November 30, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?, or: Kiss, Kiss, Kill, Kill

I'll have much more on the necessarily unchanging changiness of the soon to be upon us Obama Administration in my new series, "Clinging to the Wreckage" (briefly described in the intro here). With much more to come on this topic, I emphasize that you must always keep in mind Silber's Iron Law:
Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system.
As I discussed in the earlier piece, there are a few minor exceptions to this law, but they are only that: very minor exceptions, allowed precisely to convince you that you are availing yourself of a meaningful method of opposition. You are being allowed nothing of the kind.

Before I get to my own longer analysis of the issues involved, I want to note a few blog posts that I came across in my recent travels attempting to bring myself up to date on blogospheric happenings. I should have added this site to the blogroll some time ago, just for the name alone: Stop Me Before I Vote Again. I have a fantasy of my own along those lines. Too many of you ruined it. I dunno what you people were thinking. Nothing at all, certain testimony would indicate. I suppose a self-induced coma helps. And yet many of you still wonder how horrors happen on this earth. You shouldn't (see the last half of that essay in particular, and apply the lessons as you are able, which for certain people obviously isn't much). And always ask yourself what you are supporting (see here, too).

As is true of more than a few entries there, a recent post at Stop Me Before... offers a certain mordant humor:
My liberal, Obamaphile friends are rapidly losing their sense of humor.

Oddly enough, it was more or less OK for me to be a Grinch before the election. Now, however, it seems to be in very poor taste. I'm getting a lot of sour looks and testy emails, when I chortle about Rahm Emanuel, and Tom Daschle, and Larry Summers, and Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

My friends fell in love, it seems; and the love-object is, well, dumping them -- dumping them with almost indecent haste.

Oh yeah, sure, it's kinder to dump an ex-lover quickly and briskly, instead of drawing it out. But there's something creepy about a person whose heart is so much under his control that he can act on this undoubtedly sound principle, and never turn a hair.
And this comment to the post is worthy of note, providing more of that gallows amusement that provides so many opportunities for dying laughter ("dying" being the operative word there):
Ever since Bubba's first term, I've gotten an up-close-and-personal look at [how] the Donkeycratic Party treats its "Left", and it's a classic spousal abuse pattern. He beats her and fucks up her head, and tells her shit like how nobody cares and how she's got noplace else to go; she eventually despairs to the point of actually believing him, and just hoping that he'd change, but of course he doesn't and -- as I understand, in many cases -- eventually beats her to death some night.

This first hit me early in the '96 campaign, just after Ralph Nader had announced for the Greens and there was this small but noticeable rippling of scoffing and dissing -- which barely disguised the smell of fear -- coming from the Donkeycrats' general direction, most specifically in the form of a quote in a Washington Post article from some high-level White House flack whose name escapes me, saying the the DP Left "had noplace to go" in terms of how to vote in '96. This, of course, after Somalia, Waco, NAFTA, an attempt to pass a version of the Patriot Act, an attempt to impose direct state censorship of the Internet, oh, I could go on, but, anyway...

I've often wished that the DP leadership would just grow a goddamn' pair, already, and just go on TV together and look us all -- us all, being those of us on the Desperately Hopeful Pwogwessive "Left" -- right in the eye, and tell us to go fuck ourselves...and in those exact words, too. Get 'em a goddamn' exemption from the FCC for the half-hour it should take that whole crew to get up in front of the the camera and tell us that they never cared about us and never will, and that we should just kiss their rosy-red asses, take a goddamn' hike and go fuck ourselves...just so perhaps we'll know a hundred percent where we stand regarding the Donkeycratic Party, get off our asses, and move on.

(heh, heh, I said 'MoveOn')
This is a scenario thoroughly admirable in its conception. But as I'm sure its author realizes himself, it wouldn't have anything remotely approaching the desired effect. Can't you see the responsive posts from Atrios, HuffPo, Daily Cosset, et al. before your eyes at this very moment?
Oh, well, they have to say that. But they don't actually mean it. Their hearts are in the right place, because ... well ... um ... ah ... oh, shit, because they're Democrats! If they could do what they really want to do, peace and liberty would break out all over the wurld, we'd have the bestest health care system the plannet ever, ever seed, and everyone would get a puppy or a kittycat. And a rainbow! A rainbow called Obama!

They have to say those mean things about us, 'cuz of the effect it would have if they didn't on the election in Flat Ass, Alabama!

See? SEE??? If you don't, you're no better than those evil Republicans!!!! Now STFU!!!!!

You can bank on all of it, including the "asshole" part. That reminds me: I'm also planning an upcoming essay (or two) about the moral and psychological intimidation -- or should I say, terrorism -- that is becoming so popular these days. This time, on the left.

And you had thought only rightwing bloggers and conservatives were greasy apologists for the ruling class, and for authoritarianism, corporatism and endless war. Aren't you the silliest goose.

Meanwhile, even people who lost the election feel as if they didn't: "HAPPY THANKSGIVING: Leaving the Bush tax cuts alone. Putting Iraq-war supporters in as Vice President and Secretary of State. And now keeping Bush's Defense Secretary on. I'm beginning to feel like I won this election!"

And the Democrats did win! So, especially since what Obama stood for (and didn't) has been entirely clear to any chunk of rock for well over a year, I think all those liberals and progressives should STFU themselves!


Shucks, I'm sorry. Honest, I am. It's about The Unity, baby. I'm all about The Unity. Love, sweetheart. That's all we've got. We've changed and hoped and transcended! Woweee shazam hot damn jumpin' gee whillikers and gadzooks!

We gotta sink or swim together. Or swim and then sink. Or just drown.


P.S. And I see that Michael J. Smith has saved me a brief post I had on the drawing board. Thank you, sir! Dems say no gay marriage in New York for us pathetic faggots. Thanks, Dems! It's immensely comforting to know that you still think we're freaks. But someday, someday we may not be -- just in time for that election in Flat Ass several centuries hence! I luvs me the Dems. Is there anything more worthless than the Democratic Party? No, not the Republicans. In certain respects, the Democrats are worse: see here, here, here and here (and lots of other essays too, but those will give you the idea).

"Two percent less shitty than Pure Evil" is still evil. Many people expend untold energy to avoid that very simple, indisputable fact.

Someday, they might consider stopping that. Then, perhaps, we might begin to make some genuine progress, and start to extricate ourselves from this morass of suffering and death.

Announcing...The Cyrano Fund!

I truly hate having to do this, but I'll do anything I have to for my beloved, (mostly) perfect fur children.

Thanks to the wondrous generosity of some reader/donors, I have just enough money to pay December rent, with a tiny bit left over for food and the like. My deepest thanks to all of you. And I'm beginning to get my writing legs back. I mentioned an upcoming essay, "Clinging to the Wreckage," at the beginning of my latest piece. But I have lots more on tap, including my long-planned series on tribalism (in many, many parts). I know I've promised that series too many times before, but have failed to produce it. I fully intend to start writing it now. To be completely blunt, and not wishing to alarm you, I'm not certain how many more opportunities I'll have to write that series, so I think I'd better get through as much of it as I can in the next month or so. I shall do my best.

After the unexpected and sudden death of Fidele in early May, I have two remaining cats, Cyrano and Wendy. Wendy is the approximately ten-year-old outdoor cat, whom I took in almost two years ago after she had been abandoned by neighbors who had fed her and generally looked after her, but then moved away and just left her. I've had Cyrano since he was eight weeks old. He is absolutely angelic: sweet, funny and wonderfully affectionate. I haven't been able to afford a camera for ages, but Cyrano looks a lot like Dewey. (That's a lovely book, by the way, especially if you love cats or other animals, and even if you don't. I was delighted to read about the "Dewey Carry": when Dewey was fully grown, people would carry him slung over their shoulder -- always the left shoulder -- with his front paws going down the back. That's exactly how I carry Cyrano around. He loves his little tours, to the front door to look for birds and cars, to the bedroom window, to look for more birds, etc.) Cyrano has Dewey's long, beautiful orange and white fur, except that Cyrano's nose is white and his eyes are a deep green. He's gorgeous. And sweet, funny and wonderfully affectionate. Oh, I already said that. But he is!

So yesterday, Cyrano and Wendy had one of their twice- or thrice-weekly little tussles. Nothing serious, but there was a little hissing. (I think Cyrano is still trying to be, ah, overly intimate, if you know what I mean. And even though he actually can't be, if you know what I mean. Still, those instincts never completely leave...) I got up from the computer (where I was writing again!) and separated them. Cyrano walked into the bedroom, and I followed him, just checking to make sure everything was okay, as I always do. I check both of them after these episodes to make certain they're all right. Cyrano made some odd little movements with his mouth, and then he spit out...a tooth.

And not just any tooth: one of the BIG, UPPER front teeth. The whole thing, right down to the gum line. I swear to God, I'm not making this up. I can hardly believe it myself, but that's what happened. I held the tooth and stared at it for several seconds until I realized what it was (at first, I thought it must have been part of a chair or some other piece of furniture that he got caught on while wrestling with Wendy), and then I immediately checked his mouth. Yep, the tooth was gone. The gum has a noticeable area where the tooth had been that was and is a bit redder than the rest of the gum -- but there was no bleeding at all. Not a single drop of blood, thanks be. Still, I got hysterical for a minute or two. But Cyrano seemed completely fine. "Well, that was kinda weird," he seemed to be thinking. "Time for a bath!" So he lay on the bed and groomed himself for about five minutes. And then he took a little snooze. I absolutely adore this little guy.

An hour or two later, wanting to see if he appeared to be in any pain and if he would still eat normally, I gave him one of his favorite soft foods (Fancy Feast Ocean Whitefish and Tuna!). He inhaled it completely, just the way he always does. And he seems perfectly fine in every other way (playing, pooping, peeing, purring, eating this morning -- a few times, sleeping with Dad, all as before). So what the hell? I saved the tooth for the vet. It doesn't seem to be decayed or rotted, but perhaps it had some bizarre flaw or fracture in it. I mean, it was sheared off right at the gum line, the whole thing. What on earth could cause that?

So he should be taken to the vet, this week if possible. As I indicated recently, it's a huge deal for me to do absolutely anything at this point, but I'll manage it somehow. I'll probably have to take a cab to the vet and back, since I can't drive myself any longer and friends and neighbors will probably be unavailable during the week. At a minimum, Cyrano might need an antibiotic to make certain there's no infection. And perhaps some tests to make certain there's not some underlying, more serious problem. I would be devastated if it were something truly dire, but for now I'll hope it's just one of those very weird life things that happen. I'm not at all happy about the fact that I myself have had rotted, falling-out teeth for more than five years; it's been over a decade since I've been to a dentist. Sometimes those problems cause me a lot of pain, but I've learned to accept that. That's bad, but I also have much more serious health problems that I can't get help for. To address my health issues would require more money than I'll ever have, but I can't let the same thing happen to Cyrano or Wendy if I can possibly help it. One of the worst aspects of poverty is that when things like this happen, you feel completely helpless. It's awful.

Since I'm almost broke and have no other source of income, I have to turn once again to you, my dear, put-upon readers. As I say, I hate to do it, especially since I've just been out of commission for so long. But ye gods, Cyrano's tooth fell out!!!! Anyway, a few hundred dollars (several? who knows) should take care of the initial visit, medication and whatever tests might be needed. If more is needed after that, and if it requires a substantial amount of money...well, I can only hope it doesn't come to that. I don't know what I would do if it's very serious. Well, bear it somehow, whatever "it" may be. Many others have to deal with much worse, not that such knowledge helps all that much, which it doesn't.

As always, thank you very much indeed for putting up with me and my assorted, dull miseries. There have been altogether too many losses and heartbreaks in the last couple of years. I've had quite enough, thank you. Time for some good news! (No, Obama getting elected doesn't do it for me, sorry.)

Remember: Cyrano looks sort of like this, and he's an angel. Yes, I'm shameless on behalf of my children. So...The Cyrano Fund!

Cyrano thanks you, as do I. Wendy thanks you, too. Yes, Wendy, you know you do. C'mon, Wendy, he just wants to be friends! (She's convinced he has some dire, ulterior motive. And he's bigger than she is. And he's been here much longer. I can see her point of view. But he's still an angel.)

Okay. I need to do another half-hour check, to make sure everything's okay. ... Wendy is napping, and Cyrano is blissfully zonked out in one of his favorite chairs. Maybe his serenity will rub off on me someday.

Nah. But I keep hoping...

A Terrible and Profoundly Irresponsible Lesson

I'm working on a new essay, tentatively titled, "Clinging to the Wreckage." It will probably be in two parts, the first dealing with the continuously unfolding economic collapse of the United States, while the second will focus on U.S. foreign policy. The articles will discuss what we can discern about the likely policies and actions of an Obama administration, given Obama's recent statements and appointments. I'm tempted to say simply, "If you think we're already in trouble, just wait." But I have quite a number of further observations on these issues. Some of the material is very difficult, and I'm trying to pull together a lot of different elements. I hope to publish the first part by Monday.

In the meantime, let's spend a few minutes on a subject I find somewhat easier to handle with dispatch, although this too raises some very complex underlying concerns. My title refers to a terrible and irresponsible lesson, but this story is also little short of insane:
CHICAGO (AP) - Two abstinence teachers who wed in Chicago experienced their first kiss at the altar. And it was a doozy - a two-minute smooch that drew cheers from about 500 people in the church.

After a 1-year courtship, 28-year-old Melody LaLuz and 30-year-old Claudaniel Fabien tied the knot Saturday, even though they'd never locked lips before that day.

The couple teach abstinence in Chicago schools and, while dating, practiced what they'd been preaching to their teenage students.

"No kissing" wasn't their only rule. They were never alone together in a house. And they watched movies sitting upright on the couch, never lying down.


A honeymoon is planned for the Bahamas. The pair say they have no worries about how they'll spend it.
Let me start with that last sentence. I don't think this couple should be so casually sanguine about having "no worries." Literature (both specifically psychological and otherwise, including many biographies and autobiographies) is replete with tales of the nightmares experienced by many people on their honeymoons and particularly on their first wedding nights, when one or both of the individuals involved are virgins. I recall in general outline an interview with Bette Davis many years ago. Davis spoke very candidly about her various marriages, and she mentioned that she had been a virgin when she married the first time. And about that first wedding night of her life, Davis emphatically proclaimed, violently punching the air with her cigarette, if I remember correctly, as she bit off the syllables: "It. Was. A. Hor--Rrrorrrr." Or words to similar effect.

It is certainly true, as a friend wisely pointed out to me several centuries ago when I was very young and still comparatively inexperienced sexually, that if you genuinely care for another person (or, I would now add more frankly, even if you don't and both consent to gloriously "meaningless" sex), you can't make a "mistake" while making love. Still, almost everyone's initial sexual encounters are likely to involve a great deal of fumbling, less than fulfilling episodes and, well, missed targets of opportunity as it were. One hopes that the couple in this story at least have read widely on the subject, although one would tend to doubt that they have.

Beyond this lies a crucial issue. Marriage is among the handful of most critical decisions of our lives. I will not comment here in detail on an idea that far too many people continue to credit: that two individuals in their twenties or thirties can undertake a lifelong, monogamous commitment -- and make good on that commitment over the decades to come in a manner that makes both of them genuinely happy. Such marriages certainly occur, but they are very rare. If one thinks that people should, indeed must, continue to learn and grow psychologically as they age and until the day they die -- and I absolutely think that and am prepared to defend that view at great length, even though precious few individuals consistently approach their lives in this manner -- it approaches absurdity to believe that two people who married when very young should still find romantic and sexual happiness with each other several decades later, or even one or two decades further on. If they learn and grow, they will also change. They may still love each other very deeply, but they may well realize that the nature of the changes that have occurred necessitate their finding romantic fulfillment elsewhere.

To return to the marriage that is the subject of this news story: a commitment such as marriage requires the weighing of many factors, including how comfortable the individuals involved are with each other emotionally, temperamentally, intellectually -- and sexually. It is not because I view sex as unimportant that I think any couple contemplating marriage should have been sleeping with each other for a considerable period of time (at least six months, and probably a year or more), but for precisely the opposite reason: because I think sex is of such crucial importance. Sexual compatibility depends on many issues, including the people's particular histories, their views of sex, what general and specific views of sex they have absorbed from their culture in general and from the more particularized culture in which they grew up, their individual personalities and even their quirks -- the list is endless.

Sexual happiness, which critically depends on sexual compatibility, is a central element of any fulfilling relationship that lasts longer than a few months (or a few weekends). It should properly be a prerequisite for marriage (and, I would argue, even for moving in with someone) -- not something you gamble on after you have gotten married. Even though I hope this couple finds happiness, I think it more than likely they will not. But since they are so heavily invested in the "ideal" of abstinence, I would not expect them to be honest about those disappointments they may experience. Most people lie to themselves about many subjects, and many people lie about sexual matters more than anything else. But as the years proceed, one or both of these people may well wonder why the meaning seems to be draining out of their lives and out of their relationship. One or both of them may seek relief -- and desperately grasp for a happiness that eludes them -- in drinking too much or attempting to deaden the deepening pain in some other way, and they may eventually look for sexual fulfillment elsewhere.

I began this essay yesterday and set it aside overnight. This morning, when I looked over what I had already written and considered this story again, I was momentarily stopped in my tracks. "Why on earth am I bothering to write about this?," I wondered. "This is truly completely insane." But then I recalled how widespread the abstinence movement is, and I remembered that the "ideal" of abstinence is taught to many children. A Google search on "abstinence movement" yields "about" 1,400,000 results. One of them is from the Minnesota Family Council: "Abstinence-until-marriage a growing movement." The final paragraph is instructive:
If you would like to see an abstinence-until-marriage track in your school district, contact ... at the Minnesota Family Institute .... Learn about new R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Action Plan and parent-training program to assist parents in changing the course of sex education in their schools. Our kids are worth the effort.
To teach vulnerable children such indefensible and hugely destructive ideas is utterly loathsome. Note that the couple in the news story above teach abstinence to teenage students in Chicago schools. (Other versions of the story indicate that they teach in public schools, which means they are paid to teach these insane notions with tax dollars.) The news story gives credit to the couple for "practicing what they preach." When what is preached is so vile and irrational, hypocrisy would be greatly preferable. A person deserves negative credit for preaching and practicing notions that are so destructive of human happiness.

Of equal importance is the critical fact that abstinence-only programs do not work, as any minimally conscious human being knows full well. You can teach teenagers any damned thing you want and exert vicious pressures to whatever extent your rotten soul desires, and a certain proportion of teenagers will still have sex, as they have through all of history. This fact among others is noted in a Ms. Magazine story from 2004 that I also briefly perused. As just one example: "A study commissioned by the Minnesota state heath department found that sexual activity actually doubled among junior high students who took part in an abstinence-only program." Of course, there are numerous more recent studies confirming the ineffectiveness of such programs -- but I emphasize again that their ineffectiveness is readily apparent to anyone whose mind has not been largely destroyed by the strictures of a rigid ideology that damns sex as "dirty" and "sinful."

And that belief is the root of the obsession with sexual abstinence, a notion that should horrify any basically healthy person. The belief that the human body and sex are inherently evil is one of the foundational elements of Western civilization. In America, where the most primitive of religious superstitions are sickeningly popular, this belief suffuses our culture. Any nation which has a collective nervous collapse because of a momentary glimpse of Janet Jackson's breast is profoundly diseased and even perverse, using "perverse" with its genuine meaning for once. I discussed some of the history of this aspect of Western culture in detail in, "Of Abortion, and Women as the Ultimate Source of Evil." A brief excerpt:
Make no mistake: almost every single one of you reading this has internalized, at least to some extent, the indefensible notion that sex is sinful and corrupt. And your problem is not James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, or even much less extreme religious leaders of today. Your problem is Augustine, and his reinterpretation of Genesis. ... [C]onsider these excerpts from Jamake Highwater's Myth and Sexuality, from the chapter entitled, "The Body as Sin" ...
You may consult the full essay for many more details.

The Ms. Magazine article offers some clues to the loathing of sex that underlies the zealotry of the abstinence peddlers. For example, some abstinence advocates refer to Planned Parenthood as a "pimp": "'They are the people who are profiting from getting young people to commit sex acts,' said Michael Schwartz of Concerned Women for America," as Schwarz hopes to profit from getting young people not "to commit sex acts." Note the word "commit," as if sex is a crime. Of course, that is what people like Schwartz believe it to be.

This made me laugh out loud:
And the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), the nonprofit research and lobbying group that supports comprehensive sex education, “wants young people to have as many orgasms and in as wide a variety as they can have,” according to Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation.
Rector says that as if it's a problem. I think it's a blessing.

I use the word "blessing" intentionally, for I consider it an inexpressibly wonderful fact of our existence that sex provides such overwhelming pleasure and joy. "As many orgasms and in as wide a variety as they can have" should be a central part of everyone's creed, "young people" and old and everyone in between. It is certainly part of mine, and there is nothing religious about it in even the smallest degree.

In this context (and in every other one that I can think of), the most important lesson to be taught "young people" is to know what they are doing, in other words, to be responsible. Some teenagers will have sex no matter what adults say and do. So adults who are genuinely concerned with teenagers' well-being will want them to know what they are doing, so that they may protect themselves against STDs, unwanted pregnancies and the like. Don't teach children that sex is damnation, despite the overwhelming weight of Western tradition that maintains that it is. Teach them that sex and sexual pleasure is a crucial component of human life and happiness, and that it is a supreme joy. Give them all the information that is available. If they are raised in a basically healthy manner, they'll be able to take care of themselves. And they will be happy. Isn't that what all adults say they want? (Tragically, most children are not raised in a basically healthy manner. That is a subject for another day -- and it is the subject of my numerous Alice Miller essays, as well as "Let the Victims Speak," and "When Awareness Is a Crime, and Other Lessons from Morton West.")

So for all of you who agree that sex is a non-miraculous blessing: find someone you care about, or someone with whom you enjoy having "meaningless" sex, always remembering that pleasure of this kind is never meaningless -- and have some.

November 25, 2008

Out of Your Trance, Assholes

Yeah, I'm still here. Sort of. I feel like shit almost all the time, and it exhausts me for an entire day just walking to the corner store to get a quart of milk. Hell, it exhausts me to walk from one side of my very small apartment to the other. But I think I shall have to do my damnedest to get some more writing done. Yes, I can! On the rare occasions over the last six weeks or so when I managed to crawl out of bed, I fiddled with this piece of crap computer. I used the "System Recovery" function 10 or 15 times; I lost count. It's supposed to reset everything to "original factory condition." I guess it kind of worked one of the last times. Now the computer only crashes every once in a while. Still slower than molasses, but at least it keeps slowly chugging away most of the time.

So. I've tried to catch up a bit over the last few days, and I've looked over what various commentators and bloggers have been saying about The Most Significant, Metaphysics-Altering, Consciousness-Raising, Paradigm-Shattering Craptastic Farce Election Since the Multiverses Were a Teensy Eeensy Embryo in the Non-Existent God's Fantasy Belly. It's enough to make me advocate forced abortions. Look: it's fine with me if most people voluntarily choose to obliterate their few remaining brain cells and enthusiastically stick their noses in the filthy, smelly ass of the ruling class. Whatever works for you, you know? But Jesus F. Christ, doesn't it trouble people at all to make themselves so utterly, fantastically stupid? I mean, shouldn't there be at least a passing moment of regret that people have chosen to make themselves dumber than unicellular life? It would appear not.

I will not make a show of false modesty here, and instead I will point out that I predicted everything that is now transpiring. I did so on the basis of carefully reasoned arguments based on the available relevant facts, always keeping in mind the nature of the political system that rules our lives. A number of individuals frequently write off views like mine as mere "cynicism." When such criticisms are offered without much (or any) more, this is simply a way of dismissing arguments one doesn't like without engaging them. Well, one shouldn't expect more from amoeba.

I point you to two essays in particular: "Killing Truth and Hope -- The Fatal Illusion of Opposition" and "Silenced: Barack Obama and the End of Struggle toward Truth and Freedom." At the beginning of the latter article, you will find links to many of my essays about Obama's candidacy and the issues it raised.

You should consult the complete essays for my full argument, but I realize that's a lot to ask of amoeba. Because following links and actually, you know, reading rivals intergalactic travel in its complexity (I say nothing of "thinking," since I do not believe in miracles), I offer one brief excerpt from "The Fatal Illusion of Opposition." After describing the authoritarian-corporatist system that is now irrevocably entrenched in the United States, I wrote:
Given this system and its nature and complexity, it is only ignorance, a failure to understand history, politics, economics and culture, and/or repeated, habitual dishonesty and manipulation that can permit anyone to believe that a single individual could reverse these developments over more than a century, or alter them in any significant manner whatsoever. You may wish to engage in magical thinking -- as even liberals and progressives like to do these days, when they repeat with straight faces that Barack Obama's goal is "changing the very nature of politics" -- but deluding yourself that miracles will happen will not alter the nature or direction of our political system. Liberals and progressives correctly and severely criticize the Republicans for believing in such miracles with regard to Iraq, yet when it comes to their chosen savior on the domestic front, they themselves now sound like the worst kind of fundamentalist. Their capacity for critical thinking and analysis has vanished entirely, and they are capable of believing anything. Such people are exceptionally dangerous, especially to all the rest of us; I will be exploring some of the more particular dangers involved later in this series.

Even if we assume that Obama genuinely wishes to alter our political system, the critical point is unchanged: one individual cannot do it. It is folly to believe otherwise. More bluntly: it is deeply, profoundly stupid. And the truth is very different from this idiotic fantasy: Obama is the perfect embodiment of the system as it now exists. He will challenge it on no issue of importance. To the contrary, he will advance the goals of the ruling class and ensure that the powerful are fully protected. He will lie to you about all of this, as he already has on numerous occasions -- but as I have noted, many Americans, including many liberals and progressives, are enthusiastically willing to believe anything.
Rotten health and a shitty computer permitting, I hope to write much more about this in the coming weeks, focusing on developments since the election. Anyone who is "disappointed" in Obama's recent actions failed to understand even a single point of significance during the endless campaign. Of course, there is an upside to self-inflicted terminal stupidity: when you make yourself dumb enough, everything will be a surprise to you. Jumpin' gee whizzes and gosh whillikers! The sun rises every goddamned day! I swear to God, if it weren't for about 12 of you who seem to have some idea what I'm talking about, I'd lie down and die right now. It often seems the most advisable course, especially at this particular moment.

Pending my own future commentary, including some essays on economic developments (check the September archive for many pieces on that topic -- and I again point out that I have been correct in every aspect of my analysis), I offer you some observations from John Ross. I don't agree with Ross on every particular in his column, but he speaks for me on the major issues:
I don't buy Barack Obama as the Messiah. I didn't vote for him (I voted for another Afro-American) and I haven't filed an application to join his regime. He ran a duplicitous, multi-million dollar campaign that masqueraded as a social movement and because it was a gimmick and a shuck, will thwart and demoralize the re-creation of real social movement for years to come.


Eduardo Galeano does not get it. When he tells Amy Goodman that he has high hopes for El Baracko because black slaves once built the White House for which the president-elect is now measuring the drapes, he does not consider that Obama himself is a slave, a slave to Wall Street and General Motors and Big Oil and Big Ethanol, a slave to the War Machine and U.S. Imperialism and Israel, a slave to We're Number One jingoism, avarice, and greed and the American Nightmare, a slave to the free market and free enterprise and free trade and the flimflam of corporate globalization, and most of all, a slave to the Democratic Party puppet masters who now move his strings.

Galeano doesn't seem to recall that Afro-Americans can be mass murderers too. Condi is a killer and Barack's big booster Colin Powell once obligated the United National Security Council to cover up a reproduction of Picasso's ["Guernica"] before he could lie that contaminated body in the eye about Saddam's make-believe WMDs and jumpstart a war that has now taken a million Iraqi lives. So far. The bloodletting has hardly abated.

We are in garbage time. The adulatory garbage being spewed about the virtues of Barack Obama are a toxic trick on the peoples of the earth.


False Messiahs are made to be unmasked. Anyone who aspires to be the maximum capo of the world's most homicidal on-going criminal conspiracy is just that, a criminal. Barack Obama is a war criminal-in-waiting masquerading as a peace candidate on the pretext that he will move the Yanqui troops two wars to the east to massacre civilians who did not vote for him. I am not fooled.


On the night that Barack Obama was elected commander-in-chief, U.S. killers operating under NATO impunity, murdered at least 40 more Afghani civilians - "NATO" has now snuffed out over a thousand non-combatant lives this year in a war that Obama is pledged to escalate.
Ross has more. I must offer one correction to his observations: Obama is not "a war criminal-in-waiting" -- he's already a war criminal. But of course, almost no one chooses to face that fact, among many other facts that most people repeatedly blind themselves to.

I'll be back in a few days, trying to perform my very minor clean-up chores in connection with all the shit that has piled up during my enforced absence. You're not rid of me quite yet. My apologies.

In the meantime, as my headline says: time to wake up out of your trance. You can choose to live in a cognitive coma if you wish. But you may not live for long -- and if you should manage to survive, you will find nothing akin to a life worth living, or one suitable to a genuinely aware, compassionate human being. Not that most people would know the difference, of course...