Saturday, June 30, 2018

Observations and reflections from 6/30/18 Immigrant Rights March

Since the current and exponentially increasingly despicable oval office occupant has been in office, the whirlwind of overwhelming reports of misconduct, erosion of protective regulations for consumers or the environment, distractive childish digital babble, it was somewhat challenging to know where to put one's energy in opposition to this shit storm of egregious conduct and implementation. The prideful fear mongering stemming from the zero tolerance policy of the separation of immigrant families signaled an unshakable sense of need for resistance or at the very least to be another body of indication for disapproval of what is said and done under the banner of which I was born to find myself. The notion that sliding down the birth canal and the circumstantial soil which land under infant feet is one of the most potent deciding factors in one's life experience, quality of life and acceptance into society is almost so blatantly synthetically propagated by the ruling class that we accept it as a determined fate. The arbitrary nature of political boundaries, to divide, to compartmentalize, to oppositionalize (a made up term that seems fitting) and ultimately to nationalize is but one label we developed in a feeble attempt to gain understanding for external "reality". By fabricating categories we lead ourselves down the path of inevitable oppression, manipulation and coercion. These understandings led me to the March for Immigrant Rights today in Atlanta, GA. The initial gathering point was at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center on Peachtree St. SW. Waiting for the march to begin this time afforded an extended moment for pure observation as arriving to one of these events solo has its advantages as it turns out. Upon an additional moments reflection, it was not surprising though at the first glance, I was up hauled at the shameless opportunism of a guy pulling out 2 huge coolers to start hocking "ice cold water and gatorade". The area in which this gathering took place in Atlanta is less than affluent and once my personal pervasive capitalist suspicions had subsided, I was hoping, that even if it may seem curious to use a captive audience of this nature to make some loot, that this guy would come out well from today's entrepreneurial efforts. As the squishy collective began to shuffle down the street toward its destination, a trend was easily apparent of people looking up and towards the back of the crowd. There was an almost standard reaction to the moment of realization to what they were looking upon. On the looming exterior ICE detention center walls, there lies the intimidating institutional grid work of slotted windows of holding cells. The captives, aware of the street level support were banging their hands on the thin horizontal windows in rhythm with the chant of the moment with the occasional set of eyes or headscarf being recognizable for an instant. A general response was to smile and wave at the people who were under circumstances relating to the reason for such a voluminous gathering of human beings. This innocent gesture of support through a hand wave, a universal signal of recognition seemed to encapsulate the relatively general Western privilege that was being practiced in the downtown of one of the nations top 10 populated cities. Though I did not have the instinct to wave, this site, of individuals under the current political climate being held was clarifying further to why I was out there exercising my own privilege to be able to do so as to not have to work on the weekends and the physical ability to walk the half mile or so from point A to point B in a rather hot and sunny Georgia summer day. The empathetic expression the gathered witnesses to this incarceration filled my face and a visceral determinism to participate, if only as another body was realized. This was impossible to ignore. Those muted pounding hands and glimpses of faces stories above us with the assumption that the sight from their vantage point might be a source of comfort and hope, was the reason.
Once the marchers hit the lumbering crowd stride, the chanting became more prominent. Call and response or leading repetitive phrasing continued its staple at such an event. Though not being much of a chanter myself, the calls left me questioning if they would be effective as a message. Is there a sense of collective political maneuvering? Can or is protest a form of negotiation? Is it wise to come out the gate with demands that one (or in this case, all) knows will have to be toned down in order for an agreement to be made? For example, 2 chants that stood out to me, to this end, were, "Abol-ish ICE, Abol-ish ICE" and "Not one more detention!". Thought both of these statements are both admirable and justified they also seem clouded in an ideology which can be problematic when addressing the complicated and nuanced topics concerning the well being of other human beings. Even while in the middle of a large crowd, I do not chant along with things that I find not to be 100. Although I would back initiatives which would promote such ideas found in the chants above, I have a feeling that the potential lack of realism in either of these lofty ideas being accomplished, is taking up rally airtime which could be better spent. With this being my first protest anywhere near this size, I was wondering about possible negotiation tactics that I was not privy of. It did seem to be partially an incident where these kinds of rallying cries were a form of perpetuating a stark binary political discourse of extremes which is stalling national dialogue. Can issues be fully addressed and reconciled when the conversation around them only has two vantage points? Complexity and subtlety to the variety of factors influencing such concerns will be smoke filled invisibles not coming into play due to the intentional bombardment of distraction tactics from this administration and hollow figurehead. As the crowd kept is pace accordion-ing down Peachtree st, two things became acutely noticeable. The reoccurring and undeniable phenomena lining the march path was homelessness and the over spicing in the crowd was cell phone use. The obstruction achieved by a protest sign is a welcomed visual obstacle course. The varying levels of cleverness found on home made protest signs is a source of entertainment, somewhere to put your eyes rather than making eye contact with one of the thousands of strangers sharing the experience, and is a physical indication of frustrations driving folks out into the street. Similar to the chants, signs reading, "Melt ICE" and the like fall under a similar category proposed above. Not to digress, the phone usage resulted in a watering down of the event to a small but significant degree to personal experience. I will admit with obviousness that I too used my cell phone to grab a few quick shots. Recording deliberate moments seems to be a bit more present than recording 10 minute chunks of time, face timing with someone who was not there but interested enough to resign to that vicariousness, or taking selfies or photos of people with quirky political t-shirts or signs that resonate with the individual with the hand held computer with a camera app in hand. Social media is where I found out about this planned march in the A. Without it, the turnout would have been lower, at least by one. The galvanizing effects of it are undeniable and those long term effects we are now able to understand and try to mitigate as these echo chambers become more and more vast fading into darkness. The phone use in this particular context seemed more to be driven by self image and ego. This observation and admission runs the risk of revealing a cynical response. Over saturation and over exposure of anything may effect cynicism. Was the presence of some of the phoneaphiles explicitly to change a profile pic or two document the experience to share for activating some good? As we marched (a term seeming overstated), homeless people were periodically in route looking both intrigued and embarrassed. Leaning up against local businesses, watching the school of fish slink by, men and women were peering into the crowd, not unlike the imprisoned were peering through that window to small to put your entire hand through. Pan handling in the crowd was witnessed. Like the water vendor, it was hoped that she would make out well as we all were walking through her back yard. It struck me as one of the narratives of the American (and perhaps Western) dichotomy of walking past an injustice while protesting another injustice. Both issues, equally as worthy of time, thought and energy, there still seemed to be an inherent irony of selective voicing while in the presence of another societal negligence and abhorrence. Unlike the water vendor the next entrepreneur, was more testing of personal notions of appropriateness. On the right side of the marching route was a gentlemen selling black t-shirts with white text reading, "Families Belong Together". Though a concise and admirable message, the black market capitalism on display in this context was immediately off putting and by not means as easy to support as the pan handler or water salesman. The resources taken, pollutants emitted, shipping required, ink used, labor to harvest or synthesize the fibers that make up the fabric, all out of the opportunity to profit off of human hardship and the getting together of people looking to make it right went beyond selling water that would have otherwise been sold at some other street corner traffic light. This was designed, targeted and produced for this particular event, a protest at that. After some reflection, this is not at all surprising. Our laws and tolerances allow it. If it wasn't this guy, it would have been another guy to take his place selling protest souvenirs and wearable messages. I'm surprised that there was not more competition. One of the beautiful sights during the march as the diversity. All walks of life. Married gay men with their children walking beside mixed race couples and spry elderly protestor veterans. The atmosphere was thick with togetherness and common goals. Not a single scuffle was witnessed. A positive unintended side effect of ego driven phone use was additional interactions between strangers who would have never otherwise have been in contact. Pockets of the march and crowd were engrossed in chanting at their own rhythms and timing, reenforcing collectivity and the periodic and varying distance eruptions of cheers was a reminder of the underlying idea that life should be celebrated not stowed in a cage, not matter what the person's age. The crowd had found its resting point after the collective faith in the marching leadership had paid off. Situated between two imposing, grey stone and concrete institutional emblematic cuboids speakers were heard through a Peanuts adult dialect and the occasional crowd affirmation in the form of cheers, chants and clapping. Prior to worming my way through the crowd (my place in the march was about 4/5 of the way from the front) to get a look and sound at the speakers a child asked his or her mother a question directly behind me. "Mommy, is that a jail too?". The idea that the child, knowing that the starting point was a jail (as they put it) and that the next federal building this child saw, resembled the same intimidating symbol was striking. It was very reassuring of the amount of children in the crowd. Due to the nature of the rally, it was to be expected. The innocence in this young person's voice asking a very astute question cut deep. The same pitch of voice and curiosity is being concealed from the outside world thousands of times over all over the country. The forward and free thinking decisions made by the parents in the crowd to bring their children has been and is continuing to be torn away from seemingly countless parents whose reason for immigrating was to improve the lives of the same children who are now either separated or lost outright. The notion of state sponsored child abuse (to take a phrase from one of the signs) even exists should not be on the minds of any child in any country. Fear based saturation of rhetoric for this flesh covered septic tank of a president has been his calling card, his dog whistle and his battle cry. It was energizing to be part of the people who are standing up and making their presence count to counter act the vitriol which is being secreted by the head leach and his base who he is sucking the nutrients out of without their knowledge but with their consent. A theme that seemed to be most on point with the maximum chance to affect change was to vote. Witnessing an newly 18 year old register to vote on the street among thousands of people is democracy in action. Each speaker mentioned its importance, its necessary vitality and sustained encouragement for anything to actually be righted. One such speaker was Reverend Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is the same church that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood behind the pulpit. To consider the lineage, the role that Atlanta played in the civil rights movement and national race relations in general, the power of being present in that moment was real. Admittedly, my vantage point resulted in less than favorable audio, Rev. Warnock was on point but predictable. The message seemed somewhat standardized though it was easy to see that his heart was in it. The call for faith in activism, though not surprising due to his position, seems still to potentially, "other" the other in establish a moral hierarchy. The idea that activism without faith was dangerous is inferring that morality does not exist without religion or faith. The determination of religion to stake claim at ethical standards is both hypocritical and would be humorous if it were not so frustrating. This perpetuation of us vs them and moral high ground due to an affiliation is as arbitrary as making the claim that New York Yankee fans are more morally competent than New York Metz fans. The crowd reaction to the speakers was more inspiring than most of the words that acted out the echo chamber of social media in the physical by bouncing back and forth in between the oversized and inhabited federal tombstones. The crowd's support and endorsement was intriguing and calls to "Abolish ICE" were one of the favorites of the day. Recognizing that "Abolish ICE" is not in the realm of political reality presently, I abstained from joining on that chant but "No more Cages" seemed to strike the right cord. Certain media outlets spins on this disgusting and inhuman practice of child separation by calling the conditions similar to summer camp and using work ju-jitsu to sprinkle sugar over the condidtions would have been reason enough to join in verbalizing the "No more Cages" sentiment. After the speakers wrapped it up the crowd dispersed and I sat down to take some notes in prep for visiting this dusty neglected old blog. Walking along the same route to get back to my transportation, I was walking behind a gentleman with an open wagon he was pulling behind him. I didn't pay much attention to its contents until overheard him on his phone. "Yeah man, its almost over. Ima try and sell about 10 more then I'm done.", was the gist of what was overheard. Glancing down at the wagon I immediately recognized a hard outline, vector image of the now iconic image of the 2 year old girl crying and looking up while her mother was being questioned by an officer. The only text visible read, "You may not really care", in response to the embarrassment in chief's mail order bride's taste in fashion when going to visit a child detention center last week. To monetize and profit off of the image of fear is what makes up a bottom feeding capitalist parasite. A terrified child, image stolen without consent of the child or parent, used as a commercial good may be considered profiteering treason. This idea seems dead on arrival since the basis of capitalism is a lawless scape of businesses where nothing is truly sacred and the only thing that is not profited off of for now is sunlight. The commercialization of democratic demonstration is where we are as a country being led by a construction mogul reality star whose only interest in getting the job is a cash grab, pussy grab and ego grab. I'm at a loss as if street marches are effective, especially under the current tone deafness and dismissive nature of the current boil on the ass of America.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

who would want to be the last human on Earth?

Working at a coffee shop, it has come to my attention that there may be a tendency for the country of origin of the bean can influence a persons' preference in selecting a brew. For example, the day that I write this, the coffee shop is offering either an Ethiopian or Costa Rican blend of coffees. The Costa Rican blend was exhausted many times over before the Ethiopian needed to be brewed again. Granted, as has been noticed, a darker roast (which the C.R. is) tends to be preferred overall by the clientele at this particular coffee establishment. With that being said, the idea that the mental reflex of media imagery between these two particular countries is drastic and may influence where people would gravitate towards, even in as something as nominally consequential as selecting between 2 coffees.
When thinking about Costa Rica vs. Ethiopia, unless you have visited them both first hand, whatever imagery comes to mind is only shaped by media. Whether it is a lush pictorial essay on the tropical rain forest of Costa Rica or the starving children of the desert of Ethiopia as said by Sally Struthers, the portrayal is of drastic polarity. One, abundant, thriving and brightly colored, a vibrant portrayal of culture whose rhythmic pulse is seductive and virile. The other, a monochromatic, flat portrayal of a bleak, needy place, cultivating an image of no one's preferred destination.
These stark differences, these immensely varying topographical and psychological mental images, where are their role in our decision making process on such a benign situation? Is there room for considering the region and the consequences of supporting its exports? That snap judgment of what best serves me in this time of desire for synthetic energy and pleasant taste, does the consideration beyond self-service? Yes, evolution has conditioned this human, and other animals to mostly focus on self interest (self preservation) but in this cushioned, highly comfortable life that the Western World finds itself in, this pervasive and unwavering idea of "everything is about me", will (as I see it) come to drastically effect the preservation of the species as a whole. Who would want to be the last human on Earth?
As media exploits our innate propensity for self preservation, in a name of capitalist infatuations, our proximity to extinction of either our physicality, spirituality, or morality becomes more and more intimate.

Viva Marshal McLuhan!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

what about

What about the wrongs? What about the trials and promises? Thinking in matters of location, being on the y-axis when the x is the range of motion. The reservoir of considerations, any given filter on any given day, changing wavelengths. Packs of charred remains, going back to the counter.

Fortunate enough to give it another go.

Where has it been, clouding realizations. Further through but not above. Having yet made the sacrifices advocated? Anchors require something to hold onto, inherent to their function. Whether numerical links or consistency of ground, symbiosis non-the-less. Bordering on two very different locations.

Consistency regarded as the means.

Pivot motions, granting both sides of the coin. Back and forth provisions, back and forth brought back to zero. Commonly regarded and somehow commonly revisited. Familiarity, kicking up the same plumes translating the debris and know-how. Etching onto eroding tablets to be consumed later under false pretenses.

Mending garments supplied by circumstance and reaction.

Top hat ablaze, staring at woven shoe laces. Ingenuity distilled and watered down to function on abstract and tangible levels. Slight of hand in the gesture of offering. Stripes ranging taking orders from untamed id. What about the wrongs? What about the trials and promises?

Monday, October 18, 2010


The idea of family....
Comfort? Love? Tradition?

"Raising" little individuals.
Shaping, molding, conditioning an Other.
Either on one's own or in tandem, constructing an atmosphere which formulates culture on its own scale. As atmosphere always seem to do.
Authoritarian position by chronology.
Exercising legislative and behavioral control through reward and punishment.
Validating your own tactics against the backdrop of other methodologies, finding fault as a vehicle of self empowerment.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

confused sense of purpose

It would be my guess that control of a situation is a desirable survival technique that evolution has bestowed upon us and has jumped the tracks wielding out of control. Those who find themselves in a position of power are there to control the policies under which they oversee. Coming with this, or any, position is a sense of what is expected from you, not the least being instilling a personal sense of procedure which advances the governed body, now being measured in revenue. ("Governed" is being used fairly loosely here. It is being used as an umbrella for oversight. A small business owner may "govern" the business or a teacher, govern the classroom/department.)
The political environment has been supplemented for a more basic survival scenario. No longer having the capability of maintaining a standard of living because the factors that shape it plow their own ground. Control is unattainable from seemingly every level. Although the media finds itself existing with an effect on the most impressionable parts of human's make up. A form of control found through countless resource and time packaged as natural, effortless, and innocent.
Could this sense of control have some impact on the appeal of the internet? We control these sites, blogs, networking pages etc. Giving us the control of deciding a template, color scheme, content, pictures. Underneath the greater controlled system, we have the option of taking on the self-aggrandizing responsibilities of maintaining what we have the ability to control. If a site is poorly maintained, our scrupulous scrutiny in others' work (as a mechanism to make ourselves feel better about how we navigate through the world) takes over and we may immediately have a certain view of an individual, institution or corporation based on the appearance of how they control this intangible outlet for the world.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

what is the question?

A recent trend seems to be emerging by political commentators, journalists and politicians. This has been observed both on the radio and on television. When someone is addressing a political issue and is asked a question a standard default response can become, "But I think that real question is.....". This has become a seamless transition into another aspect of the topic at hand that may be more conducive to illustrating the particular agenda that the individual is determined to generate. I have yet to hear a host of one of the programs call this out.
This blatant and simultaneously subtle side-stepping of issues was widely used during the BP Spill in the Gulf, used about the Muslim Cultural Center in Manhattan debate and regarding the pompous egomaniac that threatened to burn the Koran in Florida. This strategy of non question answering keeps the efforts of those with legitimate questions from achieving the inherent goal in asking a question. An answer. Being frightened of being wrong or even showing the slightest understanding of the other side of the argument is now being projected as a weakness. In fact the opposite is true. Someone who knowingly chooses the side of ignorance or dismissal is stockpiled with weakness.
Since when is it a novel idea to answer a question straight up? I suppose the practice of politics would not be what it is if answers were actually offered to the questions that were asked. This dance of avoidance is so blatant that it validates an idea that politicians and political pundits think, in fact are banking on literally, that the majority of the public can not tell or is indifferent when the wool is being pulled over our eyes, with a pulling fee.
It depends what the definition of is, is.
There are known unknowns, unknown knowns and unknown unknowns.
What about the known knowns. Do they exist?

Monday, June 14, 2010

you struck gold!!!... now you are screwed

Some pentagon geologists have say that they have found huge mineral and gas reserves in northern Afghanistan, saying that it could become one of the most lucrative mining sites in the world. If history is any gauge, corporate interests have already been sniffing the ass of this reserve for years. This potential of lucrativeness will have little positive impact on the greater population of Afghanistan. The rich and upper class will get richer, that is certain. The lower class can only hope that things do not get any worse. Sure, a new mine may offer employment opportunities to those otherwise unemployed, considering the mining conditions in the U.S., I would be surprised if they were any better or up to the par, there in Afghanistan. So, poor working conditions, more than likely poor pay, long hours, etc. will be the effect on those struggling in the longest war torn region on this little planet.

Do not be surprised if they sell of drilling, mining, extraction rights to private foreign corporate behemoths, just as they did in Iraq with the oil fields. By they I mean the same shills who end up buying the rights are the ones who if not write the policies themselves have a heavy, heavy influence by way of the Benjamins, on how policies are structured and carried out. Because of the situation, the alternative to auctioning the rights off to the fattest cats in the chow line, is to allow internal conflict over rights spiral out of control. With the Karzai government and their almost transparent coruptive practices, any chance for order is like rafting down the Colorado River blindfolded, arms bound.

Either one of these scenarios could conceivably feed anti-American sentiment, resulting in a continuation of all of those things that comes with that. Some of those things being more jihadists, more political capital by U.S. politicians to pass policy measures which slowly erode our civil liberties in the name of Homeland Security.

It is endlessly fascinating and disturbing that when a country, so downtrodden, wins the resources lottery, the winnings go to the guy who sold them the ticket.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

legalized organized crime

If there is anyone out that thinks that those actually responsible for the "blemish" in the Gulf of Mexico right now, I can only hope that this instance is the indicator which exposed them to a capitalist utopia illusion that this country runs off of. As was to be expected, when explaining themselves to our feeble-minded government, each facet of this operation blames each other. BP, blaming whoever built the safety valve, they blame Halliburton who, if I'm not mistaken, installed the faulty valve. This blaming musical chairs will jut confuse our elected officials to where nothing will be resolved. As is the rule of capitalism, making as much money in the shortest amount of time, it has been revealed that there were no safety checks on the most crucial aspect to the rig.....the component that ended up failing, killing individuals, countless animal life and an immeasurable amount of fragile environment. There is talk that if the spill drifts into the gulf stream, the "tar balls" as they are called could find their way all up the Eastern seaboard.

There will be volunteers out there with rags, buckets, hazmat suits, sponges trying to do what they can to minimize the environmental impact that this disaster may inflict. There will be BP execs. who will be in there with lawyers, cocaine, business suits, Cuban cigars trying to do what they can to minimize the financial impact that this will inflict on their own personal bank accounts.

This whole situation is a crime. A crime against the Earth. Yes, the impact will be felt the most in the Gulf region on so many levels. A region that has been battered for the better part of a decade and then some. But regardless of arbitrary boundaries drawn in liquid, this is a crime against everyone on the planet. If China were to experience a spill along their shoreline, have no policy in place for such an emergency, allow oil to gush out for weeks and weeks, the same would be true.

Back to the fact that there were no, at minimum, annual inspections for the safety valve:
Where is the concern for the crew?
Where is the concern for the environment?

It was buried under the fact that inspections of this nature would undoubtedly be expensive. BP made a calculated risk that they will push the limits of the state of a vital piece of equipment and by the time that anything could go wrong, the profits that they make up to that point would far exceed the cost of clean up. Especially since they surely have had forethought to how they would navigate through the system to minimize their liability to get the bill.

This is yet another personification of the problems with capitalism. Power not only corrupts but each step on the road to power injects corruptive ideologies to prime individuals to maximize profits by any means necessary.

Legalized organized crime.