Altai High

Recently, having had my full of the chest beating about “Native Americans” I let fly:

Some Europeans arrived before some “Native Americans” both as a matter of migration and simple birth, while the concept that a group of murdering primitives migrating over a period of 20000 years as “original inhabitants” is less useful than noting that most Native Americans are more closely related to Altaisians than to each other.

This resulted in some minor outrage and some bright person shot back, “For me, [the] statement makes no difference because all migration started from Africa. [There] would be no Europeans without that migration.” And that was, in fact, largely my point.

We seem to be infected with some romantic notion of “First Peoples”. The fact is that Homo sapiens is a murderous little beastie who regularly acts out behavior his cousins (thre Great Apes) manage to suppress, probably because his innerchimp is at war with a yet to mature forebrain. As a result, the denizens of the Altai migrated, killing everything in their path, East and then South, eventually rising to the notion of empire (as Homo sapiens has a penchant to do) where he ritually murdered innocents by ripping their hearts out – charming folk – while on the vast expanses of other portions of the Americas he engaged in tribal atrocities with predatory bands wiping out agrarian settlements, much as he does everywhere.

The fact is that trying to argue an artifact (a “people”) from 20,000 years of migration East from the foothills of the Altai makes as little sense as suggesting that the “Palestinians” are a “people” (oooooo – did I hit another liberal reflex – see, Doumani, Beshara B. “Rediscovering Ottoman Palestine: Writing Palestinians into History.” Journal of Palestine Studies 21, no. 2 (January 1, 1992): 5–28. Accessed March 15, 2015.

To go a step further, my children, by way of example, must use a small “n” because they do evidence the Altaissian DNA, while others, some who have never set foot in Alaska, are Cap N Natives because they do have that DNA.  This reminds me of the confusion suffered by “white people from Africa on naturalization in the US, having to be told that they can no longer be Afro-Americans….  In sum, while we scream to the heavens that we detest racism, we continue to invest in racist devices.  Initially I thought that prescriptions such as those of Cornell West could be solutions, but whether for lack of trying, cultural hunger, or other reason, we are stuck, and I for one do not see things getting better.

Yes, my family left Belarus because of ethnic cleansing, and the half of the family that did not leave was wiped out 4 decades later because of their genes. While I don’t make anything of that, some muckraker might try to argue I have a chip on my shoulder; argue away.  In part, the neoliberalism of the left was founded on the notion that, heartstrings aside, change would have to be based on hard economic changes.  Unfortunately, the neolibs went in the wrong direction, simply asking different magnates to play nicer than the industrialists of the past. You know how that played out. But the impetus for that response is still there, and we continue to address it (at least some of us) through inane prestidigitation intended apparently more to make us feel good about ourselves, than resolve the underlying problems.

In a recent staff wide meeting for ASD teacher, teachers were advised that they need to be more Native in approaching Native students, one example being the use of shaming as a disciplinary tool…  Yes, you heard me correctly.  While the biggest problem facing Native Alaskans in education is a non-verbal culture in which critical language development is all but absent, teachers are being asked to shame students who don’t perform, because this is how elders do it in the village. Enough!

If you read this as a racist rant, that is your prerogative, but you have missed the point entirely. The message here, as Mr. Brown so elegantly puts it, is to get up offa that thing, but for those of you who can’t manage that…. cleveland_indians_logo-svg

Election Reflection

The pain is not so much from the horrible mess that Trump could produce, but the recognition that so much of this country is so fearful, greedy, and hateful… But some observations and some reflection on the terrors that await are in order, so here are my thoughts, disordered by events as they may be.

You can blame the DNC all you want, but the fact is that even without the superdelegates, Bernie did not win the primary, and in states where they voted (as opposed to caucused) he rarely polled as well, so while we may have some problems with “elites”, we have bigger problems with couch potatoes.

While the number of votes cast for GOP Presidential candidates has remained relatively stable over the last 3 cycles, the number of people casting ballots for Dem candidates has plummeted. This suggests that Trump was not elected by the people voting for him so much as he was elected by the people who refused to vote.

HRC’s electoral “failure” was razor slim and she won the popular vote. This suggests that it is the “hopeandchangey” crowd whose nonfeasance resulted in a Trump election, and we have to ask, “What did this crowd actually want?” Would Bernie magic have brought those voters to the polls, and if so, why didn’t it bring them to the polls during the primaries.

While, as Frank argues, more could have been done by the Obama Administration, we have to face the fact that people do not come out and vote for redistribution… We are in the grip of a virulent strain of possessive narcissism where everyone seems to think they simply don’t have enough. Scaif and Kochs have been buying up our academic and political institutions for half a century now, and it shows.

While I can’t disagree that the DNC was Democrats’ worst enemy, with respect to Dem voters I think you need to recognize that Dem success has often been based on smoke and mirrors. There is no way Obama could have possibly done what the surge of hopeandchangey voters expected of him, and the rancor, fed by 8 years of Rovian vitriol, was a player in this election that no one wants to acknowledge. Frankly, I am tired to death of hearing people making $150,000 whining about how they are suffering, so my question remains the same…. What specific policies could a Democrat in good conscience represent were achievable such that s/he would garner 70,000,000 votes?

As much as I pushed for Bernie, his campaign did not garner the majority of Dems. I think this is in no small part because the Dems who do vote are largely DLC neo-libs, whether they want to admit it or not. Even if Obama had tried harder, the incremental policy results would not have satisfied the hopeandchange crowd. Obama had a 58% turnout in 2008. He garnered almost 70,000,000 votes and won by a 7% margin! Turnout dropped 3.5% in 2012 as did the margin. And this election I believe turnout dropped another 3.5% and that same bit of Dem margin slipped away. While the RSLC has been successful in gerrymandering most of the country (which is in itself evidence of Democrats asleep at the wheel)  just look at the Congress! For crying out loud, look at Alaska’s federal Senators and Representative! Can you spell “obstruction?”

I have to argue that this election has shown we have issues with delayed gratification more than the narrative of Trumpers that the media has been blaring. In a polarized country nothing is going to happen overnight, and I see the rather inane behavior of Dem Berniecrats over Stock as symptomatic of the problems endemic to our political system… change requires political work, and I think it is difficult to get consensus about a progressive agenda, and difficult to keep people committed to working towards such an agenda. I am not trying to mimimize the horror that 60,000,000 proud morons presents – I am just trying to note that it is within the power of the electorate to put those people back in their box, and we apparently want them running amok for a bit.

I don’t follow the narrative being peddled about the Dems not connecting with the country. The rank and file are delusional. They have been fed a hateful gruel for almost a decade in preparation for this moment, and have been roused by someone I can only call Il Gialo, ilducea jaundiced ape of Mussolini. This election was NOT about more Republicans coming out to vote for Il Gialo; it was about millions of Democrats who felt they would not be bothered to vote. This is not about Trumpers, it’s about shallow, useless, patina ‘liberals’ whose commitment to the republic is epidermal. It was about people who wanted to be molly-coddled and promised, and snuggled. And now they are going to howl for years because the big bad hairy Cheetoh got elected by the moronic brutes… It was the Dems who did not vote that elected Trump (Dems had half the showing they had 8 years ago) and while I am deeply offended by the crass ignorance and cruelty of the Trumpers, the narrative has been that Derms “know better”, and we expect those that know better to do better, it is “liberal” mantra, and Dems took a pass and the maroons screamed, “OLE!”

I think one of then points Frank makes is that while the sector driving politics may have changed, the fact that industry is driving politics has not changed in almost 100 years. What I think Kochs found most troubling about Trump is the caprice and the willingness to use the Administration to punish “enemies”.  Our legal system has opposed the arbitrary and capricious as a central tenet, but now we have the legally unwashed, the folk who would as soon as follow the Dick the Butcher’s suggestion and hang all the lawyers, putting Il Gialo in charge. Caprice will reign, and all those chanting “federal over reach” will be sobbing in their nasty corporate ersatz beer.

And I don’t mean this as a part of some blame game, but as a tool for looking at candidates for 2020. The point is that a vibrant candidate who moves the left will win, despite all the nasty trash that the right can muster. I had hoped for a seasoned executive, such as Jerry Brown, but we have to look at a Senate leader like Elizabeth Warren, who has the chops, the gumption, and the cred. But,  the double entendre of our times is still, to my mind, “What is left?” Sorry, but I don’t see progressivism as part and parcel of neonicotinoid hysteria, GMO mania, or circuses on the Cannonball…  Bernie tried to define left, and there are many who will continue to argue that the wave of optimism he generated in so doing was (or would have been) the equivalent of the hopeandchange army.  We will never know because the neolibs (no, I am not talking about DWS, but about the millions, so comfortable in their homes, that allowed the DLC to become the DNC) took the wind out of his sails. What we do know, is faced with horrific prospects, almost 8% of our registered voters decided it was better that they stay home then vote against Trump.

Yes, I suppose the shambles that are left may well produce another surge against the right in 2020. But such a surge will require both ideals AND discipline, and I honestly think we are hopelessly short there, though I will continue to paddle upstream…

Wikipedia has some nicely done data on voting:,_2016

Dystopia 2016

Dystopia 2016
November 4. 2016
Allen D. Blume

In four days, Americans will head to the polls to select the next putative leader of the “Free World,” Members of Congress, governors, state legislatures, judges, and local government leadership. They will also render opinions on ballot propositions, bond initiatives, and state constitutional amendments. In past tumultuous times, pollsters and pundits held forth on potential outcomes where there appeared to be clear and distinct choices between the candidates and political parties. I suppose you could make the argument that in 2016 those choices still exist, but in the eyes of many – perhaps all – voters, the choices are perilous if not openly menacing.

At the top of the ticket the choice is between a capricious if not openly unstable faux biblical con artiste extraordinaire and robber baron and a flinty-eyed corporatist whose liberal credentials are more than a little suspect. Down ballot are more careerists, ideologues, and forum seekers who seem to have little interest in the overarching needs of the nation and the rest of the planet; and overspreading the entirety is a suspicion that the election process is in some way “rigged” to deny people their choice of “true” leaders. In a very real sense the 2016 Election is a striking example of why “None of the Above” should be considered as a voting option; but the overarching question remains “How did we get to this state of affairs?”

As a liberal, I can readily point fingers at conservative practices that have kept fraught and emotional anti-choice and gun-control and “jobs, any jobs” arguments in the forefront of political debate while deftly concealing increasing oligarchic control of the levers of government by multinational corporations and conservative billionaires and shifting greater wealth to the “Masters of the Universe” and their minions – a miniscule number of people who control more than ninety-five percent of the world’s wealth. But those are easy targets if your worldview posits republican democracy, social justice and equality of opportunities for all, an end to violence (by terrorist perpetrators, common thugs, and the police), an end to America’s perpetual state of international warfare (a form of corporatist terrorism), and the urgent need for binding global action to stem the planet killing effects of environmental change.

However, one-sided finger pointing and scapegoating miss the point if Democrats and liberals fail to consider their own shortcomings and outright failures: The principal issue being our indifference to our own fragmentation into separate communities of interest and unwillingness to work towards a common agenda and common goals. For me, one of the more egregious examples of our failure is the entrenchment of liberal “Five Percent” voting blocs who will abandon qualified candidates because they fail special interest litmus tests. It is the fragmentation of our own skills in building consensus and centrist positions that has cost us countless voters and elections; encouraged the growth of corporatist “Iron Triangle” special interests; fostered the high-jacking of our liberal, democratic values; and allowed the kind of right-wing political extremism we see today.

Of course, I have my own sense of schadenfreude (i.e., a delighted appreciation of another’s misery) at the rise of the GOP’s Donald Trump, having seen over forty years of right-wing race baiting, blatant gerrymandering, a conspicuous anti-union “dumbing down” of rural and urban workers, and political pandering to fundamentalist religious communities. The Republican Party’s practice of fostering divisiveness and anger has spawned in their midst a corrupt buffoon as heir to their mendacity, and they act like it’s a surprise. On this one point I’m quite happy to let them “stew in their own juices.” But I’m as equally concerned over the rise of Hillary Clinton in breaking the political “glass ceiling” to gain the White House. I have long believed that a woman can and should be President of the United States of America, but, unfortunately, not this one.

I believe that Hillary Clinton’s corporatist leanings have effectively excluded younger and more liberal voters, and since her nomination she has moved increasingly to the right of center in appealing to GOP voters and heavyweight business interests. I will not denigrate her effectiveness on behalf of women world-wide during her tenure as Secretary of State, but those were noble gains that came along with the hubris of her husband’s pseudo-foundation buying off of state Democratic Party organizations and politicians to pad her path to the White House, her own self-dealing with moneyed interests while ostensibly acting as the fair-minded international face of the United States of America, and her wind-vane attitude on international trade agreements and energy pipelines that will allow her to “rethink” her campaign positions when her incoming political advisors become cabinet secretaries and other policy mavens.

What should be of overarching concern to all Americans is whether the coming election has, in fact, been “rigged” against their interests, after all. While I don’t share Mr. Trump’s shrill fearmongering, it is worthwhile looking at the continuing disclosures from the Clinton camp in the form of WikiLeaks, FBI intermeddling, and wholesale disclosures by Democratic Party apparatchiki on every aspect to Ms. Clinton’s questionable behavior and political practices. Last summer’s disclosure of the Democratic Party’s national leadership conspiring to deny Bernie Sanders any visibility in challenging Secretary Clinton should be enough for those of us on the left to understand the visceral nature of Trump follower’s responses to the rigging charge. The Clinton Campaign threw a few of her party operatives under the bus, where they landed in sinecure positions that will allow their “rehabilitation” and re-entry into her administration.

And there’s this: In the absence of any sensible debates on policy and long term solutions for increasingly intractable problems – refugees, corporate monopolization of resources, sustained religious and racial warfare, care for the planet’s poorest people, and foremost the issues surrounding global environmental change that will only fester and spread more fear, Donald Trump’s blather about building walls on our southern border beggars the question of when individual American states will begin drafting laws limiting the mobility of our own climate change refugees? The last decade of hurricanes striking New Orleans and northern Atlantic coastal states, the increasing desertification of western and deep southern states, rising global sea levels and the attendant loss of arable lands is already pushing new immigration patterns in the USA, let alone on a global scale, and all are demonstrating our utter inability to respond to these gathering crises. We can be quite certain that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security have already begun drafting their own policy memoranda for monitoring Americans on the move, and it won’t be all that long before we start seeing state governments following in their wake.

What is also virtually certain with this election is that the American electorate will be increasingly marginalized by dyspeptic right-wing anger and threats of violence, and by timid, milk toast responses by liberals on virtually every issue, and all of us will be drowned out by the blaring billion-dollar megaphones of global corporatism (see also, “fascism”).

What has become increasingly clear is that unseen and unreported, there are pitched battles going on between global interests to seize control of the American national agenda at the expense of ordinary citizens. Next Tuesday the open question is whether Americans will find their voices to repudiate this rising fascism and fear-mongering? I doubt that they will, and at this stage, I doubt that they can.