Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trump: The Joke

First of all, apologies for the long posting hiatus. A perfect storm of writing other things, sickness ( both me and the computer ), and just plain ennui kept me from the blog. The fact that no Southern governor did anything outrageously stupid during Confederate History Month didn't help either.
Fortunately Donald Trump has come along to make writing a post about him insanely easy. Trump is a perfect example of how retarded business/ economics majors are- even if they did go to a top college. See, when you get everything handed to you on a silver platter there's no need to use your brain. Just get Daddy to throw money at a problem until it goes away. Or when you are out in the big, tough world of business, run to the surrogate father of all rich white American assholes- the Federal government.
Trump is such an epic asshole he makes George W. Bush seem charming. Trump has made a number of idiotic statements that reveal the secret 12- year old inside the big, tough businessman he pretends to be ( how the fuck these bourgeoise shitbirds think they are so badass when they have never served in the military, worked at a real job, or felt the effects of the sacrifices they demand everyone else make, is really beyond me ). The dude is so desperate for attention and out- of- touch with the real world that he doesn't usually know how fuckin' ignorant he is and even when he does, he doesn't care, because even negative attention is better than none.
So let's review what Trump has been up to this month:
1) He is sort of, maybe running for president. This is classic Trump- he is always desperate to grab the spotlight and shine it on himself, but doesn't want to actually do anything. Trump is allergic to work, so look for him to drop out of a race he was never really in.
2) He revived the idiotic, racist conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate. When the President gave him a backhanded bitch slap, makin Trump and the rest of the mouthbreathing birther assholes look like morons. Trump then loudly, and lamely, claimed to be " proud" of the part he played in this colossal waste of everybody's time.
So you're proud? Whatever junoir, go sit in the corner.
3) Trump gave a surreal performance in Vegas yesterday, engaging in a profanity laced diatribe against the Saudis, Chinese, and American politicians. Of course the Pavlovian teabagger dogs that made up his audience lapped it up ( never mind that Trump and other rich American assholes own factories in China and are as likely to move away from there as a Frenchman who lives next door to a brothel- goddam, wake the fuck up people ).
4) Trump also advocates outright imperialist aggression, you know like the good old days when a Western power could simply walk into someone else's country and take it. Trump baldly stated that the oilfields in Iraq and Libya should belong to the U.S. since we went through all the trouble of attacking those countries.
( You know, I actually find that kind of honesty to be refreshing. I get so tired of the elaborate fronts that the U.S. government creates, mafioso style, to justify its presence in so many nations around the world ).
Crazy shit like this is why Trump: The Candidate should not be taken seriously. Even if he does decide to run ( not likely, but weirder things have happened ) he will not get the Republican Party's endorsement. Trump is rocking too many boats and talking smack about China and tariffs are not going to win him very many friends in the GOP establishment.
However, Trump: The Joke, will be very usefull to the GOP if he quits and endorses a blander Republican brand like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty. Idiots like Trump, Palin, or Bachmann are great for riling up the teabagger base, who then can be steered towards a more acceptable candidate ( i.e. someone who has more than a snowball's chance in hell of winning an election). In the meantime, enjoy the show.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What we're reading

File Under "Know Thy Enemy":

Schmitt changed universities in 1926, when he became professor for law at the Handelshochschule in Berlin, and again in 1932, when he accepted a position in Cologne. It was in Cologne, too, that he wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political". Distinct from party politics, "the political" is the essence of politics. While churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it clear distinction between the "friend" and the "enemy"). The political is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity.

Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friendand enemy. This distinction is to be determined "existentially," which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27) Such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.

Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning this work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) In addition, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force over potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to reach the level of the political, lest civil war result.

How the Union Resurgence Got Quashed by the Union Leadership in Wisconsin:

After that, the movement completely died down at the precise moment when it should have been at its peak. Suddenly everything became about recall campaigns and legal challenges. The legal challenges to the bill were based, not on the content of the bill, but on a technicality about how it was voted on. As such, they can just vote on it again if it gets thrown out. And by the time any recall campaign can take effect, the bill, having passed will effectively destroy the public sector unions. And then, at best, we'll replace the party funded by the anti-union Koch brothers with the party funded by the anti-union Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And yet, this strategy was deemed to be "reasonable" because apparently "reasonable" and "passive" are the same thing.

I'm More and More Convinced It's the End of the World (As We Know It):

The world is already apocalyptic, and .... there is no event to wait for, just the zones in which these revelations are forestalled and the sites where we can take a stand ... to refuse either a sense of reconciliation with this world order or an illusion of the ease of bringing it down.


Those of us who still find dignity in the idea of the human spirit - who even now consider ourselves as part of "the Left" - ought to discard these reactionary tendencies to hold onto the crumbling past and prepare for the ruins of the future.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bicycle Licenses: Green Transit FAIL

With no ado, please read this quick letter to the editor on the NYT re: the ongoing debate over bicycle lanes in the Big Apple.

Ok, this is stupid. Any longtime readers of this blog should know by now that transit is one of my pet peeves. Automobiles are stupid, expensive, inefficient machine systems, the hidden costs of which have only been made clearer to me since I began reading Ivan Illich's "Tools for Conviviality." And, having immigrated to the Twin Cities in 2008 - the best metro region in the United States for biking - I naturally have nothing but respect for the alternative, low-cost, low-tech, high-input transit tool. Bicycles require less infrastructure. Physical or bureaucratic. Anyone can pick one up, learn to ride it, and be much more mobile than a pedestrian, while not ever having to stop for an oil change.

And they don't cause potholes.

So even the mere mention suggestion that cyclists be "required to wear vests with visible identity numbers," especially as "more revenue for the city," is infuriating. This would de-democratizes what is virtually an equal-access tool. And those are fucking hard to come by in this corporate-dominated oligarchy. You may as well require licenses to buy a god-damn screwdriver.

We ought to be moving away from cars, not attempting to make bicycles more like them. Cars are dangerous. Accidents involving bicycles are rarely, if ever, fatal - unless they involve automobiles. Bicycles are for people who prefer to opt-out of the institutionalized mess composed of insurance companies, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and car dealerships. There's no defensible reason for litigating this form of transit.

Why for the love of God do New Yorkers even own cars. why. why. why.

If I had that kind of access to mass transit, I would sell my car. And I was raised on car culture, suckled on the oily teat of Southern California. There was a time when I identified very strongly with the freeway lifestyle ... until I've come to see how much waste it creates.

More and more I am coming to see Minnesota and the Twin Cities as a shining bastion of progressivism, one of the few states where the slash-and-burn budget experiments are failing to take root. Our economy is relatively stable and slowly recovering, there is a fair division of labor between NGOs/nonprofits and government, a high literacy rate, thriving immigrant communities, high literacy rates, grassroots culture, wide expanses of wild space and a responsible hunter culture, and a strong respect for the environment that springs from both conservative and liberal camps. And not to mention a strong, intelligent radical layer that is rarely reactionary (with some exceptions).

As for Mr. I-was-almost-murdered-by-a-bicycle, automobiles often have front and back lights, and "noise-emitting warning device[s]," yet they maim and murder far more people than bicycles. Had he been hit by a car, he wouldn't even be alive to make the complaint. There is still no substitute for vigilance, and no amount of legislation is going to force him to look both ways before crossing the goddamn street.

Maybe he could try unplugging his goddamn iPod from his head when he's out on the town.