The World Series and Other Stuff

2 nov 2017

Jeux

The Astros (or maybe I should say Springer) jumped all over Darvish in the first two innings to win the deciding game of the World Series. Why LA offered up Darvish for the crucial game has me wondering if the fix was in. Not that I really care. Baseball has changed so much since I played, that it’s probably out of habit that I even check the scores. I’m even losing interest in my beloved Tigers whose management seems about as self-destructive as US foreign policy. At least Verlander, seemingly rejuvenated by the prospect of playing in, and winning, a World Series, did a pretty good job for the Astros and got to live The Dream. Not that 28 million a year isn’t a dream for most people in our money-obssessed society, but being gifted that much money in a city like Detroit and a team like the Tigers, must have weighed a bit on his conscience, given the direction in which the Tigers were headed. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the trade negotiations. Houston’s gamble seems to have paid off. If the Tigers can can unload Miggy, Zimmerman, Kinsler, and any of the other stupid contracts they signed and resign themselves to being a small market team in a third world city, playing their part in the fading American Spectacle of professional sports, then so much the better. But that’s assuming the existence of a bit of common sense which seems to be absent in the US these days.

I don’t know how much longer I can continue reading ICH. Tom’s lineup of articles this morning was one of the most depressing I’ve read. Not that there’s anything really new. It’s just that the evil intentions of DC have become so apparent that it’s no wonder people are depressed. Christ, I’m depressed, and knowing that the Europeans are going along with this insanity only makes it worse.

For instance, the only real visible resistance to The Empire’s thrashing about, threatening economic or physical war, come from capitalist interests. Are we supposed to support Capital in Europe simply because it’s tugging a bit on the US chain? US policies (sanctions and bombs) are hurting German, French, and Italian business interests, but are those interests any different, really, from US business interests?

The Germans allow the US to have military and espionage bases on their territory. So do the Italians. The French have an ex-bankster as president. Does anyone see any real change here? Are we supposed to espouse the German sweatshop export model simply because they can’t sell their shit to Russia, China, or Iran? Or support the Italians who seem to be willing to accept a portion of the world’s toxic waste and dump it wherever so they can export a few luxury items and write some small deals for their own petro-chemical industries? Or so the French can re-establish their old colonies in Africa or their energy interests in the Middle East?

I see a glaring example of, and comparison to, what is happening in the US. The Democrats, and their cult-like zombie followers, supposed defenders of The People, are so obssessed with the Russiagate charade (in order to camouflage their own corruption) that they’re teaming up with the very forces who have brought us precariously close to (if we aren’t already there) pretty much the real end of history, at least in human terms. And whatever remains of the Left in the US seems more concerned with arguments about identity politics or the true intentions of AntiFa, than trying to incubate a cross-sectional general recognition of, and push-back against, the elitist theatre of the absurd. All these internecine cat fights suck the oxygen from the formation of any real, cohesive, albeit heterogeneous, resistance.

For those of us who are really sick and tired and outraged by the exponential growth of war, pollution, climate change, the criminal behavior of our elite, we need to get over petty differences and put a stop to this mortal nonsense.

Or is it all just tilting at windmills? All sound and fury, signifying nothing? If I’m to believe Robert Hunziker’s articles, some of the newsletters I receive from the alternative health people here in France, comments from a vegan friend in the States, it’s pretty much too late. Modern medicine and big pharma are doing their best to make sure we all become drug addicts or by the means of mandated innoculations, autistic vegetables. Cosmetics and personal care products are so full of nano-plastics and other toxic nightmares, we may as well simply wash ourselves in pure acetone (something I actually saw while part of the crew building a boat, American Promise, for Dodge Morgan at Ted Hood’s boatyard in Marblehead back in the 80s). Thanks to people like Bill Gates and his devotion to the old, and now totally discredited Green Revolution in agriculture, this front man for outfits like Monsanto (a weird Newspeak latinization and distortion of “my health”), not only content to collude with our spy agencies, who may or may not be reading this as I type, is a willing, albeit tax-free, participant in the impoverishment and poisoning of agricutlure workers, the land they till and plant, and the people who are forced to eat the “fruits” of this labor worldwide. The Gates Foundation is no different from the Clinton Foundation. They’re just fronts for massive corruption of everything they touch. It guarantees them the same kind of immunity that our own home-grown and carefully “cultivated” politicians enjoy as they destroy pretty much everything they touch. Especially from a safe distance, sending their own “economic refugees”, various mercenaries, and chronically confused and terrorized young people the world over to do the cynical biddings of the people who put the afore-mentioned idiots (little Eichmanns as per Ward Churchill) into power in the first place.

Need I continue? As Hunziker points out, our planet is literally dripping with toxic chemicals, is experiencing, most likely, an irreversible change of climate due to a psychopathic desire for Profit. Various voices down through the ages, whether they come from science, politics, or the various forms of art, have been warning us of this, and we have paid little or no attention.

I’m sitting here (yes, sitting, not on my feet or in our old van driving around to various protests) in this mostly (there are a few commuters) agricultural hamlet in Burgundy (that’s in France for the geographically challenged) watching the three or four so-called “farmers” pass by in their giant tractors (probably tiny by American standards) to work their parcels scattered here and there, and most probably adding their bit to the poisoning of the planet. In spite of the peace and quiet, the fact that we have enough land to have two chemical-free vegetable gardens, two working wells, though I don’t know what’s percolating down into our water table.

I look over at Grisou, a neighbor’s cat, comfortably curled up in a wicker chair next to the wood stove, probably waiting for lunch. He showed up early this morning, after a relatively long absence, and darted in as I went out to get the necessary to restart the woodstove. I gave him a bit of tinned mackerel in tomato sauce, one of his favorites, that I planned on having for lunch anyway along with some roquette, chives, and a tomato from the garden.

Yeah, this morning sounds idyllic. Like most days here. It’s like being drugged. You leave Paris on fast comfortable trains, watch the world outside the windows change from the drab, car-infested greyness of the city to the geometric, weed-free fields of the country, the small villages here and there, and think “everything just be all right” (to quote a line from a novel written by a friend of mine) as you get off the train and take that first breath of relatively clean country air. But it’s all an illusion. Those gentle, rolling, weed-free hills are probably part of the problem, and if so, part of the illusion. I cannot really believe that the French, of all people, would allow a Disneyland on their territory. But then, prostitution is legal here (no opinion on that), and the political elite practice it every day (my excuses to real working independent prostitutes of whatever stripe, no matter my opinion). And that they allow Qatar, among other petro-state, retrograde gulf regimes, to buy up so much of the country.

The total obedience of the EU to US diktats is truly sickening. But that’s why the EU was formed in the first place. To make sure that those nasty socialists and communists couldn’t have much of a say as to how we were going to find a way to live in peace. That the idea of “nationalism”, an idea that one could have a love of one’s own country without being a “fascist” was transformed, because of Hitler’s “nationalism”, into something “bad”. Even the Left’s beloved Chomsky, generative linguist extraordinaire, might have a hard time trying to explain all that, in spite of all his “manufacturing consent” advertisements.

Typical of the US mindset, everything is binary. There is no nuance, no accepting of another point of view. It’s kind of like an algorythmic attack on the mind, using corrupted semi-religious signals to enslave.

The game is as old as recorded history. And we haven’t, in spite of all our science, all our technology (or maybe because of it), been able to escape from the mind set that has brought us to this totally stupid, and really unnecessary, point.

There are lots of lefties out there citing texts from ages past, and that may be a good thing. We need to know history, as they say, so as not to repeat it. But to argue about the finer points of Marxism or whatever, when we have an In-Your-Face takeover of the planet by people who could care less about all that and, in fact would just as soon have us spend our time arguing, as they pointed out to Ron Suskind, about the reality they just created and, while doing that, they’ll just go ahead and create another false reality that will occupy us while they create another one, and so on, ad infinitum. Pretty good mouse trap, that. And everyone seems to fall for the same old cheese every time.

What we need is a generalized BDS movement directed at The System to simply shut things down for a while. The people running things are so few, and yes, their minions are many, but many of them are our neighbors, our co-workers, people with whom we have daily contact. Yeah, they may think that kneeling instead of standing for the national anthem is “bad”. That making fun of Nascar fans or WalMart shoppers is demeaning and elitist. I’ll tell you this. You remove all Hillary’s cosmetic aids, her expensive clothes, her meds, her coaches, the entire machine that keeps that bitch on her feet and presentable to the media, and what will you find? A person no less ridiculous than the WalMart shoppers that are the darlings of the internet low fruit pickers.

Why any woman, who had any sense of self-esteem, would choose la Clinton as someone to be emulated or sent to the Whore White House, is beyond me. And, on the other hand, I can understand why certain women voted for The Donald. They knew that all his misogyny was just the defense of a guy unsure of himself, and more or less laughed it off. Who gives a shit? Most politicians are nothing more than Daddy’s boys or girls anyway. Whatever. Women voted Trump because they couldn’t stand his opponent. La Clinton was an out and out affront to their sexuality, for one thing. And I won’t go any further.

Note.  Sorry about the lack of links.  I’m in a place where, for the moment, that isn’t possible.

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Thinking Stool

27 oct 2017

New links from CP

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/27/sticks-and-stones-free-speech-and-punching-politics/

Polemicist. Bridging gaps à la DJ.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/26/the-simulacra-democracy/ Steppling. Clear, concise. We know it, but need to be reminded. Constantly.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/27/rolling-back-the-tide-of-pesticide-poison-corruption-and-looming-mass-extinction/ Hunziker ? Todhunter ? Talk more to our local farmers.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/27/does-anyone-want-my-european-passport/ The Irish guy

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/27/in-organic-farming-rules-are-not-made-to-be-broken/ Goodman. Should put him in touch with the Bios over here.

*

Il y a du pain sur la planche. “There’s bread to cut”, as they say over here when there’s a lot of work to do, a lot to discuss. As in, Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts, as they used to say in my motorhead days. Another way of saying, before “political correctness” became the “rule of thumb” (another now outdated expression dating from the time when things were made by hand, mostly by thoughtful artisans), Let’s do away with all the white noise, all the distractions of the MSM, all the memes and screams of Here I Am, twittered and facebooked and youtubed to and from all those electronic personal assistant devices, otherwise known as an addiction without needles.

As The Polemicist (https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/27/sticks-and-stones-free-speech-and-punching-politics/ ) so painstakingly points out, simply identifying oneself as “antifacist” does not give one the right to go around punching people. Any sober, deliberate, even-handed analysis of our present day situation demands that we look more than once at our screens (or, for that matter, pay them a lot less attention), that we venture outside our own little narcissistic echo chambers of predictable comfort, and actually “engage” with the rest of humanity that exists outside our screen-filled, meme-filled lives.

That means disengaging from the claptrap coming from this ever-present onslaught of information, taking a break, and spending a little time thinking for ourselves. If we can still do that.

Years ago, when I was studying naval architecture, I decided to pay a visit to one of the real “deans” of small boatbuilding, John Gardner (and here). This is a photo of the kind of place in which he liked to work. I don’t know if that was where I met him, but it sure looks like it. At any rate, at one point in our conversation, he said that one of the most important tools a boatbuilder could have was a thinking stool. Granted, said stool was only valuable if the person using it was serious about building a boat, because it could be seen as a means of not really doing anyting. He made that pretty clear.

But sitting and thinking about what you’re doing, if you really want to do it, is important and necessary. Maybe that’s why I was attracted to building boats, even if I wasn’t all that good at it. Not that I wanted an excuse to pretend, sitting on my thinking stool, that I was getting all that much done, but that the idea of trying to see through to the end of a project did, in fact, take time.

A project, any project, doesn’t just happen. If it’s a small personal project, like painting the topsides of your old wooden boat, for example, there are basically two solutions. You call your local boatshop and ask for a quote (if your boat is in their boatyard). Or you do it yourself. Not having the means to pay the outrageous prices of a boatshop in a very gentrified Great Lakes-side resort, but having a certain relationship with the local boat yard, I was able to paint my own boat.

Having painted a few boats, a couple of them my own, I started thinking about all the inconveniences of painting a boat in a boatyard when all the other boat owners were doing whatever, driving in and out of the marina, whatever. And then there were the boat owners who weren’t there, those who could pay the boatyard to do the nasty and toxic jobs that had to be done so their boats looked brand new every summer. In essence, when everyone was running around getting boats ready for the season, what with all the dust and early season bugs, I figured it was not a good time to try painting my boat.

So, during February, if it was one of those clear, quiet, sunny days I’d go down to the boat and run my hand along the port side (the east-facing side) to see, or imagine, if I could paint in temperatures like that (usually between 15 and 30 degrees F), and found that, since the paint was black, it was probably warm enough to accept a coat of paint. This was an encouraging thought.

If I could paint the topsides before all the bugs and tourists showed up, I’d have a nice paint job, free of bugs and dust.

I began shovelling the waist-deep snow away from where I’d have to work, knowing that, inevitably, before I got around to painting, there would be a couple of storms, but at least I would be ahead of the game on that account. And as I shovelled, I sanded the hull at first with steel wool, then a scotch-brite pad, to diminish the scratches of the steel wool.

March arrived, and I waited for what I knew would be the perfect time to paint: clear skies, little wind. And it happened. In two days I was able to paint the entire hull, east side in the morning, west side in the afternoon. A few people came by out of curiosity, asking wasn’t it a bit early to be painting a boat?, In the snow?, and I replied that it might very well be, but at least I was alone in the boatyard, no bugs, no dust. A couple of sailboat friends stopped by to examine the technique and the results, and had to admit that painting a boat in the snow was a rather unique way of doing things, and didn’t look all that bad. We all decided to wait and see and headed downtown for drinks.

In fact, it turned out beautifully. Not a single bug, no dust. And no drips, or “hollywoods”, as we called them.

All this to say that if we could just all calm down a bit, take a few bearings on where we really want to go while sitting on our thinking stools, maybe contemplating a sunrise rather than a twitter feed, and thinking our own, hopefully informed, thoughts, we might just be able to work our way out of this “clusterfuck”, as Kunstler calls it, before, if that is possible, it’s too late to do anything more than bite a bullet.

Seeing as how I prefer boats to politics, I’m not optimistic.

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Here We Go Again

Here we go again. CounterPunch publishes an article by Diana Johnstone which questions the role of the AntiFa movement and is excoriated a week later by Amitai Ben-Abba in an article that strangely resembles the treatment Caitlin Johnstone, an Australian blogger (no relation that I know of), got from a couple of Cpunch contributors (one of which is here) when she tried to plea for a less than binary, absolutist approach to the Right. I’m now waiting for the pile-on to Jim Kavanagh’s recent piece on Cpunch, suggesting that the Left leave some of its ideological purity aside and start “thinking” about stuff outside their intellectual circle jerks. Like the whole idea of “rights” in the first place, and how those “rights” have everything to do with class struggle and oppression by Capital, something with which the Left claims to be concerned. See the previous post or the links below.

There are so many questions involved in these intellectual shoot-outs that you’d probably have to write a book about it. There are probably lots of them out there. I don’t spend my time searching out the arcania of all these disputes because I have a garden and on old stone house to take care of and, by the time I’m finished with a day’s work, and have my dose of José Saramago (this time, L’autre comme moi ), I’m pretty ragged out, and content myself with a reading of a few alternative sites, CounterPunch included.

Which brings me to a point I wanted to make earlier. On the one hand, you have to hand it to CP for publishing stuff from different points of view. I think that’s what makes it a good resource for trying to figure out what’s going on these days. On the other hand, some of their rebuttal articles, like the ones cited above, coming from some of their frequent contributors, seem to have been written by an adolescent whose invitation to the prom to a popular girl was summarily dismissed, and then who badmouths proms as bourgeois narcissisim. Or, as Louis Proyect once called me, “a dickwad” (whatever that means). I haven’t forgotten all my English, so I assume it’s sexual in nature, and I’m not into sexual identity cat fights. Or “identity” cat fights of any kind.

And it’s not a matter of “Why can’t we all just get along?” Although, to my mind, it’s a perfectly legitimate, albeit, pretty naïve question. Naïve in the sense that any of our collective impulses have been atomized into this thing they call “identity politics”, which seems to have resulted from the uber-importance of social media like Facebook and Twitter, both owned by billionaires, the very ones enslaving us.

I can understand all the “good little Eichmanns” (always a hats off to Ward Churchill) out there wanting to belong to or be associated with the latest trends because education in the US is anything but, so all these “followers”, whether they be left, right, or somewhere else of what’s left of a political spectrum, have to find their own herd, virtual or not, so as to have this sense of identity (much like many of the Bernie supporters who were goat-herded back into la Clinton’s own swamp of corruption) instead of having the tools, which a decent “education”, rather than “formation” could possibly provide, for thinking for themselves, so as to recognize that they’re all being pushed and pulled this way and that. Manuel Garcia Jr, in a recent post, talked about a lack of culture. I agree with him on that. The same kind of chaos socially, that the US uses militarily to destroy the few remaining countries that refuse to bend over to US rape, predation, call it what you will.

These kinds of internecine fights are counter-productive. They only serve the rule of “divide to conquer”, and the Left is just as guilty as the Right. Those who oppose a reaching out, a conversation with those who may have ideas a bit different are just as oppressive as the powers we are are trying to overcome.

Links:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/16/the-nimpe-critique-of-antifa/

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/28/enough-nonsense-the-left-does-not-collaborate-with-fascists/

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/lefties-need-to-stop-being-shy-about-working-with-the-anti-establishment-right-40c27a9dc98e

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/09/antifa-in-theory-and-in-practice/

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2017/10/the-rifle-on-wall-left-argument-for-gun.html

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Finally! A Bit of Common Sense – Revised

In light of the recent shooting in Las Vegas, Jim Kavanagh, over at The Polemicist, has a great article about guns and the Second Amendment:

The primary causal factor in an incident like this is something much more powerful than a gun; it’s, for lack of a better term, a state of mind.

It’s a condensed and revised version of a longer piece he wrote in 2013 (to which he provides a link) which approaches the phenomenon of gun violence in the US from what I consider a very nuanced and reasoned point of view: that of the very question of “rights”, what that entails, and how those rights have been appropriated by the dominant class without getting their hands dirty (noli me tangere). I suggest that the few who drop by on occasion read both pieces, the early one first, to appreciate the way he analyses guns, the Second Amendment (as a right), and mind sets. I’m not going to rehash his work, so click over to his place to read the original and start “thinking”. You can come back here any time you want. Or not.

*

The bit about not getting one’s hands dirty reminded me of the CIA’s old rule of “plausible deniability” and how that kind of thinking has engendered all kinds of criminal behavior. Probably the last time the US got its hands dirty was the Viet Nam war (and no, I haven’t seen Burns’ version of it, nor care to), which, in spite of its overwhelming destructive power, the US lost, just like they have lost every war since. The ripping apart of Yugoslavia under Clinton, and those “little wars” in Panama and Grenada might be considered, in some tortured sense, “victories”, but certainly nothing to brag about, given the results.

That violence is the default position for what is called foreign policy these days in the US, I think goes without saying. I sometimes wonder why the US even bothers sending ambassadors abroad any more, given that their job is supposed to be dialogue and compromise. The US no longer really listens to anyone these days anyway, other than the Israelis. But I’ve forgotten that an ambassadorship is now nothing than a four year paid vacation (if you’re lucky enough to be named somewhere more or less liveable, the US vassal states in western Europe, for example. But try to find someone even moderately qualified to go to places, way too many, where the US is simply ripping the place off, and not too popular as a result, except for the local honchos who, through fear of being disposed of or simple greed, are only too happy to make nice with their imperial proconsuls who probably know nothing about the country to which they’re sent) for having contributed a small fortune to whatever president’s election. And are referred to as “Mr Ambassador” for life for having offered cover for nefarious CIA, banking, and transnational corporate activities.

But I digress. Kind of. If there’s any of that famous “trickle down” effect so dear to our mainstream economists, I’m afraid it’s not happening in the economy, but in the mind sets of a small and thoroughly confused part of the population that takes it cue from the violent behavior of the US government to solve its problems. These people probably don’t even consider that the US is the biggest criminal enterprise ever founded. Or maybe they do, who knows? They might possibly think that if the government has the right to solve a problem with a gun, rocket, or bomb, then as a US citizen, they probably have that right as well.

Of course it’s delusional, but no more delusional than the people setting US foreign policy. No more delusional than Albright’s thinking that the lives of 500,000 kids were “worth it”, or la Clinton’s cackling over Kadhaffi’s murder. Or the sadistic desire to make certain countries’ economies “scream” because they opposed US predation.

Links to Kavanagh:

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2016/01/lawyers-guns-and-twitter-gun-battles.html

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2017/10/the-rifle-on-wall-left-argument-for-gun.html

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Pointing Towards the Exits

22 août 2017

I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to really know what’s going on these days. Apart from natural phenomena like sunrise (or the recent eclipse) or wet (not necessarily drinkable) water, or derivative stuff like criminality (the US being the most obvious example), it seems like The Information Age is anything but.

This morning, squatting the village café’s internet connection, I came across Jim Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation  which, in his succinct manner, goes a long way in explaining why things are so fucked up and basically unintelligible. They’re meant to be that way.

Glass-Steagall was thirty-seven pages, Dodd-Frank, 848 pages, to which was added another 22,000 pages of lobbyist legalese claptrap whose primary bullet point probably said something like, “Don’t worry. You don’t have to read all this BS. Trust us, you’ll get your camapign contributions if you sign it”. And the idiots in Congress, who probably have never read 22,000 pages of anything, took the bribes and signed it.

As Kunstler points out, the only thing growing in this world of Diminishing Returns is misery, be it social, economic, or environmental.

And,as Ronald Reagan once said, “It’s morning in America!” Yeah, right. More like, “It’s the morning after, in America … “ Anyone pointing to the exits could very well be considered suspect.

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Not My Brother’s Reefer

Source: Not My Brother’s Reefer

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Good Night and Good Luck

You’ll be amazed at how little we have to say about you

Caitlin Johnstone – https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/why-everyone-on-earth-should-be-loudly-opinionated-about-us-politics-ae72951fdcdd

While I agree with Missy Beatty, who has cried “Uncle”, and that, as far as I’m concerned, the cat fights on Cpunch over the Caitlin Johnstone teapot tempest have gone on far too long due to courtside lefties not wanting to share their seats with the rabble, I flashed on the phrase above as indicative of the que dit-on, the “what will they think?” narcissistic character of much of what passes for information sharing on social media these days.

Maybe because I’ve never used stuff like FB and Twitter (I signed up to FB today in order to congratulate Greg Barrett on his CP piece – and will shortly unsign up – because he’s walled himself off in FB land, but couldn’t figure out how to add a comment, didn’t want to spend the time to know, and, in the end, figured that anyone who spends more time listening to, and try to communicate with barn owls than surfing social media sites probably couldn’t have anything pertinent to say).

Anyone living in the US, or any of its vassal states worldwide, who can’t, or don’t want to believe that the US is a pretty messed up place are going to have to get used to being treated like the idiots they are, and if they don’t like it, tough shit. Trying to defend anything associated with the largest criminal enterprise in history to anyone who has a passing acquaintance with stuff called empathy, solidarity, and all those other compassionate qualities will get you a tirade like Ms Johnstone’s or a shrug of the shoulders from someone like me, unless you’re interested in something more than being worried about how you’re being seen.

Which brings me back to my original point, which was something about the que dit-on syndrome and how all this instantaneous, multi-platform chatter totally turns me off. Which probably won’t make a hill of beans of difference to y’all out there in the virtuo-sphere, and I could care less. Good night and good luck. I’m going to walk up the road and talk with a neighbor. It’a a lovely evening.

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