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Friday, April 17, 2015

Pit stop.

Where did you put the GPS? I don't know this neighborhood very well. Okay, well ... pull out that AAA map and unfold it. Yes, I'll wait. Jesus.

This ride SUCKSWell, you caught Marvin (my personal robot assistant) and I on a little automotive tour of the greater Little Falls, NY area. All it takes is some kind of vehicle - in this case, Mitch Macaphee's 1968 Chevy Nova - and a little curiosity. Sure, the muffler just fell off (again) and I can see the road going by under my feet, but these are minor inconveniences. Spring is here, people - it's time to start living the life. Let's get our sorry asses out of that drafty old hammer mill and fill our nostrils with the scent of new life. Or ... not. Up to you.

Sometimes the best of intentions, as you know, lead one astray. It reminds me of a song Matt Perry wrote many moons ago - still applies today, though.

Good intentions, I've all these good intentions
My good intentions won't row the boat ashore
Good intentions, you know I'm good intentioned
Still I watched the world, I watched the world crash to the floor
and I just watched.

Well, I think there's a lesson in that for all of us. What is it? I don't freaking know. What am I, Kreskin? Anyway ... my one-robot tour of greater Little Falls, NY, is something of a bust. That's just as well. I should be back at the mill, toiling away at the next couple of episodes of our podcast, as well as all the associated songs. We appear to be up to seven new songs for the June podcast - that, I believe, is a new record. (Perhaps literally ... if by "record" you mean "album"). I've got a lot of parts to put down, but somehow I can't move.

Oldest story in the book, right? As soon as you have responsibility thrust upon you, you go looking for the exits. Fortunately, they are easy to find in the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill. There are a lot of missing doors and windows; it's like living in a king size Swiss cheese. But have faith - we have recorded Ned Trek 23, it has been sent to our non-union editors in Madagascar, and we expect to post the finished project sometime in the nearish future.

All right, I'm off. Marvin's got the map out again.

On running.

After years of speculation, Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy for president. At this point it feels as though she has been running for three years or more. American election seasons have been way too long since the 1970s, particularly over the last few cycles. I personally think this has been accentuated by the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and cable opinion/advocacy journalism, like FoxNews and MSNBC. I watch the latter more than most anything else, and I can tell you, they have been obsessing over 2016 since the day after the 2012 election, literally. It is permanent presidential electoral politics, restricted to horse-race coverage for the most part. (Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry and Rachel Maddow focus on policy more than their colleagues, to be fair.)

Hillary Rodham ClintonWhat about policy? It doesn't look good, frankly, and it's kind of depressing. Hillary Clinton is mouthing platitudes about inequality and being a "champion" for ordinary people, but that seems pretty clearly an effort to close off demand in her own party for a progressive alternative, like Elizabeth Warren. If she makes the right noises for a few months, it will be too late to mount any meaningful opposition. She is, of course, a mainstream interventionist on foreign policy, a supporter of the neoliberal order on economic policy, and generally a middle-of-the-road Democrat (or what was formerly known as a moderate Republican). Looking for a white knight - say, a Jim Webb? Don't even. I just heard him obsessing over Iran this evening, like pretty much all of his fellow mainstream Dems. Warren and Sanders would have to abandon their political distinctiveness - i.e. their hostility towards bankers and lobbyists - to seriously compete in this money-heavy game, thereby abandoning any reason for supporting them.

Of course, the Republicans are the Republicans - all announced candidates reflecting their party's modern identity as a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America. The ludicrous Ted Cruz tries so hard at parading his reactionary credentials that he seemingly unwittingly ties himself in knots, like announcing that he would both abolish the IRS and simplify our tax forms. (I think one definition of insanity is the ability to hold two mutually contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time without dissonance.) Their deeply unpopular political positions will be treated with the usual respect and awe. Rand Paul, purported libertarian, felt the need to announce his candidacy with a battleship in the background (like Romney's announcement of his running mate). So much for libertarianism.

Two bad choices inevitably lead to bad outcomes. The only way things are going to change for the better is if we organize outside the context of presidential politics first, then carry some relatively responsive president and Congress in on our shoulders. Up to us, but we'd best get started soon, while there's still a world left to save.

luv u,

jp