Saturday, August 11, 2018

JUST LOOK AT THOSE FACES...

On August 1st, in this very blog, I asked the following rhetorical innocent question: 

"If the Republicans were presented with the choice of voting for either any random Democrat or Vladimir Putin... how big do you think Putin's margin of victory would be?"

I didn't have long to wait for an answer. 

On August 5th, at one of Trump's bizarre, extended "Two Minute Hate" rallies in Ohio, these two gentlemen were photographed together, looking rather proud of their treasonous attire:


Of course, coming from a crowd like this...


...I suppose any and every type of psychopathical goonery is, at the very least, possible, if not entirely predictable.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

MORE INNOCENT QUESTIONS


INNOCENT QUESTIONS

Innocent Question #257840 ~ So with last month's revelation that Puerto Rico's hurricane death toll was not sixty-four people, as claimed for months by the White House, but rather a conservative minimum estimate of FOUR THOUSAND AND SIX HUNDRED PEOPLE, (and possibly thousands more than that)--American citizens all, dead or dying while the President cracked jokes and lobbed rolls of paper towel from atop an airplane staircase--how are Trump and FEMA not having their feet held to the fire as part of an official public investigation yet? How come heads aren't rolling down every street in Washington DC? In short... WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!?!

Innocent Question #257841 ~ The info-graphic at the top of this edition sure is some serious food for thought, is it not? Does any of the information therein seem kind of... familiar to you? Like, does it ring disturbingly true? Yer old pal Jerky sure thinks so.

Innocent Question #257842 ~ It's been two weeks now, so has the White House come any closer to deciding whether or not to take Putin up on his offer to let the FBI question the 12 Russians accused of fucking with the 2016 elections, but only it Trump hands over former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul and global Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder for interrogation, first? I mean, the US Senate passed a resolution 98/0 against giving Putin access to any diplomat, past or present. But Browder's not a diplomat, and that resolution was non-binding anyway. So what's the deal?

Innocent Question #257843 ~ Is it possible that this whole Maria Butina/NRA/GOP espionage/blackmail/treason nexus exudes enough sordid, sexual "stink" to make the average US voter actually give a shit about the Russian wing of the New Fascist International helping to rig the 2016 election (in a wide variety of ways) in order to steal the White House on Trump's behalf, as part of their global strategy to weaken liberal democracies the world over? I guess only time will tell.

Talking Points Memo info-graphic (source article)

Innocent Question #257844 ~ If the Republicans were presented with the choice of voting for either any random Democrat or Vladimir Putin... how big do you think Putin's margin of victory would be?

Innocent Question #257845 ~ Have we passed the point where it would be possible to avoid the purgative ritual of a righteously implemented regimen of public, state-sanctioned executions of the highest-ranking members of this traitorous cabal of shameless co-conspirators, meted out by serious-minded patriots who will do so without joy or grotesque triumphalism, but certain in the knowledge that their bloody deeds are directed towards the greater good of both their nation's future, as well as that of the world at large? Asking for a friend.

Innocent Question #257846 ~ Who do you think is prouder that the ICE "Brown Baby Concentration Camps" may now have a bodycount? Donald Trump, or Stephen Miller?

Innocent Question #257847 ~ And finally, after just two episodes of his new TV series, Who Is America?, fearless comic saboteur Sasha Baron Cohen has already done more to hold individual Republicans accountable for their disgusting bigotry and shitty policies than every Democrat currently occupying space in the House or the Senate, combined. So my innocent question is... should we be amazed, or terrified?

Monday, July 30, 2018

AN IN DEPTH EXPLORATION OF TRUMPISM

The fine folks at one of Youtube's only decent political channels, Some More News (subscribe why don'tcha?), have put together a wonderful video that incorporates the invaluable research of Robert O. Paxton, author of the classic The Anatomy of Fascism, as well as the always-profound insights of the late, great Umberto Eco, whose essay on "Ur-Fascism" has enlightened decades of political observers.


Clip and save! Share with your pals, and those you feel should be aware of these things! Also, buy Paxton's tome from the above link, and I get a few shekels tossed into m beggin' cup!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

MUST-READ ARTICLES OF JULY 28, 2018



In a profoundly disturbing think piece first published at the Paths and Bridges philosophy blog titled "Notes on Syria and the Coming Global Thanatocracy", author Jules Etjim (get it?) has produced an essay of such stunningly high quality that, in my current exhausted state, I couldn't possibly praise with the level of enthusiasm and stunned humility it deserves. So I'll leave it to some excerpts from the first third...

The Coldest Monster 
In Thus Spake Zarathusta, Nietzsche called the state the coldest monster and we might add there is no state as cold as a thanatocracy. At present few genuine thanatocratic regimes actually exist but even using the most stringent definition (we use the loosest here), Syria unambiguously qualifies. Syria is a thanatocratic state whose kleptocratic ruling elite have tried to maintain their rule by freely resorting to genocide, systematically torturing and killing people on an industrial scale while using death, directly and indirectly to husband the populace in an escalation of governmental strategies to winnow targeted demographics and destroy those social ecologies felt to nourish rebellion. The genocidal destruction or disaggregation of some social groups by the thanatocratic state is accompanied by efforts to hothouse other demographics seen as compatible with the one overriding imperative: survival of the ruling elite. ...
Thomas Hobbes in Damascus 
... The Syrian revolution (and the ‘Arab Spring’) is the most important historical event since the collapse of the Soviet Union but has received little of the attention it deserves. This is perhaps because the ‘Arab Spring’ whose ground zero was Tunisia, encountered powerful headwinds after the early period of rising struggle between 2010-11. The Egyptian revolution was fatally thrown back when the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi was removed after only a year in office, in a counter-revolutionary coup d’etat staged by Egypt’s military. Another reason for the Syrian revolution’s neglect is the failure of the global left, especially in Europe and North America, to build a solidarity movement in its support. Rather insofar as solidarity was extended to any party in Syria, Assad’s thanatocracy has been the main beneficiary. The global left has been largely indifferent to the crimes of a regime where life is subordinated to death and biological precarity is the rule – with physical, social and cultural death imposed on incomprehensible numbers of people. 
Despite the suffering of its people, Syria is commonly observed through the prism of post-truth and nihilistic scepsis. Much of the global left has joined the burgeoning ranks of cranks on social media peddling conspiracy theories promoting the demonstrably false view that Assad’s murderous regime was the target of attempted US regime change while viewing Assad’s revolutionary opponents through the spectacles of orientalism and Islamophobia. This diabolical consensus omnium parroted Assadist propaganda portraying Assad as an embattled secularist fighting opposition dominated by Salafist jihadis. In seven years of Assad’s brutal struggle to smash the ‘Syrian Spring’, few have tried to acquaint themselves with what is actually happening in Syria or listened to the voices of ordinary Syrian’s – people who despite their suffering are literally either invisible or ciphers for the paranoid fears and anxieties of the global North’s citizens. 
In an arresting appropriation Yassin al-Haj Saleh invoked the seventeenth century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes to grasp the danger that faced the Syrian revolution, the morbid signs it was descending into a “primordial” ‘state of nature’ because of the brutal counter-revolution of Assad’s ‘neo-Sultanic’ state (as Saleh later characterised the Baathist state). Ominously, Saleh believed the revolution had begun to mirror the counter-revolution in the course of defending itself. Adversity engendered a struggle dominated by the “politics of survival” while the ‘state of nature’ was in principle antithetical to reason – the foundation of any politics. The fall into the ‘state of nature’ foreshadowed the destruction of politics and politics was the lifeblood of any revolutionary struggle as it embodied the autonomy and self-determination of the people. 
Descent into the ‘state of nature’ indicated society was “losing its self-control” and the crystallisation of a social trend present in the revolution itself. Within months the open, “civic minded” nature of the revolution’s early days apparent in the role of a variety of civil society groups, the visible activism of women and so on, started to erode as the people fought Assad’s “brutal power.” Saleh argued the degeneration was apparent in the readiness to resort to arms for self-defence and the growth of religious influence that saw inherited identities displace more inclusive, secular identities within the anti-Assad camp. Inevitably there was a transition from slogans repudiating Salafism while underlining the democratic aspirations of the revolt to slogans with more traditional Islamic or religious connotations. In the revolution’s early weeks, the street protests were “civil, emancipatory, and humanist” but quite rapidly the revolution’s “public face” began to speak the “language of Islam”. 
In subsequent years Saleh revisited the changing role of violence in Syrian society – the atomisation of the populace brought about by Assad’s ‘torture state’ and the problems the revolutionary camp faced as violence as self-defence became more indiscriminate and threatened to demoralise and undermine the revolution itself with the transition to “ultraviolence” or “militant nihilism” as Saleh would characterise it, in particular connecting the latter to the millenarian goals of religious fundamentalism in his own evolving evaluation of the political role of Salafism. 
Reflecting on Assad’s “killing machine” Saleh pointed to the impact of earlier military and civil conflicts in the region, the civil conflict in Lebanon and the coalition invasion and occupation of Iraq, to illustrate the elective affinity between civil war and sectarian war or what Thomas Hobbes called the ‘war of all against all’ – the ‘state of nature’ where hatred fed hatred and killing led to more killing in a mimetic cycle similar to the cycle of violence and bloodletting Rene Girard thought defined the periodic sacrificial crisis that visited any society. ... 
This is deep, dark, thinky, heady stuff, folks. Definitely not the stuff of lullabies and sweet dreams. But if you think you know anything about the Syrian crisis and/or the odd global paralysis that allows it to metastasize unabated, then you owe it to yourself to digest this essay and grapple with its theses and observations. Because it seems obvious to me that this dead-eyed raptor is coming home to roost...
*** 


Did you hear the one about the semi-pro online alt-right troll who thought everyone who didn't worship Trump was a pedophile and stabbed his father to death after an argument (even though his parents paid for the roof over his head and everything else for the entire 33 worthless, do-nothing years of his "life" up until that point)? No? Well, here's Joseph Bernstein, everyone's favorite son-of-a-Nazi-hunter Buzzfeed contributor (which is no longer the embarrassing CV entry that it once might have been) to give you the full rundown in his comprehensive article, Lane Davis' Civil War. After a suitably cinematic set-up, the article begins:
I knew Lane. I knew him as a guy who kicked around some of the pro-Trump, anti–social justice internet communities that I’ve reported on since 2014. Like a lot of people in those volatile spaces, Lane bore grudges, which made him useful as an occasional source. Unlike a lot of people in those spaces, and despite being a fabulist, Lane understood how to weaponize information, which made him even more useful, and a little scary. From early 2016 to summer 2017, we emailed regularly and talked occasionally. As with most sources, Lane had some tips that were good and some that weren’t. But even if nothing he told me ever led to a blockbuster story, he was smart and he understood his world well — talking to him was never a waste of time. I thought I understood him about as well as I needed to.

Last October, a conservative blogger discovered a local news story about Chuck Davis’s killing. He spread the word on Twitter, including another shocking detail: Before stabbing his father to death, Lane had loudly accused his parents of being “leftist pedophiles.” 
There’s a whole universe in those two words, one that Americans unfamiliar with the rhetoric of the internet culture wars might not recognize. 
The right-wing media has long tried to discredit identity politics by claiming the concept is a slippery slope that ends in the recognition of inherently ridiculous groups. A few years ago, though, a new class of social media bomb-throwers started to seize on pedophilia as a particularly inflammatory identity. On Twitter and in places like 4chan's /pol/ board, they began to claim that acceptance of pedophilia was the true, secret goal of liberal politics, the hellish endpoint to Black Lives Matter and transgender bathroom laws. This line of attack became frighteningly literal in 2016, when a man with a gun showed up at a Washington, DC, pizza parlor that online conspiracy theorists claimed was the hub of a massive pedophilia ring — run by Democratic Party officials. A month later, another man showed up at a nearby pizzeria claiming he was there to “save the kids” and “finish what the other guy didn't.” 
That’s the language Lane reportedly summoned as he was about to stab his father. A spate of articles quickly followed, thick with a “murder by internet” subtext.
Joseph is a skilled writer and journalist, as most of his big stories show. After reading the rest of the above article, you can find and follow him on Twitter.

***

"Can you fucking believe these clowns?!"
And finally today, for anyone who'd forgotten what a REAL witch-hunt looks like, Congressional Republicans were more than happy to remind us during their ludicrous, Stalinesque interrogation of former FBI agent Peter Strzok. As usual, Esquire's Charles P. Pierce has the most... 'colorful' analysis of that pathetic debacle available anywhere. Somewhere close to the end of his essay (but not quite), he writes:
There’s no real point in recapping the highlights. The videos are going to be in regular rotation for quite a while now. It was, as it was called at various points in the hearing, a kangaroo court, a show trial, and a travesty of a sham of a mockery of a sham of two mockeries. But it was designed to be that. It was a performance piece. It was not a very well-cast one, and several of the lead actors fell into the orchestra pit, but it managed to run from curtain-up to curtain-down. 
And there’s still the basic fact out there that the president* of the United States needed money to shore up his failing businesses, and he went to Russian oligarchs in league with a KGB goon at the head of an authoritarian nation to get it, and that we don’t know what he owes, and to whom, and what he’s willing to do to settle his debts.
But really, you should read the whole thing, even if only for the terrific zingers and hilarious nick-names Pierce gives the Republican morons who disgraced themselves so thoroughly in this exercise.

CLIP AND SAVE!

Check out the story below for more links and details!

TRUMPS NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK (OR TWO)

The fallout from the Helsinki summit has been so spectacularly awful for Donald Trump and his cult, it almost feels as though we are approaching a turning point of some kind. Can the American theater of New Fascist International's war on liberal democracy be experiencing the first serious rumbles of the existential doom it so richly deserves?

I probably don't have to go over all the ways in which the summit was a disaster, as I assume most of you follow the news pretty much as closely as I do, and from as wide a variety of sources. Suffice it to say that, for the first time since his election, even his fellow Republicans were aghast at how he (to paraphrase notoriously Trump-skeptic Senator John McCain) "abased himself abjectly before a tyrant" like no President in living memory.

Here's a CNN report that contains McCain's full statement, and further reporting on how other Republicans, including many Trump partisans, reacted to this pathetic, humiliating debacle:


If the Helsinki summit was the only thing that happened last week, it would still have been the worst week of Trump's regime by far... for Trump personally, as well as for his criminal enterprise. But it wasn't the only thing that happened. Not by a long shot.

For instance, there was that whole Maria Butina spy scandal and the related "Kremlin bribing Trump and compromising the entire GOP via dirty cash donations to the NRA" news, which broke just as Trump was boarding Air Force One on his way to Helsinki. That was what you might call a pretty big fucking deal.

Then, the world found out that Trump's long-time fix-it man, Michael Cohen--once a bonafide MAGA cultist who vowed to take a bullet for Trump, but who seems to have flipped once he realized that Trump wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire--was taping their conversations for years, creating a treasure trove of audio recordings... potentially devastating recordings that are now in the hands of the closest thing that the USA has to a superhero, special counsel Robert Mueller. No wonder Stormy Daniels' lawyer (and all around pain in Trump's ass) Michael Avennati can't seem to wipe the satisfied smirk off his handsome face lately.

He's also a professional race car driver!
Cohen flipping has a lot more potential fall-out than just exposing what everybody already knew about the Stormy Daniels case: that Trump did, indeed, cheat on Melania just days after she'd given birth to his son; that he knew all about the hush money payments and ordered them personally; that he lied his ass off about it and tried to hide his tracks via the creation of multiple LLCs (fraud and obstruction and, most likely, serious campaign finance crimes and potential felony tax code violations). It has the potential to expose so much more. Such as the fact that he's gone through the same cycle over and over again, with multiple women--including one we already know of, Playboy model Karen McDougal--some of whom got pregnant and were paid to "take care of it".

Trump with trophy wife, daughter-wife, and Karen McDougal (r)
And then of course there's Cohen's assertion that he was in the room when Trump gave the go-ahead for Don Jr and Jared K to meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who had promised to provide some ill-gotten dirt on Hillary Clinton, contradicting two years of the President's constant denials and lies about every aspect of that meeting. No wonder Trump threw one of his patented POTUS Twitter tantrums over the mildest of provocations by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani:

Look folks, those are only the very biggest of the developments that have come down the pike over the last week and a half or so. I've skipped over a number of important stories, like how Trump laughably attempted to claim that he meant to say "wouldn't" when he said "would" regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election, or his disastrous, slapdash "trade war" tariffs, which have led to his having to cough up a $12 billion dollar deficit bailout to offset the damage being done to farmers by his idiotic policies. There was his attempt to claim that Russia was no longer targeting US elections, his tampering with the official White House transcript of the Helsinki press conference (only corrected after a week of outrage) to hide the fact that Putin confessed to wanting Trump to win the 2016 election (which, when combined with everything else we know, is essentially a confession to election rigging). This particular "gaffe" added a soupcon of bitter irony to Trump's later claim that yes, he believed the Russians might well try to mess with the 2018 mid-terms... but on behalf of DEMOCRATS! Then he invited Putin to Washington, only to have Putin say "No thanks... but you should come to Russia though", a total power play further exposing Trump's bitch-boy status. The list just goes on and on.

But as bad as the Big Picture story of the Helsinki summit was, there was even worse crap tucked away in the details. Those of you who've been following American politics with any degree of depth beyond just the surface stories over the past two years will understand exactly how awful the implications in this unrolled Tweet-storm are, and those of you who don't, should take the time to make it so you do. READ AND GROK!!!



So there you have it, folks. Only time will tell if this was a bad week for Trump, or for the American experiment, itself.
By the way, if you're active on Twitter and you're a sincere, legitimate Trump fan, and you're a real human being, and not a stage-managed fake persona or a bot, you should probably be aware of the fact that you are in a tiny and dwindling minority, and that you're being made to feel a false sense of 'safety in numbers' because of the huge amount of stage managed fake personas and bots currently polluting social media like meme rats spreading the MAGA plague.

Repent. The End is Nigh.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD, BY ROGER WATERS

One of the strongest compositions on Roger Waters' career best solo album Is This The Life We Really Want?, this tune is finally available on Youtube, so any remaining skeptics can see one of the reasons why they NEED to own this album for themselves.


And if you're not convinced by this one, try Bird in a Gale, another favorite of mine from this album...


Be sure to listen soon, and download the audio if you like them, because they won't be up for long!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

POSSIBLY THE MOST IMPORTANT TRUMP ARTICLE EVER WRITTEN

Download it. Read it. Clip and save it. This Johnathan Chait article for New York Magazine is causing some stress among the leftier-than-thou pseudo-intelligentsia of the Glenn Greenwald-trusting, RT-paycheck-cashing variety, but let those puppies whine, as this train rolls past them into the history books of the future.

It begins thusly:
On June 14, 2016, the Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee’s files and gained access to its research on Donald Trump. A political world already numbed by Trump’s astonishing rise barely took notice. News reports quoted experts who suggested the Russians merely wanted more information about Trump to inform their foreign-policy dealings. By that point, Russia was already broadcasting its strong preference for Trump through the media. Yet when news of the hacking broke, nobody raised the faintest suspicions that Russia wished to alter the outcome of the election, let alone that Trump or anybody connected with him might have been in cahoots with a foreign power. It was a third-rate cyberburglary. Nothing to see here. 
The unfolding of the Russia scandal has been like walking into a dark cavern. Every step reveals that the cave runs deeper than we thought, and after each one, as we wonder how far it goes, our imaginations are circumscribed by the steps we have already taken. The cavern might go just a little farther, we presume, but probably not much farther. And since trying to discern the size and shape of the scandal is an exercise in uncertainty, we focus our attention on the most likely outcome, which is that the story goes a little deeper than what we have already discovered. Say, that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort told their candidate about the meeting they held at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer after they were promised dirt on Hillary Clinton; and that Trump and Kushner have some shady Russian investments; and that some of Trump’s advisers made some promises about lifting sanctions. 
But what if that’s wrong? What if we’re still standing closer to the mouth of the cave than the end?
 Here's the unroll of a great Tom Nichols Tweetstorm about this article. You'd do well to read both.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"I DON'T REALLY CARE. DO U?"


I find it odd that there hasn't been more discussion about what possibly could have been floating through the minds of either the FLOTUS or her handlers regarding her decision -- if indeed it WAS her decision -- to wear a garment adorned with a great, big, block-letters message that could not have been more inappropriate, at every conceivable level, when visiting one of those shameful "tender age detention facilities" near the border with Mexico.

Is there not something distinctly and disturbingly "Trump" about it? About how free of subtlety and nuance it is? About how insultingly direct it is in its rhetorical brutality? And coming straight from one of the most visible representatives of America's commanding heights.

This should be a bigger deal, it seems to me, but it's almost as if it was so wrong, so disgusting, so utterly beyond comprehension for most non-demented people, that nobody in the media, mainstream or otherwise, seems able to get a handle on how to approach it. 

It was actually kind of amazing, watching them try, and then give up, because... what's the point? This really is a case of "it is what it is"... any commentary beyond just playing the video seems... unnecessary? Confounding? Insufficient in every way? It's a real head-spinner, the likes of which has no analog in recent memory. As far as faux-pas go, "Now watch this drive" pales in comparison.

To me, this incident represents a clear moment of escalation in both the New Fascist International's use of pseudo-magickal meme-war, and also in their willingness to "go there" when it comes to confirming the worst fears of right-minded people -- and the hopes and dreams of Trumpnik True Believers -- about how deeply this movement is committed to its spite-sculpted core values (destroying the postwar consensus to own the libs) and how far they're willing to go in service to those values. The latest step down this stairway to hell being the establishment of concentration camps for brown babies.

Am I making too much of this whole jacket thing? I don't believe that I am, and I think it may well be a demarcation point of sorts in historical hindsight, looking back on this era. A friend over at the Rigorous Intuition discussion board brought up a popular slogan in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: "Me ne frego", which loosely translates as "I don't give a fuck". While I currently doubt there's any conscious referencing going on, maybe it's just one of those times when history, while not quite repeating, rhymes. On the other hand, with the likes of Bannon and Miller still in the White House orbit, one can never fully discount the influence of obscure Far Right luminaries like Gabrielle D'Annunzio or Julius Evola.

Another point to keep in mind with all this is the fact that Zara, the company that produces the jacket in question, has a history of marketing apparel of a politically disturbing nature.

If any of you have come across any analysis or explanation that you've found satisfactory, I'd really, really like to see it. So please forward it along, either to my email or leave the link in the comments section.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A POEM TO BE READ ALOUD

KNOW THOUGHTS BELIEVE
by Shalam Yamean

A​ll the world trauma
The fires, shootings, flooding
The travesty, police brutality
The lack and spoil of heart
The smack of the Haarp and foil of theory
Truth will never fear
Some things remain
Like Black Men and Women
Still arguing over identity
In agreement over disunity
Taking sides on shades of skin
Of course they took our names
Can't hide that hand forget the idea of hating White people
Hand over your anger
Don't forget we overstand
Forget even the idea of Whiteness
Just remember their plan
Reassess the assimilation success breeds, overstand
Know the Most High
Leave the idea of Whiteness alone
Unite, ascend to your throne
How many other races have been fighting for this long
Dying
For reparations, real reparations for our children too, how many
Just how many have fought for us too, I mean as well
As well as I am with you, I know not everyone who looks like you is
I'm just as tired of seeing Blacks sick and tired
Going hard for everyone else and not us too
It's we love everybody and we still ain't free
I feel when I read Colossians 3:15
For that alone one cannot hate
Peace has been in my heart
Since I've been awake
You know, this neo-colonialism can't stay up
You know, Sierra Leone
Aint that in Africa G
Is that one of those shithole countries
I'm not sure
The third world, ain't poor by happenstance
Kids dying....' young blood' from red white and blue
Yet the majority of the world’s diamonds come from the mining there, I know that's true
True as mind your business boy, there now
Now isn't that there why you don't know about the Coltan in the Congo
Those conflict Minerals
Older than the bones of Ishango
Do the math, the knowledge
How can we be Black and powerless
And somehow dismiss the idea of innate Black power
Nah, nah no pseudo, my brotha
Whether you Hebrew, Yoruba, Israelite, Jew, Moor
More so Christian, skinny, fat, short, tall
Oh yea, don't call me Black
That's way too tall of an order
In this new world order
Wasn't the Bible written by Blacks anyway
'Where' all the miseducation started anyway
This Nations forefather's knew
The papyrus plants cleaned to hold stories of the first kings
You don't believe, well...
"Just because you know Allah don't make you Mu'min"

Saturday, May 26, 2018

JERKY READS IT FOR YOU ~ SEASON OF THE WITCH


SEASON OF THE WITCH 
HOW THE OCCULT SAVED ROCK AND ROLL 
By Peter Bebergal 

At a slim 228 pages (plus 20 page introduction), presented in fairly large and generously spaced type, Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch was never going to live up to its dust jacket marketing hype, which declares: “This epic cultural and historical odyssey unearths the full influence of occult traditions on rock and roll—from the Beatles to Black Sabbath—and shows how the marriage between mysticism and music changed our world.”

It does, however, serve as a very good introduction and overview, offering a much-needed sober take on subject matter that has heretofore been the domain of evangelical “educational videos” and sub-moronic, anti-Semitic Youtube documentaries by conspiracy hobbyists who have yet to realize that if Lady Gaga and BeyoncĂ© are in the Illuminati, then we truly have nothing to fear from the Illuminati.

I’ve been an admirer of Bebergal’s writing for The New Yorker for a while now—with his extended appreciation of the psychedelic sci-fi maverick Michael Moorcock and his think piece on Thomas Ligotti being particular standouts—so it brings me no pleasure to report that, for such a slim book, Season of the Witch suffers from a touch of undergraduate bloat. It’s almost as though Bebergal was occasionally stretching to meet a mandatory word count. This is particularly true in the early chapters, where he spends far too long leading the reader down already well-trodden paths.

For instance, there is simply no excuse for the amount of space Bebergal devotes to that hoary old blues/rock Ur-myth, the Bargain at the Crossroads, nor to the extended exegeses on the deep anthropological roots of rhythm and blues. This all merits mention, surely, but I can hardly think of anything less “occult” (a synonym for “hidden”) than the fact that rock music is African/African American music. There are literally hundreds of high quality works, for both layman and scholar, exploring these particular subjects. A few pages of summary, directing interested readers to pertinent sources, would have sufficed. Instead, Bebergal’s history lesson drones on for 30 pages; and they’re the first 30 pages of his book, not including the (thankfully, excellent) introduction. It’s a painful, dragging slog that all but dares the reader to continue.

Season of the Witch could also have used at least one more editorial pass, preferably by someone coming in fresh. This would have spared Bebergal the embarrassment of having the phrases “still wading in a bayou of voodoo and Christianity” and “still part of a culture knee-deep in a swamp of superstition” appear in the same paragraph, straddling pages 2 and 3 of his very first chapter.

There are a number of such uncomfortable echoes, all the way to pages 224 and 225, where you find the phrase “this sinister metal, one embracing decay and darkness as an essential part of the human condition” literally rubbing up against the phrase “a new mythology of metal, one that embraced decay and darkness as an essential part of the human condition” on the facing page. Ouch.

Despite these caveats, Season of the Witch serves as an excellent primer on the subject of how multiple strands of the Western Esoteric Tradition have manifested (and continue to manifest) in rock music at every level, from obscure one-hit wonders and niche acts catering to specialist audiences, all the way up to those stadium-straddling demi-gods who have forged the so-called “Classic Rock” legacy that seems destined to be at least as long-lived as those of such immortals as Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinsky, et al. As such, Bebergal’s tome makes a worthy companion to Gary Lachman’s excellent A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult, which is, in actuality, a chronological roll call of significant individuals in the literary, artistic, and (to a lesser extent) political realms, all of whom were deeply influenced by, or were esteemed practitioners of, Western occultism.

And that, dear friends, is why I’ve decided to produce a mini-concordance for Bebergal’s book (with one for Lachman’s coming at some point in the near future). This project will be of a more limited scope compared to what I put together for Eugene Thacker’s In The Dust of This Planet, for which I went way overboard. But I will endeavor to provide a plethora of intriguing multimedia links relating to the acts and artists that Bebergal writes about, as well as to other writings that will help to promote and occasionally flesh out Bebergal’s various theses. These will include links to some intriguing music that I have to assume will be new to you, because I’ve made it one of my life goals to sniff out the most obscure Prog Rock ever created, and Bebergal managed to hip me to some stuff that I’d never even heard of, much less listened to.

So, let us begin at the beginning, with the…


INTRODUCTION – We Are All Initiates Now

I 

After an amusing and relevant epigraph from Euripides’s The Bacchae (“My hair is holy. I grow it long for the God.”), Bebergal regales the reader with a tale that should be familiar to most readers of a certain vintage. It’s the story of how his big brother, upon leaving for college in 1978, gave him access to “the mysteries” of his room. A record collection that was like a lexicon of the Gods (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Arthur Brown, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Yes, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd). A damn fine musical starter kit for a precocious 11-year-old seeker already steeping in the wonders of Tolkien reprints, Dungeons & Dragons, Heavy Metal Magazine, horror comics and the animated films of Ralph Bakshi!

Bebergal was the kind of kid who was obsessed with finding clues as to whether or not Paul was really dead, sought out secret messages like the “Do what thou will” motto etched into the living vinyl of Led Zeppelin III, wondered what exactly David Bowie’s deal was anyway, and lost himself as he gazed into album covers painted by prog rock’s premiere visual fantasist, Roger Dean.
Those days sitting cross-legged on my brother’s floor were an initiation into a mystery cult, where I would become a disciple of rock and roll. Throughout my teenage years, rock was the musical narrative of my inner life. There was always an album that spoke perfectly to whatever inscrutable feelings I was negotiating at the time. Rock’s often sphinxlike truths were the key to not only my own inner life; they could open the door into other mysterious realms. Eventually I stopped searching for esoteric riddles on album covers and in song lyrics, but I never ceased being aware of where the occult imagination was at play. It’s a plot I’ve been following ever since I first opened the gatefold cover to David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album to the grotesquely erotic painting of a caninesque Bowie, half man, half dog. I came to realize that magic cannot exist without a conduit, a means of expression. And even if it can, I am not interested in the metaphysics of the occult. I believe in those horned gods only when I hear them speaking from out of the grooves in the vinyl… And in those moments, they are as real as the music itself. I don’t need the magic to be anywhere else. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

MINUTIA & INCONSEQUENTIA / INNOCENT QUESTIONS

MINUTIA & INCONSEQUENTIA

  • It's been fairly well established in certain circles that the New York office of the FBI was essentially a "Trump for President" campaign center. In fact, there have been some incredibly dark suspicions raised by the behaviors of some very dark actors, indeed, including "Count Rudolph" Giuliani, "Bloody Erik" Prince and other elements within that office who conspired to wreck Hillary's chances and boost Trump's. Seth Abramson has been doing a fantastic job of tying together the flailing strands of this story-yet-to-be-told from the very beginning, even before the election. Read this comprehensive and hair-raising narrative about it -- accurately titled "Bigger than Watergate" -- to get a better idea of why yer old pal Jerky has been so fucking freaked out and frazzled lately. Personally, I think Abramson is right on the money. It's just one more piece of the puzzle when it comes to the New Fascist International installing their boy Trump in the White House.
  • Well, what do you know? It turns out this bullshit neocon anti-Obama hit-piece, which accuses Obama of going easy on Hezbollah not to endanger his Iran nuclear deal negotiations and is being echoed and amplified by the Far Right Fake News propaganda echo chamber is absolute, 100% BULLSHIT! Seems like a popular strategy with The Powers That Be these days, though, doesn't it? Trump does something awful, and then a bunch of twits pop up screaming "OBAMA DID IT TOO!" Trump's racist gestapo deportation efforts, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations... all led to "OBAMA DID IT TOO! OBAMA DID IT TOO!" And then, when you look into it, it invariably turns out that, no... No, he did not. But hey, I'm sure it keeps the base happy. Right?
  • Every day, from increasingly desperate insiders trying to get the word out, we learn more about how Donald Trump seethes, ruminates and deteriorates mentally. Meanwhile, nobody seems to be willing to talk about the fact that hardcore Christo-fascist right-wingers who've been groomed from infancy to be the instruments of God’s wrath on Earth (via the world's largest nuclear arsenal, which they hope to put to use at the first possible moment) and who've been placed strategically throughout various governmental agencies in case an opportunity precisely like this one were ever to present itself, giving them a chance to turn Biblical prophecy into reality, thus justifying their worldview and wrapping up all of reality with a bright red bow, which I guess, in some ways, would make them the “winners”? Jesus Camp. Special universities that cater exclusively to home-schooled members of the Dominionist and Reconstructionist Christian cults, funded by billionaire benefactor True Believers who take the most promising graduates and put them to work in their network of think tanks and policy institutes and almost never in actual, real academia (which they're working tirelessly to denigrate and sideline), because peer review and public scrutiny would soon suss out the fact that they are a danger to themselves and others, and where nihilistic eschatological theology is generally frowned upon, particularly as public policy. Know what I mean?


INNOCENT QUESTIONS

Innocent Question #257837 ~ In all seriousness, have the Trump regime and the GOP hired veteran Scientology propagandists to run their ongoing multiple smear campaigns against those they deem to be a threat to their lucrative criminal pursuits? Because their recent efforts reek of 90's era Scientology tactics. Take a look at this disgusting and ludicrous website that they slapped together to smear James Comey as a case in point.

Innocent Question #257838 ~ Have you ever wondered why it is that the Alt Right so often sympathizes with insane mass murderers? Personally, I think it's because they're all just one sub-optimal encounter with a minimum wage service industry drone away from shooting up and/or crashing their mom's car into the nearest crowd of innocent bystanders, themselves. ALL OF THEM.

Innocent Question #257839 ~ Don't believe Stormy Daniels about being threatened by a Trump thug? Then how about these people? Please note that not only did these people describe their encounters with Trump-hired goons contemporaneous to the events in question, but some of them even contacted the authorities at the time, which once caused Trump to behave in highly suspicious behavior afterwards, in an obvious, desperate, and failed attempt to make himself look blameless.

ERIC GARLAND'S GAME THEORY 5
(AUDIO VERSION)


If you'd rather read it, or want to clip and save it (which I recommend), then check out the post on Eric's blog, instead.