Monthly Archives: August 2016

Medicine Show / Big Audio Dynamite

Medicine Show / Big Audio Dynamite

Covered wagon medicine show
Take you to the place where the healing flows
Weak in spirit we got the juice
won’t save your soul it’ll shine your shoes
Treated king to kangaroo
Santa Fe to Timbuktu
Don’t be fooled by imitation
This is the stuff that cured a nation
We took the tube and the high plains too
Never stopped long just passing through
A drop of the laughter of the maids of France
Makes a hopeless cripple dance

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

In India we’re all the rave
Discovered that its great as aftershave
Dropped in the sea just off Japan
Swapped 20 bottles for an aqua-walkman
Immunity from ridicule
Improves your brains if you’re a fool
And I read in the Middle East
They traded some for a hostage release
Now if you’re bald it’ll give you hair
If you got straight trousers it’ll give you flares
Feeling up you’ll get depressed
Out of style here’s a brand new dress

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

The stuff we sell is just the best
Passing all consumer test
Days of heaven nights of sin
Voodoo stick and sharks fin
When all around you seems like hell
Just one sip will make you well
Multipurpose in a jar
If you ain’t ill it’ll fix your car
In days of yore for all bad feelings
Washing socks and stripping ceilings
Nowadays its used medicinally
For all known human malady

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

Guaranteed don’t you know
Money back?
You’ll get a no!
It’s the one and only medicine show

Medicine Show lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

The Trump Psychosis

I actually think it’s worse than these people knowing that what they are saying isn’t true… or honestly being fooled… These people are simply seeking to join a group and express their frustration and anger. I think some of them do want to feel they are on the right side, but that simply isn’t paramount in their motivations… they just want to belong and be accepted. They suffer from a kind of psychosis.

These people are suffering from serious developmental deficiencies. I think they aren’t capable of perceiving reality as clearly as the average person; likely because they suffer insecurity, prolonged injustice or even outright abuse. When a person becomes resigned to such environments or experience they resolve their cognitive dissonance of being in such a situation by simply conforming their understanding to the notion that there is nothing wrong at all.

This kind of mindset compromises ones ability to understand reality and they develop the habit of conforming reality, as they perceive it, to a narrative which flatters their sense of self and ego. For instance, they are powerless, so they seek excuses to feel anger which has the effect of granting a feeling of power; or, they don’t understand why they feel insecurity so they construct a narrative which others will accept them for so as to allay that insecurity with a sense of belonging, etc.

These people simply don’t have the faculty or will to perceive the world around them with a level of truth to which the rest of us are capable. And even among the rest of us, our ability to perceive–accurately or with a sense of what is most pertinent–varies from person to person.

There is a great BBC documentarian, Louis Theroux, he has an episode of his show which deals with the binding effect of being besieged in the pursuit of a sense of belonging:

(the following is an editted portion added 12/04/2016, 12/04/16)

This posting has been getting a lot of hits the past couple of days and I am really not satisfied with it… so I thought I’d amend it a bit.

I visited the small town of Stanford, Il in the past year. It reminds me of many of the other small Illinois towns I have visited. It has a main street, a grain elevator, but is in decline. Some of these towns still have some of the old buildings built when the agriculture and grain elevator was enough to bring the dollars necessary to feed a local economy. Since that time the population nationally and globally has grown dramatically. The globalization of the marketplace along with the rise of new industries have served to dwarf the relative importance of our domestic agricultural industry. These communities are shrinking and dying. And all the towns which served as commercial centers for these smaller towns have either had to develop other industrial or commercial activities or suffer the same dwindling demise.

Meantime, while reported unemployment is a supposed 4.6%–of course, not accounting for underemployment– these jobs aren’t being created in these small towns, where much of Trump’s support hails from. And how many of these people still have memories passed down of the life lived in these places before the relative decline of agricultural importance? To such people, life lived in a city–while closer to economic opportunities–likely looms as one of the lessor levels of hell.

So, it is easy to imagine how one would want to reclaim some sense of community… and to voice their anger and frustration at a single go. And it is so much easier to imagine a savior in the person of a single man making promises, than to acknowledge the crisis–in the economy–is a kind of man-made weather pattern beyond any individual’s control.

Especially when, it is our collective idiocy which prevents us from the one single act which would take us the furthest in resolving some of our greatest societal problems. That idiocy being our outrage at the thought of raising taxes… and that tax being a fuel tax.

I have already outlined my thoughts on the importance of say a ~$1.30 raise in fuel tax in another posting, but I will outline once again and address the age old argument against. A fuel tax in conjunction with an infrastructural bill to include a comprehensive revamping of the rail system–to include going to a European high speed rail gauge–would create jobs, streamline our societal footprint, encourage the kind of conservation we began to see when gas soared, deliver a hit to the worst petroleum regimes, prevent another cash grab from the petroleum industry and might lead to a dispersion of manufacturing to minimize transportation costs in favor of manufacturing closer to point of sale markets–which would help spread the profits of such manufacturing and sale to those places where goods are purchased and at the same time hobble the pace of accumulating fortunes which work against the health of the economy. More could be said on this issue…

Here is the petition…

But the tired old response to the posit of a fuel tax increase is that the cost of everything increases along with it. This assumes that prices are fixed to their lowest possible level… that there isn’t huge profits being taken for corporate management, lending and stock dividends. This assumes the whole market is NOT over-capitalized… which it most certainly IS. Vendors seeking to enter the marketplace will need to adjust their take from commercial activity in order to maintain that commercial activity. And while there would be an adjustment period, afterwards, the recognition that a spending working class is the healthiest thing for an economy… and NOT further capital accumulations… the whole lobbying industry will be brought to heel along with their corporate patrons. We would see a sea change in political will on both sides of the aisle.

Trump minions on the move…

You need to pull your head out of your ass! Have you ever been to a petty crimes court in any metro area? Obviously not! The courts are already overwhelmed with petty crime cases. By the time you get to the point someone is shooting someone they typically have a long resume of misdemeanors, or are completely immersed in a criminal culture. To come to the point where someone is capable of taking another human life, they have already lost all sense of dignity. So far to the degree that they are desperately trying to fend off suicidal feelings and impulses. It is an id-driven self-defense mechanism against the taking of ones own life to trade on the life of another. In feeling so helpless and isolated, one seeks a position of power through the act of demeaning another person beyond their own sense of lost dignity.

I lived in Englewood, in Chicago, for many years, and I saw the pattern repeat again and again, and anyone not completely compromised by their own immersion in these communities typically only enters into them in order to take advantage of the patterns of social instability for their own gain. And then there are people like you, quietly freaked out at witnessing just the tip of the iceberg and seeking to wash your hands of your own concerns with simple measures such as, ‘incarcerate them all.’ You haven’t even any idea what kind of resources that would take or how it plays right into the hands of these illicit power-capabilities. You would step into the swing at the end of it’s arc and attempt to stop the punch with your face!

Let me open your eyes a little, jack! When managing the building I was helping to rehab at the intersection of Ashland and 55th… we would call the police to run off the drug peddlers out front and the local gang-lord would show up having received word and responded ahead of the police! And he likely kept us from suffering retribution because either we had a guardian angel higher up the food chain or because he appreciated the zealous nature with which we were pursuing the task of cleaning up the building, the street and bringing descent rental units to the LOCAL residents!

Here’s another wake up for you. Years ago there was a news blurb about the impending sale of Bethlehem Steel–just east of Chicago in Gary, In–to some dutch businessman who already had another buyer lined up to repurchase the entity as soon as he finalized purchase. Now, I asked myself–being one to think about things on occasion–why the FUCK, would someone organize a purchase and resale in this manner, of such a ghost of an entity?! Well, what happens when John “MONEY-FUCK” Doe wants to help his buddies gobble up lake side property by the block load… well, he goes into the area, which is already economically depressed, and sets the final nail in the coffin by taking one of it’s last remaining business entities and saying to the banks… hey, look at my net worth and my track record… I say this property is worth THIS MUCH (holding hands wide like he’s telling a fish story) The banker looks dubious for a fraction of a second before the nasty, wet snatch scent of money–like Vegas whores–intoxicates his reason and gives his little bug prick a full on stiffy. “Sure,” he replies, “if you say so!” So the loan and the purchase goes on the books of the local lender and Asshole sells to his lined up entity, probably looking to defer some gains at tax time or in so doing purchasing some favor from some other Money-Fuck who is looking to defer some gains–it was Trump who opened the first gaming boat in the area, I believe. So now, the banks are carrying this second loan on the books, Money-Fuck number one walks away looking like some kind of financial wizard–instead of the bent-fuck he is–and the local business lending rating sinks lower than it was before so that the chances of any other legitimate business moving into the area and helping to turn around the local economy for the sake of the descent long persevering residents get their lives and their community flushed down the shitter for at least another generation whether they sell out cheap to the next round of carpet-baggers or not.

In fact, the only thing foiling these carpetbagging-FUCKS is the local gangs… which make the place so dangerous no one else would dare move in and helping to make ends meet for those in their food-chain for at least another day. But you’re right, ignore all else, like what drives a child, because that is what we are talking about most of the time when we say gang member, to shoot another child, indiscriminately! And NEVER MIND where the guns are coming from in the first place! A hearty “Fuck You” to you sir!

 Martin Brodel  7:24 PM    Reply

and you have a nice day as well…:)
8:58 PM
+Martin Brodel That’s all, huh? No admission of your lack of thought or your being guided by fear, vengeance and ignorance? Just a pale and careless pose at dismissive superiority? You reveal your true nature… thoughtless arrogance and impotent grasping for a sense of power over an uncontrollable situation. Just like every other egotistical, self-righteous over grown child.
Well here are another few tidbits for ya…
As of 1850, only 1 billion people had ever walked the planet, living and dead… Now there are over 6 billion living all at once. WWI started because those at the pinnacle of power in the community of societies conducted themselves in deliberate disdain for the great mass of people over whom they ruled. Rather than preparing that mass for the greater role in their own societies the emerging culture would demand… they resorted to clandestine and oppressive policing and outright warfare. They created cultures of impoverishment and brutality more and more profound even as the Crowns were losing ground to the Crowds of Europe. Till all it took was an addle-minded and dying youth of hardly twenty years of age, standing in the wrong place at the right time, to fire a bullet which triggered a series of treaties that sucked all of Europe into, not one, and not two… but one long war with two separate chapters. The first chapter being that of the bumbling Crowns stumbling over one another and the second being that of the vengeful Crowd emergent. There is a telling line from a graphic novel titled, Black Paths, where in a veteran turned brawling street thug retorts to the suggestion that the war is over with… “I am the war.” I learned living in Englewood, the one thing you never do is get into a fight with someone who has nothing to live for unless he is in the act of swinging on you–and then you treat the poor bastard with as much delicacy as you are humanly capable. Otherwise, the skulls will just line up to blunt your bat till someone puts a bullet in your head. Now I know how tempting the bunker is, but just remember what that deep, deep trench did to the psychology of the soldier in WWI… and what that inconclusive strategy of battle did to an entire generation of young men. You want to do some good? Start by reading, The Brothers Karamazov!

charles jurgus

3:15 PM (8/11/16)

@Martin Brodel… Still no reply, huh?

You think your obligation to citizenship is simply demanding the system magically create a strategy around your ill-conceived gut reaction?

Let me tell you another story…

I was stationed at Incirlik AB in Turkey when we received a briefing about a Greek fighter plane having been shot down by Turkish AF… neither Greek nor Turkish military authorities or government officials would report or admit publicly that such an incident had taken place. Why? Because the leadership in both countries realized their respective citizenry would simply react without reason and demand war. This, they realized, would open up opportunities for political charlatans to dislodge their more responsible counterparts from office on a political platform appeasing the call of the crowd to go to war.

You exemplify just that sort of mindless, reactionary political constituency waiting to elect just such a charlatan.

Eisenhower, the Car and You (and Devo)

There is a great Devo song, Jerkin’ Back and Forth. Ostensibly, it seems to lament the distance and strife within a romantic relationship… “I know I let you tell me what to do… you were confident you knew best. Now thinks aren’t working like you want them to… your confidence is what I detest.” But then the song goes on to illustrate the experience of that failed relationship… “You got me, looking up high… You got me, searching down low… You got me, I know you know… You got me jerkin back and forth!”

I was sitting in my car heading west on Chicago Ave at a quarter to 5 in the evening… and making good time from the Loyola campus just north of Downtown Chicago to Forest Park when it occurred to me what the song was really about–all the lyrical imagery pointed to one thing. I already had it in my catalog of jest to recount my empathy with a ton of rumbling steel… seriously, few could handle the wheel and city traffic like I could. I had cut my teeth, irresponsibly, on vodka and pizza delivery with an unhealthy dose of nihilism. I learned the size of my car in metric… down to the millimeter. And could squeeze into openings so tight the illegality was unquestionable–I was well practiced at being a little prick, in traffic, and, I am sure, elsewhere.

Driving skill in a city like Chicago–where trucking and commuters try to mix like a rancid vinaigrette–is like the meat and potatoes to the daily serving of naked lunch. I once caught myself pissing into a thirty two ounce cup  20 min from the end of my commute the former contents of which, the carbonated sugar water, I had purchased and drank as I entered the “expressway”, at the beginning. And as I felt the relief of that draining I realized… I still wasn’t home yet! And looking around at all the other commuters, I thought… “What the fuck are we doing! We sit in this same traffic jam EVERY FUCKING DAY!” But it wasn’t until that trip home on Chicago Ave, when Devo was playing on my tapedeck, that I realized… All the imagery pertains to the experience of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. This song isn’t about the breakdown of a romance between two former lovers, but the tyranny of our relationship with the car!

“You tell me people like to suffer; you tell me that’s the way it is…” the song continues, “You said that things are getting better; you said I should accept all this.” But then the revelation, “You think it’s funny, but what I say is true. The reason that I live like this… Is all because of you, You, YOU!”

The metro sprawls into suburb and that space is largely determined by the need for a minimum of 32ft wide streets, and the need for parking, and the need to alleviate congestion… and so the sprawl spreads. And to handle that space needed to be traversed to arrive daily to work… the car becomes even more necessary for basic participation in society. Along with all of it’s peripheral adjunct… insurance, driving school, gas stations, petroleum states, traffic courts, the DMV and don’t forget the scumbag mechanic who charged your neighbor $1200 for a brake job on a 5 year old car! (But the guy isn’t so bad, he lowered it to $900 when the bill came due) But let’s not forget the drive thru dining and the bigbox malls where the green space is easement like after thought between the acres of vacant treeless parking lot and an economy that siphons the wealth of the entire community to far off accumulations leaving behind a worker pool honed to perfection to fulfill it’s role tending the cash register after two weeks of training–and consignment to a life of renting from landlords who house people little better than kennels do dogs. But in order to pay for that car, it’s fuel, upkeep and repairs… you have to bring in so much money and therefore have to work so many hours little matter the arrangement!

But how did we get here?! After WWII we went from being an economy in economic crisis, or “depression”, to being the only nation on the planet with a modern industrial capacity whose infrastructure was unmarred by war. And the nation providing not only corporate guidance and service to aid with reconstruction, but the loans to pay for it to boot! We were so flush with wealth that in the late fifties there was no end to the need for engineers in sight. Universities created curriculums to figuring out how to convince people to buy what they never knew they needed. The single family home and the suburbs as we know them today were born and still the average worker, as rich as he might feel, was still being filched out of his and her fair share. And the thieves still couldn’t steal their unfair share fast enough… they needed help! An entirely new political constituency was born to support this national and soon to be international fleecing, the modern investor. Finally, everyone had money enough to put the money where their mouth was… the fat cat’s pants pocket–only that wasn’t his pocket, bub, and you’re not whistlin’ dixie.

And to add to all this theft and marketplace power brokered malfeasance, such as wages in steady decline since the 70’s and the occasional cannibalization of your less savvy investors by their bigger player counterparts as bubbles burst from time to time… we have the necessity of owning a car–and don’t talk to me about public trans or leasing–woefully underfunded and over-priced.

But at a certain point in our history, our oldest (up to that point)–and probably wisest, most competent–president made the decision, rather than more fully developing a national rail system, to, instead, develop the national system of highways. In this he set us on a course which linked our future and sense of national character with the car–we would all learn to empathize with at least a ton of steel on a daily basis. And so the inception of the ‘Big Three’ in Detroit was paved. And in his farewell speech to the Nation, he gave us a clue as to why he decided as he had. He warned us of the influence of an industrial Goliath with little to counter it’s influence over the polity and the Nation. His warnings about the dangers of the Military Industrial Complex have become enshrined in our national consciousness, unfortunately, like most things which are enshrined, their true meaning eludes us to greater and greater degree with every passing moment. You see, corporations might be hyper-efficient at what the do, but that is largely because their scope of responsibility is so narrow and they have every incentive in pursuing their limited, and yet cavernous ambitions. They naturally have the ear of any politician wishing to seek or keep office, they hold the key to the dreams of any would be employee, and they compartmentalize their conduct to the point of thoughtless, zombie-like, momentum. It is completely within the realm of possibility that an overbearing industry whose profits are determined by conflict would steer the nation into conflict merely to generate profits! This was Eisenhower’s warning even as we were slipping headlong into an inevitable war in Vietnam.

Eisenhower’s answer was elegant and profoundly insightful as to the limits of his office and the workings of our society and psychology. He opted for a course which would have every viable consumer in the country driving a car within a generation. Creating a society of nomads and an industrial Goliath powerful enough to match the influence of the Military Industrial Complex. Even now, aside from the citizen driver, the single most common employment for men from state to state is truck driver. My assertion is, that today, we have our ‘Fast and Furious’ mentality, our reliance on the car as foil to that industrial monolith whose incentive to send us to war was all but unchallenged. It is a sad irony that the worst political regimes and the context for war and conflict throughout the world is now over Oil.

As for the lover in the song, Jerkin’ Back and Forth… he isn’t even home yet.