Maria Chong Profile picture
Writer / Ethics, Design, Asia, Tech, Lit, Faith, Poetry #generosity SOLA GRATIA / Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible. Orwell
15 Feb
Guys—if you’ve noticed I’ve been unusually quiet:

A group of anti-mask far-right extremists are attempting a coup to overturn the law-abiding leadership of my church. All hell broke loose. Trying to do damage control! Quite a shock.

PS. This BS is happening all over America.
I’ve been writing about QAnon, Christian nationalism, anti-science extremists, COVID denial all year. Meanwhile, about ten families in my church were holding no mask gatherings with false prophecies for months.
Because several of the elders are related by blood and marriage—almost the entire oversight team got involved in the theologically-unsound gatherings. Even the prophecies about Trump failing to come true did not deter these folks!
Read 10 tweets
8 Feb
Does anyone have links to some good papers on use/mention, regarding racial slurs?

I see a lot of people simplistically relying on use/mention as a rationalization. But this can be valid only if you don’t have a clear understanding of how racial slurs operate.
Terms like “use/mention” quickly become magic buzzwords that erase objections.

(Note the Wikipedia entry two people link to is a good intro, but has zero insight on use/mention with racial slurs.)
This paper (one of the best I’ve read on racial slurs and use/mention) specifically states that because slurs are performative, mention doesn’t remove the offense.…
Read 7 tweets
6 Feb
I have massive digitized files of poems, excerpts and quotes. The easiest way to do this is to use a good OCR scanner to convert images to text. I use this one:
Someone posted this amazing Feynman quote on doubt and uncertainty last week, so of course I had to save it. It takes about five seconds. ImageImage
There are occasional errors, but it’s pretty great compared to the expensive desktop software I used in the 1990’s!

I copy the text, and transfer it to an Evernote folder. Quotes are separate from larger excerpts, poems, essays.

You can see I added his preceding sentence. ImageImage
Read 6 tweets
22 Jan
The early models that were considered hysterical and extreme were predicting 400,000-500,000 deaths without strong measures.
On April 17, IHME was blasted for suggesting a projection of 38,000 to 162,000 U.S. deaths.

The White House used those figures to warn of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths (without measures).…
“Many expect daily deaths in the U.S. to fall to 10 or fewer by early June, from 2,000 or so in April.”

“The water is only two to three inches right now. You can walk back in the street again.”

Read 8 tweets
22 Jan
Dang. @willwilkinson is smart and gracious. He tackled freedom, conscience, immigration, & much-needed humane libertarianism at @NiskanenCenter. Sad he’s a rightwing cancel culture victim—which in bad faith pressured his employer to fire him over an inappropriate sarcastic tweet.
My all-time favorite illustration of “context matters” is THIS Ken White @Popehat thread on TSA and a potentially-problematic hearing notebook exhibit.
I never elucidated what happened here with my family, but we were on our way to a track meet & my dad brought along bomb-making supplies in his carry-on. Or, “things to secure a tripod in high-wind conditions + camcorder remote power supplies.” Hard to parse at the x-ray machine.
Read 5 tweets
21 Jan
Dr. Fauci is who Kermit the Frog would be, if he had gone into med school instead of entertainment.
When this is over, when the worst has passed and we’ve begun to heal—I want Anthony Fauci to get a contract to write his autobiography, along with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the Rose Garden, with doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, virologists, COVID survivors as witnesses.
Dr. Fauci’s 80th birthday was December 24.

“Fauci, whose father lived to be 97, has worked every day since January but will take some time on Thursday to celebrate his milestone birthday with his wife of 35 years, Christine Grady.”…
Read 7 tweets
20 Jan
1) In the transition from the white nationalist agenda president back to the American norm, some of you are falling into paranoia. In catastrophizing the reality of diversity and multiculturalism, you are in danger of missing the future, by clinging to past that is already gone.
2) America survived 188 years of wicked segregation, from 1776 until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. People like myself have already lived through LONG ERAS of gross inequality. The fire hoses and dogs. The lynchings. The bombing of neighborhoods. White hoods. Red lines. Murder.
3) Somehow, despite open violence, mass disenfranchisement, immigration bans, stolen land, prison, assault, torture, even death--we raised our kids, got educated, wrote books, organized schools, made art, spoke with moral courage and rose above evil.
Read 11 tweets
20 Jan
Here’s President Biden’s whole speech—in case you missed it, want to rewatch or need a link to send for friends at work. A masterclass in sobriety, conviction, hope and rhetorical beauty.

Beautiful, powerful poetry. Full reading by Amanda Gorman here:
Read 4 tweets
20 Jan
In honor of the Inauguration, I'm going to subscribe to the Atlantic. Trumpism attacks the free press, because a nation without the means to discern truth can't distinguish lies. Our news media has been under constant attack & violent threat. Please support them this week.
I have deprogrammed many of my conservative friends who have become lost to the "fake news" false accusation. Once people become infected with disgust for reputable information sources, they're steered towards Fox, OAN, Epoch Times, YouTube, Facebook and political extremists.
The devastation of journalism due to advertising moving towards algorithmic, extremitizing social media has created a societal "immune system disorder" where many have lost epistemic reality and have no way to fact-check intense partisan lies.
Read 5 tweets
17 Jan
Awww. Out of respect, QAnon Shaman took off his furry devil horns before praying—using a megaphone to thank God for His divine help in the bloody coup attempt.
Bless your hearts. The guy in the doorway brought his Bible in case he wanted to look up Matthew 26:52 while taking a moment of spiritual reflection during the insurrection.
“Jesus Christ, we who have been following a deranged scapegoat cult that uses highly partisan hallucinogenic quasi-blood libel and evil slander to project murderous hate on an out-group, do now invoke your name, amen.”
Read 6 tweets
16 Jan
Seattle voted in the $15 minimum wage and none of the fear-mongering came true. Restaurants didn’t close. Fast food stayed cheap. Socialists didn’t invade. Economy is fine. Ultra-wealthy business owners were forced to stop using food stamp subsidies as a business model, though.
Washington State already had one of the highest minimum wage laws in the nation.

Passed by referendum in 1998 because we are not heartless mofos like the rest of you.…
Georgia’s minimum wage is 
$5.15 (subject to the $7.25 Federal minimum).

Nineteen states likewise have minimum wages of $7.25 or less.

40 hours a week. 52 weeks. $15,080 a year.

(That has to be a heinous affront to God, if God were real.)
Read 16 tweets
15 Jan
Okay, I found the perfect description of extreme Trumpism. It’s a “cult of personality” like that of the North Korean dictators.

• requires total loyalty/subjugation
• exaggerated heroic claims
• adulation bordering on fanaticism
• mythical origin story
• hyperbolic praise
• propaganda art depicting glory
• claim as uniquely deserving and qualified to the exclusion of all other leaders
• isolationism and nationalism mixed with celebrity worship

Good overview.…
“The portraits [of the Beloved Leader” have to be hung high up, so that people in the room may not stand higher than them.”

Loyalty, origin myths, god-like reverence, absolute obedience, hero worship—priming followers for extremism, loss of reality and mind control. ImageImageImageImage
Read 4 tweets
15 Jan
Me, every time the Biden team puts out policy, does a press conference, or speaks a full rational sentence.
“For this high-level position of trust, I am appointing a non-criminal who didn’t cover-up genocide in Central America, didn’t cheat widows of their homes through a mortgage scheme, and HAS NO INTENTION OF BUYING A MEDIEVAL MONASTERY ...”
“......and so I will be appointing Merrick Garland the next attorney general....”
Read 4 tweets
15 Jan
How empty are the rationalizations now proffered by the architects of gross evil—deliberate family separation—in the face of a child’s trauma.

First we funded genocide in Guatemala in the 1980’s, then we torture more children from this nation we decimated, by making them scapegoats for our domestic policy failures.
What happens to the reporter who writes about a US-funded massacre? He gets falsely accused by the perpetrators, and demoted.

Elliott Abrams, Oliver North et al leave behind unmarked graves all over Central America, get book deals, a pardon in 1992, and a Bill Barr cover-up.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan
TFW two adjacent photos in your photo album line up proportionally.

(2020 and 1957) Image
It’s obvious: it’s time for a new civil rights movement. Image
This isn’t essentially about politics or parties. It’s the venomous creature curled up in America’s bosom. Image
Read 8 tweets
13 Jan
Political language manipulation is interesting. False cancel culture allegations seem to be a mainstay in negative polarization.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, today upset about masks and metal detectors, ends his dissent by denouncing "cancel culture."

Other times Jordan has used cancel culture for rhetorical purposes:

June 26, 2020 Fox News
July 1, 2020 Fox
July 29, 2020 Tech hearings
August 19, 2020 News article
Sept. 2, 2020 Canton fundraiser
October 31, 2020 Tweet
Nov. 21, 2020 Coronavirus interview, Fox
(And many more)
This one from three days ago is like a culture war fortune cookie:

Read 32 tweets
12 Jan
“Mass hysteria about non-existent crimes arising from race fear, that gives pretext for violence against out-group members and subversion of democracy to save children/the nation” is a not a bad description of what Nazism really was (in addition to lying, fascism, antisemitism).
(That’s a pretty good summary also of QAnon, which is a cult-like belief system about false child sex abuse accusations.

It’s a religious, political moral panic that leverages lies about harm to children to generate activism and aggression, including the Capitol Riot.)
When you hear rioters screaming “Hang Mike Pence” and “Pence is a pedophile,” that’s QAnon.

They believe Pence can be executed not just for betraying Trump, but because he is part of a global elite leftwing sex trafficking cabal.

(Justice John Roberts, too.)
Read 13 tweets
10 Jan
It’s actually an interesting and deliberate psychological mechanism of violence.

It was noted in the 1930’s how fascists and extremists used used speech that incited violence, then fell back on the cover of plausible deniability, “I was only joking.”
The kinds of warped humans who become demagogues and enablers of violence are psychologically infantile. Others are at fault. Extreme victimology. They lack agency.

Their speech can be poor. Not clear. The incitation to hate, contempt, blame, violence is often subtextual.
This is a large part of Donald Trump’s psychology. He is overtly violent, calling for the execution of five innocent kids. He overtly slanders Obama, attacks Kaepernick.

Open attack or violence can result in censure. So Trump cloaks his aggression & harm speech in ambiguity.
Read 12 tweets
7 Jan
Thank you to all the members of the press who broadcasted, took photos, reported and provided a historical record of the mayhem today at the Capitol—in the face of mob violence, death threats, hatred and years of contempt inflamed by a deranged conman.
The scapegoating of the press is one of the most heinous behaviors of Donald Trump. It’s the fascist playbook, delegitimizing the institutions of accountability.
“...the Trump presidency’s unprecedented hostility toward the press...[includes when he] habitually attacked the news media in rallies, responses to reporters’ questions, and many hundreds of tweets...”

A 40-page report on his egregious behavior:…
Read 5 tweets
7 Jan
It’s a sickness with old, deep roots.
US Congresswoman at the rally before the mob: “Hitler was right....”
A whole damn thread about all the neo-Nazis who took part in this anti-democratic fascist mob:
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
Wow. Imagine doubling your revenue in one year like this.

"Peloton...was perfectly situated to meet consumers’ needs when stay-at-home orders went into effect, and its business doubled in 2020, generating $1.8 billion in revenue."…
Peloton bought industry leader Precor for $420 million in cash in December. Bike+ delivery times were ten weeks or more, so this should help.

"In September, [Peloton] launched a treadmill [then] announced it was buying Precor, which makes commercial fitness equipment."
"Peloton now has 3.6 million users; 500,000 of them stream content from its app without one of its machines."

WFH = both work from home and workout from home
Read 11 tweets