizens who value freedom, democracy and a fair legal process to put aside your political differences and unite, stand up now. Most of us don’t have the courage of our whistleblowers or journalists like Julian Assange who publish them, so that we may be informed and warned about the abuses of power.”

I call on you, the information-consuming public, to drop whatever illusions you may still have about the intentions of Wikileaks and Jullian Assange. Your failure to do so, I fear, places you at odds with the promoters of liberal values and hand in hand with the perpetrators of illiberal fascism. Of all the things I never thought I would say of Christopher Hedges, that one is WAY up on the list.

Jullian Assange should face a fair trial in the context of both sets of charges in which he is accused. But it’s time to drop the messiah complex that has infected seemingly every iota of reporting in terms of Jullian Assange. At one time, he did the world a great public service. As time went on, it would seem that he was more driven by an agenda than anything else. Though he was once a poster child of freedom and liberty, those days are LONG gone. Claims for which can now be backed with real-world evidence (as of January 2018).

Jullian Assange is no hero. It’s time to give up the illusion.

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Rememberance In The Era Of Uncertainty

poppies

That time of year has come around, once more. When we honor the souls who made the ultimate sacrifice, affording us the lives we currently take wholly for granted. And so it goes. Like the poppies growing row upon row, we follow the script year after year. Go through the same ceremonies and pageantries, followed by a whole lot of nothing. Well, at least until next year.

Speaking of traditions, even I have developed a remembrance day tradition of my own. Since debuting this blog onto the net back in early 2013 (just after my second foray into twitter the month previous), I have had a remembrance day related post for every single year.

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

These posts vary in substance, from my gripes and complaints about this day in the context of my life and work to fairly long-form explanations of my views on wearing a poppy, and of the whole thing in general. If I were to boil it down:

1.) People don’t have to follow the established method of remembrance in showing they don’t forget

2.) There are bigger fish to fry than Christmas lights on or Christmas related items out before November 11th

To start, it had been a good post-Halloween season. Once the Halloween season has gone by, normally poppy seasons starts to take hold. From a few here and there to every single person on a Canadian live television show having them as seemingly a rule (with the real world generally mirroring this). Also in this time period is generally when I will almost inevitably come across something dumb that is in the context of November 11th and circulating on social media. For example, my 2015 post.
Despite this seemingly unbreakable rule of thumb, this year was shaping up to be pretty good (despite some fairly obvious potential triggers). Back before Thanksgiving, I noticed that one of our local dollar stores (interestingly, a store that made headlines (and my post) last year) already had Christmas stuff out in back aisles. And even before Halloween had passed, other stores were starting to slip the Christmas stuff front and center as well. All the ingredients of a future annoyance article or social media post.
Even with this however, it was all quiet on the western front. To the point where I thought we may actually get through this without any nonsense. And then I open up my local forum 2 days ago and found an angry post about people putting on their Christmas lights before remembrance day.
Better luck next year.

While this indignation has always come across as silly (and a tad bigoted) for me, it occurred to me that there is a whole other dimension of which we are dealing with now.

I like to keep myself connected to the news, so I hear a lot in a day, a week, a month. And in the last 2 to 3 years, I am noticing some patterns that are TO SAY THE LEAST, areas of concern. One does not even need individual stories to get this across. Just play scary terms bingo.

  • white nationalism/supremacy
  • coup
  • fake news
  • nazi(‘s)
  • civil war

That last one was mentioned on a CBC program called The Investigators, by a fellow who claimed that Canada should get ready for such an outcome. He couldn’t exactly tell us what that entailed.

It’s entirely possible that I get far too much of this stuff. Bill Maher is right in his observation that this year (the last 2, really) have been painfully long, and yet have gone by so quickly.

Which brings me back to the ever elusive point of this post.

In one of my past writings, one of my criticisms has been in the status quo collective sentiment that is we care and lest we forget, until the 12th of November. Then it’s off and running on the holiday preparation horserace, then back to blissful normalcy come January 2ed and beyond. This is also blatantly visible in how most regard veterans and veterans issues. Most tend only to care about their well being when someone points out (incorrectly) that foreigners get more money than veterans. If only every day were remembrance day, veterans and homeless (the other political football of the chronically unplugged) would have the resources they need!

On top of that, is the paradigm of modern society. The drastic rightward shift of not just (seemingly) the whole of the liberal democratic western world, but also the amplification of extremists of which were once kept in check by a proud American presence of domination. We are rapidly approaching a seemingly anything goes paradigm, and I’m fairly certain that 99.9% of those doing the marching have NO idea what they are getting themselves into.
Or to put it another way, it’s starting to feel very late Weimar republic-esk. And we may be on the cusp of a major recession.

Poppies and ceremonies and fields of flowers growing row on row. What was it that these people died for, again?

 

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“Seniors Are More Conservative Because the Poor Don’t Survive to Become Seniors” – (Intelligencer)

Todays topic is yet another that one could say I took for granted at face value. It’s something i’ve heard at diffrent times in life, as well as a few times on youtube channels I no longer follow (The Rubin Report).

Though it’s a rule of thumb that caused me to raise an eyebrow over the years (I haven’t become less liberal over time), it’s never something I gave much thought to. Because:

a.) Why bother

b.) I tend to be an abboration to the norm. So my conclusions are not a good measure for . . . the nrom

And so it was, until todays find. An article arguing a far more sinister reason for the seeming shift in political views with age. It maybe less a case of liberals and progressives aging into conservative views than it is liberals and progressives dying off. Because conservatives tend to come at life from more privilaged backgrounds, and liberals and progressives tend to . . . not.

It’s easy to argue for the scaling back (or elimination entirly)  of many social services when one never has a need for them. That said, lets get into the article.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/05/poor-people-often-dont-survive-to-become-seniors-who-vote.html

One of the abiding realities of our political era is a major generational split anchored on the right by disproportionately conservative seniors and on the left by disproportionately progressive millennials and post-millennials. This is often thought of as a perfectly natural, even inevitable, phenomenon: Young people are adventurous, open to new ways of thinking, and not terribly invested in the status quo, while old folks have time-tested views, assets they want to protect, and a growing fear of the unknown and unfamiliar.

There is some truth in those stereotypes, though different cohorts of young people in the past have been far more conservative than today’s, and on non-cultural matters, seniors have sometimes been as or even more progressive than their children or grandchildren (e.g., the so-called Greatest Generation, which mostly came of age during the Great Depression, was persistently Democratic-leaning politically).

But it is important to note that some generational disjunctions in political behavior are driven by demography. It’s well understood that millennials are significantly more diverse than prior generations. But there is something else driving the relative homogeneity of seniors: Poorer people are often hobbled by chronic illness, and succumb to premature death. A new academic study featured at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog explains:

Political participation of the poor is overall lower because of poverty, bad health and many other factors, but millions of impoverished Americans across the country also die prematurely. For instance, in 2015, research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Social Security Administration revealed that, since 1990, among the bottom quarter of Americans with the least education, life expectancy has either stagnated or decreased. That’s for well over 40 million people.

Add to this negative trend the fact that mortality among the poor increases during middle age — which is when citizens generally get more involved in politics. The premature disappearance of the poor, then, occurs precisely at the moment when they would be expected to reach their “participatory peak” in society. But they don’t live long enough to achieve that milestone.

Interesting. And one can follow the logic fairly easily as well.

First, one has to consider voter supression. The very real effort of right wing intrests in keeping legitamite voter ballots out of election counts. Because they know they have a losing strategy. It’s easier to rig the system than to face any change in lifestyle that the commons-centered population may mandate. Even if this boils town to a tax that is a pittance in relation to their total net worth.

Voter disenfranchisment is a good part of this picture. But so is the lifestyle of the poor.

Lifestyle may be the wrong word here because lifestyle seems to indicate that there is a choice in the matter. Which is not always (rarly?) the case for the poor.
Limited incomes in combination with food deserts mandate the consumption of at best, sub standard food. In conbination with the hiddious state of health care in the United States (do you think these people can afford health insurance?), it’s no wonder that they don’t live past 50 on average.

Populations and generations don’t age into conservative views. The conservatives kill off the liberals. You can do a lot when you weild the levers of power. And it’s easy to sleep at night because after all, you didn’t do that. Everyone in America has a chance to have what you have. It’s not your fault they didn’t have the ambition of . . . Donald Trump.

Straw man? a little. None the less, fuck you.

Privilage may enable self deception, but the blood is still on your hands.

  Since white people suffer proportionately less from poverty than nonwhite people, they do tend to live longer, and in better health, which is conducive to political and other civic activism. The most politically left-bent demographic racial group, African-Americans, has made progress recently in reducing the gap in life expectancy with white peers, but still lags in both lifespans and health, as a 2017 CDC study showed:

For blacks 18 to 64, the data showed that they were at a higher risk of early death than whites.

“These findings are generally consistent with previous reports that use the term ’weathering,’ which suggests that blacks experience premature aging and earlier health decline than whites and that this decline in health accumulates across the entire lifespan and potentially across generations. This happens as a consequence of psychosocial, economic and environmental stressors,” said Leandris Liburd, director of the CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity.

And as the authors of the new study discussed at the Monkey Cage note, age and lifespan disparities can become self-perpetuating:

Inequality in the U.S., in other words, is not solely the result of economic difference. Health, too, has considerable potential to stack the deck against the poor. Socioeconomics, longevity and political participation mutually reinforce each other, making it especially difficult for poor Americans to gain political clout.

Naturally, there is a racial component to this. Consider this next time you see some white privilaged nutjob shouting about the risk of white genocide in the streets.

So it’s not just a matter of people naturally growing more conservative as they grow older. It’s also a matter of the wealthier — and more conservative — people surviving more often, and for longer.

That is certainly a positive way to shape it. Too bad that 2 years of mainstream right wing fuckery has all but erased my civility in talking about these matters.

Civility. What an interesting concept. Those that wish for nothing more than the dismantaling of all that it stands for, demand it when they bring their evil ideals into the public discourse.

There is a time for measured conversation. And there is a time to say “Go fuck yourself!”.

 

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The Cobain Case

These last few years have been quite the roller coaster, intellectually. Not something I haven’t said before. But it nicely applies here, since this intellectual growth has come to touch on pretty much every single thing that I have ever taken for granted, and then some. Calling it growth is not really correct either since it was less learning something new than it was a process of training myself to better analyze information in general. Both in terms of new information, AND what already resides in the mind (at least when prompted). Many are able to master the former, but the latter is often a challenge. Certainly so for me, but definitely so for about 99% of the naysayers on almost any topic that I touch on anywhere.

This post centers on the and then some category of the contents of my mind. A topic that has been kicking around the back of my brain undisturbed for many years, only to be yanked back to the forefront of my conscience by a tweet. Interestingly, a tweet that was unrelated to the topic itself.

Though my relationship to the Cobain saga goes back many years, my relationship to the life story of Kurt Cobain goes back even further. Being a tail end millennial, I wasn’t old enough to be paying much heed to anything back in 1994, let alone for the duration of his career. I came to his story and his music the way most (all?) millennials did . . . though popular culture as heavily influenced by the world wide web.

Likely due to a combination of living on through continued radio play and vast availability though now defunct P2P protocols, Nirvana had just as many fans in the following generation (possibly generations) as they did in their prime. I was very much one of them, loving me some mainstream hits much like many others. The band (or more accurately, Kurt Cobain himself) grew more and more interesting after I found out about his fate. Suicide.
It’s getting harder to describe, being this far out from that time of life. But what comes to mind are both morbid fascination, and a degree of jealousy. At this time of life, I didn’t really see any future for myself. But despite this, I was still too weak to actually follow through with bringing to reality what I viewed as my destiny. Given this sentiment, people like Cobain become very fascinating. Particularly pop cultures so-called 27 club (Amy Winehouse being the latest name).

I don’t look back at this time with pride, obviously. But I also don’t look back at it with contempt, either. I have allowed some people to claw me down a bit, comparing my seemingly trivial hardships to their very REAL hardships. But I don’t do that anymore, either. It’s not helpful.

Either way, this is a small window into my mid to late teenage years. A time of life when I needed a crutch to keep me going. Which is why I now don’t look back with much regret at this, nor at the suicidal mindset that cut through the majority of my high school years .
It was a coping mechanism. It robbed me of enjoying many events of the then present day. It somewhat handicapped my ability to prepare myself for the future. But, it got me beyond the rough and into . . . whatever the hell this is. Even if that equates to a patch of concrete of which is destined to be crushed by the steamroller that is the stupidity of the human species, a positive outcome it still is.

To round it back, I remember my first exposure to the Cobain conspiracy theory. I was browsing Cobain info on some website and ended up in a bit of a rabbit hole of sorts. I remember this because it didn’t sit well with me.

I mean . . .NO! The man killed himself! If this is all to be believed, then what of the last 2 years of my life?! I’ve been fascinated by a LIE!

So describes a fascinating manifestation of cognitive bias in my young brain.

This fascination with celebrities that committed suicide or overdosed eventually faded away, as did most of my interest in the Cobain conspiracy. Life happened, with all the often nonsensical bullshit of which that entailed.

Though the Cobain conspiracy was on the very back burner for the vast majority of the time between first discovering it and recently (within the last year), I periodically had bouts of pursuit into the details. I had researched the case VIA Google a few times, finding Tom Grant and CobainCase.com (along with many others). I watched Kurt & Courtney. I became aware of all the seeming problems surrounding Cortney Love. From the allegations of her taking out a $50,000 hit on Kurt (made by a guy who was killed by a train days after that interview), to peoples habit of dying upon telling Courtney that they want to leave her (and Seattle). The first is obvious, the other is former Hole bandmate, Kristen Pfaff.
Though I revisited this every year or 2, I couldn’t help feeling that there had to be something here. This made all the more amusing by the semi-yearly occurrence of some commentator or celebrity calling out Courtney Love publicly for her role in the murder.

I had even drafted a post exploring this topic (well, started to) a few months after starting this blog. A post that I kept around until a few months ago when I started to have  serious doubts about the validity of the theory.

Part of this was rooted in the drastic shifts within my own mind of the past few years. I like to say that most people can recognize silly conspiracy theories on sight. That is, except for their own.

I began see this pattern in my own pro-murder leanings.

A big part of this came in my viewing of Soaked In Bleach, yet another film exploration into the theories. Unlike the others, however, this one annoyed me right off the bat, since  it began by asking the viewer to decide for themselves whether it was murder or suicide. As do many books written about the Cobain case, and materials concerning other conspiracy theories as well.
The other thing I disliked about this so-called docu-drama, was the bias. Though I didn’t have all that positive a perception of Courtney Love before watching this, even I had to admit that the bias towards her (as portrayed) was over the top. To give Tom Grant a bit of credit, it could have been a genuine reenactment of the meetings as they played out in his memory. But even so, it came off as quite . . . pushy towards an intended conclusion. A tactic that makes me very suspicious of the agenda behind those apparently doing the pushing.

The straw that would come to break the camels back was dropped on my consequence 2 days ago, VIA an algorithmically generated email from twitter (of all places). Amongst a list of tweets picked out just for me (based on my patterns of behavior, no doubt) was one from Tom Grant. Not even a tweet that had any connection to Soaked in Bleach, conspiracy, OR the Cobain case in general. Rather, it was a tweet featuring a video that would seemingly “leave most evolutionists scratching their heads”.

 

Yeah. . .

My first critique is the one that most with a capable mind will pick up on. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in gravity, or radio waves, or light radiation. For lack of a more scientifically cogent way to put it, I don’t HAVE to believe in any of these things. Unlike the conspiracy that has been Grant’s claim to fame. Or infamy.

Whichever is more applicable.

Evolution denialism does not have anything to do with forensics. Alright, I’m going to back that up a little. It certainly has nothing to do with the Cobain case. Even so, it is possible to draw a parallel.

My observation of human behaviors in my proximity tends to indicate that the methodology that people use to come to a conclusion in one context is typically the one that is used for other problems in similar contexts. Or to round it all the way up to the macro level, I don’t think it’s coincidental that the United States is both the most religious nation AND the most prone nation to producing and propagating conspiracy theory.

It’s all about asking questions. Or in the case of a good majority of conspiracy theories, absorbing a new narrative under the pretext of asking questions. Often times a narrative that presents itself as a quest for the truth, but materializes as a standard for which all evidence presented by opposing arguments has to stand up to. Which is often times impossible due to an informational vacuum. Because if there weren’t an informational vacuum, there would not be a conspiracy theory!

In this day and age, even THAT rule of thumb is getting unreliable. But none the less, complete transparency from all angles would wipe out 99.9 . . .9% of these zombie theories that live on forever.

So, how does this apply to this?

Unlike some other conspiracies that I have looked into just out of curiosity (mainly those surrounding the events of 9/11), I haven’t done a whole lot of independent research into the Cobain case. I know a thing or 2, but I also knew EXACTLY what I was looking for. Hardly proper or unbiased research.

I don’t know why Courtney may or may not have acted oddly around that time.
I don’t know whether or not the gun that killed Kurt was wiped of prints.
I don’t know if his credit card was really used after he was dead (presumably by the assailant).
I don’t know if said assailant did get paid a large sum of money, only to presumably overdose and take the secret to their grave as well.
I don’t know if the amount of heroin detected in Kurt’s body was truly incapacitating (even to a highly tolerant addict), rendering suicide an impossibility.
I don’t know if the suicide note in its entirety, is truly authentic.
I don’t know if someone at ANY level made the realization that Kurt Cobain was worth more dead than alive, in the state that he was in.

I just don’t know. And in some respects, I don’t care.

I will say this . . . if there is a unified stance amongst experts in the field of forensics that there is something wrong here and that the Seattle Police Department may have missed something, then by all means, they should reopen the case file. It wouldn’t be the first time that a department has botched even a high profile case.

As for outside of that context, I think that it’s time to give it a rest.

I don’t know if Courtney Love is openly hostile towards many of these investigations on account to not wanting certain skeletons unearthed. Alternatively to that assumption (which is not hard to come to when opening your mind to many of these theories), is it not also possible that this is a very human reaction to a wild goose chase that doesn’t allow one to ever truly move on from a tragedy? How about a motherly reaction in the name of shielding their child from having to deal with the same nonsense?

I may not have all the answers, but it’s time for me to lay this old ghost to rest. Once and for all.

 

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Pronouns – (Contrapoints)

I wish I was as smooth as Natalie (aka Contrapoints) in the real world realms. Thus, even though I have grown a storng distaste for nobodies using popular Youtube channels to educate the masses to some wrongful or unnuanced interpretation of reality,  Contra is worth the time spent.

In this video, she is exploring the seemingly slippery and dangerous world that is gender pronouns. Seemingly is the key word here. Jordon Peterson grew his online career based on the dangerous aspect (BILL C16! ARRESTS FOR NOT USING THE RIGHT PRONOUNS!), despite the fact that the number of people affected by this law (after a year) is zero. Which is quite the milestone, considering the ignorance displayed by people I knew within my localized area. Let alone those with ignorant views that utilize social media with fully public settings.

As for slippery, Contra also adresses that one nicly by simply pointing out that the arguments against gender pronouns are less based on scinece than they are on misinterpretation of launguage. Even though logic dictates in most circumstances that this is the label (eg. she for a transitioned M2F), it’s not considered scientificly proper. Despite most of these arguments eventually boiling down to sementics, anyway.

Give the video a watch. And take a gander at some of her past material, as well. Even if you already know the knowledge, no one does it quite like her. You may even learn something.

Since i’m here, I may as well give my 2 cents on the subject of pronouns.

In a nutshell . . . I don’t give a shit. As even Ben Shapiro brilliantly proved in a slip up in his Rogan interview, such would be a full time occupation in itself. And even though it is for Ben Shapiro, he STILL off handedly called a transition M2F actor she, quickly having to fix his error. Whoopsie!

I don’t care if a trans women (or women, it seems) uses the same bathroom that I do. I can’t say that I won’t be a bit taken aback at first (it dosen’t happen often. At least where I live), but when I come to my senses, it’s on with my day. We both have things to do, tasks to achieve.

 

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