Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The horrible politics of Recount 2016 scolding

Jill Stein and the Green Party have embarked on an effort, Recount 2016, to recount the Presidential votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. As of yesterday, they'd raised more than $6 million in small donations, and are on track to raise about twice what they raised in the campaign itself. And predictably, this effort has been greeted by a wave of scolding. I'll take this article by bmaz as the reference case, although as another example Rich Yeselson tweeted about how the recount effort was a scam or "mass grifting". From the bmaz post: the effort is "folly", "cynical", "a crass vanity project at the last second by a bit player glomming on for self promotion". John Cole is shorter: grifter, idiot, or attention seeking diva.

Before I describe why this is probably the worst possible reaction, I'll clarify a few things: I don't expect the recount effort to find any evidence of hacking, and I don't expect it to change the results of the election in any way. The most likely direct effect is a shift of a few hundred votes, although there is a small chance of a major scandal of some kind which I'll address below. So why is this kind of scolding bad?

1. Democratic Party won't fight for you

It's clear that this recount is being funded by money from Democratic Party small donors, not Green Party ones -- given that the amount raised in the actual election was much smaller. So they want to continue to fight. What is everyone saying about the coming age of Trump and possible neo-fascism? Don't give in, don't preemptively surrender, don't normalize, resist. OK, so why isn't the Democratic Party doing this? They are doing what they always do, which is to preemptively give in. Why aren't they supporting what their base wants to do?

The answer to this is presumably that this is a bad fight because it's doomed to failure. But that's a horrible political lesson even if it's realistic. Resistance to a more powerful opponent (i.e. one with the Presidency, Senate, House and SC) means that you resist whenever and wherever you can. And it isn't doomed to failure: there's a small but significant chance of some kind of scandal that will get turned up, because when people look at American election machinery in depth, it's badly maintained.

The second answer is that we *shouldn't* want this scandal to be turned up -- that we have to defend the legitimacy of American elections. Why? I'm an anarchist so maybe I'm constitutionally incapable of understanding this, but we just had an election won by the popular vote loser, with extensive voter suppression efforts. Maybe people shouldn't be told that they have to believe in the system as it is?

2. Technocratic lectures are just what we need right now

Foolish donor base, wasting your money on efforts that will fail because of complicated election law issues that you can't begin to understand! Don't you know that the experts know better? Get back in your box.

3. Insulting your way into an alliance

Now it's time for all of us to come together against Trump, so you leftists are fools / scammers / grifters / vanity cases. That lecture may have had some success against susceptible people back when you were selling the Democratic Party as the lesser evil, but guess what you lost big. If you're going to lose, you have no value as the lesser evil.

There's a big difference between a scam and a foolish project. One that you haven't observed, so why should people listen to you when you say that Trump is scamming? By the way, it is perfectly fine for the Green Party to promote themselves as political actors through activities like this: they are not your adjunct.

4. Blaming people for their marginalization

It's common knowledge that the Democratic and Republican parties have cooperated to make it very difficult for third parties in the American system. Most of the barriers are unheard of in almost any other advanced democracy. So now that you've helped to ensure that the Green Party is marginal, you're blaming them for not having the best election law experts and not being entirely up to speed on the mechanics involved. OK, why is that? The Democratic Party could have done this if they'd wanted to, with all of the expertise that they have.

5. The left /liberal alliance, redux

What, exactly, do people want this supposed alliance to do? What role is the left supposed to have? However you define the left as opposed to the center-left, it's numerically very small in America. The natural role would seem to be protest leadership and radical resistance in general: as the post below mentions, the tiny number of anarchists in America are encountered by police as 1/3 of their 3-part categorization of protestors.

But protest for what, and resistance for what? If it's to return neoliberalism to power, then no thanks! Serious protest is dangerous under Obama and will remain so or become more so under Trump. Are liberals going to support and defend protestors? Of course not. People can already hear the first rumblings of "they're too impolite, they have to not challenge American institutions".

So the message now is back off, crazy scamming vanity-driven hippies, we've got this. Is that really what you want to go with?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Current results of global warming activism

Activism against anthropogenic global warming is an unusual case. Almost all left activism opposes powerful interests, but few issues are so scientifically well supported and dire in potential effect as this one. And it has a fairly simple goal: decarbonization.

So it's possible to ask: how successful has activism around global warming been? This has two sub-questions: 1) is the world on track towards decarbonization, 2) if so, did activism bring this about or speed the process up. As far as I can tell, the answers are equivocally yes to the first and no to the second.

In a sense there were always two basic models of how decarbonization might happen. The first is the activist, or political model, in which people respond to science by organizing themselves and effectively demanding political change. The second is the technocratic, or techno-optimist, one in which experts respond to science by investing more and more money into development of renewable power sources so that they become cheaper than fossil, after which fossil gets replaced by the planners who actually control critical infrastructure. We appear to be on track for the second: renewable power is now cheaper than coal without subsidies and without even pricing in coal's externalities. Once it gets even more cheap, and with another round of battery development, I think it's on track to replace gasoline in cars as well.

How did this happen? Part of it is physics and engineering: it turned out to be technically possible. Part of it is that activists were never able to overcome resistance by elites and by national populations for whom this never became a core political issue. Neither one of these was inevitable. The history of this is waiting to be written, but I suspect that important turning points are going to be:

1. Formation of the IPCC. For experts to respond to science, science has to be very well founded. The IPCC reports are pretty much inarguable, scientifically.

2. Poor elite resistance to subsidies. It's easy for elites to stop an industry from being shut down, but it's difficult for them to prevent subsidies for new industries from being added. The machinery of local interest, political set-asides and so on has purposefully been made easy to run because it normally favors elites, and ways of stopping it were made difficult. This resulted in the early round of funding for renewable power.

3. China's investment in solar panels. To make new technologies cheap you have to ramp up production. This was done by Chinese state fiat -- as with almost all energy infrastructure, the market really had little to do with it. The Chinese state had the capital to do this and the ability to take speculative risks that, in actuality, capitalist multinationals are almost never willing to take. Someone who knows more than I do will have to figure out whether this was primarily due to industrial policy / support for national industry, as a way of combating Chinese coal air pollution, as an actual way to address this problem, or whatever.

4. Possibly, the Paris Agreements. Not that they actually agreed to do anything definitive, but they agreed on something more important: that the science was settled and the problem had to be addressed. It was pretty much the death knell of international denialism.

Why did activism, broadly speaking, fail? Part of it was industry support for denialism, and the concomitant tribal adoption of it as a position of the right wing in the U.S. But this is a huge, international problem, and the left in the neoliberal era really didn't have an international presence. There was no organization that was critical to people's lives for them to accrete around on this issue.

Look at what is happening now in the U.S.: both one of the more conservative countries on the planet and one of the most influential. We just had an election in which global warming policy was one of the clearest differences between the candidates, and it wasn't important. And right now if the left is unified around anything, it's unified in support of the DAPL protests, but this protest is highly fragile -- I recognize the current state of it from the Occupy days. Once people who will support a protest are all in, that defines the boundary of who will respond to a protest being quashed. If the state fully comes in and destroys the protest, there will not be an uprising of additional support from people angered by the police action, there will only be resistance from the people who are already supporters. More generally, Obama's neoliberal era resulted in a lot of incremental, executive-power advances with no popular organization backing them, and when Trump takes power, there are no effective barriers to them being reversed, whether it's lowering car fleet mileage requirements, using the Clean Air Act, or starting up Keystone XL again. There are also ongoing efforts at "inside game" activism: pressuring corporations to make changes, divestment focussed on energy companies, and so on, which seem to me to have some effect but not yet a large one.

Activism is, of course, ongoing. It can't be dropped: the final results of how much warming we get are highly dependent on how soon decarbonization happens and the decisions made in the next decade. If activism can speed that up at all, it has to be done. And protests like #NoDAPL are local and have very important local effects that can't be abandoned. But both the elites and the general public have made activism around this quite difficult, and I think that it's likely that it's going to be one of those things that had to be tried but that in the end didn't have a critical effect.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Protest (II)

Unicorn Riot has obtained a federal training manual, Field Force Operations, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP). The federal government uses this document to train local law enforcement in techniques for quelling protests. It was acquired during our reporting on direct actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline when we filed a records request to the North Dakota Department of Corrections.
(From here)

This is a great find, and I encourage anyone planning protests in the U.S. to read it. If I have the energy I may do a series on it here. A few initial things to note:

* Why FEMA? You think of FEMA and you think of planning responses for natural disasters, mostly. But FEMA is part of Homeland Security now, and this training manual segues easily from methods for handling riots (arguably a kind of disaster) to methods for getting rid of nonviolent protestors who are blocking something. Essentially, riots and nonviolent planned protest are treated as two points along a kind of continuum of similar types of events, which allows for justification of a continuum of the same techniques used to suppress both.

* The three types of protestors. The Unicorn Riot article mentions this, but I'll repeat it: the document models all protestors as belonging to one of three basic types: everyday citizens, professional protestors, and anarchists. That says a whole lot about both the police and the left in the U.S. First, there may be "professional protestors" -- it's a big country -- but I've never met one. I've met a lot of committed activists, but "professional" implies protest for pay, and more than that, hiring yourself out for any kind of protest whose organizers will pay you. I think that this is projection on the part of the security services, who imagine that people have to be paid to do something they believe in just as they are. Second, given the numerically low number of anarchists, it's revealing that the police encounter them as a distinct category and don't have one for any other part of the left.

* The war-propaganda element. There are items scattered throughout the document that attempt to immunize the trainee against natural human feeling in favor of "professionalism" or "controlling the situation". According to the document, people screaming in pain may not really be hurt, they may just be trying to fool you into letting them go. If they say something like "We're peaceful protestors, why are you doing this?" they're just trying to make you feel bad. If protestor medics come in and try to gain access to protestors who they say need help, those medics may just be trying to disrupt your operations and are subject to arrest. Every natural reaction that people might have to police using violence against them is pre-explained as potentially part of a protestor plan. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous way to train police if the purpose of the training is to do anything but defend property (but of course see the NoDAPL protests for an illustration of what the real purpose of this training is).

* Maybe I missed out on the really well planned protests, but the document assumes that some protests are planned out to a level that seems greater than any actual protest that I've been to. What they seem to have done is taken all of the best planned out elements of any protest that ever happened and merged them into one big potential protest plan. If actual protests were this well organized, protestors would be in great shape. But they generally aren't, and as a result police are largely planning for the wrong thing (if we were going to take the goals of the document seriously) or using these imaginary superprotestors as an excuse for their own increasingly militarized operations (and see above).

Edited to add: the UK is even further along.

ETA (2): "Some protesters will attempt to design fictitious media credentials to gain access to events or special consideration by law enforcement." Unless you work for the NYT or Washington Post, I'm guessing that your press pass is going to be a "fictitious media credential".

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


One of my daughter's close friends, a 13 year old, is at the DAPL protest: her parent is volunteering there as a medic / healer. They arrived on the same day that water protectors tried to clear the highway and were attacked by various police and security forces with rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tear gas, and a fire hose wetting them down in below-zero weather. More than a hundred people were injured; one person had her arm severely injured by a grenade.

News reports called the person whose arm was injured an activist, a perfectly good word for what she was on that day. Around the same time, an article by Astra Taylor in _The Baffler_ informed people that "Activists are types who, by some quirk of personality, enjoy long meetings, shouting slogans, and spending a night or two in jail" and "Activists seem to relish their marginalization, interpreting their small numbers as evidence of their specialness."

When Trump started to win in the primaries, some people brought up violence against anti-Trump protestors at his rallies as unprecedented, as something that signaled a kind of proto-fascism that hadn't been seen in recent America. And they didn't want to hear about the end of Occupy, about the people arrested for wearing the wrong T-shirt at George W Bush rallies, about how almost every protest in America that ever made a difference has involved violence by security forces. That was official violence and, I guess, not as scary to some people as unofficial violence, even though official violence usually additionally results in the victim being arrested and charged.

People in America, in general, reflexively dislike protest and support authority. That's as true for most of the putative left as it is for the right. Liberals are already starting to denounce the anti-Trump protests as violent or just ill-mannered, old-style leftists are eager to denounce protest movements for "individualism", and the right is, of course, bringing out old standards about professional protestors.

The people injured in the #NoDAPL protests are not being injured by fascist brownshirts: they are being injured by traditional American use of state and local security forces. Those forces are just as unimpeded by Obama as they would be by Trump. Maybe Trump will be even worse. But what's happening at the DAPL protests is fully in keeping with American history, especially the history of what happens to native people when their land has some kind of resource.

Protest strategy in the Trump era is going to be difficult to work out. The people newly encouraging protests are the worst kind of fair weather friends: when someone like Jonathan Chait writes "The day after the election, protesters swarmed the streets of major cities shouting that Trump was 'not my president.' Good for them." you know that this good-for-them is going to last about a month before Chait gets alarmed and returns to form.

I'm not encouraged by the recent, brief upsurge in support for protest against Trump. It's not being generalized to cases like the DAPL protests where shocking abuses by security forces are ongoing, because that would involve condemning the system as a whole instead of just half of it. People are too eager to return the system to a nonexistent age in which stability and safety meant that protests really were bad for everybody.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Scott Eric Kaufman

Anyone who knew him will have heard the news already.

I really didn't know him. I only corresponded with him for a while.

I'm evidently going to have the Clash's Stay Free running through my head until I find some way to think about this, so here it is: I once, at his invitation, wrote an extended doggerel / drinking song about his death, adding on to an earlier one about the mishaps that he chronicled. That will have to be it.

[Begin chorus]

They tell of a man from Californiay
Who thought that his diss would be done some day
The Devil looked up, said "I'll make him pay"
So drink one for the troubles of SEK

[end chorus]

Now SEK's list of trials is long
And we'll see who's still standing after this song
He was beat up in high school, he didn't belong
But it was in grad school that things went wrong


And when his thesis had just begun
He turned against Theory, said that wasn't fun
The New Historicism is the one
He's stuck reading and re-reading Jack London


The doctor told him about his thyroid
He didn't want his wife to be annoyed
"If I hide it from everyone I'll stay employed"
So four months of concealment he enjoyed


Now SEK came to his office door
And found two students going at it on the floor
"This will make a good story" he thought before
The Sexual Harassment Office sent letters galore


And when he was down, and his thoughts were thick
His gloom was interrupted by Honda Civic
The car slammed into him and was gone in a lick
At least six months of rehab went by quick


But the most annoying were Internet trolls
Threats of bodily harm will take their toll
They sent letters to his boss, and to every soul
They could find in the whole county's Email roll


He got pictures of the husband of his friend
Having sex with a horde; he thought that was the end
Should he tell her? He went and hit "send"
Now he can't go home, or with thugs he'll contend


After all those troubles, he still wasn't drowned
Well, it was absurd, but this might be the crown
Overpayment of library fines will bring him down
He's no longer a student, just a proper noun


He told us all this when he started a blog
And how fate or the Devil made him jump like a frog
The hiring committee looked on agog
If we hire him -- then our luck will fog


The Devil looked up and laughed and laughed
The diss was done, SEK was on staff
His appointment wasn't tenure track
He'd be lecturing freshman till Hell and back


The Devil liked what he did see
"I'll make SEK live eternally
He'll crush people's souls, and turn them to me
Academics will cry as I laugh with glee"


When the Devil's plans caught up the poor sod
That brought the eye of an angry God
Volcanoes and plagues came down in turn
To stop the Devil, SEK must burn


He looked at his smoldering car in despair
SEK looked up, shook his fist in the air
"I've survived again, and as you can see
There's nothing more you can do to me"


As he raised his arm with a defiant shout
A massive lightning bolt snuffed him out
The electric charge was so whole-hog
A freak power surge erased his blog


And that was the end of SEK
To his memory we drink today
Lest we get his luck, get squashed like a bug
The rest of the bottle we now will chug

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Circular and literal firing squads

Liberals are worried, and the form of that worry is expressed as "we must all come together to fight Trump." So the trope of the circular firing squad comes out. If leftists criticize liberals for losing this election and not defeating Trump -- and for predictably leading us to more Trumps -- then they are forming a circular firing squad, metaphorically shooting at their friends, and so on.

So let's look at what's going on with Snowden. His existence is precarious, to say the least: he lives on Russia's sufferance, and if you believe that Russia wants to make nice with Trump, they could easily ship him off to America for trial, which would be a nice distraction for Trump and would get him some credits with the security state. How would that trial go? Well, Trump's pick for CIA head thinks that Snowden should be executed as a traitor. So we're talking literal firing squads, or some other method of execution.

Needless to say, Snowden is important to the left, for obvious reasons. You would think that he'd be important to people who are interested in encouraging resistance to Trump. After all, we're going to need both Snowden's past information about the security state and the future information of any new whistleblowers in Trump's Presidency who may be either encouraged or frightened by what happens to Snowden.

Obama has the power to stop this. The President can pardon anyone, for any reason, for anything. Obama has said that he doesn't want to and brought up something about Snowden not having presented himself for trial, but Snowden doesn't have to: a Presidential pardon would work anyways. But Obama is not going to, and moreover, I haven't heard anything from the people freaking out about Trump saying that he should.

We aren't allies. People on the left may defend the system, but the system will not defend them in turn. I think that this is a critical realization for everyone to have in the next few months. Keep this in mind as liberals denounce protest, as they are already doing.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time to work for what you actually believe in

As I mention in comments to the post below, we may be nearing the end of the Sixth Party System in the U.S. The mathematics of how U.S. elections are set up create a two-party stable system, but those parties can be replaced. The same factors that make a third party challenge unviable unforgivingly destroy a second party that falls.

People have been talking about the supposed crash of the GOP for a while, but in a two-party system that is so evenly balanced, it doesn't seem very likely that one could fall and the other remain steady. Really both parties are in horrible shape, and either one of them could go, or both -- transmuted into something else with the same name or outright replaced. This raises the specter of fascism, but it's also the only chance for a sea change in left politics that I've seen in my lifetime.

What are the Democrats preparing to do? They've lost so much power that the GOP is approaching Constitutional Convention levels of possible control. At this critical moment the most visible and outspoken leader, Sanders, has gone back to the Senate as an independent -- he's no longer in the Democratic Party -- internal party politics seems to have shifted to what I think is an inconsequential contest between Keith Ellison and Howard Dean for DNC chair, and David Brock is talking about raising money from billionaires to fight Trump. Yes, the same Brock who spent millions on his organization Correct the Record to scold Sanders supporters on Twitter. Otherwise, the Democratic Party is exhausted, not even capable of thinking about what went wrong.

So at this point people on the left who are interested in electoral politics have pretty much two basic choices. They can dig in to defend the Democrats as the Democratic leadership doesn't defend them, and helplessly accept that GOP control over Supreme Court appointments means control over the law for the next couple of decades. Or they can try to change the system. That means either recapture of the Democratic Party, an institution that was already shown in this election to stack the deck against left challengers, or try to go en masse over to a third party and make it the second.

I think that it's the Green Party's time. Some people are talking about traditional socialist parties, but they aren't horizontalist and have no core commitment to ecological issues, the most important issues of our time. The Green Party also has at least minimal political infrastructure in place that no traditional socialist party has.

But really, this is a rare time when the lesser evil has dropped out and it's possible for people to make a real decision, at least for themselves. What do you actually believe in? You no longer need to give that up in favor of something practical, because the lesser evil has failed. When I write "futility is freedom", people think that it's nihilism or it's a joke, and it's at least partially a joke. But it's partially true. People now have the responsibility not of gritting their teeth and doing the responsible thing, but of deciding what they want and working with other people to bring that about, even if the chances of success are no better than they ever actually were.

Edited to add: the Intercept. I'm not impressed by the GOP's willingness to examine its errors: they ended up winning for following none of their own recommendations. Really the two parties are flailing around within a dysfunctional system.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ignore all of the people who guided you to this point

I've been reading liberal blogs and articles, and the foolishness from all sides is too much to bear without comment. I'll go over some of the supposed solutions:

1. "Let's get rid of the Electoral College!"

Really -- how? Let's wait until the electoral left is at its lowest point of power, having lost the Presidency, Senate, House, and Supreme Court, and then push through massive changes to the political system. Maybe we could do this if there really was bipartisan agreement. Just writing that sentence makes it clear how ridiculous this is: it's the Grand Compromise all over again. Included in this category are all similar large-scale official structural solutions.

2. "It's time for us all to work together against Trump!"

Really? Why should people on the left want to work with neoliberals who through their actions created the opportunity for Trump to arise? How are we allies?

People are pointing out the horrors of an autocrat with access to mass surveillance, Presidential powers, the politicized security state, official torture, the prison system, the INS, etc. Liberals were fine with all of that as long as Obama was doing it. They have no principled objection and no real interest in removing these state structures: they only want them to be used by their side, and they were demonstrably ineffectual at doing anything about them when they were in power. Well, if liberals want to work together, maybe they can work on the left's projects, but that's difficult because the left really is not vanguardist and has no way of keeping liberals from guiding these projects back into the same tired failure.

3. "Let's do lots of small scale, virtuous things."

No -- this isn't the time to let political action be diverted into the usual personal virtue signaling and meaningless volunteerism for small scale solutions to problems that are large scale. If there was any time to turn back to large-scale politics, it's now. It doesn't really matter which American political party is the one to crack up: moving politics forwards requires that one of them does. The largest danger at the moment is that the Democratic Party gets reconstituted just as it was and then gets the inevitable win that will happen when the GOP flares out. If you're into electoral politics, join the Green Party or make a socialist one. If you're not, join or the local chapter of BLM or something else. Stop putting your personal energy into organizations that will disempower you and start putting them into ones in which your allies are your actual allies.

4. "Let's double down on scolding people."

If you spent the political season talking about the deplorables or the horrible Bernie Bro left, then you are part of the problem. Please break yourself of this before you go out into the political arena again. Do you need someone's help with something? Then don't start out by saying that they suck. You don't think that you need their help? But really you do, it turns out, if you want to do something like win an election.

I realize that there is tension between these points, of course. Figure out those contradictions for yourself. So many of our political problems are problems of scale and of choosing the right scale for organizations and efforts: what works at one scale will not if you go higher or lower. I'll write about this more later on.

Edited to add: more here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Glad to be an anarchist today

There's really one main argument for the U.S. Democratic Party: pragmatism. The lesser evil is still evil, but it is supposed to have the counterbalancing advantage that it can win, and therefore displace even worse results. Without victory, it is nothing. No large constituency loves free trade agreements, "humanitarian" wars, mass surveillance and an economy for the elites. People do have critical interests in reproductive rights, anti-racism, and feminism, but those themselves have been demoted to lesser-evil status -- no one was promising a bold new advance in reforming medical care, the prisons, immigration, or the police, but only to hold back the worst.

And now it hasn't won. On the contrary, it has lost so completely as to make it obvious that engagement with it is futile. Sanders tried what people are always (patronizingly) told to do: run within the system, pull the party to the left. He was predictably defeated by a corrupt party apparatus, and I don't see how his run is going to make any lasting difference. The groundwork for this election was laid in every respect by Obama's Presidential failure (ACA's meltdown, no good economic recovery, no pulling the bandaid off the global warming crisis quickly, no prosecutions of bankers or other action against the financial industry) and now the result is here. But of course the problem goes beyond Obama to the Democratic Party's entire political class.

I invite people to reconsider anarchism. Not because there is supposed to be some kind of blueprint for the future waiting in some dusty file somewhere. But because most peoples' thinking is wrong, and they could stand to give up on their current certainties. The left makes many errors, and has had many failures, but one thing that it generally can't do and remain the left is to dismiss large segments of the populace as racists and sexists who have to be suppressed and who have no real grievances. Try relating to people as if you are yourself and they are themselves, rather than identifying yourself with a state or a party, and then think about what this suppression really involves, who you are really trying to convince, and how. How do you get allies? What would one of the Rust Belt voters who Trump won over take from what you're saying?

The need for a left that is against all the hierarchies of unjust power is as great as ever. But the pragmatic solution of going along with the lesser evil is not actually pragmatic. It's time to toss it and go on. Political action is going to be necessary now more than ever, but people can't let that action go within the channels of a system that's failed.

Edited to add some links (not anarchist ones): Glenn Greenwald, Jeffrey St. Clair. Anarchism doesn't really have the temperament or resources for instant pundit reactions, but these will do.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Russians Are Coming

"the companies think it's time we all sit down, have a serious get-together-

And start another war” *

When I went walking, the world to see, five people came to talk with me. The first was a boy who was missing a nose. He said that the good that we do only grows. The next was a man without any hands

"Hell, Afghanistan's no fun
So whadya say?
We don't even have to win this war.” *

"We had Libya all ready to go and Colonel Khadafy's hit squad
didn't even show up. I tell ya
That man is unreliable.“ *

"He died knowing that even his soul was not safe from the hell-blade borne by the wolf-faced albino.” *

"But none of that helps now that the UK army can barely deploy a brigade of infantry, or field a working aircraft carrier, or prevent Russian war planes buzzing Dorset.” *

Who said that simple joys make no demands. The third was

Even though a loop can go on endlessly, and you can see another column right there, you'll never get there. Not in 30 years. Or maybe it's a Mobius strip and you'll get there no matter what

"Doing homework?”

"No, writing a poem”

growing up you think of your mental background as songs but write enough and there comes a time when your mental soundtrack is primarily things you've written and read

"Are you believing the morning papers?
War is coming back in style
There's generals here, advisors there
And Russians nibbling everywhere” *

"In the name of world peace
In the name of world profits
America pumps up our secret police
America wants fuel
To get it, it needs puppets
So what's ten million dead?
If it's keeping out the Russians” *

"On its cover, repeatedly displayed on the TV screens of TVO’s viewers, is the Symbol of Chaos —Dugin’s no less malevolent version of the swastika.” *

"You want me to explain to you how Europe’s Gaslighting Abusive Boyfriend is a threat to the country I happen to live in?” *

When people dream beauty, and decide to write, they write trees in glory, trees in the day. But I find my dreaming slipping away to trees in the fog and mysterious night

I lie to her too. I tell her that everything is basically going OK // postmodernism can be a jumble of quotes from low culture sources and some self reference

My friends laughed when I listened to the Dead Kennedys in 1985 it was supposed to be my youth not 2015