Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ID's Of March

Random Barking

JFK In Berlin, June 1963 (AFP / Esquire)
At Amherst College in late October, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a short speech in honor of  Robert Frost, but in a broader context of the Arts, and Artists (you can listen to it here). Roughly five weeks later, JFK was dead.

When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

In the same speech, Kennedy also observed that A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.

(Kennedy made another, longer and more formal speech -- this time about science and the environment -- in October, 1963; read a transcript here. Then compare it with this.)

So, just a question: Whom do we honor, as a nation and a culture? What kind of persons are held up (and, by whom?) in America as examples of right choices and right action -- those who we hope our children will emulate and become? The values and behaviors we promote as the "content of our character"?

©2016, Victor Juhasz / Rolling Stone
The failure to bring Trumpcare to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote was a blow to Wonderboy and the Clown Car government. Nearly every media organization (beyond Fox, the Washington Times, and Breitbart, now the White House's propaganda mouthpiece) used headlines  with some variation on "Republicans Pull Healthcare Bill; Sharp Rebuke To Trump".

Make no mistake: the Ryan/Trump plan would have created chaotic disaster. It would have thrown 16 million people, at a minimum, under a Trump In 2020 campaign bus, and directly caused physical pain and real misery. The healthcare industry would have gone into a competitive frenzy -- an inconvenience for the wealthy, but a catastrophe for the sick, the chronically ill, and the poor.

But, make no mistake about this, either: The largest factor leading to the bill's being pulled was not an overwhelming rejection of it in the Congress -- but because a key number of House Republicans, the self-styled 'Freedom Caucus' (whose Kangaroo Court-membership is secret) believed Ryan/Trump's legislation was insufficient. That the cuts and changes weren't severe enough.

Media organizations and any number of liberal pundits can crow about how terrible a blow this all is to Wonderboy, and Little Paulie Ryan. If it were due to a concerted and organized resistance to Trump and his cabal, we should be celebrating.  But it isn't: Trumpcare never made it to the floor because of the continuing struggle between traditional Beltway insider Republicans, and Alt-Right teabag, Evangelical crazies, for control of the Republican party.

That internecine war is far from over.  But no matter what your political analysis of all this is, once one side or the other in that conflict is dominant, or both sides make a truce in order to save the GOP from possible Midterm election losses -- the next time, there will be nothing (let me repeat that; there will be nothing) standing in their way.

After the bill was pulled, Schumer and Pelosi crowed about 'victory' -- but the Democrats had little to do with it. There is no organized Resistance. Paris is occupied and the Germans are free to go anywhere, say anything, take anything. They will lock down your borders -- no one can get in, but (depending on what happens in future) it's also harder to get out. Their judges will sit in your courtrooms. Their teachers in for-profit schools will build a curriculum around 'Alternative Facts'. They will pump chemicals in your rivers, CFC's into the air. And one day, they will come in trucks for your Communists and Jews -- they've already come for Latinos and Muslims.

And there will be nothing to stand in their way, until the Resistance is real, and not simply a pretty graphic or soundbite used to sell trendy clothing or music or tickets to an event -- and not until there is a real alternative to a political structure which benefits so few and takes from so many.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017



And, courtesy of First Dog On The Moon at the UK Guardian online (Click To Enlarge! Easy! Fun!):


Friday, February 17, 2017

One More Voice

The Beaver Speaks For His Kind

(Photo: William Ploughman / NBC)

Never did I ever think I'd be grabbing quotes from Davey ("Bucky The Beaver") Brooks, unindicted war criminal, but these are strange times.

Bucky is really an old-line conservative, out of Kristol, by way of  Buckley and Podhoretz. Like many pundits of any political stripe, he supports the status quo (ultimately, rule-by-the-0.01%), but from the Right. He's carved out a niche in Right wingnutostan as the voice of traditional conservative values; a reading of his columns in the Paper Of Record seem to indicate his perfect world looks a lot like Saskatoon around 1958, as Bucky was born and raised North Of The Border.

While many pundits frequently hedge their bets, while the contest for a Republican candidate ground on, Bucky sided with that party's old-line leadership in declaring Trump a menace, and said plainly This Is Bad when Wonderboy became the nominee.

Still, for the sake of preserving a Republican party, through the summer he tried to find some silver lining in the sow's ear as Trump faced off against She in the clash of worlds. With the election, Bucky was as stunned as the rest of us, offering jumbled conservative credos that amounted to a 'How Can This Be Happening??'

Wonderboy, Speaking To A Room Of Dishonest Lying Haters (Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP)
Bucky is one bellwether of mood among status quo conservatives. Not long before the inauguration and America's renaming as Trumplandia, he said plainly that he wouldn't take a Trump presidency lying down.  And after watching the 77 unscripted minutes of Wonderboy's free association press conference yesterday, Bucky typed:
I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.

Trump’s White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. F.B.I. investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation.
One way or another, we're all feeling this. Bucky, on the other hand, is a well-known right-wing cheerleader with impeccable (for those people, anyway) credentials -- and even he is verbalizing the same WTF and "this can't end well" which we're all feeling. And, what next?
On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist.

There are no longer moral arbiters in Congress like Howard Baker and Sam Ervin to lead a resignation or impeachment process. There is no longer a single media establishment that shapes how the country sees the president. This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality.

... The Civil Service has a thousand ways to ignore or sit on any presidential order. The court system has given itself carte blanche to overturn any Trump initiative, even on the flimsiest legal grounds. The intelligence community has only just begun to undermine this president.

President Trump can push all the pretty buttons on the command deck of the Starship Enterprise, but don’t expect anything to actually happen, because they are not attached.
So far as the USA goes, this is a good description of the internal political landscape as of February 17, 2017.  However, this ignores the possibility of something -- an external threat, but most likely something happening within our own border -- to change the game.

We're one terrorist (or false flag) incident away from Wonderboy -- insecure, narcissistic, child-man led by Stevie Bannon -- declaring a State Of Emergency and locking the country down. It will be a massive overreaction designed simply to match the paranoid, delusional world Trump and Bannon inhabit, a "War Of The Worlds" radio broadcast -- the results of which will be impossible to predict once it's been put in motion. At that point the nation will find all the buttons on Trump's command deck are fully connected and operate very well. 

MEHR, MIT MEHR VON BUCKY!  On this evening's PBS New Hour -- following a segment showing interviews with Trump supporters and critics in Bellville, and Austin, Texas -- Bucky made a few observations [warning: paraphrased quotes].

"What's at the core [of the divide between Americans]? Why is the chasm so wide?  Is there some cultural or racial divide?  Whether it's some identity politics thing or something else... that's the world we're in."

Bucky said he saw Trump's news 'conference' performance as "mildly deranged", then questioned what of substance Trump was actually doing. He noted that relatively few of the total number of presidential appointees had actually been made. "On the substantive picks, he doesn't have nominees [in place]... nothing is happening."

Asked if he believed Trump was 'mildly deranged', Bucky made a trademark non-demurral demurral: "I'll walk that back a little... he was 'unmoored'... he's not speaking as a president giving orders and leading the American people... [his] attack on the press... saying that they are enemies of the people... [that's] to take [direction] right out of the fascist playbook..."

Trump's actions "offends 65 to  70 per cent of the American people," Bucky added later. "It pleases 35 per cent of the people," he said, noting that the Republican leadership was not in any hurry to put distance between themselves and Trump "anytime soon. Among Republicans, 82 per cent support Trump, a higher [percentage] than Reagan got."
Finally, Bucky said the Republican leadership are "living in a hermetically-sealed universe, as are the democrats; so they're going to [support Trump] even at the risk of electoral downfall..."

And that's Jenga.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

When In These Coarse Current Events

Nothing To See Here
(Original Foto, Courtesy Danny Dutch, That Guy, via The Soul Of America)
Sad Vlad, The Putin (called 'Pooti-Poot' by George "Lil' Boots" Bush, in that bizarre, Mitfordian slang his Familia di Criminale use to describe other people), is like that guy who claims not to have a dinosaur.

Vlad does, in fact, have a dinosaur. He has Ted the T-Rex in his barn -- I mean, we can hear Ted bellowing all the way down to County Road 47; hell, we can hear him down to the Interstate. Some nights, Ted spots cars full of joyriding teenagers, out cruising the Rural Routes between the farms, and chases them all over the place. He doesn't ever catch them -- probably, he just likes running after them -- and there are big three-toed footprints, afterwards, everywhere. Plenty of kids have had big dents put in the roofs of their cars, by something, out on those dark roads -- but the two auto-body places we've got don't mind the business.

Cattle are missing in eight counties, and plenty of people haven't seen their pets for a while -- and piles of shit, seven feet tall, appear here and there almost every day. What Vlad doesn't plow under, he sells as fertilizer -- and he's been selling that shit to just about the whole damn state for a long time, now. Some people from Monsanto were sniffing around Vlad's farm, trying to figure out where that manure was coming from, but they just kind of -- disappeared.

Vlad and his family are constantly getting people stopping by the house, asking about that damn dinosaur. He explains, patiently, with that flat-fish expression of his that no, they do not have a dinosaur. Vlad claims to be so tired of this, all the folks from Des Moines and Ystaad and Tunbridge Wells and Saskatoon with their kids, piling out of overloaded station wagons and asking to use the restroom -- that finally, he made himself a sign, right there, on the hood of an old 1949 Vonyets tractor: We Do Not Have A Dinosaur.

If you continue to insist he does, Vlad will take a step back and look at you. Dinosaur? You been out in the sun a while? Ridiculous. Those things've been extinct for a good, long time ("Just like my old buddy, Alex," Vlad says with a sly grin). If you can hold it, there's a Tastee-Freeze a couple miles up the road with a bathroom, Vlad says. We got a farm to run, here; you all have a nice day.

Except, this is where he gets his cake and sells you dinosaur shit, too: There Is A Fucking T-Rex In Vlad's Barn. You know it. He knows it. You can't really prove it -- I mean, no one has actually seen Ted -- but when you put together that noise coming out of Vlad's barn, all those footprints, lebenty-billion pounds of crap all over the place and a whole bunch of missing cattle ... remember Ossie's Tazer, or whatever they call that: When all's said and done, the simplest explanation is pretty much gonna be right.

And the folks at the County Seat claim to know nothing about it. Vlad's been a good friend to the County folks -- lot of that fertilizer money went to see them get elected last fall. And there were those big piles of shit that appeared every morning on the front lawns of their opponents' homes.  Vlad had some problems with that previous administration -- some back taxes; not addressing his land rights issues, questions about how he runs his fertilizer trade. But now the election's done, word is that all may disappear. And, the County Commissioner has a new John Deere Combine -- he claims it's a lease. Others aren't so sure.

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you that Vlad's a good guy. He means well, runs a tight farm and, up front, always treats you with respect. But there's no denying that his neighbors -- the ones who bring their cattle into the barns every night, the ones they've spent a biggly amount of cash reinforcing with steel -- are a little nervous about Vlad.

Some of them say he has funny ideas about expanding his farm -- that he has some kind of Plan, and Ted The T-Rex is a big part of it. Others say he likes doing crazy-ass things just out of pure, human fuckery.

All I know is, Vlad has that sign, We Do Not Have A Dinosaur, and almost every night I hear that big lizard, bellowing to beat the band as he chases some car full of teenagers, having a helluva good time. You can complain, but the County Commissioner will just tell you -- probably on Twitter -- what a silly goose you are and you best shut up now. Sad!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Random Barking: Days Of Wonderboy

Chewing On This

Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark: I have another conversation with Archibald "Harry" Tuttle, which summed up the feelings both of us have on Day 24 of our Republic's new, mandatory 24 X 7 Soap, Rule Of The Buffoons. We agreed the bar of our expectations for this Clown-Car government is set so low you couldn't slide a photon under it.

"I'm sitting there, watching television, when this Fool shows up like he does," Harry says (and, in a slight digression, we agree henceforth to refer to Il Duce as 'Wonderboy'). "To me, he's 'Trump the Entertainer' 'Trump the Businessman' -- spouting some kinda bullshit, like he always does -- and then it hits me: This man is 'the president'!"  Harry brushes his face, forehead to chin, two-handed in rapid succession, as if he were doing the introduction to the Curly Shuffle, or brushing off a poisonous insect.

"I mean: I still can't get my hands around this!" He says. "Wonderboy, this motherfuckin' jackass, is 'the president' ??!! You'd expect it would've sunk in, by now -- but, Nooooooo.

"And, this white power asshole who helps run Wonderboy -- Bannon," Harry spread his hands. "I was reading that this fuck is pretty much lovin' him some Hitler!!" (While not 100% accurate, it's close enough. Harry was reading this article, which he had gotten to via The Soul Of America. And yes; we talk in italics a lot.)

"Does nobody on your side of the street [Harry means: White People] get it? This man will not be happy until he owns our ass. You all don't think that can happen, but it's simple: You'll wake up one morning, head off to work, and there's a Humvee at the intersection and three guys in fatigues with AR-15's who have their orders. You want to pass, and you meet whatever profile is in their orders, you're gonna hear Sir I need you to step out of your vehicle. We know this drill. Isn't anything new for us.

"Bannon and Wonderboy want to own the country," Harry continued. "Own it right up front; none of this slinking around in the shadows. Trump just wants to own things, like the stupid Richie Rich he is. But Bannon? He want to own people's souls, man. He wants to make it impossible to think about Freedom, the way we do now. He wants that to be illegal. But both of them wants a country where it's obvious who runs things, and you'll bow and scrape to your betters. All they want from us is yes massa, no massa; three bags full, massa, and if you step outta line there's jail for you, or something worse.

"He'll throw the statue of liberty across the hood of a 1963 Chevrolet, and put it to her without the benefit of Vaseline -- after he and Wonderboy, and Wonderboy's friends, steal everything what ain't nailed down.

"And I still can't believe this is what's happening," Harry sighed. "I just can't."

It's as if a symbol of America -- the Flag; the Bald Eagle; the Great Seal -- has been replaced with a coupon, good for one small soda at a god-fearing, hatin'-them-fags-and abortion-doctors franchise like [Name Of Chicken Place Redacted; But, You Know].

(These items are manifestations of what we hope for, living in community. What we assume America means. Those visions tend to leave out slavery and genocide, misogyny, the baked-in rule by Persons Of Property, and the occasional Terror -- such as 1894, 1917; 1932, 1941; 1947; 1968; 2001; and now 2017).

Because organizations run by a crowd of smiling, intolerant evangelicals who have prayed their entire lives for the chance to punish punish punish the sinful liberal hellbound hippie assholes, in the name of the living god -- is what America is all about becoming now. Don't believe it? Just remember the monstrous, stupid drivel Mikey Pence signed into law in Indiana.

A travel ban by executive fiat today becomes denying other rights tomorrow -- at the stroke of a pen, along with an order to a compliant Congress to rubber-stamp whatever Wonderboy desires. Join the Party; join the mob. Sieg Heil, y'all.

And, aber natürlich, the wealthy are making plans to split this scene when Der Tag comes -- whatever form The Day takes. Having despoiled and looted, they'll flee; because they are special, and valuable. Not like you disposable labor and consumer resource units out there. What are you good for, if you're not working for the Owners, or purchasing their companies' wares and services?

People talk to each other. I have other conversations -- with my Dog Trainer, with The Best Friend. The portion of Dog Trainer Talk to which I will own up publicly settled on that sense of unreality around the fact of Wonderboy, his Parteigenossen, and their Glorious Reign over everything.

"I see it," said my Trainer. "So many people have been profoundly affected, even clinically affected, by what's happened." He shook his head. "I still can't quite believe it, either."

The Best Friend won't even discuss Wonderboy. "I just can't. I turn the sound off on the television whenever he appears. I can't listen to the sound of his voice."

When we talk, we get to that point in the conversation where one or the other of us asks What Next? We talk through many different scenarios, none of which seem so ludicrous any longer and include impeachment; another military incursion or limited war; a trigger event which will allow a State Of Emergency and extraordinary Executive powers; possible economic secession; civil war.

Aber Das Tea Partei Muss Sein.
(What's more likely is a continued, slow erosion of respect for a central government, environmental controls, fiscal regulation. An America First economic policy will please the Faithful, and a massive public works project will be fine misdirection for a few years -- until the rest of the world begins using AI and automation, and our Made In USA goods will be too expensive for export; the Parteigenossen who voted for Wonderboy will love that. 

(I dislike globalism and automated factories as ultimately enriching the few and making a return to The Peasantry likely for so many of the rest of us -- but that technological tide isn't going to be reversed unless the entire System collapses. 

(It seems Trump, Bannon and the Tea Partei may not be the bringers of Ragnarok. They're just opportunistic thieves with a good patter, and just enough veneer of conservative progress to distract the Rubes as they concentrate on pouring Quatloos into their private coffers. Our quality of life, education, medical care, food and water safety may be allowed to decline, while requirements for ideological purity, christian values and obedience increase. 

(After Wonderboy and Stevie are gone, The Real Monsters may rise up as they have waited so long to do. And it will be clear that Wonderboy was just one of a series of Suits occupying the White House who made Chtulu's homecoming more of a possibility.)

The possibilities we discussed were all American-centric -- which don't take into account the uncoordinated and completely unpredictable response of Wonderboy, Stevie, Ugly Big Nose and the Billionaire cabinet to an actual crisis generated by external events (such as meeting, in a public restaurant, to discuss the launching of a missile by Kim Jong Fat Boy's North Korea). It's assumed they won't care very much what happens to a bunch of non-white people in one of Those Countries. Besides, having to pay attention to that means less time to steal, connive, and deal; oh my yes. Times are so good.

While we can't agree on the likelihood of any one thing happening, we do agree: There appears to be no good outcome to the apotheosis of Wonderboy and Friends. This cannot end well.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Make It Fun

Don't Drive Angry

Be The Hat.  Be The Hat.
Puxatawney Phil, The Groundhog, saw his shadow today in Blegsylvania. We therefore have three years, and three hundred fifty-three more days of bottom-feeding Fascisti to go.

It beats having to experience this day in Murrikan history, over and over and over. And over. With Little Jeffy Spicer, Mr PotatoHead, lecturing the whole Earth about how bad and wrong, and wrong and bad, it and everyone in it, is.

Any Questions?

They're Selling Postcards Of The Hangings

Granting that it is not necessary to like the leaders of a democracy, it is necessary that they grasp the responsibilities of democratic governance, including respect for free speech, reciprocal obligations, and public accountability. In a week’s time, Trump and his proxies have trampled on the expectations of even this very low bar, throwing tantrums over crowd size, naming billionaires with no civic experience to prominent cabinet positions, and making the stunning, Orwellian claim to the existence of “alternative facts.”

Alarming as each moment has been, we cannot misjudge such actions as being merely appalling statecraft. Rather, when taken as a whole, they amount to a fairly coherent set of actions that displays the traits of an emergent totalitarian regime. This is unprecedented in American history.
When the president’s chief strategist declares he is at war with the press and identifies the pillars of free speech as “the opposition party,” we need to ask how many institutions will be severely weakened, maybe permanently, as an administration wantonly challenges the foundations of democratic life.

-- Christopher Lebron, "What Totalitarianism Looks Like";
    Boston Review, January 28, 2017   (Courtesy Soul Of America)
I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.

... Note also the most frightening escalation last night was that the DHS made it fairly clear that they did not feel bound to obey any court orders. CBP continued to deny all access to counsel, detain people, and deport them in direct contravention to the court’s order, citing “upper management,” and the DHS made a formal (but confusing) statement that they would continue to follow the President’s orders. (See my updates from yesterday, and the various links there, for details) Significant in today’s updates is any lack of suggestion that the courts’ authority played a role in the decision.

That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get [Italics Added]: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.

Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States. It gave them useful information.

Now for the less pleasant part of this: What is the likely next step, in each of these cases?

While I hope that most people are beyond the stage of saying “oh, this is all just campaign rhetoric,” I know that many people will still say that... But given that in his first eight days in office, Trump has proven himself quite honest on the campaign trail — going out and doing exactly the things he said he would ... I’m hoping people are starting to realize that no, it wasn’t just a joke.

So I expect to see certain next steps ... each of these is a major move, which can have significant political value if spread out over time. This is roughly a roadmap for the next 2–3 years.

>> For Latinos, increased laws and orders exerting pressures on employers, landlords, etc., to get rid of anyone who even might be undocumented... i.e., making the situation bad enough to cause people to flee the country...

>> For Muslims, increased surveillance of (leading up to registration of) groups. The next big step would be bulk revocation of visas from people from various countries, at which point they fall under the same “illegals” program as is set up for Latinos. This also gives political cover for mass deportation — which, as an operational footnote, also requires mass internment for logistical reasons...

>> For black people, an increased crackdown on protests, if that’s actually possible... Any protest, no matter how peaceful, will be declared a “riot” and a reason for sharply increased police presence, not just then, but going forward; we should expect to see a lot of very visible marching of cops through the streets, arrests of anyone for insubservience, and so on... already happening; I simply expect the knob to be turned higher, much as it was in the 1960's...

>> For trans people, a systematic passage of laws somewhere between legalizing and mandating discrimination in all things...  I would expect that this is the first place where we’ll see a resurgence of “purity” laws. We used to have a lot of these, e.g. “gay people are a danger to our children and cannot be allowed to work in schools.” Here, you could not only have that, but you could have restrictions on where people are allowed to live...

>> For the press, I expect to see real attempts to silence it — but we’ll see how the power balance plays out. This is not going to be a simple fight.

>> For academia, I expect to see tremendous pressure brought to bear immediately: all research funds for research which either goes against some policy objective of the administration (e.g., climate research), or which sounds too aligned with “liberal elites” (e.g., anything involving gender and sexuality), will be targeted first... the first major orders cutting research funds were issued last Tuesday...

...Milo Yiannoupoulos is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Monday, for example; it will be interesting to watch how the administration responds to any opposition to his presence. (NB that at his last speech, at UW last week, a medic was shot by a neo-Nazi. Past speeches he’s given at universities have included doxxing and calling for attacks against individual students. Sending him to talk at universities is a deliberate provocation.)

I expect to see a lot of people described as “un-American” and this to be used as an excuse to do various things to universities — which are not just schools, but also where people meet, discuss, and organize, things which the regime has a lot of reason to oppose.

... Now the grimmest part of all: Working through timelines. I’m going to be extremely blunt about this, because measuring these timelines accurately and knowing when to jump is the most basic survival skill I was taught from childhood... I also know that this time people are affected who don’t have twenty generations of practicing this behind them, so we need to speak out loud sometimes.

... For foreign-born Muslims and Latinos who are undocumented, related to someone undocumented, or who might be confused [about their documentation status], I’d say that the red flag is up, and it’s time to consider exit strategies with a 6-month window.

US-born Muslims, Latinos who have more stability inside the country, and Jews have a somewhat longer time horizon available, but I’d start quietly thinking about options for when things change.

Advice for the black and trans communities is simpler, because everyone already knows it: Organize! The advantage there is in numbers and shared strength, and in community. That’s also good advice for all of the other groups: even if you’re thinking about your exit strategy, you have very good reason to make common cause, and for everyone to work and pull together. That’s the thing that has a chance of preventing all of this, and of saving the most lives when that fails.

-- Yonatan Zunger,  
    "Trial Balloon For A Coup?", January 31, 2017; and
    "What Things Going Wrong Can Look Like", January 30, 2017
    Mediumdotcom (courtesy Soul Of America

“Prepare for malice; hope for incompetence.”
 -- ( @nomikkh )


Not everyone agrees with Yonatan The Wise. Courtesy of Your One Stop Shop For Cats 'n Culture, we bring you "Liberals On The Edge

P.S. -- Not like Sam Kriss doesn't make a point... but you don't have to hear Ian McDiarmid cackling Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen in the background to find it plausible that Lil' Stevie Bannon, Rinse "Nancy" Prebius, Ugly Bignose and Tiny Teddy have a plan. These people are the incarnation of evil; they smell and don't fit in their clothing very well, but they're not stupid.   

Overreaching; greedy; besotted with a sense of power, yes -- and, by the way, it's the overreaching and arrogance which will ultimately be their undoing. Sadly, that Undoing may mean the same for all the rest of us.

( Artist Unknown - Courtesy TomClarkBlog, via Soul Of America; February 2, 2017 )

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kleiner Mann, Was Nun?

Die Dreiziger Jahre

Ja aber, kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn's morgen anders ist, was tun?
Bedenke, dass die Welt sich dreht
Seit sie besteht!
Ja, kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn dich das Glück vergisst, was tun?
Oft wie ein Traume schnell vergeht
Im Winde verweht

Yes; but Little Man, what now?
When it's tomorrow, what do you do?
Remember that the world has been turning
since it was born
Yes, Little Man, what now?
When luck's forgotten you, what next?
It's often how a dream quickly passes
Of course, on the wind

Und musst du heut' vielleicht auch beiseite steh'n
Kann es doch morgen schon wieder aufwärts geh'n
Nur Kopf hoch! Kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn's morgen anders ist, was tun?
Vielleicht wird's auch, sei dir selber treu
Dann geht das Glück nicht vorbei!

And today perhaps you'll have to stand aside
Tomorrow you can continue on your way
Just keep your head up! Little Man, what now?
When it's tomorrow, what do you do?
Perhaps [tomorrow] will be true to you,
and luck won't pass you by!

-- "Little Man, What Now?" (1932)
    Music: Harald Böhmelt; Lyrics: Richard Busch

(MEHR, MIT EIN TIEFES U. BLEIBENDES GEFUL DER ANGST: Whoa Whoa Whoa with the emails about the quality of this translation, already. It's why I have a deep respect for everyone who ever translated a novel or poem from one language to another. My ability with German is a few degrees past utilitarian; I like to imagine I have an apprehension of the Geist in Der Sprache -- and can approximate it in a way that's true to the author[s]. But, you know.)


Sunday, January 22, 2017

2, 4, 6, 8

Stop The War / Smash The State

(Mongo / Machine)
An exceptionally large number of people participated in the Women's March yesterday. A worldwide event, it was initially organized to focus on women's rights but expanded as a generalized protest against any aspect of the incoming pack of bourgeois lickspittle revanchist trash administration.

(Mongo / Machine)
In San Francisco, a very large number of people attended. I'm not good at estimating crowd sizes; as part of an anti-Vietnam War march in The City in the spring of 1972, when Tricky up-tempoed his bombing campaign of North Vietnam, over 300,000 were supposed to have attended -- but all I could have told you, then or now, was that there were a hell of a lot of people on Market Street.

(Mongo / Machine)
Several luxury buses -- the sort used to ferry Genentech or Google's tech workers to their jobs, a ubiquitous sight in San Francisco -- dropped people off near Civic Center Plaza; no idea who these people were, or why they deserved such treatment. Back in the day, even the organizers and speakers didn't appear at the Demonstration in a chartered vehicle.

There was a hefty police presence all day as well, but (despite the Tac helmets and riot batons you can see in the photo) I guarantee you these officers were thinking primarily about containing the crowd to the area agreed between the city and the march organizers, traffic reroutes, making sure nothing starts that gets out of hand, and keeping people from doing eight bazillion things to hurt themselves.

Of course, if Anarchists (back in the day, it would have been Trots or PL Maoists) executed an action, it would be a different story;  helmets and batons would be more than contingency. San Francisco, alleged bastion of Wingnut Liberals, has had several highly-publicized officer shootings in just the past year.

It was a good crowd, demographically -- Kiddies, Olds; families with younger children, mothers in their fifties with daughters in their teens and twenties; Gay, straight -- and while there were people of color in the crowd, it seemed predominately white.

(Mongo / Machine)
And there were a number of Hipster men and women for whom going to the demonstration appeared to be an art project, a chance to sport fashionable clothing and professionally-printed signs displaying a "Sixties Psychedelic" typeface (The woman above appeared to be posing for two professional photographers: a photo shoot with an actual demonstration as 'background').

The rain began to come down steadily -- more than a shower; less than a deluge -- from about 4:30 on. With the rain, I watched as Hipsters quickly walked away from the Plaza, smart phones up, headed for side streets; the Uber or Lyft drivers pulled up and took them -- away.  No great loss.

Meanwhile, the vast bulk of the crowd, with umbrellas or none, finally moved out of the Plaza and headed east up Market street towards Justin Herman Plaza, across from the Ferry Building at the bay.  I took no pictures of the actual march; a Dog can only do so much.

Weirdly, streetlight poles all along Market had banners advertising an anti-abortion 'walk for life - west coast', scheduled for January 21st ... plainly, the Women's March had, uh, trumped the Phyllis Schafly brigade.

And, please note the slogan: abortion hurts women. Those who support a woman's right to choose, are, according to the individuals behind that particular march, murderers. And worse. All part of the Culture War, brought to you by the same people who now have a seat at Trump's table.

'Death Dance' - Illustration By Mr. Fish - In Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 21st
"Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election ! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly."
--  Il Duce ! / Twitter; January 21, 2017.

In talk show interviews Sunday, advisers defended Trump's anger at journalists for correctly reporting that his inauguration drew a smaller crowd [than] President Barack Obama did eight years ago... [that] the Trump administration was supplying "alternative facts."

Kellyann, With Cleavage, About To Appear On Sunday's Meet The Press
"There's no way to really quantify crowds. We all know that. You can laugh at me all you want," Kellyanne Conway told NBC's Meet The Press.  "I think it's actually symbolic of the way we're treated by the press."

Aides also made clear that Trump will not release his tax returns now that he's taken office, breaking with a decades-long tradition of transparency. "He's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care," Conway said on ABC's This Week.
-- Newsday, January 22, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017