Thursday, August 22, 2019

Another Day Of Brutal Whiteman Daddy

Requiem

Today is Trump's 944th day in office.

Johannes Brahms: 'Ein Deutsches Requiem', Op. 45; 2nd Movement
("Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras"); Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Choir, 2011

The Amazon is burning. The permafrost is melting. Greenland's ice sheet is melting. The heat waves and water scarcity and even more unpredictable weather patters increase.

Millions of animals, creatures we have grown up in awareness of and, like everything else, took for granted -- whale, tuna, mackerel, dolphin, orcas; elephant, rhino; tiger, lion; cheetah and leopard; tortoises, lizards; great apes and humble birds -- may be gone just within the lifetime remaining to an Old like me.
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The great trees will succumb to disease -- or be cut down, to build a wonderful private home for a crafty and skillfully manipulative great business leader, Aspergerish, and fiercely protective of what is His. What, in his specialness, he deserves.
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Women are losing control over their own bodies. Again. Previously undisturbed American public land is almost being given away to developers. Hundreds of Führertreu judges are being settled in courts across America; 'christian' religious figures preach hate from the stages of their megachurches and pray for misfortune or death for the hated liberals. 

Large numbers of black Americans continue to be shot; large numbers of Americans continue to shoot each other. The Leader and his satraps made noises about gun control -- but a simple phone call from the NRA and that has all gone away. They will have their guns and Jesus.

America's principal polluting industries -- coal; pesticides and chemicals; fossil fuel automobile manufacturing; oil and mining -- have had prior regulations safeguarding the environment removed. Drinking water in Detroit and New Jersey, as in Flint, have been discovered to have unacceptably high levels of lead -- particularly in districts with high concentrations of poverty and large populations of persons of color.The banking and finance industry, likewise, has less oversight into their activities.

Today is Trump's 944th day in office ... and, nothing happens.

There are -- barring some unforeseen event -- either 495, or 1,955 days of Trump left.

And the Amazon is burning.
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The Requiem Mass in the Roman Catholic liturgy begins with prayers in Latin for the dead; A German Requiem focuses on the living, with text sung by the choir in German from the 'Beatitudes' in the Luther Bible.)

... Herr, lehre doch mich,
dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss
und mein Leben ein Zeil hat,
und ich davon muss.

... Lord, teach me
that I must have an end,
and that my life has a purpose,
and that I must accept this.
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You know, of course -- even if The Leader were to suddenly depart, he would be given a state funeral of pomp and regal splendor to outshine that of any prior President, any emperor, queen or king. It would go on for days. The Murdochs would charge titanic, confiscatory rates for advertising as they broadcast the somber proceedings, day after day. Melania, dressed in tasteful, close-fitting black dress and four-inch heels, will be seen to cry her tear.

Lard Boy and Sean and Tuck, Glamorous Gleny and Mikey Wiener, Little Annie and Alex Anon would screech from their studios and bunkers, demanding blood sacrifices of hated liberals for the loss of their god. Not even North Koreans, were they to publicly mourn the loss of yet another ruler in the brutal Kim dynasty, would be able to outdo the True Trumpers in their anguish and viciousness. They too would blame Teh Libruls, the 'coloreds', immigrants and women who don't  know their place, and demand vengance.

The whole world would be made to contemplate, to think, on The Leader -- just as he demanded each day, just as he would have wished. And, The Leader would be enshrined in Republican mythology as being even greater than Saint Ronald The Dim.

Then, President Pence would step before the cameras, begin by saying "Jesus...", and then something else would happen.
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MEHR, MIT EIN ENDE:  I think we're done. Please try and remember to treat each other well before we go; thanks.
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MEHR, MIT ECKEL u. ABSCHEU:   Davey Koch, whose family fortune was based in chemical manufacture and pollution, and one of the principal funders of America's 'Tea Party' movement; whose 'foundations' spread disinformation and discord based in keeping Proles in their places as servants of persons like himself, is dead.
Mr Koch became one of the world's richest people, with assets of $42.2 billion in 2019 and a 42 per cent stake in the global family enterprise, Koch Industries...  [He] had palatial homes in Manhattan, Southampton, N.Y., Aspen, Colo., and Palm Beach, Fla.; a yacht in the Mediterranean rented for $500,000 a week for summer getaways; and acquaintances that included Winston Churchill Jr., Prince Charles, and Bill and Melinda Gates...  for years, he and [his brother] Charles faced, and denied, accusations of having exploited libertarian principles for self-serving purposes...
Now he knows what we do not.  As Minos would say in Dante's Vacation Guide, "Thou Art Sent!"
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MEHR, MIT DER UNHEILICHES u. UNBEKANNT:  (Reuters / August 23, 2019) Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy to treat a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, a court spokeswoman announced Friday.
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Smash The Past With Savage Blows

Yellowhammer


Britain's Prime Minister; The New Model Of Leadership:  'Mercurial'  'Individual'  =  Wanker

At the end of Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" (1981), a boy has escaped through time in the company of some mutinous employees of the Supreme Being, ultimately defeating The Evil One by carbonizing him, then blowing him into a bunch of carbonized chunks.

The boy wakes up, at home in bed (all a dream?) to find his parents' house on fire. The Fire Brigade brings out a toaster-oven, advising it was the cause. The parents open it -- and inside is what the boy recognizes as a chunk of The Evil One.  "Mum! Dad!" the boy shouts. "It's evil! Don't touch it!!"

The parents look dumbly at their son (I'm not gettin' ya, boy) -- then, look at the Chunk in the toaster-oven; at each other -- and then both of them reach into the oven and touch it. There is a fiery explosion, whereupon Mum and Dad 'splode into Chunks themselves.
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Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and the rest of the Wankers are pushing a No-Deal Brexit -- not because there is no other alternative. But Boris and his Brexiteers appear to be using the threat of a no-deal as a gigantic game of Chicken with the EU. But, Oops -- the Union called their bluff.

Since Boris buffaloed his way into Number 10, girlfriend in tow, enough evidence has surfaced that he and Nigel and the Wankers intend to crash out of the EU -- because they have no other plan. There isn't one. And when October 31st arrives, and a Crash-out occurs, the government's own report predicts a Britain headed for disaster: chaos at ports of entry, shortages of critical goods, medicines, petrol; businesses closing; layoffs; even riots.

Britain's cross-governmental civil preparedness plan for a no-deal Brexit even has a code name: Operation Yellowhammer.
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A common economic framework has been the chief reason for the EU's existence in the first place. Crashing out of the Union with no 'deal' means (among other things) no trade and employment agreement between Britain and the EU. Highly-paid employees from across the EU, living and working in England, will become 'foreigners' on November 1st. So will British citizens working abroad, and British retirees in Portugal, Spain, Italy or southern France.

Advantages British businesses have had within the EU will disappear, kicking them smartly in the balls just at the point when a delicately interconnected global economy is slowing. And a Brexit crash-out may be the thing which adds to collective financial pressures and turns a global slowdown into something deeper and more serious.

It's less clear whether Yellowhammer and Nigel's demolition derby will mean the end of the United Kingdom, or not. A majority in Scotland (62%) and Northern Ireland (56%) voted to remain in the EU (Wales voted to leave, 53% - 47%). There are clear economic benefits for them to do so -- and there's enough regionalist sentiment, in Scotland at least, to use a crash-out as an opportunity to push for independence. Boris Johnson doesn't remember Culloden and doesn't care; Nicola Sturgeon certainly does.
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After the 2016 Brexit referendum, some pundits were quick to note that 'Leave' won because its supporters were the English equivalent of Trumper populists -- nationalist, nativist, anti-immigrant conservatives, the National Front's "Britain For the British!" types seen in the late 1970's.

Others saw in the vote a rejection of the policies of neoliberalism and the forced austerity created by organizations like the IMF, ECB and WTO, which the EU voted to uphold and Britain agreed to. Those 'Leave' voters were more concerned about economics which benefited a wealthy elite, than nationalist or anti-immigrant sentiments.

But for Boris, Nigel and the Brexiteers, leaving the EU has never been about immigration, or any one issue. Brexit was only a lever through which they could take control of Britain's Conservative party, in the same way Trump now controls the Republican party in the United States.

They cultivated a right-wing populism, all about kicking a liberal Britain to the curb -- a nationalistic, anti-immigrant, privatized nation, full of proud 'Little Englanders' who saw each other through their traditional pecking order of wealth and class. An authoritarian model, where it's organizers -- like Trump and friends in the U.S. -- will benefit greatly.

Trump's Secretary of the Treasury and Spouse Enjoy Their Lifestyle
(Time Magazine Online)

In America, Trump cloaks his greed and racism (with the help of the Murdochs) in a manufactured popularity and traditional American imagery. He lies about himself constantly, shamelessly. Being President is just another way to siphon money out of a world of Worker-Bee Losers, and he's filled his cabinet with people who believe exactly the same -- for these people, "public service" means the public serving them. Trump has bought their loyalty with access to streams of cash, and their snouts are buried in the feeding trough.

Boris, Nigel and the Wankers want the same: a Trump-like political agenda that gives them power to line their pockets and distribute largess to other rightist Wankers. They've dressed up their swinish greed with more sonorous and adult-sounding phrases (typical with a people who use language like poetry, even when it's for a utilitarian purpose) -- but it's a power grab for personal gain, pure and simple.
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So, if everyone understands that crashing out of the EU is like touching the piece of pure evil in the convection oven, and you will explode and die... why? Why do it?

My perception is that Boris, and Nigel, and opportunistic British Conservatives want a Britain disrupted and disorganized. It's easier to loot when it's prostrate. It's like corporate raiders, leverage-buying a behemoth company fallen on hard times, then butchering it and selling it off piecemeal for their own enrichment and that of their friends.

They're not using a new model for seizing power -- but it's being pursued around the world, at the same time, by too many people to appear completely coincidental:  Bolsonaro in Brazil, Salvini in Italy, Orban in Hungary, Duarte in the Philippines, The Great Leader in the U.S. -- and now Boris, Nigel and the Wankers.  It's Steve Bannon's populismcreate the chaos; repeatedly blame liberals and the central government as the cause; then take advantage of it. Control the conservative party by forcing it into more radical positions. Once in power, do whatever the hell you want.

What's being torn apart isn't a corporate entity, it's a national government -- and the political and personal benefits at that scale are enormous. This kind of takeover isn't democracy; it isn't about creating a government to best to serve its citizens. It's about power  -- rewarding one's friends; punishing one's enemies; and holding on to power for as long as possible, usually measured in election cycles. Then, having drained everything out of the country you can, walk away. Who the fuck cares what happens to the Little People? You got yours, Jacky Boy: #Winning!

The potential chaos created by a no-deal Brexit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- for Boris, Nigel and the Wankers, for Stevie -- but the tricky bit is, they will have to try and put this massive economic and social disruption over on the British people. The only way they can do this is to lie and obfuscate, say that they're "doing everything they can" to go out with a deal. But, lying is something easy for Boris, he's already done it to become Prime Minister.

After the no-deal Brexit on October 31st, Boris will blame the misery he and the Wankers have created on the EU, or immigrants, or liberals. He'll have the Murdoch press to help him sell whatever lies they want to push. There could even be a war with Iran by then, which might distract people, for a while.

And then, there's Trump, riding to the rescue of Britain's economy. Boris seems to agree with making America Britain's principal trading partner to make shore up its economy in a post-Brexit world, replacing a portion of the economic framework Britain currently has with the EU. Trump, of course, mentions it as if it were a done deal.

It might provide a temporary lift to the markets, even a talking point in Trump's reelection -- the right-wing echo chamber would claim it as a victory for Free Trade under the wise stewardship of  The Leader. But ultimately it's just smoke and mirrors -- any rewards of such an agreement are highly speculative, and years in the future. It's not clear the U.S. Congress would allow or ratify such a treaty, and business with America can't replace, for England, the income they currently receive from all EU nations they trade with.

And The Great Leader isn't a dependable business partner. Boris may learn the hard way that with Trump, there is no more 'Special Relationship' -- and Boris and the Wankers need The Leader more than he needs Boris.
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One of the great, momentous political questions of the 21st century is how do we minimize the effects of climate, and realize an equitable future for all, without creating a corporatized world where people become 'aphids milked by ants', through the Facebooks and Googles and Cambridge Analyticas?  Put another way -- how do you oppose neoliberalism without replacing it with nationalism or fascism? I believe the answer is clear.

However, as with our own Congress, the British Parliament is paralyzed. Leadership on all sides seems compromised. Liberals and Labor are divided; Conservatives are divided; every party in Britain seems disorganized, overwhelmed with backbiting and infighting. It's how Yellowhammer was able to bully his way to leadership of the Conservatives, and into Number 10, in the first place.

At the moment, it looks like things are disorganized enough in Britain that a no-deal Brexit, and everything to follow it, is the likely outcome; a victory of the Buffoons. Still. I like to think there's some fight in Labor yet, beset as that party seems to be with its own internal issues.

It's not that I'm kneejerk-sympathetic to Labor as the primary Left party in England; they are, however, the only one preserving some third way between the Raving Monster Looney Party of Boris and Nigel the Brexiteers, and the Neoliberal New World Order.
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Your Friday Contusion From The Collision With Collusion

On The Road To Recession

Trapped By Brutal Whiteman Daddy With No Bathroom Stops   (Image: Machine / Mongo)
[ Clicky For Biggly!  Easy -- and Fun! ]

The hits just keep on coming. I may decide to weigh in and do some barking -- but after slaving over a hot Photoshop all afternoon (and it's over 100 in my little corner of the Left Coast), I'm going to find some shade and lie down, until.
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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Time At The Bar

Random Barking Saturday: Last Orders Please, Ladies and Gentlemen

Storm Over Venice Lagoon; July 26, 2019 - © Chris Bertram
[The political right feels t]he old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined ... national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots [by] not merely outsiders and foreigners ... but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power... the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.
--Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style In American Politics" (1964)
Essentially, American conservatism is based on large central government bad! Not to be trusted; small government is good! It's the argument between Jefferson and Adams. It's a variation on the theme of "State's Rights!" which allowed some American humans to own, buy and sell other humans, and which caused some unpleasantness in the early 1860's. And since.

After FDR, some on the political and cultural Right said America's central government was more Big Brother than benefactor -- that 'Wide-Eyed One-Worlders' who created the United Nations, the multilateral global order after WW2, were out to destroy individual freedom and initiative, and serve America to the Commie enemy on a platter by weakening our resolve, and polluting the purity of our bodily essences.

If you noted the snark in that last sentence, it's there because most of the people pushing those notions were considered a political fringe (the John Birch Society being the most visible). But they included some with hereditary wealth or business power -- and when crackpot notions are fed on money, they're no longer just crackpot notions but genuine conspiracies.

(Remember the rich asses who had opposed FDR, who flirted with treason by organizing a plan to remove Roosevelt from power. After all, what would happen to them? They were the right sort; they owned America! No one would touch them... and no one did.)
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Now, 35 years since the FCC's Fairness Doctrine was eliminated under Reagan; after thirty-five years of sewage being pumped into the culture by Murdoch's Fox, by Limbaugh and Savage and all their wannabe-imitators; after decades of behind-the-scenes manipulation by the Mercers and other right-wing media families... the ideas of the crackpot Right aren't relegated to the fringes in American politics. They are mainstream conservative viewpoints, now.
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Trump gets up and spouts incendiary racist garbage -- ensuring, again, that all eyes are upon Him, the world subsumed by the eternally needy, carnivorous child-man -- and nothing happens. Republicans say absolutely nothing, except to defend Trump. Children are traumatized in a detention bureaucracy which industrializes indifference and prejudice.  -- and nothing happens.


So, Trump doubles, even triples down on his prior comments, becoming even more unhinged and florid in his display of a narcissistic personality disorder -- and nothing happens. The GOP is now, fully and completely, a political party of racism, overt corruption; even treason. And nothing happens.

Except another mass shooting, of course.
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Each day -- every day -- Trump and the political and cultural Right beat America. They kick the country, and any chance to help it live up to its ideals, to the curb. Then they urinate on America as it lies bleeding in the gutter. They take America's wallet and car keys. They roar with laughter because it's just sport for these lowlifes; it's The Great Game. They're getting rich. No one can touch them; they run things!

No one wants to believe other humans can be so malicious, so swinish and venal; so filled with hatred and glee at the harm they do -- that it actually gives them pleasure to cause so much harm. That they put their own desires for money and for things above human lives and the reality of the world around us. They can't be like that. It can't be that simple. 

But, yes. It can.

And, with the help of 35 years of insane, babbling repetition from right-wing media (and decades of Democratic spinelessness), they've reduced the idea of an effective American central government to a joke. See? See how disorganized and useless the federal gov'mint is? They say. We need a strong man to lead us! An' we'll beat up anybody says different! USA!  USA!

And nothing happens. No one does anything to stop them. Not even when 31 people die because (among other things) their killers listened to the lies of The Leader. Instead of recoiling from Trump's toxicity, the Republicans say nothing, or actually back him up.


Nothing happens. And no one is surprised.
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What must it be like to live in a world where natural resources are slowly being reduced as its population continues to increase? Where nations have nuclear weapons? And all against a backdrop of extremes in weather and temperature? 

What must it be like to live in a country run by avaricious bullies, who deny climatic change in the World is even occurring? Where a sizeable number in the population have extreme, delusional political views, own weapons, and dream of a day when they can make the terrible rat-crazy feelings in their heads go away? Where television and radio and newspapers feed those crazy-rat feelings every moment of every day?

Tell me: for you, what is it like?
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These people hate you, and me. Because they have been instructed, over and over, for thirty years that you and I are the enemy. Men, women, and children; natives and immigrants; people of color (for white, too, is one of many colors), and politically left -- we have all been reduced to the level of Things, in their eyes.

Ironically,  it's the same way a wealthy elite see all of us, including Trump's base -- as chattel, worker-bees, disposable; nameless and faceless.

And These People have been taught, over and over, to believe that they live in a state if emergency,  'No-Go Zones' of Muslims and immigrants and LGBTQ people and sick hippies... a world manipulated by liberals with money, the ungodly and the evil. They are just surrounded by these terrible -- Things. And they are being told that, one day, they will have to deal with us. That they will be permitted, unleashed, to do that. Like a shooter in a Wal-Mart, a grade school, a synagogue or a night club.

They listen to The Leader, who tells them -- wink, wink -- if they can just remove the terrible Other, the Things surrounding them... then their misery will disappear. All will be well; a golden future; hallelujah.

This cannot continue, and This cannot end well.
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Reprint Heaven Forever: We're Whalers On The Moon

Yet Again, The Birthday of Big Marine Mammal Avatar Creators

Moving through life, we find ourselves on occasion in the midst of experience or the presence of a thing which resonates and reminds that something, more than what we think we know or can perceive (if we would just stop and shut up and pay enough attention to see), exists.

Principally, this happens when we're 'out in nature', but it also happens when we encounter some art -- in particular, when it's been created by someone who made deep and illuminating connections and Brought Them Back To Tell Thee. From August 1 in 2016 and 2017 and 2018.
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There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.
-- Herman Melville / Moby-Dick, or, The Whale
Over at the Soul Of America, it's a celebration of Herman Melville's 200th birthday (!!!), and things of the Sea, and a Whale, and other notables which Herman brought back, To Tell Thee.

I considered writing a post from the viewpoint of the Whale just for the potential Yucks (because, god knows, We Need The Yucks Wherever We Can Get Them), but gave it up and settled for the Humorous Image.

The best thing about the post, and the reason I mention it here, is -- Herman tends to be overlooked in a culture whose highest expression is a Rhianna / Pitbull remix; it's good to be reminded that he is still there -- as he reminds us that we are chased by our mortality; and that sometimes the Form Of The Destructor is large, albino, and aquatic.  For me, it's a big lawn mower. Your Harbinger O' Death™, of course, may differ.

I was introduced to Melville when I was fourteen -- not through the novel he's most often identified with, but in the short work, "Bartelby The Scrivener" (1853), a classic in its own right. Ishmael's tale was next, and I was, uh, hooked. Later, I wasn't able to read anything by James or Conrad that didn't refer back to the narrative style I encountered first with Melville.

"Moby Dick: Or, A Whale" is ubiquitous. There is No Whale before He who populates a portion of that book (Yeah, okay; 'Shamu'  and 'Willy' are not the same thing). The Whale at least lurks, an unseen presence, in the background of all the on-ship action -- like Death, or Fate, or reruns of Three's Company. As if the Whale might chuckle and snicker in the dark during certain scenes:
" 'What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare? Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. By heaven, man, we are turned round and round in this world, like yonder windlass, and Fate is the handspike.'   
" 'Heh heh heh heh,' " came a deep basso rumble out of the darkness which hid the waters. Ahab started, but did not otherwise acknowledge the presence of that upon which he had focused for so long."
That Big Marine Mammal is archetypal, now. And, aber natürlich, the moment something makes an appearance on "Family Guy", it's an absolute certainty that, whatever it is, it's now hard-coded into our DNA.

 Herman Left Out The Part Where Whales Like Raisin Bran
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MEHR, MIT KEINE POLITIK: My Very Own Hillaryite Colleague asks, "So you hate music, too?" (This, because of the Rhianna / Pitbull quip.) And I would agree, it's absurdist reductionism to claim that the essence of culture in Eusa is rap music and movies like Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. I'm convinced that people (or, Whales; or very intelligent Honey Badgers) in the not very distant future will look back on this period as one of the most varied and vibrant in the history of our humanoid species -- until, you know, that thing happens.
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UND NOCH IMMER MEHR:  Once I saw this, I could not un-see it. It is an actual book. Swear to god.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HzYH1qVAn2s/VLuVF_f9DWI/AAAAAAAABbI/SC32BIgWys4/s1600/Ships.jpg
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UND: WAS IST AUCH SCHON WIEDER LOS? MEHR:  At one point, if you had $39.9K, Jim Morrison's Moby could have been yours.

At that price, you'd think the seller would have provided free shipping -- but, remember: this is Aremica, Land Of The Free and Home Of The Hip.






Friday, June 28, 2019

Reprint Heaven: Edge Of The Volcano Edition

Unraveling

(Originally From 2016)


Cousin Ignatz, Asleep At Princip's Post: Sarajevo, 2014 (Matthew Fisher / Postmedia News)

Roughly twelve hours and 105 years ago, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Grand Duchess Sophie, were shot by Gavrillo Princip, a member of an assassination team sent to the Bosnian city by the government of Serbia.

Collectively, the team was the gang which couldn't shoot straight: armed with crude grenades, a few pistols, and carrying some form of suicide pill, they waited along the route Franz Ferdinand's car would take as it drove beside the Miljacka river, which cuts through Sarajevo (local Austro-Hungarian authorities had helpfully published the Archduke's route beforehand).

Most of the team either was poorly positioned, or chickened out at the last moment.  One conspirator did throw a bomb at the Archduke's car, which bounced off its folded-back fabric top and exploded near a second car traveling just behind. Several people in the car had minor injuries and it continued on to a local hospital.

The Archduke's driver, Leopold Lojka, continued to Sarajevo city hall. When Franz Ferdinand arrived, he effectively unloaded on the hapless administrators about the state of their local security ("I come to your city and am greeted with bombs!"). Meanwhile, back at the river, the would-be bomber had jumped into the Miljacka and swallowed his suicide pill -- which he promptly threw up. The police arrested him, barely managing to keep him from being lynched a mob of pro-Austro-Hungarian citizens, and so save him for later trial and execution.

At approximately 12:30 PM, having finally accepted the thanks of the Sarajevo city fathers, Franz Ferdinand and his wife got back into their car, planning to go to the local hospital to see those wounded in the bomb attack that morning. They used the same route, in reverse, that they had taken into the city, driving along the river. But when the Chauffeur, Lojka, came to a particular intersection -- to his left, a street; to the right, a bridge over the Miljacka river -- he was confused.

 The Royal Couple (Seated, At Rear) Leaving City Hall: Fifteen Minutes Left

Believing it to be the route he needed to take to drive to the hospital, Lojka slowed and turned left into the street.  Almost immediately, he realized he'd made a mistake and stepped on the brakes. The car came to a stop a few yards into the street, and Lojka moved to put it in reverse gear.

 The Intersection, 2014: The Archduke's Car Turned Left, Into This Street;
The Restaurant Where Princip Bought Lunch, Now A Museum (Photo: CNN)

At that same intersection was a small restaurant. Gavrillo Princip, last member of the Serbian assassination squad, had gone inside to buy a sandwich, angry and dejected after the team's failure that morning. Standing on the sidewalk outside the cafe, he saw a large, dark-green automobile turn out of the boulevard and come to a stop directly in front of him. In the very rear seat were the Archduke and his wife.

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne had been delivered, less than ten feet away, from an armed assassin who had come to the city specifically to kill him. If you were writing a novel or screenplay, anything that coincidental would be branded as implausible. No one's gonna believe that.

Princip didn't hesitate. He dropped his sandwich, pulled a pistol out of his jacket and stepped towards the car, firing several shots, managing to mortally wound both the Archduke and his wife. Lojka, the driver, was ordered to rush the royal couple to the local military governor's residence. Sophie died on the way. A military officer in the car, checking on the Archduke's condition, asked the wounded man how he was; Ferdinand said, "Nichts (It's nothing)", and died.

Just over a month later, Europe was at war. Over the next four-plus years, the entire social fabric of the continent and much of the world changed, irrevocably. Monarchies ended; millions died; the map of the world changed as the victors annexed territory from Germany and Austria Hungary, and new countries were created. New technology was developed -- and in the Versailles Treaty, the groundwork was laid for a second, even more horrible war to begin by 1939.

(And, in 1918-19, the Spanish Influenza infected 500 million people, killing 40 million, worldwide. It was the largest number of fatalities due to pandemic disease since the 'Black Death': the coming of  Bubonic Plague to Europe in the 14th century [which killed an estimated 200 million].  In the U.S., millions were made sick, and 675,000 died [~0.6 per cent of America's 103 million population at the time]. It's often referred to as the "forgotten epidemic" -- just one more terrible event in an ocean of violence and atrocity.)

 Cousin Ignatz, Worn Out By All The History
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Why the history lesson? We're living through history. When we read about events in Europe during the Interwar Years (1918 - 1939), there's a feeling of inevitability, of being slowly sucked down a drain -- the revolving-door failures of parliamentary governments in France; Britain's declining empire; the manic Totentanz of global capital leading to 1929 and the Great Depression; the rise and fall of Weimar; the apotheosis of Italian and Japanese, and finally German, fascism. Regional war and civil war. 

... and we know where the story is going. It ends in Nanking, the Anschluss; Kristalnacht, Dunkirk; Auschwitz; Stalingrad; the Warsaw Ghetto; D-Day; the Führerbunker; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But we always read about the years leading up to all that with a mounting sense of horror precisely because we all know how it ends. 

And we have the same feeling, looking at major global currents in our own time. While Brexit may be not have been a "shot heard 'round the world", the Tories are still (unbelievably), in power in the UK. The Scots still wonder about independence. The Greek, French and Italian economies are still at risk. Putinland, the Great Bear, still pushes the envelope here and there -- in Ukraine, and Syria. As IS loses on battlefields in the continuing slow-motion atrocity that is the Middle East, suddenly they appear in a Philippine city, on a London street. Disproportionate numbers of Black people are shot in major American cities on a routine basis. Climate change is not fake news.

America, ruled by Babbitry, greed and illusion, retreats from the world stage. Its leader is Bloated, Raving, delegating the running of a government to corrupt, car-wash dilettantes. Other nation-state players are happy to rush into the vacuum we leave behind. The balances in the old alliances we created after WWII have been squandered, all but unraveled. 

A regional conflict -- between India and Pakistan; Kim Jong Fat Boy's Fun Republic Of Chuckles and South Korea; Iran and Saudi Arabia, almost seems like a sure thing -- 'of course that's where all this is going'; no one would be truly surprised if one started tomorrow. What we wouldn't be prepared for is what would happen the day after, and the day after that.

Kleiner Mann; Was Nun?
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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Reprint Heaven: Scrood

When You're Lost In The River In Juarez

(This is a truncated reprint of a post from July, 2016 [before The Leader], and already reposted in February this year.

(Why it's being repeated, again, with emphasis on details from other writer's analyses (and links to the originals; read them, please) isn't laziness. It's because their points are no less true. We need to understand what's happening politically, in America and elsewhere in the world, and in context with the effects of rapidly changing global climate. We need to be clearer in our understanding of our political and cultural currents than we have been in a long time.

(So points others are making deserve to be repeated, often -- not because any of the Democratic party's contenders are going to save us, but because what gets said in the debates and which contender is 'chosen' as The Candidate to face off against The Monster will tell us just where the state of American politics is, relative to reality.  The bar of my expectations is set particularly low, but we'll see.)
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When Brexit was a Day One news item, the English-language European and American mainstream media characterized 'Leave' voters as resembling the 'National Front' types I once 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.

It's true that there was plenty of Tin-Foil Hat, Right-wing populist, 'Little Englander' nonsense, and Cambridge Analytica - fueled manipulation going on. But the Vote was also distinctive as a rejection of what many Britons saw as baked-in neoliberal inequality embodied in EU policies which benefited the same crowd of global elites.

Before 2008 (and even today), anyone claiming 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 derided as a Loony Liberal (or, worse, a Communist) and effectively ignored.

In the U.S., after 2008 just about everyone was scrambling to stay afloat. Only in places outside America were there any organized protests or even 'social unrest' -- until the 2011 #Occupy movement (which had a quick international spread) showed exactly how deeply reaction to the Crash ran.

The mainstream media often described The 2008 Crash as an 'excess of the financial community' -- just an aberration, something out of the ordinary. But even if they couldn't understand the details, the results were easy to see -- institutions which caused The Crash were bailed out with your money, and mine. The individuals responsible were not indicted. With few exceptions, after a while no one in the mainstream media seemed to care that All Of Us had paid to bail out corporate banks, to underwrite the insolvency of greedily-run private businesses with public loans.
"[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.
-- "The Unwinding", George Packer (2013; Wikipedia Entry, Paraphrased)
And in the eleven years since Der Untergang, there has been a massive transfer of wealth, globally, which we haven't come to terms with: in America, 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.

Even so, in America not everyone will march in the streets; it's still relatively safe to cast an anonymous vote -- ergo, the popularity of Bernie's message, and on the opposite side, Trump's. And the Brexit vote. They're all bellwethers of what's going on in the hearts of The People, something politicians are trying hard to manipulate and control.

Mister, Jones

Everyone I know has the deeply unsettling feeling (and has had it, since the shark-feeding-frenzy that preceded 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 a future no one wants to admit is even possible. 

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 Left populism and Crypto-Fascist populism on the Right. Before 2016, Business As Usual (personified by Obama and Hillary The Inevitable !) ran the show. Even with the apotheosis of Trump, The Usual Suspects still own the circus -- things still work to their benefit because they wish it.

We still have a 'bustling economy' and everything is... just great. But it's a sham; we feel it right down to the marrow in our bones. No one know what's going to happen, and no one knows the Form Of The Destructor. All we have is the sense of 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. 

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 (The Tenderloin; San Francisco CA)
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: More Plutonium For The Children
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'
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 (emphasis added -- again, remember this is from the spring of 2016; possibly inserting "Biden" for "Clinton" will work):
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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Monday, June 24, 2019

Your Cephalapod Monday

Jobs For Suckers

At Least Cephalapods Don't Find Excuses To Release Toxic Levels Of Societal Stress
By Assaulting Each Other At A Child's Baseball Game

Today is Cephalapod Monday. Take a Cephalapod to lunch -- and, no, having Cephalapod for lunch does not count, barbarian. The average Cuttlefish is at least as smart as your Dog -- just because it can't do the NYTimes Mini-Crossword or know who Tucker Carlson is doesn't mean it couldn't beat you at 'Jeopardy'. We recommend not trying to eat things which have the potential to be smarter than Tucker Carlson -- which is a long list of Things, beginning with kitchen appliances.
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There are many jobs in Amrica -- at least, until the Crash comes. You may wish to have one of them (Note: Cephalapods And Dogs Need Not Apply!)

Acting Defensive Secretary: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His wise stewardship of Amrica. If you know what the front and back of a boat is called it is a plus. Also missiles! Some experience suggested, but if you're a friend of the Mercers, Ralph Reed or 'lil Stevie Bannon; well, allowances can be made. There will be some travel in this position. You will wear Blue. They will play Die Präsentiermarsch whenever you get up to go to the restroom. And, do not worry about That I-ran -- you're just an Acting Secretary! You're only acting, and don't have to be a real secretary, and take dictation or make coffee, very often. Learn to change color to blend in with your surroundings. Don't ask questions about those UFOs and you should not fuck up and be okay.

Acting Department Of Homeyland Insecurity Secretary: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His Big Hands, grabbing Amrica by the genitalia, like he had tentacles. You must have a home on the land, somewhere, and be ready to sweep all those who are bad in The Leader's eyes from within our Borders, except for the ones He wishes to clean His toilets and trim things on His golf courses. You must be hard, and do the hard things so that The Leader will not fire you. Mostly, you will be in the Bunker. Wear black, and they will play The Bonny Blue Flag for you whenever you scratch yourself. And, do not worry -- you're an only an Acting Secretary! Which limits your potential culpability at the International Court at the Hague for crimes against humanity, maybe. Just acting! Still, you are prohibited from fucking up in all time zones. A real secretary would quit, or ask for a raise, or work from home.

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo
In Middle Of Blog Rant

Acting United Nations Ambassador: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His Amrica, the bestest country -- not like those scheisshole countries like France and Sweden. As with Nick Haley before, you may defecate on the floor in front of foreign dignitaries, like a goat.  And you must go to that UN building and repudiate every alliance and destroy as much Good Will as we may have had with all other countries, and isolate Amrica from the community of nations for no explainable reason, except that The Leader wishes it. You will be graded on this! You will wear Plaid and they will play Pop! Goes The Weasel for you whenever you fart into the seat cushion. And, do not worry -- you're only an Acting Secretary,  A real secretary would wear a Vicky's Secret brassiere, and eat Calimari, see. So, don't fuck up!

Acting Chef of Staff: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and the shrewd way He takes things, here in Amrica, and hides them at More-Lego. Once the job of Wash-n-Rince "Nancy" Preibus and General Kelly, holding this position with both hands will make you responsible for everything, including purchasing many Treats for Leader, and being Ivankagalonka's PB (Personal Bitch). It is a thankless job, and as long as you have it you will never thank anyone, for anything. You will wear Gray, be required to Hold Your Squid, and the Murine Band will play the 'Love Theme' from All The President's Men for you, on the hour. Do not fuck up.

Additional Obligatory Small Animal Photo
(Image: Screenshot, Foxtel Network [Australia], 1997)

Acting Federal Emerging Meringue Agency (FEMA) Director: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His huge intellect and His immense hands and his knowing that in Amrica, climate science is just Hooey. This is a really big job, getting ready to make Amrica the Greatest Disaster Movie of all time -- and you get to be the Director! How cool is that? Not very, given the global heating. There will be plenty of travel for you, and the food in those all-expenses-paid trips to meet Coal and Plutonium and Fozzilfool executives is supposed to be "really something". You will get to say, "We will look to the science" and "There is some question how much humans have affected our flexible climate." You will wear Poly-esther and be photographed eating some form of Crisps made from reef-dwelling aminal species. The 'Gutzholtz Rangers Band' of Preeborgen, Minnesota, will play a medely of tunes from Richard Rodgers' Victory At Sea on Alpenhorns, made from the tusks of African Elephants, every time you check into an exclusive hotel, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Taxpayer. And, don't fuck up!

Acting Icky Combustible Enfoodment (ICE) Director:  You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His deep knowing of Amrica and its desire to be the whitest of all cold, icy whiteness. No milk or snow or never-worn, briefs-style underwear is as white and cold as the Amrica that you must create for The Leader. He campaigned for and made promises to The Gasket Of Unmentionables that all the bad people from 'somewhere else' would be made to go away. By Soon! So get right on that. You will wear sky-blue and will be Shot From Guns, as the 72-voice Aquarium Church Choir (now with 50% more Cephalapod!) sings Marching, Marching To Shibboleth. Good luck! Didya fuck up yet? No? Keep trying.


Acting Federal Aging Airplanes (FAA) Administrator: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His terrifying desire to fly, crapping on all Amrica, like a diseased seagull. You will be responsible for so little to so few that this job is a cakewalk. You will be required to eat cake, also, and that's as tough as it gets. You may have to appear on TV after large-scale air disasters, oh, maybe eight or ten times a year, but those poor people had to know the risks when they put themselves on the planes. Right? Oh, ah-yuh. And remember the useful phrase, "pilot error"; it's not like you built the damn planes yourself or anything.  It's not like you're a bloody octopus, multitasking genius that you may be! No blame! No collusion! You will wear Red, and every time the FaLaLa Orchestra plays the "Up In The Air, Junior Birdman!" song, you will do a Tequila shooter. The only way you can fuck up is to miss out on that cake!

Acting Sturgeon General: You must be willing to smile and say good things about The Leader and His wonderful form, his manly arteries in the Big Hands; like a twenty-year-old, he's is so healthful, and that you have never seen a man-child so trim and fit in all ways. Be prepared to say that. You will be provided with guidance so that any decisions about public health will not discomfit large drug companies, or the Persons who hold with their suckers blocks of Pharma stocks in Off-The-Shore accounts. And remember -- you're not really a doctor; you just play one in the governament. A real doctor would wear scrubs all day. You will wear Teal, and the Hester Street Rentgirls Band will play "Like A Sturgeon" for you. Often. If you fuck up, no one really notices.
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Extra Random Barking Questions Monday:

1.)  Is it a definition of madness, when parents of children who were murdered by assault weapons in Amrica are threatened by those who believe the children's murder never took place?

2.)  Might it be disingenuous when, having become wealthy from decades of peddling spurious information and divisive monologues in Amrica which made the Triumph Of The Leader possible, that media demagogues conclude The Leader may have many flaws?

3.)  True Amrican Missy Sarah, shamed by the Chicken, has gone away, when many believed she would stay in the Bunker to the end. Will being an obvious and shameless liar stand in the way of becoming governor of a Trumptrue™ state? Aber nicht natürlich.
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MEHR, MIT TINTENFISCH:  I was just thinking, in my artless Dog way: Check out this Cephalapod!
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UND MIT IMMER MEHR:  Deep-sea Cephalapod for real!
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Friday, June 14, 2019

Reprint Heaven: I Gots Me Dem Pre-War Blues

From My Head Down To My Shoes

Life in Kiddietown continues, though there might be an Economic Downturn on the way which could put a crimp in some of that fun. Meanwhile, we have lots of shiny new millionaires here -- and The Rest Of Us better be ready to make them feel special!

But don't worry -- there might be a shiny new war coming, which will make everyone stop thinking about all that tiresome nonsense from the Left -- you know, climate disintegration (oooh! Scary!) and inequality (ah; please) and Socialism (Bernie sure is old, isn't he?).  And all that crazy crazy about Russia; that's so 2016.  You won't be thinkin' about that Impeachment after the first big cyberattack!

And do we really need an election, anyway? Having that war would sure be a good reason not to spend all that money and time on something that just makes people feel bad and angry. With a new War, we all have to be united. Be a "Do Rag", not a "Don't Rag"!  You'll need to stand behind our troops -- which should be easy, because many of them may be deployed in our towns and cities. They'll be right there, on our streetcorners! USA !!  USA !!

Yes, a war would sure make all those hateful girlz just shut right up. And after our Leaders execute that State O' Emergency they've been dreaming about, they'll have some fancy new red dresses and white bonnets for those uppity girlz; boy Howdy, will they ever.

Meanwhile -- it's Par-Tay Time! Lots of fun! There's always a Big Game on teevee!! Enjoy these hateful and mean-spirited graphics from that awful Dog, living on Left Coast America in the place that is One Big Campus, and One Big Dorm.

Click on pictures to enlarge -- Easy! Fun! And enjoy them, while you can. All Praise To The Leader!




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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Random Barking: News On The March


Despicable

Robert Mueller hadn't even stepped from the podium before The Murdoch manure machine began doing all it ever can do (via Media Matters):
STUART VARNEY (HOST): My judgment is it was a neutral statement. What do you say?  
PETE HEGSETH (FOX NEWS HOST): I think you're right. I mean, we saw the definitive end of the Mueller report. If you're looking for more, you're looking in the wrong place. And he made that very clear. But I think both sides are going to take what they want from this statement. You're going to have the president rightfully saying no collusion, no obstruction, I'm exonerated, let's move on. The coded language in the second part though, I think is what Democrats are going to seize on, which is department policy is such that we're not able to charge a sitting president with obstruction, therefore, we didn't. He didn't say he didn't obstruct. He said we're not -- it would be unfair to bring charges against a sitting president where there's no place to adjudicate it. So I think that's what you'll see on late night television, on the other networks obsessing over the fact Bob Mueller's hands were tied by the Trump Justice Department and therefore, he didn't bring obstruction charges. But I think the bigger narrative will be the president can go to the voters, which will be the ultimate decision on this in 2020, and say they dragged me through the mud for two and a half years, I was exonerated, let's do something big with the next four years.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD (FOX BUSINESS HOST): Not full exonerated, just not enough evidence --- 
HEGSETH: That's what he'll say.
MACDONALD: Not enough evidence to prosecute a crime. That's what Mueller is just now saying.
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Division

Digby reprinted an article by Ronald Brownstein of CNN:
Even amid record-low unemployment, robust economic growth and a roaring stock market, President Donald Trump has shown no signs of expanding his support beyond the roughly 46% of the vote that he carried in 2016.
National surveys now routinely find a huge falloff between ... Americans satisfied with the economy and the percentage that approve of Trump's performance as President… attitudes about the economy were much less powerful in driving voters' decisions in 2016 and 2018 than their views about fundamental cultural and social changes, particularly race relations and shifting gender roles.
Each of these dynamics underscores how the economy's role in politics may be shifting as the basis of each party's political coalition has evolved.  Increasingly, the parties are bound together less by class than by culture.
_______________________________

Dysfunction

A Guardian column by Aditya Chakrabortty notes the basic crises which triggered a vote for Brexit in Britain haven't even been admitted to, let alone addressed, by politicians who 'split the difference' in compromises that benefit the Owner Class, and continue to erode public trust in the ability of traditional political parties to represent the interests of The People.

While Chakrabortty doesn't say it, that discontent with "business as usual" politics (reflected in the UK's 2016 Brexit vote and last weekend's victory of Nigel Farage's one-trick-pony Brexit Party in the EU parliamentary elections) is mirrored in other European countries, and in the U.S.  
[The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, noted] "The UK is in ...a very serious crisis [which] isn’t linked to ... Brexit ... It’s a much deeper crisis. An existential crisis"...
...[Current conditions in Britain which led to Brexit were the result of] Thatcherism, in all its cold, stiff, failed ugliness. And the problem there is that the Thatcher experiment has pretty much failed. Four decades after she took power, 38% of working-age households now take more from the state in benefits, health and education than they pay back in taxes. Wealth in Britain is so concentrated that the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies believes “inheritance is probably the most crucial factor in determining a person’s overall wealth since Victorian times”…
[Brazillian philosopher and Harvard professor Roberto Unger observes] “If you leave the EU, you do so to become something else. But you don’t appear to know what you want to become... European politicians, whether centre-left or centre-right, are so used to the politics of splitting the difference. They are incapable of facing up to fundamental problems... and that leaves a vast vacuum to be filled by any passing nationalist populism."
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Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Thing

Determinism

Via the Soul of America, a review of four books about That Thing Called Democracy which our political system serves us, really is the end of the American Dream -- the myth of consumer riches and The Good Life, or 'Why We Fought WWII and The Cold War": 
... Trump is “not an anomalous departure but rather a return to the historical norm.” Trump exposes starkly what the civility of Obama and his administration obscured -- the subordination of American democracy to capitalism, patriarchy, and the iniquitous racial order descended from slavery...
...democracy is threatened by two types of deterministic worldview ... “inevitability” and “eternity.” The first is the determinism of the “end of history” and modernization theory, which declares that “there is no alternative” to liberal democracy. This, broadly speaking, is the worldview of the liberal elite in the West ... 
The disappointments and resistance that their top-down programs of modernization engender give rise... not to a genuine popular reaction, but to a second type of elite mythmaking, in the form of “eternity politics,” or mythic nationalism.
Whereas modernizers promise a better future for everyone as long as we all follow the one best path, mythic nationalism “places one nation at the center of a cyclical story of victimhood.” Against the dark backdrop of a world of threats, the governing elite promises not progress but protection.
Our current situation... has been shaped by the wild oscillation between the determinism of modernization theory, and the determinism of nationalism. Both foreclose any real debate and all practical alternatives. They are both inimical to genuine democracy. One licenses domineering technocracy; the other, cruder forms of authoritarianism.
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Disproportion

A Mandos Post at IanWelsh dot net; what he's saying is don't underestimate the effect of large numbers of liberal voters who just want Everything To Go Back To What It Was:
Take a look at Joe Biden—he appears to have, for now at least, considerable staying power in the Democratic primary opinion polls ... If your model of political psychology can predict a strong core of popular support for Trump without also predicting a strong core of party grassroots support for Biden, you should really rethink it from the ground up.  For a core of US voters, the presence of Trump in the White House is an unprecedented emergency and an enormous support of anxiety and real, day-to-day stress.
You can call it Trump Derangement Syndrome or whatever, but the feeling is there, and implicit in this feeling is that Trump is an anomaly, a hiatus in the proper march of American institutions [emphasis added; see 'Determinism', above], that should by rights have gone to Clinton, and if not, to one of Trump’s Republican primary competitors.
 And the advantage of Biden, from this perspective, is precisely that Biden presents an opportunity to force the recalcitrant portions of the Democratic party and, yes, the American left insofar as it plays electoral politics, to choose explicitly once again whether it will acknowledge and ratify that feeling, or whether it will die on a hill of particular material policies to the neglect of vital institutional decorum.
But for many left-wingers, it seems that even to admit that this is the dynamic is too much to bear. It requires admitting that the Neera Tandens of the world do not merely represent a type of think tank class traitors in cahoots with the rich, but they are actually the genuine grassroots representatives of a large portion of American society, large enough to make a big difference as to who will win the primary and the presidency.
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Disintegration 

The Great Curmudgeon quotes Greg Sargent in the WaPo:
And Democrats should be aware of the risks that dithering poses to public understanding. One side’s willingness to engage in full-saturation propaganda casting the investigation itself as the real crime -- disinformation designed to blot out shared agreement on the most basic facts about what just happened before all of our very eyes -- now has an attorney general who may be willing to help carry that out. 
Given this deep imbalance, without a coherent narrative from the other side that makes Trump’s corruption and epic misconduct unequivocally central to this national moment -- one riveted around whether Trump committed the high crimes and misdemeanors that render his removal imperative -- is there not a great risk of deepened public confusion, just as Democrats prepare to ask the voters to do the hard work for them?
The Dems said wait for Mueller (totally reasonable). Then they... had no plan for what to do if Mueller didn't send the Marshall of the Supreme Court to arrest Trump or the Republicans didn't respond with "Oh my God it turns out the president is bad!" Neither of which was going to happen. Now we have an AG who is about to turn the Justice Department into a fully partisan operation to investigate Trump's enemies, and being investigated, even if it leads to nothing, is a nightmare in itself, especially for the secondary characters who can't necessarily afford $600/hr lawyers.
The beautiful thing is this will provide the symmetry that our press loves. On one hand, we have Republicans investigating Democrats. On the other hand, we have Democrats investigating Trump/Republicans.
Both sides. It's all partisan. Washington is broken. Vote Schultz!
They had to run with it right away. They didn't.
yassss.

Vote Schultz!
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Dissolution 

As I've said elsewhere: This cannot continue, and This cannot end well.

Robert Evans' podcast, "It Can Happen Here".

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MEHR, AUF DER GROSSER GREISGRAMISMUSS MUSS SEIN:


The Big Guy Votes In Favor Of A Quick Radioactive Barbecue
I think Dem voters did hear the "wait for Mueller"message - Dem voters also like the impartial GOP Daddy referees deciding issues - and then came Mueller day. And when Mueller day arrived the Dems had some shiny new gavels in their possession. So, now, they want the Dems to follow the course set out by impartial GOP Daddy referee Mueller, as they were told they should. And Mueller says impeach the motherfucker.
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