It is a cold out there, boy. Seriously cold, that sharp, cutting cold you get when there's moisture in the air. It's currently 29 degrees and got as low as 24 this morning. Worse, it never got higher than 35 plus we got a dusting of snow, which is unusually early for this part of Mississippi.
It's supposed to warm up throughout the rest of the week and, by this time next week, it'll be up in the sixties. But today was cold as kraut, boy. It was also sunny and nice all day, but obviously too damn cold to spend any of it outside. Because, for whatever reason, cold weather drains my batteries, I spent the day reading and napping.
Finally getting into the third book of Dan Willis' Arcane Casebook series, The Long Chain. It's an entertaining little mix of hard-boiled detective fiction and urban fantasy. The lead character is a practitioner of runic magic, and the series' world also includes alchemaic magic and plain old sorcerers. All of this is known to the common person, seemingly so since the get-go, and magic is an everyday part of life. Alchemists brew potions for sale, the sorcerers provide New York City with electricity, and so on.
Interestingly - at least in the Manhattan setting, anyway - the sorcerers make for the robber barons types and the business magnates. They provide mundanities from public transport to air conditioning, getting richer than Croesus in the process. Plus, like the extremely rich here in the real world, they wield significant political power. Due to one of the magnates' interference, the lead character has to deal with the FBI, for example.
The other thing I'm picking at is Ziga Vodovnik's A Living Spirit of Revolt:The Infrapolitics of Anarchism. One of the more recommended tomes when it comes to understand the politics of anarchism, it's an easy read and very thought-provoking. A lot of political science is dense and difficult as hell to slog through, like much of philosophy. This book, however, is a pretty good intro for one's interest in anarchism.
I was introduced to and read a good bit of political anarchism back in college. I don't have to tell anyone, I hope, that the basics of political anarchism isn't just letting everyone run loose. The best explanation I've seen is that it has an interest in personal freedom and a distrust of all hierarchies. That beyond anything else appeals to me. Most of my life has been one god after another proving to have feet of clay and distrusting them that say "because I said so" as why they should be paid attention to comes easy to me.
That all being said, I wouldn't exactly call myself an "anarchist". But like a modicum of Taoism or bits & pieces of different schools of philosophy, taking what sounds good and works to get though the day works for me. One thing I like about it is the idea that though you can't overthrow the status quo in a weekend, you can use what's available to achieve your goals. Like, for example, using something operated by Google to spread ideas and information. Or, for that matter, why voting may seems a "waste of time" to the cynical , it is an effective way to make small changes in society.
Still and all, I've got a long way to go. Most of my post college years are kind of a blur because of this reason and that, and like 10 years ago getting back into philosophy, rediscovering has, if nothing else, been good for my mental health. My own asocial nature clashes a good deal with my politics, and that has caused quite a bit of conflict over the years. Again, though, the calm of middle age plus splendid isolation is helping me separate the seeds-&-stems from the good good.
Now, onto the News. Well, maybe the biggest thing to note today was the revelation that Senior White House Policy Adviser and oleaginous homunculus Stephen Miller has been pushing racist anti-immigration concepts and flat-out white nationalism material in emails to right-wing cesspool Breitbart News, as well as how much these ideologies decided the Trump Administration's policies. This comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone with a function cortex, as Miller has never even pretend to be anything other than a snake-eyed bigot.
However, what these emails accomplish - leaked by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch -is two-fold. One, this is concrete evidence that Miller's bigoted beliefs - which include everything from obsession with the Confederate flag to banning immigration from Muslim-majority countries- has been a key component in how Trump's policies are executed. It's no longer a matter of inferring what's bloody obvious. Secondly, it shows how the administration has worked hand-in-hand with a complete garbage site like Breitbart to indulge in what can only be described as a white supremacist focus.
And it isn't a little thing. The emails show how Miller has pushed stories from pseudoscientific white supremacist website American Renaissance, plus white nationalist site VDARE. He's also pushed the French novel The Camp Of Saints, popular with white nationalists and neo-Nazis thanks to the massive amount of "white genocide" or "great replacement" wank material it supplies. From what I've read, it's similar if a bit more highbrow (probably because everything sounds more profound in French) than the laughably sad The Turner Diaries.
So, if nothing else, this means Miller and the Trump Administration that's hung on his every word can't deny what we've all known since the pasty bastard first slithered into the public consciousness. There's no telling whether or not Miller will be dropped by Trump, but when you've lost The Washington Examiner, well... it's starting to look foggy. In any event, you want to pretend Trump isn't a racist and pushes policies that make white nationalists cream their pants, but the fact is shit has gotten nastier since he took over.
But he's not the cause, not by a long shot. He may be the catalyst, but there has been a broiling undercurrent of white supremacy/nationalism that has never quite gone away since such strokes were public policy. If anything at all, the ham-fisted goober has brought it to the surface and made it acceptable again. We really need to make being a white nationalist something to be ashamed of again, something you hide like an interest in sexually molesting animals. Maybe Miller's concrete exposure of being a filthy little racist is the first step in that direction.
Okay. Other news. Well, former South Carolina governor and hiking enthusiast Mark Sanford threw in the towel on his attempt for the Republican nomination for president in 2020. Neither he nor the other two sad bastards have a snowball's chance in Hell of unhooking the GOP base from their worship of Trump. So, nobody really gives a damn one way or another, I suppose.
I will say I'm keeping an eye on the situation in Bolivia, as ousted president Evo Morales has arrived in Mexico seeking refuge. I am hesitant to throw my hat into one ring or another until I know more. On one hand, Morales is considered to have done a great deal for the Native Indian population and a military-backed coup is never a good thing. On the other hand, he has been in office since 2006, which always gives me heebie-jeebies, and there were massive protests in response to the most recent elections.
Either way, Bolivia's on the edge of being in some deep shit, and while I don't feel comfortable taking a stance just yet, I do think it bears attention. Both wingnut sites like the aforementioned garbage pile Breitbart as well as Trump himself are supporting the coup, which doesn't do it much good in my eyes. Anyhow, much love and good vibes to the people of Bolivia, and let's all hope it ends sooner than later with as little death and violence as possible.
I guess that's enough for tonight. Again, let's all hope the Bolivia situation works it way to peace soon, and let's all try to stay warm. Adios.