Blog Archive

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An email from John McCain...and my Response

Senator says:
Like you, I am deeply concerned about the direction our country is heading.
Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Washington Liberals have taken us down a dark and dangerous path defined by record levels of debt, ever-expanding government, and a lead-from-behind defense strategy. There's not much time left to turn things around.
Principled leadership is desperately needed to redirect our nation's course and ensure a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.
But this change will not happen if the Republican Party doesn't have the funds needed right now to execute their strategy to elect Republicans in every city, district and state.
There's too much at stake. The liberals are fully stocking their campaign war chests so they can continue to rubberstamp every big-government, job-killing, tax-and-spend scheme Obama dreams up.
We must not let the liberals win -- so we need you to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Republican team.
We must act now to promote prosperity and preserve peace.
We must act now to defeat the liberals' overreaching agenda and defend the conservative principles upon which our country was founded.
We must act now to reform our failing government, revitalize our ailing economy, and renew the foundations of our strength and leadership in the world.
There's only one month left until Election Year 2014 begins. With 36 governorships, 35 Senatorial, 435 Congressional and thousands of other offices at stake, the GOP needs your full commitment right now.
The Republican National Committee needs to raise millions of dollars to expand their ground operation, advance their data and technology capabilities, and enhance their engagement with minority communities.
I believe in the Republican Party and am committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure they have the resources needed to fight and win in 2014. Are you?
Contribute $14 today and commit to building the foundation for Republican victories in 2014.Thanks,
John McCain”
I just can't help but respond....

“Bullshit, John.
I am disappointed that you've gone over to the Dark Side. You used to be worthy of my Respect, even if we didn't agree on much.
The Debt is lower than it's been in decades...and the "Liberal Agenda" is merely an attempt to claw our way back to the Center...after 30 years of Piss on Me Economic Nonsense, where  Avarice is the Highest Good, and one's Fellow Man is a mere rung to be stepped on.
As for  the so-called "Lead from Behind" Foreign Policy...I do not fear Iran...or any other Muslim state. Iran is only our "Enemy" because of our own assholery and mendacity, since 1956. It takes two to tango, after all.
As the most powerful country on earth, militarily, it is incumbent on us  to be humble...and restrained.
I want my country to live up to it's high Ideals...instead of  our habitual hegemony and belligerence.
The Golden Rule , as Foreign Policy.
What I fear is Ignorance, leavened with Certainty.
As for "Big Government, getting Bigger"...after 8 years of Bush2, and 4 of Bush 1, and 8 of St Ronnie...and 8 of the Non-Liberal ain't Liberals who have grown both the size of Government as well as the giant financial's you guys...Neoliberals and Neoconservatives...the  Corporate Whores...making the world safe for Fictional Behemoths whose only purpose is Accumulation...whose Morality is that of a Serpent:"I shall Devour"....
Your Creature...Tea...has turned on you. While I sypathise, somewhat, with your really serves you right. Karma's a bitch...and Nemesis always stalks Hubris.
So, Caveat Ruinam!
The GOP is going the way of the Whigs...and not a moment too soon.
A little time in the Wilderness will do y'all good. “

Monday, November 25, 2013

To my (relatively) Sane Senator


The song that plays in my mind, as I think about your little tweet...and your record over the last few years:
You know as well as I do, that you are not a real Tea Person.
You also know that around 90% of the shit those folks scream about is divorced from Reality.
I understand the fear you guys must feel, now that your Rough Beast has turned on you...they were, after all, intended to come after us, on the other side.
But it doesn't matter, least for you...but it does present you with an opportunity.
There's almost no chance that you can win a Primary challenge.
The Tea Beast hates you.
But this has the effect of Freeing you from having to pander to their can, instead, come out as the Elder Statesman, and repudiate those radical nihilists....expose them for what they are.
This is your chance to redeem yourself, and maybe even save the GOP from Whigdom.
Hyperpartisan nonsense like this:
Will not endear you to historians.
Understand that there is very little that you and I have ever agreed on...I'm a Liberal Libertarian(of all things,lol)...and have voted against you at every opportunity.
But what your Creatures in Tricorns are set to give us, is a one party state for the next 20 or so almost exclusively by Democrats.
Even I don't think that such an eventuality is necessarily good for the country, long term; short term, it's likely the GOP can lick it's wounds, and hopefully do a little soul searching, and maybe get better acquainted with the Realities of life in the USA, circa 2013.
You can help to begin that process of moving the GOP into the Present.
Help lead them away from the politics of hate and belligerence and obstruction...away from all the lies and mythology...and towards being a viable Opposition Party, again.
Y'all are at your best in that role.
Please help your Party grow up, and leave the Petty and Vile behind.
and , as always, I'm always ready to talk.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

On the care and feeding of Madmen

Nothing so points out the inadequacies of Profit Driven “Health Care”, as the sad history of Mental Health.
Admittedly, Mental Health has been abused in many societies, including our own, to justify many horrors...from the Nazis, to the Corporate State...but there is, nevertheless, empirical evidence for the existence of “Mental Illness”...and folks who suffer from these illnesses deserve our compassion, and our help, as much as the old lady with the broken hip, and the kid with leukemia.
I made mention yesterday of St Ronnie's 20 year crusade against psychology(1)....and the horror it ensured for millions of tortured souls.
My Great Uncle was one of them.
He was, as near as I can tell, Schizophrenic, and epileptic...and who knows what else.
My paternal grandmother(his sister) told stories of sitting on him in the back of the buckboard wagon, on the way from Dust Bowl Kiowa, Oklahoma, to keep him from hurting himself during one of his “fits”.
She reluctantly took me along to visit him in a mental ward,once, when I was around 4-5....she had been pressed into babysitting duty on visiting day, for some reason.
I remember the peculiar shade of green of the porcelain tile walls....the flickering fluorescent lights...and the antiseptic listerine smell....and there was my Great Uncle: propped up in a hospital bed in green institutional pajamas that matched the walls...chain smoking...and incomprehensible. I remember that he seemed excited to meet me....and the Vibe I got from him was Kindness, coupled with an undefined Danger. My Grandmother was embarrassed about the whole thing...especially about having to take me along on her weekly or monthly(?) visit. The Vibe she gave me was one of Shame, and Love, and Hopelessness.
I'm still pretty unclear on the details, and on the timeline...but my Uncle had been institutionalised in the State Hospital on North Lamar.
It had been closed, at some point...either before or after my visit...and he had been just sort of suddenly pushed out the door. They found him all but beside himself, wandering the streets of Austin with his little suitcase, and $5.
Many years later, when I was 17, or so, my trips to Austin began....the Drag(Guadalupe) was the Hip place to be...not least because of the “Wildlife”....meaning the often Crazy People, living in alleys, and begging for change, and engaging passers-by with antics and music, and street-performances.(Hence, “Keep Austin Weird”)
When I finally moved there, my wife at the time worked at the convenience store on the corner of 24th and Rio Grande....which was where the “Dragworms” would purchase beer and cigarettes. Since I am always habitually early...and wife was always habitually late...I spent a lot of time just hanging around down there....and, being open to experience, I got to know many of the Street People there.
(Indeed, my first real Protest activity was advocating against Austin's draconian Homeless Ordinances, circa 1993)
I'd often buy beer, and hang out with them...there's a particular tree, a block from that store, that is known among the Dragworms to this day, as “Joe's Tree”...although no one now remembers where that came from.
About a third of these colorful folks were disaffected youth...runaways and ne'er-do-wells...Punks and Neo-Hippies, and Anarchists; purposefully rejecting the Mainstream, in order to live Free, on the Streets. Another third were Veterans...mostly of Vietnam...suffering from untreated PTSD...unable to keep a job...drunk...on drugs...(Support the Troops, my white ass...)
The other third were former Mental Patients....having Visions, talking to trees, and occasionally freaking out and hurting themselves and others.
The latter two groups comprise what I have long considered Reagan's Legacy.
Folks who a Civilisation...should have cared for...but didn't...because of Free Market Mythology, and Government Hating Selfishness.
The first group...the Wild Kids, with metal studs in their noses and lips and dreadlocks, and colorful clothing...are indicative of another, much abused and confused aspect of “Mental Health”, as practiced in the US....the “Political Abuse of Psychiatry”(2)..... the de facto prohibition on Weirdness, justified by the Priesthood of Psychiatry, in service to the Corporate State.
There's definitely something to that critique...I've been there, after all,lol...but I think that it's different than the Anti-Communist Propaganda would have us believe.(4)
I place Psychology...and especially Psychiatry...somewhere akin to Economics.
It borders on Pseudoscience...yet attempts to describe real phenomena.
The Problems, with both, arise when the practitioners,on the one hand, join up with the they Corporate or Governmental....and on the other, when they lose their Humility...and fall into that Certainty that I'm always on about.
The fact is , is that we just don't understand the Human Mind....hell, we can't even locate it, let alone define it.
This errata leaves such disciplines open to political with the long term inclusion of Homosexuality in the DSM....or the ADHD controversy regarding “Unruly Children”...or my own Anomalousness.
But this tendency does not in any way disprove the Reality of Mental Illness.
Nor does it negate our responsibility to at least attempt to help folks who suffer.
My offhand comment , yesterday, regarding the co-incident emptying of Mental Wards, and the Rise of the Reagan Revolution, should in no way belittle the seriousness of the issue.
I do think that the concurrent rise of Anti-Psychological Sentiments on the Political Right, with the increasing Dysfunction of the Society they then built is curious...and maybe not as much of a coincidence as we (and especially they,lol) would like to think.
Shrinks with Delusions of Priestly Status, and worse...Shrinks in the Service of Empire...have not helped, of course.
As usual, there should be some Middle attempt to Help Folks who need help, coupled with Humility...and an awareness of our own Limitations regarding such things as Mind, and its Dysfunction.
I also firmly believe that the Stigma surrounding Mental Health Issues is well past it's sell-by-date....and should be discarded in favor of Compassion for our fellow Humans.
In that light, Provision of Mental Health Care is a Case in Point of why we need Single Payer/Medicare For All...and of why the Profit Driven Way has no business being involved in Health. It is in all of our interest...Collectively...that folks get the care they need.

(5) (unrelated, but what's playing on Track 3 of my Mind, atm:
Howl is about, in part, the use of Psychiatry to enforce Conformity, and to Oppress the Weird, and the Different, and often one's Political Opposition.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

dolorem in collo

(nunc me sagíttent)

Friday, at around 10 am, my neck suddenly hurt like hell...
It was a familiar pain, one that has recurred several times in the last 25 years.
Back then, at the age of 19, I was working at my Dad's big sheet metal shop...and one of my duties was to open the big overhead doors in the morning.
These doors were huge...maybe 25 feet across...with a chain-fall for lifting them. They were also quite old, and the teeth of the chain-fall would only engage when one got the door started, manually.
Due to the springs and things, this was not all that difficult...just lift the bottom of the door, while yanking on the appropriate chain.
But that day, my neck was cocked in just the right way, and something just snapped...I could no longer turn my head without severe pain.
As the boss' son, I bore the brunt of much testosterone induced ribbing, so I kept quiet about the injury....attempted to do my job...which included driving the ancient and dilapidated blue Ford pick-up, loaded with tools and materials, on Houston freeways to one job-site or breaktime, I was in hell...and approached Cl, the foreman. He told me to suck it up, and to quit trying to get out of I continued for 3 more hours. The old blue Ford had no functioning one had to turn one's head, in order to change lanes...I, on the other hand, was forced to turn my whole body...and by lunch, I had had enough...and went to see my Dad.
He immediately took me to their doctor, who sent me to a neurologist, who prescribed a week off, and muscle relaxers....he said that they would allow me to relax(major understatement!), so that the likely “pinched nerve” would heal.
As Dad drove me home, I asked him what would have happened if one of the other employees had approached him, instead of his son....
He said,” same thing. We take care of our people.”
Later, my Grandad(the founder of the Shop) said the same thing, but added,”If we didn't , they could sue the pants off of us!...always take care of your people. It's the Right Thing to do, and it covers your ass, too.”

Any-hoo...that's how I damaged my neck. This injury reappears every 5 to 10 is unknown to me just what triggers it, although on one occasion, it was likely due to square hay bales,lol.
This time....I have no idea.
It's either C-2, or C-3...and I don't think it can be anything else besides a “Pinched Nerve”...but it has the effect of tensing the musculature in my neck, back and shoulder, and just making me even more miserable than I normally am. It does seem to block all but the strongest pain signals from my lower body...which is interesting,lol...the Human Body is an amazing thing.
It's been four days, recedes for a while, and comes's sneaky, that way.
So I'll think it's over, and very gingerly attempt to “do something”,lol...only to have it return with a vengeance.

The end result of all of this is me, propped up in my nest of 19 pillows(leg pillows, and back pillows, etc etc...I'm a fucking bower bird!)...typing this out on a screen at the foot of the bed...wireless keyboard and mouse("Oh Glorious brave new world!...")
I managed to be the jitney for drum practice, and to supervise my boys making dinner(hot dogs and hash browns and cucumbers).
Instead of a third Norco(hydrocodone) of the day, I deemed the pain intractable enough to warrant a Percocet(oxycodone)...from the little jar of 60 I have hoarded and guarded and misered over, for almost a year.
Percocet requires a little benadryl, as well...I took a teaspoon of the kid's syrupy kind,lol(tastes like turpentine)...and am not very comfortably numb.
If I remain very still, and propped up in just the right way, the pain is sort of tolerable.
I hate the “High” these drugs sometimes produce...Norco does not, but Percs impart a sort of brain fog that is just about the opposite of what I consider a desirable “High”. I feel inclined to drink coffee, in order to counter this, but will limit myself to Darjeeling.
I have a whole bunch of muscle relaxers(cyclobenziprine), which they seem to hand out like candy, for some reason...but I really don't like those. They exacerbate the “Restless Leg Syndrome”(that I have in all of my joints)...which is another of those ailments that is often perceived as Mythical, or Somatoform, by a good portion of the medical establishment(similar to Fibro). I take Gabapentin for the RLS,and the Fibro and primarily for the Nerve Pain in my lower legs... cyclobenzaprine is contraindicated,with any Gaba-ergic thing, anyway.(I've spent a lot of time in the PDR, and in clinical data...self-education in such matters is necessary when one has no access to health-care, for so long.)

It would be cool to sleep, tonight.
Alas, me thinks I'll be up, for a while.

Random Thoughts on today's news.

News Roundup
(as I Retake the Library...still in shambles...and kill 4 hours waiting on the flea bombs to do their business...)

So a Socialist wins a city council race in Seattle(where you can smoke weed), and another Socialist(specifically, a Social Democrat), who has been a US Senator for years, is now thinking about running for President.
Perhaps we can finally abandon the knee jerk hysteria and total confusion of tongues around various economic philosophies that are not hypercapitalist,neofeudalist, hate-the-poor Randian nightmares...imagine that!
The entire 100 year campaign of Mindfuck was never really about socialism, or communism, or Marx and those who have come after him...similarly, it has never been about Free Markets and Entrepreneurial-ism.
It's been about the American Aristocracy keeping it's power and privilege, while pretending to not order to avoid an actual debate.

Yet another reason why Hyper-Secrecy and Democratic Republican do not go together.

The Drug War may be ending....ever so slowly...
The War on Alternative Lifestyles may be ending...ever so slowly...
The War on Alternative Thought on Economic Issues may be thawing...
We're opening up to Iran,lol...
But the Mindfuck will likely continue....just in new forms.
The Aristocracy won't let go the reins, anytime soon....and certainly not without a very large fight.
But things are changing....and all of a sudden-like.
The Violent Parasitical Elite will need a new herd of go-to guys....since the GOPTea has so clearly lost their minds, and could almost say that they jumped the shark...I predict a Blue Dog Party forming in the next few years.
Occupy...Social Media...many “Secrets Revealed”...just like the Web Bots predicted,lol.
A new Pope who seems hell bent to shake up things in that quarter....a weakening, aging, and corrupting of what we think of as the Religious Right...
The near Collapse of Reagan's Revolution, along with all of it's Social Meddling and Economic Mythology...
These are historic times.
There's not much Hope...but there is Hope.
Hold fast.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dolorous Stroke

Pain can be very distracting.
Counterintuitively, it can also be very Clarifying.
Since late Summer, we've had recurring “Rain Events”...repeated rounds of low pressure, followed by high, that have kept my Skeleton in chaos.
Coupled with Expeditions to Doctors and Real Grocery Stores, as well as the continuing project of dismantling my Library, and hunting the Serpent, and on top of the normal every day routine of dishes and laundry, and I find myself in bed much more often than I would like.
Even after all this time, I still find it difficult to Accept my fate....let alone Love it(Amor Fati).
I feel, at the same time, both older than dirt, and far too young to be in such a sad state. Still, one Track of my Mind remains clinically detached...and that part is amazed by the complexity of the Body and the Mind.
Nociceptors are fascinating...especially when they are blocked. For many years, and unbeknownst to me, my damaged hip effectively blocked the Pain from the knee, below. When the hip was replaced, at long last, and the Pain from that joint was removed....suddenly, the damaged Knee reasserted itself.
Similar weirdness is evident in other places. My mysterious back pain...with a locus around T-5...seems to block Pain sensations from below that level. When the Back is really hurting for some reason, I don't feel the ankle, knees, or lower back, as much as I normally would.
But I feel the elbow and wrists and thumbs, that much more.
Now that I've seen a Rheumatologist...and now that he's ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis....which was really just a formality, anyway...the Primary Diagnosis is in: Widespread Osteoarthritis.
IE: I did it to myself.Ha!
Secondary, is the Neuropathic strangeness in my right leg, from where they inadvertently Cut the big ass nerve, during my,twenty three years ago.
I still suspect Fibromyalgia....I have too many of the tell-tales to do otherwise...
But the Rheumatologist I was able to see didn't seem interested in anything but RA...which was disappointing.
Fibro is still regarded by many in the Medical Establishment as somewhat Mythical...along the lines of Morgellons and Alien Abduction related ass pains.
It fits the symptoms better than any of the other, myriad potential causative pathologies.
Given all of this, my biggest daily challenge is Movement.
I must force myself to get out of bed, and move around the the very least.
I force my unwilling and painful carcass to exercise....with a bicycle innertube, and a few weights...and, if I'm not feeling too terrible, hide and seek with my cat.
What's hardest to accept...even after all these that it will never get better... indeed, that it will always get worse.
I've known this, on an intellectual level, for a long time...but that Reality, when it slaps you in your Brave's a hard thing.
It's much worse than I expected.
23 years ago, after I had recovered from the wreck, I was made acutely aware that I would need a hip by the time I was 40.
As I've said, there was nothing I could do to prepare for this certain eventuality...but I knew it was coming.
What I didn't know, was that it would not just be my hip...but most of my body...every bone I've broken, every ligament torn, every untreated injury to a joint...and a number of idiopathies.
After more than 30 years, I can no longer play guitar, without pain in my fingers.
Forget about hikes in the woods...about fishing...about sex.
I'll never know again what it's like to be say nothing of pain-free.
In the winter, or after some necessary exertion (boxing up books), it hurts to turn over in my nest of 19 pillows.
The Psychological effects of all of this are largely overlooked by the Doctors....and by the Mundanes, too....
all those busy-bodies, and all those Haters...all of those who are so quick to free of compassion, or of understanding.
After having been confronted by these my face...I find that the Agoraphobia I've struggled with for most of my life is even worse.
I not only fear getting too far away from home...but I fear the eyes and Judgment of small men...small the ready with their sacks full of stones.
My Tea-ish acquaintances insist that I'm not who they're referring to, when they rail about the Moochers and Leeches...that, oh no...I of course deserve social services.
What they fail to understand, is that the attitudes and certainties that they visit upon strangers, while exempting me, are exactly what enables the terrible systems we have in place...
That sitting in Judgment over strangers, without knowing their individual situation...their personal exactly what is wrong with our country, today.
This unwarranted Judgment sometimes hurts more than the actual Pain.
I am therefore rather quick with the lash, sometimes, when one of these creatures dares to confront me.(Cav
é, Asinum!)
Nevertheless, we should remember those with relatively invisible ailments, shut up in rooms, or leaning painfully on their grocery cart, when arguing about Healthcare, or the provision of “Welfare”...before we, ourselves, bray....and remove all doubt.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A World Made By Assholes....

(tends to be sort of shitty.)

Walk a Mile, and all...
Our Culture dismisses introspection....places little value on looking within, and on conducting thought experiments that might engender Compassion.
Indeed, compassion is often regarded as Weakness...something to be avoided.
The more to the Right our social structures lean, the more Compassion-less they become.
Witness the rise of Hypercompetition and Tribalism, since the advent of Reagan's Revolution.(it can be argued that these features were on the decline, since FDR)
This is no accident, but is a necessary part of the success of that Revolution.
The Value System of the Rich and Privileged are imposed on the rest of that we find it difficult to get together, and take the fucker over....or, at least, mitigate the more egregious abuses.
Instead, we find ourselves factionalised, and shattered into many competing each other's throats...Fear and Misunderstanding are maximalised...
As I've said many times: The System selects for Psychopathy.

=>”By definition, the rich and powerful have more material resources and spend more of their time telling others what to do. Those with fewer material resources get told what to do. As a result, the rich value independence and autonomy while those with less money think of themselves as more interdependent with others. [13] In other words, the rich prize the image of the “rugged individual” while the rest of us focus on what group we belong to. “
=>”How do people explain the extremely unequal distribution of wealth? Those with more money attribute it to “dispositional” causes—they believe that people get rich because their personality leads them to work harder and get what they deserve. Those with less money more often attribute inequality to “external” factors—people’s wealth is due largely to events beyond their control, such as being born into a rich family or having good breaks in life. [14] “
=>”This line of research confirms that (1) people with fewer financial resources identify with a larger “in-group;” (2) “attention to and recognition of suffering is a prerequisite step before compassion can take place;” and (3) “moral emotion is not randomly distributed across social classes…” [19] Compassion toward the suffering of others is less likely among the 1%. “

Given this, perhaps a year in a trailer park, with all the trappings that go along with extreme Poverty, should be a prerequisite for any business or managerial...or
Perhaps a seat in Congress should entail a Vow of Poverty...let them be paid more in line with the lowest paid of their Constituents....and be forbidden the trappings of wealth and privilege.
Like a Permanent Food Stamp Challenge.
=>”Before the 1920s, give or take a decade or two, capitalism was producing largely for needs, with the luxury items of the rich being the exception. But as it became clear that it was possible to satisfy the basic necessities of the vast majority, the 1% began a brave new adventure into the world of manufactured needs and planned obsolescence. Products designed to go out of style or fall apart became more frequent until they became the norm following WWII. [28] Of course, people accepted this fetishism of things to a great or lesser degree—some Christians still thought that spirituality was more important than bowing to golden calves. One of the best known psychological critics of the emerging life style was Abraham Maslow, who coined the phrase “deficiency orientation” to explain those who wrap their lives around the illusion that happiness can be found in material goods. [29] “

Studies documented that people who prize material possessions are significantly less happy. [30]
Karl Marx wrote of the prime directive of capitalism being to “Accumulate, accumulate!” [31] Decades before the end of the twentieth century, capitalism had spread its pathological world view and created a new law of accumulation:
Manufactured Needs = Manufactured Unhappiness
It is well documented that possessions do not bring happiness; but, then, what does? Recent research has confirmed what philosophers have written and religions have preached for millennia. Happiness is associated with close personal relationships and control over essential parts of one’s life. [32] One study which interviewed college students found that those who were the most happy (1) spent more time with others and (2) reported more satisfying relationships. A society dominated by the 1%, however, pushes us in the opposite direction. In 1985, 75% of Americans reported having a close friend, but by 2004 that had fallen to 50%. [33] “
So....again, to be clear....Eat the Rich.
It may just come to that....
In the mean time, there are other avenues that we can try.
I've asserted that Tea is a Creature of the Right...specifically the 1%, who controls the Machine...which leans well to the Right.
The Movers and Shakers created Tea in order to hang on to was intended to be another iteration of the Class War, a Hail Mary Pass, in the 9th Inning, when they saw that their 35 year run was ending.....ramp up the Divisions among the People, set them at each other's Throats...
But that Creature escaped the fence, and gained access to positions of Power.
Make no mistake...Ted Cruz likely only half believes all the bullshit he spews...he knows on which side his bread is buttered...
I'm not so sure about such specimens as Louie Gohmert...or that Hayseed Caricature, Farenthold....they appear to be actually representative of the Rough Beast that was never intended to gain actual Power.
If the Electoral Process still functions well enough to allow the entry into Congress of Hateful Morons...why not more Enlightened Folks from the ranks of the Hoi Polloi?
Congressional Staffers do all the heavy lifting, any way....
I can think of many average Joe's who would be better Representatives than the Assholes and Greedheads we see, today.
=>”A natural question might seem to follow: Would getting rid of the current batch of corporate psychopaths benefit the world greatly? Actually, no. It would do no good whatsoever because what psychologists call the “reward contingencies” of the corporate world would still exist. The fact that capitalism prizes accumulation of wealth by the few at the expense of the many would mean that, even if the worst corporate criminals disappeared, they would soon be replaced by marketplace clones.
Progressives should avoid using the same “categorical” model so adored by right wing theorists for its utility in hating the poor. A much better explanation for psychopathy among the 1% is that the corporate drive to put profits before all else encourages norms of manipulating people without compassion. The more readily corporate leaders succumb to this mind set, the more likely they will be to climb the ladder. As the corporate mentality dominates society, it reproduces its attitudes and expectations of behavior throughout every organization, institution and individual it touches.”
Again...System Selects for Psychopathy.
I think that most folks would likely want to avoid a French Style Revolution....
It was, after all, quite Bloody, and ended up beheading even those who started well as thousands more who were not in any way members of the Court.
That's where we're heading...and our own Aristocracy seems to be aware of this.
Just look at all the Surveillance and other Social Control Mechanisms put into place, just in the last 15 years, or so.
The Hyper-Rich see Us as an Existential Threat...and feel the need to not only Watch Us, but to harden the Fences around us...Legal and Regulatory.
The Overton Window for a Peaceful Revolt won't last forever.
At some point, the Rulers will go too far...and the People will lash out with fire and blood and destruction.
Folks like me, who read too much, would like to avoid the Latter.
But perhaps there's nothing that can be done to short circuit such Historical Processes....
The Hyper-Rich are unlikely to just give up....become more compassionate, and less....Evil.
=>”In challenging what the market does to our souls, Alan Nasser said it so well:
A certain kind of society tends to produce a certain kind of person. More precisely, it discourages the development of certain human capacities and fosters the development of others. Aristotle, Rousseau, Marx and Dewey were the philosophers who were most illuminating on this. They argued that the postures required by successful functioning in a market economy tend to insinuate themselves into those areas of social intercourse which take place outside of the realm of the market proper. The result, they claimed, was that the arena for potentially altruistic and sympathetic behavior shrinks over time as society is gradually transformed into a huge marketplace. [35]”

Push more and more folks into Penury....
Manipulate more folks to split off into competing Tribes...
Set all against all, in order to accumulate more Power and Privilege...
And at the same time, Rape the Biosphere.....

And Reap the Whirlwind.

Perhaps nothing can be done.
Perhaps the Damage is already too great...the Mindfuck, too successful....
Perhaps the Virtual Fences around all of Us...from NSA, to Drug War/GWOT, to the Transfer of Regulation and Rules from Them to Us...Perhaps the Gaps in those Fences are too small, now, to fit through....
Ever Tightening...
Until We spill over in a wave of retribution, directed....not only at Them that Caused the Problems....but at Ourselves.
=>”As long as society continues to be deeply divided between those who tell others what to do and those who get told, it will not be possible to establish the emotional sharing that is the basis of widespread altruism. If the 1% are to develop the same level of understanding of others that the 99% has, they will need to walk in their shoes. If they continue to be the ones who live their lives telling others what to do while the rest of us continue being told what to do, they will not develop levels of compassion typical of the 99%. “
Either the Rest of Us take over peacefully(or, as peacefully as possible)...
And Soon....
Or we enter the Hell of Eating Each Other.
Better get busy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Real and the Un-Real

Ontological Crisis,redux.

You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.
-Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), 256-7

Talk about the “Memory Hole”....
The Soup of Surreality that we've been living in would not be possible without the Bush Darkness.
We've likely always had Cognitive Biases, and Reality Management, especially since the advent of the Cold War...but Bush II...rather, his “Administration”...made it into an Art Form.
Here's Froomkin, in 2006:
It's like remembering a Dream, somehow.
The Admonition, since that time, has been, “Do Not Remember the Oughts”
We are to forget the entire period, from 2000, to do otherwise is to be Unamerican.
This has been the Mantra of the Right, all through the Obama Administration.
Every time we on the Left tie a current Issue to the Bush Years, we are admonished for “Living in the past”...and “Blaming Bush for the problems of Obama”.
It's the Application of Fukyama's “End of History”-Meme, to our perception of Reality.
Without this purposeful Memory Hole, Tea would not be possible.
During the Bush Darkness, the words,”Traitor”,”America-Hater”, “Blame America First Crowd”,and on and on...were used to silence Opposition to the Policies of the Bush Cabal.
Since 06, or so, the Approved Reality has been that “Obama is a Failure”...long before he took office....and even long before he got the Democratic Nomination(Remember, this was the longest Presidential Campaign in History).
Here's another Blast from the Past that no longer exists(in Right-Wing-Land):

=>”The old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. “

Here we see the beginning of Ontological Crisis...the whole “The Sky is Green, Damn You!!!”-Nonsense that we labour under, today.
=>”This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. ''

=>”A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was shaping George W. Bush's White House through the summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and you'll be rewarded. All through the White House, people were channeling the boss. He didn't second-guess himself; why should they? “

=>”''When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking,'' Wallis says now. ''What I started to see at this point was the man that would emerge over the next year -- a messianic American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from anyone who doubts him.'' “

...and the big, honking takeaway from this article:

“The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.' “

What Arrogance!
What Hubris!!
Here is the Seed for what has come after...from denial of the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, to what actually happened to the Economy, to the whole ball of confusion and delusion that , somehow, believes that Obama is a Marxist/Fascist/Kenyan Dictator.

Here's another roughly contemporary article...about the Suskind article, and what it means:

a commenter:
”The "we create our own reality" political mentality is an extention of the subrational religious fundamentalist mindset. Believers simply condition themselves to ignore and supress all facts that conflict with their religious worldview --whether on climate change, evolution, absitinence-only or WMD.
The dangerous subgroup consists of those who feel compelled to force external world compliance with their own fantasies --otherwise known as sociopaths.
In Iraq, though, the Bush crowd finally hit the "Pravda point," --as when the old Soviet Daily kept publishing outlandish claims of Communist superiority and the imminent collapse of capitalisim while the Russian masses ossified in breadlines.
At a certain level of cognitive dissonance, most people stopped listening to official pronouncements.
Still, the US press could have (and should have) hastened this awakening by limiting airtime to sources who were clearly known to be nothing more than PNAC propagandists (e.g. Judith Miller, Ahmed Chalabi, William Kristol, Bill Bennett, etc.), and instead given more bandwidth to those who at the time were non-partisan experts (e.g. Scowcroft, Zinni, Wes Clark, Jim Webb, etc.).
Why anyone sought --let alone respected-- the opinions of the Bennet's and Kristol's and Krauthammer's on serious subjects like war and WMD intelligence has yet to be explained. The fact that most of them are still welcome, active "opinion leaders" tells you just how little has changed.
Posted by: Munguza at December 20, 2006 12:46 PM | Permalink

That incredible Credibility that folks like Oliver North, and a million others, continue to enjoy, is truly remarkable.
The Top level of the Bush II “administration” was, almost to a man, a rehabilitated Nixon administration. How is it that the worst offenders from the last 40 years, the worst Liars, the worst that the GOP has to offer, as far as Credibility is concerned, are so Believed?

More from the comments:

“Back in 1957, Henry Kissenger -- then a brilliant, iconoclastic young Harvard scholar, with his eventual career as cynical political manipulator and, later, as crony capitalist still far in the future -- published his doctoral dissertation, A World Restored. One wouldn't think that a book about the diplomatic efforts of Metternich and Castlereagh is relevant to U.S. politics in the twenty-first century. But the first three pages of Kissinger's book sent chills down my spine, because they seem all too relevant to current events.
In those first few pages, Kissinger describes the problems confronting a heretofore stable diplomatic system when it is faced with a "revolutionary power" -- a power that does not accept that system's legitimacy. ... It seems clear to me that one should regard America's right-wing movement -- which now in effect controls the administration, both houses of Congress, much of the judiciary, and a good slice of the media -- as a revolutionary power in Kissinger's sense. That is, it is a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system. [pp 5-6]”-Krugman,(The Great Unravelling )

That right there is one of my beefs...the continued usage of the word,   "Conservative” to describe a group of groups of people who are anything but “conservative”'s an important part of the Crisis.
My Lyin' Eyes say that the whole Reagan Economics Debacle has been a failure...that it's Assumptions never had any bearing on Reality.
My Lyin' Eyes also regard the whole “War on Terror” as a Stupid Idea, from the beginning.
My Lyin' Eyes, from the evening of 9-11-2001, saw the great Existential Danger that the Rhetoric and Memespace of that day would present to the country....from Torture, to Hyper-Surveillance to the Manichean, Black and White Weltanshauung.
My Lyin' Eyes have been accurate and Truthful, it turns out....So the Right hasDoubled Down on the Surreal.

We have allowed the Right, and their Crazy Worldview to Win...
We have Tacitly accepted their version of Recent History....even though most of us remember it much differently than what the RW Narrative still insists is the “Truth”...This confuses me.
Where is our Spine?
Now we have a whole Party, and all of their Base, believing things that are Demonstrably False....that do not comport with Objective Reality.
Surreality and Belief, trump Facts and Reality.
As I've said before, Hard Core Tea appears to be a mere 20% of the general population, at best...although they have a lot of coat-tail-riders who pretend to agree with them, because they fear losing their position.
That's changing...the rest of the GOP is trying to abandon Tea...but, so far, have been unable to put the Monster back into the Barn.
Reality must be made to intrude upon the Myth.
My Cassandra Hat firmly in place...I predict that Ted Crazy will be the Republican Nominee in the 2016 Presidential spite of...even BECAUSE OF!!...whatever insane thing he does and says, in the intervening years.
I further predict, that if he … hook or crook...Wins the Presidency.....that we will descend into Chaos.
This sounds like Partisan Hysteria....but I don't care.
I was on the money with so many things, during Bush II....sadly, before my Blog....
I was on the money with the rise of Tea, and the Mainstreaming of Dominionism...
The only prediction I made regarding Bush II that I got wrong(really wrong, it turns out) was that there wouldn't be a 2008 Election...that some new Emergency would serve to keep the Neocons in power.
It sure felt likely to me, and to many others, at the time.
I am predicting, now, that Ted Crazy will be the continuation of what Bush II accomplished.
If he “Wins”, we'll see Darth Cheney and the Gang, somewhere in the shadows, behind him.
We'll see the whole coterie of Reagan and Nixon and Bush II back in influential positions...even John Yoo and Alberto the False will likely make a comeback.
The most insane and intolerant "Christians" will likely be waving their arms before Ted the Warrior, ecstatic and glassy eyed.
That's where the broadest Trendlines lead me....and it's fucking terrifying.
I've all but given up on Local Political Activism...Local Dems know where I am, if they ever decide to come down from the Hills....and I reckon that the rest of Texas will have to change dramatically before this Bloody Red District can be moved to the center, even.
But make no mistake...we ain't out of the woods, yet.
All that's lacking is a Disaster of sufficient proportions, and the Nascent Leftward Swing will abruptly end.

The Messianism of Lil' George was, indeed, something to behold.
The things that leaked out, like the last half of the Suskind article, were very worrying for us “Reality-Based” folks....
But Lil George has nothing on Cruz, when it comes to Messianism.
A look around the news, just in the last month, is enough proof of that.
Cruz, and his Dad(!!)...plugged onto a resurgent and rehabilitated Sister Sarah (anointed), and Paul Broun(“from the pit of hell...”), and a whole host of similar personages...are poised to capitalise on this aspect of American Right-Wing Land.
To the Hyper-Religious, the world looks pretty dark...Satan is after them, and Obama really is the Anti-Christ. They view themselves as an embattled Minority, however ludicrous that seems to us.
They feel persecuted, when they don't get every jot and tittle of what they desire...and they see their power slipping away; Queers, and Brown People, and “Secularists”....those pesky Scientists, too....have pushed the True Believers into a corner, herded them into a Concentration Camp of the mind....and they are as Terrified of Us, as I am of them...
Because one of the most important lessons of history, is that a small group of Fanatics, if given enough Kool Aide, and space to holler, and organise, can wreak Havoc on the World.
These folks must be kept away from Power.