Archive for the current events Category

Idle Reflections as I Gaze Upon Your Shameless Depravity. #CPAC #GOP #Breitbart #Milo #FreeSpeech #HighGround

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, arguing with lunatics, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, philosophy, politics, race on February 23, 2017 by furious buddha

As a Chicago baseball fan I have known my share of heartache, humiliation, and hope. Notice that I am neither a Cubs or Sox fan, but a Chicago baseball fan. I just love the game and don’t really care who wins; while this is somewhat like proclaiming yourself an agnostic while standing between Torquemada and Cotton Mather* I generally don’t get much grief for it. The thing is, I’m as likely to be at Wrigley as New Comiskey** and as a result I see exactly how both groups of fans feel about each other. When I go to New Comiskey I pass vendors selling as many variations on “Cubs suck” merchandise as they do Sox gear. You are literally as likely to hear someone shout something disparaging about the Cubs as they are to cheer on the Sox. Every third conversation seems to be about how terrible the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and the North Side are in general. Then when I go to Wrigley the only indication that there is another team in town is by looking at the scoreboard that lists all the teams in the National and American Leagues; the rivalry is incredibly one sided in that sense. Even in the year the Sox won the World Series, Sox fans could barely notice because of their all-consuming hatred of the Cubs; when the Cubs won, they had the largest peaceful secular gathering of human beings in history.

Conservatives are a lot like Sox fans; nothing makes them happy because they don’t want to be happy, they just want liberals (or Cubs fans) to be miserable. The closest they come to happiness is gloating in victory while drinking the sweet tears of the vanquished. This is why they’re so angry that “the left” is so energized; we haven’t provided them with nearly enough tears. Somewhere along the line they ceded the moral high ground so that they could embrace depraved and damaged people like Milo Yiannopoulos because he would say terrible things on their behalf. To be clear, although Milo is a hypocrite, it is not for playing the “victim card” and confessing that he is broken person but rather his incapacity to forgive others their brokenness. It should have been clear there was something desperately wrong with him even without knowing what he said regarding pedophilia and yet he was given a massive platform to spew madness and hate because that is what they wanted him to do. Liberals did not make conservatives love Milo.

I suppose that I take comfort that they still have some kind of sense of shame. At least they recognized that it would be better to drop Milo like a dog turd rather than to try and convince people that man on boy pedophilia is just another traditional religious practice that godless liberals were oppressing with our socialist nanny state. While I agree with the leadership of CPAC for recognizing that white supremacists have no place in mainstream political discourse, that does not mean that everyone at CPAC feels that way. From the Washington Post:

Spencer was stopped by JP Sheehan, a CPAC attendee wearing a black-and-gold Make America Great Again baseball cap.
“Praise kek!” said Sheehan, posing for a selfie with Spencer and repeating a meme that had been adopted by the alt-right. “He’s the coolest guy.”***

I am not accusing you of being a racist. I am not wagging my finger to lecture you. I am trying to point out that maybe it’s time to stop trying to piss people like me off or outrage me with how edgy you are and actually consider what it is going to take to effectively govern our great nation. Your current philosophy, my conservative comrades, is as nihilistic and solipsistic as that of a 19 year old suburban virgin who just discovered Ayn Rand. I have never found it easier to argue a conservative into running away like a frightened child; apparently my fellow Americans are demonstrating that to their Republican representatives across the country at the moment. Those are not paid protestors, my friends, those are citizens. All of that phony outrage you ginned up for the past eight years is going to haunt you now because you set a very low bar for behavior with a President who was gentlemanly, sophisticated, and who tried to work with you; now you’ve collaborated with racists and the Russians to put a dangerously incompetent headcase in the Oval Office while tripping over yourselves to dismantle the Federal Government and are scratching your head at the outrage confronting you. You don’t understand where it’s coming from because you don’t see anyone organizing it or paying for it. That’s because it’s actually We the People rising up.

.

*That was just for you, Kenny.
**I am never going to refer to it by that stupid name.
***JP Sheehan wouldn’t know what cool was if you put ice cubes in his asshole.

Turning the Other Cheek is Not a Suicide Pact

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, god, philosophy, politics, race, religion on February 9, 2017 by furious buddha

Huck,

Your most recent comment regarding violence in the wake of Trump’s election deserved better than my initial glib response..

First of all, I’m guessing “the violence” you are talking about includes the four African Americans who have been charged with a hate crime for live streaming their kidnapping and abuse of a developmentally disabled white man. Right wing reaction to the crime is predictably hypocritical in the sense that they suddenly set a new threshold for “torture” that is decidedly different from when they are talking about the recipient of the abuse being black or brown; these conservatives also apparently now think that hate crime laws are a good idea. That aside, the attack was perpetrated by people so brutally stupid they broadcast themselves committing it. That they felt pride in humiliating and tormenting a person incapable of defending themselves speaks more shamefully of them than anything that could be written or spoken about them; they deserve the charges being brought against them and to be tried with the evidence weighed cooly in a courtroom. There is no moral question here, but then, unlike conservatives, I make no connection between these four lowlives and people of color in general, any more than I would claim that everyone from Saudi Arabia is a terrorist simply because a majority of the 9/11 attackers, plotters and financing came from there or that because white men are overwhelmingly likely to be the perpetrators of violence in churches I should think that every white man is potentially going to mass murder a Sunday School. The only people that actually want a “Race War” are white and the handful of black people who are as crazy as the four criminally insane ones mentioned above to think they could somehow win a “Race War”.. The population of African-Americans is barely above %10; there is no scenario where they win “Race War”. Trying to connect this crime to Black Lives Matter or otherwise blow it out of proportion is the willful misrepresentation of a fearmonger.

Then of course there is the sucker punching of Richard Spencer, the natty neoNazi everyone’s talking about. Punching Spencer only allows him to play the martyr which is something that conservatives love doing even more than they love accusing liberals of doing it. That’s why he’s standing in public places saying provocative things in front of a camera; he is trying to create a narrative where the barbaric liberals are assaulting the clean cut white guy who is calmly talking into the camera. The Nazis used similar tactics, but the same could be said for a lot of things going on right now. So I am certainly against violence in this case as well. The guy who hit Richard Spencer is Not Helping, and the four psychopaths above certain didn’t do anyone any kind of good.

Violence is wrong, mostly.
Violence is wrong always in a hypothetical sense.
But specifically is where the world happens.

Was Lincoln wrong to use violence to preserve the Union?
Was Roosevelt wrong to pursue war against the Nazis?
Was Truman wrong to drop the atomic bomb?

Is it wrong to use violence to prevent barbaric atrocity?
Would it have been wrong to allow UN forces in Rwanda to use violence in an effort to stop the genocide?

Is it wrong to respond to violence perpetrated by a foreign power upon one’s nation?
Would it have been right to invade Saudi Arabia as opposed to Iraq after 9/11?

Gandhi faced a civilized oppressor in the British Empire that could be shamed by nonviolence into taking just action; how long would Gandhi’s campaign have lasted if the Nazis had been in control of India?

Should we admire the Vichy Government for peacefully collaborating with the Nazis and condemn the French Resistance as a pack of murderous terrorists?

My faith declares that it is the peacemakers who are blessed which is a rather straightforward precept that is easy to comprehend if not easily achieved. But as a general principle it makes sense.

Then there is the admonition to turn the other cheek. This is a more complicated idea that can actually seem insane if taken literally. On the other hand, the One who bade us to do so allowed Himself to be scourged and crucified rather than compromise His essential integrity. So does that mean that we should allow innocents, our loved ones, and ourselves be butchered by barbarians?

Here’s how I interpret turning the other cheek. I will not be provoked into violence but neither do I cower. I present my other cheek to demonstrate that I do not fear violence. I practice Judo. I can take a punch. My principle is to subdue a violent person with the minimal amount of necessary violence. I respond to rage with calm,  and I prevail because I am not trying defeat anyone or prove my superiority; my conditions for a “win” is de-escalation. Pacifism is scoffed at by weaklings who puff themselves up with macho bravado and mistake aggression for masculinity; making peace is bloody difficult and sometimes you have to use your hands and get dirty.

White supremacists have infiltrated police departments across the US and the new Attorney General of the US once said he would be ok with the Klan except that some of them smoked weed. The only person the President of the United States has anything nice to say about is Vladimir Putin, a murderous tyrant whom he admires for his strength. His chief advisor is an anti-Semite who believes an existential war with China and Islam are inevitable and that our society needs a trial by fire; he has taken actions that can only be rationally interpreted in the worst possible way.

Turning the other cheek is not a suicide pact.

 

Princip’s Sandwich.

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, arguing with lunatics, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, politics on January 28, 2017 by furious buddha

Whenever I need to explain WWI and the resulting shape of the 20th Century I always begin by telling the story of Gavrilo Princip and his sandwich.

Gavrilo was born to poor Serbian Orthodox Christian tenant farmers who had to give a third of their income to their oppressive Muslim landlords. He was a bright student and became politically active as a young teenager and was expelled from school; shortly thereafter he became involved with a Serbian guerrilla/terrorist organization called the Black Hand that was devoted to the cause of Bosnian independence from Austria-Hungary (they wanted Bosnia to join with Serbia.). Then Austria-Hungary declared a state of emergency that was aimed at Serbians. Gavrilo was assigned with five others to assassinate the Archduke of Austria-Hungary during a visit to Sarajevo.

The assassination attempt began as a clownshow. The first conspirator lost his nerve and froze. The second threw a grenade that detonated three cars behind the Archduke’s, causing a panic that scattered the conspirators as the Archduke’s car took off. After throwing the bomb the would be assassin took stale cyanide and tried to drown himself in a four inch deep river. He merely got sick and wet and was captured moments later.
Hours passed and Gavrilo got hungry; he stopped at a cafe’, bought a sandwich, and sat outside and ate with his unfired pistol in his jacket pocket.

Franz Ferdinand had successfully made his speech but insisted on visiting the hospital where those who had been injured by the bomb attack had been brought. There was a communication foul up between his driver and the general in charge of security and Ferdinand’s car turned off onto a random side street. When the driver realized his mistake he slammed on the brakes, stopping the car ten feet away from where Gavrilo Princep was eating his sandwich. Princep stood, advanced, drew and fired, killing the Archduke and Duchess.

This act precipitated a declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia.
At this time the nations of the world had no global court or venue in which all could speak and argue together. Instead it was a hodgepodge of treaties driven by the whims of leaders who arrogantly regarded war as a great game. The assassination triggered a deranged outburst of aggression that soon embroiled the entire world and set in motion World War I, which would kill over 15 million people. The US finally entered the war on the side of Britain and her Allies and were able to bring the conflict decisively to an end. The American President, Woodrow Wilson, proposed terms of peace that would have shared the burden of war costs and debt as fairly as possible with the aim of reconstructing nations and their economies as quickly as he could. This included the creation of a League of Nations where all nations could send representatives to conduct diplomacy in the open before all so that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen again.

Then Wilson had a stroke and was unable to stop the Europeans from punishing Germany with crushing debt and punitive conditions for peace not could he keep the American nativists and isolationists from refusing to allow the US to join the League of Nations we were creating and hosting. Without the US in the League, it never came into being. Under the debt burden Germany suffered terrifically; they had also been given a constitution that only allowed a febrile federal government with little real power or ability to do anything for the people.

All of the choices made in 1918 led to 1938.

In 1945, after the twenty million dead of WWI was overshadowed by carnage that had consumed at least sixty million human beings in the seven years of WWII, the lesson was learned and the United Nations was formed, with NATO not far behind as the Soviet threat was too obvious to be ignored. The United States had used weapons that were the equivalent to dropping a piece of the sun onto a city; with the smallest possible piece they could drop they had vaporized tens of thousands of humans in a heartbeat. They formed these institutions knowing full well the next time international order broke down humanity would not have a second chance. The last person who served in WWI died five years ago. The average age of a veteran of WWII is in the mid 90’s; a few years ago it was reported over a thousand WWII vets were dying and there’s probably not that many more than a half million left.

The United Nations was never supposed to create total world peace and utopia; it is meant to prevent global war and disorder. NATO was never supposed to be a club where we demand dues but to be a bulwark against Russian aggression. In a world with nuclear weapons triggering world war cannot be made possible by where a teenager buys a sandwich.
Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the most important people of the 20th Century and his wise courageous actions bought you a peace dividend that is impossible to appreciate because who knows what might otherwise have been? You really should listen to him now.

Apocalypse Calypso Contest (Inaugural Poem 2017)

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, arguing with lunatics, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, poetry, politics on January 21, 2017 by furious buddha

An angry cheer from the angry ants
celebrating their glorious victory
full of hate and mean ignorance
they joylessly jeer in vulgar rhapsody
to tuneless tunes they awkwardly dance
where they leer and preen their audacity

Among them slouches a vulgar beast
that they praise in glory the highest
at their center slouches a vulgar beast
hosting their Apocalypse Calypso Contest
they know it will be more fun at least
than Beach Party Vietnam and Cambodia Fest

The Cold War Clambake was a dud
and the Civil War Costume Gala
was one hell of a house wrecking thud
that fills them with imagined nostalgia
except for the part where we let in the thugs
but this time around they’ll work out the bugs.

Lost in reveries of power and fame
impressed with their own fine finery
they indulge themselves without any shame
they’ll drink all the wine in the winery
then the vulgar beast with a wave of his claw
turns the water to vodka while mocking the law

They gyrate obscenely for their fresh spawn’d abyss king
who gawks and gapes with lecherous glee
while they shower each other in their territorial pissing
the vulgar beast wallows in delight so filthy
the stain might never come out of the fabric
no other clown ever achieved something more tragic

 

The AntiKing

Posted in arguing with lovely people who are perfectly nice, arguing with lunatics, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, politics, race on January 19, 2017 by furious buddha
It is not possible for me to express a saccharine sentiment about Doctor King today (I started this on Monday), so if you are one of the special snowflakes who needs a trigger warning before hearing a traumatic truth about the political choices you made, consider this your last chance to avoid getting your feelings hurt.
Look away. Look away. Look away.
One of my academic fields was African-American History, which is essentially American history that you weren’t taught in school. I studied Classical and conventional contemporary history before it, so I approached the subject with a sense of context. I ended up basically re-learning American and World history through the lens of the African perspective. It was extremely broadening and clarifying in terms of resolving the big picture for me.

It is that perspective that troubles me so mightily today.

It is very important today to remember how we treated Dr. King when he was among us. He was considered such a threat that the FBI conspired to defame Doctor King as sexually debauched and a Russian agent. A tremendous amount of effort was spent to discredit him; nothing was spent to protect him. When he came to Chicago, one of us hit him with a brick. He was despised with a raging hatred because white people believed he was going to lead a race war against them; regardless of how he preached non-violence, they could not imagine a situation other than dominance and repression; they could not comprehend the co-existence he dreamed of. Many of those people are alive and still voting today; the person who threw the brick could be in their 60’s or 70’s now.

The lens of African American history showed me that the path of progress is not straight; many times times progress has been made and painfully lost. After the Civil War there was a decade of reconstruction in the South during which black men could vote and hold office. Reconstruction era rights were enforced by the federal government; during this period more schools, hospitals, and roads were built in the South than at any other time. Still, whites chafed at seeing blacks in positions of authority and before long there was coup in North Carolina; blacks and whites who had been working together were killed or fled from the mob. The federal government did nothing. Reconstruction had become “Restoration” and in the restoration of white male supremacy (Local papers referred to the murderous riot as “White Men’s Day”). “Jim Crow” laws fell into place and the progress of Reconstruction was obliterated. Doctor King led a movement nearly sixty years later that restored and enshrined the progress lost after Reconstruction.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times,
history doesn’t repeat, it rhymes,
then somebody told me that’s one of Twain’s lines
but he ain’t here, so now it’s mine

We are living in a moment very much like the beginning of the Restoration Era. When Newt Gingrich chortles about undoing everything Obama accomplished it is an echo of the men who enacted Jim Crow; in the eyes of those screaming about “making America great again” are reflections of segregation. There are very few people with living memory of the so-called “Tulsa Race Riot” of 1921, which was when the neighborhood of Greenwood, then the wealthiest African-American community in the country, was burned to the ground by rampaging whites. Over 300 people were killed and 35 square blocks were destroyed. It was such an effective act of terror that nobody black or white spoke of it for years. The silence was so thorough that researchers found the microfilm record of the Tulsa Tribune for that day had been tampered with; many people had recalled that it had announced a lynching of a young black man accused of rape (the evidence as presented in the news accounts was nonsense). They also recalled that the police and national guard participated on the side of the rioters. That was 94 years ago when my grandmother was a year old infant.

You can see the eyes of bigots fill with disgusted rage when they hear the phrase “Black Lives Matter”; uttering it can be a litmus test. Once upon a time the phrase “Black is Beautiful” could accomplish the same thing. While people will now sputter about the imagined and alleged offenses of the movement associated with the phrase, the rage started immediately when the phrase was coined before there were any protests associated with it. This was because the phrase itself does not allow whites to ignore it and to deny it is to confront the ugliest part of one’s self, which people don’t like to be reminded of. That’s why so many conservatives will talk about how racism is over even as they are embracing openly white supremacist candidates, ideas and policies. When they accuse people like myself of succumbing to “white guilt” they are projecting their own guilt outwards; I don’t feel any guilt about being white. I have read the source materials and know what I’m talking about; it would be as silly to fault myself for being white as it would be to fault someone for being black. Seeing injustice and trying to address it nothing to feel guilty about; pretending injustice isn’t happening and faulting people for trying to make the world a better place is what is shameful. Trump is the AntiKing; he seeks to undo not merely the Obama Presidency but everything back to Restoration.
I’m sitting here on the night of January 19th and I am more convinced than ever that Donald Trump stole the election with the help of Vladimir Putin.. The evidence keeps piling up and literally everything Trump has said and done since the election has increased my certainty that very dark deals have been made. Trump began his political career by demanding that the current president show is birth certificate and insinuating that he was an agent of radical Muslim terrorists. Trump literally has yet to show his taxes and there is mounting evidence that he collaborated with a hostile foreign power to become president. When Trump talks about his enemies, he is talking about other Americans. He regularly praises Putin and is enacting a foreign policy that looks like the Russian tyrants wish list. By this time tomorrow he will be able to shut down every American intelligence agency investigation into his high crimes.
This is not normal. This is not right. This is not a television show that you are watching.
The United States of America is facing an existential crisis that is without parallel. The rigid and cynical thinking of conservatives has made them particularly susceptible to propaganda and laughably easy to manipulate. Their self-serving flip on Russia is inexcusably craven and traitorous; they are selling out their nation for their political party. They are no longer the party of Reagan. They are the party of Putin. And may God have mercy on their souls. I will not cooperate or collaborate with what I consider to be an illegitimate Presidency. I will not be satisfied until the guilty are brought to justice and the rightful authority of the American people is restored to our Republic.
God bless the United States of America.
Winston Delagdo
January  16-19, 2017

2 + 2 = 4

Posted in arguing with lunatics, COMRADE TRUMP, current events, politics on January 13, 2017 by furious buddha

Trump and his allies are straight up gaslighting everyone about the Russian hack; they are counting on the paralysis of decency to work in their favor. By baldly denying the conclusions of every American intelligence agency in favor of the assertions of Julian Assange (a person whom Trump previously described as a traitor who should be executed) Trump is achieving the unthinkable in broad daylight; they have colluded with a hostile foreign power to steal an election. There is no scenario in which he or his various sycophants are speaking honestly or truthfully about this or nearly any other subject for that matter. Anyone who believes otherwise is either hopelessly gullible, willfully denying reality or recently arrived from another planet. These are people who hate their imaginary version of people like me so much that they are willing to swallow Russian propaganda and inflict Trump on all of us out of sheer spite. Our body politic has swallowed so much bullshit  that we’re going into toxic shock.

You could drown in the stories of incompetence, malfeasance, and criminally dangerous recklessness  of the incoming Trump Administration.

In 1984 Smith writes in his diary that “freedom is the freedom to say  two plus two equals four; if that is granted, all else follows”. Trump, Putin and their thralls are a threat to that freedom. I sincerely hope that four years from now I am able to look back on this post and laugh about what a hysterical ninny I was being.

That’s some weak sauce, Huck. It is as if you are saying the only choice we have is the incoming band of traitors, thieves and toadies or mendacious bureaucrats who only serve themselves. These are the kinds of false equivalencies that put us in this mess; the outgoing administration is a fine counter to either of your choices. And besides, if you go to the ice cream man and says all he has left is mint chocolate chip or a rabid badger with scabies, do you really have that hard of a time making a choice? I mean, some people think mint chocolate chip is nasty, but it is still ice cream.

 

 

At the Bottom of the Year 2016

Posted in art, current events, days in the life, poetry, pop culture on December 31, 2016 by furious buddha

Try not to look back
in anger or grieve again
live 2 see the dawn