LUMPENPROLETARIAT—[Saturday, 13 FEB 2021, 07:21 PST] Speaking for myself, as a brown person, I wept for our nation this morning, reflecting on what happened in the U.S. Senate yesterday. If my tears were sentimental, we shall do some serious growing up today. Yet, the reality stands, despite documentarian Adam Curtis’s critiques of the evils of modern societies and critiques of the failures of self-described revolutionaries around the world, since World War II, who challenged those evils, for better or worse.
It appears a police state coup is happening in slow motion in the USA. Fascist tendencies swept the globe in the 1930s. And it seems, since January 6th, pro-fascist fervor seems to be spreading around the globe, as nations around the world, such as Myanmar/Burma and Ecuador, are seizing the fascist moment opened up by Mr. Trump’s failed coup attempt.
And America seems to have little to no oppositon to this Republican Party trend toward white nationalism and fascism. As we opined before, it’s increasingly obvious the Democrats are not going to hold Mr. Trump accountable, nor, most importantly, disqualify him from holding future office, which were he to return to office would likely mean the end of ‘democratic’ elections in the USA. With the Supreme Court as is, we wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up in some nightmarish Gilead, as in the “Republic of Gilead,” the fictional, yet chilling, horrifying, theocratic nation in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. If you haven’t read the novel, you can watch the series on Netflix to get a wake up call on what our future may look like, if we continue on this path, as a society, of neoliberal crises, of health, environment, policing, militarism, imperialism, materialism, and class oppression.
Mr. Trump and the deep state culture behind him will not stop until all opposition parties are outlawed. Such is the nature of unreflective consciousness; it carries on relentlessly, without regard for others. The moment Hitler, for example, outlawed communists was the moment of kairos, the turning point for Germany, when it made its Faustian Bargain with Hitlerian fascism. Similarly, it seems we have observed the Republican Party make Faustian Bargains with its Southern Strategy and later with religious fundamentalism (with their end-of-times apocalyptic narratives coming out of The Family and K Street, et al.), and now with the QAnon/Trump loyalist/anti-establishment protest vote. This is the fringe of the Republican voter base, which they used to call the Bircher Crazies. Well, now, we have the so-called QAnon crazies. And they’re pulling on the Republican Party so far rightward (toward extreme neoliberalism) and upward (toward authoritarianism, instead of back down to the firm ground of liberty, and libertarianism), much more than Dems are pulling leftward (toward cooperation) or downward (toward libertarianism).
So, we are trying to stay informed out here, trying to tune in to the honest and wise legal scholars, but without cable TV or costly subscriptions, on a low-income budget. It’s not easy to stay informed and, therefore, to make informed decisions. So, we make do. Even when we find honest legal scholars we trust to speak on the Second Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, we remember an important fact. The Senate is not a court of law. This means legal advice is kind of beside the point here. But legal scholars are among our best hopes for sussing out this antidemocratic conundrum.
The U.S. Senate is a legislative body, a legislative body with aristocratic foundations, which are inimical to the will of the people. It seems not enough people are aware of this. Our government is a joke; which means we are a joke, if we don’t call out bullshit when we see it.
Every single day since the MAGA Mania has been waving its flags in our faces and the “thin blue line” flags have been imbued with double-speak, this has been a huge wake-up call to many people for different reasons. Every single day since Mr. Trump has been threatening to stay in power, even if he loses, with 74 million supporters behind his philosophy of hate, in part or in whole, this has been a wake-up call. This is a philosophy of divide and conquer, like the narcissistic abuser in the family, who starts drama, just to get a kick out of the sense of power from pushing everyone’s buttons and creating conflict. The narcissistic abuser invites you to step out of your integrity, just to sit back and enjoy watching the chaos. And, when you do take that invitation to step out of your integrity, that’s when the abusers can start to own you, to trigger you, to push your buttons.
Push buttons is what Mr. Trump has done with his racist, narcissistic, and xenophobic campaign. Every single day, since all of this social distortion began, this has been a loud wake-up call. After January 6th, the wake up call was so loud, it became screamingly obvious we all have to do something, take action, support our local peace and justice groups, support our local police accountability advocacy groups. If we don’t have one, surely, we can find like-minded people and form one.
But a sense of urgency can distort our perceptions. Yet, a sense of urgency is what is needed to act for justice, as noble activists we admire have long encouraged. We know there is injustice. We know we must act for justice. But simply knowing something must be done doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly know what to do. We need to build healthy communities in which to develop healthy responses to injustice, not just decadent gradualism, which never advances the struggle for freedom, nor impatient revolutionary romanticisms of almost suicidal longings, as Dr. King described in his 1967 speech, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, which fail to account for the actual material and social conditions of their historical moment.
We must overcome weak social ties, if we are ever to expect any meaningful change in our repressive society, particularly policing practices, which have too often meant abuse of police power with impunity. And, perhaps, the most corrosive effect of this is its deadening effect on society’s capacity for empathy. People have started to report compassion fatigue.
The very institution of policing is antidemocratic because the institution of policing does not answer to the people; it answers to capital, which speaks through city and county governments, usually via either one, or both of, the corporate political parties. As we say, the system is rigged. And party politics is seen as too daunting for most grassroots activists, who seem more interested in focusing on their single-issue organizing without a political party to amplify said cause. They explain, nowadays, that the formation of a political party is years away. But some of us have heard this from activists since the 1990s. Without a political party, how does a group manifest or channel political power, which can translate into legislation? Reliance on the Democrat Party has been the default position, which has only resulted in the political center moving rightward over time, as right-wing extremism is allowed to push discourse further rightward. But leftwing ideas, which could offer a counterbalance are persecuted and censored.
So, grassroots organizers work to build their own institutions to meet unmet needs in the community, such as copwatching, pioneered by the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Brown Berets, but especially by the original copwatchers, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, back in the 1960s and ’70s. For better or worse, and maybe not by choice, but the political party form, nevertheless, is usually overlooked by grassroots organizers, or seen as a futile, and a barren place for the advancement of a left politics, even as part of an overarching consciousness.
I meditated and showered and listened to some Fela and did some pushups and some pullups and moved some weight and got the blood pumping. A good way to clear the mind is to get the blood pumping. So, we did. And then we got out in the streets to wake the folk up through non-violent direct action in support of families, who are demanding justice for their family members beaten or killed by local police.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say: We must hold Mr. Trump accountable and disqualify him from holding future office to avoid a wannabe dictator from maturing into a real dictator. Remember: Mr. Obama has already suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which means indefinite detention, which means any one of us can be detained indefinitely without due process, without a trial, just automatic prison forever for reasons we are unable to challenge. Simply ask the poor souls being tortured at the illegally-occupied Guantánamo, where U.S. militaristic bullying has commandeered the site for the needs of U.S. imperialism. Some of us protested, demonstrated, took action to raise awareness about the proto-fascist nature of Mr. Obama’s ostensibly anti-terrorism motivations for hacking away at our Constitutional rights. But his winning smile and the overwhelming need for representation, even at the cost of neoliberalism, gave Mr. Obama all the cover he needed to further the ongoing ruling class project of oligarchy.
Other Americans are celebrating that Mr. Trump is going to beat his case. He’s going to get away with it. Like one of the Trump loyalists said in a viral video after the Capitol Building had been trashed, “Dude, we won the day! It’s over!”
It’s over, he said.
But there are similar, but more prophetic, words we heard at the outset of the Occupy Wall Street movement back in 2012.
The culture wars are over. Everyone lost.US Day of Rage
Perhaps, the Trump loyalist’s declaration of the end of history was the end of the end of history. Or maybe this was a historical echo, almost a decade later. Now, Middle America Trump loyalists were getting the memo the Occupy Wall Street folks were conveying a decade ago. We’re all fucked! Neoliberalism won! We’ve been betrayed.
But the slogan seemed too bleak, however honest. How do we cry fire in a crowded theater? What if the theater is really burning? What if the audience is in some sort of trance? I revised last night’s blog post. And I added a song from my childhood by New Edition, which reminded me of more innocent times. Sunny days, everybody loves them. Tell me, baby, can you stand the rain? And I shed a tear for my country, in solitude, and in the knowledge that white America hates me, and other brown people, like me, with too much melanin, or too much intellect, or too much autonomy.
What does this knowledge mean? The state has always been possessed by a white supremacist ideology, which has no love for people like me, for brown people, for people of color. We always suspected it, since we were kids. We wanted to give America the benefit of the doubt because we didn’t want to think America was hopelessly evil. How do people of color live with evil? White supremacy is insidious because it benefits all white people, whether they asked for it or not. And to maintain the status quo, all we have to do is nothing.
January 6th highlighted the so-called rightness of whiteness. If your skin is too dark or your words are too honest, you may be targeted as a threat by the status quo. Then, you will know the hate, which hated you before you knew it hated you, before you knew it existed. But that’s not everyone. It’s just a fraction; but it’s an empowered fraction, which is backed by state violence.
But we can’t help but empathize with the suffering of others, with the suffering of those, who have been abused, brutalized, or murdered by police with impunity. Empathy is a central feature of so many of our spiritual traditions.
But things aren’t so simple. Reality isn’t so black and white. Reality is a mental construct, which may or may not conform to the world outside of our solipsisms. The gray area, the grayzone, is where we’ll find common ground. We find ourselves, often, at police accountability demonstrations, in solidarity with multiple families, black and white, whose families have faced destruction by the killing of their loved ones by police, who, somehow, roam free. How is this possible? How can killers roam the streets freely, when video evidence of their crimes exist for all to see? What is wrong with this picture? And this picture is the status quo. We need to wake the folk up.
The status quo stares back at you with bewilderment and confusion when you join with other like minded individuals on a busy intersection of a city to demonstrate and to raise awareness about crimes against humanity by local police agencies. As you stand there, or march, holding a picket sign, we interrupt the usual framing of perception of reality of passersby. Like a shaman in a neolithic tribe or village, your act of protest or civil disobedience, of direct action, in the face of the mundane, disrupts the usual perceptual framing of reality of the passersby. And that is important, says Professor John Vervaeke, because shamanic disrupting of the usual framing of reality allowed hunter-gatherer tribes to think outside the box. Perhaps, a ritual ceremony would have a hunter dress as a deer, to meditate on the mentality of a deer, to think like a deer, to have a successful hunt, which may mean the difference between extinction or survival. (cf. nine-dot problem, etc.)
Corporate news and uninformed views construct a false reality among our neighbors. But the families on the streets, demanding justice and accountability for the killing of their loved ones, of their family members by killer cops, who roam free, shatter that false reality, by personally reporting to people in public what local TV stations refuse to investigate. Local TV may show up for a photo-op. But, too often, the reports are shallow and lack investigative depth and follow-up.
If we see something, we say something, because it takes a village. But we also need our local media, including TV, to invest in investigate journalism and adversarial journalism. But that’s also why the corporate media marginalize independent journalists and citizen journalists from the corporate TV and radio airwaves. That’s why citizen journalism and independent media arose in the first place, to fill the void left by the vacuousness of corporate news and information and culture. We want grassroots culture and independent news and information. That’s why your author joined Abby Martin and company at Media Roots and went on RT TV International to get our message of the 99% out to the world, the people’s message, circa 2012, to let the world know that not all Americans are asleep, to let them know there are allies of good will in the United States, who refuse to drink the kool-aid of corruption. We encourage you all to, likewise, express yourselves.
“Waiting For The Miracle” by Leonard Cohen, 1992.
I shed a tear for the way our nation is sliding into fascism, and because I wanted to just let it out and avoid despair. I suspect my lament is not unique. I know my family, my friends, my people are out there, in solidarity, working their way through self-education toward correct political action. Or are we dealing with a culture of denial?
Load up on guns
And bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend…
Our little group has always been
And always will, until the end…
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us…
I found it hard; it’s hard to find
Oh, well, whatever; nevermind…
A denial…lyrics quoted from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, 1991.
Clearly, sensitive or empathic teenagers see the emptiness of our modern world, as soon as they become aware of the outside world. As Professor John Vervaeke acknowledges, there is a sense that we’re drowning in this old ocean of bullshit. Adults abandon their kids to face this ugliness without acknowledgement, with a gaslighting denialism.
We don’t know if the personal is political. But we know we are drowning in bullshit. And we, the truthseekers, are aiming to avoid all forms of deception, especially self-deception. And this is my outlet, which I hope will become our outlet.
“Cool It Now” by New Edition
The problems we had, as working class brown kids, mainly involved getting along with other brown and black kids, who were, like us, mostly working class. But, like Dr. Marx observed with the lumpenproletariat, the lumpen have no class consciousness. At first, all we can see are the petty symptoms of our class oppression, which manifest themselves in the daily irritations of unmet needs. A hard world makes hard people, with little flexibility or patience for the other. And then Colors and gang culture went viral in the late 1980s among the lumpen.
But the racism, which we saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his allies confront, was never extinguished. That’s the sad fact, which the sieges across the nation on January 6th represent. You can kill a dreamer; but you can’t kill a dream. You can kill a human being; but you can’t kill humanity. Humanity is lost to hubris, to vanity, to false pride. Humanity is lost to harmful choices. It’s difficult to admit when we’re wrong. So, we must support each other in justice to harmonize perspectives and together perceive reality correctly, as we commune, in community. We must comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. And that means finding like-minded people outside, to take back the public square, and wake the folk up!
If your hometown news isn’t reporting the injustices in your community, make some news of your own through exercising your First Amendment rights of public assembly, through the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. When local news fail the people, we, the people, take to the streets to get the message out. We, the people, recognize our Constitutional rights to engage in non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, if we so choose to express moral outrage at socioeconomic injustice.
This is the very heart of freedom of speech, the right to dissent, and to advocate for a political perspective, especially one which liberates rather than subjugates. But, today, as the specter of Mr. Trump and his loyalists haunt the Biden/Harris administration, freedom of speech is under assault. Even free speech radio KPFA, last week, had bourgeois liberals talking about “the limits of free speech” and placing restrictions on extremist speech and conspiracy theory or QAnon content. Liberals everywhere are parroting this Democrat Party line about being tough on the Trump mob to deprogram them from their backward ways. Such is the mood among white liberals under their President Biden. There is a sense of power over Mr. Trump, his loyalists, and the Republican Party, which is illusory. Democrats are underestimating Mr. Trump at their own peril, and at ours because we will have to live through the consequences of a wannabe dictator being emboldened yet again.
But, beyond the problems which Mr. Trump portends for us all, which are many, he is only a symptom. We must not forget Mr. Trump did not act alone. And his campaign to conquer America didn’t begin in 2020, or even 2016. Behind Mr. Trump are powerful institutions, such as the Republican Party and Wall Street and, evidently to a certain extent, the military-industrial complex (MIC).
But, the Democrat Party, in their ostensible zeal for justice, to right the wrongs of January 6th, to, in Senator Raskin’s own words show that Mr. Trump was “singularly responsible”, narrowed their case down to a single article of impeachment upon a single actor, when the reality was far more complex. Mr. Trump has been a toxic leader, who must be held accountable. But so are other institutions, such as the Republican Party and the Democrat Party, or the two-party dictatorship. The Democrats, under Pelosi’s leadership, have decided to rush the entire impeachment process, under the ostensible assumption that they were never going to persuade enough Republicans to vote for a conviction, nor a disqualification from holding future office.
We missed the last few hours of the session. So, we’re not sure what happened as far as the legalities of the impeachment and disqualification. But we’ll continue chronicling the first 100 days of Mr. Biden’s presidency. We have watched, or listened to, the entire Second Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump this past week, with the exception of the last few hours today. And suffice it to say, RT and Richard Medhurst have reported Mr. Trump is now free to run again. And, even if he doesn’t run again, and move us closer to a new fascist nightmare, then another more competent fascist might come along and take us all the way to a dystopian hell. This seems very serious, friends. What say you?
Is this our penance for not paying attention, when we could have paid attention, for not having taken action, when we could have taken action. Many of us are too caught up in our own personal issues to think of others. Some of us do have concerns about domestic policy and domestic problems, like killer cops and killer viruses and killer “vaccines”. But the ones, who are also thinking about the rest of the world, beyond the American Bubble, are pointing out how China’s economy has just eclipsed the American economy, as we flounder in coronavirus confusion and ‘racial’ animus.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well, here we are, looking to prevent a race war, looking to prevent killer cops from killing with impunity, looking to prevent excessive police budgets and emaciated social program funding, looking to prevent mass unemployment and emaciated jobs programs. So, we do want to get ahead of these crises. We do want to work together.
So, we have kept notes on each day of the impeachment as well as notes on the events of January 6th. It is our intention, dear reader, to publish these writings from a left, working class perspective into a book capturing a bottom-up perspective on the pressing issues facing working class people of color and all oppressed and low-income people. We hope to include interviews and documentation of the democratic spirit of working class resistance to what Dr. King called the three evils of society: racism, militarism, and materialism (i.e., capitalism).
It was clear immediately that we need to assemble the people’s narrative of events since COVID-19, since the lockdowns, since the business losses, since the foreclosures, since the evictions, since the deportations, since the events of January 6th. It’s clear the state will fabricate a false narrative, as it does when it interferes with the dominant media outlets to massage the minds of the masses, especially the corporate media. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. And what does U.S. history teach us?
Other salient observations:
- Documentarian Adam Curtis has released an interesting documentary series, Can’t Get You Out of My Head (13 FEB 2021), which appears to be factually accurate (upon initial viewing). (See trailer above.) Of course, we must always fact-check everything, which is worthy of our attention. This series is definitely worthy of our attention and critique, with its compelling critique of various governments’ flawed oppression of their people’s yearning for freedom and human liberation from repressive or manipulative forces. Although Mr. Curtis never makes an explicit critique of capitalism, if memory serves, his narration makes clear that something is woefully amiss in capitalist societies. But Mr. Curtis, goes deeper by delving into psychology, mass psychology, and moral sentiments. Curtis takes several post-WWII examples of people possessed by an anti-capitalist revolutionary spirit or simply a desire to change the world around them for the better; and he shows how they all unleashed violence, unwittingly. (Curtis doesn’t mention Dr. King or Malcolm X in the first two episodes, however.) They all failed in their attempts to change the world, reported Mr. Curtis. The Black Panther’s Afeni Shakur was the only successful revolutionary, he said, when she decided to defend herself in court after being politically persecuted. But, Mr. Curtis argued, the fact that her son, Tupac Shakur, would become an armchair revolutionary hip hop celebrity because “nothing would change”, showed that ultimately, even the Black Panthers and Afeni Shakur’s efforts failed. But Mr. Curtis failed to point out that Tupac Shakur’s contributions were cut short by being assassinated. Like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and other revolutionary artists, who clearly saw through the corruptions of society, we can only imagine what they may have learned and contributed to society had they been allowed to age into a more mature state of mind, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, and become elders. Maybe they would have been absorbed by the totalizing social relations of capital, maybe not. Or maybe they would have been valuable assets to future generations of more astute revolutionaries, who want to end these gratuitous ills of the world. Malcolm X suggested America was in a position to witness a “bloodless revolution.” But, of course, for a bloodless revolution, the people must be properly educated with critical thinking skills, not rote memorization habits. Clearly, we must even become enlightened, or emotionally and psychologically balanced and stable, and capable of effective critical thinking and critical theory analysis. But as Adam Curtis will ask in Part Four, “But what if the people are stupid? (See below.) Then, we recall hearing Dr. Henry Giroux on Pacifica Radio this past week discussing the current abysmal state of the U.S. nation, with Mr. Trump’s failed coup attempt and the Republican Party rallying around Mr. Trump, anyway. Dr. Giroux argued that our biggest setback today for socioeconomic justice in the USA is the lack of education among Americans, or the dumbing down of America. All we have to do is compare the presidential speeches of the presidents. The speeches are down to a middle school level of articulation when they used to be at a college level.
- In one closing episode clip from Adam Curtis’s series, I Can’t Get You Out of My Head, he features a clip of Stokely Carmichael (or Kwame Ture), who is speaking at a podium, with an updated call to revolutionaries, who want to make the world better by ending racism, militarism, and exploitation of workers: The revolutionary teaches, and keeps his mouth shut.
- From Part 5: The Lordly Ones: (c. 39:00) Adam Curtis: “In America, the spies and their operation were also being used to maintain a fiction. Ever since the Second World War, the American government had been using the CIA to overthrow the governments of many other countries. One of the most senior members of the U.S. State Department, Hans Morgenthau, had given this hidden system of power a name. He called it the dual state. America had to do this, he said, because of the harsh realities of power in the world. But it had to be kept secret from the people because revealing it would undermine their belief in democracy and in their exceptionalism, a belief that was essential in the cold war.” (c. 40:15) “From the 1950s onwards, the CIA rigged elections, destabilized governments through fake information, and organized violent coups in Italy, Greece, Syria, Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia, and Chile. In all, the United States ran covert operations to overthrow 66 foreign governments. And, in 26 cases, they succeeded. Morgenthau believed that this secrecy was creating a dangerous timebomb at the heart of America. And, in the mid-1960s, details started to leak out. One of the senior members of the CIA, Miles Copeland, revealed that he had been involved in organizing coups all around the world, starting in Syria in 1951.”
- The blog, Critique of Crisis Theory: From a Marxist Perspective has posted an interesting and lengthy essay, “The Second Trump Impeachment Trial.” We didn’t notice a date; but we accessed it on Tuesday, 9 MAR 2021.
@LumpenProles, updated 20:47 PST, 9 MAR 2021.
“You Don’t Know Me” by Armand Van Helden, 1998.
“Rest My Chemistry” by Interpol, 2007.
“Team” by Krewella, 2016. 
I don’t give a fuck, if you ain’t on my team…Krewella
“Healthy Punk” by Chastity Belt, 2013.
real talk. topic: “Ella Baker” to the Civil Rights movement, overall. She’s one of the people, who said to young people: You have a voice.” […] ‘Music or art wasn’t something to just observe or hang on a wall, but it was to be experienced. There was call-and-response, wedding songs, protest songs, etc. Music had a function.’ ‘Sweet Honey and the Rock’ […] ‘When we started out’ […] 08:18 PST, ‘But, as the group started to evolve’ […] ‘around ’77 and ’78’ they started learning about accessibility rights in California’ […] 0819, “But I think we started out with that consciousness.” […] Carol Maylard(sp?) […] Host: “I say culture is a weapon.” ‘And, right now, we need your music to help fight the good fight.’
08:00 PST, KPFT > Classic Country Rewind > […] 08:23 PST, sounds like a young Dolly, “Heaven help me when I say, I think I’m givin’ in…” Nah, this ain’t Dolly. Hmm. Reminds me of Lee Ann Womack. But it can’t be, this sounds vintage. Let’s look this up…
“Heaven’s Just a Sin Away” by The Kendalls, 1977.
I would have never guessed this artist. What a brilliant recording. Enjoy.
[music video unavailable]
“Love Is a Long Hard Road” by The Kendells, 2003.
“A Little Bit of Love” by New Edition, 1985.
Direct video feed live from the U.S. Senate
“WATCH LIVE: Trump’s second impeachment trial underway in the Senate | Day 5,” by PBS NewsHour 13 FEB 2021.
(c. 13:30) Judy Woodruff introduced the broadcast and provided an introductory overview.
(c. 17:15) Proceedings begin. Senator Raskin (Dem., Maryland)
(c. 21:00) Michael Van Der Veen, Attorney for Mr. Trump.
(c. 24:45) Senator Raskin (Democrat, Maryland)
(c. 27:00) Michael Van Der Veen, Attorney for Mr. Trump. […] (c. 30:40) Chair, call to order (kinda later, after other Senators laughed at Mr. Van Der Veen’s hyperbolic tone.
(c. 33:00) Chair, reminds senators not to use language, which is not conducive to civil discourse. It seems he’s scolding the laughter.
(c. 35:00) Judy Woodruff summary: 20 minutes in; they’re voting on the impeachment now. Also, there was a controversy regarding Jaime Herrera Buetler(sp?), who issued a statement regarding Kevin McCarthy, who tried to get Trump to call it off. Trump responded, ‘Well, I guess they [i.e., the Trump loyalists] care more about the election than you do.’ […] 17:42, Dems wanna deposition Beutler. Van Der Veen: ‘That’s unnecessary.’ […] ‘Lisa DeJordan(sp?)’, reporting from the Capitol Building. […] 1745, reading affirmative votes. […] “Lindsey Graham changed his vote to “Aye” at the last minute. (c. 44:00) ‘Points of order are not allowed.,’ said the Chair to Van Der Veen.
(c. 48:00) JW: ‘The call for subpoena was broader than just Beutler(sp?). ‘Lisa DeJordan(sp?): ‘If memory serves, first the vote is on the question of subpoena, generally. Then, if warranted, they will vote on who to subpoena.’
(c. 52:00) Judy Woodruff invites two guests to join the broadcast: Melody Barnes (Univ. of Virginia) & John Hart (Republican Strategist, Former Communication) | Barnes, c. 57:00 [TW] | (c. 59:00) Yamiche Salcinde(sp?) (White House Correspondent), conflict of interest due to GOP members meeting with Trump. Also, it seems Graham voted for impeachment, so he could speak as a witness for the defense (i.e., to defend Trump), “so, that he could have the ability to recall this motion about witnesses later on.”
(c. 1:02:00) Lisa Desjardin (White House Correspondent) on the voting protocol for calling witnesses. ‘First, Senate votes on whether or not to subpoena, generally. Then, they vote on specifics. Section 7B, of the Senate Resolution. (c. 1:04:00) Also, Lisa Desjardin confirmed that it has become clear that Senator Lindsay Graham changed his vote to “aye”, for impeachment, so he could speak as a witness for the defense (i.e., to defend Trump), “so, that he could have the ability to recall this motion about witnesses later on,” to ask the Senate to close the matter of witnesses. ‘We see Senators do this in closed meetings, when they want to bring it back up. And, now, he has that ability.’ […] Judy Woodruff […] (c. 1:09:50) Melody Barnes […] (c. 1:11:50) ‘their objective is to persuade the Republicans’ We note, other observers disagree. They say Pelosi rushed this because she ‘knew’ they wouldn’t be able to convince any of the Republicans defending Trump.
09:00 PST, PBS > […] Judy Woodruff: ‘Let’s see if they have an agreement.’ > PBS News Hour > 09:50 PST, Senator Raskin. ‘Trump claimed it was AntiFa. He was refuted. Then, Trump chided, I guess they’re more worried about that than the election.’ Then, Raskin. ‘submitted the statements into evidence.’ […] Leah confirmed there are no further motions.’ Next, pursuant to “Secion 8 of resolution 47′, as agreed to by Schumer and McConnell.’ […] ‘therefore […] 09:55 PST, Raskin: ‘Trump inflamed even more against Pence. Trump also refused requests to call off the riots.’ “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” […] ‘Further decisive evidence of his intent”it reflects that they have no defense.’ […] 10:05 PST, [TW] Raskin is summarizing a pretty compelling case, in our view. What are we missing? One thing is the role of the Republican Party and other interests behind him. What is the role of the military-industrial complex in all of this. Why did the military broadcast that stand-down letter? What was going on behind the scenes, which necessitated that stand-down letter? Also, senators expressed concern that the insurrectionists may have made it in; also concerns about the very different future for America. Why would such a fear exist, unless some Senators have concerns about the loyalty of the U.S. military-industrial complex to the U.S. Constitution? What is the relevance of scholars, such as Dr. Peter Phillips and Dr. Peter Dale Scott? Let’s discuss. It seems very relevant, salient, and important to us. […] 10:12 PST
10:00 PST, PBS (livestream) > 10:40 PST, Judy Woodruff, ‘for 2nd time Something Mike Lee objected to something said Sen Cicilline said about what Mike Lee would have known.’ [TW] ‘Usually, there would be a point of order. But here, this not a typical congressional session. So, the usual Robert’s Rules of Order do not apply here. But the dramatic right-winger howled, anyhow. […] 10:43 PST, Judy Woodruff has been speaking with analyst “Norm” for […] 1046, ‘were waiting for the confirmation of Merrick Garland’ […] ‘they also made the calculation that they wouldn’t change any votes.’ Indeed, we learned previously that was Pelosi’s strategy from the outset.’ […] 1049, ‘Yamiche’ [TW] on the decision to not call witnesses’ […] ‘The Trump team is very confident,’ as it’s been looking since yesterday. […] 10:54 PST, Senator Madeline Deane. ‘over many months’ incited. We disagree. It was done over the course of years, not months. It can be argued it goes back as far as the Central Park Five. Mr. Trump is not only a menace to society, he is a clear and present danger to our hopes for participatory democracy. […] 10:59, Trump clips: ‘You don’t concede, when there’s fraud.’ That’s true. That’s what many of us also thought back in 2000. […] 11:01 PST, ‘Trump’s behavior was different.’ […] ‘There were detailed reports of attack plans, confirmed by the FBI.’ […] 11:02, “Here’s a short clip [montage].” […] 1120, sounds like the Eritrean […] 1139, Van Der Veen: ‘Incitement is a moment in time.’ If so, then abusers, such as reactive narcissistic abusers, like Trump, can get away with mass manipulation in concert with the right-wing mediasphere. […] 1139, audience of Senators laughed out loud at VDV. […] 1145, RECESS. Judy Woodruff narrates an update of recent U.S. history. ‘Sherylinn Ifill naacp | stuart , author it was all a lie | George Packer author, the unwinding > 1147, begin discussion. ‘What happened that brought us to Trump?’ […] 1148, ‘What has happened to small towns? People were looking for a villain.’ | Ifill: ‘the abandonment of Reconstruction’, the signing of the ‘Southern Manifesto’ has now gone nationwide’ | 3rd guest: ‘It is about race. It’s the politics of white grievance’ 1158 ‘The Republican Party has become “authoritarian” and “antidemocratic”
12:00 PST, PBS > PBS News Hour | Man presents a video exposé, a brief history of Mr. Trump’s political career. […] 1217, interview with Darryl Johnson(sp?) ‘white supremacy was ushered into the capitol.’ […] “Mike Brown” […] Next speaker, lady.
Senate adjourned until 16 FEB 2021.
“BREAKING: Trump Acquitted” by Richard Medhurst, 13 FEB 2021.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021) – Part 1: Bloodshed On Wolf Mountain” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 13 FEB 2021.
“[Adam Curtis] Part 1 Can’t Get You Out of My Head 2021 Bloodshed on Wolf Mountain” by Mario Bitarelli, 6 MAR 2021.
‘How did we become so divided in Britain?’ asked British filmmaker and narrator, Adam Curtis. His question and narration sounds like it could be referring to the current plight of the USA, Australia, or England, or France, or just about any so-called Western nation. The story is almost the same in each nation. Imperial and colonial ambitions in the early 20th century, along with central banker corruption, coupled with inevitable immigration to the motherland by people of color from the colonies, such as India. The arrival of brown and black people to the white motherlands exposed the myth told to the colonized, which was that they were not colonized people, living in colonized, open-air prisons, but that they were extensions of the empire. But all they found was hatred, humiliation, discrimination, narcissistic abuse, and apartheid when they went to what they had been led to believe was their motherland. We could even say the same for American blacks, who felt betrayed by American segregation/apartheid, upon returning from war. Even trial by fire was not open to people of color, as a path to freedom. Having risked life and limb, people of color report feeling wronged for being denied respect and equal rights and citizenship after risking and sacrificing just as much, if not more, than their white counterparts.
(c. 11:00) Next, Adam Curtis takes us to China to see what was going on there at the time, mid-20th century. We find, Jiang Qing, an alleged narcissistic social climber Chinese actor lady, who was fiercely ambitious to be “the top”, according to one primary source, an archival interview of a professional woman. She was accused of ingratiating herself with men to get the best parts. But some men complained about her behavior and ambition. But, by all accounts, she was fiercely determined to be free from male domination. Adam Curtis seems to juxtapose her feminism with her fate in isolation, ‘surrounded by monkeys’, and eventually in a sanatorium, or ‘looney bin’. Curtis glides over two elements, which cast Mao in a negative light: the famines and the fate of Mao’s wives. But this is unfair to the history and to the audience. On Pacifica Radio, we have heard various interviews with American scholars and experts, including from Americans, who lived in China during the Cultural Revolution, which is so difficult to understand from the outside by western eyes. We recall the film, The Red Violin; and the audience empathizes with the Red Violin, being threatened by the evils of communism. But the audience is never allowed to consider, perhaps, there may also be evils of capitalism. After Dr. King suggested as much, he was soon assassinated. Suffice it to say, that famines occur due to crop failures. And this topic cannot be glossed over without distorting the actual history. But, perhaps, leaving a few distortions, which cast Mao and communism in a bad light, is the only way Curtis can get these aired on the BBC? Would these documentaries even be allowed on the BBC without state intelligence approval from the Ministry of Truth? And how can viewers fact-check the source material? | But, she seems to become a trophy wife for the apparently morally dubious Mao Zedong, who seems to have traded up wives, at least once or twice. Luo Yixiu was the first wife Mao divorced, according to Edgar Snow. (cf. Snow, E. Red Star Over China. New York City: Grove Press. (1961) )
(c. 17:25) Adam Curtis turns our attention away from Communism China in the 1950s and toward Capitalist America in the 1950s. Already, the spectre of hyper individualism interacting with nascent feminism and waning male patriarchy, which was plaguing Mao’s marriage, was also beginning to show serious signs of meaning crisis in America, particularly among captive housewives adapting to their new roles in alienating suburban environments. But, in America, various forms of white supremacist ideologies filled the vacuum left by the void, by the emptiness, of the meaning crisis, an often subconscious experience. So, the meaninglessness and dread experienced by Euroamericans in mid-20th century American suburbia was sublimated into white in-group behaviors, and later sublimated into bourgeois people of color in-group behaviors. [People of color were increasingly accepted by the dominant culture, as Euroamericans became increasingly convinced of their loyalty to the status quo.] In the mid-20th century, anti-communist hysteria created an in-group psychology, which gave meaning to those, who subscribed to the trend. After all, anti-communist gaslighting went on from the late 1930s until the mid-1970s, when it became a permanent part of Congress within the House Judiciary Committee. | In this climate of American anti-communist hysteria, the narrative turns to a philosophical debate about reality between young friends Kerry Thornley and Gregory Hill. Is there an order to reality? Or does the human mind project order onto a chaotic reality, as Hill argued? Hill’s position won out and led to a philosophical/spiritual movement “dedicated to the idea of chaos” called Discordianism, which held the belief that “individuals had the power within themselves to bring order and meaning to the chaos, not the old systems of power, that created the fear and suspicion.” But, then, Thornley met Lee Harvey Oswald at a Marines training camp, which would lead the Discordian Thornley “back towards that darkness in America.” Thornley was an Ayn Rand-type right-wing libertarian. For Thornley, Oswald “seemed to embody the figure of the free, independent individual” because he refused to bow to the power of the officers.” This is something he so admired from Ayn Rand’s novels. Thornley and Oswald “became close friends”; and Thornley decided to write a novel based on Oswald, “a hero of this new age.” But, suddenly, Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, at the height of the anti-communist hysteria, Red Scares, and McCarthyist witchhunts. “It was really a weird experience for me,” recalled Thornley, “based on Oswald. When Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, I decided to write a novel about a marine, who becomes disenchanted with the U.S. and goes to the Soviet Union. And, so, it was like the hero. And I didn’t like Kennedy. I was extremely anti-Kennedy, myself, because I was so much into Ayn Rand and laissez-faire capitalism, objectivism. And Kennedy was the arch-villain of our movement, at the time. It was like the hero of my novel jumped off the pages of my book and shot the president. It was very weird.” Evidently, Mr. Thornley doesn’t doubts the sincerity of Mr. Lee Harvey Oswald, when he said he was set up as a patsy. And Mr. Adam Curtis adds no further comment on the matter. Talk about weird. These are strange days, indeed. What happened involving Oswald, David Ferrie, Judyth Vary Baker, and Dr. Mary Sherman is even weirder. We submit the relevant history documented by Mr. Edward T. Haslam, particularly his book, Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans, and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses Are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination, and Emerging Global Epidemics (2007, 2014).
(c. 24:50) ENGLAND, mid-20th century images in black-and-white, juxtapose British suburbia and British colonialism. “Although the British Empire was now finally collapsing and the last colonies were being given their independence, in the homeland, England, the old structure of power remained intact.” In this vignette, the audience sees a glimpse of feminine discontent with male domination of domestic life. And England’s poster boy for evil immigrant hysteria is introduced as Peter Rachman, whose right-hand man, Michael Defreitas would eventually go on to inherit Mr. Rachman’s underground title and public infamy.
(c. 35:30) LUSHAN MOUNTAIN CHINA, black-and-white images, apparently mid-20th century. We return to the narrative of Jiang Qing, Mao’s fiercely independent wife, who had become so infuriated by the men controlling her, who made her sign a contract promising she would refrain from any political activity for a minimum of 30 years. 20 years later, Mao was calling for her political help against newer encroaching revolutionary movements. Jiang Qing secretly met with Mao, “determined to stop them from overthrowing Mao.” She blamed them for her political marginalization and social isolation. Jiang Qing saw these men, not as revolutionaries, but “ghosts from the past”, who were unwittingly destroying the revolution because their old minds were still infected with the old patterns of thought of the old decaying empire, which had ruled China for 300 years.
(c. 39:50) NEW YORK 1961. A young woman wrote a book, which inspired millions of revolutionaries in various nations. But the woman abandoned the revolution for a life of domestic bliss before she ever realized the impact of her writing. So, we have an example of stalwart communists abandoning revolutionary struggle for capitalist comfort, like the proverbial boiling frog. Meanwhile, the film takes us back to the ongoing collapse of the British Empire, manifested in domestic discontent, due to the old patriarchal contradictions of philandering husbands and bored housewives becoming intolerable. The waning power of the British Empire at the same time as the power of husbands over wives is in decline, the narrator argues, contributed to a sense of melancholy. Professor John Vervaeke might argue that sense of melancholy had been there all along, as part of the human condition, something he calls the meaning crisis. That sense of melancholy, that lack, is more often than not a longing for meaning, which can be misdirected towards illusory, fleeting, or unstable objects, such as temptations, distractions, the other, or some bogeyman. People hate to admit their lives are, or have become at some point, meaningless. So, they pretend and repress and sublimate until a given circumstance becomes untenable. At that point, something’s gotta give. Or, so they say.
(c. 53:55) NEW ORLEANS 1967. The narration returns to the Discordian movement promoted by Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. Saliently for students of the JFK assassination and the life and times of Lee Harvey Oswald, Thornley’s Ayn Randian protagonist would also move to New Orleans. As Jim Marrs wrote in his foreword to Ed Haslam’s book, Dr. Mary’s Monkey: “Diligent researchers know that Oswald was playing intelligence games in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. One day he was handing out pro-Castro literature on street corners, some of it stamped with the same address as [Guy] Banister’s anti-Castro office at 544 Camp Street. Another day, Oswald was offering his services to anti-Castro militant Carlos Bringuier. Oswald’s duplicity resulted in what appeared to authorities as a staged fight between Oswald and Bringuier on a New Orleans street.” It seems Oswald was constructing a reputation as a pro-Castro militant in order to better infiltrate Cuba in order to assassinate Fidel Castro, as the CIA is well-known to have attempted on numerous occasions, not least of which was the Bay of Pigs invasion. But, it seems, Adam Curtis will keep any narrative involving Lee Harvey Oswald consistent with the ‘official’ Warren Commission narrative, now widely viewed as discredited. Thornley published his novel, as the idle warriors, with Lee Harvey Oswald as the central protagonist. Other than that, the narrator makes no mention of Oswald. Instead, he continues the 20th century smear campaign against D.A. Jim Garrison by insinuating he’s the godfather of the JFK conspiracy theory movements. The narrator seems to imply Garrison suffered from paranoid delusions, rather than was a courageous elected official, who spoke honestly and plainly, given legal constraints. The narrator renders Garrison’s ‘belief in a secret system of power deeply hidden’ within American society, as conspiracist thinking, but without mentioning Garrison’s evidence, or later evidence gathered, or the scholarship of C. Wright Mills, I.F. Stone, Noam Chomsky, Peter Dale Scott, David Talbot, Sheldon S. Wolin, Chris Hedges, Peter Phillips, et al. Many people have written about this “secret system”, about which the narrator feigns ignorance. We recall: “An autocratic security force or ‘security state’ appears to act in parallel to the regular democratic state, and this duality or ‘dual state’ was described by Hans Morgenthau already in 1955.” C. Wright Mills would write about The Power Elite. Peter Dale Scott would come to write about Deep Politics and, later, The American Deep State. Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman would write about Manufacturing Consent. And, more recently, Peter Phillips has written about The Global Elite. Yet, Adam Curtis’ narrative seems to miss all of these compelling factors. Perhaps, the dual state, or the deep state, will come into focus later. At this point, instead, the narrator seized on an internal memo from D.A. Jim Garrison to his agents, which describes his intuitive approach to investigating the assassination of JFK and ‘looking for patterns’. This is an underhanded tactic by the narrator to smear Garrison as a conspiracy theorist by association with Thornley, as an unreliable witness. This is underhanded because it is plausible that Garrison’s intuitive focus on signals and patterns, rather than meaning or reason behind the motives of conspirators, can become unhinged. Yet, the opposite is equally plausible, as cognitive science shows us the same cognitive machinery of relevance realization, which makes the human brain, such a powerful information processor, is the same machinery, which makes us susceptible to self-deception and parasitic processing. Self-deception may be the case in Thornley’s Discordian world-view. However, all available evidence points in favor of Jim Garrison’s case, especially in light of newly declassified documents, in the wake of Oliver Stone’s 1991 film, JFK, the 1992 Assassination Materials Disclosure Act, and information newly disclosed to the public, which further corroborates Garrison’s narrative. But, for some reason, the BBC narrator has the audience locked into the Warren Commission’s implausible “lone nut” theory, which has been widely discredited by independent researchers. The narrator also seized on Garrison’s accusations against Thornley after reading his novel about Oswald. Notably, the role of intelligence agency psychological operations, such as the CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird”, or British, Canadian, Australian, or European cognates are not mentioned thus far. Instead, the narrator pivots to smear conspiracy thinking, which is to say the narrator pivots to smear independent questioning. Yet, the vilification of non-conformity, the vilification of questioning, is one of the elements of totalitarianism. Adam Curtis is good at scaring the shit out of his audience. But, in this case ploy against conspiracy thinking, this isn’t justified. This is fearmongering, which serves to uphold the status quo, whether unwittingly or mendaciously. The effect is the same. | Adam Curtis’ narration disregards Jim Garrison’s research as implausible, stonewalled by the establishment, as it was, and despite new corroborating information. Instead, the narrator validates Thornley before turning the audience’s attention to intelligence agency efforts towards mind control. “Operation Mockingbird”, which would corroborate Jim Garrison’s narrative, is sidw-stepped. Instead, we cut to the more outlandish, but very real, “Project MK Ultra”. Now, we’re starting to see through the thin veil of Adam Curtis’ status quo apologia. Like Dr. King lamented about white liberals, Adam Curtis will only go but so far in exposing the truth. The contradictions in Curtis’ philosophy reveal the constraints of his willingness to compromise to the ruling class representatives at the BBC, or within the British establishment. By contrast, a filmmaker can boast, and rightly so, “I never sold out.” So, Adam Curtis gives up a crumb of truth about the CIA’s covert project “MK Ultra” (based in Ontario, Canada), in order to buttress a bigger lie: Independent research is quackery, conspiracy theory thinking. | (c. 59:40) John Gittinger, the CIA Chief Psychologist between 1950 and 1974 is cited. “The image of the human being, that was being built up at the time was that there was a great deal of vulnerability in the human being. And that that vulnerability could be manipulated to program somebody to be something, that I wanted them to be, and they didn’t want to be. That you could manipulate people in such a way that they could be automatons, if you will, for whatever your own purposes. This was the image that people thought was possible.” | (c. 1:01:12) In 1969, some members of Discordianism were working at Playboy magazine. So, the Discordians launched “Operation Mindfuck” to smear all conspiracy theories. Discordians, Hill & Thornley, began by placing a false letter in the Playboy letters page. The false letter asking whether or not all the assassinations were actually carried out by a single entity called “the Illuminati”. The question on everyone’s mind, then, is did the Discordians act independently? Or were they handled or influenced, somehow, by the state, or any factions or agents within the state? | In any event, mind control proved to be about more than just the mind. Consciousness involved behavior-thought-feeling (BTF) patterns. “What shapes how people feel is the society around them, above all, the structure of power, that not only controls their lives, but also how they feel. And, if you want to change the way people feel, you have to change that, too.”
(c. 1:06:00) ANTI-IMMIGRATION MARCH, LONDON 1968, images of street demonstrations by free speech activists being attacked by thugs and cops; clashes and confrontations. Another sign reads “Immigration Referendum NOW” Elsewhere, wall graffiti reads: “ALL POWER TO THE WORKING CLASS AND ALL OTHER OPPRESSED PEOPLE. RIGHT ON” Elsewhere, Jiang Qing gleefully appeals to an adoring crowd, seemingly cultivating her own cult of personality. Perhaps, we wonder whether there’s any difference between symbolism and cult of personality. Perhaps. The narrator doesn’t seem interested in such discernment. Instead, having made his case against conspiracy thinking in the prior segments about Jim Garrison, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Discordians, the narrator now moves to position Michael Defreitas as the straw man, in his straw man argument against conspiracy-thinking revolutionary folly. | (c. 1:09:00) In closing, the narrator grants the audience a piece of truth about the burgeoning technocratic late capitalist dystopia with its machines, but at the cost of sneaking in, as models of resistance, three seemingly hyper-individualistic characters: right-wing libertarian Thornley the Discordian; Jiang Qing, Mao’s fiercely independent wife; and conflicted lumpenproletarian Michael Defreitas. Don’t get any big ideas, is the refrain. The big question ought to be left to the professionals is the subtext. But the filmmaker will show us how creepy and terrifying society can become when we simply leave the big questions to the professionals. | The narrator walks us through the 1967 rise of the hallowed algorithm and the construction of the first synthetic neural network. The algorithm used George Boole’s Laws of Thought, which applied algebraic symbols to psychological concepts, such as passion or virtue, “to give expression to them in the symbolical language of a Calculus”. Boole’s Laws of Thought aimed “to investigate the fundamental laws of those operations of the mind by which reasoning is performed.” Today, this might be called cognitive science. But it’s very educational to see how callously opportunistic intelligence agencies have been in their willingness to exploit new information and scientific discovery, and leverage intel against everyone as much as possible before the word starts to get out, and the advantage of inside information wanes. Boole was driven ‘by an almost messianic belief that he had been given, by God, a glimpse into the human mind.’ Others were impressed by the mathematical logic, but were not as convinced by the mathematical modeling. “Human beings,” philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “do not think like that.” No matter. The capitalists pressed ahead in their quest for increasingly effective algorithms, which could nudge, influence, manage, or otherwise control human behavior. And Adam Curtis concedes to some ugly truths, such as MK Ultra and algorithms of oppression, but dismisses others off-hand, which are still compelling and still being further corroborated, such as the JFK assassination investigation. Ultimately, Adam Curtis comes down against the right to ask questions, and against the right of historians and the laity the right to academic freedom, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech. Exploring clues about our past to inform our understanding of history is not conspiratorial thinking, or unsound thinking. Freedom of inquiry is part of the scientific process. Thus, we separate the plausible from the implausible. | But, for Adam Curtis, everyone is festering in “dark paranoia” and anyone, who goes on the internet in an attempt to learn about the world around them is some sort of creepy loon, hunched over a computer screen, falling prey to wicked conspiracy theories. To dramatize how foolish people are by subscribing to the wrong conspiracy theories, the filmmaker flashes various JFK assassination tropes across the screen, juxtaposed with farcical music, climaxing in a chaotic menagerie of absurdist imagery, apparently intended to portray the chaotic nature of reality, or at least the way Adam Curtis perceives reality. | END OF PART ONE.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021) – Part 2: Shooting and Fu**king Are the Same Thing” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 2021.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021) – Part 3: Money Changes Everything” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 13 FEB 2021.
Part Three was truly devastating. But we don’t think everyone failed in the 1960s and 1970s. We hold up the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and others.
But they didn’t accomplish what they did alone. And it was only the fear or cowardice of their allies, who abandoned them—in life, as in death—which allowed their legacies and life lessons to be obfuscated.
But what is clear is that the evils of the world, as Dr. King identified them—racism, militarism, and materialism (i.e., capitalism)—are far more complex, in terms of mass psychology, than any single politician, political party, or even ideology. This complexity, it seems, is what immediately discouraged his allies because Dr. King realized the enmeshment of racism and white supremacy with militarism and materialism, lucre. (As Mr. Curtis emphasized with his episode title, “Money Changes Everything”.) But Dr. King’s contemporaries weren’t prepared for such complexity. They seemed content with keeping an appearance simply working on the race issue.
The idea we get from this series is that we all suffer from a lack of understanding of ourselves, and others, other groups, other ethnicities, other nationalities.
We need a revolution of values, concluded Dr. King.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021) Part 4: But What If The People Are Stupid” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 13 FEB 2021.
(c. 51:00) Narrative is starting to buckle. It sounds like he’s selling neoclassical economics. But maybe he’s just presenting the neoclassical notion of the rational agent, homo economicus, as technocrats conclude they can’t trust voters, who may vote fascist or who make irrational economic choices. The glaring problem with this narrative for us, upon initial viewing, is the state’s role in keeping the public in the dark, the role of the captured press, and the role of captured academia. All these institutions have been captured by capitalist, neoliberal, and technocrat ideologies. If Mr. Adam Curtis doesn’t point these factors out, then it seems this whole series is just shilling for the state by attempting to rewrite the people’s history of struggle for freedom, as one of folly, failure, and foolishness. But the slave seeking freedom has nothing to lose but her chains. We can’t complain about the mistakes people have made in self-defense. And the people resisting a tyrannical state is always a matter of self-defense.
(c. 51:30) Daniel Kahneman, influenced behavioral economics.
(c. 1:00:00) Again, the narrative seems to buckle under its own weight. In this scene, Mr. Curtis is presenting an old “anger” in England against ruling elites, which manifested itself as anger against Mr. Tony Blair. Mr. Curtis described this anger against, presumably, liberal elites going back as far as the mid-20th century League of Empire Loyalists in Britain. Mr. Curtis presented a young woman describing her support for the League as one against a plutocratic world government. This is a valid concern. But Mr. Curtis seems to dismiss it, out of hand.
(c. 1:02:00) Now, the narrative takes us into Mr. Tony Blair’s England, where neoliberalism has now gutted factories in the north, due to high interest rates, which have made English products too expensive to export. And, finally, after hours of seeming confusion and tragedy, we hear a voice of reason. We hear an angry working class woman in her kitchen, questioning the logic of Mr. Tony Blair’s decisions, which gain England entry into the “world economy”, are nothing more than a betrayal to working class people, like this angry British woman. Indeed.
What’s also notable heretofore is the way Mr. Curtis has painted Mr. Blair’s economic policies as coming out of nowhere. Yet, we know very well, as Dr. David Harvey and others can attest, that the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s did not come out of nowhere, as he said. It’s odd; but, ostensibly, Mr. Curtis presents himself as a neutral observer. But how neutral can a human being be before he either loses his humanity, or feigns inhumanity, in the face of injustice? It seems his zeal to be a neutral observer betrays him. Or are we missing something?
(c. 1:04:00) Enter the fabled and dreaded technocrats, who begin their project in the European Union.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021) – Part 5: The Lordly Ones” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 13 FEB 2021.
(c. 39:00) Adam Curtis: “In America, the spies and their operation were also being used to maintain a fiction. Ever since the Second World War, the American government had been using the CIA to overthrow the governments of many other countries. One of the most senior members of the U.S. State Department, Hans Morgenthau, had given this hidden system of power a name. He called it the dual state. America had to do this, he said, because of the harsh realities of power in the world. But it had to be kept secret from the people because revealing it would undermine their belief in democracy and in their exceptionalism., a belief that was essential in the cold war.
(c. 40:15) “From the 1950s onwards, the CIA rigged elections, destabilized governments through fake information, and organized violent coups in Italy, Greece, Syria, Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia, and Chile. In all, the United States ran covert operations to overthrow 66 foreign governments. And, in 26 cases, they succeeded. Morgenthau believed that this secrecy was creating a dangerous timebomb at the heart of America. And, in the mid-1960s, details started to leak out. One of the senior members of the CIA, Miles Copeland, revealed that he had been in involved in organizing coups all around the world, starting in Syria in 1951.”
Miles Copeland Interviewed 1969
(c. 41:15) TV Host, Keith: “It seems to confirm, from the inside, many of the American people’s worst fears about the way in which policy is conducted, for example, plotting to overthrow the Syrian government and others. Do you think that’s a useful way of conducting foreign policy?”
Miles Copeland: “Keith, I’m not gonna make a moral judgment. I’m simply describing how things are done.
TV Host, Keith: “If—”
Miles Copeland: “Now, let me finish. It is true that, in many cases, we would sit around in attics of the State Department. We would have long discussions. Our government does not get involved in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. And we meant that from the bottom of our hearts. And, then, we’d say: But, in this one case, we have to. [smiling] And, so, we had to try to decide how to do what it was against our policy to do. And we did, in fact, interfere in the internal affairs of many sovereign nations.”
(c. 42:30) On the African continent, in the Congo, 1961, Patrice Lumumba sought help from Russia. But the USA wanted the copper mines for electronics production. So, the CIA helped the opponents of Patrice Lumumbu remove him from power and install the dictator Mobutu.
(c. 44:23) “In 1963, agents from the CIA came to Baghdad to plan another coup. One idea was to secretly poison the communists in the government. But the country the British had created was, by now, so unstable that before the Americans could act, they mounted their own coup.”
News Reel: “The Revolt of Iraq”
(c. 45:12) “But the American agents supported and helped the overthrow. They even gave one of the young Baath Party members, Saddam Hussein, a list of communists in Iraq. Saddam used it to execute thousands. And he began his rise to power. He, later, ordered a feature film to be made about his heroic role in the coup. It was made by the British director, Terrance Young, who had also made the James Bond film, Dr. No.“
Film clip: “The Long Days” Iraq Ministry of Culture
(c. 45:50) captions: Beijing 1997. In 1997, Deng Xiaoping died. His ashes were scattered over the China Sea by his wife and the party leaders.
(c. 46:35) When Deng Xiaoping died the country was growing economically. But the lack of a unifying belief system, since the replacement of communist ideal with the lucre ideal, threatened instability as individualism replaced collectivism.
(c. 47:20) ADAM CURTIS: “But, outside of China, they qere increasingly afraid of the global financial system, run by the western bankers. Paranoia and suspicion about the west had gone very deep into the minds of the new rulers. But, for the moment, money from the west continued to pour in. And their power grew stronger.
“At the end of 1997, Britain had agreed to hand Hong Kong back to China. During the negotiations, the British insisted that Hong Kong should remain democratic. The Chinese were shocked by this. They said it was completely hypocritical because the British had never allowed democracy in Hong Kong. It had always been an authoritarian system controlled by a brutal and racist police force.”
(c. 48:16) caption: Hong Kong 1978 Archival film of British police beating up a brown Asian man. It seems the rightness of whiteness infected Asians, too. We recall, anecdotally, all over the Bay Area the increasing population of Chinese and other Asian moneyed immigrants in the last couple decades drive around outside completely protected from the sun, with huge visors and screens, presumably to prevent tanning to stay as white as possible. It was sociologically fascinating to observe, almost, as fascinating as observing, also anecdotally, a trend of coupling during the last two decades in the Bay Area of white men with Chinese or Asian women, particularly immigrant women. This information comes to us through the landscaping industry, which brown people have dominated since the 1970s, when Japanese immigrant gardeners trained immigrant Mexican gardeners and landscapers on the west coast, particularly California. We are brown. We know these demographics and trends intimately.
(c. 49:10) “The British government sent an envoy to negotiate with the Chinese. He was Sir Percy Cradock, who had finally accepted the Cold War was over. But, after the talks, Sir Percy announced that agreed with the Chinese. The demand for democracy was difficult because, when the British ruled Hong Kong, there was no democracy. So, Percy was not invited to the hand-over. And, in the pouring rain, Prince Charles watched, as the Chinese said goodbye to the British by singing them a Rod Stewart song, “Rhythm of My Heart.” And, despite the Chinese triumphalism, the BBC continued the fantasy of the special virtues of the British Empire.” (c. 50:06)
(c. 50:43) caption: Shanghai 1998 “In 1998, the very thing the Chinese had feared happened. The Global Financial system went out of control.” Of course, this is our wheelhouse. We know this didn’t happen out of nowhere, as Mr. Curtis is wont to say.
“It began in Thailand, where western banks had been pouring millions of dollars into a property boom. Suddenly, the bubble burst. And developers defaulted on their loans. Western investors panicked and rushed to get their money out. The crisis then spread all over East Asia to Korea and Indonesia. In every case, the country’s exchange rate crashed, causing economic chaos.”
Of course, currency and exchange rate stability are important for stable prices, stable contracts, and stable trade. (cf. L. Randall Wray, William K. Black, et al.)
(c. 51:28) British news clip of economic chaos, rioting, and looting in Indonesia in the wake of the 1997/1998 Global Financial Crisis. Indonesia’s currency lost 80% of its value.
(c. 51:42) ADAM CURTIS: “The IMF gave huge loans to try and stabilize the countries. But, then, the currencies crashed again, as those dollars were used by western banks to get the rest of their money out of the countries. It left the Asian societies in ruins. To the countries’ leaders, this was the old, corrupt imperialism, returning in a modern form.”
Indeed. This was predicted by anti-capitalists, particularly by heterodox economists. We recall the Minsky Moment.
(c. 52:08) caption: Mahithir Mohamad Prime Minister of Malaysia Speaking During the 1998 [economic] crisis […] “We are seeing the effect of that absolute power today, the impoverishment and misery of millions of people and their eventual slavery.”
(c. 52:35) ADAM CURTIS: “China managed to escape the crisis. But it seemed to confirm to the country’s leaders that their paranoia about the western conspiracy was right, that the west was prepared to use its economic power to loot and wreck the Asian countries, just as it had in the past. They decided that the only way to make China safe was to take control. The Chairman, Jiang Zemin, instructed that all the dollars, that China got from exporting their goods should be sent back to America and used to buy up the United States government debt.” (cf. L. Randall Wray, et al., and other advocates of MMT argued this arrangement was sustainable as long as China wanted to buy U.S. bonds with their dollars. But, barring any unforeseen changes, we all anticipated that China would eclipse America, economically by 2040 or so. But it happened faster than expected, especially as the pandemic accelerated the process. In recent weeks, we’ve seen news reports that China is already eclipsing the USA, economically.)
“This would make the dollar rise up in value, which meant the Chinese goods would be even cheaper. But it would also make interest rates in America low, which meant that people would borrow even more money from the banks, and buy even more Chinese goods. It was a virtuous circle. What the Chinese were doing was creating a safe bubble wrapped around the United States, that would stabilize the system and, so, keep China safe.”
(c. 53:48) “But, in the process, the Chinese money would create the biggest property boom ever in history and lead America into a protected dream world, that was increasingly attached to the reality outside. And that dreamlike state was going to have enormous consequences, not just for America and China, but for the whole world.” (c. 54:26)
Caption: Baghdad 2003 A few days before the invasion.
According to Mr. Curtis’s narrative, the USA wanted the invasion of Iraq to “stabilize” the nation. But Tony Blair, he says, persuaded the USA to pursue wider goals of liberation for democracy and individualism. However, historians met with Mr. Blair to remind him of the origins of Iraq 80 years prior and Britains imperial role and how the plans could backfire. But Mr. Blair insisted that Saddam Hussein was evil and had to be removed. No mention of the United Nations or international community seemed to matter to Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush.
(c. 56:25) caption: MI6 Headquarters “Then, the spies came to see Tony Blair. They told him that there were weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq, which justified the invasion. But, yet again, they were inventing a magical world of hidden threats. And the invasion began.”
(c. 56:45) “By 2007, the American war in Iraq had become a nightmare. The Americans were pouring nearly a billion dollars—” [snip; YouTube version of these films are trimmed to avoid age-restrictions on the videos by YouTube. Full versions available elsewhere.]
Previously, the war of aggression and occupation against Vietnam by the USA had led to inflation, economic collapse, moral outrage, and political upheaval. All of this led the USA to pull out of Vietnam. But the war of aggression and occupation against Iraq had no such adverse economic effects. So, the state only had to suppress the moral outrage, not so much economic distress. And there were little to no protests, which meant no pressure on the imperialists. This would encourage the western forces to engage in more desperate measures. So, “The Awakening” funneled millions of dollars to local militant groups as proxies. But Americans found themselves doing the same thing the British had done 80 years prior. It seemed to work, but, in reality, it was going to lead to even worse geopolitical outcomes. When the USA went to pulk its troops, said Curtis, the money stopped flowing to Iraq; and the tribal leaders saw their power dwindle. So, then the allies turned to “the very people they had been fighting, the Al Qaeda in Iraq jihadis.” “And out that alliance—” [snip; video is cut here. For more on this history, cf. The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump, a book by Max Blumenthal]
(c. 1:01:15) ADAM CURTIS: “What had begun a long time ago, as a make-believe version of England it created in the deserts of Mesopotamia, as the empire fell apart, had now become a terrifying nightmare.”
Similarly, the KKK had been invented by a guy, who saw an old film. And even that guy had made up everything in that film. Yet, the false identity of history and tradition is now real to modern KKK types, just like the mythical and racist origins of Iraq, as a make-believe version of England, where serfs combed dried petroleum onto the sands to make themselves absurd gold courses in the deserts of Mesopotamia.
(c. 1:02:23) “And that mythical, romantic view of the past was also about to return home in, both, America and Britain. And it was going to have powerful consequences there, too.” Indeed. (cf. “American Mythology: The Presidency of Donald Trump”, narrated by Jeremy Scahill, Intercepted podcast.)
“In his campaign, Donald Trump promised to recreate a lost America.”
Clips of Donald Trump speech, police brutality in the USA, followed by jingoistic Britains rallying for nationalism and xenophobia. (cf. Brexit). The final image is of a box of oxycontin, a synthetic opioid, which warned the drug may “cause a nod” as well as a “dream-like state”. We recall laid off workers, who saw bigger disability checks than paychecks often developed oxycontin habits, as America continued in its dreamlike state, blissfully unaware of the precarious economic and political instability undergirding the nation.
“Part 6” by Adam Curtis Documentary, 13 FEB 2021.
“Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen, 1988.
“Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op 4” interpreted by Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 1974.
 Your author had this song burned into his head, when he started up with a new gym membership, after coming back from Kansas City (UMKC) quite malnutritioned and, then, becoming skinny fat whilst working in sales. This song reminds me of being super weak and out of shape, but determined to gain some strength and power and a better shape, burn fat and build muscle. Sidebar: The simplistic view is weight loss. But this overlooks muscle. We never want to lose muscle because it usually means less dense bones. Musculature seems to reflect a robustness of all physiological systems. A more sophisticated view is to think of body recomposition. We change the variables of muscle and fat, preserving or increasing muscle, whilst keeping body fat percentage within certain ranges for men and women.
[13 FEB 2021]
[Last modified on 24 DEC 2021 at 16:15 PST]