Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mad As Hell And, Y' Know, Mad As Hell

Unless Of Course There's Free Cable In It For Us 

When I'm alone, and things are getting me down, I can always suffer weight gain, gross disfigurement, have urges to Make Time with girls, engage in cross-dressing, and dance with pom-poms. Just so you know.


Yes, it changes nothing. That Other Pig is Murrikan Leader. He says he is Not Racist. He says not crazy but stable. He says all is Fake, and my head goes into its Third Reel. The earth is facing an unthinkable series of environmental catastrophes, and Our Wealthy are doing everything to keep their soft lives and privilege as long as possible -- at the expense of everyone else, of course.

And when It Is Too Much and we come to this crazy-place in our Dog brain, we sit down and refuse to move -- until our request that everyone will now please to dance the Rhumba until we can get a grip, is granted.  Get with it. Thank you.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Random Barking: Your Illusion Of Normalcy Weekend

Get Out The Big Hug Mug
(A variant of this post has appeared earlier.)


Every morning, I wake up, pad into the kitchen and unplug the stupidphone from its charger, then check the UK Guardian and BBC websites to see what new outrage, what new rape of civil decency and the human spirit, which Trump has committed while I slept. It's my Daily Monster: What The Fuck Now?

I anticipate that, one morning, I'll discover the United States is at war. Or that Trump has fired four Supreme Court Justices. Or has finally had sex with a goat in the Oval Office before a delegation of Republican Senators -- all of whom will be unable to recall what Trump said and did in their presence, except the single Democratic Senator in the room.

And, Little Paulie Ryan will only remark that Trump's act of bestiality was "generally unhelpful". Sean Hannity will remind his many viewers that the President of these United States cannot be prosecuted for any "alleged" behavior while in office, and will call the Democratic Senator a "liar". The 'Jawhol Sturmfront For White Purity' website will post a demand that the Democratic Senator retract his comment or "face justice as a species traitor".
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Still, I have a belief that things will change. They always do. Whether that will be a Same As It Ever Was change, or whether The Daily Monster becomes something more serious, who knows.
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Recently I went through a True Detective / Season 1 marathon, and find myself drawn back to the lines Nic Pizzolatto had written for the character of Rustin Cohle, as delivered by Matthew McConaughey: Existence as bearing witness to the Unsolvable, the bottomless and apparently no-limit ability of humans to fuck with each other; the unfathomable What of all and everything. 

One of my favorite quotes: Episode 7, "After You've Gone"; Hart and Cohle interview an older black woman who winds up spouting about Carcosa and death is not the end, another link in the investigative chain leading them on, upriver, looking for Kurtz, the deep madness hiding in the Bayou.

McConaughey lights a cigarette and says to Harrelson, "Sure hope that old lady's wrong."  Puzzled, Harrelson asks, "About what?"   " 'bout death not being the end," McConaughey replies.
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McConaughey's character looks at the Daily Monster and doesn't flinch; he wants, and doesn't want, an answer to the What question (an old Suicide Club acquaintance once said, preparing to do a handstand on the summit of the west tower of the Bay Bridge, an age ago, now: "You're scared, but you do it anyway"). 

In the end, Cohle has an epiphany of a kind -- in my imagination, he comes to some understanding that some days the universe is that bottomless, reductive, time-in-a-circle-eternal-recurrence, Dantean pit. On others, it isn't.
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And on days of either kind, here in the vastness of 'Murrika, we can have ice cream if we want. This is okay, but I have some qualms about it. 

I'm aware that in other places, people don't have ready access to ice cream. They are being denied ice cream. They face hoots of derision and worse if they ask politely for their ice cream. Their ice cream is being stolen from them. They are getting into leaky, undependable boats and setting off on long journeys whose outcome is uncertain in order to find ice cream. 

I mean, what the fuck; all people want is some ice cream. Is that too goddamn much to ask? Hand it over -- or, never mind. We'll figure out how it can be distributed. Just get out of our faces, right now, before we start looking for lampposts.
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RUST COHLE:  I tell ya, Marty -- I been up in that room, lookin' out them windows, thinkin' -- it's just one story. The oldest. 
MARTY HART: What's that? 
COHLE: Light versus dark. 
HART: Well...  I know we ain't in Alaska, but (looks up at the night sky) -- it appears to me the dark has a lot more territory. 
COHLE:  Yeah, you're right about that... but you're lookin' at it wrong.  
HART: How's that? 
COHLE: Once, there was only dark... You ask me, the light's winnin'.

-- Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson / True Detective (Season One, 2014)
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Old

The Only Serious Thing In The World

Harry Bertschmann, "Stuttgart No. 6", 1957  (Bertschmann Studio / NYT 2017)

The New York Times recently presented a showcase article about an artist, a painter living in New York City. They've produced a body of work and it's clear they have some chops, a vision -- but they're still trying for that Big Break to achieve recognition. And they're 86 years old.
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American culture really has no idea what to do with the Old (and 'old' is a plastic term; so, anyone over 55, say) beyond separating them from the most important thing in American culture: their money. In that, Olds are no different than any other segment in our population.

In the brave new 5G world, everyone is a unit or resource, part of a demographic group to be influenced, led, monitored and monetized. To the Powers, what people do with their little lives isn't so important -- it's what percentage of their income can be shorn from them during those lives that's key.

In 2016, The New Inquiry webzine dedicated an issue to aging, and in an editorial comment noted
In the ... capitalist core (that is, those regions which have long since sundered the multigenerational household as the central economic unit), old age isn’t held in the public esteem it vaguely remembers it should be due...
But ... (m)any of the indignities of old age are, on inspection, the indignities of being socially discarded — feelings of isolation, a fall in status, loss of autonomy. That is, these are not organic facts of the body but outcomes desired, at some level, by someone. Why that is, and who benefits, are both painfully obvious and logically obscure.
The general assumptions made about old age have to do with physical changes, a reduction and a diminution. Older people "retire", leave the jobs where they labored and the homes where they lived and (possibly) raised families, and slowly disappear from public view.  Who cares what they did in their lives? They're no longer vital or real contributors to the world. That's all in the past.

And journey's end is death, the ultimate reduction and mystery.  Olds are a reminder of The End of everything our spiritually crippled culture asserts is most important. Small wonder most people are almost eager to ignore them, unless of course there's money to be made.
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People with a desire for artistic expression make efforts to translate their insights and experience, birthing them into the world through whatever medium. American culture takes art seriously, and boasts of the achievements of our artists, but doesn't support those artists and won't take them seriously unless there's money involved (if so, Jeff Koons is the greatest artist humankind ever produced).

Often the image of that effort is connected to youth --  the young artist, the unheated garret; trying for recognition and fame, the "big break". Most people wouldn't connect being a "struggling artist" with being an Old -- but I'll bet you lunch that it's more common.
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When the New York Times published Harry Bertschmann's story, it was a reminder that artists frequently make trade-offs between creative time and material security, Working The Day Job. Bertschmann was no different; he worked for decades doing advertising art, and making that choice affected Bertschmann's path as an artist.

In that review, the NYT story took a traditional perspective -- an underlying assumption that art must result in financial success and name recognition to have any intrinsic worth: Bertschmann knew Rothko and Kline and Motherwell; they got famous and rich, and he didn't.

The usual conclusion of a storyline like this will depict the unrecognized artist, aging, living in solitary poverty -- a cold-water, sub-basement apartment; a description of finished canvases stacked beside the pallet and mattress, the stained, pathetic hotplate.

But this story has a Cinderella ending: good news, that Bertschmann is becoming known, late in life, with a promise of financial reward: the NYT article was timed to appear a week before a solo show of his selected works at a prestigious, upstate gallery. There's lots of buzz and potential for sales.

Don't misunderstand: I'm all for Cinderella endings. I'm glad Bertschmann and his wife will have more money, more security -- and, that his work will be shown. People will see it -- and whatever alchemical magic happens when we see, hear or read art can take place. That's why Art gets done. I would suggest that if Bertschmann were here, he'd say that's what he's been doing for 60 years; it's why he's on the planet.

At the same time, there's a reminder that perspectives and assumptions about art, about aging, and life and death, served up by our culture are terrifyingly inadequate. In spite of itself, the NYT article of Bertschmann's story gives a glimpse of that -- and that sometimes, in this world, there are happy endings.
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Not In The Stars, But Ourselves

Random Barking:  Oprah

Annual programs, like the Golden Globes earlier this week, celebrate the entertainment industry. It's a way for the public to vicariously experience an event honoring the work of familiar actors and actresses.

I like movies, but avoid watching self-congratulatory presentations like the Globes (the last Oscars I watched were sometime in the late 1980's). They're ways of participating in the American film and television celebrity culture which dominates our public entertainment. I opt out.
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Every summer, there was an annual celebration held in my home town, with a parade down our two main streets. Every year, the organizing committee found some entertainment star to make the parade's 'Grand Marshal'. My father had something to do with organizing these parades, and by my adolescence had spent some time observing a number of film and television notables.

(I won't list them, except to mention in the early Sixties, I was stunned to meet Grand Marshal "Aunt Jemima" -- a heavy-set black woman, smiling and pleasant as she shook my hand, playing the iconic namesake for a brand of high-fructose corn syrup.

(On television just days before, I'd seen news film footage of police, dogs and water hoses attacking civil rights marchers in Mississippi. Even as a kid, I knew in my bones that was ugly and wrong, and remember thinking as this actress shook my hand: how could she stand, smiling, head bound up in what used to be referred to in the majority culture as a 'pickaninny' kerchief, wearing a calico dress with a shawl over her shoulders, smiling, surrounded by a room full white people -- with things like that happening? Well... it was an acting job.)

The characters these actors portrayed on the big or small screen were acceptable -- it was their talent to make us believe the make-believe. But (with a few exceptions) as I watched them interact with other adults from their 'public personas', I began to believe the idea of "celebrity" was about artifice, pretense, in the real world -- and to me, not acceptable, because as a kid, I was constantly getting in trouble for play-acting, "not being yourself" -- but every child can recognize that as typical, and double-standard, adult behavior.

It took much longer to learn that, in the larger world, acting from a persona as an adult is not only expected, it's often supported behavior -- particularly in entertainment, or politics. These days, the difference between the two is so slight as to be trivial.
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The difference between entertainment and politics is that art has power -- but only a politician can arrange to deport 200,000 Salvadorians, initiate Kill Drone Tuesday, authorize mass surveillance of all Americans' personal communications or the invasion of a middle eastern country based on manufactured evidence.

So as I read about the possibility being 'floated' for an Oprah Winfrey run for President in 2020, my immediate visceral reaction was negative: this was more celebrity-politics, reality teevee bullshit. Do we need another billionaire running for office? I thought; do we need another figurehead, utterly without experience in government, allegedly running the country? And, who will run them?

Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire, a competent business person; an entertainer; a black woman who has struggled through prejudice, misogyny and ignorance to succeed, in the way Americans are taught to accept and value 'success'. I understand all this, and (beyond my knee-jerk dislike of wealth and the wealthy) offer no criticism of her achievements.

The UK Guardian this morning referred to Winfrey as "one of the world's best neoliberal capitalist thinkers" -- but is that what we want? Is another neoliberal capitalist what the citizens of America need? I asked myself.

Online, there was a lot of verbiage about Hoping For Oprah, tossed into the air like confetti at a national convention. The pundits and even Our Leader were all a-twitter, literally -- and it isn't as if  we don't have bigger, real things, to worry about. One post by Ian Welch noted that
[None of  the possible Left candidates for U.S. President in 2020] have more star power and fundraising ability than someone like Oprah. ([who] does run a company, and does it competently.)...  Then we add in the billionaires, like Facebook CEO Zuckerberg. What other billionaire is now thinking “screw buying politicians, they can’t be trusted. I’ll just run myself?”...
2020 isn’t going to be a normal election. It is going to be far crazier than 20[16].
And heck, if I had a vote, I’d vote for Oprah (or Clooney) before most Democratic politicians, especially if they say “universal healthcare, fuck the bankers and no wars” like they mean it.
I suspect many Americans would too.
Remember, Trump won, in the end, because enough people were sick of regular politicians to take a flyer on him. A celebrity with more charisma and brains is entirely viable and will be considered seriously.
I foamed a bit more, reading this, until I was finally able to focus on what I thought was his main point: Given where Americans are, a candidate who appears competent and believes in at least baseline progressive policy ideas, is worth voting for. 
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As The new year opens, the notion of a wealthy, (presumed) progressive celebrity, with no experience in government, becoming President of the United States matters less than the direction of Left politics in America. Our fortunes, our families and our lives are in danger. It is that serious. No joke.

If we do not have a political party whose stated aims are people first, not profit; real representation in government; real inclusion; real equality; healthcare; fuck the banksters; and no war -- if we don't have a political movement which says this, first, and a lot else besides -- then which celebrity Liberal figurehead runs for President won't matter. 

If having that kind of political party is possible, then we should ask that its standard-bearer support those aims, and not be owned by the same status quo groups which believe they own all of us. That candidate could be Oprah, or Clooney, or Gillibrand, Warren, or Sanders -- as long as they talk the talk, and mean it. Policy first, then Celebrity.

But we don't have this, now. The Democratic party is (presumably) the most well-organized and well-funded liberal / progressive political organization in America. But it's wounded, adrift, and the list of Democratic politicians not career collaborators in a corrupt system is very short. 

Whether the Democratic party is even relevant in 2018 is an open question; just being the only big Liberal game in town isn't a definition of relevancy. Being the party of more Centrist is not relevancy. Just to survive, we cannot stand in the Center -- that time is long past. The Democratic party needs to be shaken down to its foundations and rebuilt to meet real demands of our times and our people. 

If we can't rebuild the Democratic party, or develop a political organization which represents the future we want and need, then America is done. 

Electing another billionaire celebrity, without massive changes in our national priorities, is no more sustainable than the path being chosen by the current billionaire celebrity in office. The future is ours to lose, or to fight for. 
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Reprint Heaven: Small Animal Photos

Trolling For Submerged Vehicles
(Originally from 2015)

Obligatory Small Animal Photo At Beginning Of Blog Thing

Sniffing around the Intertubes, I found this. [Yes; this link does not work. Read on.]
“When is Ben coming home?” Edmund said.

“They told their dog they’d be back in a week,” the muddy boy said. “So… four more days, then. Their dog hates boats, which means anytime they leave on a sailing vacation their dog has to live outside and kill his own food and put up with me doing whatever I want to it.”

“Do you know which song unlocks the trapdoor in Ben’s cottage?” Edmund said.

As the muddy boy handed Edmund the carton of milk, Edmund saw that on the boy’s wrist someone had lettered, in mud, the letters M O N G O.

“I don’t know anything about songs,” the muddy boy said as he peeked into his bag.

Edmund gestured at the muddy boy’s wrist. “Did Mongo write that on you?”

“Yes.”

“You know Mongo?”

“I am Mongo. Who told you I wasn’t Mongo?”

“Nobody,” Edmund said. “But if you’re Mongo, I’m supposed to tell you something.”

“Then tell it.”
My original suspicion was that James Joyce had been reborn and has been using my name. However, it's part of a serial post-modern Intertubes novel entitled The Numberless, created by Ts’ui Pên, a Chinese writer now living in Italy (and thereupon, I am convinced, hangs a really good tale), translated by a person at Vanderbilt University and published by Potboiler Press.

But, I'm only a Dog, and no one listens to me -- though I do happen to like boats, so long as I'm not actually on them. And, I don't live "outside", and don't kill my own food. I go to a restaurant, like anyone else; even if I have to use a child seat and have difficulty with the silverware.

There. Now you know everything. Except about Heino.
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MEHR, MIT AROOO:  All fans of Umberto Ecco and the Illuminati series, and anyone who enjoys those nifty 9-11 conspiracy videos posted on UTub, take note: in going back to check the links in this post (as the Intertubes has a way of marching on), we discovered a tiny mystery: The novel I'd quoted from had disappeared. And it didn't appear to be as it seemed.

The section quoted above was indeed from a postmodern, online novel, The Numberless -- however, the domain where it was posted, thenumberless.com, has expired.  It did exist, however (and proof can be seen courtesy of The Wayback Machine), but there are no search engine references to the work. 

Thankfully, the Wayback cache did keep a link to the email address at vanderbilt.edu of the novel's 'translator', Matthew S. Baker, and a search for him shows that he is quite real and very much extant.  Formerly of the MFA program at Vanderbilt University, he has had a children's novel, If You Find This, just released this year by Little, Brown publishers.

Baker's claim in posting The Numberless online was that it had been penned by Ts’ui Pên, a Chinese writer living in Rome, and that Baker had translated it from the original Italian.  Putting Pên's name into the vast whirl of the Googlemachine shows one reference  -- to a 1941 short story, "The Garden Of Forking Paths", a collection of short works by Jorge Luis Borges and published under that title.

It's a story set during WW1, involving espionage and a search for Hermetic knowledge.  Pên is mentioned as "a learned and famous man" who resigned as governor of a Chinese province "to undertake two tasks: to write a vast and intricate novel, and to construct an equally vast and intricate labyrinth ... in which all men would lose their way." Ts'ui Pên was murdered before completing the novel. The draft he left behind was confusing, contradictory and made no sense to later readers. The labyrinth he mentioned was never found.

However, the novel Ts'ui Pên wrote was the labyrinth -- his attempt to describe a world where all possible outcomes of an event occur simultaneously, each one itself leading to different possible futures.  Today, given String Theory, The Multiverse, and even stories like "One: A Novel", this vision is hardly new -- but in 1941, notable.

And Heino is still around.


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

Chutulu Makes To Bellow And To Squirm
Wonderboy's "administration" is not an actual government. It's a convoluted, dysfunctional psychodrama. It doesn't bear much relation to the actual world -- though events in the psychodrama have real effect on large numbers of human beings in that actual world.

The principal reason the United States hasn't come apart at the seams more than it already has is the continuity being provided by the bureaucracy of the U.S. government -- which Wonderboy and the alt-Right refer to as the 'Deep State'.

< breaking Godwin's Law >
After Hitler came to power in January, 1933, a new nazi government relied on the old Weimar bureaucratic structure -- not only to support radical change, but to keep the mundane aspects of daily government running -- just as Weimar had used the old Kaiserzeit government to usher in a Republic.

The nazis began a campaign in 1933-34 to push out and replace mid- and high-level members of government bureaucracies -- Jews, those too politically "Red", or otherwise unwilling to cooperate with the New Order. This program was instituted across the board, but particularly true in the Arts, Finance, and The Police. Also, those in government who had secretly (or not so secretly) been early nazi party members settled scores with personal rivals in their departments by denouncing them.

In the lower ranks, there was similar culling and denunciation -- but most government functionaries only saw themselves as serving the legally established order, carrying out their jobs as, duty bound, they always had.

As Chancellor, Hitler disliked the details of running a government or making decisions he saw as beneath him, delegating day-to-day governance -- to his Ministers, and party control to the district Gauleiters.

Nazi control of Germany and the daily life of its citizens was defined by the principles of the nazi party, and backed by new laws in 1934 and 35, primarily against Jews, and government functionaries ensured they were carried out.  The success (albeit limited) of the nazi government's social and financial plans between 1933 and 1938 were in part due to the effort of a government whose structure was rooted in the Hohenzollern era.

After 1933, even if the German version of the Deep State had tried to slow or circumvent Hitler's directives, when the Second World War began, Germany's focus as a military-political state shifted towards 'national security'. Any attempt to throw sand in the gears would be met with the harshest penalties.

Ultimately, Hitler's method of governing -- based more on delusion than reality -- and the toadying obeisance of his direct reports as they squabbled for power and influence, even at the end, overshadowed the government bureaucracies which helped make his grip on power a reality.
< /breaking Godwin's Law >
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 Just Coincidence In The Psychodrama (Digby's Hullabaloo)
[P.S.: Read From Bottom To Top]
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MEHR, MIT EINE KLEINES BETRACHTUNG:  Just a thought -- I expect there will be a chorus of support for release of "The Paper" "The Post", a film extolling the courage of the New York Times'  Washington Post's publishing of 'The Pentagon Papers', which detailed how the U.S. government (i.e., several Presidential administrations, the Defense Department and the Military) had lied to Congress and the public about the scope of and reasons behind America's involvement in the Vietnam War.

There is still little support for Edward Snowden's whistleblowing of the massive violation of privacy of Americans through surveillance of digital communications, among other things. 

Worse, I don't think many people today remember how important the release of those secret documents was, or the context of the era within which they appeared. Between 1961 and 1971 (when the Papers were published), the Bay Of Pigs took place; the U.S. began increasing its involvement in Southeast Asia; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred; the assassination of JFK; the Gulf Of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which prompted a massive deployment of U.S. troops to Vietnam; the assassination of MLK, Jr., and RFK; the 1968 Tet Offensive; the election of Richard Nixon;  the Cointelpro and Phoenix programs, And the War ground on.

(One reason people may not consider the impact of the Papers' release: our current culture is dominated by digital information and digital storage -- easy to access, if you have system permissions.  But handling information in 1971 was as it had always been -- paper documents, stored in files -- and obtaining copies of it took more time, subterfuge and planning than simply copying files to a thumb drive.)

Worse still, I don't believe many people understand or even care about the programs and capabilities Snowden revealed, or the reasons behind his decision to do so.

Even more worse, I couldn't identify the actual name of the film, and the fact that the Pre-Jeffy WaPo was the original venue for publishing the Papers.  The Dog grows old.
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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Future Sky

Current Assumptions


This has been a hard season.  I understand; it's worse, Somewhere Else: so many places in the world outside the United States continue to experience some of the greatest human suffering of the past forty years, since we stepped away from That Land War In Asia.

It's just that -- relative to our own culture, many have it bad, here: no matter what that paragon of conscious life, Nikki Haley, believes, the United Nations just issued a report stating that of First World nations, America has the highest level of extreme poverty.

And here among my tiny circle, it's been a hard season. For the West, it's been cold (what the parts of America with record snowfall are experiencing would be unimaginable, here). Two friends have a parent, now dying (one a Survivor -- of Auschwitz, no less). Health issues abound; everyone seems to have a cold or the flu; all more or less normal -- but, people in my Cohort are Olds, and those with chronic health problems seem to have been hit particularly hard.

Christmas parties at The Place Of Witless Labor were lavish -- our department was taken to a three-star, name restaurant in Kiddietown -- but the dinner had an odd undercurrent ("Enjoy it," my director said to me archly, like a warning. "Next year we won't have budget for this").  I work in Healthcare; no one discusses the future, but everyone is waiting for Wonderboy's other three shoes to drop, and there seems to be an expectation of Hard Road ahead.

For those who are aging with few social extensions, isolation and anxiety are a constant undercurrent, a consuming negative feedback loop. Memory and unfocused thinking slide rapidly into regret and blame -- for oneself, for all the bad decisions; for a life as it is now. It's useless, but people do it all the same.
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Surrounding us and all the details of our lives is the unpredictability of the future, dictated by America's political Right, with Trump as its foil and figurehead. We feel we're at the brink of -- something, some place which no one now living in America has ever seen; and whom no one, except the wealthy, believe it will be anyplace good (and not even They much believe that). Daily, Trump and the creatures around him poison our experience of living with fear and negativity. They appear to pay no penalty for what they do.

There is no hero coming to save us. The Democrats have no coherent plan to rebut what's being done to America, now. I have a bad feeling the DNC will put forward candidates for the 2018 midterms who are as Centrist and inoffensive as possible -- not like those Radical Republicans; no, sir. Recently, the media floats the image of Joe Biden as the Perfect Democratic Presidential Candidate. Draw your own conclusions about how successful any of that excuse for a strategy would be.

Everyone wants things to Be Like They Were -- but the status quo which America's political parties  support is one where Jeff Bezos, World's Richest Human (and the 499 other Oligarchs in the world), can continue having it all. The rest of humanity? Submit your resumes to be considered for 12-hour sweatshop shifts at minimum wage in one of Jeffy's Fulfillment Centers (an exaggeration, but not by much).

Life is unpredictable. We really do live it on a razor's edge. Every day above ground (as a specific part of my Cohort can say from experience) is a Good Day. But the apotheosis of Trump is forcing us to confront another layer of uncertainty in this new year: that things must change, fundamentally -- that the status quo cannot continue. 

Everyone gets that -- and not only in America. But here, no one wants to talk about it. We're frightened, because no one knows what form that change will take, or where we will be at the end of it. And no matter how much we Americans like to think of ourselves as hardy and resilient, reading about Depression or Revolution or Fascism isn't the same thing as experiencing it.

People may begin to understand that, too, in the New Year. I hope, as sincerely as I can exclaim, that we don't have to.
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I called the Oldest Friend, a Bernista who listens politely to me when I rant about an In-The-Dock-At-Nuremberg culpability for the GOP and Democratic party's hierarchy, listened to me this season for a while.

After a pause, she said, "Years ago, before Twitter and all that crap, remember people just forwarded emails to each other as 'social media'?

"Sometime in the late Eighties, someone sent me an email which quoted, I think, a Hopi prophesy; there's a lot of this stuff floating around out there -- which said times were going to change. Everything would be affected. It would be like a flood; that was the metaphor. And there was nothing we could do to prevent it.

"Those who tried clinging to the banks, holding on to their land and possessions, would lose everything and die," she said. "Only the people who surrendered to the current might survive -- no guarantees on that, by the way. They would have to give up everything, and end up wherever the flood took them.

"I got really pissed, reading that. I'd struggled in getting a better job, working on my marriage, taking care of my mother, having a great house and garden," the friend said, "and I understood this was metaphoric -- but, shit.

"We grew up in a generation who believed science could explain or solve any problem. The future would be a continuation of that post-WW2 economic Boom, forever. Americans were going to live in a world that looked like 'The Jetsons'. Television and movies told us that was the future -- if you were white, and mostly male; but never mind that," she said. "So what's this flood about?

"Then, the more data on climate change was available, the less that email seemed so metaphorical. I began reading reports that made it more literal. I might have to lose everything, just to survive?" She laughed. "Well fuck that, I thought."

We talked a while longer. "It had more to do with aging than anything, but over time I began feeling that letting go wasn't so terrible. There are a lot of chickens coming home to roost now. Think of the people raised in peace, before the First World War, and then watched all the reference points in their universe fall apart like a theater backdrop. The more they held on, the harder it was, psychologically.

"If we're seeing the beginnings of a societal collapse coming, or not -- how you see all of that depends on whether you perceive the universe as essentially supportive, or malevolent. That won't change things when there's no money, or food and water. But, 'as a man thinketh', you know?" She laughed again. "Our perspectives are all we really can change in the end, anyway."
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And as gets said over at the Soul Of America, I don't know where the New Year will take us; I barely know where the Old Year went.  Also, too, I don't know where this shitty little blog will go, except to note it doesn't seem to be going away, either.

As a New Year's resolution, however, the Comments have been switched back on. Not sure what that means, but play nice.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Annual Big Good On Last Night Of The Hanukkah

Is It Wonderful This Life?
By I. Rabschinsky

George Bailey Guy Understanding How We Are To Being Completely Screwed

This is now usual standard hoo boy holiday good for you Internets Tradition. You should enjoy, since next time it may be costing you to read this kinds of blog -- because in our Big Huge Nation there is becoming no room for little opinions such as these. But rather than break printing presses, now they can make very hard to find you on the Googling, very slow to load the pages.

And when Internets are very expensive, Peoples will choose sites which load quickly. Like Good News Tower Of Power and Wholesome Musik For Children. You understand.

Ha ha ha. But, of course; if you have the money, you can see. If you are with the huge money, you can have opinions. How fast the Freedom goes, because Freedom. Ha ha ha!

Great-Uncle Yehudi, who is being so much older now (but is strong enough to want to be hit by telephone book until falling down), refuses to be watching the television news. Little Rupert Fox, he never watched, but now he will not see the See Enn Enn, Big Mouse News, or Amazon News, or even BBC or the Pee Bee Ess Very Balanced. "I am angry, Isidore," he says from the big chair which Reclines. "I would spit, if I was not in my own house sitting."

But what if you are not watching, I say; you will be not the informed! Great-Uncle Yehudi says, "You are watching what somebodys are wanting to teach you. And their lesson is always, 'You have no power! You are betrayed! Give up! You cannot be fighting the Bosses! Obey the Cossacks! Shut your mouth and convert to be Christian kind of Gentile!' "

So what do we do? Yehudi makes a sour face. "I will be watching watch The Mister Ed." But what do we do if the Cossacks come? I ask, and Great-Uncle Yehudi laughs.

"Izzi, you are my favorite Great-Nephew (I am only great-nephew, I remind), but Cossacks are already here. You have to choose between learning the lesson They are teaching now, or not learning. And if you decide not to learn, then you must be waiting, and when time comes, being ready to fight."  
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Ah; Great-Uncle Yehudi: and still, we love him. So we make this the annual offering of the Funny for you, hoping that it can remind of the Time Before and make a smile.

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

BAD RICH 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!!

BAD RICH 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 BAD GUY: Long live International Capitalism!
PEOPLE'S MILITIA LEADER: Fire!

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.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Republican Finish Tax Bill; Perhaps Will Provide Details Later

Step Outside

Up There (Getty)

They haven't yet determined how to charge us a fee  for looking up, into the universe -- but would very much like to, because it is who They are, and is what will please Them.

But even so, step outside and look up. 
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tank Onslaught At El Alamein

Nazis Forced To Standstill As Attack Fails

Local Residents Refuse To Allow Uber Service (Associated Press, 1942)

DEEP SOUTH (CHEESE STAR NEWS)  In the bright white depths of the Murrikan South, teams of dedicated journalists crowded around the fortress compound of "Judge" Royo More, in the wake of his defeat by Democratic candidate Doug Jones in yesterday's closely-watched election to fill the Murrikan Senate seat left vacant by Jeffrey Stonewall Beauregard Bonnie Blue Forrest Hill Kiss My Porcelain Sink Sessions. Luther, Strange, was busy nailing ninety-five feces to the door of a Megachurch and could not comment.

The crowd of reporters waited in vain for Royo to appear, and announce anything. After the official results had declared Jones the winner, media teams turned off their microphones so that the White Nation would not hear More, inside his compound, sobbing like a little girl who was denied her Savior Pony.

In Washing Tong, Murrikan Leader was swift to deflect prior remarks and congratulate Jones. "Something is happening here but I don't know what it is! Congratulations, Mister Jones! It doesn't matter because very soon we will take his seat! I'm feeling great about it!"

"I knew all along that Royo could not win," said Our Leader from the Offal Office. "He was old, and hinkey, and there was this smell. I know all about that smell, let me tell you... Smell -- not gonna make it. I knew it. There oughta be a law, against you comin' around, and maybe I'll make one. Thank you."

The WhyHouse Home-Room Teacher, Missy Sarah, ate doughnuts and echoed her master's sentiments. "Stop lookin' at me! All right. The Prestident has said all he's going to say. The Murrikan people voted for him, all of them, and frankly it's typical of the fake media to make up things for him to smell. You're all just rude," she said. "Don't look at my doughnuts."

Asked to comment on the results of the Alabama contest, Senate Majority Leader, Yertle The Turtle, said, "Silence!! 'You hush up your mouth. You have no right to talk to me, such an especial turtle! I rule from this pulpit, overall; can't you see?? There's nothing, no nothing, that's higher than me!' "
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