Friends and neighbors, the very last Lo-Fi in Lockdown is available RIGHT NOW for your viewing pleasure, 24/7, from here to eternity. So come join special guest stars Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck, Jim Driscoll, Sky the Wonder Dog and your host, Chris Floyd, for live music, videos (including the world premiere of a studio song by the Holy Fools) and one final half-hour fandango. It's "Lo-Fi in Lockdown, Vol 3: The Last Hurrah." Don't you dare miss it!Add a comment
I find it difficult to believe that a man as capable and intelligent as Keir Starmer did not know exactly what he was saying and why in his now infamous statement. He was consciously trying to have a "Sister Souljah" moment. But this is no longer 1992, so his deliberately Clintonian gesture produced far more pushback than he anticipated. Thus he resorts to "bias training" of the sort we've seen in, say, US police forces for decades, with absolutely no effect. These courses are performative gestures without substance.
What's odd is that Starmer doesn't seem to realize that this will not mollify people who object to the clear intent of his original statement, nor will it win him any credit with the "center-right" for whom he is striving to "detoxify" Labour and make it worthy once more of the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch, as it was in the glory days of 1997. Like Joe Biden, Starmer, despite his relative youth, seems a figure from a bygone age, unaware of how the political landscape is shifting under his feet, as the world hurtles through a series of unprecedented disruptions: the pandemic, the ever more catastrophic consequences of accelerating climate change, the pent-up rage of generations denied opportunity by austerity and neoliberalism, and people brought to the boiling point by the ever-more brazen injustices of our power systems and their brutal enforcers.
However, like Biden, Starmer also benefits from being the officially sanctioned opposition to an especially monstrous government – i.e., from the "we're 2 percent less evil" principle that has guided "centrist" politics in the US and UK for decades now. Which means he doesn't actually have to try so hard to ingratiate himself with a center-right, Murdoch-approved power structure that grows more illegitimate every day. Like Biden, he just needs to more or less stand still in order to look better than the murderous fools in power. There was absolutely no need for him to deliberately and clearly, more than once, denigrate BLM as a "moment," not a movement; nor any need to say that the call to re-cast the care and security of our communities away from the current combative policing model is "nonsense." He chose to make these statements, not from "unconscious bias" (a blame-shifting ploy worthy of BoJo: "Offensive? No, it wasn't me, it was my unconscious bias!") but from a very conscious, very deliberate application of supposed realpolitik in the 1990s style.
Every sensible person wants to see Johnson gone. But it is entirely legitimate, even necessary to ask if 1990s Clinton-Blair 'centrism,' which used symbolic dissing of minority concerns – and also ended up killing 500,000 children with sanctions then waging a war of aggression – is the best way to do this. After all, what world did this kind of "savvy," realpolitik centrism give us? A world of murderous clowns like Bojo and Trump in power, a world where socioeconomic inequities & state corruption are at unprecedented levels. Why do we want to tread this ground again?Add a comment
From recent Facebook posts:
John Bolton and Mengele’s Moustache
Let us all please, please understand: John Bolton is a war criminal, one of the most loathsome wretches ever vomited up by the corrupted, militarised power structure of the US elite. He happily, gladly, giddily went to work for Trump, knowing he was a corrupt, racist, authoritarian scumbag. His only objection to Trump was that the feckless casino boss was not quite as murderously, berserkly war-like enough to satisfy Bolton’s lifelong perversion for mass murder. Remember also: it was Bolton who, snuffling and shuffling as Trump’s dogsbody, personally eliminated the government’s pandemic response team. He was happy to act as Trump’s point man in surrendering the American people to the ravages of a far more deadly foe than the Iranians, Russians and Chinese who goose Bolton’s creepy night-dreams. He’s not part of the “Resistance,” he’s not a hero, he’s not an ally; he would very happily see your children burned alive in a worldwide conflagration to satisfy his extremist bloodlust. And his stupid little self-fluffing book – offering up tidbits that he cravenly refused to provide in the impeachment process, when it might have done some good – is nothing but a slobbering grab for big money by an ignorant goober who will probably die the same way Josef Mengele did: choked on a hairball from anxiously chewing the ends of his ludicrous moustache.
Sons of the South: Juneteenth and the Enduring Shackles of Racism
As many are pointing out today on Juneteenth, the formal ending of slavery did not mean an end to peonage for Black Americans. The rich and powerful worked closely with law enforcement to thrust multitudes of African-Americans back into forced labor, for generations. The elite manipulated the courts and prison systems to ensure a steady supply of cheap or free labor to replenish the fortunes they'd made from slavery, and to build the "New South" where Jim Crow reigned supreme. Many years ago, I read an excellent book on the subject, "Worse Than Slavery," by David Oshinsky. Several more good histories have been written since. After reading the book, I wrote the song below, recorded here in a rough form four or five years ago. I'd probably do it differently now, but here it is, for whatever it's worth.
The Georgia Debacle: The Democrats Surrender Democracy Again
When you are ruled by unconscionable wretches, this is what happens. And the Georgia vote debacle was a deliberately designed test run for the November election. As I've said for months, there is not going to be anything remotely like a fair and open election across much of the country. The GOP vote-suppression machine has been growing wider and more brazen year after year. The Democratic leadership has watched it happen and done almost nothing about it, never made it a signature issue; they've never gone to the mat to fight with everything they've got to ensure that voters can have their say -- even when the voters being disenfranchised by hook, crook and "breakdown" overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
While Obama spent *years* seeking his "grand bargain" with the GOP to cut Social Security and Medicare in exchange for some watered-down social programs, the GOP were shutting down literally thousands of polling places in Democratic districts, throwing hundreds of thousands of Democratic-leaning voters off the rolls in state after state, and imposing draconian "Voter ID" targeted at the poor.
Now we are reaping the whirlwind -- and now, only now, are some Dem leaders beginning to ... yes, do that thing they do so well: talk about maybe doing something possibly about it at some point. The fact is, if the November vote is to be saved it all, it will have to be saved by people and groups like those in this story, who go to the frontlines and help facilitate the process for those being suppressed, who stand their ground against illegal police intimidation when they exercise their rights: by people who DO something, not those who make empty gestures with Kente cloth while allowing an authoritarian criminal to loot the country in front of their eyes (Yes, again: why has Trump not been impeached for his vast, open, undeniable financial crimes and corruption? Why? Why? Why?) and allowing a party of rabid extremists to destroy the democratic process itself. Our only hope lies in the people in this story -- and in the hundreds of thousands of people now on the streets of America, demanding action, not willing to be fobbed off any longer with mewling promises of incremental "reform" somewhere down the line.
We Are Devo: the UK's Barbaric, Trump-like Embrace of Mass Death
As I said before: Johnson is going to go Full Trump and simply surrender to the virus, which is what he's wanted to do from the very beginning. We're just going to have to live in a Covid-riddled world, and hope for the best. And yes, this might end up all right for most of us; but we must also steel ourselves to say goodbye to a goodly proportion of friends and loved ones with ill health or advanced age long before they should have left us. But our leaders don't care about that. Johnson and his gaggle of greed-blinded ministers have already overseen a viciously brutal culling of the most vulnerable among us, as they consigned tens of thousands to die in care homes -- the same care homes sold off to callous investors by Tory profiteering extremists over the past ten years. It's often said that the true moral value of a society is shown in how it treats its most vulnerable members. There is evidence of the most primitive humans and even Neanderthals caring tenderly for the sick and damaged among them, not regarding them as burdens but as loved, valued members of the tribe. What we are seeing today in modern Britain (and modern America) is a staggering degeneration of these ancient values; a dearth of empathy that would have profoundly shocked our ancestors.
A Shrivelled Soul in a Bag of Bluster: BoJo, the World's Most Racist Clown
A man who calls black people, in print, "piccaninnies" with "watermelon smiles" etc. – vile racist terms – now calls for some kind of undefined "inquiry" into ... racism. This vague notion was "announced" not by the government, but in a small article in a rightwing newspaper that has paid the slur-slinger hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years to spew a barrage of demonstrable lies. But even in grudgingly floating the "inquiry" idea, the Man Who Speaks Racism in Print for Pay makes sure to belittle the effects of racism. He says he wants the dark people he disparages for money to get over their "sense of victimisation." That's the real problem, you see; those people FEEL like they're victims. They're suffering from the self-inflicted wound of "victimisation," not the objective, lived reality of systemic racism. If they'd just stop doing that to themselves, why then, we'd see those wonderful "watermelon smiles" again, not all these nasty protests! (Of course, the most violent protest, by far, has been the hours-long riot in the center of London by right-wing mobs who feel and speak about blacks the same way the prime minister does. As in the US, they feel empowered and emboldened by having a sympathetic purveyor of racist tropes leading the whole country. Although to be fair to Donald Trump, he's never used, in public, the gutter language that Johnson has employed.) This is all part and parcel with the non-apology Johnson once muttered when challenged on his racist words. He said he was sorry if anyone "felt offended" by what he wrote. He wasn't sorry he used the racist language, you understand; he didn't feel he was wrong in using it; he didn't apologize for using it. He was only sorry that some of the silly dark folk got their feelings hurt like a bunch of little PC snowflakes. Such is the corroded character of this wretched man: a shrivelled soul in a bag of bluster.
From recent Facebook posts:
1. Feigned Incompetence as a Cover for an Agenda of Extremist Evil
(Williamson can hardly fiddle the science when he can't count to two)
In Covid Time, the UK government has become an endless freak show of third-rate goobers and bug-eyed extremists trying to hide their actual, unconscionable strategy – "Do as close to nothing as we can get away with and let the pandemic 'cull the herd'" – behind a series of threadbare obfuscations which they don't even try to pretend are true. You often hear people declaim in outraged wonder, "They simply *can't* be as stupid as they seem, can they?" My response used to be a shrug and a cynical chuckle, "Oh, yes, they can, and they are!" But I don't really believe that anymore. I don't believe their actions in the pandemic are due largely to stupidity or incompetence. I think, by and large, the people in the government today are acting with studied deliberation to advance the morally depraved agenda they have pursued (often openly) throughout their lives: to destroy the very notion of a greater common good and impose the rule of unaccountable elites.
To do so, they act ruthlessly and continually – and above all, with knowing, deliberate deceit – to degrade and undermine any institution or entity that might offer even the slightest opposition or alternative to their extremist ideology. This includes, most emphatically, the idea of government itself, as a vehicle for enhancing and enriching the lives of ordinary citizens. (In this, of course, they are simply copying – like the witless little toadies they are – their masters on the American rightwing.)
Like their masters, they believe – and have said so, over and over, for years and years – that the only legitimate function of government is to promote the profit and power of the privileged few. They will claim that they believe this blinkered, stunted ideology will produce a better result for the common folk in the long run – but this claim is just another example of their strategy of deceit. Dig deep enough into their own writings, and those of the transatlantic "think tanks" funded by oligarchs and corporations from which they draw their inhumane tropes, and you will find, everywhere, an overarching belief in the inherent superiority of a privileged few (based either on money, genetics, race – or all three) along with an often visceral disgust for the rabble and their unimportant "needs," their stupid aspirations for a better life. No one exemplifies this better than the man actually in charge of the operations of the UK government today, the unelected "advisor," Dominic Cummings. His blog is like a festering cesspit from which the night mind of these depraved extremists bubbles up in raw form.
So while it's always tempting to laugh at their clownish ways, their bumbling, their "gaffes," the reality is not funny at all. Exactly like Trump, they have clowned their way into power, spouting obvious and outrageous lies ("£350 million a week!" "Oven-ready Brexit!"), and are using their buffoonery as a shield and distraction to cover their dangerous and destructive policies.
2. BoJo the Bouncing Whiteface Clown
'I hear you': Boris Johnson to Black Lives Matter protesters
This is the racist goober who called black people – in print, in national publications, in the 21st century – "piccaninnies," wrote about their "watermelon smiles," and said the problem with Africa is that "we're not in charge anymore." His public racism has always been FAR more crude and open than Donald Trump's dog-whistles. It's absolutely sickening to watch him waddle out to read off a few insincere words – knowing he'll go straight back to his minder and controller, Dom Cummings, a eugenicist who believes openly in the genetic superiority of an elite "2%" who should be groomed to rule society. Given the ugly filth that Johnson is happy to spew in public, God knows what he and Dom say behind closed doors. What an abysmal collection of third-rate, evil-minded, death-dealing hacks.
3. A Glimmer of Hope for Tormented Minds
We can no longer ignore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat depression
This is absolutely vital research, which holds the promise of immense and profound benefits for the human race. It has been put on hold for 50 years, caught up in culture wars, sensationalism and polticization, which meant that reputable scientific institutions were not allowed to follow up on the promising breakthroughs of the 1950s. It's as if research into the proper application of penicillin was simply frozen for half a century after its discovery – think of all needless human suffering that would have entailed. The same thing is true here. I've been following Carhart-Harris's research (and that of others) for some time; it would be unconscionable not to explore the hope it offers for the positive, non-draconian treatment of many intractable and often tormenting mental ailments.Add a comment
Live music! Film clips! Guest stars! It's a new half-hour of original Americana from Tennessee singer-songwriter Chris Floyd of the Holy Fools. So grab yourself your libation of choice and settle in for some soul-searching and barn-burning in the murky depths of Covid Time! Featuring the incendiary call to action: “Just One Plank (I’m For the Poor”).
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The vile, brutal inhumanity that lies at the core of the power systems in both the US and UK is being laid bare as never before by the pandemic. Today, the UK’s death toll from the virus surpassed Italy’s; but the headlines were filled with stories about a top scientist hit by a sting operation from the hard-right Daily Telegraph. He was targeted because he is seen by the increasingly Trumpist UK right as a figurehead for the lockdown, which the Telegraph is attacking with relentless fury. They cannot countenance any effort to save the lives of worthless peasants if it might possibly inconvenience the lives and profit margins of the elite in any way.
The “news” about the scientist also obscured the announcement by Boris Johnson’s government of herd-cullers that it will start slashing the furlough scheme that has keep so many hard-pressed Britons afloat during the virus-enforced job losses. The Tory herd-cullers say people are becoming “addicted” to receiving 80 percent of their former salaries. Can’t have that. So when the lockdown lifts (no doubt with the kind of careful planning and wise competence the herd-cullers displayed as the virus first began sweeping through the country), Britons can look to July as the moment when they too, like the Americans, are thrown to the wolves.
Trump is now giving up all pretense of fighting the virus or even trying to slow it; he actually seems to take a perverse delight in presiding over a world-historical disaster in which his own herd-culling policies have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths across the shattered land. The entire GOP faction of the power structure has lined up with goose-stepping servitude behind this murderous assault on the American people, while the Democratic faction dithers, cowers and chills on vacation, bestirring itself only to vote for “relief” bills that give literally trillions of dollars to the super-rich and corporations while leaving ordinary people with almost nothing — not even protection for their voting rights in a pandemic, not even that one small, pathetic say in determining their fate.
The pandemic has stripped away all facades. We can see the system and its leaders clearly now. After killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in foreign lands during the last two decades of aggressive war and ceaseless “interventions” (most of which are not even noticed or reported on anymore), they have now turned on their own people. They sit and watch thousands of them die unnecessary deaths, happy to “cull the herd” of the “useless eaters”: the sick, the old, the vulnerable, the poor and the non-white minorities who are dying in vastly disproportionate numbers.
Both the Trump and Johnson herd-culling governments devote most of their time and energy to massaging the images of their leaders and deflecting criticism of their death-dealing policies. Both were pressured into lockdowns they didn’t want, after word got out that the herd-culling approach they’d adopted was going to lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths in short order. Neither treated the lockdowns for what they were intended to be: draconian emergency measures to buy time while the governments launched furious, all-out efforts for nationwide testing, tracing and quarantine measures, as seen in other nations which suppressed the virus (or, as in New Zealand and Vietnam, essentially defeated it).
They didn’t do this. At every stage, they have done just enough to get a story in the day’s new cycle saying that they’re doing something, while frontline workers in every field, especially the health services, die like soldiers led to slaughter in the Somme. Of course, Trump has now dropped even this fig leaf: he is now saying openly that people should just go back to work and die by the thousands every single day. And it’s almost certain that Johnson will be saying essentially the same thing soon, although not quite so directly as Trump.
This is who they are. This is where we are. This is what we now can see: the corroded heart of the power system, and the sick, degraded character of the wretches in charge of it.Add a comment
Every American should realize: the heavily armed groups – funded and organized by rightwing oligarchs – whom the president is now praising for protesting the lockdowns – WILL be out on the streets, threatening and very possibly killing people if Trump, despite all the GOP vote rigging, loses in November. Yes, that is absolutely where we are now. That's WHY these groups have been funded by the rich, that's why they're being mobilized now.
You can pretend this is not happening; you can go on living in some "West Wing" fantasy of civility and compromise; you can "chip in and get a cool sticker" from old Joe and think everything will be all right in the end. But the rule of law no longer prevails in the land; armed bands of extremists are roaming the streets of the nation, bellowing hatred and waiting for the order to escalate their lawless violence to the next level. You think "it can't happen here"? It's happening right now, in front of your eyes. And worse is coming unless people wake up and stop it from happening.
But where is the opposition? Where is the opposition? They're on VACATION until next month, with 20 million Americans out of work, facing ruin, and armed thugs assaulting state capitols while an authoritarian madman urges them on. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's horrible enough to see your country going down the drain; but it's agonizing and humiliating beyond measure to see it go down without a fight.
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Test-Trace-Quarantine. Countries that follow TTQ have lower death counts from Covid-19 – and their societies and economies have stayed open. For a number of reasons – none of them good, and some of them malevolent – neither the United States nor Great Britain have followed this proven method of tackling the pandemic. As a result, thousands upon thousands of their people are needlessly dying while their economies have cratered, leaving millions of people in dire straits even as their respective governments, especially the US, disgorge vast mountains of public money to protect the private fortunes of elites and corporations. Lockdown without mass testing will not quell the virus; “re-opening” without mass testing will lead swiftly to further disaster, to second and third waves that, absent a vaccine, could be equal to or worse than this initial tsunami.
The leaders of many nations recognize these incontrovertible facts, and are acting accordingly. But the US and UK — two nations imbued, indeed intoxicated with the notion of their absolute uniqueness and superiority to all others – are acting as if they can magic away the science of the pandemic with the voodoo of their exceptionalism. Addled by this horrifically false notion, they have stubbornly, stupidly and with criminal disregard adopted strategies that have, in the end, destroyed the economies they sought to “save” with their late and lackadaisical approach. They refuse even now to expend the necessary resources to implement TTQ on anything remotely approaching an effective scale.
The Trump and Johnson governments have simply surrendered to the virus. Both leaders early on expressed their desire to see it “wash over” the populace, to “take it on the chin”; both leaders were told in stark terms that this would lead to mass death on a monstrous scale; both were happy to let that happen. Neither of them made any moves to implement a TTQ approach, despite having months to prepare for the pandemic wave to hit them. Political pressure forced both of them to take, very reluctantly, the half-measure of lockdown without TTQ. They realized that they could not be seen to have surrendered to the virus, although, by only taking half-measures (or less), they have merely masked their surrender, and the heartlessness behind it.Add a comment
Here are a few Facebook dispatches from the last 24 hours of the ongoing collapse of the American republic:
Donald Trump has just asserted, on national television, that he has total power over America and can rule like a dictator. “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total." And what did the opposition party controlling the House of Representatives do in response to this authoritarian power grab? It announced that ... it was going to extend its already month-long Easter vacation to May 4, "unless there is an emergency." So let's be clear about the Democrats' position. Thousands of Americans dying needless deaths every week because the federal government has abandoned them in the face of a pandemic: not an emergency. More than 16 million Americans thrown out of work and losing their healthcare in just three weeks: not an emergency. An obviously addled, murderously ignorant gangster declaring he has dictatorial authority over the entire country: not an emergency. So can we please ask Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership one simple question: what, in God's holy name, IS an emergency? This is a hard, bitter truth we must swallow: the Democrats have surrendered to Trump and his rapacious cronies. They are not and will not stand up for us, and for the Republic. What an agonizing, unimaginable catastrophe it all is.
One day our descendants, in their dark, diminished world, will tell sad, bitter tales of us, all with this theme: “They gave away paradise to fatten the pockets of the already filthy rich.”
27-year-old grocery store clerk kept working because she wanted to help people. Then she died from coronavirus.
This is happening because the federal government and the US Senate have been captured by murderous clowns and callous operators who literally do not care how many ordinary Americans die, as long as they and their cronies keep making money. They have openly, brazenly declared war on the American people – and if the Democrats do not realize this, and respond accordingly, then the republic is doomed. So, what is the Democratic opposition doing now? Well, old Joe Biden is offering free stickers if you give him ten dollars. And Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are ... taking a month off. That's it. So let me quote to these vacillating goobers the words of the last American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature: "When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain?"
Thousands of Wisconsin ballots could be thrown out because they don’t have a postmark
Again, let me say this: there will not be anything remotely resembling a free, open vote by eligible citizens in November. It won't be allowed to happen. The criminal forces now in charge of the most powerful government in the history of humanity are not going to allow us to have a free and open vote, because they know it will end in their defeat. They realize that the people could come out against them in overwhelming numbers, despite all the repression and suppression, so they intend to create a howling storm of chaos to break down the voting system altogether. A criminal gang that is happy to see thousands of Americans die needless deaths and tens of millions plunged into poverty and hunger as long as its top scumbag gets "big ratings" does not give even the slightest damn about your constitutional right to vote. And if the Democratic opposition -- currently on a month-long vacation -- doesn't realize the true nature of this regime and defend the republic with the ferociousness necessary in this moment of maximum peril, then the nation is well and truly doomed.
Trump administration has many task forces — but still no plan for beating covid-19
Although this story buries the lede – "Trump wants epidemic to 'wash over' the country even though hundreds of thousands would die" – it is still a harrowing snapshot of a government in deliberately induced chaos, rife with utter incompetence and in thrall to the whims and mood swings of an infantile fool. It also hints at what I think will be the administration's ultimate strategy: "re-open" the country too soon, knowing that this will trigger another huge spike in death and disease in the fall. Then, when that happens, indeed just letting the pandemic sweep through the unprotected populace, saying, "We can't force people into lockdown again, they won't stand for it, and anyway, we did it once and look what happened: the virus kept coming all the same." They will do what they are doing now: using the needless damage caused by their own inaction and callousness to justify further inaction and callousness. Trump literally, openly doesn't care if hundreds of thousands of Americans die needless deaths, as long as the stock market stays goosed up (with trillions of our tax dollars) and he has "big ratings" for his nightly goon show. What a horribly stupid, humiliating, sickening way for the nation to collapse.
Thinking about the painful absence of physical proximity forced upon us in a time of pestilence, and looking forward to the new gathering when it's finally over. A very rough cut of a song just written.
I’m thinking, my friend, of the meeting
That we will enjoy one fine day
We’ll throw our arms around each other
And hand in hand, we’ll go on our way
And we’ll all gather at the river
Where the sweet water flows by so clear
We’ll laugh and we’ll mingle together
And sing till the morning is here
I still see your face in the distance
You’re walking with me in my dreams
But one day the darkness between us
Will give way to the most joyful scenes
Then we’ll pass around that old bottle
Lip after lip, we’ll share the wine
We’ll kiss goodbye to our troubles
And bring back the heavenly time
(chorus)Add a comment