Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of Year Wrap Up

We live in Interesting Times.

More later. Much to think about and much to do today.

[01/01/2017 :  Well. I didn't get to it yesterday, and it doesn't look like I'll get to it today. Too. Much. To. Do.

Nevertheless, despite all, may I wish all and sundry a sufficiently happy new year for the needs thereof... looks like we're gonna have at least one more job to do...]

Friday, December 30, 2016

Houses: My Mother Grew Up Here

Herself lived here...
This is the house where my mother grew up in Santa Maria, California. Until recently, I didn't know where she had lived in Santa Maria when she was young. I don't think she ever told me, and I'm not sure I ever asked, despite the fact that I lived in Santa Maria from 1949 to 1953, and I spent most summers there from 1973 to 1983.

The picture was taken by the omnipresent Google Street View in 2012, before the house was fairly extensively rehabbed. Though the front porch is enclosed in this image, and the paint color is not likely to have been original (ha), the picture gives a pretty good idea of what the house was like when my mother lived there.

It seems to me to be quite a pleasant place, all things considered.

It's a classic California bungalow built c. 1918. My mother, her mother, and her step-father moved to California from Indiana in 1917, and I'm pretty sure that my mother's step-father had this house built shortly thereafter. In 1920, it was apparently the only house on that side of the street. It was two blocks from my mother's stepfather -- Leo's -- work at the Eugene Rubel Dodge dealership on Broadway.

"A Classic California Bungalow" gives me pause. Our last home in California was in a neighborhood full of "Classic California Bungalows" and I can't say that I was particularly fond of them. They tended to be dark as caves, and if they were in original condition -- few of them were -- they were poorly constructed, rickety, rotting, with unsafe and inadequate wiring, failing plumbing, tiny kitchens, and otherwise barely functional interiors.

They were considered the height of modernity back in the day, however, so much better and simpler they were than the gaudy Victorians they replaced. In California at the time this house was built, the Bungalow was the nearly universal modest home style, and I can well imagine that the family that moved from industrial Indianapolis to idyllic California in 1917 were entranced with the idea of building and living in one.

Leo worked for the streetcar company in Indianapolis. The streetcar company was notorious for its ill treatment and very low pay of employees and for appalling working conditions.  In California, Leo went to work in the repair shop for a prominent auto dealer and worked his way up to service manager. I always thought Leo's heritage was Irish or Welsh, but it turns out he was of German descent, as was Rubel, and he was a member of the Knights of Pythias by which connection he was able to move to California and find work quickly.

The house he built in Santa Maria wasn't large by today's standards, but it was more than adequate for the needs of his small family at the time. It appears to have been lighter and brighter than most bungalows. The front faces south, and the large picture window in the living room must have let in lots of light. There is a large south facing window in the dining room as well, but as it is sheltered by the porch roof, it wouldn't have let in quite as much light. On the other hand, there is a high window on the east side of the dining room that would have flooded the room with morning sun. So much that there is a wood frame for a shade above the dining room window. The kitchen and the breakfast room also face east, so the morning light would have been generous and cheery -- at least when it wasn't foggy.

There are high windows on either side of the fireplace in the living room, and they could have let in abundant afternoon light as they face west. Each bedroom and the bathroom also have windows facing west. In most of the country, west-facing windows are a bane, especially in summer, but on California's central coast, that's often not the case. Ordinarily, the fog rolls in from the Pacific each afternoon, softening or eliminating the heat and glare of the western sun. Even when the sun shines in the west on the Central Coast, it is hardly ever hot.

I had thought that the main entry to the house was on the east wall of the living room, but now I think not. There is an indication that the front door is actually directly across the porch from the door visible in the picture above. It probably did not open into the dining room,  however. In the similar floorplan I found in Keith's Magazine (c. 1916), there is a small vestibule and hallway separating the living and dining rooms, and something like that is what I suspect this house featured.

The dining room would have been smaller than is indicated from the exterior. It may have been smaller, but it had typical bungalow built ins -- a buffet under the horizontal window, and two glass doored china cabinets on either side. The living room probably boasted glass doored book cases on either side of the fireplace.

I don't know whether the ceilings in the living and dining room had box beams, but it wouldn't have been surprising if they did. Pan ceiling lights would also be expected, but and there may have been side lights as well.

The floors would have been oak -- except in the kitchen, bath, breakfast room and screen porch. I expect that all except the bath had linoleum floor coverings; the bathroom probably had tile flooring -- the small hexagon tiles so common in those days.

What kind of bathroom fixtures there were, and whether there was a claw-foot tub or a built in tub, is a mystery. I suspect the fixtures were the most modern, however. The idea of having a house like this was to be as up to date as possible.

A bungalow kitchen sink

The kitchen probably had a row of cabinets with tile countertops. A sink was in the center under the east window. On the opposite wall was no doubt a gas stove. The ice box was probably located on the screen porch the way they were in those days. I imagine there was a "California cooler" at the end of the counter in the kitchen, so the ice box was probably small compared to some. There were no doubt laundry tubs on the screen porch, but I have a feeling that Edna (Mrs. Leo) had a washing machine from very early on as well. She probably acquired a radio and an electric refrigerator as soon as they were reasonably priced and available in Santa Maria. As a side note, Santa Maria at that time was a small rural community dominated by a few pioneer ranching/farming families. They ran cattle and grew fruits and vegetables for market. It wasn't unlike the Salinas of Steinbeck's East of Eden -- with the exception that I think the people of Santa Maria were a good deal nicer, but that's another story.

The rooms in this house not large by today's standards, and I expect the house probably had less than 1,200  square feet in total.

The house would have been considered "neat and tidy" when it was new. My sense is that it always had a stucco exterior, probably without the lower brick veneer seen in the photo. I imagine it was furnished simply. More likely simplicity was the style favored by my mother's parents from their own experience in Indiana. I think they brought a lot of that Midwest simple-living ethic with them to California and never entirely lost it. My mother inherited some of that, too.

I don't know for certain, but I suspect the house was painted barn-red with white trim when my mother was growing up there. I have this notion because that color scheme was one she talked about frequently. She tried to get my father to paint his own house in Iowa that color, but he wouldn't do it. He did, however, have a three-part front window put in to please my mother; she complained that his house was "so dark."

From real estate and other listings I've been able to find, it appears that the house was used as an office building in recent years, primarily for medical and chiropractic offices. But it has retained most of its residential character. After it was last sold in 2014, it was extensively rehabbed -- I wouldn't say it was necessarily remodeled or restored -- and it appears to have been returned to residential use.

My mother got married the first time in 1932, and she moved into a small duplex with her husband -- who was an employee at Eugene Rubel's, an auto mechanic working under Leo. Not long afterwards, Leo sold this house and he and Edna bought an auto court in Willits on the Redwood Highway.

 In 1939, Leo sold that and "invested" all his money in a mining venture in Nevada. Turns out it was a fraud, and he lost everything. I suspect he barely escaped going to jail.

By 1941, he and Edna were back in California where Leo took work as a machinist at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. Edna was ill with the cancer that would kill her by the end of the year. My mother and sister were in Sacramento. My mother would divorce her first husband in 1941 or 42 (I've never known the exact date -- all my mother told me was that she and my sister's father were married "for about ten years.")

My mother and father were married in 1947, divorced in 1949. My mother vowed never to get married again, and never to depend on a man again, and she didn't. It was tough at first, but she made her own way the rest of her life, and I've admired her courage throughout.

I think this Santa Maria bungalow had a very strong influence on the way she came to see herself and the way she wanted to live. Never again would she live in a bungalow per se, but she insisted on living in a house as opposed to an apartment, and when she could, she owned her own houses rather than renting. A surprising number of the houses she lived in resembled this bungalow, as have a surprising number of houses Ms Ché and I have lived in on our own. Indeed, the house we live in now has some fairly strong resemblances.

It's more because the style became standardized than anything else.

As I think about this house and imagine how it might have been when my mother was growing up, I can more and more easily picture it and the effect it had on her. She never indicated to me that she was an unhappy child -- except for one thing: she wasn't adopted by Leo, and she always knew that he wasn't her natural father. She used his last name and she said he always treated her as his daughter, and he was a kind and generous man, but he wasn't her father. And that made for... difficulties that she couldn't control. She didn't know her biological father. He was killed when she was five years old, but he had left Indianapolis years before when she was only one or two years old. The absent father became a theme later in her life.

Leo's failure to strike it rich in Nevada and Edna's subsequent death from untreated cancer (they were Christian Scientists), followed by my mother's divorce from my sister's father led to a period of intense chaos in my mother's life, chaos that only started to settle in the early 50s, and even then, nothing ever quite settled down for her.

She lived an interesting life... ;-)

As a point of reference, this is apparently the Santa Maria bungalow where my mother and her family lived until Leo built or bought the house at the top of the post.

She also lived here...
I say "apparently" because the address of this house isn't exactly the same as the one listed for the family until 1918. It's two numbers off, and houses on this street are numbered by tens.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Peace on Earth

Most of those of us who have been around for a while have had the notion of Peace on Earth hammered into us throughout our whole lives. This was, perhaps more than anything else, the Post War mantra repeated over and over again, "Let there be Peace on Earth."

Of course peace never came, not really. The mechanics of it were always the problem, weren't they? If there was to be world peace, a Pax Mundi as it were, just how was it to be accomplished? Scholars and mystics the world over struggled to figure it out, and their conclusion seemed to be that the ultimate peace of the world would only come when the Giant Asteroid wiped out humanity. Or some such. Or we blew everything up in a Nuclear Holocaust.

Nevertheless, many of us, we, the Rabble, haven't given up on something as elusive as Peace on Earth simply because it may be an unreachable ideal.

Unfortunately, our situation in the West -- as that part of the world where Anglo-American culture is dominant is still called -- has become so decadent and corrupt, "ideals" are considered a fool's game. Grab all you can before it all goes to shit seems to be the current ethic if you will, an End Times to end all End Times predilection, because I guess if you don't get yours now, you never will. Never ever.

There's just never enough to go around, and it's too bad for them that's got nothin'.

And of course things are going to shit at an accelerating pace. Make no mistake. The End is Nigh.

Many of Our Betters intend to survive no matter what, and I suspect too many of them will.

I was pondering Jeffrey Epstein's bolt hole up the road from our place. The Zorro Ranch is huge, XX,000 acres, I don't know how many exactly, on the border between the Estancia and Galisteo Basins in central New Mexico. An enormous mansion sits on a mesa overlooking both basins. A little western town, like a movie set, sits below on the Estancia Basin side, where apparently the ranching operations take place. They run some cattle, longhorns included, as well as a variety of artisinal breeds, but there are never very many of them, not like some of the other cattle ranches in the area.

There's some dispute over whether Epstein still owns the Zorro Ranch. Apparently the property records aren't clear about its current ownership. The only people we've ever seen entering or leaving through the ranch gate appear to be workers, mostly ranch hands. There's never been a motorcade of bullet proof SUVs and the like, and we've never seen squadrons of helicopters (black or otherwise) coming in for landings at the helipad up the hill.

This is the Google overhead view of the ranch house and helipad:

The mesa on which this spread sits is probably a couple of hundred feet high, and I expect that deluxe bunkers have been blasted into it to preserve, protect, and defend Epstein and whoever else can hie themselves hitherwards when the End comes. I don't doubt that a list has been made, and preparations for transport of selected VIPs have been made. Shuttles are no doubt on 24 hour call.

Epstein's place is one of many such retreats around the nation and around the world built in the past 20 years or so for the purpose of having "a place in the country" for the rich and powerful to shelter in -- just in case.

Our place is nothing like that at all, just a simple hand-built pioneer adobe ranch house, without a ranch any more, surrounded by a modest working class neighborhood, salt of the earth neighbors with whom we get along (mostly) --- even though we're from California. Heh.

But some of our thinking when we bought this place was not unlike that of the High and Mighty selecting their bolt holes for when the time comes.

When I mentioned to a friend in California that we'd bought this place out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico, he sensed right away that a big part of the reason was to have a place to go "when it all goes to shit."

True enough, I suppose. True enough. Though I don't see actually how we would survive should the plug be pulled on "civilization." We, like most folks, depend on electricity and natural gas for light and heat. We don't have a generator or a fireplace or even a woodstove. We don't have our own well so we'd run out of water pretty quick. We haven't laid in supplies, though there is -- or would be -- room for a pretty extensive pantry should we want to have stuff on hand for the Apocalypse.

We're several miles from the Interstate, where most supplies originate in any case. But there are farms closer, farms and ranches, where produce is grown, livestock raised and so forth, and the ranchers and farmers are among our acquaintances if not actually friends. Some of them have made preparations of their own, though nothing as elaborate as Epstein's, and I would imagine that should everything go to shit, folks around here would pull together to hold on to some of the attributes of a positive and purposeful way of life.

That aside, however, once Ms. Ché and I are out of medications, I doubt either of us would last much longer as we both have conditions that are guaranteed to be fatal -- sooner without medications than later.

Oh well.

Not that we, personally, have any particular need to survive come what may. Whatever contribution we can make, we're making while we have the chance, while we're here, elders with some discretionary resources. It's not for us to hold on to; it's for us to give away while we can.

Many of us understand the nature of the crisis this year's presidential (s)election has precipitated. The installation of Trump and his cronies into power marks a clear and clean break from the nation's past. Nothing like this has happened before. And there is little or no likelihood that prior practice will be restored. This is the end of the Republic in all ways but name. Much like the Roman Republic, many of the aspects and attributes of the US republic will no doubt continue on as empty shells, meaningless rituals and practices, but the Republic established by the Founders and operated more or less competently for the past 230 years will be extinct, and something else, call it an Empire, will take its place.

I doubt that very many people will notice, as we've been on this path for a long, long time. Nixon in fact established the Imperial Presidency -- to much mockery and laughter -- and the precedent was set. But there was more to it than just the show. The underlying premise was that the USofA, as an Imperial power, had an obligation to establish and maintain a Pax Americana that would eventually encompass the globe, and that the US had an obligation to use any and all strategies and tactics to accomplish the goal.

In other words, the Empire, for all its faults, would one day come to rule the world. The US has never deviated from that path ever since the crises of the '70s that led to military defeat and withdrawal in Southeast Asia and the crisis of the Presidency that led to Nixon's resignation and the installation of the nation's first unelected president. That was the break in the nation's republican heritage that has never been repaired.

Precedent was set and here we are.

The precedent was that presidents (and vice presidents)  can be removed and others installed without consultation or the assent of the People.  Who accomplishes the transfer of power is still shadowy. Who is actually in charge at any given time is a mystery.

From my view, the power of the presidency is a matter of agreement between the contending factions of the permanent government and the Overclass. Until now, the Overclass had been content to rule indirectly through the agency of the permanent government. Now with the advent of Trump, the mediation of the permanent government will apparently be dispensed with and the Overclass will rule us directly.

The narrative among most of the Trump defenders and loyalists -- at least among those who can acknowledge the situation -- asserts that this is a good thing, and it's about time that our billionaire Overlords were openly in charge rather than corrupting the managerial class who have been in charge of the government for  many generations. In effect, we're going back to the origins of the government itself when the very wealthy Founders were the ones who ran and in effect were the government.

One could therefore argue the advent of Trump "re-founds" the nation the way it was supposed to be.

An argument in favor of this New America is that Trump and his cronies are so rich they can't be corrupted -- the way today's Congress and the whole apparatus of government under a managerial class (oh, such as the Clintons, for example) could be and has been. It's a ridiculous argument, but it's one that has gained some currency, without the simultaneous recognition that putting the corrupters in charge means that there is no longer any mediation between their interests and demands and those of the People.

Without that mediation, the People get screwed harder and faster than ever before. Duh.

On the other hand, there seems to be no recognition that there are many things Our Betters could do -- rather than screwing the People harder and faster than ever before -- to secure their almost perpetual rule over us, and they could even engineer their longed-for Peace without resort to nuclear or other armed conflict.

No, it seems that nearly all Trump defenders and loyalists are determined to impose as harsh and destructive a rule as possible on everyone but  themselves -- as revenge, apparently, for harm they believe they've suffered under the Republic. They're disappointed that their hero and champion is not entirely on board with them.

In reality, provided there is any sense of social conscience in and among the Trump-ists, to engineer both domestic and international peace and good will; there is no sign it will happen -- just the opposite in fact -- but you never know.

My wish has always been an end to war and violence.

We may or may not get there.

Signs are not looking good. On the other hand, stranger things have happened.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

[Sorry for the incoherence in my last post. I may try to clean it up -- or not. This is turning into a more difficult week for me than I anticipated. Suspect it may have something to do with medications... or maybe incipient dementia. ;-0]

Oh Christmas Tree...

Christmas Eve has always been an anticipatory annual event for me. Somewhere (I don't know where) there are pictures of me taken when I was an infant and toddler beside what now seem like spectacular Christmas trees in Iowa and California. I have strong memories of Christmas trees from my childhood, putting them up, decorating them, and piling their bases with Christmas presents every year no matter where we lived, no matter what. There were some years we were very poor and Christmas might have been lean and spare, but I wouldn't have known it. In fact, it didn't occur to me until I was an adult that part of my childhood was spent in relatively dire poverty.

In those days, late 40s and early 50s, it was much more difficult for a single mother to simply get by -- let alone make a living - than it is today. Nevertheless, child poverty rates today probably match or exceed what they were back then. And nevertheless, parents (single or no) still do whatever they can to make the Holiday season as nice as they can for the children.

And so, here we come upon another Christmas Eve. I'm old and I'm ill, though surprisingly chipper about it all. Why be a Gloomy Gus, eh? I'm not particularly chipper about the looming catastrophe under a new King-Emperor, but there's not a lot I can do about it, is there? Que sera, sera and all that.

I think I've mentioned that we keep a Christmas tree up all year long in honor of Ms Ché's mother who loved Christmas more than any other holiday, in part because she gave birth to her daughter (Ms Ché) on Christmas Eve, and she named her Mary (among several other names she was given, along with several more she chose for herself.)

We got a new Christmas tree this year. The one one we'd been using had become rather ratty over the years (it's at least thirty, maybe forty years old) and it seemed appropriate this year to set up a new one. It's sweet and small, decorated with both new and old baubles, some of them dating back to our childhoods and it is filled with memories on every branch. Unfortunately, one of the Gift Cats (so we call them) delivered by a neighbor back in May (or was it April?) decided he liked the lower branch ornaments (the older ones included) and took to knocking them off the tree and chasing them around the house. He only broke one, but still.

The Gift Cats, huh. They're adorable but they get the crazy sometimes, the way cats do, and they go wild around the house, getting into everything, making a mess, and yes sometimes breaking things.

They're both black. One, the smaller and leaner one, called Ashe, has become a "watcher." He's joined members of the feral colony outside to protect the colony and the property from the intrusion of alien cats. He's very aggressive if he spots a stranger, whether feline or any other species, including the delivery men who have been stopping by practically every day with gifts. He runs right up to them when they cross onto the property and he challenges them: "Who are you? What are you doing here?" We laugh, but he's actually the only one who does it. The other watchers will patrol the property line, or they sit in the sun waiting and watching for feline intruders. When they spot one, they will issue threats and challenges, usually running the intruders off. But every now and then, one gets through the cordon. Over the years, a few of the interlopers have integrated into the colony. But most aren't accepted.

Cat politics in feral colonies is not unlike that of lion prides. Cats are very social creatures, not the solitary animals that they are reputed to be. Their societies are built on kinships. Female cats run the societies. Males "service" them. I don't mean just sexually. All of our feral cats (a couple of exceptions who have escaped going to the vet) are neutered. All of the alpha and sub-alpha males are neutered, so their sexual service to the queen catta and her daughters is nil, but the alphas and sub-alphas still perform their duties to protect the colony.

One of them, the oldest, we call Bruiser. He's a big gray tabby with only one good eye. He apparently lost the other one in a fight with an interloper. He's the prime Alpha, and everyone defers to him. He doesn't actually do a great deal any more, as he's getting old and can't see all that well. He stations himself where he can take in as much of the property as he can under the circumstances, though, and he keeps watch throughout the day.

His chief sub-alpha we call Baby. He was quite sickly when he was born (to a female who we were unable to trap). Ms Ché nursed him back to health, and as soon as he was able, he took up a role supporting Bruiser's efforts to keep the colony safe from the neighbors' unaltered males.

Whereas Bruiser used to get into serious fights with stranger-cats, Baby never did. He would stalk them strategically, ultimately driving them off the property. We would watch him work, amazed at his skill at cornering the interlopers and forcing them beyond the property line without raising his voice and without any physically attacking them at all. It is a wonder to behold.

A secondary sub-alpha -- who wants to be the alpha male -- is called Larry. (As in the Clash of the Clans skeleton, the bad disobedient one). He came here as a disheveled and nearly starved interloper. A skeleton of a juvenile cat. We suspect he was abandoned by whoever he lived with. It's not unusual in this area for people to have cats and leave them behind when they move (that's how the colony began), or to bring them to this area and abandon them to fend for themselves. Some make it, most don't. If the coyotes don't get them, they're likely to starve to death or get run over.

Larry arrived one day, looking sick and skinny and he could barely walk, he was so bad off. Ms Ché nursed him back to health the way she does, and took him in to the vet for vaccinations and neutering. Well, when he came back, we discovered that they had initially done surgery as if he were a female, poor thing, and... oops! He was not amused, and it took quite a while for him to recover. He still walks as if his abdomen hurts. Nevertheless, when he recovered, he decided he was part of the colony and began asserting himself as an alpha against Bruiser. They got into many fights with one another, both of them wounded in their rivalry. Ms Ché treated their wounds as a neutral party, and she told them to stop it. Eventually they did, though they haven't made total peace with one another. Bruiser tends to watch for intruders from the front; Larry patrols the back, and he challenges and sometimes fights with any intruders he comes across. I think the fact that he patrols his own section of the property is what keeps him out of conflict with Bruiser.

When the Gift Cats came along, we didn't know what would happen. As it happens, the smaller but more aggressive one (Ashe) decided he would take on patrol duty, and at first he attached himself to Larry as a kind of assistant. Larry was not amused, but he tolerated this black juvenile following him around -- until he didn't. One day he swatted Ashe hard and gave him the stink eye. Ashe backed away.

I don't know how it happened, but somehow Bruiser decided to take on Ashe as his assistant. They will sit together watching sometimes for hours, but Ashe also patrols -- which Bruiser no longer does -- and Ashe boldly confronts anyone who comes on the property unauthorized, whether it is neighbors, delivery people, or other animals. I've seen him run off dogs. He will not allow any strange cat on the front of the property. And any person he sees headed toward the house he challenges. He's so proud of himself, too. He demands praise, not just from us but from the rest of the colony as well. He's made several buddies among the ferals, and when the elders die off as they will, he and his buddies expect to take over.

I go on about cats because they've been an important part of our lives. Both Ms Ché and I have had cats since we were children, and since we don't have kids of our own, cats have been kind of substitute offspring. Ms Ché said that when she would come here (to our place in New Mexico) when we were still living in California, she felt "cat-lonely" and so it was only natural that she would adopt and take care of the feral colony that had actually started at a neighbor's place. Sometimes she thinks that was a mistake. There are typically between 16 and 20 cats in the colony -- population has been very stable for years -- and they require a lot of attention, not to mention food enough for an army.

Ferals are reputed to be grand bird killers, but the ones here are not. First, they don't roam far from the property (after all, it's where the Food Lady lives) and second we rarely count more than five or six bird kills on the property per year. They're proud of their hunting skills, of course. But the birds (we have many) are wise, too. The ones the cats get are occasional doves (maybe twice a year) and more frequent sparrows, some of which are nestlings that fall or are pushed out of the nest. The other birds are almost never  found among the carcasses of birds the cats have caught. I've seen them stalk grackles and road runners, both of which seem to just laugh at the cats -- and I'm sure they would attack them if they felt threatened at all.

Also, too, the cats keep the property completely free of rodents. (Sorry Not-Even, A Mouse). The only wildlife they seem unable -- or unwilling -- to control are the skunks which remain an occasional but persistent problem in this area.

So Christmas is partly for us together, partly for Ms Ché's birthday, partly for Ms. Ché's mother, partly for the cats. This year, we have more gifts to share with one another, the cats, and our friends and neighbors, just because why not? We'll have a Christmas Eve dinner here at home, then go out tomorrow for Christmas with friends. It's an annual ritual and tradition now.

Despite my foreboding about the intentions and madness of Our Rulers, there are some things we have no intention of giving up, come what may.

Merry Christmas to all... And to all a Good Night.

Gift cats, Ashe (top), Tubby (bottom) asleep on Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Making It Impossible to Govern

I'm not clued in to the various -- and contending -- protest movements under way to "stop Trump". The initial street protests seemed to fizzle out, partly because of the holiday season I'm sure (priorities and all that), partly because people have to work to get by, and partly because they were being overwhelmed/co-opted by Democrats who basically didn't want any uprisings in the streets.

No, they were going to go about the business of de-Trumping by clever political strategy. Except they didn't have one. They still don't. Some of the most ludicrous examples of the failure of political strategies are on view daily at Daily Kos. I will say no more about that.

What the Dems have had all along, though, is an intense and overriding interest in knee-capping the Left -- or what they believe to be the Left. No genuine popular movement can get going under their wing. Any independent "left" movement must be crushed or co-opted. They must control the process. Otherwise, who knows what might happen? Someone like Trump could get elected.... ooops.

Speaking of, we just can't know whether vote casting and counting was done accurately this time around. It's a mystery that will never actually be solved because in too many cases, there's no way to verify the vote. It can't be done. What is becoming known, however, is that efforts to suppress the vote, to disqualify millions of voters, and to make it impossible for significant numbers of voters to vote, or for their votes to be counted were very successful, and these efforts were directed at and largely affected Democratic voters. It also appears that many Democratic voters declined to vote for president, whereas others voted third party.

So for the sake of argument, I'm going to accept the results as a relatively accurate reflection of what those who were able to vote and were so inclined voted for. I'm not taking it on faith. The announced outcome is one of many possibilities. For the sake of argument, the result is instructive.

We get to this outcome in large part through the failure of institutions and politics to protect and defend the People from the depredations of the Overclass, an Overclass which has had almost unfettered free rein to pillage and plunder for decades.

Politics hasn't changed it; politics has enabled it. No matter what the People say they want, no matter what or who they vote for, the political class does what it wants. Institutions have been more interested in preserving, protecting, and defending themselves rather than anything or anyone else, and they have almost all failed their constituencies. NGOs have long been a bad joke. Churches forgot their mission. Institutions of higher learning exploit their students and their parents. Police go rogue and murder without consequence. Financial institutions loot their customers. Media parades bizarre falsehoods.

On and on. It's a goon show, and most Americans know it.

Since its all a con anyway, why not put a master con-man on the throne? What do we think Obama has been? Or Big Dog? Or Bush the Lesser? All of them con-artists. And that's big reason why they were put on the throne to begin with. Their job is to con the public and keep them tame in the face of all the horrors and exploitation they're subjected to. Hillary couldn't do it.

The biggest institutional failure in the political realm is that of the Democrats who have failed in every way -- especially since 2009 -- to protect and defend the People against the forces arrayed against them. I maintain that failure is cynical and deliberate. They knew what they were doing: betraying their constituency. That's been the way of nearly all leftish political parties in the west for many years.

And that is a primary rationale for the "rise of the right." Given that the so-called Left has entirely abandoned the People, there is no political party that serves them. The "rise of the right" is not due to popular will, it's due to abandonment by the pseudo-left, the Democrats and Social Democrats and in some regions by Socialists. They obviously don't care any more -- if they ever really did -- about what happens to the Little People. No doubt it has something to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China into the capitalist workshop of the world, but that happened so long ago now, hardly anyone remembers any more.

The right rises when the People, abandoned, have no political anchor on the left or center. A political vacuum thus created is filled one way or another.

What is necessary, then, is for the People to take matters into their own hands, outside the political process, and make it impossible for the Ruling Clique to govern.

That's both easier and more difficult than it sounds. Most people, by nature, are going to go along with the powers that be. Most think they have no other choice. On the other hand, it doesn't take a lot of resistance or rebellion to throw a spanner in the works and bring the Juggernaut to a halt -- at least temporarily.

A weak government can be stalled or overcome rather easily.

I will not recommend ways to do it at this point, but understand that many of the "resistance manuals" out there are little more than support manuals for the failed political institutions and systems that don't work.

Robert Reich has one that's gotten some currency. It's not really about resistance at all. It's about supporting failed institutions, the political process and the Democrats. To that I say, No. He blew his premise in any case on Democracy Now! yesterday. It bordered on self-parody. Sorry that Amy didn't call him on his bullshit.

Another is the Indivisible Guide produced by congressional staff and political consultants which again focuses on working within the failed political process that's brought us to this point.  It doesn't work. But it keeps people busy doing things -- which won't work -- so there is that. Keep hope alive and all that!

If the Trumpian agenda is to be stopped or thwarted, what's needed is to make it impossible.

The political system is designed and intended to enable it. It's just that simple.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Robert Graves, "I, Claudius"

And boy are the poisons hatching out. They're lying on the surface rotting. What a whirled.

One of the mantras of the neoLibCon rule we've suffered from for decades is "Never let a crisis go to waste." Indeed, precipitating crises for the benefit of the Overclass has become an art form. We've been subjected to one shock after another after another and another.  And every time, the wealth and power of Our Rulers is enhanced at the expense of everyone else.

So it has been, so it is now.

Mythology of the Trump Regime got going long before the (s)election. A commonly held myth (at least on the internet) is that Trump and his crony capitalists will end the rule of neoLibCons, once and for all. Their failed ideology will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

It must be comforting to believe that; it doesn't make sense, but it makes some folks feel good to think so.

It's part of the extensive list of rationalizations, apologetics, and defenses that Trump loyalists have developed over the course of the campaign and since the (s)election.

The talking points are practically Iron Law now. They are repeated over and over and over again, even when Himself contradicts something he said or promised or indicated previously. The talking points are adjusted to accommodate the "new information" but the core of the propaganda and defense of Trump continues unabated.

And the poisons continue to  hatch out of the mud.

Another internet shibboleth has to do with "taking off the masks" and "pulling back the curtain."

Trumpology is very similar to Kremlinology in that one has to infer from personnel and actions what policies may be in play. As far as the Trump loyalists are concerned, the masks remain firmly on, the curtain carefully conceals what's behind.

For the rest of us... it's something else again. We see with clear eyes and ultimate horror what is going on and what lies in store for the Rabble at home and abroad.

The old rules, which were cruel rules, have been suspended while the robbers, destroyers and madmen plunder and pillage at will.

We, the Rabble, are left defenseless to squabble among ourselves over what is going on and what to do about it. Or not.

That is a key to understanding just how poisonous this situation is. Without defenders, we lash out against all and sundry, blindly blaming and scapegoating whoever/whatever is the most convenient target for our rage and wrath.

The poisons of racism and white supremacy are spreading out from their hiding places. The poison of cruel disinterest in the well-being of others has reached the boiling point. The poison of scapegoating has nearly overwhelmed common sense and rational understanding. The poison of externalizing fear and hatred and targeting designated Others -- be they Muslims, Mexicans, Russians, Chinese, or whomever, wherever -- pervades both "sides" of the political spectrum. Anyone or any group can become a target at any time.

His minions can't wait to do his bidding.

The poisons are hatching out, festering, rotting, stinking up the place.

[I realize that this post is disjointed and less inclusive than I meant it to be. Maybe something more is on the way. We'll see.]

Monday, December 19, 2016

On to the EC

I don't expect them to do their Hamiltonian Duty and refuse to seat DJT on the Throne. It would be too much for them to handle in their fifty or fifty one separate meetings around the country, and the Electors would face unknown risks if they were to follow something like a conscience rather than rote. Na ga happen.

But I think I've made clear that I believe neither Trump nor anyone like him should ever become president of these United States, and that I favor nearly any means to thwart his ascension.

If that means a coup, oh well. It's not as if there haven't been coups in the past. Somehow we manage.

The notion that were he to be denied the presidency there would be a civil war is silly, but the fear of it is a brake on the efforts to undo the outcome of the election. The fear of civil war was part of the rationale for seating Bush Jr on the throne back in the day, and the signs of its possibility -- if not probability -- were clearer then than they are now. I witnessed the armed insurrectionists gathering in their thousands at California's state capitol demanding that Bush be seated forthwith -- "or else" -- and I saw the children crying and heard the bellowing of cowardly men with guns threatening the peace and order of the nation if they didn't get their way.

This was happening in many capitol cities, and it was part of the reason why the Supreme Court intervened as they did to stop the recounts in Florida and hand the presidency to Bush Jr and his bloodthirsty cabal.

But the message of that lawless intervention was that the actual vote and actually counting the votes doesn't matter. An intervention will take place -- call it a coup, cause that's what it is -- if the outcome is either in doubt or because the vote doesn't comport with the interests of the owners and sponsors of the government. And there is literally nothing we the Rabble can do about it. Period. End of discussion.

Our Rulers took that tack in 2000 and they were right. There was nothing we could do about it or at least nothing we could do to change it. The catastrophe could not be stopped, and in the end, it could not be delayed or mitigated.

We are still suffering from the consequences of that fateful decision of 16 years ago. And not just Americans are suffering. Millions upon millions are suffering around the world because of it, many in existential crisis. Americans are lucky in that regard; at least most are not yet as bad off as the millions of refugees attempting to survive the horrors and crises brought on by the Bush Jr regime and kept going by Mr. Obama. At least there aren't yet millions of dead Americans due to the horrors and crises precipitated by the Bush Jr regime and carried on with only slight mitigations by Mr. Obama and his bloodthirsty cabal. At least... well, you get the picture.

The mythology growing up around Mr. Trump is that he -- alone -- wouldn't do these things, that he -- alone -- will solve the insoluble by main force (cause he's such an Alpha Male), and he -- alone -- has prevented nuclear holocaust, because he did.

It's horseshit. Pure unadulterated horseshit.

But it's the kind of horseshit that is necessary to prop up yet another illegitimate and destructive occupier of the White House. It's full frontal propaganda.

Believe it at your own risk.

I'm not sure whether the Trump apologists and online defenders actually believe the horseshit they spread day in and day out, but whether they do or not really doesn't matter. It appears that there is a much stronger and more widespread nihilist component among the online critics of the status quo than I would have thought. Always before, they tended to caution against too abrupt change, generally claiming that the ship of state takes time to to turn, and that revolution or overthrow or violence of any kind is ill-advised as a political tool; best to go along with the rule of Our Betters while cogently criticizing their actions. It was better to engage in intellectual exercises than actually do anything against the Ruling Clique.

All that went out the window when it became clear that Trump and Hillary would contend for the White House. Everyone believed that Hillary would win in a walk, so attacking her and hailing Trump as a Savior was not seen as disruptive or destructive, it was seen as part and parcel of cogent criticism. Since the status quo was not actually expected to change, all sorts of hyperbolic hoo-hah was allowed and puffed up charges against the Hag and puffed up defenses of the Evil Clown became the standard of political discourse online and in the campaigns themselves.

The opposite was just as true among Hillary believers and Trump attackers.

The outcome was supposed to be a Hillary win, and she was supposed to be weakened by an R majority congress. It was all gamed out.

When that didn't happen, panic ensued. Panic especially among the faction of the Ruling Clique who had done their due diligence preparing for the continuation of the status quo. But there was also panic among a wide cross-section of the public who recognized the clear and present danger to them that the advent of Trumpian rule of an undivided government represented.

Trump defenders do not recognize the danger, or if they do, they insist the danger was greater with Clinton -- who  everybody knows would have started WWIII with Russia -- and thus the casualty toll under Trump will be less in the end. This is an extraordinary level of foolishness and nihilism, but there you are.

One has to have that sense of disinterest in what happens to others in order to defend Trump and it is nearly universal among his defenders.

As I say, I don't expect the Electors to do their duty today, and I do expect them to elect Trump with somewhat less than the 306 Electoral votes he was credited with on election night.

The next proper step to thwart his ascension is at the initial meeting of Congress in January, when all it would take is one senator's and one house member's challenge to cause a "question" over his election. That will probably happen, as it should have happened with Bush Jr, but no senator stepped up, and so there was no question. This time is different.

We'll see.

The coup seems to have fizzled out for the moment. But you never know.


While the results of the EC vote are not surprising, there was an interesting twist in the whole affair. I'm not sure of the details, but from a quick skim of the news about it, apparently Hamilton Electors were not allowed in several states where Electors wanted to cast protest votes. They were "ordered" to cast votes for the state's popular vote "winner" -- we really can't say who actually won because of the opacity of voting and vote counting -- and when they refused, they were replaced with alternate Electors (that's a new piece of the puzzle.)

Who was in charge of this process is a mystery, but I imagine the information is out there. Some Electors were able to vote their conscience -- and not for Trump or Hillary -- but the majority of those who wanted to go Hamiltonian were prevented from doing so.


OT: Houses (yet again)

House near my childhood home in the San Gabriel Valley rehabbed and sold last year by HGTV's Flip or Flop

This post has nothing to do with Our Current Crisis (please). But it was kind of amusing when I came across an episode of "Flip of Flop" a while back done in my own childhood neighborhood in the San Gabriel Valley (I lived there from 1954 to 1959.)

Well, in truth, it isn't my own neighborhood; it's the neighborhood next to my neighborhood. The dividing line between neighborhoods was Lark Ellen Avenue.  We called the houses in this neighborhood the "Storybook" houses because most of them were two story, whereas for the most part, suburban Los Angeles homes in the 1950s were aggressively one story.  School chums lived in this neighborhood. I don't think the house featured in the episode of "Flip or Flop" was the home of my friend Bobby, but he lived in a house similar to it on the same street, and I visited his place quite often. So when I saw this episode, the house was very familiar, and I probably passed by this one practically every day to get to the grocery store down the street.

According to the map, it's about 1/2 a mile from where I lived, maybe less. The elementary school I attended was just behind my house across a drainage ditch. We lived within shouting distance of the San Gabriel Mountains, and snow capped Old Baldy was a prominent presence throughout the winter. At least when we could see it at all given the nearly perpetual eye-stinging smog. In those days it was worse than you can imagine. These days, they say, not so much. But that's another post, too.

Unfortunately, the episode is not available online at the moment due to the fact that it is scheduled for re-broadcast on HGTV at the end of December and through January. When it is back in the online queue, I'll try to remember to put a link and make remarks on the sameness of practically every house hunt/rehab project show HGTV has ever done. It's truly bizarre.

But that's for another day.

Today we have the EC. What fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Decadence and Desperation

I don't know that tomorrow's scheduled Electoral College vote will result in any surprises, but the way things have been going -- one "shock" after another -- suggests that the effort to convince Electors not to elect Trump may be a failure, and yet it will have serious repercussions.

Our indirect system for electing presidents is bizarre and anachronistic. According to elite academic and legal opinion, it is intended to prevent the ascension of incompetents, unqualified candidates and demagogues to the presidency, but it doesn't do that. What it sometimes does, and what it is intended to do, is enable minority vote-getters to ascend, whether or not they are incompetent, unqualified or demagogues.

It is a system tailor made for what is likely to happen tomorrow: the ascension of Trump to a decadent presidency, exactly as the system is designed to enable.

Decadence, yes.

Many of Trump's defenders seem to believe that his ascension will end the rule of the neoLibCon cabal that has led to so much mischief, stagnation and suffering for so many people for the last 40 years or so.

How they come to that conclusion is a mystery. Every sign is that Trump will accelerate the ruling paradigm into hyperdrive. NeoLibCon rule on crack and steroids.

Without any mitigations whatever.

The system of rule may crash because of the chaos inherent in the Trumpian practice, but if a system crash is what his defenders are after, they should say so openly, and they should have long ago proposed an alternative to the current deviant, decadent and unstable system. But they haven't. Instead, they act like Puritan scolds, criticizing the system and then supporting and defending a plutocrat disruptor whose sole interest is his own preening eminence. Great.

They haven't proposed an alternative because they don't have an alternative. They just want to see the whole thing come crashing down or not -- which is nothing but nihilism.

The desperation of the Ruling Clique to maintain the decadent system that has propped them up and given them so much is plain to see what with the various strategies in play to prevent the ascension of Trump to the throne. Of course, there is always a reserve strategy should none of the rest of them work.

I understand that he has decamped to his Winter Palace in Florida, a more easily defensible location given the instability of the situation. I wonder if he has a fortified bunker there.

Speaking of, I was thinking about Jeffrey Epstein's nearby Zorro Ranch the other day. We pass by it every time we go to Santa Fe. There is a little Western town on the road up to the Big House, one I assume was built but never used as a movie set. The Big House sits up on a mesa overlooking the Galisteo and Estancia Basins. It's huge. At least at one time, it was designated the largest private home in New Mexico. I've always assumed that it was built as a bolt-hole when everything goes to shit.

And I assume it has a deep bunker built into the mesa -- just in case. Probably another one under the Western town set, too. These people. I tell you. According to reports, it's not certain that Epstein still owns the Zorro Ranch. Whenever we've passed by, there is hardly any activity there. Cattle are sometimes seen pasturing; there might be a worker coming or leaving. But never any motorcades or even a single armored Escalade or Yukon. No sign of the "owners" in other words.

Decadence aplenty. But where are the Owners?

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Training -- Post Review


Interesting view of how "law enforcement" is supposed to see their role and behavior during a protest whether or not it involves a so-called "riot" or "civil disturbance."

This particular training document was pulled out of the FEMA vaults by Unicorn Riot who's been on scene and subject to North Dakota "law enforcement" for much of the Water Protector actions over the past many months. Their media reps have been arrested and been witness to much of the violence perpetrated by "law enforcement" against the Water Protectors, and their documentary evidence will no doubt be utilized in the numerous pending lawsuits against the North Dakota and allied "law enforcement" bodies, and in the many pending trials of arrested Water Protectors.

That aside, the FEMA training document is much lighter on specifics than I anticipated. It's an overview of a course of training for crowd control rather than a detailed course itself. It contains some details of training that is applied in the field, and some of us have witnessed just how it's been done under differing conditions and perceptions of "threat" from the crowds of protesters/protectors. While this course advises "law enforcement" to resist the urge to resort to force, and even resist the urge to dress up in RoboCop costumes, we know that too often "law enforcement" can't resist resorting to violence and gross intimidation of loud but unarmed and often unresisting protesters. They just can't help themselves, can they?

No, says the training guide. Don't do that. Keep use of force to only what's necessary under the circumstances. Don't provoke the crowd. Be respectful. Yadda yadda. All the things "law enforcement" is supposed to do but doesn't. People have a constitutional right to protest ("peaceably") without force used against them.


Of more interest, perhaps, are the descriptions of protester "types" and what they do. This is yet more of the "intelligence" of our Overlords, wherein X is presumed to mean Y and Z is the expected outcome. Except that's not what happens. Yet "law enforcement" -- or whatever Overlord interest -- acts as if X->Y->>=Z is true no matter what. Leading to appalling episodes such as the assault on the Water Protectors the night of November 20-21. It didn't matter what was really going on, all that mattered was that a "riot" was under way that had to be suppressed.

It wasn't true, but it was believed by "law enforcement" to be true.

What actually happened has still not been acknowledged by "law enforcement."

Still, this training manual is an interesting read if you want to know how our ever more notorious police think -- or are expected to think.

The document is interesting for the way it characterizes threats, how the psychology of crowds is perceived, and what force protection and munitions should be employed against protesters.

Other than that, it's potentially useful against "law enforcement"... but we'll let that mellow for a while...

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Training

Things up at Standing Rock got pretty odd once the Veterans showed up.

Almost immediately, the ACoE denied the easement to drill under Lake Oahe/Missouri River; Dave Archambault II told everyone to go home; a fierce blizzard came up making it effectively impossible for anyone to go home; the camps split over the order; the police hid behind their barricades; Wes Clark, Jr. and a number of other Veterans knelt and apologized for the numerous atrocities and the genocide perpetrated against Natives by their predecessors; many, perhaps, most of the Veterans left the camps; thousands of other Water Protectors and allies also left the camps when the weather permitted; reports surfaced that the Standing Rock Tribal Council was hoarding supplies meant for the camps; Chad Iron Eyes took the opportunity in the chaos to look after the welfare of those remaining in the camps; it turned out that Dave Archambault's sister served in the Obama White House as an advisor on Indian Affairs; there are still reports that Energy Transfer Partners is drilling anyway; an incident in Bismark went viral when an Anglo confronted an Indian at the Mall and demanded that he explain himself, and within minutes, the Indian was assaulted -- as were several others who tried to protect him -- by a masked Anglo Indian hater (who has since they say been arrested).

Meanwhile the Morton County Sheriff continues to fabulate and lie about the Water Protectors.

Ah yes, the training.

Indeed. I've thought all along that the "law enforcement" operations against the Water Protectors -- which have always seemed to be way out of proportion to the needs thereof -- have been a training exercise for the eventual suppression of a more or less general popular uprising.

Why that might be necessary or desirable didn't become clear until the recent (s)election follies. Oh. Right.

Myself, I don't think there is likely to be a general uprising, whether or not Himself is allowed to ascend to the (no doubt by now gold-plated) Throne. No doubt there will be sporadic disturbances, as there always are, but a general uprising is about as likely as a general strike. Not very.

Nevertheless, prudence indicates that "law enforcement" should be ready come what may, and what better training for them than to go against anarchists and Indians in the wilds of North Dakota? I mean really.

So comes now what amounts to a FEMA training manual for the suppression of protest.

It was sent to the "authorities" in North Dakota in September, no doubt to give them courage and fortitude in the face of the raging savages.

Here 'tis. (135 pg PDF, be warned)

When I get a chance today -- or maybe tomorrow -- I'll try to study it in detail.

Meanwhile, after the incident in Bismark, Chris Lemke and Shiye Bidziil got together at the Standing Rock Casino and posted a YouTube appeal to "both sides" to cool it.

The precipitating incident is referenced in the "White Men Behaving Badly" post from December 6.


So many people are so much better than we might believe from the media depictions and narratives.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


WSWS (World Socialist Website) has some of the best political and economic analysis going. It doesn't always jibe with consensus, and that's a good thing.

"If You Strike at the King...."

My spidey sense is all over the map these days. Politics has nearly reached peak chaos it seems to me, and the dithering behind the scenes has left it up to the lawyers to figure out what to do. Not a good look. 

Dithering, yes. The Dems haven't actually done anything to thwart Himself, and I can hardly imagine them doing so. It is not in their genetic make up to act except on behalf of themselves and their owners and sponsors.

Trump's advantage is that he is one of the owners and sponsors -- though never a heavy hitter -- and he's filled his cabinet with other owners and sponsors, many of which have been around for a very long time and are very rich and very powerful though their profiles might not be as high as Mr. Trump's.

This would be a form of direct rule by the corporate kakistocracy/kleptocracy as opposed to the their indirect rule through a managerial/technocratic class (viz: Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, and even the Bush Regime, odd as it may seem.)

Well, that would be something new, wouldn't it? Our original rulers were of the owner class, to be sure, and their hand wasn't always light, their wisdom was often questionable, but it seems clear enough through the lens of history that their intent was patriotic rather than self-aggrandizing. Not so now.

Even during the worst of the Gilded Age, when government served only the interests of the richest of the rich, the malefactors of great wealth did not operate the government directly (for the most part, there were some exceptions here and there). They bent the government to their will through the purchase of politicians and legislative bodies and the installation of compliant managers and smooth-talking con men in office.

Now though, huh. Basically the Trumpians have opened hostilities with the entire entrenched class of technocrats and managers who have run the country on behalf of Our Betters at least since Reagan. Some of them will be sacrificed without issue. Nobody likes them and nobody cares what happens to them. On the other hand there is an entrenched and powerful "alt.government" (I hate the term "alt" but it is a Thing at the moment, so let's play for a bit) that will not go lightly into the sunset. Oh no.

We've seen this play out before during the Snowden Thing among others. If anything there are more factions in the than there are in the public face of government. It's just amazing. Anyway, what seems to have happened is that the CIA, among other shadowy agencies, has tossed a few grenades (labeled "Putin Did It") the King's way as an initial shot across his bow. A warning, as it were, that "we can -- and will -- take you down if you don't play nice."

On the other hand (there are always more hands in this game than we know), there are plenty of agencies and centers that have made their peace with the New Boss and are eager to obey and serve. Well, at least for public consumption. FBI seems to fit into that framework.

Then there's the NSA which is pretending to be above the fray and neutral as to outcome. Yeah, right.

I've suspected all along that the Putin/Russia Thing is largely a consequence of Snowden and his apparently very comfortable exile/asylum in Moscow. Had that not happened, the relationship between the Kremlin and DC might not have deteriorated to the point it has as quickly as it has. Which doesn't mean it would have been good, but still. For whatever reason, Putin, Hillary and Obama don't get along, regardless of any background issues and noise. 

NSA is the one with the hardest animosity toward Snowden and Russia whereas the CIA is out and about committing whatever atrocities and unpleasantness they can think of and wish to engage in. They're the ones on the front lines, skin in the game and all that, whereas the perfumed princes of the NSA simply sit in their comfy Star Trek chairs and watch the world head straight to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes nudging things in that direction if it pleases them to do so. Damb I loathe these people.

But there are so many other players in the, players known and unknown, that it's impossible for someone like me, way on the outside, and never close on the inside, to sort it all out.

At any rate, shots have been fired toward, not yet at, the would be King. I can't say whether there is sufficient support among the factions of the to accept direct rule by the kakistocracy/kleptocracy, but there may not be enough resistance to do anything about it.

The Trumpian charge that the CIA in particular and the "intelligence" community in general got the Iraq Thing wrong and continue to wrong-foot their destructive way through the Middle East and elsewhere is valid. But it's not at all clear that Mr. Trump and his cronies would be any better. They have a different set of targets. That doesn't make them any wiser than those who have so screwed up for so very long.

If this matter is to be resolved in the interests of some of the Trumpian targets -- they are many and practically everywhere -- he cannot be allowed to ascend to the Throne. Period. He will not be subject to the control of his inferiors (as he sees them) once he is installed as president-king-emperor. His opponents either yield or they're gone.

Preventing his ascension is apparently still a thing. But as time goes by, options narrow, and I think we know what the ultimate option is.

I say it is unlikely that option will be utilized (and I really don't want to see it). But it's not up to me or any of us. The struggle does not involve us, the Rabble, directly or indirectly. We are at best a chorus in the background of yet another pageant. Mostly we're little more than scenery or props.

Meanwhile, "If you strike at the King..."

[Note: FTR, I've been getting a huge number of hits from Russia lately... go figure...]

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Coups, Revolutions, Civil Wars, and All the Rest

Yeah right. Whatever.

I'm getting sick of the threats from the Trump loyalists and defenders that if he is denied the presidency by legal or other means, there will almost certainly be a civil war. Revolution. Chaos. Yadda, yadda.

What crap.

Of course I've long made clear my preference that Trump not be allowed to ascend to the presidency, and I favor almost any legal or at least "acceptable" means to prevent it. There are plenty of mechanisms available, and a number of them appear to be in play at the moment.

I don't favor Hillary back in the White House, either. That, to me, would be a grotesque perversion and misperception of the will of the voters. The majority chose neither one, and that's the key to my understanding of what's to be done.

Trump defenders, of course, feel threatened and paranoid by the efforts under way to thwart the announced election outcome. You start listening to them and you realize they feel threatened and paranoid about most everything, particularly about losing their superior status.

Which they hope to reclaim through the agency of their Promised Redeemer, D J Trump.

Oh dear.

Now my Predict-0-Meter hasn't worked properly for a very long time, so anything I say about what might happen is to be taken with a barrel of salt, but still, the outlines of what could come have been sketched for many years.

Civil war and/or Revolution do not apply to the resolution of the disputed presidential (s)election.

Instead, what is likely to occur, should by some slight chance Mr. Trump be denied his ascension to the throne, is the installation of an "interim government" of military officers and technocrats.

They'd be called "Caretakers". Bless their hearts. Some high-ranking and broadly respected general would be the face of the interim government, but he would not necessarily rule. More likely the same Deep State/Shadow Government that's been in charge for decades would continue uninterrupted. The General would be there as a calming authority figure, much as Obama has been since his advent as Redeemer.

It's likely that the expressed plan would be to re-do the presidential election -- or maybe all elections -- in a year or so, but it wouldn't be surprising if elections never again take place (legitimately) above the local level.

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Clinton would be able to run for any office.

Candidates would be selected by committee. There would be no primaries. Their qualifications would include loyalty and obedience and the ability to keep a lid on revolt and resistance.

The likelihood of revolution or civil war is much less under such a coup and transfer of power, but the possibility isn't eliminated.

We'll see, won't we?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

White Rightists, King-Emperors, and the Führerprinzip

I'm not sure whether a coup is underway, but the outlines of one have taken shape. A powerful faction of the Ruling Clique, how large of one it is impossible to say, has issued a challenge and a series of threats to the out-group faction that won ("won") the election and is preparing to shift the ship of state onto an uncharted course of unbridled corruption, destruction and rapine.

There is no precedent for anything they are setting out to do. The consequences, if they are not stopped or controlled, intrinsically threaten the survival of the Republic (already on its last legs), and could result in an extinction level of harm to Americans and people around the world. (Again, not that such a fate hasn't been bruited about for a generation or more.)

Something must be done about it, and fast.

The agencies that have lined up in opposition to the imposition of Trumpivism on the nation and the world -- an opposition retailed as some kind of Russian interference in the election just past -- are not among the most highly regarded by the public. The CIA has one of the most wretched reputations for bad thinking, lies, and destructive conduct of any in US history. It has operated effectively as a shadow government since its formation after WWII. While there are few brakes on CIA activities abroad, it can assert a powerful influence on domestic government; it has the power to change who is in charge through various means, including the Kennedy Solution.

One messes with it and its affiliated agencies at one's peril.

Apparently Mr. Trump has chosen to mess with it.

OK then.

We'll see what happens. I'm not particularly sanguine that the opposition agencies will win the contest with Mr. Trump and his loyalists, but we'll see.

A way to understand what's going on is through the lens of White Supremacy and the White Rightist conception of how the United States and the world should be run.

I have no doubt whatever that Mr. Trump and his chief loyalists and followers are steeped in the belief system of White Supremacy. It's the foundation of their identity. We've been seeing a resurgence in White Supremacy, White Identity, and White Rightist and Nationalist political ideology throughout Western Europe and North America especially since the advent of the Obamas in the White House, but it has never not been a factor in the political economies of Western Europe and their colonial and post colonial enterprises around the world, including the United States and Canada of course. Let's not forget Russia as part of the White Rightist world.

White Supremacy and White Rightism is always there, but it has been submerged in very public efforts to be inclusive and promote ethnic, racial and cultural diversity within the context of White Supremacy.

The context doesn't change. Who gets to participate and to what extent does.

Once included, it's hard for formerly excluded groups and individuals to let go of their seat at the table, and that's part of why there is so much public anxiety about the advent of the Trumpist faction to power. He and his loyalists have made quite clear that the party's over for the inappropriately included (interpreted, I believe correctly, as non-white.) He has explicitly targeted numerous minority groups he regards as unworthy. Scapegoating is de rigueur. One almost has to be white (and preferably male) or be seen as a non-white acceptable to white men to be included in the Trumpist vision of the New America. Loyalty and obedience are the essential factors affecting inclusion; race and gender are subsidiary but crucial factors.

The Republic has been on its death bed for some time, the coup de grace administered by the Supreme Court decision handing the presidency the Busheviks in the interest of "equal protection." It was bullshit, unconstitutional, and it was a coup. Yet by and large, Americans accepted it with relatively minor protest and grumbling. What could they do? A lot more than they did do, but the Rules of Politeness and Patriotism were more important at the time than fighting for what was right.

It was clear from the outset that the Bush Regime would be catastrophic for Americans and peoples around the world, and so it was. We are still living with the consequences. My generation will never escape them.

The Obama regime mitigated some of the worst aspects of the Bushevik catastrophe but didn't really change any of its fundamentals. It was obvious from the beginning that his job assignment was to con and soothe the Rabble and prevent, channel, or crush any revolt -- while the looting and destruction continued with little let up.

Hillary was supposed to continue the program with some slight revisions in emphasis.

Trump has overturned the status quo in a way; in another way, he's announced his intention to shift the existing program of looting and destruction into hyperdrive. In other words, the current program isn't producing enough rewards for the worthy people and it produces too much reward for the unworthy. Priorities and targets for exploitation and destruction will change, the world will witness and tremble.

Among White Rightists, Nationalists and Supremacists, there is a near worshipful regard for Trump and extreme levels of hope for his commitment to restoring Whiteness to its rightful position of superiority over the lower orders. Cluestick: there has never been a time in the colonial and post-colonial era when Whiteness hasn't been privileged in the Western European/North American context. Never. But that doesn't register with white people who sense an existential threat to them from the very presence of non-whites.

This White Supremacist worship is being exploited by Trump and his cronies to the fullest extent they can without triggering too much of a response from the lower orders. One of the ways they exploit it is by assuming a quasi-royal mantle (the Busheviks were masters at it) by which the title of President serves as a stand in for what it really is --- modern day King-Emperor. After all, Trump summons his potential barons and earls to his gold-plated palaces for interviews (palaces that strangely and discordantly resemble Saddam's "Republican Palaces" most of which were destroyed in Bush's war of aggression, but some of which were preserved intact and are part of the American and Iraqi puppet presence there.)

It's a matter of style over substance, but there's little reason to doubt that Trump intends to rule as if he were a King-Emperor, and his loyalists and cronies are fully on board with it. Why not make explicit what has long been implicit, after all?

There's another element that seems obvious to me, but is otherwise widely unrecognized. It is the concept of Führerprinzip -- the "leader principle" -- commonly ascribed to the Nazi rule of the German Reich, but much more widely believed and exercised than merely during that episode of unpleasantness.

I pointed out that it was part of the belief system of Arnold Schwarzenegger as he assumed the mantle of California's governorship after defeating Gray Davis in that recall back in 2003. He strongly believed in his rightness and unbridled authority because of his personality, power and position. The fact was, like so many who have been raised to power over the years, he was incompetent and was unable to rule as he wished because of powerful forces aligned against him, and the ability of some of those forces to more and more easily influence his rule as they took his measure and exploited his many weaknesses. By the time his wife left him, he was little more than the tool of other interests.

I doubt that would happen with Trump. Not because he's competent. Not at all. But because he has carefully tended his authoritarianism and knows how to use it against rivals and enemies. This is part of his conman and gangster persona. He acts as an implicit -- and sometimes explicit -- threat to any disloyalty or disobedience. This in turn shapes the behavior of both his loyalists and opponents. These threats are clearly meant to be taken seriously. And for the most part they are.

The Führerprinzip presents the Leader as the center and source of all law, policy, and political action. This is of course totally at odds with the traditional power-relationships of the Republic, but the Republic has been on life-support for a long time. The transition to a hegemonic imperial state guided and ruled by a Leader is merely a detail in the march of progress, no? Call him a dictator, a king, an emperor, a president or Führer, it hardly matters. In the conception of many authoritarians, it doesn't matter. They're all essentially the same thing.

Trump may face opposition from Congress, the judiciary, and many elements of the security state and the military, but he seems to have convinced the private sector elites to go along with him at least for the time being.

After all, they're getting richer by the minute. What do they have to lose?

As for the Rabble, enough of them are happy enough to be ruled; and too many don't care. On the other hand, Their Betters care no a whit what happens to the Rabble. They are mostly surplus anyway.

Meanwhile, this is a dangerous and unstable situation. Those who manage and impose the rule of the government and take action for and against governments overseas are rationally alarmed at what might be coming, and Trump has gone out of his way to antagonize them.

How they will respond is anyone's guess at this point, but what's happened in the past is that the security state and the presidency have found accommodation with one another through  various forms of unpleasant negotiations. We'll see whether accommodation is found this time.

I'm not looking forward to the outcome.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Something's Going On [With A Follow Up]

Um. I saw that little worm Reince Priebus on the Sunday Shows, George and Chuck. Hm. It looked like he did George's show first. When he got to Chuck's gabfest, he was clearly rattled. Of course, it's unusual for Our Fearless Media to tangle with high ranking Republicans, even if they are worms. So when George lit into Reince and then Chuck skewered him over the reports of the CIA report and Trump's now familiar insults in response, the little worm was taken aback. Sputtering and spluttering, he flailed away, to the point that I almost felt sorry for him.

The subtext is that things are not what they seem and something is very much going on.

Is it a coup?

I think it might be...

[OT: I  think Ms Ché knew Stephen Stills back in the day. I'm not sure. He wasn't one of her primary interests that I can recall. That would have been the likes of Jim McGuinn Who-Became-Roger of the Byrds, and various other noted rockers and folk rockers and ravers of the British Invasion and such like. There were so many of them. Only recently, though, did she get together with Buffy St. Marie, one of her favorites and idols from way back. They acted like a couple of elder Indian women recognizing one another as relatives, sisters, cousins. Their mutual laughter is still ringing in my ears. I'm just a white guy on the edge of all this of course. She, Ms Ché, is now recruiting a whole new generation of Indians and non-Indians alike to go out and be themselves, enjoy life and liberty and grow in spirit, don't let the fuckers get you down. Listen, learn, be.]
A coup?

I don't know. My spidey sense was sure tingling in the morning, but around evening it went more or less quiet. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

What is clear enough is that one faction of the ruling clique is contending with another for power.

This does not involve the Left or even the 'left.' This is between a conservative faction and radicals among those who have ruled us in and out of government for generations.

That's as obvious as sin, and the question is whether the contending factions will reach an accommodation with one another. It's not clear whether they will at this point. Furthermore, if it is a coup, we don't know who the golpistas really are. It's almost certainly not the Clinton camp. They may or may not be involved, but if they are, it is unlikely that She Herself will be installed as Queen-Empress should the conservative faction prevail.

That would be a trigger after all. Our Rulers may not have many smarts when it comes to their responsibilities and obligations, but they're not that stupid. They couldn't be. Could they? Please.

Unfortunately, yes they could. It is their culture, after all.

It occurred to me that Saturday today December 10th12th was is the anniversary of the last coup,[h/t lea-p for the  correct date] when the Supreme Court lawlessly intervened in the 2000 presidential election and handed the presidency to GWB. That was an unmitigated disaster, but perhaps it was inevitable given the instabilities already apparent in government and the private sector at least since the Impeachment Follies of 1998. Instabilities that had been building for a generation before that.

That coup anniversary may have been a trigger in itself for the actions underway to overcome apparent election results which would hand the presidency -- and the future of the United States -- over to a gang of "unindicted co-conspirators," some very successful con artists and mobster-wannabes. This is as serious as it gets.

At the time of the previous coup, the losing faction handed the government over to the golpistas out of a misplaced sense of formalism and duty under the rubric: "How bad could it get?" Yes, well. We found out, didn't we?

Certain formalities were observed, even though they were quite outside the Constitutional framework -- for example, the Supreme Court has no constitutional authority or jurisdiction in election matters they were asked to decide; it is specifically up to state governments and legislatures, and they should not have taken the case. Once they did, and once they decided in favor of the Bush-faction, it rent the fabric of the national project, and we are living with the consequences.

And too, the Bushevik faction was a "known quantity" to The Powers That Be. They brought back some of the well-known operators from times gone by, all the way back to the Nixon regime, Bush Jr. was the son of the CIA head, vice-president, and president previous to, under and after Reagan, and Cheney was... well, Darth Cheney, but whatever else he was (Evil), he was a known quantity in the corridors of power. Same with Rummy and so forth. It was initially like Old Home Week. And then it went south, even before the attack on 9/11.

They may have been mostly familiar faces but they were acting like teenagers lolly-gagging around the pool and their media handmaidens were making utter fools of themselves trying to recreate the atmosphere and revenues of the Clinton Scandals around the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

It was a goon show that ended abruptly with the events of 9/11/2001.

While the coup of December 10, 2000, was an example of the political aspect of the Shock Doctrine, the events of 9/11 went way beyond mere politics; it was Shock Doctrine that literally consumed and transformed the very nature of US government, as well as destabilizing the cobbled together social, economic, and psychological agreements that had kept the nation whole through thick and thin.

There was an immediate unity after the attacks, one that very quickly fell apart as the Busheviks demonstrated an almost unbelievable lack of wisdom in the face of crisis. That's not to say they didn't do some things appropriate and right. But their military response and targets were wrong-headed in every way, and the conduct they permitted and encouraged their agents to engage in was criminal.

Their war of aggression against Iraq had the effect of blowing apart whatever fragile stability there had been in the Middle East and North Africa, while their pig-headed Afghanistan adventure is still a major destabilizing factor in South Asia. What were they thinking?

Well, it's obvious they weren't. Thinking that is. They were exploiting opportunities.

It was and still is all reactive and self-feeding crisis. And it's a failure on any rational or public interest plane. But some people got very, very, very rich off of it, so they're all for more, more, more.

Henceforth the world would work in a different way. Well, part of the world...

Now comes Trump. Well, it's obvious he wasn't supposed to win. It's still a question -- that will probably never be satisfactorily answered -- how or whether he pulled off the Upset of History. As we know, there will be no verification of the vote. We've seen sufficient evidence so far that it's literally impossible to verify the vote in critical areas. One must accept the election results on faith because there is no way on earth to be sure the results accurately recorded and reflected the wishes of the voters. Our electoral system is purpose-designed to be opaque in critical areas. We don't know, and we can't know, what actually happened. Intentionally so.

Given the overall results reported so far, however, it's reasonable to assume that the voters did not want Trump and his gang of thieves and mountebanks in the White House; neither did they want Hillary. Ergo, trying to force either one on the People is risky business to say the least. Uncertainty is certain to follow.

Thus the moves to prevent Trump from taking power. Or to circumvent him and his gang if he does.

There was a similar kind of instability until some time after the inauguration of GWB. But it was tamped down by the capitulation of the Democrats on Capitol Hill and the concerted efforts of the media to ignore, discredit and denounce the many protests against the coup.

Combined, the efforts to prop up the Bush Regime both within and outside the government were partially successful. The protests never stopped, and those surrounding the preparation and initiation of the Iraq War were unprecedented. Enormous.

Yet millions upon millions of Americans never considered the  Bush Regime to be legitimate, no matter the efforts of media and Democrats to make it so.

Obama calmed things down -- that was his assignment after all -- but without really changing much of  the internal dynamic of a corporatist government run amok. It is still what it was under the Bushevik Regime, it simply has softer and calmer public face.

Many people understandably felt betrayed by Obama, the longed-for Redemption from centuries of Error.

He hasn't fulfilled his promise. Not even close. But he kept the lid on the growing rage of the discouraged and dispossessed. And that was all that was necessary for him to do in the eyes of the Ruling Clique. Just keep the Rabble tame.

Hillary was supposed to continue the Obama program, maybe with an added bone or two thrown to the Rabble to keep them mostly quiet over the next few cycles of rapine and exploitation by Our Betters.

Trump was supposed to be a sideshow to keep the potential hostiles and trouble makers in line. Oops.

Now that they're planning to take over and install rich and self-righteous rebels in positions of extraordinary power to do harm domestically and internationally, regardless of any "good" they might also do, the High and Mighty are awakening to a clear and present danger to them -- they care not about the Rabble -- should Himself ascend to the throne.

Right now, they're making out like bandits themselves as the stock market soars in anticipation of Trumpian profits without end.

The anticipation of the immense profits to come from the Trumpian crony capitalist pig troughs, and the fortunes to be made from the dismantlement and privatization of Social Security and Medicare, among other public programs slated for the ax, are about the only things that Our Betters are looking forward to with regard to a Trump Regime. The downside of all that money making is collapse. The strain has already built to unsustainable levels -- that was fast. Now what to do?

Whatever is to be done has almost nothing to do with We, the Rabble. We have to be honest about that. This is not our fight. Bluntly, we, the Rabble chose neither of the candidates we were offered. A record percentage of voters stayed home. Millions, of course, were deliberately disenfranchised.

But the overall turnout was pitiful, and the majority of those who did vote, voted against each candidate. That is a majority voted against Hillary, and a similar though somewhat larger majority voted against Trump.

The Trump EC victory may or may not be up and up. We don't know, we can't know. We can take it on faith or not but there is manifestly no way to verify the vote in the crucial states -- nor for that matter can the vote be verified in many jurisdictions all over the country. Our elections are therefore easy to manipulate for the desired outcome.

This one, however, was not the desired outcome. Something went bad-wrong. Whether it is due to "Russian" interference or simply that enough of the voters made the "wrong" choice, I can't say. It isn't up to me in any case.

Nor is it up to any of us. This will have to play out at a higher level. As it apparently is doing.

Stay tuned...

A little Billy Idol to lift our spirits...