Individualism versus Tribalism

I was forwarded “Do Americans Know How Weird and Extreme Their Collapse is Getting? Even the Dark Ages Would Laugh at Where We’re Going” by umair haque.

It’s a interesting thesis on the perceived downward spiral of the United States, particularly as it is portrayed the standpoint of dealing with Republican President Trump and fans. It’s a little campy and the research is very cursory and presented oversimplified, but it serves it’s purpose in trying to put this unique approach to society into a historical context. He’s right – there hasn’t been a major group quite like Trump Republicans, ever. And, he’s probably right that facism doesn’t describe them quite accurately. And, he’s probably right that theocratcs doesn’t describe them quite right. And, he’s probably right that not purely authoritarian either.

There’s an underlying concept here though that really stands out for me even though it’s not explicit spoken about throughout the article. It is especially noteworthy though since I’ve pointed out some of these examples as being socially problematic previously. This passage struck a chord an I believe needs further investigation:

” The idea that we should arm teachers, instead of protect kids from school shootings — militant capitalism. The idea that people should have to crowdfund insulin — techno-Darwinism. The idea that people should never be able to retire — neofeudalism. The idea that freedom is just the weak being exploited by the strong — neo-authoritarianism. Those are four more weird, ruinous, baffling ideologies — and just like theofascism, we’d have to go a long, long way back in human history to make sense of them. All these ideas are so strange, self-destructive, and fatally absurd, that they’re off the charts of history”

The author misses a big chance here to point out something very obvious — modern US society is split between those who believe in strict individualism versus that of tribalism, of every person for themselves versus that of a shared destiny. I think the former of those versus are how one creates a groudwork for perceiving everything as us versus them. And the former is also the one of Trump and his “fans” fully embrace, the one of where the Republican party has been moving toward for quite some time anyhow, the one that molds a lot of opinions even when people don’t realize that’s what they are necessarily using to defend their beliefs.

If individuals are solely responsible to and for themselves than any other individual could be perceived as a threat. Small groups of individuals temporarily bond with one another, not for the greater good of society per se, but the greater individual opportunity. It’s why hate groups and other closed ideologies aren’t tribalist – they often turn on themselves after a certain point because ultimately my individual need and belief forces me to see you as a threat. I’ll accepted you because we have some commonality for now and it was to my advantage, but when I’m done with you, I’ll find a difference between us and exploit it.

Individualism is how you end up with the individual need to own a gun to protect yourself because you don’t believe society would protect you. Despite the facts proving society is capable of offering broad protection by working together, individualists cling to the belief that it’s up to the individual to protect themselves. This splits into 1) Those incapable of self-protection are responsible for their own demise. 2) And a paranoid sense that any advocacy for mutual protection is really an attempt at weakening the individual so that they can be overtaken.

Individualism is how you end up having to beg for money to pay for healthcare because you don’t believe society is capable of taking care of you. And, no, crowdfunding is not an example of tribalism in this case. Only those individuals with the resources are able to successfully crowdfund for their health. Everyone is still on their own and it’s their responsibility to create a successful crowdfunding campaign. There’s an underlying premise that those that fail to maintain their health deserve their illness while those that are healthy are better individuals. While it’s proven that maintaining greater health and wellbeing is more efficient when the burden is shared it goes against the mindset of the individualist. They want to chose who they are willing to share what are perceived as finite resources. That’s why they support crowdfunding, if someone is undeserving of the individual’s help they don’t get it, if they are deserving they do. It’s up to the individual to dole out assistance as the individual sees if, because undeserving people shouldn’t be given handouts.

Individualism is how you get hatred for Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and other safety net programs. Again, it goes back to the idea that individuals are solely responsible for themselves. If you really did work hard you would have saved money for when you were jobless or ready to retire and you would be using your own money to support yourself. Tribalists believe there is an inherent social good to everyone helping everyone else out in a time of need so they are willing to pool resources and take out what’s necessary. Individualists are paranoid that they might not get their fare share. Individualists believe that others who the individual perceives as didn’t do as much might get more than their fair share. The individualist believes if you become unemployed it’s your fault and therefor your personal responsibility to rectify the situation. The tribalist understands that lots of things are outside of the individual’s control and makes an effort to share resources in order to overcome those obstacles as a community. Individualists, though, as the cliche on capitalism says, believe they are just temporarily not-rich. And, so they are willing to forgo the idea of collective efforts now so that when they supposedly inevitably become rich they can enjoy those spoils unabated. Tribalists know individualists are stupidly working against their own best interest but cannot change individualists minds because individualists are inherently afraid to share, even if it helps them out to be on the receiving end.

Individualism is how you end up with viewpoints where everything is privatized – because the idea is that public works programs benefit people how don’t deserve it but if you are deserving you can afford or can obtain or otherwise can do for yourself everything. You don’t need public schools because you can home school or find a private institution to teach you. If you’re incapable of obtaining entrance to a private institution that’s your own fault and if you lack the basic knowledge to home school that’s your problem to solve too. You don’t need laws providing for clean air, clean water, clean soil, etc. If you cannot keep the water near you clean yourself then you should have to deal with the filth or find an alternative that does provide clean water. It’s not a collective effort by society to maintain clean water, it’s up to entepeneurial individuals to exploit the existence of dirty water in order to determine who is a deserving individual of clean water versus who is not. And, while a bunch of individuals might temporarily work together to create a clean water solution, it’s highly unlikely that their acting tribally, for as soon as one individual decides they are more deserving they will cut the other’s out, rationalizing they’ve done the most important aspect of the work and are therefor deserving of the reward. Since the rest aren’t tribal, rather than throwing the individual out of the collective and continuing to work together they will all decide to split the water and go their own way, each rationalizing the other was the problem.

Even in some so-called collectives like some Churches what you actually find isn’t actually a tribal community but a group of individuals who are all personally responsible for their own saving. So, while they all sit together and pray for being saved as a common goal, the path to being saved is an individual one. I will be saved because I prayed harder, longer, an was more pious and righteous as I did and when good things happen it’s because of my effort in my relationship with “our” god. If you fail at any point it’s because you didn’t pray hard enough, or long enough, or weren’t as pious and rightenous as you could be and it’s up to you, and you alone, to overcome that burden. Individuals judge other individuals and treat them even within the collective based on perception. Not all churches are like this, there are definitely tribal ones where the church community not only works together to help one another out but they are embracing of everyone else outside of the church that might need help as well. It’s everyone’s responsibility to pool resources in order to reach spiritual enlightenment, and everyone gets the reward of being enlightened together. But that’s not how many of the big churches function even if that’s what they try and sell to their parishes…

Individualism is why people insist upon phrases like pull yourself up by your own boot straps. While tribalism realizes not everyone can but everyone deserves an opportunity to still be up. Individualism, which is how the Republican party has been trying to position itself since at least the Goldwater era, is exactly how you have Trump fans that laud Trump’s own supposed successes with individualism while exacting their own version of it. It’s why they old up racist, sexist, xenophobic slogans because the have nots, the thems, the others deserve to be told they don’t belong while they themselves as individuals they are just fine.

Afterall according to these particular individuals — it’s an immigrant’s responsibility to enter the country “legally” even if the reality is they tried and both the laws themselves and the current administrations interpretation of applying the law is inherently convoluted — that a person’ of color’s responsibility to not have an interaction with the police even if the reality is the police were responding to a false alarm, providing convoluted instructions that don’t always follow their own protocols or the law, and hide behind a excuse of ‘fearing for their lives’ that is obviously in many cases steeped in personal bias and bigotry — it’s a woman’s responsibility not to become pregnant so that they don’t have to worry about abortions or breast feeding or being treated illegally by their employer even though men supply the semen and have the stereotype sex drive as well as dick hardening pharmaceuticals that help make pregnancy possible in the first place.

So, while I get what the author was trying to do analyzing this new era of Trump inspired social engineering, they’re too focused on disproving some of the typical language used to describe Trump (facist, theocrat, etc.) that I think they miss an opportunity to dig into that which they glossed over getting to that quoted paragraph.

Advertisements
Posted in Opinion, personal musings | Leave a comment

MPHnoise: Metropolitan People’s Hell, the Be Nice to New Jersey week episode

The first week of July is (unofficially) Be Nice to New Jersey week. And, thus the return of MPH noise radio ‘s #MetropolitianPeoplesHell broadcast on KAOS Radio Austin as a celebration of all things Jersey metal, punk & hardcore, PLAYING NOW

Few places on the planet are as diverse as Dirty Jerz so it only stands to reason the music scene would be a cacophony of sound too. Some of it is melodic and memorable. Some of it is caustic and chaotic. All of it embraces the dichonomy of being the Garden State and the Concrete Jungle simultaneously, reflecting the life and times of those who created it.

As a Dirty Jerz kid I have some pretty strong opinions on the glory of the Garden State and what it and it’s music scene personally mean to me. I’ve done this theme since 2014 and showcased the region’s sonic dominance as long as I’ve been a DJ. The most difficult part of the programming is really trying to narrow down the offering to a 2-hour show because there is so much heavy music to chose from. And, while it’s rarely thought of in the same way as NYHC or Florida Death or the Bay Area thrash,or Seattle grunge or any of the other regional scenes, NJ’s impact is invasive to a number of genres including punk, tech & mathcore, metalcore, hardcore, glam and much more.

Throughout this year’s edition will continue our yearly meandering from the hudson river into the meadowlands salt marshes and old mc1a-e landfill sites to the redtide of port newark-elizabeth and tarmac of EWR past the linden cogeneration plant and the arthur kill refinery region into the raritan river tidal basin and the cheesequake blackwater to the McGuire-Dix region and into the pine barrens past smelladelphia suburbs and down to the delaware bay…

And, we’ll do so with brand new devilish mosh monsters Apocrophex, Strychnia, Franchise and Toothgrinder. Next, feel the footsteps of the Big Red Eye moshing next to you with some deathly dances by Dim Mak, Dripping, Dystrophy, Framework, Fit For an Autopsy, Cognative, Replicant, Sentinels. Then, the cunning and crazy of the Wemategunis
will wipe up the dance floor with you through Discordance Axis, the Dillinger Escape Pan, Burnt by the Sun, East of the Wall, the Number 12 Looks Like You, Folly. Finally, you’ll feel the massive teeth of the Matawan Man-eater mulling your moshed body with the likes of Orchid, God Forbid, Rorschach, Fortheloveof, Scary Stories, Deadguy, the Bouncing Souls and more!.

While we’re moshing our way across the state we’ll learn about some of the far fetched facts that make NJ the greatest state in the union and how to support maintaining NJ’s return to its garden state roots through organizations like http://www.njenvironment.org.

If you’ve missed past episodes of #MetropolitianPeoplesHell you can pick up the stream on http://www.mixcloud.com/mphnoise or for a limited time only you can get the downloadable show at mphnoiseradio.podomatic.com or kaosradioaustin.org/recent-shows I hope you will tune in to https://tunein.com/radio/MPH-NoiseDoormouse-p957654/ Sunday night.

Dim Mak “Between Two Fires” Enter the Dragon (red bank)

Apocrophex Sovereign Symbol ÆTernalis (2018)
Dripping “Beyond the Grave” Bring the Suffering
Dystrophy “Demise” Wretched Host
Framework “Beyond Earth’s Shadow” A World Distorted

Strychnia “Hellfire Ramparts” Into The Catacombs (2018)
Fit For an Autopsy “Tremors” Hellbound
Cognative ” In the Forms of a Drone” the Horrid Swarm
Replicant “Shroud” Negative Life
Sentinels “Extinct by Instinct” World Divide (cue :13)
Discordance Axis “Jigsaw” the Inalienable Dreams (hard stop)

Toothgrinder “Phantom Amour” PA (2017)
the Dillinger Escape Pan ” Baby’s First Coffin” Miss Machine
Burnt by the Sun “Battleship” Perfect is the Enemy of Good
East of the Wall “Linear Failure” the Apologist
the Number 12 Looks Like You “Category” NuclearSadNuclear (watch long fade, hit next track around 4:15 fade by 4;40)
Folly “Serenity Now ” Insanity Later (watch long intro, 28 sec)

Franchise “Contact” Ghost Light (2018)
Orchid “Loft Party” Gatefold (watch track bleeds)
God Forbid “Inside” Out of Misery (cue :01)
Rorschach “Recurring Nightmare 105” Autopsy
Fortheloveof “Immerse” Feasting on the Will of Humanity
Scary Stories “Rope” Rope
Deadguy “Angry Dwarf” Screaming (end 3:22)

the Bouncing Souls “PRMC” the Bad, Worse & Out of Print

Posted in Entertainment, mixtape, music, radio show, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quick Quip: Poop, there it is

Potty training definitely ruins morning coffee but makes for awesome poop inspired classic rock lyrics. I mean, you have to kill time waiting for it to happen some how an you can only read “Potty” so many times before it’s no longer funny asking where kitty goes.

While, passing off Britney’s song is pretty cliche at this point, there’s plenty of other opportunity to play with poop inspired lyrics, including:

Here’s a select offering of what we’ve used so far:

here’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a kid on the potty poopin’ over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody smells what’s going down

Momma told me to poop this way
Pee this way
Poop this way
Now, get me the potty…

Boom-Boom-Clap
Boom-Boom-Clap
We Will, We Will, Poop, Poop
We Will, We Will, Poop, Poop
Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise
Poopin in the potty gonna be a big man some day
You got poop on your butt
You big poop man
Poopin in the potty now every day

We don’t want no poopy diapers
We don’t need no pampers now
No wet diapers are on our bottoms
People, leave the toilet paper for us!
All in all it’s just another poop in the pot

Get your pee pee flowing
Head out to the potty
Lookin’ for clean undies
And whatever comes our way
Yeah dad we’re gonna make it happen
Take our poop on this potty
Poop and Pee all at once now
And explode in the pot
Born to go Potty
Born to go Potty

Oh, believe me, I could go on… but could you handle it?

Posted in Entertainment, humor, music, parenting, Quick Quip, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Birth of a Nation

It actually is not all that humorous that people don’t understand the significance of July 4th in United States History. Since the days of email chain letters I’ve seen everything from it being treated as a proxy for Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Constitution Day, the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the end of the Revolutionary war, the end of the Civil War, the Day of Infamy, the day of Remembrance and probably at half dozen other historically significant but occurred on a different day type of honorariums.

Independence Day “technically” occurred July 2nd when the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution, “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,” declaring the American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire, but rather a new nation, the United States of America. The draft prose was crafted by the Committee of Five consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and, of course Thomas Jefferson of Virginia who is often credited with it’s most flourished prose.

However, the July 2nd vote has its roots in a 10 May 1776 resolution promoted by John Adams and Richard Henry Lee calling on colonies without a “government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs” to adopt new governments. The initial result was “The Preamble” which was adopted 9-4 by the Congress on 15 May 1776 after several days of debate. The preamble established the legal framework to which the Colonies sever ties with the Crown. But, since the document was effectively incomplete and the vote not unanimous it set the stage for the Virginia Convention for the creation of a a formal Congressional declaration of independence. This was advanced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia’s three-part resolution to Congress on June 7.

28 June 1776 “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled” was presented to Second Continental Congress. It lie in wait for several days before the unanimous vote occurred and went through several final edits before it’s publication on July 4th. Among the signatories there were conflicting beliefs as to if the May 15th preamble, the July 2nd vote, the July 4th publication or the adoption of the Articles of Confederation were the most important days. However, the general populous came to know the publication date as the time to celebrate the new nation, although it took almost another 100 years till the US Congress of 1870 made Independence Day a Federal Holiday.

Of course, as we all know, simply declaring one’s self independent and actually becoming an sovereign, independent, recognized nation are vastly different things.

The Revolutionary War to sever ties with the British essentially began almost a full year before The Declaration on 18 April 1775 when 700 troops were sent to confiscate militia ordnance stored at Concord and fighting broke out. The American Revolution would continue to escalate to the point where King George issued a Proclamation of Rebellion on 23 August 1775 formally recognizing the military insurrection in the Americas almost nine months before the Colonies began The Declaration process..

The Declaration itself was just a formality. Both the Secessionist Colonies and the Crown already acknowledged the rebellion was more than just a local insurrection and due to ongoing hostilities between the British Empire and the French, Spanish, and Dutch the impact of the war was international in scale.

The war for the United States territory continued until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown October 17, 1781. However, hostilities in between the US allies of the French, Spanish and Dutch against the British continued for several more years drawing out the end of the American Revolution. The military hostilities officially concluded 3 September 1783 and the final British garrisons departed 25 November 1783.

However, a secession of hostilities alone does not end a war. Preliminary peace articles were signed in Paris on 30 November 1782 but it the United States Congress of the Confederation didn’t ratify the Treaty of Paris until 14 January 1784 while the rest of the signatories exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784.

Dutch were the first allies to formally recognized the United States as a sovereign power April 19, 1782 followed by the French and Spanish during the Paris peace process. The British, however, appeared to have a more difficult time dealing with a free and sovereign United States. Although no formal war broke out disputes over North American boarders, trade and American alliances with British enemies continued to provide an undercurrent of British disdain for a free and sovereign United States.

The Jay Treaty was signed in 1794 in an attempt to broker a functioning relationship between the nations to facilitate trade. It acted, in effect, as temporary understanding between the US and Britain as to the United States’ existence and acted as insulation for the United states from the continuing Franco-British hostilities in Europe. However, the failure of the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty of 1806 under Jefferson set the state for the United State’s entrance into the Napoleonic Wars through the North American War of 1812 and Britain’s last attempt at undermining the US as a nation.

The United States finally gains the full recognition by the British with the 24 December 1814 Treaty of Ghent. The two countries would continue to be at odds and face off internationally on boarder disputes and trade for many more decades but from this point forward the British generally respected the United States’ sovereignty and there were no further wars on US soil between the two nations 39 years after the first shots of freedom were fired.

Of course, just like declaring independence doesn’t actual grant one sovereignty, simply ending military hostilities with one’s colonial masters does not a nation make. The Colonies under the Continental Congresses were simply a collection of like minds working together – an informal understanding between individual states. And, it would take more than just calling the collection of states working together The United States of America to actual create such a nation.

The process began during the war effort through the Continental Congress and the first official version of formalizing the alliance between the former colonies under the new nation was the Articles of Confederation. This

Posted in Opinion, personal musings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

They came for the Republicans

They came for the party of Abraham Lincoln. A party rooted in the “classical liberalism” of the time and the ideas of the likes of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo and others. A party established on civil liberties and the discontinuation of slavery as well as the possibilities of economic freedom through industrialization, urbanization and more. A party that drew progressive reformists, ex-National Republicans, ex-Free Soilers, ex-Whigs and more who wanted to stand against the Know Nothings, Traditionalists and post-crown conservatives that represented right wing beliefs of the time.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was still the party of Lincoln, and I wanted to love the watered down, revisionist interpretation of a non-political Lincoln as an ignorant 2018 “Republican.” After all, according to Mount Rushmore, he was a “founding father” or something.

Then came for the party of Theodore Roosevelt. A party that survived against the conservative Democrat Party of the time and the advances of the Reconstruction era’s Third Party and Fourth Party and even so-called conservative Fifth party approaches to politics including Traditionalists, Post-crown Conservatives and anti-Reconstructionalists. A party that continued to embrace Lincoln era liberalism supporting social reforms and economic advancement that would eventually lead to the creation of (the other Roosevelt’s) New Deal ideologies and the eventual foundation of the progressive Bull Moose party when reformists began to try and draw the Republican party to more moderate tones.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was still the party of Roosevelt, and I wanted to love the watered down, revisionist interpretation of a non-political Roosevelt as an ignorant 2018 “Republican.” After all, according to Mount Rushmore, he was a “founding father” or something.

They came for the party of Eisenhower and Rockefeller. A party who were post-war versions of being moderate. A party that still respected Lincoln’s liberalism and wanted to uphold Reconstruction and social reform. A party that still respected T Roosevelt’s liberalism that had led to the now progressive Democratic party’s New Deal. A party that wanted to uphold the status quo of economic and political reform and championed the idea of bringing the nation together against common enemies. A party that albeit was no longer truly liberal represented an unlikely version of moderate idealism and was willing to work with the reformed Democratic Party across the aisle. A party that initially condemned the influences of extremism in the party such as the Southern Dixicrats, Red Scare Propagandists, anti-laborists and others.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was still the party of Eisenhower and Rockefeller. I wanted to love the watered down, revisionist interpretation of a non-political Eisenhower and Rockefeller as an ignorant 2018 “Republican.” After all Eisenhower and Rockefeller Republicans were my parents or grandparents, war veterans and other compatriots who I want to respect.

Then, they came for the party of Goldwater-Nixon era conservatives. The party that abandoned Lincoln and the Reconstruction in favor of embracing Dixicrats and the Jim Crow Movement. The party that abandoned Roosevelt reformists and the New Deal for a bastardization of the libertarian utopia and the likes of the Conservative Caucus of State Legislators with Mark Rhoads. The party that abandoned post-war unity by embracing fear and evoking anger such as through the Red Scare propaganda embraced by the likes of McCarthyism. The party of the anti-urbanism of Robert Moses’ suburban sprawl at all cots. The party that embraced business above the common man and the vestages of the labor movement from the influence of Prescott Bush and others. The party that tried to turn it’s head away from Watergate and Nixon’s despot tendencies. The party

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was still the party of the rose colored conservative vision of 60s-70s Republicans pre-Nixon resignation. I wanted to love the watered down, revisionist interpretation of an untarnished Republican party that was my truthiness utopia of a post-WWII American Dream. After all these were supposedly still Republicans who were representing what my parents or grandparents, war veterans and other compatriots thought and I wanted to respect.

Then, they they came for the party of Reagan. The party of “winning one for the Gipper” by continuing to trade on the goodwill and mount Rushmore status of progressives like Lincoln and Roosevelt. The party that forgave Nixon. The party that created the Iran-Contra scandal and avoided Reagan’s impeachment by implicating, and then forgiving the likes of Ollie North, Clair George, Caspar Weinberger, Robert C. McFarlane and nearly a dozen other top officials as well as scores of underlings for taking the fall for Reagan while committing treason (oh, and future President Bush lied under oath saying he knew nothing but wrote in his memoirs he was one of the few people who knew it all). A party that facilitated the Savings & Loan debacle that cost $160 billion in taxpayer dollars. A party that suffered through the Operation Ill Wind investigation by the FBI into massive corruption by several levels of government, military officials, and private defense contractors as well as dealing with the Wedtech scandal and others. A party that oversaw several lobbying scandals, Grant rigging and other financial scams by top cabinet members and other high ranking government officials. A party with nearly three dozen convicted ethics violations for everything from insider trading to improper use of taxpayer dollars across the Federal and high ranking state governments. A party embraced an anti-First Amendment approach to Freedom of Speech by actively creating Congressional committees supporting the war against in-proprietary and indulging special interest groups like the PRMC. A party that created a fake “War on Drugs” and programs that misused taxpayer dollars like DARE. A party that thought the religious clauses of the first amendment enabled conservative Christian sects of predominantly white, middle class, ruralites to flex their muscle to own social issues. A party that took an extreme view of the Second Amendment and cozied up to the newly founded lobbying arms of the NRA.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was the party of Reagan the so-called hero that ended the Cold War with brilliant lies like the Star Wars Progam despite the actual work of Pope John Paul and the diplomacy of the Catholic Church, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev reformist movement of glasnost and perestroika, Kurt Masur’s German rebellion and more. I wanted to believe he solved the mid-East problem by freeing Iranian hostages and bombing Lybia despite the region’s further instability. I wanted to forget the endless contravercies created by poor leadership and massive egos with huge ethical lapses that continued to plague the party post-Nixon. I thought I honestly wanted to love the watered down, revisionist interpretation of a Republican party that relied on glossed over propaganda in order to create Reagan the Gipper as a superhero. I said nothing because Ronnie Ray-Gun was just a Garbage Pail Kid and not the characature of the Republican party it turned out to be.

Then came for the party of Newt Gingrich. The party of Scorched Earth cleansing of the Republican Party in the late 1990s that embraced the concept of a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and eliminated the cross-the-isle word where the likes of Blue Dog Democrats, post-war/old-world Republicans, moderate independents, and others were once foundational allies to making the government function. The party that dug up the Whitewater Scandal which ultimately produced next to no wrongdoing but managed to turn Presidential infidelity into an impeachable offense while hypocritically looking the other way while Arlan Stangeland, Robert Packwood, Ken Calvert,Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Bob Barr, Dan Burton, Robert Livingston, Henry Hyde, Pete Domenici and a number of others including, of course Newt Gingrich were accused of, admitted to, and/or convicted of having had the same kind of sexual impropriety and lied about. This was the party of ethics debacles, again led by Newt Gingrich as well as scandles like The House of Representatives Bank finding 450 members abused their accounts where more than half that were Republicans including top leadership, major campaign finance violations by Jay C. Kim, Dana Rohrabacher, Enid Greene Waldholtz, Joe Waldholtz, Rhonda Carmony, Dana Rohrabacher and a number of others including accusations of taking foreign money including that of enemy states. A party that abused it’s majority in Congress to attempt to change long-standing rules of decorum in order to undermine the existing Constitutional parity afforded to the division of Government.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was still supporting me as a so-called conservative; as a so-called constitutionalist; as a despite seeing the extremist cleansing of the party happening at the time. I denied the inherent hypocrisy. I overlooked the ethical lapses. I avoided the lies. After all, this was supposed to still be the party of my parents and their parents. I was told that Republicans were the Party of Lincoln. I was told they were the party of national heroes like Roosevelt, and Ike, and business brilliance like the Rockefellers even if I didn’t understand what that truly meant. I was voluntarily too blind and ignorant to see otherwise. And, I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel like I belonged and my voice was heard and the propaganda made me feel that.

Then, they came for the party of Bush. The party of the biggest attack on the United States since Pearl Habour on September 11. The party that began the longest, Afghanistan, and second longest, Iraq, military crisis in 100 years (and they would still compete for those titles even without Obama and then Trump allowing them to continue) and did so under false pretenses and then lied about a so-called “victory.” The party of the Tech Bubble Burst and the third biggest downturn in the economy in 100 years. The party of the Housing Bubble Burst and the second greatest downturn in the economy in 100 years. The party that was part of the original email contravercy and then conveniently forgot about the tens of thousands of violations of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, Hatch Act of 1939, the Federal Records Act and others. The party of failure such as of the Hurricane Katrina response, the original Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal, etc. The party of the CIA leak / Plame Affair featuring Dick Cheney’s chief political advisors, Karl Rove and Lewis “Scooter” Libby. The party of “Lawyergate” which was the politically influenced Dismissal of U.S. attorneys.

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was the party that got us through 9-11 despite the extensive work of Independent, Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of NYC, Moderate Governor George Pitaki of NYS, Democrat Anthony A. Williams as Mayor of DC, Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey of NJ, Democrat Governor Parris N. Glendening of MD, Democrat Governor Ed Rendell of PA, Democrat Governor Mark Warner of VA and others who led the actual local efforts which buoyed both the national economy and psyche. I said nothing because I believed the lies passing blame despite Republicans having holding the presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate for a greater time in the last 25 years than the Democrats had, as well as having a conservative leaning Supreme Court and a near majority of State level government. I said nothing because I wanted to believe parents and dying grandparents that the party represented something other than what it appeared to despite it being painfully obvious this was the party of evil intent that Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and Gingrich molded.

Then, they came the Tea-publicans. The party of the so-called Freedom Caucus that shut the government down. The party of . A xenophobic cultural response to the first non-white President of the US. The party of anti-Constitutional actions using procedure to block any and every attempt at abiding by decorum from budgets to the assignment of Supreme Court Justices. The party that

I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was the party for me in spite of it’s inherent hatred for the founding progressives like Lincoln, and it’s highest ranking left leaning voices like Roosevelt and even it’s national heroes like Eisenhower. I said nothing because I wanted to believe the Republican party of the twenty-teens was the party for me in spite of abandoning the last vestiges of centralist policy that Reagan and Bush still played up to pubically. I said nothing because I was a closet bigot who agreed with the Dixicrats and the dog-whistles of Goldwater and Nixon’s Southern Strategy and Reagan’s Welfare Queen approach to minorities. I said nothing because I agreed with

Then came the anti-Trump Republicans. This is the republican party of the Alt-Right. The party of subordinates to a cult of personality. The party enabling an authoritarian coup of Constitutional ideals and cultural decorum. If Goldwater purged the founding liberals, and Gingrich purge the remaining moderates, the Trump era purged nearly everyone remaining that wasn’t an extreme right wing ideologue. This is the party that resurrected Nazi propaganda. This is the party that revived KKK propaganda. This is the party that embraced misogyny. This is the party that enabled the furthest right of Conservative Christian ideology. This is the party emboldened by xenophobia. And, this is a party happy with a 30% approval rating if it meant it was speaking only to the most ardent supporters at the most far right of the political spectrum and those too ignorant to understand otherwise.

I said nothing because I believed I wasn’t deplorable. I believed I wasn’t a bigot, a sexist, a xenophobe and that I believed I respected the Constitution and even myself. I wanted to believe it was everyone else who was a RINO None of these were true, of course. But, I believed Republicans were still the party of Lincoln despite my ignorance of history, my blind ideology, and my paragon of being the deplorable I was accused of being. I’s American In Name Only and I want to Make Myself Great in my own mind. My name is a Republican voter in the twenty-teens.

Posted in Opinion, personal musings, politics | Leave a comment

MPHnoise: Makin’ Pops Happy, the Father’s Day episode

This weekend is Father’s Day and once again we are going to be #MakinPopsHappy on KAOS Radio Austin as a celebration of all things dadcore. The annual @MPHnoise affair continues now in its sixth year with even more inspiration and influence from the dad’s in our lives.

Traditionally, the show has focused on the musical relationship between my dad and I. As we’ve covered before, he was an influence on my love of jazz, of metal, of blues, of percussion and so much more. He used to joke the only instrument he could tune was the radio, but, at that he was excellent. I experienced a diversity of music through his records, reel-to-reels and of course tuning of the radio. Now, I am passing that same experience on to my two Padawan. They get their own headbanging show each year earlier in the year during #MyPadawanHeadbangs and of course we cover the music that influences me personally during #MousePresentsHeavy, but it’s inevitable that some of that bleeds into this since Papa, and Mouse, and the Padawan all experience music together.

#MakinPopsHappy 2018 celebrates fatherhood with another listen to sounds my dad and I share with new a track by Judas Priest, of course. Classic metal was where it all began, after all. But we also will hear new cuts by other bands we share a mutual interest in, be them classic thrashers like Kreator and At the Gates who are still bringing the heavy to more modern cuts by In Vein and the Great Divide.

We will go into the archives and resurrect the recurrent mosh of Savatage, Merciful Fate, Dream Theater, Slayer, Sepultura and Iron Maiden, all of whom we’ve been listening to together for decades before fast forwarding into the melodic aggression of Nightrage, Dark Tranquility, Miseration, Mors Principium Est, Soilwork, Centinex and Dew-scented. You see, my old man can bring the mosh. He might not always understand what is going on but those soaring guitars, searing double bass runs and crazy solos are more than enough to engage his sense and ward off the effects of old age.

Unique to this year’s show is a slight detour into French & Canadian music reflective of our heritage. It’s more recent that I’ve made an effort to introduce my dad to the sounds that typically make up the #MarchesPourlHonneur and #MaplePoutineHockey episodes and he seems to really have taken a shine to certain sonic elements of their sounds so this week will feature Amanda Woodard, Grade, Branson Hollis, White Lung, Anomie, Alexisonfire and more.

During the show you’ll learn about my relationship with music through my dad and how it now influences my Padawan while also learning how to support Dads and other father figures through http://www.thefatherhoodproject.org. So get your dadcore dadmosh on and dance it on up dadstyle.

PS, If you’ve missed past episodes of #MakinPopsHappy you can pick up the stream on http://www.mixcloud.com/mphnoise or for a limited time only you can get the downloadable show at mphnoiseradio.podomatic.com or kaosradioaustin.org/recent-shows I hope you will tune in to https://tunein.com/radio/MPH-NoiseDoormouse-p957654/ Sunday night.

In Vain “Soul Adventurer” Currents (2018)

Judas Priest “Firepower” Firepower (2018)
Savatage “24 Hours Ago” Hall of the Mountain King (clip intro)
Merciful Fate “Curse of the Pharos” Return of the Vampire
Dream Theatre “Caught in a Web” Awake
Iron Maiden “Wickerman” Brave New World

At the Gates “To Drink from the Night Itself” (2018)
Nightrage “Delirium of the Fallen” Insidious
Dark Tranquility “What Only You Know” Construct
Miseration “Perfection Destroyed” Your Demons, Their Angels
Mors Principium Est “Masquerade” Embers of a Dying Word
Soilwork “the Flameout” Natural Born Chaos

Kreator “Totalitarian Terror” Gods of Violence (2018)
Slayer “Spirit in Black” Seasons in the Abyss
Centinex “C1 VOA The Destroyer” World Declenation
Dew Scented “Arise from Decay” Invocation
Sepultura “Propaganda” Chaos AD

the Great Divide “Anyone, Evermore” Linger Over, linger on (2018)
Amanda Woodard “Est un Con” La Decadence
Branson Hollis “Singularity” the Unexpected Way of Things
Grade “Conceputalizing Theory in Motion” Separate the Magnates
Anomie “Enchainees” Demos ’94 (watch fade in intro, soft bass)
White Lung “546 kids” It’s the Evil (watch posts)

Alexisonfire “Accidents” Watch out!

Posted in Entertainment, mixtape, music, radio show, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

stalinism versus left wing politics

Every so often someone I know who should know better will bring up the former Soviet Union as a case against left-leaning politics as if the Soviet interpretation of socialism is the only leftist socio-political concept (other than anarchists, of course) ever invented. More specifically, they will invoke Josef Stalin as a prime example of the horrors of socialism referencing his aggression and mass murders. And, then comes the quick history lesson on the difference between Stalinism and socialism and how little in common there is.

What Stalin practiced was also not communism, socialism, Marxism or Leninism. It was a full on military dictatorship based on centralization, totalitarianism, and the pursuit of his own ambitious vision of a new world order.

The original revolution in Czarist Russia was founded on the principle of giving power back to the working class through grassroots community assemblies called ‘soviets.’ The transition from Czarist Russian occurred in three parts, the 1917 February Revolution that toppled the Russian Empire under Nicholas II and the 1917 October Revolution that ended the Provisional Government through the the Bolsheviks led worker revolt and the 1918 Red and White war (a Civil War played like a four way chess match between the Bolshevik “Reds,” Counter-Revolutionary conservative “Whites,” Pro-independence movements and a number of non-Bolshevik “black” socialists factions).

When all was said and done the Lenin led Bolshevik regime reorganized into the the Communist Party and created the Russian SFSR. Along with similar revolutionary reorganization in sister states the Transcaucasian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR were born and in December of 1922 the four created a formal alliance creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Lenin’s leadership through this transition adopted Marxist and other socialist ideas into his own ideology. He believed a temporary centralized government under a psuedo-dictatorial control was a necessity in transitioning from post-monarch to a the establishment of socialism and the complete “freedom of the worker” in a proletariat state.

Stalin held extremist views of both Marx’s vision for a utopian socialist society and Lenin’s transitional government towards that utopia. His approach to Soviet leadership was considered controversial enough that Lenin, Trotsky and others initially internally and later outwardly disapproved of him and he was exiled from the Party several times for robberies, kidnappings, protection rackets and crimes against the State.

Upon Lenin’s death he aggressively seized power in 1924 and immediately abandoned Lenin’s New Economic Policy and the transitional government concept. Stalin freely admitted he had no interest in fulfilling Lenin’s dream, nor Trotsky’s ambitions either, and his actions were the antithesis of enabling the proletariat despite his speeches touting the “Socialism in One Country” solution.

The mistake most Westerner make is wrongfully equating Stalin’s actions with the utopian concepts the originally underpinned the original revolution. What Stalin embraced was not communism in the traditional socioeconomic definition at all. Nor was it Marxist socialism. And, obviously it wasn’t Leninism either.

Stalin, unlike Lenin, Trotsky, Marx and other communist visionaries of the past, was not a philosopher. He was not a theorist. He was not an economist. He was a ruthless, selfish ideologue whose personal ambitions led to the Centralized Command Economy, the Great Purge, the annexing of neighbor states and more through an highly aggressively military dictatorship with strictly managed consolidated political power. Pretty much the opposite of what Marx, Lenin and other communists had imagined.

While what Stalin preached as socialist ideas were very left-leaning ideologically his actions were far from adhering to such concepts. Foundationally, he was an authoritarian first and foremost, demanding subordination. He promoted social warfare not just on class, but on anything he could leverage to create the illusion of enemies of the state including ethnicity, gender and more resulting in mass imprisonments, deportations, executions and acts of full-on genocide. He pursued industrialization and militarization at all costs in an effort to not just return the Russian region to it “former glory” as a world leader but create a new world order centered around the Russian region’s ultimate power.

Ultimately, Stalin’s approach to leadership was so extreme that his successor Nikita Khrushchev repudiated his policies, condemned Stalin’s cult of personality and engaged in an active de-Stalinization of the USSR. Furthermore, many Eastern Communist regimes coming into power at the time sought to distance themselves from Stalin in favor of their own brand of implementing Socialism. Still, the West, as part of the Cold War propaganda, continued to actively equate the totalitarian extreme of Stalinism with the broader tenants of communism in an effort to promote the West’s brand of politics and economics.

The thing is, Stalin had more in common fascist dictators and conservative western authoritarians than he did with the tenants of the original Russian Revolution but that story line doesn’t fit with the truthiness of American Cold War propaganda and certainly not with the modern cult of personality leading the US today.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment