July 6th, 2016

#5262: The New Banana Republic

"...this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences." Translation: anyone who thinks the law has been nullfied, here, had better think differently. If you're not Hillary Clinton and you are negligent in your handling of classified information, you will go to jail, because you're not Hillary Clinton and "some animals are more equal than others."

We are no longer a nation of laws. But anyone who thinks this debacle will sink quietly without a splash is delusional.

When you start saying, "Well, yeah, Hillary is a criminal and a lunatic, but I'll vote for her because #nevertrump" it doesn't matter how much you protest that Hillary is corrupt and you're disgusted by the necessity of voting for her. You are part of the problem.

Borepatch believes this is the beginning of the end for Hillary. I wish I were as optimistic. The best case here is Hillary loses the election and goes down to retirement. She'll never be indicted or tried, though.

* * *

"Folks who went apeshit insane when Obama was called by his full name are more than happy to call Donald Trump 'Drumpf.'" Yep, it was scaremongering and possibly racist to call him Barack Hussein Obama. We even got some comments here about calling him by his full, legal name.

Drumpf? "What does that even mean?" It means that the person saying it is clever and insightful and intelligent, and not a Rethuglikkkan nazi asshole. It's virtue signaling, devoid of any real meaning.

And yes, it says more about the speaker than anything else.

...and I like his conclusion about Iran-Contra: if Hillary is absolved because the FBI declined to prosecute, then Reagan et alii must also have been absolved. Right?

* * *

This, however, is cause for optimism. The government must move slowly on restricting gun rights. Any attempt at confisation would result in a massive de-legitimization of the federal government; and if a mere half of gun owners refuse to submit, things get very bad for the feds even as they get bad for the rest of us.

I have a setting like this that I've been noodling around with for some time, where the US has split into two different countries--the USA and the "Republic of America"--and the USA is a totalitarian shithole with concentration camps for "dissidents". The nominal main character in this world is a guy who escaped (somehow) from a concentration camp; my thinking is that he was chained to a concrete foundation at a construction site by cruel guards, and left to die of hypothermia, but is rescued by RoA soldiers who got their directions mixed up and found themselves on the wrong side of the border--something like that. I don't know; it's all inchoate and I'm still trying to think through all the ramifications. The biggest issue is what the hell is the story about? and that doesn't have any clear answer at the moment, because "wow, what a shithole this dystopia is!" is not the answer I'm looking for. Sadly, that's the best answer I have, for the moment.

* * *

Left-wing politician is raped by "migrants" but lies to police about their ethnicity to avoid encouraging "racism". I just don't have words for this.

* * *

I have been skeptical of "functional MRI" studies proving that religion is just a center in the brain being stimulated etc etc. In theory, tracking the use of oxygen by the brain should enable us to tell what's going on in it, but the problem here is that the software gives a false positive more often than not--70% of the time!--which makes it useless for doing anything other than parlor tricks.

I had no good reason (until now) to be skeptical other than two simple facts. First, that finding proof that religious feelings are just a matter of stimulating the right part of the brain is essential to (somehow) proving the non-existence of God, or at least sowing serious doubt about His existence. Second, that there is a lot more to our existence than the firings of neurons.

Science has made it a point, in recent decades, to prove we are nothing more than meat machines operating in a deterministic way. So far, fMRI has been used in an attempt to prove that thesis. Now we learn that the software used is wrong much more often than it's right. I'm not surprised.

* * *

If the 2016 Olympics were being held in Chicago, the athletes could drink the water they were swimming in. Lake Michigan supplies water for a lot of municipalities up and down its coast; it requires very little treatment.

Instead, they're swimming in raw sewage. Yet somehow Rio was a better place to hold the Olympics than Chicago.

...and no, I'm not complaining. Traffic around here would be a nightmare if the Olympics were held here. To say nothing of all the Olympic hoopla that I'm just as happy I don't have to put up with. I'm just engaging in a little schadenfreude.

* * *

The USSR's attempt at a moon rocket never flew without blowing up. And we have this quote from a man who can never visit an English-speaking country:
"Today...I saw without exaggeration the end of the world, and not in a nightmare but while fully awake and standing right next to it," said eyewitness Lieutenant Colonel Semen Komarovsky.
Emphasis added.

I don't know what to add to that.

* * *

Early this morning, after Mrs. Fungus and I had gone to bed, the weather alert radio raised a ruckus: there was a severe thunderstorm watch. I acknowledged the alert and went back to bed. Perhaps half an hour or so later, it raised another ruckus: the watch had been upgraded to a warning. And again, later on, a third ruckus, when the warning was re-issued. All three times it roused me from near-sleep. Argh etc. I'm going to have to edit the alert table on the thing so it'll only alarm for tornado warnings. WTF.

As severe thunderstorms go this one wasn't too bad; mainly it was just heavy rain. We needed that rain, let me tell you. Of course, this also means that by Tuesday of next week the grass will need cutting again.

Well, that's how it goes.