Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Congenidal-Speak #64

I can't believe I have to tell anyone this, but Trump IS NOT GOD. He is not above the law, and in sporadic trickles, his crack staff is dissenting from his reign of insanity, ignoring his heartless mandates. Into the mainstream of Democratic politics has drifted the demand to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Pressure by demonstrators has be put on Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen. She kow-tows to Trump, telling bold faced lies to the American people, an act that hasn't gotten this much air-time since Vietnam. The ICE men and women are finally coming forth. They, in sections, are liquefying, breaking away, wanting nothing to do with the maliciousness of his policies. Trees fathom the forest. It's seen and rejected at last. There are outcroppings in this administration, especially in light of the immigration policy, that don't want to be complicit with policies as immoral as the interment of Japanese during WWII. Nineteen agents within a HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) unit requested, in a letter, that ICE be broken, that they not be asked to participate in the indefinite detaining or separation of families seeking asylum at our southern border. They contend that being asked to do so is interfering with more fundamental aspects of their job.

Mending the fence

An Arizona rancher, a white male, believes that a wall is imperative. It is needed not only to keep out immigrants, but also animals such as fox and coyotes. Go figure. In El Passo, a woman of some color, possibly well-tanned, concerned only with marauding critters, sides with a fence, maybe heavier border patrol, but definitely not a wall. A New York Times report estimates a wall will cost 70 billion and 150 million annually to maintain. A wall along the southern border is NOT going to happen. It stands little chance of erection because, the budget may be blown from the cost ($2,000 per person per day) of the current policy of immigration. Also, contrary to Trump's red meat scenario, Mexico—even more so with this new president—will NEVER pay for a wall. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, a wall—or the presumption of one—is a ready piece of red meat, reliable, tendered, irretrievable, for Trump to throw to his base. It is a herring, a perfect metaphor to enhance his immigrant problem and closet racism.

If a wall is ever built, a major bargaining chip will be lost to keep the Trump sheep at bay. It is an existential relationship. The, now almost mythical, promise of a wall is a grandstanding center-piece of Trump's maintaining himself as a sham of a president. And what would be the future of a wall? More evasive actions, border crossings, commerce? GPR (ground penetrating radar) is finite. With a maximum depth of 100', with variants hinging on the minerals involved, a wall finds new parameters. I time, over years of collective human intellect and resourcefulness, like in Berlin, Vietnam, or the intricate series of tunnels and mazes built at the back of speakeasys during prohibition, I can see many deep tunnels under the wall making the transport of ANYTHING into the U.S. becoming much easier. Future generations of Mexicans, Guatemalans, Colombians will be thanking Donald Trump, his bigotry, and his paranoia.

There is karma. Bush is said to have created networks for Al-quida, for ISIS by stirring the tempest Iraq. Could it be that Trump could be writing the future of the kids he's traumatizing, stirring up, ala Bush? Perhaps like the many Vietnam Veterans who took home lasting scars, turning them prone to violence, these kids will grow up—and the irony should be clear—angry and unloved, fearful and untrusting. They will fall into a gang, perhaps MS-13, who actually germinate mostly in America, on the east and west coasts.

A higher power

Drug trafficking into the U.S., according to the CBP (Customs and Border Protection), saw a sharp increase in apprehensions between 2012 and 2015. The number of traffickers arrested rose from 364,768 to almost half a million. The bulk of the drugs, massive amount of cocaine and tons of marijuana, are coming into the U.S. from the southern border. However, drugs like Ecstasy come from the North, small amounts of methamphetamine, and a dash of cocaine. Drugs enter on the western border. They're coming in on the East. Trump is surrounded and he is taking it out on families. He is a racist and anyone loyal to him, complicit to his demagoguery, is racist by proxy.

The real deal

Mexico does not produce cocaine. The drug cartels move Colombian grown cocaine through South America, Central America, on the way to North America. On the way, innocent bystanders are either collateral damage, they become mules, or trek to America seeking asylum, fleeing a fairly certain death. They flee torture, rape, gang violence, or the forcible rectal insertions of condoms full of cocaine. The cartels are larger than Trump, but no one will ever eclipse an ego that size. America has been at war with drugs since Nixon. It is an industry enmeshed, co-dependent of America, with the voracity of the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or firearms. Slowly, states are seeing through the haze, though the pot clouds that filled coffee houses during the Beat generation, and removing the criminal component from the equation. If administered in equal doses, ultimately eliminating demand for drugs in America, the cartels will dry up, or find other buyers. Maybe, if drugs were sold on the free market, subject to tax—or even tariff—one day, time would buoy Central America's economy and make coming to America less of an attraction.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

congenial poetry #7

       The incident, an opportunity for poetry, availed itself to me in the aftermath of Howl, the Ginsberg collection of fluid imagery and social commentary on the reaction to having ones toes stepped on . It kind of put me in mind of a running forecast of America, where it's been and where it  will go, insinuating the common notion that its course, generally, is pre-determined. America cycles itself with such subliminal finesse it goes unnoticed and we think change is occurring decade to decade. I was reading a book called The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. It suggested that, among many things, the image of the abused, perhaps spat upon, veteran was used by H.W. Bush in the late 80s to get public support for his Gulf War. At least five successive wars were supported by their predecessor. America is amused, and people die over decades to provide that amusement, that sublimated passive-aggressive manipulation. Presidents, congressman heed the call, casting motives for their own agendas:



Amusement





by Michael Amram


Each generation is a symphony


of reasons, its motives to write its mortality


the unique ability to codify its seasons


wading past muck, sucked sound raking war for


opposition it generates, paranoia for seeds of


propaganda it promulgates; the sequestered


cage rattles and rages, it's set out with bleachers


for sons' prodigy, set out to carry their destinies, to wager


on scores like the twenty-first centurions,


paralyzed gladiators with opposable thumbs,


figure-headed charlatans with transparencies;


growing swaths of wind amusing climatology


nursing skeptics, foes of syndicated serenity


copious cataclysmic kleptocratic telepathy to


transfix Atlantic currency, bowing


sycophants to Bolsheviks and dictatorial


Tudor mansion pupae, hatching them,


papier-mâché cocoons wrap in gossamer and feels


of Guccifer butterflys in ointments for democracy,





and generations learn to hear a tympani,


what drives the fife, the drum beaten too long


aisles of dichotomous origin end along the seams


the concerted refuse of ages of betrayal


of the pre-fucked, baked-in-cake portrayals


of discoveries in litigation, dictated stenographic


imaginations and bulbous-balled parasites


feeding upon UN-dead presidents, a massage of toupee


tenderness, spots that can't exist, learn, or expire


alone, can't conspire to obstruct a next generation's


shot at legitimate government or the


chance to get ahead, or just break even like the


angelic types who accept it all, shove words


down God's throat as though it were their own, kneeling


to genuflect toward heaven's stairs, looking toward


Mecca, proctoring prayers, divulging rudimentary Sabbath


brain-pan coterie, simple inseminated scripts


for genial puns of potpourri, leafleted parchments of text


lauding disparate, vociferous candidates


enthused with the scents and drinking in their oils




Each generation's home grown war,


each decade's debate destined to proliferate


each narrative willing to conflate


like individual lessons that conspires, weans


itself free to conjugate conversation


to the future in tense, leaving the past alone


in commiserate soulfully apparitions of


a glass that's empty as halves full with sounds


of WI-fi hash-tag hieroglyphics on cave


walls in the South of France where naked


options fester and pocket protesters


are not obscene to wear, forgot like clickish


sounds of ball-point pens, eliciting traces


of Pavlovian salivants marked for doves standing


with pigeoned toes, the fluid flow best fights


drifts in wind's gusted blows, caught dust of gilded


tribes of civility, a phalanx shielded by the


might in military, their book-ended, all their storied


sounds to worry right, scared to shine


a sliver of light on hypocrisy, hawking


hackneyed words of an ostracized dove


left calling for alternatives to war's ornithology





Each generation gets a prop up


doll, a marionette of its incarnate, martyrs


that wear thin the silk sleeves of


billowing pirate shirts, the mandated


blouses buccaneers past had


commissioned, crows' nest lackeys said


to have spat at legends, antitheses


of myths to fathom, recreating the initial


crimes, abrogation to resurrect


the deadened zombie veterans recanting


their pledge every day, stories war


doesn't hear, its lies to falls in rice dikes and


US jails, its guilt My Son left through


hails to hymns in lieu of Bill, of company


C who lost themselves to leave


M-16 grave markers where all the flowers


went, the missed thatching of huts


where young men raped and burned with


nary a distant repent in their eyes;





Each generation won't see, won't


hear, its enemy, acronyms intentionally


led askew for truths, halves, or


the omniscience construed alternate fact,


the truth's built from scratch, from


tar-paper and mortar shot-gun shacks, a kind


of PTSD that sews the seedlings of belligerence


old sods of foreign wars, of ISIS, KKK, Nazis


all domestic terrorists, and Lee leaves


a cue, and the Confederacy becomes a statue, for


treason of traitors in paralyzed, diseased


family trees, the sons of Civil War, of conscription


and commutation, of the “rich man's war


and poor man's fight,” immortal cliques sound under


whiter sheets that terrorized blacks and white


southern vets who opposed the war, they find


the weak links, the one who won't get


the alternative facts, who thinks outside, hears


without boxed in ears, the vets who


see a world that exudes their peers' dissonance





Each generation must bear a cross


resembling prior crucified fixated fools


for hire, burning crosses so their


flames will rise incrementally higher, so the


smoke dissipates, embers bifurcate


a reciprocal nature of sons in fathers' sire


conflagration's drones, and stealing


books for statues' dates to expire, mediums to


acquire history's exponential limitations,


the right empirical infatuations with alternative


fascist facts, reactionary pacts with Lucifer


a Goebbels faux simile, a knock-off brand of pious


homophobic stoicism called Pence-again,


to know best what God wants, to predict His vigilance


to cut and codify His imminence, the ICEd


trail, the leads to DACA's vast deferential operations,


clandestine ligation and forced fetal deliveries


waggling abortions by AGs who scar interstitial linings


the seminal supplementation's generation, they're


just leaves to shade and prognosticate the symbol's fugue. . .





and it lasts, circles itself viciously, in the end, vicariously


to amuse us to death








Friday, May 4, 2018

Congenial-speak #63

Prioritizing America, life


Something supersedes the wisdom of fools. Something is more heroic and contemptible than the common politician. There's a ruinous path, a cataclysmic crash course, that looms over the two-party system. There's something more in life than TV ratings, than getting rich off not paying contractors, or paying porn stars to keep silent. And, as Damascus suffers, as children wonder why a mile away, life's comparatively insignificant battles flourish.
A blue wave is coming, surfing toward us like Maria. So maybe, sooner or later, after Manifort, Cohen and Van Der Zwaan are in jail, the water will be right. It will be blue enough to impeach and convict Trump. Let's assume it happens, the thinkable (for the last two years) happens. What then? Well, according to the constitution—which hasn't been followed from day one—the vice president is on deck, speaker in the hole. Would Pence be any better? He would bring some experience as a homophobic governor to the table, for its worth. Aside from having a normal adult maturity level, a less inflated ego and being more religious, I would say no—as we know religious does not necessarily mean compassion. (At the RNC Michael Cohen used compassion in a list of contradictory words he said the media should use in describing Trump! No kidding, I saw it on tape).
Defying the odds
As I bet in 2016, when no one, apparently not even the Trump campaign, thought this braggart reality star would win, either way the end would watch a slow meltdown that took the pillars of democracy with it. If he lost—as in the last debate he confirmed—he'd have thrown a tantrum claiming that the race was rigged. I can just imagine how that would have gone. It'd have made Bush/Gore in 2000 look like a high school debate. Now that one of the most dangerous tactical errors in history has been allowed to prosper, to malign every concept America ever fought for, when it is brought down, when Mueller and/or the Southern New York District Court get their collar, all the litigation currently in the news will seem like a slow day.
Why is the decades old nefariousness of the Clinton's even a concern? Neither is in the White House, fighting internally, embarrassing America on the world stage, causing fear and suffering of innocents born here, flouting every tenet of the constitution. The sudden acceptance of allegations of harassment, and self-imposed resignation, of Al Franken I think is evidence that the Democrats don't play favorites. Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica, he was investigated, exposed, and impeached. He did not kick and scream, pay off women not to talk. I think, post Watergate, 2017 was the first time I heard the word witchunt. John Conyers resigned willfully amid allegations of sexual harassment. In my lifetime—post Kennedy—the greatest reluctance to face up to errors in conduct, ethical violations, misappropriations of funds, even sexual abuse, has seemed to come disproportionately from the right. The party that preaches ethics and marital fidelity, honesty and a moral way of living (Roy Moore displayed a monument of the Ten Commandments) often fails to keep any of those ideals. Make no doubt about it, Republicans are the last ones who should be condemning anyone for their breeches of ethics.
Fallen deck hands
Mueller's noose is tightening, his slow tow rope of investigation sweeping across water leaving angry panicked heads bobbing like fallen water skiers. The people who want to disassociate themselves from Trump grow in number by the day. The old can retire to a life of shame, but the younger, like Paul Ryan, have the stink of Trump on them forever. What was it all worth? To reek havoc on America and the world, to irrevocably and negatively alter our global image for at least the foreseeable future (I'm sure after the Third Reich Germany's standing in the world was low). I get it. I understand what the Tea-party was trying to accomplish. I even empathize with them. Their voice were not being heard. Whose is in any tangible sense of the word, in any logistically appreciative manifestation? One should ask, how does a Republican play their cards? How does a party steeped in a fantastical antiquated pride get the government to collectively hear them? For decades Democrats have protested, marched, sat and died-in, they exercised their First Amendment right to assemble, lawfully, unless met with resistance. It seems to me Republicans, the founders of the Tea-party, the forgotten “minority,” were too proud, too cowardly, to follow up any weak protest movement with a constructive, legitimate effort to have their needs addressed by a responsible experienced presidential candidate. Kind of like the Democrats—or a faction of them—had a need in 1968 that was not being heard by Lyndon Johnson and then legitimately campaigned for their hand-picked candidate for their party's nomination—Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. No, the Republicans, or the Tea-party—I guess maybe, in a bizzaro world, that faction of Democrats—sought to destroy, intentionally, the American political system, hoping that somehow there would be no collateral damage. What is happening every day that Trump is in office? The line is fraying, the toxic spliced rope that holds the bushel of needs and wants, the promises made, none of which have worked out anywhere near the form in which they were originally voiced. He is affecting the morale and strength of the Democrats, brilliantly displaying Nietzsche's maxim “that which does not kill us makes us stronger,” while slowly unraveling the foundation of his chosen party. Except for the die-hard evangelicals, the “Christian” far right echelons that comprise his base, the basic rusted wired GOP has been in lock-down mode for at least the last three months. Who could have seen this coming? This huckster con-man, this man who failed as a spoiled rich-kid-turned-real-estate-mogul. What other angry man in history was a failure at everything he did and decided to take it out on the world? I saw Trump and his scheme to defraud America, enrich himself, and possibly create a tax-free world in which only people whose daddys gave them a million can get ahead. I saw it at the March 2016 primary as he bought his foreign object onto the debate stage, in no jest talking the walk of a professional wrestler. He did not know it was a damn show, staged so he could reduce little Marco to the gutless water boy he has proved himself to be. No one wanted to believe it though. I truly thought a quarter of the country had a lapse of common sense, of naivete, of being bamboozled like those rubes in River City.
When the chips are down
The once proud, if not fashionably hypocritical, the party with integrity now lies in ruins, desperately trying to regroup before a blue wave washes them out in November. Ryan is one of some 27 House Republicans to step down, to retire, “term out,” resign amid scandal or in light of illness. Call it what it is, the fact remains that it is the biggest mass legislative exodus in modern history at a midterm election. I do not think it is a coincidence. The ship has been sinking for the last year and now most of its navigators, its obsequious handlers, are getting off with a shred of dignity.
The Veteran's Myth
Why is Ronnie Jackson even a candidate for VA director? Trump is the personification of a draft dodger, that pejorative word describing the malingering draftee absent of duty. Among a list of draft “dodgers” were Trump, Bill Clinton, Springsteen, Ted Nuget, Rush Limbaugh, and John Wayne. Draft resister is a more PC term, lacking the irresponsibility of dodger. The people of celebrity on this list (Springsteen in '68 was not a celebrity) all did what they had to do, what they could live with, and in America that is their right. Springsteen later spoke out against the war, used his money and talents to help veterans groups. Clinton served in office, as commander in chief. Yes, he sent military to Bosnia, but they were not drafted, and I think that is the operative word when citing a draft dodging president as a hypocrite. Presidents Johnson and Nixon, each having served in WWII, ordered young men to go to war. Trump also did what he had to do to get out of an illegal war, although I highly doubt its politics figured into his dodging. He did not do anything to protest it, to show his resistance, and when he became president he blatantly dishonored veterans, saying John McCain was no hero because he was a POW. The list of infractions against veterans and active military grows. Veterans of any war should have the best, and a navy physician, having zero experience in administration, is not a candidate to run the VA. Even Donald Trump should figure that out. But it is consistent with a pattern of selecting the least qualified individuals to head offices whose poor management can have serious and dire consequences. His simple minded entry-level (barely) choices for specialized offices begin with laughably, painfully watched congressional hearings in which Democrats eviscerate ill-suited nominees. Trump gets some infantile amusement out of humiliating people working for him. (What did people on the apprentice do for him, if to only hear the words, you're fired!)? He knows that the odds are Jackson will fail, ultimately embarrass himself and lose any credibility he now has as a decorated navy physician. To say nothing of Jackson, how will the veterans be treated in Trump's self-serving administrative game? One of the largest integrated health systems will no doubt suffer, taxing an already controversial facility that faces budgetary decreases and a widely unpopular push for privatization. The bottom line is that we have a inexperienced narcissist making the final decision, picking the candidates, not really caring if they succeed or fail, only how the situation affects him. He was never a veteran and will not even dare to imagine what it might be like. Privileged people, those who could have easily gotten a deferment, went to Vietnam. It is not out of the question. President Johnson's son-in-law did tours as a marine (who was used as leverage to keep Humphrey from dissent).
Fear Itself
Why are Republicans afraid of Trump? Isn't there something larger at stake, something that exceeds power, pride and greed. As a by-stander, an American watching the botched amendment to democracy, I can feel the foundation of America rocking. I hear stories of migrant families torn apart, like, yes, slave times. How can anyone be afraid? What is the worst thing to happen in America? Our government is not know to kill people with chemical agents. I can't believe the sycophancy I've seen in the past two years, on both sides, but mainly the Trump Republicans. He will not go gently anywhere, into any night, good or bad. Is the fear born out of the likelihood that, if crossed, Trump would wage lawsuits, famously threaten every government agency with years of costly defaming litigation? So, just what he, during one of the presidential debates, coyly inferred he would do if he lost the election, the difference being a candidate Trump versus a commander in chief. I thought Watergate culminating in U.S. vs Nixon settled that, knock down that high-horse claim for all future commanders in chief. No on is above the law. On the contrary. The president, if anyone, should be held to the letter of the law, laws that conduct the nation, with a supposed judiciousness. And we are back to privileges; getting out of military service, obstructing justice, doing virtually nothing to protect the constitution, and petty things like steeling your medical records from your doctor so the world won't know you grow your hair. I am tired of watching the news, who sued who today, what woman came out of the skeletal closet can a sitting president be indicted. Never in my life have I been turn off, fed up, not inclined to watch the news as it pertains to the president. It is getting to the point of a show in syndication, when I might say “I've seen this one.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Congenial-speak #62

Prioritizing America, life


Something supercedes the wisdom of fools. Something is more heroic and contemptible than the common politician. There's a ruinous path, a cataclysmic crash course, that looms over the two-party system. There's something more in life than TV ratings, than getting rich off not paying contractors, or paying porn stars to keep silent. And, as Damascus suffers, as children wonder why a mile away, life's comparatively insignificant battles flourish.
A blue wave is coming, surfing toward us like Maria. So maybe, sooner or later, after Manifort, Cohen and Van Der Zwaan are in jail, the water will be right. It will be blue enough to impeach and convict Trump. Let's assume it happens, the thinkable (for the last two years) happens. What then? Well, according to the constitution—which hasn't been followed from day one—the vice president is on deck, speaker in the hole. Would Pence be any better? He would bring some experience as a homophobic governor to the table, for its worth. Aside from having a normal adult maturity level, a less inflated ego and being more religious, I would say no. As we know religious does not necessarily mean compassion. (At the RNC Michael Cohen used compassion in a list of contradictory words he said the media should use in describing Trump! No kidding, I saw it on tape).
Defying the odds
As I bet in 2016, when no one, apparently not even the Trump campaign, thought this braggart reality star would win, either way the end would watch a slow meltdown that took the pillars of democracy with it. If he lost—as in the last debate he confirmed—he'd have thrown a tantrum claiming that the race was rigged. I can just imagine how that would have gone. It'd have made Bush/Gore in 2000 look like a high school debate. Now that one of the most dangerous tactical errors in history has been allowed to prosper, to malign every concept America ever fought for, when it is brought down, when Mueller and/or the Southern New York District Court get their collar, all the litigation currently in the news will seem like a slow day.
Why is the decades old nefariousness of the Clinton's even a concern? Neither is in the White House, fighting internally, embarrassing America on the world stage, causing fear and suffering of innocents born here, flouting every tenet of the constitution. The sudden acceptance of allegations of harassment, and self-imposed resignation, of Al Franken I think is evidence that the Democrats don't play favorites. Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica, he was investigated, exposed, and impeached. He did not kick and scream, pay off women not to talk. I think, post Watergate, 2017 was the first time I heard the word witchunt. John Conyers resigned willfully amid allegations of sexual harassment. In my lifetime—post Kennedy—the greatest reluctance to face up to errors in conduct, ethical violations, misappropriations of funds, even sexual abuse, has seemed to come disproportionately from the right. The party that preaches ethics and marital fidelity, honesty and a moral way of living (Roy Moore displayed a monument of the Ten Commandments) often fails to keep any of those ideals. Make no doubt about it, Republicans are the last ones who should be condemning anyone for their breeches of ethics.
Fallen deck hands
Mueller's noose is tightening, his slow tow rope of investigation sweeping across water leaving angry panicked heads bobbing like fallen water skiers. The people who want to disassociate themselves from Trump grow in number by the day. The old can retire to a life of shame, but the younger, like Paul Ryan, have the stink of Trump on them forever. What was it all worth? To reek havoc on America and the world, to irrevocably and negatively alter our global image for at least the foreseeable future (I'm sure after the Third Reich Germany's standing in the world was low). I get it. I understand what the Tea-party was trying to accomplish. I even empathize with them. Their voice were not being heard. Whose is in any tangible sense of the word, in any logistically appreciative manifestation? One should ask, how does a Republican play their cards? How does a party steeped in a fantastical antiquated pride get the government to collectively hear them? For decades Democrats have protested, marched, sat and died-in, they exercised their First Amendment right to assemble, lawfully, unless met with resistance. It seems to me Republicans, the founders of the Tea-party, the forgotten “minority,” were too proud, too uninclined, too cowardly, to follow up any weak protest movement with a constructive, legitimate effort to have their needs addressed by a responsible experienced presidential candidate. Kind of like the Democrats—or a faction of them—had a need in 1968 that was not being heard by Lyndon Johnson and then legitimately campaigned for their hand picked candidate for their party's nomination—Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. No, the Republicans, or the Tea-party—I guess maybe, in a bizzaro world, that faction of Democrats—sought to destroy, intentionally, the American political system, hoping that somehow there would be no collateral damage. What is happening every day that Trump is in office? The line is fraying, the toxic spliced rope that holds the bushel of needs and want, the promises made, none of which have worked out anywhere near the form in which they were originally voiced. He is affecting the morale and strength of the Democrats, brilliantly displaying Nietzsche's maxim “that which does not kill us makes us stronger,” while slowly unraveling the foundation of his own party. Except for the die-hard evangelicals, the “Christian” far right echelons that comprise his base, the basic rusted wired GOP has been in lock-down mode for at least the last three months. Who could have seen this coming? This huckster con-man, this man who failed as a spoiled rich-kid-turned-real-estate-mogul. What other angry man in history was a failure at everything he did and decided to take it out on the world? I saw Trump and his scheme to defraud America, enrich himself, and possibly create a tax-free world in which only people whose daddy gave them a million can get ahead. I saw it at the March 2016 primary as he bought his foreign object onto the debate stage, in no jest talking the walk of a professional wrestler. He did not no it was a damn show, staged so he could reduce little Marco to the gutless water boy he has proved himself to be. No one wanted to believe it though. I truly thought a quarter of the country had a lapse of common sense, of naivete, of being bamboozled like those rubes in River City.
When the chips are down
The once proud, if not fashionably hypocritical, integritied party lies in ruins, desperately trying to regroup before a blue wave washes them out in November. Ryan is one of some 27 House Republicans to step down, to retire, “term out,” resign amid scandal or in light of illness. Call it what it is the fact remains that it is the biggest mass legislative exodus in modern history at a midterm election. I do not think it is a coincidence. The ship has been sinking for the last year and now most of its navigators, its obsequious handlers, a getting off with a shred of dignity.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Congenial speak #61


America's Fight for Life (again)

Marching for rights, marching to vote. Marching for life, marching for the right to life, for jobs and equal pay. March 24,2018, was for the lives of the future of America, if not the world. It was focused, not piggy-backed. No other issue blurred the non-gun-violence agenda. No addenda. Eloquently and dramatically, tactically planted elements necessary to move people through witness, through television, through social media. MLK, RFK, Abbie Hoffman, Ghandi, Lennon, JESUS, all would be proud. Hoffman would be proud of the way they used the media, of their relentless insistence of congress's full capitulation with their simple, peaceful demand or they would vote them out of office. Emma González's speech of silence spoke to me the loudest, capturing, depicting, recording, what they went through on Valentine's Day. She brilliantly recreated the fear, the loss, what so many named remembrances and those left blank—for us to fill in—would never do again.

Yes, the world—or a good part of America—was watching them. The NRA was watching, feeling gentle tugs on their high horse, the giant they turned into sometime in the 1970s, when it became less and less about gun safety and more about profiting at the nation's expense in every sense of the word. Scant retailers have stopped bowing down to them. Laws were passed in Florida that have the potential to impact their business. And, as the days to November dwindle down, senators like Mr. Rubio will have to decide what is more important, keeping their job which involves getting money from the NRA, or maybe having to do with a few hundred thousand less and actually listening to their constituents. It's a simple proposition, one that lawmakers are doing their best to obfuscate; vote for legislation banning military-style weapons, for universal background checks, or be voted out of office.

Following a comprehensive gun control act in 1968, the regulation of sale, availability, and requirements to own and carry a gun have been loosened and tightened. It depends on the political landscape, who's in office, the need for lobbies and special interests. Since the mid-'70s the NRA has run the show, quite literally, with at least 5, 000 gun shows having taken place in the U.S. annually in recent years. The gun show is the notorious loophole through which a background check is avoided, putting massive quantities of hand guns and assault weapons into circulation with no regard for in whose hands they ultimately rest. The gun show is the second amendment's biggest perversion. In reality, in a time when a common people were relied upon to police a state, a colony, a settlement, in a time when the common citizen comprised the militia, the second amendment was read in full. At gun shows private dealers sell to private citizens who have no intention—at that show—of using their gun in any militia. “For a well-regulated militia.....” What if that clause had come elsewhere in the text, if it had stood as an independent clause, less possible to discount. All readers, at least since the old west, when it was imperative to carry a gun, see is the gist, what they want out of the constitution, “The right to bear arms. A 2010 Supreme Court case—McDonald v. City of Chicago—ruled in favor of the second amendment, effectively condoning inter-city violence. It decided that a private citizen had a right to keep a bear a firearm under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The clause requires a state to provide equal protection under the law for all citizens. What are the militia, the police, the executive branch of government?

The impossible dream

The second amendment, the “god-given” right to own a gun, presumably for protection, is not prohibition. That ten year “noble experiment” was the result of decades of work, driving religious revivals and temperance lectures, much to do by women, was a good idea at one time, perhaps. On all accounts, socially, economically, physically, prohibition was devastating and played a role in setting the stage for the Great Depression. In 13 years, 10 months and 19 days the eighteenth amendment was repealed by the twenty-first. Not unlike the alcohol, guns are in peoples' blood, not mine, but evidently an overwhelming majority of those from either side of the aisle, although in recent months that is on the tip of waning. Former SCOTUS justice John Paul Stevens proposes a repeal of the second amendment. As I, and many people I know, would sign to ratify such an amendment, I also think pushing for its total repeal would damage the nascent progress the March for Lives has started. Repeal is something, to me, delicious, to consider. But I also know our heritage, how long Americans have taken it for granted, squawked at the slightest infringement on their right to own a gun. The reprogramming of the human mind to concede to not being able to buy an assault weapon, to expect a background check to buy a gun as routinely as those for employment, is achievable. However the thought of never being able to posses a firearm of any kind I think is a pipe dream. It is an idea most Americans can't wrap their trigger conditioned fingers around. The result would be like we saw in 1933. If the twenty-eighth amendment repealed the second amendment, the twenty-ninth would repeal it. And if someday the constitution were amended, to carry no such clause, dependent or independent, misconstrued or thoroughly read, I'm guessing many of its opponents, at least on the illicit end of the gun trade, won't be around to see it.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Congenial Speak #60

It's Their Funeral



Now is a good time to live. It is even a better time to die. This administration, this thought policed mentality of a out-foxed nation, this configuration of a democracy on the verge of extinction has given people no reason to live. People, for example, with ALS, with cancer, people whose days are numbered by the availability to affordable health care, can choose to lay down and die. They did, mocking a tragic end, on the floors of congressional bureaus. If it's really the end of free will, of the God-given talent, the smile, the option to laugh and wish your servants a warm time in hell. Just pessimism gets you there, sitting in a sterile room in a wheeled chair. Wondering whether to allow an extra hour to get your taxes done next fiscal year, whether your child will survive CHIP's ending. Or, the glass is half full, the GOP cooked its goose, democracy will prevail and we'll just have to hunker down for, at the very least, another year. People will have to suffer through one terrible holiday season, a bleak new year, one they will remember for the rest of their lives. It is kind of a spin on It's a Wonderful Life, the rare version in which George gets a windfall and Uncle Billy dies because his health care got too costly. That song, that anatomy of the human spirit, its saga. That dichotomy drives me insane these days. All the way one can see “a time to live and a time to die,” “a time to reap and a time to sow.” That was ripped right from the omniscience of the bible. Save for the title and the final two lines, the song is from the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes. It is a little known story—so I am telling it here—Pete Seeger added the sentiment, the suggestion, the other-worldly idea, that there's “a time for peace on earth, I swear it's not too late.” Let that sink in; let that shrink the arrogance of the biblical lip-servers and hypocrites born with every elephant cycle of gestation. A mortal man, a Democrat, a “Communist” who served his country had to edit the bible. He had to, in the frays of a war started immorally, protracted by greedy politicians, remind them that there did exist another option, that it was not too late.
I think the shrewd reader can see where this is going. That, without the guidance crutches of GPS, bookmarks, or breadcrumbs, my next sequenced step is clear.
Picture an epic mural, a massive all-ensconcing piece of art, a display of philosophy that by sheer coincidence bears a bold connection to the humanities. Imagine that, during the seances at night, in the backrooms of Georgetown watering-holes, where senators join hands, once more, each decade, to pay homage to the dead. To nod their heads in glib recognition of those killed or cut short of future Christmas's; at their hands, in their words, in their deafness to constituents, AT PAUL RYAN'S GAVEL SLAM. Trace the connections, follow the money there. And there are the dots, schemata, blueprints for a civil or world war, or both. From the Lincoln Memorial, behind the pillars, eyes study the terrain. The 16th president stares at where his party has gone, what it's become, where it could go, and yes, how it may be too late. The peace Mr. Seeger spoke of in the late 50's came at the beginning of Vietnam, when it was still that Second Indochina War, at the tip of the slippery sloping iceberg, when each year it became a little easier, less culpable and tangible, for a Congress to draft young men to a probable death in an uncertain war. It was not too late then, in 1959, in 1960, when Eisenhower (a General war hero and all-around good Republican) warned Kennedy (a war hero and all-around good Democrat) about the constant threat of Communism spreading. Well, you know the rest. How the lies surmounted, gathered objectionable acceptance, altered reality and compromised journalism for the next decade, until the Washington Post published the “Pentagon Papers” in early 1970. History writes this stuff. It is documented, or at least a watered-down version of it, in text books, now on the internet subject to fanciful Wiki-creation, for the next generation. For prosperity. How is it so different? The players obviously differ, but the plot and motives are essentially the same.
The peace I write about is less objectified. It is a set of door hinges, a boxed set. The peace I refer to faced its biggest threat on January 20,2017, when a hustler from the streets of NYC said America was a dumpster fire and he could make it as great, again, as it was in 1886 when Alexander G. Bell created a means of communication. The policies create havoc, they breed animosity, violence, guns, belligerents intent on war. In short, that man on the capitol steps, swearing a lip served oath to the empty bleachers on Pennsylvania Avenue did start the fire. He fans it with every tweet, with appointment of the least qualified people for the job, he fans it by pandering to his base. Here was this extreme narcissist with an agenda: To plunder America. He scammed that gullible quadrant of the country, that populace that cheers NASCAR and cooks meth in their garage. The one that now has to swallow their pride and admit that Obama made it possible for them to get health care for a few years, made it possible for them to get help after the meth lab exploded or Jr. lost a digit lighting fireworks, showing his loyalty to America.
Hypocrite's gestation
Early next year the kids on CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) will lose their heath care. It was not renewed. The program did not get the necessary attention (money) to keep it functioning. So much was invested in the tax scam, the overhaul that would make Reagan ashamed to be a Republican, so much emphasis was put on the reverse Robin Hood zealots, the pirates that took over the White House. Things look bad for Alabama, southern state that exist to be the go-to places to rally support. Bastions for voters with a deep sense of remorse, preachers of right to life for fetal means. If 2,000,000 kids lose their health care, families have to go on food stamps to feed them, pay medical bills, make choices of whether to feed or medically treat their kids. Ah, back in the womb, things were so nice and those prospects of human beings had rights. The unborn are “worth” more. A righteous moral high ground is lapped, within the uterine walls, with so much amniotic fluid. The unborn, the idea of a base in the name of religion saving them, giving them a fighting chance, allows a narrative to be created. A highly contentious, volatile, debate is offered to which no living, potentially productive child can compare. In a nutshell the unborn child is exploited for political gain. And once again the bible, religion, something that by definition is designed to bring people together, to echo compassion, to take the heaviest burden from those struggling to make it, succeeds in creating a divide. Saving an unborn life is a smoke screen. A time to live, a time to die; months to be unborn and leave politicians to scheme and lie, to cast away stones that hold them in real time, and lobby for donations and 5,000 dollar a plate dinners. Time for special interests, for the NRA, to create the next Sandy Hook. A time for war, a time to tweet little rocket man threats; a time to dream of an adopted homeland, where birth-er movements don't exist, a time for the ill, the blue-collared, the veterans, the seniors, to get what they paid into, a time for America to stop trying to exploit the middle east like. . .the unborn; a time for peace, I pray it's not too late.
And finally, to leave this world, to abscond with a sense of self and let the rest fend for themselves. There must be something bigger than ego, than politics, than a trail lined with money. In the fickle fates of old-school candidates, the struts and dancing gavels of clairvoyant magistrates; looking at how the world spins, each time they hiccup from caviar, how they win and drink champagne in the Rose Garden . . . It is a good time to live, but to die is nye, ripe, youthful, sinister, a leftist plot.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Congenial-speak#59

He saw it, Axis, Filters, and All

I was thinking of John Lennon yesterday, of what's transpired in the 37 years without that voice, that perception, for whatever reason, of an immigrant. He saw something in America, in NYC specifically, that made him want to live here badly enough to take on Nixon, Liddy and a government that wanted him out. Five years he fought to stay in America, all stemming from a bogus drug charge in England in 1968. On July 27,1976 he emerged victorious with a green card. Two years earlier the man who saw his presence in America as a threat to “democracy” resigned “for the good of the nation) before an impeachment trial would likely have ended in conviction. John W.O. Lennon saw something in America worth saving, worth imagining, worth throwing out the despots that every score or so float to the top of the filtration system.

Lennon first came here at the height of the phenomenon know as Beatlemania. On the 7th of February, 1964 the four sat in the Pan American terminal in JFK flippantly answering questions of how they found America (“turned left at Greenland”). I do think that in all seriousness Lennon found the reaction to them as a group “not normal.” That inhuman reaction, that devil-detailed music that made girls swoon, scream so loud that the Beatles (accepting the amplification of the day) could not hear themselves, lost some momentum, some of that rebellion against good old puritan values, in 1966. Lennon, as the most thoughtful, forthright mouthpiece of the four claimed that they were more popular that Jesus. The words did not sit well in America's South, in states like Alabama where next week a child molester might go to the senate. John Lennon's statement which, as he put it was more true in England than America, prompted the burning of Beatle records, staged marches of the KKK, and death threats to individual members of the Beatles. All because it was said off the cuff that something was more popular than religion, at that time. That was America's Achilles heel. Lennon was perceptive and pointed it out. Something was sacred then. I'd wager now if a Beatles caliber wave came along, and a statement was made suggesting that it was more popular, temporarily embraced more that religion, nothing would be said. Even in the Bible-belt.

Achilles in 2017 wears his heel on his sleeve. The bar has been raised to indeterminate heights or simply removed from its precarious rests above the port-a-pit. I listen to a song like “Happy X-mas (War is Over)” and I'm deeply moved, saddened, seeing a grossly bleaker world perhaps than Lennon had seen. It was in the “bitter end of the war,” after Nixon had vowed to try things LBJ had never thought to do. I listen to the song and can only think of the fact that in 46 years, as we cycle toward the holidays, the perennial time for reflection on good will to all, we are fighting one war that beckons lessons from Vietnam. From the beginning, when the French were fighting off the Communists, to 1960 when America “took the baton,” a critique was that the region's history was not well known. America, much more than the French, was ignorant. By 1967 any understanding of the region, who's loyal to who, a clear object, had pretty much eroded away. The US government began lying to keep the war going, to save face, to. . .preserve a political base? Any war or global conflagration fought today will be done with fathoms less insight into history from a commander in chief. Lennon saw something in America, from his first taste of its insanity, its hypocrisy, insecurity, its denial of true nature of man. As he fought to stay here, he found paranoia, he watched Watergate, seeing a tyrant deposed. In 1971, as he and Yoko took to the streets of NYC, financially supporting Yippies, America still had the insecurity, the denial of who they really were, a fear of an outsider exposing them (Nixon, Liddy) for the frauds that they were, for the lies they were precipitating in America for the good of a chosen few.

The Real Celeb, the working class hero

I argue that John Lennon, in his own right, was the least phony artist of his time. He was brutally honest, perhaps cajoling America to be honest with themselves. They did not like what they saw, retreated in the warm cocoon of the bible-belt (libel) and re-wrote the book, re-phrased the article, asked journalistic integrity to take another hit, CHANGED the narrative. At a very young age Lennon had to chose between his parents, and the one he chose copped out on him and was later killed by a car. He had problems, was insecure, was a very angry youth. Lennon was moved, quite literally, by America and, in the last years of his life, used his celebrity to show it where it was. Some say he was a phony because while preaching love and peace he had been an absent father to his first son, fought with his first wife, and lashed out at the media. By 1980 Lennon had been through a kind of therapy known as Primal Scream, rid himself of all the negative baggage that caused him to appear a fraud, and was raising his son by Yoko Ono, acting like a father (mother if needed), and was writing music not angry, not overtly political. Like almost all of the Beatles's songs the music on Double Fantasy and Milk & Honey is about love, either his for life, of his son, for his wife. They are autobiographic and optimistic and do not attempt to comment on the state of America or the world. That is why, to me, his slaying at age 40 was doubly tragic. “The Monster” had gone. Lennon I surmise would have gone on to be a well-adjusted musician, activist, and family man. He saw something (then) in America worth saving, worth arguing over, an idiosyncratic nail whose head he hit in a misquoted 1966 comment.
Measured Karma

Personally, he saw the world, he saw America for what it was, for what it could be, for what it desperately, pathetically, wanted to be. There is a story that “Blue Jay Way” was written about George Harrison's visit to Haight/Ashbury during “the summer of love.” It was the height of the counter-culture, the short-lived excess from nothing but music and drugs, ending that October with the staged event Death of the Hippie. Harrison reported what he'd seen. The wasted hippies clamoring for LSD, vowing to disavow material goods. They were, by his account, dirty, starving, going nowhere. Something less than a third of America had joined the summer of love, grown their hair, gone to San Francisco by any means possible. I mean it was small, a tiny percentage of Americans chose to really rail against the establishment, to totally blow off the doors of democracy as it was known (drafting men, forcing them to fight an illegal war), to permanently change the national paradigm of how we treat one another and how things are prioritized. If it turned out that the trickle of Americans who banded in the Haight in 1967 turned out to be roughly the same as the Americans who stay loyal to their base today, that truly would be something. You can not get more empirically full-circle than that, intrinsically twisting ideologies like the famed double helix. It is all in that DNA. If that happened, if we advanced past opening the door (ajar) to Nazis, Confederate sore losers, let child molesters make laws, sparred with N. Korea until doom, opened another box of Pandora in the middle-east and then the camel broke the straw pole and the percentage was like 1967's. I think even John Lennon would have found it remarkable. He may have even said that, after five decades of economic experiments, wars (decisive and protracted), social programs, all while the control group's in church every Sunday, it's proof that the trickles in the world are more popular than Jesus.

Congenidal-Speak #64

I can't believe I have to tell anyone this, but Trump IS NOT GOD. He is not above the law, and in sporadic trickles, his crack staff is...