A Few Thoughts on AMLO

Published at 21:51 on 29 June 2018

  1. He’s almost certainly going to win. The polls have consistently been showing him leading his challengers by 15 points or more. Polls can sometimes be wrong, but they almost never are wrong at predicting the winner when the gap is this big.
  2. He’s not another Hugo Chávez. Yes, he’s something of a populist and a buffoon, but he’s not a newcomer to politics; he was mayor of Mexico City, and seems to have done at least a passable job at it, and he doesn’t seem to have been a Chávez-style authoritarian while he was in office.
  3. He’s apparently moved to the right in the past year, going by this article in the Washington Post.
  4. The elephant in the living room is corruption. It’s a terrible problem in Mexico, and is intertwined with violence (another terrible problem). While AMLO is atypically clean for a Mexican politician (and this is part of his appeal), it’s unclear whether he’s going to be able to do much about the huge number of corrupt individuals.
  5. Speaking of corruption and violence, his expected victory is mostly the result of Mexicans’ frustration at their country’s domestic problems. It doesn’t have much to do with the Mango Mussolini’s childish insistence that Mexico pay for his stupid wall.

Back to Work

Published at 21:28 on 28 June 2018

It really seems like one of the hardest job searches of my adult life is over.

This is not going to be a super-long-term solution. I simply know too much to ever reasonably expect it to be: none of my jobs ever has been.

But it is going to hopefully let me kick the can down the road a few years. By then, I really do think I will be in a much better position to transition out of tech work permanently.

One of the things I had been cursing was how I was becoming apparently unemployable in the tech industry just a few years too soon. Now it seems that the timing can be arranged to be much more convenient.

On Peter Fonda’s Tweet about Barron Trump

Published at 14:53 on 25 June 2018


There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the above tweet, but in my book the only thing over the top about it is the part about pedophiles. To the best of my knowledge, there is no deliberate policy about putting separated kids with pedophiles. Separated from their parents and put into cages, yes. And that’s quite bad enough.

If fascists don’t think it’s fair for it to be proposed that they get a dose of their own medicine, then maybe it’s time for them to reevaluate their decision to be fascists and to support fascist policies in the first place.

And note that this tweet was only a proposal, and not a serious one at that.  The First Family is one of the most heavily protected groups of people in the world. The odds of anyone being able to actually kidnap Barron Trump are so remote that they can be safely disregarded.

Meanwhile, there’s still over 1,000 children who were subject to Trump’s state-sponsored kidnappings that have yet to be reunited with their families. I suggest we should care more about the actual ongoing harm done to those children than to the harm being done to the delicate feelings of fascist snowflakes who can’t stand the idea of getting a taste of their own medicine.

On Shunning the Fascists

Published at 14:40 on 25 June 2018

Three points:

  1. The complaints from the fascists about being shunned can be for the most part disregarded, since the fascists have no issues with other people being shunned by their side. For example, they support the right for businesses to shun LGBT people. Simply make a note of their base hypocrisy and move on.
  2. The complaints from the Democrats about it being inconsistent with the values of polite discourse can at least be debated, since they’re coming from a side that generally has been against the whole shunning business in the first place.
  3. Notwithstanding the above, I believe it is more than mere coincidence that the Trump regime started backpedaling on its cruel policies within a day or two of the shunning episodes showing up in the news. Sometimes giving people a taste of their own medicine can be a most effective strategy.

Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii)

Published at 16:39 on 23 June 2018

Satureja douglasii, flowers and leaves.
Close-up showing the two purple dots on each flower.

This is not exactly a showy flower; in fact, I believe this is the first time I’ve noticed it in bloom. There are two small purple dots on each bloom which only showed up in the second of the two photos I took.

Here in western Washington, it tends to grow in drier woods. This plant is a member of the Mint Family (Lamiaceae, or if you prefer the classic old family names, Labiatae).

The common name of this plant comes from the Spanish for “good herb,” and was bestowed upon it by the Spanish colonists of California. It was so abundant in the area around what is now San Francisco that this plant was the source of the original name of that city.

The Spanish called it so because of its aroma, which is a mix of minty and savory. A tasty herbal tea can be brewed from its leaves; however, on Bainbridge Island it is probably best to let it be. That’s both because we don’t have very much of it, and because the south-facing coastal bluffs which it favors are also the favored environment of Poison-Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum).

I use the scientific name Satureja douglasii here because that is the name this plant has historically been known by. Genetic sequencing has thrown the nomenclature of many plants into disarray, and this is one of them. This species was first renamed Micromeria douglasii; now some taxonomists are insisting that the correct name should instead be Clinopodium douglasii.

Until the “gene jockeys” settle their arguments, I plan to stick with the traditional name for this plant (as well as other ones in the same situation). The purpose of a name is to facilitate communication, and names that keep changing tend to by contrast frustrate communication.

I Really Don’t Care. Do U?

Published at 10:57 on 23 June 2018

I find the notion that Melania’s jacket was worn in any way accidentally to be so beyond a reasonable conjecture as to be an insult to my intelligence. “I really don’t care. Do U?” in big letters? You’d have to have the IQ of an flatworm to not wonder about what kind of message that sends, particularly as a first lady, particularly in response to a humanitarian crisis, particularly one that your husband deliberately created.

Of course it was deliberately done to send a message to the president’s base of fascist followers and true believers. No other conjecture makes remotely as much sense as this one.

ICE Agents in Seattle

Published at 23:32 on 22 June 2018

Posting this to mirror a recent post in pugetsoundanarchists.org. In posting this here, I am not advocating any illegal or violent acts against those listed, nor am I guaranteeing the accuracy of any of the following information. If you choose to plan an action based on any information listed below, it is your responsibility to do your level best to authenticate and verify it.

Also, Wikileaks currently has a searchable database gleaned from scraping LinkedIn online.

Drew H. Bostock (supervisory detention deportation officer)
3220 N 22nd St, Tacoma, WA 98406

Neil E. Schaefer (deportation officer)
6121 242nd Pl S, Kent WA 98032

Ben R. Maxwell (deportation officer)
15304 Larch Way, Lynnwood, WA 98087

Ramon A. Bonilla (deportation officer)
715 Harrington Pl SE, Renton WA98058 UNCONFIRMED

William Penaloza (asst field office director)
16213 142nd Ave SE, Renton, WA 98058

Brian E. Muirhead (supervisory detention deportation officer)
4457 185th Ave E, Lake Tapps, WA 98391

Jack W. Lippard (deportation officer)
6315 Elizabeth Ave SE, Auburn, WA 98092

Darren L. Renner (deportation officer)
6814 47th Loop NE, Olympia, WA 98516

Brayland E. Mitchell (deportation officer)
20131 20th Ave E, Spanaway, WA 98387

Ruben J. Bojorquez (deportation officer)
11408 170th ave, Bonney Lake WA 98391

Christopher L. Sica (deportation officer)
18238 72nd Ave E, Puyallup WA 98375

Jaime M. Castro (deportation officer)
6747 20th St E, Fife WA UNCONFIRMED

Rodney A. Osborne (deportation officer)
2485 62nd Ave E #40-106, Fife WA 98424 UNCONFIRMED

Michael E. Metesh (deportation officer)
27054 111th Ct SE, Kent WA 98030

Tiphanie Epplett/Tiphanie Benthusen (deportation officer)
1430 Everett St, Sumner, WA 98390

Paul R. Ruby (deportation officer)
13804 2nd Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166

Lovett Seabrook (deportation officer)
15523 40th Ave E, Tacoma, WA 98446

Charlos Turpin (deportation officer)
17205 13th ave E, Spanaway WA 98387

Jay (Jose) H. Arroyo (deportation officer)
9334 Steele St S, Apt 435, Tacoma WA 98444 UNCONFIRMED

Scott R. Meyer (deportation officer)
25418 159th St SE, Issaquah WA

Dan A. Deering (deportation officer)
327 4th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98372

Timothy A. Black (Detention and Deportation officer)
9811 198th Avenue Ct E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391

Michael A. Fernandez (deportation officer)
22910 82nd Ave Ct E, Graham WA 98338

William Puff (asst special agent in charge)
6908 Silent Creek Ave SE, Snoqualmie, WA 98065

Gabriel Martinez (deportation officer)
25805 W Lake Wilderness Dr SE, Maple Valley WA 98038

Lisa Lockman (management program analyst)
4005 33rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98199

Bryan Wilcox (Deputy field office director)
9521 234th Pl S, Kent WA 98031

Gwendolyn Thea Davis Franks (attorney)
2152 Yakima Ct, Tacoma WA

Thomas P Molloy (trial attorney)
16232 249th Pl SE, Covington WA 98042

Annie McElearney (asst chief counsel)
11228 Parkhill Pl NE, Bainbridge Is, WA 98110

Charles Neil Floyd (asst chief counsel)
2311 35th St NW, Gig Harbor WA 98335

Joshua Hailey (enforcement and removal asst)
1612 Stone Creek Cir SW, North Bend, WA 98045 UNCONFIRMED

Shaun Moss (mission support specialist)
6026 Discovery St E, Fife WA 98424

Kathlyn Lawrence (supervisory detention deportation officer)
8448 Homestead Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98516

Michael Gutierrez (supervisory detention deportation officer)
7703 30th Ave SW, Seattle WA 98126

Rob Patterson (criminal investigator)

Remely A. De La Paz (deportation officer)

Matt R. Nelson (deportation officer)

Brett T. Booth (deportation officer)

Rudy (Rudolfo) Rodriguez (deportation officer)

Jaime Maldonado (deportation officer)

Patrick T. Murray (Supervisory Detention deportation officer)

Jose A. Alvarez (deportation officer)

Nathalie Asher (asst field officer director)

Jason Stanley (asst chief counsel)

Sylvie Renda (asst field office director)

Mark Bailey (supervisory detention deportation officer)

Occupy ICE PDX

Published at 14:44 on 19 June 2018

There’s an inspiring example of nonviolent direct action happening right now in Portland.

I was going to launch on a rant of how the Establishment media have totally ignored it, but just recently both the Portland Mercury and Oregon Public Broadcasting have run pieces on it.

Sorry about the Faceborg link above, but alas it’s really the only page I’ve found that is anywhere near up-to-date and comprehensive about what is going on there. For Faceborg abstainers, here is an alternate page.

Here’s hoping this is just the start of what soon becomes a nationwide thing. The people separating kids from their parents are evil and must be driven from power; until then, they must be rendered as powerless as possible via massive resistance.

Silicon Snake Oil

Published at 21:00 on 18 June 2018

This morning, I ran across two stories that perfectly illustrate the concept of silicon snake oil, the all-too-often-believed line that technology is going to change everything (for the better, of course) and you really have no choice but to be an enthusiastic adaptor of all of it.

  1. Duck Unchained, an article in Dissent magazine about a French newspaper that continues to be very successful despite being extremely judicious about the technology it adopts. It has no online edition; its web presence is limited to a small site that allows customers to purchase a (print) subscription online.
  2. The Tesla Model 3 cost $28,000 to build, German engineers say—and it still may not be profitable, an article in Quartz magazine about how Tesla’s enthusiastic and insufficiently-questioning embrace of technology it hurting its bottom line.

I’ve linked this article and made the point before, but in many ways the Amish are one of the most technologically sophisticated groups in the world today, because they neither unquestioningly reject new technology (as many think) nor unquestioningly embrace it. They evaluate it, then decide if it is a net benefit or a net loss to their overall society.

It’s why I’ve personally decided I want nothing to do with a “smart” phone, a “smart” home or “smart” appliances: any benefits I’d get would be extremely likely to be overshadowed by the harm caused by increased complexity and decreased reliability.