The Russians are Coming! And so is The Day of Reckoning.

Robert Mueller announced today that he has indicted 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the last presidential election. Various types of fraud, specifically, are alleged.

It is likely that all 13 are in Russia and are unlikely to ever see the inside of a US courtroom let alone a cell.

Surely Mueller knows that and knew it when he directed the grand jury to issue the indictment. So, we hear you ask: Why bother?

First because government attorneys and former FBI agents are as predictable as a well-oiled train on a well-run schedule. Why did the FBI agent cross the road? Because that’s where the next thing on the to-do list was located.

The second and more important reason is because it puts pressure on other people. It puts pressure on Manafort & co who have already been grilled and served. And it puts pressure on Trump. But more importantly than even that it puts pressure on Trump’s lawyers because they know all of this and are now asking themselves: What else does Mueller have? Or: Who else does he have? Does he have emails? Recordings? Bank records? Photos?* A live Russian who is willing to talk? Or someone inside the bunker of Trump-world who is going to crack like an egg when Mueller shows them the photos and lets them hear the recordings and he says the magic words: You should cooperate because this deal I’m offering is going to expire as soon as I walk out of the room.

Or some version of that.

And then of course all of the above puts pressure on the collection of imitation humans and assorted blow-up dolls that comprise what remains of the republican party.

Keep in mind that just the other day Adam Schiff, a democratic impersonator who probably looks in the mirror and likes to imagine its Bobby Kennedy staring back at him, said there’s already enough evidence of collusion and obstruction to hang Trump. Okay he didn’t say the last part but he didn’t have to. Everyone knows that’s what he meant.

While it’s true that the train will now move to the next station what matters is what has mattered since day one: Trump is not normal. Even Nixon was, by governmental standards, normal. A cursory look at the facts shows that Nixon was as much of a monster as any number of other people who were creatures of the system but he turned on the system and that’s when things went off the rails. It’s one thing to rattle the nuclear saber but to do it while drunk and high on pills and to seriously say you want to drop a fat one on someone is where the other goons start looking for the nearest exit and a tranquilizer dart in the shape of impeachment.

Which brings us to Trump. It’s not just that, as we’ve said elsewhere and repeatedly, he’s an unhinged professional demagogue and amateur fascist. It’s that he really is incapable of understanding how the system works and he really is in the grip of several out of control pathologies each of which is at any moment capable of causing him to do something truly dangerous. Like pick up the phone and order someone to drop a bomb somewhere setting in motion a catastrophic chain of events.

It is not a joke, though it is funny, that at various times senior military figures have said in not so coded language, that they will not obey crazy orders from a crazy man. While that is a relief, it should still be cause for alarm.

We are heading for a cliff. In the movies, or some such, the hero manages at the last minute to not fall; to hang on and to get back to the relative safety of the plateau. Sam rescues Frodo. Spock saves Kirk. On the other hand (to extend the pop culture references) Peter doesn’t save Gwen and it’s awful.

Look for Trump to do what a crazy man-baby, paranoid and bottomless spit of narcissistic self regard would do when confronted by the truth: pitch a monstrous, catastrophic fit. If he goes quietly it will be a cover up that tells us the “system worked” and there’s nothing to see here folks go home. Like when Obama said yeah we tortured some folks as if saying “folks” instead of human beings makes it okay. The truth being of course that they will have  to drug Trump and drag him away in the middle of the night and have him heavily sedated in a “secure location.”

Or, there will be a very loud coup which will be called something else (like the 25th amendment).

While either of those scenarios should be cause for anxiety on par with (to borrow a phrase) a Christian scientist and a serious case of appendicitis, worse is also on the list of possible outcomes. There’s a lot of damage Trump can do before the men with the syringe and the metaphoric butterfly net come to take him away and lock him up in Trump tower like some latter day “crazy uncle” confined to the attic in some regurgitated 18th century British novel.

And it’s not just launching missiles or ordering air strikes. The damage that he can do lays in his causing the thugs to actually have to remove him and in forcing the spineless whores and old ladies of both sexes in the House and Senate and judiciary and the media to do the dirty work of what amounts to, staging a coup.

One of the things that so far has gone more or less unremarked upon in regards to the utterly vile Harvey Weinstein mess is the a look – a hard look – at complicity. Sure people keep saying who knew what and when did they know it (a variation on what did the president know and when did he know it) but the truth is, Miramax was king pimp in a company town. From PR flaks to agents to producers to freaks with money and Malibu mansions and Malibu Barbie’s with tits by committee and anorexia like you ordered it from a catalogue, and more blow than a Mexican cartel could dream of; from directors to actors to assistants to waiters and chefs and bartenders and drug dealers and doctors, private eyes and cops, lawyers and wardrobe bosses and stylists to hangers-on like an army of animatronic Kato Kalins – the entire creaking mess ran on complicity because the entire system demands obedience and is corrupt. And when someone says I didn’t see anything it all depends on the definition of seeing and of things.

Trump did not arrive from another planet any more than Franco, Pinochet, Mussolini, Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Kissinger arrived from another planet. They were here all along.

That he is a monster is undeniable. That he is a symptom and not the disease is also undeniable but just look at all the complicit creeps lining up for their moment when he’s gone and the smouldering wreckage of the constitution and the limp remains of the shattered republic are on display and you’ll be able to hear them say (with unintended irony just as they did when they sent off Nixon) the magic words: the system worked.

 

For some details on the indictment of the 13 Russians see the link below:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/robert-mueller-russians-charged-election

*Notice that the article has a quote taken from an email that was sent by one of the Russians. That is a telling detail released to the media as a shot across the bow by Mueller. It’s his way of saying: I’ve got more; a lot more. That’s federal prosecutor 101. Show a little leg and give a come hither look to say you better make a deal and give me something good. Or it’s like a shark just before it rolls its eyes back in its head and opens its maw. Either way the shark gets fed and someone is chum.

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The Two Faces of American Fascism.

America has long had a traditional, easy to recognize, fascist political culture. This is the right wing of the republican party where coded statements are delivered to gin up the base, hide from the media and their political opponents and threaten specific demographics. The targets change sometimes going from “Reds to “Queers” to “terrorists” but while committed members of the right wing of the right wing earnestly believe those groups pose a threat the managers of the reptile fund tend to care more about ginning up hysteria and votes (or suppressing votes for their opponents) than specific notions of who or what poses a “threat.”

If they have to call out environmentalists or feminists and then switch to Muslims or Jews it doesn’t matter to them. At the far right of course are the Klan and assorted neo-Nazis who of late have made a return to the wobbly and gelatinous heart of the republican party. Bereft of sufficient numbers and intelligence to generate enough votes to truly gain power they remain like a cancerous carbuncle on the face of the GOP. While Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan and his spineless cadre insist its not cancer and it’s really normal to have a Hitler mustache growing in the middle of your forehead the fact remains that the unpleasant but not quite fascist center holds.*

For now.

The other brand of American fascism has long been rumored to exist but has only lately burst onto the stage. This is the rude love child of Wall Street deregulation and the colonization of Civil Liberties by lawyers operating as the agents of the corporatists with their thousand page contracts that strip individuals of their rights while pushing their own rights based on the “idea” that corporations are people.

This is where you see famous actors, on the eve of the premier of some blockbuster or another, make a comment that’s critical of some politician or a war, and within 48 hours issue a retraction. Why? Because some clause amid those 1,000 pages says something to the effect of the party of the first part shall not make any public comment that in any way damages or may potentially cause economic harm to the party of the second party hereafter the company or corporation. Translation: you forfeit your first amendment right to speak freely when you work for us. Or don’t work for us but because of deregulation we are a monopoly and own everything or at least have a finger up the ass of everything so either we own you or maybe you can go get a mcjob…at 7/11…and starve.

Add to this a corrupt media which is itself a series of wholly owned subsidiaries of larger corporate entities and add to that the maelstrom of social media which is itself not a natural phenomenon like gravity but a series of corporations that are inside and also define the same corporate gulag as the entertainment empires and the banks and the politicians and you have a machine that both eats itself and eats the world.

And in this gladiatorial thunderdome what emerges now is that it is simply enough to be accused of anything (right now it’s sexual harassment but wait and that will change) to find that you’ve lost your job, lost your agent, lost your reputation and soon enough your ability to earn a living.

This is going to get worse before it (if ever) gets better.

Nations crumble under the toxic clouds of fascism and they never completely heal. Lives are lost, souls are bruised beyond redemption and everywhere the blood dimmed tide is set loose.

Reviews of the numbers of people victimized by sexual predators stagger the imagination. It reeks of the systemic and the ways in which corruption and evil become, banal. Notice though that with each passing day the number of people accused of something, grows and so does the number of people who have lost their livelihoods based only on an accusation.

The metaphorical image, the symbol, most used, is of some group forced into a uniform; perhaps a red robe with a white hat and this we understand is a sign for an idea. It says to us that before our very eyes and with our silent complicity a group of citizens will be transformed from human being to property.

Consider that idea is focused now on one traditionally marginalized and victimized demographic. And then take a moment to consider where the arrow will point next.

Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again And don’t speak too soon For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’ For the loser now will be later to win…

Ominous yet hopeful the words of the bard are themselves prone to change their meaning.

Make no mistake. Just because fascism tends to look like something recognizable from a film or a documentary doesn’t mean it can’t adapt; that it’s not a shapeshifter.

It’s still fascism. It’s still the mob dispensing rude sham justice.

And it’s still a catastrophe and a circular firing squad.

And everywhere the blood dimmed tide is loosed.

 

See the link below and consider that the agency, Dystel, Goodrich & Bourret, represents a woman accused of having been a madam for high-end “escorts.” In other words, whores and pimps yes, but that’s where they draw the (hypocritical) line.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/15/two-childrens-authors-dropped-by-agents-amid-claims-of-sexual-harassment

*And yes, quite obviously the republicans often have help from fellow travelers in the liberal wing of the party who call themselves democrats but who, when it’s politically expedient, vote for things like mass incarcerations on the basis of ethnicity, mass surveillance, or executing American citizens based on what they claim is secret evidence and all of that is done while sucking on the firehose of money from billionaires and Wall Street pirates.

 

The Public Burning. Woody Allen, The Media and the Specter of anti-Semitism. (part 1)

Unable to actually prove that Woody Allen has committed a crime and (so far) unable to generate an effective career ending boycott of his work or force enough people to stop working with him the media has resorted to a campaign of outraged sadness in which, they demure from watching his films or from saying anything about him without voicing a sense of shame. This of course is a boycott via the backdoor as they have found the front door effectively blocked by the inconvenient facts and the courage of Diane Keaton.

This media program of course is all completely disingenuous, intellectually bankrupt and possesses the morality of a committed whore who having been busted for turning tricks, screams that they’ve found religion – while giving a preacher a hand job.

Consider the feckless A.O. Scott of the Saddam Hussein must be destroyed New York Times who has discovered that Allen has a particular aesthetic and a particular point of view of which Scott does not approve.

Allen, according to Scott, likes younger women! He also views women as difficult, and prone to neurotic and unpleasant behavior – except of course for when he doesn’t. And while Scott is quick to point out examples of Allen’s on screen personae being Lotharios he seems to want it both ways. Allen he says is a both nebbish and Don Juan and that’s unacceptable to Scott. And therefore, apparently it should be unacceptable to us.

He then rounds up the usual suspects – Annie Hall being Exhibit A. Never mind the gentle ending with its sense of acceptance for foibles and neurosis or the sense of resignation to life being a calamity that overpowers everyone. No, what matters to Scott et al, is that Allen has dared to portray relationships and sexual attraction as fluid and complicated and having more in common with the Uncertainty Principle than an anatomy textbook.

Scott goes on, (and on) about how Allen depicts older men who fall for other women (without mentioning that Hall and Alvy are approximately the same age); how often those objects of desire are (scandalously) young and doesn’t bother with the fact that the men who fall for them are trapped within their own delusions, illusions and societies hypocrisies and demands. He of course (along with everyone else) neglects to mention the existence of young ladies who strut their sexuality like neon signs and dare the world to find them desirable. This retrograde Victorian prudery with its ayathola infused neo-fascist, Handmaid’s Tale insistence, that young women are virgins devoid of eros is exactly as toxic as it appears the moment one actually deconstructs its hypocrisies. It is an attempt to resurrect a pre-Freudian world devoid of complexity but full of rules. Ultimately it is both misogynistic and prurient because it strips women of their sexulaity while turing them into a fetish controlled by self-appointed gatekeepers.

This selective reading of Allen’s ouvre and of the culture as a whole, would be funny were it not so fascistically, (American) republican, soviet-esque and thus dangerous.

And of course no mention of one of Allen’s masterpieces, Hannah and her Sisters. While the entirety of Allen’s career stands as a rebuke to the selective readings being used to destroy him, Hannah is by itself sufficient to make the case. There are no sweet young things in the film, there are only confused angry frightened adults who are caught up in the blowback of their experiences and are suffering from the emotional shrapnel exploding in their faces.

Marriages are portrayed as war zones of the unexpressed and the half-assed expressed badly; of mistakes and conflicting desires and the no man’s land where ignorant armies clash by night. Chekhovian in its confusion and its repressed longing; O’Neil-like it in its frustrations, it is sublime. It is a masterpiece of the genre and brings film to the level of literature.

And how does the film end? With the initial (relationship) mistake being the source of moral, and spiritual redemption as the adults join together in the face of existential doom to stand united in a relationship based on a woman (a grown up adult woman) being pregnant.

If there is a more bourgeois (optimistic) and conformist note in the Allen cannon than that we are unaware of it.

Scott of course is not alone. The Guardian with it’s just on the edge of the typical British antipathy towards Jews approach has taken the same tone. On the one hand we are told there’s vile artists like Wagner who hated Jews (sic!) and there are others served up to make the point that even horrible people make great art. But, then there’s Allen and he should be placed in a special category in which he is held in (morally outraged) aspic. Watch his films (if you must or want to) but in effect he will now come with a warning label that says: JEW! Pervert! Culture we are told is a messy thing reflected both in the messy lives of artists and in the messy lives they depict in their art. But! Allen likes younger women! He paints a portrait of entitlement among men (who the articles fail to mention are all essentially crippled by a lack of self-awareness and are always portrayed as fools and victims struggling to survive).

But the award for most blatant vomit pretending to be a think piece goes to The Washington  (Journalism Dies Under the klieg lights) Post where a pile of steaming shit has been served up denouncing Allen for existing. This Allen is, misogynist, sterile, offensive, selfish, rude, not funny, and so on, all supported with cherry picked quotes, incorrect references, false statements, opinion masquerading as analysis, snark masquerading as wit, and lack of context, that then manages to stick the landing by invoking Walter Benjamin by way of suggesting he’s some sort of irrelevant dinosaur because he had the temerity to point out that all cultural expressions are built on a foundation of barbarism. Well, fuck Walter because The Post has gone full Der Sturmer and is burning a Jew at the cyber stake. This is not hyperbole. Benjamin’s point about the symbiosis between the sublime and the awful was denounced by fascists on the left and the right as they lined up their victims and sent them to the lagers and the gulags. Recontextualizing Benjamin to attack an artist, who is also a Jew, reeks of the fellow traveler making common cause with terrorists. It sounds like what you would read at an exhibit of Deviant Art.

But then notice that there has been no corresponding campaign by any major media (certainly not The Guardian) about self-declared child rapists David Bowie and Jimmy Page. (see the link below for an examination of the Page and Bowie story).

Who just both happen to be English, white, goy males and icons of an era when Britain was at the center of a world-wide cultural revolution.

This of course is part of a consistent pattern generally in the media and specifically at the sanctimonious Guardian which never misses an opportunity to look down it’s left-leaning nose at the Tory press while telling everyone it’s shit doesn’t not stink.

Borderline anti-Semitic, hypocritical, smug, shallow, and dangerous, the media is drunk on its power and is weaving through the culture in a car it can’t control.

The crash, when it comes (and make no mistake it will happen) will be devastating.

The stage will be littered with corpses and among the dead and the mangled will be what little remains of the so-called free press and its integrity.

For a look at the vomit and the hypocrisy see the links below. Note: The Washington Post hit piece is found via link in the NY Times article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/movies/woody-allen.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/11/woody-allen-films-popularity

For Bowie and Page:

https://rauldukeblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/what-are-little-girls-made-of-jimmy-page-david-bowie-lori-maddox-and-americas-sexual-mccarthyism/

Update: 2/11/178

Adding it’s shriek to the whirlwind of tyranny fans, Jezebel has a piece denouncing a NY Times piece denouncing the assaults on due process vis Woody Allen. Focusing on fact free slipshod faux journalism at the Times, neither the Jezebel writer nor their editors had a problem with the following:

“Stephens neglects to mention that Allen hired private investigators to “dig up dirt” on the police, according to an anonymous Connecticut State Police investigator. ”

Well, an anonymous source told us that the author of the Jezebel piece is a Chinese spy, a bank robber, a washed up former surgeon, and knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.

But printing that would be an example of irresponsible journalism so we won’t do it.

See the article/hit piece here:

https://jezebel.com/dylan-farrow-addresses-the-new-york-times-columnist-who-1822908114

Update: 2/12/18

An artists makes an excellent and terrifying point:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/12/michael-haneke-metoo-witch-hunt-coloured-hatred-men

 

On The Razor’s Edge. Holocaust Denial and Jordan Peterson.

“In his superb memoir, Experience (2000), Martin Amis almost casually expends a terrific line in a minor footnote. Batting away a critic he describes as “humorless,” he adds, “And by calling him humorless I mean to impugn his seriousness, categorically: such a man must rig up his probity ex nihilo.”

— Christopher Hitchens

— Lightness at Midnight

It’s one thing to be ignorant and know it and thus open oneself to the possibility of learning, and another thing entirely to be so stupid that you don’t know you’re stupid and to go on behaving as if you’re the smartest guy in the room. A variation on this, a kind of close neighbor to profound and deliberate (militant) ignorance, is the humorless but morally certain naif who believes jokes are always better when you take the time to explain them.

This brings us to the dilatant wing of the stupid person’s intellectual, Jordan Peterson. Filling the void left by the death of Christopher Hitchens (after his road to Damascus phase) but doing it for the intellectually bereft and barren paleo conservatives who inhabit the parallel upside down universe of Fox, Peterson is a perfect tool. He’s got an academic background and he says things that sound almost true until you actually examine them. Of course Fox may be moronic and even fanatical in its ignorance but it’s smart enough to know that in order to be useful propaganda is best left unexamined and facts should never be allowed to get in the way of a good rant. For Peterson’s small but significant cadre of youtube and internet cyber pseudo-brownshirts slogans are always welcome as are name-calling, invective, and threats backed up by arguments that tend to run the gamut from I know you are but what am I to the slightly more sophisticated claim that climate change is a “leftard” hoax perpetrated by elites, the Chinese and Jews or elite Chinese Jews who have some mysterious if undefined connection to Sodom/Hollywood.

In particular we take note of Peterson’s fire and brimstone preaching about what he assures us is the threat posed to something he calls civilization by a gang of dead French intellectuals and their militant followers. About one bad day away from screaming that Marx and Michel Foucault are hiding under his bed, Peterson’s preferred tactic is to denounce Derrida and Foucault and the “postmodernists” and something he calls the “Postmodern-Marxists” all without ever actually offering any examples in the form of quotes, texts, essays, critiques, or peer reviewed papers.

The extreme absence of any actual evidence and the militant use of statements in place of any facts all have a kind of neo-McCarthyite (I have a list!) and near ayatollah fervor to them. This of course appeals to the Fox cadres and the youtube fanboys and it’s easy to understand why. Neo-fascists don’t like reason. It takes too much effort. And consistently going on Fox with its abhorrent, Pyongyang-esque Orwellian Sean Hannity distortion of the facts in support of Trump make it clear that Peterson should at this point be identified as both a collaborator with and apologist for the regime.

Amid all this though we would like to zero in on one area of particular interest. While there are an abundance of examples that illustrate both Peterson’s pointy-headed lack of intellectual rigor and his moral malfeasance, we don’t want to dwell on them as it becomes too much of a chore (sic!) to delve into how he is wrong about Postmodernism, wrong about his hero and Jew-hating Putin supporter Solzhenitsyn, wrong about feminism, wrong about Marx and Marxism, wrong about gender, wrong about the disparity in gender based pay, wrong about the environment, wrong about capitalism, liberalism, conservatism, science, philosophy, literature, historiography and any number of other things.

For our purposes here we wish to discuss briefly, the nature of the context of post war France and the schisms of the French left and how Peterson’s freshman level lack of knowledge combined with his Cotton Mather confidence that he’s got god on speed dial pose a not insignificant threat.

As we have said elsewhere there is a troubling hint of Holocaust denial to Peterson’s rhetoric and not, we hasten to add, because he actually denies that the Holocaust occurred. Rather because he denies the context in which it occurred and denies the resulting political, social and cultural blowback in response to it having occurred. Which, in the hands of his supporters amounts to the same thing.

What he does attempt, in place of context, is to engage in demagoguery 101 and offer a raging insistence that since, he assures us, Marx leads inevitably to the gulags and Mao, no one who isn’t a monster could be a Marxist or a leftist. He parses this shabby bit of syllogism by then asserting that anyone who says there are forms of Marxism existing on a spectrum and that Stalin was not a Marxist qua Marxism, are liars and fools and dangerous. That Peterson’s argument (such as it is) amounts to little more than a variation on liar liar pants on fire we shall for the moment ignore it.

What troubles here about this and about Peterson’s rhetoric and its relative success is that it relies on and thrives on the total rejection of facts. It is, in effect, history as alternative facts.

The first intellectual offense that arises from this is that by way of analogy one could point out that if we posit an inevitable linear progression from Marx to the gulag archipelago and thus tautologically state that post hoc ergo propter hoc Marx is evil because Stalin was and no form of Marxism can be good then what do we say about Christianity? Keeping in mind that Peterson is at pains to embrace the rhetoric of Christianity and admonishes his followers to believe in objective and absolute evil and goodness and all the usual suspects in the liturgy. The obvious dilemma in logic of course being that both ML King and the Klan are examples of Christianity as are the Quakers and The Inquisition; fascist priests and assorted martyrs. As Christopher Hitchens put it in his magisterial exegesis of his friend Martin Amis’ not quite rigorous enough look into the abyss of Stalinism, one can ignore the facts but the facts won’t ignore us and the truth is that (to take one example) the Kronstadt sailors were leftists and fought against Bolshevism. Or as Victor Serge put it:

“Have you forgotten the other bankruptcies? What was Christianity doing in the various catastrophes of society? What became of Liberalism? What has Conservatism produced, in either its enlightened or its reactionary form? … If we are indeed honestly to weigh out the bankruptcies of ideology, we shall have a long task ahead of us.”

A long task indeed. And what one does not want to do, is precisely what Peterson does and that is to engage in a macabre comparison of numbers as if to say that Stalin was right when he quipped that: “One death is a tragedy a million is a statistic.”

But, this is exactly the methodology (to injure the idea of true methodology) that Peterson employs as he rages about what he calls a lack of gratitude on the part of leftist punks for the glories of the West.Which are glorious if flawed, he adds, but so morally and materially superior to the East (i.e. Marxism/Postmodernism) that any attempt to celebrate Marx and or denigrate the West is the work of the devil. Or French intellectuals which of course amounts to the same thing.

This of course relies on the absence of facts as in an examination of imperialism, slavery, assorted genocides, as well as contemporary examples of realpolitik put into action by noted Beatnik Henry Kissinger. One assumes that Peterson’s exhortations on behalf of the west somehow find millions of dead via the industrial scale slow-motion genocides in Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Central America to be not sad examples of failure but (to paraphrase Aldous Huxley in his introduction to Brave New world) hilarious examples of success – the success of democracy, of industrial capitalism, of liberalism and of the human spirit. Things like Tuskegee, My Lai, The Trail of Tears, Operation Condor, Cointelpro, assorted murders, coups, renditions, support for romantic poet warlords like Pinochet and Franco, and death squads in Vietnam (Operation Phoenix) or the Philippines (hey hey Imelda Marcos how many shoes did you wear today?) are all either irrelevant, or akin to a rash confined to a limb rather than examples of a systemic failure of morality. In other words human all too human is not in Peterson’s vocabulary

And here is the key issue and the second moral and intellectual offense. Peterson is clearly offering not just an elided version of the facts but is standing on the razor’s edge of Holocaust denial (again) not by denying it occurred but by obfuscating not only the facts of how it occurred and the effects of it having occurred but by reducing its significance to the point of eliminating it from the narrative.

By declaring x to be worse than y and focusing his rage on x being worse he removes y from the debate and then sticks the landing by claiming that anyone who argues for the morally relative culpability of the circular firing squad to be at best a deluded sophist and crank and at worst, evil and a degenerate.

Such denunciations and tactics are the stuff of fascists and paleo conservatives who sound like Bill Buckley telling James Baldwin he better shut his mouth and then flirt with tyranny while claiming to only have eyes for democracy.

This then brings us to the third offense. The specifics of the post war landscape in France. For some context we quote at length from the introduction to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem, written in part as a response to Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (Emphasis added):

“The (post war) intellectual French Left was in an impossible situation which no combination of Marxism or existentialism seemed capable of remedying. French capitalism was bad, but American capitalism was even more anathema to the left, if only because it was in the rudest of health internationally, though perhaps not at home. At the same time, French socialism was anything but independent and its chances looked no better with Communist help. In such a situation it was impossible to be an anti-Communist if this meant being pro-American, witnessing the Americanization of Europe, and forswearing the Communists who had fought bravely in the Resistance. On the other hand, it was not possible to be a Communist if this meant being blind to the hardening of the Soviet regime and becoming a witness to the Communist brand of imperialism which broke so many Marxist minds. It is not surprising that many on the Left as well as the Right were unable to bear such ambiguity and therefore welcomed any sign to show clearly which side to support, even if it meant a “conversion” to the most extreme left and right positions. The attention drawn to those whose god had failed them is thus understandable The attention drawn to those whose god had failed them is thus understandable. Koestler’s Darkness at Noon reveals in its very title the gift of antithesis which generates a bad conversion for the lack of a genuine synthesis, which might have been achieved if Koestler had known how to grasp the lived relation between the senses and ideology in a man’s character…But ultimately it fails to come to grips with its central problem: to create characters who inhabit their own history and live through choices within it rather than to present characters who operate by means of simplistic moral alternatives, decided upon before their story begins”

Of course this is not even a dot on Peterson’s narrow horizon. He operates with the strident certainty of the typical reactionary who walks in the path cleared by the fascist or conversely clears the brush for the fascist who follows behind him.There is in this method only the binary system of right and wrong both absolute and certain in the manner of the religious fanatic or the religious Stalinist and Maoist (or capitalist) with their cults of personality.

As Hitchens puts it in his dressing down of Amis:

“Stalin’s two most memorable utterances are “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem” and (he was advising his interrogators on how best to elicit a particular confession) “Beat, beat and beat again.”

Both come in slightly different versions. “There is a man, there is a problem. No man, no problem.” This is less epigrammatic, and more catechistic—more typical of Stalin’s seminarian style (one thinks of his oration at Lenin’s funeral and its liturgical back-and-forth).

The variant on number two is: “Beat, beat, and, once again, beat.” Another clear improvement, if we want a sense of Stalin’s rhythms of thought.

This reader has endured none of them; and I will proceed with caution and unease. It feels necessary because torture, among its other applications, was part of Stalin’s war against the truth. He tortured, not to force you to reveal a fact, but to force you to collude in a fiction.”

Needless to say it is Stalin the ex-seminarian who proceeded to institute a fusion of disparate impulses – absolute neo-czarism, the cult of personality, the religious certainty, and the hall of mirrors of the psychopath who is not interested in the truth because it does not exist or is always mutable but is interested in forcing the lapsed and the threatening subversives to repeat the lies. What goes missing of course are the facts.This is gas lighting but on an industrial scale.

For the French in 1945 the dilemmas were acute if not potentially or decidedly terminal. To reject the communists was to flirt with if not embrace either the collaborationists and thus the occupation or to deny the occupation which turns history into an unperson. Either way the resistance and the liberation are elided, distorted, whored to the mad pimps of fascism. Given that Winston Churchill was (with the assistance of the US) arming the Greek fascists and spawning a civil war and subverting the vote in Italy and warming up to Franco and backing the reestablishment of the French empire, one might forgive the average French leftist for having a bad case of the jitter and shakes.The spectre of civil war in France was genuine and no thoughtful person could be unmindful of it. Further, as the introduction to Ponty states there was genuine unease about the implications of The Marshall Plan. It would be decades until the truth of Gladio was revealed and it turned out that many of the fears about Europe’s satellite status within the American (imperial) orbit were justified. Operation Paperclip could be justified (not morally but spuriously) but that does not and cannot justify the murder of civilians at the Bologna Railway Station or the use of ex-Nazis or the use of Baader Meinhof and Red Brigade psychopaths as agent provocateurs. What is revealed is nothing more or less than a policy based on: we had to subvert (European) democracy in order to save it. Vietnam was not an anomaly. It appears to be an anomaly if there is no context but with context it is of a whole – a world view, an industrial religious commitment to a bipolar and often ruthless murderous political Tourette’s syndrome.

But to examine this context requires not only honesty and rigor but actually doing the hard work of an academic and an intellectual.Two things that most certainly require more effort than screaming into a camera and posting yourself to youtube.What irritates here of course is that Peterson is claiming to be an academic; a clinical psychologist who should be taken seriously because he is (he claims or at least infers) an intellectual. And yet, he is not so very far removed from cranks who say Auschwitz had no crematoria. He is not so very far removed from a thug who uses whataboutery to deflect from the complexities of the truth.

Peterson of course is not running a gulag nor is he directly advocating that one be opened and filled with subversives. (though he has advocated turning humanities departments into economic thunderdomes and finding ways to establish committees that will decide who is legitimate and who isn’t), On the other hand he is running a kind of show trial where he finds the “subversives” guilty without producing any evidence and he is in this sense not any different than Trump egging on his supporters to take care of business because any criticism against dear leader is by definition fake news.

Our earlier assessments of Peterson gave too much credit to him for his stance on free speech in the same sense that one might appreciate the populism of a Huey Long but only at the risk of ignoring the dangers of the crowds he was ginning up and the stench of corruption that clearly posed a threat to the institutions of the republic. Conversely we came to the conclusion of his true reactionary neo-fascism too late and with too little emphasis on how very close he is to the standard right wing goon.

Peterson’s insistence that the evils of Stalin and Mao hold the truth hostage and in permanent stasis is a variation of the bankrupt end of history argument which itself of course was an attempt to steal the dialectic and put it to use plowing the fields of the Hoover Institute and the back catalogue of The National Review. In the end of course it was too clever by half but even then it was and remains twice as clever as the whoopee cushion intellectualism and bazooka Joe rhetoric of Peterson. However it is because of that one fears Peterson more than Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama was despite his relative popularity speaking to a narrow group of people and was doing so in the foggy afterglow of 1989. Morning and Putin arrived and even Francis had to sober up.

Peterson in contrast is, via youtube reaching a far larger and far more volatile audience. Like any other demagogic rabble rouser his total absence of facts and the overabundance of heat with a sort of empty caloric sugar rush straight to the amygdala of the disenfranchised white Trump supremacists Steve Bannon fox news cohort is part of the large scale threat we face as liberalism and the doddering remnants of the left teeter on the brink of collapse. Having to rely on Nancy (we’re capitalists get used to it) Pelosi and Chuck (has anyone seen my spine) Schumer is cause for concern to say the least.

What needs to be said, loudly and consistently, is that Peterson is not only a fraud, engaging in the most banal of sophistries and cons, that he is engaged in the very cheap rhetorical stunts of which he accuses genuine academics like Foucault but that by setting up the immoral strawman of Stalin/Mao are evil therefore Marx and the left are evil and taken together they prove that the west is morally superior he is on the brink of Holocaust denial and that must be confronted.

Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were put in place by the liberals and the conservatives of the west for the express purpose of stopping the left from gaining power. Again turning to Hitchens contra Amis we are reminded that part of the universal revulsion towards the Nazis that has a more immediate spasmodic reaction versus the yes but response from the left towards 1917 rests on the fact that the Germans, the Spanish and the Italians were at the heart of the Western narrative – from the Renaissance to Cervantes to Beethoven and Goethe to the Spanish Modernists the fabric of the west is woven in large part by the extraordinary contributions of three extraordinary cultures. Whereas the Slavic Russians with their traditions of autocracy and sado-masochistic religious decadence suggest something both depressed and frightening. One need not point to the parallels between sclerotic catholic Spain and the perversities of the Medici and Borgias to refute the idea but the fact remains what has always troubled about the Nazis is that they forced the west to either confront the truth of its inherent latent barbarism (no different than the barbarism of the Slavs) or to deny its insidious reality and cast it as an anomaly. Hence the question: How did it (the Holocaust) happen? Vs Marxism and Stalin which is parsed as: How could it not happen.

Notice that Peterson and others far more sophisticated all insist that the barbarism they claim is inherent in Marx finds its truest expression in the ripe soil of Russia but that as a result of that “fact” Hitler is a freak; an accident and aberration. The question – how did it happen and the corollary never again (as if history can be arrested) contain in their form a hidden truism. That these calamities are not representative of who we are. They have no antecedents in imperialism or industrial capitalism, in slavery and colonization with its attachments to the rhetoric and “science” of superiority and racism. Hitler in this formulation might as well be an alien from another galaxy

In the case of Peterson we have both forms of the argument. The Holocaust is evil, he readily concedes, but is less evil by weight of corpses than others tragedies and also excluded from the roll call of honor that proves the morally superiority of the west.

Thus, it is distorted to the point of its reality being denied. It happened but it is not as important as these other things and the formula is put in place. The leftist argument that the first camps were established to exterminate leftists is erased and declared evil. The leftist argument that fascism is the logical extension of capitalism is erased and declared evil. The leftist argument that being a sober minded European intellectual in the wreckage of post war Europe and finding it an impossible existential dilemma to choose between the west which installed Hitler and embraced Mussolini and Franco on the one hand and the extravagant apocalyptic genocidal opera of Stalin on the other is erased and declared evil.

What Peterson eliminates is both ambiguity (the place where psychological stable humans reside) and paradoxically, certainty but of a kind. Peterson’s certainty is intellectually shallow as it is more about his insecurities and thus is more strident than the certainty of a man comfortable with his faith. Such a man is content to follow the path he feels at ease with whereas the fire and brimstone convertor, is consumed with a fear that he is a secret (or not so secret) scoundrel and thus must stamp out any and all resistance.

Consider here Ponty’s examination of the dilemmas faced by individuals caught up in impossible circumstances (whether it’s post 1917 Russia or post 1945 Europe).

“For we too have lived through one of those moments where history is suspended and institutions that are threatened with extinction demand fundamental decisions from men where the risk is total because their final outcome depends upon a conjuncture not entirely foreseeable. When the collaborator made his decision in 1940 in terms of what he believed to be the inevitable future (we assume he was disinterested) he conflicted with those who did not believe in this future nor want it and thereafter between them and him it was a matter of force. When one is living in what Peguy called an historical period, in which political man is content to administer a regime or an established law, one can hope for a history without violence. When one has the misfortune or the luck to live in an epoch, or one of those moments where the traditional ground of a nation or society crumbles and where, for better or worse, man himself must reconstruct human relations, then the liberty of each man is a mortal threat to the others and violence reappears.”

This of course may be wrong or may contain references to facts that upon examination establish contradictions. (and Ponty is smart enough to say that Bukharin was both victim and ideological criminal) But of course that is partially the point. Contradictions exist, are inevitable but in the historical moment when the SS and the Gestapo and the NKVD really are kicking in the door the question is: What then must we do?

Peterson is engaged in what amounts to the denial of history. A causality of that is the historical fact of the Holocaust – the event itself as well as that which made it possible and the devastating psychological hangover after it occurred. After Auschwitz said Adorno, poetry is banal. We disagree but it is not a point easily dismissed or dismissed out of hand.

Arbeit Macht Frei is not only an example of Germany’s inability to appreciate humor or irony. It is, unmistakably a signpost for capitalism with its fusions of religiosity (it was Martin Luther who first called for the Jews to be locked up, labeled with yellow stars, and let out to perform manual labor as away to cleanse their souls of deicide) and terror; its industrial scale sadism has its antecedents in the American plantation (the gulag cotton or tobacco gulag) which combined all of the same elements – religion-industry-sadism-sex-degradation-murder.

For Peterson et al the comparison is by definition illegitimate factually but also therefore illegitimate morally. For Peterson History qua History is a linear progression from bad to better.

The past has been resolved and the only retrograde threat comes from the left.

The irony here being that this is the intellectually bankrupt methodology of a good or devout Stalinist except left and right trade places.

It is also the textbook example of a third rate (but dangerous) con man selling snake oil as a cure for everything.

All that remains are the certainties of Jordan Peterson.

Where, of course, every historical event is equal, it’s just that some are more equal than others.

 

Notes:

For a look at Operation Gladio see the following:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio

Regarding ambiguity and the rational mind or psychological stability. It was Jonathon Keats who contradicted Aristotle when he said: The mark of a sound mind is the ability to hold two mutually exclusive ideas in your mind at the same time and continue to function.

Aristotle, of course held the opposite view. The assertion of the mind being sound because it has one idea at a time while long since superseded by the intervening 2,000 years of history, is worth considering in the sense that it attaches Aristotle to the proto-fascism of his mentor, Plato. Plato of course advocated (Book X of the Republic) that in the ideal city state, artists would be banished. It is no accident that Peterson’s rhetoric has the eerie familiarity of the jackboot to it as it relies on an insistence that mental health is a question of knowing one thing with absolute certainty to the exclusion of anything that might suggest ambiguity. The persistence of these arguments in human experience is a fascinating topic but for another time and place.

When the Psychopath is Right.Trump and the Nunes Memo.

Anyone who thinks the FISA court hasn’t been abused, and isn’t an abusive unconstitutional cancer on the Bill of Rights isn’t worth talking to, or even worth a bucket of piss. This is also true for anyone who thinks the FBI hasn’t routinely abused its authority in applications for and use of warrants for surveillance.

History being the honor truth pays to irony we are now witnessing the fascist and opportunistic wing of the government turn the table and accuse the FBI of playing fast and loose with the rules while the liberal wing of the government defends the honor of the Hoovers. This would be hilarious were it not so fraught with the potential for disaster.

That Trump is an unhinged mongoloid, professional demagogue and amateur fascist and clearly some sort of psychopath is in a sense irrelevant but matters again, in the ironic sense, because that while insane, and a monster, he is not wrong when he says the FBI is a hybrid of righteous boy scouts and career cynics capable of every abuse imaginable. This history of the Hoovers is not a set of alternative facts but a litany of Stasi-esque nightmares. Neither of which means Trump isn’t also a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin incorporated.

Two (or more) things, even contradictory ones, can be true at the same time, Aristotle notwithstanding. The brain of the nation or of the government as the case may be, can hold two mutually exclusive ideas in its head at the same time and continue to function. At least for a while. Clearly Trump is pushing the country towards dictatorship. Clearly he is a terrorist and is a clear and present threat to national security. But it is also true that the FBI is bipolar and when the marble in its head rolls from the slot marked, obey the law, to the slot marked, behave like a Fascist, it acts as one would expect. As we have said elsewhere,Trump is not a creature of the (government) system though he is very much a creature of the (American) system, and he will not, like his spiritual progenitor, Nixon, follow (some of) the rules and wave from the steps of Marine One as he goes off into temporary political stasis and comfortable exile.Trump is heading for the fuhrer bunker and a political gotterdammerung. If he has to take the government down with him he will do it and if he has to take the country down with him he will do that too.

The manifestation of this impulse will materialize in several ways but among the most potentially lethal and destabilizing will be in calls for a review of the FBI’s requests for warrants through the FISA court.

Since the Patriot Act was a completely unconstitutional blank check and since the FBI is a notoriously power drunk bureaucracy riven by factions and subject to the factional and tribal rivalries that dominate the wider government bureaucracy, any review of the process, however ham-fisted, corrupt or honest, will reveal ugly truths.The system is corrupt and the Bill of Rights has been soaking in formaldehyde since the spineless whores and zealots of both parties passed the Patriot Act and told the intelligence agencies: go do what you have to do but don’t tell us but if you get caught we’ll fry your sorry asses for it (and if we don’t, like Obama giving them a get out of jail free card, and saying with folksy sleaze, yeah we tortured some folks, don’t mistake that for the idea that we don’t remember everything and won’t, if necessary, use it to skull fuck you).

Recall that soon after 9/11 George H. Bush said that the intelligence agencies were going to have to get into bed with a lot of unsavory people and that afterwards he didn’t want to hear from you civil liberties types.

Putting aside for the moment the aristocratic, Don Corleone meets James Angleton amorality and lack of intellectual rigor inherent in the Yankee honk for torture and neo-fascist techniques of governance, one could instead focus on the fact that in addition to being dismissive of civil liberty types with, what one assumes is a fond attachment to things like the rule of law and The Bill of Rights, George the 1st was also talking about the Goon squad.

As Robin Williams put it: in the dictionary, under irony, see irony.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern end their days by handing over their own death warrant to their executioner who reads the fine print and sees that it says: The bearer of this note is no friend of the king.

Pity the goons and the righteous boy scouts at the FBI who, following master’s orders, did what they were told.The ugly days of reckoning are upon them.The resulting circular firing squad will be large enough to contain multitudes and the only way out will be to replace the current dysfunctional quasi-dictatorship with a different dysfunctional quasi dictatorship, or they will have to pay the butcher’s bill.

Take a look at the link below and notice at the end that one of the wise men says there should be a review of the process.That of course will not only make the investigation into Trump problematic at best and a failure at worst, it will open the door to a review of the toxins the government has been injecting into itself (and the nation) for decades.

My kingdom for a horse, or a good lawyer said, Richard, but in this iteration of the tragedy the lawyers are just as dirty as everyone else and there aint a horse fast enough to outrun the shit storm that’s on tap.

Link

Update: 2/2/18

And then there’s this from Wired (emphasis added):

“And some national security experts argue that the memo does reveal legitimate lapses in the FISA system. “Part of the reason FISA was passed by Congress is to prevent against things like what just happened,” says Donna Bartee-Roberston, a former National Security Agency attorney and an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law school, where she teaches FISA law. Bartee-Roberston believes that intelligence officials acted inappropriately by not telling the FISA court about the true origins of the Steele dossier, especially when they had an opportunity to do so with each warrant renewal application

“If you look at that memo, if the memo is true factually, the court did not have all the facts in front of it,” says Bartee-Robertson, adding that she would not be surprised if an Inspector General investigation was opened to examine what exactly happened during the Page warrant application process.”

https://www.wired.com/story/devin-nunes-memo-carter-page-surveillance/

Of course no one will ever go broke overestimating the government’s ability to hide its crimes from exposure. Expect the inspector-general’s report to have two versions; the public one and the classified one.

Hitler’s Masterpiece. Picasso, Postmodernism and The Fear of The Imagined.

“God does not shoot craps with the universe.”

“Stop telling God what to do.”

— A conversation between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

 

“Everybody acts out a myth, but very few people know what their myth is. And you should know what your myth is, because it might be a tragedy. And maybe you don’t want it to be.”

— Jordan Peterson

 

The story goes like this: During the Occupation the Germans would routinely send someone to sniff around Picasso’s studio. On one such occasion a German officer picked up a postcard that depicted Picasso’s Guernica. The German said: Did you do this? To which Picasso said: No, you did.

The story may or may not be true. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the idea of it is true. Not only the idea of Picasso but the idea represented by what Picasso may or may not have said.

Where does a thing begin? Who or what is responsible?

Consider the idea that if Picasso is correct then we are in the uncomfortable position of having to give credit to the Nazis for a great work of art.

This of course is the point of the fascist critique of Modernity. That it is decadent. The left wing fascists and the right wing fascists agree on this point. To be intellectually honest we must say they’re correct. From the gutter and the abyss pours the sublime. Where they were and continue to be wrong is in the idea that this decadence should be silenced; eliminated in the lager and the gulag.

But let us consider the idea of Picasso. When we say, “Picasso” we of course instantly also say/think a series of associations. In expressing these we seem to be speaking in non sequiturs. But this is an illusion. If we say “Spain” we have a series of associations as well and one of them may be, Picasso. If we reverse engineer the idea then “Picasso” becomes synonymous with “Spain.”

This is a basic tenet of Postmodernism.

However there are a number of people who find this objectionable though it seems about as banal as saying the earth is not flat. After all if someone were to say Babe Ruth it would be unusual for someone to think of Russia. One might but what is more likely is that one associates Ruth with baseball and in fact since the images of both form in relation to each other and are inseparable from each other, and they are in effect synonymous.

Consider the use of this idea in another area. For example, politics. Let’s consider, Richard Nixon. A series of images appear, facts, speeches, events, Watergate, Vietnam, I am not a crook.

This is a narrative.

The question then becomes what is left in and what is excluded from the narrative.

The question that follows from that is by what processes are things included and excluded?

Is inclusion autonomic or is it conscious?

Are those choices predicated on objectivity or are they a subjective process which itself is subject to other forces such as, class, education, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, personal animus or affection?

Obviously the answer is yes.

And so we then ask what is it about this apparently basic and obvious process that gets some people in a frenzy and in which they say that asking these questions is a denial of reality?

For example: It is a fact that Nixon resigned the presidency on a specific date and at a specific time.

That is irrefutable.

But what was the cause of that event?

One answer would be the politics of the time.

That’s a valid answer.

But what were the politics of the time and exactly what shall we include and exclude in the narrative about it? And is there a difference between the cause and the event or are they one and the same?

For example should we include the war in Vietnam?

That seems a reasonable thing to include.

But if we include the war in Vietnam should we also say that an essential part of the narrative is French colonialism and the Cold War rivalry between the US, China and The Soviet Union?

If we include that as well then how much of it should we include and what shall we say about it?

For example what shall we say about the Soviet mistreatment of Alexander Solzhenitsyn?

He was unjustly imprisoned and tortured and ironically that, like Guernica, and Picasso and the Nazis, led to the creation of a work of art.

Of course it also led to Solzhenitsyn being exposed as a raging Slavic nationalist who hates Jews and made common cause with Vladimir Putin.

Perhaps we should leave that out since we are discussing the politics of the era that led to the downfall of Nixon.

So we can talk about the Cold War but not about the parts of it that trend too far away from the story we are trying to tell.

Unless we want to tell the story that way and because in Solzhenitsyn we find an example of how cultural moments do not seamlessly follow the linear demarcations of dates and numbers and time in the manner of a train schedule but instead may be sequential but are not linear.

In which case we have to discuss who is in charge of the form the narrative takes.

Consider a postmodern writer like, D.F. Wallace or Thomas Pynchon. In their work the story unfolds in a series of digressions and allusions and references because of course David Hume was not wrong when he proposed Bundle theory. Neither are the Buddhists who say the personality is ultimately an illusion based on a series of associations that are themselves not fixed in time or space.

That of course raises an interesting dilemma. If Hume is a factor in the advent of Postmodernism then Postmodernism does not begin in the 1960s or 1970s as some people foolishly and erroneously claim.

It begins in the middle of the 18th century with a Scottish genius. Or if you like it begins under the Bodhi tree.

Should we include Hume in our discussion of the ways in which Postmodernist authors like Wallace and Pynchon construct their narratives which are attempts to deal with the fact that when people say one thing they reference a thousand? Should we include Hume in our discussion of how reality is sequential but not linear?

If not, why not and if we do why are some people so afraid of it being done?

The answer quite obviously is fear.

There is a fear of the imagination and that it is limitless and in being without limit it can and often does generate images and emotions that are terrifying.

For example, consider Caravaggio’s The Dormition of The Virgin.

So the story goes, Caravaggio was commissioned to paint the story of the death of the Virgin Mary. Being a practical sort and being in need of a model, Caravaggio went with his boys down to the river and fished out a dead whore.

What are we to make of this?

Should we feel badly for the dead prostitute? Should we condemn the artist?

Should we ask: Who is responsible for this?

Surely Caravaggio is responsible even though he did not kill the prostitute or invent prostitution. For that matter he did not invent the church and he is not responsible for the cult of the Virgin.

So if we were to say: “Caravaggio” we of course would instantly think of the Renaissance and the church. And prostitutes and cults dedicated to virgins and sex.

After all can one think of a whore and not think of sex? What if you were to think of the Virgin Mary and Sex? What if you were to think of the Virgin Mary and whores? What if you found this exciting?

Consider Charlie Chaplin and Amy Semple McPherson. She used to preach about the evils of alcohol. He used to make films. When she preached she wore angels wings. Chaplin seduced her. Perhaps she seduced him. Either way they ended up having sex and Chaplin said to her: No, keep the wings on.

This frightens people. It frightens them because it excites them.

The rush of associations frightens people.

Picasso paints associations. He is a master at it. Here is the idea of this and the idea of that and in this version they’re your contemporaries and in this version they look like they stepped out of an ancient Greek bathhouse and for my next trick they will look like something else but you will recognize that they are all essentially the same. You might even find yourself sitting next to one of them on the metro.

How terrifying.

So, from this fear, people denounce the idea that the construction of the narrative is a question of who is in charge of constructing narratives. They insist that there are the right ways and the wrong ways to do it and they insist that what’s included and what’s excluded is up to them. They bloviate about something they call postmodern-Marxism or Neo-Marxist-Postmodernism. Listening to them is “like being yelled at by a rugby coach in a sarong.”

And then some people come along and say no you’re wrong and you’re not in charge of how the rest of us tell the story.

So, what if we were to say it turns out Hitler actually was a great artist after all? There he was, in Paris, responsible for a masterpiece we call, Guernica.

What then shall we do?

 

Spy Vs. Spy Vs. Moron.

While the fascist wing of the Republican Party continues to flirt with tyranny by attacking both the rule of law (such as it is) and the (odious) FBI, Il Douche continues to prove that he’s a first rate moron.

Having greased the skids to break the FBI and stop the investigation into his being a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin Inc. Trump somehow managed to forget that the Hoovers and the spooks from Langley don’t like him but do like their perks.

So, as the current head of the Bureau announces he’s taking early retirement and Brown shirt in training Representative Nunes pays with his blocks and prepares to release classified information in an effort to derail the Russia/collusion probe and while Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan calls for a purge of the FBI (but uses the poll tested word “cleanse” instead of purge) someone has gone and leaked all over Trump’s first State of the Union as well as all over his attempt to install himself as de facto dictator.

The nature of the leak, hitting the media a few hours before Il Douche is to speak, reveals that Trump surrogate and human soda jerk, Pompeo, met with the head of the FSB. Claiming it was about terrorism, Pompeo and others are trying to spin their way past and out of the fact that the head of the FSB is on the sanctions list and is barred from entering the US and that the meeting took place right after Il Douche refused to impose additional and tougher sanctions.

Finding his balls in a box somewhere in the back of a closet, Chuck Schumer pounced and called it a dereliction of duty.

In other words: Release the FBI memo and we will replace it with your CIA chief breaking the law and set up a new avenue of questions.

So, check, if not checkmate.

Life (such as it is) in the banana republic continues.

For a blunt look at the story see the article below and notice the absence of any in-depth analysis. Schumer’s attack is not unusual at all when you read his comments which are clearly designed to create momentum for an inquiry to repair the damage done by Nunes & Co. Further, note that what is also missing is the obvious question: Why did the US ambassador to Russia announce the meeting? Answer: Because he had been tipped off that someone had tipped off the media which brings us back to the fact that the intelligence agencies and their situational allies are engaged in a bureaucratic civil war with the regime.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/the-trump-administration-let-a-russian-spy-chief-visit-the-us-even-though-he-was-legally-barred/

Update: 1/30/17

It looks increasingly as if Trump is going to use the impending release of the utterly fictional and cherry-picked Nunes Memo as a pretext to fire Rod Rosenstein to whom Robert Mueller answers in regards to the Russia probe. By firing Rosenstein Trump hopes to collapse the investigation by, one assumes, appointing a blow-up doll of his choosing to replace Rosenstein and at the same time to create an atmosphere of hocus pocus in which anything Mueller discovers can be called traif.

While the irony of the Republicans trying to discredit the Hoovers is worth its weight in gold, they are not alone in this circular firing squad.

Here’s Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder speaking about Trump, Nunes and the rest:

“Eric Holder, the former attorney general, added a warning of his own on Wednesday. “People must understand what is at stake by release of the bogus, contrived Nunes memo,” Holder wrote on Twitter. “It uses normally protected material and puts at risk our intell capabilities in order to derail a legitimate criminal investigation. This is unheard of – it is dangerous and it is irresponsible.”

This of course, is the same Eric Holder who, in defending his boss’s claim that it was legal for the government to use what it claimed was secret evidence to justify the execution of a US citizen, said: “Due process does not necessarily mean review of evidence by judges.”

In other words when it’s convenient for the government to act like fascist thugs it’s kosher, as long as you get the blessing of a rabbi or a Attorney General with a serious case of situational ethics.

Or as Woody Allen said in a somewhat different context: “Yes I’m a bigot, but for the left.”

Nonetheless, Holder is correct; this is a dangerous situation, Trump while not a fascist ideologically, is a fascist psychologically and the goons around him with their Tourette’s syndrome response to everything from The Bill of Rights to Abortion, Social Security, Medicare, clean water, climate change, and pesky old fashioned ideas like, freedom, are clearly all too willing to really try and make an end run around the flimsy, gossamer remains of the constitution, and establish a dictatorship with Il Douche as First Consul.

The equally dangerous factor in this equation is of course that not only are the Democrats leaderless and rudderless, but that in place of leadership they have Nancy (we’re capitalists, get used to it) Pelosi and Chuck (look ma, no balls) Schumer, a man so congenitally afraid of principles that we have no doubt his aids have to stitch him into a suit every morning with a fake spine and a list of talking point tattooed to his hands.

This of course brings us right back to where we were when this catastrophe started: waiting for the intelligence agencies to topple the regime.

The irony of that being of course that the mongoloids who support Trump are not wrong when they wail about the deep state. Anyone who thinks the mandarins can’t and don’t whisper in the dark is a fool. As we’ve mentioned before, one need only consult Bill Clinton’s autobiography for a glimpse into the idea that there are cadres at work with agendas that may or may not match the requirements of constitutional government.

If Trump fires Rosenstein there will be a showdown between what remains of the Democratic Party, the “liberal” wing of the Republican Party and of course a loose affiliation of spooks and their friends, all on one side, and Trump and his gang of thugs and morons on the other.

When Mouth of Sauron, Steven Miller said “This president will not be questioned” the alarms should have gone off and they should not have stopped ringing until Miller and Trump and his sorry gang were all in a cage.

These people are fascists.

Trump is insane and a thug because he’s insane not because he believes in some ideological principle like Mussolini or Franco but, at this point, who gives a flying fuck in a rat’s ass. It is a distinction without a difference.

If he is not impeached or removed via the 25th amendment, and he gets away with this stunt to fire Rosenstein, then all bets are off and we’re heading for the real thing – detainment without trial, no lawyers, and rule by emergency decree or, twitter which will amount to the same thing.

As with a Shakespeare tragedy, you’ll know it’s over when the stage is littered with corpses.

Read about it here:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/31/fbi-nunes-memo-release-donald-trump

Update: 2/1/18

Schumer has a bone to chew.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/top-democrat-questions-us-meeting-132050447.html

The French do it Sideways.Towards a Definition of The Methodology of a Postmodern Discourse.

This, is not an essay.

It’s a pipe.

That’s a joke.

The question is: How is objectivity determined? The corollary question is: What is the truth of the narrative? What is the nature of the narrative’s structure?

We say, these are words. The words form a sentence. This is true. But in addition to that truth it is also true that the words are an idea and a set of ideas that in their turn exist only in relation to other ideas. We choose to say these words are singular and together form an idea. Singular words plural ideas. Singular idea but plural because of endless unavoidable connections and associations.

Barthes, s/z.

Barthes is wrong to say it is only the endless set of associations. The associations are there and we can chose to open that door or keep it closed. But even if it is closed it exists. So when we say: This is not an essay we are making a reference to Magritte. Or Duchamp. If we say Duchamp we mean Europe in the early part of the 20th century. We mean Paris. We mean Duchamp and Picasso. Picasso means Cubism. Except when he means Synthetic Cubism or Olga in a bad mood.

Let’s ask a question: When is Picasso not Spain?

Never.

Except when he is Paris.

Or something ancient.

But you can not have any one of those without the others.

Thus, Hume and Bundle theory. Or a Buddhist asking what is the Buddha if not the tree or the road? And in the case of Hume consider that you have a man in the middle of the 18th century, two hundred and fifty years before Foucault, who says there is no such thing as a singular object and the personality is fluid, not fixed in either time or space.

This is complicated.

Get used to it. Things are complicated.

When someone tells us this or that is the beginning and this or that is the end and then tells us that these are the things that are or are not part of the narrative they are only offering one narrative choice among many. This upsets some people. They will say no there are only the things that matter because we have decided what those things are.

Here is an example: On the 18th of June, 1815, the forces of Napoleon the first, emperor of France, were defeated. This is the battle of Waterloo.

Or: The Battle of Waterloo ended in a defeat for the forces of the reaction in 1822 when Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in Italy.

The responses are of course predictable. They will say this is cheap semantics and a dangerous ploy to undermine the authority of objective reality. Facts are facts.

We propose the following: The narrative is not fixed. To say it is fixed is authoritarian and dangerous. We say the meaning of an event is not to be fixed and since it is not fixed we can find tendrils moving out from the event in question. We say the Romanticism of The Revolution does not end on the 18th of June. We say ideas which are people (because ideas can never exist without people) have no fixedity. Chou En Lai is asked in the early 1970s what he thinks are the effects of The French Revolution(s) of 1789. He says: It’s too soon to tell.

The French, under Bounaparte, were defeated at Waterloo. That is a fact. It is irrefutable. It is also conditional. This is a paradox. It’s hard to understand. Get used to it. Life is hard to understand.

The fascists and the atavistic tribalists have returned. Not that they ever went away but they have returned. Since they have returned other forces can return as well. Ideas lie dormant in the soil of the soul and then there is a hard rain and the soil sprouts ideas. Next thing you know someone is setting up a guillotine on the square.

The past aint even hardly past.

The facts and the truth seldom have anything to do with each other.

If I had a hammer.

A hammer is a singular object.

If you had a hammer you would search for a nail.

If you had a box of nails you would search for a hammer.

Baudrillard says: The invention of the train is also the invention of the train accident.

But no one goes around discussing the invention of the accident.

Hemingway is eating sardines and drinking a rum St. James.

Later there will be a shotgun.

But before that and after the rum and the sardines there are many other things.

Say Hemingway. And the singular is instantly a web of associations.

In Ok Park, said Hemingway, the minds are narrow and the lawns are wide.

Say Oak Park. Think about the running of the bulls and Duff Twysden. Or Zelda. Or a box of handgrenades given as a gift to Picasso.

There is an inherent paradox at work in this. The idea of the singular dominant narrative has its uses but it is also not entirely accurate.

Notice we do not say it is false. It is not entirely accurate.

Consider the following: George Sand and Chopin attend a performance of Beethoven’s 5th. On the way home Sand says: Freddy, you know the critics say the opening of the symphony represents fate knocking on the door.

Chopin coughs into one of his lavender silk gloves. Then he says: Yes my little croissant, that’s possible but then again for all we know he may have just had an upset stomach that day.

So, where does a thing begin?

Let’s try an experiment.

Think: Bruce Springsteen.

He is a singular entity.

But the moment we say “Bruce Springsteen” we are aware of a vast series of associations.

New Jersey.

Music.

Cars.

America.

Anxiety.

The post industrial wasteland.

Who is telling the story? How is the story told? What is left in and what is left out?

Can we examine the ways in which the narrative is constructed?

This is Foucault. This is Derrida. This is questioning the relationship between things; between power and identity.

This is not what it seems. It seems to be what it is.

What prevents us from discussing the ways in which the narrative is constructed?

Answer: A fear of the imagination and a lack of practice in imagining things and no sense of how things are connected by association or a recognition of tht but controlled by a fear of it.

This is not an essay.

This is Postmodernism.

And Jordan Peterson is not right.

 

Postscript:

For an example of the reactionary response to Foucault, in the manner of Jordan Peterson and other cultural ayatholas, see the following essay:

https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/1993/3/the-perversions-of-m-foucault

Consider this line:

“A great deal might be said about this effort to welcome sadomasochism as a bracing new “life-style” option. Above all, perhaps, it demonstrates the kind of spiritual and intellectual wreckage that can result, even now— and even for the most educated minds— from the afterwash of the radicalism of the 1960s. Make no mistake: behind Professor de Courtivron’s anodyne commendation of a “nonjudgmental” approach to human sexuality and Miller’s dream of “corporeal experimentation” that proceeds “without shame or fear” stands the vision of polymorphous emancipation that helped turn the 1960s into the moral and political debacle it was.”

That’s right – it’s Foucault’s getting off on bondage sex that demonstrates what turned the 1960s into a moral and political debacle. Not Kissinger, Nixon, My Lai, Operation Condor, J.Edgar Hoover or Chairman Mao’s hymns to the Tractor Factories. But, a French intellectual getting his rocks off with a leather harness.

This type of hysteria is funny until you realise the writer is deadly serious and is determined to make sure everyone is doing it missionary style with the lights off while listening to the speeches of Dwight Eisenhower. Once you realize this goon is serious and you get over your case of the jitters and shakes you realize it’s time to figure out where the hell you can hide.

Stalin Fair. James Franco and the Death of Due Process.

“Syme was not only dead, he was abolished, an unperson…”

— George Orwell

— 1984

“I can only wait for the final amnesia, the one that can erase an entire life.”

— Luis Bunuel

 

Having been accused James Franco has been found guilty and erased from the cover of Vanity Fair.

Due process, a cornerstone of a free society, is on life support and circling the drain.

Having allowed corporations to take control of the government and the government having become indistinguishable from a corporation we arrive at the fascism of the Orwellian nightmare.