Saturday, July 2, 2016

On The Occasion of Our Twenty First Wedding Anniversary


 The Second Day of July... will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America--John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mixed Media Anniversary Gift.  Aimai to Mr. Aimai
Hand Made Pryographia Glove Box (1906), Ketubah Poem, Carved Shell Buttons, Gilded Vintage X, Found Iron, Antique Postcards, Found Images, Tin Hand, Hand Made Book, 19th Century Newspaper Clipping on the Duties of Husbands
Left Hand: 13th Century Hebrew Poem from Our Ketubah
Right Hand: Meditation on A Midsummer Night's Dream


I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was... The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream
was.




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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Grandfather!

  This is a link to a Vimeo which has just appeared.  I'm not sure whether its a clip from Jerry Bruck's film about Izzy, or where it comes from. The person who posted it on Vimeo isn't sure either.  There's only so much footage out there about Izzy and though I've seen bits of this before I haven't seen any film of him in a long time.  I want to thank the person who put it up on Vimeo.  I miss my grandfather very much, and wish he were here to comment, pungently, on the current state of US politics.

https://vimeo.com/172233617

Thursday, June 23, 2016

These comments are in support of Betty Cracker's brilliant blog post today "Quibbling Over The Script." 

"Christ! Between the bernie leftists for whom no democratic initiative is effective if it doesnt involve birds, giant puppets, or farting and the ACLU’s crack team of concern trolls worried that the democrats will lose the commanding heights of the moral hillock if they once stoop to noisy street theater, cruel manipulation, broad strokes, politics even (faints!)Or anything that smacks of stooping to conquer its no wonder we can’t have nice things. if the various flavors of left purity trolls could stop stabbing us and each other in the back perhaps hillary clinton and the kick ass dems could start to commit some god damned political winning up there. Oh, ok, I think I should take this one. I referred to the ACLU (and I’m a member, by the way) because djw, over at LGM, in a staggeringly stupid thread, referred to himself as an ACLU’er at heart. The ACLU are not concern trolling us here–but concerned citizens are behaving like concern trolls and using the ACLU’s issues and concepts as the method by which they do it."
"Here’s the thing–and stay with me for a moment–the ACLU does a very specific kind of legal work. Their opinion on a matter of politics, and especially electoral politics, is not dispositive. For one thing they tend to think in terms of end products (a law) with a specific set of possible precedential outcomes in a court battle. But a politician, even one who is engaged in potentially writing a law has a different set of priorities, a different understanding of the stages by which an idea becomes a law and then gets submitted for review when challenged in a court case. For one thing a legislator has to deal with time, committees, negotiations, trade offs, gestures, outside pressure, tv, as well as the bald language of the legislation. All of these things intervene between the proposal (we should do something about something) and the execution (this is the thing we are going to do). Short circuting that process for fear that the Democrats are going to turn into the Republicans on minority or muslim rights, or that their very proposal gives aid and comfort to the Republicans is absurd and, frankly, insulting.
And the proof of the pudding, by the way, is in the eating. The Republicans are so terrified of linking gun rights (constitutional right, fetishized idol) to the NFL and the Terrorist Watch List that they literally had to shut down congress to escape debating it. I always know when a thread is over–because that’s when I really get started posting! I want to say something else about the ACLU/naysayers group of commenters. There’s a whole lot of accusations floating around that people who applaud the Dem sit in are “acting like Republicans” and “using Cheneyite” language, or blurring a necessary distinction between our essential Democraticness (goodness, honesty, openness, purity of speech and deed) and their essential Republicanness (ugly, lying, mean, etc…). Politics–the art of the possible, always local, etc..etc..etc… is, in this model, irremiediably filthy and therefore not becoming to Democrats. Because politics always involves a lot of stuff that seems kind of wrong. Like accusing your opponent of pig fucking just to make him deny it. Or putting your oponent into the position of telling you when he stopped beating his wife. Or drawing his policies out to their absurd conclusion and making fun of him. All these things are certainly very messy, and involve passion (and faking passion) and involve arousing the passions of the voters. They are not the platonic ideal of rational debate of a subject on the merits.
Well–boo fucking hoo. If that is what it takes to get stringent gun laws passed I’m for it. I’m not for extra scrutiny for Muslims, the no fly list, or stripping my fellow citizens of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but I am for damned sure pro getting guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens.
Time is what makes kittens into cats, and what keeps everything from happening all at once. The Democrats are fighting just to get the chance to talk about gun laws at all. After that we can argue about how new legislation gets drafted. And if you think anyone is listening to the details and will throw in the Democrats faces that they once, for a day, argued that “terrorists” should not be able to buy guns, well–you really don’t know the first thing about the American Public which would have to be hit in the face with a two by four, repeatedly, day after day before they woke up and said “huh? Whuh hoppen?”
These comments are in support of Betty Cracker's brilliant blog post today "Quibbling Over The Script."  ">Christ! Between the bernie leftists for whom no democratic initiative is effective if it doesnt involve birds, giant puppets, or farting and the ACLU’s crack team of concern trolls worried that the democrats will lose the commanding heights of the moral hillock if they once stoop to noisy street theater, cruel manipulation, broad strokes, politics even (faints!)Or anything that smacks of stooping to conquer its no wonder we can’t have nice things. if the various flavors of left purity trolls could stop stabbing us and each other in the back perhaps hillary clinton and the kick ass dems could start to commit some god damned political winning up there.
@Halcyon
Oh, ok, I think I should take this one. I referred to the ACLU (and I’m a member, by the way) because djw, over at LGM, in a staggeringly stupid thread, referred to himself as an ACLU’er at heart. The ACLU are not concern trolling us here–but concerned citizens are behaving like concern trolls and using the ACLU’s issues and concepts as the method by which they do it.
Here’s the thing–and stay with me for a moment–the ACLU does a very specific kind of legal work. Their opinion on a matter of politics, and especially electoral politics, is not dispositive. For one thing they tend to think in terms of end products (a law) with a specific set of possible precedential outcomes in a court battle. But a politician, even one who is engaged in potentially writing a law has a different set of priorities, a different understanding of the stages by which an idea becomes a law and then gets submitted for review when challenged in a court case. For one thing a legislator has to deal with time, committees, negotiations, trade offs, gestures, outside pressure, tv, as well as the bald language of the legislation. All of these things intervene between the proposal (we should do something about something) and the execution (this is the thing we are going to do). Short circuting that process for fear that the Democrats are going to turn into the Republicans on minority or muslim rights, or that their very proposal gives aid and comfort to the Republicans is absurd and, frankly, insulting.
And the proof of the pudding, by the way, is in the eating. The Republicans are so terrified of linking gun rights (constitutional right, fetishized idol) to the NFL and the Terrorist Watch List that they literally had to shut down congress to escape debating it.
ReplyReply

  • 287
    aimaisays:
    I always know when a thread is over–because that’s when I really get started posting! I want to say something else about the ACLU/naysayers group of commenters. There’s a whole lot of accusations floating around that people who applaud the Dem sit in are “acting like Republicans” and “using Cheneyite” language, or blurring a necessary distinction between our essential Democraticness (goodness, honesty, openness, purity of speech and deed) and their essential Republicanness (ugly, lying, mean, etc…). Politics–the art of the possible, always local, etc..etc..etc… is, in this model, irremiediably filthy and therefore not becoming to Democrats. Because politics always involves a lot of stuff that seems kind of wrong. Like accusing your opponent of pig fucking just to make him deny it. Or putting your oponent into the position of telling you when he stopped beating his wife. Or drawing his policies out to their absurd conclusion and making fun of him. All these things are certainly very messy, and involve passion (and faking passion) and involve arousing the passions of the voters. They are not the platonic ideal of rational debate of a subject on the merits.
    Well–boo fucking hoo. If that is what it takes to get stringent gun laws passed I’m for it. I’m not for extra scrutiny for Muslims, the no fly list, or stripping my fellow citizens of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but I am for damned sure pro getting guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens.
    Time is what makes kittens into cats, and what keeps everything from happening all at once. The Democrats are fighting just to get the chance to talk about gun laws at all. After that we can argue about how new legislation gets drafted. And if you think anyone is listening to the details and will throw in the Democrats faces that they once, for a day, argued that “terrorists” should not be able to buy guns, well–you really don’t know the first thing about the American Public which would have to be hit in the face with a two by four, repeatedly, day after day before they woke up and said “huh? Whuh hoppen?”
  • Monday, June 20, 2016

    Cargo Cult Campaign


    John Frum, He Come

    Donald Trump, reports Maggie Haberman, has fired Corey Lewandowski in what could be seen as either the most recent campaign shake-up, or merely the latest iteration of an endless power struggle that has seen figures like Lewandowski, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort cycle in and out of the candidate’s earshot. When the operation in question is a garbage fire like the Trump-for-president operation, terms like “campaign manager,” which imply a cohesive entity that is managed in some hierarchical fashion, may not even apply.

    Trump’s campaign, reports the Associated Press, has 30 paid staff on the ground across the United States of America. That is a smaller number than the Hillary Clinton campaign has in many states. Clinton’s massive ground advantage is supplemented by an even more massive television-advertising advantage. The current ratio of Clinton to Trump television-ad spending in battleground states is one to zero. (Data via NBC News, chart via the Washington Post.)

    This sounds oddly familiar to me.  I wonder...wonder...where we've seen behaviors like this?
    Cargo cults often develop during a combination of crises. Under conditions of social stress, such a movement may form under the leadership of a charismatic figure. This leader may have a "vision" (or "myth-dream") of the future, often linked to an ancestral efficacy ("mana") thought to be recoverable by a return to traditional morality.[1][3] This leader may characterize the present state as a dismantling of the old social order, meaning that social hierarchy and ego boundaries have been broken down.[4]...
    Cargo cults are marked by a number of common characteristics, including a "myth-dream" that is a synthesis of indigenous and foreign elements; the expectation of help from the ancestors; charismatic leaders; and lastly, belief in the appearance of an abundance of goods.[7]
    The indigenous societies of Melanesia were typically characterized by a "big man" political system in which individuals gained prestige through gift exchanges. The more wealth a man could distribute, the more people in his debt, and the greater his renown. Those who were unable to reciprocate were identified as "rubbish men". Faced, through colonialism, with foreigners with a seemingly unending supply of goods for exchange, indigenous Melanesians experienced "value dominance". That is, they were dominated by others in terms of their own (not the foreign) value system; exchange with foreigners left them feeling like rubbish men.[8]
    Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors. These goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake.[9] Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.[9]
    Symbols associated with Christianity and modern Western society tend to be incorporated into their rituals; for example the use of cross-shaped grave markers. Notable examples of cargo cult activity include the setting up of mock airstrips, airports, offices, and dining rooms, as well as the fetishization and attempted construction of Western goods, such as radios made of coconuts and straw. Believers may stage "drills" and "marches" with sticks for rifles and use military-style insignia and national insignia painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers, thereby treating the activities of Western military personnel as rituals to be performed for the purpose of attracting the cargo.[10] (From the Wiki on Cargo Cults)

    Saturday, June 18, 2016

    The Dogs Bark But The Caravan Moves On


    I really just felt like using this as a blog headline. I also considered

    "There is a Tide..."  and "Bernie Or Bluster." I was really hoping to be able to use "Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it..." but, alas, he won't go.

    His dead enders are still squalling around in the dkos diaries explaining to everyone how Bernie's genius plan is receiving plaudits and accolades from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer (they have put a ban on mentioning Raul Grijalva and Elizabeth Warren who have become unpersons. Much the same way Hillary Clinton's actual name and status were treated as if she were Voldemort by Bernie himself). The obvious fact that the Democratic Party is regarding Bernie like the crying tantruming toddler at someone else's birthday, who must be offered the first piece of cake and an extra present just for showing up, is apparently beyond them.  But the entire discussion of political strategy and tactics in this election, if Bernie comes up,  has devolved into the kind of analysis and fatuous teen snark that enables the same people to tell you Hillary Clinton is a corporate whore of a war monger and also that she is a skilled and gracious politician whose lead should be followed by her voters because she has recognized Bernie's superior power, worth, and historical importance.  Some poor, innocent, soul put up Hillary Clinton's 2008 concession speech to Obama, with a few words changed so it could have been Bernie speaking, and his fervent fans swarmed it attacking the guy for having the temerity to suggest that Bernie would ever have any need to be gracious, that no person would ever have given such a speech, that Bernie's world historic run means he is above and outside the normal rules of good sportsmanship or campaigning.  The teenage snark part comes in when several Bernie supporters swarm the comments to chant "if she's won why are you still talking about him???"

    Really the best comment on what is going on was written by some Clinton supporter with a long history with environmental groups. Unfortunately I can't locate it but he or she pointed out that the politics of the environmental groups can be split into those who followed the philosophy of Rachel Carson (we all want basically the same good things for each other and the planet and we need to make coalitions to get what we want together) and the Edward Abbey-niks who organized around the principle that most people were lazy, apathetic, ill informed, or indifferent and that environmental protection would happen only when a committed, aggressive, revolutionary band made it happen.  I'm paraphrasing, of course.  I think its obvious that the Bernie people, at least the most noisy of them, fall into the Abbey style of politics.  People from these two wings of political thought just can't really do politics together. For the Carson-ites/Hillary people, politics is about creating coalitions, discovering people's needs, working short term and long term to satisfy those needs while the Abbey/Bernie people are about big visions, large society wide changes, little attention to detail, no coalition building and no deviation from the original vision.  Hillary people prize winning and governing, Bernie people prize being right and staying on message, whatever real world events interfere. What strikes me about the Bernie people and their attitude towards the electorate is that they are simultaneously elitist and pseudo populist--they represent themselves, to themselves as being by and for "the people" but when the people reject them as they have in this primary, the people are found wanting and need to be dissolved. **

    In the short and long run I don't think Bernie matters very much.  Sad to say because I am extremely progressive, myself, and I love the idea of an out and proud progressive Democratic Party, pursuing dominance in all fifty states.  But Bernie didn't have a clue how to make that happen--he's a visionary curmudgeon not a hard worker, down in the weeds, paragon of organizing.  Even his latest attempt at revolutionary relevance is nothing more than a rehash of Dean's 50 state strategy with added griftiness.  Is he fundraising off this page and off this gesture?

    Bernie is announcing that he managed the incredible feat of putting up a web page that enables his supporters to click "I will run for office" or "I will volunteer" and he got 6,700 people to click a button.  This is all of a piece with earlier revolutionary acts by his supporters like "liking" Bernie's facebook page and keeping tabs on how many more likes they had than Hillary's facebook page. So who are these 6,700 people and what did they really "sign up" to do? Because if its 100 people in 67 college towns, all proposing to run for the same offices, they rather cancel each other out.  Don't get me wrong--I think its critically important that progressives commit to running for office, support each other, and build a better Democratic Party from the inside out.  But I don't think Bernie's "new" Congressional initiative is going to be the way it happens because I just don't think Bernie or his team can herd their own cats.  (I give Bernie and his team props for running a very successful campaign, but history is littered with pretty good campaigners and their teams, just as the cemeteries are full of indispensable men).

    Bernie doesn't matter--or won't by the time the convention rolls around, because he sold the most excitable and unreliable and least informed voters in the country--young people--a bill of goods. He taught them that passion mattered more than strategy, that long distance goals were more important than short term goals, that attacking your allies and co-workers was a viable way to build alliances, that intensity matters more than numbers, that people who don't agree with you on tactics are identical to enemies who don't agree with you at all, that everyone but Bernie is corrupt and deceitful, and that ideological rigidity and boorish behavior is the same as honorable authenticity.  Its being reported that as we head into the convention Democratic voters are "coming home" to Hillary and that Bernie's own delegates are no-showing at the meetings where they would be helped to get housing and information about the convention.  If the rest of Bernie's campaign is any indication Bernie himself probably doesn't have the slightest idea how many of his troops will follow him into battle at the convention.  I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie ends up not showing up, for one specious reason or another, and if he doesn't his delegates won't either.  The purity pouting will be epic, biblical, and if his online supporters are any indication of the generally spiteful attitude towards the Democratic Party if Bernie sulks at home so will his delegates.  Its all of a piece with the "you'll miss me when I'm gone!" arguments the Bernie/Jill Stein wing has been making.


    **The strong conviction that the Bernie voters (at least on Kos) have that they are both identical with "the people" and embattled against the people who actually voted, in a landslide, for Hillary Clinton, is what makes them simultaneously mawkish and aggressive.  They are, as I've observed elsewhere, perfect examples of Fred Clark's "persecuted hegemon."  They see themselves as a majority, or at least a majority of righteousness, and simultaneously as persecuted, misunderstood, and vulnerable.  Once you recognize that this is how they understand their position in US society and the Democratic primary everything that they do and say as they follow Bernie down the garden path makes sense. Especially their viciousness against Hillary and her voters.

    Cross Posted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    On Herd Immunity

    I've been reading over at Kos for the last few months--I know, I know! Crazy.  But I can't stop myself. I had to abandon other sites where I usually chew the cud with my internet friends because of all the Bernie Love and Hillary Hate.  Now that we are at the end of the primary, although apparently we need to hush until Bernie accepts reality, women and AA voters, and especially women AA voters, are coming out of the woodwork to celebrate and to express how angry they are that their votes and their voters have been attacked, harassed, doxxed, insulted, and ignored throughout this primary.  Its not going away.  Just today I was listening to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me and Peter Sagal was doing some shtick about how boring, old, tedious, and lacking in charisma Hillary Clinton was. He paused for a moment and then said, pro forma "Of course, it was a historic moment" and the lone woman on the panel shouted "Hell yeah!" and the audience roared its approval of her.  They all then joined in to talk about marketing "clothespins" for people to wear on their noses when they "have" to vote for Clinton.

    This is by way of observing that it is going to take a really long time--if ever--for liberal and progressive white men to grasp what is going on.  If dKos is any example we are going to have to endure a whole lot of white male gnashing of teeth, sobbing, special pleading, and complaints about how dull she is, and how frumpy, and how stiff.  And that's just from people who are going to support her!  As for the Bernie dead enders they are even worse--I could pull up some of these comments but what would be the point?  They go like this "I'm a white man who lives in a safe blue city in a safe blue state and I am personally offended by drones/climate change/rumor about Hillary/wall street and I must withold my <strikethrough>precious bodily fluid</strikethrough> from her and her minions.  You people--you other people--do what you have to do but I never will.  You can imagine this said either from behind the walls of a pillow fort or from atop a fainting couch.

    I dislike both types--both the ones who are grudgingly giving her the vote, or acting like its just tacky to be uncool enough to vote for her wholeheartedly, and the Bernie or Buster single issue voters.  These people are relying on a kind of political herd immunity. They are like people who don't get a vaccine that might save their life from an epidemic illness and who simply count on everyone else getting the vaccine to lower the danger to themselves.  They know that Hillary and Bill and Obama and everyone else in the Democratic Party is going to raise the money, fight the fight, do the GOTV, and then fight to run the damned country regardless of their single vote.  And they either believe that Trump getting in won't affect them, or that the rest of us will work our hearts out for Hillary and get her over the finish line and we will keep fighting for progressive causes and they can bitch from the sidelines.

    Years ago, when I was considering moving my family to Canada to save my children from having to grow up complicit in Bush's war crimes, someone on a blog pointed out that doing so was abandoning everyone else in the country, who couldn't move, to their fate.  That withdrawing might be possible, it might be convenient, it might be good for me and mine--but it was an abdication of my responsibility as a citizen and as a neighbor to all those who couldn't afford to move.  I have never forgotten this post, and this insight has informed my political attitude ever since.  I have to vote, and I have to vote in every election, not just on my own behalf, or on that of my children, but for people who are not able to vote here (non citizens in the US, the rest of the world, people in the US who are being denied their vote).  And I have to vote, specifically, with their needs in mind.  Because there are many of them, and they come in many kinds--my vote can never be all about any single issue. Certainly its not just going to be about the Oligarchs or the economy.

    In this election season so far we have seen women and African American voters come out and vote solidly for Hillary Clinton.  She is running an intersectional, progressive, campaign that puts women's issues, and LGBTQ issues, and AA issues, front and center.  That is the fact of the matter.  People are telling us the are experiencing existential dread--I know I am!--if Donald Trump gets in because he is going to be horrible for all the kinds of people who make up this coalition.  And yet I see things like this all the time:

    Democrats and progressives would be wise to listen to Tiabbi’s warning, but they won’t.  The nomination of Hillary Clinton and her Wall Street coterie will only be another 4 years of paying lip service to progressive reform.   Worse, it will stunt the youthful idealism that Bernie tapped into, which is the future of the party.
    Rather than treating Trump’s destruction of the GOP as an opportunity to continue the status quo, the Democrats should learn a lesson from it. The old, toothless GOP is gone, and in its place is something far more formidable — a re-awakening American nationalism and an awareness that the American worker has gotten a raw deal from corporate globalism.    Rather than dismissing Donald Trump with tired accusations of bigotry , why not address some of the real issues he has raised affecting national security and the economy?   Bernie was trying to do this, and Clinton, for many reasons, is incapable of it.  Ironically, with Bernie gone, the best outcome for progressives may be a Trump victory in November.    



    This guy may be a troll but there are plenty of others, including Matt Taibbi who he is riffing off of, who make essentially the same argument.  I think it is because right wing has done a great job of causing people to forget 8 years of Bush.  And the left wing has helped by concentrating fire on Obama and on Clinton rather than on Bush and the Republicans.  Obama was castigated for not being able to fix all of Bush's mistakes, Hillary for being SOS to Obama (and thus part of the establishment cabal) and for participating in Bush's Iraq War.  But everything else that happened under Bush--the economic dislocation, the racism, the war on women is ignored in this story as it is ignored as it is happening right now.   We can't let the soi disant progressive left or last bastion of hipster white boy power do to Hillary Clinton what they have happily done to Barack Obama.  That is: support them (whether weakly or strongly) during the campaign when it is expedient to do so and then sabotage them immediately upon election.

    So I'm going to go back to this notion of herd immunity and beg people to think before they selfishly vote their ego.  For herd immunity to work, for the most vulnerable parts of our body politic to be protected from disease, everyone who can get the vaccine must get the vaccine. Babies, children, old people, pregnant women, sick people--these are all people who have compromised or vulnerable immune systems. Often they can't get the vaccine.  They rely on herd immunity to protect them from epidemic diseases sweeping through society.  Anyone who is healthy enough to receive the vaccine owes it to everyone around them to take it.  Anyone who has the freedom to vote, the ability to vote, the luxury to vote owes it to the rest of us to vote in this election, for the Democratic nominee. The health and safety of the entire country depends on it.

    Cross posted at No More Mr Nice Blog