Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Reprint Heaven Forever: Is This Wonderful Is This Life, Maybe

By I. Rabschinsky

[Yes and it is this time again. Now being more than ever. It is Chanukah in eighteen days (Hoo boy) and also soon the time of the Birth Day of the redoubtable Moldavish Guy.

[And always of course of course of course, we are watching the Mister Ed marathon on television cable at Great-Uncle Yehudi's house, and open the big jar Of Mama Putin's Chicken Heads with extra Donets sauce.

[And we remember how lucky we are being, particularly now in the season of The Monkey Man.

Beaver: Good For You, Nize For You;
What We Watch At Great-Uncle Yehudi's

[And you are being lucky today also. This film history for you, now being the annual every year repeat. Always too, Great-Uncle Yehudi is saying, "Don't Stand In Way Of The History!"  Enjoy.]

George Bailey Guy Making The Panik

So always in the America there is at this time the fooding, and also the Sports Produkt on the television. Many people filling themselves with Holiday as if they about to be told, "Next year, you cannot eat!". I am thinking they are the hostage of their Hindbrain, which is still Neanderthal and wishes to fight with Mastodon. But, still.

And, I am noticing specific films which is only appearing on Amerikanyets television at these months between like maybe September and the time of your New Year.

My examples: At Passover, some of the television is showing The Ten Super Big Mitzvah Rules, with Charlton Heston Guy -- you know, movie where Moses stop making fooling around to pretend he is Big Guy of the Egypt, and decides to get real job saving People Of Israel.

This requires lots of people walking around, always saying "Oh, Moses, Moses, Moses" -- like, if they say this three times, they will be teleported by magik into better movie. Navarone Kind Of Big Guns, maybe, or Socialist-Colored Panther.

Place Which Is Gone Forever: Amerikanyets Driving In To Movies:
"Moses, Moses, Moses -- What is happening with our Drive-Ins?"

At another time in year, they are showing same Heston Guy what is Moses in Big Mitzvah Rules in another movie, Ben Of Her. However this is basically film of Jewish guy who becomes like early Jesus guy, but by accident.

Movie is good; he is Number Forty-One guy in slave ship, rowing like animator for the Disney; there are becoming big boat battle, and he gets to be some kind of honorary Goyim, with big ring and parties with the Girls, and other Guys clasping him on the arms frequently.

Later, there is an exciting thing with horses and carts -- but it is not the porn film, so too bad for you. Go to web sites where they have not blocked you.

Charlton Ben Heston Making The Ramming Speed, 1959

At finally, with the Christmas, every year since somebody discover the Secret Of Fire there is this broadcasting this movie, It Is Wonderful This Life, made by Frank Capra Guy in 1947, showing the kind of place which everybody wanted to believe was the Amerika. Small town, everybody knows everybody; values is good and everybody work hard and knows their places.

Just like village in the Moldova, except animals do not leave defecation in the street, everyone is speaking English, and most people have job. Plus concrete used in apartment buildings is better quality.

Every single year they are showing this film. It is now a classic also, like Wizard Of Odd and Potemkin Kind Of Battleship and Mister Hulot Goes To Beach Place. It is as big movie as The Tanks Know The Truth (Very popular Great Patriotic War movie made in the Russia. My Great-Uncle Yehudi claims he is in this film as Extra; but still, we love him).

Big Scene From Tanks Knowing The Truth: Are They Knowing?
Well, They Are Tank; You Are Person. You Want To Be That Sure?

It Is Wonderful This Life story is maybe simple: Guy, George Bailey Guy, living in small town wants to die, because he thinks his life is shit. And there are the angels, who show us life of this Guy in the little town, and how he is The Good, and there is the Rich Guy who is The Bad. And George Bailey Guy never gets to do things in the Life because the Fate is not for him.

Then there is mistake with money (a problem made from the Rich Bad Guy), for which he is blamed, and he runs from family and goes to place of Publik Alkohol; finally he goes to bridge to jump in freezing water so his family will get small piece of Insurance money. Very Sad (There is also squirrel in another scene which is sad, but never mind). Also very Petit-Bourgeois.

So, Angel Guy comes to the Earth and shows this George Bailey Guy his life is maybe kind of okay, not so much the shit; and boom boom boom, problem with the money goes away in big scene at end when everyone gives him their money, and everyone sings. So happy, little bells on tree and big bells of church ring; America wins the World War Two and future is filled with television and freeway. The End.

But this is too simple, my friend. No way is actual life like this. So, maybe some of me thinks this is kind of the Propaganda about America, to keep us from seeing the Truth of the Things.

And, there is forbidden version of this film, which is other kind of the Propaganda. Please -- allow me to introduce.

борьбе за построение социализма во время Угнетение
(также называется "Любовь и революция" после 1991)

("Love And Revolution", Directed By Frank Kapronovich [1949]; Starring Pytor Chost, Gravnik Bolodorin, Irina Valutin. Special appearances by the Spirit Of Revolution, also Che Guevara, Samuel Beckett, and entire 12th Guards Motorized Infantry Regiment)

SO, movie opens with Guy, Georgi Edwardovich Bailey Guy, at the Bridge. He is unhappy, this Guy; boy oh boy he is like making the panic. He goes to public alkohol place and tries to think, but he only finds himself between the forces of dissent and confusion!

TROTSKYITE GUY:  River not so bad, after five minutes.
EXISTENTIAL GUY:  Wait, but no one comes. No one cares.

Hoo boy; Georgi is in big fix. This guy has family with SmallChilds, and tiny Policy Insuring The Life -- and he is believing everybody would be better off if he would jump and get it over with, already.

GEORGI: My life is steaming pile of animal things,
because the Rich Guy will always win. Now I am jumping.

But, Georgi is being watched at Bridge. Not by some angel Guy (none of this reliance on things which cannot be proven by good Socialist science!) -- but even better -- is Spirit Of Revolutsya!

(Spirit Of The Revolution Watches Georgi)

And, The Spirit saves Georgi! He takes him to place where they can speak of things, of the Truth -- and slowly, Georgi's eyes are opened to not only the forces of historical determinism, but the inevitability of struggle against the oppressor classes!

GEORGI: So you're saying that when the consciousness of the People
is raised sufficiently, that armed struggle is not only necessary but inevitable?
SPIRIT: You got it, Comrade.

So, Georgi, now with eyes opened thanks to the words of the kindly Spirit, is seeing that the world is filled with inequality and criminal things so big your head feels like kicked soccer ball. It is like understanding that, not only are you living as Dog, lapping up the vomit of the Rich Guy, but you work in factory to make guns to force others to live like this (Also, the Rich Guy pays you in fake dog vomit and those X-Ray glasses which do not work).

For Georgi, this is whole bunch of dried fish to eat in one night (Like story by that Guy, Dickens Guy, Carol Burnett Christmas, or something). This is the Life? He is asking himself.

A World Of Things For Them, But Not Food For Children

Economy And Bad Fate For Peoples Means Nothing To Them

For Those Who Operate Monopoly Capitalism,
The World Is Something To Carve Up, Like Beef

While The Many People Lose Everything To The Illegal Foreclosure

So now Georgi is filled with indignant and bad feeling for The State Of These Things. He feels the pain of the oppressed, working masses, and is being filled with Revolutionary Fervor -- and he goes to talk with the People in his little village, to tell them what the Spirit had revealed to him -- and the Spirit sends along friend, Che Guevara Guy, to help.

GEORGI: We don't have to live under the heel of Potter's boot! He's just some bloodsucking
animal, feeding on all of us -- and I'm tired of living on fake dog vomit! We have to run things!
CHE GUEVARA SPIRIT GUY: Ay, Yi Yi! You listen to this guy.

The People, moved by Georgi's words, march with him to the place of the Bad Rich Guy, to demand Justice, the chance to make something other than guns, and to be paid in actual money instead of rubber dog vomit and X-Ray glasses which do not work.

RICH OILGARCH GUY: You realize that the manufacture and sale of
weapons around the globe is the backbone of our nation's industry?
GEORGI: You don't understand -- the days of taking your rubber
dog barf are over, Potter! We're going to run things!
MOB: No fake dog barf!! No fake dog barf!!

RICH OLIGARCH GUY: My family has run this town for fifty generations.
All I have to do is close the factories. How long will it be before
your little rag-tag mob starts to starve? They'll come crawling back
to work -- and for half the rubber dog barf I gave you before!

Then, Georgi takes the Big Step -- the one which all oppressed people are taking in these movies when faced with Oppressors who pay them with rubber dog vomit: He crosses line from intellectualizing his oppression to active revolutionary.

Otherwise, we would have no resolution of all this rising action; and only ending for this film possible is that everyone would go for Pizza. This is unsatisfying from view of the Socialist imperative.

GEORGI: You're wrong, Potter -- you, and people of your class are finished.
Now you're going to face Justice for your crimes -- because  
the People own the means of production!

And so The Bad Rich Guy is taken away by the People; his house later becomes hospital, day-care center, and place where revolutionary theater troupes practice before going into the streets.

And, of course, there is a proper celebration at the Georgi Bailey house, with the Revolutsia Spirit and the SmallChilds.

GEORGI: Gosh, Spirit, I don't know how we can thank you.
SMALLCHILD 01: Spirit, can't you stay and have some Fair
Trade™ coffee with homemade whiskey with us?
SPIRIT: No, SmallChild; I must go. There are so many oppressed
peoples in a world beset by unspeakable monsters of Capital.
But I will take a shot of that whiskey -- neat, please.

Finally, after long discussion between Rich Bad Guy and the Organs Of State Security, he faces Revolutionary Justice and the verdict of The People.

RICH OLIGARCH GUY: Long live International Monopoly Capitalism!

And, of course, Georgi and his lovely wife are pausing in their labor to build a New Socialist Future to share a moment's reflection on the plight of The Peoples, and also to suggest some hygienic sexual activity between them which may occur later.

...and in the background, The Internationale swells on the soundtrack, sung by the Sad Vlad Orphans Choir Of Greater Moscow!  Please to show the credits!

This film has not been shown since its original release; big shame, also, because it is at least as good as movie with Bert Landcaster in it but of the name, just now, is escaping me.

Great-Uncle Yehudi likes Revolutionary Love. He thinks it is wonderful comedy; but, still we love him. If you can find this film on DVD, then okay. If not, well then it is big world out there! Be That Guy -- go find!

I, Rabschinsky, say this -- to Moldavish Guy; you also.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

You Want It Darker

January 29, 1933

"Waiting For The Barbarians", Chris Hedges, Truthdig; November 27, 2016, via Mr. Fish:
... The desiccation of our liberal institutions ensured the demise of our capitalist democracy. History has amply demonstrated what was to come next. The rot and political paralysis vomited up a con artist as president along with an array of half-wits, criminals and racist ideologues. They will manufacture scapegoats as their gross ineptitude and unachievable promises are exposed. They will fan the flames of white supremacy and racial and religious bigotry. They will use all the tools of legal and physical control handed to them by our system of “inverted totalitarianism” to crush even the most tepid forms of dissent.

The last constraints will be removed by a crisis. The crisis will be used to create a climate of fear. The pretense of democracy will end.

“A fascism of the future—an emergency response to some still unimagined crisis—need not resemble classical fascism perfectly in its outward signs and symbols,” Robert Paxton writes in The Anatomy of Fascism. “Some future movement that would ‘give up free institutions’ in order to perform the same functions of mass mobilization for the reunification, purification, and regeneration of some troubled group would undoubtedly call itself something else and draw on fresh symbols. That would not make it any less dangerous.” ...

... There will be rebels. They will live in the shadows. They will be the renegade painters, sculptors, poets, writers, journalists, musicians, actors, dancers, organizers, activists, mystics, intellectuals and other outcasts who are willing to accept personal sacrifice. They will not surrender their integrity, creativity, independence and finally their souls. They will speak the truth.
Read this. Read it all. And by everything I hold dear and sacred, I hope he's wrong; that what will develop in our future will be an aberrant episode in the American Experiment and not the end of it. And, everything I was raised to believe says It Can't Happen Here.

(And it has to be pointed out: My perspective on the American Experiment is rooted in the 'High School Civics Class' definition of America, which has status quo spray-painted all over it. And we all know what the Status Quo is about, who benefits from it, and who suffers in order to keep it going. I can't be blamed for wanting the stuff We Learned In School to be true -- but it isn't true for All, and that's the problem.)

At The Place Of Witless Labor yesterday, I had another conversation with Archibald "Harry" Tuttle. Unlike other people at the POWL, Harry goes right at Recent Events -- a 60-ish black man, he has no illusions about what's 'permissible' in our culture. I had mentioned the Chris Hedges article to Harry, who listened as I described it, and said, "And? Your point?" (Harry, incidentally, is an actual person, not a fictive alter ego for my own opinions, and the conversation was for-real.)

"You think a police state, in America, isn't possible?" Harry said. "Curfews, checkpoints, 'illegal' searches and seizures? Being singled out because you 'meet the profile'? Just because the Constitution this and the Bill Of Rights that? Or just because it's never happened to you?" Harry laughed. "It's been happening to us forever. Fuck the Constitution -- it doesn't mean shit, if they don't want it to. That ain't news to me. This guy [he meant Hedges] sounds like he's just catching up."

"Sometimes I wonder -- movies and television have been showing us for decades all kinds of bad events happening," Harry said. "Terrorists get the bomb, use it in some big city; another nine-eleven. Or a virus gets loose. Or space aliens -- and monsters are just symbols for real shit we're afraid of anyway.  

"But there's always a state of emergency, a lockdown. Army in the streets. What those movies don't ever show you is how long all that lasts -- everyone watching makes the assumption, 'When the monsters are gone, everything will go back to normal.'  They'll go to work and go to the mall and take their kids to school, or whatever.

"What if it doesn't?" Harry said. "After nine-eleven, we ended up with 'Snowden' and a war in the fucking Middle East, and drones, and the economy went to hell so the Usual Suspects could get even richer. The prisons are full and they are still shooting unarmed people in the back. None of that has changed. It didn't go away. It's the new normal. 

"When something big goes down here, some people are gonna have a rude awakening when they find out what a whole lot of people already know about power, and rights, and how far your arguing about the Constitution's gonna get you. And, with the fuckin' clowns about to go into office, it wouldn't take a flying saucer landing in Washington to give them the excuse."

MEHR, VON DIE VERGANGENHEIT:  All this reminds me that a week before the election, I rode a Cable Car up the hill to my stop, near the border of a Very Wealthy Person's District. I sat beside one of these Persons, a white woman of indeterminate age -- honey-blonde hair done with just enough grey; excellent plastic surgery gave her the facial features of someone vaguely fortyish, but her hands were spotted, bony claws of the fairly elderly. I'd seen her riding the line in the past, but we'd never spoken.

She was dressed in a classic blouse/wool skirt/camel's hair topcoat/print scarf ensemble, as much a signal of class as School and Club ties for men once were. I don't remember how we began talking about the election -- in a city like Kiddietown, the assumption was that everyone was voting for Clinton, anyway. She wasn't direct about saying she was a Republican, but her assumption was that I (white-haired, white man in a suit and tie, topcoat, grey Fedora) might be One Of Us -- if not in Net Worth, then in spirit. 

"I know she'll win," the Person said, quietly. "But it would be so nice if it were -- you know; if he would win. All these unpleasant things would stop, then," she said, and her smile was shy, conspiratorial, like a wink. As if we had been on the S-Bahn in Berlin, long ago, and she had flipped back the lapel of her very expensive tan coat, just for a moment, so I would see the Parteiabzeichen pinned on it's hidden side.

Assumptions. All the unpleasant things, stopping. One of Us.

Fuck that, man.


MEHR, MIT EIN ANDENKEN:  And, a reminder of a deeper focus that needs to underlie our everyday attention, courtesy of The Soul Of America.  Woof !


Monday, November 28, 2016

This World At Night


As I punch this in, it's twilight on the Left Coast and almost too obvious an image. At work, in the aftermath of the election few people spoke about the results. Even fewer people mention what's to come, now, except with a lot of who-the fuck-knows eye rolling and shrugging.

For now, there is an adult, no matter what you think of his policies, in the White House. We can push the image of Trump and his ilk, of Mike Pence telling the media to "buckle up", out of our minds -- but everyone knows that this (relatively) liberal presidency is ending; the light is fading.

I wrote a long post claiming to know something of the future, but this was bullshit: I don't know, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. I let those who can analyze and translate current events well, or those with louder voices, or with a penchant for ego masquerading as humble simplicity, do their thing.

Something else I understood -- the future is very present. It's going to play out in the faces and the lives of friends, and total strangers whose fates seem more important now than they did a month ago.

I'm not a very deep reader, and when uncomfortable tend to chew on the familiar. So I grabbed Alan Furst's The World At Night to read over the long weekend. It's a story of Paul Casson, a Parisian and a producer of films, in France at the fall of the Third Republic, and the choices he makes after. It's about morality, love, and the courage and venality of life during occupation.

Casson has been recalled to the army in the late spring of 1940; the Germans are already invading the Low Countries (and eventually, as everyone knows, France itself via the Ardennes). He is part of a propaganda unit filming the French army as it heads toward the front.
     ...Casson was stopped. The sentries were drunk and unshaven. "What brings you here?" one of them said.
     "We're making movies."
     "Movies! You know Hedy Lamarr?"
     "Dog dick," said another. "Not those kinds of movies. War movies."
     "Oh. Then what the hell are you doing up here?"
     The second man... offered Casson a bottle through the window... [and] laughed as he took the bottle back. "Come and see us, squire, after this shit's done with."
     The hard Parisian sneer in his voice made Casson smile. "I will."
     "You can find us up in Belleville, at The Pig's Ass."
     "See you then," Casson said, shoving the clutch in.
     "Red Front!" They called after him.
The German army is successful; Casson melts away, towards Paris, more a vagabond than a fleeing soldier.
     ... Sometimes, in a cafe, he heard the news on a radio. Nothing, he realized, could save them from losing the war. He left the roads, walked across springtime fields... He shared a campfire with an old man with a white beard, a sculptor, he said, from Brittany somewhere, who walked with a stick, and got drunk on some yellow stuff from a square bottle...
     ... "We'll all live deep down, now," the sculptor said, throwing a stick of wood on the fire. "Twenty ways to prepare a crayfish. Or, you know, chess. Sanskrit poetry. It will hurt like hell, sonny, you'll see."
Casson is a character who lived a comfortable, creative life, a Parisian life, and after the nazi victory he only wants to get back to living it -- and he does, until he discovers that he actually is a moral man. And, while it takes time for the corrosion of the Occupation to seep through to him, eventually he has to act against it. He had no other choice, really; it just took some time for him to become clear to himself.

At the end, Casson makes another choice -- as much an act against Occupation and exclusion, division and hate as joining the Resistance. But for a purist or Marxist it will appear a fool's move, sentimentalist garbage. Only, it's our deepest passions, sometimes hidden from ourselves and spurring us to act, that define us.

For the Left, the appointment of Bush in 2000 was a shock unlike any other in American politics -- and what followed was an eight year chapter in the Banality of Evil.

Life under Bush, a limited, Dauphin of a man, was Life During Wartime -- one reason Obama's election in 2008 was greeted with street parties -- here in Kiddietown, it was like the Place De Concorde in 1944 -- The nazis are gone! Vive La France!  We were Liberated!

But, Bush and the creatures that swept in with him had some legitimacy as part of the political mainstream. Not so with Trump or his creatures. Lil" Boots played at being a loud, crude Man Of The People but was always the son of a Yankee, blue-blood, Old Money family.  Trump has all the sophistication of an infomercial, the intellectual depth of a racetrack tout -- and, it's not an act. No one knows what will happen this time, but it's almost certain to be bad.

 Obligatory Cute Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Ogg Ogg
(From Mongo Interviews Mitzy, 2012)

And this time, it feels more like Occupation. Like the real thing -- as if Bush had been a dry run, a testing of limits. Just outside our field of vision, we sense men in Field Grey on the corners, but they're waiting, not asking for Ausweis; not yet.  Unconsciously, this was why I had taken Furst's book down from the shelf in the first place.

It's going to take time for the corrosion to sink in. And it will take time for people to act against it from our moral centers -- some sooner than others, but act we will have to. And the values and passions at the core of our Selves will direct us. We don't have any other choice, really.

From the Post That Never Was, some tasty links as you cook that Crayfish. Pass the square bottle of yellow stuff, would you? And, which way to The Pig's Ass?

"Red Front!" They called after him.

Alastair Crooke, Without Any Masterpiece Theatre  --  and who he quotes, Raul Meijer.

ARTHUR, Once Upon A Time In His Head, who self-references. It's totally okay.

Richard Rorty, though he be dead (quotes below -- see The Paper Of Record's original 1998 review.)
"[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

"At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. …

"One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past 40 years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. … All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet...

"This world economy will soon be owned by a cosmopolitan upper class which has no more sense of community with any workers anywhere than the great American capitalists of the year 1900... [This group included intellectuals who are] quite well insulated, at least in the short run, from the effects of globalization."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

They Will Rent Your Children The Pennies To Place Upon Your Eyes


Obligatory Cute Kitties Photo Courtesy Of The Tip Jar At Naked Capitalism

There's a Niagara Falls of analysis flowing out of Blogtopia about The Great Losing.  Some is Intra-Liberal finger-pointing (it's the fault of every person who refused to vote for the Lesser Of The Weevils). Other say November 8th was "Whitelash", a vote against Persons Of Color and social progress by an Underclass whose natural racism was called forth by Trump.

Some, like Michael Moore, played Cassandra -- saying, accurately enough: workers in America had been screwed for decades, and were about to rise up.  Others pointed out that HRC was manifestly the wrong candidate for the Democrats to have supported -- but didn't go far enough in examining why, exactly, that was so.  

The focus in the media and Blogtopia about Hillary was on a private email server, on the FBI investigation; the past priapic antics of her Saintly Billy-o; apparently amoral happenings at the Clinton Foundation; John Podesta characterizing Chelsea in one of his hacked emails as a smiley-faced backstabber, offering the observation that the apple "doesn't fall far from the tree".

This doesn't mean that protest votes weren't a factor, or that HRC giving Henry Kissinger a warm and gentle hug spoke volumes about Realpolitik and the security of her position in a ruling elite. It doesn't mean America isn't founded on racism and genocide and oppression which all Whites must bear and can never be expunged ever until they are punished punished punished in the fire. But there are additional frameworks for understanding the history we're living through.

For me, at least, national elections are a time to observe the collision between different perceptions of our social and political structures. At one end of the scale are variations on the High School Civics Class view of America and it's history: 1776, the Flag, God; WW2; Prom Night. At the other end are Pro-Labor Maoists and Anarchists, where All Property Is Theft, and it's The Cultural Revolution all the time.

(A 1970's joke from the National Lampoon's takeoff on a Free Press-style Hippie newspaper: "If all property is theft, and everything belongs to the People -- why is it the only things we ever get offered are Free Kittens??")

Via The Soul Of America, a post written by Bill Black and offered at Naked Capitalism appeared on the radar, stating plainly that HRC lost because her allegiance is to policies and principles that amount to Fucking The Peasantry so that a class of elites will continue to dominate global finance, commerce, and (in America) national politics.

Black had been attending an annual economics festival at Kilkenny, Ireland, "a festival of economics and comedy... noted for people from a broad range of economic perspectives presenting their economic views in plain, blunt English." And as we all know, there's few things in this life with more ironic, gallows humor in it than Economics.
The audience was ... surprised to hear two groups of economists explain that Hillary Clinton’s fiscal policies remained ... (austerity forever)... Austerity is one of the fundamental ways in which the system is rigged against the working class. Austerity was the weapon of mass destruction unleashed in the New Democrats’ and Republicans’ long war on the working class. The fact that she intensified and highlighted her intent to inflict continuous austerity on the working class as the election neared represented an unforced error of major proportions.
As the polling data showed her losing the white working class by staggering amounts, in the last month of the election, the big new idea that Hillary pushed repeatedly was a promise that if she were elected she would inflict continuous austerity on the economy. “I am not going to add a penny to the national debt.”

...She also famously insulted the working class as “deplorables” ... a bizarre approach by a politician to the plight of tens of millions of Americans who were victims of the New Democrats’ and the Republicans’ trade and austerity policies. As we presented these facts [at the conference] to a European audience we realized that in attempting to answer the question of what Trump’s promised fiscal policies would mean if implemented, we were also explaining one of the most important reasons that Hillary Clinton lost the white working class by such an enormous margin.
And, he's just getting started. As gets said, read the entire piece. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oops; My Bad

Glenn Beck, Voice Of Reason

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo With Outdated Technology

You will pray for the time when I was only on the air for one hour per day.
-- Glenn Beck, To His Critics Upon Leaving Fox For, uh, 'Other Opportunities' In 2011

"I could give a flying crap about the political process [Beck said]".  Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. "We [i.e., Fox] are an entertainment company," Beck says. He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth.
-- Lacy Rose, "Glenn Beck, Inc.", Forbes Magazine (online), April, 2010

According to a brief interview in the Paper Of Record, Glen Beck is sorry.

I assumed he would be sorry for his part in the right-wing echo chamber which poisons any hope of a national debate that isn't polarized; for wearing lederhosen on Murdoch Teevee; for making up his own facts; for smearing a Holocaust survivor (even if it was George Soros) with the innuendo that he was a nazi collaborator; and for being a self-aggrandizing bully.

Glenny is a not very talented talk-radio broadcaster -- an ambitious Limbaugh-wannabe who, for a time, was able to get Fox to hire him as a teevee commentator, and then bankroll him with his own, hour-long daily program. An opportunist, Beck followed the model of self-marketing: he sold CDs on investments in uncertain times (always, buy gold), on political analysis; books with his name on them -- even novels; speaking engagements. And, product endorsements -- most notably, for Goldline International, a bullion sales operation which was eventually forced to refund $45 million to defrauded customers.

Estimated by Forbes to have grossed $34 million in 2008 alone, Glenn was being spoken of as a player, part of the reptile-house lowlights like Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly, Lard Boy and Mikey (Savage) Wiener. The high-water mark was Beck's appearance as the keynote speaker at a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial in support of "Restoring America's Honor", with an audience of several hundred thousand Tea Partei supporters.

Then, Beck began inserting more religion into his broadcasts, and his viewership on Fox began to slip -- 30% in little more than a year. In 2011, after nearly three years in his own slot, Fox fired him (Speaking at a Ted Cruz rally in February 2016, he claimed he had been fired after being "told [by Fox executives] to stop talking about god").

Beck continued trying to milk the All-American gravy train he had tapped into, and attempted to create his own cable channel, The Blaze, an enterprise which has run into financial difficulties and staff issues, and has had declining viewership for some time. All signs point to Beck as the ultimate cause of whatever trouble there may be.
Colleagues and underlings interviewed by The Daily Beast -- on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution -- describe Beck’s irresistible personal magnetism and undeniable brilliance that one called “mad genius,” mixed with a colossal streak of narcissism, neediness and, above all, capriciousness that have left them feeling whipsawed and, in many cases, betrayed... Beck, who turned 52 this week, was not available for an interview.
Perhaps Beck has an urgent need to appear more relevant than a washed-up, right-wing trash talker -- why he needs to appear the voice of calm and rationality in a deeply divided and polarized country; one he helped to divide and polarize. It's a little like listening to a former broadcaster in Joseph Goebbels' propaganda ministry, minimizing his behavior as a public figure in the Third Reich:
I could excuse [statements he had made], to some degree — I won’t — but I could excuse some of it by saying that I was trying to, in some ways, accomplish what Jon Stewart can accomplish: draw huge crowds, make points and then encourage you to do your own homework. I know I wouldn’t believe me if I heard myself apologizing, so I’m telling you now: Don’t take my word for it. Watch my actions. I don’t care what you think about me. All I care about is saying, Please, don’t make the mistake I made.
When asked about his role in 'mainstreaming a conspiratorial way of thinking about our politics' for the American right-wing echo chamber, Beck replied, "I don’t think that’s fair."
We both play that game; we’ve done, on the right, the same thing that we accuse the left of doing. You have to know what’s true and what’s not, and quite honestly that’s where the media is supposed to come in and fill the gap.
"Quite honestly."  So... it's fine for someone like Beck to scramble or invent things they broadcast -- then, it's up to the media (such as the New York Times), a liberal conspiracy, to "fill the gap".  And, of course, Beck always accepted any fact-checking: Oops; my bad! I was wrong; you were right! Sure he did.

But, let's not focus on what he may or may not have said or done; that's all in the past. The world has moved on; can't you? And, Glenn appears to ask -- weren't we all part of the problem, Left and Right? Oh, we all did the same things. Isn't everyone responsible for where we are now?

It isn't me, Beck seems to say -- not anymore. I'm different. I'm not the issue -- look over there; look at Trump, he says -- there's a crazy man (when campaigning for Ted Cruz, Beck referred to Trump as "a wack job").  He's our real problem, now.

In what appears to be a Mea Culpa, Beck insinuates that he's changed. He's willing to (almost) apologize, let bygones, and be an object lesson to the Left on how not to conduct themselves in future. Beck just wants to find a solution to bring together a divided nation.
Please be better than I was. Please learn from my mistakes. Let’s just take it from 2000: George W. Bush was called an idiot, among other things. It got so bad that Republicans and conservatives just stopped listening to the media, because we made everything about jingoism. And so what happened? The pendulum swung back so far the other way that ... [t]hey stopped listening to people on the left. Now we’re here in crazy town. What we need now is for reasonable people to sit down with each other and say: O.K., your guy wasn’t the end of the world. My guy wasn’t the end of the world. How can we talk to each other?
... only, his apologies really aren't about making an apology. They're about temporizing, and trying to reinvent himself as a relevant figure in any national discussion or debate (and possibly serve his own financial interests). In short, they're about amnesia -- which frankly, we can't afford.

We can't afford useless blame and vengeful arguments, either. But we need institutional memory, not expedient recollection. We need to separate the opportunistic leeches and time-wasting divas from the credible and serious people -- now, more than ever. And we need to remember who made a profit pushing lies and intolerance. We need to remember who made Trump possible, who helped bring America to the point in recent history we are today. 

Beck was happy to be incendiary, to provoke, to bully, when it paid to do so. And he's done so well as a bully -- Beck's net worth was once estimated by Forbes at $100 million -- the total lifetime earnings of between one and two hundred working-class Americans; all the money they will see in their entire lives, every nickel and dime. And, like every bully ever born, when it's possible they could be blamed for their behavior, or when it might be better for their cash flow, they suddenly become subdued, polite.

If there's a possibility that behavior might result in real punishment (or bad press), people like Beck don't claim to be 'news commentators', or 'journalists'. They're not even savvy businesspersons. Suddenly, they claim only to be simple entertainers -- and surely, entertainers can't be held accountable if what they say is taken seriously. It's the fault of crazy persons, the ones who do terrible things; it's really someone else's fault. Always someone else's fault.

Friday, November 18, 2016


You Are Of Course Happy For Me

...Trump is making unsupervised calls to foreign leaders with no briefings or guidance from anyone. The transition hasn't even checked in with State Department or the Pentagon...
Donald Trump revealed that his late mother was a big fan of the Queen during his first phone call with Theresa May. The US president-elect also asked the prime minister to pass on his regards at her next audience at Buckingham Palace, according to sources.

The two leaders held a ten-minute conversation last Thursday lunchtime during which he called the UK a “very special place for me and my country”.

As well as invoking his late mother, Mary, who was born in Scotland, Mr Trump offered a casual, open-ended invitation for Mrs May to get in contact if she crosses the Atlantic.

“If you travel to the US, you should let me know,” he told her, according to an official transcript of the conversation. The informality of the invitation raised eyebrows among British officials.
He also invited the Irish prime minister to come to the US for St Patrick's day. God only knows what puerile nonsense he's saying to everyone else. This is a guy who ran on a platform based on the idea that the rest of the world is laughing at us.
It's almost a parody of simple narcissism: ten-year-old Richie Rich, calling up all his friends and his Aunt and his Grandma to tell them about this really neat prize he won at school. He'll leave out the part where he beat up some other kids, stole things, and acted like an unconscious, self-serving ass to get that prize -- because it's all about him, you see, and of course everyone is just as excited about his triumph (for him) as he is. 

They'd better be. They'd just better.

And, What Mike Davis Said  (courtesy of The Soul Of America): This is a point which has been unacknowledged in nearly every Monday-Morning-Quarterback analysis of the election, whether good or bad.  That a large number of Americans responded to Sanders' ideas may or may not have been 'the real revolution' in U.S. politics (the anti-HRC feeling was a factor). 

I'd argue that support for Sanders and Trump was an expression of the same general uneasiness -- that in every major category the United States has been moving in the wrong direction for a long time, compounded now by the obvious enrichment of a tiny segment of the population at the expense of everyone else. But we'll all get a chance to see whether Mike was correct, because the details are in the demographics (italics mine).
But whatever the hypothesis, it must take account of the real revolution in American politics, the Sanders campaign. The downward or blocked mobility of graduates, especially from working class and immigrant backgrounds, is the major emergent social reality, not the long agony of the Rustbelt. I say this while recognizing the momentum given to economic nationalism by the loss of five million industrial jobs over the last decade, more than half of them in the South.

But Trumpism, however it evolves, cannot unify millennial economic distress with that of older white workers, while Sanders showed that heartland discontent can be brought under the umbrella of a ‘democratic socialism’ that reignites New Deal hopes for a Economic Bill of Rights. With the Democratic establishment in temporary disarray, the real opportunity for transformational political change (‘critical realignment’ in a now archaic vocabulary) belongs to Sanders and Warren. We must hurry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Going Back

No, Thanks; We Can't Stay

We were going to provide you with the secret to unlock time and discover the blinding, heartbreaking sweetness of existence -- but you elected this Creature and yes we're aliens and we are Outta Here.

No (get that McDonald's Value Meal certificate out of my tentacles, dude); thanks very much, but we have to go wash our 1500-foot spacecraft. Or something.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wear It

I Am You

After the German invasion and occupation of Holland in  May of 1940, people suddenly started wearing orange ribbons or clothing items -- the color of the House Of Orange, the royal family of the Netherlands, which had escaped to England. It was a visible show of patriotism in the face of what would become the longest occupation by the nazis of any country in Western Europe.

In America in 2016, there will be more practical or direct activities in the days ahead. But -- the crowds of people who have come out in the aftermath of the election have appeared to be uniformly The Youth; and it's important to see that same desire to act is shared across many different demographics. That so many feel, Not My President; it's important to visibly represent an identity and solidarity.

Pin It.

This Is Not My Beautiful House

Revolution Not Be On The Netflix

The Bush years began with his appointment to the Presidency and ended with hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq, the worst economic disaster since 1929; government-sanctioned communications surveillance; a dozen dump trucks carting away shredded documents from Dick Cheney's residence; and Wee Georgie leaving town after Obama's first Inaugural address with a sour look on his face. For eight years, it was a wasteland of mediocrity, greed, mendacity, and death. Not to put too fine a point on it or anything.

On the lighter side, for six of those eight years, Democrats and Other liberals could tune in every week to watch The West Wing on NBC. Developed by lead writer / producer Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball; Charlie Wilson's War; Steve Jobs), TWW ran from September 22, 1999 -- while the Clinton administration was still in office and before Bush v. Gore --  to May 14, 2006.

The story follows the administration of a fictional President, Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen), his family and staff, through two terms in office. Sorkin was only involved for the first few seasons but the program was moderately popular over its full seven seasons. The cast (in particular, Stockard Channing, Allison Janney; Dulé Hill; James Spencer, Richard Schiff; Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney; Rob Lowe appeared during the first two seasons and Jimmy Smits in the last two) were well-chosen. They did exactly what a good acting ensemble should: Made you believe, and made you care what happened to their characters.

More than half the country believed that the 2000 election had been stolen by thugs, and Fredo Corleone ("I'm not stupid -- not like everybody says !!! I'm smart !!!"), had been appointed President by the Scalia Court. As the Bush years progressed and the 2004 election all came down to more questionable voting in Ohio, The West Wing was a counterpoint to the rabid dysfunction in Washington -- though Wee Georgie and his retainers still had two and a half years left to bugger the country in his second term when the last episode was broadcast.

I liked TWW as teevee. I understood it was an escapist fantasy for liberals, trapped in what we believed were the Dark Ages. It was well-acted and funny -- in a way those troglodyte right-wing stupidheads could never be; of course. Right. The staff and President Bartlett didn't always win their battles against clever, greasy right-wingers, but we were left with the image of  forward motion towards a better future under a left-of-center leadership.

Not everyone believed the program was a good advertisement for American democracy, but so long as actual war in the Middle East was distant, and The Good Times rolled, The West Wing was great entertainment.

Since 2006, a lot has happened.  We understand now that presenting serious questions and offering potential solutions in a television drama is no substitute for those issues being addressed and solved. Watching a fictional, responsible left-wing Presidency on the small screen is not the same as actually having a liberal government in office -- one that walks the walk of its ethical and moral talk, and makes decisions that benefit the interests of all its citizens as opposed to a small percentage of them. Having bittersweet satisfaction in seeing Goodness triumph in D.C., while the actual government is run by fanatic True Believers bent on domination and revenge, is no satisfaction at all.

(I might add that, as satisfying as using a bow and arrow or six-foot, two-handed sword might appear to be, scenes of dystopian imbalance and revolution in Hunger Games or Thing Of Thrones might be fun but don't relate to life in 21st century America after November 8, 2016.)

In the new era we're about to plunge into, I hope no one attempts to revive The West Wing, or anything like it.  We don't have the luxury of watching a substitute for Raising The Issues -- the issues are in the streets. They're in our faces, whether we like it or not. We don't need escapism. We need resolution. And we need resistance.

Friday, November 11, 2016


That Which Has No Shape

Zukunft (Zoo/kun/ft): The Future. The word Kunft is from kommen, which is to come. And the word zu can be translated as to, so in a way Zukunft means nothing other than: to come.

(And, all you wags out there: Turn the page now.)

What Michelle Goldberg Said.
All over this country, the deplorables arewilding. “US Hate Crimes Spark Anxiety in the Wake of Trump Win,” says a Financial Times headline. Reports CNN, “Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crimes have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump’s presidential win.” Fliers at Texas State University said that in the wake of Trump’s victory, it’s time “to organize tar and feather vigilante squads and go arrest and torture those deviant university leaders spouting off all this diversity garbage.” ...

Trump has taken time to denounce the protesters filling city streets to express their horror at his election but not the people committing violence in his name. He has not, for example, said a word about the Trump victory parade that the Ku Klux Klan is holding in North Carolina.

What Peter Thai Larsen Said.
...an explicitly inward-looking America would have a far-reaching impact on the world. Protectionist measures might prompt other countries to retaliate... Countries that previously sheltered under the U.S. military umbrella would rearm, adding to regional tensions.

There are no other hegemons ready to step in. The European Union is grappling with a stagnant economy, a wave of migration and the threat of an expansionist Russia. Several of its members could suffer Trump-like insurrections next year. ...

China, meanwhile, will strengthen its grip on Asia: the Philippines and Malaysia are already cosying up to the People's Republic. However, China's extraordinary growth over the last three decades has largely depended on its ability to hitch a free ride on the global system of trade and finance policed by the United States.

What Valerie Volcovici Said.
The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump as president is likely to end the U.S. leadership role in the international fight against global warming ... Trump has called global warming a hoax created by China to give it an economic advantage ... He has appointed noted climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to help lead transition planning for the Environmental Protection Agency.

What Mandos @Ian Welch Said.
5. The Supreme Court appointment issue is the worst thing to come out of this. A court that has assisted an unjust legal and social order has ensured the perpetuation of its worst elements.

What Digby Said.
Popular disgust with the status quo propelled Trump to the presidency as a Republican. It arose because after decades of being played for dupes by their leaders, the GOP base finally caught on that they were being bullshitted. Finally, people rebelled. Also against Democrats more interested in business interests than voters'. What made Trump their champion was how he out-bullshitted the bullshitters. Somehow, in spite of his sketchy personal history, this made him seem more honest and trustworthy. We will see how far Trump's talent for bullshitting gets him with supporters once he breaks their hearts.

What TT Said. Kind Of.
(See it Here At The Nation.)

What Dan Wright Said.
There’s no way to sweep this under the rug: the American people have voted to end the empire. The entire imperial apparatus lined up behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to become president. Former CIA Director Mike Morrell even publicly endorsed Clinton and called her opponent an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But it was ultimately Donald Trump who prevailed in the election. Trump spent the entirety of his campaign attacking the foreign policy of George W. Bush and one of its chief advocates, Clinton. First Trump took down former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in the primary by slamming the Iraq War and Jeb’s ambivalence surrounding it. Then he used Clinton’s support for the Iraq War and regime change in Libya to call her “trigger happy” and dangerous.

... Trump’s realism and Clinton’s history of aggression and interventionist positioning led to a neoconservative exodus from the Republican Party. The neocons uniformly opposed Trump from the beginning and before long they all endorsed Clinton. By election day, almost all of the 2003 Iraq War architects and cheerleaders supported Clinton or at least said they would not vote for Trump.

In the final debate, Clinton said she would launch an air war against Russia and the Syrian government to establish a No Fly Zone in Syria, then accused Trump of being a “puppet” of Russian President Vladimir Putin for not supporting it. Trump coolly responded that he thought it would be good for the country and world if America and Russia got along.

 What Matt Taibbi Said.

... Shunned during election season by many in his own party, President-elect Trump's closest advisers are a collection of crackpots and dilettantes who will make Bush's cabinet look like the Nobel committee. The head of his EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, is a noted climate-change denier. Pyramid enthusiast and stabbing expert Ben Carson is already being mentioned as a possible Health and Human Services chief. Rudy Giuliani, probably too unhinged by now for even a People's Court reboot, might be attorney general. God only knows who might end up being Supreme Court nominees; we can only hope they turn out to be lawyers, or at least people who played lawyers onscreen...

Trump made idiots of us all [i.e., in the media]. From the end of primary season onward, I felt sure Trump was en route to ruining, perhaps forever, the Republican Party as a force in modern American life. Now the Republicans are more dominant than ever, and it is the Democratic Party that is shattered and faces an uncertain future.

And they deserve it. The Democratic Party's failure to keep Donald Trump out of the White House in 2016 will go down as one of the all-time examples of insular arrogance. The party not only spent most of the past two years ignoring the warning signs of the Trump rebellion, but vilifying anyone who tried to point them out. It denounced all rumors of its creeping unpopularity as vulgar lies and bullied anyone who dared question its campaign strategy by calling them racists, sexists and agents of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

... Most of us smarty-pants analysts never thought Trump could win because we saw his run as a half-baked white-supremacist movement fueled by last-gasp, racist frustrations of America's shrinking silent majority... no way he could topple America's reigning multicultural consensus. How could he? After all, the country had already twice voted in an African-American Democrat to the White House.

Yes, Trump's win was a triumph of the hideous racism, sexism and xenophobia that has always run through American society. But his coalition also took aim at the neoliberal gentry's pathetic reliance on proxies to communicate with flyover America. They fed on the widespread visceral disdain red-staters felt toward the very people Hillary Clinton's campaign enlisted all year to speak on its behalf: Hollywood actors, big-ticket musicians, Beltway activists, academics, and especially media figures...

Candidate Trump told a story about a conspiracy of cultural and financial elites bent on finishing off a vanishing white middle-class nirvana, first by shipping jobs overseas and then by waving hordes of crime-prone, bomb-tossing immigrants over the border.

These elites lived in both parties, Trump warned. The Republicans were tools of job-exporting fat cats who only pretended to be tough on immigration and trade in order to win votes, when all they really cared about were profits. The Democrats were tools of the same interests, who subsisted politically on the captured votes of hoodwinked minorities, preaching multiculturalism while practicing globalism. Both groups, Trump insisted, were out of touch with the real American voter. Neither party saw the awesome potential of this story to upend our political system.