Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Freedom From Facts: Truth As Fetishism

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

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From a site called Freeminds.org which seems to be some kind of Islamic fundamentalist site.

I am tempted to post another paper, but hell, I decided to do a little ranting for a change. The Earth is flat again! Climate change is a hoax! As Firesign Theatre one proclaimed “Everything You Know is Wrong!” I would comment on the Trump phenomenon but things are changing so rapidly that anything I say today will be old news in a day or two. so I will keep the political commentary focused on the long haul. Or the short dig, I am not thinking too good these days, Things, facts, data, all floating around my brain…. can’t think….

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The Nazi’s are back, interesting that it was American advertising genius that taught the Nazi’s propaganda, Trump is just owning the concept, rebranding. From http://mype.co.za/new/on-trump-many-big-lies-and-us/82645/2017/01

Recently I have become interested in Critical Theory, mostly feminist, post-Marxist and the rest of what they are teaching in the Universities these days. I just finished my Geography degree, although I spent a lot of time taking history and classics. I was going to be an English Lit major, but got tracked into English Rhetoric, which is really prep for teaching or in my case technical writing. I hate technical writing, but I was getting money from the state to go through the program while I was on dialysis and then rehabilitation from my transplant. Free money from the state, what was I going to do? I took it and endured. But then I started working again. Drag, yes, but hell, it was what my machine self was created for. Hooboy, that opens a can of worms, dualism versus monism.

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From: http://mimiandeunice.com/2010/10/08/critical-theory/

I like to try things out. I even am trying on this whole Trump white race is good thing. Not exactly my identity, after all I am a believer in the old Lou Reed song “I want to be black” and have spent much of my adult life becoming a self identified under class person, so much so that in fact, surprise, surprise, that is exactly what I have become. An earnest, poor person struggling to join the middling classes. How ironic, how appropriate, I lecture minority youth on the benefits of good credit, how to pass for passive when the cops are on your case, how to get grants and find public education rather than getting trapped in debt with scam for profit school education. Although I must admit, one girlfriend has gone to one of those schools and has her Dental assistant degree and she loves that shit.

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From: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dualism-vs-Monism.png

Another girlfriend did the for profit school medical assistant program and is really bored being a billing clerk. She has debt, not tons, but was it worth it? I got my Geography degree and what do I do, estimating for a graphic design and commercial print and packaging company, its kind of boring, but then I have my own office, I get respect more or less, and I can look up academic papers on line between working on estimates. I am thinking about a paper on the effects of climate change on the prophetic and messianic process during the Reformation. I am beginning to think that the technological changes with the invention of the Printing Press was more of a factor, but I am having fun researching. Getting a masters, now that should be interesting, if I don’t die first.

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From: http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/590cfe89-e690-48f7-bf94-5af5ff8d3fe5.html

So what to say, Dump Trump, sure, but Pence? No, Trump at least wants to be loved and will cater to some extent to a populist agenda. Pence and the rest of the crew are straight up Republican establishment types. What is really interesting and disconcerting is the rise of the Alt Right and the ability of fact free news sites to become legitimate. In my youth an equivalent would have been if all of a sudden the Tattler and the other tabloids at the supermarket check out stands became the new legitimate news sources. They are for a certain type of semi - literate person. But for the ruling classes to manipulate that to destroy the truth seeking process enshrined in the enlightenment theory, and the news media that subscribe to the enlightenment, the academia, and the general educated class perspective, tossed aside for a populist, no-nothing type of anti-intellectualism, pandering to the lowest common denominator, not out of necessity but by deliberate choice, is well, tough to take.

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From: http://list.ly/list/1ML2-fake-news-lessons

On the other hand from a nihilistic point of view, why not. Flush it all down the toilet and start fresh. Fresh could be nice, if it wasn’t racist, homophobic, and celebrating monster truck culture. Hell when is the President going to show up at a monster truck rally? I heard him talking about professional wrestling the other day before a crowd in Iowa. Why not, nobody really cares, as Randy Newman in his classic tune Political Science said:

No one likes us, I don’t know why
We may not be perfect but Heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let’s drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money but are they grateful?
No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
They don’t respect us so let’s surprise them
We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them

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Slim Pickens Rides the Bomb in the Kubrick classic “Dr. Strangelove”

That song was written almost 50 years ago. Some things never change. The Earth is flat again and science doesn’t matter, its how you feel about it that makes it real, right?
With that said, the bigger the lie the better, just repeat it often enough and abracadabra you have fact free reality.

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Test used in early child teaching. From: https://www.education.com/worksheet/article/fact-or-make-believe/

Identity and Progressive Agenda 2016 Notes

Monday, December 26th, 2016

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Testing the limits of tolerance in the post Coup Turkey.
Hundreds of Turks made a rare protest for LGBT rights in Istanbul Sunday after the murder of Turkish transgender icon Hande Kader, whose body was found burned in a forest earlier this month. Photo by Hande Kader/Facebook
From UPI article August 22, 2016 http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2016/08/22/Turks-join-rare-demonstration-for-LGBT-rights-after-transgender-womans-murder/3441471845290/

I have been fortunate this year. I managed to have surrounded myself with a family that is relatively loyal if somewhat dysfunctional, and my constant search for novelty in an ongoing campaign to give meaning to an otherwise seemingly meaningless existence, has got me in and out of a couple of problematic situations this year. One was my attempt at a truly transsexual alliance which turned out to be something of a pipe dream. Ultimately in my view relationships cannot be based on transitory sexual appetites. Commercial careers, perhaps, but not strongly based family ties. Poly fidelity, has its moments but I am probably more of a poor mans patriarch in the polygamous biblical sense of the word, than a trail blazer on the frontiers of human relationships, although I certainly do try to do my part in the romantic belief in the eventual progress of humanity into a truly trans-sexual-racial heterogeneity. The fact that in the US the discourse over the nature of human sexuality has been diverted to a conversation on toiletry is a bit discouraging though. Struggle in the world continues as post modernist struggles over liberation in identity politics continue in the face of repression such as is evident in Turkey. Whether identity issues have distracted from bread and butter issues of class struggle, is something that is being hashed out in the light of the on going right wing reaction around the world. Trumpism can be seen in the light of Nazi attempts to overcome decadence identified with sexual transgression of rigid sexual norms as was brilliantly portrayed in the 1972 film Cabaret.

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From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unisex_public_toilet, distraction or battle for control of personal space?

The continued demise of my own personal sexual prowess has been paralleled by the increased ability to encounter and intercept the lives of younger souls aspiring to some kind of continuity in an unstable and chaotic post modern world in which institutions have become both increasingly omnipresent and yet unable to fulfill the somewhat futile goal of social stability. Capitalism doesn’t allow for social and interpersonal stability. It’s pressure to excel and exploit resources, of any and all kinds pinned to a monetary value, has eroded social solidarity to the extent that humans of the modern period have become a hodgepodge of flotsam in a sea of potential resources to be adapted and rejected as required by the mindlessly grinding efforts of the mega machine.

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From: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/7/27/political-cartoons-july-27 Political Cartoon from Summer 2016 when US presidential elections were still in progress. The Russian factor was already in play as was the betrayal of the independent left push represented by the Sanders campaign.

The need for resistance and the creation of an alternative agenda to corporate capitalism as crystallized in the Bernie Sanders campaign showed that like in the McGovern campaign of an earlier generation, that there is in the USA an ongoing desire on the part of the young and the progressive thinking people for change at a fundamental level. It also shows how much better the system has gotten at eliminating such a challenge with old fashioned dirty politics and fear mongering. The left, liberal, minority alliance was unable to beat the right largely due to the decampment of labor and the white working class generally as those hurt by the modern economy abandon their intellectual allies who have shown them little gain. for the demagoguery on the right.

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Life’s little Ironies. From: https://warosu.org/lit/image/93GRPOG-N9CFTQSvI7XpVg

There needs to be a clear headed assessment of what we desire and how we wish to get where we want to go. Post Modernism although it has liberated many from the fetters of normative identity has muddied the waters in the struggle to unite humanity in a broad based movement to progressive evolution of the human condition. This has been enhanced by the severe disruption caused by modernism and its industrial megamachine over the last couple of centuries. People’s desire for community in the face of the disruptive and depersonalizing power of technological progress gives evidence of the lag between social evolution and our ability to manipulate the physical world around us. We are now just realizing that humanity has to come to terms with the balance between technology and the social mechanisms that allow this tail to wag the collective dog of humanity. Faced with the potential disruption of all life on the planet, humans need to create truly world wide networks of community that put technology firmly at heel and leash capitalism to the service of humanity or train the dog with some new socially progressive tricks.

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From: http://iacenter.org/racism/blm-pride100715/ BLM queer and trans people of color contingent, Sept. 26. Durham, NC, 2015.
The issue of identity will continue to be important but it must be in the context of ongoing progress or the right wing backlash will cause delays in progress for humanity and the planet as a whole.

Last Days of the Western Enlightenment

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

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Taken from a conspiracy site on reddit, the post was wrong, predicting 8 years of Clinton, the sentiment in the cartoon, greatly influenced by Crumb’s visual style, is a widely held fear on the part of civil libertarians

From: https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/4w2mde/prediction_of_whats_coming_in_the_next_8_years/

I have been reading The Age of Wonder By Richard Holmes, a scholar of the Romantic Movement in late 18th and early 19th Century England. I am struck by the optimism and hopefulness for the future of humanity expressed in the views of the scientific tinkerers and poets of the age. It was a time when a gentleman, or talented craftsman, and some women, could participate the exploration of the physical, intellectual, and poetic realms in a relatively democratic and free spirited manner. The old authority of the King, Church, and Gentry was being pulled down in so many realms, with the American and French Revolutions presenting political dramatic change. Even though in England the old regime was not destroyed, this was largely due, in my view, to the fact that England had undergone its own revolution and liberalization in the previous century. But there was a strong movement in England to expand the franchise and there were those who avidly supported the actions of the French and the Americans. A strong abolitionist movement to took hold in Great Britain which led to the forward thinking abolition of the slave trade, the development of industrial capitalism and the liberation of the middle classes from dependency on the gentry and patronage of royalty as independent centers of wealth emerged.

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Political cartoon by James Gillray (1757-1815)
From: http://web.utk.edu/~gerard/romanticpolitics/revolution.html Romantic Politics.

These ideals of liberty, and the Rights of Man come out of the period known as the Enlightenment. This period in which a more optimistic view of humanity arose, in which man became the measure of meaning and the ability of the intellect became predominant in finding a more just and affluent life for humanity came to the fore. Life, Liberty and Fraternity or the Pursuit of Happiness, became watchwords and represented the very real expectations of the mass of European humanity, as they spread and colonized across the planet. Not always seen as the bringers of light, often the bringers of oppression to the indigenous peoples to whom the Europeans purported to spread their enlightenment, but propelled by the newly released powers of the mechanical ingeniousness of the likes of James Watt, and the mechanisms of trade and capital concentration developed by adventurous capitalists, the imperial European age was impressed upon the world.

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Painting by Benjamin West
William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians when he founded the Province of Pennsylvania in North America, 1771
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
From: http://statemuseumpa.org/penn-treaty/creating/ and http://pluralism.org/encounter/historical-perspectives/first-encounters-native-americans-and-christians/

The industrial revolution and the enlightenment philosophy putting the desires of the individual in the forefront, combined with the Romantic ideals of the solitary genius extracting the secrets of life from a sometimes recalcitrant nature, provided a powerful force propelling the western Europeans into a predominance world wide that had been only preambled by the earlier European conquest of the Americas. Old civilizations in Asia, China, the Ottomans, and the Moguls in India, fabulously wealthy nations, run as empires in an older autocratic tradition were assailed and swept away under the force of the newly empowered Europeans of the relatively small nations of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal.

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The East offering its riches to Britannia, painted by Roma Spiridone for the boardroom of the British East Asia Company 1778.

What we are seeing now is in the post modern period, a designation that will probably be replaced by some other historical reference as we get further away from the Twentieth Century by something more appropriate, after all what will Modernism mean to someone a century from now? But I digress, in a era in which the benefits of the Western Expansion has become assimilated and digested by the traditional centers of wealth and power, China, India and the Middle East, we are now beginning to see the emergence of the Oriental repossession of their traditional dominance. The Obama pivot to Asia and Trump’s fear mongering denigration of American infrastructure when compared to the marvels being constructed in Asia, are reflections of an awareness of this reality. Thus we come to the end of the era of the western Enlightenment, and are entering into uncharted waters. Are we entering a period in which the individualism of the last two to three centuries will be subordinated under a technocratic autocracy with a new imperial examination system to sift out the deserving elite aids to the autocrats? Certainly trends in economic imbalance seem to be headed that way. What with the massive focus on education as if that were the solution, indicates an end to the quality and fraternity inherent in the Enlightenment approach. Now we have the dictatorship of meritocracy as the gateway to enter the garden of earthly delights. Woe unto you who don’t achieve the holy grail of high grade point averages or are not inheritors of great wealth. For you there will be the universal basic income, and meaningless lives at the bottom of the new pyramid of wealth and power. But again I diverge, the oriental nations are not by nature autocratic, but because of the necessity to create hierarchies of meaning that can sift through the mass of humanity, and the algorithms created by the power of computer technology, there will be a rather extreme and undemocratic process of winnowing unless there is a wise emperor like Vespasian who rejected the labor saving machines of the clever Greek engineers, saying, to paraphrase What will my people do to earn their bread if I take away their ability to earn a living?

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Textile Laborers in Lowell, Mass. early Nineteenth Century.
From: http://www.saltofamerica.com/contents/displayArticle.aspx?13_525 Opinions: American Technology and Human Welfare Part 2, Technology is Democracy 1800-1850
by Hugo Meier

Whether there is an alternative that is egalitarian, in which some pastoral or urban ideal can be implemented, whether in a form of cooperative industrial democracy as postulated by the IWW, the COOP movement or idealists in the sense of Owens, is to be seen. Certainly the pro-fascist protectionism and corporate nationalism proposed by the Trump group is predicated on a trade and probable war with China which is not going to be beneficial in the long run. Think of it this way, China is the international sleepy giant that the USA was before World War II. If they directed their industrial might to war industries, it might be impossible for the US to create an adequate embargo to prevent the oil and iron from reaching China unless the US can convince Russia to refuse access to its vast natural resources. I don’t think Putin is that stupid.

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Missiles are displayed in a parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing in this October 1, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-defence-idUSBRE88F0GM20120916

Trump and Immigration

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Trump is playing a finessing game. He met with the President of Mexico, and claims that the issue of the wall payment was not discussed. Yet the Mexicans clearly contradict that statement. Trump is speaking as I write in Phoenix, and he first makes some nice effusive vagaries about how much he likes Mexicans. Then he goes on to double down on his anti immigrant rhetoric. But what does his inflammatory words come down to? He is essentially repeating the Obama administration tough deportation policy. He is restoring funding to the secure communities programs, and is going to expedite the deportation of criminally convicted aliens. He wants to pass something called Kate’s Law that has high mandatory minimums imprison previously deported aliens. He claims he is going to triple the number of ICE agents. This is essentially doubling down on the Obama administration policy. Nothing new here. He wants to add 5000 more border patrol agents and stations, perhaps this is the true wall he is detailing, instead of his pie in the sky wall.
He is making a big deal about sanctuary cities, claiming he will block federal funding. Not sure what exactly he means by that. All grants? End Federal food stamp programs? I doubt it. This is another false issue, like the threat from voter fraud by people voting more than once. He says nothing about hacking into voting machines which is way more likely to be problematic.

Enforcement policies are going to be aimed at visa overstays. He is going to block immigration from places with what he calls inadequate screening. This is his way to get around the anti-Islamic remarks he made earlier. “Extreme vetting….” Syria, and Libya are places he claims he will use this on. He made an absurd statement about how there are tens of thousands of persons from Syria roaming the country that have not been vetted. Then he doubles down on his ideological purity test for immigrants, to which the crowd responded with a chant “USA, USA” a rather scary response.

Listening to Trump’s half truths, is exhausting, at least writing about it is. Trump in a sound bite is manageable, listening to his rants for half an hour at a stretch is simply too much to bear. He repeats statistics without putting them in context. It is counter effective when his facts become blatantly twisted by the rhetoric of hate.

Cracking down on visa overstays probably would have effectively removed Trumps wife from the USA when she was a working model. E-Verify extension is another part of his policy. Not only crime but work. He is citing the Center for Immigration Studies, a well known right wing anti-immigrant think tank. He is also going to go after illegals who get government benefits. This would invalidate policies such as those in California that provide benefits. It is unconstitutional to refuse public education to immigrant children (Plyer vs Doe, 1982).

Trump’s cure for America is to kick out all the illegals. He claims that welfare use and gangs will decrease or disappear. There is one route for immigration for illegals, they will have to leave the country and reenter legally. No amnesty according to Trump. This policy will impinge on agriculture, meat packing, construction, and other industries that hire low income workers. Will there be Americans willing to do manual farm work? Not likely without a higher wage and overtime like that being proposed in California.

Trump Circus

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Trump Speech at RNC

I am watching Donald Trump give his rambling acceptance speech. He is citing a law passed under the Johnston administration that threatens to remove tax exemption when religious institutions enter into the partisan political debate, he wants to eliminate that provision. There is a left wing Church in Pasadena that has been prosecuted under that legislation, as have sanctuary churches. I am not sure he means to support churches that give refuge to undocumented immigrants, but there it is.

There are a lot of unintended consequences that might result from his statements. His rhetoric is pretty much self congratulatory, but he included his base in a royal we when disparaging the establishment types who claimed he didn’t stand a chance. He is playing the underdog card in a quite sophisticated manner. By playing to the common man in his rhetorical style, keeping to language that any elementary school kid could understand (my 5 year old granddaughter keeps asking “is that true” to the Trumpisms), he is able to confound the intellectual class, and his peers, with this dumbing down, similar to the folksiness of Bush Jr.

I managed to make it through the convention platitudes and rabid attacks on Hilary Clinton, only to discover that there is very little there, there. If only he were another Gertrude Stein… Truly the P. T. Barnum of our age, this man is dangerous in his conceit. People might elect him just to have another version of the Trump reality show Trump: The White House Years. He still used the Rolling Stones in his theme music despite the complaints from the band. I guess you can’t always get what you want.


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