Blog Archive

Saturday, April 18, 2015

“Cultural Marxism” and the Frankfurt School



(Riffing off of this, because it's convenient, and because it appears generally accurate as to the history of all this. I have done the primary research into the Frankfurt School, but it is as yet not in print. This article, and the relevant Wiki Pages, will serve as a stand in)
(https://commonruin.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/on-the-myth-of-cultural-marxism/?hc_location=ufi)

Horkheimer, himself, helpfully defined Critical Theory:

“The Frankfurt School's work cannot be fully comprehended without equally understanding the aims and objectives of critical theory. Initially outlined by Max Horkheimer in his Traditional and Critical Theory (1937), critical theory may be defined as a self-conscious social critique that is aimed at change and emancipation through enlightenment, and does not cling dogmatically to its own doctrinal assumptions.[14][15] The original aim of critical theory was to analyze the true significance of "the ruling understandings" generated in bourgeois society, in order to show how they misrepresented actual human interaction in the real world, and in so doing functioned to justify or legitimize the domination of people by capitalism. A certain sort of story (a narrative) was provided to explain what was happening in society, but the story concealed as much as it revealed. The Frankfurt theorists generally assumed that their own task was mainly to interpret all the other areas of society which Marx had not dealt with, especially in the superstructure of society.[16] “

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School

Sounds rather intiguing, to me...”hey, lets set aside dogma, and other forms of unconsciousness...throw out out Unexamined Assumptions...and really sit down and Think and Talk about all of this!”
It is exactly what I have been doing, more or less, for my entire life.
I just didn't have a “school” to belong to.

I didn't discover all these folks and their Thought, until I was well into my massive study of the American Right, about 15 years ago...so I heard about them, in the same way that Religious Scholars heard about the Gnostics and Marionites...through the filter of their enemies.
Remember that I grew up in Ronald Reagan's Texas....it wasn't as if Das Kapital was just laying around...nor the works of Erich Fromm, by whom I was introduced to the Frankfurt School.
There is much confusion in some circles(lol, like our entire culture...)
about what Marx actually said, and about the Nature and Meaning of Marxism, and , by extension, and through the machinations of the Violent Parasitical Elite and their Machine(my terms), about terms such as Liberal, Socialism, Communism, and even Capitalism.
Unions are vilified without thought, these days, and the rest of our Language of Dissent from the Authoritarian, Heirarchical Machine is Delimited and Circumscribed.
Orwell and Huxley have been brought to bear in ways those Thinkers never intended, and in fact would loudly declaim, were they alive , today.
Confusion has been sown, as policy, for at least a century, but especially after the riotous Sixties had shot their wad, and sank back into oblivion.
The Counterrevolution took shape, beginning with the Powell Memo and the gatherings in hotel lobbies of such curmudgeonly future Right Wing Rock Stars(sic) as Paul Weyrich and Richard Mellon Sciaffe, Joseph Coors, and the rest of what constitutes American Aristocracy.

(Go thou, to the Googlemachine, and type thou:”Origins of the Overclass Huppi)

From the Wiki, again:”Horkheimer opposed it to "traditional theory", which refers to theory in the positivistic, scientistic, or purely observational mode – that is, which derives generalizations or "laws" about different aspects of the world. Drawing upon Max Weber, Horkheimer argued that the social sciences are different from the natural sciences, inasmuch as generalizations cannot be easily made from so-called experiences, because the understanding of a "social" experience itself is always fashioned by ideas that are in the researchers themselves. What the researcher does not realize is that he is caught in a historical context in which ideologies shape the thinking; thus theory would be conforming to the ideas in the mind of the researcher rather than the experience itself:

The facts which our senses present to us are socially performed in two ways: through the historical character of the object perceived and through the historical character of the perceiving organ. Both are not simply natural; they are shaped by human activity, and yet the individual perceives himself as receptive and passive in the act of perception."

Lol.
So lack of Objectivity is a usual claim against the Humanities, in general...unless it's of the Preferred Variety of Humanities, like those taught at Liberty “University”(sic), for instance.
Any port, in a storm, and all...
To take this bunch of German Idealistic Philosophers and spin them up into some kind of Monolithic Conspiracy, eating away at the roots of Christiandom is laughable.
I think that their Thought needs to be revisited, of course...such Dissent could be very helpful with the challenges we face as a Global Civilisation...and we've been denied such True Dissent for almost a hundred years...but especially in my lifetime.
We've instead been Homogenous in our Approved Thought.
One must Toe the Party Line(GOP) and never Question the Mythology of Capitalism and Conservatism.
One must never point out their flaws and rampant inconsistencies, and never...ever...suggest that the whole Righty Experiment has been a Failure.
Empirically.
Wherever it's been tried, to date.

The Frankfurt School set out to offer a Critique...of just about everything.
They ended up directing their Critique at Western Civilisation, itself.
This is their True Crime, it turns out.
Maggie Thatcher's “TINA”...”There is no alternative”...which I have consistently used as a shorthand for the Dogmatic, 'End of History' Hegelianism...where there can be no Critique, because History is at an end, and there's nothing left to talk about, so....”Get to Work,Prole!”
The Violent Parasitical Elite can brook no competition....how very uncapitalist of them!
The Frankfurt School is ignored, for the most part, by the Media, and the rest of our intellectual culture.
It has only been since the collapse of the Great Enemy, the “Communism” of the USSR, that this school of thought has been trotted out...usually in whispers, in the more esoteric corners of the conspiracy minded Righty Web.
Now that “International Terrorism” has lost it's applicability as a stand-in for the Great Enemy, suddenly, we see the resurrected Communism in the form of “Critical Theory”.
It was even given pride of place in the Texas Gop's Platform...in the plank about Education, which led to howls of derision, due to lack of context.(it appeared to be against Critical Thinking Skills, in general).
Being familiar with the words and phrases of the Frankfurt School, I see oblique references all over the place.
The Right...rather their hidden Elite...are scared to death that such Critique might get loose, and get the Masses Thinking.
This is, of course, that Dialectic that has been operant in Western Civilisation from the beginnings of the Enlightenment:
On the one hand, folks began to Think...and that Thought led to the breaking of various Taboos regarding Thought, which led to more Thought, and to Action. We see this in the general Movement towards a free-er and more Open Society.
On the other hand, there is the Counter-Movement against this trend...the Powers that Be/Were, attempting to put it all back in the box, and then...failing that...to Absorb those changes while still maintaining their hold on Power.
It's been a tug of war for 500 years.
The Powers are ascendant at the moment, after the 40 year Mindfuck, but there are numerous Cracks appearing in their Wall of Confusion and Division.
It is high time for those on the side of Freedom to take up the cause, again...and that will necessarily entail picking up the long forbidden books and Thought.
For nearly 100 years , we've been distracted and confused...Marx was forbidden, and by extension, all that flowed from him...enough.

There is no such thing as “Cultural Marxism”.
But there should be.
Audeamus!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Corpersons


Activist Corpersons and their Supporters

http://on.msnbc.com/1FaCL7P

That's the best I could do to “embed” the Melissa Harris-Perry segment I'll be referring to...Comcast has been having some issues with the whole “Freedom of the Press”-thing...

But anyhoo...
These folks are going on and on about how the Corporate World essentially saved the day in Indiana, and put a stop to the “I hate gays” discrimination bill.
What no one seems to be paying any attention to, is how this fits in with the idea of “Corporate Personhood” and Corporate “Citizenship”.
From the Santa Fe Railroad Case, circa 1898, wherein an enthusiastic court reporter scribbled down a minor aside by a Justice(“of course corporations are persons...”)...all the way up to Citizens United, and Hobby Lobby...Fictional Entities, Immortal Collections of Fancy Paper in a Mailbox in Delaware, are increasingly regarded as equal to, and even greater than, actual Human Beings, under the Law.
Such entities are busy writing and hashing out, in Secret!, the Trans-Pacific Partnership “Free Trade” deal.
In the Indiana Fiasco, these Immortal Fictions sided with the Rights of Actual Humans...to their credit.
But they remain essentially unaccountable.
This Activism merely proves their Power over Our Government(s), and We the People can in no way be complacent that they will continue to be “on Our side”.
They remain, in many cases, Supranational Citizens of Earth, no matter where they happen to lay their paper heads.
….................................
….and on the Flip Side of that:

(https://www.popularresistance.org/how-wall-street-used-government-forces-to-crush-occupy/)
...which is an article, with lots of links to documentation in support of the argument they are making, which is, that the Corps and the various levels of Government work in collusion to oppress and repress The People...or, at least that subset thereof who would meddle with the Status Quo.
The Right can go literally on the War Path, agitate and wave guns and throw bricks and beat people up, and it's cool.
But let a bunch of Hippies start camping (CAMPING!!!) across the street from the Gaping Maw of Moloch, and...well...that's just a Bridge Too Far.
Out come the Stormtroopers and the APC's and the Gas and the Rubber Bullets and the Attack Dogs(Peta, where art thou?).
It seems that it is NOT Cool to oppose, out loud and in public, the Corporate State.
Added to all of that coordinated State Violence at the behest of Giant Piles of Paper, is the Faux Newtz fomented eruption of churlish behaviour.
“Damned dirty hippies need to take a shower...git a job...”
...all the rest.
I recall that the first little inflorescence of Modern Tea was a sort of Ron Paul Joint, formed and invigorated and disgusted by Wall Street and all of it's behaviour.
Now, here was a broad and deep swath of everyone from Far Left(so I hear,lol...mythical creatures...) to the Middle-Right, all in the streets hollering about the same thing, and from the same perspective(from below).
But the Great Wurlitzer of Hate and Confusion geared up and whirled and whirled and spewed out fresh Talking Points and suddenly, it was Only the Left, and therefore to be ridiculed...or, at least, that was the Mantra. The Populist Right totally Disowned their Common Cause with the rest of the country.
Plug this terrifying phenomenon into the others, up top.
Here is Orwell and Huxley and Attwood all rolled up into one, and used as a How To Manual on how to go about dismantling a Free Society.
It's been very effective, these last few years...and all because a small minority(I've seen estimates ranging from 10-35%) of the population is so well Conditioned and Trained that they abandon whatever they are mad about, and go be mad about something else at the mere suggestion of those who run the Wurlitzer.
“Oh look, a Communist!”
[scuttle scuttle scuttle...Growl!]
What can we do about this horrible state of affairs?
We cannot Reason with these trained seals...they are Immune to any information that falls outside of their conditioning.
We cannot, it seems, change the Media Universe... Corpse have that locked down...
We certainly can't simply Ignore them...they are far too dangerous.

Is this what Germany in the 1930's was like for Liberals and Social Democrats and Communists and Gay Folks and, of course, the Jews?
I know...I know...we're not supposed to violate Godwin's Law...but when is it OK to do so?
The Right does it all the time, even though they apparently do not know what it means...”Fascism” is just an ugly thing to throw at people one doesn't like.
But what about when it IS Fascism?
What about when one's political Opponents behave and speak in the actions and language of Fascism? Behave like Brownshirts?
Is it OK to call them Out?
Or must we wait for more visible manifestations?
I fear that by then it will be too late.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Incremental




(That's Ben, a week or so ago)

So I worked on the Funky Cabin this morning for all of 3 hours.
Finished the framing for the floor, and lugged two more sheets of ¾ cdx over and nailed them into place.
Then, having destroyed myself for the day, I packed up and went home.
Did a pile of laundry, and while I wasn't watching Wallander(the Swedish version), I was digging into Jung's Red Book.
The Cabin is coming along...at least the Kitchen/Living Room is.
It's relatively square, and relatively level.
Not bad for a crippled hippie, all by himself(mostly), with zero formal training and little use for tiresome, if well meaning, advice.
It's all the same principal as my first treehouse.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Humanity is like a Rainforest



Watching this, on this rainy Easter afternoon:



I've always been fascinated with India.
I first read the Gita in Senior English, back of the class, bored, dreaming of wanderings. Saw the film version of E.M Forster's A Passage to India, and the monumental Gandhi, and Kamasutra, and Siddartha(based on Hermann Hesse' novel.).
I've since read a lot, but not nearly all, of the Hindu Canon...much of it left me breathless(in mind) and chaotically confused...here was Pluralism, writ large.
All of this was very interesting, but I never got around to wandering that far.
I'd like to go to India(Bharat ), and speak to those Sadhi.
Overall, the impression is one of a wholly alien culture to ours in the west.
How remarkable, that the same Human Species could have diversified to such an extent!
The film linked above is available on Netflix, and worth a look, if only to break one out of one's habitual thought-patterns of what it means to be Human.
Copious use of Ganja is indicated.

Yelling Stop!



“Orthodoxy is Unconsciousness”-George Orwell

...and Homogeneity is Boring!
Diversity...of opinion, of tradition, of culture, of religion, of philosophy... of Love...Diversity is what makes Humankind interesting.
Pluralism is the American Way.
Whether a salad bowl, or a melting pot, or some combination thereof...that is how We move forward, together.
Diversity entails ambiguity...all is always in flux...the most salient feature of Universe is Change. This ambiguity is often confusing, and sometimes hard to understand, and this confusion often engenders Fear.
That Fear is why there are so many who wish to Arrest Change...to, as William Buckley said, “Stand athwart history, yelling 'Stop!'”...indeed, this is the easiest definition of “conservatism”, to slow down the roiling, churning ocean of Humanity, so as to have a chance to understand, and (it is hoped by some) to modify, or even reverse, that Change.
That this arrest and/or reversal is Impossible, without bloodshed and oppression, is often forgotten by those who so fear the future that they would do anything to stave off it's inevitable arrival.
So we go through the ,motions...the automatic, knee-jerk, motions...accommodating the fearful among us—allowing them a de facto Veto.
It is instructive that such a Veto, temporary as it usually is, so often involves violence and political oppression...there is simply no dam that can be built by Human hands that can undo, that can arrest, the Progression of History.
That some people build their careers, whether in politics or in the pulpit, or in some media, old and new, on this Oppression and Violence, in service of these attempts to arrest change is itself a part of the process. Change is always accompanied by Fear of that Change, and the correlated violence and attempts at Repression, and of retrograde movement.
Swirling in an eddy, just off the main current, around and around...believing that the small line of stones that they have piled up against the current can...somehow...change the course of the broader river.
But the river finds it's own course...and we will one day look back at these sad,confused people, with their inundated attempts at a dam, and think: ”well...was all of that hatred and violence and attempted oppression really necessary?”
“what purpose did it serve?”




Oxylos Wilt



I aspire to Taliesin.
To Mrddyyn Wilt.
Once was I known as the Wild Man of Karen Switch.
Now am the Wild Man of Dry Prong.
A Creature of woods, and fields.
Of starry nights and
Blazing days.
Tom Bombadil,
Singing the World awake
From its dew-bound
Slumber.
A Friend of Trees.
Companion of Squirrels,
and Rabbits.
Birds Sing at my whistle.
Wildflowers are nice, but
it's the Grasses make Paradise.
My Good Friend Oak,
some half a Millennia old,
Waves like a Holy Fool.

Wisteria and Grapes,
Achillea Millifolium.
Coreopsis and Galliarda/
Thymus Vulgarum

I lurk in the Beebrush,
Haunt the Mesquite Tangle,
and the Earth feels my bare feet right back.
She Breathes the same Air as I,
The same Wind.
Moonrise, well before Sunset.
The Moon is my lover,
But I am involved with the Sun, as well.
The Others spy on both affairs,
Sometimes hidden behind their Blue-White Vastyness,
Other times shining in their Ink-Blue Firmament—
the Stars are always there.
Especially when we cannot see them,
save from the bottom of a Well.
I limp through the Poppies,
Stagger through the Grass.
Tumble into the brambles,
Fall on my ass.
I speak to the Trees, and the occasional Fox.
Freak Prosody giving
Hell to the Possum,
Under the Porch.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

undertow



Mike Pence has stepped in it.
He went along with the craziest, most backwards politicians in his state in pandering to the craziest, most backwards people in that state, and signed a law legalising discrimination against gays....and anyone else that a business owner, or(presumably) anyone at all, deems “lesser than”.
...or worthy of discrimination...or something.
It's all rather muddled by the back-flips and hmmms and haws and euphemism.
What is not muddled, is that there has been an immediate backlash.
Business groups and businesses and ceo's and various trade groups have risen up to excoriate Indiana's leaders, and to pull out a bunch of business activity in the state.
This outcome is great, of course.
Such assholery as that of Mr Pence and his idiot windbags should rightly be vilified...and there should rightly be consequences.
But there's another angle, here.
Before Pence signed this odious legislation, there was already an outcry...by The People.
….and nobody cared...at least nobody in a position to stop this mess from being born in the first place.
It took the Business Lobby to have an effect...namely, making Pence and the gang reconsider...even scramble around to try to undo the damage.

A similar phenomenon is happening in the Texas Capitol, right now:

(http://progresstexas.org/blog/texas-businesses-choose-education-healthcare-over-gop-tax-plan)

The Texas Business Lobby has now weighed in on the Radio Preacher's plans to implement a Teabilly Budget, wherein Texas can continue down the path towards dysfunction and theocracy.
Big Business says “No”.
Now watch them scramble around.
I have long insisted that the true constituency of our Governments, state, local and federal, are Corporations, Hedge Funds and Big Banks—that we live in an Oligarchy, not a Democratic Republic any more...
Here is one more plank in my porch.
We, the People, can holler and scream...write letters to “our” supposed employees, and to editors...we can sign petitions, and even light ourselves on fire...and it doesn't matter, because We, the People don't matter.
“Corporations are People, my friend...”(Mittens)
I expect Texas to attempt to enact a similar Hate on Gays Law, and I expect a similar backlash.
From Business....because it's bad for business to be discriminatory, not because it represents a backwards and harmful, anti-enlightenment worldview that is best left in the past.
I expect Tea People in Texas to continue to attempt to cut taxes to the bone, and further destroy the public school system.
I expect continued aversion to reasonable accommodation to Obamacare(close the gap).
I expect all of the hurtful and hateful nonsense that we have become accustomed to from “them people”.
The new thing, is that Big Business seems ever more likely to balk at this...to pull their money out from from under Teabilly Politicians and would-be Politicians.
Big Business, the true constituency, is done with the Tea Party....and maybe even with the “Religious Right”.
They're bad for business, you see.
And Business are People, my friend.
This time, Corporate Persons are on the side of Regular People(Homo Sapiens Sapiens(sic)).
They will not always be so.
That is what worries me.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I got yer small government, listening to the people, right here...




(Wherein Amfortas quotes Ted Cruz...)

“You and I both know that the ‘Big Government crowd’ isn’t just the Left, it also includes some on the Right. An excess of power and government is always, always, always, a fundamental threat to liberty.” 
- Ted Cruz, Messiah.

(http://www.texasobserver.org/committee-hears-bill-to-allow-ken-paxton-to-toss-local-ballot-initiatives/)

It was entirely predictable.
As soon as the Voters in a few cities began passing referendums outlawing Fracking in Their towns, it was a good bet that this day would come.
As soon as other cities passed other referendums that raised the minimum wage in those places, it became inevitable that this day would come.
Now, a couple of Tea Party Politicians...who ran campaigns touting their love of the Constitution, of the Republic and of the People...these guys have decided that the People cannot be trusted, after all.

This is a direct quote from Mr Paxton's campaign site:
”“In recent years, the US Constitution has been under assault from liberals that seek to centralize power, expand government, and disregard the rights and privileges that the Constitution seeks to protect; this document empowers citizens and limits the government's power and authority.”
--and here's a quote from Phil King's page(philking.com/about):
”Local control and limited government must be the first resort and not the last.”

...and yet here they are, in power, attempting to subvert the Will of the People.
Can't trust the People of those cities, let alone of this state, to make “the right decisions”, I guess.
Texas Referendum and Initiative Laws are already weak, limited to Home Rule Cities...It's difficult to get past the hurdles. Texas has no Statewide R&I Law, the Masters in Austin having saw fit to keep that power from the People, at least twice, save for Amendments to the Texas Constitution.

Let me take a minute to head off the usual suspects:
Them:”But we're not a Democracy, we're a Republic”.
Me:” We are both...we democratically elect our representatives in the various levels of government(except Michigan, who have fallen into a sort of Imperial Consulate System in recent years...also under Republican Hegemony.),...we also have a long, long history of more Direct Democracy, from the New England Town Hall, beginning circa 1630, to the Post-Civil War Progressive Movement, uniting against the abusive Crop/Lien System, and a Two Party stranglehold on Power, enabled(then, as now) by Big Business.

Rep. Phil King(R. Weatherford) and Mr Paxton are attempting to subvert that history, and those Rights and Privileges. They are not alone. The newly minted Governor also seems to have sudden issues with Local Control, which used to be a Third Rail of the Right. Joining them in the Capitol were the Real Constituency: the Texas Oil & Gas Association(now run by Todd Staples,lol), Texas Association of Builders, the Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Association of Business.
I can guarantee that they will be listened to...which is exactly why Texas needs I & R...not just in big cities, but statewide....because Our Employees are deep in the pockets of wealth and power.

(Please see:(www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/filer.php?acct=00036483COH) for Rep. King's particular record of pocket warming)



“We need an Attorney General who will stand up for the US Constitution and the individual liberties it protects, and that is why I'm running for Attorney General.”
From (kenpaxton.com/issues)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Amygdala, On Fire.



Another facet of what I have learned about the American Right:

I am continually amused, and yet at the same time horrified, by what the most extreme variety of Righty thinks about “Libruls”.
Perusing this, from a couple of years ago:
(http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/07/groundswell-rightwing-group-ginni-thomas?page=1)

Came across Ginni Thomas' recommendation to her fellow lunatics to watch this “documentary”:

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDo8xAQGrI8)

The Lizard Brain, lobotomized.
If you are interested in the Fevered Id of the Right, here is an important insight: what they believe We are up to...have been up to..and what they believe that We want?
No less than total destruction of Amurca!
Lol.
As is my habit, I dug around in the comments...there's no shortage of folks(our neighbors) who swallow this terrifying doom whole.
One tidbit that leaps at me is that it is regarded as unconscionable when Commies(sic) want to overthrow the US Government(in my opinion, it is)...but it's Patriotic when the Rabid Right wants the same damned thing(Cliven?).
Another is the idea that there is a many-headed hydra...tentacles and all..of liberalism/socialism/communism busy “undermining” and “subverting” America.
I've been searching for the Vast Liberal Conspiracy for my whole frelling life!
I have yet to find it.
I look at stuff like this as Projection.
If you read what Groundswell says it wants to do, is it not what this “documentary” says that the nonexistent Pinko Conspiracy wants to do?
“they wanted to infiltrate the institutions of America to influence us in the direction they want us to go”
Please Google “Seven Mountains”,lol.
The craziest thing is that so many “leading lights” in Movement Conservatism believe this stuff...that should be a concern.
Here's a couple of handy Beckian charts, lifted from the Red State review of the “documentary”:
(http://www.redstate.com/2013/02/28/agenda-how-marxists-are-grinding-america-down/)
Again, Projection.
These could be charts of the Right Wing Revolution, circa 1971- present, Think Tanks, Mailing Lists and Townhall Meetings.
That may sound like “I know you are but what am I”...but there is actual documentation of this, From Buckley and the Powell Memo, all the way up to the Tea Party.
Assertions of Christianity on the run, and “Liberal Media” Hegemony, and Lefty Indoctrination in Public Schools and the “Gay Agenda”...stand back and view the state of the world, and it is almost the exact opposite of what this film presents.
I personally know many folks who believe this sort of thing.
They are quite dangerous, when cornered.


From an adherent:
”Most importantly, Russia and China are not enemies. They may hate each other on racial lines, but they jointly despise the United States even more. In terms of ideology, economics and military strategy, Russia and China are firm allies. China doesn’t want Siberia – who in their right mind would? China wants to move large chunks of its population to the American heartland – by war if necessary. If that involves losing 30 or 40 million of its surplus young male population – so much the better. One less problem to worry about.
If it comes to war, one joint Russia/China plan is for Russia to nuke the hell out of the continental United States. After Obama has finished decimating what is left of the US nuclear arsenal of course. The Russians will then invade Alaska and parts of Canada, but not the lower ’48. China will then invade across the Pacific. They will lose millions of troublesome young men, but they eventually get a foothold. Then their allies in Latin America will invade across the Mexican border… and the Red Dawn will break.
(http://www.therightplanet.com/2013/01/agenda-grinding-america-down-countering-gary-norths-criticisms-part-1/)
The collapse of the USSR was a nefarious hoax?
The American political Center has moved to the Left?
Hitler was a Lefty?
Great Googly Moogly!
I spent many years lurking in Righty Fora (virtual field study). This sort of hysterical nonsense is more widespread that we'd care to believe.
Witness the attempt to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy in the Texas curriculum, for instance.
Or the hysteria surrounding Common Core, Obamacare and so many other bits and pieces of the Democratic Platform. Sure, it's ludicrous...but it's alive and well on the Right.
A google search shows almost nothing about this bunch, but that doesn't really mean anything. Secrecy is important to Paranoids.
Reading the emails and such that David Korn published, my first impression is that this is merely an asylum of disgruntled nutters, lamenting the End of America at the hands of the Evil Librul Onslaught.
The problem with that first impression is that these particular nutters have real, verifiable influence on the political landscape...As odious and insane as I find folks like Gaffney, Boykin, Schafly and others, they are listened to.
I encounter their ideas and talking points all over the place, from comments sections throughout the web, to the feedstore.
Our nation really is in peril, not from some reanimated golem of Comintern, but from those who wrap themselves in flags and throw Bibles at everything they fear, all the while supporting the Corporate Hegemony that is actually implementing the very things they are so terrified of.
It's sad, really.
Pathetic.
But there it is.

a letter to my Texas Representative

To Texas Representative Murr.

Some thoughts:
I note that you're on the Transportation Committee.
While I understand that Public transportation is not all that popular in Texas, these days, I'd be remiss if I didn't flog it, any way.
When a place like Croatia has a better Public Rail system than us, I reckon we should be ashamed.
I'd like the Freedom to take the train.
Rail takes less energy, for moving both goods and people.
There is also the growing issue of Traffic...so many vehicles with one or two folks in them, making it increasingly harrowing to get from point a to point b.
Even way out here.
I recognise the challenges in the way of any comprehensive Rail plan, but I think it's worth looking in to.

I also note that you're on the Subcommittee on Long Term Infrastructure.
There are two things I think about, in that regard.
1. The Grid. It is my understanding that we lose around 40% of the electricity generated in Transmission...it just “evaporates” into the air.
This is one of the major drawbacks of having an overcentralised Power Generation...all those wires!
With current technology, we could build a better Grid...distributed generation, along the lines of how the internet is constructed.
The way we do it, now looks like Hydraulic Despotism, to me.
I understand that there are very powerful folks who like it just the way it is, but their vested interest should not curtail at least looking at alternatives.
Instead of a few giant power plants and nuclear facilities and gigantic wind farms...we could have 10 million small, individual, or even neighborhood-level
power sources, all inter-tied. This would be more robust and sensible than the current paradigm...a tree limb in one place would be less likely to cause outages in another. Democratise Electricity.
2. I have long been an evangelist for Sewer Gas,lol.
Every living thing is a potential source of energy.
Methane=”natural gas”.
From landfills to municipal sewer systems to septic tanks to feedlots, we allow how many btu's of energy to just float up into the atmosphere?
I'm planning on building my own methane digester, as proof of concept...and because I'm rather hard-headed.
Instead of relying only on Fossil Methane, we should look into the Fresh Kind.
This, too, will have many powerful interests rallying against it...Big Oil and Gas will crow that it's nasty and unworkable.
But the Fossil Variety will not last forever: the Fresh Kind will last as long as there are creatures with stomachs.

Just a few thoughts from a Liberal Constituent.

Ego sum, Intrepidus,
Josef

credit, where due.



To Texas Representative Sarah Davis.

Congresswoman,

I just wanted to say thank you for your courage for standing up to the whole “Foetii Uber Alles!”-crowd regarding Womyns' Health. As a Skunk Throwing Liberal, it's refreshing to learn that not everyone in your party has abandoned Reason.
Appearing on Maddow took guts, as well.
Healthcare in general in Texas is a travesty; and for Womyn, even more so.
Thanks for stepping up.

Ego sum, Intrepidus,
Josef

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sinvergüenza



On the Cotton Letter.

If Democrats had done something similar to this in the run up to the Illegal and Immoral Invasion of Iraq, they would have been (rightly) Pilloried.
Foreign Policy is the purview of the Executive Branch, per the Vesting Clause in Article 2 of the US Constitution.
The role of Congress in such matters is limited. In some cases, such as ratifying Treaties, Congress has the responsibility to “Advise and Consent”. In hammering out the details of such Treaties, Congress sits in the back seat...they can bitch and moan, but they have no Constitutional Authority.

“...The (vesting-ED)clause also accords the President those foreign-affairs authorities not otherwise granted to Congress or shared with the Senate. Thus, the President can control the formation and communication of foreign policy and can direct America's diplomatic corps. Because the Constitution nowhere assigns or shares these foreign-affairs powers, they remain part of the executive power granted to the President by the Executive Vesting Clause.”- (http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2/essays/76/executive-vesting-clause)
….......................................................................................
Seems pretty clear, to me.
The Supreme Court decided, definitively, that this was so in 1936:
“It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations–a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.”-Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland, writing for the Majority in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 1936 (from the Wiki)
Of course, in Goptea-land, it depends on who sits in the Oval Office:
“"In the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate," Cheney recently told the Wall Street Journal, "there was a concerted effort to place limits and restrictions on presidential authority." There were "a series of decisions," he explained, "that were aimed at the time at trying to avoid a repeat of things like Vietnam or ... Watergate."

"I thought they were misguided then," he continued, and "given the world that we live in [today] that the president needs to have unimpaired executive authority." Cheney said the only restraint on the president should be "the Constitution." He did not say, however, as he has on other occasions, that it is the president who says what the Constitution means, as far as his own duties and responsibilities.”-the Dark Lord, Cheney.(http://liberalcatnip.blogspot.com/2006/06/cheney-on-unitary-executive-theory.html)

Put aside our almost total Ignorance of History, especially regarding our History with Iran/Persia, from World War 1, to the present.
Put aside the blatant Hypocrisy of such shenanigans as this letter, and the recent Netanyahoo(sp-2) speech to Congress.
Congress simply does not have the Authority to form and negotiate Foreign Policy.
For all of the love of the Constitution that the Right purports to have...for all of their admonitions that Liberals “read the Constitution”...
for all of the insinuation that this President is, somehow, “Lawless”, and a “dictator”...it turns out that, like everything else, it depends...
When Lil' George was trampling on the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it was fine and dandy. How dare a Hippie in the Hills criticize our dear leader.
When St. Ronnie was doing secret deals with Iran, from before he was Inaugurated, it was fine and dandy.
How dare the Liberals take umbrage.
But let a Center Left, Democratic President with a funny name exercise his Constitutional Authority over the Foreign Policy of the USA, and the Right explodes into apoplexy.
Both “my” Senators saw fit to sign on to this idiotic and ill conceived letter, as they both also supported the recent meddling of Bibi in our governance and policy: The shameless corporate whore, Cornyn ,(https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00024852),
and the shameless Messiah in Waiting Cruz, (http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/rafael-cruz-declares-son-ted-cruz-anointed-) have pandered to their rabid and terrified and ahistorical “Base”...lying through their teeth about this President's “lawlessness” and “overreach”...
Now that the letter, and the Bibi hate-speech, have been pilloried and pooh-poohed by all and sundry...now that such banal and ridiculous posturing have been so roundly condemned...now the signers of that letter are saying it was “just a joke”.
Such irresponsible behaviour is likely funny in Cut-n-Shoot, Texas, and other such holes of superstition, ignorance and hate...it is to be condemned in more civilised places.








Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wandering through Current Events



Surreality ascendant



I know I tend to go on and on about Surreality replacing Reality of a more objective kind.
I believe that it is one of the most important and even Profound threats that We, as a still sort of Free Civilisation, face....and it still goes all but unrecognised and un-acknowledged. Lakoff, Berlett, Alterman and a few others also hammer away at this particular nail, but they remain, apparently, quite esoteric in regards to what passes as mainstream Liberal Discourse...and it is totally ignored on the Right.
Have we no Liberal-ish billionaires?
How are we then to compete?
Or to be heard, at all?
We should have never allowed so called “Democrats” to get away with enabling the Telecommunications Act during Clinton's time, like Origen castrating himself on the temple steps.
We handed Big Money our own megaphone, and ensured that we would never be able to stop them from invading the Mind of America.
The Results?
What Rachel says, up there, is yet further proof that Facts do not matter to a rather large portion of America...that Ideology and mythology matter much more...and that, finally, the Mindfuck is complete.
(http://www.republicanradio.org)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Thus: “Shut down the ACA, cut off nutrition programs, eliminate social welfare programs, and INCREASE our massively bloated military budget. Is there ANYTHING the GOP wants that won't result in death and suffering? The GOP is a death cult.” by Captain Frogbert on Kos(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/09/1369597/-Republicans-now-poised-to-govern-from-budget-crisis-to-budget-crisis) Indeed. A Brand New World ™ is busy being birthed, Right there, all around us, within and without us. We are surrounded, enveloped, as well as penetrated, by this Fog-- This dark mist of sewer gas and brimstone... “The Dark Side clouds Everything!”, said Master Yoda-- Make no mistake, this is 90% the doings of the GOP(tea), and the Sith in the shadows behind them...and the remainder is the fault of whatever percentage of Dems that have pawned their spines;such sad creatures enabled this situation: The Appearance, at least, of Government by Shenanigan. The Puppet Show is ever more shabby and sordid, frayed cotton brains, and faded tinsel...but it doesn't matter. The Cryptocracy crawls on. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
“Wars are being sold as effectively the same as game consoles and cell phones.  I'll go even farther and add the the marketing is even more nefarious because it's presented by what masquerades as news media.  We have accumulated defenses with regards to advertisements and subtle product placements, but apparently are unwilling to recognize marketing via a combination of media spin and fear.
by JohnnySacks on Daily Kos:(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/08/1367711/-Be-very-afraid)

Occupy Madison Avenue, along with Wall and K.
...and whatever Universities and Fellowships produce Mass Psychologists and Social Engineers.
And the frelling Media.
Occupy Every damned thing.

I fear that it's too late...that the damage is done...that the Mind of my country is overthrown.
I fear that we must now go through the burning darkness, rather than around.


…....................................
(Republicans cause earthquakes.)
(Yer damned Fracking right, they do...)
…...........................
Light still gets in through the cracks....
I was approached at a wedding reception by someone my Wife identified as a “hard core Republican”.
He sidled up to me, shook my hand, and said, “ I enjoy your articles in the paper...very thought-provoking...thank you.”
This was in reference to my last letter to the editor(the majority of folks who approach me thus call these “articles”, which I find very interesting and endearing):(http://amfortasthehippie.blogspot.com/2015/02/on-teaching-of-history.html)
I thanked him...said,”well, somebody's gotta stir the pot...”

I have no idea what variety or vintage of GOP this fellow is....Reaganite?
A Goldwater Republican?
That he appeared Thoughtful sort of leans away from the usual Teasterical Neo-Birchean Back-To-The-Cave crowd.
There is a thin reed of Hope, there-- that thoughtful and circumspect Republicans still exist...
That there are folks on the Right who worry about the hysterical, often violent turn that their politics has taken...
That they are not entirely monolithic in their craziness and will to destruction.
This is on the ground evidence of the splits we see in national media that hint at fault lines and fractures within the American Right. Perhaps the more rational parts of that lot can put the “Rough Beast” of Paroxyst Anti-Enlightenment Crusaders, and the Randian, “Libertarian” Anarcho-Capitalists, back into the box.
(Hope...the Greeks reckoned it the most dangerous of worldly ills)

…..........................................................
Meanwhile, Hillary is the apparent nominee...the litany sez that we can skip the whole messy democracy stuff, and just get behind the Queen.
While I have always found Her Highness very interesting...I'd like to drink beer around a campfire with her...I have serious misgivings about her.
Too friendly with Wall Street and with Third Way Triangulators.
Primaries are for forcing such issues into the light.
I'm for a Bernie/Liz Ticket...with Grayson as Secretary of the Treasury...and Willie Nelson as Drug Czar.
Hillary certainly has a Spine...and Big Brass Balls...and all that has been sorely lacking on the Left...but she needs some social democratic leavening, Moyers and Hightower and the like, to gain my support.






Thursday, March 5, 2015

God is Pro-Dope



Wow.
(http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/03/loosened-up-pot-laws-backed-by-conservatives-at-cpac-including-ted-cruz-suddenly-and-in-texas.html/)
(http://www.kltv.com/story/28244312/rep-david-simpson-files-bill-to-legalize-marijuana-in-the-state-of-texas#.VPXQDlKDaQc.facebook)
(http://tribtalk.org/2015/03/02/the-christian-case-for-drug-law-reform/)

I guess there's money to be made,lol.
The tribtalk comments are full of folks who would let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good.
“Oh, he quoted the Bible, so we must oppose him!”
“He's a Teabilly nutter, so ...”
Rep. Simpson is actually proposing to NOT Regulate Weed...”regulate it like we regulate tomatoes and jalapenos...”.
That he justifies total legalisation with a bunch of God-speak is just fine, with me.
I commend him for his courage in even proposing this...in Texas, it takes balls to come out as Pro-Dope.
Of course, as the Dallas paper says, it's unlikely that this will go anywhere...too many old fogeys in the Base who still believe the whole Reefer Madness BS...but the tide does appear to be turning, even in Texas.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Minority Rule





Added to the ongoing Mindfuck, these sorts of shenanigans is how they keep winning.
Money helps, too.
The giant piles of data I've dug around in, over the last 14 years, indicate that the GOP(call it “The Right”) have some serious issues, going forward.
Their Ideas no longer have broad support...and their fatal flaw is their three legged Coalition: a Corporate Elite/Aristocracy, the so-called Libertarian Wing, and the Religious Right.
These three are fundamentally at odds on many, many things...but they continue to be held together by who they Hate and Fear: Liberals...Humanists...Secularists...and those who see Government as a Tool.
The Aristocracy has managed to keep the other two legs in line by a campaign of Rhetorical and Philosophical Obfuscation, retraining them, a la Pavlov, to respond to various Code Words. To people like me, the nuts and bolts of the Mindfuck seem patently absurd...and always have.
But those nuts and bolts continue to hold the whole rickety stool together, in spite of that Absurdity, which grows more and more obvious by the day.
In fact, they managed to overcome this, once again, in 2010, and 2014(http://www.alternet.org/story/148471/the_conservative_movement_is_poised_to_come_to_power%2C_just_as_it_runs_off_the_rails).
The Rhetorical Dog Whistle side of their continuing Triumph is where I usually spend my time.
But as Rachel indicates, and as we all know by now, it's in the actual Nuts and Bolts of Democracy that they have managed to embed themselves into like a collection of ticks.
Here is how the Gerrymandering was accomplished.
Here's how the Voter Suppression was made possible.
Surgical application of Money and Organisation.
Both of these fronts in this war, the Mindfuck and the Shenanigans, would not be possible, at all, but for the yawning Vacuum left by the Left.
From Triangulation to Blue Dogs to outright Spinelessness in the face of a supine Corporate Media, the Left has abdicated.
Wall to wall Ad Hominem and Gish Gallops only work so well, if you are afraid of your own positions.
Ignorance and Hatred can only become ascendant if We let them.
I'm sick unto death of Right Wingers.
I'm even more sick of the Democratic Party for failing to stop the Right, or even to challenge their ascendancy.
The Greens are hopelessly in the wilderness, due to circumstances beyond their control(a long standing Bipartisan policy of Exclusion).
There is nowhere to turn.
I've my own Party...the Fuck You Party.
The Skunk Throwing Liberal Party.
Anti-Authoritarian, Secular Humanist,Anti-Corporate, Anti- Dark Age.
Pro-Dope, Pro-Thought, Pro-Sex.
If it remains a party of One, so be it.
Fuck them all.



( https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/media/news/2005/05/26/1476/think-again-working-the-refs/)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Prepoke the Bear, #2



This (http://amfortasthehippie.blogspot.com/2015/02/on-teaching-of-history.html) will be in the local paper, this wednesday.
I reckon it is accurate and truthful and I managed to not disparage or attack anyone, by name.
I expect the local Tealican Establishment to be on the phone to the Mothership in Austin by that evening, hammering out a Rabid Response.
They're sort of predictable that way.
Prior to the local Party Bigwigs' involvement, last August, any responses that my LTE's generated were of the frothy, spittle-flecked variety...going back years.
We'll see if the new trend is a trend.
I expect, if it is, a well crafted Gish-Gallop of Talking Points and Slick Ad Hominems, as only “conservatives” can craft...I do NOT expect an actual Response to my Charges and Accusations, nor a point by point Rebuttal of my Diagnosis of Our current situation.
They will, as is their wont, Ignore all of the Meat of what I wrote, and focus on Inanity: I deigned to use the phrase “Right Wing” to describe them...I put “liberal Indoctrination” in Quotes...and the like.
They will Attack my Character, and my Intelligence, and my Sources of Information.

In other words, it will be a slightly higher quality of Froth and Spittle.

This, of course, is the reason that I rarely speak directly To them...merely About them.
They are NOT the intended recipient of this Missive...they just happened to be in the way of it, as usual.
I consider Those People to be a Hopelessly Lost Cause...and not worth speaking To.
My intended Reader is, again incidentally, the Invertebrate Local Democratic Apparatus, such as it is...but Especially the Majority...those who are Liberal, often without Knowing it...who see what's happening in the country and want to Do Something...but do not know what...who think that they are alone, out here, on the Perimeter.
Those are the folks I do this for, to the great chagrin of my Wife.
Carry the Fire.



{I'm putting this up today, two days before my LTE comes out, and two weeks + two days before any response or pseudo-response. Just to test my prescient abilities...lol...let us see how predictable they are. I don't think they know about this place(like to test that, too,lol))

On The Teaching of History



There's a riot quietly ongoing around something called “Advanced Placement History”.
Folks on the Right want to revisit what is taught in schools about Our History.
This seems to involve a lot of Revision, and Omission of many things that really happened that they, for whatever reason, find uncomfortable.
The Rub seems to be fear....fear that if the Warts are included, that students will end up “hating America”. To prevent this, folks on the Right wish to scrub our History Books clean of all of the Bad Things that have been done in Our History; from the Genocide of them that were here, before the European Invasions, to the Myriad Perspectives around and through the Civil War, to Labor Struggles to the Sixties and their Ferment, to the Whole Story of the Cold War, and of Reagan's America.
It is an attempt to set in stone American Exceptionalism, by removing the icky parts...and the parts that disagree with their preferred Mythology.
While it is certainly not pleasant to contemplate that America made use of Smallpox Blankets and MK Ultra and Palmer Raids, these things are a Part of Our History.
They are a part of who We are.
To neglect them...to attempt to hide them in the attic...to erase them from Our collective Memory...is a disservice to Our youth.
Such Erasure is also quite dangerous.
How are We to Improve, if the only things we learn about Ourselves are the Good Parts...the Shiny Parts...as determined by One Side...One Opinion?
If we leave out the Ugly... the Evil, even...are we not doomed to Repeat the same Mistakes and Shortcomings?
If we neglect the Dissenters, the Opposition, and those who have had Other Ideas, is this not a Skewed Version of Our History?
I have often been confronted with the Strawman Accusation...that I am a part of the “Blame America First Crowd”....
This is a product of that Totalising Worldview that insists that “We are Awesome!”...and that any Criticism...any Critique...cannot be countenanced.
As if Critique somehow undoes the Good Parts.
Negates them.
America is not Perfect...nor is it Complete.
It is a Work in Progress, forever Under Construction.
Discrimination is necessary in choosing Our materials for this ongoing Project.
Not just any board will do.
The rotten boards must be discarded.
This Discrimination can only be effectual if we look at the boards carefully; and for this, we must Open Our Eyes.
Our History, like it or not, contains many Failures, and many very Ugly and Festering Wounds...many, many Rotten Places, that we would do well to discard. Our children need the proper Tools, including their Eyes, to do this hard work of Discernment that is so Vital to the Ongoing Construction of Our Civilisation.
We do them a disservice by sugarcoating and whitewashing and obscuring the Rotten Parts, and by leaving out all those who Disagreed, who Dissented from the Preferred Version.
We should, instead, provide a Comprehensive Context to this thing...this America. Let us Teach the whole story of Us, and let the Individual make the determination for him or her self.
Many folks on the Right seem to wish to leave out large chunks of Our History regarding Thoughts and Ideas and Ideals that they simply do not Like.
From Jefferson's stance on Religion, the Progressive Movement, the Labor Movement,to the Presence in America of people who were different, in thought and deed and Idealism.
What this part of the preferred Revisionism seems to entail, is the excision of all things Liberal from Our collective Memory. The Revisionists insist that this is needed to counter “Liberal Indoctrination”...as if acknowledging the Other Side of the Story, teaching the Whole of History, is somehow a Political Act, or Plot. To this idea, I counter: if Your Version of Events is so Righteous and Proud, can it not withstand Criticism? Is it not “Indoctrination”, by definition, to Exclude the parts and persons of Our History that you do not care for, or that tarnish somewhat your preferred view that America is, and always has been, Perfect?
If Students learn the Other Side of the Story of Us, are you afraid that your Preferred Side will be found wanting?
True Exceptionalism should stand on it's own merits...do you fear that the Approved History cannot endure if the Truth...all sides of the Truth...were to be exposed?
Let us, instead, endeavor to shine the light on the Whole Story of Us;
Warts and rotten boards and festering swamps and all.
To scrub History clean of all that oppose your preferred worldview is Indoctrination...it is of the worst traditions of Totalitarianism...and it is, inherently, Unamerican.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rudolph's Tiny Soap Box


Patriotism:
from the Greek,πατριώτης ,{“Patriotes”} “Countryman”.

Generally considered to mean “love of one's country”...akin to Nationalism.
Does “Loving one's country” mean unconditional love?
Love, no matter what happens?
Or is Love of one's country more complex than such sentiments as “love it or leave it” or “my country, right or wrong”?
Could it be that Rudolph's political opponents also love this country, even while criticizing it?
Is criticism, alone, enough to negate a feeling of love? Of Patriotism?
Or is such criticism, perhaps, an ingredient in a more robust, more perspectival, love?


18 USC : 2340, the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbid Torture by any US Citizen or National or Government or agent thereof.
Torture was done, in Our name, by Our Government.
I hated this...I still Hate this...I am ashamed of these heinous crimes perpetrated by those who I still consider My Employees(and yours, too).
So I criticized the Torture Policy of the Second Bush Administration.
I criticized them vigorously and often.
I then admonished the current Administration to ensure that Justice be done upon the Criminals(to no avail, it turns out).
This criticism did not negate my love for my country...it was informed by it.
Patriotism,Love of country, as I see it, necessitated that criticism.
I would have been remiss if I had remained silent while my country committed War Crimes.

Rudolph, on the other hand...well...I really don't know what he's talking about. It seems he's fallen for the whole Beckian Surreality, where a sitting President with a funny name and a darker complexion than we're perhaps used to is seen as “the Other”...as Illegitimate.
Does Rudy still believe the whole Birther Thing? That Obama is a Kenyan Commie-Fascist-Socialist Dictator, who is “destroying the country”(by reducing deficits,boosting jobs numbers and attempting to fix so many of the things that the Previous Gang screwed up)?
I pity poor Rudolph his delusions, but I will defend his Right to Believe in whatever nonsense he likes, and to Speak such nonsense.
Speak his Nonsense loudly, if he so desires.
The rest of us enjoy those same Rights...which include the Right to name poor, deluded Rudolph a Fool.
Where we part company, Rudolph and I, is that I will defend his Rights, even if I despise him and his words and actions and beliefs; I do not think that Rudolph would do the same for me.
I infer this from his own long record of saying stupid things in public.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression saw fit to give Rudolph the very first Lifetime Muzzle Award, noting,”He has stifled speech and press to so unprecedented a degree, and in so many and varied forms, that simply keeping up with the city’s censorious activity has proved a challenge for defenders of free expression.”.
(http://tjcenter.org/muzzles/muzzle-history/muzzle-archive-1999/#item12)
It seems that poor, deluded Rudolph has never wanted to share that whole Free Speech Thing...it is for him ,and those he agrees with, alone.
If an American so despises the First Amendment Rights of other Americans, does he still “love this country”?
…...........................................................
“Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard." --Giuliani in a March 1994 speech on crime at a forum in New York City sponsored by the New York Post as quoted by the New York Times (lifted from Wiki)

““over 35 separate successful lawsuits were brought against the city under Giuliani’s stewardship arising out of his insistence on doing the one thing that the First Amendment most clearly forbids: using the power of government to restrict or punish speech critical of government itself.” -Floyd Abrams, 'Speaking Freely',(http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/libertarians-beware-rigid-reign-rudy)

Friday, February 20, 2015

JEB





Out of all of the Bush people who have been in the public eye in my lifetime, Jeb strikes me as the least odious.
My Vibe Antennae doesn't shriek, “Danger!!”, as much. He seems smarter, certainly...and sometimes steps out of the current Goptea Bubble, which indicates at least a little real conviction.
But he's a Bush.
...and well inside the norm of that Crimen Familia.
As Rachel points out, all that's missing from his “foreign policy team” is Kissenger and Darth Cheney.
Less bad is still Bad, even if he would likely be worlds away better than Ted Cruz—who terrifies me(“waiting for the worms to come”-see below) .
I expect him to be the nominee...and to make Hillary the obvious choice, once all the hilarity is done.
I'll prolly sit this one out.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obstinate



“If you plan to build walls around me, know this—I will walk through them.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

There's a fine line between Stubbornness and mere Inflexibility, it seems.
10 pages of Google returns indicate a bias against Stubbornness, to the point of regarding it as a character flaw, a disorder, something to be fixed.

I shouldn't have told anyone but my Wife about my house-building plans.
No one but her can understand my aversion to Banks and Mortgages and Homeowner's Insurance and Building Inspectors and other sundry examples of what I see as unnecessary Imperial Entanglements.
Further instance of contradiction is the disbelief that I can do this, due to my body. I can't sleep on just any bed, or walk very far, but I reckon I can build a functional cabin in the woods, given sufficient time and encouragement.

Then there's the widespread lack of faith in my skillset.
When I was 18 or so, I built a shed in the back pasture for the Billy Goat.
It was ugly...constructed entirely of whatever left-over crap we had laying around...and I ended up wiring it securely to a tree.
My stepdad still talks about that whenever he learns that I am building something—always accompanied by endless guffawing.
What is forgotten, is that that particular shed is still standing, and still in use, some 27 years later.
My Shop is similar, without the tree.
“Do your best, and paint the rest”...and from my maternal grandad,”walk by and get it done”...with the necessary corollary,”...using whatever is to hand.”...these are my building ethics and practices.
While I would love to have a concrete monolithic dome, instead of a funky shack, funky shack is what we can do.
While I would love to have somebody...say a carpenter...do this for me, and at my instruction, that is far too expensive...and thus requires a Bank, and all of the regulatory headaches such relationships entail.
Mortgage-Free, well insulated, and no leaks...that's what I care about.
Aesthetics are an afterthought.
That said, I will endeavor to make it not-ugly...according to My and the Wife's ken---and no one else's.
Quick is something to be sacrificed, as well.
And...lest there be confusion...I appreciate all of the advice.
I just don't think it applies, here.
I don't need tips on how to build an ordinary home...because that ain't what I'm building..as shocking as that may be. But none of the erstwhile advisors will be forced to look at it, let alone live in it.
I intend to go my own way, at my own pace.
If you would like to be on the other end of the board at some point, that is welcome, indeed.
But I get to decide where the board goes.
The freedom to make such decisions is the root of what I want, and why I am weary to the point of hostility to all of the unwanted advice, and the negativity I perceive when I reject it.
I'm 45 years old...possess a shining mind, and the creativity to go with it(and with almost nowhere to apply either)...and do not feel the need for approval or permission.
I look at this as an art project, and will approach it thusly.
There is no HOA out there.
So much advice that I have taken in my life, often against my own preferences or instincts, has proven deleterious or wrongheaded or simply inapplicable to whatever situation.
I took advice on my major in college, and have regretted it ever since.
I took advice on the massive expansion of the greenhouse, when I thought we weren't ready...and we weren't.
I took advice from probably 90% of those who gave it with my cafe...
I could go on.
I have a beat up old trailerhouse in the wilderness, because I took advice.
I intend to keep my own council in this endeavor.
I have asked no one for money, or even labour.
It would be cool to receive well-wishes, rather than recriminations.

http://youtu.be/M-Ql1284QLw




“What do you mean I have to wait for someone's approval?  I'm someone.  I approve.  So I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nascent Saeculum obscurum


“Superstitious, Xenophobic Morons...”-Dominar Rigel XVI, referring to Homo Sapiens(Farscape)

During my down times, this winter...among other things...I've been in Farscape.
(Season 4,Episode 17, “a Constellation of Doubt”.)

As I'm involved in this, waiting for the medicine to work, I'm thinking about politics.
Philosophy.
Humans.
I'm tired of Conservativism.
I'm weary of those people having a Veto on every damned thing, and of holding Humanity back.
I think about growing up reading National Geographic...Omni...Scientific American...and the Giant Deluxe Encyclopedia Britannica...
All of the wonders of Earth, let alone the Universe..(I'm a NASA kid)
Right here on this little planet,we've got thousands of cultures..how many languages?
How much history?
All the vibrant variety of Human physiology, behaviour and society.
All those religions.
All that Philosophy.
...and yet we're still doing the same old shit...Empires and war and famine and xenophobia and racism and Fear and Loathing.
We allow the most terrified and backwards cowards to lead us...and when we do not, we still allow them to dictate the terms...based on their fears and prejudices.
Greedy bastards run the show, while ignorance and violent conformism permeates the lower levels.
Anti-Intellectualism, Anti-Education, a Revolt against Reason.
Against Thought, itself.
Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Hyperpolitical...the Politicised variety of Right wing “Christianity”...let's call it Dominionism, for a sort of clarity...is a tiny minority, as near as I can tell.
That they call themselves “Christian” serves to confuse matters, and to deflect criticism and effective political opposition.
They hide in the largest religion in America.
If one deigns to challenge them on whatever insanity they are proposing, they trot out the Persecution Card.
Teachers are the Enemies of God. Rational, Empirical Thought is “of the Devil”.

Science is Evil.

What could possibly go wrong?
The New Dark Age that I've been lamenting for more than 15 years is well under way.
I have no idea if folks like Scott Walker and Jindal really believe the BS they're pushing...or if it's merely pandering to their “base”.
It appears to me that this is just another iteration of the Corporate Neo-Fascists telling the worst sorts of “Christians” what they want to hear in order to get their support.
The Three-Legged Stool of St. Ronnie's “Conservative Revolution”.:Fundies, Libertarians and their erstwhile Corporate Lords of the Manor.
This putrid flowering of Unthought has been a long time coming. Beginning with the Birchers and others pushing the idea that Education=Commie Indoctrination, to the Homeschooling Movement to hateful lunatics like Fallwell and Oral Roberts forming their own “universities”, and churning out Lawyers who believe that we are, and always have been, a “christian nation”...and then larding the DOJ with such creatures...to the recent insanity here in Texas, replacing Thomas Jefferson with Moses.
And the rest of us...the non-crazy, the non-stupid, the non-reactionary...we can, it seems, do nothing, at all.
The insidious rise of the Cult of Ignorance, anti Islamic Hysteria, Disbelief in the Science of climate and biology...all of this, fomented by a few very loud nutters, and a few pandering ideologues.
Many people have laughed at me for worrying about this long term trend.
Dismissed as hyperbolic paranoia, even as anti-Christian hatred on my part...this Darkness grows and festers.
From “Repent Amarillo”(http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/repent-amarillo-executes-santa-highlight-importance-christmas) to the benign-sounding Good News Club(http://www.goodnewsclubs.info/) and the odious Young Life(http://www.younglife.org/About/Pages/MissionandVision.aspx )...can the Pitch-Forks and Torches be far behind?
Who, pray tell, supports Gov. Walkers desire to destroy Wisconsin's Public University System?
Who likes Rickfuckingperry's meddling and defunding and fuckwittery at UT and A&M and Texas' Public Schools?
Who really thinks that what America really needs is more Morons?
Worse, Empowered Morons, who lift their hateful ignorance to Heaven, who wear their Stupidity with such Pride, who would impose such Ignorance on us all?


http://www.salon.com/2015/02/09/gops_anti_school_insanity_how_scott_walker_bobby_jindal_declared_war_on_education/
http://churchandstate.org.uk/2013/02/christian-fundamentalists-are-driving-our-country-into-the-dark-ages/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2013/05/03/move-over-koch-brothers-bigger-darker-rightwing-funder-out-destroy-public-education

Friday, February 13, 2015

Douse the Spark, but let the fire rage on




So...
The Missus and I had big plans.
Fifty Shades of Gray in Austin, followed by a Club, and dinner and whatnot...(limited)shopping in the morning.
Booked a hotel room at a holiday inn in far north Austin 3 days ago.
Kids were due to stay at my Mom's place and eat frog's legs.
This is a rather big deal, for us. We rarely leave the county, save for a monthly grocery run, and the occasional doctor's visit(both are in Fredericksburg, some 38 miles, South).
This afternoon, our eldest kiddo comes down with a fever...it's 100.6, at the moment...likely a cold, but perhaps a sinus infection. Irregardless, there's no doctor til Monday.
So the trip is off.
I immediately endeavor to Cancel our hotel reservation.
Even more complexity than the Booking...which was considerable.
I finally managed to wade through all of the nonsense on the website, and got it done.
“Cancellation Email” was forthcoming...wherein I learned that, as Penalty(their word), I would still be charged for the night's stay. A little over a hundred bucks.
I called the front desk, given that theirs was the only actual phone number contained in the email...and asked the lady if I was reading it right.
“yep, they do that...” she told me(I did not jump all over her, as she was merely a manager, and my Ire is directed well above her pay-grade.)
So I called “customer service”...and explained my Ire to that lady...who put me on hold for 20 minutes...then a rather sedate man came on, and after 30 minutes of back and forth(he must be on Xanax), he somehow managed to “exempt” me from the “penalty”.
I told him that I don't have an issue with a “cancellation penalty”, as such...but a penalty that is the same as the cost of the room seemed excessive, if not downright dishonest, to me.
Turns out, that I had booked the room under some “savings” or “smart” something-or-other regime(I had no idea...I had felt lucky just to get into a room, after the hypercomplex shadow-world of the website)...which set me up, somehow, for this very penalty.
I told him that that, right there, is where the rest of my Ire resides...the Corporate Lawyer-ese BullShit that makes it necessary to bring one's legal team and accountancy department along with ya...in order to get a cheap hotel room in far north Austin, where one must hike outside to smoke.
The way it works is that the Corporate Overlords know, from focus groups and other research, that only a small percentage of folks will call and bitch about this sort of thing...most folks will just eat the $100...they can either afford such a pittance, or are unaware that they can get an “exemption”.
It's win-win for the Bottom Line(holy, holy).(hence, the title of this post)
I asked if this was the Hotel, itself, or a broader, Corporate Policy...
He first said that the individual hotels(franchises=transferred responsibility, where convenient/profitable) make those policies...and then he let slip that while that was true, it is derived from a Broader Corporate Policy that the individual hotels are encouraged to follow(ass-covering=no-one-is-responsible).
I asked him to further this part of my Beef up the chain...it is dishonest and shyster-like.
He agreed(that's the Xanax, again)...and said a bunch of words to the effect of “I'll see that they hear about it”.
All of this, because I deigned to attempt to take my Wife out for a night in the big city, and was unable to follow through.
My next attempt will involve a bed/breakfast...or more likely, one of those Roach Motels on North Lamar...we'll bring bleach and our own sheets and insecticide and fire-arms.
Of course, there's always the pup tent.



{one of the very few jokes I know:”what do ya call 20 layers jumping out of an airplane?” Answer:”Skeet”.}

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Neglect and Invisibility/Totalising and Orthodoxy



I read a lot.
But I haven't read everything.
Growing up in Texas and the South during the Reagan Counter-Revolution and Insurgency, Liberal and Leftist Thought was hard to come by...one had to search it out.
Before the arrival of the Internet, this was a rather daunting task.
I've been involved, passionately, with Philosophy for my whole damned life...but I never even heard of folks like Dewey and Mercuse, Rawls and Richard Rorty, until well after I had discovered the Web, circa 1998.
Much like the way we know about various Christian Heresies solely via their enemies(Iraneus, et al.), I learned of these folks due to my comprehensive review of the American Right, beginning around 2002.
Now, I come to Rorty...and find that I am quite hot to trot to acquire his “Achieving Our Country”.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achieving_Our_Country)
(http://www.amazon.com/Achieving-Our-Country-Leftist-Twentieth-Century/dp/0674003128/ref=cm_wl_huc_item)
Where I've been my whole life, all of this sort of thing has been successfully excised from Public School, from College, and from Libraries.
If it's there, one has to know to look for it...there is not a “Liberal Thought Section”, in the basement, or elsewhere.
The fact that these individuals and their Thinking have been so unknown to me, of all people, is both maddening and instructive.
How did I miss them?
If they had been Banned, outright, I would have found them...I have always kept an eye out for Banned Books.
It seems that they were all just quietly removed, somehow, from view.
Of course, since I now have a sort of window into the workings of the local Libraries, both Public and Public School, perhaps I understand how this was accomplished.
Some parent complains that Plato, or whatever, is in the High School...and, rather than make a spectacle, the Librarian, or the school Board, simply has it removed...or placed in a closet.
This does not happen with such high minded gems as Sarah Palin's and Bill Oraly's various collections of discourse...those are, indeed, kept in a sort of shrine...one cannot help but notice them.
I have considered donating various books to both Libraries...but the common practice is to sell or throw away whatever doesn't get checked out sufficiently.
I think Marcus Aurelius should be available in any Publicly funded Library, just in case someone wants it.
Same with Walt Whitman(whose Leaves of Grass has been challenged due to his perceived homo-erotica, and (no shit) “unamericanism”.)
The Right's perpetual Fear of Information is always on display, if one looks.
How many of the strident screamers in the Islamaphobia Industry have ever actually read the Koran?
The Hadith?
How many of a century's worth of Anti-Commie Ideologues have read Marx?
The Right has a bad habit of taking their various “Leader's” word for what to hate, and never looking into matters for themselves...apparently, for fear of pollution(an admission of weak-mindedness, perhaps?)
I, on the other hand, would never even contemplate attempting to have Sarah Palin's testament to aphasia(yes, I've read it) removed from the Public School Library...although I would prefer that it be removed from the Shrine, and put back on the shelf.
We can have Jonah Goldberg, but not Robert Paxton.
William Bennett, but not Howard Zinn.
Plato gets tossed out(I was there with a big net to catch it all), because it hadn't been checked out in the past year or two...likely because such things are not mentioned in History class, or anywhere else these days.
Anti-Intellectualism is part of the Background, now...it is no more noticed than is the air.
Again, this is how Dark Ages begin...by the delimiting of Thought...the de facto and tacit erasure of competing or contradictory viewpoints.
Silently, and without fanfare, removing whole realms of ways of looking at the world.
Somehow, I ended up a Liberal, any way...or, at least a “Left Libertarian”.
This is probably mostly due to Jefferson, and tp not having Religion...and perhaps possessing some innate bullshit detector.
…...
Of course, things of the Left also sometimes fall into this Totalitarian Universalising Habit.
One sees this with various Environmental Movements and trends...like Earth First and PETA.( ...and, for clarity, I dig Deep Green Ecology..but not to the extremity of the exclusion of Humanity).
One sees it in(especially Second Wave ) Feminism; right now, I know of some otherwise thoroughly Liberal Women who are upset about the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray. They are talking about boycotting it, because they perceive the BDSM subculture as “demeaning” to Womyn.
Shall we remove Hemingway from the shelves, as well?
What about the Bible?
Augustine and Calvin?
Nope...we're gonna focus on a weird sexual subculture that happens to be ALL about Consent, willfully taking our eyes from the imposing edifice of obvious and blatant patriarchy all around us.

Another instance that comes to mind where otherwise sane and Liberal folks are concerned...a year or more ago, there was a pseudoscholarly article(I don't remember where) about Gandhi...containing the not all that new revelation that he slept in the same bed with naked early teenage girls...to “test his resolve”.
A big argument ensued, because my Lib interlocutors wanted to throw out Gandhi because of this.
My whole counter-argument was, essentially, “Jefferson OWNED People! Should we throw him away?”
It ain't just the Right, or the Rabid variety of Christians....
My prescription...that I sometimes fail to follow, my own self(Ha!)...is that we should tolerate folks for who and what they are...up and until the point that they become a threat to me, and or them and or us.
I've said repeatedly that I will defend, unto death, the Right of the KKK, or James Dobson, or even those neanderthals at Stormfront...I'll defend vigorously their Right to Exist and to Think and to Believe and to Speak.
However, as soon as they...or anyone else...crosses the line and attempts to Impose their worldview on anyone else..well,that's when 'a good man goes to war'.
Evangelicals pepper their discourse with the injunction to “hate the sin and love the sinner”.
I think that's a fine sentiment...and it's very similar to my own Goose Doctrine, and to the Wiccan Rede and the whole ideal of Reciprocity found in not only the three big Abrahamic religions, but in every religion I have yet studied.
Totalising everything, to the utmost extreme on any side, is Illiberal, and counterproductive.
So is Limiting access to information.


Oh, My Dog



Barack just can't catch a break.

(http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/despite-wingnut-freakout-obama-is-right-christian-violence-is-just-as-bad-as-muslim-violence/)
(http://aattp.org/the-right-wing-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-christian-atrocities-so-lets-talk-about-christian-atrocities/)
(ask Mrs. Tillman)

Again with the Faux Persecutory fantasizing.(please see Matthew 7:3-5, which is what the President said, in a nutshell)
The Right has this terribly annoying habit of Projecting their own secret desires onto whomever the Mothership has identified as the Enemy Du Jour.
The heart of the First Amendment is that they have the Right to believe in whatever kookery they like, but not that they can force the rest of us into their feverish terrorworld.
I once joked that the Eleventh Commandment is “Thou shalt not criticize Israel”.
Perhaps we should add a twelfth:”Thou shall not criticize Christianity(as defined and practiced by the Back to the Cave Crowd)”....because Christianity is so obviously on the ropes in America...I mean in spite of the church on every other corner(at one time, we counted 23 in this tiny town alone, although that number fluctuates, and is currently down to historical mean)...in spite of the gigantic crosses on hill tops(the one in Kerrville, Texas, is almost frightening...looming over the former artsy fartsy enclave of Hippies(http://www.thecrossatkerrville.org/))...and in spite of being forever confronted by people randomly praying( at bookstores, no less). Yup...the lions must be right around the corner.
But we let them do this.
I'm throwing into my virtual cauldron the recent report by my kids: a lot of people say “Oh, My God!”, or “Oh, My Gosh!”, or “OMG!” when surprised or even mildly shocked.
There are, apparently, several kids at school(one is a Preacher's son) who have taken it upon themselves to attempt to police such exclamations.
“You must not take the Lord's name in vain!”
That is, of course, their Right, to hold such views...and even to express them.
However, it is also the Right of whomever is standing nearby, whether the target of such outbursts or not, to challenge the Scolds.
They can exclamate all they want(within reason), but they cannot disrupt...any more than I could do, hollering about the Goddess...
Of course, such Humanistic and thoroughly American things don't happen.
The Scolds are tacitly obeyed.(think what would ensue, if I directed my kids to spread the Good News of...say...Karl Marx...or Bill Moyers...to their friends and classmates.)
This is part of a larger trend in America.
I recently read an article...(http://www.salon.com/2015/02/05/conservatives_are_such_crybabies_whether_fox_news_or_angry_police_exaggerated_whining_is_always_the_first_move/) ...about the Righty penchant for throwing Hissy Fits. The article goes on at length about the effects of these Hissy Fits in stifling Free Expression and the Promulgation of Ideas that the Right doesn't like.
It's like being chained to a bully.
It is a form of Ad Hominem...mixed with Shunning, Shaming and Punitive Alienation....as well as a generous proportion of simply shouting one's opponents down.
I cannot stress enough how Unamerican this is, in my studied and considered view.
It puts the decision of large and important issues that effect all of us into the sole possession of one faction of the Demos, and one faction ONLY!
In America!
The Righty Fantasy of a Unified America...made manifest(Maranatha!) by simply Excluding all those who don't adhere to the prescribed Narrow World View. (“They ain't “REAL” Amercuns!”.)...
This should be the topic of conversation and outrage in every home and coffeehouse and beerjoint in the land, that isn't already a part of this Totalitarian tendency—this frikking cult!
TINA-- that whole my-way-or-the-highway,end-of-history,tendency to Universalise the Norms of Literalism-- went from Religion to Economics to Politics and is now making sorties on Society, itself.
Under the cover of “Christian”, they are infiltrating nearly every sector of Our Civilisation.
(if I were a Christian, I'd be pissed at such a usurpation)
I'm sorry.
We are NOT...and have NEVER BEEN...a “Christian Nation”.
There is simply no...ZERO....Evidence to back that up.
We are, instead, a nation that includes a lot of Christians...who are Equal to Everyone Else.
Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus in all their variety,Atheists, Agnostics and Pagans, and a hundred Other admixtures and inflorations of the above and all other manner of varieties of systems for comprehending the divine and the awesome, and our place within, or along side, it.

Our governments are wisely forbidden from weighing in on such issues...perhaps not enough so.
It does not diminish me, that the falling-down church on the corner has their own form of worship.
Instead, it enriches me...until, and unless, they attempt to impose their Faith upon me and mine.
Then, I will holler at them...and about them.
This is not “hating Christianity”...nor is it in any way, shape or form, “Persecuting” Christians.
It is simply a reminder that I, too, am a part of this world....and that the world does not belong exclusively to them.
What the President said was entirely factual, and it was entirely relevant to the world, today.
The shameful malapropisms and allusions to a new Crusade on the Right since 9-11...the broad brush of “terrist” and “a violent religion” directed at Islam as a whole...the ignorant spectacles of Koran burning and crazy obstruction of Mosque-building...all of the hysteria, and traveling panels of “experts on Islam”(even here, in the wilderness), the whole industry of Islamaphobia...
all of it should be beneath us.
But there it is...
But let a President inform us of the obvious fact that Islam has no monopoly on violent extremism, and the nutters erupt in frothing outrage.
And, again, we let them erupt, all but unchallenged.
There are, of course, plenty of rebuttals and refutations, all over the web; I doubt that the same can be said of the coffee shop, the beer joint, or the feedstore.
Either from an aversion to often pointless conflict, or from simple fear of bullies, this leaves only one worldview to be represented.
This is how Dark Ages happen.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pig in shit



I've been laboring, intermittently of necessity, on getting the site ready for beginning construction on our Funky Cabin in the Wilderness.
Wife and Mother are, of course, somewhat reticent and circumspect.
Wife is a little less so, since I gave my arm waving visionary presentation a week ago.
The boys are excited...and I expect them to remain so until they come to the realisation that;1. This will be an ongoing project for at least a year, and 2, that they will be required to actually work.
In order for the big trucks to get there to put in my meter(a necessary evil...eventually, I will only use the grid for dryer and the tankless water heater), I had to remove a 20 foot section of fence, and the giant sprawl of opuntia(prickly pear) that had colonised there.
2 days.
About 4 hours, per day.
Then 16 hours of agony.
In the interstices, while I am recovering in the fetal position in my pillow-nest, I've been a-wandrin' in my latest accidental discovery:
http://www.openculture.com/

and especially, the sub-folder:
http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

Mostly in he Philosophy section.
I've so far skipped over the Leo Strauss offerings...and I note that he seems to be somewhat over-represented, but hey...it's free...and he did really know his stuff, if one can separate him from his intellectual and political progeny.
Folks from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and Berkley, and a hundred other Universities...even the Naropa Institute for Disembodied Poetics(!!!) Alan Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac, no less.
All manner of brain-candy, here.

I'm waiting on the pole/meter, and the leavings from the concrete truck(I only need a yard) for the footing for the big ass woodstove. Bits of barbed wire and rusty hog-wire and mangled chicken wire and a beer can or two are stuffed into one of the big metal garden beds, ready for the pour.
Manana, since it'll be warm again, I intend to sit out there with paper and my fancy pencils and a calculator and maybe even a ruler/straight-edge, and get my ducks in a row, and make “The List” of materials.
First Corner Post Day approaches.
Film at eleven.



Peripatetic





After all these years, Nietzsche is still my favorite Philosopher.
As I've said, I read Zarathustra when I was 8, or so...after watching Clark/Kubrik's 2001: a Space Odyssey, and becoming enamoured of Strauss' theme music(“alzo sprach Zarathustra”).
That book, and Joseph Campbell's “Masks of God”, vol. 4(“Creative Mythology”), which happened to be on the shelf at home, set me on the tortuous path that led to where I'm at.
I enjoyed Aristotle, especially Metaphysics and Poetics.
I enjoyed Marcus Aurelius even more...his Meditations is the book I've purchased and re-purchased more than any other...I keep giving it away to various and sundry folks I've encountered who were at some crisis point.
Uncle Friedrich turned me on to Schopenhauer, who I found interesting, if not convincing...and to Hegel, who I intuitively rejected, due to his Authoritarian solipsism. I was biased by Nietzsche' in this assessment, and unashamedly.
When I finally got to Popper, just last year(!?), the first part of the second volume of “Open Society..” had me laughing uproariously in the parking lot...I so identified with his hilarious, ridiculing critique of that Court Philosopher and pedantic apologist for Empire and Certainty.
Heidegger had some ideas I liked(Dasein), but this was negated by his embrasure of Naziism(hard to overlook, however, Jefferson owned Humans).
Popper also re-affirmed my intuitive uncomfortableness with the later works of Plato...I had never before been able to put my finger on what it was that bothered me about things like the Republic.
I enjoyed Erasmus, and Aquinas, whom I just happened upon due to my lifelong interest in all things Medieval...these led me into the various Mysticisms of the time: Meister Eckhardt, Abelard, and the like...
Campbell had also quoted those wild eyed folks extensively, and Kerouac, et alia, led me to Beatnik Buddha and Avolonkitsara and the Diamond Sutra.
Diogenes and Carl Jung ride around on my shoulders;
Immanuel Kant, in my front shirt pocket
I found that I agreed with Bertram Russel on his political/religious sentiments, but had little use, generally, for Analytic Philosophy, Positivism, and other Reductionist tendencies...Wiggenstein(sp-2) bored me to tears, almost literally.
Rosenstock-Huessy's 'On Revolution' I found revelatory.
I vacillate, without shame, between Structuralism and Post-Structuralism...depending on circumstance...on what I'm standing on, at the moment( my preferred view is from a tar paper shack on the Moon, near the Mare Crisium)
Descartes seemed arrogant; Hobbes, morose; Kierkegaard, almost suicidal in his dour wordiness(I like him more, now); Augustine, a disingenuous, moralising life-eater...afraid of his own shadow.
I like Origen and Pelagius, Marx and Smith, and prefer J.S. Mill to Jeremy Bentham.
I came to Camus, late...and can really relate to his take on Absurdity, and how he reckons we should respond to it.
Sartre, interesting...but ultimately unconvincing.
Rawls became a favorite, and I'm still toying with Foucault and Deleuze...translations of the latter are quite vexing.
I wish Onfrey would find a decent translator as well.
I'd like to get roaring drunk with Zizek, but have yet to seriously delve into his peculiar outlook.
I prefer “Third Wave” Feminism, and Paglia... I imagine arguing with her on many things...but I find her interesting...and certainly courageous.
I'm enjoying Proudhon, and recently had a pleasant time with Kropotkin, but...as with most Anarchists...I wonder about the general applicability/Practicality of such things.
Ivan Illich,Tolstoy,and Wendell Berry...as well as Thomas Merton, Gandhi and even Lysander Spooner...Thoreau, Whitman and Walter Benjamin...Adorno and Horkheimer(depressing as they are)...and somewhere foundational in me, Thomas Jefferson.
I am a creature of the Enlightenment, but due to a cursory study of History, and an aversion to Certainty and so called Prophetic Historicism, I'm not so sure any more of it's continuing applicability.
The apparent failure of the Enlightenment...rather, the realisation of that apparent failure...has been a dagger in my soul.
“Progress” just doesn't look like a going concern, any more.
My biggest issue with the modern world(post-postmodern?) is that I know of no-one in real life(meatspace) who has read even a third of this sort of thing. This is likely a function of my allergy to cities, and my stuck-in-amber-ness in this far place, on the edge of what passes for civilisation.
Place engenders Bias...however I attempt to control for it.
I boil all of this continually, along with my bootstraps, and realise that I seem perhaps contradictory and obscure.
I am doubtful that any book I manage to write will clear any of it up sufficiently.
I keep coming back to Uncle Friedrich.
Amor Fati, and all that.
I'd like to unify, at least somewhat, his affirmation of the Individual, with some framework for a workable Society...some synthesis of One and Many, Me and We...but then I look around(virtually, as well as at the Feedstore), and despair of this project.
Tea Party, Steamed Vaginas and David Brooks do not fill me with confidence that Humanity can survive...to say nothing of whether or not We Deserve to.

Oh, well.
Σταθερός και αναίσχυντος,
I remain.