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Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I foresee a return to an in-person cash economy, and furthermore, a return to in-person communities. Why's dat? Here, I'll explain a little my utopian notion.

We have a president who is a fraudulent man. That is, even the facade that he's a man is a fraud. He literally cannot utter two sentences without lying, and even when what he's saying is trivial he manages to make you feel you're being lied to. "It's a beautiful day. Really, it's just one of those beautiful sunny days." I don't believe you, and I'm right here in the day with you. Forget this, I'm going inside. It must be raining guano or something.

This is more than a constitutional crisis, or a crisis of faith in the press and government. This is the rubber chickens come home to roost. This is a crisis of reality. We can't have this much reality be in question, it's too much. I'd rather just have the old worries, like under Reagan, that we were gonna die in a nuclear holocaust. That's existential. This crap is existentialIST.

Felicity Huffman, so woke playing that trans person, so woke that she bought her kid's way into college. Wait, that's what rich people do. But not always fraudulently. Not always by committing illegal lying. But it’s not always necessary to lie illegally. Because behind the lie of merit-based anything is the embarrassing obscenity that money trumps merit. Money trumps truth. That Fyre Festival, its roots go all the way back to Barnum, it’s entertaining that people with too much disposable income and gullibility and lousy taste in music got taken in such a public way. They were promised entertainment and, lo and behold, they became entertainment. Turns out that, even if the product is a $250,000 festival ticket, the product is you.

We now have a two-decades' legacy of facade masquerading as substance. It's been over twenty years since people made millions on companies that were made of nothing. The tech bubble burst back then, but it's never really gone away. Vaporware is normal now, vapor-everything, and we haven't learned our lessons at all. Not from the tech bubble, not from the housing bubble. It's all a fraud bubble, but we won't admit it. Trillions and trillions of dollars of wealth is just aether. It's nothing. There is no there there, no there anywhere. I ask you, oh wise people, where is there any there?

It's the economy of lies, but economy has drenched every corner of contemporary human existence. We are a society of lies. Not a society of laws, a lie can obviously trump the law. We're a society of lies. Not simulations. Lies. We may indeed be living in a simulation, we can't do anything about that. But we don't have to tolerate all these lies, this atmosphere, this firmament of lies. We can punch through it, punch the face of the god of lies.

We have fraud laws. We have laws against misrepresentation. What we need is laws against plain old lying about stuff. Lying to cheat people of their money or labor or attention. Why is it legal to lie outright? I don’t care if it’s a matter of opinion that the new Barfburger tastes just like real caviar. It’s a lie. A six-inch sandwich doesn’t measure six inches because “six-inch” is just “the name,” not a guarantee of a number of inches? Axe Body Spray will not make throngs of blonde, brunette, and red-haired women chase after you. That is a dramatization of an adolescent heterosexual male fantasy. They’ve presented it in order to tap into your anxieties and desires around sex, procreation, companionship, and, ultimately, mortality. Also, women don’t segregate into herds according to hair color.

As I’ve said before, this is our educational system: advertising. Lies. Indoctrination through lies into the lying culture, the lie of patriarchy, the lie of money and what it means about one’s own value as person. Just lies all the time. You may say to yourself, “but I don’t pay attention to advertising.” Do you pay attention to anything? Because it’s all advertising. Some of it more, some less, but it’s all advertising. A pickle? Advertising. A homemade pickle? Advertising for the DIY lifestyle. A 6th-century pre-Islamic poem about onions? Advertising. A mountain? A mountain in the middle of the Sahara desert that no human being has ever laid eyes on? How could that be advertising? It is advertising. I don’t know how, but it is advertising. An as-yet- undiscovered asteroid in a galaxy on the other side of the universe?

Is that a question? What do you think the answer is going to be? Yes, it’s advertising!

Advertising is what the universe is made of. It’s the fabric of spacetime down to the very Planck level.

Then how can we fight the lies, you ask? How should I know?

Brands. It’s brands, that’s the real culprit. We’re all brands, everything is a brand. No more brands. Brands are edifices of lies, lies are the bricks of which brands are built.

We are slave laborers for the pharaoh of lies, lugging giant stones to build monuments to liars. Our ability to divine fact from fiction, and act rationally in response, has not progressed beyond the ancient Egyptians, beyond the first Homo sapiens.

I started this out by predicting a return to an in-person cash economy. There’s just too much distance and air and space between what you’re promised and what you receive. We need to close that gap. But I think on the way to explaining my prediction things got out of hand a little.

I’m sorry this is so incoherent. Remember, I’ve done nothing but eat, drink, and breathe lies from the moment I was born, so navigating my way out of a ubiquitous epistemological fluid is probably beyond me. I’m no genius. I’m not even smart. That’s just my brand.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Three identical triplets. Have you met them? For a long time they hadn't even met each other. They were separated at birth. Then, twenty years later, they were reunited. It was joyous. There were astounding parallels in their separate upbringings. There were stunning and amusing similarities between them. And then things took a dark turn.

Look, it's on Hulu. I'll try not to spoil anything, but I will probably fail. I'll jump in and fail right now: their separation at birth was arranged by a theorist of hereditary psychology who had himself survived the Holocaust. Survived as in, he was Jewish and didn't get killed.

But this isn't about Jews. It's about ideas. The ideas the Nazi doctors explored about heredity and human nature and biology were medieval. Their methods of investigation involved torturing their subjects in ways that would make a Spanish Inquisitor cringe, and gag with nausea. They transplanted eye tissue, that's one, without anesthetizing the living donors. I won't go further because, for reasons of financial ineptitude, I had to sell my book about the Nazi doctors. I'll buy it again when I'm rich.

Now, this Jewish researcher, he arranged to have several sets of twins separated at birth and placed with families who differed in class and demeanor. Their development in these differing environments was followed under the guise of routine follow-up monitoring in the adoption process.

The underlings of this Holocaust-survivor mastermind were grad students or post-docs, going to the subjects' houses, filming them as they put them through your usual childhood inventory of skills and behavior. I say usual, because I underwent therapy as a child, and the tests were very familiar to me. These underling researchers were keeping a secret, because they knew that each solitary individual they were testing was actually an unwitting member of a matching set. They kept it secret from the adopted children and the adoptive parents.

One woman, who looked disturbingly like a more cube-shaped Madeline Albright, and who would only admit to having aided and abetted this study in the most minimal way, evaluated the ethical questions it might raise thus: see, this was the 50s and 60s, we didn't know this was bad.

Thin-lipped octogenarians, note: bright red lipstick is a horrible choice. Oh, wait, that's bad. That's a bad thing to say, bagging on cubic Madeline Albright's looks. Now I know better.

So, yeah, in the 50s and 60s a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust could "not know" it was ethically atrocious to manipulate human beings by experimenting on them as if they were strains of wheat.

We're civilized now. Not like long ago. Long ago we were brutes. Now we wear garments of woven plant fibers. We live in sophisticated communities, connected by technology. We trade with each other, we exchange currency tokens for a variety of goods. We enter into contracts of temporary servitude. We hold transcendent philosophies concerning love, art, and war. We are really something.

We have rights, because we are human. We extend rights to others.

And we talk and talk. And we get our food from slaves. We poison our water supply. We rape and murder our children, and our children shoot us. And we give them top security clearance.

We're civilized now. Not like before. Finally, just as human history is about to be destroyed by human progress, humans have achieved a state of civilization. Of humanity, even.

At this pivotal juncture, perhaps we should take stock of what we have really learned: each and every one of us, as far as I can judge from experience, is prone to the arrogance of believing ourselves neutral, innocent, capable of deeds untainted by impure motives. From the most ruthless dictator, ruling with an iron hand, to the most oppressed, dispossessed victim of ostracization and deprivation, we are each capable of negligence, rationalized destructiveness, even outright cruelty, justified to ourselves by avoiding eye-contact with our consciences. We keep the most unthinkable questions unthought. We keep them in our blindspot. But as the anonymous industrial poet says: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

We know now that the Stanley Milgram experiment at Yale, where subjects were led to believe they were giving electric shocks to another participant in the study -- as much as it was a study in deferring to authority, was itself an unethical authority to be deferred to. We are trapped. Now we know! Now we know! We sing that mantra daily. Now we know that it's wrong to say this or that. Now we know that it's wrong to buy and sell people as property. Now we know that women have been kept under a crushing boot of patriarchy for centuries, exceptions notwithstanding but nevertheless pointed to as the one that proves the rule. Now we know it's not nice to persecute those who differ from the majority in one respect or another. Now we know that White European domination has been enforced with lore and science along with the guns and chains. Now we know! Now we know! 

It's an absurd refrain. Now we know the Earth is not the center of the universe! Now we know the age and nature of the sun. Now we know we belong to the Kingdom of animals, the vertebrates, the mammals, the primates, the apes. Now we know! Now we know! NOW we know. Now WE know. Now we KNOW!

Now we know the Nazis were bad. Back when the Nazis were just starting out, it was understandable not to know. But now we know. Except for the people right now who are Nazis. They don't seem to know.

Now we know that considering some groups as divinely determined from birth to be contaminated and only worthy of the most filthy employment was wrong. It was understandable when the Vedas were passed down orally, it was understandable when Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar arrived to enlighten us. But now we know! Except the hundreds of millions who don't know, to this day, that there is no such thing as an Untouchable.

Except we used to know the Vietnam War was bad. Now it's up for debate again. Maybe it was good after all? Maybe we just didn't try hard enough to make killing every Southeast Asian in sight into a good thing? Let's look at it again, maybe we can get the answer the new colonialists want. Everything old is new again!

Except the hundreds of thousands of Jews who still believe we came to Palestine in peace, and it was no harm, no foul to take land from the people already there, they were bedouin, they were nomads! They didn't own houses! This is my house now, being a bedouin means your house isn't a house and it isn't yours. Except the people who believe our first black president was born in Africa, and the world's economies are run by the Rothschilds, Joe McCarthy was a hero, and various levels of melanin equate to various levels of intellectual ability, and the Middle Ages is the history of gallant white people on horses jousting for courtly love.

All the things we know, all these ways we've become enlightened, they're really contingent on the mood of the audience, and that's all popular opinion is. No truth is so valid that it can't be dismissed during a popular or ignored commission of a crime against humanity. We knew back when Nixon tried to cover up all his crimes that the president ought not be above the law. Yet here we are! But now we know, because we see. But now we see, and now we don't.

We're not the Wise Ape, the Tool-maker, the Value Ape. We're the Magic Ape. Now you see our rationality and compassion. Now you see our irrational hatred and arrogant cruelty. Now you see our self-recriminations, now you see our self-justification, now you see R. Kelly and Brett Kavanaugh in their highest shrieking dudgeon.

You gotta read the room. And you gotta push the window wider to let more light into the room. But the window always stays the same size. When it moves to the left, the things on the right fall out of frame, and vice-versa.

We really are magic, because we never let any idea, good or bad, die completely away. It's not that there is no truth, it's that the truth is magic: now you see it, now you don't.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thirst that is the drink.

Michael Cohen, oh, that Michael Cohen. I enjoyed the show this past Wednesday, the aggressively-contrite-Michael Cohen-testifies-to-Congress show. All the Republicans could do was say, "Look what a crook and liar this guy is, he already lied to us once, we're gonna believe him now?" And his response was, "Look how much of crook and liar I was, can you imagine what a monster someone would have to be to make me want to tell the truth?" Or something. I don't know, if I were Michael Cohen, with no scruples about lying or threatening or extorting or strong-arming, and Donald Dump, the cartoon duck with no pants, started using those same tactics on me? I'd be tearing him a new one in front of Congress out of pure spite. Why not? There are so many indictments surrounding this administration, whether the deep state, the shallow state, or the moderately profound state is against him, or he has terrible taste in friends and associates, or he specifically picks rotten people on purpose because he needs them to do rotten things for him.

I don't know why the Republicans are so down on Michael Cohen for having previously lied to Congress. Elliott Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress, and he was just appointed special envoy, so clearly the GOP have no problem with the principle of lying to Congress, even if proven in a court of law, they just don't like when your truth conflicts with the lies they like. Some lies they like, some they don't. And the truth they really don't like. They can't handle the truth. Did you hear some of those crackers? "I've never seen such a travesty!" It was the Lindsay Graham and Brett Kavanaugh crybaby festival all over again.

The president is a conman, a cheat, and a racist. For every crime there is a snitch, whether the snitch snitches or he don't. Whether the snitch snitches for money or a shorter sentence or to satisfy a grievance, for the good of humanity, or for the sake of his own soul. The Unibomber's brother snitched on him. But generally, snitches on public figures, Presidents, Senators, mob bosses and such, those bitches get stitches before they can snitch. The Dump administration is awash in snitches, though. You could never stitch them all up in time to save nine. Or at least let's hope not.

A striking contrast to Cohen's snitch behavior is the story of father and son, Mark and John Harris. Heard of them? A little, you have. Mark ran for Congress in the 9th District in North Carolina in November and apparently won, until someone investigated the handling of absentee ballots by a campaign contractor with a record of felony insurance fraud and found out that, indeed, Leslie McRae Dowless had, in fact committed election fraud for Harris's campaign.

Pretty certain he committed the same fraud in a GOP primary 2 years earlier. Dowless worked for Todd Johnson, who lost the primary, but somehow got an outsized percentage of absentee ballots. He got 2 percent in the primary as a whole, but racked up 22 percent of absentee votes. John Harris warned his father Mark in several emails against hiring Dowless as a contractor to operate in Bladen County during the election. According to Travis Fain, a reporter on the North Carolina statehouse beat for local news outlet, WRAL, one email cited:

"[A]n oddly high number of black voters in Bladen County casting mail-in ballots in a GOP primary. "

“The key thing that I am fairly certain they do that is illegal is that they collect the completed absentee ballots and mail them all at once," John warned his father.

The absentee irregularities in Mark Harris's victory were noticed in December, and Dowless's integrity was questioned. Mark Harris denied knowing anything about Dowless being a shady operator. Mark's son John distanced himself from the campaign. The State's Attorney's office of the Eastern District of North Carolina was investigating the election results, and John happens to be an assistant State's Attorney there.

Eventually he was subpoenaed to testify in court. He was told by members of his father's campaign that his emails to his father were being turned over to the court by them. They were lying. John turned them over of his own accord.

He snitched on his father. That is, he put their relationship on the line, bargaining that his father valued his son's honesty and reputation enough not to involve him in his own lies. Imagine the Donald Dump family in such a situation. I can imagine them flipping on each other, which is how this all will probably end, but I can't imagine them showing such concern for one another, or even for their own integrity.

John says he loves his father and bears him no ill will, least of all a desire for vengeance of some kind. They are not by any means estranged. John tries to put the best spin possible on his father's ostensible bad memory and apparent failure of judgment. He tried to give his father sound legal advice, sound life advice, and when Mark wouldn't heed him, and the expected result came to light, John couldn't allow his father to go any deeper into a fen of lies than he'd already sunk.

Mark Harris has given up his seat and called for a new election, and he is not going to be running in it. Sounds like a deal might've been struck with authorities out of consideration for Mark Harris's health problems. I assume the spectacle of a son making a last ditch attempt to save his father from ruin might have played some part as well.

I say John saved his father from ruin, but what did he actually save him from, exactly? Shame, or rather, an additional accumulation of shame. Possibly damnation, although in Christian circles the criteria for that seem to have become a matter of confused dispute, and outside those circles the very existence of damnation is itself disputed.

But say there's no such thing as a universe that damns a person for corrupt behavior, and say a person can behave corruptly without shame. Assuming this putative person escapes legal or social consequences, there's nothing either inside or outside of the person that could cause them to suffer for their crimes, or even recognize them as crimes.

And that's where we're at, isn't it? With our President, his pack of sleazy confederates, and the grotesque bipedal products of his loins? They have no shame, they have no God, and aside from sniping observers like myself, who have no weight of condemnation to bring to bear, the society around them seems perfectly weightless and without condemnation.

So, is Michael Cohen telling the truth? I think so, I think he's got every reason to spill all the dirt he has, in as truthful and complete a manner as possible. If he said Dump had stood in the middle of 5th Avenue and shot somebody, I'd believe him. Because he doesn't want to end up like Manafort. And Manafort didn't end up like Manafort by protecting Dump with honesty – there's no way to do that – but by trying to protect himself with lies.

We have arrived at this moment of national crisis because for a long, long time, the leaders of our society, be they public or private actors, have normalized the strategy of winning at all costs, but usually someone else pays those costs. The story of Mark and John Harris has untapped complexity. But in that complex story are lessons about the costs of winning. The costs of winning at all costs. Mark Harris's son stopped him short of winning at all costs. And that came at a cost. I say this: let the person willing to win at all costs, who nevertheless avoids all costs, bear at least the cost of avoiding all costs. That's all I ask.

It's a simple enough request.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Back when slimy Richard Nixon was Eisenhower's vice president, he got together with the CIA and planned what became the Bay of Pigs invasion. This isn't conspiracy theory stuff, this is conspiracy fact. Nixon says so in his own memoirs. It was this weird crappy holdover plan from the past administration that was forced on JFK by the accumulated buildup of intelligence, foreign affairs and defense experts, anti-communist parties obsessively bent on making sure nothing like a remotely successful anti-capitalist revolution lingered in the historical imagination, let alone actually existed somewhere in our hemisphere. Such parties were built-up residue in the so-called national security apparatus, like plaque, impossible to dislodge by mere electoral means. And so they persisted.

They said, "Kennedy, man, we really don't like you, you're the new guy, you're Catholic, your dad was a rum-runner, you're slick, we're WASPs, we're the militaryindustrial complex, you really need to please us. So here's your chance to get on our good side, it's this plan we're kind of already committed to so you really have to do this. Trust us, once this little canoe full of Cubans starts the counter-revolution, all the Cubans will rise up to overthrow Castro because they're all itching to go back to quasi-slavery under a US puppet regime." And JFK was like, "Is this one of Nixon's leftover schemes? Cuz you know Nixon lost the election, right?" And they were like, "No matter who wins a US election, we're always in charge." And JFK said, "Look, you kind of sprung this on me in the middle of the night, but it's already in progress, so okay, fine."

So this handful of 1400 or so Cuban exile fascist doofuses sets out from Guatemala, which the very same US military-industrial complex had overthrown six or seven years earlier, and they get to the Bay of Pigs – JFK was like, "Really, 'Bay of Pigs,' you couldn't pick a bay with a better name, like the Bay of Condors or Tigers or something? If this fails it's gonna sound really slimy' – And these doofuses fight with the revolutionary army and they're losing and the Cuban people are like, "Um, hey, look over here, the USA is trying to overthrow Castro, everybody." And the world was like, "Yeah, what did you expect? Castro nationalized all the assets the US was stealing from you."

And then the CIA said to JFK, "Hey, buddy, our guys are getting their asses kicked in Cuba, so you need to send the air force and navy in and basically officially start a war with Cuba, okay?" JFK goes, "Dudes, first of all, I need Congressional approval for that, and second of all, blow me. I'm not starting a war just because Nixon, who lost the election, by the way, left this garbage on my plate." And the CIA was like, "Come on, Jack, be white," and JFK was like, "Whoa! Did you really just say that to me? Wow."

So, that didn't work. Instead, the CIA took to sabotaging the Cuban sugar crop and poisoning their livestock so they could say, "Look, Castro's ruining the economy because socialism cannot work!" And 70 years later Cuba has a higher literacy and life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate than the United States, let alone the rest of Latin America where the CIA did get its way.

Now, look, Castro was a dictator. That's a big flaw. He lied, he imprisoned people based on his whims instead of on institutional racism like our nice democracy does. He had a lot of dicky qualities. See, he and Che Guevara, they saw what happened in Guatemala when the US overthrew the elected government there in 1954 so a US fruit company could keep its land holdings, and Che and Fidel were like, "I guess we can't have a revolution and democracy at the same time, because an open society leaves the US too many opportunities to subvert a government," and that started that part of the pattern, the Cuban model of revolution relying on a strong, paranoid leader to enforce its national sovereignty against the demonstrable evil of the US and its banana corporations.

So, flash forward to the end of the 1990s in Venezuela, the people are sick of being kept in poverty by the ancient families who own everything, so they vote in serial coup attempter Hugo Chavez. Chavez for about a dozen years does a decent job redistributing resources and education to the poor people, with the help of doctors from good old Cuba. But he's very focused on the perceptions of the people as much as their actual well-being, and meanwhile he's constantly battling economic and political sabotage by the Venezuelan owning class who are convinced they're the rightful owners of the country. Chavez copies the Fidel-Che method of paranoid undemocracy, but he's also trying to appear democratic, because it turns out people like democracy almost as much as they like food and health care. Chavez wants his people to like him for being democratic, but his heart's not in it. He's basically trying to show Venezuela's owning class to be anti-democratic hypocrites while also maintaining a dictator's hold on the direction his country's taking. And he loves having his own TV show.

When Chavez dies in 2013, he leaves a system that's relied too much on high oil prices and not enough on real, sustainable agricultural reform and economic restructuring. Meanwhile, supplies of staple goods are being choked by the opposition owning class with the aid of our old friends, the USA.

Yes, surprise, Chavismo didn't lead to Nicolas Maduro's presiding over a ruined economy all by itself. The US had its hand in there the minute Chavez took office. If Clinton hadn't been preoccupied with fighting the Islamic fanatics the CIA had helped create under Reagan and Bush the first, the US might have invaded Venezuela. The US military and intelligence were very busy in neighboring Colombia, on the Venezuelan border, legitimizing Chavez's anti-counterrevolutionary suspicions as the 90s drew to a close.

Next millennium, Colin Powell's saber rattling voiced the W Bush administration's desire to subvert and destroy the Chavez government, with constant threats, keeping the Colombian border active with troops, and it really seemed until 9-11 happened that the US would invade. As it turned out, the opposition overplayed its hand with an attempted coup in 2002, with help from guess which superpower, taking Chavez out of the country, and then having to reinstall him immediately in the face of the demands of the people themselves.

So the pattern continues, and now Maduro digs his dictatorial heels in deeper as the US and the opposition it supports continue their economic and political war at the expense of the people. Chavez wasted a lot of popular support and money making Venezuela look like a socialist success story without building a real economy that could withstand the manipulations and incursive assaults from the US and the disgruntled oligarchs. It was a wasted opportunity.

Everyone thinks they can figure out a secret formula for stopping the cycle of US control. Evo Morales in Bolivia seems to have done what Chavez failed to do: diversify his economy and wean it from reflexively acceding to the demands of the US dominated capitalist global marketplace. But until the global economy switches from oil to sustainable energy, Venezuela will be the poster child of the moment for the recurring Latin American tragedy of paying with blood and treasure for defying US capitalist manifest destiny in the Americas.

And now, enter another leftover: Elliott Abrams, back from the dead. When it comes to returning disobedient Latin American countries to their rightful rightwing overlords, Abrams is a closer. Who better to press the pillow over the gasping face of Chavismo in Venezuela? Elliot Abrams, whose machinations in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have led citizens of those countries to migrate north to seek asylum in the USA for decades. Elliot Abrams, who escaped felony charges for aiding the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras by pleading to misdemeanor charges instead. Elliott Abrams who, like the Bay of Pigs invasion, is a leftover from an earlier administration. Since his pardon by Bush he'd been wearing a mustache and working at a Cinnabon store, just waiting for his next opportunity to cover up a massacre and lie to Congress.

But no, don't call this another replay of the US's archaic anti-communist policy. Don't call this the zombie of US imperialism walking the Earth, still. Don't call this another attempt at re-colonization.

Do I sound a like broken record? Very well, then, I sound like a broken record. Do people remember what that means? Vinyl is back again, right? With a vengeance? Everything old is new again with a vengeance.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thirst that is the drink.

Things are going to change. We can try to influence those changes to raise our chances for a decent future, or we can wait for the changes to happen to us.

One change that is definitely going to happen is, we're going to stop using fossil fuels. And we're going to stop polluting the environment. Either we'll make these changes by choice, or by default. Either we will transform the way we produce and consume energy and other resources, or our present course will render us too dead to continue.

Fossil fuels, it's in the name. They are fossils. Old and petrified. Their time was up long ago. The oil-gas-and-coaligarchy has held onto its dominance over land, sea and air by overthrowing governments, displacing and massacring entire populations, buying the governments too white to destroy and replace, and everywhere distorting elections and laws with bribery and coercion. They're not nice. They've overstayed their welcome.

I think dinosaurs would be offended by our use of the term "dinosaur" to mean an entity whom time has passed by, who no longer understands current events and is itself, in word, deed and physical incarnation, an anachronism in the culture. Cartoon dinosaurs, Gary Larson "Far Side" dinosaurs, would be offended, not literal dinosaurs, they don't exist anymore. The Larson ones would consider it a derogatory term, not just as an insulting metaphor, but as an actual identifier for themselves. "I'm a stegosaur, I'm a triceratops, I'm a sauropod, don't call me the 'D- word.'"

Actual dinosaurs are fossils. Not in the pejorative sense. They're really fossils. Their flesh has been replaced by sedimentary minerals over tens of millions of years. Although some evolved into birds.

But Larson sauropods and their ilk, they'd be mad. So out of sensitivity to cartoon prehistoric bird ancestors, I'm going to say "D-word."

Ha! No I'm not.

In an effort to get ahead of the coming changes – to change our behavior before the consequences of our behavior change us into corpses – the new Democratic Congresspersons, voted in on a wave of hatred of Donald Dump, the cartoon duck with no pants, have introduced an introduction to legislation they propose to propose. Of course, because it's intended to solve actual problems rather than placate those who cause the problems, it's being pooped on by dinosaurs and their advocates. Dinosaurs like James Carville, Nancy Pelosi, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Forbes magazine – are throwing everything from shade to their own feces on the idea of a Green New Deal, one goal of which would be to make America run 100% on clean renewable energy by 2030.

"It'll never fly!" "Who are these people? What are they saying?" "That's not how it works!" "It's un-American!" "We've got to give the energy companies time to transition to these new-fangled energies!"

One at a time, D-words. And by D-word, I mean dick.

There are additional goals of the Green New Deal. Less economic inequality. A single-payer universal health care system similar to the ones civilized nations have. The dicks are concerned, of course, about how this will upset the health insurance industry that causes all the health care inequality and outrageous expense in this stupid country. And if you make things more equal, what about the billionaires who enjoy hoarding obscene wealth? Has anyone considered their feelings? What if one of those billionaires was an at-risk gay disabled child woman of color? Then you'd be a classist racist homophobic able-ist misogynist, wouldn't you? Why do you hate the person I just imagined? And those shoes are pretty nice, you so-called socialist. Why aren't they dirty and ruined? Isn't that what socialists like? A ruined, frozen old mansion full of undeserving peasants, like in Dr. Zhivago?

Do these young pups really think the US economy is going to change into a humane, ecologically non-destructive system in only ten years? When has something like that ever happened?

At the end of 1941 the US economy began to retool itself to challenge and defeat what at the time were the two biggest, most powerful armies in history. And it succeeded in less than five years. It succeeded in transforming its peacetime economy into a wartime one to thwart millions of soldiers loyal to the dictatorial ideologies of two war machines developed over decades. It did it while funding the arts and public works, fashioning the Social Security system, bringing women into the work force, integrating the military, enacting anti-trust laws, legalizing alcohol, integrating the military, and lifting the entire nation out of economic depression.

So how about you dicks shut up about what's possible? We recognize you as dicks, you know. We see you. You're the ones who still thought blackface was hilarious in the 80s. I mean, why fight it, you say? It exists. This social justice is just a passing fad, it'll blow over. You don't fight problems that exist. That's no way to solve anything.

Now, now, old dicks, don't get all fossilized over it. Here's what I suggest we don't do. Let's NOT have the current fossil fuel companies retool to become tomorrow's renewable energy companies. Let's not have Dick Cheney's Halliburton in charge of anything. They all need to go down. They've shown they'll do anything to hang onto the power they've built, including starting wars that kill millions. So let's not invite them to the reworked economy, okay? They are mad, inhumane engines of destruction, they are dinosaurs, dinosaurs selling refined dinosaur remains, they're cannibal dinosaurs. As organizations of humans, they excel at destroying humanity. As citizens of the planet, they think it's theirs to rape. They are malignant tumors in civilization. They are consistently bad actors with one objective: to make money at the cost of it matters not what.

While we're at it, can we not turn over the legal marijuana industry to the tobacco companies? Oh, and when sex work is legalized, let's not put pimps and sex traffickers in charge of it, okay?

You dicks? Get back in your Larson cartoon. This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I've been thinking about farmers and what Donald Dump, that cartoon duck with no pants on, has been doing to our partners in agriculture from the Latin lands to our south. Apparently it's been made more difficult to come from southern countries to farms here in the US, and I've heard that there are US farmers who can't pay enough to the workers who are here to maintain a sufficient labor force to do all the picking and such. And it's always puzzled me that growers of food crops always seem to be in need of subsidies, always worried about overhead, always on the verge of ruin, sometimes even when their crops come in abundantly. I know commodity prices can go up and down for a variety of reasons, but that's not what puzzles me.

Eating never goes out of style. All organisms must consume something to live, and humans eat just about everything, all the time. Being a farmer should be like being a mortician during a plague, a really going concern. And the world's farmers are really good at what they do! They produce more than enough food for all the people alive today, though that food somehow has a hard time getting to a lot of those people.

There's a recent ad from IBM saying that the world's population is going to top 10 million soon, and that food production will have to increase 70% to accommodate them all. 10 million is less than a 50% increase, closer to 25%, in the number of people that exist now, and we could feed all the people living now, so I guess IBM's artificial intelligence has decided that the new bunch of people are going to be genetically engineered gluttons or something. What's up your sleeve, IBM?

What we really need is not a system that produces more food, but a system that distributes the current amount produced to all currently existing people who would like to eat it. And we don't have that system. Growing more food or more nutritious food isn't going to feed the hungry people, if we can't even give them the food that we already have. Food we throw away.

Or maybe we don't have enough food. Maybe that is why people go hungry, because we don't have enough food. Is that why people go hungry in the USA? Because there isn't enough food here? I don't recall a run on the supermarkets where people with twenty-dollar bills burning holes in their pockets showed up demanding hams or cucumbers or microwave burritos and were turned away because the store was all out. I mean, if that did happen, I totally missed it.

I'm not saying we can't improve food production. I'm sure we can! We're the human race! We can do anything!

It just seems that food is such a necessity, a primary necessity, THE primary necessity, that the people who help grow and harvest it should be able to make a decent living doing that. They ought to get a decent share of the most basic wealth they create. And my sense is that, when a business is, by all reasonable measure, operating according to best practices and producing and selling a healthy amount, and yet can't pay its workers enough for them to even live in the place where they work, someone is skimming.

I mean, if we can't make food production a viable economic endeavor, we really don't have it right. Food is the basic unit of created wealth, there is no other. If the people who contribute to the creation of that wealth have to live substandard existences, none of us deserves any better. What do you do that's more important than making blueberries and oats and broccoli come up out of the inedible dirt? Without wheat there would have been no Einstein. And these are important, rare people who do this now. They use dirt and water and sunlight and seeds to create food, and harvest it and bring it to you, food that you can put in your mouth and enjoy, food that allows you to live. And we can't find enough of them anymore. They're rare. Now, if we paid them more, we could attract them. But the farmers would have to raise the prices of food. Or the layers of owners of the food brokering companies would have to skim less, maybe.

Maybe the whole system is out of whack. If we pay farm workers what they're worth, then the food is too expensive for us to afford. That's an out-of-whack system, man. We have to pay people inadequately for the system to work. That's a broken system. What do we think is more important than the creators of wealth, of basic wealth, which is food? Who makes an adequate amount of money for what they do? I don't know, owners of coffee shop chains? Manufacturers of chic electric cars? Owners and stockholders of ketchup companies? Entertainers? Plutocrats? Blood diamond dealers? They all have to eat, don't they?

It blows my mind how many ways our circumstances demonstrate that our economy is systematized according to destructively illogical priorities. I know life isn't fair, but does it have to be so stupid? And it's just getting stupider and stupider. If it were getting less stupid, at least we could feel like we were getting somewhere, but it's not, and we can't.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

The object of any capitalist enterprise seems to be to contrive, through law or violence, to control the greatest amount of resources possible, and to increase such control even beyond time and the possible. There is no point at which the capitalist enterprise is programmed to decide enough is enough. The resources it seeks to command include what we normally think of as wealth or capital, such as raw materials, space, time, and money, as well as physical human beings, where they are in space and how they exert their energy at any given time, but also including their ineffable attributes: loyalty, passion, purpose, wishes, sexual feelings, determination, perseverance, language, ignorance, knowledge, imagination, anxiety, pettiness, preference, and any number of other intangible energies, to which a name may or may not be attached.

Does capitalism succeed in its quest for control? Yes it does. What can put the breaks on its quest? Unions, the power of which has been waning since and partially because of the Reagan administration; government, which has been known to vacillate between bowing to the influence of the people and to that of capital, with capital in the excessively ascendant currently; and natural forces, although any limit imposed by so-called "nature" is often turned by capital into yet another opportunity or public excuse to exert other kinds of control.

All limits are just more business opportunities. Is the world crumbling due to fossil fuel emissions? Here's a battery! The concerned consumer never sees the emissions produced during lithium extraction, battery manufacture, and generating the electricity used to charge the batteries, all of which activities occur "off-camera."

Are unions forcing you to raise wages? There's a company you can hire to undermine labor solidarity. There are all kinds of lobbyists hired to convince governments to hire the capitalist to remove obstacles to capitalism, and think tanks to advise governments to listen to those lobbyists. It's big business, removing obstacles to business, and everyone wants in on that gravy train. It's a viciously circular feeding frenzy, and the great masses of us outside of über-wealth are the bait ball.

The ability to profit from our emotions, both petty and grand, and the ability to turn catastrophe and human misery into investment opportunities, seem to be the two aspects of capitalism really coming into their own, converging as we rapidly approach the end of civilization. The triumph of Donald Dump in the 2016 election may be the apotheosis of that convergence. After that, we all must explode, individually and collectively, into sparkly combusting unicorn farts. There's nowhere else to go. There's your end of history, Francis Fukuyama: like a stone in the urethra of human progress, nothing more can issue forth. Dump is that blockage, the nephrolithiasis of history.

It's been said that capitalism can't exist without democracy. Yet it's in the self- destructive and contradictory nature of capitalism to require democracy while simultaneously striving to destroy it. It also requires workers, while at the same time destroying them. No, maybe that's an exaggeration. Capitalism merely tries to train them to live without food, shelter, sleep, education, health care, community and humanity. It requires nature to exist but at the same time destroys it. Were these forces, capitalism and democracy, in some kind of balance, it might not be necessary to free ourselves from capitalism. But because capitalism's desires have superseded those of any other organism, including the planet itself, it's either free ourselves, or perish.

And there may be a clever way to free ourselves. There's another notable instance when capitalism's twin engines of exploitation of catastrophe and its manipulation of desire and imagination converged in an example of entrepreneurial hubris worthy of a chef's kiss. There are two documentaries about it currently available, one on Hulu and one on Netflix, and I strongly urge you to watch at least one of them. Gather your friends around, lay in a supply of tortilla chips and a huge trough of seven-layer schadenfreude and watch the tale of Fyre Festival unfold.

The elevator pitch: a fake wunderkind entrepreneur, skating on his success rounding up investors and customers for his VIP credit-card-and-insider-consumer app that never delivered on its promises, sells VIP tickets for thousands of dollars to a luxury music festival that never delivers on its promises, leaving the suckers who paid thousands for a millionaire-with-bad-musical-taste experience stranded all night in wet FEMA tents on a rocky island with no music and tacky lunchmeat sandwiches.

I think we've found the weakness of capitalism. It believes its own most grandiose bullshit.

So here's what we do: sell ridiculously expensive tickets to a luxury sex planet. And pitch that there's going to be an awards night, something that will appeal to the most vile capitalists. The tickets must be expensive enough to prevent some non- hubristic non-rich person from winning one in an office raffle, as one dude did, or supposedly did, in the case of Fyre Fest. He was apparently the only one who got his money's worth: “watching rich people freak out because their luggage was being handled roughly or they were slightly dehydrated? Oh, it was like chicken soup for my middle-class soul. Best weekend of my life,” he is supposed to have reported.

No, we don't want someone with such small dreams on our Luxury Sex Planet and Business Achievement and Nation Rapist Awards Night Voyage. Only those with money to burn on completely stupid, self-congratulatory crap are allowed. Because when they get off the spaceship, they'll realize, get this: they've landed on Venus! The only thing to eat is volcanic rock. The temperature is a balmy 800 degrees. The only natural hot springs is full of sulphuric acid. And the awards are cheaply made.

We want something we can tempt ancient banana slug-walrus hybrid Henry Kissinger to shell out for. A destination event that will cause the wattles of the Koch brothers to tremble at the thought of, one that will draw over-valued thought leaders, sultans, CEOs, top social media influencers, and branding champions alike to their extra-terrestrial deaths. We even hire Elon Musk to build the space ship! Of course he'll want to go, and he can even bring his car. Then we can divide up the wealth they leave behind here on Earth, and maybe mitigate the environmental damage we've been forced to collaborate in perpetrating.

It's using your opponent's most grotesquely abusive power against him. That is the beauty of it. Imagine if we could get rid of those controlling pests, they who feel entitled to try to commandeer anything and everything, by offering them the recognition they feel they deserve for being avaricious, power-mad, egomaniacal control freaks.

And that's just one idea I have for how to take back our planet. It's called poetic celestial justice. And I've invented an app that goes with it. It's gonna make me a zillion bucks.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

"Some men are intimidated by strong women." This has been a glib, empty, un-self- aware dose of pabulum on the left for at least the last thirty years. A moment's reflection reveals its nonsensical nature. A moment's reflection is something frowned upon on the left, unless it's reflection of an acceptable dogma or bland agreement. Yes, strong people intimidate weaker people. But you're not being woke or clever or anything remotely laudable by pointing it out. Capitalism exacerbates that dynamic, incidentally. Your strength is both increased and rendered more intimidating by capitalism. Consider that, if you can.

Yes, I'm intimidated by strong women. Why shouldn't I be? Like strong men, they can reject me socially, hurt me physically, humiliate me, or merely exert power over me to my detriment. I'm supposed to feel ashamed of being intimidated? Blow me. I've got enough negative feelings just being intimidated, I'm not going to judge myself for it. Especially not by your criteria.

Yes, I've intimidated others, and I'm not proud of it. There are ways to defuse the intimidation dynamic, if you want to, if it's important to you, but it takes work, and some humility on your part. You have to be secure in yourself. And yet humble at the same time. That's the burden of the strong. That's how you see beyond your privilege.

Don't worry, I'm not very good at it either.

This is the duty, in my opinion, of everyone with privilege, whether white, male, rich, beautiful, or otherwise gifted, exalted, or accomplished. The people who understand this are incredible, you know them when they reach out from their strengths and lift you up simply through the act of reaching. Not everyone has the ability, and even fewer want to have it. It's a singular strength, the ability to be humble and open about one's strengths, because we live in a culture that rewards bullying and egoism and not caring. Winning. We're all about winning, and we have a very narrow definition of victory.

But in some ways, that's the kind of animals we are. We jockey for prestige, we cultivate the best people as friends, we learn the tricks of making ourselves useful and helpful, or trusted, or admired, or highly regarded. And if we fail at these things, we lose. We become poor or lonely. In short, as a species, we are cliquish a-holes.

We also congratulate ourselves on not being the types that are self-satisfied or hypocritical. We fool ourselves into believing that we are noble or correct or smart or kind. Not to say there aren't some of us who actually are noble or correct or smart or kind. Most people are at least one of those things at several points in their lives.

But winning or being loved is relative. It's easy to misinterpret one's position in relation to others. Interpretation is key. It's not everything, but it's key. If you feel you've failed, you have indeed failed. If you feel you've succeeded, you have indeed succeeded. Who can tell you you're wrong? Oh, there are some easy gauges of success and failure, winning and losing, like if you're trying to take over Europe and your armies are crushed in a shattering blitzkrieg. Or if you are in a contest and fail to win, but even then it's possible to interpret a loss as a win, as when a dishonorable society fails to acknowledge your worth. Sure, it's cool to win, but isn't it nobler to lose when the criteria are so ill conceived, and the judges so corrupt?

And people can manipulate your feelings, make you feel you're winning when you're losing, or losing when you're winning. "No one can make you feel bad about yourself," the pseudo-enlightened like to say, but that is false. Some people are masters at making others feel one way or another. I'd like to add, they're the real losers, but that's just my interpretation.

It's fun when the mighty are brought low, but it wouldn't be any fun if intimidation, strength, fear and despair weren't on some level real. Physical wounds are real. Poverty is real. Deprivation is real. Death is real. It's fun to say, the true measure of strength is not how many are weaker than you, but how many you make stronger. But that's a load of crap, isn't it? We're not God. Can God make a person so strong that such a person could destroy God? No, God's not strong or weak enough to do that, but humans can reach out to the weak, make them strong, and then be destroyed by them.

The fact is, I'm afraid of everything all the time, I've lost, I'm a fool, and I've squandered what gifts I ever possessed. It's terrible. And yet, because I can emotionally rise above my obviously crushed and humiliated condition, I win. And if I can convey my winning state convincingly enough to you, you who lord it over me, well then, I can make you lose.

We are abhorrent creations of a cruel, uncaring universe. Our resting state is discomfort. Our resting face is bitch. We are born to strive for satisfaction, but never to be satisfied for long. Ridiculous. And yet we are so good at failing to be satisfied, and leaping for further satisfaction, like salmon leaping against the current to spawn, that we succeed at being that which we are created to be. We can't really fail at that, can we? I hope you're happy, universe, you have created us only to destroy us. What kind of loser does something like that? And as a habit, yet. It's enough to make your head explode.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Dec 15 2018
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

You all remember Leonard Cohen? He was alive not long ago. He wrote many songs including "Hallelujah," which has been covered by many singers, including, most famously, the tragically late Jeff Buckley.

Leonard sings about a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord. I've always wondered why it was secret and not sacred. "I've heard there was a sacred chord." Even sung that way, it still sounds like a secret, so you don't lose that concept. "I've heard there was this chord." Oh, it's a rumor? A secret? Illicit or elusive knowledge?

And what kind of secret is it, anyway? "It starts like this, the fourth the fifth the minor fall the major lift..." What kind of secret is that? He knows every interval in this chord he's only heard about and it's a secret? How does he know every interval in the secret chord? A chord a baffled king used at least 3000 years ago? Well, he's a kabbalist, we know that about Leonard Cohen. He got the knowledge somehow.

Ancient Jewish secret, huh?

"The baffled king composing Hallelujah." David, like Leonard, was a songwriter. Why baffled? Well, I've heard there's a secret doctrine, a pretty damn sacred secret doctrine about King David being insane.

Baffled king, mad king, the cosmos and the lord filled him. He was full of the lord. And he was insane with his love of God and his openness in song to God.

David, in his madness and love, decided he needed to sin in order to help God have a relationship of sin and redemption with him. Because he was too perfect a servant of God, he was too open to God, he was too full of God like as if to become one unto God!

David was too good. God couldn't handle it. And so David resolved to debase himself with sin, and take Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and bed her in a sinful bed. So he could sin in the eyes God, and by penance be redeemed by God. God likes that. It makes him feel useful.

Talk about creating drama. But that's the kind of relationship they had. God and David. Symbiotically dysfunctional. David's 23d Psalm, you'll remember it if I start, A song of David: The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he maketh me etc etc, blah blah blah green pastures, blah blah blah still waters, blah blah blah valley of the shadow of death, blah blah blah fear no evil, rod and staff, set a table, anoint with oil, ah, "My cup runneth over." That's the King James translation.

But as they will, scholars went back to the original to double check the King James version, which it turns out is full, full of errors.

The original ancient Hebrew is: My cup is full. Not running over. Not overflowing. Full. It's sufficient. It's enough. Dayenu, it's enough. Enough already! Stop! When! Stop pouring, you're getting it all over the tablecloth!

It's a good line, my cup runneth over. It's especially good when used as sarcasm. "Cratchett, I'm giving you an eight pence Christmas bonus, what do you think of that?" "Oh, Mr. Scrooge, my cup runneth over."

But it's just wrong. "My cup is full." I am satisfied.

I'm trying to remember, in my own life, to be grateful these days. It's something I must constantly remind myself. Because I was raised to complain about everything. Look around, remember where you are, all the advantages, your cup is full. That said, I'm hosting my brother and his son, who are coming to stay a couple of nights, and I have beds for them, and sheets and pillowcases, but I don't have blankets. Or a kitchen table.

But the blankets, if anyone can spare a couple of warm blankets for 2 nights next week, because I'm literally broke, please hit me up, if I had those my cup would be full.

But my cup is full. I am full. Full of shit! King David was full of shit. The rabbis who came up with their meshuggeneh midrash about meshuggeneh King David? Full of shit. God is full of shit. Leonard Cohen and his not particularly secret chord? Full of shit.

It is important to acknowledge when you are in a state of fullness. Knowing you are full of shit keeps you humble. Knowing you are full of grace makes you available to work for others, for positive change. Knowing your cup is full keeps you from acting from fear and resentment, like the president. Who is the most empty person alive. He's a void. And nature abhors a vacuum, and no one is more abhorred by nature than our president, he's like a black hole, this is why he's turning the nation to shit, because he wants to be full of it. But he will never be full. Because he is too great a hole.

Now, if we can fill ourselves with the fullnesses, and know them, we can aim our self- destructive civilization on a positive trajectory, so that maybe, we will redeem ourselves and our works, in the fullness of time.

Amen. This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!