Who Are You People

supreme court justice mercy

Of all the masterful arguments presented by Alan Shore (James Spader) in the American TV show Boston Legal, his argument in front of the Supreme Court in S04E17 has to be one of the best. Btw, I’ve been binge-watching the show for the past two weeks, as I’ve done here and here with other shows. Although I’m sure that the (real) Supremes would not tolerate monologuing as it appears in this episode, something inside me wishes this could/should happen. Shore (Spader) nails it. Calling out the The United States Supreme Court for their ideological bias–especially the conservative majority that has partaken in giving the world #americant–is brilliant. Actually, having never seen the show before, and having missed all of 1990s and 2000s tv programming in the US, I’m very surprised at the level of political and social criticism that takes place in this show–especially as it was produced by ABC, which is not a bastion of liberal/progressive programming. With that in mind, there is something missing in Shore’s speech (monologue) as he criticises the Supremes. Or let me put that another way. If I had written this episode, I would have included a bit about how conservatives have so ingeniously nit-picked their way to power since the 1970s. It wasn’t all Ronald Reagan, you know. There really are masterminds behind the scenes of the GOP and the Republican party. I for one, having seen all this take place from my expat 30k-foot high-seat, have to take my hat off to republicans. What a job they’ve done taking advantage of the stupidity of a nation. I mean. These sleaze-balls are the ones who pander to the lowest common denominator of the voting constituency of The United States of America… with gusto! They most certainly don’t pander to rational thought or rational governing. They do this by wiggling their way around the enormous political structure that is the US. Not only is there three branches to the federal government but each state has their own branches, their own constitutions, their own justices, etc. By attacking (and conquering) these various layers of politics, they have been able to maintain a stranglehold on the nation. It is an extremely successful from-the-bottom-up political strategy. Issues like taxes, big government, abortion, state’s rights, the 2nd Amendment, etc., are all basically the qualifiers of who gets appointed, who gets to run and, ultimately, who controls society. Because the complexity of this activity is too overwhelming for the stupid masses to comprehend, let alone even bother to ponder, the Republican party has pretty much run the show for well over thirty years. They do this by changing voting districts, i.e. gerrymandering. They appoint politically biased justices controlling legislation and even determining presidential elections. Heck! Conservatives have even found a way to circumvent Roe v. Wade. How? Easy, really. Some state legislatures that are run by conservative politicians (republicans) have changed the laws regarding hospital admitting privileges. Hospital admitting privileges are required of doctors who have private practices or clinics that perform invasive and/or surgical procedures. The admitting privilege is about the doctor, if he or she makes a mistake at the clinic, can then call upon a better equipped hospital to take care of any complications that may arise. That means, if a hospital is run by conservative ideologues, they can simply deny the doctor admitting privilege. Without the backup of a hospital but more importantly without adhering to the law that requires admitting privileges, the doctor cannot perform certain procedures at his/her clinic. It goes without saying that a clinic without hospital admitting privileges will not be able to provide certain services. Thousands of clinics have closed because of this. Pretty tricky, eh! But also well thought out. Indeed. Of course, I forgive the writers of S04E17 for not including my thoughts. They made up for it by having Denny Crane, the epitome of Republicanism, fart and make goo-goo eyes at the Supreme Court.

Rant on.

-Tommi

Below is a transcript of my favourite scene, Season 4, Episode 17, Boston Legal. Alan Shore v Supreme Court. Underlined text from me. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Who Are You People”

Und Der Fährt Immer Noch

vw no diesel in america

There is a scene in the satirical movie “Schtonk” where it’s said that Adolf Hitler claimed in his diaries that he invented the Käfer. You know, that cute little German car known as the beetle or bug–not the new plastic krapp copy they’ve got now. And not only did he invent the original bug, but he also invented the company that would make the car: Volkswagen. The people’s car. Fittingly, someone adds later in the film: “And it’s still on the road”–Und der fährt immer noch. The implication is that the car was built so well that it will drive forever. I guess. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Schtonk! is based on a true story. It is about a bunch of gaudy, slimy, yellow journalists who think they have found the Hitler Diaries. As is the case in the true story, it’s all nothing more than a grand hoax. But that hoax had a bit more to it than what we see in the film. One of the reasons Stern magazine was so easily manipulated into this hoax was the fact that Germans were starving for some sort of inner reconciliation regarding their recent past. In the movie the top manager of the magazine that was financing the acquisition of the diaries even says, after hearing the first words that Hitler (supposedly) wrote: “We’ll have to re-write German history, this is sensational, this means that he (Hitler) was a person like you and me.” Indeed. A privileged corporatist claims that a past can be changed as long as a new future can be arranged. Or something like that.

The gaudy, slimy, yellow journalists in Schtonk! are no different than the gaudy, slimy, yellow managers that run corporations today. For it is true, dear worst-reader, that the only way to get by in a world where monopolies and oligarchies and plutocrats rule everything is by hoaxing and manipulating and cheating–and arranging new futures. This is the true face of unabashed, predatory capitalism that is drowning us all. And not just drowning all of us minions. Some of the corporations have to drown, too. But only some.

What is the difference between a car made in Germany or a car made in the US? Sure, there are quality differences, maybe even one will last a bit longer than the other. But all in all, they are the same. So how then do you make money if there is nothing to differentiate your product from the next product? Or what do you do if there is no more money out there to buy products? Indeed. You arrange things. In the end, it’s all just corporate bullshit–that has been arranged. With that in mind…

Diesel vs gas = gas wins (in the US)

According to one of the articles I read, 20% of all diesel passenger cars sold in the US are made by VW. That’s fucking huge. Reason? Diesel cars get great mileage–and that whole obsession-thing America has with Germans doesn’t hurt either. Can you say Fahrvergnügen? On the other hand, gas mileage is kinda important to Americans these days, even though Americans don’t really know anything about gas. They most certainly can’t understand why the stuff is such a huge determining factor in their living standard. Seriously. They don’t get it. The wars, empire, failed Texas oilmen elected (twice) to the land’s highest office. Nor can Americans understand that all the money they pay for gasoline, thereby deminishing living standards, goes into the coffers of a few people. That means there are a few gas company execs out there ranting and raving about slimy Europeans encroaching on their turf. And who do the gas companies collude with? Again. A significant # of diesel passenger cars on US roads are made by Europeans. Did no one tell those Europeans that America is gasoline? Diesel is European. And you know what Americans think of the French, right? Freedom fries, baby!

Supply vs demand = supply loses.

They call them recessions and not depressions because the latter is so definitive. They also use the word recession because inherent in the word is the idear of recovery. The western world and the concept of a living standard that permeates it has yet to deal with the fact that there is no difference between depression and recession if there is no recovery. The whole point of Too Big To Fail and bailouts is that corporations don’t have to actually answer to the market. Instead they keep on supplying, i.e. manufacturing, producing, etc., as though nothing has happened. The problem is, there is no such thing as the market. There’s only “growth” which feeds stock prices and open lines of credit. With that in mind, my guess is that VW has simply over-produced. Since there is no recovery insight from this recession (depression) something has to be done with all those unsold cars. But it can’t come out that America’s favourite diesel motor can’t be sold on account there’s no money to buy them. What would Ford or Chrysler say about why their cars are not being bought either? Oh, yeah. They’re all in the same boat.

When multinationals get into trouble this is what they do. They pretend something went wrong. They claim foul from government regulation or foul against a competitor. Or they get government regulators to claim foul against them. They make crony politicians do them favours. Some even hire universities (via grants) to do a study about, gee, I don’t know, …emissions. Next there might even be a study about tire pressures. Are tire manufacturers in dire straits?

Just look at GM’s recent debacle. Didn’t Toyota recently recall a shit load of cars? Does any of this sound familiar? These companies are allowed to get away with what ever they want. They simply push the burden of being unmanageable elsewhere. It’s the slimy, gaudy, yellow thing to do. They arrange (their) futures.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

A Spot

oil heart

It goes something like this. After worst-writing for a few hours, in a rush, I got around to getting some chores done. The chores are thus: buy fresh meat and wine for the evening. Pick some veggies for the pan. Dress the kitchen properly so she’s prepared for my cooking. Start drinking with a cold beer after three. But first, on this odd day, I had to run to the Turkish supermarket because I forget fresh coriander during my shopping spree the day before. I have to make a quick run  (before I start drinking). My 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider is getting up in years. So too is the work of drunk Italians. Each time I have to pick up a part that has fallen off, listen to her squeak as we drive around or worry about what else can go broke, I think of the Italian workers and all the wine they were drinking while assembling her. Nomatter. I get in her, and, as usual, push down on the clutch. It’s a habit, you know. It’s the first thing I do whenever I get in the Italian queen. Out of habit sometimes I do the same thing when entering an automatic vehicle. My Alfa has a funky clutch to begin with. Something about Italians and their parts. Had the same issue with my Italian motorcycle oh so many years ago. Italian clutches never feel the same. One day it feels light, the next heavy. Another day it feels marshmellowie and the next it feels like a hangover. But this day, this late morning, it felt of nothing. Pure and unadulterated nothing. Like an automatic car. No resistance whatsoever for my left foot. So I pop the hood, have a look at the hydraulic fluid reservoir, and, as expected, it’s butt empty. Oh. Looks like tonights meal is gonna have to go without fresh coriander. But what do I do with my Alfa? I call my shop and order a tow. He shows up immediately. We have a short conversation about politics and worst-writing and then he hooks up my Alfa to his tow. I warn him to be careful regarding the low hanging oil pan of the motor. He’s extra cautious. Then he gives me a receipt for my car and pulls away, Alfa in tow. I wave goodbye and then look down at a new oil spot. She’s giving me a message? Yes, she is. Rant on. -t

The Bigot Meter

ahmed clockTrillions of dollars have been spent. Habeas Corpus has been suspended–along with Bill of Rights. The government has the right to spy on you. You can be put on a no-fly list. We now have a government institution named homeland security. We also have a patriot act that cannot be dissolved which guarantees all the above. Seriously. Can it get more Orwellian? I’m sure there is plenty more to add to the list. But it all seems redundant at this point, doesn’t it? I mean, what has happened since that morning? That morning in September, 2001. I’ll tell you what has happened. They won. No, seriously. We might as well come out and admit it. The terrorists have won. The guys in those planes, the guys in Afghanistan, the Iranians, Hamas, ISIS/ISIL. Etc. All of ’em. They have won. Wanna know how I know they’ve won? Just look around. Look around as though you’ve never looked around before. Nomatter what you believe, what TV station you watch, what party you (think you) vote for, look around. The world has gone batshit. All there is, as ever has been, is profitability, greed, death, destruction and batshit. And that’s the ticket, dear worst-reader. The terrorists have won because, well, batshit rules. “But wait. Hasn’t it always been that way, worst-writer?” Ok. Maybe it has. But it seems to me that in the past, when the batshit got too thick, when the ammonia stench overwhelms, something came along to counter it. What that something is, I can’t get into here. It’s too broad, wide, over-reaching–and way too deep for worst-writer. Instead, all one needs to consider, look at, are the little things. Like how a 14 year old American citizen high school student, with brown skin, a muslim name and a small case with a bunch of wires and circuits in it, gets arrested–because batshit rules. Our minds have been so overcome with fear, so clouded with anger, so dimmed with wanton ignorance, that a boy’s science project MUST be a bomb. What! Wait. And that’s not all. Batshit is more than everywhere. You can see it in the way police departments across the country wield deadly force over communities, mainly aimed at people with dark skin. You can see it when presidential candidates get questions from “citizens” regarding the legitimacy of a dark skin president. You can see it when the Republican Party splits into factions of … Batshit. Indeed. The terrorists have won because we now officially live for batshit–thanks to them. And since we’re on the issue of thanking, I want to thank Ahmed Mohamed for providing #americant with yet another beacon of light to the truth–and for giving us the first ever BIGOT METER.

Good luck suckers. Rant on. -t

Links that motivated this post:

Buffoons Ticking On And On And On

What’s to be done when everything is leveraged? Where does one go when margins are so thin? How do you get credit when all there is is debt? How do you get water from a rock? The answer to these and many other questions, dear worst-reader, is simple. You mis-manage your company like no other. You mis-manage everything and blame someone else (for it). You hire college grads who have been trained to the highest levels of mis-management. You are a crony organisation, you are a cancer–but so is everything else. And. You are General Motors. GM has to be one of the worst run companies in human history–yet it ticks on and on and on. A company that was bailed out in 2008/9 to the tune of (insert # here) billion dollars. Ralf Nader says GM was given $50billion from the US government. The money was part of TARP. Most of that money, btw, was not used to help the factories of GM, which are practically non existent in the US anyway. Nor was it used to prop up worker salaries or even management salaries. No. The money was used–and is still being used–to maintain the financial-isation of GM which emulates the financial-isation of #americant post Ronald Reagan. That financial-isation, basically, is one thing and one thing only: Debt. Which means, even though GM sells millions and millions of cars every year, it cannot manage its way out of the mess it’s gotten itself into by following and wallowing in the greed culture that is Reagan’s #americant. As bad as that sounds, GM is in the news now for having to pay a fine of $900 million to the US government because it built cars, knowingly, with faulty parts that supposedly lead to the deaths of hundreds of customers. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Pause. Swallow. Clear throat. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not laughing at the death of anyone. But I am laughing at the idear that GM cannot die. On top of that, where do you think the fine-money GM is paying is gonna go? As Ralph Nader nails it, the money is nothing but…

“The government gets the $900 million, which is like a drop in the bucket for GM. By the way, that money really is tax money recycled. GM, from the bailout, still has billions of dollars of taxpayer money in its treasury.” -Ralph Nader

Wow. This is one of the world’s largest companies and it’s managed by buffoons. Yet it ticks on and on and on. I guess part of all that ticking is the reality that buffoons feed off of buffoons. This is how the world ticks, baby.

Rant on. -t

Links that motivated/helped with this post:

Continue reading “Buffoons Ticking On And On And On”

Doodle Of A Dream

Had a dream the other night. I think. Even though I can’t draw worth a hoot, my best shot at an image of the dream is above. This dream started in the middle of a journey that begins at a red x (bottom left corner of the page). I think the journey was to the Red Sea to go scuba diving. But wait. The dream didn’t start there exactly. It actually started in Cairo. The red x is somewhere between Cairo International Airport and our final destination which is the resort region of Marsa Alam. I just didn’t feel the need to doodle that part. Nomatter. The trip was a total mess. Our plane was re-routed to Cairo International where we had to disembark and subsequently be “processed” for entry. Then we waited for hours in a luxurious bar where I got drunk out of my mind on “special” Egyptian schnapps. Eventually we boarded another airplane but instead of taking us to Marsa Alam airport it landed somewhere in the middle of the desert. We then boarded busses for the remaining part of the trip. There were no roads, no civilisation and it never got dark–even though we drove for a few days. The bus was crowded but comfortable. Everyone sat in their seats and some even used the ventilation system to blow dry their hair. A few children entertained the back of the bus with German songs from Scorpions and The Dead Trousers. Not unlike the luxurious bar at Cairo airport, the schnapps flowed and flowed. But then our tour bus was captured by Mexicans. So it’s here where the doodle kinda begins, i.e. the red x. Which brings me to the following question(s): captured by Mexicans in Egypt? How can that be? Oh yeah. It might have something to do with me not being one hundred percent white but also being a white-looking American and travelling through Arab Spring countries in order to get my kicks at twenty-five meters with colourful fish. Or. Prior to going to sleep that night I got kind of upset reading all the news about how Egyptian forces bombed a bus full of tourists because they obviously mistook it for being a bus full revolutionaries–or the like. We are living in those/these times, eh, dear worst-reader? Nomatter. The dream struck me and the morning after I felt compelled to codify it. What really sticks out in my conscious mind–as opposed to my dream mind–is that our Mexican captures trekked us along a desert road with a few stops in-between, as illustrated in the image (doodle) above. Huge tents were available to shade us from the sun. Oddly, being in a desert n’all, there was no need for water or suntan oil. The only thing available were books at various rest/pause stops. This is the part of the dream that confused me so. In the middle of a desert a group of people walk along a road (or was it a pathway?) and our only sustenance was books. The books had Mexican guards, though, and I don’t know why. Where were the Egyptians? Then, after a cup of earl grey, I dabbled in the following pseudo conclusion(s). I’m not sure what my other half is. It is safe to say that biological-daddy wasn’t white and he most certainly never read a thing to me. But what was he? He wasn’t black, he wasn’t asian and he most certainly wasn’t European–although he spoke German. He spoke German because he was stationed in Germany for most of his military career starting in the mid-50s thereby bringing numerous booty children to the world, aka Besatzungskinder. Yours truly being the second one of approximately four or five, etc. But. Again. Nomatter. I’m drifting. The thing is, I romanticise sometimes, even find myself hoping, that my other half is Indian. Maybe I’m a Sioux or a Mohawk or even a Choptank. But I could also be Mexican or Puerto Rican. Not that that is less than being half Indian. It’s just that I think, if I were on a scuba trip to the Red Sea, to read books, and read the corals, and wonder at deserts and desserts (that I’m not supposed to eat), I would never get captured by a bunch of Mohawks. Or? So I got up the other morning and was compelled to try and capture the dream, what it means. That’s all.

Rant on. -t

Link that motivated this post:

Repeated Airstrikes on Mexican Tourists | The Guardian

Combinations Prevail

four white men of 2015 and beyondThere is no doubt that combinations like this will prevail. Look at the place and the history that makes them–these combinations. First, we have Matt Damon running his trap when he shouldn’t–securing his white supremacy position in Hollywood and playing the fantasy meritocracy card (see lampshade link below). Then we have The Donald teaming up with a fellow cheater (and for added effect fellow cheater Lance Armstrong up in the corner). And there you have it. Cheaters. White supremacists. Meritocracy is bleeding from the walls. So let’s arbitrarily combine them. Combinations–to confuse the idiotic masses who adore corporate America. Adore, indeed. Lust for. Entertain. Bank account. No future–unless you’re one of these achievers. It’s voting time next year. So don’t get confused by combinations. You have earned The Donald #americant. #fuckthemartian

Good luck suckers. Rant on. -t

Links:

Who Let The Dogs Out

dog threat letter
Click to enlarge

A bit more than a rant this morn, dear worst-reader. Perhaps this is a plea. A plea for mercy and the life of my dog. To begin, above is a letter that I recently received from the property administrator of our flat regarding my dog. Here is a translation of the red enclosed area:

“Unfortunately, after numerous warnings, you have failed to abide by your rental agreement regarding your pet. Numerous sightings have shown your Pug runs freely around the courtyard without a dog leash. We have sent you numerous letters that state dogs must be on a leash in the courtyard. Other dog owners have been contacted by phone and agree to this rule. During our telephone call today you failed to agree to the rules which means we are issuing you another formal warning. If your dog is seen running free around the courtyard again we will cancel the dog/pet agreement. That will mean that you must get rid of your dog. In our mutual interests we hope that it will not come to that. With friendly greetings, … “

This letter, and the issue it concerns, literally boils my blood. But it also does more than that. What is not in the letter is what was said in a telephone call with the person that wrote it. So let’s start at the top, shall we:

  1. The letter, in its original German, is typically rude. Living in Europe all these years has thickened my skin somewhat to this. That said, I think the English translation even conveys rudeness. Odd (or maybe not) when you consider that this person is communicating with a customer that doesn’t exactly pay bargain rent.
  2. The property administrator failed to read the rental agreement that we signed prior to moving in to this flat. We did not sign a rental agreement where we are required to have our dog on a leash while in the courtyard. (Side note: perhaps, since we don’t have this in our contract, this fact should be noted to those that move in.)
  3. Not only is the administrator rude and incorrect in his assumption regarding our rental contract but he has the gaul to threaten us that if we don’t comply we have to “get rid of our dog”.
  4. What is not included in the letter is another warning given to us indirectly during a telephone conversation. Using innuendo it was stated to us that if we don’t put our dog on a leash in the courtyard we should be prepared that he will be poisoned. (Do I need to repeat that?)

Please note that I live in a fairly posh, restored farm house  or Hofanlage that used to house horses and farming equipment. It has since been rebuilt with multi-level flats of varying sizes and styles. All the flats are connected to a courtyard that is shut off from the main road and the village. Because of the design of the facility, my flat’s terrace and main entrance are side-by-side within the courtyard. Not all flats have this same configuration as most have separate entrances that are outside the courtyard. This seemed very accommodating and appealing to us as dog owners–it’s like we have a little backyard connected to our flat. Obviously we are not alone in how this  appeals to dog owners. The courtyard is shared with a male Frenchie and a blonde female Lab. Needless to say, our dog neighbours dig each other. The only problem is my dog was here first. He and the new male Frenchie are in a constant “marking” contest. Of course, I have told all of my neighbours that I will clean up whatever mess he makes. I also added that this shouldn’t go on forever because the dogs will eventually get used to each other and not have to prove who owns what.

My dog’s name is Beckett. He’s named after Samuel Beckett. I often tell people I wanted to name him Godot but it would be odd yelling that name in public. My dog is spoiled. He’s also loved by the children who play in the courtyard, they often come to our terrace and ask for him by name. They also ask if they can give him snacks because they enjoy commanding him to “sit” before giving him the snack. Children’s faces glow and shine at these moments. But I suppose the shine isn’t for everyone. Over the years this has had a somewhat negative effect on Beckett. He runs around with the children in the courtyard. He’s always in search of  someone’s feet to lick or if anyone has a snack at hand. But I suppose all good things must come to an end. Someone, somewhere must ruin the fun. In Germany this level of negativity is called Kleinbürgertum–and it is a national past-time.

cropped-pug-and-books.jpg

The letter we received has since been retracted and we also have received a formal apology from the property administrator. Yet I feel somewhat inconsolable regarding the threatening nature of the whole situation. This goes beyond facts not being checked, contracts not being read, the potential for legal fees and horrific bureaucracy. Not only were we threatened about the livelihood of our dog but were indirectly threatened by the fact that dogs in Germany are regularly poisoned because of situations just like this. I find that type of dialogue in this situation very, very disturbing!

It’s not easy being a dog owner in Germany. I feel as though I’m constantly being watched and checked. Did I bring enough poop bags to pick up his shit when I take him for walks? Is he peeing in the wrong place? I never let him pee on car tyres for fear that someone will attack me with a sharpened elbow. Sometimes I can see it in the eyes of pedestrians we pass their disgust for my little Pug and his laboured breathing and Rottweiler attitude. Their contempt for me shines as bright as the sun–but not as bright as the joy from the children that played with my dog over the years. Heck, I’ve even been called a Tierquäler (animal cruelty) because I have a Pug–because someone who has never had one thinks s/he knows the pedigree. Worst of all, I stopped letting my dog run free when I reach the open areas outside our village where I take him for long walks. I do that because a few dogs died this year from poisoning. I have since learned why so many owners have their beautiful, playful Labs muzzled when they take them for walks. It’s not to prevent the dog from attacking anyone. It’s to save the dogs life because a dog cannot read the true nature of some people who leave pieces of meet laced with rat poison or they buy dog snacks and put pins and needles in them. Indeed. We were “reminded” of this by a property administrator who is obviously in charge of posh living.

Yes. We have been warned.

Rant on. -t

Links to (German) articles regarding cruelty to animals:

The What And Not The How

snowden ball effect.png

No. Seriously. Here’s a question for ya, which is also kinda paraphrasing (the fabulous) Ronda Rousey: In an all-out, open fight, I bet Hillary Clinton would kick Edward Snowdens ass.

Well, dear worst-reader, there you have it. The big Ed, the Snow(ball)den, has come out to tell us–us measly muggle-born non-techies–that what Hillary did with her private email server was dangerous. Really? But hold on a sec. Before I get to the tech/server krapp allow me this brief aside. How, for the love of integrity, does this guy live with himself? An American living in criminal exile in Russia, a country that is basically ruled by a two-bit dictator, and the audience who he is trying to appeal to is supposed to listen to him? What? Oh. I’m wrong? You say he’s in political exile? Oh. You mean in Russia? Ok. Whatever. Still. I do not know… but am somehow curious as to how he does it. And not only how he lives with himself but what’s with those glasses? Is it me or is a nose pad missing from those glasses? (Go ‘head, google nose pad and snowden.) I mean. That’s weird. Is this guy kinda weird? Nomatter.

Opportunity abounds in this world, dear worst-reader. And if you want to get ahead in it, you’d better find your opportunity. (Btw, in #americant, opportunity is a commodity so make sure you can afford it!) I mean, we all must take what we can get, eh. Kentucky marriage licensers do it. Former military generals of Empire do it. Heck, we now have the first candidate in our history running for president who is at the same time under federal indictment. This is America, baby–even though Mr. Snowden can’t live in it. And. If the third world won’t come up to our level, than we’ll damn sure go down to theirs. The banana republic of #americant! And you can also be sure of this: while becoming a 3rd world country, at least America’s trim will be in gold–not unlike the trim The Donald has on his tacky aircraft, tacky cars, tacky penis and wife’s… tacky personality. (Hey, bet you thought I was gonna worst-write somethin’ else there, eh.) But all worst-kidding aside.

Let’s get one thing straight when it comes to this email scandal, Hillary and a criminal locked in Russia who thinks it (i.e. Hillary) is dangerous. First. A brief history lesson. What would you have done if you found out that your husband’s womanising could be proven because of not just a stain on a blue dress but also because of illegally tapped phone line that was given to a biased, sexually repressed, (non)independent (grand jury) counsel? Would you be suspicious about using email–which is essentially no different than making a phone call? Would you do what you could do to protect your phone call, I mean emails–within the boundaries of the law? Btw. There is a way to make email secure. It’s not that hard. But that entails a slightly higher level of tech know-how. I could secure my emails if I wanted to. And there was never chance in hell that I could get a job at the state department. But then again, I did work for the same company Snowden worked for. Hey! Stop that! This ain’t about me.

Here a few questions you might consider while swimming around in the boiling anger you feel for Hillary–because you’ve fallen for the villainization of “liberals” since Limbaugh & Co. got into your head. And be careful. Some of this stuff requires cognition.

  • What server did she use?
  • What hardware did her server run on?
  • Who had administrative privileges to that server?
  • Who had her email address?
  • How did she distribute that email address?
  • In voluntarily turning it over to federal authorities, if it was encrypted, did she decrypt it before turning it over or did she give the authorities her encryption keys?

My point of these question is that we don’t know anything about what Hillary actually did with her emails or her server. Knowing that stuff should be part of judging whether she is/was a danger, or? Well, I guess it shouldn’t if you’re simply boiling over with hate. Instead all we have is a government agency (Justice Dept. and FBI?) combing through all her emails and then releasing certain amounts of them periodically. That said. Here is what we do know when it comes to national security breaches. As mentioned above, a major military general was prosecuted for illegally providing his lover with classified information. We also know that the US government was recently hacked and thousands upon thousands of personal, government employee information (including information of people who were only applying for work) was made public. This scandal alone proves that the US government is spending too much on guns and not enough on technology. In fact, the government cannot know how many emails are floating around with government information. So the last question is, if you don’t trust Hillary (because you hate her so much), what has she actually done wrong? She most certainly hasn’t broken any laws.

What bothers me about this so-called scandal is that it stinks of the same tactics used by the sexually repressed republicans to bring down Bill Clinton in the 90s. And here’s a prediction for you: if Hillary does get elected, there’ll be another sexually repressed republican appointed as general counsel to investigate whether or not she lies about a personal transgression that has nothing to do with running the greatest failed-upward nation-state experiment in human history. I hope she’s  more teflon than Bill.

And one last thought. I’m still waiting for the Snowden leaks, that are conveniently being distributed piece by piece by a profiteering entity, to show me the what and not the how of government spying on its citizenry. Which means that there is something disingenuous about  Snowden appearing along side Daniel Ellsberg. You see, Ellsberg, when he released secret documents to the public, revealed what our government was doing that was illegal during the Vietnam war. But I digress.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

Notes From Underhuman

underground dostoyevsky

Thoughts this morn about Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground. I’ve been enjoying the taste, feel and smell of this 1972 paperback for the past few weeks. I think I acquired it while visiting London in 1995. Obviously it’s not dealing with age and dryness but neither am I. Funny thing is, I’ve already gone through three or four rubber-bands to keep it together. Looks like I won’t be reading The Double anytime soon. Oh well.

To begin, here’s the intro from the author where he, for whatever (literary) reason, feels the need to qualify his work.

“The author of these Notes, and the Notes themselves, are both, of course, imaginary. All the same, if we take into consideration the conditions that have shaped our society, people like the writer not only may, but must, exist in that society. I have tried to present to the public in a more striking from than is usual a character belonging to the very recent past, a representative figure from a generation still surviving. In the chapter entitled ‘The Underground’ this personage introduces himself and his outlook on life, and tries, as it were, to elucidate the causes that brought about, inevitably brought about, his appearance in our midst. In the second section we follow this personage’s memoirs of some of the happenings in his life.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

What’s the saying about Russian novels? If you’re happy–don’t read one. As far as this worst-reader goes, since happiness is over-rated, you’d think the likes of Dostoyevsky would be for me. But the truth is, after reading The Idiot so many years ago, I’ve spent more time staring at my old copy of The Brothers Karamazov than reading it. (Ok. I’ve read parts of it and plan on reading it whole. Someday. Maybe.) Like most of Dostoyevsky’s work, the biggest hurdle is not his subject matter or its depth but instead the winded, drivelling, unending sentences, not excluding multiple page single paragraphs. I mean, come on, you gotta be smart to read this guy–or?

When I can get through the sentences, two things happen (in my worst-mind) while doing so. First. If aliens ever come down to visit and they want to know what it is to be human, they should read Dostoyevsky (or Gogol). Second. After Dostoyevsky, and living in #eurowasteland for so long, I’ve concluded that no one knows The European better than the big D. Yeah, baby. That’s right. The only way to understand The European is to read depressing Russian novels of yesteryore. And what is The European, you ask. How ’bout this. Bureaucracy. Greed. War. Clans. Fascism. Authoritarianism. Genocide. Etc., etc. All the industry, farmers, cheese, booze, classical music, cars, art and architecture, theatre, etc., etc., pale in comparison  to the death, destruction and human waste The European has given humanity. Seriously. All of the world’s problems stem out of the inhumane death and greed culture that is The European. And before you attack me regarding America–heed this. America is not just bluejeans and Hollywood, war and money, different kinds of cheese, art and fascism, and let’s not forget, the new world and the land of the free (to be stupid). That’s just a front, a story, a narrative. America is The European thru and thru. In fact, it is The European version 2.0. Did I mention how we all need to be so thankful to The European for imperialism?

It was/is The European mindset that slaughtered the Indians of North America. It was that mindset that fought the silly clan war known as the American Civil War, igniting it all because The European needed slaves to build its new world. It was that mindset that perverted capitalism and turned the northern hemisphere into a cult of self perpetuating greed and death. Indeed, dear worst-reader. When I read Dostoyevsky that’s what I get out of his writing. And it feels kinda good to read it these days, as though something inside me is vindicated, as though, after all these years in Europe, among these The Europeans, I can finally read him. Yeah. Maybe it is time to get on with Karamazov. Or maybe not.

Notes From the Underground is short novel about the narrator who can’t control his anger and frustration while trying to exist in the blossoming automaton world of late 19th century (far eastern) Europe. I’ve read on the Interwebnets that some think this work is the beginning of existentialism–but I have no idear what that is supposed to mean. All I know is, if you could bring the narrator of this story to life, you could put him right in the middle of the corporate world; he’d fit perfectly. Even though there is a huge amount of anger and confusion rolled up inside him, he is docile and weak on the outside; he seems to stand for nothing except musings about Russian soil. His ego is so overblown that when he argues with comrades and ends up challenging one to a duel, no one even shows up for it. Instead they all go about their meaningless, automaton lives in the(ir) bureaucracies, the(ir) cafés, the(ir) dinning halls of sloth and gluttony. And just like the automatons in the corporate world, the narrator  himself is fluff and meaninglessness–all on the verge of sissy tears–just like all those soccer “men” who fall down on the field like gurly-girls in order to find an advantage. Yet, does the narrator find meaning in his search? The question hasn’t changed since the late 19th century. The automatons find meaning in what ever they deem fit. They find it in their arrogance. They find it in that other great European pastime that is the opposite of humility–misbegotten pride. They find it in their nationalism, tribalism, clans.

The earth knows no noses higher than those noses in Europe. (-tommi)

This is a quaint story to read. I rather enjoyed it–long sentences or not. I felt a kinship with the narrator–or was it empathy? Nomatter. The important thing to keep in mind about it is that there is contempt between “the author of these notes” and “the notes themselves” (see quote at beginning of post). Dostoyevsky is obviously extremely judgemental of his surroundings yet he never quite reveals why. There is something naive about how he writes this. Or maybe it’s carelessness. I don’t mean his prose, though. His ability to transcribe the mind’s eye is flawless. It’s just the subject matter he’s addressing that gets me. It’s as though he created the narrater in order to just mock everything about the world he’s forced to live in–The European world. Either way he is judging society by portraying its components and how they interact in the most banal of all settings.

“We Russians, generally speaking, have never been stupid transcendental romantics of the German, or especially the French, kind, who are not affected by anything; the earth may crack under their feet, all France may perish on the barricades, but they remain the same, they won’t make the slightest change even for the sake of decency, but still go on singing their transcendental hymns right up, one might say, to the grave, because they are fools. But here, on Russian soil, there are not fools, as everybody knows: that is what distinguishes us from all the other, Germanic, countries.” -Notes From Underground, FD

There is something eerily profound about what Dostoyevsky is getting at in this short novel–that I may be confusing with my own worst-prejudices. And. As usual. I’m not sure I understand any of anything I read. But he makes me think of the wave of revolution that preoccupied Europe before and after Dostoyevsky. Before Dostoyevsky I’m referring, of course, to the French Revolution. In its essence wasn’t the French Revolution not just an attempt break the chains of feudalism and monarchy, but also an attempt to subvert The European? In a lesser attempt, the Russian revolution–which emulated the French–tried to do the same thing. Is there no irony in the fact that both those revolutions lost and who was the winner? In Russia, The European turned to authoritarian communism embodied by Stalin and the Soviets. In western Europe, The European turned to predatory capitalism disguised in the bullshit called socialism. I couldn’t help but feel that Dostoyevsky was alluding to this level of human failure that could only come from the mindset that is The European. The people he argued with, the female he so clumsily fell in love with, the servant he couldn’t stand up to, etc. They all represent The European. And like all Europeans, the story just reaches the last page. Or something like that.

Rant on. -Tommi

Separation Of Church And The Gullible

happy gullibleThere is a reason you can’t get divorced in a church. There is also a reason a church can’t issue a marriage license. Beyond the fact that worst-writer thinks marriage–as a state sanctioned institution–should be abolished, there is the age-old question of what came first: the chicken or the gullible? I won’t argue the issue of whether or not #americant is a nation born of religious faith–especially, in the eyes of timid sheep, born of Abrahamic faith. Instead I like to turn the conversation to puritanism and bidness. What most people have forgotten (or fail to recognise) is that America is a business. It is not a country. It is not a nation. It is a place of pure and unadulterated commerce. Period. Without belittling the pride so many feel for Her, that is not to say that there is no validity to the tears often shed when The Star Spangled Banner is sung–I choke up myself here and there. Yet none of that should hide the reality that there are two sides to any bidness transaction: there is the side that profits and the side that takes its seat among the gullible in order to enable and facilitate that profit. Obviously the experiment (that is America and has become #americant) has worked well for the profiteers. It’s even worked well for those that used to be close to the profiteers, i.e. the middle class, although that part is obviously waning. But, indeed, as is the case whenever the top trickles down to the bottom, at some point the top starts to feel cheated–as is the case post the new-deal. Now it’s payback time. Political conservatism in the United Mistakes has had a field day in the past thirty or so years getting some payback for what FDR, “liberals” and Democrats have done in an attempt to halt the top from taking everything. And I would even go so far as to say that the gullible have tried once or twice to wake up to the reality of this. But, instead of continuing to push for some form of top-down concessions, the gullible rest on laurels. In my lifetime Americans, in order to make sense of what has been done to them, i.e. the economy, wars on this or that, terrorism, guns, mass shootings, failing infrastructure, credit card debt, etc., etc., have sought answers where there are none–mostly because the wrong questions are being asked. How should the gullible, the stupid, ask the right questions? I don’t know and I don’t give a shit. The only thing I care about is the vacuum of/in the mind. Fear becomes your way of life. Threat becomes your daily dose. Neighbour becomes your enemy. Stupid is your survival. And so. I believe the founding fathers had an answer almost three hundred years ago for what ails #americant today. It is the answer to the ultimate question. And it goes something like this: the separation of church and state is what will set you free. The reason the founding fathers wanted a state separated from the church is because without the church (at least in the western world) there can be no king. How does a king gets his power, you ask. Through… Wait for it. Wait. A king gets his power the same way religion does. Faith. Belief. The gullible. People have to believe. But America has no king, you say. And you are right, dear worst-reader. But it has something that leads to a king. The faithful in #americant today have been wielded oh so brilliantly by the powers-that-be. Political conservatism has latched on to these believers like a leech. This is most obvious in the religious right and the gullible (believers) that somehow get jobs in state governments where they freely force (their) religion on others. Separation of church and state? Oh well. That’s ok. America was fun while it lasted. I guess. And so. I mean. Come on. A measly clerk in a Kentucky government office doesn’t perform her mandated job? And she’s even willing to go to jail for that? Seriously? That’s like saying a cop won’t arrest a bank robber cause he’s believes in his lunch break. But of course. After fighting this thru courts all the way to the Supremes, this is where the right side of history converges? Indeed it does. And with that in mind. Good luck suckers.

Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

Deregulate That Fraud Baby!

Once again, just like here, Michael Hudson nails it–and his book, Killing the Host, is going on my to-read list. Allow me to quote (or is this called transcribe?) the part from the interview in the above vid that really struck me.

“They make their money for the same reason they’ve paid billions in civil fines–not criminal fines for the fraud. It used to be that Chase (Bank) made money by getting deposits at a low rate and lending them out a higher rate. But now what they do is they create credit for junk mortgages and they don’t even hold the mortgages. They find suckers to sell (the junk mortgages) to, like the German Landesbanks, pension funds, and anyone who will buy these junk mortgages. And it turns out that all of these (junk mortgages) are a fraud and  that Alan Greenspan came in to deregulated fraud. So now, essentially, the fraud sector is part of the financial sector.”

But there is one worst-thought that I wish to add to this (mess). Obviously Michael Hudson is telling the truth here. But I have the following question regarding financial fraud and debt deflation. It’s one thing to remind us that a German Landesbank could be the sucker of whatever side of the trade wall-street put together before and after the subprime crisis and the great recession that started in 2007. This type of financial activity goes on everyday and it looks like the near and far future will only expand upon this activity. Yet, someone has to be sold these mortgages that are ultimately bundled together into what are known as derivatives. Who is that “someone”? Well, if you think you can tolerate my skeptic, cynical mindset, here’s an answer–and I think I may have tried to allude to this in other worst-posts (see tags). As bad as wall-street is, I’m not sure it’s the one to blame–which is so much of what the interviewer alludes to in the video. I mean, as much as I admired the occupy movement, there was one thing that held me back from supporting it fully. And it goes something like this. Any citizen of the US that can’t pay off his/her consumer debt (that is, debt that excludes a car or a mortgage–because these things are part of necessity and not want) within thirty days is complicit and is also practically aiding & abetting the banks by supplying endless amounts of debt. I mean, who is to say that all of these derivatives, with their credit default swap tranches, subprime technicalities, junk this or that, etc., aren’t really just a way for the powers-that-be to hide the fact that #americant screwed the pooch after it won the cold war? There was obviously a choice of direction #americant could have taken once the soviet union fell. We chose the wrong one. On top of that Americans, post the lie of Reaganomics, exist because of debt–we all know that. No one would have their house, the jewelry, their cars, EVERYTHING, without being indebted to it all. Hence, maybe someone should be thanking the banks for preventing a crash similar to the great depression (at the end of the dipshit dubya bush administration). Or maybe not. What the fuck do I care. All I know is that I’ve been debt-free my entire adult life. Proud of it, too. Good luck (debtor) suckers. And. Rant on. -t

Slice of Raspberry Pi With Your Led Zeppelin?

slice-of-raspberry-pi

Kept putting it off. Didn’t want to go there. Must adhere to minimalist principles. It’s the only way to live. Or? Yeah. Oh what the heck! Life’s too short. I broke down and ordered my first blu-ray drive Thursday. It arrived Friday. No player for me, though. It’s an internal LG unit that fits perfectly in the second optical drive bay of my mid-2010 MacPro. Was a little nervous about getting this device because there is no official Mac support from LG for it. So I went ahead and trusted some of the reviews I read. It’s supposed to work out-of-the-box with MacOS, requiring no extra drivers or software. Once I got it installed I fired up the Mac and BOOM! Second optical drive recognised immediately. New icon at top of menu bar provides open/close function for both drives. New keyboard command using “alt” key and disc eject open new drive, as well. Although the drive did crash once where I couldn’t eject disc, subsequent system restart seems to have cleared that up; haven’t had a crash since. But here’s the real kicker.

zeppelin

I’ve been itching to get my hands on Celebration Day, the 2007 benefit concert where Led Zeppelin reunited in London. And I didn’t want the old DVD version this time. I already have Led Zeppelin DVD and The Song Remains the Same. But I’ve put off consuming blu-ray technology because of the massive data storage requirements. DVD, depending on encoding, average around five to seven gigabytes. Blu-rays, on the other hand, average three-times that amount. I’ve also noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to find DVD with DTS. Oh. And remember. Storing data is one thing–backing it up is another. Nuff said there.

Over the years I have accumulated quite a substantial media library. As an Apple household, though, I’m frustrated with Apple’s media products, especially iTunes. Did you know that because of Apple’s bullshit and greed, I am unable to stream movies or music from my MacPro’s iTunes library to my iPad or iPhone? According to some forums and support groups, Apple has programmed a caching glitch in iOS’s video and music app that prevent it from being able to access large iTunes libraries. Can you believe that krapp! And that’s not all. Again. Because of Apple’s greed, the company doesn’t pay licensing fees thereby preventing it from enabling DTS audio on AppleTVs. Can you believe that krapp! Needless to say I’ve been searching for an alternative for sometime.

Enter the Raspberry Pi 2. Bought one a few months back. Ran Raspbian on it for a few days. To my surprise, not only is this little credit card sized device an alternative to the Intel/Microsoft monopoly-cabal but it’s a totally functioning PC. You can browse the web, write a novel on it, or install RasPlex, together with Plex on my Mac, connect it to your flatscreen or AVR and… Get me some iTunes salvation. Not only does the little Pi device deliver incredible high-end audio but the video quality is outstanding, as well. The only problem it has is that it can’t stream the high quality using wifi. Ethernet’s good enough for me.

As far as my first blu-ray experience? You can  see the strings of Jimmy Page’s guitars vibrating. You can almost read the writing on Jason Bonham’s drum sticks. Robert Plant has split ends (that’s right, his hair). John Paul Jones wears a pair of boots that look like they might cost ten grand. Oh. And then there’s that sound. The beautiful, luscious sound of every instrument. DTS HD shouting out brilliantly through six speakers, aka 5.1. The .1 is a 700w yamaha subwoofer (behind flatscreen in pic above). Front left and right are B&W DM305’s (yes, the low ends). Rear or surround left and right are Yamaha NS-G25’s. Centre speaker is a Yamaha NS-GC27. All are connected using banana plugs and Oehlbach 2×1.50mm copper to a Denon AVR 3808. Did I mention that you can even ear Jimmy Page’s pick rubbing the coils of his strings?

You know, I’ve even been contemplating getting out of the surround sound bullshit. As you can see from the pic above, I don’t believe in putting the speakers in their 5.1 positions. Reason? Well, I guess, because I haven’t had this level of audio quality yet. Indeed, dear worst-reader. It’s nice discovering alternatives that work and that also make ageing equipment work even better. And one more thing on the Celebration Day blu-ray. I found myself getting a bit emotional watching Jason Bohnam fill his dad’s shoes in such a glorious way. Way to go Jason!

Rant on. -t

Robespierre vs Orwell

pledge alligiance trump.png

I’m not really thinking of revolution but I am thinking of the consequence of those who are able, through whatever means, to take advantage of it. These are the people who stand by with white tails and gimmi-geeks and they plaster their wits on the walls of power. The owners of power, on the other hand, laugh and sneer, amused by the people that are powerless but are granted the right(s) to be in the rich man’s room(s). Revolutions are amazing things–only because of how easy they are to turn–not unlike the turning of dead flesh or milk in a jar, both sitting too long in the shinning sun. Turn things rotten indeed. It happened in France. It happened in Russia. It is, for all practical purposes, happening perpetually in the US. Yes. Our revolution of 1776 is in a perpetual state of counter revolution–and rot. Or?

“If the French Revolution were to recur eternally, French historians would be less proud of Robespierre. But because they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the Revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one. There is an infinite difference between a Robespierre who occurs only once in history and a Robespierre who eternally returns, chopping off French heads.” -Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The above quote from Kundera comes from the beginning of his book where he so brilliantly begins by orating the mood and essence of his story. I bring it up because that story is one that is being perpetually played out–even as I worst-write these words today. The essence of that story seems to be engrained in the past, present and future, as some of us are Tomas and we have written manifests that confuse our allegiances. And there is nothing we can do about it, except, maybe, sign a pledge (of allegiance). The only difference between the time of Robespierre, the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, etc., and today is that the story changes colours, it changes rooms, it wears new & improved coats and it even changes hair styles. Indeed. The story goes on. The powerless are clueless to it, too. This amazes and confuses me in such a wondrous way that my head spins like Ray D. Tutto aka The King of the Moon.

I reckon I’m thinking of more than revolution. Orwell comes to mind, too. The whole idear that people are indifferent to the surroundings that lead to both revolution and whatever the opposite is of revolution (counter?), has never been more prevalent. For example, the signing of the above “pledge” by The Donald. Can you believe this? How many examples of Orwellian carnage or the horror of the French counter revolution does there need to be before people get it? Too amused by The Donald, dear worst-reader? Yes. Just maybe. Too amused. But consider this:

How do you think that worked? Donald Trump went into a room with the head of the republican party of the united mistakes of #americant and when he came out he had signed a pledge of allegiance to that party. This is very confusing to me for I am a believer in the US’s bipartisan system of governance. Seriously. I love the left-right system which seems to work so well with the Constitution. And trust me, I live where political parties grow like crab-grass. Yet powerful men in the greatest constitutional nation-state in history go into rooms and when they come out they have signed papers that are pledges of allegiance. As though Donald Trump’s counter-revolution-like campaign wasn’t a strong enough statement or threat to the established party, he has to promise to remain a member. Donald Trump appeals to the most ignorant of the ignorant and he is a TV reality star and he’s leading in all polls among republicans and he has to promise to stay in the party? Am I the only one to be afeared by this?

Why does the republican party need pledges like this? I mean, they did the same thing with taxes. Some nut-job practically hoodwinked the party by making republican politicians sign a “pledge” to not raise taxes. Look at what this has done to parts of America (Detroit, Kansas, the entire school system, roads and other national infrastructure, etc.) Politicians and, of course, constituents have fallen for this nonsense in totality. Taxation is questioned and no one EVER questions how money is spent. Yet. If the politicians didn’t sign the no-tax pledge then they would lose campaign funding which also means they couldn’t hold their office. This is constitutional democracy? Someone’s pledge to a party wields this kind of power! I mean, what is really going on when people, in order to prove their allegiance, have to publicly sign things in order to hold public office? Isn’t that what communist party members have to do?

By-the-bye. It wasn’t enough that Winston Smith was broken by threat of being eaten alive by rats where he denounces Julia and pledges allegiance to Big Brother, but he also had to accept that 2+2=5. Obviously Robespierre didn’t accept that equation and so the French cut off his head–and probably fed it to Orwell’s/O’Brien’s rats.

Man oh man oh man. When you live in shit you really can’t smell the roses anymore. I guess we all better get up off our asses and… I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united mistakes of #americant….

Good luck suckers. The day is coming when you all with have to sign that pledge, too.

Rant on. -t

Link that motivated this post: The 62-word pledge Donald Trump Signed | NPR