Mental Illness by Caveat

Mina and Jim

The dictionary defines “caveat” as: a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices; or a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting or doing something.

The reason for this title will become clear not just from my tale but from the APA [American Psychological Association] directly. Shhh! Listen closely. You’ll hear the mice running around, playing. Nobody’s watching. They’re all asleep. The people are asleep to what’s happening to them. And the APA’s asleep to reality. Let’s not forget the APA sanctioned waterboarding and other forms of torture at Guantanamo Bay.

This is a direct quote from the APA: “The unreliability of psychological prediction of dangerous is now an established fact. Even under the best of conditions, it is wrong at least two out of every three cases.”

A psychologist’s answer: “We could do better with a role of the dice.”

And. . .there are no tests for mental illness. How can there be when mental illnesses are no more than loose collections of vaguely-defined problems of thinking, feeling and behaving. The noted labels aren’t coherent entities of any sort, just x number of signs out of x total possibilities. It’s like taking a multiple choice test where there is no right answer. No physical illness is diagnosed based on a conglomeration of some bunch of symptoms from a list of all possible symptoms. Let us not forget Typhoid Mary who had the disease and showed no symptoms; she carried the typhus disease bacteria and passed it along, creating havoc, yet did not evince any of the known symptoms of the disease. None of all possible choices. By the diagnosing standards of mental illness, she would not be ill–as she maintained all her life. Mental illnesses are nothing more than labels of no explanatory significance–and they are not even good labels as they are so vague.

I guess it’s all mental craps. Because what the APA is implying is that the “normal” population is more dangerous and, thus, the group of people who should be watched carefully are those normals. The normals are the ones dangerous two out of three times–and there is a Murphy’s Law coming up for ratification. There is also a political move to have everyone in the country tested for mental illness, child, adolescent and adult. Once. There is going to be one test administered during the life time of each and every person. This is ludicrous. But, then, when politics gets itself involved in matters medical, especially in a medical area of non-definition, the result is always ludicrous. The possibility of error in such a situation is unquantifiable. And, even on the individual level, there is no test that can elicit a diagnosis of mental illness, albeit the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can indicate if you may be in a depressed mood. Which, of course, does not indicate a diagnosis of mental illness.

Ergo, claiming the social mass shootings are due to the mentally ill is wrong; they are due to the normal in the population. What is known is that some of these shooters were taking anti-depressants because they were depressed–everybody gets depressed. That is, they were taking medicine known for making people more depressed, making people suicidal, making people aggressive and short on the fuse. Big PHRMA hushes up these news items because the open truth would hurt their multi-billion dollar business dealing in harmful and socially disruptive drugs. Better it is to create drugs that fuck people up and create social malfeasance than not. So that it is worth questioning why they would want to help and cure people? If people are asymptomatic, sales go down and that’s not good. No, no, no.

So, what’s the caveat here? Brain disease? There’s no such thing as brain disease. So, of course, there are no tests available to prove brain disease. Any kind of brain disease. When you are not ill, you are not ill; that is, when you are not ill, you are healthy; when you are healthy you are not showing symptoms; when the external stimuli are gone, so are your symptoms relieved.

Mental refers to what the brain does. What the brain does no one truly knows. Mental is your mind working. Mind? No one knows where mind “is,” if it is anywhere in particular. Thinking, too: what is thinking? Where are those thoughts? Point to ’em, won’t you? Feeling. Purpose, intention. Values, ideas, love, fears. Angst. Elation. These things, these mentals that we can’t see and can’t find and can’t define, these mentalities nevertheless run our lives. Terrance Deacon calls these characteristics “absentials” because they are “not there.” Because all mental functions are pointed toward some unseen end, they have purpose, which he calls “ententional”; that is, an ententional process–because the brain is all about processes–are expressions of finality, active processes going toward some end product that is not there as well. All of our living brings about some end or other. And if we’re all sick, suffering from a brain disease, what the hell’s going on? Shouldn’t we be able to define it? Specifically, not vaguely. How, though, can we define and delimit what isn’t “there”? Are we all delusional–including the testers and diagnosing people?

Because these mind-made things don’t have any physical presence, where in the brain do they arise? And where are they when they do manifest themselves? Where are they going? The people who have no feelings are the sociopaths, according to society. It sounds a lot like Big PHRMA doesn’t care what happens to people as long as they get their money, as there is no real reason for giving the medication sans disease. Once again, where’s the disease? (In your head.)

How can this be? The mind organizes and interprets and creates meaning out of other things, the chaos of the things of life, the life around us. Some of it we pay attention to and some of it we don’t. There is a floating choice; e.g., walking or driving we pay attention to the traffic, in the house we do not. That’s the brain’s job, to make sense of the world around us. That’s the mind working. But. . .where is “mind”? Even though it is intrinsic to the brain, it is, in fact, nowhere. As it is intrinsic to the brain it is mental; as it is intrinsic to the brain it is normal.

How can something that has no physical existence be classified as ill–or not? For illness relates to the physical: your body becomes ill, your heart becomes ill, your kidneys become ill. How can you have an illness of something that is not here, there and yet everywhere?

So, mental illness is the illness of the entire human world? Worldview? Aperception? A diagnosis of hallucination is given to people who experience things that are not “there.” Do we have a grand guignol of fundamentalist Buddhism?

R.D. Laing would say this kind or diagnosis is, itself, illusion but to be expected, for we live in a dysfunctional, abusive society. Thus the reasoning for diagnosing mental illness is part and parcel of the dysfunction and follows his three rules of an abusive society: “Rule A: Don’t. Rule A1: Rule A does not exist. Rule A2: Rule A1 does not exist.” Consequences? If you break a rule there is something wrong with you, you are insane, crazy, mentally ill. You are delusional because “everybody” knows it just ain’t so.

For instance, racism is abuse. Even with the obvious racism of certain peoples, the police, politicos, bureaucrats and the racial uprisings, all these social status quos maintain there is no racism. People who maintain there is racism are breaking rules A, A1 and A2. How fucking dare they! To the point that worthy news items are killed because they question the status quo, i.e., the abuse and dysfunction that is society.

So, then, who is insane? Who is mental? Who is mentally ill?

The caveat.

However, the consortium who made up out of whole cloth the DSM V have taken up the position that everything we do–the people, the lower sorts, everyman–is a diagnosable mental illness. Abnormal. Some of those deciders are doctors paid by Big PHRMA. Some of those deciders aren’t even doctors; they are health insurance representatives who are interested in a sick society because they won’t make any money otherwise. So, too, are the APA drug pushers. “Goddamn the pusher man!”

Ergo, all of the problems in society being due to the mentally ill, the elite status quo setters can continue to deny their culpability. Their abusive behavior. This kind of denial is a psychologically maladaptive behavior.

Brett Deacon, Ph.D. has succinctly set up a situation that is normal, everyday in psychological circles, showing how reactions to external stimuli become symptoms of a diseased mind in a mental world. And the Psychiatrists and Behaviorists just happen to have the medical cure. . .

“Therapist: How are you?
 
Client: My house is on fire!
 
Therapist: I’m sorry to hear that. How are you feeling?
 
Client: I’m terrified! My dog is trapped inside! All my possessions are burning! What am I going to do?
 
Therapist: I understand that you’re upset. What’s going through your mind?
 
Client: I can’t believe this is happening! It doesn’t seem real. It’s like I’m dreaming or something.
 
Therapist: Do you also feel detached from yourself or your surroundings?
 
Client: Yeah, I feel like I’m in a daze. You hear about this happening to people but never think it can happen to you.
 
Therapist: I understand. These are common symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. It’s a mental illness some people experience in response to a traumatic event.
 
Client: What do you mean mental illness? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
 
Therapist: I’m not saying you have a mental illness, only that you might have one. We’ll have to wait two more days and see if your symptoms continue before we know for certain.
 
Client: What symptoms?
 
Therapist: Symptoms like feeling unreal and being in a daze, and other symptoms like having upsetting memories and nightmares about the fire.
 
Client: Aren’t those to be expected?
 
Therapist: It’s normal to feel upset when something bad happens. But if you have a variety of symptoms that last for at least three days, and they bother you, then you may be suffering from a mental illness.
 
Client: Uh, okay. But what am I supposed to do? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
 
Therapist: Let me teach you some skills for coping with your negative thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling upset, breathe slowly and count to ten while thinking “relax.” You can also tense and relax your muscles. Negative thoughts can be replaced by positive thoughts, like memories of funny movies or times when you were happy. You can also imagine your negative thoughts floating past you like clouds in a sky. 

Client: Okay. But what am I supposed to DO?
 
Therapist: Practice your coping skills like we discussed. And come back and see me for another session as soon as possible. 

* * * * *

Two weeks later…

Therapist: How are you?
 
Client: I’m devastated. My house burned to the ground. My dog died. I lost everything.
 
Therapist: Have you been feeling depressed?
 
Client: Of course.
 
Therapist: Have you felt depressed most of the day, nearly every day for the past two weeks?
 
Client: Since the fire, yes.
 
Therapist: Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?

Client: I guess so. I used to enjoy hanging out with my dog, watching movies, and surfing the internet. But my dog died and all my stuff was destroyed in the fire.
 
Therapist: How have you been sleeping?
 
Client: Terrible. I’m staying at a friend’s house on the sofa and their baby cries all night long.
 
Therapist: Have you felt fatigued or had low energy?
 
Client: Yeah, I’m tired all the time.
 
Therapist: Have you been thinking about death a lot?
 
Client: I can’t stop thinking about my dog. It must have been horrible for him to die in the fire. I miss him so much and can’t believe he is gone. He was my best friend.
 
Therapist: Have these symptoms been bothering you a lot?
 
Client: What symptoms?


 
Therapist: Feeling depressed, losing interest in things you usually enjoy, not sleeping well, loss of energy, and recurrent thoughts of death.
 
Client: I guess. I’m just really upset and don’t know what to do. I lost my whole life in the fire.
 
Therapist: I think I understand the problem.
 
Client: What do you mean?
 
Therapist: You’re suffering from a mental illness called Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression. You reported having five symptoms that have persisted for two weeks, and the symptoms are producing significant distress.
 
Client: Wait a minute. I’m feeling depressed because of the fire. I’ve lost interest in doing things I used to enjoy because I can’t do them anymore because of the fire. I can’t sleep because the baby screams all night long. I feel fatigued because I’m not sleeping. I’m thinking about death a lot because I just lost my best friend.
 
Therapist: It’s normal to feel sad when something bad happens, like a fire or the death of a loved one. But when symptoms of depression persist and become distressing or interfere with your life, that’s when we know a mental illness is to blame. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Depression is the most common mental illness. It afflicts millions of people every year. And it’s not your fault: it’s not a sign of weakness or poor character. Depression is a brain-based illness caused by a chemical imbalance. It’s a real medical condition, no different than diabetes or cancer.
 
Client: I’m confused. Isn’t it normal to feel depressed after what happened? Why are you saying I’m mentally ill?
 
Therapist: Because your symptoms meet diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder in the DSM-5, our diagnostic manual. Good mental health literacy involves recognizing the symptoms of mental illness. In your case, that means understanding that things like depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, and recurrent thoughts about death are symptoms of clinical depression.
 
Client: So, you’re saying that thinking I am depressed because of the fire instead of a chemical imbalance in my brain means I have low mental health literacy?
 
Therapist: That’s right. It’s important to understand that mental illness is real, serious, and treatable. Understanding the facts about mental illness reduces stigma.
 
Client: It reduces stigma to say I’m mentally ill with a chemical imbalance in my brain?
 

Therapist: Yes. The best way to combat stigma is by having good mental health literacy. Understanding that depression is a real, treatable illness caused by a broken brain reduces stigma.
 
Client: But it makes me feel worse about myself to think my brain is defective.
 
Therapist: Would you look down on someone for having cancer? Would you blame them for being sick?
 
Client: No, I guess not.
 
Therapist: When people understand that you’re sick with a real medical condition, and that it can be treated, they will have less stigma toward you.
 

Client: Wouldn’t it be less stigmatizing to say I feel depressed because my house burned down and my dog died?
 
Therapist: But that shows low mental health literacy. Remember, depression is a biologically-based mental illness. And the good news is that we have effective treatments for it.

Client: What kind of treatments?
 

Therapist: Both medication and therapy can help. Antidepressant medications help correct the chemical imbalance that causes depression. Therapy provides emotional support and helps you learn coping skills for managing depressive symptoms.
 
Client: How do you know I have a chemical imbalance in my brain? Don’t I need to take a test or something?
 
Therapist: No, that’s not necessary. We can tell your brain has a chemical imbalance because your symptoms meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. Although antidepressant medications are effective, they are only part of the picture. Many people respond best to a combination of medication and therapy.
 
Client: What does therapy involve?


 
Therapist: Therapy provides a safe space for you to talk about what’s on your mind each week. I will listen with empathy and no judgment and provide emotional support. I can also teach you skills for coping with your depressive symptoms. These include skills for reducing negative feelings, like slow breathing and muscle relaxation. You can also learn skills for reducing negative thoughts, like replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts and watching your thoughts pass through your mind like clouds in the sky. Having a good relationship with a trusted therapist is the key to success.
 
Client: What do you mean by success?
 
Therapist: Having fewer symptoms of depression.
 
Client: How am I supposed to have fewer negative thoughts and feelings? My house just burned down and my dog died!
 
Therapist: That’s where the coping skills come in.
 
Client: But I lost everything. I don’t know where to go from here. What am I supposed to DO?
 
Therapist: I will refer you to a psychiatrist for a medication consultation. Let’s meet again next week for another treatment session. You can book it with the receptionist when you pay for today’s session.”

(Cf. “House on Fire: A ‘Mental Health Literacy’ Parable,”Brett Deacon, PhD, for the full article and his comments.) Ergo, we are sick at every turn. Mental health caveat.

I can say no more.

Literary Agents

by

Minna vander Pfaltz & James L. Secor

Literary agents are, according to the Confucian way of looking at society, the lowest of the low. They are of this ilk because they make their money from the hard work of someone else. Perhaps worse, they are con artists, for they not only charge the writer a fee for “representation,” they charge him for office expenses that also are a tax deductible item as a business expense–and then they charge the publisher for “finding” the writer. What a deal! Agents don’t have to pay for anything and they get paid whether they find a “home” for some writer’s writing or not: they try, they get paid. Getting paid for not placing a work, getting paid for not winning is like a boxer taking a dive for a bigger paycheck.

But their influence on literature in general is even more perverse, beginning with their focus on making money. Profit over quality. How this works is via a preconceived idea if what sells so that, in the end, so very many genre writings look alike. And it sets up a free-floating standard for judgment, aside from “is this going to make me money,” that has nothing to do with writing, nothing to do with quality. It has to do with the boxed learning of the college English major.

A college degree in English is a degree in literature. It is not a degree in writing. An English degree is all about judging literature by already well-established (traditional) memes and putting a writer’s work in its appropriate pigeon-hole. It is not about writing. It is about a surface assessment of a finished piece. How off-the-wall is this?

Let’s take Edgar Alan Poe. A writer of horror stories. A writer of the occult. A Romantic writer. A judgment that is off twice over. To begin with, these people have never read his criticism and satire, a far greater quantity of his writing. And, then, they have never gone into the depth, the many-layered manner of his writing. The Cask of Amontillado is a horror story, right? Well. . .it takes place during Carnival, so everything is turned on its head. Carnival is necessary in order to right, to some degree, the injustices of society. The story is also about his hatred of the aristocracy. And, if we consider his choice of names, we find a distinctly Medieval coloring that bespeaks an off-color humor.

So, does The Cask of Amontillado fit into the Romantic mold?

And where do you put Jane Austen? Her stories are, apparently, about romance but, in fact, they are satires. Where do satires fit?

The worst perversion is considering Shakespeare literature. It is not. It is theatre. It was written to be spoken. It was written to be heard. It was written to be seen (often enough his stage directions can be found in the lines). Take any of his plays off the stage and they are only 30% of themselves. While English majors go into fits of ecstasy over his use of English, they blast him for his bombastic writing. All of this beauty of language takes on a different hue when it’s spoken, spoken to someone else. Then what’s important is motive and intent. And these English majors don’t know the difference between monologue and soliloquy. Hamlet’s monologue, “To be or not to be,” is a soliloquy. It is a soliloquy because he is speaking, to the audience, his thoughts. The reason Hamlet is doing this is that he is making his motives known to the audience. It is not a much used device any more. A monologue is what you get in Shaw or with a manic you’ve asked a question of.

At the same time, no drama is literature. It is drama. It is theatre. It is nothing when it is not onstage. The things you can do with drama you cannot do with literature.

Where does Brautigan fit into this pigeon-holing? Cult lit? So, too, Kerouac, then? Cult is a really good place to put lit that bespeaks things critics don’t want to hear.

Judging something on its face misses the point. It also shows an ignorance of what’s known as vehicle. A literary vehicle is a story that is about something other than itself. Poe’s horror stories. Abe’s alternative realities. Kawabata’s Snow Country. Atwood. MacCormac. Hammett. Morrison. Apuleius. Eco. Borges. Le Carre. Gellman. Kingsolver. Pinker (his mention here is Manippean satire).

But agents don’t care. The intellectual quality of a work is not at point here. What’s important is what sells, what makes money. This makes of the writer a cabinetmaker. All he has to do is hone his skills for this particular thing and he’s in like flint. For some of us, writing down is difficult. For others, who the fuck cares! What you get is James Patterson. He does not write his books; he edits what a bevy of writers produce for him.

Because of this, the creative writing MFAs are only cabinetmaking schools. They’ve got rules, all preset by the English curriculum, and. . .how do you teach creativity? How do you teach how to write? How do you teach the difference between plot and story? How do you teach the non-traditional? How do you teach voice?

Most people don’t know what voice is.

Agents are not interested in the difference between plot and story, if they even know. And, as Natalie Goldberg and Ursula Le Guin maintain, there are no rules to writing.

Here is the major rule for writing: grab the reader with the first sentence, with the first page, with the first chapter. If true, then Atwood and Byatt and Borges and Fuentes and many of the early-20th century writers would not find publication if they were not already famous, for they do not follow this rule. Goldberg would say the agents are looking for MacDonald’s hamburger writing. And, indeed, there are agents who are interested in only seeing the first page or the first three pages or the first chapter. They will make a judgment on the viability of the entire book based on less than 1,000 words. Really, how the hell can they tell anything?

I’ve even run across a couple agents who want no sample. They will make their decision based on your summary.

What kind of shit is this?

Then there is voice. I know agents have no idea what voice is. Most English majors don’t really know, though they can talk about it in erudite language. Yet voice is a very simple concept: it is what your narrator/narration sounds like. The best example of voice in the US is Mark Twain followed by Hawthorne, Hammett, Kingston, Allende and Sweazy-Kulju. There is also Doyle and Byatt and Grandpa Trollope on the other side of the pond.

Voice is also with each and every character. They ought to speak differently: different rhythm, different sounding. Playwrights are good at this. Not so academic creative writing professors: everything sounds the same, both narration and characters. The head of the writing program at the University of Kansas writes like this. The oddity of it all is that she gets published. So, perhaps the agents and publishers don’t have any idea either.

But voice exists outside of literature. It exists in the tenor of the times, assuming you are writing a historical or historic fiction novel. In this case, though, it does help to read the writers of the age, which few do, it seems.

It exists in the roaming storytellers of old. It resides in Bunraku, Japanese National Puppetry, because the gidayū (narrator) does it all. And in kyōgen. It is easy to see here because it is foreign and very distinctive.

But in today’s lit? Well, if it sounds like everyone else’s, then it’s got voice.

Today’s lit is paint-by-the-numbers in a given frame. Doesn’t natter what you put in it, just as long as it fits. I have something like this: I hung an empty frame on the wall above the sink. In the centre of which I put a smallish iron butler with a tray of drinks. Black with white for apron, etc. So, what’s the story, eh?

Masking it

Americans are up against the greatest block to advancement yet–and we probably won’t get past it. Why? We are stuck in the rut of Rights. Rights to this, Rights to that, Rights, Rights, Rights. But with Covid 19 Rights are not approached–or perhaps passed right on by. What masks have to do with is Social Responsibility. Americans have no sense of social responsibility. My Rights. Me, my, mine. There is no sense of others. No Social Responsibility. We only see one side off the mask: it protects you against others. Put it on the other’s face and it protects them from us.

Warm and Cuddly Fascism

James L. Secor, Minna vander Pfaltz & Liu Bushi

Bertram Goff called this pleasant slow growth sociopolitical organization Friendly Fascism because it feels good. It feels comfortable. It feels like a protective mother or aunt. All power and understanding are concentrated in her lap as she tells us we need to take a more assertive role in our own interests, for The Public is faceless and faceless things are frightening–and dangerous. There is evil behind that mask. Evil is always there ready to steal our lives, our safety. We must do something about it. We must watch for it and listen for it. Because evil will sneak up on you. Evil can masquerade as good and benevolent. It takes a specialist to uncover it. In this way, we control it, manipulate it, corral it and herd it through loading chutes and into waiting box cars to be whisked away and done away with. We must protect ourselves against it.

Auntie–or mommy–does this for us. Auntie–or mommy–gives us rules to live by. And we feel comfortable and protected because they know best. They would not steer us wrong. They never have. Auntie–or mommy–has our best interests at heart.  So that by the time the masquerading evil’s intrusion into our lives becomes apparent, it’s too late. All of the watching and listening, all the surveilling to save us, was a lie. It was to control us. We were tricked.

Fascism. Now, who do you trust?

As faceless fear grows up around us, more and more withholding laws and watchdogs must be put into place until we have what Karl Popper called a closed society. A closed society, walled-in by propriety, laws and behaviors is a safe place to be. Wrongs and woes and bad people are kept at bay because they are easily apprehended. Don’t you feel better already? Safer? All those policing services and listening devices and surveillance cameras keep us safe, we’re told. Nobody in. Nobody out. You can never be too vigilant. And then one day you realize it’s you who are being surveilled for acceptance. It’s you who have been seen as probably evil. Doesn’t it make you feel dirty? Can you see your way out of the swamp? But, maybe you’re wrong. The fascism felt so good and comforting. Nothing could be so twofaced. Right? Forget that evil often masquerades as good. Life is so much easier to live with this denial. Denial helps keep the closed society closed.

Although keeping the bad and disruptive influences out is important, isolating–insulating–ourselves from the big bad wolves, it is the enemy within that is more insidious and, therefore, more demanding of control. What are the standards for that muzzling? The rule of law, law after law, which subsumes everything under its paw. Disgust. Opinion. Dislike. Urban myth. Whatever it is makes you feel uncomfortable, it’ll be made law. There are so many of these, the law(s) becomes entrapping. It’s difficult to journey through the forest, the elemental forest where nothing is what it seems and everything is not quite formed, though it all hides its face behind these as-needed laws. But, of course, there is no need to worry, for only the bad sort become entwined with the law’s brambles. It is amazing that the bad people inflict such horror on us via our fear and paranoia and obsessive drive to build a safe haven world in which nothing changes despite Brave New World. Oh! I forgot. You’ve been told (come to believe) that reading is, at best, useless.

All these laws and guidelines, all these walls, have become our teddy bears. And, so, life is good. Even when we suddenly realize that it’s all a lie. We must deny reality. Deny reality as we have all along. Denial is good stuff. It is comforting. There is no argument for “no it’s not.” And so. . .

What is fascism?

The closest you’ve come to fascism is your beloved religion: this way is the only way. All of you other people, you other-believers are going to hell. George Bush’s you’re either with us or against us is the manner of fascism. That was his religion: ME! I am right. In the end, all religion is fascist: me and fuck the rest of you. And if you question, you are dead.

Fascism is paranoia. It must always keep an eye out for the detractor. Inside and out. Fascism’s raison d’être is to remain in power. Eventually it sees enemies where there are no enemies. We know what happens to enemies of the State. With the increasing of policing organizations, you can be sure the enemy will be found out and eliminated in the name of purity. It’s already underway. How long before you are fingered? I hear you thinking evil thoughts.

Fascism is dictatorship.

Fascism is a society whose members act according to the rules of a fictitious world. The more extreme, the more fertile the ground for terrorism. Paranoia. Into your life it creeps.

Fascism is about destruction of the State for its own good.

Fascism is one party rule, which the US has now. It calls itself Red State America. There are only three other Red States in the world: Communist Russia, Communist China, Communist North Korea. That ought to be frightening to Americans but it is not. Damn fools!

Fascism is above the law. It has to be. It is only interested in itself. It must have freedom to be. Laws hold it back.

Fascism is a totalitarianism, for it can do nothing but become a totalitarian system in its move to destroy the institution of the State–make it small and keep it out of our lives. A State for itself. All in the hands of someone to keep the clankity old machinery going. That someone is a watchdog who has his own best interests at heart. His best interests are the country’s best interests. Auntie–and mommy–tell us so. Else he wouldn’t be the leader.

The Media and Fascism

The Media and Fascism

Jim and/or Minna

More and more Fascism and more and more denial.

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld Der Fürer’s travel ban, along party lines. A Fascist Court (five Republicans) wins and that’s the end of it because they toe the line, got with the program. So, Der Fürer bans all the Muslims from all the countries in the Middle East that are wracked by wars the U.S. generated, all refugees and translators, while allowing into the U.S. all the Muslims from terrorist supporting countries, countries with tyrants, countries that Der Fürer is friendly with. The U.S. thus becomes a terrorist supporting country, a terrorist haven. The only thing new here is that it’s now legal for Muslim terrorists to enter the country and gain asylum. They can plan and execute mass murders from the U.S. with access to great modern technology. All except ISIS.

Muslim terrorists, my ass. These kinds of Muslims are just common mass murderers. But, then, so is the U.S., though under the gaseous mask of Spreading Democracy and in direct mimicking of earlier German Fascist behavior. And, too, under the guise of the right to bear arms. You know how it is, the more children are killed, the fewer future problems for the government.

As Der Fürer likes it, so it is. Don’t you think it’s horrible? Don’t you think it stinks? Well. . .

The little blonde girlie reporting for CNN about the Supreme Court ruling smiled the entire time. Is there something wrong with her? Or is she, like Ivanka, a feckless cunt who supports, like, fucking what-ev-errr? Does Bimbo Blondie even understand? Ah, well, of course not. That’s why she’s feckless. She must have been a riot in HS. There is no excuse for reporting such a horrible legal decision with a smile, a decision that will affect thousands and end up killing hundreds unless she’s a sadist or a Muslim terrorist in disguise.

On CNN’s idea of morning news, the male lead spent much of the time rationalizing why the Muslim ban was not so bad after all. He used statistics and percentages to show that, really, the Middle Easterners didn’t have so much to complain about, South Americans were worse off. This is the cliché many of us were raised on: if you think you’re bad off, take a look at them. Don’t you feel better? This is denial of a high order. It shows a total lack of understanding of what’s going on. Worse, the women on set nodded their bobble heads and smiled as if this was right on target.

And people think Trump is clueless!

Sarah Huckleberry Hound Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant and now wants a security detail. Whiney coward bitch can’t take the heat. The SS is not meant for such as her and cannot stop restaurateurs from asking her to leave anyway. Next, she’ll want a taster, yeah? Maybe she should stick to McDonald’s or Arby’s. Arby’s has the beef. Oh. I’m sorry. That’s “meat.” Arby’s has the meat. Could be beef. Could be critter. We know McDonald’s isn’t horse any more. But neither serves a cheese plate. Eating as much cheese explains why Sarah Huckleberry Hound Sanders is so full of shit.

When it comes to immigration and border security, how long do you think it will be before Emma Gonzàlez and family will be picked up? Separately, of course. Not only does she have a spic name, she’s smarter than anyone on The Hill. Two sins. Two sins is better than one.

So much Fascism, so much denial.

Do any of these newscasters who criticize Trump and his own realize they’re goners sooner than later? If not jobless and running, in jail or dead. ‘Twould be more meaningful to report the truth than the denial. Denial: the ought and should page. The wrong page. Politics isn’t about ethics and pseudo-philosophical speculations on the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s about power. Might is right.

And me? I’ll be imprisoned or dead if I don’t manage to get out of this country beforehand. Poor, old and disabled, a sure ticket to the cleansing chamber for the insane. But, then, anyone who opposes Der Fürer is insane, right?

A Media in Denial

by Secor & vander Pfaltz

I look at the News–not just the TV Media, the printed sort as well–and I see. . .are these people taking Denial Pills? Are they historically ignorant? Which leads to, do these people read? They are like children scrabbling after every jigsaw puzzle piece thrown on their table without the slightest attempt toward making a picture even though the colors and designs are different. The world they are reporting on, the world they cry out against without saying anything but “foul!” is different from the one they’re bitching about and showing up as corrupt and ridiculous when their game is different from Trump’s. The rules are not the same. Oddly, the news media sees this and calls the Trump people out but never realizes this is the new order of business. The news media are in denial, in denial about things while the new world order is about motion.

This includes Fox. But they are in a different denial canyon, the canyon of the Fellow Traveler, a deep and self-perpetuating canyon from which Fox will not rise out, for they are the greatest of propaganda pundits and every one sided government needs its cheerleaders. Do they, then, know something the rest of us don’t? Not in the least. They know less than we do, so blinded are they by the rhetoric and alternative explanations that are their ammunition–that and either the melodramatic or the Grand Guignol masks they wear on demand. As if to say, “See how serious we are? We feel!” “As if” indeed. Crisis actors.

The rest of the news media? They get the picture but prefer focusing on this and that little bit. Like paying attention to this little red spot over your nose rather than looking right at the disease all over your face. No more does the news tell us anything other than the day’s reportage. No more does the news give us information. We are left completely out of history. Some of the news media are enablers.

The most voluble and, perhaps, knowledgeable of these remaining reporters occasionally puts a bright shining key up on her set. It is a listing of all of the people who have quit or been fired from Trump’s world. All of those who quit might as well wear signs on their backs: traitor. 1) Though being fired from Trump’s world might be a good quality in the future; 2) they gave up and, instead of getting in Trump’s way, even a little, even for a little time, they only helped Trump world to take shape.

And here we have the answer. . .and here we have the limited thinking that keeps us blind. “Look at all of those vacant jobs! And nobody’s filled them.” Yes. True. But what does it do? What does it mean? Well, it means that Trump is the boss. Right? Just like he’s the boss within the DOJ. . .and is planning on becoming the boss of the DOJ. What does that mean? Everyone can see it coming but nobody wants to confront it. To confront it and report on the consequences. And keep reporting. There are incidences galore but they are reported as unconnected individual incidences instead of the run away senseless behavior of Fascists.

Trump’s already breaking the law, circumventing the law and abusing his powers, most notably pardoning powers. One commentator has noted the pardons are politically motivated but never tells us how and why. It isn’t the pardon, it’s the pardoned and the timing. Everyone says Trump is a fool. But is he? He has a lot of knowledgeable sycophants behind him.

It doesn’t matter what Trump says or what he does, no matter how senseless or absurd, it will be reinvented as meaningful by his mad horde, the mob that rallies when he rallies. The mob that is necessary and will forever and always be the Friendly Traveler and really not quite getting just what it is they are enabling but having a grand old time of it anyway. It’s difficult to let go of the notice and fame that accrues with Trump. Their leader.

Another moment of the coming debacle is Trump’s alienation of people, countries. Why is he doing this? Because for his Fascist world it must be The world against Trump world. Then we have enemies fucking everywhere! Oh, my God! We must mobilize to fight them off! George II and Obama gave us a never-ending war in the Middle East but this Trumpian war will be a war that knows no cease, not even a moment. It will be a forever war. But the news media look at this alienating behavior and ask, “What is he doing?” And I ask, “Do you read?” And then realize how stupid of me: America doesn’t believe in history.

Ai-ee! What’s next?

There is no reason or meaning to trying to guess Trump’s next move. The news media can’t because they’ve got the wrong play book and they can’t understand someone who’s playing with a different playbook; that is, not playing the same old game. Or maybe it’s just that they don’t believe “it” is happening. No. Wait. Not possible. Yes, possible. Admit it and then they’d know what to do, what to think, what to speak. And they’d stop reporting these bits of bullshit being handed out like celebrity fragrances. Because they only see his behavior as bits and bits, they miss the picture. Such bullshit. How successful is the bullshit? The media bought it. The media is buying it.

But why only look to Trump? The first step toward Fascism is a one party rulership. For at least 15 years, there has been one party rule in this country: the Republican. They call themselves Red America. There are only two other countries that call themselves Red: Communist Russia and Communist China.

Communist America? Well, not so unlikely if Putin has his way. His kind of Communism is of the world domination kind. Generally speaking, Communism is for the East, Fascism is for the West. In any case, there is authoritarianism via the Republican Party. The One Party. They don’t need anywhere near 100% of the world. What’s left validates them by denying them. What has the Republican One Party accomplished? Nothing. Any laws passed were voted for by the left out party of Democrats. The People’s Party? They screwed the people to keep their government seats. Truly, as Machiavelli and Arendt hold, politics is about power, getting it and holding it.

The oligarchy in this country–this country, America–pays for it all. What? Did you think that oligarchs only exist in Russia and the Ukraine?

If nothing else, the leading woman of the RNC making a public announcement that people had better toe the line and get with the program or else should have sent the message. As obvious as this is, the news media just can’t seem to get their head around it. What does such a horrific demand mean? Well, my pretties, it means we got Fascism. Raise your hands. . .who wants to be an enemy of the State?

Oh, yes. Let’s not forget what’s happening around our southern border. Nothing new to Europe. Nothing new to Fascism. Notice how the social sweeps have extended their boundary from illegal immigrants to parts of families to legal residents. Soon, more than likely, anyone with a Spanish name. Thank goodness I’m safe! My name’s bastardized French and I’m older than y’all. All o’ y’all. No immigration laws in the 17th century. A time when everyone belonged and no one belonged.

How many police departments do we have? Five, maybe more.

How long have sweeps of communities been going on? Since the middle of Obama’s reign. He was not the Wunderkind most all Americans think he was. The horrors he fathered beneath his benevolent ventriloquist face make him the best sort of leader, according to Machiavelli. Was he part of the Fascist world? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But he did the oligarchs’ bidding. They paid for his victory.

Community pick-ups. In New York, Obama had a three day raid that netted 10,000 petty criminals and parole violators. Why? Because he could. Because he had to see if he could get away with it. Subsequent ICE raids were held. Not one person questioned the raids. A little outrage here, a little outrage there and nothing is accomplished. When’s the next round up?

Denial’s a great game.

But what of people?

Well, they’ve become more intolerant than they were. So much so that if just one of them doesn’t like something, no one should have it. No one shall have it. Damnit! Too bad for everyone else. Like or dislike is the rule. As is disgust. If they find something disgusting, it should not be allowed period. Ban the thing. Ban the person. That is, there should be a law against it. And there will be, you may be sure.

If I say something you don’t like, I should be banned–along with what I said. What do you not understand about this process?

Lord! How I wish I could whine! What a wonderful world I could finally live in where there’s only what I like–and the rest of you be damned. That’s what freedom’s about, ain’t it? Free to have it my way and fuck the rest of you. Right?

If authority says so, it’s so. It’s right and mete and you can get out of the country if you don’t like it. You’re free, yeh?

Yep. That’s how to believe and act. People can’t see past their immediate wants, like a child: immediate gratification, please. They may be fashioning their world, the world they believe everyone should have, but what of the authoritarian rulers who have the tolerance of Gila Monsters?

That’s right. No one can see past the wart on the ends of their noses. No one has any sense of consequence or responsibility. Why should they? They want an unchanging life. No surprises. The kind of life you get with an authoritarian regime. Fascism. Communism, too, to be truthful. Not that all Communisms are the same. Other than being authoritarian.

Authoritarianism. Someone to tell you what you can do. Someone to make your life decisions for you. That way, it’s not your responsibility. God help you if you don’t like it, though. Because, y’know, you wanted it so the anti-social sort would be shut up.

Whining is habit forming. Whiners always buckle under to authority.

Children. Children. Learn how to play together. . .or I’ll have to do it for you.

How fast can you change your habits when your Leader changes his mind about what is acceptable? Try this: Lu Xun, The True Story of Ah Q. Go ahead. Give it a try. It’s only 159 pp–that includes the original Chinese and some pictures, so less than 100 pages of simple English. Published in 1921.

Books I’ve Been Reading…or not

Books I’ve Been Reading. . .or not

by Jimsecor

Machiavelli’s Discourses. Lo-ooong and very informative introduction. But a little dry for my taste at the moment. He again notes that the person not to lead is one who reacts the same way to every problem, every crisis–as he noted in The Prince. Maybe notable in Trump but most certainly with the new director of Midland PACE Lawrence: she has one behavior–get rid of ’em! In three months, she canned seven people, three were “participants.” In any case, the end product with these people in charge is total destruction. More of PACE Lawrence’s behavior is in. . .

Hannah Arendt’s On the Origins of Totalitarianism. Amazing! I’m not finished yet; just getting into the last section of the last section/chapter, on totalitarianism. Communism/totalitarianism is for the East; Fascism is for the West. Germany, part of France, Italy, Spain. Fascism was noteworthy in the US in the 1920s; but especially now as one party rule is the opening gambit. This is, however, falling apart, despite the Republicans’ bent for doing nothing, because the Democrats now see the opening to regain power. However, it ought to be noted that the Democrats voted right along with the Republicans since George II. However, Arendt notes that the name of the game of politics is power. Trump fits the Fascist leader to a T; Putin seems to be supplying the propaganda.

I’m rereading–to help with a story of my own–Penelope Doob’s Nebuchadnezzar’s Children, Conventions of madness in Middle English literature. Once again, fascinating; though very slow going reading Middle English. What I did not expect to find was the reiteration today of the ideas of madness/insanity/mental illness from the Middle Ages. The run on mass shootings in schools is nothing new, as it were. In both ages, people do not ask just what it is that pushes people over the edge, either temporarily or permanently, personally or socially destructive. In the Middle Ages, the Church held sway, so the deduction was you were mad. Today, there is so much confusion in diagnosis of “mental illness” due to the greed of Big PHRMA and psychiatrists that damn near every slightly off behavior, including just plain normal “being a child,” is an insanity. There is a pitch for what is normal, here; in the Middle Ages, it was more akin to “not that way.”

Steven Levingston’s Little Demon in the City of Light.  I do not know why this was shelved in Fiction–it is not. It is a long and highly detailed reporting of the murder of Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé by Gabrielle Bompard and Michel Eyraud. Hypnotism played a role in this murder trial, there is a great deal of information context here, especially including Charcot. I’m not finished yet. Not quite up to the trial. It’s a good read, well-written. I’m surprised I’m getting on with it as I was not in this kind of mood.

Cornelia Steketee Hulst’s Perseus and the Gorgon. A hard read. Very academic (1946). Concerning the why and history of the myth of Perseus and the Gorgon. Egyptian history. Greek history. The Goddess Isis, though not much in the way of following upon my reading of the history of Hatshepsut. I made it all the way through, only to find the Greek’s were derivative and that I needed a rest from over-exertion.

Melville’s Typee. Must be in 3-pt font. I had forgotten how intensely, even obsessively he paid attention to detail. Even when something exciting happened, it was slowed down so every wrinkle in the shirts of the protagonists was discussed. But what came out of this was through the forced psychiatric evaluation at the behest of the above-mentioned PACE director-dictator. (Took the wind out of her sails.) For one Rorschach blot I noted it looked like a couple of witches brewing something up or cannibals stewing their dinner. Although we spent more time talking about the witches, I knew he’d pick up on the cannibals. He did. The cannibals came from Typee. (The witches came from a mystery type story I’m writing.) Even so, his analysis was correct. (I have the eval.)

Abe Kobo’s The Ruined Map. This book wraps itself around itself until it is what it’s about. Abe’s writing is about identity, identity within society. The Ruined Map is a detective story. I kept seeing the neighborhood I lived in in Kanazawa-ken. How do you keep your/keep up your identity? Especially when there are several intersecting points. It reaches a point where you just have to go with it and, in this case, escape. You already have the map.

Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere. I got bored half way through. I’m having a garage sale in early May–the entire neighborhood, in fact.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel’s Game. I think I ought to finish this one but can’t bring myself to pick it up again. . .yet. A gothic mystery, I’m led to believe.

Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho. An occasional read, so not finished yet.

William Eamon, The Professor of Secrets. Not finished. Interrupted by my move.

Michael Ennis, The Malice of Fortune. Interrupted by my move. Novel treatment (pun intended) of Machiavelli, da Vinci, the Borgias and Damiata the whore. Most interesting because of the sociopolitical context.

Vincent Wing Chung Chan, The Divine Victim. MA thesis, Asian Studies. He never read my dissertation. He knows nothing of kabuki, especially in the late 18th century, and nothing of the playwright, Tsuruya Namboku IV. His focus on religion in the play is his own. The Kwannon imagery at the end, when The Scarlet Princess rehabilitates herself is solely there to satisfy the censors and not at all religious or a parody thereof. However, there were notes on relationships between characters that were interesting. The Asian Studies division at BC should be ashamed of themselves for letting this pass. This play, The Scarlet Princess of Edo, is a good example of the rot and corruption and lack of any ethics of our own 21st century government, the Princess as symbol and example of said Tokugawa government. Being of royal blood, she sinks into whoredom, including with a Buddhist Priest, murder, including of her own child, thievery. . .yadda yadda yadda. All around her are two-faced retainers. She begins by just wanting to run away from her responsibilities. Other than the general rot of religion, there is no religious parody in the play because the religion was tied tightly to the rule of government. All of Vincent’s own making. It is, nevertheless, a well-written thesis.

Poe’s The Lighthouse. I don’t know why this is said to be unfinished. It’s written in the first person; the character can’t tell of his death. And he quite clearly says he’s stopped writing in his journal. Knowing that Poe wrote on more than one level and did not much care for the aristocracy, there is an element of just what he thinks of them, especially when taken out of their milieu. The doctor who sent “I” here, for money, wasn’t of the most wonderful personality. But, then, he was curing an aristocrat of a problem, using him as a guinea pig, for money. May be. . .Poe did not like doctors either.

 

 

Limited Mentality

Limited Mentality by Minna vander Pfaltz

Minna vander Pfaltz again. Jimsecor is sidelined with hip problems that portend re-replacement. His inability to get around makes him irritable, so I’m doing this all by myself–not for the first time.

There is an unredeemable characteristic of the American mind: limited thinking. Not only not thinking past the present moment (or incident) but of the love of the ignorance thereby engendered, as might best be described as either looking out a window and only seeing yourself or being so enchanted with the frame that you don’t even bother looking out the window.

This is, at present, most notable with Donald Trump and the Presidency. Until mid-October 2017 no one was looking past Trump to the next president. No one is still. Typical reactionary American behavior: let’s only approach one problem at a time, this problem. Let’s not think that there might be consequences down the road. Even the news media jumps aboard this wagon. People are now seeing Pence as the replacement president. This runs in the face of Pence’s intimate involvement in the Russia corruption via his constant lying, at least. He is simply unfit to be president (Twenty-fifth Amendment). Yet no one seems to be bothered about this. As if to say, let’s bother with that later, when the problem arises, even though it is already right before our faces. Reactionary thinking.

Who is next in line? The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He hates everyone but the rich, his friends and his benefactors. He will kill us all and ruin the country economically. Why? Because he is an ideologue and ideologues can never ever see past their obsessive-compulsive attachment to an idea. Repercussions are not important. He is very Communist in his attitude that if you can’t pay for your health care, you deserve to die that Rand Paul first put forward. Communist doctrine is that if you don’t work, you don’t deserve to eat. A tad more humane and based on human actions, i.e. working for the State. Indeed, all for the State, an idea Ayn Rand deplored. A very Communist doctrine. . .or that of slavery. And Paul Ryan is involved in the Communist hacking from near its inception in 2012.

There are other parallels/indications of Communism with him and the Republicans, but that frightening picture is not immediately in question, though it should be. Indeed, it should have been way back when the Republicans began calling their area of influence Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are Communist states. Everything for the government, everything for the State is the ethic.

So, why is no one thinking past Pence for replacement president? They ought to be, dammit. Does anyone know the chain of replacement? Who comes after Ryan if he is found unfit (because when the presidency is offered to him, he will jump at the chance)? Answer: President Pro Tem of the Senate Orrin Hatch. After him, if he decides not to accept? It becomes a free for all with the Cabinet: first one who says yes is it. Want to guess who would jump at the chance? Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III anyone? But, then, he’s out of the picture already. His cookie-making tree was built on shifting sand. Tillerson, a man after enriching himself and his friends? A man who’s used to being in control? A man who’s got business ties with Russia?

But, hell, why think ahead, eh?

America is in love with the adage “don’t sweat the small stuff.” In fact, if you take care of the details (the small stuff), then you do not have a large problem to take care of later on. But, hey, it’s better and more exciting to be reactionary. Limited thinking.

 

Some people are in love with their ignorance, like Cory Britton who, when confronted with a correction to his limited thinking, replied to Jimsecor, “James Secor shut the fuck up troll.” And then blocked Jimsecor’s e-mail. Despite many people saying the Internet is a hateful place, Jimsecor and I had never met up with it. He was nonplussed. It’s possible Cory Britton does not read; yet much of the information is available online at reputable sites, not just in books. Cory Britton is one of those people who is so in love with the window frame that he doesn’t bother to look out the window. He also obsesses over the myriad euphemisms for whore, listing them for an entire minute. He is, of course, not the only person who is in love with his ignorance. Sadly.

Trump, Ryan, Sessions–in fact all of the Republicans.

 

Agents, literary agents, are, judged from the Confucian division of society, at the bottom of the heap. Bottom dwellers? Not exactly. They make their money from the hard work of others. From a group that represented authors so the writers got the best deal, lit agents have taken to themselves the role of arbiter of all (publishable) literature. The single major criteria? Profit. Not only do lit agents charge the writer and then add on all office expenses (which they take off their taxes as business expenses–known as double dipping), they charge the publishers. What a scheme!

But agents are out of touch with reality. The “new” reading public, the people between late teens and 40s, have a short attention span. They don’t have the energy to focus on reading books of 50, 60, 100,000 words. But they can manage 30-40,000 words. 30-40,000 words is the rule and regulation lit agents use to class 30-40,000 words, a novella. Well, that’s fine. They can classify all they want; but the “new” reading public can only deal with this shorter length of book. So, why don’t they look for and sell fast moving novellas? If they had any historical sense, they’d recognize that the immensely popular pocket books and pulp fiction of days gone by were 30-40,000 in length.

This would help Jimsecor alot since he’s been pumping out books of this length lately. Thinking on the part of lit agents would aid us in living a better life. But ignorance via rules rules the day: I like my frame, it’s really cool.

 

Vegans. What can I say? Nowadays, they have the choice to eat what they want. Way back when, they’d not have had the choice–and they’d not have had the supplements (chemicals) to maintain a healthy life as they must today. Peasants and merchants died young. Vegans aren’t protesting cruelty to animals, other than rhetorically; they are avoiding the issue altogether. They vociferate energetically against killing animals in general–animals being living things–without realizing they are killing living things by ripping them out of the ground by their roots; eating them raw (still alive), boiling or frying them alive.

Once we have people who can’t see past the moment, past themselves, past their ideology, like. . .if you stop killing the animals in order to stay alive–in favor of killing plants to stay alive–what are you going to do with all of those animals running around all over the place? Let the people of Alaska and Wyoming shoot ’em down by helicopter? Vegans don’t like this now.

And what about those people who cannot eat a vegetarian diet? Like Jimsecor. He has no ileum, no cecum and no right (ascending) colon. When he eats vegetables, he needs to carry a port-a-potty around with him. Alas, Vegans are as single-minded as Evangelical Christians and consider it their right to impose their worldview on non-Vegans. As if cannibalizing vegetables is the saving grace. “I trust in Veggies” as I drive?

My advice? Go back to Vega where you came from.

 

Brown rice. Only in America.

 

People who make rules. Rules for everything, even being normal. Americans like such rules, as if to say, “I can’t live without them.” You know, no ability to frame a life or make decisions without being given explicit, delimiting guidelines. Rules of right or wrong that go beyond legal jurisprudence. There are rules for fucking everything! Look at the proliferation of how-to books. Jimsecor used to ghost write these books but he told the editor to stuff it. A bunch of ignorant charlatans selling shit from the back of a wagon. One man sold his how-to-get-rich as the end product of a quasi-religious Way! Although it was good money, I watched Jimsecor become increasingly irritable until he said, “Fuck it” and told the editor no more, lest it be to his specialty.

People don’t understand. . .if “this” was the way to riches, why are these people spending so much time writing (playing like they are writing) books about getting rich?  If they were doing it, they’d have no time to write about it–or want to limit their gaining power.

At the same time, I can’t fault people, for the economy of this country is not one that allows of success to working people. Of late, life takes them down, down, down and down at the bottom they find the social nets have really big holes and nobody likes them the more.

 

Economics. Economic efficiency. Efficiency experts par excellence. You older folk: remember Spencer and Hepburn in Desk Set? You younger folk: watch it. Economic efficiency has nothing to do with human efficiency. Humanity is a different animal. heh-heh The business model of efficiency–the business model of anything–cuts humanity right out of  the deal. This is most apparent in medicine; and, there, in hospitals, especially ERs where the presence of doctors, who treat people who expect to be treated by doctors, are not in evidence. They’re expensive. Replace them with Physician Assistants who, like ancient Chinese Eunuchs, pass along their idea of what’s going on to the doctor hiding somewhere so as to get the answer she wants. PAs are cheaper. Female PAs are the cheapest. Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) know more. If humans are seen to by doctors, even after the PA fact, they feel better about whatever is ailing them. Why? They are being paid attention to. Human “economics.” Does it cost more? Yes, in greenbacks. Is it better for the general populace–and the financial economic world? Indubitably. But when you have a business running the medical profession, you have no medicine, no person. Eventually, the business model is going to be sued into oblivion if it just doesn’t die a prolonged, nasty death.

Some doctors get around this by taking up the viciously Darwinish Concièrge Model of Medicine: if you’ve got the money, I’ll treat you. (Poorer people ain’t got it.) And if the illness or injury or anxiety or whathaveyou is serious, the doctor puts the sufferer in the hospital so the hospital foots the bill. Cool beans.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital: a monopoly. One hospital, lots of little pieces of hospital everywhere. They even own, via umbrella, all but one of the medical group practices in town. That one is adamantly independent–good–but just as adamantly practices the business model of medicine. So does the hospital, albeit some doctors have a higher ethic.

 

Limited thinking: Now, now, now. And Bill Maher. Bill Maher believes we should not be concerned about exploration of space because we’ve not got the technology. He would have held up sea travel and exploration centuries ago. The only thing wrong with space exploration is that it is seen as space exploitation. Jimsecor would go. Jimsecor would go to Titan. And as Jimsecor is considered too old and a useless appendage to society it would be good to get rid of him.

Voyager I and II are not examples of limited thinking. Taking funding away is. Unfortunately, soon they will run out of energy. Why doesn’t NASA tell us what they’ve found so far?

 

Universities. The first thing universities want to do when they get a hunk of money is to build buildings. Which means hiring administrative and support staff. Fuck the students and professors, which are what a university is all about. Fuck investing the money to make sure it continues to flow in. Buildings don’t draw students or professors.

 

University of Phoenix.

 

Law enforcement. Which is more akin to oppressive control and intolerance.

 

Zero tolerance. Very limited thinking. Zero tolerance is INtolerance.

Do You Plan Ahead for Your Vacation?

Do You Plan Ahead for Your Vacation?

by James L. Secor, Ph.D. & Minna vander Pfaltz

What we have here is a failure to think.

What we have here is a failure to think past the moment.

In the event of failing to plan, to think ahead you end up without enough toothpaste or your soap–hotel soap is so wanting!–and you end up with nothing to munch on or drink on the night you arrive and need “that” drink. Because you don’t know anything about the town and hotel food and drink is outrageously expensive. Or you forgot your flipflops or your dinner suit, whether that be lounge lizard leisure or formal or just easy cotton wear. Or, or, or.

What it amounts to is that by not planning you end up paying. Like my landlord who will not replace the screen in my window who must then, down the road, pay for de-bugging, debugging that didn’t need to be done before the screen was ripped from its cradle by a vicious storm and not replaced any time soon.

This is the situation we are in at the moment in the US. We are not thinking past the getting rid of Trump moment. If he falls, it will be civilly as the House Republicans are so wound up in their Republicanism and Ideological obsession that they will not move for impeachment, even as the evidence mounts for traitorousness, for treason.

What happens after the fall of Trump? Will all the king’s men be able to put the state back together again? Or would that be “cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before”? Or “Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty to rights”? A nice knock-down argument? For Trumptdumpty is, via his being president, the symbol of the State.

First is VP Pence. But he will fall as well due to his involvement via lying and lying and lying again. Lying with the enemy.

That leaves Paul Ryan, a little man who hates everyone and is proud of it. A man who would stoop to mass murder in the name of Ideology (the fact of having an idea). For a devout Catholic, that means he’s on a fast track to hell with no hope of a Purgatory stop-over or an eventual out. With his social policies, he is no better than these terrorists who are, in fact, no more than murderers, mass murderers, blowing up whatever and whomever wherever for the fun of it, praise be to Allah. Too, he does it in the name of the State–Red State America. Paul Ryan, who is a Communist.

He believes in Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are Communist. His idea of stripping government down so it is government for the government, for the governors and their corporate handlers, with the people getting nothing is very Communist. Go live in a Communist country where the government is for government’s sake. I have. There is some glitz to cover up the want but you don’t have to go far to see the want: it’s just around the corner. We in the US hide our want. We ban our want. We criminalize our want. Our want: the failure of our society.

Americans need to pay attention to their government and its shenanigans. One of the greatest machinations is the manipulation of unemployment. The retired are not counted as, well, they were not working to begin with. And those who have exhausted their unemployment relief and yet have no job are not counted as unemployed. Off the record equals out of sight equals out of mind. Another way to hide want. Putting someone to work for minimum wage though they have dependents is considered employment–forgetting that they are still relying on social services to survive. The end product of this unemployment vacation preparation is skewing of the statistics to pretend that the facts are not so bad as they are. That is, this is Rose Colored Glasses syndrome. Indoor sunglasses.

But Paul Ryan’s government will not care, for if you are not working, you are not working for the State–the Red State america–and, therefore, you don’t deserve to eat. As it were. A very Communist sentiment. However, neither he nor any other politician has read The Communist Manifesto or any socialist/sociological thought, a very different thing. That is, Communism and Socialism are not the same thing. Because these politicians can read but don’t they are ignorant. And they are dangerous. Thus saith Twain.

Communism is a 19th century utopia and, like all utopias, is a failed venture. Utopias fail because they require no change (Cf. Marc Hodac, The Seeds of Their Own Destruction, Rod McNair, Why Has Utopia Failed and Jean-Marie Huriot & Lise Bourdeau-Lepage, Utopia, Equality and Liberty: The impossible ideal; perhaps, The Plague of American Authoritarianism by Henry Giroux might help).

That is what we have to look forward to with Paul Ryan, the Republican Ideologist and Demagogue who stands smiling his thin lipped lizard smile behind Trump, waiting, waiting, waiting for the time to stick out his tongue and capture his meal, which he will eat alive. Once this man becomes President there is no constituency voting him out, though there may be some voraciously selfish Senator who will invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment, that Ryan is unfit to be President, only to see it flounder. Because most everyone else is a Republican Ideologue.

But, then, perhaps that isn’t in the cards, for there is that little moment of interference involving Nunez that he has already lied about. Although there is nothing new about politicians lying, what is different about this crop of weeds is that they lie to our faces while handing us the proof of their lie. I am not a weed, clogging the life out of my surroundings, sayeth the Kudzu.

So, okay. We’ve thought ahead enough to know that we don’t want Paul Ryan as vacation from Trump. We must think of a way to get rid of him or his consideration–not very likely as America is a nation of reactionaries: let’s wait until “it” happens.

Who’s next in line for President?

Orrin Hatch, Senatorial sneak sniper. Another ideologue. But he’s done nothing, nothing in particular. So, we’re stuck with another Red Stater–unless he says, “No.” After all, he has more power and less stress as a Senator than as President.

Next? A free-for-all with the Cabinet appointees. Here, we’re on solid ground, for most of them will go with the fall of Trumptydumpty as they are, one way or another, involved–and many of them are in the sinking boat of self-importance and ignorance, barely keeping afloat with the tar of influence, i.e. money. A veritable Ship of Fools.

You have to figure you’re not just fucking yourself, your fucking everyone else when you think not about what it is you’re doing; when you think not about what’s coming round the bend. She will be coming round the bend, mind you, but the horses will not be well-reined in. Your vacation gonna be ruined, fo’ shore.

So, how can we keep our vacation cruise afloat? We are not a Disney Line; we cannot let it turn into a typhoid ship; we cannot let it languish at sea or in port. Trump has taught us something, though (For more insights see What Herman Melville Can Teach Us About the Trump Era by Ariel Dorfman).

What Trump has taught us is how corrupt and dysfunctional the government is. Of course, we already knew they were corrupt. But now we get to see that dysfunction and the usurpation of the mandate of the Republic. Like all the king’s men, they are incapable of putting Trumptydumpty back together again, even while working hard to keep him from falling in the first place.

The second lesson is that democracy is the people making choices and voting out those who lied and said they were representing us and, in fact, could care less about us, the people, their constituents. That is, we’ve learned that democracy is the people, not the mechanics of the government.

This rediscovery of who we are–democracy–will go down the drain if we don’t, now, think ahead. Life without Trump will not be a vacation unless we prepare for it in advance. We already know all the king’s men are dysfunctional, perhaps even incompetent for the job. Perfect examples of the Peter Principle?

Unless we think about just what it is we want, what it is we need, and what we will do with the pieces, we will never crawl out of the potage pot. Right now it is health care. Are we to wait for Paul Ryan who will kill us all because we are not worthy? Paul Ryan does not understand that without people there is no government, no land to rule. Or that unhealthy people sicken and die, thus reducing the people needed to govern. Ill people got to the hospital; if they can’t pay, the hospital must treat them. Where does that money come from? The government. Ergo, this costs the government more than if the ill had insurance to begin with. What’s Monsignor Paul Ryan going to do? Slice that government entity and mandate death? Paul Ryan’s government is not the savior he propounds himself–oh, I’m sorry, “it”–to be (Cf. Ernst Cassirer, The Myth of the State).

May be. . .maybe what we need to do is control Trump. We can make sure he doesn’t get any dysfunctional laws to sign by practicing democracy and making sure our representatives actually represent us. As we are doing at the moment.

How do we do this? Let’s look to ancient Japan. Way long before the 17th century and the dictatorial Tokugawa Shogunate that controlled the Emperor, indeed cut him out of actual rule altogether, the Japanese Emperor had not been an active participant in the government of the country. He was corralled by required rites and government meetings and requirements that had to be performed on schedule–as scheduled–and he was kept so busy during the day, every day that he could not cause trouble for anyone. Visits will be official and scheduled for him, the agenda written ahead of time. Length of all interviews will be strictly adhered to. That is, he will be treated like the Japanese do scheduled TV baseball: if three hours of scheduled baseball time is not enough, baseball TV coverage does not usurp pre-programed programs. If the game’s in the middle of the 10th inning and it’s time for Life With Father, it’s Life With Father. (Newscasters do this with their guests: Oops, we’ve not got time for more of you, thanks.) He can be assigned a phone that has no data application, no internet; a phone that is no more than a phone –and is monitored. For we know he’s a treasonous son of a bitch and can’t be trusted. . . and he’s petty and abusive. We can even control when he makes public appearances, much as with the Queen of England’s forays. She must inform the Parliament of her intentions and the members of Parliament have the ability to say, “No.” So, too, the Japanese Emperors for millennia. Easy to manage Trump if he’s found guilty of one thing or another: place him under house arrest.

If you don’t give a blatherer time to blather, he can’t get himself and you into any trouble. All of this protectionism will fall by the wayside with the election of a more responsible President. But, then, that relies on the people continuing to practice democracy and making sure–thinking ahead–that they are appropriately represented. The important elections are local, then federal; the President makes no laws, he is only the Face of the Nation.

Trump is considered a clown by the Chinese. Trump has made clowns of us all. People are wondering what is wrong with Americans that they could elect someone like Trump. All of our vaulted pride and prejudice has been flushed down the drain.

So it is, there are only two choices: we either control this spoiled rotten, blathering, temper tantrum-throwing little boy or we prepare for the worst (Paul Ryan). We prepare for the worst so we aren’t caught out and must make do with frenzied reaction, which is always momentary. Reactionary behavior (politics) is just putting a Band-Aid over the wound. We get wounded by lack of preparation, lack of consideration, lack of thought.

© 2017, James L. Secor, Ph.D.

Utter Stupidities

Utter Stupidities

by Minna vander Pfaltz

Republican Red State America.  Look at the map. Listen to such people haters as Paul Ryan. Why does no one see? Red State = Communist state. Red State America = Communist America. However, it’s not just Ryan, it’s all Republicans who want nothing for the people and all for themselves and their big corporation handlers. Having lived in Russia–outside of the big cities–I can tell you that the people have nothing while the government thrives for itself. Which is just what the Republicans want: Government for itself. Small government. What can you expect when they don’t pay their taxes, engage in money laundering and fraud? Is there something fucking wrong with people’s minds? Can they not think? Why is it they cannot see what is tossed up right in front of their faces? Utterly stupid.

China is responsible for North Korea. A totally ignorant idea. But, then, it comes from Trumptydumpty who fucking knows nothing. This idea comes from the belief that all Communism is the same and all Communist countries are collusive. Utter bullshit. Chinese Communism is nationalistic. Vietnamese Communism is nationalistic. Russian Communism is international, believing it is their right to impose their ideas upon everybody and everybody is wrong. Which means, of course, that the wrongers can be done away with, a policy of the Catholic Church for millennia. The Russians withdrew from Grandpa Kim, as did the Chinese, because of the policies and practices of Grandpa Kim. And Grandson has continued the perverted policies. North Korea stands on its own. For Trumptydumpty’s USA to place the responsibility for action onto the Chinese is typical of him: he accepts no responsibility. However, it seems everyone else in the administration follows him in this.

Did anyone but me notice that while NYC, including Wall Street, was flooded after Hurricane Sandy that the country’s economy, much less that of the world, continued working well? So. . .how important is Wall Street?

While Trumptydumpty continues to investigate the crookedness of Hillary Billary’s campaign, the rest of the Kings Men are out proving that the Russian cyberattack was the cause of Hillary Billary’s loss. Unfortunately, Hillary Billary won the popular vote. So. . .was the Russian hack brilliant via its knowledge of how to affect the Electoral College? Thus, while Trumptydumpty is investigating how it is he won, the rest of the King’s Men are investigating how Trumptydumpty won.

Doesn’t Jarhead Schlepner’s voice sound magnificently macho?

I find it quite amazing that Jarhead Schlepner owns the Devil’s Office Bldg.: 666. However did that happen, the Devil is owned? Not even God has been able to accomplish that!

If Flynn was compromised and could be blackmailed by The Putinsky, can you imagine The Putinsky threatening to call in Trumptydumpty’s debts?

The terrorists are no longer terrorists and should be called out for what they are in the media: murderers. Mass murderers. I doubt any truth speaking will happen based on Rachel Maddow’s book Drift (a very good read) that maintains the war machine just kind of drifts its way into non-military areas, some of them quite silly. Why? If the media calls terrorists what they are, murderers, they will lose DOD credibility, ratings and money. Ratings and Money = News as Entertainment.

The epidemic of Zika Virus in the US is now one. Nevertheless, we must all be afraid. Thank goodness my friend Jimsecor is already pregnant! His little puchy belly is so cute! I’m toying with the idea of buying him a Baby T-shirt, arrow pointing downward. He doesn’t worry about mosquitos: they do not like vitamin B-12. Neither does a hangover.

The cat goes out nightly, sometimes to hunt. He brings back rabbit mostly, cute little bunnies. They are not so cute the following morning. And yet, the cat hides whenever anyone unknown comes to the house. He also steers clear of squirrel.

It used to be that literary agents represented writers so they got the best deal. Now they own the market: nothing gets published but by their recommendation. With this change in the dynamics of art, the material available to the public, which the agents see as intellectually wanting, has deteriorated in quality. Profit is most important. And a simple, Face storyline, nothing of depth. As if to say that not only has Literary Vehicle disappeared but Metaphor has been slimmed down to no more than a piece of grammar. These people, the agents, suffer from a textbook case of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome (editors of literary journals do as well). In the Confucian social system, the agent is at the bottom as they are people who earn their living off of the hard work of others. Not only does the agent charge the author–including standard office activities that are tax write-offs as “business expense”–the agent charges the publisher.

Marianne Humainette.

Hellecchino, trickster hero.

Jimsecor just had 4 ½” taken off his long, long hair–and it is still below his shoulders! Good deal–still long enough to grab hold of.

From a woman’s point of view, teeth are our way of letting men know who is in control.

When Trumptydumpty goes, Pence the Pillsbury Doughboy is up for the Face of the Nation; however, he’s mired in the La Breia Treason Pit, so it’s on to Paul Ryan, the ultimate vaudevillian villain. This people hating Communist Tyrant in Shep’s clothing is dangerous. Why is no one thinking past the fall of Trumptydumpty? How about if we keep Trumptydumpty as President but limit him to days in the White House signing documents he’s told to sign and playing golf on his own golf courses while responsible people with some kind of intellectual veracity actually run the country? (Or, as Americans like to believe, run the world.) Trumptydumpty is, after all, easily controllable: 1) praise him; and 2) don’t criticize him. Otherwise, you can talk about anything you want. This is the recipe of the abuser.

Communism was a late 19th century utopia.

Other than for war, there has been no new technology in America for many years. What we have are variations on a theme.

Justin Bieber = utter stupidity. As is the idea that plastic fantastic Beyoncé can dance.

Taylor Swift.

Can you imagine how ISIS could remain a thing if the Mafia were sent to the Middle East? After all, the US Military and its vaunted technology is unproductive. But. . .what can you expect when all of  their support is privatized? Privateers are only interested in profit, not productivity.

Academics–academic academics–who believe they know it all, write outside their area of expertise and then get pissy when criticized. There are, in America, a slew of such PhDs. More’s the pity, for any advancement in critical interpretation and understanding is not possible. Academic academics live in a closed society where the conventional and the traditional reign supreme.