Thursday, 7 January 2021

Viewpoint: A Dark Day in American Democracy

 I never expected that I would need to have to write this.

 Wednesday January 6th 2021 will go down in history as one of the darkest days in the history of American Democracy.

A group of domestic terrorists invaded the Capitol building in Washington DC. How they got in there is almost irrelevant at this point, though it will not be irrelevant later, there will have to be an investigation into just how that happened. For now, there are more important things to be dealt with.

This is act of terrorism, and as much as I hate using that word, it is truly what it was, an act of terrorism, and it was committed by a bunch of criminals, who called themselves “Proud Boys”. They have nothing to be “proud” of. They just committed treason and sedition. They all need to be rounded up, tried for these crimes, and then locked up for the rest of their natural lives, without any hope of parole.

Those that fomented this, ranging from the Conservative commentators and media organisations that allowed these commentators to spread their traitorous comments, to the very congressmen that encouraged it, and even the “President” himself who practically ordered this sedition to happen, also need to tried for these crimes, and also locked up for the rest of their natural lives, without any chance of parole.

Even now, Conservative media commentators have been trying to put the blame elsewhere, some of them even going so far as to try to blame some mystical “Antifa” organisation, for what happened. No evidence has been presented that there were any anti-fascist infiltrators, just like there has been no evidence for any of Trump's baseless claims about the election being rigged against him. These organisations and commentators need to be deplatformed immediately. They have no business being part of public discourse on the airwaves, whether those airwaves are delivered by a satellite, a cable or a transmitter.

And what of the politicians who actively encouraged this to happen? They need to barred from politics for life. If they are sitting congressmen and women, they need to removed from congress immediately. The “President” needs to be impeached, and convicted, and removed from office. It doesn't matter that he will no longer be President come the 20th January 2021. He has just demonstrated in the clearest terms possible, that he no longer has any business leading a school board, never mind a nation like the United States. But because the process of impeachment and conviction can take quite a long time, then the Vice President has to seriously consider using the 25th Amendment to remove Donald John Trump from office. Whether he can do that though, will depend on just how many members of Trump's cabinet he can get to agree to it. Nonetheless, those discussions need to be happening, if they aren't already.

I already said they need to be tried and locked up for these crimes, but first we need to remove them off the political stage.

Democracy in any country, be it the United States, or indeed our own, depends not on how dark these kinds of days are, but in how we as a people respond to them. We must be willing to draw a line in the sand, and say “No, this was wrong”, and we must never allow ourselves to go back to these dark places ever again. And we must make sure that those who could take us there, are never allowed the power to do that again.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Worst Person Of The Day: "Boss Limburger" Rush Limbaugh.

Today's Worst Person Of The Day is Rush Limbaugh, who has managed to once again say something utterly stupid on his own radio show.  This one was so stupid however, that I thought Alex Jones had accidentally been substituted for him on his radio show.

He was talking about as USA Today op-ed on America's greatness myths.  Society is built upon so many myths and falacies, it's actually shocking that it functions as well as it does.  Well, apparently, Rush doesn't like that idea so he came up with an idea of his own.

"This -- none of this could be happening of its own. It couldn't -- this is not happening because a majority of the American people want this. That’s what makes this so outrageous. We are being ruled and governed here by a really small minority who are using the power of fear and intimidation and economic destruction — that is key.  Once you take people’s money away from them, you own them. Once you take people’s ability to earn a living and you become the provider, you own them. That’s the first thing they did, was shut down this nation’s economy. Now they’re trying to get it shut down again under bogus COVID-19 numbers... ...But at the end of the day, everybody needed America. Every nation on Earth’s economy needs America. But our economy has been shut down. We got 44 million people out of work. We’ve got in Chicago alone 4,400 businesses which have been shut down and are said never to reopen again. And that’s one city. In Rome and throughout Italy, they’re losing $115 million a day via tourism. There isn’t any. They miss the United States.  The world depends on it. This is another thing that is by design in all of this. You take out the United States of America and you take out the United States economy, and you have set up your precious globalism and world government because you are creating worldwide poverty and thus worldwide need. And when you, the global government or whoever you are, become the provider to those in need, guess who you own?  But none of this could be happening if it weren’t for the fact that the United States is under assault and being taken down on the basis of a pack of lies. That our great history is nothing but a bunch of lies, that our history is nothing but a bunch of myths. How in the world can anyone with any kind of intellect at all look at the United States, see its role that it played in the establishment of human liberty and freedom, and want no part of it?  Well, obviously people to whom human liberty and freedom are a problem. To communists and socialists, human liberty and freedom, free choice, that’s a problem. The state becomes the repository of all freedom. The state determines who can do what, when, where, why. The state determines who has what. The state determines who gets what.
But how in the world can this -- I ask myself how in the world can otherwise intellectually qualified people not value the concept of individual liberty and freedom? And yet people who are leading this anti-American movement are of exactly that frame of mind, that somehow individual liberty and freedom pose the threat, pose the problem to the ongoing future."

That's just a small sample of a over 10 minute rant that spews out of the consciousness that is Rush Limbaugh.  Media Matters has the entire transcript if you want to read it, and the video of the rant if you want to hear and see it.

The main thing wrong with it is that it is the very embodiment of the myths that the writer was talking about.  The idea that somehow America is better than any other country in the world.  Where as in fact it's just one of over 200 countries and territories in the world today.  It's not even the largest by population.  Both India and China are way ahead on that count.  There's nothing inherently superior about the United States, just like there's nothing inherently superior about the UK, or any other country in the world.  The conflation of the old Russian "Communist" model with socialism is quite deliberate.  Socialism isn't about controling distribution of goods.  It's about making sure those goods reach market in a condition that isn't going to kill the consumer, even accidentally.  It's about making sure the water is clean, the food isn't going to kill you, the services are at a fair price.  It's all about all that and more.  It's got nothing to do with controlling everything, despite what the right wants you to believe.

Rush Limbaugh, The Worst Person Of The Day.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Not Top Plays: 23rd July 2020

So I didn't have enough material today for a Worst Person Of The Day, so instead, we do something different, the Not Top Plays Of The Day.  I have 2 for you today, and I'm not going to rank them, cos the jury's still out on one of these.

The one the jury's not out on is Gemma Collins, who made a political play on her Radio 1 podcast, and made her Essex Girl reputation seem all the more earned.  She made a play for becoming Prime Minister.  I think you need a political party in that case, and no, that's not the kind of party where you get steadily drunker throughout the night watching the election results as you drown your sorrows.  But in her manifesto, is apparently a magic money tree. 

She claimed that everybody should have a swimming pool, yeah, good luck fitting that into my studio flat!  She also thinks that 3 day work weeks and 4 day weekends should be a thing as wellas Ice Cream for free and sunshine every day.  Like politicians could do that!  They can't even control themselves, never mind the weather!  But for added je ne sais quois, she says she'll change Number 10's famous black door for a pink one!  At a guess, it'll either be Fuschia, or DayGlo Neon Pink!!!

The one the jury's still out on is Mike Tyson, who at 54 is coming out of boxing retirement, which is about as permanent as a pro-wrestling retirement, to take on Roy Jones Jr in a special 8 round exhibition match in Los Angeles in September.  He's kept in pretty good shape during his retirement, and it's not like it's any kind of title match, so, I'm okay with it, except for one thing.  It should be against Buster Douglas, rather than Roy Jones Jr.  You remember that Buster Douglas sensationally knocked out Mike Tyson in the 10th round of their 1990 contest at the Tokyo Dome for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship.  So, there's a nice revenge storyline there, that could be used to... oh that's right, this is boxing, not pro wrestling...

Anyway, those are my Not Top Plays Of The Day.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Worst Person Of The Day: 22nd July 2020

It's time for the miscreants, mountebanks and maniacs, the irrepressible and the irredeemable.  It's not totally serious, it's not totally silly, but it is my nominations for the Worst Person Of The Day.

The bronze medal goes to Police in Syndey, Australia, who asked a woman to remove her tampon during a strip search.  This comes from a report from Australia's Law Enforcement Conduct Commission who were investigating 5 controversial strip searches that had taken place.  They've ordered the police to apologise to the woman.  Obviously they're not pussyfooting around...

The silver goes to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick, who is apparently unrepentant about approving a housing scheme in East London, despite it being put forward by Richard Desmond, the former owner of the Star, Express and Channel 5, and also a noted donor to the Conservative Party.  He did say that he regretted sitting next to Mr Desmond, at a Tory dinner last November where they actually swapped telephone numbers.  I guess Desmond needed to Express himself to the minister...

But our winner is Kanye West, and I need to be serious here, because what is going on with Kanye right now is not funny, and it's not clever, it's just sad.   And I'm not just talking about his supposed presidential campaign, that has actually missed a bunch of deadlines to file for candidacy in several states.  No, that's just a symptom of the real problem.  BiPolar Disorder is not fun at all, not for the people around you, not even for you, and I can say truthfully, I have been there.  I have suffered BiPolar Disorder, and you do suffer it.  You can go from being on a maniac high, all the way down to a manic depressive state, in virtually no time at all, just a couple of minutes, and you can swing back again just as quickly, and you can keep doing that, multiple times an hour, never mind a day.  Yes, he posted some tweets on Monday which indicated he was looking to divorce his wife of 6 years, Kim Kardashian, and talked about how doctors wanted to 51/50 him, which means temporary involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness, and those tweets were later deleted, but it just shows just how volatile somebody with BiPolar Disorder can be.  So, this award comes with a proviso.  Kanye, get some psychiatric help for yourself.  I came out the other side, you can too.  And if you do, this award will be recinded.  But for now, Kanye West is the Worst Person Of The Day.

Viewpoint: Twitter takes down conspiracy theorists, finally.

So Twitter decided to ban a number of users, and limit a whole bunch more over a little something called QAnon, which is a conspiracy theory about a "deep state" within the Beltway, who it is claimed are actively working together against Donald Trump.  Apparently it kinda spun off from Pizzagate, which was another idiotic conspiracy theory. 

Conspiracy theories have actually been around a lot longer than you think, going back to the 16th century, and the whole idea the Protestant Reformation, was a deliberate conspiracy against Catholics.  But for so many years, conspiracy theories were regarded, correctly, as carackpot ideas that nobody took seriously, and they didn't spread either, because, well, instant communication wasn't a thing back then.

Perhaps the first conspiracy theory to actually get mainstream attention, so much so that a 1979 US congressional committee even ended up giving it more provenence, was the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't actually kill JFK, but a second shooter actually did.  That's just one of a bunch of conspiracy theories over JFK's assassination, but that one somehow garnered enough mainstream attention, that in 1976, The US House of Representatives, actually set up a committee to investigate both the assaninations of JFK and Martin Luther King, and controversially, said that JFK was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. 

Since then, we've had absolute tons of conspiracy theories about nearly everything, from the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon, to 9/11, to Sandy Hook, to even the current Covid-19 pandemic, and there have been some absolutely crazy theories put forward about that.

Anyway, back to Twitter, and this is a good first step, well, second step, after removing Alex Jones and Infowars from the platform, but honestly, they and Facebook both need to do more to take down these conspiracy theorists, who use social media to spread deliberate misinformation, and they know they're spreading deliberate misinformation, and we know why they're doing it too, they're doing it to deliberately undermine people's trust in the media, and in official sources of information and to a degree it has worked.  But the fightback is on.  And people on social media are standing up to these stupid conspiracy theories, by demanding proof.

That's how you take them down nowadays.  You can't ignore them anymore, they can spread like wildfire on social media, so you have to demand proof every time.  So I say this, Twitter, Facebook, work with us on taking down conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. Lets make social media a safe place for the truth.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

WTF Moment: Russian footballer struck by lightning

This qualifies for a WTF moment.  This Russian footballer, a goalkeeper, is in a training session, when he was struck by lightning.

He survived this and is back playing football 3 weeks later.  WTF...

Worst Person Of The Day: 21st July 2020

It's time once again for the miscreants, mountebanks and maniacs.  The irrespressible and the irredeenable.  It's not totally serious, it's not totally silly, but it is my nominations for the Worst Person Of The Day.

The bronze medal goes to Newsquest for an article that I saw on the Falmouth Packet website, called How To Unlock Supermarket Trolleys without £1, but they obviously didn't think what they were writing, because just before they shared the tip that you can use 2 20p coins instead of a pound coin, they wrote... "As the use of cash declines while contactless payments rises, shoppers who forget to bring a coin for the trolley are faced with having to cram everything into a small basket."  Yeah, I think if somebody isn't using cash any more, they're unlikely to have 2 20p coins.  By the way, a tip of my own, for less than the pound coin, you can buy trolley tokens which if you don't keep cash on you anymore, you can use those to access your trolley.  And you don't necessarily have to pay cash for them either...

The silver goes to Conservative MP for Delyn, Rob Roberts, who is reportedly facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour.  BBC Wales has seen messages sent to an intern inviting her to "fool around" with him.  He's also admitted to asking out another House Of Commons employee, who as a result ended up moving to a new post.  The party has described his actions as completely inappropriate and confirmed the matter is under investigation.  He's only been an MP since December 2019, so it's nice to see he's learned the ropes so quickly... 😒

But for our winner we're going international, to New Zealand and National Party MP for Rangitata, Andrew Falloon, well, he was a National Party MP, he's resigned from the New Zealand parliament and from politics, effective immediately.  The reason for his resignation, he'd admitted that he'd sent a pornographic image to a 19 year old woman.  Ah, this is so refreshing to see.  Apparently, according to National Party leader Judith Collins, this was so egregious that they didn't even want to wait until September's upcoming General Election in the country, they wanted rid of him now, and so he's gone. This reminds me of the dim and distant past of British Politics, when politicians resigned over things they should resign about, When was that?  Oh yeah, before Brexit!

Andrew "Bye Felicia" Falloon, the Worst Person Of The Day.