The Time the ACLU Turned Its Back on Julian Bond

Knowing my interest in the accomplished awfulness of the ACLU, my pal Walter Glass put me onto this 2014 interview  with Black Civil Rights pioneer Julian Bond published earlier this month in Counterpunch. Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and in 1965 among the first Black members elected to the Georgia House of Representatives following passage of the Voting Rights Act. However, the House voted not to seat him, ostensibly based on his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Bond took the matter to court and lost, but a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court reversed the ruling.  Pretty serious, important stuff, right?  If you were an organization committed to civil liberties, you’d want to be on the right side of history, wouldn’t you? especially since the Georgia House’s decision was both unambiguously a violation of the First Amendment and tinged with racism. Well check this out from the interview:

Julian Bond: The ACLU wouldn’t support me, wouldn’t defend me because I had Leonard Boudin and Victor Rabinowitz as my attorneys. Here are people helping my civil liberties but apparently I didn’t have the civil liberty to choose a lawyer of my own choosing.

Interviewer: So you are telling us that the ACLU would not support your own choice of brilliant attorneys because they were socialists and close to the Communist Party. Fortunate for you, you fought for your own civil liberties and retained your own attorneys.

Bond: Oh yeah, they were just fabulous. I couldn’t have chosen anybody as good as they were.

You may recall from this post, that fifteen years before turning its back on Bond, the ACLU had declined to support Black singer and activist Paul Robeson in his eight-year fight to get his passport reinstated. The government had revoked it — and in so doing seriously damaged Robeson’s career and earnings — because Robeson refused to sign an affidavit declaring that he was not a member of the Communist Party.  You may also recall that three years after doing nothing for Bond, the ACLU volunteered to represent members of the Ku Klux Klan in the beloved Brandenburg vs. Ohio case.

Perhaps one day I’ll understand why any self-respecting person of the left would contribute a dime to an organization staffed by neoliberal clowns and that, since the 40s, has consistently favored corporations, white supremacists and fascists, justifying itself with infantilizing fairy tales about how power actually works.

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68 Responses to The Time the ACLU Turned Its Back on Julian Bond

  1. Janice Golden says:

    dear tarzie.. it’s nice to see you back. : ) and can I ask, do you know how Arthur silber is and all?

    wish we could know these things. I wish he’d be back, too.

    l look forward to reading your latest… I’m sure, as always well and cleverly-written.. pithiness!

    I don’t mean for this to be on your comment page but/and I do wish I could know how silber is

    and his mailing ( snailing ) address so I could send that way… if it’s kosher, could you send back to me.


  2. A Really Small Farm says:

    Bond’s case should settle (it won’t, though) once and for all that the ACLU is not a red outfit as the conservatives and other patriots maintain.

    • Tarzie says:

      Conservatives will never be satisfied. That’s their MO. I find reds that support the ACLU far more troubling.

      Around here, we pretty much leave giving a fuck about conservatives to the many liberals that are happy to do that.

      • A Really Small Farm says:

        I agree. I was just thinking of the solidified intellects in my neck of the woods that I do everything possible to avoid. But sometimes you can’t..

        The ACLU’s decision to not defend Bond should shake up the liberals. Given their strong need to appear “reasonable” and “measured” I am sure that plenty of excuses can be made to justify the cowardice of the ACLU.

  3. PB says:

    Sorry to be off topic but I tried to send an email to your Gmail account a few weeks ago regarding the ACLU defending the rights of cigarette companies to advertise. Did you receive it?

    • Tarzie says:

      Yes I did. Unless I know someone already, I prefer to communicate with them here or on Twitter.

      It was a good find. Mark Ames wrote an article recently about the relationship of the ACLU to Big Tobacco, but I don’t think that priceless comment about abortion advocacy was in there.

  4. jason says:

    welcome back tarzie.

  5. RUKidding says:

    Thanks for the info and good to see you again.

    You know, my memory is spotty & unreliable, but it seems to me that the ACLU was not always viewed as “liberal” or “left wing” or similar. Back in ye olden days, it was viewed more (from what I remember) as the go-to org mostly for Free Speech stuff. Ergo, ACLU would defend the KKK to have their marches & rallies, BigTobacco to advertise, as well as defend other causes that are viewed – at least these days – as “liberal.”

    At the same time, I do remember the Julian Bond situation, and quite honestly, it wasn’t all that surprising at that time. I can’t remember if the State Dept still asks you if you ever belonged to a Communist Party when you apply for a passport, but they used to do that. Communism was the huge NO-NO back in the day (well, still is, but it’s different).

    I lived overseas for something like 9 years back in the late ’70s to mid-80s. When I returned, it seemed like all of a sudden a bunch of stuff had been re-labeled as “liberal” or “conservative.” It was confusing to me, at first, when my rightwing family were foaming at the mouth about the dastardly eeeevul “LIEbrul” media. I was like: what media is “liberal”? ALL of it, despite facts not in evidence. Well those were the nascent days of the 700 Club and the beginnings of what became Fox. And so it goes…

    Same for ACLU. All of a sudden it had become this eeeevul “LIEbrul” organization to be vilified by the “right” and deified by the “left.”

    My point being is that I think it’s all propaganda all the time. Just like the whole nasty fracas right now vis Planned Parenthood has ZERO to do with facts or reality – it’s just fascist meat for the base – something similar could be said vis the ACLU in terms of allegedly being this liberal bastion or something.

    One has to be very careful to really search out the facts and make a good attempt at figuring out what is really going on. Not always easy to do. But my rule of thumb (speaking only for myself) is to disbelieve ANY heavily promoted “narrative” and attempt to figure out what’s really happening.

    Losing your tv and listening to radio very very sparingly is helpful, along with reading blogs, such as this one. Thanks again.

    • Tarzie says:

      it seems to me that the ACLU was not always viewed as “liberal” or “left wing” or similar.

      I provided a brief history of its varying political emphases in this post. It was started by Reds in the 20s, lurched right in the late 30s, purging all pro-Soviet officers, including founders I believe, and continued in that spirit until the late 50s when it apparently purged anti-communists. It’s interesting that the decision against Robeson was reversed in 1958, after the ACLU that had declined to represent him earlier in the decade, went to bat for a white guy whose case was virtually identical in all meaningful respects. This reversal might have something to do with the purge of anti-communists that happened in the late 50s, but then it’s really weird that they went all Cold War on Julian Bond seven years later. It’s disquieting how, since the late 30s, these vagaries seem to work for fascists and corporations and against reds and Black people. At the moment, the ACLU seems pro-corporate/pro-fascist when it comes to legal advocacy, and this is dressed up with various special programs that play to liberal identity politics. By their very nature, their emphasis is overwhelmingly on state power, since the Bill of Rights doesn’t put corporations under any particular obligations.

  6. diane says:

    The ACLU, and other non profit ‘lawyer’ presiding entities have indirectly made pretty clear that “The Law” was never set up to aid the deliberately dispossessed.

    I believe those non profit ‘Lawyer[!]’ presiding entities get away with their crimes, in large part, by preying on idealistic young adults; much the same as the [The Financial] Accounting Industry, and The CIA, etcetera, …. et al …. do.

    An age old [absolutely blossomed in London] hideous triad of Finan$ial Accounting, Law, and Finan$e/Law Enforcement; which was only ever meant to sustain a handful of obscenely wealthy sociopaths, at any given time.

  7. erico says:

    I’ve done a few stints as a temp for ACLU offices in very liberal urban settings. The first time I took a position it was with hopes of being offered something permanent with an organization that I could believe in. That ignorant illusion was over in a week. The other times in other offices it was simply a secure option for a period of time with decent pay. And I knew better than to assume I had anything in common with my coworkers, who were more like the worst of the entertainment industry sociopaths I’d also worked for in other settings.

    A few days was long enough to learn quickly that money/power oriented opportunism and cynicism were the dominant values. Very cliquish, almost incestuous staffing, and overwhelmingly from the very ethnic backgrounds that give rise to the stereotypes that come to mind when hearing ‘ACLU lawyer’ (with behavior that seemed like actual caricatures of the stereotypes, almost too much to believe unless experienced first hand). This was true in offices thousands of miles from each other.

    I’m not old enough to have known what the ACLU really was, as demonstrated by this article for example, just old enough that its ‘liberal’ identity was something I took at face value. After my personal experiences, now when I read that a writer or public bigmouth has had some background connection to the ACLU or is effusive with praise, I am immediately cast back into skepticism about what they write and say.

    Nothing seems to remove the scales from naive admiring eyes for the ‘liberal’ class better than actual proximity to its more powerful members. It made me realize how Red I actually was. (Historic Red, not republican red lol;)

    • Tarzie says:

      Dude, I was with you until the anti-Semitism. I think the cultural problem at the ACLU is its domination by mostly affluent lawyers who run interference for capital by day.

      • erico says:

        Ha, I wondered a bit late after I posted if you would take it that way lol. I meant privileged white people from a handful of elite schools, but you jumped to a conclusion that suggests that stereotypes exist for a reason, they often correspond to what we experience.

        I wasn’t prepared for how people can act in ways that make those stereotypes come to life, as if they learned their identities from bad tv shows or movies. Maybe all of us are like that to some degree now in a media saturated world, we are shaped in ways we may not be aware of, even to the extent we act like cartoons. Rich people of all backgrounds seem to act in similar ways in my experience, clueless (or proud?) of how vile and arrogant they are. Some of the cartoons in the office were jewish, that is true, but if I say they acted like bad cartoons, that isn’t antisemitic, that’s just relating real people to images in the media created and owned by some of those cartoons. Don’t ask me to explain why they acted this way lol, I don’t think I can.

        What shocked me most though was how open the contempt was, for the little people and their ridiculous ideas. The posturing we read from the ACLU in media, about why they ‘stand’ for something, was mocked in the office. Cheerful cynicism seemed to be the norm, at least to me. When you are low level staff, you are invisible to the people that matter, they seem not to care what they reveal in unguarded moments. Servants in the age of Empire were probably the most familiar with how repulsive the Oligarchs really were, and are. Probably explains a lot about why I migrated towards working with plants lol. Social climbing was too nauseating (and impossible anyway) and working for elites too degrading.

        And yeah, I too live in economic dread now. Living simply was very good for quite a while, but suddenly it turned into rather desperate poverty and anxiety when gentrification thrust me into the real world most americans live in now. My desire to stay true to what I believed in and not sell out has definitely come at a cost, just with a delay that I didn’t anticipate. No way back now, I will die much younger and shriveled by stress lol, thanks to my precious principles. Oh well, I try to accept my fate. But since I do hope there are others who are wiser and braver and therefore more successful while still fighting for justice, its really hard to lose heroes or become disillusioned with how the voices of the Left have betrayed those they claim to speak for.

      • Tarzie says:

        you jumped to a conclusion that suggests that stereotypes exist for a reason, they often correspond to what we experience.

        No, I assumed anti-Semitism because Jews are frequently over-represented in liberal and left organizations and I’m pretty sure the ACLU is no exception. Your language sounded cryptic to me in a way I associate with dog whistling. I’m relieved that I was jumping to conclusions and apologize for doing so.

        they seem not to care what they reveal in unguarded moments

        This is a great observation. I noticed the same thing when I was temping for big corporations and law firms. I was sometimes even a shoulder to whine on during awkward moments in elevators and lunch rooms.

        I had a period where I spent more time with rich people than one of my social standing usually does and concluded that, yes, the rich are different. They’re mostly awful. These people would exchange stories of humiliating The Help and random service people. Some of them were extremely corrupt and a lot of them were racist. I’d by lying if I said there weren’t a few nice ones, though.

        Keep your head up and don’t resign yourself to an early death. Just because one avenue was disappointing doesn’t mean they all are. I’m sorry to hear about your financial troubles and hope they improve. Sometimes the geographical cure is good for that. Finding a community via a shared interest or faith can also get you out of a rut. Make sure to take advantage of all that’s left of the social safety net.

    • diane says:

      I remember my initiation, into my once (felt absolutely economically forced, to “find an occupation“,….. which did least harm, … or face utter economic misery) occupation, required my infiltrating Non Profits (on my own time and very much against my gut instincts: because it was absolutely all for the wrong reason) – in order to evade ultimate homelessness … and ‘enjoy’ …. hideous, …. quite deadly, …. “fruits.”

      I opted out of those fruits, and while I don’t ultimately regret it, I am living in daily economic fear now.

      So very glad I never had children, as I feel I never could have fully supported them in living a lifestyle where they could actually live without daily economic fear.

      Hopefully things will change for the better, but it is not looking too good, … currently.

    • Rich says:

      Eric, brilliant, poignant and all of what you wrote can be said of the institution of medicine where also the stereotypes apply. However, I disagree with Tarzie’s weakened encouragement as the opportunities become increasingly closed in this dismal socioeconomic environment especially and particularly when holding to the admirable principals you espouse and unfortunately corrupted by the cynical beings in charge of the ACLU.

      • Tarzie says:

        I disagree with Tarzie’s weakened encouragement

        Sorry for not being entirely dismal and discouraging, but there are good people out there and there are ways of getting by without asking capital’s permission. It’s not easy, but I don’t think eric has to resign himself to an early grave just yet. He’s certainly fucked if he wants to work for the ACLU and the riff raff they serve, but those aren’t the only options.

      • diane says:

        there are ways of getting by without asking capital’s permission.

        not always (at least in any non daily horror sort of way), particularly when one becomes so poverty ridden they rely on (have become wards of) the [Corporatized] $TATE for a pittance of sustenance (which they actually already paid for, and then some); at least if one considers ‘getting by’ a step above begging, or dumpster diving, for food and sleeping on cement, in a previously afforded old car, or, other increasingly forbidden sleeping (and sitting) areas.

        The not always particularly applies to those whose friends and loved ones are not connected, never have been, to those still few still making somewhat liveable income.

      • Tarzie says:

        You’re right, Diane. I put it too strongly. I didn’t mean to imply that anyone can get out of a rut. I’m just saying that, for some, there are non-state actors who can help. Various fellowships, intentional communities etc. And things individuals can do for themselves, contingent on their circumstances, like raise their own vegetables or join with others who are doing that. My point was simply “don’t give up prematurely.”

    • forest says:

      “A few days was long enough to learn quickly that money/power oriented opportunism and cynicism were the dominant values. Very cliquish, almost incestuous staffing…”

      an acquaintance working on the sanders campaign describes the elder staffers/organizers as authoritarian opportunists who waste no time to publicly (in the office or in group emails) humiliate anybody who shows any signs of thinking-for-themselves. she’s ‘sure bernie isn’t like that’. nonetheless, her superiors have threatened to fire her for simply making suggestions (based on years of on-the-ground experience) she thought would better carry the message. the college kids doing a lot of the leg work apparently think the abuse is ok if it comes from the right source.

      • Rich says:

        Classic behavior of social dominators. This is their time to shine. You’d think this shit was fairly unique to the military but its rampant in society

      • babaganusz says:


        You’d think this shit was fairly unique to the military

        only within enclaves that don’t bother obscuring their celebration of Might Makes Right. plenty in every stratum who flow with the killologist rhetoric, whether wittingly or un-, protectively or otherwise.

  8. erico says:

    Hey Tarzie, I probably should have added that I grew up overseas and without american tv, only really started spending time in the US as a young adult, so a lot of what seems obvious to most people about popular culture or even stereotypes came to me a bit late and in strange order lol. Kind of like what a previous poster described above. And as I said in my first post here, I’m really intensely cautious about online life, it is such a minefield, so I had to look up dogwhistling because I didn’t know what you meant lol! I’m glad I learned something, and I have to be more careful in my references. Identity politics of the american kind are so terrifying, in particular. And I say that as a gay man with a nonwhite immigrant spouse lol…

    It is probably a cliche, and therefore very common, to realize as one ages that perhaps one way to view life is as a series of disappointments and disillusionments. I grew up religious and even when I gave that up, wanting a life of meaning and purpose was still important. It has been hard to learn through rough experience just how unprepared for the sociopathic Randian real american society of today that I am. Academics was my first choice, teaching is something I love to do, but the vicious competitiveness and politics were beyond me and I had to quit (but with huge debt despite scholarships). I did a stint in Peace Corps and those politics were also horrendous and treacherous and utterly shocking to me, but they did prevent me from pursuing the nightmare seduction of foreign aid work and the corruption required. Working in nonprofits in public health was great until I realized that my job, and those of my coworkers, was simply to be employed no matter how unethical we were in massaging data and chasing funds. It was hard to sustain my energy and commitment when my illusions were shattered. I would have been much better at my job if I’d been a lot less idealistic, that is the sad truth.

    Eventually I really did end up working in parks and landscaping, union jobs (so satisfying as a Red lol) with lots of plant contact and minimal people contact lol but a dying profession and no longer possible with age and cutbacks. Thanks to a spouse who is better with real life in corporate slavery, we have been mostly housed and fed at the bottom of the economic latter as my own employment choices have dwindled into extinction. I’m fine with that, I’m actually much more suited to being a homemaker anyway. But some terrifyingly close calls with real homelessness and destitution this last year have been devastating.

    To fully understand just how much your life depends on the arbitrary decisions of an employer and a landlord has totally shaken me and my perky spouse. Our ignorance of that really was a gift. We thought that by foregoing a mortgage, a car, living simply by cooking and reading and having friends that we were escaping a lot of the debt/acquisition trap that made everyone around us so miserable and enslaved. But all we were doing was riding luck for enough years that we became blind.

    Our much younger neighbors in a poor military town (post forced exile after gentrification) already knew the truth and they seemed to pity me when I came to them shaking with fear. They have already lived their shorter lives on a constant roller-coaster ride of multiple shit jobs and unreliable housing, plus bouts of dumpster diving and street sleeping. In my first month, I met young military vets who are junkies, permanently damaged, abandoned. My employed neighbors are just the shortest moment away from disaster. They have already lived the stuff I’ve read about for decades but thought I’d mostly escaped by always choosing less right from the start.

    We and everyone we know have no rich parents or friends to fall back on if the bottom falls out. To face the reality, within days, of having the physical evidence of decades of our modest lives dropped off at Goodwill and sleeping in a shelter, or using saving and credit cards to stay in a crack motel indefinitely while trying to find a job and housing, no way had I ever contemplated something like that. Even if all you own is books, a mac Mini, cooking gadgets, crafty projects and used clothing, to face the total and sudden loss of it all is overwhelming. I find myself obsessed with the refugee story in Europe (where I grew up), thinking of all those people who are facing even more than what I felt like has been something that would destroy me.

    I had no idea that I was as devoid of courage as I really am. I’ve lived half my life overseas, I’ve travelled in dangerous parts of the world and managed, I’ve lived a very nontraditional life with some success, I really thought I had created a tiny niche of some safety and life I could feel was mine and free-ish, given the facts beyond my control. But I was wrong. I have always been submitting to Capital, I just fooled myself otherwise.

    If I had to start over, I think I would choose to submit more intelligently, and knowingly and in a planned way. Attaching myself to one particular evil ACLU lawyer might have made for more security for a times, until abandonment of course as they moved on to bigger opportunities to plunder. I could have continued working in nonprofits and tried to keep the fraud to say 80% instead of 98%. I could have taken tons of designer pills to cope with evil bosses in Hollywood (who liked me) and used personal connections to find more stability, or at least dodge disaster more successfully. I could have been a rent boy lol, I had offers. I could have engaged in far more of the soul destroying distractions that everyone else engages in to cope with life in a hideously insane society lol, instead of trying to keep my own coping addictions to free things or anything that doesn’t actually make me more insane myself.

    I think what makes rich people, and ‘successful’ people, survive in today’s Amerikkka is a calculated and sober realization that the whole thing is so filthy that there is no escape. You choose just how evil you want to be and what you can live with, and then you cultivate denial and distraction. That’s at least for those who don’t start out sociopathic and are thus unbothered by anything they do to get what they want. Perhaps the worst damage that came from my religious phase (lasting until my 20’s) was a completely ridiculous concept of how the world works and how to live in it. I continued to believe in trying to live ethically when all that did was constantly set me up for stupid types of mistakes.

    Maybe some of the cynical scum at the ACLU offices where I worked were actually convinced that a small portion of what they did was good, and maybe their cold cruelty was also an act, to fit in with the prevailing culture. Maybe they suffered moments of despair and self loathing, the way I did for working there as a temp lol. Maybe they were braver than me for facing up to reality and trying to just get on with it. They probably didn’t agonize over which addictions to indulge in as they coped lol. They certainly earned a lot more than I did and could afford better addictions.

    I don’t know. Maybe the celebrity Left has decided that a tiny fraction of what they do is still good, which justifies the grotesque shit they do that Tarzie skewers. I’ve stopped looking for pure heroes, at least I know now that they don’t exist. I try to pay attention to the ones I can still admire, I can live with Chris Hedges’ flaws lol. But I can’t stop hating the people I feel have betrayed most of what they claim to stand for.

    Maybe being the one who betrays is less painful when you already know in advance it may be required. Maybe it is somewhat mistaken to despise GG (for me) as much as I do because he might have already known from the outset that he was going to be tainted, going to compromise in despicable ways. It was just part of his own decision in making a life in the world as it is. Maybe if I’d decided that myself back in my 20’s, I’d have created better chances for me and my spouse to survive what is coming. We have never had the options for buying some eco getaway to grow food and live pure lol, never ever ever. Maybe if I’d sold out enough at the right time, we could have had a slim brief chance at that option. Maybe I could have selected ways to betray that I could still live with, and avoid getting sucked into a descending spiral. But that of course is what everyone thinks, the ones who make deals with the Devil lol, right?

    I don’t in any way mean this to suggest that I find what GG and other celebrity Lefters to be doing as justifiable in any sense! Especially when what a lot of what they do comes down to preserving their own privilege and status and protecting the oligarchs at whose teats they suckle. Whoring in order to create a safe space for yourself and loved ones (if you are lucky enough to have a few) is one thing and sometimes the best and only option, but a lot of what Tarzie exposes is something else entirely and it is disgusting.

    Experiencing betrayal is so awful, you just don’t get over it really. I have a totally new understanding now in middle age of the kind of anger and deflected rage and hatred that makes this country such a potential fascist powder keg. Man, does this country yearn for a Hitler, to make everything ‘right’ and let us feel less helpless and ridiculous. Even someone as ludicrous as Trump. My neighbors now are nice people, friendly in ways my liberal city neighbors never were, but they are scary too. But I don’t hate them, and I get why they believe some of what they believe. The only popular stories that appear to make sense of what is happening to us now are fascist stories. And when the Left betrays even those small numbers of people who still bother to listen to them, it really is bleak and desolate and enraging.

    It has taken me a lifetime to realize that perhaps my fascist dad was right in some important ways, the Right does know something essential about the real world now. I chose the Left because I despised him and his beliefs, but did that do me any good? My own small actions have likely made no difference at all in the bigger picture, and they locked me firmly into the Precariat. I know the Empire will fall, and that is perhaps the only happy thought I have about the future lol, but I will be crushed by it, as will most of the people I know. My favorite young nephew went off to join Occupy in NYC, I was thrilled and apprehensive. Now he is schizophrenic and working three shit jobs and smoking too much pot to cope with having been made a zombie by the legal drugs. Disillusionment is so dangerous when you are young, perhaps I was lucky to be naive as long as I was. But I have no idea what to say to him about how to cope with life, even my extremely modest life example has imploded.

    Ha, damn this is so fucking long, way too personal, probably maudlin too, apologies lol. No soccer today, my current drug of choice in between chores, so a few beers and the sudden dangerous urge to compose in front of the screen…

    • Tarzie says:

      Please don’t ever apologize for a post like that. I feel my commenters leave me gifts. The long ones are the big gifts. Hearing about your experience is really sobering. I think you’re right that everything is tainted with the Randian meanness at the heart of middle class and upper middle class culture. This is why I resist their dominance of left politics. I don’t think people on the lower rungs are as bad. I think affluent white people are mostly horrible. So are many affluent POC for that matter.

      You bring out this urge in me to try to say something encouraging, but I’m in no position to. Since you correctly see the US as uniquely vicious, why have you not returned to your original country? Did you give up your citizenship? If I suddenly realized I had an easy way outta here I’d probably be on a plane in a month.

    • diane says:

      a toast to you dear, my cheap ass “barefoot” cabernet to your 2 beers.

      that was a beautiful comment you wrote, thank you so much.

      and, about those “non-profits,” such as the ACLU – and, so called “social workers” – oh my god, when I received a cancer diagnosis after 3 years of livable wage unemployment (despite being ‘qualified’), I came to fully realize (while I had previously just deeply suspected), after hours upon hours wasted in a futile search for absoliutely minimal legal assistance, just how sadistic so many of them end up being.

      They mustn’t upset their obscenely wealthy benefactors.

      then, again, there are those life saving non-profits, such as Docotrs Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, but they have multiple, incinerating bombs dropped on them and those innocent victims they give their lives to…..

      what a horrid week, think I’ll have another, a toast, to better days.

  9. erico says:

    OMG I woke up with so much anxiety this morning lol, remembering I had actually posted my long whine of despair lol, almost afraid to check back. This really is among the very best comment sections of any site where I lurk, I’m still a bit in shock that even with beer bravado I managed to hit the post comment button. And don’t worry, no need for encouragement, it is enough not to read anything as cruel or snarky as I’ve had to read in the past, those rare times I posted something, so thank you;)

    Much of the last 15 years or so have been oriented towards an escape from Empire for me and the spouse, both of us unfortunately being citizens of two countries we are desperate not to live in lol, me being the american (despite birth and childhood abroad). Without yet more ridiculous personal rambling lol, I can tell you that it is incredibly difficult as a non rich person. Having chosen an employment path with income limitations due to my desire for ethical/moral purity lol, just surviving here with some quality of life has been already a serious challenge, let alone creating the means to jump ship and get started in a new country.

    But I tried lol! I’ve slept on floors with friends in France trying to learn enough French to earn a few points for a Canadian visa, I spent a few years back at school to learn a portable health care skill, I scouted shelters in various european countries in order to gauge what being illegal there would be like, I’ve planned joint migrations with different groups of friends all seeking to get out, and every plan has failed. Like most of the others who have seen through the american nightmare and who are not among the elite, we are stuck here.

    I think a part of why I wanted to confess much of what I wrote in my long post is because I’m trying to come to terms with being so defeated. Every one of us probably thinks we would be the ones who would see the Storms coming, escape the Nazi’s or the camps or the wars, be the early refugees to find a new home, or even just avoid the worst affects of living in a psychotic culture of death. But the reality is that most people don’t end up in those roles. I just didn’t know that quite so firmly before. My story won’t be a heroic story of survival, I will be one of the faceless losers who are crushed. Maybe more of us should speak up about it lol, to stop playing into the american bullshit about never giving up and you’ll get the reward.

    There is so much stigma in this country, about being lonely (so we have countless other conditions and illnesses that hide the underlying truth) and about being defeated, about failure. Nothing is worse, nothing. Nobody can admit it in any way as the core truth of their own story, striving must never cease, failure is just temporary. But by conforming to this lie we just continue to victimize ourselves, making it all even more miserable than it already is lol. Which probably really is the true american way, enslaving ourselves in better and better ways. Even victimization is now an intense competition for status lol, striving to become the most victimized and then who overcomes the most, its insane and its sickening (except as entertainment in a gruesome way lol).

    So much of what is written here makes me think of Paolo Freire’s insight, that people learn power in a certain way. And if they manage to gain it (no matter how) they often merely reproduce it as they experienced it. Meaning coercive, unjust, corrupt, all the rest of it. I lived in Brazil, wow do you ever learn there about the cycle of evil power lol. I think what we see in the elite Left is exactly that. The evidence that what has really happened is merely clever individuals seeking power and status among the House slaves to the oligarchs, just with a different flavor than the Right (who are at least honest about what they are doing). That is why they never really question anything from a truly Left perspective, too risky and too fundamentally opposed to their own agendas. Its like some of the truest critiques of the Occupy experience: a group of people who mostly just want IN, not to change anything past getting their own shot at every mainstream bourgeois commodity fetish presented by popular culture.

    And as Diane points out, the treatment we get from our pathetic tattered social ‘safety net’ is just another encounter with the security state and its indifference, cruelty and violence. The people that staff even the best Leftie outfits are still formed and shaped by a profoundly sick and hideous society. We just don’t know better, even if we can come to an accurate assessment of what needs to change. Again, this isn’t an excuse, more like a story that is very hard to hear. I certainly haven’t wanted to hear it myself lol, too bleak. But if insanity really is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, than I have been insane for a long long time, in action and belief.

    I have a lot of doubts about Freire’s methods of learning other experiences of power, but I never really got a chance to see them in action among the landless movement where they are trying some of his methods. But I admit I’ve had a hard time countering the arguments from my stalinist friend that since power is only going to be held by people from this planet and shaped by current cultures, the best we can hope for is totalitarianism with a better set of values. Nobody I met in Brazil had illusions about Lula or the PT, they just were the least awful options among a crew of the most despicable people alive on this planet. Those who think Putin is an answer of sorts, they have a point. Horrific that we have come to that. The Pope is perhaps the only left-ish person of note that I can think of, absolutely mind boggling.

    Something I greatly admire about the anti-civ movement is their recognition that reform is impossible, the whole thing needs to be destroyed. They do delude themselves into thinking they will survive it and can create something better, but the same Freire phenomena suggests that this is impossible. We are too diseased in a truly deep way, whatever comes next will have to come from people who are descended from those who survive but are less tainted by our times.

    I don’t know yet what some of these thoughts mean. I don’t even know if I can truly consider myself Left anymore, if Left necessitates a belief in progress. I’ve very much come to question a lot of the Enlightenment aspects of Left tradition, but the so-called Dark Enlightenment is so scary (and so insidiously appealing in some ways) that I wonder if I need to act as if I still believe, simply because there is no other moral option. Sort of like Unitarianism and god lol.

    I think fascism has already won, its just a matter of how terrible it will be and what it will do. I don’t know what the Left can still offer, its failure against the Nazi’s haunts me. And back then the Left actually still had social capital, community, real world social contexts, political structures and networks, and some experiences of success. Not just the illusions provided by the intertubes and tweets and gay marriage. We don’t even have the specter of the USSR now as some sort of illusory option for the time after fascism, if there is such a time that still includes living people and a planet to support them.

    Okay, too long again, jeez, speedy fingers and no soccer games and the laundry is done lol, gotta stop. Apologies again for the bleak aspect, the truth is I simply have no one to talk to about such stuff in real life, everyone (including me most of the time) is too desperate for distraction and finding small happy moments in the madness to really stay with such thoughts. After years of living in the gayest neighborhood in one of the most liberal cities in this country, I have not found anything like a true community, just some decent individuals who are insane/alienated in some familiar ways that allow us to bump uglies once in a while before we just get back to survival lol. And even amongst ourselves, we simply can’t talk about our defeat, our failures, our diminished futures. We joke about our coping addictions, we laugh about the horror of everything, but its too hard to be serious for more than a few moments once in a while. And now we are so dispersed, even that doesn’t happen.

    My new neighbors have never in their lives experienced community, they don’t even believe social trust is an option, their approach to life is careful paranoia. The real working class is so exhausted and stressed out and alone (even when forced to live like rats together to avoid the street), maybe all they have left is anger and resentment. And an appreciation for shitty beer and shared joints lol, they are a far more generous bunch than any of my city neighbors. And they don’t share our social time with gadgets or talk about jobs to flaunt their status, I forgot that was even possible. (Perhaps the single best thing about living in another country is that nobody asks you ‘what do you do?’ and proceed to bore you to death with their mindless work bullshit lol, I guess that might still happen among the Precariat here.)

    I just finished rereading this book, please find it and read it. For me it has been the most important guidebook to the place I live now and my new social context. I was always a member of this class of people, but I lived carefully in tiny spaces in elite parts of the city and had far expanded mental/philosophical opportunities for understanding the world. When you read the stories of how these people explain their own lives, it will tell you far more than you want to know about the utter failure of any Left in this country.

    • jason says:

      erico, i’ve been thinking about your comments above all day & now this one. i spent my day temping at the national industries for the [insert disability]. the word “industry” says it all. make ’em useful. start them out on that path by giving them a $1000 [disability] tax credit. be generous about it & do it annually. at tax time. and put their asses to work. most of ’em wind up beggars anyway, but hey, you know they do give some [disabled] people a benefit: something to do.

      there are people reading/browsing/maybe commenting here who have dealt with or may be facing circumstances similar to those you’ve described. i think of the refugees too. and exile.

    • Tarzie says:

      I love your long posts, erico. Never feel self-conscious here about sharing insights and experience.

    • Ryan says:

      The “Dark Enlightenment” is a troll. It’s a really clever inversion of radical leftist speech.

    • diane says:

      And they don’t share our social time with gadgets or talk about jobs to flaunt their status, I forgot that was even possible.

      your words, erico, brought to mind a verse from a cd I bought in early 2001; after going back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA (Pennsylvania)… to give a last kiss goodnight and pall bear (imagine that, I somehow got catholic dispensation, in a catholic church to pall bear, as a female ….

      The cd, by Erin McKeown (of MA (Massachusetts)), was titled Distillation. As I recollect, I bought it without knowing anything about her, but I had heard, on a Pittsburgh radio station I happened to tune into, The Little Cowboy, or, was it The Queen of Quiet (sigh …. the cancer med does not aid short, to mid term, memory; ….. then again, …. in some ways that can be a real blessing ….. siiiiiiighhhhhhh), … ‘over the radio.’

      And, your words, erico, brought to mind some words of her song – … from that same Distillation cd – ….. Love in 2 Parts:

      In a san francisco loft you couldn’t pay for could hear your heart beat through the floor boards.

      I waved my hope around like a cheap flag, whose colors had faded, whose emblem was laughable


      • diane says:

        In a san francisco loft you couldn’t pay for, I could hear your heart beat through the floor boards.

        I waved my hope around like a cheap flag, whose colors had faded, whose emblem was laughable

        ( I had initially misquoted, in the in$ane Tecnocratic Hurry which is being imposed on everyone hoping to do something, however ‘small,’ correctly, towards … a better day ….)

      • diane says:

        (actually, it looks like she’s of Fredericksown VA, but had already ‘migrated’ to MA, when she produced Distillation.)

    • Mardy says:

      I bought that book at your recommendation, btw.

      Its short, but I can only read it in short spurts. It’s depressing and reminds me too much of reality.

    • babaganusz says:

      i should be back to respond in more detail and appreciation, but just quickly on my first pass:

      I grew up religious and even when I gave that up, wanting a life of meaning and purpose was still important.

      thank fuck for that! same here. and i don’t trust the chuckleheads who blatantly make a point of out-of-hand dismissal of the ‘indulgent’ notions of meaning/purpose.

      But if insanity really is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome,

      it really isn’t. that’s yet another byproduct of the fashion for flippant oversimplification. i still haven’t seen a source (it’s occasionally misattributed to Einstein) but it’s just a mash-up of perseverance and perseveration.

      I feel pretty much the same about heroes, Hedges, and altruistic/humanistic prospects in general. i expect Coming Short is about as uplifting as Death of the Liberal Class?

  10. Ryan C. says:

    The interesting thing is that the ACLU, I can’t tell how it’s structured. They have subbranches, with their own websites, for instance, there’s an ACLU of California, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. They publish their financials, but it’s not immediately clear where they spend the most money, or how this structure hides donations, although it appears that for each region of the United States, they have a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4.

    Also, Morris Ernst apparently was Hoover’s spy in the ACLU. The penetration of society by establishment elements today is also quite bewildering. 20committee likes to talk about the brazen boldness of Russian intelligence, but looking at the results of , it well, I’m a bit speechless but I reckon you can figure out the emotion I’m trying to convey now.

  11. wendyedavis says:

    Thank you for the post, and all for the good comments. I’m tempted to say ‘OT’, but not really: ‘The Movement Lives in Ferguson’ by Drew Franklin on October 9, 2015; Teach For America, Black Leadership, and Disaster Capitalism’

    cross-posted at BAR, along with other sad evidence, including other cross-posts I’ve been reading at different sites. sigh x 10. Way beyond my suspicions; he and his helpmeets did some major digging.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, that post has caused a bit of a kerfuffle. No real surprises except for, in the words of the author, “how deep the rabbit hole goes.” The bright side is that it’s a really accomplished piece of writing from a smart, insightful person, which is always cheering no matter what it discloses.

      • wendyedavis says:

        That is a bright side, but it’s upset me enough that I might call it ‘cold comfort’. But yes, I just read another of Drew’s diaries.

        I’d mentioned my discomfort about Brittany Packnett, TFA, and deray as far back as before FDL folded up shop, having some inkling about charter schools as corporate profiteering shock doctrine prescriptions. The King dude taking Arne Duncan’s job sounds even worse (if that’s possible), according to those who champion just public education for all. Egad.

        But the depth and breadth of the ‘rabbit hole’ astounds me, as do the spin-offs globally. The funding sources say it all, although I can’t remember that The Gates Foundation was mentioned. Drew’s highlighting of TFA’s “leadership” schemes, and their graduates and members’ eventual power within government…took me aback: so naked, but couched in such benign terms.

        Ah, I gotta go, but two things: where were the kerfuffles?, and more ACLU sell-out, this time in IL.

        erico, i do have some thoughts on your response; I’ll get back when I’m able.

      • wendyedavis says:

        ooof and bugger: I forgot this. A commenter at my small site said something about this; I Duck-duck went, and found this (deray, of course):

        most hilarious tweet from Edward: @Snowden #CampaignZero’s policy proposals illustrate the kind of civil control of state power that could end the increasing militarization of society

        I’d also forgotten to say that now we know why deray is everywhere, from msnbc to latenight to

        I’d reckoned that palestian bassem masri might be the most militant in the movement (other than blackoutcollective and bay solidarity) but he’s even toutin’ the bern, the ‘maybe israel’s bombing of gaza is a bit disproportional ‘ candidate.

  12. erico says:

    @diane: bookmarked Erin in order to listen to more of her, nice to get a pointer to something new in music, I’m hopelessly out of touch lol;)

    @Ryan: I only discovered the Dark Enlightenment as I followed a lot of really enjoyable philosophical writing/blogs and found some of them veering in a quite frightening direction. Something I think too many people forget nowadays is just how appealing fascism was to a lot of the best and most creative young minds of its time. Horrifying to think that the Left has so degraded itself that far too many youthful curious and intelligent minds now think that any future ‘light’ must come from the dark side (as some of the sites proclaim out in the open). The Enlightenment has been a tragic dead end in lots of ways, but the alternatives–even if they really do address our times to a frightening degree–are so horrific, retro in the absolutely worst ways, and I hate how they can come across as obvious, plausible, necessary to otherwise intelligent people.

    @Mardy: I confess I checked it out twice before I completed the book the first time because a few pages into anyone’s story got me so upset and emotional I couldn’t continue reading. It was easier the second time, the pain was dulled I guess lol. Yeah, even with its academic detachment it is a very depressing read. In my academic days my area of focus was in line with a lot of Putnam’s research on social capital; I kept thinking while reading the book how utterly alien that concept is for millions of young american members of the Precariat.

    Since that time, I have also discovered the dark side of social capital, the kind created by joining groups focused on all the worst things. In my area, the lonely betrayed strugglers can join culty churches (prosperity bullshit), gangs, drug focused party groups, the online sex addict ‘community’, hate groups of varying intensities, weapons worshippers, you get the idea. Perhaps the lucky ones are those who just stay home and watch shitty corporate tv where at least sociopaths get to act out against antagonists and we can enjoy vicarious release lol.

    Does our modern global capitalist society, even in the periphery, produce only sociopathically shaped individuals? Can these individuals even attempt to create something better? Or is it like atheists trying to start a pentacostal church, or vegans starting up a barbecue restaurant chain lol? I don’t know, I’m starting to doubt it. All those young people who rejected the hideous conformist/racist values of the 50’s only created incredibly fucked up communes, then sold out, and then raised the vapid evil 80’s generation that still rules lol. Or so it seems sometimes, in a cartoonish way of course.

    Putnam also wrote about ‘path dependency’, how you couldn’t get to a certain place if you were already along a different path. Unless there was some great rupture, or revolution, usually coming from exterior factors. Where can current americans really get to now? Other than the obvious fascism they already believe in and hope to intensify lol? Spain (under the socalists before the current PP regime), Germany, are impossible pathways (let alone Sweden lol), we will simply never get to the places they are now degrading and dismantling. Americans would simply never create a society that looked like those places, even if some superficial things were imported, like bike lanes and social housing and stricter gun control.

    What my most honest young neighbors want is ‘everything to fucking burn to the ground’. That’s what they say over beers and laughs. These are people with kids. How scary is that?

    @wendy: god what an awful story, shocking but not surprising. It made me think back to all the hardest lessons I was forced to learn in my Peace Corps experience. At one point in my escape from Amerikkka saga, I actually went and spent an hour with a recruiter a couple of years ago, talking about doing it all again. She was absolutely blunt with me (off the record), perhaps only because I was pretty honest about my experience the first time. In her view, Peace Corps was nothing more than a weeding out process, to see who would in the end extinguish any remaining flickers of personal ethics in order to Conform and Obey and begin moving up the ladder towards full time government agency employment. My hour with her left me in shock for a week, things were so far worse now than in my day. Her stories from other volunteers she knew personally were simply incredible, almost too awful to believe. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by what TFA really is about.

    That expose also reminded me of one of those things that it seems are impossible to discuss online (turns so quickly and inevitably into a raging hatefest lol): how sycophantic opportunists and collaborators in our corrupt oligarchy now come in more colors and genders and shapes. Those who learn quickly enough how to game a flawed system that was supposed to in some way compensate for historic discrimination can now reproduce the kind of corrupt power their communities have suffered under for generations, and gain personal wealth and status in the process. I could type for far too many hours about the worst people I’ve had to work with in my own small life, in all of my various employments and volunteer activities, and how often the most deeply corrupt and cynical were not straight white men at all. Ha, but that is as far as I wanna go.

    So lately GG has written some good stuff, reminds me of the time when he seemed to be the only one during the Bush years who said certain things, back when he was a sort of hero for me, sigh. And the ACLU appears to be going after those fucking mormon designers of our torture regime. I guess even those who are clearly stained can do something good-ish. Maybe that is all we can hope for, even if it produces no real change at all.

    During my health care employment, for a stretch I supervised a needle exchange and had to become very familiar with the concept of Harm Reduction. I imagine people here will know more about it than the general public, where 12 step bullshit dominates almost completely lol. I’ve tried to use the concept in my own life, especially as I’ve become increasingly aware of just how enmeshed in hideous webs of exploitation I am, without hope of escape or purity. I can buy used clothes, still produced by slave girls, but at least not benefitting retail outlets and their terrorized staff. I can buy local vegetables (when I can afford it) from farms where I’ve stopped by to say hello to the exploited undocumented workers who pick it. Examples lol, pathetic but you get the idea.

    Is it cowardice or capitulation to think that maybe all I can expect these days is that fallen heroes and corrupt elite organizations only serve Capital 99% of the time, that 1% of the good they do almost by accident or merely for camouflage is still something lol? I’m way past hopium, but despair is so tiring and hatred takes a lot of energy lol. Dull resentment and a smoldering sort of disgust, is that a step up, in a harm reduction sort of way when looking at the putrid decaying corpse of the Left lol?

    Where do you guys look for something more substantial, if you’ve found it? I subscribe to Jacobin, I read Giroux, Hedges, Steppling, Graeber and Scott, I still have a crush on both Mark Ames and Taibbi lol, there is a lot there that makes me feel better for a short time and I’m glad they exist. But even that is often nothing I can send in a text or recommend to any of my neighbors, its like writing from another planet. Is there really no populist/leftist/marxist Precariat-class ranter and writer out there, someone who can speak to the same people who listen to Alex Jones? Tarzie comes close lol, I have sent some of your posts to people who wouldn’t normally ever be caught dead reading anything remotely connected to ‘left’ lol.

    • Rich says:

      So I will add Richard Seymour at Lenins Tomb, John Ralston Saul, the Ford guy at Black Agenda Report, Chris Floyd, Tarzie of course and you, Erico to the ppl who must be read simply for the reason their words resonate, illuminate across the entire spectrum, our hope in halting this deepening descent into the oblivion.

    • diane says:

      @diane: bookmarked Erin in order to listen to more of her, nice to get a pointer to something new in music, I’m hopelessly out of touch lol;)

      I hope she’s still producing music as talented, unusual, and thought begging as her early Distillation.

      I’m, likely, far more out of touch with currently produced music then you are …. ever since I refused to sign on to [The 24/7 Surveilled Cloud!] iPod listening; while iPod master Steve Jobs was known to prefer analogue music to [24/7 SURVEILLED Cloud] digital, and the [likely] stunningly well off Virtual Reality! Microsoft Lab technocrat, Jaron Lanier, pretty much admitted to being instrumental – in his You Are Not a Gadget book (which he likely made a ‘pretty penny’ of off) – in destroying the ever so subtle curves analog was so capable of acknowledging …. for the always sharp cornered and surveilled, digital sound, which refuses to acknowledge nuance, to my understanding and experience.

      Quite the whirled we live in, vinyl albums and wind up watches became affordable to most everyone. As soon as they became affordable to near everyone, they were [deliberately?] obsolesced for something quite shabby and constantly surveilled.

      Now, way late in the day, we’re told those who pawned off [forced, actually] the DIGITAL shabbiness and 24/7 Surveillance, spend thousands for those same unconnected/unsurveilled analogue wind up watches and the far, far better …analogue music [Vinyl]….which used to be affordable and accessible to the masses, along with not utterly bankrupting the lesser known watchmakers and musicians.

    • wendyedavis says:

      Ha; re: TSA and its vaunted ‘leadership training’, a commenter tweaked it into ‘followership’, quite like your ‘weeding out’.

      And in a nother essay at, ‘We don’t need black leadership’, quotes Sarah Kendzior:

      “In addition to questioning the profit motives of organizations, protesters complain of a “star system” that resulted in a large amount of resources being given to a small number of people. A dozen or so Ferguson protesters, such as Johnetta Elzie, now of Amnesty International in Chicago, and Deray McKesson, of Teach for America in Minneapolis, have tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but most protesters toil in relative anonymity. On the ground in St. Louis, protesters come and go, stymied by daily pressures—who will watch the kids while they protest, how to compensate for lost hourly wages, how to earn a living so they can afford to be in the die-in.

      “Black Leadership as a Colonizing Force
      The idea that Black leadership is somehow inherently progressive and therefore “must be foregrounded” just doesn’t hold water when we look to history. The African colonial experience clearly demonstrates the fallacy of this argument. Under colonialism, Black leadership was foregrounded by the white colonizing class. This strategy is called indirect rule.”

      I’ve been learning that people of every complexion have had ‘comprador’ classes created by the ruling elite, including early on in LA and perhaps Mississippi, freed blacks were allowed to own slaves, and some of course did.

      Interesting stuff about your Peace Corps experiences, though. One good thing that happened two days ago is this open letter to Deray McKesson from that a commenter brought to my website.

      His Twitter account didn’t have it, and he was in Philly for the big do; we’ll keep watching. There’s also some pushback against Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million ‘gift’ to the Newark school system, and Amy Goodman has the story up. (I haven’t watched or read it yet.) Google/binging earlier, I’d found that almost all of the money went to ‘private consultants’ and whatnot, a few charter schools were actually created. (If I post the links, it will be too many, but it’s all easily found in the cache.)

      There’s of course loads of info on Bill Gates’ heavy involvement in the charter school movement, Common Core, ‘evaluating schools by ‘Race to the Top’ testing, etc. online.

      • Steam Grain says:

        I find it truly disorienting to find myself nodding in agreement with the quote about those using protest as a platform for status-seeking, while realizing that the source is none other than Sarah Kendzior. Knowing her background with Freedom House, her apologias for imperialism, and her record of using dishonest and divisive tactics in social media, I have to wonder: Is this some new tactic of celebrity leftists? Instead of ignoring or mocking the anti- celebrity-left critique, are they now starting to appropriate it, and apply it against other celebrity leftists as it suits them?

      • Tarzie says:

        Instead of ignoring or mocking the anti- celebrity-left critique, are they now starting to appropriate it, and apply it against other celebrity leftists as it suits them?

        That’s their usual defense against any threat they can’t shout down, but I’m not sure the critique of social media anointed leaders is widespread enough to be a threat. However, I think they might correctly anticipate that those misgivings will grow when people see how shut out they are from process mediated by elite instruments.

    • Ryan C. says:

      To Erico: Wow, wall of text. Well, it isn’t to say that the product of a troll isn’t convincing, afterall, many believe in the KGB produced conspiracy theory that the CIA created AIDs (of all the horrible things the CIA did, it’s hard to believe the KGB had to make something up). This reminds me of a 1938 article in Harper’s called “Who Goes Nazi”.

      I consider it terrible that well meaning individuals are taken in by bad ideas. I’d be a communist if I didn’t care about outcomes.

  13. jason says:
    this links touches on many issues about the ACLU raised here: why wait 10 years to file suit on the drone assassination program? why is the ACLU only demanding *more transparency*? I’m not a lawyer, who might say something like this is the “discovery” phase if this were a Dick Wolfe show, but it struck me. info fetishism.
    “…no one really knows whether the president is being honest or not.” oh you dear-hearted, simple-souled liberal fascists…(this is my 1st time on the naturalnews site so i have no idea what it’s all about but i’d bet they are vegans feelin the Burn with some organic libertarian pot-smoking thrown in.)

  14. Hieroglyph says:

    Loving Erico’s post. In a way, it makes perfect sense that some of the most ‘deeply corrupt and cynical’ aren’t straight white dudes. Not a racist observation, just a recognition that poverty can produce some fairly dismal individuals, who have had to grow old way too young. Or something. It reminds me of Orwell, a little, when O’Brien riffs on the idea that the senior ranks of the party can be staffed with white, black, Indian, male, female, and it really didn’t matter; all that was important was loyalty to the party.

    I find stories of the US strange. From Scotland, originally, where there is a perfectly fine tradition of socialism. The idea that socialism is somehow a dirty word is just bizarre. I get the distaste for National Socialism, the violence of Bolshevism, the corrupted Marxism of Stalin, but socialism? As philosophically related to National Socialism as I am to Dick Cheney. Not to say perfect, in that the anarchist\socialist contention revolves around the power of the state, and whether the state – any state – can or should have a central role in people’s lives, but hardly a dirty word. Dick Cheney is a dirty word, and I don’t care if it’s technically 2 words.

    And welcome back Tarzie. You appear to have been doing useful, non-blog stuff with your life, which is to be commended. But you should still blog.

  15. Rich says:

    Indirect rule, proxy warfare, insurgency, turning a country and its indigenous people against themselves. We learned it from the history of warring parties of the French and Indian War, practiced it in the Philippines and perfected it in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Putin disturbed its progress in Syria and their demonized president survives. We’ve perfected tactics and strategies no more unique than the tools exercised by schoolyard bullies, but every bit as effective and dehumanizing of the target. Into this chasm, amidst the chaos, no wonder preening narcissists and bleating opportunists fill the breach, their only common talent the salesmanship so characteristic of Con-artists, Catholic or Mormon missionaries, and snake-oil salesmen.

    • diane says:

      oh my yes dear, that preening amidst such devastation of those the preeners preen over ….

      it always makes me feel I made the right decision in never wanting to own a gun, …. as, likely, I wouldn’t shoot them, I’d likely shoot myself in order to finally be rid of their exponentially increasing – horrid – voices.

  16. diane says:

    Obombster (et al Deadly ‘BiParti$an$’) Health Care adjustments (in the UZ and highly targeted countries abroad) continues, full speed ahead:

    Yemen: MSF hospital destroyed by airstrikes

    27 October 2015

    Sanaa/Paris/New York – Airstrikes carried out late last night by the [US backed – diane] Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen destroyed a hospital supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), MSF announced today.

    The small hospital, in the Haydan district in Saada Province, was hit by several airstrikes beginning at 22:30 last night. Hospital staff and two patients managed to escape before subsequent airstrikes occurred over a two hour period. One staff member was slightly injured while escaping. With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care.

    “This attack is another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine,” said Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen.


    • jason says:

      The US is supplying the Saudis the “intelligence” for the slaughter and all the Saudi military hardware is US/UK made. why MSF? maybe b/c they refuse to buy into the “you are with us or against us” mentality of Uncle Sam? one of the few big NGO’s that’s not a USAID/CIA front?

      • diane says:

        one of the few big NGO’s that’s not a USAID/CIA front?

        It would seem so after the October 3rd Kunduz, Afghanistan Hospital bombing; which killed at least 30 patients and medical workers – incinerating at least 7 people.

        And there was this Médecins Sans Frontières [MSF] missive regarding the Osama vaccination campaign ruse:

        07/14/11 Alleged Fake CIA Vaccination Campaign Undermines Medical Care

        (Maybe Médecins Sans Frontières should take over the American Psychological Association [APA]sadist cheerleaders for torture of detainees.)

      • diane says:

        same horrid reality as the October 3rd, Kunduz, Afghanistan Hospital Bombing, the [precise geographical longitude and latitude location] “coordinates” of the hospital had been already provided; … it was destroyed with intent, is the most reasonable conclusion, to my mind:


      • diane says:

        the, [should be located] directly above this comment, linked message, as it reads:

        أطباء بلا حدود-اليمن

        .@MSF confirms the right GPS coordinates of its hospital were shared with the coalition forces.#Yemen #YemenCrisis

        9:35 AM – 28 Oct 2015

      • diane says:

        (shit, should have written: as it reads to me; …. as the comment time noted ([UZ] Pacific Daylight Time: 9:35 AM – 28 Oct 2015 ) was not the same time of day,as it was in Yemen. It was at least eight hours later, mid-afternoon in Yemen, when the comment was posted.)

  17. tom says:

    First time Ive commented here, and I’ve enjoyed/respected/learnt from the posts and comments here for just over a year now.

    Erico gave a really raw and honest outpouring of personal and his reality description that I enjoyed thoroughly.
    Him saying that he can’t share his wonderful outpouring with anyone else in his physical proximity, or really with anywhere else on the net gave me an idea. One you’ve already probably thought of.

    I was just wondering Tarzie, since the numbers here of shared minds are so rare among the general population, which makes physical geographic location support unfeasible, a place like this online seems like helpful support.
    What do you think of the idea of having an open post or open thread section with those who feel comfortable can share their thoughts here ?
    When you’re personally not posting pieces, the open threads could possibly fill in the space and provide an expressive opportunity.

    I know it would mean more effort for you for moderation, and it could even be a case that there is someone else that will serve the purpose that I’m unaware of.

    Just thought I’d throw that in just in case it’s a chance to happen.

    Please keep up the great work.

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s an idea that’s occurred to me also. It would require putting this blog on commercial hosting I think, since while WordPress has some great social plug-ins, they can’t be used on WordPress’s own system. I set up one for people that I was having long email discussions with, but it hardly got any use.

      I’ll keep thinking about it, but my life has gotten suddenly frenetic and this blog is not a priority at the moment. If someone wants to set up a Rancid Honeytrap Readers Forum (support group?) elsewhere, I’ll promote it.

      • Hummus says:

        Hummus endorses this. Hummus also says hi neighbor I work on Madison Ave now and I’ve successfully emancipated myself from Twitter. I hope it’s the good kind of frenetic and not the shitty kind.

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s mostly good frenetic. I’ll see what I can do about the forum when things slow down.

        Madison Avenue, eh?


      • wendyedavis says:

        I’m not quite sure what you’re describing as far as ‘needing WordPress plug-ins’, Tarzie, or if has to the moderation hassle potentials, but on my WordPress site, I post Open Menus, categorize them as such on the right side bar, and let folks bring what they want. I do have the permitted links set to the max in the ‘discussion’ choices, so I rarely have mod hassles.

        My site’s commentariat is quite small, though, and I seem to piss people off fairly regularly, and they…leave. (smile)

        Mr. wd and I have been trying to use what’s left of the social safety net to get his father into an assisted living efficiency apartment, which requires a Medicaid Waiver Magic Wand. It’s been (and is still being) a bitch of a job, rather like part-time employment, emailing with the folks that do help, and are paid by the state, plus those who could help (but don’t), gathering records, bills, tra la la. Our bottom line is that we have no money to help keep him, so we’re a bit more rigorous about the financial end than the others. I’m pretty ‘otherly abled’ by now (smile again), and even then, I can’t think of a soul whose life I’d rather have. We live rural, which helps, can grow wee gardens, watch the critters who come by, and see the night sky with almost no light pollution. So many have so much less, and believe me, even though the wolf is always at the door, we know how blessed we are.

      • Tarzie says:

        yeah, I’ve had discussion threads, and this format does seem to work fine. I never had them so open-ended but that seems to work fine for a start.

  18. erico says:

    Taking a moment to check in, hello to all. I wonder if others here, especially those whose participation in the online world is somewhat erratic lol, don’t also experience something like a hangover after a particularly intense binge of expression, often followed by a period of abstinence lol. I’m trying to consciously shift my approach so that it becomes more like working out on a schedule at the gym, one builds up more muscular strength and stamina, and it gets easier.

    As long as it doesn’t entail any tedious work and hassle, yeah it really would be a great thing to know there is an open ended discussion thread here. Although, I’ve noticed that there is an easy organic flow to the threads as a norm anyway, which is another aspect of why the comment section here is so good. Maybe there is no need for something specific?

    I’m starting my exploration of your cafe wendy, really looking forward to reading all the old stuff.

    I really do admire people like Tarzie, and wendy, and anyone who can actually maintain and contribute on a regular basis and deal with so much of the toxic crap. I definitely believe that mental health is aided by active disconnection from ‘social media’ and too much screen time lol (kudos to everyone who opts out of twitter hell), but at the same time I also recognize my own fundamental inability to avoid partaking to some degree. Real life in this country is so isolating, sometimes the online moments of connection are the only kinds of social life available.

    But that means there have to be people so much braver than I am, so I have places to go and read/type when I’m feeling desperate lol. Its not just admiration I feel, but gratitude as well. When some blogs go silent, I really do feel a sense of loss and I worry a lot about the blogger and hope their silence means something good is taking up their time, and not something awful. Like others here, I’ve been worried about Silber and hoping he is okay-ish.

    One of my favorite bloggers seems to be in a silent phase right now, but I would encourage anyone here to check out his site (if you haven’t already) and enjoy his fantastic links and read old essays and comments. Very much focused on the unfolding global environmental catastrophe that we are living through, and how that is a result of our hideous cancerous capitalist system. Not cheerful reading of course lol, but you do get that sense of relief that comes from knowing you are not alone in your perceptions about what is happening. And it seems to be a blog where people talk about all the things they simply can’t talk about in real life with most of the people they know.

    All of my closest friends I’ve made on my travels over the last 2 decades, so most of them live thousands of miles away, and online ‘letters’ have been a norm for me for a long time. If you read biographies (I’ve recently finished several on Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Montaigne, its sorta wonderful how you can feel a form of social connection to a person through a good book), its astonishing to realize just how many people wrote their friends and family long letters almost daily. So I do feel like the online version is still connected to a wonderful tradition. But something about blog participation seems very different and intimidating to me, I don’t seem to have learned quite how to get comfortable with it, other than lurking. Another confession lol, seems almost like a defect, something most people don’t want to admit when the only thing that counts nowadays is how many people ‘follow’ and ‘friend’ you. At least now there are plenty of people who are open in their rejection of Facebook etc, I felt like a freak when I killed my profile a month or so after creating it lol.

    We finally have health insurance again as of the 1st this month. So now we are a big chunk poorer due to premiums, but if we are desperate we can go get emergency care if we need it. If I finally give in and join the herds taking pharmaceuticals to cope with living in our fascist Trumptopia, it will at least be more affordable. Among my entire range of american social connections, only 2 people other than my spouse and I do not take pills of some kind. Absolutely shocking. It has become a contest now, to see how long we can hold out. My closest non-pill popping friend lives in Silicon Valley (his rent is equivalent to our entire family income) and works studying the state of the ocean for Stanford. You can only imagine how just those 2 factors might generate an enormous need for coping drugs lol, I think I will hold out longer. Isn’t that sad?

    For the most part, I’m talking about people who are in that strata of Precariat that still has some sort of health care and can afford socially sanctioned drugs, plus the tiny handful of people I know who make 6 figure salaries and can take whatever drugs they like. Among my new poorer neighbors, it is still gonna be alcohol and weed and other drugs that don’t require a prescription and the social cover they provide for being a drug addict.

    I no longer see anyone as ‘normal’, everybody is fucked up and trying to cope. But its only poor people who end up brutalized by the security state for their drug use. Duh, everyone already knows that, sigh. Still, the Guardian recently posted this: and then had the nerve to say that oh maybe just maybe it might be increasing financial stress that perhaps is a tiny part of why this is happening lol. Good grief. Like so often now, I think that people who have somehow avoided any personal contact with Real Amerikkka don’t know just how terrible it really is.

    For those of you who have mentioned having to deal with our absolutely disgraceful healthcare dysfunction, I wish you all the best luck possible, it really is a nightmare that never seems to end. (You non americans in civilized countries with socialized medicine have no idea how fucking lucky you are.) And hopefully you are actively discovering the best ways (and least destructive ways) of self medicating lol, as life in these times seems to require it. I’m going to waste much time this week on european soccer lol, it has turned into a really valuable way of coping with poverty and anxiety, and it doesn’t make me fat like brewing even more beer in my bathroom lol. Or put money in the pockets of fucking pharmaceutical companies. And watching the repulsive bully Mourinho crash and burn, oh how intensely satisfying at the moment lol;) Sometimes bad guys so lose, just for a little while.

    On a more serious note, I’ve been haunted this week by that article on witches in New Guinea posted at Huffingtonpost (a site where I rarely actually read any of the articles, mostly scan headlines for a few seconds once in a while and squirm with nausea).

    Even if it would be worth looking at the essay itself in a deconstructive way, it raises plenty of interesting questions for me about social capital, alternatives to the sickness of what we think of as ‘normal’ society, capitalist destruction/construction of identity, and other issues that are often on my mind. It reminded me of reading about the neighbors killing neighbors in Yugoslavia, wondering how on earth that could happen. Yet, Papua is still full of societies where there are types of social capital that have long been degraded or even destroyed in more modern parts of the world. I would have thought there would be more resilience, more sources of resistance. But maybe that is just a form of colonial thinking, my wanting ‘Others’ to be better than what I see all the time around me.

    For the last several decades I’ve been engaged in a debate with myself (and some of the ideas I engage with online) with what exactly human nature might be, in a flexible but still environmentally constrained way (like any other species). Are we completely fucked, and always have been, as suggested by the writer of the Flatland essays over at Decline of the Empire? (And check out the Blind Brain Theory at rsbakker’s blog for an even darker view.) Or, as I’ve wanted to believe, is our understanding of human nature completely distorted by the tiny fragment of history that we’ve suffered through with the Industrial Revolution and rise of capitalism? We seem to willfully forget that the vast majority of our existence was spent in fiercely egalitarian bands of hunter gatherers who lived in a radically different way. I have to admit I’m fairly sympathetic to the idea that Civilization could be just an intense and recent bout of disease, one that might kill everything in the end. We weren’t doomed by design, just by very bad luck once we started out on a certain path.

    I don’t have the almost religious adulation for the ‘indigenous’ the way some of the anti-civ folks do, I think the picture has always been very mixed, as EO Wilson describes in The Social Conquest of Earth. But the sociopathic, who succeed in our economy and politics and among the Celebrity Left, they would’ve been killed in almost every human culture for thousands of years. Or exiled, the same thing, as the whole Lone Dominant Savage Hunter Male in the Wild is complete bullshit. But when a society where the hierarchy is the many over the wannabe chieftains encounters a system that actually rewards the sociopath, then maybe the tables turn in a really dramatic and self sustaining way. Hmmm.

    For those of you who love books, check out The Creation of Inequality by Flannery and Marcus, and Hierarchy in the Forest by Boehm. Incredibly thought provoking stuff with a lot of relevance when trying to imagine social political systems, ideologies, alternatives to capitalism, civilization, learning relationships of power, why scum seems to rise to the social surface in our times lol.

    Anyway, I realize now that I’m about to sign out that I haven’t actually responded to some of the great stuff already posted in recent comments here lol, I just threw out more stuff that came to mind as I was typing. I’m like the lonely cat lady who responds to any hint of a social opening with way too much blabbering and not necessarily conversation lol, ugh…

    • Tarzie says:

      Never have. After a glance, I see no reason to start. Seems like a run-of-the-mill self adoring liberal misanthrope. Promiscuous use of ‘we’ is the red flag of shitty liberal writing.

      Example. This is amazingly stupid:

      Approving RTs of Deray and Jon Swartz. What a dipshit.

      Do you really have to ask what I think of this crap?

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