Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RIP Alice Miller

Thanks to Arthur Silber, I learned this morning that Alice Miller died recently.

Six years ago I entered a very deep depression, the fourth such episode I've experienced in my lifetime, and since each of those episodes was worse than the one before, this recent episode was a very bad one. It was so bad that I'm still dealing with some facets of it, ones that hang around, lurking in the unlit corners of my psyche, six years later.

One of the most helpful things I found for this recent episode in the dark pit was reading Alice Miller. I started with her book Drama of the Gifted Child, then read Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, and then The Untouched Key.

Alice Miller's work has been the subject of many of Arthur Silber's essays, and that focus made me start reading Silber more regularly, something I found pretty valuable.

In my view, Alice Miller's main theme is that children suffer far more abuse than most of us want to recognize -- and to the extent any of us recognizes it, most of us don't want to do anything about it, with most offering rationalizations to excuse it.

I think most humans would recognize beating a child mercilessly as a form of child abuse. But the forms of child abuse Miller examined were often much more subtle, and many such abuses are excused as acceptable or even optimal child-rearing strategies. Here's a good essay by Silber in which he examines how a proud parent's "teachable moment" with her young twins actually is a form of psychological abuse: Creating the Next Generation.

If you've ever experienced the existential angst known in psychiatry as "depression," I would recommend reading Alice Miller. She worked extensively on the roots of such angst, and I think most would find her work at the very least extremely fascinating, if not in some way healing.

RIP Alice Miller. You helped me more than any Rx pharma, any psychiatrist, any counselor ever did.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thumbnail sketches of the Stars of the Lib-Pwog Galaxy**

**or, shooting fish in a barrel


Salon.com -- foppish dandies who will watch American society collapse while tying a silk cravat, drinking a fine pinot grigio, noshing on caviar, and stroking themselves to a Mapplethorpe photo while blaming The Evil Rethuglicans. Collective masturbatory fantasies regarding Glenn Greenwald are dominant here, so remember to submit. Please don't be uncivil or impolite, you may cause one of them to choke on a fish egg.

Daily Kos -- the political equivalent of a 4th grader's "tree fort" or, from the Little Rascals, the "He-Man Woman Haters Club." Absolutely no depth or breadth of knowledge or experience, but a truly vigorous form of Donkey-worship. Here, the sun shines out of Obama's ass, and will continue to do so until the next Democratic Saviour is nominated by the DLC. Home of the "reality-based" Donkey brigade. Please don't dare criticize The Obamessiah, or you'll be ridiculed as a Tea Partier.

Huffington Post -- a Hollywood-esque tattle sheet on DC's Luminaries for political insider wannabes. Plenty of gossip -- it's like Salon.com for heterosexual men. Hell, even John Cusack gets a column there. (Good acting John, but your politics are bullshit since you're a rich man who hasn't ever known any real form of existential struggle.) Most columnists are selling you something, so keep an eye on your wallet when you read here, and clear your cookies after visiting. Token "radical" Dennis Kucinich is worshiped like he is Gautama, so don't criticize Wee Dennie or his beautiful Trophy Wife, please.

Digby's Hullaballoo -- wonkish praise for The Noble Democrats, done from an "insider" perspective that pretends at deep embedded knowledge, while completely devoid of same. Ironic image of Peter Finch from Network almost makes it seem like a comedy site, but sadly, it's not. Rumor has it that Miss Digby once worked for a think tank on Capitol Hill, but having worked on Capitol Hill myself I can tell you that working for a think tank doesn't mean jack shitola on the political wisdom front, and believing otherwise merely shows your naivete on how DC actually works. Please don't discuss Miss Digby's actual ignorance of all things political, or you'll be banished.




please feel free to add your own in the comments, peeplz.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Master of the Universe!

From 1998-2003, I worked for an insurance company as an in-house lawyer. One of the issues on which I had to counsel the company was information-sharing.

The company's president imagined himself a sort of John Naisbitt in the insurance world, despite the fact that he was not even regionally known, let alone nationally, even lesser internationally, in the insurance world. He pushed hard for a "paperless office," saying that courtrooms would soon enough be completely paperless. He demanded that marketing, underwriting, claims and clerical staff work together as "teams," going so far as to require claims staff to do marketing despite the giant disparity between the skills required for claims resolution, and those for salesmanship. He also imagined that the little podunk insurance company he helmed could become like CitiCorp and be a widely diversified "financial services" entity, despite the company's complete lack of organizational experience or experienced personnel to warrant such a diversification.

In short, he thought his fantasies were incredible business ideas, and he demanded that everyone agree with him. In fact, the primary reason I left that company was because he insisted that I be a "yes man" despite the fact that a legal counsel's role cannot be effectively done if the counsel cannot predict negative outcomes of present plans, and cannot counsel the company on those possible negative outcomes. Essentially he didn't want me to talk about possible negatives, even when their likelihood went out of the possible realm into the world of probability.

When out sailing the seas of liability insurance business operations in the early part of the last decade, it appeared from the bow of our little corporate clipper to be the dawn of third-party information selling, at least while navigating the currents found in our part of the corporate business world. The company president got wind of this and decided that he was going to sell the information gathered on existing insureds, as well as prospective insureds who sought a quote for coverage. His desire was to be able to sell that information regardless of the insured's or applicant's knowledge or approval of such sales. He imagined that once the information was given to our company for insurance underwriting purposes, it became the private profit-related property of our company, no matter what the insured or applicant desired to the contrary.

Such is the mindset of the megalomaniac.

I tried to remind our esteemed president that insureds and applicants gave us that information for a very limited purpose: to secure either insurance coverage, or a quote related to that coverage. I reminded him that if I were a prospective insured, I would not think that the information I gave a carrier for a quote would be fair game for the carrier to sell to third parties -- rather, I would be very angry if I found out that the carrier turned around and sold that information. Consequently, I counseled that all information gathered should be automatically opted out of resale or redistribution, unless the insured or applicant expressly desired such resale or redistribution.

The company president thought me a fool. "Well, we can't make money off the information if we follow your route," he spat at me, red-faced, temple veins nearly bursting, spittle flying from his triple-chinned jowls.

Uh... no shit, sherlock! That's the point, isn't it? That the insured or applicant isn't giving you the information for resale, but rather is giving it only for insurance-related purposes? Right?

Irrelevant to esteemed president. Completely irrelevant. He imagined the information belonged to him, and he was going to do with it as he wished, despite the privacy concerns of the insureds and applicants.

Since I was only assistant general counsel, my voice did not carry the day. General counsel was more a bootlicker than I am, and general counsel said I was too cautious for "today's forward-thinking business climate" or some other such cliche-riddled pap. I very nearly started calling our insureds and telling them that their information wasn't as private as they imagined, and that our company wasn't as trustworthy as they imagined, but my need for continued income persuaded me to hold my tongue. I'd said my piece, given my thoughts on privacy, and it was up to the GC and the Pres to adopt what they imagined was legally defensible.

From where I sat, the straw had broken the camel's back. I was not going to be there much longer, I didn't want much to do with a company whose operations were so shady. Some of the other stories about the shady operations, I'll save for another post. I have an angle I'm working here on this privacy notion.

******************************
Because I spend so much time reading material on the InterWebToobzFN, I am usually looking for outlets to vent my spleen when I come across particularly obnoxious news, views or arguments. About 1.5 yrs ago, a friend suggested I check out facebook. I did so and found myself enjoying connections with old friends from high school and college, people I hadn't heard from in 20-30 years. It was interesting, but I quickly grew bored with people's posts that reminded me of those yellow BABY ON BOARD signs that were commonly seen on cars in the 90s.
Facebook often struck me (and still strikes me) as a way for people to brag on their Exalted SocioEconomic Status... frequent updates regarding extremely "important" business travel, posts from Blackberries saying "boarding flight to Lisbon to broker deal between Big Honch and King Cheese" or the like. Great, I'm impressed. Bully for you, jet-setting slave to your corporate master! You've arrived! You're a Sherman McCoy, a regular master of the universe!

Which led to me feeling the urge to throw a chunk of sodium into the calm waters of facebook.

Which led to me posting sociopolitical thoughts and links to stories, blog entries, essays instead of bragging on my important corporate travels, or revealing the location of my favorite backcountry ski shots or mountain bike trails. Clearly, I was not using --and still am not using-- facebook in the way that most consider it useful.

******************************
More recently I have been watching as facebook has continued increasing its prerogatives over the information posted by facebook participants. Said differently -- facebook has been reducing its users' privacy rights in the material they post on facebook.

Somehow, much like that day when my old insurance company employer chided me for being unable to grasp the profitability of eliminating privacy concerns, today I found myself feeling the last straw breaking the camel's back, with Little Zucky's announcement of new "privacy guidelines" for facebook users.

And so today, like I did some 8 years ago with my insurance company employer, I have lost all semblance of my dwindling, diminishing quasi-respect for facebook and its greedy CEO Little Zucky.

It's time to throw lots of sodium into the waters of facebook. I wonder how long it will take them to banish me.

______________________

FN - a/k/a the poor man's library of sources with questionable reliability.

Monday, April 19, 2010

let us now worship The Noam

The Collective American Intellect v. Noam Chomsky

This is the title of a book I'd write if I were an author of books. To use a Chomsky devotional term, I would "frame" the book in the guise of a lawsuit being conducted in a Court of the Mind, a place where intellectual crimes and torts are resolved. The case built against The Noam would be simple: he observes things that many can observe without effort, but The Noam gets credit for "inventing" those observations and in the wake of declaring such "inventions" he cements his reputation as a Possessor of Unique Insights Generated by Supra-Human Intellectual Prowess.

I will be pilloried instantly for suggesting that such a work can even be contemplated, let alone discussed on a barely-read blog by someone whose resume doesn't shine and glow like that of The Noam. I mean, I'm just a dirt-eating auto-didact; The Noam is a Holy Professor of Arcane Minutiae of Questionable Relevance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the finest factory of American Imperialist young adult techno-bots known to humankind.

In a recent essay The Noam has latched onto one of my skipping-record themes: the Tea Party and the "teabaggers" are not a real political movement, not a real political threat, and not worthy of anyone's serious fears, concerns, et cetera where the future of American society (such as it is) would be concerned. I have offered this sentiment in varying degrees of lucidity, in differing forms of elaboration, in a multiple of settings. I have argued that the whole point of the "Tea Party" focus in the mainstream "news" media is to distract people, to get them worked up about a false threat, to achieve two main points of political strategy: (1) to distract people from the ugly fact that Obama-Biden is behaving in ways that "progressives" found obnoxious under Bush-Cheney; and (2) to keep people believing that the Noble Democrats need to stay in power, else we find a mad gang of Tea Party supporters in power!

I guess I have offered this argument in just enough places because The Noam now sees fit to raise it himself.

Which is ironic, given that many of The Noam's acolytes have told me that I have had my mind shaped and formed by the exquisitely ubiquitous and amorphous power of The Radiant Chomsky Intellect, and that my arguments regarding The Noam's naked emperor status are nothing but envy.

Yes, I'm sure that my mind's function would be simply idling along on the verge of sputtering out if not for the existence of His Exalted Brilliance and Omniscience, Noam Chomsky.

Friday, April 16, 2010

fry day

what are you?

homo sapiens
? or synthetic humanoid carbon-based life form?

when presented with evidence that your President now openly says that he believes it is both legally permissible and humanistically preferable to assassinate whomever he believes is a "terrorist," and thereby deprive that person of life and all that life means, without the scantest requirement of evidentiary proof that the "terrorist" is what POTUS says,

do you line up to defend him? congratulations, you're a robot.

do you stand against him, and in favor of both the US Constitution's provisions and your own personal integrity, and in support of what is honestly humane rather than merely expedient for profit-based, political-advantage-seeking reasons? well done, you're an actual human being.

when large financial entities on wall street, mortgage banks, insurance companies, shipping companies, auto makers all find themselves in a less-then-optimal profit picture, through devices that they willfully chose to use and strategies that they willfully picked for their operations, and where no fraud or deception has been shown,

do you line up to support the Congress and POTUS when they "bail out" such businesses with money that you earned, rather than expecting those businesses to follow the same swim-or-die economic principles that apply to you and your family, and if applicable, your business? nice work, you're a cyborg.

do you get mad and insist that these "failing" businesses should be held to the same "economic realities" that apply to you, your family, your business? salud!, you're a real human being.

when Our First Black President promises as a Senator and during his POTUS campaign that he will work for single-payer universal coverage, and then turns around and delivers a universal mandate to buy coverage --which gives health insurers a massive windfall because POTUS has just eliminated their biggest overhead item, marketing/sales-- at inflated rates, thereby continuing the ever-inflating problem of no cost controls on the "health care" system in America,

do you beam with pride at the accomplishments America has made by installing its first Black President, and forgive Mr Obama because he's such a cool Black dude with a sweet upper-middle-class-well-educated-White-Guy type of "articulateness" and a killer resume? hell yeah, bro! you're a rock-solid synthetic-man robot!

do you snarl with the realization (or perhaps recognition of the continued pattern) of Barack Hussein Obama's true clientele, the moneyed interests that presently profit insanely in the American "health care" system that has bankrupted so many Americans and put so many more perilously close to that status, and leaves millions of Americans uninsured and therefore unable to afford such "health care," -- when you look at that situation, are you compelled to say "the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans, if not worse!"? damned straight, you're a human being.

the easiest way to tell a human being from a synthetic imitation human that has been programmed to chase money and trinkets, and believe whatever his government tells him, is this: check where his political urges lay.

does the person in question side with business interests even though he doesn't stand to benefit from the preferences given to such business interests? robot.

does the person in question seek to maximize his own liberty to do what he pleases without harming others, and possess a healthy bit of self-respect causing him to reject governmental acts that work to his detriment? human.

vote democrat? robot
vote republican? robot

note the charade inherent in democrat vs republican? human


I insist that you crank it up for this one, especially if Gary Numan bugs you and you turned it down or off for him:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

After the iron pyrite rush

Last entry found me throwing glacial acetic acid all over the crippled "comedy" of Allie Brosh's blog entry.

To show that I know how to enjoy good primitive art-based comedy based on real-life unfortunate and fortunate events, I now point you to one of my friends' blog entries, which she just told me about this AM. This one dates back about 1.5 years. I guess I have been ignoring her blog.

Stick Pictures.

_____________________________


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Syrup of Ipecac

If you want to see an example of the type of puerile puke from progressives that I really can't stomach, take a peek at this bullshit entry from Mr "Funny Man," Jon Schwarz, where he serves as vector for a smug little bitch who thinks she's hot shit because she and her rich family moved to northern Idaho --from California, of course-- and brought a little culture to that "wasteland."

I'm so fucking superior to you mountain people, a comic primitive art series by Allie Brosh.

If you ask me --and by looking at this entry, bubba, you're asking me-- Allie Brosh is an un-funny cunt. Yeah, it's a regular laugh riot to look down one's nose at northern Idaho. That's where all those neo-Nazis live, right? So everyone there is a backward hillbilly, right? Except for Coeur d'Alene, where the Californians have transformed the town into Yuppieville... and Sandpoint, where more Californians have transformed the town into Yuppieville... starting to see a trend here, are you?

All that culture is "refining" the Idaho panhandle, paving it, bringing lots of man-made lights into the scenery, installing 5k sq ft "cabins" with 4-car garages, planting cell phone towers so nobody feels terrified because their On*Star can't communicate to Safety Central when they get a flat tire on a "backwoods" road.

Damn, I love those sophisticates.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm so ...unfair! ...mean! ...disrespectful!

A social dynamic I find amusing:

Friends shared gleeful laughter at my mockery of the sexual habits of Stanley McChrystal and Erik Prince when I lampooned those two paid murderers over at PRN.

Yet my recent lampooning of Glenn Greenwald found those same friends stone-silent.

Honestly, my treatment of Greenwald was much gentler than the treatment of McChrystal or Prince. Yet there it stands, the stark contrast of response.

I'm guessing it has to do with a few things.

One. Greenwald is a hero of the pwogs and lib-wools. McChrystal and Prince are heroes of the Evil Rethuglicans. Hence Donkey partisanship, however latent, demands that I give Greenwald an easier treatment, and results in me getting a virtual Heisman Trophy stiff-arm from my friends when I poke a little fun at Wee Glennie.

Two. Greenwald is out of the closet, McChrystal and Prince are in the closet -- and Republicans to boot. So I'm supposed to not mention an "out" gay man's sexuality, while I can have great fun lampooning closeted gay fetishes in the Republican Party and their lackeys.

Listen, friends. I mock people's sexuality for a number of reasons. First is that nobody is beyond criticism. There are no paragons in Oxtrot's worldview. Nobody escapes Oxtrot's scathing pseudo-wit. Not even Wee Glennie.

Second is that my mocking sexual behavior is one of my comments on how grotesquely out in the open sexuality is today. I'm not talking about being nauseated by gays kissing in public. I'm talking about this. And this. And this. And this. I mean, I could go on for hours linking shit like that. And each such link suggsts another reason, blah blah blah, et cetera, et cetera.

Of course this sort of discussion invites criticisms of "prude" and the like. Yeah, go on. Work that angle, Mr Porn Star Wannabe, Ms MILF-in-her-Mind. Pretend that sex is the most important thing on earth. Go on and be a walking swollen clit, a walking engorged cock. Be that thing. Be it. And never mind that by focusing on such stuff to the exclusion of what's really going on in America, how your individual rights and self-determination are being cramped and fettered by the day. Because really, getting your fuck on, that's way more important than anything else. Anything.

Seriously.

I'm reminded of an old girlfriend I had, Sheila O'B_____. Sheila had a friend who decided to marry a guy after not a few dates, not after a month of dating, but after a single afternoon of sex. In Sheila's words:
Listen, they met at a wedding. In the church they saw each other and felt instant chemistry. They exchanged smoldering glances. At the reception, they waited for everyone to sit down, for the toasts, for the first dance of the newlyweds, and then ran out to the parking lot and fucked like rabbits for 4 hours. Then they decided to get married.
Well. Sounds like a real deep, meaningful relationship to me! Certainly destined for long-term durability!

Sheila called me a prude for questioning the wisdom of deciding to marry simply on a hot, situational fuck.

That's what I am mocking when I mock people's sexual behavior in my PRN videos. Go ahead, call me a prude. Defend the wisdom of Sheila's friend's marriage plan. Post hostile comments calling me sexually repressed! Tell me it's obvious I never got laid, or something like that!

Justify it all. Just like people are justifying the lies of their chosen "my team" political party, because of the visceral satisfaction it gives them.

Go on. Think with your dick. Or your clit. Or whatever e-zone you cherish most of all.

And remember: when you get pissed off after learning that Obama has ordered the murder of dissidents on American soil, you were distracted with stupid feral drives and their satisfaction, and couldn't be bothered to examine what was happening, because you were satisfying various orgasmic needs, or the materialistic substitutes therefor.

Dumbass.

Oh, and the first person who thinks to comment, "Oxtrot, you need to get laid!", I have your answer right here: no shit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

But THE REALITY is...

In the early 1990s, I worked at MWCOG as an environmental planner for the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I worked on air quality planning, and specifically I worked on helping the DC metro area comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone and ground-level carbon monoxide pollution. This work was mandated as a result of the 1990 amendments to the federal Clean Air Act, and the finding that the Washington, DC - MD - VA metropolitan area was not in compliance with the standards for ground-level ozone and carbon monoxide pollution.

The guy who hired me was Dave Foerter, a very cool, thoughtful and somewhat idealistic dude who believed that my background in biology and law would be helpful for the work required by the 1990 Amendments. As an initial task, he asked me to review the area's sources of emissions that create ground-level ozone and carbon monoxide problems. Prior inventories had been compiled for such emissions, and so this first part of my job largely was to familiarize myself with what I'd call the emissions picture or landscape, and then to update the existing inventory data with research.

The research involved contacting businesses that emitted the precursors for ground-level ozone pollution. The US EPA's guidance on this subject advised that we should inventory VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and the EPA guidance provided categories of typical emission sources. I'll give you some examples of what such sources were, at the so-called "industrial" or "point source" level:

* dry cleaning operations
* automotive repair operations
* gas stations
* electrical device manufacture and repair operations
* printing operations
* breweries, distilleries and wineries

There were also "diffuse sources" -- smaller sources whose individual emissions didn't qualify them as industrial "point sources" but whose emissions, when lumped together, created a significant source of VOC pollution. These diffuse sources were such things as:

* gas-powered lawn and garden equipment
* recreational watercraft like "jet skis"
* off-road motorized recreational vehicles like motos, ATVs

Once I'd completed the inventory, the next step was to work on emission reduction measures. Again the EPA had guidance for this, but the existence of such guidance would only take us so far. The trick for me was to find ways to practically reduce emissions while using the guidance as a sort of idea-generator.FN My typical routine was to try to find a trade association or user group for the source in question, show them the EPA guidance for reduction measures, and ask them if they had any other ideas.

The usual first response was to question the emissions data, but then I'd simply show them that we'd used their data to work up the emissions inventory, and I'd invite them to show me where we'd done anything wrong. Sometimes we did need to make changes -- for example, a trade association might know the number of dry cleaners operating in the region was smaller than what our inventory showed. With some back-and-forth data comparison and verification, we'd sort out the inventory issues. Then we'd get to the tough part, the emission reduction measures.

As you might imagine, most places didn't want to have to implement any such measures, and the commonest complaint back in that era was "another unfunded mandate! Who's gonna pay for this?" I would usually try to pitch it as a shared responsibility and try to show how other sources of emissions would also be required to make some effort at reduction. For this part of the equation, the environmental groups would pick up some of the slack, acting as the hammer of moral conscience. Usually it would be the American Lung Association, reminding people of how damaging ground-level ozone is for human lung tissue. Sometimes I was able to describe my own sensations from breathing ozone during my bicycle riding.FN2

The process was especially difficult on the subject of off-road vehicles and lawn & garden equipment. In order to get some positive movement, I created a group to discuss the emissions and possible reductions. One particular politician from Northern Virginia became a real obstructing force. His name was Bob Dix. Bob was a Republican who at the time was in the business of auto dealerships, and he'd tell everyone about how the EPA had made life hard for auto makers with its minimum MPG standards, its requirements for emissions reductions resulting in catalytic converter mandates, et cetera. Bob was working hard to become the Chair of the MWCOG and he was eager to show everyone who would listen that environmental planning was the devil's own creation. He was a nice enough guy but a total showboater, and he'd chosen my work group to make his mark. He had that politician's ability to be what I called "the velvet stiletto" -- smiling and talking nice as he plunged the dagger into your heart.

My top boss was a fellow named Stuart Freudberg, Director of Environmental Programs. I didn't really get along with Stuart. As near as I could fathom, Stuart wanted badly to be a political hotshot and I imagined he hoped that one day he could be director of US EPA. At that time (early 90s) he'd hitched his wagon to Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening. He carried water for Parris whenever he could, despite the fact that Stuart worked for MWCOG and ostensibly, for protection the DC metro area's environment.

Stuart's background was in environmental "modeling" -- computer models that simulated environmental situations. He didn't have a passion for environmental protection. His real passion was for "the political reality," a phrase he used so often that he began to sound like a comic robot who knew only one answer to any political problem -- "the reality is ______," which he'd pronounce as if he possessed some secret insights made known to him only.

I need to digress here for a moment to think aloud about Stuart's personality. Before I do so I must confess I'm not the most socially adept person, and I'm usually the first to admit that, and I won't argue against anyone who mentions it before me. My particular weakness is that I think it's important to be honest and objective at all times, even at the risk of ruffling feathers. I'm sure I've been shaped by nefarious, destructive things that happened to me in my youth, situations outside my control, situations that somehow caused me to find social graces and other niceties to be negative impulses that allow misanthropic people and their deeds to be carried forward without delay under subterfuge of a polite demeanor. Whatever the reason, I'm not too fond of sugar-coating things that need to be said or done. I just want to say or do them.FN3 In my interactions with Stuart, however, I forced myself to bite my tongue... like when I was first introduced to him, and he told me "So you're a lawyer? The law is a hobby of mine." Great, Stuart. It's your hobby. Yes, it's definitely a hobbyist's pursuit, easily undertaken by those without any depth of knowledge, training or experience. That's why there are bar exams, etc., right Stuart? I think medicine would be a keen hobby too! Hey Stuart, mind if I practice my surgical skills on your brain? It's a hobby of mine!

Pardon me there. Digression over.

Stuart's approach to dealing with Bob Dix was to tell me I had to make Dix happy. So I'd ask, "even when Dix is wrong, you want me to say he's correct?" And I think you can guess the reply. "Well, the reality is Bob Dix has a lot of political power, and we have to work within that reality." Right, Stuart. So we'll shade the truth, or outright ignore it, in order to let Bob Dix continue chasing his particular brass-plated plastic ring. Gotcha. Okay. End of discussion, right? Well, yes, right, as far as Stuart was concerned. As I said, Stuart sought a political career. And how did that end for him? Well I don't know where he stands today, but eventually, after I moved on from MWCOG and went back to lawyering, Parris Glendening became Governor of Maryland. And did he choose Stuart for head of the Maryland Department of Environment? Oh no. He did not. Stuart didn't even get a junior position in the MDE.

So much for being in tune with the "reality," eh Stuart?

*******************************

Ever since that experience, I've had a keen sort of hypersensitive antenna for the phrase "the reality is..." because my experience has been that when someone says that, they're really telling you this:
As an "insider" I am warning you to back off the criticisms, you're tampering with the existing power structure, which makes me uncomfortable, because I enjoy my position within that power structure.
Which brings me to the main point I wanted to make in this entry. My concern today is with a lion of liberalism, a pope of progressivism, a living legend of lofty learned literacy -- Noam Chomsky. And the concern springs from a little joking e-feud I've been maintaining over the past month or so with a few different "leftists" at various e-fora when discussing social issues and the smokescreens, puffery, misdirection and other mild mendacity purveyed by people purporting at punditry.

See, my quarrel regarding The Noam is that he offers criticisms of "the system" we have here in America, while he remains deeply entrenched in that system, reaping disproportionate benefits therefrom, maintaining a position socio-economically well above those whom he says are oppressed and subjugated. As I see things, The Noam sets a poor example by so doing. His example is this:
Talk about working for change, but don't actually work for it. Just talk about it. And then, ironically, suggest the system cannot be changed.
A relevant example is The Noam's recent public position regarding the "historic health care reform" just passed by The Noble Democrats. Here's The Noam on the recent Congressional "reform" of health care:
“If I were in Congress,” he said, “I’d probably hold my nose and vote for it, because the alternative of not passing it is worse, bad as this bill is. Unfortunately, that’s the reality.”
Bah.

On "Evil Rethuglicans" and "health care reform"

Amber and Randall discuss health care reform

Reform flim-flam

No to Obamacare
____________________________

FN - Of course, the lazy method would have been to simply list the EPA's suggested reduction measures and demand compliance, but that approach didn't sit well with me or my boss.

FN2 - I spent a couple of years commuting by bicycle to work at MWCOG, my journey was 11 miles each way. In peak ozone season, I would notice that my chest would hurt on deep breathing, my eyes would sting and water, and generally I'd have decreased lung capacity.

FN3 - Of course I realize this is well out of step with most of American society. Duh.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amber interviews Glenn Greenwald

Over at PRN, Amber Milgram recently obtained an exclusive interview of the brilliant legal scholar, author and blogger Glenn Greenwald.

Original here.