Now Politics: the Political Opinions of Thomas Sarebbenonnato

A Friend of the People Opposing Elites; Social and Political Commentary of Thomas Sarebbenonnato; Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo [Copyright (c) Jay Ruvolo 2018]

Archive for May 2019

Savagery and Civilization

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Toward a Renewed Geneology?

How many more savage rituals of blood did the Bolsheviks or the Nazis invent than we? Is murder in America the anti-dote for totalitarian slaughter? How much more fanatical were the Bolsheviks or the Nazis than the Inquisitors of Spain, than any redneck of the Ku Klux Klan. Is bureaucratically sponsored and managed mass murder the anti-dote to religious fanaticism? What is our greatest persuasion? Where lies our weakest link of chain . . . mind forged, again, the manacles we wear most proudly, the latest bling. Invisible chains less binding we must have thought than the stronger links of chain of the Rosary, or those of the Jewish prayer belt, or Buddhist prayer bracelet beads.

Religiously we practice life, and we do practice it; life lived like law or medicine; how we practice, practice, practice . . . at least a ballerina gets to perform; a surgeon only practices. We are able to understand that murder among the poor is tolerated by the state as a means of reducing unemployment; just as conservative politics, which are always conservative socio-economic policies, themselves always liberal for the elites, will always support anti-abortion as a means of increasing the population of the poor in order to keep wages lower. No? You disagree.

Every link of chain signals what? Everything we do, we do religiously, don’t we? It’s all about linking, re-linking, the chains each one of us a link of chain as Italians were each to be un fascio; the chains that bind, banded sticks; oh those banded sticks, senators of Rome walking with the axe of Justice at the end of a heavy handle of banded sticks. One after another only ever what we imagine to say or  what we could say how we do the things we do each day passing in its petty paces . . . our murmors are our rumors.

None of this a mere measure of our devotion; to what now are we devoted? Participators all of us in the grand show of propaganda. It is a mistake that propaganda is all lies. Propaganda is about how to manage truths as well as the idea of Truth; it is a means, systemic and systematic, by which populations are moved to action and support. Propaganda does not only exist in Communist societies, themselves we do believe the only ones that can be totalitarian.

Nowhere do people seem so bent on being what they should, as when they come together to say just how much they agree with each other about what others should not be, finally. Every one of them consenting to an opinion none of them ever held before, as we do here in America, over and again, waiting for the media to tell us what we think, how we think it, how we should revise it, that which we never thought until we were told we have thought, not even should think; but a have thought as if this special thinking has been on-going inside of us without us having the ability to know until we are or were told, will be and will be and will be, on and on in petty pace after pace until the last syllable of the prescribed proscriptions we swallow as our new political prescription.

Written by jvr

May 31, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Explication from a Fictional Essayer on the Fictional Essay

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I will not make you comfortable by feeding you explications of my fiction, fictional voices are what they are when they are, however they are . . . fictional essays are the product of a fictional essayer, the expositor persona is allowed his opinions irrespective of what you think, why you think it, how offended you might be. I am not here to feed you new recipes for American liberal pablum any more than I am going to either soften my satire or my criticism of our contemporary conservative culture, itself as entrenched as it has ever been, more so than it has been in I cannot say, perhaps ever.

I will not be polite for the sake of politeness as some in these dis-united States adhered to, mostly psychopathically. Please read closely, carefully, the need for re-reading is strong. And yes, we had adhered to a virtually psychopathic politeness, a dogmatic adherence to that did lead to some thinking Trump was the antidote . . . yet another mis-taken understanding.

Written by jvr

May 31, 2019 at 9:55 am

More Perfect Order

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Originally published in an earlier draft in 2010. Revised since and last re-issued in September of 2016. In the nine months since, some minor revisions have been made, culminating in this current re-look.

We the people of the United States, in order–in order to what? What is in store for us, in order to . . . to order, to command, to demand . . . demander in French is simply to ask, but in English, I am just asking when demanding? Inflection colors connotation, the latter invested in the former, variations in meaning cross over into other languages, the history of meaning is residual in every present word. This is not a reanimation of the etymological fallacy. To put in order, what? What must we put in order other than opur houses, this greater house, the nation become another kind of Prison House, the one of State, the way States always stand opposed to what is best in every simple separate person. We do put our houses in order, our closets, our affairs . . . what is it about order that aligns itself with the guiding metaphysics of a culture, all governments are made to represent the State, to manage the affairs of the State, to guard and protect the State, only sometimes without this being a direct detriment to the people.

What is it about order that is in itself only about order, big ‘O’ order: of order, for order by order? Is it merely a succession, one after another after another, numerically, yes, an ordinal numeration is an order of a kind, first, second, third, sounds a lot like a ball field, the summer’s of my youth were a glorious disorder, impetuous, youth following inclinations without rule; playtime away from adult supervision, unlike today when children are rarely ever away from adult supervision, no time alone to police themselves, set their own policy of rule, order, what is order for children today, having nothing but adult, adult adulteration of childhood?

There are successions that are not instilled with ordinal rules. A row of anything can be numeralized, but just as often can have no attachment to first, second, third and so on. That ordinalization just might be situational. Commanding officers give orders and make demands on their subordinates. Every situation has its demands which we say are the necessities, yes, there are things that are by necessity. Everyone has his or her own must do(s), no? There are shoulds even if we do not like to admit them in America, often trying to avoid them because there is a collective unconscious fear that they might be impediments or obstacles to the free unhindered expression and development of our individualities.

Governments do have their shoulds, but they differ depending on the angle of perception? Governments are the institutions of administering the State and every State is in itself the institution of power . . . that should read Power, yes, uppercase ‘P’ is imperative. We are not yet going to discuss the intricate web of interconnections between State and government; between government and its administration; nor are we yet going to discuss the interconnective nexus of Power, Influence and Authority in any society and the relationship between State and the People and/or the Public. These will in course be discussed and articulated. But the time to address ‘order’ again is now:

“Order” is the only imperative for any State–how did we get to the existence of State, yes, you might remember Louis’s L’etats c’est moi; simply enough expressed, but when any discussion of the modern State arises, recalling Louis and Richelieu is imperative, as it might be to remember something of the nascent political science of the century preceding . . . yet, if we want to discuss the politics of humans, of understanding something of political unity–Aristotle had said that the family is the primary political unit–yes, man, meaning humans, and yes, including women, no matter how much or how often some would love to separate themselves from the politics of men, the politicking forced upon women by men, by patriarchy, we would have said in the 70s . . . where were we going?

Humans are the political animal, as much as we are the story-telling animal . . . every story another history of a kind . . . history an attempt to bring order to time, past time? What has been lost?

This state America is no different than any other, federalist republican-democratic, parliamentarian, totalitarian, fascist, communist, tribal, feudal . . .  To what end, though, we might ask do states organize?  For what purpose, we might wonder?  Always a more perfect union? Yes, complete–order is completion and completion here is perfection . . . a more perfect union today is one where the People have abdicated their role as counter-balance of the State. What’s that? Yes, the People are the only institution in society with enough weight to counter balance that of the State, which always imposes its weight on persons.

What is more perfect in the mind of any agent of the State, someone who has come to believe, or has been made to believe through his training, that to serve the state and only the state is the highest social ideal he can uphold? Any bureaucrat is of one mentality, and that is a mind that thinks of the state for the state, and all thoughts by the state, so help him God, or many instances, the State. L’Etat, c’est l’etat. Truth is once again in tautology.

Bureaucracy is in itself always, and remains, in its raison d’etre, the singular guardian of the State.  In America, though, we suffer a debilitating delusion that bureaucracy is here to serve the People–that is a mistake. Even here and now–especially here–the bureaucracy has been accustomed to serving the State first and last and always in between. Bureaucracy is of bureaucracy, by bureaucracy and for bureaucracy never perishing except by means for ends that serve the needs and interests of the bureaucracy. It has been the people themselves an institution of society that has been undermined, allowed to stand on faulty foundation. We, all of US, do remember JFK having said to US Ask not what your country can do for you  . . . yes, perfect–the State in this once democracy had announced that it was no longer going to do anything for anyone, the People (for I am We the People as you are We the People, as he is and she is and every single other someone else is, otherwise there is no People for anyone to take comfort in . . .).

We the People of these United States endure a gross and vulgar naiveté about our standing as a People, as we do about the irreducibility of personhood, and the meaning inferred by this shift in thinking. All civil service agents, all governmental administration and every organizational agency simply pumps out the propaganda of their serving the people while they in fact protect the bureaus from the People at every turn,in turn bearing weight on persons in their individual lives. There is only a State that mildly serves a Public in America, the latter itself a transformation of the People into State serving domestic animals. Bureaucrats are Public minded in this way alone sometimes, if at all.

In as much as we under educate at every turn in our standard Public Education, we do not have nor will we have soon a People savvy enough to understand their place or the role the State has them play. Controlled at every other turn and feeding the controllers at every one between, we have now a system of government in itself aligned with a program of service that does not serve—but the Public has been acculturated to expect this. This has been so since the New Left had departed ways with the old Left, leaving behind along with older establishment ideas about order and rule, the notion of service that at least was the heart of the New Deal. Ask not what your country can do for you is still the mantra of liberal American politics, right through the Obama Administration. John Kennedy was the father of Neo-Liberalism and its designs for a new global order. Rightly assassinated, Jean Paul Marat would have said; but is that where we want to go, is that where we thought we would wind up; is this the only thing left for Power to feel enough fear. And Power today fears nothing, and We the People have become so fully and completely the Public and not the People that the State has nothing to counterbalance its weight, and remains now set to crush each and every one of us. And Obama is as much a part of that as was Regan, JFK, Bill Clinton (especially so) as well as Bush I and Bush II.

The direction of government has never been more strongly set at serving the government itself, or Power and/or Monied elites, particularly the corporate capitalist and economic investment institutions of America and the borderless empire of international investment capital.

All thought and action is of the State, by the State and for the State. Nowhere do we find a feeling for the People, certianly not any person . . . individuality the lie woven into State propaganda, serving to sever each of us from oour role in the People, our proper role and understanding in a Democracy . . . not in a poltique that has learned its rhetorical strategies from marketing; Madison Avenue and Wall Street corporate executives the new founding fathers of American politics. As in all contemporary marketing, product is second to package, if that place at all. Where then do we think the People reside in this design—how many bubbles burst economically in the last ten years and especially over the last two  that Goldman Sachs has not only been involved in, but the perpetrators of? And yet we have sent none of their executives to jail–Goldman was also instrumental in the twenties for bringing on the Great Depression . . . but we are the least historically savvy People politically in the history of The People versus the State. Obama had four of his Treasury Secretary’s top aides from this company and others involved in bringing the economy of America to virtual collapse. But We the People also failed US.

When it is the Public, however, and never the People, that takes second place to the packaging of State, you and I are never missed, just lost . . . lost without justice. We are closer to the New Deal’s 100th anniversary than we are to its inception, and thus we have fallen victim to a particularly American, and no less virulent for being American, socio-political virus, the Cult of the New in the religion of Now. Anything we have politically today, including political nothing, is newer than the too old for us now New Deal. So whatever we have now is therefore better in the simian-minded average American—and this includes one or another lot of American college graduates, even those who call themselves liberal. I do not really want to be cruel, want to be vicious or vulgar, but We have become this . . . these, cruel, vicious and vulgar, especially in the ways and means we educate and allow literacy to fall and thus fail.

The number of times over the last two or more decades that I found myself on the opposite side of an argument with fellow classmates who numbered themselves among the perpetually contemporary educated liberal establishment, and not those of the eternal left, as we used to like to say about poets such as Shelley and Blake and political thinkers such as Locke, Madison and Jeffersons–and this oppositional stance was not because I was of the right or that I was right wing, as too many of the more insipidly inclined college student who was always going to confuse his knee for his brain would say of me, just as he would confuse the doctor’s rubber mallet of his immediate experiences, or what he called experience–no. I could not get one  of my closest friends to stand in defense of liberty with anything but received ideas from the propaganda of the left or the media packaged slogans used to elicit programmed responses. An essay defending Roe versus Wade was beyond too many of the college educated. But chanting monosyllabically in groups or alone at a bar was mustered; if the chants were seemingly enforced by a greater en masse assembly with hand written placards no more literate than their chants, all the better for them to feel as if they had done their part to be constant in their vigilance, constant in their defense for freedom. What was next as I had persistently warned was the Barbarians beating down the gates.

The chickens have come home to roost . . . and now we have a State bureaucracy only a little more than “functionally literate,” which is just what the average high school graduate is expected to achieve—and note well that graduation is in itself the achievement. It does not matter that half of New York City High School graduates cannot read on grade, or even attempt, in any credit bearing course, the work most college freshman used to be able to handle on arriving in university, let’s say twenty-five years ago, let alone fifty. And this is in spite of Mayor Bloomberg opposing social promotion when he did. We’ve just lessened the expectations. I saw this clearly over the decades I taught Freshman Composition in CUNY schools.

We are not likely to produce the kind of literacy we once sponsored, but then I am of the mind that thinks it is not possible to democratize literacy, which is to say, that higher levels of literacy as we had encountered as givens in university are not likely to be broadened at the base of society, but almost assuredly not even in the middle of society. But then that’s what we mean by levels, by grades, by stages, all of them hierarchically arranged in an ascension of achievement, not rule by political authority.

Toppling the hierarchy and allowing every one to move along a level field, easily moving from one stage to another as from one square on the sidewalk to another is far from achieving advanced literacy. Hop-scotch with the Truth, ping pong with ideas, randomly passing images in the mind are none of them what thinking  is, but what it has been allowed to become, however erroneously. By undermining literacy achievement, we have debased our politics, our political acumen, our ability ti function intelligently as the People, inarticulate in our defense of freedom and democracy.
Our solutions have consistently been, for the last forty years, to reduce the standards or requirements of what is expected. In one short decade I saw CUNY make its entrance writing exam a lot easier to write, and in addition, twice as trouble-free to pass. Norming sessions in grading the entrance writing exam became all about how not to fail too many of the students. From needing two passing grades, it went to needing one of two. From having to write a thesis driven essay on a topic that required thinking like a freshman university student had been expected to think, it went to writing a letter expressing agreement or disagreement on a proposal in itself delivered as a thesis, something on the lines of writing a letter to the editor of the daily news, itself written on the fourth grade level, or thereabouts.

Still, the passing average is only around thirty per cent. I had had a seventy per cent pass rate from students in my remedial classes on this very exam, the ACT, yet I ran into trouble with the Deputy Chair of an English Department at one of CUNY’s Community Colleges, simply for my class being too “teacher centered,” which many of the non-native students in my class and other classes did not mind when they passed more easily and more quickly than their friends in other student centered classes, and began to get higher grades on essays and exams in other classes. I have been left with a permanent distaste for Community College Academia since; but I understood that I was flying in the face of factory made failure, an assembly line of such that follows the dictates of our overbearing consumerism. In fact, what is the pedagogic equivalent of consummerism in a consumerist society?

Failure–yes, managed failure in the industry of remediation. In other words, in a consumerist society, what is the equivalent in education? Failure; managed failure.

Now, can a semi-literate person, one barely above functional literacy, graduate from any of our Community Colleges in New York City? The answer is most likely yes—nonetheless, he would have to make strides to achieve what he should have in High School, what most used to achieve upon graduation, otherwise graduating did not happen.

And where do we imagine that our patrolmen police officers are coming from except mostly from among the fifty per cent of New York City High Schoolers who do not read on grade–barely literate is what we want from police officers, of course. A man who struggles with the sports pages is who I want to carry a gun among citizens in public. Remember what Twain said; a man who does not read has no advantage over a man who cannot read. With a 9th grade reading level, how invested in literacy is any man so beset, especially when his under achievement had been lauded for years as special. Now this used to be the managing of class in America, and it still insures that most will remain the working poor, but with so many under-achieving through being systematically under-educated, the semi-literate began to rise to low and mid level management, whereby, persons of quality literacy, which can always be seen, felt, heard, understood by just talking to a person (no matter how much persons without this literacy want to believe it cannot . . .); and it is felt by those without it, and so only those without it less than the manager get chosen for positions.

There was a time you could not graduate without reading on grade, and that was with standards of achievement in literacy that were not reduced, that is, inflated, in order to raise the percentages of achievement.  We do applaud everyone, believing that even those who can’t must be told they can in order to boost self-esteem; and of course, once self-esteem is boosted, the one who couldn’t will become a future can. This mentality more than any other mind, any other rhetorical strategy, proves that no one is special, which is pretty much what we’ve been getting, yet we fail to make the appropriate correlations between how poorly we read and write with how we teach, how we teach with how we continue to mismanage our lives socially and politically.

Literacy is one of the cornerstones of civilization which is not a synonym for colonialism or imperialism, except in too many  post- structuralist in-formed grad students who have gone on to get their PhDs and never graduate past adolescence. And again I face supervisory interference in matters of teaching and methods of



The political and the literary have for always been mutual antagonists, at least metaphysically—and yes, there is metaphysics. I know, it is just another dirty word even among academicians, and one we recoil from as much as we do the word, nigger; the latter a word become rock, become method of execution, execution here the assault on person, personality, psychology; psychic warfare at its fundamental. The former was a misstep taking things correctly, intellectually.  We have become notorious for throwing puppies out with flea bath water.

Nonetheless, politics will for always remain an adversary to the leading role that literature could play in the advancement of democracy, the highest achievement of those democratic ideals we once stood for and think we continue to stand for (mistakenly). That is, in any theater of being, the literary stands at the vanguard of all civil liberties. You know that readers of literature, and now we have to say literary literature–another absurdity in our semantics born of our degraded ability to read . . . ; you understand that literary fiction readers are in general more sensitive and intelligent persons, able to connect empathetically to others in a way that those disconnected from either literacy or orality (an oral folk culture that is not lesser than what we expect and defend in the highest–yes, the vertical axis–ideals of literacy) can. Those who do not either read other than perfunctorily in an alphabetics that masquerades as literacy for the purposes of being better disposed to media packaging, or who have lost their connection to an oral folk tradition, complete with a firm foundation in ethical teaching as we have always gotten from de-politicized or a-politicized religion (so long as it remains free of, or finds a space of exclusion from, politicized religiosity as you can see in Muslim Theocracies or in our Puritan past), are lost in the received ideas disseminated by the media, media being the messages of the elite, by the elite and for the elite.

The empathy I speak of here is not the insipid way some solipsists selfishly (and yes egoistically) demand that you to connect to their pain, but actual empathy; right action, a Buddhist would say, and that’s not from the one’s who pander Buddhist ideas as a cloak to cover their own human impotency, but someone who is connected to the bare Truth of Buddhist right action. There is strength in the Dalai Lama, strength in Gandhi, strength in Jesus, if we want to understand these figures in ways our narrowed and increasingly narrowing hop-scotch around received ideas promotes.

Yet, no sane person could ever think of becoming proficient at a higher than perfunctory level in both reading and writing, collaterally; unlikely, if love is not at the heart of one’s expression in either.  For any of  us who do aspire to higher literary expression than most of what we read seems able to sustain—and I’m not talking about what we read that has no business even trying to achieve higher literary election, but that which we parade as literary—there is a way of making even the perfunctory writing we do more literate. I note at every turn a debilitating ineptness in literacy skills, even from among those required to read, even those whose guardianship is literacy.

Few of us who respect the literary enough to love her too much should be surprised that writers and governments have always had a tenuous relationship at best, certainly precarious and mortal in the worst of times. Writers have often found themselves hanging by a precipice whenever they have been too closely scrutinized by political leaders, or those agents of government who maintain loyalty to their state in counterbalance to any fidelity to art, or to the people. But then a bureaucrat’s only link with intelligence is a base and state serving pragmatism. Theirs is the cleverness of the businessman or the criminal, one and another of the three, all of piece.

[note well the absence of the Profession of Politician–businessmen and lawyers instead]



The soul of the people and the anti-soul of the governmental administrators—and soul is as self-evident to me as mind is to most educated Americans—are mutually exclusive; they share nothing in common; each one cannot tolerate the other’s existence long before the move is toward annihilation.  They are as close to matter and anti-matter in physics as any two things could be in this universe.

Fascist and communist, for instance, are more like salt and water than the literary and the political are when mixed; the public good is only ever a debasement of what is best in the people, yet the people in the worst of times will always trade their liberty, barter with their freedom for a few more crumbs. This has been evident from some of the most advanced and intelligent societies—presumably—but mostly societies basely literate, as in the case of Nazis Germany, a society that voted for the Nazis. This is the excuse most Russian Ashkenazim offer for having been members of the Communist Party: I had to be a member, they forced me if I wanted to make more money for my family. I was not there. I have never been subjected to this dilemma. I do not know what I would say, do, or choose. But facts have a way of standing as facts whether any person or people concerned agree or not.

A better standard of living for a lot less than is always significantly more than nothing—which is why we used to compare ourselves always to the most horrible places on earth; even our charities broadcast by fundamentalist Christian organizations here in America, often the most conservative politically, are always propagandizing the suffering around the world against a better life here. The fundamentalist right works on the imaginative interplay of America being the best of all possible worlds. We are fast going from the last best hope of humankind to the first best delusion of a future world order of elites, powerful and moneyed. Big Brother has nothing on the kind of Matrix-like control we will soon see and have been seeing in part from our mass media popular culture; the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death for example.

Look at how lucky we are to be here in America seems to be all that any Trump supporter thinks of saying, expects everyone else to say; jingoism and Chauvinism (in its etymology) are the thumping cries of the Trump throngs. Greed and nastiness, a baser meanness than I have ever noted before this campaign . . . I think never before has it been clearer who to choose. Particularly interesting is how the other choice is herself less than desirable. Hilary is only viable because Trump is so heinous, which is why Bernie Sanders was as viable for as long as he was; Hilary is actually the lesser of the many grotesques, and this election is a carnival of lost souls.

This is not to say that there is no genuine charity in US, and that we shouldn’t feel grateful for our blessings—I believe that we should, that there is a kind of arrogance that takes for granted whatever we have that is beneficial for living rather than merely surviving. But don’t tell me there isn’t propaganda too in the messages delivered through the media any time you see an infomercial about famine somewhere in the world. And we shouldn’t take our need to be grateful for what we have as a signal not to advocate for change where change is necessary. Now of course I recognize that it is just this idea of what is and is not necessary that is at the heart of how much change happens in a society, and we must be aware that there are hundreds of thousands if not a few million people living in America for whom a far less gentle America than I remember, or a far less generous social serving America than we once knew, is still a lot better than where these millions come from, so however America might change for the worse, complaint is not only thin, but gratitude exponentially greater.

One of the great horrors we face every election and especially this election is that when we vote for any candidate, that vote is actually a vote for the status quo. Exercising your right to vote is exactly that, saying that what is is good enough,even if only for now. We have yet to radicalize voting, but then I am going to get into my Pro-test Vote cast for no candidate–protest non-vote does not say it. It is confusing and I realized that a long time ago. What I really miss from politics are career politicians, not lawyers or businessmen packaging themselves as the solution to politics. The problem with politics really is that it is not political enough; it is corporate, it is rooted in litigation, litigation, litigation which is not the essence of law making or jurisprudence.

Written by jvr

May 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Auschwitz Should Remind Us

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Auschwitz should remind us, but it does not. How could it with the way we educate, with the way we manage our collective memory, with what we have done to history through how we have mismanaged historicism, mangled historiography, become the victims of  abandoning our commitment to literacy and what it should be, could amount to in a civilization, another word we fear, as if any word was a thing like a stone is a thing, puppies gone with the flea bath water.

Yes, Mr. Locke, it is true that we would have far fewer misunderstandings, and ape-like reflexes, if we were to take words for what they were, the symbols of ideas and not things in themselves, words, stones, a stone, this leaf turns, I turn, all now falling, perpetually autumn . . . I see the rock that has your name.

It has been more than sixty years since Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. Everyone born in that year has entered or will enter, officially, bureaucratically, old age. The greatest horror of the Second World War, bureaucratic mass murder, has persisted, in other forms over-arching a world bureaucracy that insists we collectivize, thus diminish our simple and separate singularity, thus our humanity–we do seek the comfort of conformity, ourselves audio-hypnotized by the near homophony; the herd we mingle about within . . .”

We do prefer to moo and baa our way about in this world, speaking not much other than parroting. We understand protection only in terms cows would comprehend if they could step out of their instincts and enter human thinking; but fantasies aside, most of us homo-sapiens (and I am cognizant of using Homo-sapiens as opposed to human;

human is a choice; homo-sapiens is what we are born and what we bear into this world too often.).

I have witnessed reasonably intelligent people oppose Bush by marching en masse and chanting monosyllabically around Union Square Parkin the hopes of raising consciousness against war–perhaps their efforts were not all for nothing; I am certainly not opposed to their protest, nor by necessity the means employed. I was just wondering, if it had occurred to anyone, that if they were opposed by the police or national guardsmen, what then would the result be? The protest would have to be managed appropriately (which says what?) in face of anything overtly antagonistic, and I was not sure of this. which should and should not be a primary concern: my certainty is not the concern, but there should be a concern to avoid, not simply minimize, the justifications power seeks to impose order, whether by a generally accepted use or presence of force or by brutality, and they are not the same thing, force in itself force and force that is brutal.

What I acknowledge, though, as part of all State operations in face of any standoff between The People and the Agents of State Policy, yes, the Police, is as follows: anyone not having been beaten by a cop with a truncheon and riot hat plays into the hands of the State.

We flatter ourselves, we do if we compare ourselves to King or to Ghandi, as if anything were the same for us as it was for them . . . but I exaggerate, don’t I?  Evoking King and Gandhi in our America is a proper and proportionate thing to do; historical perspective is beyond subjective.  America is home to neo-solipsists all of us–a collective unconscious of solipsism; a group solipsism we suffer in one or another form or amalgamation–and this is true in and from all corners of the world.

Nonetheless, if only one tenth of the marchers I watched chanting monosyllabically against the war in Iraq had written an especially individualized yet of course intelligent, articulate letter to his or her congressperson–what then would we do if more of us could write and write effectively. But do we write at all anymore? Twitter does not count; it did not even before the Donald showed us how semi-literacy and inanity could be effective weapons when coupled with the broadly grotesque (or is that the grotesquely broad and base) populism, or is that even grosser in its plurality–popularity. The once relevance in education movement had taken us away from writing at what we once called advanced literacy. What we have instead is Alphabetism. Do we even teach our elite students to write anymore?

No War, Peace Now, Send the Troops Home . . . there were a few thousand tweets retweeted and retweeted over and over chanting monosyllabically toward what end? This was the ultimate effort because it was the easiest one. The greatest exponents of the relevance in education movement in the 70s became themselves too many of Hilary’s supporters, unable to defend any part of the liberalism they all could chant monosyllabically about: The Right to Choose, the Right to Choose, the Right to Choose; It’s my body, it’s my body, it’s my body. With how as effete and ineffective, as insipid and disingenuous, as cliche and trite as their slogan ladened rhetoric had become, it is a wonder the Right has not staged a coup sooner and that all of the safety net had not been cut up into pieces.

Chant any monosyllabic phrase one hundred and twenty seven times in an afternoon while holding a badly illustrated placard on a stick . . . fifty per cent of NYC high school graduates read below grade, and people who have the benefit of university educations most often do not choose to write an essay, a letter to the editor, except in the received ideas because their respect for reading and writing, their respect or their reverence for reading and writing disappeared long ago or had never been instilled. We used to set as the lowest standard, reading on grade; now it has become an accomplishment for even some of whom we call elite in our public schools.

What passes for remedial instruction in community colleges is often not intended to be better.  If democracy is slipping it is because we who want it have confused it for collectivism, have come to think it can maintain itself, and that the warning of our founders for constant vigilance had to be an exaggeration because it came from old or middle aged white men who had to be stupid because they were not politically correct and failed to achieve our level of enlightenment? I have heard African American pundits on line spouting non-sense about having to rethink old laws that have no bearing on today . . . and she was talking about the First

Again, We the People do moo and baa and call it our Ode to Freedom.  Can we even articulate freedom anymore; have we so relativatized meaning that we can no longer say anything about anything.  If all things were relative, there would be nothing for anything to be relative to . . . and that is nihilism at its purest.

In our mass media culture, saying anything makes it so, even if only for fifteen seconds, but that quarter of a minute is enough to sustain us in our thinking for years.  If we lived in Bradbury’s world of Farenheit 451, all would have been forgotten . . . we would have burned everything in all Canons.

Written by jvr

May 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm

An Emperor’s New Clothes

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Pots and kettles must fill our dreams. We are caught now, as we have been for decades, in a Political Party Ping-pong that holds as much fascination as that other  favorite American past-time, baseball. We suffer the delusion that Democrat and Republican manifest real differences on the stage of the State, when in fact they are all of a piece. Rhetorical hop-scotch is another game we play; ethics, politics, even our families are situated in one or another square we hop into from another. Identity is therein contained, a board drawn by our media who tell us who we are, what we are, when and where we are.

There is no  Truth in America, none that we believe in as a noble pursuit. We have succumbed to a materialism as gross as the one that subsumed the Bolsheviks. There is only material; there is nothing of spirit. We no longer believe in any Absolutes, and thus we have abandoned Truth and all the little ‘t’ truths that accrete in the former’a evolution.  What we are left with is the Will to Power, and how we imagined that this was going to give us greater freedom is impossible for me to imagine. We have, since JFK, been furthering the transformation of ourselves as a People into a State serving Public, the latter of which has always been what the Public is.

For too long we have only Media Presidential Candidates–and television dictates how elections are run like sporting events, competing with the Super Bowl in how they are managed and produced and projected onto the Public. We are faced with candidates formed by the media need to package without respect for product; it serves created needs–needs manufactured by received ideas disseminated again through the media meeting the designs (literally) of marketing because we no longer a free a People with a Folk base to turn to, to rest on, to be informed by . . . .

So the media to meets our inorganic wants created by the media as the media is for the media and by the media, everywhere, all the time, any time. As if anything manufactured and disseminated through the media by the media is rooted in real needs determined by rational discourse. We can no longer engage with power as The People, that is, Jefferson’s We the People; but we do become a media-formed Public, perhaps from the material of the People, bit no less Publican in manner and choices. We have been formed by a Media that is more than the message. The media shows us who we are, not by what we are in ourselves but by what we must become according to the needs of power that the media elite support.

The First Amendment has been under assault from the Left as well as the Right, and the semi-literacy and systematic under education of the college educated class of the last quarter of a century or more has only aided this consolidation of power. How we ever hoped to manage liberty or democracy with as poorly as we read and write is beyond me. Systematic under-education has become perennial. We do read at a lessened level, and that is not from a broadened base alone, but all the way up the pyramid. I cannot tell you how many semi-literates I have meet in the management of literacy here in these United States; or just grossly mis-informed and mis-guided games of hop-scotch with the truth have been played while randomly passing images in the mind or playing ping pong with slogans masquerades as thinking.

We do assume that there are ideological differences between Obama and Bush when they are, in fact, flip-sides of the same coin. They are of one minting, and it is a tribute to how endemically racist we are that we imagined Obama had a hotline to the little man and woman because he was black. One is the oil gangsters’ baby and the other the bitch of the bankers, but this is only a small part of the picture.  The differences among the Presidents of the past fifty years have not been heartening to anyone committed in his life, engaged, as the Existentialists used to say, with Liberty and Democracy. There are no ideological differences from among Reagan, Clinton, Bush I and II, and Obama–none.

The difference today is in the critique, the level of the critique, the focus of the critique. Too much of multiculturalism has been co-opted by either the media or the bureaucracy, too often by both, most horrifically in the ways print and broadcast media pesist in propaganda function for Power and Monied Elites, especially in their backing of government authority that influences the policies of our bureaus.

Critique of Power has thus lost its edge, has become Status Quo, and has been used to change the color and the dress of the old power establishment. Power has become multi-culti, that’s all, and those who are in hegemony from among the various groups in the new critique have made their pact with the Devils of the elite.

In our degraded literacy, thus our degraded ability to manage and use rhetoric, thus degrading our ability to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens, we are all of us living “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Written by jvr

May 28, 2019 at 1:07 pm

The Public versus the People

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The word public and the word people are not synonyms.  We bear this confusion, though, in our current political science whereby we allow one to stand for the other, most pronouncedly, public for people. The people are Jefferson’s people, his We the People of the United States . . . and that’s people as in the Roman populus, never a synonym in Ancient Rome for publius, or, the public.  The public is the people in service of the state, deferring always their status as the people for a more secure or lucrative role as one of the public.  We of course maintain a confusion between these terms, substituting one for the other, confounding as our understanding of English has become, an interest in etymology having gone the way of the study of philology.  This confusion is also ever-present in the rhetoric of President Obama who envisions a people no longer the people, but only a public that serves–the masses who are everywhere alike as masses are also those who gravitate toward one form of pluralism or another, whether Bolshevik then, communist after, fascist or Nazis before or since; one totalitarianism successive with another after another in a long parade of political sleep-walking.

America and Americans next: Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist America is the truth, what we think we see only what has been presented. Obama, though, does not have to be a fascist to support a transforming pluralism in America, eradicating people and changing them into a state supporting public, one that would not remain the watchdogs of power and money elites. Obama wants you not to ask what your country can do for you because his managed country does not intend to do much for you. Obama is looking a lot more like Hoover than Roosevelt.

Obama does not  intend to spend enough; his political posture all pose–cracks in the poise becoming evident. Raising the debt limit a manoeuvre to appear like he wants to do something, knowing how divisive it’s going to be; Democrats all the time blaming Republicans for not letting them get done what they have no real intention of doing. It’s wonderful to position yourself as a man of the people.I do not see Obama doing what he can do, only asking for what he knows the Republicans will oppose.

Teddy Roosevelt wanted to protect the Grand Canyon, but to make it a National Park, he had to get the support of Congress. He couldn’t get it, so the Grand Canyon was not made into a National Park then. But he did not need Congressional approval to sponsor National Monuments, so through executive order he declared the walls of the Grand Canyon, a National Monument. The Grand Canyon was saved from strip mining.

Obama can spend more than he does, even without raising the debt limit, or getting the help of Republicans. But, always in the pockets of Wall Street Democrats will blame the puppets of the oil gangsters for not letting them get done what they were never willing to do in the first place. I repeat myself, but then so do the Democrats, which Ido find more heinous than what the Republicans do or stand for because what the latter stand for and do has never been a secret, nor has it ever been a surprise.

The Democrats continue to masquerade as the party of the People. A lot of heinous bastards maligning Sanders as a Socialist when he was the most benign of an old lot of New Dealers . . . the oldness of the lot of New Dealers not to be taken as either critique or rebuttal.Obama is in the pocket of the banks, as surely as Bush II was in the pocket of Oil, and I’m not saying that Presidents should avoid serving monied interests, at least some of the time. However, what is the Presidents job. If we are going to masquerade the Presidency as a National office, then he must pay some service to the idea that the People should be championed by his influence when their interests are opposed by power and monied elites. This, of course, is the ideal; Presidents have often been and Obama is far from this ideal, even as he masters the art of appearing as if he is most surely right behind this ideal.

Of course, I do understand the limits of this populist ideal, the Presidency being a Federal office and not a National one; that is, the Presidency is settled by way of a Federal election rather than a National one, which is why we have the Electoral College at all. The President is not the President of the Nation, but President of the Federal government. This makes his position, his relationships to the People, to the Government, to Power and to Money very different from what we think it is.

You cannot change the electoral process for the Presidency without altering the Office itself, and the very fabric of our democracy, which is more dangerous than too many are able to imagine. It is not the Democratic processes in our Federal Republic that need alterations, but our participation in it, the customs of it that need revising; We the People must not change the only thing that will allow us to change things at all. Here is not the place to discuss what I have discussed before, how the Electoral College actually respects and represents minority voting in a way that no other system in the world can or will, nor in any way a one-person, one-vote National election for  the Presidency could.

Everyone today in America is ready to become part of an overarching public(make that, Public), each of us to become a member of the great social en masse. The masses are always the same everywhere as masses are masses regardless of language, culture, history, political or religious belief; each mass is essentially ready to serve the state, or squander the self-hood of its numbers, as well in turn their collected identity as a people.  I am not ready to announce the death of the individual–but I am ready to announce that she is dying, or he . . . it will be dead soon? In President Obama’s vision of our future, the people could only be a public, should only be, just only be . . . again, all of us subsumed by the Public that serves, not the people, not you, not I, no one but the state. 

We the People are abhorred by our government officials acting officially through varying degrees of power, influence and/or authority . . . yet in a manner for the matter of a government of the elites, by the elites and for the elites.All pluralisms that tend toward publicanism are de facto statist; everything of the state, by the state and for the state, will not perish, cannot perish, anymore than styrofoam will degrade any time in the next ten thousand years. Yes, adding bureaus to  bureaucracy is like making more styrofoam cups. All my literary litanies aside, the truth should be plain to see, you and I are solvent; the Public dissolves the People.In contradiction of Obama’s rhetoric, let me say that I am We as in We the People. Obama would like to fractionalize US similarly to how blacks had been fractionalized in the past–make everybody the nigger of Power and Money seems to be the scheme to make African-Americans feel greater equality as a people–

I am politically We as in Jefferson’s We the People; that is, I am we the people as you are we the people, as each one us must be we the people if we the people are going to remain the first and last defense against the state’s eternal antagonism to all individuals and the idea of individuality, or the People standing in political density with weight to counterbalance State.No state is the friend of the people; every government serving the state through its agents, its civil servants (all of a kind everywhere less than civil), its administrators, all bureaucrats are never the friend of the people.

The people remains the only institution of society with enough density to counterbalance the weight of the state; without this attention to the integrity of the people politically, an integrity we are losing with ever-increasing absence of awareness, the people lose that density to counterbalance state.When we wake all of us fully formed members of the public that serves, servitude for all will reign; and the rich who have gotten even richer than the greediest used to imagine will yield power over our lives because as in Pinochet’s Chile, in Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Russia, there will always be watch dogs for the state, always be people willing to be publicans that serve the state for a little more money or a slightly more secure job. More money will always be enough for some people; for too many, it is the only thing that has to be offered, the only thing necessary for most policemen to wield their truncheons, fire hoses, rubber bullets, tear gas, or lead projectiles into crowds of unarmed people.Do you imagine that Concentration Camp guards were well paid? A little bit more soften all it takes to get half the poor to beat up on the other half of the poor; and in America, this is done along the lines race, which is Machiavelli 101. That’s the reason we need to insist on being an endemically racist society, in order to avoid discussions of class, and keep poor people divided (yes, the simplest way and themes effectively to divide the poor is through the sensationalism of race and the politicking of race, 

And after a decade or more of this, along comes Donald to fan the flames of racial tension more greatly in order to perpetuate poor beating up on the poor. Divide and conquer with the division between back and white. No sane person would compare President Obama with fascists anywhere, any when, but a President does not have to be a fascist to support rhetorical strategies designed to promote the idea that a Public is what any people should aspire to–and the Nazis and Fascist comparison has been thrown at presidents before the latest tirade against Obama or Trump. Publius is In Excelsis  where the People are concerned, particularly in their transformative choices made in counter distinction to remaining the People, We the People, all in favor of becoming a more state serving Public.

Written by jvr

May 27, 2019 at 10:40 am

Suckers and Circuses; Obama and Barnum

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P.T. Barnum is the Prophet of Our Politics.

It is always the best and worst of times. Any time, for sure, anywhere; for one group of someones or another. How is it that this some-one or another and another, passing each other by, day in and day in again . . . how is it for one person or another person, irrespective of group or grouping; yes, how would it be for this simple, singular and separate human person, man or woman, consistent with or irrespective of physiology. Perhaps an American person, native or non-native, whatever else that does or does not matter inclusively–and this could be exclusive of how this human decides what his politics are? That is a question. Yes, to politick or not to politick.

The best and worst of times is always now, always immediate, misery or happiness can only be in the moment; whatever else, however else, we say, you do as I do, this man me, myself. I am this man deciding for himself just who, what, where and when I am–yes, we are, no? You think otherwise? The question mark is a concession to a convention in rhetoric I do not wish to make my own, but deference in me is sometimes confusing, not always knowing why I do, make them, concessions, question following question, something I say, have adopted as my own from the friend of a friend who writes, has written many, many essays on line in several website/blogs he manages, publishes, edits and contributes to . . . another daily thing he must have done as I now find myself writing morning after morning after morning.

This is an essay I wrote and published some time ago already, originally published as a blog entry in March of 2010, now nearing 7 years ago [that more than two years ago already].

The Trump victory is Chickens coming home to roost

Some have asked this; I know that I have. Now, whether you think legitimately or not, whether you agree or disagree, whether you have well-formed rebuttals or counterarguments or not . . . the fact remains there are millions of Americans who understand that the real Horror of the Trump Presidency will be the aftermath when most Americans will come to think, believe, say that what preceded Trump was not so bad, and that the Status Quo prior to him was okay; that going back to that singularly minted American Political coin, heads Democrats, tails Republicans is good; and their commitment to a Neo-liberal globalization in the name of universal global Totalitarian Capitalism, a world revolution on a scale that Trotsky could have only dreamed of for Communisms, will prevail.

Fish, my grandmother had told my father, begins to stink from the head first. Had any political candidate anywhere ever owed as much to as many banks upon entering office as had Barack Obama on the day he was inaugurated? Did the bankers figure they could not keep fooling all of the people all of the time with Bush II and opted for the more deceiving black man for president as compassionate leader schtick . . . ?

Is the Obama Presidency only white bankers in black face, as horrid as that sounds; a Washington Minstrel Show with our Chief Executive the chief architect of social welfare for the moneyed elite? Did we examine his track record in Congress, just what he did vote for or did not vote for; what his attendance record was and how long he was on Capitol Hill . . . who owes this novice outsider anything? Who does he owe big, big time, even bigger money. What was it, 13 billion to Goldman, Sachs? To save the economy? To save us? To save the Banks . . . who was delivering their recommendation lists to him for Cabinet positions . . . one time the CEO of Citicorp?

Yes! And Obama was our great Liberal leader . . . everyone in  Washington has become Republican . . . the Democrats have only become the moderate wing of the Republican Party, and if there are any politicians who are actually left of the eternal left-right dividing line, they are only slightly a little to the left of it. But then when Capitalism is the best of all possible worlds; when Capitalism has been equated with, made to stand in synonym for freedom, the only milieu within which democracy can arise and function . . . yes, saving the banks is saving us, US.

In, or especially from, our free media–and what is it that we have in our Media? How do they function? What purpose do they serve? Power and Money help convince us otherwise in terms of directing us against our interests; moreover, they help convince us that the media in America does not serve a propaganda function for the Power Elites and the Monied Elites, when in fact they do.

Now, everything cannot be fake all the time everywhere . . . even the Nazis, for instance, insisted on actual film for their newsreels, actual footage for their propaganda pieces . . . you can’t lie all the time about everything. That’s not how Propaganda works . . . especially if effective is how you want it to work, which everyone that uses propaganda wants . . . what are we talking about here if we think our press and broadcast conduits do not have everything in common with power and money––six corporations own 90% of print and broadcast media conduits, including, as well, as social and cinema media. Now this does not mean that the Monied elites and the Media elites (sometimes two hats on one entity) are part of the State; but they do function in cooperation with the State apparatus. Value coherence between State and the Capitalist class, among power and money and influence and authority.

Ours is only an allegedly free media, not actually free because Power and Money wants those who are supposed to be the protectors or guardians of our freedom to maneuver the  social and political dogmas of state in the process. The print and broadcast media as much as any agency of government sworn to protect the state and all that is by the state, for the state and of the state, are the ministers of this propaganda that serves the interests of Power and Money, keeping them in shadows where it can, when it can, however it can–our docility and psychopath of politeness–and we are psychopathically polite, which is what gave Trump’s crudeness such credibility––are how this persists as it has pervaded.

Yes, even this allegedly free media represent firstly and fore mostly the monied interests of state and society as often as they presumably protect the freedoms of the people. Did anyone love the candidate Obama more than our allegedly free media, or was their love a fear of being called racist if they questioned Obama as they hounded and haunted Hilary Clinton in 2008. There has been no greater champion of neoliberalism in the west since Blair and Bill Clinton like Obama.

Media has advertisers, and when millions of dollars are spent on advertising to sell goods and services in an economy upwards of tens of billions of dollars, no branch of media will ever be completely separate from the state and its ideology, its programs, no more than Krups was separate from the Wehrmacht, the great industrialist of the Nazis regime that made hundreds of millions of dollars on the misery of tens of millions of people, reaching a zenith of economic hegemony through slave labor. Enjoy your coffee made in a Krups coffee maker. If you do own anything made by Krups, you are supporting the family that supported Hitler as no one else did or could have. And that family was in a position to know all along who was working and where and how. How is our growing Corporatacracy different; our government still must maintain the illusions of democracy where the Nazis did not have to. But do not imagine that the axis of power between the Nazis and Krups was vertical, no; it was level horizontal.

But then, America has had its experience with slavery as has the Soviet Union, China and Japan; as has England, France, Jews, Arabs, Romans, Greeks, as well as any other people, tribe, country, city-state, whatever have you in political identity and affiliation;  you wish to choose in random observation any other, please do–the ancient Hebrews, the Persians, the Hittites, the Ottomans, the Annamese, the Moguls of India, black Africans forever in Africa holding and selling and initiating the African slave trade . . , because without black African tribes, kingdoms and empires  taking, enslaving and selling other black Africans, you would not have an Arab African-slave-trade as burgeoning as it was when Europeans came along centuries afterwards to pick up and take off with it across the Atlantic. Black, White and Other.

I have not begun to discuss wage labor, minimum wage, and the unavailability of affordable health care, even for children–Health Care Plus is mostly a joke when you examine closely the pay schedules and at what income level a single mother would have to start paying in full for her child. I’m still unclear as to exactly what Obama’s health care means for me.

The hostility to families and children and the elderly in this society from government and bureaucracy is alarming; I don’t expect the capitalist class to favor workers and their benefits, but when the agents of government sworn to serve the people serve mostly the capitalist class, then the idea that capitalists have about maximizing profits by minimizing costs will become entrenched in government too. The latter’s policies will always be about cutting costs, maximizing fares and tariffs and taxes on the people in a hard sell about asking not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.

Can anyone tell me why the CEO of ABC gets 72 million dollars a year? And do any of us actually think that if we repealed the Second Amendment, we would ever see the rich and power elite give anything at all back to the society that easily allows them to multiply greed in the name of freedom and free enterprise [not that they fear anything from the people as docile and facile as they have become, complacent to live a kind of complex wage and debt serfdom as long as bread and circuses remain at their finger tips for always]? Do any of us think the First Amendment would actually survive the year if the Second were ever repealed? 300,000 fuckin heads! No less.

Roosevelt did do more with less than Patterson or Bloomberg will ever be willing to do. There is little notion, let alone any idea that the state must serve the people; Obama’s age of service, as delivered in his Inaugural Address, seems more in line with Kennedy’s ask not what your country can do for you, which was the beginning of state abdication of serving the people. Did we also not delude ourselves that JFK was brighter and younger and more energetic and livelier for the office of the Presidency, just what it needed? In America, though, the State can do without the people and would prefer a more massive and self-denying public, as the public is always the people in service of the state, for the state and by the state, with the state always.

We see it already with government seeking to increase taxes and costs at the same time they seek to reduce services. One year after airlines played a charade with the burgeoning recession by dropping airfares, most have almost doubled them back. Perhaps you think I protest too much when I say that government has not been as generous as our current governor has recently stated when he set his sights on decreasing pension benefits for state workers; but then it is Gertrude who says that she thinks the lady protests too much, herself watching the play within the play, The Murder of Gonzalgo. But then we will soon be without him; but we have been without ourselves for a lot longer. We have abdicated our responsibility to freedom a long time ago. The road to perdition . . .

And with all the lip service from President Obama paid to how Bank executives get paid their bonuses, I don’t see anything happening, nor do I suspect that anything will. He owes them too much, which is why he gave them 13 billion dollars he continues to tell us was to save us. What this points to is how much Obama has owed the banks, or that he felt he owed them, how much he was bought by them from the beginning . . . you cannot tell me that Goldman Sachs did not know what was coming before the fiasco and got themselves a Democrat to back who had no network of cache in Washington to deflect what he wound up owing Wall Street. Bush II was an oil gangster baby; no Wall Street for him, or for McCain.

Once more, I sigh, once more, I cry: Was there ever a presidential candidate in the last fifty years who had so many of the top banks behind him during his campaign? Did I not ask if banks could not have disseminated their money over hundreds of thousands of small contributions while still contributing largely to his campaign. Hundreds of millions of dollars.

Fish always stinks from the head down. And we look to Obama as a shining light.

Obama! O Bankers!

Look at Obama’s top five contributors. Look again at his political track record; he voted how many times . . . ? I want you to find it? Look it up.

Look at Geitner and his Goldman Sach’s ghouls on the government payroll. Has there ever been a president deeper in the pockets of the banks than Obama. But then we are an endemically racist society, whereby we did believe that because Obama was black he was better equipped to speak for the little man, for John and Jane Doe, the average American. However, wouldn’t this also presume that a black man has a hotline to the Truth, or the lesser truths of our lives, that he somehow rises above the median to reach heights of compassion and justice the rest of us who are not black can not. Wouldn’t that also infer, if not only imply, that black people are immune to greed, are predisposed to acting fairly and responsibly when managing authority and exercising power. They would also then be ubermenschen, no?

Obama certainly is in the opinions of his most ardent supporters. Nonetheless, the evidence is clear in America; the history of any people and their record of helping their people or hindering their people cannot for long remain clouded. Cain is Abel’s brother, remember.

Looking to anybody to do good because of what he is, is folly. But then white people voting for Obama because he is black is not the same thing as black people voting for him because he  is black, and there was plenty of that. Voting for Obama because he is a great orator is yet another thing; voting for him because he is the Democratic Party candidate is yet another.Voting for him because of his platform is yet another delusion, as are the rest of the reasons for voting for him, or all previously stated reasons to support him.

Voting for Obama because he was and is a charismatic leader is yet one more reason to vote for Obama—but the reasons why we voted for him pale next to the reasons the banks got behind him, and why he has gotten behind them with tax dollars. The greatest con from the Oval office has been from Obama convincing us that it is our tax dollars needed to bail out the banks to save us, all the while he does nothing, virtually, to beat the banks’s corruption and what they do with that money, hiring Geitner and others from inside the fiasco.

heObama wants the people to serve the state so he can go on serving the banks through the state; and he can keep going on vacation. Obama’s age of service, Kennedy’s ask not what your country can do . . . are both of a piece in turning We the People into a Public that serves the State because that is what Publics have always done. It is the difference between the People and the Public. Do not imagine you should imagine less.

You want me to say more, think more on it, what I have said herein re-presented. I do not have more to say. This is all the more I can add. I do not wish to add an author’s

Afterword . . .

All prefaces and introductions are really words after not afterwards placed, so whatever went before is all I have to say after. I am not going to interpret for you; I am not going to place in this the context of my life. There is enough for you to conclude what you imagine you think you want to know.

I have a friend who has a brother who has a friend who has a coworker who has a brother-in-law who goes on and on about having  a friend who keeps saying, 300,000 fuckin heads! Yeah, he built a functioning guillotine one Fourth of July–you might have suspected that he should have waited for July Fourteenth, but no, it was July Fourth. It was built so he could cut the watermelons he bought by the dozens, watermelon all day long for all the kids on the block, his neighbors and their guests out front in line to have their water melon sliced after the whole watermelons were cut in half by his functioning guillotine, and on each one he had a politician’s name or a media celebrity’s name, yes, even CEOs from Wall Street, Television, Oil.

He would, as he has said time and time again, take the top five paid sports figures in each sport’s league and chop off their heads at the center of the court or field on which they play. He’d do the like for Hollywood actors and directors and producers; on film. TV stars and anchors and talk-show hosts and of course the top ten wealthiest Senators, the top ten Representatives and all living Presidents. Pit their children on pikes, take their fathers and mothers by their reverend heads and dash them again walls, beating them to death with clubs while video taping the events with voice over listing their crimes against the People, or so my friend says his brother said that his friend did say that his coworker had said his brother-in-law had said that his friend keeps on keeping on about what I just here presented to you as if from first lips to your ears, although if that is exactly true, we will not know; but then, this idea that that what gets told from one to another to another and then another and another winds up corrupted from its original message, diverted from its initial intention, is a prejudice of literacy. Oral cultures have amazing memories residing in its individuals.


Written by jvr

May 26, 2019 at 12:06 pm


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I have presented many of Thomas Sarebbononnato’s opinions through several blogs, the posts posted, the pages published in the Pages sections I maintain as one or another review I edit, have edited . . . there will be new ones that I will also edit, maintain, run . . .  as I have those I have referred to obliquely herein for how many years now? I am not genuinely asking because I do have a good idea for how long, and I could easily check . . . the first being nearly a dozen years old; the others are at lest several or more years old, nearer a decade than to five or three . . . what then must I say about what gets published herein . . . all the world is a thing made, one or another and another and another kind of fiction, yes, essays, short stories, short-short pieces in prose, maybe what we used to call vignettes, this something other than flash fiction, what means prose poem, how they, these latter two mentioned here come together, collide, converge, merge, run parallel, have features now the same, sometimes coming across identically . . . I, myself, have written a lot of poetry, thus the form, prose poem, has been endeavored . . . lyric poetry being a bit monologic . . . I have also written monologues, dialogues, short plays for off-off Broadway theater . . . what then does this have to say about theater . . . there are these things we used to call closet dramas . . . is that really a can of worms? I am not going to get into how much Ioved Beckett and Ionesco when I was in my twenties, or how long ago that is, was, will have been in some future time I can conceive of coming to pass . . .

Narrative, expository, dialogic, dialectic . . . I have written tons of fictional essays, polemical fiction, fictional diatribes, tirades in the guise of fiction, who I am, exposing myself in what I write? I am not really asking.

Everything written herein, therein, wherever it has been posted, uploaded, published, under whatever guise, has always been one or another persona piece, myself always being more intelligent than any voice voicing itself in whatever context it finds itself voiced. I am God to everything that happens on the page . . . but what would it mean for creation if the mind of God had an unconscious, if there were an Ego, Super-Ego and Id for God?

When I say as I have said in FICTION ONE, The Life and Opinions of Thomas Sarebbononnato . . . I mean it, but I also have set up a context within which Thomas publishes fiction . . . all the prose pieces are just that, prose, whether that be prose fiction or prose non-fiction from Thomas’s place, prose fiction or non-fiction then being either narrative, expository, lyric, dramatic, that is, dialogic . . . how then do I examine herein Thomas’s dialectic interludes, conveyances, excursions . . . what then am I saying and what then must I say about how anything gets said . . . to say or not to say about this Dialectic of Selfhood, if I may borrow from Professor Ridder on Montaigne, a good example for what happens for Thomas . . . how Thomas uses the essay as a form to convey his opinions, ideas . . . and I am pointing to the literary essay as put forward by Montaigne, yet, something of the philosophical vignette, as I like to call what Pascal was doing in his Thoughts, Les Pensees. Yet,let me say it again, Thomas also uses the essay in its fictional and non-fictional varieties. 

Following the pen is what Thomas does. I am merely an editor of his work. I will leave all generic wrangling to you, my fellow readers, thus my fellow hypocrites . . . yes, of course, there are many things that are simply a matter of course . . . no?


What is, is; what has been, has been; what will be, will be.

He says:

What bothers me most about most Muslims I imagine is that it seems that far too many of them are where we were a thousand years ago, and that’s not hyperbole; at best, I imagine, they are somewhere where we were five hundred years ago, or where some 17th century progressive might have been, at least in my reflexes—but then I have to think about this and I can’t imagine most Muslims are anywhere as progressive as our 17th century predecessors were . . . and somewhere in the pit of my gut, somewhere around the labyrinth of my bowels, I cannot help but look at the horribly infantilized women in my neighborhood and conclude anything other than Islam, itself submission in a way no other religion requires submission, is endemically misogynist . . . and it hearkens back to my Roman forefathers who were committed in a matter/anti-matter struggle with Semitic civilizations . . . ; but then, my head sometimes tells me other things, what I think and say and maybe believe with reason and rationality—I should say Reason, with a capital ‘R,’ but we in America are so in love with, obsessed by, taken with our guiding epistemology: doubt, doubt and more doubt—no matter how medieval I find Islam today remaining—and it is medievalism in face of what we understand to be progressive (if possible) liberal democracy—what was I saying, where was I going with this? I heard a guy in a bar say that if Allah were God, then he would be an atheist . . . and so is the current situation between Muslim and the West; is Yaweh, God the Father? Not in my understanding. Anyone who sees the same representation of God in the Jewish, the Christian or Muslims texts is mistaken or stupid. Muslims, Christians and Jews do not pray to the same God. Protestants and Catholics have a divergent perception of God. That’s what I think.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but as far as I think, so long as the mass of Muslims do not condemn, do not seem outraged by, terrorism against the west; so long as Pakistani parents teach their children that it okay to call women sluts and whores for how they dress in the west here in Brooklyn not in accordance with fucked up Sharia Law; so long as most Muslims do not condemn the actions of their Omars—and if they did, would we not hear more of it, see more of it? So long as the mass of Muslims I imagine are here to make money they could not back home and not for freedom; so long as most average every day working living Muslims would prefer or do prefer Sharia Law to the Constitution; so long as Muslims get militant in their neighborhoods against Americans they do not agree with because Americans do not follow Sharia; so long as this is what is, we have a serious conflict in civilization, a serious conflict in metaphysics, a serious conflict that amounts to matter/anti-matter. Do not think that most Muslims did not say “Good” after Omar shot up the gay club; and do not imagine that suicidal Jihad does not equate in the minds of the perpetrators with martyrdom, which always cleanses the sinner of his sins . . . do not imagine that Omar did not imagine he would be cleansed of his sins by doing what he did, or that the nut in Nice did not imagine the same thing. It is more likely that some fanatic who has not lived as a devout Muslim will perpetrate something heinous in order to meet with his own logic of martyrdom than an actual rationally practicing Muslim will.

There will never be peace. Never. Which side are you on? Isn’t this true? You do not think so; what then do you imagine?

He says what he says in earnest. He asks what he asks in earnest. He believes what he believes about a clash in civilization being a clash in metaphysics, thus being a metaphysical matter/anti-matter annihilation. This he is able to imagine and articulate. This he disseminates through his blog.

What then is it that you imagine I must do, must say? Please give me a clue as to what it is you are convinced I should say. I do suggest you re-read it, carefully, more so than the initial superficial skimming allowed. All good reading is re-reading, I used to tell my freshman composition classes.

Yes, Thomas Sarebbononnato used to teach Freshman Composition.

Written by jvr

May 25, 2019 at 4:30 pm


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Without being a dyed in the cotton communist, it would be easy for me to say that virtually everything about Capitalism is obscene, what we mean when we say something is obscene, no matter how that definition has shifted over the millennia since the term obscene has referred to anything that should not be seen, at least in public. We do have our private obscenities, but then this is another essay. The etymology of the word ‘obscene’ is the Greek ob skena, which means, off stage. It was reserved for anything the Greeks thought should not be performed or shown on stage in their theater. All revenge in Greek drama was ob skena. No depictions of sex were on stage; this was obscene. I am not herein going to put forward anything akin to old Nazis diatribes about the decadence of wester bourgeois capitalist democracies. We can critique capitalism and contemporary democracy without being opposed to the civilization that has nurtured them or allowed them to suffer a mal-nutrition. And we do feed our institutions that then nourish society systemically.

I can say that everything about Capitalism is obscene without concluding that Capitalism is in itself evil. I am not going to venture an analysis of socio-economic systems. I do not assent to Capitalism being an evil, nor do I agree that it is invariably good, nor do I think that it is neutral and therefore virtually, if not actually, benign. Most of us think that when something is understood to be neutral, it is at least implied, if not predicated, that this thing is benign and only remotely possibly malignant. There are many who might like to conclude the neutrality of Capitalism, as if expressing the wisest assessment, but then this is born of America’s love affair with consensus. Yes, everyone is allowed to disagree and allowed to present opposing positions, only so long as they conform to the dogma that everyone must reach consensus in the end. What is is, though, whether I have formed an opinion on the moral state of capitalism or not. Can any ism have morality? Can communism be evil or good or neutral in itself? This is a question, one of several questions, that must be asked, as well as thought through, to determine whether capitalism is a good or an evil or neither or both. I will, though, refrain from concluding that what is is right. What is, is, and is whatever is is as it is when it is where it is however it is or becomes. This is true enough. The obscenity of capitalism lies in the ability for things other than just sexuality to be pornographic. Obscenity has always had some relationship with should and should not; what is to be seen and what is to be off stage, so to speak, if we pay attention to the etymology of the word ‘obscene.’ I do contend that words are never fully or far removed from their etymologies, and these etymologies remain, if in no other way, at least residually connotative in every context of use. [I should write more on this, although, I have to reserve that for what is upcoming. I will discuss this further only in one or more essays in the future. Seek the pages section for them. One must always look to the pages section of this website and not just the blog pages. I know that the inclination to do this might not be pronounced. I know that the way many have been taught to read, essays of one thousand or two thousand words, as might be found among the essays gathered in the pages section, could be daunting. I know that the essays I write require a different dedication than do the entries in the blog, the reading of which is foreshortened. Let us then try to stretch our literacy beyond what can be digested from the literary equivalent of the sound bite, or should we say, sound bit. Any assessment of information herein needs more than what is achieved by superficially skimming pages as waiters do with their crumb scoop over the table cloth after dinner and before coffee and dessert.]

I am also going to avoid saying what most ideological Capitalists like to assert, and that is that Capitalism is natural, more organic to humans and their interactive needs than any other socio-economic system. I cannot say something like this without cringing and imagining being in a Wall Street board room. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor am I likely ever to be a communist; but I cannot agree that Capitalism is a more natural economic system. I have my problems with American Totalitarian Capitalist dogma, and I will not in reflex support it within these pages. It would be absurd for me to claim that Capitalism is a more natural economic system; it would be equally absurd to say that Communism is better suited at managing the needs of a People. Moreover, as concerns the obscenity of Capitalism, this is easy for me to assert. Capitalism does turn everything it touches or covers or finds itself in association with into pornography if it does not transform all relationships into forms of prostitution. We pretend that marriage in America is about love, when in fact it mostly about prostitution–a mutual prostitution of all interactions within marriage, including child rearing. I know how many hairs have begun to stand on end up ad down the arms of those who cannot entertain that anything like prostitution can be linked with raising children; but then I am not say prostitution as we understand this in its street-walker connotations and turning sexual tricks for favor or money. Yet there is something akin to prostitution in our understanding of marriage, and therefore, something like prostitution in all relationships that come from marriage or are fostered within it. The return of sexual favors for gain is not what I am talking about, but how everything in the market of commodity exchange has tainted all exchanges including the exchange of love and affection, friendship, and employer/employee relationships. Capitalism is thus a vice. Every Capitalist is one kind of pimp or another. On the real playing fields of Capitalism, there are only pimps or prostitutes. This is why the pimps on Wall Street have such contempt for us; wearetheir bitches.

Written by jvr

May 24, 2019 at 11:27 am

Blue Collars and Canaries [Fictional Essay]

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When I was a boy in the 60s, New York City was as blue collar if not more blue collar than it has been in a very long time, more than it was then bourgeois (pseudo or actual); or rich, as it has become increasingly since twelve years of Bloomberg made the two-tier society palatable.

The thing about examining blue collar from the point of view of an Italian-American like myself, is just how many labor jobs there were available in the city then, especially for the poorer residents of the city, more specifically, African Americans. Perhaps the things I recollect are more ethnocentric revision than going to the video tape; nonetheless, what I say I remember is what I know I have remembered, however, whatever, whenever, wherever I say that from what I saw, what I heard and then understood, Italian American blue collar ownership and management hired African American workers at a rate I did not see from others who were not Italian American, although they were other ethnicities, caucasian or not. I don’t want to say, I can’t count how many . . . no! But there were many auto-body shops I passed, knew of or heard of, auto-mechanic shops, sheet metal shops, other forms of blue collar shops (which were more proliferate in the city of my youth) where a goodly number of the labor hires were black.

But then this was also the sixties going into the seventies, decades that saw the lowest levels of immigration and the highest level of native born population of the 20th century entering the workforce. Today you cannot go to an Italian owned pizzeria and not see a couple to a half dozen Mexican workers, or some other non-native latinos–in my youth, those jobs, if not filled with members of the then larger immediate families (today, Italian American families are much smaller), would be filled by African American workers.

As my people, those of our socio-economic class, left the city for the suburbs, so did the jobs they would have provided. This was also part of the urban-industrial economy that had peaked somewhere between the late fifties and late sixties. This happened on the cusp of the seventies, a decade that had seen the Democratic Party abandon labor, which then set the stage for a shift to the Republican Party–the later in part because the blue collar working man’s affluence, which had come at the heals of the nation’s largest union enrollment, around the mid 60s, facilitated this working man’s movement into the middle class and consequently his adoption of pseudo-bourgeois politics, all collateral with his children’s college education.

Cities dropped off a precipice, and along with the socio-economic cliff fall, African American chances at social mobility dwindled. The city as a center of multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-class life was no longer upward in its trends; the Great Migration to Northern cities in the 20s had its pitfalls and pot holes, but the city that had been a great place of immigrant and migrant assimilation, of upward mobility fractured and fell to pieces. This growth, the upward turn, was no longer true for most Caucasian ethnics; it was certainly not going to be better for African Americans, the first to feel the effects of the coming Urban blight . . . always the canary in the coal mine.

Written by jvr

May 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm

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