Webtacular World Issue # 353, January 18, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. Welcome to the new year.

First, a few words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., written from his cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I created Webtacular World to bring some semblance of “slow news” to the increasing news cycle. I could not, in good conscience, write about what I bore witness to the first week of January due to the spiraling uncertainty of the events that occurred.  It was too raw, and I was too overwhelmed with the fact that supposed “patriots” marched through our government’s hallowed halls bearing symbols of the Confederacy and the Nazis in celebration of their failed leader. I am still furious, but at least I have some additional perspective on the vast failure of American institutions that lead to what I hope will be Trump’s dying crescendo.

On January 6, 2021,  MAGA seditionists, guided by words of the Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol and attempted to overthrow Congress as they were performing their Constitutional duty of affirming the count of the Electoral College votes for the 2020 election of Joseph R. Biden as President-Elect.  

To those of you who were surprised that this could have happened, you really shouldn’t have been –  the undercurrent of American fascism, bellied by American white supremacy, have been apparent throughout America’s history. THIS IS WHO WE ARE.

A short review:

In 1619, before the formation of the United States, white privateers aboard the White Lion and the Treasurer attacked and robbed the San Juan Bautista of its cargo, and brought it to Point Comfort, Virginia. That cargo consisted of 20 or so Black slaves, and were the first slaves traded on present day American soil.

In 1778, the Constitution of the United States was ratified with the following language in Article 1, Section 2 –

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

This clause enshrined the existence of Black slavery within the formation of the United States.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter, starting the American Civil War. The war fought by the secessionist South to protect their states’ ability for white people to own Black people.

For a decade following the Civil War, the United States entered a period known as Reconstruction, which attempted to allow newly freed Black Americans the same civic life as their white counterparts.  Reconstruction ended in failure with the Compromise of 1877, where presidential candidate Hayes assured that all Federal troops would be withdrawn from the former Confederacy in exchange for granting him the electoral votes for him to win the presidency.  Without federal support, terror against Black Americans continued.

Following the end of Reconstruction, former Confederate states enacted multiple “Jim Crow Laws,” the colloquial name for a swath of rules and regulations enacted by Southern states for the sole purpose of disenfranchising Black Americans through the use  poll taxes, literacy and comprehension tests, and residency and record keeping requirements.  White people were generally exempt through these requirements through the creation of “grandfather clauses,” which allowed people to vote if their grandparents could.  Through these rules, many Southern states removed Black American participation in the Federal and State electoral process. 

Segregation remained the de-facto policy in the United States from this point until 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act – 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War. Interracial marriage was not legal until 1967. Extra-legal, racist-based laws and practices exist to this day (gerrymandering; racist police practices; restriction of voting rights; education; COVID mortality rates; access to loans and debt… really I could go on, but I think [hope] you get the point).

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

White, right-wing Americans continued to terrorize Americans of all backgrounds from this period onward.  Between 1994 and the present, right wing terrorism is responsible for a majority of terrorist acts and deaths within the United States, without counting the singular act of religious-based terrorism on 9/11.  This includes incidents at Wacco, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the vast increase in mass shootings. This especially includes the continued growth in violence perpetrated against Black Americans, and those calling for the end to that violence, by law enforcement.

Jump forward. On January 17, 2017, Trump gave his Inaugural Address. Here are the some of the words I wrote immediately upon reading the content of his depraved words:

DT- “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
A political system built around total allegiance to country is fascism, not democracy. Also, patriotism by definition includes a prejudice against people who are not of citizens of a particular country, or, in practice, people who are not perceived to be belonging to a particular country.

DT- “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”
I really have no idea what point he is trying to make here. It doesn’t fit within the context of any of the other sentences around it, and, by itself, seems more like a vague threat than anything else.

Overall, this speech once again demonstrates Trump’s complete lack of understanding of the position of the Presidency. I hope that we can continue to keep America great, but this, as with most of the thoughts and actions Trump has taken so far, continues to leave me underwhelmed and uncertain that he is capable of achieving this goal.

On January 13, 2021, Donald Trump was impeached for the second time in his Presidency.

Trump’s idea of patriotism always was the same idea of patriotism that enabled slavery in the United States. Trump will be remembered as the worst President in history for is continuous, abject failures.  Trump’s supporters will go down in history as the same sort of traitors as the Southern seditionists in the Civil War. The law enforcement that was supposed to prevent this from happening are no better than the slave catchers or men who turned hoses on protestors. This is not hyperbole, exaggeration, or euphemism.  The people who enabled Trump all looked at what he had to offer, weighed the options, and decided a fascist, racist man who was responsible for the death of 400,000 Americans and counting due to his mishandling of COVID was the best choice.  They had four years of worthless policies, befriending dictatorships, purposefully splitting up families, destruction of the middle class, selling out the United States all so they could enact tax cuts that the majority of people will never see and place extremist judges who will continue to destroy the fragile fabric of law that the United States is based on to enrich those who already have too much.  Their selfishness and inability to reason brought us to destruction’s doorstep, and it is still to soon to know whether or not they will succeed.

Republicans, and some Democrats, are hellbent on “putting this behind us” or “joining together in unity to heal.” I have no interest in joining with Nazis and Confederates who would destroy the few decent tenants of our country so that they may flourish. They must face justice. There cannot be peace without justice. Americans must not make the same mistake as a nation that were made during Reconstruction. The rot that has always existed in the United States must be excised. Only then can we prove that we have changed as Americans, and can move forward to a better future. This is a start.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: January 6, 2021
Why: Because this will hopefully be the end. The use of the BBC article here is purposeful – this is the same nonchalance that American media give to the havoc that occurs half a world away. Here it is as it happened.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: A Real Recovery
Why: Because it is absolutely infuriating to see how much power the current administration refused to use to help people, and how easy it would have been for them to do so.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Supreme Court Of Killers
Why: Because the self identifying Christians on the Supreme Court were complicit in the deaths of thirteen prisoners on death row over the last six months. During this time, the Trump administration executed three times the number of federal prisoners as had been executed in the previous sixty years, and the first federal execution in seventeen years. To say that this is a miscarriage of justice and goes against the plain text meaning of “cruel and unusual” punishment is an understatement.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Too Little Too Late
Why: Because although social media companies ultimately made the right decision, there must be a reckoning for what they allowed to happen. Trump was banned from Twitter, and then FacebookParler was “hacked,” and Parler was taken offline

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Fuck Sports, And Fuck Fascists
Why: Because leagues continue to pretend like anyone cares while throwing manbaby tantrums to get traded while exposing people to COVID or being destroyed for our entertainment or using the funds gained from said entertainment to provide funding to House Representative insurrectionists, so we might as well enjoy looking at a house we cannot afford while understanding why it is appropriate to call the January 6 rioters “terrorists.”

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK ( a few hours or something)
What: Choose A Bad Movie And Watch It
Why: Because I spent the weekend doing that, and it helped me ignore the awful in the world for a bit.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: More Concerts From Home
Why: Because I am working from home until September, at least.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: The Attack
Why: Because one of the few benefits of modernity is that we can all see what actually happened.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Fuck Hawley
Why: Because he is a piece of shit human who should be thrown in a hole and forgotten. 

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Foreverever
Why: Because although there are probably bigger stories from last week, sometimes its good to know that some companies are making simple games Like EVERSPACE 2 where you’re just a clone in a spaceship that shoots other spaceships in space.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: State Of Georgia; Fleeing The Death Star; Make Killing Nazis Fun Again
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: 2 More Days.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

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