Sunday, February 23, 2020

Coronavirus

Has the market fully taken into account the virus? Some say it's going to be a 1T loss. For the entire world that's actually not bad. And yet we see, for a month now, major cities in China completely shutdown. Surely that will make a dent, right? Well, we'll have to see, unfortunately, it could mean a recession. Question is, will it be easy to bounce back from such a recession? I don't know, tell you the truth.

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I stand corrected

Greta does support the indigenous revolt in Canada.  Nevertheless, read the comments (and the top gilded ones) to see a misinformation campaign in full effect. First (and paid for, given that it's gilded) makes some non-sequitur about white college girls and this protest movement (which, if you're looking at the photos is anything but that). Then it's followed up with talk about how it's natural gas and thus better for the environment (also a lot of BS).


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Casino Royale

Watched Casino Royale for the first time in a long time and what was once a favorite of mine is no longer. Hell, I could almost sniff out the parts younger me liked, but couldn't really put up with it anymore. Interesting, right? And I don't mean the plot holes. I mean just the movie and the world it presents.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Democrats

In case  you haven't heard there's a primary going on. I have a couple friends who seem pretty iffy on Sanders winning. In that they think the old man socialist is going to lose the general and lose it big. Of course, I expect some on the right to just play troll, but this is coming from those not on the right, so it's worth looking into IMO.  Many people will look to Reagan and Nixon defeats of left types as indicative of what could happen, but the best one is Corbyn and his recent loss to conservatives. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Climate Change and Our Reactions to it.

I was talking to a friend recently about Greta, that darling of the MSM, and how one can't help but feel suspicious that she's front and center when plenty of indigenous activists (women, especially), on the front lines of climate change get little airtime and are even murdered in broad day without a single front page showing for them. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The ME and the MSM

Well it's been about a month since the assassination of Qassam. And now, we're hearing that we were lied to (quite possibly and given the fake casus belli of the past I'd put the odds as better than 50%) about the reasons for that killing. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Idlib

If you've only been listening to the MSM (Times has nothing on its front page and only something on the bottom of its world page), you probably don't know about the problem in Idlib between Turkey and Syria. Syria is conducting an offensive siege against Idlib and the refugees currently number close to a million. So far so average for this long war of attrition (hell, and US troops were shot at recently). But, of course, Turkey is actually in Syria (illegally, if anyone cares about that) and so far have brushed off Russian attempts to mediate a ceasefire (and indeed, are now swinging to the US. Have to give it to them for playing both sides pretty well here). Now the US seems to agree that they'll help Turkey retaliate if this goes further.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Friends like These

So you might have heard that Antarctica broke a heat record.  And this article isn't some climate denialist crap, nor is it even climate minimization, but fuck me if it isn't just worthless as a piece of news. Okay one hot day. Ice melting. Then it decides to use some pyramid units (why, of fucking why?) with no context nothing. How many such days would melt the glaciers? How much of the glaciers have been melted? What rise would that cause? Etc etc.

As ice sloughs off into the sea, it’ll raise sea levels around the globe. The ice sheets on Antarctica are currently losing 127 gigatonnes of mass every year, according to NASA. Imagine dropping 20,000 Great Pyramids of Giza into the oceans — that’s about how much ice is falling off the continent annually. Scientists recently recorded temperatures 2 degrees Celsius above freezing in the water at the base of one of the fastest-melting glaciers on the continent.
Do you see what I mean? I mean news is all (even the left) just entertainment and this is no different. Note that the climate models are showing 5C increase on current trends. That's hell on earth and yet instead of real science we get pyramid units. Like some fucking MFA for non-fiction dystopia is on us. 

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Thai News and other things

Sad to hear about a Thai soldier going berserk.  That, though, could be tied into inequality and how enlisted are essentially treated as slaves. So not exactly a shooting that's random or like other ones. But speaks to the austerity being forced on the vast majority of the world (by different mechanisms). Again, I point to Eastern Europe where austerity brought those regimes to an end. But also the main Empire's (USSR) unwillingness to back them with force. What about now? I don't think there's that unwillingness to back things with force, and, worse for us, many in power know to pay one half of the working class to fight the other half.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

What do you think?

 Is the democratic Iowa caucus a mess or highway robbery? Your thoughts? Here's something from RT trying to connect the dots. Does that matter? Are these connections just the result of our inept elites who are a tight circle that feeds off nepotism (a problem, but not the same)? I don't know. Would like to here your thoughts.

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New Best Global Novels (redux)

Wrote this article about the best global novels of the 21st century. It was some time ago, so looking at it again, I'm wary of it and wouldn't agree with it. 

Cloud Atlas? Yeah that doesn't make it. Same with Dream of a Celt,  and 2666. And my hero, Vonnegut, well his Mother Night didn't survive the filter of time (not as an international novel at least). 

White Teeth, though, yeah, that one stays on top.

But what other books should I add?

A Brief History of 7 Killings easily makes this list now. What else? Crap, I'm going to have to think about this. This is it for now.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Cool story bro

All right, while remnants of Hillary's campaign apparently still have their paws in an app that "failed" one can't help but be impressed by the center's claims that there's no way this is a conspiracy. The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.  Sure, no proof of much just yet, but given that it appears that Bernie is ahead in the popular vote but lost out on delegates, well some people should at least ask wtf? And here we are 24hours after the vote and not only haven't the totals not come in but they don't look to be coming in anytime soon. I mean, it's a quarter million votes. How the fuck can't you count that by now?

Yeah, I don't know either. Incompetence is one thing, but this is another.

When even the likes of Krugman are trying to poo-poo claims of conspiracy, I start to wonder.

Any how, in the meantime how about you read this story of mine published over by the people of bending genres.  It's a short one. Another take on red riding hood. Irreverent type. Check it out and enjoy.

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Sunday, February 2, 2020

On Shootings

So I talked about the rise in firearm deaths and murders in a post a few days ago. I just remembered this piece by Kilam, a poet here in Seattle, which was quite funny. Worth a read. And you should definitely check out his work if you get the chance.

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Saturday, February 1, 2020

End of the World

In case you missed it, and with regard to the state of the world, we're inching closer and closer to the end of times. Mainly, for those who've been living under a rock (the informational kind or the religiously zealous, hoping for end times kind) the thing is that with Climate Change and Nukes we're really running towards a kind of cliff, with CC feeding the potential for nuclear war. And yet, for some reason, none of this is being reported as loudly as it should. Why?

Well, for one, people really do want to think that everything is fine and that the status quo is also fine. Look at the AMA the Doomsday clock org did. I should not be surprised that it was immediately flooded, but I am to some extent. After all, Trump just said something about the purveyors of doom. And just like him, the people on that AMA calling them just that, don't bother to read the papers behind that series of thought. Happy land here we come. If you think it, it will happen.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Israel

Edit: I would say that the biggest reason this is even happening (besides to thumb a nose at the Palestinians and say bend the knee) is for votes. Bibi's election and, more importantly trying to win Florida for Trump. This just might do it. Also, reading this, from Norman Finkelstein, I think there is something else going on here (and not just a variation of neo-conservative imperialism, though that's part of it). Part of it is that there appears the need to make people capitulate entirely. This could be the endtimes world view of Pence and Pompeo coming out. Either way, it seems that they are heightening the tensions and looking to see who dares to defy them. Unfortunately, I don't think this will go unanswered.

What can one say about the proposed "peace" TrumpBibi plan? Except it won't work? Obviously we have the power (and apparently the crazy section of our country... you know, the ones that want Israel for a second coming) but with all that's happening in the Middle East, I'm under the impression that Trump just wants to bully away. I can't imagine that will ever work, but so far the blowback has been minimal. Am I wrong? Remains to be seen. I simply think that tensions have been heightened (as has the repression) all over the region and it remains to be seen what will happen. The other great powers also matter (mainly China, but also Russia) and how they react to all this. 

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Firearm Deaths up?

So I haven't had time to look at these numbers (and can't quite find the original numbers on the CDC site), but it seems they are solid. If you have any other info, please share it. It appears that gun deaths (evenly, across suicides and homicides) have increased after being flat from 1999-2014. So what happened in 2015 that caused the sudden uptick that has continued until today?


Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Art of Unwar

The Art of Unwar is a doc you should check out  since I might be in it... i think. But in all reality you should give some love and $ to this doc. Thanks!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A good talk

Thought this was a solid talk. On Iran and other places. Better than you'll see in most places. 

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Bernie and the Democrats (aka #resistance)

Another good (but longish) video passed on by Norman Finkelstein here.  I'll say that the other funniest thing coming out of the centrist "#resistance" cohort of Democrats is that they try to claim Bernie (and "Berniebros") are wrong or anti-colored people or some other stupid view. Thing is, nothing I've seen on the ground shows this. 

The dumb and dumber MSM and right wing

So it seems that Iran has has admitted to shooting down the civilian plane. First, I'm still not sure why such flights wouldn't be fucking grounded in a time of war, but whatever, I guess it had to leave. But this is what happens when tensions are heightened (see Mad man theories as enacted by Reagan and other idiots and how close they got us to nuclear annihilation but lucky for us they fucking didn't, because, again, systems to detect missile launches weren't good then and probably aren't good now (remember our scare in Hawaii?)). 

Second, it's obvious Iran is not ready to be a great power because all the real powers (US, Russia) just deny shit until the end of time. 

I also think that in the case of this plane going down, the conspiracy theories were semi-valid, but in the end it was stupidity that did those unfortunate souls in. Again, it's what a lack of information will do to most minds...

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Can Trump unite Shia and Sunnis?

I mean, he's fucking trying, right? ISIS and Hezbollah hand in hand. Kumbaya, mothafuckas, kumbaya. I mean, I jest, but at this point, mixing the right wing nuts and their "10D chess, we're out of Iraq" mixed logic thoughts (and essentially parroted by talking heads in most places), why not parrot this line?

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A Strategic Loss

So there is talk that the US asked Iraq to invite Qassam for a parlay then killed him (and the Pentagon presented this option thinking he wouldn't do it... i mean wtf?!). This would mean an even bigger international crisis than previously thought. Thing is, the Iraqi parliament already has asked the US to leave. We'll see if that place ends up a battlefield (because some people also don't want Iran there either). But the real issue, now, is how the EU (will they try to help the deal? Doubt that. They are our vassals, essentially), China and Russia react. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

On it goes.

So there were more strikes by us at certain leadership of militias in Iraq.  Apparently, even some who aren't directly influenced by the "Iranians" are targeted. Still, it would seem that the entire Quds leadership has been targeted. So this seems to have been more than just one opportunistic strike and instead is something a long time coming (or a complete goading of the Iranians).

btw, I've found the talk in the MSM (and worse on the right wing ones) to be quite useless. Reminds me too much of the lead up to the Iraq war. In fact, even on reddit there seems to be a concerted effect to push the main narrative this regime wants to out there[1]. So at least RT has a better product on this topic. Al Jazeera doesn't seem bad either, though. [2]

Still, what will happen? Of course, Iran can't actually fight us militarily. But we are backing them into a corner (or the regime is). Remember our sanctions are destroying their economy.

One thing is this will be a strategic loss (they have all the patience, while we, rightfully, won't, and Trump certainly won't). Killing a major general from a major nation-state, is not something anyone will take lightly. What matters even more than what Iran does, is what other nations do. Right now, even the Kurds have spoken out against this.

Protesters in Iraq were actually anti-Iranian and with one swift action it seems that things have changed in Iraq as far as them being angrier about the US rather than Iran. If Iran gets the US out of Iraq that would be a large victory for them. We'll see, of course (the Iraqi parliament will vote on kicking out the US, what then? Do we occupy or leave?).

Then there's the Middle East in general, which won't take this well (see Kurds above). The Sunni Shia will flare up even more... But China and Russia are the most important actors here. They did some joint naval exercises with Iran and I'm sure they are growing tired of the actions of the US's actions (again crossing the Rubicon of killing a senior official of a country you're not at war with, seems to be the big one[3]) not only against Iran but themselves.

To that end, they might help Iran (though they too have been helpless in getting around sanctions), especially if Iran plays it cool (if Iran messes too much with oil supplies, I'm guessing they won't be willing to help as much, or maybe they will, it's really hard to say).

What about you, what do you think?

Edit: btw the liberal "#resistance" bs about this being "Putin's desires" are beyond asinine. The lack of evidence that these people base such things  on (Putin has never wanted things to go sour with the Iranian nuclear deal and so forth).

[1] Again, commentators and others are trying to drown out reason (same things as before, to include, oh he's "bad") but the whole "immediate threat to American lives" as well as laying the blame of the embassy attack on him lack evidence and I wouldn't trust anyone from the Trump admin on that (and, again, lies for wars aren't a new thing, not even in this century). Even talk about "why was he in Iraq?" doesn't pass the smell test. Why shouldn't he? And it seems it was in the open. For all we know it could have been to talk down the militias (again, there's a give and take with proxies, especially Iraqi militias) and indeed he had done so previously.
Also few are talking about the legality of it.

[2] As always, if you see something you disagree with, please share (with facts).

[3] Remember it was our actions in Libya , and what we did to Qaddafi, that made Putin see us in more adversarial ways.

Quick ad for my novel on Iraq. Email for coupons. 

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Welp, Odds are SHIC Is Looking to Start a War

Shit head in charge decided to do this. Things are probably going to escalate and fast.  Note, I've been wrong before. Russian and Turkey patched things up pretty quickly. And I thought Trump was smart enough not to get into a quagmire. But here we are. A revered general killed (and then it was boasted about on Twitter) as well as arrests carried out (so perhaps some elements of the Iraqi government were fine with this?)... We'll see how it goes.

NOte that talking to a few Iraqis (not just Sunnis) people don't like the Iranian influence or the militias they back (in terms of politics and economics–they have flooded their goods in Iraq because of our sanctions) and some are celebrating. (Im also hearing that it was the same militia that shot Iraqi protestors? I'm not sure about that one, though it wouldn't surprise me). [1]

This doesn't mean that Iran won't escalate (here's some mil members talking on it, a few too many rah-rah types, me thinks), because they kinda have to at this point (remember sanctions, another act of war, is tearing their economy apart). Because what's the endgame for them (and also history tells us that things like this don't always work out rationally)

[1] Note that some of these militias might get some things from Iran, but that doesn't make them loyal dogs, so it's hard to say if Qassam actually gave orders for some of these actions.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The World's on Fire

So there've been plenty of stories about the fires in the Amazon and Australia. And as bad as those are (some man made, the others not so much), there are the fires in northern Africa that I'm thinking about right now. 

Best Books of the 21st Century. Redux.

Two long decades and here we are. That's a solid 2/5 of the century done with. So what were the best books of the century? Well, I wrote up a list 5 years back (adding a few notes to it), and in going over it, I'm really looking at having become a different man, aren't I?

Well, I will try to focus on the few qualities that actually make a classic [1] and hope to pick books that will last in the future [2]. Note that these books were published this century. If they were translated this century that does not count (initial publication date does, so Abyssinian Chronicles by Isegawa, though brilliant, and easily a best of the 20th century doesn't make the list because it was originally published in 1998 and only in 2000 was it published in the US).

Oh yeah, and this is for fiction. I'll add other books in another post.

Human Acts by Han Kang. Still brilliant and still a testament to brilliant writing and seeing what happens after human on human trauma (like torture).

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Also a brilliant and epic novel that wraps around several histories still ongoing (drug war, destabilization of countries for no real strategic value other than "fuck you"), but mainly the destabilization of countries because someone wants to help the poor.

Half a Yellow Sun by Adichie. Really, it's just brilliant and about a civil war not many people know about.

The Iraqi Christ by Blasim still hangs in here, though I would like to see his new work. We'll see I suppose.

 Open City by Cole is a great book and a great bit of contemplation of the pre-refugee crisis (in the west) world. It makes it to this list.

Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi (who, in a just world, would have the fucking Nobel Prize, but we all know why he won't get it). Great book, just not the same as his prior insta-classics. I liked it, and laughed, but something was missing. And yet, it only pales compared to his prior novels. So almost a matter of being punished for his own high levels. What didn't I like? I suppose it was a funny novel with many aspects of world geopolitics mixed in, but the drive and some of his previous insights were lacking.


Honorable Mention:
 The Road by McMarthy. It's a good book, and in many ways still points to the kind of hopelessness we seem destined to rush towards. Nevertheless, until I reread it, it won't be in the final list because, I don't know, it hasn't really stuck in my mind as all that brilliant. This may sound unfair, but it is what it is.

2666 by Bolano. Again, an epic book, but one that ends up dancing too much and not showing us enough of the horrid world around us. Does that make sense? Probably not. But it has fallen far in my estimation.

Dream of the Celt has also fallen in my estimation. Again, the filter of time and experience has changed my initial love for this book.

Shalimar the Clown by Rushdie. The man says stupid shit in public, but this book is still worth a read, I'm just not sure if it's a finalist. I don't if that's fair, but it just seems that way.

Breath by Winton is  also good and worth reading, but doesn't have the depth or global view I think classics now require [3].


Coetzee's work has also dropped in my estimation. No longer worth being on this list (either section).

There are a lot of books on many 21st century lists that I have read and don't think much of. I'll try to write about that later. For example DFW won't make any of my lists ever. I've talked about suburban ideology (and that includes Saunders) and don't enjoy it in my books, no matter how well crafted.

I also understand the male-bent of my list. I'll try to remedy that and read even more.



[1] Rather than the forces that sometimes make a classic. That is, books that are pushed into the current bestseller lists or books which are the literary establishment's darlings (not always bad, of course).

[2] Partially a fool's errand since, of course, many of these books will be subject to the forces in [1]

[3] Yes, yes, I know, the more local the more universal, or so people say. I'm not from that school, nor do I speak the language.

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Good poets.

Not a huge fan of poetry, but sometimes things like Rankine's Citizen come along and change all that.

Recently I read Illegal Citizen which is, indeed beautiful. Check it out sometime. 


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Saturday, December 28, 2019

ANd so it goes.

Was reading an article on Climate Change. It wasn't the best one, and doesn't seem to talk about deaths outside of air pollution (which really muddies the issues), but nevermind that. I've kinda disconnected from the internet and moved away from the arguments because it seemed like it was many of the same arguments over and over. 

And what do I see in the comments are the same faulty arguments over and over. [1]

It gives fuel for my view that the truth doesn't win out, but the loud ones do. 

Now, the likes of Krugman have called these "zombie" ideas [1], in that you kill them with facts but they keep coming back from the dead. 

But, like I said, this ignores the reason behind them. They haven't been killed (maybe for a few people actually using reason, like me) but are there to mark a tribe and to  out shout people. You plant these ideas enough and sooner or later you change minds enough. 

So propaganda, essentially. Sown by witting or unwitting agents. 



[1] I heard and believed many of these in the 90s, but now? Come on. They include: scientists lying for that sweet grant money, you can't predict weather 10 days out so you can't do so 100 years out, ice age cycles, sun spots, UN communist plot to steal money, and many other such hits.


[2] He calls another idea cockroaches, in that you stomp out one version of this idea and another one comes out. 

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Best Book of the 2010s.

 That I read in this decade, that is.

So you know I have my list every year. But now I'm going back and seeing which ones stand out from that list alone...

Abyssinian Chronicles: Okay, it's about Uganda, and many of you may think, fuk do I care about that small nation (assuming you can even point it out on a map)? But this is about so much more, to include colonial and post colonial and refugee and populist and religious and you name it strands of thoughts and the power behind them on an individual and national and international basis. I moved it to my best books of the 20th century list. Yeah, it's that good. Check it out.

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth: Raw and to the point. Makes me love poetry. Check it out, it's worth it!

Citizen by Rankine is a beautiful mix of poetry and thoughts that gives some more outlines to the current chaotic zeitgeist we all feel but perhaps don't understand.

Kolyma Tales by Shalamov. Here's a solid collection of stories on the gulags that killed millions. Worth a look because looking into the eye of evil is never easy. And when bureaucratic it's especially interesting.

 Tell me How it Ends. Very short but worth it! About the problems at our southern border before it was the topic du jour of our gnat-minded press corps. Yes, even Obama was bad (not to the same degree the current occupant is) with regard to this.

Jamaica Kincaid. Read all her work. That I just discovered her is something I can only blame on myself. Don't make the same mistake I did. A Small Place is a brilliant expose of the island she grew up on. At the Bottom of the River is likewise brilliant work (a collection of stories). I'm not even sure about what to say. Just buy and read her work. Now.

Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil. Not much to say about this classic. It's well thought out (not without it's holes, and one should definitely read the counter points to what she says here) piece on what evil is. Mainly, it's a joy to read Arendt and gain access to her thought process. It is this that inspires one to at least think outside the normal track. And though there are no Nazis out there today, given the strife it should be noted that it doesn't take much to lurch towards evil (and thus our need to be vigilant). 

Human Acts. One of the best books of the century. Yeah, I liked it that much. About how the South Korean government shot students and the aftermath of that on the fabric of society. Really worth it for the calm hand with which Kang describes this world.

The Sorrow of War. The Vietnam war as told from the other side. Raw to the point of excess. Can't say much more than that. But it should be read for the experience alone.  

A Universal History of Iniquity. I'm a huge Borges fan, so reading this was a no-brainer. It's even more concise than his other works, and perhaps a little less fantastical. But it's worth the ride. And as a writer I always find some inspiration in his words. The way the stories are pruned, the way they show a large section of the world, makes this a global and multicultural novel. In that sense, it makes it relevant to today.


Calvino's Italian Folktales .

Go Tell it on the Mountain. I was inspired to read this book when I saw a quote by Baldwin mocking his government for their reaction to the Palestinians. I knew then that such a contrarian would at least have bold words (better than most these days, isn't it?). I was not disappointed. In fact this book will be added to my greatest of the 20th century list soon enough (it has to sit a little more).  

Hiroshima. Another classic. But with the doomsday clock getting closer to midnight, something we should all read. The book with which to read this is below:

Crazy Iris. You like used bookstores? Yeah, I do too. Love them really. No way to properly replicate that randomness in finding books anywhere else. Not at all. I found this book randomly. It's shorts about the aftermath of the nuclear attacks in Japan. Absolutely necessary reading, if you ask me.


Notes of a Native Son by Baldwin. I only read this because I loved his novel (see below). I sensed, from that piece of fiction, that he had something more to say. That he was full of energy and perhaps anger. And when that was combined with his eloquence, I had to read his essays, as they seemed like they would have some great insight. They did. The title essay and "The Stranger in the Village" have some of the most incisive, heartfelt, and wry words ever put to paper. It was inspiring in many ways too. As a writer I was moving towards including more essays in my repertoire (the fictional kind, or the non-fiction that turned into fiction) and this book invigorated that idea. Read it (and given what has happened today with regards to Ferguson and New York, it is still very relevant). I highly recommend it. 

The Certificate by Singer is about Jewish life in Warsaw right between World War I & II. It shows how people try to grasp for anything when old gods are being toppled ("when the wind picks up, garbage rises to the top").

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This novel is epic in more ways than one and it really does a great job of essentially creating a host of characters, then clashing them together. Here you also get a glimpse of what imperial "destabilizing" does to a nation (and to the perpetrator).  Definitely one worth reading.




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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

self aware wolves

aka the conservative movement in a nutshell. Solid subreddit if you ask me. 

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Best books of 2019

Welp. It's that time again. Time to talk about the best books of the year. Not that which was published this year, but that which was read this year. By me. Which ones stand out in my mind? Well I'll list them here. In another post, I'm going to look at the list from years past and try to pick a best of  list for all these. We'll see, right?

Here goes. 

Well, if you've been reading here, the first book that comes to mind is:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This novel is epic in more ways than one and it really does a great job of essentially creating a host of characters, then clashing them together. Here you also get a glimpse of what imperial "destabilizing" does to a nation (and to the perpetrator).  Definitely one worth reading. 

The Certificate by Singer is about Jewish life in Warsaw right between World War I & II. It shows how people try to grasp for anything when old gods are being toppled ("when the wind picks up, garbage rises to the top"). In that sense it's like The Doll (below). 
 
A Treatise on Shelling Beans. Another novel I read on my trip to Poland. I found it not only to be interesting, but also

The Warsaw Ghetto by Heydecker. Mainly photos, but ones everyone should see. And though the author only writes a little, it packs quite the punch. Check it out as soon as you can (wrote about it here).

Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment by Stephen Kotkin. Good breakdown of what happened in Eastern Europe during the fall of Communism. Worth reading because, at least I, didn't know that it was austerity that caused this fall (and Gorbi saying he wouldn't use tanks). So these days with protests all over the world (some induced via sanctions or other forms of austerity upon the poor, like neoliberalism) one sometimes wants to hope, but in all reality, the no tanks/violence/coercion part of the equation is still there, isn't it?

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets Paperback – March 21, 2017 by Svetlana Alexievich This is a brilliant way of looking at history and helps to show how history is remembered (and that matters, this oral history)

Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life by Girard. Worth it because the man it's about, though flawed, is quite brilliant. First successful slave rebellion in history. And after reading about Eastern Europe and their failed peasant rebellions, this one is a great contrast. 

White Rage by Anderson is a brilliant book on race relations in this country.  

The Doll. Based in Warsaw in the 19th century, this is a dizzying novel with a great reach in terms of ideas and showing a set time. That being said, it meanders sometimes for too long, and I sense I liked it only because I was reading up about Poland. Again, I found out a lot about this time (to include how much Napoleon was loved by those trying to throw off their noble classes). 

Honorable Mention:
Here are some solid books, that should be on your list, but which I'm not sure should are in a must-read category:


Flights by Olga Tocarczuk is solid and it really aims for being a different kind of novel, and yet it really just falls short in my mind (how can anyone talk about travel in the age of Climate Change without mentioning what those "flights" are doing?). 

We was Eight Years in Power. Coates is brilliant. And this book is as good as any with regard to domestic politics in the US and the Obama years. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The House at Ujazdowskie 16 Interesting book about a building where Jewish people lived, but it's not well laid out (goes back and forth too much). I get why the author did it, but that took away a lot of the book's punch. Still worth a read if you want it.

Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers is a good book, and quite possibly a paranoid inducing one. Still, it ended up being very dense and hard to get through. Worth it if you want to see how the CIA had influence over our American literary landscape. (to that end you should see this post and the link at the bottom which takes you to a piece on how someone like Algren was basically blacklisted into obscurity). 

Freshwater by Emezi. Book was solid, but it didn't stick to my mind. I do look forward to what the author will create next.

Mr. Potter by Kincaid. I love Kincaid. Think she deserves the Nobel (so of course she won't win it), but I'm of the mind that  this book is very much unlike her. Instead of being sharp and succinct, it's long meandering and repetitive. I do not recommend it.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Wait, did I share this?

Not sure if I did. But here it is, a piece of photo-joiner magic that was accepted over at 45th parallel Mag. Check it out and show them some love. Also if you want an art print of it, go here.

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Watchmen

So just watched the HBO show Watchmen.  Quite interesting, though I'm not sure what to make of it now that I've finished it. I think the ending is what threw me off. Not that there were a lot of twists. There were, and I liked that, but it seems as if the ending took away from the main gist of the the story. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

And so it goes.

Protests continue worldwide, and, it would seem, that only a few are mentioned here in the US (by the MSM). Climate Change, as well, continues unabated, and people (even in my age group, so you can't really blame the Boomers alone) seem ever more  either not to care or to feign a kind of apathy. But the war against the environment continues and it seems the only real people on the front lines are indigenous people. Read this article about our neighbor up north. Sad stuff all around.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Another one

So in addition to having a story accepted over at Swamp Ape Review, there's also another one over at Bending Genres Journal. Will link as they come online (or off, whichever it ends up being)
Anyhoo, I'll be out of commission for a few days, but hopefully things will be posted up on my Patreon. Mainly I'm keeping more and more work where most people can't get them (for now you can read as much as you want here).





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Friday, December 13, 2019

What is Art?

I've talked about this before, but here's some discussion on a banana duct-taped to a wall (and sold for or to sell for 120,000$?). This article is interesting, though it seems to travel  into "I hate Banksy" territory for no real reason [1]. Nevertheless, it seems to speak of a handful of issues surrounding the banana, but little about the art market itself (And because it doesn't mention this powerful force itself, it's kinda useless). 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Our MSM coverage.

In the circles I travel in (which is, hard to say, centric circles which try not to rock the boat... aka the middle class personified), there's a lot of talk about HK. It seems even amongst people who are educated, the HK protests are the only ones they talk about. Why? Especially when the entire world is protesting against their elites in louder ways?

Well, it's because this is what they are being told to focus on these protests alone. There is no way that differential in coverage is some mistake or random or attached to geo-political importance.

And again, this isn't to say that I care for any government's suppression of its people. I'm just saying, keep the context in mind. 

Your thoughts?
 

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Cool.

A few things. First, I got a short story accepted over at Swamp Ape Review (note, if you're a part of Patreon, you already know this) so I'll keep you informed when that story comes out. To that end, an art piece was accepted by Genre: Urban Arts. So I'll also keep you posted about that.

Second,  had some art accepted over at the Kurt Vonnegut Lit Journal. It's in issue 8. Get it, buy it, because it's pretty sweet (good pieces throughout the issue, so not just my piece, on page 65, goseit!). Here's the link for all those who want it. 16$ for one issue. Not a bad price. That's usually one shitty meal at a restaurant, so don't go out for one night, okay?

Another thing, for those web bots (or spam bots, or people doing the work of spammers) posting barely contextual posts on here. I've decided to stop deleting and leave things as they are (for all the rest of you, just don't click on random links on comments, please) because this, ultimately, is the internet and web bots are a part of it, IMO. If it gets too obvious, then I'll delete them. But for now, I'll let them be. 

Take care!


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Saturday, December 7, 2019

A couple novels.

I've been reading quite a few novels (and I had to finish these two since I have a handful of YA novels up to read for work) so I wanted to mention them (before I forgot them). One, the Doll, is an old meandering thing from the late 1800s (you know those books). [1] It's a good novel just because you can really get a feel for what living in Warsaw was like back then. Like the other book I talked about, The Certificate, Doll speaks of a tumultuous time.

And though they are similar, it's the ways in which they are different that matter. The Doll is written when the nobles had much power but were losing it to the coming "tradesmen and merchants". The author cares not for this parasitic class (the nobles) and makes that clear throughout (while Certificate was more bothered with nations and power in terms of the business class etc). Meanwhile, issues in terms of clashes with Jewish people ring throughout this novel. I'd even call it anti-Semitic (or the characters are, at least) and I'd definitely call it sexist. 
 
Still, it's a good view into a very specific time in Warsaw. 

For example, you have the nobles and their way of life being torn apart. Yet they still have some power in terms of their mannerisms (which the author cares not for) and how they wield that to get to the money of others. But it's a weak grip, nonetheless. And the hatred for Jews is throughout (the protagonist does not seem to care on this front, but it's not so deep in terms of why this is... he's just fine with them), which is something that you see in The Certificate as well, but seems so sorrowful (the hate seems to be tempered at this point, but like many hatreds for a minority, seems tied into how successful the Jews are perceived (and that's when they're "taking over").

And then there's the love for Napoleon.  As a person who has grown up in the Anglo world I still hear disparaging remarks about that man. And yet the lit I've read in Italy and Poland makes it seem that for people who cared for democracy, he (and his ilk) was a beacon of hope. That's what he serves as here: a past pipe dream for some of the older generation.

I will say that the feeling of having no real gods is a little weaker than The Certificate, but it's impressive nonetheless. I sometimes wonder how our times compare, and I'm guessing that we truly are facing worse things (though we may not feel them. After all, something like the nukes or climate change have worse consequences than people in the past can imagine, and yet, here we are). 

There is something of a blindness to colonialism in this book, but I suppose nothing's perfect.

Check it out.


Then there's A Brief History of Seven Killings which certainly deserves all the accolades it received over the past few years. Written about the assassination attempt on Marley, it's a timely piece, especially with our interference with Latin America and how we try to destabilize so much of the world (and the blowback that comes after). Check it out if you get the chance.



[1] A  lot of people claim that today we don't have the concentration for long reads. Perhaps. I mean, I'm of the mind that things like Twitter are truly useless for discussions and nuance and anything worth while, but I'm also of the mind that the old novels were really a case of being paid by the word. They linger on thoughts without ever really going that far in depth with them.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Yales Smack down alert!

No this isn't about the game.

There haven't been many documentaries as good as I Am Not Your Negro.  Watch it if you haven't. Still, you should check out this piece here. It's a few minutes but it's worth your time. Essentially proof that a brilliant mind will always be that. Baldwin, sans college degree vs Yale professor. 

Of course one is remembered by posterity, but at the end of each life, the one who was remembered now was not remembered then. A combination of being gaslighted by the CIA and other types who worked to sideline him (even purported friends). Sad stuff, that. But the clip is still worth it.

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Mr. Coates

I do hope that Mr. Coates keeps writing for the Times and elevates that newspaper beyond its current low quality. This piece says things I've mentioned before, but it really says them well.  As expected, from one of the best writers of this century (for non-fiction this is barely debatable, with Michelle Alexander being another brilliant mind, though it appears her posts at the Times were cut short... I wonder why?).

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

You a Seattlite with half a brain?

Then go here to send an email to your rep and save the funding for our transit.  Thing is, we need this (and even car owners need it even more).

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Patreon post

Post I made some time ago. Another one coming up soon. 

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

In the annals of the #resistance and "friends like these"

So here's a reply about the Bolivian coup by some #resistance liberal over at LGM. Not a bad blog, but the amount of people, in the face of a fascist coup that looks ready to kill dark people (the indigenous of that country) and has already started doing so, can only say "well Evo was problematic".

So I get a reply by some one there who does the right things in terms of a presentable set of arguments but has absolutely no references for those claims. 

Again, with friends like these... note that it's most likely that this could be plants. All over the internets I see a concerted effort to present Evo Morales as "problematic". No desire to give us actual references for these. Also there was an effort to say the election was problematic as well or someone "illegitimate" because of "irregularities". Like our elections don't have those.  (only the OAS has made any mention of things being "irregular" and they are far from a reliable source. All reliable sources say this was a legit election. Yet to get this ball rolling some grain of suspicion must be added. And here it is. 

Same goes for claims about the Supreme Court ruling for Morales. Note the "friendly" quote there that scare you off. Absolute jokes, the lot of it, but many people fall for it.



A few things:
1) Morales did not win the election "fair and square." That simply isn't true. The extent to which the election was fraudulent is not yet clear, but there is credible evidence that there were significant irregularities.
2) Morales, of course, lost a popular referendum in 2016 that would have allowed him to run for a fourth term. But then he got the Supreme Court, filled with friendly judges, to rule that not allowing him to run again would violate his human rights under the American Convention on Human Rights. So he chose to stand for election again on this flimsy basis, knowing that 51% of the country opposed this already -- in doing that, he made this kind of dispute inevitable.
3) Morales has been turning away from democracy in many ways in his latter terms. He has knee-capped the very social movements that supported him in his early days. For example, Morales worked to replace all the leadership of the independent indigenous confederation CONAMAQ with people who were friendly to his government (something that the leadership of CONAMAQ at that time called a coup). By weakening these organizations (because if they were too independent, they would threaten his power) he lost allies that he really could have used, say, about now.
I don't say any of that in support of the right-wing coup. But there is no way to understand the current events there without understanding this full context of Morales's actions. And the fact is, while the right-wingers are taking advantage now, a lot of the grassroots mobilization against Morales's fourth term came from diverse sectors (including some indigenous groups) and not only the right-wing.


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Big News

It's right here.  Right wingers going after judges. You have to respek their one-minded drive.

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Seattle Cafes.

I'm not sure what it is about Seattle cafes, but they are great except in one facet: music. Well, some seem to have improved in recent months. But almost all will aim for something like most regressive kinds of music that screams "we're trying to be cool with real america". Not entirely surprising, but still something that makes studying in many places pretty bad. Yeah, this is a rant, but it still seems to be quite fitting with the PNW.
 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Another piece accepted

Not out yet but glad to have a piece accepted over there at Genre: Urban Arts. Good site, you should check them out. 


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Monday, November 11, 2019

Chile in flames

Chile, one of the more unequal countries in the world, is still amidst a large outbreak of protests. Note that this is the place where the Chicago boys (aka libertarians aka the same sickness that has taken apart all democratic institutions worth knowing here in the US) got to create a Constitution that allowed for authoritarian oligarchs and military heads to control the country more than the people do. In other words, it only, just barely, has the facade of democracy. 

Happy Armistice Day

Yeah, I'm that kinda veteran where the idea of Veteran's Day is more or less the BS I know it to be. Whatever. 

Just so you know, I have a  piece up on my Patreon (essay) that's a take on the plethora of pieces by veterans who want to restart some kind of draft. Not that I think it's entirely wrong-headed to have something like a civil draft, but the ones that focus on the martial aspect of things can be especially misguided. 

Read it and tell me your thoughts.


Also best you read this piece too. Good stuff. 

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