Friday, January 19, 2018

Life Was a Cabaret

Forget that. Now we're all galley slaves chained to our posts at the oars and heading into battle. Donald Trump is captain and commander. Great. Just fucking great.

The Immolation Awaits

All that awaits us is the immolation. The kindling is stacked all around. Accelerants are in place. Matches are everywhere. Welcome to the American auto-da-fé.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Don't Read This

I'm going to bite this off. Nobody reads me anyway. Where were these women accusing all and sundry of sexual impropriety when it mattered. They made a choice then, in some way weighing the costs and benefits. If it was a crime they could have reported it. 

If it was too inconsequential to count as a crime it's a trial (and conviction) by accusation. I have a problem with that. If it wasn't a crime and it should be we can work together to alter the rules and the laws. Oh, wait, that is going to be hard as hell now. 

Republicans are controlling the entire government. And the white women of America voted resoundingly for Trump, a known pussy-grabber and pig, the epitome of everything they are decrying. Women, shut up for a while. Get your shit together and report back.

Believe it or not there's larger stuff at stake. People all over the world are dying because of us. Get it through your fucking heads. However bad your shit might seem the world as we know it might be ending, environmentally, economically and otherwise.

My Love is Blue; My Face is Red; My President is Orange

I don't have the stomach for love anymore. It feels too risky and potentially taxing in Trump-world. All of my emotional energy is expended observing the end-times. 

I'm angry. I'm embarrassed, as well, to be an American. That is, to be an American in the age of Orange. It's a disgrace. It's a horror. It's a nuisance. It might be lethal.

A Taste of Honkey

Lonely bull Donald Trump deserves a soundtrack for his presidency, from a spaghetti western or a similarly melodramatic source. He'll charge a red cape forever. What a moron. God help us, we are living in a soap opera. Everything is exaggerated. 

For those being attacked it isn't amusing. Others watch in horror as our democracy crumbles. The forces of insanity are loosed among us. Reason matters for nothing. Really, God help us. The fuckers don't believe in anything. The bad guys have won.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Plunderers

The road to our demise has been long. It isn't at all unpatriotic to admit that Americans have always been plunderers. Everybody used to plunder, given the chance. We, however, were plunderers with principles. 

We weren't imperial. We plundered fair and square. Never mind that a continent of natural resources had been handed to us--by fate, manifestly--to be exploited once the aborigines were out of the way. 

But our plundering has won out over our principles. And, worse yet, we're plundering our principles. We often failed to live up to them but at least the principles were intact in a parallel world. Not any longer.

I'm not even sure this is bad. The Civil Rights Movement, an ethical smackdown, was the big show. No more upholding the pretense of democracy and equal protection. Either we would live up to our ideals or not. 

Answer that as a "no," for now. It's a shock to many of us that we failed so readily. There is no real threat. There is no mortal danger. Quite the opposite. We are unchallenged. And we are the danger to ourselves.

What kind of lunatic still believes the hype? We are harvesting resources as we always have--into extinction. Whales, petroleum, labor.... Onward goes the plundering. But we are owning it now as we never have.

Fuck the rest of the world. Fuck the environment. Fuck poorer Americans, for that matter. We will get ours. Get out of the fucking way. Those are our principles. Or, rather, they are primal drives posing as such.

Snorting Rationale

Stock markets always have a perpetual-motion aspect to them. It's the nature of capitalism. Capital markets require energy subsidies to exist. But are they justifying the subsidies?
 
We are so far beyond that. Capital markets are being deified, as though they're outside the laws of physical reality. This leap of faith is a product of the addiction to profits.

The bright lights in the big city have blinded the beneficiaries of the markets.

They are ripped on their own rationalizations. A reckoning awaits. They forget that markets have to be rooted in something. They think they are immune to the laws of conservation.

They are wrong. 

Capital is congealed labor. It's the product of that and natural resources. Technology expands productivity but the justification for supporting capital markets is in distributions.

If the overall social benefits aren't distributed to everyone there's no reason to maintain the markets. The markets become tools for the extraction of wealth and nothing else. 

It's time to curtail them.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The 2017 Toady Awards

What a season. It's hard to know where to begin. It has been a banner year for boot-lickers. First, to set the stage: near the end of 2016 decades of the systematic stultifying of a large section of the voting public resulted in the election of an inappropriate, incompetent and morally repugnant president.

For many years Republican leaders had been cunningly turning their share of the electorate into sheep and ignoramuses using all kinds of shady measures. It worked amazingly well. The Democrats were reduced to fecklessness and futility, unable to govern according to their principles even when they won. 

Republicans succeeded by misrepresenting their intentions and buying and gaming elections, pulling the country far rightward. Establishment Republicans were initially indignant at the rise of the usurper, Trump. He stole their mass of gullible voters by openly appealing to the nurtured, hidden prejudices.

Formerly it had been mostly between the lines--lots of dog-whistle politics and race baiting. Now the hatreds were much more overt and many citizens, long inured to lies and riddled with resentments, supported the new leader. Their representatives quickly swallowed their pride and followed along. 

Never has there been such a year for the selling of souls. Autocrats demand obedience and fealty. Therefore, oaths have been abandoned; lies are rationalized and denied; outrageous behavior is lionized; degradation reigns. It wouldn't be fair to the scope of the depravity to recognize only individual toadies.

So, the Toady Award this year goes to the whole cast of enablers and shills. Their deference is absolute. Their debasement is complete. Occasionally a conscientious objector arises among them but then collapses under the pressure to submit. And the new year promises nothing but more of the same.

Monday, January 8, 2018

How Not to Cut a Rug

Now we know for sure, courtesy of a vivid description by Ivanka, that her dad hasn't a rug but the combover of the end-times. I find it's impossible, having read the account, not to wonder what the boy-wonder, our self-declared savior and genius, looks like without his horrible, hood-ornament hairdo. As though things weren't bad enough already. 

Malcolm Gladwell Moment

The thing I pray for is the thing Republicans fear--a moment of clarity. They fear that the electorate will one day step back and see it. Oh, my God, we have turned the country over to liars, criminals and religious fanatics.

This is why Republicans are trying to nail everything down--to gerrymander and bias our system out of its ability to represent us and work. Minority rule is their goal and desire and not a benign minority of philosopher kings.

It will be a minority of murderers. The killing has begun, mostly in the Middle East, but more of it is coming home. Their healthcare plans will kill people. Their budgets, tax schemes and deportations will impoverish and kill people.  

Blink, citizens, for God's sake. Squint and clear your eyes. Our time is running out. All they want is more for themselves and we are expendable. We are unnecessary mouths to feed and only a burden to society, in their eyes.

Brotherhood of Parasites

I don't claim to understand it but something is going on. There can't be as many crazies as the right-wing's political ranks would have us think. There must be a concentration of nut cases there.

View it like advertising. Subliminal messages appeal to budding sociopaths and, voilà, the next thing you know they are running for office or working as Congressional aides or in the White House. 

Steven Miller is a recent case. The defining aspect of this movement is that they can read between the lines and it resonates: calling all racists, cowards and greedy, unprincipled, arrogant little pricks. 

Most of them have never had real jobs. They are political creatures by design and desire, something pioneered by early College Republicans. Lee Atwater, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove are examples.

Libertarian, my ass. These are inhabitants of corporate and political swamps exclusively, seeking out the easy pickings of the tribal thickets and membership in a brotherhood and culture of parasites.

The Lie Cloud

The Lie Cloud is more palpable than ever, hovering above us and transmitting material to its subscribers invisibly and seamlessly. The Lie Cloud is owned and operated by Republicans. 

It occupies so much space now it's crowding everything else out. Access to reality is harder to obtain. There's only so much bandwidth and the Republicans are using it all up on lies.

CNN, the Enabler

We just witnessed CNN enabling Trump on their own turf. In reality, CNN owned slippery Steven Miller but reality doesn't have any power and sway in Trump-world.

Miller returns to the fold a glorious acolyte, loyal in the service of his master and faithful in supporting Trump's delusions. Miller, by the way, is their preeminent racist.

My Bags are Packed

My bags are packed but I can't go anywhere. 

It's a lesson l learned the hard way. A couple of times I've dealt with people so crazy my presence didn't matter. Whatever I did it played into their hands. They felt out of control but they were controlling everything. No matter what it was all about them. 

I packed my bags and left. They were living out a psychological drama in a parallel world, I suppose seeking some kind of reconciliation. I had a role in their delusion and it couldn't be any other way with them. I've packed my bags with Trump but where do I go?

I mean it. Where do I go?

The Year of Living Despondently

For one thing, Trump has caused me to feel that I'm living my life as a spectator. I feel disenfranchised, powerless and alienated. How do you say to yourself--so what if he destroys the world?--and not care? Metaphysically, so much is already destroyed. 

Metaphysically, we are already destroyed. All that awaits us is the catching up. What form will that, the physical destruction, take? It's a question that can keep you up at night. Spiritually we are already living in a wasteland, among ashes and ruins and decay. 

Formerly heartfelt concerns fall away. There's a swirling, vertiginous sense and a telescoping awareness--of being both closer to beginnings and ends. I feel both closer to childhood and death. I feel closer to the beginnings of civilization and its end, and all because of some feckless fop and bone-spurred draft-dodger. 

No, but it's more than that and I know it. This is a reckoning that has been coming for decades and not an undeserved one. It's tempting to make Trump a romantic figure from hell, a King Arthur of the Knights of the Apocalypse. I know this isn't true but it's hard not to feel it. Bathos sets in. The swirling sets in. Despair sets in.

We have been tempting fate and failing in our ideals for years and the time has come for our reckoning. Did it have to be Trump? He's such an insult to life and everything and it suggests that our gods were always made from the same mud and clay as ourselves, that everything was always dirt and shit and devoid of meaning. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Triumph of the Shills

The leadership vacuum at the executive branch under Trump has resulted in his reliance on the Republican shill-producing farm system. There Trump finds the raw material he needs to destroy the state. Among the most relied-on is the Heritage Foundation.  

Other important sources are the reeducation camps such as Patrick Henry College. And, then, there is Fox News and the myriad disinformation sites on the right. Trump is pulling all his "talent" from these in a way reminiscent of Bush's reinvention of Iraq. 

The chaos is coming to us. The culture wars have heated up again. Vanity thwarts common sense everywhere Trump goes. Opinions and policies are predetermined and approved by whatever forces reign in the Republican ether, reputedly aspiring oligarchs.

Shills, lackeys and henchmen are running everything. Trump himself is an underling in this enterprise. He's as constrained as Bush--the previous record holder in incompetence and vacuity--ever was, though he lacks his bonhomie and political connections.

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Small World After All

My understanding of the Enlightenment is that people, collectively, began to try to define existence by the boundaries of comprehension and analysis--to suck the world into their brains. In addition to bigger brains they got a small world, increasingly stripped of mystery and the primally true awareness of one's own inconsequence and absurdity. It's a very masculine, "left-brain" approach. 

Social Media Culture seems to have worsened it. The "big brain" project has been delegated to experts and specialists, as opposed to generalists, so intelligence and competence are increasingly unintegrated and embedded in technologies which do the heavy lifting of life for us, further separating and insulating people from meaningful experiences. It culminates in solipsism and the conundrum and paradox of limitless, never-ceasing connectedness being associated with loneliness and isolation.

Maybe the connectedness is too diffuse to be traditionally hierarchical and it makes real intimacy difficult. Maybe people don't have the emotional capacity to maintain their privacy against the onslaught of information and their friends and acquaintances get reduced to data points. That trend, my friends, is mysterious to me because the resulting dissatisfaction and misery should be self-limiting.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Rule of Trump Thumb

Clearly when Trump sticks his thumb in the air he's up to something. I think it's only symbolic and unconsciously at that, a small assertion of erectness. Hence the "rule of Trump thumb," an informal measure of macho effect and persevering mojo. 

Is he ready for adulthood? It appears not. My argument is that the "Trump thumb" has been the hidden measure of Republicanism at least since Nixon. Nixon wasn't a normal person, another trend in Republicanism, but that's a separate issue. 

We must reevaluate everything Republican in relation to Trump. He is the culmination of years of burgeoning and blooming incompetence. Reagan and the Bushes can now be understood as stooges for the larger forces of deconstruction.

Good government was never a goal. It all looks different with this in mind. Individually the perpetrators are working on their own problems of insecurity in their masculinity and fitness as heirs and worth as successors of the "greatest generation."

Worthy they are not and so compensation kicks in, Trump being an unfathomably extreme example, needing to always reassure himself of his existential (non-net) worth which is, presumably, nothing. There's another rule of thumb at work. 

Behind the scenes there are forces craving power whose only limit is the bureaucratic structures and collective action of citizens represented by the government. Yes, I am saying that the government and its bureaucracy are a good thing. 

They're there for a reason and buffer us against incursions of minority rule--insurance against oligarchy. We are now ruled by a minority. The structures are still functioning, but fragile. If these fail and fall to the thumbists we are lost forever.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Splendor in the Grass

The country of our youth is gone and the youth of our country is gone. There is no choice but to leave both behind. We can become adult versions of what we were or not exist at all.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Festival of the Lies

For 2018 we are expecting a festival of lies--a continuing assault on the truth. Republicans have raised the bar. Lying is now not a behavior but a state of being. It's a religion with its own code of ethics. Their "truth" is vested in fantasies to be defended by any means.

Ultimately this is an assault on reality by cynics and whores. The cynics are in it for personal gain. Steve Mnuchin comes to mind. His Yale classmates learned too late what a liar and dick he is. I hope they unfriend him on Facebook, the modern version of moral outrage.

The whores are harder to understand. Most are avowed Christians and believe in the truth but that it is exclusively discernible by them. That is, it's embodied in their beliefs to the exclusion of science, physical reality, and us. It's a matter of the spirit and revelation.

Underlying this is the conviction that God is divorced from His creation in spite of what the Bible says. Injustice and unintelligibility reassure them. Reason and decency challenge God's dominion. They are whores because the beliefs originate in bigotry and fear, not faith.

Their point of entry is injustice. They crave it as a tribal power dynamic involving other races and religions. The lying and inconsistency is in defense of fragile and unintegrated psyches. Their desperation is seen in their continuing support for obvious depravity.

Physical reality is a problem for evangelicals. They loathe it. But they are a part of it and so they kind of loathe themselves. Imagining what a mess this is it would be possible to have compassion for them if they weren't determined to inflict this outlook on all of us.

I agree with them that they are loathable. I probably loathe them more than they loathe themselves because of their disrespect for democracy. They should abide in a culture of their beliefs--a totalitarian, religious state, like the Islamic ones they go on about.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Fool and the Shill

Searching the scrap heap of disposable humans for a vice-president somebody came up with Mike Pence, a cunning choice. He had to be able to get through a lot of appearances and a handful of debates without embarrassingly damaging the ticket. He had to look composed and authoritative but not authoritarian. Fundamentalists and Catholics had to be reassured they could vote, in good conscience, for a hideous schmuck. Mission accomplished. 

Miraculously, Pence did all of this. He's a Catholic converted to evangelical Christianity. He has the gravitas of someone chronically constipated and no ethical grounding at all, adopting his morality wholesale from certified evangelical nutcases. But I assume no one was shrewd enough to foresee that he might help keep Donald Trump in office because he's possibly even scarier. What a way to live. The land of opportunity is now the land of opportunism. 

The Last Days of USA

I think it's over. It's all coming to an end now. The actual existence of a society isn't the sum of its parts, some seemingly corporeal or physical thing, it's its soul or personality conveyed in comparing its self-image and ideals with its actual behaviors. 

Does it enhance the lives of its citizens? Does it allocate resources fairly? Does it operate by its own stated principles as embodied in its laws and founding documents? We do none of these things. Our government has been compromised and bought.

America is a farce or parody of itself, an "independent" nation dependent on resources and labor from everywhere and a "free" people living in compulsion and constraint. Worthy citizens struggle while others live in splendor for doing nothing. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why Not Be Improvident

If a society as a whole fails to care for the welfare of its citizens what use is it? And if it deliberately damages their welfare, favoring some groups over others, it has lost its right to continue on as it is. 

Why should I try to be responsible, productive and decent when I'm forced to support a system that screws me? Why should I comply while politicians undo my best efforts and deprive me of my rights?

A sane society ensures some level of justice and motivates its citizens to live responsibly and well. It rewards citizens for living the way they should or at least doesn't reward those who only serve themselves.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Shameful

I really miss The West Wing. Another White House drama would be great, perhaps something resembling Shameless but starring all the Trumps and Trumpists holding the executive branch hostage.

Not To Be Improvident

I have to live my life in real time. It's the only way I know how. The problem is not to be improvident. My answer has been to make it all happen automatically--to structure things so that all the bills get paid routinely and money is similarly put away so I can retire. 

But if seat belts can be required by law, a limitation on personal freedom having nothing to do with someone else's safety, why can't we look out for the long-term security of everyone in other ways? There's no insurance industry or effective lobbying for that, that's why. 

We can't only do the things the corporations want and let individuals be helped or hurt as they will. We should structure things so the culture as a whole isn't improvident, making certain of the welfare of everyone. Higher levels of social organization require it.

Resisting Normalization

I've always thought that bat shit-crazy was not good but I'm adapting to life in the guano-sphere. Therein the dilemma. It feels like a concession, a retreat and a failure. But how do you live otherwise? I wake up in excellent circumstances. 

My life is decidedly not-bad but the forces of evil are everywhere and I feel implicated. There should be monks on fire in the streets and there are none. Everything seems more normal than it should and I'm a part of the normalization.

Certain Kinds of Minds

There are people whose minds tend to abstraction. They can't help it. They are born pencil-pushers and technicians. Or they were. Now they're the masters of the universe. 

Bill Gates is one, all technical brilliance and sociopathic, compensatory drive. They are drawn to the perfection of "the forms," regions of purity and immortality. Sorry, boys.

Immortality is not ours to take. By analogy to the realms of perfection life ought to add up like a double-entry system or economy. It does but not always in likable ways.

Everything born dies, in the long haul. So, they focus on a smaller picture and shorter haul. They focus on themselves. They are islands and sometimes they buy one to prove it. 

Civilization is about extending family feeling around, recognizing that it ultimately benefits everyone. The lords of technology aren't interested or they're too busy to care. 

Christianity is about extending family feeling around. The "Brotherhood of Man" is for real. We are supposed to extend family feeling to everybody, granting gradations. 

Only people who understand this should be in positions of authority. Tech guys are drawn to analysis and myopia though many conquer it, leaving perfectionism at the work-door.  

These days many arrogant sociopaths seem to be most successful. Trump is their man. He has to represent something and he is an absolute black hole of selfishness.

Once a Sane Calvinist

Once in a while I encounter an apparently sane Calvinist and try to get a grasp of it. There's a lot to overcome. Calvinists have been trying to scratch their way out of the left-brain hole they jumped into ever since they jumped into it. Many have set up stalls peddling hope pills in its bunker-like depths and await the end of life with patience and varying admixtures of despair. Escape is unthinkable.

The bottom line, I believe, is that irrepressibly sane people will find a way to be sane in spite of whatever layer of incomprehensible rubbish and bullshit they're buried under. Most of my exposure has been to the Calvinism of the Confederacy and that is uniquely sick. Being uniquely sick it has fled to Freudian depths of defensiveness, seldom expressing itself in anything as healthy as sublimation.

So I have my own hole to scratch myself out of to give Calvinism a fair shake. Does it have to be so fatalistic? I think it is sick and should be banned and obliterated but that isn't going to happen. And it would only turn the true believers loose like those well-armed members of the Ba'ath party the Bushies ignorantly unemployed in Iraq. I guess it sounded like a good idea at the time. "Ba'ath is bad." 

The then leaders of the free world operated at exactly this level of sophistication. I must be better. "Calvinism is not bad." Congregationalists made something reasonably endurable out of it in New England. In the Midwest many others did, leaning into the wind of man's depravity and living more honest, disciplined and accountable lives with this spiritual budget constraint to contend with. But were they happy?

In this Christmas Season I have to ask why. Why turn life into a depressing, nonsensical farce and then live it as a burden? Isn't the incarnation enough for us? There is no gulf between God and Man requiring an emotional arc of conversion or leap of faith, just a lot of distance. We are in His image. Creation is His accomplishment. Lighten up, God is saying. Don't be so fucking vain. Celebrate life. It's a gift. 

A strange-ass gift, I'll allow. I think original sin is the taking-of-life-for-granted. Eve lost perspective. Eve, you selfish nut, get over the apple. Ignore the snake. Tend to your man. You're the luckiest person in the world or second at worst. You lose what you take for granted, is the message. And, oh, are we taking a lot for granted these days and tempting fate with Trump, the scum-sucker.

I still think the Calvinist doctrines of determinism are responsible for this mess but I'll try to be more accepting. Meanwhile: flack-jackets and helmets on; heads down. Somehow we all ended up in the Calvinist bunker of arbitrary salvation, insurmountable injustice and an incomprehensible fatalism. It assumes that whatever happens, including Trump, has to be, by definition, the will of God. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Understanding Ken

Barbie and Ken are our royal couple--our President and First Lady--plastic nobodies and role-players defined by the stuff you stick on them, toys designed to entertain and flatter their owners but without reality and unable to act autonomously. 

How do you understand Ken? Firstly, apart from not being real, he doesn't have a dick. That would be too graphic and threatening and his owners are sensitive about it. The only mojo they have is money. Secondly, he can be placed in amusing situations. 

What happens will be determined by the owners' imaginations. Obviously, it's a game. If Ken gets in a car wreck, destroys the economy or nukes the world you start over. That's what they think. He's real to them, but as an avatar or projection. 

We are the ones who aren't real. Somehow we got sucked into this and our lives don't matter anymore. It's an inversion. Real lives mean nothing and the fantasy is everything. Maybe, however, they are animated. Then they would be Boris and Natasha.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Upholders

I don't expect conservatives not to be defensive. That wouldn't be fair. It's natural for them, as upholders of traditions, to resist change and default to defensiveness.

But it's fair to ask, defensive about what? All I expect is that they be discriminating. What I ask is that conservatives uphold and defend something connected to reality.

If they say "freedom" and "patriotism" and "democracy" and "individualism" it should at least resemble those things and not their opposites. That's called "reality."

Monday, December 25, 2017

Mississippi, D. C.

Haley Barbour, a beefy Mississippian, apart from his stint as governor, has been a hell of a lobbyist for the forces of evil. Through Barbour it's possible to track how privilege and money have come to rule in Washington and how marginally accountable politicians and a once-professional class of civil servants who deployed their skills there have been thwarted and replaced in influence by a horde of scum-sucking, money-grubbing cretins. 

Famously cynical, lobbyists cut deals that determine everything, frustrating democratic processes and thereby the supposed actual government. Mississippi, as it existed before the Civil War and desegregation, has been recreated in Washington where the pickings are so good there's no need to oppress anybody. Why bother when an entire class of soul-selling shills are living so well on our money they are effectively segregated anyway.

Power exists there in a parallel world just as it did in the failure of Reconstruction when the real government in places like Mississippi had nothing to do with formal, democratic norms. Voting rights meant nothing. Freedom meant nothing. Constitutional protections meant nothing. Real power resided in an insulated clique of Barbour-esque white men. Average, white Mississippians cared only about not having to live intimately with blacks. 

Welcome to Washington, a parallel universe of privilege having nothing to do with democracy or constitutionally guaranteed anything. That is, welcome to Mississippi.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Donnie, We Hardly Knew Ye

I had no idea what Trump was like when he emerged as a national political figure. I don't reside in New York or watch reality TV. I couldn't care less about people with money, having no thought about their innate excellence or authority. 

It was reasonable to assume that in the business world of Trump there was some sanity and accountability. Little did we know. Little did I know, I should say. Still, I doubt that anyone understood how incapable he would be as a president. 

Comprehending his incompetence is hard even while seeing it happen, it's so extreme. And it surprises you the next time, the primal awe of it having abated. I thought Trump was more a doofus than a destroyer--a fish out of water--but, no.

He blows clear through the distinction. One can only bear witness. He's an annihilator by accident, empowered to heights of crassness and ineptitude by his status. Trump-realization is experiential--like pain, grief or the shock of a loss. 

Somewhere, someone--a king or some dignitary?--must have decreed: go forth and find the most feckless, immoral, degraded person in the land. Make him your leader. Is this a joke or what? If so, when does it end? Please, God, soon.

On the Racism of Trump

In my opinion racism is treating anyone according to anything other than standards of behavior. It's an active thing as opposed to stereotyping. Trump is a stereotyper, apart from being an asshole.

Interpersonally I doubt that Trump is a racist. If he has the inclination it is outweighed by his myopic egotism, I think, and limitless self-centeredness. He only cares about everyone sucking up to him.

He is the center of all things to himself. He judges people in an unbiased way in relation to a sick standard--whether they make him feel important or not or if they advance his interests in some way. 

He is innocent in the same way as an animal--still capable, if not culpable, of doing immense harm. An animal is about what he is. He's the last person in the world appropriate for a role of responsibility.

My Email to Heather Cox Richardson

Thank you for another excellent article on the Republican destruction of the New Deal, tying it into the Southern Strategy. I have a theory. Did you see the movie Songcatcher, with Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn? It's true, that they found more primitive versions of the old songs in the American mountains than existed where they had originated. I think the same thing is true of the hideous doctrines of Calvinism (the Five Points) which seem to deny human freedom and reassure scum like Roy Moore that their salvation can't be compromised by misdeeds once they accept Jesus into their hearts, God help us. 

Anyway, if people are predestined for salvation or not, why not an entire race or gender or nationality? So, the extreme Calvinist doctrines got all enmeshed with the racism and exceptionalism of the Old South and were even more insidiously passed on as unconscious elements of the great lie of the Lost Cause. The Calvinist model for a society is a prison or plantation, people having existed in perfection and unity with God before birth and heading back there, if they're lucky, together with Roy at the end-times. Calvinists hate creation, believing God to have perversely imprisoned people in the shithole of earthly existence. Life isn't to be celebrated, respected or enjoyed it's to be endured.

They are dualists of the spirit and the flesh. Women are unconsciously perceived as being closer to nature, as are black people, so they are despised and feared. It is very sick stuff. In spite of it all, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. 

JamesMFlanagan

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Q. E. D

The moral decisions of the righteous always seem to make themselves. Literalists like to think they can avoid personal responsibility. Literalists twisted the Bible into a recipe book for white supremacists and greedy, predatory monsters. 

Now we have a class of politicians, oligarchs and social activists doing the same thing for our Constitution. This is serious shit. We are probably in for a bumpy ride, with the future of our society at risk and possibly the fate of civilization.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Making America Great (Depression) Again

I knew the Republicans were up to something. The last recession only wet their appetites. Nothing clears the head and purges the system like a full-blown depression.The new tax plan is all about that, setting the stage for a financial version of musical chairs, calamity-style. Some people will arbitrarily make a killing. Others will be killed, some (of us) literally. 

We aren't even in the room but will suffer enormously. The common cloth of mankind has been collateralized and marginalized. It was widely written about after the last collapse they caused, incited by indiscriminate deregulation and markets unbalanced by over-capitalization. Risks and losses were socialized. Profits were pocketed and privatized.

This is the Republican version of socialism. Everything moves upwards from the mouths of the poor to the portfolios of the rich. Anyway, Merry Christmas. Be sure to keep Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell in your prayers. They simply can't live comfortably outside of the presence of exploitation and despair. And wrecking an economy the size of ours is hard.

Walking in a Winner Wonderland

The idea of America was always, imperfectly, inclusion but a subset of citizens has claimed the dream only for themselves. They exploit old racial and cultural divisions to achieve their ends, understanding the resentments and skilled in innuendo, rationalization, and the tactics of jealosy and fear. 

Compare the condition of our schools with the immaculate lawns, pristine homes and gleaming cars in the gated communities. As a society we make such choices. But no "as a society" exists for the exclusionary elite. They declare themselves to be unreservedly deserving and the "winners."

No reward is too great, never mind that the bounty is a social product of which everyone should get a share. Take a walk in a winner wonderland--a gated community or affluent enclave. Average schools can only dream of the resources displayed there. Average citizens can't even dream.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Somebody Must Get Stoned

The Overton Window describes the moving of the range of acceptable standards of political discussion and therefore implementation of policies. A Republican discovery, the window has moved only to the right and is out in the tail of a distribution the mean of which now looks, as a result, like a resurgence of Goldwater Republicanism and Pat Buchanan's platform. 

I am determined to fight and resist this frightening, seemingly inexorable rightward trend. With the passing of the awful Republican tax bill it's only reasonable and fair to consider public stoning for politicians discovered to have violated their oaths of office and flouted democratic norms for personal benefit, thus resulting in the deaths of fellow citizens.

Kill and be killed, that's what I say.

Reason Aside

Still dissatisfied with the stunning and unprecedented concentrations of wealth initiated by them under Reagan Republicans have passed a tax bill sure to fuck the less well-off into destitution. Renowned cocksucker Paul Ryan and famous reptile Mitch McConnell beamed with satisfaction knowing the misery they have assured for millions of innocent people. 

Any rational person understands what will happen based on an analysis of the bill. Reason laid aside, that being among the protocols of Republicanism, we still have the example of the heady days of rising tide and supply side which bankrupted the government and saw the first-ever period of declining standards of living for average citizens. More is to follow.

Ryan has long had his sights on Social Security and Medicare, preferring insecurity and death, though not for himself, since the platinum parachute awaits him for services rendered in kowtowing to his rich masters. Sadly, in spite of my refusal to allow visual input in the form of news, I glimpsed the gloating faces of Ryan and McConnell and the image is enduring.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Diet for a Destroyed Planet

Trump's intake of Diet Cokes and Big Macs is a problem of national security. In body and mind he is a biochemical catastrophe and a walking waste dump.

No reasonable person can argue that Trump cares about anyone but himself. If a crisis occurs he will be unable to think straight, his mind swimming in toxins.

He will act only out of primal instincts for his own survival and even irrationally at that, his personality poisoned by bad food, self-centeredness and insecurity. 

Under the rule of Trump the world could deteriorate irreversibly and all we can do is watch. It's unrealistic to think we can stop it. We are helpless.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Tree Grows in Trump's Ass

Trump's ass is a crack to be avoided at all costs. I recommend we plant a tree there to make use of the space--an Ailanthus, or "Tree of Heaven." These are known to flourish in Brooklyn, once Trump's habitat, in harsh and difficult conditions.

American Graffiti

The graffiti is us now. Our lives have no intrinsic value. We are ephemera. Incidentalism is the rage in Trump-world. We are too powerless to justify the effort of individual destruction. We are incidental by edict and so suitably devalued and anonymously disposable.

It's presumptuous but there it is. Self evident truths and inalienable rights were tawdry fads humoring those too inert and inept to win--the losers, reviled and better aided into oblivion. Maybe the country could once afford to carry their weight but it can't any longer.

Which Circle of Hell

Which circle of hell are we in now with Trump? An outer ring, I don't doubt, not wanting to over-dramatize, but the centripetal forces are intense and the fires are warming my feet and tanning my butt. It's hard to sit around with the feelings of impending destruction.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

COD

Conservative Obfuscation Disorder (COD) is on the rise. Normal, self-correcting mechanisms were thought to be in place but apparently have failed, presumably because of interference, exogenous variables, militancy and energy subsidies in the form of money.

The gold standard and case study is George W. Bush. It's hard to imagine how he could have screwed up the job worse if he tried. One supposition is that he did try or was manipulated into doing so. In any event the catastrophic outcomes speak for themselves.

No mea culpa was offered. Again it was assumed that this was only a tactic because the scale and severity of the fuck-up were so incredible. Now it appears, with the advent of Trump, that the awareness was not present. There was an actual break with reality.

Incompetent farmers' crops fail. Businesses collapse under misdirection. Conservatives go on and there is no accounting. They remain rich and retire or move on to better jobs. This seems to have created a disorder of unreality. They believe there is no accountability.

Enforcement is not the issue. There is no justice. There are no consequences. But nature is the model. In nature there are consequences. Their consequences await them. Meanwhile they might be recognized by their obliviousness to accountability and its mechanisms. 

They aren't lying in the usual sense. That requires reference to reality. They live obfuscated lives, protected from reality by their peers and deep pockets. It can't go on. Nature will collect on the debt. There will be an accounting, possibly at the expense of others.

Non-conservatives--even many of their fellow citizens--are currently outside of their model and not factored in. Until those entities are brought into the paradigm the problem will probably remain. In the case of American citizens their omission is technically illegal.

Trials of the Ubermensch

Think of what it is like. They are parachuted into life like any of us, another mouth to be fed, and evolve slowly into self-awareness. Somewhere in there a reactive suspicion of superiority emerges and its corollary, contempt. Insecurity in life is mastered only as a familial and social function. Their adjustment to the broader social world is unavoidably hierarchical and competitive, not cooperative, as an assumption. The matrix of superiority, contempt and insecurity plays out however it does, in a marginally healthy way or not. The constructs of competition and contempt (for the "losers") are unquestioned.

Apply to this all the variations of individual lives. Mitch McConnell inherits, through group identification, the unfathomable grudge of the defeated slave states. Multiply that by the thousands. Their hatred is focused on the agency of their humiliation or its nearest descendent, the federal government. Donald Trump is born so wealthy he can never be reassured of his own worth. He has to be rescued by his family and, later, beg the bankers for help. The psychological dissonance is unconquerable. Every interaction and innocent event is a battle now, needing to be couched in terms of competition and won, then gloated over and added to a list of glorious victories. John McCain, a legacy boy at a service academy, must be top gun to quell his feelings of inferiority, in compensation. He is nearly last in his class and survives a war and imprisonment. He returns and lands a beer-baron wife. George Bush fails at everything he does but is oblivious or convinced otherwise. He leaves the country, after his presidency, a shell of itself, its identity shattered. 

I never thought the United States would go down the road of self destruction. Where was the psychological injury? We had never lost a war and were fortunate beyond reason. Then I relocated to the South. Somebody lost a war. Somebody has a grudge and was humiliated. This is our story now. Add to the South the people with lesser tribal grudges and those with personal psychological injuries and you are on the road to hell, as we are now.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The New Abnormal

Good governance isn't even on the table anymore, an amazing testament to the dominance and determination of Republicans.

What a gig they've got. They control everything by any means and still blame the Democrats instantly for anything that goes wrong.

They continue to castigate the government for its incompetence and inefficiency when its only problem is that it's run by them.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frozen Drool

With the cold weather lately I'm concerned about our elected representatives in Washington slipping and falling on all of the frozen drool. Be careful, boys! Republicans are salivating their way through to a tax bill spelling the final victory for wealthy Americans in the quest for unrestricted control of the country.

Christmastime in Washington

Hate fills the air like a snowstorm. It's like black snow if you can picture that. Make no mistake, the Republican tax bill will kill American citizens just as the failed attempts at healthcare reform, but in a more indirect way.

Deprivation and Taxes

Keep in mind that Paul Ryan entered politics out of college. Prominent Republicans are always on the lookout for promising recruits. Stephen Miller was another such prodigy, a young man whose heart was filled with arrogance and hate from childhood. He was drafted by Jeff Sessions after establishing his hate "cred" and he works at the White House as a professional political hack. 

Groomed and coddled, they are protected from the harsh reality and uncertainty of real work. Cushy jobs and safe seats await them. Competition, which they praise in principle, is beneath them. They skip right to the unlimited security of dark money and sucking off the government they despise, indistinct sources of support. Similarly to Miller, Paul Ryan stood out for his arrogance and contempt. 

No other qualifications are required. He was destined for a role in the implementation of the Republican new world order of cruelty. Now in middle age, Ryan's only dream has been to screw his fellow citizens out of their livelihoods, which has been his livelihood, working for the government he is determined to undermine and dismantle. The monstrous Republican tax plan is the fulfilling of this dream.

We watch now, nearly helpless to prevent it, as our lives as citizens in a rational, mostly humane, somewhat representative democracy come to an end. And Paul Ryan, who has expertise in nothing but politics, will see it through. He is in the tradition of Lee Atwater, Newt, Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist--opportunists, savants and sages in the promulgation of despair. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joy to the World

The kind, compassionate, caring face of the good Christian, Roy Moore, will plague us no more. The persecutory mania he represents, however, is flourishing all around us this Christmas season. 

Washington Republicans are on the attack, indulging the insatiable beasts of greed and the desire for dominion. Their reward is in this world. I pray for them there is no afterlife involving justice. 

They will not fare well there.