Thursday, May 02, 2013

Fitting Epitaph

In honor of Mission Acomplished -- the 10th Anniversary I thought I'd do up a little reminder, a reminder that BO shanked his own Presidency before he even took office by declaring what should be his epitaph, and thereby telling the Republicans that no matter how sadisitic, brutal, gratuitous and ruinous their crimes were, he had no stomach for a fight over them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston: Be Afraid, Be Absolutely Afraid!

Once, perhaps around the time when the Bill of Rights was written, some Americans seemed to recognize that police were properly given power only to ensure that the citizens could go about their business unmolested.  But, as the recent “lockdown” (as the New York Times approvingly put it Saturday) of a major American metropolis, in fear of an armed teenager, terrifyingly demonstrates, the people now have liberty only insofar as it doesn’t interfere with police business. 

Last Friday, in service of the manhunt for the surviving Marathon bomber, millions of people were put on house arrest in the Boston area, in perhaps the greatest pants-pissing spasm of self-aggrandizing hysteria the world has ever known.  When Bostonians awoke that day they were by the police and the elected authorities “requested” to stay home, stay indoors, “advised” that their mass transit system was shut down and that the roads would all be closed.  Alas, too many Americans, having lately learned the habit of obeisance to all sorts of new authority, and having little better to do than stay indoors and watch TV all day, have no trouble complying with such a request.  But surely there were thousands who had things  they desperately wanted or needed to accomplish that day, proposals, marriages, honeymoons, long-dreamed vacation, kids to feed, wages to earn, biopsies and diagnoses, perhaps business meetings, job interviews, research tasks for which they had traveled far.  Some of these things will get rescheduled of course, only some anguish and money lost, but some of them won’t ever happen now.  Lives will have changed, a few lives will have been essentiallhy ruined, in addition to those destoyed on Monday, because a wounded teenager in Watertown, whose picture everyone in the nation had seen, was deemed such an existential threat to the entire metropolitan area, that the citizens were not allowed to go outside until further notice.  It is worth noting here, that the subject of the manhunt was only discovered by a citizen going about his business normally, minutes after the citizens of Watertown (and greater Boston) were released from their captivity.  The lockdown had actually delayed the suspect's discovery.  Had “Keep calm and carry on,” been the message of the authorities, this might have happened ten hours earlier, sparing merchants millions in lost patronage, the poor millions in lost wages, sundry others incalculable anguish, and the people of Boston an overreaction that, from the perspective of people who deal regularly with real danger, makes them a laughingstock.

The hysteria of the media and the police here, if viewed soberly, is bleakly farcical.  It is true that the police and other authorities only “requested” and “advised” citizens to stay indoors. But everybody broadcasting seemed to do everything possible to sensationalize the threat, cowing the people into staying home – and just incidentally staying tuned.  But even the most rational people, the ones who knew better than to be very scared of the one fugitive, had ample reason to comply with the martial law “request” – the streets were flooded with armored gangs of trigger-happy roid ragers, most just itching to shoot a “terrorist,” and cop-killer, and in no mood to listen to any guff about a citizen’s right to go about freely.  If one chose not to comply with the “request” one might well end up in jail – possibly with a split lip and a face-full of pepper spray for impertinence – or one might even get shot.  And you can bet that no cop would be held accountable for whatever force was used on citizens who didn’t find the commissioner’s request binding.  (Saturday’s issue of the Times also explains how two police Commanders in New York were recently exonerated after sucker-punching and pepper-spraying peaceful protesters on video.)  In a twist reminiscent of The Onion or The Simpsons, the seriousness and priority of the authorities was epitomized by the announcement that, alone among businesses, Dunkin Donuts shops could open, so that cops could get the fat-bombs so apparently essential to their mission.

This is where the War on Terror has brought us.  “Lockdown,” quite literally a concept exported now from prison into the public sphere.  Thus the devolution of criminal punks into terrorists is paralleled by the demotion of citizens into prisoners.  Henceforth fat unaccountable bozos in blue uniforms will have the power to make all the citizens of a city prisoners if they deem one individual sufficient threat.  And what will be the threshold for that sufficient threat?  Must the individual be credibly suspected to have nuclear arms or deadly biological agents or entanglement with formidable foreign enemies?  If the Boston precedent stands, a fugitive with crude pipe-bomb capability, a firearm, and a history of violence will suffice to impose martial law.  So this is the kind of thing that can happen in any big city in America at any time.  And now that the police and the media have turbocharged the significance of a pair of sadistic creeps (for similar creeps to see all over the world), their sort of murderous stunt is more likely to happen, a la Columbine, more often than before.  The exponential overreaction will have emboldened the creeps; it will lure into existence crimes that would otherwise not have happened.  In their nauseating and grandiose self-importance the talking heads of TV and our power-drunk officials have not made us safer.  Nor have they made us more admirable.

Keep calm and carry on, people.  And Bostonians, hold your official accountable for their exponentially hysterical overreaction.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

RIP GOP -- Please!

Without the unanswered billions poured in by Foxaganda and the industries of extraction the GOP would be a vestigial stub like the KKK or the John Birch Society, which it increasingly resembles. They have nothing to offer except bigotry and bamboozlement.  If there is to be any hope for the planet and the species we must somehow fit this gaggle of shitheads for their proper place in history.  Alas, I suspect that BO, in his second term, will turn himself inside out tryiong to work with them. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

AIDS or cancer?

I was on the eliptical at 5:45 this morning cranking the levers like Freder in Metropolis, or perhaps the Little Tramp in Modern Times and listening to my nice liberal neighbors wax enmthusiastic about the the Democratic coronation.   I was tempted to throw a little cold water:  after all,  BO, Holder and Hillary, have by their derelictions immunized, emboldened and empowere true fascists among us: the lying warmongers, the wireatppers, the torturers, the frame-up artists of the Rove DoJ, and this should disquialify them and their abettors from all public office forever.  The best thing BO has going for him is the alternative: the Fascists themselves. 

I said none of this to the others on the Dawn Patrol.  It was just too early to fulminate.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Manliness is Next to Godliness

Last week, many people last week expressed outrage and incredulity about an NRO blog in praise of Romney's manliness, undoubtedly validating the infatile author's basic project, which, like most of his ilk's, is pissing off liberals.  Echidne's was one of the better respones however.  She quotes the key passages:

What do women want? The conventional biological wisdom is that men select mates for fertility, while women select for status — thus the commonness of younger women’s pairing with well-established older men but the rarity of the converse. The Demi Moore–Ashton Kutcher model is an exception — the only 40-year-old woman Jack Nicholson has ever seen naked is Kathy Bates in that horrific hot-tub scene. Age is cruel to women, and subordination is cruel to men. Ellen Kullman is a very pretty woman, but at 56 years of age she probably would not turn a lot of heads in a college bar, and the fact that she is the chairman and CEO of Dupont isn’t going to change that. 
It’s a good thing Mitt Romney doesn’t hang out in college bars.

You want off-the-charts status? Check out the curriculum vitae of one Willard M. Romney: $200 million in the bank (and a hell of a lot more if he didn’t give so much away), apex alpha executive, CEO, chairman of the board, governor, bishop, boss of everything he’s ever touched. Son of the same, father of more. It is a curious scientific fact (explained in evolutionary biology by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis — Willard, notice) that high-status animals tend to have more male offspring than female offspring, which holds true across many species, from red deer to mink to Homo sap. The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of the Forbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.
Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

What few people seem to have noticed though is the way this sort of brilliantly betokens the paradigm case: as Chris Hedges says, Fascism is a cult of masculinity. Different dogmas get operationalized in support -- here the Master race is being eclipsed by the Master Gender – but there’s always a bit of pseudoscience in service of the agenda. See here, God is basically telling us that Mitt,"apex alpha executive," is born to rukle over us little people, and the proof is the manliness of his progeny  -- that and his wealth of course.  It just remains for Karl Rove and the Kocj brotjhers to raify his Divine Election here on Earth.  Basically this is another example of our refeudalization – the cherished wish of the authoritarians that some Men will rule by Divine Right passed down from God the Father. It used to be they thought his plan was written in our stars; now they’ve reversed the ‘scope and locate his imperative in our genes.

I don'n know why people aren't more conscious that what these guys (and the women who worship them) basically want is a braid (and mutual alibi society) of kindred hierarchical authorities -- military/police, church, corporate, and royal.  They really think that the world should be run by a few guys who move their armies, flocks, workforces, serfs around with the paranormal force of their wills and intellect, in accord with their fair but cruel Darwinian whims.  They also think that these guys, the [wealth] Creators should dwell in the example of Yaweh, for whom no glory is too ostentatious, no prostration unduly abject.  Fifty years ago Terry Southern articulated their fondest fantasy in Dr. Stangelove, where the eponymous Nazi pitches the idea of a mine-shaft colony where the Masters of the Universe will wait for the radiation to die down, each doing his part to repopulate the world, his "prodigious duty" made easier by the fact that his ten or so breeder females will be selected for their sexual attractiveness. 

Don’t let anyone tell you that there is a moral difference between these people and the Nazis. They can’t wait to start exterminating.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Munday Melange

It's been awhile since I visited this thing.  Writing lots of other stuff and the Blog is a huge energy suck for the muse.  Not sure why.  It just jams her wavelength.  But I had a good weekend -- went to a Capitol Hill party with the Lobbyist where we ate food and drank drinks with the liberal effete and people who think about art and literature. Went to see the new cheetahs at the zoo with about 500 other people.  Great fun watching 15 pound kittens behaving just like kittens -- well,  extremely swift kittens. And we saw \Beasts of the Southern Wild  a very very weird movie -- sort of like legend of Enkidu on the bayou with booze and hurricanes and bumbling FEMA types.  Not aslways a pleasant movie, but very resonant.

Just as an afterthought, and so I'll have the link, here's the smartest thing I've read about Aurora and our gun culture and what bullshit "2nd Amendment Rights" are.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Zimmerman Will Be Convicted

The truth sometimes seems preposterous, (e.g. the September 11th Plot; the manifold, profound, and unanimous evil of the Bushies; the gutless naivety of Obama, et cetera), but part of being a grown-up is the ability to distinguish preposterous, self-serving bullshit, from statements of fact. This is called ‘judgment’ and we need to bring it to cases like the George Zimmerman’s.

While it may be difficult to knowprecisely what happened between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, since we only have audio for most of it, the version of events rehearsed by his father, the
former judge should be put next to preposterous in the dictionary.

“Trayvon Martin got on top of him, and just started beating him….In his face, on his nose,
hitting his face on the concrete. After nearly a minute of being beaten, George was trying to get his head off the concrete, trying to move with Trayvon on him, in the grass. In doing so, his firearm was shown. Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, 'You're going to die now,' or 'You're going to die tonight' or something to that effect….."

A somewhat redacted but no more probable version of this was also given by Zimmerman’s putative lawyers on CBS This Morning and elsewhere. Assuming that none of these officers of the court is simply making this story up, what seems plain is that this is not a description
of actual events, rather it is the Steven Segal movie running inside George Zimmerman’s
dimly twisted head.

But life is not a movie. People do not usually announce ‘You’re goingto die tonight’ in the moment before a corpse is created. This doesn’t mean there is never evidence about states of mind. And in this case there is abundant evidence about George Zimmerman’s state of mind immediately before he shot Trayvon Martin. (It is demonstrably not so that there little evidence in this alleged “he said-she said” case – there is remarkably complete a sound track.) So comfortable was Zimmerman talking to the police dispatcher, for at least the 47th time, that he was literally thinking out loud into his cell-phone, and that is how we know that he was
maliciously disposed toward Martin going into the situation. He clearly told the dispatcher that “These assholes always get away.” Less clearly he seems to have called Martin a “Fucking coon.”
George Zimmerman, who has a police record of violence – George Zimmerman who made a richly documented habit of reporting black males ‘on suspicion,’ had, this evidence attests, already decided before confronting him that Trayvon Martin was a subhuman, guilty of
something for which he needed to be apprehended and punished. And then, ignoring the suggestion of the police dispatcher, he set out to apprehend and punish. At some point after he shot Trayvon Martin he apparently made up the preposterous story being retailed by
his mouthpieces. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, of this story was actually being told at the crime scene, and how it has evolved since.

We will do well to remember why some readily believe that which many others find blatantly preposterous: often it is because it dovetails with their prejudices. It is of course
understandable why Judge Zimmerman believes his son’s ridiculous lie. And it is also regrettably understandable how two shysters would profit by giving it credence. But it gets really woeful to think about why the beat police, the police chief, and the prosecutor should have apparently believed it on the scene. (Was there no skeptic among them?)

Finally it’s pretty easy to see why George Zimmerman thought this story would be believed. Given the troubled racial history of the Sanford police department it might not even have been a dumb play. Then again, most people are all too eager to believe such stories here in America.
There is a fairly long (and also recent) history here of people committing crimes and then trying to pin the blame on nonexistent scary black men – the furrier who killed his wife in Boston, the woman who drowned her kids in South Carolina, et cetera. (Try Googling “fake carjacking” and see how surprisingly common this ploy is.) What’s different in the Trayvon Martin case is that, A. there’s a lot more documentation of events leading up to the homicide, and B. the homicide victim and the alleged assailant are the same person.