Friday, February 16, 2018

A Separate Piece

More details are emerging on Donald Trump's compartmentalized and privileged love life, including references no normal person wants to hear, about his "package" and propensities. He conducted multiple, simultaneous affairs after marrying Melania. 

It all seems representative of his immature, unintegrated psyche and assumption of a complete lack of accountability, so much so it's possible to have some compassion for the less egregious offenders on the "me, too" list. Why shouldn't they partake?

Isn't it the prerogative of successful men in the new, American Babylon? Again, I say, this is typical of the hypocrisies of puritanical cultures. How different are they from those notoriously lascivious Arabs, shedding every sexual restraint at every opportunity? 

 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Sarah Show

Sarah Huckabee Sanders hosts a show at the White House media franchise. Increasingly it's an arm of Fox News as Trump retreats into whatever remote corners reassure him that he is great and always right. Even by the standards at Fox the plunge is into its murkiest area of paranoia and conspiracy thinking: Hannity.

Yes, Hannity. Hannity is now a major source of inspiration for Trump. Narcissism is all about mirroring. Little Donnie has no sense of who he is independently of what people tell him and how he sees himself otherwise reflected in some hideous creation, like Trump Tower. He always requires reassurance and validation. 

This need has swallowed up the entire executive branch and compromised Congress. What else will it ingest? That is the question. We are left with the feeble efforts of the Huckabee interface as an assumed source of information and an avenue of accountability. Poor Sarah, whose life is defined entirely by her faith.

All she can do is blatantly lie in front of the whole world. Why bother with her. It is now the fate of America to mirror and reflect Trump in some way--as a failed casino, tacky tower or golf course sucking down resources like mad for the amusement of the few...the elect...the rich white men. Those are our options. 

I fear the casino fate most but can't resign myself to any of it.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Acres of Crooks

Is it possible? Is the scam finally unraveling? How long has it been? I would argue that it began in the sixties because certain people took the effervescent openness and optimism of that decade WAY too seriously and processed it as a real revolution (think: Dick Cheney). They saw it as an invitation to social upheaval and chaos requiring an authoritarian reaction, crusade and vendetta. Hell, it was nothing but another Great Awakening.

The sixties were puritanical and utopian--one generation self-righteously unloading on another, insisting on insight, moral superiority and a schismatic's demand for a level of individualism ending in isolation and doctrinal decomposition. Remember, Evangelicalism might seem stodgy but they were (are) mystics of a sort--believers in revelation and an individual, irreproducible, experiential and unscalable mind-meld with God. 

They are fans of gnosis, not reason. Similarly, hippies sought enlightenment through drugs and other irrational means. And they founded utopian communities, their versions of the New Jerusalem. How utterly American. Puritanism ruins everything in America. Even feminists succumbed, defining their successes and failures in left-brain, analytical terms and becoming famously strident, uncompromising, angry and judgmental. 

But, back to the scam. Republicans have descended into a pit of sin. Republicanism is now an identity movement and a morass of unreason--as self-righteous as it is self-serving, power-hungry and unprincipled. The fruit of their tree is death and despair. They have declared themselves the true inheritors of the American traditions and not because they act it. They are God's chosen people so it doesn't matter that they are crooks.

And the entire country is infested with them, gnawing away at its guts.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Trainspotting Trump

Of the many shades of horror associated with rogue rule there are passivity and impotence in the face of injustice. The result is mute rage. Who can stand to live there? Normal people choose numbness, trying to somehow selectively obliterate feeling. Who can blame them but it easily ends up going wholesale--the blanketing, encompassing anesthetics of addiction, obsession, compartmentalization and dissociation.

Large-living goes small, a struggle for spiritual survival on a daily basis. The rates of opioid addiction can only get worse now but lesser avenues of escape are more common.

Desensitizing oneself comes at the price of isolation and fear. It is not reality. Sure, bills must be paid. All of the practical needs must be met but the focus narrows to everyday, individual psychic survival at the cost of everything else. It never works in the face of social disintegration because security is a social construct. But the consciences of decent people are stifled anyway by the larger onslaught of inhumanity.

Normal people withdraw from life into whatever existential shelter they can find at the expense of practical considerations and their freedom of conscience. This is a dark vision but it has been imposed on us. We are extras in our own dramas now, our fates determined by lunatics and sociopaths. The Great Recession was a harbinger. The mission is the full abandoning and disenfranchising of common citizens. 

It will be justified as necessary after the next, inevitable crash being compulsively guaranteed by the deregulators. Meanwhile, one foot in front of the other. 

We are reduced to that. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Republicans are Primates

On the destruction of trust, the descent into barbarism, the mother the of all tongue-trashings and the cascade of lies, language theory gives us insight into Republicanism (from Wikipedia):

Animal vocal signals are, for the most part, intrinsically reliable. When a cat purrs, the signal constitutes direct evidence of the animal's contented state. We trust the signal, not because the cat is inclined to be honest, but because it just cannot fake that sound. Primate vocal calls may be slightly more manipulable, but they remain reliable for the same reason—because they are hard to fake.[41]Primate social intelligence is "Machiavellian"—self-serving and unconstrained by moral scruples. Monkeys and apes often attempt to deceive each other, while at the same time remaining constantly on guard against falling victim to deception themselves.[42][43]Paradoxically, it is theorized that primates' resistance to deception is what blocks the evolution of their signalling systems along language-like lines. Language is ruled out because the best way to guard against being deceived is to ignore all signals except those that are instantly verifiable. Words automatically fail this test.[20]

Words are easy to fake. Should they turn out to be lies, listeners will adapt by ignoring them in favor of hard-to-fake indices or cues. For language to work, then, listeners must be confident that those with whom they are on speaking terms are generally likely to be honest.[44]A peculiar feature of language is "displaced reference", which means reference to topics outside the currently perceptible situation. This property prevents utterances from being corroborated in the immediate "here" and "now". For this reason, language presupposes relatively high levels of mutual trust in order to become established over time as an evolutionarily stable strategy. This stability is born of a longstanding mutual trust and is what grants language its authority. A theory of the origins of language must therefore explain why humans could begin trusting cheap signals in ways that other animals apparently cannot (see signalling theory).


The Republican assault on intelligibility isn't merely a Machiavellian power play aimed at circumscribed, short-term goals, though it is that. It is an assault on civilization in an era when circumstances demand, more than ever, responsibility. The human capacities for good and evil are greater than ever. So, more then ever, this is not the time to screw it up.


(The excerpt is from "Origin of language")

They Might be Midgets

The dwarf army has taken over in Washington. Recall the "seven dwarfs" testimonies from 1994 when the heads of all the major tobacco companies swore under oath before Congress to the non-addictive properties of nicotine.

They might be gone but their spirit lives on. The tobacco titans were corporate aspects of the dwarf army now emerging from everywhere to run the American empire and state, men without conscience and motivated only by greed. 

Did Obama Care?

I was there in '08. For some people the long-awaited turning point had come. Finally there would be some accountability for the decades of Republican mismanagement, malfeasance and perfidy. It appeared that the world had seen the horror and insanity of Bush and the neocons and that the American voters had owned their shit, electing a reserved, rational black man to replace him.

Republicans had trashed everything they had touched. Obama's failure to hold the criminals accountable could be understood though it disappointed anyone interested in justice. He had inherited a world economy on the brink of collapse, the immediate result of Republican deregulatory insanity. And the Middle East was in flames and hundreds of thousands were dead. He had his hands full.

In the end there was no accountability. None of the neocons suffered personally. They moved on into respected positions when they should have been in jail. And, when all was said and done the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The forces of evil were only emboldened. Republicans sabotaged Obama's presidency from beginning to end. It should have been clear in his first midterm election.

The American voters were implicated. They couldn't own the catastrophes of the modern American imperium. They only wanted to feel safe and comfortable and righteous. God had chosen us. We were the elect. It didn't matter what we did. But it does matter. Eventually we will pay but not the instigators. Just like the neocons and Bush the ringleaders will walk away unscathed.

I don't know why Obama failed at this though I think there were "realists" and cynics in the mix. Rahm Emmanuel is a left-wing version of a right-wing thug. Other thugs were already in place, the bullies of the American military, forever optimistic about their mission and usually avoiding culpability. Technically civilians are responsible and in charge but Obama wasn't able to stop the ongoing lunacy.

And now we have Trump and the full blossoming of doom. Americans are addicts on many fronts and will never own it or only when it is too late. I am convinced of that now. We are living the primal drama of good against evil and we have sided with evil. Congratulations, America. We are shit. We are the bad guys. Try to "John Wayne" your way out of that. It's what got us there in the first place.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

redirecting to oligarchy.com...

Don't bother reading anything about American democracy these days that assumes it still exists. That is inaccurate and discredits the source.

Human Immersion Blender Speechifier Evil Emulsification Agent of Doom

No more than you I had no idea what Trump would say in his SOTU speech but, once it happened, it seemed inevitable as it was, loaded with ingratiating arrogance. Donald grovels and looks down at you at the same time. He needs approbation and lives in a binary world.

We are with him or with the terrorists.

It is a setup. Donald has to be in a position to claim administrative and "ethical" justification so there has to be boilerplate language somewhere providing cover for that. "We are all one" or whatever. Since when in Donald's disenfranchising and divisive administration?

The SOTU address was perfect in its embodiment and furthering of the broader scam, an immersion blender of a speech normalizing partisan, vindictive, delusional, reckless, illegal, misanthropic, self-serving, irrational and racist outlier nonsense. Our pot has been stirred.

We are a stew. Or maybe a roux, indiscernibly flour and fat. Anyway, lies and the truth are now indissolubly mixed and the guardians of our democracy are its destroyers. 

It's important for the forces of evil to have deniability through deceit and claims to the appearance of rightness and probity. It’s important up to a point. That is why the clapping and cheering of Trump's defenders among our elected representatives was so upsetting. 

It shows how far gone we are and unlikely to survive. Beyond some point, notoriously that of "no return," it won't matter. Our democracy will be done-for and dust.

Ignore the reams of accurate criticisms and responsible, intelligible analysis of the reign of Trump and the obvious corruption of his supporters. The system is probably poisoned beyond repair. Apart from approbation Trump still needs some level of cooperation from us.

That will not be true much longer. He must win elections. He's a goner if Republicans tank in the midterms. So, we must win elections and then uproot the evildoers from their seats of power, but the system is probably already far too compromised for fixing.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Freudian Slip-Man Concentrate Insult Boomerang-Hurling Nincompoop

Trump gives new meaning to the idea of Freudian slips and verbal tics. The terms suggest an occasional occurrence against the norm, a glimpse inside into an underworld in the red light district of someone's mind, assuming a context of the normalcy of suburbs, malls, endless fields of grain and maybe some solar arrays and youth hostels, why not.

Anyway, Trump's is a red light district and nothing else, life in a statistical tail absenting the mean, a horrifically unstable, seedy, parasitic moral wasteland. Messages explode from the crevasses (rented by the hour) in his delusonally defensive psyche. "Fake News!" Yes, Donald, we know who the imposter is. "Loser!" Yes, we know who the loser is, too. 

The most militant, aggressive and unscrupulous person anyone has ever encountered thinks he's under attack. He thinks this as he witnesses his victims frantically protecting themselves in desperation as the blows rain down. Incoming! None of this behavior is unusual or striking except in its severity. His accusations are reflexive, reactive and revealing.

As it will be with slips and tics, it has nothing to do with anyone but him.

The Retreat to Moral Certainty

The bastion of moral certainty always represents a retreat from freedom and personal responsibility into the fortress of submission, deference, conformity, blind obedience and unanimity of conscience. And, make no mistake, it is God who demands freedom without which individual salvation is meaningless and moot. Try to tell that to some people.

Mike Pence's morality, for example, came to him wholesale and obliterated doubt. He is saved and we are suspect. Since his salvation is assured he concerns himself with ours, not that it matters since we are probably predestined for perdition anyway, but he would like to inhabit a nicer ethical 'hood while he's trapped it the shithole of creation, evidently.

His soul is impatient for the release of death and a reunion with God, which his beliefs tell him is certain. Call me stodgy and a stickler but I find this presumptuous. Pence, Jimmy Swaggart, Falwell, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Roy Moore, Tom DeLay and the other peddlers of righteousness think they know the mind of God. I am somewhat dubious.

I concern myself first with my own morality and assume no certainty. I judge actions, not individuals. I have glimpsed the transformation of the love of God, I would say, and it was marked most forcefully by humility and a perspective that precluded judging anybody. Judgement itself didn't exist in that sphere, only love. Nothing else made sense there.

Pence is loving him some immigrants lately with deportations. He's loving other groups with condemnations for circumstantial faults. His contempt overflows, visibly in his ethically wracked countenance. Either that or he has digestive issues. I think that the transformation resides not within him, but who am I to say. If it does maybe it's messing with his bowels.

No Adults in the Room

Get over it. It's a misplaced and forlorn hope that adults are operating effectively in the Trump-o-sphere. Grownups are prohibited at the gates of this playground. Not only is adult behavior inappropriate there it is banned. It would get in the way of the games.

Notice, however, the assumptions of privilege in the nuclear schoolyard, that this impossible microcosm of childhood irresponsibility can go on forever, supported by parental largess, an economy of heirs and heiresses like the Trumps and Kochs and Bushes of the world.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Undignified and The Inefficient

I despise the English for their racism and prejudice. It's so bad they invent sub-genres of it, class structures which have proved amazingly enduring independently of skin color. The class origins of most English are apparent the minute they open their mouths.

Remember "the lads from Liverpool" line on the Beatles? Liverpool was not only a working-class shithole it was notoriously Irish so the reference was racist, classist and loaded with innuendo. Anyway, it's therefore to my surprise that I admire aspects of English government as portrayed in The Crown on Netflix. They have "efficient" and "dignified" roles assigned respectively to Parliament and the Monarchy.

We have indignity and inefficiency on a mind-numbing scale. Our government deliberately squanders resources to keep them out of the hands of the rabble. Who has gained from our incursions in the Middle East? Halliburton shareholders and executives, perhaps. Thomas Frank accurately observed the goal of the new Republicanism as the destruction of the government. Maybe the English system isn't so bad after all.

As for dignity, I plead "Donald Trump" and go from there, to where his henchmen squirm and grovel around him feeding on the carnage like maggots.

Monarchy can't be worse than what we have, inverted standards rewarding incompetence, vested interests, greed, theft and malfeasance. Why should any of them abdicate? Our royals and self-serving legislative charlatans have more freedom--the freedom of power, influence and money--inside of their roles than they would otherwise. They might have to make an honest living unsupported by us. They aren't going anywhere.

If they do it will be into the areas of finance, lobbying and similar "occupations" which feed on influence and corruption, parts of the greater government of the diversion of money into the hands of people who contribute nothing. Their efforts now are in disenfranchising the common folk before the scam is uncovered. I'm sure they are surprised it can go on for so long. No one knew the extent of the stupidity of the American voters.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Accidental Terrorist

Sometimes an accidental juxtaposition of news reports, such as on Trump and terrorism, can call attention to similarities. It did for me. The enormous tactical advantage of terrorists is that they don't care about anything. In fact, sowing the seeds of discord--fear and horror--is what they do. They might choose a target just to put it in the faces of their opponents and generate outrage and remind their adversaries of their powerlessness to stop it. 

Sound familiar? Trump doesn't care how many lives he destroys. His life has taught him there are no consequences for his horrible behaviors. He has been rewarded for being the biggest asshole ever, lastly by winning the presidency. He represents an old strain of conservative sociopathy, entitlement, arrogance and incompetence issuing mainly now from the former Confederacy, a terrorist substate and seat of militant racial hatred. Evangelicals invested Trump and are his most loyal supporters and acolytes.

These crazies began their final assault and ascent to dominion in 1994. The scales were tipped then with electoral victories based on and meant to worsen the objectification, subjugation and disenfranchising of Democrats, who had occupied the same psychological space in the hearts of white southerners as black people once did, to be persecuted with impunity. It was open season on Democrats, including terrorizing them and other Americans by leveraging the welfare of citizens for cynical ends. 

It all culminates in Trump, a president who instinctively terrorizes everyone within his reach in a pathetic compulsion to be the center of attention and control everything around him. Love of country, decency and humanity mean nothing. Any price must be paid for Trump and his backers to get their way. Trump's reflex is to viciously attack anyone who resists him using any means available, now the might of the presidency. We are all hostages now.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Salt Talk

Trump and the Republicans continue to salt the fields of democracy. They will make rational, representative government forever impossible if they have their way.

Only a Catastrophe Can Save Us

I have more time to read in winter and it used to be nice. Now, not as much. I innocently googled "causes of great recession" the other day. I have an open mind, that it was probably driven by deregulation even though there are other, contributing, insufficient causes.

Immediately I was in the land of hacks and shills. Republican "think tanks" and conservative journalists have unloaded the blame onto hapless Democrats who are credited with trashing the economy while trying to help ordinary people. I talk to working people all the time.

Derivatives and credit default swaps are not common topics. None of them knowingly had risky stocks. Enron is now the model for the whole economy. You jig the system and hope to escape with the loot before it crashes about your ears. A collapse is our best hope now.

The latest stock run-up feels like the usual Republican scam to me, musical chairs with our money and an unknown number of players and chairs. It's a game to them. One of these times the collapse is going to be bad enough to discredit the scammers. They don't care.

Most of them will escape unscathed. America, my ass. All they care about is themselves. Hope for enough of a collapse to expose them but not too bad to preclude a recovery. As always and before, innocent, poorer people will suffer the most and many will die.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Can't Help Loving That Trump of Mine

My heart embraces Trump as it embraces its life in the face of death. It embraces its fate. Maybe "embrace" is too strong but my heart is seeking peace in the presence of insanity.

And Trumpism isn't anything if it isn't insane. Compulsion deprives him of his agency. Lack of agency and integrity deprive him of his humanity. His lack of humanity deprives us of ours.

Simple, in fact, isn't it? Simple, and utterly insane. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.... If there's an archetype for a pig and piece of shit Trump is its apotheosis. And we chose him.

We are embracing a fate in Trump, if not him. It's the fate of annihilation.

Implacable Idiocy

Why should idiocy be so implacable? Idiots keep risking it even in victory. Don't they know they've won? They're too stupid to know.

It isn't a death wish it's delusion. Selection must have bred humans to be fearful. Crazy people must have outsurvived their complacent kin.

Where does it get you? To where we are now, creating wonders while sailing away into senseless destruction. It was wonderful once. 

So many people were able to have better lives. Now it's just dumbfounding. Technology has done amazing things. Our ethics haven't kept up.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Captivated

I'll tell you why the horrifying, sensational story of the captive children in California is causing so much interest. It resonates with our own captivity under the new, right-wing hegemony of hatred and fear.

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 conscientious objectors arise among them. They are summarily crushed and usually flee. 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.