"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Dec 30, 2010

Quelle Question?!

So, I don't know much. Yadda yadda yadda.

I take the interrogative pose, or something, to existence.

So the question, for me, comes down to this:

Can people get shit done without dividing into bosses and staff?

I know. That's a loaded question, because it assumes "get[ting] shit done" is of any value. So, let's dispense with that, at face value. Let's reject the teleology of progress, of meaning in events, of history which has goals.

It's a dodgy proposition, anyway. All it's advocates can do is assert, and then argue from the past that didn't happen, in order to propose a future that may never occur.

I just mean, "can people make stuff, live in relatively close proximity, and survive for any given period of time, without dividing into hierarchies?"

Anyway, I read a series of arguments (h/t to BDR and Wayne Kaspar, for the links) which sort of come close to the origin of the question.

Here and here. In the first, an argument against this. In the second, an argument from this. Too many points, and too many entries, to do a fair synopsis. Read them, or don't. I don't care. I have a root canal in a few hours and like some sort of fantasy fate what comes down and balances out the heart of my luck with the root of my suffering, I came into some money (won, heh) about sixteen hours before I cracked a tooth. So, now instead of getting a bow and archery lessons for my oldest, I'm giving that cash to a guy who already has a whole lot of it. Two guys, in fact. The endodontist who will make a zombie of my molar, and then the dentist who will take an additional $1500 I don't have to crown the traitorous and newly undead tooth, as a reward for its treason. A lesson there. Or not.

My dentist and I don't have a boss-client or boss-staffer relationship (gawds, I hate that word; it presumes an etheric connection between persons, when it fact all that holds the relation is data in memory, memories which have no identity with each other, since they exist as such in entirely different heads). But, he does have an advantage. A license, a reward for education. He can pull teeth for money. I could pull teeth and go to prison. Or give my wife cause to have me committed. Well, more cause. He obtained that license from a top-down organization - l'État. So, I get my tooth rebuilt because some men govern.

Or something.

What say you?

ADDED IN EDIT: I am sick of the stupid "Somalia" argument. It's stupid. That's the sum of it.  Somalia is a Western financed war zone. It sucks to live there, not because it lacks a central authority, but because it's a competition zone between several very strong foreign centralized authorities. Asshats.

Dec 28, 2010

Dec 27, 2010

Word Association

Woodrow Wilson
Ronald Reagan
Barack Obama

Dec 25, 2010



Dec 22, 2010

...crossing the terminator, riding a Corexit wave...

Alas, the holiday sign off must wait, and the odd sons of Scandia must have their midnight music pushed aside a moment, to ponder the truly horrific, replacing now the merely representative. The somber notes of melancholy and affluent boredom end, and in the silence between this and that, well...

A while back, you might have have heard of a wee spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Imperial Barack, he handled it. Or something. Or, he let the polluting oil behemoth pretend it had a plan.

And during months of seeping, gushing oil, they added their own toxin to the mix, Corexit.

Which had a first and nearly immediate effect: Corexit Rain.

Poison rain falling on already blighted crops in regions cusping the edge of permanent drought.

Oil - a boon, a fatal success.

But Corexit may not, in the end, gain its lasting fame - fame that lasts only as long as it takes the last mother to die, perhaps - from poison rains.

Nay, say the unreal fates and the almost believable furies. Silly rabbits, howl the erinyes, you think the edge of death rides only a cloudburst of poison rain? Fools, humans. You have not begun to suffer the advent calendar of your worst :

(h/t Avedon)

"The Loop Current...has stopped, says a noted scientist with years of experience in analyzing it. If so, the ramifications are staggering...

He believes the cessation of the current is due to BP dumping millions of gallons of Corexit into the Gulf, combined with the effects of climate change. Further, he says US scientific authorities began falsifying data after he published his paper."


“As displayed by both by the sea surface maps and the sea surface height maps, the Loop Current broke down for the first time around May 18th and generated a clock wise eddy, which is still active. As of today the situation has deteriorated up to the point in which the eddy has detached itself completely from the main stream therefore destroying completely the Loop Current. ..”

“It is reasonable to foresee the threat that the breaking of [such] a crucial warm stream as the Loop Current may generate a chain reaction of unpredictable critical phenomena and instabilities due to strong non-linearities which may have serious consequences on the dynamics of the Gulf Stream thermoregulation activity of the Global Climate.”
—Dr. Gianluigi Zangari


Happy Fucking Holidays.

navel gazing with the musics

for BDR and Randal, following that other conversation,

Opeth,  Blackwater Park:

Opeth, Ghost of Perdition:

Opeth, Hessian Peel:

Opeth, Hope Leaves:

Opeth, Closure:

happy winternight, feliz navidad, merry merry and a drunken, fatty saturnalia to yas

Coney Island

Hal Duncan:


Dec 21, 2010

Yes, miserable bastards

"I just know that there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a women's record," Auriemma said Sunday. "The reason there's everybody in this room, the reason everybody's having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record. And everybody is all up in arms about it. All the women are happy as hell and they can't wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that love women's basketball are all excited. And all the miserable bastards that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they're pissed."


(emphasis mine)

The sports writer responses which follow are a hoot.

Dec 19, 2010

Satie on Sunday for She who excels me

 Erik Satie, Gnossiene #1, Andreas Wolter and Romy Nagy:

Gnossiene #1, Farid Farjah:

Gmynopedie #1, pianist unknown:

Gnossiene #1, Claude Chalhoub:

Dec 17, 2010

Prison Break

Despair comforts. It encourages a pretense - whispering: your suffering, my suffering, our suffering belong in the annals of eternity and we can know the certainty of the rightness of it...we can rest in it, give up, stop holding on, stop moving, stop struggling against the bonds, and chill, cuz hey, nature compels it, the universe has wires and we hang from them; don't struggle, that hurt you cannot take back. Despair surrenders rage to the colonial outpost in the head, imprisoning the unbroken native of anger in the false hope of a tomorrow we can welcome because we think it looks just like the horror of today. Despair counts on the duplication of a familiar suffering, on the belief that pain, at least, will keep its promises.

Despair hurts; it hurts the way you, I, we want it to.


It has no remedy because you don't belong in a cage. You did not come out from the womb bolted to the floor of a prison cell. The flesh does not trap. You have to learn to feel the body as a trap, this life as a wound, a tear in the heart of the only world you can ever experience because you don't look out from another prisoner's bars, out from the eyes of anyone else's head.

You have to learn a role, to feel your body violate it.

You have to learn to obey, to feel the constriction of submission.

You have to learn to see a lie for a lie, to know why you've heard them all your life:

We have reasons to despair, no doubt, no wonder. The whole fucking human world bears the memory of wounds which outweigh, outshadow, outlast and and outnumber the moments of joy. We live in a world where daughters must shoulder the regrets of murdered mothers, and sons of murdered fathers trade their humanity for a reasonable shot at a comprehensible vengeance:

It falls to us, all the same, to make other paths in our memories, to know that despair can remind us that pain alone can never crack the cage, or break the savage hold of a world that will consume us, forget us, and move on to feed on those we leave in our wake, our children, our loved ones, strangers who stand alone and together against the unsheltering sky of misery and human degradation. We need to feel it, claim the suffering that makes us sisters and brothers, and then release the captive it contains:*

"...In Georgia, where one in twelve adults is in jail, prison or on parole or probation, "prisoners are us," as Black Agenda Report puts it. A strike of historic proportions among Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans and whites has been taking place in Georgia's state prisons since last week. They are demanding pay for their work, opportunities for education, decent health care and nutrition.

These prisoners are peaceful, well-organized and united—in defiance of every expectation and in the face of a thuggish corrections system attempting to goad them to violence. But prison strikers are asserting their humanity in a place designed to rob men and women of their souls."

h/t Will Shetterly

Truth to power

"This is the police's role at demonstrations - to invite and provoke violence.They've done it in the past and they're continuing to do it now. I am not the real victim, here. There real victim are the students, like Alfie Meadows, who is in hospital within an inch of his life after a policeman struck him on the head with a truncheon. He needed emergency brain surgery. Now imagine if it was Prince Charles or Camilla or a police offer who had been within an inch of their lives...But what is clear now is that the media is trying to distract the public from the real issues..." ~ Jody McIntyre, interview with the BBC


"...According to David House, a computer researcher from Boston who visits Manning twice a month, he [Bradley Manning] is starting to deteriorate...

'As time passed and his suicide watch was lifted, to no effect, it became clear that his time in solitary – and his lack of a pillow, sheets, the freedom to exercise, or the ability to view televised current events – were enacted as a means of punishment rather than a means of safety...'

...House said many people were reluctant to talk about Manning's condition because of government harassment, including surveillance, warrantless computer seizures, and even bribes. 'This has had such an intimidating effect that many are afraid to speak out on his behalf,' House said...

...On 3 November, House, 23, said he found customs agents waiting for him when he and his girlfriend returned to the US after a short holiday in Mexico. His bags were searched and two men identifying themselves as Homeland Security officials said they were being detained for questioning and would miss their connecting flight. The men seized all his electronic items and he was told to hand over all passwords and encryption keys – which he refused. The items have yet to be returned, said House. He added: 'If Manning is convicted, it will be because his individual dedication to human ethics far surpasses that of the US government.'"


Dec 16, 2010


Oldest child, referring to a commercial for York's Peppermint Patty: "Is that woman supposed to be a lesbian?

Father: "Huh?"

Oldest child: "Is she?"

Father: What do you mean? Does eating chocolate make a woman a lesbian?"

Youngest child: "No, dad. Her hair is all spiky and scrunched up.

Father: "You mean you think she's a lesbian because of her hair?"

Oldest child: "Well, duh, Dad - her hair is short and spiky."

Father: "What the fuck? Leave the room. Go. Go. I have to write about this."

So, there it is. We've never discussed this. We're really quite open with our kids. I don't care about vulgarity, defiance (well, mostly I don't), well reasoned arguments which make me look like the ass I am, vulgar declarations of my stupidity and failure as a father, or whatever mostly makes them happy. And we've been really open about sex, sexuality and sexual liberty. Homophobes and stereotypers we have not raised.

But, about five years ago we got a teevee. And they attend public schools.

Sometimes it really sucks to be the less successful programmer.

The Story Doesn't Matter

December 2010: "Al Qaeda" has never been weaker. Imperial Barack did it.

December 2009: "Al Qaeda" is a hundred dudes in hiding.

November, December 2010: "We will fight this band of evil brothers who have never been weaker, which means less than a hundred dudes, facing tens of thousands of the world's best equipped monsters of death delivery, but somehow managing to stay alive long enough to justify more soldiers, more defense contracts and more requisitions, at least through 2014."

December 2014: "The Taliban now controls one half of the world's opium supply, distributing it across the globe from bases in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. President [..............] has asked Congress to expand the AUMF, in order to give the military the tools necessary to pursue these terrorists..."

...a violation, a war crime still, and yes I would still do the terrible...

BDR muses well. And he's right:

"It's grimly fascinating watching anger at Corporate's clusterfuckery being redirected and dispersed by those being fucked towards those being fucked. I'm not talking about cracker hate for liberals or liberal hate for crackers, though that's certainly part of Corporate's design, I'm talking about the kind and angry like-minded in their various stages of apostasy and despair, the angry competition to be the angriest, the angry competition to be the kindest."

This I understand. I got to thinking about my own (sometimes seething) discontent. Ah, be honest Jack. Often, it feels like rage because, damn it, I feel real rage.

I''ll repost the whole reason why because nothing has changed. Well, almost nothing. I have a better understanding, now, of the virtue of a very specific kind of powerlessness - the refusal to have it anymore.

Anyway, redux - and I still mean every fucking word of it. He's had a few tired days, of late. My memories remain wounds. I cannot forgive the war crime that burrows in his flesh. I don't care if you don't believe it. I would burn the world, some days, to get a chance to wrap my hands around the...


He grows weary, tiring easily. He sundowns. Sometimes he aches, whispering to me of pain in each joint. It comes in waves, and then for weeks, nothing. It has never manifested as badly as the first episode, the one which scared us so, and taught me a whole new kind of nausea.

That doesn't make it any better. I know too much; I don't know enough.

His physician assures us of his health. “The antibiotics worked,” he told me, in disapproving tones. The doctor had the laptop, and charts. I came with questions, and mistrust. Judging from the nurse's glare, I also came with the stupid questions. The nurse smiled pleasantly, busying herself with the habits of her profession. Until I started with my concerns, my own research. She clucked at me, “Not everything on the Internet...”

I wanted her to shut up. I don't care if a hundred nitwits used a thousand pages of stupid speculation. That doesn't mean I did. I don't care if she's got better things to do with her time.

I don't.

I loathe her, and I cannot apologize for that. I despise the doctor, too. Not for his training, or his education. Not even for the paternal condescension from the man-boy with a plastic smile.

For their incurious dismissal of my love, my fear, my insecurity.

They move on, dispensing drugs and smugness.

I cannot. I fucking won't.


1925. The world still lays fallow with the blood of millions, dead from war, from plague, from starvation, from expulsion and genocide. Dead from the too common abuses of power. World War One, following on the naiveté of 1899, and 1907.

Passchendaele, Loos, Ypres, Riga, the Somme. Xylyl bromide, chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas and white star.

Gathering in Geneva, representatives of the surviving states assemble to produce a single page document.

To make law, international.

Kropotkin did not err – law protects property. Criminal statutes define offenses against property, or against people so long as they belong to a state, as property. Humanitarians may draft laws. Pacifists may propose them. But the agents of states will use them. Will use them against each other, and their subjects.

A subject, a citizen, enfolded in the webs of law, becomes as property to those who rule the state, and those who benefit most from it. Becomes property to dispose of, or protect.


1899 and 1907, the Hague. The various European and emerging powers assemble, to put to code their protections of their property, of subjects, citizens and productive non-combatants. Tsar Nicholas the Second saw the bright modern future, and worried. So many ways to kill his officers and his peasants. So many ways to die more, and more brutal, deaths. A rampart, for Westphalia. For the preservation of the states themselves.

The machinery of war, and its operators, could rip apart bodies, lay fields of mines, poison laborers and crops, destroy whole countrysides. Bombardment from the sea, from the air, from hill top redoubts. Chemical weapons could sear flesh, turn the eyes to goo, and the lungs to jelly. Hollow point bullets could create a leaded latticework of death, shredding organs.

The Tsar feared. As did his cousins, on the thrones of Europe. And rightly. The old nobility had nothing on the capitalized death machines of the bourgeois states which everywhere subsumed them.

Kropotkin made a better case, but who listened to him?

The world didn't do away with states, and the laws of property. The machinery of war did not disassemble itself.

Hague meant nothing, in the face of that.


Still, 1925. After men choked on gas, across the once fertile fields of Europe, burning from the inside out, after Germany and the USA pursued extensive biological weapons programs, after the weaponization of anthrax, long after Sherman poisoned water supplies with rotten animals, after disease blankets, and the conquests of Indian Country and the Philippines - an addendum, in Geneva:

“...That the High Contracting Parties, so far as they are not already Parties to Treaties prohibiting such use, accept this prohibition, agree to extend this prohibition to the use of bacteriological methods of warfare and agree to be bound as between themselves according to the terms of this declaration.”

No prohibition, of course, on developing, storing or experimenting with them. Just no using them against another state's property...


He experiences a distinct exhaustion, as if he has labored all day, relentlessly drudging through the hardest work. His attention wanders. He lingers on the edge of this bleariness, fighting it. He daydreams to escape it, losing himself in future delights. I can't blame him, but I want to. I want him to beat this, to prove its better.

I seethe at the unfairness of it, pushing him harder than I ought, attempting to break its spell, as if my will alone can supplant his, give him energy, give him focus, allow him to overcome.

He accepts it better than I. He always has, even that first awful day, starting off with a little nausea, ending it with half his face sliding downward, towards his shoulder.

He has a fine memory, better than mine. I remember the injustice, and rage. He remembers his joys, and smiles. He can recount a full story, the details which captured his thought, and then his imagination. Or a scene in a film which brought him to cramping laughter. Or the day I first told him of my pride, his secret place in my heart. That, more than any other, he kept my heart within my chest, allowing me a sense of proportion.


I take no comfort in the law. I reject the categories of crime, and criminality.

I fell from the grace of the middle class embrace, believing I'd never return to it.

Down in the shadows of Boston's high towers, deeper yet, into the subway tunnels, panhandling and stealing autonomy, I struggled against the deep colonization of my nascent mind. Renegade monks running revolutionary shelters, and high prophets of chemistry, broken veterans and Latino narco-saints, black Jesus with his sage advice, whispering, whispering, “sleep with one eye open, own nothing, never trust the law.” Homeless Nigerians with briefcases, spread out tidily on shelter beds; destitute Kenyans with wood alcohol. The queer boy from Southie, protected by those same Latin saints, proudly sheltering the proud maricón; they, collecting lost cases from the edge of rape and violence, armed with the classics, their machete wounds and a fiercer loyalty than I'd ever known before. We spread the gospel of the shared match, of bad liquor and temporary community.
I love them still, those geniuses of crime and labor.

I crawled my way out of degradation, shed my whiteness, shed my identity, peeled away the weight of my history, and yours.

I thought I'd freed myself of Europe, of European America, which spreads the bourgeois law and the war machine in machinations and violence, in structural adjustment programs and facile entertainment. White culture, taught by dutiful nuns and struggling mothers, brought me in infancy and adolescence to a fealty to law, and order, and obedience.

No brown sister or brother has ever asked or demanded that slavery of me.

Working, laboring, I thought I'd freed myself, like Hemmelrich at the end of Man's Fate.

I could not have predicted my own future worse, or with a greater fidelity to error.

I left them, left those streets behind me. I forgot.

I dragged myself up, to fall prey to good conduct and obedience, all over again. I didn't escape the gravity sink. I didn't get far enough away. Sordid, all that. Degradation.

And now, a war crime embeds itself in the flesh of my son.

Not the war crime merely described in the legacy of law. Not the definition of crime, and punishment, enacted to protect the subject-property of the state.

A violation of his life, his flesh.


“Nearing the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union raced to recruit German scientists for postwar purposes. Under a top-secret program code-named Project PAPERCLIP, the U.S. Military pursued Nazi scientistific talent 'like forbidden fruit.,' bringing them to America under employment contracts and offering them full U.S. Citizenship. The recruits were supposed to be nominal participants in Nazi activities. But the zealous military recruited more than two thousand scientists, many of whom had dark Nazi pasts.

American scientists viewed these Germans as peers, and quickly forgot they were on opposite sides of a ghastly global war in which millions perished. Fearing brutal retaliation from the Soviets for the Nazis' vicious treatment of them, some scientists cooperated with the Americans to earn amnesty. Others played the two nations off each other to get the best financial deal in exchange for their services. Dr. Erich Traub was trapped on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain after the war, and ordered to research germ warfare viruses for the Russians. He pulled off a daring escape with his family to West Berlin in 1949. Applying for Project PAPERCLIP employment, Traub affirmed he wanted to 'do scientific work in the U.S.A., become an American citizen, and be protected from Russian reprisals.'

As lab chief of Insel Riems – a secret Nazi biological warfare laboratory on a crescent-shaped island nestled in the Baltic Sea – Traub worked directly for Adolf Hitler's second-in-charge, SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, on live germ trials.”

Lab 257, pps. 7-8, Michael Christopher Carroll, 2004


August 1945: Operation Paperclip, an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program to import top Nazi scientists into the United States. Linda Hunt relates in her book, Secret Agenda, that Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) Dr. Kurt Blome, was saved from the gallows due to American intervention. Blome admitted he had worked on Nazi bacteriological warfare projects and had experimented on concentration camp prisoners with bubonic plague and sarin gas at Auschwitz. After his acquittal at the 1947 Nuremberg Doctors' Trial, Blome was recruited by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and advised the Pentagon on biological warfare. Walter Paul Emil Schreiber, a Wehrmacht general who assigned doctors to experiment on concentration camp prisoners and disbursed state funds for such experiments was another Paperclip recruit; in 1951, Schreiber went to work for the U.S. Air Force School of Medicine. Hubertus Strughold, the so-called "father of space medicine" discussed--and carried out--experiments on Dachau inmates who were tortured and killed; Strughold worked for the U.S. Air Force. Erich Traub, a rabid Nazi and the former chief of Heinrich Himmler's Insel Riems, the Nazi state's secret biological warfare research facility defects to the United States. Traub was brought to the U.S. by Paperclip operatives and worked at the Naval Medical Research Institute and gave "operational advice" to the CIA and the biowarriors at Ft. Detrick. 

September 1945: General Shiro Ishii's Unit 731, a secret research group that organized Japan's chemical and biological warfare programs is granted "amnesty" by Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur in exchange for providing America with their voluminous files on biological warfare. All mention of Unit 731 is expunged from the record of The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. During the war, Unit 731 conducted grisly experiments, including the vivisection of live prisoners, and carried out germ attacks on Chinese civilians and prisoners of war. According to researcher Sheldon H. Harris in Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover-Up, Unit 731 scientists performed tests on prisoners with plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism and other infectious diseases. Their work led to the development of what was called a defoliation bacilli bomb and a flea bomb used by the Imperial Army to spread bubonic plague across unoccupied areas of China. The deployment of these lethal munitions provided the Imperial Army with the ability to launch devastating biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells and populated areas with anthrax, plague-infected fleas, typhoid, dysentery and cholera. Rather than being prosecuted as war criminals, Unit 731 alumni became top bioweapons researchers. Ishii himself became an adviser at USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick.”


On Borrelia burgdorferi, known commonly as Lyme disease:

"Dr. Burgdorfer: The similarities that I know of are associated with the infection of the brain , the nervous system. The syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum has an affinity for nerve tissues. The Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete very likely has that too.  

Children are especially sensitive to Borrelia burgdorferi.

The Lyme disease spirochete is far more virulent than syphilis. We don’t know the end yet. And [we] can’t even make a [blood] smear with Borrelia burgdorferi and see the organism. It’s there. But you don’t see it. You cannot find this spirochete. Why not? After all, I have a sick person here. He is trembling all over. His spinal fluid is full of spirochetes. But when it comes to blood, it’s not there. So there is something associated with this organism that makes it different...

Dr. Burgdorfer: I am a believer in persistent infections because people suffering with Lyme disease, ten or fifteen or twenty years later, get sick [again]. Because it appears that this organism has the ability to be sequestered in tissues and [it] is possible that it could reappear, bringing back the clinical manifestations it caused in the first place. These are controversial issues for microbiologists, as well as the physicians who are asked to treat patients."


I write these words. I quote researchers and scientists. I want to hate. I want to pursue the monsters who devote their lives to tweaking bacteria and viruses, to make weapons of war.

I want to shake them. I want to strike through the layers of their culture, their acculturation in dominion, want them to understand what happens when your child sundowns like an eighty year old. I want to shake them hard, but I know they already have their rationalizations in order.

I also know I wouldn't stop at that...


We picked our son up from school that day, his face distorted by Bell's Palsy. I didn't know anything about Dr. Traub, the lab he helped to found at Plum Island, or Operation PAPERCLIP. I knew about anthrax scares and a bit about weaponized diseases.

I knew a little about Lyme disease, as well.

My father also has it. For two years, doctors refused to call it Lyme disease. One told him his pain, his neuralgia, his headaches could be chalked up to his imagination. “In your head,” the rat fuck said.

He got the spinal tap.

After that, his insurance company refused to pay for extended treatment. Two weeks of antibiotics, and a “good day to you.”

Now he lives with the chronic suffering, and prescription opiates.


Our son received twenty eight days of antibiotics, and then his own good day to you, sugary sweet and reeking of professional condescension. As for the changes in his energy and focus, as for the pain in his joints, we can go fuck ourselves. The doctors don't put it that way, of course.

What they say, instead: “The infection is gone. He was treated in time. He got good treatment, he doesn't have the Bell's Palsy anymore. The other symptoms could be anything...” you fucking working class simpletons, now shut up, I have a golf game, and after that, quail for dinner and a charity benefit.


I don't know if PAPERCLIP Nazis, and their corporate-state sponsored American brethren at Detrick, Plum Island and the various CDC sites mucked with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.

I don't know if they produced new strains, or perfected delivery methods.

I do know that they bred ticks at Plum Island, and that various factions in the military, in the federal government and in academia employed men who had already worked on tick borne biological weapons.

I know that an outbreak in Old Lyme, Connecticut, across the sound from Plum Island, has spread to encompass all of the Northeast, radiating outward from a known biological weapons research lab, founded by a Nazi germ warfare scientist, working for the federal government.


A long overlooked document, obtained from the files of an investigation by the office of former Long Island Congressman Thomas Downey, sheds new light on the second, more damning connection to Lyme disease. A USDA 1978 internal research document titled 'African Swine Fever' notes that in 1975 and 1976, contemporaneous with the strange outbreak in Old Lyme, Connecticut, “the adult and nymphal stages of Abylomma americanum and Abylomma cajunense were found to be incapable of harboring and transmitting African swine fever virus.' In layman's terms, Plum Island was experimenting with the Lone Star tick and the Cayenne tick – feeding them viruses and testing them on pigs – during the ground zero year of Lyme disease...The Lone Star tick, named after the white star on the back of the female, is a hard tick; along with its cousin, the deer tick, it is a culprit in the spread of Lyme disease. Interestingly, at the time, the Lone Star tick's habitat was confined to Texas. Today, however, it is endemic throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. And no one can really explain how it migrated all the way from Texas.”

Lab 257, pps. 23-24


I know that I don't have the whole picture, and probably never will.

Ceteris paribus, my son has a disease which showed up just across a narrow band of water from a biological weapons lab, with an epidemic pattern radiating outward from that lab, where war criminals tested the delivery of infectious diseases.


Those who run the state, and the corporations which fund it and benefit from it, set themselves on top of us, above us, a human latticework of power, control and enforcement. They claw their way out of the families, and the communities, from which they come. Or, born to privilege, they reap the benefits of an education in the mastery of others.

They rule, and we live lives that feed that power. Our daily defeats, our less-than existences – the grist for their supremacy.

They wield the state, and the law, as an instrument. Against us. They haul matter up from the earth and the oceans, using our labor to remake it, shaping it into machines of war, into wire fences and projectile bombs, into court house chairs and a prisoner's chains, into the policeman's baton, into the stone and steel cages of the prison industry, into the soft distractions of entertainment, into the alienation of cheap porn and bitter liquor, into their privilege and our submission.

They wage the quiet war of law and order against us, and the long, hot war against those who live atop the resources they want, the raw matter they need to build the machines, and the societies, which maintain their privilege and their power.


Sometimes it comes close enough to home, to a small and insignificant life, already on the margins. Yesterday, the random search. Tomorrow, the street corner camera. Sometimes it skips right past you, to lodge itself in the flesh of your child.

Or it falls as death from the skies, to kill her quickly in a rain of fire.

My child sundowns, the bioweapon revenant; Ahmed's turns to superheated human goo, gone forever. Gone always now from the flesh and left only in the film of memory.


I dragged myself up from the muck of mere labor. Or so I told myself. No Hemmelrich, I, in the end. Not yet. I had a taste of the half-human liberty, the extra income, the disposable pleasures.

I recovered my bourgeois eyes. Started voting. Republican, then Democrat. As if an honest observer can discern a difference, in goals, however occasionally varying the methods.

Some colonizations, like spirochetes, resist the immune response.


He loves me in ways I do not and cannot deserve. He doesn't see my compromises, my lineage of defeats, submissions and capitulations.

I do not deserve him. I fail him, as I fail my wife and our younger son, simply by breathing.

So many compromises.

He wrote this. So much wisdom, discovering his own language, his own words. Mute, I stopped acting his father, found no fault, no tired dissection of grammar, or tone. I hesitated on the cusp of my usual role, seeking the edge of his potential, pulling him toward his own revelations, the best expression, the cleanest cut.

I stopped myself, absorbing his truth instead.

So young, and already wiser than I:

Ode to life
Life brings much to the world
It is rare in this universe
when it happens it takes on amazing shapes.
It would be foolish for man to squander the beauty.
For all life sustains each other.
Plant supports animal and animal supports plant.
Man kills both, and in return pollutes this delicate world.
Yet life still manages, surprisingly resilient, and deceptively so.
But few people care, most pretend this mess will fix itself, some think it to be fiction.
It is my hope that humankind awakens from this folly and steps out of ignorance.
While life boldly presses on in the face of its greatest oppressor, us.”

I did not teach him this. I fear my own influence, holding back my own cultivated sense of justice, and injustice. My heart's predilection for the language of retribution.

He exceeds me, and I go mute, humbled; my joy, tempered on the anvil of sorrow, the indelicate truth of the spirochete invader, the weary look in his eye, the rabid worry about the next time. And the next.


We learned the facts, slowly. The wrath built fast upon them.

A weapon of war, a war crime in our living room, embedded in his beautiful flesh, burrowing, hiding behind his eyes, persistent like any oppression, like bombs over Baghdad, Sarajevo, Khartoum, like the long, slow starvation of Cuba, Haiti and the poor of Iraq and Iran, like disease blankets at the Tsalagi hearth fire. Like the dead and broken and diseased falling behind the footfalls of Empire.

His brotherhood with the victims of the world.

Through him, my own. Our own.


My beautiful boy, so proud, so kind, so wise.

For him, now – my truth.

Uprising, filling me, more than any rage, or the ribbon strips of pain that follow on injustice.

Facing the war machine come close to home.

The spirochete in his living flesh - the fruit of obedience, of following orders, of taking profit and murdering the land, of twisting the shape of life to the ends of murder, war and death.


Against these lies, and these designs, I will stand.

For his flesh.

For the mind that blossoms outward, from it.

For his love. And all those who love him, or some day will.

For his life.

For the unseen, the unknown, the unwitnessed.

For the living.

Against the oppression of the state, against the business of empire, against the industries and the imperium of the death cult of capital, against the priests and the prophets of law and obedience...


No more obedience. No more compromise.

Rise up.

Petraeus Caesar

Caesar was once a cognomen. I wonder if Petraeus will one day be a title, as in "today, the son of the Petraeus, while conducting maneuvers against Aztlan militants in the imperial protectorate of Monterrey state..."

I also wonder if he'll rehabilitate his hatchet man on his way to the apex of history.

I hung my hat on Palin-Petraeus a while back. It's still hanging there.

Crow Flies Crooked

The comrades are pissed. The Espionage Act is in the news. Teeth have been gnashed, garments rent. Assange lionized into no less than Spartacus. But I couldn't be happier.

Because the damned thing criminalizes everything, in our information glutted Western world. The cabal of capitalist stooges in the federal state already have the power and authority to declare, by fiat alone, that a person is a murderable enemy of that same gaggle of factions. So what could be a better development than the one which puts a high school hacker in the same sentence as Big Bill Haywood and Red Emma?

Them as would rule have had these proscriptions for nearly a hundred years, already:

(a) whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defence with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information, concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defence, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, coaling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, or other place connected with the national defence, owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control or the United States, or of any of its officers or agents, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired. or stored, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place within the meaning of section six of this title; or

(b) whoever for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts, or induces or aids another to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing or note of anything connected with the national defence; or

(c) whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts or induces or aids another to receive or obtain from any other person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defence, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts or induces or aids another to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this title; or

(d) whoever, lawfully or unlawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defence, wilfully communicates or transmits or attempts to communicate or transmit the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e) whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, note, or information, relating to the national defence, through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be list, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000, or by imprisonment for not more than two years, or both

Everything is national security and national defense. There's nothing which cannot be sheltered under that expansive umbrella. Any declaration, property, secret or decision by the government can fall under the protection of that aegis, and on executive declaration alone.

We live in a national security state.

Why not welcome the application of an already insidious and hateful law to the criminalization of so wide a swath of existing public communication, introducing millions to intimate complicity? We already know that it won't be universally enforced, right? But it will get a lot of press, especially if someone like Assange or Manning gets a show trial (and I wouldn't take the most favorable bet against that).

A new application of a stupid law which makes tens of millions of people potential and alienated criminals?

That's beautiful.

I love it when the fools make such obviously stupid decisions. There ain't nuthin' better for corroding faith in the rule of law than a law which criminalizes anything the powers want, costs the state credibility and credit to enforce, and which is then used arbitrarily.

The naked desperation of appealing to the anti-wobbly law happy makes my broken heart. Gawds imaginary, fools, please stir up the ghosts of Debs and Red Emma with her whip...

..and in other news, if Christianity as a faith and a set of practices was ever going to set the captives free and change the moral nature of women and men, two thousand years is a long enough sample period for the collection of data sufficient to determining the aforementioned claims.

Christianity does not deliver on its most basic promises.

I see no reason to treat with fellow workers who Christ up as anything but comrades - but their methods don't work. They pacify. When what we need are people who are done with passivity, happy-happy dialogue, good feelings about "coworkers" who would cut a throat to get a raise, a faith in messaging and a pleasant regard for the bosses among us...

Dec 14, 2010

Without Consolation

How does power so often soften or defuse the impulse to rebel, to resist?

It consoles. It tolerates reforms, and reformers who work for reconciliation.

Used against insurrection, against the urge to resist, insidious consolation puts desire to rest. Indirect, conciliatory and soothing, commiseration deprives a person of the boundary between insult suffered and injustice felt; it  removes the border and negates the difference between the injury and experience of it, treating the wound as a personal obstacle to overcome, to leave behind, to set aside, to forget. It seals the insult, or the injury, in a sarcophagus of memory, insulating it against the present. When consoled - when we accept consolation - we submit to a demand to pretend we cannot remember. We agree, in the receipt of pity and consolation, to lay down our grievances.

A revolutionary, a rebel, a reformer whose goal looks like consolation may not believe he serves the powers which offend him, but he does. The grievance, the insult, the injury, the oppression - these we must hold, must shield against the desire to console, to receive consolation. Trust no "rebel" who places a high value on the making of amends, on consolation - he looks like a priest because he acts like a priest, a mediator of disputes, a prophet of peace and conciliation.

Consolation deadens because we must insist on our own error, our own agreement to injury, in order to overcome it. Receive the embrace of the seducing peddler of consolation, and you accept, in certain terms, the admission of defeat, of surrender.

Resist consolation. Live without it. Accept no reconciliation.

Without consolation - refusing all mercy - the revolutionary life...

A sidereal commentary on the post before it

I want to write, "the camera is inherently fascist" and mean it, without any self doubt. But, I know the formula has neither truth, nor style; it is instead unceremonious, and ugly. The camera, a tool, has no unmovable use or value. In this, it resembles the gun. Like the gun, the camera does have a primary use. A design. Both tools fix in place a human body, or a slice of environment, or the movement of light and metal, or the perception of a moment, and alter not only perception, but memory.  Like the gun, the camera extracts. The gun extracts death, and injury, and submission. The camera extracts fame, and time itself. It seizes a moment and makes it available for any use, so long as it lasts.

A painter converts raw materials - turns pigments and paints, fabric and her own effort, the food she has consumed and the air she breathes, her sleep or lack of sleep, her memories, the materials made by other human hands - into an image, which some might call art. In capturing an image in her own effort, in her labor, the painter creates. She makes. It may suck. It may fail to communicate. It may fail the artist's own expectations. But it remains labor. A person shapes herself in order to shape the medium and the materials into a new thing, a thing which did not exist before she finished it. A thing now part of the world, if only for a moment.

The camera also produces an image, but the labor happened elsewhere. The camera, a commodity, also commodifies. A person using a camera must still eat, sleep, sit up night after night with insomnia, shit and walk and find the right balance, or imbalance, of light and background. But the labor, the immediate labor of the moment of capture, is itself alienated. Foreign hands made the mechanism, others made the tool. The painter may not fashion the brush, or manufacture the paint - but brush and paint alone will never an image create.

The camera, on the other hand, doesn't even need a single human hand. Its operator can program it, place it, and walk away. Can line a bank ceiling with them. Can hang one on a street light, or in the dwindling wild, to capture the pathetic mating rituals of birds almost gone extinct. Even with one in hand, the moment of capture requires only a single actual investment of labor - to push a button and freeze an instant of the world.

The camera extracts. Like the gun. Or the tank. Or the oil drill. The painter must labor her art, must experience it. She cannot remain separate. The cameraman must separate himself. He has no choice. The moment of extraction divides him from the image he produces, because he doesn't actually produce it. He steals it. The cameraman extracts images by fixing them, and at the point of extraction produces a consumable commodity. A face. A mother and child. A wandering dust wurm of motherless orphans. A player in a game. The face of a prince, the hands of an anonymous model, the grimacing glare of a president's wife. Extracted for consumption.

I attempted to imply all this when I wrote about disaster porn produced out of the suffering of Haitians, almost a year ago:

"Actually pornography - the prurience of the concealed angle, the alleged objectivity of the camera lens, the incipient fascism of predetermined experience, the glee and horror of commentary and condemnation."

 The camera can only extract.

Thankfully, Lewis Lapham manages to say it better than I (h/t Marisacat):

"...The historical variables testify to the presence of the constant, which is the human hope or dream of immortality, but they don’t account for the broad-spreading glory that disperses to nothing. That achievement was reserved for the mechanical genius of the twentieth century that equipped the manufacturers of celebrity with the movie camera, the radio broadcast, the high-speed newspaper press, and the television screen. The historian Daniel Boorstin attributed the subsequent bull market in “artificial fame” to the imbalance between the limited supply of gods and heroes to be found in nature and the limitless demand for their appearance on a newsstand.

Perceptions of the world furnished by the camera substitute montage for narrative, reprogram the dimensions of space and time, restore a primitive belief in magic, employ a vocabulary better suited to a highway billboard or the telling of a fairy tale than to the languages of history and literature. The camera sees but doesn’t think. Whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, the object of its affection doesn’t matter; what matters is the surge and volume of emotion that it engenders and evokes, the floods of consciousness drawn as willingly to a blood bath in Afghanistan as to a bubble bath in Paris. As the habits of mind beholden to the rule of images come to replace the structures of thought derived from the meaning of words, the constant viewer eliminates the association of cause with effect, learns that nothing necessarily follows from anything else..."

That is the end game of corporate fascism. To extract the self from the body itself.

Dec 13, 2010

The Noam

Sells books. Pretends Kant resides in the structures of the human brain. Speaks in documentaries which make money for the filmmakers.

Millionaire hypocrite:

"...Chomsky favours massive income redistribution -- just not the redistribution of his income. No reason to let radical politics get in the way of sound estate planning.

When I challenged Chomsky about his trust, he suddenly started to sound very bourgeois: "I don't apologize for putting aside money for my children and grandchildren," he wrote in one e-mail. Chomsky offered no explanation for why he condemns others who are equally proud of their provision for their children and who try to protect their assets from Uncle Sam. (However, Chomsky did say that his tax shelter is OK because he and his family are "trying to help suffering people.")

Indeed, Chomsky is rich precisely because he has been such an enormously successful capitalist. Despite his anti-profit rhetoric, like any other corporate capitalist Chomsky has turned himself into a brand name. As John Lloyd recently put it in the lefty New Statesman, Chomsky is among those "open to being "commodified" -- that is, to being simply one of the many wares of a capitalist media market place, in a way that the badly paid and overworked writers and journalists for the revolutionary parties could rarely be."

Chomsky's business works something like this. He gives speeches on college campuses around the country at US$12,000 a pop, often dozens of times a year.

Can't go and hear him in person? No problem: You can go online and download clips from earlier speeches -- for a fee. You can hear Chomsky talk for one minute about "Property Rights"; it will cost you US79 cents. You can also buy a CD with clips from previous speeches for US$12.99.

But books are Chomsky's mainstay, and on the international market he has become a publishing phenomenon. The Chomsky brand means instant sales. As publicist Dana O'Hare of Pluto Press explains: 'All we have to do is put Chomsky's name on a book and it sells out immediately!'..."

As Rosa Lichtenstein once argued (and I summarize) - want to know a big reason why socialist revolutionary movements fail?

Their leadership is almost always bourgeois capitalist. Including those sheltered by capitalist academia. Especially the academics.

Look no further than the commodity known as "Noam Chomsky" to see how it works.

Want to remove a significant obstacle to actual proletarian and working class agitation and insurrection?

Dump the academics. Burn their capitalist (let's be redundant: this means militarist and commercial) redoubts  to the ground.

And let them know that the "fire next time" is not a fucking idle threat...

Added in edit: In case I have not made myself clear, Noam Chomsky is a meritocratic bourgeois enemy of revolution. He's a palliative, an anodyne. His analysis is always run through a very specific filtering lens which perhaps reflects his deeply institutional bias - one which precludes actual insurrection and revolutionary agitation. He can describe what's wrong with the capitalist world order only in so far as to paint it as inevitable, as ponderously permanent, as so expansive and so entrenched as to resist the very idea of opposition. A permanence reflected in his nearly endless tenure at noted leftist hotbed, MIT. Which condition probably suits the Chompers quite well, since he makes a pretty penny writing about it...