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Insight Comes In the Strangest Forms, In the Strangest Places

I have no doubt everything this man says is true.

 

From Sexuality to Race, power and money and the art of music, some of the most incisive comments I’ve heard about any of these things come as a conversation from an observer.

Born outside the corridors of power Quincy Jones “Q” as he’s been known has an insight into all of the above that takes no in-between-the-lines interpretation to unpack.

This is what online journalism does so well, what Rolling Stone used to do but gave up to chase false rape accusations and hand the alt-right a new narrative.

Read this, it will change the way you see music, sexuality, America and life.

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil….

It all comes down to money, doesn’t it?

Money coupled with power. Power over people via “ideas” that have more in common with emotional revulsion than logic. This is what we are now.

Steve Bannon was at the left hand of the seat of power; he was the co-pilot of the administration, arguably the primary architect of the Trump victory. You’d have to be utterly blind, delusional, Stockholm Syndrome-addled or just uncaring not to see this.  The nearly transparent lie that there was no collusion on the part of Bannon’s appeals to race resentment and the violence that often erupted at Trump rallies doesn’t need calling out, it is there, in plain sight, for all to see.

Nor does the connections to the Alt-Right, real Nazis, and other assorted white supremacists, they too, are plain. Through the denials (what common criminal ever said, “Yeah, I did it, that was me” when being cornered by the cops?) the obstrufications and every logical event to the contrary, Bannon, Breitbart and its network of ideologues and hangers-on continue to play a role in the conversation or at least continue to keep the discussion about them, bolstering the profiles of both the wave riders and the hard idealogues.

There is no such thing as bad press.

So why are we still playing this game?

Why are we still under the delusion that we are living under anything but a proto-fascist state, a state that combines the worst elements of our cold war and second world war enemies.  We now represent the things we have purportedly fought against for most of the 20th century. It’s no longer about left and right ideologies because both would be crushed under the weight of the oligarchy. When there isn’t freedom for anyone, ideology is moot.

It is a cold hard fact that for all of the history of the United States we have been awash in white supremacy. Its taken many forms as the idea of whiteness have been adopted by various Europeans and those of European descent. It isn’t unique to this nation, but the brand of white superiority and supremacy is.  We are unique in the fact that we’ve inhabited a Janus-like guise, out of one face we say we are pluralistic and generous, the huddled masses are welcome to come and add their uniqueness to our own and to our collective culture, on the other we are xenophobic, racist and fearful of difference although demonstrably, once we know each other personally those elements diminish.

We also claim to value our collective contributions to our society. We claim to not see race or sex and that the value we place on our fair values is absolute. Even on our political left, there is this illusion, the corridors of power in our entertainment are littered with the desiccated bodies of the women who know better. Liberal Hollywood is awash in its form of hypocrisy. Weinstein, Cosby, and Baldwin, either get a pass or use their considerable power as men to create false personas that defy their goodness while hiding their toxic badness.

At the risk of sounding SWJish, White Male Superiority in general. Yes, even Cosby.

Masculinity is at least a convening force in all this. I’ve spoken before about how this mirror universe came to pass, how the power structure that was had been challenged by an educated, non-white man, and then an educated (albeit universally unlikeable) white woman and the resulting pushback gave us a starring role in the Truman shitshow we live in now. How the years of ingrained, assumed norms of power and who was inherently qualified to wield it, unraveled while Rural White Male America slept soundly in their beds, secure in the fact that their hegemony wouldn’t be undone by a one-term Nigger president.

See how that happened?

We didn’t elect a white knight, we chose the anti-Nigger, the crass boldness embodiment of everything we would have lynched Obama for, and some things lesser, that we tried to. Trump’s money, his conspicuous consumptive nature on full display in House Horrific gold inlay pimp my penthouse bling, his pussy grabbing dullard braggadocio, his obviously ignorant grasp of policy and its implications, all of it punishable by death for any nonwhite who isn’t signed to Bad Boy or in the NBA.  Trump is gangsta personified.

Must be the money…

7 Days….(the Tape)

So supposedly there is this tape floating around the New York Times that confirms what anyone with half a brain already knows, “the Donald” is full of shit.

Earlier this week he started rumbling about suing the media when they print mean things about him (damn that pesky 1st amendment, you know that one that wouldn’t exist without the one following it) and now in a conveniently not at all retaliatory fashion the NYT’s Gail Collins strongly hinted that the tape was a game changer for Trump, although given the fervor of his legion of zombies, I highly doubt that.

Right now, nothing short of Trump revealing himself as Barak Obama’s Kenyan uncle could derail this campaign. Part of the appeal of any sort of fascistic movement is its complete divorce from reality, its utter anti-intellectualism and cultural understanding outside its own angry demographic.

Does anyone really think this guy who famously wrote about his style of “winning” which consisted of saying whatever people wanted to hear to get them in the door and then, once they are trapped inside, completely changing the rules? Has anyone actually read “The Art of the Deal?” Seen the Apprentice?

Trump’s juggernaut is about one thing anger, no rage. Rage at the fact that what was guaranteed by status was not fulfilled, and that average Joe White is losing ground, ground overlooking average Joe Minority but slowly eroding. Ground lost because Average Joe White allowed his natural advantage to distance himself from the plight of Average Joe and Jane everyone else. The ground lost because instead of looking at opportunity in equal measure with effort, he championed effort without equal opportunity all the while ignoring his own privilege. And yeah, I said it, privilege. So instead of recognizing the fact that the opportunities that they had all along, that others never had, should be expanded to include everyone, their skin takes precedence over their situation.

The ethnic lines that once divided them (Irish, German, Swiss, English, Dutch etc…) are now uniting them and ironically, they are turning on themselves as much as they are anyone else. I’ve already written about the sad fact that middle aged white men are dying off in large numbers due to a combination of lifestyle diseases and suicide.

WTF??? ANY group that has that high a death rate should be assisted, treated and taken care of, but again irony intercedes.  Because of the very myths of independence they still cling to, myths that time and time again are disproved, they are not seeking help, and therefore, literally dying off.

This cancerous anger, resentment and fear is killing off people and that is something to bemoan regardless of whether you agree with them politically or not. People are people and they deserve the same life, liberty and happiness that everyone does.

They just may have to give up a little status to get it.

Something many, sadly,  just cannot do.

The Monster in the Closet

For fuck’s sake will a single, now outraged, republican who isn’t voting for Trump please admit that they’ve been part of the problem?

The closer we get to the inevitability of Trump winning the people’s choice award for the now fully irrelevant and angry white male contingent of the Republican party the more roaches start looking for lifeboats off the sinking ship that it has become.

As I have said before, if Trump wins (which he will) the republican nomination, gets his ass handed to him by whomever wins the democratic nomination (check) and still keeps talking (which he also will) there will be far reaching consequences. The rest of the world, already bewildered by our treatment of our current president and thoroughly bug-fucked scared at even the remotest possibility of a Trump presidency, are shaking their collective heads so furiously at the laboratory of fascism we’ve become that they have fanned the four winds into the first January Atlantic hurricane in 60 years.

In yesterday’s New York Times, a “paper” whose relevancy and integrity continue the long slide down the sewer pipe, former Republican speechwriter and “conservative” cheerleader Peter Wehner (I never heard of him either) finally takes a stand and says that Trump is the Antichrist out of space who has single-handedly dragged the party from the virtuous free-market religiosity of the Bush years to the bat-shit insanery that is now. He’s not the only one. Nikki Hailey, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, “the other white Bush”, and even evangelical fuck-nut Mike Huckabee, nary a one among them who hasn’t scorched the earth with a smaller version of the flame thrower Trump has been proudly shouldering, have all denounced the front runner as inflammatory or some other  rhetorical phrase that means next to nothing.

Look, I said it before and I’ll repeat it now.

You fuckers had it coming.

For anyone to state without a severe ironic drawl that Trump is anything but the embodiment of the true nature of the modern Republican party, nursed on the southern strategy and tuteled in a one room backwater schoolhouse on the prairie by Lee Atwater under principal “Joe” the plumber, is to reject these little things called “history” and “common sense.” How these morons can possibly not see their own complicity in the creation of FrankenTrump out of the rotting corpses of Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and the Von Mises institute, lit up and brought to life by a withering lightning rod on the (wholly inadequate) roof of Angry White Male Inc. is beyond cognitive dissonance, it is irresponsible, and infantile. It is “blaming the other guy who rented the house after we blew holes in the walls” fucking insanity.

YOU, you lazy piece of shit, YOU, you pandering, forgetting where you came from douchebag, YOU, YOU are to blame for the care and feeding of the out of control animal you stuffed full of wingnut paranoia and birther-ism when it served you and and ego-stroked when you needed votes yet now want to disown as someone else’s problem. YOU, you irresponsible asshole, not the misled, misinformed, misshapen white men you so easily manipulated into blind hatred for anything NOT them, YOU!

How many Republican who voted for Reagan, Bush and well….Bush stood up against the dog whistle politics of Lee Atwater?   Or the identity politics of the Christian Coalition? How long did it take for them to shake the cobwebs off and take David Duke seriously? How deep up their own asses were their heads that they ignored, sympathized with or played upon the Angry White Male fear and loathing syndrome that swept across the country in the mid 80’s culminating in the patriot and militia movements and finally the single worst act of domestic terror in our history? How many of you have taken responsibility for the rhetoric that called for “second amendment remedies” and “head shots” that encouraged the attempted assassination of a US Senator?

How fucking long did it take for Republicans of good conscience to speak out? With every act of violence, with every stoking of the rhetoric of hatred cloaked in OxyContin fueled “common sense”, with every suggestion by mainstream republicans of the racial fear of “the other” invoked and consequently blown off as rational… you fucking begged for this.

And only now, as the consequences of the ignorance of these growing embers gathers to burn down the forest of the party do they suddenly find a conscience? Even in my youth, untrained but attuned to the subtleties and not so subtleties of racial coding and white anger at the whittling away of their inherent privilege, did I see this coming.

Not, mind you, in such a package, but if ever there was the perfect marriage of cultural collusion it is Mr. Trump. Money and the power that follows, fear of the other while simultaneously exploiting the other for profits, playing into fear and hatred while somehow claiming the opposite while still maintaining credibility. All in the most unbelievable package, a package of Viagra and trophy wives stewed together in a chunky stew of opulence substituting itself for virility. Men in hunting gear gathering support for a guy who golfs with celebrities and probably could not not survive outside under the best conditions for more than an hour? The embodiment of an appeal to nature fallacy appealing to nature.

Only in America? Probably not. But there is so much of America, mostly the bad parts, in him that we are willing to overlook it all in favor of the fantasy of him.

Somehow the establishment, after playing with the same fire, stoking the same hatreds for their benefit, believed that this was impossible? They are only words after all, and only liberal English professors actually believe that words have consequences.

The Republican establishment’s willingness to ignore the warnings of 50 years of identity politics, racial bating and scapegoating of those we have invited here with our uniquely American rhetoric (Tired, poor, yadda, yadda…) are the reasons we have Trump. The culture that promotes the appearance of virility through enforcement of will in so many anti-democratic ways here and abroad, created this monster. Our lack of reasoning and squashing of dissent as un-American lead us here.

And now we have a choice that leads us, either way, to more pain, more suffering and more stupidity.

But still, we do have a choice.

Dear GOP, Stop Crying, Its Your Own Damn Fault

According the Washington Post, the GOP leadership is all in a tizzy over a potential Trump or Carson primary win. They know what the rest of us who don’t live in neverland do, that although stranger things have happened, neither screams “electable” in 2016.

They quote a Romney aide (terrifying in the fact that he represents the rational side of the GOP considering what he and his running mate in 2012 stood for) and the venerable “source that will not be named” as basically saying, “if we can’t conjure Republican Jesus up out of the tears of illegal immigrants and dead babies, we are so fucked!”

With all the introspection of a rural townie hooked on smack, they fail to see how the Frankenstein’s monsters they see before them were created by none other than their own angry white hands. They forget the Michelle Bachman’s, Sarah Pailn’s, Kurt Sharon Angle’s or Dan Patrick‘s they presented as viable mainstream candidates and wonder why the fuck they keep sliding deeper and deeper into the wackadoo, racist, conspiracy addled, puncline-less joke of an insane asylum, dragging half the country with them in the process.

Its your own fucking fault you clueless assholes.

Remember the southern strategy? How about Lee Atwater, Ollie North and Willie Horton? What about more recent Republican poster boys like Cliven Bundy, you know , that all-American patriot, who just off the cuff exposed himself as a brazen idiot racist.  Batting a thousand so far.

All while you marginalize the more reasonable wack-jobs in the party, you know, those who actually have convictions beyond “fuck the brown people.” All while you let ideologues shills  base their governing on not letting the black guy in the White House have nice things. Because, Obamacare.

Yes, YOU, all you mainstream, fiscally conservative plutocrats, this shit is all your fault for not taking this divisive, lowest-common-denominator shit seriously when it was serving you well, and doing so only now, as your stranglehold on the narrative got away like a greased pig at a Klan roast.

Fuck you, you deserve to lose, you deserve every genuflecting, cowfucking vote you’ll get. Unfortunately the rest of us don’t deserve the 4-8 years of resentment, violence and anger that will surely follow. Even in the event of your party’s victory.

See, it’s actually the American people who’ll pay.

Cultural Sensitivity Without the Introspection, Welcome to Yale!

As a long time townie I’ve seen many changes at Yale that have contributed to the sense of entitlement that the students feel on campus and in New Haven. Yale has reached deep into communities and squeezed small businesses and lower income residents out, ignored the continual outsourcing of its staff while at the same time demanding favored status by claiming to be New Haven’s largest employer, and sequestered its students behind locked gates and high walls because of a few high profile incidents that on balance are NOTHING compared to what residents face daily.

Unfortunately, the students (who, any townie will tell you, are just generally a royal pain in the ass) are part of the problem. They are rude, obnoxious and arrogant; they regularly silently espouse an ownership of the city that the institution has perpetuated throughout the years. (not to mention actual OWNERSHIP of a large swath of downtown)

So it comes as no surprise that the latest round of protests are being met, even by people who would normally be on their side, with either a sigh or a mighty WT ever lovin’ F!

Yale town/gown relations have gone down the toilet since our lord and master decided to clean house on Broadway (New Haven’s Broadway that is) and eliminate all the deadbeats who brought locals in to mix with the Academics, and as a consequence brought some of them together maybe a little closer than the university would have liked. Yale has systematically, through its ownership or acquisition of over 400 properties invaded distressed neighborhoods, redeveloped, re-purposed and otherwise changed the face of New Haven.

Casualties have included a gathering place/coffeehouse that regularly hosted meetings between Yalies and Townies, Profs and Skaters, Punks and early Hip Hop kids, one of the best damn art-house theaters on the east coast, small family owned restaurants, clothing stores and basically any trace of local color. Pretty much all the things that made New Haven an interesting place to shop and visit.

So now we have a multiracial (good start!) group of students angry over patterns of discrimination and cultural insensitivity at the institution. An admirable protest subject(s) indeed, if it weren’t for the inherent irony in the whole damn thing. I’m not talking about the glaring irony of the students looking to express themselves, shouting down a professor who was there to answer them. Yes, becoming the thing you hate takes about 5 seconds as opposed to the lifetime it used to take, PROGRESS! I mean the GREATER irony, the great and powerful irony, the man behind the curtain wears no clothes irony of LOOK IN THE FUCKING MIRROR!

It’s not that I don’t feel for the students affected, and It’s not that I don’t agree with the principal of what they are upset about, but the fact is that they are already a privileged group, and they wave that privilege in every single resident’s face regularly is just too much to process. They are protected from much of the poverty and violence that wracked some parts of the city and they have pulled back further and further into their own “community” that they seem to have no concept of what that word means outside of YALE. In short, while looking inward at the Yale community, they need to be looking outward into the larger community they occupy. They regularly treat the city as a playground, whose crosswalks they ignore with impunity and whose residents they crowd off the sidewalk four abreast. Subtle as these things may be, and some of them are, they still indicate a pattern of well…abuse.

And then, of course is the little matter of that irony I mentioned.

I remember being a student when the PC movement started and I remember looking around at the “correct” sanitized result and can honestly say that I saw this coming. On both the Left and the Right there is a growing movement away from meaning and to increasingly meaningless language, we are so preoccupied with what we call ourselves and not who we really are. We are so enamored with labels and so ignorant of the lives of the people behind them.

Yale has many recent sins to atone for, as I listed above. Instead of simply protesting about insensitivity, the many students gathered need to open their eyes to the community surrounding them and reach out into it by becoming reengaged with it. Yale students are a big part of the reason New Haven has been dubbed one of the most unfriendly cities in the US. The superiority and snobbery has caused increasing amounts of town/gown tension in the past 20 years.

Cultural insensitivity is not just racial in nature, it is also based on class, education and privilege, ignorance of that is on display regularly in New Haven by the Yale community, Unfortunately, I’m sure many guilty parties took part in the “conversation” currently going on at Yale.

Folks, this ain’t #blacklivesmatter.

The $1 Tax Dodge

Beware the $1 CEO. Revere the $1 CEO.

CEO’s, entrepreneurs, the super-rich are our new heroes. They are  Zeus, Apollo, Jesus, King…they outrank sportsmen and women in trustworthiness polls, even though the institutions they run are the same that are ranked consistently untrustworthy. They are our new icons. The self-made man, the great American myth is back with a vengeance.

The $1 CEO’s are particularly crude about garnering our favor, John Mackey famously remarked that he made enough money and wanted to work for the joy of it. An interesting remark coming from one of the most ardent libertarian businessmen, or at least one of the few who will publicly address and defend their pure market capitalistic beliefs. The Koch brothers, Adelson and the other notables under this big green tent espouse no such pussyfooting, so are exempt in this case.

Personally I do not believe that these people deserve our admiration, respect or even pity, especially the ones who publicly tout their $1 salary. Mackey started his company from investments (gifts) from friends and family and started it as a small cooperative and grew (as most Übermensch businessmen would tell, organically) into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.  Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, who started the company from his HARVARD dorm room (a) lucky enough to go to college b) smart and lucky and wealthy enough to go to Harvard c) went to fucking Harvard) as a “hot or not” style hookup site. Or the founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Stanford students, Page’s pedigree includes a father who was a leading computer scientist and Brin’s father and mother are also scientists, all are tops in their fields.

All these men have taken the $1 CEO route. Though Mackey has been most vocal about the reasons, all of them have allowed the more important reality of their decision be buried in a sea of crocodile tears generated by the financial press and sympathetic politicos.  They’ve become revered as generous and selfless when exactly the opposite is true.

As Robert W. Wood writes in Forbes, the reason these guys do what they do has more to do with good old-fashioned tax dodging than any altruistic motive. After all, altruism is bad, greed is good. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/04/05/tax-smart-billionaires-who-work-for-1/

So instead of paying a fair portion to the taxman like the rest of us, they get off taking alternate means of compensation in the form of shares and other non-cash payments that are taxed at a substantially lower rate. All the while allowing the PR machine to crank out puff piece after puff piece about how generous and selfless these guys are. That line of bullshit also only adds to the veneer of untouchability and John Galt heroism that the establishment narrative reinforces in us plebes.

And what you say? But these guys work hard, are self-made and do good work. Well I say that their “work” is in no way proportionate to the exorbitant scale of their pay, however it comes. None of these people were “self-made” they had nurturing environments massive financial assistance from family members, damn good educations or all of the above. They may be extraordinarily smart people but they are all extraordinarily smart and at least in some way, extraordinarily privileged.

 

In a way, its kind of like pulling back the cape and discovering that Superman has been rescuing humans is because he’s been pimped out by the guys from the “To Serve Man” episode of the Twilight Zone.

Heroes indeed.

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