Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, June 30, 2017

Grateful

Reading Angela Davis on prison abolition/abolition democracy and Judith Butler on performative assembly/sensate democracy this summer is finally dragging me out of the despair and defeat I've been feeling all year.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

California Continues To Lead


SACRAMENTO June 29, 2017 – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla today released the statement below in response to a letter from Kris Kobach, Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Commission was established through executive order by President Donald Trump after he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election. Because he lost the popular vote, Trump has falsely alleged that three to five million votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election. This, despite the fact that his claims of voter fraud are unsubstantiated and that academics and bipartisan leaders have confirmed that there is no evidence of large scale, let alone massive voter fraud.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued the following statement in response to Mr. Kobach’s request for voter data:

“The President’s commission has requested the personal data and the voting history of every American voter–including Californians. As Secretary of State, it is my duty to ensure the integrity of our elections and to protect the voting rights and privacy of our state’s voters. I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach. The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.”

“The President’s appointment of Kobach–who has a long history of sponsoring discriminatory, anti-immigrant policies including voter suppression and racial profiling laws–sends a clear and ominous message. His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.”

“I will continue to defend the right of all eligible voters to cast their ballots free from discrimination, intimidation or unnecessary roadblocks.”

Thinking What We Are Doing

The following is excerpted from a history of teaching and statement of teaching philosophy requested as part of a dossier summarizing my position at SFAI as I'm assessed for the new union contract. The creation of the dossier was mostly a tedious and time-consuming slog, but I did find clarifying and useful the opportunity to think more explicitly about what it means to be trained in rhetoric teaching critical theory to art students in California in the time of Trump's GOP... 

The title of my version of the Critical Theory A survey course -- no doubt the single course I have taught the most often over the years here at the San Francisco Art Institute -- has usually been "The Point Is To Change It." The title is drawn, of course, from the last of Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach": "The philosophers hitherto have only interpreted the world, but the point is to change it." Since I go on to read Marx on the fetishism of commodities as the recommendation of a kind of radical reading practice -- changing the world BY interpreting it, as it were -- things get sticky pretty quickly here. But I first read this quotation simply as marking a re-orientation of western philosophical thinking in critical theory, especially under the pressure of the technoscientific transformations of late modernity and neoliberal postmodernity, away from the otherworldly consolations of the contemplative life to the provocations and promises (and betrayals) of the active life of worldly concern.

On this understanding, critical theory is (or at any rate was definitively shaped by) a return to the classical rhetorical tradition, a return the terms of which set the scene for the postwar biopolitical turn and the present turns of planetarity. Although I do not imagine it is particularly surprising to hear that someone trained in rhetoric would bring a rhetoricized conception to the teaching of critical theory here, what I would emphasize is the possibly more surprising fact that it has been my teaching of critical theory to art students here at SFAI that has been by far the most definitive encounter shaping my understanding of my subject and my work. At the heart of a rhetorical elaboration of critical theory will be an insistence on the distinction of literal from figurative language and an emphasis on the constitutive and resignifying force of the latter. For me, an understanding of the work of figurative language in the ongoing reconstitution of persuasion and meaning connects all theoria to poiesis, that is to say all analysis to art-making.

This is an observation that sits very well with my sense that Nietzsche is as indispensable a figure for teaching critical theory as both Marx and Freud are, as it does also with congenial historical and intersectional critiques pitched from poststructural/ posthumanist/ queer precincts in the present. I would now go so far as to say that what Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud have in common as the three threshold figures who take us from philosophical orthodoxy into the post-philosophical discourses of critical theory is the proposal of (anti-)fetishistic models of reading to re-write the world and ourselves in the image of our contingent values -- where ressentiment, commodification, and sexuality offer up their fetishistic Keys to History -- and in which the fetish functions as a quasi-figure generating false-facts.

My understanding of the rhetorical constitution of society and figurative work of collectivity derives as much from my collaboration with students applying the theoretical language of textual criticism to their own life experience and art practice as from taking up Arendt's understanding of the political, Fanon's posthumanism, King's "revolution of conscience," Davis's abolition democracy, and Butler's performative theory of assembly.

Over the years, in teaching critical theory to art students the work of figurativity in the construction of collective agencies, resistances, meanings has loomed ever larger in my understanding and emancipatory hopes. I have been stunned by the formal experimentation students at SFAI will bring to my assignments for mapping conceptual spaces or crafting new definitions, introducing temporal, visual, tactile interventions into textual argumentation for example. In coming slowly to understand better how my students come to understand the place of critical theory in their own lives my sense of the work of critical theory and rhetoric in everyday life and in my own life has utterly expanded and transformed.

For me, education was never primarily a process of professionalization but of self-creation: It is through my years of education that I was politicized, came out and into my queerness, discovered my vocation for teaching -- and that work of self-creation and politicization and queer expressivity is ongoing. I teach my students that we are all of us incarnated poems -- and that our freedom requires both the legibility of literality before the "Eye of the Law" but also the provocation of a figurativity questioning that legibility to open up legibilities otherwise. As students testify to their hopes and to their histories in the classroom, critical theory becomes a site through which to connect reading practices, writing practices, artmaking practices, and worldbuilding practices more generally. In this work I am not only a guide but, gratefully, a collaborator with my students every term.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

This Is True Enough To Be True

Sunday, June 25, 2017

No Justice, No Pride

No Pride blogging this year, it seems, not even to post my usual grumping. I'm happy to see folks protesting pinkwashing corporate sponsorship and racist policing in the spirit of the anti-Trump Resistance. Still and all, Eric and I are well-pleased these days to leave Pride to the young.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Green Rhet This Summer

Summer 2017
Rhet 153: GREEN RHETORIC

Instructor: Dale Carrico: dcarrico@sfai.edu, ndaleca@gmail.com
Course Blog: http://greenrhetoric.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-syllabus.html
Meeting: July 3-August 11, 2017, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9-11.30am, Rhetoric Conference Room, 7415 Dwinelle Hall

Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies -- Participation/Attendance, 15%; Reading Notebook, 15%; Object Reading, 1-2pp., 10%; Toulmin/Precis, 2-3pp., 15%%; Presentation, 15%; Final Project/Keyword Map, 30%.

Course Description

Of what does "Greenness" consist? In what does "Greenness" abide? Just what is "Greenness" good for? In this course we will survey a range of key vocabularies of environmental thought and activism -- Deep Ecology, eco-socialism, eco-feminism, environmental justice, anti-civilizationism, permaculture, sustainable development, disaster capitalism, and futurological geo-engineering -- as well as engage with more specifically and indicatively American traditions, from Transcendentalism to wilderness conservation (or exterminism), the land ethic, and consumer lifestyle ecology. We will also delve into what seem to be prevalent rhetorical strategies to communicate the urgency of environmental crises and mobilize sufficient constituencies to address them. What is compelling or not about current forms of environmental journalism? What delights lie in store for the reader of international agreements on climate change and policy papers available from the Environmental Protection Agency? Does the scientificity of statistics lend force to environmental claims or alienate people from narratives of lived distress and shared threat? If liberal governance is inadequate to address environmental catastrophe are efforts to circumvent the political via macro-design strategies or micro-mindfulness lifeways more likely to succeed? Does the proliferation of environmentalist identities and subcultures facilitate necessary political organization or undermine it or simply reveal its ineradicable intersectional stratification? We will even ponder why so many environmentalist websites make recourse to similar color palettes and fonts and images. Our focus will never drift far from current dilemmas, but the premise of the course is that these dilemmas are illuminated by critical vocabularies just as the critical vocabularies are substantiated by the dilemmas to which they are applied. At the end of the term, each student will create a conceptual-keyword map tracing their own course through the course materials and finding their own settlement within them, however unsettling it may be.

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One

Tuesday, July 4 -- Holiday

Wednesday, July 5 {Introductions}

Thursday, July 6 {Inconvenient Truths}
-- Screening and discussion of film, "An Inconvenient Truth" (1-2pp. Object Reading due Tuesday)
-- Bill McKibben, With the Ascent of Trump Is It Game Over for the Climate Change Fight?

Week Two

Tuesday, July 11 {Hyperobjects, Slow Violences, Number Soup, Intersections}
-- Timothy Morton, The End of the World
-- Naomi Klein, Climate Rage
-- Rob Nixon, Slow Violence
-- Bill McKibben, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
-- Brentin Mock, Are There Two Different Versions of Environmentalism, One "White," One "Black"?

Wednesday, July 12 {Transcendentalist Precursors and Successors}
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Nature
-- Henry David Thoreau, from Walden
-- Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain
-- Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like A Mountain
-- Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic

Thursday, July 13 {Ah, Wilderness!}
-- PBS Site for the Ken Burns Miniseries, America's Best Idea
-- Alan Spears, No, National Parks Are Not America's "Best Idea"
-- Lisa Campbell, National Parks and Environmental Racism
-- John Muir, Save the Redwoods
-- Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Chapters 1-3
-- Astra Taylor, Who Speaks for the Trees?

Week Three

Tuesday, July 18 {Deep Ecology}
-- Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep
-- Arne Naess and George Sessions, Deep Ecology Platform
-- Stephen Harding, What Is Deep Ecology?
-- Joanna Macy, The Ecological Self
-- William Cronon, The Trouble With Wilderness
-- Murray Bookchin, Social Ecology Versus Deep Ecology

Wednesday, July 19 {Eco-Feminism}
-- Rosemary Radford Reuther, Ecofeminism
-- Cathleen and Colleen McGuire, Ecofeminist Visions
-- Catherine Keller, Dark Vibrations: Ecofeminsm and the Sacred
-- Nick Estes, This Land Was Made for Decolonized Love
-- Allison Kilkenny, 5 Reasons You Should Care About Environmental Justice If You Care About Women
-- Greta Gaard, Toward A Queer Ecofeminsm
-- Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, Unnatural Passions? Notes to a Queer Ecology

Thursday, July 20 {Eco-Socialism} (Precis/Toulmin)
-- John Bellamy Foster, The Four Laws of Ecology and the Four Anti-Ecological Laws of Capitalism
-- John Bellamy Foster, Trump and Climate Catastrophe
-- Vandana Shiva, The US Patent System Legalizes Theft and Biopiracy
-- Systems Change Not Climate Change, What Is Ecosocialism?
-- Jason Moore, The End of Cheap Nature
-- David Schwartzman, From Climate Crisis to Solar Capitalism

Week Four

Tuesday, July 25 {Environmental Justice}
-- Robert Bullard, Poverty, Pollution, and Environmental Racism
-- Laura Pulido, Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism
-- Sarah Lazare, From Fracking to Coal Waste, NAACP Confronts Environmental Racism in North Carolina
-- Melissa Harris-Perry, Being Black on Earth Day
-- Larry Buhl, The Color of Pollution
-- Rio Declaration
-- Johannesburg Declaration

Wednesday, July 26 {Permaculture/Polyculture}
-- John Zerzan, Agriculture
-- Malcolm Scully, The Destructive Nature of Our Bountiful Harvests
-- Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, A 50-Year Farm Bill
-- Wes Jackson, Becoming Native To This Place
-- The Land Institute, Vision and Mission and Our Work
-- David Holmgren, Permaculture Design Principles
-- UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Agroforestry, Basic Knowledge (By all means, dig deeper.)

Thursday, August 27 {Green Eats} (Potluck Brunch)
-- Clara Jeffery, Michael Pollen Fixes Dinner
-- Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels
-- Claudia Deutsch, Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change
-- John Vidal, Ten Ways Vegetarianism Can Help Save the Planet
-- Sarah Henry, Former Black Panther Launches Urban Farm to Give Ex-Prisoners a New Start
-- Marc Abrahams, Food for Thought
-- Gretel Schueller, The Truth Behind Food Labels
-- EPA, Food and Pesticides
-- Tom Philpott, Trump's EPA Greenlights A Nasty Chemical

Week Five

Tuesday, August 1 {Standing Rock}
-- History
-- Nick Estes, Fighting For Our Lives
-- Wikipedia, List of Pipeline Accidents in the 21st Century
-- Julian Brave Noisecat and Ann Spice, A History and Future of Resistance
-- Black Lives Matter, Solidarity With Standing Rock
-- Anna J. Willow and Sara Wiley, Politics, Ecology, and New Anthropology of Energy: Hydraulic Fracking

Wednesday, August {Peak Everything}
-- James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
-- Michael Klare, Are Resource Wars Our Future?
-- Maxwell, Fuller, Brooks, and Watson, Biodiversity: The Ravages of Guns, Nets, and Bulldozers
-- Saul Landau, Reagan and Bottled Water
-- World Wildlife Fund, Deforestation
-- Kate Kelland, Antibiotics Overuse Threatens Modern Medicine

Thursday, August 3 {Green Capitalism/Disaster Capitalism}
-- Paul Hawken, Natural Capitalism
-- Michael Albert, Natural Capitalism?
-- Richard Stroup, Free Market Environmentalism
-- Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend, Sustainable Growth: An Impossibility Theorem
-- The Economist, The Triple Bottom Line
-- IPCC, Thirty Years To Climate Calamity If We Carry On Blowing the "Climate Budget"
-- Harvey Wasserman, King CONG vs. Solartopia
-- Bruce Watson, The Troubling Evolution of Corporate Greenwashing
-- Naomi Klein, Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump's Disaster Capitalism

Week Six

Tuesday, August 8 {Green Urbanity} (Last of the Presentations)
-- Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
-- Mike Davis, Sinister Paradise: Does the Road to the Future End at Dubai?
-- Stewart Brand, How Slums Can Save the Planet
-- Bob Berwyn, To Keep Cities Cool We Must Green Them Right
-- Joshua Leon, What Broadacre City Can Teach Us
-- Annalee Newitz and Emily Stamm, 10 Failed Utopian Cities That Influenced the Future

Wednesday, August 9 {Tech Talk}
-- John Zerzan, Against Technology
-- Kirkpatrick Sale, Lessons from the Luddites
-- Bryan Walsh, Your Data Is Dirty
-- Aaron Labaree, Our Science Fiction Apocalypse
-- Marc Stiegler, The Gentle Seduction
-- Naomi Klein, Geoengineering: Testing the Waters
-- Karl Mathiesen, Is Geoengineering A Bad Idea?

Thursday, August 10 {Final Symposium} (Hand in Final Project, Keyword Map)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Good Vs. Evil

Democrats seek to alleviate precarity in order to build equity-in-diversity. Republicans seek to amplify precarity in order to exploit-&-control. Needless to say, one wishes more Democrats were better at building equity-in-diversity, and one can imagine or at any rate remember Republicans who weren't entirely given over to exploitation and control, but I gotta say this distinction seems pretty apt and it pretty much is the difference between good and evil and, like it not, here we are.

Which Side Are You On?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Free

"Downloud our app for free" is no more giving you something for free than "come visit our store for free" is giving you something for free.

Useful

Monday, June 19, 2017

Digi Demos This Summer at Berkeley

Summer 2017 
Rhet 166: DIGITAL DEMOCRATIZATION & ANTIDEMOCRATIZATION UNDER THE LAW

Instructor: Dale Carrico: dcarrico@sfai.edu, ndaleca@gmail.com

Course Blog: https://digidemosunderlaw.blogspot.com/2017/06/our-syllabus.html
Meetings: July 3-August 11, 2017, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 2-4.30pm, 140 Barrows Hall
 
Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies -- Participation/Attendance, 15%; Reading Notebook, 15%; Toulmin/Precis, 2-3pp., 15%; Presentation, 15%; Final Paper, 6-8pp. 40%. 
                Course Description
How did the promise of peer-to-peer participatory democracy devolve into twitter harassment, doxxing, toxic comment sections, and zero comments? Is techno-progressive "disruption" merely reactionary deregulation, venture capitalist "innovation" merely marketing hyperbole, futurological "acceleration" merely social precarization, tech's vaunted "sharing economy" merely a digital sharecropping society, its "openness" vacuity, its "participation" another form of television? How did early legal and political squabbles over privacy and property online set the stage for our current distress? How might the "end-to-end principle" defining internet architecture across its many layers comport with the ideologically reactionary figure of "negative liberty" playing out in generations of anarchic, spontaneist, populist online activism? What are the politics of a digitality figured as an immaterial spirit realm, when digital networks abet financial fraud and military surveillance via an "internet" powered by coal smoke, accessed on toxic landfill-destined devices manufactured by wage slaves in overexploited regions of the real world? Setting aside the logical possibility and engineering plausibility of "artificial intelligence" does AI as a rhetorical trope in legal and cultural discourse facilitate and rationalize unaccountable algorithmic mediation and muddy our thinking about "autonomous" weapons systems? How does social media facilitate the transformation of factual disputes over climate change, harm reduction, and the macroeconomics of public investment into polarizing culture wars? Are there appropriate and appropriable techniques at hand through which democratizations might resist these degradations? Might "The Future" still be more evenly distributed? Can we still count on the street finding its own uses for things?

                Week One                                                                                                            

Tuesday, July 4 Holiday

Wednesday, July 5 Introductions

Thursday, July 6 

                Week Two            

Tuesday, July 11 
-- John Maynard Keynes, from "Europe Before the War"
-- Tom Standage, on his book The Victorian Internet
-- Lawrence Lessig, from Code, Chapter 1, "Code Is Law," pp. 1-8; and Chapter 7, "What Things Regulate" pp. 120-137.
-- Lawrence Lessig, from The Future of Ideas, Freedom on the Wires, Chapters 2-3, Building Blocks and Commons on the Wires, pp. 19-48.
-- John Oliver, Net Neutrality Explainer
-- Malkia A. Cyril, The Antidote to Authoritarianism

Wednesday, July 12
-- Paulina Borsook, Cyberselfish
-- Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The Californian Ideology
-- Landon Winner, The Cult of Innovation

Thursday, July 13
-- Jessica Littman, Sharing and Stealing

                Week Three         

Tuesday, July 18
-- Eric Hughes, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto
-- Bruce Sterling, Maneki Neko
-- David Golumbia, Bitcoin Will Eat Itself
-- David Golumbia, Bitcoinsanity, Part I and Part II

Wednesday, July 19
-- Evgeny Morozov, The Perils of Perfectionism
-- Yochai Benkler, from The Wealth of Networks, Conclusion

Thursday, July 20 (Precis/Toulmin due following Tuesday)
-- Noah Berlatsky Interviews DeRay Mckesson, Hashtag Activism Isn't A Cop-Out

                Week Four

Tuesday, July 25
-- Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion

Wednesday, July 26
-- Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis, Media Manipulation andDisinformation Online
-- Zeynap Tufekci, Mark Zuckerberg Is In Denial
-- Sam Levin, Pay to Sway

Thursday, July 27
-- Jeremy Crampton and Andrea Miller, Introduction to Algorithmic Governance

                Week Five

Tuesday, August 1 Screen film, Colossus: The Forbin Project

Wednesday, August 2
-- Vernor Vinge, Technological Singularity
-- Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek #ACCELERATE Manifesto

Thursday, August 3 Final Paper Workshop

                Week Six
Tuesday, August 8 Poetry Reading/Individual Meetings

Wednesday, August 9
-- Jarett Kobek, I Hate the Internet (novel to purchase): We Heard You Like Books (2016). 
ISBN-10: 0996421807 ISBN-13: 978-0996421805/Individual Meetings

Thursday, August 10 Concluding Remarks (Hand in Final Paper, 6-8pp.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Queer Resistances and Abolition Democracy

"[T]he point is to call for an equally livable life that is also enacted by those who make the call, and that requires the egalitarian distribution of public goods. The opposite of precarity is not security, but, rather, the struggle for an egalitarian social and political order in which a livable interdependency becomes possible -- it would be at once the condition of our self-governing as a democracy, and its sustained form would be one of the obligatory aims of that very governance." -- Judith Butler

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

If I'm Not Mistaken, We've Made It About One Tenth of the Way Through This Thing

Assuming he doesn't get impeached because there still won't be enough Democrats or others of sufficient integrity in Congress to impeach him even after the midterms. Assuming he doesn't get re-elected. Assuming there is a real election for him to lose in 2020.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trump Disapproval Hits New High of 60% in Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

This would matter for any other administration in history. Will it matter this time? If it doesn't, will it ever matter again? (That it didn't matter for the last real test, the general election, is not encouraging.)


Monday, June 12, 2017

The F.A.B. One Was On To Something?

BBC Science & Environment News:
Great Britain is in the top 10% of areas for harbouring alien species, according to a study. Animals that have moved in from afar include the grey squirrel, rose-ringed parakeet and the noble false widow spider. The UK also has more established alien plants than elsewhere in Europe, such as Himalayan balsam. Scientists say islands and mainland coastal regions are global "hotspots" for alien species.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

As Goes Kansas...


-- Lawmakers rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy over his objections Tuesday night, forcing into law tax increases to fix a budget shortfall and provide more money for schools. The legislation ends the "march to zero" income tax cuts that Brownback heralded for much of his time as governor...  The Senate and House voted 27-13 and 88-31, respectively, to override Brownback’s veto. The action took place on the 109th day of the legislative session and paves the way for lawmakers to wrap up their work quickly, potentially this week. The override represents a blow to the legacy of one of the most unpopular governors in America, amid speculation that he may not serve out his remaining time in office but instead take a federal position.
Republican deregulatory disruption destroys everything it touches, and another noble experiment in Republican deception and plunder like Iraq Year Zero now ends with the state of Kansas brought low. The cherry on top of this shit sundae is of course the inevitable genuflection to Brownback's hopes for a golden parachute, enabling his upward failure from the Kansas catastrophe to a perch in the Trump Administration where he can bring his brand of destruction and misery to millions and millions more everyday working citizens.  

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Rebel Alliance Continues To Grow

On June 5, Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia would join the Climate Alliance as did Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Governor John Carney of Delaware and Governor Ricky Rosello of Puerto Rico. As of today, June 7, 2017, Alliance member states make up 31.4% of the U.S. population and 36.3% of U.S. GDP as of 2016.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

That Is To Say, Most Of It

It is amazing to grasp just how much tech innovation finally amounts to deliberate futurological enervation of criticism and citizen action.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Real America Backs Paris

The governors of Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont have joined the initial three states, California, New York, and Washington, as part of the Climate Alliance upholding the Paris Agreement from which the evil idiot Trump and his killer clowns have momentarily withdrawn us to the disgust and horror of the world. More than a quarter of the population of the country and over a third of the GNP of the country are represented by The Climate Alliance, even more so once the statements of Americas mayor's are taken into account. First formed just a few days ago, a dozen more states are thought to be considering joining the Alliance.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Getting Past The Trumpian Impasse

You know, ten or fifteen years ago Atrios used to say on his blog all the time that the best way to understand Republicans was just to assume that they do whatever they think will piss off liberals. That has always seemed too true, but we may have arrived at the time when that is literally all that remains to hold one of the two national parties together even as it devotes itself to taking the nation apart. I am not a psychologist, and I do not like celebrity profiles of politicians. I have given up trying to figure out what drives Donald Trump. The only thing that seems to logically connect his many initiatives is Trump's hostility to his immediate predecessor. I mean, I do see quite a bit a self-serving corruption and impropriety and deception and ignorance and indecency that reflect Trump's whole life up to this point, and which obviously did and should have disqualified him from the presidency. Like Gingrich, Trump is hard to distinguish from most other d-list conservative hate-media liars grifting for cash on the lecture circuit like their cousin conservative televangelists.... I mean, little to distinguish him apart from the pointless and portentous accident that he is the lying d-list conservative hate-media grifter who happened to be catapulted at this supremely dysfunctional conjuncture into the most dangerous position in the world. The Republican Party has been a shambles as a governing party for years and years by now. But I don't think there has been a Republican governing philosophy for many, many years now. (Anti-governmentality doesn't exactly lend itself to coherence in governing philosophies anyway.) Trump has no principles we can appeal to, the Trump base just wants to poke liberals to watch them scream, the Republican party no longer has a electorally-viable coalition apart from the Trump base -- there is very little sense of an availability for shared assumptions, contexts, values, hopes, norms to which the reasonable might make recourse to move us from where we are. I teach students how to think critically, how to argue more effectively, how to articulate complex problems, how to historically situate political struggles... at a time when it feels as though these skills are failing their address, stuck in stasis, demoralized. Radical and provocative visions of sustainability, equity, diversity, consent, flourishing are not to be found in the idiotic minute by minute fray of Trumpian follies -- but on the streets, in the classrooms, in the studios, in the conversations that look past the Trumpian impasse to a futurity with civil rights for all, accountable representation in government and policing, a living wage for all, unemployment disability and retirement security for all, lifelong education and training for all, healthcare for all, securing the scene informed nonduressed consent to the terms of everyday commerce, and paid for by progressive taxation and tolls re-internalizing the costs and risks of unsustainable enterprise.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Proud To Be A Californian

Link
OLYMPIA - In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee today announced the formation of the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

“I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states," said Inslee. "Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.”

“The White House’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet. This administration is abdicating its leadership and taking a backseat to other countries in the global fight against climate change,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions. We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet.”

New York, California and Washington, representing over one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, are committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.

“The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion,” said Governor Brown. “I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy - not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up.”

Together, New York, California and Washington represent approximately 68 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and the states account for at least 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Washington will continue to work closely together with other states  to help fill the void left by the federal government.

With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.