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Functionally Extinct Humanity

Posted on November 25th, 2019

Dave!All too often we humans speak of the planet as if humanity is the only thing living on it.

This attitude is mortifying, and a huge part of why animals of all kinds are rapidly losing their homes. Whether it be due to climate change... or deforestation... or pollution... or any number of other human-induced disasters, our fellow creatures are not long for this earth. "Adapt or die" is a phrase that's tossed around like it excuses everything, which is easy to say when you are able to adapt more quickly than all the so-called "lesser species" on this planet. If our home is destroyed, we rent a U-Haul and drive ourselves to someplace else that we've created to be just like the place we've left. Animals (especially those with special diets) don't have this option.

This past week articles were hitting the news saying that koalas have become "functionally extinct" thanks to horrible wildfires raging through Australia.

Subsequent responses are all over the map. Some say that this is a vastly-overblown statement and koalas are nowhere near going extinct. Others say that "functionally extinct" is a statement considering future trends, and is completely accurate. In any event, Forbes changed their headline from "Expert claims Australia's beloved marsupial is 'functionally extinct' after bushfires destroyed 80 per cent of their natural habitat and killed thousands"... to "Fires Have May Have Killed Up To 1,000 Koalas, Fueling Concerns Over The Future Of The Species"... which they claim is to "better reflect the content of the reporting." So make of it what you will. Interesting to note that the original headline is still part of the URL...
https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/11/23/koalas-functionally-extinct-after-australia-bushfires-destroy-80-of-their-habitat/

As I am neither an expert on koalas nor their survivability chances, I'll bow out of that fight.

I will, however, weigh in with my opinion, which is this: Once humanity stops caring for all life on this planet, we are dooming ourselves just as surely as if we found a way to crash the earth into the sun. Life here is co-dependent and if you want to be exposed to something that will keep you up at night, start reading articles on how close we may be to eliminating a keystone species. Well, at least those "keystone species" we know of.

Koalas may... or may not... be a keystone species upon which most life on this planet relies (it's something you can only ever truly know in hindsight). But they are amazingly sweet, gentle, inoffensive, and adorable creatures who deserve better than what they've gotten by our hand. When I visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Australia, theirs seemed like such a dire predicament eight years ago... and it's just getting more hopeless as time goes on.

Me holding a koala... both of us looking into the camera while I'm having the time of my life.

How much better off would life on this planet be if we weren't here fucking it up?

Humans, such as we are, may not be functionally extinct... but we are quickly becoming functionally inhuman.

   

Get Angry, Then Laugh

Posted on November 19th, 2019

Dave!I honestly don't know where I land on all the impeachment stuff.

I mean, yeah, the president abused his office for personal gain. There is no debating this. It all really happened and there's a preponderance of evidence that it happened. Of course the president denies it happened... but then, like every other time he's accused of something he did, he tries to suppress evidence and tell lies to convince people it didn't happen. Then real evidence is uncovered, proof is found, and he starts screaming "Fake News" so his supporters will look the other way. This has been happening since he assumed office. And it's obviously a strategy that works for him because he should have been thrown in jail long ago.

The Orange Menace, President Trump, being all angry while his hands have been Photoshopped to be smaller than the small they already were.The pathetic man-baby asshole.

Except... don't all politicians do crap like this?

The issue at hand here is that President Trump's corruption is so much easier to see. Because. He's. Just. That. Damn. Stupid. And he surrounds himself with fucking morons like Rudy Giuliani who is happy to go on live television interviews and admit everything. And, oh yeah, President Trump's crimes run bigger, badder, and worser than most politicians, so there's that. He is effectively giving this country to billionaires, special interest groups, and foreign countries (many of them our enemies)... all while eradicating small business and the middle class to do it. People who benefit him get everything. People who cannot benefit him get fucked.

Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

So, yeah, sure. Impeach him. Remove the president from office. Let bat-shit crazy insane Vice President Pence eradicate what few personal liberties remain and start World War III by nuking all the non-Christian nations (it's the jihad he's been masturbating over for decades). Or let President Trump continue his term... possibly get a second term... and run this country so far into the ground that it can never recover. Either way, we're fucked. The world is fucked.

The only way that impeachment will actually mean anything for the rest of us is if ALL the crooked politicians get thrown in jail. ALL of them. Then we can establish term limits... eliminate gerrymandering... abolish lobbyists... curb corruption... strive for equal representation... nurture personal liberties... repair our environment... protect our wildlife... set our clocks to permanent Daylight Saving Time... and work towards being a country that lives up to the ideals of who we want to be. Who we really want to be once all the slime has been eradicated and our government works for everyone and not the few.

Make that happen and I would gladly tune into the hearings.

   
In other news... I hope Netflix is offering Aamer Rahman a pile of money for his own special. I've shared a video from him before, but here's some more...


Some of his stuff is wonderfully insightful, flipping the script on race to illustrate exactly where we're at...


I don't find anything offensive in truth. If people do, then that's probably a good thing.

   

The Consequence of Filler

Posted on July 24th, 2019

Dave!I'm in the future! This post is for Wednesday but I'm writing it on Thursday because stuff happened.

My flight to Boston was great (thanks, Alaska Airlines!). My hotel at midnight was nice. My drive up to Maine was painless. My lunch was very good. My hotel is great as always. But work was pushed back several times over many hours, so I'm kinda in that limbo state that happens when you're sleep-deprived yet having to concentrate on the job.

Somewhere in all that, I needed a snack so I grabbed a bag of Mango Pineapple Mix. I love dried pineapple and mango, so it was an easy choice.

Except...

When I started chowing down, I noted that there was hardly any mango or pineapple taste to be found. As you chew it, it tastes more like peanut butter and raisins...

INGREDIENTS: PEANUTS, RAISINS, SUNFLOWER KERNELS, MANGO, PINEAPPLE, CASHEWS.

Well, shit.

Here in the USA, ingredients must be listed in order of volume. But they don't have to tell you the percentage of each ingredients. For my "Mango Pineapple Mix" my guess is that it's something like this...

  • PEANUTS: 50%
  • RAISINS: 23%
  • SUNFLOWER KERNELS: 18%
  • MANGO: 4%
  • PINEAPPLE: 3%
  • CASHEWS: 2%

So... not really a Mango Pineapple Mix after all. The ingredients might as well have read...

  • DISAPPOINTMENT: 100%
  • SATISFACTION: 0%

Mango, pineapple, and cashews are expensive, so they are used sparingly. Peanuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds are cheap, so they are used as filler. Which is fine, except in this case the filler is so overwhelming that you never really taste the ingredients that the mix was named after.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Companies lie to sell their crap all the time.

Just like politicians.

As the presidential race starts heating up, you quickly realize that all the threats and promises the candidates are making are just filler. Cheap lies they say so they can get elected. Promises, after all, cost nothing. If I were to break down the ingredients for a politician's motivations when running for office, it would probably go something like this...

  • MONEY: 150%
  • POWER: 130%
  • RE-ELECTION: 120%
  • FAME: 98%
  • ACTUAL FUCKING CONCERN FOR PEOPLE: 2%

Yes, I realize that all adds up to 500%, but you've seen how politicians operate... tell me that I'm wrong. And don't kid yourself, that 2% is very much dependent on whether having "concern" will jeopardize their bigger priorities.

The product is a lie.

Which is nothing new. Politicians lie to sell their crap all the time. Their "ingredients" might as well read...

  • DOING THE BIDDING OF THEIR LOBBYIST OVERLORDS EVEN IF THEY END UP FUCKING OVER THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING: 100%
  • ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS: 0%

Why American citizens don't give a shit about this obvious scam is beyond me. I see the headlines and marvel at the fact that people aren't rioting in the streets. Take this one, for example...

Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.

You work your entire life so that one day you can retire. Significant chunks of your paycheck are taken for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, with the expectation that this money will come back to you so that you don't have to spend your "golden years" living in disease and poverty.

And yet here we are.

If you're one of the wealthy individuals benefitting from the money being stolen from working-class America, congratulations, you got the country you paid for. If you're not one of those individuals, then I hope you enjoy your "golden years" living in disease and poverty. You voted for it, after all.

Change your mind? Here's a checklist for a good start...

  1. Demand term limits for all political offices.
  2. Demand term limits for Supreme Court justices.
  3. Demand abolishing lobbyist payola.
  4. Demand a new, more representative voting system.

That last one is the ballgame. It's also complex and interesting. Fortunately, CPG Grey has you covered. Watching these videos is well worth your time if you're at all concerned about just how badly fucked you are by our current political system...






And... back to work. And my shitty trail mix.

   

Cooperation, Courage, Sacrifice, and Foolishness

Posted on June 6th, 2019

Dave!D-Day... the day that the Allies invaded Nazi-occupied France during World War II in order to liberate the country and secure victory on the Western Front... is a landmark event in world history. The United States, The British Empire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Norway, Poland, and Czechoslovakia came together to fight a great evil to escape from an unthinkable future against incredible odds. That the Allied Forces were victorious is a testament to cooperation, courage, and sacrifice. On this somber day of remembrance, it's our duty to pay respects those who risked everything, including their lives, in service of all humanity. You will not be forgotten.

According to President Trump, it's also a time to air your petty grudges by calling Robert Mueller a "fool" and Nancy Pelosi a "disaster"...

President Trump at Normandy Making an Ass Out of Himself and the Rest of the Country!

Well, if there's anybody who would know something about being both a fool and a disaster, it would be our president... the pathetic, loathsome, disgusting, moronic, vile, horror story that he is. Boy it would be nice if he could go just one damn day without embarrassing us in front of the world, but I guess that's too much to ask.

Anybody, anybody at all, with even the tiniest amount of humility and decency would have declined to discuss this kind of ugliness on this day... especially when you are sitting across from the Normandy American Cemetery Memorial which honors those US soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. All he had to say was "I'm sorry, but now is not the time or place to get into that... I'm here to pay my respects and honor the memory of some truly great American heroes and nothing else." But, of course, we all know that humility and decency are two traits that President Trump doesn't possess, and so here we are.

Can you imagine... can you even fathom... what the reaction would be at FOX "News" if President Obama had unloaded this kind of petty sniping under the same conditions? Can you?!?

If not, just Google it. Theirs was a non-stop parade of condemnation for far, far less offensives... or nothing at all... for the eight years that he was in office. As propaganda ministers for the Far Right that's their job, after all.

   

Where is My Portal Gun?

Posted on May 15th, 2019

Dave!Can I please just have a day off from this insanity?

Every time some heinous new political bombshell drops, my brain explodes and I have to pull my head back together so I can get through another day. Whether it's idiot politicians being idiots, ignorant people being ignorant, or the nonsensical being presented as common sense... it seems every single day is another assault on my sanity, and it's getting harder and harder to pull myself through it.

As I've said many times, I do not support abortion outside of special circumstances. But that's my personal belief. This being AMERICA and all, everybody gets to live by their beliefs and for their conscience. I fully, unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. President Clinton said that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare"... and that pretty much sums it up for me. But in order for abortion to be rare, people must be educated and have free and easy access to birth control. Until that happens, our society endorses "abortion as birth control," and the people who are strongest against abortion seem to be the people most responsible for it. Their only solution is to just make it illegal... problem solved.

Except not really. Because banning abortion isn't going to stop abortion! The collapse in logic here is mind-boggling. No way to get a safe, controlled abortion? Oh, okay... bring on the coat hangers and back-alleys. Then some 12-year-old pregnant rape victim ends up dead because her parents didn't want her childhood (and possibly her entire life) ruined, so they risked an at-home procedure that went terribly wrong. THAT's what constitutes being pro-life?!? Who in the hell are these sadist pieces of shit running Alabama?

Meanwhile, all these politicians and their wealthy backers will STILL have access to safe abortions and suffer absolutely no consequences because of it. As always, the law only applies to poor people.

How the fuck do I get off this planet?

If only I had a portal guns from Rick and Morty. Which, by the way, is finally coming back this November...

New Rick and Morty, November 2019 on Adult Swim!

Isn't it sad when the best thing you've heard out of the news all day is that a cartoon is returning?

Welcome to life in these United States.

Or on this earth, really.

   

Shut-Down Smack-Down

Posted on January 15th, 2019

Dave!And... I had to cancel all of my March travel because there's no way to plan for a US Government shutdown that has no end date. If this thing is still going through February, I'm guessing I'll have to cancel my travel for April. This is extraordinarily bad. Both for the charity I'm trying to work with and the people who rely on that charity to, you know, continue living and stuff.

Not to mention all the people who are going to have a tough time surviving right here at home. If they have government jobs (or are in industries linked to the government) I'd imagine that money for things like rent and utilities and gas and food is going to be in short supply soon. It's really tough to see people posting their worries online only to be met with helpful comments like "YOU SHOULD HAVE SAVED MONEY IN CASE THIS HAPPENED! ARE YOU STUPID? Well, if they're like so many people, they're not stupid. They're just having to live paycheck to paycheck and don't have an opportunity to save. I paid $46 for two bags of groceries the other day. That'll cover me for about a week. If I didn't already have cat food, that total would have been higher. I can't imagine how much it costs to feed a family of four for a month.

What's difficult for me to figure is the non-stop political blame game that's currently going on. DEMOCRATS WERE FOR A WALL BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST IT! Well, not really. They were for a "Secure Fence Act"... thirteen years ago... which was attached to a lot of concessions. Needless to say, a lot has fucking happened in thirteen years, so it's not the apples-to-apples comparison it seems. DEMOCRATS ARE WEAK ON BORDER SECURITY! THEY WANT WIDE-OPEN BORDERS! Well, not really. Any Democrat I've heard speak on the subject says that border security is a priority for them... they just want to invest money into something that's actually going to work (and not bankrupt the country over a pathetically inadequate budget projection). THIS IS ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT! Well, not really. According to 2013 Donald J. Trump, weak presidential leadership is at fault for government shutdowns. NO, REALLY, THIS IS ALL ON THE DEMOCRATS! Well, not really. There are Republicans opposed to the stupid-ass wall as well. Enough Republicans that President Trump couldn't get it funded before Democrats took the House earlier this month. If Republicans can't convince Republicans when they are in control of everything, it's the Democrats' fault? Really?

What's even more difficult for me to figure is how people are okay with their very lives being nothing more than bargaining chips over a wall that's not even going to fucking work. I may loathe Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in equal measure, but they've got one thing correct: border security should be debated apart from the livelihood of Americans just trying to get by. But Clownface VonFuckstick doesn't give a shit about people who aren't millionaires, which is all the justification he needs to carry on with his temper tantrum stand-off bullshit. And that's enough for his supporters to taunt, ridicule, and otherwise rip into people wondering how they're going to be able to afford food and shelter if things keep going as they have been.

I'll ponder all that while trying to figure out how I will find space in my calendar to fit the three trips I just canceled. They're going to have to be pushed to Fall where travel dates are already scarce. But since actual lives are at stake, I'll make it work somehow.

Assuming we're not still shut down.

   

Schadenfreude and Concession Speeches

Posted on November 7th, 2018

Dave!I have voted for many Republicans over the years. Here in Redneckistan, you kind of have to for some positions because Seattle-side politicians don't give a crap about us after they get our votes. But President Trump is so abhorrent that not only did I NOT vote for a single Trump-enabling Republican like Dino Rossi... I take great joy in their defeat. Rossi was hardly an honorable politician, but that wasn't the deciding factor for me (are any of them?). It was Trump, only Trump, and it will always be Trump. Any party that would unleash this monster on the country will not be getting a single vote from me. And may never get a vote from me again.

Rossi would have most certainly voted in support of Mitch McConnell wanting to steal from our Social Security and obliterate Medicare, both of which we pay for. He would have definitely voted to increase our debt in favor of more misguided tax breaks for the über-wealthy that will never benefit working-class Americans (no matter what Republicans say). He probably would have voted for Trump's stupid wall which will ultimately do little-to-nothing to halt immigration or drugs, but would certainly destroy animal migration and the environments which animals live. And I'm fairly certain that he would have supported stopping Mueller's investigation of the horrendous accusations against our president (seriously, shouldn't we be 100% sure about this?). I'm not sure about supporting Dear Leader's insane tariff war, which is decimating American farmers and our exports. But it's a foregone conclusion he would sit idly by as Trump continues his shitty attacks on reporters, the environment, science, poor people, immigrants, Persons of Color, the LGBTQ community, non-Christians, logical thinking, and actual human decency. I'd like to think he would have drawn the line at condemning our allies and praising the enemies of The United States of America like Cheeto Jesus does, but you never know. President Trump is very quick to make enemies of Republicans who do not offer whole-hearted support and non-stop praise of every fucked-up thing he does.

Short-term power gains that Republicans get by enabling the heinous crap Trump says and does on a daily basis will ultimately continue pushing people like me further and further Left. There's just nowhere else for politically unaffiliated people like me to go and feel sane. Or be able to live with ourselves.

It's because of this that I hope the Republican party continues to erode from within because they 100% deserve it. And after they're gone we can work on getting rid of the Democratic party too. Perhaps then we can finally find a political system that works for the people instead of corporate lobbyists. Finally get a political system run by citizens instead of billionaire puppet masters. Finally smash this two-party system that is destroying all of us with corruption, divisiveness, and fear. We've let politicians make ourselves our own worst enemy for far too long. At some point we need to put differences aside and start confronting the REAL enemy. But will we?

Fortunately, it's not up to us, because what we have now is unsustainable. Change will ultimately be coming whether people want it to or not. The question is whether we'll be annihilated in the process. The way things are headed now, it certainly feels that way. We are just too lazy, uninformed, and easily manipulated... and content to remain that way.

In the meanwhile... chocolate cake for breakfast though, so I guess it's not all bad.

   

All Too Taxable

Posted on October 15th, 2018

Dave!Like most everybody, I would prefer not paying taxes.

But the only way it all works is if everybody kicks in money so that things we rely on can continue to function. Like the fire department. Like our military. Like food inspectors. Like so many things that keep us safe and make sure the services we enjoy have the funding they need.

And so... we pay taxes.

The problem is that the way we are taxed is incredibly fucked up.

Our progressive federal tax scale means that the more money you make, the more money in federal taxes you pay. The base rate goes from roughly 10% for the poorest among us to roughly 40% for the wealthiest among us. Except... there are so many fucking loopholes and bullshit conditions to taxation that somebody who should be paying 40% can end up paying less than 10% if they are creative in their finances. Billionaires can easily pay nothing if they figure out a way for their income to be tied up in investments and shit.

Like I said, the system is incredibly fucked up.

Now, I don't pretend to be an economics genius or anything... but there has got to be a better way. Something more fair and honest. But since the billionaires control all the wealth (hence they control all the politicians making the tax laws), "a better way" will likely never happen. Instead we're getting even more tax cuts for the wealthy that are paid for by huge cuts to things like Medicare and Social Security that we have already fucking paid for along with critical services... like public education.

Personally, I am all for abolishing income tax of any kind and eliminating the IRS. Instead of income tax, the taxes we need will come from the shit you buy. This is called a "consumption tax" and, in my mind, seems a lot more fair than the bullshit we have now. Everybody pays the same consumption tax on absolutely everything except food and medical expenses. Buy a new fingernail clipper? Pay a little tax. Buy a fucking mansion? Pay a lot of fucking taxes. And no buying your fingernail clippers in France so you can avoid paying your consumption tax! Anything you bring into the country is immediately subject to taxation. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything.

In the meanwhile though...

Since I am paying an outrageous amount of federal income tax on every dollar I make, I try very hard to not pay sales tax. Any large purchase... like camera equipment... I purchase out of state so I don't have to pay taxes on it. At least I did...


B&H Photo now collecting sales tax


I get it. Honestly I do. Washington State (which doesn't collect a state income tax) relies on sales tax to pay the bills. An astronomically high sales tax that's near 9%. So when I order a $1000 camera lens from B&H Photo in New York, Washington State is losing out on $90 in tax revenue.

A tax I'd be happy to pay if it weren't for all the other shit I'm taxed on. Hell, run it up to 20% for all I care... so long as you get rid of the IRS and my fucking income tax so we have a consistent, fair tax rate that everybody has to pay equally.

But what do I know? A consumption tax sounds fair and transparent to me, but maybe it's a dumb idea. Maybe a flat-tax is better. Maybe there's an alternative to taxes which will still allow us to pay for public safety, infrastructure, and defense that's far more fair than what we got. I really don't know and I honestly don't care. So long as we get rid of the fucked up insanity we're stuck with now.

Especially since I'll now be paying more taxes than ever before.

Especially since politicians are spending more tax revenue than ever before.

Especially since Americans are getting fucked over by our government worse than ever before.

Especially that.

   

SPAAAAACE FORRRRRCE!!!

Posted on June 18th, 2018

Dave!Everybody is laughing at the idea of spending billions of dollars we don't have on a "space force." But you won't be laughing when the alien invasion comes and we are DOMINATINNNNNNG SPAAAAACE!!!

Oh... you say aliens that are capable of interstellar travel will have technology that makes any "space force" we come up with about as threatening as a BB gun? Well... well... WE CAN STILL KEEP THE MEXICANS FROM INVADING THE MOON! HA!! CHECKMATE, HATERS!!!

=ahem=

Space exploration has always resulted in amazing technologies that eventually filter downward and make everybody's life better. I 100% support my tax dollars going towards organizations like NASA, who do a lot more than just push the boundaries of human knowledge... they also invest in technologies which keep us safe and help us to have a better understanding of the world we inhabit and (at least until the current administration) the dangers we face from the destruction we're causing to it.

Likewise, I also 100% support my tax dollars being spent on defense. Sure, I think it's insane that we have such a massive military complex when so many of the current threats we face can't be remedied that way... and it seems crazy that we have weapons enough to destroy the world a hundred times over and are told we still need more... but I want our military to always have access to cutting-edge technology which keeps them (and us) safe. So yeah, budget for that. Not military parades and golf trips on Air Force One, but that.

And now we're getting a space force?

We've got homeless vets, a stupid-ass 100% completely ineffectual wall to build, and legions of other problems that could use our tax dollars... but pew! pew! pew! pew!

   

The Sunken Place

Posted on March 12th, 2018

   

   

   

   

The Sunken Place from Get Out

   

   

   

   

   

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