Blogus clarkensis: Just a few observations and the occasional modest proposal. If you'd like to participate or comment on my mad ravings write to me. If it gets weird, consider that weird attracts search engines, and the site is really a test of search engines and of our system features. (Many images can be clicked for a larger version.)
George Floyd and White Privilege
A thread on racial privilege on a friend's Facebook page has drawn out a wide range of views, gentle and harsh, in succeeding paragraphs, some less admirable than others. The response has largely impelled most to choose a side rather than to embrace others.

Sadly, racial and ethnic antipathy seems endemic in our species. Ask any Hokkienese or Uygur about the Han. Ask any Tutsi or Hutu, or any Native American or "Settler" about each other. In each case you will get a different answer from each group, always with the pot calling the kettle black. These "ideals" have taken hundreds or even thousands of years to develop, and we seem quite capable of affixing our ancestors' old ideas about whom to hate to new-found neighbors. For example, my Scots, Welsh and Irish ancestors in the US and other countries, used to hate the English and their rulers, but their descendants now speak their language and merrily join other European-descended groups to rule over others and to vote for authoritarian leaders. It's even easy to recruit non-member soldiers to oppress others on behalf of the ruling group; ask the Plains Indians about the "Buffalo Soldiers."

And, of course, there is always a sacred rationale (the Torah or the Bible) and the subsequent rationalizations (the Talmud and the TV preachers). What they all have in common is a clear message: "Don't rock the boat; keep in your place."

For those who want to wax biblical, the applicable text should be Jesus' admonition to succor the least of one's brethren. Who better to make that claim on us than our minority citizens, who are forever and unfairly called to be our conscience? But biblical arguments these days more commonly support clinging to the old ways, which include oppression of persons of low status and increasingly of women.

Most of the social distinctions that so often drive us to antipathy and violence are transient. Our economic system is only a century and a half old. Our modern languages are only a few hundred years old. Our racial distinctions are only a few thousand years old (our ancestors from 40,000 BC would not be accepted as members of our group, though we might recognize their humanity). None of us evolved from the other but from common ancestors lost to memory but discoverable in our DNA. My descendants will not look like my ancestors, and yours will not look like your ancestors, except for those who look with eyes open to opportunity. You, too, shall pass. All these "important" differences are but fly-specks on the mirror of time, so why do so many defend them so vehemently?

In our case, the original sin was certainly black chattel slavery, begun in the early 1600s and raised to its summit in the Antebellum South. It has been said that the North won the Civil War, but the South won the Propaganda War and managed to re-subjugate former slaves in a tangled web of economic peonage. The whole system has been rigged for 150 years to make whites feel good and blacks bad about themselves, both overtly and subliminally. Did I the descendant of British immigrants go to college because I'm so smart and motivated? Or did I get an almost unnoticed pat on the back for looking like most of my teachers? Did my minority peers have to be twice as good to be thought equal? The answer in everyone's case and to both questions is both Yes and No. Overt discrimination is not required. It's all so deeply built in that we rarely notice the often slight advantage conferred, until we have good friends who don't share the experience, friends close enough to expose their feelings to those they've been taught to mistrust. We learn, but slowly, and many are taught to resist the lesson.

Progress in undoing the damage is slow but certain, for example:
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (Austin, Texas) – Renamed Russell Lee Elementary 2016.
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (East Dallas, Dallas, Texas) – Renamed Geneva Heights Elementary School 2018.
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (East Wenatchee, Washington) – Renamed Lee Elementary 2018.
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (Hampton, Virginia) (closed in 2010)
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (Long Beach, California) – Renamed Olivia Herrera Elementary School 2016.
* Robert E. Lee Elementary School (San Diego, California) – Renamed Pacific View Leadership Elementary School 2016.
* (After Wikipedia, which lists a couple of dozen remaining institutions that have not got the memo.)
* Of course, some of these districts economized cleverly by retaining the initials, saving big bucks on replacing letterhead, uniforms, etc. One notes these are all elementary schools. The moral courage awards, of course, go to the districts in Texas and Virginia.
* And let us not forget King County, WA, stripped of its paean to 13th vice-president and slavery advocate William Rufus DeVane King and renamed for Martin Luther King, Jr. (which happily allowed retention of the signs at the county line, saving $millions; fiendishly clever, those liberals).

Denial that all this is a problem beggars understanding. Appeals to tradition transcend reason. Demurrers from honest progressivism merely expose support for the status quo or for retrenchment in old ways.

Where do we go from here? We have choice between loving and hating. History shows that hating leads inevitably to war and suffering. Love leads to reconciliation, growth and renewal. The Greeks had a word for it—several, actually—including (ἀγάπη) agápe, (ἔρως ) éros, (φιλία) philía, (φιλαυτία) philautia, (στοργή ) storgē, and (ξενία,) xenia. (Wikipedia). When all these forms merge in the person and the society, all things are possible. Over time we will all love whomever we love. All political power fades, especially where its energy is wasted on preservation of bygone values. Our current differences will fade into the past as we form new families and new societies, and our descendants will not admire our periodic descent into tribalism.

Apologies to unknown graphic artist.
Volunteer Now to Test Tr*mp Hypothesis
You can now volunteer to be the subject of another funeral your friends and family cannot attend:

"Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug President Trump encouraged as a treatment for covid-19 patients, is not only ineffective but significantly increases the risk of death for some, new evidence suggests.

"Alarmed by a growing cache of data linking the anti-malaria drug to serious cardiac problems, some drug safety experts are now calling for even more forceful action by the government to discourage its use,' The (Washington) Post reported. Read about how some of those experts are calling for the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the emergency authorization it granted for use of the drug during Trump's sales pitches.

But hydroxychloroquine has already become a cure-all in the minds of some Americans who hoarded it. This week an anti-quarantine protester in Long Island pursued a local news reporter trying to keep his distance. 'I've got hydroxychloroquine, I'm fine!' the man said."
Mail-in Voting, Secure, Fights Fraud
Gov. Jay Inslee recently distributed the following comments. "Here in Washington state, vote-by-mail has been a spectacular success, so when prominent anti-democratic voices say that vote-by-mail is more susceptible to voter fraud than other forms of voting, they are wrong. Plain and simple.

Washington State has proven that vote-by-mail is the easiest, safest, most reliable voting there is. This isn't a partisan issue -- in both Republican- and Democrat-run states, vote-by-mail has increased voter participation. There is zero reason not to have a mail-in ballot in any condition and certainly not when people have to risk their lives to go physically vote right now during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, I'm calling for vote-by-mail to be a right for every American across this country. Join me in calling for national vote-by-mail: Add your name right now. (Link omitted. —RC)

The photos of mile-long lines -- people in masks forced to either risk their health or give up their right to vote -- should break the heart of every American, regardless of whether they're a Democrat or Republican. And we must not let this happen in November.

You'll never see a line out the door to vote in Washington state. You will never wait in the rain, in the cold, or in the heat to fill in your ballot. Your ballot box should be as close as your mailbox. In fact, we even take care of the postage."

(Note: This could be federally subsidized for national elections. —RC)

"We already knew that too many Americans were choosing between voting and making it to their jobs, or voting and childcare, but now, all Americans are choosing between their health and their vote. That's unacceptable.

All contrary claims -- that vote-by-mail is corrupt and ripe for fraud and never allows Republicans to be elected again -- are not based in reality. Plus, the president actually votes absentee by mail -- so if it's good enough for him, why not anyone else?

Here in Washington, our own secretary of state says that our system is 'accessible, secure, fair, and instills confidence in our voters.'"

(Note: These are not "absentee" ballots. Mail-in voting is intended to replace walk-in voting completely, and it works for Washington. BTW, the only voting scandal in the 2018 election involved a party operative in North Carolina, who was caught and prosecuted for intercepting absentee ballots in a poorly designed system, which is not the same thing; and the election was overturned and rerun. —RC
Hydroxychloroquine, really?
For all my contemporaries who have forgotten, about 40 years ago the actor Steve McQueen was diagnosed with an incurable, terminal disease. He read or heard that an extract of apricot seeds called "laetrile" would help. It was not available in the US, so he went abroad, took the "medicine" and, of course, died, along with the laetrile fad.

Anecdotal tales are NOT and NEVER were medical evidence. Pres. Trump's insistence on "trying" hydroxycloroquine as a cure for what ails ya today is unscientific if not outright moronic. Quelle surprise!

Until double-blind, randomized studies (look it up!) are done, no medicine should be recommended, especially by untrained proponents. Most especially it should not be self-prescribed on the recommendation of known chalatans.

More about laetrile

Abridge the Daily Coronavirus Briefing, Please!
Perhaps someone with better video+sound-editing skills than I could capture the daily COVID-19 briefing and edit DJT out of it, preserving the information disseminated by those who know what the hell they're talking about and speak in complete sentences. A written transcript would be helpful, too.

Today's unsolicited business plan: Put the result in the public domain (let the TV and cable networks sue (demand a jury trial and nothing bad will happen), and other networks would pay to republish it. I give this business plan freely to the world without reservation or expectation of profit, but if it works, I wouldn't mind a kind mention and a free lunch (at a proper social distance, of course).
Etiquette for Trump Rallies and 2020 GOP Convention
On arrival, pack and store medical accoutrements such as gloves and facemasks, as these may cause undue anxiety among TV viewers of the event.

When greeting other participants, shake hands vigorously and depending on your relationship embrace or kiss them. Wrapping a hand and arm around a colleague's shoulders will convey a sense of solidarity.

Wash hands before and after the event.

If questioned by the press, convey sincerely that you perceive no health emergency.
The most important thing you can do in this difficult time is to make Pres. Trump look and feel good. Have confidence that many Republicans will survive, and isn't that what really matters?
Dr. Tr*mp and the warm weather cure
Our self-anointed physician-in-chief has now applied his very good brain to the current global epidemic known as coronavirus, announcing among other things that once spring comes and temperatures rise everything will be juuust fine.

This will be good news in Singapore where most of my immediate family lives. Daytime high temperatures there average 93°F, plunging into the high 80s at night.

One might therefore wonder how sunny Singapore has incurred an infection rate 107 times that of the US and by what miraculous circumstance US median springtime temperatures in the 60s and 70s are going to solve this problem.

Note to trumpeteers: The fools in this scenario are not Tr*mp and his handlers, apologists or toadies; they are instead those continue to believe this man who couples ignorance with incompetence to produce bad judgment more effectively than anyone since Pharaoh detained the Hebrews.

Podcast Episode

It's all Obama's Fault
I await anxiously the FOX News report — based on a shocking exposé by Rush Limbaugh — of how Barack Obama Sr. conceived the creation of the coronavirus way back in 1956 when he was a student in Kenya and later, with the connivance of his wife the junior anthropology professor and his US in-laws the furniture salesman and the branch bank manager and funded by the global Communist menace, conspired posthumously to maneuver his son Barack Jr. into the US presidency, wherein he was able during brief breaks in meetings with Chinese President Xi to arrange for the laboratory formulation of the new virus. Truly diabolical!
Presidential Medal of Freedom? Really?

Lindsey Graham Deprecates Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts
A friend posted on social media a link to a social media article labeled "Lindsay Graham says he won't read impeachment transcripts," and he has also full-throatedly supported Tr*mp in other forums. Another friend asked, "what happened to him? John McCain must be turning over in his grave."

It seems rather obvious: He's positioning himself as Tr*mp's successor, knowing he'd whomp Nebbish Pence in primaries. By appearing to support Tr*mp now, he can preserve rapport with the crazies while potentially appealing to a wider audience.

Would a deposed Tr*mp support Pence or Graham?
Build, don't destroy the US Postal Service
The creation of the PO in 1787 was the glue that held the nation together by bringing rural areas into the community. That unifying function should be expanded, not contracted.

For example, every citizen ought to have a free email account, and every PO including contract substations, ought to provide free access, perhaps similar to the good old phone booths we knew as children. Chicken feed for the gov't, manna from heaven for democracy.
History Museum in Johnstone Scotland on our Platform
Gavin and I are supporting a website for an online history museum in Johnstone, Scotland, whence came my maternal grandmother's parents in the early 1880s. The local history society sent us this kind acknowledgement (or if you're actually in Johnstone, acknowledgment).
More Deviltry in Turkey; This Time It's Murder
The behavior of Erdogan's Turkish military and "uncontrolled" militias, if correctly reported, in the murders of Kurdish civilians along the Turkey-Syria border in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing, may force the US to remove its nuclear arsenal from Turkey before taking any action that might be perceived as anti-Turkish. Such a pullback from Turkey has been the former USSR and Russia's and Putin's wet dream for SIXTY YEARS since the Cuban missile crisis! What will Fearless Leader do next? Only one thing is certain: It will be something equally thoughtless and ignorant.

The substitution of defensive deployments to protect Syrian oil fields for the previous deployments to protect actual human beings is in an INCREASE in the number of US troops in Syria and in no way meets the generally accepted goal of reducing the US footprint in the region. The reduction in the border area appears to have been a whim based on a desire to please Erdogan and the latter should have been a joint effort by an international force. Both would have benefitted from forethought and diplomacy, which are both in short supply in today's regime.
Big Energy Has another Option
The Guardian reported (earlier in October) that "a renewable energy revolution could end the world’s rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies."

Comment: With the tiniest nudge from the US government, which still sets the tone for the world economy, the rate of conversion to sustainable energy could be accelerated. Even the current energy companies could benefit: Though they have historically made $ by the sale of fuels and related products (plastics, another problem area), they have also created the world's greatest systems of logistics and commodity management. Converting to this service function as their primary function could guarantee their continuation regardless of the decline of fuels. One would think shareholders who value long-term appreciation would support this approach in huge numbers. As for the speculators, who gives a damn?
Trump now says his Florida resort won't be used for G7 in 2020
(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Saturday night abruptly reversed course and announced next year's G7 economic summit of world powers would not be held at Trump National in Doral, Florida, in a rare departure after facing bipartisan backlash. The President tweeted the major change just over 48 hours after the initial announcement: "We will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will BEGIN THE SEARCH for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately."

Unless Mick Mulvaney and the rest of the team were lying, which we all know could not be so, they have already conducted a thoroughgoing survey that identified Doral retroactively to confirm the original brilliant and perfect selection. Why can they not simply move to the second choice location? As Tr*mp buddy David Pecker might say: Inquiring minds want to know.

Credibility score: Zero, pants on fire.
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