Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baby, Said the Girlfriend, Moments Before Lapsing into a Shamanic Seizure, I Need You to Conduct a Longitudinal Analysis to Understand the Correlation Between Despair and Genital Laughter

In latest Harper's, May 2015 issue, a What Went Wrong with Obama cover piece written by David Bromwich. I haven't read yet, mostly because I didn't discover it in a pile of mail until last night, but a bit now by Why? Harper's pulls bullet quotes off each page and highlights in margin, here they are in order:

  • It is one thing to know that you follow the path of least resistance. It is another to say so in public.
  • Obama believed that his power as an interpreter of the American Dream was on the order of Reagan's.
  • In his first years in office, Obama displayed the political equivalent of dead nerve endings.
  • Much of the disarray in foreign policy was inevitable once Obama resolved that his would be a "team of rivals."
  • Democrats have never properly realized that foreign entanglements set limits on what is possible at home.
  • A strain of quietism has been a recurrent and uneasy motif of Obama's presidency. But the trait is deeply rooted.
  • Obama has spared himself the illegality of torture by killing the suspects his predecessor would have kidnapped.
  • Obama has taken care not to disturb the American concensus that Iran is a uniquely dangerous country.
  • "The Obama Administration," Snowden said, "almost appears as though it is afraid of the intelligence community."
  • Nobody bent on mere manipulation would so often utter a wish for things he could not carry out.

Here is the final sentence: Much as one would like to admire a leader so good at showing that he means well, and so earnest in projecting the good intentions of his country as the equivalent of his own, it would be a false consolation to pretend that the years of the Obama presidency have not been a large lost chance.

At what? I will or won't read it in full, I'm sure bullet quotes highlight the gist. I post this not to rage but to count to ten, yet - I'm weird about this, I admit - the absence of the words "bankers" and "Wall Street" in the bullet quotes strikes me. Maybe I'm wrong - and here I now commit myself to reading the peace and will tell you if my assumptions are wrong - but while Bromwich is mad at Obama for being a foreign policy pussy, I'm angry Obama's working more steadfastly than he's been steadfast for anything towards the coming Corporate fleecing of my daughter's future.

UPDATE! There is one paragraph re: Triskelions, ends with this sentence: But it was Obama's choice to put Lawrence Summers at the head of his economic team. It's one paragraph out of many, and not nearly as critical of Obama on this issue as critical on most others, but I said I'd tell you if it was mentioned.

When we visited Ann Arbor for Air's senior Art show there were firemen in the tended "woods" of the campus slowly controlled-burning the "woods" underbrush. Air said they do it every early spring, to kill ticks, invasive plant species, maintain the illusion of woods for aesthetic purposes? we speculated. I confess, in regards to future Obama Legacy pieces from anyone of any stripe, this is a pre-burn post. It doesn't kill anything: new growth spurts. The invasive plant species tells me ignore this shit, I ignore what the invasive plant species tells me. As for aesthetic purposes, here is the regrown nail of my left big toe I bashed against a rock in creek at the bottom of a gulch in Shenandoah National Park late last June, I trimmed it for the first time since it fell off months ago last night!

This from Borzutzky's in the murmurs of the rotten corpse economy, click, yo:


  1. the personal is political, and vice versa - not really true, but an approximation good enough for some purposes

    from your precis, it seems bromwich is making politics quite personal - the obama presidency would have been different if obama was different

    and you, blckdgrd, are quite correct to point at the banksters (standing for the MICFiC collectively) as important actors left out of his analysis, even though he does talk about the 'deep state'

    as i told my inside-the-beltway associate recently, the most patriotic thing hillary! could do for her country right now would be to stop seeking the presidency, and give someone else a chance

    it would be wrong to say people are no damn good, but quite right to agree with krishna in the gita, that we have both divine and demonic tendencies

    a good laboratory director can get first-rate scientific work from average scientists, i've read - and i wonder if there might be some combination of cultural and sociopolitical arrangements that would get humane behavior out of average members of our species

    here are some quotes i was looking at recently - they've been here before - here they are again

    Rabbi Jack Moline: Rabbi Simcha Bunam used to say, "Every person should have two pockets. In one, [there should be a note that says] bishvili nivra ha'olam, 'for my sake was the world created.' In the second, [there should be a note that says] anokhi afar va'efer, 'I am dust and ashes.' One must know how to use them, each one in its proper place and right time. For many make the mistake of using them in their opposite applications." That is to say, too often, when we should be acknowledging our arrogance, we are defending it. And when we should be overcoming our self-denigration, we are confirming it.

    Jacob Needleman, Money and the Meaning of Life: "A Freudian psychoanalyst once summed up to me his vision of the human condition by saying that man is not as bad as he thinks he is, nor can he become as good as he dreams of becoming. The assumption of this book is precisely the opposite of the psychoanalytic view: man is in far worse condition than he believes, but he can become far greater than he imagines."

    Jeffrey M. Schwartz, A Return to Innocence: Philosophical guidance in an age of cynicism: "We often hear the phrase 'Knowledge is power' -- but nowhere is it truer than when it comes to knowledge of ourselves."

  2. WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)—Obama administration officials are “working their tails off” to round up support on Capitol Hill for a trade bill sought by President Barack Obama but opposed by many Democrats, a Republican backer of the measure said Wednesday.
    Let's ask Wall Street if the Obama Administration has been 'a large lost chance' or an immensely profitable investment.

  3. It's poetry because
    Borzutzky says so. Or is it because
    Fuck you, Borzutsky.

    That was poetry. Again. I tried to make it haiku, but fuck math. And Borzutsky (note: it's perfectly fine plain-language prose).

    (Part n-finity of Landru's Lifelong Crusade Against Poetry, dedicated with love to his lifelong pal dogma-N)

    1. re prosaic poetry and poetic prose - in 2013 i posted an autobiographical poem in this comments section that i had first written as prose - putting in the line breaks was fun - fully half of the piece was a quote from erich fromm, and i poemified that while i was at it - it worked well, i thought

      a few days ago i sent that piece to someone i haven't seen for fifty years - i just got the address list for my upcoming high school class reunion - she's now a prize-winning poet, and has made a short documentary film - less than 8 minutes long - "My Mother was a Coast Guard SPAR" - you can see it at

      here's something she wrote

      Before Igniting

      He enters the room, smelling of smoke
      from the burning brush pile out back,
      his eyes red like the glowing embers.
      This is the moment when I see it all—
      the fire fights that wake him in the night
      and the roughened hands
      that carried an M16,
      his friend’s body,
      the weight of all that’s unspoken.

      And even now,
      when he lies back after work,
      the Vietnam soil coats him,
      red layer upon layer—
      trailing behind as he treads carefully
      through the mine field
      of each day.

      Marilyn Johnston