How did America die?

basket-of-deplorables

Hillary Clinton presciently warned about the “basket of deplorables” nurtured within America’s Republican Party. Now we wonder: How did Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan get the support of the the most primitive, hate-filled fundamentalist Christians and gain control of American government? Of course, this is a question that will be asked by future historians. They’ll also ask:

  • Why didn’t you see this coming?
  • How could a majority of people be stupid enough to elect an obvious demagogue?
  • What did you do to stop it?


And so, dear future historians, here are some answers:

  • WE DID SEE IT COMING. We knew it would be easy for a demagogue to coalesce the resentments of the underclass. We expressed our outrage in the forums easily available to us, but it was a time of social media’s most unproductive stage of development, when using that forum meant nothing more than cleverly braying at our friends in an echo chamber. Civil social discourse across ideological lines had long since ceased. Congress — after more than a decade of profoundly dysfunctional Republican control — only fanned the flames. We lost the understanding of what a true debate was, replacing the deliberative process with shrieking and name-calling. The Left was tragically split over which of our candidates were progressive enough, or pure enough. A brilliant, effective black president for eight years had the effect of energizing the most rabid bigots in society. News media had been fiscally gutted by rise of internet, leaving behind only the fluffiest talking heads who asked very few tough questions.

It was a perfect storm. We saw it and couldn’t stop it.heiltrump2

  • IT WASN’T A MAJORITY. A majority of people did not support the obvious demagogue. The demagogue lost the 2016 popular election by well over two million votes. But he won in the swing states, which by operation of an outdated electoral college, gave him enough electoral votes to win the election by a technicality.

  • WE FOUGHT BACK. A government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when consented to by the people over which that political power is exercised. We believed that in a Democracy it is our duty to withhold that consent when confronted by those who endanger our most foundational Constitutional principles. You know — equal justice for all, everyone created equal, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But is also our duty to respect our country’s lesser laws, so we advocated within those laws peacefully and legally in every way we could think of. We donated money to the Green Party’s recount effort in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. We supported the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. We demonstrated peacefully and lawfully. But the pussy-grabber-in-chief didn’t care about our respectful and inclusive and peaceful and lawful activities. He and his followers raged forward to consume what was left of America. 

And that’s how America died.

heiltrump1

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Insane wasp attack(s)

This is one of the nasty-ass wasps that attacked Paul in a feverish squadron a week ago Sunday.


He screamed, of course, and ran inside, flailing his arms. Then a week later they attacked again, and this time he screamed in pain so loudly and made so much noise crashing through the door that half the village came running to see what was happening. Our neighbors clucked in sympathy, and one grandma rubbed a brass ring on the raised red spots where Paul had been stung.

So, of course, Paul had had enough and decided to go all Wile E. Coyote on ’em. He bought a big can of bug bomb and tippy-toed across the front porch to spray them. In seconds they were on him. Gain with the flailing. Less screaming the third time, though.

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Rice farming, the final chapter

… for rice crop #1, planted in July. Some farmers are planting a second crop which will come out of the fields in March. But the price for rice has dropped to 5 baht per kilo, so many feel they have no motivation to plant a second crop.

The plants get heavy with their grain, turn yellow and flop over. 


…then along come the combines, riding on flatbeds painted-up with airbrushed cartooney action figures, just like karaoke buses. THe combines move on dozer treads, as this is a crop put in with broadcast planting without the sort of furrows you see in American farming.

“Wow!” you must be wondering, “how does a combine take huge unruly mats of dampish rice plants and extract just the grain?” I wondered the same thing. This video does a pretty good job of showing what happens inside a combine. 

Then the rice is raked out onto the nearest hot, dry horizontal surface — often one lane of the adjacent 2-lane road — and dried in the sun. It’s tawny-colored at this stage, until it gets to one of the local mills and all the darker bits are ground off to make white rice. Steamed in a rice cooker, each and every Thai-cooked meal — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — begins with at least two cups of the stuff.

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