Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our Banana Republic -- Memories and The TINA Principle

[OT: Oxygen! I got the small tanks yesterday. What relief. Couldn't deal with the big ones and the huge "portable"concentrator. Well, it's got wheels, so yah, it can be rolled from room to room, so there's that. Portability! The small tanks, about the size of a large wine bottle, can be carried about with a shoulder strap and the oxygen is dispensed in little bursts as you breathe. They last much longer than the big tanks that way, 4 hours or more as opposed to an hour and a half or less. I like it. And let me tell you, it is the simple things these days that make me smile... Oh my yes...]

Gold plated toilets. Damn, Dude has gold-plated everything. WTF? Why would anybody even want that?

But let's look back in our history. Do they teach history any more? They say that Civics isn't taught any more, so maybe they're not teaching history either.

Ms. Ché and I were yakking the other day about Our Day ("Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?")  We've long been convinced that our years (1965-66)  were the last high school graduating classes in California to get a comprehensive education. It was downhill from there, and we cite as evidence our nieces who went to the same high school I did. Things had changed radically from Our Day. And they, our nieces, did not get anything like the education we did. I wouldn't say they got an education at all.

We had to take six periods in class every day throughout three years in high school and one year (9th grade) in junior high -- it wasn't called middle school in those days. We took foreign language  -- Ms Ché Latin and Spanish, me French all four years; science, history, math, social studies, civics, English, Ms Ché was also taking performing arts classes and performing in plays; I wrote a couple of plays in college prep English classes which were then performed by the drama students. Electives were few, and for me, there was almost no time for much besides regular college prep classes (it wasn't called Advance Placement until several years after we graduated and went on to higher education... another story entirely.) We had to successfully complete 250 units as I recall to graduate. In order to receive scholarships and other benefits to go to college or university, our grade points had to be above 3.2, which wasn't an easy challenge in those days. Our teacher worked us hard and expected excellence.

My senior English teacher was a Stanford graduate married to State University drama professor, and her standard for us was modeled on Stanford's English class requirements. It was her intent that whether or not we went to Stanford (I think only one of those in my senior English class did) we would be prepared for any college or university English class, and because we would be prepared for that, we would be prepared for any other college course as well.

My French teacher was a Columbia graduate who had been a student at the Sorbonne when Paris fell to the Nazis. She spent almost a year in Nazi controlled Paris before she was "miraculously" able to return to the United States. Her last name was Cohen, and when she told us about this, we thought "Oh my god, she's just lucky she wasn't sent to the camps for liquidation." She said she had friends who were rounded up, but that there was little chance she would be. Not only was she American -- and at the time, the US was not at war with Germany -- but she wasn't a Jew, she was a WASP from Long Island. She would marry a Jew later, but at the time, she didn't feel she was under any particular threat because of her religion or nationality, though she knew people who were, and it tore her apart. She  was just glad to get out of there, and when she returned to Paris after the War, she said she was devastated. The city had survived more or less intact, but the people were so traumatized she wondered if they would ever recover from what they'd been through.

My chemistry teacher's last name was Tsuda. He was Nisei, and he was sent to the camps during the War. He was a teenager at Manzanar, and his experience there shaped his attitude toward the "America" as an adult. He graduated from UC Berkeley with high honors, but he had to wait until after the War, and until after some of the Anti-Jap agitation in California had died down before he could attend and complete his degree. All of the high school students he taught were white... go figure. He had no open animosity toward us, but I wouldn't say he liked us or gave a shit about us, either. I never did learn chemistry to speak of, and I doubt that more than one or two students in my class did.

When I was in high school, I lived next to the site of one of the transit camps for Japanese-Americans on their way to relocation. I knew there had been a military facility there called Camp Kohler. It had burned down-- I didn't know when at the time, but I found out later the fire was in 1947 when the camp facilities were being used to house returning US veterans and their families. All that was left of the camp were the concrete barracks pads, charred wood, fused glass, bits and pieces of metal, overgrown asphalt roads, and a spirit. A dark spirit.

I don't recall if Mr. Tsuda ever spent time at Camp Kohler before being sent to Manzanar (probably not, but who knows... ) What I do recall was his barely contained rage about what had happened to him and his family under the Stars and Stripes. I recall he mentioned being in Japan before the war and how beautiful it was, and he had returned after the war, I think he said in 1952 or 53 (Korean War? Was he a vet? I don't remember....) and it broke his heart. So much of Japan was still in ruins, of course. But it was the  broken people that hurt his heart more. I don't recall him specifically mentioning Hiroshima and Nagasaki but it was very much on our minds given the nuclear tension we were all living under during the Cold War.

I could go on describing my memories of high school and my teachers, but these examples give an idea of the kinds of people they were and the kinds of experiences they shared with us. Wartime memories were of course very important because they had so strongly shaped our parents and our teachers, and WWII had completely transformed the world we came into as post-War Boomers.

There was a level of prosperity and well-being that Americans had never experienced before. There were also severe strains and the early stages of general social unrest that seemed to begin in California and spread outward from there. Of course it had not started in California, but it became focused there as the youth rebellion took hold and Hippies became a Thing.

Ms. Ché and I were on the cusp of all that.

No doubt we were rebels, but generally were not part of the Hippie scene -- which we saw for its self-evident commercial aspects more than its social importance. We would go to San Francisco from time to time during the hey-day of Hippiedom, but it was not necessarily an attractive thing. It was just another Thing, not the only thing. We had friends who moved to the City and became part of the Scene there, and we saw it as them being who they were, not as something we were compelled to emulate or necessarily wanted to.

We did attend the Monterey Pop Festival the summer after the Summer of Love, and we almost went to Altamont, but thankfully did not.

In 1966, Ronald Reagan was -- "impossibly" -- elected governor of California promising to bring an end to the student unrest, suppress the rebellions in the black ghettos, and ensure that nothing like that ever happened again.

Ever.

His methods were cruel and violent on the one hand, more subtly destructive on the other. He deliberately set out to wreck California's Progressive operating system, and he largely succeeded. After California's Progressive Era was brought to a screeching halt under Reagan, he and his cronies would  apply the lessons learned nationwide.

And so here we are, Banana Republic.

Progressivism was itself the Enemy. Ripping it out root and branch was neither wise nor possible, but what the Reaganites did was set in motion its self-implosion and collapse, first by discrediting it, then by pushing on carefully selected pressure points -- including public education, mental health care, and "law and order" -- to produce desired results in time if not immediately. They knew what they wanted  but they didn't always know how to get there.

What they wanted -- and largely got -- was a reversion to pre-Progressive California and ultimately a pre-Progressive America.

In other words, a Banana Republic ruled by caudillos, whose favor had to be curried or else. Corporate control of government would replace Progressive "experts" and public servants. Elections would be manipulated for desired results. Tax burdens would be lightened for the well-off (why should they be forced to pay taxes anyway?) and fees in lieu of taxes would be increased for everyone else. Government would be operated by and for the rich, and barely function at all for anyone else. Public education would be administered to death. There would be no more "free" higher education in California. Students would pay increasing fees and tuition until going to college at all would be too expensive to even think about. The quality of public education at every level would decline, to the point where high school students would graduate pig-ignorant, and college graduates would barely begin to comprehend what an average high school student understood in previous generations.

"All against all," "greed is good," and "There Is No Alternative" would become the new reality.

And so it was. So it is.

I have long been a critic of Progressivism for cause, but not necessarily the same cause as its Reaganite critics. It's racist and authoritarian at its core, even in decline, and those factors were in large part responsible for the uprisings that presaged the Reaganite reaction. Progressivism led to some good things to be sure, but the costs were very high, especially for marginalized populations. Progressivism could not mask its racism and authoritarianism, though in a late fight for survival, it tried to.

The argument was that compared to Reaganism, Progressivism was less racist and less authoritarian. The lesser of two evils, eh?

Besides, what are you going to do? You have a choice between the radical return to the Bad Old Days or continuing on a failing course of what was seen as public sector stupidity.

Nobody I know of in the political realm bethought themselves to come up with something better than either choice.

There was no alternative. "None of the Above" was not an option.

Nixon was elected president in 1968, and compared to Reagan, he was practically a Communist. He was a genuine California Progressive but on the dark side of the movement, and eventually he was driven from office, not so much because he was a criminal, but I believe because he was going bonkers and had become unstable and unreliable. His judgment was so severely impaired and his actions so arbitrary that he was seen as a clear and present danger to the survival of the  Republic. That's something Our Rulers do not and cannot talk about. We the Rabble are not to know just how incompetent Our Rulers are. Please.

Incompetence is part of the package of public sector destruction that Reaganites set in motion in California and spread all over the country once they achieved the White House.

They didn't want competent public servants, and they saw to it that at the Rabble level, competence was often unavailable from government. This was actually a genius move because it destroyed confidence in government ("of the people and by the people") to get necessary things done. The only success allowed to government in the future would be police, prisons and jails, and in time, even that would be largely taken away with the substitution of private prisons, much like private schools would replace government schools.

They used some of the social strengths of the liberal-Progressives against them, and it worked.

I would say that initially the Reaganites were very weak, and they didn't really know how to do what they wanted to do. Progressives then offered them  a helping hand to get things done. They set the stage and the standard model for their own destruction. They cooperated and collaborated. Oh my, we've seen so many examples of this throughout history, haven't we?

We see echoes of it in the actions of the few Democrats still in office nationally. I wouldn't call them Progressives, good doG no, but they act as the rump remainder of what used to be Progressives.

They are notorious collaborationists.

It is one reason among many they aren't elected any more. They offer no policy alternatives, only procedural and personality ones. Bless their hearts.

The Mini-Mes of Destruction. USA! USA!

You gotta elect me cause I'm not him! YAY Me!

Jeebus what a goon show.

Thanks to Jill Stein -- bless her heart-- we're finding out just what a fucked up scam this latest election was. Honestly, at this point there is no way to tell who the voters chose in the battleground states, as there is no way to accurately count or recount their votes in too many jurisdictions. There's no way to know.

We've been experiencing fucked up scam "elections" for so long that a lot of people seem to take it for granted and accept the announced results on faith -- because you can't do anything else. There is no way to show that faith results are right or wrong. They just are what they are.

Electoral fraud appears to be pervasive but unprovable -- by design.

Voter fraud is something else altogether and appears to be rare, but maybe not. Again, there's no way to tell.

And in the common perception manipulated by the media, there's no difference. The two are conflated all the time, deliberately and with malice aforethought.

It's becoming very clear that we do not know and we cannot know who the voters in the battleground/recount states actually chose to become president. And if we can't know the actual vote in those states, it puts into question the actual vote in every other state.

And that's not even considering the active voter suppression efforts that have been under way throughout the country for years.

Reports indicate that millions of otherwise eligible voters were prevented from voting or had their votes tossed out due to a wide variety of suppression efforts, and in at least some cases due to the whim of election officials. The suppression efforts during the primaries were highlighted -- and they were extraordinarily varied and frequent. By the general election, it was all but taken for granted that the same sort of suppression would occur on an even wider scale, and nothing would or could be done about it.

After all, There Is No Alternative.

How much longer this corrupt and corrupting system can endure is anybody's guess.

With the advent of Golden Boy to the White House (will he choose to live in his hotel, will he sell or rent rooms in the White House, say tuned campers!) the inherent instabilities may become so severe that it all collapses.

I'd say we're close to that point now.

I've thought for some time that Trump will not be inaugurated Jan 20, but if he is, he won't serve more than a year in office. This is based on instinct rather than any evidence, so I won't say it's a prediction, but because he is personally so unstable -- and is known to be -- it seems to me unlikely that the Deep-State/Permanent Government will allow him to rule as president or anything else.

On the other hand, I'm not seeing any effort at all to contain him.

So.... we don't know. We can't say. And for the moment, there is no alternative to his ascension.

As they say, We Are So Fucked. No matter what.

What a whirled, what a whirled.
------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile on the Standing Rock/Archambault front. Wow. As I expected, the announcement that everybody should go home, they weren't needed any more, was met with shock, outrage, and resistance. Chad Iron Eyes, a prominent Standing Rock Sioux, all but called Archambault out for this bullshit. But some people did try to leave in the blizzard and some ran off the road and otherwise wound up in dire straits. What was he thinking? This is crazy.

There have been many attempts to rationalized Archambault's statements as primarily a matter of "safety" -- but when so many people who tried to leave were caught in the blizzard and were stuck, the "safety" argument fell apart. Safety for whom, eh? Not the Water Protectors.

Most of those who stayed were obviously better off than some of those who tried to leave.

Apparently there have been some modifications since the "leave now" statements were issued. Realizing -- gee, ya think? -- that leaving under blizzard conditions is probably unwise, the tribe and (interestingly) Morton County and AoCE officials have extended their hands to "help" by opening shelters for those who don't have winterized camping facilities, and for those who would rather not travel in such weather. Morton County officials (the source of so much pain) have said they will respond to any emergency and provide assistance to anyone who needs it due to the weather. This after saying they wouldn't.

I've been around Indian politics enough to recognize or at least suspect what's going on, but I'd rather not get into it right now -- because I can't do anything about it, and it will have to be resolved one way or another by those on scene. I don't doubt it will be, and it might get pretty ugly.

Indeed, what a whirled.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Without Comment

Asking Forgiveness
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/forgiveness-ceremony-unites-veterans-and-natives-at-standing-rock-casino_us_5845cdbbe4b055b31398b199

Video:

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/05/we-beg-for-your-forgiveness-veterans-join-native-elders-in-celebration-ceremony/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

Another:


White Men Behaving Badly

This is just one example of threats, harassment and violence that Indians in North Dakota have faced for many a long year. It's nothing new. But this incident was posted yesterday, and it reflects the attitude of some -- maybe most -- white residents of the area near Standing Rock toward the Water Protectors and their campaign against the Black Snake, as the pipeline has been called.



The precipitating cause is easy enough to figure out. It's not so much the actions of the Water Protectors against the pipeline.

It is that the Indians refuse to yield to White Supremacy on demand.

This is what is so threatening to white men, and this is what is at the root of the violence by "law enforcement" against the Water Protectors. The refusal to yield on demand to White Supremacy and to obey the orders of (mostly) white men in and out of "law enforcement" is seen as an existential threat by these same men. They call it "aggression." Any challenge to the authority of white men is considered a threat to "civilization."

This is what goes on in Indian Country almost all the fucking time. This is what too many Indian people live with day by day.

And this Caucasian Id, as I call it, has been unleashed by deliberate incitement from a presidential candidate who is expecting to swan into the White House come January, and it is being used by white folk against phantom enemies who "threaten" them.

Like "law enforcement" in North Dakota, though, they are not under threat, nobody is threatening them, nobody is harming them, nobody wants to harm them. But we've seen how violent and insane "law enforcement" becomes when they believe there is a threat from the Indians and allies in the struggle over the pipeline. Water Protectors may be doing nothing but standing there, existing in space, and "law enforcement" will interpret that as a threat to be neutralized. And they do, as brutally  and violently as they choose. All because "law enforcement" is afraid.

That extends to white men and some women in the general population as well. They believe they have the intrinsic authority to order and compel the Other -- be it an Indian or any other Other -- to do as they demand, and to punish disobedience or refusal -- because they are deemed by their God "superior."

That's what White Supremacy is.

The example here presented has probably been repeated hundreds of times during the actions in North Dakota against the pipeline, repeated by random white folks as well as "law enforcement" whose ultimate purpose is to enforce White Supremacy, not the law.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rumors Abound [With Some Follow Up]

A couple of hours ago Reuters reported that Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman, had told the non-Sioux Water Protectors to go home:
"I'm asking them to go. Their presence will only cause the environment to be unsafe," he said of the non-Sioux protesters, adding that he hopes to meet with incoming-president Donald Trump to educate him about the decision made and the future of the pipeline.
At the time, thousands of Water Protectors,  Veterans and allies were assembling at Backwater Bridge in a fierce blizzard for morning ceremony. "Going home" in weather conditions such as are current at the camp is unwise to say the least.

I have a hard time imagining that Dave Archambault would think let alone say such a thing under the current blizzard conditions.

So far, this report is only on Reuters and the Reuters report is referenced by others.

Live streams from the ceremony at the bridge have made no mention of it, and so far, I've found no confirmation from any other source.

Until and unless I see/hear the words from his own mouth, I will consider it nothing but a rumor or fake news.

[Follow up: In fact there has been a kinda-sorta confirmation from Dave Archambault's own mouth. Apparently on the afternoon or evening of December 4, after the announcement that the ACE would not approve an easement under the Missouri River, Archambault said that the people in the camp could go home to their families and enjoy the Holidays. He was convinced that nothing would happen with the pipeline before January, and perhaps not even then. If people wanted to stay, they could, but they would be more comfortable at home. I don't know whether he was quoted accurately by Reuters, but nothing I have seen so far of what he said at the camp or to the people in the camp was in any way comparable to the Reuters quote. And meanwhile, a blizzard came in which made it essentially out of the question for anyone to leave yesterday.

Archambault's video statement made yesterday:



Defiance from Water Protectors:

Chase Iron Eyes responds:



https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/06/standing-rock-protesters-asked-to-go-home-by-sioux-leader

Hate to say it, but this is a typical corporate-government divide and conquer tactic. As solid as he has been throughout this struggle, one does wonder if he's been bought off.]

Rumors abound that Energy Transfer Partners is ignoring the Army Corps and has continued drilling under the Missouri River in order to complete the pipeline. Again no confirmation, but the rumor mill insists it's true.

Fake news? I don't know.

[Follow up: there have been numerous unconfirmed reports that ETP has continued drilling under Lake Oahe in defiance of the ACE. It may be true. But I've found no proof. A suggestive indication, however, is that the FAA forbade drone flights over the drilling platform that's set up by the river had quite a lot of activity to and fro a few days ago. That suggests to me that something is going on there that somebody doesn't want seen. On the other hand, the way the drilling platform is set up, it would be difficult to tell if there is active drilling going on.]

And in that regard the story of the Pennsylvania recount has become such a muddled mess, it's almost impossible to sort out truth from... something else.

It was reported on Friday that Jill Stein had abandoned the Pennsylvania recount effort by withdrawing from the Commonwealth Court petition to compel a statewide recount.

Reporting was sensational and inaccurate, but what else is new. In fact, recounts are and were going on in some election districts, but the petition was filed -- by "100 or more" Pennsylvania voters, not Jill Stein or the Green Party -- in order to meet Pennsylvania legal requirements to contest the election as a whole.

The petition was withdrawn when the Court imposed a $1 million bond simply to hold a hearing and required full payment by today. The petitioners said they couldn't pay the excessive bond. This was inaccurately reported as the Green Party/Jill Stein refusing to pay the bond, when they weren't the petitioners, "100 or more" Pennsylvania voters were as was required by Pennsylvania law. And they didn't have the money.

By Friday evening, Jill Stein and her attorneys stated they would be filing a federal court complaint for injunctive relief to compel recounts where possible and require forensic examination of electronic voting machines where recounts were not possible. Most Pennsylvania voting machines have no paper trail or any other way to verify their count and results. Thus a recount of those machines -- in the sense of verifying the vote -- isn't possible. This was not reported at all by some outlets, whereas others garbled it. A few got it right, but the initial false "abandonment" report was already out there, and updating or correcting it was... slow or nonexistent.

Jill Stein did in fact file for injunctive relief in federal court this morning.

And as always, the Trump Trope that she's scamming the public with this recount jaggoff was inserted everywhere possible.

What a whirled, what a whirled.

[Follow up: The story is mostly comprehensible in most of the media now, but things are moving so fast that the Pennsylvania recount is more of a sideshow. Apparently problems with the initial Michigan count have surfaced which are so severe that the Michigan vote could be challenged in its entirety. Developing. And from what I've seen so far, the Wisconsin recount is almost exactly the same as the initial count. Hm. Interesting.]

Time for some Springfield:




Basking In the Glow of Victory (Such As It Is...)

The naysaying started immediately, within seconds of the announcement that the Army Corps of Engineers would not approve the easement for the DAPL crossing of the Missouri River at the border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

"Oh, you savages haven't really won anything! You'll see!"

Yes, well. Noted.

Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council, was asked by a reporter minutes after the announcement if he thought this ruling meant that this fight was over. He gave her a look the way he does and considered for a moment. "Yes," he said, "it's over." Since I know he's not delusional -- no one in the public eye seems more grounded in reality at the moment -- it was obvious to me that he was "making a statement."

The fight that's been going on for months, this fight, is done. Victory to the Water Protectors and their allies around the world. The overall struggle, beyond this phase, in this place, for these ends and objectives, is continuing. And there may well be more struggles over the pipeline at Standing Rock. That's a given.

And of course, forces are marshaled to overturn the ruling denying the easement. Many observers wonder if the pipeline company has gone ahead with their drilling anyway and will announce the completion of the work sooner rather than later. That's as may be. And that would mark a different phase of the struggle or perhaps a different struggle altogether.

What the Water Protectors have won is what they were asking for: a thorough Environmental Impact Statement, consideration of re-routing the pipeline away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, consultation with the Tribe over any project of its kind, and respect for Treaties and Treaty rights.

All of these things were requested/demanded from the Corps and the regulatory bodies well before the project started construction, as made clear in the recording of the Tribal Council meeting of September 30, 2014 that I posted earlier. There really were no new demands by the Tribe through all the twists and turns of the actions by Water Protectors and the so-called "law enforcement" of the region (supplemented by mercenaries from other areas and private companies.)

What the Tribe wanted was all very clear and was based on the requirements of the laws that were flagrantly ignored by North Dakota, the Army Corps, and by the pipeline companies. At no time were Tribal officials requesting or demanding anything outside the requirements of those laws. They were demanding that the laws be observed.

If those laws were observed and the pipeline went through anyway, the Tribe would still object, but at least the pipeline would be a lawful (if wrong) intrusion -- of which there have been so many over the centuries.

But in this case, North Dakota, the Army Corps, and the pipeline companies appeared to collude in order to circumvent the laws in existence that regulated pipeline routing and construction, and which required close consultation with Tribal interests along any proposed route, required a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, and required respect for and honoring of Tribal Treaties.

This collusion to circumvent the laws regarding these matters was the core of the objections by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the pipeline. Of course there were many other reasons to object, most of which were highlighted during the campaign by the Water Protectors.

So, after months of campaigning against the pipeline, a campaign that attracted world-wide support, and after hundreds of arrests on bogus charges, after hundreds were injured (some seriously) in police assaults on Water Protectors, and after the pipeline was nearly completed, and after thousands of veterans assembled at Standing Rock to protect the Water Protectors from the pipeline protectors the government in Washington and the Army Corps in (Nebraska?) bestirred themselves to declare: "Ooops, we shoulda done this the right way, shouldn't we? Let's have a do-over, mkay?"

Damb.

It's not too little, too late, it's more like WTF?

But this isn't anything new to the Tribes. They know WTF inside and out.

So. This is an important victory, despite the naysayers. Anything could happen from this point. A spanner has been thrown in the works, and at least temporarily the actual regulations and laws about these things are supposed to be followed.

Nevertheless, the pipeline may still be finished on the current route and even on the current schedule (though that's unlikely -- even if Trump reverses the ruling by the Corps.)

I think everybody involved in the campaign is aware of that, and has been all along.

And the campaign isn't ending.

My understanding is that the camp "Oceti Sakowin" will remain at least until these matters are settled. Some of the veterans will stay on site for the duration; they're not going anywhere. Their assignment and duty is to protect the Water Protectors come what may. The numbers in the camp will fluctuate as they have throughout the campaign to date (I heard that yesterday there were an estimated 16,000 in the camp or more). There is little doubt that the pipeline companies in collusion with the authorities in North Dakota -- but without overt federal support at least until the Trump regime takes power -- will attempt to circumvent law and suppress the Water Protectors as they have been accustomed to do.

This is not naysaying, it's reality, one that the Standing Rock Sioux and the Water Protectors know all too well.

The struggle continues.

Yesterday's victory is gratifying. It gives courage to those of us who seek a better future for us all.

Much gratitude to the Water Protectors who have shown us the way.




Sunday, December 4, 2016

And So It Begins [UPDATED: Pipeline Easement Denied!]

Mirrors on the prairie


I've read that there may be as many as 14,000 people in the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota by now, and more are arriving minute by minute. They're coming from all over the country, some from all over the world. Expressions of solidarity and support are nearly universal.

And the dumbfukks of "law enforcement" lie and threaten and fantasize, discrediting and delegitimizing themselves as they hide in their armored cars behind their barricades, cannons at the ready, fearing... something. They always fear... something.

I've been trying to keep up with the progress of the veterans on their way to Standing Rock, but it's been kind of frustrating. There are plenty of stories, some of them based on false narratives developed in news rooms to "clarify" the situation, but for the most part, the mainstream media has avoided the story and really has no idea what's going on or why. To them it's just a bunch of Indians and trouble makers doing what they do to no particular object.

But then some of the news rooms start to see there really is something going on, something profound, and these Indians and trouble makers might actually have a point and are not just pissing into the freezing wind.

When serious and sincere American veterans of all persuasions essentially spontaneously decided to head to Standing Rock in the midst of a bitter winter to protect the Water Protectors from the violence of "law enforcement" it started becoming clear that a tipping point had been reached. A stop would be put to the violence used against the Water Protectors and the militarized response to the objections to the pipeline would be withdrawn... or else.

It's all very symbolic and spiritual. I'm all that worried about physical violence. I doubt there will be any -- at least not in this phase of the action. "Law enforcement" has been shamed and discredited about as thoroughly as I've ever seen it done in this country -- at least since the days of Bull Connor.

It's an epic reversal of fortune.

If the pipeline advocates and protectors have any sense at all, they will give up. It's not clear they do have any sense, but one can always hope.

I'm embedding an hour long recording of a Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council meeting from September of 2014 when DAPL representatives came before the Council to explain the plans and take questions about the pipeline. Kelsey Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the construction company for the pipeline, has lied and said there were no objections from the Tribe prior to the start of construction. Construction had not been approved and had not started at the time of the meeting more than two years ago. Though the recording is long, if you listen you will hear one solid objection to the pipeline after another, many of them the very same objections the Water Protectors make today about treaty rights, sacred sites and potentials for water fouling from pipeline leaks. THE SAME OBJECTIONS.

The DAPL reps don't even acknowledge these objections. Perhaps they never passed them on. But the pipeline and its construction next to the boundary of the Standing Rock Reservation and particularly crossing the Missouri River were strenuously objected to by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council throughout this meeting. It is absolutely and demonstrably false that there was no objection from the tribe prior to construction.



That is the underlying falsehood, piled upon so many other falsehoods going back to First Contact that has got us to this point.

Have enough people woken up yet? I don't know.

A Butterfly Effect got going some years back when the Occupy Movement arose. (still flapping its tiny wings, btw. You'd be surprised!) By opening the possibility of direct action in opposition to the malevolent forces surrounding us, by discommoding the comfortable, by shaming the powerful, by taking a stand and holding out against the odds, the neoliberal consensus began to shudder.

It hasn't come crashing down, not yet. But its shaking and shuddering is becoming chaotic. It's not sustainable.

The Indians and their allies in North Dakota and around the world are saying, "This is really where we need to take a stand and stop the madness." They are dealing with the basics, the fundamentals of survival. Water is Life. Mni Wiconi. It couldn't be simpler.

And so it begins.

Prelude: The Dark Reality



UPDATE:

According to news reports, the pipeline easement under the Missouri River has been denied by the Army Corps of Engineers. Word was sent to the Standing Rock Tribal Council this afternoon, and news is just breaking.

Well deserved cheers. But something tells me this ain't over. Not by a long shot.

Much admiration for the strength and solidarity of spirit and purpose of the Water Protectors and their allies around the world. Many thanks to the Veterans who stand with Standing Rock. When duty called, they answered.

Everything I've seen of today's assembly at Oceti Sacowin tells me that it has been a beautiful day. A good day to win.

Ho.

Michael Woods comments on the Twitter Machine:

Step one is right. The Army Corps is denying the easement pending further environmental review to find another route. Fight isn't over. Not yet.

The statement.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Shock Doctrine in Reverse? [Updated]

As thousands of US military veterans assemble in North Dakota to protect the Water Protectors from the pipeline protectors, we're witness to a phenomenon I don't think we've seen before, at least not in my lifetime.

Essentially, it's a form of shock being applied to those who have always before been able to shock their adversaries without accountability or consequence. Now, all of a sudden, there will be witnesses who matter in the context of what's colloquially known as "law enforcement." And for once, the adversaries "law enforcement" is facing down -- and perhaps brutalizing as they have brutalized the Water Protectors -- will be their own peers, their own tribe, their own kind.

"Law enforcement" has been trying to squirm out of their self-created dilemma, first by issuing commands and orders for the protesters to leave their camps or face dire consequences; ordering supporters not to deliver essential supplies or they will face fines of $1000 or more; ordering emergency services not to provide emergency services to the camps without prior authorization from "law enforcement;" and so on.

And then, within hours, countermandering their own orders, denying they ever intended them to mean what they say, yadda yadda.

And when the vets started arriving and staring down "law enforcement" on the other side of police barricades (oh, how evocative, but I may not explore that in this post) the sound cannon is used to command a vet with a backpack to separate from the crowd and because "protesters have brought weapons..."

What do the vets do? They turn their backs and walk away.



Issue of the 'backpack' starts about 6:50 but the whole confrontation is worth watching.

Heh.

They turn their backs and walk away.

It was brilliant.

When there are thousands of vets there staring down "law enforcement," I can well imagine that the officers behind their barricades will literally pee their pants.

It would be nice to think that many more of them will quit on the spot and at least some of them will join the vets with the Water Protectors, but that's not likely. Apparently the pipeline protectors are making a lot of money in overtime and other compensation (partly paid by the pipeline company? This isn't entirely clear.) and they can't afford to lose this added income. But we'll see.

Michael Woods and Wes Clark Jr are the instigators of this action, and so far, it seems to be going really well. They've raised about a million dollars to cover their own expenses, more than 3,000 have signed up to protect the Water Protectors, and 2,000 + are expected on scene by tomorrow.

That's apparently the maximum number the Standing Rock tribe thinks they can host at one time.

I'm finding I really like Standing Rock chairman David Archambault II and his steady, calming, and very positive approach to all this. He knows what he's doing and what needs to be done and he's become a wonderful counselor to those who sometimes let their anger or fear run away with them.

Something is definitely coming.

It's probably not what any of us expect.

Ho.

-------------------------------
UPDATE: A delegation from the Veterans group and the various Native groups  met with representatives of "law enforcement" on Backwater Bridge (the scene of the notorious attack on Water Protectors on November 20) and apparently reached a tentative agreement to avoid further police assaults. According to a news conference given by the various sheriffs and the National Guard commander, "law enforcement" agreed to pull back from the north side of the bridge where they have erected their barricades and strung their razor wire in front of their military vehicles to protect the pipeline. They will do this, they say, in the interests of peace and harmony (bless their hearts) so long as the Water Protectors do not pass beyond the south end of the bridge, do not make any "aggressive" moves toward the police lines (wherever they may be), do not try to make a water crossing or pass over the land on either side of the bridge toward the north, and do not fly any drones over or beyond the north end of the bridge.

They are particularly annoyed with the drones that the Water Protectors fly over the scene documenting what's going on below. They've tried to shoot them down. It's really one of the more overtly cowardly responses that "law enforcement" has shown toward the Water Protectors.

Meanwhile Dave Archambault and the Governor of North Dakota (a newcomer named "Dalrymple") have agreed to meet face to face sometime in the future (no date set) to help resolve some of the outstanding issues surrounding the pipeline and the continuing opposition of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to it.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has bestirred itself from its rather remarkable months-long slumber and is sending "mediators" or "arbitrators" and community policing representatives to the scene to help defuse and deescalate conflict. That's nice. The Water Protectors have been asking DoJ and the White House to intervene for months, but their pleas have gone largely unheeded. Now that the Vet contingent is almost fully assembled, it appears that The Powers That Be have awakened to a new reality.

While the "law enforcement" officials (particularly the sheriffs) tried to puff their chests and strut around like banty roosters, it's clear they are feeling somewhat chastised in the face of the resilience of the resistance, especially after their lies about the November 20 assault on the Water Protectors were revealed within minutes of their statements that night. (One reason they don't want drones or journalists documenting what's going on). The arrival of the Veterans standing with Standing Rock, as well as many, many others in support of the Water Protectors -- in the middle of a growingly harsh winter -- has demonstrated to them better than most anyone could have imagined that they are... wrong.

They've tried to make the Indians and their allies go away, and every time they try out some new brutality, more Indians and allies come. There are now perhaps 10,000 people gathered in the camps and more are arriving by the hour. I saw a report -- can't find it now -- that the women had gone over to Turtle Hill, a sacred site of ancestor burials, which "law enforcement" had been guarding against Indian intrusions. The women had removed the razor wire and other impediments to access and reclaimed the Hill.

Of course Trump has declared that the pipeline should go ahead and be finished as planned. After all, he has investments in it.

That's the important thing, isn't it?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Keeping it Together; Flying Apart; A Gathering of Nations

The Standing Rock resistance actions in North Dakota have been an inspiration to me just as they have been to millions of allies and supporters around the country and the world. We've had friends go up there a number of times, and we wish we could go too, to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors and Grandmother Earth Defenders, but it's not an option for us at the moment due to age and infirmity in my case and Ms Ché's intensive class schedule in hers.

So we support them how and when we can. It's an obligation on the one hand; a blessing on the other. Part of the inspiration for me is that those on the front lines are sticking together no matter what comes their way. They are strong in spirit and they stand united against the Black Snake; that's the key to their ultimate victory which I'm more convinced that ever will come, regardless of whether the Black Snake eventually tunnels under the Missouri River-Lake Oahe it is poised to violate.

Indigenous resistance around the world has gathered strength from the resistance in North Dakota, but at the same time, the Standing Rock resistance gains strength and power from indigenous resistance movements in the rest of the world. It's a circle, and it is a circle that is spreading ever outwards as the Dominant Society flies apart.

That's what it looks like to me. Many observers have been trying to "make sense of" the rise of Rightist-Racist National-Populism throughout the Euro-American cultural sphere. What's going on? Why is it happening? And why the focus on it, when there are other powerful movements in the rise as well?

To me, it's a sign that the Dominant Euro-American socio-economic and political experiment is coming apart, nearing its end. It's been bankrupt for some time. The opposition to its unfettered continuance has reached a tipping point.  Repent and all that.

I've been seeing more and more commentary that says the EU is dead and cannot be resuscitated. Other commentary suggests the crisis election in the United States will lead to... something, call it an end to the 40 year long experiment in neoLibCon rule and potentially the break up of the US into regionally autonomous units. Self-determination and independence movements are growing and spreading everywhere, and the United Empire (US and (primarily) its European allies) has shown itself to be highly vulnerable to these movements wherever they crop up and regardless of their ideological or religious foundations.

The United Empire has been engaged in -- indeed, has provoked -- what amounts to Endless War against shadows and internalized fears for over fifteen years. It creates its own enemies, fights them, supposedly defeats them, then wonders why they keep coming back. How can that be? Who are these "enemies?" Why are they always there?

They're shadows. They're fears. They don't go away. They can't be defeated, they can only be denied. But by denying them, they are strengthened. It's the most amazing thing.

Fear can be a  useful and normal state of mind in some circumstances. It can goose the adrenalin to enable remarkable bursts of strength and feats of daring. But it can't be maintained over the long term without causing serious physical and psychological damage.

Those who live in fear all the time, as our governments do and as they and their propagandists try to induce the People to do, are crippled in spirit and in strength. The fight or flight mechanism is meant as a temporary expedient, not the central fact of one's existence, but in the Dominant Society, it is becoming the only thing.

It's obvious that since the (s)election Americans have been whipsawed between abject fear and despair, and some sort of wan hope that It (eventually) Gets Better. The efforts to normalize what's happening are ongoing, but the Chaos merely grows -- regardless of what "side" one is on -- and as it grows, the fears take over. As I've said, it's a classic Shock Doctrine tactic for control of the masses, but it's a risky one, too, as its results become less and less manageable and predictable.

This is one reason why positive and active resistance is necessary. The Water Protectors and the Grandmother Earth Defenders are the example of what resistance can and should look like. There are all kinds of other resistance movements, many of which look nothing like the Water Protectors, and they act nothing like them, either. Direct attacks on the Empire generally won't succeed, but a Butterfly Effect can cause the course of Empire to change. Not necessarily for the better, however.

We hear all the time that the Empire is on its last legs, collapsing, yadda yadda, and I've never believed it. With every turn of the screw, the Empire is strengthened. It's doing fine, and it will survive the lot of us. This widespread return to White Rightism/White Supremacy within the Imperial construct is a defense mechanism, deeply ingrained in the psyches of Euro-Americans, that they can never truly escape. They're defending the Empire (of the mind) against the Savage Hordes of Dusky "Mud People" at the gates. It's been that way for thousands of years, and I don't see it changing for the better any time soon.

The Water Defenders in North Dakota include the feared "Savages" -- but they also include a broad cross-section of non-Indian allies on the front lines as well as in every other possible venue they can find in the US and around the world. Soon, a contingent of US military veterans will converge on the Standing Rock Reservation to protect the Water Protectors from the violent repression of the Pipeline Protectors. 

The Vets may number in the hundreds or thousands, who can say. But they will appear like the wild bison appeared during one of the law enforcement "engagements" with the Water Protectors.

Every time this happens, the pipeline protectors lose some of their courage (not that they had much to begin with, they have shown themselves to be cowards through and through) and some more of them leave the fight against phantoms they've been assigned to battle.

Of course should they choose to use "overwhelming force" against their phantom foes, the consequences may be "victory" in the immediate case, just the opposite over time. The Water Protectors are using their spiritual strength to stand firm against the physical violence and repression being used against them to protect the pipeline, but in the end, Power will have to yield. The coward will yield to the brave.

The Standing Rock resistance represents the largest gathering of Indigenous nations in modern history, perhaps ever. The unity of purpose and spirit at Standing Rock is unprecedented though it is inspired by Native Resistance movements everywhere and is part of them.

As long as they stand and stay together, they will succeed.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Doughnut Hole and Other Medical Follies

I got a shock yesterday when I picked up one of my increasing number of prescriptions for what ails me. Hm. One of them had a co-pay of over $80. It had been $10 the month before. The pharmacy was mystified. They said it was an expensive medication, but in the generic form that I received it, even at full price, it shouldn't be that much.

They said I should call my insurance company and see if I can find out what's going on.

So I did, and at first I was told the medication should have a $10 co-pay. When I said it didn't, the person I was talking to looked at my record again and said, "Oh, I see! You're in the Doughnut Hole, and drug coverage is reduced until your out of pocket expenses reach..." whatever it was, I don't remember, many thousands at any rate.

OK. I asked how long this will last, and she was so chipper about it. "Oh, only until Jan 1, sir. Your policy will reset and go back to regular co-pays."

Whew, that's a relief.

My medical expenses have shot up quite a bit since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the spring. I don't see my primary care physician any more since I'm being monitored and treated by a raft of specialists. Each one requires a $50 co-pay each visit. This means at least $150 most months in doctor co-pays. Sometimes more. Then there are the growing number of prescriptions. I fell into the Doughnut Hole because some of these medications cost close to $500 a month at rack rates, and insurance pays the difference between that price and my co-pay. Adds up fast. I knew I was getting close but didn't think I'd actually fall in. Apparently, the newly prescribed drug to control my pulmonary symptoms pushed me over the edge.

Apparently I will now be charged 45% of full price for my medications, but only in December.

Whew!

My rheumatologist wants me to go to National Jewish Health in Denver for the most advanced treatments for my pulmonary issues.

Well, I have my reasons for being reluctant -- including the length of time it would take to get there, especially in winter -- but I'm game. Seems National Jewish is not. Not that they wouldn't like to see me, just that they can't without specific authorization for out-of-network treatment from my Medicare Advantage insurance company. I have no idea whether that's even possible. The only out-of-network care they pay for is in case of emergencies or need for urgent care when one is traveling outside the coverage area of the company. As long as I'm within the coverage area (most of northern New Mexico) I must use in-network facilities and physicians. There appears to be no exception for referrals by in-network physicians (such as my rheumatologist.)

So. Stalemate on that one.

At least I have oxygen at home and can tank up on it before I go out and about. Eventually, they say they will replace the big tanks with small ones I can carry with me. But for the moment the big tanks and the large concentrator are doing the job.

I'm off to the cardiologist this morning to see if there's any reason for alarm about increasingly frequent chest pains -- because RA can affect all kinds of organs not just joints.

I'm getting a sense of what my sister went through with lupus. I had no idea what that was, and she really never told me what it did her. All I knew was that she was in great pain from time to time, and when she wasn't in pain, she tended to be tired and stiff-jointed. It was often hard for her to get around and do things. But she endured, generally with a smile and laughter. She didn't let it get her down more than a little bit.

I'm not in pain to speak of, so that's good. If it weren't for the medications I'm taking, though, the pain would likely be intolerable. My main problem has been fatigue, but that's partially relieved by the oxygen. The issue that has my doctors worried is the now confirmed pulmonary fibrosis due to RA. It can't be reversed. It's mostly affected my right lung but could spread if not contained/controlled with immunosuppressants -- the corticosteroids and other medications I'm taking. That leaves me open to other risks from infections and pneumonia and such.

So, combined with the inherent nature of medical bureaucracies, I'm just in a whirl, I guess.

And the Ruling Clique is now intent on taking away -- "improving" -- Medicare and Social Security. Throwing more chaos into the lives, old age and deaths of the residents of Dumfukistan. They must really hate us.




Monday, November 28, 2016

The Follies

Looks like Trump sent his Harpy Kellyanne Conway out to the Twitterverse and the Sunday Shows to denounce and disparage the Clintooon Recount that is being promoted and funded by the Green Party and Jill Stein, who are no friends of the Clintons.

Ah well, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the very idea of a recount be delegitimized in the eyes of the public, but oops. When (apparently) Himself insisted that "he woulda won" the popular vote too if it weren't for all the "millions" of illegals who voted for The Hag, he blew the whole thing wide open.

Now he and Kellyanne have boxed themselves in. The only way to find out what happened is if there's a nationwide recount.

Of course, that's highly unlikely, but they have thrown shade on their own side by claiming something essentially impossible about the other. We'll call it projection, because that's what it is. It's a bind I don't think they can get out of, and if calls for a nationwide recount are picked up, the consequences could be very interesting indeed. Since both Hillary and Trump made wild claims about election rigging and foreign interference, they've both set up a dynamic that requires a recount.

At this point, I'll lay even odds that there won't be an inauguration on January 20, 2017, regardless of the outcome of the first three recounts (assuming they even take place.) What looks at least possible is that the EC will be unable to reach 270 for either candidate, and the matter will be thrown to the House, but the House won't be able to do anything about it before January 6 when the new congress is supposed to be seated.

They won't be likely to pick Trump or Hillary. They might go with Their Good Friend Pence, but they might not have that option. Then what?

Who knows? Chaos ensues.

But then we have that already, and Our Fearless Media is scrambling to normalize it. Good lord, their cartwheels are impressive. Let them laugh while they can, though, this is not a sustainable situation.

Something like this level of chaos was taking place during the recount in 2000; armed militants were gathering at state capitols and public squares demanding that their boy Bush be declared the winner, and it was Scalia who took up the call and scared the rest of the Court into doing just that. Even though they had no real jurisdiction, and they knew it. The excuse was that if they hadn't intervened there would have been a civil war.

Well, maybe. I actually don't think so. Most of the threats were empty, but just the chance that there might be "civil disorder" was enough to goose the system to find a solution. So what if it was outside the bounds of law and custom? It worked, didn't it?

Such may be the case this time, too. I don't expect the Court to intervene again, at least not like they did in 2000 (for one thing, there isn't a majority for one side or the other). Some other kind of intervention, though, is more than possible, and I'm sure TPTB are gaming it out. What can they get away with without triggering wholesale insurrection by one side or another?

What can they get away with this time?

I dunno.

Whatever happens, I suspect one of the consequences down the line will be a greater level of state autonomy. The South and parts of the West have been demanding it for a long time, and they're liable to get their wish. The coasts are likely to demand autonomy as well, regardless of the election outcome. That could mean the Mountain West where I live is left to fend for itself, though some wags have proposed that we rejoin Mexico. Na ga happen, but still the idea is out there. We haven't really heard that notion since the days of Aztlan, though I thought that was always supposed to be independent of Mexico.

Will we see the republic suspended ? That actually seems more likely every day, and if that happens, it would almost require a General in charge and the institution of quasi- or actual martial law. Oh it could happen. The mechanisms exist. And they could be triggered by... elite fear of the masses?

We'll see won't we?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Electoral Myths

Now that things are heating up once again on the electoral front -- partly because of the inherent chaos in the process of electing presidents and such -- we're likely to be treated to another few months of... erm.... entertainment over who actually won the presidential election and possibly others.

Entertainment and lies.

The myths abound. For example, that the popular vote doesn't matter in presidential elections. If that were so, why do we bother with elections for the presidency? Of course we know from bitter experience that if the popular vote in particular "battleground" states goes the "wrong" way, the vote can be  -- indeed will be -- canceled, adjusted or revised until it produces the "correct" result. Because of the arcane, anachronistic Electoral College, only the popular votes in the individual states matter in presidential elections, not the overall popular vote nationally. A minority vote getter nationally can be elected to the presidency by the Electoral College -- as it looks like it will be the case with Mr. Trump, as it was the case with Mr. Bush2 and as has been the case previously (too lazy to research it right now) -- if enough voters in enough states vote for him or her, regardless of the total popular vote in all states.

That can happen, but it doesn't have to happen. The Electoral College is actually free to elect anyone they want -- or no one. The Electoral College could deadlock. It could refuse all the candidates before it. It could select someone the People did not have the opportunity to choose themselves. At least in theory, it doesn't even have to take a vote.

Hillary's national popular vote lead continues to grow. Right now it's edging up on 3 million and could conceivably better that. It's actually quite stunning. Despite all the yabbering and narrative creation about the election and the irrelevance of the popular vote, Mrs. Clinton is bidding fair to achieve one of the highest popular vote margins in recent history. That ain't nothin'. Far from it.

Thus there is a myth that once she conceded, the "election was over." Not so fast, Sparky. A concession is a courtesy, it's not a legally binding capitulation. On the other hand, there is every sign that Mrs. Clinton intended her concession as a capitulation, and that until recent events intervened, she had no intention of contesting the election outcome.

Those recent events include Dr. Stein's efforts to fund and undertake recounts in three  "battleground" states where the results are... questionable.We know that our elections are ridiculously opaque and arcane, and that the results can be jiggered pretty much any way by forces inside or outside of the electoral process. Even a recount -- when they are possible at all -- can't necessarily clarify and verify what happened. This is, I'm convinced, a deliberate design flaw to thwart the People's will, the People being so mercurial and untrustworthy and all.

What Emma Goldman said so long ago still obtains:
If elections changed anything, they'd be illegal.
Indeed.

But they are entertaining, so there is that.

Dr. Stein threw a spanner in the works  by funding and calling for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where the popular vote margin for Trump was slight and there are... anomalies in the vote and the result.

The fact that she could raise millions of dollars in a few days to undertake these recounts shocked the complacent political class who were all in for Trumpian Things To Come, settling in to their "peaceful transition of power," and normalizing Trumpism as if it were just the coolest thing in school.

Back in my day, monkeywrenching on this scale -- the scale that Stein did it -- was not uncommon at all, and many of those in the political class as well as among the resistant public engaged in it routinely. Every president since Kennedy has been monkeywrenched when you get down to it.

The issue here is that without a recount, the public can't be sure that the outcome in these three states reflects the actual will of the voters in these three states. The margins are so close, and any number of questionable acts and omissions have already come to light. Better to be sure, no?

Well for some in the political class, the answer is clearly NO!!!!! They've been running around with their hair on fire demanding that this effort not take place, and insisting without evidence that Dr. Stein is scamming the public and somehow will not go through with the recounts.

The "scam" accusation became ingrained in the mythos of this election's monkeywrenching first on the Democratic side and then picked up yesterday and blared forth by Trump hisownself.

Ah yes. Dems in high office and low said "Just accept it," and appeared to do nothing whatever to interfere with the "peaceful transition of power" to Trump and his cronies. Obama himself has been extremely accommodating and determined to "help (Trump) succeed." He has validated the election results in his own mind and has repeatedly said that he supports the announced outcome. Hillary has said much the same thing.  And essentially all of the Democratic establishment concurs. The media as a whole is fully on board with the Trump Transition, as if nothing at all were questionable about it.

As I've said many times, the winning side in our elections doesn't care how they achieve that victory, just that they win. In this case, the "winning side" appears to be the political class in general; ie: Dems and Reps together. Clinton, Obama and Trump as a unified voice against the People.

Interesting.

Not surprising, though.

It took an outsider -- with Standing -- to make the Political Class as a whole pay at least some attention to the People this time. The recounts -- so far -- are going forward, and who knows what will be found?

The Clinton campaign belatedly entered the Wisconsin recount effort when Dr. Stein filed for and was granted a recount on Friday. They said they did so "in the interests of fairness for 'all sides.'" Interesting indeed. One would expect the Trump campaign to do likewise in the by and bye. 'All sides" indeed. After all, who knows what they might find? Eek.

No, I'd say it's an obvious attempt by the Clinton campaign -- joined soon by the Trump campaign? -- to thwart the recount in every way possible. Why? Well, why not? The Clintons have already pledged their fealty and been given provisional absolution from criminal complaints against them. Key word, "provisional." What they had to agree to do in exchange is anyone's guess, but I'll bet it included such things as denouncing and/or thwarting the recount efforts.

And so it has been.

When Trump came out with his statement about it on Saturday, it strangely echoed the statements of certain Clintonite element on TV and in the media generally that insisted that Dr. Stein was "scamming" people, and that there was no merit in doing a recount at all because... "the election is over."

The myth that the election was "over" the minute the media called Mr. Trump the "winner" on November 9 is one of the more pernicious ones that has been retailed to the public. That's not how our (s)elections work as anyone who has even a casual familiarity with the process understands.

All the results are subject to review and adjustment following the election night scramble to get the tallies to the media. It doesn't take a recount, though that can happen too. As we've seen, the totals are constantly being supplemented and adjusted even now. This is how Mrs. Clinton has been gaining a substantial lead in the popular vote. More votes are being counted and tallied each and every day.

The numbers change, day by day, hour by hour. And in the battleground states, Mr. Trump's lead has shrunk as more votes are counted, more adjustments made. In Wisconsin there were incidents that appeared to be "vote padding" wherein thousands more votes for Mr. Trump were recorded than were cast. And so it goes. The (s)election is not "over" when a news network "calls" the election, nor when a candidate concedes.

The Electoral College doesn't meet until December 19, and their vote -- if they ultimately have one -- isn't official until certified by Congress in January.

Ah, the Majesty of it All!

A whole lot can happen between now and then, but the fact is that the media have no legal standing or authority to declare a winner, and a concession is not a legally binding contract.

In this case, the entire process of choosing a candidate for the presidency has been chaos. Deliberately induced and maintained chaos in my view, but there you are.

So let the Chaos continue and let it settle out in its own way in its own time.

I'm no fan of Mrs. Clinton, let me tell you, and if I had my druthers, there's no way she would be allowed to run things from the White House, but I'm not in a position to do anything about that. I voted for Bernie and Stein, but my vote didn't matter in the end.

I would not, however, under ANY circumstances, vote for or support Mr. Trump and his band of thieves and mountebanks. Never. Much as I don't want Mrs. Clinton in the White House  (again), I don't want him anywhere near it.

What I've seen is that the Democratic nomenklatura has almost all lined up in support of Trump's ascendancy. They have made their peace with what is to come and appear to be looking forward to another four years of bashing away at their political rivals. It's what they do. It's essentially all they do: hold the Rs up to ridicule and promote fear. They have shown that they have little or no interest in serving the People. They are instead the Peanut Gallery, booing the Bad Guys. That's where they want to be. That's where they are comfortable.

At the present time, they seem to have no interest in winning elections, either.

If I had my druthers, I'd RICO both major parties into oblivion. But that's not my choice to have, and we live with what we've got.

That's a mess.

One of the clarifying factors to emerge from the chaos so far is that all the hooey from both Trump and Clinton about "rigged elections" and "foreign interference" prior to Nov 8 has suddenly become "inoperative." They now both deny there is any evidence of rigging or foreign interference, despite their absolute certainty of it prior to Election Day. For a good long time after Election Day, there was no mention of it at all. As if, with a wave of the hand, all these accusations of electoral fraud and foreign interference made by both candidates could be made to go away as if by magic.

Well no. What they did was open a Pandora's Box which cannot be shut again -- though they are trying like mad to do so. What they did was expose how screwed up and vulnerable our electoral process is. People can't unhear or unsee it. And what Dr. Stein has done is open it to view by anyone who cares to look... Ooops. Maybe the candidates should have been a little more careful in what they said, but it's too late now, isn't it? I've said that Trump sowed the wind and will reap the whirlwind, but I think that goes for Mrs. Clinton as well. Indeed, we could witness something much more profound than the routine delegitimization of the Other Party's rule.

Huh.











Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shock Doctrinaire

[I have a juvenile black cat sprawled across my lap, so it's a little hard to type. Oxygen is flowing into my nose from my chair-sized concentrator though, so that's good. I think. We'll get to that -- maybe -- another time...]

It seems to be dawning on the political class and Our Rulers -- even to some extent to the wider-spread media -- that the elevation of Trump to the White  House is a classic Shock Doctrine move intended to produce classic Shock Doctrine effects. The Ratchet ratchets down another few clicks and there is no going back. [Shock Doctrine link. Be warned, 565 pg pdf.]

Regardless of what happens with the recounts and efforts to persuade the Electoral College to do the right thing and not elect Trump.

The shock(s) to the system(s) was calculated and deliberate, it has been delivered with a good deal of force, and whatever happens from this point will be in consequence of it, not in consequence of what the People want or need or voted for. It has nothing to do with the People except to the extent they can be further exploited, abused, and disposed of.

It has much, much more to do with the wealthy and powerful amassing more of the same at the expense of the People everywhere.

All of this seems to have come as a Shock to the Trumpians, too. They didn't expect it, and they have been wrong-footing ever since the (s)election.

Soon enough, it will dawn on the Exploiting Class -- if it hasn't already -- that Trump and his band of thieves and mountebanks are a god-send, their deliverer from the burden and annoyance of the People. That seems to be the point of all this hooey more than anything else.

The No-Brakes Regime the Trumpians are getting ready to impose begins in Chaos where it will stay till the Bitter End. In operation it will make the Bush2 Regime seem calm, restrained and rational (it was anything but).  Can you imagine being nostalgic for the Bush-Cheney Madhouse of Mis-Rule and Ruin? That's the kind of dissonance that's typical of imposed Shocks.

And this is being hailed and marketed far and wide in media, politics, and academe as if it were a Good Thing. Well, it's a Good Thing for those who profit from it, isn't it? It's not such a Good Thing for those who don't and can't and won't.

There is at least a chance, slim though it may be, that the operators of this madness will pull back from the brink and that there will be another shock, equal or greater than the first, and Trump will not become the president.

Personally, I think he will be allowed to sit in the Big Chair at least for a time -- maybe a few months -- before he is voluntarily or forcibly removed from office. The ways and means of that removal I'll leave to the imagination, but there are many options available, always have been. Presidents serve at the pleasure of the factions of the permanent government. Just like the rest of us, they are disposable. Trump is no exception. It looks to me like the factions are lining up on his side, though. They are getting used to the idea of a man-boy in the Big Chair again, and it looks like they like it.

I've noticed the atmospherics, the visuals he's been utilizing and the media has been aiding him with during this so-called "transition." There's a lot of Show Business, it seems to me, and less revealed substance than might be expected of someone else.

The backdrop of a White House-like doorway through which Trump and his interviewees retreat, and before which they pose for the cameras upon emerging from their interviews is interesting. This is a Bushian move, one the Busheviks employed effectively during the recount follies in 2000, though they tended to pose in front of a fireplace just as Oval Office photo ops are traditionally arranged. An expectation of inevitability was being induced through the use of White House-like sets, props, and decor. It was never entirely clear where these sets were, any more than the location of the Trumpian White House-like set is clear, but it doesn't matter for marketing purposes as long as it looks right. And it (more or less) does. Of course these posed shots on or in front of evocative "presidential" sets mask what's really going on effectively too. That's one of their main purposes.

Trump's pre-presidential pronouncements are clearly intended to soothe both his loyalist followers and the majority of voters who chose someone else. Because the situation is chaotic, thanks to his campaign rhetoric -- which was purpose-designed to alienate the majority of the population while appealing to a partisan minority -- and his and his cronies' statements and actions since election day, "soothing" noises are necessary to keep the masses from doing anything untoward prematurely. None of it makes any sense, truth to tell, and it's not supposed to. His congressional allies are causing even more disruption and chaos with their Grand Smash and Burn Plans to "overhaul, eliminate, and destroy" various programs and policies that they've been targeting for years if not generations.

They have declared, in no uncertain terms, that This Is The End of... well, Everything.



They now have unfettered Power. The rest of us be damned.

The rest of us be damned.

I recall that when the Busheviks were installed against the will of the People in 2000-2001, they were incredibly weak. Had there been any united and broad-based opposition, they could have been thwarted, maybe even prevented from taking office. But the shock was so great, it seems to me, that the political class simply gave up, did nothing but accommodate their New Overlords, and went on as if nothing was wrong. They stuck with the Busheviks out of a false sense of loyalty till the very end, and even in the midst of the shock of economic collapse, they did not repudiate the Busheviks. And now, of course, many -- including Bush 2 himself -- have been rehabilitated, and some of them are being integrated into the Trumpian Regime-to-Come.

The cycle repeats.

Obama's regime has been a necessary interlude, relatively peaceful and calm (I know, I know) compared to the utter Chaos of Bush2's reign and the even more chaotic Trumpian rule in preparation.

Shocks of this kind are intended to grease the skids for even more suffering and dislocation and death and destruction than we witnessed or felt or experienced from 2000 onward. According to the Doctrine and the way these things work, there is now nothing to stop it, nothing to stand athwart the barricades. There are no barricades. It's now a complete free for all. Yahoo! Advantage must be taken fast and furiously.

No brakes! Wheeeeee!

In many ways, it's Chaos for its own sake. Yes, exploitation, death and destruction are part of the program, part of the plan, but keeping things crazy is also pleasurable to the Ruling Clique regardless of anything else. They like seeing the untermenschen scramble in fear and despair. It gives their lives meaning. Our Rulers are, after all, the Masters of the Universe, are they not?

The pleasure of seeing others' suffering is sufficient unto the day for many of them. Monsters that they are. One day, we might want to explore how that happened. How did these Monsters arise? Have they always been among us, or is this something new?

At the moment, the Chaos is such that much of what could become the effective opposition to Trumpianism is disoriented and disunited. Whether it can shake free of the Chaos and become a stake in the heart of this vampirism and madness remains to be seen; I'm hopeful, but the signs aren't that encouraging at the moment. The only ones who seem to be able to carry the torch and stand firm appear to be the Water Protectors in North Dakota and their many, many allies around the world. They are the core of the Resistance.

Jill Stein's efforts to clarify through recounts what happened in three "battleground" states are being disputed and dismissed by political operatives on "both" sides of the aisle acting in common cause to prop up the Trumpian "victory," no matter what the facts of the matter are or may show.

They are denouncing Stein and the Green Party in full-throated fury, and many are claiming that this recount madness is a Clintonite Plot to steal the election for The Hag. It would be funny if it weren't so stupid. And of course, Soros-the-Devil MUST be behind it all, because everyone knows he owns the Clintooons.  Or even funnier, they are denouncing it as a Green Party Plot to enhance their public profile. Really? Well, who'd a thunk. And this is supposed to be a Bad Thing. I see.

As I've pointed out in several fora, it doesn't matter to the winning faction how the winning results are obtained. Election integrity mattered not at all to the Clinton faction during the primaries, and all the complaints of irregularities -- some of them stunningly obvious -- were simply dismissed as irrelevant because Hillary WON the nomination. Much the same has been happening with regard to Trump's narrow and unexpected Electoral College win -- or potential win, it isn't settled yet. Any irregularities or -- as in Pennsylvania -- the complete inability to verify the vote are just too bad; it doesn't matter how he got there, what matters is that he WON!!!! USA! YAY!

Ok. The Shock has been administered, and the experiment is under way. There is scrambling to be sure, but there is something more. What it will lead to, I don't know. But it is interesting to witness who is linking up and lining up behind the Trumpians and who is refusing. When the institutional players start refusing -- say if California does go ahead with autonomy (not secession) -- then I think we'll start to see the outlines of a less dismal future.

On the other hand, if enough of the institutional players go along with  the New Boss, it's Game Over.

We'll see, won't we?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Apologetics, Normalization, and Jill

Jill Stein has now raised over $4.5 million to pursue recounts of the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the three "battleground" states where the vote for president was closest. She says she doesn't necessarily expect the recounts to change the outcome, but there have been so many reported anomalies and oddities -- including counts totaling more than votes -- that for the sake of "Election Integrity" it is better to check again than to simply accept the outcome unquestioningly.

Seems simple and straightforward enough, doesn't it? Huh. The meltdown among the Trump apologists and normalizers is extraordinary. If they've done nothing wrong, they've got nothing to hide, right? Well...

As Lambert over at NC loved to say during the campaign, "This is a wonderfully clarifying election."

Indeed it is, for there has been a wonderful sorting of internet and media sites between Trump lovers and Others. NC, for one, is fully in the Trump camp as it has been since the campaign began. So too, Ian's Place, where the inappropriate Trump fluffing became something of a joke. The entire political class has pledged qualified fealty to the New Boss, and for all intents and purposes, so has almost all the Legacy and New Media.

As far as they're concerned, the (s)election is a done deal, and those malcontents and other losers can just get over it.

So here comes Jill Stein, who barely got 1.5-2.0% of the vote to say, "Hold on just a darned minute."

The reaction was and is fast and furious. So fast and so furious that it is all but certain that something is wrong with the counts, and not just in the "battleground" states, either.

Our elections have long been international jokes -- or perhaps nightmares depending on your point of view. The 2000 (s)election is still capable of raising the ire of millions of Americans and its results continue to affect the lives and survival of tens of millions around the world.

Now this? No. More and more Americans are saying "No," and some are taking action. They see a clear and present danger to the survival of the Republic -- which seems to have dawned on them rather late in the game, but oh well -- and their own survival as well.

They see through Mr. Trump's con. I've pondered that somewhat these last few months since I started paying more attention to the campaign. I've tried to understand why some people see through his con easily while others are seemingly transfixed by his persuasion and blandishments. How does that work exactly?

Well, it's obvious that some are in on the con and hope that by pledging loyalty early they'll get a reward. Tough luck, suckers when it comes to anyone else, they're gonna cash in on Trump's victory, come what may. The reward doesn't have to be money. For some it's just the shared glory of being on the winning side, no matter the struggle.

It's a game, in other words, not real life. Many of these game-players lack any empathy for their fellows; it's just not in their nature to give a good gott-damb over what happens to anyone else, and at least in part because of that, these non-empathetic players respond to Trump as one of their own. Well, sure, except that he and his ilk are more than happy to skewer their own supporters if there's power or profit to be obtained in doing so. Jeebus, do these people not know that?

Some apparently don't. It's "sad" but not sad to see it.

It's not true that we've never had a rich con man at the head of our government. In fact, there have been quite a few in the nation's history, though none that I can recall were as rude and crude a representative of his class as Mr. Trump. None I can recall lacked any social conscience at all. The closest historic example I can think of is Andrew Jackson, and at least from Ms. Ché's perspective as an Elder Cherokee Woman, he wasn't really as bad as he's been made out to be. Or rather, she says, there were reasons for his badness that have gone overlooked and need to be understood to understand why he did what he did, and why he turned the country in the direction he did -- better for some, much worse for others (such as her own people.)  It's not helpful, she says, to think of it as a binary, good vs evil. It was far more complicated than that, and much of it had to do with the inner dynamics of Jackson's own family and how that affected his... mind.

[Note: Ms Ché has done a lot of study about Andrew Jackson. She's been to his plantation outside of Nashville, studied the place and the man carefully, read extensively about the times and the people who backed and fought Jackson, has looked into her own family history -- a history that includes both rebels and accommodationists -- and she's worked with other Cherokees who are attempting to comprehend what was going on in those days (1820s to 1840s) that led to Jackson's rise and the removal of the Indians from not just the Southeast but throughout the settler territory east of the Mississippi. I'm not a whole lot of help in that study. My own ancestral history has shown me that any success my ancestors had in this country depended initially on the removal of the Indians from Ohio and Iowa.

On the other hand, Cherokees, though subjected to some terrible conditions thanks to Jackson and those who served him, have not only survived, in many ways they've flourished, something that Ms Ché discovered was part of Jackson's argument for their removal from their lands in the Southeast. He justified it as a means to prevent their genocide. Jackson was no friend of the Indians, to be sure. But he was apparently not the ogre he's been made out to be, either. I won't defend him, but Ms Ché sometimes does, not to "normalize" what he did, but to expand the story to include more than most histories do.]

Trump apologists went ballistic when Jill announced her intention to raise enough money to pursue recounts of the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and their anger only increased when she was able to raise her initial funding request almost overnight.

"A Clintooon plot!" they screamed. "Soros!! Soros!! Soros!!" "Hillary is masterminding this!!!!" Etc.

They say essentially the same things about the street demonstrations that broke out on the announcement of Trump's "victory." They claimed and claim that it is all a "Soros Plot to precipitate a Color Revolution!!!!!"

Nonsense.

Even the Water Protectors are considered to be a "Soros/Clintooon far left plot." It's crazy. CT and paranoia is rampant among Trump Protectors, Defenders, and Apologists.

But there you are, that's where we are in this unstable political situation.

Jill's act of defiance has given them the willies, because she's not Hillary, she doesn't support Hillary, and if anything, she has more contempt for Hillary and the Democratic higher ups than Trumpians do. She's more interested in replacing the corrupt and dangerous system of rule we have today than any Trumpian you'd care to name.

And she sees Trump and his minions as dangerous in office as another Clinton regime might could be. They're all warmongers, thieves, and mountebanks. All of them.

This is all taking place in the context of a furious effort to "normalize" Trump's increasingly erratic and nonsensical talk and behavior. To make light of it, in fact, as if he's only being himself, and himself is what the country voted for.

No they didn't.

The notion that "America elected Trump" is... false. Period. Hillary's popular vote lead is approaching 3 million and may surpass it once all the votes are counted assuming they will all be counted and counted accurately. If America had its say in this election, it was not to elect Trump. It was not to elect Hillary either. The actual "say" of voters this time around was "Neither one, please." A majority voted against Hillary, and against Trump.

Sigh. But that doesn't matter according to the way our presidents are (supposed to be) chosen. Of course those of us who are old enough recall how what's "supposed to be" doesn't matter either when a partisan Supreme Court sees an opening for its own lawless interference in the electoral process. Once that was done and accepted by the political class and its media handmaidens in 2000, the integrity of elections -- to the extent there had ever been any -- was forever compromised.

We the Rabble were shown in no uncertain terms that the (s)election outcome could and would be "adjusted" on behalf of TPTB's preferred candidate at will, and there was nothing the Rabble could do about it.

I think Jill is smart enough to realize that will be the case this time, too, no matter what the recounts show. I don't doubt she's aware that if the results were jiggered in those states on behalf of Trump -- which I tend to think happened -- the recounts are likely to be jiggered as well, "confirming" Trump's "victory" with the same jiggered set of numbers.

That is to say it will be if Trump is TPTB's preferred candidate, and that is not altogether certain at this point. Jill has raised an enormous amount of money for these recounts, more than she was able to raise for her campaign, and she's done it essentially overnight. She raised so much so fast that I can only imagine there are powerful interests who want this challenge to happen. As much as I'd like to think that millions of Little People contributed the remaining pennies in their piggy banks, I doubt that's the case. No, this looks much more like an effort by the High and Mighty to fuck Trump up.

Oh nasty. Well, yeah. That's how these people think. It's how they act. Trump and his followers would be doing it if the shoe were on the other foot, and they'd be rattling their sabres and threatening bloody mayhem the while. 

Jill's approach is much.... calmer.

The question of Clintooooon!!!! backing is one of the more ludicrous accusations floating among the Normalizers, as if somehow that would invalidate the effort. Nonsense. Whether she has anything to do with it is not germane to the question of whether the count is accurate or not. Hello?

It's much like the accusation of Soros funding of the demonstrations against the elevation of Trump to the White House. Even if he were funding the demonstrations, so what? No one is being forced to march and carry signs, no one is coercing anyone else to be part of the protests. Those who are part of them are doing so for their own interests and purposes, not on behalf of someone else's agenda.

I'm reminded of the huge antiIraqWar protests back in the day. They were organized by the ANSWER coalition of largely old line Communist organzations. So? The participants for the most part weren't old line Communists and few were even aware of the organizations which formed the ANSWER coalition. It really didn't matter. The point was to physically express dissent from the coming invasion of Iraq.

Millions around the world did. They were unable to stop the invasion and its monstrous consequences.

That failure was educational. People have learned that massive demonstrations for or against pretty much anything can be and will be ignored if the demonstrators dissent from the neoLibCon consensus. Nevertheless, even if they are ignored, mass protest serves a useful purpose in making manifest the Rabble's disagreement with their Rulers, and in bringing together like minded individuals from broadly different political and social positions and perspectives. It's a cumulative thing.

The mass demonstration tactic must be combined with other, less easily ignored tactics to form an effective counter to the ruling consensus. It'll work on occasion. It'll fail too. But it's no good to say that because this or that effort was a failure that "nothing can be done."

What Jill is doing has the potential to undo the (s)election, though she doesn't expect it to. Regardless of the outcome of the recounts, her action throws a spanner in the works and makes the media's (new and legacy) efforts to normalize Trump's elevation to the presidency all that much harder. It isn't "normal" no matter what, nor is it acceptable to a significant portion of the electorate. It's a con....

So we'll see.

As always, we'll see.

And no, this is not about Hillary. Get over it.