All posts by Michael Winn

I am here as a consequence of something my father said to my mother that at the time they said and heard, they both believed. During my "gestation", my father's secretary happened, and on top of that, the Second World War. I'm happy to be alive. I complain about things I care about. Solutions to problems are achieved by tweaking the system, however, secular art shows why the great churches came into being...and Gaudi's gift. It is both cautionary and hopeful, tweak the system, not the content, the system.

Juan Carlos for President

Our oligarchy is led by cretins more imbecilic than the most deformed Hapsburgs.

US Senator
Senators Gleeful About Fucking the Poor Again

The U.S. film industry has achieved the epitome of banality
And lost touch completely with the art of invention.
In retrospect, the Nazis lost their war in Europe but they won it here.
It is not commercialism or television that destroyed U.S. cinema,
But Joseph McCarthy and the purge called, the Hollywood Blacklist.
In Reagan’s reign, they took over the universities, press and media,
Today, the most xenophobic of German Nazis appears intelligent
Compared to Perry, Buchanan, Gingrich or most civic leaders
Of every city, state and small town across North America.

The difference between kitsch and art is that art is political.

There’s a place for kitsch, of course, but when art is replaced with kitsch, you eventually get the 3rd Reich.

Allegory for Google Earth

Lewis Carroll wrote a story about a king whose ambition was to produce the finest map ever made and hired the world’s best mapmakers. They started with a resolution of 1″ = 1000 miles but all they got was the outline of a potato. So they went to 1″ = 100 miles, they could see locations of major places and geographic features. At 1″ =10 miles, major roads appeared. At 1″ = 1 mile, you could see the locations of particular buildings. They continued refining the resolution: 1″ to 1/4 mile, 1″ to 100′, 1″ to 10′ and finally, they produced a direct 1″ to 1″ map of the entire kingdom. Unfortunately, when they unrolled it, the kingdom disappeared.

Trader Joe’s Is A Cult

Or, if not a cult, an infestation by an alien nation, cone heads in disguise, perhaps, or subterraneans that plan to take over our food supply first and then dine on our corpses. Trader Joe’s is hidden within a larger cult, which by the way is not above suspicion, the cult of the gainfully employed, which, though larger than any of its sub-distinctions (such as IBM, Sony or Geico), is still but a smallish piece of the current human pie.

Why do I suspect this? To begin with, although, I encounter people in businesses, whom I presume to be gainfully employed (like the cops who ride around in black and white automobiles, dodging behind dark glasses, or the counter people at Vons or Walmart, who are among the first to claim they are if anything, just barely employed), I have not one solitary friend who receives salary or wages. Of course, there are the illiterate crop pickers who live next door, an extended family of several dozen souls, who work in the fields for cash but these people are not even counted in census data, let alone numbered among the employed vs. unemployed in statistics the government hands out daily. Yes, there is my son-in-law, who, although he wears the uniform of the Southwest Airlines cult, I have harbored certain suspicions about since the day we met.

You may be thinking, why Trader Joe’s as the subject of this diatribe? Why not Channel 10 or the Disney Channel or Disney World, for that matter? Why not Wells Fargo Bank, for instance, as predatory an institution as ever clothed itself in button-down oxford shirts and predictably pompous logos? Yes, why? For no good reason except for the innocuous appearing sameness of the help at Trader Joe’s, not only because they dress as much alike in their own way as do the employees of the bank, but also, they wear the same kind of haircut, speak English with similar accents and they are seamlessly middle-class, preponderantly American Caucasians. They all give the same answers to the same questions, and are likely to say to you, without reason or provocation, “are you finding everything OK?” After hearing this question repeated more than as many times as I’ve been in the store, which I visit at least once each week, I have begun to wonder what they mean by it. Is it a question about my state of mind, a philosophical inquiry or perhaps they view customers like distracted cattle in a herd, who have forgotten that their primary purpose in being in the field is to graze? What are they thinking? Perhaps, they are not thinking. Are they as much robotic as they appear to be and act?

With the state of the economy and all, isn’t there a possibility that, surreptitiously, human beings are being replaced by life-like robots that are much less expensive to maintain and far more dependable than any human beings and that this is the reason why there are no jobs? It seems far-fetched but it isn’t out of fear of imminent danger that this question arises. What possible difference could it make to me if human beings are reduced to a robotic existence to stock shelves of organic produce at Trader Joe’s or if they are robots? Food prices could be lower in the latter case, an improvement since I live primarily on social security. Do I care if a robot helps me find my seat on an airplane, given that the plane is operated by a computer? This could also be happier for me than with my son-in-law’s help. But a cult is another matter. You can never say what might happen with a cult. Look at Yale and the Bush buddies and Wall Street, for instance—total mayhem.

Syriana: Another Screwball Comedy

Can we study the effects of cinema on individuals or culture? Such a study requires an assessment of individuals and a society both before and an analysis of the subject of the study for an extended period after a particular film is viewed. Although, this may seem a difficult task, it is an enlightening way to describe what happens in our brains when we expose it to any kind of media, so, why not cinema?

Recently, I viewed Oliveira’s Belle Toujours, Jacque Breckers’ Touchez Pas Au Grisbi and an American screwball comedy called, Syriana. The choice was random—I picked up a dozen DVDs at the public library in San Luis Obispo to see what I hadn’t seen or don’t remember and at home, these three films drew my attention first. Isn’t that the way life is? Who chooses the films producers decide to make or that exhibitors show? Because of the phenomenon described in the opening statement above, I viewed these films in light of each other, and although I saw them consecutively, the timeframe allowed me to hold them all in focus, simultaneously. This is critical for otherwise, biases from the bombardment of conditioning disguised as news, etc., would likely have prevented me from seeing how and why Syriana is a screwball comedy even though it’s makers were in absolute earnest in thinking they were “making a difference”. Have they?

Manoel de Oliveira drew some useful distinctions between film, theater and literature: his first premise is that each of them employs the total range of art, using words, sounds, images and, music. His distinction between theater and cinema is enlightening; actors in the theater are part of the experience as they present their characters, while in cinema, the actor is not present, he is a phantom, there is only the image of the character. Literature, he said, is a private medium vs. the public nature of cinema and theater and Oliveira said he admired Luis Buñuel for the respect he showed for the private nature of experience.

I watched Belle Toujours last and Grisbi first with Syriana stuck in the middle like the round of baguette taken between flights at a wine tasting and though, I reviewed a few scenes in Grisbi out of curiosity about framing, sequence and camera, I was compelled to watch Toujours twice and not just because Oliveira’s comments in an interview on the DVD aroused my curiosity. I also viewed interviews of Clooney, Gaghan and Damon and Ventura, Gabin and Truffaud on the DVDs of the other films. (Only Oliveira’s comments were more than anecdotal or promotional, i.e., they are substantive.) I had to watch Toujours again for the same reason I find it hard to take my eyes off a beautiful Vermeer or a woman I find attractive, for that matter. Something in my brain seeks to know qualities about which my mind has not the resolution to distinguish. There, you have it.

Revelation: Unity in Diversity

Admittedly, the description of civilization, below, is like a single layer of understanding about relationships over four dimensions but the extrapolation describes a context in which principles can be applied to national and international “events” so they may be acted upon effectively. Without this simplification, the effect of the plethora of broadcast, press and internet information, although it may be described as mere data, shapes our perceptions according to the will of its source: often organs of government or corporations, and serves the purposes of the source, appropriate to an agenda and needs of a hegemony. Information we receive, when not directly shaped by such an agenda, is often in reaction or response to the agendi and this has an even stronger effect since, by opposing artificial constructions, we give them weight and make them seem more real.

Independent of self-serving agendi of content producers, information from science and philosophy pecks around the edges of that which may possibly be known and, as often as not, stumbles upon something not previously known to be possible and which, previous to revelation, wasn’t exactly inconceivable, just not imagined. The boundary between the inconceivable and the unrecognized is vagrant since our perceptions are shaped by expectations and by subliminal mechanisms operating on stumuli within the brain. In this century, understanding about both the brain and media technology increases our ability to shape audience expectations and recognition and thereby, to enable widespread conceptualization of the inconceivable and it doesn’t matter whether it is based on reality or imaginary ideas, giving opportunity to enhance both superstition and potentially useful views of nature and culture. Albert Einstein is frequently quoted about this:

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it…The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education…The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination…We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them…The only real valuable thing is intuition…There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there…The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion…”

Dispensing with the “natural” history of human social habits (pardon the redundancy) to focus on effective political action in the modern context[1], it is revelatory to see that the context in which political action is seen and occurs determines the outcome and this in turn reveals how and why the context, which media confers by implication on its content has been rendering political action on global as well as local issues, literally, impotent.

If we understand that civilization is the appropriate context in which to weigh political acts relevant to global issues, principles beyond negotiation of interests of hegemonies emerge. Civilization, as a contextual term, distinguishes the whole of social organization over time and without limitation. The distinction, civilization, is historical and refers to a unity beyond geographic or political boundaries, nor is it defined by ethnicity, religious belief, nor the linguistic, cultural, legal, technological, economic or familial structures that define levels of social organization. Civilization includes the totality of it all. Relevant political action regarding global issues must be in the context of civilization.

The parameters of civilization are changed by observation—in the moment any individual becomes aware of a planet circling a star 600 light years distant from Earth, the bounds of civilization expand to include it. Every event or act and thing belongs to civilization and it is possible to distinguish concepts and ideas that inform our understanding of who we are individually and severally, related to historical global effects rather than to myths and beliefs about them, which, historically, are superficial and irrelevant.

For instance, the regime that murdered Allende and Neruda, though attributed in current popular myth to the Chilean dictator, Auguste Pinochet, in the context of our civilization was done by the same regime that killed Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers. Real interactions of international interests, including the funding of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the use of those funds and paramilitary activities within the United States and all of Latin America were involved in these murders and their cover up. It is useful to understand such events in the context in which they actually occur, while not doing so promulgates confusion and sustains universal ignorance and resignation.

When we view macro effects of our civilization in real time, we can see the mechanisms and social structures that led to conditions such as, global warming, outside the paradigm in which we normally talk about and describe them, where effective action is impossible, and where we are led to a kind of impotent drama, which media ironically calls, “protest”.

Viewing civilization as the only relevant context for political action is consistent with economic realities but we are presently conditioned by media, public education and social networks to view local, national and ethnic social organizations in a way that deifies the existing hierarchy of hegemonies negotiated between beneficiaries of both geographic localities, states and regions and corporate entities in a traditional, tribal fashion. The territorial domains of drug cartels exemplify this but it may also be seen in the music and film industries and in elemental fashion in the energy and oil industries and in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Russia and Saudi and bureaucracies throughout the United States and Europe. Our acceptance of this view at local levels, in academia, and so on, makes it impossible to see, let alone act effectively in the broadest domain of international action, and this allows an informal global regime with tribal values to flourish such that we can’t address critical issues of environmental degradation, global warming, over population, extreme poverty, injustice, ignorance, violence and disease, and these are but side effects of an international social order outside the rules of influence that negates individual will and can and does routinely kill effective initiative that opposes it, with impunity.

Empowering individual will means enabling individuals to act in concert together. History shows a constant negotiation of the rights and interests of the many vs. the powerful few, in which the many are occasionally organized ad hoc, while the few are persistently well-organized in tight, defensible hegemonies in hierarchic structures. The problem that prevents progress is that ad hoc organizations that oppose the will of established hegemonies may be defined as revolutionary conspiracies and suppressed. This has been screamingly obvious in the streets of Libya, Syria, Egypt and in the responses of police to the Occupy movement throughout the United States.

Each hegemony is a constituent part of the global hierarchy and a micro-social organism within civilization, composed of individuals who work together (legally) to maintain, defend and expand their hegemony. But the global regime that results from negotiations of hierarchic order supersedes laws that govern lower levels, while it mirrors principles of hierarchic authority, adhering to the same precepts, having the same tribal values with superficial differences, for instance, there are regional hegemonies that bear names like, China, Mexico, Europe and United States, that are organized around written laws of order, while the relationship between individuals and corporate bodies at the meta-level are not defined in code of law but in terms of effect, they are tribal and not ambiguous.

The global regime’s lack of definition disguises the strength of their inter-relationships, which are not based on ethnic, geographic or political boundaries since differences that characterize hierarchies at lower levels are irrelevant to the regime. At the global level of civilization, members of the regime are defined by their ability to exercise economic power. Those who understand this may gain temporal advantage up to a point determined by the hierarchy on which they are pegged. For instance, computer-assisted data mining could be orchestrated to create the “credit” industry as well as a complimentary set of mechanisms to exact taxation in support of cooperating levels of hegemony within a state in which enterprises are symbiotic with established hegemonies. However, political action must progress beyond the hierarchies of tribe-like hegemonies to solve global problems. Archaic terms, such as, socialist vs. capitalist, secular vs. religious, democratic vs. autocratic, conservative vs. progressive are useless to understand and discuss effective political action in the context of civilization, yet these terms are still the heart of academic political science curricula. Effective global action must occur in the presence of diverse existing geopolitical identities, ethnic and cultural differences and economic practices and requires that we be undifferentiated from each other outside the hegemonies of established political orders in a context that filters out irrelevant biases and xenophobia. Because we are conditioned to honor the reality of geopolitical hegemonies, current political processes, such as, the Occupy activism seem relevant, while, as with all previous forms of revolution, including those we see now in the middle-east, they are ineffective over time in the global context because the ad hoc political organizations evaporate, while the regimen persists, supported by bureaucratic organizations and their local, internal relationships. There is no practical way of undoing this. The Nazis tried with murderous conviction to upset the balance and after the war ended, their bureaucracy reassembled itself, minus the Jews, and plodded on.

The question is how to empower individuals to combine in joint action that avoids the reconstitution of hegemony that otherwise resumes after protest and revolution. While, it is true that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them,” if  “the only real valuable thing is intuition”, the problem requires new, intuitional thinking, and in this case, intuition suggests that global problems can only be solved in a global context and since all politics is local, that context must unite the two.

In 2007, just before I left Del Mar, I began to describe an implementation of advanced technology that may have the potential of allowing civilization to address global issues through solving some local problems. Before describing this approach, it is important to describe a more complete image of the problem and context, in particular, these notions: 1) All politics is local. 2) Bureaucracy. 3) Commerce.


[1] The reader is advised to look into Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1992, Ann Druyan & Carl Sagan

Tom Flies His Colors

They're Buying Everything Here

“It’s not the ones that come here to work the fields, it’s the ones that come and stay that are the problem.”

“What?”

“The damn Mexicans.”

“You mean those people over there that live next to me—and half the people who live in this park?” (Highway Trailer Park, Santa Maria, CA)

“I guess so.”

“Why? What problem?”

“They come here for the schools, the medical care, cars—they can’t get all that stuff in Mexico. The ones ‘come here and go back home are OK. It’s the one’s that stay that are bad news.”

“Oh. Because they get the benefits they don’t pay for?”

“Hell, yes! They get paid in cash. They send the money home. They ain’t payin’ taxes!”

“What about all the stuff they buy here…”

“An’ that’s another thing! All these stores around here are owned by Indians ‘n such. I don’t mean natives, I mean Indians from India.”

“Iraqui’s own the market next door.”

“Them, too! And Asians, too! Pakistanis! They’ve been buying up everything around here for years. You know the Ocean Cliffs Hotel in Pismo? A friend who used to own the place told me that one day, a realtor came by and asked him if he wanted to sell. My friend said, no, and the realtor said, how much would you sell it for if you were offered enough? The guy told him. A couple weeks later, a half dozen little Japenese guys came walking up carrying bags—you know suit cases.” Tom is a big man and his imitation of the nodding steps of a little Japanese businessman lugging a suitcase and looking around was implausibly characteristic. “My friend invited them into the office and they opened the suitcases that were filled with money—three times the amount he told the realtor and my friend said he’d told the realtor $15 million. Fuck, yeah, he sold out, fast! I would.”

“That’s a lot of cash.”

“They’re laundering the money up here. Same way with scrap I take down to LA every week.” Tom’s the manager here at Highway Trailer Park and he parks a big white Freightliner semi, sometimes it’s in the park and at other times on Bunny Street near the entrance. Early every Wednesday morning, he fires it up and takes it down to LA with it’s open container full of scrap metal he collects from scrap dealers in the area. “They pay in cash,” he says, “Japanese company. Every week I come back with loads of cash—six, eight, sometimes over twenty thousand dollars.”

“I would have thought something like that, they’d have to be more careful.”

“Hah! Like anyone’s watching. They’re laundering money just like the guys where I pick up the scrap! Nobody reports nothing.”

 

 

 

 

 

Kitsch, Science and Art

Yesterday, at a concert I attended in San Luis Obispo, I had a conversation with a computer sciences student at Cal Poly. Picture this scene: a smallish venue of modern design, excellent acoustics, 400 theater seats comfortably upholstered in faux deep vermillion, about 250 well-dressed people of all ages and a smattering of students in shorts and jeans. The Calder quartet brilliantly performed a Beethoven “Razumovsky” (Op. 59), Mozart’s “Dissonance” (K. 465) and an exciting piece by, Jacob Ter Veldhuis, titled, There Must Be Some Way Out of Here (Q. #3), a composition based on a song by Bob Dylan in the manner of Schubert (the program explained).

D., the computer scientist, is also a viola virtuoso and I know a little about computers (McGraw Hill published a book I wrote on the subject) and I’m studying composition. D. explained that because the current state of the art of computer science is moving so rapidly, students learn to adapt and create rather than learning specific programs. We laughed about the implications of Unix and the unpredictable nature of artificial neural nets and I told him about R. P.’s Galatea 2.2 and the remarkable assumptions from 4-byte genetic code.
At the Art Academy University in San Francisco, where I’m a rare artifact, a token artist, the mindset is to teach students how things are done. In truth, they are being taught how things were being done just within the last decade or two. Only cursory attention is paid to the legacy of any tradition and the primary focus is on technique, which, since classes are taught by “professionals” who worked with software and ideas that are or are about to become obsolete, is already passé. Even the relatively recent past is hidden because teachers are a product of a similar education who learned just enough to find employment before their knowledge became irrelevant. When it comes to anything wider or deeper than their niche, they are possessed of bizarre conceptualizations of history such that, when confronted with an extraordinary work by Renoir, they go blank.

It seems extraordinary that in the arts, which are supposed to epitomize the creative and revolutionize our views of the world, we have become less interested in the innovative than those on the leading edge of science. Science has no other choice–it must create and innovate. Art may do so merely out of curiosity, joy and love but unlike science, art can fall silent and just make cheap copies.
“The God of the scientists, one is tempted to suggest, created man in his own image and put him into the world with only one Commandment: Now try to figure out by yourself how all this was done and how it works. …”

Dr. Hannah Arendt, Life of The Mind

Holy New Cuyama, Batman!

Lance, the proprietor of the upmarket vacuum cleaner store told me about New Cuyama but he didn’t seem to know much about old Cuyama ‘cept that it was there first, when Atlantic Richfield plunked down a bunch of manufactured houses for their oilfield workers before, Lance said, the federal government shut Arco down but when I questioned him for specifics he retreated to, that they skimmed the oil off the top of the field and the rest of it was too costly to get, for now. Lance was the law in New Cuyama, when he lived there, the outpost sheriff. He’s a big enough man for the job, a big hulk of a man thick as a tree everywhere. He said New Cuyama looks like there’s nothin’ goin’ on but the place is really hoppin’ at night. He’s sure right about how the place looks. He said the water supply is what killed the place, you’d see a sheen of oil floatin’ on the water when you flushed the toilet, but it wasn’t just the oil, it was full of phosphates, too, from all the farming. Then he told me about the John Ricards family who owned 300,000 acres there on one side of the highway, recipients of a grant from King Phillip of Spain, they still owned that land. On the other side, the Russell ranch and some cattle company. Lance has been here in Santa Maria since 1976. He said that he’s a republican, in that challenging way that bible thumpers do as if daring you to say the word, “evolution”. Generally, I don’t answer such challenges unless I’m paid to, I just put on my, “is that so?” face and encourage an explanation because I’m curious to know what strange logic informs reactionary volition. The trouble with Lance’s thinking is that the only reason for his being a “dyed in the wool republican” was actually a reason for not being a democrat. But I didn’t want to try this out on him, ‘least until I find out more about Cuyama.

About the Dog

Pulling on the thread of my troubled psyche
unwound the fabric of memory
revealing every horror
of human selfishness and
my complicity in denying love,
to hide from which, I’d invented God.

It offended God,
whose existence wasn’t my prerogative,
but amused that in my arrogance, I
blame myself for my human traits,
God left me with these memories that unravel…

…then the Buddha came to visit me
along with an evangelist, a healer
and a little dog,
standing together at my door.
I kept the dog.

Loneliness of Facebook

Far more important to me than visualizing the source of music is my imagination of an audience. My image of the musician, ensemble or orchestra and the situation, whether a hall or a clearing in a forest, defines qualities of orchestration simply on the basis of tessitura and acoustic dynamics, but expression requires a relationship with a listener.

“Reading knowledge is the smell of the bookbinding paste. The crinkle of thick stock as the pages turn. Paper the color of aged ivory. Knowledge is temporal. It’s about time. You know how that goes, Engineer. Even you can remember that. ‘We can read these three pages before your sisters and brothers come home for dinner.’ … Human knowledge is social. More than stimulus-response. Knowing entails testing knowledge against others. Bumping up against them. We take in the world continuously. It presses against us. It burns and freezes.” – Richard Powers (Marcel) Galatea 2.2, p148

 

 

Occupy Who? What? Where? Politics is Local

“Look,” the bird sang, with it’s eyes on the coal black wall behind the miner’s mind, “I didn’t ask to come down here in the dark and, frankly, I owe you nothing, so listen up.”

They stand in the circle of yellow light cast by dim helmet lamps reflected into their eyes from steel bars of the cage and disappearing beyond into impenetrable darkness.

“Wall Street appeals to greed in all of us though all players get is a good feeling when we win and adrenalin shoves while we watch the roll of the dice. The house inevitably wins.”

“Fuck Wall Street!” This exclamation is followed by a rumble of snorts and foot shuffling, absorbed as quickly as light in the dead silence of hard rock and soft coal.

“Meanwhile,” continued the little yellow bird, “government, not social welfare, not defense or public works, costs more hours of your life with less in return than everything you pay for to survive taken together and the parasitic quality of government has been ignored so long in the U.S. that recipients of your largess, government employees, rather than expressing gratitude, feel entitled and demand more as if they think the carpet’s still under their feet. You think I’m making this up? Check this out:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16037798

“Law enforcement purports to protect you from each other, and so do public agencies that issue you permits and charge you fees to ensure your compliance with “code”, all tribute paid to municipal, county, state and federal agencies, and most of the cost is part of the price of everything you use or buy, whether in sales taxes or indirectly as an added cost of services and goods–the ratio of the government take has grown exponentially in the last century to become the greatest part of the cost and expense of all trade and commerce. Wall Street sucks but it’s a small part of much bigger problem.”

“Is this some more Tea Party bullshit? Why don’t you say it in plain English!”

“Welcome to the 21st century. The people at the Tea Party are government employees. They only appear to have their heads plugged into the wrong end of their bodies. They want you to think that immigrant workers who grow all our food are the problem, while the “public sector” is a euphemism for “sociopathic cult that serves it’s own needs first and foremost and eats it’s own young”. For a thousand years it’s been a standing joke in Europe and Asia that the devil is in the form of a city clerk. But n the U.S. creationists make up that the devil lives in Afghanistan and government assumes the prerogatives Catholicism enjoyed during the middle ages. “Civil service”, is double-speak for “people who say they act on behalf of the community, (whether the community likes it or not and)”. Just like their counter-parts in greed on Wall Street, their first priority is their own survival and personal advantage but unlike Wall Street, they directly manipulate public policy and shape, enable and implement the organized power of the government. They are a privileged class much more harmful and powerful than the fabled 1%. And you will notice that you mostly envy wealth, rather than being opposed to it.”

“Public agencies and sophisticated communication are a necessity for large social organizations to persist. Public servants carried out the Inquisition and the excesses of every totalitarian regime, whether branded “fascism”, “communism”, “Islamic Jihad” or the tyranny of the majority we call, “Democracy”. But if the inquisition had had the Internet and wireless communications, many many more would have suffered. Bureaucracies carried out the policies of  Caligula’s Rome, Hitler’s Third Reich, Franco’s Spain, Pinochet’s Chile and U.S. administrations at least since Teddy Roosevelt and after a climax during the banal Bush dynasty, having out-reached themselves, they are beginning a slide back down that is inevitable. In the past, when leaders are deposed or punished for crimes against humanity, the bureaucrats who profit by orchestrating and implementing their crimes are not held accountable and bureaucracies endure from regime to regime like rocks that stand impervious on eroded desert plains.”

“But if it’s hopeless…why waste your breath and our time?”

“It’s not hopeless unless you don’t see the forest for the trees. You live in a society in which the young are deluded into worshiping their ignorance and the mature work in servility towards imagined retirement that turns out to equal irrelevance as the next ignorant generation takes the stage in a new version of the same frenetic, clumsy dances. The young follow hormonal imperatives, prodded by technologically enhanced verisimilitude in suggestive graphics, banal music and alluring fashion. The old bumble around in the current form of confusion, their minds hazy with prescription drugs. Generations of people who aspire only to ignore the past achieve prominence in academic institutions where they teach a curriculum in which form is without substance. You grow up to find you are lost on a planet in the void of space and in the dark of ignorance and like Sisyphus, you are resigned to eternally push the stone of your life up the hill and follow it down again. Your parents watched the downfall of liberty, they did their best to survive in a less than perfect world. You are afraid to think about it.”

“What good does it do to blame clerks and the obese ladies at the DMV, they’re just trying to get by like we all are here…” “But we’re not getting by, we’re falling apart!”

“But why blame Wall Street and exempt civil service from accountability, when the political activism of the public sector costs more? The number of voters working on Wall Street is small. Who do you think is voting for republicans? Who controls the press and media in your hometown? Not Wall Street. Who holds hostage every cause, no matter how crucial to the network of your local ecology? Not Wall Street. What is the largest and most influential sect that operates across every jurisdictional border?”

“Who supported the war in Viet Nam? Not Wall Street. The public sector set processes in motion that led to WWII and the bombing of the World Trade Towers and following that, the diversion of resources into militarization of policing at every level, restrictions of personal freedom far exceeding the wildest xenophobic dreams of Nixon and McCarthy.”

“English! Who is Nixon? What McCarthy? Talk English, goddamit!”

“Thirty years after public sector lobbying increased costs that led to public schools abandoning arts, history and humanities to save money and conservative school boards they helped elect influenced textbooks and curriculum so that U.S. history has been rewritten to glorify a repugnant national heritage of racist genocide and the product of these schools in the form of park rangers, prison guards and beach lifeguards walk around with pepper spray, batons and guns in their belts, prepared for their jobs by a GED, 3 months of quasi-military training and a suspicious attitude toward their neighbors and it’s a federal crime to “interfere with” the work of any kind of government employee. Any paranoid postman can effectively accuse anyone they don’t like of sabotage. What is the meaning of “sociopath” when civil servants are predators?”

“1) Sociopaths have no conscience.  Hence, 2) Sociopaths cannot feel guilt nor remorse…Successful Sociopaths are almost invisible, because they learn how to hide their lack of conscience so well as they gravitate to positions of power and control, like a moth drawn to a flame, such as becoming heads of organizations, corporate CEOs, elected officials, husbands, wives, lawyers or judges.” (Dr Martha Stout:  The Sociopath Next Door)

 

“Somebody shut the damn thing up, it’s depressing.”

“Yes, kill the messenger! Look at you, imprisoned in a cavern of your own ignorance. Was it always this way? Is this the way the world was supposed to end–not “with [this] bang but with [this] whimper”? Or was T.S. Elliot speaking of something else?”

“Did he say, idiot?” “No, he said, Elliot.” “Elliot Roosevelt?”

“While you grind your rocks in the dark and breathe the dust of coal and petro-chemicals and your own remains, bearing diseases that carry away your loved ones, notice that, it isn’t the 1% who claim to own the wealth of the world but the 20% who back that claim that accounts for the largest organized sector of voters in the U.S., a block composed of interlocking unions and associations that crosses all jurisdictional boundaries and this sect uses their collective political power to decide policies that use and limit your life.”

“I don’t see that.” “How?”

“They operate in plain view, assuming that things are the way things are supposed to be. They are not unlike those who play for larger stakes on Wall Street in this regard. But, who is it that can kill a local politician in the local press and in the gossip networks of precincts, churches, bingo parlors and other micro community organizations as well? Not Wall Street. What local organizations contribute tens of millions to powerful national PACs that they control? Not Wall Street. What political group uses local police and magistrates to intimidate and even kill their opponents? Not Wall Street. Local organizations of public sector employees, stiffened with military training, intelligence and arms, thanks to so called, Homeland Security, brooks no dissent from that which they see is in their interest, regardless of the impact on others. They will pepper spray your grand parents and your infant children. On average they are poorly educated and not that bright to begin with. They prefer the security offered by a place in an authoritarian regime to the risks of freedom. They most resemble politburos in the communist party of the Soviet Union and they are backed by a press and media that is no less subverted than Pravda by decades of incestuous relationships between local officials and the ownership of the press. They can get a reporter or editor canned even quicker than a politician.”

“Somebody has to run the government!”

“The point is equity not elimination. Their jobs contribute little to general well-being but the political power they have acquired in the last few decades has tipped the balance because it allows then to skim the income of the poorest of the poor with impunity, exacting tribute in the form of  vehicle registration, fees, fines and permits, including outrageous “traffic courts” that can now jail people for debts over so-called, “infractions” of their “rules”, depriving families of their livelihood in the name of justice.”

“They didn’t export our jobs!”

“No but they elected representatives who couldn’t care less about you or your jobs. They bankrupted social security, your safety net, not only by bankrupting the treasuries of states and local governments but also, by manipulating legislators to grant the civil service retirement and medical benefits exclusive of social security and Medicare, regardless that there were no revenues to pay for them and they leave you holding the bag and they have no idea that these acts of selfish greed were wrong , they are unrepentent and wailing like banshees when they are told there is no going forward unless they give some of it back: the outcome when governments are bankrupt.

“They didn’t cause the home foreclosures. The banks did that!”

“No but they supervised the deregulation of the saving and loan associations that removed the protections that would have prevented the bank excesses. You didn’t notice this deregulation of the banks under Reagan or the significance of Congress setting the civil service up with their own safety net, independent of social security for the rest of the workforce and their families. It was ignored by local press and media.”

“The public sector depleted state and municipal treasuries to fund their own entitlement programs and then, with a pretense of funding work the money was to supposed to cover, associations of government officials, primarily the national, state and regional chapters of the so-called, League of Cities, promulgated ubiquitous adoption of clever new forms of revenue: state and municipal bonds, projected to be paid off by growing future populations based on increases in future taxes, a funding mechanism which made growth imperative, regardless of the effect on ecological systems or the dangers to which those larger populations, as in New Orleans, are exposed. The League also sponsors literal volumes of costly new regulations, fees and fines levied at every jurisdictional level by means of which these jurisdictions project imagined revenues to pay off bonds, the effect of which is to deplete the potential reserves of the communities they are supposed to serve and place the greatest burden on the poorest of the poor and the middle-class. Since borrowing capacity for bond sales is based on a projection of population growth the relationship between the civil service and those they are supposed to serve became like that of the herder to the herd.”

“While you “progressives” grind your teeth about Wall Street and rank and file republicans blame “democratic policies”, it is the civil servants in nonpolitical offices, for instance, the departments of transportation, medicare, social services, motor vehicles, superior courts, public works, agriculture, etc., who through their political organizations, promulgate the regulations that are their meal ticket. They are neutral about sustaining anything beyond their own livelihood that depends on regulating the commerce off which they feed. The departments of housing, energy, insurance, finance, industry, agriculture, telecommunications, forestry and so on, are staffed by the same folks who work in their respective private industry organizations. Nurturing sustainable communities would interfere with the undeclared commitment of those who work in these agencies to serve their own advantage just as they do when they work in the private sector. Look into the records of the boards of your local government and you will see how associations of government employees promote the ubiquitous adoption of municipal ordinances across city, county and state boundaries that allow them to put a bite on every kind of commerce, recreation and even survival. They are like the fabled trolls that waylay travelers everywhere. In Oregon, for instance, they proudly crow that the public owns the coastline, while they have exclusive control of access to the coast, for which they charge tolls and they clearcut forests to support the Oregon Department of Education. And you want to occupy Wall Street.”

“One thing at a time, down with Wall Street!”

“What will change as a result of protesting the behavior in the banking community? Why does the press marginalize it? The attention on Wall Street hides the real problem as well as the faceless conservatives behind it: people like you, who drink beer and watch NFL games, who sit in the pew behind you, who could be your parents, children, lovers and neighbors, who, in the privacy of the polling place, support the Bushes, Palins, Perrys, Gingrich and programs like Reagan’s “war on drugs” (especially the drug war from which the public sector earns far more each year than all the drug lords combined, not only from funding of police at every jurisdictional level, but also, courts and prisons and by manipulating the spending priorities of all communities.)”

“So what, if there’s nothing we can do?”

“The irony is that this is the only thing you can do something about. Despite the mind-numbing constant babble on the TV and Internet, political action is still local. People don’t vote their conscience, it’s not even clear that people have a conscience and if they do it’s corrupt by the time their old enough to vote–that’s possibly why there’s a voting age limit. People vote the way others, whom they know and respect tell them to vote. You are only effective on the local level and this is where your action is needed. You need to wrest control of your local press and media from the hands of public officials.”

“While, you are told that the Internet, television and national campaigns are important, the reality is that all politics is local. You are foolish to be silent while you are led by the nose in your local press and media to ignore local politics and to view political action as if it was mostly a national issue, while the place you can effectively act is on the policies enacted in your local board by locally elected officials. This is where you can do some good, in your churches, school boards and city councils.”

“Networks of local, county, state and national employees have done more damage to every state, city and county government in America and it is far more costly damage than seen in the most malfeasant financial organizations and you are letting them do it. The damage done in your name by the Department of  Homeland Security (neé Defense, neé War–the ladies and gentlemen of the Pentagon) is unimaginable.”

“‘Public sector’ is a euphemism for ‘conservative’, the theme of which philosophy amounts to ignore the future and anyone or anything that isn’t at the table or able to defend itself. Is it not enough to see that agents of public interest bankrupted your social security reserves; first the reserves and and then forecast revenue, to finance development of munitions and military adventures, up to and including the backing and supplying of regimes like Bin Ladin’s, Gadaffi’s, Hussein’s, Assad’s, even Pinochet’s, et al? (The CIA is their market research and development department.)”

“What do you propose we should do?”

“Get out of the cave of your own ignorance and take a good look into who is running your hometown. You’ll find they’re a relatively stupid lot who will pretend to be ignorant and then wave a flag in your face, while they send for the pepper spray.”

“The conservative view may seem merely stupid but it is deliberately short-sighted because a wider frame exposes their game, your consideration of which can’t benefit them. They have been winning in the zero sum game called, “growth”.  They are happy to see you focus on the 1% skimmers, while the 20%, who run the show in your hometown fly under the radar. They are willing to be characterized as merely stupid as if this means they aren’t responsible. Bureaucrats knew what they were doing at Aushcwitz and when they bombed nearly the entire population of Antwerp into eternity. Volitional arrogant stupidity is the hallmark of men and women like Rumsfeld, Bush, Nixon, Cheney and Perry. They see the ultimate consequences and they care only about their agenda. They lie with impunity and pepper spray the eyes of your children who peacefully protest. They will kill you or your elected president or spiritual leader if they feel their objectives are threatened.”

“Wake up! We’re playing in a zero-sum game in which, when anyone gains, someone else must lose. Members of the civil service unions and the associations of “peace officers” who benefited from the rape of local treasuries knew this and would still be getting away with it but they did not expect that private gaming of the mortgage, banking and insurance businesses would cause the house of cards to fall and along with it, the bond market. They are happy to direct your attention there.”

“They are just trying to survive in a less than perfect world.”

The burden of this joke falls unconstrained as it did once in Berlin in the 193os. What happens when incomes don’t change and prices rise as a result of printing money?

“Can we sell it?”

“Sell what”

“Schadenfreud?