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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

California Demands Trump's Taxes

via my one-stop shop for the daily political recapitulation while vacationing, ElectoralVote.com:
The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act... passed both houses of the state legislature by large margins, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed it into law [yesterday]. The bill requires that any candidate for president or governor who wants to appear on the state's primary ballot must submit the last five years' of tax returns at least 98 days ahead of the primary election. Donald Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has already announced plans to file suit. So has the California GOP... A fairly sizable majority of legal scholars think that the law should pass muster, since states have pretty wide latitude in establishing qualifications for candidates who want to appear on ballots. Further, there are exactly 118 days left until the deadline. Even if Team Trump gets a favorable outcome, they might not be able to work their way through the process (including appeals) in time. Assuming that the law stays on the books as of November 25 (the deadline for submitting the returns), then things could get interesting. Presumably, Trump will not bow to the demands of a blue state that he hates. The GOP could summarily award all of the state's delegates to him, but that would probably trigger lawsuits from Bill Weld and any other GOP challengers. [This seems a thin reed to me, but okay.--d] Alternatively, the Party could try to arrange a write-in campaign (which is legal in California primaries, even though it's not in the general)... [T]he GOP could just decide that Trump will be fine without California's delegates, and will leave them on the table for Weld, et al., to collect. Of course, that won't work so well if many other blue states follow California's lead. [Pay attention to Trump's own New York, I guess? Fingers crossed.--d] ... There are so many lawsuits related to Trump's taxes in which the President's position is none-too-strong, and in which early rulings have gone against him, that his taxes will likely be public before Californians ever head to the polls. [Such optimism! I don't share it, having lived through the last fifty years in this country.--d]
I've been waiting for a State to do this. Glad it's California first through the gate. Pretty sure Trump and the GOP in its present utter debasement will just brazen it out and fall in line as they have done for every Trump violation. Still, one never knows just which legal or legislative maneuver might bring the stupid vile racist rapist crook down, which exposure of his lies and crimes and outrages might finally bring enough people to their senses to care enough vote him out.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Brunch and Walk

Still staycationing, still utterly out of the loop of gross Trumpmerican headlines, still soaking up the sun and sweet breezes, still hoping to win the lottery before teaching resumes in the fall...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

The English are always degrading truths into facts. When a truth becomes a fact it loses all its intellectual value.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, July 26, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Trump's License To Kill

Vile gangster (as the Star Wars scrolls would put it), Trumpnazi Attorney General William Barr announced yesterday that the federal government would resume executions -- I believe the last federal executions were in the administration of the last lying incompetent criminal fraud in office, George W. Bush. Needless to say, wrongful prosecution is inevitable and capital punishment ensures the ultimate miscarriage of justice will likewise inevitably take place in our names, an absolutely unacceptable state of affairs in my view. Given the palpable injustice of the police-and-prison-industrial-complex, capital punishment represents just the most absolute and conspicuous visage of the racist and poverty-punishing operations of what passes for "the justice system" in this country. Nobody with a sense of decency in the face of the human capacity to change, fairness in the face of the brutal inequities of our society, or the remotest grasp of the factual possibilities of restitution and recuperation and rehabilitation and reconciliation among the harmed can support capital punishment -- though I am sure most people are not Saint enough not to want to kill one who has killed a loved one, certainly I know how I'd feel if such violence took Eric from me, but universal laws can scarcely be written in the toxic stew of such passions. Needless to say, Donald Trump is not a sensible or decent person and neither are the members of his deplorable base. Trump wants to kill because he thinks killing looks "strong" and his Nazi base thinks killing is strong, too. The less said about this sort of sick sad worldview, the better. More to the point, though, I daresay the many legal challenges to these efforts soon forthcoming will provide the looked-for pretext for a cynical unleashing of racist "weak-on-crime" Willy Horton on steroids fearmongering. Probably, Trump will also whomp up racist hysteria around any events, however minor, that can be narrated in terms of furrin' terrorism and scary diseases from "abroad" -- all convenient frames through which to make the racist Base appeals that are the only real quiver in Trump's bow just the sort of narrative mainstream media fall for every time.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Staycationing

A vacation away from screens, reveling in pages instead. Finished Wendy Brown's book a few days ago, as I mentioned, just finished another volume of About Time (a multivolume work on Doctor Who I've been grazing all year and have more than half still to go, by the time I finish which they'll probably have published yet another volume), am starting Paul Magrs's Mars trilogy, which looks like fun, and also I'm reading the Whitechapel Gallery series of Documents in Contemporary Art volume on "Sound" as well as Amelia Jones' The Artist's Body, both for pleasure as well as a way to get more truly in the spirit of a couple of MA theses I'm directing this upcoming year with students who have exciting things to show me and the world in coming months. I've also been futzing in my journal with creative writing exercises (Paul Magrs turns up here again, and some of you will already know how he connects to Doctor Who), crafting my way toward the utterly unreadable science fiction I've been meaning to write since I was a kid, reading pages, writing pages, turning pages.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

Heaven is a despotism. I shall be at home there.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, July 22, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Today's Random Wilde

Be happy, be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

From Wendy Brown's "In the Ruins of Neoliberalism"

Just finished Wendy Brown's new book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism, the last chapter of which, "No Future For White Men" is a real corker. Here's an excerpt:
The white male supremacism in contemporary traditional values politics becomes explicit, then, not only because nihilism pulls the moral drapery off those values and makes them contractual or instrumentalizable, but also because this supremacy is wounded without being destroyed. Its subject abhors the democracy it holds responsible for its wounds and seeks to pull democracy down as it goes down. Perhaps we are also witnessing how nihilism goes when futurity itself is in doubt... If white men cannot own democracy, there will be no democracy. If while men cannot rule the planet, there will be no planet. Nietzsche was immensely curious about what would come after the two centuries of the intensifying nihilism he expected. But what if there is no "after"?

...[Those] for whom attachments to nation, family, property, and whiteness are mobilized as a political reactionary formation... the toxic mix of nihilism, fatalism, and ressentiment with neoliberal assaults on the social and the political and valorization of markets and morals... this population rages against secular cosmopolitans oriented toward use in place of ownership and embracing racial indeterminacy, gender fluidity, "families we choose," godlessness, open borders, speculation, virtual sociality, and the rootlessness of everyday life. [They] cling to the soil, even if it is planted in suburban lawn devastated by droughts and floods from global warming, littered with the paraphernalia of addictive painkillers, and adjacent to crumbling schools, abandoned factories, terminal futures. Families become shells, ownership and savings vanish, marriages teeter and break, depression, anxiety, and other forms of illness are ubiquitous, religion is commercialized and weaponized, and patriotism is reduced to xenophobic support for troops in aimless, endless wars and useless, but spectacular border barricades. Nation, family, property, and the traditions reproducing racial and gender privilege, mortally wounded by deindustrialization, neoliberal reason, globalization, digital technologies, and nihilism... have been activated mostly by the Right. What kinds of Left political critique and vision might reach and transform them?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Where I'm At When It Comes To The Transhumanists

Today's Random Wilde

Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

"The Fragile Project"

Another indispensable contribution by Adam Serwer (The Cruelty Is The Point is, of course, another recent one), describing what was new for America in Trump's latest racist rally. I was born in 1965 and hope something like the fulfillment of the "fragile project" of equitable, sustainable, democratic polyculture might arrive before I leave this earth -- even as the festival of genocidal cruelty and suicidal denial now threatens to prevail. These passages really struck me:
White nationalism was a formal or informal governing doctrine of the United States until 1965, or for most of its existence as a country. Racist demagogues, from Andrew Johnson to Woodrow Wilson, have occupied the White House. Trump has predecessors, like Calvin Coolidge, who imposed racist immigration restrictions designed to preserve a white demographic majority. Prior presidents, like Richard Nixon, have exploited racial division for political gain. But we have never seen an American president make a U.S. representative, a refugee, an American citizen, a woman of color, and a religious minority an object of hate for the political masses, in a deliberate attempt to turn the country against his fellow Americans who share any of those traits. Trump is assailing the moral foundations of the multiracial democracy Americans have struggled to bring into existence since 1965, and unless Trumpism is defeated, that fragile project will fail... [M]ost of Trump’s predecessors had something he does not yet have: the support of a majority of the electorate. Ilhan Omar’s prominence as a Republican target comes not, as conservatives might argue, simply because her policy views are left-wing... She has emerged as an Emmanuel Goldstein for the Trumpist right because as a black woman, a Muslim, an immigrant, and a progressive member of Congress, she represents in vivid terms a threat to the nation Trumpists fear they are losing. To attack Omar is to attack a symbol of the demographic change that is eroding white cultural and political hegemony, the defense of which is Trumpism’s only sincere political purpose. Many of the president’s most outrageous comments have been delivered extemporaneously, when he departs from his prepared remarks. Last night, though, his attacks on Omar were carefully scripted, written out by his staff and then read off a teleprompter. To defend the remarks as politically shrewd is to confess that the president is deliberately campaigning on the claim that only white people can truly, irrevocably be American. Still, a plurality of Americans in 2016 and 2018 voted against defining American citizenship in racial terms, something that has perhaps never happened before in the history of the United States. There was no anti-racist majority at the dawn of Reconstruction, during the heydey of immigration restriction, or in the twilight of the civil-rights movement. The voters of this coalition may yet defeat Trumpism, if they can find leaders who are willing and able to confront it. That is not a given... The electoral coalition that gave Democrats the House represents perhaps the strongest resistance to the rising tide of right-wing ethnonationalism in the West, yet observe what the party has done with that mandate. The great victory of the House Democrats has been to halt the Republican legislative effort to deprive millions of health care coverage, a feat they accomplished simply by being elected [and even this is a premature declaration of victory given ongoing sabotage and the court cases still pending --d]. But over the past seven months, Democrats have proved unable to complete a single significant investigation, hold many memorable hearings, or pass a single piece of meaningful legislation that curtails Trump’s abuses of authority. Instead, they held their breath waiting for Robert Mueller to save them, and when he did not they, like their Republican predecessors, took to issuing sternly worded statements, tepid pleas for civility, and concerned tweets as their primary methods of imposing accountability.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

[P]rivate property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is. Private property has crushed true Individualism, and set up an Individualism that is false. It has debarred one part of the community from being individual by starving them. It has debarred the other part of the community from being individual by putting them on the wrong road and encumbering them.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily



Happy belated birthday to my righteous Representative, by the way, I forgot to mention it yesterday!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, July 15, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Walk And Brunch

Out and about in the molten blue of sun and sky, a little late to brunch and our diner was nicely emptied out (tho' an obnoxious straight white dude bragging about his world travels made more than enough noise to make up for the silence from the empty seats), then we had a little stroll through quiet sweet St. Mary's cemetery before returning home in time to evade the full afternoon blaze. It's vacation, so I'm trying to be lazy and badly failing at it, larding myself up with extra tasks and duties lest the true horror of actual relaxation manage to take place for the first time in years...

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, July 12, 2019

Vacation

The grades are in, Fall term doesn't begin for a month, and I plan to confine my consumption of Trumpstoopidnazi-epoch "news" to my Representative Barbara Lee's concise and righteous twitter feed. I feel better already.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (Big Picture Edition)

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, July 05, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Today's Random Wilde

To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

When Bigots Get Bored

Hard to imagine anything more pathetic than somebody still trying to troll this low-to-no-content blog.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Happy July 4th (Nazis With Guns And Tanks in the Street Edition)

“Your celebration is a sham. Your national greatness? Swelling vanity. Your sounds of rejoicing are empty, heartless. Your shouts of liberty and equality? Hollow mockery. A thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.“ -- Frederick Douglass "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Last Teaching Day

Finishing up Rob Nixon's "Slow Violence" on the temporality of environmental and structural violence and then taking up Carol Adams on vegetarianism and intersectional feminism. It's the last lecture, folks are bringing veggie treats for a final potluck/bacchanal while we talk vegetarian theory and practice. Not sure where people's heads will be at -- possibly in an advanced state of exhaustion from all-nighters spent completing their final papers for many of them. I don't mean to formally lecture more than a little bit, we'll see how the conversations unfold informally instead. Perhaps we'll conclude early. I could use a head start on my vacation. (Notice me pretending not to face an arduous grading marathon come tomorrow morning!)

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Teaching Day

Last week of my summer intensive at Berkeley begins today -- it's a week shortened by the holiday, and they are all deep in their final papers, so I'm expecting their reading to be patchy and their moods to be frayed and the class to be a bit ramshackle in consequence. We're shifting from epistemic violence and nonviolent resistence and abolition democracy to environmental violence as a kind of structural violence, reading Slow Violence (Rob Nixon) and a little eco-socialism (John Bellamy Foster) and environmental justice (Robert Bullard). But methodologically the day will be given over to ink-shedding (an in-class workshopping tool) and evals and some scattered notes. I could easily end up spending more time in office hours helping with last-minute panic about final grades and final papers than I do lecturing today...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Today's Random Wilde

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Promote Supreme Court Justices to "Emeritus" Status at 70

Over at Electoral-Vote.com there was an interesting exchange this morning on the imbalance of the Supreme Court (filled with out-of-step reactionary judges appointed by popular vote losers advocating disenfranchisement exacerbating their unrepresentativeness and hence subverting their mandate and the very idea of the rule of law) proposed a different suggestion than the more usual implausible court-packing and judge-rotation schemes that feel more like click-bait and activist energy-sucks than plausibly actionable campaigns...
QUESTION: Can you think of any reason why Congress could not legislatively define a "senior status" for Supreme Court justices? For example, after age 70, justices could advise, research, write, and give speeches, but would no longer select cases or participate in hearings, case conferences, or decisions. The president would then fill the senior vacancies with additional, active justices. Old justices would not be forcibly retired (possibly in violation of the Constitution), and no Constitutional amendment would be necessary. G.A., Berkeley, CA

REPLY: This is, of course, an alternate way of solving the two problems Bernie Sanders was trying to solve with his "court rotation" scheme, namely: (1) that the composition of the Court has become problematic and highly politicized, and (2) judges can't be terminated unless they are impeached. We think your approach is probably more likely to fly than Sanders' is. As we've pointed out before, there is already precedent for Congress to set a mandatory retirement age: federal law enforcement officers and firefighters must retire at 57, unless given special dispensation. Though it is not well known, there is also precedent for Congress to establish a "you're still active, but with reduced duties" status. Namely, five-star officers are not legally able to retire, and remain on active duty for the remainder of their lives, even if they have no command. We haven't had a five-star officer in a long time, of course, but the precedent is still there. (Note: Dwight D. Eisenhower's commission was suspended while he was president, and then restored the moment he left office). Sanders' proposal would, in the end, result in a demotion for SCOTUS justices. On the other hand, the "senior status" proposal would result in a promotion (albeit a symbolic one) to something like "Justice Emeritus" status. Hard to say how it would play out in court, when the inevitable lawsuits were filed, but this does not seem to automatically run afoul of the terms set by the Constitution or the various Judiciary Acts.