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Ill of the dead.

If David Koch is to be cremated, I suggest we dispense with all the fuss and bother and just drop his corpse from a helicopter into the fires now consuming the Amazon rainforest. Let him be one with his legacy.

Charles P. Pierce on legacies.

2019-08-28T09:06:38+10:0028th August, 2019|Tags: environment, politics, usa|

Orange Skull.

I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travellers, but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realised that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with, and I withdrew my introduction.

International fascism again looms large … and the dislocations that have followed the global economic meltdown of 2008 helped bring us to a point where the planet itself seems likely to melt down […] Armageddon seems somehow plausible and we’re all turned into helpless children scared of forces grander than we can imagine, looking for respite and answers in superheroes flying across screens in our chapel of dreams.

Art Spiegelman (re)learns that everything is political.

Timely reminder that the CEO of Marvel donates substantial sums of money to Trump, as well as functions as a political advisor, and is actively involved in censoring any criticism Marvel employees attempt to make about the regime in the name of being “apolitical”.

(Also that last line probably could do with a whole essay of unpacking all on its own because… wow. What a massive, potentially unintentional, neg against the superhero genre. I mean… I’m into it. But also… wow.)

2019-08-19T08:20:57+10:0019th August, 2019|Tags: comics, politics, pop culture, usa|

Thoughts and prayers.

Once there was a nation suffering the plague of gun violence. “Help us,” the nation prayed, “save us from the violence.” And God said, “You shall be provided with the legislative tools to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other wartime instruments of death.” And lo, the nation said, “I’d rather not.” And so nothing came to pass.

“Help us,” the nation prayed a year or so later, “save us from the violence.” And God said, “You shall be provided with the best universities and research institutions in the world, so that you may study the topic of gun violence and arrive at solutions to this public health crisis yourselves.” And lo, the nation said, “Let’s make funding studies of gun violence illegal.” And so nothing came to pass.

“Help us,” the nation prayed a few months later, “save us from the violence.” And God said, “You shall be provided with the best mental health resources in the world, and you shall be provided with wealth beyond compare so that all who are struggling with homicidal or suicidal thoughts will have access to care.” And lo, the nation said, “Sounds socialist to me. Let’s make Medicaid harder to access, not easier. And, oh yeah, our leaders are going to spread hate and xenophobia to give people a reason to commit acts of violence.” And so nothing came to pass.

“Help us,” the nation prayed a few weeks later, “save us from the violence.” And God said, “If you are scared that the Supreme Court will overturn sensible gun laws, if you are scared of the lobbying power of the NRA, then you shall be provided with a way to create Constitutional Amendments overturning the Second Amendment and making it harder for lobbying groups to influence elections.” And lo, the nation said, “A Constitutional Amendment? Sounds kinda complicated. It can’t be done except for all those times it’s been done. Nope.” And so nothing came to pass.

“Help us,” the nation prayed a few days later, “save us from the violence.” And God said, “It seems like many of these shooters are white men. I think you should raise boys differently and look closely at what whiteness does to someone’s psychology.” And lo, the nation said, “How dare you even say that.”

And so God — that’s me — I’m sitting up here going, What the hell is wrong with you?

God (via prophet Chas Gillespie) answers your thoughts and prayers.

2019-08-07T08:22:00+10:007th August, 2019|Tags: culture, cw: mass shooting, politics, usa|

Modern right.

The problem is now that Americans don’t enjoy anything remotely close to the same rights as the rest of the rich world does. That is why their lives are so much more impoverished — not just financially poorer, but genuinely more deprived, whether of healthcare, happiness, savings, trust, or mobility. In that sense, American society is failing because its social operating system — its constitution — is badly obsolete. In the 21st century, people need healthcare and education to be rights a lot more than they need to be able to wield guns against bears and wolves .

umair haque on constitutional priorities.

2019-04-29T12:06:53+10:006th April, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

It’s the economy, stupid.

Americans have been taught — indoctrinated, perhaps — to think of the economy as capitalism. Quite literally: if capital returns are high […] then Americans suppose the economy is booming. But capital returns — profits, dividends, stock markets, GDP (or their opposites, deficits) — are not the economy at all. They are just the success of capitalists, at increasing their capital. Hence, the average American — who isn’t a capitalist, since the true capitalists, Bezos, Brin, Buffett, are tiny in number — is cheering on capitalists increasing their capital, but not his own income, savings, living standards, health, longevity, or happiness. […]

Americans think the economy is a set of abstractions about capitalism — more exactly, capitalists increasing their capital. But they have been systematically warned against thinking of the economy as them: the simple and daily realities of their very own lives — whether or not they can afford food, shelter, medicine, education, save, retire, create, dream, build, grow. Comrades — the victory of capitalism is the victory of us all!

umair haque on economies.

2019-04-29T12:06:50+10:0020th March, 2019|Tags: economics, politics, usa|

“Both” “sides”.

Reagan sold arms to the “mujahideen” that became Al Qaeda, and George W. Bush invaded Iraq for oil after 9/11. George H.W. Bush manufactured a recession out of the Gulf War. Democrats were forced to pick up the pieces, and we did. But we also made one big mistake, over and over.

We assumed the essential goodwill, the goodness, of Republicans and conservatives. We assumed they believed in something, if not the same things we did than something similar, something decent, something American.

The great accomplishment of Donald Trump has been to rip all that away and reveal the Confederate-like racism, and Hitler-like Fascism, behind the masks. Republicans built this era. They did it by gaming the system when they couldn’t win honestly, having Supreme Court justices lie to Congress routinely from Clarence Thomas on, stealing the 2000 election by halting the recount, and engaging in the Jim Crow Project years before Trump was elected, with Russian help.

They did this. Both sides don’t do this. They did all of this. Your neighbors. Your fellow Americans.

Dana Blankenhorn on suckers.

2018-11-26T08:22:27+11:0018th March, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

Cycles.

When I got home, where I should have felt safest, I’d find my father lying on his SEC filings. My mom and I were just supposed to look the other way. He’d buy my silence with extravagant gifts. I knew something wasn’t right. But when crime is all you know, how can you ever learn right from wrong? And who was I going to tell? All the dads on my block were in on it. They were the first gang I knew, but they wouldn’t be the last.

No matter what I did, I felt like I was destined to follow in his footsteps, first by attending Georgetown Prep and then — it seemed pointless to imagine an alternative — Yale. You think it’s hard to escape a cycle of poverty? You should try escaping a cycle of illegally-acquired wealth.

Jessica M. Goldstein on cycles of crime.

Obviously, this is satire, but… it also kind of isn’t, is it?

2018-09-10T14:42:22+10:0023rd February, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|