Sunday, March 26, 2017

Plowing Toward Defeat

The health care "repeal and replace" fiasco follows on any number of other failed efforts by the White House and the Trump Regime to force this or that policy or action.

Politifact has been tracking the "progress" of  Trump Regime policies and promises, and it's interesting to see what is moving forward -- however haltingly -- and what is stalled or abandoned. Most of Trump's efforts to fulfill campaign promises are effectively non-operative, but some are going forth.

The "Repeal and Replace" debacle is a spectacular failure, but the courts have thwarted the Muslim Ban (for now), the "Deep State" continues to undermine the Regime's authority, the Russia Thing continues to metastasize, the military seems to be going off on its own wreaking havoc in foreign lands without oversight by the White House, and so on. This is only part of what Chaos has wrought, and it is only the first 60 days of the Regime-in-Power.

My sense is that Trump and his boys and girls in the White House were effectively neutered during the last week of February. The courts would not yield to his Authority over the Muslim Ban, the signs were that the Health Care saga would result in defeat or at best a Pyrrhic Victory, the permanent government (the bureaucracy) was in open revolt, the media continued to taunt and in some ways to terrorize (I know, loaded term) the Regime, the polls were going south fast, and for all intents and purposes, Trump was checkmated. What he wanted, he could not have without the cooperation of the governing cliques, the media, the courts and the congress.

All of whom and more he had spent his political capital threatening, alienating, insulting, and denigrating.

This may work in the gangster real estate/casino framework Trump is used to, but it clearly doesn't work in government -- at least not beyond his loyalists in DHS/ICE/CBP. Hm. Who'd a thunk?

The Loyalist faction is interesting, too.

These elements have the potential to operate as a kind of Gestapo serving Trump's -- or someone else's -- interests, and that seems to be what they want to do. Very much so. I'd say their loyalty to Trump is ephemeral, but it is clear that they see their mission as political, forcing compliance with executive command.

What was wrought with the creation of these entities? We're finding out, aren't we? As long as their efforts appear to be focused on foreigners, brown people, non-conformists, what's to worry, right?

Not a wise attitude it seems to me.

Some of their efforts have been thwarted or mitigated by public outrage, but how long that will last is a question. The demonstrations can have an effect, but the returns are diminishing. There's only so much the Rabble in the streets can accomplish. Given our system, there's only so much they are allowed to accomplish, viz: Occupy, Black Lives Matter, NoDAPL, etc.

But something else is going on well outside the purview of the public; Trump is only being allowed so much rope -- apparently to hang himself. And he's doing a bang-up job of it, too.

Under the circumstances, it's looking more and more like he's headed for crash-and-burn defeat, sooner rather than later. Superficially, it may be entertaining as hell, but it's not good for the nation -- for it exposes so many of the weaknesses and worse in our system. We are not prepared to replace it with something better.

Until that time comes, we're in a world of hurt, regardless of who sits in the Big Chair.

What a whirled.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

On the Centenary of the Russian Revolution(s)

Yes indeed. This is the year of the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution(s) -- the first was in March that overthrew the Czar, the second was in October (November) that overthrew the provisional government and initiated the Soviet Union.

The anniversary is largely ignored in the USofA, but in Russia and much of the rest of the world, the Russian Revolution(s) are being closely studied and evaluated critically

In the US, there has been an ongoing obsession with supposed Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the revival of some sort of anti-"Soviet" propaganda to counter "Trumpism." This is beyond foolish as it has led to an even greater level of Fascist resurgence -- in the US and Europe particularly. WTF, indeed.

In light of what's going on, I would just post "October" -- Sergei Eisenstein's 10th Anniversary examination of the Revolutions of 1917.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Going Into Town

I've been driving quite a bit more than I ordinarily do these last couple of weeks. Last week was midterms at IAIA, and Ms. Ché was under the weather thanks to a bug she picked up somewhere, either at school or at the New Mexico Writers' Dinner she attended the week before midterms. She didn't want to take the bus, and I don't blame her. She has fairly long layovers in Santa Fe as there is no direct bus out to IAIA, and mornings especially were cold in town (not so much at our place, but they were cold up there.) She figured she'd get a chill and feel worse. So I drove her up the hill to the campus in the mornings and she took the bus back home (or on Fridays, a fellow student who lives in the next town over drove her back.)

The trips up to Santa Fe are difficult for me, although I'm not complaining. It's hard to breathe, even with oxygen, and that's the main thing. Consequences include exhaustion; after a drive up there and back, I'm pretty well spent for the rest of the day, though I try to accomplish some things at home. I have a whole list of things to get done, and I'm getting through it slowly, slowly, but I'm stunned at how far behind I'm am.

This week is Ms Ché's Spring Break, but this is the only time she has to deal with some of her own medical and dental appointments that she's been putting off because she has no time for them when classes are in session. She's carrying 18 units and her class schedule is tough -- even without a bus commute. Two more semesters, she says, and she should be done. We'll see!

So this week, I've been driving her into Albuquerque for her appointments, and while it's not quite so tough on me -- due to a lower altitude, I guess -- it's still draining, and that bothers me. I'm afraid I'll get so tired that my attention will suffer and I'll run off the road -- as so many truckers tend to do -- and that will be that.

So far though, it's been OK, so again no complaints.

We still don't have another vehicle, and even if we did, I'm not sure Ms Ché would want to drive more than occasionally. She was really traumatized by the wreck, and I wouldn't blame her if she didn't want to drive at all any more. She's been in a couple of other wrecks, but this one was the worst. Thank goodness for the airbags, even though they were the cause of most of her injuries. Had they not deployed, there's no telling how bad it might have been.

There are a couple of things delaying the purchase of another car.

One being my dislike of car shopping. I tend to put it off as long as possible. Lately I've been scouring internet listings, but every time I find something online that I'm interested in, it's gone by the time I'm ready to make contact with the seller. Yes, well. That's how it goes.

So I found this on Hemmings, and thought: Well, here's a car that won't disappear tomorrow!

1948 Studebaker
Not exactly a commuter car, but what fun, eh?

And that's the way I have to look at this situation. Well, not just this situation, but the whole panoply of WTF that we're all immersed in. Life itself is throwing us some interesting challenges, eh? Some we'll meet head on, but others require a more nuanced approach -- or none at all. Just let it go.

I have my own appointments in town next week, so the trips will continue at least for now. The old beat up Astro van which got us here from California is doing heroic work getting us from here to wherever, and we're lucky to have it on hand.

Soon it will be time to start tomatoes. I have Cherokee Purple seeds and starting trays and as soon as the weather turns reliably warm -- probably next week, though we'll no doubt get at least a couple more cold snaps -- I'll start the seeds. Hope to get quite a crop and share the plants with the Cherokee group in town.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Note on What Condition My Condition Is In

Well, I don't rightly know. Still trying to find out. At least there's no sign of multiple myeloma which is what I was at the doctor for the other day. It's being monitored because of a blood abnormality due to rheumatoid arthritis and the medications I'm taking for it. But there is no sign that either one is leading to the development of multiple myeloma, so that's good.

My rheumatologist has been trying to get me in to see a pulmonary specialist at UNM to see if there is something that can be done about my pulmonary issues -- which seem to be worsening. This is the real danger of rheumatoid arthritis if it affects the lungs as in my case. Untreated, it causes interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis, which eventually but inevitably makes it impossible to breath and you die.

I am being treated, but I'm not sure the treatment is all that effective any more, and the doctor is concerned enough to want me to see someone who is specially trained to deal with what she says is a rare enough pulmonary condition that she has no expertise in treating it.

Well, that gets us into the medical insurance bureaucracy big time. I have HMO Medicare Advantage coverage, and I'm finding out just how limited it is. I cannot have treatment outside The Network without advance approval from On High. Getting that has literally taken months of back and forth between my doctor and On High. It's almost unbelieveable what has been going on. I got approval -- however.

When I tried to get an appointment at UNM, the first available they had was in June, which my rheumatologist says is too long a wait, and I would agree as I feel worse and worse practically every day.

So she's trying to get it moved up. But who knows?

Part of the issue has been the HMO pulmonologist -- who I've seen and who has been essentially useless. He says treat the RA and the pulmonary problems will be mitigated. The rheumatologist says, no, there are specific immunosuppressant treatments for interstitial lung disease caused by RA that are not generally used to treat RA itself, and she needs a competent pulmonologist to guide those treatments.


We'll see.

The Russia Thing -- Out of Control

It's always struck me as bizarre that the Russia Thing -- whatever it's morphed into at the moment -- is the crutch the internal governmental "resistance" to Trump is leaning on. Why that? And why build Russia and Putin up into such Enemies?

The echoes of anti-Soviet propaganda campaigns have been strong all along, but never do we hear the answer to the question "Why?" Nor did we back in the day for that matter. It was just a Thing. We hated and feared the Soviets because we did. They were the Evil and we were the Good and that was that.

And we saw how silly, dangerous and bloody this scholarly concept was in the war in Southeast Asia, wherein the clash of Good v Evil led to the devastation of a whole region and the extermination of millions of innocents as well as combatants, and the supposed Evil won, only to transform itself into one of the US's economic allies in the region, and to prove itself to be far less Evil than the propagandists had us believe.

But then, the hippies knew it all along.

So here we are, far down the road to another contest with the Evil, this time in the person of Vladimir Putin and his iron fisted rule over the long-suffering Russian peasants. Is the Czar or the Party Chairman? It's hard to tell, given the fog of falsehood we are immersed in.

Of course he is neither, and Russia is no actual threat to the United States, nor to Europe, nor, in fact to any likely western target at all. And yet, here we are in the midst of another furious propaganda campaign making Putin out to be the Devil Himself, and the Russian Federation into the Greatest Enemy in History Since Hitler.


"Taking down" the Russian government and dismembering the Russian Federation for the pleasure and profit of western oligarchs has been a Thing within the government of the United States for a long time, at least since the publication of "The New American Century" in 1999 or whenever it was.

Just as the chaos in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa (much of the rest of Africa, too, but that's somewhat different) has been induced as partial fulfillment of the plans sketched out so long ago, so the demonization of Russia and Putin are part of ensuring US global hegemony.

China will have its turn once Russia is defeated and dismembered.

Of course it's a seriously daft plan, but oh well. It's apparently been burned into the skin and psyches of the US government's foreign operations with a hot iron. Immutable and unchangeable.

So it has been written. So it must be done.


Obama tried to change it and failed. Trump seems to have given up on changing it, if he ever intended to, but the fall out from trying has metastasized into the Russia Thing that bids fair to take down his entire regime, one at a time or in batches.

I have no love for this man and believe sincerely that he should not be president and his people should not be anywhere near the levers of US power let alone the nuclear launch codes. On the other hand, the anti-Russia full-court press (with the intent of controlling him or bringing down his regime) has never made any sense.

This long article at Politico "Trump Takes on The Blob" helps us see how the shift away from anti-Russia, anti-Putin (and other things) literally terrifies the permanent government (aka "The Blob") and I recommend it for perspective.

But what are they so afraid of?

BTW, there are so many echoes of the initial phases of the Reagan regime in this situation. It's déjà vu all over again.

What a whirled what a whirled.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Catching Up -- Sort Of

Been feeling pretty run  down lately. Have a doctor's appt. today and more coming up in an effort to get a handle on difficult to control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that were responding well to medication and now are not. So, we'll see.

Consequently, I haven't been keeping up with events quite as much as I once did, and I haven't got all that much to say about the Chaos swirling around us. There isn't necessarily much we can do about it for all that we might rage at the clouds and such.

I've held up the Water Protectors at Standing Rock as examples of how we might approach what's going on in an effective manner, but the eviction and destruction of the camps and the continued construction of the pipeline belies that, doesn't it? In other words, the effort has failed, hasn't it?

Well, yes and no.

Yes in the immediate cause of preveniting the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, no in the sense of highlighting the issue and planting the seeds of resistance to the corporate state and its obsession with money and power all over the country.

In fact, Ms Ché is in the preliminary stages of working with some Standing Rock veterans planning an action against a pipeline in Oklahoma that is slated to cross the Trail of Tears. There are similar actions planned and under way all over the country. The Water Protectors are not going to win every struggle -- they know that -- but by keeping the pressure on, through their presence and their determination, they help those of us who can't do what they do see a way forward in the face of an increasingly militarized police state.

That seems to be what our rulers have in store for us now. From appearances, the Trump Regime and their allies in congress are depending on their loyalists in the police state to protect and defend them against the public outrage at their corruption and destruction of a decent society.

When Steve Bannon announced that their aim and goal was the "deconstruction of the administrative state" I took him at his word -- as should everyone. He's actually been rather clear about it for a long time. To most people, a statement like that is just gobbledygook, as the notion of an "administrative state" doesn't mean much of anything to them. Who or what is it?

Of course Bannon is not going to say in detail. He can't without provoking even more unrest and outrage than the Trump regime's actions already have.

The "administrative state" is anything that stands between direct rule by the oligarchy and the Rabble. That was easy.

Another term of art, shorthand, is "Clintonites." Anyone or any institution that tries to interfere with the oligarchic rule, any individual who stands in the way, any interest that does not align with the Trump regime is by definition "Clintonite," and is part of that "administrative state" to be deconstructed.

Whole swaths of the federal and state governments, as well as local and regional governments and compact would be subject to abrupt termination. Others, however, would be enhanced and given nearly free rein to enforce the rule of the oligarchs.

Indeed, that seems to be the plan, starting with the apparent free rein given to ICE and CPB to do as they wilt with regard to visitors, immigrants and deportees. The anecdotal stories coming out of these agencies are horrifying, but that's what's wanted of them. Scare the shit out of anyone who could become a target.

Once that's coordinated, it appears the next stage is to give free rein to the local and state police to do as they wilt with regard to "criminals" in their midst with the full backing of the Department of Justice, no matter how egregious their actions.

Then, of course, the real challenge begins. The coordination of the federal police and security forces completes the process of making serious and effective opposition impossible.

Once that's done, there is nothing to stand in the way of a full on purge and deconstruction of the "administrative state" at every level of government as well as within the private sector.

Ta-da! It would take less than a year and it is already under way.

The result? Not good, but perhaps unavoidable. There may be too much institutional support for taking this path to overcome it.

We'll see.