A hard lesson

One of the longest abiding struggles I have had in university was the struggle with my colleagues. Not only have I frequently disagreed with them, but I have also actively resented some of my colleagues a lot for various reasons. Particularly in the team for the game I am working on. My colleagues either attend university infrequently or are frequently late, when they are supposed to show up regularly and in fact they are supposed be there between 9am and 5pm each week day, while I’m the only one who shows up at 9am (in fact I usually show up slightly earlier than 9am). And they have a habit of leaving other responsibilities related to the course until late into the project cycle, like necessary recording for development trailers. Coupled with the impression that most of them are into all sorts of bullshit from social media. Because of that I have come to detest half the people I work with.

And I think this may have actually influenced some bad things on the course. What frequently occurred was that I would set about the work we talked about and I was expected to do, but when I did it I felt perturbed by one of the colleagues. And I’m the kind of person that hates being perturbed. Basically he would look at my work as I was still working on it and tell me how it should be done and I wasn’t prepared to show him anything because it was still being worked on. But the biggest source of my contempt was by far the fact that he convinced us to essentially turn what was , and he used my poor marketing strategy (namely my choice of demographic) to justify it. It went from a supernatural-based beat ’em up involving a half-demon protagonist, to a fantasy-based version of that with some of my intended themes intact, to pretty much the same thing without the narrative that drove it and the design direction changed to suit a shortened experience that we would have to make. And because of that, while I was willing enough to work with them and typically kept to what I had to do, sure of what I was doing, and hated the idea of taking cues from someone who I see as having molded my project in his own image. But I would learn that this was actually the cause of a potential problem.

Yesterday I briefly attempted to design a logo for the game, or rather for the game show. I was convinced that I was finished with the task I did beforehand but was unsure of what to next so decided to wait for my colleagues to show up and make the logo while time flew by. One of them showed up and noticed what I was doing, and proceeded to complain that I was doing the logo without having the discussion for it. We then had a long talk about the problem of just going off and doing work on your own, which thinking about it now seems weird given they sometimes tell me that they stayed at home rather than go to university just to work on their own, but it was a pretty deep conservation all the same. We talked about the problems of the other group, who have a much worse problem with communication than we do, and how one of their group members doesn’t actually like the project that he’s doing but just gets on with it and does work on his own and the others aren’t happy because it’s out of sync with the art style (they’re doing a cartoon-style platformer, and he doesn’t like platformers and doesn’t usually draw in a cartoon style). It very much made me think I was having the same problem. At one point, the program director for the animation course interjected in our conversation in order to give us some advice. He felt that the discussion we were having was a step in the right direction, and pointed out that a problem with development projects in the games industry is when the team members are always against each other and don’t care about the project in the end, and so don’t communicate with the rest of the team and just get on with the work. According to him, the result is that not only does the game fail, but that failure becomes attached to you in that other companies know you made that terrible game and don’t want anything to do with you.

After that, I took on a new perspective of the team dynamics. I didn’t realize until know that they were actually interested in helping them, because I thought too little of them to think that they were actually interested in helping me. I was jaded and resentful because their antics eroded my morale, but as much as I often hate what I see as a lack of commitment, they aren’t complete shitheads. Now I see two sides to this whole thing. I still think my colleagues’ lacking in attendance is the sign of a lack of commitment and there is good reason to resent such behavior, and the program director for my course has expressed similar and more vociferous sentiment on the matter. But I may well have created a problem that, for at least the other group on my course, was worse: a lack of communication. And I’m not sure I’ve completely cultivated the balance between individualism and the spirit of collaboration.

The Scottish referendum: meh

The past week or so I’ve heard discussion about the possibility of Scotland having a second referendum on its independence from the United Kingdom, and today I have just learned that Scotland intends to carry out this referendum some time between 2018 and 2019. And you know what I think? Go ahead.

Yes, go ahead. If Scotland wants to pursue self-determination as its own country independent from the UK, even if it causes a major shake-up, then so be it.

Don’t think I don’t know what this is all about. It’s patently obvious, at least to me, that this is the SNP trying to get Scotland into the European Union separate from the rest of the UK because almost all of the Scots voted to Remain. That they chose to stay a member of the UK in 2014, thus staying as British citizens and therefore voting in the EU referendum as British citizens, appears to be irrelevant in this at least for Scots who want to secede from the UK.

And to be honest this is actually what bothers me, not the premise of Scottish independence in and of itself. Essentially Scotland’s plan is to secede from an existing national power and become its own nation-state, only to try and integrate into a larger supra-national political/economic union. One that is run by elite bureaucrats whose power cannot be affected by a democratic vote. That just seems like a damned farce to me. What’s the point? And from what I understand, the Scots won’t be automatically granted EU membership if they secede. They will have to apply to become an EU member state. And that’s assuming they’ll be accepted by the European Union at all.

Now this is just a hunch on my part, but I have a suspicion that the European Union isn’t interested in Scotland as a standalone nation. To me, a United Kingdom is too valuable for the European Union for them to take in only separate parts. Why do you think the EU leaders pursued the punitive measures that it did in response to the Brexit vote? Because they were about to lose a member state that they considered to be an important benefactor, whose separation from the union may well have inspired a succession of populist triumph across the rest of Europe and undermine the stability of the project as a whole. Beyond that, I suspect that a United Kingdom is simply of greater economic value to the European Union than Scotland, which has been hit with a major oil crisis in recent years.

I currently see two potential outcomes of a Scottish secession: if they succeed in leaving the UK and in entering the European Union, then it will be a farce; Scotland will have gained independence only to hand some of its power to the European Union – and make no mistake, the EU is very much on the path towards becoming its own supranational empire, with its own army, and its own central bank. If they succeed in  leaving the UK and fail to become an EU member state, then it will still be a farce, for Scotland will have pursued its independence only to fail – essentially they’ll have done all that for nothing, and that’s important because I don’t believe for a minute that, in this instance, Scotland is interested solely in its own independence.

But then there’s the elephant in the room that is the SNP itself. If Scotland becomes indepenedent, then barring a Scottish general election afterwards I presume that the new nation-state of Scotland would be governed by the SNP. That’s a little worrying because I suspect that the SNP has an authoritarian bent, an example being their advocacy of the named persons scheme which requires that children have a state-appointed guardians intefering with their lives on a regular basis, and another being Alex Salmond’s desire to “ban all Donald Trumps”, and then there’s the super ID database they proposed a while back. So needless to say, I worry that an independent Scotland won’t actually be freer at all, and may become more authoritarian instead.

Other than that, I don’t feel compelled in any way to oppose the Scottish referendum ultimately, or its outcome. Either way they vote, then bully for them. If they’re doing this because of Brexit, then I am willing to accept an independent Scotland and/or potentially a divided United Kingdom as the price to pay for us leaving the EU (not least because that was my vote).

Oh, and if the British government or whoever does decide to rename the UK if Scotland successfully secedes, then whatever you do don’t call it England! I have a funny feeling that it might just piss off Wales.

On the Netherlands

In just three days the Netherlands will have a general election, which may prove to be a highlight of this year’s European elections and another portent of doom for the European Union’s project of “ever closer union”.

The main candidates for the upcoming election are Geert Wilders, the leader of Party for Freedom, Mark Rutte, the current Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Lodewijk Asscher, leader of the Dutch Labour Party, and Emile Roemer, the leader of the Socialist Party, among quite a few other candidates, though I assume much of the election coverage will focus on Wilders and Rutte. The election is being treated by the media as a bellwether for the growth of populism in Europe, and perhaps not for an entirely invalid reason. Europe’s last shake-up was the Italian referendum, when the people voted against the government of the then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi when it proposed its changes to the constitution. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is getting a lot of attention due primarily due to his strong stance against Islamization and Islam in general,  as well as his platform of limiting immigration and exiting the European Union. The fact he is running against the current Prime Minister kind of shows that he is going against what is currently the established order in the Netherlands.

The thing is, I find that Wilders himself leaves a sour taste in my mind. While I sympathize with his desire to oppose Islamization in his country, I don’t like his solutions: mainly the fact that he wants to outright ban the Quran and mosques. Honestly I find it quizzical that Wilders is being treated as so analogous to Donald Trump because, say what you will about Trump, at least he never talked about actually banning the dissemination of the Quran or mosques. He talked quite a bit about the threat of *radical* Islam, and wanted to ban immigration from Middle Eastern countries (which is actually permissible according to US law by the way), but not a hell of a lot about Islam as a whole. Wilders, however, seems to view Islam as a doctrine as part and parcel with the threat of Islamic terrorism. To be fair on him, I’ve done a whole month’s series of posts back in August excoriating the teachings of Islam for, among other things, having Quranic verses and Hadiths that justify violence against the non-believers and “hypocrites” (in other words, Muslims who don’t fully or properly practice Islam). But I think that closing mosques and banning the Quran will just drive more Muslims into believing that they are persecuted by the West, which would likely cause them to gravitate towards Islamism, and the measure is simply a form of authoritarianism. For all the acrimony I espouse towards Islam, we already know that the Bible worships a God who talks about genocide on non-believers and at one point commanded murders, so as trite as it seems to my ears one must wonder if the Bible should be banned for being violent religious literature from savage times just as the Quran is if we go down the line of reasoning.

However, I support his desire to exit the European Union, and at the moment it looks like he is the most likely to pursue that exit. I also think he is probably going to take the stronger stance against Turkey. Why is that important? Recently Trukey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in the business of eroding the liberty and secularism of the Turkish state, had been doing some political campaigning among the Turkish diaspora within the Netherlands and he jailed a Dutch journalist who happened to be a critic of the Erdogan regime. Apparently Erdogan also has a “satellite party” in the Netherlands known as DENK, supposedly representing the Turkish diaspora. So it kind of looks, at least from the outside, as if Turkey is playing a role in influencing what goes on in the Netherlands, which I would describe as very much out of order. And recently, there have riots in the city of Rotterdam carried about by Turkish diaspora members who support Erdogan over the fact that the Netherlands has banned a Turkish foreign minister from visiting, apparently because he was planning to do some political campaigning on behalf of Turkey in the run up to the upcoming election. In response Erdogan, in what I can only assume is an example of a lacking in self-awareness on his part, actually accused the Netherlands of being a fascist country or something to that effect, a sentiment echoed by encephalopaths who actually supported the riots and condemned Turkey for actually blocking a foreign country from influencing its own elections! And Mark Rutte, though recognizing Erdogan’s judgement of the Netherlands as crazy, still wants to maintain relationships with Turkey. Wilders, on the other hand, has sent a video message out to pro-Turkish rioters, and his stance on Turkey is quite clear.

Honestly, this actually makes it harder for me to be totally against Wilders. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like Wilders, but I also detest Erdogan and the Turkish state and thus find the latter party to be worse. And not just for what they’ve been doing in the Netherlands either. Erdogan has gotten a German comedian in legal trouble for satirizing him, used last year’s military coup to, frankly, set Turkey on the road to totalitarianism, and he’s blackmailed the European Union into being friendly with Turkey and opening up negotiations for Turkish entry into the EU on pain of flooding migrants to the European continent. For that, I would likely vouch for anyone in the Netherlands who’s prepared to stand up to Turkey. And, unfortunately, it looks Wilders is the guy to do it.

It’s probably going to be a real shit show out there, and I’m not enthused about any of the candidates. All’s I can hope for is that something worthwhile comes out of all this.

Vault 7

This most may seem sudden, but I want to share something very important, particularly for my American readership. Last month, Wikileaks released a series of cryptic tweets on their Twitter page regarding the mysterious Vault 7, and until now we didn’t know what it meant. But yesterday, Wikileaks released a document revealing the extent of CIA hacking tools and confidential documents. Vault 7, as it turns out, was the code name for these documents. It revealed, among other things, that the CIA under the Obama administration stole Russian malware and used it to hack into computer systems in order to extract information from them using that malware, and apparently they lost that malware along with other hacking tools.

Given that the CIA lost the malware recently in 2016, this was also probably some time before the election or even around that time (I can only speculate) and that the malware the CIA obtained was from Russia, I am wondering if this has something to do with the theory that Russia hacked the DNC, and why the CIA claimed to have evidence but refused to provide it or put a name to it. I can only speculate.

But it does show that the NSA was not the only intelligence agency under Obama that had been gathering information , and apparently they are doing this as some kind of larger project involving cyber warfare. As if I *needed* another reason to hate Obama.


Vault 7: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

And the new face of the resistance is…George W. Bush?

For the first of the political posts I want to get out of the way, you might not believe what the American media has been up to this past week: promoting America’s 43rd president George W. Bush: the man who got America into a war in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 while never going after Saudi Arabia in any way, effectively lied to the American people about Saddam Hussein having chemical weapons so that he can destabilize Iraq and whose administration instituted the PATRIOT Act, diminishing civil liberty in the name of patriotism and security, and paving the way for the Obama administration’s own legacy of authoritarianism, all while pontificating about the higher power of Jesus Christ.

Yes, that man has gone from being the face of everything wrong with the GOP to being adorable in the eyes of the left. In the last week or so he spoke of his “affection” for Michelle Obama, with whom he scooped an opportune photoshoot, he made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show (with whom he had another photoshoot) where they talked about some stupid wet poncho photo that was taken during the Trump inauguration ceremony, as well as on the Jimmy Kimmel show for laughs, and I’ve seen lots of articles promoting his paintings. And the Guardian, the supposed bastion of journalism and left-wing commentary? They are hailing Bush as a “welcome return”.

What the fuck happened here? I mean I get that you can’t go around hating George W. Bush all the time given that he’s no longer President and up until now he was pretty much not active in politics, not even pressuring the Obama administration as far as I’m aware. But now I find the “liberals” lifting up a man who they should’ve been opposed to. And why? Apparently because he is opposed to Donald Trump. Because he called insinuated that Trump was a racist and because he thinks Trump is attacking freedom of the press by not allowing media organizations into his press conferences – which is exactly what the media thinks as well. George W. Bush, it seems, is being embraced by the liberals and the media for one crucial reason: the rationale that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. And to that end, the left will ignore the ramifications of the policies of Bush’s administration, which they themselves opposed, to wage their ineffectual war on Trump. And don’t kid yourself. Bush’s policies had considerable ramifications in the eight years that Obama was president, namely that it gave the state more power over the rights of its subjects. Obama was an authoritarian, sure, or at least very illiberal, but upon election he ultimately just jumped a machine that was already geared towards the erosion of civil liberty. I have to wonder if “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is such a good reasoning to have.

Bush and Obama, united at last

Time for an update

So here’s an update for the blog that I kind of feel like putting out on a number of subjects.

First, and foremost, of all, I have less than a month before the end of my second term for this year at university. That means I have quite a lot to do and increasingly less time to do it in. The deadline for my major project is March 27th, right before my birthday, and both of the reports that I have to write are due on March 31st. So I might be busy. Maybe not busy enough that it’ll stop me from slacking off during weekends, but busy enough that it might make the rest of my schedule pretty stringent, to the point that I will likely put things off in order to emphasize my coursework, because that has to come first. I may, however, plan for some posts to be written in the meantime, because there are still things I’d like write about.

Second, I plan to talk about current events and politics significantly less than I do now, so that I can detach myself from those things. There’s going to some rants that I have waiting in the wings to be released pretty soon, and obviously there are soon-to-be-current events that I think ought to be covered (for instance, given that it is now March, we’re waiting on the Netherlands and later France to cast their votes in general elections), but other than that I want to begin to distance myself from such subject matter beyond the rants I have coming up this month unless a really pressing or important development catches my attention. The reason why I want to do this is because I am sensing that there is the danger that I’m going to become entirely too focused on such subject matter. And I know that we’re living in some wild times right now, so there’s probably a lot of developments that might show up ripe for analysis, deconstruction or just plain savagery or mockery on my part. But I am beginning to think I’m getting caught up, and that’s bad.

Third, once I have enough free time after the end of my current term, or ideally before that, I’d like very much to revisit the drawing board, and return with a post or two about some reflections on Satanism and other philosophies, as well as what probably be a long post about what I consider to authentic Satanic philosophy (particularly on account of the fact that I’ve criticized The Satanic Temple for not observing). Part of me is thinking that I’ve got my eyes off the ball. I mean I’ve got my eye on the ball regarding my coursework, I believe, but sort of away from the ball in other areas. Maybe it’s laziness in some respects if I think about it, but then that’s surely the sign of another malady in itself. I hope I correct it sooner or later if that’s the case.

Sounding off on that “mass spell”

So I guess, better late than never, I ought to briefly comment on that “mass spell” nonsense from this week. Last week, a group of “witches” (specifically Wiccan fluff bunny style witches) announced that they planned to cast some kind of “mass spell” on Donald Trump and, presumably, his supporters in order to “bind” him and cause him to fail in some dubious, ill-defined way.

Seriously. How do they want him to fail? What do they want to have happen to him? There’s no specification. I’ve looked. There’s nothing. I would’ve thought that typically a magician or an occultist would design a ritual tailored to a specific desire, but this “mass spell” is vague as shit as far as specific desires go. The only clarity is that they want Donald Trump to fail, but not how.

But that’s not the only thing I find wanting here. Insert magical cliche here, colored candles and heavenly hosts, even a reference to demons, for good measure, with generic progressive political platitudes thrown there. It is, without question, a joke for people who aren’t interested in all the magickal things in any way, and an embarrassment to those who are. And then there’s Michael Hughes, the man who spread this. Looking at his website, he’s the kind of guy who shills textbook pop superstitions alongside some stuff about psychedelics and UFOs (at least one of the latter two is at least actually worthy of some interest). And apparently he’s also a DJ and “psychic stage entertainer” who makes a living performing at parties. I can’t help but wonder why I’ve never heard of him until this whole Donald Trump “mass spell” shit. Hmm…

By the way, pop singer Lana Del Ray was also involved in this buzz, and is planning on conducting other ceremonies later this year. Apparently her involvement is still getting headlines, including on The Independent, and celebrity and entertainment magazines have picked up on the story, including one magazine involved another celebrity criticizing her for her anti-Trump witchcraft shenanigans.

You know, I’m starting to wonder how much of this is all about accruing attention from wide audiences. In Lana’s case perhaps even to promote a new album? I suppose it worked for Gaahl (a former lead vocalist of the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth) didn’t it?

I honestly think this is one of those make me think “magick isn’t one of those things that you can use to influence world politics or affect the seat of power”. But then I’m reminded of the pro-Trump meme magick courtesy of the Cult of Kek and the wonderful world of 4chan. I’m still not entirely sure on the veracity of that by the way, but I am fascinated by the memetic stuff all the same. At the very least I’m more fascinated with memetics than I am with the New Age/Wiccan fluff that this “mass spell” constitutes. Then there’s all the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary Clinton and alleged devil worshipers. Bear with me for a moment. Let’s assume it’s all true: that Hillary Clinton has a whole network of devil worshiping magicians at her disposal (or that of George Soros, of course). If that’s true, then given the results of the US presidential election on November 9th, I am guessing that either these popular are practicing pure unadulterated woo, given that one of the “devil worshippers” is the performance artist Marina Abramovic, or they are incredibly crappy magicians. Either way, we can assume that whatever magic they may have practiced was no match for the might of Kekist memetics. Satanicviews assured me that her only magicians were her PR team (which is arguably true), and it looks like they failed all the same, funny enough possibly proving that a mainstream media isn’t exactly mind control. Ultimately I remain pretty skeptical about the whole magick and politics thing. All’s I know is that traditional witchcraft, let alone New Age Wiccan fluff, won’t do anything to influence politics.

As I said before in my post about a Bustle article on social justice witches, if a bunch of brujas (practitioners of Mexican witchcraft) in Mexico couldn’t hex Donald Trump, what chance do these witches let alone Lana Del Ray have?

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away.

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away. Also those people next to her look like they were dragged out of the 1990’s.