Another 9/11

Yeah so, Donald Trump won. Some things upcoming in the next four years:

  • Extrajudicial assassination of American citizens within the 48 contiguous states, vetted by secret courts.
  • Widespread use of torture, with and without oversight.
  • A significant uptick in ethnically motivated violence up to and including murder.
  • Concentration camps for various subcategories of people living and working in the United States.
  • Evident, back-the-truck-up-to-the-vault-levels of  public theft by administration flunkies. Widespread hiring of US GOP functionaries with specific experience at this exact thing from the oversight of occupied Iraq. Said criminals will be feted as heroes, possibly in a reality TV show.
  • Mass deportations of people suspected of being illegal aliens.
  • Large numbers of American citizens deported in these actions due to profiling, corruption, and predjudice.
  • An historic recession due to global loss of faith in the stability and jurisprudence of the United States.
  • A pointless war, or maybe several.
  • The implementation of loyalty statutes, framed as responses to the economic collapse and unpopular war and the consequent acts of violent resistance.
  • The abolition of termlimited and eventually electoral governance by the executive.

My dad and I were traveling together in Cuba in August and I went off on a rant about how the GOP were the absolute expression of the enemies of democracy and always had been during my conscious lifetime. I’m not limiting this shit to Reagan, here, I am specifically including Nixon, because that is the first GOP president of my lifetime to devote significant policy and campaign resources to, in Trump’s words, “rigging” his re-election.

He kind of shook his head in disbelief, even though he’s been hearing me rant about this since I was a teenager. Roughly, his words were “I just don’t see how that amounts to this ‘end of democracy’ stuff.”

It gave me pause, as in context I also understood him to be asking me to ask myself why over the course of my entire life I have had a clear tendency to view a certain American right political tendency as explicitly anti-democratic, as murderously authoritarian, and as essentially fascist. I thought writing about it might clarify things somewhat as I do think that there is a specific reason my psychology predisposes me to observe and highlight these viewpoints, events, and actions. Interestingly, my viewpoint is factually correct – American political, military, and intelligence leaders and personnel have actually engaged in this pattern of democratic suppression with increasing intensity over the course of my life.

Counterpoised against this, I suppose, would be the increasing social openness of American society, the midseventies efforts to limit the use of domestic and international espionage and assasination for domestic political purposes by both the FBI and the CIA, the currently highly contentious efforts to establish reasonable accountability for the use of deadly force by police officers, and the election of Barack Obama. Things change! Yet the implementation of these systemic tools of state repression has never slowed, and appears to me to have been even accelerated by such things as the Church hearings.

The toxic recombination of US Latin American foreign policy with the renascent Reagan GOP in the 1980s produced a ill-advised offshore industry of security consultants and international military education with a US-led emphasis on counterinsurgency tactics.  Those tactics can be summarized, roughly, as “torture, terror, and genocide,” that having worked well for Europeans in the Americas since the 1600s. These lessons were even brought to bear in the East with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That prosperous anti-democratic polyp of the national security infrastructure has has sought and found ways to grow and thrive since the post-Vietnam era, swollen with red-faced rage and resentment at being reined in in the wake of their clients’ assassination, torture, and kidnapping operations in the United States in the 1970s. Prior ongoing purely domestic campaigns that employed the same tactics never excited similar scrutiny.

President Obama inherited a post-9/11 security apparatus that was designed by these murderous enemies of decency and absolutely failed to disassemble it. President Trump will inherit it as well, along with a venal crew of murderous racist toadies. He will not hesitate to use it to punish people he sees as personal enemies.

This actually is what the end of democracy looks like.

I probably am prone to seeing, to expecting this, in part because we lived in Chile in 1969 and on September 11, 1972, the elected Communist government of that country was overthrown in a violent military coup that kickstarted the era of death squad terror in Latin America. That news entered my head roughly at the same time as the news of Watergate, and so as a child I was taught that democracy is fragile and that American institutions are not, in the long run, actually committed to democracy, but rather to power.

My dad has seen the same stuff that I have over my lifetime, but he does not see this moment (or those preceding it which I have also seen as crises of democracy, such as Reagan’s arms and drug smuggling, GWB II’s judicial theft of a Presidential election, and the erection of a torture and assassination military and intelligence infrastructure) as necessarily even an aspect of an assault on democracy. He’s factually incorrect, of course.

Kuma and Go

(Originally posted as a comment on this post, Hisashi Iwakuma agrees to deal with Dodgers, at Lookout Landing.)

Kuma is literally the only reason I developed an interest in MLB. I stumbled across livestreams of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, the sea rising incomprehensibly on the screen of my iPhone, a black video wipe across thousands of lives. I became depressed as the nuclear emergency was recognized and both incompetently handled and reported for over a week thereafter. Seeking hope and solace, I put my newfound expertise at navigating online Japanese media sources to work, and followed the 2011 campaign of the Tohuku-based Rakuten Eagles with pirate-stream 3 A.M. raccoon-eye enthusiasm.

They sucked. Kuma had tried to go MLB to Oakland after his seven years but an injury knocked him out of the contract negotiations and onto a long-ass stint on the DL. When he pressed his case to the MLB over the break in 2012 he was still recovering, no-one in the US (that mattered) knew who he was, and the M’s literally lucked into him.

He was benched longer than any other roster player in that season, sitting disconsolate and alone in the bullpen next to Antony Suzuki, the team’s translator. Suzuki literally sat between Iwakuma and his Mariners teammates, physically at the very end of the bench.

I was at a bunch of games early that year because opening day had produced a giant cluster-f in the concessions which led the Ms to offer freebie makeup tix to everyone who attended that game. The makeup tix were very cheap on Craigslist. I had a lot of opportunities to observe Kuma, shoulders slumped and isolated on the bench.

At one of these games, I was able to draw a smile and a hat tip as I waved my Eagles cap and called his name. A bit later in the season, on a Rainiers Turn Back the Clock day, he signed both my Iwakuma M’s jersey, purchased before his first start, and the Eagles cap. He included appropriate uniform numbers on each sig.

I was at his career-high strikeout game, 13, thrown immediately after returning from a whirlwind trip to Japan to say goodbye to his dying father. I was at his duel versus Darvish, in which he dominated the younger man. I’ll forever be denied my dream of Iwakuma vs. Tanaka, it seems. Last year, my wife and I adopted an aged black lab mix, formerly feral in Snohomish County. I attempted to name the 90-pound black behemoth Kuma. The dog over-ruled me, insisting on “Logan” instead. I was unable to attend Kuma’s no-hitter, as the unusual thunderstorms in the area that day ramped the big dog into a state of such fear and anxiety that he tore the door frame to my bath off as I attempted to shower in preparation for attending the game. We watched it together on the couch, my mild resentment at his neuroses growing with every whiff.

I would have to say, given my near total disinterest in the Mariners this spring during Kuma’s injury hiatus, it’s an unsettled question if my interest in MLB and Mariners baseball will survive his departure. I came to it late for reasons unrelated to family or tradition. I’m middle aged and don’t have kids. My dad is not a baseball fan. My next door neighbor, a senior who was a baseball fan and with whom I enthusiastically shared these past few years, died in his sleep the night before last. I can think of many other ways to spend my time.

Whatever happens, thanks, Kuma. You’ll always be my favorite ballplayer of all time. Ganburo!


I wish someone would explain to me how it is that making Google products less useful improves Google’s projected profitability. It sure as hell make me pissed off every other day.
That link is to an explanation of how to access actual useful search results on a tablet, missing since August. The key is an override in the results URL, the string which I have made the title of this post.
UPDATE: or so I had thought. I had neglected to entity-encode the ampersand.


A day well spent crawling on the floor amid cables, wrestling with KVMs and trying to grok all the myriad favors of DVI. A used DVI KVM picked up cheap works great but not with the equally cheaply acquired Apple DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI. The adapter is supposed to show some sort of firmware info in a system info panel but I couldn’t get it to speak. More poking and prodding, inevitably, to come.

I started the day foolishly attempting a series of cpanel-based hosting changes involving .htaccess redirects, some of which took and some of which did not. When the redirects started failing it drove me inevitably, and equally foolishly, toward code changes against the rickety engines that hold this MT-based blog steady, lashed to the mast amid the storm of abandonment and platform evolution.

Lucky for me, I think, the changes took and I ventured on to, it seems, resurrect commenting here. I’m still a tad sketchy on whether or not the comment system is operating as intended.

This is all driven by my pro-tem retreat from Twitter and Facebook. I mean, fuck Facebook, that might be actually over for me, but eventually I’ll turn my profile on again. But seriously, I was tooling out, posting ranty exclamations basically inviting people to stay away; obviously I’m not fit for polite company so I’ll keep it here from now on.

But as soon as I suspended my shit on FB I started pulling the same bullshit on Twitter, which is forgivable but also much more stupid. After thinking about it for a bit I realized it was a combination of things, among them the lack of a sense of personal investiture I feel toward Twitter and FB.

So for now, I’m here, I’m not nuts, and you can keep your social media. Eventually I will figure out how I want to use them again, but for the foreseeable future my thought is that they are best used to invite other consumers of said services to leave the safe and inviting confines of the farmville and return to a digital economy based on gathering nuts and berries. Sure, the infant mortality is high, but so is the fertility rate!


I have deactivated my facebook account, because instead of feeling interest in my friends, I want to pick fights with them, or anybody. It is a similar feeling to that which led me to deactivate my MetaFilter account. I am sure it will pass. With any luck I will be interested enough in this blog to work on some code issues that keep it from doing what I want. or not.

ex gReader PM weighs in on UI redesign

Brian Shih on the new gR UI:

Reader redesign: Terrible decision, or worst decision?

Google released the previously announced set of changes around G+ integration and UI updates today, and boy is it a disaster.

…it’s as if whoever made the update did so without ever actually using the product to, you know, read something.

When you log into Reader, what the hell do you think your primary objective is? Did you answer “stare at a giant header bar with no real estate saved for actual reading”?

Anyway, yeah, what he said. When I dropped into Reader via browser this afternoon I was, uh, disconcerted to see only the first ten or fifteen unread items in my list. I poked around looking for a way to invoke a higher-density screen view but there was no obvious way to do so. With the navigation elements showing a displayed article occupied less than a quarter of my screen real estate, and any articles which included inline graphics were cropped mid-image.

Hitting “F” zapped all the chrome and presented the selected article, one at a time. There was no reasonable way to view the article content in conjuction with a generous list of other article headers

I strongly suspect this implies similar inbound downgrades of information density in gmail’s default view, which would be shitty as hell.

Zero History

Finally started Gibson’s Zero History, which I had been putting off for months. I’m happy to report it is entertaining me very much.

The book is about industrial espionage in the global clothing industry. A major supporting character is introduced wearing a ridiculous suit in International Klein Blue, and the hardback’s boards are this color. This little joke make me smile every time I pick up the book and, distressed, note my oily finger stains here and there on the spine.

An aspect of the book I find very peculiar is that it feel tremendously nostalgic to me – Gibson has allowed his futures of the past to merge with ours, and rightly so. Reading his earlier stuff always felt like some sort of message from a prophet as he described various improbable ways of navigating a comprehensively networked world. Well, now we live in that world, albeit without widespread use of wetware jacks and eye-glasses based HUDs.

I have developed a fascination with Japanese pro baseball in the wake of the Tohuku quake, and have been flabbergasted at the ease and accessibility of any given thing to do with it. Mind you, not via completely constructed tollways.

There’s no automated crossposting of NPB team goods from the primary site of the Japanese ecommerce giant (and Tohoku Sendai Golden Eagles team owner) Rakuten, but it’s trivially easy to view any given subsite on Rakuten in English, if machine-translated.

Likewise, only the tiniest amount if imagination and investigation was required to find unofficial internet relays of any given live Japanese (and Taiwanese) baseball game, the largest challenge being staying up lat enough to watch the games. I have mostly been watching them, as I did the tsunami, on my iPhone.

Things noted or lernt

1. My fret hand’s calluses are less than shipshape. Work is called for.

2. Longjohns are a thing of transcendant beauty

3. Small calico cats with street time in their lives are fast, fast, fast and sneaky, sneaky sweet. They come home for dinner though.

4. Swiss chard does not take to the freezins, instead going all pear shaped.

5. International economies make record keeping difficult, and this fact alone calls the very idea of citizenship into question.

6. Toshiro Mifune was born into a Methodist family in China.

7. A week or more of amazing clear night skies does not mean that I will remember to set up the ginormous telescope.