dawn 01.21.17

What Happened to Paul Auster? A Decade Ago, He Was a Nobel Candidate. Ouch. Someone called the bookstore the other day excitedly asking about 4321. It was bewildering. I asked her what other Auster she’d read, because I’m a nosy bastard. She replied it would be the first Auster book she ever read. She’d read a review and she thinks it’ll be amazing. Ehhhh. Ok. I recommended The New York Trilogy and moved on.

Black diamonds of pessimism. Samuel Beckett.

Citing Martin Luther King, JR. may not be a good idea in scolding people for rioting and cheering at a Nazi getting punched. White supremacy is evil, but they liked slavery and Jim Crow laws- subjugation. We’re entering an era in which some people openly wish for the literal extermination of certain groups. Shaming them through peaceful resistance probably won’t be adequate. It’s terrifying. I don’t want to be part of any of this, but I refuse to cluck my tongue at disapproval for someone shutting down a pampered fascist on camera. The motherfucking media (Mother Jones) needs to stop talking to wormy, hateful fucks like that. The big fascist in the White House is obviously the one we really need to worry about though, not the little charlatan. There’s a reason why the WTO protests scared the fuck out of the establishment and the anti-war marches against the 2003 Iraq invasion didn’t. Violence is bad, but don’t start that “both sides!” centrist bullshit.

Hopefully the Women’s March today will go smoothly and peacefully, but I won’t huff self-righteously in indignation if it doesn’t.

Abbott: Governor’s office to cut funding for Travis County after immigration policy change. This is more immediately important. This is how sanctuary cities in red states will be treated. For all of that small government talk the Republicans have been pushing for decades, the only thing they mean by it is deregulation for corporate power and reduced taxes for the wealthy. Here is a governor immediately punishing financially a county for not directly cooperating with federal authority.

Trump Department of Justice Seeks and is Granted Postponement of Hearing on Texas Photo ID Case. Oh yeah. Good bye voting rights. More disfranchisement. States will be run as petty fiefdoms. Good luck getting those state houses back.

Trump’s America First Energy Plan. Irreversible catastrophic global climate change is already a given, but these crazy motherfuckers are going to make sure we die in a scorched and withered greenhouse. Combine this with Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue. The American West will be a vast strip mine.

Trump blocks Federal Housing Administration plan to cut mortgage fees. Tah dah. Fuck the poor. No housing for you.

Requiem for a Lightweight. Markos Moulitsas truly was a tool…. for the CIA, that is. Diverting hungry anti-Bush voters into his little schemes destroyed a lot of momentum that could have disrupted the Bush administration. No one like him should lead the charge against Trump.

Canadians traveling to Women’s March denied US entry after sharing their plans. Unsurprising because there were literally hundreds of incidents like this during the Bush years, but also kinda early and heavy-handed. Pretty fascist.

Davos Dares to Wonder If Populism Could Even Help Global Growth. Pst. In this context, “populism” means fascism. It’s happening a lot in articles like this. Big buzzword.

dawn 01.20.17

“Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism.” It was too late for Rosa Luxemburg and it’s probably too late for us.

Today’s the day that we hit the accelerator to plunge into the abyss. I’m going to work as usual, because I don’t get to call in unless it’s very, very serious shit. My schedule was already locked in to help out a coworker who managed to get into a trade school, because for the moment she can only work nights. Even if I could go to march and wave some signs around, I’d probably spend it with my kid at home anyway. I hate being in crowds. My heart’s with those people who make the effort though. It’s going to take a lot of discipline to get my shit together to organize with others in person to change or stop some of the shitty legislation and executive orders currently planned.

Anyway, Bread and Roses:

As we go marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread but give us roses!

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for – but we fight for roses, too!

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler – ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories – Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Little good is in our immediate future. The righteous outrage I had at the dawn of the Bush era is gone. It burned out when Obama never prosecuted anyone significant from the 2008 financial crash, then proceeded to pursue overwhelming surveillance powers and reckless extrajudicial assassinations by drones and JSOC. I hoped Hillary would win, but knew she wouldn’t lead the nation anywhere good. Now it feels that we’ve skipped to the end of the experiment, with looting and pillaging by the biggest and meanest rats. I’ve rarely had any clear vision of our future. Things could be worse, but it looks very grim for humanity now. Catastrophic climate change alone could sweep away all other imminent dooms.

Fuck.

Were JG Ballard’s billboards actually coded Salvador Dalí paintings? Project for a New Novel. It’s a hell of a theory and it makes an awful lot of sense.

I forgot to mention that I watched the film adaptation of High-Rise the night before. It’s quite beautiful mess. It never engaged convincingly enough, too cool and distant even at its most grotesque barbarity, like watching an ant farm go wrong. There needed to be more effort to connect to the current moment. The costuming and brutal retro-modernist decor were fucking amazing to the point of distraction. A worthwhile flawed film. Definitely not a waste of time and effort, but kinda ham-handed.

A Possible Planet Hidden in the Data. Jupiter sized planet moving through a gas and dust disk around a young star, TW Hydrae.

Flat-Earthers Have a Wild New Theory About Forests. This has been immediately shared with my ancap friend who may or may not be an actual flat-earther. Ah, this fallen world!1

Military Mind Control? Psychic Army Division Revealed in CIA Files. Oh, good- some Stargate material is in the declassified CIA files. “To establish a program using psychoenergetics for intelligence applications.” Unfortunately, this particular article has little more than some Uri Geller boilerplate and doesn’t even mention “remote viewing” by name.

Indiana bill would allow police to shut down protests ‘by any means necessary’. SB 285. This bill would empower cops to execute protesters for blocking traffic. This is fucking insane. I would say it’s blatantly unconstitutional, but Trump is picking the next Supreme Court justice. All is lost if shit like this gets passed.

Yesterday I finally remember to watch Bitter Lake. There were no new revelations in this one. Discovering the work of Adam Curtis has put some things into context that I’ve been clueless about or not made the connection between two events/concepts. However, Bitter Lake is exactly what I’ve been reading since the U.S. ramped up its adventurism in Central Asia post 9/11.2

BTW, the #AddHerName people on Twitter are absolutely dreadful. If they want to march for Hillary Clinton, they absolutely should do that. It’s pretty shitty to browbeat the people who organized the Women’s March into embracing someone who so completely failed and betrayed the American people with her complacent, arrogant entitlement. It’s amazing that they can look at this list of people and think, “Hillary Clinton absolutely fits in with these women.” One can respect Hillary Clinton as a politician who broke new barriers for women, but do they not grasp the theme here?3

  1. Kriss hipped me to a new world, hylothanatism. []
  2. This is the first time Curtis used a song I found jarring. David Bowie’s “The Bewlay Brothers” kicked me completely out of the trance. Am I wrong in noting that he cuts the song right before the King of Oblivion line? []
  3. Eleanor Roosevelt, a more interesting and transformational First Lady, is not on there. Neither is Hattie Caraway, probably for a very, very good reason. []

morning 01.19.17

I am very, very strung out today. The kid had a fever of a 101 and was up a significant portion of the night. He was on about arcade games and the planets of the solar system. (I’m not pulling any Clara Jeffery bullshit. He showed an interest in space early, so we got him realistic decals for his wall and a nightlight that projects them on the ceiling. He loves them. The other night I took him outside to see that Full Wolf Moon rise. He’s still excited about that.) Luckily I’m off today, as my head’s drifting badly.

Boeing Wants to Sell Russian Spaceship Rides to NASA. It’s bullshit that private corporation buys seats on a foreign government’s rocket (and other corporations!) to sell to the United States. It can be done more cheaply and efficiently. Running space exploration like AirBNB is some boneheaded late capitalism scam. I don’t like it.

Neanderthals Capable of Incorporating Symbolic Objects into Their Culture. 130,000 years ago at the Croatian site of Krapina. It feels a lot like they’re saying that they liked pretty rocks. I’m all about Neadertals having a sophisticated culture, but for fuck’s sake… crows collect pretty rocks. That’s not a dismissal of Neandertal intelligence, but the peculiar fetish we have for elevating recognizable behaviors of hominids, like an inversion of anthropomorphism.

Leaked emails reveal how Dataminr was pitched to foreign governments. This seems like a very peculiar story and the sleep deprivation is kicking the shit out me. A former aide of Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines1, started a consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies.2 This gets into Dataminr using Twitter’s data to identify individual users. A lot of authoritarian regimes have been monitoring Twitter to crack down on dissenters. Dataminr seems to be helping them. Previously Twitter let domestic police agencies use the data to crack down on protestorsm, but they shut that down. However, Dataminr still has access to it. It comes across that Twitter is less concerned with dangerous surveillance than someone was using that data for free. Beacon Global Strategies has been pimping Dataminr’s services. Despite all of the Clinton connection to Beacon, Beacon adviser Mark Kelly will probably be Security of Homeland Security and VP of Beacon Bryan Smith is lined up for Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Pretty fucking creepy and it’s making Twitter use increasingly uncomfortable.

  1. the same one who played Trump in Hillary’s debate prep []
  2. There were some details with him and his firm regarding Hillary’s private email server. []

morning 01.18.17

Instead of reading any of the other books I’ve been reading, I read the new bits in Matt Taibbi’s Insane Clown President. Taibbi’s cool, but the rest of the book seems previously published material.

President Obama Commutes Prison Sentence For Chelsea Manning. Whew. It doesn’t redeem Obama by a long shot, but this is a small victory. It was weird to see the drone liberals collectively spew disgust at her commutation. Exposing a war crime is a heroic act. Trump’s supporters aren’t the only hateful authoritarians out there. America’s fascism isn’t just the responsibility of the poor rubes that fell for Trump. Anyway, Obama is still assassinating people with drones and JSOC, exactly as recklessly as Manning exposed in 2010, and has expanded the programs for Trump. Thanks, Obama.

Obama commutes sentence for political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. As for López Rivera, I was totally ignorant of his plight until Bernie Sanders mentioned him in the campaign.

The CIA’s Secret History Is Now Online. I’m a little excited about this one. There are bound to be a few unappreciated gems of incompetence here.

Betsy DeVos apparently ‘confused’ about federal law protecting students with disabilities. Whew. She can’t really be confirmed, can she? DeVos fucked up all kinds of ways. Franken had her on that growth versus proficiency question. Sanders nailed her on her political contribuitions. It ws Tim Kaine of all people who nailed her on not knowing there is a fucking federal law protecting students with disabilities. Anyone with the most passing familiarity with public schools would have to know this. It’s clear DeVos doesn’t give a fuck about education or law, only pushing her privatization agenda. Elizabeth Warren came in for the slam dunk.

BTW, Cory Booker was on the board of directors for the Alliance for School Choice along with DeVos from 2004 to 2008. In turn, Devos’s American Federation for Children backed the hell out of him. This blog has a lot more on Booker and privatizing schools, and most seems to connect with DeVos. Bury that fuckhead Cory Booker. Let the purges of the Democratic Party begin.

I had completely ignored back in the day that DeVos worked with Jindal in wrecking Louisiana schools. Oops.

Odd Football-Size Armored Creatures Solve Ancient Footprint Mystery. It was a species of trilobite, Megistaspis hammondi. Heh. Ages ago I remember seeing these footprints in a book before with mild speculation on how odd this creature would be. Trilobite is obvious but a little bit of a letdown.

Review of a new biography of Thomas De Quincey. Some folks love them some Saint Augustine. Some love De Quincey.

The Song of John Berger. I’ve yet to watch those John Berger videos I lined up. Next insomnia!

Scientists Spot Massive Wave in Venus’ Atmosphere. Ohhhh.. there’s a difference between gravity waves and gravitational waves. I’ve been messing up there. It’s very obvious now, but language matters. Shit.

morning 01.17.17

Insomnia again last night. I watched The Last Man on the Moon documentary. It wasn’t as satisfying as hoped, leaving me feeling a bit sorry for Gene Cernan. His reflection on his selfishness sabotaging his family was painful.

It’s likely the insomnia now stems from Trump, Pence, and Ryan anxiety. Hopefully in the next few months, all of the fears will seem silly and hyperbolic.

Mysterious Planet Nine May Be a Captured ‘Rogue’ World. There’s something good in 2017 horizon. Possible confirmation of Planet Nine.

There’s More To This Than Globalization. Workers of the world unite?

It seems Jeff Landry is running for governor of Louisiana. John Bel Edwards seems indifferent to running for a second term based on his actions. In 2019, the Republicans will probably be that much closer to cranking out those constitutional amendments thanks to Louisiana. Thank Tom Perez for not bothering to run for governor of Maryland in 2018 while you’re at it. Gotta stop those Bernie democrats from taking over the DNC!

The only thing that would make this shitfest sweeter if Bel Edwards is losing his fire because he knows he’ll be kneecapped for a Mitch Landrieu run for governor. These corporate Democrat motherfuckers have learned nothing. They will eagerly destroy an incumbent Democrat to install their royalty. Bel Edwards was a fluke. Most likely they hoped for a Republican, even Vitter, so win in 2015 so that Mitch could cruise in as the savior in 2017. John Bel Edwards ruined that path.

It’s fun to see Duncan Black steadily moving away from the way that the establishment Democrats are heading. He threw in something that I forgot, how the “crazy left” were the ones defending Bill Clinton on impeachment. Yeah, that’s me. That’s originally why I fell in line, because as much as I loathed Bill Clinton, that impeachment was bullshit.

Çatalhöyük figurines symbolize ‘elderly women, not Cybele’.

morning 01.16.17

In the books and documentaries that I’ve been scuttling through in the past days, several mentioned the change in policy towards Russia when Truman took office after the death of FDR. Yesterday on Twitter, in all of the weirdness that’s continually unfolding as liberalism melts down into a rancid stew of paranoia, it was a mild surprise to see Democrats now declaring FDR is bad and weak because he would have been soft on Stalin. Also, FDR was a sissy socialist. For as long as I can recall, FDR has been held up as a sterling example of the ideals of the Democratic Party. Something very fucking weird is going on. It’s either collective derangement or a talking point (“Both Russia and socialism are bad!”) cooked up by the CIA, injected into social media.

It even reached into that bastion of liberal mediocrity Saturday Night Live:

Russia scarier than Nazis now. Ok. Yeah. CIA. They were started by real Nazis after all.

The Clinton Foundation Shuts Down Clinton Global Initiative. Golly. It’s not just that their sham charity that they used as a front for pay to play politics is now useless, as they lost a lot of power. It’s that the Clinton model is totally archaic. Trump is nakedly doing what the Clintons did under the auspices of charity. The Clinton scam is a quaint relic. The masks are off.

It’s also been grimly amusing to see liberals melting down in righteous fury over the Senate investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 political campaigns. They were genuinely saying that if Trump and his team destroy any evidence, then it’s a felony. Yeah, technically that’s true. That’s why Hillary would have been charged perjury and obstruction of justice, if she had been almost anyone other than Hillary Clinton. Do they grasp how this isn’t going to work? They paved the path on the precedent that laws only apply for little people. Nearly every fucking thing that greedy oaf Trump is doing has roots in Clintonian exceptionalism. Trump will be untouchable until Paul Ryan gets bored with him. We’re so fucked.

Although the bed-pissing dossier is an unsourced, gossipy mess, this story of one of the possible informants for Christopher Steele being murdered by Putin is persuasive. General Oleg Erovinkin, the chief of staff of Igor Sechin, died December 26th, first being shot twice in the head in his apartment, and then later amended to dying of heart attack in his car, sometimes in his back seat, sometimes in driver’s seat. Oh, Russia.

None of this changes the fact that if Hillary ran on a more ambitiously progressive platform and campaigned in the Rust Belt, she would have won. It also doesn’t change the fact that anyone other than Hillary, who was under an active investigation by the FBI, could have won as as the Democratic nominee. Trying to use Trump’s Russian ties to play up a new Cold War for more profit has blown up in their faces and we’re all going to suffer for it.

Democrats sweat Clinton vs. Sanders rift. Good. We might be too far gone. Fascism and kleptocracy may consume us all. However, Clintonism (and that bloodless dweeb Obama) offers no hope. The 2016 primaries absolutely must be re-fought because electability and inevitability stacked the deck for Hillary. Obviously that was a stupid fucking argument.

I finally watched Dirty Wars in another insomnia fit. It’s almost a quaint period piece now. It nagged that I couldn’t recall exactly what the Obama administration said about the drone killing of the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. It was one of those flashpoints through the years that made me accept that Obama is a profound disappointment, even a betrayal. They said that Anwar al-Awlaki should have been a better father. Holy fuck- that was awful. It’s sippenhaft. I noticed this line of reasoning during the Bush era. It’s probably always been with us Americans and not been unique in modern times to regimes like the Nazis. However, it’s the first time that I recalled it being used on American citizens openly and unabashedly by the executive branch. Barack Obama has laid some monstrous framework for depravity by Donald Trump.

I apologize. I wanted to get back more to books, science, and fun things, but this shit keeps festering.

noon 01.15.17

Long live, k-punk. Mark Fisher died. I read him towards the beginning of his blogging days, but admittedly I was too thick to grasp much of what he was on about back in the day. He had somewhat different taste in music and seemed much further to the left than I was at the time. Most critical theory writing is over my head, although it’s often a satisfying struggle. His battle with depression is too easy to identify with.

Hauntology is still good. Burial always intrigues, but it only catalyzes any pool of depression harboring in me.

Anyway…

Mies’ Memorial to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht (1926). Both were excuted on this day in 1919.

EPA says it won’t pay $1.2B in mine spill claims. It’s the Gold King Mine spill Why not?

The EPA said the Federal Tort Claims Act prevents the agency from paying claims that result from “discretionary” government actions. Congress passed the law to allow government agencies — and in this case, contractors working on their behalf — to act “without the fear of paying damages in the event something went wrong while taking the action,” according to a press release from the EPA.

Public risk for private gain at work. Thanks, Obama. On the other hands, the local governments really should have opted to use that Superfund money. It’s unlikely that it’s just the fear of loss of tourism why they didn’t use those funds. (I had no idea that the last time the tax funding the superfund was collected was 1995. What the fuck?)

The dodgy Donald Trump dossier reminds me of the row over Saddam Hussein and his fictitious weapons of mass destruction. Yup. It’s not that I don’t believe that Putin is not dangerous and hellbent on aggregating more power by sowing chaos, it’s that all of this bullshit is all too familiar. It’s not having its desired effect this time and probably making for a more volatile situation domestically.

morning 01.14.17

N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications. Thanks, Obama.

NYC Board of Elections broke federal law for booting nearly 120,000 Brooklyn voters from rolls: Department of Justice. Thanks, Hillary! That really worked out well.

A Confederacy of Dunces: The Musical. (from 1984.) Better than Hamilton! Ignatius J. Reilly, progenitor of the Dark Enlightenment.

William Peter Blatty passed away yesterday. I’m still exceedingly fond of The Ninth Configuration.

morning 01.13.17

New feds could be fired for ‘no cause at all’ by Trump under planned legislation. All federal workers would be at-will employment. If the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency Act becomes law, the political purges will be endless. If you want a totalitarian one-arty state, this is an excellent way to go about doing it.

5 Big Mysteries about CRISPR’s Origins. My favorite is “What else is it doing?”

Release of water shakes Pacific plate at depth. Tonga Trench. Water released from the deep Earth (180 down) causing earthquakes. Damn. At the end of the article, there is speculation that this deep water might act as a lubricant between plates as the mantle crust is recycled.

Cory Booker is not your friend. He’s a performative woke artist who is completely owned by Wall Street. Booker’s almost as bad as any generic racist old fuck wrapping himself in the American flag as he lines his pockets, because instead of inviting open hatred, he deceives with empty  compassion.

The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point. Matt Taibbi. Yep. As fun as that Russian dossier was, it’s garbage. It’s going to be interesting to see Trump’s people go on witchhunt in the CIA when he takes office. Maybe we’ll see it dismantled altogether.1 James Comey looks even worse. My opinions on Clinton’s private email server haven’t changed2, but those are irrelevant now. It’s even more mystifying why he chose to write those stupid letters about Clinton when there was also an active investigation on Trump. The detail that surprised is that the FBi sought a warrant from FISA court and it declined?

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

As The Week points out:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court is famously compliant with surveillance requests, declining just 11 of the more than 33,900 it had received in 33 years as of 2013 — or an approval rate of 99.97 percent (though that may be a slightly misleading number) — and no requests were denied in 2014 and 2015, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Weird. Very weird.

Argentine cleaner’s double life as prize-winning writer. Someone translate Enrique Ferrari to English. I’ll read a working class Marxist who writes crime fiction. Heroic character.

Somewhat related, one of the anthropologists I follow on Twitter, the one who does the Trowelblazers account, which features women working in anthropology, lives a far more financially unstable life than I guessed. It never would have crossed my mind that she does anything she does for money. She is clearly a person passionate about her field. However, in some ways, she lives a less secure life than my own (trapped in a dead-end retail job that was only supposed to be temporary.) I’m too timid and cowardly to do make choices and sacrifices like she has through her life. Sheesh.

Manning Seeks Late Reprieve From Obama, but Not a Pardon. Yeah… anyway… pardon Chelsea Manning.

Instead of reading any of the books I bought recently, I’ve been reading a borrowed copy of Chomsky’s Who Rules the World? It almost seems quaint and dated in 2017, in spite of its dire reading of the world’s past and present. Possibly suprising, I’ve never read much Chomsky. I wish that he was funnier.

On the other hand, in Wednesday night’s insomnia, I watched Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia. I was following up on Best of Enemies, which I’d watched in the past month or two. It felt that I’d given Vidal short shrift in the past, although I’d read at least two of his novels back in the day. When The United States of Amnesia sailed into Vidal’s later years, it dawned on me that he had far greater impact on me than I realized. Although I could only find one link in the old blog to something he wrote (about the Oklahoma City Bombing oddly,) it’s now obvious I read the shit out of his online essays and watched his media appearances. I genuinely fucking forgot. Oops. Even the blogs and written journals (which I never revisit anyway) have not been enough in keeping my head straight.

  1. What will happen to the people cut loose? They’re not going to disappear quietly an know too much. []
  2. She’s guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice at the very least, and never should have been allowed to run for president []