Showing posts with label Pandemic In Needle Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pandemic In Needle Park. Show all posts

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Climb To Humanity's Summit By Remaining Human

Free-Falling Elevator Edition Sunday

Let Me Tell You How It Will Be

Test-Trace-Quarantine. Countries that follow TTQ have lower death counts from Covid-19 – and their societies and economies have stayed open. For a number of reasons – none of them good, and some of them malevolent – neither the United States nor Great Britain have followed this proven method of tackling the pandemic. 
As a result, thousands upon thousands of their people are needlessly dying while their economies have cratered, leaving millions of people in dire straits even as their respective governments, especially the US, disgorge vast mountains of public money to protect the private fortunes of elites and corporations.  Lockdown without mass testing will not quell the virus; “re-opening” without mass testing will lead swiftly to further disaster, to second and third waves that, absent a vaccine, could be equal to or worse than this initial tsunami...
Every American should realize: the heavily armed groups – funded and organized by rightwing oligarchs – whom the president is now praising for protesting the lockdowns – WILL be out on the streets, threatening and very possibly killing people if Trump, despite all the GOP vote rigging, loses in November... that is absolutely where we are now. That's WHY these groups have been funded by the rich, that's why they're being mobilized ...

Trump is now giving up all pretense of fighting the virus or even trying to slow it; he actually seems to take a perverse delight in presiding over a world-historical disaster in which his own herd-culling policies have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths across the shattered land. 

The entire GOP faction of the power structure has lined up with goose-stepping servitude behind this murderous assault on the American people, while the Democratic faction dithers, cowers and chills on vacation, bestirring itself only to vote for “relief” bills that give literally trillions of dollars to the super-rich and corporations while leaving ordinary people with almost nothing — not even protection for their voting rights in a pandemic, not even that one small, pathetic say in determining their fate.

The pandemic has stripped away all facades. We can see the system and its leaders clearly now. After killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in foreign lands during the last two decades of aggressive war and ceaseless “interventions” (most of which are not even noticed or reported on anymore), they have now turned on their own people. They sit and watch thousands of them die unnecessary deaths, happy to “cull the herd” of the “useless eaters”: the sick, the old, the vulnerable, the poor and the non-white minorities who are dying in vastly disproportionate numbers. 

And Then Something Else Will Happen

I’m starting to look at the current situation as ... not entirely unlike that of Western Europe and the Soviet Union during the Nazi occupation.  After the initial shock of conquest and the imposition of New Rulers and Rules, things settled into a routine struggle, primarily to get by as best one could under the circumstances. 

Oh sure, there were the daily round ups, deportations and executions, restrictions on movement, the lack of essential foods and supplies, lack of money to buy supplies with if they existed, the constant sense of dread of what was to come. The not-knowing what was next was perhaps the worst part for many, but for many others, life went on, not much changed — until it did. And when it did, things got worse, and they just kept getting worse until the bitter end.

So far, we’ve seen no vision of a better future when we come out of this. No vision of a future at all for most of us. We will struggle through as best we can — until we can’t.

The existential threats are piling one atop the other — for most people, it means that nothing is likely to return to “normal” in their lifetimes. They may or may not survive the pandemic and subsequent economic collapse and whatever consequences come from them, they may even live to see the transition into a much warmer climate, but the pre-2020 reality is never coming back for them or anyone. We’re in uncharted waters without a captain and without a vision of where we are or should be headed.

We should be past the point of blaming anyone; we never got to the point of actually doing anything about the existential crises we knew we would face. And so we drift along.

And Too, Also

the pandemic has compounded the legitimacy crisis in which the U.S. (but not only the U.S. — the Eurozone is not looking too good) is enveloped already with its clueless political class.

the politically-aware populi are still preoccupied with their “tribal” narcissistic narratives...  (will any historian be able to fathom “the war on Christmas” or “Russia,Russia,Russia” let alone Stormy Daniels or Tara Reade?)

the eruption of this volcano is building below the noise of the twitterverse and CNN and the foppish readers and writers of the New York Times or the Jeff Bezos blog.

We are descending Seneca’s cliff now. There will be plateaus where the remnants of disintegrating civilization may pause for as much as a decade’s respite, but descent is the future, every shock preparing the way for the next step down. It might take a hundred years or two to play out fully.

In the short-term, it is hard to see how the U.S. does not experience political upheaval. I do not know if we are likely to begin blaming anyone at actual fault. With the Dems pretending that 27 year old claims of sexual something matter, but dementia and corruption do not, it would require travelling a great distance in a short time to blame anyone in or near power for the consequences of policy choice.

the epidemic hit densely populated urban areas hard first — so blue states. But it is spreading out and there is nothing to stop it and no effective treatment to limit fatality rates or long-term damage to survivors of severe cases. everyone who is susceptible is likely to become infected at some point in the next two to three years. the economic damage so far has been more acute in red states. the effect on meat processing might mean early signals of collapse in supermarkets. A lot of the newly hungry and homeless are going to be young in a country near the peak of one of its historic cycles of increasing violence.

Everyone Sees The Spreading Stain On His Pants But Say Nothing

I have a daughter in her late twenties, I work with hundreds of college students between 18 and 25, I have friends with children between 15 and 40, and a significant percentage of that generation with fucks still to spend on damns they still have, ripe for faith and action, are SIDEWAYS NOW: they laugh at but fear crackers, despise GOP cracker-whispererism, and thoroughly loathe, loathe, loathe motherfucking Democrats, know that Democrats will not save them, know that Democrats see no profit in saving them, know Democrats (that is, our shitlords who own Democrats) offer only weaponized crackers as incentive to vote Democrat

Who Cares About That Art Crap Anyway

There is nothing inevitable to the way societies choose to respond to a crisis such as this pandemic. What we do however learn in our response is precisely what is valued in a society and what is less so. While there has been a managed politics at work between the dominant forces of power and the fading liberal left, behind the scenes there is a notable decimation of the arts and culture taking place outside of the corporate cultural institutions. 

If radical and independent presses are fighting for their lives, so it is also the case that critical cultural producers, who already occupied the margins, are being pushed into the abyss...

Speaking truth to power through their own grammatical interventions, they encourage more compassion, empathy and dignity in human affairs. We know the history of modern societies has resulted in the triumph of technical forms of thinking over the more poetic understanding of life. But do we really want to live in a world where art and culture are reduced to a virtual gallery visit...  our aesthetic preferences ...  stripped of any political claim and given over to the power of technocratic reason?

The Pyre Next Time

The implied terms of the racial contract are visible everywhere for those willing to see them. A 12-year-old with a toy gun is a dangerous threat who must be met with lethal force; armed militias drawing beads on federal agents are heroes of liberty. Struggling white farmers in Iowa taking billions in federal assistance are hardworking Americans down on their luck; struggling single parents in cities using food stamps are welfare queens. 

Black Americans struggling in the cocaine epidemic are a “bio-underclass” created by a pathological culture; white Americans struggling with opioid addiction are a national tragedy. Poor European immigrants who flocked to an America with virtually no immigration restrictions came “the right way”; poor Central American immigrants evading a baroque and unforgiving system are gang members and terrorists.

Look Over There As You Struggle For Air

Conservative media figures who spent months insisting on Michael Flynn’s innocence, after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, are taking a gleeful victory lap in response to the Justice Department moving to drop its criminal case against the retired lieutenant general and former Trump national security adviser. 

But the reversal is not enough to placate the right-wing media rabble, as they are now calling for Attorney General William Barr to prosecute members of the Barack Obama administration and its judicial allies for their roles in the case.

...right-wing radio host Mark Levin appeared on Fox News to boast, and to accuse Obama of conducting a vast shadow operation against the Trump administration. “You know what this is? This is Barack Obama’s blue dress. That’s what that is without the DNA on it,” he told Sean Hannity, referencing Monica Lewinsky’s infamous garment. “[The Flynn case documents] tells us that Obama knew…. Obama was working with the FBI and the intelligence agencies.” 

Levin also tweeted that “the perps responsible for trying to destroy” Flynn should be prosecuted, a talking point Hannity is now pushing too. “All this does is exonerate General Flynn,” the Fox News host declared on his Thursday radio program. “Now, it’s time to investigate Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice…and what they did here is they targeted an innocent man, and they—this is prosecutorial abuse.”

________________________________________



Monday, April 27, 2020

Reprint Heaven: This Way, America

No, Over Here.  What The Hell Is Wrong with You?
(From October, 2016)

 Joseph Beuys / 1974 Performance Art, I Like America; America Likes Me (aka, "Coyote")

The Why Of Dog
It was a typisch day here in Downtown America.  Over at the Soul Of America, I was directed to a story about David Bowie, which contained a photo of what appeared to be a Dog dragging a leper / vagrant / symbolically-wrapped human around. We worked it through Skynet the Googlegerät. One thing led to another. And here we are in the Future, as always happens in America.
Beuys flew to New York, picked up by an ambulance, and swathed in felt, was transported to a room in the Rene Block Gallery. The room was also occupied by a wild coyote, and for a period of 8 hours a day for the next three days, Beuys spent his time with the coyote in the small room, with little more than a felt blanket and a pile of straw. While in the room, the artist engaged in symbolist gestures, such as striking a triangle and tossing his gloves to the coyote. At the end of the three days, the coyote, who had become quite tolerant of Beuys, allowed a hug from the artist, who was transported back to the airport via ambulance. He never set foot on outside American soil nor saw anything of America other than the coyote and the inside of the gallery.
______________________

Coherence
Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either of you...
-- Elaine Quijano, CBS News, to Kaine and Pence

2016 Election Forecast:  Clinton 75.3%,  Trump 24.7%
-- fivethirtyeightdotcom

My friend; clear your mind of Cant.
-- Samuel Johnson

 I AM PART OF YOUUU !!!! (rabbitandmouse, 2006)
____________________________

The First Whorehouse In Space Will Be Built By The Bold
During his hour-long announcement of the SpaceX Mars colonization plan, CEO Elon Musk didn’t say where exactly Martian colonists will live once they arrive on the planet — and how exactly they’ll survive given the harsh environment. Musk seemed particularly unconcerned about solar radiation. “The radiation thing is often brought up, but it’s not too big of a deal,” he says...

SpaceX’s goal is to build [its] transport system [to Mars], like building the Union Pacific Railroad. “Once that transport system is built,” Musk says, “there’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something new or build the foundations of a new planet.” People will be able to go to the planet and build “anything from iron refineries to the first pizza joint.”
--  Alessandra Potenza and Loren Grush, The Verge, September 27, 2016

Ironically, this is also International Space Week.
____________________________

Not With A Bang But A Food Fight
As most everyone knows, the ending to Stanley Kubrick's 1964 anti-war black comedy, Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has Strangelove (Peter Sellers) emerging from his wheelchair and taking a few steps, then a montage of atomic bombs going off.

However, that wasn't the original ending. Kubrick initially envisioned 'Strangelove' as a drama, based on a British novel, "Two Hours To Doom", about an accidental nuclear war.  He was introduced (oddly enough, by by Peter Sellers) to Terry Southern, an American expat writer living in London; Southern saw Kubrick's project as a vehicle for dark comedy about the end of the world, and the two co-authored the script ("I intended to make a dark comedy", Kubrick later said of his film). Sellers, a friend of both Southern and Kubrick, was cast to play three separate, believable characters (originally, four -- spraining an ankle kept Sellers from playing Major "King" Kong, and Slim Pickens was offered the role). 

In the original ending of the film, Dr. Strangelove stood up from his wheelchair, only to fall flat on his face. Meanwhile, General 'Buck' Turgidson (George C. Scott) noticed Russian Ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull) taking pictures of "the big board", and tackled him -- only to have the Ambassador throw a cream pie at him from a nearby buffet table.

Turgidson ducked; the pie hits President Muffley (also played by Peter Sellers) instead -- and the entire War Room erupted in a gigantic food fight. Finally, as nuclear war engulfs the world, Muffley and the Russian Ambassador, having lost their reason, end up sitting on the floor and playing with the litter of thrown food like children.

Ironically, Strangelove was being edited around November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. In the scene as filmed, President Muffley is struck with a pie and Turgidson announced, "Our President has been struck down in his prime!" Because Kubrick considered the action too close to actual events (and the actors appeared to be enjoying themselves a bit too obviously), that ending had to change, and Kubrick was in a bit of a fix. As the legend goes, Spike Milligan (He of the UK's famous Goon Show) was talking at the same time with former fellow Goonie Peter Sellers and learned about Stanley's dilemma. 

Milligan is supposed to have suggested the ending we're all familiar with: Strangelove standing up from his wheelchair ("Mein Führer -- I can walk !!"), followed by footage of one nuclear weapons test after another, accompanied by a soundtrack of British singer Vera Lynn singing the WW2 ballad well-known in the UK, "We'll Meet Again." Kubrick's film editor, Anthony Harvey, put the footage of the original food-fight ending with other cut scenes, which were afterwards misplaced and lost to history.

George C. Scott In The Lost Ending To Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964)

( One of my favorite things about Strangelove is Peter Sellers' ability (as Strangelove) to crack up Peter Bull, who played the Russian ambassador. The next time you see this classic, during scenes with a medium or long shot of Strangelove declaiming from his wheelchair, keep your eye on Bull.

The Two Peters: Peter Bull (Left) As Ambassador de Sadesky,
and Peter Sellers As Herr Dr. Unwirklichlieber, In The War Room

Do Hold It Together, Old Man.

(Sellers was a genius at creating characters, and Bull can't help but be affected. He tries, but at some point just can't hold it in any longer -- again, the film's editor, Anthony Harvey, managed to save the take and splice in the next shot just as Bull is about to lose it.  According to film lore, Sellers was even able to get the redoubtable Sterling Hayden to crack up.)
____________________________

Ain't We Got Fun
Global debt has hit a record high of $152 trillion, weighing down economic growth and adding to risks that recovery could turn into stagnation or even recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

In a worst-case scenario the IMF also fears that a wave of populist politics across the US and Europe could send globalisation into reverse with protectionist policies hitting international trade, investment and migration, sending the world plunging into a prolonged period of stagnation...

“At 225% of world GDP, the global debt …is currently at an all-time high. Two-thirds, amounting to about $100 trillion, consists of liabilities of the private sector which can carry great risks when they reach excessive levels,” the IMF said in its fiscal monitor.
--  Tim Wallace, Business Writer; UK Telegraph Online October 5, 2016

"Among 'developed' nations, the United States has one of the highest rates of child poverty on the planet...  Only Romania has a higher rate than the U.S. ...  More children live in poverty -- grinding, soul-destroying poverty -- in America than in Latvia or Bulgaria, two nations few Americans can even find on a map."
--  Motivational Screensaver

Wealthiest ZIP Codes In America (Clicky For Ubernormous Graphic! Spass! Nett!)
____________________________

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Reprint Heaven: After You've Gone

America, Again: A Long Rant
(From July, 2016)

Cleaning Up After Cleveland (Andreas Kudacki, July 22, 2016; nymag.com)

The Republicans have left Cleveland. There's little doubt that can-do Managers, the Owners and Choosers and Deciders, and the Belivers, were in control at the RNC, as they seem to be in control in so many places in our culture. Because Life is for The Strong, and the Tough, and the Competitive.  And those with The Faith.

You Worker Bees, you "individual contributors" will just have to pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps. We will be Great again, and have Law and Order -- here in Merica -- or, you know, not. Thank everyone for coming!
________________________

Two Tales Of The City

Yesterday, I exited a subway car heading home from work at rush hour, turned right, and walked up a crowded concourse. There was a wall to my immediate left and knots of other exiting passengers to my right. Suddenly, I was face to face with a Caucasian male in his mid-20's, tall -- I'm well over six feet; this guy was at least three inches taller -- thin, hair cut close on the sides and in the middle puffed up in a modified Mohawk strip (as if he had, uh, a Weasel On His Head).

What followed was textbook; each movement was an escalation. First, we looked -- no, we stared --at each other. Neither of us gave way. Even though by then there was plenty of room around us, we each moved forward and slid past each other, equally determined not to make it simple and as if daring the other party to ratchet things up. Our arms inevitably brushed against each other, and we both pulled them away like yanking off a band-aid.

I had walked a step or two, and turned; he was already walking back. I stood where I was; he stopped inches from me. "You want some?" he said. I was surprised, but not that much; I was aware that ratcheting up the confrontation was my fault as well as his: They fought so fiercely because the stakes were so small. So, here we were and Quo Vadis?

Over the next second or so, I had two trains of thought. The first was something from another job life -- when an altercation turns into a confrontation, and the next step is physical violence, that's not optimal. Keeping public order means, even if you have a disregard for your own well-being, other people, innocent people, can get hurt. Your Macho takes a back seat.

The other consideration was -- this Guy. It was clear he was willing to make a physical threat to a complete stranger, standing on a public transport platform during rush hour and In These Times, when there are transit system police around -- I'd seen a K-9 patrol up ahead a few seconds before. I looked at the Guy, careful not to lean forward or move my hands, and made an Are you fucking kidding me? face. "Really?" I asked him.

"Really," he said -- and leaned forward. Without moving, I said, "Excuse Me."  Leaning forward a bit more, determined to count coup, he said, "Excuse me. Have a nice day." Even without hearing his tone of voice, you can decide whether or not he meant it.
____________________

Fast forward to this afternoon: A bus in Kiddietown; another Caucasian guy in his twenties -- this one short and slight, casually dressed, otherwise unremarkable -- drops a few papers as he enters the bus, and begins cursing -- shouting, in fact; and it's quickly clear he's inordinately upset about something which does not involve the bus, or anyone on it.

He stomps toward the back of the bus, drops into a seat, and for the next block or so periodically shouts more curses, slapping the seat beside him. Almost everyone else on the bus goes into You Are A Nutter And We Will Now Ignore You mode -- but, The Guy gets into it verbally with two Black males sitting behind him. Predictably, it escalates quickly.

"Hey!" Says the first man to The Guy, "Leave me alone. Shutthefuck up, man!"  "Fuck you man!!" shouts The Guy. "I'll kick your fuckin' ass!!" The second man, who has a voice like James Earl Jones and is happy to project it, joins in: "Hey; I ain't takin' that fuckin' bullshit off you, so just shut - the - fuck - up!!"

The Guy braces himself in his seat and, with a real sense of timing, waits for a beat and then leans forward, staring at the two men, his face distorted with rage. "Fuck you!!" he shouts, then adds, "You, you -- N_____ !!"

A hush falls over the entire bus, more felt than heard -- because He said the N-word to two Black guys and we live in post Ferguson-Cleveland-Baltimore-Chicago-Minneapolis-et al. America -- and I'm thinking: man, wasn't I just here yesterday?

Meanwhile, the James Earl Jones Soundalike both increases the volume and lowers the pitch of his voice to a growl, another textbook stop on the road to This Is Really Fucked Up. The Guy keeps shouting, a slight hesitancy in his voice now, as if understanding he'd crossed The Fabled Line when using the n-word a block or so back. The two Black guys keep raising their voices in response.

Obligatory Mongo Photo In Middle Of Blog Terror

It's clear the confrontation has reached a binary decision point, and several other passengers call out to the driver, a Latino with a wrestler's build wearing Ray-Bans, to "do something".  He doesn't, right away; I understand -- 1.) Things can happen, all of them unpleasant by degrees; 2.) His Management supervisor and Union Foreman have advised there are liability issues; and  3.) "They don't pay me enough for this shit, dude".

The driver finally comes to an official bus stop, halts the vehicle, then stands up, leans on a nearby pole and looks toward the altercation (all non-threatening, casual). "Hey -- hey; take it outside," he says to no one in particular, then appeals to reason and some generally-accepted social propriety: "Not on the bus, man."

After a few seconds, when things could have gone in any direction, The Guy stands up and exits by the side door, shouting insults at the other men all the way. The men return them -- but it's all textbook now; The Guy has been the one to retreat.

Once he's off and the doors close, the bus begins to pull away. As it does, from the relative safety of Outside, The Guy performs another textbook maneuver: he begins screaming, ratcheting up his invective ("Fuck you! N_____!! You N_____!!") and slaps the side of the bus. 

James Earl Jones-2, looking through the bus windows, grins and flips him off; The Guy seems even more enraged and escalates again ("I'll kill you, N_____ motherfucker!!") -- but it's all for show, now, and everyone knows it. JEJ-2 grins once more and shouts, "Yeah; talk on, fuckhead"-- counting coup, also textbook.

A woman in her twenties at the front of the bus, holding a Prada purse and wearing a print sun dress, a Rolex and her own Ray-Bans, looked around at the other passengers and said with a giggle, "Well, that was rully intense!" The remainder of the ride, by comparison, was uneventful.
____________________


The Brand, As If Anyone Had Forgotten
(Carolyn Kaster / AP; The Atlantic online)

Jocks And Mean Girls Rule

So why mention these things? (Dogs like stories, and are good at the details.)  Because they exemplify a miserable trend in the broader culture; because I can't remember the last time I was in a confrontation (even one I helped create), as a civilian, which had real potential to become physically violent. And some of it mirrors what was on stage in Cleveland.

I'm part of an American demographic that doesn't encounter much real violence or intimidation, or police activity, on a regular basis. Mentioning my experiences to my friends prompted their own stories of confrontation and escalation. The general consensus:  these altercations seem to happen more frequently, now --- and, they've increased over at least the past decade.

Most often, they happen when driving, shopping, and (bingo) commuting on mass transit. However, the most disturbing aspect to my friends is how easily things escalate: people seem more willing to push situations, which could easily be walked away from, right to the brink where real violence is possible.

Official studies show the same trends, nationally, and in the same venues. A quick check of the ubiquitous Gogglemachine will show the same observations, the same consensus by multiple observers. It doesn't have to involve complete strangers. My experiences, and those of friends, involving bullying by managers in the workplace has also increased in the past decade.

 Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Rant

A few months ago, I'd called a manager of a national group about help in a project; he spent five profanity-packed minutes accusing me of complaining about him to a vendor, crudely bullying me in any way he could.

This person has a reputation; I wasn't so surprised -- but I hadn't experienced him in that way, and I was knocked off balance. My responses -- interrupted constantly -- were factual; at some point, this person realized he was wrong in his accusations -- and like flipping a light switch, suddenly he sounded friendly, reasonable, behaving as if the previous ten minutes hadn't happened.

We both knew what he'd done -- and we both knew that even if I were to complain, because this person is labeled an "effective manager"; "he gets results"; there would be no repercussions.  I have a number of similar stories about other managers, and executives; so do my friends who work in corporate businesses, even 'cool' tech companies with "new" working cultures -- and they're all depressingly the same.

These sorts of person are narcissistic, possibly sociopaths. They're certainly bullies -- and know that they are.  They've found a niche in society which not only tolerates manipulation and mistreatment of other human beings, but rewards and promotes it. For them, it's a point of pride -- after all, they get results. And that's all that matters.

Weeks before he was assassinated, John F. Kennedy observed that one measure of a nation is through the individuals it upholds as heroes, worthy of emulation.  Over the past few decades in America, the people we are told to venerate, our Best, are the Business Leaders. They're supposed to be what we should want our children to grow up to become.

I don't think we'd want to leave our children alone with them for thirty seconds. But the promise of wealth and success through a life spent in corporate business is what our children are being told is the highest expression of our culture, and the behaviors of these 'leaders' are what they need to adopt in order to reach that wealth, success and self-fulfillment.
_________________________

A long time ago, a cartoon posed the question, "What was the result of America's experience in Vietnam, and the attendant politics at home?" The correct answer was, "A deterioration of secular and spiritual priorities!" American culture is fraying badly under the weight of too many changes -- just the last ten years include mass shootings, terrorism; The Crash; media outlets (Murdoch; Limbaugh, Wiener, Beck; O'Reilly) dumping human waste on our culture, 24-7.  Our 'entertainment' almost universally involves violence.

The real wonder is that people aren't more uncivil to each other, or that overtime parking doesn't invoke the death sentence.
_________________________

Trump: A Symptom 

This week we watched (some of) the antics at the Republican Convention, the Trump campaign's themes delivered by most of the speakers -- except Grand Turtlebear Greg Stillson, and Herr Doktor Carson, Exorcist and Fearless Vampire Killer, who seemed to have additional messages of hope and faith and eternal punishment in the fire the fire the fire for us all. And, of course, we heard The Donald.

 Additional Obligatory Animal Photo

There was nothing new in what he said Thursday night (though its delivery was less his trademark stream-of-consciousness) -- but I found myself asking How the hell did we get here? That this stupid bully became their candidate?? 

It was as if someone had reanimated Fr. Charles Coughlin from the 1930's, George Wallace of the 1960's, or even George Lincoln Rockwell.  Trump appeared no different or better than any of the narcissistic bullies I've worked with or for in my lifetime. One difference between his campaign and Hillary's -- Trump says that he speaks for the angry Americans, the ones who want to "take it all back".

His campaign depends on tapping the kind of inchoate rage that we see or experience on the street, or at work. If Trump were to win, it would mean a period of social and political dislocation in America which no one in memory has experienced. I could make a joke about a similarity with H.P. Lovecraft's return of Chtulu and the Old Ones, but in fact nobody knows where it would all lead.

That said, I still believe Trump can't win. If how a person uses language is a good gauge of how they conceptualize and navigate the world, then Trump is too scattered and impulsive -- my Dog's nose tells me he can't run an effective team, and won't run a good ground game.  And, there aren't enough of his brand of conservative to go to the polls for him on November 8th. He can't win by sheer weight of numbers. He'll lose.

But, this contest will be played in the media as a close race. The assumption of office by President Hillary, The Inevitable One, will seem so very close (until the numbers come in) -- and Her victory will provide the consistency of a certain narrative about our history, a return to normal.

But Hillary is about the values of Business, too. When Hillary trotted out Tim Kane as her Veep, he spoke to a crowd and said, "America has never been about fear... it's been about bravery, and imagination, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done! [applause]." Hillary described him as "a Progressive who believes in getting the job done" (Emphasis in the original delivery).


Additional Obligatory 'Stimpy Face' Photo

It's my expectation Hillary will assist in wiring America into a global system which will free business and banking from being responsible to the laws of individual nations -- environmental regulations; banking laws, trade laws. It will be an advantage capitalism has never had in history, making corporate business the single most important human activity. And it will continue the stratification of society, globally, into corporate Managers -- and everyone else, who will work for them, to earn money to buy products and services.

We'll still continue to be told a comforting narrative -- about America's uniqueness, independence and values, and it's place in the world. Frankly, Hillary's narrative is just a little softer than Trump's story of American greatness; only the wrapper is different.

But to global Business, America is just one more place with resources and a population that can be bought, one more market where things can be sold.  We can play our pretend politics, so long as we don't get in the way of the grownups, managing large-scale operations for profit.
________________________________

Without belaboring the obvious, it isn't surprising that so many people (including myself) are acting like badly-wired rats. The post-WW2 world's politics, ideologies, technologies; its commerce and wealth, all made major shifts in just one generation. 

There had been a Cold War, and the possibility of a hot one, but also stability -- many regional players and ideologies (including the religious) were kept in check by the East-versus-West balance of power. But not any more. 

It's been decades of pressure; the cycles of change happen more quickly, and the world is changing in unpredictable ways. The trends being presented by these changes indicate that the world is a Box Full Of Bad Crazy, Looking For A Way Out. And that The Fix Is In.

People are frightened about the future, and fear can easily flip into anger. Most people have some unresolved conflicts; others have years of badly-wired resentments and painful memories; still more have PTSD  (thanks for the War, Lil' Boots!). This election season will be something to watch (I'd buy the Good Popcorn, but don't fire it up just yet) but the presidency of Hillary The Inevitable will not provide America what it needs to heal itself. I don't think even Ted Cruz and Benny Carson's jesus™ could do that.

Try not to piss anyone off in public.
________________________________