HUH?

Nov. 9th, 2016 08:11 am
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
By all the gods above and below, what a bunch of redneck morons.

(If that shoe doesn't actually fit you personally, just don't even try to put it on. You ALL know who I'm really talking about.)

So...

Say goodbye to your Social Security. I hope for your sakes you got a bunch of money saved up for rent and food and medicine in your retirements, cuz Medicare and Medicaid are on the block as well.

Say goodbye to your VA benefits, too. The last time the Rs had full control they cut the sh*t outta that while illegally invading two countries.

But hey, at least your personal firearms are safe for another few years.

Sh*t. See ya, I guess.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
What is the difference between "Obedient" and "Cooperative"?

Into which category do you usually fall?

Why?

—Bureau of Nosy Statistics
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Back from the 2015 Oregon Country Fair, and somewhat re-grooved to fit into this so-called “real life”.

I saw some cool cosplays.

People on stilts: with giant monarch butterflies on their heads; ‘dressed’ in hospital gowns and clumping along on really tall walkers, shouting about getting old; dressed as angels, with huge white wings.

I saw one really good raven outfit.

I spent most of my time during open hours in the booth; it’s just too crowded out there for me to move easily from place to place during the day.
I did visit the ‘new area’ a couple times. That’s a welcome addition: new crafters, new food booths, and a LOT of open space and seating and new art.



I wore this shirt for a lot of the Fair, and I got scanned a few times. All hail the Spectacle! Salute the new order: we are all ‘brands’ now, we advertise our creative functions like dish soap.

Recall that in French ‘advertissement’ means “Warning!”.

The OCF: what can I say about it? It would require a long, deep essay to describe the contradictory thoughts and feelings this event inspires in me. It is simultaneously a magnificent spectacle and The Spectacle, a hint of what a better world would be like, and a glimpse into how egalitarian values can lead to authoritarian outcomes. More than anything , it serves to remind me how investing power in a Board or executive can turn an assembly into a (dis)obedient mob.

I’ve begun that essay (in my mind) at least a hundred times. The balance eludes me.

Oh, well I had fun. And the people watching was fantastically entertaining, as always. One aspect of the Fair-as-Festival that’s always fascinating is the freedom people feel to dress as they wish, manifesting all sorts of archetypes and individual dreams and nightmares. Among the ordinary folks and the oddly-dressed and the conventionally “costumed”, there are always a few whose personal vision transforms them. That raven, for one. S/he even had some of the head movements...
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Yesterday on NPR I heard a revealing factoid: A German gentleman, addressing the Greek pseudo-crisis, explained that in his native tongue, “Debt” and “Guilt” are the *same word*. His point was that this cultural (false?) equivalence went a long way to explain the intransigence of Merkel and the banksters. They really are (unconsciously?) trying to Punish Those Greek People, cuz they’re _Guilty_.

They are also, according to the Media, *lazy*. All I can say about that is, when I visited Greece in 2004, every one of my hosts was working long hours and they each had a hard time finding time to hang out. I didn’t meet any _lazy_ people when in Athens or the nearby countryside.

In case the above does not make it clear, I have a different interpretation of this BS than the US and European Media are pushing. I disagree with the economists, including Krugman, although he is less moronic than most of them. His best point, that technocratic advice pushing for austerity in order to pay off debt is a losing game for the debtor nation, is shared in part by one of my favorite writers, John Ralston Saul. Mr. Saul goes further, stating unequivocally: that “No Nation has ever prospered by paying down debt.”

A cursory examination of History would seem to prove him correct.

Just as getting really thirsty during a drought does not create more water, economic austerity in a debt crisis creates no new cash flow.

And *Cash Flow*, boys and girls, is what makes it possible to pay off debt. You and I know that instinctively, even if it is opaque to the High Priests of the Dismal Cult of Economics.

If the EU really wanted the Greek Gov’t to pay some of that money back, they’d be taking steps to revitalize the economy of poor Hellas, not crush it with futile bullying.

(Never mind that the cash bailout was really a scam to re-capitalize a group of badly managed German [and some English] banks. That’s a different rant altogether.)

Anyway, I urge all of you to consider the bias that the Mainstream Media has in favor of technocratic solutions to such manufactured crises. If you look at Iceland, where they let the mismanaged banks fail and jailed the perpetrators of the fraud, (then re-wrote their constitution in a more democratic vein) you’ll see a more humanistic approach to the problems of criminal bankers and the crimes they profit from.

Oh well. Gotta go. See ya!
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Today is the anniversary of the day when my life began to turn. Even at the tender age of fifteen, it struck me that what happened at Kent State was wrong, wrong, wrong. And if that act by the Gov't was wrong, what else was?

From every adult relative on both sides of my family I heard the same wrong thing: "It should have been done long ago..."

Even at that age, I knew better. I realized that my life was in the hands of people who could not be trusted.

Nixon had turned his rough beast toward another country. Now Cambodia was to be the next domino to fall; not to the evils of "communism", but to the savage bombing, the chemical warfare, and the indiscriminate slaughter due to the pawns on Kissinger's chessboard.

Of course, it was many years before I saw all of it that clearly...why the college kids were protesting, the evil enterprise that was the Vietnam War, the foul calculus that Eisenhower and Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon had *all* engaged in.
My education up till then had been in the hands of people who wouldn't have dared to whisper about things like the Ludlow Massacre, Triangle Shirtwaist, Haymarket or Joe Hill. Nor, of course, would any of them even have thought of questioning the Gov't about the supposed "Gulf of Tonkin Incident."

It was soon after that day that I took things into my own hands: surreptitiously, of course. After all, I still lived among untrustworthy adults, and I was still in their power. But I began to read books and papers that would have been utterly disapproved by my relatives. I began to understand the slow creep toward fascism that was evident even in the early seventies.

Now, I look around me, and I despair. That slow creep is still creeping, so slowly that very few people notice it. We're boiling the planet, like frogs in a slow cooker, and our 'betters' are cranking up the heat. Industrial society is poisoning our air and water and soil, even as it sells us Big Macs 
and Powerbooks. Bread and circuses for high-tech slaves and the plebian underclasses.

This why I write the fiction that I write: to try to turn people's eyes to some better way, in the certain knowledge that I have little chance of doing so. But there's that tiny bit of hope...forlorn, even ridiculous, but it's there.

I wrote almost 500 words today, into the new serial novel. That's about what I have the energy for, after a day of physical labor.

Slow progress is still progress, right?

Right. Back to the salt mines, I guess.

See ya!

Musings

Feb. 6th, 2015 09:39 pm
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Someone posted a meme somewhere that used that (bogus?) quote about a revolution every twenty years or so...supposedly from Jefferson.

As a guy who writes Alternate History, I occasionally think about such things. After all, the creation of the US was a step forward. If you think about what Frank Herbert called “the Pharaohnic Imperative”, you can see that the Founders resisted that, and created something significantly different than any previous gov’t.

I do not think we have continued that forward momentum.

So, here’s an Alternate History, in the form of a Timeline:

1796-1800: Repeated violent Slave Revolts, violently put down. Abolitionists arm escaped slaves.

1800-03: Guerilla warfare across the South.

1804: The election of President Thomas Paine (first three-term President.) End of slavery; Citizenship for all former slaves. Indigenous peoples create 3 new and separate States, elect first congressmen.

1824: Farmer’s revolution: boycotts of all banks, leading to the banning of usury. ‘Town Meeting‘ democracy becomes the norm all over the US, anticipating the Direct Democracy movement of the century’s end.

1825: Founding of NOWR: the National Organization for Women’s Rights.

1825-42: Rising power of NOWR: demonstrations violently put down.

1843; WOMEN’S REVOLT. General strike by women, backed by Farmer’s Union and the Grange.

1844: Constitutional Amendment: Universal Suffrage.

1865: Constitutional Amendment: Food Clothing and Shelter not to be denied to any citizen. Owen makes first proposal for moneyless economy.

1865-1900: Due to the previous two Amendments, a million flowers bloom: New developments in science and the arts transform society; American inventors advance Babbage’s work to unheard-of heights. First electrical motors, practical lightbulbs, and powered airships.

[1871: the Paris Commune fights off invasion, expands speedily across France. Local assemblies practicing Direct Democracy pop up all over Europe, especially Germany and England. Ireland adopts DD, declares Independence.]

1900: Women take the lead in the US House and Senate, forge ahead with birth control and child health initiatives. Congress votes to arm Cuban and Filipino revolutionaries, but refuses to deploy American troops. (This sets a precedent)

1910: Nikola Tesla (an immigrant from Croatia) creates the first binary computer language. His partner Thomas Edison’s work with vacuum tubes sets the stage for radio and TV.

1921: “New Media” (TV , film, and Radio) declared ‘non-commercial’. Town meetings exert local control over radio, begin to produce TV programs. Advocates of ‘the moneyless economy’ merge with the “Society for the Economy of the Gift” to form a powerful political party.

1932: The “Gifters” eke out a narrow victory over the Meritocratic Party in National elections. Reforms continue, based on the narrow common ground between the parties. “Green Party” founded; problems caused by pollution debated in Town Meetings nationwide.

1955: (January) General Strike by women, farmers, youth, in favor of ‘a more moneyless economy’ and ‘Status not Wealth’. With neither women nor young people working, and in fear what striking farmers will do to the food supply, the Gov’t yields: agrees to study demands, effect change.

1956: National elections divide power nearly equally: Meritocrats, Gifters, Greens, each have about a third of the Congress. Gifters have 34 Senate seats, nearly all women. An obscure academic named Eleanor Roosevelt wins the Presidency for the Gifters; her vice president is a man from the State of Cherokee, who has Meritocratic leanings, but is a member of the Green Party.

1959: Brief war with the Empire of Brazil. Airships from the US litter the country with pamphlets explaining DD and the Economy of the Gift. The Empire falls, breaking into thousands of independent DD assemblies.

Hmmm. I’m running out of steam here. MAYBE, if I ever finish all me other Writing Projects, I’ll do a novel or two set in this reality. Could be fun.


Gotta go! See ya!
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Being an unsupported assertion, the following statement is an Opinion.

What the human species really needs, and the planetary situation demands of us, is a worldwide *wildcat* General Strike, with at least 75% participation.
Then a global conversation, online and IRL, about what is to be done. (I'm in favor of "widespread and globalized local self management in a moneyless economy.")

Failing that, I guess I'll go drop off this %$#*&^%&$ ballot.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
I had this idea. I’m gonna write it down, and maybe publish/post it, just so I can say I did it. So I can know that at least I tried.

Get some big boxes and crates. They should be the kind that the military uses to drop ammo and stuff into war zones. Don’t put ammo into the boxes and crates.

Put into the crates: food and drinks and clothes; medicine and small helpful machines (like pedal powered lathes and sewing machines and drill presses and the like); those cook-stoves made by Stove-tec, or butane cookers for areas w/out firewood; cell phones, with batteries, and solar and pedal-powered charging devices; seeds, and tools for farming; and other needful or useful things.

You can think of things I didn’t, I’m sure.

Then, in all the places where the US Government thinks they are making things better by bombing the shit out of “bad guys” (“evildoers?”) airdrop these crates and boxes instead.

Here are a couple of important points:

First, drop a lot of boxes. Drop so many boxes, with so much stuff, that it becomes worthless except for its ‘use-value’. That way, the various government, proto-government, pseudo-government, and bandit organizations will not be able to steal the goods and sell/profit from them.

Next, make sure there are no identifying labels on the boxes, or on the planes and choppers that deliver them. An act of charity that one claims and profits from is not pure. Tricky stuff, like the Peace Corps and USAID? That stuff has to be right out. NO STRINGS ATTACHED!

People like me call that ‘the economy of the gift.’ The only reciprocity we should expect is non-specific. (‘Non-specific reciprocity’ is also a thing. It’s the real answer to that stupid question from Econ 101. You know the one I’m talking about…)

(Yes, of course the people on the ground in these various regions will know it was the US gov’t (or people from the USA) that did the deed. That’s part of the point, after all. But we should learn from the nobility of the European Middle Ages something about noblesse oblige, and not braggin’ on ourselves all the damn time.)

This could be done for a small fraction of the cost of a small number of bombs and war machines. Dropping such needful and helpful things upon the killing fields will do more to undermine the power of the elites in places like Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Syria and Egypt than all the ‘targeted killings’ in our History have ever done.

It wouldn’t be hard to get the stuff, either. After all, the world is in a “permanent crisis of Overproduction” as the old ICC pointed out. Anything we need or want, we can produce in quantities far beyond what anyone would (or could) purchase. Factories and mills all over the States sit idle because no one can find a way to sell their output.

Call me what names you will: hippie, commie, socialist, peacenik, idealist, utopian. I don’t even care anymore. (for the record: an Anarchist-Syndicalist with a strong influence from the Situationists.)

The gov’t can even keep all of the war machine shit, let it sit there quiet and cool. Just in case, y’know.

But I bet my plan would work way better.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
There are times when I really enjoy writing.

I like it when the characters speak directly to me, tell me how they feel, and the writing flows smoothly onto the page.

I like it when I get it: when I understand exactly how Selos is going to react to Saltos, and how he is going to scorn Saltos, and why he’d accept Saltos’ apology, and what kind of advice he’d then give, and why. I like that. It’s cool. I got 1200 words, a single incident, and I think it’s just right.

So, even though the interwebs are full of stupid today, and the police and their apologists are going steadily insane, and Wall Street is looting the savings of anyone who has a Mutual Fund or an IRA and the early members of the Emerging Global Ruling Class are rubbing their hands together and snickering about how much imaginary profit they are gonna make on slaughtering and starving six billion people over the next thirty years…

Today was (for me) a Good Day.

And a Good Day to all of you as well! (No irony intended. Despite the above, I wish you each a Good day, and tomorrow as well.)

Gotta go.

See ya.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Arrenji leaned back in the chair, until she looked precariously close to tipping over. She smiled, her dreadlocks bouncing a little as she nodded in time to the music drifting in from the street in front of the pub.

“I like this music,” she said: “Regay, you called it, right?”

“Reggae,” he said, then spelled it: “That’s funny,” he added.

“What is?”

He gestured: “Your hairstyle, the slight accent that you still have, the graceful way you move: people assume you are from Jamaica. That’s where reggae comes from, originally.”

“Ah,” she said: “That is amusing, isn’t it? I knew about Jamaica and the dreads even before I met you, from studying the US Imperial Lines. I hadn’t heard any of the music, though.”

“Oh.”

“But it’s really the lyrics that I admire. Listen to her plea for community; the first thing Commonwealthers notice when we visit US Imperial Lines is the lack of true community among your people.”

“Tell me about it,” he said, in an ironic tone.

She ignored the irony: “Sure. The money economy is what fosters it, of course. All of your interactions, even gifts and conversation, become infused with the spirit of exchange. This for that, tit for tat. Mine and yours, I owe you. You owe me. You pass someone in the street, and because she owes you naught, she exists only as a face passing by. She…and you…both adopt an expression of neutrality, showing no emotion: she cannot ‘afford’ to show respect for your apparent age; you may not even hint at an appreciation of her youth and beauty. This is not one encounter in the course of a day, but hundreds, thousands. Then you see a friend, and for a moment the spell is broken and love fills the void between. But your respite is brief: your affairs call you on. One by one the people you must ignore pass you by, each one placing a weight upon you: a gram of unresolved and unrealized debt. The alienation each of you feels from the others turns inward…and outward, slowly crushing your spirits and driving your humiliation in the face of the System. One man snaps and shoots up a stoa…a shopping mall; a child cries herself to sleep because of bullies in her Skolo, a boy twists a rope around his arm and shoots the drug into himself, secretly hoping to wake not at all, to escape the blank faces all around him.

“Here in this Line, even in best of times, even at a festival like this…” She looked at him quizzically.

“Benham Avenue Block Party,” he supplied.

“Yes, that,” she said, nodding. “Even here, while the neighborhood pulses with the sound of song, and dancing people fill the alleys and yards, and that singer cries out for love and understanding, lamenting the fate that holds her separate from her sisters and brothers, still the instruments of exchange rule, driving your interactions with others.”

“I know that. I’ve railed against it most of my adult life.” He grinned: “You talk like Vaneigem, you know.”

She closed her eyes, seeking the knowledge imparted by RNA induction: “Yes,” she said. “Yes, I do. Most Commonwealthers would, you know.”

He grinned: “I do know.”

“Yes.”

They sat unspeaking, nearly immobile, while the broken rhythm of drums and bass pounded at their ears. He could feel the bass vibrating in his ribs; the singer began again, one love, candles in the darkness, I and I.

He got up and went to the bar, where he got Arrenji another beer, and himself a shot of Jameson’s. He pushed the cash across the bar until the woman’s fingers touched it: he thought of Vaneigem’s story, the waiter, so long ago in Paris.

“Thank you,” he said, deliberately, smiling. He caught her eye, nodded; he tried to break the spell, to cross the void between them, to make the money disappear for a moment.

She looked into his eyes: “You’re welcome,” she said. She searched his gaze for flirtation or other hidden motives, and didn’t find it. He smiled again, and she returned the expression. “You’re welcome,” she repeated.

“One love,” the singer cried: “Let’s get together and be all right…”



I’ve been reading The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem. In case you didn’t notice.

AND I’ll be at Sam Bond’s tonight, 4th of July or not.

Gotta go. See ya.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
What if the biggest debate in global society was between Egalitarians and Meritocrats?

Instead of what we have: long and winding non-sequiturs and ad hominem attacks from various factions of the ruling class and their paid (and unpaid) dupes. Attacks upon each other—but also, very vicious attacks upon those who try to pull the curtain aside and reveal the little men who pull the levers.

If we could shake off the baleful influence of Church and State, take control of the media, and speak directly to one another, could we settle on a balance between the birthright of every human being and the rewards due to those who do more? Or might we reach an 'unsettled balance', such that variations in time and place might occur, but the principle was clear and strong?

I think that we could do this, that we *can* do it. Will we? Or are we extinct, and don't know it yet? This is what I write about, (mostly) in fiction.

(Arrenji sits in the back of my mind, laughing. She shakes her head. Her dreadlocks, fine as worsted yarn, slide across her shoulders. "Get it together, people, or it will be too late. All too soon, it will be too late...")

The Situationists began (about 1954) with conversations in cafes and pubs. In 1968 they nearly (so nearly!) *changed the world*.

I'll be at Sam Bond's Garage tonight. 6-ish.

Gotta go. See ya!
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
I posted this elsewhere, in response to blather. I'm reposting it here because why not.

OPINION ALERT. The emerging global ruling class is polluting and heating the planet into an uninhabitable swamp, for the sake of their (short-term) profit and standard of living. Even those profits are mostly expressed as dots and dashes in mainframe computers around the world: their money doesn't exist, it's an illusion, a scam. Dissatisfied with the current absurd level of inequality, unfazed by the likely outcome of their course (the extinction of this planet's population of the human species) they continue to extract wealth from both the planet and the poorest people on it. How does arguing about the details of election law in a corrupt system serve anything other than the interests of our rulers?
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
I’ve seen this meme. I will participate:

1. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
2. The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
3. LOTR (of course)
4. Jurgen by James Branch Cabell
5. The Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake
6. Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin
7. On the Poverty of Student Life by the Situationist International
8. The Chanur series by C.J. Cherryh
9. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
10. Serpent’s Reach by C.J. Cherryh

Opinions

Nov. 2nd, 2013 12:00 pm
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Here is something I wrote a while ago, and originally posted in a very different forum. I'm putting up here because...WTB, why not?

OPINION ALERT: the following post consists almost entirely of unsupported assertions, which means it is an Opinion. This message is to remind you that, although I state these assertions as though they were facts, they constitute an Opinion, and all the evidence I have in support of this is Observation.

Democrats and Republicans? Conservatives and Liberals? All of that is distraction, Spectacle. It is meant to keep our eyes off the ball.

Here is the reality: Both major parties are actually “Corporatist”. Owned by, supported by, (and supporters of) what used to be called Big Business. The arguments between the parties that all the Media outlets (ALL owned by Big Business) publicize as liberal-conservative spatting are actually the tip of an iceberg: a disagreement between factions of the ruling class about how to keep poor people poor and powerless, (and ignorant) and themselves rich (and therefore powerful).

A great deal of what passes for Conservative vs. Liberal argument is actually the echoes of that factional disagreement: a disagreement about how best to transfer tax money into the pockets of large corporations and the owners and managers thereof _without letting us notice_.

The ACA [‘Obamacare’] is a means of transferring tax money to for-profit health insurance companies. It was thought up by Republican think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation. The individual mandate was a ‘conservative’ innovation, co-opted and made law by the ‘liberal’ wing of the corporatist oligarchy.

If the above is true, arguing about who is responsible for the current mess is more distraction. It serves the interests of the ruling class. We all ought to stop.

There are better ways to go, and a better world to build. We can’t even start to talk about that until we see thru the fog.

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