morning 02.13.17

Trump advisers’ space plan: To moon, Mars and beyond. Heh. All of this could still happen one day, but between catastrophic global climate change and multiple constitutional crises that could likely cause the American constitution to be scrapped, Bezos, Musk, and Thiel had better rethink their apocalypse plans. We’re out of time. The Atlantic has a piece digging iinto this Politico article saying they want to get back on the moon in three years. It’ll be surprising if this government as we know it lasts another six months. Maybe the space Nazis will do it after the undesirables are exterminated. I don’t know.

Elon Musk: Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in AI age. When he says humans, he means himself and a select elite. This is the guy drilling a tunnel under Los Angeles because he hate the traffic. Think that through. Los Angeles. You know… the city that’s perched on the coastline west of the San Andreas Fault. There’s something profoundly fucking stupid about Musk. His arrogance is boundless. I rooted for Space X in the past, because I have a naive love for space exploration. Fuck Elon Musk.

A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone. There’s so much going on in this story that’s disturbing. Racial profiling of a native American citizen. Ignoring protocol of an existing program that expedites people who have already submitted to rigorous background checks. Customs and Border Patrol agents declaring that they have higher security clearance than NASA. This is what a rogue agency actually looks like.

morning 02.12.17

Stop comparing Trump to foreign leaders. He’s a distinctly American phenomenon. All true. It’s the Hugo Chávez comparisons that are the most maddening. Yes, Chávez was despotic, populist, kinda corrupt, but as Johnson points out, it’s whose interests Chávez served that make him an entirely different creature. The same goes for Huey Long. When the press throws around the label of populism instead of fascism, they’re deliberately obfuscating. Huey Long was distinctly American, but unlikely the also very American Trump, it’s the interests Long served that made Long what he is. How tyranny is used matters. Trump does not serve the working poor and the oppressed. Never forget that.

Leader of Spain’s Podemos party re-elected in resounding win. I haven’t kept track of Podemos closely, but Pablo Iglesias has seemed good to me. It’s not time to work within the system anywhere. It’s designed to smother (genuine) reforms. Taking to the streets matters. This is why people turning up at all of the town halls in the U.S. are scaring the fuck out of elected officials right now. I wish that the American left had someone in his generation as prominent.

A new, liberal tea party is forming. Can it last without turning against Democrats? This headline is dumb. It’s not liberal. Hell, it’s unclear yet who some of these people are. Most of the normal Democrats I’ve connected with on Facebook despise Pelosi and Schumer. There is almost as much rage and disgust for the Democratic Party as for Republicans. Many are still addicted to the Daddy Obama narrative, but that could die down once they realize he’s not riding in on a white horse. Quite a few other protesters are leftists, but some of the people showing up at these town halls are actual conservatives who are already feeling betrayed. The Chaffetz town hall proves that.  This is why Schumer and Pelosi hate this. There is a re-alignment underway. I’m cheering for socialism, but who knows if it will prevail. Regardless, it feels like liberal and conservative brands are exhausted.

I stumbled onto this through a decent blog I follow that debunks pseudo-history. He’s a brilliant guy who is well-versed on a wealth of unhinged fringe shit that I love to wallow in, but he gave away the game the time by a few assertions about “leftist” politics. He’s probably a libertarian New Atheist of some kind. It’s great how mad they get at the idea of an older Great Sphinx. I’d disagree with John Anthony West in that anthropologists and climatologists are moving back the dates on quite a few things quite nicely. Science isn’t corrupted, just some smug old assholes who refuse to adapt their original theses. There was no Golden Age. It was a long slog of expansion and contraction. I’ll concede that. Sometimes fringe people stumble onto some good ideas through very questionable methods. Anyway, I’ll listen to any old kooky person talking about Gurdjieff and Schwaller de Lubicz if I have the time.

 

mid-morning 02.11.17

Kid’s feeling well enough to watch Blue’s Clues while I listen to Bert Jansch and dig through some more news.

It’s cool to see the War Nerd is reading Ismail Kadare. The Siege isn’t a Kadare I’ve read.

Fresh eruption from Mount Sinabung in Sumatra yesterday.

Yemen Withdraws Permission for U.S. Antiterror Ground Missions. “Huge success.”

Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists. Julius Evola. Bill pointed this one out to me yesterday. He was all over René Guénon back in 2004 and I didn’t know what the fuck Bill was on about. Bill’s chortling in amusement that the bizarre turn of events that has brought Evola to such surprising prominence. It’s too bad The Young Pope isn’t more about Pius XIII ranting about Evola instead of his trauma of being an orphan. (I still like it. It’s more fun than Westworld.)

Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states. There were anecdotes on Twitter last night of ICE agents snatching up mothers from a HEB grocery in Austin, from a women’s shelter in Los Angeles, and following school buses to grab parents picking up their kids. It doesn’t look like ICE is targeting allegedly dangerous felons. I don’t give a damn about the legal status of these people. What seems to be happening is fucking immoral and inhumane. The newspapers are even reporting that the actual legal status of who ICE is grabbing up doesn’t matter. If people cannot produce papers immediately, they are detained.

This incident is chilling. It’s uncorroborated, but I believe her. Check the rest of her time. It’s absolutely illegal.

Explosions, gunfire, low-flying helicopters rattle Bywater residents early Friday. Jade Helm redux. NOPD says it’s the U.S. Army.

?”The training involves the use of training simulations and helicopters. This is done at night to simulate environments our troops may encounter in operations overseas,” said a statement from the NOPD.

Yeah. “Overseas.”

I read of this project, but never heard it! A guy I friended through Louisiana DSA organizing (which I’ve slacked terribly on this week, missing the inaugural meeting) Superior Viaduct is re-issuing this on vinyl.

  1. (Nino []

morning 02.11.17

Yesterday was a mess. Kid woke up 11 PM Thursday vomiting. Kat took the brunt of most of his care, but I was still up helping and didn’t get back to sleep for quite awhile. I woke up at 3 AM to ready myself to receive a truck at 5 AM Friday. Yesterday was a total loss and this morning I’m still dragging. Elijah is still sick this morning. We just spent about two hours watching video clips, from the Move to T. Rex to Buzzcocks to Bill Withers to Sonic Youth.

A Danish astronaut has captured the best-ever images of rare blue flashes. Blue jets!

The Nihilist Spasm Band. I’m absolutely certain that I never heard of these guys before now. Damn. 1960s noise rock from Canda.

Georgia man with apparent white supremacist connections arrested for having ricin. He showed up at a hospital after getting ricin all over himself. The FBI weren’t monitoring him previously apparently. There’s barely been any mention of this, despite it being a clear domestic terrorism incident.

Does College Radio Even Matter Anymore? I loved when I’d listening to the sprawl of shows on WTUL in the ’90s and later the shows on KLSU, especially Stanislav’s The Little Lighthouse.

Trump Aide Derided Islam, Immigration And Diversity, Embraced An Anti-Semitic Past. Michael Anton was also a speechwriter for George W. Bush. This isn’t Trumpism. It’s Republicanism.

This philosopher predicted Trump’s rise in 1998 — and he has another warning for the left. Richard Rorty. Hm. This runs counter to most of what I’ve been chewing on for the past several of years. It’s very sterile. It leaves out all mention of greed and corruption, masking it instead with fear of mentioning redistribution of wealth antithetical to suburban voters. Yeah, right. That is not what Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, ect. are really concerned with.

Why Tom Perez can’t be trusted to run the Democratic Party. It won’t matter if I quit if Ellison doesn’t get the job. The party is dying because its establishment cannot bear the thought of moving away from its easy money.

Carlton Higbie seems to be the choice to replace Sean Spicer. He seems a combative, paranoid meathead. An actual true believer. This will go well.

Good enough for the moment. A significant portion of this post was left in draft from the early hours of yesterday anyway. The ICE raids across the country deserve some links and there were a number of interesting stories loaded up in the phone’s browser that I’ve been too strung out from sleep deprivation to read.

morning 02.09.17

Too many retrospectives of 30 and 40 year old albums. They’re mostly things I love, but the over-saturation makes them impossible to enjoy.

Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves is still my primary reading. How Rosenburg and Himmler competed to steal the books of the people they were exterminating is bizarre. ((Steve Bannon is now coming off as the bargain bin Alfred Rosenberg.)) I understood the sprawling machinations of the genocides, but underestimated how dedicated they were in seeking out specific collections of books to catalog and interpret. Greed wasn’t as much of a factor in this evil endeavor. Rosenburg was trading off more valuable art to Göring for manpower to compete with Himmler for the hunt for books. Without an internet, they were creating a massive database of metadata. Books don’t seem as important culturally these days, but the pattern is familiar.

Steve Bannon’s taste in books is banal. For all of that Edmund Burke talk in another profile, Bannon is into some lousy, quasi-intellectual bullshit. Then again, that’s pretty Alfred Rosenburg, isn’t it?

The Sentimental Sadist. I’ll pass on the new George Saunders novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. I haven’t even read his most recent short story collection. He’s likely to remain an early 21st century passing fancy.

Scott Esposito interviews Shelley Frisch, the translator for Reiner Stach’s biography of Franz Kafka.

The forgotten New Yorker who changed the ‘80s music scene. Ruth Polsky. Hurrah and the Danceteria. Damn. I recall her being mentioned back in early days of music blogs, but forgot her random, tragic death.

Archaeologists find 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave. Looted 70 years ago. But how well? Forget the scrolls- how are the neolithic and paleolithic levels?

Archaeologists find historic Native American sites in Pennington Gap. A potentially 10,000 year old site in Virginia. A site that old is unusual in the east.

New analyses cut down the estimated number of planets unattached to a star by half. Damn. Considering that rogue planets also potentially harbor life, that also greatly diminishes the amount of life out there too.

#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism. He’s not very interesting to me, just the next iteration of what Ann Coulter was doing twenty years ago. If a reality tv star like Trump is president, then this hack is a natural. However, tying it into Susan Sontag’s essay “Fascinating Fascism“, it becomes genuinely good.

I’m not all that convinced that the Black Bloc at Berkeley were antifa, anarchists, leftists, etc. From this NYT piece:

Pepper spray. Rod. A dull declaration defining reality. Who does that really sound like? California Highway Patrol infiltrated an Eric Garner march in 2014. Here’s an audio clip that my friend Damien grabbed from live Buzzfeed video of the Berkeley protest.

In my experience, that is not a word that the BDS movement uses very often. It’s almost a shibboleth. If this particular person isn’t a cop, he’s a Milo fan masquerading as antifa to agitate and discredit. Black bloc tactics are not inherently bad, but very dangerous. Black bloc is ripe for infiltration and manipulation by police and fascists.

209 people have now been indicted for felony riot charges from mass arrests on inauguration day. Only 19 people so far have had charges dismissed. 209 people are facing charges of $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. This is fucking insane.

 

morning 02.08.17

Monday I was trying to straighten out the science section in the bookstore. It’s a truly debased section, as rotten as politics. Much of it isn’t science at all. New Atheists crowd out actual science. They rub shoulders with Intelligent Design frauds. When one of my old biology professors came in recently, I begged him for recommendations to add to my unauthorized orders.1

The new Ty Segall album isn’t connecting with me yet. It’s more raucous than what it was purported to be. It’s still great, but that’s not the expected flavor.

Analysis of tree rings reveals highly abnormal solar activity in the mid-holocene. Specifically 5480 BC. Damn. I became excited because it seemed a familiar date. However, it turns out that the desertification of the Sahara occurred about 400 years earlier? Is the 5.9 kiloyear event nailed down that hard? Maybe the abnormal solar activity is what suppressed the normal cycle of recovery.

Mysterious Amazonian Geoglyphs Were Built in Already-Altered Forests. Yeah, yeah… managed forests starting 4,000 years ago with geoglyphs appearing 2,000 years ago in western Brazil. Old news almost. The indigenous peoples of the Americas were civilized.

Against Normalization: The Lesson of the “Munich Post”. This would be better if Rosenbaum focused on Bannon. I really believe Trump doesn’t believe in anything except power and adulation. Trump has dementia and barely knows what the fuck is going on. It’s Steve Bannon who is the power for the moment. Even if Trump is impeached and removed, the crisis will not abate. Trump is the wrecking ball, the Great Beast who lumbers in to destroy the structures. More organized monsters are likely waiting in the wings and the frightened populace will beg them to be the architects of a new order, one more hideous than Bannon can execute.

Kieron Gillen writes about the queerness of Warhammer 40k’s Slaneesh. This is compelling shit. Tying it into British working class counter culture and a dash of music theory got my attention.

  1. That too is a lost cause. The company is now warning all orders to the bookstores will cease soon. Huge mistake when tied to the embarrassing minimal stock on shelves and their useless app that insists everything is available in-store in “limited availability”. []

morning 02.07.17

The Book Thieves is reminding me that I need to use book plates- If not for when my collection is dismantled and dispersed, but to jot down when and how they were acquired.1 I’ve never written in my books, although more than a few friends do and exult in the liberation. It’s not a habit that I need. A few notebooks are enough. I tried making a habit of inserting index cards, but it has yet to stick. Too many of the books I’ve read are borrowed from the bookstore anyway.

Free corps literature. Dolchstosslegende. Holy shit. This is the bulk of the shit that’s been churned out for pulp fiction for male consumption post 9/11, be it Brad Thor, all that military sci-fi that Baen puts out, or that goofy fucking Survivalist series. That awful book by Ben Shapiro that Chapo Trap House mocked a couple of weeks ago fits the genre perfectly too. I’ve read about the post-WW1 sentiments that fueled fascism, but Rydell’s description of the books that the Freikorps cranked out has been America’s male pop culture for close to 20 years. Forget Trump. He’s merely the end result. We’ve been on this path for decades.

What Stranger Things Is Missing From the ’80s Horror Genre. Sean was right about The Walking Dead being fascist. He’s right about this too. Oh, yeah, regarding the fascist The Walking Dead- That’s Dolchstosslegende too, obviously. If anything, television and film has been more influential in that pernicious tradition than books.

The Anti-Trump Left Is Now the Only Hope for Moderates. Socialism or barbarism, baby.

Democrats, Stop Saying “But Her Emails”. The article doesn’t get into the reason this agitates me. Don’t fucking run a fucking candidate under investigation by the fucking FBI. We all knew that Trump is an amoral monster. Hillary’s private email server did matter because it was clear she didn’t care about the rule of law and a different standard of justice was used for her. When it’s established that the rule of law doesn’t matter, only power- that’s how a creature like Trump becomes president. Yes, Hillary’s potential criminality seems fatuous now. Setting aside universal standards because It’s Her Turn destroyed the any remnants of system. It’s not hard to understand. “But her emails!” paints how deeply stupid her cultists are. The emails don’t matter now because nothing matters now. Thanks a lot.

Steve Bannon Carries Battles to Another Influential Hub: The Vatican. This is unnerving. Bannon has been connecting with Cardinal Raymond Burke for years and they are eager to take down Pope Francis. It all seems very fringe, but we are in the worst timeline. I know that I’m in a bubble of my own on this anyway. In stumbling into Leftist Twitter, I realized that there is a host of hardcore liberation theology Catholics as a significant subset. I doubt Burke and his people are popular much of anywhere these days. Weirder yet, I didn’t know that some of these Catholic Leftist Twitter people think Burke is right about Amoris laetitia ((Oh yeah! I forgot it having Borges reference!)) and Pope Francis is wrong.

Keith Ellison Is Everything Republicans Thought Obama Was. Maybe He’s Just What Democrats Need. I might be done with the Democrats anyway, but Ellison is their strongest option. Perez will do nothing but maintain status quo. I’ve never read of Frantz Fanon, but I’ve know of him. Why haven’t we heard more of Ellison’s interest in him than Farrakhan?2 Ellison comes off as a true coalition builder, reaching out to disparate group, some actual outsiders.

The Viewing of Nature. It’s a shame that Frost/Christman podcast seems to be on the backburner, but Amber delivers here on nature documentaries. I grew up on Cousteau and Marlin Perkins myself. Obviously I’ve been on a huge Herzog streak lately, as I skipped all of his documentaries until a few weeks ago. Oops.

  1. A stamp might be more effective. []
  2. I reckon I’ll see this afternoon if Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is something that can be put on the shelves. []

morning 02.06.17

The Pitol book is extremely breezy and has spent more time name-dropping than reflecting so far. I dunno. It seemed Pitol’s all-consuming love of literature would be a respite, but it’s so divorced from any sense of the social and political so far that it feels unnaturally sterile. Perhaps it’s too early in the book.

Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles. Trump has dementia:

But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.

The dumb fat fuck barely knows what’s going on. I underestimated the influence of Stephen Miller though. Seeing how he nominally works for Kushner, but previously worked for Michelle Bachmann and, more importantly, Jeff Sessions is some depressing shit. There had been some mild speculation on my part thinking perhaps Kushner might “moderate” Bannon’s influence with pragmatic greed over white nationalism. Wrong.

The Clues That Neanderthals Didn’t Know How to Make Fire. Pech de l’Azé IV and Roc de Marsal. France. Damn it. My childish hert wants to believe that Neandertals could make and control fire.

Archaeologists clash over dating of Céide Fields complex. Ireland. New research suggests that it could be 2,500 years younger than established. Yeah, this one bums me out too.

The Young Pope is silly but I’ve been enjoying it. Sean Collins wrote something like, It’s Hannibal for lapsed Catholics.1 This is so, so much more fun and imaginative than Westworld. I’ve read Collins’ piece on episode one and two. (I’m only halfway through episode three.)

  1. I’m not Catholic and was raised pretty much agnostic. []

morning 02.05.17

On break last night, I read the introduction of Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves. Instead of reading any of the other two dozen books I have going at the moment, I checked this out from the bookstore to zip through. The rise of the Nazis is a something I’ve usually avoided. Their crusade on thought and literature and its legacy seems a thread worth picking up.

I also waded slightly into Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight. Breezy, chatty- dancing from one reference to another in sifting his memories. I had no idea he was a translator for Gombrowicz. Pitol’s memoir rests easily against later Vila-Matas’ novels. Pitol is obviously a huge influence. In just a few pages, I picked up a few authors and books that I forgot or wasn’t aware of.

The bad news is that the locals are coming into the bookstore to demand the Milo book. They’re old people, very old. They’ve insisted that the book is already out, because that’s what they heard on tv and that we booksellers are being dishonest. There is absolutely nothing unique about this phenomenon. I’ve dealt with the same dozens of times before with other right wing pop idols, most of them on Regnery. I used to think it was just old and uninformed people making a mistake. After years of the same experience, it definitely seems a sales strategy, to stoke the fear of persecution and heighten demand. It doesn’t matter whether there is violence or not at protests at the venues in which Milo appears. It’s part of the marketing. (It’s unlikely ignoring him would work either.) Milo for the moment is coming across as a yet more campy fascist incarnation of Ann Coulter. It’s hard to see where this is going, but this feels like pure tribal hatred, with no strong ideology.

Nearby earthquakes are opening up Africa’s ‘Gateway to Hell’ volcano. Erta Ale in Ethiopia has been active lately too. It only stopped overflowing a few days ago.

An Actual American War Criminal May Become Our Second-Ranking Diplomat. Elliott Abrams. Oh god. This motherfucker. For those missing Bush, he appointed this murderous ghoul too. Alterman rates him worse than Kissinger himself

The FBI is building a watchlist that gives companies real-time updates on employees. “…including arrests at protests and charges that do not end up in convictions.” aha. Not at all dangerous.

What Steve Bannon wants. Fascism. He wants fascism. It’s a good piece, getting into Bannon’s fetish for Edmund Burke, but all of this talk about nationalism, traditionalism, and fear of the other, combined with the executive orders Trump has been singing off on, reeks of fascism. He’s a scary motherfucker, because with Trump having dementia, Steve Bannon is effectively president for the moment.

morning 02.04.17

The Twenty Days of Turin. I ordered this the other day, although I’m barely reading any fiction these past few months. The memory of this novel is drifting back, appearing on one of those lists of books that deserve reprinting and/or translation. The more is revealed about it, the more exciting it could be. Giorgio De Maria being a friend of Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino adds another dimension of interest. Reviews namechecked Borges, Poe, and Lovecraft, but this one connects Pynchon too.

The Disgraceful Lowlands of Writing. Review of a new three volume Kafka biography by Reiner Stach.

Last night I was idly clicking through Wikipedia as I was covering breaks. (There’s extremely limited access to the internet at work.) In wandering through the Twitter entry, it crystallized how my use of the platform pushed me further left. OWS did a lot, but it feels that I underestimated how the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson pushed me into recognizing truths I already knew, but kept pushed back. I owe Black Lives Matter far, far more than I understood and I never actually followed the founders of the movement.1 The crawl from Ferguson into 2015 soaked me into better consciousness of the militarized police state, working exactly as designed, to the benefit of capital.2

The Monuments Men of LibyaHaua Fteah.

Baltic hunter-gatherers began farming without influence of migration, ancient DNA suggests. No hint of an influx of agriculturists from the Levant and Anatolia. The technology seems acquired by trade.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer Falsely Accuses Iran of Attacking U.S. Navy Vessel, an Act of War. Forging documents that Iraq was seeking to acquire yellowcake uranium seems so quaint and polite now.

This Dwarf Planet’s Freaky Ice Volcano Might Not Be Alone After All. Ceres. Ahuna Mons. Of course it isn’t.

Sonic Boom. New Orleans music magazine. A couple of my friends are in the stoner metal band Shadow Giant and now Brad Orgeron of the Backstabbers (the early punk band of New Orleans) is a friend of a friend. Not read. Back to this later.

American institutions won’t keep us safe from Donald Trump’s excesses. Corey Robin says the worst America has offered through history didn’t come from any particular tyrant, but from the system itself. Because Trump and Bannon aren’t using the system properly, they’re not going to be as effective in their despotism. That’s… optimistic.

Looking forward to see what’s actually going on with this feature in eastern Antarctica. It’s not worth linking any site that’s speculating, as all I can find is outlandish bullshit. Nonetheless, it’s still cool. It’s about 400 feet across and was spotted in satellite imagery.

Eric Dolphy. Filmed in Belgium on April 19 1964..

UFOs sighted at the U.S. and Mexico border at Tijuana. Drones? Earthquake lights? The date of the sighting seems to be January 26th, 2017, but the details are very sketchy. The video itself seems straightforward enough.

Large Neolithic site discovered in NW China. Swiping this one, as these tend to disappear:

XI’AN, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Archaeologists have discovered a large Neolithic ruin dating back more than 5,000 years in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

The site, covering over one million square meters, was found in Yulin City following a six-month excavation, according to the provincial archaeology institute.

Dwellings and ditches made between 3000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. have been discovered in seven sites.

The ruin is identified as belonging to the late Yangshao Culture period and the early Longshan Culture period of the Neolithic Age.

The Yangshao Culture originated on the middle reaches of the Yellow River and is considered an important part of Chinese civilization.

Shaanxi has 2,040 ruins of the Yangshao Culture, accounting for 40 percent of the country’s total.

  1. Fixed today. []
  2. The only time I balked was at those goofy women who claimed to be BLM who now sell the safety pin box. []