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Dali_tristan-and-isolde

 

Honor and reverence for the Muses, breathe ecstatic life into my words.

 

The centre is everywhere, chaos, a chasm, a womb –

Erupting flames of necessary and tragic contingency.

But, there is malice and cruelty in our dank little house of incarceration and death.

No one is looking out for us – wild wolves stalk in the shadows and dance in the light.

There was once a guardian, the last, but he is long dead.

Others claim he never lived or that he merely took over his mantle from the exiled.

There is, it is – we are not, but seem to be, a flame upon the wick of a candle.

All remains all, but each explodes amid incessant spirals, singular flashes –

A contingent spark, born, consumed in the flux of catastrophic fire.

There is, it is – givenness, the life and death of a flower.

The open, the chasm sounds, we dwell within quantum music.

The river does not need us – we are simply here, temporarily.

That each of us was here is an eternal fact with little or no significance.

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Europe Stares into the Abyss: Confronting the American Occupant in the Room

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Europe must seize the vast opportunity for self-determination that has presented itself in Trump’s destructive re-configuration of the post-War international order.

In the wake of the vandalism of the Trump presidency, an end-game has been revealed which will allow Europe to reclaim its sovereignty as an independent world power – and as another counter-balance to American hegemony.

If Europe will not, however, embrace this possibility, if it does not have the courage to take charge of its own destiny, it will face two existential possibilities: full assimilation into the American empire or destruction through war. There is no middle course if Europe will not embrace the truth of its oft-preached slogans and oft-publicised philosophies of freedom.

There may never be a better moment for Europe to take its destiny back into its hands. Trump wants to frighten, intimidate, expecting that we will always back down, that we will always choose the unimaginative stability of the status quo – or, that our elites will always be susceptible of blackmail, bribery or bullying to toe the line.

But, is this how we want our history to be told to our children: that we were knaves, cowards and accomplices to the most destructively narcissistic nation in history?

To read the rest of the essay, please visit Europe Stares into the Abyss.

 

America’s Shameful State of Decay – Bernie Sanders still has a plan for the renewal of US infrastructure

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Every generation needs a new revolution.

                                 Thomas Jefferson

 

Infrastructure.  Not a very exciting word – and certainly not one to whip up the hysteria of the electorate in an election year.  We have other words for that: immigration, terrorism, religious extremism, or Russian aggression.  The usual suspects.

Yet, perhaps the word ‘infrastructure’ will become more exciting if we unpack it, learn what it is – and understand that it is not any external cause that most threatens America, but instead decades of negligence to the very ‘infrastructure’ of this nation.  There is that word again: infrastructure. But, what does it mean?

A short list will suffice: water treatment, roads, bridges, public housing, passenger and freight rail, marine ports and inland waterways, national parks, broadband, the electric grid, schools, hospitals, government buildings, dams – in other words, to use a medical metaphor, the conditions for the healthy life of a nation.

Perhaps the people of Flint, Michigan and the increasing number of cities affected by the lead poisoning crisis know better than most the critical importance of the timely maintenance and transformation of our nation’s infrastructure.

To read the rest of this article, please visit America’s Shameful State of Decay.

Political revolution isn’t just a sexy slogan

Why the ‘Movement for Bernie’ must not end at the White House, or even with a Trump or Clinton Presidency

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There has been much talk about the relative prospects for the success of a Clinton or Sanders nomination for the Democratic Party – and much debate over whom – Sanders or Clinton – would be the real ‘change-maker.’   There has also been much ink spilled over various strategies for overcoming Republican obstruction should either of the Democratic contenders win in November.  And, there have been many reminders that the 2018 mid-term elections will provide the Democrats with the opportunity to take back the Congress – and even, and especially, with a Republican win in November.

Yet, a political revolution is not just a sexy slogan.  A political revolution, born of a mass movement, is a process of radical change which will succeed or fail dependent on the persistence and tenacity of a grassroots struggle which must remain active and grow in intensity beyond the formal process of voting.  The scale of change needed to truly ‘crush the oligarchy’ requires long term vision and commitment to continuous fighting on a day to day basis regardless of the outcome of the election.  We are well aware that our electoral system is inherently corrupt – beyond Citizens United – and that political revolution requires the cultivation of a momentum to completely overturn a fraudulent and undemocratic system.

Most of us are aware of the challenges that such a political revolution will entail – and the depths and expanse of change that will be needed to carry out a radical program of democratic renewal.  Such a transformation is not merely a return to FDR style politics, focusing on re-allocation in the domestic arena.  It requires a thorough re-thinking of the meaning of democracy not only at home but also abroad.

This is why, as the saying goes, nothing should be off the table.  Not merely the voting system or campaign finance reform, but an entire transformation of business as usual. Not merely a more humane or trade oriented foreign policy, but a radical re-assessment of the place of the United States in the world order.

To read the rest of the essay, please visit Political revolution isn’t just a sexy slogan.

Putin’s Ears Must Be Burning: A Report on the Banality of Propaganda

Russian President Putin gestures as he speaks to journalists following a live nationwide broadcast call-in in Moscow

I sometimes wonder what Путин must make of the Western media obsession with him.

Do his ears burn each day with all the new articles, broadcasts, social media mentions – the myriad voices, guided by the Western political and media establishments, speculating, characterizing, creating – “Putin”?

It is unlikely that Путин is indifferent to the “Putin” spectacle as there are often statements by his proxies or himself that deny or contest reports in the Western press – or, request never-forthcoming evidence to back up incessant and unsubstantiated allegations.

Путин has been meticulously translated into the lifeworld of Western alphabets as caricature, a larger than life, Hollywood nemesis, woven out of an echo chamber of narrative clichés.

As with other mythological creatures, the poets elaborate the “Putin” tapestry by which we interpret the world.  This mythos, distinct from the disinterested integrity of knowledge, operates unconsciously, at the level of mass psychology, amidst the zeitgeist.  In this context, “Putin” becomes a trigger word for a nexus of prescribed, automatic feeling.

To read the rest of this essay, please visit Putin’s Ears Must Be Burning.

American Wasteland: The Profitable Decay of the Opioid Crisis

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The relentless tragedy of narcotic addiction, especially of opiates, across America has overwhelmed already depleted public resources, leaving a trail of devastated communities, families and lives – threatening a new lost generation.

For millennia, opiates have been agents that wash away or deaden pain.  In light of the chaos of our mental health provision, the lure of opiates (and other drugs) is an understandable, though dangerous, response to untreated mental illness.

It is ironic, however, that the default “solution” to the crisis is another range of drugs.

Substance abuse is clearly another thread in the American mental health crisis.  The main arena of public intervention however remains the criminal justice system.

Hearing the phrase “mental health crisis,” one may think of the epidemic of mass shootings plaguing the country since the Reagan era.  Or, images may erupt of home grown terrorist attacks or the plunge toward right-wing extremism in contemporary politics.

Yet, suicide outranks both homicides and car accidents as the number one killer of our fellow citizens. Every eighty minutes, for instance, a Veteran commits suicide, the final act of a life shattered by emotional and physical trauma.

The public health dimensions of the crisis have been studiously ignored by the neo-liberal media in its ideological refusal of any primary public role in the provision of health care.

Yet, the truth is already clear: the crisis has been an enormously profitable transition to a new order of private service provision.

To read the rest of this article, please visit American Wasteland: The Profitable Decay of the Opioid Crisis.