The Great Smoke Screen Of June

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As the great conspiracy theorist worst-writer-ghandi said, and I’m pseudo-paraphrasing, “first they snark at you, then they flip you the bird, then they make lots of bad bathroom stall jokes about you and then… you lose”. Or something like that. What a month June 2015 has been, eh worst-reader! I mean, what a month it’s been for the judicial branch of government. Or. There’s marriage equality, health care, fair housing and free jujubes. Then, a former vice presidential candidate’s daughter announces that she’s out-of-wedlock pregnant for the second time after she’s been telling young girls to avoid penises and getting paid to do so in various national abstinence campaigns. Oh. And let’s not forget that some Confederate flags are being lowered and hidden in plain sight in museums. And then there was that odd but delightful interview in a garage of Barry O where he said some interesting things, especially the n-word. Indeed. A lots been going on this summer. Ok. But. For. As good as all this sounds–and if you’re a liberal skeptic like me–I’m not falling for it one bit. Something is going on here. As usual, the political situation in #americant is one-sided. That is, one side controls everything. Everything is money. As we all know the republicans and their gatekeepers, conservatives, have ruled #americant for the past (insert #) years. Why then in June 2015 is there suddenly all this “liberal” stuff being shoved down the throats of political ideologues manifested in the GOP? (Un)Fortunately I don’t know the answer to that question. And that’s a good thing. But I will worst-say this (again): something is up. The corporate run state, the corporate owned supremes, the corporate fascist society that everyone seems to love-hate is either at a cross-roads or the jujubes are spiked. I mean. Come on. People are talking about a flag–yes, the disgusting Confederate flag–when they should be talking about guns. People are talking health care when they should be talking about the insurance industry. People are talking marriage equality when they should be talking about the broken contractual failed state sanctioned institution known as “marriage”. And while all this talking is taking place–and a few people feel victorious–something is going on. But I digress. Or maybe I don’t digress. At least not yet. Let me go out on a limb here. Why all this showboating and/or smoke-screening? What purpose does it all serve? Well, here’s my worst-theory. The most important political happening–and by “important” I mean heavy, weighted, significant, really, really important–was the passing of TPP and the subsequent Fast Track Authority that accompanied it. If you thought you were screwed by the corporate state up to this point, wait till TPP starts to kick in. And now I digress. And I think it’s time for me to get a bit distracted for a while, too. Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

Explaining The URL

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It was nineteen ninety-seven/eight (or around there). I was stinting (aka working, aka job jump #4) at a large ad-agency in D’dorf, Germany. I was hired as a consultant to help the business side of advertising learn something new. That new was called the information superhighway. It was also called the world-wide-web. Some even called it the internet. Most business people at the time were very weary about the internet. They knew of the rising popularity of things like email, Netscape and websites but they were clueless about how it would all fit into business/place. Although I wasn’t much of a programmer–all I knew was a bit of HTML back then–I had a knack for explaining it because at a previous jobs (job jump #3 and #2) I was something akin to being a specialist in information gathering and information sourcing. As soon as the internet got started I was using it to access information sources via usenet, gopher and FTP as far back as …. It’s been so long I can’t remember. Anyway. Even though I had interviewed at the agency for a completely different job, the masters that be, the execs, offered me a trial position as a technology application consultant, or the like. For a while it was kinda fun. I worked with the ad people trying to acquire new business or up-sell old business. I was the one that helped them formulate and integrate all this new technology krapp into their presentations. I explained things like URLs and how website addresses would soon appear on corporate letter-head. I also explained that companies would need to prepare for having an online presence, which meant they should do things like secure domain names. Etc. All the while there were those people who were laughing or claiming to know-better. “It’s just a fad,” they would say. “Why would anybody want to publish their brochure in a web… in a spider web page that they have to have a computer to read,” others would say. In fact, the negativity was so grand that I only worked that job for about a year (yeah, I was a job jumper). But get this. I worked on a new business presentation that presented to Microsoft, at their headquarters in Munich, Germany–fucking Microsoft!–that they should be putting a URL on the business cards of their employees. Seriously. Oh well. Nomatter. §Even though I haven’t had much success on the career front–the job jumping (and age) did catch up to me and I was no longer corporate employable in Eurowasteland (Germany) on account males over forty who don’t have an established “career” are dead-meat–I did learn a lot from the experience. One thing I learned: I get it. I get what technology is about. Even though the powers-that-be don’t get it–because they have nipped it in the bud as best they could post Dotcom bonanza–I’m still an avid believer in the power of openness, decentralisation, connectedness, disintermediation, etc. With that in mind, every once-a-once something in this world of technology stands out and deserves praise other than the introduction of wearables and or i-devices. §Say what you want about downloads. Napster changed the fucking world. Say what you want about search. Google is the rockstar it deserves to be. Say what you want about Podcasts. Podcasts rule! And not only do podcasts rule, but Marc Maron seems to have written his name in the stone that will be read in a thousand years with one of his recent podcasts. I mean, come on. This guy, a two-bit entertainer working out of his garage in LA, managed to nail an interview with the president of the united mistakes of #americant. And it was f’n beautiful. From the moment the podcast began all I could think about in the back of my mind was how technology got to be where it is and how a few people have stuck with it–even though they must have faced a huge amount of resistance and negativity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an on-off listener to Marc Maron. But I am an avid podcast listener. In fact, I don’t even watch TV anymore. TV sucks. Especially here in Germany where dialogue on most TV shows sounds like it was written by a robot. But I do download shows from iTunes and other sources. But I’m off subject. Where was I? Nomatter. §What Marc Maron has done is shown that disintermediation is now the norm, technology has withstood the all-out attack on its personalisation, and the two-bits might actually have a chance to make a difference. Basic, in your garage, personal technology is now mainstream and it’s viable and there is no turning back. The Internet is not only everywhere, it is NOT wholly owned by the powers-that-be–at least not while there are Marc Marons. I was so awestruck by Maron’s interview that I listened to it one night with “loop” on and woke up the next morning as tired and sleepy as ever and started my day with yet another long, dark Germanic beer. And I thought: This is such a great thing that I have as much respect for Maron as I do for his interviewee (that’s how good the content of the interview was). And so. From an even lower two-bit that bows down to those who show/pave the way: Thank you for this podcast, thank you for keeping the faith, thank you for proving that I was right way, way back: Companies will have to put URLs everywhere and so will we. Keep up the great work. Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

WFT with Marc Maron | Podcast

How Mass Media Was Infiltrated By Internet Mavericks | ZDnet

Flags And Creepiness

Some things just give me the creeps, dear worst-reader. Like, for example, thoughts of whether or not I should still be riding. I gave up motorcycling about ten years ago. Mostly because of finances but also because of, well, it was time. I’m proud to say that when I stopped riding bikes, my last bike wasn’t a puss ride. No rag-tag motorised couch for me to take me into retirement, i.e. no Hardly Drive-able (aka Harley Davidson) to fatboy-super-glide me off into the sunset. No. I didn’t go out with a whimper when I stopped riding. Every bike I owned up to that point was a betterment of the previous machine. That is: each bike was more sportier than the last. My last bike was an Aprilia Mille and it was the best bike I’d ever owned. It was a ninety-degree one-thousand c.c. v-twin packing about hundred and twenty horses and redlining at ten and half thousand RPMs. When I gunned it, horizons would snap shut. When I hit the brakes, gravity readjusted to accommodate me. And when I was just cruising down the highway and accidentally ran over the remains of roadkill, let’s say a squirrel, the suspension on that bike was so good not only did I know I just ran over a squirrel but I also knew what nuts he ate for lunch. (Ok. Enough. This worst-post is about something more than silly motorcycle suspension. Or?)

Speaking of motorcycle suspension… and creeps.

As good as the front forks were on my Aprilia, the rear suspension had room for improvement. When buying suspension for a sportbike there really is only one option: Öhlins. The only problem is Öhlins products are very expensive. My dealer recommended a different product that wasn’t as well known as Öhlins but was just as good and, more importantly, was better priced. Ok, I thought, after looking over the shock. There was just one very serious problem with buying such a product: It’s name. It was made by a company called White Power. “It’s called what,” I asked my dealer. “White Power”, he said. “The company is from Austria and they are really, really great,” my dealer continued, pushing, wanting to close the deal. I paused for a few moments and looked back at the Öhlins shock that was priced three hundred Euros more and thought: I can’t have anything on my dream motorcycle named “white power”. So I turned to the dealer, thanked him for his help, said I’ll think about it, and then went out the door. I drove my bike home and decided to stay with the stock rear shock–until I could afford the Öhlins.

I was born and raised in the southern part the state of Maryland, USA. Maryland is an odd place. It’s odd because it is sandwiched between two of the most important states in the union, plus it boarders the nation’s capital, Washington DC. To its north is Pennsylvania, to its south is Virginia. My stepfather was raised in rural PA where I subsequently spent much of my youth visiting his family or just taking vacations there. As I got older, due to other circumstances, I spent more time in VA, even living in Norfolk for a while. And here’s the thing. Nomatter where I was outside of MD I was neither a Yankee or a Confederate–even when I tried to claim being southern by telling argumentative and über-proud Virginians that, according to the landmark known as The Mason Dixon Line, I was definitely from the south. Not that I was trying to make any claim toward the confederacy that gave #americant its greatest and most deadly conflict–from which it obviously still hasn’t recovered. No. I’m not a southerner. But I’m most certainly not a yankee. And so. Other than the proximity of my birth and a designation of citizenship, I always pretty much considered myself a skeptic when it comes to cultural heritage. For I have learned that between Virginia and Pennsylvania there is a whirlwind of hate and bigotry that in every way rivals what one can find in the darkest corners of Mississippi, Alabama and now, of course, South Carolina.

Which brings me to flags … and more creepiness.

Last year I was in VA. I was visiting my sister who lives there. One of the things that’s really hard for me to adjust to is how people can still wave that flag. And they not only wave it, they wave it proudly. You know what flag I’m talking about, don’t you worst-reader? I hate that flag. Heck, even in Europe, in Germany, I sometimes see that flag. It’s on bumper stickers or on license plate holders–sometimes it feels like its always on some young white man’s rear truck window. Drive through certain parts of all of America and it waves in front yards, it waves in your face. And it always gives me the creeps. It gives me the creeps because I know what connects that flag to so many people around the world. I grew up in its confusion, its bigotry, its… hate. Even today, in places like Virginia, USA, or Dortmund, Germany, or Charleston, SC, if you ask someone why they wave that flag their answer is (and can only be) a cesspool of creepiness. People lay claim to that flag as though whatever they say obfuscates what it truly means and represents. And that’s not enough. Not only do these people wave that flag but they wave other flags, too, like flags from apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia. White power. Holy cow! That kid who shot up that church looks like he’s twelve years old and yet he waves flags as though he is capable of understanding what they truly mean for humanity. Where does a twelve year old learn that kind of stuff? Could it be he learns it from people still stuck in the fact that they lost because, well, they deserved to lose. Hate deserves to lose. And I hate them because they can’t stop hating. OYG! Wow.

Good luck. Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

Girl Scouts Speak Out About Animal Abuse And Then Are Abused Because Of Their Skin Color | Think Progress

The Big Bang Theory, Season 6, Sheldon’s ‘Fun With Flags’ | YouTube

Flying The Flag Of Hate | NYT

No Jokes After Another Shooting | HuffPost

He And What Poison Was Put In His Head Planned This Even | HuffPost

Channeling Their Sex: Bernie Sanders and Eurowasteland's Greece

Can I join these two, dear worst-reader? Varoufakis and Bernie Sanders? One minute I’m watching the Greek finance minister (vid) slime up his (and his country’s) parts, prepping it for penetration, and the next minute I’m reading about a “socialist” politician running for POTUS that might actually get a few votes if it weren’t for what he wrote about sex back in 1972. Or maybe not. (Short pause.)

First. Bernie Sanders. I read the MotherJones article (link below) and the sixties influenced, nineteen-seventy-two sex article they found. Not once while reading both did I feel what obviously right-wingers feel when/if they (ever) read about sex. I mean, come on. I grew up with sexually repressed right-wingers. Combine that with a perverted sense of right and wrong and it’s no wonder that #americant conservatives are jumping through their hola-hoops regarding Bernie Sanders as though he were having sex with their/his second cousin. All for naught, of course.

Second. Yanis Varoufakis, Greece Finance Minister. The recent speech he gave in Germany regarding the forever soap-opera that is the Euro’s financial demise baffled me to no end. More on that here. I couldn’t believe what I was watching/hearing–even though I’ve been living in #eurowasteland for most of my adult life—and I have seen pornography and had bad sex. Indeed. I’ll never be able to shed my #americant upbringing—especially when I watch pornography (for empirical, scientific study, of course). In fact, I have learned to hang on to my upbringing as best I can. In this place, #eurowasteland, where it’s all about two things and two things only—pornography and taxes—holding on to my upbringing is the only thing that allows me to see through all the slime-ball #eurowastelanders like Varoufakis and his German counterparts.

Sexed 1. There are other ways to put it. But I’ll keep it at this for right now. Who is being sexed, dear worst-reader? The 4th Estate recently dug up Bernie Sanders 1972 article where he attempts to write—for lack of having something better to write in the wake of feminism, I guess—about sex. It’s quite a slimy article, if you ask me. But after reading it, I’m glad comrade Sanders wrote it. It was/is quite good and I think I get what he was trying to get at. Chalk one up for Bernie!

Sexed 2. There is only one way to put it. Varoufakis, on the other hand, is doing his best car-salesman impression—a car salesman that probably has three or four stolen teenage girls in his Belgium basement—in order to beg his owners (the banks not the Germans) from making him do what no other politician has been able to do so far: either allow yourself to be sexed or pay-up you fucking scumbag! Chalk one up for slime balls the world over!

Quote 1:

“There are no ‘human’ oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity.” -Bernie Sanders

Quote 2:

“History does seem to have a flare for farce judging by the way it sometimes repeats itself. The cold war did not begin here in Berlin. It began in the streets of Athens in the summer of 1944. The Euro-crisis also started life in Athens in 2010 triggered off by Greece’s debt problems. Greece was by a twist of fate the birth place of the cold war and the Euro-crisis. But the causes for both ran much wider than the streets of Athens.” -Yanis Varoufakis

The two quotes above exemplify the reality and/or seriousness of what is ultimately an attempt at saying something that is… I don’t know what it is. Yet I can’t help but feel that that something (that is trying to be said) is seriously awry in both. Sanders is trying to convey a message regarding the fight the human female must constantly face because she is the child bearer and can’t lift a car and it’s still being said long after nineteen-seventy-two. And Varoufakis conveys the reality that #eurowasteland has nothing left to give humanity because it gave all it can give in the form of slime balls who would sell their mothers for a basement vacation in Mallorca.

Or something like that.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

A Young Bernie Sanders Trying To Sex Up A Nation In 1972 | Mother Jones

Enough For Every American: A Bottle Of Pills

259m opioid prescriptions

Guess what I heard this morn on the Noagendashow (#730) while walking The Pug? That’s right. I heard more than an hour among three hours of two men, one being the gurlfriend, rant, rave and gesticulate about something akin to not having an “agenda”. Which is what these guys do two days a week. Whatever that’s supposed to mean. But all kidding by-side. I should probably worst-write about walking in the wee hours around the rural fields as the Colonia mist rises and a night of too much Kölsch subsides. Or would that be too boring? Nomatter. §Between the regular krapps of my dog and a few casual Guten Morgens, Guten Tags, Moin-Moin and Maat et Joot, all of which interrupt the podcast–which I don’t mind as long the apolitical gurly-men are begging for money and not deconstructing the news during the interruptions–every once-a-once these guys nail it with a bit of info that I can actually relate to. The problem is–and I don’t really care to solve this problem–is there’s rarely a match between what the Godfather of podcasting deconstructs and the sources he promotes in the show’s notes. Although Adam Curry’s technical prowess in running the Noagenda Network is something I’ve admired for quite a while, he could spend a bit more time codifying his sources. But I guess, on the other hand, I don’t listen to the show enough–because if I did maybe then I would understand his code. Or maybe not. §What I’m trying to worst-say is, every once-a-once I come across something that Curry and his west coast gurlfriend say that interests me but I rarely can match it to his sources, i.e. his show notes. Which is kind of a bummer. But I’m not complaining. I mean, I’m still a boner in their eyes–that is, I don’t donate to the show. (Not yet.) §Oh. Before I forget or get taken off somewhere by another tangent. The reason for this post? After a bit of research I found what Curry was alluding to during one of his rants about #americant. Like I said. Sometimes this boy-gurl team nails it. I mean, I always knew that the US (and most of the western world) was addicted to pharmaceuticals. Between all the junk food, the liquor and bad sex, where else should #americant turn for its kicks? Also. What the hell has all these years of “war on drugs” been about? Does anyone actually believe that it’s been about reigning in on illegal drugs and/or drug cartels in Mexico? The war on drugs, just like the war on terror, is about something completely different. The war on terror is so that #americant and the suckers that put politicians in office can terrorise those who don’t believe in The Dream. The war on drugs has been about giving the pharmaceutical companies enough leeway and time so that it could bring all those illicit drugs from the counter-culture era online and sell them through a few corporations legally. That’s why drugs like oxycontin and heroin are the same thing. That’s why we are fighting perpetual war where there’s lots of oil. Etc. With that in mind, I had no idear that the US was this bad when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Just one number, dear worst-reader. Two-hundred and fifty-nine million prescriptions were written in 2012 in the US. That’s a figure higher than there are adults. Holly molly, golly gee. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi

Link:

Opioid Painkiller Prescribing In The US | CDC

 

His Honesty

“His honesty about this paradox or contradiction is what determined him to write Nineteen Eighty-Four as an admonitory parable or fantasy in which ‘Ingsoc’–English Socialism–was the Newspeak term for the ruling ideology. It would have been perfectly easy for him to have avoided this crux. In the late 1940s, a dystopian novel based on the notorious horrors of ‘National Socialism’ would probably have been very well-received. But it would have done nothing to shake the complacency of Western intellectuals concerning the system of state terror for which, at the time, so many of them had either a blind spot or a soft spot.”

-Why Orwell Matters, Christopher Hitchens

Cruel And Unusual Legal Banality

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8th Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Notice, dear worst-reader, that there are three parts to the 8th amendment of the US Constitution. Is it any coincidence that two-thirds of the amendment is about money and one-third, potentially, about life? If you’re surprised at that then I suggest giving the Constitution a read. Seriously. You’ll eventually be even more surprised when you realise that the US Constitution is about one thing and one thing only–and that one thing is not YOUR freedom. In essence that one thing is… But I digress.

I spent the other night in an insomnia stupor reading the transcript from the April 29, 2015, oral arguments before the US Supreme Court from Glossip v. Gross. It is a case where petitioners are trying to get the Supremes to decide whether or not certain state sanctioned executions by lethal injection adhere to the 8th amendment. For the petitioners, lethal injection is against the 8th amendment because states are using drugs that most likely cause cruel and unusual punishment.

The lethal injection, aka the death cocktail in question, is made of the following drugs: Midazolam, Vecuronium Bromide, and Potassium Chloride. Potassium Chloride, when injected into the blood stream of most living things, stops the heart from pumping in seconds. Which is great. I mean, it works fast and it never fails. The problem is, the living thing that receives the stuff must endure excruciating pain as the drug literally forces the muscles of the heart to convulse and spasm, inducing a massive heart attack.

The second drug is Vecuronium Bromide. This drug causes whatever living thing that receives it to stop breathing by shutting down the involuntary mechanism. This too is quite a painful drug because the recipient will be aware of his or her suffocation.

In order to prevent the cruel and unusual punishment that these drugs cause, an initializing drug is administered. In this case that drug is called Midazolam. It is a nerve depressant. It is mostly used for anaesthesia. According to the transcript that I read, Midazolam cannot cause a patient to fall into a deep coma–which is what is preferred when issuing the other drugs–although it does render the nervous system numb. Because it doesn’t cause a deep coma it is possible a patient, or in this case, a man sentenced to death, might wake up once the pain of the other two drugs hits him. Oh wait. That sounds to speculative. The reality is, just last year exactly that happened while delivering this cocktail to Clayton Lockett.

The drug of choice for putting a man into deep coma and making sure he doesn’t feel anything is Pentobarbital. But get this. America doesn’t have any Pentobarbital. And do you know why? It’s not only that it can’t make the drug, but it can’t get the company that does make it to sell it. The reason for that is simple. Pentobarbital is made in Europe and European law prohibits its sale to countries that have the death penalty. Wow. You shaking your head yet, worst-reader? Well, relax for a sec and let’s have a look at what one of the supremes said.

“Yes. I mean, let’s be honest about what’s going on here. Executions could be carried out painlessly. There are many jurisdictions, there are jurisdictions in this country, there are jurisdictions abroad that allow assisted suicide, and I assume that those are carried out with little, if any, pain. Oklahoma and other States could carry out executions painlessly. Now, this Court has held that the death penalty is constitutional. It’s controversial as a constitutional matter. It certainly is controversial as a policy matter. Those who oppose the death penalty are free to try to persuade legislatures to abolish the death penalty. Some of those efforts have been successful. They’re free to ask this Court to overrule the death penalty. But until that occurs, is it appropriate for the judiciary to countenance what amounts to a guerilla war against the death penalty which consists of efforts to make it impossible for the States to obtain drugs that could be used to carry out capital punishment with little, if any, pain?” -Justice Alito

Yes. Let’s be honest about what’s going on here, Mr. Alito. This is not a constitutional issue. Nor is this an issue about legal writ regarding state sanctioned murder. Instead this is an issue about a dealth-cult-society. It is an issue about a nation-state that kills around the world with impunity in the name of oil and economic control and the unspoken: empire. It is an issue about whether or not a centralised and collective dysfunctional economy can acquire medical drugs so that, in the name of the people and those who rule those people, can kill its citizenry with impunity.

That said, dear worst-reader, yes, I’m against capital punishment. Yet when I read what went down a few weeks ago in what is supposed to be the highest court of the land, I want to cringe and barf and laugh and joke. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! This is what the judiciary of the United States does? Surprise! It gets worse.

“And I guess, I guess, I would be more inclined to find that it was intolerable if there was even some doubt about this drug when there was a perfectly safe other drug available. But the States have gone through two different drugs, and those drugs have been rendered unavailable by the abolitionist movement putting pressure on the companies that manufacture them so that the States cannot obtain those two other drugs. And now you want to come before the Court and say, well, this third drug is not 100 percent sure. The reason it isn’t 100 percent sure is because the abolitionists have rendered it impossible to get the 100 percent sure drugs, and you think we should not view that as as relevant to the decision that, that you’re putting before us?” -Justice Scalia

Quick note: Justice Scalia and Alito are literally trying to blame someone else for the cruel and unusual punishment that the Oklahoma penal system has inflicted upon another human being. Yes. It is common place today in #americant to blame others for your doings. Indeed.

So. Is it clear yet? What’s going on here? This is most certainly not about the 8th amendment of the united mistakes misunderstood constitution—that relegates life to being only a third as valuable as money (or fines or bail), although some of the arguments posed in the hearing would suggest otherwise. Indeed. This is a discussion as to why/how (sarcasm on) the greatest, most exceptional nation-state in the universe (sarcasm off), is unable to obtain two types of sure proof drugs that establish a deep coma in order that a man can be killed without cruel and unusual punishment.

I don’t know about you, dear worst-reader, but it’s pretty clear to me. The two conservative justices quoted above make it very clear in their arguments that the constitutionality of this issue is irrelevant because “abolitionist” countries are using “gorilla warfare” to sabotage the US’s right to impose the death penalty. In other words, it’s their fault that there may be cruel and unusual punishment. Which also makes it all kind of ironic. Is America exceptional or not? Why can’t America just make the drug? Oh. Yeah. It can’t make the drug because it doesn’t have the right, the patent, to do so. Go figure.

In closing and just so we’re clear on the issue of how stupid this debate is, but how fascinating it was to read the transcript, here’s a suggestion for a constitutional amendment that might help avoid this kinda krapp in the future.

Excessive ignorance imposed on the populace shall not be infringed upon as long as the will to consume and be subjugated is the new American dream. -Tommi’s 28th Amendment

Rant on. -Tommi

Links: Glossip v. Gross (pdf), A Horrorifying Day At Court-Slate.com