Thursday, July 14, 2016

Random Barking Too, Also

When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro

(One of the unspoken Intertube traditions [which we recognize, as we do All Intertube Traditions] is, Never Blog After An, uh, 'Social Call'.  Blogs [so it is said] should be for sober reflection and analysis, if you want people [that is, the three people and the Superintelligent Parakeet who read this blog] to take you seriously. Well; fuck that; let's push on.)

When the Brexit was a Day One news item, I noted the English-language European and American mainstream media characterized 'Leave' voters as resembling the 'National Front' types I encountered in London in the late 70's -- racist, nationalistic troglodytes -- as if the only motivation for wanting to leave the EU could be the potential for a sudden influx of Middle Eastern refugees.

Even today, pundits on some very nice soapboxes are still saying the Brexit is the last gasp of White Britain, the Last Hurrah of a Failed Empire, brought about by political Neanderthals, doomed to extinction by the forward march of Progress.

Progress, For Them: More Exclusive Resort Locales

Maybe. But after you pare away the  Raving Loonies, those focused on keeping out 'the Darks', the "Little Englanders" -- the Vote became a rejection of the elitist-sponsored inequality being brought to you under the label of Globalism.

Before 2008 (and even for a time after), anyone claiming that the world was being structured for the benefit of the few at the expense of everyone else -- that it was an organized effort -- would have been marginalized, derided as part of the Tinfoil Hat crowd, a Loony Liberal (or, worse, a Communist) and effectively ignored:Yeah; go stand over there, with the 9-11 guys and David Ickes with his nine-foot reptilian Overlords and the anti-Semites.

The MSM have repeatedly described The Crash as an excess of the financial 'community' -- an aberration, something out of the ordinary. Like many others, I watch the monthly U.S. employment figures and CPI, and the gyrations of the global Market in an attempt to read the tea leaves... but all that is part of everyone's post-Crash focus: Are we 'getting back to normal'? 

The fix of The Crash was to bail out the institutions and individuals who caused it. After a while, no one in the MSM seemed to pay much attention to the fact that All Of Us had paid to bail out corporate banks, to underwrite their private insolvency with public loans. Because they were Too Big To Fail. Because Freedom.
"[There was] a contract that said, if you work hard, if you essentially are a good citizen, there will be a place for you, not only an economic place, you will have a secure life, your kids will have a chance to have a better life, but you will sort of be recognized as part of the national fabric."

The ... American institutions that underpinned this contract including locally-owned businesses, unions, and public schools. ... the void left by the decline of these institutions was filled by the default force in American life, organized money.
-- Wikipedia Entry (Paraphrased), "The Unwinding", George Packer (2013)
And in the eight years since Der Untergang, there has been a resulting massive shift in American society (and in global institutions) which we haven't come to terms with -- primarily because humans always seek a stable local reality, and will ignore a ton of shit if it means they're "getting by".  Meanwhile, over 90% of income increases since 2008 have gone to a fraction of our population; trillions in wealth have been transferred from the majority to that tiny, useless minority.  And it is not coming back.

Not everyone can march in the streets, but it's still relatively safe to cast an anonymous vote -- ergo, Bernie's popularity in America, and Trumpo's. And the Brexit vote. They're bellwethers of what's going on in the hearts of The People, things that can't necessarily be bought or manipulated by Kochbrudern money, or Little Rupert's 24X7 sewage operation.

Mister, Jones

Everyone I know has the sense (and has had it, since the shark-feeding-frenzy Verrüktzeit preceding The Crash) that we're rocketing towards an unknown singularity. It may crush us flat, as we travel an Einstein-Rosen Bridge of history, before being blown out into the future. 

Some kind of change is coming; the bellwethers are all around us: For decades, art and film have presented stories set after some unimaginable crash / alien incursion / pandemic / Zombie apocalypse / fascist revolution.  In real life, politics has devolved into populism on the Left and faux-populism on the altRight, while Business As Usual (personified by Herr Obama and Hillary The Inevitable !) still runs the show. The Usual Suspects still own the circus. The future is set because they wish it.

It is a sham and all of us know. So in November, just three people will come out to vote. One will cast a ballot for a glorious return of Clintonia; one will vote for the return of The Good Ole Daze. One will arrive to vote for Ralph Nader, but is nearsighted and so votes for Her Majesty in error. And so Cruella Deville will be Our Leader. Or will she?  Such a cliffhanger !
One of my Hillaryite Colleagues is nervous again, stunned by Hillary's plummeting polls since Comey justly called her a serial liar and regal jackass with neither interest in or competence for following rules mere mortals must. He's leading in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida, HC said. O look, I said, pointing to the big screen in the Student Union, a truck plowed into a Bastille Day crowd in France. HC said, this is nuts. Students rushed through the Student Union holding cell phones in front of their faces, screaming at each other like battle bugles. It's dress rehearsal, I said.
--  Soul Of America, "And We Should Dance"
No one know what's going to happen, and no one knows the Form Of The Destructor. The only  takeaway we have is a gnawing foreboding. We sense there is an iceberg, dead ahead, a banana peel or large clump of animal feces on the sidewalk in the dark. But we can't discern it's exact shape -- Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is; do you, Mr. Jones. 

All I can do is pay attention to other observers on the Net who are much better at a broader analysis than this humble Dog correspondent. And to join the Greek chorus of those who pass along their observations so that we all too, also, might benefit.

The old world is discombobulating right in front of our eyes. Keep looking, and don't turn away.
In Britain as well as America... The triumph of Margaret Thatcher in the 1978 general election had the same role there as Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980 did over here: a new, more aggressive conservatism took up the Left’s rhetoric of class warfare with a vengeance and inverted it, ushering in an era in which the rich rebelled against the poor.

The Labour Party under Tony Blair... responded [in] the same way [as the Democratic party] did under Bill Clinton: both ... dropped their previous commitments to the working class and the poor, and focused instead on issues that appealed to affluent liberals.  They gambled that the working class and the poor would keep voting for them out of ... misplaced loyalty—and over the short term, that gamble paid off.

The result in both countries was a political climate in which the only policies up for discussion were those that favored the interests of the affluent at the expense of the working classes and the poor [Emphasis added]. That point has been muddied so often, and in so many highly imaginative ways, that it’s probably necessary to detail it here.
 Progress, For You: The Decline
Rising real estate prices, for example, benefit those who own real estate, since their properties end up worth more, but it penalizes those who must rent their homes, since they have to pay more of their income for rent. Similarly, cutting social-welfare benefits for the disabled favors those who pay taxes at the expense of those who need those benefits to survive.
In the same way, encouraging unrestricted immigration into a country that already has millions of people permanently out of work, and encouraging the offshoring of industrial jobs so that the jobless are left to compete for an ever-shrinking pool of jobs, benefit the affluent at the expense of everyone else.
The law of supply and demand applies to labor just as it does to everything else:  increase the supply of workers and decrease the demand for their services, and wages will be driven down. The affluent benefit from this, since they pay less ... but the working poor and the jobless are harmed ... since they receive less income if they can find jobs at all.

It’s standard for this straightforward logic to be obfuscated by claims that immigration benefits the economy as a whole—but who receives the bulk of the benefits, and who carries most of the costs?  That’s not something anybody in British or American public life has been willing to discuss for the last thirty years. 
-- John Michael Greer, Archdruid Report
The Benefits Of Globalism: Obligatory Small Animal Photo
In Middle Of Blog Thing
Cameron’s risky bet to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership has backfired disastrously. The unexpected victory for the leave camp has shaken both Unions to their very core, dividing left and right on either side of the Channel ...
 Yet the unspeakable truth is that, at a deeper level, the [Brexit vote] ... has [to do] with ... the widening gulf between political elites and European citizens more generally. While racism and anti-immigrant sentiment have been central to the leave campaign from the very start, it is difficult to believe that all 52 percent of Britons who voted leave are committed fascists.

Many of these people are ordinary working class folks who are simply fed up with the erosion of their living standards, the disintegration of their communities, the lack of responsiveness of their political representatives, and the unaccountable technocracy that has “taken control” over their lives. Brexit was first and foremost a political statement by the dispossessed and disempowered.

... Ultimately, the British vote to leave the EU, whether it eventually materializes or not (and there is no guarantee that it will), is symptomatic of ... a structural crisis of democratic capitalism, that has in recent years evolved from a global financial crisis into a deepening legitimation crisis of the political establishment, which is now in turn exploding into a full-blown crisis of governability of the existing social and political order...

-- ROAR Magazine; Jerome Roos, editor: "#Brexit Confirms: The Neoliberal Center Cannot Hold"
... the Founders distrusted popular government for the simple, unassailable reason that the American people are drawn ineluctably to raving bigots and would-be totalitarians. Who are these unhinged, pitchfork-wielding yahoos, now rudely demanding their moment of reckoning at the expense of the institutions erected to discipline them?
-- "The Political Class Struggles", Chris Lehman, 'The Baffler'
For Us:  Eight Nine More Years; Business As Usual. With Occasional Botox.
Hillary really seems to believe that her victory is enough of a consolation prize to negate our miseries. Sadly, there are enough people who agree that she'll never disabuse herself or her notion. If she loses, she'll blame us. We'll have deprived ourselves of the joy of witnessing her happiness.
-- :p, Airport through the Trees
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MEHR, MIT:  There is also, too, this from Something You Should Read:
The greatest trick the Republicans ever performed was dragging America’s political spectrum so far right of center that the Democrats caved and became center-right corporatist shills ... a horrendous compromise between anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-racist idealists who believe in building a better America, and the well-to-do status quo defending blowhards who think buying a Beyonce album on iTunes is somehow proof you believe Black Lives Matter.

Essentially, those who understand our current politics are infested with a rot that spread misery and poverty, and “free market” neoliberals who cloak their faith in the current system with a sick and twisted perversion of “Identity Politics.” They seek nothing more than a more diverse oligarchy to rule over the poor and the disadvantaged, they think they can weaponize poverty to punish and silence white racism. They’ll call illegal drone strikes a “white issue,” they’ll defend an infinitely rich and powerful white woman’s vocal support of an illegal war that has murdered hundreds of thousands if not millions. They’ll support a “sit-in” to create policy around a Bush-era terrorist watchlist to strip rights from Muslims. All of this is so far detached from anything a “Left” would ever stand for. ...

Let me make it clear ... you were an outspoken supporter of a Liberal White Supremacy that infests our current political class. One that pretends a black President is somehow a victory while the wealth gap between white and black families has only grown under his reign. One that believes Silicon Valley can somehow end racism through apps. One that pretends Edward Snowden is somehow a traitor, while a Secretary of State running a private email server to hide from public accountability and FOIA requests is somehow woke feminist labor. One that pretends Hillary only voted for the Iraq War because doing otherwise would be “political suicide.” One that pretends claiming poverty while having a luxurious AirBNB in a developing nation is not grossly inappropriate. One that thinks a vote for an infinitely rich and powerful white woman whose incompetence has had grave consequences for poor Muslim women overseas is somehow a meaningful victory for feminism....

Vote for Hillary all you want. However, wrapping it up in a triumphant narrative of identity politics and social justice when the only success is more dead innocent Muslims overseas — for no fucking reason — I mean the drone assassination program Hillary Clinton oversaw as Secretary of State had a fucking 90% failure rate— is nothing short of absolute vulgarity.
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3 comments:

  1. a thought-provoking collection of analyses of the current zeitgeist - who knows whether or not the situation may develop possibly to our advantage? depending upon who "we" is

    and talking about personal boundaries, win-win strategies and zero-sum games, with regard to mr airport's point about hillary, the dalai lama discusses and recommends "sympathetic joy"

    beatles tune "hey bulldog" ["if you're lonely you can talk to me] has a good cover by a japanese band, the singer of which is the son of scott hamilton - not the skater, but the saxophonist - i came across it earlier today

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDGtJhvrvfU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my least favorite part of the "hey bulldog" version by okamoto's is the random barking at the end - but under carefully controlled experimental conditions, the singer does what he damn well pleases

      Delete

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