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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Necessary Distinctions II: Being Better Vs. Being Good

Running Towards The Goal
You're doing it wrong (Running Towards The Goal - Erland Sibuea)
Don't let the pure be the enemy of the good.
- Any asshole with an agenda
You can only be a better (or worse) person in relation to something else.

Being good, however, is only on its own terms. Indeed, a "good" person is often considered to be quite "bad" to his/her contemporaries.

Necessary Distinctions I: Self-Knowledge Vs. Self-Reflection

Perhaps its because I am of a generation that was raised on the romance of science! that I have such a violent reaction to the techno-fantasists of today. No, not perhaps... of course, that is it.

I cannot express the amount of loathing that rolled through my being as I watched this Lifeblogging documentary.

May I also note the sweet irony that it is those who gaze into the mirror of narcissism who are the least able to see themselves. The lack of self-awareness of these people in their own pettiness staggers me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Comin' Atcha, Sheriff Joe

Pink Underwear
Pink pants for the Sheriff's inmates
[Update 2013/05/25: In light of the recent ruling (Judge rules against 'America's toughest sheriff' in racial profiling lawsuit,) I thought I'd percolate this post from four years ago (February 13, 2009) up to the top. Incidentally, while he is "toughest" on those placed under his care, there is nothing tough about this cowardly bully.]

[Update 2011/09/21: Some questions and elaborations on my Tent City experience at Rogue Columnist's place.]

Looks like the House Judiciary Committee is going to have a look-see at the goings on here in Arizona:
Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his "tent city" jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and "ritual humiliation." Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, "Smile… You’re Under Arrest!", Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On The 50th Anniversary Year, H.P. Albarelli Releases JFK Research

A Secret Order
From the Forward:
H.P. Albarelli and others like him are indispensable to understanding the totality of the Truth of America, for she obscures her history in the service of an idealistic narrative that is becoming increasingly difficult to abide.
- Michael J. Petro
From my review at
...We come upon the 50th anniversary of the most controversial assassination of the most visible man in the world this November. One must draw one's own personal conclusions regarding this mystery, especially those of us of a certain generation. It would be short-sighted to do so without this volume.

It is a peculiar history indeed that the author of "A Secret Order" has preserved for us. These stories are about much, much more than the mystery of a Presidential assassination, and this book should be found on the shelf of any serious student of history.

Monday, May 20, 2013

It Can't Be Done: Rise Up To No Effect

Big Rock

To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil.
- Chris Hedges
Please forgive the provocative title of this post - it is insincere. While I can't directly address the actual truth of the matter, it is a personal feeling of mine that we can, of course, "rise up." However, it does serve a purpose aside from being provocative (and inviting gross misunderstanding.)

I say it to highlight an elegant point that Chris Hedges makes in a recent truthdig essay. It is one that he has made many times before, and I never tire of being reminded of it.

In spite of the title (Rise Up or Die,) there is more to Mr. Hedges' ironically provocative* prose than just a call to survival:

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 11 - National Train Day

Phoenix Turbo Train
Phoenix, 1972 - Image purloined from The Rogue Columnist

[Update 05/11:
Take the underground railroad from the depths of our shared pain to the light of a better day.
- soleri

The Rogue Columnist (Jon Talton) has brought it to our attention that tomorrow is National Train Day.

I can't stress enough how beneficial it would be to expand our national train system. Mr. Talton lays out the benefits nicely (bullet pointed teaser after the fold,) and besides those, I'd like to add only that we could sure use a WPA-like stimulus system to reinvigorate the country. Talk about a direct injection into the economy - employing loads of people to build railroads that will bring economic benefits for decades to come (paychecks mean spending money, businesspeople.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You'd Better Free Your Mind... Instead?

Wisdom, Set To A Beat - From The Eponymous "The White Album"

No, not "instead" - only "first." Because it's a necessary step in the business of freeing all minds. Because what our minds create, and tend to, is a commons, too.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The American Way: Nixon's In China

Drink up, you Commie.

"Only Nixon could go to China" was the line, as the old red-baiter himself traveled to the Far East and "opened up" China.

Similar, if unspoken, sentiments must be prevalent on Wall Street, as the ostensible emissary from our minority populations takes on the dismantling of Social Security.

Of course, what Nixon accomplished was more of a death blow to Communism than a thousand "domino-theory" Vietnams could ever be. Today the political philosophy in China is clearly a State Capitalism, with the vestigial slogans of Communist policy serving only as a logo of identity, like the Nike "swoosh."

It is rather instructive to note that the transition to Capitalism in the totalitarian state was not only swift and relatively turbulence-free, but also that China actually was able to model what our country is more subtly becoming without the messy transitions that have had to come to pass in our "democratic" society. The wedding of business and government has been more difficult here, but it is coming to resemble what China looks like. Another "democracy," Japan, got there decades ago.

It's a neoliberal world.

Monday, May 6, 2013

We All Take Care Of Each Other, Whether Badly Or Well

Photo: Harlan H.

The title of this post is the Deconstructing The Manifest sub-tag (see the header of this blog) that has been there from the beginning. I find it to be a statement of revealed truth, as opposed to a manifesto, or to an aspirational sentiment of some kind.

Like most sane people, I've an aversion to vain protests against the nature of reality, and to the subset of that genre that involves the overly-romantic hopes of a certain kind of progressive - those that hold to a vision of transcendent evolution that pumps the hopes of New Age or Singularity acolytes. This is not to say that I'm in the that's-just-the-way-things-are camp, either - between these two straw-poles (see what I did there?) lie a place where one can see where one is going wrong, and make the appropriate adjustment without invoking the need for mystical transformation or, on the other hand, pleading for the return of an idealized baseline of traditional nature.

We may not be Übermenschen-in-waiting, but we are also not doomed to be Hobbesian red-in-tooth-and-claw primitives, either.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Solutions: Public Banking And The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax
Image borrowed from The Guardian

[Update 5/8: I missed the first two parts posted last month, but Part III showed up today:

Alternet put up an article By Les Leopold a couple of days ago (The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the 'Recovery,' While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion ) that, as can be gleaned by the title, should be a discomfiting indictment of the behavior of the wealth class in this country and elsewhere in the developed world.

There is plenty there to grumble and shake one's fist at, like the wealth class itself...