eliminate deadly “gun-free zones”

eliminate deadly “gun-free zones”

Gotta love the irony in “gun-free zones” being labeled as “deadly.” This is one of the best instances of doublespeak I’ve witnessed in sometime, and it deserves noting. The petition (by some unknown soldier) named the “Hyperationalist” (yes, that can be read as either “hyper-rationalist” if one adds an extra “r” or as it stands, “hype-rationalist”) started a www.change.org petition to “Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July.” Now, this petition is remarkably like a recent South Park episode where all problems in life are solved by simply giving everyone guns. It’s a libertarian wetdream, that could only occur in a cartoon world. Of course, the notion of the 2nd Amendment was that there shouldn’t be any necessarily trumping monopoly on violence that the state has over and above its citizens–the exact opposite of how the German father of sociology Max Weber defined the state. The state, for Weber is defined by its monopoly over the (legitimate) use of violence, and hence any other use of violence is illegal and punishable. Under this notion, having guns don’t do anything unless you are a suicide bomber, because if you have guns and use them for an illegitimate reason, and most reasons that most people imagine they have guns for may or may not be legitimate, then you will be prosecuted, and in many of the states where people are most attached to their deadly weapons, they have the death penalty. As South Park insinuated, the best way to have total clusterfuck would be to have a bunch of emotionally disturbed people gathered in one...
San Francisco’s push against cyclists

San Francisco’s push against cyclists

The violence wasn’t intentional. Like most violence, it was systemic. The drunken tech bros, dilapidated streets and increased dangerously lost tourists weren’t enough. San Francisco’s rare breed of velicopedes, the dinosaurs of what SF was before it turned the tech version of the Wolf of Wallstreet, now faced the encroachment of Uber overload as well. Don’t you get it? he screamed silently. The increased Amazon Prime orders, the Uber and Lyft rides, the drunks and drugged and vapids “needing” taxis (never mind the pudge, I’ll just narcissistically go to the gym and take a spinning class)–you thought that they wouldn’t be parking in bike lanes, endangering cyclists, scuttling “late” asswholes (sic) around to the detriment and endangerment of the rest of the nonquarentined lot, he replied with disgust. Doesn’t anybody see the problem? That the more bullshit you pile into a city, the more the commons shrink, until they are as negligible as a Castro man’s gstring during Pride? What shall become of our fair city, gone to the cokeheads and self-congratulatories? Is there any more long term thinkers in this fool’s...
Vectors of Consumption, Dreams of Soil

Vectors of Consumption, Dreams of Soil

Every generation has its obsession. Legos for kids, Starbucks for Gen Xers. But not all obsessions are the same. Sure, obsessions with certain fetishized material goods as identifiers of social belonging are perhaps widespread across time and space, if not universals. But what these objects are, and their environmental and social impacts diverge drastically. To chalk up the latest fad to “it’s in our genes” explanations is to elide the fact that global tech culture may in fact be destroying the planet and all we hold dear. Paroxysms of enthusiasm for tech is by no means universal, but a symptom of cosmopolitan culture. What type of culture is cosmopolitan culture, looking down on the rest of the world from 30 stories? It is a classic North v. South fallacy of universalizing the local, the temporally circumscribed, and the indulgences of rich, morally self-satisfied countries and the media-entranced denizens that inhabit them. For, make no mistake about it: the widgets on offer by global capitalism currently are pay-to-play. There is no hunting skill involved, no luck of serendipity. Instead of trading cowry shells, the currency of tech has a long, long shadow–environmentally and socially. We are not the world. This should be the mantra of every overweight kid indoctrinated by virtual reality and X Box compulsion; every CEO and upstart start-up topsy-turvy progressivist who sees nothing but the myopia of angel investors’ capital; every stay-at-home dad and too-busy-to-care mom; every rosy-cheeked college student relieved to fit in. Our gadgetry, on which I write this morbid post, is an indulgence, and like all indulgences, comes with Corporate Social Responsibility guarantees and...
Where are the Democrats?

Where are the Democrats?

On the eve of the biggest decision-making point of my lifetime, I ask, where are the Democrats? It’s not as if it is just anomalous that I recognize the tipping point — for transformative harmony or zobified enslavement — that our current era presents. The next election will cauterize a vision for the future of this planet for years to come. Perhaps for the rest of humanity’s time here on this planet. I think we’re all savvy to this. That’s why Koch and Co. are splooging gazillions of dollars into their usual disinformation campaigns for the circus de Republicanos. Long live greed, ignobility, fascism! they cry out. Long live a two-tiered world of the haves and the have nots, of the organic and GMO, of energy control and energy hungry. Artificial dependency, may ye reign for ever more! herald their calls. And yet, this leaves me asking: Where are the Democrats? Maybe Democrats don’t even really exist anymore. Maybe a “liberal” might just as well just be a Republican, the way so-called liberals or Democrats are behaving these days, with the anti-democratic Democratic National Committee (DNC) parceling out their votes and favor to the establishment candidate instead of actually supporting the democratic process. God forbid that the people should speak and want something different than the Lords and Ladies presiding over the Mardi gras show. What then? But the true blue democrats, the Kennedys and the Carters, the rich supporters, Hollywood; Silicon Valley, Harvard–where is there money? Their influence? Why on this good green earth are they not stepping up and making the difference that washes away the confusion...
But not enough for everyone’s greed

But not enough for everyone’s greed

  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”   A prime example of this is the October, November, December California methane gas leak, courtesy of SoCal Gas. The 800,000 metric ton and counting methane leak could have been averted and abated, if the area had been cemented over, and the company gave up future prospects of monetizing the gushing methane lines. But instead, we’ve got another TEPCO on our hands. So greedy for money, and the possibility of recouping lost money on what remains of the leaked gas, that instead of doing what is socially and environmentally right, they are attempting a long-shot pipe repair process, which means extra months of leaking methane. Too big to fail, SoCal Gas is unwilling to cut their losses, let alone admit their mistake. This seems to be an endless refrain in big energy corporations, begging the question of why such behemoths should even be allowed to continue to exist, as they are neither ready nor eager for any sort of accountability to the larger political-ecological community of beings they must be beholden to. Such energy corporations, bloated with the self-importance our energy-dependent society has pumped them up with, operate above the law, with no public oversight or emergency plan for protecting public health when all else fails. Instead, our crises, from the BP oil spill to Fukushima’s TEPCO disaster, to the Exxon Valdez, are dealt with in the most hurried and embarrassed ad hoc manner. Such an approach, with no Plan B, leaves us with an impoverished ecology, and a dangerously untethered...
Yes, but what are they trading?

Yes, but what are they trading?

It has long been a dogma of global capitalism that trade is good, and more trade is better. But what is the substance of any proposed trade? This is the question that we need to be asking. Rather than zombieing out and letting our eyes glaze over as we pretend that trading periwinkles for cheese is the same as trading oil for nuclear weapons, it behooves us to be more discerning in regards to the actual goods being traded. The numbers game of money, which performs the pernicious trick of equating anything with anything else (slavery for diamonds, anyone?), has pulled the wool over our eyes regarding how we evaluate and regard trade. An example is the recent Kremlin talks between India’s Prime Minister Modi and Russia’s Putin. They wanted to increase trade. Sounds good, right? Well, here’s what it turns out they’re trading: “The two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defense, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.” If trade boils down to exchanging widgits which ultimately do not bring more equality, justice, happiness, contentment, and sustainability to both countries, perhaps we need to call it by a different name. Children trade card with each other, to play. Rural neighbors trade eggs for squash, milk for apples. All benefit, and this benefit comes from nourishment. Building more Bhopals, half-built radar stations, more Fukushima Daichi nuclear plants, or more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis–is not what I would call trade. I would call that evil. The impetus behind such trade made be wholesome notions like security, safety, energy independence, and wanting...