Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to Act in the time of T.

A large crowd walks down Pennsylvania Avenue after the start of the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 21. Organizers said the march is sending a message to Donald Trump that "women's rights are human rights." Similar protests unfolded across the country.

Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.  - 

Hsin Hsin Ming

Now that Mr. T. and his Cabinet of Deplorables is taking and consuming Power, the question arises: How are those of us who are opposed to his capitalist, oil-loving regime to act? 

We have gone over, ad nauseum, the reasons he won the Electoral College despite losing the election by 3 million votes. The blood of Democrats stains the country. We know now, as we should have known in 2000, that the EC is undemocratic and stacked in favor of Republicans. It can be changed easily: 

The question here, though, is how are we to act, given that we cannot do anything about the federal government until 2018. 

The Women's March in Washington, echoed in marches all over the world, even in small town America, were a start. They revealed visibly the lie that T. is popular with everyone, the lie that his inauguration was a success, the lie that T. has any kind of mandate in his attack on the social programs, the health care, the social security, and the interests of ordinary people. He is a flunky for billionaires, banks, corporations,and worst of all, the oil companies. So, yes, the March was important, vital for a growing resistance to his rule.
The web site link above offers more to do.

If there is to be any hope at the bottom of Mr. T.'s Pandora Box, it has to come from persistent protests and mobilization. As we go about our ordinary lives, work, family, creating and appreciating the arts, or whatever normal life we lead, there must always be awareness, our encouraging Congressional opposition, speaking out, supporting new legislators from the local level up. 

It is difficult for me to maintain any optimism as the two major destructive forces occur, climate change and war. Mr. T. and cabinet are hell-bent on more pollution and war on the environment. With his fanatic love of the industrial-military complex, T. increases the likelihood of more war, expanded conflict, even the use of nuclear warheads. 

All I can think of, never get out of my head, is the prophesy of Allen Ginsberg :

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! 

-- Jameson

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Thrasymachus Refuted: NCLB and DT

Thrasymachus in the School of Athens

From: The School of Athens

(Thoughts inspired by a thread.)

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)  had a worthwhile aim but the method it proposed was deeply flawed and produced the opposite of genuine education and learning. We should be helping students discover the joys of learning, creating life-long learners and readers. It is a tall task in the age of cell phones. NCLB worked not to promote individual development but rather conformity in which all students study for taking the same standardized tests. The result was to destroy the love of learning and the sort of natural curiosity and thinking for oneself that is essential in college. Here is a good article on the details

Donald Trump is an example of education gone wrong. All he has learned is materialism, bullying, egotism, selfishness, and aggression. He has no ethical sense, no respect for learning that is other than business, no sense of fairness and, worst of all, no compassion for others. Learning can provide the essential quality of empathy, especially in reading literature, that seems to be utterly lacking in DT. Don't you wish you could sit him down, get him to read Plato's Republic, and explain to him why Thrasymachus is wrong?

Unfortunately, as Aphrodite Kavyas remarked, DT  "is Pacman - - never stops moving or reflecting, just devouring." 


Monday, January 02, 2017

Speak No Evil

It is impossible and immoral to stop seeing the actual path of the next 4-8 years. Liberals and moderates keep writing about opposition and resistance to Trump, claiming Bernie or Warren or the Senate will halt the coming onslaught. We shall survive Trump, they say. Every day, every tweet, every appointment, every indication points not to a passing few years of trouble, but rather to an irreversible catastrophe. T. and his team stand for and have fought for years to repeal the Great Society of Johnson and the progressive achievements of FDR. We shall see a radical dismantling of social programs. We shall see enormous infringements of civil rights, especially of Muslims and African Americans. We shall see nothing short of war on the environment, undoing protections to water and air, giving free reign to the oil companies, chemical companies, and the military-industrial monolith. It will be a war on science across the board. Religious fervor will be encouraged, especially by the fanatical Pence. Some of T.'s team  want to bring on the religious apocalypse. Really. And that leads to a war on Islam. It leads to a possible nuclear war with Iran or N. Korea. Is that what we shall survive? Will we be able to make everything OK again in 2020 or 2024? The biggest danger of all is complacency, thinking we can weather T. as we weathered Matthew and other natural disasters that will be increasing exponentially. Where is the evidence that Democrats will regain popularity and majorities? The election was not about T. nearly so much as it was about the millions of Americans who live in the South, the Mid-West and the entire middle of the country. They are the ones who have made the Electoral College such a farce; a nod to slavery that has, over the years, disenfranchised millions of voters in both the Red and the Blue states, ignoring a three million vote majority for the other candidate. Most Americans don't even understand the process. We are a stupid, complacent, superstitious people, afraid to admit and face the truth. We have condemned wildlife, threatened the lives of millions of people around the world, unraveled the possibility of saving the planet from ecological disaster. We are not only stupid and selfish, we are evil. Until we see that evil and overcome it, all of our positive thinking, optimism, and professions of love for humanity and the beauty of nature  are delusions and lies.  

Above: My photograph of the Three Monkeys at Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan


From the Guardian:

World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. 
Photograph: image BROKER/REX/Shutterstock