In Itself American: Alpha

We the people of the United States, in order . . .  ” yes, order. Order is the single rule of operation for any State, whether French, American, or Iranian; fascist, communist, Islamist; it does not matter.  Third world dictatorships or totalitarian regimes are not the only kinds of governments concerned for regulating its citizens and residents, our United States government no less than China’s.

The preferred result of any state’s practice is always a more perfect union, and the finishing point for any State would be for all who live within it, all the people governed by its administrators, to serve the state and only the state, as any or all bureaucrats understand, themselves standing firmly as managerial pillars supporting the fundamental tenet that the State must for certain and for always come before the people, that in all matters governmental, the State is Alpha and Omega.  These are dogmas heeded no less fervently than the dogmas of any organized religion are by the pious. States have their demands and bureaucrats their devotions.

These clerics of State, and every clerk is a cleric—they come together in one temper that expresses their function in the following way: everything we think, everything we do and all that we react to should be of, by and for the bureaucracy and the bureaucracy alone, in as much as we are the guardians of the State, the limit of life and reality for all who exist in the state, but bestly, for the state. Of course, Lincoln meant to say, of the State, by the State and for the State . . .

In as much as we in America systematically under educate at every turn in our standard public education, we are not likely to enlist bureaucrats with anything more than the typical less-than education we want; that is, the scarcely literate, and only the functionally so if that, is all anyone in the state will sponsor or to which anyone from within the State bureaucracies will aspire. Our current sense of literacy is the only kind the State considers fit for the Democratic averages, the great social en-masse, more liable to answer the Pavlovan bell of advertising than likely to discern critically; these are the masses accustomed to deciding political issues firstly and lastly if filtered through the sieve of mass media.

Now, as it seems in perpetuity, the State maintains as part of its internal policy of control a scheme of education whereby large numbers of students moving through its curriculum will in the last read no better than the eighth grade, which is the grade level considered by the federal government literate enough. This functional literacy, as the government of the United States calls it could not carry you through the most significant editorials of even the New York Times. It will allow you to handle most of the general reporting in almost any of America’s tabloid newspapers, and even a significant portion of the general reporting of the Washington Post or New York Times. Now whether or not what is contemporarily required to read at the eighth grade today is equal to or less than what was considered eighth grade reading twenty five or fifty years ago or seventy-five is not going to be determined within these pages; however, we do know that there are all of the years of high school beyond the eighth grade, so what have we established when we say that an eighth grade reading level is quite sufficient to perform functionally in society—or is it the functionary tasks of state we seek to replicate in our mass produced high school graduates? How has graduating from High School become an achievement when in New York City still more than half of its public high school graduates read below the 12th grade. Students are tested only up to the eigth grade; the state and the schools need not be accountable beyond there.

For us to utter with such pride, as we do in New York City about the numbers of high school graduates we have promoted in the last several years, when still nearly half graduate reading below grade, is example of one of our greatest delusions. But then an eighth grade reading level will allow you to handle bureaucratic literacy, the kind needed to manage the many forms and applications you will have to fill out through the course of your life, sometimes in triplicate, or simply a number not repeated but certainly insuring the appropriate redundancy, as if the mother of all bureaucracies in America was the military. A variation on this functional literacy has crept into our colleges, particularly at the community college level, but also in our baccalaureate programs.

I noted this kind of programmatic educating from the allegedly kinder and gentler teachers at a Community College in Brooklyn, where there was an enforced mediocrity from the governing administration, to the point that if any adjunct lecturer had ever gotten his students to pass the CUNY ACT exam at a percentage rate nearly double that of the CUNY average, then he or she came under fire from above, firstly, and most likely, for being too teacher centered, whatever that is supposed to mean. But those who use this cliche–another of our received ideas about pedagogy that has only allowed us to systematize failure and ensure a pervasive mediocrity in our students ability to read and write critically–are only too quick to oppose anything that will not keep 2 out of every 3 students in remediation failing the exam they need to take the composition courses they most certainly need to graduate, but finish their course of study more effectively. Through this system of failure we achieve a kind of intellectual mendacity that is difficult for any individual teacher to stand up against when the consensus–when the overarching majority of teachers in the Community Colleges all agree to the contrary. My students were paying at a percentage rate of around 70%. The CUNY average was around 34%. There had to be something wrong with the pedagogy, if I could do this in my classes; so, the only response from administration was not reward but vilification. But at the time of my inquest, the Chairperson of the department was someone with a surname made famous or infamous by Sinclair Lewis.

Soul & Anti-Soul

A new political metaphysics.

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

The soul of the people and the anti-soul of the governmental administrators are mutually exclusive entities metaphysically as well as being antagonistic players in any drama performed physically in society.  They share little to nothing in common, cannot endure for long the existence of the other.  They are as close to matter and anti-matter in physics as any two things could be.  

 Politicians as we know them today, inside any sense of democracy anyone might hold in whatever variety that has been possible throughout history, are not interested in the advancement of literacy, no.  Advanced literacy is not even favorable for any serious political campaign, and that’s serious about getting elected.  Even a campaign as seemingly mostly about ideas as was Barack Obama’s, an elevated literacy was not the prime question–the populus was never to read his speeches, but listen to the ringing oratory in his phrases, the rhythm of his…

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Spy, Spying, Spied

To spy or not to spy must be a question for some who have reason to believe that their need to find out exceeds another’s right to privacy. As voyeuristic as we have become–and the world is just a series of key holes, from one to another crouching like a humunculus with left or right eye peering . . . and thanks in part to Mr. Zuckerberg, we have other forms of voyeurism and exhibitionism. How can we not have spied or consider, seriously, spying on others, our neighbors, our family, our friends or social media friends.

Mr. Zuckerberg has considered spying on the American people; his endeavor with Facebook was hatched from a malignant egg, a contempt for people and their foibles. He has even considered spying on us for the NSA–whatever spin has spun since, let it not detract you from the facts of his spying. There are, though, too many of us who do not consider this seriously enough. We continue to use his Facebook when we have the power to crash it and crush his worth. His company takes in only about 30M a year, yet he is valued at how many billions today? The number is no longer significant because it is fantasyWhy would the People exercise their power against power? I could ask. Why would we formidably oppose his power and his monied influence in our society? We could all tomorrow close our Facebook pages to see what effect it would have, but we fear money in America the way peasants in Russia used to fear the Czar. We need to exert the weight of the People against the monied elite helping the state’s efforts at making us less free (that is, if to be free has gradations).

We cannot believe Mr. Zuckerberg is a fascist–and there are too many parallels between Mr Zuckerberg and the Industrialists and monied elites of Nazis Germany, in his and their dance with state power and its agenda against the people, and this is whether they were actual Nazis or not. There are, moreover, too many received ideas to the contrary that impede the conclusions we could draw. Fore mostly, Zuckerberg cannot be a fascist because he is a Jewish American, and everyone knows in our contemporary American received ideas, Jewish Americans cannot be fascists. Right? By turn of like reasoning, President Obama cannot be a stooge of reactionary Zionist factions among the monied and power elite in America and Israel because he’s African-American, and this relieves him of all suspicion for being a front for the monied-power elite. Because he is African American, we can delude ourselves into believing Obama has nothing in common with W. Because Zuckerberg is Jewish American, he must be of the eternal left, a righteous liberal who stands up for democracy. We cannot accept that Obama and W are flip sides of a singularly minted political coin. Policy differences often only mask the politically and ideologically paradigmatic sameness they share. We are unwilling to accept Zuckerberg has more in common with Goebbels than he does Jefferson or Madison, at least until he got caught and had to back track. But we will have to wait and see.

With the received ideas we live by that lie to us and lie in us every day, we imagine we think about politics clearly. We also imagine that by this media conditioning, we answer the questions that arise directly from the events that the media then reshape, mold, manipulate in their packaging of events. these are all threads woven in the veil of delusion we collectively wear. Psychosis can affect a nation as we have seen manifested time and again throughout the 20th century. But parroting our received ideas, themselves given false weight by one or another media, particularly social media–this is all we are able to do in response to major or minor social events, tweet, tweet, tweet like birds in our cages. Yes, this is what we do best.  We, of course, continue to wonder why we are not free, why our liberties are disappearing–or do we wonder these at all?

The organs of the media that should be protecting our freedoms are the organs enlisted by the state to undermine them and the People’s right to them. Facebook is adjunct to the NSA . . . no? It is not? I watch sycophantic talking heads on TV gushing in some common cacophony over the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, the former themselves grossly overpaid . . . but then, who am I? All of this is just sour grapes, and there are no reasons to be upset, or angry, over the margins of greed that we take for granted. Of course Zuckerberg is eentitled to a worth grossly exaggerated from what his company actually brings in every year. He seems also to be entitled to being Chief spy in America, an enemy of the People. I hold that truth to be virtually self-evident. Nonetheless, I over react, right? I am paranoid, surely, no? I won’t waste time trying to prove otherwise. I have a lot more to say and will continue to say it for as long as I can–for as long as I am allowed to continue.

Facebook already has taken down my Facebook page, assumably for my attacks on power and money, Jeremiads and other diatribes, all in lamentation on the excesses of our elites. Orwell’s nightmare is now, for those who wake up–sleep walking what we do mostly. 1984 is anytime anywhere the media is controlled by a select group with a common agenda that has nothing to do with universality or freedom or democracy but simply maintaining the appearance of one or another. What was it that Sinclair Lewis said about it happening here? Yes, it can. When fascism comes to America it will come under the guise of Americanism, waving the flag, rallying everyone around the idea that we are commonly threatened and that we must give away some of our freedoms to be secure. But this will come from either the right or the left. And it will fill its ranks with those in our society that we would never suspect, at least not when aligned with the grossest of our most cherished media-received ideas. But Thomas Paine still echoes loudly enough At what price peace? The Patriot Act gives too much power to those who police us, just as too much influence is given to those who run our media, whether print, broadcast and social. Too many of us talk about the existence of contemporary power as if it were a fact of nature, a universal law of physics. This is equal to the kind of complacency that undermines all effective democracy in response to power. We need a will of the People instead of a state serving, power and money adulating Public. But then, when fascism comes to America it will be multi-racial and multi-cultural. The reason we have such poor responses to women’s rights and gay marriage and the outcropping of racism in our political geology is the fact that the Left has moved too far to the right.

A man journeying on a road sees the glowing Buddha from afar and comes to the Buddha and asks him who he is. What are you? The man wants to know. He poses one question after another to the Buddha, Are you . . .? Are you . . .? Are you a spirit? Are you a god? An angel–what? The Buddha patiently says no to each question, as many as the man has asked. The man finally in exasperation asks one last time, What are you? To this, the Buddha finally says, after an appropriate pause, Awake!

We should be so enlightened. Wake up.

Archipelago

FICTION ONE: THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF THOMAS SAREBBONONNATO

The world is fast becoming one kind, even if we have yet to raise our ethical consciousness to the level where we can see clearly the oneness of our human kinship.   Yet, the scarriest thing I noted in Paris the last time I was there was how much like everywhere else even Paris is becoming.  Every city in the world an island in the American Bourgeois Capitalist Archipelago, a chain of Post-post Modernist American Islands in a sea of everywhere else.

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Israel & Colonialism

Israel & Colonialism.

How can any academic assert that we are living in the post-colonial world when Israel is European Colonialism? Post-Colonial? Any history of colonialism must address the continuation of this history in Israel. Power is sophisticated enough today to understand that violence in itself as brutality, brutality as violence is not going to work for their ends, or be accepted. In fact, too often has been the experience that a people have used violence against the power elite. This is why power and money have co-opted the media. This is why peace and non-violence is worm as a cloak by internal power in America. This is why the power elite want your guns. Power fears the guillotine and les Jacobins. Nonetheless, Israel is a European colony, a client state of the American Empire., and its agenda in Gaza, for instance, is no different than the British Empire’s agenda at any time in its history of colonial rule, or France for instance in Indo-China. The horror of our contemporary existence is that too many people think this impossible because Israel is a Jewish state and Jews cannot be racists, bigots, or fascists or colonialists. This is aided by an American media with a lopsided representation of Ashkenazi Jewish men and women as part of the controlling interests. The American Press amounts to a Zionist Pravda, where the only acceptable Zionism is a reactionary and neo-fascist one.

via Israel & Colonialism.

Women, Pendulums and Curtain Rods

Women, Pendulums and Curtain Rods.

 

We have little idea what we are talking about when the issue of abortion rights is raised in the media. Our emotionalism is grotesque. Intelligence leaves the platform because we are actually too semi-literate to discuss this intelligently, which is always a way to think and feel symbiotically. And when I say we are too semi-literate, I am referring to the mass of college educated who with their bachelor degrees assume they have received a higher education. But with what passes for High School in this country–and we’re not talking facts, facts and more facts, but literacy–undergraduate education spends an inordinate amount of time patching up the holes. I don’t want to play the rhetorical ping pong most Americans are in love with playing; nor do I wish to engage in the intellectual hopscotch we like to play. We imagine we cannot be taught how to think; we imagine that not teaching our students how to think will make us freer. Mistakes.

via Women, Pendulums and Curtain Rods.

Bought and Paid For [Flash Fiction]

He remembers what a friend told him word for word which some of you may find very hard ton believe considering what we are talking about that was said was said so long ago, no one should be able to recollect it word for word, except that some have said, after he has said what he says, as he has said it before, also word for word, that the particular way in which the words were said by the friend he remembers could conceivably be remembered a long time afterwards, as it is the way he recollects what the friend told him word for word, the words:

Charisma is charisma. Truth is truth. Demagoguery is demagoguery. Presidents are presidential. All Presidents swear an oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and  domestic. The People are domestic; all people are potential enemies in the minds and the actions of every President..

One Born Every Minute [Fiction; revised post Trump]

.

I don’t expect other from any President–=whose President, what President? The President of any City Library, of any corporation not in the private sector, of any government anywhere, any-when?

What should anyone expect from anyone in any position of governmental authority, especially the President of the United States, an office more circumscribed by Power and Money than we would want to imagine . . . more manipulated? Who pulls the strings when our latest former President was given a list of Cabinet selections from the CEO of Citicorp and from that list came to be his cabinet?

Obama, Oh Bankers! I have said before and I will say again as I do here now in this place at this time, itself simply present, thus usually or always.

Can we expect more than that which I understand to be presidential in the way the most powerful office in the world attracts power playing people, power brokering persons, playing at the power dynamics of power as it is always and only of power by power and for power? Never perishing? Questions about Power beget more questions about Power, others about US, We the People. 

Of course, you or I would be a fool to expect any President to be his own man. Perhaps that is what is most frightening about President P. Murt? Is he his own man? I am not sure he is his own anything except chameleon? He plays hop-scotch with what is true, having been fully subsumed by our culture’s definitive postures against Truth, against anything absolute, against categories and Categorical thinking–not what you think by how it has been popularly misused. The inability to think categorically has left us mishandling some very important ideas, and mishandling others, even those concepts we use as if we knew what we were talking about, which we clearly do not, if anyone had eyes to see or ears to hear.

Raising doubt, doubt and more doubt about anything that could be true, must be true, should be; our President (and he is ours whether we like it or not, whether we voted for him or not; that is the rub, now)–he is more in the image of our intellectual hegemony over the last fifty years than anyone would want either to believe or from anyone occupying the Oval Office–be in the world, not of it, I recall from one or another call to wisdom. Yes, this man currently sitting behind the Resolute Desk is made up of everything we think by how we think determining what we get to think by subsuming what we agree is knowledge, the limits thereof. What has paraded in our Academies of learning as an Emperor’s new clothes of epistemology, makes up most of what we might hesitant call the mind of this president. But is he even this, that, whatever, however, moreover, exactly yes, no or maybe these? What exactly is he? Catch him if  you can. Narcissistic? Egoistic? Solipsistic? All of these fit, do they not? Need I remind you that the answer to them is Yes! Yes! Yes!

I am sure that there is something of him that fits, at least in some people’s conceptions of what they think they think, into one or another received idea of a fascist, and that in so being or doing the term fascist raises the specter of what they think they are imagining when they hear the word Nazis; but President P. Murt fits the pattern of a much older form of dictator when dictator was not the role as it functioned electively and for a set term in Ancient Roman politics or their politique; the cult of personality is upon us, but then that is something we understand from leaders who did not lead in old formed dictatorships, but in the 20th Century’s prototypal Totalitarian Societies: Nazis Germany and The Soviet Union.

 

II

What is it that we expect a People who desire freedom to manage in the ways it dreams of checking Power, if that is what we do, as it is understood here as what we should be doing?

To check Power or not to check Power should be the question? Of course, it should. Another truth to be held self-evidently.

We are failing miserably in the matter and manners of Democracy. You do not think so? The two most Liberal Presidents since JFK got himself elected convincing us that the new mantra of State should be ours; and that Government was not going to be doing anything anymore for any of us at any time in any place in the futre–yes, the two most Liberal since JFK were Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Imagine that! Yes, Obama and Hilary more conservative than Tricky Dick? The horror once more. I should re-read Heart of Darkness. 

What is this, simply put? How to put these things, ideas, conclusions into perspective; yes, just how far we have moved monolithically to the Right is easily enough discerned. What we call and think is Left, might be another thing for many of us to achieve, especially if those concerned call themselves liberals and equally especially if those concerned call themselves conservative. Part of the polarization in America political arenas is misapprehension rooted in mis-assignation. Liberal exists only by contrast with what has moved ever further to the Right.

Our Democrats are more heinous than the Republicans in one very simple way: they have always managed to present the idea, the image, while maintaining the aura, of being People-centered, of being Liberal with a capital ‘L,” when in fact their abdication of the Left and Liberalism has helped Power to become more powerful and more monied while Money has become richer and even more powerful than ever they could have dreamed when it was mostly the Right of our politics and politicking that served Money and Power–although to imagine a time when even liberal democracy in America did not serve Power is almost impossible to imagine. What is not impossible to understand is that there was a time when Al Smith could have garnered Party support–no Democrat could support him today, not after showing us that vilifying Bernie Sanders as a Socialist was so easy for so many who could masquerade as Democrats. I mean, as benign as Sanders was when running for President, someone as liberal as Al Smith would never had gotten the chance, probably could never be elected. Not even by working class, working poor and immigrant workers and immigrant poor–the very people Al Smith helped with more legislation than any other man in history, anywhere.

The Democrats are no more Liberal today than the Merkel of Germany has been, as conservative as she is–and do not mistake Friedmanesque Neo-Liberal Globalism for what the name confounds–it is as conservative as Thatcher and Reagan, who adored Friedman and their brand of neo-liberal globalizing, right along with Bill Clinton, Bush I and II, Hilary and yes, your darling, Obama.

One of you is born every minute.

I Am and other Macrocosms

The French were never freer than during the Nazis occupation, or so this hypothesis is presented by Jean Paul Sartre in his short essay, "The Republic of Silence,"  where the French Heideggerean existentialist philosopher–does anyone say   Heideggerean?  I know we still read Heidegger, even if only because we are sure it will help us to understand Derrida, who we read through our misunderstanding and disunderstanding because we are sur … Read More

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Presidential Presidents

Every day the same as every other day. Every day different from every other before to come. Who will bear change, is it possible to change? Will is not something we manage except in the Public good, the Public will; The State always contrary to the very best in me. We the people weighty enough to counterbalance state? The State always rewards you for abdicating your popularity in favor of publicity, publicity only the marketing of popularity. The … Read More

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