Tuesday, November 3, 2020

This Election Won't Save Us

So, is anything going on today? Oh right, that long, slow, product roll-out The US Presidential Election is today, and yes, I've already gone and done my mainstream approved duty and selected the Lesser Evil on my ballot. It took all of five minutes for me but I went at 11:30AM and voted with the other unemployed, the retired, the sick and the old. Everyone there was masked and thankfully no one brought their AR-15s. It was later this afternoon at Walmart, that bastion of politeness, courtesy and human kindness where I saw the greeter confronting a bearded, obese, elderly white gentleman who refused to cover his hairy face-hole. Even his family was trying to talk him off his stubbornness ledge. "Dad, I'll get it, it's in the car." "No!"

So, today we've got a narcissist carnival barker trying to win a second term against a lifelong politician who’s never heard of a military action he didn't support. Yes, one seems worse than the other, there's little doubt about that when it comes to COVID-19, but there's not the gulf of difference the mainstream media, and most of our friends, yours and mine, are making it seem. If Biden beats Trump today as I certainly hope he does, although I have sincere doubts, it will NOT be a vote that halts the spread of fascism in the US. Oh no, it will take much more than that. Believing a vote against Trump is a vote against fascism, is only true if you’ve swallowed all the many hours and hours of "Trump is evil" "this is unprecedented" and "Russia, Russia, Russia" two of the 3 largely pernicious 24 hour corporate news stations have spent the last 4 years telling us. And remember, much of that Russia stuff quietly went away just as we were going into plague lockdown. That’s when the vote-by-mail & absentee voting discussion* really took off because again, corporate media wants you to believe the only meaningful democratic power you have is when you pick one of the two carefully groomed Wall Street backed & anointed candidates. And whatever would happen if this day they’ve been preparing for was spoiled by some incurable virus that will make us sick if we stand in lines together.

But voting, especially in a Presidential Election has become the corporate approved form of activism for a distracted, blaming, binary nation. 

Consider this: How many national votes have we had since the killing of George Floyd? Not one. Have you noticed any changes? Not necessarily policy changes, but has the narrative shifted? Are people you've never expected to be discussing the issue suddenly talking about it? 

Yes. That didn't come from voting, that came from people in the streets. Lots of people. Everywhere. 

I'm afraid we're way past the point where voting will save us, especially when one of the 2 major parties did everything they could to sabotage the campaign of the most liberal voice among them. Biden, a centrist in the first place, has worked harder to court Trump votes than he has to satiate the Left. Although that’s not what you’ll hear on Fox News because fear is what they peddle and the most terrifying thing they’ve heard of in years is The Green New Deal. They’ve successfully made their viewers think Biden supports it when he and Senator Harris have bent over backwards to reassure PA voters especially, that toxic fracking will continue should they win election. So much for a Green New Deal.

Biden’s been touting an addition he’ll add to ACA should he win election, it’s called the Public Option. And yes, it may sound familiar because it was not so far down the American Memory Hole that Rep Dennis Kucinich went up against Obama in defense of it. He caved, and chose Party over principle despite serious reservations that ACA was a giveaway to insurance companies. 

As to Black Lives Matter and demilitarizing law enforcement, it was under Biden’s term as VP with an African-American President and an African-American Attorney General that the whole movement began. George Floyd wasn’t killed by Trump, he was killed by the racist system our leaders did nothing about under Obama. Remember during the Democratic Primary in twenty-sixteen when the candidates were asked who supported BLM, only one said yes, unequivocally. Guess who.

There is no anti-war Left in this country. Obama loved his drone strikes and created a Kill-List. When Trump was elected he inherited those things and from the Sunday after his inauguration he stepped up the extrajudicial killing done by our lethal sky-robots. Trump loves our drones so much he considered attacking Iraq to avenge one’s silicon-soul when they shot the innocent spy-machine down

No, Trump is not the malignancy. He's an infectious, dripping pustule, yes, but the cancer was already there, deep, deep in the American core. It was us, not Putin, that allowed Trump to seize a wave of bigotry and blaming and selfishness that was already there and very, very strong. As Morris Berman has written, we are a nation of hustlers, and Trump has taken hustling to an art form. His show The Celebrity Apprentice represented much of what is despicable about America. Each episode was a stunning exploration of back-biting and double-crossing and in the final ten minutes the contestants would come before Trump, where he, like Satan, would usually reward the most diabolically successful. And it was all justified in the name of charity. Humiliation, mocking, blaming, all of these things were championed, never discouraged. This man and his “you’re fired” mantra ascended to the highest political office in the land. Putin didn’t do that with some Facebook groups, it was us. There has not been anywhere near enough honest self-reflection to see how we got here. But we never do that, do we? That’s America. We export and buy into fantasies. 

In a perverse way, if you've been paying attention to US foreign policy, especially, we owe Trump a debt of gratitude for his, er, well, honesty. Right now at least, the President of the United States is looked at as despicable. That's a refreshing change. Manners and decorum can and are used to cover up despicable behavior. Now at least the American President talks and acts despicably to match his deeds as Commander-In-Chief. Only Americans would disagree with that statement. The rest of the world sees us as the most belligerent & dangerous nation, and they are of course correct. No one’s military budget is larger, no one has more bases. America’s Empire has no edge. Presidents have always done despicable things and yet, for some reason, perhaps without a monarchy to adore, we've decided to turn them into demigods. 

Even the horrible ones. 

If you smiled about Dubya's paintings or at him enjoying a game with Ellen Degeneres then yes, I'm talking to you. 

Presidents are just men, so far exclusively men. And they sit on the toilet to shit just like me and you. Perhaps you can imagine some in that position more easily than others but they have all done cruel, disgusting things, in the name of freedom and the American people. Some we think are so cool because they fill out NCAA brackets or play the saxophone on Arsenio Hall but all Presidents make decisions and approve covert actions that take the lives of innocent people and sew the seeds of blowback everyday. For all the posturing and bold talk from the likes of Schumer and Pelosi they did absolutely zilch on overseeing or reducing executive powers of war-making and surveillance. Why? Because whenever a Democrat is back in office they want those powers too.

I'm sorry to be a downer but I think it's long past time more Americans started realizing we've been in a proto-fascist state for quite a while now. Most certainly since after 9/11/01. Trump didn't start it and Biden sure as fuck isn't going to take it away.  

Recently journalist Pete Hamill passed-away. I remembered an article he wrote back in 1994, the year i graduated college, and I wanted to re-read it because I remembered he was onto something in that piece. It's called End Game, the link is below, check it out and you tell me if you don't think much, if not all of it, has come to pass. 

* = I’m using the word discussion in this context to describe any topic mainstream media obsess about and pretend to present nuanced examination of while very little happens. i.e. a discussion on poverty, race, gun-control, mental illness, obesity, etc 

End Game by Pete Hamill

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Talking Tattoos on the Zoom Machine

 Last week I had the privilege of sharing the stories behind some of my tattoos with Barb Nangle of Known Co-Working, and panel guests Alesia Galati and Renee Nolan. It was a lot of fun connecting over one of the most fascinating and permanent forms of art--tattoos. Listen now and you can hear me plagiarize, er, i mean, paraphrase Joseph Campbell.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The In Search Of... episode that changed my life

 Well, ok, maybe there was more than one In Search Of episode that had massive influence on me but this one is in the driver's seat of my more nightmarish obsessions. The opening ape-attack on the guys in the log cabin is one of those sightings that must have caused PTSD for the witnesses. Whether Sasquatch is a hoax, a hallucination brought up from the collective unconscious, a bipedal ape-ancestor like gigantopithecus or some sort of an inter-dimensional traveler, if what happened to the dudes in this opening scene happened to me, I'd believe. 

Yesterday was the 53rd anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin Film


Shot in Bluff Creek, CA on October 20, 1967, the Patterson-Gimlin film is the most recognizable and most discussed & dissected piece of Sasquatch "evidence" there is. The 59 second film is less than 24 feet long and has spawned millions upon millions of raised eyebrows and rolled eyes. Is it just a guy in a suit? And yes, those are breasts you're seeing, so Sasquatch, this one at least, is female. Nicknamed "Patty" her wide-armed glance back at the camera, frame 352, is well-known and synonymous with Bigfoot lore, cryptozoology and the unexplained.