‘zones without people’

The title track from Oneohtrix Point Never’s 2009 album Zones Without People—perhaps the ultimate soundtrack for 2020, with other tracks to include ‘Learning to Control Myself’, ‘Disconnecting Entirely’, and ‘Emil Cioran’.

10-point plan to make america great again

  1. Establish a colony for alt-right white supremacists and their apologists in the Texas/Oklahoma region. Evacuate the existing liberals (mostly urban-dwelling) and erect a 20-foot wall around the entire territory. The alt-righters will then be free to establish martial law, shoot their guns, maintain their genetic purity, etc.
  2. Legalize marijuana in the remainder of the country. Immediately establish a network of public-private partnership clinics to transition opioid-addicted indiviuals over to marijuana use, with an eye toward eventual tapering off the marijuana. Exceptions to this tapering process will be made for those with legitimate chronic physical pain and those in need of palliative care due to chronic disease such as cancer, glaucoma, etc.
  3. Release all incarcerated drug offenders with only nonviolent convictions on their records from prison. Use the billions of dollars in cost savings to establish comprehensive re-entry programs for these individuals.
  4. Establish a review board system to examine cases of all remaining incarcerated individuals. Those approved for release will be transitioned through a network of rehabilitative programs in rural areas employing a variety of agricultural and animal therapy techniques, with the eventual goal of reintegration into society. Note: It is expected that a certain percentage of individuals will remain incarcerated. This would include those who show no remorse at all for their crimes and no potential for rehabilitation, and instead display a strong inclination to harm others again.
  5. Create training programs within the now-burgeoning legal marijuana industry for all individuals involved in the illicit drug trade and any interested ex-offenders. Opportunities will be available at all stages: growing, harvesting, packaging and shipping, sales and marketing, as well as in peripheral businesses such as creation and sale of edibles, paraphernalia, etc.
  6. Gut the vacant prisons and jails and renovate them into free housing for people without homes, complete with community gardens and on-site health clinics.
  7. Using tax revenues generated from the marijuana industry in combination with more of the enormous savings from closing most jails and prisons, establish free and easily accessible health care to all those who need it.
  8. Institute a robust nationwide program to divert edible food “waste” from landfills and instead use it to prepare meals to feed those who are hungry.
  9. Restore all ancestral lands to remaining Native American tribes. Form partnerships between newly resettled indigenous Americans and current residents with a long-term goal of restoring the natural balance between humans and the environment.
  10. Initiate planning process to dismantle capitalism in favor of a cashless barter economy, thus releasing the country’s citizens from the bonds of corporate control established and maintained via the insidious promotion and facilitation of mindless consumerism.

belated apology to the world

Back in November I wrote a post in which I apologized to the citizens of the world on behalf of the United States of America for foisting Donald J. Trump upon them. Well, now I am here once again to apologize, this time for the U.S. exit from The Paris Agreement. Even though this will probably end up being a largely symbolic move, it still speaks loudly with a voice not shared by many of us here in the United Sharply Divided States of America. So I would like to reassure all five or so of you from other countries who read this blog that many (most?) of us here do not support this action. And I suspect this will be the first of many addenda to that initial post…


Click the face.

Click the face.

(Thanks, rjohn)

1946 short film on despotism


Sources: Public Domain Review and Internet Archive

(‘It is happening again…‘)

a political aside

Hello. I rarely comment on politics here, because frankly there is little point. My politics are radical enough that I long ago resigned myself to the fact that I will never see candidates elected to political office in the United States who publicly share my beliefs. Certainly not at a national level, anyway, nor in the state in which I currently live. To say that I am a disenfranchised voter would be a gross understatement.

Nonetheless, I cannot let the election of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States of America pass by without sharing a few words.

First, I believe we owe the rest of the world an apology. So, on behalf of my country, please accept my deepest apologies for what has happened here. American politics are complicated, to say the least. Surely that’s obvious even from the outside. We are a country of 319 million people—well over half that of the entire European Union (currently ~508 million). This was not the choice of the American people. It was the choice of a small disgruntled percentage of us. Literally millions of us did not want it to happen.

In way of explanation for how this colossal travesty has happened, I present these points:

  1. At least 40% of eligible voters did not vote in the general election. And somehow I doubt that if they had, they would all have voted for Mr. Trump.
  2. Even more importantly, over 70% of eligible voters did not vote in the primary election, which is the one that could have prevented a racist, misogynistic, torture-loving megalomaniac from getting on the November ballot in the first place.
  3. Many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump share a narrow homogeneous set of voting priorities that do not extend much beyond their own economic situations.
  4. A certain segment of those who voted for Mr. Trump did so only because late in the election cycle he pandered to their personal stance against abortion, which apparently ‘trumps’ the fact that he routinely objectifies women, thinks waterboarding is ‘great’, and has vowed to hunt down and kill innocent family members of suspected terrorists.
  5. Many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump don’t care about ‘the rest of the world’ and consider it only in the following two respects:
    1. It’s where terrorists come from.
    2. It’s where all the cheap stuff they buy in Wal-Mart comes from.
  6. Trump actually lost the popular vote, making him one of only five presidents to have been elected without winning it. The last time this happened was when George W. Bush was elected in 2000. Notice a trend here? Thank you, Electoral College, for facilitating the election of the two most horrifying candidates in presidential history. Clearly, the elimination of this archaic system is way past due.

Second, I have been awash in a confused mixture of anger, fear, and resignation. My fight-or-flight response is fluctuating wildly. I strive to take things as they come, but every time I see his face or even hear his name, my blood starts to boil and I think of all the hate speech he spewed during his campaign. I hear the chants of ‘Not My President’ on the news and I find myself chanting along with the protesters because NO, HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT, and he never will be, even if he does end up bowing to the pressures of the office and tempers some or all of the grotesque campaign promises he has made over the last year.

Above all, I want to express my outrage. I want to firmly and categorically deny him as my leader. Why should he be entitled to a peaceful transfer of power, when all he’s done for months is sow the seeds of hate and discontent? I consider taking advantage of my access to Irish citizenship and leaving it all behind, at least until some semblance of sanity is restored (hopefully at the end of the next four years). I wonder about how this country has become so divided. I wonder why it’s so big in the first place. I wonder why we can’t just split it up into autonomous regions along its political sectarian borders so that we all don’t have to go through this painful nightmare every four or eight years. But then I think about how it doesn’t even matter because we’re already on a course toward the end of civilization as we know it due to our pathological disregard for the environment.

And yet—ultimately, I know that all of this thinking is delusion. I can allow myself to feel anger over this election, but when I explore my anger I see its cause is self-centered. Something happened that I did not want to happen. In fact, this is a regular occurrence. I may acknowledge my anger over these occurrences and that’s fine, but what matters is whether I remain attached to it. Whether I apply layers of discursive thinking to it, allowing it to grow gnarled and twisted to the point where all I can perceive is the thick crust I have built on top of it. Or whether I choose to accept what has happened and continue to deal with matters at hand as they arise.

As I work through all of my feelings, I am beginning to see this election as a wake-up call to those of us who do care about the rest of the world, who do care about the people around us who are hurting and need assistance, and who do care about preserving values such as generosity, inclusiveness, and non-violence. So while I will allow myself to feel anger over this election, I refuse to dwell on that anger and I won’t let it cloud my efforts to help others. There is far too much work to be done to give in to despair.

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