Heed them.

September 28, 2012

Morning In America

Have you ever stopped to think about what you do every day? Not for what immediate purpose you do it - but what you are literally doing. Does it make sense? I assume you are a rational actor in your own life. You must first satiate your immediate physical needs. You've gotta eat.

When you eat - what do you eat? I do not care to know literally what you eat, whether it's Animal, Vegetable or Mineral; or why you eat it - because the reason is of course Hunger. Instead I want to know where it came from, and how did it get to where it is when you eat it?

A clever and ecologically conscious reader might snap back that they eat "local" and "organic" foods. But those are very relative terms.

If you have food you did not steal or grow or were given then you bought it. If you have money that you did not steal or were given than you earned it. How did you earn that money? The truth of the expression "Money doesn't grow on trees" cuts both ways - so to speak. Money can not in face be plucked from the trees the way leaves can - instead you must travel, sweat, work, save, and travel again to get it - even if it's not a physical good, and only exists on a computer somewhere. We are surrounded by great wealth yet we earn miniscule returns. Our jobs are things which Rob us and traveling to and from them is something that Robs us all.

In another sense, all money grows on trees - that is to say - in the same way that workers create all wealth. Money, even cotton and paper and metal money, is picked, mined, and harvested from the natural world's resources.

This entire modern world is built on oil. "Burning gas" is something we are compelled to do for money that only exists because of Burning gas. My friend, can you see the madness yet?

A reactionary against the industrial revolution, or a progressive against neoliberalism, either of which you may very well be, would at this point wish to scream:


If only it were so simple. Many of us, perhaps all of us, deep in our psyches, recognize that there is something wrong. Something terribly, systemically wrong. Something's wrong that voting, activism, cheer-leading and hero-worship can't fix.


Is the best idea. It's the only new idea. It's not a book or a philosophy or ideology or anything else. Stopping is not giving up. We Stop so we can Start again. Like waking up from a nightmare in a cold sweat... it is Morning in America. Or ought to be.

May 31, 2012

The Bath Salt Zombie Apocalypse

Everybody knows the Zombie Apocalypse is coming. That is to say, everyone who's extraordinarily bored with the mechanical oppression of every day life would prefer an exciting shoot-to-kill apocalyptic scenario and fantasizes about it to escape the ever-suffocating sensation of being alive. (Everybody needs an escape. More on that later.) More intellectual Zombie enthusiasts often like to discuss the actual scientific possibility of a Zombie apocalypse. They predict super viruses, biological weapons research gone wrong, or something natural and not foreseeable could trigger such events. However, with this week's horrific stories coming to light: That of a man stabbing himself and throwing his intestines at police, and that of man pinning down and eating the entire face of a homeless man, among other earlier stories- a new trigger has been identified which was right under our noses(so to speak): The War On Drugs.
Since time immemorial, after satiating the basic appetites required for survival, man has altered his consciousness. Since becoming industrialized and domesticated, some people have come to view intoxication as a bad thing, and for some good reasons. The most puritanical individual, however, would be completely intellectually bankrupt if he made the claim that certain drugs hadn't co-evolved with humanity. Alcohol, Cannabis, Opium, Tobacco, Coffee, DMT, Psilocybin...and those are just the ones I like, all have a long controversial history of human use. Besides the anthropological arguments, there's a strong case for legalizing the use of drugs from a purely political standpoint also, best summed up in this quote:

"If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
-Terrence Mckenna

"Bath Salts," recently implicated in the face-eating incident and gaining more public scorn, do not have a long history of human use. Calling them Bath Salts also serves to confuse the Layman. They are experimental synthetic research stimulants created to skirt by drug laws and serve a similar effect as cocaine, methamphetamine, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("The Love Drug."). Unfortunately, not only are these drugs not tested, but they're physically more dangerous than prohibited drugs because they cause over-heating and delusion. Because our drug prohibition laws operate by identifying chemical structures, even if we prohibit current research stimulants, a new (possibly dangerous) drug can be made at the drop of a hat and sold legally. This is your War On Drugs. It's stupid, it kills and incarcerates countless people, and victory will never, ever be in sight.

But back to eating people. In this run of the mill corporatist media ABCNews article, the author spreads misinformation when they quote an E.R. physician talking about bath salts as saying:

"You can call it the new LSD."

 LSD, while only having about 100 years of history of human use, is extraordinarily well studied. Bad Trips happen, but to date, no incidence of Face-eating has ever been documented. No jumping out of windows, either. When will this drug-war madness and misinformation end?

In summation, LSD doesn't cause people to eat people, Research chemicals don't cause people to eat people, a system in which high-quality LSD is not available and people have to turn to dangerous 'legal highs' to achieve the in-born and natural desire to alter their consciousness (mixed with some mental illness) causes some individuals to eat people. 

 The War on Drugs ate Ronald Poppo's face. The attacker, Rudy Eugene, was another Drug War casualty.

May 29, 2012

My Enemies

International Finance
International Monetary Fund
Bullies, young and old alike
Corrupt police
White police
The Pentagon
The War on Drugs a.k.a. The New Jim Crow
Prison Guards
The Wealthy
Hoarders, of all scale
All Religion
Organized Religion
The Religion-Wealthy
Religious collusion in Government
Christianity Of All Forms
Folk Religion
Anti-Woman Men
Anti-Woman Women
Anti-Science People
Anti-Science Organizations
Anti-Intellectual People
Anti-Intellectual Organizations
Non-Political People
Public Schools
Institutionalization Of Children
Censorship Of Information/Media for Children
Corporate Media
Super-National Corporations
Taxes For War
Taxes For Religion
Individual Taxes for Corporate Tax Breaks
Consumption Taxes
Regressive Taxes
State Socialists
Israel's Politicians
Israeli Lobbies in the United States
All Lobbyists
Nuclear Weapons
Unmanned Drones
Nuclear Waste, so Nuclear Power
Stock Trades
Stock Traitors
Debtors Prisons
"Representative" Democracy
Solitary Confinement
The Death Penalty
Human Trafficking
Human Suffering

May 17, 2012

Black People, A Memorandum.

 Pictured Above: Ramarley Graham

I've been fascinated by Black People since I was a child. Since I first saw one. My initial vague impression was that they were strong. Perhaps because they're over-represented in most popular american sports. Perhaps because of some more mysterious in-born bias. I often wonder what black kids think about white people without knowing anything about them or history. According to this preview of the documentary 'dark girls,' and some studies, it's more or less that black children think white people are 'pretty' and 'smart.' I'm flattered.

Youth and innocence is lost quickly and spectacularly. As soon as I learned about american chattel slavery I had a knee-jerk reaction. I thought 'I didn't put anybody into slavery. My family is poor. My ancestors arrived after slavery.' I felt defensive about it immediately. Some people never outgrow this and turn it into some collaboration of bad ideas called 'conservatism.' Conservatism's modern position on race, as espoused by both Radio-godfather Rush Limbaugh as well as many politicians, is that they advocate a 'colorblind society.'

Fortunately, I did outgrow that knee-jerk response and my position became more nuanced. When my family moved from a trailer-park in Jessup, Maryland to a larger house, we had the opportunity to move into a mostly-black part of Baltimore city. I wanted to move there(when I was 9), but my father refused, saying he didn't want me or my brother to be bullied for being white. At the time I thought that was possible, but improbable. We moved instead to Towson, a highly but not entirely white suburb of Baltimore with the 'best' public schools in the United States.

My interactions with black people were mixed as could be expected. I made 2 black friends in my youth. One moved away, and one never wanted to spend time with me outside of school, I suspected because he didn't want to introduce me to his other black friends. When I was 14, 3 black kids attempted to steal my and 2 of my white friends bikes- directly from us. The kid who approached me was a lot bigger than me. I froze, and I was the only one who actually had my bike stolen, while the others fled. Many of my white friends said that they 'wouldn't blame [me] for being racist.' After all, it was typical racist rhetoric/reality of the "Nigga stole mah bike!" variety. But I didn't become a racist. I read about crime, black people, robbery, and got a new bike and was more careful in the future.

During high school I was in the 'academic' or lowest-level classes because I hated school. These classes contained most of the black people in the school. I tended to think most of them were funny. In gym class, some black students referred to me(and anyone else, white or black) as "that nigga ____." I never decided how that made me feel, but I noticed how it seemed to equalize every one. That's the appeal of the word, I'm sure, it's dual dehumanizing/equalizing power.

After high school I worked delivering pizzas in my own neighborhood, which was half rich and white and half poor and black. My coworkers were mostly black. This experience, more than any other, informed my opinion of black people. For one, I wasn't afraid, even though sometimes white people told me I ought to be. About half of black households didn't tip me at all. The other half tipped about as well as white households. Young Black people sometimes tipped extraordinarily well and were amused to see me in their 'bad' neighborhood. One Young Black guy ordered lunch from us every day and signed 50-100% tips on what all the delivery drivers assumed to be a stolen credit card. When our white manager brought up the idea of turning him in, many drivers said they would quit if she did- and she didn't. My black coworkers showed no ill-will towards me and we got along fine.

One time I delivered to a rowhouse in the middle of the day in the Black neighborhood. As I left the house, A black child approached me(maybe 10 or 11 years old), his friends were standing way further back from him. He said "Yo, lemme hold 10 dollars." I told him No, and kept walking. I was shocked as I walked away, and he somehow he managed to reach up and punch me in the side of the face. I looked over and saw him running away. I did nothing. It didn't even leave a (physical) mark. I wondered about that kids future most of all. Off to a great start.

On 2 occasions young black men swarmed my car as I drove into an Apartment complex at night. They were shouting stuff and I was too freaked out to notice what. On both occasions I managed to maneuver and get away(on one occasion revving up and acting like I was going to run one of them over.) Both times I thought I was 'set-up' or the order was fake, but it wasn't. Just attempted crimes of opportunity, I guess. I successfully delivered both orders without incident 10-20 minutes later. It was my job after all.

One time I delivered pizza to a home at night while no cars were driving by. Across the street I saw 2 young black men looking at me as I approached the house. I made the transaction, and thought about asking the homeowner to watch me all the way back to my car, but I didn't. I hoped for the best, and as I went back to my car I was approached by the 2 men. One said "Don't move." I didn't. The other one had a knife in his hand, and reached into my right pocket and removed some(not all) of the money in my pocket. The other one slapped me and they ran away. I went to sit in my car. I thought about not even calling the police(I don't like the police) and taking the $20 loss or whatever it was, but instead I called the police. They ended up taking me to the station and having me write out a detailed account of what happened. The response was pretty fast. They never caught the guys. My black coworkers joked around about "getting" the guys and talked about times some of them had been robbed, on-duty or otherwise. I kept the job for 2 more days and then got another one in a better neighborhood.

When I was living in North Carolina, 2 years later, I made friends with black and white people pretty equally. The south is funny like that. It was there I first heard the terminology 'dirty' or 'clean' to describe whether a particular black person was 'one of the good ones.' Despite this, one of my friends was one of the 'dirty' ones, complete with a juvenile rap-sheet for robbery. We were friends for about a year. We made music together. I helped him record a lot of music. Then, after he stole something from my roommate, we told him he wasn't welcome back into our home. Later, our house was burgled, obviously by him. Me and my roommate pooled resources and I left North Carolina.

Since then, I haven't had any confrontational experiences with black men. I live alone and work with all whites and latinos(coincidentally.) To this day I've never been the victim of crime at the hands of a not-black person. Since those encounters I've mentioned here, I've begun to consider myself something of a lazy activist. I've had a particular interest in hearing what black activists are interested in and care about. I agree with almost all of them. They have the same qualms with the United States, the police, and society that I do but from their own perspective. Why can't we be friends? Ya'know?

We're facebook friends at least. Violent crime, and property crime, is down all across the nation(to extremely varying degrees, if you don't count police misconduct, and I do.) I've been following the Trayvon Martin case with compassion and skepticism. With all the new information coming out, and Florida's existing laws, it doesn't seem to make the best 'pet case' for the injustice faced by black males in this country. The Extraordinary incarceration rate, NYPDs 'stop-n-frisk' madness, and the case of Ramarley Graham make better ones. But I suppose you have to fight for justice wherever people are paying attention at the moment.

All of my experiences are true, and informative to me, but anecdotal. The only thing close to a 'conclusion' I can draw is that White people and Black people(and all people) are indeed, different. That doesn't mean, of course, that you should treat them differently. In particular it doesn't mean that society should treat them differently(and it does.)

What got me thinking about all of this is that yesterday Republican Maryland Delegate Patrick L. McDonough warned of "roving mobs of black youth" at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and urged Governor Martin O'Malley to institute some kind of police-lock-down until "order" could be restored. I had to laugh. I'm sure his rhetoric and announcement were informed by the St. Patrick's day beating, robbing and stripping of a white tourist perpetrated my blacks, who have since been arrested.

 There's this idea that some black activists have espoused that black people can't be racist. I'm not so sure about that- but you always have to consider the individual. The motive of the St. Patrick's Day incident seems to have been 1. To act as crazy and stupid as possible and 2. to post a video on "World Star Hip Hop.Com." These perpetrators are the scum of the earth. Black or white- but they're certainly black. I have a problem with what delegate McDonough said because it's silly and irrelevant at this point in time. Not because he mentioned black youths. I'm more upset, like usual, by the emasculated play-book response by the liberal media(yeah, the liberal media. maybe I am a hick.) Who claim that simply because he mentioned blackness- he's a vicious racist and bigot. I mean, from context clues, he is a racist and bigot, but not because of what he said.

If your mirror conservative-liberal Obama-flavored 'post-racial'(Read: 'color-blind') attempt at utopian society is one in which every mention of race is 'racist,' then I'm not interested in participating. Race ought to be talked about. It's a thing. And it's not going to be solved after one 'national dialogue about race' that people tend to propose whenever there's racial tension. It's an ongoing process. We ought to be interested primarily in societal institutional racism. Policing people's words and thoughts will get us all precisely fucking nowhere. The only thing I hate more than racism is the allegedly 'anti-racist' response in all it's stark cowardice, ignorance, and lack of insight.

May 10, 2012

The Death Of My Liberalism

Yesterday I realized I was not a liberal.

I almost never self-identify as a Liberal. When I do, I do so out of necessity, since I abhor whatever being “conservative,” “moderate,” or “centrist” seems to mean. None of these terms, including 'liberal,’ carry their original purpose or historical meaning anymore. I will call myself a ‘liberal’ only when I’m trying to stress that I’m not a right-winger while trying to avoid any further discussion of politics. Which is typically when I’m at work.

However what most people imagine a ‘liberal’ to be, economically, is not what I am. I have no ‘left-wing’ sympathies any more, and by that I mean I have no  pipe dream of an ideal Socialist or Communist society. I did, at one time, think I was a Socialist(who doesn’t?) but it was mostly spite-driven because I hated the material injustice of Capitalism(or whatever this is) so much. Marxism(particularly when it claims to be ‘scientific’) is just as horribly out of touch with the modern material world as ‘land of opportunity’/”free”-market/meritocracy dogma is. I’m only a ‘Leftist’ insomuch as I entertain a notion of Economic populism. Basically, I’m Huey Long(only the good die young.)

Another element of modern Liberalism is a ‘live and let live’ attitude. Or that is- it ought be and element of modern Liberalism. As it stands, the strongest fragment of this attitude which survives, lives and breathes is in the striving for Gay rights. Gay rights is easy. Should homosexuals have equal rights? Of course.

The War on Drugs ought to be just as easy. Should people be able to use whatever drugs they want? Should Black people have equal rights and equal treatment under the law? Of course. Yet  that differs quite a bit from the modern Liberal position, which appears to be ‘legalize medical marijuana.’ First of all, it’s called Cannabis- speak English when you come to this country.  Second, what about all those other drugs? And what about all those other drug users? Human rights only exist for your Stoner uncle or Parent when they have ‘medical needs’? As for black people’s rights, modern Liberalism jumps at the opportunity to sign an online petition to prosecute the killer of a 17-year-old black youth in suburbia, but won’t lift a finger when it comes to defending or advocating for the rights of the city-dwelling Blacks and poor whites that are caged(for non-violent drug and property crimes) in our over-crowded, privatized, rape-blind, disease-infested, repeat-offender-generating prisons.

My strongest connection to Liberalism used to be the Anti-War movement. Throughout the George W. Bush years was really the ideal time to be a non-interventionist and anti-war activist. It was just like opposition to Vietnam, but without the possibility of getting drafted into it, or getting gunned-down by National Guard troops in Ohio.  Then you could slap a “War Is Not The Answer” bumper-sticker on your 1993 Honda Accord and wait out W’s presidency in hope of better days.

Liberalism today is much quieter about War-making, War-crimes, War-profiteering, and the ultimate futility of War. Why is that? Is the election of the first Hawaian-born half-black neo-conservative Democratic-party president just enough to suppress the Liberal anti-War gag-reflex?

 For me, it isn’t. I felt alone about my evidently illiberal and ‘radical’ economic populism, anti-drug-war and anti-war views until Occupy Wall Street. When I participated in one of the demonstrations, and was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, several people carried signs with Obama’s photograph and the caption “WAR CRIMINAL.” I thought, ‘now that’s more like it!,’ and I felt at home for a brief moment.

It’s telling, then; that the Occupy Movement’s methods and sustained efforts, particularly in New York City, are spear-headed by Anarchists. Because you see, I am an Anarchist, I’ve come to realize. And I am not a Liberal Anarchist- because I have no hope for a utopian horizontally-organized society in the not-too-distant future. I am an Anarchist in the sense that I am an eternal skeptic of all Authority. I am just as skeptical of modern orthodox Liberals as I am of the President of the United States. My Anarchism  is a political position. It means that I am before anything else an anti-authoritarian. As the old anarchist-atheist saying goes: “No Gods, No Masters.”

May 05, 2012

99 Problems

When debating American politics, I hate appeals to 'what the founding fathers intended.' Every thinking person has already figured out, despite all the hot air and hype about their alleged 'vision' and 'intellect,' that the founding fathers were simply rich white slave-owners who didn't want to pay taxes. There's nothing wrong with (most of) that and I respect them inasmuch as their writings are still relevant today.

However, the documents of the United States which contain our social contract are living documents which have been changed countless times to accommodate our modern ideals. United States history has been shaped by culture and our culture has been shaped by history. Much of this had absolutely nothing to do with 'what our founding fathers intended' but rather with how Americans(once there was such a thing) got along and developed.

 So do I really have to look at 'the founding fathers' every time I handle cold hard cash? As Dave Chapelle has said, our money looks like 'Trading cards of Slave-owners.'

Currently, the only non-white person that appears on any of our money is Native-Indian Sacagawea, in the form of dollar coins(Which everyone hates to get in change when they buy a metro-card[Sometimes I think there's some dark cynical forces writing jokes into history.]) Meanwhile there has never been a Black American on the money. I assume that the powers that be suppose that the appearance Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves(though not in the same sense as Nat Tuner in Virginia, or John Brown in Kansas) is close enough to plac8 the h8ters/the emancip8ed.

 Since our money clearly isn't limited to those who've held office, as seen by the appearance of Benjamin Franklin on the hundred dollar bill, what about Frederick Douglass? Could any American have any principled objection to printing the portrait of the ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the money? How about you, Barrack?

There are many things our founding fathers couldn't have foreseen.

Today, somewhere in the United States, a black man drove an electric automobile to buy a pint of frozen ice cream from a refrigerator in a franchised grocery store. The founding fathers didn't see any of that coming. And if the founding fathers could be willed back into existence to see it, they'd either burn that black man as a witch, or worship him as a god. That's the intellect we're dealing with here.

April 30, 2012

May 1st, 2012

 There are dynamic forces at work. If you had told me in early 2011 that there was going to be a global campaign of horizontally-organized resistance to Global Financial Powers, Government Corruption and the Fleecing of Workers called the "Occupy" movement, which was going to take off rapidly through  internet exposure, I would say it was impossible.

When the OccupyWallSt.org domain(which is not central command, just the NYC leg of the operation that kicked it off) announced a General Strike for May 1st, 2012, I laughed. I've gotta be honest. A General Strike is the most ambitious, most dangerous tactic labor has ever employed. It's also the best one at their disposal since it actually effects 1%er profits by direct action. I was skeptical of the May Day 2012 strike, however. Mostly because Occupy isn't exactly "Labor"(although it tends to collaborate with it.)

 The Largest General Strike in the United States was the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. A more recent(and notorious) one was May 1968 in France. Both were largely Wildcat(non-unionized) strikes. May 1968 in France was notable for starting with students and without a focused list of demands. Occupy started with anarchists and the unemployed and largely without a focused list of demands. So actually, this call for a May Day Strike tomorrow shares more in common with the past then it may at first seem.

So what will it look like? What will it accomplish? It's hard to say. The past can be a guide but does not often dictate the future. Many have believed the media Public Relations line that Occupy was a simple anomaly occurring late last year and ending with our paramilitary boys-in-blue restoring order(albeit with a few 'incidents' of police brutality that have still gone completely unpunished.) I'm 100% sure there will be a black-out of mainstream news coverage and suspicious twitter and facebook censorship.

Every artery I have my hand on is pulsing though. It might be a nice march, a demonstration, a show which is forgotten the next day. I'm hoping for something more. I've taken the week off of work(the first paid vacation I've ever been offered-from a small business employer) to make the most of it, whatever it will be. See you in the streets.

April 28, 2012

A Complete Guide To Race

This is the worst thing I have ever read. From who I imagine the writer to be, to the comments section which is currently in an extra-national debate about the use and abuse of the word "Thug," I really hate it deep down in my heart. Not surprisingly, everyone else seems to enjoy it, or at least like it and repost it.

That's really what's going on right? Fuck me if I'm criticizing 'internet culture' presently but does anyone even read the articles anymore? Or do they, and you, and I, just look for articles/links that would reflect who we are and repost them? The headline is the key element for a repost and a like. I suspect people aren't reading the articles all the time.

"A Complete Guide to 'Hipster Racism'" is fucking PERFECT. By reposting it, everyone will know that you aren't a racist, hate 'hipsters,'(Don't worry, you're a different and unique kind of white young person, take no offense) and read lengthy thoughtful 'complete guides' to things in your freetime.

Or Do you? Because I can't conceive of reading the text of that article and, in good conscience, reposting it or even not taking the opportunity to be filled with anger and scorn for it's writer. Forgive me if I was pre-disposed to dislike it. Before I read it I read this negative review of HBO's 'Girls.' I still haven't watched the show, but It's currently making it's rounds on the internet for people to pile on with their hate and envy, which is understandable since most fellow white people are broke. This article and 'A Complete Guide' both referred to the same incident- HBO 'Girls' writer responding to criticism that the show's cast was mostly-white with the twitter post: “What really bothered me most about [the movie] Precious was that there was no representation of ME.”

Come on. That's funny. Of course, In the 'Hipster Racism' article it's cited as an example and in the negative review of 'Girls' it's described as "Vicious Racist Rhetoric." Seriously? What Planet are you people living on? People can't make jokes that express the reality that people have different skin colors? Even with no connotation or preconceptions mentioned? 

I'll tell you what planet I'm living on. I just watched 12 or so episodes of 'The Boondocks' on Youtube(which is now open for unlimited television piracy, it looks like, if you're interested) and I can tell you that Racism and Race is funny. Worlds colliding, in any sense, is not something to be policed. I hate to push that old 'political correctness gone out of control' line but I feel compelled to. If we notice our personal differences, recognize cultural differences, and tell the truth about them with great jokes and art- We Win. Because we laugh together. If we write long-winded probably amphetamine-induced articles about how post-racial and hipster-hating we are, like writer Lindy West did, we look like fools.

The most petty, silly, and telling accusation of 'Hipster Racism' in the article was: "Wide-eyed acoustic covers of hip-hop songs"[by white people]. Like a show, or a cartoon, or any art: music is made to sooth people's feelings and celebrate ourselves. White Musicians aren't covering hip hop songs because they hate blacks. They're doing it because it's amusing, it makes us feel good to listen to it, and they probably respect the artists. It's not exactly performing in blackface.

But what do I know? Consult with your African American studies professor before making up your mind.

April 26, 2012

Fuck The Confederacy

 Here's what I find so baffling about people proudly flying the Confederate flag today in the south and elsewhere: You guys lost. You were the only conquerors and colonizers to be conquered and colonized  in the long history of colonization. It's the most embarrassing loss imaginable. You picked a fight with 'the north' and the federal United States, now still one of the most powerful forces in the world, when it was at it's weakest. The north was a collection of puritans, Quakers and just one serious 'terrorist'/hero(John Brown) when you picked the fight, and you were a bunch of pseudo-loyalist aristocratic snobs who by design hadn't worked a day in your life. You were ransacked and burned to the ground for your troubles. You're welcome.

Say what you want about reconstruction. At least the trains could've run on time. If I have to give the post-civil-war-era south credit where credit is due, it's for it's sustained resistance to northern/federal presence. The founding of the Ku Klux Klan(later carried on by mid-westerners,) the ever-present state resistance, and the forming of the fake-populist 'tea-party' neo-confederate political coalition are truly Awesome. That is, in the biblical sense of the term; so unbelievable they're worthy of Awe. Is that why Southerners justify flying the confederate flag today by announcing their own non-specific "spirit of rebellion" and "southern heritage"?

Your spirit of rebellion was crushed. Your southern heritage is disgusting. You are sore losers plain and simple. Instead of moving on to assimilate, learn, and contribute to The(Not "These") United States you're a constant force trying to drag down the rest of us. Back into Slavery. Back into the Dark Ages. Back into our shit-throwing Primacy. Every debt-ceiling-raising 'crisis,' every anti-womens-rights law passed; you count as a victory today. When actually you have lost so spectacularly it's ludicrous. What was once armed rebellion against the Federal government is now lobbyist-backed bickering over Gonad Politics.

Union General Tecumseh's Total War doctrine was more total than even he imagined.When I see a confederate flag, I am reminded of the military, social and cultural defeat of the confederacy.  Its stars and bars should be an oddity in a museum and an embarrassment.

April 21, 2012

Who Is The Bully?

I just watched "Bully" in a movie theater in Baltimore. I expected it to be brutal. I expected it to be bleak. However it surprised me in one respect-  School administrators were displayed in a very critical light. It wasn't hard for the filmmakers. All they did is let the cameras roll, and the administrators appeared to be just as ineffective, self-important and delusional as I remember them as a child.

I felt vindicated by that. I've always hated school. School sucks. Everyone ought to remember that. But they mostly don't. Matt Groening(The Simpsons, School is Hell) and Bill Watterson(Calvin & Hobbes) are the only artists I can think of who try to represent the absurd and brutal nature of school. Most other people have some combination of selective positive memories, amnesia and self-doubt about their experience in school. When I was a kid I promised myself to never forget how much I hated school.

 After I got a couple years distance from school, however, I mostly forgot about it. I figured a lot of my being a 'troubled' child probably had more to do with my personality than the nature of school itself. After all, I was just a kid, I couldn't've known shit right? As it turns out my perception of school as a child was fairly accurate. You have no choice, you have no power, you are all alone, and it lasts forever. The only thing you can do to take the edge off is make friends and interaction with them is highly policed and discouraged.

While the footage seen in "Bully" of how kids treat each other is shocking, it's also not surprising, really. Who is honestly surprised when a kid bullies another, starts using drugs, or shoots the place up? School is a jail for kids. I'm more confused about the good kids who claim to enjoy school as opposed to the bullies, bullied, or 'wierd' kids.

Bully ends with a pretty simple message: stick up for the bullied. Make friends with them. You might prevent a lot of mob abuse and maybe a suicide. That's all well and good. Though when I take it to it's logical conclusion- the entire school system is the bully. Adults quietly condone, and occasionally participate in the bullying, throughout the documentary and I'm sure the entire country. Besides that, it's 2012! Is there any compelling evidence that our public schools provide a better education than wikipedia?

Of course, a few intellectuals have championed "deschooling" and "unschooling" kids but it's largely fallen on deaf ears, because the public schools are such an entrenched part of society. If kids aren't in school then they're free to annoy their parents, burden society, and possibly play! Imagine the horror.

Better to keep them institutionalized. It's too hard to figure out what's better for them. Just like it is for our friends in prison.

March 25, 2012

Heart Of Whiteness

The killing of Trayvon Martin and the Failure to Arrest George Zimmerman is a mammoth miscarriage of justice.

What people do afterwards is another thing entirely. I'm supportive of the 'No Justice, No Peace' sentiment, 'Fuck The Police,' and the efforts by activists to take our forever-unjust racist 'criminal justice' system to task. However I read what some strangers are saying now, about 2 months after Trayvon Martin's killing, and have to cringe.

George Zimmerman is a Hispanic white male. His mother is Peruvian and people who associated with him are alternately white or hispanic white. This means that they(and he) have pale skin and some history of spanish-speaking in their households. Here's how this racially motivated murder has been rendered by some people:


I just have to invoke white privilege here while I've still got a little bit of it. Have I ever personally donned a white hood/hoodie, broken into a black families house in the cover of night and strangled a black baby to death? Is there any current lynching campaign that the KKK or another racist terrorist group is waging while the authorities do nothing? Is Zimmerman a part of any covert or overt racist groups? No...since Zimmerman wasn't a police officer yet.

 Who is killing the most Black People(or, rhetorically 'babies) in America? Black People. It's not because Black People are inherently violent or wired differently- it's because the greatest proportion of violence is intra-racial. White on White, Black on Black, on and on. As a broke White Male, I've been the victim of property crime 4 times at the hands of Black People, but I didn't say BLACK AMERIQUA STOP TAKING MY STUFF! Well, I did, but only in my head for like 10 minutes.

None of this changes that our police state, prison population and justice system are fundamentally racist and unjust.  I'm not denying that Zimmerman is a racist Goon who probably would've ended up doing this to another Black Person even if he had spared Martin.  What I am weary of, is framing matters in an 'Us vs. Them' way, leading ultimately to Yakub.

I'm not a White devil. A Black scientist didn't graft White People from Black People as a 'warrior race' that got out of control. You know that. This is clearly stupid bullshit whether or not it helped or helps empower certain Black People. Casting all Whites as devils is just as stupid as asserting that a White Person like me is helping 'perpetuate the systems that lead to white supremacy and racial profiling and ultimately to an Hispanic-American authority-loving goon to 'identify' as White and go around hunting Blacks.' Or whatever.

The 'We Are All Trayvon Martin' campaign and the 1,000,000 Hoodies campaign is brilliant Activism on Trayvon Martin's behalf. Claiming that every single white person is inherently, unavoidably evil, hateful of blacks and conspiring against them is bad science and bad policy. It leads, in it's worst moments, to race riots. Which are much less fun to be in than they are to watch on YouTube. Arrest Zimmerman. I just live here.

Monkeys Wearing Clothes

Atheism is a hell of a drug. Maybe that's why I decided to attend the Reason Rally yesterday in D.C.

As early as 9 years old, Atheism was already shaping my identity, rather inadvertently. My parents were smart enough to not indoctrinate me with religion, and to stop attending church services themselves, though they still hold their own self-styled folk-belief of whatever god they would like to have. Me and my brother, consequently, don't believe in god. Because it's clearly a myth and a lie.

 Imagine the emotions that surged when my first major conflict between me and my peers was over religion. Being told I'm going to suffer this torturous 1-130 year existence called "Life" is bad enough. Being told I'm going to suffer a torturous existence forever because of rules and supernatural bullies and what grown-ups say is worth rebelling against. My first argument was likely me explaining to a Christian child that they're just going to die at the end and their body will be put in the ground.

Me and my arguments have only become slightly more sophisticated since then. I camouflaged myself as a college student to debate Christians on the UMBC campus while I was working for minimum wage. I thought it was that important. 2005. You had to be there.

Evangelical Christians were one of the largest voting blocks in the country, having elected George W. Bush legitimately in one election; which was way too many. The efforts to teach the non-science of Creationism in Public schools and promote the alleged illegitimacy of Scientifically proven Global Climate Change was at an all time high. The stakes were high. I started to think like a Christian. I had to convert the believers.

I may or may not have succeeded but Atheist activism had certainly faded in my mind since then. I softened my position pretty radically when I saw religious people participating in street-level activism for other causes I believe in. Besides blogging some loose-ends, I hadn't been interested much in anti-theism since then, but ultimately decided to go to the Reason Rally to see some friends in D.C., and see if my Atheistic fervor could be re-awakened.

The Rally was everything it ought to be. Accomplished Atheist public figures recited impassioned speeches. Activists displayed good humor and individuality through the signs and t-shirts they wore. For once in my life besides while being in a room with good friends, I felt like I could talk about the nonsense of religion and many other things, without fear of being called hateful or hated myself. If I spoke too proudly, or loudly, others would overhear me and start to collaborate on and elaborate my point. There was an unusual feeling of security and being "home" that was empowering and invigorating. I left in very high spirits.

We thought ahead and walked to the D.C. Metro station that would be the least crowded close-by. As we arrived at the first block, a Christian missionary(or whatever) was street-preaching about pride and hubris. Mostly the Atheists, standing together in rare form, kept silent or quietly responded "Proud Atheist." I was just as irritated at the Christian as I was proud of my fellow countrymen and humans. It was the very unusual feeling(among atheists) of having been indoctrinated with truth and inoculated against religion rather than the other way around. And possessing power in numbers.

A block later was the strange twist. As we came to the intersection a man was busking; playing homemade drums of paint-buckets. Many people dropped dollar bills in his collection bin. Then, about 4 white guys to my right started wrestling in some manner that seemed reminiscent- it looked like a fight was about to happen. I stopped and stared on with about 10 other people. In only a few short moments it became obvious that 3 men were teaming up on one. And they ran him, all together, into the corner of a stone wall. As soon as those 3 men walked off(not even bothering to run,) 5 of the 10 people who were watching started walking away.

Me, my girlfriend, and about 3 other people(all 3 black people, if that means anything) stayed. Me and another man walked slowly towards a motionless body, whereupon we noticed the man was conscious and bleeding from the head. 2 people called 911 when they heard of the blood. I mostly watched which is my tendency in crises. One girl stayed close to the man who was bleeding and kept him from getting up. He appeared dazed, kept swearing revenge on the other men, and at one point said 'I just need my vodka.' So he might've been drunk, concussed, or both. He had a James Randi Educational Foundation lanyard on his neck and mumbled about being at the rally.

 The police showed up fairly quickly- the Ambulance a little later. Whereupon I identified myself as a witness and told police all that I had seen. I don't like police, and it wasn't an easy decision, but I figured if I stayed to witness the event it was the least I could do. I left after the policeman who took my witness account said that he suspected that all the men knew each other since the victim was trying to downplay his injury and the need for help. That made sense to me. I walked away as the events replayed in my mind.

I had spent the entire day in the company of friends, listening to appeals for humanity and compassion of a decidedly(and necessarily) human variety, and believed it. I left high and mighty. Several things were suggested to the crowd to further the cause of secularism after we left. And as we left, in a secularist crowd, I witnessed human beings behaving like the great apes we are. Stirring conflict, fleeing from conflict, warring unconsciously even amongst allies. I would like to believe differently, but I think the future will be much less a reason and rationality ruled Utopia, and rather more of the same.

March 03, 2012

The Heart Of Andrew Breitbart

I write this at the risk of it reading like a culturally-christian 'love your enemies' type crocodile-crying session for an asshole. And let me stress that- Andrew Breitbart was an asshole. But there's a proper way to hate, and a proper way to dance on a grave, and in the wake of Breitbart's early death- everyone's doing it wrong.

Pictured Above: Long-Haired Hippie

I learned of Andrew Breitbart's death 2 days ago from National Public Radio(what he might call a 'liberal' source); they reported that he died at 43 of natural causes. Isn't that something? Well, it's actually piss-poor reporting, since 'natural causes' is only alleged by his coffee-boy Joel Pollack. The media should've identified that as speculation until the autopsy is performed, at which point we will be able to differentiate 'natural causes' such as a heart attack, from Cocaine and Pharmaceutical abuse(my personal guess.) Naturally those answers won't satisfy the worst scum of the earth: Conspiracy Theorists.

The half-baked conspiracy centers on the fact that Andrew Breitbart told a crowd a few weeks ago that he had 'video of Obama from his college years' that he was going to release 'this election season.' If you're a Breitbart fan, you're already prone to believing nonsense stories of collusion and secret government activity(which actually exists, but not as he describes it) and so it's CASE CLOSED. Barrack Hussein Obama bludgeoned Andrew Breitbart with a Candlestick in the Conservatory. Or whatever. I personally don't believe Obama is carrying out political assassinations(except Osama Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and his underage son[hmm])- but it doesn't mean Andrew Breitbart didn't have something worth seeing that makes Obama look bad.

 I wouldn't have even known who Breitbart was if he didn't brag about how he was going to 'destroy' one of my favorite journalists, Mark Ames, and then had his coffee-boy write one poorly-conceived hit piece before backing off. Ames and Breitbart had many things in common(and I suspect more mutual respect than they may have admitted to) in that they loved making enemies; doing hit pieces and take downs. They both practice the only honest form of journalism- Biased journalism. They also both have some successful investigative journalism credentials. The only difference is that one self-describes as conservative and the other as 'left.'

 It's queer that Andrew Breitbart allegedly experienced an 'epiphany' that caused him to convert to conservatism. Whenever you're dealing with journalists, it's possible their picking their politics in bad faith- only to be the most entertaining, spectacular or successful. In Breitbart's case it's painfully clear to me that he was first and foremost an opportunist who could taste blood in the water- or as a conservative would say 'a pioneer.' The more skeptical among us are now guessing that he didn't believe much of what he peddled and are calling him 'a performance artist.' If one thinks what's good for business is all that counts, Breitbart was a brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. He saw a void and filled it. He built an empire. There were casualties. Ruined lives. This is The Heart of Whiteness and the American Dream.

Liberals, happy to see any right-wing talking head die, danced on his grave. I, unlike others, am not going to pretend to have a problem with that; Hate your enemy. Call him whatever profanities you want. Just don't lie. It's when people say "Andrew Breitbart is a liar!" that I have to take exception. "Liar" is a serious accusation. George W. Bush is a liar. Henry Kissinger is a liar.(both alive and in good health, I might add.) Andrew Breitbart didn't lie. He told the truth that he saw and wrote the truth as he wanted it to be. He took things out of context, he ignored his own sides folly, and he tried to undermine his enemy with words and actions. That's what a decent, entertaining journalist does. He picked out the Sacred Cows of the left(Occupy, 'liberal' media bias) and attacked them with any dirt he could sling and muck he could rake.

 In the free information age(while it's still allowed to exist) we all get to chose our own news sources, journalists, and ultimately, truth. Stephen Colbert was way ahead of the curve with his "Truthiness" coinage. There is no absolute 'truth' or 'common sense' or 'sanity' in politics that both Daily-Show-Democrats and 'Tellin-It-Like-It-Is' conservative AM Radio Hucksters allege. In an alternate universe... I chose to be(or was told I was) conservative and Brietbart is my martyr. Ultimately there's no Right or Left. There's only talking heads screaming at each other on a sinking ship. And Andrew Brietbart could scream.

February 23, 2012

Lost Hero: Stephen Biko.

Race fascinates me. The word itself stirs your emotions, brings in  limitless amounts of other issues to expand upon, and to put it simply is emotional. The United States and South Africa get an unjust amount of  flack for having previously been racialist regimes, but I think that resentment is ill-informed, since racists themselves exist in every corner of the world to this day. You only have to read a global news outlet to see "ethnic conflict" occurring somewhere in the world.Well what's 'ethnic conflict?' A code word for racialism and violence.

The United States, South Africa, Brazil and other countries have at least tried to resolve the issue in many ways. It's a point of interest that the most heated 'ethnic conflicts' occurring today are based on ethnic differences which are usually imperceptible to the people within the aforementioned countries. This is testimony to the fact that race is not simply a 'social construct,' as a white-american-liberal might say, but a real thing. Not in the sense that there are any inborn differences between races(besides the obvious,) but that race will always be a characteristic which is noticed by people and 'means something' to them.

Where a person goes from there... is everywhere. From predicting or advocating or participating in race war to advocating "a completely non-racial society," as Stephen Biko did for South Africa in the 70s, in this clip of an interview. [Longer audio clip of same interview here.]

Holy Shit.

If a picture speaks a thousand words than this video speaks a million(if you believe in multiplication).

What's so extraordinary about Steve Biko's position is the recognition of race and simultaneous indifference to it. He recognized racial struggle as something real and something that should and ought to be overcome all at the same time. It's the only entirely consistent and honest position I've found on all of the aforementioned matters since I've been interested in them.

In the same breath(give or take) he prophesied modern so-called 'post-racial' society(even though he didn't intend to.)  What's so unique, is his proposition that racial distinction exists, but society is best off not recognizing those distinctions in any way. The idea clashes maybe-unexpectedly with the current liberal 'post-everything' culture of identity politics and special protection under the law. "Ahead of his time" would be a forgivable understatement of Biko.

Unlike Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Ghandi- Stephen Biko isn't identified as an explicit advocate of non-violence. This puts him in the muddy waters of characters like Malcolm X, Nat Turner, Bobby Seale and John Brown- further adding to his enigma. While never convicted of any violent crime, Biko saw political resistance as having to be as strong as the the ruling political system, which used violence. I suspect anyone who's on the fence about non-violence versus violence will find fellowship in a position like that.

Biko died by being tortured and killed by the apartheid government of South Africa in 1977. That ordinary occurrence cements Biko's martyrdom as well as his legacy. Stephen Biko is the originator of the phrase "Black is beautiful," which he said meant:

"Man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being."

February 06, 2012

These Colors Don't Run.

 Iran... Fuck Yeah!

 So, it was evidently too much to expect that Americans could avoid the intoxication of the beating of the war-drums, or have a good grasp of our own countries involvement in the rest of the world that goes back further than 10 years. That's why now in 2012, 9 years since the Iraq 'incident' in which 100,000 Iraqis were killed,  the traditional news-media talking heads have simply re-set their gun-sights on another Muslim country: Iran. Ironically, Iran is(for a change) an expressed enemy of the United States, and for good reason.

I like the Christian adage of 'love your enemy,' though because I'm so anti-religious, I prefer it secularized as 'know your enemy.' If Americans took the time to know their enemies, which they never do, they might find that their enemies have legitimate grievances and come to respect them- which might lead to some kind of diplomatic reconciliation. But never mind that. As Mr. Obama echos from our past, in the spirit of hope and change, when it comes to Iran: "All options are on the Table." (Prophetically enough, progressive dinosaur Mike Gravel challenged that phraseology in the 2008 Debates, asking 'who're you gonna nuke, Barrack?')

All options are on the table...As they always have been. In the 1950's and 1960's the United States was financially and materially backing pro-western military takeover and dictators in Iran. Just like they were doing, mostly successfully, in other muslim countries. Then the unthinkable happened(far more unpredictable than the current 'arab spring,') An independent Islamic republic was established through a decades-in-the-making spread of anti-western ideals, with very little bloodshed, considering the achievement. It's not that Iran was the only Arab country that resented western puppetry in their ruling class- it's just the only country that actually cut the strings before 2011, back in 1979!

 Conceivably, relations could have been normalized, until the extremely embarrassing Gerald-Ford-Negotiated hostage crisis emboldened Iran's inborn anti-american sentiment. Later on, the Alzheimer's-riddled Reagan administration sold Weapons to Iran, completely denied it, then admitted to it, and later attacked Iran in 1988(you can't make this shit up.) In the 1990s, minor attempts were made to normalize relations, formally ending when G.W.B. delivered his ridiculous and infamous "Axis of Evil" speech. Since 2003, The United States has operated unmanned drones inside of Iran for surveillance and allegedly attacks, breached it's sovereignty in various ways, and continues to 'talk tough' and patriarchial to Iran. 

Now ask yourself, why on earth would Iran want to develop Nuclear Weapons?

The simpleton's evaluation: Iran wants to attack the United States. Most Americans really must think muslims are stupid, despite that Muslim scholars established algebra, foresaw natural selection before Charles Darwin and know today that if they nuked America they would be nuked off the map in response. A secondary interpretation is that Iran intends to nuke Israel. I find that highly unlikely, since Israel too is a nuclear state which could respond in kind, but even if that were the case- I'd personally prefer to side with the Iranians instead of the Israelis.

The much more likely reason is for domestic security. It's impossible not to notice that countries with anti-United-States sentiment who have nukes don't get invaded and those who don't have nukes do. With all the rhetoric of the war on terror and the Arab Spring mixing into a strange brew, it would only take a populist domestic uprising in Iran these days for the United-States to No-Fly-Zone or Select-Target-Strike Iran in the name of 'freedom' and 'democracy,' claiming the lives of 100,000 Iranians and leaving the country in tatters- just like Iraq.

In a perfect world the United States would look at Iran in brotherhood as fiercely independent, revolutionary minded and aggressive- just as our country once was. For those who think that American-Iran relations are irreconcilable and war is inevitable... I wonder how do they account for the Reconciliation of America and Great Britain, America and the Phillipines, America and Japan, America and Russia? American Nationalism has been strengthened through common adversaries throughout history- many of whom are now allies. It is entirely possible that Iranian Nationalism is being strengthened through anti-United-States sentiment and could someday in the future be reconciled.

War with Iran would be be devastating. If I was in control, the U.S. would not interfere with Iran's establishment of Nuclear weaponry, and would make efforts to settle grievances to forestall a cold war. Instead, I suspect Mr. Obama will preemptively attack (as he's been known to do,) and it will be 'Down With The U.S.A'... a suicide by way of our hubris, refusal to acknowledge our own history, and a refusal of mutual understanding.

January 31, 2012

War & What It's Good For.

Terminology has changed. Just think of the terms Protest, Riot, and War. They don't mean the same things they used to- even only 50 years ago. Wars used to be the most serious business. No one went to war until they hated each other and wanted to destroy each other. The greatest war by these standards was perhaps the American Civil War, in which victorious Union General William Tecumseh Sherman said:

 "You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing!"

For Contrast, consider what 'wars' we've been 'fighting' this past decade. In 2001 and 2003 we waged war under the titles of 'liberations' and 'occupations,' & under the premise of making people 'free.' As people became more and more disgusted with the  impossibility and absurdity of those wars, we've scaled back; and currently commander-in-chief Obama prefers no-fly-zones, small-scale Navy Seal operations , and other things that have been called 'lily pad' operations. There's less risk in this kind of war, if it can even be called war(and extraordinarily less cost,) but the greatest benefit of all is in Public Relations. To put it simply, If there were cell-phone cameras during the course of World War 2, I think we'd be looking back at what occurred very much differently.

On the other side of conflict- riots and protests have begun to blur together. The 2011 Summer riots in Britain were classified by authorities as simple 'lawlessness,' but that lawlessness had a definitive cause, if not a goal(in addition to being curiously sandwiched between the Arab Spring protests and the Occupy movement.) During the 2011 Spanish indignados protests and continuing with the Occupy movement, one could see expressedly 'peaceful' protesters violating the orders of police, breaching property rights, and pushing back against police. Again, the most important conflicts occur today in the realm of Public Relations. You see this clearly when the mainstream media reports on such events- A group of people may be a characterized as peaceful protesters, rebels, freedom-fighters, or an unruly mob depending on perspective.

The successful non-violent protests for civil rights in the United States could only have happened at that point in time. The black minority was so marginalized that they couldn't use violent means.(for fear of being considered insurrectionary) The international media was television-and-radio only; and so it relied very much on reporters personal sympathy. And finally, the police, military and their means of restoring 'order' was remarkably different from today. Local police forces in those days were detectives and beat cops who possessed no kind of riot equipment besides live rounds(which they normally hesitated to use.) If the police were overpowered, the national guard was called in, who didn't always hesitate to use live rounds.

Today, on the other hand, the National Guard is rarely called in(even when it should be, as was the case during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,) while police are equipped with rubber bullets(simply bullets covered in rubber,) tear gas, shields, helmets, and pepper spray. This has led to many people referring to modern police forces possessing 'paramilitary' capability, and I think those people are right on target, so to speak. This militarization of police didn't occur by accident. It started timely enough after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination when the National guard and even military artillerymen were called into some cities to restore order after riots and what some called 'rebellion' erupted [even in Baltimore]. It continued in the decades that followed, particularly after Rodney King's beating and its aftermath(interestingly, several citizen-surveillance measures were also pioneered during this time). The elevation of 'protest' and 'riot' ambiguity + police militarization was probably best exemplified in the so-called Battle of Seattle in 1999.

Today, we live in a precarious time. War is less war-like and peaceful protest is less peaceful, more planned and more focused on direct-action. The terminology of Protest, Riot, and War is so conflated that it's usually simply referred to by more honest and articulate members of the press as 'civil unrest.' I laughed out loud when I saw a flier for a protest action in Oakland as part of the Occupy Movement sending out a call to 'Decolonize' Oakland. The description was vividly apt- & was a representation of the kind of muddy intellectual and physical struggle that's taking place today

Just 3 days ago #OccupyOakland attempted to possess a vacant building, build a 'community center' that would address local social needs, and was met by an extremely prepared and aggressive police blockade. Later that night, Police attempted to trap and capture protesters, only to have protesters trample a fence and march across a vacant lot to their freedom. Concurrently, a group of protesters overtook the flag from city hall, and burned it.

Of course, the latter happening was not supported by all those involved, and the video of it will probably widely be redistributed by those trying to characterize the Occupy movement as dangerous or violent. The truth is, those people are somewhat right. Personally, I love the spectacle of the (stolen) American flag being burned, and indeed look at it as an act of 'Decolonization.' But that spectacle threatens certain people- and it ought to. This is the new 'war,' by any means available, taking place in the age when everything will show up on youtube.

January 11, 2012

In praise of Jared Lee Loughner, spree killer.

1 year ago today Jared Lee Loughner unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, while successfully killing several members of Arizona's state government and others. When the news broke, old-media was toting the line that the Spree-killer was a 'right-wing extremist' who was targeting the Democrat Giffords. A 'scandal' broke out because some conservative websites had included the congresswoman on a tongue-and-cheek 'hit-list.' That all sounded fairly boring, as political assassinations usually are, so I didn't read up on it.

I was reminded today because of this excellent article, describing Mr. Loughner as quite a trip; or at least referencing how many he had gone on. In the interview Tuscon Arizona locals paint a wild picture of the modern wild west; It almost makes me sort of proud to be an American. Maybe all the genocide and crimes against humanity involved in America's expansion can be considered close to worth it if one person can be truly free. Jared Lee Loughner was arguably free.

His life story is sad, simple, and predictable. He tried to join or be involved in several institutions which did not accept him or he was not qualified for- including public school, the private sector fast food industry, volunteer work, and the United States Army. Usually his dropping out or being booted from these endeavors was owed by those running things to a 'major personality change,' though their allegations all fall on different timelines. I suspect it's more likely that he was simply an eccentric and never fully found a 'healthy outlet' (as corny as it sounds) for himself.

One attempt at Loughner's reaching out is immortalized in this youtube video titled "How To: Mind Controller." There are 4 more videos, much like that one, but that one is my favorite. In the videos(set to electronic music), Loughner animates his essays, which are sometimes long & sometimes short- but always try to make his point clear. Most people who watch his videos are probably searching for some kind of seed of psychopathy and madness; but I see none. His hatred of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was more... simple, actually. He was no right-wing extremist. This account from one of Loughner's closest friends up until his spree-killing highlights the pivotal point pretty clearly. Loughner, dabbling in everything, attended a rally for Giffords campaign in 2007. He asked the question, "What is Government if words have no meaning?"

The question was not satisfactorily answered in Loughner's opinion.

'Of course it wasn't,' you may be thinking, but Loughner was doing something quite spectacular in my opinion. He was confronting an elected official, a person who holds authority, with his own Nihilist and Relativist thinking. He showed real courage; and as people who do usually are- he was snubbed. Since his resentment and hate afterwards took on unusual proportions he will always be called 'crazy.' Towards the end of his last posting on MySpace before the shooting he said "I had a bully at school." Many reporters took this quite seriously, but I suspect it was a joke, as if he knows that people will be trying to explain away his actions and he himself knows his own actions are quite absurd- though not unthinkable.

Reading about spree-killers is intoxicating, particularly when they're allegedly 'crazy,' because they often turn out to not seem that crazy. Their actions were out of the ordinary, yes, but what's so 'sane' about our ordinary actions? We normal people who carry out ordinary actions sweat and save for our entire lives, and 'play by the rules,' only to afford a shallow grave. Murder, or anything else at all, doesn't usually seem at all 'wrong' when you introduce mindset and surroundings into the context. After all: What is murder if words have no meaning?

Jared Lee Loughner is currently awaiting trial having been rightfully found unfit to stand trial as of yet. His strange behavior and outbursts since arrest have caused him to be diagnosed as a schizophrenic and forcibly medicated with anti-psychotic medication in order to stand trial. He is still Alive. I hope he stays that way.

January 06, 2012

So Big, So Friendly, And So Rich


Humani nihil a me alienum puto.

"Nothing that is human is alien to me."

That quote, from slave-turned-playwright Terence from the Roman Republic, is reportedly posted in some United States immigration offices(which is even more fitting than it seems right away). Since I read the quote it's been repeating itself to me at strange intervals and it's implications have even made me teary-eyed occasionally.

My country is full of promise and riddled with broken ones. It's like living in 2 countries with conflicting legacies at the same time. The phrase 'the melting pot' was originally used to refer to European immigrant marriage with immigrants from different European countries as well as European immigrant marriage with white Americans who could trace their history to the first white settlers. People spoke excitedly about this 'melting pot' and it's implications of unity and shared identity. This unity and shared identity is now called "white people" in America.

Meanwhile; Asian, South and Central American, and Eastern and Southern European(occasionally carpeted with the blanket-term 'Anarchist') immigration was widely suppressed, criminalized and ostracized. In addition, after both Abolitionists and Racists failed to convince the ex-slaves to leave the United States, Black Americans were treated as second or third-class citizens while Southern Reconstruction was abandoned. Like usual, the stated American ideal deviated from the actual American practices. Even through the great depression and the second world war white America held on to it's conflicting and strange ideals of Racism and Equality. [Or...Seperate but Equal, if you like]

The civil rights battles of the 1950's and 1960's were spectacularly glorious contrasted on that kind of background. Righteous speeches and writing of Equality and American pride were broadcast and published. No one, except an expert, even cares about what the reactionaries had to say in those days today. It was then, and still is to this day, officially and widely considered 'uncool' to be a racist in America. Some radical blog-posters might even consider racism Treason today.

 Institutional racism was outlawed(eventually). Discrimination based on color or creed in employment, housing, and public services was outlawed. Immigration restrictions were made to be and still are essentially colorblind(though more strict in general) to this day. What followed this great leap forward was 2 decades of very pitiful and face-palm-worthy hemming and hawing in the 80s & 90s.

Remember the phrase "African-American"? What the fuck was that? It's only one example in the kind of pointless moralist intellectual 'battles' and 'victories' that occurred during this masturbatory dead-ball era. 'Political correctness' was correctly identified(albeit for different reasons) by conservatives as being the biggest evil facing America. 'Liberals,' on the other hand, fought countless meaningless battles to make society post-racial, post-gender, post-disability, post-sexual-preference, post...

Then 9/11 happened & it changed everything. It didn't change everything in the way they told you it did- it changed everything because the response to it reintroduced and exemplified the United States' dual nature when we started our genocide(of mostly Muslims) in the middle east while trying to justify it to the world by our (new found) adherence to upholding human rights and our (new found) "anti-extremism." This repulsive and intoxicating nature of the United States kept Americans arguing in the right direction until the election of Barrack Obama as president.

I know what those Obama voters were thinking. They were thinking that the election of the first black president would symbolically(& even literally!) make a statement for equality and against xenophobic war-mongering. They thought we could repent, they thought they could erase and forget the George W. Bush years, and by symbolic extension the whole of America's ugly history.

We Can't.

I still have some perversely patriotic & selfish hope that the United States can find salvation somewhere in the future. My hope is in the immigrants. This isn't some sort of self-hating white American thing; as I still consider myself an immigrant. My hope is that when the Hispanic, Refugee, Black, White, and Native American population interbreed and share culture in the coming decades that some new kind of real melting pot will breed a more compassionate American. My hope is that members of the perpetual underclass will all find opportunity and asylum in my country because of their shared experiences of injustice, rise up, & demand what's theirs.

Then hopefully, American foreign policy will miraculously follow suit. But I don't think it's going to happen.

January 01, 2012

The War On War

"I've dabbled in pacifism."

Being against war takes on many forms. A person could feel that war is immoral, because of religious commandments against killing, or an innate feeling. One could be anti-war because they feel a large-scale war can't be justified; though they may not be against killing or violence.  One could be against war because of the havoc it reeks on the human population and the human psyche. One could be against current wars or past wars simply because 'they don't work' or 'they don't make sense.' One could simply abhor and be sickened by all violence.

'Pacifist' has a funny ring to it. In both its sound and etymology it sounds more passive than pacifists usually are - in fact, most people who self-identify as against-war are fairly engaged and informed, and many become activists. Someone who is anti-war but is not an activist is just as good for the cause as a dead man. Of course, Activism can take on many forms as well, from simply trying to convince others to take up your position through speaking or writing- to taking up arms for the cause. Waging War on War.

There- some strange empty space exists.

Malcolm X, famous for his oratory and activism and his lifelong refusal of non-violent philosophy, sent this telegram to American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell in 1965 while he was conducting his "Hate Bus" counter-civil-rights protest:

"I promise maximum physical retaliation from those of us who are not hand-cuffed by the disarming philosophy of nonviolence."

That's quite a sentence, and fills in the empty space well. To call the philosophy of nonviolence 'disarming' is quite damning. And it makes me wonder, if those who're against war are serious... shouldn't they be willing to take up arms against the militaries who wage war? Most who might call themselves pacifists would see a contradiction here; taking up arms to take lives(and risk ones own life) for the cause of ending the senseless taking of lives in war would be, in itself- senseless. 

I, not disarmed by the philosophy of nonviolence, see some gray area. The Ford Hood shooting is an interesting case. Ignorantly labeled a 'terrorist act' by a couple of pundits and elected officials, though rightfully not being persecuted as one by the military; it actually appears to be an interesting mix of anti-war violence and Jihad(Only in America, am I right?.) 

I'm surprised by how deep the line in the sand has been drawn by anti-war groups. Direct Action in the name of anti-war activism is considered righteous... but the moment anyone picks up a gun they're labelled a terrorist. Speaking for myself, I would find the use of violence to be justified to end war, though I'm not going to be the change I want to see in the world, because I'm a coward. 

The yet-unseen instance of Anti-war activists taking up arms against the military would certainly help to paint the picture that War is eternal. Which begs the question; is war the perpetual state of humanity? Or is it something that humanity is addicted to?  

I'm more inclined to believe that War is something humanity is addicted to, and having less and less of it will make it appear more atrocious and help to ween us off of it. "War is a force that gives us meaning," Living War journalist Chris Hedges writes, "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug." In which case, War could best be ended by refusing to indulge in it...

And of course the best method of refusing to indulge in war is housed within the almost entirely murdered labor movement. The Industrial Workers of the World, the only explicitly anti-war Union, suggests a very simply solution- One Big Union. Imagine if the unionized truckers refused to move the weapons, the unionized pilots refused to fly to the country, and the unionized soldiers refused to pick up their arms. Unfortunately, that would only be an option if I could re-write history for the last 101 years, since only 11.9% of workers in the United States are unionized today- and certainly not with such a radical Union.

I would love to believe peace and the end to war is inevitable. But I don't think it is.