Losing all the Moore ...

That was a pleasant surprise; that any Democrat could win in the Deep South - we owe much to Bannon and the Dem turnout brigades. The "yearbook modification" revelation over the last few days nearly tanked all blue hopes. I hope you all realize how much of a December Xmas present this is.

Observations:

  1. The win was slim. Very slim. The current media crowing is not proportional to that slimness. Jones won because Moore was a troll, a caricature. If this were a real cross-the-aisle anti-Trump 'wave', the win would have been significantly larger. An establishment Republican, of even the most unremarkable type, would have won this. Beware the calls of 2018 glory.

  2. Gerrymandering is going to loom even larger for 2018. Watch your local area for significant Republican shenanigans, given the importance of turnout in this contest.

  3. That even in the deepest South, with some of the most mangled news reporting in history, right can overcome might. Jesus, we needed that moral/political renaissance.

  4. Bannon is going to lose significant impetus; the Republican Party infighting is going to intensify hugely. That will probably translate into that horrific tax bill being shoved through even faster, with all center/right media mouthpieces blaring about a 'new morning in America.'

Democrats can enjoy the win. But the reality is, there is still a huge amount of work to be done. Turnout is but one leg of the stool - that leg is what tripped Clinton - this is a sign of learning on the part of the DNC. What is missing, I find, is a coherent platform - bread-and-butter issues - that people will vote for.

Core philosophies should already be in circulation - right now - and are not. This is why I wrote the Laziness post yesterday. The first - and only - article I ever read comparing the issues of the two candidates appeared after I wrote that post ... on freaking election day. Jones didn't offer anything other than the usual Democratic talking points.

What do Democrats stand for, in 2018? If your answer is 'anything but Trump!', that's not a guaranteed win. Because that allows the venting of frustrations through establishment Republicanism. The faithful on the red side of the aisle know perfectly well that while Trump is twittering the media into fits of outrage out in the garden, McConnell and Ryan are building bombs in the basement.

All of the anger, all of the frustration must be channeled through a Democratic pipeline. Where is that @^#%@;$ pipeline? That is my challenge to the Democrats right now.

Ignore the Administration. Ignore the media.

Crosspost from Facebook.

Well, he's done it. Shrunk Bear Ears. My 18 year old blog is legendary for concision, but in certain cases, I'm also known for pitching a fit. Well, here comes another one.

No, this isn't about 'local control.' This isn't about hunting. Or grazing. The landscape is unforgiving, so fracking isn't going to happen until prices rise. It's not even about 'freedom'.

It's about corporate profit, but more specifically it's about mining uranium cheaply. And most ironically, a quality of yellowcake that's so low, so unneeded (at present), it's being sold to international interests. South Korea! I'm not kidding. Look up "Uranium Bear Ears".

The muttered dire imprecations about "leftist" plans for Bear Ears ... if the monument were allowed to stand, air quality regs would have had to be enforced, increasing costs to the mine(s) and mill(s). Heaven forfend we inconvenience any corporation! Better we snort radioactive dust, bang our chests over our 'patriotism', and cough gobbets of blood as we die in the dirt like junkyard dogs.

We have, unfortunately, seen it all before. We know these pirates and their operating procedures here in NM. These are not upstanding people. The American West is awash in these creatures. When the uranium mine spilled at Crownpoint, they didn't bother to inform the populace, allowing children to play in the river, radiation and acid burns so bad they suffered amputations. And reparations were never fully made - as if you could put a $ figure on any of it. There's a big Federal/corporate thumb on the scales of American jurisprudence.

This behavior has not changed. Not one iota. Editorial sophistry will not change the realities we live in out here. The pundits have not researched beyond the ends of their noses. The editorialists recycle their navel lint. 99% of the articles these evening are simply stored trash they've been saving up for a couple of weeks.

Uranium mines, even the newest ones - I don't care what technological salesmanship they try to feed you - their ejecta kills people. The underground contamination destroys aquifers, making large tracts of land unusable for the foreseeable future. This sounds like the same old 'enviromeddler' griping, but their operating records are hideous. Look up Daneros Mine and White Mesa Mill, adjacent to Bear Ears - look up how filthy these facilities are. These can be expanded hugely with Bear Ears and Grand Staircase downsized, with only a couple of feints at cleanup. Processing this lower-quality stuff will be even more costly. A dozen years later, this will all be in our taxpayer laps, paying to Superfund it ... with the universal excuse, "Well, we did our best at the time."

We know how to mine cleanly; there are no mysteries after a hundred years or so. So why doesn't anyone actually DO it?

American law.

You folks on the two coasts believe that modern filtering, cleaning, maintenance techniques would surely be used? But you would be dead wrong. The extraction interests are fighting to keep the General Mining Act of 1872 [yes, 1872] as intact as possible (allowing terrifyingly dirty mining techniques) well into the future.

This is akin to holding Second Amendment supporters to owning a single Charleville musket. It simply doesn't reflect modern realities. Everyone - of any political stripe - should be outraged. I stand with my Native friends who wish to keep Bear Ears pristine.

But that issue likely didn't figure into this political move at all, so I won't express my opinion from that angle. I doubt Hatch, Zinke or Trump spared more than five minutes on Native interests.

The realist/cynic in me says all these moves of late point to a significant refocus on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy to come. I see Feds want to extend the WIPP storage facility in southern NM - even after they had their 'kitty litter' radioactive event. This all points to vivified nuclear endeavors.

See if there's a single editorialist planting that one under your nose. And let's see if I'm correct, in the coming months. I'm betting Senator Hatch didn't get active over this for pocket change. He smells big bucks for his state.

Indian Country Today: Trump Refers to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas at White House Code Talkers Ceremony.

I was going to comment on this press conference, but decided to wait and let the tribes talk for themselves. Enough white outrage to power a nuclear plant - let's see what those actually affected think.

Knowing the history of the Cherokee, the portrait of Andrew Jackson in the background hit me in the face like an unexpected bolt of lightning. Completely disrespectful ... perhaps even malevolent, since the decision on shrinking Bear Ears is imminent.

The Paris Review: What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?

Hemingway’s girlfriend, the writer Martha Gellhorn, didn’t think the artist needed to be a monster; she thought the monster needed to make himself into an artist. “A man must be a very great genius to make up for being such a loathsome human being.” (Well, I guess she would know.)

As you know, this is bothering me right now. I ask myself why I can so easily erase Polanski, but still respect Picasso. Perhaps because I was introduced to Picasso as 'great artist' first in my youth, Polanski first as a troubled genius/rapist in my adulthood. Woody Allen has always driven me bonkers. "Sleeper" is about the only Allen (with himself in it) film I could sit through ... my urge to stuff a sock in his mouth and drop him off at a bus station is just too strong.

Ethics are not supposed to be easy. And they're always worth contemplating. I am concerned about how my choices affect my overall character. Is it not true, that if we can rationalize the output of a monster ... then we can rationalize slavery, the medical experiments on concentration camp survivors, etc.?

I can't bear to do that. Again, we run up against moral consistency as being virtual handcuffs, and moral relativity looking awfully seductive but ultimately deadly to modern society.

Context can help. But when the context is expired, when the monster is dead ... then what? I look to the fact that Hitler is long burnt, but we have Nazis in our streets ... the same streets that housed those who so valiantly defeated the scourge.

Guardian.UK: The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back.

... in this morality tale is one of Bernard Shaw’s most important arguments: people are not poor because they are immoral; they’re immoral because they are poor. Or, to put it in the terms of today’s assumptions about poverty: the problem with the poor isn’t their “culture” or their want of character. It’s just that they don’t have enough money.

'Character' keeps coming up. You know, it still holds true in rural areas of the U.S.: If you've broken down on the road, the poorest families will stop and help, invite you into their homes for a bite. The richest will drive by in their $50k+ pickups, mirror glasses perched on patrician noses, designer cowboy boots propped on begilded dashes, and let you fry slowly in the sun. Happened to me just the other day ... and post-Trump, too (you were wondering, I know).

Now, with that behind us, let's discuss moral failings.

The Fully Intended: Me Too.

Mollie nails it, as usual. During this last week, I mentioned the fact that France might consider fining catcallers to an acquaintance of mine. Her reaction was such that I continued to mention it to every man and woman I encountered for the rest of the week, to gauge the level at which catcalling is affecting half our population.

Men ranged from "Well, I guess it's a good idea" to "Ridiculous. What harm does it do? Sticks and stones."

Women? The 'look of eagles' (hope) appeared in the eyes, and stories of being catcalled - starting as an underage girl - were rolled out. Some took quite severe steps to never be in those situations again, limiting their freedom.

Every.

Single.

Woman.

This will be no surprise to the female sex. To men? Jesus. My male privilege blinded me; our culture silently accepts this ... and it should not. At the very least, our American legal system should fine men who catcall underage girls, if they cannot generate any righteous indignation for catcalling in general. Childhood especially should be left unmolested. Reality comes hard, and always too soon.

[Later thought: On the other hand, 30 days in the slammer being catcalled by an inmate named "Knuckles" might be a good preventative, too.]

The Atlantic: America’s Sexual-Assault Epidemic.

This, and the whole #metoo movement have elicited some of the most interesting discussions my wife and I have had of late. The privileges we males enjoy - and take for granted - go far beyond 'unfair'. Once she and I started talking, I was repeatedly taken aback at things I just wasn't seeing, because I didn't have to see. We've talked about many such things before, but #metoo and the Scoble issue had us digging much deeper. The kinds of convos that take relationships down to the foundation to check for integrity.

Scoble was one of us ETPers. I and my social circle found him vacuous and obsequious; we weren't alone. You'll find only one threadbare reference to him here in my eighteen years of blogging. Though his meteoric rise came after I beat a hasty departure, his behavior reflects badly on us and requires a clear refutation.

My feeling is, a person never knows how they will react to sudden popularity and significant power ... but right and wrong don't change.

Every time a person crosses a line, they know they have crossed it. Not every binge is consciousness-immolating. You still have to wake up and either listen to your personal angels, turning towards the light again ... or rationalize with your demons, and become one with 'the darkness at the edge of town'.

In that choice, your character is laid bare.

I hope the victims will be able to negotiate closure and find lasting peace for themselves. Yet the nature of the violations makes me doubt there can ever be full reparation. No matter the number of words or magnitude of actions, some things can never be taken back to normal. (If you don't understand why and you're male, hand the original article (Quinn Norton on Medium) to your partner, and let them explain the nature of the multifarious violations to you from their perspective.)

The one hopeful detail is that there doesn't seem to have been any enabling or Weinstein-like premeditation; makes it all slightly less horrible (slightly, from a legalese perspective, that is) in comparison with other revelations hitting the airwaves. Nevertheless, I hope Scoble seeks help beyond mere alcohol abuse therapy; that is clearly not enough.

(October 23 update: Sounds like he has resigned from his current position, is pulling back and is now seeking further help. The women involved shouldn't have had to go nuclear for this step to have been taken. I also, coincidentally, hear Weinstein was in a one week 'outpatient' harrassment/abuse class? One week buys him absolution? Are you kidding me?)

naked cap: Fossil Fuel Misinformation Helps Quash Community Effort to Ban Fracking in Youngstown, Ohio.

... the oil and gas industry launched a unique media campaign against not only the initiatives but the local ballot initiative process itself. The talking point: Local ballot measures cost taxpayers too much money and should be avoided.

Next, they came for your votes. Watch out for this in your local area; means oil and gas have their eagle-eyes on something in the near future. Also watch out for highway exit and highway repaving in odd areas, that are beyond the scope of traffic they routinely get. We had one out-of-the way road paved very beautifully here, just before an oil group announced they wanted to set up a depot. The money flows deeply into our political processes. [We still tossed 'em out ... but as always, it's close. Government likes green.]

You sort of wonder ...

why the 'well-regulated' part of the 2nd Amendment is never paid attention to. The Shays and Whiskey Rebellions made clear the Founding Fathers' opinions on citizens owning military weapons (that's a big "NO"). Read for yourself. I don't need to link 'em. If you think the Continental Congress let revolutionaries walk off with the expensive French Charleville muskets after the war, I've got a plot of swampland in Florida to sell you.

SF New Mexican: Tribes ask feds to halt drilling leases in Chaco region.

It is imperative that extraction companies stop. They're destroying important historical evidence, as well as destroying the experience of Chaco. The night sky was an essential part of the Chaco culture; you obscure it with lighting (and it was already being impacted a decade and a half ago), and you destroy another aspect of their lingering historical record.