Where Have You Gone Al Smith?

Politics in America has become a quagmire? I ask . . . we like to interrogate the truths of our world rather than assert them declaratively. I prefer “we” when I requires more courage or confidence than I can muster at the time. Washington is a swamp, we have liked saying; we have repeated this how often lately. I do not agree with Trump on anything else he says, thinks he means, means when he says otherwise than what we hear . . . I cannot imagine an intelligent person thinking he is not as narrow minded as he  appears, is not quite as foolish, or lacking in intelligence, as we seem to lack.

I detest the Donald, as he was called by us, we New Yorkers back in the 80s. New York City media then held an affection for the marketability of his image, for better or for ill or for whatever it was that sold airtime, newspapers—he remained a buffoon more than icon.  I do hate our colloquial thus our media’s use of the word ‘icon,’ just as it sometimes bothers me to hear the colloquial or any medium’s use of Mecca: a Mecca of hockey, a Mecca of entertainment? One of our social Icons? A Hollywood icon? What means anything when we talk like this any qualified Rhetorician might ask?

More questions asked to beget yet other questions: What then means Oratory to anyone raised without a respect for language, her language, his, mine, ours, this American tongue, English . . . at least with how far we have fallen in our esteem for the power and purpose of language, allowing for a degraded literacy to take root in our pedagogy, in our performative value. And this is not pressure for English only; I applaud a multi-lingual society as I applaud the world lingua franca, English. I was talking about native speakers who have allowed themselves, through systematic under-education and the supplanting of alphabetism in place of literacy, to debase their facilities with the spoken word, but most assuredly with the written one. When was the last time you listened to King? No, really, when? When have you ever read his speeches, or the essays of Madison, or the letters between Madison and Jefferson, or the speeches of Lincoln? This is just to name a very select few in the matters of rhetoric in the field of Politics.

I have said this before and I will say it again, in these and in other words, always words themselves around a topic, an idea, an observation concerning our political plight? our political quagmire? our political problems? our political night? We do spin our wheels, pin wheels in the wind passing for what we do when we say we think.

A dark night of the American soul has descended; and do not be mistaken and try to side-step that Trump is taking heed the words of the Alternative Right–as alternative as Kentucky Fired Chicken is no longer fried. Keep saying KFC long enough and it is no longer fried chicken, right?  The American People will suffer; but certainly not the new Public for which they stand for the State, as Publics have always been the People in service of the State. And too many of you who have opted to be a state serving Public, and Obama had his Public as Hilary would have had her Public, as Regan had his and Bill Clinton his, et cetera, et cetera. They will stand with Baron Trump, behind Baron Trump . . . and they will stand at the beck and call of this Baron Von Trump.

Our opening of the Trump era–no! I do not imagine that 4 years constitute an era; I also cannot fathom that this Von Trumpeter of his own manias can do anything especially heinous unless the Democrats allow him; however, most of our Democrats are Republicans from the 70s, as you have heard me say since Bill Clinton–yes, for decades now I have been calling out the Democrats for being Republicans; as had Bernie Sanders, and you saw what that got him: vilification and mockery. Sanders, the Socialist? Only the American media can get away with saying something so false and stupid. I faced an Ashkenazi acquaintance here in Brooklyn New York, an educated man, a former pharmacist, not a stupid person, and that was individually judged through conversations and not by accepting a mistaken face-value for his profession–yes, he looked me in the eye laughing when he mentioned Sanders name and called him an idiot and that Sanders was speaking Socialism. He did say that. Idiot; socialist. So anyone who supports traditional Democrat values integral to maintaining a safety net is a Socialist? Yet another rhetorical question, themselves to beget more questions.

This here is exactly how we have come to Trump.  Where did we think the Republicans would go–could go–if the Democrats moved right along with the monolithic shift to the right in American Politics. And it has shifted significantly to the right of eternal political center. If we were to divide an American political triangle, equally into to halves, Democrat and Republican, and then were to place this appropriately into an equally divided rectangle of eternal Left and Right, the American quadrilateral would have to be situated with all of the Republicans being significantly inside the Right half of the Eternal Political divide between  Left and Right. A good portion of the Democrat half of the American Political Party divide would find itself also to the right of the eternal divide between Left and Right.

 

A country for let?

Donald Trump is a very dangerous man because it is becoming apparent that there was no subterfuge in his campaign, that he was not being crazy like a ferret, that he was not manipulating anything or anyone, and that he is the one who has been, was and will continue to be manipulated (and by the Proto-fascists)–if there was ever a talking head, Trump is it. It has become apparent that the Donald (he does not get Mr.President, and will not get “the President”) cannot think beyond what he says and how he says it; that what we heard is all of him, that the man said what he meant and meant what he said.

I used to believe no stupid man could become President, but that was before we decided that systematically under-educating was going to free us; that undermining any notions of Truth in a way nearly as intellectually savage as the Bolsheviks or the Nazis before us was going to protect us and our liberty–if you talked to most undergraduates from any time in the last thirty years, you would soon realize that Doubt is the highest wisdom and knowledge is impossible and a universal human nature (thus humanity? thus being humane?) is also a deception. The problem with politics is not politicians but that there are no politicians and only businessmen or lawyers who do not employ bankers and brokers and CEOs and other lawyers except as managers or puppet masters of our politics.

Yes, whenever it was that the American People decided being a Public at the expense of Democracy was okay, that by being a Public they could barter their freedom for a few more crumbs, or what they imagined were more crumbs–whenever it was that we got the idea that politicians should be substituted with businessmen or lawyers being lawyers doing lawyerly things, it was not long before the banks came in and decided to screw politics in America the way they had screwed labor by convincing corporations that they needed to ship jobs overseas (perhaps to receive friendlier loans????), and then by screwing the general public (no longer a People, We the People) with ’08.

We do not have Politicians who operate as politicians within the metaphysics of the profession Politician. The model for me will always be Al Smith of New York. I suggest you examine his track record, a little bit of history can go a long way. FDR learned most of what we love him for from his fellow New Yorker, former Governor Al Smith. And those who think the democrats abandined them may be right in direct proportion with how it abandoned what we learned from the Great Depression–but then there is no Truth, right? There are no Absolutes, right? There is no Human Nature, right? There are no individuals because individuality is also a lie, right? Doubt is the highest wisdom because knowledge is impossible, right? As so many or too many of the Post-Structuralist and Post-post Structuralist and Neo-Liberal design for a new an orderly world have decided. Hypotheses become fact for too many who have been dis-abled in their thinking.

We are like the fool who cuts down all the trees of Law in the forrest of Justice just to get at the Devil, and when the Devil turns to face him, he has nothing left to stand between him and the Devil. Good luck my younger brethren and sisters with your anti-humanity in the guise of half-baked hypotheses extracted or mis-taken from mis-reading far too much badly written theory translated equally badly.

 

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Respect is Spectacle Again?

Is it too dis-respectful to say that thinking about Donald Trump as President is equal to imagining a chimpanzee running around a zoo with a loaded gun? I do not want to be disrespectful; it is just so damn hard not to be when he invites it as he does nearly every time he opens his mouth.

How Power and Money Do not Need Conspiracies to Control

Now Politics

A reprint from early December 2016.

Why has Obama dragged his feet on what the CIA has announced that he perhaps knew about a month ago before the election? Because there is a web of Power and Money that controls government in virtually direct ways–I know we do not want to see the extent; I understand how we might want to avoid seeing this present in the choices or decisions of a man so beloved by so many. However, it has been reported that the CEO of Citicorp had delivered to Obama a list of names that would be suitable choices for the President’s Cabinet (still choices far less scary than the collection of misfit misers and other vindictive, single-mindedly greedy reactionaries that Trump had collected) . . .yet they became Obama’s Cabinet.

Moreover, nonetheless, nevermore . . . the Clintons parading around as liberals is truly a joke; yet…

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THE DARK AGES ARE NOW

Dark Age does not mean there is no sunlight, that the sun does not rise and set, that summer never comes, that everything is obscure under clouds and shrouds, terminally gray, as I had said once of ten days in Paris when the sun did not shine. Even in what we once referred to as the Dark Ages, people had a wide range of emotions, some people were happy, others were joyful, some experienced delight, ecstasy, pleasure. Some were well off, others were intelligent, accomplishments were made, health was maintained, children were raised, knowledge and wisdom were attained. However, the Darkness or Lightness of an age has other factors in its determination, mostly those relating to the general good, the general welfare, the intelligence and the forbearance of light by those in Power and with Money (capitalization intended).

Yes, we knew decades ago that American oil companies had sold oil to the Nazis out of Mexico; so, why should anything surprise us about the Oil Gangsters or the Koch Brothers Cartel. And their names on places for the Arts does not make them philanthropists anymore than the Nazis building theaters made them philanthropists. There was State Ballet in the Soviet Union. But please remember when we talk about the dark waters of Republican support,  we do have to recollect that there was no President deeper in the pockets of Wall Street than Obama, and that includes Bill Clinton, although you would probably want to think Ronald Regan. Jefferson did warn us about banks being more dangerous to a People and their Liberty than standing armies of occupation.

Now, no man made greater dents in the New Deal than Bill Clinton, and he was directly responsible for unleashing the banks with measures through legislation that lead to 2008. Clinton Pro-Wall-Street deregulatory actions . . . begun while Democrats were the majority, starting with the appointments Robert Rubin and Larry Summers in the Treasury–does anyone recall his dissolving the Glass-Steagall Law that was in effect from the Great Depression? Glass-Steagall had been passed to bar Investment Banks from Commercial Banking activities. Commercial Banks could no longer use the money from depositors to invest. This does not ring a bell, does it? Moreover, theca for repeal was based mostly, as it had been for decades, on the specious notion that Commercial banks lacked profitability, most especially as the economy grew. But what exactly is or was this lack of profitability–was it an actual loss of profit, a sum-totaling in the red, or was it no longer “profitable” by the standards of decadence and greed that subsumed our economics, especially grotesquely in the 1980s of Regan and into the Clinton 90s?

However, another question to raise would be, Does anyone recall the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, “which left the derivatives market a laissez-faire Wild West,” according to the Columbia Journalism Review. With Riegle-Neal Clinton gutted State regulations of Banks leading to grotesque bank mergers and the too-big-to-fail mind-set. And yes, responsible directly for more deregulation that lead directly to 2008 than any President . . . recall Obama blaming George W. for 2008? I do. But next to Bill Clinton, there has been no greater friend to Wall Street Greed in the Oval Office than OBAMA. But then, there is now no greater enemy of the People than Donald Trump. Milton Friedman, Bill Clinton and Alan Greenspan are my triumvirate in the pit of a new Inferno(mics).

Our Obama-O Bankers! out-did Clinton and Regan both when he spent 0ne Trillion dollars upgrading our entire nuclear arsenal, and thus expanding it, making fifty years of attempts at disarmament irrelevant, all the while tweaking Putin’s nose as if the latter was going to say, Yes, please! You arrogant Americans, push further for your MILTON Friedman NEO-LIBERAL Globalization; please take hegemony because we will let you.

Let’s face it and try for once to be honest in geo-politics: If Russia tried to negotiate with Mexico in half the way we tried to get into Ukraine, we’d already be at war. And speaking of wars, which we seem hell bent on perpetuating, Obama has started more wars than Bush II, has deported more people than any other President and still more than Trump. Obama inititated no immigration reform–examine his record. He has spread the drone-assassination campaign to all quarters of the world. He signed off okay on Hilary’s desire to topple Libiya by bombing the shit out of it, thus destabilizing it to the point that it cannot contain its borders and has become a hotbed of jihadist terrorism and a funnel for all refugees from Africa of any politicized persuasion–without screening–to southern Europe. Could this be part of a darker plan to destabilize the EU and necessitate NATO expansion? I am just wondering out loud.

Libya has become one of the great cluster-fucks of world geo-politics, and a potential human disaster on the level of Syria–another of Obama’s great geo-political coups, and it will again become convenient for many of Hilary’s semi-literate college student supporters to blame Russia, when it was Obama who laid hands off ISIS for over a year in an effort to pressure Assad or topple him in Syria. Obama has wanted regime change there more badly than Bush II did, and Bush was training opposition to Assad, as was Obama, not caring who the Moslem Brotherhood there or in Libya used as its allies as long as it could meet with U.S. Global Imperialist designs.

So when I tell you that Regan, Bush I and II, Bill Clinton, Obama and Hilary are all of a piece geo-politically, except for style of presentation, spin of the doctors of State and Statism, charisma and shifts in policy, or whether they are in the pockets of oil or Wall Street, why don’t you hear me–listening is something I have not seen too many educated people doing lately. I am an OPPONENT of Trump, but even Bernie Sanders does not inspire faith from me. Trump we knew was an idiot 30 years ago, that is, New Yorkers did. But then, contempo-centrism has come to haunt us; a cultural a-historicism that has turned and bitten us right in the ass. How was it that when we undermined the intellectual and academic credibility of a capital ‘T’ Truth as even a compass heading, that when we undermined the validity of a universal human nature, that when we pulled the intellectual rug our from under the footing of the idea of Knowledge, making Knowledge impossible and all smaller ‘t’ versions of what is true irrelevant . . . how was it that we imagined that these measures in thinking were going to free us and n to give Power and Money just what it needed to become more Powerful, more Monied, more Elite?

Hilary and Obama are actually worse than Bush, and Bush was bad, REAL BAD; but no American IN form(ed) by the mainstream media who are linked with finance capitalists on Wall Street (again, 6 corporations control 90% of our media) will ever read about it except on page 44 in the NY Times, a kind of State Pravda because it is Wall Street Pravda like the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Past, all meant to keep power in the shadows. Bush was a liar; Obama is the blackface the Monied and Power elite wear in a Grotesque Minstrel Show–I know you do not think so, and I also know that you think you understand what I have said, and I know that you will imagine that you see racism when you can not feel Power fuck you in the ass at night even while you sleep.

Questions beget more horrible questions. Yet, as endemically racist as we are, was it true that only a black man could sell us the idea that he spoke for the People when he spoke for monied power more eloquently than any President in history? That is, unless we are going to talk about the buffoon, Donald Trump (who does not get Mr. President. And yes, Obama has appeared more Presidential, which is part of the Stagecraft of Statecraft.) But then Americans imagine that Rap is not a new minstrel show when it meets the paradigm, point for point. Rap is no more about authenticity than minstrel shows were. And when I hear ‘white people’ mentioned by anyone, I know I am listening to a Machiavellian drawn received idea because there is no political or sociological term that is more overly generalized or stereotyped than the term “White People.” I have met few to no perosn of color who actually knows what he or she is talking about when they say “White People,” any more than most white people of any ethnicity have a clue what they mean when they say black people. And there has been no other racial or ethnic term that could possibly be used as we do “White People,” and that’s in Academic discourse and thorugh media conduits, print and broadcast. And I am a Trump opponent; and I actually like Obama. But the truth is the truth. We have to stop playing ping pong because that is what this is when we try to put a halo on Obama and horns on the head os Trump, a demon (which is not to say that Trump does not deserve to be demonized).

Furthering the idiots’s ping pong Americans love to play, are the people who voted for Trump . . . but let’s not forget that 30 out every 100 Hispanics voted for Trump and more than twice the number of African Americans who voted for Romney in ’12 voted for Trump. So much for endemic authenticity from Record-Industry-created images that match African American reality in exactly the same way as Hollywood Stereotyping of any ethnic group you choose to examine has ever matched their social, cultural or political reality. If you were to take Hilary’s margin of victory in California out of the election, she loses the election in the other 49 states by the same margin as she won popularly with California–give or take a few hundred thousand.That’s another rationalization for the Electoral College Hilary’s supporters do not want to consider–regional tipping of elections is not more democratic. How is her gross margin of victory in California more Democratic than the electoral college? It’s not. And do not get me started on contemporary liberal critique of Gerrymandering, when Gerrymandering is perhaps one of the most effective or the only effective measure to set against Gentrification of neighborhoods of color or poorer neighborhoods.

We have to stop being stupid because that is what WE are being. Oh, and by the way–I do want to piss on the Patriot Act–and you know what I mean, so stop being conveniently literal. It has been since the Patriot Act that we have had more cops off the hook? Yet, t was Obama who used The Patriot Act to meet his overly STATIST agenda–and by the way, the President is the Chief of Police in America, if you do not already know that.

When I talk with others who are supposed to have been educated, I cringe when I hear what comes out of their mouths about the election or what the Electoral College means, or could mean to and for minority voting, the voting of People of Color, the voting and representation of once neighborhoods of color that have become gentrified (much the way the real estate boom in the 80s had begun to redraw neighborhoods that then became zones of Gentrification dividing once voting blocks in districts that coincided with People of Color.

I know no one has read the Constitution or the Federalist Papers, and this includes Trump and most of his supporters. I still say, though, that if the election had gone the other way, where Hilary had won an Electoral victory and Trump lost with a popular victory, Hilary and Obama would be quoting Madison and singing the praises of the Electoral College. Now it is interesting that Trump and his spokespersons and Cabinet members and his Veep are all too stupid to articulate any of this–not one of them quotes Madison because they have not read Madison. They are just too semi-literate, or perhaps just to contempo-centric?

And no, Madison did not frame the Electoral College because he did not trust the people; there were enough popular elections in our dual sovereignty from the on-set. If that had been the reason first and fore mostly, we would have versions of the electoral college at the State level, which we do not. Governors were and are popularly elected. And remember how important Governorships were: John Jay, the first Supreme Court Justice (for life), left the position to become Governor of New York State. Madison made the distinction between Federal Elections and National Elections and the election for President was framed as a Federal election and not a National one. We are still insisting that the President and the Presidency become something other than what the framers went to great lengths to circumscribe and reduce the power of . . . but then I hear Pundits  of Color on line questioning the wisdom of “these old laws that do not pertain to now” when talking about the Bill of Rights.

I do not expect most of the people I talk to every day to have read or go on to read the Constitution, let alone understand it, not with what passes for literacy in New York City Education. Teaching majors still making up the bulk of the bottom 30% of university students. Stupid is what stupid thinks, and “think” here is not the imagined image but how the process takes place in the handling of thought in matters of great social importance. You did hear recently how 76% of a Bronx High School graduated, as if that were an achievement, but allegedly only 4% were university ready. However, with liberal arts disappearing and themselves becoming vocations or a grotesque sort of vocational training, reading and writing with any acumen, quality, or advanced standards of achievement will become a monastic endeavor.

The Dark Ages are now.

Trump won’t know how to do what he imagines he wants to get done? Remember, Obama’s biggest problem was his entire absence of CACHE coming into office. No one owed him anything. He owed everybody else because when a virtual political nobody has the banks behind him as he did in 08 and 12, you know he has to deliver favors if he ever wants to do anything he thinks he wants to do when listening to the better angels of his nature. Now, I would rather be happy than right, but this here political quagmire makes me right when for 25 years I have been saying that without the Soviet Union, with the Democratic Party shift to the right of center, with the way we educate, with our contempo-centrist views of history to the point of becoming a-historical, with the decline in literacy and a multi-culturalism meant only to be costume for American Bourgeois Capitalist, we were headed for being in a deep river of shit with only our hands for paddles.

Now, will I unleash the same fury on Trump? Yes, as I have . . . only more so because I like him so, so, so much less than I actually liked Obama.

Charisma is worth something; smooth oratory is worth a lot; being able to lie better than the other guy was something as young men in bars with beers in our hands we respected . . . for some reason I pretend is vague.

4 or 5 Reasons Why We Live in a Totalitarian Capitalist America

Totalitarian structures in a society need not only be aligned with Communism, a failure on American Political Science to grapple with this as ideas trickle and seep through the rocks of American ideology (?), American journalism (?), common parlance in America? Yes, and yes, and yes again, only without the gain I would hope understanding could receive.

As long as we allow the Media to become our messages, allow the Monied and Power Elite to remain the Media elite; allow the latter, as Chomsky reminded us thirty years ago, to be “effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function”; yes, as long as we allow this Media (in place of a Folk connection to more traditional and grassroots wisdom) to convince us that Black and White live in mutually exclusive worlds, that is, that we have impenetrably distinct realities apart, that there is no human commonality and that free-will is a lie, we will be subject to the determinisms of State, forming a neoliberal global order managed by Washington Consensus.

As long as these remain, there will be no democmracy, only what is garnered as privilege by the new standing order of an American Bourgeois Capitalist Totalitarianism. This, I would like to say of course, does not make me an American Conservative, but I am sure I will be adopted and vilified by some in either camp(?) . . . more metaphors from warfare? Of course–we are war-like in virtually everything we do societally.

 

 

How You Talk Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth When You Talk Electoral Politics

The same people who chant nearly monosyllabically about one person one vote say nothing when it becomes apparent that our Senate does not have enough of a Republican majority to push repeal of Obamacare through. The same framer who gave us the Electoral College, gave us the idea that a 2/3 majority should be necessary to repeal law. This deference to Madison in itself is not what I use to argue the peculiar wisdom present in the Electoral College System of election, irrespective of what you imagine Michael Moore’s diatribes against it mean. The Senate does have a majority, but thankfully, not a significant enough majority.

Now, with respect for how Hilary did not even win a majority of the vote, yet her supporters cry foul when by having won a majority in California nearly twice that of her popular vote victory across 50 states she was not handed the Presidency. Only having taken one state significantly is one of the reasons Madison devised the Electoral College. Without California, she loses by 1.5 million votes. Also not a significant margin.

What are we talking about when we spout about the election? Who has even tried to read Madison let alone having done so? Who is able to read him? Contempo-centrism is our most prevalent centrist prejudice.

2/3 majority–call it what it is rather than the media molded “super majority.” I always prefer Madison’s diction to that of the Board of NBC or the Publishers of the NY Times. AND I AM NOT A TRUMP SUPPORTER. Yes, Folks, the Republicans do not have a 2/3 majority in the Senate, nor in the House. Breathe.