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Stephanie C. Fox

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Controversies – Because Intrigue Is What Counts

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Blog Posts – Stephanie C. Fox on Law, Politics, Women, and More

Welcome to the blog of QueenBeeEdit!

This blog discusses the issues that are dealt with in my books:

Women’s issues and feminism, politics, ecosystems collapse, human overpopulation, history/herstory, Asperger’s/autism and Aspie voices, banksters and hedge fundsters and their role in economic meltdowns, people in fiction, Hawai‘i, Kuwait and other nations in the Middle East, cats, and travel.

This blog discusses all of the issues that my books deal with and more.

Controversial issues and statements will not be avoided. They are what makes life interesting and worth pondering.

Articles and websites will be shared here, with my thoughts on them.

Enjoy perusing it all.

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Scott Pruitt is the Bear Guarding the EPA-Beehive – It’s a Blatant Conflict of Interest.

I wrote a book a few years ago about honeybee colony collapse that outlines the legal obstacles to applying scientific solutions to the problem, plus obstacles posed by wealthy and powerful corporations, which include the money that they throw at politicians and the lobbyists they hire to achieve this. The corporations inflict permanent damage on our ecosystems this way for money today, the health and continue of its source tomorrow be damned.

When I wrote that book, I did so using allegory and metaphor, and I did that because it’s fun. It’s fun to write, and it’s fun to read. It also condenses the narrative.

Sources for the assertions in The Bear Guarding the Beehive are provided in a bibliography at the end of the book.

I like allegory.

Allegory is defined as the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence.

Source: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company: Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 1981.

I also like metaphor.

Metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

Source: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company: Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 1981.

As I said, both make writing more fun.

Straightforward, plain words can get dull, dry, and stale. Academic writing is like that, and it serves its purpose as source material, but it has an inaccessible feel to most people.

That’s not good when a writer wants to reach and connect with everyone else, particularly voters and future voters.

Present and future voters, along with the honeybees, the air and water quality, and academic science have been handed a traitor to natural security in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Here is his portrait:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Pruitt

A perusal of his Wikipedia page shows all of the indicators of a traitor to natural security.

This statement from its introductory section sums up what the ecosystem and scientists and voters who care about it are up against with Pruitt:

“Pruitt rejects the scientific consensus that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are a primary contributor to climate change. As EPA administrator, Pruitt reversed and delayed numerous environmental rules, relaxed enforcement of existing rules, and halted the agency’s efforts to combat climate change.”

Pruitt not only wants to wish science away – he wants to shove it away and launch it into the nearest obliging volcano. That won’t make science any less true, but he is doing his utmost.

He has waged constant war against the scientists of the Environmental Protection Agency since taking over its leadership, refusing to fully staff the agency, and undermining the efforts of its scientists to pursue inquiry into species collapses, air and water quality controls, shunting them into meaningless bureaucratic posts. He has gutted the scientific advisory boards of the EPA and defended huge budget cuts, hobbling the agency’s ability to do its work.

The EPA wasn’t perfect, but trying to kill it, as Scott Pruitt is doing, is the opposite of useful. A thing that is not perfect should be tweaked and improved upon, not destroyed.

Of course, a Farmer who spent his career before arriving at the EPA does not want to do that. It’s all about enabling huge corporations to make yet huger profits for him, the future be damned.

That’s why one of those scientists is suing him.

I’m suing Scott Pruitt’s broken EPA – here’s how to fix it

The damage currently being done is a huge step backwards in the effort to safeguard our natural security.

Getting rid of this Farmer and ensuring that he won’t simply be replaced with another one will be a huge undertaking, but that’s not all.

Once that is accomplished, scientists and attorneys will have to reinstate the parameters of the EPA as it was, thus wasting a lot of additional time that ought to have been spent on strengthening protections for bees and other pollinators.

That’s why I said that the bees need a good lawyer, and by good I mean ethical as well as competent.

There is hope in that Scott Pruitt’s lack of ethics is leaving trails wherever he goes.

EPA Chief Pruitt Faces Mounting Scrutiny For Ethics Violations

Pruitt has infested the EPA with Farmers who have ties to corporations that are regulated by the EPA. He has also hired lobbyists who worked for those corporations to staff the EPA.

That’s a conflict of interest.

He doesn’t want to hear a word of protest on airplane rides from the public, so he rides first class.

Scott Pruitt Has to Fly First Class Because Coach Is “Politically Toxic”

This is not the behavior of a public servant; it’s the behavior of a corporatist Farmer.

He doesn’t care. He prefers to blatantly conduct himself like a spoiled brat and one who would have been an aristocratic candidate for the guillotine in 1789.

His standard operating procedure is one conflict of interest after another, but I have provided references for it as well as examples of it.

Natural Security is the safety and future sustainability of a functioning ecosystem, one that is not toxic to the life forms that exist in it.

The problem is that corporations exist to make a profit for their shareholders, and corporations are soulless entities.

They exist to enrich themselves and only themselves. They exist to grow exponentially and without limits.

It is worth noting that this description also fits for cancer.

It is also worth noting that this description fits the definition of evil (I have got to stop letting Ash vs. Evil Dead run when it comes on television, but that’s another story.)

Here is another favorite metaphor of mine: Scott Pruitt is the epitome of a corporatist Farmer.

A Farmer is a member of the wealthy, selfish few who views the rest of humanity as a crop to be manipulated as he or she finds convenient, and to be erased as that rest of humanity demands civil rights and enough resources to have a comfortable, meaningful, happy life.

It’s another form of cancerous evil to be so avaricious and determined to grab resource after resource, no matter who or what gets in the way in the process, that few others have enough.

Political cartoonist Dan Wasserman summed up the problem very neatly in this March 2018 image:

There are actually 2 books that I wrote using allegory and metaphor to describe the legalized crimes of Farmers:

The first one is The Book of Thieves, which describers the banksters and hedge fundsters and how they caused the economic collapse of 2008, and then made sure that they didn’t have to pay a cent for it. We need the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 to be reinstated, because it mandated a divorce and a consistent firewall between commercial and investment banking. That is the best way to protect against a repeat of the Great Depression, as well as against another Great Recession. However, the Farmers don’t want that. They want unfettered access to pension funds, savings accounts, and whatever else they can grab, the ability to comingle funds, and not a peep of protest from the rest of us.

The second one is The Bear Guarding the Beehive. I went on 3 beekeeper field trips for that one with my camera, which was a lot of fun. One of its points is that when one sprays insecticide into the environment, its effects reach any living thing that it touches and any living thing that touches what is sprayed. The upshot of that is that it is not just the insects that one doesn’t like who get nerve damage and die. They all die. The Farmers, of course, don’t care. All that matters to them is that homeowners with gardens and lawns seek monocrops of green grass, that huge agribusinesses use their genetically engineered crops and spray more neurotoxins every which way, poisoning farm workers and pollinator insects, and that no one without massive financial resources get in their way.

Farmers will hire attorneys who with prostitute – and pestitute – themselves and their legal careers for money and professional advancement. One of the end games is for such attorneys to eventually get seats on Federal benches, so that they may then rule in favor of continuing to allow the ecosystem to be toxified. As species die off and opposing attorneys put up a fight, those attorneys will be called “activists” – weaponizing that term as if it weren’t the most honorable use of freedom of speech…but it certainly is.

Farmers will sponsor politicians to do pass laws that favor their desire to market insecticides and create financial and legal loopholes that make all that easier and easier.

Farmers will pay lobbyists who have no ethics but instead want wealth and comfort for themselves, and damn the needs of anyone who comes after their own life spans.

We don’t have much time left to stop our ecosystems from being crashed, but let’s try anyway.

It’s better to fight than to just say that the Farmers have far too much money and power to be stopped.

Book Review: ‘Scheherazade Cat – The Story Of A War Hero’ by Stephanie C. Fox

Book Review: ‘Scheherazade Cat – The Story Of A War Hero’ by Stephanie C. Fox

Mitigative Action versus Corrective Action – Postponement Is Always Easier Than Prevention

It is always cheaper, easier, and involves far less change of long-established habits, practices, and preferences to mitigate conditions that, if left unchanged, will inevitably lead to disaster, than it is to take corrective action and prevent that disaster altogether.

We just had this year’s World Water Day, and meanwhile, in Cape Town, South Africa, Zero Water Day has been pushed back to 2019.

City of Cape Town | Day Zero | Pushed Out to 2019

Why is that?

It’s postponement. The city’s water authorities don’t want to face heightened crime rates and civil unrest over water scarcity and rationing, complete with military supervision, any sooner than they absolutely have to. They have upped the output of dams and levies, and thus postponed all that.

I’m talking about human overpopulation and the conditions that go with it: overcrowding, depletion of species, extinction of species, pollution, resource scarcity, resource wars, police surveillance states, parochialism and isolationism (defense mechanisms against the privations caused by human overpopulation), mass migrations, and so on.

We humans are literally drowning in our own excrement in many locations. One of them is Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The dysfunctional megacity: why Dhaka is bursting at the sewers

That’s not just some attention-grabbing, sensationalist statement. It’s true: Dhaka is prone to flooding several times a month, it is overpopulated by Bengali people fleeing rising sea levels who have lost their rural homes to permanent flooding, and as a result, the city’s sanitation systems, which are nowhere near as advanced as they need to be to cope with the demands on them, are brimming with sewage. This must be manually removed by human beings using bamboo sticks, ladders, and hand scoops – that’s human hands used as scooping tools. The people who do this work are from the Hindu dalit caste, also known as untouchables. That’s how they get that label: by doing work that no one else – no one with access to enough resources to be able to choose any other work – will consent to do. They are not thanked for their efforts. They are shunned. Not only that, but recently, three of them drowned in an effort to clear a blocked hole, and a fourth died at the hospital.

Meanwhile, in France, the bird population is starving to death thanks to relentless use of insecticides. Its ecosystems are dying off. Of all places to have that happen, the land of the most exquisite cuisine, which is made possible by those ecosystems, it is not immune to the disaster of collapse.

‘Catastrophe’ as France’s bird population collapses due to pesticides

Even though the law there puts the burden of proof on insecticide manufacturers to show that their product does not destroy the ecosystem before it can be used, it is still doing tremendous damage.

When I see such things continuing to happen, I am both glad that I made the effort to fight it by writing The Bear Guarding the Beehive, and frustrated by a fear that it will not convince enough people – or the ones positioned to stop this disaster.

We have a problem now in the Untied States of America (yes, Untied, NOT United): we are stuck, at least for the time being, in a kakistocracy.

A kakistocracy (/ˌkækɪsˈtɒkrəsi, –ˈstɒk-/) is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.[1][2] The word was coined as early as the 17th century.[3] It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1829, but gained significant usage in the 21st century.
Etymology
The word comes from the Greek words kakistos (κάκιστος; worst) and kratos (κράτος; rule), with a literal meaning of government by the worst people.[4] Linguistic equivalents of the English word kakistocracy are as follows: Its Greek equivalent is kakistokratia (κακιστοκρατία), Spanish kakistocracia, French kakistocratie, German Kakistokratie, and Russian kakistokratiya (какистократия).[5][6][7][8]

At least Robert Mueller is getting closer to amassing the evidence needed to fix this.

Evidence of cyber crimes and treason is mounting faster and faster. No wonder Trump keeps tweeting angrier and more defense nonsense every day.

I hope that it catches up with Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, who financed Cambridge Analytica, and Steve Bannon, who named it, and soon…and I have plenty of company.

Hedge fund billionaire and Cambridge Analytica financiers Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer. She runs Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund that he owns.

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

There has been some other good news recently, on the gerrymandering front. In Pennsylvania, a new voting district map, created on the instructions of that state’s Democratic governor by “Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor and an expert in legislative districting”. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rejected pleas from Pennsylvania Republicans to hear any appeal of the case, and the other justices refused to comment. As a matter of law, that’s it. The U.S. Supreme Court won’t intervene in state law once that state’s top court has ruled on a matter of state law.

Supreme Court Won’t Block New Pennsylvania Voting Maps

Isolating ourselves won’t fix this. Not using social media to interact online is no solution. What we have to do is to be careful how we use the Internet instead of enjoying every quiz and questionnaire that pops into view, and to not accept any story without checking its source first, perhaps on a debunking site such as www.Snopes.com.

Don’t quit Facebook, but don’t trust it, either

There’s no need to say this my way when the authors of the article did so already – but I do want to point it out:

“Facebook has the technical know-how to give users more control over their private data, but has chosen not to – and that’s not surprising. No laws or other institutional rules require it, or provide necessary oversight to ensure that it does. Until a major social media platform like Facebook is required to reliably and transparently demonstrate that it is protecting the interests of its users – as distinct from its advertising customers – the calls to break the company up and start afresh are only going to grow.”

Experts like Paul R. Ehrlich and Thomas Robert Malthus, to name just a couple, have been repeatedly mocked and castigated for offering up dire predictions about human overpopulation.

The criticism that is often leveled at them is that their dire predictions did not come to pass when they said that they would, or that they were averted.

That’s not what actually happened, though.

Look at it more objectively.

Those weren’t predictions, which are the work of psychics.

They were warnings.

These warnings were based on careful research and logical reasoning.

So what happened?

The warnings were heeded just enough to postpone disaster, but not enough to avert it.

Therefore, Professor Ehrlich continues to speak about the real and present danger posed by human overpopulation.

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’

Disaster is not averted. It still looms ahead, and we cannot put it off indefinitely and continue to reproduce as much as we wish to.

We are in environmental overshoot, using up the entirety of the resources that our planet can offer our species within a year by early August. Soon that point will be in July instead.

We are using more than 3 planet Earths’ worth of resources each year, but we only have one Earth.

We are crashing its ecosystems and using up all that our planet has to offer.

We can’t just move to Mars, a planet that is dangerous to get to, one that is about a quarter the size of ours with 38 percent of the gravity that Earth has.

We don’t have the technology to move to another solar system and settle on a planet there that is comparable to Earth, and even if we did, we would likely find that it is already occupied by a species a lot like ours that won’t want to share…and that may not have enough to share due to the same profligate consumption of resources that we have been and continue committing.

Professor Ehrlich and I both continue to speak and write about human overpopulation, however unpopular a thing that is to do.

We will do it even when called monsters and worse, because making no effort to reduce human numbers is suicide.

I am the author of a 3-novel series on human overpopulation: Nae-Née. It is named for a birth control nanite, the name of which means “Not-Born”.

The books are available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, and are available as both e-books (Kindle and Nook) and in print via IngramSpark.

Each book has a detailed bibliography at the end, listing my research, but the books themselves are dystopian fiction, because it is far more fun to learn something from a story than via dull, dry, academic research.

I have donated copies of this series (along with other books that I have authored) to libraries near my home in Connecticut.

At one such library, I sat down and showed each of these books, plus others, to the head librarian, who was eager to acquire my bee book, and who said that each one would be read by the librarians before being added to their collection, as per library policy. (She did seem pleased to get the series. However, I wondered whether or not such a topic as my favorite one would be accepted. When I mentioned this to my father, he said not to worry, that they were just screening for “smut” because some angry parents had caught their teenagers with some trashy novels the year before.)

As I got up and walked away from the desk, I looked back and saw that another librarian was sitting on the other side. She was in the final trimester of a pregnancy, and looked hostile. Obviously, she had heard what Nae-Née was about. I was not sorry about my books, however. I had discussed them calmly and politely, with no exhortations for government to order anyone to abort late-term pregnancies.

What I want is a population policy, even though it won’t be popular. I don’t care much for popularity. It would be nice, but it’s not high on my list. Being read and taken seriously is.

I know that I am raising an issue that is unpleasant, one that, if dealt with before our species suffers famine, drought, and the terror of eating itself, will lead to anger and disappointment for those who wish to reproduce and have the fun of seeing their own phenotypes replicated on other human beings.

That’s a big reason why so many kids need to be adopted but are not.

We need a policy that has an enforcement mechanism like the one in my books.

We need to do what our species does not want to do.

The problem won’t just solve itself, however many Millennials decide that reproducing is unaffordable, and that the Earth cannot, due to climate change and species depletions, offer another generation a comfortable, happy life. They are doing the right thing, saddled as they are by student loan debt and housing costs that are pricing them out of the markets, and considering the plastic pollution that is choking the oceans. But it won’t be enough by a long shot.

No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Twice the Size of Texas and It’s Rapidly Getting WorseMark Twain said “It is better to be popular than right.”

Greenpeace together with the #breakfreefromplastic coalition conduct a beach cleanup activity and brand audit on Freedom Island, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The activity aims to name the brands most responsible for the plastic pollution happening in our oceans. A banner reads “Polluted by Single-use Plastic”. Freedom island is an ecotourism area which contains a mangrove forest and swamps providing a habitat for many migratory bird species from different countries such as China, Japan and Siberia. Credit: Daniel Müller/Greenpeace

 

“The people behind #BluePlanet2 say there was rarely a time during filming that they didn’t come across plastic in the sea. https://t.co/S2tPlrUPBJ”

I have quoted him before, but it is worth doing it again, because what he meant was not that we shouldn’t say what is so and what is correct, but that life is easier when one is popular.

It would probably make my life easier if I spent my career writing cute little novellas with idyllic scenes, murder mysteries with gourmet recipes scattered into the chapters, or other such things.

But I prefer to write about social issues.

Mark Twain wrote about social issues: anti-slavery, voting rights for women and all races of humans, and more.

I used to do tours at his Hartford, Connecticut home, where he spent his happiest years, so I had time to learn about him. That place is worth visiting.

But back to human overpopulation.

Paul Ehrlich bought the first of my books on human overpopulation (when it was my only one on that topic). He sent me a gift, too: an autographed copy of one of his own, entitled The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment, with a personal note encouraging me to “fight on”.

I will.

Get Ready for Civil Unrest and Bloodbaths Where the Water Runs Out

Zero Water Day is approaching in Cape Town, South Africa.

Warnings about the consequences of water depletion were ignored.

Or so the reports say.

Watch: Cape Town Water Crisis – ‘City of Cape Town was warned’

I doubt that the politicians in Cape Town simply didn’t listen.

More likely, they don’t know how to cope with this problem.

It is quite daunting.

When I say that they don’t know how, I don’t mean water delivery, water desalination, water purification, water damming, water aquifers.

Their engineers know all that, and their politicians have been listening to them and looking at the data.

What I mean is that human overpopulation will overtake their efforts to manage and control this problem.

With more humans living there than there were 311 years ago, which is how far apart scientists say a drought of this severity occurs there, and no population policy in sight, let alone discussed, this crisis was guaranteed. That number is roughly 3,766,000. (http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/cape-town-population/)

Residents are on rations of water – down to just enough for a 4-minute shower per day, and they get it in bottles that they bring to guarded collection points. That’s 50 liters a day, down from 87 liters a day. There is no water left over for that 4-minute shower (if they even have running water, which many do not). Those liters of water are being used as drinking and cooking water first and foremost, and then perhaps to wash cookware and persons.

The City of Cape Town has identified more than 50,000 consumers who are using more than 20,000 litres of water a month, and will install devices at the residences of high water consumers. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

Businesses will use chemical toilets and asks employees to bring their own water to work.

I wonder how that will play out. Will people be mugged en route and robbed of their personal supplies of potable water? That seems likely.

It’s the warm season there, but Cape Town has winters. The people there can’t just melt and use snowfall, however; the lowest temperature in winter there is 47 °F/8.5 °C.

I’m just trying to imagine what this is like. It’s anything but pleasant.

Water to poor townships, schools, hospitals, and the business district will not be shut off. At least, that’s the current plan. Plans can change.

Under discussion is the idea of storing water at military installations and having it handed out, because desperate hordes of humans tend to overwhelm water supplies without such measures.

People are unlikely to stay where they are if they don’t have enough water.

Those with motor vehicles will likely leave first, and poorer people will go on foot if they have to.

Where will they go? There are other cities in South Africa. There is also the countryside. Imagine almost 4 million people relocating rapidly.

If you have any trouble doing so, just recall what happened when millions of migrants walked into Europe last year and the year before.

This crisis will be repeated elsewhere in the world. Count on it.

Here are a few news articles about the unfolding crisis, from Zero Hedge, Global Citizen, Bloomberg Markets, Bloomberg, and Otago Daily Times, respectively:

Cape Town Prays as “Day Zero” Looms; Security Forces to Guard Water-Collection Points

Cape Town Is About to Run Out of Water

Water Crisis Threatens Cape Town Companies Facing Staff Chaos

‘Day Zero’ Looms as Cape Town Scrambles to Tackle Water Crisis

After Cape Town, more cities face water crisis

The City of Cape Town, South Africa has a website devoted to Zero Day:

Day Zero | 4 June 2018 | The day we may have to queue for water

The date of Zero Day has been adjusted a few times, making it earlier, earlier, and then later. But it’s still coming – er, looming. (It was May 11th when I wrote this. 9 days later, it’s June 4th.)

Wikipedia has an article devoted to this problem:

Cape Town water crisis

On it, a map showing 6 dams can be seen.

There are also desalination plants for this coastal city.

I checked to see how many humans currently exist on this entire planet, since that number keeps going up.

Worldometers | Current World Population

Worldometers | Countries in the world by population (2017)

I doubt that guards will be enough to manage huge numbers of desperate, parched, uncomfortable, and mood-compromised people.

As I write this, I am sitting comfortably in the United States, but I am also thinking about water supplies here.

The Nestlé corporation pays $200 a year to a town in Michigan to extract and bottle all the water that it can.

Tiny Michigan town in water fight with Nestle

That town is not alone in this problem.

My own town has an unwanted bottling company in it, one that was protested at great length after its clandestine deal was pushed through.

National Geographic did a story on the Ogallala Aquifer in July of 2016.

The data isn’t pretty. That aquifer is being drained to irrigate crops, and farmers are unable to continue operations. 60 Minutes did a story on that problem in 2014:

Depleting the water | Lesley Stahl reports on disturbing new evidence that our planet’s groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished

What is needed is a population policy AND water management.

We don’t have any of the former nor enough of the latter.

Politicians are terrified of even suggesting that the liberty to reproduce as much as people wish to reproduce be revoked.

Not only that, but the logistics of getting enough birth control devices distributed to everyone of fertile age, and of delivering enough vasectomies and tubal ligations to stem the flow of human reproduction, requires an infrastructure that is not currently in place.

We need that infrastructure – decades ago.

The Earth’s ecosystems cannot support us all even now.

We are too many for the amount of potable water that currently exists, nor for potable water that is likely to exist anytime soon.

Never mind worrying about U.F.O.s – it’s I.F.O.s that we have to watch out for.

Orbital debris is relevant, it affects us, and it is once again in the news.

Orbital debris is junk in outer space.

Outer space and all things associated with it has always fascinated and excited me.

I know I’m not alone in that. Star Trek is certainly evidence of that, as are the works of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and many others.

The ideas of Star Trek represent our species best hopes for the future, with life as it is now applied to that world, complete with the counterpart to the United Nations of New York City depicted in the United Federation of Planets in San Francisco – conveniently located in the same city as Starfleet Academy and Starfleet’s headquarters.

But what of human activity in space in reality?

When I was in law school, a paper called a baccalaureate essay was required. Essentially, it was a law thesis, and it had to be fairly brief, because lawyers are not encouraged to ramble on and on.

This thesis paper could be done outside of any formal course, or as the term paper for one, and a form would have to be filed with the registrar to make it count as such.

Reasoning that one would have to be crazy to do it as an extra project outside of any course, thus making extra work for oneself, I immediately starting casting about for a suitable course.

What would I like to write about, I asked myself?

I was at the University of Connecticut’s School of Law in Hartford, Connecticut, a top-tier law school in the insurance capital of the world.

I would be damned if I would write about insurance!

It just wasn’t of interest to me, though, ironically, in the blind write-on competition for a place on one of the school’s law journals, I got the insurance one. Sigh. I would have preferred the international one, but that was that. I made the best of it and became a Lead Articles Editor, which I enjoyed.

But back to this paper.

It had to be about something that I actually cared about, because if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be any good.

Some people can write good papers about topics that they don’t love – or at least like – and don’t care about. Not me.

It’s a lot of trouble to get accepted to any graduate school. Once there, one ought to make the most of it and enjoy the experience, not make oneself miserable.

After all, you’ll never be there again, with the chance to study whatever you want, and a thesis paper represents the ultimate, defining opportunity to do that.

The first year of law school is spent on a required curriculum, with the exception of a choice of administrative law courses. I chose environmental law.

That was where I met Professor Richard Parker, a very organized and effective lecturer. He was also a very nice guy. That helps.

Confrontational teaching was the last thing I wanted. I find it distracts from focusing on the subject matter, and that is worse than useless.

I wasted no time in approaching him with my question: would he oversee my thesis paper?

At first, he didn’t know anything about me, such as what year I was in, and asked in a disapproving tone if I had waited until my 3rd year to write that paper.

No, I replied, it was the start of my 2nd year and I wanted to get going on it right away.

Oh, he said, sounding like he approved of that, then I should take his seminar next semester on international environmental law, and do it as part of that course.

I did.

There were just 9 of us, sitting comfortably grouped around in a circle of tables with Professor Parker at the front of the small, upstairs classroom.

We had to present a proposal first, and I had no idea what that was supposed to look like, so I went to his office, took out my pen and notebook, and asked him what he wanted in it.

The answer was a page-long proposal laid out neatly in quick and easy-to-read sections, which he listed, summed up with the question.

I wrote it all down, thanked him, and left.

Off to the library and the computers.

There had to be a United Nations treaty that would encompass international, environmental, and outer space law and deal with toxic torts.

A tort is a civil wrong, for which one sues for money, and a toxic tort involves damage to the ecosystem.

There was such a treaty! It deals with orbital debris. Perfect!

Orbital debris over the Earth. Image via CTGN

Actually, there were several treaties about outer space, including one about the Moon and which countries may own which parts of the moonscape. It’s first come, first serve.

The United Nations has its Office for Outer Space Affairs in Geneva, Switzerland, complete with a website: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/index.html

Excellent – I could get a high from a source in reality similar to that from watching Star Trek!

Back to the treaty that suited my quest for a paper topic:

It is called the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, and it was promulgated in 1971.

Here is a a brief summary of the treaty:

Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects

The Liability Convention was considered and negotiated by the Legal subcommittee from 1963 to 1972. Agreement was reached in the General Assembly in 1971 ( resolution 2777 (XXVI)), and the Convention entered into force in September 1972. Elaborating on Article 7 of the Outer Space Treaty, the Liability Convention provides that a launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space objects on the surface of the Earth or to aircraft, and liable for damage due to its faults in space. The Convention also provides for procedures for the settlement of claims for damages.

I wrote up the topic proposal as required, Professor Parker glanced over it, and approved it. What a relief! (A classmate who wanted to do a paper on sea turtles had had 3 rejections.)

This treaty, as it turned out, had actually been invoked once, in 1979, when a Soviet spy satellite crashed in northern Canada, spreading radioactive debris in the snow where endangered caribou range. The Soviets ended up having to pay $1 million and were not allowed to go there to clean up the mess themselves. U.S. and Canadian scientists had put on radiation suits and collected everything in lead boxes.

The paper I was to write ended up being 33 and a half pages long, and Parker gave it an “A-“. He wrote me a note that he liked these papers to have more law than facts, but qualified that comment with the observation that mine couldn’t have that, because the treaty hadn’t been invoked more than once. That was rather amusing – there was nothing I could do about that.

I had a wonderful time with this project, and I still have the thesis paper and materials I printed out to write it. I doubt I will ever throw them away.

This is the title of the paper: International Toxic Torts Caused by I.F.O.s (Identified Flying Objects).

The task before me was to explain how the treaty worked, using a hypothetical situation. In other words, I was to write some fiction and apply the law to it. Fun!

Here is the fictitious scenario that I wrote:

A Carnival Cruise ship is out on the Caribbean Sea, and it is full of American tourists.

Meanwhile, Kuwait wanted a satellite put into orbit in order to give its cell phones and televisions better reception and reach.

Accordingly, it hired the French to build one and launch it into orbit, which they attempted to do via the European Space Agency (ESA) from their launch point in Kourou, French Guiana.

(At this point in my presentation to the class, I mentioned that it is better to have launch points near water, but that the Russians and Chinese have them inland. The Indians and Japanese, and the Europeans and Americans, put them near water. This means that the Japanese can only launch for 4 months out of the year, because they have an 8-month fishing season. They can’t risk accidents landing on people out in boats…)

Unfortunately, my scenario continued, the launch was unsuccessful. The rocket blew up mid-way into orbit and fell back to Earth, in the Caribbean Sea…right onto that Carnival Cruise ship.

What a mess. Lots of deaths, and of course destruction of property.

Now what?

Enter the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects.

(Notice that I had chosen defendants with sufficient funds to leave some hope of collecting on this legal action.)

An arbitration panel would have to be assembled, and it would contain jurists from nations that were members of the United Nations but it would not include any from the nations involved in this dispute.

The United States would be suing on behalf of the families of the victims of this disaster and on behalf of the Carnival Cruise corporation.

France and Kuwait would be on the hook for whatever damages the panel awarded.

The End.

As I explained everything I had learned, I heard one guy in the class say in a stage whisper, “Star Wars, science fiction, Star Trek.”

That earned him a funny look from Professor Parker.

We were presenting 3 papers each week, so all 9 of us were done in 3 weeks (one class meeting per week).

The next week, it was the stage whisperer’s turn, and he was nervous. Before he got up to speak, he said something to the professor about “this topic you assigned me.”

Really?! I thought to myself – you’re laughing at me yet you weren’t fascinated enough on your own about any topic to choose one yourself?! Hah.

At my graduation, Professor Parker told my family that I had convinced him that outer space was a part of the ecosystem and a part of international environmental law.

How had I done that?

The presentation and the paper had talked about the Kosmos-954 accident, and about what satellites are made of and powered by, which is spent uranium and plutonium.

Cosmos-954 Specifications. Wikipedia

Those things have half-lives of 4,000 to 5,000 years, and we know that those elements are part of highly toxic nuclear weapons. We don’t want that stuff falling on us!

At the time I was writing that paper, which was in 1998, there were roughly 600 human-made objects in orbit around the Earth.

These included satellites for communications, spying, and education and exploration.

The famous Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station, then still under construction, occupy higher orbits than the rest, partly to get a better view of the galaxy and beyond, and partly to avoid getting impacted by all that other stuff.

NASA uses a space sensing network to look for safe launch windows between all that stuff, including naturally-occurring orbital debris such as tiny rocks that move at the speed of a .22-calibur bullet (imagine that ripping through an astronaut’s space suit!), and such synthetic debris as a lost toothbrush and a nut-and-bolt that was dropped on a spacewalk.

There are, therefore, obviously many things in orbit that are not under anyone’s control and that present a danger to satellites.

Today, there are far more.

So, to review: the objects in orbit can crash into each other and cause damage to each other, and those same objects can malfunction and spiral back to Earth, spreading radiation world-wide and falling on human settlements and valuable ecosystems.

Space agencies around the globe monitor this problem constantly.

Perhaps you have seen the commercial for the U.S. Air Force in which a collision is averted with a fast re-tasking of a satellite to avoid a rogue space object.

There are plans to “vacuum” this debris from space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZRVI5zH7Z8

Many nations have people working on this:

Japanese scientists create a spatial trash collector

Finding ways to navigate the 170 million pieces of “space junk”

But we’re not safe yet.

Remember the jokes back in 2007 and 2008 when a U.S. satellite was spiraling into the Earth, crossing over Canada from Vancouver and heading east?

David Letterman made one about how Vice President Dick Cheney was locked and loaded, ready to shoot it down.

The real solution was the U.S. Navy ships can be outfitted with equipment to shoot down rogue satellites, and that was what was done.

A formal warning was issued:

U.S. issues notice on downing of satellite

People looked for it from the ground:

See the Falling Spy Satellite

Got it on the second try:

Navy Missile Hits Spy Satellite

There was much discussion over whether or not that effort was worth the financial cost involved, though it was done to make absolutely sure that our spy technology was kept secure:

A Shot Heard ‘Round the World

I said that orbital debris was in the news again, and it is.

Right now, the Chinese have a 9-ton space station with no one on it, and that object will crash to Earth soon. The time cited as “soon” remains undefined.

Guessing Game: When Will China’s Space Lab Fall to Earth?

This announcement comes with a public safety warning.

“Potentially, there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive re-entry,” [the Aerospace Corp.’s Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies] CORDS researchers wrote on the organization’s Tiangong-1 re-entry page. “For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit.”

I wonder how much effort is being put into making sure that as many people as possible notice this warning, however.

I decided to add my own effort to the mix by writing this blog post.

What is hydrazine?

Hydrazine is a colorless, highly flammable and toxic liquid that smells like ammonia. It is used in rocket fuels and it used to be used in air bags in motor vehicles.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

Symptoms of acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of hydrazine may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma in humans. Acute exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine.

At least one human is known to have died after 6 months of sublethal exposure to hydrazine hydrate. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has prepared a Skin Notation Profile evaluating and summarizing the literature regarding the hazard potential of hydrazine, and has developed criteria for a recommended standard for occupational exposure.

It’s nice that we have a voluminous amount of data saved up by the E.P.A. If we’re lucky, Trump won’t have it deleted by the corporate Farmers he has put in charge of it, such as Scott Pruitt.

And where is this satellite likely to fall? As in, on whom, and on whose ecosystem?

The answer is frustratingly vague: anywhere between the 43rd parallels.

43rd Parallels North and South. Images via Wikipedia.

That’s a lot of geographical area to worry about.

Stay safe, and don’t touch any fallen space junk.

A Show for Those of Us on the Autism Spectrum Rather Than for the Majority

Jim Parsons narrates the spinoff of The Big Bang Theory in Young Sheldon, playing, as usual, the adult version of the character. We never see him, and we are not meant to. That works, and I have been enjoying the show.

When I like a show, I do what I can to boost its ratings and thus extend its life on the air. This meant visiting the Internet Movie Data Base – Young Sheldon page and giving each episode a high rating, plus an overall one on the show’s page itself.

This evening, the show had a mini-marathon run of a few episodes that were broadcast this past autumn, so I had fun watching them.

Then I noticed the overall rating for the show: 6.6 out of 10.

That led to a look at the reviews.

There are many positive ones from people who love the show. I didn’t spend much time on those other than to click the “Yes” button.

“Yes” – those reviews are helpful to me, because they boost the show’s chances of continuing, and that is an outcome I want.

The negative reviews were the ones I spent time on, because I wanted to get a sense of why people were complaining.

That worked, of course, and I fought back by clicking on the “Report” option and choosing “Inappropriate” and “Spoiler Information”.

Then I clicked the “No” button for good measure.

I wish there had been a way to write a complaint about the complaints, but there wasn’t, and there won’t be (probably overkill anyway!).

Instead, I wrote my own review, addressing the objections.


This is a show for Aspies, and that’s a good thing. It is what it promises, and it is great fun.

I love this show. It focuses on a character who ought to be focused on: an Aspie genius who will always stand out and never fit into the crowd. His mother is a great, supportive parent, and the show has demonstrated that this kid loves and appreciates his parents. They know what he is, and he knows what they are.

I love that Sheldon comes across as annoying to “most” people and that the show emphasizes that he does not like what “most” people like, and that he dislikes what “most” people like. That is really how it is for people on the autism spectrum, and this show tells that as it is to the world.

The world, however, is full of selfish neurotypicals (those who fit into the category of “most” people) who are being shown that there are other points of view than their own, and that those points of view count.

This show is being treated much the way that the original Star Trek series was treated: with disdain and derision, and complaints that it is more cerebral than entertaining. I am disgusted but not surprised.

The mother should NOT be the central character. She is meant to be what she is: a supporting one.

Laurie Metcalf should NOT be the narrator. We on the autism spectrum neither need nor want yet another neurotypical to speak for us. We don’t need a narration by the mother to understand how she views the situation. That’s not a new concept. It’s an old and tired one.

This show is being presented properly, with the adult Sheldon’s voice as the narrator. We are seeing his point of view represented and emphasized. We are well aware of how we seem, because “most” people are only too happy to tell us. What is funny and satisfying about watching this show is the comeuppance it offers to the smug attitude of the majority.

This show does a great service to society by pointing out what Aspie geniuses are like, that they exist, and teaching others about all this. The scientists, inventors, professors, economists, writers, and other innovators of the world are always going to exist, and it is their unfettered quirks that bring out and maximize those innovations.

That is why I love this show.


That’s it, and it’s been successfully submitted.

I was careful not to include any spoilers, such as the sincere though succinct moment in which Sheldon thanks his football coach dad for getting angry that the NASA scientist blew his calls off for weeks, thus causing him to get an ulcer, and therefore driving the family to NASA in Houston and demanding that the guy meet with Sheldon and hear him out about his calculations for landing reusable spacecraft.

The adult narration by Jim Parsons has Sheldon wishing he had told his dad that their trip to Cape Canaveral to see a space shuttle launch, rained out though it was, was the best trip he ever went on, demonstrates that he loved and appreciated his dad.

It also shows how an autistic child is as human as a neurotypical one in that Sheldon was unable to fully express every E.Q (Emotional Quotient) impulse during childhood. A human being cannot have both high I.Q. and high E.Q. That is the stuff of gods and goddesses, not of humans, after all. Yet the kid gives his dad a sincere thank-you right after his father makes a dismissive big-shot pay attention to his son. He doesn’t treat his son as annoying, frivolous, or a waste of time.

The show may be presented as a sitcom, but it comes across as a serious one rather than as a comedy, and that’s okay.

It is hilarious in a way that “most” people cannot appreciate, in part because they don’t like having a mirror held up to themselves.

The joke is on them: “most” people can be (but are not always) ordinary, cannot appreciate a beautiful mind, do not possess a sense of intellectual curiosity or adventurousness, and care more for fitting in and being patted on the back for doing so than anything else.

That seems to be what grates on the negative commenters.

That is what makes the show a comedy, and it is a comedy to those of us who are amused to see that joke being, for a nice change, on “most” instead of on the “few”. The few should have the spotlight and our point of view shown, too.

The “most” people group should not be the only ones who get shows, attention, and accolades in fiction.

These negative comments smack of resentment that the “few” have gotten some of that.

The positive commenters are people on the autism spectrum who are tired of seeing what they love being marginalized and unappreciated.

I am one of them.

Journalists Are Delighted to Disgust Bigots

Journalists are delighted when bigots are disgusted that they can present anything they wish to present.

They live to do that.

It is their mission in life.

It is their raison d’être.

Okay, you get the idea. I fun iterating it several ways.

Authoritarian bigots who disdain in-depth reporting backed up by sound research can just be unhappy and stuff it, because they disdain democracy.

Journalists having full creative and research control over their reporting is what makes democracy great.

Enough of this nationalistic nonsense!

Patriotism is not about blindly making one’s own nation supreme on the planet, right or wrong.

That is the definition of an empire.

We are not the citizens of Oceania, the police surveillance state of George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, no matter how happy that would make Donald J. Trump, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka, or any other clown car Farmer currently taking up space in our non-government.

Patriotism is about a balance between the good of the majority of the people who are citizens of a nation and that of the rest. It is NOT about feeling and proceeding as if the enjoying of civil rights by a group other than one’s own somehow infringes upon that individual.

Such selfishness sees itself as persecuted and at war with other citizens, people who would have no quarrel with the selfish one(s) except for that show of insecurity.

The emotional insecurity of bigots and the greed of bankster hedge fundster corporatist Farmers is not and should not be the problem of anyone else.

The Wizard of Fraud has made himself obvious to us all by now.

Trump cares only for himself and his wounded ego, feeling everlastingly bitter over a roast by Obama that he ought to have gotten over long ago.

Instead, he is working hard to undo everything Obama did, no matter how much good he unravels…and it was a lot of good.

Trump and the dismantling of Obama’s legacy

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-dismantling-obamas-legacy-140214491.html

We’re watching a parade of bad.

We have gone from having lawyers, scientists, physicians, nuclear physicists, engineers, and intellectuals running our government to banksters, hedge fundsters, and corporatists running it.

We went from what was best for our country to what is worst.

All this from gerrymandering, psy-ops, and a hacking of our democracy – from cheating.

This insanity shows itself when the angry ones who won’t stop supporting Trump – who haven’t yet lost their healthcare access – claim to be pleased with him.

How much damage to their own lives will it take before they wake up?

Enough of this phony patriotism, and enough already of confusing it with the real thing!

Military service is not a license to bigotry. Military service does not confer a license to be a bigot – not on a veteran, and not on an active member of any branch of the military.

I got so disgusted by the behavior and attitude of one who has served in the military that I actually posted that statement in a political chat group and asked for some discussion of it.

This is a sampling of what people said:

“Military personnel are a cross section of society at large. Past service does not change a person’s inner self. Bigots remain bigots while those with a broader vision retain that basic humanity. I served 65-69 and the number of bigots was small, while the rest of us just got along and did our job together.”

“Once a person has been proven to be a bigot, they will always be one. “A tiger does not change its stripes.” I grew up dealing with such people in a place where it happened a lot. (1968 saw a big change in the landscape – both physically and mentally – in my native city.)”

“I think people can change and have their minds opened. It doesn’t happen enough and it usually takes a special circumstance (typically very personal, like you actually get to know and like someone different than you).”

“I don’t think anyone would argue that serving in the military gives you a pass to be a bigot. Bigots would say they can be a bigot regardless, because they see nothing wrong with it, service or no service.”

“Serving in the military confers no rights (a) to feel superior to other Americans, or (b) to be a bigot or justify bigoted behavior. My 2 cents.”

“We must fight prejudice and bigotry no matter where it lies or who the speaker is. It is immoral not to speak out against a veteran or against our president when either of them spew bigoted speech. As the position of president gives no right to display and even promote bigotry, we should have no tolerance for the same behavior in a veteran. It’s sad that veterans could live and work alongside of such a diverse group of people and still cling to hateful intolerant views and speech. Call them out.”

“First the military has in many cases been at the forefront of change. The services became integrated under Truman the service-stopped segregation way before the rest of the nation. The military I found is where skills and brotherhood came first. Ask any Marine if he is white or a black Marine and his answer is he is a Marine. What the military does instill is a bond to each other, no man left behind, it also instills a leadership concept that becomes hard to stop when you move from military to civilian life. In an aircraft the pilot in the left seat is in command even if he is a 2nd Lieutenant and a four star general is in the right seat. In this case the 4-star takes orders from the very young Lieutenant. The military was first the establish most of our public higher education schools from the academies to land grant colleges. Many technology advances are directly related to the military. People seem to forget all of this. Even inventions that are not related to instruments of war.”

All comments were supportive and thoughtful, of course – and some had been in the military.

A couple of years ago, I met a guy at a social event who was in the Air Force. I don’t remember his exact job, but it had something to do with satellites, like in the Air Force commercial where the people in it are moving them out of the way of orbital debris. (I love that ad – it’s like my law thesis subject matter all over again, with any reason to invoke the treaty I studied averted.)

This guy told me that most people in the military were Republicans. I could believe that; my great-uncle, a three-star Air Force general and World War II flying ace, was one.

But “most” does not mean all.

What I would like to find from military people is a statement that they are fighting to preserve our ability to think and say what we want, not what those in the military want us to think and say.

That’s freedom and democracy.

We should not be expected and required to be religious – especially in a nation that was founded with the concept of a separation of religion and state.

The “under God” bit of the pledge to the flag was added in 1954 during the McCarthy political witch-hunting era. It is a relic of an assault on our democracy that ought to have been deleted long ago, as it conflicts with the requirement for a separation of religion and state.

I always say the pledge of allegiance without the “under God” bit. No goddess…I’m an atheist…I’m not saying that! No United States citizen can be legally required to say it if they don’t believe in it. (See the U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment.)

There should be no prayers with government officials.

Just work.

Thoughts and prayers do nothing to help disaster victims.

Deeds are what counts.

Throwing paper towels at them is an insult.

But that’s what a bigot is like.

Trump looked like a buffoon and alternately an Alzheimer’s patient as he threw rolls of paper towels to people in Puerto Rico.

He doesn’t want to live up to his responsibility to most of the citizens he agreed to work for.

He only wants to do that for the few that he likes.

That is the essence of a dictator, and of someone who is unfit to serve in the office he is currently taking up space in.

Last year, as I was watching movies on television (a favorite pastime of mine), one caught my attention: Junebug.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junebug_(film)

Junebug mostly takes place in the present, in North Carolina. Though it was surely Trump country, there were no political signs up in the suburban neighborhoods there, but that was not the point. The point of this movie was to hold a mirror up to that part of America. To do this, a pair of foreign actors who often work together were hired to play the lead roles.

The couple was from Chicago, and recently married. The wife came with her husband to North Carolina to strike a deal with a local artist and to meet the in-laws. To further emphasis just how different she was from her in-laws, the writers made her a British woman (likely a naturalized citizen, but with an Anglican upbringing) and a political liberal. This cultural difference served to highlight the rural, religious, right-leaning bent of the people she met in North Carolina. Her husband was a quiet, college-educated guy who didn’t talk about his political leanings.

The new wife saw that urban sophistication was not merely out of place there, but frowned upon.

Her brother-in-law worked at Replacements Limited as a packager while pursuing his G.E.D.

Replacements Limited is a real business, founded and run by a gay man. It is a one-of-a-kind enterprise; it supplies people with discontinued but valuable and elegant dishes with replacements if one breaks. My family has ordered from it, and been very satisfied.

That business was in the news a couple of years ago for a stupid reason: bigots found out that the owner is gay and decided to boycott it. I found this both obnoxious and hilarious. ‘Good luck getting replacements when your dishes break,’ I thought, recalling my online search for dishes when that gravy boat broke. I only found this company. I hope the bigots can’t find what they want elsewhere. I’m just vindictive like that when people are narrow-minded or mean. I take the side of the person or people who were on the receiving end of bullying.

A Company’s Stand for Gay Marriage, and Its Cost

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/business/replacements-limiteds-stand-for-gay-marriage-draws-repercussions.html

The owner of Replacements Limited was treated to a barrage of hate mail for using his profits to fight a bill in North Carolina that would make gay marriage illegal. Those are HIS profits to do with as he pleases. He was also accused of adopting children just so that he could molest them. People are crazy! He just wanted to be a parent, and would have married his boyfriend if he could have done so.

It is worth noting that, no matter where one looks, the population includes some of everything: liberals, bigots, gays, heterosexuals, Aspies, neurotypicals, and so on. This movie showed Trump country – an area where Trump would find many voters when he ran for President over a decade after it was made – yet the brother-in-law worked at a gay-owned company there.

But back to the movie: the younger brother’s wife was pregnant, and convinced that a baby would save their marriage. She was also convinced that eating enough to nourish herself and the fetus would make her too fat and also ruin their marriage…which made for an outcome to her pregnancy that she did not desire.

The local preacher induced a moment that was both awkward and revealing when he asked the Chicago-transplant husband to open the Bible to a random page and sing whatever was on that page. He had a lovely voice, but it was incongruous to see and hear an educated man do this, and it smacked of pleasing his community rather than sincere belief – to avoid making waves during a visit home. The husband only did this because he was asked to do it. The new British Chicagoan wife turned and stared, shocked, yet she made sure to maintain a polite, neutral-enough facial expression.

This was what she had married into.

She liked her new parents-in-law, even though they did not understand snarky or bawdy humor. Her father-in-law quickly understood her and did not condemn her for laughing at his verbal lapse over a lost screwdriver that she had found under the crib (“I thought I did some screwing in here”), realizing that she meant no malice by it. He simply could not share in the joke, but that was all.

She saw that the people of Trump country were not – none that she met – murderous, yet they said some terrible, bigoted things. The artist she signed a contract with chose her over the New York competitor simply to avoid dealing with a Jew. He didn’t even know Jews! He had met one – ONE – and denied him a deal on that count. She was shocked again, but wisely didn’t get into any fights. She already stood out as different. The North Carolina residents could see that she was a liberal, a city-slicker, a businesswoman, and not like them. But she was the out-of-town son’s wife, so she was family, and that was all there was to that.

The characters wisely refrained from straying from that acknowledgement. Our nation is just that divided by education, politics, rural versus urban culture, and more – region by region. Everyone in this movie was white, yet these differences and loomed large in the plot nonetheless. (Movies can only cover so much in one story, but this polite silence would have broken more than just when the art deal was struck had characters of other racial and cultural backgrounds than British been in the mix.)

Her husband seemed happy to have moved away from this, evidenced by his comment at the end as they drove back toward Chicago: “I’m so glad we’re out of there.”

I watched them go down the highway and was glad for them too.

It may be terribly elitist of me to value science, law, and research over emotion and religion, but I shall continue to do so just the same.

I shall continue to seek out people from cultures other than my own, learn about them, try their food (if it doesn’t include organs, beef, pork, cabbage – we all have our quirks!), and get to know and appreciate them as people while showing them the same about myself and my own culture and cuisine.

That is the kind of America that we ought to value.

It will prepare us well to help others, Americans or not, and to treat them well.

I don’t want to look back at my life and feel any shame about how I interacted with others.

I want to be glad that I helped when I could, that I voted not only for myself but for the good of the future of our country, thinking of its ecosystems, its laws, and its democracy.

Also, the test of any culture and legal system is how it treats women.

Flunk that and I’m done – I won’t hold it in high esteem.

Another test is in whether or not we have an authoritarian with a short attention span or a democratic intellectual for a leader. Come to think of it, we only have a leader in the latter.

We don’t have a leader now.

We have a squatter in our executive mansion – one with a weak ego and a short attention span.

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News to Enrage and Controversy to Stir Up

When Barack Obama was president, he did something to help with human overpopulation, women’s health, women’s freedoms to choose our futures, and women’s wallets: he eliminated co-pay requirements on birth control pills.

Trump undid that last week.

That’s the same guy who, when his mistress at the time, Marla Maples was pregnant, wanted her to get an abortion. She didn’t, and now The Donald must pay for the upkeep of Tiffany Trump. Granted, he’s paying, and that includes her law school tuition, but he didn’t want her. He loves Ivanka best. Who would want to be the offspring of a parent like that, even with money?! Not I.

Now, because it suits the Pumpkingropenfuhrer to take away control of women’s reproductive future – to take it away from as many as possible, which means those of us who are not economically comfortable – that’s what he has done, as smiling demons watched his pen move.

It is impossible not to feel intense rage over this.

Trump administration guts Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/trump-administration-rolls-back-acas-birth-control-coverage-mandate-160019252.html

I posted this article, with the above comment, on my personal Facebook page last week, as well as on a political chat group’s feed, and on two of the pages that I run for my books: Nae-Née and The Book of Thieves.

This is definitely theft of women’s futures in terms of controlling their time, their money, and their freedom to do anything other than focus on an 18+-year, mobile prison sentence (that’s what an unwanted baby is).

After I posted the link with my comment, I only had to wait.

That reminded me a meme that another Friend shared years ago. I made my own colored version.

After several hours, during which I participated with my own comments on the matter, I had quite a thread of discussion to consider. I was also down by one Facebook Friend, but I won’t miss her. I did, however, consider what sort of person she was: blond, female, a GOP member, a children’s book author, and the sort to bolt from the conversation after failing to make a clear, cogent argument.

Here is the comment thread, with names changed, replies and all:

Eowyn Mallory If for some reason you aren’t sickened or outraged by this, simply read the comments on any news sources social media. A popular comment is “keep your legs closed”. Angry

Jonquil Rhea That’s because what this entire argument REALLY boils down to is controlling FEMALE sexuality. Notice how they NEVER have an issue with men using Viagra for recreational sex. 😡

Emmaline Nevers Takes two to make a baby. Idiots.

Ayesha Reachfar This is a crime! It is easy to understand the depth of discrimination that this administration encourages against minorities and women!

Trill Song What a stupidinsane fkwit. You’d think he’d be chopper dropping them over his vile wall…he hates Mexicans so much. Someone put everyone else out of this misery soon PLEEZE!!!!

Trill Song It’s such a shame his mother didn’t swallow the night he was conceived!! Love

SueAnne Farnon Oh my…

Martha Ruth But they still cover Viagra. Bastards.

Stephanie C. Fox Of course they do. Hard-ons covered, opt-outs of pregnancy not. Damn them all for this.

Stephanie C. Fox It’s when I feel a guarantee against unwanted pregnancies and babies being withdrawn that I feel that rage. It feels personal, like someone is trying to ruin MY life. If a woman doesn’t feel that, it makes no sense.

Daphne-Mallory Wynstead It’s not even all about what any woman wants or thinks as an individual.
Plenty of people are anti-abortion, and there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself… the problem is when you try to make laws about it, so EVERYONE suffers!
YOU can do whatever you like with your body, I believe in that right for all of you to have.
But I might make different choices, and the laws should not restrict me from those options.
That’s what it’s about.
Not a woman as an individual, but making sure all options are available for all of us to CHOSE from! 😢😢

Stephanie C. Fox Are anti-birth control voters happy to pay for child care costs for people who reproduce but can’t afford to raise the results of unwanted pregnancies? I am not.

Daphne-Mallory Wynstead Not really, no.
They whine and moan about their taxes paying for all those ‘pieces of trash choosing to spread their legs and have kids they can’t afford, and I don’t want to pay for it! It’s their problem!’ They scream!
Then they go across town to Planned Parenthood clinics and scream at women for being murderers and burning in hell and all that crap! Even if they’re there for other health tests having nothing to do with pregnancy, they’re STILL evil monsters for wanting any access to healthcare for their bodies!
That’s what’s more frustrating than anything else!
They hate other women terminating pregnancies, but they also hate having to pay for the children that come out of those women in any form!
Not every mum is on welfare for her own family, but taxes also go towards other things that are all to do with children, like schools and nutrition programs for kids!
Why should taxpayers invest in ANYTHING to do with children at all, even the things that benefit them?
They need to go to school in order to learn things and grow up to be able to look after you when you’re old, you know!
It’s ridiculous!! 🙄😞 Angry

This segment was deleted by the woman who unFriended me and left the comment thread. That’s how it works on Facebook when you delete your comment: any replies that appear under are also deleted.

Lindsey Floater: I don’t want to pay for your birth control or for 62 million women access to contraception at no cost. The government isn’t responsible for our sex lives. Do they pay for condoms? Nope.

Stephanie C. Fox Are you happy to pay for child care costs for people who reproduce but can’t afford to raise the results of unwanted pregnancies? I am not.

Stephanie C. Fox Pregnancies and their results cost taxpayers far more than contraceptives. It is fantasy to think that we can avoid paying for those, but reasonable to pay for preventive measures.

Lindsey Floater: Then my question is if they are getting free birth control why the pregnancies and why so many abortions each year? People have to start taking care and being responsible for themselves. The gov is not responsible for us!

Stephanie C. Fox The government has been taken over by thieves. These thieves are wealthy banksters, hedge fundsters, and corporatists. I call them Farmers with a capital ‘F”. They want to roll back the state of society to the 1950s, when white males could just ignore other groups. They are hypocrites who claim to hate abortion and birth control access as long as the donors keep paying them, but when their own girlfriends or mistresses get pregnant, they whisper a different tune. Meanwhile, there are plenty of women who are economically poor and willing to use birth control responsibly if only they can get it. They don’t have enough money to get it. The idea that poor people will simply never have sex and ought to be punished with unwanted pregnancies only creates more poor people and more cannon fodder for taxpayers to pay for.

Stephanie C. Fox There will be more abortions – perhaps with unsterilized tools – If these monsters get their way. Providing birth control reduces the number of abortions.

Stephanie C. Fox We are still grossly overpopulated, even with voluntary pregnancies. Forcing more women to continue pregnancies because they couldn’t afford or otherwise access birth control and/or abortion will just make that worse.

Stephanie C. Fox I dare someone to try the “If we all settle for living compressed together in an area the size of Texas we will have enough” argument. I’ve seen it many times. It’s absurd. We’re headed for a resource war right here in the United States.

Marcus Kirk: They are the same people that make laws to protect you from yourself and others. Can I opt out when it’s time to extinguish a fire in your house? Can you just pick up your own mail from someone so I don’t have to pay for it? Can you also buy an electric car so my tax money no longer subsidizes your personal fuel? See, I think you’d be sad if the government suddenly stopped being partially responsible for you.

Women should have contraceptives. It surprises me a woman would make such statements, especially when Viagra is government subsidized.

Lindsey Floater: Marcus Kirk, then women can pay for it on their own. Why should the government? They are not responsible for our bodies or our actions!

Marcus Kirk: You literally missed every supporting fact of my argument. Have a good evening.

Lindsey Floater: Marcus Kirk, and you obviously missed all mine.

Lindsey Floater: Stephanie C. Fox, and yet they’re up. I don’t want to fund PP either. It’s out of control, there is no accountability no responsibility!

No research from her, just a blanket statement that shows her lack of thought on the matter. Here’s some research for her, and for all of us:

The abortion rate in America falls to its lowest level since Roe v Wade

https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/01/daily-chart-16

Stephanie C. Fox Lindsey Floater, I want to fund Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and any other group that enables as many abortions as possible. Fewer babies for women to pay for and to take care of!

Stephanie C. Fox I am completely unwilling, no matter how a pregnancy might ever come to be in my own body, to continue it, experience the distortion and after-effects of it, or be responsible for having enabled another human being to come into existence. I find kittens and cats cute, but NOT human babies. I never liked kids when I was a kid. I only like adults and older people. I spent childhood waiting for it to be over so that I could be with adults only and enjoy the quiet and read. (At least, during childhood, that happened at the end of each day. That made it bearable.) Not all women want anything to do with babies.

At this point, I was suddenly unable to post a comment to continue the thread under hers. This is what I saw, and the fact that it showed in gray and would not work was a tip-off that she had deleted her comment and the entire thread of replies under it:

Without touching anything – without refreshing the page, or doing anything else that might make the thread vanish – I hit “Print Screen” and copied it all to the Paint program immediately. I also copied and reposted all of my comments outside of any thread other than the one that I had begun, so that the other participants could still see them, and wrote a message to thank Marcus Kirk for adding such well-thought-out arguments to the discussion.

The thread resumed:

Stephanie C. Fox I have made screen-shots of this thread. When I had difficulty posting another comment in the reply thread, I suspected a deletion, which would make it all disappear. So…I reposted all of my comments and saved a copy of the exchange.

Stephanie C. Fox Confirmation! She deleted her comment and made the others vanish. Too late! I got it all!

Stephanie C. Fox And now to check my Friend count…

Stephanie C. Fox I KNEW IT!

Stephanie C. Fox Unfriended over reproductive freedoms…or the withdrawal of them.

Jonquil Rhea Looks like the trash took itself out 😂

Emmaline Nevers Who needs people like that in their lives?

Stephanie C. Fox Marcus Kirk: Thank you for your great arguments. I have preserved them in screen-shots…after I realized that she had unFriended me and deleted her comments. She wasn’t arguing logically. She just wants to control others with moralistic crap. Good riddance.

Stephanie C. Fox Kim A. Joansie: Please look at this. I have no compunction about offending people who disagree with me just by saying whatever I think, plus backing it up with my research. I feel a blog post building up.

Jennie Rivers More cannon fodder for the 1% to use for profit in their wars. Angry

Stephanie C. Fox Indeed! I mentioned that, but it was part of a rather long comment. It’s easier to see that point in your short one. But…I had to say everything that was on my mind, so it went in there…

Joey Grendell What you say is truth. The contradictory idiocy from the other side is monumental. Kill anyone in whom we have already invested time money education and effort, but just think about avoiding tissue or excising it…

Daphne-Mallory Wynstead But…it’s not always about sexual protection!
Plenty of women need this medication for other health reasons. Regulating their cycle and controlling their menstruation!
Plus it can help control the pain, too… some women cop quite brutal pain from their cycle!
And if you are a fusspot about making every woman have a million kids, did you ever think that maybe after dealing with intense pain and erratic bleeding and all those nightmares, that women might think ‘fuck this, I can’t cope with pregnancy, which is probably much harder than this!’
So they will NOT have children at all! Ever!
Which will lower the birth rate you’re so desperate to bolster!
Why are you so desperate to make women miserable and sick?!! 😢😢 Love

Jules Keller Posted an angry Samuel L. Jackson meme.

Joey Grendell Wish I’d stayed in Greece.

Willy Bentley Betting odds are, if something is ridiculous, unfair or absurd, the Trump administration is either doing it or already did it…

Robert Wendell Absolutely spot on Willy. 😊

James van Wilders Just one more reason we should’ve had a woman president! Love

Karlie Carey Another line item in the world according to Dump and The Republicans:
“Women’s bodies are to provide pleasure for men, but, these said men bear no responsibility in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies or the choice of these same women to acquire an abortion if they so decide.”
Hypocrisy again, at its max.

Lily Aylmer Yet ANOTHER reason to VOTE!

Jocelyn Aquarius I agree…too late for me but my granddaughters are at the age when they need to take it😡

Robert Wendell ‘Making America regress again’.

Daley Riley What a POS. Too bad his mother chose not to abort such an abhorrent and disgusting excuse for a human being. It would have saved millions of people untold misery every day he wakes up and takes a breath!😡

Belinda Corrigan Can an employer refuse to provide medical coverage from a plan that pays for vasectomies?

Patricia Bernley I cannot grasp WHY these dumb shits want to restrict birth control. They don’t want anyone to have abortions or children out of wedlock. If they take away prevention, they are just multiplying the other problems. People DON’T stop having sex just because they don’t have birth control. Here’s a thought: Maybe they should stop trying to legislate morality.

Stephanie C. Fox I posted this on my own page. Now I’m in possession of some great material that will be useful for a blog post. 😀 Also, I’m down one Facebook Friend because she is a traitor to her sex. Too late! I saved screen-shots of it ALL. Insert maniacal laughter here.

Stephanie C. Fox Of course, I won’t be using the screenshots without obscuring names, but I have the statements, and that’s what I need.

Mary Jane And I’m sure employers are still fine with paying for boner pills…

Stephanie C. Fox They are paying for those. Hard-ons covered, opt-out of reproduction not.

Marissa Alyssa O U T R A G E O U S.

That concludes the collection of comments from everyone who weighed in on the topic.

I shall add this here: Don’t beat your bible or other religious book at me. I’m an atheist. Keep law and religious nonsense separate at all times, and keep religion out of law.

U.S. Congressman Ted Liu, a Democrat from California who trolls Trump on Twitter, added his comment on that forum:

This brings back memories of a baby doll that spoke (“Mama!”) and peed when water was poured into its mouth from a bottle. It was given to me when I was perhaps 8 years old. My mother and I set the toy up and tested it out, doll diaper and all. One use, and I was disgusted by the work it made. I vowed never to change a single diaper on a real human baby in my entire life. I also didn’t like it when the doll spoke. What a nuisance. I’m not maternal. I like to study and be free. Sue me. You’ll lose! (Maniacal laughter here…)

Sometimes, where other people just see a lovely, heartwarming story, I see a thoughtful and eloquent consideration of human overpopulation – one in which much good came from that.

This weekend, I watched a movie called Lion that had all of that in it.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741834/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

It is a biopic, based on an autobiographical story written by Saroo Brierley of Khandwa, India and of Tasmania. It is the story of how he got lost on a train at age 5, falling asleep in the area of his hometown in central India and waking up in Kolkata 28 hours later. He went from an area in which Hindi is spoken to one in which Bengali is spoken, not knowing his mother’s name because he was so little.

He managed to survive without getting trafficked, though it was close. He was a smart kid who ran away, recognizing the danger just in time, and ending up at an orphanage.

From that situation, Saroo was adopted out to a nice couple from Tasmania.

Saroo was a normal, healthy kid who soon adjusted happily to his situation. His new parents, Sue and John Brierley, met him with a stuffed koala toy and lots of hugs.

Meanwhile, they were also working on another adoption: they wanted another Indian orphan boy named Mantosh, who was mentally ill. They knew he was mentally ill and wanted him anyway.

Saroo did not understand this, and watched his new mother cry from time to time as Mantosh screamed and hit himself. He hated what Mantosh had done to Sue, he told her when he was an adult.

That’s when she told him something: she and John were NOT infertile. They had adopted both boys deliberately, because they wanted them. There were already far too many people in the world, his mother told Saroo. Sue had fallen in love with John because he agreed with her about human overpopulation.

These lovely people wanted kids but did not feel the need to perpetuate their own DNA, so they gave a wonderful life to Saroo and a safe home to Mantosh, where no angry mental health aide would ever burn him with cigarettes again.

The rest of the story shows Saroo searching for his hometown, Ganesh Talai, on Google Maps/Earth and on Facebook, and finding it. He wanted to find his Indian family and tell them that he was okay, and he succeeded.

His mother, Fatima Kamla Munshi, had deliberately not moved away from that town so that if he ever tried to come back to her, he would be able to do it.

Saroo’s mothers are both delighted to know each other, and his siblings are all doing well. His sister Shekila is a teacher and his brother Kallu is a factory manager. His mother was able to pay for their educations with fewer children left at home.

Saroo also found out that she had actually named him Sheru, which means Lion.

That’s a terrific story, but those of us who are female and who are not maternal ought not to be stigmatized for that. Attaching social stigma to women who have no interest in child care is how humans ended up overpopulating our planet and leading it into the Sixth Mass Extinction of its natural history.

There’s a reason why I stay in my own country and write – beyond loving what I do.

Whenever there has been any discussion of me living in another country as a professor’s wife (Kuwait, Hungary), I have declined. The people who suggest it invariably either have no clue that I have a graduate degree and love to research and write, or they just don’t care.

Here is a classic example of what they say: “Why doesn’t Stephanie come here? There are lots of jobs she can get taking care of babies and little kids!”

And with that, I’m absolutely determined not to even visit.

If I’m just traveling for a short time and have a return plane ticket, great – it’s a research opportunity, fascinating travel, and can be written up when I get home as a travelogue. Otherwise, I see no point to it. I will not just go there and be stuck with no other way to earn a living. That may sound inflexible and selfish, but that’s a good thing. Interesting work for women ought to be accepted without a second thought. The planet would be better off, and so would women everywhere.

Of course, that’s more on how life ought to be rather than how it actually is, but what else is a blog for if not to compare and contrast those points of view?

Here’s another comparison:

Should young people be allowed to choose sterilisation?

http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/should-young-people-be-allowed-to-choose-sterilisation/9014576

YES, they should be allowed to choose this. It is maddening to someone who doesn’t want to ever get pregnant, be pregnant, complete a pregnancy, get stuck with a baby, take care of a baby and change its diapers, give up freedom for a baby for 18+ years, someone who doesn’t like babies nor approve of adding another human being to the planet’s population, to be told to “come back at age 30 and ask again”. By that time, she can’t get back those years wasted being careful and worrying about a failure of whatever birth control method. That is just completely unacceptable.

Doctor after doctor puts their own emotions and reservations into the mix, deliberately causing delays of sterilization procedures. Meanwhile, a twentysomething who wants such a procedure and never wants kids spends a wasted decade being nervous about getting stuck with unwanted parenthood. Twentysomethings are old enough to be responsible for their decisions. No one should be confusing inadvertent parenthood with responsibility; choosing sterilization, however, is a clear demonstration of taking responsibility for oneself.

Our planet is grossly overpopulated with humans. Risking adding more when those “more” are not wanted is selfish idiocy. Doing a procedure that a patient asks for does not affect that physician’s life. It is not for that physician to worry about. It is not about that physician. It is not about whether or not that physician feels “comfortable” doing the procedure. Just do it already. Don’t put determined patients in the position of having to go physician-shopping to find someone who will get on with it and free them of this worry.

After all that online reading and aggravation, there is always more.

The news never stops.

It’s not even about keeping journalists in business.

It’s just the way life is: things keep happening and being researched or otherwise found out.

Here are a few more stories that caught my attention in the past week:

Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on U.S. Cyber Defense

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-stole-nsa-data-on-u-s-cyber-defense-1507222108

What’s the lesson to take away from this story? Don’t use Kaspersky antivirus software. It’s actually a hacker’s tool to mine your computer for whatever you don’t want shared with the world, one that enables digital dumpster diving. The hacker simply takes all the data, sifts through it, and steals whatever he or she finds to be of nefarious value.

Next item:

E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/climate/clean-power-plan.html

Damn Pruitt. He’s going to ruin the ecosystem and kill us all.

Coal is not the answer. There is less and less of it to get, and robots are doing that.

Renewable, clean, non-nuclear energy is what we need, and it will produce jobs for humans.

It will mean less carbon being emitted to heat up the planet and cause heat exhaustion in babies and the elderly.

We should be taking care of the people who already exist, not forcing more into existence, and not damaging the quality of life that this planet has to offer for all species. Farmers (the ones with the capital “F” in their moniker, the ones who are banksters, hedge fundsters, and corporatists) should be blocked from extracting every last drop of temporary wealth from the Earth, because in so doing, they are crashing its ecosystems.

I know of one individual who will call this blog post “pablum” – metaphoric mush.

I don’t care. It is anything but pablum. Calling it that just comes across as whining and raging and railing against the way things are. The way things are is that the Earth is finite, and we can’t afford to waste it, even though Farmers are doing their utmost to achieve its destruction to get money today, tomorrow be damned.

Tomorrow will likely come during their old age, and during their children’s lifetimes.

At least these Farmers’ children will have the opportunity to rage at them, thanks to their ability to buy the very best longevity-inducing healthcare with the loot that they are extracting.

There was actually one piece of positive news in the past week, incredibly enough: The European Union’s parliament has blocked Monsanto’s lobbyists from its premises. The reason is the Monsanto’s C.E.O. refused to show up and answer questions from parliament members.

Monsanto Banned From European Parliament

https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsanto-banned-european-parliament

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/28/monsanto-banned-from-european-parliament

In case anyone has forgotten, Monsanto is an insecticide manufacturer.

Its product is poisoning bees and other pollinators with neurotoxins, adding to the problems that Nature throws at them.

Bees and pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that we eat.

Without them, we won’t have fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, or honey.

That means dying of malnutrition, which would be a slow, dragged-out, deeply unpleasant way to go.

That’s why this is worth celebrating.

With so little to celebrate from the past week, I’ll take it.

Oh, and I’ll also take this latest, just-in quote from comic Stephen Colbert:

“On Friday, Donald Trump made it harder for women to access birth control. Pretty soon, the only contraceptive women will have, is his face.”

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Enjoy Saying “No”. Don’t Apologize. Resist the Haters.

We are in the middle of a resource war that is fueled in the United States by resentment, hateful behavior, and populism.

In other parts of the world, resource war involves all of that plus necessities such as living space, food, clothing, health care, education, and jobs.

There are areas of the Middle East where war and ecosystems collapse have leveled human settlements, causing mass migrations.

For years, the migrants huddled in camps, waiting.

They waited in southern Turkey in tents.

They waited on islands like Malta in camps that housed them in cargo containers.

Many still wait there.

Others continue to migrate.

Meanwhile, in the United States, we are seeing a backlash against years of liberal policies.

Several years ago, a Republican relative sent an e-mail extolling the virtues of American life in the 1950s, complete with a longing nostalgia for it.

It came with a question, asking if the reader didn’t also long for that simpler, easier time.

I wrote back, of course. “Simpler and easier for whom?!”, I asked. “Why, for white males and females, of course, and the neurotypical ones of those at that,” I continued, answering my own question.

For women who wanted to be called “Ms.” rather than “Mrs.” or “Miss”, it could mean being disowned by one’s family and the loss of an education.

Sheila Babs Michaels, also known as Sheila Shiki-y-Michaels (May 8, 1939 – June 22, 2017), was an American feminist and civil rights activist credited with popularizing Ms. as a default form of address for women regardless of their marital status.

For African-Americans, it could mean being unable to access higher education, to buy a home, or worst of all, a lynching.

For those who happened to fall in love with someone of a different race or culture than their own, their marriage could be blocked.

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

For gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, it meant a life underground, constantly worried about being outed and persecuted or worse, killed.

For those on the autism spectrum with the ability to speak, learn, and study our way to earning an academic credential (or more than one), it meant being thought of as having a disability rather than a minority model of a normal human brainstem. The world is still set up for the convenience of neurotypicals, but at least now autism is known and somewhat understood, and famous geniuses have been identified as having had the traits, quirks, and abilities of the condition, thus making it an accepted part of life.

Anyone who thinks that those were the “good old days” for their definition as the days when white males had almost everything their own way and the right of first refusal on the best of what life has to offer as the way that it ought to be forever is not a reasonable person.

Actually, anyone who thinks that way is a selfish, rotten, and quite possibly dangerous person.

There are white people who are neurotypical and heterosexual who agree with me.

These people are not safe around many of those who disagree, and who wish for a return to those selfish times.

For decades, things got much nicer for the “rest” of American society: the women, the Aspies, the other races than whites, the LGBT people.

These are the liberal policies that we are seeing backlash against.

That backlash has shown itself not to care whether or not the Russians hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election, proof or no proof.

Proof will make itself known eventually. Some is even making itself known already, and of course it is being denied.

“Connecticut’s online voter registration system was targeted by Russian hackers during last year’s presidential campaign, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Friday.

Merrill said officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security informed her the system was scanned but not breached.

“In essence, this is good news for us because our system worked and turned back whatever targeting was done,” she said. “It does tell me that we need to be vigilant on this.”

The hack targeted outward-facing, or public, components of the office’s online system, including its website, online voter registration system and voter lookup system. The hack did not reach vote tabulation machines, which are not connected to the internet.”

Connecticut Notified Russians Scanned Election System

All weekend, I have vaguely noticed reports of this and complaints about it. As someone who has absolutely no interest in football other than the research conducted by Dr. Bennet Omalu into concussive brain injuries, I did not focus on it until just now, when I read this article (it’s the arts, movies, and books that occupy my thoughts for the most part).

Accordingly, I looked it up and read about it, just to understand what is going on. It’s a protest about the abysmal treatment of African-Americans in U.S. society due to police brutality – including lethal treatment by police – and racism.

So…I agree with the reasons behind these protests. Any visitor to my pages sees that I have no use for Trump the divider, Trump the corporatist Farmer, Trump the misogynist, and so on and on.

I wonder about the protestors’ choice of method, however. This is confusing, kneeling during the national anthem. Some think it disrespects war veterans and those active in the military.

A separate protest, conducted after the anthem and before the game, might have been a better way to go. After all, the football players ARE the stars of their own show. Granted, it’s a little late to adopt another protest method, but not too late. They could switch, with a little planning and coordination. I doubt they will, but I agree with the reasons why they protested.

Here’s another thought: they can’t just be fired and replaced. The football players have a skill that is unique. Thus, these particular players can’t be conveniently dumped and others found in time for the next game. Training and strategy takes time. I find it hilarious that the masses of populists who don’t approve of this protest are crying about boycotting football. They love football! They’ll all be back watching it again, protests or not.

That was one issue that I looked at.

Another was the recent election in Germany, in which Angela Merkel won another term as chancellor.

Angela Merkel Makes History in German Vote, but So Does Far Right

She won, but the alt-right of her country, the fascists, or the populists as they are now called, also won some seats in Germany’s parliament.

This is widely seen as the result of telling the migrants from the crashed ecosystems of the Middle East, particularly war-torn Syria, to come on in to Germany and share its resources and social welfare system. They have overwhelmed that system, and there have widespread reports of rapes and of women and children losing the freedom and security to move about as before, dressed as they have always dressed with hair showing, makeup on, and less clothing covering them up in warm weather, without being harassed, attacked, intimidated, and otherwise bothered.

This election results is therefore not surprising. Alarming and ominous is more like it. Human overpopulation is a threat to democracy.

I am a political liberal, and shall remain one, but even I think that Merkel went too far. So did Sweden.

Sharing resources sounds great – like a wonderful, humanitarian thing to do – until women lose out.

Either figure out a way to insist that the women who are already there lose nothing, or rethink the entire plan. Let the migrants wait while you figure it out. Of course, it’s too late for that.

So what happens now?

What do I think is going to happen?

I think that it will all get worse.

Resource war is already upon us, both in Europe and in the United States. It is also happening in Canada and Australia.

It will continue to get worse.

We are seeing reviews of populists, both living and dead, and watching the living ones show just how hateful and nasty they can be.

Clockwise, from left: White nationalist William Pence, domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, white nationalist Richard Spencer, British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, professor Kevin MacDonald, and Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart. (Nick Lehr/The Conversation)

The Seeds of the Alt-Right, America’s Emergent Right-Wing Populist Movement

One of things that these populists like to do is say that white women ought to focus on breeding with white men, and never mind an education or a career. These males are quite loud, belligerent, aggressive, condescending, and they exude an air of entitlement and selfishness.

The first thought that comes to mind when I observe them is, “Why would any woman want to have anything to do with them, let alone mate with one of them?!”

I’m never going to stop studying, I won’t take care of babies or children let alone bring any more into existence, I’m fascinated by human overpopulation and resource depletion, love to see all things to do with outer space (law, science fiction, physics, astrophysics, astronomy, etc.), insist upon using the courtesy title of “Ms.” and no other, and although I am attracted to white males, they had better be nice people or the attraction is extinguished.

A reasonable, sane, intelligent person wants a nice guy who treats her respectfully and who does not expect or require her to live her life in any way other than the way that she wishes to live it.

There is a shortage of reasonable behavior and of reasonable expectations when people choose emotion over logic.

Emotion never goes away, but it should not rule our view of the world.

That is the problem I have with populism and masses: they let their wishes, wants, insecurities, and angst rule their thoughts and actions.

What do I think will happen next?

Just look at people around the planet, not only in the United States, as they are now.

They are polarized in thought, opinion, and in how they think the world ought to be.

They refuse to consider scaling back on human reproduction with any population policy.

Even China has reversed its population policy, citing worries that the older generation won’t have enough younger caregivers (which is in large part a result of a cultural preference for sons, so that daughters-in-law will be acquired to do that care-giving…never mind their own parents!).

Looking at it that way, human reproduction is a Ponzi scheme that won’t pay off for most humans.

So…we shall both continue to reproduce past the Earth’s capacity to supply our species with the necessities of life (living space, food, clothing, shelter, breathable air, education, health care, and meaningful work).

Religious groups and races with vie for prominence.

Stir that pot and you have a resource war.

Heather Heyer’s murder was a mere taste of how bloody it’s going to get. Just wait – it will get far worse.

We know what we ought to do to reverse this:

  1. Get a population policy;
  2. Put a ban on gerrymandering into an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
  3. Clamp down on any attempt to merge religion of ANY variety with the government. (Start by removing “under God” from our Pledge to the Flag. It was added in 1954, during the McCarthy Era of political witch-hunts.)

Keep calm and continue to resist hate speech, the weaponization of freedom of speech, and don’t forget to enjoy life.

I like to watch the late-night comedians. Stephen Colbert is my favorite.

I love how he mocks the alt-right, Donald J. Trump (whom I call the #Pumpkingropenfuhrer), and other haters. He’s one of the court jesters of our time.

I’m glad Alec Baldwin won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the #Pumpkingropenfuhrer.

It’s probably the only award that Trump can get, i.e. one by comedic proxy.

Nature Has Conducted Another Eminent Removal

Every year, almost everywhere on the planet, there is another natural disaster that wipes out human development.

It doesn’t necessary wipe out the humans who developed – built settlements – on that land.

Hurricane Harvey has destroyed homes and other buildings and flooded the area that it hit.

The storm inundated dams so that they cannot hold the water back without breaking, thus requiring that the water be released into human settlements and exacerbating and prolonging the misery, and caused sewage and its associated microbial parasites to be included with that water. Fire ants and other creatures are included in the flood, and at least one pet dog, a German Shepherd, was killed by electrocution after being left behind by its human family. Elderly people are stranded in their homes and in nursing homes. Children have died in motor vehicles, drowned in the flood. Water has risen to the tops of top stories of homes, keeping rescuers working nonstop to evacuate residents.

Texas, with its coastal areas located on the Gulf of Mexico, is not a low-risk place to settle.

Several years ago, I tried to pay my phone bill online and it did not work. A hurricane had just hit Texas. I called the phone company and asked for help paying the bill over the phone, and explained what was happening on my end. The representative agreed to help me, of course, and said that their server was down. Then I asked, “Why? What’s wrong with it, is it in Galveston, Texas?!” She replied, “Well…actually…yes, it is.” I didn’t say what I was thinking, which was, “Great place for it! NOT.”

No location is completely risk-free of natural disasters, but some are drastically higher-risk compared with others. Living there, complete with the physical stuff of life, only to be wiped out by a natural disaster is a strong deterrent to a long-term thinker. Yet many people are not long-term thinkers, and many others are therefore induced to settle in such areas.

There is what does happen, and there is what should happen.

What should happen is that zoning regulations ought to make it legally impossible to build – or rebuild – in flood zones and other disaster-prone areas. But a law school graduate who did his legal studies in Texas reported being jeered at by “freedom fighter” classmates for asking about that, with financial profits being touted as paramount, and damn the consequences.

Houston Is Drowning—In Its Freedom From Regulations

I wonder what those classmates think now that those zoning-free areas have been erased of human developments by Hurricane Harvey.

Climate scientists have many assessments of Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated coastal Texas, including the Corpus Christi and Houston areas.

These assessments range from assertions that climate change was a major driver of the superstorm, to assertions that climate change amped up the intensity of this superstorm that would have occurred with or without climate change, to warnings that it should not automatically be linked with climate change.

There are countless articles on the Internet about superstorms and climate change, ranging from social to political to economic to academic to fill-in-the-blank. I’m not going to cite a tedious slew of them here, but I will cite a couple of them.

 

What made the rain in Hurricane Harvey so extreme?

None of them, however, have said that preparations shouldn’t be made and that we should all live as if natural disasters never happen. After all, the point of studying the climate is to use what is learned for the benefit of humankind, in this case for disaster preparedness.

Don’t look to Donald J. Trump for much help. Each public appearance is about the Nielsen ratings for him. He showed up at the flooded area in a white hat with “USA” on it, with Melania in tow clad in high heels, designer jeans, and a black hat with “FLOTUS” on it (she did change her footwear to sneakers upon arrival in Texas). When that ridiculous spectacle is over, we can then watch Trump supporters ask where Obama was in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina his New Orleans, Louisiana. Answer: Not yet POTUS. George W. Bush was in office for that superstorm.

Meanwhile, in his terminal lack of foresight or wisdom, Trump removed flood protection standards put in place by President Barack H. Obama just in time for them to be desperately needed.

Donald Trump scrapped Barack Obama’s flood protection standards days before Hurricane Harvey

Why am I not surprised?!

Trump undid something Obama set up that would have precluded redevelopment of land that Nature routinely erases human development from. Blocking redevelopment so that people don’t continually get wiped out of their homes and property would force them to set up elsewhere – away from the superstorm zones of the country. But no, that’s too logical to be policy!

Mexico has offered disaster support services and other aid, but Trump isn’t in any rush to allow those hombres to cross our border, even when they aren’t bad ones. That help is needed now, not whenever he gets around to deciding that it’s urgent – so urgent that politics and potential resource-sharing should not be a factor in the matter.

Trump Administration Hasn’t Decided Whether to Accept Harvey Help From Mexico

Accept the help, Trump.

Here is a video by a disaster preparedness instructor in New York City. He focuses on preparing the elderly residents for emergencies. The video has a hilarious label on it: “That’s So New York – Emergency Preparedness for Seniors”. It’s great – it includes safety for pets.

https://youtu.be/h2-qgKLTOCU

It’s fine to mock oneself for doing the wise thing, thus preempting mockery from outsiders, but there should be no mockery to begin with. Everyone ought to do that.

That’s funny, though, coming from an author of a dystopian series of novels on human overpopulation and ecosystems collapse. One of its recurring themes is that the majority never does what it ought to do, which is why natural disasters hit them so hard.

  

The safety of pets is included in the plot of these novels, as the narrator has a cat, as do her parents and her sister-in-law.

Older victims of Hurricane Harvey may need special attention as Texas recovers

While all this is going on, Trump will sneak in more erosions and erasures of individual rights.

Internet slowing down? Check to see what happened to net neutrality.

There will be other examples, but that’s just one, and it’s easy to mask as a storm-related one.

Here’s another one: attacks on freedom of the press.

Trump attacking freedom of the press: U.N. rights boss

After a day or so of being vilified on the Internet for not opening his Houston, Texas megachurch to the public, Joel Osteen relented. He’ll just have to suck up the refurbishment bill, as well he should. He can afford it after inducing many fools to fork over their money to him.

Joel Osteen is a thief and a con artist.  This quote from an article that examines his life sums it up:

“Number 1. Joel Osteen represents the Christian 1 percent. From aerial views of his jaw-dropping mansion to the cut of his navy suits, he always looks like a man with a good reason to be smiling.”

 

Here’s why people hate Joel Osteen

Osteen’s megachurch has seating for tens of thousands. He deserves no sympathy for the mess and hassle that will result from helping as many people as that space will accommodate, and even less for his delayed opening of it to the displaced victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Hypocritical politicians from Texas, who voted against funding for recovery from Superstorm Sandy, are now getting their comeuppance. Ted Cruz of Texas has won himself a starring role in that regard. He must now beg for federal funds for recovery for his constituency while attempting to explain away his complete lack of interest in granting any to other locations. As the saying goes, it’s all very different when it’s not happening to you…

Ted Cruz defends his 2013 decision to vote against Sandy aid amid Harvey’s destruction on August 28, 2017. (MSNBC)

Everyone’s a Socialist After a Natural Disaster

When it’s not happening to you, you ought to be willing to extend help in the form of money, resources, and legal permission to whoever has been hit by a natural disaster, wherever in the nation that they are. What goes around comes around is another saying that comes to mind.

I asked a question in a group on Facebook:

Fill in the blank with whatever recurring natural disaster – WHY keep rebuilding and living there?! Native American tribes didn’t do that. They had seasonal locations, just to avoid the superstorms. Well, I’m glad people are commenting. I write about human overpopulation and ecosystems collapse. I do it to induce people to think and to plan long-term while entertaining them with a story. I am one of those humans who will not keep living in an area that keeps getting its human settlements erased by Nature, so I wonder about the thinking of “most” humans.

I don’t believe that this disaster is a once-in-a-century event. It is partly due to anthropogenic climate change, and it will happen at least once a decade from now on. If I didn’t care about the impact of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey on humans, I wouldn’t bother to study it. I expect people to recognize the value of asking the question and learning whatever we can from what happened to people in Texas. Yes, it is awful. Anyone can see that. That is assumed. I am looking past that to see how our species can help ourselves in the long term, not just immediately. I never just look at the immediate. I’m most interested in long-term solutions to problems.

This deals with a theme of Book 2 of the Nae-Née series, in which masses of displaced humans had to relocate inland after superstorms and sea level rise:

When everyone in Texas has recovered from Hurricane Harvey, I suspect that most of them will simply get more stuff, including homes, vehicles, furnishings, clothing, kitchen equipment, household appliances, and whatever else one gets, and continue to dwell in a zone that nature repeatedly subjects to eminent removal. This is what I wonder about: WHY?!

Why don’t they move elsewhere?!

That they are “from there” seems like a ridiculous answer.

It is something that makes me curious about the nature of the majority of humans, which is why I write about human overpopulation. Why do humans repeat behavior that puts them back into danger zones, threatening their habitats?!

Why would I ask such a question? Intellectual curiosity is the first part of the answer to that, and a hope of finding answers that would enable a solution that avoids future problems like the present ones is the next part.

The results of this impromptu study ranged from many real and useful answers, thus vindicating the effort, to vilification and condemnation for asking it now, while people are in the midst of coping with the disaster. Why not later, they ask, when things have calmed down? Answer: Because later, most of the answers will be inaccessible, forgotten due to restored comfort.

I’m disgusted and impatient with emotional reactions that are emotional first and thoughtful later, which can come even when people are comfortable.

Such reactions are what drive the destructive actions of mob rule.

Don’t waste my time with that.

Instead, give me the answers I want so that I can do something to prevent human-made disasters, such as riots. Innocent people and property get destroyed when large numbers of angry people get together. My sympathies are with the people who are not part of the mob, not with the mob. Degenerate into emotionalism, and you lose me. (Alexander Hamilton was the same way. When I got to that part of his character in the biography of him by Ron Chernow, that was it – I became a fan of Alexander Hamilton.)

Here is a list of the answers I got – reasons why people move back to disaster areas:

  1. Family and friends live there.
  2. Jobs brought them there.
  3. Career certifications are location-specific and cumbersome to re-do elsewhere or again.
  4. It’s too expensive to move away.
  5. No area is risk-free.
  6. People want to live by the ocean.
  7. The particular area has unique attractions.
  8. People have no idea where they would go instead, having not considered it.
  9. The Farmers of the nation – who profit from all of this – have no incentive to fix any of it. Farmers with a capital “F” = banksters, hedge fundsters, and corporatists. They don’t care, and they have bought their way into political offices at the top level.

That’s not the only sort of response that I got.

Some pointed to the historical pattern of superstorm frequency, suggesting that it didn’t happen that often. To that, I say that that is no reason to rebuild, only to know that another superstorm will come at some point and erase one’s efforts and re-inflict misery and chaos. Also to that, I say that those patterns no longer hold, because anthropogenic contributions to climate change have increased the frequency of superstorms. Hurricane Katrina was not a century ago, as one commenter suggested that superstorms are. It was 12 years ago.

Some complained bitterly that “now is not the time” for such questions, called the effort “cruel” for being made now, and got personal.

Yes, I’m infuriating enough to keep on discussing this in the midst of a disaster, and I won’t stop just because some people find my focus on long-term planning aimed at preventing repeats of the misery in Texas infuriating, ivory-tower-like, cold, or demonstrative of a lack of empathy…as they see empathy. I also told those of the commenters who got upset that I refuse to post a disclaimer about Asperger’s every time I want to ask a controversial question. It’s a group with no censorship. The only rules are that we be polite to each other, with no name-calling. Some of the commenters failed to follow that rule, and called me a bitch even after I disclosed later in the thread. I’m not one bit chastened.

In fact, I replied to that individual: “Have you heard of a CBS television show called Scorpion? This thread is like that show in reality. You are the client, and I am experiencing empathy…with the Scorpion team. They are Aspie geniuses who clash with the neurotypicals whenever they go out in the world. No matter how determined they are to help, they are not appreciated until the finish line. Of course, on television, that finish line reliably comes before the hour is up in the hour-long episode. In real life, it takes much longer. Thank you for helping me to feel more like the Aspies of that show.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpion_(TV_series)

Aspies aren’t malicious – we’re just focused on whatever question or problem we’re facing.

If someone insists on seeing us as malicious anyway, I don’t have time for that, nor will I make time for that.

One reporter was lambasted online for pointing out the fact that people who live in the disaster area have been going into grocery stores and taking the food. Of course they’re going to take the food, and they should! It is urgently needed and right there. It can’t be sold, so the corporations that own the grocery stores have no legal claim to it and shall be filing insurance claims on not only the stock but the premises. Consider the grocery stores resources available to devastated residents and leave it at that.

Well, he realizes that now, but too late.

And I get told I have no empathy just because I go for logic before getting upset.

When I get upset, it’s because I’ve thought things over and reached the point at which I am aggravated over the fact that unsolvable problems remain, or that solvable ones won’t be solved due to the irrational nature of the majority of humans ruling the outcome.

Example: People will forget why they need zoning regulations and to be banned from settling in areas with either high or the highest probability of repeated eminent removal by Nature once they are comfortable again.

This is why I push forward with the questions about it all now, while people are full of intense emotion – and, therefore, stronger, more detailed memory of the problem to discuss – rather than later, when they are comfortable.

I’m not particularly bothered by the fact that they are outraged at me for doing so.

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