Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Forcefeel- Digital/Save the Bunnies

New two song single with a Joy Division cover putting the digital into "Digital"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Great Expectations

"One thing that people who wield great power often fail to viscerally understand is what it feels like to have power wielded against you. This imbalance is the source of many of the most monstrous decisions that get made by powerful people and institutions. The people who start the wars do not have bombs dropped on their houses. The people who pass the laws that incarcerate others never have to face the full force of the prison system themselves. The people who design the economic system that inflicts poverty on millions are themselves rich. This sort of insulation from the real world consequences of political and economic decisions makes it very easy for powerful people to approve of things happening to the rest of us that they would never, ever tolerate themselves. No health insurance CEO would watch his child die due to their inability to afford quality health care. No chickenhawk Congressman will be commanding a tank battle in Iran. No opportunistic race-baiting politician will be shunned because of their skin color. Zealots condemn gay people—except for their own gay children. The weed-smoking of young immigrants should get them deported—but our own weed-smoking was a youthful indiscretion. Environmentalist celebrities fly on carbon-spouting private jets. Banks make ostentatious charity donations while raking in billions from investments in defense contractors and gun manufacturers and oil companies. This is human nature. It is very, very easy to do things that hurt others as long as those same things benefit, rather than hurt, you. Self-justification is a specialty of mankind.

A well-designed political system would have a built-in feedback system to ensure that those making the decisions are also subject to the consequences of those decisions...But in aggregate, of course, we have nothing like this feedback mechanism in America. The titans of money congregate on Wall Street and the titans of government congregate in DC and they all make decisions that often disenfranchise and impoverish and frustrate the dreams of people far away, and then they go to nice restaurants and go home to nice houses and have nice, well-paid careers for decades to come. That is our system. There is little incentive for those who work within that system to change it in a way that might create the sort of negative feedback that can be unpleasant. Therefore it is the job of the public to do just that. Doing so is, in fact, a public service. It promotes good government.

...It is telling that many of those who make their living in the political industrial complex, whether Democrat or Republican or Washington Post editorial page, find the idea of socially shunning people because of their politics to be abhorrent. Their shudders are a symptom of the fact that DC is indeed a swamp—a friendly swamp, where all the gators and slugs and mudfish meet up at the end of the day for cocktails, because to them, politics is a job. To the rest of us, politics is the use of power in a way that has very real effects on our lives. Poverty is an affliction of history and the failure to remedy history’s crimes, of greed and self-dealing and the tax code. Sickness is often an affliction of the political decision not to build a fair and equitable health care system, so that a small number of people can get rich instead. Tens of millions of people around the world suffer under dictatorships that are supported by America to serve our own economic ends. People die because of political decisions every day. Politics is real. This is what is on one side of our current disagreement: death, and human rights, and freedom, and equality. And this is what is on the other side: wanting to eat at a nice restaurant without having anyone remind you that you are ruining people’s lives. The sides of this scale are not even close to balancing yet.

This is all going to get more extreme. And it should. We are living in extreme times. The harm that is being done to all of us by the people in the American government is extreme... Read a fucking history book. The U.S. had thousands of domestic bombings per year in the early 1970s. This is what happens when citizens decide en masse that their political system is corrupt, racist, and unresponsive. The people out of power have only just begun to flex their dissatisfaction. The day will come, sooner that you all think, when Trump administration officials will look back fondly on the time when all they had to worry about was getting hollered at at a Mexican restaurant. When you aggressively fuck with people’s lives, you should not be surprised when they decide to fuck with yours."

-Hamilton Nolan, "This is Just Beginning", Splinter 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 so far

Not a blogging year much, it seems.  Started a bunch of things and then they washed over...so life goes...

Here's things that had satiated my thirst for new music this year so far

Jenny Hval- The Long Sleep
Charli XCX- Pop 2
Sophie- Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
Let's Eat Grandma-I'm All Ears early singles
Palmbomen II- Memories of Cindy
Lolina (Inga Copeland)- The Smoke
James Blake- "Don't Miss It"/ "If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead"
Janelle Monae- Dirty Computer
Grouper- Grid of Points
Various- Black Panther OST
Summer of Haze- P A C I F I C A
Florentino- Fragmentos
Tirzah- "Gladly"
Grig- Action Replay EP
Anderson .Paak- "Bubblin"
Nine Inch Nails- "God Break Down the Door"
Rae Sremmurd- "Powerglide"
Valee ft Jeremih- "Womp Womp"
U.S. Girls- "Rosebud"
Beach House- "Dive"

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Normie Outlaw Culture

“Ongoing myths about the law serve to camouflage or protect these truly dominant acts of power—that’s an important reason for the near nonexistence of regular compliance reports by regulatory agencies to Congress and the public. Such reports would not only show widespread noncompliance and minimal enforcement, they would also reveal just how little help the aggrieved classes receive from legal processes. And, of course, indentured enforcement agencies do not have much interest in publicizing widespread violations of such magnitude. Doing so might generate an appropriate level of outrage—which could spur a movement to change the system that powerful institutions are more interested in keeping the way it is.
"Why would government want to help diminish these zones of lawlessness? It, too, operates in one. Our uncontrollable national-security government has given us secret wars, secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret prisons, unauthorized secret budgets, unlawful surveillance of attorney-client communications, blatant snooping on all Americans, unauditable secret expenditures for quagmires abroad, and even redacted published judicial decisions. Though due process of law is arguably the greatest legal achievement of Western civilization, unlawful imprisonment (now euphemistically called “detention,” regardless of duration) of domestic persons and aliens are the stuff of media exposés that mostly go nowhere. Our government has too often shunted aside probable cause and upended habeas corpus and other bulwarks of due process. And U.S. courts contribute to the impunity through knee-jerk procedures blocking lawsuit challenges due to presumed “lack of standing” or by saying that a dispute is “political” and can only be resolved between the executive and legislative branches”

- Ralph Nader, Land of the Lawless, Laphams Quarterly

Friday, June 8, 2018

Bee Best

Sam Bee for me is a problematic fave. Not because she uses potty words or isn't fair-handed to authoritarians- It's the ways she employs horseshoe theory at times to discredit the left and validates people like Glenn Beck (who now supports Trump) by platforming every minor aneurystic crisis of conscience right wing turd blossoms can muster. Despite regular disagreements with her, I still enjoy her show and week's one was particularly well done, going after our villainous immigration policy, and even taking umbrage with the very thing I reference above by mocking a Republican legislator for patting himself on the back after "doing the right thing once". Also, this was a master class in apology, showing sensitivity to women who legitimately take umbrage with the C word but also highlighting just how shallow and futile civility politics are.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Preaching Centrism When There's Cancer at the Core

Love the flip here on "purity", which only ever gets bandied leftward. It's free market purity that loses elections

"There is no mathematical reason why the U.S. government cannot “afford” single-payer health care. America has a higher per-capita GDP than Denmark, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and virtually all other European and Asian nations that boast universal health insurance systems. The U.S. also has lower tax rates than most developed nations — and spends more on its military than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined. There is no question that America has the means to ensure that all of its residents have high-quality, affordable health care. The fact that the U.S. declines to do so is the product of political choices not technical necessities.

...But Schultz’s radical centrism doesn’t just render him incapable of putting evidence above ideology on policy matters; it also compels him to put purity above pragmatism on the electoral front. The conscious capitalist’s combination of socially liberal beliefs (he’s pro-gun control, immigration, and gay marriage) and fiscally conservative ones (he wants to cut Medicare and Social Security) might put him at the “center” of the ideological spectrum at Davos. But those views put him on the radical fringe in the United States: According to data collected by the Voter Study Group, the percentage of the 2016 electorate that held right-of-center views on economic matters — and left-of center ones on “identity” issues — was a whopping 3.8 percent."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Slim Pickings in the Land of Plenty

CT is a bit of a journalism desert at times, but Keith Phaneuf always has really fair analyses and this one on income inequality is a must read:

“Overall, the top 1 percent nationally emerged earning 25.3 times annually what the bottom 99 percent earned, on average.

But in 10 states, including Connecticut, the numbers were even more extreme.

Here the top 1 percent took home 100 percent of the income growth over that period. Specifically, the top 1 percent got 17.2 percent richer, on average, while the remaining 99 percent didn’t grow more slowly. They actually got poorer, losing 1.6 percent of their income.

In Connecticut, the top 1 percent out-earned the rest by 42.6 to 1 — one of just six states with a gap greater than 30-to-1. Only in neighboring New York was the ratio higher at 45.4 to 1. And Connecticut’s wealthiest out-earned their New York neighbors, on average, by almost $400,000.

...Connecticut has, on average, a child poverty rate of 15 percent — one in seven kids raised under these circumstances. This is better than the national average, which is closer to one in five.

But some sections of Connecticut are well below the national average. In Bridgeport, the ratio is one in three. In Hartford, it is about 1 in 2, or 53 percent.

...Child poverty levels have increased statewide by 50 percent since 2000, Horan said.”

Also worth checking out the follow-up article

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


In the far far away time called the naughts, there was an actually existing left but you'd be forgiven for failing to identify it anywhere within sight. Despite organizing massive ongoing protests, they were scrambling for crumbs, praising minor victories by severely compromised neoliberals awash in corporate cash during a time of major bipartisan consensus. The mere idea of "resistance" was shunned by the Adults-In-The-Room whose realpolitik was happy to horseshoe anyone who thought the state shouldn't murder civilians or that people should have healthcare into the same bucket as people who murdered abortion doctors and thought gay adoption would cause the rapture.

In the midst of this was Dennis Kucinich, a man whose platform has largely been adopted by progressive democrats now, but who was mercilessly mocked by an "end-of-history" consortium of a nominally opposition party pants-shittingly afraid of anyone even calling them “liberal”. No one from the Democratic establishment would touch Kucinich with a ten foot pole during his major primary runs, unless it was to further burrow him into the ground. Media outlets, when they weren't mercilessly shitting on him, were denying him entry to things, events which they’d gladly confer airtime to pitiful primary candidates like Dick Gephardt (you see, Ambien Frankensteins like John Kerry and genuine sleaze like John Edwards were the REAL candidates). Even those who basically agreed with everything Kucinich said made staunch arguments against him, citing electability and the pulse of the nation (I literally heard people say no one would ever vote for him because he's vegan).

Even Jon Stewart, in a rancidly dated clip, mocked him for suggesting that he might appoint a transgender supreme court justice ("All rise for the honorable chick with dick"). Another segment by resistance hero Samantha Bee went to a small New Jersey house party to guffaw at a crowd of mostly women who had the audacity to support a campaign based on peace rather than endless warfare. The hitjob showed her visibly repulsed by an apology letter written to the people of Iraq "in Arabic" (ostensibly for war crimes we'd committed in the region), ending the segment by saying that the whole affair made her want to kill herself.

As the pretty ludicrous debate over Joy Reid's homophobic blog posts has recently brought to light, this aversion to difference was once all-too-commonplace, even among people we now think of as allies. Don't think that our sudden trend towards wokeness and populist policies might not be sold down the river immediately in the name of reconciliation with President Pence. As the DACA sellout proved, there’s always a disposable contingent whose urgent needs will be up for negotiation. In fact, most figures from this era, who not long ago argued that gay marriage was a "distraction" and overturning the patriot act was "unviable" still hold broad power and influence.

We're in an era where impossible things happen almost daily so be sure to take a long hard look at whether something that does not seem achievable may be important to support anyway before you defer to those who lack the vision and urgency to see what the future demands.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Shadow Worlds and Stimulacrums

Friday, February 23, 2018


It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant

Interestingly, despite all the uncertainty about the epidemiology of happiness, there is some evidence that it is unevenly distributed amongst the social classes…

-Bentall, RP. 1992. A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder. Journal of mental health ethics. 1992: 18. pp.94-98.