Saturday, December 8, 2018
John McCain had the foresight to exclude Trump from attending his funeral. Somehow I doubt he would have had McCain included him. If he had attended it would have been in extremely poor taste even for Trump who twice maligned him; once saying he was not a war hero since he was a POW and then by not immediately firing a low-level staff when she made a very tasteless joke about McCain's cancer. That was McCain though, the “bulldog” as he was called at the Naval Academy, decent grace in life, spiteful from the beyond.
Either George H.W. Bush had no resentment towards Trump for personal remarks, or it was an oversight on his part. At the funeral in D.C. (Bush probably traveled more in three days dead than he did in the last month alive) Trump and Melania took the end of a pew by the Clintons, the Obama's and the Carters. His oldest son and the 43rd POTUS sat across the aisle with the family. It was evident how the arrival of the Trumps changed the tone of the funeral—on that pew—from somber and sad to somber and awkward. As Stephen Colbert later remarked Trump was the only man who could bring a funeral down.
George H.W. Bush got it, or tried to get what was humanly possible. He saw 1,000 points of light where most see half that. He saw the flaws in supply-side or “trickle down” economics. As a vice presidential candidate he called Reagan's plan “Voodoo” economics. His death marks the end of an era, a genre of Republicans who call out the fraud, the myth that tax cuts will pay for themselves and the surplus will eventually be seen by the middle and lower classes. Of course after the election, when showed footage of himself saying Voodoo economics, Bush told reporters he was kidding and supported Reagan's policy. In 1981, weeks into his presidency, Reagan passed an Economic Recovery Tax Act providing a massive cut to his voters. Sensing rising deficits, he and his administration soon began trying to roll back the cuts. A light point in the “Shining city on a hill?” So many symbolic metaphors to play ring around the truth.
From his years as the youngest wing-man in the U.S. navy, his service in WWII, to POTUS 48 years later, Bush has been described a a decent man who disliked the dirty side of politics. In 1967 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Houston's 7th district. He was the chosen by Nixon to be Ambassador to the United Nations, a year as chairman of the Republican National committee, a year as the Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China. In 1976 Bush was appointed by Gerald Ford as Director of the CIA. In 1980, Bush competed with Reagan in no less than 33 primary races, with Reagan losing all but four of them. By May, “the great communicator” had collected more than enough votes to win his party's nomination. His operatives wanted Bush to drop out. He refused to quit, hanging his hopes on being the only option as a running-mate. The rest, as someone said, is history.
Trump had a stunned and longing (as far as his ego could permit) if not soulful look. What good words, if any, would people say at his funeral. He couldn't even get half the Democrats in congress to come to his inauguration. Sure, Don, Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany, Barron, Jarrod, maybe even his ex-wives will have some choice words. I'm sure a Republican or two will remember him well. A few clever Democrats, former presidents, may find a way to wrap flattery into the truth as people do to eulogize people with absolutely no redeeming qualities. He will get the full treatment, the pomp, the circumstance, the flag he once hugged, out of the countries tradition for a passing president. He did look pensive though in that pew, inches from presidents who never would question such a thing, all of whom are secure in their legacy. Trump was the outsider and it showed. The juxtaposition was glaring. Inches in proximity on that front pew, yet a canyon between the two men (Trump and Obama) in their values, their integrity, their approach to and respect for the job. This was the first, and hopefully only, funeral for a former POTUS Trump attended. Frankly, I'm surprised and at the same time pleased that we went at all. It must, in the contemplative silence of his pew, rubbing elbows with those who have signed productive legislation, who have left balanced budgets, be awkward, even embarrassing. After all the narcissistic smoke clears and it dawns that he may not be pope, when Trump realizes that this is one event he can not turn into a me moment, he is left defensless; humble, human, receptive to epiphanies.
The timing is right. It is enough to almost make someone (not me) feel a soupçon of sympathy for the guy. It bears all the elements of a Shakespearian trragedy. Mueller is getting closer by the day as Cohen and Manafort sing their way to prison. With Democrats taking the gavel in January in the House of Representatives, Trump's legal prospects for 2019 won't begin well. At the funeral it sure looked as though he was visited by the ghost of memorable presidents, touching a nerve that he never knew existed. Now he is in that stage of Nixon's presidency where the talking walls are closing in, only Trump's don't talk because he does not drink, which may be listed as a redeeming quality.
Monday, December 3, 2018
I watched The Wonder Years. I liked That 70s Show. And now I watch The Kids are Alright. They remind me of my youth, of really the last generation to grow up without being able to communicate something in ways other than verbally. We did not have bike helmets or seat-belts or laws that dictated we wear one. I remember making our own games that weren't fixed on a video screen and conned you back to the store to buy the next level. I remember games that lasted until parents called you in for the night. They did not leave you addicted and a slave to a screen. We grew up riding our bikes, riding unbelted in the back deck of a station wagon, conquering things like fears. We were learning and discovering things that no video game has ever replicated.
The 70s kids weren't the rebels their predecessors had been, that they had to be. There was some hippie, counter-culture drippings, but I get the sense that 70s kids were not a shock and did not reject the status quo like kids of the early 60s did. By the time we grew up, the offspring of Boomers or—in my case—the preceding generation, the world was changed. In 1968, when many Gen Xers were toddling about, the country was bursting with violence and set on a course of change that would last at least until bumpers read that disco was dead and the doors of Studio 54 closed for good. Parents did not fight it, freak out when their child wanted to grow their hair or become vegan. Change was acceptable all through my generation, and some parents—more than others—even encouraged it. By 1965 it was pretty well known, at least in liberal households—that Vietnam was an unmitigated disaster, a moral detour. Unlike parents of the Boomers, who may have seen serving your country as noble under any circumstances, kids in the late 60s-early 70s were left to make their own decision. Many parents, even if not openly, hoped that there sons would not be drafted, have their lottery number called, or even pass the physical.
Generation X (1965-1981) succeeded the Baby Boomers (1943-1964). The millenniels (1983-2001) succeeded Gen X. It stands out to me, to be glossed over by history, that the Boomers first implanted a counter-culture in society. They changed politics, they won civil rights for blacks, for women, for 18-year-old people to vote. In more recent history, it was the millenniels who got out the vote, who backed Bernie Sanders by the thousands in the 2016 primaries. My generation, X, is not known for civil action, for working within or without the system to change it democratically. Certainly a large part of the generation laps over, touching either end. But, as a whole it is never noted in the scripts that report the way change has unfolded in America. Perhaps this is a reason I've heard us called the “slackers.” The millenniels gathered up the slack—that we left—with their technologically advanced culture, with the technology we lacked, rejected, or still choose to reject. The time frame of births from the mid 60s to the earl 80s was known in much less explicit terms as the “latchkey Generation.” There wasn't the zealous parental monitoring that was dolled out to millenniels like pez. Mothers were going back to work as the second wave of feminism was taking root. I remember my sister and I literally wearing keys around our necks in junior high school. In kindergarten, in 1970, when I came home I was instructed to go over to the neighbor's to wait the few times my mom's and my day didn't sync up.
Biology and religion
The average family in the 1960s had 3.7 kids, marginally bigger than the 3.14 in 2017. One of the innovations to come out of that decade was the birth control pill. Women could have a career ad a family. The pill gave them a choice in the situation of being denied or terminated from a job because of being pregnant. The Kids Are Alright portrays a strict Irish-catholic family in the 70s, having begun their family in the 50s. Over the course of two decades they had a total of eight kids. Obviously that matriarch dose not and can not, bound by religion, use the pill. Expained in the pilot episode is that the oldest son “came home from college.” One can deduce from this that he avoided the draft with a college deferment. In liberal circles, the longevity of the war, the uncertainty of a future, was alone a motivator to work to end the war. Mothers did not want their sons to have to deal with that, coming of age and having an imminent notification to serve in an immoral war predicating their futures. The father on the show often talks of his service in WWII as though it was a rite of passage. The Catholics are a dedicated bunch and, with the powers of Christ in their corner, almost robotically, without logic, go wherever their government asks them. All wars had conscientious objectors, resisters, and those who just plainly chose the latter of the Darwinian concept of fight or flight. None so much, though, as Vietnam. From 1960 to 1975 roughly 170,000 men received CO status from service in Southeast Asia. The decisions the Xers had to make are often brought to the table, portrayed in television. On a episode of All in the Family, also set in the 70s (made in the 70s), Mike brings home a draft dodger who moved to Canada. The ultra-conservative, Christian Archie can not comprehend this level of disrespect, of questioning of the government. He and his friend served in WWII. Archie's friend, however, lost a son in Vietnam. He could live with Mike's friend's decision. I think the gap that fought “policed” in Korea made questioners out of the next generation. War, the eternal aggression and need to show off our military might in the world, was vested. The game was over and then the papers were released. In '71 a generation read how its predecessors had been lied to since 1945.
Catholics, strict ones, must have only believed in procreational sex in the 70s. Consider the mother on The Kids are Alright. With as many crosses and crucifixes on walls as some Jews have Mezuzot on door posts, any bedroom will have the fear of God judging your every move. She procreated at least eight times before her biological clock detonated. So am I to believe that the Catholics of the old school just prayed the woman was fertile when the did the deed, got pregnant, abstained for 9 month, and started the process again? A process hat continued until God shut down the oven for good, “divine sterility.” Do the math. Figure a woman in the 1950s gets married, a virgin, at 17 to 18 years old. Her first night puts a bun in the oven, breaking the seal. The irony here is that 50 to 60 years later a liberated woman may take a while to break the seal on an actual oven. Figure the biological clock is ticking and those Catholics, God love 'em, are making all the hay they can. Let's say until age 41. That's 23 years of procreational sex back in the day. No surgeries, no prophylactics. Its all about the unborn child, the next generation. And that is how you get .5 of a kid.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
"To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come...” is tempted to become a metaphor for what we take for granted. When families of righteous faith join hands before each meal to pray, never doubting that a meal will follow the next night. It is apt to become hyperbole, words to say to appease a deity. Do they think about the rampant hunger and imminent starvation in Yemen, in Africa, or much, much closer to home? My guess is that in the majority of homes that routinely pray before a meal, on the average night they aren't. Thanksgiving is not an average night. Its value as a time to give thank for anything, not just food or making it through the winter the first year in a hostile land, has preponderated itself over four centuries. The forced recognition of help appreciated from the inhabitants of the hostile land, the eating of practically none of the foods eaten today, gathered eyes, a meaning and unifying purpose bigger than its original template.
The aforementioned quote is from Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation. It was in small print in the New York Times on October 4, 1863. A poet and managing editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, moved Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday observed on the final Thursday in November. The union was divided. As is the case now, at the height of the Civil War America needed a reason to unite, to be able to see what was beyond the table, to appreciate what can be accomplished together. To set even greater specificity, 76 years later FDR declared that the holiday was to be observed on the fourth Thursday of the 11th month of the year. His proclamation, however, requested “thanksgiving and praise.” Like those first pilgrims, over half of whom died of disease the first winter, I suppose that the directive carried by the holiday is that a healthy and positive attitude best be kept in dire situations. If you are so inclined, if you are physically able to incline yourself, a higher power is accepting of exponentially fervent praise.
This Thanksgiving, as 2018 fades into the annals of politically aligning years, as we approach the winter solstice and a giant orange coif of hair nears the eve of destruction, we give thanks for our victory in the midterm election. We would not be thankful at all if we did not raise a glass for the control, limited as it is, that a surreal “blue wave” has bestowed upon us. We would not be thankful at all if we did not raise a glass for all the millennial motivators, the indivisible groups, the committees that spent over a year getting out the vote. Lastly, regrettably, we would not be sufficiently thankful if we did not recognize the evil, the incremental blunders, the inhumane and heinous acts of Donald J. Trump that continues to motivate people away from him. His incompetence ad total disregard for anything remotely constitutional served Democrats well in the 2018 midterms and will likely do the same in 2020.
Trump supports butcher and despots. He puts his own and the wealthy class's interests before anyone, dragging America into a war in Yemen. He is a cause of starvation there and the suffering of thousands of immigrants. He is the reason many soldiers will not be home for Thanksgiving. What's not to despise? How does this man do anything to embolden support from any human being with a heart and even half a mind? I am an eternal optimist, with those glass-half-full people like James Comey who said as much at the end of his book A Higher Loyalty. He suggests America will recoup itself like a forest after a fire. America has always been a place where dreaming is allowed, where aspirations are encouraged. Anything can happen in a democratic republic, perhaps to be a true democracy one day. Look at all that has righted itself since 1621. A sense of fairness, of equality, of a moral purpose, always ultimately prevails. Be thankful you don't live in N. Korea or Russia. Be thankful you don't live in Saudi Arabia where apparently saying a bad word about the government can get you killed, where women still may be arrested for driving a car.
Thanksgiving has morphed from a 3-day feast shared by faithful undocumented aliens with indigenous people to a one day meal shared with friends and family. It has morphed from a 3-day feast consisting of venison and huckleberry pie to an extraordinary meal of turkey, pumpkin pie, and anything deemed eclectic with holiday fare. It has morphed from a 3-day feast to commemorate a successful first harvest to a day of “thanksgiving and praise” for things personal, national, and global. The day, the fourth Thursday evening in November has come to be the precursor to the holiday season, the reflective feeling Americans have been conditioned to affect until January 2 of the following year.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
If I could fight a war,
if I could fight equally
have a fair chance at
winning or distancing
myself from enemies,
perhaps I'd stand up
for things and perhaps
I'd stand differently;
I'm real with myself
I can't fathom confidence,
maybe could I take
a different stance
and see the blood
I would see signs
for a worthy fight
if I could fight equally
have a fair chance at
winning or distancing
myself from enemies,
perhaps I'd stand up
for things and perhaps
I'd stand differently;
I'm real with myself
I can't fathom confidence,
maybe could I take
a different stance
and see the blood
I would see signs
for a worthy fight
Musicians, comics, entertainers, celebrities of any caliber often die early. It's a fact of life we've skittishly come to face. One might say it's been done to death. It becomes a self propelling, compelling prophesy. There's accidental overdoses. There's just fast hedonistic living. Some had doctors who I suggest got so caught up in their patient's fame, living vicariously through them, that they ignored with them the defining caveats of their Hippocratic Oath. And then some, like Jim Morrison, played with death until it became a reality.
Lindberg begins his book with the similar circumstances surrounding the deaths of Prince and Elvis. In 1958, when Presley was recording with Sun Records, it was said that he “sounded black.” Prince was black, although I never thought he sounded like he was. He could have been white for all I knew, but then I was hardly a fan on either count. I did happen to accept an invitation to go with some friends to see Prince's Purple Rain Tour. Lindberg mentions how Elvis was once censored in his theatrics, being filmed from the waist up. Thirty years can do a lot. An artist, who still was up and coming, can do a lot. Those censors would have been appalled at the Prince show. His theatrics included simulated stimulation with a guitar. I was kind of shocked, embarrassed for him. The kid was exploding with talent. The sexual similes are kind of the easy way out, pandering to the basest human denominator. To me it was just gratuitous. Presley only made it 42 years, dying of what was ruled a heart attack in 1977. Prince Roger Nelson, the artist once disappearing into the visual impression left by a symbol, collapsed in an elevator in 2016 from a drug called fentanyl. He died at age 57 in his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. He broke down riding in the elevator. In the opening song from 1984's Purple Rain he asks rhetorically “are we gonna let the elevator bring us down” after having begun the song questioning, asserting, the after-world. Nelson chooses to go crazy, and implores listeners to do the same. Interesting.
An Elvis tale I once caught claim that, in an effort to kick his addiction to the drugs he was taking, the king's plane touched down here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The plan was to go to the famed Hazelten drug rehab center. The story went that our winter was so cold, Elvis turned around and went back into the plane. So much for candid tales. At least it went into the legend that we intended to try to get sober. Whatever facts remain get mired in legend. My guess is that even when Elvis was alive the facts were subjective. They may not have even been facts. Years reveal that he may have lived this entirely clandestine life, rubbing elbows with a Memphis mafia hat even eclipsed him. He may have been a pawn, an innocent truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi that became an untouchable, larger than life rock star. The perfect foil, kingpin, mule train. Kind of like Trump, a guilty real estate mogul from Manhattan, New York who found celebrity.
Lindberg is not a biographer. He is simply relating his own dubious experience in coming into possession of letters from Elvis to other legendary celebrities. Each battled their own addictions, superstitions or premonitions of a life too big to handle. I surmise that writing about Elvis, in any context, is hard to do believably. All we know, all anyone really trusts, is that he was born January 8,1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was reported (I heard it on the radio) that his life ended in Memphis, Tennessee August 16, 1977. The rest is subject to historical embellishment. Even his brother Jesse dying is part of the lore. There is visual evidence of him performing “unchained melody” looking like a pale bloated rat whose next fall will likely be off a toilette, but what's to keep some biographer with postmortem issues and a weak grasp of reality from saying that was an impostor. Is it just me or is Elvis shrouded in myth, with a less credible life, more than people like Robin Williams of even Michael Jackson. Presley was putty in the hands of the media. His life is conducive to conspiracy, from his status as a black belt to his meeting and subsequent mutual relationship with Richard Nixon. Not to judge or stereotype, but Republicans seem to love a good conspiracy, often because they can not handle the truth. Yes, often the truth, just the facts, are boring; mundane, lacking of any further depth or propensity for myth. If Elvis were around today I could easily see him cozying up to Trump. He'd sell out his Christian values and cozy up like an English muffin fits in a toaster. Stories of mafia, of murders and unintended killings, drug deals, assassinations, fit in that mold; the one of the GOP. Much less often are Democrats attached.
I feel warranted in saying Presley had his connection, his coveted paper trails. He did have a trusting relationship with Welsh singer Tom Jones that dated back to the mid 60s. The two played together on bills in Las Vegas, in 1968 when Presley stood up to the Colonel (Tom Parker) and demanded that he was no longer going to make “indifferent” movies. He began a string of shows in Vegas where the addiction to drugs began. When the Beatles met Elvis in August 1965, there were things not expressed. Presley was Lennon's main impetus to be a rock 'n roller. He was also a pacifist and anti-Vietnam War which did not set well with Presley who had proudly served his country in the years Vietnam was beginning to involve America. He, J. Edgar Hoover, and then Nixon, wanted Lennon out of the country. Presley and Hoover thought the Beatles, influence by Lennon, were bad for America. Late in August 1971 Lennon arrived in Manhattan to permanently reside. The following year, due to Lennon's anti-war activism with Yoko, the Nixon Administration to a “strategic counter-measure to have him deported.
On April 29, 1976, at 3 a.m., a young scruffy pre-fame Bruce Springsteen and “Miami” Steve Van Zandt jumped the fence at Graceland. Springsteen hoped to exchange unrehearsed words with the man who, as well as for others, made rock 'n roll look like an essential pursuit. The two made it as far as the door before they were stopped by security. They truthfully reported that Elvis was in Lake Tahoe.“I have my picture on the covers of Time and Newsweek,” Springsteen offered, also adding that he had just written a song called “Fire” he planned to give to the king. Unimpressed, the guards escorted the two out into the Memphis night beyond Graceland. Springsteen never met his idol, but is known to have told this tale in concert. However the part about “Fire,” which went on to be recorded by Robert Gordon and the Pointer Sisters (the latter bringing it to number 2), has been mired in myth and no one can be certain of anything. All anyone can take to Elvis's grave is that Springsteen did attempt to meet him in '76 and his picture was on Time and Newsweek.
Rabid fans, 60-ish women who have been to Graceland 100 time,the cougar crowd who aches to throw their under things at the feet of Tom Jones, Neil Diamond or a faux Elvis stand a good chance of believing stories spun, livened, from the fact. Elvis was a legend before he was laid to rest. People, because he led such a secure, covert, possibly coveted life, will believe anything. He is similar to Trump in that way. According Fire and Fury, he is known to enjoy cheeseburgers in bed, a simple, credible eccentricity such as Elvis shooting a TV or eating fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. A mythical world grew around the king, the man who was king and the boy who wanted to be.
For Presley, life is exhausted. He was exhausted in living and will be in death. Myths even evolve that he staged his death, a brilliant career move. For a time, since Forbes began tracking the somewhat maudlin data in 2001, Presley was the highest earning dead celebrity. He profits, provides for his heirs, as he gathers moss somewhere—perhaps around a grave. Some people do better in death than others. For example, I don't think many of the “27 club”—Morrison, Jones, Hendrix, Joplin—are highly lucrative in dearth. I think it all has to do with how large the person loomed in in the highly suggestible minds' of their fans, how much they wanted to keep them alive. Presley comes in at #2 among dead celebs still coughing up green. Between Michael Jackson and golf legend Arnold Palmer, the king pulled in 40 million in 2018. He still turns, and moves his records, but the bulk of his posthumous earnings are from tickets to Graceland and a new entertainment complex called Elvis Presley's Memphis. (Prince is only ninth on the list.) Consider this though, while many of the artists on he list have a shelf life of the next palm full of generations, Graceland and the new attraction will always remain. People will want to see it, if only one day for its value as a museum or a centuries old church. People eventually will not buy Dr. Seuss's (#6) books when he's past old. Parents will flash i phones when books and hand get to arthritic to hold. They will fade away when child-rearing trends no longer fit his mold.
The myths gather moss as old bones decay. Sixtyish women in curlers perpetuate them, keep the source, their fountain of youth, alive. It is a symbiotic relationship. The women keep Elvis alive. His physical persona is mythologized through vast takes on impersonating him. Letters from Elvis (Calumet Publishing, 2018) attempts to show a life inside of Elvis, a life outside the kingdom and the trappings of it. But many of the letters are to people who are susceptible to mythology of their own, and the subjective conspiratorial aspects of the two worlds kind of cancel each other out. What the reader is left with are stories that, if they care, if they have not been mired in myth and alternative reality (Trump supporters) they will seek verification
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
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
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:
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
at May 06, 2018
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