Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Doughnut Hole and Other Medical Follies

I got a shock yesterday when I picked up one of my increasing number of prescriptions for what ails me. Hm. One of them had a co-pay of over $80. It had been $10 the month before. The pharmacy was mystified. They said it was an expensive medication, but in the generic form that I received it, even at full price, it shouldn't be that much.

They said I should call my insurance company and see if I can find out what's going on.

So I did, and at first I was told the medication should have a $10 co-pay. When I said it didn't, the person I was talking to looked at my record again and said, "Oh, I see! You're in the Doughnut Hole, and drug coverage is reduced until your out of pocket expenses reach..." whatever it was, I don't remember, many thousands at any rate.

OK. I asked how long this will last, and she was so chipper about it. "Oh, only until Jan 1, sir. Your policy will reset and go back to regular co-pays."

Whew, that's a relief.

My medical expenses have shot up quite a bit since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the spring. I don't see my primary care physician any more since I'm being monitored and treated by a raft of specialists. Each one requires a $50 co-pay each visit. This means at least $150 most months in doctor co-pays. Sometimes more. Then there are the growing number of prescriptions. I fell into the Doughnut Hole because some of these medications cost close to $500 a month at rack rates, and insurance pays the difference between that price and my co-pay. Adds up fast. I knew I was getting close but didn't think I'd actually fall in. Apparently, the newly prescribed drug to control my pulmonary symptoms pushed me over the edge.

Apparently I will now be charged 45% of full price for my medications, but only in December.


My rheumatologist wants me to go to National Jewish Health in Denver for the most advanced treatments for my pulmonary issues.

Well, I have my reasons for being reluctant -- including the length of time it would take to get there, especially in winter -- but I'm game. Seems National Jewish is not. Not that they wouldn't like to see me, just that they can't without specific authorization for out-of-network treatment from my Medicare Advantage insurance company. I have no idea whether that's even possible. The only out-of-network care they pay for is in case of emergencies or need for urgent care when one is traveling outside the coverage area of the company. As long as I'm within the coverage area (most of northern New Mexico) I must use in-network facilities and physicians. There appears to be no exception for referrals by in-network physicians (such as my rheumatologist.)

So. Stalemate on that one.

At least I have oxygen at home and can tank up on it before I go out and about. Eventually, they say they will replace the big tanks with small ones I can carry with me. But for the moment the big tanks and the large concentrator are doing the job.

I'm off to the cardiologist this morning to see if there's any reason for alarm about increasingly frequent chest pains -- because RA can affect all kinds of organs not just joints.

I'm getting a sense of what my sister went through with lupus. I had no idea what that was, and she really never told me what it did her. All I knew was that she was in great pain from time to time, and when she wasn't in pain, she tended to be tired and stiff-jointed. It was often hard for her to get around and do things. But she endured, generally with a smile and laughter. She didn't let it get her down more than a little bit.

I'm not in pain to speak of, so that's good. If it weren't for the medications I'm taking, though, the pain would likely be intolerable. My main problem has been fatigue, but that's partially relieved by the oxygen. The issue that has my doctors worried is the now confirmed pulmonary fibrosis due to RA. It can't be reversed. It's mostly affected my right lung but could spread if not contained/controlled with immunosuppressants -- the corticosteroids and other medications I'm taking. That leaves me open to other risks from infections and pneumonia and such.

So, combined with the inherent nature of medical bureaucracies, I'm just in a whirl, I guess.

And the Ruling Clique is now intent on taking away -- "improving" -- Medicare and Social Security. Throwing more chaos into the lives, old age and deaths of the residents of Dumfukistan. They must really hate us.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Follies

Looks like Trump sent his Harpy Kellyanne Conway out to the Twitterverse and the Sunday Shows to denounce and disparage the Clintooon Recount that is being promoted and funded by the Green Party and Jill Stein, who are no friends of the Clintons.

Ah well, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the very idea of a recount be delegitimized in the eyes of the public, but oops. When (apparently) Himself insisted that "he woulda won" the popular vote too if it weren't for all the "millions" of illegals who voted for The Hag, he blew the whole thing wide open.

Now he and Kellyanne have boxed themselves in. The only way to find out what happened is if there's a nationwide recount.

Of course, that's highly unlikely, but they have thrown shade on their own side by claiming something essentially impossible about the other. We'll call it projection, because that's what it is. It's a bind I don't think they can get out of, and if calls for a nationwide recount are picked up, the consequences could be very interesting indeed. Since both Hillary and Trump made wild claims about election rigging and foreign interference, they've both set up a dynamic that requires a recount.

At this point, I'll lay even odds that there won't be an inauguration on January 20, 2017, regardless of the outcome of the first three recounts (assuming they even take place.) What looks at least possible is that the EC will be unable to reach 270 for either candidate, and the matter will be thrown to the House, but the House won't be able to do anything about it before January 6 when the new congress is supposed to be seated.

They won't be likely to pick Trump or Hillary. They might go with Their Good Friend Pence, but they might not have that option. Then what?

Who knows? Chaos ensues.

But then we have that already, and Our Fearless Media is scrambling to normalize it. Good lord, their cartwheels are impressive. Let them laugh while they can, though, this is not a sustainable situation.

Something like this level of chaos was taking place during the recount in 2000; armed militants were gathering at state capitols and public squares demanding that their boy Bush be declared the winner, and it was Scalia who took up the call and scared the rest of the Court into doing just that. Even though they had no real jurisdiction, and they knew it. The excuse was that if they hadn't intervened there would have been a civil war.

Well, maybe. I actually don't think so. Most of the threats were empty, but just the chance that there might be "civil disorder" was enough to goose the system to find a solution. So what if it was outside the bounds of law and custom? It worked, didn't it?

Such may be the case this time, too. I don't expect the Court to intervene again, at least not like they did in 2000 (for one thing, there isn't a majority for one side or the other). Some other kind of intervention, though, is more than possible, and I'm sure TPTB are gaming it out. What can they get away with without triggering wholesale insurrection by one side or another?

What can they get away with this time?

I dunno.

Whatever happens, I suspect one of the consequences down the line will be a greater level of state autonomy. The South and parts of the West have been demanding it for a long time, and they're liable to get their wish. The coasts are likely to demand autonomy as well, regardless of the election outcome. That could mean the Mountain West where I live is left to fend for itself, though some wags have proposed that we rejoin Mexico. Na ga happen, but still the idea is out there. We haven't really heard that notion since the days of Aztlan, though I thought that was always supposed to be independent of Mexico.

Will we see the republic suspended ? That actually seems more likely every day, and if that happens, it would almost require a General in charge and the institution of quasi- or actual martial law. Oh it could happen. The mechanisms exist. And they could be triggered by... elite fear of the masses?

We'll see won't we?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Electoral Myths

Now that things are heating up once again on the electoral front -- partly because of the inherent chaos in the process of electing presidents and such -- we're likely to be treated to another few months of... erm.... entertainment over who actually won the presidential election and possibly others.

Entertainment and lies.

The myths abound. For example, that the popular vote doesn't matter in presidential elections. If that were so, why do we bother with elections for the presidency? Of course we know from bitter experience that if the popular vote in particular "battleground" states goes the "wrong" way, the vote can be  -- indeed will be -- canceled, adjusted or revised until it produces the "correct" result. Because of the arcane, anachronistic Electoral College, only the popular votes in the individual states matter in presidential elections, not the overall popular vote nationally. A minority vote getter nationally can be elected to the presidency by the Electoral College -- as it looks like it will be the case with Mr. Trump, as it was the case with Mr. Bush2 and as has been the case previously (too lazy to research it right now) -- if enough voters in enough states vote for him or her, regardless of the total popular vote in all states.

That can happen, but it doesn't have to happen. The Electoral College is actually free to elect anyone they want -- or no one. The Electoral College could deadlock. It could refuse all the candidates before it. It could select someone the People did not have the opportunity to choose themselves. At least in theory, it doesn't even have to take a vote.

Hillary's national popular vote lead continues to grow. Right now it's edging up on 3 million and could conceivably better that. It's actually quite stunning. Despite all the yabbering and narrative creation about the election and the irrelevance of the popular vote, Mrs. Clinton is bidding fair to achieve one of the highest popular vote margins in recent history. That ain't nothin'. Far from it.

Thus there is a myth that once she conceded, the "election was over." Not so fast, Sparky. A concession is a courtesy, it's not a legally binding capitulation. On the other hand, there is every sign that Mrs. Clinton intended her concession as a capitulation, and that until recent events intervened, she had no intention of contesting the election outcome.

Those recent events include Dr. Stein's efforts to fund and undertake recounts in three  "battleground" states where the results are... questionable.We know that our elections are ridiculously opaque and arcane, and that the results can be jiggered pretty much any way by forces inside or outside of the electoral process. Even a recount -- when they are possible at all -- can't necessarily clarify and verify what happened. This is, I'm convinced, a deliberate design flaw to thwart the People's will, the People being so mercurial and untrustworthy and all.

What Emma Goldman said so long ago still obtains:
If elections changed anything, they'd be illegal.

But they are entertaining, so there is that.

Dr. Stein threw a spanner in the works  by funding and calling for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where the popular vote margin for Trump was slight and there are... anomalies in the vote and the result.

The fact that she could raise millions of dollars in a few days to undertake these recounts shocked the complacent political class who were all in for Trumpian Things To Come, settling in to their "peaceful transition of power," and normalizing Trumpism as if it were just the coolest thing in school.

Back in my day, monkeywrenching on this scale -- the scale that Stein did it -- was not uncommon at all, and many of those in the political class as well as among the resistant public engaged in it routinely. Every president since Kennedy has been monkeywrenched when you get down to it.

The issue here is that without a recount, the public can't be sure that the outcome in these three states reflects the actual will of the voters in these three states. The margins are so close, and any number of questionable acts and omissions have already come to light. Better to be sure, no?

Well for some in the political class, the answer is clearly NO!!!!! They've been running around with their hair on fire demanding that this effort not take place, and insisting without evidence that Dr. Stein is scamming the public and somehow will not go through with the recounts.

The "scam" accusation became ingrained in the mythos of this election's monkeywrenching first on the Democratic side and then picked up yesterday and blared forth by Trump hisownself.

Ah yes. Dems in high office and low said "Just accept it," and appeared to do nothing whatever to interfere with the "peaceful transition of power" to Trump and his cronies. Obama himself has been extremely accommodating and determined to "help (Trump) succeed." He has validated the election results in his own mind and has repeatedly said that he supports the announced outcome. Hillary has said much the same thing.  And essentially all of the Democratic establishment concurs. The media as a whole is fully on board with the Trump Transition, as if nothing at all were questionable about it.

As I've said many times, the winning side in our elections doesn't care how they achieve that victory, just that they win. In this case, the "winning side" appears to be the political class in general; ie: Dems and Reps together. Clinton, Obama and Trump as a unified voice against the People.


Not surprising, though.

It took an outsider -- with Standing -- to make the Political Class as a whole pay at least some attention to the People this time. The recounts -- so far -- are going forward, and who knows what will be found?

The Clinton campaign belatedly entered the Wisconsin recount effort when Dr. Stein filed for and was granted a recount on Friday. They said they did so "in the interests of fairness for 'all sides.'" Interesting indeed. One would expect the Trump campaign to do likewise in the by and bye. 'All sides" indeed. After all, who knows what they might find? Eek.

No, I'd say it's an obvious attempt by the Clinton campaign -- joined soon by the Trump campaign? -- to thwart the recount in every way possible. Why? Well, why not? The Clintons have already pledged their fealty and been given provisional absolution from criminal complaints against them. Key word, "provisional." What they had to agree to do in exchange is anyone's guess, but I'll bet it included such things as denouncing and/or thwarting the recount efforts.

And so it has been.

When Trump came out with his statement about it on Saturday, it strangely echoed the statements of certain Clintonite element on TV and in the media generally that insisted that Dr. Stein was "scamming" people, and that there was no merit in doing a recount at all because... "the election is over."

The myth that the election was "over" the minute the media called Mr. Trump the "winner" on November 9 is one of the more pernicious ones that has been retailed to the public. That's not how our (s)elections work as anyone who has even a casual familiarity with the process understands.

All the results are subject to review and adjustment following the election night scramble to get the tallies to the media. It doesn't take a recount, though that can happen too. As we've seen, the totals are constantly being supplemented and adjusted even now. This is how Mrs. Clinton has been gaining a substantial lead in the popular vote. More votes are being counted and tallied each and every day.

The numbers change, day by day, hour by hour. And in the battleground states, Mr. Trump's lead has shrunk as more votes are counted, more adjustments made. In Wisconsin there were incidents that appeared to be "vote padding" wherein thousands more votes for Mr. Trump were recorded than were cast. And so it goes. The (s)election is not "over" when a news network "calls" the election, nor when a candidate concedes.

The Electoral College doesn't meet until December 19, and their vote -- if they ultimately have one -- isn't official until certified by Congress in January.

Ah, the Majesty of it All!

A whole lot can happen between now and then, but the fact is that the media have no legal standing or authority to declare a winner, and a concession is not a legally binding contract.

In this case, the entire process of choosing a candidate for the presidency has been chaos. Deliberately induced and maintained chaos in my view, but there you are.

So let the Chaos continue and let it settle out in its own way in its own time.

I'm no fan of Mrs. Clinton, let me tell you, and if I had my druthers, there's no way she would be allowed to run things from the White House, but I'm not in a position to do anything about that. I voted for Bernie and Stein, but my vote didn't matter in the end.

I would not, however, under ANY circumstances, vote for or support Mr. Trump and his band of thieves and mountebanks. Never. Much as I don't want Mrs. Clinton in the White House  (again), I don't want him anywhere near it.

What I've seen is that the Democratic nomenklatura has almost all lined up in support of Trump's ascendancy. They have made their peace with what is to come and appear to be looking forward to another four years of bashing away at their political rivals. It's what they do. It's essentially all they do: hold the Rs up to ridicule and promote fear. They have shown that they have little or no interest in serving the People. They are instead the Peanut Gallery, booing the Bad Guys. That's where they want to be. That's where they are comfortable.

At the present time, they seem to have no interest in winning elections, either.

If I had my druthers, I'd RICO both major parties into oblivion. But that's not my choice to have, and we live with what we've got.

That's a mess.

One of the clarifying factors to emerge from the chaos so far is that all the hooey from both Trump and Clinton about "rigged elections" and "foreign interference" prior to Nov 8 has suddenly become "inoperative." They now both deny there is any evidence of rigging or foreign interference, despite their absolute certainty of it prior to Election Day. For a good long time after Election Day, there was no mention of it at all. As if, with a wave of the hand, all these accusations of electoral fraud and foreign interference made by both candidates could be made to go away as if by magic.

Well no. What they did was open a Pandora's Box which cannot be shut again -- though they are trying like mad to do so. What they did was expose how screwed up and vulnerable our electoral process is. People can't unhear or unsee it. And what Dr. Stein has done is open it to view by anyone who cares to look... Ooops. Maybe the candidates should have been a little more careful in what they said, but it's too late now, isn't it? I've said that Trump sowed the wind and will reap the whirlwind, but I think that goes for Mrs. Clinton as well. Indeed, we could witness something much more profound than the routine delegitimization of the Other Party's rule.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shock Doctrinaire

[I have a juvenile black cat sprawled across my lap, so it's a little hard to type. Oxygen is flowing into my nose from my chair-sized concentrator though, so that's good. I think. We'll get to that -- maybe -- another time...]

It seems to be dawning on the political class and Our Rulers -- even to some extent to the wider-spread media -- that the elevation of Trump to the White  House is a classic Shock Doctrine move intended to produce classic Shock Doctrine effects. The Ratchet ratchets down another few clicks and there is no going back. [Shock Doctrine link. Be warned, 565 pg pdf.]

Regardless of what happens with the recounts and efforts to persuade the Electoral College to do the right thing and not elect Trump.

The shock(s) to the system(s) was calculated and deliberate, it has been delivered with a good deal of force, and whatever happens from this point will be in consequence of it, not in consequence of what the People want or need or voted for. It has nothing to do with the People except to the extent they can be further exploited, abused, and disposed of.

It has much, much more to do with the wealthy and powerful amassing more of the same at the expense of the People everywhere.

All of this seems to have come as a Shock to the Trumpians, too. They didn't expect it, and they have been wrong-footing ever since the (s)election.

Soon enough, it will dawn on the Exploiting Class -- if it hasn't already -- that Trump and his band of thieves and mountebanks are a god-send, their deliverer from the burden and annoyance of the People. That seems to be the point of all this hooey more than anything else.

The No-Brakes Regime the Trumpians are getting ready to impose begins in Chaos where it will stay till the Bitter End. In operation it will make the Bush2 Regime seem calm, restrained and rational (it was anything but).  Can you imagine being nostalgic for the Bush-Cheney Madhouse of Mis-Rule and Ruin? That's the kind of dissonance that's typical of imposed Shocks.

And this is being hailed and marketed far and wide in media, politics, and academe as if it were a Good Thing. Well, it's a Good Thing for those who profit from it, isn't it? It's not such a Good Thing for those who don't and can't and won't.

There is at least a chance, slim though it may be, that the operators of this madness will pull back from the brink and that there will be another shock, equal or greater than the first, and Trump will not become the president.

Personally, I think he will be allowed to sit in the Big Chair at least for a time -- maybe a few months -- before he is voluntarily or forcibly removed from office. The ways and means of that removal I'll leave to the imagination, but there are many options available, always have been. Presidents serve at the pleasure of the factions of the permanent government. Just like the rest of us, they are disposable. Trump is no exception. It looks to me like the factions are lining up on his side, though. They are getting used to the idea of a man-boy in the Big Chair again, and it looks like they like it.

I've noticed the atmospherics, the visuals he's been utilizing and the media has been aiding him with during this so-called "transition." There's a lot of Show Business, it seems to me, and less revealed substance than might be expected of someone else.

The backdrop of a White House-like doorway through which Trump and his interviewees retreat, and before which they pose for the cameras upon emerging from their interviews is interesting. This is a Bushian move, one the Busheviks employed effectively during the recount follies in 2000, though they tended to pose in front of a fireplace just as Oval Office photo ops are traditionally arranged. An expectation of inevitability was being induced through the use of White House-like sets, props, and decor. It was never entirely clear where these sets were, any more than the location of the Trumpian White House-like set is clear, but it doesn't matter for marketing purposes as long as it looks right. And it (more or less) does. Of course these posed shots on or in front of evocative "presidential" sets mask what's really going on effectively too. That's one of their main purposes.

Trump's pre-presidential pronouncements are clearly intended to soothe both his loyalist followers and the majority of voters who chose someone else. Because the situation is chaotic, thanks to his campaign rhetoric -- which was purpose-designed to alienate the majority of the population while appealing to a partisan minority -- and his and his cronies' statements and actions since election day, "soothing" noises are necessary to keep the masses from doing anything untoward prematurely. None of it makes any sense, truth to tell, and it's not supposed to. His congressional allies are causing even more disruption and chaos with their Grand Smash and Burn Plans to "overhaul, eliminate, and destroy" various programs and policies that they've been targeting for years if not generations.

They have declared, in no uncertain terms, that This Is The End of... well, Everything.

They now have unfettered Power. The rest of us be damned.

The rest of us be damned.

I recall that when the Busheviks were installed against the will of the People in 2000-2001, they were incredibly weak. Had there been any united and broad-based opposition, they could have been thwarted, maybe even prevented from taking office. But the shock was so great, it seems to me, that the political class simply gave up, did nothing but accommodate their New Overlords, and went on as if nothing was wrong. They stuck with the Busheviks out of a false sense of loyalty till the very end, and even in the midst of the shock of economic collapse, they did not repudiate the Busheviks. And now, of course, many -- including Bush 2 himself -- have been rehabilitated, and some of them are being integrated into the Trumpian Regime-to-Come.

The cycle repeats.

Obama's regime has been a necessary interlude, relatively peaceful and calm (I know, I know) compared to the utter Chaos of Bush2's reign and the even more chaotic Trumpian rule in preparation.

Shocks of this kind are intended to grease the skids for even more suffering and dislocation and death and destruction than we witnessed or felt or experienced from 2000 onward. According to the Doctrine and the way these things work, there is now nothing to stop it, nothing to stand athwart the barricades. There are no barricades. It's now a complete free for all. Yahoo! Advantage must be taken fast and furiously.

No brakes! Wheeeeee!

In many ways, it's Chaos for its own sake. Yes, exploitation, death and destruction are part of the program, part of the plan, but keeping things crazy is also pleasurable to the Ruling Clique regardless of anything else. They like seeing the untermenschen scramble in fear and despair. It gives their lives meaning. Our Rulers are, after all, the Masters of the Universe, are they not?

The pleasure of seeing others' suffering is sufficient unto the day for many of them. Monsters that they are. One day, we might want to explore how that happened. How did these Monsters arise? Have they always been among us, or is this something new?

At the moment, the Chaos is such that much of what could become the effective opposition to Trumpianism is disoriented and disunited. Whether it can shake free of the Chaos and become a stake in the heart of this vampirism and madness remains to be seen; I'm hopeful, but the signs aren't that encouraging at the moment. The only ones who seem to be able to carry the torch and stand firm appear to be the Water Protectors in North Dakota and their many, many allies around the world. They are the core of the Resistance.

Jill Stein's efforts to clarify through recounts what happened in three "battleground" states are being disputed and dismissed by political operatives on "both" sides of the aisle acting in common cause to prop up the Trumpian "victory," no matter what the facts of the matter are or may show.

They are denouncing Stein and the Green Party in full-throated fury, and many are claiming that this recount madness is a Clintonite Plot to steal the election for The Hag. It would be funny if it weren't so stupid. And of course, Soros-the-Devil MUST be behind it all, because everyone knows he owns the Clintooons.  Or even funnier, they are denouncing it as a Green Party Plot to enhance their public profile. Really? Well, who'd a thunk. And this is supposed to be a Bad Thing. I see.

As I've pointed out in several fora, it doesn't matter to the winning faction how the winning results are obtained. Election integrity mattered not at all to the Clinton faction during the primaries, and all the complaints of irregularities -- some of them stunningly obvious -- were simply dismissed as irrelevant because Hillary WON the nomination. Much the same has been happening with regard to Trump's narrow and unexpected Electoral College win -- or potential win, it isn't settled yet. Any irregularities or -- as in Pennsylvania -- the complete inability to verify the vote are just too bad; it doesn't matter how he got there, what matters is that he WON!!!! USA! YAY!

Ok. The Shock has been administered, and the experiment is under way. There is scrambling to be sure, but there is something more. What it will lead to, I don't know. But it is interesting to witness who is linking up and lining up behind the Trumpians and who is refusing. When the institutional players start refusing -- say if California does go ahead with autonomy (not secession) -- then I think we'll start to see the outlines of a less dismal future.

On the other hand, if enough of the institutional players go along with  the New Boss, it's Game Over.

We'll see, won't we?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Apologetics, Normalization, and Jill

Jill Stein has now raised over $4.5 million to pursue recounts of the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the three "battleground" states where the vote for president was closest. She says she doesn't necessarily expect the recounts to change the outcome, but there have been so many reported anomalies and oddities -- including counts totaling more than votes -- that for the sake of "Election Integrity" it is better to check again than to simply accept the outcome unquestioningly.

Seems simple and straightforward enough, doesn't it? Huh. The meltdown among the Trump apologists and normalizers is extraordinary. If they've done nothing wrong, they've got nothing to hide, right? Well...

As Lambert over at NC loved to say during the campaign, "This is a wonderfully clarifying election."

Indeed it is, for there has been a wonderful sorting of internet and media sites between Trump lovers and Others. NC, for one, is fully in the Trump camp as it has been since the campaign began. So too, Ian's Place, where the inappropriate Trump fluffing became something of a joke. The entire political class has pledged qualified fealty to the New Boss, and for all intents and purposes, so has almost all the Legacy and New Media.

As far as they're concerned, the (s)election is a done deal, and those malcontents and other losers can just get over it.

So here comes Jill Stein, who barely got 1.5-2.0% of the vote to say, "Hold on just a darned minute."

The reaction was and is fast and furious. So fast and so furious that it is all but certain that something is wrong with the counts, and not just in the "battleground" states, either.

Our elections have long been international jokes -- or perhaps nightmares depending on your point of view. The 2000 (s)election is still capable of raising the ire of millions of Americans and its results continue to affect the lives and survival of tens of millions around the world.

Now this? No. More and more Americans are saying "No," and some are taking action. They see a clear and present danger to the survival of the Republic -- which seems to have dawned on them rather late in the game, but oh well -- and their own survival as well.

They see through Mr. Trump's con. I've pondered that somewhat these last few months since I started paying more attention to the campaign. I've tried to understand why some people see through his con easily while others are seemingly transfixed by his persuasion and blandishments. How does that work exactly?

Well, it's obvious that some are in on the con and hope that by pledging loyalty early they'll get a reward. Tough luck, suckers when it comes to anyone else, they're gonna cash in on Trump's victory, come what may. The reward doesn't have to be money. For some it's just the shared glory of being on the winning side, no matter the struggle.

It's a game, in other words, not real life. Many of these game-players lack any empathy for their fellows; it's just not in their nature to give a good gott-damb over what happens to anyone else, and at least in part because of that, these non-empathetic players respond to Trump as one of their own. Well, sure, except that he and his ilk are more than happy to skewer their own supporters if there's power or profit to be obtained in doing so. Jeebus, do these people not know that?

Some apparently don't. It's "sad" but not sad to see it.

It's not true that we've never had a rich con man at the head of our government. In fact, there have been quite a few in the nation's history, though none that I can recall were as rude and crude a representative of his class as Mr. Trump. None I can recall lacked any social conscience at all. The closest historic example I can think of is Andrew Jackson, and at least from Ms. Ché's perspective as an Elder Cherokee Woman, he wasn't really as bad as he's been made out to be. Or rather, she says, there were reasons for his badness that have gone overlooked and need to be understood to understand why he did what he did, and why he turned the country in the direction he did -- better for some, much worse for others (such as her own people.)  It's not helpful, she says, to think of it as a binary, good vs evil. It was far more complicated than that, and much of it had to do with the inner dynamics of Jackson's own family and how that affected his... mind.

[Note: Ms Ché has done a lot of study about Andrew Jackson. She's been to his plantation outside of Nashville, studied the place and the man carefully, read extensively about the times and the people who backed and fought Jackson, has looked into her own family history -- a history that includes both rebels and accommodationists -- and she's worked with other Cherokees who are attempting to comprehend what was going on in those days (1820s to 1840s) that led to Jackson's rise and the removal of the Indians from not just the Southeast but throughout the settler territory east of the Mississippi. I'm not a whole lot of help in that study. My own ancestral history has shown me that any success my ancestors had in this country depended initially on the removal of the Indians from Ohio and Iowa.

On the other hand, Cherokees, though subjected to some terrible conditions thanks to Jackson and those who served him, have not only survived, in many ways they've flourished, something that Ms Ché discovered was part of Jackson's argument for their removal from their lands in the Southeast. He justified it as a means to prevent their genocide. Jackson was no friend of the Indians, to be sure. But he was apparently not the ogre he's been made out to be, either. I won't defend him, but Ms Ché sometimes does, not to "normalize" what he did, but to expand the story to include more than most histories do.]

Trump apologists went ballistic when Jill announced her intention to raise enough money to pursue recounts of the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and their anger only increased when she was able to raise her initial funding request almost overnight.

"A Clintooon plot!" they screamed. "Soros!! Soros!! Soros!!" "Hillary is masterminding this!!!!" Etc.

They say essentially the same things about the street demonstrations that broke out on the announcement of Trump's "victory." They claimed and claim that it is all a "Soros Plot to precipitate a Color Revolution!!!!!"


Even the Water Protectors are considered to be a "Soros/Clintooon far left plot." It's crazy. CT and paranoia is rampant among Trump Protectors, Defenders, and Apologists.

But there you are, that's where we are in this unstable political situation.

Jill's act of defiance has given them the willies, because she's not Hillary, she doesn't support Hillary, and if anything, she has more contempt for Hillary and the Democratic higher ups than Trumpians do. She's more interested in replacing the corrupt and dangerous system of rule we have today than any Trumpian you'd care to name.

And she sees Trump and his minions as dangerous in office as another Clinton regime might could be. They're all warmongers, thieves, and mountebanks. All of them.

This is all taking place in the context of a furious effort to "normalize" Trump's increasingly erratic and nonsensical talk and behavior. To make light of it, in fact, as if he's only being himself, and himself is what the country voted for.

No they didn't.

The notion that "America elected Trump" is... false. Period. Hillary's popular vote lead is approaching 3 million and may surpass it once all the votes are counted assuming they will all be counted and counted accurately. If America had its say in this election, it was not to elect Trump. It was not to elect Hillary either. The actual "say" of voters this time around was "Neither one, please." A majority voted against Hillary, and against Trump.

Sigh. But that doesn't matter according to the way our presidents are (supposed to be) chosen. Of course those of us who are old enough recall how what's "supposed to be" doesn't matter either when a partisan Supreme Court sees an opening for its own lawless interference in the electoral process. Once that was done and accepted by the political class and its media handmaidens in 2000, the integrity of elections -- to the extent there had ever been any -- was forever compromised.

We the Rabble were shown in no uncertain terms that the (s)election outcome could and would be "adjusted" on behalf of TPTB's preferred candidate at will, and there was nothing the Rabble could do about it.

I think Jill is smart enough to realize that will be the case this time, too, no matter what the recounts show. I don't doubt she's aware that if the results were jiggered in those states on behalf of Trump -- which I tend to think happened -- the recounts are likely to be jiggered as well, "confirming" Trump's "victory" with the same jiggered set of numbers.

That is to say it will be if Trump is TPTB's preferred candidate, and that is not altogether certain at this point. Jill has raised an enormous amount of money for these recounts, more than she was able to raise for her campaign, and she's done it essentially overnight. She raised so much so fast that I can only imagine there are powerful interests who want this challenge to happen. As much as I'd like to think that millions of Little People contributed the remaining pennies in their piggy banks, I doubt that's the case. No, this looks much more like an effort by the High and Mighty to fuck Trump up.

Oh nasty. Well, yeah. That's how these people think. It's how they act. Trump and his followers would be doing it if the shoe were on the other foot, and they'd be rattling their sabres and threatening bloody mayhem the while. 

Jill's approach is much.... calmer.

The question of Clintooooon!!!! backing is one of the more ludicrous accusations floating among the Normalizers, as if somehow that would invalidate the effort. Nonsense. Whether she has anything to do with it is not germane to the question of whether the count is accurate or not. Hello?

It's much like the accusation of Soros funding of the demonstrations against the elevation of Trump to the White House. Even if he were funding the demonstrations, so what? No one is being forced to march and carry signs, no one is coercing anyone else to be part of the protests. Those who are part of them are doing so for their own interests and purposes, not on behalf of someone else's agenda.

I'm reminded of the huge antiIraqWar protests back in the day. They were organized by the ANSWER coalition of largely old line Communist organzations. So? The participants for the most part weren't old line Communists and few were even aware of the organizations which formed the ANSWER coalition. It really didn't matter. The point was to physically express dissent from the coming invasion of Iraq.

Millions around the world did. They were unable to stop the invasion and its monstrous consequences.

That failure was educational. People have learned that massive demonstrations for or against pretty much anything can be and will be ignored if the demonstrators dissent from the neoLibCon consensus. Nevertheless, even if they are ignored, mass protest serves a useful purpose in making manifest the Rabble's disagreement with their Rulers, and in bringing together like minded individuals from broadly different political and social positions and perspectives. It's a cumulative thing.

The mass demonstration tactic must be combined with other, less easily ignored tactics to form an effective counter to the ruling consensus. It'll work on occasion. It'll fail too. But it's no good to say that because this or that effort was a failure that "nothing can be done."

What Jill is doing has the potential to undo the (s)election, though she doesn't expect it to. Regardless of the outcome of the recounts, her action throws a spanner in the works and makes the media's (new and legacy) efforts to normalize Trump's elevation to the presidency all that much harder. It isn't "normal" no matter what, nor is it acceptable to a significant portion of the electorate. It's a con....

So we'll see.

As always, we'll see.

And no, this is not about Hillary. Get over it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful for....

This is a rough time for a lot of folks. It could be worse, and I'm thankful that it's not, at least not so far.

Of course this is a Day of Mourning for Native Peoples, who apart from sheer and bare survival, have too little to be thankful for. Nevertheless, not only are they still here, but they continue the struggle against the forces lined up to take from them what's left. Their bodies and their spirits are strong and millions of allies around the world stand with them. How can we not be thankful for that?

"Thanksgiving Day" is for the White Folk. It's a folk holiday for the Invaders, Colonists and Settlers, who see no reason for everyone else not to celebrate with them... after all, it could be worse! Ha ha.

Yea and verily, it could be worse.

From a personal point of view, I'm thankful that I'm still here, and that despite my increasingly frail physical state, I don't feel like my end is nigh. It may be, but the doctor I saw yesterday disputes it, and my treatments took a step up, both palliative and corrective. Because I have a "complicated" condition that can affect all kinds of organs besides my joints -- and is currently doing so -- it's going to be a challenge from here on in. Well, I've certainly faced those before and somehow got past the worst of them. How this one will go I can't know in advance, but I'm up for the challenge.

That has a lot to do with the Light of My Life, Ms Ché, with whom I just celebrated our 47th year of marriage, our 49th together. What a wonder. You think I'm not thankful for that? Oh, but I am. Nothing in my life prior to becoming Mr. Ché to the Missus came close to the feeling of love and devotion and mutual regard we have for one another, nothing over such a long stretch of time has given me so much education (let's say!), extraordinary commitment, and so much serenity. She continues on, despite her own conditions -- diabetes being the main one, the chronic settler-disease of so many Natives -- setting a pace and an example for the young ones at IAIA that is nothing short of amazing. She may be an Elder, but she out performs many of the young pups there, many of whom have become part of her "Posse."

Even our elder friends are astonished at her strength and endurance, but that's who she is, that's who she's always been. God Bless Her.

It's hard for me to express how thankful I am that we live in New Mexico rather than California. Every now and then I have a hankering to return, to see friends -- before they pass on -- and to sort through the things we left in storage there, selecting what few items we need to bring back to New Mexico with us and disposing of the rest. But each time I get to the point of scheduling a trip to CA, something comes up, and whoopsy, I can't go. And  here we go again. Something has come up -- RA lung disease in this case -- and it's not looking much like I'll be able to go back to California anytime soon.  if ever. C'est la vie.

I prefer New Mexico, out here in the country, in the middle of nowhere when it comes down to it, where there are more prairie dogs, cattle, and antelope than people, living in an old and beat up pioneer (settler!) adobe, with friends we can count on, salt of the earth neighbors -- who largely voted for Trump, and I'll try to get to that  -- but with whom we have little or no animosity, despite our Outlander/Outlandish California ways. This is our home place, and it really feels like it, and like we've always been here.

California had its merits to be sure, but for us it became almost unlivable.

The California we knew, Ms Ché and I, when we were young (she born into it, I being brought from Iowa when I was 9 months old) had a population barely 20% of the current number, actually closer to 15%. There were big cities, yes, but there was a lot of wide-open country too, and the seashores and mountain retreats were not the exclusive playgrounds of the rich. In those days, too, the rich -- or at least some of them -- had a social conscience which appears to have gone absent in the contemporary conception of California, despite occasional efforts at pretense.

Population density kept increasing. Ms Ché was born out in the country, but her family's place became surrounded by suburban development starting in the 1950s and was finally absorbed by the suburbs they'd held at bay.

I first lived in a little town north of Santa Barbara, a kind of idyllic place, full of flowers and surrounded by strawberry and broccoli and sugar beet fields, where everyone knew everyone else, and... well, things happened that I won't go into now. I'll only say that it wasn't easy for a single mother like my mother to cope with both making a living and looking after a squalling brat like I was, heh. Even though this was her home place from the time she was five years old. It wasn't easy, and she did what she had to to get by and get along.

That meant moving to Los Angeles, albeit suburban Los Angeles, out in the San Gabriel Valley, which was at that time, mid 1950s, still out in the country, and it was filled with orange groves. For a little while more, anyway.

Sam Shepard wrote about the transformation of the San Gabriel Valley in his trilogy of Family Plays, "True West," "Buried Child," and "Curse of the Starving Class." It was the strangest thing. I didn't know what his background was, that he'd been raised on a country place in San Dimas, a few miles from my home(s) in Baldwin Park and then La Puente. And he lived through the traumatizing transformation of these little towns and outposts in the Valley into tracts and tracts of post-war suburban housing. And that's a big part of what he was writing about in those plays. I didn't know about that when I first encountered "Curse of the Starving Class" -- I just knew that I immediately related to the characters and the story. Oh yes, I knew these people. They were neighbors, friends, people down the street and across from my school. I knew them well. And when I later worked on a production of "True West," it was as if I were being transported back to where I once lived, hard against the San Jose Hills (I think they have a different name now, "South Hills" or something) which was still very wild country when I was a lad. He lived hard against the San Gabriel Mountains -- which formed the stunning view (on clear days) out my living room window eight miles to the north. Oh my yes. I could feel the connection but at the time, I didn't know what it was, and when I mentioned it during the production, no one could understand what I meant because they hadn't been there and didn't know. Those who lived through it, as I did and Sam Shepard did, knew. But for others, it was like peering into a telescope at an alien land populated by strange and incomprehensible entities.

I'm thankful that I eventually came to understand Shepard's understanding of what we in our separate little child-worlds knew for a fact was true.

But I'm also thankful that I've been able to find a whole lot of documentation about my family and ancestors that I knew little or nothing about when I was young, partly because either my parents didn't know much either, or if they did know, they didn't want me to know. My father told a grand fib about our ancestors which I believed -- why not? -- until I found out the truth (only a few years ago) which was quite different. In the process of research, I was contacted by a cousin I didn't know I had who corrected some of my information and shared some of her experiences, including the bogus story my father told me about our ancestors. Her mother, my father's younger sister, had told her essentially the same story of prominent Irish-American ancestors who were pivotal in the Revolutionary War, blah, blah, blah, and how we were their direct descendants.

Only the fact is, we aren't. We couldn't be. They emigrated from Ireland in the 1600s. Our direct ancestors arrived in or about 1850 according to the records. The best I could come up with -- and the information is spotty -- is that we and they have common ancestors back in the 1600s and before in Ireland, but who they were and how we are (or aren't) related is a mystery we may never solve. When I told her that, she seemed momentarily nonplussed, but when I explained that the story we'd been told could not possibly be true, but the actual story (so far as I could piece it together) was if anything even more interesting, she seemed to be mollified. Somewhat.

Then it got more interesting for me. I thought my mother was of Irish ancestry -- she wasn't sure but she had red hair like me -- and that therefore I was probably 3/4 Irish and 1/4 German (through my father's German American mother). Turns out no. My mother was actually of British ancestry all the way down. Her father, her biological father, may have had some Scottish heritage, but that's uncertain. At any rate, on his mother's side, she was every bit the English dame. On my mother's mother's side, all of her ancestors were of British origin, going back to the deepest mists of time, and most of the early ones arrived in America if not on the Mayflower (apparently some might have), then shortly afterwards. Oh.

There is also an Indian Princess connection on my mother's side. Yes, she's really called "Princess" *Snowflower* but whether she was actually an Indian or not is subject to some dispute. The story that she was an Indian Princess is told in great detail in lore and legend, but those who dispute it say the tale was made up in the 19th century years after her death, and is not backed up by fact. It was just a romantic something or other to pass the time away.

People did that in those days. As was demonstrated by my father's family's tale of colonial ancestors.

And so, while I probably know far more "truth" about our ancestors than my parents did, there's a whole lot I don't know and may never know. That's quite all right!

Trump voters, yes. Let's consider that a bit. One of the established myths of the (s)election was that "rural, white male voters" were the deciding factor, and it was the failure of Hillary to appeal to that constituency on economic or other terms that lost her the presidency.

It's a convenient myth, but I think it's wrong. First of all, there aren't enough rural voters, period. The United States has long been 80% urban and 20% rural -- just about the same split as in New Mexico, btw.

[Note: I got my county's demographics wrong, thanks to misremembering an outdated City Data chart. According to the Census Bureau, my county reports  a decline in population from 2010 -- from 16,383 to 15,485 in 2015. The bureau also reports that 90% of the remaining population state that they are white, while 42% state that they are Hispanic. 53% say that they are non-Hispanic white. There are 4.2% Native, 2.2% black and .05% Asian. 2.8% claim two or more races. Median household income is $34,720, poverty rate, 27.6% in 2015.

My rural county, like many in New Mexico, is 70% Hispanic *mostly citizens*, not Anglo at all, and many of the other rural counties in the United States are nowhere near as white/Anglo male as the current mythos of the (s)election makes them out to be.

My rural county in New Mexico is relatively poor -- as it has always been. People get by however they can, and that can take some clearly or potentially illegal routes. Oh well. If there are no other viable economic activities available, then that's what people will do. Too bad, so sad. The primary economy here is based on ranching and farming, and there are a few very wealthy and prominent "ricos" in the population. They are mostly Democrats. Some of them are High Party functionaries, former electeds and so forth.

On the other hand, most of the party registration in the county is Republican or Libertarian. Gary Johnson, for example, got 11% of the county vote. Trump got 60%, and Hillary just under 30%. That's pretty much what I expected.

So why would a largely poor 70% Hispanic rural county, vote 60% Trump and 11% Johnson (I was one of 66 voters who voted for Stein in the General, whoo-hoo!)

Isn't it obvious?

This is what the myth-makers of the Rural White Rural voter revolt typically ignore: what the majority of the people in my rural county want and wanted was to be left alone, first, and not to have to pay for other people's well being -- or incarceration -- when they can barely get by on their own. Hello? Isn't this obvious, for criminy sake?

Their racial/ethnic origin (ie: the much derided "identity politics") doesn't make nearly as much difference as is widely believed under the economic circumstances for rural voters in general, which for too many, for too long has been a form of imposed poverty and extraction of any surplus to pay for the well being of others (not just welfare recipients, oh no) and the incarceration of their friends and family. Hello?

That's not to say that racism has nothing to do with it, because for some it does. Of course it does. This is America, racist at its foundation, racist to its core. But that's not the sole or the chief reason people voted for Trump or Johnson over Clinton or Stein in my county. I would extrapolate that to many other counties as well.

It wasn't primarily racism at all. It was much more that Democratic political and economic policies, whatever their intention, simply made life harder for people on the margins and in rural areas with little or no mitigating effort or even mitigating thought for that matter. Trump and Johnson at least said they wanted to lighten that burden. Ok, then. Easy to understand, no?

But even if every rural voter voted for Trump or Johnson, there wouldn't be enough of them to cancel out an urban vote for Clinton.

Not only are not all rural voters white and male, not nearly all the rural voters voted for Trump or Johnson, not even close. Except, interestingly, in those counties in Pennsylvania and the upper Midwest where -- at least initially -- more votes were recorded than were cast, and other peculiarities and anomalies, such as 90% or greater turnouts and so forth were reported. There "whiteness" -- even if only phantoms -- may have been a determining factor.

The myth of what happened is false, through and through, but it's the Narrative that's being sold to Americans in order to explain how Trump "won" when in fact he may not have.

Jill Stein is raising money to challenge the outcome in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, simply because there are too many questionable anomalies to accept without question. Good on her. Somebody has to do it, and according to what I read last night, she's already raised enough money to begin the challenge process in those three states. Whether it will change the results is highly doubtful, largely because there is no way to be sure the counts or recounts are accurate. In many cases there simply aren't any reliable audit or checking mechanisms -- and that is by design. Our voting and tabulating systems are too often grossly and deliberately opaque. There's no way to know for sure whether the outcomes reflect the will of the voters or not.

But if Jill does challenge the outcomes in those states, and the issue is aired thoroughly, regardless of the ultimate result, then I will be thankful that it has been brought to public attention once again that too many voting systems in this country cannot be veritfied and because of it, Americans cannot be assured the outcome is actually what they voted for.

This has been true for a very long time, and it's long past time for it to change. But given the way the outcome seems destined to go, the situation is likely to get worse, not better.

So. We'll see. It's going to be an interesting few months, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, I'm thankful for the Water Protectors in North Dakota who will not give up the fight. I'm thankful for the people in the streets who refuse to accept the results of the (s)election without question or resistance. I'm thankful in fact to be living in such interesting times, even if there isn't a lot I can do any more to change things.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Standing Rock Is A Microcosm

So far, no new updates from our friends at Standing Rock, but it was gratifying to learn that they are/were safe and that they survived the sheriff's and mercenary attack on Sunday/Monday. The updates I've seen from others indicate that between 200 and 300 were injured -- essentially everyone who was "doused" with water in below freezing temperatures  -- and that some 26 or more were hospitalized with their injuries, including one woman who practically had her arm blown off by an explosive munition and may still lose it to amputation.

The official lies about what happened are never ending, and they change from moment to moment. Nothing like what they say happened is confirmed by the numerous videos taken on scene during and before the police action against the Water Protectors on Backwater Bridge Sunday night and into Monday morning. In fact, nearly everything they say is starkly contradicted by the evidence.

That's the playbook of suppression though. Has been for as long as I've been alive and much longer. The lies are integral, the violence toward critics, dissenters and protesters is typical, the moral failure -- especially in the face of Native resistance -- is built in.

As most of my readers know, I've lived among Native peoples through my wife's family for most of my life. If it hadn't been for them, I'm not sure I'd  be alive to tell about it, so that's something of a foundational matter for me. I can't claim any particular knowledge or understanding of Native culture and society. Although I am a member of certain Native organizations and am considered a welcome guest with others, I'm still a white outsider. That doesn't change. Ms. Ché on the other hand, as a Native with a Blue Card and CIB (tribal citizenship -- Cherokee Nation -- and Certificate of Indian Blood) is fully accepted as a Native everywhere she goes. It's especially true in New Mexico where Indians have perhaps a greater and more important presence than anywhere except Oklahoma and Alaska. And the way Natives are seen here is quite different than they are in those states, in part because of history, in part because of Native assertion of rights that have never been completely overturned or taken away. Even by the Spanish in the worst of times.

What I've learned from my Indian family and the many Indians we know in New Mexico is how ignorant I am. Not just from an academic point of view, but from a cultural and social one too. If I'd been born an Indian, it might have been different -- or it might not. Ignorance in and of itself is not a bad thing; sometimes it's useful, even necessary. On the other hand, "not knowing" can be disabling, too. I try to learn every day, but I'm so far behind, I doubt I'll catch up to my Indian family, friends and colleagues. That's OK, though.

The struggle at Standing Rock is an inspiration for Indigenous Peoples all over the world, and those brave activists standing firm at Standing Rock against the might of the State are showing us all what must be done in the face of Rogue Power. The North Dakota authorities shame themselves every time they attack the Water Protectors. They bring dishonor to themselves and the corporate interests they serve. They are not protecting the people, they are not protecting the water, and they are not protecting lives. They are protecting the private pecuniary interest of a rogue corporation against the interests of the people. Period.

It is obvious as sin.

And they know it.

We're told that dozens of the Pipeline Protectors have turned in their badges, saying "No more of this shit." But there are many more to take their place, eager to engage in Indian Fighting so it would seem. They live in a fantasy of supremacy and power, as if somehow, if they're just strong enough and just bad enough, they can finally defeat the Savage Other that's been tormenting them the entire time the settler/colonists have laid claim to this land.

It's the same theory of Power (White Power, let's call it what it is) that underlies the many overseas wars of aggression the US has engaged in and still does. Conquest of the Brown, Savage Other is so deeply rooted in the Anglo-American subconscious that even some of those who are not Anglo, not white, believe in it implicitly.

The Power must be employed to overcome and defeat the Savage Brown, or.... something something.

The logic of it has never made any sense, and the more it has been employed -- especially lately -- the less sense it makes.

The struggle at Standing Rock becomes a microcosm for the whole enterprise of White Power and its immoral, anti-human, anti-life, and ultimately anti-future underpinnings. They so hate the earth and everything on and in it that they would destroy everything they can without a qualm. It's their nature. It's their identity exposed.

The Sunday/Monday assault on the Water Protectors exposed the fraud of the Pipeline Protectors top to bottom. They may win the immediate struggle, who knows, but they cannot and won't win in the end. I won't call it "the war," because that's not what it is. It's not the moral equivalent of war at all; it's a contest, let's say, between a cult of death and destruction, and a way and understanding of life that has endured for endless generations, and cannot be defeated by the dark forces arrayed against it.

Cannot. Be. Defeated.

Efforts to defeat it in the Americas have been underway since First Contact hundreds of years ago, and they fail, inevitably. The efforts to defeat it overseas failed just as inevitably and miserably, and still the powers of darkness and rage carry on.

I've long asked "What are they so afraid of? What are they really struggling against?"

Why do the Indians scare them so?

In North Dakota, it's very obvious that the settlers are scared witless of this Indian Uprising, though no Indian I'm aware of has threatened the settlers in any way, at least not in this struggle. They don't threaten the militarized might arrayed against them. They don't even threaten the pipeline except from a moral and spiritual plane. In other words, they say the pipeline is wrong and those protecting it are doing wrong, and all that can change. They don't have to do wrong. They can choose to do right.

I think that's what scares the settlers and the pipeline protectors more than anything: deep inside somewhere, they know they're doing wrong, and they know they don't have to. They can choose to do right, and the Water Protectors are offering them a way.

The way is open, the offer is sincere.

And it's terrifying to the settlers and their protectors.

That's what I see happening throughout the Euro-American Imperial Project. It's being confronted with its own immorality and its death-love. The earth is resisting, not just the Indigenous victims.

I doubt we'll have a resolution soon. There are indications that the assault by the Pipeline Protectors was a deliberate distraction from the start of the drilling operation under the Great Missouri, the final stage of the pipeline completion. Could be, I don't know. Otherwise there was no reason for it at all. It was nothing but naked aggression against a non-threat.

Absurd on its face.

But that's where we are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


We're pretty upset in the Ché household over what's been going on at the #NoDAPL actions in North Dakota, and we're glad that our friends who went up there on a supply run over the weekend are not only OK but appear to be stronger for their experience so far. They plan to spend the week in spirit, prayer and solidarity with their brothers and sisters and their allies fighting the good fight nonviolently against the marshaled might of the state and its corporate owners.

Freaks these paramilitaries fighting the People are.

And yet, that's America today. That's where we are, and that's where we've been for quite a long time. It's upsetting to me in part because it evokes the same sort of militarized violence used against Occupy and the Ferguson protests, and many others during the last half-decade and more. It's become a ritual, wherein the People in their multitudes rise up over this or that injustice, they discommode the powerful -- by loudly protesting, massing in large numbers or sometimes not so large, marching and carrying signs, blocking roads and highways, subjecting themselves to police brutality and mass arrest, being covered by police snipers (I've seen that too many times to count now) and being subjected to military tactics and use of military equipment designed to intimidate and to inspire fear. And always being lied about. Always.

Somehow I doubt it'll get better any time soon.

What's happening at Standing Rock is a microcosm of what's been happening to The People around the world, but particularly in the Euro-American Imperial sphere, when they confront injustice perpetrated by the global corpro-state. It's the same everywhere you look, sometimes a bit more violence by the police, sometimes with a bit more return violence from the protesters (I'm thinking specifically of the protests against Euro-austerity in Greece, but there have been others like them). It's a ritual which so far the corpro-state has been winning handily. Though their moral suasion fails every time.

Of course. They have the Power. They are still learning how to use it. I've seen the Standing Rock situation, which has been going on for months in a so-called stand off, as a practice run for use of force against the People wherever and whenever they arise for the purpose of protecting the state and the corporations that own it.

Law enforcement agencies from far and wide have been sending their personnel to North Dakota in "mutual aid" of their brothers and sisters in blue (and brown) who are engaged in "riot control" -- good god, the lies never stop -- against the tribes and their allies. They are getting on the job training in what to do and how to do it to suppress nonviolent uprisings. Out there on the cold and windy prairie beside the Great Missouri River, they confront the savage horde once again.

Protecting their white women, are they?

Imagining themselves getting revenge for Custer? Who knows. They're simply freaks. Mercenary freaks for the corpro-state against the People and against their own better nature.

I've heard tell that dozens of these freaks have woken up to the wrong they're doing and have turned in their badges saying, "No, we won't hurt these people any more." Good for them, but there are said to be thousands of other freaks, goons, and badge carriers on scene. More arrive all the time. On the other hand, some of the mutual aid paramilitaries have been withdrawn because the people of the states and cities they come from say "No! No more. We did not approve and we do not approve of what you are doing." Well. That's brave.

It's practice, though. These situations keep arising, and the People require beat downs if they don't obey. That's America as it has been for most of its history. It's hardwired.

And so now a cabal of White Supremacist and White Nationalist freaks is set to grab the levers of power concentrated in Washington DC, the national corprostate, and run it for their own profit, pleasure and amusement. Ah, the mighty-mighty! Some individual corpro-states of the nation are contemplating secession, much as Texas and some of the rest of the Old Confederacy did when That Nigra was put in the White House as president and not shoe shine boy. Which is about all a Nigra is good for in the White Supremacist conception of what's right and what's not.

"America" did not choose this fate, "America" did not elect these freaks. It's happening as a fluke, not  an inevitable consequence of Hillary's bad campaign or whatever.

It's happening because it can, not because it must.

And what of the resistance? The resistance is focused on Standing Rock because these are our Braves, standing up and in some ways standing in for all of us who confront the corpro-state.

They are the focus of world wide attention, world wide support, too, because the People of the world see the Standing Rock activists as standing up for them. And so it is. The actions at Standing Rock are not that large compared to many others. They're taking place on the open prairie in the middle of nowhere, but they are having an emotional and spiritual effect that resonates around the world.

In the now immortal words of Assata Shakur:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

That goes for everyone who stands up to the Power.

There's been a tendency to dismiss and denounce the protests that arise against injustice at home and abroad. At the same time, we are being assured by not-so-radical observers and thinkers that we have entered the Twilight period of neoLibCon rule, ie: the corprostate is shuddering and shall soon -- how soon? -- collapse. According to them, what we're facing is something like the end of the British Empire, perhaps c. 1913. We could see the signs long ago, but now the end is in sight.

Himself, the New Boss, is supposed to be the harbinger of the coming disintegration of neoLibCon authority and rule.

Well, maybe.

Personally, I don't see it. He is surrounding himself with some of the freakiest of neoLibCon freaks and they seem more than interested in pursuing their goals to the max, come what may, full speed ahead.

The Power is there to fulfill practically any dream the freaks have had for decades; the freakiest freaks are being assembled as we read and write and wonder, and there is really very little, maybe nothing, to stand in their way. They will be able to use the Power as they see fit; why shouldn't they use it to fulfill their mad dreams of glory?

No moral suasion works in the face of these madmen and freaks. They see no reason to consider the interests of those who are not loyal and do not obey. Their ideal is simply to crush disobedience and punish disloyalty. It's been done before, but it hasn't been done nearly enough since That Nigra got into the White House --- where he obviously doesn't belong, at least not as President.

I've wondered, of course, about Obama's apparent pledges of loyalty and offers of help and guidance for the New Boss. Oh dear, what fuckery is this? It's not a surprise, no, but it is nevertheless disconcerting. One can maintain the dignity and integrity of the Office without becoming complicit in the fuckery to come, but it  seems that Obama has some other idea in mind, I don't know what. He's got a bolt hole or two on tap, so it is not as if he would necessarily be at risk if he didn't pledge loyalty but remained above the fray as it were. But then he's a careful and calculated player. He's always aware of which side of his bread is buttered.

The Clintons on the other hand had better watch their backs. The long knives are out, and I wouldn't be surprised if they become the political sacrifices to the gods of chaos let loose by events.

They've already been scapegoated for everything under the sun, and there is no sign of their scapegoaters relenting. "Clintoooooons!!!!!!1111" Feh.

Freaks. All of them freaks. And we need to point that out, without let up.

Strength and Solidarity.

Monday, November 21, 2016

#NoDAPL Update of Sorts

Native American friends of ours left from Santa Fe on Saturday with a truckload of supplies and some money for Standing Rock in solidarity with the Water Protectors who have been trying to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Lakota Sioux Treaty Lands and under the Missouri River for months.

One of the drivers was there last month, but the other two hadn't been able to go previously. Ms Ché helped fund the trip by purchasing a wonderful sculpture from one of the artists heading toward the unknown in North Dakota. It's about an 18 hour drive from Santa Fe, so we expected them to reach Standing Rock sometime yesterday afternoon. But we haven't heard. They were planning to spend the week.

Then this happened last night.

The sheriff of Morton County, responsible for the use of water cannon against the Water Protectors, of course lied and said there was no water cannon use against people last night, they were only used to put out fires started by the "rioters". He lies because it is who he is and what he does.

The temperature was in the twenties; many Water Protectors suffered from hypothermia. There were reports of an elder and possibly others suffering cardiac arrest.

Not only were water cannons used, so were rubber bullets, tear gas, flash bangs and pepper spray. More than 160 were reported injured and 7 have been hospitalized with severe headwounds caused by whatever it was police and sheriffs were firing at the unarmed crowd. [Update: Injured were later reported to number over 200, 2 elders went into cardiac arrest, revived with CPR, 17 were hospitalized, several with serious head and body wounds from police munitions. Hypothermia was common.]

The Water Protectors were trying to remove military vehicles barricading a bridge so that emergency vehicles could pass. That's when Authorities attacked. The attack continued for hours. That's how so many were injured. I checked Unicorn Riot this morning and was shocked at what happened overnight.

The authorities in North Dakota have been out of control for a long time as they protect the pipeline, not the people or the water, but this is a significant escalation. Things are getting nastier as more and more force is utilized against the unarmed Water Protectors.

We're worried about the safety of our friends, but we also know they are very strong and resolute members of Indian Nations who will not succumb to fear of what might happen to them during their time at Standing Rock.

They are on a supply run, yes, but also on a spiritual mission. Not just for themselves but for the tribes they represent and for other Americans who listen and learn.

This is as deep running a struggle as we have jointly faced in many years, and I give all due credit to the people of Standing Rock and their millions of allies around the world who have brought the issue of Water Protection and all its ramifications into sharp focus.

More news at Unicorn Riot

And the Guardian is at least covering it.

Strength and solidarity.

Witness testimony:


Testimony from one of Ms Ché's friends who is up there:

A video posted by Amber Morningstar Byars (@ambermorningstar) on

And still more:

Note the ordnance fired at the Water Protectors, the same sort of ordnance the Sheriff said wasn't used. The same sort of ordnance that caused one Water Protector to lose her arm.

These officers of the :law: are nothing but freaks.


As the Signs and Portents Accumulate

This won't end well.

No, not much. A lot of people will be hurt, some may lose their lives. Hundreds have already been hurt as the country prepares for what is to come. Many more will join the target list; the word will come that we must Obey. But even obedience won't be enough to protect those who have been targeted.

I note that when I point out some of these things online -- my main communications outlet these days since I have been unable to get around much -- the response tends to fall into two categories: "So what?" and "What about all the people Obama has targeted or Hillary would have targeted" -- meaning the overseas targets, for the most part, and the false accusation that "Hillary would have started WWIII, so there!"

In other words there is no empathy whatever for those who have really been targeted and will be targeted at home or abroad. That's because according to the tenets of the New Model Social Contract, everyone who is targeted deserves their beat down and then some. If they have been targeted then they've done something or are something to deserve it by definition.

This is little different than the primitive version of White Supremacy that Trump and many of his followers seem to believe made America Great. And they can and will restore that greatness to the wild cheers of the multitude.

I doubt it will go quite that way, but that's what they believe. At this point, as they salivate over the power they will be able to wield, they'll believe almost anything about what they can do to punish the Other.

If the multitude chooses not to cheer, as they indicate through their rejection of Trump and his cronies in office (by votes and through protest actions), they themselves become targets, and repression becomes general. Commands and threats to Sanctuary Cities have already been issued: They MUST obey the identify, round up and deport orders or they will be punished, first with loss of Federal funds, and then who knows? Actually, it's not that hard to guess where it goes from the order to the implementation. This has all been worked out in practice long since. The models exist. The authority exists. The motivation exists now among Trump's followers. We only have a couple of months before the hammer drops.

The first thing the Nazis did to consolidate their power was to forcefully eliminate their political opposition. Socialists and Communists were rounded up, put in camps, some were murdered pour encourager les autres and others were publicly shamed or put on bogus show trials. All this was for the edification of the masses who needed to learn right off the bat that dissent and political opposition would not be tolerated. It worked. Opposition collapsed within weeks or months of the installation of the Nazis to rule over Germany. There was no more public opposition to them because all of the opposition had been suppressed.

Our case won't be the same, partly because Our New Model Rulers are not Nazis. There may be Nazis among their followers, but if there are, they are few and they won't be given the keys to the kingdom. At least not right off.

These New Model Rulers ARE White Supremacists. Let's not fool ourselves about that. It's clear as a bell, and that's one of the main reasons why so many black and brown and other targeted groups are angry and fearful. White Supremacy is not a good thing for most of those who aren't white or don't conform to the standards imposed by "liberated" white folks. That shouldn't be hard to understand, but for some reason I can't fathom, it is inconceivable to those who benefit from White Supremacy that those who don't benefit would have anything to fear. (Ha ha, suckers.)

This Restoration of White Supremacy to its rightful rulership role in the West is supposed to represent the failure of Multiculturalism, diversity, and the social reinvention of the latter half of the 20th century, continuing to the "overwhelming victory" and "mandate" given to the New Model Rulers.

These thumping freaks have no idea. White Supremacy has never not been the ruling class's underlying premise. It's always been there, always at the foundation of ruling class, neo-imperial, neo-colonial practice. It never went away.

What was modified was overt prejudice and discrimination against women and people of color. What changed was not the foundations of rule, but the way it would be implemented and by whom. "Inclusion" meant that selected members of out groups would be included among the ruling cliques, and those included members would be trained and conditioned to believe and act on the tenets of the ruling class. It worked pretty darned well. Nowadays, there's very little difference in the way women and black and brown people who have been included among the ruling clicques approach their responsibilities and the way the white ruling class has always done so.

And yet White Supremacists find that intolerable. Inclusion is simply wrong. It must be stopped and reversed forthwith, and so it will be.

The untermenschen must be returned to their place -- and they will be.

It's been quite stunning to watch the political class and nearly all the mass media obey their New Boss even before he takes the throne. This includes Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, both of whom, along with almost all the Democratic Party hierarchy and the few remaining elected Democrats have pledged their troth and loyalty to the incoming regime. Guys, this is a reason why you lose elections time after time after time.

I can detect a certain sly undertone in Obama's "graciousness" toward Trump and his followers, but I don't know what he's thinking. Probably about whether his bolt-hole is stocked well enough if his protestations of loyalty aren't sufficient to protect him and his kith and kin. As for Mrs. Clinton, it's remarkable to me that she conceded when she did, before it was even confirmed that Mr. Trump would have enough electoral votes for victory in the EC. This was odd and uncalled for at least in my view, but she did it, and here we are.

Even odder to me was that as soon as Trump's victory was declared, all the raving about election rigging and Putin's interference suddenly and completely disappeared as if it had never been the apocalyptic theme of both campaigns. Whut? Was the election rigged? Well, we don't talk about that, we are told to just accept the outcome, because the outcome is what those who were claiming it was rigged want. Was Putin's interference real? Who can say? It was promoted as real, but now... it's a mystery, and we will probably never know. We are told to just let it go.

Bizarre. Truly bizarre. But as they say, this has not been a "normal" election. I'll agree with that.

The fact that the political class and nearly all the mass media have essentially become Trump apologists if not outright supporters is, I think, instructive. The media and the political class are of course looking out for themselves. It's human nature and it's also "just business." Trump and his followers are hypervigilant about disloyalty and they condemn and threaten anyone who gets out of line. The higher their public profile, the more certain the threat and condemnation. Cf: the 'Hamilton' flap and many, many more. This is the way they work, and it will be the way they rule  -- backed up with the force multiplier of the Surveillance State and the more and more authoritarian and randomly violent Police State.

Oh boy.

They will have so many tools available for suppression and punishment of what they see as disloyalty, and I don't doubt they will use every one of them and invent more. It's simply their nature.

Bush and Obama used them but modestly compared to what it looks like the Trump regime intends to do.

And I notice that anytime someone openly suggests that suppression of dissent and the detection and punishment of disloyalty will be hallmarks of the Trump regime, there is usually immediate deflection: "What about Obama, what about Clintoon!!!!!" They did it too! Libya! Ukraine! Nazis! Yadda yadda!

Every time. In other words it's not supposed to matter what Trump and his followers have done or will do because Obama and Clintooon!!! Nonsense.

The oddest part of that concept of false reality is the frequently asked question, "Why weren't you protesting in the streets then instead of now?"

Hello? We were. Where were you? Where were they indeed. I think we know. Bunkered down for the most part, waiting and hoping for the Apocalypse.

Has it come? Not yet, no. But the signs and portents aren't very encouraging for those who would rather not endure it, which typically is most people most of the time.

There are plenty of crazies in the world, though, who look forward to the End Times-- for everyone else. Because of course they will survive. God has granted them grace after all.

Jeebus. I don't even want to go there.

It's been pointed out that the Restoration of White Supremacy is now a Thing practically everywhere in the Euro-American orbit. There's no escaping it as one by one, European and American polities "fall" to the White-Rightist resurgence. Well, didn't I warn years and years ago that if the Revolution is to come, it will come from the Right? Not the Left?

At that time, I was saying the Busheviks had perpetrated and got away with a Rightist coup and they were in the process of conducting and consolidating a counter-Revolution against their Leftish enemies, but it turns out that isn't quite what they were doing.

The so-called Left had already been vanquished under Clinton. There essentially weren't any Left enemies in the political realm any more. What the Busheviks were doing was consolidating neoLibCon rule and practice, not against a Left opposition but against any opposition.

They were demonstrating they were prepared to do anything necessary to ensure that this ideology became the permanent operating belief system of the government. They would have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams but for the failure of their wars and the collapse of the economy. Oh. That. Huh. Well.

It's not so much that they were incompetent as that they started off on the wrong foot and their ideology and belief system was so rigid and self-righteous they couldn't change course. They had to follow through with it, gross errors and all, no matter what. This is the bull-headedness of neoLibCons. Reality is simply not a factor in their world view. It seems to me that Mr. Bush, for all his manifest faults and failings woke up to the reality of the situation he and his henchmen had caused much earlier than the rest of them and he tried (and failed) to make a few course corrections.

It was then up to Obama and his team to correct as much of what had gone wrong as they could but without challenging the neoLibCon frame of rule. This he set out to do to the dismay of so many who bought into his con of "Hope and Change." There was very little of either during his reign. For so many of those who had suffered throughout the Endless Recession and for those overseas who were being subjected to random act of Death From Above or the horrors of political coups, civil wars, and "regime change," there was no hope, and only arbitrary change.

Obama's reign was a continuation of Bush's for all practical purposes.

And had Hillary won the prize, her reign would be a continuation of Obama's. In other words, little hope and no change.

Institutional neoLibConism would have gone unchallenged.

This election, however, neoLibConism was challenged and brought to the forefront by Bernie Sanders on the leftish side, and Donald Trump on the other side. Sanders presented a strong argument for the restoration and adaptation of the New Deal for Americans. His argument didn't really persuade me, although I voted for him in the primary. The issue for me was that the New Deal had its own flaws, and it took LBJ's Great Society programs to address some of the failings of the New Deal. And that, unfortunately, had triggered the reactionaries into undoing it all. So here we are.

We can't go back, we have to have a forward vision of what kind of society we want to live in an what kind of nation the United States should  be. Developing and stating that vision has been a perpetual failing of Democrats at least since Johnson, and neither Bernie nor Hillary were able to articulate a forward vision for the future. Bernie presented a good argument for specific reforms, but no vision that I could see. Hillary started off her campaign by saying "No, you can't." And she pretty much stuck with it throughout. Too clever by half.

Trump on the other hand didn't argue or say what couldn't be done. He persuaded (conned) by claiming whatever his listeners wanted or needed done could be done and he was the one to do it. He would take care of whatever they felt they needed or wanted. He was the one.

So his listeners could project almost any unmet need onto him and come to believe that he would take care of it. That's the nature of a con artist, which Trump has shown himself to be at a level that almost matches Mr. Obama's ability to con the masses.

Try as she might, Hillary couldn't do it. And Bernie refused outright to con his listeners.

So here we are.

Where do we go from here? It's conventional wisdom that the protests won't work, they may backfire instead. Perhaps. They're still in their nascent stage and how and whether they continue to grow and spread remains to be seen. It's wrong in my view to dismiss them as irrelevant because that just feeds the fictional beliefs of the other side. We must not comfort the comfortable.

I think it's more than interesting that the Trump followers insist that the protests are an attempt at a Color Revolution, funded by the Arch-Devil George Soros. What nonsense. But if that's their belief, I say take every advantage of it. Fuck with their minds. It should be easy given their inherent paranoia.

It's obvious that the elected Democrats (few as they are) are hopeless collaborators with the New Model Rulers. We're screwed six ways from Sunday if we rely on them for anything. They won't help, nor they stand athwart the barricades. Nope. Not them.

Mass media is totally out of touch, and they won't challenge authority, no matter who wields it or how, if it means their bottom line suffers. Since they are facing signs and portents of coming restrictions on how and what they report, they are unlikely to be any kind of help for the powerless, and they may go from constant propaganda to full-on cheer leading for Himself.

If anything is to be done, it will have to be done outside the system.

Hang on, the times are about to get a lot more interesting.

A little REM to cheer us up?