marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Forex: the idea that TV cultivates authoritarianism. Then explain 1930s-40s Germany - I don't think TV was that big a deal then - or North Korea: I doubt there's a TV set in many homes nor that its mostly starving population stays glued to it like our Faux News addicts do, many of them yelling at it day in and out (oh, and if this reminds you of a fake office holder, that's because it should: Faux News fosters not just division and acrimony, but successful presidential runs based on everyone - including the fake office holder - feeding off said division and acrimony).

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Because his parents refused the autopsy and he's being buried tomorrow morning. While refusal to have an autopsy might be in keeping with the family's Judaism (even if the family hasn't yet publicly raised this as their particular objection) I'm still disgusted that his parents could not make an exception when no one even knows how - or why - their own son died.

Short of that, someone needs to introduce a bill - call it the Otto Warmbier Act - stating that in cases of potential murder (especially by an enemy or rogue state!) the family's wishes are automatically overridden regarding autopsies. Call it outrageous. Call it anti-religion (Muslims raise a similar objection) but let's keep some perspective here: any God who'd reject a spirit over how its body was handled after death isn't a God we should want to spend too much time shooting marbles with, anyhow.


ETA, 6-22-17: In light of my suggestion that a law should be passed preventing families from forbidding an autopsy being performed in certain circumstances (and while I was researching another aspect of this issue, entirely) I ran across an article on Judaism and autopsy which states, with emphasis mine:

In general, Jewish tradition forbids autopsies on the grounds that the body is sacred and should not be violated after death. However, autopsies are permitted in two specific cases:

  1. When the physician claims that it could provide new knowledge that would help cure others suffering from the same disease;
  2. When the law of the land requires it.

The normal stricture against autopsy would be overridden by the requirement to follow "the law of the land" so Warmbier's parents - if the law was in effect today - would be incapable of violating it without violating their own religious tenets.

Another article states autopsy is not forbidden if performing one prevents a possible "plague"; as I pointed out in comments, "botulism" counts, and since that's what North Korea claims put their son in a coma, the parents have little reason to forbid an autopsy, since no medical determination concerning botulism was made stateside before his death.

And though I'm having a hard time finding a more definitive-sounding source, this website on Islamic rulings doesn't rule out autopsy to determine the cause of death when a "crime" is suspected, so in their case, the law might not be needed.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Being in a room full of people making a well-coordinated, flawlessly executed public go at kissing my ass is a rather horrifying spectacle of a situation to find oneself in? Am I the only one who finds it not only cringe-worthy, but the idea of it being done anywhere, in any context, even more so?

In my mental roleplaying of this meeting of ass with lips, I duly note my role as a self-involved narcissist who opens with intensely kissing my own ass for doing everything short of turning water into wine for the Murcan people (but wait, there'll be big, fat, water-to-wine-turning in 2020 right next to that big, beautiful Wall I'm building right after we Lock Her Up - believe me, it'll be a tremendous turning of water into wine).

I'm having trouble getting through the first minutes of it, in other words.

Assuming somehow I did, though, I'm faced with a roomful of people who actually praise, thank, flatter, cajole, joke with, and cringe at me - many of their faces reflecting fear, distrust, and repulsion, despite the smooth words flowing from their lips - like I'm a god. Or simply God, as when Rinse Priapus thanked Trump "on behalf of all of us" for Trump's "blessings", turning it into one of the most intensely churchlike scenes of worship I've seen in a government building.

The cognitive dissonance is amazing; is this what he (perhaps that's "He" in his own mental imaging of himself?) expects?

I'll be blunt: I'd expect a roomful of people coordinating to lavishly praise me to my face on live TV to also be coordinating in the shadows to stick something sharp and pointy in my back any one of these old days.

I could not even read the summations of this meeting (and can't watch more than a minute of the video before my stomach turns) without thinking, "Et tu, Brutus?" No, I wouldn't wonder, wouldn't worry; I'd expect them to turn tail sooner or later. These are the very people I'd put as far away from me as possible in any official capacity, and I mean all of them, as soon as possible: "Thank you for gathering with me today, because now I know who to fire!". And I'm either super-paranoid (just call me Nixon *makes double V signs*) or I'm onto something.

I've seen a widely agreed upon rumination of Why This Occurred - because Trump demands public shows of servile fealty, or else - but I can easily think of two more: one, these people want their jobs and figure they sold their souls just by taking work under this guy, so they have nothing to lose by fawning and cringing a bit more to try they keep them (I have no idea who's idea this meeting was, but that alone might explain a lot) - even if it is extra-disgusting to have to do so on live TV - and two, that they are all literally planning to overthrow him.

Let's hope it's the latter, though it may just be a dream.

Au revoir!

May. 20th, 2017 05:22 am
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I've never seen anything as fucked as Cheetolini's stupid overseas trip - comprised mainly of him wandering aimlessly through the Middle East while indiscriminately firing off his mouth and cocking his POTUS Twitter account at folks like the loaded weapon it actually is in any angry and temperamental six-year old's hands.

Question, apropos of nothing: would you let your angry and temperamental six year old run a POTUS Twitter account for say, any normal POTUS? Would any sane or thinking person? No, of course not. Yet this six year old is not only running that account, he's running our entire fucking country because some Trumpists both in and outside of Russia thought they should let him. Thanks, y'all.

This trip is gonna go very badly. Why? Two things. There are many, many more things, but let's just focus on two.

  1. He's turned tail on Israel, giving their code-worded, "highly classified" info to the Russians while boasting he gets such "great intel". And now he's going to Israel, because of course he is. I mean, that won't be awkward or anything.
  2. He's supposed to give a speech in Saudi Arabia; guess who's writing it? That's right, smart people: "American Carnage" speechwriter and destroy us some MOOSElims broNazi Stephen Miller because who could do a better job of wording the words? I'm sure it'll go over just swell!

If I were the betting type (and oh, I am) I'd place wagers on which country does the thing first in which something something something will there be a White House procession with Clydesdales is this WWIII are we all fucked now. Obviously I'm a bit biased on how this might turn out, but not in the way you might think.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

The Republicans have washed their hands of this country.

I'm starting to think Trump could break out an Uzi on live TV at his next address to the joint chambers of Congress but as long as he only hits Democrats (the more the merrier, of course) there will be no recourse and no stopping him; no public outcry will change a damn thing, nor will it result in any charges or end up in any impeachment because the Republican's plans are set (and don't think Russia doesn't know and isn't taking advantage of this; they do and they are).

Republicans are handing the keys of US power over to the rich while giving the rich two huge tax cuts to help them take the reigns: one in the form of stripping viable and affordable health care away from the vast majority of Americans; the other in the form of simply giving them another huge tax cut, because why stop at just one tax cut when you can eventually convert the rich into tax-exempt status, two gigantic tax cuts at a time.

Meanwhile, Trump allowed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - and by extension, Putin and all of Russia - to flat-out troll us over Comey's firing even as Russia state news agencies published what were supposed to be unpublished pictures of this same meeting, which the US press was not even allowed to sit in on or photograph, all while opening us up to possible espionage in the form of the photographer's so-called "camera". Then Trump immediately handed Russian ambassador Kislyak state intel about ISIS for Russia to do whatever they want with, and all this just one day after he fired FBI Director Comey to obstruct the FBI investigation into his Russian dealings, clearly breaking US law and even more clearly trying to hide not just something, but likely a whole lot of things.

Against all this, including Russia's latest order (likely directed solely at the US) to not respond to North Korea's threats with anything but meek offers of negotiation, if the silence from the Republican faction of Congress was any more deafening my eardrums would split open and pop out of my head onto the floor, which is not nearly as disgusting of an image as what might happen next in this country.

If this is all the reaction Republicans will ever have then we're done, all so we can watch them hand this country over to the elite (which will suit Russia just fine, as oligarchies have always kinda been their thing).

Enjoy the show, folks.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Is that most of the time, what you're seeing probably isn't one. While Matthew Inman's descriptions (including visual) of why one might feel uncomfortable around new-to-them facts rings true and sounds rather like a fact, a new study suggests the backfire effect may be "a very rare phenomenon" that's not impossible to overcome.

People entrench around factually wrong information for many reasons: personal or in-group bias, feeling an emotional or intellectual discordance, thinking their view of life or actual way of life is under threat, rhetorical or semantical differences, philosophical disagreements...whatever. Calling it a backfire effect - and explaining it by what goes on in your amygdala - does little justice to what disbelieving a fact actually involves. It has little to do with brain chemistry, which I'd say is more a part of the process of fact-disbelieving than its direct cause.

Let me change your mind: people can be convinced to change their minds through a process called "factual intervention".

Which reminds me: people can convince themselves they hate something. Anything. Matthew's image of a house with walls scrawled over with formative reasons for disbelieving facts, which bizarrely enough includes the phrase "hatred of cilantro"? Cilantro is probably on there because it's not something you hate - there are several genes that actually change the flavor of it for some of us. Judging by how I think soap cilantro tastes, I also have the little buggers.

While I'm on the topic of not accepting facts, and while I'm still on the topic of science in general (yes, starting this paragraph counts), science is never a settled question. Some of the latest food studies seem out to prove it by pronouncing butter bad for us again and salt better for us than we thought. It can even help people lose weight, but in doing so increases loss of both fat and muscle, so I'd take this news with a pretty large grain of, uh...