Monday, December 19, 2016

Those Boys I Loved

Those boys with long legs and ready smiles and new beards

Those boys on the cusp of manhood, already there but too busy

Fighting wars or dissenting in the streets.

Those boys who made it easy to spend an afternoon

With our bodies wrapped in sheets and music,

the taste of wine in our mouths and herbs on our breath.

I wouldn’t trade those boys for another past.

Those boys turned out well.
T
hose other boys, the ones who followed money

Dull boys, a chore to entertain,

Entitled, sometimes arrogant, always distracted by the world.

Those boys weren’t interesting or fun.

They buy their wives diamond tennis bracelets

And give their mistresses credit cards.

I'm glad I spent my youth with those boys

The artists and eccentrics

And not with those other boys.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Last Stand of the Patriarchy & Return of the Mother Energy

The nation's leading misogynist, making a last stand for white supremacy and All That is Holy while he's at it, has been clashing with a warrior woman who has played a role on the world stage for feminism since her landmark speech, 'Women’s Rights Are Human Rights."

Anyone who thinks the first woman president will arise out of the pure ocean waters on a pearly clam shell, like the Brazilian Yemanja myth, is from Mars. Politics used to be called the art of compromise, which has become a dirty word. It shouldn't be. It's the knack of being reasonable to get the BIG THINGS done.

That Hillary might not have made nice with Bill's exes doesn’t phase me. I've gone crazy with white-hot fury in an affaire de coeuer once of twice. And Hillary had to go through betrayal in the public eye at the center of a political shit storm.

That information was presented to prove that she is not human.

But this isn't a bad thing. I don't want a president who is may have a fit of the vapors for personal reasons during World War III.

Trump is an old warrior,a relic of the days of the Playboy mansion, days that blessedly are no more. He is drunk on the grog of power and privilege that were his by birthright or so he has believed.

Mother Kali, dancing fiery circles around the bleary-eyed dying king of patriarch, blinds him with flaming swords of intelligence.

"How do you know this?" he mumbles, bewildered by the waning of his world.

Kali, the Indian goddess of destruction and creation, is no dingbat diety who wanders around the clouds in a diaphanous toga.

She wears a necklace of skulls. She makes and breaks civilizations. Robert Wilkinson writes, "The Part of Fortune is conjunct TransPluto on the degree of 'the liberating ordeal.' Divine Mother will be front and center tonight" at http://www.aquariuspapers.com/astrology/2016/10/the-astrological-chart-for-the-second-presidential-debate-of-2016.html

This moment is a make-or-break moment in the history of one of the great experiments in democracy in human history.

I wrote most this a few days ago, before reading Wilkerson's analysis. Sometimes I seem to feel archetypal energies. I've been engaged with the feminist intellectual project since the Seventies, and archetypal studies since the Nineties. From my seat in the grandstand, this is a big playoff between Patriarchy and a New Feminized World Order.

If Hillary knows what good -- and I think she does -- she will incorporate Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren into her Administration in influential and visible ways.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Trump Rallies: A Dangerous Method of Inciting Mob Mentality

Trump's actions, should he win the general election, will be constrained by the legislature and judicial branches of government, argue people anxious about his extreme immigration proposals.


How could a president of a constitutionally governed country seize control? When I say, "Let's review what happened in Weimar Germany," people object that conditions are not the same. This is whistling in the dark.

Fear Is the Only Condition that Matters

When people are scared, when they feel wronged, conditions are ripe for a demagogue strong-man to promise that he, and only he, can fix things.

People in Germany experienced runaway inflation and felt humiliated by the constraining terms of the World War I peace treaties. Hitler effectively used rallies and the new mass medium of radio to deflect these fears onto one group -- the Jews. Propaganda films visually likened them to rats.

This still works. Government-sponsored radio in Rwando incited hatred so successfully that neighbors went next door and killed people they'd known for years with machetes.

The imagery that time out was cockroaches.

Trump doesn't bother with analogies: "They're criminals. They're rapists." In the case of MidEasterners, they hate America.

Cult Leaders Isolate Their Followers

Like any cult leader, Trump isolates his followers. He alone is the truth-teller.

Illegal immigration and crime are much, much worse than the mass media state, Trump warns. Journalists are the "lowest form of humanity." He excludes respected news providers from his rallies.

Fox News reinforces this view.

The Mythos of Good Guys versus Bad Guys


He creates an ancient mythos in simple language: Good guys versus bad guys. The phrase is repeated many times.

From Westerns to space cowboys and beyond, from war movies to spy thrillers, good guys versus bad guys is an easy narrative to follow.

Narrative cannot be argued against with logic and reasoning. It is a different way of thinking about reality. The only way to combat the appeal of this message is with an equally or more engrossing story.

The Legitimization of Hate


Trump gives voice to ill feelings were previously inchoate and hidden in many people. He is legitimized by coverage on all major media outlets. He holds prime time hostage on news channels by scheduling his rallies at that time and gains coverage on the 11 o'clock news on from mainstream carriers.

More and more people are exposed to this white supremacists ideology and allow nagging racially-based resentments to rise to the surface. As the Trump phenomenon is legitimized, these beliefs become central to their outlook and sense of self.

Hitler fascinated with rallies that were spectacles of marching troops, book burnings, and visions of a once- and future-great Aryan race -- Trump's people, white America.

The Most Primitive Terrors Are Racially Based


However one may wish to gussy up fears of The Other in the guise of economic problems, these fears are rooted at a primitive level of terror – fear of the races blending. Miscegenation is a crime beyond contemplating for many Trump supporters, unless it's a white guy raping a black woman and denying offspring as his. Miscegenation laws were on the books during the lifetime of many people still living.

Racial fears are at a tipping point, because the white race will no longer be a majority of the USA population in a few decades. "We have to take our country back" is about whites taking the country back from The Other.

White people wake up with night sweats about this, as one multicultural analyst recently wrote.

The Spectacle of Rallies and Risky Shift Thinking


Fear this deep and primitive is aroused as Trump's mass rallies. Shoulder to shoulder with other rabidly screaming racists, I no longer have to hate my inner bigot.

Risky shift thinking is what allows people to commit unspeakable crimes that they might not perform alone. People egg each other to be ever more daring. Consider, for example, the eruption of street violence after sports matches and the ever-present fear that any protest gathering may result in rioting.

The rally is the genesis of the lynch mob. What was previously unthinkable becomes doable.


The fear called into being by the Republican candidate's lies includes economic hardship and hopelessness to be sure, but these real life problems are deflected onto The Other – Mexicans, MidEasterners, and Asians.

It is much easier to get rid of people than to solve the problems of economic dislocation of increasingly automatized and globalized commerce.

The relentlessness of the message is what made it possible, in Rwanda for example, for the bloody, face-to-face genocide of at least one half-million people.

It Can't Happen Here?


It can't happen here, right? Those were some crazy black people in Africa. Germany was a long time ago. The Bosnia-Serbian genocide, who the heck cares what happens over there?

It can't happen here. Reconsider, if you please. What kind of nation allows assault weapons to remain on sale, after we have seen innocent children murdered in their schools and colleges, time and time again?

What will happen when that heavily armed mob is at the door of a presumed illegal immigrant with their assault rifles? American shakes its collective head over loss of its children; we will be watching the latest antics of our president when the aliens are ushered by gunpoint into containment areas. Not camps, no never camps.

Separation of Power Is Not Protection


People put lipstick on this pig by arguing our three-part government can resist any insane or inane proposals from the White House. Let me return to those thrilling final days of the constitutionally legitimate Weimar Republic:

Hitler seized power in a series of steps. I am not going to rehearse these now, but it took eight years before he finally declared himself Ringmaster. The Weimar Republic was a place of art and science -- all anathema to the German racists constituted around Hitler. Do we not have science deniers even now?

Hitler's militia arrested government officials and influential journalists the first night he seized power.

No militia in the US, you say? Look for parallels, not replication.

American Militias: Ready, Armed, and Willing


NRA supporters yammer on about gun rights. The linchpin of their arguments is the Second Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing that citizens can maintain armed militias. This is not a metaphor or an arcane reference.Oregon public land was held by the crackpot militia of Cliven Bundy just this year.

Groups of preppers are ready for any such exigency. Militia communities have been considered on the fringe. Until now.

Now we have at leas 30% of the population supporting Trumpism, many of them of armed, some of them armed to the teeth.

That number can do a great deal of harm to a pacifist 70%.

Moreover, white supremacist groups have wanted, for as long as I can remember, to foment a race war.

Hate crimes are up 14%, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Trickle-down racism is here, as Gov. Mitt Romney promised. I don't agree with most Republican ideas about governance. I salute the patriotism of the Republicans, including Romney, the Bushes, George Will, 50 bipartisan national security experts, and a host of other Republican and conservative credible figures, for denouncing Trump. I am not sure if they can be heard by the Trump loyalists who are too busy tuning into Fox News.

Wellspring of Hate Won't Stop Flowing After Election


Trumpism embodies a racist national zeitgeist that is ever lurking beneath the surface of our society. A primal instinct comes into play, the so-called reptilian brain. A demographic of working class men with privilege eroded -- and the women who love them – feel justified in making war against The Others as Trump barnstorms the country with rallies.

Pollsters and reporters suggest there may be a reservoir of secret Trump supporters. I believe it. Trump may be a guilty addiction.

It is a simple world of Good Guys and Bad Guys. It is the mythos overlaid with a mythos of white supremacy, nourished by lies and science denial. Even if Trump loses, the wellspring of hate that has been tapped is uuuuuge.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

RNC National Convention: Day Two

Our nominees for tonight's Ass Awards:

Dumb Ass (like all women who support this candidate) Sharon Day, Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee.  Sharon Day was elected Co-Chairman of the Republican National She has served the Republican Party at the local, state, and national levels for more than 20 years.

Ass clown for hire -- Dana White, President, UFC
 
Dana White is the president and business visionary behind the success of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). White has expressed his gratitude to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump for helping the UFC succeed.

Ambitious Ass -- Governor Asa Hutchison, Governor of Arkansas
Asa Hutchinson is serving his first term as Governor of Arkansas. This newbie would have a hard time saying no.

Smartass Obstructionist -- Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General -- First time woman or Republican Arkansas Attorney General. Rutledge has joined Arkansas with Texas and other states in challenging the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s executive orders on immigration and in filing to protect personal property rights.

Greedy Ass -- Andy Wist, Businessman
Andy Wist founded the Standard Waterproofing Company in 1979. Beginning in his mom’s basement in Brooklyn, Andy grew the company into one of the largest roofing, waterproofing, and landmark restoration companies in New York City.

Dangerous Ass -- Chris Cox, Executive Director of NRA Institute for Legislative Action. Chris Cox directs NRA’s nationwide legislative and political efforts. He has been at the forefront of efforts resisting Obama administration gun control initiatives as well as abuses of power including the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious effort that knowingly allowed guns to “walk” to Mexican drug cartels.
Insignificant Ass -- Natalie Gulbis, Golfer, LPGA
Natalie Gulbis is a professional golfer playing on the U.S.-based LPGA tour. Gulbis wrote a much-talked about piece on golf.com entitled “The Donald Trump I Know” in which she voiced her strong support for Donald Trump to become President of the United States.

Assbrain -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has represented the state of Kentucky since 1985, making him the state’s longest-serving senator. McConnell also serves in the Senate leadership; he is currently the Senate Majority Leader, and before assuming that role, he served an eight-year term as Senate Minority Leader.

Major horse’s ass -- U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-1)
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the permanent chairman of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan has spent his life advocating for real solutions that help increase opportunities for all Americans. He first won election to the U.S. House in 1999, and during his tenure, he has become known for his leadership on budget and fiscal matters.

Jackass -- U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007. A fourth-generation resident of Kern County, California, he grew up in a working-class family and ran a small business, Kevin O’s Deli. He has applied this background to his work on behalf of small businesses and positions on burdensome taxes and regulations.

Fat Ass -- Governor Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was a candidate for president in the 2016 Republican primary. First elected governor in 2010, he was re-elected to his second term in 2013. The governor’s top priorities include balancing the state’s budget, education reform, and changing the national conversation about drug addiction and treatment.

Expensive Ass -- Tiffany Trump, Daughter of Donald Trump
Tiffany Trump was born October 13, 1993 to Donald Trump and Marla Maples. Raised in California, she is the second-youngest of Donald Trump’s children. Tiffany graduated from University of Pennsylvania this spring with a double major in sociology and urban studies. She is a fashion model, singer, and influential presence on social media.

Ass for Hire -- Kerry Woolard, General Manager, Trump Winery
Kerry Woolard is the General Manager at Trump Winery, a 1,300-acre estate located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Kerry has 15 years of winery management experience and has contributed to wine columns for the Wine Gazette and USA Today. In her role at Trump Winery, Kerry oversees all operations and has worked with Donald Trump to make the business a huge success.

Assling in training -- Donald Trump, Jr., Son of Donald Trump and EVP, The Trump Organization
Donald J. Trump, Jr. is an innovator and leader in today’s business world. As an Executive Vice President at The Trump Organization, Donald Jr. works in tandem with his siblings Ivanka and Eric to expand the company’s real estate, retail, commercial, hotel and golf interests nationally and internationally. His extensive real estate development experience, rigorous education and inherent business sense add a level of detail and depth to the management of all current and future Trump projects.

Ass clown -- Dr. Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon
A candidate for the presidency in this year’s Republican primary, Ben Carson grew up in a poor, single-parent household in Detroit, Michigan. Initially a student earning mediocre grades, his mother encouraged him to read and cultivated his love of learning. Between his degrees, Carson worked as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator in a steel factory.




Lame Ass -- Kimberlin Brown, Actor, 
An actress best known for her roles in the television dramas The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, Kimberlin Brown is also a California avocado farmer, host of The Design Network’s interior designer show Dramatic Design, and a small business owner.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Police 'Roid Rage and Violence: Another Factor in Brutality?

Use of anabolic steroids by police is an under-investigated factor relative to the use of force by police officers. 

In the wake of years of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers, and sometimes even citizens, for minimal or imagined crimes, it is time to consider whether ‘roid rage plays a part in the abuse of force by men and women sworn to protect the peace.

Thiblin and Parklo (2002) coordinate steroid use with later criminal violence and anti-social behavior, but the same size was limited. International Business Times (2013) links police ‘roid rage to steroid abuse and gym use.

The problem is so widespread, writes Sabrina Erdeley (2005) in Men’s Health that “the DEA has published a pamphlet called Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel, whose cover depicts two uniformed officers surrounded by floating syringes” (para. 5).  Juicers in blue also states there is no evidence about how steroids may contribute to police brutality – because there is so little research going on.

Erdeley has some examples that I can readily relate to recent instances of police brutality in the news – the feelings of physical omnipotence and super-hero strength endowing the officer with a sense of invincibility.

Charlie Gillis (2008) in Canadian McClean’s reports on widespread acceptance of anabolic steroid use among police as necessary to maintain an intimidating muscular presence that further separates police from the communities they patrol. He quotes one law enforcement official as saying that every police officer should take one cycle of steroid a year.
            
Fogel (2012) even introduces a term to make the use of these controlled substances more legitimate – Vocational steroid use.
            
Arizona law officers and University researchers (Humphrey et al, 2016) write about the difficulties of monitoring the use of Schedule III drug.  Officers often believe they need to boost their physical strength with steroids to do their jobs well.

Alcohol abuse is readily censured and penalized. But testing for steroids is expensive and not yet widely administered.

References

Erdely, S. R. (2005). Juicers in blue. Men’s Health, 20(8), online.

Fogel, C.A. (2012). Vocational steroid use: Reconsidering the effectiveness of a prohibiton approach [abstract in English trans.]. Journal of Social Research, 3(1), 25-26. Accessed at EBSCO.

Gillis, C. (2008). When the police are on the juice. McLean’s, 121(23), online.

Humphrey, K.R., Decker, K.P., Goldberg, L., Harrison, G.P, Gutman, J., & Green, G. (2016, July). Anabolic steroid use and abuse by police officers: Policy and prevention. The Police Chief: The Professional Voice of Law Enforcements. Accessed at http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1512&issue_id=62008

International Business Times. (2013, Jan. 23). Police ‘roid rage: Widespread corruption linked to steroid abuse and gym use. International Business Times, online via EBSCO.

Thiblin, I.,  & Parklo, T. (2002). Anabolic androgenic steroids and violence. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Supplement 412, 106, 125-128. Accessed at EBSCO.


Friday, May 27, 2016

After Trump, the Deluge? New Media; New Moment of Risk to Democracy; What Comes Next?

On bad days, I don't think it matters who wins the general election. The Trump phenomenon has gone too far; it is a groundswell of vile, belligerent, violent anger stirred up not only by the right wing media, but all corporate media's pandering to Trump.
"Get him out of here. Get him out of here," Trump bellows at anyone in his audience who disagrees with him. A woman protester was pulled out by her heels, according to one radio or TV news report I heard. Trump is the person so many people want to be president.
I lived in Spain toward the end of the regime of Generalissmo Franco, the last fascist dictator. There was a Guardia Civile in the classroom of all law classes, a student told us.
If the Guardia thought a discussion had become too licentious, he took the barrel of his rifle and pounded it once on the floor. It signaled all discussion must stop. So there was this uneducated civil servant, equipped with a gun and the power of arrest, deciding what could be discussed by the law professor.
Are we headed in this direction, as a society, where the ignorant and narrow-minded dictate what others may think and say?
I have read arguments that Trump is not a fascist, because he does not have an ideology of fascism -- because he has no ideology at all. No one thought Hitler was making much sense either, yet his rambling diatribes energized people, as Trump seems to do.
Trump is a clown to me, but others seemed hypnotized. He works the media, he works people's emotions, and he does it well.
It really doesn't matter whether authoritarianism comes from the left or the right or out of an undefined political nowhere full of slogans and meaningless promises: I'll be the best president. I can promise you that."
Three political lions emerged in the immediate aftermath of the popularization of radio -- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. All were charismatic speakers. A devastating world war occurred.
Kennedy rode the crest of the relatively new medium of television with cool good looks, while people who heard his debate with Nixon thought Nixon had won. We lived through a Cold War then.
 Note: The expression, Apres moi, le deluge, is attributed to the Sun King, Louis XIV, whose spending excesses led France down a slippery slope to the revolution of 1789. The quotation also has been attributed to Mme. du Pompadour. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Deal with the Devil: Trump, Christie's Mob Ties




The video of Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, endorsing Donald Trump looked like a man with a gun being held to his back. The impression is so staggering, Christie defended himself to CNN, declaring he was not being held hostage.

The notion of a gun being held to Christie, figuratively or literally, is not from left field if one has a firm grasp of the mob-related corruption in New York-New Jersey. I grew up in upstate New York. Knowledge of political-organized crime corruption is bred into us.

I was a reporter at the Times-Union when the large Capitol complex was being built in Albany at the cusp of the Seventies. Everyone knew someone who worked in construction. The construction crews burned down at night what had been built during the daytime. It was common knowledge.  It was just damned hard to prove that the fire had not been started by night crews to keep warm and got out of control by accident.
           
To identify Trump as a builder in New York construction, and his less successful casino ventures in New Jersey, is to say that he has been in bed with the mob for a long time.

Politifact, in a balanced, well-researched article, points out that Trump may not  have been happy to deal with the mob, has never been charged with a crime, and provides evidence of the longstanding ties.

David Marcus, at the avowedly conservative The Federalist, reports:

"The Atlantic City story starts with Trump’s purchase of a bar, at twice its market value, from Salvatore Testa, a made man in the Philadelphia mafia and son of Philip “Chicken Man” Testa, who was briefly head of the Philly mob after Angelo Bruno’s 1980 killing. Harrah’s casino, half owned by Trump, would be built on that land, and Trump would quickly buy out his partner, Harrah’s Entertainment, and rename the casino Trump Plaza.

"Author Wayne Barrett lays out a slew of suspicious dealings and associations.
Trump Plaza’s connection to the mob didn’t end with the land purchase from Testa. Nicademo “Little Nicky” Scarfo (who became boss after the elder Testa was blown up) and his nephew Phillip “crazy Phil” Leonetti controlled two of the major construction and concrete companies in Atlantic City. Both companies, Scarf, Inc. and Nat Nat, did work on the construction of Harrah’s, according the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation’s 1986 report on organized crime," concludes Marcus.

Not coincidentally, Christie is New Jersey and literally has family connections to crime.

 It strains my credulity that Christie, with his fat ass stuffed on manicotti, has not kissed the ring of a mob boss or two. In fact, Christi complained that he looked like a mob boss in a photo on Time magazine cover.

What can one say but, "If it looks like a duck, maybe it is a duck." Does it walk like a duck?

The New York Times reports that Christie visited Tino Fumera, a mob boss and family relation, in prison. In 2002, he recused himself as New Jersey top prosecutor when Fumera was involved.  As with Trump, the connections span time. It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, and in the endorsement video, I submit it quacks like a duck.

Is it far-fetched to ask if what I shall genteelly call behind-the-scenes pressure was put on Christie to support Trump? It would not be the first time organized crime has been implicated in presidential politics. “In his 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged that the elder Kennedy eventually did meet with Giancana in Chicago, to solicit his support for JFK in the general election” (National Geographic History.
           
But the Kennedys had class and idealistic values, qualities Donald Trump lacks.

Republican Party elders are saying they have to support this Fascist meglomaniac if he wins the popular vote.  This is a deal with the Devil.  The Republican Party in Weimar Germany believed that Hindenberg was the only person who could stop Hitler from being elected. Hitler was appointed vice chancellor to Hindenberg and arrogated power to himself when Hindy died in office. Then Hitler disbanded the elected Reichstag. 

Appeasing bullies is a slippery slope to Hell. It did not turn out well for Germany or Europe the last time appeasement of a power-made lunatic was tried.

The only firewall between Trump and power at this point is the Democratic candidate. Hillary does not fill me with hope. Polls and surveys suggest she is perceived as unlikable. She  carries her own corruption baggage. As in the case of Trump, no political slime has resulted in criminal charges. But perception, not truth, is what prevails in today’s over-mediated society.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate whose stacks up in likeability to Trump's obscene reality-show posturing and charismatic strong-man bullying.

Political analysts suggest that Trump represents the authoritarian strain in US politics. No secular organization is more authoritarian than organized crime. It’s dog eat dog, kill or be killed, and Trump is a bully in the stamp of a godfather. The nouveau riche gaudy gold trappings of his vision of what success means is straight out of the Sopranos’ playbook.

America, be very scared when Trump starts offering the Republican Party a deal they are saying they can’t refuse.