"This is the saddest media spectacle I've ever seen, since I began practicing journalism in 2005. And what makes it even sadder is to watch all of the people who invested their journalistic credibility into what proved to be a complete and total fraud and scam continue to try and cling to some vestige of credibility by continuing to spin conspiracy theories that are even more reckless and more unhinged than the ones to which we've been subjected for three years. The great journalist and writer Matt Taibbi wrote in an article over the weekend, and I agree with him completely, that as humiliating as the media debacle was leading up to the Iraq War, what they did over the last three years in the Trump-Russia story makes all of that look like a pimple. Even though obviously the Iraq War was much more destructive because it led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, the errors and lies and falsehoods and recklessness and speculation that we've been subjected to, over and over and over, that Robert Mueller just definitively debunked, is far more humiliating journalistically, far more unjustifiable journalistically. And who knows where it will lead to? It's ratcheted up tensions between the two most dangerous nuclear-armed powers in the world, Russia and the United States, that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says has brought us to two minutes before midnight on their Doomsday Clock. So it's also been extremely dangerous in ways that we don't yet know.
. . . everybody knows - and I don't care how many people try and rewrite history - that the central question that everybody was obsessed with for three years was: Did Donald Trump, his family members and his aides conspire and collaborate and collude with the Russians to interfere in the election? And contrary to what David (Cay Johnston) just said, it is absolutely false that Robert Mueller simply said there's not enough evidence to convict with a reasonable doubt. He said something much, much, much, much more important than that. He said that after 20 months of investigation, with a huge team of FBI agents and prosecutors, heralded as being the most aggressive and skilled in the world, we found no evidence that his happened. That's what Robert Mueller said. The whole thing was a scam and a fraud from the beginning. And The New York Times headline today says that as clearly as it can: Robert Mueller finds no collusion between Trump and Russia. That was the focal point of the entire narrative, no matter how much people try and change the focus.
"The second point, this idea that, 'Oh, we haven't heard from Robert Mueller, yet, we've only heard Bill Barr's summary of him,' yes, that's true. But Bill Barr has been friends with Robert Mueller for 30 years. They come from the same Republican circles in the Department of Justice. They both worked together at the Bush Justice Department, the Bush 41 Justice Department. All we heard for 20 months is that Robert Mueller is a man of the greatest integrity and patriotism. The idea, the very idea - just think about this - that he would allow Bill Barr to run around making false and misleading distortions about what the Mueller team found, and not one person on the Mueller team, including Bob Mueller himself, would stand up and say, 'Wait a minute, he is distorting what our findings was,' that is laughable. That's exactly the kind of conspiracy theories that led to this entire mess in the first place, and we should no longer tolerate this. Rachel Maddow and MSNBC are the Judy Millers of this story, except unlike Judy Miller, who was scapegoated for doing things that her male colleague did and had her career destroyed, Rachel Maddow will continue to make $10 million a year for NBC because she's their most valuable brand, and there will be no reckoning and consequences for this story that the media got radically, fundamentally and deliberately wrong for almost three years now in a very dangerous way . . .
". . . . prior to Bob Mueller's appointment, I was calling for a full-scale investigation in which all of the facts at the conclusion of the investigation would be publicly revealed, so that we would stop having to rely on media leaks that the CIA and the NSA and the FBI were engineering and manipulating and lying to us, as we now know, so that we could see the full picture. So I continue to believe that we should see the full Mueller report. I support that completely.
"Secondly, let me say, as well, that I believe that Donald Trump is one of the most corrupt people ever to occupy the White House, I am certain that he's guilty of all kinds of crimes - war crimes as president, financial crimes as a business person. One of the reasons why those of us who were so angry about this obsession on Russia and collusion, aside from the fact that it was so dangerous to ratchet up tensions between two nuclear-armed powers this way instead of trying to forge a peace between these two countries, is precisely because it took the oxygen away from all of the things that the Trump administration is doing that is so damaging, in lieu of this idiotic, moronic, Tom Clancy-type espionage thriller, where we were talking about Putin blackmailing Donald Trump with pee-pee tapes and Donald Trump being a Russian agent since 1987, which was a cover story that was on New York Magazine, that Chris Hayes put on MSNBC. Just all kinds of moronic conspiracies, that we love to mock other countries' medias for circulating and disseminating, drowned out our airwaves and our discourse for three years, preventing us from focusing on the real, substantive damage that the Trump administration is doing and that Donald Trump's corruption entails.
"But the reality is, the media chose to focus on this. Everybody knows this. David Cay Johnston was on your show, Amy, a week ago, and he said, 'Donald Trump, I believe, is a Russian agent.' We now have a full-scale, 20-month investigation by somebody that everybody agreed was a man of great integrity who would get to the bottom of all of this, who had full subpoena power. And David keeps trying to imply, which is totally false, that all that Mueller said was, 'Oh, it just doesn't rise to the level of criminality.' That is not what he said. He said, after 20 months of a full-scale investigation - which, by the way, included hours of interrogating Donald Trump Jr. before Congress, all of the transcripts of which were made available to Mueller, which he could have prosecuted Trump Jr. on for perjury and obstruction had Donald Trump Jr. lied about anything, but he chose not to. He said, 'After reviewing all of this evidence, I am concluding that this did not happen,' not that it doesn't rise to the level where I can criminally prosecute. He's saying there was no collusion.
"The game is over, and it's time to be honest about it. And the more we try to cling to this and invent new - you know what it reminds me of? In 2003, when the neocons finally had to face the truth that there were no WMDs, that they had fabricated that, that the media had misled millions of people around the world for years, and they started saying, 'Um, maybe Saddam hid them in Syria. Maybe they're buried in places we just haven't looked yet.' It's time to face the truth. The media got this tory wrong. They obsessed on this for three years, and all this time there was no evidence for it. It was just a conspiracy theory. Rachel Maddow, the most influential liberal TV host in the country, every single night misled millions of liberals into believing something that was totally false, and there will be no media consequences for it. And that is extremely grave and serious, no matter how much is true about how corrupt Donald Trump is in his financial dealings or any of the other stuff that people are now trying to deflect our attention onto.
"Why did millions of people vote for a complete joke of a game show host? And how did Democrats lose the presidency to one of the most embarrassing spectacles of a candidate in U.S. history? What is the prevailing ideology of the ruling class that has turned millions and millions of people, and to this country, into such angry citizens that they either refuse to vote or vote for the person who promises to burn down the entire system? Why are they so angry? What has happened to their economic security? What ideology and what group of people are responsible for that? What has Donald Trump been doing in realigning the United States away from the Western Europe and to Saudi despots, and the collusion that actually happened, which was from the Israeli government during the election in order to undermine Obama's policies? All those kinds of questions could have been asked and should have been asked, but it all got drowned out because we were all much more fascinated by this superficial, kind of very appealing and melodramatic espionage thriller, that has completely destroyed the credibility of the U.S. media and so tragically vindicated Donald Trump in a way that probably is the greatest gift that has been given to him throughout his entire presidency.
". . . .let me just say one thing about this idea that he's a Kremlin asset or that we need to find out what his relationship is with the Russians, We just had a 22-month investigation where the media and Bob Mueller did nothing but look into that exact question. He's saying it like nobody's ever asked this before or nobody's ever - we have the answer. And as for him being a Russian asset, it's so irresponsible to say that, because the reality is that the conflict between the U.S. and the Russians are at a worse and higher level than they've been in many years, probably decades. How can you say Donald Trump is a stooge of the Kremlin when he's right now trying to remove one of Vladimir Putin's client regime states in Venezuela? Or when he's trying to bully Angela Merkel out of being Russian natural gas, probably the thing that's most important to the Russian economy? Or when he sold lethal arms to the Ukrainians, something Obama refused to do on the grounds that it would be provocative to Russia? Or when he bombed Putin's client state in Syria? Over and over, the Trump administration has taken actions far more adverse and aggressive and belligerent to the Russians than the Obama administration did. That's why this whole narrative That Trump all along was being blackmailed by Putin, that he's an asset of Russian intelligence, this is idiocy. It is completely irrational. It is contrary to all facts."
"And Bob Mueller's investigation, who spent 22 months examining that core question - what is the relationship between Trump and the Russians? - concluded that there is no relationship. It's time to stop these dangerous conspiracy theories that are ratcheting up tensions between the two most dangerous countries on the planet. The reality is, the Trump administration has been constantly belligerent to Putin, has constantly acted adverse to the Kremlin's interests, and there's zero basis for thinking or believing or finding evidence to assert that Trump in any way is beholden to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. The whole thing has been a joke and a fairy tale from the start . . . .
" . . . as Noam Chomsky just pointed out and has spent the last 40 years pointing out, the United States has done very little since the end of World War II but going around the world and interfering in every single democracy that they can find, literally, including the country in which I'm currently living, which is Brazil, where they overthrew a democratically elected government in 1964 and then proceeded to impose a military regime for 21 years, and also Russia, where they openly boasted about helping to elect Boris Yeltsin because he would privatize everything and that would be good for U.S. industry, or even agitating anti-Putin resistance in parliamentary elections under Hillary Clinton's reign as secretary of state.
"This doesn't make it right for Russia to do it, but we've never kept in perspective the fact that interfering or meddling in other countries' elections or governance is not some grave, aberrational, never-before-heard drama that the entire world has to stop and lament and put an end to. It's normal business. We're currently, right now, in the process of trying to change the government of Venezuela openly, and have done so over and over around the world. And that's why Noam Chomsky says that all of this moral outrage of Americans at the idea that somebody would interfere or meddle in our democracy has made the U.S. a laughingstock to the hundreds of millions of people - billions, in fact, - who live in countries where the U.S. has done this and far, far worse decade after decade after decade.
". . . .there was a big difference between Obama and Clinton when it came to foreign policy. She was very critical of Obama for not being more confrontational with Putin, for refusing to bomb Syria, for refusing to send lethal arms to Ukrainians, for working with Russia on the Iran deal. I side with President Obama. He was absolutely right that Hillary Clinton would have been extremely dangerous, because she wanted to be way more provocative and belligerent toward Russia. And I'm very glad she didn't get the chance to do that. That would have been very dangerous for the world, although the Trump administration is doing it now.
"As Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, the Trump administration has made no secret of the fact that they want to prosecute WikiLeaks for the crime, in their eyes of disclosing confidential documents - one of the gravest threats we can imagine to press freedom Chelsea Manning's torture, being put back into solitary confinement is trying to squeeze her to settings that aren't true, to let them prosecute WikiLeaks. And all of the journalists who have spent three years claiming to be so worried about the threats to press freedom are utterly silent about what the Trump administration's real threat to press freedom is, which is this attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, abusing Chelsea Manning to do it, in order to criminalize journalism, which is the publication of top-secret documents that journalists do every day. And I hope that gets way more attention."
----------Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now, March 25, 2019
Friday, March 22, 2019
“Consciousness is…from the very beginning a social product”
Given the degree of consciousness control suffered by people under the domain of privately owned political media and its stress on individual consumption, the very notion of social behavior, let alone socialism, can provoke outbursts of fear and loathing as the current idiocy over the term clearly shows. Fear that wealth will be taken away from people who don’t have any and given to some unworthies who have even less can reduce intellects and morality to a point at which president Trump begins to look like a humanitarian scholar with funny hair.
Social: having to do with human beings living together as a group in which their dealings with one another affect their common welfare.
This definition does not come from the Communist Manifesto but from a left wing tract called the New World Dictionary of the American Language. It defines what most of us are led to believe only in times of war or other threats to our well being which we must face, bravely, proudly as a nation of souls striving to work together to kill whoever the proposed enemy is. Otherwise, it’s the hell with everyone else, what’s in it for me, how can I trust any of these fools and why don’t they all acknowledge me and my identity group or my pets instead of themselves. Welcome to the commodity consuming humanity denying market forces of a malevolent social disease at the root of what should be called our climate catastrophe: private profit obsessed capitalist individuality.
While it is in our nature to be social, it has been forced into our heads to be anything but and our schools, advertisements and government see to it that we remain mostly obsessed with self. We only join with others under great stress, which is then used to keep us in small separate groupings that offer no threat to the minority rule of the rich. There are exceptions, but they are mostly of the cosmetic form, like shopping, which guarantees the system prevails, but with privileges offered and provided for those who serve it, and only rarely, perish the thought, society.
Members of the comfortable class able to see the value of social democratic capitalism as preservation and possibly even improvement of their status while also bringing in some of the less comfortable are often unaware that their status depends on the continued existence of less and under privileged “uncomfortables”. They are hardly reducible to white supremacists but an ever more diverse economically privileged caste certainly akin to the more comfortable house negroes created when classes were introduced to slaves that made life among the future black bourgeois – the house Negros - far superior to life among the field Negros. While some working the fields would occasionally remind them that they were still slaves but only with some material privileges, and some few from the house even led rebellions against their owners, most acted as “upper” classes are educated, taught and trained to act. Eat your better food, wear your better clothes, put something in the poor box at church or write out a tax deductible check during the holidays, and otherwise keep your mind clear of critical thought and above all keep your mouth shut. This division of class background realities among people of all skin tones, religions, ethnicities, genders, political and other market choices - maintains age old minority power by keeping the multitudes-masses divided in every psycho - identity way but the most obvious: the economically disabled results of market place private profit-private property rules not only taking precedence over any public good but dominating such out of the realm of thought let alone action on the part of truly disabled populations reduced to rising up as minorities and mostly taking issue with those below or beside them and showing little regard for those above except near worship, until recently when things have become so blatantly unjust that the previously near comatose are waking to the stench, sight and sound of massive injustice and inequality.
While anti-social media tropes of tripe get attention from major sources, as when reporting crimes among the working class majority rather than the bigger crimes of the leisure class minority, we get a steady diet of indigestible mental fare that makes fast food seem like gourmet dining. As in; which identity group suffers an outrage of hate from which other identity group, while the outrageous hate crime of inflicting war, waste and trillions of dollars in debt on people powerless to stop it while distracted by economic arguments based on a form of market fanaticism to make religious fundamentalists seem thoughtfully critical by comparison.
A degenerate value system based on an alleged democracy owned and controlled by a minority reduces humans to “the homeless” and pets to revered status while slaughtering millions in foreign countries with hundreds of billions spent for alleged defense that leaves millions here defenseless against poverty, crime, traffic and mental illness while inducing impoverished foreigners to come here in search of job security, which profit makers supply them in return for their cheaper-than-American labor. Welcome to the joys of a free market, where nothing is free and if you can’t afford food, clothing and shelter, you can drop fucking dead.
This economy sees to it that hookers get paid to make fake love to profit the pimp, reporters get paid to report fake news to profit corporate media, and politicians get paid to legislate fake democracy to profit the 1% and their professional servants.
As long as news (?) is what we get from MSNB-FOX, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Post and the Washington Times, the above will remain true. Thus, “hate crimes” become individual acts against individual people and what they really are: poverty, war, invasions, injustice and more are hate crimes of a social nature which are treated, if at all, as due to evil individuals and nasty identity groups, never the acts of a political economy that demands homelessness, bloodshed, drug addiction and dishonesty in personal relations in order to keep profits flowing up to the top minority while the bottom majority is taught to fight one another in order to advance self, or their identity group safely kept a minority by individual acceptance of the social lie.
All too often, the mere mention of socialism is greeted by a frenzy from consciousness control and its mind management staff implying that this means mass murder, poverty, theft and all the other stuff capitalism has been profiting from for generations while a relative handful control its apparatus of propaganda taught as supposed common sense. The time has come for people to look behind the plastic curtain and learn what is fiction and what is reality. The economic class system is composed of a shrinking number of people of more incredible wealth than any tyrant deity of ancient times, when there might have been some excuse for people being taken in by fables, myths and legends. In the present we find our selves facing a dilemma for the human race that can only be met and overcome by ending the system of private profits first and beginning one that puts the public good in its place. In whatever language we speak or culture we are taught, that means something previously non-existent anywhere but among very small groups: democracy. In finally achieving it for the greatest number of people and for the greatest good, thus a salvation for humanity, we need to understand the majority class almost all of us belong to, no matter what minority division our rulers have reduced us to, even teaching us to be proud of un-scientific differences. We are the human race, we are overwhelmingly members of its working class, and we need to unite as ourselves before their imposed separatism destroys us all.
Monday, March 18, 2019
The identity politics dogmatists are just as guilty as Trump in spreading intolerance . . .He eagerly throws gasoline in their fire-breathing faces, spreading an ever-widening sectarian conflagration, and they recoil in mock horror, denouncing him as a "white nationalist." He denies the charge with a fresh barrage of insults, which sets off more firestorms. The PC brigades then get indignant at those insults, which is just what Trump wants, because it fires up his base. (Anyway, he's white, and he's nationalist, but he's not Adolf Hitler, let's get serious.)
Monday, March 11, 2019
“Freedom begins between the ears.”
“What do old men who don’t believe in Heaven think about?” queried Edward Abbey rhetorically in his masterpiece Desert Solitaire. “. . . they think about their blood pressure, their bladders, their aortas, their lower intestines, ice on the doorstep, too much sun at noon.” In other words, they think about postponing dying, though many may never have gotten around to actually living.
To die well, one must live fully, Abbey thought, and dedicated himself to the task.
Anarchist, wilderness defender, story-teller, truth-lover, industrial saboteur, sex fiend, river runner, poker lover, beer guzzler, cantankerous social critic, part-time fanatic opponent of unrestrained growth, full-time desert rat, Edward Abbey went at life full throttle, forsaking a long, half-lived, half-life for a shorter span of years indulging his hearty appetite for bourbon, bacon, cigars, and countless nights out under the stars. (Abbey died at 62, before his own father did.)
Faced with terminal illness in late middle age, he never bargained with God for more time or experienced any of the alleged “stages” of accepting death that psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says we all inevitably pass through. The reason? For Abbey it was not death or dying that was tragic, but rather to have “existed without fully participating in life – that is the deepest personal tragedy.” He was philosophical, not horrified, by the inevitability of his own death, which he accepted decades ahead of time while communing with the desert: “If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture—that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.”
You owe the earth a body, he believed.
A shy man infuriated by the devastating effect of industrial “progress,” Abbey’s rage was an expression of love for all that it destroyed: wilderness, freedom, free-flowing rivers, the pre-Stone-Age desert that his spirit would not leave even in death. And perhaps it was this passionate bond with the earth that gave Abbey his extraordinary poise, which never abandoned him, even in tragic moments. When he collapsed at a friend’s house in 1982 doctors gave him only a few months to live. Quipped Abbey, then fifty-five: “At least I don’t have to floss anymore.”
In a 1957 journal entry Abbey wrote that we don’t come into the world so much as grow out of it: “Man is not an alien in this world, not at all. He is as much a child of it as the lion and the ant.” But though we emerge from nature, its importance, especially in the desert, is that it bears no reflection of us: “In the desert, a man comes directly upon a world that is not a projection of human consciousness, a world that has not been interpreted by art or science or myth, that bears no trace of humanity on its surface, that has no apparent connection to the indoor human world.” Just this is its essential value. “In the desert one comes in direct confrontation with the bones of existence, the bare incomprehensible absolute is-ness of being. Like a temporary rebirth of childhood, when all was new and wonderful.” The city, for all its treasures, cannot reveal this.
Born in 1927, Abbey’s adult years were lived under the shadow of nuclear annihilation, among other ominous signs of massive destruction, but while others fretted over looming social disaster, Abbey actually looked forward to the end of human misrule, taking solace in the fact that his beloved Grand Canyon had already outlasted thirty failed civilizations.
“Be of good cheer,” he wrote in Down the River (1982), “the military-industrial state will soon collapse.” Although our “military industrial” state is now more of a military financial state, Abbey felt its approaching demise represented “good news,” the actual title of a novel he wrote on the topic, which critics took to be an ironic comment, whereas Abbey intended it as nothing more than the literal truth. Given that human population had vastly overshot its land base, progress required catastrophe, he thought, and he hoped that in the ruins of former cities “a small society of friends in a community of mutual aid and shared ownership of land” might manage to “rebuild the simple farming and pastoral economy that had been destroyed by the triumph of the city.” A Jeffersonian anarchist vision for the 21st century.
Though broadly cultured and obviously possessed of a lively intellect, prolonged visits to the city always produced in Abbey a longing for prompt return to “light on rock, the sun on my bones, the smell of a sweating horse, the bright thirsty air of the high plateaus.” Only a small scale civilization could be compatible with Abbey’s yearning for vast unspoiled wilderness, and then only if it recognized the primacy of nature. “A world without wilderness is a cage,” said environmentalist David Brower, and Abbey fervently concurred.
He flatly rejected the view that his deep urge to preserve what remained of humanity’s ancestral home was a marginal or superfluous concern. Wilderness, he wrote, “is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” Only in wilderness could one find an abundance of life’s essentials: clean air, pristine sunlight, pure water, unbounded space and time, grass and woods to play and get lost in, solitude and silence, “alien” life and the risk of death. “A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original,” warned Abbey, “is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” And the danger part was not to be omitted. Abbey agreed with his friend Doug Peacock that one was not truly in the wilderness unless one was at risk of being eaten.
An original thinker unafraid of honest examination of any issue, Abbey inevitably ran afoul of multicultural dogmas. He felt that liberal taboos against criticism of official minority groups was a form of censorship, and he was regularly accused of sexism, racism, “eco-fascism” and xenophobia for violating those taboos. Abbey rejected these rejections of his work. In response to a suggestion that he remove the “Archie Bunkerisms” from his then forthcoming novel The Fool’s Progress, he ranted: “I’m not going to toady to chickenshit liberalism anymore; fuck it. I’ve already been called fascist, racist, elitist, as well as communist, terrorist, misanthrope, bleeding-heart etc. so often it doesn’t bother me anymore. To hell with all those petty, taboo-ridden dogmatic minds.”
The critics “hate my books,” he went on, because “almost all reviewers, these days, are members of and adherents to some anxious particular sect or faction . . . . As such, any member of any one of those majority minorities is going to find for certain a few remarks in any of my books that will offend/enrage’s/he’ to the marrow.” Thirty years after Abbey’s death Donald Trump is the arsonist in charge of our ideological fire department, eagerly flinging gasoline in the fire-breathing faces of identity politics dogmatists, setting off an ever-widening sectarian conflagration. Maybe we should have paid more attention to Abbey’s criticisms when he first made them.
Although it is difficult to see Abbey as outright hating anyone (except the rich, whom he loathed), it’s easy to detect double standards in his work and life. While enjoying the benefits of monogamous marriage, he cheated on four out of five wives, using his celebrity to help bed attractive women. Though he was convinced that (1) “girls should be encouraged from infancy on to see the world as a playground of potentiality,” and (2) women’s under-representation in most fields was regrettable, and (3) “no man who is really a man will feel his manhood demeaned or threatened by the act of washing dishes,” he nevertheless disapproved of novelist Barbara Kingsolver’s having left young children at home in order to attend a 1989 writing conference that Abbey also attended (Kingsolver says Abbey was “respectful to the point of deference” in his treatment of her, however).
Abbey’s justification for the double standard was uncharacteristically unoriginal. Women are morally superior to men, caring for others, while men crave sexual variety out of selfish pleasure. (“I’ve never met a nymphomaniac I didn’t like,” commented the hero of Abbey's The Fool’s Progress). The vast majority of men are polygamous, bogged down and frustrated with monogamy, which they submit to only out of sloth. So why did Abbey, hardly a slothful type, get married five times? His fifth and final wife (Clarke) said that he was seriously conflicted: “There was always the real complex issue of wanting to be married and have a family and wanting to be totally on his own and doing what he wanted.” One illustration of just how serious the conflict was for Abbey is provided by his fourth wife, Renee, who remembers a time she sent him to the store for groceries and had to wait two days for his return.
On feminism, Abbey had a very mixed reaction. Three years before Roe v. Wade his unpublished “Some Second Thoughts on Women’s Lib” contained the opinion that “a woman’s womb is not the property of the State . . . She must be mistress of all that’s enclosed within her skin.” On the other hand, he saw feminism as androgyny-promoting and contemptuous of working class men. And though he supported the Equal Rights Amendment and reviewed, counseled, and befriended several women writers, his negative portrayal of feminism in The Fool’s Progress offended his father (a lifelong socialist who appreciated the social gains of the Bolshevik Revolution) to the point that he stopped reading the book, and also his wife Claire, who hated the depiction, saying that Abbey never treated her in the sexist manner he sympathetically portrayed in his books. At a book event in 1987 a number of women who apparently shared this dislike walked out of an Abbey reading of The Fool’s Progress.
On the issue of race, Abbey very clearly did not sympathize with the multiplication of victim minorities, which he claimed were “advance men for planetary majorities.” However, it should be kept in mind that Abbey’s misanthropic convictions (in one book he commented that what the world needed to solve the overpopulation problem was a vast, painless plague) made him portray nearly all groups in a negative light, white people included. For example, in a 1956 journal entry he wrote: “On the Negro question: I don’t like ‘em. Don’t like Negroes,” which seems to be an openly bigoted statement. But the next sentence is: “As far as I can see, they’re just as stupid and depraved as whites.” Similarly, in one breath Abbey depicted (American) Indians as alcoholic welfare bums, while in the next he had the hero of one of his novels say, “Indians are just as stupid and greedy and cowardly and dull as us white folks” (The Monkey Wrench Gang).
Asians he portrayed as products of authoritarian “anthill societies” mindlessly producing consumer junk for clueless Americans (“Jap crap,” the hero of The Fool’s Progress called it). He rejected the idea that (densely overcrowded) Eastern cultures had anything important to teach the West, and roundly criticized those who thought differently. “I find it pathetic as well as ironic to see the enthusiasm with which hairy little gurus from the sickliest nation on earth are welcomed by the technological idiots of all-electric California,” he said in Abbey’s Road.
However, when Washington unleashed a nearly genocidal assault on tiny Vietnam, Abbey spoke out harshly against the deeply racist slaughter. He considered the Vietnam war the most shameful chapter in U.S. history apart from slavery, and in a 1968 appearance to promote Desert Solitaire, he offended many in his audience by denouncing the war instead. Four years later in a letter to the Arizona Daily Star, he compared it to the worst atrocities of totalitarian states: “Nothing in American history, not even the wars against the Indians, can equal the shame and brutality and cowardice of this war. It makes an obscenity of our Christmas holidays and sinks our own Government and all who passively consent to its atrocities down to the moral level of Stalinist Russia and Hitler’s Germany.”
Abbey called himself a racist in Confessions of a Barbarian, though he defined the term as an aversion to being dominated by a race to which one did not belong, which definition would render nearly all of humanity “racist”: “Am I a racist? I guess I am. I certainly do not wish to live in a society dominated by blacks, or Mexicans, or Orientals. Look at Africa, at Mexico, at Asia.” Abbey was aware of the contributions of Western colonialism and imperialism to the widespread misery found in those regions, but argued it was but “Western guilt neurosis” to assign primacy to them in accounting for Third World conditions in the late twentieth century.
He urged a complete halt to immigration coming north from Mexico, contending that a porous border was allowing in “millions of hungry, ignorant, unskilled, and culturally, morally, generically impoverished people.” Such people brought with them an “alien mode of life which . . . is not appealing to the majority of Americans . . . Because we prefer democratic government . . . hope for an open, spacious, uncrowded, and beautiful - yes, beautiful! – society. The alternative, in the squalor, cruelty, and corruption of Latin America, is plain for all to see.”
Abbey argued that a solution to mass immigration from the south had to be sought in Mexico, not the United States: “Mexico needs not more loans – money that will end up in the Swiss bank accounts of los ricos – but a revolution.” According to his best friend John Du Puy, Abbey considered the Mexican government an appalling betrayal of the Zapatista revolution and he vehemently opposed allowing them to “dump people on us” that they “couldn’t deal with.” In One Life At A Time, Please, he called for the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, but also advocated handing out rifles to those turned back there, so they could return home and settle accounts with their exploiters. Though more rhetoric than serious policy proposal, the implied sympathy for social revolution is hardly racist (racists prefer eugenic solutions). Curiously, Abbey “didn’t think much” of the 1979 Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, which implemented a wide range of popular programs for the poor that made it unnecessary for Nicaraguans to migrate to the United States in large numbers, as campesinos from Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador did (and still do), much to Abbey’s dislike. Perhaps Abbey was the kind of anarchist who favors every revolution except the (imperfect) ones that succeed.
In any event, Abbey had curious associations for a “racist.” Early in his career he spoke at a Navajo rally, and in 1959 he edited the bilingual newspaper El Crepusculo de la Libertad (Twilight of Liberty), which promoted Indian rights. Years later he favorably reviewed Vine Deloria’s Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, one of several favorable articles he wrote on Indian affairs. He lamented that Deloria’s views were not being taught in schools, and noted that “the many parallels between the war in Vietnam and the war against the American Indian has not escaped the American Indian.”
Though, as noted, he opposed mass immigration from Mexico, he bore no grudge against Hispanics per se, and felt that any immigrant who had managed to live in the U.S. five years or more should be allowed to stay. For many years he wore a cap with the inscription “Viva La Causa,” and his best friend John De Puy reports he was sympathetic to Chicano activists in Taos and throughout northern New Mexico. De Puy says Abbey’s opposition to immigration, both legal and illegal, was not because of contempt for other cultures, but because of the problems inherent in large scale immigration.
Responding to Alfredo Gutierrez in the New York Times in August, 1983, Abbey conceded he preferred his own culture to others: “I will confess to cultural bias. Though an aficionado of tacos, Herradura tequila, and ranchero music (in moderate doses), I have no wish to emigrate to Mexico. Nor does Alfredo Gutierrez . . . At some point soon our Anglo-liberal-guilt neurosis must yield to common sense and enlightened self-interest.” In a 1987 letter to Earth First! Journal, Abbey drew a distinction between chauvinism and racism: “I am guilty of cultural chauvinism – I much prefer life in the USA to that in any Latin American country; and so do most Latin Americans – but chauvinism is not racism. Racism is the belief that all members of one race are innately superior to all members of some other race. I do not subscribe to any such belief. In a 1988 journal entry he wrote that the only “superior” races would be those who have done the least harm to the earth; he suggested the Bushmen of Africa, the Australian aborigines, and perhaps the Arizona Hopi.
If this is white supremacy, it’s a rather novel strain.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Global ruling powers are confronting a new and dangerous identity group which poses a frightening threat; rather than the usual controllable minorities of past groups, this one represents a potential majority.
“We have come together after learning that benefits doled out to us as members of separate groups of humans ultimately amounted to nothing in a steadily degrading minority controlled environment, but working together we can have better lives as the overwhelming majority in a democracy that can hopefully clean up the mess, after we all are able to pay the rent, have decent meals and a clean well lighted place to live” said group spokesperson and founder, Mike Elizabeth Florentino Jackson Moskowitz. The group was started by Mike Elizabeth and several other gender fluid people who underwent sex change surgery but still had problems procuring food, clothing and shelter, forcing them to remain unhappy, stressed and bewildered by political economic survival problems greater than personal gender problems.
The group proposes to surgically remove dollars from the banks holding fortunes of the tiny minority of billionaires and millionaires and implanting those dollars into the pocketbooks, wallets, and overdrawn bank accounts of the 90% plus working people who currently lack those much-needed material organs of survival and security.
”Many of us have undergone cosmetic surgery to try to make us feel better about ourselves, but nose jobs, boob jobs, and hair transplants haven’t helped. When I underwent sex change operations and had hormone injections I still found that whatever my genitals were and whether I lusted after men, women or dogs, my need for food clothing and shelter transcended any meditation I might do about my gender. The majority of our group at this point has no problems about their sexual identity but only about surviving and we know that represents a majority of not only Americans but people all over the world. The painless operations we propose will non-violently take billions of dollars from a minority, leaving them thousands enough for survival, and thereby helping hundreds of millions of people to survive as well.”
The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Fort Knox Foundation and other responsible caches of individual global wealth are in crisis meetings to deal with this new problem of people demanding a fairer shake from the system of minority rule, often called democracy in places with elections allowed to the commoners so long as they vote for representatives of that minority rule.
“This is far more serious than the American and French revolutions of the 18thcentury and even worse than the Russian and Chinese Revolutions of the 20th” said bank president Jesus Moses Allah Garcia Uhuru. The first two were immediately turned into their opposites and while the Russo-China ones took a bit longer, they have cooperated in not rocking the global capitalist system too much. But if this movement catches on, only financial surgeons can see any gain. The rest of us may have to go on welfare.”
Stay tuned to corporate media, mind management, consciousness control and minority anti-social media for further obfuscation, confusion, and divisive manipulations to prove we don’t need unified action but must remain isolated, divided, fighting minorities seeking lives for ourselves that are better while guaranteeing that most of us will suffer the worst.
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Many people have needed and received mental health treatment enabling them to overcome serious obstacles to their survival and without such aid some may have met disastrous ends. The regular occurrence of crimes committed by people driven to madness by their mental state under material conditions beyond their capacity to understand or survive is only a most obvious case of how important mental health services are and the tragedies provoked by inability to gain help in dealing with them. But as in every other aspect of market society, where some live comfortably in homes and others live uncomfortably on the street, the downside needs to be considered when, like physical health, mental health comes to depend on the intervention of practitioners in an environment of private profit before public good, the prevailing mindset having it that the second can only happen if the first is realized.
Who needs mental health assistance and how do they get it? Almost all of us might benefit from a supposed objective, specially trained friend to listen to our complaints about life in order to help us overcome what supposedly keeps us from happiness. This never seems to involve social forces but only those in our personal lives in individualist labs in which we are bred, usually families whether genetic or not. Foster homes and adoption are other forms which bring happiness and firm foundations to many but all too often continued social patterns of alienation in keeping with the overall dynamic of individual-ism before social-ism. The political and economically originating conflict that results when we are cut off from a natural inclination to connect with other humans becomes a need to check for what is wrong with “me” that keeps “me” from being whatever it is prevailing social forces based on marketing say “I” should be. Welcome to psychology, an important and quite lucrative industry growing in significance to some of the affluent while, too often and as usual, being denied to those who can’t afford it. In some cases, they might be better off and if only provided with the help they need socially, individual therapeutic shopping might not be necessary at the psycho-neurotic ward, whether at upscale private practitioners, the diminishing outlet malls of public aid, or what’s left of social responsibility.
The lucrative nature of a mental health market cannot be denied; it can be relied on for at least monthly and often weekly purchase of service by consumers. Some serious cases need to be dealt with seriously but far more cases become more serious as supply increases to meet demands which become more expensive and increase debts which must grow in order to keep the supply moving, as with automobiles, weapons, cosmetics, pet food, taco-pizza-burgers, yoga studios or any other products. There are new mental maladies discovered every year, all needing new therapies and pharmaceuticals in the booming drug business, both legal for the affluent and illegal for those with less income. But the most booming market is among those of us taught that almost all problems we suffer that are not totally physical need to be dealt with by therapy of a mental nature, with hardly a question about the material and social conditions which cause most, if not all such mental problems.
Having nightmares, cold sweats, frustrations and angry outbursts possibly based on your experience in the military? Might it be due to being put in situations causing you to murder other humans? Well, we’ll get to that later, if ever; meanwhile, let’s see what’s wrong with you and how we can avoid confronting the despicable degeneracy of mass murders by focusing on your individual weakness in not being able to adjust to bludgeoning, shooting, stabbing, burning, bombing and starving other humans. And by the way, if you capture the people we’ve arranged for you to do all those terrible things to, please remember not to hurt them or you’ll be called a war criminal. Got that? While this may seem an extreme situation, it is the reality of tens of thousands of veterans of war who differ from veterans of the marketplace, the struggle for survival, the economic and other social problems in maintaining a family, only in degree. Is it any wonder that the mental heath business has grown beyond anyone’s conception at its invention when something called the unconscious was discovered and then “monetized” by some “conscious” market entrepreneurs?
This service to many and hindrance to possibly many more now sees to it that children of relatively affluent background are seeing therapists at ever-earlier ages and some continue throughout their lives. The weekly session uncovers many problems of that magical mysterious unconscious but usually without any connection made to the social reality that may well play the biggest role in their creation, as in the case of the extreme example of war veterans. But the rat race marketplace, the need for success and the fear of failure and countless other problems larger than an individual ego are displaced by the I-me-mine nature of material reality, especially among western oriented people who sometimes find themselves pursuing eastern “wisdom” to achieve inner mindful or mindless ability to block out not only their inner pressures but also any idea that there is anything but a stream which they must flow with, in peace, in order to survive. Of course if it’s going over rapids there might be a need to notice but if all goes according to personal therapeutic teachings, they’ll be less likely to even confront such crises. Otherwise, why pay all that money to find peace? Or any other product, for that matter.
When we begin prescribing personal therapy for, say, people suffering panic attacks when their villages are shelled, or who can’t sleep due to grumbling bellies because they have no experience of three meals a day due to the dreadful poverty they live in, we may have reached the bottom of the problem of driving people mad with social policies that they are then convinced are problems of their individual making. But there may be many more problems before we find a solution, one of them being the near hysteria among some groups of mostly affluent people suddenly re-discovering – frequently via personal therapy – that they have been abused in the past and must wreak present vengeance on their abusers. This modern form of righteous indignation that warrants no judgment other than an accusation made to burn the witch, lynch the negro or what becomes a more polite form of the same misguided social policy when it is put in modern language as finally responding to the secrets I have kept about those women, those Negros, and those newly found to be rapists when guilty of gross or piggish behavior then nurtured by lifetimes of therapy which become greater needs for vindication the longer they are discussed, nurtured and prepared for explosion. Excuse me, I'm late for my therapist visit.
Gringo Puppet Guaidó Greeted by Collective Yawn As He Returns From Visit With U.S. Lackey Governments Abroad
"The fight for Venezuela is with the owner of the circus, not with his clowns."
-----Venezuelan sociologist Alvaro Verzi Rangel, on the return to Venezuela of Juan Guaidó
-----Venezuelan sociologist Alvaro Verzi Rangel, on the return to Venezuela of Juan Guaidó