Archive for October, 2007

thought of the day

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

I think we can acknowledge something here and now.  Spokane, Washington has a thriving closeted gay community.  (So much so a La Center man will traffic over there.)

(As though torn from today’s headlines, this headline, from 2005.)

And Larry Craig has certainly crossed the Idaho border before… or is that activity confined to Minneapolis bathroom stalls?

Not to go all “Brokeback Mountain” on you, but maybe all munipicipalities have “thriving gay communities” — it just so happens that only a handful of zip-codes might elect one to a political position, hence… a thriving closeted gay community.

“Fetish Ball”

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Rolling around the am dial Friday evening, I found myself at the local conservative talk show host Victoria Taft. She brought on the Presumptive Next Mayor of Portland — Sam Adams. I refer to him as “Presumptive Next Mayor”, particularly as the man who would have been his fiercest competition crashed and burned in trying to spread rumors that he had sexual relations with under-aged staff — and I am obliged to mention that the last “Presumptive Next Mayor” did not make the transition to “Mayor” — instead ending up “Election Loser”.

Apparently there is this big bugaloboo in Conservative Portland circles about a “Fetish ball”, and apparently at a Human Rights Oregon function, celebrating a civil partnership bill’s passage, cards were handed out by the organizers of the Fetish Ball as invitations? Apparently. I will have to take her word for it. Anyway, the interview began with the question “Were you invited to the ‘Fetish Ball’?”, with Sam Adams’s response: “Huh?” Once the premise was explained, all the Democrats had invitations to the Fetish Ball, Adams wandered over to a tongue-in-cheek comment that Taft is the most attractive talk show host he knows (I will note for the record that Sam Adams is gay) , somewhere approaching how I would have answered but not quite, which is:

Are you… jealous… that you didn’t get an invitation? Disappointed that you don’t get to go?

And from there it wanders into the arena of Tom Potter’s bail-out in the middle of the street renaming flap (replete with the line that pretty well sums up his position right now), the bike controversy, and I don’t know… I turned it off because I half wanted to know where the Fetish Ball talk was supposed to end up.

Point / Counterpoint: How Refreshing is Kool-Aid?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I am scouring through comments, and for instance
Not enough in the article about how LaRouche wormed his way into Reagan’s NSC during the first term with info from his personal contacts in foreign countries. Until the media started reporting the NSC’s interest and exposing LaRouche’s record he was quite welcome by the Reaganites.

This Probably because the article wasn’t about that at all, and was not set to scratch anyone’s particular political itch. Anyway, Dennis King already covered that, and … well, the rest of that comment is highly entertaining, as is a bulk of these “I remember” comments. Here is the first level of interest for this article: the cockeyed look at a peculiar sub-culture that has been extent for the past few decades, off of anyone’s line of vision, as it approaches what appears to be its second death-bed. (Remember my “Zombie” theory… or, I can suggest it’s a series of half-lifing aways.)

Then there’s this position:

Who knew we needed reconfirmation that the LaRouchies are crazy? What’s next? The Monthly blows the lid off the Prohibitionist Party?

I’m all for that, actually. The Prohibitionist Party — the tiniest of political parties but plenty old — split into two at their 2004 convention, held in the kitchen of the long-time party leader, because the others had come to the conclusion that he was mostly running a political parephenilia business under the umbrella of the political party. Anyway, as ugly as that split was, nobody died. And whatever else the Prohobitionist Party is, it is not a cult, nor the most visible cult on college campuses, ensnaring ultimately a mere handful — but a handful too many.
You know, on second inspection, this comment is more pernicuous than my first scan of it.

The Washington Monthly article is an interesting piece of journalism that sheds real light on a truly disturbing event: the death of Ken Kronberg. Unfortunately both Kate’s post and Avi’s article suffer from the usual problems with LaRouche critics: (i) over-reliance on emotive words like “crazy” and “cult” which don’t describe much except to advertise the writer’s status in the respectible anti-LaRouche crowd (ii) and mischaracterization of the ideas of the LaRouche movement. The key test I use to judge the level of mischaracterization is to ask the question: could I gain any understanding of what the movement’s ideas are solely by reading the article? The answer for Avi’s piece is “no.” Although I have never been a member of the movement, I have read LaRouche’s publications over a long period of time. My verdict is that the movement represents a coherent set of ideas. These ideas are not beyond of criticism, but charge of impenetrability is an empty one. If you read the movement’s writings with an open mind and a critical eye, in the aggregate the basic points will be clear and you will end up learning much of value. Sometimes I think that those who like to present the ideas themselves as “crazy” use that term as a device to convince intelligent fair-minded people not to bother reading the movement’s writings. At the same time, LaRouche’s personal behavior and often rhetorical style makes the critics’ mischaracterizations an easier sell. That may be the true crime. Just because Lyndon LaRouche made some unique discoveries in method (intersection of economics, mathematics and technological development)does not necessarily qualify him to lead a movement to put those ideas into practice. I encourage those former cadres who are worried about irrelevence to consider how many people have absorbed important discoveries from he writings but still wanted to keep as far away from the movement as possible because of LaRouche’s (let’s be kind) ideosyncracies in leadership style. But I would also urge them to stay active politically and bring the best of those ideas into the deliberations of mainstream political organizations that could benefit from them.

Maybe I can leave it at Marielle Kronberg‘s response, but I won’t.

Speaking as Ken Kronberg’s widow, and a LaRouche “insider” from 1973 till earlier this year–when Ken died–res publica is kidding himself/herself about LaRouche’s relevance and the quality of his discoveries and the coherence of his worldview.

I was in the organization, I knew the players, I was on the National Committee from 1982 till, I guess, now–and coherence was never a characteristic, nor did LaRouche make any significant discoveries–economic, philosophical, ontological, or otherwise.

That’s what I thought was so on the mark about Avi Klein’s article: It didn’t get sidetracked onto politics or policies, which makes sense, because LaRouche has neither.

Res Republica provides a response to this, but I do have a general sense of “Who cares?” about me. So, we have someone who has “never been a member of the movement” (And why not? The movement needs some soldiers right now, goshdarnedit!) suggesting that this is an “interesting piece of journalism that shed real light on a truly disturbing event” by someone who has ingratiated himself into the “respectable anti-Larouche crowd” with highly emotive phrases (“cult”) that avoid the real issues in hand with Larouche’s marvelous ideas — and here’s the kicker: LaRouche’s personal behavior and often rhetorical style makes the critics’ mischaracterizations an easier sell. That may be the true crime. That may be the true crime! THAT! As opposed to, you know… what was the first sentence, on what this article’s positive points: sheds real light on a truly disturbing event.

Oh well. It’s all awash in the end. I have made minor effects here and abouts, and it is evident: For instance: the image that the Washington Monthly uses for its blog entry was from the youtube video which they nabbed from Scott McLemee (sp?) who lifted it from me. This is the power of Infinitisimals, and it’s kind of goofy.

“Everybody Knows”, as Leonard Cohen said

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

The problem with having this sort of P-list blog and having it parked on a cult with a long track-record of exploiting any economic insecurity within the nation, is that that tempers my expression of fairly dire economic troubles.  That we are not swerving toward economic Apocalypse does not mean we a few Shoes are about to drop which the body politic is going to have to rumble through.

The American people seem to know the score.  At a recent Republican presidential debate, the question came up on why  polls show Americans hold a negative view on the immediate economic future.  The phrase that came up with the Republicans defending Bush-o-nomics was that we have “The Greatest Story Never Told” regarding economic good times.  This has the flip side problem of Dick Gephardt’s 2004 comparisons between Bush and the rumored “Double Dip Recession” and Hoover and the Great Depression.  For the rich white guy who said that, the signs are pointing us toward a different direction.

I have noticed an advertisement has disappared from the backs of the alternative weeklies.  It had a 20-something year old woman in a Superman t-shirt saying “I Didn’t Know I Could Buy A Home”.  This ad was a lie.  There is a fine line between home ownership and debt culture membership, and I don’t quite know where it is — but the person this ad was attracting fell into the latter category.  It had been clear to me that a
dash of short-term thinking, perhaps even some ensnaring charltain work, was gripping this sector of the economy, which would catch up sooner or later.

Indicative of some things, even if I know that this too will pass, and the latest issue of The American Conservative offers up this dark visage:

Young Adults accustomed to thrilling paydays will instead have to memorize dozens of excruciating formulas for different sorts of beverages more or less based on coffee.

A quick note here: a recent David Brooks editorial riffed off the seeming emergence of a state between “Adolescence” and “Adult”, understandably a little anxiety-inducing to cultural bemoaners.  I had always assumed that this was a product of the triumph of Consumer Culture, but with this line — which was prominently pull-quoted in the magazine — does have an economic thread going: Where are those jobs, and what happens in that state?

The meta-cycle of suburban development, including “housing” and all its accessories in roads and chain stores, is hitting the wall of peak oil.  The suburban build-up is over.  This will come as an agonizing surprise to many.  The failure to make infinite suburbanization the permanent basis for an economy will rock our society for years to come.  Hundreds of thousands of unemployed men with pick-up trucks and panoplies of power tools will feel horribly cheated.  I hope they don’t start an extremist political party when the repo men come to take their trucks away.

Provided is this remedy:

Reality commands that we prepare to rebuild our small towns and small cities and downsize our gigantic metroplexes.  Reality commands that we get serious about local food production and local economies.  Reality commands that we rebuild the kind of public transit that people will be grateful to travel on.  Reality commands that we prepare to restore our habor facilities for a revival of maritime trade, using ships and boats that do not necessarily run on oil.  Reality commands that we put an end to legalized gambling in order for the public to re-learn one of the primary rules of adult life:  that we should not expect to get something for nothing.

The lottery was always an avoidance technique for politicians to keep away from proposing new taxes and fees, complete with some socioeconomic troubles.  I scratch my head and figure that the “revival of maritime trade” insistence is archaic in terms of what is important.  The urging toward smaller communities, in addition to fulfilling the paleo-conservatives’ nostalgic romantic sense, has a grasp toward what eats up resources — how much hydro-electric power out of the Colorado River does it cost to prop up Phoenix?  And then there’s the big problem with converting us to a different energy source — against the power of the entrenched Oil Interests (and, for that matter, the entrenched Corn Interests who profer our less than desirable alternative).

None of this strikes me as dire, and we will likely trip into some of our fixes, off of the fringes of Industry and Government flickering the innovations from the sidelines into thefore-ground.  Supposing for a second, though, that in the meantime the economy falters into a somewhat reasonable guess, say — the depths of late 1970s Stagflation — well, we passed through that before, did we not?
Also in this magazine, this warning shot, and you should know what to do with it.  Maybe.  From “War Whisperers”

The continued deference to former administration officials extends to the very lifeblood of the city right now — the presidential election, where neoconservative war boosters will enjoy A-list invites, give and get tons of money, and have the ear of top-tier GOP candidates.  Meanwhile, old and new Democratic hawks have largely pushed anti-war liberals to the margins of the establishment, creating think tanks with muscular names and erudite journals to catapult their colleagues into top-level jobs in a new Democratic administration.

No less than eight names associated with the Clinton and Obama campaigns– including Indyk, Steinberg, and O’Hanlon — have turned up, in some cases multiple times, on statements and letters authored by the Project for the New American Century.

Pebble in a pond gathers more moss

Monday, October 29th, 2007

It appears that FACTNet hasn’t paid the bills.  All very disappointing, having thought they had pushed their way past their financial crisis of a few months ago, and knowing this is probably the most interesting moment for discussion on the topic of L’Affaire Larouche.  (FACTNet, in the eyes of Larouche, Inc., a product of the American Family Association.)

Anyway, the posts (hopefully temporarily unavailable), all I can say is that Scott McLemee beat me to the punch in one observation:

Some ex-members think his recent proclamations are touched with senility, as opposed to the more cogent expressions of bizarre thought they were accustomed to hearing back in the old days.

I had my own formulation in mind, but not having access to the source material to make the comment with, I will just have to say my bit of snark lines up with that one.   At any rate, Larouche has come to claim Pelosi as being controlled by the Kennedy-cabal, which means Joe Kennedy, and by dent a sort of Republican – Democratic duoply is existing with Schwarzenager married to a Kennedy.  Odder than the hard to follow throughlines — John Kennedy is occasionally celebrated by Larouche — he built the space-program and thus there is one of those big shiny things that follow to the throughline of the MegLev Bridge — or whatever else it is you want.  Can John Kennedy escape those bloodlines, even if assasinated?

As for The write-up on the Washington Monthly mainpage,  the line that and it won’t provide you with any red meat attacks on either Democrats or Republicans — Well, it did inspire one, of sorts — ala a tossed reference to “Independent Democrat” by way of a snarky comment against Joseph Lieberman.  Hm.  I can point to this stupid bit of politicsal exchange with my recent Larouche cult poster:

Me:  Speaking of Al Gore’s vice president selection: I did not much appreciate what the Larouchites did to help defeat Ned Lamont and re-elect Joseph Lieberman in the last election, acting like yahoos and thus giving Lieberman that smug answer to the question of “Who are those guys” “Oh, just some Ned Lamont supporters!” A net gain for Lieberman, albeit an “infinitisimal” one.

He:  Your analysis of the Lieberman race? Hmm. Sorry Justin you can write up this stuff but shucks we just don’t see eye to eye. I think Lamont blew it himself and Lieberman… well, gosh don’t call me an anti-Semite, or a Nazi, for saying this but Joe has Semite blood on his hands.

Me: My analysis of the Lieberman race? Um. You seem to think I’m giving Larouche a whole lot more credit than I just did.

Me:  (Witness your mis-read on my comment on the Larouchies helping out the neo-con agenda visa vie Ned Lamont, who the “3-4 folks” who frequent the category on Larouche have no concern regarding.)

He:  LaRouche helped the neo-cons, yeah and I ate a piece of steel today — like Matter-Eater Lad.

… All of which took up more space here than it is worth, for a minor point that could have been made with the similar observation that the Washington Monthly article includes a glowing recommendation in the ad-box from James Carville, and in the Larouche-universe the Clintons (including Carville) and he are oh-so-close and in battle with the Felix Rhoyatin elements of the Democratic Party (now, apparently, the Joe Kennedy lead elements of the party).

Okay.  Moving on: Controversy grips Northern New Jersey.  Methinks the problem doesn’t stop at “past history of anti-semitism” with the donations.  Anyway, that guy’s political career is done.


Update:  Comments will be interesting to read with this article, and here “res republica” tries to convince himself of Larouche’s relevancy.

… and now, a moment of randomness

Sunday, October 28th, 2007
This connection is admittedly one that recognizes how punk rock has
 transmitted at least some of its artifacts into mainstream culture in
 general. However, this is also an example of how certain aspects of
 baseball, at least what is considered the authentic or "pure" nature of
 baseball, can be captured, or recreated, if recognized. Just as queer theory
 sometimes devotes its time to finding elements of queerness in cultural
 artifacts, so too do punk fans attempt to find punk rock in culture.
 This is nothing new, but the connection between punk rock and sports
 zines is not simply one of spotting the punk in baseball. Although
 certainly there are elements of this. ChinMusic also had an article and
 interview that dealt with the case of Jim Walender of the Detroit Tigers. In
 an article from Issue #2 of ChinMusic titled "How publicly admitting
 you like the Dead Milkmen can destroy your professional baseball career!
 An Interview With Ex-Detroit Tigers infielder Jim Walewander by Jeff
 Fox" Fox noted that:

In 1987, he was brought up from the Mud Hens to play in the majors for
 the Detroit TIgers. Oddly, soon after his arrival in Detroit,
 Walewander became infamous for (of all things) being a Dead Milkmen fan. This
 fact is even noted on his major league rookie card, which reads,
 "[Walewander] became an instant legend in Detroit for his devotion to an
 obscure punk-rock band called The Dead Milkmen." On the Detroit stop of the
 Milkmen's tour that year, Jim came out to see their show in Detroit and
 then invited the band to Tiger stadium for an early game the next day
 against the Angels. Walewander's unlikely association with the Milkmen
 became cemented when he hit his first major league homer against the
 Angels that day, fueling speculation that it may have been the Milkmen's
 presence at the park that had inspired him to hit the two-run, upper
 deck blast.

According to Fox, Walewander was somewhat embarrassed by the attention
 paid to him as a punk rock fan, even his baseball card mentioned his
 love of the Dead Milkmen, but most baseball players come from small rural
 communities and few are veterans of the punk rock community. There are
 notable exceptions. Both the Chanel article in Ztsk and an interview
 in ChinMusic dealt with St. Louis Cardinals' reliever Scott Radinsky,
 who first played in seminal punk band Scared Straight and later formed
 the successful Epitaph band Pulley. This does not imply a direct
 connection between punk rock and baseball, only a desire on the part of the
 producers of the sports zines to try and connect their mutual loves of
 punk rock and baseball as a coherent whole.
-- From "Was He Safe or Was He Out?": Sports Zines and Questions of Authenticity
Cogan, BrianJournal of Popular Culture

What questions should FEMA ask itself?

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

I would be remiss if I did not point to and make a snide comment at the staged FEMA press conference. (Here.) Which comes off the heels of the typical White House editing of a beauractratic report on Global Warming. Off the heels of … oh,picking something at rando, creatively defining torture so that what the US does is defacto not torture.

The thing is I don’t know what snide comment I can make with these bits of political stage-craft. I suppose I could compare these acts of governing to utterly controlled governments, but after that I’ve got nothing.


Saturday, October 27th, 2007

One brief observation: In terms of pure cyncism, I can imagine Larouche and the figures in the Boiler room in Loudon seeing it and finding vidication of their view as an evil agent visa vie her husband.

With an eye toward placing myself in the shoes of whomever is sitting in the boiler room in Loudon, dreaming up a good reaction to that Washington Monthly article, I think I can conjure something up.  Namely, one can defend how the cult has applied the Internet… and one can  exaggerate it to some unholy extent.

So, they should now pump out the propaganda focusing in on the vast innovative uses Larouche, Inc has employed with the Internet.  Those World Historic Web-casts he holds at a rapid clip, each more worldly historical than the last — depending on who you ask with an audience of either world dignitaries and repected figures in all endevors of politics and humanity, OR dedicated cult members and an assorted number of ex-members generally wathing for tea-leaf signs — but falling asleep out of boredom.

The rest are a bit too disreputable.  In olden times, when the Internet was just becoming a mass-medium and the angle of attraction was kooky and goofy item available — Larouche’s campaign website would tend to be listed off as items of curiosity.  Today we need a little bit more by way of two things:  somehow utilizing the Internet, as he managed his telex list and telephones in an earlier era, as a tool to get money out of different people’s bank accounts and into their bank accounts.  AND, equally tricky, creating a vast-enough Internet community for Larouchites while shielding them from the rest of the arena.

I cannot say for sure if this is organizational or just enterprising youth members, but there has been a long standing Wikipedia battle, focused on the Larouche entries but trickling out to every other topic of humanity.  To a great extent wikipedia has recently thrown their hands in the air and the Larouchies have had it confirmed that wikipedia is a vast anti-Larouchite organization.  Nonetheless, by dent of a strained balance in attempting the often-times false “synthesis antithesis synthesis” — dichtomy (whatever you might say about the takes of those two editors “CBerlet” and “GoodToBeKing” in editing those wikipedia entries, they are closer to reality than the Larouche cult members), they’ve succeeded in part (The long-time disclaimer at the top of the page on how he is perceived radically differently by two different camps has to be seen as a victory for the cult), even if at the end of the day the wikipedia articles are damning enough that wikipedia has to be a product of… I don’t know, the Ford Foundation?  All of which is to say, it’s a bit of a losing battle and I don’t know what a cult is supposed to do BUT to damned it in the eyes of their memberships — all this while engaging within something relatively sophisticated in handling one important piece of the Internet.

A free flow of information, and a ready access to materials previously not available, may just be something they have to juggle.  And what beyond the side-swap of myspace is there to be done?  Perhaps they need to create their own Larouche Myspace.  The good news with such a social networking site is that their “about me” page can already be pre-programmed: Musical prefence: Beethoveen, C=256.  And Rock is the Devil’s Music.  Hobbies: Doubling Squares.  Et al, et al.  Close comments to only Larouchies, except perhaps a pre-selected pre-screened available
 outsider comment of “I would like to hear more about the teachings and political causes of Lyndon Larouche.  When is the next cadre school introducting?”  (No other feeback necessary.)

Beyond all this, Larouchies needs to be peddling something tactile on campuses, which is an adaptation that can not be accomplished by converting literary output to a blog.  I suppose we will be hearing every detail on how a Gore talk was disrupted (while waiting in line), or how
 they crashed a state Democratic convention and managed the oh-so arduous task of getting them to sign onto Impeachment.  That’s part of the
 picture, but it doesn’t get to the level of “blanketing the nation” with the newness and Larouchianist.  The cadres are now apparently unloading their back stock of materials.  Maybe you will be able to pick up that old copy of “Is Dukakis the New Eagleton”?  [Or are they just handing out
 “The Economic Crisis of 2005”, with the year crossed out and stamped
 with “2007”?  I think “The End of the Truman Era” is rather out of time — available for resale at any time under the guise of any ideology he’s serving as a parasite for at the time — so they might be selling that one.

Actually, come to think of it, Larouche has already defended his role as Internet Visionary.  Incoherent as it is, that piece where Larouche jumps from a dinner party in the 1950s to Chomsky to Stephen Colbert with opaque references to seeing where myspace would take us and to Murdoch’s “pouch”?  There you go.  Larouche: Visionary.

I would not have used the “many of them are mentally unstable” in describing some of the LYM recruits, which does have a circle the drain effect if exploited well, and I can only assume it refers to… oh, “TimeForTruth”?