And now an optimistic view from hell

Trump’s base grows every day, and every item of news that would make him look bad in a self-respecting society only works to his advantage. At least half of the country is addicted to substances, digital and traditional media outrage; aspirational esoterica; and/or conspiratorial thinking. Apophenia and scapegoating are almost national pastimes. #hell

As far as 2020, establishment Democrats are even more clueless about how to formulate resonating and winning messages than they were in 2016. And it doesn’t help that all of the major media organizations – not just Fox – knowingly profit from Trump. They are ethically compromised, and there’s no overnight fix for that. The Pro Trump and Anti Trump sides are poles that feed off of each other in a positive feedback loop of negative attacks on the other. #hell

Also, much of what’s happening isn’t some random event localized to Trump. White Supremacy runs deep in this country. It might not always manifest in racist or anti-semitic or other bigoted epithets, but it’s there. It’s in laws and policies and uniforms. It has innervated much of our history so much so that many are blind to it – in some cases, some will get viscerally angry if you attempt to identify and explain it. It’s hard to elucidate the mechanics of a system when so many don’t even want to hear it. It is, after all, painful stuff to take in – imagine the pain its victims feel. Pain hundreds of years old, pain that is mocked when revealed. #hell

Do you recall Regan’s “Doom and Gloom” meme? Well, that was one of many steps that lead to “Love it or leave it!” and “Send them back!”. It’s the same fundamental message: if you dare to mention inequity, injustice, or otherwise dare bring up any subject that isn’t mindless fealty to jingoism then you are an enemy of freedom and the flag. His rhetoric ran interference on civil rights and social equality, opening the path for corporate-sponsored government and the weakening of the ways and means of individual and collective expression and empowerment. The dog-whistling tactics of that era ‘worked’. #hell

Trumpism only made it easier for white supremacists to say the quiet part aloud. Over the next few months and years, the volume will dial-up, rendering dog whistles largely unnecessary. Even if Trump loses, the proverbial cats are out of their bags. Wednesday, November 4, 2020 will be one of the ugliest days in our history – regardless of who wins. #hell

By the Fall of 2020, White Supremacy will be full-out in the open. #hell

In spite of that, there’s no reason not be be optimistic or to be idle. But so far, I’m not seeing any of the Resistance surfacing any substantive counter-force to Magasm. That’s a problem. I simply don’t see an optimistic route that doesn’t involve radical action (and I don’t mean violence) on an unprecedented scale and with a massive level of effort. The DNC is not part of that project – it’s part of the problem. #hell

It was easy for us to castigate ‘good’ Germans for their inaction in the 1930s, wasn’t it? They too experienced the same kind of surreality manifesting before our eyes. But this round, there will be no Normandy invasion, no bunker bombing, no sixteen year old farm boy from Iowa sacrificing himself to rescue a continent from its own madness, nor atrocity trials to speak for the dead and broken. #hell

The digital apartheids of this century will be harder to break than the physical cages and gulags and concentration camps of the last one. A lot harder. The Digital adds a whole new layer of Ideological #hell.

2008 was the penultimate chance for America to set itself aright, to wake itself out of the gluttony of inanity it made of itself. It was our chance to see how public funds and governments were being used to enrich private enterprises masquerading as free market initiatives.

But when capital runs out of opportunities to invest in productive assets, it’ll find its way like water to the places it can grow. And right now, authoritarian and nationalist governments are the best bets to create artificial opportunities of growth.

We have one more chance. We have a vote to cast, and it won’t be on any one ballot.

So what is to be done? A lot.

But first: what are we willing to give up for an America that lives up to its promise?

Will we give up our lives? Our jobs? Our homes? Our comforts? Our distractions? Are we cut for this moment in history? Do we have the strength for optimism – and the clarity to not mistake it for delusion?

911 to Trump and Beyond

El coloso

One of the under-acknowledged impacts of 911 is what it did to the general mental status of citizens in this country – at personal, collective, and institutional levels. It catalyzed a regression in America’s collective maturity and lowered the nation’s immunity to chicanery.

Denial of trauma can bog-down grief. We have been in denial about Al-Qaeda’s return-on-investment from the attacks. It’s not that Al-Queda won, but that we lost. We lost real bad – a far worse defeat than our cruel misadventure in Vietnam. It cost us more than we admit. Financially, economically, psychologically, politically, militarily…pretty much across the whole ship.

We bungled a colossal opportunity to learn how to effectively deal with malicious forces as we incompletely dislocated from one century into the next.

Whereas the attacks on Pearl Harbor galvanized a focused initiative to beat enemies, 911 induced a kind of psychosis – a scatter-brained break from the realities of policy –  in which panic seized strategy and fear morphed from danger signal into mindset. And even then (although largely forgotten), America still could have slouched down an alternate path (think the ilk of Charles Lindbergh and organizations such as the German American Bund). The pull of 1930s American fascism tugs on us yet.

Panic, over-consumption of (shitty) entertainment, and the growth of digital media increased apophenia, leading eventually to a politics composed of little more than opinions and conspiracy buffoonery.

Trump and Magasm aren’t surprising results (in spite of the inveterate arrogance of establishment pollsters, pundits, and operatives).

But here’s an observation about Trump where a lesson might be taken:
Trump upset the pre-2016 order of how to bring about changes in public discussion. Before him, everything was predictable…and, worse, almost impossible to change. The “House” of the system so-to-speak would always win. The house cat may have smiled in approval of change, but its proverbial claws extended for all to see during Occupy Wall Street.

If you wanted a sane way to allocate Healthcare, good luck commie.

If you wanted poor kids to eat so that they could study in order esteem themselves into adulthood and ensure America’s future under the stars, eff off pinko.

If you wanted women to live in a world where they didn’t have to answer to men for a single damn thing, forget about it feminazi.

If you merely pointed out the foundational absurdity of slave owners screaming for liberty from the British yoke of taxation-without-representation, leave the country traitor.

If you attempted to explain how centuries of systemic slavery (and the various mindsets that established and enforced it) continue to brutalize the descendants of kidnapped and tortured Africans, you were commanded to put away the race card.

The system wasn’t going to substantially change. Incremental changes were your best hope, and a long nasty slog over a morsel at that.

Although advocating for a better world will coax the ire of Trumpian trolling and the admonitions listed above, the old model is forever broken. Those pillars collapsed and have yet to be rebuilt anew. And therein lies opportunity.

Trump was the wrong person to break the dialectical confines of the system. He ‘broke’ it in a way that shifted the Overton Window open for neo-fascism. But at least we now know something that we didn’t know before: the windows of the system *can* be broken. This is a big deal, bigger than a passing glance would intimate. We can call the system’s hypocritical bluff that radical action is permissible but impossible. We are now free to articulate the many ways we are not free.

Indeed, Trump and the vulnerabilities that led to Magasm may have ushered-in a global backslide towards Fascism. We may face a world of virtual apartheids that are harder to break than steel cages.

But for those of us who want to make the world a better place for more people, knowing that fundamental change *is* possible means that a workable hope can be forged. The 20th Century is dead, as it should be – it was loaded with evil and sprinkled with good.

In this Century, however, successful positive change depends on new principles and practices…on a new kind of work. The 20th Century frameworks no longer hold (which is why entrenched political careerists are mystified by Trump). Genuine social advancement requires more than just political parties. It needs serious policy research, development, and implementation; tenacious persuasion of key messages; and a militant focus on displacing organized trolling.

Just as we have been in denial about our loss stemming from 911, some of us are in denial about the persistence of today’s Weird Politik. The anxiety-provocations of cunning manipulators won’t stop. No push-button will turn off Antisemitism, racism, misogyny, or other manifestations of weak and violent mindsets. This is a time that demands relentless and unforgiving Chutzpah.

A question then: who or what can break the system in a way that moves us beyond the impasses traditionally inherent in it without ushering-in the colossal ghosts of the last Century? Unlike Goya’s Colossus, today’s pernicious giants aren’t simply going to walk off into the distance.

The American Horizon still persists, but daylight tires.

The Real President of Cyberspace

This is some sur-real Running Man stuff here…except in reverse, where we – the audience – are the runners, whether we know it or not. The question is: where are we running? Or, more importantly, to where should we run? Stay tuned!

The Psychopathy Incubator

For your viewing amusement via @VicBergerIV. (Context)

Psychopathy is likely the result of an intermixing of genetic predispositions and early childhood experiences; however. the availability of Social Media reinforces distortions in self-assessment and deflates the empathic responses to human pain, anguish, and grief that accompany face-to-face presence. The whole world is being tugged into a growing black hole of disordered personalities. Welcome to a nebula of Internet Stars: the incubator of psychopaths.