The Fist of May

As it relates to the fruits of labor beyond just harvest, this first day of May means a number of things, down to nothing, depending upon where one comes- or is coming from. Being an American by arbitrary birthright I can observe the spectrum from ignorance to disregard. The European perspective — which, perspectives being as they are, one should in no way claim capacity of even the most far-flung interpretive representation — is hardly of one voice as to the significance of International Workers’ Day, or how it should or shouldn’t be observed.There are non-Europeans who think they know how things are different in Euroland and are comfortable acting as authority on the matter. There are non-Euros who know better, but act as authority all the same. There are those who admit ignorance, but will say they get the general idea and don’t have too big a problem arguing a viewpoint on it. There are those who are less comfortable in this final regard, but not to the extent that you won’t hear plenty of peep out of them. Wherever the end of this line is, it doesn’t have anyone on it who’ll admit they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, counting myself. If there’s a silent majority, they ain’t sayin’ shit.

About the First of May: it’s easy to bear distant witness to people throwing bottles at cops or breaking windows and setting things on fire and saying that this isn’t what the celebration is supposed to be about. If there’s any safer an utterance on the subject than, “It’s supposed to be a peaceful demonstration of (compete cliché here),” I can’t recall hearing it. On the flipside, there’s no rounder a rebuke guaranteed than if you were to state certainly that breaking shit is in fact what it is all about.

Take the events 131 years ago surrounding Haymarket Square in Chicago as substantiated origin of today’s holiday in Europe and you have a parallel of competing stories as to what inspired what took place then — including who was involved and why, and what ultimately resulted and who all were instrumental in that — that lend remarkable credence to the appropriateness of this recurring annual symbolism of “we just wanna barbecue” vs. “get in line or stay away” vs. “peacefully demonstrate” vs. “stand up and be counted” vs. “make a ruckus” vs. “break the fucking system”.

If, on the other hand, the aforesaid safest interpretation of the meaning of these gatherings is the one viable demonstration, it seems to me like an awful lot of marching under the aegis of advertising democracies whose backdrop is an infrastructure of hierarchy that democracy is helpless to change more than indirectly rearrange.

Enter the Strike: standing up to sit down, walking in to walk out, shouting out to shut down, fully embracing boycott. These are all actions that, even if you see them as passive resistance, will most certainly beget an increase in violence one must be prepared to withstand in order to remain resolute enough to make a difference. Unfortunately, this threat of reactionary beatdown does not, in my opinion, factor into why the workers of the world will never unite to overcome those who own the right to hire and fire them under conditions that mutate with the times. Moreover, the lack of solidarity is not only due to inadequate organisation, but down to lack of unity of enlightened desperation: It requires the participation of a broad range of people of centuries-long indoctrination who are everything from too in need of their income to feed their own, to comfy enough in their consumer habits and don’t want to rock the yacht.

The most quickly dismissed are the ones who stand up. Given that the elections that dominate much of the world’s news these days are in a myriad of ways rigged at their outset, voting is anything but standing up. It serves first as an outlet of plausible freedom. If we really wanted the world free of its oppressors, the world’s workers’d be on strike and her unemployed boycotting everything else.

And the action alone is not enough. If it’s true that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, the strike would have to be permanent.

solidarity forever

 

Trump wrecklessly employs Clintonian rhetoric to co-opt SCotUS argument

Evidence of the more extremely qualified nature of Hillary Clinton comes by way of her so-called opponent (aka candidate who in spite of any estimable future reality could become president):

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The allusion to the conceivable murder of an adversary by gun is clear, just as was candidate Clinton’s original, which came the last time she was in the running for the same office when she justified remaining in the Democratic race by reminding those li$tening that her husband in 1992 hadn’t captured the nomination until June in California, adding, “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”

Nevertheless, her shot was so much more skillfully put.  First, she employed the passive voice, avoiding the appearance of having called upon potential perpetrators discretely.  This aptitude for language in politics is crucial to executing the power of the office they seek, while maintaining control of its requisite chaos.  Why, Trump doesn’t even know what the passive voice is.

Second, unlike Trump, she was not referring to the potential of a resentful element taking the law into its own hands to prevent their paranoid fantasy’s coming to life, but simply reminding a few influential friends with benefits along with her party’s shakers that, in addition to being within easy electoral reach of her primary opponent, one of the many ways said opponent could falter might be exiting through the kitchen door before the dirty dishes had been cleared.

By comparison, Donald Trump’s reference to “Second Amendment people” is so unsophisticated as to qualify the use of the word “dangerous” to describe it.  Given his one-time status as Clinton family friend with benefits, one wonders how he could be so sloppy.  He certainly doesn’t come off as presidential.

Again, Clinton uses the language to signal those who help manage strict order and underwrite the American project, while Trump manages to use it to get his detractors as worked up as his supporters — for yucks or shocks or who knows what the hell for.  Clinton’s comment was about the deadly serious issue of seizing the nomination for President.  Trump has long had the nomination wrapped up, and still he doesn’t seem to take anything seriously enough to get the occasional good press.  All he does is scare supporters away.  Puzzling, to say the least.

What if Donald Trump were called upon to justify his prior vote for an unpopular war, or having supported a putatively pernicious trade agreement or seemingly creepy crime bill?

Not only is he not in the possession of foresight to have a non-apology issued through his spouse, he certainly does not have the capacity to start the next war, let alone does he have the ability to parse the language just so in order to give the Congress the cover needed to close the deal on the next trade agreement.

Can you seriously imagine him surrounding himself with the right people to effectively evolve the definition of threats to democracy and eliminate them with extreme prejudice in a way that is sustainable?

I’m sorry, it’s not enough to appear racist when you’re so gauche.  On his watch the war on terror would be over before you could say Shoah!  In a Commander in Chief, we need someone at the helm who can make the nation’s wars also the next president’s responsibility.

Anyway, given the volume and sources of cash the Clinton campaign has been receiving, she must be doing something better than he is.  One can only hope that Trump’s attempt to steal the Democratic party’s final trump card, the SCotUS argument, backfires.

Smack to the Future

Here’s hastening to point out that Trump’s function as assurance of Clinton’s official ascendancy is not complete until those being polled actually believe that the reason people are voting for her is to prevent his (being/becoming otherwise inevitable).

The “anti-other candidate” is not new, but the process this time around features a blurrier plausibility of just who the protagonist is insofar as maybe the greatest number of voters in history are not even sure who the protagonist is supposed to be.

That is how plausible consent is manufactured:

In a landscape wherein it’s claimed consent has been given, it is plausible that others believe the state of affairs to be consensual, even when they don’t consent to the affairs of state.

Humans receive history in advanced narrative form and, at least, perceive this in the context of probabilities. For some time now, voting American humans in particular have been Dem-splained the inevitability of HXVI, and have been either with her, or against her.

The emergence of Trump in the Republican primary resonated “Ross Perot” strongly enough that the theory of a phony candidacy has been a popular one, nevertheless rejected by anyone wanting to be plausibly serious. As his candidacy has continued, it is not unusual to see people admit that they had entertained the idea that he was a Clinton shill, adding that regardless, he’s obviously gone rogue by now, so the point is moot.

This precisely is the transition in “idea entertaining” that must take place before someone can believe in the plausibility of voting for Clinton under any circumstances: to prevent a megalomaniac who would actually go off script when he gets a whiff of victory. It’s a conundrum, for sure, but who cares? Nobody was ever gonna believe she was elected out of admiration.

Even among the many who wouldn’t vote for either one of them, it is slowly becoming plausible why someone would. Going into election day, they’ll believe the polls, and believe that the narrated probabilities of their own history were plausible all along.

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Mühsam means laborious.

Mühsamstraße 34, Berlin-Friedrichshain – 2016

Zorndorfer Straße 15, Berlin-Friedrichshain – 1908

You suck a pol, you suck a goal.

Surprisingly (from my perspective), the latest cold opening on Saturday Night Live was a pretty spot-on analysis of political reality. It exaggerated Hill’s apparent belief that her demonic traits are charming, painted Bern a little cranky, and foreshadowed the not unlikelihood that a party member would back the nominee and grovel for a cabinet position.

SNL‘s problem began long ago when they started allowing money’d candidates and sitting functionaries a platform to humanize themselves. From a blood-on-the-hands perspective, the coming ratcheted-up whining about Donald Trump hosting the show amounts to too little, too late.

The entire exercise takes on a whole new light given the participation of the politician. It has so many folds I don’t know where to begin unpacking it.

First and foremost, they do not get skewered on their most (w)retched policies. If this were the case, they wouldn’t be making cameos, let alone would a program that actually satirized politics and not just personality traits be wont to invite them.

Then, their version of soft-satire makes the targets “good sports” — better sports in proportion to how much they get “made fun of”. What a likable trait!

Another aspect is revealed regarding the Hill’s appearance the previous week to the aforementioned opening: What previously had been a pretty unflattering portrayal on the show in general (again, as far as the entitled attitude of her personality is concerned) became a “we’re all in on the joke” and gave the candidate an opportunity to admit in such a comfortable environment that she might have been late on marriage equality in a “but we’re all still friends here” way that doesn’t even come close to getting challenged. You see, she listens!

Also, we are not privy to the back & forth about what cannot be written in the sketch, though, as is probably the case, the writers are hardly vicious enough that the handlers need bother with a list of no-gos or pre-approval. Still.

Again, I admit that Kate McKinnon did a solid job continuing to paint an unflattering portrait in the cold open the following week, but at this point it cannot help but come off as all in good fun amongst friends.

So maybe SNL is just soft parody machine at best, but I firmly believe you cannot adequately lampoon a person when your target is invited to play along — either before or after such appearances when such has become the norm.

That every fucking candidate does every show is problematic. One might argue that reaching a larger public is a good thing, but it’s actually just taking the money-in-politics to another venue, and hence another level — as if they don’t have enough friendly exposure. And that access and exposure corresponds well to the larger media reality. Imagine how long Lincoln Chaffee’s cameo would be; it wouldn’t be the length of the sketch even if he were invited. Not that I’m saying he should be, only that it mirrors the biggest problem in a democracy, which, ironically, media have argued is an adequate defense of the balance of their coverage, when in fact, it’s only the content that could be justified on such grounds, not the absence that makes up the greater part of the format. This absence would be glaring to more people if they had a clue.

Take Benghazi. Please. It has come to amount to a trumped-up political witch-hunt conducted by the opposing party because journalists won’t do the job of scrutinizing the shit out of the former State Secretary and her President’s administration’s massacre of Libya, nor will they cover the overlapping oligarchical policy continuity between the parties while they’re so busy with both parties insisting there is nary but contention between them.

As far as the extent to which Saturday Night Live is gonna go in satirizing American politics, it probably didn’t take a memo from the corporation to result in as superficial a take from a comedy writing staff as you’d get from their counterpart in Putin’s Russia. If that’s an exaggeration on my part, it’d only be because, in America, we’re so free that we’re not afraid to caricature our politicians’ lack of charisma. Well whoop-de-do!

I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating: Neither Jon Stewart nor Stephen Colbert have ever provided anything but a comfy chair for the big name politicians on their shows. It is clear from their demeanor during these interviews that they just will not bring themselves to cross a certain line of questioning. This is particularly disappointing considering the blistering the latter laid on Dubs the year he hosted the WH Correspondents’ Dinner. And that was on potentially unfriendly territory. But there’s the rub.

In an attempt to wrap up this unpacking: If you want access to the candidate, you give them a platform that benefits them. It’s better not to provide the platform, regardless of the anodyne ribbing you’ll give them the next night. It’s a net win for the pol, and a net loss for the tradition of satire. That Colbert and Stewart are seen as the cream of the crop of the American variety only makes it harder for me to stomach, because it doesn’t just set the high-bar lower, but establishes a problematic framework for what constitutes an informed public.

Anything could happen, but my prediction is Trump will garner the same screeching applause that every other celebrity politician has been getting. Whether that’s due to an applause sign is a secondary matter. Because we’re oh-so civil that way. And isn’t that what Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Insanity turned out to be all about? Yes it did! I learn waaay more from The Daily Show than I do from the regular news! Indeed.

Politicians do not belong on any show that even pretends to be satire. Even if it’s hip and newsy. Colbert’s Late Show‘s first guest after he had a different politician on every single night during his first couple of weeks? Oprah. What a cutting edge comedy program that turned out to be.

₫-mar-kr-€-C$-¥ has its way.

“Love? Equality? Reconstruction? Acceptance? Those are the excuses of the losers, to persuade themselves that they choose their condition and weren’t beaten down into it.”

—Drake, Leviathan

“Ohne Scheiß. Ich brauch ein Geigerzähler.”

—this morn’s crazy lady,
to no one in particular
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“I wonder what the world would be like had they not funneled crack into southern Los Angeles,” me musing, watching a clip from the late seventies of the Soul Train dance line. “Would we not have a Black American president ordering international hits, who’d instead gone forth to remain a uni prof of relative obscurity in a world deprived of some of its more creative gangsta rap straight outta the end of the rock coke supply chain?”

I’m asking me if Ted Bundy had let two of his admitted thirty victims live, would one of them have developed into a loveless marriage contemplating suicide.

When you choose to choose to let somebody else choose because constantly making choices is so painfully tedious that no matter how many bricks of bureaucracy get stacked with each new choice you’d rather not be bothered with details, there’s only one choice when witnessing an assault, and that’s mustering the courage to ask a fellow witness if anyone’s called the cops.

Your conscience would seem to let you off easy but that doesn’t stop seismic radiation from leaking truth through the psychic fissures, shining its glow upon the most unconscious choice of all — which flavor of insanity: the simultaneous denial & acceptance of having malignant narcissists representing your values, or… the sneaking paranoia that you’ll either hide from yourself and/or others, or spend your life in defense of.

The presentation of the dead-ed journalist Gary Webb as a flawed truth seeker who turned out to be completely correct, hounded like a nutter until he blew his brains out because there was something not quite right about him is quite simply the presentation of a tale about an intelligence apparatus in service of peaceful freedom that turned out to be in the wrong, but as if it has something right about it. Any choice that leaves that notion in tact lies in the first form of insanity, is a pact with the bureaucratic brick wall whose solution is to steer the apparatus down the path of least resistance, which, as it turns out, is the resistance of leaving that choice to someone else. Witnessing an assault? Somebody ‘ll call a cop.

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Go on and smoke that cigarette. Eat that sausage while you’re at it. I’m not judging. It would be nice if the fatalistic admission were out in the open: that each puff & swallow’s a spin of the roulette wheel, a slow suicide pact the likes of which you can pretend is not a death you’re praying for because everyone else is doing it, or because such a brutal admission wouldn’t be kind to your children, even if what you do now results in a much less than congenial treatment of many others.

There’s this point where there’s so much company in psychic sado-maso misery that the individual members of the group begin to pretend it doesn’t exist, some going so far as to say that one who strays from the aisle of denial is the one who’s sick, and claim this untruthful observation for brutal honesty. The most vicious variety of this is the channeled bleed of that malignant narcissism the electors are so proud of, with their balloons and styrofoam hats.