amor mundi

Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Another Teaching Day

Last class of spring term in the City today. First class of summer intensives at Berkeley in just under three weeks. A pile of papers from this term and prep for the new summer course... all looming. Summer vacation begins!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Stupid Racist Asshole Party Picked The Most Stupid Racist Asshole To Lead It?

It's a world gone mad.

Teaching Day

Last day of class for my Biopunk! seminar. Haven't much left to say, students will be handing me their final papers and final excuses and then we're off. Eric and I are both gurgling and moaning over some bug I probably brought home from my last BART commute, which has me more than ready to bid this term farewell. The usual pile of grading awaits -- and I resume teaching, an intensive at Berkeley, in a couple of weeks. No rest for the weary.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

MeMeMeMeMe

The truth of will be revealed the moment Bernie admits it's Not Me and Us scatters to the winds.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Are We The Orcsies?

Now goblins are cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted. They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled dwarves, when they take the trouble, though they are usually untidy and dirty. Hammers,axes, swords, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get others to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light. It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them, and also not working withtheir own hands more than they could help; but in those days and those wild parts they had not advanced (as it is called) so far. -- J. R. R. Tolkien, from "Over Hill and Under Hill," The Annotated Hobbit (revised and expanded edition, Douglas A. Anderson), pp. 108-109
I've been re-reading Tolkien sporadically in pockets of free time since I got back from the hospital. The reassurance of well-worn paths, I suppose. This passage is of course quintessentially Tolkienian and no surprise philosophically, but I was surprised nonetheless at the bluntness and force of its critique of facile techno-modernism in a story so unambiguously for children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another Teaching Day

Workshopping for final papers in my undergraduate course today in the City. I'm consigned to a practically babysitting role, no prep necessary, but the boredom and frustration level is always high. If I'm in a classroom I like to be lecturing... but there is no question that the paper I'll be grading next week always benefit from students going through these exercises in advance. Rain pouring down for my walk to the train offers a nice added touch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaching Day

I'll be in the City longer than usual today, in a cafe drinking turbocharged iced mochas while slogging through a marathon of compulsory office hours in preparation for final papers and projects. Always exhausting, always well worth the effort, I'll steer a few projects off the shoals and light a fire under an ass or two to save us all from the epic annoyance of unnecessary Incomplete and the ensuing drama. That said, would rather be obsessively scanning primary returns and eating a burrito, which is the plan for my late return home.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Less Is More?

It is funny how many people seem to fall for empty promises as something MORE rather than something LESS than the incremental("ist") reforms achieved via organizing and compromise which they disdain as inadequate and slow.

Unprecedented

When Sanders declares he'll use the bully pulpit in "unprecedented ways" to break through GOP obstruction I assume he means... magical ways?

And can I just add that nobody with sense would declare Sanders a more forceful or inspirational speaker than President Obama. And it is quite clear that Obama generated incomparably greater enthusiasm and crowds in his election campaigns than Sanders has done. Sanders shows no sign that he can accomplish more than Obama has done (I think his stridency and disdain of many relevant stakeholders to every concrete policy issue means he would accomplish far less) and yet he denigrates Obama as unaccomplished. I find all this both deeply, dangerously erroneous and profoundly, outrageously insulting.

HRC's New General Election Ad

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Techniques of Futurity Against "Future" Technologies

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Transcribe All The Seeecret Eeeevil Thoughts And Then Release The Transcipts!

The Bernie supporters who think they are freedom fighters because they want to rummage through Hillary Clinton's underwear drawer rather than engage with her published positions in this campaign have to be my favorite Bernie supporters.

New York Times Re-Invents Prince As Hacker Disruptor Thought Leader for Venture Capitalism

Friday, April 22, 2016

Time To Hit The Pause Button

When you cannot help but attribute any election loss to fraud or any opposing argument to paid shilling you have lost your way.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince -- The Sacrifice Of Victor

What is sacrifice?
(We s... we s... we s... we sacrifice)

NPG in mass attack, Sonny, please.

(we sacrifice)

Church if u will, please turn 2 the book of Victor (We s, We s)
We like 2 start at the top if u don't mind

(we sacrifice)
(Don't say it, preacher)

I was born on a blood stained table
Cord wrapped around my neck
Epilectic 'til the age of 7
I was sure heaven marked the deck

(we sacrifice)
I know joy lives 'round the corner
{Joy for sale down on the corner} (we sacrifice)
One day I'll visit her I'm gonna
{Out on my block I'm just a loner} (we sacrifice)
When she tell me everything {tell me}
That's when the angels sing {sacrifice}
That's when the victory is sho 'nuff {sho 'nuff down with the sacrifice}
(we sacrifice)
(help me)
(Don't say it, preacher)

Mama held up her baby 4 protection
From a man with a strap in his hand
Ask the Victor 'bout pain and rejection
U think he don't when he do understand

(we sacrifice)
I know joy lives 'round the corner
{Joy for sale down on the corner} (we sacrifice)
One day I'll visit her I'm gonna
{Out on my block I'm just a loner} (we sacrifice)
When she tell me everything {tell me}
That's when the angels sing {sacrifice}
That's when the victory is sho 'nuff {sho 'nuff down with the sacrifice}
(we sacrifice)
(help me)
{S.A.C.R.I.F.I.C.E}
(we-we-we sacrifice)
(Don't say it preacher)
(sac-sacrifice)
(we-we-we sacrifice)

(we-we-we sacrifice)
(sacrifice... if u turn the page)
(Don't say it, preacher)

1967 in a bus marked public schools
Rode me and a group of unsuspecting political tools
Our parents wondered what it was like 2 have another color near
So they put their babies together 2 eliminate the fear
We sacrifice yes we did
Fighting one another, (we sacrifice) (don't say it preacher)
All because of color
The angel of hate - she taught me how 2 kick her
If she called me anything but Victor (u mean like nigger?)
If the only thing that tells me is father time
Then sacrifice is the mutha sublime - we love it

Listen mutha - we sacrifice

(don't... don't... don't say it preacher)

(we sacrifice)

(Well, well, well, well)

(What is sacrifice?)

Hold yo' text, deacon

Never understood my old friends laughing
They got high when everything else got wrong (pass the booze up here)
Dr. King was killed and the streets
They started burnin'
When the smoke was cleared, their high was gone
Education got important, so important 2 Victor
A little more important than ripple and weed
Bernadette's a lady, and she told me (what she say?)
"Whatever u do son, a little discipline is what u need,
Is what u need, u need to sacrifice"

(we sacrifice)
I know joy lives 'round the corner
{Joy for sale down on the corner} (we sacrifice)
One day I'll visit her I'm gonna
{Out on my block I'm just a loner} (we sacrifice)
When she tell me everything {tell me}
That's when the angels sing {sacrifice}
That's when the victory is sho 'nuff {sho 'nuff down with the sacrifice}
(we sacrifice)

(what is sacrifice?)
(we sacrifice)

{S.A.C.R.I.F.I.C.E}
(we sacrifice) (joy around the corner)
Hey Wendy, how come we... (we sacrifice)
'scuse me y'all (we sacrifice)
We don't don't mean 2 take up yo time (joy around the corner)
But we got something
Heavy on our minds (we sacrifice)
Yes, we do (we sacrifice)
Sometimes, u gotta leave the one u love
Somebody, anybody, everybody wave your hand
Around the corner, there's another sacrifice (joy around the corner)
But u got 2 do the best u can y'all (we sacrifice)
Say u got 2 go through it (go through it)
U got 2 go through it all (go through it all)
High glory, yeah
Sell it, don't tell it, don't tell me (joy around the corner)
...nice at my feet

Lord I might get tired,
But I, I've got 2 keep on (we sacrifice)
Walkin' down this road, (we sacrifice)
Keep on walkin' down this road (joy around the corner)
When I reach my destination (we sacrifice)
My name will be Victor

Amen

Prince -- Still Would Stand All Time

It's just around the corner, it's just around the block
This love that I've been waiting for a love solid as rock
A love that reaffirms that we are not alone
A love so bright inside you, it glows

And night and day would run together
And all things would be fine
Still would stand all hate around us
Still would stand all time, still would stand all time

It's not a thousand years away, it's not that far my brother
When men will fight injustice instead of one another
It's not that far if we all say yes and only try
Then Heaven on Earth we will find

No one man will be ruler
Therefore love must rule us all
Dishonesty, anger, fear, jealousy and greed will fall
Love can save us all

Oh, love, love, oh love
You just please give us a sign
(Still would stand all time)
Heaven, oh, we all want to find
(Heaven on Earth we all want to find)
Still would stand all time
We are not alone people
(We're not alone)
Tell me can you see the light
(Can you see the light)
If you just open your eyes
(Still would stand all time)
So much you will know
So much you will show
Love, love
(It's not that far away if we all say yes and give it a try)
Gotta give it a try, yes
(Still would stand all time)
I say still
 
(So many times)
So may times
I thought I could not make it
(Still would stand all time)
Life was closing in I just knew
I just knew I couldn't take it
That's when Love opened it's arms
And if you don't go in child
Still would stand all time
(Still would stand all time)
 
You better run to the light
(Run to the light)
Leave your past behind
(All things will be fine)
Still would stand all time

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another Teaching Day

Oops, forgot to say before I went away that today I went to the City to teach Juvenal and Petronius in my Patriarchy in Greek and Roman Antiquity course: satire as a rhetoric of resistance under imperial authority. A good day, relieved to see HRC meet my expectations in NYC. All is well!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Teaching Day

Nearing the end of term, in biopunk we are reading a critique of Neoliberal Eugenics by the Critical Arts Ensemble to accompany Atwood's gorgeous Oryx and Crake.

Tinyhouse, Majorlouse

Just how much narcissism do you have to add to a studio apartment for it to turn into a tinyhouse?

Techno-immortalism, A Doggerel

Tech bros writing tech prose about how they want to get tech froze.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ten Theses On Taxes And Democracy

An Amor Mundi Tax Day tradition:
One 
Hostility to taxes is commonplace among anarchists, as well as for right-wing "conservatives" whose advocacy of "smaller" or "more limited" government amounts to anarchism -- since advocacy of ever smaller, ever more limited government without indicating what good government actually is and alone can accomplish is substantially equivalent to anti-governmentality. Exploitation of discontent over taxes is also commonplace among neoliberal/neoconservative right-wing politicians and thinkers who want to ensure taxes subsidize primarily the fortunes of incumbent elites through extractive-industrial-financial corporate-militarism backed by complacent consumerism and organized violence. I for one do not want to smash states, but to democratize them. And an understanding and championing of taxes should be no less indispensable to the work of democratization as its obfuscation and demonization is indispensable to the work of anti-democratization.
Two 
Taxes are not really the price we pay for a civilized society -- in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s, influential phrase -- for civilization is priceless. This is just to say that commonwealth is not a private commodity but a public good. Taxes are not, for example, fees for discrete services that might be provided otherwise, nor are taxes a price for which there might be discount alternatives. Perhaps the true spirit of Holmes' phrase is captured best in a negative formulation: anti-tax zealots would appear to believe that civilization is the only free lunch.
Three 
Certainly taxes are not theft, as anarchists of the right and the left are so pleased to declare, since taxation is a precondition for the constitution and ongoing intelligibility of the claim to ownership on which notions of theft depend in the first place.
Four 
Neither should taxes be mischaracterized as forced contributions to what might instead be charitable causes, since the basic rights secured through taxation cannot be regarded as matters of charity else they are not truly rights but mere favors bestowed by privileged elites.
Five 
Taxes are not, however annoying they may seem, burdens on our freedom so much as essential enablers of freedom. Taxes, government bonds, and public fees support the public investments maintaining the legal, infrastructural, and administrative material conditions alone within which political freedom can abide.
Six 
Taxes ameliorate undemocratic concentrations of wealth and authority to secure sufficient equity among citizens of diverse fortune. The equity valued by democracy ensures that the diversity also valued by democracy does not disable the demanding and costly democratic processes facilitating collective responsibility, expression, criticism, problem-solving and the interminable reconciliation of the aspirations of all the people with whom we share and contest the present world.
Seven 
Taxes pay for the maintenance of institutions providing nonviolent alternatives for the adjudication of disputes. Taxes pay to secure basic needs to ensure that the scene of consent to everyday association is reliably informed and is non-duressed by the threat of deprivation, inequity, or insecurity. And taxes pay for the accountable administration of commons and public goods without which they are inevitably violated and exploited for short-term profit-taking by minorities to the cost and risk of majorities. Far from representing quintessential state violence, taxes are the enabling condition of a democratic state facilitating nonviolence.
Eight 
Taxes coupled to representation itself ("No Taxation Without Representation") tie the maintenance of government as such -- an organization invested with legitimate recourse to force with all the clear dangers inhering in that state of affairs -- inextricably to public accountability and democratic legitimacy.
Nine 
Taxing more those who profit more by their personal recourse to the shared inheritance of human knowledge and culture, to the shared substance of precarious environmental resources on which we all depend for our survival and flourishing, and to the ongoing benefits of collaboratively maintained infrastructure, institutions, norms, trust, legitimacy, and security is not unfair in the least. Progressive taxation follows quite simply from a recognition of the indisputable fact of our radical inter-dependence as both productive and vulnerable beings in the world. This same recognition, of course, is also the foundation for fairness.
Ten 
Whenever a right wing politician declares all government wasteful, criminal, or corrupt you should pay close attention, because he is revealing his intentions. Wherever government is meant to be of by and for the people, to be anti-government always means to be against the great majority of the people.

I have posted earlier versions of this piece in the past on tax day. Some of the aphorisms anthologized in Dispatches from Libertopia were culled from those earlier pieces. The larger vision of the politics of democratic equity-in-diversity implied in these propositions is elaborated in longer pieces to be found in Against Anarchy and in Arendtian Exercises and scattered in other places.

Flow Chart: How Hillary Clinton's Proposals To Address Skyrocketing College Costs Might Affect You


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Another Cordial Exchange (Truly) With A Sanders Supporter Still Reading My Blog

Upgraded and adapted from an exchange in the Moot. Reader "Jean Diogo" writes:
You know, Dale, I still think you're fantastic and all, but I'm sorry to say that I'm kind of embarrassed by the fashion of your defense of Hillary. As you said, no problem in preferring her over him, but you've been sounding like you think the average Bernie supporter equals to the loudmouth technolunatics we use to stand against (which is clearly not the case). Same with the insinuations that Bernie is misleading the public opinion, when he is being crystal clear about his need for mass engagement if he is elected. (Also, that whole "I'm an atheist who was moved by Hillary's discussion... of the role of spiritual counseling to balance ego and service and practice gratitude" thing was quite a cheap shot IMO.) Worst case scenario, Bernie will deliver at least what Hillary would deliver (if we don't overestimate her ability to ~soften Republicans' hearts~). And he will strengthen grassroot movements (he is already doing it). And he will certainly preserve Obama's achievements (anyways, Obama 2.0 is not exactly what USA are seeking for in this moment according to the polls, right?). All that said, I agree with you, Hillary is not the enemy. Conservatives are. And she's flirting with them quite often (either for the sake of political pragmatism or for profit). That's why she's splitting the Left. Still, regardless of who will be the candidate, I'm hopeful that Left will win this battle and we will have a superior and more mature Democratic Party for the next years, partly thanks to these primaries. Always nice to read your blog! o/
To which I reply (endlessly, as usual):

Most of the Bernie supporters I interact with online and who make the most noise are indeed loudmouths with little sense and often less decency. I am now regularly charged -- either outright or by smug insinuation -- with ignorance or hypocrisy by my usual allies on the left for supporting Clinton and I have witnessed no end of sexist, racist, bullying awfulness from Bernie supporters more generally. If I focus on these it is because they shape my experience of the Sanders campaign. If you say both sides do it, there will be some truth to that but my experience -- which certainly need not be yours -- is that there is a difference in the level of bullying in these campaigns at all levels. I do know, however, that many Democrats (leaving to the side BernieOrBust redditor and Naderite types) like both candidates and will gladly support either against the GOP in the general whatever their present preference and their behavior usually reflects this. I do appreciate this position and try to promote it when I can.

To your point about my more usual anti-futurological critique I must say that Bernie's "Revolution" reminds one of nothing so much as the vapid marketing fandoms peddled as "revolution" in the tech press and even soft-drink commercials. While it is true that Bernie's go-to soundbite when confronted with demands for some path that gets us from where we are to the outcomes he promises is that millions and millions of people are going to need to rise up to make it happen, I get e-mails from his campaign all the time telling me that voting for him or contributing a few bucks to his campaign is "Joining the Revolution." Nobody who actually takes revolutionary politics seriously would (or at any rate should) ever mistake for revolution supporting one candidate over another in a party primary election.

Before you take too much heart in such slogans, conjuring up visions of millions of "revolutionaries," you should ask yourself why a candidate inspiring far fewer citizens than Obama did in his 2008 primary bid (this is a checkably factual observation, not loose-talking hyperbole) and this time in an election with little prospect of the Congressional majorities Obama briefly collaborated with, is somehow going to accomplish more than the brilliant, dedicated, inspiring, luminously clear, strategically masterful, unfailingly graceful, scandal-free Obama has managed to do -- and the results of which Sanders and so many Sanders supporters feel so very eager to denigrate.

When Sanders glibly speaks of the millions who will rise up to hold politicians accountable for failing to enact his ideal policy outcomes he ignores facts such as that an overwhelming majority of millions and millions strongly wanted common sense gun safety regulation after Sandy Hook but that GOP obstruction was nonetheless able to keep anything from happening and then suffered absolutely no adverse consequences for this. He seems to ignore the lessons of recent history such as that the Affordable Care Act was shepherded through Democratic majorities in the face of GOP obstructionism and at the cost of those majorities in the aftermath due to GOP deceptions, and that there weren't the votes for a public option let alone single payer, and that many of the uninsured today are imperiled by GOP politicians refusing the Medicaid expansion available to their suffering precarious citizens.

Steeply progressive taxation to invest in public health, education, welfare, public financed elections, sustainable infrastructure and commons are all outcomes the aspiration toward which have been commonplaces across the Democratic left my whole life long, however often and however stridently Bernie likes to congratulate himself in repeating them that he hopes we are all "ready for a radical idea!" or that he is about to "do something unique in politics -- tell a truth!" as if he is the only one who wants these outcomes or dares to dream them.

The pretense that impurity or corporatist sell outs in the Democratic Party are the reason we lack universal healthcare or free education or expanded social security or stimulative public investment in renewable energy and transportation and urban infrastructure or countless other progressive outcomes is either a flabbergastingly stupid misdiagnosis of the problem at hand or a cynical deception to attract support from ignoramuses and narcissists more excited to preen in public about their perfectionism than to actually struggle in the slow, heartbreaking, compromised manner available in reformable but diverse stakeholder societies.

Far from your own worst-case assumption that Sanders would simply deliver what Clinton could, I would offer up instead a more plausible and terrifying worst-case (assuming the WORST worst does not occur, assuming he does at least win the general election at all against even a near-fascist GOP candidate once their avalanche of negative advertising is finally unleashed upon the scarcely vetted grumpy disheveled avowed socialist Sanders who has promised on video to raise middle-class taxes among many other things that have sunk many an election campaign hitherto) of a Sanders White House reduced to hectoring recalcitrant but actually-existing powerful stakeholders about ideal outcomes while his $27-dollar donation and rock-concert rally supporters retreat back into some new comparably non-demanding consumer enthusiasm while the inadequate but real gains of the Obama administration are squandered, progressive ideas discredited in an ineffectual presidency, and generational demoralization steals any hope I personally have of seeing sustained progress in my lifetime toward the goals to which I have devoted my life, most of which have been reduced to vapid Bernie Sanders bumper stickers.

Now, I've been an atheist for thirty years but I know plenty of people of faith who are decent and intelligent -- I don't hold with the celebrity-era fandom nonsense of claiming to know what is in a candidate's heart or voting for the candidate you want to have a beer or a dream date with or whatever -- but I did indeed think Hillary's discussion of her faith and the call to service it entails for her was thoughtful and intelligent and moving in its way. I don't understand how her statement or my reaction to it was some kind of "cheap shot." What exactly is cheap about it and who is getting shot?

If you forgive me, a cheap shot looks more to me like your own declaration that Clinton is flirting with reactionaries for money and splitting the left. So far Clinton remains enormously popular among Democrats, she has won more states and more delegates and millions more votes than Sanders has all the while being outspent by him nearly two-to-one in many states (New York included). Hillary Clinton is the most famous woman on earth and has already been in the White House -- in what world would this not elevate her to a realm of rich players and institutions and payments. It is perfectly legitimate to critique plutocratic perqs and corruption -- not to mention militarism and US exceptionalism -- since I do so myself you can hardly think I would think otherwise -- but to invest these critiques in the person of Hillary Clinton in particular or pretend support of Sanders constitutes in itself the quintessence of such critiques or some circumvention of their issues is so wrongheaded I don't even know how to respond to it apart from an expression of exasperation tinged with real despair. I do not know that you engage in such facile discursive maneuvers -- or whether your complaints about the Hillary monster come from such a place -- but if you do not you will have certainly noticed that these moves are commonplace and are no doubt as offended by them as I am, preferring your own much more substantial reasons to support Sanders over decades-old Republican anti-Hillary talking point and Naderite party false-equivalency theses.

In the spirit of your corresponding observation: Bernie Sanders is not the enemy any more than Hillary Clinton is. Sanders is a contrarian career politician, a Senatorial back-bencher in a secure seat from a tiny, white, more than usually liberal, homogeneous New England state. He's seventy something and probably having the time of his life after many years' of public service. It's hard to begrudge him all that, and for most of his career I've mostly liked and admired him. Both are flawed politicians; neither is a Saint nor a Monster -- though they both seek a Presidency that has something truly monstrous about it, and there is something worrying about anybody narcissistic enough even to want that position.

Be that as it may, progress requires education, agitation, organization on the part of movements that crystallize in partisan reform legislation. The Presidency is an indispensable, also inadequate, position within the practical and institutional terrain on which change is made and sustained. The Sanders campaign seems to me be mis-educating millions about the complexity of progressive issues and their stakes and the ease of their attainment to those who believe in his vision with their whole hearts, all the while denigrating organization/s as the "Establishment" and seeming sometimes to disdain the process of legislative compromise altogether. All this I find hard to forgive. The bullying and bigotry of too many of his supporters I find even harder to forgive, and I am ambivalent about the role of his campaign in enabling this sort of thing given his eschewal of the twice winning, daily growing, REAL real America represented by the Obama coalition for appeals to working-class and liberal gentrifying whites and, as a matter of course if not intention, white resentments and privileges.

I really do strongly prefer Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders as the probably sociopathic candidate to my right I'll be protesting for the next eight years. I do so like it or not NOT from ignorance but from knowledge, I do so like it or not NOT from hypocrisy but with conviction, I do so like it or not NOT as a sell-out but as a democratic eco-socialist feminist queer who foregrounds white supremacy in my understanding of injustice and violence in the American case. I am sorry should you find this advocacy a continued source of embarrassment, but I do thank you for your kind words of support and truly for the engagement of your thoughtful and engaged comment. Best to you.

Pop Up Dystopia

If you want a vision of the future, imagine an ad stamping on a human trace -- forever.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

If your enemy is HRC more than the GOP you are of no use to you or me.

Truth. Also, it rhymes.

Still More Iconic Bernie Endorsements!

Bernie could claim Gandhi endorsed his campaign from beyond the grave in a dream on the plane back from the Vatican so he can use his likeness as a prop in fundraising appeals, too, along with MLK and the Pope.

Bernie Is Quite The Uniter

Why, look at all of the lifelong Democratic activists, organizers, voters and public servants together under the Revolutionary bus by now...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Playing Dominoes With the World's Greatest Historical Monster

We can't know the death toll until the event's hidden transcripts are released.

The Democratic Debate

I think Clinton won the Brooklyn debate and was generally clearer and more practical and still. Her many variations on the point that, "It's easy to diagnose the problem, but it's a lot harder to do something about it" is of course close to the heart of why I prefer her over Sanders. Well, that and the fact that she wants to take up and extend Obama's legacy -- which Sanders disdains for his purity cabaret -- and she explicitly appeals to the Obama coalition, not only a winning move but a righteous one inasmuch as the Obama coalition is now and ever more the REAL real America -- while Sanders disdains the most vital constituency of Democratic voters, people of color and especially black women, including those in the South, to appeal to white working class voters and the white resentments that drive them (mostly to Trump). Sanders supporters howling like audiences for the Jerry Springer Show did nobody any favors, and with each day I worry about the divisiveness and ugliness unleashed by this primary contest, especially given the racial and generational cleavages expressed through and consolidated by it. But all that said, I want to conclude these brief and pedestrian observations by stating Sanders' stand on Israel/Palestine was righteous and inspiring -- all the more so since it did Sanders no favors in New York and he knew it when he said it.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Get Off My Spirit Lawn!

I don't think you are cute when you accept or celebrate the notions of art as amusement park, thought as advertising, or politics as fandom.

Is New York the Moment We Finally #FeelTheTurn ?

The New York Observer is the latest weekly to endorse Hillary Clinton. (The recent New York Daily News endorsement is here, the very early and very sweeping New York Times endorsement is here, should you want to refresh your memory.) News-stands and paper boxes festooned with Clinton covers must now be so numerous that some city blocks feel a bit like immersive virtualities celebrating the Clinton campaign. The first paragraph of the Observer endorsement sounds the usual notes:    
Ms. Clinton may be the most uniquely qualified person to run for the presidency in a generation. Her work as secretary of state gave her firsthand experience understanding complex foreign policy issues and dealing with allies and adversaries. Her service as New York’s junior senator demonstrated that she understood how to leverage federal agencies, pierce the byzantine budget process and find support from Republicans to secure essential funds for New York after 9-11. And her perspective gained as first lady—to say nothing of the bruising battle to reform health care—was invaluable. It is difficult to think of another candidate with such varied and valuable experience.
Progress in the context of partisan governance, especially to the extent that it can be shepherded from the White House, requires wide-ranging experience, a firm but engaged temperament, a facility with frustrating processes, coalitions with diverse stakeholder constituencies and organizations. It certainly involves more than just strident repetition of ideal end-goals almost everybody on the left already agrees on but only some seem willing to work on. Of course, there is a range of education, agitation, organization available to radical movement struggles that push partisan governance to greater exertions and transform the conceptual terrain of the possible and the important on which partisan governance, problem-solving and reform plays out.

But supporting a preferred candidate in a partisan primary election is not a revolutionary act. A job interview for the Constitutionally defined position of the Presidency isn't a street fair or a drum circle (both of which I agree can be fun in their place), or a teach-in about ideal policy outcomes in socialist utopias (which many of my lectures to my students turn out to be) or a celebrity fandom exercise (which is a form of consumer-capitalist acquiescence I happily leave to you kids). To pretend that partisan primary politics is radical -- let alone revolutionary! -- politics is to render partisan politics ineffectual and radical politics vacuous. As someone who knows both partisan and radical politics are indispensable to progress but neither alone are adequate to make and sustain such progress I truly abhor the lazy, insulated, wooly-headed debasement and derangement of each by too many supporters of the Sanders campaign.

I will not predict that Clinton will put the Democratic nomination in the bag in New York this Tuesday. In most ways that matter she already managed this feat March 15 but far from ending the contest that date marked its intensification, and an increase in its wastefulness, misrepresentations, divisiveness. I would like the focus of the campaign to shift to Democratic party unification, down-ticket organization for a potential wave election, and full-on resistance to the death-dealing madness of the Republican Party from the authoritarian top of the ticket down to the bigots wrestling for control of local school boards. The Observer's endorsement ends in a New York state of mind that gives me a measure of hope that this may be the moment we #FeelTheTurn:
Hillary Clinton understands “the system”—our political brinksmanship—and how to work within it to disrupt it. Bernie Sanders, whose ideas are occasionally noble, chooses to believe it can be kicked over like a sand castle. We like to believe she learned some of her pragmatism (some call it “cynicism”) as a New York politician and from the history of our politics. Play the long game, work the system, be an operator, not a hand-wringer. Dewitt Clinton, Al Smith, Robert Wagner, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and even Daniel Patrick Moynihan would all approve. We believe that Ms. Clinton appreciates and will be able to revive that spirit...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Forward He Cried From the Rear

If you don't precede the phrase "War On Drugs" with the word "Racist" you are not grasping the nature of the war being waged.

Teaching Day

Perfect for an Election Year, in my undergraduate survey in the City today we'll be reading the probably spurious campaign advice of Marcus Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis, along with Suetonius' trash-talking profile of Caligula.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Periodic reminder:

Voting for your preferred presidential candidate in a party primary election is not what the word "Revolution" means.

Crawling On Water With the Democratic Party

Hillary Hate Is Ultimately Irrelevant to 2016 Presidential Election Politics

Saturday, April 09, 2016

If Sanders Keeps Winning Like He Did In Wisconsin and Wyoming...

...he'll lose.

Sanders is losing, Sanders will lose, Sanders deserves to lose. If you want to see why I think so, scroll down and read as many months of me saying just that as you like.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

As First Gentleman Bill Clinton Should Be Confined To Baking Cookies and Having Teas

Shattering the Ass Ceiling

One condescending old white guy calls a conspicuously qualified woman unqualified. Another condescending old white guy defends an ugly racist smear. Thank heavens I don't have to vote for either Bernie or Bill. #ImWithHer

Advice for Folks of the Left Getting Disgusted by the Democratic Primary Campaign or Demoralized by Partisan Democratic Politics

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Which Sanders Supporting Idiots Are Your Favorite Sanders Supporting Idiots?

My favorite idiots supporting Sanders are the ones who were also the idiots who supported Nader as well as the ones who were also idiots who abandoned Obama because he governed as he said he would. Of course, not every Sanders supporters is an idiot: some are Democrats who will gladly support the eventual Democratic nominee against the vile Republicans even when she turns out to be Clinton but believe his campaign invigorates the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or educates Americans more generally about more progressive policy goals. I once hoped that would be true as well. I have been sorely disappointed by the superficiality and disrespect of the actual Sanders campaign. But I can sympathize with those who still want that to be possible.

Sanders/Sanders, Neither/Nor

Another Teaching Day

Today in my undergraduate Patriarchy in Classical Greece and Rome course it's Terence's Eunuchus, a little Ciceronian invective, and then Hortensia's address to the Forum. Suspect students will only have eyes for the graded papers I'm handing back at the end.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

So Much Straightforward Sanders Silliness

Teaching Day

Today in my graduate biopunk seminar in the City it's Valerie Solanas, William Burroughs, Brian K Vaughan/Pia Guerra (the graphic novel Y: The Last Man) and bioartists Suzanne Anker & Steve Miller. Should be fun, but I'm feeling rather run down.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Nietzsche has a warning for the BS Brigade:

"What if your veneration were to collapse one day? Take care that a statue does not crush you!" -- Ecce Homo

Burn And Then Turn

"Feel the Burn" is an apt slogan for a campaign that burns through resources week to week, all the while expecting continual small donor replenishment to get them through the next expense. Indeed, the slogan is doubly apt, as the moment these spooked or demoralized small donors hold back their small dollars for better personal uses this ominous recklessness will fatally burn the campaign. It is little wonder that the Sanders campaign is getting panicky as the New York primary draws near. Little short of a shocking blowout victory for Sanders there will be compatible with the least plausible viability for him given how few delegate-rich states remain thereafter. Here's hoping all the foolish demonizing can be compensated by Sanders' eventual endorsement and energetic campaigning on behalf of Clinton in months to come. Elizabeth Warren's conspicuous neutrality, won by failing to endorse during the primary, will no doubt make her an indispensable broker of party unity together with Senator Sanders come the convention.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

#FeelTheSpurn

A Bernie Sanders event at the Madison Kohl Center in Tuesday's primary state Wisconsin was 75% empty today. Hillary Clinton has never summoned the sorts of college crowds in college towns that have suffused mainstream media outlets with the romance of Sanders' improbable protest campaign from the beginning -- but of course supporters of Clinton have never been inclined to confuse fandom excitements with serious deliberation or sustainable organizing in the first place. Miscalculations happen, but one wonders if recent GOP-style election tactics in Nevada and journalistic fact-checking exposing false GOP-style smears against Hillary Clinton on the part of the Sanders campaign in recent days aren't threatening the arrival of #PeakBern, especially now as the ever-steeper odds against success in the dwindling remaining states settles in and Sanders' small donors begin to wonder if their small dollars might have better uses.


Pick Your Poison

Today is for grading papers not grating tweets, it seems.