Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
I feel more and more that transhumanism wrecks genuine research into human health and life span because of their insistance on immortality and a variety of other body hating schemes but then again that is why i read this blog so i can see you expose them for the cult they are.I think you make a good point -- people may lose the capacity to assess the costs, risks, benefits of legitimate medical research and qualified results intelligently when all of this gets hyperbolized through techno-transcendental marketing/TrueBeliever narratives of sooper-capacitation, immortalization, hyper-individualization, etc. Mostly, I tend to think this stuff lends itself to gross scams and frauds that reward privileged upward failures and sociopathic CEOs at the expense of the vulnerable.
Lately though -- maybe because I am re-reading Frank Pasquale and David Golumbia in preparation for an upcoming course -- I find myself wondering more and more about how the fetish for quantification in the epoch of ubiquitous but secretive algorithmic mediation may be even more dangerous than the cyborg ruggedization fantasies of transhumanoid gun-nuttery, encryption-fanaticism, sooper-humanization, and techno-immortality I usually go on about here (though uploading discourse is a key hinge connecting these branches of techno-unhingement): the idea that well-being, longevity, social order, the mysteries of the universe are all matters of cranking the calliope and running the numbers.
A whole lot of rather insensitive dullards are being celebrated as geniuses at the moment (especially the ones rolling in dough) who seem to believe every person and even the whole universe is, at its heartless heart, an algorithm -- which is, in my view, at best to say the least, an only very occasionally and very incidentally useful but all in all flabbergastingly inapt and inept metaphor.
The robocultic sects were indeed early adopters of this fatal metaphor -- what Lanier warned people about as the ideology of "cybernetic totalism" and what Hayles explicated in her readings of formative documents of information science -- with their Bayesian envangelism and information-theoretic death and crypto-anarchic fever dreams in the heady days of fin-de-siecle irrational exuberance before the dot.bomb, the illegal lying war, the crash, and the GOP embrace of its authoritarian tendency delivered us into the maw of The Future.
That robocultic discourses are a white-hot collision point for techno-utopian/dystopian eugenic-eliminationism AND digi-dematerialism makes them, as always, a fascinating and symptomatic iceberg tip of the suicidal-genocidal extractive-industrial-consumer-financial corporate-militarist monster of neoliberal/neoconservative planetarity. But, as always, if you really want to see where the action is, it is better still to read the white papers and watch the conference talks of dot-eyed corporate-militarists from the think tanks or watch the desperate peddlars of cremes and chrome on late-nite infomercials... there you find the throbbing catastrophic death-dealing life robocultic futurologal rhetoric condenses and clarifies and reduces to absurdity.
Monday, December 05, 2016
Transhumanist boilerplate hasn't changed in 30 years apart from postponements of the techno-transcendence. @ImmortalityProj @washingtonpost— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) May 19, 2016
Quite apart from the fact that nobody seems particularly agitated up to this point, and hence the exhortation to "Calm down" seems a bit odd, do take note of the date of this tweet and compare it to the dates of the tweets to which it is responding. Over six months had elapsed, and the tweets were the occasion for a few "likes" and then vanished into the scroll. I take it back, maybe somebody does indeed seem unduly agitated after all. To this unexpectedly latecoming bit of defensiveness I offered up the usual anti-futurological snark:@adamjohnsonNYC @dalecarrico Calm down. Everything we tweet isn't an endorsement. We fund research, but we also post news on immortality.— Immortality Project (@ImmortalityProj) November 30, 2016
@ImmortalityProj @adamjohnsonNYC I've got some news for you to post on that front, dear: You, like everybody else, are going to die.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 30, 2016
Who ever said robot cultists don't know how to party?@dalecarrico Yes, that's absolutely true. But as @taylorswift13 once sang, "Why you gotta be so mean?"— Immortality Project (@ImmortalityProj) December 4, 2016
Why you gotta be so fraud? @ImmortalityProj— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 4, 2016
You gotta love that, "frankly."@dalecarrico Have you actually looked at the research we funded? It's not "fraudulent"; frankly, our researchers' aims are modest at best.— Immortality Project (@ImmortalityProj) December 4, 2016
1 You appear to be a transhumanoid robocultic normalization/academic infiltration effort... @ImmortalityProj— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 4, 2016
2 ...mostly pseudo-science and press release hyperbole with a figleaf of New Age-tinged theology/philosophy for "balance." @ImmortalityProj— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 4, 2016
Given the, er, hip Swiftism earlier on, I do think that last "Oh well" was a missed opportunity for a more on-trend Trumpian, "Sad!"@dalecarrico Neither 1 nor 2 is true. It's clear that you've made up your mind in advance of actually learning about our research. Oh well.— Immortality Project (@ImmortalityProj) December 4, 2016
Longstanding readers of this blog know that it is never really a sound idea for futurologists to assume the reason I am not in the pews with them in their particular sect of robotcultism is because I just haven't familiarized myself yet with their stunning glossy promotional materials. A click on the Superlative Summary will reveal over a decade of close readings of futurological rhetoric on pretty much every topic that preoccupies the attention of our techno-transcendental "Thought Leaders."
In this instance, our intrepid Immortality Project twitterer has categorically denied the truth of my assessment of their little racket. Given that this exchange begins with their link to a self-described primer on transhumanism and then consists of their belated taking of offense that I would declare the piece a stale and unremarkable summary you will forgive me for saying their denial of a connection or interest in transhumanism (the first of my charges, all of which they declare be untrue, recall) is absurd.
Reading their own linked report of "Science Projects" they funded you will immediately encounter a study of reported well-being by Buddhists from a couple of American philosophers, a project in which people who spend time in a virtual reality (presumably loosely defined) including simulated post-death experience report satisfactions comparable to those who report having had near death experiences, another report on near death experiences, a project to find "immortality genes" possibly to prolong human lifespans in Hydra oligactis, and on and on. While your assessment of the worth of such studies may vary from my own, I daresay it is not so very hard to imagine why one might be inclined to describe these projects as a bit robocultic (VR and immortal jellyfish), pseudo-scientific (near death experience testimonials) or "New Age"-tinged (west coast boutique Buddhism).
As for my observation that the Project seems like "a transhumanoid normalization/academic infiltration effort" I will simply draw your attention to the Project's self-description on its own website's splash page: "[Our] questions include: whether and in what form(s) persons survive or could survive bodily death... the present time as an auspicious one to launch a unified, organized, and open-minded project that will (1) stimulate research from across the disciplines in attempt to make progress on these themes (2) disseminate this research to an especially receptive public..."
The reason that phrase is in quotes, by the way, is because it comes yet again from the Project's self-description of its research aims on its splash page. You may recall that these ambitions, like the Project's aforementioned proposals to fund techno-immortalization progress and proselytize the reasonableness and desirability of such priorities to a wider public, were the aims declared "modest" earlier in this exchange. So modest, indeed! And so very scientific!Quite. Do continue your "research" to "advance understanding of immortality and belief in immortality" which doesn't exist. @ImmortalityProj— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 4, 2016
Sunday, December 04, 2016
By the way, happy to include NV if NV wants to be included.Rather than waste our time wistfully daydreaming about secession, the economic, agricultural, population superpower Cascadia (CA, OR, WA) 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
...should embark on a host of sustainable works and social democratic supports to model progress and compel conformity to our standards. 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
I am thinking here especially about compacts for increasing and improving healthcare access (as vile Republicans seek to dismantle the ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid) regulations for sustainable manufacturing and investments in sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure, soil and freshwater and forest restoration, a living wage, paid family leave, accountable community policing, commonsense gun safety laws, sanctuary cities and campuses, free community college and student loan debt relief, paid family leave, for example. If Republicans finally manage to fulfill their ugly pointless dream of destroying the postal service, by the way, Cascadia should subsidize ours and let them provide low cost non-exploitative community banking services as well.Cascadian regs-standards-practices are already often adopted nationally since institutional consistency is more efficient, less confusing. 3— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
If a neo-Confederate rump of white-supremacists can drag the whole country down, the surely with a conscious effort... 4— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
That should be: "If a neo-Confederate rump of white-supremacists can drag the whole country down, then surely with a conscious effort a thriving multicultural social democracy can drag it kicking and screaming into a sustainable progressive future!" The number of typos I both produced and then overlooked in those two tweets is a bit confounding -- I attribute it to the exasperation I felt at the moment I tapped them up, I suppose?...from a thriving multicultural social democracy can drag it kicking an screaming into a sustainable progressive future! 5— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
To counter the too successful re-branding via "Tech" of serially failed Republican schemes -- deregulation as "disruption," financial fraud as "the New economy" or "digitization," feudal sharecropping labor as "the sharing economy," surveillance and harassment as "personalization" and "openness," precarization as "acceleration," deceptive and hyperbolic marketing discourse as "thought leadership," upward failure and repackaging as "innovation," discriminatory employment practices as "culturefit" and so on -- Cascadia should insist on the application of regulations ensuring equity-in-diversity in traditional industries to so-called "disrupted" ones (like rental properties, taxicabs, publications) as well as subsidize the maintenance of social networking platforms that function as public goods (blogging/microblogging/mediasharing/archives), rendering their public service immune to concerns for profitability that presently encourage surveillance, harassment, abuse, and mis-information in these spaces. This is the sort of thing I write about on this blog more generally, of course, when partisan politics aren't obsessing me. If you want to understand why California is particularly susceptible to reactionary "Tech" rhetoric, you can scarcely make a better beginning than reading Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The Californian Ideology, now over twenty years old!A wrinkle: the reactionary kernel of Cascadian corporate-militarist feudal futurology from Silicon Valley to Seattle threatens to prevail. 6— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 3, 2016
Saturday, December 03, 2016
1 When I think how much destruction and self-destruction is abetted simply by the GOP's disciplined repetition of false and facile slogans— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
2 (eg gov isn't the solution it's the problem; privatizing public services improves them; taxes are burdens rather than enablers of freedom)— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
3 I can't help but wonder how much the Dem left might accomplish if we endlessly repeated our own correct and clarifying messages— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
4 (eg, those who say government is bad never deliver good government; there is strength in diversity; freedom is made of public investments)— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
5 I fear Dems don't muster comparable discipline in an eagerness to perform cleverness hunting novelty rather than inculcating good sense,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
6 and by performing unflappability (not surprised!) rather than justified outrage at the waste, corruption, crimes, and lies of the right.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
7 Every right-wing slogan is a nail inviting the hammer of a comparably pithy dem-left rejoinder that everybody knows to deliver as a blow.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
8 The point isn't always to convince entrenched foes but to generate immediate associations sustaining foundational progressive commonsense.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
9 This is not the kind of rhetorical work that will garner you praise for your wit or originality. Actually, it's dull and annoying.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
10 A world that works can only be built out of such rhetorical work. Don't be afraid or ashamed to repeat basic progressive truths.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) December 2, 2016
Friday, December 02, 2016
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
I'd be less concerned about the flavours of the imaginary reigns of this or that Democratic candidate and more with the very real possibility America is turned from a (however broken) democracy to a full-fledged autocracy. That's the difference that makes the difference, I believe.This feels to me like a rather philosophical formulation, "Esebian" -- tho' I'm prone to misreading things given how raw everything feels now.
Forgive a moment's pedantry, but US Presidents do not have reigns but administrations, and what gets done in them is far from imaginary, which you are the last person to deny I know. I do want to deny, tho', I think, that there really is such a thing as "the" difference that makes "the" difference politically, but insist instead, as usual, there are many differences that make differences. "The" over "a" rationalizes, I fear, too much self-righteous uselessness and unreliability. Is there a connection between these two quibbles I felt in reading your comment?
We usually agree on politics, and where we don't you offer up perspectives I read with benefit, and so don't take the registration of these worries in any kind of personal way if that is possible -- I guess I just don't know on the basis of what criteria you might distinguish presidential "flavors" that don't finally concern you as against the difference of a broken-democracy versus a fully-fledged autocracy? How much and how many ways can democracy be broken (and mended) before autocracy is fully fledged and don't these degrees and ways of brokenness demand exposure and redress the better to resist the fuller-fledging of autocracy? And won't focusing on these differences that make a difference risk looking dismissably mucked in the weeds of "flavors" of "imaginary reigns" while one awaits the grand confrontation of *the* difference that makes *the* difference, democracy versus autocracy?
Maybe I'm reading too much into your comment -- maybe you just mean that re-litigating the primary isn't likely to be as useful as focusing on younger/better voices who care about equity-in-diversity occupying the Democratic Party and resisting Trumpism-in-action right about now. I certainly agree with that!
Jay here. I sincerely doubt that, at this point, there is any value in pointing out the government's outrages. The public is well aware that the government is corrupt. That's why Trump won. I'd have much preferred Bernie. One of the hardest problems in politics is maintaining legitimacy, by which I mean the perception that the government is more or less just even though it inevitably offends every person's personal ethics in many regards. When legitimacy is finally exhausted, we get eras like France in the 1790s and the USSR in the 1990s. I understand your concern that the government may become (more, unacceptably) unjust, but at this moment in history I'm more worried that it will prove too weak to enforce any concept of justice at all.Not yet inaugurated and already giving up? I hope not!
Never forget that millions more voted for Clinton than Trump (and even more millions voted for Clinton over her vapid and mediocre primary opponent). This should give pause to those who would offer up simple declaratives to the effect that "Trump won." Republicans certainly never conceded Obama won, despite electoral and popular vote victories dwarfing the palpably unqualified incompetent deceptive corrupt bigoted Trump's unexpected prevalence.
You "sincerely doubt that... there is any value in pointing out the government's outrages." Let me make one thing very clear: There is every reason to expose and decry crimes, corruptions, and abuses of Republican government. This is not only because it is true and it is always right to tell truths, but because it provides an occasion to draw a contrast between the two parties which is the only way we can move forward. Note well that I did not say "crimes, corruptions, and abuses of the government," as you said in your comment (and no wonder, the normalization of an association of corruption with "government-in-general" is one of the key discursive accomplishments of postwar Republicanism), what I specificied was: "Republican government." Republicans obstruct and dismantle and mis-administer government and then rail against government. To decry "the government" risks collaboration in Republican anti-governmentality to the ruin of all. Pointing this out is certainly as valuable now as it ever has been.
You say: "The public is well aware that the government is corrupt. That's why Trump won." Listen to what you are saying! Trump "won" because a Republican cabal in the FBI threatened and then managed illegally to interfere with an election based on their belief in Clinton corruptions described in a discredited mis-informational right-wing hate-tome and because the mainstream media ignored endless obvious Trump conflicts of interest and disqualifying association to focus instead on a Clinton e-mail story that never amounted to anything of substance. Trump "won" because Republican run states disenfranchised enough voters in general that comparatively affluent older white voters fearful and resentful of diversity in their homogeneous rural/exurban bubbles could make more of a difference than recent history prepared the campaign professionals to respond to -- which is indeed their fault, sure, but far from some earth-shattering revelation justifying rejection of the twice-winning still-growing Obama coalition.
In saying all this I am not denying Clinton had historically high negatives going in that Party muckety-mucks should have worried about more (a Biden/Warren ticket looks in retrospect like a winner to me) and that the campaign should have invested more resources in her firewall states and should have focused on energizing base voters rather than peeling off moderates given the base demoralization of the primary (woulda shoulda coulda blah blah blah), but corruption and outrages are the topic at hand and false equivalence on this score is absolutely intolerable.
The people who voted for Trump may say they hoped he would end their pain or drain the swamp -- but Trump IS the swamp, and he has devoted his life to causing others pain for his personal gain while Clinton outlined thousands of pages of proposals to actually help those people and got smeared as corrupt and untrustworthy. Does that sound like being "well aware" to you, truly? There is indeed a value in pointing out deceptions and outrages in the face of such ignorance and mis-information and fear -- because they are true! And there is value in demanding people take fucking sides, because the sides are real even if none of the parties are ideal.
The United States of America is still a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing society in an unfathomably rich continent in the context of a tradition of immigration, a rights culture, a host of professions, and checks and balances that walked wounded out of the Bush administration and its illegal wars and financial catastrophe. Of course, America hasn't yet recovered from Reagan, let alone W. Bush. Trump is going to cause untold mayhem and death. Our norms are in tatters, our institutions are shuddering on the brink, greedy incumbents eager to make a buck are ready to tear down regulations that stand in the way of another economic meltdown, riots in the streets, feudalism ascendent. And greenhouse storms and resource descent forever threaten to end history and the rule of law. The dangers are real but the resources at the disposal of progress are also real. Tell the truth, defend facts, celebrate diversity, decry wrong, assign blame to the reactionaries, accept responsibility to act when you can, do your part to move the world forward.
Democrats should work to make the Republican President a one-term catastrophe, make the Republicans pay for what they have become that they could let him win their primary, resist every day in every way, register millions and millions more voters than they can overcome with their games, tear power from their hands in the mid-terms, wrest control of re-districting and then in power give DC and PR statehood, make voter registration automatic and voting effortless, allow our elections to reflect our real country and our politics to reflect our real shared problems.
You know, if a person of color living under racist profiling and militarized policing and systematic injustice (housing, job, education discrimination among endlessly many other things) were to give up on America or on the very idea of a democratic state that would make a certain sense to me. But it is people of color, and especially women of color, who (in general) fight the hardest to make America work and vote more reliably Democratically than any other constituency and protest most patriotically in the streets. Listen and learn the lessons of their resolve, their principle, their pragmatism. Make them your own.
Obviously I'm as worried as you are right about now, hell, I'm sick with worry, but there are resources for hope if people of courage and conviction take them up and stop with the whiny white guy routine and purity cabaret nonsense and Beautiful Loser chicken little demoralization arias. I'm a white guy myself and I know nothing about you so I trust you will not take that comment personally, but recognize the glaring realities it references in this ruinous moment. If one spots a deception, crime, corruption on the part of a politician one must say so -- or collaborate in it. No more false equivalence, no more refusing to choose sides because the sides are not ideal, no more "I'm not surprised," no more "nothing will change," no more "they always get away with it." If one thinks -- as I do -- that good government is possible and desirable, that public goods require public investments, that freedom depends on the maintenance of a scene of consent secured by social supports and equitable laws -- then say so, make the case, pose the alternative, fill the vacuum, resist the cynics, build the world, fight back!
Friday, November 25, 2016
Stop Acting Like We Can Only Resist Trump One Way At A Time. Resist Trump ALL The Ways ALL The Time!
PopVoteCount— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 25, 2016
Do it ALL
Stop perceived permission unleashing hate
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Beyond the thanks, think: Beyond the feast, famine.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 24, 2016
My other Thanksgiving Day tradition used to be posting a clip of Gus Van Sant's video for William Burroughs' Prayer -- but there are a million places to watch that online now. Might just as well watch his Nike commercial.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
My, my, my, I'm just full of helpful little advice and aggressive little admonitions today, aren't I?
1 Democrats must make benefits of public investment & good government VISIBLE so Republican attacks are experienced as the THREATS they are.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
2 We must recognize promoting accomplishments is a form of rhetorical maintenance without which public goods are vulnerable to GOP attacks.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
3 We must recognize that improving and building on imperfect accomplishments is a virtuous circle, while perfectionism is GOP collaboration.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
4 We must remember the lesser of two evils is also a greater good when it makes any difference for the better or opens doors to more reform.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
5 We must never stop making cases for the strength of diversity, everyone's eventual need for support, the inter-dependence of citizens.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
6 People don't want to think about their vulnerability, mediocrity, privilege, error proneness, and shared responsibilities -- and won't.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
7 And yet these recognitions are foundational to sustainable equitable diverse consensual multicultural democratic order and good government— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
8 ...so we must do rhetorical work to inculcate these values, habituate citizens to their enactment in clear concise inspiring fresh ways.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
9 We must stop relinquishing the field of "values voting" to those voters who value lies cheating intolerance bullying pollution and greed.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
10 We must defend and embrace the governing mandate of the diversifying, secularizing REAL real America that always wins the POPULAR vote.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
Democrats should own California successes and make Republicans own Kansas failures on a daily if not hourly basis.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 22, 2016
Republicans say that want "less" government to distract their voters from what they want to actually do with government.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
Republicans deride as "big" government any effort to implement good government.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
Better Democratic tax and spend than Republican steal and squander.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
"Never trust a Republican with public funds." That should a commonplace repeated at least as often as their own beloved "tax and spend."— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
Anti-tax Republicans think civilization is a free lunch. Say it IMMEDIATELY when a Republican deploys TANSTAAFL to deride public investment.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
"Tax and Spend" is what public investment and common good looks like... if you're a sociopath.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 23, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Monday, November 21, 2016
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Fewer people live in Wyoming than in California's fifth largest city but they have as much power in the Senate as all California's millions.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 17, 2016
Wyoming -- population 582,658 -- two Senators.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 17, 2016
Washington, DC -- population 672,228 -- zero Senators.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
2 Grasping and solving a polity's shared problems.
3 Factions within a polity seeking over the long-term to implement ethical visions in face of its diversity.
It is useful to distinguish these three political registers, despite the fact that the sense of each one is shaped by assumptions and aspirations and experiences arising out of the others and also despite the fact that lived politics is all of a piece. That people who are different from one another in their histories, in their hopes, and in their beings share a time and a place in the world together is both the point of departure for genuine political thinking and conduct as such and is also the abiding reality shaping the specificities of the political in all its dimensions. This is what Hannah Arendt mean when she declared, "Plurality is the law of the earth." It is also what Eve Sedgwick was getting at when she declared "People are different from one another" to be "Axiom One." A strategy that denies or disregards or disavows such differences may sometimes peddle itself as political, but it is probably something else (usually, I find, it is an engineering, moral, or aesthetic viewpoint) and confused about itself in a way that demands clarification from those who are not so confused or it may even be simply actively anti-political.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Anger is an emotion which, if it could speak, would say something like: "an injustice has been done [usually, but not always, to me]." There are lots of people with more righteous anger at this moment that I care about infinitely more than the stupid angry assholes who enabled Trumpism, but setting that aside for a moment I guess maybe Trump voters might turn their apparently endlessly fascinating and celebrated rage back on Trump and Trumpism (a lying literal-elite billionaire con-man, after all, with a populist message already providing a pretext for the usual Republican privatization and looting and support-dismantlement and wealth-concentration politics) if they come to realize he treated them like chumps.
But of course this can only work so long as the realization that they have been lied to and fucked over doesn't come from what they take to be liberals or "establishment" types gloating or calling them names. And frankly the fragility of these brainless belligerent bigots seems so utterly boundless I honestly don't know how to avoid such accusations without actually indulging in their bigotry and ignorance itself at this point, which I won't do because they are evil and wrong and anyway they are an ever more marginal minority even if apparently still sufficiently large that certain kinds of foolishness on the left can still provide openings for them to prevail in. As a queer who has spent a lifetime (I'm 51, relentlessly queerbashed in Trump states like Kentucky and Indiana growing up, politicized through ACTUP and Queer Nation in Atlanta, trained in critical theory in Berkeley by Judith Butler where I teach as a precarious adjunct today) sparring with evangelicals who regard anything but my closeted terrorized powerlessness as an incivility and an insult to them, I know full well that playing nice is not the way to combat aggressive bigotry of the kind Trump enabled and which has enabled Trumpism.
Realizing the multicultural left won the culture wars directly connects in my view to the facts that Clinton won the popular vote, indeed won more votes than any white male candidate has in history, including the one who prevailed over her, that raising the minimum wage and providing family leave and undermining more of the racist war on drugs via medical and recreational cannabis legalization and the voting of many women of color into high office for the first time also happened in this election, that Trump won fewer votes than Romney did and that slightly depressed turnout in a handful of less-diverse swing states lost her this election. This loss was far from destined and was scarcely a loss for all the reality of the loss of power, hope, progress, decency, standards, sense it will bring on.
It is not to make excuses but to insist on the recognition of facts the widespread denial of which feeds the utterly false conferral of a reactionary mandate on a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing country which actually repudiated this electoral college result that I must now and always and ever point out the following: Clinton's popular victory and only razor-thin electoral loss given her historically high negatives and exploitable narrative associations from the outset, whether fair or not. And this in the context of campaign vicissitudes like the late-breaking irresponsible and possibly illegal FBI-cabal Comey letter debacle. And this in the context of a dying media clutching after profits with false-equivalence and horse-race narratives that misinformed voters and normalized an utterly unqualified dangerously unstable authoritarian bigot candidate. And this in the context of unprecedented daily WikiLeaks poking through her underwear drawer while her opponent broke multi-generational norms for candidate disclosure of assets and associations. And this in the context of explicit voter disenfranchisement after the dismantlement of the Voting Rights Act. And this in the context of unprecedented torrents of unaccountable Citizens United money unleashed down ticket with stealthy reverse coat-tails for Trumpism. And this in the context of general suffering and resentment at the devastatingly slow economic recovery engineered by blanket Republican obstruction of Obama's Jobs Bill proposals, infrastructure spending proposals, minimum wage increase proposals, family leave and pre-K care proposals, efforts to provide a public option as part of the ACA and so much more (of course the beneficiaries of all this political pain were the very Republicans who caused it, knowing full well that this would be the result). And this in the context of gerrymandered House districts that reward polarization and dysfunction. And this in the context of an electoral college in which the votes of unrepresentative rural minorities count decisively more than those of urban and suburban majorities.
I will not call Trump "Our President" -- his campaign was premised on and proceeded with the rejection of too many Americans to pretend his is the same "we" to which I refer by that pronoun -- I will call Trump "the Republican President." I will burn that tie of Trump to the GOP into the American memory as indelibably as I can, and then I will work to see the Republicans pay for what they do. I will not concede Trump or Trumpism a mandate because the election did not confer one and for the same reasons I won't pretend the multicultural left lost the culture wars when I see no sign we did and I think it foolish to relinquish the power that victory might invest the Democratic party with if only we sought to understand it on its actual terms.
The multicultural left won the culture wars -- America is indeed a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing society, and representational practices both cultural and political are inadequately but ever more noticeably reflecting those realities -- and I fear it is the anger of racist whites who lost those culture wars has cost the multicultural left yet another election. Yes, cultural "winners" can readily become political losers if they take the wrong lessons from their victories. During the Obama years, Democrats have lost the House, lost the Senate, lost statehouse after statehouse. This is no less a real reality than that the diverse progressive coalition of the ascendant which twice elected President Obama and grows by the day is the REAL "Real America." Reactionaries repeatedly deceive, divide, disenfranchise, depress the majority then assign false mandates to the resulting prevalent minority. It is bad enough that the majority lets this work, but it would be worse still for the majority to accept the false result and false narrative with which it is pitched.
And don't get me wrong: in politics there are no happy endings, only happy warriors doing the work. No victory is permanent, every accomplishment must be defended, ineradicable wells of hurt, fear, greed, cruelty, rationalization forever reinvigorate old falsehoods and frailties and ferocities. White supremacy, patriarchy, hierarchy are older and deeper than the skirmishes the multicultural left won in the culture wars, and new and renewed culture wars play out even now in immigration and climate change and healthcare policy.
Still, it actually matter that we grasp that the left won the culture wars, if only to grasp clearly the opportunities brought into being by that victory BOTH to the Democratic left and the Republican right.
The multicultural left is of course very much at home in the America of the Obama coalition, and it is prone in its comfort, on the one hand, to a dangerous complacency that dismisses real reactionary political threats of the moment as well as, on the other hand, to an overconfident misreading of the pragmatic possibilities of the moment yielding divisive purity-politics, both of which depress participation, muddle and minimize the voice of the majority.
At the same time, the lived experience for the comparative beneficiaries of long-prevalent white-supremacist patriarchal christianist incumbency of the America of the victorious multicultural left is that of existential threat: It is because they feel like strangers in a strange land over which they long ruled (for all the good that did them) that they indulge in paranoid fantasies that their guns are about to be taken away, and that a democratic government of a We The People that includes them is, to the contrary, the Big Government of the They that is out to get them.
Of course, nobody is out to get them, no one is harmed simply because people different from them or who disagree with them happen to exist in the same world, none of them is threatened except to the extent that the Republicans they support ensure the ongoing neglect of their health problems and job insecurity and failed educations and retirement precarity: It is the sight of a citizen in a hijab in a bus, the sight of two men holding hands in the street, the sight of an interracial couple in a cereal commercial, the sight of a women's health clinic that makes Trump voters want to burn it all down even if the fire takes us all down together, it is the visibility of any emerging equity-in-diversity that provokes Trump voters to accumulate their private arsenals and to drown in hate talk and conspiracy media and that brought them to the voting booth to deregulate and empower the Wall Street they hate, to destroy the systems of social support on which their own lives and communities depend, to accelerate the climate catastrophe that will unleash the pandemics, droughts, famine, greenhouse storms, and resource-descent warlordism in which their own children may well die in tears screaming in the dark.
Make no mistake: Donald Trump is a life-long racist, and he ran for president unambiguously as a racist, and racism won Republicans control of all branches of government. Those who cringe at the recognition that Donald Trump voters are racist (which need not be exactly the same thing as asserting they are all "racists," consciously embracing racist ideology and indulging in assertive racist animus) are denying the plain and repeated racism of his campaign language, are in denial about the real significance of those who decry "political correctness," are in denial or shock at the rise of racist and sexist hate crimes and bullying that saturated the campaign and is exploding into terrifying bloodletting on our streets and on our screens and in our schools already and more, much more, to come. Many voted for Trump because of his racism -- and if you deny this you are lying, possibly also to yourself -- but everybody who voted for Trump did so knowing he was a racist running as a racist, and deciding that this didn't matter or other things mattered more is racism too.
The country has not yet recovered from the social support and labor union dismantlement Reagan years, the country has not yet recovered from the accelerated rollback of the Great Society engineered by the Gingrich Contract on America, the country has far from recovered from the illegal immoral wars and occupation based on lies and Great Recession authored by George W. Bush (with an admitted assist from Clintonian triangulation with a Republican Congress on financial and media deregulation and mass incarceration), and the fragile accomplishments of the Obama administration, miraculously won in the grip of catastrophe and in the face of unprecedented obstruction, are about to be destroyed one after another after another, and with every single act of destruction we will all feel again what we felt when he won the electoral college, we will feel the death of yet another path to a future worth living in, we will feel the foreclosure of more and more futurity capable of sustaining a free people. White supremacy -- and its blood-soaked history of genocide and slavery and their endless re-enactments from Jim Crow terrorism to occupational military policing into the present -- is the original and abiding sin of this country. Far from ending in the Obama Presidency, it may end the country with the Obama Presidency.
I am a democratic eco-socialist feminist anti-racist atheist vegetarian queer academic aesthete. I am a member of the Democratic Party and proud to be a part of the diverse disputatious majority it imperfectly represents. I am a citizen of the great state of California which is the future of America if America is to have a future. I believe that the radical politics we engage on the street, on the page and in the classroom between elections shapes the terrain of the possible and the important within the terms of which the partisan politics we campaign for and vote for play out in elections. I guess I am an angry white guy... who is angry at the angry white guys (and white ladies) who are destroying this country in a fit of pique at the prospect of the loss of white entitlement.
The misery of the sick who lose access to healthcare, the terror of the undocumented who strain to hear the knock on the door, the heartbreak of women with unwanted pregnancies that threaten to blight their plans, the sorrow of the queer or nonchristian child who faces a cruel mob, the hopelessness of the young groaning under the paralyzing weight of debt, these are evils to be resisted even in the midst of this devastating demoralizing distress. I will not give in to this despair, I will not hide in fear from the braying bullies in their armor, I will not be silenced by professional considerations or by the threat of state surveillance, I will not acquiesce and retreat into conspicuous and comfortable consumption or into the self-congratulatory fauxvolutionary radicalism of purity cabaret disdaining the necessarily compromised and pragmatic and incremental imperfections of Democratic Party politics, still the site of the best-organized best-resourced best-available tools on hand with which to defeat Republicans and implement some measure of sustainable equity-in-diversity in this country.
Donald Trump may be President but his bigotry and authoritarianism has disqualified him from the office of the Presidency of a free country and I respect facts too much and civil liberties too much and justice too much and decency too much and progress too much to pretend otherwise. I feel old and tired and hopeless and scared but I will fight. I will fight Donald Trump and the Republican Party and the ignorant fearful bullies who have delivered my tomorrow and my students' tomorrow unto Trumpism.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:
Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.
We have never been more proud to be Californians.
By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.
The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.
California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.
California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.
We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.
While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.
California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.
* * *
Hoy despertamos sintiéndonos extranjeros en tierra extraña, porque ayer los estadounidenses expresaron sus opiniones sobre una sociedad pluralista y democrática que es claramente inconsistente con los valores de la gente de California.
Nunca nos hemos sentido más orgullosos de ser californianos.
Por un margen de millones de votos, los californianos rechazaron abrumadoramente la política alimentada por el resentimiento, la intolerancia y la misoginia.
El estado más grande de la unión y la locomotora de la economía de nuestra nación ha demostrado que también tiene su conciencia más tranquila.
California es - y debe ser siempre - un refugio de justicia y oportunidades para las personas de todos los orígenes, lenguas, edades, y aspiraciones - independientemente de su apariencia, dónde vivan, qué idioma hablen, o a quiénes amen.
California, por mucho tiempo, ha sido un ejemplo a seguir para otros estados. Y California defenderá a su gente y nuestro progreso. No vamos a permitir que una elección sea un revés para el progreso de generaciones en la cima de nuestra histórica diversidad, el avance científico, la generación económica y un sentido de responsabilidad global.
Estaremos comunicándonos con los funcionarios federales, estatales y locales para evaluar cómo una Presidencia Trump podría afectar potencialmente los fondos de programas estatales en curso, las inversiones creadoras de empleos que dependen del comercio exterior y la aplicación de las leyes federales que afectan los derechos de las personas que viven en nuestro estado.
Estaremos utilizando al máximo el tiempo durante la transición presidencial para defender nuestros logros, usando cada herramienta a nuestra disposición.
Aunque Donald Trump haya ganado la presidencia, no ha cambiado nuestros valores. Estados Unidos es más grande que cualquier hombre o partido. No seremos arrastrados de vuelta al pasado. Lideraremos la resistencia a cualquier esfuerzo que destruya nuestro tejido social o nuestra Constitución.
California no era una parte de esta nación cuando comenzó su historia, pero ahora somos claramente los encargados de mantener su futuro.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
1 Lesson learned: Never nominate a candidate who does not entertain the American people.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
2 Gore, Kerry, Clinton: Stiff and flat and not ready compelling vehicles for primarily emotional media narrative appeals.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
3 Needless to say, the capacity to connect with crowds and cameras says nothing about the capabilities, decency and sense of a candidate.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
4 It offends good sense that these skills matter as much as they clearly do, but they do.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
5 One of the things I was hoping was that this election would vindicate professionalism and good sense over blatant untrustworthy charisma.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
6 That people voted for Obama and then voted for Trump reveals that millions of voters grasp little and care less about actual substance.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
7 The network-mediated celebrity presidency is a site of mass narrative identification, quite apart from its Constitutional job description.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
8 I'd like to think Trump's schtick will come to seem less entertaining and compelling to his voters pretty quick as he fails to deliver,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
9 ...but I'm honestly not sure they'll care about such results so long as the circus stays in town while he bashes vulnerable scapegoats.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
10 Needless to say sexism, racism, cissexism, ageism, ablism stratify any apparently innocuously neutral deployment of the term "compelling"— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
11 There is a hell of a lot of sexism playing out in assessments of HRC as unappealing, but she often declared herself an unnatural speaker.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
12 I refuse to believe racist, sexist, cissexist, ageist, ablist norms and forms preclude legibly inspiring and compelling candidacies.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
13 The US is diversifying, secularizing, planetizing and Democrats need to field candidates those dynamic diverse constituencies respond to.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
14 Reagan was a movie star, Trump is a realityTV star, W was pitched as an affable doofus to have a beer with against two stiff technocrats.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
15 Sure Democrats actually want to solve shared problems and work to progress in the direction of ever more sustainable equity-in-diversity:— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
16 It's a lot to ask that our party promote senators, governors, presidential candidates who *demonstrably* connect with cameras and crowds,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
17 ...when what we truly most care about is empathy, professionalism, pragmatism, and mastery of policy substance.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
18 Candidates in high offices are one in a million! Demonstrably charismatic AS WELL AS competent candidates exist in our diverse coalition.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
19 It is time for Democrats to embrace the talents and priorities of a rising generation and then, just as we did with President Obama,— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
20 ...pick competent charismatic professionals with fresh faces who know how to put on a show.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) November 9, 2016
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Monday, November 07, 2016
Sunday, November 06, 2016
Another consummately professional and rhetorically effective bit of media from the Clinton campaign. Tuesday closes the chapter, fascist takeover averted, and then the next long nightmare of Republican lies, obstruction, and hate from Congress and Statehouses continues on...