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Archive for the ‘sick society’ Category

Stalin’s Soviet Union was a vicious place, where at any moment the secret police could arrest you and send you off to the gulag concentration camps. Children under the age of 2 got sent with their families, while children above the age of 2 went to relatives or state-run orphanages. One thing that was *not* done was to rip children away from their families and send them to separate concentration camps just for children. Granted, the orphanages weren’t exactly cushy places. But they weren’t concentration camps. Unlike this:

This is a detention center for unaccompanied children. It is set up in an abandoned Walmart store. But this is a cushy detention center. Why, they’re given mattresses to sleep on, instead of being required to sleep on the raw concrete! That at least makes it better than the detention cages on the border:

The cages on the border are where the children are kept for one to three days before they can be shipped off to the “cushy” detention center. They’re not given food during that time, and are not given a mattress or blankets. Because it is a “temporary” holding facility, Homeland Security claims they don’t need to provide any of that.

Note that this photograph dates to 2014, during the Obama regime. Which shows that the Republican lie of Obama not being “tough on immigration” was utterly false. Obama was no friend of immigrants, just as the black community, as a whole, is no friend of immigrants, who they view as having come into America and taken “their” jobs. And so the cycle of viciousness towards our fellow man goes on, despite everything that God says:

Hell, even the Southern Baptists, who are as regressive as you can get without being a total Bircher, are rather queasy about the whole be-mean-to-immigrants thing:

God commands His people to treat immigrants with the same respect and dignity as those native born … we desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families … any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is especially hypocritical is people like Vice President Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions who claim to be Christian advocating treating immigrants badly, even to the point of wanting to send migrant kids to tent cities in the fierce Texas summer heat, something would have made Stalin chortle with delight since he did the same thing with adults when he sent them to the frozen Siberian north. But Stalin never claimed to be Christian. I mean, if you claim to be Christian, shouldn’t you, like, obey the word of Christ? Isn’t that, like, the whole point of being Christian? But I guess their Christianity stops when they exit the churchyard door.

And so we continue treating children in ways that would make Stalin envious in their utter cruelty….

– Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

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While doing research for the current novel, I spent time looking at what happens to the least amongst us when they die. Our poor and homeless die in the streets regularly, except that the cause of death is always listed as “exposure” or “pneumonia” or some other disease that comes with poor diet and poor housing and lack of medical care, rather than “nobody gives a shit about the least amongst us, unlike what the Bible says to do.” The dead bodies get scooped up and hauled off to the morgue on a regular basis, often never identified as anything other than “John Doe” or “Jane Doe”, then after a belated attempt to identify them over the course of a couple of weeks by trying to match missing persons reports with dead bodies or a belated attempt to find relatives who can afford to claim them, they’re incinerated and buried in a mass grave somewhere along with others who died indigent or anonymous or just nobody cared.

Eichmann would be proud of the silent and efficient way in which we disappear the dead bodies of our untermenschen, our unidentified, our unwanted, our poorest, the least amongst us. His mass graves were messy things later opened up and used as evidence in a war crimes tribunal against him, after which the Israelis hanged him. Our mass graves are quiet, and the ashes in them will never testify against the society that put them there.

– Badtux the Grave Penguin

Note: The state of California is especially bad here. In California, it is not permitted for non-relatives of the deceased to claim his body for burial. So if the deceased’s family is all dead, nope, he can’t be buried in the family plot. His ashes get buried in a potter’s field somewhere.

Apparently the law in question was intended to keep random people from claiming corpses in order to use them for nefarious purposes like, say, necrophilia. Yay, California. Master of unintended consequences ever since 1849.

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So, ho hum, another school shooting today. Ten people died, mostly kids, as usual. The shooter did the deed with guns his father had just left sitting around the house — a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Which was quite legal for his father to do in the state of Texas, which has no gun storage laws requiring guns to be secured if they’re not on your person or being used.

So, as we hit an average of one school shooting per week (U S A! U S A! MAGA! YAY!), the solution that the NRA-backed politicos are talking about is…. reducing the number of doors at schools?

Uhm, wut?

Well, gosh, they have a point, I guess. If a school has *no* doors, then it’s perfectly safe! Oh, how are the kids going to get into the school? Well, we just set up Star Trek style transporter booths outside the schools and teleport the kids into the school building. But only the organic parts of the kids get transported. No clothing that guns could be hidden in, and, of course, no guns. Once they arrive, naked as the day they were born, they are issued hospital gowns and then crayons, paper, and books (crayons because we can’t issue pens and pencils, why, some kid might put another kid’s eyes out!). At the end of the day they are teleported back to the booth they arrived from, where they are reunited with their clothing and get to go home where they then get to study with their at-home copy of their books.

Or we could enact strict gun controls like every other civilized country, which have had zero school shootings this year. But that’s far less practical than teleporter beams, apparently.

So it goes.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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I’m one of those people whose life has spanned the transition from the paper era to the digital era. When I went to college, researching any topic required going to the library and using the card catalog and microfiche indexes to locate material. If I wanted government statistics, they were on paper in what was basically 1/4th of the bottom floor of our college library and I had to use a big paper index to find them. Making a copy for later was 5 cents per page. So basically, there was an excuse back then for someone to say something stupid — the information just wasn’t easily available.

But today? If you want to look up tort costs in healthcare, you can look up the total amount spent on medical liability insurance (approximately 0.3% of total healthcare spending), then look up tort limits and healthcare costs by state, and easily see that a) the amount spent defending and paying out on lawsuits is trivial, and b) defensive medicine isn’t really a “thing”, states with strict tort limits don’t have lower healthcare costs on average than those without. Then you can go look for the real causes of high healthcare costs, which isn’t lawsuits. Despite access to every bit of information needed to prove or disprove the assertion “tort costs causes high healthcare costs”, virtually nobody does the few mouse strokes needed to do so.

Instead, we seem to have weaponized ignorance. Ignorant memes that can easily be disproved by a few mouse strokes use social media to sweep the nation within hours of their release by Russian troll factories. Despite the fact that so much information is available, most of the American public seems disinterested in looking it up. And that surprises some people.

But not me. Because I’ve studied American history (hell, I’ve lived half a century of it). Ignorance has always been the preferred state of the average American. Few regardless of the era have cared about education. There’s a *reason* why the atom bomb was built mostly by European immigrants. Even today, close to half of our STEM workforce is foreign-born or the children of immigrants. All that technology has managed to do is allow the ignorant to confirm with each other that their ignorance is truth and anything that doesn’t agree with their ignorant opinions is fake. Science textbooks? Fake. Government statistics? Fake. Scientists? Elitist fakes. By allowing them to confirm with each other that anybody who actually knows anything is a fake, their ignorance is not only confirmed, but weaponized.

The fact that immigrants have contributed much of the intellectual advancement of America in the past century is also why the ignorant are so anti-immigrant. The last thing they want is for people smarter and harder working than they are to render them obsolete. Even if they are.

– Badtux the Ignorance-spottin’ Penguin

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Of the 15070 murders that happened in 2016 where we know what weapon was used to kill, 11004 were committed with firearms. Over 70% were committed with handguns and 30% with long guns (or unknown kind of gun).

“Guns don’t kill, people do!” is the NRA talking point. But the numbers are clear: People with guns kill a lot more people than people without guns. Sure, you can hit someone over the head with a big rock or a hammer and kill them. But only 472 people managed to do so in 2016. Sure, you can poison someone. But only 11 people were murdered with poison in 2016. Guns just are super effective at killing people. In fact, the only other method of killing people that broke the four digit mark was murder by knife, which killed 1604 people in 2016 — a significantly smaller number than 11004. (Which, BTW, is why I don’t complain when cops kill someone who’s coming at them with a knife — it’s a deadly weapon, albeit only 1/10th as deadly as a gun in the big picture).

So what’s the NRA response to the reality that people with guns kill a lot more people than people without guns?

[CRICKETS].

So it goes. It isn’t as if anything’s going to be done. I almost didn’t even bother posting about the 19 year old MAGAt who murdered 17 people at Parkland High School in Florida, including fourteen students. Because what’s the point? It’s not as if anything’s going to be done. This uniquely deadly weapon, the gun, will still be widely available to any looney who decides to kill someone, regardless of whatever I post.

So fuck it. I’m going to watch videos of Chloe Kim pulling off back-to-back 1080’s.

She reminds me of a friend of mine, who is also short and Asian and a snowboarder, albeit somewhat older (in her late 50’s). If they’d had snowboarding in the Olympics thirty years ago, I like to think that my friend would have been up there… as it is, she’s slowed down a bit in her late 50’s, as have all of us. She still snowboards though… heckuva lot better than I ever did, or ever will.

– Badtux the Fact-based Penguin

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Death used to be a big deal. The whole family would gather at a church, while the deceased’s corpse rested in a coffin at the front. There would be lots of flowers all around. A preacher would say some words. There might be a hymn played or performed. Then everybody would troop out to the graveyard to plant the corpse, and afterwards withdraw to the home belonging to the nearest next of kin, bringing along potluck dishes to feed the hoard. Folding tables might be set up on the lawn to hold the food, and folding chairs brought out from all around as people sat around talking about the deceased and catching up on family business. Then everybody would go home, until the next time.

But that was in a time of connection, when families were large and connected with each other, before the nuclear family blew up our society and turned it into isolated islands. Sunday I went to a “Celebration of Life” for a friend who died unexpectedly. A “Celebration of Life” is a California thing, I guess, where people get together with pictures of the deceased and talk about him and view pictures of his life. This was at the shop of an auto restoration business whose owners had met my friend via our Jeep club. There was no body present, no minister, no flowers, none of the trappings of the traditional Death industry. One of the members of the Jeep club is a caterer, and he catered some goodies to eat while we remembered our friend. And that is that. No children. No wife. His only living relative an older sister, who spoke of her memories. A girlfriend spoke of her memories. A street preacher who was the husband of a woman who worked at the shop and had visited my friend in the hospital spoke of his memories. No visiting a grave. He was cremated, and basically tossed to the winds.

That is our society today. Cremated, and tossed to the winds.

My mother was an only child. My father was an only child. My brother and I were their only children, and neither of us have children, though my brother has step-children. I guess I can leave whatever to the oldest of my brother’s stepchildren if my brother predeceases me, as is likely since my brother is younger than I am but lives in Louisiana, where people die on average ten years sooner than here in California. But when I die… it is likely that the story will be the same. Except I doubt that there will be forty people who show up to share memories of me. I doubt there will be anyone at all.

Because that is how we live, and that is how we die, in this time of societal dissolution and isolation.

– Badtux the Sombre Penguin

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They’ve become so common that most people utterly ignored the news report today that two kids were killed and 17 were wounded at a Kentucky high school.

I would make comments about that, but you’ve heard them before. Kids shouldn’t have access to guns except under parental supervision. Period. But the only thing that would really work would be an Australian-type gun ban, where guns outside of registered gun clubs are heavily regulated and permits to carry or possess even long guns outside of registered gun clubs are hard to come by. Yeah, good luck with that… Americans are a violent people, and they want their kill-sticks, yo.

– Badtux the Depressed Penguin

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