Finally Friday Reads

Witches’ Sabbath, 1789. Goya’s depictions of witchcraft mocked what he saw as medieval fears exploited for political gain.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I had a late night since my block was shut down to film a new AMC series last night.  I’m somewhat out of it. They filmed on our neutral ground, and there were a lot of flash bangs, police lights, extras wearing black, two big bucket trucks with lights, and a helluva lot of fog. The actor who was supposedly shot had the tough lines of a series of nos with a lot of coughing and emoting.  There was even a fire truck.  I was certain there were more police out there than usually patrol my entire district.  It was like watching a lot of men play with toys and shoot out like they did when they were in grade school.

Anyway, trying to get back to normal, and at least I got a check for the disturbance and being on standby to open a neighbor’s house if needed.  I forget how boring and repetitive the entire process is. I’ve wondered how we live in a society where adults that play make-believe and dress up and a bunch of muscled-up men playing with balls make so much money when teachers, healthcare workers, and others can barely eke a life out. Same as it ever was.

Speaking of the plethora of manchildren and toys, today we recognize Twitter will never be the same as the Chief Twit took over last night.  BB wrote about the deal yesterday.  The headlines today are precursors to what chaos may ensue. This is from the Washington Post: “Racist tweets quickly surfaced after Musk closed Twitter deal. A wide range of anonymous Twitter accounts celebrated Musk’s takeover and argued it meant the old rules against bigotry no longer applied.” What was that the Who sang about new bosses and old bosses?

An emboldened cast of anonymous trolls spewed racist slurs and Nazi memes onto Twitter in the hours after billionaire industrialist Elon Musk took over the social network Thursday, raising fears of how his pledge of unrestricted free speech could fuel a new wave of online hate.

Twitter has struggled to enforce its rules against harassment and extremism, and the company has not yet published any broad-scale changes to its content-moderation policies.

But Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has fiercely criticized the company’s previous leaders as overly rigid and suppressive and said he would work to overturn some of the company’s main enforcement mechanisms, such as indefinitely suspending accounts.

A wide range of anonymous Twitter accounts celebrated Musk’s takeover and argued it meant the old rules against bigotry no longer applied.


New Orleans’ Marie Laveaux, voodoo priestess

This is an interesting take from Nilay Patel at the Verge: “Welcome to hell, Elon. You break it, you buy it.”

You fucked up real good, kiddo.

Twitter is a disaster clown car company that is successful despite itself, and there is no possible way to grow users and revenue without making a series of enormous compromises that will ultimately destroy your reputation and possibly cause grievous damage to your other companies.

I say this with utter confidence because the problems with Twitter are not engineering problems. They are political problems. Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.

The problem when the asset is people is that people are intensely complicated, and trying to regulate how people behave is historically a miserable experience, especially when that authority is vested in a single powerful individual.

What I mean is that you are now the King of Twitter, and people think that you, personally, are responsible for everything that happens on Twitter now. It also turns out that absolute monarchs usually get murdered when shit goes sideways.

Here are some examples: you can write as many polite letters to advertisers as you want, but you cannot reasonably expect to collect any meaningful advertising revenue if you do not promise those advertisers “brand safety.” That means you have to ban racism, sexism, transphobia, and all kinds of other speech that is totally legal in the United States but reveals people to be total assholes. So you can make all the promises about “free speech” you want, but the dull reality is that you still have to ban a bunch of legal speech if you want to make money. And when you start doing that, your creepy new right-wing fanboys are going to viciously turn on you, just like they turn on every other social network that realizes the same essential truth.

The Love Potion, Evelyn De Morgan, 1903

I can only imagine our fates when Orange Caligula returns to do his dance of the veils. This is a sad headline today. It’s what demons like Musk and Trump have wrought, unleashing spoiled and violet manbabies everywhere.  Speaker Pelosi’s husband was assaulted in their home. His target was the powerful and effective Speaker. Her husband was beaten with a hammer during an early morning break-in.

This is from CNN Politics: “First on CNN: Assailant tried to tie up Paul Pelosi in home attack, sources say.”

Pelosi was attacked with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a male assailant early Friday morning, law enforcement sources told CNN. The assailant who attacked Paul Pelosi was searching for the speaker of the House, according to a source briefed on the attack. The intruder confronted the speaker’s husband in their San Francisco home shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to the source.

Pelosi, 82, was hospitalized but is expected to make a full recovery, the Democratic speaker’s office said in a statement.

The attack sent shock waves through Washington and sparked an outpouring of condolences and condemnation from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. It comes as fears of political violence directed toward lawmakers remain high in the wake of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol as well as other high-profile violent incidents that have targeted members of Congress in recent years.

The US Capitol Police released a statement saying that they are assisting the FBI and the San Francisco Police “with a joint investigation” into the break-in at the Pelosi residence in California.

The statement provides further information on how law enforcement responded, saying that special agents with the USCP’s California Field Office “quickly arrived on scene, while a team of investigators from the Department’s Threat Assessment Section was simultaneously dispatched from the East Coast to assist the FBI and the San Francisco Police with a joint investigation.”

William Blake, Triple Hecate or The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy, 1795, Tate Gallery, London, UK.

Meanwhile, other Trumpist Droogies are after our election results.  Here’s some information on Georgia’s elections from the Washington Post: “Inside the secretive effort by Trump allies to access voting machines. How rural Coffee County, Ga. became an early target in the multistate search for purported evidence of fraud after the 2020 election.”  This is some scary stuff.

Claims of widespread election fraud have been rejected over and over by local, state and federal officials as well as by computer science experts and numerous judges, including those appointed by Trump. They have nevertheless become an article of faith — or at least a professed belief — for many Republican voters, activists and politicians.

Experts say the events in Coffee County are a potent example of the rising threat posed by insiders who undermine election security in the name of protecting it. While elections officials say security protocols would make it difficult for bad actors to manipulate votes, some experts say the data — circulated beyond a limited number of authorized officials — could give hackers a powerful tool to simulate voting machines and probe for weaknesses.

The operations not sanctioned by courts or lawmakers were clandestine affairs. In Mesa County, Colo., an outsider was allegedly smuggled into the elections office under an alias to copy data. In Michigan, a pro-Trump state lawmaker allegedly persuaded clerks in two counties to hand over equipment for a House investigation that, according to the office of the House speaker, did not exist. In Coffee County, a local elections official invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination more than 200 times when questioned under oath recently for a long-running lawsuit that voting activists brought against state officials.

Coffee County was home to the most extensive of the early covert efforts that have come to light. In January 2021, forensics experts copied data from virtually every component of the voting system there, records show. The incursion provided pro-Trump election deniers with copies of sensitive election software used across Georgia, a state widely seen as a linchpin in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate in 2022 and the White House in 2024.

You may read the details of the plot at the link.  Meanwhile, we have folks in Nevada thinking hand-counted ballots might do the trick for Trump. What could possibly go wrong?  Should we ask Al Gore?

This is from the above Twitter link. I wonder how long legitimate news organizations stay there?

Jay Goldberg, a retired electrician who enjoys four-wheeling with his wife, Bonnie, in the dusty hills that loom over this desert town, sat in a tiny government office here this week counting ballots by hand because he believes the 2020 vote was rigged against Donald Trump.

“If something can be manipulated, it eventually will be,” said Goldberg, 70, referring to unproven claims that tabulation machines made by Dominion Voting Systems threw the presidency to Joe Biden. “It’s that simple.”

And to Goldberg, there’s a simple answer: Go back to hand counts. It’s a solution being embraced this fall in Nye County, a rural outpost of 53,000 where officials who deny the results of the 2020 election hold sway. Should Republicans prevail statewide in November, officials could be pushing it across Nevada next year. Like-minded GOP candidates nationwide have offered similar proposals, even as election experts and Democratic candidates have argued that such steps are only likely to further undermine faith in American democracy.

The rejection of voting machines and embrace of 2020 conspiracy theories make Nye County — a vast area that boomed, then busted, on the back of gold and silver mining more than a century ago and today thrives in part thanks to legal prostitution — a harbinger of the country’s future should election deniers take charge.

It depresses me whenever we find such a weird juxtaposition of strange Republican bedfellows.  I’m sure the Christian Right has no problem with legalized prostitution, right?  So, I may have another cup of tea or a good rest. I’m not sure I want to do reality today.  It must be the Season of the Witch.

Whats on your reading and blogging list today?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

21 Comments on “Finally Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a good weekend! We’re coming on Halloween, which has always been my favorite holiday. Take care!

  2. dakinikat says:

    The purge has started. The CEO is gone too.

    • NW Luna says:

      I don’t know what else Gadde did, but she was ultimately responsible for banning accounts that stated biological facts. Yes, I harp on this a lot because it is a big deal. If you’re banned for speaking science it’s a very bad sign about the society you’re in.

  3. Ronstill4Hills says:

    They will say the Depape is crazy and pretend that the MAGAts have not fully embraced fascism.

    We saw what amounted to storm troopers on Jan 6, but we have had these “lone wolves” since before Timothy McVey.

    Violence and intimidation is what they believe in, persuasion and debate doesn’t work for them in a pluralistic diverse society. They don’t have the raw numbers for one party rule and power sharing is not something they are willing to countenance.

    The media doesn’t want to deal with the fact that todays Repugs are play acting at democracy at this point. As soon as they can, meaning the first time they gain power again, they we claim that some combination of crime and immigration require a suspension of normal voting. They believe in electoral politics like Goebbels believed in electoral politics.

    Like the armed terrorists at the ballot drop boxes, there is hand wringing and head shaking, but no ACTION.

    How many times over the last TEN years has some outrage occurred where every single Democrat should have walked out of the capital and said not one more thing will get done until this assault on democracy is addressed.

    WE should have forced Mueller to do the right thing. We should have shut down EVERYTHING until Merritt Garland got a vote. WE should have REFUSED to entertain the Coney Barrett nomination. Make them hold the hearings alone. Make a stand that this is not normal and we are not going to continue playing the naked assed emperor game!

    Shutting shit down is not the answer for everything but sometimes we need to shock the country into taking shit seriously.

    And her we are again, about to hand over power to fascists AS IF we have a partner in a functioning democracy.

    • quixote says:

      Yup. You, me, all of us running around with our hair on fire. And … like dropping rose petals in the Grand Canyon. We’re gonna be bald.

    • dakinikat says:

      The press just keeps normalizing and both-siderism it all to no end. Can’t they recognize the racism, the hatred of women, the fear of the GLBT community, and the desperation that their form of religion isn’t selling like it used to? Can’t we have a discussion about the Republican messaging, which is all about anger, and bringing all of us back under the boot?

      • NW Luna says:

        The left isn’t too happy with women’s rights either unless the women are the “it’s so empowering to wear high heels/burka/whatever-confining-stereotype libfems. The MSM doesn’t see that though.

        • quixote says:

          We have gone so far backwards so fast it makes my head spin. Or maybe I just wasn’t seeing it for a while there. Now it’s obvious. When you have to start shouting that, ‘hey!, we exist! over here! … Is this thing on?’ Then it’s worse than it’s ever been. Even if some women are CEOs. And you’re right. That’s why it’s a huge deal to deny the biological fact of women’s existence. The good news, if there is any, is that they may be turning a corner in the UK.

          • dakinikat says:

            I’ve seen it since Reagan, and Pat Roberts ran for president. The crazy “moral majority” and white evangelical christianists started it back then.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He is going to be charged with attempted homicide, so that’s good. Too bad there is no way to charge Trump and his gang with stochastic terrorism.

      • Ronstill4Hills says:

        How long until we hear “false flag liberal trick” from the MAGAts. “Depape was Antifa” and the like.

        • quixote says:

          It’s usually the first thing they say. We just don’t follow the sort of people where we’d hear about it until it filters out further.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Such a shallow baby man:

  5. MsMass says:

    Yeah, I gotta wonder if the repugs are proud of what their people are doing. The bat shit crazy are certainly fine with it but what about the others ? No morals?
    They’re in it for the money angles… and some racism too. At least some of my former coworkers fit in this description, it’s always surprising when you find out someone you liked is a republican like this.

    Liked the Musk article, and I shudder to think of where that’s going.
    Really enjoyed the witches dance.

    • dakinikat says:

      I was just thinking about how much I love Halloween. I think it’s because it’s the only “official” holiday where the magic and beauty come from nature and all the voices inside us. I’ve also grown to love the idea of witches because their magic comes from nature and the inside. It’s like they don’t need any angry sky man who feels the need to be worshipped and is never adequately appreciated but is also supposed to be perfect, which is total nonsense. I think they injected a devil into the witch mythology because women must worship men or their plans fail.
      along with their control. It threatens the patriarchy. If you look at the real witch lore, they’re out in nature with animals, herbs, and their kitchen. They heal. They help other women navigate their bodies. All this threatens men.

      • NW Luna says:

        Agree. European Wicca didn’t have devils. There’s the Horned God, the male deity found in many neopagan/wiccan traditions, but his horns are those of a stag deer or elk and nothing to do with devil imagery.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says: