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In elementary school, I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts. It was like most towns west of Worcester: semi-rural, familiar, broke. Main street consisted of a video rental store, a pizza shop, a barber, and a rotating cast of failed businesses. My mom and I moved back to Alaska after I finished sixth grade—sometime in the mid-90s—and soon thereafter, a Wal-Mart moved in.

The last time I was back east visiting my best friend—we met in the third grade in said town and have remained in touch since—I asked how it was. His family still lives there and he visits occasionally. “Still about the same,” was his reply. I asked if the broken glass in the doorway of an abandoned brick building at the corner of the main intersection had ever been cleared up (I’m pretty sure that window is still broken, and has been since 1990). I asked if the Wal-Mart was still there.

“Of course,” he said. “I don’t know what would happen to the town if that closed. It’d probably collapse. Nobody would have a job.”

The Wal-Mart in Orange, Massachusetts is like one in many small towns in America: it provides for as much of the employment opportunities as it does the goods available to the public. People get their paycheck from the Wal-Mart and then spend it at the Wal-Mart in an absolutely vicious cycle of commercial domination. People can’t shop elsewhere because there are no other places to shop; people can’t start a business to provide an alternative because Wal-Mart would easily be able to price them out. The people have no options. The people are subject to the company, and the company has a reliable bottom line because the meager paychecks they dole out will inevitably, at some percentage, return as profit.

Alabama Mississippi Misery

I think about the Wal-Mart when I read about the abhorrent new anti-abortion laws in the South. Some will argue these are about controlling women. Some will say it’s about getting Roe v Wade overturned. Some will say it’s about the extreme right-wing enforcing their values. Like talking about the various ways a Wal-Mart will damage a community and its potential offerings, none of these opinions are wrong. They just don’t get to the nature of the problem.

For all the rhetoric, the laws against abortion are not based in values, culture, religion, choice or freedom. Like everything else in America, their motivation is profit.

Denying women access to an abortion ensures a greater chance of a child born in to poverty—especially in the South. This child will have to overcome immense odds to attain anything in America. Even if the child were to excel in a failing education system and get to college, the price of higher education means that child, now an adult, will be straddled with debt for decades to come. They’ll have to get a job and pay the bank, pay the rent, pay for food. One way or another, they’ll pay.1

And then there are the litany of other circumstances this child will possibly grow up in to: Working in service, becoming one of a world-leading prison population, struggling on stagnant wages. One way or another, this child is a future contribution to the profits of the same types of men who run and fund the government passing these laws.

Capitalism Is Organized Crime

Make no mistake: These laws are not about anything other than perpetuating a debt-oriented state where controlling the options of people guarantees, in some form or another, a margin of profit. They will use gender-based prejudice to keep the narrative about left versus right, feminism, the ‘radical left’ and ‘family values.’ The talking points will only be there to keep a frustrated narrative afloat in the media while people in need will be offered none.2

The men—and women—who engage in the creation and enaction of these laws are modern tyrants, thieves, and as close as one can get to a slave-owner while still being a public figure. They are rapists and pillagers of the village. They do not deserve an equal say, they do not deserve their power, they do not deserve respect in the least bit. They lack dignity, honor, empathy, and humanity; but they rely on a society driven by a media-based narrative cycle that keeps their lives relatively consequence free.

This cycle of bullshit in America that is allowing for the rise of fascism relies on the inaction of people to fight back for their rights. The obvious way to do this would be through capital—the true heart of these motivations—in denying support to major corporations that contribute to and fuel the corruption of politics. However one can’t shop locally, abandon corporate chains and forge community if the only place to shop in town is the motherfucking Wal-Mart, owned or run by the same people telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

      Notes
  • This is only considering the child, too—the cost of raising that kid creates an economic boom while making sure the parents/family have limited options with their finances beyond putting it all back into private companies profiting from this circumstance.
  • The complicity of major media organizations in this, and subsequently the ‘journalists’ and talking heads who provide for commentary, is nearly criminal in and of itself. These people should be walking off the fucking set, the control room should be ending the broadcast, the engineers should blow up the servers.

11:30 / 17 May 2019
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The Cycle Continues

it used to be that the phrase Imagine Going Back In Time referred to things like showing a jet engine to a caveman; then it was an iPhone to someone in the ’20s. Then it’s something like Trump giving Tiger Woods the Medal of Freedom to someone from 10 years ago.

Now the curve of world-altering difference is nearly immediate. I lose the internet for 24 hours and women are basically illegal in The South1 and people who make their money being professionally outraged are complaining about the NBA lottery because of market share2 and the New York Times is headlining a war with Iran because the last time they started doing this ended so well.3

For being so dumbstruck by Trump during the 2016 election, the media has certainly adopted his full-throated, clickbait-motivated way of doing business. It’s like nobody really wanted to talk about what happened in 2016 because of the collusion between publishing news and advertising revenue, and so the root of the problem is still festering away. Everybody is still going crazy and each day that passes seems like the only way to not get consumed by rage is to ignore the news entirely. We’re all basically Bruce Willis at the end of Die Hard 3 trying to escape the flood.

      Notes
  • I don’t care if it’s following Alyssa Milano or giving women bus tickets out of the south like they were homeless in San Francisco. This shit is abhorrent and something needs to be done, because pretty soon this will be at the Supreme Court and a couple rapists are going to tell women to fuck off once again.
  • Not that basketball or where Zion Williamson plays matters in the least compared to what else is going on in the world, however the discussions about him opting out of the NBA draft because he won’t play in a major market is yet more evidence that money ruins sports. These vultures who make money solely off of basketball care more about his TV time—not for him as a player, not the potential of the Pelicans with him and Anthony Davis, or aspiring professional athlete, but because of its potential advertising revenue were he to be in New York or Los Angeles—than they do the sport itself. These fucking people make me sick.
  • Ha ha just joking it never ended, fuck Judy Miller

09:00 / 16 May 2019
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Day 17

Adelina and I’ve ended up at Antoine’s most nights here. Just down the street, his miracle of a studio includes two different professional-caliber audio setups, a myriad of instruments and a few computers to boot. In the past it’s been a painting studio, an art school—a space for creativity, passed down through a couple generations and sold to him after a death.

He spoke to me of this last night—his last in town before a trip to Los Angeles that will keep him back in the States until just after I’ve left Spain—and the weight that comes with such a context. A sense of artistic responsibility to the efforts and energy that have come before. His voice thinned in emotion at the talk of tragedy that had struck the previous owner’s family. He understands.

“The world … you must be aware, but it’s so difficult now,” he transitioned into a broader theme. “Especially now, I read this political story about these guys you have in your country, this Barr and Mueller, and it’s all a scam. And one can go crazy, you know. It’s difficult for us, for people like us, to be sensitive from birth but then to choose to explore what that means as a life—this world can just be too much.”

His accent is a fascinating combination of French and Spanish, his heritage Italian and the 25 years he lived in Los Angeles didn’t quell it much at all. He plays music effortlessly, both keenly aware of the sounds produced and an expert at all the tools to produce them. His demeanor is instantly likable.

“I tell you what, the suit and the tie, nothing is more terrifying to me today than a suit and a tie. I see a man in a suit and a tie and I think he’s a bandit,” I take a drag from the small spliff being passed and smile immediately. He stands to continue, “I remember that picture of all the political leaders, and it’s Angela Merkel in the middle, in a red dress, and everyone else on either side of her,”—he slows to side-step, arms extended, emphasizing the breadth of men surrounding her in the fashion of a chorus line—”and they’re all in suits either blue or black, with ties either red or blue, and she’s just in this red dress and I swear, I saw that and knew that this is the modern armor of a criminal.”

I sit back and smile and think about how these are the conversations I specifically have missed having. A commiseration with a point, a sense of duty to discuss such things. In the States these moments quickly dissolve into bickering about inconsequential party lines or the news. “It’s because your system, America… It’s a wonderful thing, to have a place where you can be anything. But your views are all so distorted, because then someone will do anything to get anything. And the men like this Barr, or the Bush family, they lie to your face, and everyone knows they are a liar, and everyone knows they will get away with it, and nowhere else in the world does this happen. It’s so fucked.”

I sip on a cup of warm oat milk and sigh. I know, I reply. Why else do you think I’m here? I can’t be in America anymore. I haven’t been able to function there for years. It’s overwhelming. Every day, the noise, people angry, but not acting, not changing, just going along. The anger is a routine, not a purpose.

He mentions how he’d never been depressed, or met a depressed person, until being in America. How it shocks him to hear the amount of depression and anxiety that populates Americans. How he couldn’t imagine it. And I realize, looking at him, that he and I are so much alike except for this; his past—which he mentioned to include bouts of poverty, homelessness, and imprisonment into his middle-age—was decorated with challenges greater than mine, yet he always found a joy in life. I, and most I know in America, struggle incredibly with a mental anguish and I can’t help but determine that sense of despair is a very American trait, incurred by a society designed for liars and thieves, propagated by personal and moral compromise with only materialistic payoffs for such existential debts.

We called it another evening half past midnight and sorted the recycling into the bins across the street. We wished one another well, hoping to meet again in the future. We both meant it.

09:00 / 3 May 2019
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a sign flashes (Applause) to the audience and the lights fade

the internet each day presents an endless supply of evidence of Things To Be Concerned About. stories about the Injustices of Our Own Making; wrongs that could be righted—wrongs that should never have occurred to begin with but are required to Keep The Wheel Spinning. The System Goes and Goes.

(today: the story of Ramsey Orta, who videotaped the infamous Eric Garner murder)

the world encourages us all not to pay it any mind, out of fear the weight of its brutality will shatter our individual lives and leave them to fade with time. these systems are all invented, their repercussions a mass of panic, sadness, the feeling of being trapped. none of this is human.

11:45 / 13 March 2019
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NCAA: “Fuck The Kids,” Literally

Like most American institutions, NCAA football is a pretty good showcase for how the influence of capital will always supersede any notion of human decency. Shit, this is an organization that has big-name teams pay out for wins. Which, in and of itself, is dumb for the sake of the game; but at least it isn’t anything serious. You know, like raping kids.

As the hoopla on any and all sports-related programming across any and all media outlets takes place for the College Football Championship, let’s all take a moment to remember how the NCAA rescinded all sanctions against Penn State for knowingly operating and supporting a program run by a child rapist.1 This was one year after the scandal—just long enough for public outrage to have run its course and the news to focus on the rapist running for President.

Every now and again I get shocked at things like the extent to which Americans will support sweatshop labor and gulags for kids but then I realize none of these children likely have a shot at a Nike endorsement and so of course the powers that be would consider them worthless.

      Notes
  • That’s like a ten-page Wiki article that gets one paragraph about how the NCAA basically decided none of it matters. The lunacy in all this makes me sick.

18:00 / 7 January 2019
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Clear History

(even though this web site has operated with a blog—in some form or another—since 1999, it has undergone semi-annual design changes and annual database dumps throughout the years. thus, the "Archive" is actually only evidence of what has not yet been deleted.)