31 December 2006
23 December 2006
SCATTERBRAINED POT-SHOTS AT AN ANCIENT DRUIDIC/CELTIC MIDWINTER RITUAL TRANSFORMED INTO A PHONY CHRISTIAN SHOPPING CIRCLE-JERK
Now that I think about it, I’m fairly well sick of my own particular brand of viscous negativity, as I’m sure everybody is. I’ll leave it to the following quotes to place this “holiday season” in its proper context, from historical thinkers a whole hell of a lot smarter, skeptical, and cynical than I could ever hope to be ...
I am sorry to have to introduce the subject of Christmas ... It is an indecent subject; a cruel, gluttonous subject; a wicked, cadging, lying, filthy, blasphemous, and demoralizing subject. Christmas is forced on a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press: on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred; and anyone who looked back to it would be turned into a pillar of greasy sausages.
--George Bernard Shaw, Our Theatres in the Nineties, Volume 3
January 1, 1898
Yeah, that’s a good one. Then there’s this:
Or consider Christmas -- could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft plus buncombe than the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop-clerks die of exhaustion while selling them and every other child in the western world is made ill from overeating -- all in the name of the lowly Jesus?
--Upton Sinclair, Money Writes!, 1927
Merry flippin’ Christmas.
17 December 2006
You know, these pathetic nitwits force me to consider that maybe, just maybe, indifference might really be the ultimate coping device. We’re all just trying to cope, in one way or another, so I wonder: turning yourself into a self-willed ignoramus, soaking up beer and artery-busting bar food like a disease-riddled biological sponge, and rabidly and loudly declaiming about televised sports as if they actually mattered ... is that any less legitimate than being “engaged” and/or “informed,” as most of us on the left-leaning edge of the blog world like to think of ourselves? In such a ridiculous era of public disengagement, where democratic participation is a fiction and corporate subversion rages virtually unchallenged, is there any real value in the assumption that our commitment and dedication will turn things around? Does it make any sense at all to work ourselves into a frothy lather over the prospect of a Democratically-controlled Congress and all its “off the table” bullshit, when the season premier of “American Idol” is merely weeks away? Why give thought to war and death when we have credit card limits to stretch beyond all recognition, in the pseudo-celebration ritual commemorating the supposed birth of the Christian messiah?
Criminy ... I may never actually give properly serious thought to the temporal catastrophes glaring at us like bloody vibrating tumors, but I must at least stop patronizing these bars full of stupid people. It doesn’t seem to be doing much for my already shredded state of mind.
03 December 2006
Whatever. Examples of the all-too-common tendency of a woefully misinformed populace using its collective head as an ambulatory hat rack are legion; the re-election of a former Austrian steroid-abusing Nazi-wannabe as the governor of California is truly a somewhat minor, if unduly high-profile, permutation of this sad proclivity. No, of all the myriad manifestations of dumbness stomping their way relentlessly across our bruised and bleeding sensibilities these days, one in particular has propped itself up directly in the foreground of my rapidly deteriorating vision, like a vibrating tumor with a hair growing out of it: the so-called Iraq Study Group, or ISG.
To be more precise, it’s the anticipated reaction to this nebulous travesty of misinformation and confusion, this Iraq Study Group, that exemplifies the predilection of human beings to gleefully extend the boundaries of their own stupidity whenever they can, rather than the mere existence of the ISG itself. Many corporate media dispensers, pundit-apologists, and assorted gum-flappers are fairly gushing all over themselves as they eagerly await the public release of this PR-front’s “recommendations.” In an excellent article by Larry Chin, at the Centre for Research on Globalization, the ISG is aptly described as
another official damage control apparatus, spearheaded by notorious Western political and corporate elites, former military-intelligence officers, and “experts” from right-wing and intelligence-connected Western think tanks ...
The list of some of the ISG’s more top-rung members, including such proto-NeoCons and Iran-Contra-era retreads as James Baker, Edwin Meese, and Lawrence Eagleburger -- among others -- should effectively disabuse any normal person with a functional brainstem from harboring any illusions whatsoever as to what the Iraq Study Group is all about.
But, yes, I know: the two or three people who accidentally trip across this blog occasionally are already among the ragged rabble of cynical loudmouths and liberty-minded skeptics that make the left end of the blogosphere so exasperatingly entertaining, and are about as likely to take the Iraq Study Group seriously as a Republican insider does Nancy Pelosi ... so they certainly don’t need to be lectured by the likes of me about yet another fraud being perpetrated on us by the power structure. My concern, as always, lies with the vast heaving mass of molting morons out there -- TV addicts, cell-phone freaks, Vichyite Dems who help re-install Repug governors -- who refuse to see what’s going on right in front of their doughy, over-fed faces. You know that the sheeple will take whatever pours out of the misleading maw of the ISG at something approaching face value, if they deign to take notice at all. I’d say it was all so depressing, if such a statement wasn’t so utterly obvious. Anyway ...
Disjointed postscript: for Lee over at Captain Quahog -- I apologize for the “cynical loudmouth” crack.
23 November 2006
Never to take from creation's beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
Never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth's beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
That to destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
That to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her she will care for us.
We have forgotten who we are.
We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
We have distorted our knowledge.
We have abused our power.
Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,
Help us to find the way to refresh your lands.
Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.
Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.
Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed, help us to find a way to replenish them.
Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and corruption,
help us to find the way to restore our humanity.
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to the world,
hear me; I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in Beauty.
--Bedagi (Big Thunder), Wabanaki Algonquin, late 19th century
22 November 2006
"I don't support impeachment, and I don't support impeachment hearings, even though I think the president has probably committed an impeachable offense."
(For the rest of this bullshit, click here)
Now, I might be hopelessly naive or terminally stupid, or something, but can ANYONE recall exactly why the voting public defied Republican disruption and Diebold corruption to hand control of Congress to the Democratic Party?
Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ.
20 November 2006
There's been some indistinct burblings in blogdom about the apparent inexplicability of purported political "genius" Rove and his hugely inept handling of Repug fortunes during this most recent election cycle. With such a well-deserved reputation as one of Niccolo Machiavelli's most fervent, ball-washing acolytes, a bottom-feeding operative who never shrank from plumbing any political depth (so long as it's effective), Rove's "performance" this time around is hard to fathom. Some far-out speculators out there are suggesting that, just perhaps, what we've been witnessing is nothing but a grand ploy, a highly sophisticated and very nuanced political operation of quite staggering subtlety. I suppose it could be posited that one way to ensure the long-term survivability of the PNAC/Neo-Con conception of corporatist domination, in an uncertain atmosphere where the primary figurehead -- in this case, Bush -- is extremely unpopular, would be to effect a tactical retreat, as it were. They knew, of course, that a solid majority of the voting public was squarely against them, for a huge catalog of reasons, with the Chimp and his war being the focal points of revulsion and opposition; the discontent was (and is) so palpable and insistent, that it largely overwhelmed the right-wing game of "Diebolding" the election, in fact. What better way to position themselves effectively in 2008, when surely their sick totalitarian fantasies will reach full diseased flower, than to provide the next crop of radical Republican nut-jobs a mechanism by which they can distance themselves from a reviled monkey-boy President in 2006. They temporarily sacrifice their control of Congress, running before the wind of public opinion -- a capricious and completely unpredictable wind that could turn 180-degrees tomorrow, thereby sweeping the Repugs back into power and providing them the opportunity to complete their project of destroying constitutional government in the United States.
I'm not necessarily saying that I believe Rove deliberately tossed an election so the real Nazification of America can continue apace, a brief period of Democratic congressional control notwithstanding. It's entirely possible that Rove really is the hopeless turd-brained buffoon he's apparently turned into, or always has been. But, naturlich, nothing is what it appears to be, and that's particularly true among a political class that views power as the ultimate zero-sum game, and as merely a point in itself. I can't erase that image of Rove's pasty and glabrous face from my mind -- smugly confident, in the bleak aftermath of an electoral "disaster" ... One thing is certain: if the appalling idea that Repug insiders could perhaps throw an election -- shitcanning some present advantages for much greater rewards later -- has occurred to a tiny sampling of us faceless nobodies out here, then certainly it's crossed the evilly fucked-up brain-pans of Rove and his foul minions.
Oh shit -- I need another drink.
13 November 2006
Excuse me, but I’m having a hard time swallowing any of this sloppy-grin claptrap.
The problem with optimism is that it almost always leaves your existential gonads wide open to an eventual karmic stomping, in a manner of speaking. This is certainly the case as far as modern American politics is concerned, what with its exploitative, parasitical relationship with the population at large. Even under the most ideal circumstances, the organized crime syndicate otherwise known as the US political machine -- including the legions of amoral technocrats, corporate chain-yankers, and media enablers that keep it functioning, regardless of official political party affiliation -- has to be eyeballed with the utmost suspicion. In fact, an effective argument could be made that the distrust and disbelief in politicians and the institutions they serve have to be more pronounced when the so-called “good guys” suddenly find themselves in charge. Congressional Republicans have long been exposed as the hypocritical lying murdering scum that they are; the Democrats, at least as far as being in a leadership position is concerned, are a wild-card at best -- there’s no telling if they’ll be able, or even willing, to do what we all know must be done to ratchet this tired old country back from the brink and salvage something of its true democratic character. We know, without a shred of ambiguity or doubt, just what the Republican Neo-Con vision of America looks like, in all its foul and stenchified detail ... Question is, is the present crop of Democratic “leaders” up to the task? Many voices on the left-liberal end of the political spectrum seem to think so. I’m not convinced.
But then, I’ll probably never be convinced that any political party or political professional truly has the interests of ordinary, anonymous schmucks such as myself in the forefront of their agendas. Don’t get me wrong -- I felt as much of a sensation of very visceral schadenfreude, as any thinking person would, at the spectacle of so many Republican swine being tossed out on their worthless asses, from the Congress and state houses and governor’s offices; that’s a good thing, in and of itself. But the supreme satisfaction we all felt last Tuesday will prove to be nothing but hot air in the long run, if Bush and his cronies and puppet-masters aren’t eventually brought to justice. We’d better light one hell of a fire under the Democrats’ tender flanks to ensure that comes about, otherwise all we’ve bought for ourselves is merely a brief two-year respite, a short detour, a minor hiccup, on the rocky road toward corporate fascism.
There is room for hope, I suppose. But I’m not holding my breath.
29 October 2006
He was the only real voice on Air America -- so give the man some love, already.
28 October 2006
23 October 2006
… That is, this self-imposed virtual exile, this willful retreat into sullen hibernation, this deliberate descent into an obscure and anonymous purgatory of silence. I was hoping to hold my water until -- oh let’s see -- the aftermath of the impending midterm elections, at which time we’ll likely see thinking people everywhere heartily engaged in one of two particular modes of behavior: either triumphantly giddy and downright ridiculous euphoria, or stab-yourself-in-the-fucking-eyeball-and-bring-this-sorry-bullshit-to-an-end despair. Under these uncertain circumstances, we’ll either be running amok in unrestrained and joyous relief that the beginning of the end of the illegal Republican occupation of the United States is (perhaps) finally at hand, a situation wherein the re-visiting of this hopelessly inane blog-thing might seem less pointless than usual; or, alternately, most of us will be bowing to the inevitable and preparing to flee this fledgling Fourth Reich in sheer panic, or blowing our own brains out, or something equally nihilistic and self-indulgent. In which case, maintaining the blog would be, shall we say, superfluous in the extreme.
Anyhow. For whatever inexplicable reason, I decided not to wait for some arbitrary moment or artificial deadline before resuming this fundamentally hollow enterprise. Maybe I was bored; perhaps it was the not-so-profound realization that silence is infinitely more purposeless than a messy, indistinct blog that’s barely noticeable within the titanically vast sewer of the blogosphere; could be the imminent return of Mike Malloy to what’s left of the airwaves having at least a mild catalytic effect on my moribund and numbingly overwhelmed capacity for righteous indignation and seething outrage; let’s not underestimate the impact of the “Military Commission Act” (or whatever the fuck it’s called) and the certainty that we need to yell and squawk and bleat and holler all we can, before we’re transformed into unwilling guests of the nearest Halliburton concentration camp. Perhaps it’s all these things, or none of them, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, here we go again.
In any event, it’s back to the blog and beer bottles for me. What’s to be solved here? Anything? I have no idea, or really any desire to formulate one. It may have been fun while it lasted, but the zipped-lip thing is over and done with -- for the moment. When I slip into the swill pit of despair, which happens with quite startling frequency, I always return to this comment by Lee at Captain Quahog, which I was fortunate to receive on the ass-end of one of my more venomously depressed posts:
I feel ya man.
I have pretty much stopped posting on my blog for the same reasons...what's the point anymore? Are these nimrods even going to get it, will they care??!! Their brains are so sauced in Kool-aid that there is probably no turning back for them. There seems to be way more evil than good in the world now and it scares me shitless. I actually got so paranoid for awhile I started stocking up on supplies in case they (when they) attack Iran.
Sometimes at night when I am looking up at the billions of stars, planets and galaxies that are out there, I know, I know that there is so much more to this than that.
We are all on this great big cosmic journey together my friend and even though it seems that all hope is lost there really is some good out there...really!
This line from my favorite Dead song ( Scarlet Begonias) gives me good 'Joo Joo':
"Once in a while
you get shown the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right."
As hard as it is, and believe me I know how you feel. WE CANNOT LET THEM WIN. They thrive on fear, hate and despair. Don't give it to them.
Ps I like your blog dude, you’re a great writer; you write from the heart. Not any easy thing to do.
Well said, well said.
20 October 2006
-- Michael Bakunin
14 October 2006
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed,
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
And is not lost: the unconquerable will,
And a study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome?
John Milton, Paradise Lost
09 August 2006
Anyway, this is for my friends over at Captain Quahog ... the best Dead show I ever saw. Thanks for beating me over the head with a little perspective, guys.
31 July 2006
Sorry -- I just can't do this anymore. You all can continue on with this sad fiction if you want, this delusion that blogging is a concrete activity, that it makes a real difference to real people ... Blogging is a degenerate psychological salve, an empty way to convince your psyche that you're actually doing something when you really aren't. It's a cheap, gimicky trick to divert our attention away from our own complicity in all this madness. I apologize for my offensiveness, but I simply can't buy into this crap anymore. So I'm taking an extended "vacation" from this nonsense, in a desperate attempt to uncover real courses of action in the face of the insanity -- not that it matters to anybody.
Take care, friends -- watch your backs.
25 July 2006
-- White Rose letter no. 1
Never were truer words spoken, and they’re as vividly applicable to 21st-century America as they were to Nazi Germany during World War II. The transcendent universality of such a statement is, to my rather pickled intellect at least, another one of those gloriously weird and impenetrable dichotomies -- both motivationally inspiring and appallingly depressing. Inspiring, because it so beautifully expresses the core existential problem confronting us in the nightmare of Bushworld 2006, and it offers a simple starting point from which to move beyond this horror; depressing, as it’s been more than sixty years since the Scholl’s and their friends, the authors of the White Rose letters, had their heads hoiked off by the degenerate psychopaths of the Volksgerichtshof ... humanity obviously not having learned much in all the years since.
I assume that the story of the White Rose, the anti-Nazi student movement that sprouted briefly at the University of Munich in the early months of 1943, right around the time the German Sixth Army was being destroyed at Stalingrad, is sufficiently familiar to most thinking people as to not need recounting here. It’s enough to say how astounding it still seems, so many decades removed, that something like that could’ve possibly happened in the obscene dystopia of Hitlerite Germany; that a handful of individuals were able to maintain a sense of their own humanity in the midst of such a colossal mental and physical meat-grinder; that anybody managed to escape the disastrous effects of the monstrous apparatus of Nazi domination and control, and was honest and courageous enough to see the regime for what it was -- standing by their convictions to the bitter end. If there ever really was such a thing as the apocryphal “Good German,” Hans and Sophie Scholl, as well as the rest of their White Rose comrades, were certainly authentic examples of such a being.
OK -- so what does any of this have to do with us dumb bastards in the year 2006? I realize this will probably come across as a sad excuse for hyperbolic over-reach, but I’m convinced that those in the unsettled mass of the left-leaning end of Blog Land are the default inheritors of the White Rose’s hopelessly triumphant legacy, whether they realize it or not. It’s an arrogant assumption, to a certain extent, since it’d be tough to argue with the fact that the Scholl’s and their small band of compatriots were face-to-face with a far more ruthlessly formidable adversary, under conditions and circumstances we can hardly fathom. We have advantages they could never have hardly imagined, but there’s no denying that we are being relentlessly frog-marched toward the precipice of disaster by a totalitarian-minded gaggle of thugs who, particularly in intent, are not at all dissimilar from the Nazis. Indeed, considering the range and scope of the whole stinking Neo-Con project -- not to mention the sheer destructive capacity of the military power that forms its superstructure -- we’re probably in a much more precarious situation, relatively speaking, than the Scholl’s were. That’s not especially encouraging, when you consider that the members of the White Rose were all put to death by a tyrannical government that was, itself, only brought down after a catastrophic world war of its own making. That’s more than enough to give all correct-minded people serious pause.
Well, I’ve never been much of a believer in the either the utility or the efficacy of unbridled optimism, a confession that surely comes as no surprise to anyone. But when I spare a thought or two about the Scholls and the White Rose ... It’s strange, but I find myself somehow uplifted (the previous blog post notwithstanding). Such audacious, fuck-the-consequences bravery, the fortitude to pursue a course of action knowing full well that your sorry ass is doomed, plowing forward against the fear and loathing and the hopeless certainty that you can’t possibly succeed ... to have such unalloyed conviction in the face of all that. Admittedly, I’m still as conflicted and despair-riddled as ever when it comes to the earth’s terminally stupid human inhabitants, but the example of Hans and Sophie Scholl forces me to stop and think: I’m not quite ready to give up, not yet -- even if there is no hope. My only real goal now is to keep the contemptuous smirk firmly glued to my face and to keep laughing uproariously, even as the axe is falling on my own outstretched neck. Victories are rare, and it all ends in disaster in any event, so let’s get on with it already.
We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe can be used to further the public welfare, it will be only by virtue of the fact that we are cleansed by suffering; that we yearn for the light in the midst of deepest night, summon our strength, and finally help in shaking off the yoke which weighs on our world.
-- White Rose letter no. 2
16 July 2006
Yeah, I can’t help but think that this is merely an enormous waste of breath, an expenditure of hot air that possesses no value. Listening to the inane chatter and the astoundingly trivial gum-flapping of your average barfly, suburban gridlock-jockey, and all the other turgid simpletons and brainwashed numbskulls that comprise the vast ugly mass of the American body politic, only confirms the basic futility of this endeavor. Certainly, the more progressive end of the blogging spectrum manages to produce a healthy amount of noise, as it scrutinizes and dissects the rotten, bloated cadaver that was once representative government and political democracy in this country, but does any of it get through to the hordes of apolitical blockheads out there? Are we all just preaching to ourselves, without reference to anything beyond our narrowly-defined ideological boundaries? Is it even important to reach out and make an impression upon the bored and greasy swarms of uninformed nitwits who, unfortunately, seem to be in the majority? In a nutshell: is there any point at all to whatever the hell we’re doing?
What would be the point in, say, dribbling out an angry screed about Israeli aggression against Lebanon? Do you think any of your low-budget schmucks give a shit about more poor Arabs being blown to pieces by high-tech weaponry? These sorts of criminal acts are being committed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan -- where’s the groundswell of righteous anger and indignation about that, outside of the left-leaning side of the blogoshere? It just isn’t there, for all I can see. How do we change that? Or can we? Are we to be the catalyst for change, the jump-start to a fundamental quantum-leap in human awareness, the consciousness-expanding engine that helps propel humanity along the upward track of evolution, away from the retrograde passions and selfish imperatives at the core of our reptilian brain-stems? ... or are we destined to continue spitting pithy invective and clever witticisms and smart-alecky nonsense at each other, while the SUV-driving, cell-phone addicted, TV-watching know-nothings ignore everything completely?
Well, to the half-dozen or so people who accidentally read this blog each week, I sincerely apologize for this depressingly hopeless tirade of absurd questions that nobody could answer. It’s just so difficult to be optimistic these days.
09 July 2006
HATE GROUPS ARE INFILTRATING THE MILITARY, GROUP ASSERTS
A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.
"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. "That's a problem."
A Defense Department spokeswoman said officials there could not comment on the report because they had not yet seen it.The entire story can be found here.
Now, not to denigrate the Southern Poverty Law Center for pointing out this rather alarming bit of information, but as an old GI from the late Cold War days I can say, fairly authoritatively, that racism and hatred are integral components of just about any military system. I know from my own experience just how virulent these low-budget idiocies are in the US armed forces; actually, I would go as far to say that the American military colossus is, itself, the largest hate-group of them all, especially when it's being wielded by the cabal of Neo-Con fanatics who're herding us all down the toilet bowl of oblivion.
Oh well -- it's just a thought.
06 July 2006
Anyway -- I’ll delve into this rather interesting topic later; right now I think I’ll just stick up some more Krishnamurti-isms, which I was planning to do before Blogger’s blindly arrogant corporate swagger-stick smacked me across the bridge of my nose and left me wallowing in pain-wracked frustration. In any event …
As long as action is the outcome of desire, of memory, of fear, of pleasure and pain, it must inevitably breed conflict, confusion, and antagonism. Our action is the outcome of our conditioning, at whatever level; and our response to challenge, being inadequate and incomplete, must produce conflict, which is the problem. Conflict is the very structure of the self. It is entirely possible to live without conflict, the conflict of greed, of fear, of success; but this possibility will be merely theoretical and not actual until it is discovered through direct experiencing. To exist without greed is possible only when the ways of the self are understood.
Inwardly and outwardly it is easier to repress than to understand. To understand is arduous, especially for those who have been heavily conditioned from childhood. Although strenuous, repression becomes a matter of habit. Understanding can never be made into a habit, a matter of routine; it demands constant watchfulness, alertness. To understand, there must be pliability, sensitivity, a warmth that has nothing to do with sentimentality. Suppression in any form needs no quickening of awareness; it is the easiest and stupidest way to deal with responses. Suppression is conformity to an idea, to a pattern, and it offers superficial security, respectability. Understanding is liberating, but suppression is always narrowing, self-enclosing. Fear of authority, of insecurity, of opinion, builds up an ideological refuge, with its physical counterpart, to which the mind turns. This refuge, of whatever level it may be placed, ever sustains fear; and from fear there is substitution, sublimation or discipline, which are all a form of repression. Repression must find an outlet, which may be a physical ailment or some kind of ideological illusion. The price is paid according to one’s temperament and idiosyncrasies.
… Truth is not a thing to be attained; it is seen or it is not seen, it cannot be perceived gradually. The will to be free from repression is a hindrance to understanding the truth of it; for will is desire, whether positive or negative, and with desire there can be no passive awareness. It is desire or craving that brought about the repression; and this same desire, though now called will, can never free itself from its own creation. Again, the truth of will must be perceived through passive yet alert awareness. The analyser, though he may separate himself from it, is part of the analysed; and as he is conditioned by the thing he analyses, he cannot free himself from it. Again, the truth of this must be seen. It is truth that liberates, not will and effort.
25 June 2006
22 June 2006
Have you noticed, in newspapers and magazines, the amount of space given to politics, to the sayings of politicians and their activities? Of course, other news is given, but political news predominates; the economic and political life has become all-important. The outward circumstances -- comfort, money, position and power --seem to dominate and shape our existence. The external show -- the title, the garb, the salute, the flag -- has become increasingly significant, and the total process of life has been forgotten or deliberately set aside. It is so much easier to throw oneself into social and political activity than to understand life as a whole; to be associated with any organized thought, with political or religious activity, offers a respectable escape from the pettiness and drudgery of everyday life. With a small heart you can talk of big things and of the popular leaders; you can hide your shallowness with the easy phrases of world affairs; your restless mind can happily and with popular encouragement settle down to propagate the ideology of a new or of an old religion.
Politics is the reconciliation of effects; and as most of us are concerned with effects, the external has assumed dominant significance. By manipulating effects we hope to bring about order and peace; but, unfortunately, it is not as simple as all that. Life is a total process, the inner as well as the outer; the outer definitely affects the inner, but the inner invariably overcomes the outer. What you are, you bring about outwardly. The outer and the inner cannot be separated and kept in watertight compartments, for they are constantly interacting upon each other; but the inner craving, the hidden pursuits and motives, are always more powerful. Life is not dependent upon political or economic activity; life is not a mere outward show, any more than a tree is the leaf or the branch. Life is a total process whose beauty is to be discovered only in its integration. This integration does not take place on the superficial level of political and economic reconciliations; it is to be found beyond causes and effects.
Because we play with causes and effects and never go beyond them, except verbally, our lives are empty, without much significance. It is for this reason that we have become slaves to political excitement and to religious sentimentalism. There is hope only in the integration of the several processes of which we are made up. This integration does not come into being through any ideology, or through following any particular authority, religious or political; it comes into being only through extensive and deep awareness. This awareness must go into the deeper layers of consciousness and not be content with surface responses.
-- J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living
18 June 2006
OK, after a few moments of Internet research, my memory has been "refreshed" -- it goes something like this:
Doom, despair, and agony on me/ Deep dark depression, excessive misery/ If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all/ Doom, despair, and agony on me
Not exactly high art, but it certainly captures the barest essence of the times -- not to mention the no-man's-land of gloom inside my withered skull.
Christ, I need a drink.
10 June 2006
To make matters even more depressing, take a look at these two articles at Guerrilla News Network:
USA Out-Flanked in Eurasia Energy Politics?
Energy Geopolitics 2006
Read 'em and weep -- I don't know how much more of this crap I can take.
04 June 2006
Now that I have your full, unvarnished attention, let me just add that I’m absolutely and completely serious here.
I realize how appallingly offensive these words are, within the debased epoch we find ourselves -- this obscene era of widespread mental illness, where violent militarism is hoisted up onto some unassailable pedestal of respectability. We’re not supposed to criticize the war machine, or the over-worked morons and blood-crazed killers who keep it rolling; we are supposed to slap cheap Chinese-made yellow ribbons on the ass-end of our SUV’s and incessantly regurgitate meaningless, platitudinous bullshit about how we must unreservedly “support our troops,” no matter how many Einsatzgruppen-style atrocities they commit against unarmed civilians. We’re required to believe that the stress and tension of combat, and the calamitous effects of multiple deployments on the psyches of individual Marines and Army grunts, offers up a framework of “understanding” as to why such vicious crimes as the Haditha massacre (and countless others) occur. Our uniformed minions perpetrate mass murder and are slavishly enshrined as “heroes” who, unfortunately, make “mistakes” in the heat of “battle.”
Well, you’ll have to pardon the hell out of me for the severity of my skepticism, but there is no justification -- none, under any circumstance -- for executing unarmed men, women, and children. Children, for fuck’s sake. Only soulless, degenerate Nazis would bother to construct rationalizations and spew apologetics for the gunning down of pregnant women, six-month-old babies, and old people in wheelchairs. But the troops are under monumental stress, they say; some are enduring their second and third tours in Iraq, we’re constantly being reminded; Bush lied us into this war, so the ultimate responsibility is his, the pundits tell us; the Marines in Haditha were understandably reacting to the death of one of their comrades is another common talking point; war is war, and so on and so forth. All of these angles and perspectives are absolutely true enough, as far as they go, but are altogether irrelevant when it comes to ... pointing a machine-gun at a poor woman and her children, and pulling the trigger.
Beyond the fact that these obscenities have taken place -- and continue to occur on a regular basis -- I guess what sickens me the most is that the perpetrators are all volunteers. They’re not conscripts, forcibly compelled to be the hatchet-men for the Neo-Con apparatus of destruction, but free agents willingly participating in this madness. Nobody held a gun to their heads, or jumped out of a helicopter and slaughtered their families in cold blood, to force them to enlist. No extraordinary methods of coercion were required to get these bastards in uniform, other than offering them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of murdering unarmed Arab civilians with impunity. If these guys really wanted to “serve their country,” or to score money for college, or were motivated by any of the myriad of other reasons why normal people join the military, such impulses can be indulged without the necessity of becoming a bloodthirsty killer. In fact, most modern military occupations are highly technical in nature, and well removed from the desperate exigencies of killing and dying, to greater or lesser degrees. These bastards could have signed up to be, say, Air Force medical technicians, or Navy computer programmers, or who the hell knows what else. But no -- they purposely chose to be rifle-toting ground-pounders, allowing themselves to be thrust into an untenable situation of extreme magnitude ... so they could point their M-16’s at old people, and blast the heads off of women and children. They’re fundamentally no different than suicide bombers or German SS troopers, or any other such example of human scum. If they had even a tiny amount of native intelligence, or at least a modicum of common sense, they would’ve been able to discern what the advent of the Republican/Neo-Con dictatorship had in store, for them and the rest of us. They should have refused to actively participate in this evil scheme of domination and destruction, but they deliberately made the decision to be the praetorian enforcers for the would-be worldwide corporatist empire. So fuck them -- just as is the case with their vile and loathsome Masters, they deserve neither our respect or support.
So, to all those veterans out there (and, just to be clear, I happen to be a veteran myself): if you’re offended by anything you’ve read here, well, that’s just too bad. I simply won’t be an apologist for mass murder -- particularly when it’s committed in “my” name by uniformed ignoramuses under the official sanction of an illegal regime of neo-fascist motherfuckers in DC. If you need torturous justifications for the deliberate slaughter of Iraqi (or Afghan, or Iranian, etc.) civilians, I have no doubt that there are plenty of far-right mush-brained blogs and web sites out there, all ready and eager to stroke your delusions and massage your stupidity. Don’t expect to receive that sort of treatment here.
A QUICK AND DISGUSTING UPDATE: As if all this horrible bullshit wasn't bad enough, check out these photos at Raw Story, and prepare to puke yourself senseless ...
29 May 2006
27 May 2006
-- Simone Weil (quoted by Howard Zinn in Declarations of Independence)
21 May 2006
Honestly, the accelerating nature of the present state of things has seriously outstripped my capacity for reason. If I really wished to understand what’s going on -- and I do, obviously -- on what am I supposed to focus my ever-shrinking attention span? Every member of the “progressive” community, whether they be bloggers or democratic activists or just loud-mouthed opinion-mongers, all seem to know the precise answer to such an impossible question. To some (and I include myself in this camp), the impeachment, conviction, and removal of Bush and his obscene horde of con-artists and blood-swillers is of the highest priority; others are of the opinion that installing a Democratically-controlled Congress next November is the magic panacea for all our various national ills; certain quarters seem to believe that we should get our bowels in a righteous uproar over NSA spying, or the Iraq war; or perhaps the non-issue of immigration, or election fraud, or even gay marriage or the looming aggression against Iran. Every blithering mouth-breather has their own pet issue, and each of these issues holds a certain degree of importance in its own right. However, the multiplicity of critical issues obscures the fact that the fundamental questions (whatever they may be), which need to be confronted first, can’t be addressed at all so long as we’re all acting like a clutch of pinheaded reactionaries. The latest outrage crashes over our heads, and well-meaning groups and individuals immediately froth and fume and spew out fiery blasts of indignation and anger -- but it rarely touches on the root causes of why the outrages occur in the first place, thereby setting the stage for the next outrage. And the one after that, and so on.
Oh hell, this isn’t anything we don’t already know. I’m certainly no paragon of ... well, anything really. I indulge in the same instinctive, adrenalin-fueled, fury-soaked reactionary behavior I so rudely poke others in the gonads over -- as in my previous post, where I was (and remain) practically catatonic in disgusted outrage over those Iraq photos at After Downing Street, or in the queasy panic I’m struggling to contain at the prospect of an Air Force general, the very same bald-headed bottom-feeding fuck who cobbled together the illegal NSA spy program, being installed in the top position at the Central Intelligence Agency. I guess the point is that, as vital as these individual issues are -- as well as the myriad of others clamoring for attention -- obsessive fixation on any one of them in particular is a hollow exercise in self-defeating futility. All of these actions and questions, these low-lifes suddenly thrust into prominence, these criminal acts of larceny and destruction and mass death, are merely manifestations of far more deep and fundamental phenomena: they’re only means to a nefarious end, in simplest terms. You can expose and attack and dissect and eviscerate and ridicule and (occasionally) force to a halt any one of these manifestations, which tends to puff-up one’s ego with a lot of uselessly hot air, but it doesn’t really change anything. The cancerous zombie of the Neo-Con Death Machine will continue its disastrous, lurching rampage over what’s left of the prone and pliant American body politic, regardless of how many tiny bits and pieces of its diseased and foully bloated carcass the righteous and well-meaning manage to knock off, here and there. We need to kill the damn thing, not just annoy or inconvenience it.
Yeah well, blah blah blah. I wish I knew what the hell I was talking about.
17 May 2006
If you have a cast-iron stomach to go along with your sense of utter, seething outrage, then visit After Downing Street for a whole slew of sickening images just like this. Are there any serious doubts left about the necessity of removing the Bush bastards from office?
14 May 2006
The three televisions are all tuned to the standard corporate/professional sports baloney; the barfly chatter is insipid and largely indistinct, serving admirably in its usual role of empty-calorie background filler and intellectual rot-gut; on the other hand, the beer is good and cold, but not quite as cold as the hatchet-faced bartender -- a common sorrow in this particular establishment. Anyway, the joint is inexplicably crammed to the rafters with boneheaded know-nothings enjoying themselves far too much, their over-taxed sweat glands pumping out a cloyingly obscene fog of synthetic sophistication and blankly trivial glibness ... The atmosphere of mental gut-gas is so thick and enervating, it's enough to put you off your righteous outrage at the general state of things, here at the bottom of the cosmic toilet bowl. Do these drunk fools not see the dangerous knife-edge along which the Busheviks are forcing us all to convulsively dance? Or is it that they don't care? I seriously wonder why I bother to patronize this hell hole.
Soaking up the cheap and superficial vibe so common to these plastic, quasi-suburban watering holes can certainly debilitate your capacity for critical discernment -- which is probably why they're so popular. I myself must admit to a sometimes overwhelming desire to just TURN OFF the rusty, rat-shit-choked faucet of experience that, especially over the past 5+ years of the Bush disaster, only seems to spew out the noisome, disease-ridden sewage of political corruption and socio-economic dissolution with which we've become all too familiar. You can chug only so much of this poisonous dreck before permanent damage sets in -- mental, physical, or both; hence the absolute need for a psychic pit-stop, a temporary refuge where one's human sensibilities can at least partially recover from the relentless battering they take on a daily basis. In that regard, I suppose that explains why I still spend such an inordinate amount of time in this ridiculous alcohol emporium.
So, it's all a question of escape, which is a legitimate activity within the wider project of maintaining some sort of equilibrium inside modern life's rubber-walled nut house. How this escape is affected is about as diverse and variable as humanity in general; in my case, as is usual with most people who have little initiative and no imagination, it happens to involve periodic forays into the foamy wasteland of beer and bars. It's not something I'm especially proud of, but there it is. Anyhow, whatever methodology or gimmickry one employs to cope with the desperate exigencies of reality -- to briefly escape from them, in other words -- serious problems are bound to arise when the overall perspective gets flipped on its ear. When escaping becomes merely an end in itself, without conscious reference to whatever it is you may be trying to escape from ... Well, one of the things you wind up with is this bizarre spectacle of brewpub suburbanites loudly convincing themselves that the women's kickboxing match, currently being displayed in all its absurd glory on the behind-the-bar plasma TV, is of far more import than the cost of the fuel they burned in their SUV's to get to the bar in the first place. Or the banalities of office politics colliding with the most recent controversy on American Idol, naturally preventing any intellectual energy being pointlessly expended over obscure esoterica like NSA spying or CIA torture gulags.
Oh well, you get the picture. It doesn't require trite generalizations from an idiot such as myself to get the idea across that, yes indeed, we live in a sick and deluded nation full of dog-wagging tails ... in a manner of speaking. The only thing that's truly significant is that, perhaps paradoxically, the more I seek to get away from it all, by plowing my way through as many unhealthy brewpub vices as possible, the more I actually obsess over all those things that I'm purportedly trying to escape from. So, yet again, I have to question the utility of such a self-defeating activity.
If only there was another Impeachment Forum to attend -- I could definitely use another large dose of hope. At the very least, it would be more entertaining than kickboxing ...
10 May 2006
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.
Dante quote of the day, #2:
The secret to getting things done is to act.
I couldn't have said it better myself. No, really.
07 May 2006
Anyway, there I was, as is usually the case, sitting immobile at one of those ubiquitous east Sacramento intersections -- if you’ve ever spent any amount of time in a place like this, you know exactly what I’m talking about ... a gargantuan expanse of asphalt and concrete, garishly ringed all around by gas stations, religious fanatics with flapping cardboard signs that read HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS!, ugly cookie-cutter corporate-chain restaurants, homeless beggars, and at least one automobile dealership. All the plastic detritus and sad polluted waste-water of American consumerism, strained through the clogged cheesecloth of the fossil-fuel industry. Notwithstanding the inflated price of gasoline, this particular intersection was also gridlocked with obligatory, early rush-hour traffic, esthetically completing the appalling awfulness of the whole scene. While sitting there helplessly, wistfully watching large gobs of figurative dollar signs rise inexorably from the teeming forest of exhaust pipes surrounding me, I was bitterly chewing on some obnoxiously unanswerable questions which were hurled in my face a couple hours prior: after casually mentioning that I’d attended the Impeachment Forum organized by the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party last weekend, a co-worker exclaimed What the fuck’s the point? They’d just replace Bush with somebody worse. Besides, he’ll never be forcibly removed from office, so why waste your time with this impeachment nonsense? Just as my frantic monkey-brain was preparing to offer up a well-honed, after-the-fact rhetorical demolition of such ridiculous, hopeless, pathologically discouraging and blindly stupid commentary, a shiny and insanely enormous Escalade rolled up next to me, subwoofers set to maximum annoyance volume, license plates and side-view mirrors vibrating like the outer extremities of a coke fiend checking into rehab -- whereby my always tenuous acquaintance with the more positive and optimistic aspects of human experience quickly dissipated in a sick cloud of noisy, stinking absurdity. My thought-train jumped its tracks, and I barely made it home without throwing up on myself.
So here we come to the rub, the crux, the essential point, or whatever the hell you want to call it -- that is, insofar as I have a point, which is not altogether certain. Anyhow, the question is: what’s the secret to maintaining a sense of hope? You fully expect wingnuts and freepers, know-nothing ditto-heads and fools in SUV’s to go out of their way to pollute your punch-bowl of optimism. That’s just what they do, what with their strange allegiance to -- and identification with -- the symbology of power and domination, aggravated by (or perhaps stemming from) an inexplicably violent opposition to diversity of opinion and the inalienable right of people to think for themselves. Except for those in positions of dubious “authority,” to whom we really have no choice but to pay some attention, it’s generally best to deal with sub-humans of this ilk by ignoring them as much as possible. No, the real destroyers of hope are not the mental weaklings on the right; rather, they’re the great mass of the uninformed and uninterested in the middle, the complacently depoliticized majority, the self-righteously aloof who’ve so deeply integrated the practice of detached cynicism into their day-to-day lives, they can’t even see how cynical they are. Indeed, they actively deny that they’re cynical at all, such as the aforementioned co-worker who, despite having absolutely no love lost for the Bush Crime Family and its evil policies, derides me for being stupid enough to participate in a forum dedicated to the removal of Bush and his army of thugs. The what’s the point? attitude of an otherwise reasonably intelligent and compassionate person -- the casual dismissiveness of it all -- does more to puncture my already flaccid balloon of hopeful optimism than anything some empty-headed right-wing freak could do or say. So, confused and flabbergasted as I am, I’ll ask the question again: How do you remain positive and full of hope, under such circumstances?
Ah well, perhaps the true source of hope lies where my humble and comprehensively disinformed opinion has always relegated it -- in the sudsy dregs at the bottom of every beer glass. Maybe so, but if any of you out there have any other thoughts or suggestions concerning this matter, I’m all ears.
01 May 2006
Bob Fertik, of Democrats.com
omega minimo at Democratic Underground
Joye Swan, of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus
Phil Burk at ImpeachBush.tv
Frankly, I don't think all that highly of bloggers that camouflage their lack of ability and/or lack of imagination by posing as pathetic "link" services to "real" blogs, but to tell you the truth, I'm just too flippin' tired to suss out my own impressions of the impeachment forum, at least at this particular moment. I'll be delving back into my own incomprehensible brand of mindless gibberish soon, rest assured.Till then, you must peruse what these good people have to say ...
29 April 2006
Among many other matters, the price of gasoline has been on the vituperative tip of many a blogger’s tongue lately. From the liberal-minded, computer-addicted troglodytes who don’t get enough sun or fresh air; to the radical wing-nut freepers who, nightly, kneel in rapturous self-debasement before their plastic Karl Rove party dolls -- everybody out in the ’sphere seems to be chucking in their two cents and opinionating non-stop about the oil companies and the deadly product they peddle. Under the circumstances, there’s little to lose by joining in the general gnashing of teeth over $3 gasoline and rapacious corporate profiteering. Being a resident of Sacramento, the capital of California, makes me somewhat of a reluctant pseudo-expert on these kinds of subjects.
Making a more-than-handsome profit off the behavior of others is an old American tradition, especially when it comes to so-called “lifestyle choices” at the core of this nation’s social-cultural apparatus. In the United States, the “choice” of over-reliance on automobiles, and the crude-oil-based fuels that power them, is a perfect case in point -- particularly so here in the state of California, what with its 25 million cars and trucks (which combine for nearly 300 billion “vehicle miles” traveled annually, according to the state Air Resources Board). With such an appallingly comprehensive stranglehold on the transportation infrastructure, which applies generally across the country as a whole, it would be utterly astonishing if the oil barons didn’t do everything possible to squeeze every last dollar out of all of us. They’re doing only what they know how to do, within the narrow, predatory capitalist scheme of things, to the complete exclusion of anything else: that is, maximize profits, while having no concern at all for the consequences to the wider society. Like I said, this is a fundamental corporate attitude that’s about as all-American as anything. To believe that oil companies would act any differently, perhaps showing at least a modicum of fairness or responsibility towards the citizenry they so ruthlessly exploit for their own advantage, is absurd in the extreme.
So, if the corporate sector -- as represented, in this case, by multinational oil companies -- aided and abetted by the politicians and public institutions they own and manipulate, is hell-bent on raping the earth and milking us poor dumb chumps until there’s literally nothing left, what’s the answer then? If the mystical chimera of profit is allowed to trump all other concerns, both in the human realm and the natural world, what’s the proper response? Plainly, the answer lies in not participating, in not playing the role of passive complicity in a system of ravenous exploitation. In this case, it’s the willful acceptance of a consumerist model of existence -- a dead-end, nowhere mode of living if there ever was one. Specifically, why don’t we just opt out of the fossil-fuel based automobile culture altogether? It’s our panting eagerness to play along with this dangerous fiction, this brutal disaster of an energy source that’s only going to destroy us in the long run, that is itself the foundation of all the violence and destruction being meted out by our so-called political “leaders” upon huge portions of the earth and its sorry inhabitants. Who gives a shit if gasoline costs three dollars a gallon, or ten, or fifty cents? Stop consuming it, for crying out loud; stop providing the ownership class an incentive to continue their mindless rampage of greed -- join the struggle to establish a new, sustainable paradigm of human existence. The alternative is, well, pretty ugly and foul. And terminal.
Yeah, I know, it all sounds so trite, and far more easily said and done. But what hope is there, if we simply succumb to the despair and lurch and stagger onward, in our fog of denial, headlong toward the precipice of oblivion? Not much, actually. The only serious question then, at this very late moment, is: have we already waited too long to save ourselves? My pickled sensibilities very nearly can’t face the answer to that.
In any event, later this evening I’m planning to attend the impeachment forum being presented by the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, which is being moderated by Mike Malloy. Perhaps we’ll uncover a new, untapped vein of energized optimism somewhere in the proceedings -- we can only hope.