And A Thousand Blue Checkmarks On Twitter Held Their Breath

The Mueller Report: The Final Report of the Special Counsel into Donald  Trump, Russia, and Collusion: Mueller III, Robert S., U.S. Department of  Justice, Special Counsel's Office, Dershowitz, Alan: 9781510750166: Books

The Mueller Report is dropping this morning. It’s completely meaningless. Here’s why.

  • There are no charges within it we already don’t know about. The President and his aides are not going to be led out of the White House in cuffs, gifs to the contrary.
  • Your mind is not going to be changed by anything within. If you follow most mainstream news sources, you already know that Trump is a unique combination of corrupt and stupid. So not only does he commit dozens of crimes constantly (directing Federal budget money and foreign bribes to his personal business interests, mainly) he keeps track of them via a MYCRIMES.TXT file on Jared Kushner’s laptop. This is not a particularly secretive administration – if anything they seem perversely proud of being corrupt.
  • Or failing that, if you’re part of the 30% of Trump’s core support you think everyone is lying because they’re lying liberals who lie because Trump said so. Any ‘disclosures’ today are just more liberal lies.
  • Again, this will not result in Trump’s removal from office. There is an argument that Trump should be impeached mainly because of, well, MYCRIMES.TXT and the historical record, but even then the Senate would block removal. And that’s fine. Because…
  • In a year and a half, we will hold an election. This traditionally is how we get rid of bad Presidents. It works really well! And Trump will almost certainly lose. And if he doesn’t, our country has many more problems than a Mueller Report describes.

So ignore the drama today. Consider it a tiny revolution.

The Canary Is Dead

Texas Tech Medical School Will End Use of Race in Admissions – Politico

We all laughed at Betsy DeVos when she went through confirmations. She talked about students fighting off bears. She was obviously completely incompetent. Hah hah hah. Look at the stupid woman.

Look at the stupid woman who has been sinking money into the Republican Party for the past twenty years for this moment, when she can take the one cabinet office she wants, and then use it to stamp her religious-fascist views of education to destroy a system of colleges which up till now was a pinnacle of scholarship that everyone on the PLANET – Europe, China, everywhere – fought over each other to learn from.

Not now. Oh no. Oh, no no no. Oh no.

This is the canary in the coal mine and that canary is DEAD. Betsy DeVos has an agenda, and that agenda is our entire educational system, pre-K to post-PhD, enslaved to a religious doctrine.

Oh wait, you didn’t know our secretary of education was a Dominionist? Too late now. It has already begun. And the world – not just America, the world – is poorer for it.

This is the second most damaging thing the Trump administration has done. (The most damaging, for the record, is abrogating the Paris climate change accord. Which does kind of make all this dancing around irrelevant if, you know, in 50 years we all die.)

The Black Napoleon

History You Wish School Told You About for today: the Haitian Revolution.

Sugar Plantations

Haiti was a sugar plantation colony. In the 16th century, farming sugar would literally straight up kill you. It was incredibly hard, back-breaking manual labor in tropical conditions that absolutely no one would do voluntarily. “Good” thing slavery existed – and the French (who owned Haiti) used slaves as a temporary resource. Work them until they died, bring in more slaves, rinse repeat.

The slaves were not amused by this, as you can well imagine. And the French were not particularly good at advanced planning, since the slave population of Haiti was about 90% of the total population, and sugar production involves really big sickles, and I think you see where this is going and yes, it did.

This Day in History - Caribbean News

In 1789, the French Revolution happened. Suddenly, instead of l’etat c’est moi, we have the Declaration of the Rights of Man, Thermidor, the guillotine, the whole thing. But not in Haiti, mais non! Haiti produced the majority of the world’s coffee and sugar, and giving this up simply would not do. For their part, the white plantation owners figured that since France was going mad, it was a perfect time to declare independence. The slaves, led by Toussaint Louverture, thought the same, but it’s safe to say their definition was different, and they revolted, quickly taking over a large part of Haiti.

Toussaint Louverture - Girardin.jpg

France, still convulsed with the Revolution and the Terror and also having that rare attack of moral fiber, responded by giving freed blacks in the Colonies full civil rights. This shocked the rest of the world, but it was also an attempt to politically split the Haitian rebels – a minority of whom had already won their freedom legally before the revolution. The white plantation owners then tried to defect to Britain, hoping they would bring back the good old days. The British promptly invaded and assisted by Spain, took control of the island and re-imposed slavery. France, led by the new governor Sonthonax, who history records as the first Third Way Democrat by appealing to everyone and doing very little, responded by declaring all the slaves of Haiti free. This meant little since the only army France had left to it on Haiti was… Louverture’s.

Louverture, it turned out, was pretty good at guerilla warfare, and also had the benefit of fighting on the platform of “not enslaving 90% of everyone” – thus, he won, beating the British and Spanish. By 1800, Napoleon was in power in France and Louverture’s Haiti was independent in all but name – and the first non-racial society in the New World.

Unfortunately, France wasn’t big enough to hold both Napoleon and Louverture (or, really, Napoleon or anyone else) and after some disputes over Haiti’s sovereignty, Napoleon sent a force of troops in 1802 to re-impose French law. Louverture took his men into the hills and waited for the French invaders to die from disease (in Haiti, not that much of a stretch) – the French instead put the island to the torch and sword. Horrified at the carnage, Louverture met the French commander to parley, was arrested, and imprisoned (he died a year later).

French propaganda, very subtle

His second-in-command, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, was far more brutal than Louverture (it remains unclear whether he was responsible for Louverture’s capture). After winning the war against the French in 1804, he led a massacre of the few French white settlers left in Haiti, forbade any whites from setting foot on the island, declared himself Emperor for life, and was killed by his own men 2 years later. His successors, wanting to enrich themselves, re-imposed slavery in all but name to keep the sugar plantations running. The new nation promptly went into massive debt, and to keep the economy running France imposed even more crippling debt (essentially billing Haiti for their own independence) – this eventually led to the US occupying the country to ensure debt repayment a century later.

The Haitian Revolution frightened the world – it was a successful popular uprising of an enslaved people, against the superpowers of the day, led by “the Black Napoleon”.

The echoes continue through the years.

Try the Wine

“A Clockwork Orange” – like “Blazing Saddles” which came out that same year – is so transgressive and so invasive, you want to ignore it exists.

And yet, 45 years later, it is still relevant as hell. Not just relevant, but invasive. Awful. Horrible. It is not an easy watch. It does not reward you. It remains one of the best movies ever made. And even today, it remains not just relevant, but… forbidden. It goes there. Every time. And you think it might be pornographic – but it’s not. It’s so much worse.

One of the most awkward scenes. And bear in mind – this was filmed in 1971. This was in your face in every way possible. The tension in this scene, the knowledge, how everyone interacts… it’s so painful and so perfect. Kubrick was/remains a master of his art.

This Just In: Trump Said a Thing

Trump Says He’s Taken Better Care of Puerto Rico “Than Any Living Human Being” – The Hill

I know LOTS of Boricuans who would disagree. But does it really matter? I mean, he literally just says whatever pops into his head, regardless of how much off base it is, regardless of how insulting it is, regardless of how he’s literally on the record THIS WEEK demanding Puerto Rico get less disaster relief because, I dunno, lemme pick a random reason, they speak Spanish and have darker skin? Can we go with that reason? You got a better one? All righty, then.

I know, posts like this are stupid. “Trump said a thing.”

You know the real problem? We have an executive branch that is literally – LITERALLY on the level of Beavis and Butthead. “Hey, Beavis, I totally am the best humanitarian ever, I saved so many lives.” “Hurrr hurr hurr”.

This is not unintentional. This is demeaning the very idea of governmental oversight, because our supposed leader is – and really, I can’t WAIT for someone to disprove these statements – functionally illiterate, emotionally dead to the point of sociopathy, and with the working IQ of a junior high school student.

This devalues the CONCEPT of government. Why bother to have laws and oversight, when the people in charge are so incredibly, provably stupid? Better to let corporations run themselves, right?

The very compact we live under – an association of people who work together for the betterment of all involved – is under threat. And this has nothing to do with ideology, unless you think that the concept of “functional highways”, “working air traffic control” and “emergency services that actually are funded” are somehow socialist shibboleths.

The longer we have a government this dysfunctional, this incapable of doing anything at all, the more likely it is we tip over into that Cyberpunk 2020 campaign where corporations have private armies, ambulances are Special Forces details only available to the 1%, and life for the vast majority is nasty, brutish, and short.

It was science fiction 30 years ago. Now?